Saturday, December 19, 2009

Where, oh, where......

have the tree decorating fairies gone? We still have a bare tree in the house! Will they be here in time for Christmas???!!! It's such a beautiful tree, actually, that it's a shame to cover it with glitz....Not!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The faster I go, the behinder I get.....

Wow! More than three months since the last post. Incredible. Blogging is hard work, I guess, and I haven't been up to the task. A lot has happened in that time. At the end of Sept. we lost my father-in-law. RIP, Ted. In October I went to Pittsburgh for a needlework seminar and to see three grad school classmates. A good break, a lot of fun, and great to reconnect with special friends. The guys are looking good! Then it was back to reality - working and trying to encourage the building of a new library. The Red Sox bowed out of the playoffs too easily. A new season for the Maineiacs came about - with a lot to forget in the first part of it. Good luck to the new coach and welcome back Jeff.
Bobby had kidney stones blasted and is now waiting for a second round to begin. We had a big crowd here for Thanksgiving - so much fun! I'm now a bit greener after getting a new Nissan Altima hybrid. (Can't wait until we can go all electric.) Charlie Weis has left Notre Dame and Brian Kelly himself is now ready to take over the reigns. Unfortunately the ND Women's Soccer team are not the national champs. Now we're on to Christmas - the tree is up but the tree decorating fairies haven't shown up yet. Bruins are doing me proud and the Pats are on shaky ground.
Yet, in all of this is a great deal of excitement. My cousin Bernie's son is a member of The Beezlebubs, a phenomenal a capella group from Tufts University. They're currently appearing on NBC's "Sing-Off." They've led the competition for three nights straight. Now it's time for everyone to pitch in and make them number one in the land. Check out the show and vote at Go Bubs!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I am ashamed, embarrassed, disgusted, furious, angry, enraged....

I am ashamed, embarrassed, disgusted, disgraced, furious, outraged and so much more with what has been going on in our country these last couple of weeks. I cannot believe that America has sunk so low. Shame on the politicians and shame on my fellow citizens. Shame on all of you - the media, too! Shame, shame, shame!!! (Can you tell that all that's been going on has hit a raw nerve!!??)

I cannot believe that having the President speak to school children to urge them on to do a good job has become such a political brouhaha. Our children need all the encouragement they can get. When I was a kid, it always seemed to be a dream of all of us that we could grow up to be President of the United States. My god, who would want that job now?

While listening to a local radio station this morning, a woman by the name of Catherine called into the show. She said that having kids listen to President Obama's speech was the equivalent of indoctrinating children into Hitler youth. She said that the documents (workbooks, lesson plants, etc.) to compliment the speech that had been prepared by the U.S. Dept. of Education were filled with Nazi-style propaganda. One of the show's hosts asked her if she had seen the materials and she said no, but that she knew what was in them! Excuse me? Excuse me!!?? You've got to be kidding, woman. Shame on you!

Then there was the man interviewed on the radio news this morning. He said that he didn't want his child listening to the speech because the President's urging to do well in school to keep our country strong would be too much pressure on the kid. Hello!!!?? Are you for real, Mister? Your kid's going to have to face a lot of pressure situations in his/her lifetime, so he/she might as well start preparing for the real thing now. Shame on you!

Where did all this ridiculousness come from? I blame the media for a lot of this. There is so much rancor among newsmen/women. Just look at the long running feud between Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly. Such nastiness. No one has any respect for anyone else. Shame on all of you!

What can be done about this? It's all left me feeling pretty helpless, but I'm thinking about things that we can do. I'm not going to give up on my country. Any suggestions???????? Let's get going before it's too late.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Maine-ly a Hidden Gem.....

One of the best things about living in Maine is that there is always some hidden gem that awaits discovery. This time it's something not all that far from our house and is a true example of Maine's beauty. It's the Massabesic Experimental Forest (, owned and operated by the Northern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service. It consists of 3600 acres in the towns of Alfred and Lyman. It is described as an "oak-pine forest interspersed with diverse wetlands associated with three rivers and numerous streams, ponds, and swamps."

I've driven by it many times with my husband on our way to Sanford. It's a regular stop for him on his way home from work for an evening swim in Estes Lake, which is on the edge of the forest. Until last night though, I'd never hiked it. It is just as the website describes it. There are markers along the path identifying the types of trees and things of note, such as a small quarry. It's a very easy hike in to the lake and all the way in you can't help but think of it as a sylvan cathedral.

It was certainly a perfect night for a walk and a swim - not too warm and just perfectly lit as it was just before sunset. I passed on the swim, but enjoyed sitting on the rocks at the water's edge. The lake was a bit busy with jet skis (ugh) but not enough to really distract from the overall beauty of the area. We stayed just long enough for Bobby to have a quick swim. It was a bit dark on the way out of the forest ("lions and tigers and bear, oh my!" dark) but the trail is well-marked and easy to walk.

