Monday, September 30, 2013

30 Days of Lists: Week 4+

Today marks the end of the 30 Days of Lists project. While I enjoyed participating in this event, I do feel some relief that it is over. I will no longer have the pressure to think of creative list items every day! Tomorrow morning I may feel both a little free and a little sad.

Since I ended with list #21 last week, I will pick up with list #22 today. I never sleep well and am frequently plagued by unpleasant dreams. As such, I am not a fan of dreaming AT ALL and intentionally try to not remember them whenever possible.
*Click on images to view larger*

I was hard-pressed to come up with items for list #23, as I'm more or less an open book.

However, list #24 was super easy for me. I think about these types of things all the time!

List #25 was a bit challenging. My family has TONS of quirks, but it's hard to come up with them since it all seems normal(ish) to me by now.

When it came to list #26, thoughts just streamed out onto the page.

List #27 was a piece of cake too.

I wrote list #28 when we got home from campering but before we went grocery shopping for the week. I think that might be obvious?

I'm pretty excited about all of the items on  list #29. It's nice to have things to look forward to.

And the last list, written this morning, left me thinking positively about this whole experience. I'm so glad I participated!

To see my lists from the first three weeks:
Week 3
Week 2
Week 1

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hike to Sis & Bubb Lakes

We took a short two-night campering trip to Eighth Lake Campground, just north of Inlet, NY this weekend. On Saturday morning after we enjoyed our English breakfast tea (me) and French-pressed coffee (him) we headed out for a hike to several nearby lakes. Because I'm still recovering from the tailbone injury (and came down with a cold Friday night), we opted for a shorter hike at 4.6 miles round-trip.

The fall color was much more spectacular in person than it appears to be in the photos. The entire trail was what we classify as "Adirondack flat," meaning anything from reasonably flat to rolling topography. We reached Bubb Lake in no time at all.

Sis Lake was only a short ways further along the trail and was charmingly small (pond-like, really).

From there the trail made its way between the two lakes. At one point we crossed a short boardwalk where we could see both lakes, one on each side.

Leaving Sis Lake behind the trail then followed the shoreline of Bubb, opposite of where we first came out to the water.

Eventually the trail headed through the woods towards Moss Lake. We expected to have lake views there as well, or we would not have continued on, but alas, we could only see hints of water through the trees. (This prompted me to purchase a National Geographic map of the area when we got back into Inlet. I prefer to have a better idea of where we're hiking.) Fortunately, we enjoyed the entire hike and the beauty of Sis and Bubb. Plus, the weather could not have been more perfect!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Making Wine

Last year was our first go at homemade wine, but my husband made and stored it at another location. The only part I was involved in was the drinking. We made two varieties of New York whites: Cayuga and Diamond. Both are sweet, which is what we like. They came out fantastic and we were super pleased.

This year my husband decided to make two reds in addition to two whites. At the last minute he decided to bring the supplies home and set up the wine making in our basement. Finally! I got to be involved in the actual making, not just the drinking.

He did the day one steps before bringing the juice home. All I know is it involved little pills that kill the natural yeast. He brought home 4 buckets of juice, which we opened and covered with towels overnight. You can see the bubbling action the next day.

Brand new carboys ready for the reds: Cabernet Sauvignon and Ruby Cabernet.

Adding the yeast. Not pictured: adding the sugar, because it was a two person job. He poured the juice and I poured the sugar at the same time.

The last step was inserting the aerator. It immediately started what looked like a rolling boil. So cool!

We can taste it in a few days (small tastes), but it won't be ready to bottle for another 3.5 months. We can't wait! The juice for the whites will be ready in a few weeks and we'll repeat the process with those.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

30 Days of Lists: Week 3

While I'm still having fun with this project, I am losing steam. I realized around day 19 that I was no longer looking forward to reading the list prompt first thing in the morning. I'm still doing it, but it feels more like a tiny chore than a daily treat.

That said, last week I left off with list #14, so I will pick up with #15 this week. I did not actually get up and check my junk drawer, but these are the types of items that are usually in there.

*click on the images to view larger*

List #16 presented a prompt with a blank to fill in. I was initially turned off by this topic, but I eventually got into the swing of things and was able to come up with a list that I was satisfied with.

List #17 was a stretch for me. My house is not at all my dream house, but there are features I love.

List #18 was also a stretch for me. Asking for help is not an issue for me. I ask whenever I need it. I don't understand what the big deal is. Pride? Ego? Whatever it is, I don't get it.

List #19 was one that could've been many pages long, but I had to cut it off somewhere.

I liked writing list #20 more than some of the others this week. It felt more like me than most of the rest.

List #21 was meant to contain an actual pyramid, but I wasn't interested in analyzing my food consumption in that fashion.

To see my lists from the first two weeks:
Week 2
Week 1

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Another Fall

Less than two weeks after I fell while hiking down the trail from Algonquin/Iroquois/Wright, I fell again. Clearly, I am the world's clumsiest person.

