Monday, June 18, 2007

Hopefully not a premature post

My friend just graduated from nursing school and I'm taking her out to lunch today after she finishes her boards. Since the chances of her seeing this post before I see her are slim, I feel somewhat comfortable posting a picture of her graduation quilt here. M, if you happen to see this before you receive the quilt, surprise! This is made from 2-1/2 inch strips. I like the unusual shape of the quilt and may make another one of these. It's not Vera Bradley fabric, but it sure looks like that, doesn't it?

I mostly make quilts that I feel like making and then worry about what I'll do with them. When I was binding this next one, my husband said he liked he and he usually has no opinions about my quilts. That was my clue to keep this one. It's going to be my fall bedspread. It's Bound to the Prairie from the Moda University. It's huge and all half-square triangles. I will NOT be making another one of these.

Since I haven't had a chance to hike this last week and therefore could post no nature pictures, I had my son hold up the quilts outside just to show some green.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Just call me......... ROVER!

You may have noticed most of my posts deal with hiking. There's a simple reason for that...... I hike quite often (it's cheaper than therapy). I live in the Hudson Valley of New York which is also the Lyme's Disease capitol of the world (or really close to it). My son had Lyme's two summers ago, was treated promptly and has made a full recovery. Others are not so lucky.

Anyway, tick checks are a part of every day life in these here parts. That means you search your entire body daily for tiny little critters that think of you as dinner. FUN! This morning I checked for ticks as usual and, as usual, found myself tick-less. This afternoon, however, I was changing my shirt and found a not-so-little critter attached to the middle of my back. It was actually huge. Like a quarter-of-an-inch huge. Sticking-straight-out-of-the-middle-of-my-back huge.

You know when you get an itch in the middle of your back that you cannot scratch by yourself? That's where this tick was. Removing it by myself was not an option. Fortunately I was not home alone. My 20-year-old son, his 19-year-old friend-who-happens-to-be-female (I make no judgements here and she reads this blog), and my 16-year-old daughter. My daughter is scared to death of bugs, so she's out. The 19-year-old is a bit squeamish, so she's out. My son had his wisdom teeth removed this morning and is a little drugged, so he's out. Wait a minute, that leaves no one! I called upon my poor son for assistance.

I apologized ahead of time for possibly scarring him for life since he was going to have to see his mother's bare back, but he handled himself like the adult he is. Pain-filled, swollen and drugged, he pulled (most of) the tick out of me and tended my wound until my husband came home to dig out the rest. (My husband spent 30 minutes doing just that. He loves me. And no, that doesn't qualify as a date night.)

We checked out the ticks that are native to New York state and identified the ridiculous creature. It is, of course, the big one in the photo. Yes, it was sticking straight out of my back. It's a brown dog tick. I must be a brown dog. Call me Rover. *

"This tick is considered a nuisance species and is not known to transmit disease-causing organisms to humans in the United States." I'm still going to watch for symptoms since "Although brown dog ticks can be found crawling on humans they rarely attach and feed on humans." I'm already the exception to one rule.....

*We do not have a dog. We have two cats that never go outdoors. This was just a random and freaky event. Did I mention gross? Because it was truly gross, too.

Monday, June 11, 2007

It's a beautiful morning.....

.... Ahhh,I think I'll go outside a while,
An jus' smile.
Just take in some clean fresh air, boy!
Ain't no sense in stayin' insideIf the weather's fine an' you got the time.
It's your chance to wake up and plan another brand new day.
Either way,
It's a beautiful mornin',
Ahhh,Each bird keeps singin' his own song.
So long!
I've got to be on my way, now.
Ain't no fun just hangin' around,
I've got to cover ground,
you couldn't keep me down.
It just ain't no good if the sun shines
When you're still inside,
Shouldn't hide, still inside, shouldn't hide,
Ahhhh..Oh! (shouldn't hide) Ah, ah, Oh.....

Even dead mountain laurel looks pretty when sunbeams come to play:

Don't you just love ferns?

Evidence of humans.

My son came home from college on Saturday. I think I'll take him out to lunch. I have such a tough life.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Epiphany or Nervous Breakdown? You decide.

The strangeness that was today started after church when I found myself walking laps backwards in the narthex. No, I didn't do that for exercise. I did that in response to a woman who took a step toward me with each sentence causing me to answer with a step backwards.

After church we drove on very crowded roads to a very crowded mall to get clothes for my darling daughter. She's going to a college for a summer study program for a few weeks and needs some new duds. She'll have a great time and study literature and art, too. We're very proud of her for being accepted.

Back to the mall. Too many people on the roads. Too many people in the parking lot. Too many people in the stores buying too many things that they don't need. I sat on a bench while waiting for my daughter to try on some clothes. Within seconds, there were two families worth of children climbing on me. Not next to me but ON me. Is this necessary? Was buying two pairs of jeans and swim shorts for my daughter worth all this? I vote no.

At Steve and Barry's I saw Sarah Jessica Parker's new clothing line, Bitten. Do I really need a dress for $12.99? Agreed, it's not a bad price but do I need another dress? How many dresses do those women in China or wherever have to make in order to make $12.99? It just seems pointless.

After we made our planned purchases, my husband asked if I needed anything else. "I need to get away from these people," I replied. "Which people?" he asked. "ALL OF THEM!" was my final answer.

Now that I'm back home, I plan to sit on the front porch and look at nothing and drink a glass of wine and simply breathe. And plan a hike for tomorrow. Being alone in the woods is the antidote to the ridiculousness of today.

