Saturday, August 30, 2008

Feeling the Need for a Five Course Venison Dinner

I could have cried, but I really felt more like manical laughter when I saw this.

These are the sunflowers that we grew from seed, which were actually about to make it to full bloom this summer. These are the beans that we have been enjoying and were at the peak of production. You can see where the beans were too tall to eat.

Look, deer, you have the whole of the forest. Stay away from my garden! I'd get more garlic/rotten egg spray, but really. What is the point now?

Grrr. I'm most annoyed by the sunflowers. I was really looking forward to those.

Dental Star

Sophia did so astonishingly well at the dentist, that instead of just "counting" her teeth, she had an actual cleaning and fluoride treatment AND X-rays! It was surreal...except that she didn't really talk a whole lot to the hygienist and she nodded yes to every question. This time, instead of trying to hold back tears because of my own personal hellish experience with the dentist as a child, I was trying to hold back tears because it was going so well. Look, I'm a sap, okay? I did manage to hold myself together, though.

Anyway, she, incredibly (because getting a toothbrush in her mouth at home is a whole other ball game, let alone floss...I tried not to laugh when they asked me if we floss her teeth), has no decay at all. The only problem is the constant thumb sucking. It's causing a cross-bite and a slight overbite, a narrowing of her upper palate, and a huge gap in her bottom front teeth (people think at first she has already lost a bottom tooth). I'm sure they will introduce us to the orthodontist in about four years (kids seem to go in a lot earlier to the orthodontist than in my day!).

Now for Fiona's nitrous oxide/cavity filling experience on Tuesday. Gulp. I'm actually not going to that. Sobo offered me a Xanax for that, but I'm not sure it's a good idea to combine it with the Lexapro. I had no idea children required so many pharmaceuticals.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hen of the Wood Again

We love Hen of the Wood. We returned there on the 23rd while Sobo watched the girls. Hooray for Sobo!

Again, Hen of the Wood did not disappoint. No pork belly on this menu, but they did have Niman Ranch pork cheeks, which could not have been more meltingly tender. That was served with a mustard creme fraiche. We could not decide between the crispy fried oysters with tarragon aioli, lemon zest, horseradish and parsley or the hen of the woods mushrooms with Vermont bacon and grilled Red Hen Bread. We got the oysters, which were light and lemony and delightful. If I had to pick a favorite, though, it would be the pork cheeks.

For the entree, we had the short ribs, which are braised overnight, and was served with chard...and I can not remember the starch for the life of me. Oh, I think it was smashed potatoes. Doug and I ate half of everything and then switched plates and he had the first half of this. I was too mesmerized by the short ribs to really notice anything else. We also had the smoked Labelle Farms duck breast with local kohlrabi puree (now there is an underused and under appreciated vegetable, if there ever was one), Pete's Farm Lacinato kale, and blackberries. Now, the duck was great, but the star of this plate was the kale. It was cooked with shallots (I actually thought it was garlic, but the server said it was shallots) and it was just so flavorful and tender. I could have eaten a whole bowl of this kale. Lacinato is a great variety of is not very bitter and it is really easy to cook with.

We had the cheese plate again (I didn't write down the cheeses or grab a cheese menu, but it was delicious) and one dessert: a clean tasting lemon tart with caramel ice cream and candied hazelnuts.

I did grab the wine list this time, and we splurged and got this.

This was a big wine, with dark juicy fruits and just a real pleasure to drink. It went so well with everything. It even somehow went with the oysters (whew). This would also be satisfying to drink on its own, but it was just a star with the pork cheeks. It helped that the pork cheeks tasted like something deities would eat on Mount Olympus.

Why You Should Not Nap

Right before you pick up your child: You will only notice in the nick of time, while waiting outside surrounded by people, who all seem to be checking everyone out anyway, that your wrap around skirt is about to fall off. You only show a brief glimpse of underwear to all; it could be worse.

This happens while you are talking to someone who you think is someone else and as you are tying your skirt back together, you remark that your daughter is thrilled her son is in her class (J). Embarrassment must have muddled your brain, because she informs you that you have her confused with someone else, because her son's name is C.

