11/02/03: Leaves leaves leaves

Today was a great day. As if this weekend couldn't be more perfect, today just topped it off.

It's been unseasonably warm here, and yesterday it was in the mid 70s, which is just fantastic. The warm dry weather paired with the leaves which are in their absolute peak right now was just magical.

There's a park right by my place called Rockwood Park, and it's got rolling green hills, tons of walking and bike paths, a little pond with a really simple fountain, and I just learned yesterday that it's also home to Rockwood Mansion, which is a Victorian era mansion that's owned by the county. The county offers tours for a small fee, but you can walk around the place and even hang out in the rooms and read or chat for free, as if it's your own house. My co-worker Keith mentioned that they have super-cheap coffee, salads, sandwiches, pastries and ice cream there in 'the butler's pantry'-- and you can chow down on really good coffee and apple cake and walk around for like 2 bucks. How do you go wrong?

Of course, I forgot about the lunch and salad options, so Chris picked up some bagel sammiches and a bistro salad (mmrllmllmmmm) and we ate it on a blanket in the park, and then we took a nice snooze. Eventually we got up to the mansion and had some coffee and some crumb cake and sat out on this neat slate patio under the trees-- it was really a little slice of heaven. It's a great place to just spend some mellow time and to look at people walking their golden retrievers.

What's cooler is that this park has a zillion really old, old trees, and they do this Festival of Lights thing each winter where they perfectly wrap white lights around about 100 trees, and the place turns into this totally magical glowing place; it's breathtaking. The fact that they don't do all of the trees makes it that much better. They've already started wrapping the trees, so when you drive by the park at night (it's on my way home from work) you can see their progress. On cold winter nights it's nice to just drive around the park and look around, though I imagine if I owned some warm clothes I would much prefer walking it.

I think I've decided that I might actually like cold weather more if I ever owned clothes that kept me warm. Not to say I never had a decent coat, but I think if you live full time in Maine you learn what keeps you warm and you dress appropriately so it doesn't bother you. Here in DE, it stays just warm enough to not warrant long johns, but just cold enough where once you're cold you can't warm up because of the moisture in the air. So maybe this year I'll buy some long undies from LL Bean and see if that makes me like life any more.

I've been really itchy to go photo shooting lately. I have this great manual camera I bought 2 years ago and it sits by my front door taunting me to take it with me when I leave the house. Maybe when all the lights are up at Rockford I can do some pretty cool slow-speed stuff. Or maybe I'll bring it to Arizona and see what's out there to shoot. Hmmm.

Anyway, we're off to see Lost in Translation, so I'm gonna go.