Where I belong

"This life is yours. Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly. Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature. Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you. Take the power to make your life happy."

~Susan Polis Schutz

Camping is what makes me happy and this is what we are going to do.................to be continued.

Maxing & Relaxing

So, my first day of 5 days off............I've spent most of the morning attempting to be productive and do some of the things I've been thinking about doing since the beginning of the week. I also did some boring cleaning but not too much. I started out with my first try at Art Journaling, I have the page pretty much laid out but I have yet to get any sort of sticky supplies to put the collage together. I decided that what I wanted to do was a tree of sorts and I cut it out with my cheapo exacto knife. The rest, well, once I'm done I may share............I also made a couple cards for a few people that I have been thinking about lately - I hope that they will put a smile on their faces. Here is one that I did for a very dear friend whom I know loves this picture that I took in the Red River Gorge last year in May. I have all sorts of stuff just lying around that should be put to good use. I can't think of anything better than being able to brighten someones day with a simple card. I know that is surely does the same for me when I'm on the other end.

Free Press ~ kLoB

Now, this is a CD that I can really sink into. I think that I'd have to say that "tree" is probably my favorite song based on my first listen. Although they all definitely sound like songs that you're sure to be obsessed with in no time.
I get home and my my what a surprise - I have just received by post kLoB's* new CD graciously sent to me courtesy of Mr. Brain Jenkins!! Now unfortunately before I left Jacksonville to be a mountain girl I never got to see this quaternary of comrades. But thankfully, out of the goodness of his heart Brian bestowed upon me this fascinatingly brilliant four song CD. This is a considerably talented group of guys, and how do I know this if I've never seen kLoB before? Well, that's a good question - I know this because I've seen 3/4 of them in separate bands playing live right before my very eyes. There was even a time when Brian was attempting to give me drum lessons. I surely wasn't a worthy protégé but to my defense I still have down the basic beat!!
Anyhow, many thanks to Brian of kLoB* for sending me these wonderful gifts that I hope to help spread the word with. For starters this blog is an attempt at thanking you for creating this wonderfully recorded masterpiece; it really seems like you all put a lot of soul into it. I LOVE IT!
Hopefully, you may have the time to check them out and if you have any taste at all you will more than likely enjoy it - but if you don't I bet they wouldn't hold it against you. I mean look at what's been said about Brian Jenkins:

"Brian Jenkins is Big Red, and he plays the drums. No, he is the rhythm – like his whole skeleton and blood and hair and smile and breath. He's good. Always in to something and always branching out and always helping someone in some way, he will be the same person when he is 80 that he is now, only better."

So, take the time, and check them out. If you like them - let them know. Bands love to hear about how much you love them; am I right? then here's a CD you can relate too. I know I haven't been awfully descriptive about their sound but that's because I want you to hear them for yourselves!


*With the first set of kLoB links you can hear the new songs on myspace

Going with the Flow

“If a given combination of trees, mountains, and water, say a landscape, is beautiful, it is not so by itself, but because of me, of my favor, of the idea or feeling I attach to it.”

~ Charles Baudelaire

*Update: Today is my Friday! I am going to have the next 5 days off and boy am I in desperate need of a break. Although soon enough I'll be crying yet again for more time off, go figure. I would really like to go camping so I will continue to have a steady supply of photos to share. I suppose that's not really a problem I have since I have more than enough pictures to share every week. The blog has become more than I initially thought, and I really enjoy doing it. I've gotten some really great feedback from friends, family, and strangers which means the world to me. I like to think that people feel the same way that I do when I look at a picture I've taken. The blog has also superseded my journal since I haven't touched it since we've moved. Hopefully I will start working on that again too. Maybe over my 5 day holiday!! I have been inspired by several other blogs I've come across where people do Art Journals and they are fabulous. So, we'll see what I'm capable of in the world of Art Journaling.

Harper Creek Falls

This past weekend I went on one of my all time favorite hikes so far. The hike took us over 3 hours start to finish. Mind you most of that time we had taken shelter underneath an over hung rock that keep the rain at bay for just long enough. We tried to play cards since I'm brushing up on my poker skills for Vegas but betting with leaves as opposed to chips just doesn't hold the same allure. But thankfully the storm didn't last too terribly long, actually is was sort of nice. The thunderous storm looming above made the path that much more mysterious after the rain came. Surprisingly the creek was rushing so much more furiously than before. And the heightened acoustics of the forest were overwhelming.

