Monday, December 03, 2007
I am doing my best to try to fight against my grinchy, scroogey behavior and enjoy the season. It's not easy, but at least I am trying. I wonder why it isn't as joyous and exciting as it was so long ago. Oh and another question...Why does Christmas have to choose the one time of year that I am always super broke? Wait a second...let me rephrase that. (After all, I am trying to give up the Grinch). What I meant to say is, why of all the times of the year to be my brokest, must it always be Christmas?
That being said, just how tacky are homemade gifts? Be honest now!
Now it's time for a confession: I have been scrimping and saving for a trip that I have been wanting to take to Costa Rica for quite a while now. So I guess that it is not that I am super broke, really. It's more like I just don't make enough money to travel the way I love to. I can afford it (and what little I can't, Visa can) so Best Friend and I are planning right now. It is so hard for our schedules to mesh nowadays that we are having to keep our fingers tightly crossed and just hope for the best. I am hoping that I will blogging about toucans, tree frogs, and zip lines over my Christmas break. Now wouldn't that be much more interesting than hearing about my stomach virus like you did last Christmas?
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I arrived very late on Friday night (thanks to Atlanta's hellish traffic). Since we were already pretty tired when I finally made it, we had only a short 3 hour conversation and then went to bed so we could get up early and begin the fun.
We started our day out at Animal Kingdom, which was not even built the last time I went to the Disney theme parks. I liked it a lot. But even though we barely escaped the angry Yeti at Mount Everest (whew!) and witnessed very large angry bats mating (quite aggressively), I still have to say that my favorite was our safari through the Serengeti.
Africa was so awesome that we decided to tour the rest of the world so we headed off to Epcot where we discovered the rest of the world. SS knew my love of Germany so she chose the Germany Pavillion as our lunch spot.
We ate a ton of schnitzel, sausages, and other German delicacies. (Or at least I did!) Not to mention the liter of beer we each consumed. I certainly did feel like I was back in Munich after the beer.
In Morocco I tried on this super sexy fez. It looks good on me, no? Okay, so it did look a little dorky, but at least it matched well with my shirt.
Thanks Shamu! Without you, I would be a total inconfident loser!
But now I believe in myself.
All of you should believe in yourselves, too. Dreams can come true.
And our dream came true when we were able to find these big ice cream cones. It was the perfect lunch--beer and ice cream!
Thank you SS for a wonderful weekend. I can't wait until we do it again!
Sunday, November 11, 2007
I would like to dedicate the first half of my post to my Uncle B., whom my family lost unexpectedly this week to congestive heart failure. Needless to say, I write with a heavy heart as I look back and remember my time with him. He didn't have any children of his own and he loved his nieces and nephews very much. I know that my brother and I were his favorite. As children, my brother and I were very spoiled by him. As I grew up into the busy adult that I have become, I spent less and less time with him. He had some troubles in his life that caused him to drift away from his family. One thing that never changed, though, was the fact that I knew he loved me and he knew I loved him. For that, I am glad. I am regretful that I didn't see him as much as I would have liked within the last year or two, but I find solace in the fact he knew I cared.
Friends, I learned a valuable lesson a few years ago when my best friend died suddenly. It is important to let your loved ones know exactly how you feel about them. You never know how long you will be blessed to have them and you never know how long you will be blessed with your own life. It can end tomorrow. Please make sure you let your loved ones know how important they are. Make sure you do the things your heart tells you to.
Uncle B., God rest your weary soul. I'll miss you.
Now, for the second part of my post...
I am very excited about this upcoming weekend for two reasons. One, I am going on a trip to Orlando, Florida for some fun. And second (and most importantly!) I will be meeting up with one of my closest blog buddies, Sexy Suburbanite! I know that we are going to have a blast and it is going to be so awesome to talk face to face rather than via our 10 page emails or 2 hour phone conversations. (We have a lot to say!) I am very excited to see what adventures may find us.
