about a dream

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas in Boothbay!

It's finally starting to happen!

We cut down our tree yesterday, not too shabby! This is actually the tree that was growing next to the tree we cut down last year. It's bare-ish on the other side, but that conveniently makes it easier to tuck into a corner. Perfect!

Friday after school was gingerbread house time

I mean, it's from a kit, but we put it together and decorated. It's a holly jolly weekend!

File this one under "dogs who don't realize they're too big to be lap dogs." This boy loves his sisters so much!!

Two more days of school. I'm not so excited about that, but the girls are. Fun days and a Christmas concert planned for them, I'll see if I can get my high school students to do any work. It's gonna be like pulling teeth!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas in NYC!

So, first off, I have NO PICTURES. So sorry! I forgot the camera, but even if I hadn't, it's hard to carry around, and I haven't had time to download pictures, so they probably wouldn't be up anyway. My words will just have to do to paint pictures in your mind. Hopefully Uncle Henry and Aunt Marilyn will somehow get photos along to me one of these days, because we did get some cute ones by the fountain.

Well, the trip started off on Friday morning with me and the girls in mom and dad's car to Newburyport. Nick had opted to stay home with the dogs, which, considering how crazy crowded the city and crazy expensive and crowded the American Girl Doll store was, turned out to be an excellent idea. But more on that later.

I was still fighting off this awful, never-ending cold, too, so I was happy that I wasn't driving. I get spacey when I'm sick, and it's just not a safe way to drive. Anyway, when we got to Newburyport, we shifted people and luggage around so that the girls and I were with Erik, Isabelle, and Joey in the big 7-seater SUV they'd rented. Some among us were nervous about how this might go (Erik!), but it went great! Joey was in the middle row, and he was so happy to be able to look out on the girls. No tears! Except when he was hungry and that food didn't get in his mouth fast enough! Ha!

He also slept for all of 40 minutes, but that's ok! We hit a bit of traffic on 95 because we opted to follow the GPS (never again!), but still, not so bad.

Friday night we ate dinner at Uncle Thomas and Aunt April's, excellent. Mom and Dad had picked up Vanessa at LaGuardia, and we all had a joyful reunion. Henry and Marilyn came by with their girls too, and even Veronica was around.

Vanessa and the girls and I stayed at a hotel on Cross Bay, and Saturday morning we pretty much went straight out to the graveyard. Dad took Nina and Maggie to play at Charles Park and they saw our old house, then went to McDonald's and Great-grandma and Great-grandpa's. Burial went smoothly, lunch was delicious (I'm pretty sure they made the minestrone with a touch of escarole, amazing!), and we were back in Howard Beach before dinner.

Saturday night was more family, this time joined by Uncle Vito and his girlfriend Veronica, cousin Jenny, Great-grandma and Great-grandpa, and Aunt Maria and Uncle Charlie. Whew! Tons of people, tons of fun! Vanessa, mom and I even took the girls for a spin around Howard Beach to check out the Christmas lights. They weren't quite as over-the-top as they were in our day, but they beat anything we have in Maine by a long shot, so the girls were excited.

Sunday morning was yet more mad fun. Mom and I drove the girls to Brooklyn, parked at Peter's place,  and took the train from there into Manhattan. We got out at Times Square, walked to Rockefeller Center/St. Patrick's Cathedral, and miraculously met right up with Henry, Marilyn, and the girls.

What a zoo Fifth Avenue was! Tons and tons of people. Times Square wasn't as bad because the pedestrian zone element gives you room to spread out, but Fifth Avenue just has the narrow little sidewalks.

We did it, though. We saw St. Patrick's, which is being cleaned and looks white and lovely on the outside, the tree at Rockefeller Center, the Sacks store windows, and then the American Girl Doll store.

Wow, the American Girl Doll Store. It was a zoo, of course, but it was so cool. It kind of looked like a museum inside, with each main character doll behind glass with all of her outfits and accessories on display. There were other displays too, like all of the look-alikes and pets. My favorite was the hair salon. A dozen dolls sitting doll-sized chairs, with doll-sized plastic hair salon smocks around their necks, ladies in black aprons trimming with tiny scissors and brushing with toothbrushes. It was hilarious, absurd, and charming, all at the same time.

