As the old Simon and Garfunkel song said, "Gee but it's great to be back home."
Monday was the last sightseeing day of the trip. We drove to Hartford, Connecticut to see the Mark Twain home. I always associate him with small towns along the Mississippi River, where he grew up; but he did his writing from a beautiful home in Hartford. I think I am going to go back and reread some of his books, now that I know more about him as a man. His childhood years were the foundation for his books, but he experienced great sorrow as an adult.
One for the exhibits said that he lived double life: Sam Clemens the family man and Mark Twain the entertainer, author, and humorist. After he lost his family, he became Mark Twain full time with unkempt wild hair and white suits.
I had packed a lunch with leftover vegetables and chicken. Everyone else elected to go to Subway for lunch, so I was glad I had food with me. Though I can always do a salad at Subway, it is mostly iceberg lettuce, which is not particularly nutritious.
We stopped at a market on the way home and bought shrimp. I grilled onions and steamed shrimp. My sister cooked yellow squash, made a salad, and warmed up the leftover cod. She fixed baked potatoes for herself and our husbands. She worried about me not having enough to eat, but I reminded her that I had eaten two pieces of rice bread in the middle of the afternoon. I heaped my plate high with shrimp, squash, and onions. I was happy.
The next day we were up early to drive to the airport. Flight delays made it a 16.5 hour travel day. That's a lot better than driving, but we were tired when we walked in the door at 10 PM. I had my computer, so I spent most of the day with the laptop literally in my lap. I got a lot of work done, but it was way, way too much sitting. I wish I had gotten up once an hour and walked briskly around the terminal.
The laundry is done. I had a photo shoot Wednesday, so I'm busy editing pictures. Life is returning to routine...which is a good segue into the title of this blog. When I first started blogging in 2004, I had been on the BTD for almost a year. Everything was new. Every day was an adventure. I was blogging 2-4 times a week. In 2008 when my parents began their end of life health issues, I blogged less often. I was eating right, which gave me strength to cope with difficult days, but I didn't particularly want to share all the details of that time. I got out of the habit of thinking about blogging.
I have enjoyed taking you along on this vacation. I have enjoyed writing about daily decisions concerning food and exercise. After nine years on the BTD, the excitement has worn off, but perhaps it would be an encouragement to newbies to see that the BTD does become an easy way of life as you adapt to it.
Internet troubles over the weekend kept me from blogging. I'm hearing on the news that the United Nations wants to take over the internet and tax me for each time I access a site. I would sure miss the unlimited access I now enjoy, but these two days proved that I can exist quite nicely without the internet.
Saturday we drove back into New Hampshire for a ride on the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad. We got up early and packed a picnic lunch anticipating getting close to the train station and finding a picnic area with a good view. Instead, there was a major accident on the Mass Turnpike. We spent all of our extra time sitting in traffic. We arrived at the train station with just enough time to sit on a railroad tie and eat our lunch before it was time to board.
The route was along the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. Out one window we saw fall colors and luxurious vacation homes. Out the other window we saw the lake, sailboats, and charming islands. After the stressful car ride, the sounds and motion of the train were so relaxing. My sister remembered that the home where we grew up was about a half mile from a railroad track. She said she liked hearing train noises in the night and feeling that all was well.
For dinner my sister fixed pan grilled chicken with stir fry broccoli and carrots. It was a feast.
Sunday morning we went out for breakfast at IHop. One of their specials this month is two eggs with two mini sirloin steaks and hash browns. That sounded just right for a Type O. Everyone else had pancakes of one kind or another, but my meal was perfect.
We talked about all of the places we could go and things we could do, but in the end, everyone agreed that we needed a day of rest. After lunch we took a walk around the neighborhood where my sister lives. It was an interesting mixture of colonial era and very modern. In one block we would see a historical marker, in the next a state of the art swimming pool.
I caught up on work that I needed to do for my clients. Everyone else read and took naps. We went to the grocery store and bought cod fillets and scallops for dinner. She put a bread crumb and cheese topping on everyone's cod except mine. I found a garlic seasoning blend in her spice cabinet, which was delicious. We had potatoes (sweet for my sister and me, white for the two husbands) and salad.
Today we visited Historic Deerfield. Homes from the 1700s settlement have been restored inside and out. We learned about how the early settlers lived what they wore, and what they ate. It was fascinating to see hand woven baskets, hooked rugs, and needlework. Though they lived on the edge of the wilderness, they wanted their homes to be attractive. As archeologists have dug around the area they have found both pieces of locally made redware and fine china imported from England.
We signed up for an architectural tour. In a typical Connecticut Valley colonial home the chimney was built first. They were two story houses with two rooms downstairs on either side of the chimney and two upstairs. That is so practical for cold New England winters. As soon as the family prospered, they would add a 2nd chimney so they could have eight rooms with a hall down middle.
