Archive for the ‘Love that dirty water!’ Category

My best life apparently includes ALL the wildlife.

June 17, 2021

Today was a rough day. Like, almost throw up from the stress of it all kind of rough. Because no one likes surprises. Especially stressy, tough surprises. And not those surprises over and over again.

Honestly, yous guys, I feel like Wile E. Coyote a bit, because just when I feel like I’m getting back on track, rebuilding my best life, feeling great about who I am and where I’m going (except for one or two pins I need to fall into place), and then… KABLOOEY!!!

But! When I woke up this morning, I pulled up my Girl Scout socks and told myself that anyone who can find a bald eagle in the wild – a bald eagle nest, even! – doesn’t have anything to worry about. She’ll manage.

Of all the inspirational things I tried to tell myself, that was the one that actually stuck to the wall.

Because you know what? I DID see a bald eagle – a bald eagle nest, even! – in the wild! I’ve seen a mature bald eagle, majestic, breathtaking, damn near miraculous honestly. And I’ve seen two fledglings still in the nest (…who i maybe thought were part of the tree at first. Shhh! -don’t tell!). The fledglings were ginormous; nearly the size of their mama. They all just sat there, occasionally preening. Not much ado about anything.

How crazy is that? I’m a city girl. I didn’t roam out of the city…well, maybe a little towards the suburbs as we roamed the Langolier pole path, and sat by the sides of swamps. By “we”, I mean one of my uncles took me. He used to be an avid hunter, and for the past 15 years or so, he’s changed fields and now photographs (and sells prints of) New England wildlife. I had gone to his house to vent to him and my aunt about the newest surprise stress, and after I finished unloading, my uncle asked: “Wanna go look for some eagles?”

“Uh – YES!!!!!” was my reply. I think I had my shoes on before he finished turning around.

I’ve been asking him him he finds all of these animals; I know there are tracking methods I could just study, but my uncle’s talents are beyond that. He just happens about all kinds of things, like he’s a woodland magnet, or maybe a Disney animator with a magic wand.

Whatever it was, we saw the mama (or papa) eagle with the two fledglings at the first pond. Then we went to check out the owl tree – sadly, nothing doing there. I’m glad we went though, because he’s been telling me to look in the tree in the town center. I drove there and there are twenty trees in the little triangle of park! The owl tree he meant? Is across the street in front of someone’s lawn. But he made up for it – we went rambling down backroads, seeing the squirrels the size of cats; a deer ran in front of our truck thankfully when we were crawling along; there were red-wing blackbirds; crows the size of eagles; an empty osprey nest; and then my proudest moment: I asked what the bump on top of a telephone pole thingy was, and it was an Osprey sleeping! Mrs. Monopoli would be so proud of me!

At the next place, which was next to an adorable old-timey cemetery a few towns over, one I’ve driven past a hundred times!, we saw osprey in their nest with wee ones; Great Blue Herons stalking fish in the shallows; other Great Blue Herons in nests (like apartments) with fledglings; paired swans; Canadian Geese; duckies; and even muskrats swimming around! And then, as if that wasn’t enough Disney wonderland to lift anyone’s spirits, he pointed out a doe that was walking through the woods on the opposite shore. See what I mean about how he’s a woodland creature magnet?

All of that buoeyed me today. I hope the thought of it helps someone else, too. I’ve given Uncle John a new list that includes pheasants, bobcats, and a black bear that’s a safe distance away. (If football has taught me nothing, it’s: be very, very specific with your requests to the Gods above.) Oooh, and pheasants – I should tell him there’s been an update. I can’t add porcupines or anything else until we check some off. But it’s okay – I’m keeping track.

And then it turned out the stressy thing went my way this morning and I have a month’s reprieve so I can show everyone that I really am trying to be the best Katie I can be. It just turns out that my action figure comes with a field guide and binoculars.

The girl went over the mountain…

June 14, 2021

It’s rainy together. Rainy and miserable. And to be honest: it’s kind of put me in a funk.

