Sunday, December 9, 2007

What's happened to Martha?

I don't know if anyone else out there likes Martha Stewart, but I have been known to be a Martha enjoyer in the past. And when I say the past, I mean the past as in before she went to jail when her show was not live, but pre-taped, no audience. I found her to be the "Miss Manners" of the 20th century, the guru of what is proper and good and how traditions can enrich your lives. I always found it fun to watch all the things she did at the "finest quality." All that sounds kind of ironic seeing as she went to jail after that, but hey no one is perfect. Anyway, I enjoyed her show, not that I was an avid watcher or anything since I worked, but I did like it when I saw it. So when I had Oliver, I was sort of excited because I was going to be home during the day, so I could catch me a little Martha. So I was simply shocked when her "new and improved" Martha Stewart show came out. It was horrible!!! Does anyone else agree? She is an awful host and interviewer! She is so stiff and not hip, but she's trying to be, or at least her producers want her to be. I'm sorry Martha but you are! That's sort of why I think I liked her before, she wasn't trying to be hip or cool, she was just a lady that could easily belong to "the finer things" club sharing tips, tricks, recipes, and tools. But now, it's almost painful to watch her, I mean the segments are so short because she has to be interviewing some celebrity while at the same time showing them how to do a craft or gardening or cooking, and so she is just hauling along and so at the end she always just says, "see the website for more details on how to do...." So you really don't even see how to do the stuff she is doing, and so really what is the point of watching, to see her be totally lame while she interviews someone? No, just go straight to the web sight. I was sorely disappointed so see her in a sense sell out for more publicity and ratings or whatever. As if she wasn't popular enough as it was. Anyway, don't watch the show, it's awful. I guess that's my review for the week. Just had to get it out there. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Halloween Tales

On a lighter note than our car fiasco I thought I would post my belated Halloween images. It was Oliver's first year going out trick or treating, which was really just a shameless way for Zack and I to get some candy!! Oh yeah! He enjoyed all month the pumpkins appearing around here and there. He loved them!! But to my surprise he also loved all things Halloween- scary things, cute things, gory things...he loved it all!
We went to our ward party and Oliver enjoyed running around looking at all the other kids. Zack and I were the Big and Little dipper and Oliver was some kind of furry animal? I don't know, it was a costume someone had given us and it is unknown what it was, but he was still cute!
Then on Halloween night we went with a few families in our ward trick or treating. It was fun to go around together and I think Oliver liked all the kids and Halloween decorations! That night Zack and I watched some of the original Dracula. A little cheesy but good!

Car Update!!

Okay, so we got our sweet beloved chariot back!! And she is glad to be home!! It turns out that she wasn't stolen, but instead towed by the police. Yes the same police that we called to file a missing car report, that came to our house and we gave a clear description. would think that when we reported our car stolen, they would then check their records and then see that it was towed at their request!!! ARGHHHH!!! So they didn't call us back for a few days until they realized it and then all they said was, "your car is at Pat's tow center." No mention of why it was towed or that it was actually the police that had it towed. Yeah, so meanwhile it was racking up daily fees at the towing place. SUPER, thanks police dept. So we still had no idea why it was towed in the first place. So we called the police back to ask, they said to call Pat's, we called Pat's (who is extremely RUDE by the way) they said to ask the police, we called the police, they said to call Pat' you see the pattern forming here? So finally the less than pleasant "customer service" person at Pat's said it would be on the ticket. (Which would be on the car which he was obviously to lazy to go and look at.) So we went to pick it up, and $210.00 later we had the Chariot back home.
However, there was no ticket on the car. So we still didn't know why the car had been towed, and if we're going to have to pay $210 to get it out, I certainly think we deserve to know why it was towed!
The mystery continued.
So I called the parking ticket office, because I thought they could tell me, and also if there was a ticket we needed to pay on top of the tow I didn't want to get a late fee, and I wanted to fight it! So I call, talk to the 1st lady and she has no record of our car being towed or a ticket. She sends me to the next lady who does the abandoned cars, she has no record of the tow, or a ticket. So she said to call the towing company and see who authorized the tow. So I call back Pat's. The police authorized the tow. So I call the police. I talk to a lady in traffic, she sends me to the lady in accidents/towing. After I argue with her that the name of the street that our car got towed on does exist, I should know, it's the street next to ours. Finally she finds it, says there was no ticket, it just got towed. Why??

