Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I Guess I'm Not That Desperate

So I saw a funny bottle of wine in the grocery store down here in sunny Florida. Mad Housewife Chardonnay. I know, I got sucked into the marketing of this vino by the picture on the bottle. It was funny. But not for me. It was not my type of wine..
I guess despite what my hubby says I'm not a mad housewife yet.
Thank goodness for that.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Room With A View

The view from our room is amazing and finally (knock on wood) the wind has died down and the temps are headed up. Good thing. It's a big day here at the timeshare today--the hermit crab races. They're taking 50 cent bets on the races. This is followed by the shuffleboard tournament and BINGO!
Despite all of these fun activities, the timeshare business here seems to be struggling. What evidence do I have? Well, picture this. I know we must look like tourists in our mini van, with Kenny driving and me with my tourist map in the front navigating. The big spotlight beacon is projecting from us like day glow. TOURISTS. TOURISTS. TOURISTS. GET YOUR TOURISTS RIGHT HERE.
As we were driving south on A1A yesterday, a small car pulled up next to us and started waving. The two men in the car roll down their windows and started yelling at us. Were we being carjacked? Did they need directions? Did we have a flat tire on our rental van?
Not quite.
They worked for the timeshare place up the road and wanted to sell us a timeshare.
Business has to be bad.
I mean come on, how many people actually say, "Hey these two morons in their little tin car look nice, why don't I buy a timeshare today?"
And this is why there aren't more hermit crab races.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

For Minister Susan

For Minister Susan. Here it is, the drive in church on Daytona Beach. Now I've seen drive-in movies and even drive-through liquor stores, but never a church..
I wonder if the race car drivers from the speedway all bring their suped up cars here on Sunday to be blessed before the races?

I Still Can't Escape the Primary!!

On a drive of the area Saturday, we saw this in Port Orange. Also several other Ron Paul signs that said "google Ron Paul."

Walking on the Beach (and Ice Cream!)

After a long afternoon on the beach, Willie and Grammy had to take a nap to revive themselves
Willie is determined to catch a seagull. He found a feather. I told him the gull had lost his feather and he ran after the gull trying to give the feather back. He got about the same response he gets from Bear the cat.

Willie made off with Grammy's ice cream cone at lunch. As he smeared it all over his face, he said "UMM UMM UMM."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Is This Florida?

Somewhere along A1A heading south from St. Augustine to Ormond Beach. Willie thinks vacation is a blast!

It's freezing here in Florida. The natives are wearing hats and jackets. We took a nice driving tour around St. Augustine Friday on the way to Ormond Beach. Gram went to the Fountain of Youth. She's a new woman. She even bought Tevas when we arrived here, which is quite off from her usual fashion choices.
Pouring rain here today, so we're in search of an indoor activity for Willie.

Skybus--You Get What You Pay For...

Picture this: It's 2 a.m. we're finally checking into our hotel in Florida. It is freezing cold. Willie's been up most of the night (and usually goes to sleep at 7 p.m. on the dot). And I am no longer the ambassador for Skybus.
Big shocker right?
We barely get on the plane before the mobs, despite having requested a wheelchair for gram and paying extra to board early. (Because despite the wheelchair/age factor) doesn't get you on first. I jumped up behind an angry mob of people crammed inside the terminal at Pease, like someone bidding at an auction, and was able to get gram onto the plan. We had lost Kenny... No sooner had to stepped out of the aisle and the airline opened the gates--literally. It was like the running of the bulls in Spain. If we have been unfortunate enough to be in the way, we would have met sudden death. It seems the cheap fares on the Skybus, bring in a pushy type of crowd. Maybe it was just the 3 hour delay this night (to be fair).
2 1/2 hours later we arrive at the St. Augustine Airport. Oh by the way, you have to walk down a ramp into the freezing cold here. No walking down the enclosed ramp to the airport. It felt like we hadn't even left NH. And, oh here's another thing they don't tell you, there is not a traditional baggage claim. While Grammy, Willie and I tried to stay warm inside by the baggage area, poor Kenny was out in dark on the tarmack where they drop your bags for you to pick up. Nice.
In the end, we paid as much as we would have going Southwest (About $200 per ticket when you pay extra to check your bags, early boarding, etc).
Grammy called for a vote to never fly this airline again. I may, but only if I'm traveling alone and get the $10 fare.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Mighty Long Walk (I hope not...)

