Preparing for Winter

Posts at the beach placed in preparation for winter.
Posts at the beach placed in preparation for winter.

This post is for my friends who live in warmer environments. The image featured is of something we see a lot here in the north. It’s usually metal rods along highways, but this particular picture is a bunch of wood posts at our local beach. Know what it is?

It’s a row of markers along a road so the snowplows know where to drive. I’m kind of super excited to see that the markers are now lining a path to the main parking lot at our beach instead of just to the ticket booth. That’s quite a bit further when one is hiking in deep snow and will make walking to the water a whole lot easier this winter.

To put things in perspective, I’m 5 foot 2 inches tall. Think they are getting ready for a lot of snow? 😉

One can only hope…

Of Wind and Water

Wind at Southwick State Park Beach

Disclaimer: You might want to mute the video before you start it — or perhaps, like me, you love the sound of wind (even if it’s slightly magnified by an iPhone microphone).

The wind was so loud that day, Chris and I couldn’t hear each other talk as we walked into the wind. That was some tough walking, haha.

Walking back to the car, I think I could have flown. So fun.

Wind at Southwick

A wonderful poem by Amy Lowell.

The Wind

He shouts in the sails of the ships at sea,
He steals the down from the honeybee,
He makes the forest trees rustle and sing,
He twirls my kite till it breaks its string.
Laughing, dancing, sunny wind,
Whistling, howling, rainy wind,
North, South, East and West,
Each is the wind I like the best.
He calls up the fog and hides the hills,
He whirls the wings of the great windmills,
The weathercocks love him and turn to discover
His whereabouts — but he’s gone, the rover!
Laughing, dancing, sunny wind,
Whistling, howling, rainy wind,
North, South, East and West,
Each is the wind I like the best.

The pine trees toss him their cones with glee,
The flowers bend low in courtesy,
Each wave flings up a shower of pearls,
The flag in front of the school unfurls.
Laughing, dancing, sunny wind,
Whistling, howling, rainy wind,
North, South, East and West,
Each is the wind I like the best.

More of Amy Lowell’s poetry can be found in Google Books.

Contrast

We live a bit more than 10 minutes from the beach (Lake Ontario). When Lauren and CJ were visiting, it was cloudy, but we told them it didn’t necessarily mean it was cloudy at the beach. Although it’s only 10 minutes away, the weather is often quite different. We shared this story with them:

There was one day a couple of years ago where I thought Chris would be joining me at the beach. I waited and waited, and I managed to get a nasty sunburn while waiting (unusual for me–I usually tan). When I got home, I found out Chris had been thinking I’d show up any minute all day since it was so rainy 🙂

Anyway. Coming home from the beach we had a decent illustration of this, which I find so fascinating. It’s in the featured image for this post (at the top). Check out the grey skies as we face home, then look at the image in the rear-view mirror. That’s the beach.

Sunset at the beach

Bonus image that has nothing to do with the post — except that it’s a pretty shot from my favorite beach. Couldn’t resist adding it 🙂

Summer?

Goldenrod in the Berkshires
tiny school GIF
Back to School

Are you finding your social network feeds filled with kids going back to school and off to college? I am, and I’m loving it. Recently, a friend asked how my summer was wrapping up. Laughing, I responded that life is going so fast recently I hadn’t realized it was summer.  🙂

But I see it’s true. The leaves are changing color, and the Goldenrod heralds the incoming of autumn. 

Goldenrod in the Berkshires
Goldenrod in the Berkshires

It reminds me of a time when the kids were small (although that was my perception of summer in reverse), and we basically lived on the beach one summer while visiting with my in-laws. That year felt like an endless summer. I didn’t realize things were changing until they told me I had limited flavor selection at the commissary where I get ice cream.

Leaves changing color
Summer slips into Autumn in northern NY

Now that the kids are older, we don’t have to tuck our travels into certain months and weeks. Perhaps that’s how I missed summer this year (although I thoroughly enjoyed each day of it). And we had such a nice spring, beach time came in April/May so there were lots of opportunities to swim and enjoy the sand.

Yet now that the leaves are starting to change, and the calendar tells us it’s time to prepare for winter, we’re slogging around in 31-32 C/ 88-90 F temps.

No wonder I’m confused.

Celebrating Birthdays

It was a great day for celebrating birthdays with 2/3 of my beautiful sisters-in-law and Mom. Today was Heidi’s b-day and Mom’s is on Saturday. We had perfect weather as we lunched on the patio by the fountain at Tin Pan Galley in Sackett’s Harbor. Can you believe the size of my Portobello salad sandwich?

Portobello mushroom sandwich and cherry pancakes.
Portobello mushroom sandwich and cherry pancakes.

The Swing Thing

IMG_4623.jpgSeven weeks ago tonight, Chris and I embarked on a new adventure. For the first time in both our lives, we attended a professional dance class. Why? Well, rewind three years.

I was out in Utah at my very first Grand Meetup (the one time a year everyone in the distributed company I work for gathers together to learn, collaborate on projects and enjoy some bonding over fun events). I had just finished attending a class on public speaking when I joined a group of co-workers in a East Coast Swing Dance class. It was so fun, the class went on for hours. Due to its popularity, the class continued a year later then again when we all met in British Columbia. Then again this year. They even added a new class for those who had been there the year prior, so we could learn more than the basics.

When I went home, I raved about it to Chris. Seeing that I was still excited about it after all that time, he agreed to look into lessons. So I started researching. It’s not that easy to find a dancing tutor or class in northern NY, I found. Local places didn’t respond to messages sent through the Internet or call back when I left messages on machines. Word of mouth requests got me nowhere.

Totally saddened/frustrated by this, I contacted Dennis, the co-worker that introduced me to swing dancing, and he kindly agreed to give Chris and me some lessons while we were all at a WordCamp together. Then I got ill, so that didn’t work out. Last February and last June, when we visited CJ and Lauren in Utah, we had made plans to go to a lesson and dancing with other co-workers, but those plans fell through as well. 🙁

IMG_4624.jpgWe looked into Internet classes, but they weren’t really working for us. Then, just when I was about to give up on it all, I hit the jackpot and found the Steve Ryan dance class 50 minutes from our home. With Zippy (a name we have started calling our car), that trip is a smooth one, and it’s 3/4 of the way to the resort we bought season passes for so we can snowboard so we can do both when winter hits 🙂 I lucked out in the fact that the class is Thursday nights, and my “weekend” is Thursday and Friday so I don’t have to work the next day.

The thing is that this is West Coast Swing (very linear). Not East. So it was brand new for me. And certainly new for Chris. We are both terrible (yet learning). But it’s super fun, and the instructor is patient, and the other class members are very kind. Many have dance experience so they share their knowledge, too, as we rotate partners. We are really enjoying getting to know new people and exercising in this fun way. Zeb and Bri have joined us a few times as well, and they are fun to practice with at home during the week.

Twice a month, there is a dance on Friday nights at the studio. I think we are almost ready to hold our own on the floor (with very basic steps). Anyway, our 7-week course is up, but we’re signing up again for the next round, beginning next week. We are taking the beginning class again, just to get solid on it, then right after that (during the next hour each week), we will take the advanced beginner class to learn more steps.

It was a long time coming, but well worth the wait!