Archive for January, 2012

A ton of stoats

Dear Brother:

I call dibs.

Your loving sister,

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chris on January 31st 2012 in Blogroll

Week 4 – it’s sort of a theme

So the subject of the photos aren’t really following a theme, but the photos are all taken with the xolaroid setting on the RetroCamera App of my phone,  (it’s free! I like free!) so that’s sort of a theme, right? Even if you don’t agree, please don’t tell me. I’m doing the best I can here and maintaining focus is not my strong suit.

January 23, 2012

Since starting this little project I’ve definitely noticed my surroundings a little more. Not always of course – please see about statement about my attention span – but I have definitely stopped to take notice of things when I’m staggering by with my hands full of crap to be shuffled from one counter to another, one floor to another. Enough waxing philosophically. I was cleaning off my craft table (sewing table, stacking crap table) when this caught my eye. The embroidered piece will eventually be the neck ruff of a renaissance costume. It was sitting (as it has been for over a year) on said table. What really caught my attention was the GPI,  a leftover from a prior project.

January 24, 2012

I was in Pittsburgh to visit the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh which is a vastly cool place. This is an old post office that has been re-purposed for part of the museum. It’s a very cool hands on museum and quite frankly I’d drag Chad up there, but we’d just look like some creepy adults and I’m sure freak out a bunch of parents. (Also, the food is really good in the cafeteria) Anyway, the Museum is just amazing. It would be a tough feat to take a bad photo of this building. I could have stood outside and played around with different angles, but quite frankly the wind was so evil I beat feet to get inside.

January 25, 2012

It was Burns Night, I was obligated to break out the single malt scotch. And taking a picture of myself trying to play my pipes would have been neigh impossible. Also, I haven’t played the great pipes in ages.

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o mice an ‘men
Gang aft agley,
An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Robert Burns

January 26, 2012

I was out walking in the driving rain (in pursuit of a FTF geocache) when I stopped to take this photo. The older part of this cemetery (not much can actually be considered new really) has some fascinating markers and family plots. I could walk through here every day for a year and take a different photo. Although it doesn’t show up very well in this photo, the concrete forming the step (in the forefront) is carved with the date 1902.

And yes, I did the get the FTF, thanks for asking.

January 27, 2012

Well, it’s Friday and Chad promised me a delicious beverage if I made it through Death Club. I made it, but just barely. Although to be honest, this was from Chad’s delicious beverage. I had a Duchess. And then, being so exhausted I went to bed. I am the life of the party. All that aside, I was happy with this photo. Something about the fuzziness and the colors make me happy (and that’s stone cold sober me typing).

January 28, 2012

Once again Chad let me go into a store when I was tired and hungry and disoriented. And while I was in search of yarn for a hat, I quickly became distracted and wandered around taking lots of random photos. None of them were quite right so I kept on snapping. I’m sure the customers in a certain local craft store were wondering about all the flashes of light. Eventually I moseyed around until I stumbled upon this…thing and once it was captured I felt a little better. Still it took me ages to get my yarn and get the heck out of there.

January 29, 2012

This is one of my favorite things.

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chris on January 30th 2012 in Daily Photo

Weston Gauley Bridge Turnpike

I was already displaying some symptoms of late Winter cabin fever. Gentleman-Carpenter and I had discussed going after this masterpiece of a cache trail the prior weekend. Fortunately Mother Nature had her own plans regarding our schedule. And so after sending out a call for cachers, eight of us (including four-year-old Ally): loyal sidekick Little Wooden Boy, Allysmom24, Nuggie99, wvmikiepar, jbgrug, Gentleman-Carpenter & yours truly, found ourselves at Clover Fork Church ready to depart on our adventure on the Weston Gauley Bridge Turnpike.

For your reference please see our tracklog. But also, you’ll be needing to reference THAT against the zoom-in that will be featured later.

Things started out pretty well. And we were very happy to have Ally along with us since she is just the right size for cache retrieval as she aptly demonstrated early on in our adventure. I suppose this is sort of a spoiler since you can see that the cache is in a stump. But since we are in the woods, there are a lot of stumps. And because I’m super sneaky, I’m not saying which cache this happens to be.

At any rate, we were moving along and doing pretty well despite the crazy town amounts of mud. I’m talking suck your shoe off mud. Fall in and never see the light of day again mud. Splash up and cover your clothing from head to toe mud.  Where was I? Oh right, doing pretty well. Right. Loyal sidekick was doing more of a meander than a hike and had stopped to pick up a handout. He’s so considerate since he knows how I love me some handouts.

