Monday, July 28, 2008

Self Guided Tour, Fresh Pasta and a Rainy Game of UNO

What a great weekend. Saturday Jenn and I took a self-guided farm tour in Glastonbury. I'm really interested in finding some local produce and perhaps meat but want to check out the living conditions of the animals first. Our first stop was at Old Maids Farm in Glastonbury. The honor-system market was a bit disappointing but after some crazy lady started screaming to the farm-workers that they had customers (and Jenn and I lowered our heads in mortification) someone came over and eventually the farmer came over. I asked him about the eggs, the chickens and the produce. He gave me some quick info and pointed us to the chickens. So we headed over to the chickens who were, quite possibly some of the happiest and yummiest looking chickens ever. This is truly free ranging:

So we're looking and taking pictures and telling them that they'll soon be my dinner when the farmer comes around in this HUGE tractor and waves me over and tells me to climb up so I can see the turkeys. The turkeys live in this big giant pen where they eat seeds and bugs and grain (that's grown on the farm, shipped up to a turkey feed manufacturer and processed and then brought back). They run around and chase each other and as the farmer demonstrated, if you gobble at them, they will gobble back.

We then hit some standard G'bury farms: Roses, Dondero, Robbs (where we bought eggs), Belltown. Old Maids is the only certified organic, the rest were just yummy and wonderful. Lots of berry pickers!

Saturday night we had Jenna, Brian and Luke over for a feast (made by Dave)- homemade pasta, meat sauce and some non meat for Jenna. It was delicous and a great visit with the Serigneses. Really wonderful. Thanks Dave!

And Sunday, after the most amazing thunder and lightening storm I have ever experienced at 4:30 in the morning, Dave and I headed to Bev and Chris's place on the lake. It was a really great visit with them, though rainy. We had an intense and full-of-trash-talking game of UNO. Chris beat me out by 5 points from being the winner. And Dave and Bev competed for the highest score. Very fun. We're hoping to get a visit in with them (and the sunshine) sometime this summer.

What a great weekend. Man, this summer has been so incredibly relaxing. I'm just loving it!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Monthaversary (observed)

OOH! YAY. This is so exciting. Our monthaversary plans have to be observed today b/c yesterday Dave and I both had stuff to do. We had plans to sit outside and enjoy the summertime weather, but it's nasty out there today- humid, hurricane-like weather at times, raindrops the size of my head (ok, ok, that's a little bit of an exaggeration) so instead he suggested Barcelona or Max Fish! My, quite a step up from Eli Cannons, our original/outdoors plans. I'm thrilled!

I need to go home and change into something a bit nicer after work but whoo hoo! So very exciting. Ooh yay!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lake, Lake, Lake

What an amazing weekend we had! Wow. We are still truly enjoying the kitchen and celebrated our Houseaversary. But don't let me get ahead of myself

Friday we took off from work. We had a big lovely breakfast (cooked in our fab new kitchen) of left over pork tenderloin, onions and scrambled eggs, coffee (equal parts Starbucks French Roast and O'o Hawaiian Farm Organic Blend), cinnamon chip scones and toast con marmelada. Yum! Then we packed up a little picnic and headed to Crystal Lake in Ellington. This is a really lovely clear lake. There is a small beach the public can use for a small fee. There are trees that make shade on the beach and is just a lovely spot. We spent the day there, then on the way home, stopped to spend a ridiculous amount of money on lobsters for dinner. The guy had a heck of a time getting the the lobbies into the take-home bag but soon we were heading to our house with lobsters in tow. We also grabbed some snackie foods and dessert and enjoyed ourselves a little feast on the back, complete with prosecco. YUM. What a wonderful way to spend our houseaversary (one week late).

Saturday we woke up, did a few things and realized we enjoyed Crystal Lake so much on Friday that we decided to go again. We sat in the shade of the tree this time, to beat the heat, which was about 95 with about 95% humidity. WOW it was HOT this weekend. It was a lovely day spent at the lake again, lots of reading and some plans to make a vegetable garden next spring which is incredibly fun to me!

Sunday Jenn and I met for a giant breakfast and then headed to Bev and Chris's place on Pauchaug Lake. What a lovely lake. We laughed at Izzie's fear of swimming and enjoyed a well cooked lunch (thanks Chris). We took a lovely and relaxing boat trip with Chris's parents and then headed home.

This was exactly the weekend Dave and I hoped for. We specifically wanted to relax this summer and enjoy the area around us. It was amazing. We did very little work and got tons of relaxation in. What a wonderful weekend- ahhhh... summer in New England. LOVE IT!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Kitchen... (almost) done

Ok Ok, the kitchen, for the most part, is done! WHEW! The counters are in which was the nearly last step. They look AMAZING. I can't believe it's the same kitchen. I want to secretly wait until Wednesday/bookclub before I post, but I'm too proud of how amazing it looks. This is the before picture, again, in case you need to refer back and forth in wonder of if it's the same room. It is. I assure you. But looks so different. We're so happy. The finishing touches are to get the water working/sink/disposal/dishwasher, do some paint touch-ups and some final pieces of the backsplash and cabinets. Wow.

