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I just wrote my article for next week’s Rutland County Express on the amazing work that the Conservation Commission and volunteers have done on the hiking trails throughout the park.

In order to do my job properly (with pictures and all) I had to stop there and hike around. It is so neat. Tim came with me and we especially liked the boardwalk and the really cool steps that they made leading from there onto the rest of the trail. Amazing to believe all the hard work to lug the lumber into the bog area to construct the 100 foot boardwalk. There are marked trails and lots of educational signs posted throughout with information on the local flora, fauna and creatures.

If you are in or near Wallingford — or if you come for a visit– head on over. Then you can always go swimming at Elfin Lake!

A word of warning though — the mosquitos are quite hungry, so bug protection is in order!

Thanks to the folks at the Wallingford Conservation Commission and the volunteers who made this all possible with their hard work!

 

 

 

 

It rained this afternoon for most of it, some sorely needed rain. I went outside afterward and while it has cooled off some, it is still quite humid. Fog is hanging in the air.

 

Here are some pictures of the water clinging to the flowers which I thought I would share

 

We are looking into summer programs for the boys at colleges that they are interested in attending. As I am browsing the various websites I can feel the panic setting in. It is the same panic that I remember from when they were like 4 or 5 and I was trying to plan a birthday party out at a Discovery  Zone or one of those places. Almost, but not as bad, as planning my own wedding. I remember that feeling when I started looking, about a month and a half before their birthdays (the two older boys’ birthdays are close to each other) for a birthday party place. Places were booked, filled, out of commission for months. How could this be? I came to the realization that I needed to plan their parties not a month or more ahead but a half year or a year ahead? Who, in this world, has that kind of time or more appropriately, time management skills? Certainly, dare I say, not I. With some luck and flexibility we were able to plan the party and all was well, but not without a great deal of anxiety, stress and guilt on my part. How could I be such a bad mother?

Fast forward a dozen years or thereabouts and the same guilt, stress and anxiety are taking over. Who would think that I would need to submit applications for most pre-college summer programs before winter vacation? In my naive state, I once again believed, incorrectly for the most part I might add, that months would be sufficient for a July program, not 6 months or more. Luckily not all of these programs have such early deadlines for applications, and many of the ones that do are just not within reach for one reason or another anyway, so maybe, just maybe we will be all set. Time will tell. I’m thinking that maybe, just maybe I should start perusing graduate schools for application deadlines now — before the boys even start college. –Just to be on the safe side.

Well I couldn’t take it anymore. Winter isn’t much of a winter here, sure there’s snow on the ground now, but according to my own personal meteorologist, we are supposed to be getting just rain for the next two days — I know, bummer, right? So, with the sad excuse of a winter around these parts, what’s a girl to do? Look forward to planting her garden.

I got out the bag of potting soil and repotted my Christmas cactus since it woefully needed more soil (don’t worry I used the cacti mix for the cacti) and then topped off the geraniums that came with the house. These geraniums are planted in milkboxes and came with the house. Talk about a guilt trip– the plants were like 15 years old when we bought the house and we have this deep seated obligation to keep them alive come hell or high water — so far neither of those have hit us here, so we’re lucky, we only need to fight snow, frost and the occasionally mean minded chipmunk.

Then, as long as we’re on the obligation route, there are the plants that came with Tyler. — Okay, so they didn’t really come with Tyler because that would just be weird, but we got them as a teeny tiny grouping of plants in a beautiful pot from one of our very dear friends Cathy and her parents when Tyler was born (for those of you who don’t know my middle son is now almost 16 years old) and I’ve been coddling those along through the years. I am sad — very sad — to report that one of the group has recently passed away but I still have it in dirt in the hopes of some type of plant resurrection. Somewhere in my deep sub conscious (once you push aside all the other scary stuff that lives there in the dark) is the fear that if something were to happen to all those plants that something bad would happen to Tyler (yes, I know I am weird and obviously psychologically damaged – but I just like to chalk it up to my Italian superstitious roots — makes me look less nutty that way).

This all probably stems back to the incredible loss of the ivy from my wedding bouquet, which my dear Dad rooted while we were on our honeymoon and proudly presented to me in a pot and then I killed a few months later. I don’t have the ivy and I don’t have my father (I know that those two are not related) I don’t know how the ivy died since I really tried hard to take care of it, but I also don’t think that I can ever get over it — hence my need to keep plants alive.

While I was at it, I planted some seeds — basil, snow peas and cilantro. We’ll see how that goes, some other green things growing around here would be nice.

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Friday the 13th Book icon

Image via Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friggatriskaidekaphobic is the irrational fear of Friday the 13th. Are you friggatriskaidekaphobic?  If you are, you are in for one hell of year, since there are three (count ‘em) Friday the 13ths in the year 2012 — all thirteen weeks apart. How’s that for freaky? A fun fact is that any month that starts on a Sunday will include a Friday the 13th.

Friggatriskaidekaphobia is a condition that between 17 and 21 million Americans actually suffer. Frigga is the name of the Scandinavian fertility goddess and Friday is named after her, triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13. Why the fear of Friday the 13th, anyway?

Superstitions have long surrounded the number 13 in general and Friday the 13th in particular.

