Gettin’ In A Groove

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Today was a gorgeous day! Cold, but sunny and bright. The lakes in this area are beginning to freeze over. Soon there’ll be ice fishing. I can’t see myself walking out onto a frozen lake anytime soon, I’ve seen way too many 20/20 shows and YouTube videos about all the things that can go wrong when you think water is frozen and it’s not. But who knows. The last 6 months have brought a lot change, both mentally and physically. Maybe someday you’ll see me sitting out there perfectly comfortable with a fish on the end of my line. I’ve learned over the years to “never say never”. It sure seems like the first time you utter something like that, God comes up with other plans for you just to prove that you shouldn’t be telling Him how your life is going to go.

Do you see that little bit of snow on the left side of the mountain? That’s the tip of a ski resort on the other side. And that snow is man-made. We aren’t familiar with the ski resorts in this area yet, but it seems that they are all making man-made snow. Maybe they like to get a head start and then hope for the real flakes to fly in December?

This is on the way to Peterborough from Henniker.

Almost every town has a cemetery similar to this one. I love the headstones. I thought this one looked a little eerie. I didn’t remember the others that we’ve seen having such thin headstones. When I walked up to it, I actually questioned whether it was real. Which was ridiculous, because it was huge, this photograph is only a small piece of the cemetery. But seriously, it looked like something from a movie scene.

Headed into Peterborough, NH.

A memorial to all of the Peterborough residents who perished in WWII. This is just one side of the wall.

There are many restaurants, shops, and galleries throughout the downtown area. All unique and beautiful.

I wouldn’t doubt that there’s probably some rule about not taking pictures in galleries…I won’t make a habit of it.

These two characters were teasing me about taking their picture, so I went ahead and did it. He thought I was someone exciting doing something exciting and asked me, “what do you do?”.  “Me? I don’t do anything, I’m just visiting. But I will put you on my blog.” They got a good laugh out of that.

Peterborough is a popular tourist destination in NH but I’ve noticed that even in the tiniest of towns the people of NH take pride in their surroundings. As you drive through the communities there are decorative wreaths all over public buildings as well as private homes and they fill their window boxes and flower pots with sprigs of winter branches and berries. It’s absolutely beautiful and gives everything such an inviting touch.

This was such a neat window display outside of an art store. I wish I could have gotten better pictures for you but the reflection in the window was working against me. There’s a layer of snow on top, then dirt, and then you can see the little mouse home underground. Adorable and so much attention to detail! All done out of clay and other materials. The underground pictures almost look like paintings when you photograph them, but they’re not. They are tiny miniatures made by someone with a wonderfully creative imagination.

This little mouse looks like he had a sledding accident. I’m sure he’s just slipped in the snow or taking a rest though…

This was the entrance to another wonderful shop. Couldn’t you just move right in?

This body of water was off to the side of some of the shops. There was a little garden in front of it with benches where people were sitting and soaking up the sun.

This was right across the street. It had the most calming sound. There’s another lovely park right next to it.

This is the view from behind the waterfall.

Tony was pleased that the town was dog friendly and he was allowed to walk the dogs around the park, even off leash if he chose to do so! He had dog duty (as well as dog doodie) while I looked through some of the shops.

This was right across the street from where we had lunch. I’m not sure what’s inside, we’ll have to come back another time without the dogs. We did leave the dogs in the car while we had lunch, but it was so chilly we didn’t want to leave them the whole time we toured the town. Peterborough is only 20 minutes from where we’ll be living so we’ll have plenty of time to really explore later. Right now we’re just trying to get a taste for the area.

I’ve just realized we forgot to find and take pictures of The MacDowell Art Colony! We’ll have to get pictures of that on our next trip.

Speaking of getting a taste for the area… This shop is filled with home-made chocolate and home-made ice cream. They even have a little restaurant inside. They have all kinds of old-fashioned candy and decorations as well.

Living vicariously through my husbands cookie dough ice cream.

After lunch we headed toward Keene to get some banking done for the final leg of the house purchase. Honestly, there’s so much paperwork and requirements involved that it’s a bit ridiculous. We just keep reminding ourselves that we’re almost there!

On our way we drove through the quaint town of Dublin, NH.

This is where they print the Annual Farmer’s Almanac.

