Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rendezvous in Albany

On Sunday, we met our aunt and her best friend for a little visit in Albany. We've done this before. It shouldn't have been so complicated, right?

Albany is about 3 hours (or sometimes less) from our house, so it's quite a trip just for lunch. But when you compare it to driving to Buffalo, it really isn't so bad. Aunt D. takes the train in from Buffalo, and that takes much longer. Plus, when your family lives far away, you have to be creative with the ways you get to see them.

But this time around, we had been leaving messages for Aunt D. and had not gotten to speak with her. This was a little worrying, but nothing too out of the ordinary. On Sunday morning, we were 5 minutes away from getting in the car when we got a call from Jim's sister. She said that D. had told her that P. was getting in late the night before, and that they were planning on taking a boat tour of the grain elevators in Buffalo on Sunday. This did not sound promising, particularly since D. had e-mailed a couple of weeks before, saying that she had tried to schedule the train ride for Saturday, but couldn't get good seats so settled on Sunday.  If P. wasn't getting into Buffalo until Saturday night, why was D. looking at train tickets then?  We began to worry that the dates had been mixed up. But we couldn't reach D. at home and couldn't verify that she was still in Buffalo, so off we left for Albany. We were pretty sure that D. and P. were not going to be on the train, but we figured it would be an adventure.

We got lunch in Albany, since we got there at noon and D. and P. weren't scheduled to arrive until 1:45. We kept waiting for the call from D., saying that she was still in Buffalo but not on the train. But the call never came, and at 1:45, we found ourselves at the train station, feeling hopeful. Actually, we got there at about 1:15 and tried to supervise Annika as she ran around the train station for about 30 minutes, using her "outdoor voice" in a very boisterous manner. :) I'm sure all the people waiting to get on the train were praying that we wouldn't be in their car!

The train pulls in a little before 1:45, and low and behold, we watch D. and then P. get off the train! They're here! Yippy! It was quite amazing. We waved from the window of the station. It turns out that they did nearly miss the trip. They got home from the airport late the night before, and P. noticed that D. had messages on her answering machine. Thankfully, Jim had left a message about seeing them at the train station, D. checked her tickets, and realized that the train ride was the next day.

We went back to the same restaurant where we had eaten lunch, and got to visit for a couple of hours before D. and P. had to get back on the train and go home. It was a short visit, but it was a lot of fun. P. had never met Annika before. Annika made sure that P. got to see her belly button. That's important, you know.

Our trip home took 5 hours. Over an hour of this time was spent at the beginning of the Mass. Pike, in completely stopped traffic. About half a mile ahead of us, 3-4 trees had fallen into the highway due to a sudden storm, with rain and high winds. It took a long time to clear them out of the road. Then we hit a ton of traffic in the usual places, as well as a lot of rain and fog.

What an exhausting weekend - it felt like on both days, we spent a good chunk of the day in the car.  And Jim keeps the travel up this week, with a one-day round trip to D.C. tomorrow.  I'll be here at home tomorrow, trying to figure out how to entertain an energetic toddler while it continues to pour rain outside (rare summer Nor'easter since Sunday).

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Weekend plans

I'm spoiled, but I'm starting to think of Thursday night as the start of the weekend. We have quite a weekend planned. Tomorrow evening, we're meeting friends for dinner at Stone Hearth Pizza Company in Needham. Last time I was there, I had my pizza with fresh arugula tossed on top. It was amazing.

Saturday we are going to Kimball Farm for Jim's company's summer picnic. That place apparently has legendary ice cream (with legendary serving sizes). But I guess they have other attractions too - I've heard about hot air balloon rides, and I guess there's mini-golf too. It's supposed to be very kid-friendly. I'm not sure what we're going to do about Annika's nap, but I guess we'll work it out.

Unfortunately, we're missing the birthday party for the little boy next door who is turning 3. His parents have rented a huge, inflatable "fun house" type thing, which takes up most of their front lawn. They had it inflated when I got home from work. Looks like it'll be a lot of fun (for the kids anyway).

Then Sunday, we are meeting our aunt and her best friend in Albany for lunch - they're taking the train, and we're driving, and we're going to meet there, visit for a couple of hours, and then we all go home. We try to do this once in a while - it's the only way we all can meet for lunch without having to stay over night.

