Tuesday, July 31, 2007

If I can keep all of these things alive, you too can have a garden.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Inspirational Quote

Last week I was flipping through my old cd case and found a goody from the UNH days, one that I hadn't listen to in a long time: Dave Matthews Band, Live at Red Rocks. I was listening along (OK and singing out loud in the car), reminded of one of my favorite all time quotes...

I can't believe that we would lie in our graves, wondering if we had spent our living days well.

I love this quote, I find it singing in my head every time I'm about to say "no" to taking a day off from work for some random adventure. And if I can, heck yes I'll take the day off.

I happened to be one of those people that loves the inspirational quote. I know many don't.

I think it's in my genes...Go into any one of my dad's offices and you will find posters hanging with sayings like, there is no "i" in team or sweat plus sacrifice equals success. Actually, my dad said one of my favorite quotes, and I find this one floating around in my head when I'm about to make a big decision, we all have choices, the only bad choice is not correcting the ones we're unhappy with. He said that to me when I was on the verge of ending my marriage and as hard as it was to go with my gut, it was the best decision I've ever made.

I play the Dixie Chicks song, Truth No. 2 just about every time I'm on my way to go riding, and especially if it's a new horse that I know may be tough...because of this quote, I don't think that I'm afraid anymore, say that I would, rather die trying. It helps me get my nerve up...f it, if I die, at least I was having a good time, I think to myself.

Maybe I'm a looney bird for having all of these quotes randomly swimming around in my head, plucking them out when I need them. Whatevs. Here are some more that I love:

Change is the essence of life. Be willing to change who you are, for who you could become.

When someone shows you who they are, believe them. - Maya Angelou

The universe has a way of taking care of assholes. -me (this one comes in very handy in traffic)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Mix

Last night we had one of those recipes that Wolfgang Puck would probably laugh at, but boy is it good. Growing up, we used to have this a lot in our house and it was simply called, "the mix."

Here's the recipe:

1 Joseph's Pita Bread (whole wheat or regular, both are good), cut in half
1/2 lb-ish of deli turkey, diced
1/4 lb-ish of sharp provolone, diced
2-4 Kosher Dill Spears, diced
Mayo (can be lowfat), to your liking

Throw all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and mix em up. Divide up the filling and fill up the pitas. I prefer mine toasted in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes.

Serves two. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A great day with the boys

We all woke up on Sunday morning feeling pretty banged up for one reason or another. The day got off to a slow start...We mosey'd on down to the general store, got a coffee and a breakfast sandwich and then Adam, Romy and Bryon decided to paddle the Errol Rapids before we headed off to run another river.

Kobe was ready in case he needed to spring into action and save one of the boys.

They don't look like they need saving today though...

After the boys were done playing around at the Errol Rapids, it was off to run the river for the day, and time for me to get a couple of hours of paddling in. What a great time we had on Sunday! I surfed my first hole...We forgot the camera, so I don't have any pictures of it. But I will say that after surfing that first hole, I surfed my way down the river and held my own with the boys.

Who knows what next weekend will bring...But hopefully, more great times and mountain views.

Monday, July 23, 2007

How's Your News?

I subscribe to a couple of podcasts, one of them being This American Life. They come through over the weekends and I love listening to them while I work every Monday.

I was just listening to this week's episode of TAL, the topic being developmentally disabled folks. I want to check out this movie, I was laughing out loud during the podcast:


Does anyone have a copy that I could borrow? I want to get my hands on it.

Edited to add: Before I get railed for 'making fun of disabled people' that is not what this movie is about. It's about honesty, humanity and being able to laugh at ourselves and everyone else.

Of Campfires, Kayaking and a Weird Hippie Dude

Kayakers are an interesting breed of people. Any "plans" made are really just a framework for the weekend. Times and places change, but atleast you know the general area people are going to be in. Maybe that's what makes our weekends so fun, you just never know who you're gonna meet and what you're gonna do. You know you're going to end up in the woods on a river, with a story at the end of the day.

This weekend was no exception. We drove up north on Friday evening, this weekend we brought Kobes along with us because the Rapid river (http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River_detail_id_881_) was on the agenda for A-town and whoever showed up to paddle with him on Saturday (it's a class IV). We don't bring him often, because if I'm going to paddle all day, both Saturday and Sunday, what fun is that for Kobe? I knew we'd get some quality hiking in on Saturday, little did I know *how* much.

The Rapid river is in a remote part of Maine. The only way to access the river is a series of logging roads. None of which are marked, although someone generously put together a map of the logging roads with exact mile markers on there to follow for the put-in, take out and to the hiking trail into "Smooth Ledge" which is a play spot (playspot: a wave or a hole that forms and makes for great spots for throwing down tricks), where everyone hangs out for most of the day. Kobe and I would be hiking into there.

