Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sleeping out to learn about social justice

Tuesday was the Social Justice Sleep-out where my students learned about homelessness while sleeping out on the quad overnight.  I learned that 36 hours is about the maximum that I can go without sleep.

As you can see the students started out quite happy...

The President and Deans came to visit along with one of the night classes.  We had some group conversations about values, integrity and the benefit of a liberal arts education.  And then the rain began ... so we let them come into the "soup kitchen" to have something to eat...

Just as the torrential down pour occurred we kicked them back out into the night to figure out where they were going to sleep and to try to stay dry.  Some settled for under the staircase...

Others went behind the bike rack...

And others wrapped themselves in plastic and slept under the overhang of the building...

When they finally all fell asleep it was about 3am so Karen and I posed for pictures beside the sleeping crew!

In the morning they were awakened by public safety when an angry faculty member called about them sleeping under the stairs near the door of the building.  When the rain stopped at 9am they headed back out to the quad to finish their sleep-out and wrap up discussion.  They went back to their rooms to sleep, I went back to my office to change so I could work the rest of the day. My students in my 9:30am class told me that once you were awake for more than 17 hours your brain acted like it was drunk -- at 36 hours I think there may be some truth to that.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

random things

While Carrie is cleaning up her place and I'm avoiding finishing a task I should get done tonight, I thought I would note a few random things so in theory we can say we have a blog (as opposed to we 'had' a blog).  Sorry no fotos in this entry.

Here are a few things - with no real order or meaning - that have happened since Carrie confessed about the contents of her purse (Foucault would be proud - see The History of Sexuality Vol 1 by him if you want the juicy details on his ideas about confession).

Carrie said she's not going to answer her phone tonight.  Call her, see if she does (wait, I have to hang up first).

For a few months I'd been randomly complaining about an inflamed joint on the top of my right foot.  This was important to me as it was a new place where my arthritis was striking and of course that isn't such a pleasant idea.  Did it stop me at all?  No, not really; I still did construction on my house, had a house work party, taught numerous classes, went up and down my stairs tons of times, helped at a wood party and successfully but sorely completed a 14.7 mile walk (and carried a flag the whole time) with this foot issue.  So I mentioned the inflammation to my rheumatologist a few days ago.  After some x-rays he showed me what the issue was - two stress fractures in my right foot!  We're both happy that it isn't an arthritis thing and that the bones are healing quite nicely but I feel a bit like a major dork - yes, more than usual.  {DANG - I just skimmed our posts - see Sept. 13th}

I finished glazing five windows (= 10 panes of glass) for my porch and am in the process of painting them.  If all goes well they'll be in within the next week or two.  I'm only about 2 months behind the arbitrary schedule I'd set for myself.  At this point I'll be happy when they're done and ecstatic if the panes don't fall out of the frames.

Carrie couldn't think of a word in class the other day in said "well, ah, I can't quite think of the word so let's just say there was a big bruhaha".  Her student replied, "do you mean uproar?".

I went to a conference on trauma and PTSD in DC, complete with some famous goobersmoochers (my friend Gaelyn's word).  David Straithairn sat next to me for about five minutes as I was contemplating leaning into him so I could claim that I touched him, he moved to another place in the room.

I now own five cd's by The National.

Recent visitors to my place:  David & Lucy from Black Mountain NC - Carrie came up to visit as well.  We made jam, went for a long nature walk and had an AWESOME dinner party with my Maine family - Doug, Judy, Gretchen, Ruth, Jen, Dave, Xochil & Josh.  Lauren and Kristi from NYC popped up the next weekend. We took down the garden fences, they dug for potatoes and planted bulbs and then we celebrated by having burgers and beers at the Dugout. 

If any of you need a birthday gift, xmas gift or know of a teacher who wants a calendar for his/her classroom let me know ( - I've got a bunch of fabulously cool VFP peace calendars that run from Aug 2010 (so you can reflect on the recent past) through to Dec 2011.  All the cool kids have them - $15 to buy and free for teachers.

Some of my students found out in an awkward way that if I said I was coming home late from out of town that I might just be saying that so they don't expect evening email responses - I surprised two of them "santa clausing" my front yard (shiny red garland on my mailbox, red bows and shiny pink balls in my trees, little xmas scenes on sticks, white xmas owl on my door) when I arrived home around 6:30 at night.  Nothing like getting busted in the middle of a prank.

I am going back to my task now and am not going to answer my phone.

If you're still out there checking out our blog, we thank you and love you.

xoxo C & K 
WOA (Women Of Action)

Monday, October 4, 2010

What does Carrie carry?

So I was working from home the other day and happened to watch the Nate Berkus show.  He had a segment on about what women carry in their handbags.  For whatever reason this popped into my head today when I was looking at my purse and I thought it would be fun to let you see just what was in my purse today.  This is my purse...
...pretty average sized as far as purses go.

This is a picture of the contents of my purse - how many items can you name (there are 23 total).

