Author Archives: erinHasThoughts
Over the past couple months I’ve been throwing the idea of getting a pet around. I think I’m mature enough for this added responsibility and I finally landed on the perfect pet for me: Paul. Paul McNibbler, the hamster. You see, I had a hamster once, Nibbles, who lived a long and happy life. He had a number of hobbies: nibbling his way out of his cage, filling his cheeks with 3 weeks’ worth of food, and of course getting loose in moving cars. Anyways, I figured that Paul would be the ideal pet for me because it would really fit right into my lifestyle. Being a solitary animal, I could leave him alone for hours, or day if needed, I could fit him just about anywhere, and best of all, he’s got an expiration date. I’m 27 now, but by the time I’m 30, ready to buy a house and (god willing) have a family, I’ll be pet free. BOOM. DONE.
Oh, and the best part: Casual Fridays With Paul. CFWP is something that my team at work decided would probably be a great idea where Paul could come into the office on Fridays, dressed to the 9’s of course, and make his ‘rounds’ in his hamster ball. You know, just ‘roll through’ to make sure everything is running smoothly. Oh, and of course he would bring some office cheer. Most likely, he would spice up the Friday afternoons when he unavoidably would get loose the office and we all would be on a rampant hamster hunt.
Anyways, I moved recently and have kind of backed away from the thought of any new responsibilities, which is ironic because I feel like it was as soon as I gave up on this dream, it just came true without me even trying. (Never give up on your dreams, kids!) There was I sitting in my living room, watching the Wonder Years, and enjoying a pizza, when a baby opossum pops up in the middle of my living room. WHAT? SERIOUSLY? Yes, this is serious, as serious as a heart attack, which, by the way, I almost had.
I called my land lord, who set up an appointment with animal control, and ran upstairs to my neighbor, who I have known for approximately 5 minutes and probably thinks I’m crazy to come down and assist in the situation. Lucky for me, he was nice enough to come down and help me out with the situation. Between the two of (and by “between the two of us” I mean my neighbor was on the front line in the living room, while I nervously stood behind the barrier in the kitchen) we were able to get the cutesy baby opossum out the door.
The little guy didn’t even get out the door and I already missed him. A new paul was sitting there, given to me for free, and what do I do? I shoo him out the door. What kind of a pet-mother am I? I have thrown away the hopes of having a rodent-pet, I have thrown away the hope for Casual Fridays With Paul, and I have destroyed my confidence in myself as far as pet-owning goes.
As an aside: no animals were hurt in the making of this story. Paul was able to make it out alive, where he will be reunited with the rest of his opossum family, and after a thorough investigation of my apartment and the grounds around by the animal control guys, there were no more baby or mommy opossums found.
Please stay tuned for a follow up story about all the lesser known facts about opossums – they are actually a lot more interesting than you may have thought.
Like most girls, I don’t think I could ever have enough accessories. In fact, even with the overflowing amount that I have now and the equal mounds that my mom and sister have that they let me borrow occasionally, I still have moments where I literally have NOTHING that matches! Luckily there is the accessory mecca land, a refreshing oasis that provides only the lasted and greatest in outfit toppers: Charming Charlie. If you don’t know what Charming Charlie is, just picture Claire’s, The Icing, Francesca’s Collections, Forever 21-accessories, H&M accessories, and Charlotte Russe-accessories throwing up everywhere. No seriously – it has the color coordination of H&M, the price point of the Icing/Claire’s, and the ‘on trend’ perfection of Forever and Charlotte. It’s everything a girl could ask for, right? WRONG.
I do have one MAJOR issue with Charming Charlie. I’m signed up for their email, just as I’m signed up for with all my other stores like The Limited, Ann Taylor Loft, and Old Navy. I use these to make the time pass while I’m drinking my morning coffee or while I’m winding down watching TV at night. I basically use “window shopping” (clearly I’m using that term loosely here) the same way most educated adults would use reading a newspaper or book, but this is only because I don’t read. OK, lets be clear here, its not that I can’t read, its that I choose not to. I have been reading the same damn book on my family vacation for the past 3 summers, and I think I’m only halfway through. It’s pathetic really.
