Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Babies in 2009

Well, friends, you didn't beat last year's record of 12 baby boys born, but you did keep busy. This year, our friends produced 10 bouncing babies—5 boys, 5 girls. Next year, there's already 5 pregnancies announced. The adults are starting to be outnumbered!!!

I present to you "the babes of oh nine." Don't you think the last one is just the cutest??
The next time you hear from me, it will be 2010 (WHAT????). J and I leave tomorrow morning for our yurt vacation. What's a yurt, you ask? You'll just have to stay tuned to find out!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The rest of our 1500-mile road trip in pictures

We're back in New Hampshire after a long 9 days and many miles in Jersey!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Blizzard of 2009

When people ask what I was doing during the blizzard of 2009 (Saturday, Dec. 19), I will have to say at a concert of course. I mean, when the state of NJ gets a whopping 2 feet of snow and high winds, why wouldn't I be out and about gallivanting?

So we put on our boots ... Thanks to theMakeupArtist for modeling her cool boots for the sake of the blog

and braved the snow ...

with 30 of J's friends from the Prep (and wives and siblings and uncles and cats and dogs) ...

and survived.
In all seriousness, J had pretty much the time of his life. Oh wait, he says that about every concert experience. But this band, From Good Homes, broke up in 1999 and this was their reunion show. J has seen probably about 150 of their shows from 1994 to 1999, so this should tell you how much he big puffy hearts them.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ho Ho Who?

December is a busy month for recreation. Tonight, J is judging houses for the Holiday Lights Contest and tomorrow, he is holding his Santa Calling program.

Santa Calling is a program Danville did and it was so great, J introduced it here. Parents fill out forms about their kids—ages, what they want (and are getting) for Christmas from Santa and any special messages. My job as Mrs. Claus is to call and confirm some things, such as the pronunciation of the kid’s name or if the kid really is getting a BMW 750Li Sedan from Santa or just the remote-controlled model.

Some pretty funny stuff comes out of Santa Calling.

The most humor usually comes from the “special messages” that parents request, like clean your room or do your homework. This year, a parent requested that Santa commend the 6-year-old child for being vegan because it’s a really good choice. A few years back in Danville, Santa, played by J, had to tell a child that daddy was looking down at him from heaven and was very proud of him. I never realized the connections Santa had …

But the best Santa Calling story happened in Danville when we were calling Shakaria. I confirmed the pronunciation (exactly how it’s spelled) and passed the phone to J.

“Is it snowing in Danville because it’s snowing up here in the North Pole,” J says, interjecting a hearty ho ho ho here and there. “And have you been a good little boy Shakaria?”

Then there was silence. And little Shak says with all the attitude in the world, “Santa, I’m a girl!”

“Of course you are,” J says, “ho ho ho, I knew that!” Shak quickly forgives Santa once he tells her he’ll be bringing her a book about baseball (SHE wanted that).

He gets off the phone and says, what gives Mrs. Claus??? We look at the form more closely and realize for sex, the parent filled in “B,” which I assumed was B for boy. Apparently, it was “B” for black?


Friday, December 11, 2009

Old McDonald had a ...

I almost forgot to tell you, Internets, about the special town meeting J’s town had on Saturday. No worries. It was not an attempt to vote out the recreation department. We save that for March, you know, when I start shaking in my Uggs*.

*Actually, I don't own Uggs. I owe the knockoff brand Ulu.

Anyways, this meeting was about a farm.

J did not attend. He was too busy making gingerbread houses with all the kiddies in town. But I did. Not because I love farms (but I do, I think), but because his town hired me to take the minutes of the meeting (again).

I’m blogging about this because, once again, I find J’s town kind of amazing and oh-so-desirable to live in (why don't we live there again? Oh, that's right, it costs more limbs than we are willing to sacrifice to live there).

The town was voting whether or not to contribute $360,000 to preserve a dairy farm in town. Not that the farm was going anywhere. But the owners wanted some help maintaining it. There are several farms in town in fact; three of them are dairy. The farms mean open space and no commercial development. J’s town is all mom-and-pop (okay, except for the Sunoco station). One quarter of the land is UNdeveloped. We call that gorgeous around these parts.

