Thursday, October 29, 2009

Carving pumpkins

We love Halloween.


We love pumpkin guts.
hall1


hall2

halll3


Tomorrow is going to be complete insanity.

There is another island visiting us in the morning for a friendly Cross Country meet.

Then, the grown-ups (and I use the term loosely) will put the finishing touches on the Haunted Hayride setup...

and the Halloween Party begins at 6pm. Hayrides begin at 7.
And the second, bigger-kid-scarier-hayride ends when all the body parts have been collected...

bwahahahahahahhhhaaa!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Can't believe my eyes.


This is a Rube Goldberg experiment to the 10th power!

My brain cannot wrap itself around the process of making this happen, but it sure is amazing to watch!




Thank You, Helen, for sharing this!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Frenchboro Follies

In the blooper reel that is my life...this is one of the top 10.

Reason #4 for Marissa NOT to leave the island:

ferry-dangling
(photo edited to add author credit only)

This one is not technically ours as it happened in Bass Harbor, but my-oh-my, it's just too classic not to share!

This little mishap occurred at the beginning of October. That large truck (full of luscious lobsters) pushed the ferry boat away from the ramp while it was driving onto the ramp.
It dangled there for four hours awaiting a crane to get it back on solid ground.

Thank goodness, nobody was hurt(except the drive shaft on the truck).
We will tell this tale for years to come!

p.s. Can you imagine ME driving off when that happened??!!?? My scream would STILL be reverberating, a month later!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Always an Adventure

I am going off Sunday morning. One of my favorite Uncles has passed away, and I need to be with my family.


And Mother Nature hates me.

Marine Forecast:

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 8 AM EDT THIS MORNING THROUGH
SUNDAY MORNING


TODAY
SE WINDS 15 TO 25 KT WITH GUSTS UP TO 30 KT...BECOMING S
20 TO 30 KT WITH GUSTS UP TO 40 KT THIS AFTERNOON. SEAS 2 TO 4
FT...BUILDING TO 7 TO 10 FT THIS AFTERNOON. RAIN. PATCHY FOG THIS
AFTERNOON. VSBY 1 TO 3 NM...DECREASING TO 1 NM OR LESS THIS
AFTERNOON.

(ohmygod)


TONIGHT
S WINDS 25 TO 35 KT...INCREASING TO 30 TO 40 KT AFTER
MIDNIGHT. GUSTS UP TO 45 KT. SEAS 9 TO 12 FT...BUILDING TO 10 TO 14
FT AFTER MIDNIGHT. RAIN. PATCHY FOG. VSBY 1 NM OR LESS.

(ohsweetjesus)


SUN
W WINDS 25 TO 30 KT...DIMINISHING TO 15 TO 20 KT IN THE
AFTERNOON. SEAS 8 TO 11 FT...SUBSIDING TO 5 TO 8 FT IN THE
AFTERNOON. SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE MORNING WITH VSBY 1 TO 3 NM.

(hopefully, by afternoon they mean 'around 7am', when we must depart.)

3-5 foot seas are my max.
15 knot winds, depending on the direction, is all I can handle.

I will be heavily medicated. How many tranquilizers will it take to get me across??
Stay tuned....

Friday, October 23, 2009

What to do on a cold and dreary weekend


93 perfect little meatballs....

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does not a 7 quart pot of chicken soup make.

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No, not at all.
So I took out more chicken, and the 15 quart pan, and began again.
You wouldn't think 4 people could eat 15 quarts of chicken soup with little meatballs and tortellini in 3 days, would you?

Well, you would be wrong.

Now, a smart person would have used half of those lovely little meatballs in something else.
Some stroganoff, perhaps...or maybe just took the easy way out, and froze half for some quick dinner some rushed weekday night.
That's what a smart person would do. But I had my sights set on chicken soup, and chicken soup I made. Lots of it.
And all was right with the world.




And then look what I found!


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My sock mojo!
Turns out, it was hiding in the stash. I know! Always the last place you look.

I was drowning my sorrow at not being able to attend Rhinebeck (despite my repeated pleas and protests, they will not change the date for me) by dumping the entirity of my stash out on the floor and rolling around in it nekkid perusing the stash.
Oh my.
There is alpaca in there I'd forgotten about. Some cashmere. (Where in the world did that come from, I wonder?) And so, so much more!
And Pirate Yarn. I hoard Pirate Yarn like a squirrel hoards nuts.
I love almost all yarn, and ANY hand dyed is guaranteed to be loved in my house...but Pirate Yarn? It is my Most Favorite, I Will Do Most Anything To Have It yarn.
(I had to add the 'Most' because The Big Guy checks in here sometimes, and I don't want him getting any ideas.)

