Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Last Day of Vacation

The weekend doesn't count officially as vacation.  I'm glad I have it, but reality is setting in, and it's time to finish any chores that haven't been done yet.

Yesterday was a snow day --- and it would have been one if we'd had school.  We had a mostly snow event, but there was also some freezing rain.  We got somewhere around 8 inches of frozen white stuff, and the roads were not good.  We don't venture out on days like that.

One chore we finished was compiling tax information for the accountant.  In the process we discovered that a small investment had been "sent to the state" as abandoned property because our statements had been returned as undeliverable.  Since we've lived at this address for almost 30 years that seemed odd to us.  Plus we received tax info from the company last year. We discovered this when I couldn't find the 1099 for 2010 so we called the company to get our tax info.  Apparently they turned it over to our state back in September, when they said the statements had been returned.  This makes no sense to us, and my husband spent almost an hour on the phone tracking down information, and then I spent some time on the phone with the abandoned property division of our state to find out how to get our money back.  It's not a  huge amount of money, but it really drove home the point to make sure that you check on everything at least once a year.  I'm not sure how I missed the fact that we weren't getting the statements, but I guess the fact that we were getting 1099's lulled me into a false sense of security.

I did a little bit of genealogical research but found more questions than answers.  One of my criticisms of is that fact that there's a huge amount of misinformation on it.  People find their name and assume that it's their ancestor without verifying facts.  Not everybody with the same last name or even the same first and last name is your relative.  On my mother's side, I'm well-documented  on one branch back to colonial Connecticut.  I'm trying to document some family lore about other important colonial connections, but have lost the thread.  On my  father's side, I'm stymied by the fact that he was born in Cuba in 1924, and his parents died there during the 1930's.  There is family in Asturias Spain, and in Brazil, but I don't have all the names and dates I need, and I don't speak/read Spanish well enough to be sure that I'm understanding what I read.  And I don't understand the Asturian dialect, nor do I understand Portuguese.  My husband's family is from Russia and the Austrian-Hungarian empire, and they were Jewish, so many of those records are just lost.    It's an intriguing, fascinating, and frustrating search!  It's certainly not the straight-forward "journey" that the current TV genealogy show portrays.  I'd love to have the help of some of the professional genealogists they use though!
I spent a good part of the day reading this book:

Bury Your Dead (Armand Gamache, #6)Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the best Inspector Gamache book in the series so far!  I stayed up until 1 am last night to finish it.  That hasn't happened in a long time.

Penny masterfully weaves three stories into one.  Gamache is in Quebec City recuperating mentally and physically from a tragic terrorist plot in which four of his agents were killed, and he and Jean-Guy Beauvoir were critically injured.  He's staying with his friend and mentor Emile Comeau when a well-known Quebecois citizen is found murdered in the basement of the Literary and History Library. Gamache acts as a consultant to the local police as this murder is investigated.  Anglo and Quebecois political and cultural rivalries are brought to the forefront and questions about Samuel de Champlain's burial site are raised.   The story of the terrorist plot is played out in Gamache's flashbacks, and by Beauvoir's narrative in Three Pines where he's been sent to unofficially reopen the case against Olivier who's been convicted of the Hermit's murder.  As both Gamache and Beauvoir come to terms with the tragedy they've both survived, new facts emerge in both cases, and new dimensions of both characters are revealed.

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This was a terrific read.  My only disappointment is that I am now caught up with this author's series.  I can't wait for the next one, and yet wonder how else can the series be extended.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Another Vacation Day

I can't believe how quickly this week is passing!  I'm really trying to hang on to each day since they are so precious!

My husband went truck shopping last weekend, and today he brought his purchase back home.  He bought a Honda Ridgeline which he's been talking about for almost 2 years.  He had a love/hate relationship with his previous truck, a Ford 150.  He loved the actual driving of it. It was very comfortable to sit in, and it handled beautifully.  But he had a great deal of trouble getting in and out of it, and last week, as he was getting out of it, he slipped on some ice and fell.  He wasn't seriously hurt, but he really banged himself up, and more importantly he got scared.  So off he went truck shopping.  He got a terrific deal on it, they gave him full trade-in value for his old truck, and after doing all the math, decided that he wasn't going to be coming out in the hole.  Since he pays cash for his vehicles, he didn't have to worry about financing. So he's happy as a clam right now.

