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Posts tagged ‘california’

From Gold to Green

I left the gold colored landscape of Northern California last week for the Green Mountain State. Summertime in Vermont is quite glorious if you can avoid the man eating mosquitos. Yesterday, my dad, mom, brother, and I headed out to a new adventure. We decided on AuSable Chasm- an attraction in New York’s Adirondack Mountains on the other side of Lake Champlain.

This was very, very special because I hadn’t spent a whole day with my brother since he left California back in September, and my time with my dad is limited when I visit because he works. When I was told they were taking the day off, I felt like I had won the lottery! What a treat.

We headed out across Lake Champlain on the Grand Isle ferry. It’s a quick trip, but the sun was shining and the views are lush and soothing.
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And then a wave comes and soaks you!!
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We drove south down routes 9 and 22 through gorgeous little towns filled with brick buildings, past old stone walls separating farms, and incredible limestone homes. These houses made me so jealous considering what we can buy in San Jose for the same amount of money.

I’ve only ever been in this area one other time, and Chris and I saw Rainbow Falls at AuSable Chasm from the road. Growing up, I had seen the photos and really wanted to check it out, but we got there after closing that day.
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The old bridge and pump house are majestic.
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Little did I know as we started down the trail that I’d soon feel like I was back West again!
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We hiked down along the trails and couldn’t believe we were in the Northeast.
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We then rafted lazily down the chasm eroded over time by the river.
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After our journey, we headed into Essex, NY for lunch right on the lake and a little bit of antiquing which is one of my favorite things ever!!

Then, back on the ferry.
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We were so beat! It was a great day exploring with some of my favorite people.

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I’m sorry. I really am!

I ruined strawberries for Chris.

He hasn’t eaten one in three years, thanks to my lazy ways.  I signed us up for the “Extra Fruit Option” with a CSA way back when, and it was WAY too much!  We were getting at least 6 pints of strawberries each week on top of all the other fruits and veggies in box.  As much as I love fruit, that is just too much for one girl who doesn’t know how to can and whose freezer was chock full. Plus, the berries weren’t even that great, so I wasn’t super motivated to maow down.

So the strawberries just sat on the counter and rotted.  Week after week.  I’m sure that I don’t have to tell you that that is gross.  And old, gunky strawberries smell really, really disgusting.  Chris is sensitive about food as it is, so this certainly didn’t help.

He’s refused to eat them since.

I stopped eating them for the most part, too, but that was because I was convinced that the fruit isn’t that great.  Really, I didn’t even like strawberries until I moved to California.  Growing up in Vermont, we couldn’t wait to go berry picking at Mazza’s Farm Stand on River Road, but the fruit was never very sweet or red, and they were really tiny.  That’s sort of what these CSA berries were.

U-pick berries at Mazza’s

But last summer, I bought a carton of berries on the corner.  I took them to fellowship to share, and they were awesome.  And I realized how perfect a great strawberry could be- sweet, juicy, vibrantly colored, and perfumed.

Street vendor selling fruit

Strawberries are now a go-to food for me, because on Weight Watchers, they are 0 points.  Hooray!  I eat them for breakfast or for a quick snack when I want something sweet.

I even accidentally introduced my niece to them back in March.  We were buying some at Whole Foods, and I let her hold one in her little hand and munch while I was shopping.  Little did I know that she had never tried one before!  Oops.  It all worked out, though, and she LOVED it!

Last week, Chris said, “I miss strawberries.”  I felt really, really badly and apologized for my past mistake.  I said that he should give them a try again and told him of the fruit I’ve been getting at Zanotto’s down the street.  Their berries are delightful.  My mission for this summer is to make it up to Chris.  Maybe this is a start:

Delish! And pretty too.

More Poppies

This may seem like the tiniest little thing, but I got great joy out of some poppies on this morning’s walk.

I have never seen this variety- with the paper thin petals making a poof ball- or poppies of this gentle purple color.