Our group for the day ended up being our new buddy, Bryon who we met last weekend paddling the Pemi; Romy; Adam and shuttle bunnies Kobe and me. We set shuttle, the boys headed down the river and Kobe and I set out to hike in the 1 mile trail to Smooth Ledge. This is when we started the mis-adventure of the weekend. As with the unmarked logging roads, the "trail" is not marked. I had never been there, there was no one else around and when I headed into the woods, I had no idea what I was in for.

Kobe and I started on our hike in great spirits - it was a beautiful day - warm but not hot, sunshine, crisp air - great day for a hike! I was close to humming along, it was that good. Until we hit a fork in the trail. Hmmm...So, we chose one way which eventually stopped being even remotely a trail...So, we turned around and went the other way, which eventually dead ended as well.

Now, we're hot...we were doing some serious hiking and then back tracking, there's deerflies swarming us, my legs are scraped up and bleeding because I'm trouncing through wild raspberry bushes (which were very good, BTW) I'm starting to see lots of different animal dung and I'm not really sure where to turn. I was close to tears...But instead decided to not freak, to find the trail again, and head back out. Eventually someone will come along that knows the way, I thought to myself. So very hot and sweaty, we made our way back to where I knew someone would come along.

And they did. It actually ended up being someone I knew - bonus! And he showed me the way in. He had been there several times before and knew the way in well. "Yeah," he said..."You never would have found it." Because it is so early in the season, and nothing is packed down there really is no trail.

So we spent a good chunk of time hanging out there, and the blip in the morning was long forgotten. For those of you from NH, you may recognize the name Willem Lange...Well, he was on the river that day with a rafting company, taping a future episode for New Hampshire Public Television's, "Wildlife Journal." He totally waved to Kobe and me on the rock, and they were taping at that time, so maybe we'll be TV stars! The episode will air in October.

We met some new people on the river that day, one of whom, Beau "aka Weird Hippie Dude" (really nice guy, but you'll see why he got this nickname in a second) ended up coming back to our camp and having supper with us and others...Had this little story to tell...

"My ex-girlfriend was a vegetarian, and we got into this fight. So man, I got some lambskin condoms and used them." "What did she say when you told her?", I asked. "I never told her, that's what makes it so great."

OK, then.

Day II of our latest weekend adventure, tomorrow.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

It's going down

If you read my entry yesterday, you would notice that one of the things I love about living in the country is silence. Usually my little "neighborhood" is peaceful and quiet. That is, except when my neighbors two mini pinscher's start their yapping.

I'm not going to discuss why on earth I think someone would even want a dog that is smaller than most cats...I'll leave my feelings about little dogs out of this. But I will say that I can't stand their "bark." It is piercing. And with summer, comes open windows and it is almost constant.

I've been suffering in silence...Summer's 1/2 over I think to myself, soon the windows will be closing and I won't have to listen to them (as much). Read: I am a wimp and hate confrontation. My town isn't exactly upscale...Some of the people that live here are a little, mmm, rough around the edges. Recently, new people moved in directly next to the "yappy dog people" as Adam and I call them.

Weeeellll, seems that the new people aren't so afraid of confrontation. Last night when I got home from riding, I was sitting out on the deck finishing up some work for the evening. And then they started. Yap, yap, yap. The dogs were particularly noisy yesterday. The "yappy dog people" leave for the day and their windows stay open. Anytime there's a noise outside, these dogs go at it. But they were home at this point. So what do the new people do? They start "yapping" back. I kid you not.

First of all...Who does this? Yap back at dogs? What will that accomplish? I can tell you what it will accomplish...Pissing off your neighbors. Because next I hear, "God dammit" from the "yappy dog people."

So now every time the dogs bark, the neighbors bark back at them. It's on and it's gonna be good. The dogs might still be barking, but at least it just got more interesting.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Country Livin'

Some things I love about living in the country.
  • Kobe being able to hang out in the yard
  • Walks down dirt roads
  • Silence, except for what nature has to offer
  • Tractors driving on main roads
  • Drinks on the deck in the evening
  • Neighbors looking out for each other
  • Although bad things do happen here, most nights the lead story on the news is something like a boat hits a whale off the coast

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Sunday, on my way over to visit S, L, J & C a fisher ran out in front of my car. I yelled out to myself and Kobe, "Holy S^%T, that was a fisher cat!" I get extremely excited anytime I come across wildlife. Nature is cool!

Me being me, when I got home later on in the afternoon, I googled "fisher" and learned about these critters. Known to be quite the predators with a reputation for being pretty nasty (they continually bite porcupines in the head until they bleed to death), they're part of the weasel family. From my research, I also learned that I was quite lucky to see one of these buggers, they are very elusive apparently.

