Thursday, July 31, 2008

Various and sundry topics

Nothing too exciting going on over here. Or at least that I can put in a blog post. Here are some highlights of the last couple of weeks:

1) My cucumber plants are infested with cucumber beetles, which make them die unexpectedly. I've had to pull out 3 of my plants, which of course were full of beautiful yellow flowers and baby cucumbers. This made me so upset that I had a dream about cucumbers and bugs last night.

2) My mom came to visit. We went to Houghton's Pond for the first time ever and went swimming! Also we went to the MFA, which was disappointing because most of the Impressionist wing was in storage because of renovations to the building.

3) The contractor finally finished the spindles on our stairs. So our big home improvement project for the year is completed ... well, except that we have to give the walls one more good coat of paint. For some reason, the paint already chipped in one spot. It's kind of odd. Anyway, it looks great.

4) And speaking of home improvement, I have officially filled up our first scrapbook of home improvement photos, receipts, etc. 8 years of stuff. We are so glad we are keeping a book because it actually makes us feel like we're making progress.

5) We have new neighbors across the street in the house that was on the market for a long time (Rita and Ray's old house, for those of you who know our street). There are lots of young couples with kids on our street now. It's really nice. I sort of hope that our street will be similar to my street when I was growing up. There were lots of kids in the neighborhood and we almost always had someone to play with.

We're looking forward to the weekend ... no plans! Yippy.

By the way, for those of you familiar with the Shaw Festival, is there anything good playing up there this year? We might go over Labor Day weekend.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Mountain climbing and reunions

This weekend I climbed two Adirondack mountains and attended JK^2's 10-year college reunion. It was a lot of fun! We went with our friends Nate and Jess.

We left Boston Thursday afternoon and got to Keene Valley before dinner. We were staying at a very restful, red cottage with an old upright piano. I played a little Scott Joplin and then we headed to dinner at the Noon Mark Diner. This is a little restaurant that sells fabulous pie. Also, when I first moved to Boston and JK^2 was still in college, I used to drive up after work and meet him in the parking lot at the Noon Mark Diner. We would then continue the drive up to Clarkson. So it has sentimental meaning. The food there isn't fabulous, but their pie is. I had strawberry rhubarb and Jim had raspberry rhubarb.

We then went back to the cottage and played a game called San Juan. It was fun. After that, it was time for bed.

The next day, we got a few groceries at a little store, and then started our hike up Cascade Mountain, one of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks. JK^2 and Nate are trying to climb all 46 of them, and they have done 16 so far. They already hiked Cascade once, but it's an easy hike and good for beginners (like me). It is about 2.5 miles each way. The hike was pretty hard and I'm not in fabulous shape, but I got into a groove after a while and it was OK. The weather was cool and cloudy.

We got to the top of Cascade around 12:30. Here's me at the summit:

Here are Nate, JK^2, and Jess:

You'll note that we're all wearing rain gear. It started raining just as we were getting to the top, and it completely clouded over. We couldn't see a THING from the top. Ugh. It was really disappointing!

After that, we hiked down to a place where we wouldn't get wet and ate our lunch - bread, cheese and trail mix. There was another High Peak nearby, called Porter. It was just another 20 minutes to that peak, so JK^2 talked me into doing that one too. :) I was feeling OK and thought that since I had already hiked up there, I might as well do the other peak. Jim said it would take us another 4 hours, because we would hike down the other side of Porter, but I didn't quite believe him, I think. He also said that it wouldn't be as hard because it was downhill and not so steep. Nate and Jess decided to not continue on (smart move). They went back to the car, and agreed to meet us at the other side of Porter with the car.

Then JK^2 and I did Porter and the view was better, because by then it had stopped raining.

