away for the weekend: April 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012

skipping stones

Of the countless things I love about being in Vermont, visiting the many independent shops and chatting with their owners is tops on my list (oh yeah, and buying things now and then). During one such chat a couple of weekends ago, Grout Pond was mentioned as a favorite destination.

Saturday was on the cold and blustery side, but perfect for scouting out cycling routes, just plain exploring – and skipping stones on Grout Pond.

Off the beaten path, this park is a hidden gem.
I'm thinking that I need to figure out how to get a kayak out here (not that I have one to bring - or even know how to use one for that matter…)

Have I mentioned yet, that I’m just a wee bit afraid of running into a bear?

Kindly, Greg did not point out this sign until we were leaving…

I am joining Susan @ A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday

Thanks for dropping in!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

this morning in my garden

In my rush to leave for work this morning, a few spots of color caught my eye. The sun was shining so brightly, and I really did not want to go to work - besides I had a couple extra minutes...
This is what I found -

What is blooming in your garden right now?

I'm joining Little Red House for Mosaic Monday

Thanks for dropping in!

Monday, April 23, 2012

hiking hamilton falls

Last weekend was a perfect weekend. Have you ever taken one of those magazine quizzes to find out something like - "What is your decorating style?" One of the questions will be “Describe your perfect weekend” and the choices will be something like:

a) Fly to Paris on a private jet for a weekend shopping spree
b) Go on a Yoga retreat at a secluded luxury spa for a weekend of pampering
c) Be a guest at the Academy Awards and party the night away with the stars

You get the point.
Yeah, my weekend was nothing like that.

My weekend began on Friday morning – waking up to the sound of birds outside my window and enjoying a cup coffee on the deck.

After flying home from San Diego on the red-eye (by way of Seattle) the day before, this felt like my own slice of heaven - and it set the tone for a very laid-back sort of weekend.

Friday was an unusually warm April day for Vermont, and perfect for hiking. After lazing most of the morning away, we headed to the deli counter of our favorite village market (D&K Grocery in Jamaica, Vermont) to pick up some sandwiches and water - necessary nourishment for our trek. Jamaica State Park doesn’t officially open for the season until May 4 (we didn't realize this at the time - the big "CLOSED FOR THE SEASON" sign clued us in), so we drove over to Ball Mountain Lake - which leads to the same trails.
Our hike began at the Ball Mountain Dam

As you can see, our incredibly dry winter has led to very low water levels.

Much of the hike follows the West River -

(yep, that's Greg peaking over the railing)

Even this far north -

woodland flowers are showing life

After hiking more than two miles (one mile uphill)

we arrived at the base of Hamilton Falls

Ummmmmm, yeah (or should I say, Ohmmm yea), Vermont tends to attract new-age hippies.
But this was the perfect spot to eat those sandwiches.

The only problem with beginning a hike at the top of the dam...

Yep, that's right - we have to go back up to the top...
We knew this as we walked DOWN the switchbacks at the beginning...

but somehow, it takes on a different perspective from this angle (oh yea, and after hiking a few miles).
Next time, we're starting at Jamaica State Park and hiking to the top of the falls.

One more view of Spring on the West River

I guess the fresh air made me a bit camera-happy.

A map of the hiking trails at Jamaica State park are attached here.

Thanks for dropping in!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

san diego sights

Although I'm venturing a little bit off topic, I couldn't pass up sharing San Diego. As I mentioned earlier, I’m spending much of this week here on business. I know – lucky me. Here I am in this beautiful city with fantastic weather and awesome food – and for two days I’ve been indoors – sitting – dreaming of our upcoming weekend in Vermont. Truly.

I did manage to get away for a couple of hours yesterday, though. I grabbed the first cab that came by and headed for Old Town. Tourist trap – for sure – but enjoyable all the same.

The markets are so very colorful -

as are the flowers -

everywhere, flowers -

and the architecture -

 is unlike anything we see in New England -

Thanks for dropping in!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

bathroom redo update

I’m heading to San Diego tomorrow for a work convention – so this will be another weekend at home (well sort of). It’s all good, though, because one of my very bestest childhood friends from Kansas - who I haven’t seen for over 30 years - is in Boston and we're planning to get together for dinner tonight. I’m really, really, really excited about this – got to love facebook!

