15 October 2010

Not Columbus Day in the Woods

This past weekend we had the distinct pleasure of celebrating that fateful day when the indigenous peoples of North America found Christopher Columbus and friends lost at sea.  Due to the obvious political trouble of celebrating such an event, our schools have taken different paths.  CMU ignores the day - it's just another monday, classes and all.  Pitt, on the other hand, celebrates it as "Fall Break"- the artist previously known as Mountain Day.  Either way, we called it a fine excuse to head back to Neversink!

When I say "poke" you say "ha".  Poke, Ha. POKE, HAHAHA!!!!

Zoe was a champ during the long drive, and even slept in the next morning so that Momma and Papa could do the same.  (These days we call 8:30am "sleeping in.")  Grandpa did his part to entertain wee Zoe as Grandma prepared a turkey for our evening feast.  Once that was in the oven, we headed up to visit the beasts that live across the street.

Captured in live HD video are three fine generations of ladies feeding the horses.  That's right folks, horses LOVE apples.  Who knew?  And it just so happens that there are about a kazillion spare apples on the Phillips Estate, so we had no problem finding treats for them. That said, DO NOT get the horses drunk.  We were told this is a firm rule. Horses are, after all, the only known species with more chromosomes than humans, so it seems like a fine rule...   These horses are named Cupcake and Brownie.  And by "named" we mean that those are the ad hoc monikers that children and ex-kindergarden teachers have provided them.  We've no doubt that the horses have actual, non confectionary, names provided by their owners.  We also don't care.

Organic Cotton V-neck- $85, Mocha Twill Trousers- $160, Pootain Goadle- priceless.
On the way back to the house, Cara seemed to get stuck in a Lands End photo shoot.  Hot momma - can't fake that smile!

Don't make me put you in soft focus...

Much as we love the urban life -- which we do -- part of what makes city living so spectacular are the frequent trips to the countryside.  Rocco especially loves it, he perks right up and is on full alert trying to chase any and all wildlife.  Although if the wildlife is larger than a squirrel, his defense mechanisms take over and he pretends not to notice.  Those horses?  Rocco was intently sniffing the grass behind me the whole time.

Ladies and Gentlemen: the Hudson River, pre-Manhattan

Our next big outing was to the "Walkway Over the Hudson" - a huge old railroad bridge that's been converted to pedestrian use.  It makes for a nice walk, and even better views.

Attn: Dr. Van de Graaff,  wee Zoe's got your generator market cornered.

Zoe Mae absolutely loved it!!!  The wind, the autumnal crispness, the view...  What's not to like?  Keeping the adventurous outing theme going, Grandma graciously offered to watch little Zoe while we ventured out for a hike.  The toughest part of the whole thing was deciding where to go, but Giant Ledge prevailed once again.

Can you find: A) sporty Cara, B) the pootain goadle?

The hike up to Giant Ledge is steep and technical, but it's pretty short -- just a few miles total -- so it's an ideal candidate for a quick outing.  And of course, there are always little places to stop and take hokey, wildernessy pictures:

Man and beast in the wilderness. 

Yes, yes, Rocco joined us for the adventure.  Though he isn't the most graceful of beasts, that dog can climb! Even up the steepest bits where the rocks were bigger than us, the little 20-pound mutt managed to keep well ahead of us and set a grueling pace.  Okay, perhaps grueling is a bit hyperbolic, but he's a damn fine climber.  Perhaps he's an elusive Pootain Goadle.  (1/2 Poodle, 1/2 Mountain Goat)

It's a stream!  We're on a bridge! OMG!

Picturesque streams? Check.  Long exposure to add some silkiness to the flowing water? Check.  Tripod to amplify this effect even further?  No check.

ROCCO: Fire at will. CARABINER: Aye-aye captian.

And the number one reason that Giant Ledge wins the "what hike should we do?" time and time again?  The giant ledge of course!  It's giant!  And there's a view that beautiful budding photographers (and their scoundrel husbands) can't get enough of.   Pictures, of course, can't do it justice, but it's quite the amazing vista.  Add to that the bounty of autumn foliage, and shucks, yinz are lucky we didn't fall right off the giant ledge in amazement.

Without the fluff, this would just be another postcard.

Okay, okay, Rocco.  It wasn't actually Giant Ledge.  You see, this being Columbus Day, or Mountain Day, or Fall Break, or Monday -- whatever you call it -- the trail had a few people on it.  So when we emerged atop the mountain (3720 ft) we discovered that there were other people on Giant Ledge.  The nerve!  Alas, we trudged on by and settled down on Giant Ledge's lesser known cousin, Medium Ledge.  Like a bicycle built for two, Medium Ledge was a perfect fit for us, and the views were no less breathtaking.  You might even say "Epic". (Patrick, we're looking at you.)

06 October 2010

Costello's first Zoe-tember

Zoe's a busy girl these days... and she's a growing girl. She had nearly grown out of all of her clothes, so we made a trip up to visit the cousins and get the next size of hand-me-downs from Emma and Grace. Grace made fast friends with Zoe...

Zoe had a great time just watching her crazy cousins go about their normal day...

Believe it or not... these photos are candids.  No posing here.

Back in the 'burgh, Zoe took in the game in Papa's office.  She was clearly excited by Polamalu's moves.

Needless to say, this onesie wasn't a hand-me-down from the cousins... but it sure is handy how it matches Papa's shirt.

Post game, Zoe was excited to experience more of Pittsburgh's culture, so we took her to see Shakespeare in the Parks. While there, she worked on perfecting her contemplative look.  Clearly, the performance was drool inspiring.  High praise indeed from a 5 month old!