Every time I sit down to write one of these things I tell myself I am going to write an outline so my thoughts are more organized. Then I start to and I just give up...Who am I kidding, this isn't a high school term paper.
Well a number of things have happened since I last posted. 1. I got my first visitor! My mother :) 2. I finally got a break from a second mother - mother nature (the bipolar mother) and took Rosalita out for a spin! Rosalita is my bike and she's had the winter blues (as have I) for quite some time. The weather is not so much brutal here is that it just sits teetering on the fence post between spring and winter (aka bearable vs. unbearable outdoor activity).
So sadly when my mother visited last weekend it was, as it has been since I got here, just not quite spring yet. BUT we made the most of it and I think all in all my first visitor was a success. I showed her around my "neighborhood" where we enjoyed a pre-dinner glass of wine at one of my favorite restaurants - Barcelona. They are basically an upscale tapas restaurant and they have the most unique small plates that taste AMAZING. But we really only went there for the wine, because they also have a lot of good Spanish and Argentinian wine. The people there were very hospitable, encouraging us through the door even before they opened for the evening. The bartender seemed to know exactly what we wanted and we did manage to sample a couple of the small plates because we were there during happy hour and they give out complementary Tapas. But the real treat lay ahead. I won't go into all the details of her trip. But I took her to some amazing seafood on the Sound (and got her to try a fresh Oyster which she loved!), went through some crazy adventures trying to get to NYC and then nearly walked her to death by the end of the day. But probably the greatest reward that day: dinner with an old friend and nice gentleman in a loud authentic crazy Italian restaurant. Or were we the loud, crazy ones..I'm not so sure... All in all she got to see a piece of my life up here and I think she had a good time as well.
Lessons learned for the future: sometimes winging it is not such a good idea (especially in a place like NYC) and by far food will be what breaks your budget up here. Although it was definitely worth it! But, I hope to find some less upscale hidden gems - probably one of the best meals was just a little local Greek restaurant where we got one of the most amazing white pizzas with mozzarella & ricotta cheese, sauteed spinach, artichokes and olives. And even though I was exhausted as I dropped her off in NY, I was sad to see her go. It was good to have someone to explore with, and shop with too :)
So, while I recovered this last week from travels/visitors and endured another week of cold and rain I took full advantage of today and I finally was able to explore at least one of the biking areas in CT. It was my first ride back since last November so I joined a group of leisurely riders on the Farmington_Canal_Trail that runs from Cheshire down to New Haven. One day it will go all the way up to Massachusetts and probably connect further south in CT as well. It was well worth the hour drive too. I had never been that far north in that direction and there are a lot of cute little towns, state parks and possible bicycling roads to add to the list. I figured this was my best bet to start the "season" and get me comfortable on a bike again. Of course as they say, "it's like riding a bike", you never forget and pretty soon I caught the bug and just wanted to ride as fast and as far as I could go. Probably the happiest I've been in a long time. I love it! Can't you tell?
So I will definitely be exploring some more riding potentially this week. Especially because I need to be ready for the 5 Boro Bike Tour in NYC on May 1st! Some of the riders in the group today are also going and the more they tell me about it the more I am excited! I can't imagine the chaos of 32,000 bikers hitting the streets of NYC, taking over the bridges and taking a ferry to the finish line at the end. It sounds like one day long celebration of biking and cyclers :) Can't wait. Hopefully I can find the few familiar faces I knew will be there, otherwise I will just be a random jersey among the masses. If anyone has any festive bike costume ideas..let me know ;)
With that I leave you a picture of my happy "butt buddy" :)