Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Family Vacation, Part 1

To paraphrase Frost:
Two roads diverged... and I...
I took the one less traveled by...
and that has made all the difference.

(this wasn't that road.)

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So. I guess that my earlier "epic adventure" was certainly the road less taken. This one is the road taken by everyone.

On my "epic adventure" you would never have known we were in New Jersey. We often could (barely) hear anything that resembled an engine. We could hear birds and tree frogs.

But this is Thor's summer vacation, and as his family has been getting this beach house down the Jersey Shore, and this is the week, I went down the shore too.

I left on Saturday. We all left on Saturday. All in separate cars. I'm sure every family down the shore had several cars, hence the traffic. But I had to come back earlier than anyone else, so I needed a car to return in.

I drove and drove, slowly... and it took 2 1/2 hours to get there. I finally arrived around 6 PM. And once there, I went to the A&P to do some food shopping. I hadn't felt like shopping before I left. And when I got back from the A&P, I found out that my poor Nicholas had lost one of the lenses in his glasses. And he really does need his glasses in order to see. I know how miserable that can be. He would have had a horrible time, without his glasses.

So I got back in the car and drove home. Luckily, it was late enough by this time that there wasn't much traffic. I was able to get there AND back in about 2 1/2 hours. And also lucky for Nick, we'd gotten him two sets of glasses last time, so he had a spare set for me to get for him.

I really didn't mind the drive -- even in the traffic. My car is very comfortable, and I had my air conditioning on, and my radio blasting... it was quite lovely. I sang all the way there, and back, and there again.

I don't mind the drive. The thought of THAT MANY PEOPLE bothers me a little. On the other hand, all those people have to go SOMEWHERE on vacation.

And as long as they like to go to the beach, they're keeping the mountains nice and quiet and peaceful for me.

And today I drove home, so I can work. And I've got the house to myself, so I'm still on vacation.

Here's proof I really made it!

I'm not a big beach person... well, I love the beach. But I don't love it in the middle of the summer in the middle of the day in the middle of the weekend in the middle of a crowd. But I had to get there... at least for a little while... because after all, I'd driven that whole way, hours and hours, right??? So there I am. Proof I was there.
I bought a daily beach pass for $6.00, and lasted about 1 hour, for about 1 day.

But I really had a good time, in spite of my lack of beach time. The house we rent has a lovely back deck on the lagoon, with a canopy and some shade, and I sat there, where I could escape inside to the air conditioning every once in a while. I visited with a lot of friends and family, and we had a lot of laughs. It was worth the drive.

And now, I'm home again. I'd tell you I came home just so I could post this blog, but of course that wouldn't be true. I have work... but even so, being home with no kids (they are still at the beach house) is just like a vacation anyway! My music is on and blasting, I've been playing on the computer for an hour and a half, and I don't have to do a thing about dinner. Unless I want to.
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Down the Shore


It's a little cramped on a nice weekend.
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Friday, July 24, 2009

Us in a bar. For exactly 32 seconds.

You really don't need to see this. It's not that interesting.
But we had fun.
" ... I believe in miracles...."
Ok starting with a Nirvana cover band! "...and he likes to sing along, and he likes to shoot his gun, but he don't know what it means...."
No Code is playing at Crossroads ... Let vacation begin! :-)

Say Hi to Yuriko!

I just met another blogger, Yuriko, who would really like some people to visit her blog.... You can find Yuriko at "The World at my Fingertips" ... stop in and visit her if you have a chance!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wow, I'm not writing too much lately, am I?

I don't know why I haven't had too much to say. I can tell you what I've been doing lately, but it's not much of anything. It's been a lot of "wool-gathering," as the old folks might say ... staring at the clouds, and at the dust bunnies; reading books, and reading Facebook; playing Farkle and Bejeweled, and surfing on the 'puter... and letting time float by at a leisurely summer-time pace. So I guess I haven't been writing because I've been lazy...

You can feel free to just say HI if you feel like it! I'm checking in, just not writing much!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday :)

It's a beautiful day! I've spent most of it sitting by the pool reading. (My pool is a $9.00 kiddy pool from Toys R Us.) I got a good sun tan -- well, it might actually turn out to be a good sun burn.

But now I've finished my book, and I really enjoyed it. I wish I could read it all night... but it's done... and I thought I'd post before I figure out what to do next.

We thought about going to the local Fair tonight, but really can't bring myself to bother; actually, I don't feel like talking to anyone today, so standing in the beer tent isn't really appealing. It's a good day to be quiet and contemplate and listen to music, stare off into space, dangle my feet in the baby pool and watch the clouds scoot by... and then the sunset... and then maybe a fire, or maybe even just the stars and the fireflies... I'll probably be watching them late into the night, considering I just finished a whole pitcher of ice tea, all by myself!

