House of Wax, Presented by the students of Laurie’s School of Dance.
I live in Northern New England – in the most Northern State in the Eastern US, Maine. We get about 15-30 snowstorms per year – that equals about 60-90 inches of snow, per year. Sometimes we get more, other times less. The definition of a “Nor’easter” is a drop of 10 or more inches in one storm. (Maine Tourism, 2013) We get a few Nor’easters each year -which is normal for our winters. Mainers have survived many such winters – and we are well prepared to handle the snow. Driving in it, plowing it, shoveling it, working in it, etc. We are Mainers, New Englanders – this is what we do each and every winter. Mother Nature is quite consistent in timing – each December, winter comes around. This is one of our many constants in Maine…winter. I know it’s a crazy notion – but, it’s true – I’m not making this up.
I do have proof for the unbelievers:
My husband brought our family to Maine in 2006. I was prepared for the winters because I grew up in Utah. The snow feels different, but the high elevation in Utah makes the climate very similar to the Maine climate. Lots of snow, cold, wind… etc. The only difference: the length of the seasons. Maine winters seem to last much longer than Utah winters, and Maine summers don’t last nearly as long. Ever since I have been calling Maine “home”, I have taken notice that we start getting a storm every weekend in January, February and March. We know this, we expect this – because it’s winter, and we live in Maine. The last few years, the media has been reporting each storm as “The Storm of the Century”, or my favorite “Frankenstorm”. Our winter storms now have names – two weekends ago the Media named it “Nemo”, last weekend “Plato”, and finally, this weekend “Winter Storm Q”. What??? If there are people that truly believe the crap the media reports about our storms – they must think our lives in New England absolutely stop in the winter, that we are just buried in snow.
Further proof of past winters for the doubters:
I don’t enjoy the snow. It’s a pain in the rear. Shoveling is no fun, driving in it sucks – my car is absolutely filthy and the kitchen floor must be swiffered every night. I have to warm up my car at least 10-15 minutes before I leave for work, and then I have to brush the snow off so I can see. I don’t like driving in the snow, it means I have to leave 20 minutes earlier for work. The State doesn’t shut down when we get a storm – we still have to go to work so we can pay our bills. I want to wear my pretty heels and sandals, but I have to wear bulky , heavy snow boots instead. I don’t want to keep the stove and fireplace roaring anymore because oil is so expensive!
I may not like the snow – but it’s part of our lives in the winter. Shame on the media for creating a story out of nothing. I don’t understand the motives behind it. Do they make more money when they sensationalize our winters? Does it somehow push a political agenda around global warming? I don’t get it – someone please explain it to me. Our local news stations report the weather, and move on. Why does the National News make it such a big deal? Someone sitting in their warm office in Georgia – wondering how they are going to make a name for themselves – by reporting on a storm, a gross-exaggeration of a storm. Are they getting ahead in their careers because of the story? Who knows.
Weather Report 2/24/2013 – It’s snowing. Reported by Hilary.
Maine Tourism. (2013). Maine’s Climate and Weather. Retrieved Feburary 2013, from Maine Tourism Association: http://www.mainetourism.com/content/4048/Maine_Weather/
Has it been that long since my last post? Time flies…when you have no time! As I sit and think about the last few months, I don’t know if one post will sum everything up. I’m going to take the easy route and start the year’s post off with pictures to explain our story.
McIntire Proper welcomed a new addition to our family with a Boxador, Brutus. The mama was a Boxer, the papa a Black Lab. He is a perfect addition to our family.
I didnt check the batteries in the camera the day before Christmas…so not a lot of pictures to share. We did have a great Chrismas, celebrated with Paul, Ashton, and Dennis. This was the first Christmas all 4 McIntire kids were together in about 15 years. It was a special year for us.
Cassidy had a small list of wants, but they were high dollar items. She didn’t get most of what was on her list, such as the Ipod Touch, Ipad, Kindle Fire. (On a side note – the Kindle Fire is all the rage in her 4th grade class this year. I wasn’t aware that so many kids had the tablet. I asked one of her friends what she was reading – and she let me know she mostly plays Bad Piggies and Angry Birds. Okay…yeah, probably not getting my kid a Kindle Fire!) She did get a laptop, which I thought was pretty freaking awesome for a 9 year old. She also thought it was awesome, until she opened the Uggs - just the coolest Christmas gift, EVER. She hasn’t taken them off. Joe and Cass got me a Kitchen Aid mixer (my sis also got one for Christmas!). I’ve always wanted one – and I’ve put it to good use. Last night I made Russian Black Bread, one of my many loaves since Christmas day. Cass and I got Joe a Husqvarna Chainsaw – he was very, very happy. I think next year we need to set a price limit…
I started the year off with a new haircut – Bangs! Not sure what I was thinking, because I always regret getting bangs each time I get them. This time was no exception. They are alright, I guess – and they are growing out quickly.
