Saturday, August 31, 2013

Team (FF) Denise

I know you've been worried about where I've been the last few days.  This week, while I didn't have plans that kept me out of the house after work, it was a busy week; I joined a fantasy football league - a first for me.

Our draft was scheduled for Friday evening, so I had about a week to do my research - even though I knew about it for a week or two before...I just kept forgetting and I didn't know when draft day was or when the football season even began.  Mountain Man even told me he'd be there if I had any questions.  I didn't want to take advantage, but more importantly, I wanted to impress him if I did well on my own!

So, I know the very basics of the concept of the game.  I credit my friend whose husband coaches college football and ManFriend because all we watched was sports and he'd explain a lot to me.  And I did research.  I spent hours reading and reading.  I thought I was pick #1 so I studied strategies and picking order for spot #1.  But then the day before I found out the pick order was changing and we wouldn't know until an hour before!

I log into my draft room two hours early to continue reading and to wait to find out what spot number I was going to be so I could spend the last hour reading strategies for whatever spot it was.  Seven minutes before draft time, my computer froze and was unresponsive to get it to restart. Panic set it in, I was so prepared and now it was all going to get messed up.  Sure, I had men in my queue, but not necessarily in the actual order I wanted them.  I had my own system.  I was booting up the iPad as backup, but I was lucky my league paused the draft for me to get the computer going!  Phew!

My league is family - with 6 adults and 4 kids.  The adults I think, it seemed all had the same strategies when it came to picking.  The kids were all over the place and really messed with my strategy!  The last few picks were completely random and I knew I'd have to get involved in trading or adding/dropping.

When the draft was over, I was relieved; it was a little stressful.

The next morning I went to chat with my brother-in-law and he gave me a two hour lesson on football and what all these positions actually DO, where they stand, what their job is.  I found out about adding/dropping players and the disadvantages for doing so.  I discovered that I am not playing against all my opponents every week...but playing against one team each week.

Hours later when I got home, I used the new knowledge and tools to drop 3 of my bench players.  So, let the games begin!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Breakneck Ridge Hike

Two weeks after my vacation...and I was itching for a hike.  I decided to head up to Breakneck Ridge Trail in the Hudson Highlands State Park.

Breakneck Ridge is a mountain between Cold Spring and Beacon.  There is a small parking lot and side of the street parking, and Metro North even has limited train serve to Breakneck Train Station.

Bank Boy had hiked this trail a few times and wanted to come along...I said OK.  I figured it would be good to do this one with someone...and even better that he knew what I was getting myself into.

The white trail, aka breakneck trail, starts near the tunnel and quickly ascends up the mountain.  The path is rocky and steep. As Bank Boy was telling me about the trail in the car, I started to worry, climb rocks?  I did an indoor rock climbing a few years before, and I did become comfortable with it after a while, but I was harnessed in.  This would not be the case on the hike, he told me we would just be rock scrambling.  I haven't heard of rock scrambling before.

Basically you are climbing rocks, sometimes scurrying around them to get up.  I was slow!  There were a few parts I was nervous, but the first I had a group of people quickly approaching behind me so I couldn't panic, I just had to do it so I wouldn't hold them up, the second part I couldn't find a place for my foot and hand...and started to slip...I panicked, but Bank Boy came to my rescue and didn't let me fall to my death...OK, it wasn't that dramatic, but in the moment that is how it felt!  

And it was exhausting.  I like to think I am not in horrible shape, but climbing those rocks and taking huge leaps up was tiring.  Constantly planning your next step.  And we did this for about a mile and a half.  I took a few breaks and the sweat started pouring down, I was glad for a mild summer morning.

me at the first summit
There are several summits, the first one we reached was about 720 feet above sea level and offered a beautiful view.  Two more to go before we hit the top.

There were a few people going down the steep rocks, they were in fantastic shape, that is not something I would even consider.  Once started on this path, you are committed to go to the top where you'll hit other colored trails that offer, for me a 'regular' hiking experience.

