Saturday, July 31, 2010

Scenes from the week

Blowing bubbles with Daddy:

A sudden interest in our chair/step stool:

(And I remember Annie's Aunt Laurie sitting in this exact same stool in the exact same way, 30 years ago).

My gorgeous garden:

From left to right, you're seeing tomatoes, cucumbers, cantaloupe (climbing up a makeshift trellis), beets (mostly hidden), and zucchini/cousa.  

And even a baby cantaloupe:

The weather is amazing today, and after Annie wakes up from her nap, I think we're going to go into Boston for a picnic. I love summer!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Elka Delos

My dad would've been psyched.

We went boating this morning, and around the time that we turned around and were heading up the Town River towards our dock, Jim saw that a big ocean liner was creeping slowly into the Town River, to dock on the other side of the Fore River Bridge.

When boating with my dad, he always kept a look-out for ships, freighters and other large boats coming in. You didn't see them that often ... at least, not around Buffalo. There were lots in the St. Lawrence River when we vacationed there one summer. But when we did see one, Dad motored the boat right there so we could watch it come in. I always was interested in finding out where the ship was coming from. We saw many diverse ships when we were in the St. Lawrence - that's not surprising. I remember Dad driving around one particular ship, I think it may have been from Russia, and we were waving at the crew.

So today, we watched the Elka Delos get pulled into the Town River.

It took a pretty long time, and there were several police boats all around it.  At the same time that the boat was coming in, there was also some sort of random regatta heading the other way on the Town River - a bunch of random, large boats all in single file. So it was a bit chaotic on the river and we were listening to the Weymouth Harbormaster on our radio, who was trying to deal with the regatta and make sure they didn't disrupt the ocean liner's path.

Ultimately, they had to raise the Fore River Bridge, and it was pulled into the River by two large tug boats.

The Elka Delos was flying a Greek flag and was from Piraeus, Greece.

I suppose that doesn't necessarily mean that the boat is actually coming from Greece - I know now that this is just where the boat is registered. But I like to think that it has made the big trip from Greece, just to come here, to little old Quincy, MA. :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ice cream and marital harmony

Our ice cream maker broke. We discovered this as we were about to pour in the batter for strawberry ice cream. It wouldn't turn on, and the frozen canister wouldn't fit in the machine. I vaguely recall that the last time I made ice cream, the batter overflowed everywhere and I had to hose off the machine. Jim told me at the time that I had probably killed the machine, since you're not supposed to get it wet. That doesn't explain why the canister doesn't fit, but it does explain the electrical problems. It is 11 years old - a gift from Jim's aunt at our wedding shower. With it, she enclosed a little article about a couple who, whenever they had an argument, would make ice cream as a way to make peace. I kept the little card she enclosed with the ice cream maker - it says "best wishes for a 'sweet, smooth' marriage!"

Is this a bad omen that it broke?? :) No, just a sign that it's time to get another one. I wrapped up the batter, put it in the fridge, and am going to Crate and Barrel this afternoon to get a new one. They're having a sale on Cuisinart ice cream makers.

I don't make ice cream very often, but I always find it fun when I do. It used to be my routine that when I was off from law school, I would make batches of ice cream as a way to keep busy. But I haven't made any ice cream in probably year - probably about this time last year when strawberries were cheap.  I really should be more creative. Our friend has a cookbook with recipes for lavender-flavored ice cream, and other flavors that you can never get at the store. I need to figure those out. When growing my garden, I always strive to plant varieties of veggies that you'll never find at the store, because it makes it very interesting. The same should be true for ice cream.

Random stuff

1) Annika transitioned into the "toddlers" room at day care this week. And the director of the day care was able to get her to wear the flip flops I got her last month. So I guess she's just picky about who puts strange shoes on her feet!

2) While we were out playing with the neighbors yesterday evening, Annika gave one of the neighbor kids a big kiss on the mouth. This is the little boy from across the street who is the same age as her. I guess we start them early here in Quincy. Of course, she also kissed the dinosaur toy in the waiting room at the doctor's office this morning, and she especially likes kissing her stuffed animals.

3) Annika got 2 more shots this morning, but it was much less troubling to her than our trip to the shoe store last weekend. She's getting to be a big girl! 31 inches tall (a growth of 2 inches in 3 months!) and she weighs 23 pounds, 13 ounces. Of course that was after a big pre-doctor breakfast at the Early American in which Annika couldn't get enough of Daddy's corned beef hash. But still. She is now down for a big nap. Doctor's visits will do that to you.

4) Solomon smells like a skunk, again. It's not nearly as strong as the last time he got sprayed. I'm debating if he needs to be sprayed with the bleach/baking soda solution. Last time, it bleached his fur in splotches, and the splotches only just recently grew out. Then again, he took a nap with Zeus this morning and now she sort of smells like a skunk too. So I don't know. He has taken to spending every night outside, which I don't like at all but can't convince him to come inside before we go to bed.

