Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Catch Up: Last Weekend

So, I've mentioned that it's spring break here in our part of Connecticut.  Three years ago, we went to Disney World.  Two years ago, England.  Last year, well, I recovered from major emergency abdominal surgery.  And this year . . . not much.  We'd thought of doing Vermont, but a few of the places we wanted weren't open yet; ditto, Quebec.  Also ditto, Hershey Park, PA.  And I'm not going to DC with every American 8th grader for spring break.  So, we're having a little staycation, so to speak.

Friday night, we headed into "upstate" New York, i.e. Westchester, which was always upstate when I was in NYC.  There is the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, which advocates for, protects, and, when possible, re-populates wolves, including gray wolves and Mexican red wolves.  And we went to an evening program to learn about wolves--and to howl with them!!  We only saw four of the resident wolves, the ones trained to be ambassadors to people; the other wolves are not accessible so that they can breed away from humans and their pups can be re-introduced into the wild.  The wolves we saw were beautiful, with those silver eyes and the lanky walk that always says "wolf" to me.  I have heard wolves at the CT Zoo howl before--and it fits every cliche--spine tingling, blood curdling, heart stopping--I've never heard anything as scary as when those wolves began howling at a siren on the highway in the distance.  So I was a bit nervous about hearing that howl again.  We watched them be fed--talk about circling like sharks and even dancing in unison as they tried to anticipate the toss of the raw meat (from Whole Foods, no less!) over the fence--and then we howled at them.  And one of them howled back!  So one howling wolf is okay.  Earlier, and from a distance, when we were watching the informational film in the little center, we heard a howl begin and thought it was the film.  Nope, it was many of the wolves at the conservancy.  Still not as chilling as the zoo ones.  And that's okay.    Sis wondered what it would be like to be a vet to wolves . . . maybe one day she'll find out.

We had dessert first, passing through a town with an ice cream parlor-candy shop combo.  Mmmmm!  Salted caramel.  Black Raspberry.  English Toffee.  Chocolate Lace in Cream.  And Sis's very delicious Frozen Hot Chocolate with Belgian chocolate, milk, ice, and a touch of cinnamon.  So good.  And THEN we hit the Jelly Belly display, loading up little bags with our favorite flavors for the ride home:  tutti frutti, tangerine, mixed cocktail (margarita, mojito, strawberry daiquiri), mango, Grape Crush, cream soda, plum, crushed pineapple, coconut . . . .

And just in case that wasn't enough, we actually did eat dinner--at a diner!  We have had diners on the brain since Providence and so ate at one on our route home.  Meatloaf and mashed potatoes with green beans in tomato sauce, chicken tenders and french fries, lasagna, a hamburger, iceburg lettuce with ranch dressing. Mmmmm.

And then, completely unrelated, I have a new bicycle!  My last one had been lost in the garage accident four years ago and I hadn't really missed it until recently, when Mama and the kids started riding together more.  I always did like riding my bike, with the feel of the wind in my hair and that sense of whooshing through space--the same feeling I liked on boat rides and rollerskating.  But I hadn't thought about riding after my surgery because of my weak core.  My PT said when I could easily push a grocery cart around the store without my brace for 45 minutes that I could try a bike.  I got to that point awhile back but the winter weather wasn't conducive to riding.  Until recently.  And so, we got me a "beach cruiser" bike, with high handlebars and pedal brakes just like I like.  And, well, it's just like remembering how to ride a bike.  Except I'd never worn a helmet before!  I've been zipping around the cul-de-sac, just like I did 35 years ago at home.  Feels so good.

In fact, we've been outside a good deal, for us, recently.  With the warmer weather and some sunshine, albeit not in the last few days, we've been tossing a ring Frisbee thing around (not a solid Frisbee, more like a a flat coronet.)  We're not great shots, but we can go round robin with lots of laughing and encouragement.  As long as we stay clear of the blossoming hyacinths (my favorite) and daffodils.

If the weather holds, maybe we'll go out to the zoo to see the local wolves.

And then, this weekend:  owl prowl!

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