ladynorbert: (whiterocks)
Actual content of my text message to a few of my friends this afternoon. It was my day to volunteer at Hawk Mountain, so after Kevin and I finished our appointment this morning to apply for our passports, I zipped off to the sanctuary.

Around 2:30 or 3:00, a group of hikers came down and said, "Um, we just saw your bear."

"Bear?"

"Yeah. It's up by Appalachian Overlook; looks like he's trying to cross the trail."

Sure enough, the one girl whipped out her cell phone and showed me pictures they had taken. It was a black bear, minding its own business in the trees maybe a hundred yards or so from where I was sitting, although the bend in the trail didn't let me see it. I radioed in to headquarters and Alan, who is the head of our outdoor maintenance crew, came to investigate, but by that time the bear had moved on.

Easily the most exciting thing to happen all day. XD
ladynorbert: (whiterocks)
Today I took [livejournal.com profile] castleraid to climb rocks at my beloved mountain. It was a very pleasant outing, and we had a great time, but the thing I feel the need to share with all of you is this.

One of the highways we traversed en route to the mountain was having roadwork done, so all of the businesses had orange signs indicating where the entrances to their parking lots were. One such business was a Shell gas station featuring a Dunkin' Donuts shop.

Some smartass messed with the sign, so that when we saw it, it said exactly this:

DUNKIN DONUTS
HELL


I am not making this up. [livejournal.com profile] castleraid got photographic evidence.
ladynorbert: (Default)
I think I have FINALLY located and edited all of the pictures from British Invasion III. I think. Not sure.

To refresh your memory, picspam part one is here. This is picspam part two. It's much bigger. These are all from the point where [livejournal.com profile] siddyq and [livejournal.com profile] amarctis_q2 had joined the festivities, so those two took a lot of these -- probably more than I did myself, in fact.

Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty

The Statue, from the ferry
Ellis Island's tower
Ellis Island exterior
Immigrants' Hall
Actual belongings that passed through Ellis Island with their owners
One of the models inside the building
Gorks on a balcony
The Statue from below
On the island
Looking around at the base
The original torch
Jon and Kristie at the torch
Jon and her face, actual size
A funny sign...
...which Kristie ignores.
Ellis Island, from the statue
After we got home, we were goofy
I was tired
So was Kristie

Hawk Mountain

Claire at South Lookout
"Do you smell that?"
The climb to North Lookout
Lunchtime
These pictures make me hungry
Adventures ho
Crazy? Us?
I'd say don't look down, but where else is there?
Yes, this is what we climbed down
Tina thinks Kristie is very funny
Having seen this, so do I
Here we go!
Kristie hugs trees
Jon, on the other hand, suffocates them with love
See, I didn't delete ALL the pictures of me
Gorks in a hole
They enjoyed that hole a little too much
Jon and Claire re-enact Aslan's death at Table Rock

Renaissance Faire, Japanese Steakhouse, and Random

Kevin started the day by confusing our mailman
Jon the pirate checks directions
Tina just wants to get going before Claire keelhauls someone
Claire at the fountain
Jon at the fountain
Kevin at the fountain
Kristie at the fountain
Tina at the fountain
Me at the fountain
The human chess match
Good Queen Bess
This guy looked SO cool, but he must have been roasting
Inside the Museum of Torture
The iron maiden
Famous last words
The joust begins
I really love this picture I took of Tina at sundown
So I played with it a little
Group shot
Our chef at the steakhouse
Flaming onion volcano
And then we came home and he took over our lives
Jon really loved the little guy
We're starting our own armory

Philadelphia

Jon at the Liberty Bell
Claire and Tina at the Liberty Bell

Tada.

Testing!

Aug. 11th, 2007 10:16 am
ladynorbert: (snapeclap)
This is a test; I've installed Semagic on the home computer, because it wasn't working at the office -- the office comp was missing some required component and I was hesitant to download it, but it was already on Squishy here so I'm going to see if I can do the simultaneous posting thing. Because if I can that will rock.

I'm going to be very busy today; I'm starting a new "plan of action" for my daily activities that, I am hoping, will result in my neglecting fewer responsibilities without making me too much less available for play and chat. If this works out the way I'm expecting it to, I think I'll start seeing improvements in different areas of my life. Here's hoping.

Speaking of responsibilities, on August 25th I will be going out to my beloved Hawk Mountain for volunteer orientation! I'm going to be working there once a month as the Keeper of the Gate, who checks admissions and provides information to visitors. I'm going to try to get scheduled only on Sundays, because I think that'll be easier to work into my schedule. The available shifts are from 9:30 to 1:00 and 1:00 to 4:30, if I'm remembering rightly, so I'd have to take the second shift because of teaching Sunday School. I really believe this will be good for me, and it's certainly something I'll enjoy doing.