If you look closely you should be able to see:
wallet (excavating this is a whole different entry)
tube of Excedrin
2 contact cases - one old school, one new-aged
tin of mints
library call number note
cigarette case (used to store rewards cards for stores I frequent)
box of contact lens solution
magenta flair pen
glittery chap stick
4 bracelets
ticket stub
California Pizza Kitchen box with 2 pieces of pear gorgonzola pizza
2 bags of loose tea
envelope with parking receipts
form from eye doctor
photo album (to keep my coupons organized)

Kristina thought I should also mention that I had one gum wrapper, a Hershey's miniature wrapper and a paper clip in there as well along with an excessive number of tampons (all of which did not make it into the picture).

Finally, this is what you get when a pen explodes in your purse and it will be a lesson to me in not carrying your colleague's pen that doesn't have a cap.

What's in your purse or bag?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Things I heard today...

As I was walking to and from my classes today I heard the following:

1. "Dude, really, she was hanging out with a bucket all night."

2. Student #1: "Hey I need to apologize to you for last night."  Student #2: "Last night?  No you don't.  I don't remember anything from last night!"

3. "You wouldn't even believe it, I was @!*#ed up!"

And when I got to my sociology class and many of them were missing I asked, "where are all your friends today?"  The response was, "probably in bed, apparently there was some big party last night!"  To which I replied, "yeah, I know" and it freaked them all out.  When they asked how I knew I simply said, "How? Powers of observation and inductive reasoning - look it up it will be on your test."  I got a smile from most of them.

Monday, September 13, 2010

a true sick day

Apparently my ability to control my rheumatoid arthritis all the time is not possible.  For the past couple of weeks I had developed a painful limp with my right foot as some random joint (or two) on my foot - perhaps the talonvulcutor (?) has been acting up.  After my fabulous work party [where my incredible friends put in four windows and got my washer and dryer going] I was feeling a bit run down but didn't think much of it.

Yesterday (Sunday) I puttered around the house but was getting really tired [JC - this is what I'm going to be like when I'm a old lady...], and felt achy so I took prednisone for the second day which I knew would run havoc with my emotions in hope that things would calm down in arthritis land.  That night I started to feel a bit weepy and when talking on the phone with Carrie, started to relay how I started to cry when the dryer didn't work correctly - I think it needs something new with the starter - no biggie and I was fortunate to have a free dryer and managed to get my clothes washed and dried so I'm set with underwear and other things for a while.  I had a feeling today would not be so pleasant.

I just realized I'm slurping my yummy homemade carrot ginger soup - clearly all hell has broken loose in my little casa today.  So this morning I felt pretty crummy as the weather keeps changing and I believe (although there's no scientific evidence for this) that is contributing to my achy-ness and whatever I thought was allergies was clearly actually a cold.  I believe Carrie gave it to me even though I haven't seen her in weeks.

I woke up at 4:30 but refused to get up so dozed until 5:30 and decided to get up and get some work done before school.  I felt really crummy and kept dropping stuff because my hands weren't working so hot - of course I was becoming very frustrated.  About the time I was getting my lunch ready, the prednisone kicked in and I realized that not only could I not physically teach but when I was sending emails to all my students, I could hardly write and when I called in to tell my pal Angela that I wasn't coming in, I started crying.  I guess it was a good decision to stay home.

The best moment - aside from craving soup and tea which is another sure sign that I'm sick - of the day was when I actually fell asleep in the late afternoon (another sure sign I'm sick as I'm not a napper), and was dreaming that I was pulled over by the police.  I was driving and saw a cop car pull up behind me with flashing red lights and I swear I could hear a siren.  I wasn't overly concerned about it and as the cop came up to my window I leisurely rolled down the window and said, "so you probably need my registration and stuff, huh?".  The cop was pretty pissed off - of course she looked just like a cop in one of the police dramas I'd watched in the past 24 hours (but the three glee episodes wasn't enough sugar and spice to offset the crime dramas) - and told me she'd been following me for about 20 minutes.  I started to feel concerned when the phone rang in real life.  Needless to say, I was happy it was just a dream.

So my plan of doing some work in bed didn't pan out - I had a true sick day and am hoping that I can get off the prednisone after tonight or tomorrow because goodness knows I don't want to cry in class and would like to write a much more interesting blog than this.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New Exciting Feature: Guest Blogger Margie

Hey everyone - its time for a new post.  I was going to write about the fabulous VFP convention and highlights of the first week of school but instead Carrie and I have invited a guest to the blog to shake things up a bit.

[guest blogger Margie starts here]

Hey!  Have any of you seen the blog "catalog"?  Well I suggested to C&K that they should do something similar but to apply it to academics.  To illustrate my idea, I've provided examples of famous sociologists below.  Enjoy!

'C' says: notice how my famous theory tied to sexuality propelled me into a fabulous job at a place with fancy bookcases.

'J' notes: once I become known as being the great white hope, I'll get a proper haircut.

[K:  hey Carrie, are we going to get in trouble for letting our guest blogger do this?  C:  as long as we don't use their names we should be ok.]

