Archive for category Weekend
And I did.
The weekend before last we rented a cabin in the mountains and took off Saturday morning. The drive was a bit stretched out (breaks, traffic, etc.), but it was fun nonetheless. We had two cars, six of us shuffling between the cars. And once we got near the mountain area, the fall colors were so breathtaking that the drive wasn’t a bother to anyone.
We reached the cabin around four in the evening. Temperature had gone down considerably by then. Heater was turned on. Fireplace was put to good use. All of us gathered around the orange-yellow flames of the fire for a while before venturing out to the balcony to enjoy the mountain views from all angles. Cameras were brought out and click, click, click – photos were taken of the colorful mountains, dark grey clouds, shy sun, fallen leaves.
Once it started getting dark, Ran stepped into the kitchen to start preparing for dinner. He started with cleaning and marinating the fish and the chicken we’d bought earlier that day, followed by cutting the veggies and prepping them for baking. Each one of stepped in and out of the kitchen, offering a helping hand every now and then. And the partner, as always, began playing music to up the cheery mood that all of us were in. And a song or two later, he also began moving to the rhythm.
There I was standing on the sidelines, watching the big smile on his face as he danced around, sinking in all the joy that the evening brought with it, and moments later he pulled me in. And what happened next surprised me to no end. I joined him! Without any hesitation, without second thoughts, without feeling conscious about everyone else around, I was hopping along on my happy feet.
These were some of my closest friends I was with. And then of course there was the partner. Yet, it startled me to spot that behavior of mine. It’s so unlike me to have given in so quickly. And there I was, doing just that. Of course, I am glad I did. Because had it been any other way, it might not have been as much fun and I may have regretted it later. That evening brought with it a lot of excitement. Enough to last the days to come.
We danced. For hours together. Some more than the others. We danced as the dinner cooked. We danced as Ree took a nice relaxing bath and then had her dinner. We danced as the food called out to us. We danced until our feet hurt. We danced like there was no tomorrow. We danced until we could label it one of the most memorable evenings ever, because almost all of us hadn’t danced like that in years. And yes, we danced like no one was watching.
And after about five or six hours, it came to a stop. The partner and Ran still had the momentum to go on. But hunger and weariness took over the rest of us. So we dropped, one after another. And that was the end of it… well almost – the partner and Ran danced for one last song before calling it quits. The others sat and watched, astounded by their energy levels.
We had plans to play a game of Monopoly after dinner. But none of us had it in us to sit a few more hours and see a game through. After the time that we had just had, sleep was extremely eager to embrace us. So we called it a night right after dinner.
Great friends. Tons of fun. Delicious food. What’s not to love?
…seeing the partner spend time with baby M and hearing him gush about how she’s so fond of him. She is about 15 months old and this past weekend is the first time that the partner has held her, fed her, played with her. He usually stays away from babies who can’t walk, says he’s too scared to handle the tiny beings; so I guess her wobbling on her two little feet gave him enough confidence to pick her up.
…trying something new – especially for someone like me who is resistant to experiments most of the times. The partner is very fond of seafood; ever so often he contemplates becoming a vegetarian but says that the only thing that stops him is his love for seafood. So, on a whim, sometime in the past month, I mentioned to the partner that I wanted to taste fish the next time he had it. Partner then suggested that I should have homemade fish before trying outside food. A friend invited us over for lunch on Sunday and had cooked fish. So, there I was, munching on my veggies when the partner remembered my comment from few weeks ago and asked me if I wanted to give the fish a try. And try I did. A teensy bite. I didn’t like it and that was that. But, I did surprise myself doing what I did and that made me glad. Egg white – that’s what is next on list.
…dreaming about the next vacation. One more week to go.
…playing with the M and M duo all afternoon long. Didi M, probably sensing that I would be enamored by the baby once I laid my eyes on her, made sure she got her share of time to play with me too by dragging me upstairs as soon as I entered their home. We did all that we usually do together – solved puzzles, drew on the black board, read stories and had fun, over all. And then for the rest of the time Baby M had all my attention with Didi making appearance, every now and then, and demanding her rightful place on my lap.
