Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tour of Lake Winnipesaukee*

This past weekend, we spent at a little camp on Lake Winnipesaukee.  It's a lovely lake, very quiet and peaceful (this time of year -- don't go up on the Fourth of July, and avoid the hot spots like Weirs Beach and Ellacoya State Park if you want quiet).

It was also Bike Week, so we didn't leave the lake except to drive home.

Okay .... the pictorial tour -- these were taken on my phone, so I couldn't zoom as much as I would have liked on some.

Sunrise -- I was sitting on the dock as the sun peeked over the horizon:

There are ENORMOUS dock spiders here.  Even I, who am not spider phobic, have been taken aback by their size.  THIS is actually not the spider, but the skin he just shed.  The spider was hiding down below and I couldn't get a good picture.  They're about the size of the palm of my hand (including their legs).

A bald eagle nest on Blueberry Island. We saw the male flying quite a bit as the island is near where we were staying. In this picture, the female is hanging out with the kids.

Some folks who own property on the lake actually stay all summer without going home. Hence the need for a post office on the island.

Dakota loved riding on the boat, except when it got choppy -- then she climbed into my lap (and yes, she fits... just barely).

Where the rich folk live: Governor's Island.

You could buy your own place there -- this house is for sale.  It's only $12 million!

I love all the little islands -- most with one house on them.

And thus ends our boat tour of Lake Winnipesaukee.  I suspect you'll see more photos from up there, as we'll be spending a good part of our summer in that neck of the woods.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Today is a big day for the kidlet... she's advancing out of eighth grade and moving on to high school.  She's excited, nervous, sad, stressed.... I must have been hugged fifty times last night.

It's hard to believe that this is graduating from 8th grade:

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Garden

I decided to try something a little different with my veggie garden this year.  You  see, my garden never has enough room, and after digging up the area for the strawberries this year I was out of steam and had little desire to expand the veggie garden.

It's pretty big, but not enough if I want to plant enough to can and freeze:

So, I took some of the plants that don't grow much in width and planted them elsewhere... in my flower gardens.

I used this place:

To plant six eggplants:

And here along the front of the house I planted beets (which I forgot to take pictures of -- but which have lovely red/green foliage):

And here where I have mostly flowering ground cover, I planted six peppers:

That was a few weeks ago.  So far?  I've lost two beet plants and three eggplants and I have no idea why.  More, the rest of the eggplants and beet plants aren't really growing much.  One pepper got smothered by grass clippings when my DH mowed (for thirteen years, I've asked him to NOT mow clippings into my garden... he still doesn't listen) and may not make it, but the others are going strong and most have actually flowered.

Next year, I'll try something else in the circle garden.  I'm not sure if the sprinklers killed the ones that died or if they weren't getting enough sun.

In my main garden, I keep finding plants "topped". I had two tomatoes that looked like they were broken off.  The first time, I figured it for a chipmunk, the second time I was ready to cry.  I started digged the plants up to make room for new ones (which I realized was a bad move -- tomatoes will come back from being topped), and as I dug, I found a cut worm.  BAD (and now deceased) bug.

So, a week later, when one of my cucumbers suffered the same fate, I dug around the roots and sure enough, I found a cut worm.  I've never really had a problem with them before, so am frustrated.  I do NOT want to treat the place with pesticides, but alternatively, I'd sure like to have some plants survive.

My admiration for the pilgrims grows every year I try to garden out here.


Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Happy Tuesday!

Happy Tuesday! 

We had a crazy weekend, made crazier by the fact that I managed to catch a cold last week that knocked me perhaps not flat, but at least sideways.

Amongst other things, DD and Dakota had a Junior Agility competition on Saturday.  It was a very small showing of kids (only three kids and four dogs) so it passed quickly (for which I was grateful).  DD did pretty well. though she had her first "NQ" (non-qualifying) round because Dakota got distracted by something and wouldn't come back on course, and Sarah grabbed her.  You can't touch your dog in real agility, so was DQ'd (disqualified).

Their absolute fave run was the Tunnel Game, because it's just running -- though Dakota missed one of the tunnels (it's actually a handler error, but it was minor):

Her next fave is "Dealer's Choice" because your dog can't make a wrong move -- there is no set course.  It's all about points -- each obstacle is worth a certain amount of points, and the person with the most points at the end wins.

