Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Life as a Redneck

So, last week I was initiated into Redneck Hall of Fame in Ashford, WA (population: 293) when I was told by a local, while in the general store, called Suvers, that I was "now a True Ashfordite" because I has a big brown tarp covering my rear window. And, yes of course, the masking tape I was using did not stick well in the soggy northwest so the tarp was flapping in the wind as I drove the three mile stretch from my homestead to the store. It gets better, a few days ago I signed a get well card for one of my co-workers that read as follows:
Medical Definitions for Rednecks
Barium - What the undertaker does to 'em once the doctor's are through with 'em
Impotent- Significant and distinguished
Pap Smear- To insult or belittle your own father
Rectum- Crashed 'm and totaled 'em
X-Rayed- For adult audiences only
These were a few of the inspiring redneck definitions included on the card. The fact that I live in a double-wide (make that half of a double-wide) and that I drive a fourteen year old Bronco only reinforces the whole embracement of my redneck ways. In fact, at the end of last week I found the local watering hole, the Elbe Tavern, that I now fear I will become a "regular" at. There the likes of dentists and hairdressers have never been seen. Where even the town's pretty girls (remember these are redneck lovelies) are wearing camo and the local men are outside, smoking cigarettes, discussing the Rebel flag they want to affix to their 4x4. This Friday night you will find me belly up to the bar, nursing a Washington Apple (crown, cranberry and pucker) double shot listening to the live band jamboree. Yee-Haw!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My first Pre-Winter Hike of the Season

It never fails that I forget my camera to digitally record my experiences with nature in the photo form. They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I guess I'll have to paint a picture of the mountain in my own words but don't expect a thousand of them, I'm not that long winded. Yesterday, December 2, 2009, I decided to go for a hike up at Longmire. My decision was to hike up to Carter Falls which is a 7 mile fairly easy round trip hike. The day was one of the most beautiful days we have had here at Mount Rainier since early November. The sky was a clear, not a cloud in the sky, robin's egg blue. My first sighting of the mountain as I drove to my destination was at Kautz Creek. Described by my mind's eye as a stunning, large, stark white mass with hints of purple rock beneath against the painted blue backdrop. This mind picture was framed with dense evergreens and a small creek flowing gently below. A digital picture couldn't really capture the beauty and largeness of it.
I stopped by the tiny historical museum at Longmire to get some trail info from the rangers. I was soon disappointed to find the the half log bridge that provides passage across the Nisqually River has been washed out in one of our first snow storms making the trail to Carter Falls inaccessible. Undaunted, I requested info about Rampart Ridge and Eagle's Peak. The look that crossed the rangers face instantly told me that Eagle's Peak was not the safest route but I think I will explore that next week. Rampart Ridge it was I decided. A 5 mile loop with an elevation gain of 1420 ft. I slowly started my ascent, taking my time to look at the azure sky through the tall trees, listen to the birds chirp, breath in the crisp air. About three-quarters of the way up I sat on a moss covered rock to rest, take a sip of clean water, strip off a layer of clothing. I stared into the forest not focusing on anything really when I discovered I was staring at the brown rump of a thin legged animal. It blended in so well that I wasn't really sure it wasn't a tree stump until it moved disappearing behind a thick tree. Silently, I repositioned myself to see three deer slowly idling through the trees with their heads down, nibbling flora off the forest floor, between patches of snow. Delightful sight!
As they disappeared I thought to myself how lucky I am to be working in a national park. This thought continued as I rounded the next switchback to hear a small woodpecker working for his tasty bug meal. The rest of the hike was uneventful in that I saw no more animals but did continue to hear the birds chirp and the trees creak. I was very glad I chose not to pack my snowshoes for the top of the ridge. There was probably about 2 feet of snow at the top but very hard packed by the tread of other hikers. I was smart to bring my little boot ice cleats because the hard packed snow was super slippery. Just a little ways around the bend from the top of the ridge, the forest opens to a brief cliff side and you get a stunning view of the mountain. My plan was to stop, drink some hot tea and marvel at it's vastness but the wind was wicked, forcing me to continue forward into the forest for shelter. I found a little clearing, protected by grand Douglas firs, where I drank tea and did some yoga stretches on the hard packed snow. What a geek I am. My last nature discovery of my hike was at the corner of Rampart Ridge and the Wonderland Trail as your heading to Indian Henry's. I stopped at the junction to drink more tea and rest a little. Again, staring blindly through the trees there appeared to be an empty space behind the trees. Leaving the trail by about 100 feet I discovered a small meadow, about the size of a baseball diamond, just beyond the trees adjacent to the trail. I chose not to step onto this snow covered meadow because I was not convinced it is a meadow at all. Based on a 10 ft circular indentation in the middle of the snow I thought may be a small wetland area which I did not want to mess with but made the discovery no less of a delight. This small discovery gave me an adventure to look forward to next July after the snow melts.
All throughout my hike was the reinforcing thought that I am lucky to work in a place that I also get to play in and hoping that my friends and family take a moment to experience whatever access they have to nature. Do you hear a bird sing? Do you feel the wind on your cheek? Do you see grass growing in a sidewalk crack? I did actually hug a tree during my hike while I was watching the woodpecker. I can't help it. I felt compelled to share the experience and I am surrounded by trees that experience the delight of nature every moment of their life cycle. I felt we (me and the tree) were comrades in nature. Did you hug a tree today?

