Friday, June 30, 2017

48 Hours in the Allegheny Highlands of West Virginia (Pt 1)


Last month my mom and I set out to explore several points of interest within our home state of West Virginia, places that neither she or I had visited before. Being from the coalfields in the southern part of the state, we chose to visit the Allegheny Highlands of eastern West Virginia.  This region encompasses some of the highest peaks in the Allegheny Mountain chain.

The Allegheny Mountains are approximately 400 miles in length and are a part of the much longer Appalachian Mountain Range.  Much of this area is protected under federal law as it is a part of the Monongahela National Forest.  This area offers renowned outdoor recreation such as biking, caving, fishing, hiking, hunting, and skiing.

The majority of our first day was spent driving in and exploring Pocahontas County.  Pocohantas is the third largest county in West Virginia according to size, but the eighth least populated (out of 55).  Less than 9,000 people call its 940 square miles home. The county is nicknamed "the birthplace of rivers" because eight rivers originate within the county, yet no river flows into the county from surrounding counties.


CRANBERRY GLADES

Our first stop was at Cranberry Glades, which is located approximately 25 miles west of Richwood, WV and approximately 20 miles northeast of Hillsboro, WV near the junction of highways 39 and 150. 



The Glades, as it is more commonly known, is a large 750-acre cluster of spongy peat blogs whose highly acidic soil supports an ecosystem more commonly found in subarctic climates  like in the northern United States and Canada.  


Cranberries, skunk cabbage, and the carnivorous purple pitcher plant, to name a few, can be found there.  



This unique plant life is the result of the changing climate conditions that allowed glaciers to creep across the northern part of the continent 10,000 years ago. The migration of several species ended here, making Cranberry Glades the southernmost home to many them.



A half mile boardwalk allows visitors the opportunity to walk through two of the bogs for a closer view of the flora and sometimes fauna without disturbing the fragile ecosystem.





I have always heard that Cranberry Glades was such a unique area, but I really didn't understand how unique until I visited it.  the entire time I was there, I kept thinking to myself, "This is in West Virginia?" for it felt like I was in a completely different geographical region.

What I liked best about The Glades is the relative silence.  My mom and I shared the bog with two other visitors.  Aside from their occasional conversation and one airplane that flew over, it was completely silent and still.  It's one of the most peaceful places I've ever visited.


CASS SCENIC RAILROAD

Approximately 50 miles northeast of Cranberry Glades, on the banks of the Greenbrier River, is the sleepy little town of Cass.  As of the 2010 census, Cass boasted a population of 52.  That's right...  52!


Cass was established in 1902 as a company town for the employees of the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company, who logged nearby Cheat Mountain. The logging mill, which once produced paper and hardwood flooring, closed in 1960.  The railroad, which once brought the logs down the mountain to the town for processing, was purchased and converted into a tourist attraction in 1963. The majority of the town was later purchased and the area became the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park.  Cass was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.






The Cass Scenic Railroad offers several excursions that transports its riders back in time to a long ago era when steam locomotives were an essential means of transportation.  The most popular is the 4.5 hour trip to Bald Knob, which at 4842 feet, is the highest railroad point east of the Mississippi and the third highest peak in West Virginia. Pressed for time, my mom and I opted for the 2-hour trip to Whittaker Station.
  

After traveling approximately four miles up the track through the dense woods full of fresh, green foliage and passing through two switchbacks, we entered a meadow where an old logging camp has been recreated to illustrate both the living quarters and equipment used by the loggers decades before.  This is Whittaker Station.





Although the historical aspect of Whittaker Station was interesting, in my opinion, the best part was the view.  Once we cleared the trees, the vast, expansive horizon opened up before us and we could see miles to the east. 


The stop at Whittaker Station was approximately 30 minutes, which is ample time to explore the recreated logging camp, use the restrooms, and visit the snack bar if one so desires.  Although it was loud, I took the opportunity to check out the restored Shay locomotive, which was designed to climb the steepest grades and swing around hairpin curves while hauling heavy loads.