It was a productive and really fun day. Once we finished our banking in Keene we ran a few errands and I found a reasonably priced grocery store with a huge gluten-free isle. They also had organic vegetables, meat, milk, eggs, and pretty much anything else we’ll need. That was a relief! I was beginning to wonder how we were going to continue trying to eat as much organic foods as possible. Once spring and summer arrive, there are organic farms all over the place where we’ll be able to purchase meat, vegetables, and eggs.

We even managed to buy a new king size bed today and I was able to scratch a few things off of the Christmas shopping to-do list.

I hope you are all doing well and I sure appreciate all of the kind comments you’re leaving. I’m pleased that you’ve been able to enjoy our journey right alongside us.

~ April

Good Morning!

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As much as I wanted to wake up this morning and make bacon and those buckwheat pancakes we had the other morning…I stuck with oatmeal. We had french toast and bacon yesterday and honestly, how much bacon can a girl really eat before it starts finding a home on her thighs? So oatmeal it is. For this bowl I added a little brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and pecans.

Yesterday we spent a little bit of time driving through Henniker, Weare, Goffstown, and Manchester. Sounds like a lot but  they are all pretty small and close to each other. Manchester is the largest city in New Hampshire with a population of around only 100,000 people.

Both of us were feeling under the weather so we were kind of ho-hum about the whole thing and I didn’t even bring my camera. What we were really in search of was a grocery store that sold organic vegetables, organic eggs, and organic milk for Tony. We found The Fresh Market in Bedford, NH which is basically an outskirt of Manchester. It’s a little bigger than Trader Joe’s but much, much, nicer and outrageously expensive. Everything organic seemed to be a minimum of $5 each including one of those little pints of organic cherry tomatoes. We left with 4 plastic bags of groceries for $100. It was a really cool store though and would be perfect for those hard to find items for special recipes, entertaining, and unique food gifts. If we can’t find a regular grocery store that sells organic vegetables in our area, then I think we’re going to have to take a trip to Nashua, NH twice a month to stock up.

Today we’re headed into Peterborough to sight see and hopefully do a little Christmas shopping. Tony had looked at a house in that town while we were house hunting and said the town center is really nice and interesting.

Peterborough is home of The MacDowell Art Colony. The town is heavy in the arts and I’m hoping some of the local artists will have their work on display. I’m bringing my camera today, so stay tuned!

The Home Stretch

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Only 10 days until we are finally able to sit down and sign the paperwork for our new home. We are really looking forward to getting settledAfter telling you yesterday that we haven’t had any major stress over this move, today was the first day that we both recognized as “stressful”. Luckily, instead of rushing all morning and starting off on the wrong foot, we got ready, leashed up the dogs and took another walk along Main street in search of coffee and hot chocolate and went a little off the beaten path to see what there was to see. 

Even their fire station is cool!

This gorgeous church is for sale. Maybe I’ll buy it and turn it into an allergen free bakery and cafe. Wouldn’t that be incredible?!

There is no shortage of buildings to admire.

I spotted this snowman in a storefront window. They had so many it was hard to choose. I collect snowmen and this one was so cool, I ran inside to take a closer look. It’s a carved gourd! And it has a light inside so the light shines through the snowflakes on his belly.

Even the Italian restaurant that delivered our pizza last night is in a neat building.

We turned the corner from here and stumbled upon a huge feed store with all kinds of animal supplies and neat stuff. I bought this snowman bird feeder that lights up at night!

After we finished our walk we set out to do laundry. I was dreading it, but thankfully it only took about an hour. We did 3 large loads of laundry…$20!! I have to admit that it was certainly the cleanest and nicest laundromat I’ve been in. Maybe that’s how they get away with charging so much.

Once the laundry was done we had less than an hour to check out of the hotel so we hightailed it back, packed up all of the animals (a huge job), hooked up the trailer and headed out of town toward Concord, NH to find a heated water hose.

On the outside of Concord we glimpsed the most beautiful church through the trees. We were trying not to get sidetracked but had to go see it. It turns out that it was on the grounds of a private Catholic college that was one of the most beautiful colleges we have ever seen. What lucky students!

This is what the majority of housing looked like on the campus. The whole campus was like a beautiful little village.

