“beach” day

Andrew, Abigail and I joined some of Andrew’s friends from work Sunday at Ontario “Beach.”  I use quotation marks here because, as someone who grew up vacationing in Florida and North Carolina’s Outer Banks, I find it extremely difficult to call anything other than the sand along a bona fide ocean, a beach.  I mean, just because the Great Lakes are all huge and beach-like, they still aren’t oceans.  There are no waves, no crabs, no salty sea air.

I digress.

This is Ontario Beach.  As you can see, it is pretty much like a beach.  What you see on the right is a jetty and on the other side of that were a bunch of sailboats.  We didn’t have the best weather; it was pretty overcast much of the morning, but warm and even a bit humid (for here).  Ontario Beach is about an hour and a half northeast of East Aurora.  There are “beaches” closer to EA, but they’re on Lake Erie.

We were invited by one of Andrew’s friends from work, who apparently gathers with some of his family and friends here each summer for some (relatively) intense volleyball.

Andrew joined right in for the volleyball.

Abigail and I aren’t volleyballers; in fact, we’re the kind of players you want on the OTHER team.  So, Abigail did what she does best: laid out, soaking up the sun.  I enjoy lying out as well, especially since I have a sports bra and shorts tan, but I get bored easily if I’m not reading, so I mingled and took photos of Andrew playing volleyball.

Before too long some light rain drove us all inside, so we headed to this joint (apparently a favorite of the group who came out last summer) for some lunch:

I didn’t bring my camera (wish I had!), but it was just as shady on the inside as it looks on the outside.  They’re known for their steak sandwiches, but it was the bun that really did it for me.  Again, I wish I’d had the camera.  (There wouldn’t have been anywhere to put it; we were swished like sardines into booths.)  Anyway, imagine a really thin steak on a bun that was a cross between a potato roll and a croissant.  YUM.  It was a bit flaky and buttery and kinda smooshed when you grasped it.  I made mine into a cheeseburger with ketchup, mustard and pickles.  Andrew had his with grilled peppers and onions, and Abigail ate hers’ plain.  The three of us shared a vanilla milkshake with a splash of root beer.

Once we all finished lunch, we piled into our vehicles and headed to Andrew’s friend’s uncle’s house.  Hi Uncle Al!

Al has lived just off of Lake Ontario for the last 25 years.  He took the 11 of us out on the lake for tubing and water skiing for the next few hours.  The weather gradually improved until it was beautiful around 4 p.m. I haven’t been tubing for three years, since last vacationing with Andrew’s family on Lake Tippecanoe in Indiana.  I thought I was getting too old, but apparently not.  I had a great time yesterday and escaped without a bruise.

Bart, Andrew’s friend from work and who has made an appearance on the blog before, drove us up for the event. Thanks Bart!

After boating we gathered on the deck before grilling hamburgers for dinner.  Check out my suit!  This is the one Andrew and I scored last-minute at JC Penney’s.  LOVE IT.

Andrew lost his contact in the water…must have been all that aggressive tubing!  For those who don’t know, the only appropriate way to tube when there are multiple people out there at once, is to fight to the death until someone falls off.  You’d think adults would be past this; sadly, they aren’t.  (I, on the other hand, am completely content to have a wild ride in which I have to work to hang on, but don’t need to worry that someone from another tube might jump on top of me or kick me off.  Just saying.)

So THAT’S what my hair looks like from the back!  I’ve always wondered… It’s more reddish-brown than I thought.  And flippy.  Obviously, this is an “un-styled” look since I’d been in the water, but good to know.

We left around 8 p.m. for our long drive home.  Miraculously, no one in the car fell asleep!  I have heard, however, that everyone had a hard time getting going this morning…

recovery morning

I had every intention of spending this Monday morning like every other Monday morning: getting up with the dog around 6 a.m., having coffee while making our breakfasts and Andrew’s lunch, then heading to the gym for pilates/yoga and swimming.

Until we didn’t go to bed after our day at the “beach” until well after 11.  And Hadrian woke me up at 3:50 to go to the bathroom.  (To which I replied, “It’s not time to get up yet, go lie down” and he promptly crawled back onto his bed.)  And then he woke me up again, this time at 5:30, and I relented and took him out.  When I ended up sleeping-in until 7, I still thought I might just fit in a quick run, but my body was telling me I needed a rest day.  Between 13 miles on Saturday and an easy elliptical workout and long day yesterday, I was tired!