Upon returning to town, we ate a late lunch in The Last Run Restaurant.  The Last Run is located right next to the Company Store and offers a variety of lunch and dinner items with local flavor.  I had the pulled pork sandwich and it was rather tasty!  The restaurant was featured in the "101 Unique Place to Dine (in West Virginia)" in 2009 and 2015.



GREEN BANK OBSERVATORY

Seven miles from Cass is the little community of Green Bank, population 152. The Green Bank Observatory, which once was a part of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, is located here and is the home to eight telescopes, including the gargantuan Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT), the world's largest fully steerable radio telescope.  


Source 

Trust me, I don't use the word gargantuan lightly!  This sucker is over 485 feet tall and has a surface area of 2.3 acres, which could hold two whole football fields. Here is what it would look like in comparison to some other commonly known landmarks:


Source

The large surface area is what allows the GBT to collect the faintest radio waves from space.  The structure took 10 years to build to the tune of $100 million. (For a more technical explanation of the what the GBT is capable of click here for a short, but informative National Geographic video.)



In the Green Bank Science Center, visitors can walk through the Catch the Wave Exhibit Hall which is full of hands on scientific exhibits about space and how these radio telescopes work.  Entry into the exhibit hall is free.  For a mere $6, visitors can watch an informative video and take a guided tour out amongst the telescopes.  We were fortunate, for we were able to catch the last guided tour of the day.  

Be advised - due to the sensitivity of the telescopes, cameras and phones must be turned off before proceeding beyond a unarmed Checkpoint Charlie type gated area. As a result, visitors are not able to get close up photos.  Apparently, the telescopes are so sensitive that these items can, in our guides own words, make an astronomer's day go really bad.  This was as close of a picture that I could get:




ELKINS

Upon leaving Green Bank, we continued north through the Monongahela National Forest for approximately 50 miles to the town of Elkins, which served as our home for the next two nights.  

Elkins is the county seat of Randolph County, which is the largest county in West Virginia with 1040 square miles.  Elkins is also the home of Davis & Elkins College, a small, private liberal arts college.

Although Elkins is by no means a large, bustling metropolis, with a population of approximately 7,000, it is large enough to offer a variety of amenities such as basic shopping, dining, lodging, and cellular service.  Our home for the next two nights was the Hampton Inn, which, despite the brightly lit signs of civilization below, still offered a very pretty view:




Know Before You Go


  • After leaving the tiny community of Hillsboro on US 219, we did not have cell service until we were approximately 15-20 miles outside of Elkins later that night.  Do not plan to use your phone's map service while you are in this area.  I'm not sure if in-car navigational systems work or not.  Be prepared - bring printed directions and a good map.  
  • Although there is no cellular service in the town of Cass, the town does offer extensive free Wi-Fi that covers a large portion of the town.
  • Also, due to the higher elevation, the weather can change drastically.  I would advise you to bring warmer layers that you can easily put on if you need to, especially if you plan to ride the scenic train.
  • Due to the nature of the locomotive, hot cinders and soot are to be expected.



  • Traveling in this part of the state is predominantly on twisting, turning two-lane roads which are not for the faint of heart.  Allow for additional travel time and if you are prone to car sickness, you may want to take the proper precautions.


Please join me next week for Part 2!  

As always, thanks for stopping by!  


Linking up with:

&



Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Add It To My List... (Vol. 2)



THINGS I'M ALREADY RECOMMENDING TO FRIENDS IN REAL LIFE

Sun Bum Sunscreen Lip Balm

Throughout the spring and summer, I've spent a lot of time outside walking. Although I regularly use sunscreen on my face, neck, and arms, it occurred to me one day that my my lips were not protected because my regular lip balm, Burt's Bees, unfortunately doesn't contain sunscreen.  

Here's the thing with most lip balms that have sunscreen in them - they taste awful!  I'm sorry, but there's no way around not tasting something that you apply to your lips and I really hate having the chemical taste in my mouth.  I tried Hawaiian Tropic and Banana Boat lip balms and both failed miserably.  

I came upon Sun Bum by sheer accident and decided to give it a try.   Wow! What a difference!  It offers SPF 30 protection and doesn't taste like chemicals. I bought the coconut flavor because that's all they had in the store. But, if you order it online, it comes in more flavors such as mango, banana, and key lime.


