Archive for the 'News' Category

Graylight

Daylight. More like graylight. I chuckled, drifting back to sleep, burrowed snugly in bed. The window had some brightness to it. But nothing that could rightly pass for daylight. The clouds had hung heavy in the sky for so long that the idea of daylight was merely one of opposites. It wasn’t night. It was day. Therefore, it was daylight. More aptly graylight, my sleep befuddled brain declared.

I awoke that morning, in the mind-numbing haze with which I greet every morning. I glanced at the window and had a vague feeling I’d come up with some clever play on words. What it was, I could not trick from my subconscious.

Two days later I stared out the window watching the rain soak everything, foolishly attempting to be optimistic that “at least it wasn’t snow”. So gray. Suddenly I blurted out, “Graylight!” grinning as my word turn was rescued from all-encompassing brain fog.

Graylight.

Morgantown’s perpetual Winter day sky. 

chris on March 27th 2018 in Blogroll, Uncategorized

Farewell, Fionnlaugh

Things have not been going well at the Matlick house. On Saturday, we had to say goodbye to our little princess, Fionnlaugh.

Fionnlaugh, our bright warrior, came home in May of 2013 with her brother Duncan and sister Shadowfax. Our little Pip was a feisty little lass, bouncing, hopping, and chasing the others around. Although she was no stranger to a good nap.

Our little girl was more interested in playing with her siblings and chasing the cats, than interacting with us humans. Although we absolutely subjected her to forced cuddles. She’d accept the attention for a few short minutes before attempting (and often succeeding) to fling herself out of our arms. And I do mean fling; many a time she made me look like a juggler, trying to keep her from hitting the ground.

Fionnlaugh and Duncan were pretty much inseparable. They’d been together since they were kits and more often than not, when you found one, the other would not be too far away. 

They tag-teamed a lot things.

For instance, Duncan had this terrible habit of leaving behind mouse tails. This was really unfortunate for the humans. However, Fionnlaugh apparently considered them a delicacy and, as long as she could reach them, would take care of what her brother left behind.

Over the last four years, our little Sweet Pea managed to give us multiple freak outs. One night, while nose counting before shutting the ferret room door, I could not find Fionnlaugh. She had been in the main floor of the house with us, but often times when she was bored, she’d toodle on back up to the second floor and find a cozy place to crash. Fi was quite good about coming when called, even when asleep. So I worked my way through the house calling her. Nothing. Then I commenced to methodically look through the house, including the freezer because I had opened it when she was in the kitchen. Nothing. I was growing more frantic and searching involved ripping the house apart. All I could think was that she’d run outside, which was totally not her thing. Chad went around the neighborhood calling her. I made up posters. It was devastating.

The next morning was terrible. I was a mess at work. Around 8:30 I got a call from Chad. He’d found her. IN THE DISHWASHER. She’d climbed in right before bedtime, apparently, and spent a very unpleasant night in the damn dishwasher. She needed a bath. The dishwasher needed a bath. And thus began our rule: no closing the dishwasher without looking inside. (We already had the do not run the dishwasher without confirming all ferrets were accounted for rule.)

One of Fionnlaugh’s favorite things to do, as she mellowed with age, was to drink out of our koi pond. She would go to the back door and wait patiently for us to go outside. Once outside she’d putter on over to the pond, climb the side and commence to drink her fill of the wonderful fishy water.

 

She was also quite enamored with any fish food pellets she could retrieve from the floating plants. Once or twice, she stretched just a little too much and tipped in. Fortunately she was a good swimmer AND her humans were right there to fetch her out and dry her off.

After we lost Shadowfax, Fionnlaugh stepped in and took over as Alpha Ferret. It wasn’t surprising because her brother was so mellow and she was so uptight. After a bit we brought home two boys, thinking she and Duncan would like some company. We were dead wrong. Fionnlaugh HATED the new ferrets with a passion. (This pretty much meant Duncan wasn’t allowed to make friends either.) One of the new guys was three times her size.

