new york – 8/22/15

Homeward bound today. :(  Our flight wasn’t until 1pm so we left the cottage around 11am.  Uncle Ben, Shana, Kyle, and Tevan were also on the same flight, so once again Sherrie gave us a ride.  Because the airport is so tiny, even an hour was more than enough time.  Jason and I checked our bag and then went to the restroom.  I got out before him and decided I wanted to get something to eat before the flight.  There was only one staff member and several of the customers before me ordered sandwiches.  Uncle Ben was right before me and he got the only banana they had so I decided not to get anything.  Before I got out of line I had realized that Jason had no idea we had gone inside the restaurant and so Tevan went out to check on him.  He discovered that Jason had already gone through security so Shana offered to go through and hang out with him.  Not long after this I stepped out of line and also went through security.  There was only one other person in front of me and we both got through in a matter of minutes.

The flight itself was only an hour long and it was all too soon before we had to part ways to get to our terminals.  We got pizza for lunch and waited at our gate to board.  The four hour flight was uneventful, though I did waste $6 on the movie The Madding Crowd.  I found the protagonist anything but independent or admirable; she played with her suitors’ hearts and was extremely selfish and thoughtless.  Dumb.  But I had paid $6 so I felt that I had to finish.

Our flight got in about half an hour early.  Soon we had our checked bag and were being picked up by Mom and Dad.  And with that, our trip was over.

I’m so thankful we could make this trip, spend time with family, make new friends, and see a different part of the country.  These are memories I will always cherish.  And Sherrie was right, by the end of the trip, I couldn’t help but love the cottage.

heaven on earth

new york – 8/21/15

Nancy, Sherrie and Shana’s mom, Steven, Bruce, and Laura had a flight at 11:50 so had to leave about 9:30.  Though I could have slept a little more, I woke up to see them off.

Most of the group decided to go to Cooperstown, the baseball hall of fame. Jason and I didn’t join them since we’re not really into baseball. Instead, we went with Sherrie, Shana, and Kyle (and all three dogs, of course) on a walk around the lake. Because we weren’t walking on pavement, my feet didn’t hurt as much add they had in the city. It was a gorgeous walk, full of green and trees. It had rained a lot the night before so some of the roads were really muddy. One road was especially bad, little rivulets running throughout, caused by the tire tracks. We had to be careful and make sure we stayed on the raised portions to keep dry. On the last road before the driveway, we passed a field that the dogs ran through. The grass was high so the dogs were hopping around, making them look like deer. The dogs disturbed a cluster of butterflies, which ended up following us down the road, I felt like we were in a Disney movie. We also collected wild flowers for a bouquet, and I’m really pleased with the end result.

shhh.


cemetary in the day

cemetery in the day




there's about to be a bunch of photos of this

there’s about to be a bunch of photos of this

When we got home Micah and I played a little badminton without the net and then a game of horseshoes. It was pretty even for a while but eventually Micah won with a leaner.  Afterwards we went to the meadow where Micah showed me how to swing a golf club. He really loves the game of golf and has been playing for a while. As with anything, there’s a lot to keep in mind; keep your left leg and arm steady since they are your anchors; move your hips, do not sway from side to side; don’t lift your head until after you’ve made your shot; keep the club perpendicular to the ball and your feet parallel to the club. And I’m sure there’s more that I’ve forgotten. I made a few solid hits, which felt really good. Because I had to grip the club pretty tight my hands were feeling it by the end.  But it was fun to see Micah do something he loves so much, and get to experience it with him.

pretty Aubrie

When we got back everyone had come back from Cooperstown. Kelly got more souvenirs for her family and everyone had a bag of the things they had bought. I sat with Jason and Nina around the ever-burning fire and we shared pictures of our cats. Nina kindly took a picture of Micah, Kelly, Jason, and me, the only one I think we have.

thank you, Nina

thank you, Nina

I wanted to take a group picture before it got too dark but not everyone was ready so while we waited, Uncle Ben showed Kelly and I how to play “Screw Your Neighbor,” a fun card game that I vaguely remember playing long ago.  We got our group pictures and headed back to our game. Tevan and Jason joined in but we didn’t get very far before Shana came in and asked if we wanted to eat at “The Outpost,” a local biker bar. They have a burger called The Homer, which is a pound of meat after it’s cooked. Jason, Kyle, and Tevan all got the burger and they all finished , which impressed everyone. Tevan finished first, but Shana commended Jason’s technique; he cut the very thick patty in half, crosswise, and then cut that into more manageable pieces. He finished second.