My only complaint is that the balm seems to "wear off" quicker than what I'm used to.  When I'm using it, I have to reapply it more often than I reapply my Burt's Bees lip balm.  But, other than that, I'm very pleased with this product.


UA Play Up 2.0 Shorts

If you are a pocket gal like me, then you share my frustration in finding exercise shorts that have pockets.  Seriously, when was war declared on pockets in women's workout gear?  

When I go walking, I have to carry my key fob with me and, yes, some pocketless shorts have the little interior key pocket.  But, I also like to take my lip balm with me and I don't want to carry my phone around in my hand for an hour or so.

Again, it was by pure accident that I found these shorts by Under Amour, for I was just walking through Dick's Sporting Goods one day and just happened to look over at them hanging on the wall and said, "Those shorts look like they have pockets...  Could it be?"  And, much to my surprise, they did!


Granted, the pockets aren't super deep, so you can't haul around a lot.  I can easily put my fob, lip balm, and Fit Bit Zip in one pocket and my phone in the other.  

I wouldn't necessarily recommend these if you are a runner and need to carry around a lot, for the act of running itself would probably jostle the items loose. However, if you are a walker or if you are just looking for athleisure shorts with pockets, then I recommend these.  I have the basic black ones, but on the UA website, they come in at least a dozen different colors.  They also range in size from XS to XXL.


That's it for me this month.  Do you have anything that you'd like to recommend?  As always, thanks for stopping by!


Linking up with:

Bre @ Bre Writes

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Happy Two Year Blogiversary to Me!!!



On June 27, 2015 I embarked upon a journey, a journey into the unknown when I published my first post and officially became a blogger. 

730 days and 362 blog entries later, I'm still here, sometimes much to my surprise.

What started out as a simple way to participate in a reading challenge has evolved  into a valuable outlet of ideas and expression, an outlet that has helped me make better sense of the world and my place in it.  This blog has also allowed me to meet and get to know several fellow bloggers whom I'm deeply respect and am so happy to have met.

Whether you've been with me since the beginning, joined somewhere along the way,  or if today is your first time here, thanks for joining me.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Friday Reflections (Not on Friday) - The Selfie

Wednesday was National Selfie Day.  Yep, I kid you not.  Why we actually have a day for this is beyond me, because, as anyone who is semi-active on social media can attest, any given day on Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat looks like National Selfie Day.  

I learned this tidbit as my husband's clock radio alarm blared to life that morning, jarring me from my delicious slumber.  I seriously rolled my eyes, thought, "Selfie Day? What the hell?" and went back to sleep.

After another hour or so of sleep and breakfast, the National Selfie Day radio announcement was long forgotten, but I was reminded of it once again when I saw that one of the prompts for this week's Friday Reflections is to share one's views on the selfie.  

Oh, the selfie...  Where do I even start?  My feelings towards the spontaneous self-portrait are...  Complex.  Multi-faceted.  Varied.  Paradoxical.    

I'm like them, but I hate them. 

I enjoy taking them, but I also sometimes laugh or get annoyed when I see others doing the same thing.  

I think they're wonderful at capturing moments of our lives, but cause people to miss out on living in the moment because they're so worried about capturing the perfect picture. 

They make it easier to communicate via social media, but on the flip side, this sometimes drives people to create a certain image of themselves that they want the world to see and often that image is a farce. 

I also think selfies bring out some of the worst qualities in people such as narcissism, vanity, disrespect, rudeness, and poor decision making.  

Here are some examples of what I'm talking about:


Like Them/Enjoy Taking Them/Ease of Communication Via Social Media

I bought my very first kayak Tuesday.  The way my husband and I were transporting it home was rather comical.  

Excited to share this news and to share the tale of our transportation method, I posted about it the experience on Facebook.  But, in lieu of making my status say something like, "Picture this - a man, a woman, and a kayak get into a GMC Denali...", I pulled out my phone and snapped a quick selfie.  

When I posted it to Facebook, my caption was simple - "My current situation" and this is what my FB friends saw:



There is an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words and in that moment, I don't think words could have conveyed what I was trying to express any better than that picture.


