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Reverb10 December 17, 2010

Posted by A. Robinson in Life, Reverb10.
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Wow, I didn’t realize it had been this long since I last blogged.  Trust me, I’ve wanted to, but I’ve been running at full capacity this semester.  I’m glad it’s over, and thankfully, that means I’ll have more time to blog.  Yay!

I thought I’d start with a project called Reverb10, which is an online initiative to reflect on the past year and look forward to the next.  I was inspired to do this by my friend, Aba, who has been “Reverb-ing” (with commitment!) this month.

Since I’m quite far behind, I thought I’d do a couple of posts a day until the month is over.  Hopefully this will help get me back in the spirit of blogging, too.

So without further ado…

December 1 – One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you? (Author: Gwen Bell)

Full.  This year has been packed to the brim.  I finished my Master’s thesis and moved straight into a Ph.D program that gave me one night a week at home.  John and I took over more responsibility in our church, which kept us quite committed as well.  We were often double or triple booked, and our life was a constant—but successful—juggling act.

One year from today, I’d like to say that my life is balanced. This isn’t so much as a wish as it is a necessity; neither I nor John can keep operating at the pace that we have been.  The only problem is that we’re both strong leaders and often assume responsibilities that we have no business taking on.  I don’t want to sacrifice our families or our church if we can help it, but I’d like us both to take more time to just unwind, relax, and have some fun.  Crazy, right?

December 2 – Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)

Unfortunately, there’s quite a bit that contributes to this—mainly school/work. This can’t so much be eliminated as streamlined.  I’m a pretty organized and on-task individual, but my officemates love to chat which really cramps my productivity.  I want to maximize and make better use of my time so I can shell out some more time for fun writing.

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

I felt most alive when I was scuba diving off the coast of Cozumel.  Honestly, it’s one of my favorite things to do, and it’s such an otherworldly experience.  The ocean, especially the Caribbean in Mexico) is just phenomenally beautiful, and that’s just from the beach.  There’s a whole ‘nother world under the surface that very few people get to experience.  Heck, most people are blissfully unaware—as we were snorkeling the beach, we saw stingrays swimming around people’s ankles!

When you dive, there’s a real sense of excitement and anxiousness as you suit up.  I mean, the potential for death is really high if you’re not careful about your equipment.  Once you hop in, though, diving is just so incredibly…peaceful.  The only thing you hear is your own breathing and the bubbles from your exhaust as you sink down to the bottom.  Scuba diving is physical, but you actually swim fairly slow as you go through reef formations that are thousands of years old.

The one amazing thing that you just don’t understand from aquariums, or even snorkeling, are the incredible colors of the reef.  Every color imaginable is down there, and the patterns are just so complex.  Everything down there is alive, moving, sparkling.  There’s just so much life that you can’t possibly take it all in.  We saw sea turtles, squid, lobster, sharks, eels…just tons of aquatic life.

The coral reefs are the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen, and there’s nothing that makes me feel more alive than recognizing how small and insignificant I am in God’s greater plan.  You can’t not be aware of that when you’re diving and surrounded by so much magnificence.

December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeffrey Davis)

I don’t know if this counts, but I pretty much discussed this on Day 3.  I guess, for variety’s sake, I’d say that my job cultivates wonder all the time.  I’m constantly engaged in explorative thought; my job—and the thing I most enjoy—is teasing out some new meaning from a text.  You could say that I wonder all day!

I Am An eBay Idiot September 16, 2010

Posted by A. Robinson in Life.
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I have lots of stories to tell–like how my SISTER gave my DAD my texting number and how he now sends me copious texts that mean nothing.  This morning he sent me a text that read, “sexy maxi found mexican in Springfield.”  I still have no idea what that means.  He also seems religiously opposed to spelling, even in text speak.  Example: “luv u mch.”  What the crap.

ANYWAY, that’s not the story I’m going to tell you.  Not right now, anyway.

I’m an eBay virgin (well, not anymore, but I was until a week ago).  I’d heard everyone rave about eBay, and I’d looked on the site a few times, but I was largely unimpressed.  Most of the items you couldn’t bid on, and those you could were overpriced.  I left it in favor of Amazon.com with no qualms about it.