Anyways, I digress, back to the important issue here: Charming Charlie’s email list. I get the email every damn day. I want to go to their website and see their 2 for $20 scarves, their tantalizing TEAL accessories, and their cross body bags. I want to throw my money into the endless cycle of trendy accessories that will be nothing but a fashion faux pas next season, but can I? NOOOOOOOOOO…… Why? because they don’t have a damn website! It’s 2013 people, almost 2014 and you don’t have a website? Is this real life? Jenna Marbles runs a freaking YouTube channel single handedly, and she has an online store! You’re trying to tell me that with 250+ stores nation wide you couldn’t hire a team to run an online store?? You’ve been “a thing” for 10 years now! Get it together.
Furthermore, if you’re going to dick us around with these “deals” that are “in store only” (which is pretty much a pointless thing to stipulate because that’s actually the only way that you can make purchases), lets have it be a better deal. If I actually have to drive to the store, park half a mile away, walk in, purchase approximately 12 items more than i intended to, I’m going to need a deeper discount, ya know what I mean?
Charming Charlie, I hope that you read this post and that you understand your inconsideration for today’s online shoppers!
This past weekend I got a more-than-healthy helping of all my favorite things in life: Running, Fresh Air, Beautiful Scenery, Comradery, and Competition, and got to do it with an amazing group. And now I’m back…Reality Bites. I was lucky enough to be asked to be part of an amazing group called The Marathongs to compete in a crazy race called Reach The Beach. Reach The Beach is unique because it’s the LONGEST (in distance) relay race in the whole entire country. Holler!!
The longest relay race in the nation? Yep! 204 miles through the White Mountains in NH, starting at Cannon Mountain in Franconia, NH, and ending at New England’s Jersey Shore: Hampton Beach. The goal is to complete the 204 miles within 24 hours among your team of 2 – 12 people. Our team, The Marathongs, came in 87th out of 480 teams, averaging about an 8 minute pace. Each team member has three legs along the way, giving a little bit of rest in between, but little to no sleep. Everyone on the team ran somewhere between 15 – 24 miles over their three legs. Basically, it was awesome!
Our team comes from all over: West Haven, Ellington, Vernon, and Glastonbury CT, Buffalo, NY, New York City, Boston, MA, and Newport, RI. There were some (super boring) super serious teams, but many dressed up. Our major competition was “The Kilts”, “The Lumberjacks”, who, by the way, ran in jorts – no kidding, and “The Cropdusters”. Most of the teams had really great names. It was really an awesome experience as all the teams were supportive of each other – all with the same crazy goal of running 204 miles and “reaching the beach”.
I think from here, the best way to show our journey is through pictures and videos.
Goofing around before the race, getting our wiggle on!
The MarathonG boys’ dance. Get it boys!!
Who says white girls can’t dance??
It was the longest 24 hours of my life…but surprisingly to most, I’m saying that in the best way possible. Things that happened on Friday afternoon seemed like they happened 2 weeks ago by Saturday night. I dont know if it was the lack of sleep, the overexertion, or the amount of things that happened, but it was truly an experience I will never forget and I’m already counting down the days until the MarathonGs run Reach the Beach in 2014.
So I’m already extremely spoiled where I work, as we get breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee, and snacks provided to us for free. Eat your heart out corporate America- my job is better than yours!! Wait, if you think u hate me already, every summer we get a steak and lobster dinner provided as a summer treat. This is the ultimate “summer eats” as we get steak, lobster, baked potatoes, salad, fruit, corn on the cob…you name it, we’ve got it!! It’s actually quite amazing.
Anyways I just wanted to take a moment to share this with all you “brown-naggers” out there that aren’t so lucky!