I think that there is a picnic there in the near future and a lot more in terms of hiking.....Oh, I love being a Maineiac!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

You can get there from here....

I went to type something into the computer and hit the wrong key, landing on a Google map of "Lake Mashu." Where in the world, Carmen Sandiego, is Lake Mashu? It looked like Japan, so I thought I'd see just how far away it is. I put my home address in Google Maps and I was told that it takes between 37 days and 5 hours and 37 days and 15 hours to get there from here. How can that be? Wouldn't it just be a day's plane ride?

Well, you start out from my house and go across country by car staying mostly on I-90. When you get to the Washington coast you hop in a KAYAK and go to Hawaii (2756 miles)! After many twists and turns through the Hawaiian islands, you hop back on your KAYAK and head to Japan (3879 miles)! Of course, I'd do fine in finding the place until I had to turn left toward 県道344号線. It does take a bit longer if I go the northern route through Canada.

Wow, I think if I did all that paddling that would certainly have me in great shape and lick my cholesterol problem. Of course, if I didn't want to do all that paddling, I could walk. Google tells me that it would take me 140 days and 15 hours if I walked. However, they do caution me that the route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths.

You've got to admit that the direction makers at Google maps certainly have a good sense of humor!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Where were you....

Where were you 40 years ago tonight? Were you as glued to your tv screen as I was, watching the most phenomenal event of a lifetime - man walking on the moon? Lots of good memories have resurfaced with respect to this anniversary.

When I was really young, I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer. Then I discovered that math and I did not get along. Science was not a close friend, either. During the winter we used to dig caves in the snow and use them as space capsules, even finding an old chair that we could recline in just like the real astronauts.

So, 40 years ago tonight I was with family and friends on Orrs Island, celebrating our country's great achievement. We had had a great cookout and we all waited anxiously for the big moment - switching between Cronkite and Huntley/Brinkley. (It all depended upon which station was coming in best at the time. No cable? That was still several years away for the Island.) I can remember being very emotional (okay, I cried!). What a great night all around.

Today I was looking over a new book about exploring the moon, "Moon Missions" by Rob Pyle. It's great. It covers not only U.S. of A.'s explorations, but it does a good job of detailing our race with the USSR. Very interesting, indeed. The book has a lot of extras in it, like maps and NASA press releases, which makes it fun, but a bit of a nightmare for a librarian to catalog and process. Anyway..... I came across a telegram the VP Humphrey sent to Mission Control Director Chris Craft. Hmm, I think today it would probably be either an IM or a Tweet. I wonder which?

Great job NASA and USA. Happy anniversary. I raise my glass of Tang in your honor.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Have a heart, please......

My faith in mankind was sorely tested today. On my way to Harpswell, a girl in an Suburban had broken down at a very busy intersection in Brunswick. Of course, traffic had snarled. I felt so bad when I finally managed to get by as the girl just leaned on the hood of her car while talking on her cell phone. You could easily see how stressed out she was. So, I stopped to see if I could help. She said that she had been there awhile. I really couldn't believe that no one had offered to help in any way, especially since she could have easily been pushed over to the side of the road to free up the intersection.

She said her husband or boyfriend thought it might be her alternator. She said the car had just stopped cold and she couldn't get anything started. The only way I could help was to start directing traffic. First a fire truck drove by returning to the station. Then an ambulance went by. I didn't expect them to stop and help, but they could have called for help. Instead, people just gave us dirty looks and one guy hollered something about why didn't she put her flashers on. Excuse me? Um, her car had completely broken down. I really doubt that she chose to break down at all, let alone in the middle of the intersection. Someone she knew did happen to drive by and tried jumping the car. It seemed to help. Of course, that's when the police finally showed up. So, I just left. Hope the rest of her day went better.

I'm not even going to start on the rude tourists from Connecticut.....

Sunday, July 5, 2009

"Book-ing" a show....

A couple of months back I saw that a local theater group was putting on a production of Thorton Wilder's "Our Town." Since I'm primarily responsible for selecting the books for our library's discussion group, I thought it would be fun to see the play, read it, and then discuss it. It turned out to be a good choice. On Thursday night, several from the group went to see the Hackmatack Playhouse's presentation. It was excellent. It's a very intimate theater as it is in an old barn. And, despite the rainy cold weather, it was really quite pleasant in there.