Anyway – just so you don’t think that I’m slacking on the whole bathroom thing, here is where I’m at.
Apparently painting laminate requires a super duper primer that needs a full week to “cure” before painting over (Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3) Sooooo – not wanting to lose that much time, I primed the cabinet before leaving Vermont and brought the vanity drawers and door home. And, here they are

- well cured and ready for a coat of paint.
Now, if I could just decide what color that should be. After much deliberation and viewing thousands upon thousands of pictures (thank you Pinterest and Houzz), I decided to switch out the wooden accessories for oil rubbed bronze. The walls are creamy colored, so I’m thinking of either matching the walls or trying a soft tan.

Decisions, decisions.

Oh, and speaking of decisions – I’ve been agonizing over choosing a new light fixture. Did you know that there are thousands – and I mean thousands – of light fixtures to choose from? Seriously? I really think that I have a love-hate relationship with the internet. Life was much easier when the only choice was whatever happened to be available at stores within driving distance.

Sooooo – after getting completely sucked into the whole web-surfing thing, with my head swimming from way to many choices and staying up much too late one night, I woke up bleary-eyed and thought – “This is a bathroom light fixture!!! Just go to Lowe’s and buy an inexpensive one and be happy with it!!”

So that’s what I’m going to do. And I’m going to LOVE it, because here’s the thing - it’s a bathroom light fixture!!! Sheesh!

So, that’s where I’m at with the whole bathroom thing – except for my picture frame disaster.

I don’t want to talk about it.
But don’t you just love the old Lion King sheets? I love that the little cub is smiling up at me even as the frames are lying there daring me to try something else. But hey, I am not stressing about this. I have a paint store nearby and they're more than happy to sell me all the paint and stain and sandpaper that I need to get it right! All is well.

Thanks for dropping in!

Monday, April 9, 2012

home for the weekend

It’s bound to happen every now and then – staying home. This weekend I enjoyed Easter dinner at my mother’s house. Our family holidays have evolved a bit as the “children” have grown, but we always know we’ll have a good time and enjoy a great meal.

As usual, I was in charge of bringing the salad – “sympathy salad” as my daughter’s boyfriend has dubbed it. He’s convinced that no one really wants to eat salad when there are so many better dishes present, but sympathetic guests always eat some anyway. He's probably correct (although my family insists that they actually like salad – hmmmm).

I’m not an enthusiastic cook, so salad suits me fine. But really – sympathy salad? Time to shake things up! This year I brought a layered salad - ooooooo, ahhhhhh.

Of course this is really just a regular old salad layered into a glass bowl. But it’s oh so pretty to look at – right?

I chose not to make the traditional recipe with bacon and eggs as ham and deviled eggs were already on the menu. Sympathy salad is bad enough, but I really didn’t want to bring redundant salad…

We all know how to make salad, so no instructions here. This is the list of the ingredients that I used layered from bottom to top:

Layered Spring Salad

spring mix
red and orange peppers (chopped)
artichoke hearts
sliced cherry tomatoes
frozen peas (defrosted)
salad dressing (½ cup mayonnaise, ½ cup sour cream, ½ package ranch dressing mix)
shredded gruyere cheese
toasted slivered almonds

Layered salad recipes always instruct to make ahead of time. I’m not sure why - it’s not as though the flavors mix at all. The nice thing, though, is that you can make it ahead of time. I added the almonds right before serving to keep them crunchy.

The possible combinations of ingredients are endless. Choose a theme (or not) and have fun!

Thanks for dropping in!

Friday, April 6, 2012

boston work days

You all know how I love getting away for the weekend...

On weekday mornings after fighting my way into work -

I feel fortunate if I arrive unfrazzeled  (I know, not a real word).
That nasty reputation that Boston drivers have? Yep, we earned it.

But then, some days I step outside at lunch time and I see tour busses lining the street outside my office -

and tourists taking photos of the place where I come to work everyday -

and groups of students visiting on a school trip -

and I feel very lucky to work in such an awesome location.

Another sign that Summer is coming soon - water starting to fill the reflecting pool (those of us who work here mourn every Fall when it's drained).

Besides, there are a few perks of working in the city -

that I just can’t complain about.

Thanks for dropping in!

Monday, April 2, 2012

lazy mud season saturday

Weekends always fly by much too fast. My goal for the weekend was simply to paint the bathroom. Mission accomplished – so now my bathroom redo is officially underway.

Right now, we're in the midst of Vermont’s “fifth season” –  mud season. The ski slopes are bare and the hiking trails are muddy. Saturday morning we woke to a gentle snowfall that wasn’t to last. Warmer weather is just around the corner and we’re itching to get our bicycles out on the road.

After managing to get lost on the back roads (scouting possible cycling routes), we wound up in Manchester Center for an afternoon of strolling, browsing and just plain enjoying a lazy mud season day.

Thanks for dropping in!