Ok, here's the after:

Crazy, huh? We are really happy with the outcome and can't wait to get the water flowing and back to normal Colleen-and-Dave way of life. Ooh la la.
Ok, enough of me drooling over these picts. Now COME TO OUR HOUSE SO I CAN COOK YOU DINNER!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Full week back...

Wow, my first full week back at work and it felt so long (5 whole days! How does anyone do it?!). Our cabinets are rescheduled to be installed tomorrow so hopefully our contractor will remember to come and disconnect our current counters/sink. He'll come back on Monday to attach/install the remaining items and then WE'RE DONE (I hope). This has been an amazingly stressful process and I'm thrilled to be done.

Yesterday was our House-aversary which was cute, eating on plastic plates and we cheersed our plastic cups too. Amazing it has been a year. And with the kitchen, wow, it looks so different. (picts soon).

I finished Belong to Me by Marisa De Los Santos last night. It was interesting and a little rough. The preceeding story called Love Walked In was beautifully written, hopeful and bright, just a wonderful story about how love exist in ways you might not have imagined. It was so amazing and in all my readings, I haven't re-read any book except that one. It was just as beautiful the second time. But Belong to Me was harsh- there were some ugly characters, some meanness and perhaps a bit too cold. I didn't love the characters like I did in Love Walked In. While some were the same, in Belong to Me the people were dislikable at times and I didn't like that. I would WILDLY recommend Love Walked In. Not sure I'd recommend Belong to Me, but happy I read it, even though it disappointed me. Now I'm on to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.

Meeting up with Diana and Scott and their little baby Isabelle tomorrow night in New Haven. They live in NYC and am so excited to get to spend some time with them. Maybe we'll bring our camera to take picts of little Izzy. Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Baby Bunnies!

So the bunny who wanted to make a nest in our front yard (you know, the one Dave was chasing OUT of our yard with a shovel) must have had babies recently. We saw a grownup bunny and a little tiny baby bunny (maybe 4 inches long) in our neighbors yard this morning. So cute and fuzzy. I'm so happy for the momma bunny and for Dave- but I'm sure this thought crossed his mind: Oh great, one more to contend with!

Kitchen is not done yet. We were supposed to have the counters installed today but there is a delay in the fabrication of the countertops. This is a huge bummer. We're also experiencing a plumbing issue which is scary and gross. We noticed a pretty steady leak in the basement that I'm sure was leaking all night long. And it seems like all our kitchen water/waste that went down the kitchen sink has ended up in our downstairs tub... our contractors working on it. :(

But the little baby bunny makes the day a beautiful one! Cute little bunny. Reminded me of one of my favorite books growing up where a grownup bunny goes to the doctor for a checkup and in the bottom corner of the book a little baby bunny (or was it perhaps a mouse) goes to the doctor too. So cute.

Monday, July 7, 2008

How Starbucks Saved My Life

I just finished this book and really enjoyed it. It's a great summertime read and was just absolutely perfect. The story was cute, sad at times but in the end, lovely. If you love starbucks, you should absolutely read this.
Happy 4th of July! Dave and I celebrated it by spending our day with Jenna and Brian, Max (their doggie) and Luke (their week-old son). He was enjoying the day and so did I. It was a really relaxing and wonderful day spent relaxing with friends. I am so impressed with Brian and Jenna and their knack at making things seem easy and natural. Luke seems like a sweet little baby and it makes me so excited to be around him.
We spent yesterday with my sister-in-law. That was fun too! Emmett, Kaye and Jameson were happy little munchkins playing at the park. Kaye really loves the swing and Dave is an excellent pusher. And Emmett is nearly as tall as I am. Can you believe it? He's not even 4 years old and he's probably as tall as a 5 or 6 year old. WOW, he's so big. Amazing.
Aside from that, Dave and I had a thrilling weekend of HouseHunters, Baseball, fireworks from our living room and getting back to cooking. While we don't have countertops and our sink is having serious drainage issues, we are back in business. It sure smelled stale in our house without the cooking odors. :) Looking forward to the final steps of our kitchen remodel. Counters are scheduled for installatioN (please be on time, please be on time) for Wednesday and the cleaners come Friday. And! It's our house-aversary on Thursday-1 year! Oh wow.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Hawaii Recap

Aloha! Wow, our trip was great. We arrived via San Francisco/Liz's wedding on Sunday afternoon. We grabbed or tough-as-nails jeep wrangler and off we were to our truly amazing hotel. It was perfect, just what we needed- on the beach, with a pool, bar, restaurant, big bed, etc. We pit-stopped in Lahina to get some water and a few other things. Monday we laid on the beach to challenge the 'spf' of any and all sunscreen. We lost. The sun is really strong and despite the breeze and even, at times, the sunshiny rain, we got burned. Dave worse than I, mine you could just see where the sunscreen got rubbed off. Dave was cooked. That night we have dinner in Lahaina and saw an amazing sunset (a theme throughout the trip). Tuesday was our surfing lesson day. We both got up and despite our co-lesson-taker getting bit by a fish (i'm not kidding) we all got up and rode some waves. Awesome.