To be more honest, I started out having a bit of a Jonah day. I have some custody stuff that bubbled up over the weekend, and…. I keep making hard decisions and tough choices and wondering when the terrible, awful, no-good, very bad hurdles will stop showing up. I’m doing my best to build myself back up, but at some point… Man.

So! Because I’m having a bit of a moment, a bit of a day, I decided to post something that I did this week. Another thing that made me feel deep happiness: I reached the top of Mount Wachusett.

There are a ton of hiking trails, all of which I want to crawl into, and explore, and see wildlife. They’re the kind of trails that make me want to sing Girl Scout songs at the top of my voice. (But that would scare the wildlife and the hikers.) So I haven’t. Yet.

The pictures don’t do it justice; the views are phenomenal, even in all the haze. There are helpful signs at the top of the firepost-climby-tower thing. They show you which mountains are which, and where they’re located. Did you know that you can see Mt. Snow in Vermont? Or mountains and ridges in New Hampshire? Obviously you can see Mt. Manadnock. That bit that’s circled red in the picture? You can’t make it out as well as in person, but that’s the Boston skyline! It’s stunning!

I can make it over the mountain. I know, sometimes, that it seems like asking for help and getting things in order creates more of a problem that never seems to end. But this is the life I’m meant to be living, and if there’s a mountain in my way? Well, then there’s a mountain in my way. It only holds the power that you give it and allow it to have.

So I’m going to be sad if I need to be sad. But I’m also going to remember that I can go back to that mountain top at any time and remember that I can do it.

I can do it.

….the girl went over the mountain, because that’s what was next.

Chasing deer and owls and sunsets (oh my!).

June 9, 2021

I spent my evening at my cousins’ again – they leave tomorrow on their new adventure, and I’ve spent nearly every night this week at their house helping them get ready and just enjoying the excited vibe.

When I left, rather than head home, I banged a (figurative) left and drove through the backroads of the towns around me, chasing the idea of finding an owl or turtles or frogs crossing the road or a deer or any number of fun wildlife.

I saw turkeys, grazing on a hillside, but wild turkeys don’t even count anymore….even if I tweet “Turkeys.” every time.

I didn’t see any lynx or owls or deer on the backroads (though I did see a fawn cross the road ahead of my car when I was driving back towards home). Instead, I found this:

It’s not what I was looking for. But it’s just what I seemed to need. Don’tcha think?

Let’s go Red Sox (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)!

June 7, 2021

Is there anything better than seats on the first base line, in the early summer?

Hanging out with friends, good seats, frozen lemonades, sunglasses, goofy smiles, and that moment you learn you’re in the shade not the sun. Summer nights in the Woo!

I survived the Shorter Way Bridge!

June 4, 2021

Has anyone else developed a fear fascination with covered bridges since reading Joe Hill’s masterpiece N0S4A2? No? Just me? Huh.

While we were in Vermont, we got to explore the area around a covered bridge, one which perhaps wasn’t the Shorter Way Bridge that inspired the novel, but certainly created some vibes. We stopped to hike around the area, exploring streams, dammed up pools of water (where kids were happily splashing and playing as their parents kept watch), paths, shiny rocks, streaks of granite, pine trees, and (sadly) a lack of moose and bears.

But scary bridges? They had those in abundance! And by abundance, I perhaps mean just the one. Ahem.

It’s pretty, isn’t it? for all of its malevolent vibes. Everyone else thought it was quite lovely. That’s okay: I’m quite used to everyone thinking I’m bonkers. And to be honest, I’m quite grateful that it’s for “normal” things now. Nataly and I ran around having a blast looking for things that made our hearts happy – dandelion wishers to make the perfect slo-mo video, shiny rocks with bits of mica in them, pictures of the magic bridge that might help us discover lost things…

It was a fun trip! A tiny little excursion in the middle of the most relaxing, jam-packed three-day vacation ever.

And just to prove that the bridge isn’t even what I feared it might be, the superpowers to help Vic find “lost” things wasn’t working on Wednesday; I didn’t find my sanity or my girls.

So then that‘s alright now, isn’t it?

