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Oldest son has been delivered (with parental escorts) to UVM where he will be spending July partaking in Summer College. His home for the month is the lovely Converse Hall, which is a building with a lot of  apparent history. It is referred to as the “stone castle” and is indeed very castle-like. Much in the spirit of castles, it is well– allegedly haunted by spirits. Well, one spirit at least. Henry.

Photo Credit: UVM

Henry evidently is a former UVM medical student who during the 1920s, feeling overworked and overstressed, allegedly hung himself in the attic of the dorm building. According to the Vermont Cynic, Henry is the most famous of the ghosts that inhabit the university and students in the dorm. He is a mischievous prankster according to reports and although his presence has been felt, he has supposedly not been seen. Doors opening and closing, footsteps where there are no people to be seen and objects moving from one place to another are the hallmarks of Henry.

We’ve dropped two of the boys there so far this summer as fate would have it. Tyler spent his week at Advanced Medquest living in Converse Hall and TJ will be living up there for the month while he is taking a college course during their Summer College program.

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Hard to believe there is such a stark difference.

Seedlings are growing indoors. I have blossoms on my pea plants. Raspberry bushes that we planted indoors are throwing shoots up like mad, yearning to be put in the ground and spread out.

Daffodils are up in the full bloom at the bottom of the hill where the grass is green.

This morning, the Fed Ex guy and I were talking when he dropped off a package at our house and he told me that a friend in Killington sent him pictures of snow from last night….. 8 1/2 inches fell on the guy’s car and he saw the pictures (as my TJ would say “pictures or it didn’t happen”) to confirm it. There is more snow forecast for tonight in the higher elevations.

Snow, spring, seedlings, showers, flowers, sunshine — as they would say on a favorite children’s show “one of these things just doesn’t belong

 

 

 

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Today is the second day that we woke up to it snowing. Yesterday, at some points it looked more like the middle of February rather than the middle of April. Literally, it was snowing so hard you couldn’t see and the snow was accumulating — the grass was covered as were all the lawn furniture and flower beds. Mother Nature is either a bit backwards this year or she has a really weird sense of humor. Perhaps she is just in perpetual April Fool’s mode this month. Either way, not much seeing the humor in it.

My poor seedlings might never see the light of the outdoors if this keeps up – might as well turn the sun room into the garden this year. The wood stove is still blasting away here. If you didn’t look at the calendar you might not believe that it is in fact April. Oh, don’t get me wrong, we’ve had April snowstorms — real storms where we wound up with inches if not a foot or more of snow — but after a very mild and snow-free winter for the most part it really is very anti-climatic. We are ready for the nice weather, we are ready for the shades of color that come along with spring — we are not ready or happy about waking up to snow showers instead of rain showers.

 

 

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We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values.  For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.  ~John F. Kennedy

English: John F. Kennedy, photograph in the Ov...

Image via Wikipedia

While we might disagree with what is said or printed or accessed; while we might take issue with those that say print or access it –we certainly cannot disagree or take issue with their right to say, print or access it. To do so, is to take away your own right. For one day someone else may dispute what you say, print or access and your cries will fall upon silent ears.

What is appropriate is to empower those that feel they are being cheated or stolen from with laws that can equip them with the power to redress their grievance. Eliminate the wart, do not cut off the arm instead. The legislation presently pending may not be the best solution to the problem.

One important thing to consider before you fall on either side of the SOPA/PIPA battle is to look at those that support it and those that oppose it. The proponent list does not include a single individual — the unit upon which this country was originally formed. The proponents are exclusively  (if not almost exclusively) the new “persons” under  recent law.

The freedom to disseminate information has always been a cornerstone of our freedoms, of our country – a country of the people, by the people and for the people — the question of late, it appears to me is “which people are we talking about these days?”

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. ~ Voltaire
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There is a saying — “No good deed goes unpunished”. Tonight was an example of that. As Tyler and I were headed home from grocery store this afternoon, we headed up our hill. As we rounded the corner, we saw my friend and neighbor’s van stopped on the side of the road. She and her kids were walking up the hill, several yards ahead. As we came upon them, I slowed down to stop and give them a ride. Big Mistake. The road had turned to a sheet of ice. My foot on the brake, caused us not only to not stop, but also to immediately begin to slide not only backwards, toward her van, but also to the left. For those of you unfamiliar with the road leading to our house, it is bordered on the left by a drop of at least 10 feet or so into a creek. My truck slid and luckily stopped precariously close to the edge of the cliff by the brook. And there I sat. Tyler ran up the road and luckily the “road closed” signs were still on the side of the road at the top of the hill. He was able to place it across the road to 1. prevent other cars from sliding down the hill 2) hitting my car which they would most likely not be able to avoid since they also could not stop.

Thanks to my very own knight in shining armor (or in this case first a Kubota and then later a pick up truck both equipped with a tow strap) and our great road crew with their mighty sander, after a couple hours me, my truck and our groceries were home.

Lessons learned — never stop on an icy hill (especially when there is a cliff and water) even for one of your good friends. Rather, go to the top and wait for them. If they live here too, they will totally understand.

My Hero

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If you live in New England and particularly in Vermont, you kind of expect a white Christmas. One of those Norman Rockwell type New England Christmases– and with good reason. According to information gathered from weather records from the period from 1961-1990 there was a very high probability that Vermont would have a white Christmas. The probability for at least 1 inch of snow on the ground for Christmas in Montpelier is 93% — 5 inches is 72% and 10 inches is 41%.

Unfortunately, warm weather last week killed the last of the snow on the ground and weather forecasts are not predicting any significant possibility for snow before Christmas Day.

Christmas magic, perhaps might be the only way to help things out a little.