…deciding on Monday morning to take the day off and heading off to a nearby park to hike and relax. Most of the Sunday evenings the partner puts on his oh-it’s-already-the-end-of-the-weekend face and asks if taking off on Monday is an option. And many a times, both he and I know that it’s not. This Sunday night though, I said why not. He thought for a couple of minutes and said that he would check his schedule first thing Monday morning and if there was nothing too important going on at work then we should take the day off. Monday morning happened; the partner checking his calendar happened; happy shriek of nothing-much-going-on-today happened; and then, both of us taking the day off happened. Once all that was settled, we decided where we wanted to go, got ready and headed off. We hiked for a couple of hours, relaxed near the lake for the next hour or two, and got back home feeling contended. Why can’t all Mondays be like this?
…being with the partner.
There have been a few amazing weekends so far this year that I’ve missed writing about here. At this point I am sure I’ve forgotten the little details that I would have liked to note down, but better late than never. So here’s what I remember of the adventures so far –
A weekend in February was spent roaming around DC Metro and MD. We visited a museum or two; other than that, though, most of our sightseeing escapades involved spending time outdoors. The weather was biting cold those three days, but that didn’t deter us from visiting one waterfront after another. When there’s good company and great conversations to be had, nothing else matters, right? Amazing weekend, yes it was.
For the Easter weekend, plans were initially made and canceled due to my fever, etc. But as Friday morning approached, we decided to go ahead and head out for the weekend. I was getting better, that was good news; also, staying home all week only strengthened my urge to get going. So, we woke up, got ready, packed, and hit the road.
We drove to Wilmington, NC on Friday and spent the afternoon there. Given that it was still early in the season, the places were relatively less crowded. We got a chance to roam around the town and its neighboring beaches without the usual hustle-bustle.
After roaming around for a while, we stepped in to one of the local cafes (how is any trip complete without a stop at at least one local coffee shop?) to have some hot chocolate in order to fight the chill outside. The owner there enlightened us with some interesting points about the neighborhood, recommended some local restaurants for dinner, and also let us in on an insider secret about how to escape the never-ending queue at the famous local shop that sold country’s best donuts. Yes, we tried her trick; yes, it worked – within minutes of putting her words into action, I walked in and out with half a dozen donuts in my hand to the envy of people who’d been standing in the line for much longer. Ha!
As time approached for dinner, the partner pointed out to the cozy Parisian looking, waterfront facing balconies in a restaurant that looked very inviting. We stepped in, asked to be seated in one of the balconies, forgetting the cold wind. We sat there, with our winter jackets still on and enjoyed the view for a while. When it came time to place orders, though, we ran out of luck. I am a vegetarian and a picky eater. The restaurant only had one vegetarian appetizer, which we ordered, and two vegetarian main courses. Of the two main courses, one had eggplant in it, which I do not eat, and the other had so much cheese in it that I decided not to have that either. Hence, once we finished appetizer we walked out in search of another restaurant for the rest of the dinner. By the time we decided on another place and went there, our appetite had died down and we ended up, again, ordering an appetizer, sharing that and calling it a meal. Good times.
We spent that night in Wilmington and drove to Savannah, GA on Saturday. What can I say about this place? Where do I start? The partner has been here before and I’ve seen the pictures he’d taken during that trip. To top that, the partner had only fond things to say about the town. So here I was, all excited to experience the beauty and form warm memories of my own. And to say that I was not let down would be an understatement. That tranquil feeling this tiny European town look-alike evoked in me was enough to make me fall in love with the place once and for all. Ireland – that’s what came to mind after the first few hours we spent in Savannah. So much that we even wove dreams of maybe someday moving to an Irish city and exploring that side of the world. Anyway, I couldn’t get enough of it during the two days I was there. And I can’t wait to go back there someday.
When we moved here last year, I remember seeing our current home for the first time and falling in love with all the space it had to offer. Coming from a city like Boston where we lived in tiny apartments, the porches and the backyards here seemed heavenly. As we were in the process of finalizing the place, there was one thing that the partner pointed out that we put aside as something to plan when the right time came. “Look at the backyard; it’s a perfect place to play Holi, don’t you think? We should definitely do it” he had said.
Fast forward so many months and the time eventually came. We chose a day, keeping in mind the weather, to celebrate Holi and welcome Spring. Colors and water balloons were bought. Invitations were sent out. Plans were made and finalized. And the day arrived in all its glory.