I read about half the play and it is much as I remembered it from high school. It was our senior class production and I was the lady in the balcony asking about drinking in Grover's Corners. Back then, the most important thing was being a part of the cast and having a good time. Seeing it as an adult gave me a better appreciation for it. There were parts that really touched me and made me think about our current times. It is such good literature and really timeless. Let's hope our discussion Wednesday night proves me right.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Golden Oldies.....

Driving home from work late Monday night, I was surfing the XM stations and came across Gordon Lightfoot's "Sundown." I listened, not paying any attention to what channel it was on. When the song was done, the one that followed was an instrumental a la elevator music. I checked the channel and it was "Escape" which is the XM version of elevator music. Gordon Lightfoot in the elevator??? I guess I'm getting old to see that come about.........

Sunday, June 28, 2009


There are weeks when I just sail through the Sunday puzzles - not so today. I really struggled with the NYT puzzle from last week (we're a week behind here in Maine). It featured the last words of many celebs and historical figures (Pancho Villa said, "Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something."). Grrrr. The Boston Globe puzzle didn't come to me any easier, either. The theme for that one was "Double Portions." For example, malnourished became "mallnourished" (fed at the food court). Not that that one was all that hard, but "millicurries" did me in (tiny Thai portions). Maybe the problem was that it's another dreary rainy day. My mind is beginning to suffer from serious mildew and rot. Rain, it seems, is all we've had all month. I'm sure when this month is done, it'll go into the record books as one one the lousiest Junes on record. (Yesterday was a great day - thank goodness since it was South Berwick's Strawberry Festival and my great niece's graduation party! But, it rained in the morning and again at night!)

By the way, we now only get The Globe on Sunday. When they ran into financial trouble they upped our weekly rate from $9 to $15.75. I was stunned. So, a quick call to cancel was made. While I miss the sports section, the puzzles, the comics, book reviews, and much more, it simply isn't worth that kind of a jump. I wonder how many other people said enough is enough.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A reading life.....

So many books, so little time. What to do???!!! Just keep at it, I guess. I am such a slow reader that it's very frustrating to see my list of "to be read" grow exponentially.

This weekend I've finished Julie and Julia by Julie Powell which is about the year that she spent cooking her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I read this because I'm excited about the movie coming out in August that stars Meryl Streep as Julia Child. Having read the book, I think this is going to be one of those rare cases where the movie will be better than the book.

Then there's The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I've waited nearly a year for the English version of this book to come out. I tried to wade through the Spanish version, but it was a bit much for my rusty Spanish. However, I am proud to say that what I did read corresponds well with the translation. Also, I have to say that the original Spanish editon flows a lot better than the English translation. The translator opted for shorter sentences which seems to take away from the book. It's a great read just the same. This is a "prequel" to Ruiz Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind, a book that totally captured my fancy. It was a wonderful read - full of imagination, suspensful, well-plotted, historic, and romantic. It had a superb tonal quality to it as well. Angel's Game is well on its way to matching that experience.

I've also made some progress this weekend with Prep, Human Smoke and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. A few pages at a time will eventually get me somewhere....... Okay, back to the books........

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Once again......

When it comes to Red Sox-Yankees games, I hope I get to post this image a lot this summer. Eight in a row now!

Monday, May 25, 2009

First Place!!!

Yeah! The Red Sox are in first place - two days in a row. Keep up the good work!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Boston is......

...the best sports town tonight. Very important wins for the Bruins, Sox, and Celtics. The Bruins game was simply great and it got over in time to watch Papelbon put the exclamation point on the win against the Rays. Way to go, guys!

Cap this off with some good reading and a great PathWords score (1390!) and it's a great way to end a busy weekend.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Once again......

Red Sox vs. Yankees -- need I say more........

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

This is how history should be taught....

I've been reading Nicholson Baker's Human Smoke, an insightful chronicle of events leading up to WWII (a Kindle book). This is how history should be taught. In school, you study American history and World history and very rarely do they mesh. In reading Human Smoke one gets a true sense of how the world fit together at that time and how what happens in one arena influences another. Maybe this is the luxury of reading as a grown up, but one has to wonder how the world would be if we studied on a more global basis throughout school.

In thinking about WWII, it always puzzles me how we, as human beings, could let things get so out of control. How could humans do such horrible things to one another? How can we let things like this continue today in places like Darfur? It is a mystery of the world that I'm sure will never be answered.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Springtime in Maine....

Went down to the vernal pools tonight to check on the future frogs' progress. Despite some rain today, the pools are drying up and it was hard to see anything. And, we couldn't stand around waiting to see if we could find some. It's Spring in Maine, so that means blackflies!!!! Ouch, ouch, and ouch! Man, are they bothers. In just a few seconds there were clouds of them around us. One flew into my eye, and as I said "ow" one flew into my mouth. Blech!!! I couldn't get back into the house fast enough. Now I'm itching around my ears and an eye. And people wonder why I hibernate during Spring and Summer!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Having the power.....