15.08.21.899

I was in the bathroom when everyone else was paying and forgot to tell Jason to pay. When I got out and discovered our tab hadn’t been paid, I walked to the bar to flag down our waitress. I took my camera off my shoulder and set it on the bar, not realizing that it was gone until we got back to the cottage. Sherrie drove me back and they had put it behind the bar. Whew.

Almost everyone was going to play Catch Phrase, but I wanted to make sure I got pictures from Robbie so I used Micah’s computer as the conduit for the transfer. It was a tedious process, and when I was done Uncle Ben, Jason, and I went back to our card game. Nina joined us this time and I ended up winning. We started another game but Nina couldn’t finish since she got a call from her granddaughter. Uncle Ben wanted to go to bed, so Micah took over. He won by two points and I came in second.

Jason and I decided to pack so we wouldn’t have to waste time on it in the morning.  Not long after, we went to bed.

new york – 8/20/15

We got to “sleep in” today.  By that I mean that we had the option to sleep more, even after the construction crew started work for the day.  Apparently they got to the site at 6am and stared work around 7.  And their site was literally feet away from where we were parked.  I was able to doze despite the noise, but finally got out of bed around 8:30.  We all slowly got up, made sure all our stuff was sort of packed, put the dining table back to its normal state, put the leveling blocks away, and then went to the on site dump station.  Micah and Kelly kindly did that dirty work while Jason and I sat upwind.

We checked out and then headed back to the cafe we had visited before for breakfast.  We got lost a few times trying to get out of town but were finally on our way back.  We were going to meet a friend from back home, who just moved to Syracuse last week.  The drive was long and cramped and it rained for a good portion.

We picked up Charlie and went to Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, a place he hadn’t been to yet, but it came highly recommended.  It was a cool place with all kinds of random paraphernalia on the walls and a lot of signatures clearly written with Sharpie.  The bathrooms continued in that theme, the stalls were all carved into or painted on, lots of “so and so loves so and so.”  We had a great time catching up and Charlie made plans to come to the cottage on Saturday.  That’s the day we fly out so we’ll probably miss him. :(

We started the hour and a half drive back to the cottage from Syracuse, the rain pouring for most of the drive.  Again, we got lost, but not until we were a few miles away.  We finally found the right road and made it to the cottage.  Everyone wanted to know how it was and there was a flurry of activity and conversation.  A group decided to go to a local bar but Jason and I chose to stick around.  I caught up with Uncle Ben and Bruce; Bruce was especially interested in the screen that was used in the play, trying to figure out how it worked.  We both pondered over it for a while before I decided to take a shower.  After walking out in the rain to get our stuff, I was happy for a hot shower.  And after a long day of driving, it was time for bed.

another sign for Dad's collection

another sign for Dad’s collection

new york – 8/19/15

We left at about 9:30 to get breakfast at a local cafe.  They were having a “pre-opening” and were giving away free coffee.  We got our pastries and Kelly got free coffee, and we were on our way.  We decided we wanted to go to the middle, west side of Central Park to start, and then we would make our way down to the Theatre District, where our show would start at 2pm.  We saw The Reservoir, The Great Lawn,  and the Turtle Pond.  Unfortunately we couldn’t see more because we had to get to the Theatre District, which was about 45 blocks away.  We didn’t want to take the subway and so walked the whole way.  We walked to the eastern edge of the park, 5th Ave., and made our way down to 45th St.  The whole length of the park was in the shade of the trees, so there was some relief there.  Once we got to the end of the park, we made our way west, towards 7th Ave.  We had to walk through Times Square to get to the theatre and we saw why everyone warned us about the amount of people in New York City.  We had felt that before this it wasn’t living up to the hype of what we’d been told about the crowds of people.  Granted, we were visiting in the middle of the week.  After slogging our way through the Times Square crowd, we made it to the theatre.  We scoped it out and then walked across the street to get lunch right before the show.