Until last week.  My mom’s birthday is coming up quickly, so I started looking for a cheap pair of Chaco sandals for her.  (If you don’t know what Chacos are, you should stop RIGHT NOW and go to this website and marvel in wonder.  They’re only the best shoes ever.  Really.)  She never buys herself anything nice, and she’s always working outside.  I wanted to make sure she had something to wear that will be as tough as she is.  The problem is, the shoes run about $100, and unfortunately, I don’t have that kind of money just lying around.*  After looking around for a good deal on a used pair, I ventured onto eBay.

Turns out, there were quite a few pairs to bid on.  I registered, then hopped on my first item.  I placed my initial bid, which I was pretty confident with, but then eBay asked me to place a second.  Now, let’s pause here.  I have two degress, for God’s sake, but it did not occur to me that I was setting up some sort of automatic bid function.  I just thought they wanted me to bid a little higher.  So I did, and ultimately lost.  I tried this on a few other pairs of used sandals, ultimately being outbid in the closing seconds of the auction.  It sort of sucked.

In order to increase my chances of winning, I decided to open up three or four bids at a time, hoping that one would win.  I HAVE NO IDEA WHY THIS LOGIC SOUNDED GOOD AT THE TIME.  Actually, I do know.  I thought that once I won, I’d just cancel my other bids and be just peachy.  NOTE:  YOU CAN’T CANCEL BIDS ON EBAY.  I had no clue.

So then I get a second chance offer on a pair of brand new sandals for $20.  I immediately had a panic attack.  Do I take up this guy on his offer, or try and snag a cuter pair with one of my ongoing auctions?  I wrung my hands and ground my teeth in worry.  Finally, I decided to go with the new pair and just close out (at this point) my other five open bids.  I went ahead an paid, then started looking for bid reduction instructions.

There were none.

Turns out, it’s a breach of contract to lower your bid.

Whoops.

So the next week involved me freaking out about possibly owning 5 pairs of chaco sandals at varying prices.  Thank GOD I was outbid on most of them, so now I’m the proud owner of only TWO pairs of Chacos that look exactly the same.  Awesome.  Turns out that eBay is much, much smarter than I am.

As an aside, anyone interested in a pair of Chacos?  Haha.

*I’ve started to pay back my student loans.  Even though they’re not anything like what most people have, it’s still expensive!

Winter Read-a-thon December 13, 2009

Posted by A. Robinson in BookLust, Life.
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I should start this post with a big ol’ HAPPY BIRTHDAY to JohnJohn.  I gave him Modern Warfare 2, and he’s been playing while I type/blog/bake him a cake.  We’re going to see The Blind Side tonight…I’ll let you know how it is.

I can’t even begin to tell you how behind I am on Christmas.  I mean, seriously.  I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off since Thanksgiving; as a matter of fact, the longest conversation I’ve had with John since Turkey Day was last night over dinner.  Ugh, it’s been awful, but it’s done now.  One more stack of papers to grade and I’m home free until January.  I need it: I am seriously burned out.  I have some nifty crafts planned in the next week, too.  Woot for free time.

Part of what I love most about Christmas break is the chance to read things that I’m interested in, though this break will be peppered with texts for my thesis and/or school.  That’s fine, though, they’ll be interesting enough.  Here’s the list of what, in an idea world, I’d like to read this break, including a section of MUSTS.

MUST READ:

  • Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  • Heading West by Doris Betts
  • The Sharp Teeth of Love by Doris Betts
  • No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy (I’m teaching this one)

WANT TO READ:

  • Skin Trade by Laurell K. Hamilton (my guilty pleasure, har har)
  • All Over But the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg (a southern memoir.  You might like this one, Bunny)
  • That Feminist Book that LindseyBunny Wants to Read (need title)
  • Belladonna by Anne Bishop
  • Hunger Games by I Don’t Know Who

So, what are you all planning to read this Christmas?  Any titles I need to add but haven’t?  Also, anyone up for a read-a-long?  Could be fun!

I’m Lovin’: Glee! November 12, 2009

Posted by A. Robinson in Lovin'.
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Have you watched the breakout hit Glee yet?  No?  My friend, you have not lived.

glee

Join the Glee Club. You'll love it.

Now, Glee isn’t for everyone.  It’s from the creators of Nip/Tuck, so you know it’s not going to be a PG romp a la High School Musical.  It’s not kiddy, but it is campy.  If you’re not into random musical interludes, then this show isn’t for you.  If you like hilarity and enjoy show tunes, then get on board, y’all.  It’s a hoot.