This time I wasn't scaling high mountains, I was descending a long flight of stairs. 110 steps to be precise, although they are broken up by flat (or gently sloping) bits of pavement. After several days of humidity and rain, the wooden steps were as slick as snail snot. Or at the very least, they were much slipperier than normal. And I can say that because I use these stairs twice a day, five days a week. They are outdoors but covered and loosely sided. The precipitation still gets through.

I was wearing practical shoes (because that's how I roll), but my feet slipped out from beneath me and I went straight down and landed on my tailbone. Then I bounced down at least two or three more steps before I was able to arrest my fall. Again on my tailbone.

The lone witness to my embarrassing slip was a young woman who hastened over to see if I was alright and to reassure me that she'd fallen on the same steps herself. I was in such pain that I failed to show my gratitude for her graciousness and concern. I did manage to pick myself up and slowly make my way to my office.

Unfortunately, the pain in my tailbone area (coccyx is such an unappealing word) did not fade over the next few hours. Nor did my irritation. Why didn't the stairs have some sort of anti-slip traction device on the surface of each step? So I decided to report the incident in hopes of improving the safety of the stairwell. Next thing I knew I had four men in my office discussing my sore backside. Woe is me.

Now it's almost a week later and I still can't sit without pain and climbing hills or stairs puts an uncomfortable amount of pressure on my tailbone area. I have no idea if I fractured my tailbone or if it's just badly bruised. From my reading on the interwebs, it appears there is little that can be done for a tailbone injury other than rest.  And rest doesn't mix well with my goal of getting a minimum of 10,000 steps a day.

So far no improvements have been made to the stairs, nor do I expect it will ever happen. I did skip my after work walk today (but not my 20 minute walks to/from work or my mid-afternoon mini-walk). That's my idea of resting.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cranberry Lake Weekend

This past weekend we went campering at Cranberry Lake Campground in the Northwestern Adirondacks. I may or may not have camped there as a child, but since I can't remember tenting there it felt like an all-new experience for both my husband and me.

Both of us, however, were already somewhat familiar with the area. During high school he spent a week at SUNY ESF's Cranberry Lake Biological Station doing small mammal trapping and canoeing. Both my mother and my sister did their summer sessions at CLBS while they were undergrads at ESF. I had heard many stories from them before I ever stepped foot on the boat. CLBS is boat-access only, and while I didn't do my summer session there, my then-boyfriend did. I rode the boat out to meet him and spent a weekend hanging out, canoeing, and camping at and near the biological station. Another weekend was spent camping closer to the town of Cranberry Lake, where we purchased supplies at the Lakeside General Store.

The campground was sparsely populated this weekend, as it is no longer high season for camping in the Adirondacks. It was quiet and there was very little traffic. We were able to secure a waterfront site, which can be difficult during the summer. We were so excited to sit by the water and enjoy the peace and quiet and beautiful views.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature had something else in mind. The wind kicking off the lake was extreme and constant. It was like having a giant industrial fan set on high, running 24 hours a day. It made starting fires challenging and sitting outside nearly impossible. We did manage to cook our meals outside and enjoy some s'mores in the evening.

On Sunday we hiked Bear Mountain from the trailhead within the campground. We made a loop of it by walking from our campsite to the trailhead, over the small mountain, down the other side, and back through the campground. According to CNY Hiking, this loop is 3.6 miles. For such a short hike I didn't want to bother carrying a backpack, so I opted to leave my camera in the camper and just clip my cell phone to my waist. At the summit, my phone crashed and would not restart. As a result, I have no pictures from the rest of the hike, where there were actual views out over the lake.

Later that afternoon we went to the Grasse River for my husband to do some fishing. I read my book and took pictures with my phone (we popped the battery out and restarted it after our hike). Unfortunately, all of those photos later vanished into the ether. Lesson learned: carry the real camera!

Other than the ferocious wind and the missed opportunities for photography we had a wonderful time and will definitely return to Cranberry Lake next summer to do some more campering and hiking.

Monday, September 16, 2013

30 Days of Lists: Week 2

Week 2 of the 30 Days of Lists project has been just as much fun as week 1. We were campering this past weekend, so I was unable to post my weekly recap yesterday as planned. I also wasn't able to access my email or the internet until we returned home today, so I completed lists #15 & #16 as soon as I fired up my laptop (after a much needed shower).

Last week I left off with list #7, so this week I'll pick up with list #8. The list is short because, well, so is my long-term memory.
*Click on images to view larger*

I enjoyed list #9 quite a bit. I cry easily, so it was not much of a challenge to think of these items.

List #10 required a lot more thought. I'm a horrible gift giver and my family generally sticks to wish-lists to ensure people get what they actually want. I did finally come up with some ideas though, obviously.

List #11 was another easy one. My family has really helped me to be the person I am, so I focused on some of the many positive things they have taught me.