creepy subway

creepy subway

photo credit: Micah

photo credit: Micah

The Reservoir

The Reservoir

Turtle Pond

Turtle Pond

so sauve

so sauve

photo credit: Micah

photo credit: Micah

beautiful synagogue

beautiful synagogue

i did not intentionally place Jason right in the middle

i did not intentionally place Jason right in the middle of this shot

We made it into the theatre about 10 minutes before the show was to start and quickly found our seats.  Kelly and I needed to go to the restroom and the attendant kindly (this is not sarcastic) let us know beforehand that we would need our tickets to return to our seats.  We rushed upstairs and made it  back about two minutes before the lights dimmed.  The attendant has also told us that if we weren’t back in our seats when the show started, we would have to wait the first 15 minutes of the show before we could return to our seats.

The theatre was quite small, but the sets were amazing.  They had a screen behind the actors that would show the scenery pertaining to the scene.  And yes, I know that a lot of plays have this; I’m talking about a screen like a t.v. screen, where the scenery is actually moving and seemed to be projected on the screen, though it clearly wasn’t being projected from the front, and it didn’t seem like it was being projected from the back.  For example, the very first scene is on a ship and the screen was actually in front of the actors.  There were waves crashing on the screen, overlaid on the actors who were rowing a boat behind the screen.  This created a very believable stormy ocean scene.  In the scene where Jean Valjean is carrying Marius through the sewers, the screen showed a moving tunnel, making it look like they are walking through.  And of course the acting and singing was amazing.  This was the first play I’d seen where all the lines were sung, some were more obvious than others, but the cadence was definitely that of a song.  We were all happy to have seen the play and now I can cross “see show on Broadway” off my list (though now I want to see more Broadway shows, not just the traveling shows).

photo credit: Kelly

photo credit: Kelly

Kelly had two friends to meet up with, the first one was John, one of the photographers for her and Micah’s wedding.  He brought his girlfriend Andrea along and we walked to Organic Avenue since Kelly hadn’t been hungry when we ate before the play and now she was.  Kelly talked to John about a candy store he had taken her brother to once, so we walked to the giant M&M store in Times Square.  Andrea had to go but John got on the subway with us.  Our station came up first so we said our goodbyes and made our way up top.

The second friend we were meeting with was a bridesmaid in Kelly’s brother’s wedding a few months ago.  She works for a casting company and lives in NYC.  She had suggested a rooftop bar called “230 Fifth” and so we met her out in front.  We all went up to the 20th floor and were quickly seated, having arrived close to when they opened.  We enjoyed a close up view of the Empire State building, seated right in front of it.  The walls of the bar were a little high, but for those buildings tall enough, we had a spectacular view.  We enjoyed talking, Micah and Kelly caught Courtney up on their journey, she talked about her experiences living in NYC being from Vermont originally, and we enjoyed the view, the food and beverages, and the company.

photo credit: Micah

photo credit: Micah

Courtney had to leave at 8:30 but we stuck around a little to take more pictures.  I walked around the other sides of the bar and was bummed that the trees blocked the view from the other side.  When I was done up top, I went to go use the restroom and the attendant told me that there were more bathrooms downstairs.  I went in, the bathroom was empty, and there was an open window that gave me a clear view of the very thing I was trying to shoot just minutes before.  Yay!  Upon exiting the bathroom, I found the rest of the group right outside where they had been taking pictures of the interesting seating that filled the indoor bar.

bathroom shot

bathroom shot

another bathroom shot

another bathroom shot

photo credit: Micah

photo credit: Micah

photo credit: Micah

photo credit: Micah

The night was still young so we made our way back to Central Park.  We decided to take the subway since we had already walked a ton.  Once we got there we discovered that, while there were lights, they were not effective in illuminating the park.  We were on the south-western corner of the park and found a giant rock not too far in.  We could see many of the skyscrapers and so Micah and I walked around, taking shots from different angles.  After we were done, we decided to head back, wanting to get to bed a little earlier if possible.  We just missed our connection to New Jersey and so had to wait about 10 minutes for the next train.  Kelly struck up a conversation with someone while we waited and they ended up sitting next to each other on the car.  She was getting off at our stop so we all made friendly small talk during the mad rush to the street.

