Tuesday, October 23, 2007

So Long Parks

My last day with the State Parks was Oct. 7th, and the rest of the staff and I ended it with a great hike - The Three Gorges Hike. In total, it's about 8 miles long. We started at the top of Robert H. Treman State Park, then hiked down through the gorge, hiked up another gorge called Lickbrook, and then ended by hiking through Buttermilk and came out at the bottom of Buttermilk Falls. It was a great hike, and amazingly we had a huge turnout. I think we had over 30 people that went. I was leading it with three other park employees. We made several stops along the way to do mini presentations - I started off with an icebreaker and then on the hike I talked about tracking and migrating monarch butterflies.

This is hiking up Lickbrook. It was a pretty steep climb, just look at Ryan!

Towards the end of the hike, we were coming around a bend in Buttermilk when all of a sudden a great blue heron came flying around and was only about 15 feet from us! It landed right on top of these falls. It was so neat. There are a ton of herons in Delaware, but it's much harder to come by them here.

Here we are at the end. Since it was such a large group, it took really long. I think it was supposed to be 5 hours but ended up being closer to 7! But most everyone stuck it out and had a good time.
So who knows if I will be going back to the parks next summer. Only time will tell, but I can say for sure that I had a really nice summer working with them and it wouldn't be all that bad to go back :)

Fun With Betsy

A few weeks ago, when Betsy (Mike's sister) was in town, she came to Ithaca for a few days and we all had some quality sibling fun :). It's sad that she is so far away, she lives in Portland, OR, but it's always a really nice time when we can all get together.
Here she is at Ithaca Falls, and then later at Sarah's work in downtown Ithaca with Mike. Another great reason for coming to Ithaca was to see a band that she really loves: Michael Franti and Spearhead. This was such an amazing show and I would encourage anyone to go experience such a show. He is an amazing performer and sings about current, real issues. He really sends a beautiful message of peace out.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Think About It!

Well, we're back from the Great American Beer Festival, which was in CO. It was an amazing time and I will update about it soon but my time is short right now.

I started my new job as a Teacher's Aide yesterday. It has been going pretty good. I have a great teacher that I'm working with and I basically help out in the classroom wherever I'm needed. It's nice because at the most, the classroom only has about 6 kids. They are in and out throughout the day. The kids are good, just need a little extra attention and patience. I think that it is going to work out nicely though. I will also post more about it in the future too.

But what I really wanted to write about was "Blog Action Day" - which I have a link for on the side of my blog. This actually happened yesterday but when I went to post, the site was down. Hopefully it was from such an overwhelming response - but who knows. Anyway, I still wanted to participate, so here is the description of what to do:

On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.

I'm sure I could go off on this topic but I'm going to TRY and keep it short and sweet. :)
I LOVE NATURE and cannot imagine the world with fewer and fewer natural areas and resources. I believe that every person truly can make an impact and that everyone really needs to have this mind frame if we are going to protect the natural world in all ways. I hear about kids that just don't go outside anymore and how it is a SERIOUS issue that needs to be addressed. The problem is (not that there is just one) but when kids don't go outside and explore their natural world, they loose an appreciation for it and as a result, don't gain a desire to respect and protect it. The understanding about how important the natural world is lost and what could happen is scary. Now I know that there is a large percentage of children who don't fit into this description at all, but the truth is that the other side is growing.

Anyway, I guess all I am hoping is that someone will read this and as a result be inspired to pay a little extra attention to our environment and help to encourage others to get outside and gain a better appreciation for it. When you are in it and experiencing the true amazement, it's sometimes easier to take that feeling home with you and extend it into your own daily lives.

Yesterday after I got done with my first day at work, I decided to go for a quick hike at Buttermilk Falls. I was stressed and tense from the normal worries of starting a new job and to just take a few minutes to get outside felt so wonderful. That is one thing that I am seriously going to miss with my new job - not getting outside regularly. But I just need to make that extra effort and remember how much it clears my mind and rejuvenates me.

