6.29.2011

happy opening day to the aloha camps! i couldn't help but think of the lucky kids who packed their trunks and arrived in fairlee, vt today for a transformational summer experience. and of course, of the counselors (many of whom are dear to me) who are fortunate enough to have arranged their life to put them in fairlee for the summer- ready for adventure, community, growth & fun. this is the first summer i will have spent in vermont that did not include a session or entire summer in fairlee since 1994. it has now been 4 years since i last worked at aloha, so i often think i've distanced myself from thinking through each day on the lake and what might be going on, but i'm sure being only an hour away will make it a bit different this summer. i'm thankful for all that aloha has brought into my life.
here's last summer's opening day post.

6.27.2011

466.

this post is my 466th post. completely random number to note, i know. but i saw it coming, and smiled...

many of my favorite steamboat moments took place at  a lovely place called 466 cherry drive. i probably spent about as much time at cherry as i did at work, or at the gym. at times it seemed like i was there even more than i was at my own home, as there was always delicious food to grill, games to play, a fire in the wood stove, movies to watch, the perfect sunset view over downtown, drinks to consume, couches to snuggle into, and most of all- really wonderful people to enjoy. i saw a bit of turnover in residents of the three bedrooms over the past couple years, but several of my very best steamboat friends have called this place home.

so, post number 466 is dedicated to my boys. tj, torre, schmeltz, mark, jg (and chuck and rory too!)- cheers.


466 cherry. and lawn games.

view over town.


bbq fun.

holiday cookie decorating.

schmeltz & olie



past & present cherry boys.

shenanigans.


my favorite view.

many a moment spent in the kitchen with these crazy kids.

6.26.2011

sunday wisdom.

"If I had my life to live over, I'd try to make more mistakes next time. I'd be less inhabited. I'd be more relaxed than I've been on this trip. There would be very few things that I would take seriously, especially myself. I'd be sillier. I'd take more chances. I'd climb more mountains, swim more rivers, and watch more sunsets. I'd eat more ice cream and less beans. I'd have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I'm one of those people who lives prophylactically and sensibly and sanely, hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I've had my moments and if I had it to do over again, I'd have more of them. In fact, I'd try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many light years ahead of each day. I've been one of those people who never go anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a gargle, a raincoat and a parachute.

If I had it to do over again, I'd go places and do things and travel lighter than I did this trip. If I had my life to live over, I'd start barefooted in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I'd play hooky more. I wouldn't make such good grades, except by accident. I'd ride on more merry-go-rounds. And, I'd pick more daisies."

-Nadine Stair

6.25.2011

moving day.

today we are making this our home. won't you come over to visit us?


6.24.2011


6.22.2011

"And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer." 
— F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

6.21.2011

summer solstice.

i love summer. i love the sun, the green trees, the thick vermont forests, the open colorado aspen fields, the smell of charcoal grilling, the crackling of bonfires. i love hiking, biking, swimming and boating. i love bare feet, sundresses, tank tops. i love sand in my toes, sun on my shoulders. i love the starry nights, the cool summer breeze, and i love daylight.

oh yes. i love daylight.

and so tonight, on the summer solstice, i give thanks for the light.

rewind.

let's take a quick pause and rewind a few days, and at the same time, a few years. i've mentioned that i attended my five-year vassar reunion a couple of weekends ago. it was a very interesting weekend mixing past & present, interacting with classmates and old friends, and reflecting on my time as a student there.

1. i've really fallen out of touch with my friends from college. having the opportunity to spend time back in the original setting...primarily with annie & liz & rachel, who were my 'crew girls', and with emma, who was my kindred sister,  was lovely. these were the people who were the key players in my days at vassar- in addition to my freshman roommate, kim, and the many incredible men and women who rowed with me each morning. 

the crew girls on the quad

e-squared
2. the more time i spend thinking about college, the more i realize that my college experience was far from average. my entire college experience took place on the hudson river, and in the vassar library. i had two relationships, both of which were long-distance. sure, i went to the occasional party and did other college-y things. but i woke up at 5am every morning. for months on end. the only other students i saw at that time were those up writing a paper, sleepily using the bathroom, or getting home from a raging night out. i learned how to be a true athlete, how to train my body mentally and physically to be stronger than i believed possible. i worked through injuries, and spent more weekends traveling to races than i did enjoying my classmates on campus. i knew, and often complained, about this life & how challenging it was, and how much i was missing out on. but looking back, i know that my experience on the crew team was far more memorable than anything else i could imagine. 
the boathouse

my rowing strength

liz on the hudson
really beautiful library.
3. i was incredibly blessed to go to vassar college. being back on campus was a quick reminder of what a beautiful place it is, and i was also reminded how easy students at a liberal arts college have it. yes, you learn a lot and are challenged in many ways, but it is a bubble. a very pretty bubble. 

incredible tree. favorite bench.

vassar love.
5. i originally didn't have a lot of interest in vassar, in part because my grandmother went there (and also because i never thought i would be able to get in!). evidently that was a very teenage-way of thinking, and now ten years later, sharing vassar with my grandmother was such a special connection for us. as i reflect back on my decision to go to vassar, i know with certainty that the day my grandmother watched me graduate was one of the happiest of her life. i wouldn't give that up for anything. our relationship continued to strengthen in my years following college, and being back on campus --and particularly staying in her old dorm-- meant that my heart was full of love for her. 


