Tuesday, May 31, 2011


It is that time of the year. Fiddleheads!


Before I moved to New England I had never ever heard of fiddleheads. But here local farmers markets have them every year, so a few years ago I started eating them and have enjoyed them yearly ever since. They don't taste very strongly but are a cool way to celebrate that spring is here!
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Fear of Vampires?

This sign found at a Starbucks in my weekend travels. It makes me wonder.


Are they worried about vampires coming in? There are no strings of garlic hanging around though. Werewolves then? But they would have mentioned something about the full moon. Intriguing sign it is. Anybody else with ideas?
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Monday, May 30, 2011

Sick Kiddo

Erik has been home sick on and off with stomach aches. I couldn't resist this picture of him and the cat sleeping together on the couch. The cat is so happy every time he stays home because Erik will lay down with him instead of running around like I do.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

First Day Gardening!

Today it finally stopped raining long enough for us to make it over to our community garden.


We worked on getting the soil ready for planting and planted a few seedlings, not much yet. For now some Korean cucumber, Korean peppers, Korean chives, and marigolds for colour and insect deterrent. Erik planted some of his flowers, disco flames.


Everyone pitched in and enjoyed working in the dirt.





It looked much better in the end than it did when we started.


Afterwards, we went to the playground to play, almost right next to the garden. What a wonderful Sunday it was! I guess now I want some more rain to help with the newly planted seedlings. Looking at the weather forecast, it looks like I will get my wish ^^

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The Music of Public School

I had been homeschooling for almost 18 years before I decided to put the kids in public school. Although there were good reasons for that decision, there also was grief and mourning on my part about all the things that weren't and wouldn't be.


Over the last years there have been good things about public school and things I don't care for (homework for one) but there also have been unexpected benefits. One of the benefits has been the way my kids have been enmeshed in band, singing and drama. It's not like it would have been impossible to do that while homeschooling, it just is a lot easier to get a bigger group of kids together for chorus or band when there are so many of them stuck in one building.


Dawn has really enjoyed chorus and drama and has been branching out in helping with the costuming for the high school and junior high plays. Jane played in band and now has joined chorus. In addition she played in the junior high school play. Kate enjoys band. The younger ones sing in less formal choruses and regularly get to go on stage at school during their weekly 'morning sing' and Erik at our local opera house.


I grew up with a lot of music (most of it outside of school though). I played the recorder in elementary school, and switched to the violin when I turned 12 years old. The violin enabled me to play in orchestras and for many years I was an active orchestra member, traveling to all kinds of exciting locations and having tons of fun.


I am happy to see that my kids are enjoying music and drama as much as I did when I was a child. These pictures are from one of the performances at our local opera house in which Dawn and Jane were singing. It is hard to get good pictures with the low light, but at least you get a taste of the ambiance.


Finding music in unexpected places and tremendously enjoying it!

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rainy Day

This morning I got all my kids to a variety of birthday parties and then it was time to go geocaching. Only it was dark and rainy and yucky and I was sure it was going to rain all day and how could we have fun in the rain and maybe I could talk flyingfisher into not going geocaching after all even if we hadn't really been out all winter.


I called her and was all ready to unanimously decide not to go geocaching and instead do exciting things like laundry and dishes and cleaning up the house. Since we all know that that is way more fun than caching.


Gah, she sounded like she actually WANTED to go caching still! I hummed and hawed, she was all upbeat.
Me 'Did you check the weather forecast?'
flyingfisher 'Nah, that's always wrong anyway.'
Me 'It might rain!'
flyingfisher 'That's ok, I have rain coats and umbrellas and it will be just fine.'
Me 'but...'
flyingfisher 'I'll be over in 20 minutes.'

Oh, ok...


I hung up the phone and it started raining! Ah, now she would be convinced. Heck, it didn't just rain, it POURED! The heavens opened and released tons of water on our heads. No way we could go geocaching in that! I patiently waited for her phone call to cancel.


Well... No phone call, but she showed up anyway and we went out caching. On the way there, not only did it stop raining but the SUN came out!


It didn't take long before I realized that I was having a wonderful time and I don't know why I didn't want to go caching in the first place. I loved being outside, and I realized I should have brought binoculars since there were some birds I couldn't really make out that well. Hmmm, maybe a birding book would have been good too.


We only had one DNF (Did Not Find) which turned out to be missing, so it wasn't because we are lousy cachers.


We were out the whole afternoon and early night and found thirteen caches. Did I mention that going out caching was the perfect thing to do today and who cares about a clean house anyway?