'L' demonstrates how she can see the forest for the trees.

'C': if you drink enough coffee and eat enough pie you can imagine anything.

'J' urges us to rush out into the streets and DO IT.... but don't

panic.  Remain calm, move along, there's nothing to see here - really.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


This is what pops up most nights around 10pm on my computer.  My 85 year old gramma has a web-camera and so each night before she goes to bed she calls to say hello and to see what I've been up to -- it's a portion of the night that I've been calling "Gram-chat".  Sometimes there are guests on "gram-chat" like my aunts or cousins, my parents, or her sister, but most nights it's gram and Uncle Scott.  She is a big proponent of the web-camera and told me that she thinks it would be ideal for "those people who are in lonely hearts clubs" so they could see who they were chatting with without having to meet them in person. Gotta love the techno-gramma!

Monday, August 16, 2010

ten events

Since Carrie has been posting I thought I should probably chime in with a list of random things so it appears that I'm attempting to help her keep this thing going. So here are ten things that have happened to me lately - not that they're totally interesting but they probably fit well with this blog. Ahem....

1. After talking about it for months I finally bought an itouch. In fact I'm using it right now (it made the font look way big and I don't know how to change it). I am digging it although it hasn't quite made me more organized as I forgot to turn it on the other day and so I missed an appointment. I don't think it's fair to blame the itouch.

2. I hung out with my husband Neil and husband-in-law Lalit in lovely Worcester. During my time there and also in Boston with Carrie, I was called "honey" a bunch of times but not in the real sweet "I think you rock" way, it was in the "look lady I got stuff to do so get a move on" way. It made me feel like someone's Granny.

3. Some of you know this already but I'm going to repeat it because it's pretty classic kbw. I was talking to my Mom about the challenges I'm having with the glass panes on the porch windows I'm refinishing. During our conversation I said "yeah I'm sure when I'm 70 I'll have some cracks in me too.". My Mom replied "watch it!". I think you can figure out how old she's going to be on her next birthday.

4. I had to bury a dead bird today. The poor little thing was in my front yard. A friend thought it might have hit a windshield but I prefer to think it was having a happy morning flying or sitting in my tree when it had a sudden massive heart attack and didn't know what happened. Its now buried under a different tree surrounded by leafy things and some flowers. It was my first bird burial.

Have given up trying to do this with the itouch - back to my regular ol' computer.  Maybe I'm just not suited for this crazy maddening digital world?!  

5.  I went and saw The Girl Who Played With Fire, second in the Larssen triology about a kick ass, intelligent but sometimes violent woman named Lisbeth Salander.  I like to think of her as Joan Jett in her younger days especially because of a certain connection I feel with Ms. Jett.  It was a tough movie to see - just as the book was challenging but I'm really glad I saw it.  I went with my movie buds Michael Johnson and Karen Hellekson (notice the Scandinavian names - I'd like to note that I have some Swedish heritage as well).  We've made a pact to see the third one together.  I hope people see the Swedish versions before the Hollywood version(s).

6.  Returning to the Worcester / Boston trip - Neil and Lalit and I met up with Carrie in the North End for yet another summer Italian Festival.  I believe it was the Madonna dela Cava celebration.  We did see images of a Madonna but no real actual cave.  There were a lot of things to purchase including a variety of Italian dishes (such as giant rice balls - hmmm), Celtics and Boston Red Sox gear as well as some 'fashion' purses.  There was a lovely variety of 80s disco playing (I thought some nice Italian gay man or woman had something to do with the music) which Neil and I of course, had to dance to [the comma splice goes out to all my grammatically correct friends who are cringing right now].  Please note, we'd yet to have any Prosecco (not sure how to spell it but I know how to find it).  We all had a lovely Italian meal at a Trattoria and then they had gelato at another little lovely Italian place.  I had a very yummy Penne Arrabbiata which was not only addictive but spicy as well.  Remember the previous note about feeling old?  Well, I was happy to have had Tums to help me get through the night but I was genuinely uncomfortable - I truly believe my stomach was on fire. Please note the picture is not an actual foto of what I really consumed but it looks very similar - the big slices of chili peppers are missing.

7.  I have almost all of my syllabi finished for the semester however as is my tendency, I am refusing to give into getting rid of my lovely random yet busy summer routine.  Thus while my health and wellness course syllabus remains unfinished and the books and notes for it are on my kitchen table ready to go, I'm in my living room on-line.  Clearly I'm running out of things to write about and am feeling slightly guilty about not working but it is after 8:30 at night....  tomorrow is laundry day (which I usually try to get started at 6am) so that's yet another reason to just cool it.  I think I'm going to have a very busy but fun semester and am actually ahead of where I usually am at this time.  Hmmm, have I rationalized not working enough here?

