Monday, January 30, 2012

Happy 65th Anniversary

On January 25,1947,my parents were married in Somersworth,NH. My Dad,Albert Martin Lessard,was born on September 27,1914 and passed away from complications due to Alzheimer's on September 4,1990.My Mom,Doris Louise Charrette,was born on December 11,1925.

My parents were born to French Canadian lineage. In fact,they are second generation Americans. All my great grandparents were born in Quebec. On my Dads' side,there is a bit of Native American and Irish thrown in. On my Mom's,some Scottish.

Both my parents only received an eighth grade education. My Dad quit school at age 14,after his mother died,to go to work at the bleachery to help support the family. My Mom did receive her eighth grade diploma,and went to work at Somersworth Shoe.Both went through the Great Depression. My Dad had it a bit harder than my Mom,because the family was much bigger. They received help from the church. My Dad's brother,Valmore,went into the Civilian Conservation Corp,and in fact,stayed up in Tamworth at the CCC camp were the Boy Scouts now have several events. It's strange to think my Uncle lived there at one point.

My Dad went into the service,and was sent to New Guinea during World War II. He was gone for three years.He came home,and met my Mom through her Uncle.My Dad and her Uncle served in the same unit overseas.

They courted and were married. My mother was actually engaged to someone else when they met,but apparently found my Dad more intriguing.

My parents were blue collar workers all their lives.I never knew what my parents earned. I know it wasn't much. I asked once what they made,and my father told me that "We don't ask what people make for a living." Fair enough.

We had a house,a car,plenty of food,and clothes on our backs. When we wanted something,we would get it on our birthdays or Christmas.My folks raised four children-Valmore,Linda,Dennis,and myself. My mother was,and still is,a very basic kind of lady. I suppose it's from being raised during the Depression.No frills. She has what she needs. Any extra is just something that she will have to dust. A true Yankee.

I miss my Dad. He was very jovial and loved to tell stories,at least until the Alzheimer's took that away from him. He loved quizzing me about history,and that instilled a love of history in me.

I still miss my Dad quite a bit. I wish he was here so I could wish him a Happy Anniversary.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mulling Things Over

Things around here have been pretty low key.Rick's meds continue to mess with him a bit. Saturday he went to his Asst Scoutmaster training,and the only down side was that it was in a small room with no windows. Rick has a hard time in rooms like that,but he made it through A-OK. He was wiped out when he got home,though,and he took a nap. 

Sunday,the Menfolk,Zach,and our next door neighbor Kelly decided to go up the road to Shaw Pond (no relation!)to do some ice fishing.We actually have enough ice now on most lakes and ponds to walk on them,but there are still some areas where the ice is not thick enough yet. Fortunately, Shaw Pond has a good 4" or so of ice,so they were good to go. They tried to talk me into going,but I  declined. I am not an outdoor winter person. I used to be in my youth,I loved sledding and being in the snow. Now, not so much. I prefer being warm in my house. The males were gone for at least four hours and had a great time!
Zach,Brother B,and Rick setting up traps

                                                                     Pulling up a fish                                  

They used Kelly's equipment,but Zach enjoyed it so much that Rick bought a couple of traps for he and Zach so they don't have to keep using Kelly's.

Also on Sunday,like any good New Englander,we watched the Patriots and the Ravens,holding our breath until the very end when the Raven's missed the field goal. Now we look forward to beating the Giants in the Super Bowl (sorry,New York fans)!

