Monday, October 29, 2012


Hubby and I are not avid Halloweenists.   We enjoy giving out candy, but we don't usually participate in the "dressing up and decorating" aspect of the holiday.

This year, we had two opportunities to enjoy some Halloween fun.   On Friday night, the open mic we attend had everyone dress in pajamas.  Most folks participated which made for an interesting evening.  Thank goodness no one wore their birthday suit, although several threatened to!

Saturday we attended a party - the first Halloween party we've ever attended together - at the home of some musical friends.   The criteria was you had to dress as a famous musician and then sing one of their songs. 

Hubby has long hair, and that "scrubby" look that made him a convincing Willie Nelson.   Two braids, a bandanna and some ripped jeans and he was in business.  He did a very moving  rendition of "You are always on my mind" which had the audience so enthralled you could hear a pin drop!

Since I have long straight hair, I went for 60's icon Joni Mitchell.   I borrowed and tie-dyed long skirt and jacket, threw on a beret, and I was ready to go.   It took me a while to learn it, but I had a lot of fun singing "Big Yellow Taxi".

The house where we attended the party was beautifully decorated for Halloween, food and drink was abundant, and the fun and laughter went on all night.   There was every character from the Mamas and the Papas, to kd lang, to Tom Petty to "dead" John Denver.   There was also Neil Young, and his wife was dressed as Neil "Younger".  They sang of medley of Neil Young tunes spanning his career.

Hubby and I didn't take any photos, but someone did, and if he sends them to us, I'll post them.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Mermaid

After I had made my granddaughter a couple of dresses, she figured out that I know how to sew, and therefore I can make her things.   It's been absolutely wonderful for me to take on that grandmother role.  I remember my grandmother making things for me when I was a little girl, and I'm so pleased to continue the cycle.

Her latest request was for me to make her a Halloween costume.  She wanted to be a mermaid.  I was honored!! 

Let me just say that every single second of time and effort was worth it for the reaction I got when I brought the costume to her house.

Emily:  Memere, is there a little something for me in that bag?
Memere:  yes, I think there just might be.
Emily:  (Screaming and jumping up and down)  Mommy!!!  Mommy!!!!!  Memere brought my mermaid costume!!!!!!!

When she took it out of the bag, she exclaimed breathlessly, "It's so beautiful!!!"

She had to put it on immediately and did not want to take it off.  Pepere and I played "mermaid" while we babysat.   She was finally enticed to take it off and put her nightgown on when I said she might rip it, and she said, "then could just make me another one", and I assured her it took me a long time to make that one, and that I would not be able to make another one before Halloween.

Isn't this smile worth everything?

"I am going to be a mermaid FOREVER!"

And the mermaid helped us put sparkle gel tattoos on as well.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Riding the Rails

Our grandson Noah's birthday was last month, and our gift to him was a ride on a real train, since he is in love with all things train-ish.  

While awaiting the train, we were lucky enough to find some fun stuff to play with.

Old railroad signs were too exciting to pass up.

All Aboard!!

When he wasn't sitting with his nose glued to the window, commenting on everything he saw as we rode along, he was snuggling with Grampy.

And horsing around with Memere.

We disembarked in West Concord and
after stopping in at Pete and Betsi Mandrioli's store for a snack, we made our way to the toy store, where - how exciting!!! - they had a model train set up.

Another stop in the 5 and 10 (which, BTW, apprarently no longer stands for 5 and 10 CENTS) for a couple of cars to play with.....and then waiting for the pizza.

Hawaiin pizza.....a tradition for Noah and Grampy.

A little walk around, including a glimpse into the fire barn to look at the trucks.  Good thing the alarm didn't go off!

Waiting on the comes the train!

A tired but happy Noah on the way home.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Gift VS. Memories

I had the unfortunate need to go to a store today.  I very rarely shop, and when I do, it's in and fooling around.   I was looking for a specific thing, and found myself wandering around the Halloween costume department.  

First of all - really????  Has Halloween become such a huge commercial enterprise?  I guess I should have been clued in by the four or five Halloween stores that popped up the last month or so, and that's just in my hometown.  What happened to the days when kids made costumes out of old bed sheets and second-hand clothing castoffs?

