Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I'm such an ingrate.

Actually, I'm not. I just act like it sometimes. You know how sometimes you receive a really nice gift, but then it takes you a couple months to actually get a thank you note out? It's not that you aren't actually grateful, it's just that it takes you a while to get around to formally acknowledging. Well, this is kind of like that.

So, with that said, I would like to say thank you for all the nice blog awards I've received over the last couple months.

Desert Rose at Desert Rose Booklogue gave me this "lovely" award, acknowledging new blogs and blogging friends that she has discovered.  In passing on this award, I would like to acknowledge the following blogs:

Cake Wrecks-Every day, Jen puts together a collection of cakes whose decorations have gone horribly wrong and presents them for our amusement.  Having decorated my fair share of cakes while we owned our Cold Stone store, I can appreciate how something that seems easy in theory can go terribly awry, but I don't think we ever sent out anything too wrecky.  I was lucky to have a couple very talented decorators on hand, and I oversaw most of the custom orders myself.  Lest you think this is just a mean blog that makes fun of people, it's not.  Every Sunday, Jen also highlights some truly beautiful cakes so that we can see what these things should look like

Journey to the Center-Following the death of her husband last year, Bev Wigney, who describes herself as a naturalist-photographer-writer, began traveling around the U.S. with her dog, Sabrina.  At Journey to the Center she shares her photos and observations.  The pictures are beautiful, and her writing is thoughtful and serene.

The Amazing Life-Grace and Bradley have a home in Cape Cod but spend a lot of their time living in Taipei and traveling around the world.  Their blog showcases their amazing life in pictures.

Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise bestowed this lovely Splash award upon me.  The rules are simple:

1.  Put the logo on your blog/post
2.  Nominate up to 9 blogs which allure, amuse, bewitch, impress or inspire you.
3.  Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4.  Let them know that they have been splashed by commenting on their blog.
5.  Remember to link to the person from whom you received your Splash award.

Hmmm...blogs which allure, amuse, bewitch, impress or inspire you?  Well, I think all of the blogs I already mentioned manage to do just that, so they all get this award too.  Just for good measure, I will add another blog that amuses me.

Who's More Awesome-This blog takes two hypothetical opponents (the most recent match up:  Sasquatch Vs. The Abominable Snowman) and pits them against each other to see who's more awesome.  The categories of competition are always the same-Wine Tasting, Fighting, Racing, Chess, Pie Eating, Swimsuit and Archery.  You might wonder how points are awarded in categories such as these with competitors such as those.  Well, head on over to check it out, but just so you're warned there is some language and some match ups that aren't exactly family- friendly.  

And finally:

The Super Comments Award came to me from Jeanne at Necromancy Never Pays (have I mentioned-one of the best blog names ever!).  I know we all love to get comments (at least I do! I know Jeanne does too, so stop by and tell her hi) and sometimes it's one more thing at the end of the day to go around and try to leave comments on others' blogs, so knowing that someone took the time to stop by my blog and leave a comment always makes me happy.  So, this award goes out to all of you who have ever stopped by to leave me a comment!  Thank you to everyone.  I appreciate that you took the time to stop by and read my blog, and I hope you keep coming back!    

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Weekly Geeks 2009-19: Memorial Day/Start of Summer

With Memorial Day right around the corner, this week's Weekly Geeks gave us a few choices to play with, Memorial Day as a tribute to those who have served and Memorial Day as the unofficial start of summer, and I am going to take advantage of both.  Question #1 asked if we have a favorite book or movie about war.  I don't.  (Well, I love Braveheart, but I don't think that really counts.)  I did read something that spoke volumes to me though, and I blogged about it last year after my return from Washington D.C.  This note was left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and I think it says as much in a few short lines as any author could put into a book.

In case you can't read it, it says, "Dear Heroes,
I sincerely hope I am soldiering with the same courage & bravery you all did."  

I'm not sure of the signature, but I think it is SFC E. Orque.  Thank you to SFC Orque and all the other military personnel who are out there serving our country, to all those who have served in the past, and especially to those who gave their life doing so.