Earlier this week the title and publication date of Dan Brown's (The Da Vinci Code) new book were announced. The book, The Lost Symbol, is due out September 15th. His past successes and the current marketing program have created an incredible amount of interest in this book. So much so that it is already showing up on best seller's list. It's number 3 on Amazon's list, just from pre-orders. Amazing. There have also been articles in local newspapers about the author renting out a local auditorium for some "secret" purpose. Hmmmmmmm......

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Global warming right in our own back yard...

Whew! It is hot! The temps were in the high 90's today here in Southern Maine. For someone who doesn't like the heat to begin and is fighting a cold, this was not a day to write home about. This is the hottest it's ever been in April. Fortunately it's only going to last for the day. But, is this a taste of things to come this summer.......................

Monday, April 27, 2009

A code in by doze........

Uh, oh. My annual spring cold has arrived...It's making its presence known in my nose, ears, and throat. Am playing it safe and staying home from work. Don't want to inflict this on anyone else. Ugh. So, here I sit with a cup of tea, a big box of tissues, aspirin, and Zycam. Hopefully, I started the Zycam early enough. It usually does work well for me. Aaaahhhhhh choooooooo!!!!!!

Red Sox and Yankees

Need I say more....................

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Evil Empire Falls Again!

Make that two big comebacks in a row. Way to go, Red Sox. The season may have gotten off to a bad start, but you've made up for it now. Keep up the good work!

The games have been amazing. Extra innings last night and a huge slug fest today. Today's game was an appropriate one to close out Boston Marathon Week. This game was took so long that the first round of the NFL draft was over long before this game.

They're here!

What a difference a week makes. Last night we went looking for eggs again. No luck....because they've already hatched! Those little tadpoles were darting all over the place. I think we just missed the eggs last week because the pools were nearly dry and what we thought was moss were actually the eggs. Good to see all the little guys back. Our resident ducks are back now, too.

We just waiting on the turtle that makes her way through the yard each year. We've made a change in the backyard within the past year, so we're not sure she'll be able to make it up to the house. She should be here within the next month or so.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A good Spring walk, but.......

For the last two nights my husband and I have canvassed the neighborhood vernal pools looking for signs of new life. Unfortunately we haven't found any. Our own vernal pools are just about dried up. We hear the peepers down in the back, but there's no signs of eggs. We went to several other pools and ponds around here but had no luck. Are we too early? It has been fairly cool this Spring, so things may be delayed. We'll keep looking. We've got a lot of area to explore. I hope there's some rain on the way to refresh our own pools.

Friday, April 17, 2009

It's a long season.....

It's a long hockey season but I'm loving it. The playoffs are off to a good start with a classic Boston Bruins/Montreal Canadiens game. Ya gotta love it. I love both teams, so I can't lose in this series!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The end is even closer..........

This is a bizarre story that I've been telling all week.... On Monday I came into work and found a fax asking the former director to call the sewer district office. I thought maybe there had been a mix-up with payments or something. When I called and spoke with the person who sent the fax, she told me that she had been told by FairPoint (the phone company for this area now - no more Verizon) to call us. It took a few minutes to register, but this is what happened.

The sewer district has been having a number of problems with their phone bills - getting bills weekly, payments misapplied, etc. The office manager called FairPoint to try and straighten out the bills. After being on hold for a half hour, the manager was told to get in touch with their account representative. FairPoint then gave them the former library's director name and the library's number to call. Huh???!!! I know that libraries are the best sources for information, but I didn't know that we could also fix phone bills. Absolutely incredible!

When I put the story out on a librarians' listserv, I heard back from another library whose phone number had been listed in the most recent FairPoint directory as the for all of their town departments. And, oh yes, they neglected to list the library at all.

On Tuesday, we got a call from a FairPoint field technician looking for the hours for the North Gorham library. Another big, "huh????!!!!" As I've said before, you just can't make this stuff up. No wonder the Public Utility Commission has called the company on the carpet.

I just can't get my mind around all of this!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The End Is Near.........

Here's another sign that the apocalypse is near - In the Sunday paper there was a coupon for Cesar dog food's new product - breakfast food! Oh, excuse me - "Canine Cuisine!" Are you kidding me???!!! Yes, now your dog can nosh on "Grilled Steak & Eggs Flavor in Meaty Juices," "Chicken & Cheddar Cheese Souffle in Meaty Juices," or "With Smoked Bacon & Egg in Meaty Juices." Oh my, how fancy, and...... absolutely RIDICULOUS! As if a dog has a discriminating palate! The last I knew, dogs will eat just about anything, anywhere. Will the dog who eats dog bone crumbs off the dirty garage floor really be able to differentiate (or actually really care!) about what is fed to him in the morning. I think not! Hmmm, the next thing you know, they'll be demanding Sunday brunch!

