Sunday, June 28, 2009

We Had a Tornado!

It was a dark and stormy night (god, I love snoopy) though it wasn't supposed to be. I don't think any rain was even predicted! But as New England goes, the weatherfolks don't have a clue and storms can blow in and out real quick. So I see the sky get dark and the wind starts to blow. Two doors in our house SLAM shut and the carbon monoxide detector flies off the wall and the electricity dims, then brightens, then dims and then goes out (like in a horror film). I leap up and shut all the windows as the rain starts. The wind is blowing hard and the rain is going sideways. It begins to hail and the hail is about the size of a quarter, slamming against the window and me, the idiot, standing in front of the window watching mother nature and all her fury. The storm is over in about 20 minutes, and the neighbors come out of their homes. There was no damage to our home or yard or garden (although I thought the broccoli was beheaded). But as I walked to the bottom of my driveway, I see this:I walk around some more. There is serious destruction. Live wires laying in the road, trees making major roadways impassable and some homes damaged. Our next door neighbors shingles were facing up and his tomato garden was damaged. Our other neighbors basketball hoop acted like a toy you push down and it would spring back up... onto their car. One neighbor said that our area wasn't even the worst hit and that Old Wethersfield, about 2 miles from my house, was damaged most. So the next day I investigated.
In Old Wethersfield there are hundred year old trees pushed over, trees split right down the middle, branches 5 feet in circumference broken off. The town green looks like a tornado hit. At one point a sidewalk was pulled up about 4 feet.

Look below at the bench underneath the branch. It's just totally smashed.

The destruction is amazing. It's fascinating and scary how powerful nature is. Roads are still blocked, many are still without electricity (the poles and lines are laying in the street) but the fascination is still drawing people to drive around our town green. This storm was declared a tornado as of yesterday. Truly amazing. And I was the moron standing in her window taking pictures.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

There is a Mouse in our House!

Yes, we found a mouse in our house. I’ve never knowingly seen mouse poop but I wondered when I was sweeping the cupboard under the kitchen sink if those little things were mouse poops. I assumed they were not and didn’t mention it to Dave, just put it out of my mind. I haven’t SEEN a mouse, so what’s the worry? If a little critter wants to live in our house and is not eating stuff, just leaving little poops, what am I to do about it?

So Saturday, Dave tells me he’s caught a mouse. Yes, he was in the basement and saw a mouse and put a bucket over it. So, ok, we caught a live mouse. What do we do now? I immediately told him we have to put it in the freezer. I heard that once, when you want to kill your goldfish but do it in a way that is most humane, putting it in the freezer is the best way (as far as killing living things goes). Dave looks at me and laughs- ‘put it in the freezer? I’m not putting a mouse in the freezer’. I pictured it chewing through the bag I assumed we’d put it in as well as all other freezer items before the thing froze to death in our ground turkey. So we do a little research online and find some various ways we can wring it’s neck... neither of us are doing that either. I thought of my friend Laura who once caught a mouse in her husbands bathroom and just barricaded it in there until her husband came back 10 days later to find a dead (and presumably stinky mouse) in his bathroom. I said we could just leave the bucket on it for a few days but that’d be cruel to let the little thing starve to death. But knowing how little food we have in our house, he was probably starving to death to begin with.

That’s when Dave says the little guy wasn’t doing so well. He wasn’t really moving to quickly and wasn’t hard to catch. So we go downstairs to investigate and when I arrive I have to laugh. That is no ‘bucket’ he put over this mouse but an empty 16 ounce ricotta container we use to shake sand on our steps in the wintertime. This has got to be one tiny little mouse and one that doesn’t move very quickly if you could put a ‘bucket’ that has a 5 inch circumference top over it. So I pick up the ‘bucket’ and imagine this mouse about 6 inches long, white and brown- maybe I was picturing a hamster, but a large rodent nonetheless. But nope, there is the cutest, littlest fuzzy grey mouse I have ever seen. You know, the kind you make in kindergarten with a grey puffball and a pipe cleaner as a tail? The one where you dip your thumb in grey ink to make a grey thumbprint and draw on whiskers and a tail. Yes, that cutie pie little mouse. Oh, the cute little thing. But Dave was right, the little guy wasn’t doing so well. He seemed confused and very slow moving. When we shook the ‘bucket’ he just kinda fell over.