SS will make the third blogger I have met. I never in a million years imagined that I would actually meet anyone whose blog I have read when I first started posting. I didn't start my blog to make friends, but they have been the best part of this experience.
The first blogger I met was Yrautca , a fellow Atlantan who was living in Seattle when I met him over a year ago. (Now he's in Chicago.) He had come home to visit his family here in Atlanta and we decided to meet up. I was a little nervous about it, but it seemed so silly not to have dinner with this person who I've emailed and read so many of his thoughts through his blog. So we had dinner at my favorite quirky restaurant and had a great time. He's a lot of fun to be around.
I always had a feeling that I'd meet the second blogger I met. Well, I didn't have that feeling at first when I was only reading his blog, but after emails, IM conversations, and many, many phone conversations with him, I knew we would meet up. After all, he, the Grunt, lives in Utah and anyone that has read my blog knows that I am frequent visitor to Utah. I was nervous then, too, the first time I met the Grunt,but it only took a few minutes for the awkwardness to wear off and I felt completely comfortable and completely myself around him. The second time we hung out was even better. Now I cant wait until our third visit. The Grunt has become more than a blog buddy to me. I consider him one of my best friends now. He is always there for me when I need a pick-me-up and always there to make my good days even better.
He's quite the musician, too! I have listened to the two CDs he has sent me a million times over, but I have something to brag about!* I got to hear a live performance Saturday night over the phone. I am the first blogger to claim that priviledge. I'm so lucky! :) So Grunty, thanks for the concert and thanks for cheering up a sad girl. YOU ROCK!!!!
And SS, I am counting down the days! I can't wait to hang out!
*In no way whatsoever was I influenced by the Grunt to brag to the whole Blogosphere community about being the first blogger to have the pleasure of his live music nor to brag about how much he rocks. Right Grunt? ;)
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
In my dream... I was sitting on my bed reading a book or magazine. I gazed over at a fully packed backpack leaned up against my bookshelf. I spoke aloud, "I'm just gonna do it. It's time." I picked up my cat (who I love dearly) kissed her and sat her down on my bed. I reached for my cell phone and hit a button on it that (my phone in real life doesn't have) that said Delete All Contacts. Without hesitation I hit the button, pulled the battery out (not sure what the point in that was) and dropped it to the floor. I grabbed my backpack and walked out of the door for the last time.
I got into my car and drove it until it ran out of gas then I ditched it. The next thing I did was push my car into a lake on the side of the road that suddenly appeared. I placed the pack upon my back and disappeared into the wooded hillside. This trail I walked along was magically beautiful. Every color was intense and every sound was so quiet. The last thing I saw before I woke up was a shimmering blue lake and the snow-capped mountains that surrounded it off in the distance. That's when my alarm went off.
I was puzzled. I often have dreams that I remember and usually I can figure out what triggered them. I wondered as I stepped into the shower and as I brushed my teeth and was still left clueless as I drove to work this morning.
I will admit that there are times when I want to vanish away to some new place and start a new life without anyone in the world knowing where I went. I also know that I couldn't do that to the people who love me. I have admitted this to only a couple of people, one of them being my mother. It's no wonder that she has a panic attack each time she finds out that I have bought a one-way ticket to somewhere. Poor woman.
Even though I would not relocate my life without letting anyone know where I was going and certainly not decide to backpack my way through life, I was still left wondering what it was in the dream that had made me want to basically erase my existance to the people I love. I am pretty sure that the reason I chose to disappear down a trail with a backpack was influenced by the research I have been doing lately on backpacking the John Muir Trail. Why I no longer wanted to talk to my friends and family anymore is very strange to me. And I guess that's why we mutter away our questions in our alert minds raised by our subconcious thoughts while we're sleeping away by shrugging our shoulders and saying, "It was only a dream."
