the january cocktail hour: preparing for adventure in the year ahead

Wednesday, January 31:  It’s that time again – our January cocktail hour! 🙂 Please, come in out of the cold and make yourselves comfortable. I’m so glad the holidays are behind us and we can get back to the routines of everyday life. I would offer you a cocktail, my current favorite being a cucumber jalapeno margarita, but the ice maker in our two-year-old refrigerator has inexplicably stopped making ice. So, it’s either wine or beer.  For those of you who don’t drink, I have sodas and seltzer water of various flavors.  Or milk.  There’s always milk. 🙂

I hope January has been good to you so far. Have you played in snow, gone skiing, ridden dog sleds or stayed in igloos? Have you read any good books, seen any good movies, binge-watched any television series? Have you learned anything new? Have you been to the theater or to a concert? Have you started planning your adventures for the year? Have you had any winter getaways? Have you sung along with any new songs? Have you dreamed any dreams? Gone to any exotic restaurants, cooked any new dishes?  Have you undertaken any new exercise routines?

Our first two weeks of January in northern Virginia were wicked, with temps below freezing.  A few light snowfalls made for icy messes outdoors.  Although I’d made all kinds of exercise-related resolutions, I just couldn’t bring myself to crawl out from under my furry white blanket and leave my house.  Mike has taken to calling me his Japanese snow monkey because he’s only seen peeks of my pink face enveloped in a swirl of white hair and fuzzy blanket.  No matter.  This cozy position under my blanket has been conducive to reading, as I finished 7 of my 45-book goal for the year.  Of these, I especially enjoyed The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Whistling Past the Graveyard, and Follies.

The most rewarding and challenging thing I’ve been doing is preparing for my 2018 adventures.  I have the following plans up my sleeve:

  1. A road trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: March 2-4 (a three-day weekend).
  2. A road trip to the Four Corners area, the only point in the USA where four states come together: Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico.  I plan to take a solo road trip to Colorado, visit my son in Denver and do some hikes there with him, then go on my way to visit Monument Valley, Navajo National Monument, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Hoventweep National Monument, Four Corners Monument Navajo Tribal Park, Chaco Culture National Historic Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Arches National Park, and Canyonlands National Park.  If Alex could come with me for part of it, I’d be thrilled, but as he has to work, he may not be able to. Logistics will be tough, because I don’t want to drive him back to Denver once I leave there. I would also love it if my daughter Sarah or my sister Stephanie could join me for any part of the trip, but they have so many obligations, I’m not sure it’s possible.   Mike does plan to join me for some parts of the trip, ending back in Denver, but we haven’t yet worked out those logistics either.  I imagine the whole trip will take at least three weeks; I plan to do it in April.
  3. A 4-5/day road trip to Buffalo and Niagara Falls, NY, possibly crossing the border into Ontario in late June. I might be able to meet my friend Mona Lisa for some part of this trip.
  4. The pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago. I want to do the route that most pilgrims do: the Camino Francés (The French Way), from St. John-Pied-du-Port to Santiago de Compostela (769 km) or nearly 500 miles.  I imagine it will take me at least 6 weeks, possibly longer, as I don’t plan to do it as a race! After I finish the walk, Mike plans to meet me in Santiago and we’ll visit Porto, Lisbon and Sintra in Portugal for our 30th anniversary.  I even have an idea about renting bicycles in Santiago de Compostela and riding with Mike to Cape Finesterre, known in Roman times as the end of the world, but I haven’t researched yet whether that’s possible.  I hope to do this in September-October.

I love preparing for trips as much as taking them. Here’s what I’ve been doing so far:

For the Camino, reading:

  1. A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino de Santiago St. Jean – Roncesvalles – Santiago by John Brierly.
  2. Camino de Santiago by Sergi Ramis
  3. In Movement There is Peace by Elaine Orabona Foster

Watching:

I have already watched the movie, The Way, and we recently watched Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago, both of which I found inspirational.

Doing:

I attended a talk about the Camino by a fellow named Don Shaw at REI last night (luckily the talk made me miss the State of the Union Address, but I planned to boycott it anyway). He’s done the Camino five times using different routes. It turns out that he is also hosting a potluck at his house this Saturday to which I’ve already RSVP’d.  He started the Mid-Atlantic chapter of the American Pilgrims on the Camino, which I joined in December.  We have our first Camino group hike (8.6 miles) on Sunday, February 25.