Elder Son called to say he had an interview next week although he admitted he wasn't exactly sure for which job.  Apparently a large insurance company saw his resume on and called him.   He says it's a "cattle call" type interview for a variety of sales and marketing jobs, and he has experience in both areas.  He's been unemployed since Christmas, so this made him happy even if it's not the dream job, or even if he's eventually offered it.  The experience of interviewing is always helpful.  I think that's  a good attitude for him to be taking.

We went out to dinner at Olive Garden.  I had planned to make meatloaf, but when I went to take the hamburger out of the refrigerator at 3:30, I realized I'd put it in the freezer on Tuesday.   So my husband suggested dinner out.  I never say no to eating out!  We took his new truck out and I must admit it's very comfortable. I miss the 'step' I had on the Ford. It's a pretty high stretch for this 5"1' pair of legs to manage but it's doable. There's a good handle on the side of the door frame to help pull myself in!

I enjoyed the rest of the evening watching Gray's Anatomy and Private Practice in real time.  The benefit of no school the next day is that I can stay up!

My natural body clock is bed between 11-11:30 and getting up around 7.  For most of the year I'm forced into bed 9:30-10, up at 4:45 am.  I really like non school weeks!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Vacation Week: Day 3

Today was lovely.  My husband decided to go visit some of his old college friends who live about 2 hours away.  I was invited to go along with him, but ultimately decided I'd rather stay home.  I think he really wanted me to stay home too.  He left about 9 am and didn't get home until about 7 pm.  He had a great visit with three different friends and came home very relaxed.

I spent some time during the morning with some chores, but spent the bulk of my day catching up with DVR'd TV shows, reading, knitting, and napping.  I occasionally thought about errands I could run, but that's all I did, think about them.  It truly was terrific to have an entire day of doing exactly what I wanted to do.  I highly recommend it!

There are only 2 more days of vacation left, plus the weekend.  I am trying very hard to wring out every last drop of enjoyment!

I finished this book today.

A Cold Treachery (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #7)A Cold Treachery by Charles Todd
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I had a hard time getting into this installment of the series.  It finally picked up during the last third of the book, but it was too late for me to really get hooked. Inspector Rutledge is sent to the Lake District to investigate the gruesome murder of almost an entire family.  A nine-year-old boy is missing and is one of the suspects as are his aunt, uncle, and biological father. One of the hallmarks of Charles Todd's writing is the definite sense of time and place that is created, and in this book, the setting is so well-created that it becomes a character itself.  Rutledge's struggle with Hamish is much less a part of this story than in others, and I was glad of that.  And I do wonder whether Rutledge may have met a potential "love interest" in the person of Elisabeth Fraser.  While this wasn't my favorite Rutledge novel, it's worth reading.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vacation Week: Day 2

Elder son came home to get his car services at our local garage.  He hasn't found a garage he likes where he lives, plus here in our state there's no sales tax on services, so he can save money.  Since he's currently unemployed, saving money is paramount with him right now.  As is usual when he visits, he goes "grocery shopping" in our cupboards - with our blessing of course.  Our main entertainment was to watch Monday's episode of CASTLE.

I solved my bookkeeping problem of yesterday, and the business books are now balanced through January and are up-to-date.  I even made major headway on our taxes.

Our afternoon was disrupted because a problem arose with the business (what else is new?) and I ended up having to follow my husband to a location about an hour away, so that he could bring a vehicle there, and then drive him home.  The roads here in northern New England are ridiculously bumpy at this time of year with frost heaves.  For folks who aren't familiar with this term, it's particularly apt, because occasionally the roads are nausea-inducing.  The freezing and unfreezing cycle cause road beds to buckle so you feel like you're on a particularly bumpy roller coaster!  It's especially rough on the back roads, and that's where our trip took us!

I did experiment with another crockpot recipe from Real Simple.  This time I made Asian pork with snow peas, peppers and noodles.  This was another really delicious meal.

The evening was spent watching Glee and Parenthood and trying to get some knitting done.

