Before we headed off to join Steve and Cathy at their house for New Year's Eve, I had some snow shoveling to do, and then we drove Lucas down to Boston's Logan airport for his flight back to L.A.
We had a fun evening with Steve and Cathy, and just a really lazy day New Year's Day, watching a couple of Hallmark Channel movies.
01/02/20: Doctor Check Up For Sue's Wrist
Today is the 1 year anniversary of Sue's broken wrist surgery. She's been having a tough time of it even with many, many months of physical therapy. She had made a consult appointment with the surgeon early last month, and so I drove her down to the office for that.
She's glad that she went in as she got some actionable advice from the doctor. He gave her a cortisone shot to relieve the pain from what he said was tendinitis. Over the following days, that seemed to have started to help with the pain, and we hope will help with the healing.
We got out of there around 3:00 pm, and headed to a couple of shopping stops around the Dover area. Though it was early, we decided on stopping in Rochester at the Lilac City Grille for dinner, and a special Margarita for Sue that she had been looking forward to.
01/03/20: Movie Night At Alan's in Ossipee
We loaded The Beau Dog into the car Friday afternoon 01/03/20 at 4:00 pm and headed to Sue's brother Alan's home in Ossipee.
We had given Alan an Amazon FireStick, and so the first order of business was to set that up for him. We needed that working in order to have a Movie Night with pizza, of course! After getting the FireStick loaded, we all hopped into the car, and drove to one of the local pizza shops to pick up our order.
We ate while watching the selection of the night, the 2019 Judi Dench spy thriller, Red Joan. Both the movie and the pizza were pretty good, but by the time all that was done it was late.
On the way home, we stopped off at a store in Ossipee to get some batteries for our smoke detectors. A couple of them had started beeping in the middle of the night. I had to pull the unit out of the wall because you can't just remove the batteries because it gets really pissed off if you do that — threatening carbon monoxide gas, fire, low battery and all sorts of evil crap.
Sue snapped this picture of Beau watching me intently as I came out of the store in Ossipee carrying the bag of batteries I had just bought.
We got home around 9:45, watched a quick recorded show, and tumbled into bed.
01/05/20: Snow Clean Up and Great Sunday Dinner For Two!
While Sue took Beau for a snowshoe walk in the woods, I spent about 40 minutes shoveling another 2 inches of snow that had fallen during the night.
I wanted to get right to that. Temps were supposed to rise during the day, and then go down later in the night. If I just let that all sit there, then we'd have ice all over the place.
I didn't use the snow blower as it was still very light and powdery. Though, in some places where the sun had hit it, it was getting pretty heavy. Besides, if you're not crazy doing it, shoveling is fun, and great exercise. Well, as long as it's light as it was for the most part today. When it gets heavy, that really sucks.
After I got in, I snatched Beau, and brushed his teeth. Poor guy is very susceptible to tarter. This is easier than the vet bill for cleaning them....
Beau is just not interested in having someone messing around in his mouth. What a sad face that is! And the paw on my arm is supposed to make me feel sorry for him. Sure....
And it did get cold! The wind picked up around noon, sometimes blowing 30 mph or more in strong gusts that rocked the trees around us. The wind just howled through them, and slammed into the side of the house.
At 4:30pm, I popped open a bottle of a nice red blend that we enjoyed by the wood stove as we played backgammon for awhile. Dinner prep was fairly easy, and I had it ready in no time. I fixed Mandarin Chicken over long grain rice with a side of sage steamed broccoli. Simple, but really good!
I usually have some sort of party to celebrate this, but we just got so busy with the holidays that it just slipped by....
01/08/20: Another Storm Cleanup!
We had more snow than I thought we'd get last night. I was out shoveling about 4 inches in some places, and just an inch in others. The high winds just howled through the trees an just blew shit around all over the place. The wood stove kept us warm as we watched the pretty good Renee Zellweger film, Judy, for which she won an Academy Award. It was really worth the price of admission just to watch her performance.
01/10/20: Bland Dinner Out With Friends
Cathy had called earlier in the week to see if Sue and I wanted to go with Steve and her to check out the new opening of The Dockside Restaurant in Alton, NH Friday 01/10/20. It was a sad disappointment for all of us as depicted in the following Yelp! review I wrote.
When we got back to our house, Beau went berserk when we walked in the door. He was soooo happy to see not only us, but Steve and Cathy. He was all over the place. Very funny.
I got a fire going in the wood stove, Sue brought out some great lemon and thyme flavored cookies she had made, and we just sat and had an enjoyable time chatting.
01/12/20: Winterscapes on the Mountain!
Saturday the 10th, it was so mild out, in the 50s, that we stuffed Beau into the car and took a scenic drive over Route 140. We drove all the way out through Pittsfield before looping back. Really nice, relaxing excursion. On the way home, we swung by the store to do the food shopping.
