Saturday, October 25, 2014


sometimes you don't succeed.

this morning (wednesday) i woke up and i was thinking of going mountain biking in the pack forest, some forty minutes away.

but for some days now i have been living very close to this geocache, and for you to appreciate why this is important to me, i should back up and tell you that in geocaching each cache has a difficulty and terrain rating, difficulty being how hard it is to FIND the cache, and terrain rating for how hard it is to GET to the cache. it's based on a scale of 1 to 5, with half-point gradations.

geocachers being who they are, they tend to like statistics.

it is a sort of totally a badge of honor to have completed a grid of all the possible difficulty/terrain combinations. the name for this among geocachers is the "fizzy grid", named after an old-time cacher named fizzymagic who is generally credited with being the first person to begin to compile statistics on such a thing.

i am only missing one square on my fizzy grid; one that would be filled very nicely by finding this cache that's been on my way to my campsite or even to the outhouse i'm using these days, so i go RIGHT BY IT an average of four times a day.

problem is that it's been cold and rainy and overcast and finding this cache involves putting on your mask and snorkel and fins and going for a little swim.

so this morning i decided just to go DO it. enough whining and justifying why i wasn't doing it.

i go all suited up and into the water and it was COLD. and did i mention that even more than i am afraid of closed spaces, i am afraid of submerged objects?

so. dark, scary, cold.

and cold.

did i mention cold?

i did not find the cache. i am too buoyant to stay down without a lot of effort, and effort clouds the water. if there had been strong sunlight i might have been able to see it, but in the end i reached my turnaround time as measured by how cold i was starting to feel.

i am satisfied with my attempt. i know now what is involved to find this cache. i know what the terrain looks like underwater near the cache. i know how much light i will need, and how deep the container is.

and it's still going to dog me until i find it, but this kind of haunting is much easier than the kind of haunting in which i don't really try but stand around wondering if i could.

Friday, October 24, 2014

it's good for children

recently i was walking around in the ithaca children's garden and thinking about what a great thing it is for children who otherwise may not have the means to experience gardening to have these programs available to them.

we keep talking about teaching children responsibility and discipline and stewardship, and can you think of a better way to do this than through gardening?

and you may not think of it, but the ability to garden is a thing that is often unavailable to urban kids. ithaca isn't exactly a huge urban sprawl, but its urban neighborhoods are urban enough.

it strikes us as visitors to ithaca that while it is much smaller than the city i live near (read: forty minutes by car from), it feels much more urban to us, probably because of the presence public transportation and stuff like that.

so anyway, we were wandering around in the garden, looking at the different "zones" and we came up around the back of an area with a lot of tires and crates and mud and a hammock and nothing organized and i quipped "what is this? the anarchy zone?"

and you know?

it was.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

early morning in small towns

when i wake up in the morning for most of the year, it's dark. i like it that way, because by the time the sun rises, i feel i've gotten stuff done. my preferred way to start the morning is to crawl out of bed and have a little breakfast and do computer things in a leisurely fashion until it's light out, or until i'm ready to go do things.

it's a pleasant way to start my morning, and doubly so when i am camping.

when you are an early riser at home, you don't notice so much your neighbors waking around you.

when you are an early riser waking up in campsites near small towns and then subsequently driving to the small town libraries to sit and do your habitual morning computer things, you see tiny flickers of the quiet early hours in people's houses along the way. before six o'clock most of the houses are dark, and a few have one light on somewhere, someone rising quietly.

around six lights start coming on in houses hear and there and by seven most houses are mostly lit; people getting up, getting their kids up, days beginning.

good morning, people of tiny towns.

good day.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

it's good luck.

two weeks ago in between wine tastings, we pulled into a parking lot for a trailhead. we were there to go for a nice little walk and find a geocache, and also since it was lunchtime, we started to pull out the foods. nothing terribly fancy, but i know how to picnic.

there was a young couple there getting ready to go off backpacking for a couple of chilly nights.

now, i know that every calorie you can consume that you didn't have to carry is a bonus. so i invited them over to join us for lunch. "it's good luck to feed backpackers", i told them.

the young man said he hadn't heard that.

but it is. how could it NOT be good luck?

so they came over and shared out bread and cheese and hummus.

they were funny, too. at one point in the conversation i said something about sleeping out and bivvy sacks and "when you are a middle aged lady" and i paused here to say "it WILL happen to one of you, sooner or later" and the young woman said "you never know. it could happen to both of us." and the young man said "it's not likely, but i'm not ruling it out. you never know"

we all laughed.

 and he helped himself to more cheese.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

rock pile

last month on my adventure day with TAT, he kept referring to some mysterious cabin as the place where we should eat lunch.

i didn't give it too much thought.

it's like that when you go off for an adventure day with a near stranger who has the agenda of showing you cool places.

i'm not telling you exactly what town this thing is in, because it's open to the public but largely unpublicized, so while visitors are welcome, too many visitors would kind of spoil the vibe of the place.

basically, it's insanity of the nicest kind: one family decided to build a rock pile. they built it kind of like a mayan-style pyramid and when they were done building it, for good measure they put a cabin on the top of it.

a cabin furnished with a fireplace and a table and chairs and a gas stove and a patio and a grill and wineglasses and everything.

you have to bring your own water, but they provide the firewood.

and even the tootsie pops.

and they've cut trails on their land, which are also open to the public.

Monday, October 20, 2014


right now it is saturday evening. i'm scheduling this to post monday morning, but right now it is saturday evening.

this afternoon when i got done paddling, it was already getting chilly, so i has happy to to have ordered a pizza last night, which means i could order one today.

puterko's pizza. indian lake. i got a fouteen inch pie with eggplant and artichoke hearts. weirdly, eggplant and artichoke hearts are not premium toppings at this place, but regular toppings. the pizza is a little on the pricey side (my definition of pricey being any two topping pizza that goes for much more than a dollar an inch), but the sauce is good, the crust is good, and it tastes nice and wood-fired smokey. i don't even know if their oven is wood fired, but the pizza has a nice taste like that.

tonight it's supposed to be chilly out.

i believe it, since a few minutes ago the rain shower i was "enjoying" turned to snow.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

theoretically, this conversation happens.

judging from the empties i find, some form of this conversation happens more often than i would like:

"hey! let's you and me get drunk and wander around in the woods with loaded firearms."
"i don't see how anything could go wrong with that. ok."


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