Once we were done being lookie lous, we headed toward Concord. I was shocked when we came up on it so quickly. That college campus seemed so secluded and like a town unto itself.

Quite a different reality from the college campus!

Sweet little houses along the way.

And like most towns in New Hampshire, more stunning churches. I can’t wait until we have more time to hopefully take a peek inside some of them!

Part of downtown Concord.

It makes me a little edgy to drive through the middle of these towns towing a 25 foot trailer. It’s cumbersome and we still had no navigation tools on Tony’s phone, and the one I had downloaded on my phone kept getting confused, so we weren’t quite sure where we were going. And wouldn’t you know it, but who calls us right in the middle of a congested downtown area while we’re pulling that dang trailer? Telenav technical support. Now some of you might think that’s a good thing. But it’s not. Because when you’re on the phone with them, whatever has to be done takes forever. And of course each time you talk to one of them it’s a different person so the story has to be told and re-told. If I have to hear Tony explain how irritated he is with Telenav and go through every detail of what’s happened over the last three days with his phone one more time…

So what did Tony do? He pulled our huge trailer and truck right over to the side of the road on the main street!! People were looking at us and I’m sure the shop owners whose businesses we were blocking from view were not happy. Just so he could talk to the ding dong Telenav people who up to that point have done absolutely nothing to resolve the issue. As he went through the story again, I was thinking how nice a very large bottle of wine would taste right at that moment. Unfortunately, I had the movers pack it in storage so I didn’t even have the convenience of walking back to the trailer and having a little nip.

Instead, I ignored all of the people staring at us like we were idiots and got out of the car to snap a couple of shots.

This is the capitol building. We were parked directly across the street. Just to the right of my photo, in front of the capitol building was a beautiful manger. That shocked me. But I don’t know why, New Hampshire is the “live free or die” state.

On the sidewalk to the back of the trailer was this clock tower. All of the mechanisms on the inside were gorgeous and I could see them moving through the glass. I took a quick picture but didn’t want to linger or get closer because I didn’t want to encourage Tony to stay in that spot any longer.

I was relieved when I jumped back in the car and Tony started to drive off because we were already running late, couldn’t figure out where Camping World was so we could buy the hose, and weren’t going to make our check in time at the campground…but he turned into the Holiday Inn Express driveway where we sat for another half an hour while the tech guy tried to figure out what was wrong with Telenav. At this point, I can’t stand Telenav and I found myself screaming inside my head, “they don’t know what they’re doing!!!! Just download another navigation thingy and let’s get on with it!” And of course,  they didn’t resolve the problem. We have now spent more than 4 hours on the phone with the Telenav people over the last three days.

We found our way to Camping World, bought the heated hose ($100) and headed toward our new camping destination in Henniker, NH. However, on the way, Romeo decided to have a complete panic attack in the backseat. We have no idea why but he was panting and shaking and trying to hurl himself into the front seat after being a perfect car dog for 3,000 miles. Why did I have them pack all my wine again?

We got him calmed down and made it to the entrance of camping destination just in time for Tony to get a business call, even though he’s on vacation. So we sat at the entrance for another 20 minutes while he handled that while the camp ground host wondered what in the heck we were doing and why we weren’t pulling in and getting checked in.

Tony finished his call and we finally found our way to our site, unhooked and did all of the this’s and that’s that are involved in trailer camping and Tony ran into “town” to grab some tortilla chips so I could make a quick nacho dinner for us since neither one of us thought to take meat out of the freezer for dinner.

He returned and at the exact same moment, with the can of refried beans in my hand, we both remembered that we don’t have a can opener. Ha! So we improvised and we ate, and life could just be so much worse than these little annoyances so we just had to laugh about it.

Now we’re settled, I’m fiddling around with this blog post, Tony and the dogs are lounging on the couch, and we’re watching DVD’s of Star Trek Voyager. Thankful that the 10 day countdown has begun and soon we will be getting settled in our new home. Until then, we’ll do more exploring and get to know the area. Oh, and did I tell you? Right when we pulled into our campsite to unhook, the Telenav people called again. Turns out it’s his phone carrier’s problem and now Tony will have to call them and go through the whole thing all over again. I’m going to the store tomorrow and stocking up on good ole’ fashioned maps.