But the night skies then, as well as the night before on the 9th, were just spectacular, Sue couldn't pass up using her night view lens for some pictures of the backyard.
The lens made it look like a day shot, but the sky was really was black. It's soooo cool the way she caught the long shadows of the trees against the snow from the full moon.
I snapped this shot with my phone camera to catch the contrast of the barn flood lights against the snow. The lights kept going on from the motion of the trees being buffeted by the strong winds.
Again, it's pitch black out there but the lens just picks up the faintest of light that you can clearly see the stars.
Another night shot, this one showing more stars.
As we sat watching a movie in the living room Saturday night, we could hear the wind howling through the trees. Both front and rear barn motion lights kept getting triggered.
By Sunday morning when we got up, it was pelting rain against the side of the house. The rain got so heavy for awhile that you could hear the water in the brook out back crashing down over the rocks. And then all of a sudden, the skies cleared, and the sun popped out. Amazing.
Later in the afternoon, I got a fire going in the wood stove to take the chill out of the air. The temps had started to go down around 3:00 pm, and were supposed to drop to 19 degrees by midnight. While Sue finished up some things she was working on, I got a jump on some of the food prep for the Herb Seasoned Mediterranean Vegetables over couscous I was fixing for dinner.
We played some rugged backgammon over a very nice bottle of Chateau St. Jean Sauvignon Blanc for an hour or so, and then headed into the kitchen to put dinner together. The meal came out quite good, though, of course, the flavor profile was different than I've used before. The basic ingredients were the vegetables: onions, leeks, yellow summer squash, red, yellow, and green sweet peppers, black olives, mushrooms, and garlic. That all paired nicely with the spices I used, which had quite a collage of flavors: ground black pepper, rosemary, coriander, parsley, cilantro, and oregano with crushed red tomatoes and Port wine. It all went together amazingly. We finished off the night with the great 2013 Martin Scorsese movie, The Wolf of Wall Street.
01/13/20: Mia Overnight Visit
After Sue ran some errands down in Dover Monday 01/13/20, she swung by the shop to pick up Mia for an overnight visit.
Pile up at the bottom of the hill.
Sue had her out sledding on the hill in the backyard about as soon as she arrived, and they went snowshoeing a couple of times as well. It was a really fun couple of days, though keeping up with a 4 year old can be exhausting at times. Well, not for me, but Sue was all over the place with her.
01/16/20: Another Winter Storm Rips Across the Mountain
So Thursday early morning 01/16/20 we got hit with another substantial snow storm. It dumped about 8 inches, probably more, but it was heavy so it didn't fluff up. Because it was supposed to blow itself out by early afternoon, Sue and I just sat inside sipping coffee, and working on projects.
You can see the huge flakes of snow against the background of the barn.
The backyard is buried!
At 960 feet above sea level, we got hammered, but Colin who lives in Somersworth and works in Dover said all it did was rain. Up on the mountain it was lovely. I shoveled the walkways and barn area out about 2:30 pm after the 25 mph winds knocked 4 inches of snow off the drooping tree limbs. That would have been irritating to have shoveled earlier and then needing to go back out again. Once is enough!
After wearing myself out shoveling, I went inside, and lit a fire in the wood stove. Sue and I played backgammon until having an early diner and watching the terrific movie, The Two Popes.
01/17/20: Pre Storm Prep and Dinner Out
Friday 01/17/20 I started the day hauling in 10 loads of wood. The weather service was projecting a massive snow, ice, and rain storm to sweep across the Northeast tomorrow and into Sunday, so I wanted to get the wood in early rather than shag that in a storm.
Sue helped with a few loads, and getting the wood stove ready, and then headed off to snowshoe with Beau in the woods. I knew she'd be a while because the snow was deep everywhere from yesterday's storm.
Because we were planning on going food shopping when she got back, I thought I'd take care of the Christmas tree. We had left it up until now just because we enjoyed the soft glow of the lights while we relaxed in the living room. The target for getting it down and to the dump was actually tomorrow, Saturday. But because of the pending storm, and not wanting to wait another week, I just started pulling ornaments and lights off.
By the time Sue got back with Beau, I had the tree hauled out by the barn. While she was finishing up with the shopping list, I secured the tree onto the top of her car, and then we were off to the dump and shopping.
The store was mobbed with everyone stocking up in anticipation of the storm, and so it took a little longer to navigate through the aisles. But no one was pushy or so focused on what they were trying to do that they were abrupt or rude. We just strolled down the aisles, picking our stuff out, and enjoying the process.