As people starting coming in right around the planned time, I was inside filling the water balloons. I could hear the guests cheer, and the kids laughing and running around. The partner called out and asked me to come join the fun. “Only a few more balloons and I’ll be there”, I announced, trying hard to get the job done quicker. And by the time I stepped out, I could hardly put a name to the colorful faces around me. Within seconds, I was one of them – an unrecognizable blob of color running behind the next person of interest with balloon in one hand and powder of some bright color in another.
Age was no barrier for all the excitement that was in the air. Grownups enjoyed it as much as the kids did. Everyone had fun… even our neighbor’s father who must be 80+ years of age – he didn’t play with us, but he sat there watching everyone go crazy and that, he said, was enjoyable in its own way. It sure was a success and the kids are already asking us when we can do it again.
This past weekend, one of our friends had us over for a sumptuous lunch; we watched a movie after, walked around Duke Gardens in the evening, played pool for a while before returning home to have another go at the grand meal that night. I still can’t get over how so delicious everything was. Yum!
There have been other fun weekends too – the afternoon when we went on a 10+ mile bike ride, all those evenings spent at cafes listening to live music, the time we went mini golfing and bowling, the night (which turned into day by the time we were finished) we spent playing Monopoly.
Ahh, the fun… may it continue forever.
Life is an adventure with the partner is by my side. Take for example the long weekend that was. To kick it off in delight both of us took the Friday off and made it an even longer weekend. Our initial plan was to escape to the mountains Thursday evening and spend four days in quiet and peace. But as it’s usually with our plans, it didn’t quite pan out the way it was intended. Work and other miscellaneous tasks interfered; hence we ended up spending Thursday evening and Friday at home. I won’t complain though…this gave me enough time to muster some confidence to host a dinner at our place Friday night. I cooked for six—yes, six—and it turned out pretty well. It had to happen someday and I’m glad it happened sooner rather than later; I can’t keep running away from inviting people when everyone is generous enough to have us over time and again, right? Anyway, back to the point. The dinner that I cooked was well received and much appreciated. Oh wait, that’s not really the point,
but can we make it the point? here we go back to the real point…
So, off went Friday and on came Saturday. Only three more days before we had to dive into the routine again, and we had already spent half of the first day in bed. Way to go. But what’s more important than sleep? Nothing, if you were to ask me. No harm, no foul, then. We spent a good part of Saturday morning discussing where we wanted to go—the mountains or the beach? After long deliberation we decided we would head east to the shore. And I could already feel the oceans calling out to me.
We set out around noon with everything for the sojourn in place. Few hours into the drive the car made a beep and signaled to us that it was time to fill the gas tank soon. To give you some background, this is one thing that the partner and I argue about every time it happens. Our definitions of soon varies. While I am the kind who gets tense and pulls over at the next gas station on the way, the partner is someone who keeps giving assurances about how many gallons of gas there is in reserve and how far the car can go on that. Now, we had just crossed a small town and we were in no mood to turn back to the last gas station we’d passed. So, the partner, as usual, reassured that there was enough gas to take us into the next town for fill up and I, as always, became a little anxious and kept hoping to spot a gas station quickly to calm my nerves. And as luck would have it we traveled the next 30 miles with no gas station in sight.
And after those 30 miles, just like that, with no more gas to fuel it, the car started showing signs of giving up. No amount of pushing hard on the accelerator was any help. The lovely car that it is, it coughed up to the last drop in the effort to take us just a little bit further. We looked at each other in disbelief. You told me it would go at least 50 miles, I questioned. It does; it did when I drove from work to home back in Boston. I think it’s your driving that burned extra gas this time around, he retorted. All this while, the car kept moving, slowly but steadily. It even climbed up a bridge with much effort. And then went downhill seemingly easily, thanks to the slope. And the two of us, surprisingly, kept our cool and were actually laughing about the situation we found ourselves in. Right after the descent there was a parking lot and the partner asked me to pull in there. And so I did. I steered and the car took it upon itself to move with the little energy that it had left; that energy was just enough to pull into the parking spot at the far end and after that, the car wouldn’t move any further, not even an inch, and its whole system shut down…about 1.5 miles after the initial warning.
So, yes, we found ourselves gas-less in the middle of who-knows-where. The parking lot we pulled into turned out to be of the town’s visitor center. HA! We got out, ran in (as it was closing time) and inquired about the nearest gas station. We learned that it was just half a mile down the road. What a relief it was that we didn’t have to walk under the scorching sun for long. After freshening up, we set out to get fuel for our vehicle. And during that mile’s walk there were more smiles and more talks about how funny we found the whole thing and how it all had played out well enough to keep us amused but not make us agitated.