What I can’t get over is how funny the show is.  One week Jane Lynch’s character, the demented Coach Sylvester, gave a talk about caning students.  I laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe.  Any time Rachel, the resident diva, goes on a rant about her two dads, I lose it.  The show itself is really, really delightful.  Don’t believe me?  You can watch full episodes on hulu and download Glee songs on iTunes.

I have to admit, there are some parts of the show that can get annoying.  The pregnancy plot is old; how many teen pregnancies can you watch before they lose their drama?  The subplot with the Glee club coordinator’s wife is equal parts icky and awful.  So no, the show’s not perfect, but it’s guaranteed to put a smile on my face every week.  It’s fabulous.

From The Great Beyond October 27, 2009

Posted by A. Robinson in Bus Songs, Crazy Magnet, Life, Lovin'.
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Hey everyone!  Remember me?  You know, that Mexican girl you talk to sometimes?  Yeah, I’m not dead…yet.  Just totally, completely swamped.  It’s been non-stop work for me lately, so much so that I haven’t been able to type up a single little blog post.  Intolerable, I know.

Anyway, in the interval, why don’t you check out my new favorite website: People of Walmart. I, of course, live in the Walmart (not Wal-Mart, they’ve changed their branding!) capital of the world, which means I pretty much swing by a Supercenter every other day.  I mean, the convenience!  The affordability!  The PEOPLE.

Of course, you’ve read about one of my encounters with a Walmart employee whether you realize it or not.  But really, I can vouch for the People of Walmart website single handedly.  I mean, seriously.  I cannot begin to tell you how many nutjobs I’ve seen trolling the aisles of the Middle Class Retail Mecca of the World.  For example, one night John and I went to Walmart around 2:00 am, I can’t remember why, probably for unmentionable naughty things Cheez-its.  We noticed a man walking around the store with a giant 42″ flat screen plasma television in a cart; we mainly noticed because the man was rocking the longest mullet I have ever in my life seen.  Throw in the dirty camo pants, and he definitely looks like he doesn’t have indoor plumbing, let alone the wall space for such a honker of a boob-tube.  Anyway, the guy happens to be lapping the store, and as we make our way to the front we watch him try to walk out the front door with the television, even though John and I both know he hasn’t paid for it.  He presents the greeter with a reciept, which is promptly denied.  He then gets angry and walks back to the electronic department like he’s going to put the television back, only to try to exit through ANOTHER Walmart entrance/exit, despite the fact that it’s closed.  John and I hang out to watch this guy, who tries to exit the store not once, but three different times.

I mean seriously.  Why try and steal such a huge television?  Why get greedy?  Steal some small expensive things, like cell phones, curtains, etc. and sell those in order to get the cash to buy the television.  Tisk tisk.

Anyway, enjoy the website.  I sure do.

The Week From Hell August 14, 2009

Posted by A. Robinson in Life.
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Last week was straight from the Devil.  Have you ever had one of those weeks where you just don’t want to get out of bed because you just know that something awful is going to happen to you?  If you haven’t, then you’re obviously living better than I am.

The week started out with my truck in the shop.  My starter had begun to go out, and rather than risk not being able to start my vehicle in some random parking lot, John and I decided to just take it in.  So, not only was I dependent on John/The Red Bus, I was also scrambling to write a poetry paper.  Now, this might not sound like much to you, but when all you do for a living is mess with prose, writing five pages about one poem is excruciatingly painful.  Every paragraph was like an exercise in pulling teeth, and by the time the paper was done 12 straight hours after I’d started it, I wanted to cry at a) its completion and b) its total suckiness.  That dovetailed right into finishing the grading for my advanced composition class, which took forever.  By Thursday morning I was running on little to no sleep, and I was practically dragging myself from place to place.

Instead of taking it easy and being extra careful, I decided it would be an excellent idea to make my lunch right after getting out of bed.  Now, I’m not particularly grumpy in the morning–unlike a particular Lindsey I know–but I am slow.  Ergo, I should have forgone the large bread knife, but I didn’t.  The result?  Slicing the tip of my thumb off in the process of halving a hogie roll.

The minute I sliced my finger I knew it was bad, sort of in the instinctual way you know something is too high to safely jump off of.  I had already begun to drip blood all over the floor, so I called John in from the bedroom.  He ran in with his face half-shaved, which made me giggle, and then together we proceeded to try and get the bleeding to stop.  At that point I was shaking and a little nauseous and wasn’t able to apply enough pressure to the fingertip to even begin to help clotting, so John had to hold my hand above my head and squeeze for me.  Let me tell you–it was painful.  There was one point where I actually cried a little, and I couldn’t stop shaking long enough to really get myself in order.  After twenty minutes the bleeding still hadn’t stopped; it was at that point that we both decided that I needed to go to the doctor.  We packed enough gauze into the wound to staunch the bleeding, and I rode the bus to the heath center.

