August 28, 2003 | Leave a Comment

The weather is glorious, having cooled down somewhat from the excesses of the past few months, our roses are in bloom, there’s a long weekend beckoning, it’s almost Orla’s birthday and we’re having a party – and the garden is a quagmire.
When we renovated the house a few years back, we replaced the septic system – or so we thought. Well, it turns out we replaced merely part of it (albeit the important part), but not the leach field. In a nutshell, it means that in a storm (of which we’ve had many, recently) the rain just pools up.
So we’re now in the midst of “The Big Dig”, and are taking the opportunity to truck in vast quantities of topsoil to level out the (previously steeply inclined) lawn. Jenn has pointed the webcam towards the front so occasionally trucks and tractors can be seen at work…
In addition, the local town is replacing the drains in the road outside and resurfacing, so it’s chaotic outside the garden as well as inside. Still, with a bit of luck they’ll all be cleared out by the weekend…



This weekend, since Orla had so much fun on the pony ride at the Dutchess County Fair, we decided to sign her up for pony rides at Southlands. Boy, did she have a good time. And so did Eoghan, who insisted on climbing up himself. We’re lucky in having such a wonderful facility nearby… Check out the pics here.



The Dutchess County Fair is on this week. An annual event, it’s held at the fairgrounds which are conveniently located in Rhinebeck. Convenient location, that is, although we’re not too fond of the extra crowds in town and the accompanying traffic.
Anyway, Jenn brought the kids on Wed, and both of the kids insisted on going for pony rides. They show no fear – I’ll post some pictures soon.
Jenn told Orla this morning that they would return to the fair, and asked her what sort of new pet she wanted – a cat, a dog or a rabbit.
I want a lion
No Orla, which do you want – a cat, a dog or a rabbit ?
Momma, I want a lion. And we need to get a crate for it, with a lock, so it can’t get out.
And will it play with Henry and Laoise ?
No, Momma, it can’t play with my puppies cos it would eat them. We have to keep it the crate

So this afternoon they’re off to the fair again. One of the attractions is a concert, which will be a first for the kids. Although it’s pretty sad when their first trip to a music gig is to see The Village People.
Meanwhile, we’ll see if Orla returns with a lion…



Orla’s Friends

August 18, 2003 | Leave a Comment

Orla is busy these days making friends, but of the unconventional kind. In addition to the commonplace dogs, cat, (dear departed) rabbits and Captain Morgan, her pony, she has some more unusual ones.

First, there are her hermit crabs that she takes everywhere with her. Then there’s her pet rock, which she insists on making a bed for, complete with pillow and comforter. Then there’s her pet fly. Curiously enough, wherever we go, her pet fly is sure to turn up there, too. It comes in the car with us when we go to Grandma’s, and eats our food sometimes. (That’s something that Momma’s not too keen on, obviously:) Then, of course, there’s Ghost Friend, her invisible friend. And she’s mad about Little Bear.

Every night before she goes to sleep, Momma tells her that the fairies are coming to sprinkle gold dust on her eyes. And when Momma asks her what she’ll dream about, her reply is always
“Little Bear”.
We always know when Orla is tired, because she says
“I hear the fairy wings flapping, Momma”.

When she likes her Momma she says
“Momma, you’re my little angel”.
Then she continues
“Momma, I got a question for you. Tomorrow we drive Big Gator ? Tomorrow Grandma drive tractor ?”
I guess we’re raising country hicks…

Meanwhile, Eoghan is developing quite the temper. He’s continuing to grow, and we think he’s stronger than Orla by now. He’s got a fascination with cookware, and loves to carry around a big Le Creuset casserole pot. And like his sister and his mother (but not his father) he’s developing a kinship with animals. He’s fond of Mickey, Captain Morgan’s barn mate. When jenn drives the kids to give carrots to the ponies, he laughs hysterically when Mickey sniffs the back of his head. We’re very lucky that Southlands, the stables, are just 5 minutes down the road. (Of course, his father likes the ponies too, but that’s another story…)