However, between being sick and not at the top of my game, it being the first of the month (which is a nightmare for me), and being gone most of Friday and Saturday, work has backed up terribly, and I'm completely and massively behind.

I'm beginning to think this will be the usual for me anymore -- something that is very stressful for a Type A person. 

The "good" news for me is that it's raining and will be through Wednesday, so I can work on my computer without feeling guilty for not being outside.  It does make the dog a little nuts, but we'll manage.

I should be able to make time to visit blogs for a little while today. I won't be able to get to them all, but will do my best!

Have a great day. :-)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dress Drama

So ... DD needs a dress for her graduation that's coming up.  We hit the Memorial Day sales yesterday in an attempt to find the perfect dress without having to spend an arm and a leg (I'd like to keep all my limbs, thankyouverymuch).

We spent about four hours shopping and, while we DID buy a dress, she's not entirely happy with it, so there may be more shopping in my near future (oh. joy.).

This is the dress SHE loved best (and it was my least favorite):

This was my favorite (she hated the teeny little shoulder pads -- she would have never lived through the 80s):

This was my next fave:

This is what we ended up with:

But now, she's thinking she'd rather have a short dress again, so the tags are staying on the pink dress and we'll hit some of the mall stores over the next week or so to see what we can find.

Life was so much easier when she was two.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Style Your Garage

LOVE this!!

Is Your Garage Door Boring?

Are you fed up with looking daily at your boring garage door?  Just stick a new decal on your door! You should see the look on the faces of your neighbors!

Make an impression on your neighbors!  The German company "Style Your Garage" makes posters for your garage door.  Everything included!

Tell me you wouldn't want one of these.... :-D

Friday, May 18, 2012

Please welcome Allie Pleiter to the blog!

I'm sponsoring a giveaway, too ... so make sure you read all the way to the end.

I had so much fun will Allie last time, I invited her to celebrate another release with me here ("Homefront Hero" from Harlequin Love Inspired Historical). We couldn't do the Dog Dish again (sorry, Bella!), so I asked her to share some things with us (yanno, deep, dark secrets ... stuff we'd never guess) instead.

Feel free to chime in with your own deep, dark secret.  We're all friends here ;-)

Seven things you’d never guess about Allie Pleiter

1. I used to deliver singing telegrams.

Yep, it’s true. I was a theater major in college, and had a car, so it was a natural part-time job for a shameless extrovert with an Ethel Merman voice (I’ll bet half of you don’t even know who Ethel Merman was!). My worst ever telegram was the time a soon-to-be ex-husband sent a singing telegram to his soon-to-be ex-wife as a last ditch attempt to stave off the signing of the divorce papers. To her office cubicle at work. In front of lots of people. It was unbearably sad and awkward, but I was contractually obligated to deliver the message. We were all glad when the episode was over.

2. I own six translations of Beowulf.

I love, love, love old epic English poetry. I can still recite the opening stanzas of The Cantebury Tales in the original language. “Whan that April...”

3. I adore James Bond movies.

Okay, this one probably is a bit more well known as I’ve not been shy about my affection for Agent 007. A morally bankrupt guilty pleasure I know, but handsome man in tuxes wielding fancy gadgets and fancier cars...what’s not to love?

4. I am not allowed to serve lima beans in my house.

I actually love them. Brussels sprouts, too. I am alone in my tastes, however. I used to buy a little can or frozen carton every once in a while and eat them for lunch when everyone one else is out of the house, but even that’s died down. I love escargot, too, but at least my family will let me order that in a restaurant (my son loves the “eww” factor of his mom eating snails).

5. I wore a Kermit the Frog watch until I was 24 yeas old.

I wanted to work for the Muppets more than anything growing up. I loved them. We own several editions of the original Muppet Show on DVD. When the recent movie came out, I was in absolute heaven!
6. I cannot snap my fingers.

This presents a real challenge as a parent. I’m not sure why I can’t accomplish this simple trick, but even at 49 years-old it completely eludes me. I can, however, do something called “plinking,” which is a painfully effective flick of my index finger upon the forehead of any misbehaving child. That’s very useful. Even when said child is old enough to drive.