  • 80% of high rise buildings do not acknowledge the 13th floor.
  • Many airports skip the 13th gate
  • Some hospital and hotels have no rooms numbered 13.
  • 13 is considered an unlucky number because it follows the number 12, which in numerology is considered a complete number – 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 months of the year, 12 apostles.
  • Fewer car accidents, fires and crimes occur on a Friday the 13th than any other day of the month.
  • Airfare costs on average 12-14% less for travel on Friday the 13th than any other day.
  • In the Canterbury Tales Fridays were considered an unsafe day for travel.
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Coffee cup icon

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I am not a big fan of the news, especially as my husband can tell you, first thing in the morning. There is something about hearing all the world’s most depressing and devastating news before my head even leaves the pillow that makes me not even want to get out of bed in the morning.

I love when I hear something in the news that is cheery or speaks of the good nature in people, rather than the death and destruction in the world. Reminds me of the scene from “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” where Winona Ryder says to Gary Oldman –”take me away from all this death”. But I digress…..

This morning I came across this article on a site named “Good News”.  Evidently a woman in a South Carolina town entered the local coffee shop, paid for her coffee and gave the counter person a $100 to pay for coffee for the customers coming into the shop after her, until the money was used up. That was two years ago and the same little coffee shop has had several of its customers “pay it forward” and do the same thing, leaving extra money to treat fellow customers to coffee that day.

Imagine how something so simple could make your day? We often forget that people could be having a really lousy day and a simple gesture, a free cup of coffee from a stranger’s generosity or a simple kind gesture or smile, could make all the difference. Life really is about the “little things” which are really the “big things” in the end.

 

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I truly love Christmas. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of my dad, who absolutely loved Christmas. He was by far the biggest kid in our house come Christmas time. Each year, we can’t celebrate Christmas without thinking about him and remembering how much I miss him.

Maybe it’s because I love the Christmas music and it’s one of my favorite times in church. At the end of tonight’s service, the lights were turned out, the candles lit and everyone sang “Silent Night”.

Maybe it’s just the company of family and friends — and looking back on how lucky I am to be surrounded by such wonderful people and have them a part of my life. We are reminded this time of the year of those people that we might not see often, but remain near and dear to our hearts. We’re reminded of those with whom we’ve shared holiday memories during the years gone by. We’re lucky and blessed to have such wonderful friends and family.

Maybe, it’s the music — traditional Christmas music reminds me of Christmas parties at my grandmother’s house — we kids got to choose the music and play it on her stereo turntable, which was one of those large consoles that was a chunk of furniture in and of itself. While the adults were in the other room talking and laughing, we were playing music, lots of Christmas music.

Maybe it’s because it reminds me of some of the best times I’ve spent with my husband in the years that he was selling Christmas trees including the final weeks leading up to just after Christmas almost 20 years ago, when we got married.

Maybe it is all of those things wrapped into one. Christmas and Christmas Eve were always a chaotic mix of family, friends, presents, food, music and love. I hope that it remains that way for my boys and they can one day look back and remember how special Christmas is.

I hope that it is just as special for you …. Merry Christmas from our family to yours.

With love,

Tammy

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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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Yesterday was ridiculously warm, well into the high 40s — it even touched 50 for a brief while. The snow is pretty much all gone and the roaring winds that we’ve had over the last 12 hours were the nail in the coffin for the snow. As I type this the sun is out and it looks more like spring than a little more than a week before Christmas here in Vermont.

Ironic since VAST’s snowmobile trails all open this weekend and so does Pico that we should have barely any snow. The forecast is not particularly helpful so far for thoughts of a white Christmas. But I am hoping. If there is one time of the year when there is supposed to be snow, it is Christmas. Damn, those Hollywood movies with their perfect Christmases — oh and their perfect people too, since I’m complaining.

Nonetheless, despite the lack of snow, it is cookie-making weekend as both cookie exchanges I am attending this year both fall this weekend. One is tonight and one is Sunday.

The butter is softening……and then….. off to make some delightful cookies.

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When we moved here five years ago, I remember feeling a little lost when I was around the other parents and the other kids at school functions or parent meetings. So many unfamiliar faces and while no one was openly hostile or purposely ignoring us, people just naturally gravitated to each other, to familiar faces and those with whom they shared common bonds. It was, I must admit, a bit lonely for a woman who was pretty darn involved in her boys’ lives and fairly active in the various activities prior to our move. Parents were strangers, kids were even bigger strangers.

Last night, as we watched the MRU Winter Vocal concert in a packed auditorium of family and friends, it occurred to me how far we, as a family, have come here in Vermont. All the boys have wonderful, steadfast friends who really have their backs. If you watched any group of them, you wouldn’t believe that a few years ago, they were separated by hundreds of miles and were complete and total strangers to each other. We have developed some great friendships with other parents  and it was extremely nice to look around and see so many different and familiar faces.

Best of all I think was sitting there as a member of the audience and watching, even staring, at the various members of the different musical groups. It was heartwarming to see how these children are maturing into adults – a transformation right before our eyes — highlighted by their formal choral attire. So many familiar student faces, so many friends to my boys. It was very classy to watch the kids cheer each other on during performances and realize that they really, honestly mean it. The high school emsembles and chorus gave a standing ovation to the junior chorus after its performance – the first of the evening. The audience was peppered with recent graduates who have returned from college for winter break – and they stood to applaud their former fellow ensemble members after each and every performance.

It is nice to see such support and friendship among the kids. Its also nice to  know how many friendships we have forged in such a small amount of time and to reflect on how lucky we are to live where we do.

 

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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.

It snowed last night. Today is cold and windy. Winter appears to have arrived.

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