Toward the end of the hike is when we came across this absolutely magnificent 40ft waterfall. And would you believe that we almost didn't cross this creek meaning we would have missed this completely! Cody decided to hop the creek and hike down a bit then came back saying "I have a visual!" At the time I didn't realize exactly what it was I was going to lay my eyes upon. It was amazing - I definitely won't forget how I felt when I peaked through the trees and saw this ahead. It was a great day!

Flower of the Week ~ Cardinal Flower

During the hours of this day I wander widely. I note with intense interest all the small events around me - a single cardinal flower still blooming in a wet declivity by the pond; dark bumblebees sleeping afield in Mulberry Meadow in this time of the breaking up of colonies; slender ash leaves revolving and sweeping in serpentines on the currents of Hampton Brook.

Edwin Way Teale
"A Walk Through the Year"

The cardinal flower is a native of North America,
and there are more than thirty lobelia species found
in the United States. It was one of the first plants
sent to Europe and has been cultivated there since
the early 1600’s. The cardinal flower was named
after the Roman Catholic Cardinal’s bright red robe.
The root of the cardinal flower was once thought to
be a powerful love charm. It was taken out of the
ground with much ceremony, washed thoroughly,
and then touched to each part of a person’s body.
The charm was said to work for people of all ages,
but it was supposed to work especially well for
elderly ladies.

The Cardinal Flower is a member of the bluebell
. Insects and humming birds enjoy its nectar,
but bumble bees have trouble clinging to it. Although
this flower was relatively common, people have
picked it too much, and it has become rare in some

Friday Night ~ Date Night

The special was a 1/2 order of Flounder for just $7.50! For my side items I went with mashed potatoes, cooked apples, & hushpuppies. Last week after Thai I decided that this week we needed some down home seafood & having never eaten at this off road delight we decided to give it a go. Cody says that he's heard of Doc Watson coming to eat here during the week so I thought "If it's good enough for Doc Watson, then, it's probably good enough for me!" And I was pleasantly surprised. Everything on the menu was decently priced which definitely makes me happy.

The waitress' were so curious as to why I was taking pictures that once I went outside they asked Cody if I was with some sort of advertising company. He politely told them no that I just
like to take pictures of the food and places that we eat. And as you've seen, yes, yes I
do. It mainly started when I first began eating meat again. I was making a calendar for my Sister of me taking bites out of hamburgers, sausage, steak, you name it. After being a vegetarian for 6 some odd years last year I decided to start eating meat again. It was mainly for climbing purposes as I believed that it would help me get stronger, and well, it did. But ever since then I haven't looked back. I enjoy not being limited to a few dishes on the menu. Now, shoot I can have anything my little heart desires. Which by the way is more than my fair share of food.

Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered for they are gone forever.

-Horace Mann

Volume Of My Cry

We can let circumstances rule us, or we can take charge and rule our lives from within.

-Earl Nightingale

What I am affected by most are the physical restraints put upon me on a daily basis. As a result I no longer feel strong and confident, instead I feel weak and fragile. Admitting this to myself will never get easier. It's been very hard to shift my focus from what's been taken from me to what I am left with & what I do have to look forward to. I know that there are so many other people who have it far worse that I do & who are so much more limited than I am. And I do my best to keep that in mind. But who isn't guilty of focusing on themselves from time to time (I know that I am). My worries stem from thinking about the outcome of my situation. The absence of progress is what scares me the most. The therapist is beginning to look desperate, according to him there are only a couple more things that we can actually do. I broke down in his office today. It was apparent that this has been building up, I couldn't help it. I know he's doing everything that he can and that's one thing that upsets me most. I can't help but wonder about what will happen with me. I need to focus more attention on getting better instead of how I'm not getting better.

Flower of the week: Yellow Salsify

*UPDATE: I just discovered some days ago that I had a Macro lens and didn't quite know it. Before we moved I won this photography camera bundle package from Ebay. It came with a number of different accessories: lenses, filters, tripods, camera bag, etc. Okay so my point was, I've had this Macro lens without knowing it. It was attached to the wide angle lens and I noticed this only because when I went to take off the lens I had grabbed the wrong spot and twisted it off while the macro portion of the lens was still attached to my camera. It was definitely a neat discovery because this baby lets you get so close; and without realizing it I catch myself shoving the lens into whatever it is I'm taking a picture of. Although I do plan to be extra careful not to scratch my new pride and joy. (I took these pictures yesterday on our little hike)

Yellow salsify is an introduced, weedy species that can invade a lawn or well-established field of native bunchgrass and dominate disturbed sites. It was introduced for its culinary value. Tragopogon spp. Salsify. This plant is also known as "oyster plant" because the first-year roots have a taste that resembles oysters. This is a biennial plant that grows a root and basal leaves the first year, then sends up the flower stalk the second year and dies after setting seed.