As for me,my project of late was making  some pot holders..
My potholders are in very sad shape. They are to the point where even washing them doesn't get them clean anymore. So instead of buying a pair,I made them. While I knitted,Rick and I started to mull over our plan for our garden this year. We need to order some new seeds-we have had some for three years now and it's time to get fresh ones. Instead of buying two types of lettuce,etc,we are only going to grow one kind. While we are going to cut back on variety,we are not going to cut back on quantity. We may forgo peas this year,too-to be honest,I am not a fan of fresh peas...maybe it's because I grew up with canned ones my whole life. I do love fresh green beans,though. I also need to be more on top of staggered planting this year. I hope that it doesn't take so long for the garden area to dry out this Spring.Last year we couldn't prep the area until late May.It was like a bog out back. Seeing such little snow this year,however,I assume that this spring will not be quite as wet. We also discussed whether or not we are going to make syrup this year,and we decided that we will give it shot yet again. We now  know that we need to boil the syrup a bit longer, to get it a bit more full flavored,and it needs to be canned,otherwise it doesn't last that long and gets moldy.Lessons learned,my friends!

Have a Fabulous Day on this Fabulous Planet!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Delving Into The Past

Things have been pretty quiet here the last few days. We did get a few inches of snow this week. Old Man Winter is a bit behind schedule this year. Zach was on the Boy Scout shovel list for the second snowfall,so we went down to the Grange where we have our meetings to shovel the walkways. There is a church in the Grange building as well. It's our Troop's duty to keep the area clean in the winter so the church folk and the Grange and Odd Fellows can have a clear pathway to their services/meetings. We only have two shovels,so Zach shoveled the walkway,Rick chipped the ice and then he spread some sand that we had for our driveway. I had the hard job of playing solitaire on my Kindle in the warm truck. :)

This morning Rick has gone down to Farmington for the first part of the Asst.Scoutmaster training.He is a bit nervous because he is not familiar with who is going to be there,and he hasn't been to the school in which it's going to be held in a long time,so it's like being in a strange place all over again. His hyper vigilance goes up in situations like this,but he has to dive right in and not avoid them. He's a trooper. 

Yesterday I spent a good portion of the day on my Family Tree Maker. I discovered in my account that someone had sent me an email regarding my great grandfather Lessard,and come to find out,this person is actually a cousin of mine. Of course,I rarely get into my email account,so this email was rather old (Sept) and the info they were asking for they had already found and posted. This led me to delve into my side of the family,and I discovered that I had some wrong info,which I corrected,but the new info was amazing-I have 7th great grandfather who was abducted by Native Americans from ME and brought to Canada.His mother and six siblings were killed at their home,and his Dad,who was fisherman by trade,was gone at the time. Now that is quite a find!

This is pile of genealogy papers I have:

Remember my goal was do get all these papers into the file cabinet in folders so I can just pull things up quickly. I brought the pile (which was quite heavy) to the computer desk,plopped everything down,and stared at it:

Where do I start? I figured the loose papers would be the best bet,and,to be honest,the easiest. How to separate them though?.Many families had to merge to form the family of Albert Lessard and Doris Charrette or the Richard F Shaw Sr and Barbara McQuilkin family. I figured the easiest thing to do would be make folders with our grandparents last names,then any names that were in their lineage I would put into that folder. So I have (for my family) Lessard,Charrette,Magnan and Thompson and for Rick,Shaw,Batchelder,Pratt, and McQuilkin. It worked well for the loose papers,then I had a few notebooks that I could just tear the pages out of and put in those folders.

Then I hit a snag.

I have couple of notebooks which are packed full,and divided by family. And the binders are the same. Hmmm.Seems like ripping all the info out would be a waste of organization. At this point,my brain was on overload,so I put everything on top of the printer and stopped for the day. Then,like I mentioned, I spent a good part of  yesterday working on info. So the pile is still on top of the printer.The filled notebooks I could fit into the file cabinet,and one of folders,but I have a big binder that won't fit.Maybe I can lay it down on bottom of the drawer.

Time also to start thinking about ordering new seeds for the garden. We have had ours for three years. Time to start fresh!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


 Here is my finished dishtowel. I took this when it was drying after I blocked it:

Blocking,for those of you not familiar with the term,is when you put the item in soapy water,then rinse it several times in cold and then you dry it,making the stitches a bit tighter.I'm sure it does something else,but right now I can't remember. :)

Because the yarn wasn't solid colors,you can't really see the stripes I made ( I wasn't anticipating any special patterns when I bought the yarn) but...if you look close enough,you can see two areas where there is mostly yellow-those are the stripes.