Like I said, life is an adventure when the partner is around. Had I found myself in the same situation alone, I am sure I would have lost it. I don’t think I would’ve been as calm to be able to think on my feet about what needed to be done next once the car started showing signs of shut down. But, all credit to the partner, I thoroughly enjoyed this whole experience instead of letting it get to me. The partner has a way of putting a positive spin to things that happens around him. He has a way of brimming with optimism even at the worst of conditions. He has a way of making me smile and teaching me how to take it all, the circumstances that I would otherwise find stressful, lightly. So, as I stood there filling gas in the car and saw him clicking photos of our savior gas station, I couldn’t help but feel grateful that he was around to share this memory with me.
The rest of the vacation? Well, that was fun too, with some exceptions.
We spent a little time Saturday evening and the whole of Sunday at the beach. I enjoyed soaking under the sun and then finding solace in the droplets of rain that trickled down from the marshmallow clouds, reading, writing and napping by the ocean, playing in the water, trying to but not really helping with the sand castle that the partner built, and so much more.
And Monday, we visited a lighthouse nearby—spotted from the top of the lighthouse the colliding of two ocean currents; noticed a bunch of dolphins playing in the sea, pretty close to the shore; and, stopped by at the museum there to learn about the lighthouse’s history, before heading back.
Now the exceptions: it was so extremely humid on Saturday that it became impossible for us to sleep in the tent. We tried for hours before we called it quits, drove the car up to the parking lot and slept in the car. While the humidity went down Sunday night, we had something else that kept us awake on and off—Chigger bites, as we learned later—kept us busy scratching all night long. There were so many bite marks on my body as I woke Monday, and the itching didn’t stop for days after. I still have the marks to show (hoping hard that they’ll fade with time), but thankfully, the need to itch has worn-out. I wouldn’t have been so glad to return home had it not been for the burning bites.
Because really, what’s not to love about ocean side breeze? Or about the sound of the waves singing you lullaby as you slept? Or the endless views of the horizon?
I know, I know…it’s almost end of summer here, but since the move happened early summer, we haven’t had a chance, yet, to go on our getaways. Usually, during summers, we go camping almost every weekend. This year though, with all our stuff put away in storage for over a month and then us taking our own time to settle down in the new home, weekend after another were spent shopping, lazing around while waiting for something or the other to be delivered, or just completing chores that were screaming to be taken care of. Now, with almost all the essentials in/around the house in place, we have some space to breathe and hence, resume our weekend adventures. YAY!
Only a few more hours, and I’ll be off to the mountains – to the place I went to on my first ever camping trip years ago. I am so excited – more for the partner than myself because he needs this more than I do. He’s been under extreme stress at work and nothing but a retreat like this can help invigorate his spirits. Anyway, I got to go now and pack, so the fun can begin without any delays from my part.
Oh, from this trip on I am planning to take a little notebook and pen along. That way, I can write down all incoherent thoughts that ensue given that these environs generally nurture creativity (or so I hope). Even now, as I sit here typing this, there’s this little blue bird outside my window pecking at something I can’t even see; there’s a squirrel on the tree intently searching for some treasure to add to his collection; there’s a yellow butterfly hovering above green leaves; there are tiny white flowers blossoming from plants that appear to have been nourished by the rains from the last few weeks; there’s the sound of crickets singing; and, there’s a little bunny on the lawn, hopping here and there, munching on something he seems to find appetizing. How can these things not inspire me to write? Oh well, it shall have to wait, though…duty calls now and off I go to get ready and leave.
Have a wonderful weekend folks. See you on the other side.
As we started our last stretch of drive towards the campground after dinner Friday night, I called the park office to ask for directions. The ranger, along with confusing me with his non-stop ‘this-is-how-you-get-to-the-park’ dialogue, also warned me over and over about bear sightings in the area multiple times just that evening. “I don’t mean to scare you”, he said, “but be warned…do not leave any food outside.” I hung up and relayed the ‘warning’ message to the other three souls in the car only to hear tones of excitement over how we might get to see a real bear! And thus, we started the weekend with a bang. (If you are wondering whether we spotted a bear or not – no we did not. Oh well, maybe next time.)