5) I've started to harvest my zucchinis, cucumbers, and 1 pepper. I think the pepper plants are getting eaten by that stupid caterpillar again. It looks like I'm going to have tomatoes soon too - I noticed at least one that is starting to ripen. I also harvested my garlic this week - two of them had new, baby garlic cloves about half-way up their stalks! Pretty cool. I'm going to try to make pesto this weekend with my newly - harvested garlic and the basil I have growing. I've heard you can freeze pesto too. I might try that. How cool would it be to eat pesto in December from my garden? I've also made my first batch of zucchini bread.

6) The turnip pickles I made a few weeks ago came out pretty good. They don't taste much like the ones you get at Byblos, but they're quite tasty, and are definitely that same deep red as the ones at Byblos. Jim won't touch them, but that just means more for me! :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Shoes (aka: Ish)

Annika loves her shoes, or as she calls them, her "ish." She loves them so much that even before she is out of bed in the morning, she stands up in her crib and points to them, calling "ish ... ish!" She will bring them to me to put on her, wherever they are in the house. She will also helpfully point on my ish's and Jim's ish's, and will sometimes bring at least one of them to me.

Annie loves her ish's so much that she doesn't want to try on any new ish's. Nope, Annie has found the ish's that she is going to wear in her life. No other ish's are allowed on her feet.

Today, we decided to go shoe shopping, since her current ish's are pretty beat up and I thought it would be a good idea to switch her from her current soft-soled shoes to something with a sturdier sole.  Soft-soled shoes are fine in the summer but won't be as comfortable when the cold weather arrives. Also, soft-soled shoes aren't great in puddles. But Annie would not even let us put her foot in the little measuring tool, let alone put new ish's on her feet. She screamed and hollered like someone was torturing her. She cried harder than when she gets her vaccinations (which, I'm sorry to say, she also has coming up on Friday).

We can't figure out why. She had the same reaction when I tried to get her to wear a pair of flip flops a couple of weeks ago, and also when I tried to get her to wear a pair of sandals. Jim thought that maybe she was afraid that we would take her old ish's away when we got the new ones. I wonder if her feet are very sensitive, like her daddy's, and she doesn't like people fussing with them.

So we are scrapping the idea of purchasing shoes that are any different from her current pair.  We'll try again in the fall.  Tonight I went on-line and picked out a pair of Robeez that are as similar to her current shoes as possible. Hopefully she'll go along with those.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Just a weekend in the summer

I would like to remember this weekend next January, in the middle of winter. Don't get me wrong, I'm tired. And it sure is hot. But I can take the heat better than the cold.

Yesterday, my cousin and her husband came to visit, on their way further north for a family vacation in Maine. We walked around Boston, and I even gave them a car "tour" of the Kenmore Square/Back Bay area of Boston (when I got lost trying to find Fenway Park). We had pizza and watched a movie that was surprisingly good, particularly considering that Sandra Bullock was in it.

Today, my uncle and aunt joined us and we went boating! We rode into the harbor, saw the U.S.S. Constitution and the Boston skyline. Then we came back and cooked out on the grill. Later, we went to a party at our friends' house. They just sold their house and are moving out next week. This was the good-bye party for their house. We sat out in the backyard and ate summer food. They had a really nice, comfortable house in the Adams Shore area of Quincy, just a few houses from the Quincy Bay. I miss the house, but I'll mostly miss them once they leave Massachusetts for parts south next year.

Tomorrow we plan on meeting friends at Houghton's Pond for an early lunch, and we may go swimming there and/or in the pool at our friends' new apartment.

I'm very tired! It's been hot (well over 90 each day) and the heat can be draining. And forget about getting chores done. But it's nice to enjoy the summer. It goes so fast.

Monday, July 12, 2010

1461 miles

Here's the trip we took:

View Larger Map

According to Google maps, that's 1461 miles. And that doesn't even include all the little trips we took around Buffalo. I'm tired. Note that the trip was so long that it doesn't fit on the map without clicking and dragging the map around. :) Ha.

But we are now back home and readjusting to normal life. The house looked abandoned when we got back, mostly because our lawn died in the heat. Jim is trying to solve that problem with a irrigation system of sorts. There are lots of hoses, a timer and "zones" involved. Jim also replaced 3 stairs on our back porch last night, after driving for 7 hours. Superman!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Awake early

I'm ashamed to say that I am now the reason that Jim is waking up early, and not Annika. I now usually wake up at about 5:30 and can't fall back asleep. Annie, on the other hand, has taken to sleeping until after 7. This morning, I finally got out of bed at 6:30 and decided I would take a leisurely shower, and have a little quiet time before we start Day 3 of our "vacation."

Annika will add 2 more states to her repertoire after this trip - Pennsylvania and Ohio. I think that means that she'll have been to 9 states as of tomorrow. Pretty cool. I believe I was 7 before I had traveled outside of NY, OH and PA (aside from Ontario).

More importantly, Annie gets to see her great-grandparents tomorrow!