The one thing I was wondering about-if it would be absorbent enough-was certainly answered when I placed it in my bathroom sink. Yep.It's plenty absorbent! So as I make new towels,I will take an old ratty one out of the rotation and put it with my rag bag.

This morning we all overslept-apparently I shut off my alarm without realizing it,and Rick's didn't go off. Zach's new alarm wasn't plugged in. So I drove The Boy to school today.

Yesterday we took a trip to the Manchester VA for an appt with Rick's medicine Dr,Dr Hunt. So far,everything Rick is experiencing is normal. The goal is in a few weeks to be completely off the Seroquil and be totally on the  Depakote. The only downside is,since Seroquil is stronger than Depakote,he will wind taking more Depakote. It could be upward of over 1,500 mg a day.

Today my goal is reorganize my genealogy information. I have folders and binders that I keep in my bedroom closet that I really want to get moved into the file cabinet so when I am using my Family Tree Maker I can access info quickly. I will have to figure out exactly how to  do it-I can't just put the binders into the file cabinet,as I don't think they will fit. Do I use a main name-such as Shaw-as a hanging folder and then have all the names associated with it in separate manila folders? Hmm. It's a mystery,Scooby Doo! I also want to put more info into my  Tree Maker this winter. So far,I have several hundred names on Rick's side of the family (his is easier to find,since my relatives didn't come down from Canada until the 1870's at the earliest). I have also been considering a blog about our genealogy,but I'm sure about it yet.I'm still mulling that over.

Have a Beautiful Day on this Beautiful Planet wherever you might be!!!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Knitted Dishtowel

Good morning! As I posted yesterday,it was a snow day.Zach helped Rick clear out the snow,and besides doing some knitting,I made more laundry soap. Today I need to do laundry and I am in the process of boiling pinto beans for my crock pot chili. Gluten free cornbread will be served as well.

I received a couple of comments about the dishtowel I am making (hello Tango from VA and Julie from MI!) I am always excited to get responses to my posts,especially when they are new folks.

I was thinking a while back that since a dishcloth could be made,why couldn't a dishtowel? So I started to browse various knitting/crocheting sites to see if anyone had actually made such a towel,and if so,did it work properly? I came across a site,,and they confirmed that yes,dishtowels can be made,and not only that,but they work! Her patterns are for striped dishtowels,and they look lovely,with a beige body and red stripes.I am going for a more colorful look:
 She also used circular needles,and I am using 8" straight ( I noticed that after the fact,but so far,it's working well). Finished product is approx 9" x 16". 100% cotton yarn is used.
Cast on 56 stitches,then knit all the rows for a simple towel. If you want to add stripes,her site has different I will share the one I am attempting:

                                                     Twin Stripe Dishtowel
(These instructions are in the colors she uses-you can use whatever you want,of course)

Cast on 56 stitches in a neutral color

Knit 20 rows in garter stitch,do not break the yarn

*Pick up red yarn for the stripe,knit two rows,do not break yarn

Pick up the neutral yarn,knit two rows,do not break yarn

Knit two rows red,break yarn**

Continue knitting all rows with the neutral for 12 rows

Pick up red and repeat from * to **

Continue knitting all rows with the neutral for 20 rows.

Bind off

Sew in ends and block

Give it a whirl! I will let you know how mine comes out.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Snow Day

Today we were suppose to go to the Manchester VA for a medication appointment and an appointment with Rick's TBI Dr.However,yesterday Rick called and rescheduled because of a snow storm that was heading our way.We do have four wheel drive,but there is no point in driving an hour and 15 minutes in a mess when you don't have to,right?