When I got there, I was sent back to the RN on duty, Rhonda.  She seemed nice enough, and I figured that she’d just be able to fix me right up.  My thumb was throbbing but not hurting at that point, so I was feeling a lot more confident in my ability to get in and get out before I had to teach my class at 11:00.  When I explained what happened, Rhonda took the gauze off and the bleeding started just as strongly as before.  She and I spent 15 painful minutes trying to staunch the bleeding, wherein she explained to me that the cut hurt so badly because I’d managed to expose all of the nerve endings.  Lovely thought.

She explained to me that since I was a “bleeder,” she was going to have to cauterize the wound.

“You have two options,” she said.  “You can get a numbing shot of Lanacane in your thumb, but its going to hurt pretty badly.  I’ll have to give you two of them: one in the cut itself and one in the joint.  The other option is to just cauterize it, which will sting a little.”  Keep in mind that she said that it would only “sting a little.”  That is frickin’ verbatim right there.  So of course, I agree to the latter.  Heck, what’s a little stinging compared to having people touch all over my exposed nerve endings for twenty minutes.

What Rhonda didn’t tell me is that it was going to sting SO MUCH that I would almost pass out TWICE.  It felt like she had poured liquid metal straight on the tip of my finger, and the pain shot all the way up my arm and into my jaw.  The whole process probably took two minutes, but it was two minutes of the worst pain I’d ever felt in my whole entire life (and that’s saying a lot, especially if you’ve seen that nasty scar on my right knee or felt the chipped bone in my right shin).  Even after she’d cauterized the stupid thing, it kept bleeding a little, which she was a little concerned about but was fairly sure would clot on its own.  By the time she came to dress my thumb, it was shaking so badly that I had to hold it with my good hand in order to keep it still.  Even the tetanus shot she gave me afterwards didn’t hurt because my whole arm was aching.

This is what I ended up with:

photo
To add insult to injury, I had to then go teach class.  If you want to see what my thumb looks like now, you can visit a special, carnage-filled flickr set.

I think we can all agree that Thursday was rough.  You would think I would be okay at that point, but noooo.  John lets me use the Vibe to get to work on Friday so I won’t have to stay on campus until late afternoon.  On the way home, one of the tires goes flat.  Of course, with my bum thumb, I’m able to do everything but lift the spare tire up and hold it in place while I screw the bolts back on.  I have to call my friend, Brad, to come and help me with the tire-changing, and then when I take the tire to a shop to get patched, they can’t to it (admittedly, I knew they wouldn’t be able to, but I thought I’d try anyway).  So, of course, I spend my afternoon looking for a place that carries John’s tires, then wait to get the tire replaced.  Ugh.

I’m telling you!  Week. From. Hell.

Life List #49: Fly a Kite on the National Mall July 17, 2009

Posted by A. Robinson in Life, Life List.
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Woo hoo!  Cross one off the Life List!

One of the items on my Life List was to fly a kite in Washington DC–specifically, on the national mall.  If you have seen Night at the Museum 2, you will note that in the opening 30 minutes there are some kids flying kites in Washington DC.  The minute I saw that, I was like “Oh my God, I absolutely have to do that!”  And…I did.

Just our luck, our hotel in Rockville, MD was right next door to an REI (by the way, if you’ve never been in an REI, you are missing out on life).  I cannot believe how many kites they had, and all of them were awesome. After some debate, John and I purchased the Atom, made my Prism Kites. Let me tell you, it is the coolest. kite. ever.

So the first day we went into DC we left the kite at home.  We hadn’t really figured out how we were going to schlep it around yet.  That particular day (of course) the wind was great, and there were like, HUNDREDS (really, just ten) kids flying kites all around the Washington Monument.  I was so excited; so, the next day, I made sure that we were able to pack the kite.

And the wind didn’t blow.

Okay, no problem.  I just took the kite the next day.

And the wind didn’t blow.

I didn’t get to fly my kite until the day before we left, because there just wasn’t any breeze.  But let me tell you, once John and I had the chance, flying that kite was the most fulfilling–and the best–part of the whole trip.  You can see some of the best photos here, on Flickr.

