Monday, October 15, 2007

Raining In Our Enthusiasm

(Disclaimer: I am the world's worst photographer. There is no proof of this [Hah! Proof! It's a photography joke!] but the pictures themselves should be enough to convince most of you.)


Vacation is over.


It was a good vacation, insofar as it was relaxing and it gave me a chance to decompress from the stress of work. I always enjoy being slothful, so it was a joy in that regard. However, it rained six out of the seven days we were in New Hampshire, with the one day it didn't rain being a day we spent on the seacoast, so as a foliage viewing event, it was almost a total washout.

Here is what it looked like most of the time.

We began our vacation a week ago Saturday by going to a bar in Watertown and watching Boston College beat Bowling Green. Other than that, we did a bit of packing for our trip. And naps. We took naps.

(Naps were a part of every day of the vacation. We are the world’s youngest old fogies. When we are actually really old – if we get that far, I mean – we will be so well-practiced at fogiedom, we will make our contemporaries look like novices by comparison. No early-bird special will be safe, and if you try to reach us after 7pm, you will be as severely disappointed as if you tried to find a black Mormon hooker slugging down an espresso in a casino. Theoretically possible, but not likely.)

On Sunday, we made our way to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It’s a lovely little city on the New Hampshire coast. Since there are only 11 miles of coastline in New Hampshire, I believe I can say with little chance of contradiction that it is easily the nicest city on the New Hampshire coast.

It really is nice. We like it a lot. There’s a great park to walk around in, lovely little neighborhoods with colonial architecture, and a bunch of very good restaurants. There are also pigeons in puddles under a bridge, which is the only thing I took a photo of, so here you go.

We stayed at a hotel with a gym, a pool, and a hot tub. On both days, we went down and had a light workout in the gym, swam a lap or so in the pool, then floated in the hot tub for a few minutes, after which we took naps.

The other thing we did was eat. We went to a Mexican restaurant and an Italian restaurant. We like both of them a lot, so we won’t tell you the name of either one because we don’t want to have to wait in line the next time we go. Sorry!

(Oh, OK, the Italian restaurant is called The Rosa. The Mexican restaurant is called Margarita's. If you tell them that Suldog and HIS WIFE sent you, they’ll give you a look as though you were a black Mormon hooker slugging down an espresso in a casino, and you’ll deserve it, too.)

On Tuesday morning, we checked out of the hotel and started north to my Cousin Joan’s place. Here is a nice shot of it.

This place once belonged to my Dad, and it became mine when he died. After a bit of renting it out, we sold it to my cousin and her husband, Eddie. We gave them a good price, with the proviso that we be able to use the place a week or so each year if they aren’t using it themselves.

On the trip up, it was raining. It rained all the way north, and while we were north, and as we made our way back south, too. As soon as we got home, the sun came out. I therefore took no pictures of foliage. Who wants pictures of wet gray leaves?

I did take pictures of us all duded up for a night on the town. Here we are!

We decided to go for dinner at a place called The William Tell, a truly tremendous restaurant in the middle of the woods on Route 49 in Thornton. We had eaten there before and were amazed at the quality of food we received, the level of service, and the overall ambience. It is a real four-star restaurant, basically in the middle of nowhere.

Keeping with one of the themes of this vacation (general disappointment) it was closed when we arrived. Keeping with the other theme, (nice little bits that more-or-less made up for the crap) we found a place called The Common Man, in Lincoln, that wasn’t as ritzy, but was very satisfying, friendly, and more reasonably priced. We inhaled a bottle of wine, had a wonderful cashew-encrusted chicken with pumpkin ravioli on the side, and enjoyed a huge strawberry shortcake for dessert. We did not nap afterwards. It was 10pm, so we just plain slept.

The general highlights of the trip concerned wildlife. There were many birds feeding at our window. Here are some shots that will give you almost no idea of their cuteness.

In addition, we saw a squirrelmonk. It may be a squirrel; it may be a chipmunk. We are city people and have no idea. All of the squirrels we have ever seen are completely gray, and all of the chipmunks have been reddish brown and striped. This appears to be some sort of mix.

Finally, there is an apple tree on my cousin’s property. It is a golden delicious tree. When we arrived, there were dozens of apples on the ground. If it hadn’t been raining almost constantly, I might have picked up most of them and tried to make a pie or a cobbler or something like that from the best of them. However, since it was raining, I just left them there. Because I left them there, here is what we saw on the last day of our vacation.

