Thursday, July 28, 2016

Prep/Pep Talk

First I would like to say Thank you to Mother Nature. I have been working on cultivating my relationship with her gently and with much respect and gratefulness. I think she is reciprocating these feelings by opening a window for me to bath in her wonder atop (hopefully) 3 great mountains on Saturday. I am not afraid of the rain but prefer not to be on the spine when lightning comes. It looks like just rain the night before and holding off just for Saturday and then rain again on Sunday.
I started this post yesterday morning and was slammed with another heartbreaking call at work. I now am still boggled and not as prepared as I would like. This means I need this trip more than ever.
I plan on spreading everything out in 1 place. I will overpack a bit as I can leave things in the car but not buy things I may have forgotten.
This time I am going to be able to bring a cooler to the campground and I am going to try to carry more fresh cooked food that I reheat via stove and boiling water. Don't ask, I'll update on this possible catastrophe on Monday. I plan on having plenty of nuts and fruit and will drive into town to eat at a buffet if necessary.
I am concerned about the heat and hydration. I want to freeze everything but I am concerned now I won't have water until noon when all my bottles thaw. Last time I took a bladder in my backpack and it warmed to a "delicious" 98.6 degrees as it rested on my back thru-out the 10 mile hike.
On a side note my daughters camp lost my tent while I lent it to them for the week. Horrified, I tell them I need it for tomorrow!! Luckily someone located it but you can hear the anxiety building in my voice right?
I am planning on a wet one so I will bag everything and bring extra lights as a fire sounds doubtful. Sleeping in my car is always an option.
Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Life sucks sometimes

This week I feel like Ava has been dealt some sucky ass life blows. Unfortunately I also don't want my kids to be little assholes so I stuck to my guns even though it felt like crap.
Earlier this week I had one of the toughest calls in a long time if ever. A kid was injured and we believed she would not make it. It hit me like a stone wall. I wanted to do everything I could to finish that call and help that little girl but I also needed to be holding onto my own kids. After work Ava says Mom let's get ice cream and I add a trip to the beach. I needed to get my head together. She of course is the only person who wants Dairy Queen and true to our family dynamic we do what she wants. She is nursing 2 cat scratches on her foot and it is ridiculous but she occasionally is playing the whole I can't walk, I can't wear shows, drama crap. When we get to DQ she starts. I say just come on bare foot, we aren't going inside or anything. Olivia and I walk over, stand in line( the whole time I am waving at the car like hurry up), we order and walk back to the car. Still moping. I finally, while she is bitching, say hurry up get out of the car, you're being ridiculous. She walks over and stands in line. Now mind you we are here all the time, ordering should be easy. When it finally gets called she steps back, no answer, whining about something. I say come on order, no words.
I walk away. Back to the car.
She is pissed. I get in with my ice cream and we walk drive away.
The explaining starts. I say you know what Av you always have to control a situation with your drama. I was at that window twice. I am over you being a pain in the ass. You had a chance.
I am thinking FFfffffff, I'll come back after the beach.
We go to the beach and she gets out of the car and walks away.....and I let her. You know what I didn't do anything wrong. She constantly has to control our family dynamic and I let her.
Eventually she comes up behind me and hugs me and says she is sorry. I can get a snack at home.
Typically I also spend a lot of time explaining my actions, justifying them.
These are kids and I don't have to do that.
So I said well you need to know that wasn't cool. Next time you should come and order when we do or you might miss out but it's over now and we aren't going to harp on it.
BOOM! How did I just do that?  I am hoping we all learn from that.
Yesterday she starts texting me in a panic. Apparently they collect items at Camp and put them in a large tub of lost and found. It is explained in the welcome paperwork that if you don't collect them they will be donated. Well we just found out they do that like WEEKLY! So some time in the last week she lost her favorite Avengers Sweatshirt and Fox shirt she bought at Normandy Farms.  I am not really believing it so when I go to pick her up I am told well we can't keep all this stuff. I am a little pissed. I never enter the building. You check them out at a table outside and they page the building. If I walked in I would be looking at the box and check it regularly like I did at school but you know what they have to be responsible too.
Most importantly was her text.