the crowned prince of fire hydrants

the crowned prince of fire hydrants

from Central Park

from Central Park

photo credit: Micah

photo credit: Micah

By the time we were done with our showers and ready for bed, it was about 11:30 or 12.  Time for sleepy time.

new york – 8/18/15

NYC day!  Despite a late night and not being able to sleep well, we got up at 6:30 so we could load everything up and get to the RV park by check in time.  We had a little bit of a late start, because everything always takes longer than you expect, but we made it out and were on our way before too long.  I was sitting on a folded blanket and had both a normal and neck pillow to lean against, so I was pretty comfortable, all things considered.  Poor Jason was not so, I think we’ll need to figure something else out when we head back.

goodbye to the lake for a few days

The drive was full of lush scenes, everything in sight was green.  Farmlands with picturesque red barns and silos seemed to be everywhere.  We encountered little traffic as it was a Tuesday, and made it to the RV park before noon.  We checked in and then parked and ate some leftover pizza from the day before.  Locking up the RV and checking our subway route, we were on our way.

It did not take long to be miserable in the humidity and flee to the lee of the building to escape at least the blinding sun.  We weren’t sure where the station that I had looked up was and my phone was dying so Micah found another route and we were soon at the station.  We could see Manhattan just across the river and went underground to the subway station.

first view of The City

first view of The City

Our subway dropped us off at the World Trade Center station, which is almost entirely white marble, making it cool and clean.  At the entrance of the station were two Marines, all decked out with guns strapped to their legs.  Outside of the station was a fountain with what looked like a giant, shiny red balloon.  People and cars milled about and once we found our bearings we were on our way again, joining the crowd.  A few city blocks away was our next station, which would take us to Brooklyn.  We wanted to get our tickets to a Broadway Matinee show, at a place called tkts, where they sell tickets for up to 50%.  After getting lost a few times, we finally found it and didn’t have to wait long before it was our turn.  We had decided we’d probably see Les Misérables unless something else was considerably cheaper.  I had checked out the app for tkts on our way to the city and based on that, it would be the cheapest of the ones we wanted to see.  It wasn’t as cheap as the app said it would be, but it was still was 50% off.  We would go to the show for tomorrow at 2pm at the Imperial theatre.

15.08.18.337

15.08.18.339

uuuh

Micah, Kelly, and I went and got smoothies at Cafe Metro, in the square nearby.  Jason had never gone to Five Guys and had heard a lot about it, so we stopped in there for his lunch.  He decided that In ‘n Out is better.

After lunch we hopped on the subway to get back to Manhattan.  We returned to the World Trade Center area to see the memorial.  I didn’t expect it, but as soon as I walked up to the memorial, I teared up.  To see all those names engraved in the stone, some of which had flowers or flags propped inside, I almost lost it right there.  They had a museum, but we had just spent a few pretty pennies on our tickets, and the lines to get inside were quite long.  We decided that since we were in the area, we would head down to the Staten Island ferry, passing Wall Street on the way.  Kelly stopped at a street vendor and got some souvenirs for her brother and sister.

this is going to be a subway station

beautiful memorial

Freedom Tower

Trinity Church on Broadway

the Wall Street Bull

the Wall Street Bull

We stopped in the National Museum of the American Indian and walked around the different exhibits.  I mostly wanted to sit in a cool place, as my feet were killing me at that point.  I’m pretty sure that my feet are more sensitive than most people’s.  Maybe all those years wearing nothing but converse and flip flops wasn’t the best plan.

