Martha Thinks

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Day at Cider Hill Farm

We had made plans to go apple picking as the kids had the day off from school. There were a few clouds in the air, well...more than a few and some raindrops threatened our fun, but they held off. Intrepid travelers that we were, for our muddy efforts we ended up having this beautiful orchard to ourselves.

Carter and Maureen and a pumpkin in between ; )

Beauty everywhere you looked. These colors of Fall can't help but lift your spirit.

We walked to the top of the hill..admittedly not so much fun getting there as on the way down - but good a good workout. The view will be more vivid in a couple of weeks, but since I always think I really want to live on a field in England somewhere, this drizzly-foggy-misty morning made me perfectly content.
And a very good day to take photographs of apples! The lighting was so pretty.
On a typical sunny day in the Fall, especially on the weekend, this beautiful farm is jam packed with people. But on this September day, the farm was just one wide open space.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Birthday Morning Glory

Don't know what it is about Morning Glory's but I just don't take proper care of them when I first buy them. I keep them in pots, sort of water them, maybe unsatisfied knowing that I have to wait a long time before I see anything in bloom. So although the vines are bright green and healthy, it wasn't until - September 20 on my birthday - that the first bloom appeared.

A little champagne, a pretty glass from my friend Kathy for last year's birthday...

And instead of one kind of cake we mixed it up and chose a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Because at this age? I find myself not settling for average ; )
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Nice Day For A Boat Ride

Today I chaperoned Ronan's 5th grade class field trip on the Merrimack river. Things get so busy that it wasn't until I was on the bus that another mom told me we were going on a boat. I mean I knew we were going to Lowell, but I guess I didn't actually read what I was signing up for! LOL. I could have used a hat and a bottle of water, but otherwise it was a great trip.

We sailed past old mill buildings, some of which are now living spaces right on the river. Our wonderful Park Ranger William educated the kids about the river, it's history and how the recent Hurricane Irene affected the river all the way from New Hampshire to Lowell and beyond. He talked about pollutants and the kids did experiments on the boat testing ph and dissolved oxygen levels. Mom even learned something!

It was beautifully serene on the water. The kids all had to wear life vests for safety and they were pretty uncomfortable and hot but we were only in the boat for 90 minutes so it wasn't too bad. Safety first, the Captain stressed.

Back in the Boathouse, more experiments were conducted. In all of my years of field trips, I would say that this was the most interactive I had been on and really kept the kids' interest. And finding myself on a boat in the middle of the day? Unexpectedly great.
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Monday, September 12, 2011

The Ties That Bind

"in my little town, I grew up believing
God keeps his eye on us all"
Paul Simon
I don't think I heard about it until some time after 9/11, that one of our classmates was working in one of the buildings in New York city on that fateful day and never returned home. His cousin, a Reading fireman, raised funds to create a lovely memorial in his honor on the 10th anniversary at our high school.

Many people donated funds to make this a lovely reflecting park. Maybe it will just turn into an after-school hang out. Maybe the band kids will rest their instruments on it, maybe the benches will get some soda spilled on it at some point and the shiny newness of the granite will get rubbed away. But that's ok. That's what will break it in and soften it at bit.

Many classmates from the mighty Class of '78 came together yesterday morning. Some traveled quite far. The ties that bind, the thread that does unify us surprises me still.

He was just a cute boy that was in my homeroom class in middle school. I remember he wore corduroys and a leather belt and had a great smile. He grew up and had a family and what happened to him is the stuff nightmares are made of and I think what shook all of us about 9/11 is that it wasn't a "distant" trauma. Especially in the Northeast, the tentacles stretched very far and while we cannot bear to imagine what they went through, it does give comfort to be able to be present to honor them.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Can they get away with it?

I think so. I believe that a well-made navy blue cotton peacoat is so classic that both father and son can get away with it and it can look perfectly stylish on both of them. It was such a crazy discount at work that I bought two of them and brought them home to see how they would go over. I knew I liked them, but convincing the guys was another thing...but overall, I think they are pleased to have a little more GQ in their lives.

Perhaps they don't want to be seen out at the same time...or is that just a girly thing???
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rules of the Game

I've been working in retail for 3 years now as an adult and certainly in my early 20's did my time at some discount shoe store, a Levi's store, a toy store, The Gap and even Baskin-Robbins, my first job.

My 10 year old son recently has begun this little game "who was your worst customer today, Mom?" So after coming home telling him all sorts of stories I thought, hey, I could come up with a sort of retail blueprint that might be helpful to customers. There is the "thin khaki line" where I work, we are all from different backgrounds and even different countries in some cases, but we are all united in wanting to be treated with a certain amount of dignity at work.

Ok, so here goes:

1. The customer is not always right. And being loud, pushy and aggressive may get the manager to bend a few rules for you, but in doing so you have forever given up any chance that a salesperson will ask you if you need anything again. And we all remember the bad ones. And we all talk about you in the backroom - sometimes when you are still there.

2. Do not hand a salesperson your Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts or kid's lollipop stick and say "do you have a trash can?" It's GROSS. Find a trash barrel in the main Mall hallway or food court.

