Monday, September 26, 2011

"A positive attitude is not going to save you..."

"...What it's going to do is, everyday, between now and the day you die, whether that's a short time from now or a long time from now, that every day, you're going to actually live." ~ Elizabeth Edwards 

I finally found my camera cord! Unbeknownst to my handful of readers, I couldn't find my camera charging cord after the trip to Philly. My battery survived for a few weeks after, but died during our WV trip. Luckily, my iPhone takes photos that aren't completely horrid, so that saved the trip. But that just wasn't going to cut it for me for long. And it's inhibited my picture-snapping tendencies, which impacts my blog posting. I really dislike posting without photos.

Finally, however, I found it in the trunk of the car, buried under blankets and jumper cables. Not quite sure how it got there but I was thrilled to find it. (Clearly, I should have indulged in those moments when I wanted to desperately clean the car over the last few weeks). This photo here (taken with the iPhone) is not very good. But you get the gist. It's a beat-up frame, chipped in places, but mostly solid wood. It was getting tossed at work and I just know I can do something interesting with it.

I began painting it over the weekend (since I was already painting the porches) and I was going to share a finished picture, but I think I'll wait. I'm not happy with how my "antique" look turned out so I need to repaint it. I still need to snap a picture (since the camera is finally charged!) of it's icky look (I will share).

Anyway, I also have another little tiny project in mind that I've sketched up--autumn/Halloween related for a friend's children. I'll be visiting them soon (my first trip to Tennessee!) so I must also work on that this week. And if any of you remember my baby shower project, don't worry....I'm still plodding away at it. Never again will I estimate such a short amount of time for such an involved project. I mean, I can pull some crazy projects out in not-a-lot of time, but this was beyond that. I must have been delusional. But progress is being made and I hope to share pictures...eventually.  I might need a positive attitude just to get all this done!


"West Virginia....Take me home, country roads." ~ John Denver song

I thought I'd finally share a few more snapshots of our WV camping trip. Rather than a long post, you can just read the captions.
Glimpses of the closed coal mines at the New River Gorge in Fayetteville, WV

Old Safety Board at the coal mine site
Remains of a structure that once scaled the side of the gorge

800 steps take you all the way to the bottom of the gorge. We challenged each other to a 15 minute all-the-way-down-and-back-up-again-race but no one was willing. If we weren't heading off to rock climb, we would've explored further.

Readying the snacks for hiking that morning (clearly these pictures are not in any order)

View of the gorge from the Visitors' Center

Nifty vintage backpack and camera at the Visitors' Center exhibit

They had so many adorable animal hand puppets! (well, except for the praying mantis--he looked creepy) This groundhog looked a little rabid!

The bridge, of course

We climbed down into parts of the stream to get better views of the waterfalls.

Our friend climbed way down there and looked tiny.

A waterfall pours right into this trough (which is open on the end to allow the waterfall to keep going across the trail). The water was delicious and clear so we filled out water bottles up a few times.

Monday, September 19, 2011

"Never noticed a female monkey not climbing as well as a male, have you?" ~Don Whillans

This weekend hubby and I and some friends went cabin camping at the New River Gorge in WV. Beautiful place! I just wish it didn't take 3+ hours to drive there because there was so much of it we didn't get to see. Our rustic cabin was a perfect way to end the camping season--no bothering to set up tents and air mattresses. Just roll into bed! And after the exhausting yet exhilarating weekend, it was heaven to pass out on a real bed, no matter how squeaky the mattress. 

One of the reasons we visited the New was for an introductory rock climbing/rappelling class that we were taking with a few of the group. I've had experience climbing and still have all my gear, but it had been more than 6 years since my last climb. But it all came back as soon as I had the gear on!

After an afternoon of hiking (more pics tomorrow), four of us headed to the outdoor gear/tours place to meet up with our tour guides. We were fitted with shoes and helmets, grabbed harnesses, and off we went! Rappelling is a little dull for me, compared to climbing anyway, but it was still exciting and comforting to be back in a sport I missed. 

And then the climbing. Most of my climbs were done indoors, even for the class I took (yay, Ohio University!) so I was thrilled to do some climbing. And at the New, no less! Our guide was great about giving advice and pointing out where to move to, what rock to grab, etc. But mostly it just takes grit and determination. Something must've gone right for me because, after a number of difficult spots, I wasn't willing to give up. I pushed all the way to the top. I need to find out which specific climb we did to see how difficult it's rated. I know most of the climbs at the New are not beginners but I'm curious to know how hard the climb actually was. 