Fair reader, it is now for you to decide. Was today's experience was an epiphany of a sort, possibly leading me away from the consumer culture and toward a simpler and more meaningful existence? OR am I just having a nervous breakdown?

Comments are welcome and appreciated.

Friday, June 08, 2007

How did that get there?

So this morning I was (shock) hiking along, minding my own business when out of nowhere, I see this:

It's obviously long-abandoned and in very poor repair. I didn't go closer to check things out (I'm a rule person and the rules say to stay on the trails). From what I could see, though, it was made with semi-modern building techniques. There were rain gutters, plaster and lathe walls, red brick foundation, and a tin roof. Did I mention that I was an hour's walk away from any road? How the heck did all those building materials get there? And when? The picture doesn't show scale well, but the house is twice as large as the house I grew up in. This is not a 'little cabin in the woods'.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

I'm being stalked

Playing hookie yesterday was fun but in case you get too jealous, I did work until 10:00 last night. I went hiking again this morning and it was lovely, but I will be burning the midnight oil yet again.

I added a few miles to my total this morning with a fairly short hike. I was about half way through and thinking that this was going to be a pretty run-of-the-mill hike today and nothing much special was happening. But then.......

I met a thru-hiker. Then another, and another, and another! FOUR thru-hikers today, and one was a GIRL. They've been on the trail since Georgia and won't stop until Maine. It takes about six months. All the conversations with them were as we were passing. I guess if you're hiking 2,175 miles, you don't stop to chat with every person you meet.
So once my hike became 'special', it just kept going that way.
There was a lot of this flower. Is it mountain laurel? If you can enlarge the photo, the buds are so incredible! It doesn't smell very much, but it's gorgeous.
I finished today's section of the trail and then hiked back to where the stepping stones were installed yesterday. I sat beside this waterfall for a while. It was so cool and refreshing with a wonderful breeze. Being in places like this make me feel like the me I've forgotten about. It was absolutely perfect! And then a huge water snake zoomed by. Did I say huge? I meant HUGE! So as I was running back up the trail to my car, another snake like the one yesterday slithered across my path. SQUICK! They are so stalking me!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

It's 72 and sunny.....

.... so what do you think I did today? I added a few miles to my summer goal of hiking the AT in NY.

Things I learned:
1. Elevation maps don't always tell the whole story.
2. Sometimes we scare hawks, sometimes hawks scare us. Today they both happened at the same time when a small hawk was sitting on the trail. (thus, no photo)
3. Hikers are cool people. (see photos below)
4. Snakes are not cool people. (see photo below)
5. I need to get outside regularly. I feel like I can breathe again.
6. Sometimes the trail isn't marked too clearly and you have to pay close attention.
7. I live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. I haven't been to very many of them, but they can't be much better than this.
8. I should have left those old hiking boots that I found in the closet, well, in the closet.
9. Always carry food to share.
10. Wear insect repellant when hiking. Seriously.

Now for the pics:
These young fellows (and Dora, their dog) were found resting on the side of the trail. They are between college and real life and enjoying their time together. They gave me my trail name, Angel. (Much better than my husband's offering, Hike-O-Path, don't you think?) The name may have been a response to a gift of blueberries. Everyone always complains about 'the youth of America'. Well, these were some wonderful and thoughtful young men and America is in good hands.

These reluctant subjects are Trail Heroes. They work maintaining the trail. I was the first hiker to cross the new stepping stones across the stream. Kudos!
This evidence of my great photography skills is just for my darling husband. He loves snakes but generally hates the outdoors. I'm just the opposite. I think the photo was remarkably clear considering it was taken while I was jumping up and down and screaming like a girl.
Now it's back to real life. Finishing quilts and cooking dinner and cleaning the house. But tomorrow is going to be 77 and sunny. Maybe I'll have to play a little hookie again. Who wants to come with me?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Just in Time!

I've been working on quilts for my son's college friends and today I finished the last one.

This was a quick and easy pattern using all 2-1/2 inch strips. I will definitely make this pattern again.

This past weekend, we went to my husband's family reunion and I got to see my son! His grandparents brought him for the day and then he returned to college for his finals.

Of course, I finished this quilt ON THE DRIVE HOME so I'll have to mail it to the neglected friend.

Why do quilters always wait until AFTER the last minute?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Surprise! More Hiking Pictures

This hot and humid morning, I enjoyed a 3 hour hike with a lovely young lady from my church. We enjoyed the scenery and the company and just had a marvelous time chatting. We shared my trekking poles. They make nice walking sticks, in case you wondered.

We saw four frogs (no pictures cuz they blended into the background too well), a mole (no picture cuz it just looked like a gray blob), four million crunchy millipede-thingies (no pictures cuz ick!), three trail runners (no picture cuz that would be rude), a snake (no picture cuz I was screaming like a girl) and some other good stuff.
We saw this wonderful creature. Maybe a salamander? He stood still for the picture and wandered off as soon as I took it. Kind fellow, wasn't he?

Then we saw these bones covered at the side of the trail. I borrow dvds from the library and watch too much CSI. They looked human until we uncovered them. Maybe a deer? I'd seriously like feedback from you medical-types out there, cuz my mind runs to the gruesome. (The shoe is in the photo to give you an idea of the size of the bones.)

Remember the outhouse from a previous post?

This is the dedication sign inside:

Those hikers spend too much time alone in the woods, I think.
We returned home before the vicious thunderstorms started. Hopefully the temp and humidity will now get out of the 90s. Today was really, really gross but we had fun anyway.