For the new year – I’m working on finishing an entire round of Turbo Fire. The program kicks my ass – and I love it. My goal is to run a 1/2 marathon this year…but, I can’t run during the winter, it’s just too cold – hurts my lungs. Turbo Fire will help me get prepared. I’ve joined Weight Watchers, again – so far so good. Cassidy is excelling in her Stretch program and school – and she rocks in dance. Her ballet technique class is awesome, and well worth the time and effort (and my wallet) that goes into it.
I woke up this morning to a post on Facebook from Joe that I wanted to share.
“One of the proposed solutions to our current “fiscal cliff” dilemma is to revoke the tax credit for mortgage interest payments. Another is to start taxing the money folks have been able to put into their 401k retirement funds on a pre-tax basis. Here’s my primary complaint with both of these; My home has steadily lost value since the housing market bubble burst. We bought it at fair market value and didn’t take advantage of any questionable government program. We haven’t asked for any assistance in paying our mortgage because we both work VERY hard and didn’t put ourselves in a position where we could potentially default on our commitment. Our purchase wasn’t contingent on this mortgage tax credit, but it would be tough to swallow if we lost it. As far as the 401k, that’s my money. I toil, sweat and bleed to make that money. I’m not a stockbroker or a hedge fund manager. All I really expect out of it is what I’ve put into it. Neither of these investments are predatory or opportunistic. I’ll shut up, now, before I piss anyone off.”
As we draw close to the end of another year, Joe and I start dreading the thought of filing taxes. We listen to those around us who can’t wait for tax season, who rely on the check they get at the beginning of the year. We hear plans of Big-Screen T.Vs, IPads and Androids, jewelry and new clothes. We rarely hear talk of paying off those credit cards, buying appliances they desperately need, making future mortgage payments, or creating a safety net for tough times. Joe and I look forward to tax day in April because we get at least 3 full months to save enough so we can pay our tax bill…or to pay for those Big Screen T.Vs, IPads and Androids, jewelry and new clothes for others that work just as hard (and less) than Joe and I.
God Bless America
You would think being out of the office for four days would be nice and relaxing, well…if you were like me, you would have been wrong. Two of the four days were enjoyable, while the other two were just exhausting. I was in training Tuesday and Wednesday to learn about the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey. It was a great program and a wonderful opportunity to get to know my collegues. There were only 14 of us in the class – and we were all chosen to take the 2-day workshop because we are just that amazing =) The one day I was in the office last week, Monday, I had an interview for the Team Lead position. I received an offer the following day – accepted, of course. Yeah!
After my 7 Habits workshop, I rushed home to pack for our Burnt Island trip with Cassidy’s Stretch class at Winslow Elementary. Stretch is an advanced program in reading and math with the top 5% of the 4th and 5th graders (21 total). I was one of 8 chaperones, along with her teacher, Mrs. Clark, and the Principal, Mr. Price. We piled in the bus at 9am – and made it to BoothBay Harbor by 11am. I was surprised I was able to walk off the bus, since all circulation was cut off to my legs. I am no longer School Bus size. The Maine State Aquarium was our first stop. We got to pet sharks and skates, hold crabs and sea stars. The kids learned about lobsters in the area and what females look like when they are carrying eggs. I loved the blue lobster – so pretty, and I bet it will be delicious!
The well organized chaos began after a 15 minute Ferry ride to Burnt Island aboard the Novelty. I was nervous it was going to be cold, but the bunks were on the 2nd floor, and it was quite hot. After all the kids picked their beds, the activities began! We went Tide Pooling and caught crabs, sea stars and barnacles. The next stop was clam digging; although, we found more worms for our night fishing trip than clams. Scavenger hunts, Lobster boat rides, Lighthouse tours, squid dissection (gross!) mackerel studies, bio-luminescence and etc! It was the most exhausting two days, but I am so grateful for the experience, shared with Cassidy. The kids earned every minute of fun with the loads of homework they have with this program. Thank you Winslow, Joe gets to go next year!
