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... a smattering of the little things that make this life my life.

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Since I love horses and would love to own one someday (which will only actually happen if the stars align just right), this post made by Marci Diehl on Google+ caught my eye. I live less than 50 miles from the race track, but had not heard about this award-winning program until today. I plan to read more about FLTAP, but what I've learned of it so far fascinates me. Enjoy!

(Originally posted by Marci Diehl on Google+)

The new issue of Canandaigua Magazine is out and I have an article in it about the award-winning Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program (#1 in the country), Wanda Polisseni (their angel donor) and adopted racehorse Rio Dinero, sired by River Keen ($1.7M career winner) and great-great-grandson of Secretariat. But we didn't have enough room for some of the pictures they sent, so I'm putting them up myself. Loved writing about you all. Racehorses are awesome athletes!

FLTAP Retired racehorses only go to very experienced horse owners with the means to give them the life they deserve. They range in age from 2yr olds to about 10yrs. FLTAP is the only adoption program located on a racetrack and with the support of the track and the Horsemen's Benevolent Protection Association.

Shots below:

(Top) Rio Dinero was saved by FLTAP after 1st adopter turned him in claiming he had a central nervous system disease and "should be put down immediately" (they wanted a show jumper). With donations, Rio was examined by 5 equine vets who each came back with a negative diagnosis for the disease. Rio was adopted afterwards by Barbara Havill, who owns retired racehorse Top Shotta, as a companion for Shotta -- who was so lonely he began to withdraw in his stall and wouldn't eat. Today, they are best buddies at the Finger Lakes home of Havill. Havill hopes to train Rio for eventing. He's starting to compete again. Rio in plaid, Shotta in purple.

(2nd) I'm Agador -- raised by hand as a foal after he lost his mother, Agador is a favorite at FLTAP for his affection and sweetness. Turned out he didn't have the speed in him for racing.

(3rd) The handsome and charming Vibrance swept me off my feet when I went to the Purple Haze Center barn (Wanda Polisseni was the angel donor for this center & funds many of the horses' surgical needs after racing). He's since been adopted.

(Bottom) Full Marks was a stallion who was so aggressive toward other racehorses he needed gelding to be able to live a new life with an owner. FLTAP donors paid for his surgery, and he's now a laid-back gentleman who has won the heart of owner Mary Barnes, a Rochester NY police officer.

Each thoroughbred at Purple Haze has a story and I wish I could write them all! For more information on FLTAP's work, check out www.fingerlakestap.org

August 12, 2011 (4 photos)

Current Location:
Current Mood:
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According to this quiz, as a 1930s wife I am a complete failure:


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Poor (Failure)

Take the test!

There's a husband version, also, at the same link. Take the quiz and post your results here as a comment!
Current Mood:
amused amused
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Within the last couple of summers I've gotten more into gardening, and with that, into baking and cooking what I grow. Although I haven't grown my own zucchini yet, I received some from a friend. I've made banana bread hundreds of times, but have never tried zucchini bread, so I thought I'd give it a shot. I found a recipe called "Mom's Zucchini Bread" at Allrecipes.com with 2,245 reviews and a rating of five out of five stars. Here is the link: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/moms-zucchini-bread/Detail.aspx I've also copied the text.

Mom's Zucchini Bread

By: v monte
"Really, really good and moist- my kids eat it as quickly as I can make it. Bread will freeze well, and keep in refrigerator for weeks."

Prep Time: 20 Min
Cook Time: 1 Hr
Ready In: 1 Hr 40 Min
Servings: 24

Original Recipe Yield 2 loaves


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups white sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini (do NOT drain)
1 cup chopped walnuts


Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Nutritional Information
Amount Per Serving Calories: 223 | Total Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 26mg

While perusing the reviews I found many people had made substitutions to the original recipe, with excellent results. I usually make a recipe "as is" the first time, but the results of the modifications seemed so positive I decided to be brave and try some myself.