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Getting Ready for my Garden

I hope to sell my house this summer and to buy a new house, but this is majorly interfering with my gardening. Luckily I found out about local community gardens, signed up and got myself a plot! I had started some plants from seed already, now it just needs to stop raining so I could actually PLANT them.


At the moment I put the seedlings outside when there is sun, but have been taking them in for the thunderstorm downpours. Darkness was so happy when I took them in. 'How nice that you built a garden for me, right in the living room!'
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Friday, May 20, 2011

New Tea House in Town

Our town had super exciting news. The video rental place had gone out of business but good things were happening in that building. The signs went up for a TEA HOUSE! Woohoo! Our very own local tea house! I had imagined it as a quiet zen-like garden, people sipping tea, maybe eating some light ramyen or rice snacks. Soft music would be playing, and the most important decision would be whether to choose the sencha or maybe the gyokuro green tea or was I feeling more oolong-y today? (why doesn't may spell checker know the word oolongy?)

Not only was there going to be tea, but if we were really lucky there could be mah jong or even go! Yes, this was going to be the best day of my life!

I dressed up in my cute kimono, put on my dainty slippers (which got wet because of the stupid rain) and headed to the tea house with one of my friends and her young daughter.


The place showed a certain lack of zen-i-ness but I was willing to tolerate that in exchange for high quality tea.

Hmmmm, this looked awfully 'standard American Chinese' restaurant-y to me. The waitress told us that tea would be free with a meal, would we like some? Well, yes, duh!, I wasn't going to say no to tea in a TEA house, so I was all ready to discuss which of the first harvests of this year would be our best choice Tough luck I had, the free tea was exactly one choice.

She brought us one of those ugly metal tea pots, but nice tea cups to go with them, so we poured ourselves some tea, ready for a heart warming drink. I smelled it first, just like any good tea connoisseur would and thought I might, far in the distance, like at the other side of the mountain, just past the boy and his sheep, detect a hint of green tea. I was still willing to blame my spring allergies for the lack of good smell, even if it was raining cats and dogs, but who
knows, maybe I am allergic to them too.

Time for the first sip. Politeness prevented me from spitting it up, getting up angrily, ranting about how horrible this tea was (also because my Chinese is not really up to that yet anyway) so I swallowed it and started talking with my friend how much we enjoyed our tea. Only she didn't either. We both agreed that the tea was WAY too weak, and not very well steeped and didn't taste like good quality tea anyway. My gut feeling was that they must have used BOILING water
to steep this green tea instead of water at the proper green tea temperature. Amateurs!

My friend was still willing to give them another chance and asked whether there were other teas available. 'Sure, let me get you the tea menu!' Ah. now we were talking. A tea menu! Finally a chance to see the GOOD teas instead of the one they give for free to all the peasants.

There was a grand total of FIVE items on the tea menu. FIVE! Mandarin-orange, decaf green tea, Sleepytime, spicy chai and one more which I don't remember. Geez. Tea house they call themselves. She chose the mandarin orange and it didn't take long before it arrived.

Hmmmm, interesting.... Want to try it? Sure, I tried it and agreed that no , it wasn't very orangy, but yes, it was spicy. When the waitress came back, my friend asked whether she was sure she got the right tea, not the spicy chai by accident? The waiter was totally reassuring 'Oh no, don't worry, it is the right kind for sure! I put in the Keurig cup myself! It said mandarin orange on the top!'

I died. KEURIG tea???? the ones in the ugly cups that doesn't allow the tea to actually STEEP? What can I say but that this was our first AND last visit to this particular tea house.

Even if their sushi wasn't bad.
Even if they had frogs and pig ears on the menu
Even if tea is the staple of my life.
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Bike Time


It has been raining a LOT, but in between all the showers we have been able to get some biking in.


What I love about our street is that a busy day means that we see three cars. Usually it is less than that, so it is a very safe place for the kids to practice their biking.


It is excellent and fun exercise and they can spend quite some time biking back and forth and back and forth. I am looking forward to moving closer to town so we will be at the rail trail where we could actually bike somewhere else than in the street.


Sylvia is learning how to ride a two wheeler and hasn't succeeded yet.


From experience I know it won't be long before things 'click' and she will be pedaling like a pro.


For now Jane and the other kids are helping her.


Of course, this last week has been rain and more rain, so not much biking going on. Hopefully the rain will clear up soon!



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Root Beer Float

On Mother's Day our local ice cream parlor opened for the season. It is the most popular place in town.


Erik's favorite always is a rootbeer float , but this time Sylvia also decided that she wanted one.


It took her quite a while to eat, but she enjoyed every bite.


Kate took these pictures.






Here is to a long and hot summer with many visits to the icecream parlor!


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