Monthly Archives: March 2012

Spring May Have Sprung

Well we’re in the midst of a mini-heatwave here in Massachusetts, with temperatures currently in the 70s. Bizarre for this time of year – more like June weather for us! And maybe somewhat of a guarantee of snow in April! I suppose we’ll see what happens……the weather Gods have been doing weird things lately, anything could happen.

The past couple of weeks have whizzed by. I’m home-alone for the whole of March. Mark is mostly incommunicado for 4-5 weeks, for training at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, LA.  He managed to call me last weekend, but that’s been our only contact so far! He seemed ok, but had managed to lose his beloved Kindle – it was in a bag with some uniform items, and he wandered off when he was needed for something. Later when they all returned, a bunch of stuff had disappeared. So I don’t know whether it’s been returned to him – nobody has tried to upload any books onto it, so I’m hopeful that it could just be floating around in Lost Property somewhere, and he may get it back since it’s in a bag along with his uniform with his name on it. Fingers crossed – he loves that little thing! Although if it never reappears, I’ll know what to buy him for his birthday……

I mailed him a small care package last week with some books in it, and some Reese’s Pieces since he’d put in an emergency request for those in particular! Hopefully the box made it out to him, wherever he is.

So, anyway, in the meantime, I’ve been a busy bee at home on my own. I’ve managed to get a lot of chores accomplished, and have worked feverishly on my freelance business, accomplishing a lot there too. It’s been somewhat fun, but I admit I’m really tired at the moment from working around the clock a lot. But it’s all part of this year’s goal, so I’m keeping at it!

Last week I was also in Schaumburg, IL for a few days for a meeting. That was long and arduous, but there were numerous good people there, so it was nice to catch up with them, and to meet some nice new folk too. And, wonder of wonders, I managed to have a positive experience at Chicago O’Hare…..nothing ever seems to go right for me when I travel through that airport (nor anybody else, I suspect). But for once something went well! Our meeting finished a few hours earlier than expected, so I would’ve been faced with a 6 hour wait for my scheduled flight. I did, however, manage to succeed in getting a standby flight 4 hours earlier. That allowed me to get home at 10pm instead of 2am! Very much appreciated……

Other than that, life has been trundling on. I caught up with some friends at the weekend. Hadn’t seen them for about a month or so. They just had their 2nd child 2 months ago, so it was nice to catch up with them all. It was their elder son’s birthday, so I’d wanted to hand over his birthday present, and I also cooked them a casserole. They’re highly functional, but I’m sure they’ll be able to freeze it in portions and put it to good use during moments of minor chaos when cooking doesn’t seem to be a feasible option!

I was also excited to collect a photo this weekend that I’d sent in for custom framing.

It’s one that I took when we were in New Zealand last year – Marlborough, the South Island’s wine country, was one of our favorite locations, and we were lucky enough to have the most beautiful weather on our 2nd day there (our wine tour day!). We both loved how this photo turned out. Mark doesn’t know I ordered a huge print of it & took it for framing, but I think he’ll be pleased to see it when he gets home.

On an unrelated shopping note….I also came across “broccoflower” when I was wandering around the supermarket.

Have any of you ever had it? I bought one, but haven’t tried it yet – this bright little hybrid is supposed to be sweeter than its parents – I’ll keep you posted!

I’m trying to catch up with some blog reading this week, so bear with me while I catch up with you all!

Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve

Well this is my 100th post, apparently. Quite fitting that I’m going to be sharing our trip to what might be one of the coolest places I’ve ever visited – Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve.

Mono Lake is the largest natural lake completely within California – it’s in the town of Lee Vining, the region near the east entrance to Yosemite National Park – I’d spotted some photos of it in our guide book, so on the day that we drove across the Tioga Road Pass, we decided to head on over to Mono Lake when we reached the east side of the park.

It certainly wasn’t a disappointment.

This place is a geologist’s dream, with an abundance of tufa towers scattered along its shores.

You’ll find the majority of them at the South Tufa Grove, just off of Hwy 120 East, at the south end of Mono Lake.

They’re basically limestone towers that form underwater. Calcium-rich underwater springs mix with carbonates in the lakewater, producing calcium carbonate that precipitates out around the spring. Over the course of many years – centuries even – these tufa towers develop. Reportedly they can grow to 30 feet high or even greater.

Apparently the reason we can see so many of them these days, is because of water diversions back in 1941 that caused the water level to fall.

They were just amazing to see, and we were really the only two people there that day – being Christmas, the town was mostly closed as it usually is in the winter season, so there was minimal tourist activity going on! The only reason we happened to be there was due to the bizarrely warm weather that allowed Tioga Road Pass to remain open.

Just a word of warning, though. Unless you’re looking for a decent walk down to the shores of the lake, don’t park at the Visitor Center. Instead, continue along Hwy 395, heading closer toward the lake – about a mile further on, there’s a sharp right turn that takes you to a tiny parking area (I think it was the first right turn off 395, beyond the visitor center). You can walk to the shore from here – it’s only a couple of hundred feet. If you park at the visitor center, it’s about 3/4 mile down to the shore – you can walk it, and 3/4 mile isn’t long, but this is quite an adventure since you’re wandering between bushes (as we discovered). It’s not a nice pathway! So take the other option if you want an easier route, or if you’re strapped for time.

But if you’re in the region, please don’t miss out on checking the lake out. It’s definitely worth the trip – whether or not you’re wandering amongst the bushes!

In Like a Lion

They say March comes in like a lion…….whomever they are, they’re not kidding in our part of the world. Probably by way of punishment for having had a ridiculously mild winter, we’re in the middle of a couple of days of heavy snow here. It’s lovely though – well, it is for me, since I’m a snow lover. But it’s definitely a pain when it comes to my hour-long commute.

I can’t believe it’s the end of the week again, although I feel as if I say that every week right now. I’m still too busy, but good busy – another couple of clients added to the mix for my freelance business in the past couple of weeks, so that made me happy.

Last weekend was quiet, but nice. We didn’t really do anything eventful. Mark was came off a 24 hour duty at noon on Saturday, so he just came home and slept the remainder of the day until I dragged him out of bed for dinner around 8pm! That was quite a mission getting him to come downstairs, but I knew he’d probably just wake up in the middle of the night if I left him, and then his body clock would’ve been all “off”.

Sunday was quiet too, we just did some chores, a supermarket run, and watched some soccer, and the day was over before we knew it.

And here we are again!

Otherwise, my neighbors downstairs continue to be the bain of my existence. They’ve had multiple warnings from the apartment leasing office, but continue to blast their music and yell all the time. So rude, and it’s an every day occurrence. Every once in a while I could turn a blind eye, but not most nights. So I got creative, and spent some time over the past week recording the noise level from them in my apartment. I forwarded a bunch of recordings attached to an email to the leasing office today, so I’m waiting to see what that’s going to bring……