Monthly Archives: February 2012

Snowed-In in the Adirondacks

Last week was interesting all around. It was a good one for my freelance business, with another new client coming on board with some immediate work for me, so I was excited about that.

Valentine’s Day brought me an unexpected smile – Mark & I had plans for the weekend, but I was surprised when he “appeared” on a photo on his brigade’s Facebook page with a Valentine’s Day message for me!

Very cute! I’ll keep him……

With a 3-day weekend looming, I did my weekly homage to upstate NY on Friday, and Mark took me out to dinner when I arrived. After my 6 hour drive, the good food and company were even more welcome than usual, and we had a fun evening all around.

Next morning we headed off into the Adirondacks for the weekend. Although it hasn’t been a very wintery winter in the north east this season, the timing was perfect for us on Saturday. The snow was falling nicely as we arrived at our destination of Old Forge.

We checked in at our little motel, and then headed out for a drive.

Just FYI, when you’re in the car with a (my) soldier, and he drives you into a snowbank, the best survival tactic is to stay as quiet as possible. Merely remind him to let you know whenever he wants some assistance.

Somehow we emerged from that little event still intact, although I thought he was going to lose it at one point. Patience is definitely not his middle name…..thankfully, however, it is mine, and I just counted to three every so often.

Even stuck in the snow, the scenery aroundabout is just wonderful – a real winter wonderland, just how I like it!

I just love the snow, and especially love seeing the contrast of bright colors of buildings against the white-out.

After digging out of the snowbank, we took off for some dinner, and then just headed back to the motel where we had some wine and Girl Scout Cookies waiting for us. (I won’t mention the fact that I arrived the previous evening to find about 26 boxes of the things in the corner of the room……Mark does not do things in ones or twos.)

Next morning the storm had stopped, and the sun had appeared. We located the local diner and stopped off for a warming breakfast.

The scenery looked very different while the sun was shining, that’s for sure!

Old Forge was such a lovely place to spend a couple of days – beautiful scenery, whether in the middle of a snow storm, or in the sunshine.

The 3-day weekend really disappeared way too quickly, but it was at least very enjoyable!


And Another Weekend Flies By

As predicted, the weekend just whizzed by. I was so looking forward to getting home on Friday evening after work. As much as I missed heading north to see Mark, there was something nice about not having to face a 6 hour drive, but instead to just be able to collapse at home with a glass of wine.

Although it wasn’t an exciting, fun-packed couple of days, I did manage to accomplish a fair bit over the weekend. Put together the bulk of a review article I’ve been writing for a veterinary continuing education journal that I’ve been writing for since about 2005. And I also made a start on a smaller article I’ve been writing for a science site that I contribute to.

So I was on a roll, and it felt good!

Sunday was a lot of fun. It was the local chapter meeting of the American Medical Writers Association here in New England, and I’d been asked to host a roundtable discussion on blogging for medical writers. That turned out to be a whole lot of laughs. I always really enjoy our local meetings, the members are so nice. And this meeting was especially fun – everyone was very interactive, sharing ideas and comments, it was great. It was a brunch meeting too, so we were adequately fed and watered at the hotel, which was nice.

Afterwards I visited my friends, they’d just had their 2nd baby a couple of weeks ago, so I got to see the little guy for the first time. They seem to be holding up quite well, despite having an almost-four-year-old in tow, with an overabundance of energy!

I can barely cope with my cat…….

But it was lovely to see them all!

Other than that, Tiddles annoyed the heck out of me all day Saturday when I was working. She ramps up the annoyance factor when I’m home, destroying all-things-paper, and knocking things off the counters, just to get my attention (usually for food). There’s quite the song and dance routine between us when I’m in the apartment too…….I swear she thinks she owns the place, and I’m just the irritating roommate.

On Saturday I found her on the counter in the kitchen. I’d left a box up there to trash, and inside was an empty cat food bag. Naturally that was the source of her desires……

And when she’s not playing Tiddles the Destroyer, she can usually be found right in my face while I’m trying to work!

I didn’t manage to do my taxes as I’d hoped to do (high expectations!), but I did at least manage to drag out the box of documents that I’ll be needing. So that’s sitting in the middle of the living room, and will be there until I get a chance to get the tax thing out of the way.

Today’s been a pain. About 30 minutes after I arrived in work, my computer was
virus-attacked” again. It’s been a recurring theme now for about 2 years. There are a few of us who get attacked almost consistently. I’m one of them. Ended up with a new computer a year ago, only to have problems again only a couple of weeks into it! I’ve been “safe” since maybe last summer, but today’s was a big one! So I lost my computer all day, ended up in a colleague’s office since he was away. His computer was slow though, it wasn’t easy working with it.

Another reason I’ll never buy another PC at home. Touch wood, my Mac has been  flawless since I got it 2 years ago. It’s never given me a minute’s problem.