Snap! Back to reality... In real life, I just begun my training for hiking the 200+ mile John Muir Trail in California. I am hoping that these 8 months will get me in the shape I need to be in to tackle it. I am hoping to backpack it with Best Friend in July. But unlike the dream, I am also planning on writing down a detailed itenerary for everyone and returning (alive I hope!) back home.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I did not start my blog as a journal, to share details about my life before total strangers. To tell the truth, I don't really feel that comfortable opening up to strangers nor care for anyone to think that they really know me. Of course, there have been times that I have written some very personal thoughts (especially as of late), but my blog wasn't intended for that. At least it wasn't intended to share that type of personal information (love, personal problems, etc.) However, there was a part of me that I did want to share or I wouldn't have started this blog.
I began blogging to share a part of myself that no one around me, except Best Friend could fully grasp. You see, I am a wanderer, a drifter, a girl continuously reaching out for a new taste of the world yet coming back home hungrier than ever. I long to travel and experience new things. I long for adventure and thrills. I like to push my physical limits sometimes and see what I can accomplish. And every now and then, I like to find myself lost in a strange place.
I get strange looks and comments when I say things such as I think I will go to Germany next week, I am going to backpack for a week through Montana, I want to stay in a tree bungalow in the Costa Rican rainforest for a few days, or Anyone up for a weekend in London?. For better or for worse, I have no fear when it comes to jumping head first into things like this. Other aspects of my life are a completely different story. But this blog is about my wanderlust, so I digress. It has been brought to my attention more than once that I must be crazy to live my life like this. Yet I can't see any other way to live my life.
To my surprise, I actually have come across other bloggers who appreciate this aspect of my life and enjoy reading about it and even a couple who say they feel the same way. It's a good feeling to know that I am not the only drifter out there.
Speaking of...I have a few things that I am planning with Best Friend that I am very excited about! We are planning a trip to Costa Rica soon, going back to Europe in the spring, and backpacking the John Muir Trail from Yosemite to Sequoia/Kings Canyon National park over about 5 days. Who knows? We might even have time to climb Mt. Whitney before calling it a done trip!
So what part of yourself do you share through your blog?
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
My stomach lurched as we exited I-75 and I read the brown sign which pointed the direction to Chickamauga National Battlefield. This was a place I had sworn to never return. Yet here I was, two years later (and now 144 years after the battle), finding myself starting down a trail through the dark woods after sundown. In these same woods, which thousands of men shed their blood and took the lives of their enemies in the second grisliest battle in the Civil War, second only to Gettysburg. I jumped at every sound, not because of the knowledge of what happened upon this land but because of the images and sounds that embed my memory from my last trip here. Not even the comfort of three other friends—Red, Super Villain, and Sue--could console my palpable fear.
After taking a wrong path or two, we finally found ourselves approaching the familiar clearing of the gently sloped field of Snodgrass Hill. Fear mounted inside me and I felt my throat close off and my breaths become more shallow and rapid. It was as if a pair of invisible hands were closing in around my neck. Still, we marched forward into the clearing. I did not want to look, yet I could not tear my gaze away from the areas that I had previously witnessed so many frightening sights. Somehow, I unknowingly had walked almost upon the same place as I stood before when I had heard a disembodied woman’s voice crying miserably out an indecipherable, one-syllable name.
Suddenly we all noticed and commented on an orange light resembling candlelight moving about the trees atop the hill. It reminded me of the woman’s voice and I reflexively brought my hands to my ears, covering them with hopes of blocking out, or at the very least, muffling her voice. However, we (thankfully) never did hear her voice crying out. We stood expectantly and transfixed when only a short time later we did hear a noise. And it was right behind us.
All four of us nearly jumped out of our skin. We quickly fell to the ground. I could see some type of lights moving along the trees. I held my breath in anticipation, listening to the blood rushing through my ears. And then it happened.
A loud voice rang out over the night, “State Police! Do not move!”
Crazy thoughts ran through my head... Are you kidding me? All the other times I have done some breaking and entering or trespassing on historical sites and this is how it’s all gonna end? Oh my god! I hope I won’t get a huge fine for this. OH MY GOD! I hope I don’t get arrested! I am a teacher! I can’t get arrested! Who the hell will bail me out anyway?
