Out and About

This Mother’s Day, I asked my mom what she wanted to do.
She responded with a huge  NOTHING! She explained, “I don’t want to do anything but relax. You guys stress me out, that’s why I have high blood pressure!”
So we all went for a little hike at the Sylven Glen Quarry not to far away.

So we walked and walked stopping every now and then to take a photo of something interesting.

There’s this one little pond that we always pass along the trail. During the early spring if you look at the bottom you’ll see frog eggs that just look like small clouds sitting among the settled leaves.
This time we didn’t see eggs but these enormous frogs sitting at the edge of the water instead.

Mother's Day Frogs

There seemed to be different kinds of frogs. The larger one, I think, is a bull frog. My mom always tells us that when my parents moved into this house by the lake you would hear so many bullfrogs at night. But as the years passed by, you would hear less and less. This year you could hear a couple but not too many.

As we were walking back I spotted a little, bright orange salamander. Even though I have pretty good coordination I always look at my feet when walking there so my clumsy side doesn’t take over for a bit. Good thing because this little one was right in the middle of the trail.

Mother's Day Salamander

This salamander actually is a Red Spotted Newt. While looking up this species I came across something interesting that I never really knew: the difference between a newt and a salamander. Briefly, all newts are salamanders but not all salamanders are newts. For a bit more info check the links.

Overall this Mother’s Day was pretty relaxing. After this really long winter it was nice to go for a little hike and enjoy the warmer weather of spring and nature.


Warm Weather Where Are You?

Holland Sporting Club. 24 May 2011. 002

I am missing summer and the weather it brings so I just had to post this to give me a little boost knowing that spring (then summer) is on it’s way.

Since starting this blog, I’ve been slowly going through my old photos trying to pick out some that caught my eye. Its always funny to look back at your own work and see how they’ve changed or stayed the same.

There’s obviously something about caterpillars that intrigue me. Every time that I see one, I have to squint my eyes and look really close or take a picture.

Holland Sporting Club. 24 May 2011. 010

Diana was actually the one who informed me about starting my own blog. There are days where we would just go for a walk and she would take her equipment and take photos. This day, which which was about 5 yeas ago, I tagged along and captured her doing her thing.

Your Guardian Angel Works Too Much Overtime

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So this past winter I was so excited when the lake had frozen over. I always find it amazing and my favorite part is chipping a piece of ice and throwing it across the rest of the frozen lake. When the piece shatters to pieces, the smaller shards of ice glide along the lake and make noises that sound like chimes.

A little bit longer than a year ago I was taking an English class to finish up my degree and I had written a short, humorous story about a time with my dad when the lake had frozen over.

Your Guardian Angel Works Too Much Overtime
It was a cold winter morning and I was sleeping in the living room with the heat from the fireplace warming my exposed face. I could hear the sizzling and popping of the wood and my dad, who has already been up for three or four hours, walking through the house doing his thing. Even though my eyes were closed I could see the light coming from the window because of all the snow outside. All of a sudden I just hear a whispering, “Sara, Sara, Sara wake up.” I opened my eyes and I saw my dad trying to get me up. When I finally got all the grogginess out of my body he said, “Let’s go biking on the lake.” This was almost 9 years ago when I had just turned thirteen.
Most people would think he was joking but it was nothing out of the ordinary for me. I hesitantly got out from under the blankets and went to layer up for the bike ride. I put on shirt after shirt, then a sweater and my favorite blue jacket. I threw on my sneakers and grabbed my gloves and hat. I wanted to be prepared for whatever my dad had in mind. I looked out the huge living room window to get a feel for what I was getting into. There was at least six inches of snow glistening in the sunlight waiting for me to dive in.
As we got our mountain bikes our dogs Crystal and Molly greeted us in the screen porch. As we pushed our bikes outside into the snow I held open the door so that the Crystal and Molly could come along. I followed my dad down the plowed street to the lake front as the dogs trailed closely behind us. I never did this before so I didn’t really know what to expect. Without stopping we just headed straight onto the frozen lake. My dad would egg me on by daring me to race him across the lake and of course I could never back down.
Most of the lake had a layer of snow on it but some parts were entirely ice so there was nothing our tires could grip onto. As I was biking over one of the icy patches, I took a split second to look at where the dogs were and the next moment I was flat on the lake with half my body caught under my bike. My dad turned around because he heard the thud of my fall. He just looks at me and laughed. Thankfully I wasn’t seriously hurt, just a couple a bruises so I just got up, laughed a little and continued biking. For the next couple of hour we rode on Mohegan Lake with the dogs enjoying ourselves.
Biking on the lake seems like a good idea for us but not for everyone. By the time we got home, my mom was awake and wondered where we were. Once we told her, the scolding began (mostly to my dad because he was the “adult). “How could you take her out there on your bikes?” and “What were you thinking? The ice could have broken through and you could have fallen in!” I thought that I was never going to hear the end of it.
My dad sometimes does things without thinking it through because he thinks it will be fun. This is one of the many traits that I take after him. Throughout my life I’ve done plenty of “stupid” things (according to my mom), made it through or got hurt somehow like breaking a bone or getting gory wounds. But like my dad I always come out without regrets.
My mom always says we don’t think things through and aren’t cautious enough, so that’s why we always get hurt or come really close to it. I like to think that we just don’t let anything get in our way. (I do know that this isn’t always the best way of thinking but these adventures made my childhood so amazing and different.)
We are still the same, my dad and I, even though we are older. Still go on “adventures”, suffer the consequences and my mother’s screaming. At the end of these kinds of days my mom never fails to tell us with a sigh, “Your guardian angel works too much overtime.”

