Category: Daily Life

Life, The Universe and The Election Process

Hey! How ya doin’?

We survived hurricane Sandy with minimal damage. The power flickered, but never went out. We are without cell service, but AT&T Wireless has been notified and life goes on.

'Vote!' photo (c) 2005, Ho John Lee - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/I’m writing. I’m writing many words, just not here. I had some deadlines, for our town paper and for Albinism Insight, and I’ve been plowing away at the fiction piece I’m working on.

I ran into a reader last weekend who commented on my more informational posts of late. I have opinions (heaven only knows) but the recent focus has been the election and I don’t want to discuss my politics here. I will say I’m am disgusted by the commercials from both sides and the major news outlets really aren’t any better (ANY of them). I am taken back to my college days where as a communications major, I perfected my analytical skills for dissecting for what I hear and read. The idea was that if you could analyze commercials, or press releases you could better understand what would work for your perspective clients.

The skill set actually has broad application in everyday life.  It doesn’t matter if it is a commercial, or “news”. My mantra these days seems to be “what’s your source?” I am overwhelmed by it all, I don’t want to just follow party lines. I really want to understand the views of the people who are running for office at every level. This is very hard to do, especially, when the candidates spend their time pointing fingers at their opponents rather than talking about their own plans and beliefs.

A note to all political candidates. STOP telling me what you think I want to hear. START telling me what YOU stand for. I’m not undecided, but I like to be sure of my choices. I want to understand the other side’s position so I know what I’m voting against as well as I know what I am voting for. Not an easily attainable goal these days that’s for sure.

There is only one week left and I doubt the campaigns will change their tactics now. I’ll vote. I believe it is a privilege not to be taken lightly. But, I’m not sure I’ll be happy regardless of the outcome of any of the races that impact me.

I welcome comments on the election process, but please, keep it civil.

Eggstatic

Our efforts have begun to pay off!

Can we have (DRUM ROLL PLEASE) TA DAH!!!

A small egg all by itself in an egg carton

IT’S AN EGG!!!

On the left is an egg from a mature chicken. On the right our little egg.

It’s a little small compared to an egg laid by a mature chicken, but we’ll take it. Of course the girls need to get busy!

Pile of empty egg cartons waiting to be filled.

Mamma’s got LOTS of egg cartons to fill.

Maximum Opportunity for Advancement.

MOA Maximum Opportunity for Advancement Summer 2012 Red writing on a gray t-shirt.

Back in the days when we were DINKS (double income, no kids). I STRUGGLED to fit exercise into my daily routine. It was much easier to take off on a Sunday and ride into Boston to the Museum of Science (and back) on a 25 mile bike ride.

These days, I’ve still got the husband, but have added two kids and their activity schedules, and a fledgling writing career. Now? Now I REALLY don’t have time to exercise. I’ve made some attempts along the way, but have not been consistent. I don’t mind exercise and I truly do feel better when I’m exercising regularly, but it honestly has to be in my way to happen. If I have to make room for it, no way, no how it’s gonna happen. Sad, but true.

Last spring, Fish was promoted in karate, so our time at the dojo went from 45 minutes twice a week to 90 minutes, twice, sometimes three times a week. As I waited for her class to finish, I watched the BagFit class going on in the second dojo. BagFit is part cardio and part boxing, and from what I saw it also included a lot of sweat and laughs. The class was made up of women around my age, many of them karate moms. They finally razzed me enough about being a lurker that I decided to give it a try. I have zero upper body strength and am prone to tendonitis in my shoulders (I’d just come off 3 months of PT for my left shoulder when, with permission, I started BagFit). No problem. The instructor (one of the co-owners of the dojo), modified the workouts so I didn’t strain anything. After my two demo classes, I was hooked.

I tell people, I hate it when I start but by the time I’m done, I love it. I sweat like crazy, I get my heart rate up and I truly have a lot of fun. There is a lot of camaraderie in the class and we cheer each other on. I love that I can burn some calories rather than warming a seat. Like other martial arts programs, there is a belt system to keep you challenged and motivated. I started as a white belt and worked my way to a yellow belt by the end of the summer. I’m now working towards my orange belt.

My kids are into karate but with summer comes camps and vacations and other schedule busters. To keep attendance up over the summer, The dojo ran a program called MOA, Maximum Opportunity for Advancement, for all their classes. Any student that attended 18 classes June 25th and August 25th earned the opportunity to test early for their next belt promotion and they got a special t-shirt. My kids were into MOA. I was regularly quizzed about how many classes they had in the MOA count and if we missed a karate class on a given week they wanted to know when they were going to make it up.

When we were getting close to the August 25th cut off, the kids had more than enough classes, but it was unclear if I would make the 18 classes. Since, I’m a newly minted yellow belt, I wasn’t interested in testing, I just wanted the shirt! A miracle came through and I did indeed get the t-shirt. The belt tells my peers in the class I’m progressing, but the t-shirt? The t-shirt tells the world hey! I kicked some butt and took some names this summer, what did you do?

 

Sending Summer Off with a Giggle or 8

This past weekend, we sent summer on it’s way. “MOM! Summer’s not over until September 21st.” Mim emphatically reminded me. Summer may not be over in the meteorological sense, but after Labor day our lives are once again filled with homework, karate and Scouts. So, we try to live it up in a summery (read relaxing) way for Labor Day weekend.