So I've been gloating to everyone ever since I booked my bargain basement tickets to Florida on Skybus. What a great deal, I'd say. I was like the ambassador to Skybus even though I'd never flown with them.

I may change my tune.

We're slated to leave tonight at 6:15 p.m. getting into Florida at 9:15. Not ideal with a 90-year-old and an 18-month old, but possible.

Oh, by the way, did I mention there are no customer service people to call at Skybus? Well, there aren't. You have to go online to check the status of the flight. My printer's out of order, so I headed down to the Exeter Public Library to print out our boarding passes (again, you have to do a lot of grunt work for the price). And that's when I encountered the "oh by the way your flight's been delayed until 9:30 p.m." This gets us to Florida at 12:20 a.m.

It ain't going to be pretty that's for sure.

Car rental place is allegedly going to be open when we get there. I hope I hope. And the hotel lady told me she was going to bed but that I could call her home phone to wake her up when we get there.

What an adventure. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cannibals on Front Street?

So I had to take a photo of the display in front of Fresh Fish Daley today. I'm sure this probably refers to some fish, clam or shrimp. But the first thing that came to my mind was--do we have cannibals in Exeter? Are local townies, or natives, that don't behave being beheaded? And sold for profit?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Are There Pirates on the River?

Here are some scenes from the river next to Swasey Parkway this week. Anyone else curious about why this smelt shack has grown a forest? Or why they're flying the pirate flag? I don't trust the ice to walk out there and inquire, though it's driving me nuts not knowing whether a real life pirate has set up shop in Exeter. Does this person think the trees will confuse the fish who might think they are in an actual forest and not about to become dinner?
In years past it would be almost time for the annual Smelt and Eel Fry during Winterfest. It's really too bad that Winterfest ended. Though you still won't get me to eat the smelt or the eels.

No Results for Results

I've been getting strange second hand reports from friends in recent months about the future of Results Fitness on Epping Road. One friend was concerned after he went to work out at night for an entire week and there was no staff on site. When he left at closing time, the place was still open. Another had heard varying reports about the place being fixed up and renovated or sold. Then last week I had a report that the electricity was being shut off.

What can I say, I'm nosy. I went out to get a look yesterday. There's a big sign on the door that says the place is closed effective immediately. One enterprising fellow gym, Solutions Fitness up on Holland Way, has a sign next to that one advertising $35 per month at their place for those fitness finatics who now have no where to work out this winter.

I see the Kane Company has Results listed for $1.5 million. Hmmm. I know we're talking of renovating the town offices, but that might be a spot for the town to consider? I know it needs a new roof (having seen a lawsuit over at the superior court alleging the old roofer did a bad job) but it would be a nice municipal complex.
And for a bonus--it has a pool and a hot tub!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Getting in Touch with my Inner Salsa Dancer

It's always a good source of column material when I decide to attend any form of group exercise class. As winter drags on, I think I may have some good material in this new craze called Zumba. I see they're offering it at both Synergy and Great Bay Athletic Club. Stay tuned. Anyone out there tried this?

Check out this video from YouTube. I will most likely not be wearing an outfit like this girl.. Want to try out some moves at home, check out this perky little fellow Eugene the Salsa Instructor. Somehow "Hee-Haw" isn't typical salsa talk.
Kenny has this to say, "So what, everyone thinks they're Shakira now?"

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Thinking Warm Thoughts

As wind chills drop below zero and I daydream about sunny weather and tropical temps, I am reminded of that tendency we have to complain about the weather no matter what the season. Take for example this campaign stop for Chris Dodd I covered last summer (CLICK HERE TO VIEW). It was beyond hot, no chairs to sit, no shade and over one hour of talk, talk, talk. Boy what I wouldn't give for some of that weather today...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Primary is Done, but the Fun is Not

Just because. I have to post this. I was sent on the exciting mission primary day (as you may recall) of finding local supporters of all candidates. I am very sad I missed this guy at the Hampton polls...CLICK HERE TO VIEW
Check out the short blond haired lady with the Hillary sign that he pesters--Executive Councilor Bev Hollingworth. She was handing out candy when we stopped at these polls.