Luckily, REI allows you to try out hiking boots and then return them if they cause discomfort.  I bought a pair of size 8 Oboz Sawtooth low BDry boots and I wore them for a five-mile walk.  My toes were hitting the end and my feet were killing me, so I’ve decided to return them.  Last night, I bought a pair of Keen Targhee low boots in size 8 1/2 and walked in them today.  They felt better, but I did feel my size 7 1/2 feet were sliding around in them a bit. I’ve been told that whatever boots I get, I need to put 100km on them BEFORE I do the Camino.  So I need to commit to a pair and get busy walking!

I have stared increasing my walking distance as it has thawed outside.  It’s not very inviting outside, as you can see from a walk on the Cross County Trail in early January.  Drab, snowy, mottled and dirty, with mostly dingy skies: days like these simply don’t entice.

An ice-over Difficult Run Stream

Walking in sub-freezing temperatures isn’t much fun, although a bit of blue sky does ease the pain.

Lake Audubon
birds at Lake Audubon
Lake Newport

I started an aerobics class to whip other parts of my body into shape: upper body, core, lower body.  I’ve also asked my son to draw up a fitness plan of calisthenics and weight lifting to build strength to carry a 16-20lb backpack.

I’ve also finished planning our Pittsburgh trip and am reading now about The Four Corners area.  I’ll write more about my planning on those later.

Family, photo outings, and restaurants:

Sarah went to her dad’s for Christmas, so even after we took our Christmas tree down, her pile of presents still sat in a pile in the corner of our living room.  Laden with gifts, I visited her in Richmond on the 19th.  She has been busy doing freelance work for Richmond Magazine, and she had an article due, so she couldn’t spend much time with me.  Before I showed up at her house, I wandered through Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden so I could get my winter dose of color.

Humpty Dumpty at Lewis Ginter
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

I especially enjoyed the cacti and succulent collection is on display in the West Wing of the Conservatory.

cacti and succulent collection
cacti and succulent collection
cacti and succulent collection
cacti
cacti
cacti and succulent collection

In the central Palm House, I enjoyed the palm and cycad collection.

palms in the Palm House

And in the semi-tropical East Wing, I wandered through tropical plants, including the orchid collection.

orchids

Outside, I walked through Asian Valley, which displays plants native to Asia and offers a place for quiet contemplation.

Asian Valley

When I arrived at Sarah’s, we enjoyed a glass of wine while she opened her presents (lots of cookbooks and a toaster oven), and then we went out to dinner at Sabai, which serves authentic Thai street food. Sitting at the bar, we shared an appetizer of Larb Gai: minced chicken seasoned with red onions, lemongrass, Thai chilies, basil, and mint in a spicy lime dressing.  Sarah ordered Koa Soi Gai:  Northern Thai style curry with bone-in chicken and egg noodles served with pickled mustard greens, red onions and spicy chili lime oil.  And I ordered Pad Se Ew: Flat rice noodles stir-fried with egg, black bean sauce, shrimp and broccoli.  The atmosphere was lively and the food was delicious.

As for the rest of the family, Alex moved successfully to Denver and is trying to adjust to his new life there.  Adam is working long hours at his job and, surprisingly, he loves it.  It’s good to see him so busy and so enthused about work.  As for me, I’ve been still attending Al-Anon and keeping the focus on myself, as no one else is my business (I keep having to remind myself of that).  Overall, I’m thankful that everything is good for the moment.  Taking life one day at a time.

Urban hikes & museum-going:

Mike and I did an urban hike in downtown D.C., stopping first at the Renwick Gallery.  Our goal was to see the exhibit of miniature crime scenes called “Murder is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death.” The exhibit was packed and the crime scenes so small that it was impossible to see anything.  So instead, we just walked around the gallery, enjoying the other exhibits.

 

The Renwick

While waiting in a fast-moving line, we walked past The Blair House, the home of Francis Preston Blair (1791-1876), founder and editor of The Globe (1830-1845), a newspaper which championed democratic causes and vigorous journalism notably during the administration of President Andrew Jackson in whose “kitchen cabinet” Blair loyally served.

The Blair House

At the end of this post are descriptions of the places, statues and art we encountered today.  If you’re interested in them, you can read about them based on the picture captions.

The Final Stop by Rick Araluce
Parallax Gap by David Freeland and Brennan Buck

I loved this fabulous Monopoly game made with fired clay.

Monopoly
Shadow of Amboseli

I love this delicate piece that evokes a quiet forest in Japan.