She realized her mistake but also says "other kids are enjoying them". Sad I know but she needs to learn to take responsibility for her stuff and I am also donating stuff saying other people aren't so lucky and could use some of the stuff we no longer need. I feel like this message shows she understands that even though she is upset by her loss.
In recent weeks both girls have repeated things to me that I never thought they heard. Please, please, please let my rants be forgiven and my daughters be good adults.
I am constantly dealing with both kids, "kids"( really adults with parents still wiping their asses) and parents who don't want their kids to take any accountability for their actions. I see a very scary world in the future. I really don't want them to grow up like that.
Now I see why my Mom says being a Nana is so much easier than being a Mom.
P.S. Nana We love you!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Quechee Camping Trip 2016

It is that time again. Olivia and I seem to be setting up a tradition of camping together at Quechee State Park and once again it didn't fail to be a fantastic time. We arrived on Thursday with a chance of rain and thunder so for now all equipment was stowed in the lean-to.
We got right down to the Gorge as we knew we had limited time. I am happy to say we asked the first person we found to take our picture together. I feel like there are not enough of us as a family just me taking them of the kids.

Isn't this picture great? Amazingly after she swam for about an hour we decided to go back to camp  and got caught in a downpour. It wasn't bad in the woods but once back on the camp road we got a little wet.
We decided to take a drive so we changed into some dry clothes and drove Rt 4 all the way to Killington. Our plan was to go Friday and do the Adventure Park there.
Along the way we took photos and Liv had fun videoing our drive only to play it back at fast speed. As we were driving I noted a sign for some Falls. Oh you know I am doing that. So far we had really nixed all plans for hiking besides taking the somewhat sucky trail from the campground down to the Gorge.
On our return I took the left. Olivia was not happy and did the typical 13 year old walk ahead and murmur and stomp back to the car but I wasn't missing it and I am becoming immune to the Teenager Horrors.
Anyway this was the trail from a little 5-6 car parking area. I was surprised. The walk way was surrounded by vegetation, flowers and small little waterways.

This seemed so cool to me, like what is thru this magical doorway? Also at this point everything is flat but I can hear the water. After a short wooded path we came to a platform and THIS! Thundering Falls, Hello! How nice to meet you. This photo looks sort of flat but it was huge and that branch across it was actually a large tree.

Now on our way in I see a sign that I will investigate on my way out.
Do you see what it says?
Wait, I'm on the Appalachian Trail? I turn around because if that is South where is North? The arrow points to the way I just came. I didn't even notice on that walk way down low on the post was a white blaze.
OMG, I covered a few 100 feet on the AT in Vermont.
When we exited I looked for the Northbound trail and across from the parking area I found this. Just a single lane that twisted right off into the woods. I have such a romantic view of the AT. I have barely experienced it but it just seems so magical to be able to travel from town to town and state to state via these trails.

So I am sure you would like to hear all about our exciting shenanigans but really these few photos cover it. I have many more but basically we played Monopoly both nights, we swung in the hammock both singly and together and we swam in the Gorge. The second day I was told we would be buying a bathing suit so I could swim too.
I did it for her.
She doesn't know it but I am pretty scared to do some things and swimming in the Gorge was not something I wanted to do but I did not want her to learn fear from me. Once in, she told me we would swim across and climb up the rocks. We walked all the way up until the white water began and we slid in, floating all the way back to the popular swimming area. I laid back and looked at the beautiful sky and the walls of the Gorge and thanked her for making me do it. I swear you could smell Summer as you floated.
We cooked dinner on the fire. Haddock in a foil packet was actually our dinner for 2 nights because we loved it so much.
We talked while we swung. This part I enjoyed more than she will ever know.

On Saturday we were due to check out and I wanted to go to this Sporting good store.  I found a flyer for Sam's Sporting Goods in Brattleboro and I am looking for some new hiking boots. We hopped on Route 91 and headed south. What a great road though the green mountains. Sam's was having a giant sale with boxes out on the sidewalk all the way around the corner. Half price hiking socks for miles!!
Incredible store which I will be hitting again for sure. Sadly no boots.
I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook but after posting that I had been here I found out an old family friend was camping at a KOA just up the road. Sadly we were about 20 miles south in Massachusetts now but we made the executive decision to bang a U turn and camp there.
Once we got all set up we found they had headed out on their motorcycle so we went on our own adventure. The camp store provided a list of local swimming hole and I picked the last one because it included a waterfall with a secret door.
On our way we found a super delicious place called the Blueberry Haus where we bought the most delicious fresh lemon ice cream and a pint of blueberries which sadly didn't even make it back to the campground.
Here is the Green River Bridge. It was being completely rehabilitated so we couldn't drive across and enter the normal way. Olivia located a rope so we could basically repel down this side.
Always an adventure when it comes to us Berry girls.