She did not care. She did not like them at all. And Fi went after the new boys with a gusto that was something to behold. She’d make this terrible sounding cry and let them have it. And they would run and try to hide.

In early December we took her and the aforementioned boys to see Santa for Christmas pictures. So there’s Santa, trying to hold three squirming ferrets while the tiniest, most slippery one, is squirming to get closer to the other ones to bite their ears. The sequence of photos is hilarious as you can see her stretching & squirming to get them. She succeeded, too. I was mortified.

Fionnlaugh left us Saturday, December 16, in her mommy’s arms. She was the last of the trio. Rest in Peace, Peanut. We miss you terribly.

chris on December 16th 2017 in Animals, Family, Uncategorized

Brain Fog

It’s Fall. It’s been chilly and wet and basically yuck. Mornings are dark grey and confusing. My brain, already impossibly foggy of a morning, wants me to hibernate. Now.

My outfit for the day: leggings, tunic, long sweater. My closet is basically set up like Garanimals for grownups because I’m so unable to function in the morning. I choose this particularly pair of leggings because they have pocket. Real pockets that can hold stuff. I recall looking at the cuff and thinking, “eh, who cares about the black and white pattern, not like I’m wearing any other patterns.” And heading on my way to work.

Fast forward a few hours. I’m going down the hallway, attempting to put my phone in my right pocket. It does not seem to exist. Odd, but maybe these leggings only have pockets on my left. I try that side. No pockets. My still hazy brain tries to process this information. Maybe I missed the pocket opening. Try again. Nope. I look down. No pockets. How? Then I look at the cuff. And realize I would never buy a pair of leggings with a patterned cuff.

Oh.

Oh. That’s the lining.

chris on November 2nd 2017 in Uncategorized

Nine Things I Learned from the 2017 Rachel Carson Trail Challenge

My BFF convinced me that this was the year we would gloriously return to the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge! The timing was perfect, not only was it not near any birthday celebrations, but it was going in the opposite direction from when we first hiked it in 2006. I started training at the beginning of the year. Then managed to sprain my ankle May 19. There was a crazy deluge the week leading up to the challenge. That set the stage for 14 hours 16 minutes and 42 seconds of hiking, slogging, and hauling myself from North Park to Harrison Hills Park. And these are my takeaways… 

  1. At the start of this year’s RCTC I knew two things: There were going to be lots of stream crossings and I was hiking on a still recovering sprained ankle. As I saw it, my footwear options were my high top hiking boots,  which happened to be gortex, or my trail runners and a wrap. I went with the boots thinking the padded ankle would be better support. HUGE mistake. Gortex keeps water in, just as well as out. My boots were super saturated by mile two and thus heavy! The lesson here is, go with the wrap and the trail runners. Your feet are going to get wet either way.
  2. Sewing mesh pockets on my yoga pants was the most brilliant thing I have done in ages! Cargo yoga pants! Hooray!
  3. Back to the water issue…if you know there will be multiple water crossings, bring more than one pair of dry socks. I waited way too long to change into dry socks because I didn’t want to get the dry ones wet. The price of that bad decision was 2 huge blisters on the last two toes of both feet.
  4. Take your reservoir entirely OUT of your backpack to fill it up. I totally hosed that up and did not get the full 2 liters of water twice. And believe me, I needed it desperately.
  5. Carry your own ibuprofen.
  6. There is no effective way to train to climb a power line right of way, except to climb a power line right of way. We did a lot of practice hikes on rough terrain, but none of that was worth much when I faced the straight up power line hills of doom. (I mean, I’m sure there is, but not for me.)
  7. If you are going to the trouble of carrying a GPS, make sure it has fresh batteries. A .gpx of the trail, complete checkpoints, is only helpful when it works. Mine died about halfway through.
  8. Never underestimate the importance of someone who won’t let you quit. Especially when you are crying on a stream bank 4 miles from the finish. Thanks, babe!
  9. Fla-Vor-Ice is the most amazing thing in the universe! The people along the trail that were handing these out were amazing!

chris on June 25th 2017 in Blogroll, News