And the stash made me feel oh-so-much better about not being able to run off to New York to meet up with my many imaginary internet friends and see Ysolda and Gundrun, and Joe, and Casey and Jess, and Karen, and Cara...

grrrr.

It was a windy and blustery and rainy weekend here in Maine, and I made a vat of chicken soup, and welcomed my boys back from their loooong moose hunting trip and did lots and lots o'laundry, and was so so glad to have been sucked into this once again:


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Ah, yes. That is the Mystery Sock '09 from Kirsten at Through The Loops.

I did this last year, and loved the way the pattern was broken down into 4 weeks. No pressure to finish the whole thing at once- just little bits.
This pattern, like last year's is AWESOME.
She's taught me to break apart the elements of a sock, and mix and match pattern pieces.
No more, 'that's a cool sock, tell me exactly what you did so I may re-create it', for me!

The bad part: that is Noro up there. You knew that from the colors, I'm sure.
While I love me some Noro in worsted, I am NOT loving the Noro sock.
My OCD is in high gear, with this thick-thin crap going on. Some places it's as thick as worsted (not kidding), some places are thinner than broomstick lace. I'm afraid to even breathe on it.
Don't know how the whole sock will fare, but I've turned the heel, and am ready to pick up for the gusset.
Can't beat the colors though, can ya?

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Then came that stash dive. And all that Pirate Yarn. That yummy colored, perfectly- even BFL.
And there was this:
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Hard Cider. Yeah, baby.
Who can resist those colors? Not me!


And in a burst of sock- passion not previously known, I cast on for a second pair.
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I do not own a single skein of solid colored sock yarn. Not one kettle dyed skein.
Not even a tonal skein. (Though I did have some, and used it.)

I love me the hand dyed stuff, and do not so much care that the lovely, intricate, painstakingly thought out pattern I am using will never be seen by anyone but me (and those whose face I shove my socked foot in).
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I leave you with this knowledge:
I am knitting four socks, at the same time, magic loop.
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It must be Fall!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mail Bag


Dear Friend Woolymama,
Please, please, for the love of God, do NOT tell my husband about your trip to Sam's Club in your newly acquired bus.
Please do not mention how there was ample room aboard for all your necessities, and still room left over for the kids. (What was that like?)
Whatever you do, please do not mention having room for a woodstove, along with all the groceries.
And do not let on that all of your purchases made it home dry, without aid of tarps which peel off on the highway and drag behind you, leaving shreds of their plastic selves for miles and miles.
The reason for my concern is that our vehicles are getting bigger and bigger. I keep saying 'He'll have me in an 18-wheeler before it's all over.'
Should he hear about this bus-thing, I'm done-for.
Just the fact that things are put 'aboard' will have his antennae perked up.
No good can come of this; no good, I tell you.
You can, however send over one of those incredible 'Breakfast Pies'. That would be well-received!
Thanks,
Marissawhoneedstoconquerpiecrustbecausesheisdyingforpumpkinpie



Dear friend Bella*,
I don't know how much longer I can go on calling you 'friend' when you so viciously fill your website with recipes, and worse, pictures of the cooked items. I mean, I thought we were amici, seeing as you cook in the same manner I do; grabbing readily available ingredients and throwing them together in simple ways that show off their best attributes. I liked that about you from the start.
But I see now that it was just a ploy to charm me under your spell. And now, when you make something I do not have the ingredients for...I'm a wreck. I can attribute at least 5 pounds of each thigh to you. (I don't have time to list the parties responsible for the other 482 pounds of each thigh.)
Sigh...those shrimp avocado sandwiches we ate all summer in my home made hot dog rolls....all your fault. Not mine, surely not mine.
And now you've sucked me into your It's-OK-To-Be-Obsessed-With-Nutella eating world, and all I can think about is home made pasta and how much more basil I will have to grow next year to keep up with our demands.
I have to go. I have some mushrooms that need to be cooked, and they are saying something about pesto and pizza they saw on your blog last night.
Trying hard not to resent you,and trying harder to avoid nutella right out of the jar,
Marissa
*ps. I know your name is Paula, but to me you are, and will always be, Bella. Ciao, Bella!


