26 January 2010

Saddleback Mountain

This is where we spent the day on Sunday. If you've ever been skiing, you know there are several components that can make or break your day. We went skiing over a week ago and while the weather was decent and the snow wasn't bad, the crowds were so thick, it felt like black-fly season. Of course that's what happens when you're dumb enough to go skiing on Martin Luther King Day Weekend, a.k.a. a school holiday.

This week there was no school holiday, and we decided to go to Saddleback Mountain because they have a deal where any honor student in Maine (K-12) can get a season pass for $49.00. That's what you usually pay for one day of skiing, but at Saddleback, the kids can ski all season for that one-day price.

(We have two honor students in the house - guess where we'll be going from now on?)

And yes, that was a sneaky way of doing some shameless bragging. :)

Back to those components that make for good skiing. On Sunday we had them all. It was about 29 degrees with unlimited sunshine and no wind. The crowds were so thin, there was virtually no wait in the lift lines. The snow was as good as any snow I've skiied out in Colorado, which is often hard to find here in New England. It was one of the best ski days ever.

Except - both our daughters got hurt.

Nothing major, but they both got minor whiplashes. One face-planted into the snow and snapped her neck forward. The other fell on her back and snapped her neck backward. What are the odds? Thankfully, helmets are the thing these days - for the kids, anyway. I still can't bring myself to wear a helmet. I don't even wear one when I ride a bike. Shhh.

Anyway, here is a bit of what we saw.

The top of the mountain... looks a bit like something out of a Dr. Seuss book, doesn't it?



A closer view of those amazing trees...



A view of the lodge from about halfway up the Grey Ghost run...



I highly recommend a day at Saddleback... if it ever stops RAINING. Yes, we are seeing serious rain yesterday and today in Maine. How weird is that?

Copyright © 2010 - Paulla Estes

17 January 2010

Sweet Sixteen

Our youngest daughter's sixteenth birthday was Wednesday. Because her daddy was going to be gone on her actual birthday, we took her out to dinner last weekend at Sarah's Cafe. Seeing that it was her sweet sixteenth, we also knew a party was in order.

This is a kid, however, who has chosen not to have a birthday party in three years. She has a lot of friends and acquaintances, and she never wants to hurt anyone's feelings or leave anyone out; if she invited everyone she knew to a birthday party, half the town would show up. That won't work in our little house in the middle of winter, so rather than keeping the guest list small, she has opted out of a party altogether.

So this year, rather than consult her, we decided to throw her a surprise party. We didn't invite everyone she knew; we didn't even invite all her friends. We invited a select few and left it at that.

The party was a grand success. Rather than a big, sudden surprise, the kids trickled in and our daughter figured it out after a while. She was thrilled. We got an amazing cake with raspberry filling from the European Bakery and we ordered pizza from our favorite local pizza place... the place where both our daughters happen to work.

And here's the really cool thing that folks outside our family will appreciate - - -

When the pizzas arrived, they were brought by our neighbor who lives across the road from us. Yes, he works there, too. And on the pizza boxes, in bright red marker, were happy birthday wishes for our daughter. The older sister of one of the boys at the party also works there.

Don't you just love small towns?

Even though it's now a few days past, Happy Sweet Sixteenth to my baby girl.

And yes, the cat story is still in the works. :)

Copyright © 2010 - Paulla Estes

11 January 2010

Ringing in the New Year

Is it the 11th already?

So far this year we have celebrated an anniversary, celebrated a birthday, gone to four high school basketball games, dug out of one big snowstorm, lost our precious cat to cancer, and acquired three new cats.

We got back from an away basketball game tonight and now, at 11:30 p.m., our daughter is doing her homework, our son is getting ready to move back to college tomorrow, I am doing laundry, and one of the cats is spazzing all over the house.

And I wonder why I'm tired...

Although I squeezed the news about our cat into that first, busy paragraph, it is obviously the real story of our year so far. We knew in December that our 14-year-old cat had cancer, and my prayer was that she'd make it through the holidays. She did. She actually felt quite well until just after the new year. We had her put to sleep last Wednesday, the 6th.

I'm in the midst of writing a post/story about the cat - not so much because the world needs (or wants) to hear the story about an average cat, but because the story is really about our lives and her part in it. Looking back, I still find it hard to wrap my brain around the fact that my two youngest were babies when we got our cat and her brother. Now those babies are in high school. Suffice it to say, this cat was family. And then some.

I hope to finish the story this week... while working each day, going to another basketball game, moving my son back to school, and thinking about taking down the Christmas tree.

Oh, and about the THREE new cats? Yeah, I'm pleading insanity on that one.

Copyright © 2010 - Paulla Estes

01 January 2010

Twenty-Ten

So Facebook experts (a.k.a. my friends and my kids' friends) tell us that we should be saying "Twenty-ten" rather than "Two-thousand-ten." Funny thing is, I think we've been refering to it as "Two-thousand-ten" for the past few years... and now we're expected to change it.

Either way, Happy New Year, whatever the year may be.

We had a nice Christmas and a nice New Year's Eve. In between, we drove to the Boston area for a day to see extended family. Today is our wedding anniversary and we've pretty much stayed in and avoided the snow, other than running out to Rite Aid together in the 4WD trick to pick up some cold medicine. Ooo - romantic!

I shuffled through all the photos we took at Christmas and this one stood out. One, because it's the only halfway decent one of me, and two, because it shows our Christmas tree. Oh, and that weird guy in the middle? No idea who he is. Oh wait - that's my son. At his best. :)



And to be fair, here's one of the other three...



We had a whole plethora of plans for this weekend which included pet sitting, basketball games, work schedules and lots of driving; but everything has been cancelled in honor of that rare winter event in Maine - - - snow. It's been snowing for two days, but we only have a few inches. Still, it's supposed to snow for at least another two days (maybe more) and some forecasts are predicting snowfall totals measured in feet, not inches. Could this mean an extra day of vacation for the schoolchildren? Here's hoping!

In other news, our kitty cat is still hanging on. She's declining, but she made it through Christmas and now has rung in 2010 with us.

In still other news, I have eaten lots of my Christmas candy but I have not yet used the Wii Fit. We have played tennis, baseball, boxing, and bowling (no, I haven't played golf. Golf? C'mon! Boooorrrrriiinnnggg!) The problem is, we're at an impasse about where to put the Wii. It is currently in our bedroom and my husband wants to leave it there, saying he will be more inclined to use the Wii Fit if it's in there. I want it in the basement where we have the big TV, as well as the added privacy of using it without an audience. Stay tuned to see who wins and who gets fit. Or who caves and plays golf.

Twenty-ten? Two-thousand-ten? I tell you, either way it's awkward. But however you slice it, I hope your New Year is happy, healthy, and full of contentment.

*** Edited to say ~ I realize now I made a typo. We have a 4WD TRUCK not TRICK. But I'm leaving it in because... how cool would that be to have a 4WD Trick?! :)

Copyright © 2010 - Paulla Estes