6.19.2011

sunday gratitude.

full of gratitude for:
the most beautiful colorado-like blue sky, a heavenly breeze, my favorite flannel & coffee on the deck to start the day, a signed lease on a beautiful apartment, quivering tree leaves, the-perfect-blue paint for refurbishing dressers, leftover red curry, chacos, homemade ice cream, a sundress, three straight weeks of seeing people i love, being the inspiration for a friend's new happiness blog, new playlists, dipping my toes in lake morey, wheat beers, old reggae music, a bit of solo time, squats & should presses & bicycle crunches, and a loving father whose company i get to enjoy every day (and especially today!).

6.16.2011

old friends = the best. 
nothing like a sweet summer night catching up with a friend of 20+ years to send me to sleep with a smile on my face, feeling thankful & happy. 



6.15.2011

i have a lovely stories to share-- a booked weekend in poughkeepsie reconnecting with my college girls, two nights in a row with old friends in montpelier... my heart feels nourished with the comfort of loved ones who know me well. i have been doing so much laughing, talking & singing that i lost my voice after reunion, and three days later it is just barely returning.

i may be back with said stories.
i may not, tonight. i'm excited for a quiet night.

in the meantime, i'm feeling calm and relaxed after a day spent working 1/2 from home, a lovely yoga class, a perfectly blue sky, and a glass of wine on the deck.

life is good.

Life is a Practice in Being Human

Life is a Practice in Being Human:

Relax in the knowledge of your inherent goodness.
Relax in the knowledge that no person or supreme being expects you to be perfect.
Practice gentleness and compassion towards yourself and others.
Appreciate the ordinary of every day living.
Accept the reality of what is- not what you would prefer or what didn't happen.
Forgive your mistakes and the mistakes of others.
Acknowledge your deep connection to all beings.
Open to all possibilities.
Love, be kind, be of service.
Practice life- that's all there is.


(author unknown)

6.14.2011

oh hello. have you been looking for me?

lots to say about reunion & such, but i'm a tad busy at the moment catching up with a couple of my lifelong friends who happen to be back in vermont for a few short days. i'm also a bit booked up with work, catching up on sleep (turns out i'm way too old for the college scene), and trying to find my voice. literally. i lost it in the middle of belting 'don't stop believin' after hours of talking loudly catching up with college pals.

so in the meantime, i leave you with this lovely site. i used to visit it daily. i haven't actually stopped by it in months, but i so appreciate how the people who post can say so much with one single image & a few sweet words.

enjoy it here. 

6.10.2011

poughkeepsie bound.

happy weekend, my lovelies. i hope your days are full of sunshine & fun.

i'm off to my college reunion this weekend. i wasn't planning to go, but i'm looking forward to reconnecting with many of the lovely people i spent 4 years learning, laughing, exploring & rowing with in poughkeepsie. i think i took my college time for granted, and perhaps never fully appreciated the influence my time at vassar affected myself as a person and how i have chosen to live my life.  experiences like my nols course & summers at aloha stand out as my "life-changing experiences" but in reality, each semester at vassar taught me new things about myself, the world at large, and my relationships.  here's hoping being back on the campus is a refreshing reminder.

what are you doing this weekend?

6.09.2011

a reunion faraway

last weekend i headed down to woodstock, vt to meet up with some camp friends. a bunch of the crew was running the covered bridges half marathon, and the rest of us were the cheering squad. we had a great laugh over making signs and strategically placing them along the race course. our friends rocked the race, and not surprisingly, there ended up being many more aloha folks both on the racecourse and spectating. the highlight of which was nancy pennell, who deserves a post all of her own. she was the director of aloha for all of my summers there, and has influenced thousands of lives. literally. being among camp friends, whether ones i have known for years, or ones i have just met, is always a wonderful occasion. 

here are a few shots of the weekend. 

matching fleeces.

running friends.

enthusiastically running friends (though my favorite is the sister on the right cheering. she is also my former camper). 

aloha runners

the majority of the aloha representation!

a sign i crafted for the race course. nancy's daughter-in-law saw it on the course and thought nancy herself had posted it. ha!

back at sisterbear's abode, grilling up lunch.

old friends.

sisterbear's family has an incredible house back in the hills of woodstock. i've enjoyed several days off from camp there, winter ski stops, and have some truly special memories connected to my time there. 

