With all the devastation in OK, I thought I would share this video if you haven’t seen it yet. The best part is the end.
I am happy for them. It gives you hope.
Thanks for going along on my vacation with me! I know there are a lot of new people (hi new people!) from the Half-Size Me podcast and I promise you my life isn’t as exciting as it has been this past week
I forgot to talk about the Prius and the trip. We have had the Prius for about 2 months now. This was my first chance to do a lot of driving with it and we loved it! Not to mention that we drove 750 miles and averaged 60.2 miles per gallon. 60.2!!! That is amazing and saved us a lot of money.
Talking about another number, I had my post vacation weight check and I was up 2.5 pounds from vacation. Not too bad, really, considering I ate a lot more gluten and bready type items than normal. All the walking and biking saved me from more. Of course, what took a week to put on will take a month to come off, but c’est la vie!
Back to regularly scheduled eats. This was actually yesterday. I’ll just do a quick compilation of eats!
There was some chocolate in there at the end of the day, too.
It’s actually been a really busy return to work and life here. Work exploded while I was gone, so that wasn’t fun to come back to. Plus I had requests for more soap – emergency style. Always happens during vacations.
Pixie was happy to have us home. She’s been bugging at the bedroom door in the morning, though. I think she is maybe afraid we left again. Or she is just hungry (probably that).
I love vacation and traveling, but it sure does feel good to get back to routine and my regular eats.
I am off to visit Mr. Boo tonight! My folks are away this evening and I get to check on him and give him some grub.
Walking on the beach. I actually had to duck back a bit taking this picture as the waves got a little close!
We spent 2 days in the Ogunquit/Kennebunk area. There was a lot to explore. We were hoping to find better bike trails, but it just wasn’t happening, so we did a ton of walking. We did find a Franciscan Monastery and wandered around those trails.
This trail led to the water’s edge and we saw a common Eider!
It was peaceful and relaxing.
The next day, we stopped for a donut breakfast at Congdon’s. Can I tell you that this was probably the best donut I have had in my life? Puts fresh and hot Krispy Kremes to shame. Seriously.
This was the honey dipped cake style donut. Damn this was good. You know that saying “nothing tastes as good as thin feels“? - well, they haven’t eaten one of these.
Then it was to Portland. It was chilly and windy in the morning, but we biked anyway. We found the East Cove trail, which ended up being about 8 miles or so of path?
It was mildly annoying because the paths just dumped you out to a busy intersection with no direction of where to go. We put about 11 miles on the bikes and then were a bit frustrated so called it a day on the wheels. Then we walked and shopped in Portland. We saw Henry Wadsworth-Longfellow’s house.
It has a precious hidden garden behind it.
There was also a multitude of coffee shops and we had a difficult time choosing one for a latte. We decided on Coffee By Design.
It was quite tasty! We sought out little local roasters and coffee shops on our trip, which was fun. I was wondering how many lattes I could drink in a day and still function – but I never found out (the most I had was 2).
We decided at this point to start heading back to NY. We were mostly avoiding the interstate, so driving was pretty lazy and slower. We did stop at Cape Elizabeth to see the other uber famous lighthouse in Maine. The Port Head Light! I loved, loved, loved this lighthouse! My favorite. We were there near sunset and it afforded me great lighting. If only I had a really good camera.
It almost doesn’t look real! This lighthouse you can go right up to and touch if you want, which I did.
I have a bajillion pictures of this one
Plus some interesting writing on the rocks.
A very nice person took our picture.
This is really just 5 hours from our home. I never really realized how close the Maine coast was to us. Seems like a world away, but we will definitely be back!
I think Portsmouth, NH was our favorite city. It was just big enough to have lots of stuff to do, but small enough to not be overwhelming (plus really good coffee).
The last part of our vacation was in Maine. We had no itinerary and just stopped wherever seemed interesting, so we ended up in Ogunquit as our home base and stayed for 2 days. I had heard of Ogunquit before from Stephen King’s The Stand. Fran and Harold were from there. Ogunquit means “Beautiful Place by the Sea” – and it was!
Our first stop was the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge for a hike. This is a wonderful little place with a salt marsh, which is actually pretty rare.
There we stops along the way that explained about the salt marsh and its delicate habitat.
This little guy popped out of his hole in the ground to say hi:
Actually, it was probably more like “Get off of my lawn!”
I was scanning for wildflowers in the hopes of seeing a lady slipper, but no luck there. John actually found this one (so proud of him!):
Trillium. I have never seen one in the wild in bloom before. Yay me!
Ogunquit is really touristy, but has the most beautiful coast line. The nice thing about traveling out of season is that there are hardly any people around. Yes, some things aren’t open and no swimming, but I am not much of a swimmer – I just like to look. There is about a mile of path called Marginal Way, which follows the coast and has spectacular views.
It was a beautiful day, too.
Can you imagine living here and looking over this view?
We weren’t sure if this was a luxury home or a hotel (under construction).
You reach the end of Marginal Way at Perkins Cove and some shops. Right at the end is Breaking New Grounds cafe. There is a cafe in Portsmouth that is run by the son of the owner of the Ogunquit cafe (which we also stopped at). The view was phenomenal!
