Saturday, October 5, 2013

Fall in New England

Today I had friend come to visit from Salt Lake City - she was traveling with a group of lifelong girlfriends.   So I guess I made some new friends today too.    I played a little bit of tour guide and went out to have lunch with them at Simon Pearce......butternut bisque....oh so lovely.   One of them asked "Do you ever find yourself not recognizing how beautiful it is here?"    It is a valid question - don't we often find that we don't appreciate that which is so familiar?   It made me ponder, and my conclusion is that I don't take this beauty for granted.   I feel like there are so few days (I would lie if I did not admit there were some) when I don't appreciate the beauty of the world around me.    When I think about the photos that I take each day from my cell phone probably 7 out of 10 are of the beauty around us in this world.....the other three are probably family, including our cute animals.

I'm so grateful to live in such a beautiful area of the world....yet, in my limited travels, I always find that there is beauty all around.   I think there is a song that goes something like that!

Let me share some of the beauty that I have seen over the past week or so.   Hope you all make some time to look around and enjoy the beauty that is all around us.







Then not only did we see the beauty of nature around us but we happened upon this hot air balloon launching.   So we pulled over to the side of the road and walked across the Polo fields to see it up close.    So beautiful - especially with the foliage as the backdrop.




Sunday, September 22, 2013

Madison, WI Capital Building

Last week I spent the entire week at Epic in Verona, Wisconsin.   I was presenting on "Lessons Learned Implementing the Advance Beneficiary Notification Module".   I know -- a stimulating subject for the masses....Our presentation went really well.  Very well attended and many questions after we ended so I considered it a success.   The Epic conference is pretty amazing since I think Verona, WI is pretty smallish size town but once a year there are 10,000 people who converge on this complex in the middle of a cow field.    It is an amazing facility by any standard but does make my skin crawl a bit with the amount of our health care dollars that go into building that amazing campus.

After a week of stuffing everything I could into my small brain we left after sessions on Thursday and went to visit the state capital in Madison.   I think it is the most amazing state capital I've ever visited for the beauty of the building and the various types of stone used to construct the building.....I think it might even trump the Capital Building in Washington, D.C. for it's beauty.  



The rotunda ceiling...too bad you cannot see the painting in the center..

 An approach from the west 


 Panorama of the rotunda.....so beautiful!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Tomato Hornworm Attack

One day we have dozens of tomatoes ripening on the vine and the next day it looks like someone or something is feasting upon the labors of our summer gardening efforts.  Owen and I have labored most of the summer nurturing our small crop of tomatoes.  We have looked forward to our first BLT sandwiches with great anticipation!  Fortunately we were able to celebrate that milestone before we realized we were under attack!

First BLT's with our own fresh tomatoes!  So very yummy!
And then we discovered the dreaded TOMATO HORNWORM in our midst!  Note how he is loving my tomatoes....you can see how much he has already eaten.
Owen looking on in dismay... He had to "take care" of this guy.
Just some perspective on how very large he was..... Notice the tense?  Was!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Maine Motorcycle Adventure Day 4

On the fourth day of our adventure we planned to go on a Whale Watch.    The boat left the port around 8:30 so Owen and I got up and ran out in to Bar Harbor and got muffins and juice before we walked to the boat....from our hotel!   Mitch kept telling me how no one ever actually sees whales on these trips......so prepare myself to be disappointed.

But the best thing and so stereotypical Maine was this photo shot!   A blueberry pie and muffins on a window sill!

We got on the boat to head out to see the whales and the boys just fell asleep!  We sat next to a family with young kids and the 8 year oldish daughter finally had to tell Owen when he woke up "you missed ALOT of whales"!    This made us laugh all day! 




So since we would not see any whales according to Mitch all I can do is share some of the photos.  

Mother and baby whale.




After the whale watch Owen was in the mood for some traditional Maine Mexican food.  He found a place on the map that he wanted to go to so we took off on our bikes and ended up on the other side of the island.   We looked, and looked but did not find it......we found a fabulous lobster pound....but pressed on to find the Mexican place.     We drove past road side lobster stands and pressed on to find the Mexican place.   After about two hours we found it!    And it was closed AND required reservations.    So we drove to the next little town and settled for a quick sandwich......except that the waitress was not quick.   It was a lovely day and not so bad to sit in the sidewalk cafe and have lunch.


We ended our day by heading to Echo lake and taking a quick swim.....after drying off in the sun since we did not have any towels we headed off to find a hotel for the night and since it was our last night in town we enjoyed some more lobster.....Oh that was just me!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Maine Motorcycle Adventure Day 3

On the third day we arrived at our ultimate destination of Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor,Maine.  Joe and I were up early and waiting on the boys....Owen was up first and then we work Mitch up since we were anxious to get on the road (well I was).  Before we left Joe and I walked around downtown and found this guy!  Paul Bunyan, larger than life.....



We only had about an hour drive to get to the park so not a long day of riding at all, which was nice after the day before when we drove close to five hours.  And the drive was through beautiful Maine so there was nothing to complain about especially since the weather was gorgeous!  We got to Acadia by 11 am and went to the visitor center and paid our park admission.  Then we headed straight up Cadillac Mountain.  I've been up here 4 or 5 times before but you absolutely see things differently from a bike than a car.  And that perspective makes it a new experience!

 Before we could go anywhere Joe, Mitch and Owen.....checking out the map.   
Constant Theme of the trip!
 Our bikes....at one of our many stops.
 View from the top of Cadillac Mountain







After playing around at the top of Cadillac Mountain we went to check in at our hotel.   As we checked in the main at the counter asked if we would like to be upgraded to their hotel in the middle of Bar Harbor on the water - At no extra cost.   ABSOLUTELY.    So we were moved downtown strategically placed between two of the activities that I had planned for this trip.    And can I say the room was absolutely lovely and the view was amazing!



More Maps....
More beautiful views!

The next activity that I had planned was a hike across the land bridge to Bar Island.   When the tide goes out you can hike across the bay to Bar Island and walk to the top of the island which gives you view of Bar Harbor --- and our hotel!    So Mitch, Owen, and myself took off for a little hike as the tide went out.

 Joe and Mitch in the parking lot of the hotel.
This is the BAR and you can see folks walking to the island.






We tried our hand and building some cairns
 For those that follow us!

The last and best part of the day was dinner on the harbor.   We went for a New England lobster bake at the lobster pound right next to the hotel.






And that is the end of Day Three!