8.  My garden is growing quite well.  The acorn squash are taking over - I'm afraid I'm going to start to have dreams where they knock down my fence and slowly grow over to the house.  One morning I'll wake up and while still sleepy will open my back door and vines will pop up and strangle me as the flowers suddenly burst into mini-acorn squashes.  Soon the house will be taken over.  Maybe this really could be a nice B-grade horror movie.  It seems like a promising 'next project'.  I found this image when looking for something to put here (my camera is permanently busted so I can't provide actual images of what I'm writing about).  I wonder what sort of info. is in the book, DVD, VHS, slide show, filmstrip, picture book, monograph, etc. That accompanies this image?  I think I'll just leave myself to wondering instead of finding out [beep = sound that recording makes when its time to turn the film strip].

9.  According to my Wii fit, yesterday I was 23 in Wii years, the day before I was 27 and today I was 40.  I then changed the batteries in the Wii board thing one stands on and I was suddenly 25 in Wii years.  I wonder if I can use this information to change the age on my driver's license.

10.  I thought I had something pithy to write here but alas, I'm out of ideas.  I was lucky to escape the electrical misadventure that Carrie previously posted about.  I hung out with our pal Jordan in Boothbay Harbor ME while she was staring at fire trucks and the Wongs.  Its been absolutely beautiful here in little ol' Farmington ME although the air is a bit more fall like at night.  I suspect my veggies will all need to be harvested next week when I'm in Portland for the fun-filled-action-packed Veterans for Peace convention.  I hope its enjoyable and that my side project of researching the organization goes well too.  The students working with me are a bit nervous but they'll be fine - plus there's no guarantee they'll get to actually interview anyone which should take some pressure off.  I've got over 100 on-line surveys done so far but I really need more.  Hopefully the research goddesses and gods will look favorably upon us and it'll be a mad-capped adventure.

thanks for following our little blog.... more to come, I'm sure.

I just leaned over to shut off the fan in the window behind my head but there is no fan, just an open window. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Well, that's one way to meet the neighbors!

So I was working from home, was getting ready to take out the trash and heard a loud crash outside near the house -- which I thought could quite possibly be my air conditioner falling out of the window - probably impossible but I worry about it nonetheless.  It was actually a piece of the neighbor's dead tree falling on the power lines to my house ripping the line to the meter from the house and dragging the power lines across the road - notice how it also fell right across the trash.

One of the neighbors called 911 -- it took the police about 30 minutes and another call to the non-emergency  number to arrive (apparently it was shift change time), I called the power company who told me they would put in an order but the lines to the house weren't their responsibility -- even if they were live wires -- they showed up after about 90 minutes.  By the end we had the police fire department, phone, power and cable companies all represented along with various neighbors who came out to watch the drama -- I live in a pretty uneventful neighborhood.  The most amusing was young girl (maybe 10 or 11) wearing pink pants, a pink shirt with a picture of Nerds the candy and a pink fedora.  She was assessing the situation and giving updates to anyone new who came out.  She also took it upon herself to write thank you notes (and took them around for us to sign) to give to the police and firefighters who were there which I thought was very thoughtful of her. 

In the end they had to turn off the power until the landlords could get an electrician to hook the lines back up to the house.  I packed up the freezer and fridge and headed to a friends to be cool for the night and to have power to do my hair int he morning - and at the very least I had to save my opened jam! 

When I got back this morning the power was on - although it looks more like a temporary fix (which may or may not be legal) rather than a permanent one.  You can decide for yourself from the pictures below.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Jammin' Friday

Since I had berries from last weekend's adventure in Maine, I decided to make jam.  I've never made jam but thought that 10:30 on a Friday night seemed like a good time to do so - it was cool, I had the supplies, so why not.  As of this morning it looked okay -- I have no idea how it might taste or whether or not it set up right -- I've decided to wait until tonight to open one to test it out.

The ingredients for my Triple Berry Jam:
2 1/2 c. crushe strawberries
1 1/2 c. crushed raspberries
1 c. crushed blackberries
7 c. sugar
1 box powdered pectin

I should have took pictures along the way, but I didn't so you just get the final product -- 4oz. jars of jam 20 in all -- anyone want some jam?!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Summer Saturday in Maine

That's right the Banjos and Brastraps duo are back together this weekend in Maine for a summer Saturday!  After a series of subtle and somewhat blatant hints about coming up to see the wildness that is Kristina's garden, Carrie crawled through Boston rush hour late Thursday night to arrive in the balmy foothills of Western ME [That's "Maine" for those of you who don't know your state abbreviations.  Its ok, we still love you] where the temp that evening was in the mid-50s.

Friday's adventures included a trip to Frost's Antiques where I found a hinge for my porch windows that I'm in the process of refinishing.  Let's not talk any more about that project right now.  Ah hem... we then took a leisurely drive to Gardiner ME - after driving through semi-conjested traffic in downtown Farmington because apparently it was "Summer Fest" in town.  There were people all over the place - Carrie notes: "there were more people in town then I've ever seen in Farmington!" and then proceeded to note that the one weekend that something big was going on, I was taking her on an out-of-town adventure.