I knew I would be too exhausted to give my knee a go at jogging after the Burnt Island Trip, so I gave it a shot on Monday. I went slower than I had been before my fall - breaking my route up with walk breaks. And…it wasn’t sore at all. I was able to go back out the next day and basically pick up right where I had left off. I am so happy and it still is feeling like new. It was raining when I got home today, so I put on my poncho and tied up my sneakers. It felt great and I’m excited to get back out there.
More pictues of Burnt Island
I was hitting my stride, getting my second wind and telling myself I could keep jogging when a pebble brought me down on my hands and knees, with a loud smack for extra effect. After I sat there for a minute on the pavement, groaning and trying very hard not to cry, I got up and started limping home…after I looked around to see if anyone saw me fall. A ride home would have been appreciated, although I did fall about 2-3 minutes from my house, so I didn’t have to walk far – but it hurt every step. When I got home to an empty house, I washed it off and finally looked at results of my fall – it was bad, really bad. I propped it up and put a washcloth over it until Joe could come and rescue me with his first aid knowledge. After 10 minutes of making Peter Griffin noises, “ooooooohhhhh…….ahhhhhhhhhh……seeesssssssssssssssshhhh……..aaaaaahhhhhhhh”, Joe raced in the door with an alarmed expression caused by my phone call. He looked it over and cleaned it out – basically telling me I would survive. Talk about anticlimactic! When he was sure I would be okay by myself with an ice pack and pillows (and a freshly made rum and coke), he went back to watch Cassidy’s ballet technique class (she looks so beautiful in the required ballet bun).
I am not a runner, but I do jog. I jog badly, slowly…huffing and puffing the entire time – but I’ve gotten better. I jog farther each time I go out – and I was so proud of myself yesterday because I had lasted through five of the songs on my IPod – and they were long songs! I hope this doesn’t set me back. I’ve kept it elevated yesterday and most of today and it’s healing up nicely. It hurts to bend, but I think it does because I’m messing with the healing process when I bend it too much. Joe says I have to be good and stay off of it for at least a week, no jogging he says. I don’t know – if it feels better in a few days I may try it out. I hear you can miss five days and still be at the same level. I won’t push it, but I really, really want to get back out there.
Since I’ve posted a few yucky pictures, I figure I need to even it out with some beautiful pictures of our Labrashepherd, Lucy Rose.
It can’t be Labor Day already…can it? I sure do enjoy an extra day of not working and spending time with my family , but would trade it for another month or two of summer in a heartbeat. Goodbye pool-days, colorful flowers, weekly farmer’s market runs, and beautiful sun. Farewell extra daylight hours, fireflies, watermelons, and naturally bronze skin. Happy Labor Day workers of America! Say hello to school, busy weeknights filled with activities, raking leaves, and the foreboding of our Maine winter.
We were in critical need of fun, to forget about negative things – so we spent the day in Windsor, Maine. Windsor is a beautiful town, with rolling green hills and a friendly, welcoming community. It reminds me of home. I think the Windsor Fair has turned into our favorite fair. The local food, attractions and the cute farm animals are hard to beat.
Sitting in front of the Sugar House after sharing the best Maine Maple Ice Cream cone I’ve ever had. Delicious.
We loved the 1000lb pumpkin. Imagine all of the pies we could make!
We were able to feed the animals the pellets that were available for $.25 in old, bubble gum machines. The goats, cows, sheep, donkeys, and mini horses were not shy, since they knew there was a good chance they were going to be fed.
The Horse Pulling was our favorite event. These horses were absolutely stunning, but they were massive, solid-muscled monsters. I have a new found respect (fear) for these animals after watching them work yesterday. I swear you could hear them snarling. I don’t know how much the haul weighed, but it was ALOT. They were given 5 minutes to pull the concrete blocks as far as they could. The team that pulled the greatest distance, won – simple as that.
The Windsor Fair was a nice transition into Autumn. Hello apple picking, maple tapping, fall-scented Yankee candles, beautiful colors and cooler days. My mouth waters for Spiked Apple cider and Holiday parties with fabulous food. My wardrobe is begging me to break out my winter boots and warm jackets, along with my beautiful scarves, mittens, and hats. I look forward to hearing the logs crackle and pop in the fireplace, how it warms up my home and makes it smell like Fall. I guess saying Goodbye to summer isn’t always a bad thing. I will long for warmer days when Winter rolls around, when I’m out shoveling my driveway because our snowblower isn’t working – but I’m not going to think too much about that now because I just remembered Autumn is my favorite season. There will be plenty of time to curse the winter months, just not now.