Monday, November 2, 2009

There's no place like home, there's no place like home *click, click, click*

I see having a pair of ruby slippers along the same lines as Star Trek's transporter machine. I would use them to travel back and forth between the east and west coast. Just as I figured, being home in Maine has definitely made me think of starting to make plans to return to my rightful place in the world (right, Ang?) I don't see myself transitioning back to Maine right way but being in the New England area is a must do.

Geez, I just read some of my older post. God damn, there have been some good times and my writing was exciting. What the hell has happened to me? I need some descriptive inspiration to manuveur my brainwaves to write that good again. I love road tripping. My journey out west last year was an inspirational journey on many levels. The question is, who's gonna road trip home with me at the end of next season? Tune in, now that's a cliff hanger...good literary move. Swell.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Adventures of Murder Squirrel--Pictures

Murder Squirrel with blood on his knife. Are
we missing any hotel guests?

Edward (aka Rafiki) introdues Murder Squirrel
to his kingdom.

Murder Squirrel living on his Mountain.

Murder Squirrel stares at me in my sleep. Some
nights it really creeps me out and I have to banish
him to the closet.

Murder Squirrel at the Puyallup Fair. Scary!

The Adventures of Murder Squirrel

The creation of Murder Squirrel was designed early in the '09 season at Mt. Rainier. He arrived at the Paradise Inn Gift Shop very unexpectedly, in a box with thousands of his friends. It was an invasion of creepy plush rodents with beady eyes. Only Murder Squirrel was ghastly and cruel enough to fight his way in to the hearts of the employees at Rainier, leaving the others plush squirrels behind to be sold as slaves to the highest, child-like bidder. The above is the first picture of Murder Squirrel on the day of his creation. In the first days of his creation he terrorized the hotel guests by sitting threateningly in the gift shop window, peering out into the lobby with his knife gleaming until he was banned by the high king. Since then he has gone into hiding protected by all that revere him. Some nights he has hidden deep in the woods, camping, drinking to much beer and living dangerously by sitting to close the fire, his singed tail is scarred to prove it. Here's a crazy fact: while I have not summitted the mountain, Murder Squirrel has climbed the 14,411 feet up to the top of the volcano we live on together. Although I do not have them there are pictures to prove this. He is a wild one that Murder Squirrel. His most recent adventure was to the Puyallup Fair where he drank to many airplane shots before going on the Tilt-A-Whirl. As you can imagine he was quite a threat to eveyone who walked by him. When some teenagers behind us in the line touched him saying he was so cute. I made sure to respond, "I wouldn't do that if I were you, he's more dangerous than he looks."