So it should be a great weekend! Plus, my garden is in full harvest mode - tomatoes, peppers, cukes, zucchini. I even have 3 huge cantaloupes, one of which seems like it should be ready to pick soon.  We also made pesto last weekend with basil, parsley and garlic from the garden. I froze most of it so that we could enjoy the garden in January perhaps.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekend highlights

Just the highlights:
1) Jim made it home safely from Seattle. He met up with an old friend while he was out there, who he hadn't seen in many years. They just randomly got connected while Jim was out there and then met for dinner. Kind of amazing how coincidences work out like that.

2) Annika officially has a brand new pair of ish (shoes)! And she didn't even throw a tantrum at the shoe store. These are real shoes, with hard soles. She is very proud of them.

By the way, did you know that little girls don't wear brown shoes? Those are for boys. This is what the salesman told us, when I asked for Annie to try on a pair of brown shoes with green details. He brought out a bunch of different pink and purple shoes, which looked ridiculous. Luckily, a female salesperson took over and we ended up with the shoes that Annie has on in the photo.

3) And I know you're wondering what happened to her nose (because absolutely everyone, even complete strangers have been asking): Annie did a face-plant at day care on Thursday and has another big scrape on her nose, just like when we were in Buffalo last time.

4) I trimmed the front of Annie's hair this morning. She won't wear anything in her hair - I have tried to put barrettes in there, and she immediately removes them, and then puts them up to her head. I think she likes them better when they're just near her hair, but not actually in her hair. As a result, her bangs were constantly in her eyes and making her look like the Shaggy Dog. It's just a little trim. The rest of her hair is really too thin to start cutting yet.

Why is it already Sunday evening, anyway? And where is my summer going?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A wild mouse chase

Jim is in Seattle this week for some business meetings. He left the house this morning at some God-awful hour, and in a random act of true localism, our neighbor Dennis happened to be the taxi cab driver. Somehow, Dennis seemed to think that Jim was a sibling of our next-door neighbor, who is also named Jim, and couldn't seem to understand that he was not! The great part is that Jim got Dennis' business card, so if we need a taxi pickup at the airport sometime, we can call him. This will work especially well when my sister flies into Boston at 1am and needs a ride back to Quincy. Most cabbies have no idea how to get to or around Quincy, but Dennis will be perfect.

The drama of the day happened this evening when our cat Solomon brought a mouse into our house. One of the windows in our front porch was open and he was able to squeeze in there with the mouse in his mouth. The mouse was still very much alive. Solomon likes to play with the mouse before he kills it. Luckily, I was able to get there in time to close the front door so the mouse didn't get loose in our house. But there I was, with our neighbor Scott, trying to get the mouse out of the front porch. Annika was next door with Lisa and the boys, yelling "Mama! Mama! Mama!"  She is currently going through a stage where she's obsessed with Mommy.

The mouse finally ran out, but it took some gymnastics. There are a lot of places on our front porch where a small mouse can hide.  I felt like I was in a sit-com. As I walked back outside afterwards, I noticed that this was the second mouse that Solomon had caught today. The first was lying dead next to the hydrangea, with flies all over it. Yuck. We think Solomon is getting the mice from our next-door neighbor's back steps or garage. He is always hanging out there. You'd think that mice wouldn't want to come near our neighborhood, between Solomon and our neighbor George's 6 cats! Let's just say that, knock on wood, I've never had a problem with rabbits or squirrels in my garden!

Tonight I'm going to enjoy a bowl of Ben and Jerry's ice cream (my treat while Jim's away) and probably curl up with a book.

Friday, August 6, 2010

11 years

11 years ago today (right about now), Jim and I were married. Here's our annual anniversary shot:

It's been a good day - boating in the morning, followed by lunch at Byblos, my #1 favorite restaurant. Then there was nap time, and a bit of gardening, and some errands. Tonight we're having a light dinner and then afterward, Annika will probably go out and play with the neighbors, and then maybe we'll go see the cows at the Weir River Farm. Annika loves to blow kisses at the cows.