We met up with our buddy Jordan for lunch (who is a new Pastor w/the Methodist church - at some point we'll probably be reporting on "Party at the Pastors" since he's got new digs near the ocean).  I decided it was time for Carrie to visit the A1 Diner, which is fairly famous in foodie circles.  It carries local food, everything is homemade and you can find everything from a hamburger made of local organic beef to funky Asian dishes w/tofu or a Mediterranean Tajeen (sp?).  Jordan had a blue cheese burger, Carrie had mac-n-cheese and peas (Carrie notes: "not together"), I had blackbean and sweet potato chili with a side of homemade, homecut fries.  If it was a little later in the day we would of had beers but we were onto a shopping adventure at Chez Reny's and then Target. 

Later that day ....

I was in the process of making hamburgers, fresh yellow wax beans from my garden and sliced cucumber from Gretchen and Ruth's garden when Ruth called.  She had put in a 12 hour day working on a report (she is a fluvial geomorphologist), she needed me to come get her and take her to get her pick-up truck so we could be successful on our Saturday morning adventure - and - she might be out of gas.  So after dinner I grabbed what gas I had for the snow blower, Carrie and I hopped in the car and went and got Ruth.  We finished with that around 10pm, went and got our own gas and then when we returned home, I gathered my morning outfit together and had a wee bit of wine as I was getting nervous for my first time playing 'catch and toss the chicken'.

For the next four and one-half hours I had crazy dreams including one where I was surrounded by chickens going "Oh NO, I can't do this, I'm totally letting Ruth down!", to waking up two or three times worried that I was going to oversleep.  But, the alarm rang at 5, I quietly moved about the house putting on my carharts, worn 'work' MGFD (that's Maple Grove Fire Department) sweatshirt, work gloves and worn-out smokey the bear ball cap on while Carrie slept soundly for ten hours.

It was an absolutely beautiful, sleepy, coffee-filled morning.  As I was leaving my house the sun was starting to rise but I could still see the moon clearly in what was left of the night sky.  It was cool out and quiet.  By the time I got to Ruth and Gretchen's house, the sun was up and all kinds of wonderful colors and light was filling the sky - yet there was a bit of a feeling of uncertainty as we got ready to gather the chickens.  {Carrie says I'm being too wordy so I'll move it along} - we basically took the chickens out of the outside cage (aka 'chicken tractor') they were in and gently tossed them into the back of the pick-up truck.  Only one managed to get past us so we ran around the yard a bit but I did not freeze up as in my dream.  It was a little difficult but ok once we just focused on what our task was.  We drove about 25 minutes to the processing place which was very interesting and I won't share those details (it was humane) and it was a powerful experience.

When I got back home, I worked in the garden until Carrie got up - she's bringing home some yellow wax beans & patty pan squash from her adventures.  Later that day we happened to find some blackberries at a friends' house nearby who happen to be out of the country right now (thanks!). We walked
to town and had some gelato at the new Wicked Gelato store and then came home.

Tonight we decided to stay put, have a nice dinner of chicken speedies (but not chicken from today's adventure) and relax.

Best misheard comment of the day: "How long do you want to marry Nate the Chicken?"

Saturday, July 24, 2010

C is for Crayons, Curdled Milk and Carnies

For the past few days I have been on vacation with my sister, Stephanie, and her family at Sesame Place -- more on all the fun we had there in another post and pictures too -- I forgot my camera so I have to get them from my sister.

Yesterday we headed back to Geneva, but on the way made a side trip to the Crayola Factory in Easton, PA.  The girls had fun playing with model magic, crayons, markers, and paint.  They made lots of fun projects and got some free crayons and markers to take with them.  We also made a squished penny as a souvenir.

After riding in the car and getting almost to Binghamton, Abby (the almost 2 year old) began puking in the car -- mostly curdled milk and french fries -- pleasant I know.  My sister and brother-in-law cleaned her and the car seat up on the side of the road (I wasn't much help in that department so I entertained the children) and we headed on our way to a rest stop to stretch (and air out the car).  The rest of the trip home was uneventful and we made it back safely.

When I got back to Geneva I rested for an hour and then went with my brother and his family to the Hemlock Fair.  We waded through the mud, saw a tractor pull (the highlight of my nephew's evening) and some animals, rode the rides and played some games.  We entertained ourselves with a lot of people watching - and there were some good ones!  I think the best would be a family of three who stopped to talk with Lesley and myself while my brother and nephew were on the giant slide.  It was a mom, son and daughter.  All three came out of a dark muddy spot by one of the barns.  The son was about 12 or 13, was tall and lanky had on overalls and no shoes.  The daughter was about 5 or 6 had a vacant stare on her face and was carrying a lantern that she kept holding to her face while smiling strangly at us.  The mom was commenting on the animals we were holding from one of the games and said she would give them all to Goodwill.  At this comment the daughter held up her lantern and laughed -- weird!  I also got hit on by a carnie while riding the balloon ride with my nephew.  He was asking if I was his older 21 year old sister -- my nephew of course said yes because he had no idea what the guy was asking and just wanted to get on with the ride.  The guy kept talking to me and emphasizing that I was at least 21 -- maybe he was in trouble for talking to people under 21?  As he walked away my nephew looked at me and said "What was that guy talking about?"  So that was my day -- started in Pennsylvania with crayons and ended in New York with the carnies...what a day!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Clearly back in Maine