The following are my modifications:

-2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg
-2 eggs (because I forgot one!)
-1/2 c. cinnamon applesauce, 1/2 c. oil
-1 c. white granular sugar, 1 c. dark brown sugar (packed)
-3 cups zucchini
-1 c. chocolate chips (replacing the walnuts)

My bread took about 1 hr, 15 min to bake, which I originally attributed to the extra zucchini but may actually have been due to the missing egg. When I make banana bread I bake it at 350 degrees F for 60 min, and I'm wondering if that would work for this too (assuming the egg doesn't make the difference).

The bread came out wonderfully; moist and delicious! Keith (hubby) said he could really taste the cinnamon. I'm not sure if he meant he'd rather have less or what, but I didn't find it to be overwhelming at all. The brown sugar added a richness, as of course did the chocolate chips. We ate it with dinner, but it would totally work as dessert, also.
Current Mood:
hungry hungry
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I'm going on a field trip with my daughter today with her 1st grade class. It's a different kind of a field trip. We're going to a local stream to collect data about the cleanliness of the water there by collecting and observing water and invertebrate samples. The kids learn so much from this experience, which is a longitudinal study conducted through the elementary school, and quite possibly will be something they can participate in for their entire elementary school experience.

This project is one of the many reasons I believe our school district provides a good education for children. There are opportunities across grade levels for hands-on and functional learning, and I believe this provides a more well-rounded learning opportunity than I had growing up (in the same town, for what it's worth). For safety reasons I am not going to link directly to the site, but I have copied and pasted much of the information here. Please take a quick look and see what a great opportunity for learning this project really is.

Project Description and Overview
Pond Partners - What's it all about?

Fresh water surrounds students in Webster, NY from the shore of Lake Ontario, to Irondequoit Bay, to the streams and ponds that line and dot our landscape. North Ponds Park, just a short walk from our school grounds, will be the on-site location for our “Pond Partners” program.

Students will discover the hidden world in our local pond and from this activity develop an understanding of the importance of clean, fresh water on our entire ecosystem. On-site field observation and water sampling will occur in the spring and fall. The tablet PC will be a key element of students being able to record observations and make detailed drawings of their study as well as for use by the classroom teacher to pull up microinvertebrate identification dichotomous keys for instant identification of organisms as well as field guides for tree and plant identification. Since only small water samples will be taken back to the school site, the digital camera will be used to document organisms found during the on-site water sampling. In addition, by visiting the pond during two different seasons, using the digital camera to record seasonal changes will assist students’ visualization of the subtle changes that take place over many months.

Back in the classroom, the tablet PC and projector will be used to present lessons using interactive websites as well as for group presentations of lab activities on examining pond water samples with microscopes.


Pond Partners
Math & Science Connections

“Pond Partners” engages students to work as environmental scientists allowing them to develop their own inquiry-based questions and investigations tied to their water sampling activities and seasonal observations of the park. Use of field journals, making observations vs. inferences, identifying variables, data collection, measuring organisms (plant and animal), recording and reporting/graphing of findings are all tied to the activities.

Analysis of the result of the pond activities will promote critical thinking skills as well as provide a springboard into individual student inquiries to research and test.

Food chain relationships will be examined as well as the effects of humans, both positive and negative, on the pond ecosystem. Inderdependence and change will be key themes throughout the activities. Seasonal changes due to the position of the Earth in relationship to the Sun will be observed, documented, and graphed (temperature and daylight hours).


Impact on Students

Formative and summative assessments as well as implementing teacher interviews of students will gauge student learning. Formative assessments throughout the project will include concept mapping, journal prompts, math & science content quizzes, and teacher anecdotal notes. Also, the collaborative classroom field journal will provide insight into student understandings during the project. Students’ summative assessment will be the creation of multimedia presentations documenting their learning during the “Pond Partners” project. These presentations will be shown at a culminating Pond Partners Party in which each classroom in the school will be invited to visit the students’ hands-on displays showing the water sampling process, identification of macro-invertebrates, water quality testing, seasonal changes in the local ecosystem, pond food chains, as well as the findings of group scientific inquiries into pond ecology. Teacher interviews of students will provide data on the effectiveness of lessons utilizing the technology tools to engage students in learning.


Technology in the Teaching Process

There are three key components for integrating the granted technology: Introductory lessons, on-site experiences, and follow-up lessons.
Introductory lessons on pond ecology will utilize the projector, tablet PC, and an internet connection to allow students and teacher(s) to interact during instruction.