Of course Olivia has no fear and swims right in. She explored the waterfall and told me the little secret room was like a wedge shape and creepy so she left.

Back at the site I had the cool experience of introducing my daughter to an old friend of my Mom's. He knew me when I was her age and I loved him. Funny and sweet and just a great man. They laughed right off the bat and set up a date to swim in the pool after dinner. I loved how he talked to her in such a funny way which I remember him doing with my sister and I. She ended the night with a ride on the giant rocking horse because in reality she is still a kid but wearing a grown up bikini.
We made a plan to have breakfast with him as 8:30 the next morning so we could head home. This is my last view as I headed to bed. She slept like a rock while I laid there evaluating the thunderstorm passing over us. I quite enjoyed it actually.
We took Route 2 home. A slow and beautiful ride through towns I didn't even know existed in Massachusetts. Soon enough we would be back to dirty dishes, laundry and a 16 hour overnight shift.
Until next time.

Thursday, July 21, 2016


Do you think overcoming addiction is a choice? I just had a discussion about addiction with a non-addict. I found it interesting that he stated that he chose one day to stop taking his pain medication after an injury and use other forms of pain control. Drug addicts just don't want to make that choice.
I am back to this thought process when it comes to food. Like why can't I just say I'm going to stop eating sugar? I want to have that strength, trust me I do.
I had another appointment with my original Nutritionist from 9 years ago. I explained my diet, my blood sugar issues and she shared some ideas.
I started to keep a log, a detailed log with blood sugar is needed but I forgot my Glucometer. I have a great plan in her words......If I can put down the brownies.
I am thinking the strength to do this is like a muscle. You need to build it up. I did it before for 18 months and I think that is why I am so pissed about it.
Tomorrow is another opportunity.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Bad Assery

Remember this super cool photo?
 Yeah, I do too.
It was a good trip to the top of Mt Pierce and almost to the top of Eisenhower a few weeks ago. Well today I get the email about the next hike in the AMC series..... 
Wait for it .....
To Mt Pierce. 
Seriously?? Add to that it is on July 30th which would be the first F'ing weekend that I have free for myself and was planning to go to New Hampshire to hike. 
You know what? I think I'm over it. I really am a new hiker and want to learn as much as I can but at some point am I going to admit I know some things? I feel like I have signed up for kindergarten when I am really a third grader. 
I continuously have trouble making their hikes because I am hiking bigger hikes. 
I certainly want their knowledge but I miss a good hike to a place I want to go at whatever speed I want. 
So today, I was talking to a new person and I got to explaining some of what I have been up to. He says "Oh so you said you liked hiking but I guess I didn't understand." So I listened to myself talk about it and became embarrassed when I realized how much I loved it. Explaining how it feels to be at the top of a mountain or just to listen to the sounds in the woods feels weird and personal like I let you into my brain and my heart at the same time. I realized it's my passion right now. It felt strange to share it. 
Now I am not trying to sound conceited because I am not but I sort of started to think- Yeah, I have a pretty cool life. I do some awesome shit. Why do I ever doubt myself? 

If you want to go back, I am sure you have read this before but I am saying it a little firmer every time. It is a hard lesson to learn. I am closer than I have ever been but still on this incredible journey to shed all the crappy layers that have been holding me from just being who I am deep,deep,deep down. 
She's awesome and I can't wait until she is completely free. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Mt Washington Trip

It's June 25th at 2:45am and my alarm is sounding. The dog sort of looks up like Really Mom?
I am just about ready to go I just need to jump in the shower and throw some last food items in my pack. I avoid coffee and just head to the commuter lot in Sagamore. I need to be there no later than 4am.
27 of us hop on board this bus and as soon as attendance is taken the lights go out and we are napping once again. I struggle between my love of seeing the sun come up and getting a few hours sleep but I crash out in Kingston just as the sun is rising. 
When I next open my eyes I see a sign declaring Exit 16. It is about 6:20 and we are in New Hampshire. Yahoo!!
Carl, the organizer, starts to serve coffee, homemade muffins and fruit to all of us as we stretch and wake up. This is shaping up to be an incredible day weather wise.

The bus finally pulls into the AMC Highland Center. This is where our adventure begins. This is the first view of the day and the moon is still up over the Mountains. It is 8 o'clock in the morning.