A note on ketchup and toddlers. So, there we were at 11 Water Street for a lovely lunch overlooking the dam--Willie, Grammy and I. Willie of course ordered his regular grilled cheese. This comes with french fries. I know, I know, I hate to see him get a taste for the junk food. But I figure everything in moderation, right? The french fries come with ketchup. You see where I'm going. Willie has lately developed quite a taste for the ketchup. More so that the fries. In fact, he has taken to sucking ketchup off his fries and then pointing at the ketchup and demanding more.

And here it is--another proud mommy initiation moment. Naively, I thought, hmm, I wonder if he would dip his french fry into the ketchup. That would show true genius. Look how smart he is, he can dunk his fries. I placed the nice little white ketchup side car next to his food.

That was all it took. Forget the fries. He dove in, hands first, to eat the ketchup.

All of it.

I know what you're thinking--why didn't I take it away? Nice thought, except that we had just received our own lunches. And every time I so much as touched the shrine of ketchup, Willie let out a scream like I was torturing him.

The choice: eat my own lunch or witness a complete toddler tantrum.

I was hungry.

20 minutes later. Ketchup is everywhere. I had to dunk him in the sink in the bathroom to remove the offending ketchup.

Yes, I learned my lesson.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Eating, and Buying, Local

I went to Vermont last week to visit my mom who was in the hospital way up in Burlington. As we were preparing to head back south on that extremely long drive on I89, we decided to fuel and eat up first.

Imagine my surprise when we went to a chain restaurant, the Ground Round, and found them involved in a program to buy local produce, meat and bread from Vermont farms. I was stunned. Kenny and Grammy had an amazing looking cheeseburger with local beef, fresh baked bread from a local bakery and Vermont cheddar cheese.

Turns out New Hampshire has a similiar program (Click on NH for info) , though it doesn't look like it's infiltrated any local chains. Most of the Seacoast area restaurants were in Portsmouth, aside from Zampa in Epping, one of my personal favorites.

Feeling inspired?
Check out the Winter Farmer's Market next month at the Congregational Church in Exeter.

Here's the info:

The Congregational Church in Exeter is hosting (with the help of Seacoast Eat Local) a farmers' market to take place on February 9th, from 10am - 2pm at the Church at 21 Front Street in Exeter. 14 farmers and food producers will sell fresh salad greens, dried beans, maple syrup, milk, lamb, beef, chicken, turkey, pork and more! Best parking is available at the Exeter municipal lot across the way on Center Street.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Enough Already with the Snow!

The barren snowy view from my living room today

Is it just me? I don't remember this much snow since I was a little kid. And it seems like there's no end. They're predicting more on Friday.. Not good for someone like myself who tends to hibernate in the winter when it gets like this. Hibernating comes with comfort food. Comfort food comes with a nice glass of red wine. Red wine comes with purple teeth. You get the picture.

When the snow slowed mid-morning, I headed out to let the old lady horses out. They love this fluffy kind of snow and for horses that are in the retiree category, they sure kicked up their hooves outside.

That was the extent of my voyage into the outside today. I think I'll make some nice homemade meatballs and sauce this afternoon. Goes perfect with red wine!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Tacos Tacos Tacos

I am a big fan of Mexican food. On any given week, I make something Mexican at least once from burritos, to enchiladas to homemade salsa. Still, I was skeptical about the new Las Olas Taqueria on Portsmouth Ave. I mean, Margarita's is right down the street, what were they thinking?
It's a completely different style of Mexican, as in, not completed deep fat fried, extra cheese, extra heavy fat food. More like the style of take out lunch you can get at Dos Amigos in Portsmouth/Dover.
I stopped in today while running errands and picked up a chicken taco. Tacos are served on soft tortillas folded in half. You customize your pick as you go along, sort of like at Subway. They had chicken, beef, pork and beans to start. Then add on cheese, fresh salsa (regular or hot), fresh guacamole, sour cream, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, fresh cilantro or fresh lime juice. Burritos are filled with beans, rice and choice of meat, along with all the other toppings. They also had a taco salad, quesadilla and low carb option, pile of toppings in a bowl with rice and beans thing.
I was in and out of the place in less than five minutes and they were packed. And it was a bargain for the taco in my 0pinion, about $2.50.
They also sell beer, but sadly no margaritas...
Makes me thirsty just thinking of margaritas. yuum