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New Generation

Early this past summer, I went down to the lake to go for a swim with my friends. During this time of the season there were tons of butterflies and dragonflies fluttering around. Just above the dock where we lay there was one butterfly that remained unusually still. As I looked closer, this is what I saw…

There were so many eggs. A couple weeks later when I went back to check on it, most of the eggs had already hatched. The leaves of the willow had small chunks where the tiny caterpillars had eaten through during their new-life binge. Although the majority had already gone, there were a few that were left there finishing up their meals.

My Italian Ratatouille

My Italian Ratatouille

We had a bunch of vegetables laying around so I decided to cook something. I like to bake but cooking usually doesn’t come out perfect like I hope.

Ingredients that I used: Eggplant, zucchini, pasta sauce, mozzarella, bread crumbs, garlic, oregano, tomatoes (which actually from our little garden. We had eggplants too but I didn’t ended up using them)

I got a big casserole dish and put a layer of regular tomato sauce at the bottom to create a coat so that it didn’t burn. I put a layer of mozzarella, which wasn’t the best idea because it melted and although it didn’t burn, it got really crispy.

I sliced up the eggplant and zucchini, chopped the garlic into small pieces and made strips out of the rest of the mozzarella.

I alternated between layers of the eggplant, zucchini, tomato sauce and cheese while adding the garlic and oregano occasionally.

I popped it into the over at 375 degrees and let it cook til I could smell my creation from rooms next door.

Because the vegetables have so much liquid in them it turned out a little soupy. It tasted good, don’t get me wrong but that’s how I got to calling it “My Italian Ratatouille”.


ML Art Project: “Dragon” at S.Misenas Designs

Medium: Sculpture


Hurricane Sandy Making Its Move

So for the past couple of weeks, many of us from the east coast have been recovering from Hurricane Sandy.

Earlier in that Monday night, I had gone to a friend’s house and a decided to walk back. People always like to use the word “howling” to describe strong winds but that was definitely an understatement in that case. They say the winds were up to 66 mph that day, I image stronger during the storm. You know when you hold a blade of grass in between your thumbs and blow at the edge to make a whistle? To me it seemed like the wind and trees were giant versions of that. I like storms but that was a little terrifying.

When I was getting closer to my house I heard something huge crash behind me. Good timing… As I walked into my house I get a call from my friend, she had just lost power… Less than an hour later we had lost power too. I used the limited light to read and pass the time til I could fall asleep and wake up in the morning.

The next day, a couple of us grabbed our umbrellas and headed outside to see the effects of Hurricane Sandy. From my house everything looked pretty normal but once you walked a little bit down the road it was like you were in a different place. Dozens of trees had fallen but not just fallen, uprooted. The wind was so strong it pushed the trees hard enough to snap roots thicker than my arms. Electrical/telephone poles were taken down by fallen trees, blown over or even just snapped in half. One pole that fell on the main street was connected to a live wire that burned a strip in the ground (Youtube video). Luckily nobody was hurt where I live but there were a few material casualties.

As we made our way down to the lake, we walked passed a gigantic uprooted tree and 2 other trees that had fallen. branches have fallen there before so it didn’t seem so bad until we began to realize things missing. We walked by one of the trees and had to do a double-take. Where did the playground go? We looked at each other and took a closer look. The splintered wood from the playground had blended in with the fallen tree but underneath all that you could see pieces of the shattered green slide that we all you to pile up on. We joked a little about not having enough wood for our bonfires and continued to walk to the dock by the water. We stood on the dock for a little while and as we were going to head back we turned around and realized the benches that were always there were gone. Another friend had later told us he found them by the island, which is at least 400 ft/200 m away.

During the weeks that followed, I saw trucks from Indiana and other states come to cut the fallen trees that blocked the road. The snow storm that came a couple days later caused a slight delay but so many without power during this cold weather didn’t stop people from taking their chainsaws and continuing some of the work on their own.

For cars and the high-demand generators, every gas station for miles and miles were sold out. People like myself drove for hours in search for a generator and gas because nobody really knew how long we would have to camp out for.

Definitely thankful for the hot water, but surviving without electricity wasn’t too bad. I like that it forced me to get up and do more things than I normally do and I definitely got a lot of reading done.

Is the earth trying to fight back? Is it a natural cycle that came around? Tell me what you think.