Trick or Treat

Nathan was invited into Bangor to go Trick or Treating with his cousins this year.  We haven’t done much in the way of Treating in years past.  Mostly it’s just been dressing up and visiting family.  Last year he had an outfit to wear, but never ended up going.  He bounced back and forth from Obi-Wan Kenobi and a baseball player, but settled on the Star Wars theme with cousin Tyler (Storm Trooper).

Nathan and Tylers friends were invited also, brothers from Dover.  They all ran house to house on the cul-de-sac Ty lives on.  One scaring memory was shared by a few, but other than that, it was the typical door to door petty theft.  I had to laugh when we arrived at one door step where the owners left the candy on the steps to be taken on the honor system… the boys all yelled “Free Candy!!” …Ha, not sure if they thought they had to pay for the other candy that was already handed to them or not!

No Tricks from these guys.

No Tricks from these guys.

Twas the night before…

..weening, and all through the house…

Nathan and I carved some pumpkins tonight.  We just watched a Food Challenge about pumpkin carving so we were armed with… absolutely nothing like they had for tools.  Oh well, we had fun. While we were chopping up our pumpkins, Jess peeled some caramels and prepped the goo for some apple dunking.  We coated our apples with caramel and set them on the porch to chill.

As you can see, Nathan went the traditional route and I was COMPLETELY original.  We baked off the seeds, scarfed down the apples and had our photo taken with our works of art.

Apples and Pumpkins

Apples and Pumpkins

Coming up short

..but not giving up.  I wanted to get 4,000 miles on the bike this riding season (read: Calendar Year).  But it looks like I’ll probably miss by a mere couple hundred miles.  The forecast for today was to be in the sixties, but it never made it.  I was thinking it would be the last day this year that was in the sixties, but we may have already had that.  Even so, I left work early to get a ride in while the sun was up.  I added another fifty miles to the odometer, but I fell short of the 100 mile ride I was shooting for.  The temperature was only 53F but it wasn’t bad after my face stiffened up.

 

Another self portrait... a bit over-sharpened for effect.

Another self portrait... a bit over-sharpened for effect.

Old Playground

When I was growing up, my playground was the great outdoors.  At ten or so, we’d play out back in the woods for hours and when we were a bit older, we were brave enough to play in the woods across the road.  There was no real concern for our parents that anyone was going to get terribly hurt or be snatched away by anyone.  We were not within ear shot of home and sometimes would wander quite a ways off in the woods.  The only real responsibility we knew was to be back in the door yard at 5PM for supper.

We had our few “plants” that we knew to be edible and would often nibble on them or dare others to try them. If I had had the survival books I have now, then, I might have learned a whole lot more about the Maine woods or have been numb enough to eat the wrong “edible” by mis-identification.

This weekend while walking in the woods in Bradford, I came across one of my old edibles of youth.  I’m sure I haven’t sampled this plant in twenty years but I was confident of its identity and was quick to hand it to a friend for a taste (You’re a good sport Matt).  I’m sure he waited until I had my “King’s sample” in mouth before enjoying his share, but none the less, we both had a taste.  Flashes of youth ripped through my mind and I found myself out behind the cemetery of my town of youth, picking “tea leaves” and chewing them for the mint flavor.

Again, this is the name we gave them, and certainly not an accurate one.  More points are up for grabs if anyone wants to chime in with a Common or “Botanical” name for this plant.  If you find it while you’re walking in the woods and are sure of the identity… rip off a leaf, chew it for a while before spitting it out, maybe it’ll take you back somewhere.

Tea Leaves occasionally enjoyed by a few.

Tea Leaves occasionally enjoyed by a few.

My Gram has WiFi

So I’m not the best grandson there is, but I do try and write to my eighty-six year old grandmother once in a while and try and visit once in a great while.  She had to move out of her house this summer and into an assisted living place.  As it is for most elderly people that make the transition, it was a big move and a big change for her.  Today I was able to get over to Washington County and pick my folks up and go visit my Gram.

The place was nice and when I noticed a wall mounted “tablet” PC in the hall, I didn’t hesitate in bringing out the iPod Touch to check for WiFi.  Well, well… it looks like those dollars Gram pays for the stay were just stretched a little bit farther!  I brought my MacBook to show her some photos so I thought it would be neat if we could iChat Video with my younger brother in California.  She hasn’t seen him in years since last year and well, he’s her grandson.  

What a treat to watch her experience technology the way it should be used.  Putting smiles on peoples faces.  The fact that the picture was moving and live and there was audio to boot, well, that was something to absorb.  I love technology on days like these.

(Happy Birthday Matt!)

Yes, he can see and hear you Gram... and "she" does do everything you do, because that's you, Live.

Yes, he can see and hear you Gram... and "she" does do everything you do, because that's you, Live.