What a stupid day.

Last night Doug and I played hookie from the preschool parent's night and went to the Main Street Bar and Grill instead for drinks and nibblies. I learned that I love Hendrick's gin in a dirty martini (they give you three olives: regular, stuffed with garlic, and stuffed with blue cheese) and I learned, to my great unhappiness, that I can not drink two of them. A little tender today. We had some yummy shrimp quesadillas and an almond/peach tart with caramel ice cream and a blueberry lemon cake. Doug had a blueberry martini and a lychee one. The blueberry one used local blueberries (we have great blueberries here), but the lychee one was the winner, I think.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

1st Grader

Fiona starts today. She now officially goes to school all day, every day. It's going to be so strange.

Sophia wants to go, too, but she has to wait until next Friday.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Champlain Valley Exposition

The celery made me laugh. Upper left corner.

We went to CVE yesterday (hereafter referred to as "the fair"). This is Sobo's first time there, so we had to partake of the mini doughnuts (freshly made on the spot) and the maple cotton candy. We didn't watch the pig races this year, because quite honestly, I did not want to deal with a pooping pig toy this year and Sophia was a bit of a growly bear yesterday, which is so draining. Part of the problem was that it was actually quite hot yesterday and she stubbornly wanted to wear one of her favorite long sleeved dresses. She wouldn't even change her dress at the fair. She got very pink and sweaty.

If you click on the picture, it will be easier to see Fuzzy, Sophia's lovey, who used to be white instead of that interesting gray, sticking out of Doug's pants pocket.

Riding the ponies (okay, I know this one is a donkey, but she insists it's a pony) is Sophia's favorite part of the fair. Fiona loves it, too, but she gets very tense holding on. Note how pink her cheeks are. She can get very, very pink.

Fiona loved the pumpkins.

Root beer float!

Good times.

Tonight is Fiona's school's barbecue where we get to meet her teacher and her classmates. She starts school Wednesday and, thankfully, she is very excited to start.


The firewood came Friday! Very exciting. I was there, but napping (!!!) and Sobo had the girls in the backyard, so she gave them the check I had written. We stacked it up, unsure as to whether it was really two cords or not. Doug decided it was two cords, like we ordered.

But then.

The next day, more firewood showed up.

The wood is totally different and it smells totally different (the first delivery had an aroma of cow manure and wet dog going on--the second smelled like fresh wood). And, yeah, they just dump it and then leave. They don't knock on the door or anything. I was worried that an earlier fizzled-out contact had decided to drop off some wood, but Doug remeasured the earlier wood and it seems the first delivery was only one cord. So we are going to assume that this wood is all from the same place, I suppose. I called to confirm this, but no one has called me back.

We live in a strange place.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fabulous Blog

Cake Wrecks

Prepare to laugh.

Listening to the Falling Leaves

Yes, it's that time of year again! We aren't officially in foliage season, really (that's late September/early October), but the maple trees are definitely turning.

We pick Sobo up at the airport today. She suggested I not tell them and then just say, oh, let's go see if Sobo is at the airport today. That wouldn't work on Fiona anymore, but it would amaze Sophia. Maybe. Actually, she may be too old for that now, too. Anywho, it's too late. They are already playing games where they "go get Sobo". Sobo is going to have groupies when she gets here.

Hopefully, today is the day a truck comes to our house and delivers two cords of wood. I'll take a picture, because two cords of wood is a lot of wood. Not for here, you understand, and certainly it's not a lot if our only method of heat is via wood stove (there are houses here like that--ours is not). But it is impressive to me, and it's also a lot of wood to stack (we get to do that part, of course).

They have been milking the last days out of the public swimming pool. It's barely 70 here, so I don't go anywhere near the swimming pool. The chill in the air doesn't seem to faze the girls at all. I already wear my sweatshirt around the house.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Silly Star Trek Quiz

From Ellen Aim's blog.