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christmas tree lights

Image by swarna rajan - ஸ்வர்ணா ராஜன via Flickr

This week has been one of the best weeks. Nothing crazy to make it stand out, but there have been lots of little things that have made it really rather special. We’ve had a couple nice dinners at home together which hasn’t happened much lately with everyone running around, and some really nice conversations. The boys have been in good moods (maybe its Christmas) and we all loved Tim’s performance at the concert, and the concert itself, which was just fantastic.

This weekend, I baked…a lot… got to spend some quality time with some of the wonderful women in my life and exchanged lots of cookies. Today, after church and my MNO cookie exchange, we headed down to Albany for an afternoon of Christmas shopping. It was a good ride down and back, not too crazy at the mall (if you can believe it) and just a general really good time. It was reminiscent of our rides back and forth from New Jersey to Vermont. Some really good company, some really good conversation and some really adorable guys….a great way to spend a Sunday.

This week ahead, more baking and prepping for the holiday, some Christmas caroling, present wrapping, baccala soaking and general getting everything ready for next weekend. Now…if it would only snow (but not anytime around when my in-laws are driving up, though, we would like them to get here safely).

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Talk about proud. I cannot even tell you how much my heart swelled to watch my baby perform a high school solo in the Men’s Ensemble as part of the Winter Vocal Concert at his school. The video that I post here doesn’t even do the performance justice. The good news is that he will be performing it live at Mill River’s Bistro in March — hint, hint.

I just read a very interesting article over at New Scientist. Hany Farid, a Dartmouth College professor  along with his colleague have come up with a proposed rating system for digitally retouched images. The rating system, which operates on a scale of 1 through 5, will enable viewers to understand how much, if at all, the images that they are viewing have been digitally altered. The scale will reflect minor white balancing or sharpening (considered minor alterations) through completely revamped digital images (major alteration).

I found this interesting because there is concern about the effects that photo retouching taken to the extreme by some advertisers and magazines are having on their audience, particularly young women. While I don’t have girls, I do totally understand and remember the frustration of looking at a magazine and wondering “why can’t I look like that?” while dieting or exercising to an extreme. In fact, I think I still do when I see some “perfect” actress model. The reality of it is that most women and even men in magazines and advertisements don’t, in fact, look like they do in the advertisement or magazine.

Professor Farid shows some pretty stark contrasts on his website between un-retouched and retouched images. Clicking the “toggle” button will allow you to go back and forth between the images. While no one is against photo retouching and enhancement, in fact it is amazing to see what can be altered and enhanced, it is nice to know that what you are looking at not only isn’t necessary reachable through dieting, exercise  and makeup, but is totally fabricated. It is an important thing to show the young people in our lives who can be overly and sometimes dangerously, obsessed with looking “perfect”.

We all enjoy looking at the pretty people in advertisements and magazines, it’s just nice to know that they aren’t necessarily any more or less perfect than you or I.

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Today was a fun afternoon. I was asked to do a friend’s daughter’s senior pictures. I was both flattered and scared. I am by NO means a professional photographer so I was pretty intimidated. First off, senior pictures are a new concept to me — the last senior year pictures I was involved in were my own — which were long ago and done with everyone wearing the exact same drape off their shoulders. I totally like this idea a whole lot better, more suited to the individual.

So we headed off early this afternoon and had some fun wandering around in the beautiful fall air taking pictures. We took them against fences, trees, walls –we even took pictures on the breezeway at the house we used to rent on West Hill Road. I think that my favorites were the ones where she and I were both sitting opposite each other in the middle of the dirt road — I wonder what anyone who might have seen us would have thought?

In any event, it was a fun experience – something that I would never, ever had done in my wildest dreams (and trust me, Tom can vouch that I have some pretty wild, off-the-wall dreams). I am glad that I did it.

 

 

We spent two days in Montreal– just us chickens. It has been a long time since we have gone anywhere like that just the five of us –and it was fun. Not that having other people or kids along isn’t also fun but sometimes it is nice to have to spend time with each other. Especially when cell phone usage was limited due to us being out of the country so outside distraction was minimal.  It was a combination birthday/concert trip. The boys wanted to see Deadmau5 in concert and the show in Montreal was an all ages show. The date was just after my birthday and since none of us had ever been to the city of Montreal, it seemed like a fun idea.

The concert was Thursday night and was good – definitely got your monies’ worth with a five hour show. We walked in there a little after 7. Tim and I left a little after 11  — Tom and the other boys didn’t get back until 1ish. We wandered around downtown Montreal the next day via metro since none of us were too foot happy after standing for 5+ hours the night before (or at least our feet weren’t) – guess who lost their Metro day pass? — guess who also got everyone lost trying to find the Apple Store? — guess who thought she was stuck on the roof of the hotel with Tim when the door wouldn’t open again?  Okay, things weren’t that bad and we did have fun- visited the Biodome (and they all actually smiled for me)

ate some good food, and hung out with my absolute favorite guys in the world.

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Today I had to run a few errands this morning. As I was walking to my car in the parking lot, a woman came up to me, a little older than myself. She asked me if I had any idea where the FEMA offices were located. Someone had told her Commons St. and she was unfamiliar with where that was located. I knew where it was since my doctor’s office is in the same complex. I gave her directions. She asked if we sustained any damage in the wake of Irene, I told her no, that our road was washed away, but otherwise we were okay. I asked her about her damage. She looked at her car, parked next to mine and said “All I have left is my car. Everything else is gone washed away.” I expressed my sympathy for her losses. She looked at me, smiled and said “It makes you appreciate the simple things in life.”

Hard to gripe about the difficulties in your own life when you come face to face with that, isn’t it?

Appreciate the simple things….

Evilwife on the move

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2012.
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There have to be 5 things even on a really bad day.

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