Monday, March 30, 2009

And then there were......

Well, that's hard to say. I've still got a couple of hockey teams to follow, but the Maineiacs and the Fighting Irish are done. The Maineiacs were swept in their playoff series, but they did announce that they're coming back. Forgive and forget??? Well, probably. The Irish got knocked out of the NCAA's in the first round, a disappointment, but they had such an excellent season, that it's hard to be too disappointed. There are still the Bruins, Pirates, and the Steel to root for.

March Madness continues its March. The Fighting Irish women were done early on as were the Lady Vols. Sigh. The Fighting Irish men are still alive in the NIT ("Not Invited Tournament"), so that's a bright spot. The NCAA's have been pretty exciting. I've been rooting for the Big East and they have two teams in the Final Four. It would be great if it ended with 'Nova and UConn facing each other in the finals.

At the end of hockey and college basketball seasons, I'll be going into hibernation. Oh, I'll watch baseball, but much of the summer it's just too darn hot to care. Bring on the Fall weather with football, basketball, and hockey anew. Yeah!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Madness continues....

Wow, another day of great games. First and foremost, Notre Dame's hockey team has won both the regular season and tournament in the CCHA. They beat Michigan 5-2, scoring 5 consecutive times. Way to go, boys! Now it's off to the NCAA's. Go Irish!

As happened yesterday, the NCAA saved the most dramatic "Big Dance" games for last. The 'Zags and Duke win in fine fashion. At least the games didn't go past midnight tonight. After watching yesterday's games, I was still wide awake at 2 AM.

There is one down note to report. The Lewiston Maineiacs lost their second straight playoff game to Drummondville. Tonight's score -- 10 to 1. That means that the Maineiacs have been outscored 22 to 3 in two games. Wow, that has to be some sort of a playoff record for Junior hockey or at least the Q. That doesn't bode well for Tuesday and Wednesday. There won't be much of a crowd at the games, especially since a lot of people are still miffed at Lewiston's management. They'll have some pretty big fences to mend if they intend to come back to Lewiston next year.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Economics - Let's get real!

This morning I was listening to a radio broadcast of the Today Show. They did a feature about Countrywide Mortgage and mortgage fraud. They made an example of a woman who purchased a $200K plus condo. Someone falsified her mortgage application so that she would qualifiy for a 100% mortgage. What is so stunning about this is not just the fraud but that the woman entered into a mortgage that had a payment of more than her monthly income! Hello! Reality check here!!!!!

Regarding the AIG bonus debacle..... Okay, so they say they need to pay these bonuses to keep people on board to take advantage of their expertise and experience. Hmmmmm. Let's think about this.... You need to keep a staff that was so boneheaded that they got you into this mess in the first place? That's almost as dumb as paying those bonuses. It seems to me that there have been enough job losses in the financial sector that there should be a large enough pool to fill vacancies. I'm sure that those who have been laid off would be willing to jump in feet first to do their best and be up to speed in a very short time.

Regarding Bernie Madoff.... Did anyone really think the appeals court would let Mr. Made-off get out of jail. Puh-leese! The more I read about this case, the more unbelievable it is. There is no way that this man single-handedly engineered this fraud. This investigation should keep government officials busy for some time to come.

It just doesn't get any better than this................

What a start to the weekend! Yesterday, some really great NCAA March Madness games, although there weren't any real upsets. I did get to peek at the games a few times at work. Economists have estimated that time lost at work for "working" on brackets and watching games cost American businesses $4 billion dollars. Gee, what could Bernie Madoff have done with that kind of money?????

A couple of good games this afternoon, but they couldn't compete with a two-hour nap. (It was a long and busy week at work!) Now I'm waiting for the night games while listening to the semi-finals of the CCHA tourney - ND vs. No. Michigan. Go Irish! Later tonight the Lewiston Maineiacs start their QMJHL playoff series against Drummondville. Better keep the laptop charged up! More hockey and b-ball tomorrow. On Sunday the ND women begin their March Madness dance. The ND men are still alive in the NIT (Not Invited Tournament), but not impressing anyone.

Welcome Spring!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

March Madness Tune-up

While I really am not the kind of person who looks forward to Spring (mud and dirty dogs - Ugh!) or Summer (too hot!), I have to admit that I really look forward to March and its accompanying Spring madness! I love college basketball (especially Notre Dame)! Today's tune-up for the Big Dance has been a doozy. Right now Louisville and West Virginia are battling it out. What a great game the Kansas/Texas one was. And there was Pitt/UConn and Florida/Kentucky. All great fun to watch. There are already four teams making travel arrangements for the tourney. I'm ready.