I haven't been posting as frequently as I should, but I guess you all understand. It's too nice out to stay by the computer too often, and what's there to talk about? And I'm pretty sure most of you aren't checking in to the blog too often anyway... you're out doing something, as well!

So check back tomorrow. Maybe then, I'll have thought about something to write about. Until then, enjoy the Saturday!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Story of the Thru Hiker named Son-Dance

Once upon a time...
No, wait, this is a true story. It's about the thru hiker that we met while we were on our trek last week. (And knowing me, it'll be a long story.)

Actually, we met a few thru hikers. We met Rockamamie, a lady about my age who is doing the last bit of a thru hike, all by herself. We met a few other ladies hiking with only their dogs for company -- well behaved pets with their own backpacks. We saw a few 20 year olds, but they didn't really stop to chat; these guys are walking fast! We met a Sobo -- which is the word for a Southbound hiker, but I forget his name; And we met Rugged Shark and Son-Dance, who are Nobos -- Northbound hikers.


There is a whole culture surrounding hiking the Appalachian Trail. There are a LOT of people walking around out there. Not a lot can make the whole hike, from Georgia to Maine -- 2,178 miles... I sure couldn't. There are parts that are way more difficult than the part that I did, and you're carrying everything you need with you. It's a really huge deal.

Hikers get "trail names." Mine, our crew decided, was "Glad Tortoise" -- because I'm really slow, and because I carry a LOT of big black plastic trash bags. (Glad bags. I'd rather be the Glad tortoise than the Hefty tortoise!)

So... this is a story about Son-Dance.

I think the kids were very impressed. They were tired from canoeing, and hadn't started hiking yet. We were sitting in the little kitchen in the cabin we were starting from, and this guy walks in. When asked, he told us his trail name was "Son-Dance", and he'd started hiking in GEORGIA, and had walked ALL THE WAY TO NJ. So far. And he's headed to Maine.

Son-Dance is really named Paul Travers. He's a Nobo -- a northbound thru hiker. He started hiking the AT in April, and here it is in July. He's doing it to honor his Dad, Herm, who was a WWII vet (Pearl Harbor to Peleliu). His dad brought him hiking when he was young, and they talked about hiking the places Herm had seen as a soldier in Hawaii. They also talked about hiking the AT.

Paul's dad developed Alzheimer's, a terrible disease. To honor him, Paul has dedicated his Hike to Herm and is trying to raise $10,000 for the Alzheimer's Association. That is a serious walkathon!!!

Paul has a very nice web site, with a link for donations, if you want to check it out. The web site also has info on the books that he's written, and a link to his trail journal -- which is his blog about the AT -- and our crew is mentioned on it. Click here to read it!

I promised Son-Dance that I would try to help him publicize his hike, so please check out the web site - and if you are inclined to make donations to charity, consider supporting this. And you can pass along information about his web site, too, to get the word out. He's located at ... Thanks!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Our Appalachian Trail Adventure as the Venture Crew

Our Venturing Crew had decided to do Kodiak training - which is a leadership training program - on a trek.

We took canoes out on Monday morning, from Dingman's Ferry in Pennsylvania. We slept overnight along the river, and finished our canoe trip on Tuesday.

Frankie picked us up at that point and drove us to the Mohican Outdoor Center, where we met several thru-hikers -- people who are hiking the Appalachian Trail all the way from one end to another. I have a really good story about a thru-hiker, a guy called Sondance, that I'll write tomorrow.

Early(ish) on Wednesday, we started our hike. It wasn't long before my heart was pounding in my chest and my blood was pounding in my ears and I really thought I wasn't going to make it. In fact, I called Frankie and told him to be ready to pick me up at the next road! But everyone pushed me to keep going, and I did.

There were some great views along the way, and some phenomenal experiences. We all had a great time.

The hike ended on Friday... but the boys all hope to be thru-hikers themselves some day!

So many photos, I had to put them on a slide show!
Here is what the trip looked like, if you are interested. I have so much more to write, but tomorrow is another day!

Today is another busy day!

I'm off to take Nick to camp today. I have a really good story about the trail to tell you, though, so please check back again tomorrow!

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Hey, remember that TV show I did about Crohn's ?

Way back in like March or something, I did a TV show for local public TV. It's called Caucus NJ, and the topic was children with digestive disorders. I talked about Frankie's experiences.

It's finally finished editing and scheduled to be on this weekend!

