Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Weebles wobble but they don't fall down!

So maybe we fell down quite a bit, but my snowboarding/romantic vacation last weekend was AWESOME. Definitely blog and photo worthy. I've been feeling in a bit of a rut lately, so my boyfriend and I literally googled "cheap new england excursions" and it worked! When does that happen? We found a link through the New England Inn Crowd (I highly suggest signing up for discounts) that allowed us any room in the 1785 Inn for $69!?!?! So we got an amazing suite with a tub and gorgeous view. It was a sweet room - exactly what you wanted for a B&B. Breakfast both mornings was amazing. There was a great common room with games and movies (who kicked butt at Scrabble first time ever playing - THIS GIRL). I would definitely recommend the Inn even at full prices.

The 1785 Inn, our lovely home away from home.

We arrived Friday afternoon and checked in. The staff was great and let us switch rooms so we could have a tub - when you live in an downtown apt, this is a MUST on vacation. Hung out for a bit and settled in before heading over to Moat Mountain, a local brewery and BBQ suggested by a friend of mine. There was a solid beer sampler (nothing amazing, but good beers for sure). Then we foolishly decided to order the FULL rack of ribs. Now these ribs admittedly weren't the best I've ever had, but the meat was tender, the rack was HUGE, mashed potatoes were amazing and it came with toast! I was super happy to say the least. Even the two of us combined and hungry couldn't finish it, but it was a great snack later.

Mmmmmmmmm, ribs.

Finally we decided to top off Friday night with some late night tubing at Cranmore. Neither of us had any idea what to expect, but were glad we ended up being wimps and wearing our snow pants. It was cold flying down that hill! We did the last hour discount package and that was perfect. Not too many people there and we could pretty much continuously go up the carpet and down the hill. Nothing like giggling like school girls together with your significant other. It was definitely worthwhile.

Saturday morning was the big shabang - snowboarding at Wildcat Mountain. I've taken a lesson at Mt. Sunapee once earlier this year but haven't gone since then and TJ hadn't done it since he was maybe 8, but had skateboarded. So we decided to do the beginner lesson package - lift ticket, rental and 2.5 hours lesson for $65. Seemed like a great deal to me for people still trying to learn. TJ had a little trouble on the bunny hill but as soon as we moved to the slope, he went flying. I was super impressed. I got much more comfortable with my heel edge and tried to push myself on that toe edge as much as I could. The lesson was pretty hard work with a good instructor, but after we were done we just kind of took it easy and had fun. We were both beat and wanted to have fun. Hopefully next time I'll keep pushing myself to try to get my skills even better. I've learned I have a "strong falling leaf" and that I can avoid wacking my head even when I fall off the chair lift. So yay me! No injuries and much fun had by all.

Not exactly flattering but us on the chair lift!

After snowboaring, we were both beat so it was relaxation time. That meant a nice bath and a movie. Then it was "fancy dinner time." There was a great restaurant downstairs so we just went with that. We shared awesome elk sausage for an appetizer and I had duck for dinner. I definitely mentally blocked out that section of the menu that said "Rabbit Prepared Two Ways." Finally we topped the meal off with an amazing bananas foster prepared table side of course! AWESOME. Dinner was excellent overall and I would definitely recommend it for someone looking for a nice night out.

And that was about it. Sunday we did a little exploring around town. Went into the Penguin Gallery to look at the beautiful gifts. We also went into Zeb's General Store and got some "Northern Comfort" to thank my lovely friends for bun-sitting for me! I got some wonderful candy for the ride home and just generally explored. Cute little store. Reminded me of going on vacation to Cape May, NJ. And of course we had to spend a few minutes at the infamous Settlers Green Outlets. Didn't really do too much shopping, but couldn't resist some Yanke Candles, which I'm burning now of course!

At last, it was time for the ride home. It was an amazing weekend and perfect timing. We had a really fun time tubing, snowboarding was a blast and it was nice to throw in some romantic dinner. Fortunately, this was the only moose we saw! Can't wait to go again!

Moose crossings everywhere scaring the crap outta me constantly!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chai anyone?

A while back I had posted some resolutions, most of which I'm doing pretty good with. One in particular was to lush-less - aka cut back on the booze. Overall, I think I've been doing a pretty good job of it. I've gotten more drunk than I wanted on one or two occasions, but not even close to the emotional hot mess of 2010. So yeah, pretty good. I've been proud of myself. I'm more in control. I like myself more. I'm sure others like me more. And it's just been better all around. But still not quite as good as I had hoped.
What does that mean? Time to kick it up a notch. The challenge: give up booze for Lent.