Your results:
You are Beverly Crusher

Beverly Crusher
Jean-Luc Picard
Geordi LaForge
An Expendable Character (Redshirt)
Mr. Sulu
Will Riker
Leonard McCoy (Bones)
Deanna Troi
James T. Kirk (Captain)
Mr. Scott
A good physician and a caring parent.
You are devoted to your children
and to your occupation.

Click here to take the Star Trek Personality Quiz

I think once I said I was a parent, that sealed the deal ;)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Break Out

So last night I'm sitting down to some well earned West Wing (Season 7), when I hear this enormous craaaacccccck! At first I thought it was outside. There were people outside talking and laughing, and I thought, oh, they busted something. Our house also makes all sorts of interesting noises that I can never identify.

However, like the victim in the horror movie, I go to see if I can identify the noise. That's when I hear water.

Gushing water.

I find myself in the girls' playroom (which used to be a dining room) where we keep the very large aquarium. There is a huge crack running horizontally on the front. Our one fish is swimming frantically around. (Anyone remember when we had 6?) Our two crayfish are hiding, as usual.

We have wood floors and if you spill something on goes straight to the basement. The basement which has been dry for the first time in months.

Doug has taken the girls swimming so I frantically grab things to start putting under the waterfalls. I grab every dish towel.

Then they actually get home early because of a thunderstorm, so Doug helps me while we stick the kids in front of the one eyed babysitter. One bucket falls over. It's full, of course. Another bucket is discovered to have its own crack in it.

The drama is over, the aquarium is in the basement, and the fish and crayfish are living in our cooler for now until we can find new homes for them. The floor is very clean and the birds have a lot more room now.

I have no idea why the aquarium spontaneously cracked open. Maybe the crayfish have had enough. Maybe our fish is looking for his dad.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Last Sunday, we drove down to Boston to visit the Stone Zoo. We just missed the thunderstorm. That in itself was just a fun outing, but we actually went to Target on the way back home. This is sort of silly, but it's kind of exciting because we have no Target anywhere around here. I got a few shirts. It's so nice to have stain free shirts.

Last week Fiona had her science/nature camp at the Montshire Museum of Science. This is an hour away, and Fiona is of the age now where the camp lasts all day. I had originally thought I'd sign both Sophia and Fiona up, but Sophia is not quite old enough yet. Those October birthdays. Anywho, Doug stayed home and did projects on the house (the garage and basement look totally different!), and Sophia and I spent 6 hours every day doing errands in the surrounding towns and hiking. One day I took Sophia to VINS (Vermont Institute of Natural Science), where they have raptors that they rescue and shelter. They had a couple of trails there too, so I thought, why not? It was a huge hit. We would go more often, but the price is a bit steep when there are three or four of us. They had a "tree house" exhibit (it's not really a tree house) that Sophia loved. I loved the tropical dart frogs they had--their colors are incredible.

We spent most of our time hiking and having picnics from the Hanover and Lebanon food co-ops (in New Hampshire). I happily ate lots of California and dragon rolls, and Sophia ate lots of bagels, fruit, and orange things. Orange things are cheese puffs. She saw a big jar of these at BJ's and went "oooooh!" and grabbed it. So I bought her some multi-grain ones at the co-op. They are still bright orange. I have to confess here that I have a cheesy poof weakness that I secretly indulge in now and then. Sometimes it is great to stay up late watching movies and eating cheesy poofs with Dr Pepper. Actually, Doug bought me one the other day for a treat, and it was just too sweet for me to drink more than half. The urge comes up now and then, however.

But I digress.

Her interest in the hiking was sustained by hunting for acorns, of which she has a quite plentiful supply now. The only drawback to the hiking were the hoards of mosquitoes. All these trails are near water and the skeeters are just thriving right now. Fortunately, Fiona didn't seem to have a problem at camp, and they didn't seem to bother Sophia much (except getting in her face), but I got chomped on, and poor Doug, who came with us on the last day, has swollen red bites all over him. I tried this citronella woo, but it didn't seem to do a damn thing. Anyway, it was a delicious week of sun and not quite 70F degree weather despite the skeeters. I somehow did not make it to King Arthur Flour, which I'm kicking myself for now, because I need chocolate disks to try a new chocolate chip cookie dough recipe.