Saturday was spent hiking. Wild berries and mushrooms, leaves starting to change color, streams flowing from the mountain top, trees uprooted, lake in the valley – all that and more. And we concluded the exhausting day by relaxing near the campfire that night. Marshmallows and oranges to munch on while discussing science, society and Rajinikanth. What more can one ask for!
Sunday was spent driving around the neighboring areas taking in the splendor that mountains are. But before we started that part, we did something that had many people looking at us going ‘you are brave.’
During our hike on Saturday, we had come across this pool of water that was freezing cold (that’s an understatement, as K puts it). As we woke Sunday morning, H was determined that he wanted to go swimming in that area. But as we reached the place and put our feet in the water, he realized how biting cold it was and wanted to give up. Just as we were nudging him to close his eyes and take a dip, there came this old guy, who without second thoughts, jumped into the water and started swimming. Looking at our eyes open wide and jaws drop, he came to us and told us that it’s just the initial shock and that it’s not so bad after. And that was enough to give H the push that he needed. He got rid of his apprehensions and walked right into the water. And man, was he glad! As cold as it was, he said that nothing else can be as refreshing. And before we knew it, K was in the water swimming, and claiming the same.
I sat there, hugging a tree, listening to these two discuss how it feels like million needles pricking their body as soon as they came out of the water. With so much talks about how this is one of the best experiences ever, I thought that the least I could do was wet my hair. So there I was, walking into the water, only planning to go ankle deep, enough to freeze my feet, and help myself wash my hair. But as I walked in, something came upon me and I kept going deeper and deeper, until I found myself desperately wanting to dive right in. And that I did. Not once, not twice but thrice, I think. And this surely did redefine the word ‘refreshed’ for me. The way I felt every time I walked out of that water has no comparison to anything I’ve felt before.
Now, with three of us drenched in ice cold water, it wasn’t hard to push S to do the same. And, no doubt that she was more than happy to have done it!
So, after this invigorating experience, we started our drive through the mountains, with stops every now and then to enjoy it all without any distractions. During one of our stops to sink in the beauty that surrounded us, we noticed the black clouds that hovered above. Thunders, so loud, we heard. Flashes of lightning every few seconds, we saw. Was someone trying to descend from heavens above using the silver ropes of lightning, while hiding behind the veils of mist and clouds, all the while distracting us, earthlings, with roars of thunders? We’ll never know, will we?
We spent some time there taking it all in and then ran to the car for refuge as the first few drops of rain came rushing down. And, oh, were we glad we ran! Because, within seconds, the clouds burst and a hailstorm poured. We sat there as we waited for the storm to pass while eating the apples that S had just plucked from a tree off the road. Bliss, at its best!
We resumed the drive as the storm passed, but as we drove a few miles we realized that we were chasing the storm. So we took a detour, went the opposite way taking a longer route. The best thing about having no destination, setting no agenda, is that we get to do things the way we want to without freaking out about time or anything of the sorts. We drove all afternoon, roamed around in a charming little town in the evening, and had dinner before starting our drive back. And that drive, again, had us going along with the clouds that were pouring generously on us. What better way to relax after The Day We Chased Thunderstorms but by falling asleep to music of rain?
Monday was mostly about wrapping up and driving back. Other than cleaning, packing, and traveling in more rain, the one notable thing about how the weekend came to an end was when I slipped on a banana peel. No I did not fall, but thankfully balanced myself. But that short slip after I put my foot on the peel had both S and K laughing so hard. Apparently, they had only heard, or seen on TV about how people can slip when they land on banana peel and now they got to see it for real. They laughed and laughed, and laughed some more when they narrated the episode to H, who joined the laughter party. Oh well, I shall not complain, for I had a good hearty laughter session myself. What fun!
An accident, after which we played Doctor and checked each other for signs of concussion. (What? A few episodes of Grey’s Anatomy do qualify me to perform basic checks, right?)
Traffic jam that lasted for hours, which led to us reaching the mall the minute they announced its closing owing to severe weather conditions. That accident and all those hours in traffic for nothing, yes.
Junk food and more junk food.
A hurricane that kept us indoors for most of the weekend.
Silver lining? – slept a lot, watched few good movies, spent time arranging stack of new books on the bookshelves, listened to the glorious tunes of stormy wind and rushing rain, and slept some more!
How was your weekend?