We went for a morning hike around Saratoga Spa State Park during our visit in early August. Our first stop was the Island Spouter.
Next we explored the Orenda Spring’s huge mineral bank, which has an amazing texture if you look closely.
Toward the end of our hike, we were able to hear a bit of the Philadelphia Orchestra practicing for their upcoming performance at Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), and strolled through a sports and exotic car show. What a varied experience in one lovely park!
Well, the horse racing season is almost over in Saratoga Springs, but at the beginning of August we went to watch the horses’ morning workout at the Saratoga Race Course (commonly referred to as “breakfast at the track,” whether you eat there or not). After watching a few of the horses running laps around the track, we took a guided walking tour of the stable area. The tour was a neat way to learn about all of the preparation that goes toward each horse’s performance, and to see many of the horses up close.
I managed to read some books this year! Most of these were pretty light, but I would recommend them all.
- Twelve Years a Slave (by Solomon Northup). After all of the Oscar hoopla over this movie, I was interested in reading the book, though I still haven’t found time to watch the movie yet. I became especially interested in reading this book when I learned that it was a true story and Solomon was living in my hometown, Saratoga Springs, when he was captured. This book was a gripping account of human strength through all sorts of atrocities.
- Yes Please (by Amy Poehler). I was ready for a change of pace after Twelve Years a Slave, but stuck with the autobiographical format to read Yes Please. I love Amy Poehler, mostly from her work on the TV show Parks and Recreation. I didn’t love this book as much as Tina Fey’s or Mindy Kaling’s books, but I did enjoy reading it and still love Amy.
- Me Before You (by Jojo Moyes). Ready for a novel, I used Amazon’s suggestion for people who enjoyed Where’d You Go, Berenadette? (which I enjoyed immensely pre-motherhood) and found this popular and well-reviewed tear-jerker. It apparently has at least one sequel, but I don’t know if I want to spend more time crying in my office during my lunch break.
- Big Little Lies (by Liane Moriarty). A funny page-turner of a mystery novel, told with various narrators.
- I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban (by Malala Yousafzai). Malala Yousafzai is such an inspiration, and now she is also the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner as she works tirelessly for education for all girls around the world. The book takes a little while to gain momentum, but is definitely worth the effort. Malala spends a lot of time introducing the reader to her family and cultural history, which is maybe not quite as engaging as her personal story, but important to understand in terms of how the Taliban came to power in Pakistan. Stick with it and become a Malala superfan like me. I am very excited to see the documentary He Named Me Malala when I have some time.
- The Royal We (by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan). I’ve been reading Heather and Jessica’s witty fashion blog, Go Fug Yourself, for many years, so of course I was excited to read their novel. I only have a passing interest in the British royal family that this novel is loosely inspired by, but this is a fun story that is full of engaging characters. It was a great airplane read!
- The Rosie Project (by Graeme Simsion). I love a quirky narrator, and this book’s narrator and protagonist is a great one. Don Tillman is an eccentric genetics professor who has begun “The Wife Project,” a quantitative search for a partner to share his life with, and hilarity ensues.
- The Rosie Effect (by Graeme Simsion). The sequel to The Rosie Project is not quite as funny and touching as the initial book, but it was an enjoyable and quick read.
I got some new books that I am looking forward to reading over Christmas vacation and beyond. They are Extraordinary Means (by Robyn Schneider), Made You Up (by Francesca Zappia), The Beach House (by Mary Alice Monroe), The Art of Hearing Heartbeats (by Jan-Philipp Sendker), and The Magicians (by Lev Grossman).
Have you read any good books lately?
A year ago I wrote a top ten list of my favorite things that I hadn’t done in a year. Here’s a follow-up on my attempt to do them this past year:
- Swim in the warm ocean with big waves. No such luck. I stuck my foot into the ocean here in Nova Scotia, but it was way too cold to consider swimming in. Maybe next year!
- Play mini golf. Done! Jeff and I played mini golf at my favorite mini golf course, Around the World in 18 Holes in Lake George, NY (shown below), over the summer. We also played mini golf at Beazley’s glow-in-the-dark mini-putt in Dartmouth, NS, where I played the best mini golf game of my life and beat Jeff for the first time!
- Go to an art museum. I didn’t make it to any during the past year, but I plan to go to at least one in Paris in a couple of weeks!
- Go to the Saratoga Jazz Festival at SPAC. Didn’t make it. And it looks like we will be in Saratoga the weekend before the Jazz Festival this year, so we might see the Beach Boys at SPAC, but no Jazz Festival. Maybe next year!
- Play tennis on a non-windy day. I played tennis several times last year. Yay!
- Eat an apple cider donut from Saratoga Apple. Nope. Wheat and I still aren’t friends, so I probably won’t be able to eat a regular cider donut anytime soon. But now that I have a donut maker, I can and will make my own.
- Hang out with my friend Theresa. We didn’t get to hang out in person, but we did skype a few times, so I’ll consider this one mostly successful.
- Kayak. Nope. Hopefully this summer!
- Go on a waterslide. Nope. Hopefully this summer?
- Go to a baseball game with friends on a nice day. I was so close to making this one happen. We had tickets to see the Red Sox play in Pittsburgh while we were in town for a wedding, but our flights got messed up and we ended up missing the game. Maybe next year…
While I was home for Thanksgiving, we hung out at Virgil’s Coffee House in Saratoga Springs. I love the eclectic yet homey vibe in this coffee house – there is a special place in my heart for locally owned establishments with tastefully mismatched furniture, games and books that are available for customer use, and gluten-free cookies and brownies. I enjoyed a tasty soy chai latte and my cousin’s kids played chess and checkers while the grown ups had a nice chat.
There were cute cows at the farm where we went apple and pumpkin picking!
Speaking of cute cows, here’s a snapshot of me wearing my favorite cute cow T-shirt (while enjoying an orange Dole Whip at Humpty Dumpty in Saratoga Springs, NY)! If you need a cute cow shirt for yourself, I bought mine at the Mahone Bay Quilt Shop.
The Daily Post at WordPress prompted me to “make a top ten list of favorite things to do you haven’t done in over a year.” I’m pretty self-indulgent, so I do a lot of my favorite things fairly regularly. But here are the ten favorite things I came up with:
- Swim in the warm ocean with big waves. The ocean in southeastern Florida in the summer is pretty much perfect for me.
- Play mini golf. Preferably Around the World in 18 Holes in Lake George, NY.
- Go to an art museum. This one just made the one-year cut – It’s barely been more than a year since I went to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia with Kerry.
- Go to the Saratoga Jazz Festival at SPAC. Preferably with my sister.
- Play tennis on a non-windy day. Apparently this is a lot to ask for in Nova Scotia.
- Eat an apple cider donut from Saratoga Apple. They are my favorite donuts anywhere, ever.
- Hang out with my friend Theresa. Chile and Canada are so far apart =(
- Kayak. I blame my lack of kayaking last summer on my Crohns-yness.
- Go on a waterslide. I miss the Blue Tubaluba at Sandcastle.
- Go to a baseball game with friends on a nice day. Even better if it’s a Red Sox game and I get to eat a soft pretzel while watching the game =)