About a month ago a few friends and I made our way to the Jonathan Edwards Wine Festival, which was of course at Jonathan Edwards Winery. The wine festival was so much fun!! For $20 you get a glass and a tasting ticket which was good for a variety of different wines. At the festival there was live music, a wine-themed arts and crafts fair, and tons of great food. We walked around for a while, saw the sights, got delicious caprese sandwiches from the food truck, had lots of wine, and finished off our day with some fresh oysters from the Behan Family Farm. Though it was a HOT HOT day, it was lovely inside the tent. The live music was fantastic and we had a wonderful time relaxing!
Address: 74 Chester Main Rd North Stonington, CT 06359
Cost For Tasting: I’m not sure how expensive the tasting is, but the Wine Festival was $20, which included live music, and the tasting. food was extra, but it was delicious, and I found it quite worth it.
Ranking: 8 - I feel like I’d really have to go back for just a tasting to get a feel for the vineyard in a more laid back setting. The festival was awesome, and I enjoyed the wine but I wasn’t able to get a feed for the inside of the winery. I’d definitely like to go back again!
The Connecticut Valley Winery was the third stop on our 3 stop wine tour a few weeks ago. The tasting station was pretty busy, and we had already done a couple earlier in the day, so we decided to just get a bottle of wine and enjoy it with our snacks.
Address: 1480 Litchfield Turnpike New Hartford, CT 06057
Cost For Tasting: $8, however we just purchased a bottle for about $14.
Ranking: 6 – wine was good, however the tasting room was small and there was limited seating outside. It also seemed that there was a large banquet area. So, it may be a nice place for a wedding reception or large party, but for a small intimate setting..ehh…
Tastings are offered on Saturday and Sunday from 12–5 pm. During Wine Trail Season (May–November), tastings are offered Thursday–Sunday from 12–5 pm. We chose one of their red wines: Black Tie Cabernet Francm which as stated on their website, is “an elegant and sophisticated red table wine, robust with a dry, silky finish”.
Last night at work I had a conversation with one of my co-workers about my morning run the next day. The conversation went a little like this:
Me: So I’ll be running by your house tomorrow.
Co-worker: Oh yea? What time?
Me: Early…I’ll probably pass your place around 5:25AM
Me: What, are you going to come out and cheer for me? haha I would die if you were standing out there with a sign or something.
End of story. Now this particular co-worker is a bit on the unpredictable side. Nothing that he does, or doesn’t do, really surprises me. He’s a rolling stone of sorts. So this morning I was running with one of my girlfriends and as we were coming close to my coworker’s house I was telling her the story. We rounded the corner, and to my surprise, a small sign low to the ground caught my eye.
This was surprising, even to me! But it absolutely put some pep in my step! I have a great appreciation for thoughtful little surprises like this – it will not be forgotten!
On the same day that we went to Arrigoni Winery, my sister and I made our way over to Jerram Winery.
Address: 535 Town Hill Rd New Hartford, CT 06057 – (860) 379-8749
Cost For Tasting: $6, which includes 6 different samples, along with your choice of a stemmed or stemless wine glass. I chose the stemless because this is actually the first winery in CT I’ve been to where they offer stemless!
Ranking: 7 – good wine, but very little seating, and strange smell.
The setting of this winery was much better than our first stop! At least you couldn’t see the road from the tasting room! I thought the wine here was pretty good, and the gentleman doing the tasting, Jim Jerram, seemed like he really knew what he was talking about. Jerram Winery was only established about 15 years ago in 1998, but even at that they grow several varieties of grapes including Marechal Foch, Seyval Blanc and Vignoles.
Personally, I thought it was pretty cool that you could choose between a stemmed wine glass or a more trendy/modern stemless. Though the wineglasses are very small, they are still really nice. The one thing I found kind of funny/entertaining about this vineyard was that the bathroom in the tasting room was a FULL bathroom, including a shower. That’s something I have not encountered at another vineyard thus far.
There was only room for about 4 people to sit inside, but on a nice day, there was a full deck and lots of grass that people could sit on. If it were nicer out, and if we didn’t have plans to get to the next vineyard, I would have been happy to hang out there for a while! I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to suggest a trip back out to Jerram, but if invited I wouldn’t decline.