You can watch the show by clicking here - on the bottom of the page this brings you to, look for the little camera and click on it, and you should be able to watch!

I must remind you, though, that it is a show about children with digestive disorders -- not the most fascinating topic for most people -- and also, I looked VERY SCARY in that show. The makeup did NOTHING for me.

Let me know if you watch it, what you think.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I'm Back from my Epic Adventure!


I can't really do a post yet. I've got a lot of photo playing to do first. But I'm back from a place beyond anything! It was a great trip, I'll try to post first thing tomorrow -- which probably means like noon -- :D
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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Fourth of July Festivities


We just got back from a great party at Jimmy and Laura's house... They went all out, especially since it was also Jimmy's Dad's birthday.
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Fourth of July Concert


Jimmy's family went all out for his Dad's birthday; they hired a rag-time band to play classic old tunes -- like Yankee Doodle Dandy and When Irish Eyes are Smiling -- and they had a concert. Later in the set, the band invited Mr. J. to come up and sing, which he was very happy to do! It was a memory their whole family will cherish forever, I'm sure...

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A Beautiful Sunset

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The Grand Finale


Fireworks over the bay...
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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!

I started this video back in February, when we went to visit Asbury Park.
I finished it just now... 3 AM. I couldn't stop playing!

Now, it's time to go to bed. I'm supposed to get up early tomorrow! (yeah, maybe!)
I've got a party to get to down the shore, and the traffic is going to be murder!

Friday, July 03, 2009

The Journey


This was the first time we hiked this section, although we did a different trail and not the Appalachian trail, we had a beautiful view looking back down to the Delaware River...
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Preparing for an Epic Adventure

It's epic for me, at least.

I'm getting ready for another backpacking trip. Actually, it's a combination of Canoeing and Backpacking. The Venturing Crew is going -- which, on this trip, means my son Nick, my nephew, my son's best friend, the other leader and his daughter. Small group, but that's fine with me.

We're looking at doing about 24 miles down the river in a canoe, and 24 miles hiking back up along the Appalachian Trail.

Am I ready? I don't know. The whole time I was hiking the last time, I kept thinking to myself, "there is NO WAY I can do this." And that one was only 3.5 miles, for two days in a row. This one is 8 miles, for three days in a row. I am bringing Motrin.

I have no problems walking 8 miles. The problem is walking with 35 lbs of gear on my back. Up hill.

There is a lot of elevation gain in the beginning, but then it evens off and you walk along the ridge trail.

I have a back-up plan. I have Frankie on retainer. If I physically can not do it, I will call him up and make him come get me.

But like I realized last time, the big issue with hiking is a lot to do with determination. And I am determined to do this. At least this once; I may or may not ever do it again.

So say a prayer for me -- for the future me and the past me -- and for our whole group, that everything goes smoothly and that we get this accomplished!!!!

Where, exactly?

This is the map of the AT in New Jersey.

If you see on the edge of the green, there is a river, and that's the Delaware. We're canoeing down the river until we get to the bottom, at Worthington State Forest.

Then, with the hiking, we're starting at the bottom and working our way up. The bottom is on the Delaware River. We'll be going as far as Culvers Lake. At least, I believe that is the plan. The plan is to do three days of hiking, 8 miles each day.

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Interactive Map - Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Interactive Map
Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Posted using

This is a link to a trail map and information. If you click on the words, you can look at the whole map of the whole trail. Assuming the link worked. :D

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Back to normal.

Enough about Frankie, already. It's been "Frankie, Frankie, Frankie" all month long. Please! I've got other stuff goin' on around here too, ya know.

Like for example, it's summer, did you notice??? It's been a strange summer, but summer nonetheless.

My daylilys are blooming.

Consider the lilies of the field. They don't spin or sew, and yet, even King Solomon in all his glory wasn't arrayed as fine as these...

OK, that was from memory, I'm not sure it's anywhere near the right verse. But it's a lovely thought.

Another lovely thought, which I got from Aunt Diane pretty recently.

God, being omniscient and omnipotent, (assuming you believe,) exists outside the box of space and time that confines us.
That being the case, you can pray right now for things that have happened in the past. Because if God is in all time at the same time, he can affect things back then just as easily as he can affect things right now.

I don't know if that makes sense, but it's a really lovely thought, and I've started praying about things that already have happened.

Of course, I don't want this entry to make anyone think I'm a religious freak. But I'm feeling in a religious mood today. I have a strong belief... I just couldn't really tell you that my belief belongs to any religion in particular.
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I can twitter on my blog now, and i can also mobile post. But WHY?