These were the chairs outside the cafe. I was so happy sitting here and relaxing.
We also were able to get to the most photographed lighthouse, which is the Nubble.
This teetery little cable basket is how the lighthouse keepers get back and forth from the island.
No thank you!
It’s a very pretty scene, but not my favorite lighthouse – you will see that one tomorrow.
We feasted on more lobster at the Maine Diner, which was featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. I had the lobster mac and cheese:
That was a claw I pulled out from the bottom. There was a *ton* of lobster in this and so delicious!
Our home base was the Ogunquit Inn.
This was sort of a hybrid of a BB and a hotel. It was in a house, but the owner was not one of those that interacts much with the people staying there. He provided a nice continental breakfast for everyone.
The first night - we were the only ones in the inn. The price was really reasonable as well (off season).
Our room opened to a balcony:
and overlooked the garden:
I loved this place. We had only booked for one night, but then asked if the room was available to stay another and lucky for us – it was. We were able to walk to the Marginal Way and downtown from here, which was really convenient.
Here are some of our Vermont ramblings. Home of the covered bridge!
A lot of bridges were damaged during Hurricane Irene, but this was repaired. This was in uber quaint Woodstock.
On Monday, We hiked down Quechee Gorge on the trail. It’s not very long, but somewhat steep on one side.
There is a dam on the high end:
This is the view from the route 4 bridge.
Now down at the bottom on the other side.
At the bottom was a small piece of slate that a breast cancer survivor left, which was touching.
We spent the night in West Lebanon at the Coolidge Hotel, which is on the historic register and pretty neat! It’s old and has a lot of charm. Some people probably wouldn’t like it, but I thought it was neat!
Of course, you know we sniffed out coffee shops. This was Tucker Box next to the hotel.
We spent some time at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science, which is a NFP bird rescue and education center.
I had posted some pics on facebook of the birds, but here are a couple more. All of the birds here were rehabbed from injury or from being imprinted on people (therefore cannot be wild). Only the barn owl was raised by a breeder.
Ruff legged hawk:
As we headed to New Hampshire, we had to stop at King Arthur Baking Company Headquarters. They have a huge store there.
I didn’t buy anything, though, as we can get KA stuff in our grocery stores. I did have something at the cafe, though. YUM!
After we took mom and dad out to breakfast, it was off on our trip! Pixie had to be left behind with a house sitter – and we will miss her, but I need a vacay!
We are driving blind so to speak. Our destination is Maine and we have no hotels booked or any itinerary. We are just stopping where it looks like fun and enjoying what there is to do.
We sure found something fun on Sunday! We wanted to see the Quechee Gorge in Vermont, but there was also a glass blowing workshop there by Irish glass maker Simon Pearce. Now when hurricane Irene went through, this workshop was flooded as it was in an old mill and right on the river. They had to rebuild the glass blowing area. It is so cool! Some of the tools:
The work area. There are a couple ovens for shaping and a big oven that just holds molten glass.
These ovens are hot!!
The guys working were really nice. They said to ask any questions while they worked.
This is a fresh dollop of molten glass ready to be made into a glass.
They will roll the glass and shape it with the tools.
They can heat the glass up again at one of the ovens.
This guy is making a bowl:
That glass is glowing hot and they aren’t wearing gloves. Eeeek!
They trim the glass with scissors, which is crazy.
So cool! Now I want to do glass. I would love to do this. One of the guys I talked to has been doing it for 3 years. He used to be a teacher and kind of fell into doing the glass and realized that was what he wanted to do instead of teaching. He said he went from teaching to learning.
The upstairs is all the fancy displays of the finished glass, which I can’t afford.
And the gorge is pretty amazing as well:
Wildlife exploring tomorrow and hopefully a visit to King Arthur Flour store!
Friday – yay! What a nice day as well. I made an executive decision to work a half day day and put in a half day on Saturday so I could enjoy some good weather since Saturday is supposed to be rainy. As stressful as my job can get at times- you can’t beat being able to make decisions like that.
Here is a quick shot of breakfast because it was so tasty!
Coconut flour waffles with apple/cranberry topping. Who needs to go out for breakfast? Okay, I like to go out for breakfast sometimes…
Now right to the flowers:
The garden has loved all of this warm weather. Cool front on the way, but things soaked up the sun!
New items this week:
One lonely little Princess Irene. The only one that came back this year.
Kings blood. These are really tall, too. they come up over my knees.
This is a fringed tulip called Aleppo. First time I have ever planted a fringe.
Pretty neat! Kind of reminds me of a venus flytrap
A few of the shirley tulips came back. These are the ones that start white and fade to purple. This is the same plant a few days apart.
I do love that one.
All the late tulips are blooming now including the queen of the night and maureen.
I like the tuxedo look of these black and whites together.
The yellow monte carlo tulips are on their last legs, but still going strong.
I can’t believe these are tulips! I lucked out with the combo of the Christmas marvel and these together. They bloomed at the same time and lasted together.
I spy empty space there, too, in the back. Time to go plant shopping! My red hot pokers didn’t come back after I transplanted them there.