What? Seriously?? You towed our car from a residential street for that??? I was shocked. What a totally lame and bogus reason! I wanted to reach through the phone and I don't know, do something!
So I said okay and we hung up. At least there was no ticket to pay too. But then I thought, "can we fight it?" So I called the last lady back and asked if we could fight it and she said that I could take to the officer who did it. So she gave me his name and I called him, he wasn't there, but I talked to another police officer and he said he would check on it. But he called back a few minutes later and in a nut shell said that someone probably called and complained that our car was parked in front of their house, but then the car was supposedly more than 12 in from the curb and since we have Utah plates he couldn't get a hold of us to move it, so we got towed. I said, don't you have to give a warning or a ticket first or something? He said no, they try to get a hold of you, but if they can't then they tow. I mean how lame, what are the odds that you are going to be home at the one instance that the police call you? But of course he didn't even try to contact us because we had Utah plates. How annoying!! I asked about them not having it on record and he said that wasn't there departments fault (of course), and I said, "so in the mean time when we filed a report, and it took you days to get back to us for something YOU did, we have to pay the towing place." He again said that that was the records dept, fault, not theirs, so of course no one is taking the blame, and we just have to eat the money for those days we could have gotten it out, but thought it was stolen.
Then Officer then told me I should be glad because it is an unregistered car and that is illegal to park on the street. But Officer George didn't get us for that. Thanks Officer George. But to be careful in the future because at anytime it can be towed since it isn't registered. Great. At this point I was crying out of frustration. And I am trying to keep it in and I asked what you are suppose to do when you don't have off street parking at the apartment you rent and you need to fix your can and order parts, but they aren't there yet. He said we would need to park it on private property, I asked where we would do that. He didn't know. I asked what were people suppose to do, he said "I don't know what to tell you." Well thank you officer!
I know it's not his fault, it's just frustrating because we have no where else to park it. And if it was him in our situation, he would certainly feel differently.
So 20 phone calls, one emotional call with a police officer later, and a wallet significantly lighter, I had reached the annoying end.
Here's what I think really happened, and Zack agrees: Someone called and said the car had been parked there awhile and when the Officer got there he couldn't really find anything wrong, so he made up a bogus charge to have it towed to make the people happy. Because someone in our ward told us they like to give tickets to out of state plates because they usually won't fight them. And we had gotten a ticket for the same thing at the 1st place we lived but the car wasn't towed and the ticket was only for $15. Big Difference!! $15 or $210! And since we got the 1st ticket I have always been careful to park close to the curb. And I specifically remember checking that I was close enough when I had parked the car there. So I know the CRIME WAS FALSE!!
This was a long rant, but I needed to get it out of my system, sorry.
Did I mention I highly dislike this town??? Well I do.

Friday, November 2, 2007

At the scene of the CRIME!!!!!

That's right, I said CRIME!! Notice anything missing in this picture?? The big open spot with no leaves would indicate that perhaps a car had been sitting there and now is gone. Yep, gone. Our car, our sweet sweet chariot, our proud steed is gone. Where you might ask has it gone? What a good question-- we don't know, hence a burglar is a foot. (I guess not a foot anymore now that they have our 1990 Toyota Camary.) It was stolen on Halloween- trick not treat. I had been on a walk with Oliver and when we came back I noticed that our car wasn't there anymore. I thought maybe Zack had moved it since we have been parking around the corner as our street has been under going construction for the past 2 months. Everyone had to park on other streets. Since we hadn't been driving our proud steed since we moved here because the registration had expired and we needed to fix the head light before we could do that, it had been sitting around the corner for a few weeks. But clearly within sight of our own house. So again, I thought maybe Zack had moved it for some reason. He had not. We thought maybe it had gotten towed since it had been sitting in the same spot for awhile. It had not. Stolen, stolen, stolen. Good bye lovely chariot. And of all the cars to steel too!! I mean it was a pretty wicked ride, but there were a load of other cars parked near by clearly newer than ours. But no, pick on the Utahns, sure.
Anyway, we filed a police report last night, and I guess all we can do is wish for the best. Maybe our sweet chariot will find it's way home to us!! Sniff.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Date with Johnny Appleseed!!

We went to pick some apples and raspberries at a farm in Leominster (pronounced Lemon-stir, don't ask) where the famed Johnny Appleseed supposedly planted some of famous trees!! I didn't realize Johnny was a Massachusettite, Massachusettian, well whatever you call someone from Massachusetts. Who could miss that opportunity? Not us. So we raced over there to get in on the fruit goodies. It was beautiful there, it is only about 30 min. from where we live, although the difference is striking. So we picked some apples especially the Macoun which are the specialty here and only in season for a few weeks out of the year, and some raspberries which were delicious that I made into some freezer jam. But mostly it was fun to be together and just enjoy the beautiful scenery and weather!!
Don't be gourd looking at all these pictures!! Ha,ha,ha.... I know, I know, bad pun, but sometimes you just have to do it!