I've found that lately my problem with not being quite as on the ball as I would want has just been that I don't have the inspiration for it. Like I kinda want to and I do OK, but not great because I just don't have that something extra pushing me. Things are's easy to be tempted to settle at that. But I don't want to settle. So it occurred to me, literally sitting on the toilet, "Hey! It's Lent! Why don't I use that?" Lent has always been a good inspiration, solid reason and non-arguable excuse. Once I'm committed to something for Lent, I feel obligated. All things that are great for a task that yeah, for a young person is kinda hard to enforce. So off I go!!! Oh and P.S., my one planned break is after my skydiving - it's going to be a crazy event, it's an important day and I think I'll have earned a beer after that :)

Saturday was my first challenge - a St. Patty's Day party. :: Insert ominous "Ohhhhhhh" :: Tons of boozing, partying, kegs, and general shenanigans. I was going to be expected to be crazy, as I usually am a little. And it's been a rough few weeks so I wanted to make sure I had some damn fun. I was happy to find out that it was actually pretty easy. I brought a travel mug with some Chai tea (and an extra tea bag!) so that I had caffeine and chugged that and water most of the night. I've always been crazy without booze; it's just been a while since I partied that way. It was about time I did again.  No one suspected a thing and if they asked, it was my "mystery drink"  in the container. I had a total blast and really wasn't tempted at all. I also took the opportunity to unload a lot of my booze unto a party household so that they A) wouldn't tempt me and B) would be put to good use. Setting myself up for success! And I awarded myself with some cookies and swedish fish.

 Damn straight you're next.

So yeah, I guess for the next few weeks this is how it'll go. I'm looking forward to the challenge and hoping I can follow through. And if I fall, I just gotta get back up! After that, who knows how I'll re-integrate. Overall, I think it's going to be a very good thing.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Overdue and Far Over the Ground!

So I'm very overdue in posting something new, especially if I'm going to be keeping up with my "one picture worthy event a month" goal. Well, as I already said, February was HELICOPTER FLYING!!! That's right - flying. None of this tour stuff. Actually flying a helicopter myself.  Booyeah.

Ages and ages ago (ok maybe like last april), a phenominal group-on came up for helicopter flying lessons. They were marketing it as a Father's day gift and I guess it worked, cause I picked up 2 - one for me and one for my Daddy! The company was East Coast Aero Club and for $70 each, we were going to get to FLY helicopters. SCORE.  I think they had sold like 1200 by noon and by 3 they were sold out with something like 2000 groupons sold.  It was the most amazing groupon feat I've ever seen. Long story short, it took a while until my Pops and I could make it work to come up here, but 2 weekends ago we finally made it happen!

First though was HOMEWORK?!?!?! We had probably 10 hours of reading to do (if you really studied super hard) from various books and manuals to learn about how helicopters work, the controls, our specific helicopter (the R44 shown below) and the airfield that we were going to be at. Ok so the engineer in me is about to come out. Something I thought that was really cool is how the lift on the blades is created. Obviously, some is from the air foil passing through the blades and being pushed down. The other part is the Bernoulli effect - when the air goes over the blades it causes pressure changes that make a vaccuum that sucks the blades up. Ok, so you probably knew this, but did you know that the Bernoullie effect makes up 2/3 of the lift of the helicopter?!?! Two thirds! I was shocked! Anyways, meet the R44:

So after we did our homework, it was classtime! We were supposed to have about a 2-3 hour class to go over the material we read and make sure we really understood it. And then...duh duh duh...a test! Now, I have to say, even I was a little nervous about this test, so I couldn't blame my Dad for being really nervous. He totally understood ALL the mechanical parts though! Silly goose <3  Our instructor finally showed up and because it was the long holiday weekend, we had accidentally been locked out of the lecture room. And guess what was locked IN the lecture room - that's right! The tests!!!  Wooohooohooo! We were all stoked but told "just pay attention :) "  PHEW.

Next cool helicopter fact: if you loose your power, your engine just kinda disconnects from the blades and you float down. It's called autorotation and you can travel about a mile that way. So kinda hard to crash. Neat, yeah?

Next morning.... the day of the class... We're both getting psyched, doing silly little Kelly dances while my Mom grades papers in the hotel room. We drive to the airport, attempt to drive through the Air Force base and are kindly redirected. And BAM! Our dreamy sweedish instructor is there ready to go! We get a refresher on the controls, a tour of all the parts and in we go!  Now let me tell you, this helicopter is SMALL. It's all fiberglass and the doors feel paper thin. You're basically in a bubble up there.

Flying was incredible. We couldnt have had a better day for it. It was gorgeous weather and we could even see Boston downtown (we were about 40 minutes away). There's a kinda long startup list that you have to go through to get the copter ready for flight. So Dreamy helped us (my Dad went first) find all the controls and do things properly. Then he called into the tower, we were cleared for takeoff and there we went! So different than being in a plane! I got to ride in the back for my Dad and him for me, so we each got extra time in the heli. So once we were a bit away from the airport we were handed off controls one by one from the instructor. My Dad was AWESOME. So so smooth. Then we did some turns, then some steeper turns and that was about it. Probably 25 mintues up in the air but it goes so fast! Now turning, turning is a bit terrifying. You bank pretty far over and are basically looking through this plexiglass bubble right down to the ground below you. Freakkkkky at first, but then just really cool.

It was awesome to get to be a passenger and a pilot because you can relax a little more in the back. In the front you have to concentrate super hard. There are 3 different controls and you're trying to watch the horizon and for traffic and be smooth. It's a lot to think about the first time but I could definitely see myself getting into it. And definitely maybe my Dad in all seriousness.  So some more pictures from the heli:

Overall, AMAZING experience!!! Even without the groupon price, I would definitely recommend it. I mean, come on, how many people can say they've FLOWN a helicopter? I CAN BITCHES. Total bucket list task that's been taken over. So yes, go, fly! Enjoy it!

Soar Soar Soar!