Monthly Archives: June 2014

Other December Highlights and Heading Out West

Michael opened his climbing gym in late December, and we got a sneak preview.

Cesari showing us how it's done.

Cesari showing us how it’s done.

We met our friend Jim's baby boy.

We met our friend Jim’s baby boy.

We had our first xmas tree in our new apartment.  We got it from the bodega across the street.

We had our first xmas tree in our new apartment. We got it from the bodega across the street.

We snuck in a quick weekend to South Beach.

We snuck in a quick weekend to South Beach.

On December 21st, we headed out to New Mexico

On December 21st, we headed out to New Mexico.

We checked out some petroglyphs outside Albuquerque.  They were carved into volcanic rock by Native Americans and Spanish settlers 400-700 years ago.

We checked out some petroglyphs outside Albuquerque. They were carved into volcanic rock by Native Americans and Spanish settlers 400-700 years ago. We referred to this one as “lizard with lollipop”.

We had an awesome tour at Gruet.  It was really special to see the place that had produced a wine I had served so much of over the years.  I can’t find any pictures.  Must be the sparkling was too good.

I got lots of quality animal time.  I might be allergic to cats.

I got lots of quality animal time. I might be allergic to cats.

I took the dog walking job whenever possible.  The sun was shining every day we were there.  I could get used to that.

I took the dog walking job whenever possible. The sun was shining every day we were there. I could get used to that.

We liked Ojo Caliente so much, we went twice.  It was especially nice after a day of skiing.

Noah showing how the mud baths are done.  Pretty neat to be covered in mud in the middle of winter.

Noah showing how the mud baths are done. Pretty neat to be covered in mud in the middle of winter.

We skied at both Santa Fe Basin and Taos.

Santa Fe Basin was pretty impressive.  Only 16 miles from downtown Santa Fe, its base was at over 10,000 ft.  Since the air is so dry, any snow they get stays powdery for a long time.

Santa Fe Basin was pretty impressive. Only 16 miles from downtown Santa Fe, its base was at over 10,000 ft. Since the air is so dry, any snow they get stays powdery for a long time. I’ve always wanted to ski on Christmas Eve day!

 

This sign cracked me up.  There was a surprisingly large number of very bad skiers.  I thought it was because of the holidays.  Someone on the lift told us it was because of the proximity to Texas.  Oh, dip.

This sign cracked me up. There was a surprisingly large number of very bad skiers. I thought it was because of the holidays. Someone on the lift told us it was because of the proximity to Texas. Oh, dip.

Selena joined us snowboarding at Taos.  She scraped her outfit together with what she found at her parents' house.  It looked like we were there with our pre-teen son.

Selena joined us snowboarding at Taos. She scraped her outfit together with what she found at her parents’ house. It looked like we were there with our pre-teen son.

John took us shooting one day on some public land.  We brought some cans to shoot, not knowing there would be other fun targets already there.

John took us shooting one day on some public land. We brought some cans to shoot, not knowing there would be other fun targets already there.

Here’s a video with me and a .380.

NYE with Kaye and Nick in downtown Santa Fe.  At one point, almost all of Noah's family was out west.

NYE with Kaye and Nick in downtown Santa Fe. At one point, almost all of Noah’s family was out west.

We played quite a bit of Mexican or Train Dominoes while we were there.  No one could explain the name to me.  In case it wasn't offensive enough, we added a sombrero to the mix.

We played quite a bit of Mexican or Train Dominoes while we were there. No one could explain the name to me. In case it wasn’t offensive enough, we added a sombrero to the mix.

I got to pretend to be a cowgirl for a day, too.

I got to pretend to be a cowgirl for a day, too.

I came to think of New Mexico as the land of giant breakfast.  Huevos Rancheros, Chilaquiles, breakfast burritos; oh, my!

I came to think of New Mexico as the land of giant breakfast. Huevos Rancheros, Chilaquiles, breakfast burritos; oh, my!

It was also the land of beautiful sunsets.  I'm looking forward to returning.

It was also the land of beautiful sunsets. I’m looking forward to returning.

 

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Rescue Diver Training 12/2-12/7/13

2 days after Florida I was back on the road again, to one of my favorite places.

We were first introduced to St. Maarten a few years ago by some friends.  Reliable weather, warm water, beautiful dive sites and an easy, direct flight from NYC make it a great place to go.

We were first introduced to St. Maarten a few years ago by some friends. Reliable weather, warm water, beautiful dive sites and an easy, direct flight from NYC make it a great place to go.

The hotel was quiet, so I got upgraded to a fancy room.  This was the view from my balcony.

The hotel was quiet, so I got upgraded to a fancy room. This was the view from my balcony.

Go Pro selfie.  In order to do the Rescue Course, you need to have your Advanced Open Water and be current with CPR and first aid.  I had just finished my EMT course a few months prior, so it worked out well.

Go Pro selfie. In order to do the Rescue Course, you need to have your Advanced Open Water and be current with CPR and first aid. I had just finished my EMT course a few months prior, so it worked out well.

Many people will say that the Rescue course is their favorite and I can see why.  It was challenging, but fun, and the information you learn can help you save other people, in addition to saving yourself.  When I wasn’t getting my air turned off by my instructor or lugging my 170 lb. classmate unto the shore, I got some fun dives in.