Laugh When I See Others/Narcissism/Vanity

Last summer in Las Vegas, I watched a woman who, armed with her smart phone and selfie stick, paraded all around the pool area snapping pictures of herself as she posed suggestively in front of the palm trees and water features. She even asked some people to move out of one corner of the pool because they were "in her shot."  Yes, she sure did!  I heard her and I was so hoping one of the people would say no, but they complied. This went on for 35 minutes (I timed it).  


Vanity/Disrespect/Poor Decision Making

Two years ago, I observed a very dangerous selfie photo shoot while in Niagara Falls.  A young couple, also armed with a smart phone and selfie stick, climbed over the protective barrier near the edge of the falls in order to take a selfie. Two feet away from them was a sign instructing people to not climb over the barrier. Had either of them slipped, they no doubt would've been swept away in the rushing current and plummeted over the falls to their deaths.  Fortunately, they didn't kill themselves while  in pursuit of the ultimate photographic evidence of "been there, done that" and I'm sure the picture they captured of themselves was fantastic, but, man, it sure was a gamble.  I, personally, don't feel any picture is worth risking your life for, but that's just me. 


Rudeness

2015 must have been the year of the selfie stick, because this example also took place while I was in Niagara Falls.  I have never seen as many people with selfie sticks as I did there.  But, the thing I remember most is how rude the majority of those people were.  They literally walked around with they selfie sticks extended everywhere they went - walking in crowds bonking people with them, walking through gifts shops knocking over merchandise.  It was absolutely absurd and some of the rudest public behavior I've ever witnessed.


Vanity

Just to show you that I'm all about keeping it real and not just picking on other people and their selfie habits, here's one about me.  

Preparing this post, I became curious as to when I took my first true selfie, and by true I mean a self portrait that was not taken using the self-timer.  After digging around in old photos for about an hour, I determined that it was taken in the summer of 1995 - almost two decades before the word selfie became the "Word of the Year" by the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013.  

The picture is of myself and my then roommate, P, during the summer before our senior year of college.  We had just recently moved into a different apartment and took a picture to commemorate the occasion.  P and I are grinning like possums with wide, cheesy smiles that showed all our teeth and we appear as white as ghosts because of the overpowering flash. 

This would be a good place to include that photograph, don't you think?  Well, sorry to disappoint, but there's no way on God's green Earth that I would upload a digital facsimile of that picture for all the world to see.  Why?  Because I look like a complete and utter goober in it!  Plain and simple. 

The picture was taken blindly, as we had no visual screen in 1995 to help us compose the shot or to see how we looked before or after snapping the shutter. Even a trusted friend of mine said that it was "not so flattering."  In general, I'm not a vain individual, but when it comes to pictures that the masses might see, I am a little bit.  


Capturing Moments/Vanity

Back in March, my best friend and I met up for a girls weekend.  While visiting a local bourbon distillery, she wanted to take a selfie.  She held her phone in her hand, stretched out her arm, looked at our images on the screen, composed the shot, and tapped the button.  Voila!  We both immediately looked at the captured image to make sure we were both pleased with the end product.  

We were not.

If I'm remembering correctly, I think she uttered, "Um, no..."  A do-over was done and that picture was deemed acceptable.  Again, I'm a little vain.



C and I don't get to see each other very often, but when we do, we like to capture those rare moments in pictures.  Sometimes we're doing something unique, sometimes we're just having out.  Regardless, it captures that moment in time for us to look back on later and to reminisce. 


Not Living in the Moment

One day last summer, while out in Las Vegas, my friends and I took a day trip to the Grand Canyon, which is a majestic sight to behold and almost impossible to describe.  Photos rarely do its beauty justice. 

As we ventured out to an observation point, we naturally encountered a crowd. (It was the Grand Canyon in July, after all...)  We gradually worked our way up to the rail in order to get an unobstructed view of the canyon. When my friends and I reached the rail, we stood there for a while, looking in every direction, taking it all in - the colors, the contours, the contrasts, the vastness of it all.  We were in the moment.  After a few minutes, knowing that others were waiting behind us, we took a quick selfie, and vacated the spot so others could have a turn, too.  



