Snapshots Of The Week

We mostly stayed close to home, enjoying the cool end-of-summer weather.  My neighbor gave us a useful stroller that Maddie can ride in while Nina sits or stands on the back.

But sometimes Nina wants to stroll, not be strolled. 

Watercoloring can get us through an hour at home.

Maddie’s highchair tray is her artist’s palette and her face, a canvas.

Matching outfits? Because we can.

Having fun with Satchel.

Weekndr Endorses Obama Biden ’08


It’s official. has announced its endorsement of Barack Obama and Joe Biden for the the next president and vice president of these here united states.

We’d prefer to fast forward to November 5 and just get it over with already, but in the meantime the yard sign is awaiting stakes and the bumper stickers have been applied. Matt was tempted to order the “Republicans for Obama” version (just for fun – we’re Demos all the way) to post on his F150 but we’re a blue state and we figured it wasn’t worth ticking off the local minority party population.

A Rescue Story

photo courtesy of flickr    

photo courtesy of flickr

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who love squirrels (and all other animals) and those who think squirrels are essentially rats with fluffy tails. Yesterday I found out I fall into the former category and Matt — not so much.

At first we thought the baby squirrel was dead. We were on a walk last night and it was lying in the street in front of our neighbor’s house, not moving.  So after an “oh, how sad,” we continued on our walk, noticing the crispness in the air, a few leaves already turning gold and brown, wondering if summer could possibly be ending so soon. 

Then Nina insisted on going back to look at the baby squirrel, and it was moving.  Trying to crawl. This tiny baby squirrel was alive, and though its eyes were closed I could tell it wanted to survive.  We ran home and grabbed a tupperware and paper towels to make a little nest for it.  Matt said leave it and he didn’t want to bring it into the house, so I called our neighbors who are animal lovers. They weren’t interested either. Agreeing with Matt, they suggested we put the baby squirrel under a tree for nature to take its cruel course. 

That’s when fate stepped in.  Up the street walked two of Matt’s coworkers who, used to work as wildlife rehabilitation specialists.  They knew exactly what to do.  Picking it up with his bare hands (which I had been too squeamish to do, despite a strong desire to save the little guy), coworker #1 cradled baby squirrel and said, he’s cold.  He needs heat.  I dug out our old wipes warmer (if you don’t have kids, yes, there is a thing called a wipes warmer.  Who wants a freezing cold wipe applied to their buttocks in the dead of winter?) and the coworkers headed home to heat up baby squirrel.  Then they googled it and found a local wildlife rehabilitation person who takes squirrels. They rushed the little guy over to the wildlife rehab lady’s house and the squirrel (who we now know is a she) is, as far as I know, in stable condition. [UPDATE: 7:24 p.m. , the baby squirrel has recovered. He’s eating and walking and will be cared for until he’s set free next Spring.]

So is this a story of redemption or a foolish intervention to save vermin?  I’ll let you decide.  As for me, I think I’d even try to save a baby rat, if I could.

Mrs. Weekndr

Video: Antiques Roadshow

Postcards From The Weekend: Antiques Roadshow
video produced by Weekndr on Vimeo.


It’s easy to imagine yourself becoming rich and famous by discovering that the dusty old antique hidden away in your attic is really a national treasure.

If your grandparents were collectors or artists or business associates with a famous person, or you go yard saling every weekend in search of some unidentified treasure that was unassumingly tagged at $5, it doesn’t take much to convince yourself that everyone else would pay large sums of money if only they could have what you have.

I was one of 6,000 such people who had tickets to a weekend filming of the PBS series Antiques Roadshow. Celebrity appraisers were camped out at the Hartford Convention Center in search of undiscovered treasure somewhere in the old state of Connecticut. Having a ticket (learn how here) entitles you to two appraisals and a chance to share your story of discovery with 11 million viewers on national television.

Attending the show mostly involved standing in line (read the show FAQ for details). It’s only during the last 15 minutes of the approach to the appraisal tables that you actually get to be part of the set and stage as seen on TV. Two areas are set up for filming inside a ring of appraisal booths, creating a circus-tent vibe.

I got to meet the pony-tailed appraiser Gary Sohmers who always wears wacky shirts, and had one of my great grandpa’s newspaper illustrations appraised by Philip Weiss. The drawing has a neat back story and the detail and penmanship is superb, he said, but apparently the market isn’t clamoring for this kind of collectible. The paintings I brought by my great aunt Moira received a similar “wonderful-and-thanks-for-stopping-by” review.

There were a few lucky people whose treasures did take them behind the camera, but for me it was back to my day job. There is a chance I might show up in the background when the show airs next January so look out for the guy lugging around a raggedy old satchel full of artwork. – Mr. Weekndr

19 Weekends To Go

It turns out that by writing about what we do every weekend, we end up doing more on the weekends.

We’re back from the below mentioned locale and it was an action-packed trip. Shopping in Hanover, harvesting and eating the fruits of Grandpa’s farm, and the unexpectedly fun pit stop in Putney, Vermont. More to come on video this week.

For now, let that big No. 19 inspire you to plan something fun to do next weekend.



We leave you with this image of Nina and SuperMaddie

We leave you with this image of Nina and SuperMaddie

It’s off to the land of fresh, ripe blueberries and fishing off the pier at Grandpa Ed’s lake.  Enjoy the weekend!

Wine From Connecticut?

A visit from uncle Russell and his friend Dana this weekend was reason enough to head over to the McLaughlin Vineyards to enjoy a picnic and some live music as part of the winery’s summertime jazz concert series.

It’s hard to believe you can find grape vines growing deep in the woods here, but we’ve got the photos to prove it. The family-run winery is actually part of the Connecticut wine trail, which includes 19 vineyards across the state.

Set on 160 acres of scenic landscape along the Housatonic river, the McLaughlin family (we met one of them at a party this weekend, by the way) produces a few thousand cases of wine each year from the grapes grown here. They also bottle their own maple syrup from tapped maple trees on the property, which means year-round good times.

Aside from the homemade potions, the vineyard is also known for its hiking trails that maze through a 50-acre wildlife area home to a bald eagle sanctuary. Every year in mid-December, the majestic birds stop over on their annual pilgrimage south and park themselves along the river to take advantage of the local fish population. The winery hosts sight seeing tours that promise a glimpse of the eagles, although we’ve been lucky enough to see them flying up the river valley from our back deck.

For a less blurry version of the above photo, click here.

Thanks to Connecticut’s outdated Blue Laws, you can’t buy alcohol on Sundays (or evenings and holidays, for that matter), but the vineyard isn’t prohibited from selling wine and it’s one loophole that’s worth taking advantage of.

So we packed up the beach chairs and the picnic blanket, stopped by Subway for a few footlongs, and set up camp on the vineyard’s grassy meadow to enjoy a bottle of Chardonnay. 


Grapes before and after.

It’s no Napa Valley, but for being only 10 minutes away, it will do just fine for us Yankees.