My Mom,who is doing great with her shoulder and is all done with her physical therapy,commented to me the other day that in her 86 years,she has never seen such a lack of snow. We had a covering for Christmas,then a couple days later it disappeared.It has been warm for this time of year as well-yesterday I went grocery shopping in short sleeves and a sweatshirt. Usually here in NH we are bundled up,sometimes by November. This type of weather is extremely rare.

However, this AM the alarm when off at 5:30 AM and I went to the window to see if it had started snowing. It had barely started,and the school district called to tell us that there would be no school. I thought that was a very good decision,since the storm was suppose to get worse as the morning went on,in some areas dropping an inch or two an hour.

So now we finally have some snow. I admit I am happy at this point without it,but it's very pretty to watch. It makes me feel very warm and secure with the wood stove going and the storm swirling outside.

I have taken a break from organizing to do some knitting. I am inspired to knit some dishtowels. The inspiration came from the lovely handmade towels my Dear Friend Michelle gave me for Christmas. I am in need of new dishtowels. Mine are mostly stained,and in a couple of cases,ripped. They will make great rags. I was thinking of buying some new ones,but then I realized that I can just make them myself!Dishcloths,dishtowels,and potholders are on the agenda.

Enjoy your day!!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Organizing-File Cabinet

Yesterday was a down day for me.I woke with one of my headaches,and that had me down for the count for the day. Poor Zach,between me and my headache and Rick having a blah reaction to the med change,he didn't get to Scouts this week. Today I am feeling better,and am in the process of making Rick a gluten free Boston Cream Pie.Why they call this a pie when it's really a cake is one of those mysteries that I will have to look up,but it's his favorite,and what with his brain and body have been going through these last few weeks,he deserves a nice little treat made with much love :)

Friday night we got a knock on our door at 11:00 PM. One of our friends on the local police force stopped by to let us know that there was deer hit nearby. The Menfolk (and of course,Zach) went out to get the deer and gut it. Saturday morning,it was there,hanging in the tree. I didn't get a photo of it,because the Menfolk had taken the camera to Nephew Brody's ROTC promotion ceremony. Unfortunately,they only got two photos before the camera died,and they both came out blurry :(

Sunday I worked on the file cabinet.

As you can see, it's your basic file cabinet. I had to buy one because of all the paperwork we had for Rick.It was crazy. If any of have been in the military,you know that they are notorious for losing documentation,so it' s always beneficial to have several copies of everything,especially when you are in the throes of a med board. ( Rick is on temporary retirement for up to 5 years,which is the norm for soldiers with PTSD. He has to go for another evaluation in March).

I took out all the files and went through each and every one,and got rid of quite of few things. There are some things that I keep hearing different things about,such as account statements,tax returns,etc. How long do I keep these things? Who should I trust to guide me in the proper direction? None other than the Queen of Finance Herself,Suze Orman.If she says keep,I kept.If she said toss,I tossed. Here are a few of her guidelines:

Keep For One Year:
Paycheck stubs
Utility Bills ( unless using for home business -then retain for three years)
Cancelled checks( for tax purposes three years)
Bank Statements ( for tax purposes three years)

Three Years:
-Income tax returns

A more complete list can be found on her website,

I also ran military things by Rick. There were quite a few things at this point we could toss,seeing as we have a printer and don't need to keep many copies of the same thing anymore. The whole project took me a few hours,and I got the cabinet down to mainly one drawer:

The bottom drawer stores manuals,warranties,computer paper,photo paper,etc.Part of the fun of organizing documents is creating hanging folders and sub folders for them. Thankfully,I did that a couple years ago. I have the dividers for Military,VA,Social Security,Home documents (mortgage,home insurance),Vehicles (titles,insurance),Zachary (report cards,certificates),Taxes,Personal Documents (birth certificates,divorce papers,immunization records,etc). I had to put all the paperwork in  specific piles,such as military,then each of those piles were separated into a sub category-National Guard,Active Duty,Orders,etc.This year, I combined a few subcategories.