We were waylaid at Battery Park when I was talked into getting a charcoal portrait done.  I was told it would only be 5-10 minutes, and it was more like 45.  While I was sitting, Micah and Kelly agreed to have theirs done too, both on the same piece of paper, but for the price of two.  There were two artists available; I got the main artist and Micah and Kelly got theirs done by the “apprentice.”

photo credit: Micah

photo credit: Micah

There is something so intimate about getting a portrait; I kept eye-contact the whole time, which was awkward, but humbling in a way.  I tried to keep my face neutral, though the breeze kept blowing hair in my face so I had to reach up and adjust it a lot.  I also have a very difficult time sitting still in the best of circumstances, so this was almost impossible.  There were so many people walking by and a few would stop to compare what she was drawing to who she was drawing.  One man stayed for a few minutes, leaning close to her to look over her shoulder.  He kept telling the woman he was with that the artist was doing a great job, that it looked just like me.  Eventually she whipped the pad of paper around to show me the end result.  It did look a lot like me, though it was odd to see an artist’s perspective on my appearance.  Kelly’s portrait was still be done when my finished, so I joined Jason and Micah along the fence they had been sitting at.  Jason and I decided to check out the Staten Island ferry info so walked the short distance there.  It turns out they have the ferry 24/7 and it’s free.

Jason and I meandered back to where Micah and Kelly were, and saw the Statue of Liberty from afar.  Battery Park is a good size, right next to the water and surrounded by skyscrapers on the other side.  Over by the water was a memorial to veterans and a water park/fountain that a lot of kids were playing in.  I was very much considering joining them, after all the walking we had done in such a hot and humid place.

the Statue of Liberty from afar

the Statue of Liberty from afar

the view from Battery Park

the view from Battery Park

Once Micah and Kelly were done with their portraits, we bought the pictures and frames for each and went to the ferry station to have dinner.  I had a delicious strawberry and brie grilled cheese sandwich, which I ended up taking on the boat so we wouldn’t have to wait for the next one.  We got pretty close to the Statue of Liberty and had a great view of the city.  Of course we took lots of pictures and the light was great, the sun making its way ever closer to the horizon.  We went outside and a young boy about 10 years old started talking to me. He, his mom, and another woman were visiting for a week from Texas.  We chatted about the crazy humidity.  They were staying on Staten Island and were going to head back home tomorrow.

photo credit: Micah

photo credit: Micah

We decided to check out the scene on the island, though we ended up not even really leaving the station.  We went up to the lookout on the second story and took more night time city pictures.  The sun had set by this time and so Micah and I were messing with the settings of our cameras to get the optimal lighting.  We found desirable settings and were able to set the cameras between the railing, using it to stabilize since the shutter was open for more then a millisecond.

Once we decided we’d taken enough pictures, we went back inside and got some good ol’ Dairy Queen.  We just missed the next ferry, so went outside again when we discovered that the air conditioning made the waiting area too cold.  The ferry back gave another opportunity to take more night time shots of the Statue of Liberty and skyline.

We decided that before heading back we would get closer to the Brooklyn Bridge, so we walked along the water until we were at a good vantage point.  From there we walked back to the World Trade Center and got to see the Freedom Tower (which is the new World Trade Center building) up close and marveled at the beautiful architecture.  The station we needed to get back to New Jersey was right around the corner.  We got on when the train car was pretty empty and were able to sit down.  It started filling up and we were there for a while before it made its way out of the station.

epic

artsy fartsy

artsy fartsy

Our stop was second to last and from there it was about 5 or 6 blocks to the RV park.  We gratefully got our shower stuff when we made it back to the trailer.  Unfortunately the girls’ bathroom doesn’t have a window so all the hot air from previous showers made it like a sauna.  Right after I turned off the cold water, I started sweating.  I told Kelly it reminded me of all the Mexico mission trips I’d been on in high school, where we had to go into town to take our showers in individual stalls.  I always had to take a completely cold shower so that I wouldn’t start sweating immediately after I got out to dress.  Ah, memories.