In related news, we've tentatively scheduled the youth group's visit to the mountain for November 11th. I'm really looking forward to helping out with that this year. I think it'll be fun and I hope the kids will get a lot out of it. I've also worked out the general theme for what I want to teach my Sunday School kids; the basic schedule will revolve around learning about symbols of the church, like stars and candles and things. We'll have a basic structure each month of a lesson day and a related craft day. I have to keep the schedule somewhat flexible, because the first Sunday of each month is spent with the other classes and my guys also have to do things like acolyte training, but for the most part I think this will work. Of course, the four Sundays in January will be spent watching The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, because that worked out fairly well; however, this year, to make sure the confirmation students actually pay attention (I noticed that my kids were very good, but some of them were not), Pastor asked me to work up a list of questions to which they must find the answers each week.

So today I have some shopping to do, and a lawn to mow; happily, the heat and humidity have retreated for a few days, to the point where jeans are comfortable. This is my absolute favorite kind of weather and it could just be like this almost all year for my comfort. (Just give me two or three weeks of snow over Christmas, because Christmas without snow looks weird to me.) Presuming that tomorrow is just like today, sunny and mild, I'm coming home from church and climbing up a mountain.

(Edited to add: It worked.)

new book

Jul. 23rd, 2007 11:24 am
ladynorbert: (books)
I've reached the conclusion that I don't actually read books so much as I devour them. If a nibble convinces me that they're tasty, my brain opens up and swallows them whole, and they become a part of me forever. This is why I'm sometimes hard to disturb when I'm reading (witness the marathons of Harry Potter).

So. New book, just arrived Saturday. Bought it used and very cheap, though in quite excellent condition, and plowed through it yesterday. The book in question is Hawks Aloft: The Story of Hawk Mountain, by Maurice Broun.

My copy is actually the "millennial reissue" of the book, which was originally written sometime in the 1940s by Broun, who was the original warden and curator of my beloved mountain. It's sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, and always interesting. He talks about the early days of the sanctuary, how he and his wife came from New England to guard Rosalie Edge's property purchase from the hunters who for generations had climbed the mountain to pick off the migrating hawks. He pays special tribute to his wife Irma's courage in the chapter "Keeper of the Gate." He talks about the wildlife they encountered, many of the people they met, and lots of their experiences. He and his wife actually lived in a little house which has been a source of fascination to me every time I go up there; it's very obviously old, though I didn't realize just how old, and is allegedly haunted by the victims of a man who was thought to have murdered eleven people there. No evidence of these murders was ever found by the Brouns, who contended with very different "ghosts" during their tenancy.

I think the chapter about their life in that little house charmed me the most. He wrote about how they would live in the winters -- the house had no electricity, no telephone, no running water. Their only contact with the outside world on snowy days was to listen to a wireless radio. They kept chickens, and goats for milk, and they would begin preparing for their winter hibernation in May by gathering wild berries and grapes, picking fruit from their apple orchard, and laying in other supplies. Irma would can things and make jelly, and by November they would be ready to ride out the worst of Pennsylvania's winter storms. Maybe it's because this all took place so close to where I have always lived, but that whole chapter hit a satisfactory note with me.

Obviously this book will mean more to someone who has experienced Hawk Mountain than to someone who hasn't, but if you have any interest in the pioneer days of the conservation movement, I think you'd find this a worthwhile read. On the whole, definitely one of my better purchases off the Amazon marketplace.
ladynorbert: (lucyrating)
So I got home from work yesterday and promptly dragged Kevin off to Hawk Mountain for a few hours of hiking. It was rather exhilirating. We braved the Escarpment Trail, which involves quite a lot of actual hand-and-foot scrambling over rock formations. Done incorrectly, you probably could fall to a very messy death. But I'm surprisingly unafraid on the mountain.

I had ideas while I was clambering around up there, which culminated in spending a few hours today working on this. It's nothing fabulous, but it was fun to do.

After we got home we headed off to a surprise birthday party for Ravi, who turns 34 tomorrow. We had to do it last night because he and his parents left today for a few days in Las Vegas; his dad is speaking at some convention. Gowri returns to India on Monday, so tomorrow I'm taking him...to Hawk Mountain. Can't help it, really; this whole weekend has been absolutely perfect, weather-wise, for hiking, and anyway, he's never seen it. Besides, my mother hasn't had a day to herself since before the wedding, so it'll give her the chance to relax.

Monday I'll be back to my regular net-routines. I promise.

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