Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Weekend getaway

When Mike asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year, I knew I could pretty much ask for anything. After all, he's going to Africa in November. And while I'm sure I'd not be unhappy with another spinning wheel or a bigger motorcycle or a freshly repainted car, I found that this year, all I wanted to do was spend time with the one I love. So, we booked a weekend at the Apple Valley Inn.

Mike met me at my library around 4pm on Friday and we drove a non-highway route to North Jersey. I'd debated renting a car because of predicted rain, but in the end, we took the Ghia on her first long-distance trip. The drive up was a little anxiety-inducing - scattered rain showers, chance of hail, rush hour traffic, and a prone-to-leaking-and-rusting vintage VW. We made it, though, and were greeted by a beautiful inn and room:

Lights at night

Cameo Room

After what seemed like an 8-course breakfast, the next day we headed out for some local sight-seeing. First up: Warwick Valley Winery. We'd stopped here on the way back from Rhinebeck last year, but stayed long enough to park the car because it was so incredibly crowded. That's what you get, I suppose, when you visit a winery/apple orchard at the height of the season. This time, though, we were there as the place opened and were joined by a Sangria Tour. The tour group had scheduled a private tasting, so we had the room to ourselves.

Selecting 6

We each tasted 6 different wines and hard ciders before ponying up and tasting a few brandies. Then, we shopped! We showed some restraint, coming away with just over a dozen bottles of wine, cider, and brandy. As we were checking out, I spied a bucket labeled BOCCE. I nudged Mike and gave him the eye, causing him to nearly drop our basket of bottled goods - the man loves him some bocce. So, we rented a bucket and headed up to the courts.

I had an initial good showing: the score after round 1 was 4-0.

Mike's form
But my beginner's luck was no match for Mike's skill....

Round 2 of bocce
End result: 12-4 and 12-7, both to Mike.

We headed back to the inn after lunch and took naps, sat by the creek, read, and generally did absolutely nothing - it was glorious.


Then, we headed out for a nostalgic treat: a movie at the nearby drive-in theater!

Drive-in movies
We saw The Hangover, which was much funnier than I expected.

Sunday, we had another massive breakfast and then headed back into Warwick to play a round of disc golf. I'm by far no good at the damn sport, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy it. Here I am skipping back after going way off the fairway:

Incidentally, this reminds me of the old default XP wallpaper.

Eventually, our fantastic weekend away had to end - cats needed feeding, jobs needed working, and so on. We had time to stop at a general store for lunch, feasting on some good ol' Jersey tomatoes.

Lunch at the the Pochuck Valley General Store

All in all, this was one of the best weekends away. It was nice to be there and not have a schedule and Mike and I really got to unwind. We both would love to visit the Inn again - and given that there're probably a dozen local things we didn't do this time around, we shouldn't have any problems justifying another trip!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Knocking at my cellar door

On sunny afternoons, when the laundry is sitting in post-apocolyptic piles and the dishes are "soaking" (a trick I learned as a kid as a way to get out of doing dishes for an hour or so - "But MOM! They're soaking!!!"), I take the spinning wheel out on the deck. Sometimes, Chico comes outside with me - for as grumpy as he is, he can be rather content to just have a sunny spot on the deck. Sometimes, I'm joined by a member of the Revolution:

This guy is Homicidal Squirrel, Jr. Or, maybe the Third, Esq. It's not like he provides identification outside of his aggressive chittering and stunts.

Recently, Penelope's been wanting to join me on the deck for some outdoor adventures. We actually did let her out a few weeks ago, assuming she'd be occupied for a bit with all the new stuff to smell and rub her face on. No sooner had we let her out, though, and she made a beeline for the neighbors' deck. After much coaxing, Mike finally threw his arms up and proceeded to climb over our deck rail to our neighbors' deck. He was tired and coming off the adrenaline rush of having completed his first triathlon, and really wasn't up for wrestling with a little cat. I guess Penny picked up on that, because as soon as he was between the two decks, she frolicked back over to home, where I scooped her up and deposited her back in the house.

Since then, as soon as the back door opens, Penelope's RIGHT THERE, hoping to escape.

Who could this be?
Now, who could this be?

The damn feline trollop gets so worked up about the possibility of coming outside in the outside world where there is outside air and outside stuff, that she gets at least one claw stuck in the storm door EVERY time she begs to come out. This, invariably, cracks me up, and I leave her stuck, one paw raised as if in some weird person-to-cat game of Mother, May I? until I take pity on her and help get her free. Usually, she's only hung up for 10 seconds - I'm fairly frightened she might freak out and damage her claws if left in the stuck position longer, BUT I also want to give her a chance to free herself - you'd think since she's done this manuever enough times, she'd have figured out a way to free herself.

My creation
Oh, I know who it is! Penelope!

Next up: our getaway weekend!