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.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Freedom

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Freedom

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!

 

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Freedom

Just like the old days

Painting and sanding benches outside on a warm fall day. A bit less stressful than this time last year. It’s good to need more seats!

 

The end result. I love how the sun streams in the windows at brunch.

2 Comments

Filed under abv

Fall Sangria

A Thirsty Spirit is back after a summer hiatus.  Here are some food and beverage related summer highlights:

Image

This was our ABV 4th of July combo. Yep, that’s a blue beer. Our dog had miso cream cheese, scallions, and potato sticks.

Image

Checking out veraison at Red Tail Ridge at the end of July.

Image

Eating my weight in seafood on a trip to Northern Spain in August.

Image

Those Spaniards make a mean cafe con leche.

Image

The love for food over there is so strong that we were able to get this amazing looking (and delicious) breakfast at a gas station!

Image

And, of course, the wine and cocktails weren’t too shabby, either. This is a Negroni from one of Madrid’s classic cocktail bars, Museo Chicote.

Image

My favorite beverage of the trip, however, was cider. Here’s Noah practicing his pouring technique.

Image

My first US Open. Stocking up on cocktails during a rain delay. Thanks to the weather, I got to see Sharapova and Roddick in one day.

Image

Catching lunch in Montauk.

And, now to the point of this posting, Fall Sangria.  

Image

Corey made me a simple syrup with cinnamon, allspice, clove, nutmeg, star anise and fennel seed. He also cooked down apples, pears and cranberries with a little bit of sugar.

Image

I combined the fruit and the syrup with Chardonnay, white Port and lemon juice, and voila, Fall Sangria at ABV.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Rosé Sangria

Happy Summer, ya’ll!  It sure feels like it out there today.

I will admit to having never liked sangria in the past.  I feel the same way about mimosas, spritzes, etc. – I like my wine as it is.   That said, I thought sangria could be a refreshing addition to the summer menu at ABV.  Having never made sangria before, I scoured recipes online, ultimately combining a few, and adding my own twists.

Berry Rose Sangria, now available at ABV for $9 a glass

Berry Rosé Sangria
*1 cup water
* 1/2 cup sugar
*1/4 cup cassis (I used Finger Lakes Distilling)
*1 1/2 cups mixed berries (I used blueberries, raspberries and blackberries)
*1 bottle rosé (I used 750 ml Inman Family, Endless Crush, Olivet Grange Vineyard, CA 2010)
*juice from two lemons
*1/2 cup white port (I used Ferreira)

Combine the water, sugar and cassis and heat until the sugar dissolves.  You are basically making a tasty simple syrup.  Pour the syrup over the berries, then add the wine, the lemon juice and the port.  I have been using frozen berries and I’m getting great results.  They puff right up when the syrup is poured over them and they absorb a lot of flavor.  The first batch I let chill overnight, but this is not necessary.  The recipes I read said everything from serve immediately, to chill for an hour, to let sit overnight.  I’ve found the flavors come together pretty quickly.  We are serving it in a highball glass, over ice, topping it with club soda and garnishing it with a lemon-thyme orange wheel garnish.  Cheers!

Leave a comment

Filed under abv, Cocktails

Something is stirring indeed

Yeah, we’re scrappy, and we made it into the NYT!  Here is a permalink to the slideshow and article.

1 Comment

Filed under abv