I’m really not sure what makes this farm so special that they get to be subsidized (remember, I do not do politics), but the town voted and long live the farm! There was a record turnout in voters and it was a landslide. Man these people love their open space and conservation. That’s NH for ya!

Fingers crossed that J’s budget gets the same kind of support come March. I mean, come on, he gave up his Saturday morning to build gingerbread houses with kids last Saturday and will be serving Breakfast with Santa this Saturday. And J big puffy hearts sleeping in, so it’s a sacrifice for him.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bye bye Marlboro

OMG. This piece of news floored me. I was convinced we might be getting around in Jetson-style vehicles before this happened.

Danville restaurants go smoke-free under new law

I grew up in a smoky home. In the days when the warnings on smoking were less OBVIOUS, ShortonCoffee would smoke in the car with us. My sister and I would sit in the backseat hanging our heads out the window like Golden Retrievers to get fresh air. I never realized just how much I hated the smell of smoke until I went away to college. I got a taste of the smoke-free world and never looked back. ShortonCoffee still smokes, but not inside the house. Though you just can’t get rid of that smell. When J and I open packages from my mom, we actually see a billow of smoke emerge from the box and feel our lungs blacken.

J and I moved to Virginia from Arizona, where there was a statewide ban on smoking. It was disappointing that Virginia allowed smoking, but we rationalized that it was the South, so they make take some time to catch up. Or they may never. Danville is to smoking like Bert is to Ernie.

So we survived our 3 years in smoky Virginia. My favorite experience was when I was coaching high school cross country and I was waiting on the bus for the kids. The bus driver and I got to chatting, then she proceeded to light up. I guess my face looked a little perplexed (appalled?) because she said, “oh, does it bother you if I smoke?” I strapped on my set of balls and said something along the lines of it being a very bad idea to smoke on the bus that the kids—the ones who were trying to live a healthy lifestyle and just ran 3 miles in a race—will be riding on shortly. She extinguished her cigarette (and glared at me the whole ride home). I’m sure those kids were used to the cigarette smoke, and may have even smoked themselves, but call me crazy, but that seemed so 1970s. For J, his favorite experience was going to his haircut lady. "Git o'er hare in this hare chair, sonny," she'd say in her raspy voice. Cut, cut, ash, cut, cut, ash. He came home with a few singed hairs. Fire hazard? Rude?

Upon moving to NH, another smoke-free state, we felt liberated. However, every time we go back to Danville, we have to bring our masks. We spend most of our time in restaurants during our Danville visits because we stay at our house, which is usually missing water or electricity. Plus, food is so darn cheap down there, even according to J’s standards.

So, five years later, they caught up. What’s next? Are they going to ban Moonshine? Biscuits? Sweet Tea?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

O Christmas Tree

When J and I moved to NH, we donated our fake tree—the one I bought when I was single in 2001—to his senior center. Because we were in NH and married, so we should get a real tree!

So that first year, we set out to go buy one, but ShortShorts stopped us. He said they cost too much! At that time, we didn't know he was the tree-cutting expert, but he offered to cut us one for FREE. You know how we like free. The tree ended up being a little bit Charlie Brownish—even our friends made fun of it—but it did just fine.
In 2008, I was down in the dumps and we were tight with money, so we settled for a Christmas branch. It was splendid.This year, we will be spending a great deal of time in our favorite state (cough, cough) of NJ, so we thought about not even bothering with a real tree. We could definitely find a branch again in the backyard ... But, we just couldn't resist. There's a cute Christmas Tree farm close to our house and we found our perfect tree for just $25. Well worth every penny.
How pretty after our first snowfall!

J & I still have debates about the ornaments. He is a little bit of a pack rat when it comes to the ornaments, especially since both his Mom and Dad gave him all of his ornaments from his youth and it seems he owns 100s. I guess I can't complain, my mom has yet to pass on my stash ...

So I present to you, our 2009 tree in all its glory.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tree hugger

I've often said that my office window faces the backyard. Well, I've had a hard time working this morning because freakin ShortShorts is up in this tree cutting branches. My palms are all sweaty and my heart is racing because I am so afraid for him. Here's a picture of the holy mother of a tree and he seriously climbed up to the tippy top. I took the picture when he was on a break because I didn't want to blind him with the flash and be responsible for his fall.
I guess the good news is that we will have a Christmas "branch" again this year to put our ornaments on.