Green turtles and juvenile Caribbean reef sharks are very common sights while diving in SXM.  The guy in the video with the big camera is Jef, one of the owners of the shop.

Southern Stingrays are also a very common sight on these dives.

Southern Stingrays are also a very common sight on these dives.

I got 10 dives in for the week, including my first night dive, which was a very cool experience.  Many of the critters are more active once the sun goes down.  It’s pretty hilarious to see lobsters scooting across the bottom of the ocean floor.  We started the dive at dusk, so it got dark while we were already underwater.  My favorite part was the phytoplankton.  If we all turned our flashlights off and moved our arms and legs around, we could create a pixie dust type situation by irritating the phytoplankton.  Having time off makes me feel like Peter Pan and this dive made me feel like Tinkerbell.

 

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Next 2 stops in November 2013

11/19-11/21 I went to Rochester, NY for some girl time with my friend Erica.

Here are her girls being squirrely on the kitchen counter.

Here are her girls being squirrely on the kitchen counter.

The sea lion videos were a hit with the junior set.

11/24-11/30 we went to Florida for my mom’s birthday and Thanksgiving.

We took a day trip to Blue Springs State Park to look for manatees.

It's the largest spring along the St. John river.  The manatees are there during the winter months.

It’s the largest spring along the St. John river. The manatees are there during the winter months.

We did some fishing along the Intracoastal.  This is the red fish I caught.  We fried it and it was pretty tasty.

We did some fishing along the Intracoastal. This is the red fish I caught. We fried it and it was pretty tasty.

I saw my first swimming raccoon.  Growing up, these things only came out at night, unless they were rabid.

I saw my first swimming raccoon. Growing up, these things only came out at night, unless they were rabid.

Here he is again, annoyed that I interrupted his shellfish eating session.

Here he is again, annoyed that I interrupted his shellfish eating session.

We also did some fishing off the pier at my folks' place.  Here is a skate my Uncle caught.

We also did some fishing off the pier at my folks’ place. Here is a skate my Uncle caught.

We also managed to bring in the world's smallest flounder.

We also managed to bring in the world’s smallest flounder.

Any Thanksgiving where fish is consumed instead of turkey is good with me.

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Kickoff Adventure – Girls Weekend October 17-22, 2013

The official transition for ABV was 10/1/13, and after spending a few weeks helping out, it was time to get the party started.

Sarah, Casey, Carroll and I have known each other since kindergarten, and we’ve shared many milestones together.  Here we are when we turned 30:

we are 30 better

“Clematis by Night” in West Palm Beach, FL (10/2008). Thanks, cousin Pete, for taking us out.

How is your calendar math?  Figure out what we were celebrating this time around?

Note how we are in the same orientation.  This was not planned (Steamboat, CO 10/2013).

Note how we are in the same orientation. This was not planned (Steamboat, CO 10/2013).

Casey lives in Golden, CO, so that was the first stop for the NYC girls.

This is literally Casey's backyard.  I get why she lives there.

This is literally Casey’s backyard. I get why she lives there.

We were there for some of the first snowfall of the season.  Should have bought that early bird ski pass after all.

We were there for some of the first snowfall of the season. Should have bought that early bird ski pass after all.

Next stop was Breckenridge, to meet up with Carroll.  After some yoga and a night on the town, we made our way to Steamboat, where we had a surprise in store for Sarah.

You know you're in a good place when you can see the ski mountain from downtown.

You know you’re in a good place when you can see the ski mountain from downtown.

Fish Creek Falls; super close in downtown Steamboat.  We got a beautiful day for a hike.

Fish Creek Falls; super close in downtown Steamboat. We got a beautiful day for a hike.

We led Sarah to a bridge in front of a waterfall where we had arranged for Mike to be waiting with a proposal.

We led Sarah to a bridge in front of a waterfall where we had arranged for Mike to be waiting with a proposal.

We got her good!  The only person who might have been more surprised was the dude in the red sweatshirt.

We got her good! The only person who might have been more surprised was the dude in the red sweatshirt.

The happy couple.  We'd all be together again for the wedding 7 months later.  Stay tuned.

The happy couple. We’d all be together again for the wedding 7 months later. Stay tuned.

This is where we stayed.  One of the best motel logos I've ever seen.

This is where we stayed. One of the best motel logos I’ve ever seen.

Some fun nightlife to be found in Steamboat.  Seek out the 80s cover band if you want to get your dance on.  We met up with Chris, another Elmira transplant in Colorado.

Some fun nightlife to be found in Steamboat. Seek out the 80s cover band if you want to get your dance on. We met up with Chris, another Elmira transplant in Colorado.

Our next stop was Strawberry Park Hot Springs.

Our next stop was Strawberry Park Hot Springs.

We spent the night in this little gem.

We spent the night in this little gem.

This was the downstairs of the cabin.  Nice and cozy.

This was the downstairs of the cabin. Nice and cozy.

Casey and I slept upstairs.  I found the cabin much less charming in the middle of the night when the mice were running around inside the walls above the bed and pooping on us.

Casey and I slept upstairs. I found the cabin much less charming in the middle of the night when the mice were running around inside the walls above the bed and pooping on us.

Cheers to our next adventure!

 

 

 

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