The trailer has a normal queen size bed, which extends out over the cab of the truck, and is of course where Micah and Kelly sleep.  Their dining table folds down and the cushions move to create another bed, where Jason and I slept.  Except for it being a little warm in the camper, it was a very comfortable bed.   Quiet time at the RV park is 10pm-7am so we weren’t able to turn on the generator to run the air conditioner.  Plus, it would have been pretty wasteful to have it running all night.  And so, we slept.

new york – 8/17/15

Another late starting day, getting up at 10am.  This time I didn’t go to bed until 2am, so sleeping in was even more important.  After breakfast I decided to join Jason in tossing throwing knives.  The first one hit the tree and bounced off, the next one just barely missed the tree, and the third one missed by a few inches.  We found the first two easily, in fact, the second one was stuck in the dirt.  But we could not find the third one.  Jason and I spent about 20 minutes scanning and then kicking the ground, trying to unearth it.  Micah and Kelly joined us, then Tevan, Sherrie, Uncle Ben, and even one of the dogs.  We started using a rake, figuring that it would clang when it hit the knife, or at least catch it.  After employing the rake for a while with no success, I decided to test out our theory and took one of the knives we did have and threw it onto the area that Jason was raking up.  It quickly got covered by the dried grass and leaves and Jason said he couldn’t discern it from the grass.  So then I started carefully going through the piles we had accumulated.  No luck.  After more than an hour of searching, where we had up to 7 people and one dog involved, it was still nowhere to be found.  Ugh.

here they are, back when they were a full set. :(

here they are, back when they were a full set. :(

Micah and Kelly needed to go to town to work so Jason and I joined them.  It was also a dry run for our drive to NYC.  Their truck cab has jumper seats, sideways facing, and when we go to the city tomorrow we’ll be riding in them.  I’m glad we tested it out with a shorter drive.  I decided that some more cushions would be necessary on the four hour drive.

We went back to Norwich, where Sherrie had taken us for grocery shopping.  After grabbing some gas and getting a little lost trying to find a coffee shop, we finally parked and they decided to just work outside on a bench next to the courthouse.  Jason and I started walking around while I took pictures.  We found that the library was not far from where Micah and Kelly were working and it was open until 8:30, so we let them know and helped them relocate.  Jason and I headed back out into the humidity and I took some cool shots of the Methodist church, which had caught my eye on our way into town.  We walked the short main strip of street, stopping in two stores, which both happened to be places we could have easily found back home (which is a compliment to them).  Having exhausted the main street of Norwich, we headed back to the cool air of the library, where Micah and Kelly were hard at work.  We ended up staying until closing, Kelly taking a break with us to go and bring back dinner from Nina’s.  We sat outside the library doors and I actually enjoyed the warmer air, deciding that the constant cool air in the library was a bit too cold.

this one’s for my dad, who collects funny pictures

the main street of Norwich

the main street of Norwich

After the library closed, we went grocery shopping at Tops.  We got a little lost on our way back since it was now dark, but did make it back in one piece, and with the groceries intact.  Almost everyone at the cottage had gone on a night swim, so the cottage was quiet.  Jason and I started laundry and  Rob and Sher told us about the places we had to go in the city.  Sherrie gave us a great itinerary, telling us where we could go and easily walk to, so we wouldn’t need to get a week Metro pass.  Micah played some of his original songs while Marc, who is releasing an album in December, offered to buy his songs.  Admittedly, Marc was a little tipsy, but he had nothing but high praise for Micah’s songs.

Unfortunately, the dryer died before completely drying all our clothes.  Fortunately, the room we’re staying in had a lot of hangers and places to hang them. We hung the damp items with the plan that anything that wasn’t dry in the morning would be hung up in the trailer.  And with that, we slept.

new york – 8/16/15

Day dawned late for us.  Having gone to bed after 1am, we slept in until about 10am.  After showering, I partook of the pancakes and wondered outside.  There’s a natural spring not too far from the cottage and Robbie, Sherrie, Micah, Kelly, Tevan, Jason, and I made our way to it, dipping our water bottles into the clear, cool water.  We also picked a few tiny apples, and some very ripe blackberries and raspberries.  Yum.  Rob and Sher showed us two trees they had twisted together in 2006 that have now graphed together and invited us to do the same.  Rob pointed out some good candidates and while Jason struggled to push the branches of one tree around the other, I just held them steady.  Micah and Kelly found a pair just a few feet away and had an easier time of it as their trees weren’t as mature.  When we got back to the cottage they showed us Mike and Nina’s tree that was much more graphed together.

green everywhere

srsly. everywhere.

srsly. everywhere.

our trees

look, i'm helpful!

look, i’m helpful! photo credit: Robbie

photo credit: Robbie

the spring; such cool and clear water. yum!

the spring; such cool and clear water. yum!

love Queen Anne's Lace

love Queen Anne’s Lace

Aubrie and Jason

Aubrie and Jason

teeny tiny frog

teeny tiny frog

toadstools!

toadstools!

