Dueling Christmas Lights – Part Two

If you missed yesterday’s post, click here.

Up next, the lights from the great state of New Hampshire. The most impressive part of this light show, wasn’t actually the lights. It was the fact that, feeling our complacency with the “same-old-same-old” light display, my dad logged onto the computer and researched a new light display nearby. Impressive.

So after visiting our tried and true spots, we drove to the neighboring town to see if this new light display was really that good.

Yup, it was. That is, unless you suffer from seizures. Then it probably wasn’t good for you at all.

Suddenly I’m Homesick

Every morning in the Englehauer household, the Today Show is playing, giving me the weather, a little bit of news and a lot of gossip.

And when I am home in time for the evening news, Brian Williams is the one who gives it to me. Brilliams in my favorite Robin Hood board member (sorry to everyone else – I can’t lie). I even have a truly remarkable photo of the big man himself from our 2012 benefit hung up at my desk. Other people have pictures of babies and significant others. For me, it is b.wills.

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And anyone who knows me, knows that although I may live in NYC, in my heart I will always be part of the 603. The ‘shire. The granite state. Those who say “live free or die” and truly mean it. That’s right: New Hampshire.

So, when NBC News and by boy speak about the greatness that is NH, my heart melts.

 

“Anyone who has spent time in New Hampshire has an emotional tie to the state … but what I appreciated when I was governor was the people, and I believe they are what made a difference in getting the peace treaty negotiations done. … It’s been the people: their independence, self-reliance and imagination. It’s all possible in New Hampshire.”
— Jeanne Shaheen

Snowed In

Growing up in New Hampshire, I am no stranger to blizzards. Nearly every winter, we would get a handful of big storms and if we were lucky,  a snow day or two would result. My family would often take advantage of the snow by heading up North to ski. And for the days where we reminded at home, we would spend at least half of the day playing outside, building snowmen, making snow forts and sledding. In preparation for these activities I would spend hours bundling up before heading outside. I assembled the perfect snow outfit, complete with the trick of pulling my wool socks OVER my pant legs to ensure that no snow would touch my skin! After time in the snow, we would warm up with hot chocolate and, more often than not, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

Blizzards in New York City are a little different. People freak out leading up to the storm, but then once it comes even though this city is a little quieter, things continue on as normal. Restaurants still deliver, Starbucks remains open and Broadway shows still go on.

I took advantage of the quite weekend to stay in a do a little baking and crafting. Unfortunately, I don’t have completed projects or blog posts to show you so hang tight.

That's right - the sewing machine came out this weekend!
That’s right – the sewing machine came out this weekend!
Some exciting things went down in the kitchen this weekend. More to come!
Some exciting things went down in the kitchen this weekend. More to come!

What did you do this weekend during the storm? Anything fun?

I’m a Mooseman!

This past weekend, Matt and I continued our suburban tour — only this time we headed north.

On Friday, we loaded up the car with wetsuits, bikes and running shoes and drove up to the great state of New Hampshire for the Mooseman Half Ironman Triathlon.

We spent Friday night with my parents before heading up to Wellington State Park to check in and attending the athlete meeting. The entire day on Friday, it was pouring rain. Not really ideal conditions for a triathlon. Between the rain and the  insanely fit people all around me, I got ridiculously nervous. But thankfully my fan club of two, Matt and our friend Ryan (who were both racing as well) convinced me that everything was going to be ok and I wasn’t going to come in last. After a long, soggy day and a pasta dinner, we turned in for the night.

Now, I don’t really want to relive all 70.3 miles so here are some highlights.

1. Getting my wetsuit (thanks Jamie) on with only a minor amount of wiggling, pulling and yanking

2. The temperature was right around 60 degrees – sounds cold but it made the 62 degree temperature of the water seem much much warmer.

3. The pouring rain we experienced Friday slowed to a very light drizzle.

4. During the bike, the hills were so steep that my speed dropped down to 2 mph and I almost fell off my bike (but I didn’t!)

5. My feet were numb  from being cold and wet on the bike for 3 hours. During the first two miles of the run I felt like I was running on stumps. But I kept running.

6. The run was painful, but since it was an out and back run that we did twice, I got to see both Matt and Ryan a few times. It is surprising how far a fist pump can get you :)

7. I ran through the finish line with a smile on my face!

While the race wasn’t always pretty and my time wasn’t earth shattering, I was happy with it. Just getting out there and doing it was enough for me. However, for Matt and Ryan, this race is just the beginning… they are both competing in the Ironman US National Championships being held in NYC in August. I’m not going to lie, the thought of doing a race twice that length makes me throw up in my mouth a little. 70.3 is enough for me!