Friday, August 21, 2009

Like a River

It is really disappointing on so many levels how little I have written on my blog this summer. I would like to make promises that from now on I will be more dedicated to my blog writings but I feel in my heart that I may not be able to follow through so why be so rigid especially since my new motto is BE LIKE A RIVER. If you have obstacles just find a different path around it, trickle through it or flood over it. Or maybe I'm the dead leaf floating down it. I'm not sure but I really like the metaphor. I have not hiked nearly as much as I did last season but I did manage to make it up to Camp Muir with my dad a couple weeks ago. I have two more hikes that I want to accomplish this year to add to my Mt. Rainier hiking list. I want to hike up to Indian Henry's which is about a 14 mile hike round trip. There is a little cabin up there. And, I want to hike from Sunrise to Paradise. That would be a 22-23 mile hike and an overnighter. I think that's one of the reasons I haven't been writing on my blog so much. I like to share my hiking experiences and adventures in the woods. I just haven't done as much hiking this year. It is a much more social experience this year and I'm not big on writing about the everyday mundane conversations I have with people. Not enough freaks to exploit really.

For those loyal followers who have been faithfully checking to see if the hunter is still prowling, bless you and stay tuned: Pics will follow soon, as will my attempt to upkeep my preservation of life at Rainier.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Snow Desert

I stopped for respite in the only shade on the mountain
for about 15 minutes until my marrow cooled from the boiling

Man, you just gotta love the weather here on The Mountain. One thing is for sure The Mountain will never breed monotony. A week ago today, last Monday, May 4 it snowed and continued for three days straight. Then, this weekend was an absolutely stunning weekend with the sun blazing down on the white, pristine Mountain. I went hiking up to Alta Vista (5950ft) on Sunday. You would think I was hiking in the Saraha Desert it was so god damn hot! I actually almost turned around within minutes of starting b/c I was sweating to death. The sun was beating on me from the sky and reflecting off the snow. A dangerous combo. Of course, I was wearing sunscreen but still managed to get a funky looking burn down the front of my neck. AND, Today, I went for a 1/2 mile walk around the parking lot in a Blizzard! The wind was blowing so hard the snow was stinging my face. By the time I turned around, 10 minutes later, it had mellowed out to barely a flurry. So, basically, it is either snowing or blazing sun here at Mount Rainier. Gotta love it. No, really... Gotta LOVE it!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Buried Alive

It was a really beautiful day today!

Funny story... I asked the head of maintenance at Inn when he thought I might get the boards off my window. My room is on the bottom floor of the inn. I have two windows that are currently sealed with ply-board. My room is like a cave. Even when the lights are on there seems to be an impenetrable darkness. I wake up at 7am each morning thinking it could easily be 2am or I wake up at 3am and bolt out of bed b/c I think it's 9am. Each morning I walk up the stairs to peak my head out the door to see if the sun is shining or if it is snowing because it seems that in the last two weeks it is one or the other. When the sun is shining (it's doubly bright b/c it's bouncing of the snow) I instantly raise my elbow over my eyes because the light penetrates my vampire like senses, causing me to squeal and scurry back to my room to adjust to the daylight hours. So, "Vern," I say (whose name I have changed for amenity sake), "Vern, when will the shutters come off my window?" After asking which side of the Inn my room is on, Vern chuckles, and in a sarcastic tone replies, "Mid-June if your lucky." Now, I have a secret hope that Maybe, just maybe he was kidding. I actually hadn't gone to the other side of the Inn to see for myself the snow situation. Here comes the crusher: Vern comes up to me yesterday and says, "So I took the bulldozer out behind the Inn to dig your room out. I'm diggin' and diggn' and finally I see the top part of your window. Then I look into the window and see that it's women's public bathroom." He laughs and laughs, "Your room is buried A WHOLE FLOOR beneath that room!!" At that point he says, "I said screw it! Sorry, you'll probably be buried 'til end of June." So, if you live in a two story house, just visualize the snow being up to the top of the windows on the second floor with your bedroom on the bottom floor. Basically, I'm buried alive.