The Renwick has a fabulous variety of art and installations.

After the Renwick, it was quite a hike to the National Gallery of Art.

Washington streets

At the National Gallery of Art, our goal was to see the exhibit “Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry.”  How foolish it was to attempt to see such an exhibit on the last day it was open.  Hundreds of people were in a long snaking line curled all around the perimeter of the museum.  Instead of standing in that line, we opted to drop in on a small Edvard Munch exhibit.

Across the hall, we also dropped in on another small exhibit: “Posing for the Camera.”  Many photographers were featured, but I especially loved two by Lee Friedlander of the photographer and his wife.

After this, we left by way of the fountain and began our trek back to the Renwick.

fountain in the National Gallery of Art

On our way back, we stopped for tapas and wine at Jaleo, one of my favorite D.C. restaurants.

As we continued on our way after lunch, we passed by the SunTrust Bank headquarters, where I used to work (the bank was called Crestar at the time) as a credit analyst.

Suntrust Bank

I share the sentiments of this protester!

protesters at the White House
Rochambeau

Movies & plays

As for movies, we haven’t been to many this month, mainly because we didn’t feel like going out in the cold.  We loved The Post, which told the story of how The Washington Post, and the press in general, went up against the U.S. government during the Vietnam war over the Pentagon Papers.  The press, a vital pillar of our democracy, is under attack these days by our divider-in-chief, so I’m happy when the press wins over the government.  Especially in the case of Vietnam, the government lied to the American people for years; it was the press that finally revealed to the public the extent of those lies. The audience, a full house, cheered at the end of the movie.

Another movie we saw on Netflix was a quiet Japanese movie called Sweet Bean, which told of a doryaki pastry maker who hired a 76-year-old woman and the relationship that grew between them.  I love Japanese movies for their delicate portrayal of human emotion.

Finally, at the end of the month, we went to a matinée showing at Theater J of Everything Is Illuminated; the play was based on the book of the same title by Jonathan Safran Foer.  The main character goes to Ukraine in search of a woman who possibly saved his grandfather during the Holocaust. Some parts were hilarious, some sad; we loved it overall.

Everything is Illuminated

Then we went to Logan Tavern for a delicious early dinner.  I took a picture of the Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup, but I was so hungry, I didn’t think to take pictures of my Trumpet Mushroom ‘Risotto:” cauliflower and squash “risotto”, chimichurri, fig balsamic, & crispy Parmesan. It was so delicious, I polished it off in one fell swoop.

Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup

Other stuff:

I’ve been reading a lot, working on my memoir, and still trying to catch up on editing pictures and blogging about all my travels to Japan and Czech Republic.  I haven’t begun to write about my solo trip to Cape May, NJ and Mike’s and my trip to Nashville, TN in December!

I hope you’ll tell me what you’ve been up to in January. I can’t wait to hear of your plans for the year, as well as your everyday lives and what you make of them. 🙂

********************

Here are some of the details about the art shown above, as taken from signs at the museums, unless stated otherwise:

The Renwick

The Final Stop by Rick Araluce. Visitors find themselves transported to an anonymous subway station, an eerie subterranean world nestled within the gallery, where flickering lights and distant rumblings suggest the passage of trains and cavernous tunnels seemingly stretch for miles.

Parallax Gap by architects David Freeland and Brennan Buck.  To create Parallax Gap, nine ceilings from iconic works of American architecture were drawn, printed at large-scale, and then suspended in layers above the Renwick’s Bettie Rubenstein Grand Salon. The architects have challenged the medium’s typical role by transforming their drawings from two-dimensional illustrations to three-dimensional installations.

Shadow of Amboseli (2016) by Wendy Maruyama.

Monopoly (2007)- paint and ink on unfired clay by Kristen Morgin: Morgin’s illusionistic sculptures resemble found objects weathered by time, but they are in fact meticulously crafted assemblages made from unfired clay.  Inspired by abandoned objects from people’s pasts, she investigates age, nostalgia, and value in culture – themes rooted in the mythology of the American Dream.

Notice – Forest  (Autumn) 2002 – McDonald’s Neverland paper bag and colored pencil by Yuken Teruya born Okinawa, Japan.  Teruya transforms paper bags into magical tableaux. He cuts the silhouette of a tree into one side, then bends the paper inward to seemingly take root, leaving the lacy holes above to evoke mottled sunlight.  Teruya’s reuse of these discarded materials memorializes the trees in ingenious floating worlds and suggests a cycle of renewal.