We took the blue trail to the red trail back down the mountain.

Here is a map.

view from the first summit looking south

 My pedometer logged:  12,590 steps, 136 flights, 5.1 miles and about 1200 calories.

Monday, August 26, 2013

the need to refocus

I need to refocus.  Since I returned from my vacation thoughts of a happy life with a westerner has invaded my thoughts.  OK, so it doesn't need to be HIM but, just the idea of a guy like that from a place far far away from New York City intrigues me.  For many years now I wondered if I would end up with a Mid-Western man...but unless they are visiting NYC or I happen to go out on a business trip, the odds of that happening are slim.

But I suppose it is no more a slim option than me finding someone here...I barely date, I rarely meet a new man.  Either way I am screwed.

And in the instance with that man....well, I have to deal with knowing he is dating someone at the new part of a relationship...the most exciting part for a while.  And then I remember that I don't have many dating options.  I can't keep thinking about this wonderful life I want when the reality is slim I will obtain it anytime soon.

I hate to wish time away since the years are flying by, but I really want to be in the better part of my life, the one I share with a man.  The one where I am not lonely and alone.

I can just do it...move somewhere new. Not know a soul.  Be depressed for a while when trying to make a friend, find a job and a place to live in a town I know nothing about.  I'd have to give up a good job.  Move away from the few great friends I have.  Move away from my extremely supportive family.  Understandable why I haven't acted yet.

I need to stop fantasying.  I need to live in the now and enjoy it even though it isn't what I want.

Friday, August 23, 2013

birthday love

I haven't been fond of my birthday for many years now.  I can't say why exactly, is it a fear of aging? Is it a fear of getting old but still alone? Is it because I never imagined I'd be here at this age...I thought I'd be happily married with kids, living in a house, working part time?  Of course it is probably a combination of all them plus more.

I had quite a bit of people approach me for wanting to take me out to breakfast, lunch or dinner...I must have had about 8 birthday meals in the last week and a half.  Some included Peruvian, lobster, omelette, pasta, a sandwich and cake & champagne.

With the social networking, I even had a bunch of people wish me a happy birthday.  Some people I haven't spoken to in years others I've talked to on a daily basis.  Many of whom I didn't wish a happy birthday when it was their turn.  Does that make me a bad person?

As the day ended, I realized I didn't cry this year. I was shocked, maybe I am making progress.  Maybe I am starting to accept that I am aging, that I am alone and that I don't have my own family.  Or maybe I was just too busy to think about it.

The one thing that was missing on my birthday was receiving birthday wishes from the men in my life.  I knew I wouldn't hear from ManFriend...even though I left him a message on his birthday back in June, but that was a few days before the real end.  I don't think he even had any idea when my birthday was either.  I didn't hear from Cop#1...and I still talk to him.  A few days later when prompted, he realized it and vowed to make it up to me.  But even more upsetting was I was hoping Mountain Man would have remembered since it came up when we were looking at each other's licences just the week before.  He didn't remember, but then again there was alcohol involved and I may have been a really long one night stand.  The only one that I heard from was Doofy, I was touched.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Trip Eats

During our trip, we mostly ate powerbars for breakfast, pb&j for lunch, and then had a real dinner.  The food was no where close to excellent or good...but it worked for what it was.
Bison Burger with creamed mashed cauliflower
Chicken with Mozzarella & Roasted Peppers
Escargot - tried with Mountain Man
Old Faithful Ale...just one of the many beers tried on trip

Other foods I had included a salmon burger, fish tacos, more fish, shrimp in creamy coconut sauce with rice (think New Orleans style), a huckleberry martini, huckleberry lemonade and lots of local beer.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Day 6-7: Jackson & Jackson Hole

On my sixth day, after the Laurence S. Rockefeller Preserve I went to Jackson Hole so I could ride the tram.