MY WIFE was taking a nap when I spotted them, but I felt sure that she’d like to see them, so I woke her. We watched them eat apples for about ten minutes, and then they took off like a shot, running into the woods on the other side of the house more quickly than we could run to the windows over there. The reason they took off was...

... the train that goes through the backyard every evening.

It goes by at a leisurely pace of about five or ten miles-per-hour, as there are grade crossings very near to our yard. When it isn’t raining – and if we aren’t napping – we go out into the yard and wave to the engineer and passengers.

(In this instance, it was raining and I went out to wave and take the pictures, anyway. I don’t know whether this endeared me to the engineer and passengers, or whether they thought I was just a plain nut.)

That’s about it. I watched a lot of sports, too, which wasn’t much different than my regular everyday existence. Boston College beat Notre Dame, going to 7-0 and earning themselves the #3 spot in the BCS rankings, the highest ranking they’ve had since I’ve been alive. The Red Sox earned a spot in the ALCS, and the Patriots remained undefeated by walloping the Dallas Cowboys. It’s a great time to be a sports fan in Boston.

The final thing we did on our actual vacation was to eat at Hart's Turkey Farm in Meredith - which isn’t actually a farm, although it was approximately forty years ago. They serve somewhere in the neighborhood of a ton of turkey each day – no exaggeration - and MY WIFE and I feel that they could make a whole bunch more money if they had cots available for naps after the meal. We’d be willing to pay five bucks more if we could sack out for a couple of hours afterwards. However, most everybody else seemed able to leave immediately after eating, so we reluctantly did so, too.

And now here I am, back at work. I’d rather be napping, of course, but that goes without saying.

Soon, with more better stuff.


David Sullivan said...

A train too!!!

My kids would think they've died and gone to heaven.

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Pigeons in puddles?? You go away and take back photo's of PIGEONS IN PUDDLES? I'm saying nothing..

Sounds like a great time was had by all, welcome home, we missed ya'!

Anonymous said...

Naps, eating and wildlife pretty much sums on MY vacations, too. I ate at that turkey farm place a couple of years ago. My dream come true as I can eat Thanksgiving dinner any day of the year! Sorry your weather sucked.

Michal said...

sorry about the crummy weather. i've never been to new hampshire and would love to visit, ideally when the weather is better than you had. thanks for keeping me laughing!:)

Patricia said...

LOL! Sorry about the rain, Suldog, but the eating and napping sounds like a grand vacation to me. We bought a house once not realizing how close we were to a train track until the first night in our new home when we woke up to what we thought might be an earthquake. Eventually we slept right through it. It is a good time to be a sports fan in Boston. As I am sure you realized, we are big NYY fans here, but my husband had to convert me. The Red Sox used to spring train in the town I grew up in (Winter Haven, Florida). I was in high school the first year they trained there and we actually got out of school to go watch them play. My whole family was HUGE Red Sox fans, but my husband cut his teeth on the Yankees and has raised our children to do the same.

Anonymous said...

You're not the world's worst photographer.

It feels like yesterday when you mentioned you were going on vacation. Glad you're back. Can't wait to read some more stories.

david mcmahon said...

Welcome back, Jim,

Love the first picture - almost a hint of menace in the sky. It's great using a camera in those conditions.

The reflection in the second shot is great, too - and I love the idea of a four-star restaurant in the middle of nowhere.

I thought that only happened here in Oz!

Cousin Joan said...

Hey Jim!
Glad you had a relaxing time! Sorry about the weather! FYI that squirrelmonk you saw is actually a "Red Squirrel". Pains in the ASS, they are constantly getting into the bird feeders. Secondly, we also leave the crab apples on the ground to see just what you saw! Wasn't it an amazing sight? We love going to Harts for dinner! I hope you guys ordered the "JUMBO" plate of turkey dinner! We never finish it all (order it on purpose) so we can take the left overs home and enjoy it all over again the next day! You guys did look pretty spiffy even if it was just for the Common Man. We did not go up this past weekend, but are heading North on Friday. Just between you and me...... (Kevin went over today and found 5 friends and one of the "wooden plaques" is among the missing!)I know YOU know what I mean.

Cousin Joan

Chuck said...

Glad you had a good vacation. The pictures aren't important, it's the experience that counts.

Also, it's almost impossible to take a good picture through a window.

Unknown said...

I love all the wildlife pictures. NH is beautiful. I come from a long line of New Hampshirians(?).

Unknown said...

I love all the wildlife pictures. NH is beautiful. I come from a long line of New Hampshirians(?). said...

Thoroughly enjoyed the photos Sul. Thanks for sharing you life with us.