Mike and Nina’s tree, isn’t that so cool?

Lunch was fend for yourself and after shooting the breeze for a bit, we went into the water.  They have a floating dock and a giant inflatable raft, which Robbie towed to another part of the lake, closer to the rope swing and an open meadow.  Jason, Kelly, and I got there before the rest of the group, taking a dip and climbing onto the raft.  It was so relaxing to lay there in the water as it gently rocked us.  I easily could have taken a nap.  When everyone else arrived, we played a bit of Spikeball and got quite warm when the sun came out.  Sherrie and Shana rowed out to the raft and I joined them as Micah and Kelly used the rope swing.  I decided not do the rope swing as my piercing is still tender and I was afraid of what the impact of the water might do.

you can just see mine and Jason's legs. photo credit: Robbie

you can just see mine and Jason’s legs. photo credit: Robbie

photo credit: Robbie

photo credit: Robbie

Once the sun moved behind the clouds, Kelly, Micah, and I decided to head back to the cottage.  They took the boat back and I decided to swim.  It wasn’t very far and I wanted to exercise a little.  When I got tired, I just rolled onto my back and floated.  Floating is one of my favorite things about being in the water, the way the water fills my ears and everything else just fades away; I can hear each of my breaths echoing in my ears; I feel like the world just falls away as I’m laying there, eyes closed, and letting the water carry me.  I was a little freaked out by the grass that would sometimes entangle my feet, and tended to flail whenever I encountered it.  Eventually I was close enough to shore to just walk the rest of the way.

When I got to the cottage Micah and Kelly were sitting next to the ever burning fire (to keep the bugs away) talking to Mike and Nina.  I tried to squeeze the water out of my board shorts and dry out as much as possible since I had left my towel in the meadow (plus, whenever I swim I tend to air dry).  Eventually I went inside and changed back into normal clothes.

I had offered to go into town with Sherrie the next time she was going to the store.  Jason ended up coming with us, to see if there was anything he might want to pick up.  We went to Norwich and the drive was breathtaking.  We talked about what it would be like to live in such a rural area.  It’s nice to experience such remote living while on vacation, but I can’t imagine doing it long term.  While we don’t live in a sprawling city, I do appreciate that several grocery stores are only a few minutes away.

elephants!

elephants!

There are have two hammocks at the cottage, one rope and one made of fabric.  I hadn’t tried the fabric one and so Jason helped me get in.  I ended up dozing a little and when I woke up it was very quite.  Everyone had gone inside (except for Bruce, who was trying to fish).  Just about everyone was around the table and the food was almost ready.  Everyone else had linguine with clams while Sherrie had kindly prepared normal pasta sauce for me.  Everything was delicious and just as before, everyone was well satisfied.

We had gotten supplies at the store to make chocolate chip cookies.  Jason and I worked out those while most everyone else sat around outside.  Micah stayed in for a while, just messing around on the guitar.  He played a few songs that we could sing to and it was nice to blend our voices together while we prepared the dough.  It’s one of my favorite things to do with my brother.

Because we had doubled the batch, we didn’t finish cooking all the dough, but had plenty for pizzookies and ice cream sandwiches.  We put the rest in the fridge and joined most everyone outside for a game of Gesstures.  It was girls vs. boys and the girls won, even though we had less people.  I love charade type games and this one was no different.

Even though it was midnight, a group of us decided to go “deer hunting” and visit the nearby cemetery.  Deer hunting involves a big spotlight and open fields.  Sherrie drove, I sat in the passenger seat, Jason and Marc took turns with the spotlight, and Shana and Kyle shared the back.  We only saw a few deer but enjoyed the night drive and made it to the cemetery where I took a few shots as we drove by.  In some of the shots “orbs” of light appear.  To those who believe in them, the orbs are ghosts.  We decided not to get out of the car, but made our way back to the cottage, ready for bed.

new york – 8/15/15

I’m baaaaack.  Jason and I are in Upstate New York with family and I wanted to document our time here.  Unlike the cruise we went on a few years ago, I didn’t want to try and remember everything two years later, so I’ll be writing at the end of each day to ensure I remember as much as possible.  Pictures will also be included.