Brainstorm words related to pond ecology and using the pen color features to classify the words into categories
Website: What’s it like where you live? (http://mbgnet.mobot.org/fresh/lakes/)
Unitedstreaming video on pond life to build background knowledge
Creation of group concept map to illustrate initial understandings of ecology concepts related to pond study
Importing teacher created PPT on seasonal change for interactive presentation
Recording audio of lessons as the tablet PC is being used for note taking
On-site pond experiences will utilize the tablet pc and digital camera.
Recording student entries for collaborative class field journal as well as teacher anecdotal notes
Documenting seasonal changes with photographs of trees, plants, water level of pond, etc.
Photographing water sampling process
On-site macro-invertebrate key on tablet to assist students with identification (http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/index.html http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/pond/index.html )
Classroom follow up lessons will utilize the projector and tablet pc with internet access, digital camera, and scanner/printer.
Website: Virtual Pond Dip for classification of pond life
Interactive pond food chains:
Pond Animal Key:
Creating a graph number of organisms found in pond sample:
Annotating digital pictures for use in collaborative classroom field journal
Revising initial concept map of ecology concepts
Printing the notes & presentations for students to use as review sheets
Printing food chains, animal keys, and graphs for use in hand-on displays
Scanning student created drawings to import into multimedia presentations
Current Mood:
excited excited
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My first year doing NaNoWriMo and I just won! 50,134 words in 29 days. Completed despite missing three days of writing due to Thanksgiving and two days of 20th High School reunion immediately following. Of course, reduced hours at word definitely contributed to my success. Next year I hope to succeed while also pulling a 30-hour work week! Any which way, I didn't expect to make it for sure, although I certainly hoped I would. I'm still amazed I could do it. My story took turns I didn't expect, and since it's still not complete I have the continuing challenge of figuring out how it all works together. I'm planning to continue the philosophy of keeping the internal editor out of it until it's completely finished. And I'm planning to continue writing each day to finish it. This is my first novel, it's an experiment. And I'm having fun with it. And now I know I can do it.
Current Mood:
accomplished accomplished
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For the last 4 days (also known as the first 4 days of NaNoWriMo 2009) I've been going full board, dumping words onto my virtual page like crazy. It's worn me out, but it's felt good, and I liked what I was writing. Today I hit a wall. I had no idea where the story was going and didn't feel I could add to any other part until I figured out how the wall would dissolve.

Contributing to my frustration were some outside forces. I had planned to write for 30 min at lunch, in the car. I am out for work in the morning and then go in for the afternoon, and what I like to do is sit in the car in the parking lot, eating my lunch and typing away, then I go in after 30 min. Today I had to pee like mad, so I couldn't wait the 30 min. Good plan for my car seats, bad plan for getting any writing done. Once I got inside there was no coming back out until it was time to drive home. One strike.

When I get home from work my time is not my own. I meet the Munchkin at the bus, then she has a snack while telling me about her day, and then I supervise her homework. Her homework consists of a 5-10 min written assignment such as "Write 5 words with the short O sound", and then 15 min of reading aloud to someone. This means I cannot do something else while she does her homework, I need to participate. No writing time for me then.

So we do her homework and she then wants to play with the neighbor girls, and she wants to go to their house. Perfect! Ninety minutes of quiet house for me! But no, their dad is sick so they can't play there. They come to our house. Bummer. They decide to play in the basement. Bonus! They find 2 dead mice in the playroom. Bummer. I clean up the mice but the place still smells so they're back upstairs, in the same room with me. Bummer. And now it's time for me to make dinner anyway. Two strikes.

We eat dinner. I go to a local NaNoWriMo meet up. We chat rather than writing, but it's only about 90 min or so and it's time I wouldn't have been writing anyway because I'd be putting the Munchkin to bed, cleaning the kitchen, etc. I come home and settle in to write. Generally I listen to instrumental music on Last FM when I write- I like the background music but lyrics distract me. I've found I do well while listening, but tonight Last FM won't work. I spend time trying to figure it out, but to no avail. Routine off course. Story isn't going well- still hitting that wall. Three strikes.