We broke into groups depending on our goal and speed. I am in the group that is going to attempt to make it to Lakes in the Clouds hut. Once we get to the Crawford Trailhead it states Lakes is 7 miles one-way. We quickly all agree that this is just not going to happen in the time we are allotted but we agree we will go as far as we can.
The rules for the day are stay in your group or if you must break off stay in pairs. Also no matter where you are the turn around point is 12:10.
The beginning of the trail is woods and woods and beautiful but tough. I am about a mile in when I realize that this trip sucks.
Surprised? I am too.
At this point all the groups are still mostly all together besides the runners who are out front somewhere. A man steps out of a side trail and says oh there is a beautiful waterfall over there but the group just keeps marching up. Oh Hell, I don't hike like this. The trail is rocky and root covered and climbing so all my focus is on this and not the woods, sunshine or waterfall that I can clearly hear but missed.  Part of the plan is to stop at the Mizpah hut for a break and water fill up if needed and I just decide right there that I will call it a day there. One of the groups was planning on just that. It  is 2.7 miles to this hut and I will chill-lax right the fuck there until 2pm and hike back down. This is not the hike I want to do. I do not want to be a machine hiker. Miles aren't my first objective and I forgot that for a minute or I should say for a mile. 
Hike your own hike.

I have seen photos of these hut and dreamed of planning a hike and staying in one but I was still surprised by it's size. The inside was huge and had rooms with 5 bunks each. The dining room was open and 2 stories tall with exposed steel beams. A man in an apron was kneading dough to bake bread and a girl answered our questions as she made up the board for dinner and snacks they were offering. Mizpah sleeps 61 people and was booked full on this gorgeous Saturday.

Once we have a break, snack and talk a bit I realize I am now with just a small group of 7 logical
souls and I am grateful. 1 couple includes a woman who is enjoying herself but needs extra support from her poles and more time. They decide to follow our route but tell us to press on without them and they will travel at their own speed.
I am told that we have tackled a good portion of the elevation and things should be a little better from here on out.
I am glad everyone in this group has a sense of humor. We set off on the short jump trail from the hut back to Crawford and it just was rock scrambling up and up and round another corner of up. I quickly call over my shoulder that "Will is a Liar!" which makes us all laugh. Later I heard from others on the bus that this part of the trail was probably one of the roughest in everyone's opinion. About half the hikers and the running group skipped this pit stop to Mizpah. I am glad I took the break but that trail was challenging.
The reason I continued is I was told we would be above treeline shortly and I didn't want to miss that.
The view started to improve and I was back in my happy place. After a boot mishap with another group member we were now down to a group of 3. Will an avid hiker with tons of knowledge of this hike and Dave who I think was new to hiking in this area but a hiker all the same.
Next stop-Summit of Mount Pierce.
BOOM! I have my first 4000 footer under my belt. I worked hard for it and now ahead of us is open ridge trail headed to Mt Eisenhower. In the photo above Eisenhower is in the center and Mt Washington is the tallest just to it's right. Very clear here that we will not be getting close to that as it is already 11AM but we press on. 

The views are beautiful and I move to the back of our 3 pack so I can slow down and look as often as I can. The pic above is the view as we start to make our way up Eisenhower. Can we Summit it and turn around in 20 minutes? Will does it as he is a pretty fast hiker but at the bottom of a set of stairs I call it for me for the day. The stairs are built into the Mountain in places were the grade is pretty steep and my fear of heights and exhaustion is kicking in. I park my bottom on a ledge to the side of the stairs and eat my lunch. Dave is seated at the top but I can't seem to get up those stairs. I mean I will just have to climb back down. In what seems like minutes Will is back and he says Oh, the Summit wasn't as far as I thought.
I will not hate on myself. I can add this to my life long bucket list and to be safe you must always be okay with calling it a day even if you are within arms length of the Summit. I need to remember that I have to hike all the way back now.
These are the views from my lunch perch. Yesterday I came upon one of my photos and was surprised by it.
Like I took that. I was there. I got there by my own 2 feet.

That tiny scruff in the center is actually the Mount Washington Hotel. Looked like an ant hotel from here.
On the way back we took the route around Pierce's peak thinking it would save us that rough trail but honestly it was still pretty rough. We leap frogged with a couple and their dog so it kept our chatter and spirits up. 
We had extra time so my partners were more than happy to make the side trip to Givbs Falls on our way back and we sat at the back cooling off and enjoying it's views. 

We made it back on time about 4pm but were delayed by the dozen or so who did make it all the way to the Summit to MountWashington. They mostly ran it  and I am happy for them but I am also happy with the 10 miles I covered. Once I found my pace and the right mix of people it was a good time. I will return and hike at my pace with no time limit well at least a plan more geared to my liking but I am very happy I decided to do this. 