But I digress.

As I wandered around, I was awestruck by the amazing amount of stuff.   Just stuff and stuff and more stuff.   Do we really need all this stuff?  Must we have it?  A retro hotdog and bun toaster?  Really?

And it reaffirmed a decision that Hubby and I made to give our grandchildren memories instead of gifts.

It started with our niece.  She's the only young one left of our nieces and nephews, so she gets the honor of being the one whose birthday we still celebrate.   Four or five years ago, we decided to take her out for her birthday rather than give her a gift, since her birthday is December 16.  It was a huge hit.  Since then, we've taken her to the movies, to a play, to the Science Museum, and to the Planetarium.

This year, she's turning 13.   Last time we saw her, I told her she should start thinking about what kind of outing she'd like to go  on with us this year.  "Unless," I said, "you're getting too cool to go out with Auntie and Uncle".   "Oh no," she says, "I love hanging with you guys."  

I'm so happy that she still loves our adventures, and that we seem to be a pretty cool Aunt and Uncle.

Now we've decided to carry on the tradition with our grandchildren.   In August, we took Emily to York Beach Animal Farm for her 5th birthday.   We all had a ball.   And now we've decided to take Noah on a train ride this Saturday for his 4th birthday.

We hope that spending the day with Memere and Pepere will be a memory that they'll hold in their hearts forever......and will mean more to them than the toy that gets played with for a week and then gets shoved under the bed.

The memories for Pepere and I are priceless.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pepere's Birthday Cake

After a discussion a couple weeks ago about Pepere's upcoming birthday, I invited Emily over to help me make him a birthday cake.  She was happy to do it, as long as it was a white cake with rainbow frosting. 
After making the batter, it's always fun to make goo out of leftover flour and water.
We mixed up some colored frosting for our rainbow.  Emily was careful to check and make sure each and every color tasted good.

Even while she was helping Pepere frost the cake!

Then it was time to frost.  She carefully made rainbow stripes with each of the colors.

And then it was time to put on the candles.  Even though Pepere is turning 58, we only had one box of 36 candles, so she decided they should all go on. 

Each colored candle had to go on the right color of frosting, except for white which "can go anywhere".

She looks quite pleased with the results.


We lit all the candles, serenaded him with a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday to You" and they blew out the candles together!!


Monday, October 8, 2012

Quechee, VT

Hubby and I did our annual fall trip this past weekend.  This year, it was to Quechee, VT.   Here are a few photos:

Our first stop was at Cider Hill Gardens.  Hubby found this place in his internet searching.  It had some interesting outdoor "scuplture" including this wooden lady flying between the trees.

We then went to Saint-Gaudens, which is the site of the home of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, a sculpture who produced such masterpieces as the "Seated Lincoln". 

The grounds were beautiful.

They had a reproduction of his studio


This sculpture is a reproduction of the one in Boston Common.

We saw a few of these in our travels.

There was a pathway about 1/2 mile long that led from our Inn to Quechee Gorge.  We walked it several times.

The Gorge from the top of the bridge.

When you get down to the bottom you can climb on the rocks.

View of the bridge from the bottom.

"The Thinker"

Hubby's Artsy Fartsy shot

Then we headed over to Billings Farm and Museum.  Quite the place. They were having a farm day.  Lots to see and do, including the museum which was quite extensive and well-done.

A little one-month old calf.
She likes me!

AND she likes the camera!

Jim and Joe, the drought horses.

Coming out of the Inn on Sunday morning, we heard a strange noise and looked up to see this!  We chatted with the balloon "chaser", who was following along to pick up the balloon and its passengers when it finally touched down.

Then we went for a ride on a train....not this one.

It was the "Green Mountain Flyer" and it took us to Cedar Circle Farm for a Fall Festival.

We spent most of the time listening to these guys.....The Wall Stiles

There was a hay ride

Hubby had fun on the tractor

Pumpkin Patch

Corn Maze....can you find Hubby?

And some entertainment on the train on the way back!

Stopped off at Cracker Barrel on the way home and that makes for a great vacation!!!