That’s when I decided this was a ‘man’ job and asked Dave to handle this. The thing was not in good shape, the little guy was on his last legs. I know the right thing to do is to put him out of his misery but he was SO cute! So my husband, the man of the house, would ‘take care’ of it. I asked Dave to ‘take care’ of it in the back of the house, not in the front so our neighbors can’t see. Poor little guy. I hope he’s in mouse heaven where there are mounds of cheese for him.

Friday, June 19, 2009

How does it work?

Ok ok, seriously this is crazy. Mind you, I am not a complainer about the weather. Other things, yes, but weather I am not. I appreciate Mother Nature and all her fury. And this weeks has been absolutely amazing. It's been raining for about 10 days now and while there are periods of brief sun for the most part it's been foggy and/or downpouring rain.

This week Hartford felt like San Francisco (I know, it's a stretch, but let me finish). My office is prepared for the hot weather that normally blesses New England this time of year with some strong blowing FREEZING air conditioning. Ordinarily this would be fine because the sun is shining on the windows, warming up the windows and the desks adjacent to the windows (mine) so the cold breeze from the vents feels like gentle relief. However since it is 55 and raining that cold breeze causes me to put a scarf on. Yes, a scarf. In June. Yes. AND, when my shirt, sweater and scarf weren't enough, I added from my keep-colleen-warm-stash a zipup sweatshirt. So meeting a friend for coffee I was all bundled up, on a foggy afternoon we sat outside (she was in a short sleeved T) and enjoyed lunch. It felt like San Francisco for some reason. The weather, the scarf and eating outside when ordinarily it's not eat-outside-weather all reminded me of SF. It was lovely.

Except it's supposed to rain through most of the weekend and all next week too. How is this possible? Seriously, can some meteorologist please call me and remind me how precipitation works? Where in the world are all these clouds collecting all this water to rain this much? My goodness, aren't the clouds tired of all this work? Don't they just want to cruise into summer kicked back and relaxed? Maybe they are in a recession too and working overtime for the time-and-a-half pay? Or maybe Mother Nature is really upset and taking it out on those poor overworked clouds. It is truly remarkable how long it's been raining. Maybe someone needs to spin the Earth a bit so this weather lands over San Francisco, where it belongs about this time of year. Not in New England.

Doesn't Mother Nature realize I've got vegetables in my garden that need sunshine to grow. Though they are getting enough water, some of those little buggers are just waiting for the sun to come in order for them to sprout another inch or so.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


So a lot of decisions have been made in this little head of mine and those decisions feel VERY BIG in this little head of mine! It's only kind to bring you up to speed since I've blogged about these topics recently.

So, I joined Facebook. Yes, I did. I feel like a new person and it's exciting and I kinda don't get it. I know that is strange to say but I excitedly check facebook to see the updates and after I read the updates I sit and wonder what the big deal is. Did I miss the Facebook bandwagon? We'll see. But I'm on there.

And I've begun my 10k training. Sortof. I have begun mentally preparing for the first training this Saturday and have been doing a practice week of training. It's been ok. To be honest, getting into any regular workout schedule is my challenge so it's a good time for me to commit to this but the other reason for my commitment is Luke's Mom has shown interest in joining me in this training. Maybe when she's out running Luke will actually update his blog. But he's pretty busy now that he's in daycare.

So that's the scoop. Wish me luck on Saturday! Oh, and my resolutions... I've been struggling with the 'read less' resolution and the Wednesday night running group but all the others I've been doing a great job!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Weather Forecast Interpretation

How is one supposed to learn the weather? For example, this weekend the weather forecast shows little boxes with dark clouds and lightening streaks through them BUT the chance for precipitation is only 20-30%. The words under that ugly little thunderstorm picture say: Slight Chance of Thunderstorms. So if there is a 20% chance of a thunderstorm, what is the 80% chance of? Does it mean the weather is going to stink but probably won't rain/thunder? Or are the weathermen just pessimistic by focusing only on the 20% chance of badness and not the 80% chance of non-badness?

A forecast that says: slight chance of showers, with thunderstorms possible, chance of precipitation -20% without the ugly picture doesn't sound so bad. But the ugly dark cloud picture makes the weather look awful.

In New England, thunderstorms can arrive within minutes and blow out leaving cool air and warm steamy roads within 30 minutes.

