A Walk in the Woods

IMG_3316

Ah, April. Welcome.

My porch is here somewhere

My porch is here somewhere

Up and over and into the woods!

Up and over and into the woods!

 

 

 

 

Aaaaaand down to my knee.

Aaaaaand down to my knee.

Pretty path

Pretty path

There she blows!

There she blows!

IMG_3322

IMG_3326

Thanks trusty boots!

Thanks trusty boots!

IMG_3331

Goodnight lake.

***

The Art of the Everyday – April 2: A Walk in the Woods

Advertisements

The NeverEnding Winter

It really hit me while chipping the 5 inches of ice off the woodpile, that was buried under 8-12 inches of new snow.

We only have two rows of wood left and the forecast says snow for the next two weeks. At least.

Let’s be clear: that takes us to April 12.

April

Mothereffing

Twelfth.

We’re running out of places to put the snow. There’s a 10x40x10 pile in front of my garage, the raised deck (roughly 4-5 feet) is level with the ‘ground’/snow, and I’ve given up any hope of ever parking at my house again. So I put on spikes and climb out.

And for the first time, I’m really understanding what people with the S.A.D. feel like. I haven’t seen the ground (just the dirt, I’m not even asking for grass here) since November 30.

I can’t take it anymore.

There are only so many snow sports one woman can take.

I’m losing it.

I give up.

I look at the tunnel we shoveled out of my door and it feels like a leap of faith, Indiana Jones style.

I gotta get out of here.

IMG_3134

***

The Art of the Everyday – March 27: Winter Forever, come find me if you don’t hear from me. I’ll be frozen.

Roberts Farm Preserve

You know what’s awesome? Falling on ice on a pre-existing bruise.

JUST KIDDING.

No but really. Although the icy, downhill, hard left turn caught me and my ass by surprise, yesterday was gorgeous. Even though XC and I are still not the best of friends, I had a great time on a quick early evening ski.

Roberts Farm Preserve sits on a hill above the lake we live on, and is protected by the Western Foothills Land Trust. In the summer, this is where a kids program helps to run our CSA and throughout the year they host everything from skijoring (it’s real), to snowshoe races, to part of the Norway Triathlon.

The relatively extensive trail network (for skiing, snowshoeing, etc in the winter, and hiking in the summer) is accessible, well-marked and really beautiful.

It seemed like around every bend there was more to soak up – but that could’ve been just how happy I was to finally see the sun.

IMG_3043

“Our” lake – Lake Pennesseewassee in Norway, Maine

 

***

The Art of the Everyday – March 5: Offbeat and out of doors at Roberts Farm Preserve.

Adventure Sunday

Since moving to Maine, P and I instituted Adventure Sunday.

Granted, sometimes that adventure involves a lot of Netflix and naps, but nonetheless, we try to do something to shake up the routine. This past Sunday was particularly epic, as we first found our way to Lovell, about 40 minutes from our house, to do a short, gorgeous hike up Sabattus Mountain.

Real Talk. How did they get this bench up here?

Real Talk. How did they get this bench up here?

The hike was pretty fast, and P knew there were XC Ski tracks down in town, so we found our way (eventually) to the right parking lot and made our way around the golf course.

Despite an amazing amount of ice and a severe lack of grooming, the ground was flat and fast – perfect to zoom around in the first sun we’ve seen in a while.

After that, I had definitely earned my treat, and we headed over to one side of the golf course to the famed Belgian beer bar, Ebenezer’s.

Voted continually as one of the best beer destinations in the world (yea, you read that right, world), its unassuming decor and down-home snarky waitresses made for the perfect end to the day.

And of course, Belgian-style frites with aioli and an awesome sour.

To Adventure Sunday!

***

The Art of the Everyday – March 3: Offbeat, out of doors.

Frozen Toes

Try the T-Bar, they said. It’ll be fun they said.

Even the kids do it, they said.

In my world, when you need to go up a ski hill, you sit your ass in a suspended chair and you get carried up. Not without risk, sure, but surely less dangerous than trusting a two foot section of 2×4 wedged somewhere between your knees and butt, if you’re lucky enough to get it in the right place.

After a couple seriously false starts – including falling off halfway up after holding the entire contraption with my hands after it slipped; why thanks, I did need more cardio today – I actually did get the hang of the damn thing, but come on.

Used for smaller hills (which still go up enough to have black diamonds, mind you) and a scion of ski times I thought long-past, this week’s adventure was brought to you by alpine night skiing at Titcomb Hill in Farmington.

A community ski hill, they hosted a free ski night, with $5 rentals. P thought it would be a great time to relearn on alpines and I readily agreed, excitedly thinking of teaching him the ropes of one of my favorite sports, having no idea what it would entail for me.