Now we have a lovely pile of papers to use as fire starter in the wood stove:

Have a Fabulous Day on this Fabulous Planet!!!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Organizing-Computer Files

This morning I woke to lightly falling snow.Though I admit that if I didn't see snow for the rest of the winter it wouldn't bother me,looking out the window at the gently falling flakes makes for a pretty picture. Little O seems to think so,too:

Yesterday I continued cleaning out my computer files. The old deleted email file,cleaned out. Spam,cleaned out. Sent,cleaned out. I also started my Favorites.

When I put something in my Favorite file,sometimes it's something that I stumble across that has info that I want to reference to quickly,sometimes it's a blog I find intriguing but don't have the time to fully examine at that time so I can go back to it,and lately it's been knitting and crocheting patterns that I get via email.There have also been assorted genealogy info. This year, I cleaned out quite a few favorites. A good portion of them are knitting and crocheting. Sometimes when I try to print them out it works,and sometimes it doesn't,which really stumped me. I guess it depends on what browser  it is on,and I finally figured out how to print everything out. I still have a few to print and delete. Some patterns I just deleted. Then,of course, I will clean out my recycle bin to free up that space.

Yesterday I also did my monthly cleaning out of magazines. I saved the articles that had something I wanted to refer to later,and got rid of most the others,only keeping the current ones (January 2012).Yes, I could get these online,but I love getting magazines in the mail.It's like a present in the mailbox! I do think that there are a couple that I will stop subscribing to,though. When I get to the point where  I skim through them for a few months and there is nothing that catches my eye,it's time to call it good. Right now I have Hobby Farm,Hobby Farm Home, (though I detest the term "Hobby Farm"),Mother Earth News,Backyard Poultry,Countryside,Herb Companion,Country Home Sampler,and Country Home. What do I do with the articles I keep? I put them in our Life Book,which I will also be cleaning out and revamping over the next few days.

Today,I finish printing out /deleting patterns,and I begin our file cabinet.That will be interesting!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Organizing-Cookbooks and Cooking Magazines

Many thanks for the positive feedback on  my last post! The support helps :)

This has been a hard week for Rick. He is in the midst of changing his meds,so while he is gradually getting Depakote into his system,he is also gradually getting the Seroquil out. He has had moments of irritability and moments where he breaks down.He has been very confused,and the other day asked me how I spell my name.He had "Dawna" in his head. We are going to hold off on moving forward with the kitchen remodel until he is on a more even keel. He could not even begin to try and do measurements,cutting, etc. It would frustrate him even more than he is now. So that will be on hold for a bit.

Tuesday I decided to work on my cookbook/cooking magazine storage area. I keep them on a shelf on an old vegetable dryer we bought at a barn sale.I keep my onions,potatoes,and garlic here:

Lovely,isn't it? In this conglomeration are cookbooks,loose recipes,many magazines,my digital food scale,and recipe box. I had this thing for years where each holiday season I would buy Christmas Cookie magazines ( I had some going back to 2003),Holiday Baking,Paula Deen Christmas mags,etc. I enjoyed looking at the pretty cookies,thinking that someday I may bake them.

I probably have used recipes in these magazines a handful of times,and most of that handful is actually  one fabulous blueberry muffin recipe.The majority I have never used a single recipe from.

So, I pulled everything off the shelf,and sorted them into piles:books,magazines,and loose papers:

Going through the cookbooks and magazines,I asked myself:
-Have I ever cooked anything from this? If so,how long ago?

If the answer was yes and it wasn't too far back I would keep the book.If it was a magazine,I would take the recipe out of it and put it into my recipe box.  I wound up getting rid of one book and all but two magazines. Some of the loose papers were gluten free information,which of course,we are now familiar with,so I really didn't need those anymore. My magazine pile was too heavy to plop all in one garbage bag,so I placed a neat little pile by the garbage bin. A few magazines get put in the trash anytime a new bag is put out.