3. Do not throw things on the floor of the dressing room. The epitome of disgrace.

4. Getting to the Mall the second it opens is ok if you are shopping or returning at the register, but if you need help getting sizes, etc. the best time to approach salespeople is 30 minutes after the store has opened so their morning caffeine can take full effect.

5. Likewise, never come to a store in a last minute rush on a weekend night looking for anything. We are tired, our feet hurt and we do not care about your particular situation. We just want to go home.

6. As a salespeople, we have a pretty thick skin and are happy to help customers. However, one slip of the tongue or one condescending comment and we're done with you. We don't think you are better than us because you are thin or have a good manicure or you are carrying a $500 handbag. When you need an item that is not on the floor, we will happily look in the backroom.
If after 10 minutes you decide you need another item, depending upon how it's asked, we will dutifully go and find it. If you have not been nice, we will just go take a sip of our coffee. If you ask for a 3rd item, you don't stand a chance.

7. Crying babies make us all tense. Please feed your baby, change your baby, rock your baby, do whatever you have to do so that little one does not fret up a storm while you shop for khakis.

8. Do not interrupt a conversation between a customer and a salesperson because you think your question is more important.

9. Complaining in great detail about how a certain item didn't wash well, or faded, or a shoe was too big or too small is of no concern to the hourly employee. Call the company and share your disappointment. It doesn't matter a hill of beans to salespeople who are just looking for a (relatively) easy part-time job.

10. You don't have to overly fawn or say lots of "please's" and "oh thanks you so much's"'s all well and good - but as I said the customer/salesperson relationship works perfectly fine most of the time. We don't expect to be treated like royalty - just for you to have a better understanding that we are there earning a little grocery money and for the discount and have just left a bunch of kids eating mac & don't expect us to take you all that seriously.

Happy Shopping!

That Kinda Day

When we got up this morning, the refrigerator was warm. The fan was not humming, yet the freezer was cold and for a few days it had gotten all "frosty" with snow on things. It happens sometimes when (ahem) kids leave it open. But this time everything had to be moved to the new fridge downstairs that I luckily just invested in, while we waited for the repair person.

So out came the drawers and the nasty business that is undiscovered food items and I rolled up my sleeves and washed and cleaned the whole DARNED thing. It took hours. But now it looks brand new and smells, well, let's just say, a lot better than before!

And so I thought...while I am waiting for repair...I will just whip up a nice apple and pear crisp. I figured that didn't need refrigeration and would probably do fine for dinner, lol.
We had tacos and the apple and pear crisp with a little vanilla ice cream. If I never eat again, I'm good. Oh and the refrigerator's problem? The freezer had been left open quite a few times and the condensation would melt and freeze and melt and freeze and the whole back of the freezer was a frozen bar on the inside. The repairman was up to his knees in frozen peas that were on the bottom of the freezer and about 3 years old. Hey, at least I am admitting it! How often do you clean the interior bottom of your freezer??? Still, it was gross and I was PRETTY embarrassed.

But if it ever happens to you, just get your blow dryer out. There, I just saved you $120.00. (ouch)
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Monday, September 5, 2011

Driving Mocs, anyone?

Looking for great affordable Driving Mocs? Well, although I work for the company, I have not found shoes this comfortable in many years at Lands' End! This time they got it right. Lots of padding on the inside and a nice textured rubber bottom. We got them in the gray in the store and I decided to get them in a couple of other colors online. I work on my feet and have worn them several times and with no problems, rubbing, stiffness, etc. I highly recommend!
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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Next Stop, York Beach

In Massachusetts, for the most part, dogs are not allowed on the beaches until October. But in Maine they are allowed after 6pm. I had to work on Saturday anyway, so late afternoon we took a ride up to York Beach to let Bono romp in the water.

He just had a "little" bit of fun (lol) and there was lots of splashing as he chased his boy Ronan over the waves.

My friend, Pam, came with us and enjoyed a little skee ball at the Arcade...

and then both she and Ronan chose "birthday cake" ice cream. It was bright yellow...but very good! We passed bandstands with musicians playing and as we were heading back to our car a family had lined up sparklers on the beach. Does summer really have to end?
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Paradise Golf, Middleton

Just want to give a shout out to all those who love tall grasses and the sound of water fountains. The Paradise Mini-Golf on Rt. 114 in Middleton is beautifully landscaped. It is a little smaller than it's competition - Richardson's - right down the street, but offers a more lush feel.
Some grasses are so tall they are over your head!
And overlooking the crazy mini-golfer in the ground - lots of interesting varieties of trees are planted.

And for 30 minutes or so you can forget you are so close to civilization and just have fun.

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more scenes of summer

the crossing off of the list continues...we had not played mini-golf all summer! What?? Well, the days were pretty hot and I guess we just never got there at night. So Friday night was lobster dinner and off to the golf course.

With mini and me ; 0

Go Carter!

And finishing with what seems like the "nightly" ice cream at this point in the summer season.
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