Wednesday we decided to go to place called the O'o Farm. There are a few restaurants where some guy with the last name McDonald is the owner and Exec Chef. And he decided that he wanted to grow his own produce on the island, rather than buy from the mainland. So he started a farm and calls it O'o Farm (his restaurants are Pacific'o and I'o). So we took a tour of the farm, had a scrumptous meal. They were most excited about and offered for us to stick our noses in to take a whiff of their composting capabilities. I was most impressed with the coffee trees and am excited to have bought (and you think starbucks is expensive coffee) a pound of O'o farmed coffee. :) On the way home, we swung by Mt. Haleakala (though not for sunrise). It was a wonderful day!

Thursday, though, is the funniest and craziest. We planned to do the Road to Hana that day, which was described to us a windy narrow road to a little town called Hana. So we wake up early to beat the tourists and leave our room at about 6:30. Pack up the car and a picnic of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Dave begins backing out of our parking spot- our VERY VERY tight parking spot that someone in a pontiac parked way to close to us. And our front bumper must have just grabbed their back bumper and POP POP POP CRUNCH as Dave backs out of our spot we tear off the other car's bumper. That was followed by 'F*CK!' as loud as possible. Oh man. (see below)

So we sort it all out, tell hotel management and get on our way to Hana, though driving very carefully and quite timidly. Those who've done the Road to Hana know that being timid on that road is a bad mix. The road to Hana was amazing. People say it's about the journey, not the destination. But they don't mention that taking your time to (and past) Hana is wonderful but getting home isn't all that leisurely and beautiful. Ok, for those who've never done it. There is a cliff on one side of the road and mountains on the other. The road has hairpin curves all through it and the road is barely wide enough for two cars to be on it. There are places where only one car fits you need to wait for oncoming traffic to pass through. It takes you from the shore to the rainforests, to black sand beaches and waterfalls. It was beautiful. Truly amazing. Scary as hell. At the end are the Seven Sacred Pools (which actually aren't sacred- probably b/c all these unholy people have been swimming in them, and there's more like 20 pools, but it sounds nice and is breathtaking. This is a view of the ocean, looking out from the Seven Pools

Friday we decide to head out for breakfast and on our way out (I backed out of the parking spot) I noticed we had a semi-flat tire. Unbelievable. I got the Engineering crew to help me change the tire and we found a goodyear tire (Lahaina Tire) to help us fix the one with a nail in it. The lovely man did it for us for no charge. So wonderful. So sweet. It was great. So we went to breakfast, headed back to our hotel. We hung by the pools and appreciated the cloud cover we had to make the sun a bit less scary. We did some snorkling at Black Rock (which happened to be right at our hotel). And ate at Pacific'o (Chef McDonald and his farm). the meal was wonderful- I think every single one of the waitstaff and managers came over to introduce themselves to us and asked what we liked most about the trip to the farm (it was in their computer system that we'd done the farm tour). The biologist who gave us the tour of the farm was working at the restaurant that day as a host or something and kept bringing us extra glasses of wine etc ('on the house') We felt like celebrities! Just for taking a tour of a farm! Very cool. And then Saturday, off to Oakland. Oh man, what a trip. It was just amazing. Just truly wonderful. The part that made Hawaii so beautiful were the people. During our car ordeal, people were very helpful, the waitstaff everywhere was so friendly. Our surfing instructor is Dave's idol. He had a pretty sweet life, I admit. It's a wonder why more people don't move to Maui. Really. While floating in the waves one day we brought up the topic of retiring there. We'd have to save a lot lot lot more money but would be pretty amazing!

Ok, so that's our Hawaii recap. Amazing. Wonderful. Stress reducing. Just wonderful. I wish we were still there.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Aloha, my little Keikis

(Translation for you non-Hawaiian speaking folks: Hello my little babies/kiddies)

Hawaii was the most amazing and wonderous place. Wow, the people and the mindset and the way of living was EXACTLY what I needed. I was practically confessing my love for Mauians (is that how you say it?) by the end of the trip- in fact, I told the waiter how much I loved the people here.

But, our trip began with Liz's wedding at Sir Francis Drake in San Francisco. The hotel was awesome -including the slightly terrifying sound of someone screaming in the hallway- 'Don't hurt me, Please sir, don't hurt me. Help! Help!' I immediately called the operator and they dispatched security. As the screaming continued- 'Please sir, don't hurt me!' I peered out the door with the lock on and couldn' t see anything. So I sent out Dave to see if someone was in trouble (phone in hand and 91 dialed, ready to dial the remaining 1). He walked around the corner then put his hand up and backed away. Apparently the naked-as-a-jaybird man was being held down by three hotel security guards and the police were called. Police arrived, all the while the screaming continued, and the he was gone.

Liz's wedding was wonderful. The hotel was absolutely breathtaking as was the bride and groom. The reception was fun, the music was festive and the food was delicious. It was a wonderful wedding.

I realized I should stop and do this at home (yes, I blog from work) so I can add photos for the Hawaii post. So with that, I bid you another Aloha!