I wiped down the veggie dryer and placed what I am keeping back:

Ah,that's more like it!!! It did take a bit to go through all the magazines,but it was so worth it.

Next:more magazines and computer favorites!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Organizing-Christmas Decorations

Like I mentioned in my previous post,I am terrible about small details and follow through. I don't  know why,it just is what it is. This year,I am determined to squash that habit. Now, our house is not horrible,but there are areas which could use some vast improvement,and I am not ashamed to admit it.Our mud room is horrendous,and it has become a catch all for garbage and assorted items. Not the best first impression one receives when they come to our house. Our attic is a mess,and our bedroom is where everything goes to die,apparently. You would think the bedroom would be one of the best rooms in the house,wouldn't you? Put it this way,My Dear Friend Michelle has never seen our bedroom,and it's right off the kitchen.The door is closed when company arrives. A bedroom should be some place nice,cozy,and romantic.Ours, not so much.One day I will bite the bullet and bare this room to the world,but today is not it! :) These are the big things that I am determined to change this upcoming year. I want my house to embrace not just visitors,but the family as well. I want it be a haven. I want the soul of my home to reflect my soul and how I feel about life. Unfortunately,what I feel on the inside is not being shown outwardly.

It's like having dirty little put up an overly good front, and the public areas for the most part look great,but you know there's a pile of crap behind the closed door or stuffed under the bed.It's a good illusion,but I'm tired of trying to maintain an illusion. I want to maintain reality. One of these things behind the door is in the attic. And since it's time to put away Christmas decorations,that was area I decided to attack first-the decorations.It also cleans up a third of the attic.

Like many folks,when I first was on my own,I received old decorations from family. "I don't want this anymore,do you?" Even if it wasn't something I would purchase,I would accept it gratefully,since I didn't have a lot of money to go out and buy everything from scratch. At least I had things to make my home look festive. Over the years,as I bought things or made things,I used less and less of what I was given.There are things that I still treasure:ornaments made by Zach,"Baby's First Christmas type ornaments,old decorations that we used in my parents house growing up. But there are things I no longer use-garlands,glass decorations,etc.  I never stored these things with rhyme or reason. Throw it in the box and get it out of here! The next Christmas,I'd have to pull all the boxes down to see what I had and where I had it.

New Years Day,I decided to go through all the decorations.In order to get up to the attic,I had to clear a path:

Yep.That's what our stairs looked like behind the closed door. We have no storage closet,so things get "placed" in the stairwell. This why I'm so happy that we will have a closet that we can put some of this stuff in. You can see at the top of the stairs some of the boxes we have the Christmas decorations in. To the right there were probably at least six more boxes.

 I hauled all the boxes down from the attic and took down most of  the decorations around the house,the exceptions being the tree,the garland around my window,and the outdoor decorations.This is what I had:

Now I have everything right in front of me so I can go through it.( I know what is on the tree I am going to keep.) As I pick up each item,I ask myself:

 -Do I love it?
-Am I keeping this because someone gave it to me? Would I put it out otherwise?
-Does this reflect what I what?

Any glass ornaments I no longer wanted I put in a bag,which I will smash up and use for a frame project. Some things were past their prime,some things were broken,and some where just downright ugly. After two and a half garbage bags, I had this left:

Monday,I had to bring Zach clothes shopping and winter boot shopping.He has outgrown most of his jeans and his winter boots are too small.(Not that we have any snow,but it's still early in the winter).Before we left,I assessed what I had and what I needed to store them. I really wanted an ornament storage box,so all my ornaments could be in one place,and I wanted a wrapping paper storage box as well. After we took care of Zach,we hit Home Depot and I was able to find what I wanted. When I got home,I took down the tree,and put all the decorations in their new bins:

What a difference! From many many boxes to just 5 storage bins! They looked great up in the attic:

And we can't forget that hideous stairwell:
Now I have clear bins so I can see what is where,and so far I can still climb the stairs with no problems.

Today I am going to go through my magazines and cookbooks.