Fingers crossed for a functional PC when I get into work tomorrow……

Yosemite’s Tioga Pass Road

Tioga Pass is the only entrance to the park on its east side. From the town of Lee Vining on the east, you’ll enter the park here and drive 45 miles along the Tioga Pass Road through the Sierra Nevada, eventually landing in Crane Flat on the west side of the park.

This high-elevation mountain pass (9,943 ft) through Yosemite National Park is the highest highway pass in California. Usually it closes around October/November when the winter weather moves in, and typically doesn’t reopen until May/June after the snow has melted. We were in for a real treat, however, since the road was still open when we visited the park over Christmas. The bizarrely warm and snow-free season had left Yosemite in an about-turn, when for once, the Badger Pass Ski Area was closed over Christmas, but the rest of the park was open!

This road is known as “the most scenic mountain road in all of California, and one of the most beautiful park roads in the entire National Park system”. And for good reason. The scenery seemed to change at every turn, but was unfailingly spectacular as you pass through the Sierra Nevada. A rugged, but somehow also serene, landscape with carved granite peaks, lakes, meadows, and alpine scenes with lush evergreen forests and Giant Sequoia groves.

From my research before our trip, I’d read some horror stories online from folk who’d done the drive, saying it was nerve-wracking, or even terrifying. I can’t imagine it’s much fun in the dark, but I have to say, we didn’t have any problems with it. Yes, there are drop-offs and tight bends along the way, so you do have to concentrate if you’re the driver. But if you’re driving within the speed limit, and concentrating on the road, you’re not going to have any problems.

I think the worst bit was as we headed east on the last stretch toward Lee Vining. The last bit of the descent has you driving close to an edge with a sharp drop-off of about 2,000 feet. It’s easier heading west again though, since you’re driving on the inside lane. But I have to say, the experience we had was much different from the “terrifying” tales from some people online.

I’ve seen photos from points along the road during summer months, and the scenery just looks beautiful, what with all the clear lakes and beautiful reflections.

But even though the frozen lakes didn’t allow for such beautiful reflections during our visit, it was no less spectacular. We spent about 5-6 hours doing the drive out to the town of Lee Vining and back, with lots of stops along the way, including a couple of hours in Lee Vining to check out Mono Lake (that was a spectacular sight to witness – more on that later!).

If you have the chance to drive the Tioga Pass Road, don’t miss this amazing opportunity. All in all, a fabulous drive, with fantastic scenery. You can’t afford to miss this if it’s open while you’re there.

Making an Appearance

I don’t know where the time goes these days. It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted – due to a combination of spending all my free time either engrossed in some of my freelance projects, or driving to upstate NY.

But I thought I’d better post something soon, otherwise I might just disappear into oblivion! The longer I go without posting, the less inclined I am to post again.

Things are moving on with my freelance business, I’ve been making some decent strides there – finally moved my business blog to a self-hosted site this week, and also have been doing a lot of marketing. Literally trying to send out 5-10 enquiries about potential work projects each day. Last week all my free time was spent finishing off a writing project.

This week’s good news is that I did find a new client who needs me to report on a medical conference for them at the end of April. So that’ll be fun, although a busy few days. The marketing in general is tedious, but necessary, obviously. Numerous sources seem to state similar marketing statistics (regardless of your niche) – realistically, for every 100 enquiries you make, you might get about 10 or so responses, and one or two of them will likely lead to some work. Such a lot of effort to put in for seemingly so little return, but in the grand scheme of things, every “one” will lead to either “another”, or at least repeat business. And obviously I’m talking about “real” work here – I receive no end of invitations to write for people – for peanuts! I’m not even going there though.

Other than work, I’ve just been battling the highways between MA and upstate NY. I’m a winter lover, so I’ve missed the snow this year while we’ve been having a strangely mild season. But I have to admit, it does make my long commutes a lot easier – both to work and to see Mark.

The past couple of weekends haven’t been too exciting really. The weekend before last, we went to see “The Grey” (with Liam Neeson) at the cinema. I quite enjoyed it, I really love his acting. It wasn’t one of the best movies he’s been involved in though.

Last weekend someone needed a new passport, so we went off in search of passport photos. (I’m sure he’ll kill me for posting this! Don’t even think he knew I was taking it.)

And someone also made me cupcakes 🙂

We headed out on Sunday for a late breakfast to a little diner, “Shorty’s”, that we’ve been promising to visit for the past year that Mark’s been in Watertown (can’t believe it’s been a year now since he moved there). It turned out to be much more quaint inside than I’d imagined – each table had an old mini-jukebox! Very sweet. The food was great, and even more bizarrely, the coffee was actually decent too! Usually I enjoy the food at these little diners, but the coffee tends to be dreadful. But even as we walked in, I could smell the coffee, and it was good enough to encourage me to try some!

This weekend I’m home alone – Sunday I’m hosting a roundtable discussion at our local chapter meeting of the American Medical Writers Association, so that’ll keep me occupied for a few hours. I think I’ll try and organize some more of my Yosemite pics too – still haven’t finished playing with those… behind……oh and those taxes need attending to as well!

I can already feel my weekend evaporating…..