The Tatoosh Range directly across from the Inn.
I think this will be my view mid-June.

I am standing in front of my room which is

two stories below.

My room is two floors down under the snow.
Will I ever see the light of day?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Pirates of the Caribbean

Okay, so I never actually saw a pirate while I was in the Caribbean but I had my picture taken with a fake just to make myself feel special. The cruise was pretty good. If I'm being honest, which I always am, I'm not much of a cruiser. Too many people in a confined space for my liking. I couldn't find one god damn unoccupied space on the whole ship. That being said, I really enjoyed the zip line in Belize. We zipped through the dense jungle canapy in a monsoon rain storm. That was pretty exciting. Mom and I went to the Chocchoban Mayan Ruins in Costa Maya, Mexico. No, I do not have the swine flu although I was a hypocondriac about it for the first 4 days after, feeling my forehead every three minutes to make sure I didn't have a fever. The last adventure we went on was swimming with the stingray. I got to feed them after my initial "eww, ichy" stage. I have to say while the evening shows were pretty cheesy, the formal dinners every evening were delightful. The food was divine and the service was top notch. Like they literally dipped my tea bag for me. I felt pretty swanky for a minute there. You can see my pics on my facebook page. If you're not my facebook friend then too bad for you. I'll get pics up on my blog eventually. It's just difficult when you live on a mountain with dial-up as your only connection to the techno world. I am psyched to be back at Rainier with the exception of the 10feet of snow. Today I went for a short little hike and did not see a soul. Just me and the mountain. That beats out a cruise any day as far as I'm concerned!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Up, Up and Away!

My adventures begin tomorrow. I leave for a seven day cruise to the Western Caribbean on Saturday from Port Canaveral, FL to Cozumel, Belize, Costa Maya and finally Nassau, Bahamas. Then I'm off to Mount on April 26. Stay tuned for all the details.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My tattered mail :(

Kodie's Top Maine Dog photo op

Nature and the FEDs

You may assume from my post title that I will go on a tireless rant about the politics of environmentalism. Or course, if you can find a connection between the United States Postal Service and the many herds of deer I saw today all the political power to you. Kodz and I went on another adventurous walk today. On our way out the driveway I stopped to check the mail. The only piece of mail was a small, sealed plastic pouch with a tattered personal letter inside addressed to me. Inside the pouch was a standard, small white envelope mangled within an inch of it's life with shredded green paper bleeding through the wounded envelope. Outside the plastic pouch is a typed form letter beginning with big, bold, capital letters announcing; WE CARE, going on to emphasize their regret of the damage to my important mail, expressing their apologies and promising to strive toward improving their processing methods. BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. My question is...How, out of all the bills, catalogs, credit card offers, and coupon fliers, did the United States Postal Service manage to mangle one of the few personal letters I receive???? I think the answer somehow involves the chaos theory. Kodie and my other excitement during our walk was the number of deer we tracked today. We spotted a least ten deer tromping through the woods on our walk to see Mom at the high school. We live about 2 miles from the Penquis Valley High School where Mom teaches so we often make this a destination. On our walk back home we had a stare down with a second herd of about 17 deer. We stopped at a large marsh for semi-spontaneous doggy photo shoot. And, about a half mile later we saw another deer with it's whitetail swishing that bounded off into the woods with a second deer friend in the direction that would quickly rendezvous with other herd we saw. Fantastic!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Plumber's Crack