Something we saw a lot of as we waited for our turn at the rail, were people walking up the rail, immediately turning their backs to the canyon, snapping some selfies, and then walking away, never even really looking at the canyon with their own eyes!  My friends even noticed this behavior, too, so it wasn't just me.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all about a good selfie.  But, I'm all about being in the moment and experiencing things firsthand rather than through the screen of my smart phone.

Now do you understand my mixed feelings regarding the selfie?

Love them or hate them, it's quite obvious that the selfie is more than just a passing trend.  It is a cultural and social phenomenon that has changed not only the way we capture the Kodak moments of our lives, but also how communicate and interact with each other and the environment.

What are you thoughts on the selfie?

As always, thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thoughts on Letting Go


One day back in the spring, I found myself standing in my bedroom, in front of a full length mirror, trying on clothes.  Were these new clothes?  No.  In fact, most of the items were probably at least 5 years old and, truth be told, hadn't been worn in equally as many years. 

Flashback to the winter of 2014.  During an unexpected, week long, "snow-cation" from work, I conducted what I have come to call the "big purge." Following Marie Kondo's decluttering method that she painstakingly outlined in her book, I systematically went through the various categories of possessions in my house and eliminated.  Now, I must admit that I didn't follow her methods to a T, because thanking each and every item that I discarded just seemed a tad too silly.  But, I did try very hard to express gratitude for all the items in general because I know there are many people in the world who have practically nothing.

At the end of the purge, which extended weeks past my "snow-cation," I thought I had done a great job.  I had given away 6-7 bags of clothes and shoes to charity, sold several items on eBay, and threw away just as much in trash. However, as evidenced by the amount of clothes I found myself trying on back in March, I hadn't done as good as a job as I thought.  I know all of the clothes I tried on that day were too small for me three years ago, but somehow they survived the purge.  

One of the rules in Marie Kondo's decluttering method is to get rid of clothing items that don't fit. Are your jeans too small? Toss them! Does that shirt looks like a tent on you? Donate it! Are those shorts ill fitting? Adios! And that's what I did, or at least that's what I tried to do. In truth, I did get rid of a lot of things that were too small at the time. But, I obviously held on to some items that were too small at the time for some reason or another. Looking back, I guess I held on to them figuring that if I lost weight, I'd be able to wear them again. 

As many of you know, especially if you are a regular to my blog, I've been losing weight since last August. When I pulled out those items that had been sequestered to a storage box since 2014, I was excited.  I remember thinking, "Yay!  I can now wear those capris again and I won't have to buy any this spring!"  Well, as it turns out, yes, I still had to buy some new capris because the ones I had held onto and kept in storage  for 3 years still didn't fit - they were too big.

As I looked at myself in the mirror and analyzed the fit of each article of clothing, at one point I actually found myself thinking, "Yeah, these capris are too big right now, but they don't take up much room. I guess I could put them back in the box just in case I put some of this weight back on - that way I'll have something that fits."

As soon as I finished that insane thought, I immediately chastised myself. I scolded myself and said out loud, "No... You've hung on to them for three years and even after losing weight, you still can't wear them! There's no point of letting them take up valuable real estate in this tiny house!" With that, I slipped them off, folded them neatly, and put them in the charity bag. Voila!

Since then, I've given much thought to the big purge of 2014 and the ongoing clothes removal I've been doing over the past 10 months as my clothes got too big for me. One of the thoughts I have regularly pondered is why I, as well as many others out there, am so reluctant to part ways with things. Why is it sometimes so damn hard to simply let go?

I've learned that I have a tendency to hang on to clothes because of the monetary implication - I spent hard earned money on those clothes and it's hard to part with something that may not fit now, but, given my track record of losing and gaining weight, might fit again sometime in the future. If an item is too small, I often say to myself, "Well, you might lose weight and then you can wear it again." Conversely, if an item is too big, I justify keeping it "just in case," basically keeping the item as a safely net in case I gain weight, just as I was thinking about doing with those damn capris back in the spring.

But, this letting go of things extends way beyond clothes. It can be anything - from old love letters to outdated home furnishings to books to high school and college memorabilia to miscellaneous items of sentimental value that no one but the owner can understand. It can also apply to relationships that are long past their expiration date.