Here’s the thing: I knew crossing an item off my list would be exciting, but I didn’t know it would be so rewarding.  There have been a couple of times as I’ve been composing this epic list that I’ve considered how arbitrary and impossible it is.  You know what, though?  If I feel like this every time I scratch off another number, I won’t stop working towards these goals.  That, in and of itself, is worth it all.

Washington DC 2009 July 14, 2009

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Instead of reading for class, I’d much rather tell you all about Washington DC and how wonderful it was.  I mean, how many times can you read “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” before you know it by rote?  Can I get an “amen?”

If you are in DC, you should:

1.  Definitely check out the Star Spangled Banner in the Smithsonian Museum of American History.  It’s so tattered and delicate that it can no longer fly; they have it displayed in a special low-light, low-humidity exhibit.  It’s dark, and the atmosphere is almost eerie.  Also in the exhibit is a touch screen where you can zoom in on certain areas of the flag (like shrapnel holes!).

2.  Go to the Holocaust Museum.  John and I opened the place up and shut it down.  You have to get there early to get a ticket to enter the permanent exhibit.  I would imagine that they go quickly.  Anyway, while we were waiting to enter the big exhibit, John and I checked a temporary display on Hitler’s propaganda.  Did you know that Hitler was the first candidate for the chancellorship that utilized campaign stops?  He chartered a plane and flew to nearly 200 locations across Germany, stomping for his election campaign.  His opponent made a grand total of THREE stops around the country.  This was my favorite museum of the trip.  The architecture is amazing, and the content is thorough and moving.  This is a MUST SEE.

3.  Visit either the Senate and/or the House of Representatives.  It’s really interesting to visit the floor where all of the country’s legislation is debated.  Scary note: NO ONE WAS THERE, and there were two Senators debating the health care issue.  By NO ONE, I mean there were like, three aides, a few runners, whoever was presiding, and two Senators.  Two.  I think we would get a lot more done as a nation if we required senators and congressmen to actually ATTEND debates.

4.  Eat at Good Eats, down on the corner of 3rd and Pennsylvania.  Apparently the guy who owns it won some kind of reality cooking show.  After five (yes, FIVE) separate people told us about it, John and I swung by.  It’s a burger/fry/shake joint and is totally delicious and absolutely reasonably priced.  It was so delicious that it was the only restaurant we ate at twice.

5.  Visit the Memorials down and around the National Mall at night.

If you are in DC, you should not:

1.  Forget that you have an appointment for a private senate tour with your senator so that you have to run to the other side of the city.

2.  Get pooped on by a bird as you run to the other side of the city for the senate tour you forgot.

3.  Walk into the wrong senate building, effectively ALMOST making you late for the tour you forgot.

4.  Watch other families for parenting advice.  I cannot even put into words how many times I almost strangled someone else’s children (or completely idiotic parents).  There are two stories that immediately come to mind.

After an exhausting day in Washington DC, John and I hopped the subway train back to our hotel in Maryland.  Now, mind you, it’s like 10:00 at night on a Friday, and lots of people are using the Metro.  John and I sit down, and there’s a couple with two children standing up near the exit doors right in front of us.  Their son, probably about 3, was strapped into a stroller, and the daughter, who was 5-pushing-6, was standing next to her mother.  The dad lets the boy out of his restraint system stroller, and the two kids start spinning circles around one of those long grab bar things.  At first this was no problem; the standing room at the front of the car was pretty much empty.  However, a few stops later, people were cramming onto the Metro, and the kids were still running around, spinning on the bars, and CRAWLING ON THE FLOOR (the last bit actually made me gag a little).  At this point the parents told the kids to stop, but of course they didn’t.  The little girl, as a matter of fact, looked straight into her mother’s eyes and defiantly kept spinning.  I almost had an aneurism.  I understand that kids are kids, but there’s a time and a place for that sort of thing.  A crowded subway car, where your kids keep bumping into people, is NOT that place.  Finally I looked at John, and loudly asked how old you had to be to fit into the default “kids get to go to Heaven” clause in the Bible.  Then I loudly proclaimed that I hoped those children didn’t go to church.

The second incident happened the day before we left.  John and I were waiting in line to go to the National Archives.  It was a hot, muggy afternoon, and the line was about 30 minutes long.  It had already been an exhausting day, so John volunteered to take the most awesome water bottle in the world and fill it up.  How nice, right?  Anyway, as I was waiting under a tree, I began to overhear the family behind me.

