Adventure Time!

Do you get it? The pop-culture kiddie show reference? I just knew you would.
Once upon a time, two young women spent their early adulthood adventuring together. At first, most of their time was spent walking a certain un-named someone in the Baby Jogger until he went to sleep – then they would rolllll him into the house and watch Sex and the City re-runs while he slept. Eventually they went back to school and got real jobs. Wouldn’t you know that they managed to find professions with a summer break. They went camping, to Phish shows. They even drank bottles (bottles I tell you) of wine smack in the middle of snow days.

Life was good.
Then life was crazy. They moved and switched jobs and (one of them… ahem) got married.

Finally, they were exhausted and lonely. They missed each other. So they went on an adventure.

oh yeah

You guessed it. I’m talking about myself. And Angie.

We spent last Tuesday exploring Little Wilson Falls in Elliotsville Township. In an unbelievable stroke of luck, we managed to arrive without incident (barring a near-death experience at an intersection in Monson). The area was familiar because My Dear Friend Angie and I, like most who grew up where we did, grew our hiking legs on Borestone Mountain.

Armed with PB & Js, junk food, and bathing suits: we had arrived.

Deceivingly calm, this pool empties into the falls.

It was a textbook August day in Maine: hot, humid and buggy. The climb up was easy enough, and we chose a trail overlooking the falls. Incidentally, we spent a little too much time talking and a little too little time paying attention to our surroundings. We followed a few different trails on the way down (um, which one did we take?).

M.A.T.C. sign-in box

The trail connects with the AT, and we spied a couple of through hikers. One chuckled as we approached a small climb, and I thought he was laughing at our general naivete and school-girl gigglyness. Nope. I have a feeling it was because he knew his buddy was taking a shit in the woods and we were going to come upon him quickly. Just about the time I was ready to ask Angie if she was having some issues, the poor guy emerged from the woods with a tell-tale bag. Question answered.

Lunchtime view

Let me tell you – this is an amazing little hike. I wouldn’t recommend it for most kiddos because of the sheer size of the falls and the very, very long drops. If I had brought Colby with me I would have been picturing traumatic brain injury, broken legs, and potential landing sites for Life Flight.

Snapping a mental picture to get me through a long, January day.

We, Angie and I,  agreed that it had been far too long since we had been on an adventure of any kind. The thing is, what we do tends not to matter. We’ve been stuck in traffic in Hartford for 9 million hours and the time, well, however we spend it, it has the same effect. I think the recipe is something like no husbands + no children + friends who will stop and let you drive if you think you’re going to puke = actually relaxing.  Not a day at the spa relaxing, but relaxing into yourself and a moment without worrying about someone’s health and safety, or worrying whether or not your traveling partner is enjoying the experience. So in February when I’m going out of my mind, will you all remind me of this? K. Thanks.

looking up
looking down 😉
top of the falls
the intrepid Angie gets far closer to the edge than I am comfortable with!

Now. What do you do at the end of a day like this? Well, if you’re me, you get naked in the parking lot because there are no changing rooms in the Maine woods. Then you go swimming.

I was a cheerleader. So what.
I stayed in long enough to numb my entire body.

It was lovely. We meandered home, stopping in Monson at a craft store and in Guilford in search of iced coffee and Dramamine. Funny enough, I arrived home a kinder and gentler mama. Maybe there is a lesson for me here?

Early Summer Roundup

Camp bedtime routine is obviously superior to that of home.
RHUBARB!
The requisite ruined shoes.
Camp Monopoly
. . . still Monopoly . . .
“Please, Colby. Can we just count up and see who won?!”
Matt takes over the kitchen.
Fresh off the grill – steamy and aromatic and YUM!
Cherry tomatoes, shaved fennel, mussels, white wine, olive oil, salt and crushed pepper. Grill in foil, serve with a good loaf of crusty bread.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, we’ve been busy trying to relax. I’ve found that a healthy combination of family, fresh air, exercise, good friends and good food is the recipe for a happy me. Funny how I’m not surprised.

July is packed full of camps and trips, so I’m trying to peck away at all of the house jobs I’ve either started or wanted to complete since we moved in (directly before the start of school) last year. I’m taking a class and working a couple of days a week, one from home and one on-site in an attempt to lessen the end-of-August frenzy. Colby is working on a solid teenaged sleeping pattern, and has been quite successful thus far.

Also. I’m reading like CRAZY. I have a couple of reviews in the works for you, but here’s the short list: The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman, Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach, A Simple Act of Gratitude by Jon Kralik, The Red Pyramid and The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan. Colby told me that I HAD to read the last two, and not so subtly placed the final book in the series on my nightstand last night.

I hope this rainy morning finds you well. I’m off to clean my house before two of my favorite young ladies show up for the day. If I can banish the dog hair and locate our tub of Thomas the Tank Engine toys all will be right on this end of town.

Stuff that makes me happy

I’ve spent the week embodying that line “every day I’m shufflin”. Two positions have given me comfort; one in which I’m lying propped up on pillows, the other I’m walking around with my right arm tucked up in an invisible sling. While my body has been screaming, my spirit has been buoyed by the unexpected warmth and sunshine. This makes be happy.

Because I am uncharacteristically happy and because I’m sure Oprah has trademarked the phrase “my favorite things”, here is a look at some stuff that makes me happy.