Luckily, the rangers were extremely nice and even shared a couple of stories of paranormal terror among the battlefield on our ride back to the car. That’s right. They gave us a lift! But that was only after we were in handcuffs. Yes, handcuffs! Can you believe that my friends and I were handcuffed like common criminals? I have never been so embarrassed nor laughed so hard in all my life.
My giggles only ceased when we came upon the roadside where we had left Red’s car before tromping off into the dark woods only to find it now surrounded by police cars with their lights flashing. Apparently the sheriff found the car and sent the rangers into the park to find us. My heart sank... Oh. My. God. I was going to be arrested. I just knew it.
Fortunately, that wasn’t the case. After being uncuffed, our vehicle was searched for drugs and weapons, our licenses scanned, and we were each handed a $75 citation for being in a closed area on federal property. Then we were sent on our merry little way where we laughed hysterically for the entire two hours it took us to drive back to Atlanta.
It was an interesting time to say the least. And now I can truthfully say that I know what it looks like to see my friends being handcuffed. And I know how it feels to be handcuffed. (It hurts by the way. I still have a bruise on my left hand to prove it.) The old joke about friends and jail came into my mind as I rode away with my partners in crime (literally) in our recently declared drug-free car. A friend will bail you out of jail. A good friend will be beside you saying, “Man, that was fun!”
So I wasn’t terrified by any gouls on this night, but I still firmly stand by my opinion that nothing good can come out of Chickamauga Battlefield after dark. I am never going back there. And this time I mean it!
Monday, October 08, 2007
As hot, tears rolled continuously down my cheeks yesterday I decided that a treatment which could wipe clean my memory of this one person would be the perfect solution. I only had a couple of months invested in this person so the destruction of my memories should only affect my life in minimal ways. Yet this short time of investment in this particular relationship is killing me.
I have been through this many, many, MANY times before. But this time is different. This man in not a jerk. This man is incredible. This man is very much like me and we completely get one another. We are being torn apart by circumstance. He is joining the army and going away for many years and this is why it ends.
I don't even want to remember the good things because they hurt too much. And I think they always will because of that regret that nothing was wrong with our relationship yet there is nothing that can be done to salvage it. And that is a shame. I am sure I will always feel like that. And I don't want to.
Of course there is no computer that my brain can be hooked up that will pick through my brainwaves and detect painful links to him and delete them, so I guess a spotless mind is not really feasible. I still tried to take matters in my own hands, though.
I remembered Jim Carrey's character as his memories of his beloved Clementine were fading away. Regret settled in and he desperately began to fight the procedure and hold on fiercely to any memory of her that he could. If it were me in that chair, I think that if I knew that a second chance would end in the same result, I would let it fade completely, but if there was any chance for a do-over with a different result, I am sure I would be calling out, "Meet me in Montauk", too. I then wrote his first and last name on a piece of paper (on the off chance this would work and I came across him again in the future), tucked it between the pages of a book, and prayed desperately to forget him or at the very least not care anymore.
As soon as my NyQuil-groggy mind awakened this morning, I remembered him and my heart sank. It didn't work. I dragged myself out of bed to get ready for work. As I slipped out of the warm covers and onto the floor, I tripped on something and fell. I mumbled an obscenity and hit the lightswitch to see what attacked me. I had kicked the book and lying on the floor beside it was the paper I had written on and his name glaring back at me. I laughed to myself. His memory is determined to cause me pain in one way or another.
While sitting in traffic on my way home from work, it occurred to me that I don't need a spotless mind. Bit by bit, I feel my heart shutting down again. But this time, probably for good. Your mind does the thinking; your heart does the feeling. So it looks like I will be okay in the end anyway...well, as long as my mind doesn't tell my heart to whisper out, "Meet me in Montauk."