It has been weeks since I have been motivated to write on my blog. I have come to realize that central Maine is sucking the creative life out of me. My repetitive daily life of nothingness is making me a creative drone. Kodie and I do go on many walks but the weather today is a dreary mess again. We have seen lots of animal life on our walks. There is a small horse farm just down the road. We have seen three deer and a pileated woodpecker (very pretty and cool). My imagination has become dim-witted. Sigh. I miss the hustle and bustle of the city. It is official. I am a city girl. I can't live in this alienated desert of woods. But, an old school chum's plumber's crack did put a smile on my face today, while he was fixing the washer.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Random Drive

Today I went to the post office to drop off my unemployment paperwork. (Sidenote-The hoops you need to jump through to get your unemployment check really is a full time job. Because I am working a few hours a week as a tutor, I have to wait for my paystub from the tutor job to clear before I get the unemployment check with the tutor pay deducted. This process is all conducted through snail mail. Anywho, that really is just a rant and beside the point.) I thought Kodie would like to go for a drive. So, after dropping off my outgoing mail I randomly decided to continue my drive pass the post office and into unknown territory. I drove over a green, steel bridge that I think might cross Pleasant River. Immediately after, Kodie and I drifted toward the announcement of Schoonic Lake by a road sign pointing left down an ice caked dirt road. Several miles down this road we approached a culdesac clustered with gingerbread cabins on the border of Schoonic Lake in Brownville, Maine. As we circled around the top tier of the lake's tiny community, what to my wondering eyes did appear. Holy Shit! That's Mount Katahdin!
Nice House with the lake right behind it a view of Katahdin

Friday, January 16, 2009

Milo Pics

Logging Truck after Logging Truck speed by Mom's home. I'm going to
do a timed trial just like I did for the subway in Chicago.

Me and Kodie before our daily walk

Winter in Milo, ME

We watched a documentary about the far removed family of Jackie Onassis.
Her cousin who was certifably crazy and her eccentric aunt lived in a Hampton shack.
I have my scarf wrapped around my head as a tribute to the crazy cousin.

Home Sweet Home-now if there was only a logging truck passing
the house in the pic you would get the real feel.

Summary of Daily Life

I have had about 4 job interviews. I haven't really done well in them. I think mostly b/c my heart is not into it. I keep thinking about Rainier. I am really conflicted about whether to go back. I really, really miss being in Portland but I'm starting to settle into being in Milo. Seems like if I found a waitress job here under the table that it might make sense to stay here money wise. But there are moments that I feel like I'll go crazy if I stay in Milo because I am ssooooooo bored. Even though it is too ridiculous for anyone to be out in this cold weather I bring Kodie for a walk or in the yard for a run everyday. I clean the house. I been bringing my Dad back and forth to PT. I watch Rachel Ray and the Ellen Show. Go to job interviews. Break up cat fights. I am obsessed with Facebook. I surf the net for jobs, travel tips, news, virtual shopping, real estate, recipes, home decor. I spend 40 hours (that is the total of a full time job workweek) making Angie a scrapbook about our Road Trip. I'm so bored that I'm listing all the activities I do during the day for you to read. LOL! All I want to do is sit in a cafe/bookstore and read, people watch and surf the net. Why can't I be unemployed in a more urban area b/c I would stay this way then go back to Rainier. I'm starting to think that I might go back to Rainier. I really, really miss the mountain. I'm going to go next week to see if I can get a waitress job around here to see if I like it. I'm just confused about what I really want to do. Living in Milo is really hard because it is such a small town. Honestly, Rainier is more remote but at least I had a social life there. I am almost more isolated living in a small town in Maine. Crazy world.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Small Town Life

The thing I like best about small town life is that I can leave my car unlocked, keys in it and running while I skip into the store to buy a Coke.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

It's a Journey

I miss my sasquatch hunter blog. Why can't I just hunt sasquatch in Milo and call it good? The answer is I can. I think I was trying to separate Rainier from here and let's face it I miss Rainier!!! Sasquatch can be hunted for all over the world even right here in Maine. Okay, so I'm going to try to link the website for the Sasquatch Information Society to my blog. I especially encourage you to read the entry from Eagle Lake if your are not a believer. So from now on here I live and here I stay.