I'm heading to bed and hoping my pea brain will figure something out as I sleep. And maybe tomorrow will be free of dead mice and malfunctioning music. Here's hoping.
Current Mood:
frustrated frustrated
Current Music:
None, duh! Didn't you read the entry?
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NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) began on Nov. 1, and for the first time ever I'm participating. (If you don't know what NaNoWriMo is, go here to check it out: http://www.nanowrimo.org ) I don't want to spend too much time here because I should be writing on my story, but I wanted a place to keep track of my word count for each day and figured this is as good a place as any. I plan to update this post at the end of each day with the day's total as well as the grand total so far. If you're interested in reading a short excerpt please go here and click on "Novel Info": http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/508659

Nov. 1 - 2127
Nov. 2 - 1210
Nov. 3 - 2664
Nov. 4 - 2553
Nov. 5 - 815
Nov. 6 - 2928
Nov. 7 - 0
Nov. 8 - 1822
Nov. 9 - 938
Nov. 10-1688
Nov. 11- 195
Nov. 12- 2095
Nov. 13- 857
Nov. 14- 2131
Nov. 15- 2010
Nov. 16- 1015
Nov. 17- 4744
Nov. 18- 3006
Nov. 19- 2601
Nov. 20- 2557
Nov. 21- 215
Nov. 22- 3006
Nov. 23- 0
Nov. 24- 3042
Nov. 25- 3007
Nov. 26- 0
Nov. 27- 0
Nov. 28- 0
Nov. 29- 1941

Total to date - 50,134
Current Mood:
creative creative
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A friend of mine posted this on Facebook. I love it!
Current Mood:
amused amused
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In order to have continuous sources of veggies, more than one planting is necessary. It seems the best way is to plant every 7 days or so, but I missed the boat on that this year. But, that's ok; this is all new to me and it's an experimental year. In that vein, I decided to throw some more seeds into the squares and see how they develop as the summer moves on. Today I planted two more spinach squares, three carrot squares, and three (I think!) lettuce squares. Then I weeded all the squares. It looks great!

I also found something unexpected. A couple weeks ago Keith left a pile of radishes in an empty square after he'd photographed them. I'd been meaning to toss them but hadn't yet gotten around to it. Today I noticed leaves growing from the rotting radishes- they're growing new radishes out of themselves, and aren't even attached to the soil yet. Crazy! I'm going to leave them and see what happens. Also on the subject of radishes, some of the radishes which are past being good to eat are flowering. I'll let those go to seed and replant next year, observing the process as it goes. I love learning new things about plants!
Current Mood:
excited excited
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Last week my best friend, Kym, came to town to spend a few days. We had a wonderful time at the Strong National Museum of Play, Eastview Mall, and just hanging out at our place. Kym usually visits in winter or very early spring, so she'd never seen our yard in summer. As soon as she got here I took her on a tour of my gardens. She oohed and aahed appropriately, which was great fun for me :)

Later in the week we decided it would be nice to have lettuce for our sandwiches at lunch, but I wasn't sure when and how to harvest my lettuce. I did a little research and learned that with leaf lettuce, like the romaine I'm growing, you can take the outer leaves off and leave the rest to continue growing. Another way is to cut the whole plant off about one inch above the soil, leaving the plant to re-grow leaves. Since we only needed a few leaves for our sandwiches, I chose the first method. The leaves were somewhat bitter, but it was very fulfilling to eat lettuce I'd grown myself. I learned the bitterness might have been due to a plant left growing for too long, or it might be that's just the flavor of this certain type of lettuce.

A few evenings later I wanted salad for 2 for dinner. I cut an entire lettuce plant for that purpose, which gave enough lettuce for two side salads. I also pulled a few carrots to put in. Since my cucumbers were still just flowers, the radishes were gone, and the spinach and tomatoes still way too small, I added some store-bought red onions and croutons. I wasn't sure what to expect, thought it might be too bitter for my taste, but it was really a nice tasting salad! There were a few bitter leaves, but overall the salads were perfect. Success!
Current Mood:
satisfied satisfied
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