My Dearest 'Manda,
I know you mean well, cooking and baking up a storm as you do. I know you probably can't help yourself, feeling the need to create wondrous meals each and every day, and luscious, innovative desserts. And I totally understand the compelling need to share that goodness with the world, believe me, I really do...
But.
That's my problem.
Butt. The side effect of all this yummy stuff is my bee-hind. My pants would like to ask you to slow down, please. They are stretched to their maximum stretchitude, and are making an audible sigh of relief upon removal at the end of the day.
We implore you, please slow down. Like maybe two awesome recipes a week, that would be good. Because at the current rate there aren't enough days in the year to try all the good things you come up with, and I'm starting to cave under the pressure. Or expand, as the case may be.
Thanks,
Marissaandhertootightpants


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Organized Sports on Frenchboro!


Our very small school held it's very first Cross Country Running meet today.

Those of you who live in the real world cannot understand the importance of this event for us, having multiple opportunities to expose your kids to sports and classes.
One of the things we sacrifice in order to live on this island is the ability to participate in dance, karate, or gymnastics classes. Football, baseball, softball, hockey...we try, but in order to make a 'team', all ages must play. Most times, we don't have enough kids in grades k-8 to make a whole team, let alone two.
And lets face it, an 8th grader playing baseball against a 1st grader isn't much of a sports challenge. (Unless it's Elijah!)

So we do what we can, with what we have.

This year, our teachers focused on running. Awesome!

It was a huge hit with the kids.

So our teachers asked a school from a neighboring island to join us on Frenchboro for some healthy competition. There were five students from Isle au Haut.
The Sunbeam, a boat belonging to the Maine SeaCoast Mission, brought the Isle au Haut kids over through some nasty weather.

The first race was k-2. There were three kids (all Frenchboro's), and they each won a medal. They did a great job!

Here is the second group of racers lining up, the 3rd and 4th graders.
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And they're off!
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They ran .8 miles. It didn't take them long.

Coming in for the finish...
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You just know he's saying "No WAY I'm gettin' beat by a GIRL!"

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But he did.


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Thing One was in 4th place!


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She was a little bummed not to medal, but took it well. (Ah..the importance of competition:learning to lose gracefully. Something Frenchboro has lacked for a lot of years.)



The big dudes: grades 5-8. Should be some competition here!

Lining up:
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These guys ran 1.8 miles. They were back in 13 minutes. I couldn't do that with a snot-spraying bull hot on my heels.

But this guy could. And did.
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lookit him go!


After all the runners caught their collective breath, Mr. Finn presented awards.
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Little Miss was proud as a peacock to have placed 3rd. Ten bucks says she sleeps in that thing.


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There they are: the K-2 team. Pretty darn happy.
(Thing Two would have run with this group, but he is off with The Big Guy on a moose hunt!)

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You'll have to take my word for it, but that's Thing One under that hood, receiving her ribbon for 4th place. We've hung it in her room.

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The 3rd and 4th grade Team, in all their glory. Miss P on the right took first place.


Speedy Gonzalez, who placed first in the 5-8th grade race.
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Our twins were 2nd and third, respectively. I'd tell you their names, but I can't tell you which is which. They routinely switch hats to trip me up. One had a cast on recently, so I was really 'on my game' for a bit...but he got it off the other day. I'm sunk; they'll be back to their old hi-jinks.
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Little Sister wanted in on the action!

Following the awarding of medals and ribbons, Mr. Finn had trophies to bestow.
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Frenchboro won the trophy for Most Medals. They won first, second, and third place in all three races. Way to go kids!

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You think he had a good time?
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Isle au Haut won the Sportsmanship Trophy. they did a great job, too.
They were blown away by our three very steep hills! We had an edge we didn't know about!

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We all headed to school for a celebratory lunch.
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And, hopefully, later, there will be a little nap! (I can dream.)
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Next week, we will do it again with Isleford school.

Many thanks to the Sunbeam for providing transportation back and forth between the islands. It is a nightmare of planning to coordinate ferry schedules and car rides.
We are so very thankful to the Mission for helping us gather the island kids together!

This guy hasn't made it to Kindergarten yet (much to his chagrin), but was right in the thick of things.
Today, he was hunting moose.*
With a bow, no less.
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Oh, be still my achin' uterus.
I can only take small doses of this kid, because I start taking a mental inventory of baby paraphernalia in my attic, and thinking things like, 'if I conceive in March, I'll be due in....'

If he goes missing, you should probably check my house first.