A close friend of mine is currently struggling with this. For reasons beyond her control, her marriage has been strained for years, the better part of a decade really. Her husband has made some not so great choices and because of them, they haven't live together in a long time. 

Despite the obvious deterioration of their relationship, despite the fact that she cannot stand the man he has become, despite the fact that she deeply resents him because of how his actions made their once very stable, happy life as a family now completely unrecognizable, she still clings on. She hopes that the man she married will show back up one day, even though she knows in her heart of hearts how highly unlikely that scenario is. The man she married no longer exists, his string of bad choices changed him many years ago. These changes affected her, too, for she is no longer the woman she was eight years ago. She is hurt, she is scarred, she is mad, and she is tired. Yet, despite all the legitimate reasons she has to divorce him, despite all the shit he has and continues to put her through, she is struggling to let go of something that she knows is already gone.

Why is it so damned hard to let go of things that we no longer need, that are no longer useful, or that are no longer beneficial? Do we hang on to things out of comfort? Habit? Or perhaps fear of change or the unknown? 

As I asked myself that question about things in general, not just clothes, I came to the conclusion that I hold on to things for various reasons. Sometimes it's monetary (like with clothes), sometimes it's sentimental (like with the college jacket that I had the hardest time parting with even though it was worn out and I never wore it anymore), and sometimes it's for reasons that are just harder to put into words.

What are your thoughts? 

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer '17 Goals & Spring '17 Goals Report Card


Ah, summer...  How I love thee.  Even though summer just officially started today, I've been in summer mode since before Memorial Day.  

For educators such as myself, summer is often not determined by the tilt of our planet as we orbit around the sun, but rather by time off between the last day of school and the first day of school.  When I go back to work on August 1, the most frequently asked question will be, "How was your summer?" to which many will reply, "Too fast..."  Thing is, at that point, summer will be a little under the halfway point!  But, anyway, I digress...

Before I lay out my summer goals, allow me to recap my spring goals and report on whether or not I met them.


SPRING GOALS
March 20 - June 20

  • ✗ Lose at least 13 more pounds (shooting for a combined total of 50 pounds lost by June 20). Nope, just didn't happen.  I managed to lose 1 pound before the dreaded weight loss plateau hit in April and before I fell off the wagon in May.  Oh, well...  I got back on the wagon on June 1 and I my focus has been renewed.  As I close in on the one year mark since starting this weight loss quest, I am resolving to stop putting time limits on losing weight.  It's driving me crazy and is sometimes a complete and utter downer. 
  • ✔ Incorporate core exercises into my exercise regime 2-3 times a week.  DONE!  I'm not great with this one yet, but I have incorporated them into my exercise routine at least twice a week. 
  • ✗ Have all my end of the year paperwork (report cards, ESY data and graphs, ongoing progress data logs, etc.) completed and filed on or before May 22.  Did not complete.  It took me until May 24 to get all my paperwork finished.
  • ✔ No clothes or shoe shopping during the month of April. SUCCESS!  It was tough, but I did it!
  • Do at least one activity in the mountains (ride ATVs, zipline, whitewater raft). COMPLETED 4.5.17! My uncle and I went riding out in the mountains in his ATV. 
  • ✗ Make eye appointment and get my vision checked. Nope. This is an example of procrastination at it's finest. Yeah, I know, I suck.

So...  I'm 3 for 6.  If you think of my completion rate in terms of a batting average, it looks pretty good.  One would say that I batted .500.  But, if you look at it from a percentage/grading standpoint, I got a 50% which is an F.

I think I'll go with the batting average.  Perspective, it's all about perspective.

Even though I didn't do so great in terms of completing the goals I set for myself in March, let me share with you some of the things I did accomplish:

I completed the 2017 Blogging A to Z Challenge.  I didn't miss a single day and all posts went live on the day they were supposed to.  And, here's the biggest thing - I only had 2 posts written in advance by April 1, the day that I decided (at the very last minute) to participate.

I completed a competitive personal goal that I set for myself around the middle of April.  I participated in a step challenge at work.  I secretly set a goal to finish in the top position on my school's team and to finish in the top 10 of all participants in the district.  I did both!