This Father’s Day I decided to ask my dad if he wanted to do something with me. Every year for Fathers Day, Christmas, and his birthday I get him the same thing – a gift certificate to the bike shop he frequents. This year I decided to mix it up. My dad chose the route: the Nipmunk Trail, which is 34.5 meandering miles of blue-blazed trails throughout Connecticut. We picked up the trail right down the road from UConn and started on our hike. Since we got about 9 inches (literally) of rain last week, there were some really muddy parts and lots of small streams that we had to find ways to cross. I, of course, would find the most narrow part of the stream with a big rock in the middle to make a safe crossing. My dad, on the other hand, would tightrope walk across a thin (and seemingly unreliable) fallen tree or branch. Luckily he made it every time, but I was completely fine taking the “safe route”.
We walked about 3 miles out, seeing a bunch of cool things: We crossed over a little bridge with a HUGE crayfish on it. It was dead, but it was still cool…taz thought so too. There was also a lot of huge trees that were uprooted and had fallen over. Taz had a great time swimming in the river next to the trail, but at times seemed a bit stressed because of the currant.
Finally we made it to the Gurleyville Gristmill. I’ve never heard of this gristmill before, my pops discovered it on one of his long bike rides around the state, so that is where we hiked to. Come to find out the Gurleyville Gristmill is the state’s only remaining stone grist mill and was built back in the 1720′s – that’s almost 300 years ago!! I guess my gram is right – they just don’t make things to last like they did “back then”. Another interesting fact: the mill was operated for years by the family of Wilbur Cross, a former Connecticut governor. We were able to go inside and check it out.
After we made it back to the car, we ended our afternoon with a trip over to the UConn Dairy Bar. The UConn Dairy Bar sells ice cream, and other dairy products, produced by the UConn Creamery, and has been doing so since the early 1900′s. As to “not spoil our dinner” we each only had one scoop, but man-o-man was that enough. I couldn’t have eaten two scoops if I tried!! I got Cake Batter ice cream, and my dad got Toasted Almond Amaretto and both were delicious.
We had such a great day, I’m thinking we should not wait until next Father’s Day to do it again!!
My sister got a groupon for Arrigoni Winery in Portland, CT and asked me to go along with her to check it out. Now there’s two things I’m not going to turn down: Wine and Free Stuff, so I guess you can say this was the perfect storm for me…or so I thought.
Address: 1297 Portland-Cobalt Rd, Portland, CT 06480
Cost For Tasting: I think my sister paid $10 for the groupon, but a regular tasting is $7, which includes 5 wines. You can add on additional wines for $1 each.
Ranking: 2. This was definitely my least favorite by far.
So you arrive, and its totally cheesy outside the winery including a bigger than life Santa Clause that stands outside all year round…hmm ok. Then you walk into the winery, but are a bit confused because you basically are in a gift shop and the tasting bar is tucked in the back, not even visible from the front door. On top of that, the location of the winery is less than ideal. Its right on the road of Route 66, which is a very busy road. Usually you go to a winery for some relaxation and the peace…if that’s what you’re looking for, don’t go to Arrigoni.
OK, so we’ve covered the atmosphere…on to the wine. I suppose if the wine was good we’d be able to forget the atmosphere (after a glass or two). But unfortunately the wine was also no bueno. My sister decided it would be best if we made our way to another winery in the area…the only problem was that there are no other wineries in the area! So, we made an hour trek to New Hartford where we did find a few others.
The thing I found most off-putting about Arrigoni is that they don’t have any wine that they make from their own grapes. None. Not even one. Ok, I get it, we don’t live in Napa Valley, and I know that most wineries in Connecticut only make a select few wines from their own grapes, whereas most others are made from grapes (or other fruit) that is imported. But come on, if you’re a winery on the CT wine trail, you should have at least one wine to offer that is made from your own home-grown grapes! Am I right? In their defense, apparently they are so new that their grapes are just not ready yet. That’s fine, but maybe you consider that and stay off “the trail” until you’re ready!