enjoy the view...


holy humid.

i knew that upon moving back to vermont i'd have some weather adjustments. it wasn't until after i had arrived here that i learned that vermont is the second cloudiest state in the country. good thing i didn't know that before i left colorado, the state with 300 days of sunshine annually.

i knew it would rain in the winter, which it did, promptly upon my arrival in march.

i knew it would snow in may, which it did.

it also rained for just about every day in between. i know this is a national problem right now, with tornadoes and flooding spread across the country. so i just keep telling myself, it doesn't always rain this much in vermont.

but i knew all along that it would be humid. humidity is something i was spared for my five years in colorado. sure, it got hot, and wow, was that sun powerful, but the heat was dry and manageable.

humidity and i have officially re-introduced ourselves. we met in the middle of the night as i tossed and turned with my sheet, double fans blowing, as i swore i was moving back to colorado next week and feared for the summer in our second story apartment.

i woke up bleary-eyed and sweaty. i'm not moving back to colorado next week (sorry, my colorado peeps). our second story apartment will be manageable. my mother assures me that we don't always have 90-something percent humidity. i'm going to take on the humidity day by day. i'm going to swim as much as i possibly can, and eat ice cream like you wouldn't believe.

in the meantime, i'll be rejuvenating myself with iced coffee & dancing to dispatch's new music at my desk. what better way to get a fresh start on the day?

6.08.2011

the joys of today.

today:

  • it was the most humid & hot day yet. hello, serious summer. 
  • ice cubes in my coffee, even at 7:30 am
  • the freshest strawberries topped with vanilla greek yogurt
  • a simple sundress
  • working from home! 
  • creating an upright desk at home!
  • having my working hours filled with the soundtracks of bon iver, citizen cope, the duhks & crooked still. it's been a long time since i've listened to either the duhks or citizen cope. it's amazing how a certain song can transport you back in time to another life, place or moment. 
  • leftover thai on the deck beneath the sun umbrella. with my mother. 
  • legitimate productivity on the work front (and two loads of laundry!)
  • a sweaty cardio & core workout (but no yoga)
  • an extra sweaty walk back up the hill
  • delicious dinner: sweet potatoes, fresh salad, grilled pork chops, and local bread & cheese
  • a trip down to water our garden & plant basil  and sugar snap peas. 
  • i wanted to go swimming. 

6.07.2011

sitting won't kill me!

in case you haven't heard, "sitting will kill you." it was "breaking" (and perhaps obvious?) news this spring.

as an indirect result of this news, and for a variety of other reasons, i got to have my work station moved to an upright work station. my desk is the perfect height for me to stand at it, and i also have a tall chair to use to sit at it. since the moment it was made upright, i've been in love with it. still not in love with my cubicle, but i love the option to stand. i usually go back and forth throughout the day, and most recently i've started to do plank position while i read emails from time to time.

anyway. today was a huge accomplishment. i stood ALL DAY. no sitting, whatsoever. by the end of the day, my feet were a bit tired, but overall i felt good!

maybe i'll survive after all. 

i feel happy of myself.



adorable, no?

6.06.2011

"i was waiting for such a long time, she said. i thought you forgot. it's hard to forget, i said, when there is such an empty space when you are gone."
--storypeople

6.05.2011

friday.

friday was a delightful day-- two meetings in waterbury, one of which took place in little river state park. it was my first quality time back in the thick woods of vermont, deep with ferns & moss, roots & rocks, and the leaves of maple, oak, birch & pine. the morning was chilly & clear, and the earth smelled delicious.


i spent the rest of the day working from home, and then headed up north to see the avett brothers. it was a perfect night of marvelous music and delightful company.

i bought the tickets when i was still living in steamboat, dreaming of my new life in vermont, and summertime, and i actually didn't know if the day would ever come. it's amazing to think that i'm really here now, and that although it was a cold night on friday, summer indeed has arrived. it was the first grand adventure of jenna & alex paired with eliza & brett in all of our new life here (with a fabulous side of kim & dave-- happy birthday kiki!!)-- and it was evident that there will be many many more.

6.04.2011

Local Foods

Love these reminders about how to support our local foods movement. This is where I'll be going today to support MY local growers!

  1. Vote with your wallet. It sounds simple, but if local foods and community matter to you, then buy local and support the businesses and farmers nearby. And that doesn't just mean food; supporting local businesses of all types (books, clothes, toys....) will help build a local economy that supports farmers too.
  2. Become a food citizen. (Don't JUST vote with your pocketbook) Get involved. Know what you're buying and eating. Make conscious choices. Start organizing a local committee or food council and advocate for policy changes at the local, statewide, or national levels.
  3. Build a vision. It's one thing to bash the industrial food system, but it might be more compelling to show how much good a local food system can do. Make it clear what we're working for.
  4. Erase the lines. Everyone eats. This is not about liberals or conservatives, the wealthy or the poor. Reach out to people who are different than you and who might not naturally be drawn to the local foods movement - they should all have a say in what they're eating. 
  5. Get connected. Local foods projects and organizations are springing up all over the country. 

