The General

We all went to see The General at The Cabot, back by a live musical performance.

The General is (very loosely) based on a real-life train theft during the Civil War, but it’s played to some drama and comedy by a prime Buster Keaton.

The true story is that a group of Union spies stole a Confederate train (which was, in fact, named The General) with a plan to damage the rails and generally cause mayhem on their way back to friendly territory.  It didn’t quite work out as planned because they were pursued and (eventually) caught.

The cinematic version takes a few artistic liberties to entertain and “wow” the audience with stunts, as well as adding a love interest and a human side.  It’s considered one of Mr. Keaton’s finest works, and “[he] always said that this was his favorite of his own movies.” (source)  It’s an amazing film to watch, moreso when you realize that the stunts were real, frequently filmed in one take, and as hazardous in real life as they are in the story.

The film that we watched was from a restoration made in 2016, with a new musical arrangement that was played live.  The quality of the film is very good, better than the gif above, while live music accompaniment is the way it was meant to be enjoyed.

The Cabot is a restored theater in downtown Beverly, MA.  It contains many of the artistic features one would expect from a classic venues.  We had center seats and a great view.  This was our first visit, but won’t be our last.

Photo: © Lauren Poussard

In which I sew on buttons

Alpha loves the Newsies. Alpha had Christmas money, and bought herself suspenders. Alpha asked me to sew buttons on to her pants so they wouldn’t snap off. Since we took her phone away, she’s got the time to pester me, so here we are.

Buttons on a pair of pants.
Buttons buttons who’s got the buttons

Mission accomplished.

Also, reading glasses help with the threading of needles.

Me in glasses.
My glasses match my shirt!

Quick note about the birds and the cars

You know what a cardinal is, right? Little red bird with a big red attitude. I pulled into our drive way last night, and parked next to Quinn’s pretty new car. Quinn’s pretty new car is parked in front of my mother’s car (we’re car sitting while she’s Out Of The Country). I heard a noise behind me and looked in the rear view mirror.

There was a cardinal on her rear-view mirror. And it was really really angry at the cardinal inside her rear view mirror. Lets say that again for the people in the back:

There was a cardinal attacking her rear view mirror because he saw his own reflection and they are insane, territorial little beasts.

Quinn scared him off by accident, so I’m the only one who saw him. I have pictures of the results of his assault (bird poops and some weird smears on the mirror).

This morning I came out and found my rear mirror – covered in a little bit of bird poop and weird smears.

This guy is going to be a problem, I can see already.

Super-Quick Teriyaki Chicken



  • 1/3 c. soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. finely minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch

Everything Else

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sliced green onions, for garnish


  1. Mix the sauce
    1. In a medium bowl, combine:
      • soy sauce
      • vinegar
      • sesame oil
      • honey
      • garlic
      • ginger
      • cornstarch
    2. Whisk until smooth.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat
  3. Add chicken to skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook until golden and almost cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  4. Pour sauce over chicken and simmer until sauce has thickened slightly and chicken is cooked through.

Goes really well with rice and a veggie.

Originally from

Third storm of the last two weeks

View down the street. Its really coming down
Our backyard. The plays cape is not doing well….
Artsy-fartsy picture of my mittens. They kept me warm while shoveling.
I didn’t bother with my hat. Whoops.
Drying my mittens.
View before the second shoveling. Probably 8 inches deep in the shoveled sections – over a foot overall.


So, Storm # 3 (named Skylar) hit today. As of 9 PM tonight, we had at least 20″ – taller than the dog. We had to dig her a path so she could go out to pee, poor thing. But she had a grand time playing with in the snow. For a dog with no fur, she loves snow.

I went out to shovel twice – once around 9 am, and again at 3. Both times took about an hour, and both times were reminders that we should have waxed the shovel in the fall. Car wax does a great job.

The bottom layer was all slush, and really heavy (apparently there was some rain at the beginning). The top layers were light and fluffy, thankfully. I did most of the driveway the second round, but I just couldn’t deal with the slush by the street. I just cleaned up the rest and left it for Quinn. Because I’m terrible.

The kids spent the day inside, reading and playing Minecraft. We kicked off a huge fire in the fireplace to warm up, and we spent some time cuddled up in front of it.

Around 4, we went to our neighbor’s house for frozen pizza and games. We roused Alpha out of her room, and got her to come along. She had fun, once she got there. We played Upwords (for the first time). Beta did better than I did, which is always fun. Sam-across-the-street kicked our butts, though.

Overall, a pretty good snow day!

The snow is deeper than Butter is tall. We had to dig her a path to her “potty.” At least 20 inches.

The Orient Express

My parents upgraded their house, and that included a new elevator to replace their aging stair-chair.

This is the same stair-chair that earned the name ‘The Orient Express’ while we were in high school and Kennon had a house party (without my parents’ knowledge).

Fortunately the stair-chair was not removed after the elevator was installed. Scientific curiosity demanded that we expand human knowledge and answer the burning question: which way is faster?

Kennon and I agreed on the rules: we start at the same place; we would end at the same point on the second floor; both elevators would start at the ground floor; we would walk, not run. Kennon and I both agreed that the stair-chair would probably win.

Meghan was kind enough to take a video of the race.

Results: The stair-chair won by a full second.  A second race was not conducted due to technical difficulties with the stair chair.

Wilmington Tree Lighting 2017

ice sculpture
Ice sculpture on the town green

The only thing to note from this year’s tree lighting: the girls went on a hay ride with boys.

hay ride
Kids on the hay ride. I apologize for the potato-like quality of the picture; my phone is old and does not do justice in low-light situations, never mind low-light with movement.