Fiona decided, apparently, they should end the week with haircuts. She did this very quickly and quietly. She did it right before we went out, in fact, and I didn't even notice it until we came back. I thought Sophia's hair looked funny (she always takes her barrettes and ponytail holders out these days), like the front of her hair had been somehow tucked under the rest of her hair and behind her ear...

Fiona, to her credit, was honest about what had happened, and I now have, from her dresser, a jar of her sister's ringlets. She was trying to make her sister's hair "like hers". Sophia was a most enthusiastic participant.

Fiona just did her bangs, and it's not too bad.

The missing ringlets.

New bangs.

This is the last week of summer vacation for Fiona. Sophia has another week.

We still don't have firewood, presumably because of all the rain, but it should come next week. In early September, we're getting our drafty windows replaced, which should make the downstairs more bearable in winter.

The most exciting news is that Sobo is coming next week for a month! On the heels, of that, we get to have Triana for a few days. It's so wonderful to have visitors.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Bill Nye

I have been trying to get Bill Nye the Science Guy for Fiona to watch, and guess what? It's not on TV anymore (I have no idea what's on TV anymore) and it's not on DVD. However, one can find full episodes on You Tube (the full episodes seem to be broken up into three parts). How cool is You Tube, anyway?

There is a petition to get the show on DVD or back on TV here. He has a new show called The Eyes of Nye, as well.

Fiona is hooked.

We were going to spend the day outside but thunderstorms drove us back inside. The pouring rain kept us there.

There's a Chill in the Air

Ellen Aim sent me a copy of The Post-Birthday World, which I have started reading. I'm on chapter two (a clear sign I have children, or I would have just stayed up all night reading it or called off work) right now and already enjoying it. Thanks, El!

It has been extremely cool here--70F. I love late summer/early autumn. We usually get a really great one here (I believe that this is the time of year that the population of tourists outnumbers the people who actually live here). If it doesn't rain the whole time, of course. Now is when we get can get corn from the farm stand that has just been picked, tomatoes (finally), blueberries (Oops! Better get some tomorrow before they are all gone!), and also when mums start appearing on everyone's porch, and the public pool closes (at least this summer we aren't taunted by hot weather before school starts, which can happen). The state fairs start and we will certainly eat our way through those (well, at least one of them). I'm sure there will be pig racing. Fiona starts first grade on the 27th (yes, a Wednesday) and Sophia starts on September 5th. I am hoping to spend Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning tearing off the Wallpaper from Hell while listening to very loud music. Preferably Joan Jett. I'll have to do something to our ancient walls...I don't know if I can just patch them somehow or what. First the wallpaper. Then, paint!

First, of course, I'll have to just sit in the house doing nothing for a couple of weeks to get used to it. This is all assuming dropping Sophia and Fiona off at school goes smoothly.

And then! Then! We have visitors! Sobo is hopefully coming soon, and after that, Triana!! There will be warm, fresh cider doughnuts and apple picking, oh yes. It will be so hard not to go back with them to Denton or Austin, but I will resist. Hopefully, I can visit this winter when it's so bleak here.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

A Dreaded Sunny Day

We have had so much rain that our backyard patio is covered with moss. Note the poor, sodden flat daisies. By the way, you can click on the pictures to make them bigger.

These are pumpkin blossoms. Hopefully, the slugs will leave us one and we'll actually have a pumpkin for fall. We'd prefer at least two, but whatev. Nice weeds, right? I'll get to it. Those dishes are beer slug baits I have emptied out. Every time I put out new ones, it rains and thus pretty much defeats their purpose.

Lots of red bean blossoms and we picked our first bean! Fiona spit her bite out loudly into the grass and Sophia ate the rest of the bean all up and did not want to give any to me (I got a small nibble). She said YUM!