Even though I didn't do so well with the goals I established, looking back, I would definitely say I had a better than average spring in terms of doing things.

As I began thinking about my summer goals, I had an epiphany.  Summer is my season to lay low, chill out, and to reset.  I unplug from work and embrace the opportunity to just "be."  During summer, I don't like timeframes, deadlines, or even schedules (unless a situation just calls for it, like when traveling).  So, with all of the goals I've chosen, I've decided to keep them simple.  

  • Continue adhering to the healthier eating habits I've established during the past 10 months.
  • Continue exercising, but diversify my workouts.
  • Be lighter on September 22 that I am right now.
  • Read one classic novel.
  • Get to know my adopted state a little better by doing something outdoorsy or touristy in Kentucky.

So, there they are.  Check back in three months to see the results.

Do you have any seasonal or monthly goals? Feel free to share!  Have a good one!

Linking up with:

Thursday, June 15, 2017

One Thing About Today...


One thing about today (Monday June 12) that I want to remember one year from now is how much I enjoyed spending the afternoon with my aunt, driving throughout our home county, collecting selfies in front of designated points of interest as we participated in a photo scavenger hunt sponsored by the Wyoming County Historical Museum.  

During the 42 mile roundtrip circle, we collected selfies at four predetermined locations:

1) At the Civil War Trail marker in a little community called Turkey Dip.
2) In front of the Wyoming County Historical Museum sign in Oceana.
3) In front of the Appalachia Service Project sign in Brenton.
4) With the bell that sits in front of the Wyoming County Courthouse in Pineville.

As my aunt and I leisurely drove around the county, we talked and caught up on things that have happened since I last visited in early April.  We enjoyed the sunny June afternoon, reminisced, and shared memories of some of the places we passed such as the drive-in movie theater, which no longer stands.  I also learned some interesting, little tidbits about my family that I didn't know.  

For instance, the local Appalachia Service Project headquarters (pic #3) is housed in a building that once was a school called Guyan Valley.  When I was in school in the 1980s, the school was for severely disabled students.  (This was during a time before inclusion existed.)  As we pulled into the parking lot, I mentioned that I remembered when it was a school.  My aunt did as well, adding that her sister-in-law work there during the late 1980s and, many years ago, before I was born, my great-grandmother and my great-aunt both worked there as kitchen staff.  Until that moment, I didn't know that.

The fifth and final location was participant's choice; the location simply needed to be your favorite spot in Wyoming County. Well, hands down, my favorite spot in Wyoming County is my parents' back deck, but I decided to take the opportunity and give a shout out to my former high school, Pineville High. 


Pineville High School no longer exists, it consolidated with Mullens H.S. in the late 90s, six years after I graduated.  The building now houses Pineville Middle School.  Excluding my childhood home and my grandparent's house, Pineville High is my favorite place in the county.  Although I don't believe that the best years of a person's life are his/her high school years, for I agree with Hall and Oats - there is life after high school, I still had a great high school experience and have many fond memories of my time there.  But, unlike most of my classmates, I also have many fond memories of Pineville High that were made long before I walked through those doors as a student.

Both of my parents taught at Pineville; in addition, Mom was always a sponsor of an extracurricular group, such as cheerleaders or Student Government, and Si was the varsity football coach. As you can imagine, I spent a lot of time in and around Pineville H.S. as a kid. I remember working the concession stand with my mom and amongst the high school kids and feeling so grown up. I remember attending bingo games and spaghetti dinners hosted by the Booster Club as they raised money to build a new football field house. I remember walking out onto the stage of the tiny auditorium, whose stage door was right across the hall from my mother's classroom, and staring out at the seemingly endless sea of seats. As a kid, the performance space seemed so enormous and I recall being utterly amazed at the fact that both my parents had sat in those very same seats that I then stared at when they were high school students two decades before.

Today was a day of reconnection not only with my aunt, but also with so many places that collectively make up what I call "home."  I want to forever remember this place and all that it has meant to me through the years.  


~~~~~

What's one thing about today that you want to remember one year from now?  Do you have a special connection to a place?

As always, thanks for stopping by!  Happy Thursday!


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