Friday, January 11, 2008

Wine Me, Dine Me with Moose Milk

I'm headed out for my first radio appearance tonight on the Portsmouth Community Radio, 106.1, to chat with Rachel Forrest and Susan Tuveson about the moose book and the moose milk/moose cheese revolution. If you want to listen in, click here to go to their web site and listen live via the wonders of the Internet.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Is it Love?

There she is after one hour of holding her spot in line--Grammy Gladys with Obama.

For the complete story aka, this week's column, click here

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Diaper Pails and the Primary

I get to work today. Not that I don't work every day, but usually it involves sitting in my office/cave where no one sees me. Today, it's real work, as in I get to wear real big people clothes without baby stuff, spit, etc., on them. I'm headed out to the polls to chat with real voters as part of a primary audio slide show.
And here again is where I end up feeling like a desperate housewife. The sitter's coming at 9:15. I'm meeting the photographer downtown Exeter at 10. Willie needs to get dressed. I, of course, am in pants that have even been ironed, when I head to his room to accomplish this great task. Obstacle 1: Dirty diaper.
Obstacle 2: Willie wants to put his hands in the dirty diaper.
Obstacle 3: he has been protesting the changing table as if I was torturing him, so here I am, in my freshly ironed clothes, holding him on the floor to change his diaper. I managed to get him clean. But as I go to toss the diaper into the fancy diaper pail-- he bolts. Naked baby now running around the room throwing his books from the shelves into the air. Laughing as if this is the best thing he's ever seen.
And Kenny apparently tried to reassemble the fancy diaper pail, which is now completely filled with dirty diapers and completed messed up. The bag won't come out. I am swearing at the diaper pail, trying to haul the bag out with no luck, while cursing Kenny.
Willie hearing me take Kenny's name in vain starts crying. 10 minutes to leaving the house at this point.
We're all dressed. I think I escaped without becoming too dissheveled.
I'm off.
No diapers.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Polling Results

I've never been so popular as I am today. My views are important. Everyone cares what I think. Usually it is someone with a foreign accent wanting to know about the primary and how I will vote. I usually hang up.
Enter Kenny. Tonight. The phone rings. I hear him giggling.
"Hey who are you on the phone with," I ask.
"No one," he says.
I am suspicious and look around the corner. He has a sh** eating grin on his face as he pushes buttons on the phone.
"Are you actually taking part in a political poll?" I ask.
Turns out a 25-year-old conservative hispanic male lives at my house and plans to vote for Huckabee...
Just goes to show don't believe everything you see in the polls.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Grammy and Obama: Part II

In the wake of Obama's victory in Iowa, Grammy (the proud owner of a Ronald Reagan coffee mug) wants to send him a letter. She plans to tell him she will support him but only if, he makes no deals with Hillary. We're headed out Sunday to the Obamarama at Exeter High School. Stay tuned.

For those not familiar with Grammy's interest in Obama, click here

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Taco (Primary) Tuesday

Primary day isn't just for the politicians in Exeter any more. Finally, the taco shop on Portsmouth Avenue is scheduled to open! A sign in their window today proclaims they will be open January 8. I'd like to change Super Tuesday to Taco Tuesday.

They should get plenty of business with all the candidates, media, supporters and the like who will be in the state Tuesday. My email is burning up with new campaign events. Barack is going to Exeter High School on Sunday at 11:15 a.m.. Too bad Barack, no tacos for you. Romney's going to Wal-Mart, where America (and Sheila LaBarre) shops, in Epping Friday at 4:15 Hillary's going somewhere else. Ron Paul was in town over the weekend. No tacos for him either. And finally, that old guy from Alaska, Gravel, will be at PEA Sunday at 7 p.m.
I see $$$ for the taco stand. Taco Tuesday. Has a nice ring to it.