I also found a video: http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/558287558iESvZQ

Although I'm guessing, unintended to be - I found this comment to be pretty funny:

you should of shot the damn thing. you know how many of my cats that stupid animal has eaten. last night the ##### thing got my cat cleo. i hope all fishers die.

Might be time to consider leaving Cleo II, III, etc. inside? Just a thought.

Monday, July 16, 2007

"What are you buying those jimmies for?!"

I do not enjoy grocery shopping with Adam. Adam does not enjoy grocery shopping with me. Which is why we rarely go together. We have totally different views on grocery shopping. I'm a list person. He says making a grocery list makes me an old lady. For as much as I love food and trying new recipes, I really like to just get in and get out of the store. Adam likes to browse, take his time, check out new foods. Whatever. I have *never* come home with a $256.00 grocery bill.

Last night found us together at the grocery store. I did not have a list and he was hungry...You see where this is headed? Actually, last night wasn't as bad as some others, because he was hungry and just wanted to get home to eat.

We did, last minute realize we forgot a spice we needed, so with a full cart we headed to the baking aisle. We got the spice and on our way back down the aisle to the checkout, we found ourselves by the ice cream sundae making stuff...

Adam: "Hey, we don't have jimmies, do we?"
Amy: "No, but we don't have ice cream either, and we don't need either."
Adam: "I'm sure I can find something to put them on." Throws the jimmies in the cart.
Amy: Rolls eyes

Adam is up and out the door by 6:00 AM during the week, long before I'm even thinking about opening my eyes. I got up this morning, bleary-eyed getting ready to take Kobe for his morning jaunt and I find this in the kitchen:

Despite our grocery shopping differences, I guess I'll keep him around.

Friday, July 13, 2007

5 things

Scott should have fun with these.

1. I *love* Bisquick. LOVE it. Not even cooked, the way I like it the most is as shortcake batter. I make the batter just to eat it, sometimes.

2. If you asked me who my celebrity crush would be, I'd say Gary Sinise.

3. I love the country group, Rascal Flatts. I know I shouldn't, but I can't help it. I love belting out their tunes in the car. They are cheese to the max, God bless 'em.

4. When I'm driving and I see someone with "red plates" (Massachusetts), I automatically hate them. They didn't earn the nickname, "masshole" for nothing. People think I'm a nice person, but I'm not really.

5. I may join the Japanese ping-pong league. I'm that good. And I'll put my money where my mouth is for whoever wants to play me.

Your turn. I want to hear some random things I don't know about you - either in the comments section or on your own blog.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Barefoot Contessa's Guacamole Salad

We tried this last night and it was damn good. Thought I'd share.

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 yellow (or whatever the heck color you want) bell pepper, diced
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup diced purple onion
2 TBLSP minced jalapeno peppers (2 peppers - seeded, although I cut this in half...and note to self and others: DON'T chop a fresh jalapeno and then itch your eye - it's still burning)
1/2 tsp lime zest (one lime)
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (0ne lime)
1/4 cup olive oil
salt + pepper, to taste
one garlic glove, minced
cayenne pepper, just a little bit and only if you want...I forgot it and it tasted just fine
2 avocados, seeded, peeled, diced


Add the 1st 6 ingredients in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the lime juice, s + p, garlic, cayenne pepper and drizzle in the olive oil while whisking. Pour over the veggies...Add the avocados just before you serve.

Great for the horribly hot, terribly terrible, stupid, dumb, hot days.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

It's days like today...

...that make me long for days like this February day...It was the "Valentine's Day Storm" and we headed up to Bretton Woods for our only powder day of the year. It was freaking amazing. Now that's a fun Valentine's Day!

I know, being a life-long New Englander, I'm supposed to dread the long, horrible winters here. Sorry, I don't. Probably because I've never had to work outside through one. But I like winter. There's no "hot & humid", no deerflies when you're out walking, and if you're cold, heck put on a sweater.

I'm not wishing my life away, and I'll enjoy what summer has to offer while it's here - but I can't wait for the chill of September to settle in.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Crazy exploding plant

The plant: end of May-ish

The plant: today

Pretty soon, this puppy is going to take over the entire deck!

Monday, July 9, 2007

monday blahs

After spending a couple of days camping, paddling, hiking and just generally enjoying life, it's always a disappointment to sit at my desk on Monday mornings. I know you're all shedding some serious tears for me. OK, I'm over it.

Seriously though, it was another fun weekend for us. I paddled a river that I chose not to when I had the opportunity last year and it was pretty fun. Adam lead and chose some nice, easy lines for me. Although at the first drop he had forgotten about an almost riverwide pourover (pourover: water going over a rock that creates a "seam" and can be dangerous and hold your boat...You have to work to get out of them.) So, I could tell he meant it when he said, "Oops, paddle hard over here, to me, follow me, follow me..." Good news is, that I saw it on my own...I'm gettin' better with the river reading skills.