My alliums are starting to open. I hope these don’t bloom and die next week while we are not here to see them. Doesn’t it look like some alien eye?
Bleeding hearts are starting to unfurl:
And lilacs! I brought these into the house. These are actually from the neighbor’s bush.
Lot’s and lots of flowers now!
Not much biking on tap this weekend as it is supposed to be rainy tomorrow, but maybe I can squeak a short ride in before it rains.
I tell you – work is kicking my butt lately. It’s been very stressful and I can barely wait until vacation next week.
I have been working my way through my 30 book challenge this year. I love my Kindle! The only thing I don’t like about checking books out of the library on the Kindle is that you can only borrow them for 14 days with no renewal, so if you don’t finish, you have to get back on the list to borrow again. I ended up having to get this book out in a few installments because of that.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles DuHigg.
Nonfiction on this one. I have to say this is one of the more interesting nonfiction books I have read in a while. It explores how habits are created in our mind and how it affects everything from how companies market to us (Febreeze) to creating social change (Rosa Parks). Really fascinating. The book actually seems a lot longer than it is because there is a very large section of citations at the end. He actually also gives a plan of action on recognizing pattern habits and how to change the cycle. Definitely recommend this book.
The Painting by Nina Schuyler
If you like books that use the words themselves for imagery, you will love this book. Color and art are very central for this book. It follows the story of 2 sets of people in the time period of WWI. There are 4 people in Japan, 2 of whom are in an arranged marriage (Ayoshi and Hayshi). Ayoshi pines for her lover and paints pictures of them together. To hide the paintings, she wraps her husband’s pottery in them before they are shipped off to France.
In France, Hayashi’s painting is discovered by Jorgen, who lost a leg in the war, and the painting brought back his deadened emotions. The story in France revolves around Jorgen and Natalia and how the war affected them.
The 2 stories are only connected by that painting. They never really come together, but an interesting device because neither story was long enough to warrant a whole book. I really enjoyed this one.
The last one I finished (last night, in fact) is:
The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore
This was a very, very good book. It follows the lives of 3 African American women (Odette, Clarice and Barbara Jean) – dubbed The Supremes – who grew up in Indiana in the 1960s and how all the events in their lives shaped where they ended up. None of them left their home town for various reasons. Every week, they meet at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, which is kind of the central hub for the book. It’s really a study in friendship – the good and bad parts, racism and social status. It tackles a bit of everything: infidelity, religion, alcoholism, cancer, ghosts, mother/daughter relationships, etc.
At times the writing did dip into a bit of stereotyping and I found it a little strange that with the three women, Odette used first person narration and the others used third person. I am not sure why. I also didn’t care for the talking to ghosts that Odette did. It seemed a bit silly, but I think maybe it helped bring in some back story that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. I did tear up a bit near the end of this book.
I can see this book becoming a movie really easily. You read that here first!
I recommend reading all of these.
Now time to walk up the street for a kiddy cone and keep counting down to vacation
Thanks so much for the feedback on the AIM posts! You don’t have to necessarily agree with someone’s opinion, which is a good thing and a wonderful way to open up dialogue on a topic! I also wanted to point out that even though my weight has been pretty stable over the last few years, it is not particularly easy for me. It is easier than it was at first, but not ever really easy. I always have to be vigilant now and in the future, which is a bit depressing to think about sometimes. I don’t miss being obese at all, but to be perfectly honest, I miss all the food I used to eat without thinking about it. Food is fun for me and I did enjoy eating with abandon. It’s just the price I paid for that abandon that sucked.
How I eat now sure is different!
Using up pantry staples per the monthly goals, I am working my way through the hot cereals. This is cream of wheat with egg whites whisked in, topped with almond butter and 1 tablespoon of special dark chips.
Sort of a reeses, but not really.
I always seem to get hungry mid morning, even with a bigger breakfast (which this wasn’t), so I grabbed some fruit.
We have been having lots of warm weather lately. Guess it is making up for a cold start to spring? I have been wanting more yogurt lately, so I turned to my staple, which is plain greek yogurt with apple/cranberry topping.
Eaten at my work chair, as usual. Some habits just never go away. Work has just been so busy that I have been eating at my chair.
I know I have been remiss with the Pixie photos, so here are a couple. Sacked out:
Then I set my cup on the table next to the couch to take a picture of my snack.
This got her unsettled.
We say she looks frumpled when she is like this, which is kind of a cross between rumpled and frowsy.
Patented stir fry of chicken, broccoli and pineapple for dinner. In fact, it is so patented that I had it last night, too!
Full accounting and I had this while dinner was cooking:
Free evening for both of us and with gorgeous weather, time for a ride! Part of the bike path was resurfaced, which is really nice. It’s firmer packed and doesn’t have a the sharp pieces of cinder that gave us flats before.
It’s nice to ride on now. The canal is looking pretty good, too.
I’m settling in for my snack in a bit. I started the day with a bit of chocolate and I will end the day with a bit of chocolate
I know it isn’t Friday and What’s Blooming, but I thought I would share a pic I took last night of the garden.
There are even more tulips blooming today. It’s like an explosion out there!