Normandy Farms

Merry Christmas!!
Ok not really it is only June 10th but we are finally able to use one of the best Christmas gifts we got-a weekend at Normandy Farms Campground. 
We upgraded to the lean to and I am so glad we did because Saturday while we were out and about it started to rain. We were so busy that I really didn't worry to much about it. Most of our stuff was safe and sound in this lean-to. When we returned we found that a neighbor put all of our things inside and pushed the table way up so it was half under the rood as well. I think we lost maybe a roll of paper towels at most.
We have camped here before but it has been 8 years and we had a camper then. We are learning to become pretty good tent campers and have a nice amount of equipment so we can have some serious fun. 
This was Ava's first trip since she was 3 and sleeping in the campers big bed and she is ready for her next trip. Everyone would love to return here. There are 4 pools including 1 indoor. I think the kids actually swam in all of them at one point or another over our 2 days.

One of the things I find so magical about camping is the sense of independence the kids get. I have always just had a trust and safe feeling while camping so they are pretty much allowed to come and go on their own as long as it isn't swimming and they tell me what they are doing.
This picture makes me particularly happy as Ava is really struggling with learning how to ride a bike. She has "learned" many times but not well and then it gets put on the back burner and she feels like every time is her first time. When I brought her 2 wheeler camping she was pissed but I explained that is how everyone gets around a campground of this size. Soon she was mentioning how there were bikes every where and more riders were little kids. While cooking dinner Friday night she says she is headed to the bathroom and off she goes. I sort of step out into the road to see her and note that she is setting up the peddles on her bike to ride there. (this is killing me a little)
I didn't mention it I just let her go whenever she wanted. She is frustrated and beating herself up about it quite a bit. She did the best she could with many starts and stops when cars, bikes, dogs, a leaf blew by but I just have to have some patience and encourage her to start again.

On Saturday they had ceramics. The kids were all blah about it but I took a look and was shocked at how professional a set up these people had. I expected a few magnets and a teddy bear and some paint trays. Oh Hell No.
You picked a piece out of dozens, they provided photos for inspiration, paints, apron and sprayed the piece to take home. All of us did a piece and they were good sized and I paid less than $30. He even sprayed Ava's skunk inside and out so she could put here outside if needed. ( she decided putting her skunk outside might deter real skunks from coming along. )

Saturday night was a rough start for our fire after all the rain so we walked to the store and got a fire starter. Luckily I kept the wood inside the car and it was dry. Around this beauty we talked about future camping trips we would like to take.
Next up Quechee Gorge!

Race Results

09/07/07 Main Street Mile 11:44
05/18/08 YPD 5k 52:57 17:05
06/14/08 Walpole Village 5K 35:27 11:26
06/21/08 Mashpee Fun Run 34:21 11:05
07/19/08 Mashpee Woodlands 36.49 11:52
08/10/08 Falmouth Road Race 1:29:31
08/25/08 Women Running Wild 35:40 11:30
10/25/08 Mashpee Firefighters 37:47 12:10
05/02/09 Cape Abilities 5K 34:59 11:17
05/17/09 YPD 5K 36:41 11:50
08/09/09 Falmouth Road Race 7mi 1:37
10/31/09 Mashpee Firefighters 5K 37:15 12:00
09/11/11 Main Street Mile 12:31
10/29/11 Screech to the Beach 5K 39.13 12:20
08/12/12 Falmouth Road Race 1:34:24 13:29
05/18/14 YPD 5k 44.25 14:17
06/1/14 June Jog 4mi 1:04 16:00
08/17/14 Falmouth Road Race 1:42:04 14:35
09/27/14 Girly Girl 5K 37:24 12:02
10/26/14 Pell Bridge Run 4mi 48:41 12:10
11/27/14 Turkey Trot in VA 5K 35:22 11:23
12/06/14 Jingle Jog 5K 34:42 11:11
03/29/15 Thomas Guinta Memorial 5K 34:14 11:03
04/19/15 St. Margaret's 5K 31:11 10:21
05/17/15 YPD Blues 5K 34:58 11:17
06/07/15 Newport 10 Miler 1:56:09 11:36
06/20/15 Mackenzie's 5K 33:55 10:54
08/17/14 Falmouth Road Race 1:33:51 13:24
10/31/15 Screech at the Beach 36:19 11:40