Then we saw the giant tree, which didn't impress the girls so much. I guess they see a lot of big trees, so that's fair.

We ate some pretzels, froze when the sun went down, and then trained back to Peter's. There was time before dinner for a soak in the hot tub, pure luxury!

In the morning we had an easy trip back to Howard Beach to pick up mom and dad, and then smooth sailing all the way home. Fun, but exhausting!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Pre-Halloween fun

 Maggie came home with a partially completed Halloween drawing that she finished after school, and I must say, it's really fantastic. Look:

Note the craters in the moon, the howling wolf at the far right, the monster plants, the cracked and bleeding walls, the bats and black cats, and the ghost in the window.

She ran out of space for a cemetery off to one side, so it's on the reverse:

See the hands reaching up from the graves? 

Yesterday we were goofing around and she stuck a rubber band on her foot. "Oh no, something's wrong with my foot!" she said.

"Oh dear!" I said. "You know what happened? Toe trolls got to you! They do things like this," I started.

"Tell me more!" she replied with big wide eyes, as she slipped Nick's giant headphones over her ears.

Sassed! By a 6 year old!! I give up...

The Ebb Tide is closed

It was a sad week for us; Thursday was the Ebb Tide's last day.

They ran a bunch of specials from Monday through Thursday, so it was a busy and exciting last week. The girls took the bus there after school on either Monday or Tuesday, and all three of us went on Wednesday and stayed for about 2 hours. So much fun, so much macaroni and cheese! We were going to stay and have dinner with Nick and dad, who were due in at around 5:30, but it was just so busy we had to go!

Then on Thursday we went in for dessert and the very last close. So bittersweet! Nina was served the very last meal--chicken fingers and french fries--and Maggie had a milkshake. Erik Morrison was there, and of course Pete had come up from NY earlier in the week and was there too. I forgot our camera (grr!), but I borrowed Morrison's, so hopefully one day I'll have some pictures of us on the last day.

Then it was closing time! Maggie got sad so we scooted on out. There's a big hole in our hearts today! Hopefully someone will buy it and run it exactly as is. Fingers crossed!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

What an adventure. First, I'd like to take full responsibility for everything that went wrong. It was totally my fault. See, I made a family trivia quiz for all of us to take on Thanksgiving afternoon, and over the course of the month that I was making it, I said (again and again) "Wow, nothing's really ever gone wrong with our Thanksgivings. We've never had any disasters," and "Things have always gone really smoothly for us for Thanksgiving."

Never say things like that!

The storm was first forecast on Friday or Saturday, but that was too far off to really worry about. The models were giving conflicting forecasts, probably rain along the coast though.

It was 60 degrees on Tuesday too. So warm! So sunny! But the models had converged, and it looked like we'd be getting snow.

The girls and I left early Wednesday morning, so we could get to Newburyport before the snow started (it was still supposed to begin as rain).

Just north of Portland, it started to snow. Within 5 minutes, it started to really snow. It was a heavy, wet mix of snow and freezing rain, but at least it was melting on the highway, and things weren't too slippery.

The girls and I got to Erik's just fine, they had some friends over, watched some Maleficent, and things seemed to be looking up.

They actually spent most of the movie running around and yelling, but let's pretend for posterity that it looked like this the whole time.

Then the cancellations poured in.

Maria and Lee were just too tired after cleaning out Grandma's apartment to make it.

Gina, Lou, Jessica, and Valentina wouldn't be coming. Weather.

Uncle Vito and Veronica were undeterred and on their way. Mom, Dad, and Nick were scheduled to arrive Thursday morning.

Around 7 we got a phone call from Uncle Vito. Car accident. They were unhurt, but not coming. Two more down...

In the morning, we learned that Twin Cove Road had lost power at about 9 pm. There was a tree down on the lines at the bottom of the hill and one line had fallen across the road. No one knew if it was live or not, so they decided to wait until CMP came by to deal with it. Dinner would be postponed, but not cancelled.

Meanwhile, cousins played:

So, so cute.