Untitled #192 (1989) burdock burrs and apple wood by John McQueen.

Woman and Child (2002) by Akio Takamori, born Nobeoka Miyazaki, Japan 1950.

Raft (1997) by William Morris.

Downtown D.C.

General Casimir Pulaski is a bronze equestrian statue at Freedom Plaza,13th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. Pulaski immigrated to North America to help with the American Revolutionary War. He distinguished himself throughout the revolution, most notably when he saved George Washington’s life. Pulaski became a general in the Continental Army and reformed the American cavalry as a whole. At the Battle of Savannah, while leading a daring charge against British forces, he was gravely wounded, and died shortly thereafter (Wikipedia: Casimir Pulaski).

At the National Gallery of Art

Edvard Munch: Man’s Head in Woman’s Hair: It is unclear whether the woman is imagined by the man, or if the man’s head floating in the woman’s hair is a figment of her mind…Perhaps she is thinking of him sympathetically, or he is recalling a woman he encountered.  One figure conjures the image of the other, producing the image of the thought.

Lee Friedlander: Los Angeles: Friedlander and his new bride, Maria, seem eager to embark on their journey together through life.

Vernal Falls, Yosemite National Park, California: Maria Friedlander candidly wrote in the introduction to her husband’s 2004 book, Family: “There are no photographs of arguments and disagreements, of the times when we were rude, impatient, and insensitive parents, of frustration, of anger strong enough to consider dissolving the marriage… a book of pictures doesn’t tell the whole story.” Nevertheless, she concluded, Friedlander’s pictures are about “the celebration of the small moment that only Lee saw.  [They are] Lee’s gift to me of my own private memoir in pictures.  I look at it and feel the moments both revealed and evoked, the joy and the hard times – it’s all there.”

***********

Happy February, everyone! 🙂

 

 

 

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painted “meeses” & mountain lions, kaaterskill falls & a grueling drive home

Monday, July 14: This morning, Alex and I get up at our leisure and do a quick scavenger hunt around Bennington for any moose we might have missed.  The moose originated with “Moosefests” in 2005 and 2009, when 54 and 48, respectively, fiberglass moose statues were decorated by artists. The statues were then auctioned off at a gala event.

Both of the previous Moosefest events enticed tourists to the area, and drew them into area restaurants and businesses. The event also helped build community pride and spirit and supported local artists, according to the Bennington Chamber of Commerce.

We find these characters on our way out of town.

Surprisingly, we also find a lot more painted cats.  My favorite is the Birch tree cat.

Birch tree cat
Birch tree cat

The cats originated from the launch by the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce of  Catamount Prowl 2013, a street art project mirrored on the success of previous Moosefests.  The word “catamount,” which comes from the term “cat of the mountains,” is used to describe a member of the cougar family of large cats that live in the wild such as mountain lions, wildcats or bobcats.

Their connection to Bennington dates back to their use as the unofficial mascot of the Green Mountain Boys, who met in the Catamount Tavern in Old Bennington.

These fiberglass cats have been lurking about town over the last year. The statues — seven feet tall and 6.5 feet wide — were decorated by area artists and displayed around town.

As Bennington doesn’t have a lot of attractions to draw tourists, I must say I admire the town’s ingenuity in coming up with creative ideas to bond the community and create enticements for tourists.

We leave Vermont and head into New York, where we pass this funky little deli and general store along the road.

Goodbye, Vermont!
Goodbye, Vermont!

In New York, we drive off the beaten track into the Catskill Mountains, where we’re hard pressed to find a parking space to hike to Kaaterskill Falls. The trailhead is along a steep and winding mountain road.  There is only one small parking lot within walking distance of the falls.  It’s full.  We head down the mountain, almost ready to give up and leave, but when I see how disappointed Alex is, we drive up one more time and squeeze my car into a questionable space.  We walk along the tight 2-lane road, with trucks and cars pressing us into the mountainside or the guard rail. Luckily, we make it unscathed to the falls.

First view of Kaaterskill Falls
First view of Kaaterskill Falls

We hike up about a half-mile on a rocky, muddy and mossy trail.

Kaaterskill Falls trail
Kaaterskill Falls trail

The dual cascades of Kaaterskill Falls total 260 feet (79 m) in height, making it one of the higher waterfalls in New York, and one of the eastern United States’ taller waterfalls.