The other Tram I was on with in Albuquerque NM, so I knew what to expect.  The Jackson Hole Tram is about a 12 minute ride up the mountain to gaining 4,139 vertical feet to an elevation of 10,450 feet.  Ticket prices at the window were $32...if you plan to go, buy online and save about $7.

I am glad I knew to bring my fleece up there with me...because it was chilly and windy.  Looking west, there were massive rain clouds, which made the sky look quite amazing.  But because of this, they also stopped all up-going tram I was quite lucky to get to the top when I did.  I spent about 30 minutes up there looking around...I didn't do any hikes because at that point I already did two long ones and I was tired.

me at the top - with Grand Teton behind me
Day 7 after I checked out of the hotel, I headed out of the Grand Teton National Park...stopping by Oxbow Bend one last time to search for moose...none.  Jackson was my only real destination this day, and mostly just to see the antler arches at the town square.  What a cute town!!  That is exactly what I expected other towns out that way to look like.  1-2 story shops & restaurants lined the streets with a beautiful mountain backdrop.
me under one of the antler arches
Jackson & Jackson Hole are super close to each other...I didn't have to break it up the way I did.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Day 6-7: Grand Teton National Park

We passed through the continental divide twice

on the way to Grand Teton National Park,

Since my friend really only had one full day in Grand Teton, we made sure to see all the highlights.  We started at Oxbow Bend, where we hoped to see some moose in the water; we didn't.
The Teton's reflection at Oxbow Bend
We drove down to Signal Mountain and viewed the area from 7,593 feet at the summit.
Me at Signal Mountain
Then headed over to Jenny Lake and viewed the mountains from there and went into the lodge, which had a small but cute interior.
At the Jenny Lake scenic drive area
The Jenny Lake Visitor Center area parking lot fills up fast, so instead of doing the hike there, we went over to Taggart Lake.  The trail was about 3.4 miles and had a nice variety of scenery.
on the trail of Taggart Lake
From there we drove out to Mormon Row to check out the most photographed barn in America.
The most photographed cabin in America

Towards the end of the day we ended up at Jackson Lake Lodge where we had beer and appetizers over looking the mountains and saw moose from REALLY far away...thank goodness for the 300 zoom lens...but I didn't really 'see' them.  We decided to stay there to watch the sunset since the weather was perfect.
picture taken by Anne

Day 7 we got up super early so we can watch the sunrise at Oxbow Bend...and hoped to see moose.  The sunrise was nice.

After Anne left, I went to the Jenny Lake area and hiked the Jenny Lake trail to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point.  I was exhausted and drank all my water.  It was a great hike.  Since I ran out of water, I decided to take the boat back across Jenny Lake instead of hiking - although the other half looked much flatter, and I probably should have just kept going...but since I was alone, safety was my priority.
Me at Inspiration Point
From here I wanted to go to Jackson Hole, so I headed over to check out the Chapel of Transfiguration.

And drove on Moose-Wilson road, where the Laurence S. Rockefeller Preserve is, suggested by one of Grand Teton's Park Rangers.  I didn't know what to expect, so after waiting a little bit for a parking space I decided to do a 2 mile round trip hike.  The hike was OK.  I saw some flowers, a squirrel, a lake and a few other people.
at Laurence S Rockefeller Preserve

Day 6:  15,177 steps and Day 7:  19,093 steps.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Day 3 - 5: Yellowstone National Park

After I picked up my friend, we headed into Yellowstone National Park.  We started down by the Old Faithful area and worked our way clockwise around the park.

The first stop was the most famous geyser, Old Faithful.  Old Faithful erupts about every 90 minutes or so, when we got there, we waited about 45 minutes.  During that time we heard a little from a park ranger about the geyser, about how it gives a little tease before it erupts, about the water temperature and some history.

For my first geyser, it was quite an experience and really set the mood for the upcoming days.  

We walked around part of the boardwalk loop - and wanted to check out the Old Faithful Inn, which was quite a site!  On the second floor there is a bar and an outdoor seating area for viewing Old Faithful.  My friend and I got a beer and relaxed outside and watched the geyser erupt again.  