So, do I go by the pictures? Or the words? Or do I just take the pessimistic view and assume weather is going to suck. Or take the bitter view and decide that the weather-folks don't have a clue what the weather is supposed to be like this weekend? I just don't know...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

So I did it... and my resolution updates

I joined facebook. Yep, I did. And I've got friends! But I don't really get it. I am so excited about being on facebook- I want to check it all the time, but after checking it, I sort of sit there and think- ok, now what... So I'm out there, for people to find me. The strange part is, I've found some people on facebook that I forgot about and some people that I've had weird falling-outs so I'm not sure if I attempt to 'friend' them, or just let them be. In my pre-facebook life I've wondered about those who I've fallen out of touch with. But assigning them a 'friend' title could be a big step. At least if people choose NOT to friend you, you don't get an email saying 'you're a loser'. that's pleasant.

So you might be wondering how I'm doing with my resolutions? Yes, I'm sure you are... and I must say, I'm quite proud of myself. Last week I was successful at meeting most of my resolutions! I ran 3 times, went to yoga 1 time and was active 6 days (including the Race for the Cure 5k). I read less, attended the farmers market, spent some time with friends and came home most days after work to drink beer... er, I mean, tend to the garden. I think I've been rather successful at my summertime resolutions. Except for that darn Wednesday night running group. Yeahhh, about that... I haven't run with the running group...

There is a bit of intimidation of this running group, especially since the mileage is 3-5 miles per run and I'm hardly making it 3 miles. I need to build up my endurance and my confidence in order to run with this group. I want to do it and I think in another week or two that confidence and endurance will come through, but I'm not quite there yet. And it is a BIG confidence smusher when you head out with a group and within the first few minutes you are left in the dust by your fellow runners.

I am considering joining a group that trains to run a 10k. It starts in a few weeks and the training is 2-3 times on your own, then a group/long run on Saturday mornings at 8am. I'm pretty sure I would not complete this challenge if attempted on my own but with a running group- perhaps... and 6.2 miles isn't too long. Those starting this program should be able to run 2-3 miles currently (hey, that's where I'm at). So I'm thinking about doing that. If anyone is interested in doing it with me, PLEASE speak up!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

to Facebook or not to Facebook, That is the question

I just don't know if I want to facebook. I've hacked into my friend's account and taken a tour of another friend's account but am still not sure... I can't access it from work (probably a good thing) but not sure if I want to spend another hour a day in front of the computer...

I do feel out of touch from lots of my friends. Many of them facebook but don't read my blog and don't send me emails. Should I take the hint? Or is facebook a way of remaining 'friends' with people while making no effort. If someone allows me to be their friend, I can monitor what they are doing/writing without them really telling me (like blogging). I wonder if reading their update or witty one liner would make me feel like I'm not so out of touch, even though nothing aside from me reading what they put on their page has changed?

Ah, I don't know. I lean toward, then away from facebook. I'm not sure I wanted to be searched and found. It's a commitment. I don't know...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Garden Tour

This weekend was amazing! I did the Race for the Cure and ran into an old friend who just so happens to work with Dave, closely. Strange how small the world is. Then we went to the Greek Festival for yummy Lunch, then babysat for Luke, then enjoyed pizza and beer with Luke's parents and their friends. Today, I slept in, relaxed and enjoyed our yard from the hammock and cut some flowers. Oh my. So I thought I'd give you a brief garden tour:

Here is our backyard (with the deck) and side yard (rose bushes):

And here are some roses and peonies from the beautiful garden. Eventually I will have hydrangeas and black eyed susans and cone flowers.

And this is my Square Foot Garden:

So in our garden is Broccoli, onions, lettuce, sugar snap peas, carrots and tomatoes. To be added are Squash, cucumbers, eggplants, bell peppers, jalepeno and strawberries. It is SO COOL to see them growing. I just hope I don't kill them.

I wish there was a way to show you everything. The pictures just don't really show what the yard is really like. I wish I could tell the former owners of our home that they did such an amazing job creating the most beautiful yard ever. I am so fortunate to have the time to enjoy it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Lovely Thursday

My, what a lovely Thursday I enjoyed.

I busted out of work at 4 (I haven't 'taken' a lunch in weeks) and hit up my old Yoga spot and did a class called Hot Yoga. This is not Bikrim Yoga (+100 degree rooms), but the room is warm (85 degrees) and it felt great to do some challenging yoga. Especially after my few days back in the workout-saddle, I was really looking forward to a Thursday morning sleep in/skip the gym and some good hot stretching. And boy did I get it. The focus was the hips which was great. But MAN my neck/shoulder is still aching and killing me.