I currently have 40 pages completed on another book on currency trading I'm writing, FOREX Theoretical Scalping Analysis and Execution, so I grabbed a cup of coffee and went into the library to work on that for awhile. I'm glad we've kept the wood stove going as the temperature outside was in the low teens. I really enjoy sitting in the library and writing with views out the windows of the woods, and feeling the heat from the wood stove warming everything around me.
Just before 5:00 pm, Steve and Cathy pulled into the driveway. We were all headed for dinner at Shibley's at the Pier in Alton, NH. It was their opening from being closed for a few weeks, so we were excited to go. Shibley's has really good food, the atmosphere is terrific, and as Steve commented a few times while we were there, "It sure is nice to be able to carry on a conversation unlike our experience at The Dockside on the 10th!"
Cathy had brought a wonderful pumpkin spice pie that she had made for desert, and so when we got back home we had that with loads of whipping cream on top. But, man, was I stuffed! The food had been so good at Shibley's that I ate my whole dinner which was portioned more for a 40 year old field worker than a sedentary 70 year old. But it had been sooooo good.... After the pie, I was beyond stuffed....
01/18/20: Bigger Storm Hits and Carries Through until Sunday!
Late Saturday evening 01/18/20, the snow started to fall. The weather service was predicting 6 to 8 inches, but by the time it blew itself out Sunday morning there was closer to 10 inches, maybe a foot in some places.
Plenty of wood in the rack to last out the storm!
We had a fire going in the wood stove all day, and it was really nice throughout the house. Though that night we did hit a season high temp in the upstairs hallway of 89 degrees! But it was frigid out, and the wind blew the snow through the trees like shit through a goose. It was a Nor'easter for sure!
As Sue and I sat down in the living room to play some backgammon before dinner, I popped the cork on a 14 Hands 2016 Stampede Bold Red Wine Blend. Man, was that a surprise at first sip. When it came out of the bottle we both gasped at the really deep, dark, and rich color. We thought it would be overpowering. But what a surprise: our first sips were of a bold, but soft velvety richness. Man, that is a good wine. I'd do that any day of the week.
For dinner, we were just having spaghetti. But Sue had wanted to try store bought chopped sausage rather than meat balls. We had got a pound of sausage when we shopped Friday, and so I went at it. I mixed in parsley, oregano, tarragon, ground black pepper, some cilantro, and a dash of cumin. I cooked that in a really hot skillet until just browned, and then added a bottle of Barilla Tomato and Basil sauce. I let that slow simmer for about an hour while we played more backgammon, and enjoyed the wine. It was really, really good! Success!
By the time we got up Sunday morning, the storm had blown itself out, and the sun was shining brightly. What a contrast to the heavy blanket of freshly fallen snow. I spent almost 2 hours roof raking, and then shoveling. I have to get the snow pulled back away from the barn and around my car in order for the plow guy to get all of the snow out of the driveway when he comes to do his thing.
I took a long hot shower after that, grabbed a coffee, and headed back into the library to work on my book until late afternoon.
Sue was fixing salmon for her brother Alan who came down for dinner, and catching up with her. I was off at 4:30 to meet up with Colin at The 99 Restaurant in Dover for dinner, and then we headed down to see the new Star Wars movie at the big complex in Newington. Sue is not a fan of Star Wars, and I don't like salmon, so we all made out pretty good tonight!
We arrived a little after 5:00 pm, Steve popped open the wine we had brought, and we were all into helping Cathy fix a special West African Style Peanut Stew With Chicken recipe that she had found. And man, did it turn out great!
01/26/20: Quiet Sunday Dinner Party For Two
Sue and I had a relaxing day Sunday 01/26/20, and by 5:00 pm we had settled into a nice evening by the wood stove with some wine and backgammon.
01/30/20: Thursday Night Out For Dinner
Thursday evening 01/30/20 Sue and I joined Marissa, Gary, and Mia at the Thirsty Moose in Dover for an off-the-cuff dinner. We had a great time catching up with them, as well as sampling some of the many craft beers they have.
John and Marion posing with the moose outside of Cabela's, Scarborough, ME.
On the way, we met up with Alan, and then stopped off for lunch at the Cracker Barrel in Scarborough, ME. Great day, and I even found a nice pair of new boots!
02/04/20: John and Marion Visit Relatives in North Conway
John and Marion headed off Tuesday 02/04/20 at noon to Ossipee, NH to meet up with Alan, and then then they all drove over to North Conway, NH to visit with other relatives.
Sue had a late morning appointment, and so Beau and I held the fort down while everyone was gone. When Sue got back later that afternoon, we just hung out playing backgammon and watching some tv until they arrived back around 7:30 pm.
02/05/20: Ending the Day With Night Sledding! Wednesday late morning 02/05/20Sue met up with Alan, and they drove John and Marion to Marion's aunt Mary's in Hill, NH for a family gathering lunch. I stayed home with Beau, and got about 60 pages read in a current book I'm reading.