Kaaterskill Falls trail
Kaaterskill Falls trail

The falls are one of America’s oldest tourist attractions.  They appear in some of the most prominent books, essays, poems and paintings of the early 19th century.

Kaaterskill Falls trail
Kaaterskill Falls trail

Kaaterskill Falls was lauded as a place where a traveler could see a wilder image, a sort of primeval Eden.  The falls became an icon subject for painters of the Hudson River School, setting the wilderness ideal for American landscape painting.

Kaaterskill Falls trail
Kaaterskill Falls trail

The Falls also inspired “Catterskill Falls”, a poem by William Cullen Bryant (Wikipedia: Kaaterskill Falls).

It is a warm and sticky day, and after hiking uphill to the double falls, I’ve pulled my hair back into a short ponytail.  Around my head is a halo of frizz, much like a Brillo-pad.  My shirt is drenched in sweat.  A woman behind me says, “You remind me of my mother.  Your hair is just like hers.”  I look at her closely.  She looks like she’s in her late 30s or maybe 40.  Then I look at her partner.  He looks to be in his mid-40s.  So.  I look like I’m about 65 or 70?  This is so funny to me coming on the heels of the comment yesterday by the woman who thought I was Alex’s girlfriend because I looked so young!  What?

People say the darndest things!

Kaaterskill Falls
Kaaterskill Falls

When we reach the double waterfall, the trail comes to an end.  People can clamber up a bunch of rocks to reach the pool created by lower fall, and Alex does just that.  I’m a bit more cautious, but after that comment about me looking like a grandmother, I force myself to climb up.  I’m not so old that I can’t climb over rocks!

Kaaterskill Falls
Kaaterskill Falls

I climb up to the ledge and put my feet in the water to cool off.  The cool breeze coming off the waterfall feels like a sparkling bit of the Arctic.

Kaaterskill Falls
Kaaterskill Falls
Kaaterskill Falls
Kaaterskill Falls

Alex enjoys getting cooled and sprayed by the falling water.

Alex in the mist of Kaaterskill Falls
Alex in the mist of Kaaterskill Falls

After we relax and cool off a bit, we head back down the path, where we see some strange rock shapes covered in moss. This one has tufts of ferns for hair.

Mossy rock and graffiti
Mossy rock and graffiti

I’m relieved to get back in the car and turn on the air conditioning full blast.  We drive quite a long way to Binghamton, New York, which I believe to be one of the prettiest drives in the eastern U.S. One of the reasons I wanted to come this way, as opposed to returning the way we drove north to New Hampshire, was for this drive.  I want Alex to see it, but he is zonked out in the passenger seat. He growls at me when I try to wake him, so sadly he misses the whole thing.

We look on Yelp to find a place for dinner, and we decide on Thai Time Restaurant, where we have a lovely dinner.  At this point we haven’t decided whether to stay the night in Binghamton.  It will be about 5 more hours if we decide to continue on home.

Thai Time Restaurant in Binghamton, New York.
Thai Time Restaurant in Binghamton, New York.

When the waitress tells us there isn’t much to see in the town, and we get a call from Mike telling us his mother seems to be declining rapidly, we decide to go for home. It’s a long and grueling haul, especially once it turns dark, but we press on, arriving home close to midnight.

a bit of respite at lake winnipesaukee

Thursday, July 10:  I have met some of the nicest people through blogging.  I first got acquainted with Ron through his son Spencer, a young man I worked with at the University of Nizwa.  Ron isn’t a blogger, but because I wrote my blog, a nomad in the land of nizwa, providing an insight into what Spencer’s life in Oman might be like, he followed my blog, often leaving encouraging comments.  At one point he mentioned he had a cottage on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire and said I should come up to visit this summer.  At the end of June, he wrote: “The cottage is open and waiting for you.”

Needing a break from the stress of watching the decline of my mother-in-law, and knowing I wouldn’t have time later as I prepare to go to China, I responded by email to get the details about the cottage.  We planned that I’d come up right after my class on Thursday, July 10 and would stay through Monday, July 14.  As Mike and Adam were working and couldn’t take time off, Alex and I decided to take the long drive to New Hampshire on our own.

The MapQuest says it will be about a 10 hour drive.  Alex and I leave immediately after my class at around noon.  It’s a long and thankless drive all the way up I-95, through Virginia, Maryland and Delaware, then on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway, then through New York (right around rush hour!).  We cross the Tappan Zee Bridge, a cantilever bridge in New York crossing the Hudson River at one of its widest points.