This weekend Carrie and I are decompressing from our adventure in very different ways.  Yesterday she was roaming around Boston with a pal from undergrad and I was at the famous Ice Out party in a secret location in Western Maine.  The party is a tradition that was started a while ago which celebrates the end of winter.  Whomever best guesses (although some claim using secret scientific tests) the date that all the ice is out (that's 'all melted' for you Southerners) on Egypt Pond, becomes the Ice Queen or King (see the foto of this year's queen (again!) and her dancing princess on the right).

Her/ his responsibility is to plan a menu and the rest of us (can you tell I've never won?) then make.  Once we find a day in which we can all get together, we kayak / canoe out onto the pond and share our meal via a series of courses and varied locations on the pond. [This photo of the sign above is a clue to the name of the owners of the house at which the festivities took place].

In the four years I've been participating, we've had mixed results in terms of eating on the pond and yesterday was no exception.  This year's theme was Mexican food.  We had Mexican salad with corn and black beans, cheddar jalapeno corn bread, guacamole with chips, pico de gallo, chile rellanos, Oaxaca tacos (pictured on the right), churros, margaritas and other things I'm sure I'm forgetting - perhaps due to the margs.  As usual there was a ton of yummy homemade foods complete with assorted giggling.  Due to rain, we ate on the screened-in porch and when things let up we loaded up the watercraft, bug spray and desert and were on our way.
It was a beautiful day - most folks went swimming and a few of us kayaked or canoed.  Everything was perfect until I was attacked by a pond shark named Gretchen.  Jordan and I were hanging out by some rocks, he was in the process of winning the Egypt Pond belly flop competition, when I felt this pulling on the back of my kayak.  Before I knew it, the shark was on the back of the boat and we were tipping back-n-forth and slowly taking on water - soon it was all over, I was in the water.  Luckily for me, pond sharks usually only attack watercraft.  Once I recovered my hat (my glasses somehow stayed on), the shark calmed down and helped me to right the kayak.  In gratitude, I towed her back to the dock.  If you look closely, you'll see two heads in the water - Jordan looks like he's attacking us but he's really helping us out. 

Thankfully I had a change of clothes and we spent the rest of the night playing games and attempting to play music. 
Today I began to deal with the weeds in the garden, mowing the grass that's roughly shin-level and harvesting the last of my radishes.  I did manage to find some ripe red and black raspberries. I think I'll eat them with a chocolate covered ice cream bar later today.
Now that I'm feeling like an old lady, I'm going to go post garden pictures on facebook and then take a nap, mow or actually do some work.  ta ta

Saturday, July 10, 2010


This is the registration sticker from Kenny the rental car that we used while Consuela was in time out due to her temper-ature tantrum in VA. 

Good thing we didn't do anything to get pulled over or we may have been in a whole heap of trouble!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

road trip recap (uno)

Meals: $162.58

Souvenirs: $1,203 (rental car + new radiator for non-rental car)

Tolls: $60

Spending 8 days in the car with your BFF: priceless

Having safely arrived back in Wollaston - we are in the process of catching up on our posts. This post has three parts titled: "things that suck", "things that don't suck" and "essential questions".

part one: things that suck

108 degrees outside while dealing with a cracked radiator in 4th of July traffic on I64 in Newport News VA

vaccuum cleaners

cash only establishments that fix cars

wideload trucks

rainbow twizzlers


a 93 degree apartment


people with straws

part two: things that don't suck

the Zingraff Thomas family, the Ryan Clan, the Pulliam family, the Waldron Koloff collective and the McKenna Egbert family.

Listening to the Boss sing "Born in the USA" in NJ

shimmy shake shimmy shake

cherry twizzlers

a personal bag carrying sherpa

a personal drink sherpa

free meals (and complementary adult beverages)

pop-up books

curious children

neighborhood 4th of July parades

The Deadliest Catch ( just to be clear this is on KBWs list not CLCs)

free laundry (but "Free Willy" sorta sucks)

Richard (aka 'Dick') the Tom Tom (except when he wouldn't shut up - then he goes in the other category)

part three: essential questions

What, do you think I'm stupid?

What's a footlocker?

Why do you think you don't see any of my college friends here?

Is ice a condiment?

What ring is your hand on?

And lastly:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Banjos & Brastraps Game

Throughout the trip there have been several interesting things said -- can you guess who said what - Carrie or Kristina?