Taking the time to look around, listen, and pay attention makes life that much more pleasure-filled.  Sometimes, I get a kick out of something that I’ve seen and enjoyed a hundred times before- like an avocado tree with fruit on it.  Other times, I discover something new.

It doesn’t even take any extra time, but it makes everything more wonderful.  That’s the best part.  I don’t have to fit it into an already busy schedule!

Makes me excited for what I’ll find tomorrow.

 

No, It’s a Good Thing!

My sister, Sarah, is coming to visit next month.  She is coming because she loves me and wants to spend time with me.  The trip was spurred on by the fact that I didn’t go back for Christmas this year because it was too big of a push for me mentally; I just needed some down time.  Chris and I got it by staying in California, but we really missed being with our families for the holidays.

Sarah decided to come visit, because she knew it would bless me, build me up, and care for me.  We and I are super close, can tell each other anything, and love each other immensely.  She is one of my best friends, and I couldn’t imagine my life without her.

I explain this, because it got kinda twisted last week in my mind.  All the sudden, I started thinking about this future visit as a stressful time.  It was actually really strange, because she’s really low key and just wants to be with me.  Honestly, even if we sat on the couch all week, I’m sure she would be happy to have some time to relax and talk in person without two little munchkins (the cutest kids on earth, Elijah and Norah) running around.  Plus, she’s coming over my students’ break, so I don’t even have to juggle work!

But my odd response to the visit was another sign that I had my head on backward (see this week’s previous posts if you don’t believe me).  So I changed my mind.

In this situation, that change was really easy to enact.  I’ve been thinking about the fun things that we can do while she’s here (Año Nuevo’s elephant seals, Sonoma wine tasting, Santa Cruz, walks to take in all the California flowers in bloom, antiquing in my neighborhood), the way that we’ll stay up way too late chatting like we always have (since we shared a room when we were young), and getting to meet her little boy, Benjamin, for the first time.

Maybe we won’t do any of the activities that I’ve envisioned…  but who cares?!?  My little sis, who knows me better than the entire world, is coming to visit!  Maybe we’ll just cook and drink her yummy margaritas.

I am so excited now for her trip, but it took me realizing that the time together will bring joy and love and life instead of added responsibility.  And what little extra duties are required of me, I’m willing to take on, because that time together is totally worth it.

Even if I give up my bed for a few days.  But you would, too, if you knew how cute Benjamin was!

My Favorite Sign of Spring

I didn’t see poppies when growing up in Vermont, though my mom has them in her garden now.

They’re my favorite part of spring in California. Their vibrant colors and papery petals are so joyous!

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Enjoy!

Morning Glory

This morning was glorious here in the South Bay.  It rained last night, so the air was perfectly still.  If the birds hadn’t been chirping, it would have felt as if the world had stopped moving.  Because of the light, the sound, and the peacefulness, I was more conscious of my neighborhood on my daily walk.  I decided to take photos of some of the things that caught my fancy.

Honey loving her walk

January is an incredible month in San Jose.  While the leaves have just fallen off the trees over the last month or two, life quickly reappears in new blossoms.

At the Rose Garden, the bushes were all trimmed back last week, but the cherry trees are showing their tiny pink flowers.  Combine this with the green-tinged bark, and it is just beautiful.  They smell spicy and sweet.  I want to stand in front of it all day and breathe it in- fragrance and color!

Rose Garden in Winter

Cherry tree from afar

True love! Cherry blossoms up close

Birds of paradise, foxglove, and calla lilies are in their full bloom at this time of year.

It really looks like a bird!

Foxglove

Calla Lily

Fruit trees are producing too.  Lemons, avocado, and oranges are all vibrant and ripe.

Lemons

Can you see the avocado up there?

And there are signs of even more to come!  Freesias and magnolias are just around the corner.

Magnolia bud- more beauty on the way!

Luke 12:27- Consider the lilies how they grow : they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

What a great day to be aware of all that’s out there- and to be alive!

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