Is there a better conference than the Big East? I certainly wouldn't want to be a bookie taking bets on those games. Upset after upset this year. Seems like every weekend there's a chance to go from first to worst and vice versa. That may be a bit of an overstatement, but it certainly has that feel.

My dancing shoes are ready. Are yours?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

An extraordinary read...

I just finished reading "Lying Awake" by Mark Salzman (Vintage, 2001; Kindle version). It is the story of a cloistered nun who thinks that she is having visions of God, but in reality she has brain-tumor induced epilepsy. Questioning her faith and dedication to her community over the years, she felt that she had found the answer, only to learn that the ecstasies have more to do with the physical rather than the metaphysical. It is not the well-written examination of the human condition that makes this book extraordinary, but the fact that it was written by a man who considers himself an agnostic. His insight and understanding of the situation and his ability to convey the story in a such a minimalist way are brilliant. Highly - very highly - recommended.

I read this for our "Let's Talk About It" book group that our library is hosting along with another library through the sponsorship of the Maine Humanities Council. The theme is "Making a Difference: How Love and Duty Change Our Lives." This is the third book in the series. We've met to discuss Tracy Kidder's book about Paul Farmer, "Mountains Beyond Mountains." Next month is "Plainsong" by Kent Haruf. This will be followed by "Lying Awake," Ann Patchett's "Truth & Beauty," and "The Death of Vishnu" by Manil Suri. This is a very successful program.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Getting there.....

It all started with looking for a knitting pattern, which I still can't find! Grrrrr! Anyway, I started going through all of my stash of patterns, projects, and magazines. I'm organizing!!! I'm catching up!!! There is stuff all over the floor in my "craft room/office,"but it's a bit more in order. What to do with all this stuff? Get rid of it?? Mmmm, maybe. Actually I'm quite proud of myself because I am casting a critical eye toward what I should keep and what I should get rid of. Last week - embroidery hoops, kits, and patterns that made me say, "What the hell were you thinking!!!" A whole shopping bag full! Today, some magazines and another kit or two that I know I'll never get to. Good girl! Just another ton or two to go through. But, going through everything is half the fun!

Friday, February 13, 2009


Finally the Notre Dame men's basketball team is back on the winning track. They absolutely destroyed #7 Louisville tonight at home. Way to go Irish! Let's hope you've got the bugs worked out.
Even better today was an announcement that the hockey team is going to have a new home. The University announced today that it will build the Lefty Smith Arena. That's great economic stimulus news! That's simply great news for an old "Irish Icer" like me...yep, I still have my pin from my undergrad/grad days at SMC/ND. Go Irish! A fitting tibute to the coach that put ND hockey on the map and a great opportunity for the coach that's keeping us at the top.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Money money money money, money ....

We all know things are not good in the economy right now - (is that an understatement, right!?!?) and that President O'Bama is working hard to get stimulus legislation signed, but I do have some nagging questions about the whole process....

We're trying to get the banks to lend more money so that people will spend more. Well, isn't spending, based on easy access to credit, what got us in trouble in the first place? Hmmmmmm. How about something to encourage savings and then there'd be a much bigger pool of private money for the banks to lend. Let's try to find a balance we between the two....

Well, since I've found that I can no longer type, I think it's time for bed......Better luck next time, my dear righthand......

Say it ain't so, Joe.....

Uh, oh.... All this talk about bankruptcy for Sirius XM Radio has me very worried. I've been an XM subscriber since the early days of satellite radio and I've loved every minute of it. I listen in my car and at home, having had as many as four subscriptions at one time. Where else can you get a better combination of music, sports, news, and entertainment? It's all been quality plus!

For example this morning on my way to work this noon time, I flipped back and forth between Home Ice, ESPN, CNBC and a host of music stations. You know what??? I don't have to listen to bathroom humor when I'm tuned into a music station because the DJ's are few and far between. It's sweet. Yesterday morning I got to listen to "Hockey This Morning" and hear David Branch, head of the CHL, talk about the situation with my beloved Lewiston Maineiacs. Not that he really gave any answers to what their future holds for them, but it's good to keep the issue on the front burner!

These "dire straits" have me singing, "I want my Sirius XM."

Dog gone it!