Look out, Vermont!

June 1, 2021

Guess who’s about to leave (at this godawful-early hour) on a road trip to Vermont?

I’m stoked! My cousin Jon invited me to go along with him and his wife, and then my Auntie Pam and Uncle Mike (Jon’s parents-ish) decided to come along – or were revealed to be coming along, your pick – and here we are at 6 a.m., having been up for two hours.

It was funny: you could see our adult-selves winning over our more basic-needs-selves last night when the grown-ups (Auntie Pam) asked us “kids” time we wanted to leave. The three of us locked eyes. It was a five-hour drive. We’re only there for three days and two nights. We have things we want to do. God-blame-it. Leave at 7 a.m. it is. And while I was originally planning on just staying last night at Jon & Nataly’s house, the cookout was earlier in the day and not at their house any more. So I’m being picked up along the way. Which is why I’m up this early.

But we do! have things to do. We’re stopping to drop off one of Uncle Mike’s paintings at a gallery. (My uncle is a bit of mid-to-really well-known plein-air artist; it’s pretty awesome.) Then we’re stopping at the Von Trapp family brewery… which may or may not be the name of it. But it is most definitely where I will be singing the Hills-Are-Alive songs. No, really. I have them all loaded on my phone, and even if I didn’t, I know them all by heart because that is my mum’s favorite movie in the whole wide world and the thing that brings me home quicker than any other memory.

While there, we have many, many walks and outings planned. My family loves a good ramble in the woods. Jon and I just aren’t allowed in the woods together unsupervised, a story which includes tent-sleeping, scary animals, and not telling grown-ups where you’re really sleeping for the night, but that’s a story for a different time. Speaking of, we just don’t learn our lessons, and Jon and I have some night-time excursions planned that everyone else noped their way out of. I just want to find wildlife!

It took me a minute to remember why, exactly. Other than, you know, seeing wildlife just being fun! and bringing out the little kids in us! My need to find an owl out in the wild, see a bat flying in the sky, see one of the bald eagles that have returned to the area, see a bear (in an environment in which I’m completely safe!) – it all started as a need for me to check things off my bucket list. Seeing a bald eagle was originally intended to be viewed in Alaska, but I adapt. Then others started getting added on. Oh! Moose! Mooses are definitely on my list.

What I didn’t know were on my list were wild turkeys. I was shocked beyond all measure when I started seeing them everywhere when I first moved to town. I was shocked the first few times; stopped to take pictures until about time #30; stopped batting an eye at time #50. You could see them crossing the road in a city neighborhood by the wildlife conservatory every day about 4:30 p.m. I’d find them in people’s yards other times. I know a lot of it is because I did so much driving around. But my turkey discoveries reached levels of disgust the other day. I complained to Corrie that I’d seen umpteen-million wild turkeys and not even one single stupid deer while I was home. All these woods, all these deer crossing signs, had I seen one deer? Nope.

And then yesterday a deer jumped in front of my brand new car. Course it did. Thankfully, I was on a side street driving about ten miles an hour and I’m still pretty jumpy about things in my periphery racing towards my car. The young doe stepped in front of my car, saw me, jumped, and skittered across the road, onto a lawn, and was gone before I could snap a picture.

But I still saw it! In real-time, not from behind-a-phone/camera. One adventure down!

Vermont should really look out! And if not all of Vermont, perhaps just the Ben & Jerry’s Factory. Because it is most definitely on the itinerary!

Hockey, Hattricks, and Hella-good Appetizers.

May 30, 2021

Yes, yes, yes – it was incredibly shocking when I posted about posting every day *again*, and then I do what? Miss posting the day after my pledge *again*.

Yesterday’s adventure involved going to my cousin’s house for dinner and the Bruins game. Which, can I just say, while I miss my girls exponentially more than anyone could possibly conceive, it’s really nice to be back home where I can be with my own people, people who I’ve known since we were born. Friends I’ve known since I was too young to even spell the word “friend.” My people. People who get just as excited about Boston sports, who understand why you hate the Canadiens, and who understand why you like the silly meme songs about Boston accents and our awesome sports teams.

