Sunday, June 29, 2014

Camping in the Catskills

Yes, readers: I, your blogger, lover of manmade comforts like Netflix, hairdryers, and coffee machines, went camping. I'm usually more of an "urban explorer," but I was persuaded to spend 24 hours in the Catskill Mountains upstate. And guess what? I survived, and I'm happy I went.

The area, North-South Lake Campground, is very beautiful and serene, and offers great views and hiking trails.

My biggest accomplishment was creating a fire all by myself. Though the "E-Z Lite" coals might have helped. ;)

Thanks to my campfire, we could cook food: corn, tofu hot dogs, steak, and beans. (And later…S'MORES!) 

Observations: The ground is uncomfortable. Food tastes better when you cook it outside. Everything (the tent, your clothes, your hair) smells like campfire afterward. Seeing bright stars at night and hearing the wind through the trees is rejuvenating for a "city girl."

What about the wildlife, you ask? Well, I saw TWO huge black bears blocking the road while driving down the mountain! Unfortunately, I was too surprised and amazed to take a photograph before they moved. Therefore, I have created an "artist's rendition" of what I saw. :D Use your imagination. 
Amateur, but to scale. At first I thought they were SUVs!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

90th Birthday Party!

May 24th was my maternal grandmother's *90th* birthday!! My family celebrated with a big party in Connecticut. My mom and brother came up from Texas, and all my aunts and uncles were there! It was a wonderful occasion for an amazing lady. My grandmother is a super-smart, delightful, charming woman who inspires me greatly. I hope I inherited some of her wit and longevity!
Meeting her great-granddaughter Hannah for the first time!

With her other great-granddaughter, Hailey.
Mom at the restaurant.

Uncle Pat and Uncle Mike.

Birthday slide show.

Crazy fun after-party at my cousin Kevin's house…
with outdoor games and a bonfire! 

For the occasion, I wrote up the following "tribute" and printed one out on a notecard for every attendee:

Edith Veronica Thompson Dunigan
Born May 24, 1924, in Bridgeport, Connecticut

In her 90 years, she has
Raised five children
Who themselves raised seven grandchildren
And two great-grandchildren.
(That’s 14 people who wouldn’t be alive without her!)

90 years—that’s 32,871 days—which means
A lot of trips to Rhode Island
A lot of parties in the basement
A lot of homemade lasagnas
A lot of wonderful memories!

She was born before
The Chrysler Building was built (1928)
The introduction of air conditioning (1932)
World War II (1939–1945)
The first use of penicillin (1943)
The launch of color TV (1951)

“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful
old people are works of art.”   —Eleanor Roosevelt
Happy birthday to a person who’s always been beautiful,
inside and out. All of us here today are so grateful to
have her in our lives, as a source of inspiration
and love. Let’s celebrate!!

Happy Birthday, Gram!