life after sandy

Hurricane Sandy and I now have a one week relationship.  It started last Wednesday down in the Dominican Republic.  We were touring a school that the mission I was down there with ran when the rains came.  Monsoon like white sheets of driving rain.  The noise was deafening on the metal roof and the streets were almost instantly flooded.  We spent the next day and a half trapped in our hotel  due to flooding, wind, downed trees, and overflowing septics. Continue reading “life after sandy”

blue moon and the jersey shore

Ever have one of those days where everything is perfect?  The weather, the company, the location, and activities.  You look back at the end of the day, tired and happy, and think “wow, this is a day I will always have with me!  This is a day that makes all the difficult things of life worth it.”  As much as we would like to, these days cannot be planned.  They just happen organically.  That’s part of what makes the day so special; you just can’t put a finger on exactly how it happened or even why it ended up being so unique.  It will never be recreated other than in your mind again and again during the mundane or hard times in life. Continue reading “blue moon and the jersey shore”

everybody loves a state fair

state fair

It’s that time of year again.  Time for the State Fair.  Every year the first week of August, the fair comes to town.  Every year we go to the fair.  Every year it’s exactly the same.  But you know what, every year we have a great time!  There’s something about the familiarity that is appealing.  Your life may have changed this year,things may be different, but as soon as you step onto the fairgrounds you are surrounded by the sights, sounds, and smells that you remember from last year. Continue reading “everybody loves a state fair”

addicted to triathlon

I think I am addicted to triathlon!  I just completed two triathlons over the past two weekends and I’m ready for more!  And I want to recruit any and everyone to do them with me.  You too!

Last weekend we had to bring my son up to camp in the Adirondacks and, while I was looking for a place to stay, I stumbled across the Piseco Lake Triathlon.   It was nearby and I thought, why not, and signed up 4 days before the race.  I’m so glad I did because it was a fun laid back race!   The morning was gorgeous, cool and sunny with fog in the valleys.  We all started together in the lake; there were no heats.  It was a quick start, a couple of announcements and suddenly it was time to swim.   Continue reading “addicted to triathlon”

lessons learned on the delaware

There’s no better place to be on a hot July day then on the water.  It’s been a hot summer so far and we have spent many days in swimming pools and lakes, swimming the day away.  My (spoiled) kids were beginning to become bored with swimming, so we decided to try something different- a trip down the Delaware River.  We decided to go on a 6 mile float down the Delaware with some friends.   The trip taught us some valuable lessons that I figured I would share. Continue reading “lessons learned on the delaware”

pheasant drive bys and aggressive hiking for the non-rich

Are there any places in your town that you pass by on a regular basis that you would love to see more of but it is private or inaccessible?  The type of place that promises beauty and fun on the inside but you are stuck on the outside because you are not one of the privileged!  You are not a member.

There’s a place like that near me, it’s called Hudson Farm.  I drive by this private hunt club every once in a while and I can tell by the property that I can see from the road that it is a beautiful spot!  But it is private.  You have to be a member to use the property and in order to become a member you have to pay and in order to pay the membership fee you have to be filthy rich.  In fact I’m pretty sure that’s a question on the application, “Are you filthy rich?  Please circle yes or no.”  So, I look at it from the outside and wonder about the inside.  As my friend who lives down the road from the club put it, the only hunting she can ever expect to do there is hit an escapee pheasant with her car!

Then, last week, my friend called me up and said that the farm was actually going to be open to the public on Saturday!  Continue reading “pheasant drive bys and aggressive hiking for the non-rich”

our greatest fear

I live in Northern New Jersey.  If these words bring to mind crowded cities, pavement, and pollution, then you do not know northern NJ.  Where I live instead is rolling hills, dairy farms, lake communities, and lots and lots of wildlife.  More wildlife than you can imagine!  We have so many deer that they are only considered a nuisance because they eat all of your plants.  Everyone is searching for that “deer proof” plant for the backyard, but it really doesn’t exist.  We also routinely see (along with your typical groundhog/skunk/raccoon/rodents) turkey, owl, fox, mountain lion, and black bear.  Now, people do still comment when they see a black bear, but they are very common and another nuisance because of how often they get into your garbage.  With all of this wildlife, there is bound to be one that everyone fears, and there is, but is not what you think! Continue reading “our greatest fear”

we’re not lost, really…

This past Sunday we decided to go on a short hike with some friends.  It was a decent winter day and we were ready for a hike; it had been awhile.  The hike was at  Wildcat Ridge Hawk Watch, a 4.5 mile loop that would bring us through hills and valleys, past remnants of mining, and up to a lookout/hawk watch with great views of the surrounding area.  We met in the parking lot and on went the hats, gloves, and winter coats on top of the two or three layers of clothes I had already made the kids wear.  My husband just shook his head, but you can always take off layers…  Next we got out our Kelty backpack, ready to be used when our youngest got tired, and out came the items from our last hike: 5 rocks, a half empty water bottle, unidentifiable crumbs, and what I think was once a flower; either that or a dehydrated caterpillar.  We then packed it with the essentials: water, granola bars, space blanket, first aid kit, wipes, lighter, and a bag of toys for our geocaching.   I put the 30 pound, childless pack on and off we went on our nice little hike.  But it turns out we had more of an adventure than we bargained for. Continue reading “we’re not lost, really…”

New discoveries of the old

looking into camp buildings

Most days I drive the streets of the county I live in thinking of the day’s activities, where we need to go, how late we are running.  Always in a hurry, I give little thought about the surroundings I know so well.  I drive the kids to school, drive around for work, take the kids to their activities, all the while passing homes and farms and buildings and stores without notice.  When we go to a new location my eyes are open taking everything in; it’s all so new and exciting.  “I wonder what that building was originally used for?” or “Where could that trail lead?” or “How old is that house and who might have lived there?”.  But here in my own county I know have seen it all, heard it all, I know the history and events of the area.  I take the kids to a park and they run around in the open field, climb around on the monkey bars, my son plays hockey with his friends, we have a snack on a picnic table without a thought to what might have been there.  I guess if I would think about it, perhaps the playground was once a farmer’s field or a wealthy homeowner’s  property deeded to the town.  But who has the time to wonder about the history of a playground, I need to gather the kids into the car and hurry home to  make dinner!

But, I do love history and this past weekend while searching online for some information about a different possible adventure to take the kids on, I discovered the history of that exact park!  The one mentioned above that I have been to numerous times, talking to other moms while our kids run around and have fun.  They play and laugh and run on the same property where, sixty-some years ago, different children met, only their reason was much more sinister. Continue reading “New discoveries of the old”