That, and I needed to get organized for the week before picking Andrew up to see houses with our realtor over his lunch break.  It’s my routine; I hate being super busy on Sunday night or Monday morning and not feeling prepared for the week.

So, I’m calling this my recovery morning, filled with:

-a big steaming cup of coffee, sweetened with creamer and coconut milk

-two loads of laundry

-downloading yesterday’s photos

-catching up on blogs and email

-making the bed

-adding “to-do” items to the planner

And, of course, my “recovery” breakfast:

One banana, cut-up strawberries, 1/2 C plain yogurt, 1/4 Wegmans granola with raisins, flax seeds and flaxseed meal.  YUM!  Today will be filled with lots of water and nutritious foods to make up for yesterday’s steak sandwich and mindless munching.  Overall, I think I did very well for someone watching what they’re eating while being surrounded by chips (I took it easy), beer (I refrained, mostly because I just wasn’t interested) and burgers (I ate what I packed–leftover quinoa and an orange).

On the docket for the afternoon:

-beach-photo post

-blog work–new page and updated “About Me” page coming soon!

-emptying the dishwasher

-writing contest entries

-“clips” portfolio work

– Ellie Krieger’s Sloppy Joes  for dinner!

cake, nap, quinoa

So… I had a little more than a bite of that chocolate cake.  I. could. not. stop. eating. it.  I had enough willpower to stop at about half, after I’d dug around to get all the yummy chocolate mousse sandwiched between the slices of cake.  So, a pseudo-victory.

Within about an hour, I had succumbed to a sugar coma and ended up taking a TWO-HOUR nap on the couch.  I must have been tired; I can’t sleep like that unless I am.  It was like I didn’t know what hit me!  It was the kind of nap in which you wake up hot, and thirsty and STILL tired.

I woke up just in time to start dinner.  I made Patricia Wells’ Quinoa Salad with Spinach, Parsley and Spring Onions.  I had to use a mix of quinoa and millet (another grain) since I didn’t have enough quinoa.  It worked out really well; I was able to use both of them up–SCORE!

It was really yummy.  I started by toasting the quinoa and millet, then cooked them in chicken stock until softened.  Then all you do is pulse parsley, olive oil and lemon in a blender to make a vinaigrette, and add that to the quinoa, along with chopped scallions.

Before serving, you make, essentially, a salad dressing to toss with the spinach separately (pictured below) out of light cream, lemon juice, lemon zest and chives.  I didn’t know “light” cream existed…  I’d always bought heavy cream for all my cream needs.  This recipe specified light cream and it didn’t occur to me until I got to Wegmans that it might be hard to find.  Thankfully, it wasn’t hard at all; it was right next to the heavy cream.  Go figure.

The dressing was great.  Very light, lemony and chive-y.  I love chives.  I don’t get them nearly enough.  I actually used chives from my herb garden from before we moved.  I froze teaspoonfuls into ice cubes and transported them here.  Freezing fresh herbs in ice cubes has been brilliant for me.  I use them all the time.  I’m so looking forward to having a garden next summer.

Conveniently, I had a mason jar from canning to use to shake up the dressing–sweet!  I served the quinoa with some of my homemade apple pear sauce to round out the meal.  We were going meatless tonight, whether Andrew wanted to or not!  Actually, he noticed that tonight’s free hotel dinner was spaghetti and meatballs, so it didn’t take him long to ask, rather sheepishly, if he could go down the hall and get some.  I was pretty peeved (someone back me up here), but relented if he’d wait until AFTER we finished dinner.

I had planned on serving wine with this dinner, but since we were going to be going to the last “Thursday at the Waterfront” downtown concert series event of the summer, I figured we didn’t need two alcoholic beverages in one night.

We met Andrew’s friend, Bart, downtown and listened to the concert for a little while before heading over to the Pearl Street Bar and Grill for some wings.  I really didn’t want any (SO CLOSE to my goal!), but I didn’t want to be a stick-in-the-mud, so I went willingly.  I chose water (instead of their awesome, seasonal BLUEBERRY beer) and ended up having just two of Andrew’s wings.  I had to try them…what if they were to become a new favorite??  I won’t keep you in suspense, they weren’t.  Don’t get me wrong, they were great.  But nothing beats the Bar Bill and Pasquale’s, in my book.

Happy (almost) Friday!