If you say that one more time I'll hit you in the head with this GPS! (that's an easy one if you read the blog)
I don't care where you stop, I just need to get out of this car!
What would you do if I threw up all over you?
What would you do if I cut off your head?
Who would put BBQ pig on an Acura?
Just in case you are a little sleepy, the speed limit is 65 and you're only going 60.
What would you do if I fell asleep at the wheel?
After you climb over the front seat, how do you get back?
Consuela needs a time out!

Are you going to stay up with us all night?
If by all night you mean until 11pm then count me in!

A 2 cent raise again?
For what?
That’s why I buy the forevers.
Yeah, but they’re ugly.
I don’t care, I’m not getting jacked around by the post office.

We're HOT -- but not in a good way!

After leaving Norfolk, we headed to Fairfax Station, VA to see one of Kristina’s friends from when she was an undergraduate back in MN many moons ago. The traffic was horrendous and Consuela (the Saab) decided that she needed a break from all the travels and I watched with alarm as the temperature gauge went up. After pulling off the highway we used our 1/2 jug of water to try to cool the car down which worked for about 10 minutes. We considered buying coolant, but decided it wasn’t the right kind and tried to continue to Pep Boys. When the TomTom tried to make us get back on the highway we pulled into the Citgo/Piggi Mart to see what they thought and to strategize the next move. The folks at PRS Auto Repair said there was a hole in the radiator and that it would take at least $550 to fix it and not until Wednesday and they would need $350 in cash to even begin - at this point Kristina said "Remember Suze Orman said there'd be days like this". Needless to say we called the Saab hotline and found a dealer 9 miles away and made our way there. As we pulled into the dealership Consuela was very hot and angry and even lit up her ! sign to warn us that she was not happy. So arriving safely we left her there to be fixed and continued on our journey with Kenny the rental Chevy Cavalier. Hopefully Consuela will enjoy hanging out with her peeps at the Saab dealer and will be better soon. We made ourselves feel better by getting ½ price Cherry Limeades at Happy Hour at the local Sonic – yum – although they didn’t give us any cherries in the drink which bummed us out.

A Tale of 2 July 4th Celebrations

We celebrated the 4th in both Cary, NC and Norfolk, VA. After waking up at Kim and Drew's house, we went to a celebration sponsored by the social committee in the Cary, NC neighborhood we were staying in that day. The celebration was in the cul-de-sac with a kiddie parade, ice cream and tattoos - our friend Kim is head of the social committee. Kristina was in charge of working the crowd and I was in charge of placing the patriotic tattoos on the crowd. Below is a picture of Kristina with her new friend Rose.

After that we headed off to Norfolk, VA to see Linda, Chris and Ella Rea. At this celebration we went to a neighborhood picnic where the locals were playing corn hole. We brought Ella Rea some tattoos from the other party -- here she is with them and her Cars pjs.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Musings of a 4 year old

On our journey we've been able to stay with friends who have kids. A couple of nights ago we stayed at Chez Ryan and spent time conversing with the 4 year old in the house. Here were some of my favorite exchanges and what I learned....

Favorite color: PINK!

Favorite song: Twinkle, Twinkle -- no wait The Hot Dog Song which goes something like this -- "Two little hot dogs laying in a pan, one hot dog said it's getting hot in here, the other hot dog said ahhh that's a talking hot dog! After singing this she told me to tell my mom -- who she thought was Kristina.

The only gymnastics she knows are somersaults - that's it!

Her fish are named lettuce and apple. There's also Lucky - when asked what happened to Lucky Jr. she said, "oh, he died a long time ago" but we have information that suggests that it really was Lucky who died.

She has a stuffed bunny named vanilla. She likes to brush her and told us that she doesn't scream much.

And she loves the Girl Scouts because they have a cup that changes color when you put milk in it.

One of her new favorite things is yogurt (this is explained when her face is about 3 inches from yours) that tastes like orange popscicles - but it's YOGURT! You can get it at Harris Teeter although her Mom said Target.

Finally, I can be her friend if I buy a pop-up book, but I shouldn't spend all my money on it because as she said, that's just not smart.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

better than pop-tarts or cheerios

We forgot to note our fabulous breakfast at Le Farm Bakery today. We highly recommend this cafe in Cary NC. We both had a dish with the word 'Madame' in the title. It consisted of homebaked bread, ham, gruiere and two fried eggs on top - very fresh and yummy.
ps. Mardi Gras

Chez Ryan

We've been having a grand time with the Ryans and other pals in the Raleigh-Apex-Sanford NC area.

Carrie with Lee Anne and Tia after dinner at Daniels

One of the highlights yesterday was having yummy local ice cream - between the four of us we had mint chocolate chip, coffee, black cherry and coconut nut. Clearly we're on vacation since the first thing I'm noting is food. Oh, and the weather is totally beautiful here right now.

Kristina with David and Lucy

In addition to all this visiting, we have multiple new phrases to shout out - here's the story of two of them.

We were hanging out with a few of our friends as one of their Mom's is ill and they were telling us a story about the impact of the meds and her illness on her mind. When she was in the hospital she was halucinating a little bit and one night was singing. The songs are all church songs - she's been singing in the same choir for a long time. While she was singing she suddenly stopped and shouted "Kenny!" and then kept singing. Of course my friend was confused as they don't know anyone named Kenny. We weren't sure if this was the Kenny on South Park but guess it's probably someone different.