7. I nearly failed history in high school.

My 10th grade history teacher, Mr. Bochinski, would gasp in horror to discover I now write historical novels. I was terrible at high school history. I think it was because that ends up being mostly about facts and dates and political issues, whereas my books are about lives and loves and drama. Drama was something I excelled at in high school!

And Allie's official bio (which doesn't seem to mention singing telegrams):

An avid knitter, coffee junkie, and devoted chocoholic, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction. The enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie spends her days writing books, buying yarn, and finding new ways to avoid housework. Allie hails from Connecticut, moved to the midwest to attend Northwestern University, and currently lives outside Chicago, Illinois. The “dare from a friend” to begin writing has produced two parenting books, fourteen novels, and various national speaking engagements on faith, women’s issues, and writing. Visit her website at or her knitting blog at

Dashing and valiantly wounded, Captain John Gallows could have stepped straight out of an army recruitment poster. Leanne Sample can't help being impressed—although the lovely Red Cross nurse tries to hide it. She knows better than to get attached to the daring captain who is only home to heal and help rally support for the war's final push. As soon as he's well enough, he'll rush back to Europe, back to war—and far away from South Carolina and Leanne. But when an epidemic strikes close to home, John comes to realize what it truly means to be a hero—Leanne's hero.

This book sounds SO AWESOME, that I'm going to buy a copy for someone who comments here today. You can choose Nook, Kindle or print. Who wants it?? Just raise your hand (in the form of a comment) and let me know. :-)

Thanks for coming by, Allie. I used to fall asleep to Ethel Merman as a baby and, in fact, named one of my cats after her (the cat used to yowl all the time ... so... Ethel she was). I have to agree on the lima beans, too. :-)

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Just a quick note, because I'm bursting ...

DD got her acceptance letter from the school we wanted her to go to for high school!!

They said just lovely things like:

"You have done well with your schooling, and I believe you are well prepared."

We had to provide at least three letters of recommendation, and they mentioned a bit from those (as we didn't see them).  They said, in part:

"(DD) is highly motivated and attempts to excel in all of her assigned work."

And our agility instructor mentioned DD's "...committment to excellence and her joy in working with new handlers."

So we're going to have a new adventure ahead of us come August.  We're both excited and a little nervous. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I'm alive.

I feel awful for not having blogged in so long, and am going to make a concerted effort to find time to do so regularly again.  The biggest thing, I think, is that I simply don't have time to do it in the mornings so I'll need to rearrange my brain patterns, and start doing it in the afternoon or evening.

Yes, I'm still buried with work, insanely behind and treading water.  It's one of those double-edged swords.  I'm thrilled to be this busy, on the one hand, but would sure love ten minutes to take a breath.

I did manage to get my garden in (more detailed post later) because the weather's been gorgeous here.  But other than that it's all work, all the time.  My house is frighteningly unclean (though I finally broke down and mopped yesterday afternoon because, ugh).

I haven't blog-hopped, I haven't spent much time on Facebook (though I'm there at least a little bit daily -- I need a small fix of my friends!).  I MISS you guys.

I think summer will help.  I lose nearly three hours a day in drive time for the kidlet taking her to and from school.  Next year, assuming she's accepted to the new school (we had our final interview last week and the board is meeting to review applications soon -- we were told there were, for the first time, more applicants than there were spots to fill, but that DD's "resume" is pretty impressive, and we shouldn't worry about her chances too much) it's only a 12 minute drive (in non-snow weather) AND I won't have to wait in a line to pick her up (which takes me almost 30 mins every afternoon).

We'll see.  Honestly, I'm not entirely certain what the answer is.  I do know I'm losing my mind just a little bit.

funny pictures - *MY NEW HOME*

Monday, April 30, 2012

Post-its Post

A few days ago, the kidlet decided to help me clean as a surprise... I was upstairs working and didn't know what had happened until I went downstairs for something and found:

On the storm door:

On the dining table near the door out back:

On the sliding glass door:

On the kitchen counters:

On the throw rug by the back door:

On the kitchen floor:
The cat checking out the post-its:

The Tupperware cabinet:

On the fridge:
And the stove:

The basement steps:

It was adorable.  I guess I'll keep her.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spring Break

Sorry ... a little late posting. But it's the kidlet's spring break AND the week of her thirteenth birthday. I'm taking the week off everything that isn't mandatory in order to spend more time with her. Back on Monday!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Public Service Announcement: Beware the Spawn of Satan

What spawn of Satan you ask?