This kid and his shenanigans.
bubble baths - which coincides with actually living in a house with a bath tub
These girls
... even though they act like drunken goats ...
Oh, and this guy and his collection of early- to mid-'80s gems. Hey! I'm an early '80s gem!
Sunny days!
Work/running/life buddy, Jane

Also: Amazon shopping, this book, Central Street Yoga, new running shoes, peanut butter ice cream, and the general feeling that I can thrive in chaos.

Dogs, Poo, and Pictures

Bella arrives.

The dogs have been naughty. That is, of course, assuming that they ever are not naughty. So I guess the last few weeks have been a bit more intense than usual. Now that only the faintest aroma of dog shit can be detected (I dug it out of the cracks in my wood floor. I shit you not. *Heather falls out of chair laughing), I thought I would reflect on two of the greatest doggie loves, and greatest time-sucks, of my existence.

I don’t know anything about raising multiple children, as I am the mother of a single. However, I do know that having two dogs is a lot like having twelve (hundred) dogs.

Our first trip together.
Bella takes an immediate liking to my father's water garden. Sorry Papa.

Sibling rivalry, anyone?

Sammie is not quite sure what she thinks of the new addition.

 

 

This is where Sam begins her plan to steal the whole.friggin.bottle. of “Doggie Calming Tablets”. $35, an entire night of damage control (if you know what I mean), and a few doggie-mama white hairs later; it’s all good.

 

 

 

A Merry Christmas to all!

 

 

Because I’m sure that Jesus loved dogs more than all the other animals, we let the dogs rip their bed apart and roll around in it while we watched. Nothing says “we love you” than a sanctioned free-for-all.

 

 

Post-surgery Bella prepares to jump the gate

 

 

Little did we know that this cone would push Sammie into a most severe round of anxiety-induced colitis. Don’t know what that is? Spray paint.Which was a nice treat, after Bella’s reaction to the anesthesia.

Ahhhhhh.

Now, are you all thinking how unfreakingbelievably dumb it is for me to have a white duvet? I am. And now, I am going to study spelling with the adolescent yeti that is my son and see what the dogs have done in my absence. Wish me luck.

 

 

August Flashback

*This is a post from August 18th, the last day I had reliable internet access at home. Since then I’ve moved, started school, contracted the worst case of adult thrush the nurse at the walk-in clinic had ever seen, and danced through another wedding. I’m significantly less cheery at the moment. Word has it that my house will be back on-line tomorrow. More soon.

 

These August days are bittersweet. While I prefer July for beach-going (I got there once this year), August is better for everything else. Mornings tend to be bright and cool. Afternoons bring a surprising heat that is more bearable, less intense than that of July. Evenings warp time in such a way that, mid-stroll, you realize that it is nearly 9 o’clock and you haven’t started dinner.
This morning I’m at my computer, gulping coffee and allergy medicine in an attempt to get myself in working order. The siren call of my canoe distracts me from what needs to be done: packing and school work. In fact, I may soon leave my obligations for that same canoe, but we’ll talk about my lack self –control and focus some other day.
Back to August. For example, I packed up C and Sam-dog last night and drove out to the farm. For those of you who don’t know, ‘The Farm’ is the expanse of land I grew up on; the earth that holds my parent’s house, my grandparent’s house, one rock wall, a red barn, a frog pond, a gravel pit, and a ½ mile track formerly used to train horses on. Whenever C or I have a writing prompt about “home” or “your childhood” or “family” we are on fire. We can’t talk about it enough.
Anyway, we got out there, let the dog roam freely, ate our pizza and hung out on the porch. After supper C announced that he was going up to Gram’s (to read in the new, purple hammock chair suspended from a tree by their house), threw on his backpack, and rode his little bike up the dirt road. I ran up and down the driveway so my father could diagnose my stride, the reason for a recent injury, and decided to take a walk around the track with the dogs. We walked up past my grandparent’s house, past Colby hanging from a giant tree in the purple chair, past two tractors and my grandfather picking rocks in his newly furrowed fields.

As I made my way into the first turn, all I could think of was this seemed like a scene from a movie, I just couldn’t believe it was mine! The track was overgrown from many years without horses, and the dogs moved through the grass, only the bronze and black tail tips visible above the overgrowth. They dodged in and out of clearings in what must have been a game of doggie hide ‘n seek. I picked up my pace at the thought of snakes underfoot and gave up swatting the dragonflies whose peace we disrupted. I ran, the dogs played, the clouds allowed just enough sunlight to stream through. It was easily the most beautiful run of the year, and without ipod or timer, just what I needed.
And now, I am leaving my computer behind to see what kind of trouble I can stir up on a day like today.

Caution!

But welcome!

This blog could be equated to a DIY attempt to build-a-cabin-for-under-$100. It inevitably will end up looking nothing like the picture and overdrawing my bank account. In the end, though, I hope that it provides a space for my “real person” (opposed to my teacher/mama person) to be. I’ve been able to take shelter and entertainment from various blogs over the last ten years, and have seen many of them outgrow themselves or their purposes. Currently I am mourning the end of my all-time-favorite blog. Farewell, Bitch! Concurrently, am also mourning my sex life, mental capacity and academic values.

The site will be under construction for a bit. I have some significant technological (and sleep) deficits, and am steadily working toward a functioning space.

Until then, enter at your own risk!