The mother (if you could call her that) was overweight, with dyed blonde hair with two inches of brown roots sticking out.  Her low cut shirt was flouting her ta-tas to the world, and I couldn’t understand how someone’s shorts could ride that far up her crotch.  She looked just like she had stepped out of backwoods Mississippi and had done herself up right for a trip into town.  Her boyfriend was more put-together than she was, younger, and fairly attractive; apparently he had no standards.  The most tragic part of the whole scenario were her two daughters, dressed identically, who she continuously lambasted and mistreated.  I guess they were about 11 and 6, and just as sweet as they could be.  It was obvious that they have some other influence in their lives other than their parents, who were basically the scum of the earth.

It began with the cussing.  Look, I’m not saying that it’s my job to police other people’s language; you want to curse, fine with me.  However, I have to draw the line at calling your 6 year old daughter a “whiny little bitch.”  Within ten minutes, she’d called both of her girls “stupid idiots” a handful of times, which was making me sick.  Her tone was just so condescending and…mean. Then, of course, to make matters worse, she has them both go sit in the sun despite already having visible sunburns.  When the youngest complained of her sunburn really hurting, Mama Dearest told her to “cut her shit” and keep sitting there until permission was given to move.

It was at that point that I went over to sit with the little girls.  I started chatting with them, offered them some of our sunscreen, asked them what their favorite parts of DC were, just ANYTHING to keep the mother from speaking to them anymore.  I figured that any bit of niceness would be more than the poor waifs received at home.  Ugh, it makes me mad all over again just thinking about it.

5.  Make sure you know when the subway terminals shut down for the night, and check for special postings so you don’t end up running halfway across DC to catch one of the last trains to your stop.

****

I’ll be posting about my Life List in another post very, very soon.  🙂

Le Geocaching Extravaganza May 26, 2009

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Two weekends ago, John and I went to a geocaching competition on Mount Magazine.  Geocaching, for those of you who aren’t sure what that is, is basically a high-tech treasure hunt.  You take a handheld GPS unit and download coordinates to a “cache” container that someone else has hidden.  You then go out and find the container, which is often filled with little knick-knacks, and sign a log that verifies your find.  In other words, it’s an awful lot of good fun.

Anyway, John and I wanted to test our mettle, so we signed up even though all of the other teams competing had found over 1,000 caches each.  Us?  We have, like, 40.  Regardless, we packed up all of our gear, fully prepared for an all-day hike-a-thon.

We showed up at the lodge and began evaluating our competition.  Everyone there was at least our parents’ age, maybe older.  Not that John and I are prime physical specimens, but we figured our age would probably be a serious boon.  There were probably 7 or  8 teams competing, which was exciting.  The chatter between groups was happy but competitive; it was obvious that all the people around us had met somehow, some way, before.  We were all undeniably excited.  It seemed like forever before the ranger gave us our first coordinates.

We received our first clue, and right off the bat we started slow.  Turns out that everyone around us had like, top-of-the-line $500 + GPS systems.  Ours is definitely a base-line model, so it took us considerably longer to input our coordinates.  I wrote down the coordinates and John and I hopped in the car, banking on the fact that we could follow the people ahead of us while our GPS found signal.

Anyway, the hunt started out at a breakneck pace and continued that way.  I had anticipated some serious walking, but I thought we’d probably have enough time to snap some pictures of our adventure.  Boy was I wrong.  Instead of hiking from location to location, it was mostly driving with some bushwhacking thrown in.  I knew that we’d be hiking off-trail, but some of the terrain was really difficult.  To add to that, it started raining, and continued to drizzle throughout the day.  By the time John and I had finished (in last place, beaten by a woman who had two knee replacement surgeries), we were soaked.

Was it fun?  Kinda.  I like to take in the surroundings while I cache; seeing the “great outdoors,” as it were, is part of the fun for me.  The fact that we were practically running from place to place, driving a bunch, etc. sort of took the shine off.  I’d much rather cache hunt at a regular pace, I think.  The point of caching is to solve puzzles while spending time outside, and this hunt was more about knowing the roads of the park rather than looking at the natural beauty of the surroundings.  From previous travels to Mount Magazine, I know for a fact that it is a truly stunning place, but I wouldn’t have been able to tell you that from the hunt.

Riverfest, however, was much cooler.  Stories are forthcoming (and again, no pictures.  I really need to get better about that).