I’ve been skiing my entire life and absolutely adore it. Note this does not include suspension systems that require my utmost attention and balance as they yank me precariously up a hill ON MY OWN TWO FEET.

But after earning my “you’re a pro now, dude” from the lift op, a gigantic bruise on my thigh, and whizzing down some great slopes for the first time since last season (XC just doesn’t count, sorry not sorry) I felt a joy I haven’t had since I was a kid (although I was laughed at by a lot of children that night…).

The joy of mastering a new skill during something you thought you had down pat – and falling down in front of an entire line of people, and just getting up again.

As I warmed my frozen toes (it was in the negatives, y’all) in front of the fire in the tiny, packed lodge, kids whizzed around me, parents stuffed rosy limbs into down sleeves, and seemingly endless amounts of pizza were served, I was so thankful.

Thankful for the falls, the free skiing, the (eventual) laughter, and the unmatched freedom of pointing my skis straight down, and saying see ya later.

***

The Art of the Everyday – March 1: Offbeat, out of doors.

Jammin

I’ve never taken a “vacation” as an adult.

In the sense that whenever I’ve taken time off it’s been for seeing family, active “traveling” (different category than vacationing), or a reunion, wedding or some other event.

When P suggested this trip (and bought the tickets) I was elated – for obvious rum-related reasons. But also because I could just sit. On a beach. And do….nothing.

I never really got why that sounded so good until now. And that’s exactly what we did.

As I watch the snow (again), I wish I was back in that water…

***

The Art of the Everyday – February 18: Offbeat, Outside and in Jamaica!

Titcomb Hill

IMG_2858

 

Saturday we woke up to absolutely gorgeous fresh snow, and P decided it was the perfect day to torture me with his newest favorite hobby: cross-country skiing.

Surprisingly, I’m not outfitted with the butt and thighs so prominently propelling the world’s greatest in Sochi, and this is now my fifth time trying this wack-a-doo sport.

I’ve had skis on my feet since I was three, my brain and body are programmed into very specific behaviors when I put them on; none of which include my heels being unattached.

Now, I grew up alpine skiing on Mt. Hood. This pass time makes sense to me: Oh it’s nice and snowy! Let’s ride on a nice lift and then go really fast! Then drink beer! Awesome.

Cross-country, I’m finding, makes you work for it.

My nemesis.

My nemesis.

Although I’m still struggling with why you wouldn’t just go hiking and/or snowshoeing, I’m starting to get the hang of this glide-ski-walking-hiking-struggle.

Yesterday, we went out again in even more powder and as we laughed and fell our way down (seriously that heel thing), I was glad I could at least try. My sore butt may beg to differ.

***

The Art of the Everyday – February 15: Old(ish) Dog, New Trick – reflections on learning from scratch while looking at 30.

Week of Happy: Oregon Day

I miss my home state.

I haven’t lived in Oregon for a decade now, but I still call it home and miss it with a fervor I find unique (and at times overwhelming) to those from the independent nation of Cascadia.

Although I wouldn’t trade the past ten years hopping around the country (Northern California, New Orleans, Boston, Maine – I just need something in the Midwest and then back to complete the loop!) I do hope I move back someday.

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, the great Beaver State isn’t known for its hyperactive economy or booming career opportunities – unless you count the Beard Olympics or sustainable-free-range-his-name-was-oscar-style chicken farming.

Regardless, let’s all just bask in its wonder for a bit…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

***

The Art of the Everyday – February 7: Week of Happy – Enjoy this series of simple (and some not so simple) things that make me happy while I’m on vacation!

Week of Happy: Beach Day

Luckily, for this vacation in particular, one of the chief things that makes me happy is the ocean.

I’ve been a diver since age 14, my dad is a SCUBA instructor, and my favorite, most calming place in the world, to date, is Grand Cayman.

Sea turtles, people. Sea turtles.

A really great perk of parents who love the Caribbean is you get drug along on family vacations – one in high school and one in 2007.

The first time we were on Grand Cayman in 2002, my dad and I got back late from diving and went out to dinner, just the two of us, since my brother and mom had already eaten.

Our condo was within walking distance of a great restaurant with a platform on the beach, where we chose to have dinner next to the ocean, under the stars. Beyond some great conk and calamari, I ordered my normal (for vacation) virgin pina colada. 

Thinking I was older, and just respecting US drinking law, the waiter said: “Riiiight, ‘virgin.'” My dad responded, “Well, yes.” And I happily drank 3.

As I twirled back to our condo, running in and out of the small surf, we both burst out laughing. Say hello to my first time drinking – dosed by a too kind waiter, with my dad, reveling at how AMAZING everything was.

I dug up some of my favorite photos from my last time to the islands…I can’t wait to see what we discover this time.

***

The Art of the Everyday – February 1: Week of Happy – Enjoy this series of simple (and some not so simple) things that make me happy while I’m on vacation!