When everyone returned, I started getting dinner ready: chicken thighs in a curry sauce over a bed of brown rice. After watching the really good 2009 movie Star Trek, Sue and Marion grabbed the sled, and took a couple of runs down the hill in the dark. That was quite something to see, and The Beau Dog just couldn't believe it.
02/06/20: Snow Storm Makes For Nice Inside Movie Day Thursday morning 02/06/20 we woke up to a little over 3 inches of freshly fallen snow. It was beautiful.
Yup, Sue's serious about this — heading out the door with her sled.
After our first movie of the day, Avitar, finished, we just sat in the living room and chatted for quite some time as the lasagna finished baking in the oven. We decided on an early dinner as today was movie day, and we wanted to get on to the next one.
It had been a long day and evening for everyone yesterday, and the thought was to wrap things up early tonight and get to bed. We watched the really nice 2010 Martin Sheen movie, The Way and enjoyed some wonderful ice cream and brownies that Sue had made earlier.
02/07/20: Snow Storm Continues, But Turns To Sleet
It had continued snowing all night, but turned to a fine sleet by morning on Friday 02/06/20 by the time Sue headed out to walk Beau. She went in the woods behind the house again because it was really nasty out.
Tree limbs hanging with the weight of the snow and ice around 10am Friday morning.
We all jumped into Sue's car after I got done shoveling the snow out of the way. We wanted to take John and Marion out to lunch for seafood at The Windjammer Restaurant in Rochester, and debated whether the roads would be okay from the storm. I had received a text back from Marissa that it was more rain and sleet down lower than it was frozen snow on the roads up where we were. So off we went, and though dicey at times, we made it down there and back.
Later that afternoon as we were sitting in the living room watching the entertaining 2011, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the sleet started pelting the side of the house, and the intensity of the snow storm was so impressive that I went out and took a picture.
Just as the movie was ending, Sue's brother Alan arrived. We had invited him up to have dinner with us, as Sue had made what turned out to be a marvelous left over turkey soup. I had been tasked with picking part of the turkey apart while she was out walking Beau, and then had been smelling it cooking all day.
After finishing dinner, we sat around the table for quite awhile just chatting, but by 7:00 pm I had to get everyone into the living room so we could start the evening's movie, the excellent 1972 Robert Redford movie, Jeremiah Johnson.
02/08/20: John and Marion Head For Home
It was sad to see them have to leave, but around noon Saturday 02/08/20 everyone packed into Alan's truck for the drive over to the airport in Manchester.
Saturday morning breakfast before John and Marion had to head for the airport home.
I stayed home with Beau and finished up with the shoveling. We had gotten another inch or so overnight to add to the several from the storm the day before. When Sue got home and settled in, we played some backgammon, ate a pizza, and enjoyed the evening with the wood stove pouring heat around us.
On one of her trips out to the kitchen, she noticed the rising of a spectacular full moon through the trees:
Full moon rising through the ice covered tree branches.
02/12/20: Valentines Adventures
Sue and I treated ourselves to some Valentines Day Adventures Wednesday 02/12/20. We visited The Flume Gorge up in Lincoln, NH for some winter hiking, then to the spectacular Ice Castles exhibit in Woodstock, NH, and dinner at the Covered Bridge Farm Table restaurant in Campton, NH.
Sue at in front of the Flume Gorge Visitor Center, Lincoln, NH.
We headed out around 1:15 pm after dropping The Beau Dog off for the day with Steve and Cathy. We took Route 140 out of Alton, NH over to Tilton, NH where we picked up I-93 North to Exit 34. What spectacular views we had along 93!
We hiked the 2 mile loop trail up to and back from the gorge at The Flume, getting some great, great pictures. But what a difference a winter hike is compared to the time in June of 2018 that we did it.
We spent about an hour and a half walking around the Ice Castles exhibit, and then stopped for dinner at the Covered Bridge Farm Table restaurant in Campton, NH, some of the best meals we've ever had.
02/15/20: Taking Care of Mia and a Note From Chuck
I went over to Marissa's today, Saturday 02/15/20 to take care of Mia. Marissa had called last night saying that Mia was sick with high temperature, and wondering if I could come down and sit with her.
Anytime to see Mia — even when she's not feeling well — is a treat, so after stopping at Aroma Joe's for coffee, I was there just before 9:00 am so Marissa could get to work.
Mia parked on the sofa with her... well, puke bucket — her words!
Mia was parked on the sofa when I got there, and that's where she stayed for the day, except for her nap from 1:00 to 4:00.
It was a perfect day for a movie marathon: 2015 Jurassic World, 2018 Bumblebee, and 2009 Avatar. While I was there, I got a wonderful note from Chuck that so made my day.