We managed to pull off an impromptu get together with friends. There are four of them and four of us and there is always laughter when we are together, so by riffing on parts of both last names, I have dubbed us 8 Giggles. With four careers, four kids and the associated scheduling, our face to face get togethers are few and far between and always planned well in advance. This time, the odds were ever in our favor as we pulled off a get together at the lake with just 4 days notice! By 6pm on Friday my house was filled the laughter of friends who had some catching up to do. We ate and then divided by gender for the ride North. As we rode, there were stories and giggles from the back seat and my friend commented on how cousin like the three girls are. It’s true and ’tis a good thing indeed.

Saturday was my idea of a perfect day. We all slept in, then noshed on rarely consumed Pop-Tarts and assorted forms of caffeine. We packed up lunch and took to the water, anchoring the boat on the sand bar with about 100 of our “close” friends. We turned up the tunes and broke out the frisbee.

Kids playing on the lake.All images Copyright, 2012 Julia Lafererra

Eventually we made our we back to the camp for a delicious dinner of steak tips, large print chicken tips (a.k.a marinated chicken breasts), salad and fresh corn on the cob. There were s’mores for dessert and a relaxing end to the evening with glow sticks and roaring fire. It was just one of those days that rejuvenates you body and soul.

Me Relaxing on the boat, swinging along to the music, A-Man behind the wheel

All images Copyright, 2012 Julia Laferrera

I’m so grateful we have a place to get away to and wonderful family and friends to enjoy it with.

Weir’s Beach

“What Are We Going to do For FUN today?”

That is the question I hear most mornings during summer vacation. Some days it is pretty cut and dried. 99 Degrees? 100% humidity? We’re heading to Aunt Jane’s and swimming in the pool.

Top A Winnepesauki Railroad car, Row FunSpot Sign and Token Cards, Third row, me playing PacMan,Fish playing Pin ball and Mim riding a motorcycle video gameLast Friday was less clear. It was a beautiful summer day, a few puffy clouds, minimal humidity, highs in the low 80’s and a light breeze. I had a deadline in the morning, but the afternoon was ours. I lobbied for a bike ride on a local bike trail, but I got out voted. After consulting our list of things we wanted to do this summer, my son proposed Weir’s Beach.

I grew up with the Jersey Shore, within reasonable driving distance. So, the beach and the boardwalk are not foreign too me. Weir’s Beach is kind of like a mini Jersey Shore. There is a beach, the MS Mount Washington sails from the pier and there is a boardwalk and arcades.

Before our trip, I scouted things out and identified a specific location for treats and also found a coupon for FunSpot, a year round bowling/mini-golf/arcade located just up the road from the boardwalk.

Fish kiboshed the beach right off the bat apparently we’d been swimming too much this week. I didn’t realize that was possible. We got a late start so her brother & I agreed to this condition and we set off (A-Man had to work). We explored the boardwalk and were able to just glance at the arcades because I promised a full service arcade at FunSpot. While at the board walk, the Winnepesauki Railroad pulled in and we agreed that would be a fun trip for another day.

We picked the perfect time for Fun Spot. Everyone else was enjoying a perfect beach day (not such a great thing for a family with albinism). Between the  WOKQ Buyers Club and an online promo code, I was able to get $50 worth of tokens for $22. We played video games, skee ball and air hockey. I got my annual Pac Man fix and we still have tokens left! The kids cashed out their tickets for the requisite junk and we headed on to the Kellerhaus for treats.

My daughter hit the sundae bar and Mim & I hit the candy shop. The Sundae bar looked amazing, but my logic was that a Pecan Turtle was fewer calories than an ice cream sundae with all the fixin’s. My caloric math, might be flawed, but the Turtle was yummy. 🙂

I like being a tourist in my own backyard. I can imagine we’ll head back to FunSpot when the weather turns cold. They offer two kinds of bowling (candlepin AND ten pin) and we still have about $25 worth of tokens burning a hole in our collective pocket.

Escape From Skeeterville

Last week when I heard my slider open, I was a little startled. Both kids were in the house (one still in bed) and my Mother-in-law (the only other person to come through my sliding door during the day), was away. Turns out it was Dave, my husband’s cousin with interesting news.

Two chickens in the coop many more outside the coop. “Are your chickens supposed to be out?”

“Well, yeah, they have the automatic chicken door.”

“No, I mean out as in all over the yard out.”

“Um, no.”

We think it was a combination of things, when the coop door is closed, there is er was a gap just wide enough for a curious chicken to squeeze through, but we’re not 100% sure that the coop door was 100% closed. I headed next door and with Dave’s help, herded the wandering fowl back inside the fence. A quick head count and we determined everyone was fine, no harm no well, you know.

Eventually, we hope to let them free range some, but they need to be a little bigger to hold their own with the dogs. That said I swear they are doubling in size every day!

Life is never dull in these parts!

one bird looking in from the outside.
We think this guy is a rooster. I picked him up but as we got close to the door, he flew out of my hands. Once everyone else had made their way inside, he went willingly.

Pedal, Pedal, Pedal!

To: Jeff Elrick, It’s Ability Pediatric Physical Therapy Center

From: A Proud Mom

Dear Jeff:

A year ago, my son Mim, could not ride a two wheeler. He was afraid of falling and we were both very frustrated. His vision and some coordination issue weren’t helping either. He spent three mornings with you and your wonderful staff at Bike Camp and when we parted ways, he was wobbly, but he was on his way.

Last week he and I rode 6.2 miles, a circuitous route from our home to his school and back. His starts and stops are still a little rough, but he improves a little every time we ride. Most importantly, his confidence is through the roof.

This is all your fault!

Thanks so much!

Lee