After some fun paddling, we ventured, slowly - back home. We decided to try a new way back (thanks, Scott)...and headed down through Pinkham Notch, with a stop to see one of the creeks Adam paddled in the fall (http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/1171/). It was beautiful in there, but I forgot the dang camera in the truck. I need to get better about bringing it!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Before we could head up to Errol for a little camping and paddling, I had to go riding. Here's a shot of me during my lesson. Warning: Scott and Marc, you may want to close your eyes and scroll down past the picture...It could very well give you scary flashbacks to the days when mom would make you come to watch me show. I know, you shudder at the thought.

After a fun ride, it was time for a not-so-fun ride up to Errol. At one point Adam questioned his sanity at making the 3 hour trek for just one day of paddling. He told me to remind him of this the next time he wanted to plan such a trip. Oh, I will, I will.

It was worth it though, I have to say. As we neared the end of the ride, we spotted a moose and her calf grazing along the side of the road. Do I have a picture of that? Of course not, but it sure was a sweet scene. After sitting and watching them for a few minutes, we continued onto Errol and pulled in around 10:30 PM. We set up our tent and then sat around the campfire for a bit before hitting the sack.

The campsite sits along the banks of the river and boy if the sound of the river rolling past you doesn't put you to a sound sleep, I'm not sure what will! Although I must say that I wasn't thinking the sound of the river was so sweet the next morning as we were about to put on. Ha!
Above is a shot I took of the mighty Errol Rapids! They seemed mighty to me that morning. But as usual, Adam was patient and we started below the rapids in a pool, just paddling along and practicing rolling. After about an hour warming up, we made the hike back up river and put on. I was scared. Adam knew it. And so we just took it slow, did some "eddy hopping" and I even surfed some baby waves. Here's a shot of Adam sufing one.

We ran the rapids a couple of times and I ended up having a lot of fun! This section of river is a great one to do just what I set out to do...Practice my river reading skills and get comfortable in my boat. I'm lucky to have such a great teacher. I know he's always got my back out there.

Good times! I think we may set out to paddle/camp again this weekend...Who's in? Even if you don't want to paddle, the hiking tends to be good wherever we go...Come on!

Monday, July 2, 2007

I'm such a fraud

OK, so according to the title of my blogedy...I should be "doing something that scares me." The thing is, lately I've been doing the exact opposite...I'm a total chickenshit when it comes to paddling. I'm not doing it - like flatout not even bringing my gear when we go on trips.

We went up to The Forks, ME this past weekend. Yes, that's right - there's a town in Maine named after a utensil. We went up to Maine with the purpose of paddling...We were going to rent this thing called a Shredder, a Shredder is a two person raft-type thingy...and Adam was going to guide us down the river with me being his co-pilot. Well, as usual we decided to rent the Shredder from our paddling club at the last minute and it was unavailable. So it was either paddle our boats or not paddle.

The plan was to run the Dead river (yeeeeaaaah, it's called the DEAD river) on Sunday. It's a pretty full-on run, depending on the cfs going through it. Adam has run it at 7,000 cfs - about as full-on as it gets...I *think* at this level it is a class IV+ run, I can't say for sure though right now because the american whitewater site is down and I can't check. Well, on Sunday it was running at 1,300 cfs - I'm told this is a class 2+ level, and it's 13 miles...That's a full 7 hour day in your boat and the rapids are continuous...Not gonna do it. Didn't even bring my boat.

So we got up to Maine late on Saturday evening, set up camp and went to sleep. We woke up Sunday and headed into the lodge area to grab some grub. We ended up meeting some new friends at breakfast, and the plans changed. Since I was not going to paddle on Sunday, Adam wasn't too stoked about doing the Dead at the low level (yawn). The folks we met were a couple and the dude wanted to run the Kennebec which was a much more fun run. His girlfriend wasn't feeling like paddling either so, the boys paddled and the girls did some hiking.

While we were hiking we got to talking about paddling. Most women (don't want to generalize and say ALL) have a different view of paddling than the guys. It was really good to talk to a fellow woman paddler...And you know what? It inspired me to get back in my boat. It did the same for her.

There's a fine line between having a healthy respect for the power of the river and being too afraid of it. I'm going to work harder at finding that balance. Because the thing is, as scary as it is out there sometimes, there's no better way to explore the great outdoors. Rivers take you so many places that you just can't see otherwise.

We're going to head out tomorrow evening to the Errol rapids and mess around all day on the 4th. The Errol rapids are a short 1/4 mile set of rapids with a nice pool at the end. Little consequences and great for just getting comfy in my boat, flipping over, working on my roll, etc.

I'm determined to conquer my fear, ya'll...and to have a little fun while I'm doing it!

Anyone want to join us? It's beautiful country up there...Come on, you know you wanna. Come with!
the wisdom's in the trees, not the glass windows - j.j.