Well, this cat person's once-a-year interest in dogs has come and gone. The Westminster Dog Show concluded last night with "Stump" - a Sussex Spaniel taking home the top honors. Has a name ever been more fitting for a dog????
I heard something about PETA protesting outside the show. Maybe they were protesting against those absolutely idiotic haircuts that they give Poodles. If not, they should have been. Those grooming styles are a huge turn-off, but yet they keep winning their group and have won "Best In Show" at least 8 times. Don't get me wrong, I love Poodles, having had one myself for about 17 years. They're wonderful dogs, but the dog show people have got to get rid of those "poodle cuts."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl Report Card - Second Half

Play - A+ What a finish! I was on the edge of my seat. (At least this time I wasn't having a heart attack like I did last year when the Giants beat the Patriots.) I think I was rooting for Arizona, but always happy to see the Steelers win. Good job in snagging #6! Uh, oh. Broadway Joe is presenting the trophy. Wonder who he's going to try and kiss this time?!?!
Commercials - F- They were horrible, absolutely horrible. I guess they were a reflection of the rotten times we're going through.

Super Bowl Report Card - Halftime

A+ The Boss rules!

Super Bowl Report Card - First Half

Here's my take on the first half of "The Big Game" -
The play - C+
The commercials - F-
This is so boring and the commercials are just dumb, plain ol' dumb. The Bud "drinkability" commercials are grating on my nerves. The only one that really caught my attention so far is the Cheetos one with the annoying cell phoner at the outdoor cafe. The Audi commercial that was one of the first was just dorky. Glad I didn't bother with the 3-d glasses.
Time to watch Bruce!

Reality is sinking in...

The rumors have been going around for weeks and last night it was confirmed. My beloved Maineiacs are leaving Lewiston to go back to Canada - more likely than not to Boisbriand. I will miss the games so very much. I have a lot to carp about regarding the move, but to me the ultimate slap in the face came with the timing of the filing of their application to make the move - just as the game started last night. I think that was definitely a cheap shot.

Fortunately there are a lot of hockey options for me. I can go to see the Portland Pirates or the UNH Wildcats. Also, there's some really good hockey even closer - the Portland Jr. Pirates in Saco. My great nephew, Connor, is playing for them. Saw the game this afternoon and it was a good one. Fast skating and some pretty good skill play - even a fair amount of chippiness. The PJP beat Walpole 3-2 with Connor scoring the winning goal. Had fun, too, with lots of family there.

Got home in time to see the finish of the Bruins game. Good thing I only saw the last period. Montreal's throwback prision uniforms were really hard to watch on TV. The stripes drove me crazy. I know it did the players, too. What were they thinking of back then??!! (i.e. 1912-1913)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hockey heartbreak

Well, the rumors and the reports that the Lewiston Maineiacs will be moving back to Canada are overwhelming. What a huge, huge, huge disappointment. I've enjoyed going to the games for six seasons now - 5 as a season ticket holder. The level of play, the atmosphere (up until this year), the friends I've made, seeing family, keeping a connection to my hometown, and so much more, have made a difference in my life. I drive an hour to each game - the time, effort, and cost have been worth it. There's going to be a big hole in my heart to fill, but I will find a way. It looks like the AHL's Portland Pirates will be my next destination. However, the bigger arena (won't be able to top the current seats I have at The Colisee - front row and just to the left of the home goal) and the lack of the hometown connection will be difficult to overcome.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

If this is Sunday... must be snowing. For the second Sunday in a row we've had a significant snowfall. This time it's closer to 15". Bobby has plowed us out, along with his parents and a friend. He's really good at it. And, as long as he has Winston (the young English Setter) with him, he's pretty happy.

Today was a good day to stay in and curl up with a good book, which is exactly what I did, along with starting a new pair of mittens. They're Lovikka mittens - knit with a bulky yarn and fulled. They remind me of lobsterman's mittens, which are known for their warmth and tendancy to keep you hands dry. These mittens are knitting up fast, so I'm hoping to have them done relatively soon. Of course, that means a year or two for me.

By the way, the books on tap today were "The Rector's Daughter" by F.M. Mayor and "Burning Bright" by Tracy Chevalier. Mayor's book (3 stars) was finished and Chevalier's book has just about 100 pages left. Mayor's book was quite interesting - more of a commentary on the transition from the 19th century to the 20th than a love story. Chevalier's book, while far from her best ("Girl with a Pearl Earring" book and movie!), is still a good read.

Touchdown Pittsburgh! 13-0 now. I've always liked the Steelers. They're a class team. It could be an interesting Super Bowl, even without the Patriots. However, no matter who represents the AFC, I'll be rooting for the NFC, since legend has it that if the NFC team wins the stock market will end the year on a positive note. We sure could use that!

