Wednesday, December 27, 2017

2017 - My Year In Review

Welp.  Here we are staring down the end of 2017.

I ended 2016 glad to put that crap cancer year behind us.  

January started well. Snowed in New England.  Global warming was a no show. Again.  We went to Great Wolf Lodge.  Scored tickets to U2 in June.  All was going well. 

Elena had been complaining of dizziness.  We had gone to the doctor who said she hadn't gained any weight since August and had POTS symptoms. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. 

"POTS is a form of dysautonomia that affects the flow of blood through the body, thereby causing dizziness when standing. Technically, someone has POTS if their heart rate increases by 30 beats per minute or their heart rate is greater than 120 beats per minute within 10 minutes of standing up." 

So off to the cardiologist we went.  She said, yeah, probably.  Probably dehydrated.  Should drink more water.  Hope it improves.   Meanwhile, a blood test revealed elevated whosie whatsits (that's totally the technical name) that indicated Celiac Disease.  At the end of February, a endoscopy confirmed that Elena has Celiac Disease. No wheat, barley, rye or malt.  I wanted to rage and rail, but a good friend had just been diagnosed with stage four cancer, so perspective smacked me in the face and told me to shut up.  We started the gluten free diet. 

We decided it was time for Dave to go back to work more than two days a week.  But then it snowed the entire month of March so we just hibernated and figured out how to find hidden gluten.  Dave had some minor leg vein removal surgery. It was only minor because it wasn't me having it done.  So there was recuperating for him.  We also had followups at Dana Farber.  Nothing new there, so we can breathe easy for another three months... 

Dave went back to work at The Other Place Pub four nights a week.  Which meant I had to cook for my children.   Excuse my French, but... 

So, I googled and googled and got myself on a Homeland Security watchlist to buy this majestic beauty:

I LOVE THIS BAD BOY!  Okay, so I am not being paid to say this. But I totally should because my testimony of "wife of chef who can't cook posts food pics on Facebook" has sold at least four of these for the Instant Pot company... (PS. Instant Pot, you can reach me at

I have made ribs, corned beef, rice, mashed potatoes, more rice, more mashed potatoes, chicken, rice, pork, mashed potatoes. Okay, fine, so my repertoire is limited, but man, if I could cook, oh the places we'd go, my Instant Pot and I... 

Hmmm. I think May was good.  Rachel started playing lacrosse for the first time ever and I spent the entire month yelling at her to get in there and she spent the entire month yelling at me that it was against the rules to cross the line.  It was super fun watching this team of girls who never played together go from a cluster to a cohesive team that gets it done. And somewhere along the line I became a cough shudder sports mom cough shudder.  And I liked it.  

Finished lacrosse.  Didn't gluten my daughter.  Went to see U2 at their 25th Anniversary Joshua Tree Tour. Freaking amazing.  Bono, I love you, babe.  Elena went to Dana Farber.  Cysts were found.  Could be something to worry about, but probably not something to worry about.  But alas, we are not going to graduate to 6-month follow ups.  Come back in 6 weeks.

Went camping. It rained the entire time.  Dave heard through the grapevine that Claudette wanted to get out of the diner business.  We spent a lot of time discussing whether Chefee wanted to get into the diner business.  Somewhere in July, a decision was made. 

Oh August you sultry minx.  If I could only appreciate you in August as much as I miss you in late, frigid December... We spent a lot of time gathering resources so Claudette's could become Chefee's.  Leases were negotiated. Monies were collected.  We had a fun labor day camping trip at Salisbury Beach (But did it snow? It felt cold enough to snow... )  We had a followup with Dana Farber and the what could they be cysts.  They said, we'll see you in October.

And then, on September 1, this happened:

We were planning to open September 18th, and by we, I mean Dave.  But then the inspectors came in and laughed and laughed and laughed.  Okay, they didn't laugh. They were nice about it.  But they kindly told us that our hood was not to code.  Who knew hoods were such a pain the butt (Oh, Dave knew...)   So, we (and by we I mean Dave) and our friends, cleaned and prepped and bought chairs and scrubbed and cleaned some more and painted and put in carpet and figured out the hood business so that finally...

On October 30th, Chefee's 1921 Diner opened for business.  And Elena and Rachel played field hockey.  These two things took up all of September and October. Truly.  With the exception of seeing a phenomenal concert by Imagine Dragons on October 29th, nothing else happened.  We did sneak in a visit to our favorite cancer ward at Dana Farber for another ultrasound.  Yeah, those cysts are probably fine.  We aren't really going to worry about them there things, but you go have some blood work so we can see what's what. 

Dave worked at the diner. 
I worked at Azimuth.  And cooked dinner.  It's a recurring nightmare.  The dinner part.  Azimuth is fine. (Hi, coworkers. I love my job! I love my coworkers!)  
And Elena's blood work showed that she has low Protein A or protein S. I can't remember now.  I am suffering from Health Care Fatigue.  If you put someone under a microscope long enough, you are going to find things.  Definitely Protein S. Or A. I don't know.  She's fine.  Wiggle your toes on long car or plane rides.  We'll see you in January.  