**See a recap of the race by this year’s winner, Alex Mcdonald. Congratulations on your big win!

Till death do us part. Or until Brad Pitt comes along.

I was born and raised in New Hampshire. And although my parents (and basically every other member of my family) are from Ohio, I was thankfully raised a Red Sox fan. I guess that is what happens when you live in Red Sox nation, even when the team is terrible, as they were for the majority of my youth, you are a loyal fan. I think that when you are a baby, the nurses take you out of the delivery room, clean you off, swaddle you up and made you swear on your newly acquired life, that you will pledge your life to be part of the Fenway Faithful. You are then returned to the safety of your parents and your life is forever changed.

I still remember my first Red Sox game. My parents used to take Abby and I on “mystery trips.” They would load us into the car and drive us of to some fabulous location. It could be a trip to the movies to see the newest Disney movie, an educational adventure to an art museum (those were never my favorite), a visit to the circus,  or a ticket to a musical or play. But my most favorite mystery trip ever was when we went to Boston to sit in the stands at Fenway to watch the Red Sox taken on the Anaheim Angels.

My parents went all out of this one. They blindfolded us for the ride down to Boston (or at least for the last few miles – I can’t remember all of the details, but it seems unlikely we would sit in the backseat of the car blindfolded for the full hour drive). I remember taking off my blindfold and seeing the massive green walls with the carefully painted lettering, spelling out “Fenway Park.” I couldn’t wait to get inside to get myself a Fenway frank and cheer on the sox.

Unfortunately we didn’t win the game. But I did come away with a lot of good memories and lessons learned.

1. I learned more curse words that I had ever been before. Clearly this was just as education as an art museum as my vocabulary expanded by at least 5 words.
2. The pitcher for the Angels was Jim Abbott,  who was born without a right hand. Imagine how happy my parents were to be able to turn this into a life lesson of “overcoming the odds.” We are JUST like an episode of Full House.
3. Abby and I were each allowed one “treat” – I got cotton candy (my go-to for sporting events, adventure parks, etc). Abby got an ice cream sundae that came in a little plastic Red Sox batters hat. She had that for years to come. I was pissed.
4. Someone hit a foul ball that was aimed near our seats. We were scared to death that we didn’t even realize the ball rolled right underneath out seats. I will never again let the fear of having a baseball to the face ruin my chances to earn Red Sox memorabilia. A black eye would have been a GREAT addition to a real MLB baseball!
5. Walking into Fenway, I felt like I was returning to the mother-ship.  I knew, I would never cheer for another team. Ever.

That is, until last night.

Matt and I decided to stay in and watch Moneyball. I can’t even tell you how great this movie was. In addition to being a great movie start and humanitarian, I had no idea that Brad Pitt was responsible for transforming the sport of baseball too.

Well, really Jonah Hill should be given all the credit, but let’s face it. Even though he has lost 40 pounds, he is no Brad Pitt. And we all know, people give credit to those who have a pretty face (I learned this lesson from the musical Wicked).

Well last night I found myself rooting for the Oakland A’s. I wanted that 20th win just as much as I wanted the final game of the American League Championships in 2004 against the Yankees.

Well, let’s not get carried away… it wasn’t that much.

Although I liked the movie, I do have to say, Brad Pitt is an idiot. Why he didn’t take the job offer with the Red Sox is beyond me? Did he really think that his daughter’s song was that good that he should  give up 12.5 million dollars and a world series trophy and a chance to be part of the best baseball franchise? Umm, no. (Sorry – I do love you as Paige from Brothers and Sisters though).

So while I found myself cheating on the Red Sox for a hot minute, I blame Brad Pitt. Honestly, he is probably the downfall of many relationships; including his own with Rachel from Friends… Sorry Brad but after that move, we could never be together – even if you were the GM of the Red Sox.

Return to the Home Base

This weekend I am going to visit my lovely parents for the weekend. I find it extremely important for my mental health that I return to my home base every so often to “re-charge” and “re-fuel” on PMA (positive mental attitude). Matt jokes that I am like Superman returning to Krypton.