I can't believe how quickly the week is flying by.  I wish school weeks went as fast!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Vacation Week: Day 1

Although I woke a number of times during the night, it was always knowing that I didn't have to get up at 4:45 am.  I started to think about getting up for good about 7 am after being semi-awake for about an hour.  The phone call at 7:15 made that a definite decision.  As usual, when your spouse owns his own business, there's always a problem on the first day of vacation.  That put him in major stress mode.  A key employee didn't communicate some vital information in a timely fashion, and that resulted in a major problem.   So instead of having a leisurely breakfast with him, he rushed off to the office.  I got up and fielded a few phone calls relative to the problem.  When he returned, several hours later, we spent some time working on the company billing.  I had originally planned to bring the company bookkeeping up to date this morning, but due to the unplanned event, I didn't get started on that til after lunch.  And then, the fun began.  One of the big problems I had to wrestle with is entering our payroll.  We use a payroll service, but switched providers with the start of the new year.  The payroll service now offers direct deposit, and we have employees who are utilizing this service.  It really complicates the bookkeeping.  I've been talking with our accountant about how to do the entries so that I don't have to enter about 75 transactions.  He sent me instructions, and I started to follow them, only to discover a problem.  We are still working on resolving that problem,  but it's now 4 pm and I haven't entered the Jan. payroll into the computer records (although I deducted the gross amt and the employer's share of taxes from the actual checkbook), so I can't balance the Jan. books yet.  I guess I will have to use another day of vacation to deal with this, though I had wanted to get all the tedious chores out of the way today!

I am trying a new recipe for dinner tonight.  It's a crockpot recipe I found in the newest issue of Real Simple magazine, called Curried Chicken with Ginger and Yogurt.  It smells heavenly!  It took a few minutes to put together (grating fresh ginger and chopping a few ingredients) but all I need to do later is cook some rice and stir yogurt into the sauce.    I love this magazine, and it's one  I subscribe to.  I almost always find a good recipe or two and I like the consumer product tests they have every month.

I also did a number of piddly tasks while I was waiting for call-backs.  I handwashed my hand-knitted socks. (I was astonished to discover I have an even dozen pairs of socks I've knitted for myself!), I cleaned the birdcage, and I discovered a bill I had forgotten to pay!

For the rest of day one I hope to watch an episode of Season 1 of Bones on my instant Netflix, watch House and Castle in real time, and knit.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Stochastic* Sunday



[stuh-kas-tik]  Show IPA
–adjective Statistics .
of or pertaining to a process involving a randomly determinedsequence of observations each of which is considered as a sampleof one element from a probability distribution.

I was looking for an alliterative adjective since I've used Scattered Saturday as a blog title previously.  Besides, it's fun to learn new words.

So in my stochastic order:

1.  I've learned 2 new things today, and it's not even 8 am.  The first I just mentioned.  I found a synonym for random and scattered.  The second thing I learned from a sermon written by Rev. Martha Spong that's posted on her blog here.  We've all heard Jesus' teaching to "turn the other cheek".  What I never knew was that doing so was "So turning the other cheek was not giving in to abuse. It was the most powerful kind of non-violent resistance. " (from referenced sermon).   Offering your right cheek forced your superior to either step back or use the open hand to slap, and thus forced him(her) to lose stature.   I so appreciate it when scripture is opened up for me, either through a sermon or my own study. It makes it so much more powerful.

2.  I have a busy day ahead --- church, followed by our monthly council meeting.  I wonder what would happen if the moderator (me) decided not to show up!  I actually like council meetings. I don't like that they last for about an hour and a half on Sundays after church.  Today it's really not a problem, since it's the start of vacation week, but usually I resent the intrusion into the little free time I have.

3.  It's vacation week!  We're not going away.  I had hoped to go somewhere warm and sunny, but it just didn't happen.  Instead we will "staycation" - although a number of chores will be accomplished.  I've actually completed 2 1/2  chores that needed immediate attention.  I found the tax info my son needed, and I faxed our business W-3 to the accountant who's working on the business taxes.  The 1/2 chore is that I organized our personal tax records so that the personal taxes can be done.

4.  I can stay up to watch shows that air at 10 pm in real time.  I love the fact that I have a DVR and most of what I watch nowadays is via the DVR.  But sometimes I just want to watch an episode as it's aired.  (Like "Castle" ) 

5.  I can have 5 leisurely mornings in a row this week.  Even if I still wake early from force of habit, I don't HAVE to get going immediately. I can drink a 2nd or even a 3rd cup of coffee.

6.  I love my Keuring coffee machine.  I get a perfect cup of coffee every single time.  My cup of coffee is always hot, hot, hot.  I can drink strong coffee while my husband can enjoy his milder brew.  And there's no waste!  I know the K-cups are expensive, but we used to throw out 1/2 a pot of coffee every day because our old machine didn't brew small pots well.  