List #12 was one that had some wiggle room. We could've listed our favorite things that have happened so far this month, but I decided to list my favorite things about September in general.

Everyone has lots of bad habits, so list #13 was fairly easy. (Sorry the picture is blurry.)

I love weekends because I work regular business hours, so I always have weekends off. List #14 reflects an at home weekend, not a campering one.

To see my lists from last week: 30 Days of Lists: Week 1

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Low Maintenance

This was originally posted on June 24, 2012 on Cowbird when I was trying that website on for size. I found we didn't make a good match and only posted a handful of "stories" there. I may share more of them here. Or not.


We sat around the hotel room, killing time before the start of the wedding ceremony. My fiancé attempted a nap in the one upholstered chair, while his father lay on the bed. I sat in the desk chair halfheartedly reading tweets on my Smartphone and providing occasional feedback to my future mother-in-law as she got ready. She curled her hair and applied make-up after we decided on the best shade of eye shadow to coordinate with her dress. When she was finally done in the bathroom her husband indicated it was now my turn.

I glanced at the clock. It was well before I would’ve started to get ready on my own, but I shrugged and stood up. My fiancé snorted, and as I walked towards the bathroom I heard him tell his dad to watch the clock.

In the bathroom I shed my tank top and shorts, slipped the purple and black dress over my head, and tugged it into place. Then I picked up my clothes and exited the bathroom.

“Told you,” my fiancé said to his dad, who stared at me.

“You’re done?” He asked, astonished. I just smiled and slipped my feet into my heels.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Golden Harvest Festival

The Golden Harvest Festival is held every year on the first weekend after Labor Day. This year was the 37th annual festival. It was also the first time my nephew attended, at 2.5 years old. My sister figured he was old enough to get a kick out of things like the hayride, petting zoo, and games in the Super Natural Midway. She was right, of course.

The three of us went Saturday morning shortly after the festival opened. Rain was forecasted for later in the day, but it arrived earlier than expected. We ate lunch sitting on the ground inside the food tent, shopped the used books inside the nature center, and stopped into the craft room to make a flower with paper and a pipe cleaner before calling it a day.

I was bummed because the line for the donuts was too long to even consider waiting in. I am not a fan of cake donuts usually, but these are simply the best donuts ever. Hot and melt-in-your-mouth, cinnamon-sugary goodness. So Sunday morning my husband and I decided to try again. We arrived minutes before our long-time friend took the stage with his magic act, so I left my husband there to save our bale of hay and I dashed down to get cider and donuts. Perfection!

Before leaving we walked down to the lake to take in the beautiful day. As we exited, one of the volunteers handing out programs asked what our favorite part of the festival was. Naturally, I said "the donuts!"

But really, the best part is the lake and the trees and the NATURE that is there year round.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

30 Days of Lists: Week 1

This first week of the 30 Days of Lists project has been great fun. I've been reading the prompt first thing in the morning and writing my list immediately. Yesterday I waited to write my list for obvious reasons (obvious when you see the list topic).

I am not at all crafty, nor do I do any kind of scrapbooking, and I do all of my journaling in inexpensive spiral bound, wide-ruled notebooks. I decided to take advantage of a small notebook that my mother had decorated and mailed to me. I picked up a pack of 10 colored ballpoint pens at the drugstore and voila! Ready to list!

List #1 came out while we were hiking Algonquin, Iroquois, and Wright, so I had to wait to see what the first list prompt would be. I wondered about it while hiking but had to wait until we got back to the camper, where I showered and then we went out to eat. So it was late and I was exhausted by the time I got to do my list, which I can see in my handwriting.

*Click on the images to view larger versions, which are easier to read.*

With list #2, I got into my morning routine.

List #3 challenged me more than the first two, and I continued to add items throughout the day.

List #4 was easy. I have lots of time in my life right now that I have to fill with "time wasting" activities.

Some of the other listers objected to the topic for list #5 because they wanted to keep their lists upbeat. As I've mentioned before, I am not an optimistic person, so this didn't bother me at all. I am, however, a HUGE worrier. I have a very anxious personality. If I'm awake, I'm probably worrying about something (in fact, considering how poorly I sleep, I'm probably worrying then, too). I decided to keep my list short though and not go into the gory details.

List #6 was a head scratcher for me. The first item was a no-brainer, but then I really had to dig deep. After I'd finished my list I looked at some of the stuff people posted in the private Facebook group and saw some great ideas that I wished I'd thought of.

List #7 was the one I decided to wait to write until later in the day. My sister and I took her son to an annual harvest festival for his first time, which provided most of the items for my list.

There are no rules for this project. The idea is for everyone to make it their own in order to get the most out of it. Some people choose to look ahead and complete their lists in advance, but one of my favorite parts is waiting and reading each prompt for the first time each morning. That way, I get to enjoy the surprise every morning, and then I can focus on just one topic each day. I'm definitely looking forward to the rest of the lists!