First Impressions

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Did I tell you that Tony’s Telenav bit the dust right in the middle of New York last night? And do I have navigation on my new phone yet…and do we know how to use the navigation in our new truck?  Uhhhh…noooooo. It was interesting. Luckily we had a general idea of where we were going and an old fashioned map.

He spent almost the entire way through New York on the phone trying to figure out why it wasn’t working and then more than three hours this morning on the phone in our hotel room. It still isn’t working, but at least I was able to finally get him out the door around 11:00!

We left the hotel and went straight to the house so I could see the outside. We didn’t make an appointment with the realtor so we’ll have to wait until we sign the papers before I get my second surprise of getting a glimpse of the inside.

I’ve seen it on the internet of course, but I was so happy to see it in person! I think it’s gorgeous, it’s been meticulously taken care of and the yard is fantastic. When I got out of the truck to take pictures, our next door neighbors were outside. What fun people! They came right up and introduced themselves. The husband is a retired fireman from New York city. They spent their entire married life in a tiny apartment in the Bronx and retired out here to NH to a big house. I think we probably talked to them for about an hour. We felt instantly comfortable with them and they gave us the run down on the whole neighborhood. It sounds like it is going to be a friendly and great area to live in.

It’s woodsy and so quiet. No drone of the freeway or constant cars. There’s a little neighborhood family owned pizza place right up the road, and guess what? They have a gluten free crust! Nadine and Rick also told us that the neighborhood has moose, deer, bobcat, a black bear that meanders in and out in the spring, porcupines, and fox! We also will have a bird’s eye view of Monadnock  Mountain, right out our living room window.

The house you can see in the right corner of the photo looks like it’s right on top of us, but it’s deceiving. The houses are staggered very nicely with lots of room in between. I think there are maybe only about 8 or 10 on our entire street. That house also decorates beautifully for Christmas and when you drive by it you can set your car radio to a certain station where he has set up Christmas music to go along with his decorations. What fun!!

We’ll be needing to build a fence to keep the dogs in and all of the lovely critters Nadine and Rick told us about out.

I felt better today after seeing the house and meeting our neighbors. I haven’t been stressed about this move at all, which is probably unusual since we have moved about 3,000 miles away from “home” and our families. This move came at a great time in our lives. We are empty nesters now and were actually talking about doing something different from the same-o same-o we’d been doing for the last several years. So once we decided concretely that we were going to go for it, we both felt great about it and have been really excited and looking forward to it. But after our long road trip and isolated camping trip in Pennsylvania I was beginning to wonder just how isolated of an area we were going to be living in. Not knowing a soul back here, that worried me a bit. I’m a social person, enjoy having people around, and certainly like to shop every now and then! Luckily after taking a look around today, there are no worries!

The area is gorgeous, I mean absolutely gorgeous! Not only the woodsy surroundings, the water (there’s a lake about 2 blocks from our house), and just the beauty of NH itself, but the architecture is incredible. Huge, ornate churches, beautiful homes, and towns and buildings with such history. There’s all kinds of different types of shopping and incredible restaurants within a reasonable distance and the neighborhood we’re going to live in doesn’t feel isolated at all. It’s in the “woods”, but there are plenty of neighbors and plenty of places to go.

Below are some pictures of our walk down Main street in Keene. The pictures don’t do it justice. It is a fantastic town with really unique local shops, tons and tons of amazing little restaurants and much to our surprise, many of them offer gluten free bread and pasta, vegan options (no dairy!) and vegetarian options! As a matter of fact, we just ordered delivery pizza from Ramunto’s Brick Oven Pizza….gluten free! I also found goat’s milk caramel sauce in a little shop and several locally made, really cool, stocking stuffers for Christmas.

This is a beautiful church at the top of Main street. You can’t really tell from the picture but right in front of it is a very large roundabout with two lanes. Yikes! I’m glad I wasn’t the one driving.

This is in the middle of the roundabout. There’s a big statue to the left but some goof planted a tree in front of it and then fenced it, so it’s not easily photographed.

Another gorgeous church (truly beautiful from the front), and some of the interesting architecture. When things calm down I’d like to spend an entire day just trying to photograph some of the beautiful homes and buildings.

Different photos walking on Main street.