Alright - that's good - I feel better :) And now I'll leave you with some pictures that I've taken recently from around Ithaca.

Crazy tree that grew around another tree

Milkweed Pods

Beautiful pool in Buttermilk

Can you believe I took this while driving?

Me at one of my last programs with the State Parks

Deer outside my old work

Ah - Buttermilk

My favorite view of one of the fall (in Buttermilk)

I really am going to miss my old job, but who knows what next summer will bring. Here I am taking a break in a field that had about 100 Dragonflies darting around over my head. AMAZING!

One last thing - I just wanted to say a couple of things I do to try and lessen my impact on the environment - maybe you will be motivated to join :)

  • Recycle - as much as possible, I've even been know to take recyclables home with me if no receptacle is available, but I know that can be hard for some people to do.
  • I just started using reusable grocery bags - a lot of stores are now selling them and they are so awesome - they can hold so much and don't even feel heavy - and I can put them over my shoulders, which helps so much when I have to climb 3 floors.
  • I use a "lunch box/cooler" to carry my lunches in back and forth to work and I also try to make my lunches and put them in reusable containers.
  • Turn off lights
  • Try to buy products with the least about of packaging
  • Use sweaters and blankets before turning up the heat
  • I'm really trying to buy more environmentally friendly products (like cleaning supplies)
  • We buy our milk in bottles that are reused
  • Turn water off when brushing teeth or shaving
Well, I know there are tons others, but that's a start. If ANYONE feels like adding to the list, I really encourage it. Add a comment saying what you do - even if it's just one thing! Together we can encourage and support one another. I am not claiming to be a complete "tree hugger" but at least I'm thinking about my actions and that is a good first step.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Grand Canyon of the East

Then on Sunday (the 30th), we drove up to the PA Grand Canyon in Wellsboro, PA. A lot of Mike's family is from there and they decided to meet at the park - it was such a nice day. Lots of visitors too - Mike's Uncle Jerry was visiting from New Mexico, also Betsy was there from Portland, OR. Sarah's mom was ALSO in town visiting from Atlanta. Her and Ryan drove down for the day (Sarah had to work though - just figures :( Mike's parents were there too, and his grandparents and Aunt Toni, Uncle Walt, cousin Jen and her family, and Uncle Buddy too! Got it straight?

Here's a view of the canyon

Grandma and John looking fabulous as always :)

The original 5!

Here's Gaige, Jen, Toni & Walt

And here was the highlight for me! I got to get my first ride ever on a motorcycle!! Mike's Uncle Jerry drove his bike all the way from New Mexico - pretty impressive! He was so kind to take me on a good drive ~ 15 mins! It was so much fun, I definitely now feel like I know what I'm missing out on. I still don't know if I could really handle one that big though.
I think I might still stick with my original wish:

Nice :)

The Greatest Show On Earth!

It was a busy weekend! The Great Insect Fair was ALSO going on at Penn State that Saturday (the 29th). Mike's mom works with the Entomology Dept. and was working it. Mike and I went with David, Jeannie and the boys, my mum, Mike's Dad AND Betsy!! She was also in town for a visit! It was a fun time. The last time I had gone to the fair was years ago and it has now tripled in size! I was loving it all especially since I had done a few insect programs over the summer.

It's held in the Ag. Arena

Fun with Uncle Mike!

Mr. Scott is pretty silly too :)

Here's Dave with Conell - Conell was dressed in a Thomas the Train outfit - so cute!!
The boys had a really good time - they even got to eat some bugs!

Five Years?!?!

That's Right! Mike and I celebrated 5 years of marriage on Oct. 5th - HA - 5 on 5. (I just realized it's one of those years b/c I turned 29 on the 29th this year too. Must mean something :)

Mike surprised me with these amazing lilies. They're HUGE!!

The fifth is also Louie's birthday! Happy Birthday Lou - hope you had a great day!!!