Mom and dad called back. Dad had tested the line, was pretty sure it wasn't live, and moved it out of the way. They were on their way!

So what started out as 18 for dinner had dwindled down to 9 (including Joey. You can't not count him even though he didn't get to eat any of the feast!)

This would be the last time we were warm for days...

So, I headed back to Boothbay at about 6. The poor doggies were home alone, and I wanted to keep an eye on the houses. Sure enough, I got back, and the power was still out. Both houses were about 50 degrees, so I piled some blankets on the bed and went to sleep.

I got up at about 6 am, still no power. I went to the neighbors' place (they have a generator), and turned on the heat and water. Then I shoveled, checked on Ursula, shoveled some more, checked on the houses, and even read a little. Pete G was in town, so we had some warm lunch at the Ebb Tide, and then I spent 40 minutes heating water from the fish tank on mom and dad's (propane) stove so the fishies wouldn't die. Who says I don't love animals?

Back in Newburyport, Nina and Maggie played in the snow. Snow and cold are fun when you have electricity and a warm house to come home to.

"Hot cocoa, a blanket, and TV would be perfect right now," Maggie had said.

Everyone got home, still no power. The houses were back down to about 47, so dad lit a fire in the woodstove and Nick and I borrowed a generator. We ordered some pizzas and ate dinner at the Sheard's warm house.

We went to bed (all of us in the one bed. Warmth!), and the house was about 58 degrees. Overnight low was 17 degrees, and the house was down to 47 when we woke up. Generator back on, and we made do.

Finally the power came on at about 10:30!! Rejoicing!!

It went out again while I was typing this, but fortunately that only lasted about 10 minutes, and now it's on again. Fingers crossed anyway!!!

What a Thanksgiving!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Braced for some cold!

Brrr! And, Ewww!!! I hate the cold. Hate. But it's just a quick snap, and really nothing compared to what the rest of the country is going through. A few days in the 30s, then we'll creep back up to the 40s and 50s. I'll survive, most likely.

Poor Maggie stayed home today. Loose stools! Poor kid.

Nina took Bus 1 to the Ebb Tide by herself after school, because it was early release day. I got a phone call at work at 1:30--it was the school, and she wasn't on Bus 3. "She's taking Bus 1 to the Ebb Tide," I said. "Oh, ok," they said. Good, no big deal.

Then I got another phone call at 2:00. "Nina's not on Bus 1. Did your husband come and get her?"


Oh my God. Where was my child. I dashed down to my classroom in case she'd wound up there. No. Nina. I ran to the elementary school. The principal was telling Teresa to get Lyndon, the bus driver boss who can radio all the other buses, and have him instruct every bus in the fleet to pull over and ask for Nina. At the same time, Lisa was calling the Ebb Tide to check with mom.

Lisa got mom, Nina was there. There was a substitute bus driver on 1 who didn't know Nina, and she'd gotten off at the stop by Red Cup, not realizing that this year, the bus stopped right in front of the Ebb Tide, Of course, as Lisa predicted, mom noticed that the bus had gone by and would have called the school if Nina hadn't gotten off, and in the end all was well.

About a half hour later, while I was finishing up my meetings, I noticed that my abs were in burning pain, as though I'd done a hundred situps. Stress! I'm sure I'll have a dozen more gray hairs and a few new wrinkles tomorrow. Sigh....

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Now for some funnies...

Last week, I was playing a monster high app with Maggie on the (TINY!) iPod. I tried to select a necklace for the monster girl we were designing, but it wouldn't click.

"Here," said Maggie sweetly. "I'll click that for you. Your fat fingers are useless."


A week before that, she out of the blue says to me, "I peeked on you when you were in the shower the other day, and I saw your butt. It's fleshy, and bumpy, and moley."

For no reason she tells me this!

I thought she'd said moldy, which really hurt, but she clarified that no, it just has moles on it.

So, whew, I guess. My self-esteem is just through the roof.

I might have to buy this swimsuit:

It's Beyonce, and her swimsuit says "99 problems but my ass ain't one"

Ha! Take that Maggie! I'm gettin' it!