She kept singing and then just stopped and started knitting (mind you she didn't have anything to knit with). This went on for a short while and then she started singing again. Sometime later she stopped and talked about needing to go help one of her daughters - in a very concerned way. This was a little distressing to my friend but she felt better when her Mom relaxed and returned to singing. As things settled down her Mom suddenly shouted in a very excited way: Mardi Gras!!!

Of course we couldn't resist randomly shouting Mardi Gras in the middle of our conversation that evening and sometime over dinner my friend just blurted out: "Balloon Boy". Needless to say we are now adopting these two phrases to intersperse (sp?) throughout our conversations.

Today Carrie is going to the wedding which prompted this whole gypsy adventure. We also leave Chez Ryan for another sweet friends' home just down the road from us. I am going to [shout here: Balloon Boy!] do some work while she's at the wedding and perhaps pop into a bookstore.

Clearly not too much to report except having fun with [time to yell: Mardi Gras! here] friends, eating good food and relaxing a bit.

Future post to look forward to which we guarantee is way more [Balloon boy!] interesting than this one: "Musings of a Four-Year Old".

Ailment update: in addition to new bruises from running into things at friends' houses, the poison ivy is growing and now a cold sore has started.

ta ta for now "Mardi Gras!"

Friday, July 2, 2010

We made it!

After numerous hours in the car, several changes of control over the music, and a night in VA with the Zingraff-Thomas family, we made it to NC. So far on the trip here are some things that we have learned:

1. You should always eat somewhere with truthful advertising - we may check this out later to rate it's yumminess...

2. If you have an ugly roof with stains there is a company out there that can help you regain your status in the neighborhood ---

3. If you turn the seat warmer on because it's cold when you leave you should try to remember to turn it off when it starts to get warm -- otherwise your BFF might think she's having a hot flash when it's 85 degrees outside and she is now sitting in the seat - which I have to admit was pretty darn funny.

4. Some states take refreshments more seriously than others, the picture below is one where we feel they hit the mark --

5. Chick-fil-a did not in fact buy out all the Panera Bread restaurants in an evil plot to get us lost everytime we looked for one.
And finally ..
6. In the great Mt. Jackson demolition derby when you pit a Saab against a rock wall -- the Saab can make it out alive with only a minor bumper scratch.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

i wanna get on the road.....

we got people waiting for us for dinner, if you type this into that blog i'm going to kick you under the table.

help! i'm being assaulted at panera bread somewhere near Richmond VA - send an ambulance or beer or something.....

{"you shouldn't put that on the internet, someone might think you're serious or something" - insert heavy impatient sigh here}

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I stand (well actually, sit) corrected.

So the mighty Dr. C. returned from teaching her last class of the summa' and corrected my minor errors on the first blog.

1. The place we went to is the Dairy FREEZE not Dairy Treat (as is found in Minnesota). As a good sociologist, she of course provided evidence for her claim (notice foto on right).

Dairy treat is very different. I looked for a picture but couldn't find one. I did find a picture of one of the butter head sculptures that happen at the Great Minnesota State Fair every year. Princess Kay of the Milky Way and her court get their heads sculpted in butter. When the fair is over they get to keep them and offen the butter is consumed at some kind of big deal picnic or something.
2. The quote was actually (and this is better than what I posted - really, it is - just let us know what you think): "The ice cream is melting and running down my thigh."
3. There we some random grammar things but she's making dinner and I want to go back to working and watching the "Deadliest Catch" while I still have access to cable.
Assuming we have access to internet, more will follow at some point.

Snack list update: in addition to pretzels, carrots, an apple, some cheese & ham something, yummy organic cheese crackers, honey candy, trail mixes and some other stuff, we now have vanilla sugar wafers and twizzlers. We'll be able to get to VA just powered on the sugar alone. Good thing we're having tofu spring rolls for dinner.

And so it begins

Carrie and I are often joking around about 1) our friendship ("how are they bffs?") and 2) the amusing things that we encounter together so today we decided that since we sometimes feel like our adventures are similar to a reality show that we'd enter the world of blogging so our techno pals who have run out of things to do can see what we're up too. Plus it helps me to feel a bit less antiquated since I don't text or have a cell with a camera on it and currently still use a paper planner - which tends to sit on my desk - at least I look organized.

This all happened when we were having some ice cream at the Dairy Treat - which I think was in Milton or Quincy. Nice metal sign with someone in a parka eating icecream. The place sold hot dogs, clam something or others and sides included rice pilaf if one didn't want onion rings, french fries or mozerella sticks. It had festive teal/bluey and lime green colored strips, a painting of a polar bear in flip flops and funky lettering.

Best quote taken out of context: "My ice cream is melting and sticking to my thighs".

More soon - if we can make this thing work properly. - k