After Yoga, since I got out early, I went to the farmers market in my town. This is thrilling because we didn't have a weekly farmers market before, only a few farm stands. I was thrilled I was able to make it. I bought some locally made goat cheese, some dill (to plant) and some quince jam. Last week we bought eggs which were yummy and the shells were harder than the store bought ones. But otherwise, tasted the same. I am thrilled about the farmers market. I hope they get more food to sell. Currently there are lots of plants, soaps, soda and yard trinkets. There are only a few places to get food. BUT, the strawberry lady said they sold out of berries in 20 minutes, so next week she's bringing a bunch. Looking forward to some strawberry treats next weekend!

I got home and guess what was in my mailbox? Yep, you guessed it, a magazine. Ugh. It wasn't my 'porn' (Cooking light), I got that earlier this week. But Bon Appetit a magazine that I enjoy, but don't freak out over. It was interesting, there are some good recipes in there but most I won't make. However, I might earmark some strawberries from the Farmers Market for a Strawberry Muddle:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups chopped hulled strawberries
6 thin lemon slices
Ice cubes
1 750-ml bottle chilled Prosecco
Stir sugar and 1/2 cup water in heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring to boil. Cool syrup.

Divide strawberries among six 6- to 8-ounce glasses; add 1 tablespoon syrup to each and mash with muddler or handle of wooden spoon. Add lemon slice to each and mash to release flavor. Add several ice cubes to each glass, then fill with Prosecco.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

amendment to the resolutions

Ok ok, so the 'going home after work and relaxing' part of my resolutions has encouraged me to take up drinking beers after work. I get home, have some time to myself and the beer starts calling to me 'hellooooo colleen! The weather is warm... why don't you sit outside in the beautiful afternoon sun, next to your beloved vegetables and relax and drink me'. And since it is asking so nicely, it is terribly rude to say no. And the beer fridge is conveniently located on the way to the deck. With some time to kill, I can have a beer or two and still get up for the gym because dinner helps sweep away any buzz from the beer. It's a tough life I live.

Although, isn't that what summer is about? Why should I amend the resolutions? And yes, two beers does give me a buzz... don't make fun of me.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

How quickly I fall

So, I bailed on the Wednesday night run. Yup. I did. I suck. I know. I can tell you all my excuses and rationalizations but it doesn't make up for the fact that I bailed.

Here are my excuses:
- I will be volunteering all day, painting, landscaping, physical labor
- The end of a day like that SHOULD be rewarded with a beer or two
- is predicting thunder storms
- I couldn't run 3 miles over the weekend, how am I supposed to handle 3-5 at the pace of the 'running group'
- At the end of last year, when I was running a bit more I was by far the slowest of the running group, i'd just hold them up

I will, however, wake up at 5 and go to the gym. I will run/walk for 35 minutes, as I did Monday, at various intervals which resulted in 3.16 miles.

Yesterday I succeeded in some more resolutions- I WALKED to meet up with FRIENDS. I RELAXED with my FRIENDS. I TENDED to the plants (they look great) and I HARDLY READ. Aside from the running group, I think I'm doing ok.

Day two, doing ok. keep it up, Sparkie. You've got a long way to go.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Let the Resolutions BEGIN!

What a wonderful New England weekend. Wow. Warm sunny weather, great planting weather- we now have plants in every square of our 4x4 square foot gardening box! Oh my, plus 3 pots of tomatoes and 2 squash 'bushes'. I also made a small herb garden which includes a bell pepper and jalepeno plant. This is fun- oh man, I really hope we get some veggies from this garden. Please please plants, don't disappoint me.

So today begins my resolutions and I practiced them this weekend. Saturday I attempted a neighborhood jog when resulted in about a 50/50 walk/run. I must say I am quite impressed I even did it. I layed in bed starting to talk myself out of the run when I interrupted myself and commanded I get out of bed and go run! I'm a bad influence on myself sometimes. Dave and I took a walk. I spent Saturday afternoon-evening with my girlfriends. I did not read my book until Sunday night which I am proud of and as a result, I accomplished SO MUCH more. I weeded my closet and prepped my warm-weather clothes and I packed up my sweaters and boots for the winter.

However, considering my sorry attempt at a run this weekend, I'm terrified for Wednesday night's run with the running group. I will not talk myself out of it. Despite the achy ankle, despite the kink in my neck, despite the 'Day of Giving' on Wednesday which might make me tired, as God as my witness, I WILL run on Wednesday.

Happy Change-your-calendar Day everyone! And Happy Birthday Michael!