Notice the guy in the shorts below? Tony has two coats on, gloves, and the dogs have coats. I think it was 34 degrees. We’re used to the cold in Washington, but I think the moisture in the air back here makes it feel chillier. Plus, it was windy. It will probably take us a bit to acclimate!

The dog walking toward Tony is Zeus. Romeo and Abigail loved him. The people in Keene are incredibly friendly. Numerous people stopped to chat with us and pet the dogs and a store owner stepped out of her shop to talk to us. While Tony was getting coffee  and I was standing outside with the dogs, every single person that passed me looked me straight in the eye, smiled, and said hello. It was refreshing! And whatever you’ve heard about the east coasters being rude, I’m here to tell you that we haven’t experienced it once on this trip and we’ve talked to a lot of people.

It seems like there’s a lot of traffic in the pictures, and it is a busy college town, but we were walking down Main street right at the beginning of rush hour traffic. The other times we drove through town today weren’t this busy.

I would have to say that my day of “first impressions” was an excellent day. A blessing in fact. Many of the little things that have been running through my mind were put to rest. I was able to glimpse what we have to look forward to, met some of our lovely neighbors, did a little Christmas shopping, and my mom and our son are coming for Christmas…so much to be thankful for! If all goes well with the house signing, I will be able to get you a look-see on the inside sometime around the 7th of December.

Oh, and one more thing to be thankful for, my gluten free and dairy free pizza has arrived!

We Have Arrived!

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We’ve finally reached our new home state! Last night we arrived in Keene, New Hampshire, about 35 miles from our new home. It amazes me how quickly we were able to travel through five states in one day. Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts  and New Hampshire. All in about 8 hours! We even had a leisurely lunch in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, where we enjoyed a gluten free burger and fries at Red Robin.

I took a few pictures along the way, but not many. A couple of the states we passed through after dark but I’m sure we’ll make it back there to do some more looking around eventually.

Pennsylvania is pretty, but the parts we were in seemed very remote. Little shopping, difficult to find grocery stores, etc. Kind of “back woods”. Would be a great place to vacation though, if you wanted to get away from the busyness of the cities.

I love all of the beautiful churches.

I liked this part of New York state (southern) much better than where we had been in Pennsylvania. I’m not sure why, it just seemed more open and airy.

I believe this bridge took us over the Hudson River…I couldn’t find a sign, but Tony said that’s what it was, so I’m going with it!

Gorgeous skies over the river.

Our 9th and final toll of our trip. I think we totaled about $100 in tolls.

I’m pretty sure this is a Connecticut sunset. I was going to be very diligent and write little notes after each photo along our trip so I would remember where each one was taken. But you know how that goes!

What is up with these dogs wanting to snuggle into Chloe’s cat bed? This time it was Romeo. Guess when we get settled in the new house they’ll need beds of their own.

I’ve talked my husband into staying one more night in Keene, New Hampshire (in a hotel). Thank goodness! I need a break from camping where there is absolutely nothing to do. I’m not good at doing nothing!

We haven’t decided where we’re going to camp for the next week or so until our house closes. There are only two choices. One an hour from here and one in northern NH on the border. We’d like to avoid the northern one if possible. Wouldn’t it be a shame if we just had to stay in a hotel for the remainder of time? 😉

So today, we’ll do laundry, and shop on Main street…Yay!! When we drove in last night I was thrilled and relieved that Keene is a very nice town with fantastic shops, really interesting restaurants and big store shopping as well. The best part is that it’s only about 30 minutes from our new home. If you remember, this is my first time on the east coast. I haven’t even seen our house yet! That’s on our agenda for today, as well.

So stay tuned, I plan to take lots of pictures today!

Buckwheat Pancakes, A Multi-Purpose Gas Station, & Ticks

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Yesterday we were excited because we stopped at a market that touted a fresh meat counter and fresh seafood. The meat counter was tiny and looked anything but fresh and the seafood cooler was downright scary. Did I mention it was attached to a gas station?I did grab some spicy Italian sausage for our pizza last night that looked safe. However, I had a stomach ache in the middle of the night that lasted for hours. That’s one of the difficult things about having food allergies and eating out or on the road. You just never know what’s really in your food and when your body is used to eating the same safe foods, adding odd things can make for some interesting intestinal issues.