On a lighter note, WG also asked, among other things, about our travel guide preferences and vacation habits.  I haven't really read enough travel guides to say that I have a favorite author or publisher, but I think what I like is books that are written by people who live in the area.  I'm not necessarily a touristy kind of gal.  Sure, if I go to Paris, I'm going to want to see the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.  In London I visited Westminster Abbey (What?  Westminster Abbey is on Twitter??) and Kew Gardens (What? Kew has a Treetop Walkway?  Kewl!  Sorry, couldn't help it.  Ah, the things you learn building links!), and in Sydney, I at least saw the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, even if I didn't spend any quality time with either of them; but I generally just want to know what sights are actually worth seeing, what's a rip-off, and where the really good restaurants are, not just the ones that are paying to be in a guide book.  That said, I realize that this is a bit of a double-edged sword.  For those of us visiting, this is great info to have.  Tell us all about the local gems that the tourists don't normally visit.  For the locals, this can bring in additional tourist dollars, or it can just despoil all the local places that the tourists normally don't visit.  What do you think about "insider" books that give away local secrets?  

I recently purchased Adventure Guide to Thailand by Christopher & Lindsey Evans who, according to the About the Authors section, currently split their time between southern Spain and Thailand.  Huh.  According to, this book has no ratings at all.  I wonder if I should be concerned about this.  

I also bought the National Geographic Traveler: Thailand, 3rd Edition because it's National Geographic, and they seem like they wouldn't lie to me, and I liked the pictures.  What can I say?  A travel book has to have at least some pictures.  I want to see the places you're recommending to me.  And maps.  I need good maps.  Not because I'm a good navigator, but because I like to have a sense of where I am and where I need to go.  Even if I can't get myself to where I want to be, I CAN point at a spot on a map and look confused and helpless long enough for someone to take pity on me.  I call this the slow loris method of getting what I want.   

Both of these books seem to have a fair measure of all the things that I like-local knowledge, good pictures, maps, and attractive covers-so I have high hopes.  Oh, did I mention I'm going to Thailand this summer?  I didn't just buy the books at random.  We have a 10-day trip planned, with the main focus being a wedding in Pattaya, but otherwise, we are free to roam.  I know I want to visit the painting elephants, but other than that, I have no real plans.  I've never been before, and I don't really know much about Thailand at all. 

So, has anyone been to Thailand?  Can you recommend any good travel books?  Have you read the ones I have, and are they any good?  Travel books aside, what are some things that I should definitely see?  What are some things that I should definitely NOT see?  Any other recommendations? 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Latest tree climbing outing

Until I can get my act together and get a "real" post up, here are some pictures from this weekend.  Scale is a difficult thing to capture in photos, but I've tried to get some perspective for you.  We were back up in The Sentinel (which I just realized I've been spelling wrong this whole time), which is sort of our default climbing tree because it's close.

This is a shot of the branch I was sitting on at the end of my climb, looking straight out into the surrounding forest.

Here is a shot from that same branch looking down at our gear on the ground.  For anyone who knows what they're looking for, I DID have safety knots in my rope.  You just can't see them in this picture.  I had one about every 8 feet-I wasn't taking any chances here!  The trees with the tops that look like stars are Cook pines.   

I took this picture on the way back down.  My back was actually to the trunk, so I was twisting around trying to get a good shot of the root system, which covers a huge amount ground.  I kind of like the swirly effect I got as my rope was swinging me back around.

Here is a little better shot of the root system.  

Friday, May 8, 2009

Birthday surprise!

I am headed off to Colorado to surprise my dad for his 60th birthday.  I need to leave for the airport at about 5:15AM, I'm not packed yet, and it is 1:15AM right now.  I need to get to bed!  After 9 hours of flying/laying over tomorrow, I will get in at about 8:30PM and then have a 3-hour drive to Dad's house.  Luckily, my sister will be driving, so I can drool on myself sleep like an angel in the backseat on the way down there.  Yay!  I'm so excited!      

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Go climb a tree!

No, seriously.  Remember how I told you about my tree climbing adventure back in September?  Well, the weather is turning nice again, and if you've been thinking about checking out tree climbing but weren't really sure if it was something you wanted to commit to, this might be the perfect opportunity.  

June 6, 2009

Oregon City, OR

Tree Climbing Northwest Work Party-Help prepare the climbing site by spreading mulch, setting climbing lines, and other care-taking activities and then enjoy a guided climb, try out gear, and play some games.  This is the location where we did our class, and it's a beautiful area. 

For more information or to reserve your spot in the work party, contact Tim "Tengu" Kovar at