Back with Joy

A few months ago, Joy had called me up to invite me to a wedding that she was going to as her date. Her husband Josh and two other kids, Gabe & Layla were not going to be able to make it (the wedding was in State College and they all live in FL.) So I said yes because it sounded like the perfect way to visit with her since we hadn't seen one another for almost 2 years. And it worked out really good because it was the same weekend as my dad's retirement party.
It was really great being able to see her and catch up. And I finally got to meet her little boy, Avi - he's already 10 months old! That's the down-side to living so far away, I hate missing out on getting to know her kids and watching them grow.

Here's baby Avi - he's such a sweet boy - and a mama's boy at that! You can definitely tell this baby is loved :)

Us before going to the wedding

Here we are with Jamye (Joy's future sister-in-law :)

The bride was actually a girl that we had gone to High School with - Wendy. It was a beautiful ceremony and reception. It was all held at Toftrees G&CC, which is where Mike and I had our reception. It was fun to attend a wedding there and be able to relax and enjoy it. The night ended up turning into a mini reunion. We got to spend some time with a whole bunch of people we had gone to school with.

Here is Cindy and her date. She was in our grade - such a nice gal :)

And here I am with one of my old buds Alicia. It was so fun to see her - she's now a pastry chef in NY city! You know, there are so many people from my HS that ended up in the city. Brave souls!

Wendy & Brian cutting cake - thanks for having me - I had a great time!! Congratulations!

Congratulations Dad!

Two Friday's ago (the 28th), my dad retired from the Penn State University Libraries after 35 years. They had a big celebration at his work Friday morning. Mike and I were originally not going to be able to make it because of work, but last minute I got the day off and drove down the morning of to surprise them! It was a good one and I was really glad that it worked out. Unfortunately Mike still had to work, but he was a good sport about letting me go without him.
It was a nice reception, even the president of the university made an appearance. My brother and family was also there - it was a real special time. Congratulations Dad! We're so proud of you!

They put this fun poster together of some pictures of my dad.

Here is my mom and I talking with Graham Spanier.

They had made a slide show of all these historic pictures from Penn State and put my dad's face in every picture. Here he is protesting - his head is peeking around the poster on the left :)
Here are some more links to other pictures and also bios written about my dad and his time with the libraries.


Headed South

A little over 2 weeks ago, Mike and I finally made a trip back to DE. It was our first time back since moving and there was so much that we wanted to do. Unfortunately the weekend just wasn't long enough, but even still, we did fit a bit in. And I don't know what my deal was but I didn't get any pictures. My main excuse is that I didn't have pockets a lot of the time, but that really is no excuse. Hopefully others will send us some pictures :) We got to see a lot of good friends and even made a quick trip to the ocean. Saturday night we actually went to a party at one of Mike's old boss' house. It was such a good time - good food, tunes, and great to catch up with a lot of people all at once. We even got to sleep in a trailer - ha :)!
Well, even though we didn't get to all the things and people on our lists, it's nice to know that with our schedules getting more together, we should be able to make it back again fairly soon. Thank you Dana, Bret, Andy and Vickie for being the most fabulous hosts!!!

We actually took a three day weekend, but spent a few hours on Monday in D.C. We wanted to stop and see the boys and Jeannie (sorry we missed you Dave), and then we headed over to see Mike's Aunt and Uncle. His Aunt Lucy recently had a serious surgery and it was so nice to be able to see both of them and catch up on her progress. Mike's cousin Micky was also in town from TX, so it was good to see her too.

Here are some pictures from our visit with Jeannie and the boys. We only had about 2 hours at both visits, but we got some good quality time in.

Auntie Chris & Evan (reunited!!)
The clan :) - notice Mr. Trouble!

Special Days

Abner and Myra celebrated their 5th birthday on Sept. 15th! We got a silly toy for them, a birdie that sings while it sits on a swinging stem. It's pretty cute but of course they haven't touched it since. Oh well - it was still fun at the time.

Happy Anniversary to Joy and Josh - Sept. 13th!