I was cleaning up more than usual today because someone was coming over to look at four of our downstairs windows we'd like to replace. They keep out the cold air about as well as if we'd put up a sheet of cardboard. I look over at Sophia and she's falling asleep at the kitchen table, thumb in mouth. Thankfully, she did not fall out of the chair while I took her picture.

Fiona's dental appointment went well except she does have one small cavity starting on one of her permanent molars. She'll get that filled early September with nitrous oxide and they will put sealants on all of her permanent molars. She's never used nitrous oxide before. I am a little apprehensive because I don't see her really going for it. She had 4 cavities on her baby teeth that we had quickly filled when she was about 3. They gave her Valium then, and that did not work out well at all. It completely backfired. She got enormously pissed off that this dentist was working on her teeth and we were not stopping him---we were, in fact, helping him! Oh, she got sleepy, all right, but Fiona sleepy is not a compliant person. Fiona sleepy is a wild animal. It was very quick, but it felt like an eternity. Obviously, NO and Valium are different things, and she is much older, but I still worry.

Fiona spent her time in the forest surrounding our house, so no pictures of her today. Today she was the elusive forest creature.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I Laughed

so I wouldn't cry.


Well, Sophia seemed fine this morning until she barfed her cereal all over our bed. So Doug and Fiona will go to the dentist and A Single Pebble and I will snuggle Sophia today. At least her fever seems to be gone. She actually seems fine now and keeps asking for more cereal. She refuses soup and crackers, so we're trying grapes.

And there will be chocolate cake this afternoon (perhaps while someone is napping)! Plus, Doug is bringing home food from the restaurant.

We got Doug a new computer monitor for his birthday. It's our first LCD monitor and we love not only the widescreen, but the fact that it does not take up the whole computer desk. Or other monitor was really dark no matter what we did to it, and now we can see all sorts of things in pictures we could not see before. It's great fun.

Monday, August 04, 2008

When Life Hands You Rain, Make Cake

Thanks to those of you who checked in on me and gave me real and virtual hugs. Today is better.

Today I'm also making chocolate birthday cake, so that probably helps. The cherry pie was good (well, I can't recommend buying cherry pie filling in a can, but the crust was good) and it's gone. Everyone liked it except Sophia. She stuck her finger in the filling now and then (it is red, after all, and red is definitely her favorite color), but wasn't really impressed.

Sophia started running a high fever yesterday which went through the night into today. She seems better now, so hopefully we are still making the trek to the pediatric dentist for both the girls. Tomorrow is Doug's birthday, so I made lunch reservations at A Single Pebble. I know I have said this before, but I'll say it again...they have the best Chinese food I have ever eaten anywhere. It is rather surprising to find such a place in Vermont---not that Vermont doesn't have great places to eat; there is actually a high concentration of those--but I think Chinese food is not one of the first things to come to mind when one thinks of Vermont.

Now if we could only get an awesome Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurant.

A friend of ours is on his way to opening up a Spanish tapas-type place, so that is very exciting. They had two sittings one evening and were totally full and got some mostly positive honest feedback. Hopefully, we can get in on the next seating. He's a great cook and there isn't anything like this kind of food around here.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Friday, August 01, 2008


We get this enormous plastic jar of mixed roasted nuts about twice a month at BJ's. BJ's is like Costco with an unfortunate name. Anyway. Sophia loves the nuts, but she rummages through and picks out the ones she likes best. At the end, only the almonds are left. Without the salt.

So she has figured out that she can dump the whole jar in the colander to get a better view of available nuts. I heard her doing it and I came into the kitchen to see her happily picking out Brazil nuts.

I am actually pleased she does these things for herself, but you may want to pass on the roasted nuts if you come to visit unless you like your snacks pre-licked.

I know this post is also a gold mine of puns, but let's not even go there.

Doug's birthday is this Tuesday. I'm making cherry pie per his request but I don't think it's going to be the birthday pie. For one thing, I have here two grocery-store brand cans of "cherry pie filling". I don't think I've ever used pie filling before. It tastes rather bland. I may add some lemon zest and vanilla bean to it.