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I don't remember what I did as a city kid at this age.
Here's what our kids do. They build forts, and teepees.
This one is right across from the Post Office, so I see them working on it a lot. It used to be composed of discarded metal, old lawn chairs, sharp, nasty things.
They were instructed to find other, less tetanus- inducing materials.
This looks way more authentic.

Any day now I expect I'll look out to see a moose hide thrown over top of it and them living in it.
Better than drugs, I say.

*While we do currently have two moose visiting the island, we are not able to hunt them here, season or not. You must have a special lottery-drawn moose permit, and hunt in specified zones. Our moose have nothing to fear from this particular bow!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Cormorant Buddy

I'm not much of a 'bird' person, but I was avoiding an unpleasant task, and saw this dude perched on a spiling. When I walked closer, he didn't move. I got a bit closer. He stayed.

He's a Cormorant. A Shag, as they're known around here.
(DownEast, they call them Shitpokes. And only they could tell you why.)

I stared at him. I don't think I've ever been this close before.
He watched me, watching him.
And played up to the camera, just like my kids do.


(This particular Shag has a British accent. I don't know why. He just does.)
(And it's not one of those Aristocratic British Accents, it's a cockney British accent. I don't much go for the whole haughty crowd. I like 'em Real. I wouldn't have played with this dude if he sounded snooty.
Just how I roll...)
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Wall, 'Ello, luv.
Taikin' pictures, are ya?

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'Ere...get me good side.


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Blimey, may'se well get me bad side, too, then.

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And the High Lord Rochester pose, luv.
Must've that one, as well.

Thanks for playing Mr. Shag.

I think it's clear that I will do anything to stay away from re-certifying my X-ray License. Sigh.


Edited to add: I'm done re-certifing. This was from last week. It made me laugh all over again, and as a bonus, the sun was out and it looks warm, something I am missing right now!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Things I've learned:

...while studying to recertify my X-ray licenses...


  • 1 in 8 women will develop some version of breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • This is an increase, because for years I've been citing 1 in 9. Unless the seven articles related to breast health I read all used the same source (unlikely) or all seven sources were wrong (also unlikely). Disturbing news.
  • The Human Genome Project blows my mind. And I don't know what to make of the moral/ethical aspect of it. If you test positive for a gene, do you act upon that knowledge? And what if the dude who performed your test was high (because, as Mr. Hand says, everyone is on dope.)?? Can the results truly be trusted?
  • What the hell is up with Autism? 1 in 150 children? And we aren't sure why? What DO these researchers do all day?? (Yeah, that IS a slam to those much-coveted research fellowship positions the Harvard boys clawed for back in the day.)
  • And diabetes? Want to hear the coolest, cutting-edge treatment being investigated right now? Transplanting pancreatic islet cells to make your own insulin. This could be HUGE. My hands shook while I researched the implications of that. Hats Off to the dude who pulls THAT off! If it works, it'll be the biggest advancement in medicine since penicillin, if only for the sheer number of people who will benefit. Wow.
  • And, a bad choice of class for me was Shaken Baby syndrome: Diagnosis and Treatment. I research stuff like this, and want to pass legislation that requires all females to be sterilized, and have to pass a test to be allowed to breed. (We collectively came up with that idea on the weekend night shift at Mass General Hospital. It was inspired by some of the beauties who rolled through our EW doors. They were the ones who needed a shake, not the babies.)
Now that I'm all edumacated, I get to go back to the sock from Kirsten's blog.
It's the perfect cold, rainy day to curl up with a sock, while wearing a sock (or two), and dreaming of yet more socks.

And chocolate. It's a good day for chocolate.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I MUST share!

A reminder (as if I need one) of what I'm in for with Thing One in just a few short years.



Though I don't see my daughter knitting one. She makes more money lobsterfishing than I do at the post office.

send help.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

How to lower your blood pressure, instantly:

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Yup.
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Oh, yeah.
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That'll get the knots out of yer rope.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Birthday Wishes

SOMEBODY had a birthday last week.


And that SOMEBODY wanted cheesecake for dessert.

But not chocolate cheesecake, my first thought.
Not pumpkin cheesecake, my second.
Not even turtle cheesecake (drool), my third.
Not Bailey's, or Amaretto! Not lemon!

No, SOMEBODY had to have PLAIN cheesecake.
really? plain?

So I made a plain cheesecake. I tried to add to it every step of the way, but SOMEBODY was undeterred.

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I added pizzazz to the rest of ours before eating.
The home made caramel sauce was perfect!

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Happy Birthday, Tammy!