But maybe the best part? My cousin who’s basically my ride-or-die, who I tell people is my brother more often than cousin, because he lived at my house forever (and we were together all the time even after that), he grew up from being a hooligan to being a master chef.

He made me Scottish Eggs that look like they could sell for $20 easy anywhere else! I may have moaned a little when I took my first bite. Seriously. That good!

For those who don’t know, Scottish Eggs are hard boiled eggs that are prepared, shelled (obviously), dried, and then wrapped in the middle of a thin layer of pork sausage. Then, covered in a thin layer of bread crumbs, and finally fried. I could tell you what was in the secret sauce, but I don’t remember. It was mayo and something a little surprising to me. You have to forgive me, though, because if you were eating something as divine as one of Jon’s Scottish Eggs, you’d forget the words going into your earholes, too.

After that, we watched the Bruins game, saw Pasternak achieve his hat trick, saw McAvoy completely kill it, and listened to my cousin laugh at me applying football knowledge to fill in the gaps of my hockey knowledge; not unlike how John Hammond used frog DNA to make dinosaurs, really.

Let’s just say that there were tutorials not just for Jon’s wife, who’s from Bolivia, but also for me, who is from Boston-ish.

It was a fun, wholesome evening, and I stayed out way too late. BUT! I also learned that not everything will implode if I come home late. Not a bad adventure at all.

Not trying to start a weather war, but…

February 18, 2021

Everyone who’s paying the least bit of attention to national news and goings-on has seen the crazy footage of all the snow, ice, and (sadly) damage from the snow and ice covering the state of Texas. It blows my mind that after I spent sooooo much of my energy wishing for a little Christmas weather, it doesn’t show up until weeks after I left. And great googly moogly did it show up!

So, nah, we can’t compete with that. I mean, we still have the two feet of snow piled up to the heavens in all of the parking lots, and on all the sidewalks, so every time you pull out onto the main road, it’s playing New England Roulette. But I’d say that’s still better than the icicles hanging off your ceiling fan, ceilings falling through in apartments because of busted pipes, and even frozen fish tanks (RIP little Molly fish!).

I still thought all of these extreme icicles hanging from the eaves of my church looked pretty cool:

Stay safe! Stay warm! Keep planning for that week on the Cape to keep your sanity.

The Sup-meh-bowl Rundown.

February 8, 2021

It’s such a weird year, this 2021. Still an upgrade from 2020, don’t get me wrong! I knew it wasn’t going to be like flipping a light switch. But I could still feel the pall over everything last night.

I was definitely feeling it, being back in New England for the Superbowl for the first time since 2001/2002 when we won our first ring. I was here shopping and preparing for my wedding that time, when our upstart back-up QB took over the team and began his run at the record books. This time…this time I’m staying at my parents’ house on my own, sad because my girls aren’t here, and because that QB abandoned the Pats and was leading a different team towards a ring.

But that’s alright. I got to shovel some snow, which was good to get in a workout. And for five inches of snow, at least it was the wicked light powdery kind; you couldn’t even make a good snowball outta it. I got to use my fancy new snowboots, and my new neon green shovel. That shovel isn’t getting lost in a snowstorm any time soon! I was surprised those magic snowboots didn’t work – I figured since I plonked down so much money for them [snow boots are expensive, dude!], it wouldn’t snow all winter. But I didn’t mind, since I had volunteered to shovel so Joey could finish making crunchy chicken. Nom nom nom.

So mayyyybe I had three giant Kodiak-size drumsticks and a thigh while watching the game. Maybe. Heh. It was delicious, but only momentarily distracted me from having my girls there, arguing over who “should” win the squares in our family Superbowl pool.

What did a better job of distracting me? Amanda-freakin’-Gorman!!! Who would have thought the country would get this excited about poetry recitation at The national football game?! I am so flippin’ excited to watch her career. She’s the real deal. She’s gonna change lives, and possibly the trajectory of our country. If we’re lucky.