6.03.2011

the courage to love.

Interesting article by Jonathan Franzen from the NYT about technology, like (in the facebook sense), love & more. Adapted from a graduation speech by the author. Click here to read the full piece, or read parts below:

"If you dedicate your existence to being likable, however, and if you adopt whatever cool persona is necessary to make it happen, it suggests that you’ve despaired of being loved for who you really are. And if you succeed in manipulating other people into liking you, it will be hard not to feel, at some level, contempt for those people, because they’ve fallen for your shtick. You may find yourself becoming depressed, or alcoholic, or, if you’re Donald Trump, running for president (and then quitting).

Consumer technology products would never do anything this unattractive, because they aren’t people. They are, however, great allies and enablers of narcissism. Alongside their built-in eagerness to be liked is a built-in eagerness to reflect well on us. Our lives look a lot more interesting when they’re filtered through the sexy Facebook interface. We star in our own movies, we photograph ourselves incessantly, we click the mouse and a machine confirms our sense of mastery.
And, since our technology is really just an extension of ourselves, we don’t have to have contempt for its manipulability in the way we might with actual people. It’s all one big endless loop. We like the mirror and the mirror likes us. To friend a person is merely to include the person in our private hall of flattering mirrors.
I may be overstating the case, a little bit. Very probably, you’re sick to death of hearing social media disrespected by cranky 51-year-olds. My aim here is mainly to set up a contrast between the narcissistic tendencies of technology and the problem of actual love. My friend Alice Sebold likes to talk about “getting down in the pit and loving somebody.” She has in mind the dirt that love inevitably splatters on the mirror of our self-regard.
The simple fact of the matter is that trying to be perfectly likable is incompatible with loving relationships. Sooner or later, for example, you’re going to find yourself in a hideous, screaming fight, and you’ll hear coming out of your mouth things that you yourself don’t like at all, things that shatter your self-image as a fair, kind, cool, attractive, in-control, funny, likable person. Something realer than likability has come out in you, and suddenly you’re having an actual life.
Suddenly there’s a real choice to be made, not a fake consumer choice between a BlackBerry and an iPhone, but a question: Do I love this person? And, for the other person, does this person love me?
There is no such thing as a person whose real self you like every particle of. This is why a world of liking is ultimately a lie. But there is such a thing as a person whose real self you love every particle of. And this is why love is such an existential threat to the techno-consumerist order: it exposes the lie.
This is not to say that love is only about fighting. Love is about bottomless empathy, born out of the heart’s revelation that another person is every bit as real as you are. And this is why love, as I understand it, is always specific. Trying to love all of humanity may be a worthy endeavor, but, in a funny way, it keeps the focus on the self, on the self’s own moral or spiritual well-being. Whereas, to love a specific person, and to identify with his or her struggles and joys as if they were your own, you have to surrender some of your self.
The big risk here, of course, is rejection. We can all handle being disliked now and then, because there’s such an infinitely big pool of potential likers. But to expose your whole self, not just the likable surface, and to have it rejected, can be catastrophically painful. The prospect of pain generally, the pain of loss, of breakup, of death, is what makes it so tempting to avoid love and stay safely in the world of liking.
And yet pain hurts but it doesn’t kill. When you consider the alternative — an anesthetized dream of self-sufficiency, abetted by technology — pain emerges as the natural product and natural indicator of being alive in a resistant world. To go through a life painlessly is to have not lived. Even just to say to yourself, “Oh, I’ll get to that love and pain stuff later, maybe in my 30s” is to consign yourself to 10 years of merely taking up space on the planet and burning up its resources. Of being (and I mean this in the most damning sense of the word) a consumer.
.......
Which is what love will do to a person. Because the fundamental fact about all of us is that we’re alive for a while but will die before long. This fact is the real root cause of all our anger and pain and despair. And you can either run from this fact or, by way of love, you can embrace it.
When you stay in your room and rage or sneer or shrug your shoulders, as I did for many years, the world and its problems are impossibly daunting. But when you go out and put yourself in real relation to real people, or even just real animals, there’s a very real danger that you might love some of them.
And who knows what might happen to you then?"

6.02.2011

yum.

we had my favorite stripe salad for dinner tonight. i hadn't had it since last august-- it's such a summer salad. my mom aptly called it the california salad, and i think that might stick! we added avocado to the mix, and used corn cut freshly off the cob. yummm.

recipe can always be found on this old post. 

bouncy balls.

did you ever see this ad? apparently i missed it. and now i love it.