It’s getting hot in here

After playing musical “thermostats” with the three we have, I think I’ve got the one for the pellet stove in place now.  I think.  The one I just bought for it was touchy.  Every time it was only one degree off, the pellet stove would kick on.  Then, in less than five minutes, it would gain the lost degree and shut off.  

Now I have one with a “Wide Range” setting, hopefully it will run longer when its on, and stay off longer.  I don’t mind a temperature swing of 3-5 degrees, it was the seemingly wasteful way the pellets were getting burned up.  Still learning.

 

Yes, that's a fitness ball, but that's off topic, focus!

Yes, that's a fitness ball, but that's off topic, focus!

Are Wii Fit?

We’ve had our Wii for nearly two years now.  We buy games for it occasionally, trying to get the ones that are on sale.  Nathan was big into LEGO Star Wars: The Ultimate Saga for the longest time, but that all changed when baseball became his new life changing, time absorber.  He’s now on his third baseball game and the other games hardly see daylight.  I have one game that I play about once every four months.  I like video gaming, but I’m quite horrible at it and never have time to spend on something I’m not good at in the least bit.  The Wii probably has all other consoles beat when it comes to “group gaming” (not to misunderstood as Network gaming).  We have a trivia game to play with several other couples or a group that is almost as good as a good ol’ board game.

They’ve been advertising for Wii Fit for quite some time now, but like the Wii when it first came out, it was almost impossible to find.  We kept a watchful eye out for it when we we’re into the retail stores, but hadn’t seen it until yesterday.  Right up front, I’m not one to exercise in the “traditional” sense.  Traditional being: jogging, free weights, aerobics, etc.  Jess on the other hand does quite well there and has more stick-to-it-tive-ness than I could ever find.  So she thought she needed to have it while it was available, soooo.. we got it.

Let me tell you, last night alone, I almost got my money’s worth out of it in entertainment value alone.  This has little to do with the way my wife exercises but with the way you’re interacting with the Wii to exercise. Jogging, hula-hoop, push-ups, step-up aerobics… you name it, in a very polite drill sergeant way, they had you doing all of it.  If you get a chance, watch someone on the thing… (no, you won’t see me on it).

 

Wii Fit Board has entered the house

Wii Fit Board has entered the house

Fall (into the) Festival

Nathan had his Fall Festival today.  It’s a mandatory event for all students, but really just a cash cow fund raiser for the upper class-men. He enjoys it.  He’s now in third grade and it was a big step for Mama to let him run around and hang out with his friends without immediate supervision. There are a bunch of booths for the kids to spend money at, but I refused to give him a fist of cash right off the bat.  Then he asked to use his allowance money.  Even better.

 I started him off with five dollars.  He ended up in the “jail” with his friends which requires bail to get out. [Hope that doesn't happen in ten years!] Of course I wouldn’t pay that.  Then they announced a special treat was in store for everyone down at the soccer field.  Not many moved very fast.  Then a few parents let them in on the secret, a sky diver was dropping in.  Talk about panic setting in.  The boys were in the slammer and the jail keeper wasn’t let them out for the sky diver!  Nathan dug deep and bailed everyone out.  A friend in need is a friend in deed!  We made it down to the soccer field in time to watch the sky diver drop out of a float plane and land on the soccer field.  Pretty cool for a little school gig.  The sky diver ended up being a students parent which was a surprise to a lot of other parents.

 

Sky Diver at the Fall Festival

Sky Diver at the Fall Festival

First the Snow Fly, then the snow

Being from Aroostook Country, we didn’t always have the proper scientific term for everything.  We knew what we were talking about, and everyone else knew too, so that was good enough.  

If you’re outside even occasionally and happened to be mildly observant, you’ve noticed a white flying insect in the air.  About this time of year, these insects fly around the area at about five to eight feet off the ground.  We always said they we the first sign of winter.  Of course that was when we were a bit further north and the snow came a week or so earlier than it did for the rest of the state.  Since winter around here is inevitable, I guess it’s sort of true that they’re a sign of winter.  But I’m sure the name is lay as any common name.  Do you know what these flies are really called?  1,000 points to first to tell me.

 

"Snow Fly" with wedding band for scale

"Snow Fly" with wedding band for scale

Saddle Time with Foliage

Jess and I had a chance to get out on the motorcycle one more time this year.  Sixty-six degrees out and the sun was shining. Yeah, almost half way through October!  We put an extra layer on and added the full body leather and pounded on nearly a hundred miles…. in one go.  I usually stop every fifty miles or so, but we didn’t have any real reason to stop, though that river walk in Guilford looks quant.  But the sun went behind a cloud, the temp dropped to sixty-two and at around seventy miles, things started stiffening up real fast (the sore muscles from the hike yesterday may have contributed).  We asked TomTom to take us home, and after a few quick turns down some very unfamiliar roads, we we’re all of a sudden back on RT15 headed home.

 

Foliage Ride

Foliage Ride