Good news. The Lewiston Maineiacs have won two games in a row, two road games to boot. It's amazing what a new coach will do for a team. The change was much needed. Good luck, Coach McAdam. I'm behind you 100%. Am looking forward to your home debut Tuesday night. I hope the fans will turn out for the game. QMJHL play is such good hockey - great skating, great kids, great fans, and a lot of fun. I'm very happy to be able to support my home town's hockey efforts! Go Maineiacs!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

'ockey, 'ockey, 'ockey

"The donnybrook is on!" So says the Versus announcer as the Bruins and the Canadiens go at it. Tim Thomas just really put it to one of the Canadiens. Mon dieu! A penalty worthy check!

I love sports, but hockey is probably the favorite. Hockey players are the consummate athletes. Many times I've made the point that hockey players have to have the stamina of basketball and soccer players who zoom up and down the court/field. They need the agility of gymnasts - after all, they keep themselves upright on two very small beams (and on a slippery surface none-the-less!). They have to have the brawn and endurance of football players - all that tackling into the boards. A hockey player has to have excellent hand/eye coordination like baseball players and golfers- did you see John Tavares' goal at the World Juniors?! Oh, and of course, you can't forget the need of excellent pugilistic skills.

The B's just scored for the second time on the Canadiens. This is always a difficult rivalry for me because when these two teams aren't going at it, I'm rooting from both of them. The first cable sports I watched were "Hockey Night in Canada" (which used to have the best sports theme in the universe) and Boston Bruin hockey. The Canadiens now have Jaroslav Halak, who used to play for the Lewiston Maineiacs. Then there's the great Boston Bruin tradition. So, I guess I can look at this game and be happy whichever way it turns out!

My home hockey team, the Lewiston Maineiacs (QMJHL) have themselves a new coach. Let's hope this rallies the team. It's fun hockey and great entertainment. I really enjoy the games. It's worth the drive to visit with family and friends (new and old) and see some really good hockey - well, maybe not the best hockey of late, but... Go Maineiacs!

Hopefully some day I'll be seeing a couple of my great nephews at the pro level. They're paying their dues right now and things are falling into place for them. I one proud great aunt. Oh, and did I mention that I have 12 reasons to be a proud great aunt..........

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Snowy Sunday Musings

I woke up at 4 AM this morning to the sounds of a stuck snowplow. Oops! It sounded like we were in the midst of a raging snowstorm. Just another six inches. It was a beautiful snow - light and fluffy, just right for shoveling. Although the wind kept sweeping the snow back on the the paths I just finished, it was a great morning to be outside. I really enjoy this kind of weather. Winter is when I feel most alive.

When the shoveling was finished, the hard work was rewarded with the Sunday crosswords for the late morning. Then came an afternoon of reading, football, and some Bejeweled. What a great day.

I was happy to see Pittsburgh win and sorry to see the Giants lose. What a terrible game for Eli and his team. I guess I'll be rooting for the Steelers to go all the way. I don't dare check my fantasy results. Last week I was in last place in my buddy group and in about 21,000 place overall. Not a good year.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I never would have thought...

that I would miss a national championship football game, but that's just what happened tonight. Too many bowl games, too long a bowl season. The Bruins hockey game was much more interesting to me, along with the local news and a few online games. I think it's time for a playoff if they're going to prolong the season like this. Once January 1st rolled around, I was ready for college basketball. What a week it was, too. Ten major upsets over the weekend, including ND losing, but coming back to beat Georgetown. And, what about BC - the last couple of days have been up-side-down days for them.

Am very glad that the Maineiacs got themselves a win Tuesday night. They nearly blew it, but it turned out okay in the end. The new goalie made a couple of great kick saves that would have been on ESPN if they had the footage. Keep up the good work. Let's turn the season around.

Yesterday I finished a fabulous literary classic - Eudora Welty's The Optimist's Daughter. It was an audio treat as the edition I had was read by the author. I felt like Ms. Welty was sitting next to me in the car telling me, as the doyenne of Mount Salus, all that happened with the McKelva funeral and the fallout from it. What a writer. What a storyteller. I will definitely recommend this to our library's book group after we finish our upcoming "Let's Talk About It" series.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Fantasy or Nightmare??!!

It's that time of year again. Having had a disasterous regular fantasy football season, I've committed to taking the playoff challenge. Am not too sure about the picks, but they could be interesting. Maybe this time I won't end up last. Sigh.

Overall, I haven't been too impressed with the bowl games this year. Of course, the best one was the ND/Hawaii game. Very impressed with what the Irish did. Let's hope they can carry the momentum from that game into next year's regular season. Could we go from number "un" to number 1???......

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all. What a great way to start the year - celebrating with family and friends and hockey - a great game in Chicago. Fingers are crossed that the NHL Winter Classic will continue and make a visit to Fenway Park. This would be an event that I would wait out in the cold to get tickets!!!

Resolutions??!! Let's not go there. Maybe the one that I will actually share and work on is .... Nah!
A good year to all!