Late Night Date Night

Above is PadThai SomTom from Cha Da Thai & it was absolutely delicious.

Our waitress who graciously allowed me to photograph her in the traditional Thai formal wear; doesn't she look so cute!

Tennessee Cody

This was our dessert, crazy bubble tea. The flavor we chose was Green Tea Latte and it was yummi - and came highly recommend by our waitress. Located at the bottom of the glass are these little gelatinous balls (said to be like tapioca pudding balls) and it comes with a straw that is larger in circumference than that of a normal straw. By the end we were crying brain freeze but man was it good. I'm sure that I'll get a hankering for another one some time soon.
We also went to see the movie Superbad last night which was absolutely hilarious! It was definitely not something that you should take a kid to go see because there was lots of sexually explicit language and/or behavior riddled throughout. When we sat down I had high expectations since after the week I've had I needed some comic relief and this movie definitely pushed the envelope while stepping up to the plate the whole way through. And if any of you know my laugh you can understand how boisterous I was during the film. Side-splitter indeed!


Wildflowers of Colorado

This is a postcard that my friend Dave brought back for me along with a plaque that has Kokopelli etched in sandstone from his Colorado trip over a week ago. He knows how much I like postcards and the last time he went I received some too. I always have to make sure that I get a postcard from where ever I travel, it's one of the cheapest keepsakes you can buy. Maybe that's why I like them so much - because they are cheap! I have a journal/scrapbook that I put all of them in. I was thinking about how neat it would be if I could engage others in helping me with my postcard collection. I would be willing to send one to you in return.
If anyone is interested in sending me a postcard from your hometown or travel destination please send me an email & I will gladly forward my mailing address.

I plan to post some of my other postcards in the near future although most of them are already in my book but I'm sure that I can scan the page to share them with everyone.

The day when I'm better than OK........................

If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.

Thomas A. Edison (1847 – 1931)

*UPDATE: If I were to post a blog yesterday it would have been completely different from what you are seeing right now. I thought it best to let yesterday go and move forward. The problem being is that this has been one of the difficult weeks that unfortunately you just can't avoid. I've been on a roller coaster of emotion on the verge of crying the majority of the time, but, then again it's my fault for subjecting myself to country music. These tunes for some reason have the deepest effect on me when I am discouraged and/or defeated. Travis Tritt has this song which says "It's a great day to be alive........." but what if you don't feel like it's a great day to be alive. What if what you really want is to crawl back in bed, cover the windows so no stitch of light can reach your eyes...............I've never been one to excessively lie around in bed all day but man I can't wait for a break. A 3 day weekend is not enough! Thankfully the last week of August I am due for some much needed time off. I suppose that I should now start planning some sort of excursion to keep my mind off of the things that aren't going the way that I wish they would. I did get the time off for my Vegas birthday celebration the first week in October, and this I am very excited about. I ordered a visitor guide and just rec'd it yesterday (just writing about it is putting a smile on my face) and I pulled out a card that has a picture of the city & I taped it to my desk above my monitor so that I can be reminded of what I have to look forward to. Oh it's going to be great, this week we should probably finalize our plans so we're locked in. That's when it will be real, for some reason I keep feeling like it's not going to happen. But that's just some of Cody's paranoia rubbing off on me! Maybe this weekend since we won't have any unexpected visitors we can go camping so that I can sit back and let the cares melt away!! Hey, when you got an itch...............

Climbed but not Conquered

Friday night we went to Makoto's for some yummi sushi!

Saturday we went climbing at Grandmother. In this second picture you see Grandfather Mountain in the distance. It was a beautiful day.

Later in the evening we went out to a place called The Barn, it is a boulder field that is located on a friends land. Below are pictures of a problem called Woodruff's Crack. I have sent this problem before but unfortunately I was no where near fit to even do the first move this go round. It was very humbling to go back to these places that I haven't been to in such a long time. Just this time last year I was climbing the same problems that I couldn't do this weekend. And boy am I sore today! I don't ever remember getting this sore when I first started climbing. But I suppose that we tend to forget those sorts of details when enough time passes. Sitting on the sidelines I tried to remember the moves to the problems that I knew so well before I stopped climbing. I sincerely understand the whole "if you don't use it, you lose it" saying now. If it weren't for Deanna coming into town I probably wouldn't have went out climbing in the first place. I'm glad that her visit inspired me to give it another try. Somehow and sooner or later the spark will find it's way back to me..................

Turk's Cap Lily

(Lilium superbum)

Turk's Cap Lily is capable of reaching the height of 10’. It is one
of the tallest members of the Lily (Liliaceae) family.