I love spending time with my parents and being in my hometown. I like spending a night or two in my small twin bed and poking through the piles of things I have left in my parent’s basement, hoping to reclaim them once I move out of the shoebox, Matt and I like to call home in NYC (Ok, our apartment isn’t really THAT small, but I like the dramatic effect of calling it a shoebox)

  • I love the predictability of life at my parents’ house.
  • I like knowing that by 10-10:30pm, both of my parents will be falling asleep on the couch as they watch some detective type show like Numbers or Law and Order.
  • I like knowing that Saturday night dinner will probably be hamburgers on the grill and corn on the cob.
  • I like knowing that our basement is always fully stocked with craft supplies
  • And I LOVE knowing that if I suggest to my mom that we get ice cream at the local drive is, she will support that 100%

I can’t wait to see what fun the weekend brings. Of course we will miss Abby but I am sure we will have some quality iPad face time to try and include her. (I guess I should say we will miss Matt too since he is part of the family now… )

I hope that you all do something you love this weekend. It is a special time to remember, reflect and appreciate those “little things” in life that you can sometimes take for granted.

Florida Grapefruit

Every year over April vacation, Abby, my mom and I would visit my grandparents in Jupiter, Florida. My grandparents were incredibly smart for moving to Florida when they did. Although Florida is not very close to New Hampshire, limiting the number of times we actually saw them each year, the draws of Florida – the beach, warm weather and super cute boy who lived next door to their house, were enough to keep us coming back year after year. If they had stayed in Ohio, I must admit, I wouldn’t have been as excited to visit. Instead of body surfing at the beach, we would have been shucking corn and tipping cows.

Some of my favorite things about visit my grandparents were things that we did nearly ever year. We would always go to the Palm Beach Mall and have a mini-shopping spree at The Limited Too. Later, when we entered high school, we would get our prom dresses during this trip. The local school had their prom the week before our visit, so we were able to score amazing deals on some pretty nice dresses.

Abby and I ate many meals aboard our grandparent’s boat, “JeBo.” We would make sandwiches, PB & J for Abby, PB & banana for me, and sit aboard the board munching away. It was like the boat was our very own club house, almost making up for the fact that my dad never built us the treehouse he promised. Every year, my grandfather would take us for a ride in the boat to see the new developments around the intercostal. During one trip,with the boat nearing the end of its life, the engine died in the middle of our ride and my dad and grandfather were forced to paddle us back to their dock. But that was not nearly as adventurous as the time their neighbor’s massive yacht became untied from their dock and started drifting towards our dock. For some reason, I remember Abby swimming over to the boat and climbing aboard – I am not sure what happened next, or if this actually happened. I did have a wild imagination as a child…

Abby and I spent a lot of time swimming in the bay in front of our grandparents house. We would blow up rafts and inner tubes, and see who could stand on them the longest without falling in the water. At the end of the bay, there was a mangrove island, no more than 150 yards away. When Abby was 7 years old, she decided she was going to swim out to this island. My dad jumped in the inflatable row-boat and paddled along besides her as she bravely made her way out to the island and back. When she returned, my grandfather gave her a sliver dollar for accomplishing this feat. Year after year, when we returned to their house, my grandfather would ask me if I was ready to make the same swim. Not until I was 21 years old did I actually do it; and I was freaking out the entire time. Sadly, I never received a silver dollar for my feat of bravery…

The memory that stands out the most in my mind was the time we spent every morning during breakfast. When we came to visit, my grandfather would go out and buy fresh Florida oranges and grapefruit. Every morning we had the choice of a large glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, or a small glass of OJ and half of a grapefruit, pre-cut and ready to eat. Abby and I ALWAYS took the second option. We would take a few sips of the juice, then scoop away at the grapefruit, and then squeeze the juice into our 1/2 empty OJ glass creating a mixture of OJ and Grapefruit juice. It was a morning ritual that I wouldn’t give up for anything.

It wasn’t until I was probably 14 or 15 that I realized grapefruits didn’t come pre-cut. It was a sad reality to learn than in order to enjoy this delicious treat,  I had to spent the time cutting around each and every section of grapefruit. It goes without saying, that because of this, grapefruit isn’t something that I have incorporated into my daily diet.

Last night, while shopping for my quinoa at Whole Foods, I spotting some big and delicious looking grapefruit. I decided to buy a few and try my hand in preparing this fruit as a mid-morning snack. Well, after 15 minutes of cutting, slicing and scooping, my desire for the sweet fruit was realized. I finished with sticky hands and grapefruit juice running all over my desk. Was it worth it? Yes… but I would give anything to have my grandfather live next door and deliver a perfectly sliced grapefruit to my door every morning.

What do you say grandpa? I think there are some one-bedrooms open in my apartment. Ready for life in the big city?