I guess this explains my sketchy/absense of blogging lately. Anyway, there's good news on that! I am about to get back in my game of traveling and fun. I have some things in the works now and I can't wait to share the experiences.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Indeed, we have driven through the southwestern desert together, but that's not all. We've also been through the grandeur of Grand Teton, and Montana, and climbed the highest continually paved road in the United States in the Colorado Rockies. We've traveled through the Great Plains of Kansas, crossed bridges spanning our greatest rivers, and island hopped across the Florida Keys. I think she has earned her right to a name.
My car has been on my mind a lot lately... Probably because I had a fender bender recently and am going to be without my beloved car until I get my rear bumper replaced. This is her boo-boo. Tomorrow she goes in for reconstructive surgery. These little gashes are costing me $545! I sure will miss her while she is in recovery. Lately, I have thought about how much I depend on her, how much fun I've had on trips with her, and how many of my friends have and have had cars with cool names...Judy Jetta, Christine, the Streak, Sue, Sunshine, Rhonda Honda, Ol' Nellie, Hocus Focus, and Clyde.
I am counting on you to help me name my girl! Help me out guys. You see her pic. You know her story. Now help me name my car!
Saturday, September 08, 2007
It's no secret that my lust for blogging has faded, but I am not throwing in the towel just yet. I used to blog every other day and now it's once a week at best. Lately, it's been more like every other week. I still have just as much to say as I always did and I am still always on the run to new and fun places, but I don't have as much fun writing about it as I once did. Do any of you other faithful bloggers ever feel like that?
I still enjoy reading other blogs and I still visit the same ones religiously so don't think that just because I sometimes skip comments that I am not reading your blogs. Just because I neglect my own blog doesn't mean I neglect yours.
Now that I have that out of the way, I hope everyone had some fun last holiday weekend. I wasn't able to get very far out of town, but I did catch up on some hiking and visited a couple of local sites that I had never visited before--Panola Mountain State Park and Sweetwater Creek State Park. Panola was kind of boring. You can't even hike to the top of the mountain unless you take the ranger walk only given every so often! But I loved Sweetwater--it was both historic and scenic (two of my favorite qualities when visiting a place). I will post those photos soon.
So now it's Septemeber and my second favorite holiday--Halloween--is fast approaching. I always try to do a trip to somewhere scary and haunted in celebration of Halloween. This year I have at least two fun trips....Wait, let me rephrase that one...I have at least one fun trip and one to a place that I must be crazy to revisit. I am going back one weekend soon to that battlefield on the Georgia-Tennessee border that I wrote about almost a year ago. (It's in my October 2006 Archives if anyone wants to read it.) It's been nearly two years since the night that I lost all courage and nearly peed my pants and I am going back to that place. Peer pressure is a bitch.
I will certainly be blogging about that trip when I go. I am not disappearing from Blogland yet and I am hoping to have many ghost hunting, traveling, hiking, and other tales of adventure to post in the future.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Me: "Yes, he is very sweet and a gentleman, but he's just TOO YOUNG for me!"
Red: "But he's mature, has a good job, and owns his own house! And you're not going to give him a chance because of his age???"
Me: "I know but..."
Red: "They can't be too old. They can't be too young. You've got too many requirements to date you!"
Me: "Well, I'm just not settling with anyone!"
Red: "You're too picky! You have to have more info on them than the CIA!"
Me: "I know! I can't help it!"
Then Red, the girl who so oftens breaks into my phone conversations with a, "Are you talking to your boyfriend again?" or "You're talking to another one?" or lovingly calls me "ho", came up with the best one liner ever.
After exhaling a giant sigh, she exclaimed, "Damn! It's easier to get into the Pentagon than into your pants!"
This is just a typical conversation on a typical day living with Red. I'm so lucky to be loved like this.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Moose sighting! This poor moose was trying to cross the road but then a bunch of people got in its face and scared it. I am happy to report that this was the only time Best Friend and I had to yell at anyone in the national park. Usually, we get mad at many people that we do not see fit to be in the outdoors around the wildlife, so I'm extremely proud that we didn't run across too many idiots--especially in YELLOWSTONE!!! (This pic. was taken with my zoom lens from a distance as not to disturb the animal. This is proper national park etiquette, by the way, to prevent Best Friend or I from yelling at you.)