Turk’s Cap lily is a large showy plant usually bearing numerous flowers. As many as 40 flowers have been counted on a single plant. The flower, 2 – 2.5 inches across, is usually orange or yellow with brown or sometimes reddish white speckles.

Lilium superbum flourishes in filtered sun or light shade. It requires moist meadows, rich woods or marshes for its growth. It is sometimes called the Swamp Lily.

The plant’s bulb was used by the Native Americans for making soup and to season stew and meat dishes, which nearly drove the plant to extinction. Turk’s Cap has been making tremendous strides to stabilize in the last 30 – 40 years.

*UPDATE: My friend Deanna from Kentucky got into town today; she is our very first house guest in the new place. Today we had to get the extra room ready for our weekend guest. Which was good since we needed the motivation to get it together anyhow. Before Thursday it was ages since Deanna and I have talked to one another. I suppose that sometimes things happen and people change.............None the less I love to have company. So, I'm glad that she is here! Although, she is mainly here to go climbing. But we all know this is something that I haven't done in a while, a long while. For the sake of nostalgia I plan to go out to the bouldering fields with her while she is in town. If anything I can take some climbing photos.
P.S. I'm so glad the internet is now on at the new place!!!!!!

A Comparison.................

It all started when I stumbled across this website www.grocerylist.org that I grew this new found fascination in grocery lists of different sorts that I found lying around. I'm not sure exactly what intrigued me the most when I found "my" very first list but I didn't want to leave it there. Not that it's some magic window to ones soul but it is something personal in a way, although I would probably never know exactly who it was that wrote the list in the first place. I myself am a very avid list writer. At any given time I can have several different lists going at one time. Some may find that to be rather annoying, I on the other hand find that to be the ONLY way for me to remember things when I get an idea or wot knot. Sometimes I nearly forget what I want to write down before I can reach a pen & paper which by the way is usually close in proximity. I think that my affinity for finding lists is almost as great as making lists.
I also put up this post as a comparative for handwriting in response to a post I saw on another bloggers website. Nuri if you see this let me know what you think!

*UPDATE: Today is my Friday and boy I couldn't be happier! Especially since tomorrow we finally get internet and cable at the new place. It's been nice though sitting around when Cody gets home and talking about random nonsense. Hopefully we can continue with that even though the cable and internet are coming. When I get home I have about an hour before Cody gets there and without the internet I've just found stuff to do. I would either put up a box of stuff, continue the Harry Potter saga, wash dishes, etc. Maybe it should be some sort of rule not to turn the TV on until a certain time or something. Last night we watched a movie but not until like 8:30 or so. Hmmm, we'll see how it goes I suppose.

Favorite "Things"

I got this necklace just last week. But let me tell ya it's been somewhat of a long process obtaining it. First off, I'm really cheap these days so spending money on something this extravagant doesn't happen too often. You see I've had my eye on this for almost 6 months now if not longer. I eagerly watched the website for a cut in the price in hopes that sooner or later this would be around my neck. This necklace went from being $119.00..............then to $95.00..........then $75 but still this wasn't enough. I wanted it to be lower! I know that I always say that I am one of the most impatient people on the earth but for this, I waited. And surely enough it paid off - I received a coupon code with 20% off and free shipping and at the time the price was lower so believe it or not I ended up getting the necklace I waited oh so patiently for for just $40.00!! Now tell me that's not a deal. Sure some of you will say "I wouldn't pay $40 bucks for that necklace" but crickey I would & well, I did! And I absolutely loooooooooove it. I almost want to wear it with everything but it's just not one of those kinds of necklaces. Ross Simons is taking after Tiffany but instead of a blue box with a black ribbon they sent this little brown box with neon green trim, and they even put the necklace in a little brown suede bag to make the unraveling that much more exhilarating. You may think that I'm way too happy about a mere necklace but it's not as if were an impulse buy, I bode my time even though I wanted pretty badly.

Flat Rock

This trail is located off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain. Being just a short trail is was easy enough to take our time wandering through the woods. Once we reached the overlook of course we lingered for a while until someone approached. On a day this clear you can see for miles and miles. I definitely
enjoyed the short hike, it was nice to finally get
back out after spending the last few weeks doing
& thinking of nothing but the move!

New Place

Finally, here are some pictures of the new place. The back is really the front. Since this is the door we use to go in and out mostly.
I will post more soon once more stuff is out of the way!!