I know, I know ... the little blue toilet tablet cleaners LOOK innocent enough. I was lulled into a false sense of security when I bought mine a couple weeks ago.

Then it happened...

Three of our four toilets (yes, I really have that many -- bet YOU wish you got to scrub four toilets) started flushing weird. Slowly. Not clogged, exactly, but not always getting everything down and acting like they were sort of clogged.

At first we thought it might be our septic tank -- but why would ONE toilet still be working okay?

Today, I googled it to see if there was anything I could do. And I found this information:

1. If you use blue toilet cleaning tablets that create a blue coating on your toilet bowl, you may be unpleasantly surprised to find that these little guys are the cause of many toilet problems. When placed in your tank, they dissolve and settle on the bottom, changing the density of the water and preventing its normal flow. While it may seem impossible for such a small thing to create such a big problem, there is no end to the number of people who have found their toilet bowl cleaner to be the culprit! The way to fix this is to empty all the water out of your toilet's tank, using a sponge to soak up the remaining residue on the bottom. After this, let it fill back up and flush several times. This should get your toilet back to normal. Also, if your cleaning tablet attaches inside the bowl itself, chunks and large! particles of it may break off and clog inside the angled water inlet holes under the rim. The solution to this can be found in the next cause.

2. The toilet bowl is filled with water after flushing by means of small angled inlet holes under the rim. These holes commonly become clogged by the buildup of calcite and other mineral deposits over time. ... Fixing this problem is as simple as cleaning out the holes. Often, prodding them with something hard or sharp will do the trick. For more serious clogs, it might help to use white vinegar to dissolve the buildup.

And I started thinking about when our problems started ... a few days after I put those tablets in the tank.

So, this afternoon I put on my yellow latex gloves and, armed with a Brillo pad, white vinegar, a small mirror and an opened, heavy paperclip I attacked the potties. I turned off the water and emptied the tanks. I scrubbed all the yellow iron buildup and blue crap off the inside. The first three potties had no sign of the table left: the "public" potty, mine and DD's. But when I prodded the little holes under the rim of my toilet with my paperclip, it came back dark blue. And those holes didn't let any water out.

Yep. They were completely blocked by blue goo from the tablets.

I poked. I prodded. I flushed. I scrubbed. I COULD NOT GET THOSE HOLES UNPLUGGED.

I dumped a pile of vinegar and baking soda into the tank and moved on to the one toilet that was still functioning properly.

When I opened the tank, I discovered that most of the table was still in there. This is the potty least used by us, and clearly it was a blessing. I scooped out the blue goo (got it all over the freaking place) and scrubbed the tank. Flushed. Flushed. Flushed. Flushed ... until it ran clear and there was no more blue.

Went back and dumped vinegar and baking soda into the other two potties.

My hope is that if I keep treating them and poking with my paperclip and flushing, flushing, flushing (because, yeah, I love wasting water and power) they will clear out the blue goo that clogs them.

And I will never, never EVER use those blue toilet tablets again. You shouldn't either. You've been warned.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I Really Dug My Weekend!

Honestly, the weather was lovely, so I spent most of it on outdoor chores. Take a walk with me...

This is going to be our strawberry patch (this picture was taken on Saturday morning):

This one is as far as I managed to go before I ran out of steam (I don't use a tiller for many reasons too numerous to list -- plus I wanted some of the grass):

Here's what I wanted the grass for -- to plug some spots where the Japanese Beetle grubs attacked last year (we're investing in milky spore this year -- it's been ten years since we applied it last time, and it's clearly run its course):

I found a mama spider when I was digging ... I felt just awful messing with her "house". She's guarding her egg sac here. They actually carry the egg sac around with them and I didn't want her to get so freaked out that she left it behind, so we built her a little "house with rocks where she could hide while we finished. I think she appreciated it :-)

The daffodils around my well pump are blooming and look lovely:

But we're already having visitors (that's a deer print for you city folk):

I found these odd holes in some of the spots the grubs killed -- I think they're from the robins (who are eating the grubs -- GO ROBINS!):

We still have a LOT of work to do, but DD got her garden cleared:

And we'll get peas and spinach and chard seed planted this week.

All in all a pretty good weekend.

How was yours?