Black-out Blues

August 15, 2003 | Leave a Comment

91 degrees in New York. Just as well we have air conditioning. And a generator to run it. New York city was bedlam yesterday evening, after a blackout hit multiple states around 4:11PM. The power grid shutdown in a cascade manner as one region collapsed, tripping neighbouring regions, and so on. New York City rolled to a halt, literally. Subway cars stalled, trapping riders. Elevators jerked to a halt (fortunately for the occupants). Streets were gridlocked, and train systems shut down, even diesel trains, due to a loss of power for the signaling system. Millions of people were disadvantaged, and tens if not hundreds of thousands were forced to leave Manhattan by foot. Fortunately for us, Jenn and the kids were safe at home. (This website stayed up, too, thanks to the generator).

I was in a conference room in Armonk, about 35 miles north of the city, when the power went. I was able to call a cab and have the driver take me the 70 miles north to The Barn. Boy, was I glad I was at the meeting and not stuck in the office… Fortunately my cell phone service worked (unlike many other carriers) so I was able to call home and let Jenn know I was on my way.

Meanwhile, on a humorous note – Jenn’s brother Justin is on honeymoon with Carol in Maine. Carol’s aunt and uncle were staying in Carol’s house (a few miles from us) for a few days, and yesterday afternoon they installed two new air conditioners. They had no sooner turned them on than … p-o-o-f… all the power went out. They figured they’d just blown a fuse until Jenn called to let them know they’d knocked out the entire North-East of the country ! Although maybe it was just a concidence…

Meanwhile the powers-that-be inform us that the blackout was caused by a substation in 14th street Manhattan. Ooops, actually no, that wasn’t the problem, the smoke pouring from there was due to an orderly shutdown (whew, just as well it wasn’t disorderly) and that the real problem was a plant at Niagara Falls that got hit by lightning.
Hmm, well p’raps not, because there was absolutely no lightning activity there. Hmm. Well we have no idea what caused the outage. Except that it absolutely, positively, wasn’t due to hacker activity. That we can say for sure. Even though we don’t know what caused it. Okay. Gee, I know, what about the Blaster virus ? Certainly managed to knock out Andrews Air force Base :
Edwards shut down
Computer systems at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., were shut down this week as a result of the “Blaster” computer worm. The desert base is home to the Air Force Flight Test Center, which conducts work on the B-2 and B-1B bombers, the airborne laser, the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle, the new F-22 Raptor jet fighter, the Joint Strike Fighter and other high-tech weapons.
“We stopped access to our base computer network Monday about 2 p.m. because of the Blaster worm,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Kerry Humphrey, a base spokeswoman.
“We don’t know how much damage was done, but we’re slowly but surely getting our system back on line.” – Washington Times Aug 15th 2003

Wouldn’t it be great if we could pin it on Microsoft ? A nice little class action lawsuit would make a big dent in the $49 billion in cash they’re sitting on. What an appropriate end for a lousy company.

Even if it’s just wishful thinking, it’s nice to dream occasionally !



Big Day Out

August 10, 2003 | Leave a Comment

We went to Uncle Justin’s wedding this weekend. It was an action-packed few days, with the rehearsal dinner on Friday night at The Red Barn (a change from The Yellow Barn) followed by the wedding at Fairfield University Church on Saturday afternoon, and dinner in Darien. You can see pictures at
We didn’t realise what a real party animal Eoghan is – he was strutting his stuff on the dance floor, pinching girls’ behinds, and knocking back the ice water…
Orla enjoyed seeing her cousins and great-grandparents, and took the opportunity to add to her menagerie by taking time out in the local mall to pick up some hermit crabs.
Eoghan also hung out with his godmother, RB, who was busy picking up tips for her own forthcoming nuptials. And Sharkey, nantucket’s latest girl in blue was there, too. All in all, a fun few days.