The Tappan Zee Bridge
The Tappan Zee Bridge

We stop for a leisurely dinner in Danbury, Connecticut after being stuck on I-84 for nearly an hour in a traffic jam caused by a car accident.  At this point, we are desperate just to get out of the car.  As Alex and I are taking turns driving every two hours, I have a Corona at dinner along with some delicious chicken and dumplings.

Alex drives the next two hours through Massachusetts and into New Hampshire.  Finally I drive the last two hours into New Hampshire, arriving in Gilford at midnight.

Ron has been patiently awaiting our arrival, taking a dip in the lake to pass the time.  He comes to the road to greet us as he sees our headlights go past the cottage and turn around.  We greet one another and he tells us he and his wife Betty will be by for lunch on the cottage porch the next day.  Their house is two miles away, not directly on the lake, so they spend most of their summer days at the cottage, having lunch and dinner on the porch, working on the cottage, or swimming in the lake.

Friday, July 11:  We haven’t brought any food with us, so the first order of business is to go out for breakfast at a local diner.  At the diner, I greet a lone man walking in at the same time as me.  “It’s a beautiful day!”  He harrumphs, “I guess.” I say, “Compared to northern Virginia, it’s beautiful.  It’s so humid at this time of year in Virginia.”  He says, “It gets pretty humid here too.”  I say, “Well, it’s beautiful today.  I love New Hampshire.”  He says, “I’ve been through Virginia often, and it’s beautiful there too.”

Ok, I can see I’m getting nowhere fast with this man.  I part ways with him and join Alex at the table where he’s been seated.  We enjoy a breakfast of pancakes, omelets, eggs, hash browns, and coffee.  Then we head to Shaw’s grocery store where we load up on breakfast and lunch makings.  At the cottage, we put all our groceries away and Alex heads out into the lake with the kayak.

the kitchen of the cottage
the kitchen of the cottage
the living room at the cottage
the living room at the cottage

I change into my walking clothes and head out for my 3 mile walk.  As I walk out, I meet Betty, Ron’s wife, who has just parked her shiny red convertible.  I introduce myself and tell her I’m going for a walk:  “I’m always fighting my weight, so I need to try to walk every day.”  She says that she and Ron changed their diet to a Mediterranean diet and lost 30-40 pounds in a couple of months.  She says, “I used to be like you.” Ouch. I know I’ve gained weight, yes, and so I walk a little harder and faster after we part ways.

Sanders Bay on Lake Winnipesaukee
Sanders Bay on Lake Winnipesaukee
Lake Winnipesaukee
Lake Winnipesaukee
the lake
the lake

When I return to the cottage, we sit on the porch with Ron and Betty.  They have finished their lunch. Alex and I make some sandwiches too.  Ron tells us stories galore about his life when he was younger and the adventures he’s been on.  He shows us some pictures from his past.  I change into my bathing suit, and Alex and I take out the kayaks for a paddle on the lake.  It’s a gorgeous day, with a cool breeze and no humidity.  How I love New England!

Looking toward the yacht club
Looking toward the yacht club

Ron and Betty invite us to have dinner with them tonight on the porch.  He says Friday nights they usually get fish dinners at Sawyer’s and eat them on the porch with a mixture of red and white wine.

Looking from the dock to the cottage
Looking from the dock to the cottage

After they leave, we have a little time to relax.  I shower and read my book, The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan, a novel that takes place in the courtesan houses of China in the early 1900s.  At about 4:30, Ron and Betty come back to the cottage and sit on the dock, enjoying the lake.  I sit on the porch and read, something I love to do on vacation.

Alex and Ron head out to Sawyer’s to pick up the fish dinners, and then we enjoy wine and baked haddock dinners on the porch.  It’s a lovely evening.  After dinner, Ron and Betty take us for a drive in the convertible to get the lay of the land and to indulge in some ice cream.  I order a scoop of lemon meringue with hot fudge at a cute ice cream shop beside the lake.

It’s a lovely evening, but a little cold in the convertible.  Not having brought any warm clothes, and wimps that we are, Alex and I ask if they would mind closing the convertible top.  We’re freezing!  Ron and Betty must be used to the cold night air, which is refreshing and would be fine if we had proper attire!

Blue hour on Sanders Bay
Blue hour on Sanders Bay

After our nice day on the lake today, Alex and I decide that we’ll drive up to the White Mountains tomorrow.  We’ll travel on the Kancamagus Highway and go on some short hikes.