The Weeknd killed it at the Halftime show. The decoy intros, the explanation behind all the bandaged faces, the fucking annoyance that so many people were Not-Social-Distancing. I laughed my booty off during his meme-able run through the gold mirror maze. I sang along to Blinding Lights like there was no tomorrow. I wished the entire frickin’ thing that I could hear his voice better. So amazing, yet so thin and tiny. Still – such a better show than they usually have.

The commercials…god, not many stand out. I wanted to punch the NFL in the face when they lied their butts off about being pro-active about social justice. I understand that Kaepernick refuses (rightly) to be in anything having to do with the NFL, but how can you honestly publish that commercial when you have only 3 black head coaches; 4 black referees and less than one-third of game officials who are people of color; 10 black quarterbacks (which I think is a dramatic increase from where the percentage usually sits); and ZERO black owners. 70% of the players in the NFL identify as people of color. Don’t believe the hype, you guys. The Four Seasons Landscape commercial surprised the sheep outta me! That might have won hands down. The Michael B. Jordan Alexa video was…ahem…pleasant to watch; however, I have serious issues with everything thinking that sort of video is okay. It objectifies good-looking men. If it was gender-flipped, most of us would be losing our minds that it was even made. I love me some Michael B. Jordan, but I’d much rather (casually) watch him reading a book on the subway. Daveed Diggs and Sesame Street was up there for me because I love all a them! …But honestly all I could think about was the DoorDash fees they were recommending. Bad sell, guys. No Way, Norway! was of course delightful. The Jeep commercial urging us to forget that abusers were anti-compromise for four years, and just wants us to forget it and meet them where they stand – nah, didn’t do it for me. To put it mildly. And the Cheetos commercial with Shaggy bustin’ in with his classic “It Wasn’t Me” had me bustin’ a move. But we’re gonna forget that his song hit #1 freakin’ 21 years ago!!! How old are we?!

One guy wasn’t feeling the passage of time last night, and even though That Guy ceased to exist the moment he defected from my team, I guess I’m happy he got his 7th ring. I know I’m in the extreme minority. But with Peyton getting into the Hall of Fame this weekend, and him having won a ring with two teams, I wanted That Guy to keep pace with the QB who was his main competition for so long. I’m glad Bruce Arians got his ring. I’m not glad that Suh and Antonio Brown and freakin’ Blaine Gabbert got a ring. I’m glad the Chiefs’ assistant coach who killed two children and left another in critical condition because he was driving drunk – I’m glad he didn’t get a ring. I’ll be furious if he ever returns. I’m not glad that such a vocal supporter of Trump’s politics got a ring. That sword cuts both ways, I guess. Watching #12 throw passes only to former Pats players, I have to admit that was amusing. I couldn’t help but smile watching Gronk and That Guy reignite their magic once again.

I’m tempted to say there was more good than bad, but…I’d be lying if I didn’t say I didn’t miss my girls every time my heart got happy. This is gonna be tough.

The brrr!-est welcome possible.

February 6, 2021

Welcome back to New England, Katie – here is two feet of snow to make you feel at home!

Seriously, that’s just what this feels like. I knew when I started my cross-country drive that there was a possibility for some snow, but the “possibility” was an industrious little booger, and by the time I hit Tennessee, there was a snowstorm looming. When I hit Virginia, the snowstorm had morphed into a full-fledged winter assault on the entire eastern seaboard.

I spent four days in Virginia waiting things out. And then I came home to this:

Yeah, it’s not the greatest photo, but it gives you an idea of the scale of the storm. Sidewalks have vanished. There’s three feet of snow around every curb, making every turn onto a new street a gamble with your life. And parking lots – man, parking lots have plowed 20′ mountains of snow to make way for a few parking spots.

But that’s life. Life in New England, anyway. We’re expecting another 6-8″ of snow this Sunday too. Thems the brakes, I guess. But even having to deal with all of this, I can’t lie: hearing snow crunch under my feet as I walked into my house; it made me smile a real smile, the kind I hadn’t let out in a while.

So yeah, snow is bad. But it’s home.