By the end, I was exhausted and my forearms, upper arms, upper back, and very bruised knee were just screaming at me. But I haven't been that satisfied in 6 years. I was, however, absolutely starving and extremely thankful to find a buffet to stuff my face. I calmed down considerably afterward! It was a nice mellow evening around the fire, punctuated by passing out cold in the cabin.

To make the weekend even better (!), we went horseback riding on Sunday morning through our campground area. The horses were fairly calm and my horse, Lena, was a dear. She and Archie are totally enamored of each other and constantly nuzzled. So adorable it's nearly nauseating. 

If only we'd had one more day in WV!

Maneuvering over the first tough spot--big stretch to the left.
Adding more chalk to my hands before tackling the next section.

There are a good number of pictures in between, but I finally made it to the top!

Rappelling down the same cliff face before our climb.
Our horses all saddled up and waiting.
Archie (right) was just nuzzling Lena. She must've been shy for the camera. :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Leaders need to be optimists. Their vision is beyond the present. ~ Rudy Giuliani

Ok, so that didn't last long. I didn't manage to post yesterday BUT in my defense, I essentially work two jobs on Thursdays (my full-time job 7-3:30 and I volunteer at my public library 4-8) and I had out-of-town guests. We went to dinner and chatted until bedtime. It was lovely and I am unapologetic for not writing to you during our gabfest. It's ok, you'll get over it. :)

On to the big news! After a very long push and a sudden need for restructuring, I am now *drumroll* the new Preservation Coordinator for Pitt! My job duties will change slightly, but I was already doing much of the work and will now have more authority to carry it out. And, of course, I do get a nicer office. :) I'm incredibly excited even though the next few weeks are going to be tiring.

I've also been thinking ahead to October (since it's going to be an INSANE month) and I chose my Halloween costume idea yesterday, given that I need to start on it soon. Once I start working on it, I'll post some pictures with hints. For now, all I will say is that it is another recognizable male character (last year, I was the Mad Hatter--Johnny Depp version).

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"He that communicates his secret to another makes himself that other's slave." ~Baltasar Gracian

September seems to be a big, crazy month for me and my calendar indicates that October will be much the same. I'm trying to hold onto a few weekends for yard work and outdoor projects that need to be completed before the cold weather hits. Unfortunately, Mother Nature seems to have decided fall should arrive early, judging by the high of mid 60s tomorrow. I do love fall, it's my absolute favorite season. But I'm just not quite ready to move the plants indoors, cut down a few in my yard, and re-mulch some areas. Just not feeling it.

What I AM excited about is a tidbit of good news that has come my way. Now, don't be angry, but I can't share it with you just yet (I'm hoping it's soon); so for now, you just get a tease. I promise I will share as soon as I'm allowed. *squee*

I've also decided that my blog needs a quick ramp-up (and by blog, I mean me) and so I'm determined to post everyday for a week, starting today. My weekend may get a bit complicated considering that I'm traveling out-of-state for a camping/climbing trip during which I may have no cell service for my smartphone. But I'll make do (I could always work ahead and have Blogger post it at the stroke of midnight!).

For today, I'll leave you with a teaser of my news and these gorgeous images below. Since fall is approaching, I was reminded of these pictures I took in late spring very early in the morning. Hubby and I got up early for a trip and I stepped outside to get the paper. Lo and behold, spiders had enchanted nearly every surface of my front porch on this foggy morning. Too bad they can't come back and do it for Halloween!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

True love stories never have endings. ~Richard Bach

Two of my very dear friends were married this past weekend and it couldn't have been more beautiful, more breathtaking, or more filled with love. Both sets of families and friends came together seamlessly for a grand reception to celebrate the lovely couple. And not going to lie, I cried a little. During my reading. But I couldn't help it!

I was captivated by the wedding/reception site (the doors above led out to the patio) and I took a plethora of photos (the Merion Tribute House). It reminded me very much of our own reception site, Green Gables. (Wow, that's been 5 years) The hydrangeas were a perfect cottage touch and there were multicolored blooms of them everywhere.

One of the lounge rooms where the groom's family waited and later, appetizers and drinks were served, was stunning in its simplicity. I loved the over-sized windows, the comfortable couches, and (even though the walls were ivory) the simple colors combined with the exposed wooden beams. I was practically drooling. Hubby and I took our cake to this room for some quiet later in the evening and I ruminated on how to recreate this room in our house. If only we had the space! Especially for those windows. It really is the perfect place to curl up with a book. Even in overcast weather, the windows let in enough light to still seem cozy and comfy. I'm tempted to, at the very least, have some exposed beams in our house. Perhaps in the foyer. Once we get to it, I'll have to share. Happy September!