7.  It is cold again.  We had a wind advisory Friday night through this morning, and the wind blew away the springlike temperatures.  Friday afternoon when I left school it was 57° F and it's now 10°F.  With wind gusting up to 50 mph at times, the windchill was subzero.  Snow is predicted tomorrow - 5 inches at least.

8.  I have a stack of books to read (what else is new?) and a new knitting project underway.  

9.  I also have a Netflix date this afternoon with an episode of Midsomer Murders on disk, and several episodes of first season Bones in my Instant View queue for later this week.  

10.  My husband and I are sharing a new addiction to a computer game  (Poppit).  There is something mesmerizing about clicking on balloons to pop them and release all the "prizes."   As with all our previous game addictions, we will play this one for long periods of time for about a month, and then one day, we'll wonder what we saw in it.  I still like Snood and Super Mah-jong on occasion, so this will be a welcome addition to our game collection.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Time Passes So - o-o Slowly , , ,

When it's the week before vacation.  The kids are super antsy this week too.  Usually the craziness doesn't start until midweek, but it started bright and early Monday.   Give me strength!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Two for School and One for Me

I read (actually re-read) this one since I'm just about to launch it as part of the 7th grade Holocaust unit.  It will be one of several books I will be using.  I am going to be using literary circles with these novels -- a teaching technique I haven't used in a very long time!

The Devil's Arithmetic (Puffin Modern Classics)The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had read this book a number of years ago, but I re-read it as preparation for our 7th grade Holocaust unit.  This will one of the books used in our lit circle groups.  It's Passover and Hannah's family is celebrating their seder with their extended family in New Rochelle, NY. Twelve-year old Hannah is fed up with the ritual and the constant insistence on "remembering". When she opens the door to welcome Elijah, she is transported in time to 1942, to a small village in Poland.  She finds herself in the persona of Chaya, an orphan recovering from a grave illness, now living with relatives.  As her new family travels to a wedding, they are caught up in a sweep of Jews, and are taken to a death camp.  As the story unfolds, Chaya/Hannah learn how to survive in the camp, and she comes to understand just why it is so important to remember what happened.  As a work of historical fiction, Jane Yolen does a superbly sensitive job of describing the horror and degradation of life in the concentration camps.  It is a disturbing book, but it's the kind of disturbance that adolescents need to experience.

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My next review is also a Holocaust book.  I am reading this one aloud to my 7th grade students.  They are actually protesting when I stop reading for the day.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Hana's Suitcase is actually two stories in one.  Both are true, and this is an excellent piece of informational text.  In 2000, Fumiko Ishioka, the director of the Tokyo Holocaust Education Resource Center receives a small battered suitcase labeled with Han(n)a Brady's name.  After much research, Ishioka discovers the story of Hana Brady who perished at Auschwitz at the age of 13.  The book alternates between the story of Ishioka's research and her work with Japanese schoolchildren, and Hana's biography.  The book is peppered with photos of Hana and her family, pictures of the town she grew up in, and Hana'sdrawings from the Theresienstadt ghetto where Hana was briefly imprisoned.  It's a gripping story, and despite that fact that the story is inherently sad, it's also a story filled with hope.  It's an excellent classroom resource for upper elementary and middle school students.

And my final offering for this week is  this one:

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the second book in the Kate Burkholder series, and I liked it as much as the first.  Kate is called to investigate the gruesome execution of an entire Amish family.  As she pursues the perpetrator, the case brings unresolved personal issues to the surface that threaten to interfere with how she does her job.  John Tomasetti is also affected by the investigation as there are parallels between the present murder and the execution of his wife and children.  Linda Castillo writes a gripping story, and while I could do without some of the graphic details, I also understand that the details help create the intensity of the novel.   

Sunday, February 6, 2011


I think I may have found a new series to follow with Linda Castillo's book Sworn to Silence.

Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder, #1)Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fast-paced thriller set in a small Ohio town.  Kate Burkholder is the police chief faced with a horrific crime that may be linked to her childhood rape and her self-defense killing of her assailant.  Her assailant was suspected of a string of gruesome murders that ceased with his death.  Complicating the investigation is the fact that she grew up Amish but left the community.  Her Amish family kept her rape and the murder secret and now 16 years later, it appears that the Slaughterhouse Killer is back.  Kate battles a nervous town council who call in backup, as well as the long-held family secret. I read this in one afternoon.  I couldn't put it down.  Despite some graphic descriptions of the murdered victims (which I skimmed over), I really liked this and am looking forward to the next one.

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Anybody Home?

As I was sitting at my computer in the kitchen I heard a odd thudding noise behind me.  I figured it was ice falling off the roof as we had some melting weather today after the mixed precipitation of yesterday.  I really didn't pay much attention to it.  I heard it again, and turned to look.  I had visitors!  There were 6 squirrels in the yard, mostly at the feeder, but one brash rodent decided to get up close and personal!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Two Books I Didn't Like

I don't often read two books in a row that I didn't like.  The first one was just plain silly.  The second wasn't terrible, but I just couldn't get into it.

Book #1

Deadly Sanctuary (Kendall O'Dell Mystery series)Deadly Sanctuary by Sylvia Nobel
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I'm glad I didn't pay for this one. I downloaded it for free on my Kindle.  Kendall O'Dell (don't like the similar sounding first and last name) is a feisty reporter who has just moved to a small Arizona town.  Her first assignment is actually a secret one.  She's looking into the sudden disappearance of the reporter she's replaced.  This was just plain silly. She meets two men who fascinate her:  Eric, the handsome rich guy, and Tally, the long-suffering cowboy.  It's no mystery as to who she'll end up with, and no mystery as who at least one of the bad guys is. The writing is terrible, and I think the only reason I finished reading it, was that it was the only book I had my Kindle that easily put me to sleep.

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And book #2:

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I always look forward to reading Martha Grimes, and I was especially eager to shake off the taste of an inane mystery/romance I'd just finished.  This 9th installment in the Richard Jury series started off really well.  Jury is finally getting some vacation time, spending his holiday in Long Piddlington with his friend Melrose Plant.   All of the usual characters are here, including Aunt Agatha who is suing Mr.Jurvis, the local butcher over an accident she caused.  Of course his holiday plans are completely disrupted when a body tumbles out of an antique secretaire that antique dealer Marshall Trueblood is showing Jury and Plant.  I thoroughly enjoyed about 2/3 of the book, but the last part fell apart.  I had trouble keeping the facts straight, and I thought the ending was too convoluted.  I ended up feeling very disappointed in my visit with Jury and company.  I guess not all entries in the series can be great.

Scattered Saturday

I've just been playing around with the camera and the fact that I can upload pictures easily and quickly now. I took these through my kitchen window. We're awaiting the arrival of some more winter weather and the feeders are quite busy. I tried to grab some shots of the squirrels and the blue jays on the feeders and on the corn scattered on the ground, but they were much more wary of movement at the windows. Plus the fact that one of our cats decided it was an opportune time to perch in the window didn't help!

We had another 14 or so inches of snow this week and another day off from school. The last day of school is now June 22d. Ugh! And we still have most of Feb and all of March to get through. The snow piles all but block the view to the road and make getting out our driveway a bit chancy. Our house is at the top of small rise, and cars coming up the rise come at a clip sometimes, and unless it's dark, I can't tell they're coming, and they can't see me until they're upon the driveway. Now that the sun is peeking over the horizon when I leave for work the headlights don't send as strong a message that there might be cars coming.

We went out to dinner with friends last night. We tried a new-to-us restaurant, a pub inside an old inn, as a matter of fact, and we had a very enjoyable evening. Either this place is not well-known or people were too cold to venture out because we almost had the place to ourselves. We sat in front of an open fireplace with a roaring fire, and enjoyed some fine adult beverages and some good food. The beef was grass-fed and locally raised, and all of the menu items were made on site. We tried some winter squash fritters as an appetizer that were very good, and really enjoyed the peach linzer torte and chocolate chip whoopie pies for dessert!