Another Black Bear encounter! This makes my 9th bear encounter. I guess I still have the magic!
Antelope at sunrise.
Buffalo crossing the Yellowstone River. This was one of the coolest things I have seen in the wild! I felt like I was watching a Discovery Channel show on those Water Buffalo in Africa and I kept expecting a croc to take one down...only it was Wyoming not Africa and they were regular buffalo not the water variety and there were no crocodiles and it wasn't on TV. But still very cool!
Sunset over the Madison River.
And so here are a few shots from Utah....
This was taken somewhere in American Fork Canyon. It's hard to believe that everything was so green despite the hot, dry weather.
SCB looks like he's trying to keep Best Friend from jumping off this cliff in Farmington Canyon.
On the summit of Bountiful Peak. This was moments before meeting my friend rattlesnake. I don't look very happy in this photo but I'm not sure why. Maybe it was a premonition of the sickening encounter about to take place.
Here with my fellow blog buddy, the Grunt. I made him play my self portrait game where you must set up the camera and then beat the self timer by striking a pose in 10 seconds. I love that game!
Thursday, August 02, 2007
My trip was great, for the most part. I went on some scenic drives up a couple of canyons I had never explored before. On one of these rides, I got out of the vehicle and climbed a short, steep trail to the summit of Bountiful Peak. I did this from a suggestion of a friend and loved the views. While standing at the top I was grateful to my friend for his suggestion. Then on my way down the trail I saw my first Western Diamondback Rattlesnake which shook its nasty rattle at me! I miraculously did not pass out but immediately began to curse my friend and his suggestion. That only lasted until I was swept away by more scenic views. (But he totally had to hear about it!)
We also went to Yellowstone to parts that I had not yet been to. We sort of did a Yellowstone animal safari. I was disappointed that I didn't see any wolves but saw some bison crossing the river (that was cool!), moose, elk, antelope, and as always when it comes to me, bears! I got some pretty good shots of the animals, so I considered this safari a success. Next time, I will see a pack of wolves.
The best part of my trip was seeing and catching up with my friends. There were still a couple that I didn't get to visit and they will be at the top of my list next visit. I did get to spend time with most of my friends though, including the Grunt, who really showed me a great time. We ate good food, took a fun drive through the mountains which lead to some four-wheelin'-yee-haw fun, and topped it off with The Simpsons movie. He's a cool guy, even if I did hold him responsible for my rattlesnake run-in. ;)
My vacation was great right until the very end. I developed this cough and congestion that is driving me (one who rarely catches colds) nuts. I am feeling better now, just a little stuffy nose remaining. But the worst part was not the sickness I had, but that Best Friend's grandma, the beloved lady that I also call my adoptive grandma, became quite ill just before I left. The worst part is her doctor and nurses seem to be uncaring idiots with no bedside manner at all. Anyway, I didn't even get to tell her goodbye yesterday morning before I left. I sat at my plane's gate at the airport blinking back tears, hoping that no one would look me in the eye or else I would cry. The good news is she seems to be doing better today.
Over all, there was way more good than bad happenings on my trip. And, as usual, I have the photos to prove it, so I will be posting them very soon.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Hopefully, I will come back with some interesting tales to share.
I most likely won't have internet access for the two weeks, so I'll be MIA until I get back. So please everyone, leave me some love here so that I will feel missed while I'm away. I'm counting on you all! I expect to find a record breaking number of concerned and loving comments here when I come home. (So that will be about what? 20 comments or so to break the record for me?)
Take care everyone.
Monday, July 16, 2007
There's grand sites to see like this barn. Anyone who lived in the Southeast along Interstate 75 and Interstate 24 about 20 years ago can appreciate (and find humor in) this knock off of the famous "See Rock City" barns. Those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, give me a sympathy chuckle and move right along...
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
I had no idea she was an addict. I wish I had been more informed on this subject.