*UPDATE: The physical therapy went pretty well on Friday. The only adverse affects I've noticed is that the medication has seemed to upset my oh so sensitive face. But otherwise, I have just noticed that I'm unusually sore where my neck meets my shoulders. The procedure felt somewhat like very dull bee stings in a way. Although it didn't hurt - it was a strange sensation.

Far Cry

The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions.

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809 – 1892)

I so awfully miss having the ability to climb. Today I have physical therapy and I'm looking forward to a new technique the doctor will be using. You see this will be my 6th week of therapy and unfortunately we haven't gotten the results that we are looking for so we have to step it up a bit. Not to sound whiny but every single day I wake with sore and achy neck and shoulder muscles, and believe it or not it's pretty much been this way since October of last year. My frustration continues to grow as the pain doesn't fade. I go into therapy near the end of the week when I'm at my worst and I get soft tissue work, ultrasound, and the e-stem unit. And of course it feels good at the time to be able to relax but it never fully loosens up my muscles. Which by the way is the point of me going to PT. And this is why last week we talked about trying something different. It took me a while to remember how to say this but what we are going to try is something called Iontophoresis. Apparently, what this does is transmits the medication directly to your muscles. And what he will be using is an anti-inflammatory (Dexamethazone). At this point I will try anything to speed up my healing process. It's been way too long that I've been in this state. I want to get back to doing what I LOVE to do which is climb.

These were some pictures that were taken not too long before I started to have the problems which lead to my neck surgery in January. This is probably when I was at my strongest. When I look at these photos my heart starts to beat faster and it almost makes me want to cry. It was such a huge part of my life. And I gained so much from climbing which is why I miss it so much.
But not before I'm ready will I jump back in. Although patience is definitely not one of my best virtues.

Greeting From Colorado

© Dave Fulton
© Dave Fulton
These pictures come from my friend Dave who has been in Colorado visiting a friend. Particularly Gunnison, this is where Zane (dave's friend) lives. It is such an amazingly beautiful place and it is definitely on my list of "Places I want to visit" if not live! That's probably a little further down the road though.
But anyhow these were a few of the pictures I received from Dave while visiting Colorado and I thought that I would share them with you.

*Update: As we are coming to settle into the new place there are somethings that take a little getting used to. Although, something that took place last night is "NOT" what I can even consider getting comfortable with............and what's that you ask? Well, MICE, I can not handle these little creatures created by God. They repulse me to no end. I don't have a problem with your typical scary creatures, for instance, spiders, snakes, etc. But rats or mice or whatever..........NOPE..........can't handle it. And I know it was a teeny tiny thing but still - Gross!! I understand that now we are in a somewhat of a country setting that this is bound to occur more than just this once. I am hopeful that "kitty" will turn into a mouse annihilating machine in the near future. He seemed to know that something was up since we were beating around all the furniture and making noise. I'm sure he will catch on. I've been told there is a difference between mice and rats and I can see that one is smaller than the other - but honestly I don't care how big they are! To anyone who likes mice and rats I'm sorry to report that the intruder we had is now gone. And that folks was the highlight of my evening!

Flower of the Week

(Monotropa uniflora )

* Monotropa, from the Latin, "once-turned'', reference to the flowers, which face the ground early in life, and turn straight upward once they begin producing seeds. Uniflora, from the Latin, "single flower''.

*Other common names include Corpse Plant, Ghost Flower, Ghost Pipe, Ice Plant, Bird's Nest, American Iceplant, Dutchman's Pipe, Fairy Smoke, Death Plant, Pipe-plant, Wax Plant, Eyebright, Convulsion Weed, Convulsion Root or Fit Root.
I myself think the nicknames are pretty cool!

* Indian pipes are flowering plants, but they contain no chlorophyll. Without chlorophyll, they don't have to depend on sunlight to grow, and therefore thrive in shady areas.

* Well, you may ask, how are these marvelous plants nourished without chlorophyll? Indian pipes are saprophytic, which means they have a symbiotic relationship with fungi, which break down organic matter around the plant's root and provide a constant supply of nutrients.

Note: Another plant which has no chlorophyll is Pinesap although I have yet to encounter this little guy for a photo op.

*The root has traditionally been used as a sedative and antispasmodic to treat fits and convulsions such as occurs in epilepsy, and other nervous conditions. It was also used externally for healing sores, bunions and warts.

* Plant translucent, waxy, pipe-like.
* Flower nodding, white or pink, turning blackish with age.
* Leaves scale-like.
* Height: 4-10".

Natural History:
* Visible June - September.
* Habitat: Shady woods, in soil rich with decaying vegetation.
* Range: Northeastern United States.

I left the photo BIG so that you could see the flower in detail, take a click!