Picking out his favorite gourd...
Sorry Candyce and Bob, I had to put this one in because it's just awesome!! It looks like a secret service man came out of no where to take down a raspberry thief!!
The Beckstead Men!

Taking a break from picking! All work and no play, makes Oli a dull boy! He loved playing ball with Grandpa!

Kris Tina was right, Oliver is no baby anymore- so we put him to work!! Although I'm not sure how many raspberries actually made it in the bag?

Bubbie and Oliver.

Grandpa, Bubbie, and Oliver picking raspberries.

Zack with our loot of apples and raspberries!! And Oliver doing something suspicious in the background.

I guess Oliver didn't think one bag of apples was enough!

OK not particularly a great picture of me, but the view is the important part. It was beautiful there.

I love when Oliver puffs out his cheeks like that. I don't know why, but it's cute!

Did Johnny Appleseed plant pumpkins too?

Mom and Oliver looking at the Pumpkins!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Our visit to Newport, RI

While Zack's parents were here we went to Newport, RI to see some sites. It's not too far from where we live and so we jetted down there for an afternoon of fun. We ate some lunch and walked around a little. The have a street that has famous old mansions of people like the Vanderbilt's and what not, so we took a drive along this. Our plan was to see these during the daylight, but we got a late start since Oliver had napped longer than expected and so we had to settle for a dark drive by. So--from the dark drive by looks of it, they were amazing and expansive!! We'll have to go back another time and maybe take the tour or something. They all looked like big old chateaus. By the harbor is such a fun seaport kind of feeling. It was really fun to walk around and see the shops and different architecture! Anyway, it was fun and the food was good, and the company was great!!

The harbor near where we ate lunch.

Oliver and Dad at lunch.

We had some chips and salsa and sour cream at lunch and Oliver was having so much fun dipping his chips in the sour cream! I was surprised that he liked sour cream.

Sour Cream Hands!! This boy loves to dip!

Apparently Oliver loves getting water out of a straw! Who knew?

Are you going to finish that?

Grandpa and Oliver

Bob, Candyce, Zack, and Oliver in front of the Cooke Restaurant. Because of course we are part of the Cook with and E family. Maybe not this particular Cooke (with and E) family, but a Cooke (with and E) family! We should have gotten a free meal there I think!!

Beautiful Harbor in Newport

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Reading with Grandpa and Bubbie

Zack's parents came to visit us for a week and we had so much fun with them here!! But I think Oliver enjoyed the undivided attention the most!! We were sad to see them go. It's never long enough when family visit. At least this time we got to have some fun and relax, when my parents came to help us move, we just made them work! (Sorry Mom and Dad- next time we promise to have fun, fun, fun...) Anyway, it was fun and here are some pictures of us kicking around the casa!

Fun with Grandpa and Bubbie

At the farms!

3 or 4 weeks ago I decided we needed to get out of the city and see something else, so I thought maybe there would be some apple picking or something we could do around. Turns out that MA is chuck full of gardens, farms, and orchards to go to and many cater to families. So we picked one not to far away that sounded fun and off we went. It was beautiful and crowded!! I guess everyone else had the same idea. But you could pick your own apples, raspberries, and pumpkins, they also had a corn maze, hay rides, a playground, and a small petting zoo, oh and I can't forget the food!! Homemade apple donuts, apple cider, apple get the picture! So here are a few pictures from our fun there. Oliver didn't really care too much about the goats, but mostly about the wood chips and he liked watching the other kids on the playground. In the end we opted to buy some pre-picked apples only because otherwise you had to pick a whole bushel or peck of fruit and we weren't sure if we could eat all that ourselves. But the apples were delicious and there were so many varieties, I hadn't even heard of a few of them before. All in all it was a great Saturday!!

I'm not sure if this hat was a good idea or not, but I wore it anyway. It did make me easy to spot!!

The Pumpkin Tree

Deciding if he should stick with Dad, or check out the goats.

This goat gave meaning to "Billy Goat Gruff"

I think he was way more into the wood chips and what other people were feeding the goats to actually care to much about the goats themselves.

Oliver enjoying the petting zoo!