Oh Christmas came, whether I liked it or not.  It came without packages. It came without a clean house. It came without needles on my Christmas tree (cuz dang, that thing was dead...) It mostly came without me being prepared.   Here is actual leaked footage of me:

So goodbye 2017.  I think I'll just let 2018 come on in and make itself comfortable. If ya need me, I'll be napping.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

This is for my parents.  Who are on a cruise. In the Carribbean. Without me.

And in case that's not enough, Sunday through Tuesday, the Euro model is showing an additional 19 inches and the GFS model is showing 13 inches.

Here in Laurieville, we are blaming that lazy, good-for-nothing groundhog.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Makes me want one...

This is for the church lady... who may or may not be able to receive pictures in email at work... If you are the church lady, or like hedgehogs, or are a church lady who likes hedgehogs, this post is for you. If you are not a church lady or do not like hedgehogs, or are a church lady who does not like hedgehogs, then move along... nothing to see here.

(Image courtesy of I found it on Pinterest.)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Overheard at breakfast

Rachel (8) to Elena (sister):  I love you.
Elena (10) to Rachel:  I know.

A little Star Wars moment... *sniff*

Thursday, November 22, 2012


I am thankful that my seven year old has her priorities straight.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It Doesn't Take Guts To Quit!

Hi. Been a while.  Yeah yeah.

My 19 year old nephew Taylor left the east coast on January 1 to bicycle ride across the country with his friend Steve.  As they were planning the trip, they found out that the St. George, Utah Ironman would be taking place at the tail end of their journey.  So they said what the heck, let's do the Ironman too!  Anyone who is my facebook friend knows how insanely proud I am of this kid.  And so I wanted to share his story about the Ironman ~

Taylor's Ironman Story

If you have time, read some more of his and Steve's blog,  Trailing The Sun.

I have learned some important lessons from Taylor and Steve's adventure...

1) There still are good, honest people who will give you a hot meal and a place to stay even though you are just a kid on a bike.

2) Runners are good people.  This I already knew from a very special runner I know, but Jason and the others who encouraged him reaffirmed it.

3) I will never do an Ironman.

4) You know what they call the last man to cross the finish line (in an Ironman)?  An Ironman!!!

Now, get out of here, grab a tissue and go read Taylor's story.  Read about the amazing Jason.  Leave Taylor and Steve a note.  Tell them the Countess sent you!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

The 4th Pain of Christmas Made Easy :)

Nothing like 6 to 12 inches of snow to get you thinking about Christmas. I know, I know… it’s not yet Halloween, but except for one class party and the trick-or-treating, that holiday is dead to me. Thanksgiving doesn’t get me too inspired, so I just stuff my face and nap. Then it’s on to Christmas.

In my busy, crafty mania, I typically fall apart on one thing! The Christmas cards. Last year, I mailed them the week after Christmas. In 2009, I mailed them on January 20th. How do I remember that? It was the day Obama was inaugurated.

So, this year, because I am not crazily sewing Halloween costumes or crafting the perfect giveaway treat for the classroom AND I received a reminder email from Shutterfly I have started to think about this year's Christmas cards.

Last year, I signed up for a promotion with Shutterfly that in exchange for a blog post containing my honest review, I would receive 50 free Christmas Cards. I said, what the hey, I would give it a try! And I am glad I did. The cards were amazing. The quality was superb, the choices, original and the selection, huge!! This is the one I finally chose:

So, this year, Shutterfly is again wooing me with free cards. But they didn’t need to woo me. I would have bought them.

I encourage you to take a look at their Christmas card selection here.

They also have cards for other occasions, if you already have your handmade Christmas cards ready to be mailed. You can check them out here.

I would also totally recommend them for their photo books . I used to scrapbook back before the kids. Now, I have no time, no space and no pictures to look at because they are all still on the memory card or in some folder on my hard drive. This year, after we returned from a fabulous St. John vacation, I decided that I wanted something to show my friends. So I created a photo books . Oh. My. Heck. Best thing ever. Simple to create, easy to carry around, fun to show off. And if you have kids, Grandparents love this stuff. Theese books would make a fabulous Christmas or birthday presents.

In conclusion, I highly recommend Shutterfly. As a bonus, once you get signed up, not only do you immediately get 50 free prints, they are always sending nice offers for more free prints or free product. And everything I have gotten from them has been top notch.

Give them a try, you won’t regret it.

Do you blog? Want a chance at 25 free cards this holiday season? Register HERE!!

Don't have time to blog? Don't worry!, Shutterfly has offered me three promotional codes for 25 free cards. An excellent way to try them out and see what you think. So, if you leave me a comment, I will draw three names on November 1st and the winners will receive a code via email.

Disclosure: I am being compensated by Shutterfly for this blog post, but all these opinions are mine, mine, mine!!