Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Snow Day

Brrr.... it's snowing again. 
But that doesn't stop me. I live in Connecticut - I'm used to dealing with the snow. Besides half the time the forecast isn't - shall we say - accurate. I had a doctor's appointment early and then a date for morning tea with my friend Elisa in Torrington - about 20 miles away. Snow? Pshaw... where are my boots?  After Elisa and I caught up and we headed outside to our cars, we noticed that the snow had picked up. It was coming down in big, fluffy puffs - like a snowglobe.  I decided to take the backroads  home and enjoy all the Christmas card-like scenery.  Unfortunately, I ended up behind a skittish driver for half the trip home - the plow driving behind me was bold enough to pass us and kicked the speed up to 25 mph. After the turnoff in Litchfield to Route 63, I was ready to pick up my own speed up to 25 mph and enjoy the rest of my drive - but it was not to be. I caught up to two cars early on and followed them at 10 mph all the way home. It was not the tranquil drive home I anticipated. 

But once I got home - I realized that my husband had left to go to his own appointments. I didn't have anything on my calendar, except to return a few emails and do a little planning for school. Suddenly I realized what I had on my hands. A full on snow day!  The first thing I did was to build a fire. Ahhh.... The next step, of course, was to pop some popcorn.  I got my comfies on and made a cup of hot cocoa. I nestled into my spot on the couch, set up my laptop on the footstool, made sure all the necessary appliances were within reach: cell phone, TV remote, house phone. After awhile, I even made some oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies. It was official...Snow Day!

Here's the thing about having a snow day when you're over 50: it's all yours. There's no way that I regret one minute of wet scarves dripping in front of the stove, wet noses dripping in front of the fire or the countless snow angels and snowmen I built with my kids on snow days of years past. Those days also involved popcorn, hot cocoa, homemade cookies and videos. (Oh, right - I watched 17 Again. Yes, I watched a movie with Zac Efron - what can I say? It's a perfect snow day movie.) I suppose I should feel a little badly that my husband didn't get a snow day for himself, but that's what he gets for having an office within spitting distance of our home. I wasn't a complete couch potato - I went out and shoveled a little bit to keep the walks clear and to prove that I wasn't a complete couch potato when my husband came home. But all in all - I had a day to myself;  I didn't feel compelled to go out and run an errand or drop the mail at the post office. I caught up on the things that I wanted to and didn't touch the things I didn't want to do. That's the beauty of a snow day. It's a free pass, I don't even think calories count on a snow day. I'm sure I'll get tired of the relentless precipitation soon enough, but for now - today - it was just what I needed.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Square Peg/Round Hole

From time to time, I will publish a relic of my long and nontraditional writing career. This essay was the first for my new column, "Enough Rope" which debuted in March 1997 in the Waterbury Observer. Unfortunately, my career as a newspaper columnist ended about six months later when I received the infamous "Don't call us - we'll call you" message in a handwritten note in the mail.
But I have copies of all of them, so you, dear reader, will be able to relive - with me - my short-lived career. Lucky you.
Click here to read: A Square Peg Living in a Round Hole World.
And thanks.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Dangers of Self-timers...

One would think that two relatively smart and technology-savvy adults well past their 40s would be able to easily take a snapshot commemorating their weekend away together. Well, it's not as easy as it looks...

"Did I remember to set the timer?"
Now that's an attractive candid shot....
 "Stop fooling around - it's about to go off!"
 "Really? Now you're tired?"
 Almost there, except it looks like we've both just gotten a whiff of low tide.
 Finally, one we both like.

(Whew...glad that's over! Next trip the camera just may conveniently get forgotten!)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dinner for Two

I think it might have been several years ago, right about the time when our nest emptied out, that my husband and I started eating dinner in the living room, in front of the TV. There were several factors, really. One of them had to do with the fact that we didn't have a kitchen table anymore. We had just moved into our new home and along with all of its wonderful features, it also had a - well, challenging - kitchen. We never did figure out how to put a kitchen table in it although we've had several variations. We even pulled down the dish cabinets suspended above the L-shaped counter - but that's a whole other bottle of wine as they say. 
(Or do just I say that...?) Anyway - over the years the dining room has been the go-to room for holidays and bigger family-type dinners, but when it was just me and him - we defaulted to the living room - and the TV.

A couple of weeks ago, I moved all the Christmas wrap that I got for 50% off at Target off of the dining room table and put on a tablecloth. I polished the two pewter candlesticks that were stashed in the china cabinet and blew the dust off of the candles. I pulled out two of the Lenox china plates that my husband had salvaged from his divorce (seriously...that's what he had to have? Not the  better car or the house...the Lenox china set? Oh, well....) and two of the nice wineglasses from the set of four that belongs to my daughter, but that she stores at home. Hers came from Crate and Barrel - mine come from Ikea.  

When my husband came home, he was shocked. Not because I had also made dinner, but that the table was set and we were finally going to do what we had been saying we were going to do for years -- eat in the dining room. The easiest thing to do when you come home exhausted from a long day is to fix a meal, put it on plates (or "plate it" since plate is now a verb) and head out to the sofa and the TV tray with your condiments and utensils in hand. To his credit, my husband always put a cloth napkin down under his plate - even on the TV tray or the coffee table (Ah, I guess now that Lenox china thing makes sense...) but our focus was on the TV and rarely did we have a converstation that lasted more than your average commercial break. 

Now, since we've been doing this pretty regularly since we started, we have long conversations about our day, what's going on with our family or just interesting stuff we heard on the radio or saw online. We share in the cooking and the cleaning (mostly he cooks, mostly I clean) and we linger when we're done, because the candles are still lit and the conversation is still going.  Eating in the dining room has carved out a place in the day where there isn't something else going on that we have to pay attention to. Actually, we seem to be paying attention to each other. And isn't that nice? 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mid-winter getaway

This is what we saw when we checked in to Room 211 at the Water's Edge Resort and Spa this past weekend.  My husband booked the night away for my birthday on Thursday - February 11th - so how appropriate was that room? 
And this is what we did immediately after checking in to that oh-so fitting accomodation...

Yes, of course that's a bottle of champagne. Just the one, because we also had reservations in the dining room for a three-course dinner later in the evening. The Water's Edge is famous for its Sunday Brunch, but we were happy to have dinner instead. Even though we felt really badly for our neighbors and relatives to the south getting pounded by a winter snowstorm, we were able to put it aside for the evening and enjoy a quick but much needed break. I recommend it - birthday or not!

Oh, here are a couple more pictures...I can't resist sharing. It was too cold to go play outside, but we did sit on the balcony (I'm posting pictures of that soon!) and we did take pictures of the gorgeous day - calm wind, sunny skies, blue ocean. Nice, isn't it? I was one happy birthday girl! (Thanks, Ange!)

One more look off of the balcony before going down to dinner

Red sky at night, birthday girl's delight! 

And then a perfect morning! 

Almost makes you want to go dive right in!...but we didn't.