Then we started the 4 mile hike back to the "Garden" which is some old lady's garden that she donated to the Adirondack Mountain Club and is now a parking lot at the end of several of the High Peak trails. Well that hike was crazy. First, it seemed like no one had been on our trail in quite some time. It was a bushwhack for about 2 miles. Parts of the trail were covered in water-logged ferns, which made our pants look like we had just taken a shower with our clothes on. There were rocks we couldn't see until after we had tripped over them. It was nuts. We got to Little Porter, which is sort of a look-out point on Porter with a view. We stopped there for a little while to take a break, and then hiked on. The rest of the trail was much better.

On the way, we saw what I think are trillium and orchids:

At the end of the trail was a bridge over Johns Brook, and then we were done. We were both in a lot of pain!! I'm still sore now. Plus, a bug seemed to take a liking to the back of my neck. I had a whole slew of bites back there.

Nate and Jess picked us up from the parking lot and took us back to the cottage for showers. We went to Lake Placid for dinner, and went to the Noon Mark Diner again for pie. (I had raspberry-peach-cheese pie). Then we played another game, Citadel, that night at the cottage before bed. We didn't like Citadel as much as we liked San Juan.

The next morning, we got up (miraculously) and drove to Clarkson for the reunion. We stayed in the dorms on Saturday night, which was interesting. How did we sleep on those beds for 4 years? I could feel the springs in my back! I must be getting old or something. Some highlights from the reunion:

Going to a "Chemistry Magic Show" in which one of the exhibits was Dr. Jim Peplowski (JK^2's freshman chemistry teacher) with a nerf gun, shooting fire out of it:

Going to the WCKN dinner, followed by a viewing of "Casual News 1998," produced by Nate. Jim and Nate had to clean the head of the VTR machine before playing it:

Then we watched the excruciating hour of Casual News. We didn't realize how bad it really was. :) The only redeeming part of it was Dave's "I'm just an old woman" sketch, which was just as goofy as it was in 1998.

Today, we had breakfast at Cheel (the student union) and then hit the road. We took the ferry from Plattsburg, NY to South Hero, VT:

Then we met Dave and Sandra for lunch in Burlington. Their new house is really coming along! And Burlington is a really neat city, especially when it doesn't have as much snow as the last time we saw it. We got home around 6:30pm. New Hampshire always seems bigger than it looks on the map.

A fun weekend! Although I felt old going to a 10-year college reunion, it was a nice excuse to get away for the weekend. We got to be outside, we got a lot of exercise, and we got to hang out with Nate and Jess. Wish we could do it more often.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Some random thoughts

Tomorrow we leave for Buffalo for the weekend. I think we're going to leave Boston around 1pm, which will hopefully get us out of town before the rush-hour traffic and Cape traffic clogs up all the roads. We're driving my mom's van this time, since we have to drop it back off with my mom. Then we fly out of Buffalo on Sunday evening.

Our trips to Buffalo are always such whirlwind events. It's this bizarre thing where you get to see everyone, but don't actually get to visit with anyone or get caught up. Most of the time we're worried about whether we're spending equal time with each family, and it never seems to even out quite right. People always say that we're lucky that we have both families in the same place, and they're right, we are lucky ... in a way. But it seems like people who have families in different cities at least get substantial visiting time with that part of the family when they do go into town, even if it's less frequent.

We've had some amazing thunderstorms over the past couple of weeks. They usually happen while I'm at work. I'll glance out the window, and suddenly it's as dark as night and the trees in the little square across from my office are swaying in the wind. Then you hear the crack of thunder, and suddenly, the rain is pouring from the sky. There is an old building across the square with an old, green copper roof. You can just see the water pouring off of it, like a water fall. It's quite amazing. I don't remember ever really getting this kind of weather here in Boston.

I'm always happy that I'm inside - it is not fun to be caught outside in this kind of storm. That happened to me about a week ago. Horizontal rain as you're walking to the T is not much fun. It looked like someone had poured a bucket of water over my head. The other people in the T, who had been underground for the last 10 minutes, were giving me funny looks because they didn't realize that it was raining outside!

I'm looking forward to the weekend. Wish we could leave now and start it sooner.