Before dinner I met with my church's minister - our first monthly minister/moderator meeting. It's just to touch base with each other and to check in on projects, issues, concerns, etc. that either of us has. We definitely live in "interesting times." We're struggling financially as many small (and large churches?) are, but we are also struggling with an aging congregation and questions of lay leadership. In addition we are once again looking for music leadership. Some big questions loom large: How can we make ourselves more visible? How must our music traditions change? How might our worship traditions evolve? How do we interest, attract, and keep people who might be seeking a spiritual base? A group of people will be meeting next week to discuss evangelism. What does the word mean? For many people it's knocking on doors and handing out tracts. It has some negative connotations for some of us who have grown up in the mainline church. For some of us it means hospitality, it means telling everybody about who we are, it means sharing the good news with others, or it means inviting others to join us in our journey. I'm hoping I can get to the meeting, both to stay informed, but more to be a part of the discussion.

We're also heading into a difficult time of year as our school and town budgets are voted upon, and decisions about teaching assignments for next year start being made. Our administrators are beginning to meet with individual staff to discuss evaluations, test scores, professional goals, and some of us will get news we don't want to hear regarding the definite reductions in staff that will take place. It's a very uneasy time for us, and with anxiety, we sometimes become less kind to each other.

The sun has broken through at least temporarily. It's time to think about shoveling off the kitchen roof --- before another few inches of snow and this time, ice, arrive. And there are always the Saturday errands to run!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Winter in our Neck of the Woods

We're working on the cleanup from this latest storm.  We got somewhere between 12-18 inches of snow on top of what was already on the ground since about 7 am yesterday.  We were sent home from school at 12:30 yesterday, so at least we don't have that day to make up.  We do have 4 to make up now after today's cancellation.  The best thing about today's cancellation is that the decision to close was made last night, so all the calls were done then.  We were able to sleep this morning, and boy, did I.  I woke up briefly at my usual 4:46 am, but rolled over and went right back to sleep, all the way till 8:03.  That seemed like the middle of the day.
I spent today making pea soup and corn bread, and I watched another episode of Bones, Season 1, streamed from my Netflix account.  I didn't start watching this show until last season, and I decided to catch up by starting at the beginning.  It's really fun to to see where the characters started, and I'm interested to see what happened to some of the originals who are no longer on the show.  I also tried a new recipe - for white chocolate fudge.  One of my husband's employees gave us some for Christmas, and also gave us the recipe.  It tastes delicious, but apparently my candy thermometer is no longer accurate, because the fudge didn't harden the way it should.  It holds together, and it isn't sticky, but it's more like the texture of the marshmallow fluff that is used in its creation.  I'll just have to try it again sometime.

My husband is having trouble with arthritis in his right wrist.  For the past day or so he hasn't been able to bend it, and it's really swollen.  He wasn't able to do the snowblowing around the yard or the shoveling.  In fact, he's had trouble using the hand at all.  Our neighbor plows the driveway for us, so I asked him if he'd do the blowing for us (and of course we'd pay him extra!).  And I also explained that my husband has been snowblowing our across the street neighbor since she's newly single and works nights as a critical care nurse.  Not only did our neighbor snowblow us, but he did her yard too, and refused any payment.  He said he was just glad that I asked him for help.  We'll do something nice for him later on in the season -- maybe I'll knit him a new hat!

So here are some pictures ---  the plow drifts are now so high that I can't see the road from my kitchen. I took them standing in my driveway  at the roadside.  I think there's about 2 ft of snow on the level, but it's been hard to measure!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A New World - Or, I Had No Idea What We Were Missing

It's been just a week since we were able to connect to high speed internet service.  I am still getting used to the idea that when I click on a link, I'm there instantly.  I have to change my morning routines!  I used to log into my account, click on the dial connection tab and then feed my bird.  By the time I finished with that chore, I would go back to the computer and open Outlook.  While my email downloaded, I made my coffee. Finally, I'd sit down with my coffee and read my email and check in with a few website.  Now all I do is wake the computer, log into my screen and everything  is right there ready to go.  

Other wonders I'm getting used to:
  • Clicking a video link on FB and actually watching it
  • Accessing our local news station to check weather (and school closings for my husband who runs a school bus company!)
  • Listening to Pandora 
  • Using Itunes to download music and podcasts
  • Uploading pictures to Ravelry or this blog
  • Watching the first season of Bones instantly from Netflix on my computer. (Guess how I spent our early dismissal from school due to snow afternoon!)
  • Using my laptop wirelessly in another room
  • Watching a knitting technique video
  • Accessing my bank and my credit card accounts and not getting timed out!
I knew we were deprived by the limitations of dial up, but I just didn't understand how much.  I realize that I'm sounding a lot like a kid in the candy store, but that's how I feel right now.