A little about where we’re staying.  Sherrie’s grandparents, Mike and Nina are the owners and the property has been in the family for at least 70 years.  The house used to be a church, then a dance hall and there is still a door in the living room that hangs from the ceiling, parallel to the floor, that was used when carriages drove through.

The room we’re staying in used to be where Mike and Nina would stay and it also happens to be the room with the waterheater.  Also, there’s a thick PVC pipe coming down from the ceiling and going back up.  Whenever anyone flushes the toilet it sounds like a stream is right next to the bed.

There are trash cans for burnables, things like paper plates and napkins, compostable, and metals, all in the kitchen/dining room area.  At the end of the day the burnables will be thrown into the ever burning fire, which is kept going to keep bugs away from the area, not far outside the front door.   It has a lot of character, but we were warned by Sherrie before we arrived that is a place that “you will start out hating and grow to love by the end.”

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Our plane was delayed, though we made it to our connecting flight in Detroit just fine. Our Detroit flight just happened to be the same as the one my uncle and a few others were taking.  We made it to Binghamton a little early, before 10:30am.  Our cousin Sherrie came and picked us all up and we made the drive through rural upstate New York to their cottage.  I’d seen pictures of the cottage from Sherrie’s facebook, but of course seeing something in person is so much different than off a computer screen.

this will, naturally, not keep /me/ from sharing pictures of my own

this will, naturally, not keep /me/ from sharing pictures of my own

Given the lack of sleep because of the redeye flight, Jason and I took a nap while most everyone else explored or went out on the lake.  A few hours later I got up, deciding I shouldn’t sleep the day away and mess up my sleeping schedule.  I took a walk around some of the extensive property, and captured a few shots.  It was a little warm in the sunshine, but perfect in the shade.

driveway into the property

After the walkabout I sat and chatted with Mike; before long Jason had joined us.  When we were done talking, Jason wanted to walk around too, so we made our way to the lake (where I, of course, took more pictures) and then around more of the forested area.  We marveled at all the greenery and I added to my photographic collection.

When we got back to the cottage, the boys: my cousin Robbie, and his friends Tevan, Marc, and Kyle, were trying to chop down a dead tree.  We each took turns with the axe, and we got a good chunk of it, though it’ll take some more chopping to bring it down.  They were starting to hit some knots and the axe just bounced back after each hit.

Marc

Shana

Robbie, our cousin

We set about making dinner, eggplant parmesan (like lasagna, sans noodles), and waited for Micah and Kelly to arrive from Philadelphia.  Once they did, they spent some time trying to find a level place to prop up their camper, which sits in the bed of their truck.  It had rained last night so the ground was pretty soggy.  Kelly and I watched as Micah almost got stuck in the mud.  Micah and Kelly worked together to guide the truck to a better spot and propped it up on blocks to make it more level.  They have become experts in their time on the road.

excuse the tree

excuse the tree; you can see the orange levelers underneath both tires

Micah and Kelly's home for the last few months

Micah and Kelly’s home for the last few months

As the sun sank lower, the light reflecting off the water was mesmerizing and Jason and I took advantage, sitting on the edge of the water attempting to capture some of its beauty.  We each took our fair share of pictures and then headed closer to home to play a quick game of horseshoes with Micah and Kelly while it was still a little light.  It didn’t take long for the hunger and lack of light to drive us inside, where others were setting up the table for 14 of us.  Dinner was lively and delicious and we were all very satisfied.  Paper plates and plastic silverware made for easy clean up. (Plus a leaky sink delayed the dish cleaning crew a bit).  We played games, sat and chatted, and spent some time around the campfire while Marc and Micah played guitar and Marc serenaded us.  A nice end to a wonderful first day.

one of the cottage rules is to pick a bouquet of wildflowers; i like this rule

Nancy tries Uncle Ben’s cigar