I highly recommend sitting in the viewing area - even if it is farther from Old Faithful.  For me, it was a better showing, I didn't have a huge head in my way, the seat was more comfortable...and the beer was refreshing.

As it was our first day, I wasn't sure what to expect at Yellowstone. As much research as I did, I tried not to look at too many pictures because I wanted to be surprised and enjoy it even more without having expectations of any kind.

It was beyond what I could have thought.  

The scenery was so different in different parts of the park, the colors were amazing, the smell of sulfur was poignant at times.

We walked most of the boardwalks and took a few hikes.  Day 3 we logged ~18,892 steps, day 4 was ~13,487 and day 5 was a little over 20,000 steps.

The springs & ponds were among my favorite because although they were similar, they were all so different in color, clarity, depth and smell.

Grand Prismatic Spring
Mammoth Hot Springs
The "Grand Canyon' of Yellowstone
Sulfur Cauldron


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Day 3: Bear & Wolf Discovery Center

My friend was arriving around 11:30 am, so I had a few hours to kill.  There wasn't a lot to do early morning, but I found the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center.  Admission was $15 for adults and included two consecutive days worth of visits.

I spent about 2 hours there;  walking around, viewing the bears, watching a video.  I got a few cute shots of the bears.  The wolves, they were resting.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Tepee Sleeping

Sleep in a tepee? How can I resist?

Yellowstone Under Canvas, right outside of Yellowstone National Park is where I couldn't resist staying.  To stay in a tepee was cheaper than a hotel, and not only was I trying to conserve money, but I was looking for a new and fun experience.  The accommodations come in a variety of sizes and bathing options including tipis for up to four guests and safari tents with beds.

I just got the regular tepee, it had three cots (all of which had 3 sleeping bags and a pillow on it), a chair, a table, a lantern and bear spray.

Unfortunately my friend didn't get in until the next day, so I stayed alone.  At first I was a little nervous.  As much as I love the outdoors, I am also a scardy cat when it comes to bugs...and bears.  I wasn't counting on being nervous of bears.  It was also a bit chilly.

I didn't sleep too well because I am not used to falling asleep on my back, confined to a bag/cot and thinking about bears.

But it was fun and I am glad I got to try it. I would definitely do it again if I had a man (or a friend) with me...someone with more experience in outdoorsy stuff.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Day 2: Victor, Driggs, Mesa Falls, Rodeo

Day 2

My hotel room was right across from Idaho Falls, so my first stop was to cross the street and check it out.  I was surprised how small the falls were considering they named the town after it.  It was a wide falls and was pleasant enough.

I stopped at a Walmart to purchase some groceries and then I started my journey north.  I passed through Victor and Driggs - small mountain towns.  There was really not too much there so they were fast stops but I did have lunch somewhere.

However, on my way back I saw a billboard for the Grand Teton Brewery in Victor for tours so I stopped.  I was in between the tours so I just ordered a half flight.  At that point, I'd already tried several over the past week - so it was nice to try some new ones.  Unfortunately I hadn't eaten much that day and I was alone, so I didn't attempt to finish all my glasses as much as I would have wanted to.

Back to day 2 - From Driggs I headed up to Mesa Falls, which Mountain Man suggested.

Mesa Falls is two part, there is the 'lower' falls that has an overlook and then the 'upper' falls that had a bit of a walk around the area and a nature trail that was about a mile each direction.  At the end of the trail, I was a little disappointed - I hoped for a better view or at least a bench or area to sit at to enjoy the day.  Somewhere there is a path to the bottom...but I didn't find it.
After the falls, I was tired, but I kept driving up to my next accommodations, checked in, hung out and then headed to the West Yellowstone Rodeo.  I only stayed about an hour because of how tired I was...and it wasn't my first rodeo, so I didn't feel bad leaving early.

total steps: ~16,100