Speaking of never quite trusting what’s in your food…we had salads at Panera Bread yesterday in Bloomsburg, PA. The one I told you about with turkey, cranberries, walnuts, and pears. It was very good. Tony had the steak and blue cheese salad and he said his was fantastic. But as I stood at the counter and told the manager who was taking my order that I was allergic to gluten and dairy and she assured me that my salad was safe, at the end of taking my order she asked me if I wanted to add a bakery item to my order for 99 cents. Hmmmm…then I have to ask myself, “does this person even know what gluten is?” So you see, it’s kind of a crap shoot for us food allergen people when eating out, and typically, the odds are not in our favor.

That gas station that touted fresh meat and seafood did have one neat little aisle though with local foods. That’s where I found the buckwheat flour and one other item that I can’t mention because Santa is going to place it in someone’s Christmas stocking. So “fresh” Italian sausage, buckwheat flour, an item that shall not be mentioned, and a tank full of diesel. All was not lost.

Buckwheat Pancakes

1 Cup of Buckwheat Flour

1 Cup of Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour

1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda

1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder

A Healthy Pinch of Kosher Salt

1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup

2 1/4 Cups Organic Milk

1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Tablespoon of Dairy Free Butter, melted/plus more for cooking

2 Eggs, separated

In a large bowl add all of the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. In a medium bowl add the milk, egg yolks, syrup,vanilla, and melted butter, stir with a fork to break of egg yolks and combine.

In a small bowl add the egg whites and mix by hand with a large whisk until soft peaks form.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk thoroughly. Carefully fold in the egg whites. Butter a skillet and add pancake batter by the spoonful or measuring cup when skillet is hot. Makes at least 15 large pancakes. Store leftovers in the fridge. I would think the batter would last about 3 days.

Today will probably be spent inside the trailer securing things and cleaning up for our road trip into New Hampshire tomorrow. The weather here today is windy with snow flurries. Yet their daily temperatures reach up to 50 degrees, the nights freeze solid, and the grass is still lush and green. Weird? Oh and have I told you about the Ticks? Yep, gazillions of them. And they are tiny, unlike the huge Washington ticks that you can easily see. Hunting dogs love to run in the woods, which means we have had to have Tick checks after every walk and have removed at least 15 of the creepy little creatures. The 16th was stuck to my husband’s stomach. Eeek!

Had I not been so freaked to find one nestled in Abigail’s ear this morning (after she slept right next to my head all night), I would have thought to take a picture of her ear with the tick in it and us removing it for you. But, my main goal was to get it  the heck out of there as fast as possible so I was only able to get a picture of the sore little red spot.

Poor Abbie!

Bleak Friday

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We ventured out of the woods and into a nearby town today. Our main goal was to find a heated hose for the water that goes into our trailer from the outside spicket. My main goal was to hopefully get a little Christmas shopping done. We accomplished neither. It was a weird day. The weather was weird, the people were weird (but very friendly), the shops were weird, and I kept seeing fantastic photo opportunities but I just couldn’t get the right angles. I’ll show you the pictures anyway, at least you’ll have an idea of what a bit of the surrounding area looks like.

This church was really neat. I love how all of the small towns have chapels with steeples and still have the headstones in the cemeteries. Although you can’t tell in the picture, this church was lovely because it sat on a hill and was surrounded by other rolling hills. There’s a large chapel in the front and a smaller one in back.

After a quick stop at the cemetery we headed into Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.

We parked on main street and had maybe been walking and looking at shops for 5 minutes before we heard a loud crash behind us. A college student had run a red light and a woman in the intersection that we had just crossed hit him. She was an older woman and jumped out of her car and starting screaming for him to back up his car. Tony, who I swear has a bladder the size of a walnut, needed to find a restroom so I stood on the sidewalk and waited to make sure everyone was OK.

I checked on the woman who was sobbing on the hood of her car. And while I was trying to calm her down and tell her everything was going to be just fine, I heard more sobbing. The college student was sobbing his way down the street to her and yelling, “I’m sorry, I’m SO sorry!” By the time he reached her car, they were both leaning on the hood and sobbing…loudly. Wailing. I certainly  understand that a car wreck is somewhat traumatic, but this was…interesting, to say the least. I moved the woman’s car out of the way of oncoming traffic and Tony soon showed up and moved the boy’s car from the middle of the street to the curb.