At the Hearth Cooking Demonstration we watched how the colonists prepared their vegetables. It was an art to prepare meals, something that is lost today with modern appliances. The docent showed us a brick oven on the side of the fireplace. The wife would build a fire in the oven and when the bricks were red hot, she would bake bread. When the bread was done, she put puddings and pies in the cooling oven. Last of all she would put in a pot of beans that would cook for the rest day.
Sometimes people complain that preparing food for a multiple Blood Type family is too complicated and time consuming. Food preparation in Colonial America was a full time job - every single day. The food looked delicious, but we weren't allowed to taste because they don't have the required federal permits.
We bought our lunch at a sandwich trailer - not exactly historically authentic - but modern visitors have to eat. Two things on the menu interested me - a hamburger and a chicken quesadilla in a gluten free tortilla. I stood in line doing pros and cons. My Type O body wanted beef, but if I got the hamburger I would throw the bun away. If I got the quesadilla, I would throw away the cheese. I smiled politely and asked if I could have a hamburger in the gluten free tortilla. The way the guys in the trailer looked at each other it was obvious that I was the first person to ask for that. But they did it, and I was happy with the results.
Yesterday was our only full day in Vermont. We wanted to make the time count, so I went on google and found an interactive map that shows the best fall colors. Not sure whether it is updated weekly or daily; not sure what we would have seen on other roads; but it took us to some incredibly beautiful sites.
The day again started out misty. HH says I am in incurable optimist, but it seemed to me that the fog on the mountains made the colors of the trees up close appear even more vivid.
As we went around a curve my eye caught a glimpse up a side road, and I asked HH to turn back. We came upon the loveliest site. It was a pond, surrounded by trees at the peak of their color. The reflection in the still water was stunning. As I walked around to take another picture, I saw a hand lettered sign. "Joye Kings pond; no trespassing". On one hand, I don't blame her for not wanting photographers traipsing across her property, but it sure didn't seem like a "joyful" thing to say.
We stopped for lunch in French restaurant in Brandon, called Cafe Provence. Not only do they serve beautiful food with fancy names, but they offer cooking classes. Somehow it surprised me to find an amazing international restaurant in a small town setting. I had steak and salad with crispy onions. It was perfect! HH ordered their signature turkey sandwich. He didn't care for the tomato based sauce; but then again he is a Subway sandwich man.
Because of the weather we had not even looked into trails in the Green Mountains. But a sign by the road said: "Robert Frost interpretive trail." I did not realize that Robert Frost spent much of his adult life in New Hampshire and Vermont. I put on my parka to protect my camera equipment from the mist; HH grabbed an umbrella; and we started off down the trail.
The mist stopped. The fog lifted just a little. As we walked through "the yellow wood" there were plaques with selections from Frost's poems. The trail was not long - with all of our stops to read and take pictures, it took about an hour. In one word, that hour was refreshing: the poetry, the beauty of the trees, and a turn in the weather at just the right moment. We got back in our car, and as we pulled back on the road, HH turned on the windshield wipers.
My life is centered on my faith in God. I did not pray for good weather on this trip. Local farmers need rain, just like we need rain in Texas. It did not seem right to presume upon God and ask for a change in weather for the convenience of my vacation. We were enjoying the day just as it was described in the poem "God's Garden." And God surprised us with an undeserved blessing.
In the afternoon, we turned the car toward Massachusetts. My sister is living there for one year, and before the day was over I got to give her a hug!
Yesterday was our last day with SS, so we were on the trail early, making every minute count.
Our first walk was a trail around Echo Lake. There was a high concentration of maple trees around the lake, so I took lots of pictures dominated with many shades of red.
Then we drove to a trail called Falling Waters which led to four waterfalls. The first two were beautiful. Then the trail led to a slippery log across a rushing stream. SS crossed the stream and brought back pictures of the other two falls on his IPhone. HH and I found a comfortable rock where we could enjoy the view and the sound of the water.
We had Lunch at Gordi's in Lincoln. HH and I had baked haddock with rice and Cole slaw. SS chose a chicken sandwich that was voted "best in town." He said it was delicious.
We said our goodbyes, then SS headed for Boston and we headed for Vermont. The drive was incredibly beautiful. We stopped several times for pictures, but mostly we ooohed and ahhhed as we saw a new view around every turn.
We stopped at a grocery store in Vermont and were horrified at the prices. Many items were double what we pay in Texas. We picnicked in our room and watched the debate. It was especially personal, having just experienced at the grocery store what high tax policies ultimately lead to. I do not see how people survive on an ordinary income in New England, and I do not understand why they continue to vote in officials who raise their taxes even more.