There are many of these row houses (that’s what I’m calling them anyway), along the streets in the small towns. This picture doesn’t do them justice. Many of them (not these) on the way into Bloomberg were really interesting to see. I will get pictures of them for you either tomorrow or Saturday when we leave. Tony didn’t care for them and thought they looked old, but I thought they were really neat and kind of quaint. Many of them were decorated beautifully for the holidays. Unlike most places in the west, these houses are right off the main sidewalk with little room between. This picture shows some with a little front yard but many of them barely have a speck of a front yard. You better like your neighbors!

So the college boy tried to reach his mom via his cell to no avail. He was sobbing, “Mom! Mom!” and I finally asked him if I could talk to her and he informed me she wasn’t even on the phone. Luckily, she must have seen that he had called and called him right back. I took the phone from him so he didn’t scare her to death with his sobbing and yelling, and calmly explained the situation to her and told her that he was basically hysterical. She seemed to take it all very well and said to me, “I don’t even know if I want to come down there”, and laughed. Then she asked me how much damage was done to both of the cars.

Once we were off the phone he seemed to calm down and Tony and I tried to explain to him that everyone at least once in their lives has a car wreck. His car barely had a dent and scratch over one of the back fenders and her car had a crushed front bumper and broken headlight and no one was injured. So all in all, they were very lucky. There was only one part that was upsetting to me and it was right when I heard the crash and looked back. There were 4 young children standing about 2 feet from the woman’s car. It made my stomach churn. All the what if’s and thank God’s came streaming in and I had to tell myself to stop.

The drama of the woman and the college boy quickly distracted me from the “what could have happened” scenarios. The college boy was a sweet kid who had obviously never been in a wreck and must have thought he had killed someone. Or maybe his mother isn’t a yeller and he wasn’t used to being screamed at by the older woman, I don’t know. Once we knew he was OK and the policeman arrived, who took his sweet time driving the block and a half from the police station I might add, Tony and I headed back to our truck. That was about enough of the downtown area.

We finally ran across a place for lunch where I thought I could eat something gluten free and dairy free. I had a lovely salad with turkey, cranberries, walnuts, and pears. There was a lot of head shaking between Tony and I over the car wreck and the drama of it all, and I told Tony that I would bet $1,000 that the college boy was texting and that’s why he didn’t see the red light. The woman had also mentioned that she just had a “bunch” of surgeries…so then I was wondering if she was possibly medicated and that’s why she didn’t see him barrel through the stoplight.

On our way into town we saw a mall sign and after we were done eating we headed in that direction to see if we could find some nice places to do a bit of Christmas shopping. We parked in the lot of something called The Bon-Ton. Hmmm…we thought. What an odd name. Well, it turns out it was definitely odd because it was exactly like a Macy’s packed into a one floor store. For those of you that don’t know, Macy’s used to be called The Bon Marche. After doing some research, it turns out it’s an actual store and not a knock off of Macy’s. Besides the small size, the weirdest part was that they had shopping carts. We headed into the mall and it was almost like you could hear crickets. There were hardly any shoppers…odd for Black Friday, and it was so quiet that the Christmas music playing in the background almost had a creepy tone. We looked through the entire mall (which was small), bought some chocolate and that was about it.

Before we headed to the mall we drove around the town college and tried to find a hill where I could get a pretty picture of the surrounding area. Tony and I agreed that about 90% (or more) of the houses we’ve seen on our drive through Pennsylvania do not have fences. We’re not sure why that is and we’re wondering if their pets are just very well-behaved and know to stay in their own yards.

Once we felt we had seen all there was to see we tried to locate a grocery store which was not as easy as it sounds. It’s also not easy to find organic foods in this neck of the woods either. Maybe we’ve become organic food snobs, I’m not sure, but it does freak me out a bit to eat vegetables and meats with pesticides and hormones when we haven’t been doing so for more than three years. We’re hoping organic options are more readily available in NH. If not, we’ll have to make twice monthly trips to the Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s in Nashua, about an hour away from our new house.

It started to rain and we loaded the truck with our bags of non-organic groceries and headed “home”. We both agreed that the day had been a weird one and we decided home-made pizza would make us feel better.

And it did. Turns out pepperoni and spicy sausage are the cure for a weird day.