We were all enjoying a lovely walk in the woods. The temperature had climbed far above the project 45 degrees promised by the weather prognosticators. The sun came out and the wind was even warm, which was extremely odd. It felt like Spring. So much so that those of us who had over dressed (everyone) were attempting to mash their giant parkas into backpacks of insufficient size.

In fact things were going so well that we felt perhaps we had in fact managed to circumvent the MAGPI Curse of always choosing poorly. There was much merriment and story swapping, cache comparison and mud avoidance.

We crossed a lovely bridge that was most definitely not a swinging bridge of doom and sidekick had to have a spotter in order to retrieve the cache. It was there that we saw a sign that was going to be our undoing. It indicated that the Weston Gauley Bridge Turnpike was UP.  Yes, that is right the one sign we say indicated we should go UP. And since the next cache was called something crazy like On the Ridge Again our merry (but not for much longer) group went up. but not without complaint of course.

After climbing a wicked arse hill and collapsing in the lovely field, some of us enjoyed the view, some just lay on the ground, flopping like fish out of water and gasping for breathe. (No photos of that, that would just have been mean.)

Brilliantly we decided to continue up, despite the cache not getting any closer. Sidekick, jbgrug and I had pulled ahead of the group and I had finally handed sidekick the GPSr (I was using his Garmin as mine has gone missing) when he looked at me, looked at the cache and indicated I was an idiot. Ok, he didn’t really do that, but probably because jbgrug was right there.  It seems that our blind faith in a sign was our undoing as we were not climbing the proper ridge. Yeah, you read that right. MAGPI takes a long walk and makes a bad decision. Game on!

And so after a brief discussion, we bushwhacked (sort of) down to the proper trail and then we were then back on track.Which meant we then had to start back up a different hill. It was much kinder than our wrong hill sidetrack.

The sun was starting to sink low and the warm was retreating so it was time to kick it up a notch and finish this trail off. Also, the idea of re-layering was not high on my agenda. We kicked it up and made a last push for glory….and a car. Because this walking thing, it was getting pretty old.

And so, before I sign off, let me leave you with this warning. Once you have crossed the non-swinging bridge of complete stability, keep low. Do not go UP immediately. You’ll be glad. Just look at the track log of our unnecessary hill climb of doom. See that red stuff? Yeah that was us not focusing. See that space between where there is no track log? You’ll want to walk there.

As always, there are other photos which you may see by checking out the galleries. And I’ll go ahead right now and give you my disclaimer that the photos here are totally out of order. I’m such a slacker.

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chris on January 29th 2012 in Geocaching

SSPG vs The Army

My attempts at FTFs have been foiled by many things. Non-cachers, animals, mud, rain, sleet, snow, shortness, work, sickness….but never the Army. Until now.

A still as yet unfound cache was sitting in White Park by the time I was done with work and judging from the satellite image I was pretty certain I could make quite work of it.

The weather was wretched, a solid rain had been beating the city to death since early morning. I decided to stop home and grab my wellies and my parka just in case I couldn’t make quite work of the find.

With my dress pants jammed down in my pink wellies with palomino ponies and my black parka I headed out to the park. As I navigated the speed humps (no fun in a Jeep) I noticed an unusual sign (not quite verbatim, but close enough).


Maneuvers Today

No Live Rounds

Thank You


Did that mean the park was off limits? It sure didn’t say so. I was confused. (I was also relieved they weren’t using live ammo in White Park.) So I decided to approach the cache from a different angle. I tried a parallel street and was happy to see no signs indicating A) the Army was around or B) the park was off limits.

I popped out of the Jeep and headed onto a nearby trail. I was following the arrow and the trail and was closing in on 75 feet to the cache when I noticed the Army. One squad (unit, troop, platoon?) was holding a small embankment which was really very close to Ground Zero. Another was approaching. Crud.

I wasn’t exactly invisible, what with my pink wellies, and I had clearly attracted the attention of at least one person. It occurred to me that the guys lying in the mud would most likely NOT appreciate me giving their position away while searching for the cache.


Not really willing to give up, but also not wanting to interfere with the Army I developed a secondary plan. I would go home, work out and then come back and hope the Army would be redeployed by then.

By the time I got home I had developed a third plan. I would change clothes and walk to the park, hopefully killing two birds with one stone. It was uncomfortably warm out so I shed the parka’s liner, suited up and headed out into the driving rain storm.

When I arrived at the park I was not happy to see the WVU ARMY ROTC signs still standing. Crud. Like last time I circled the park and approached the cache from the back. I was feeling pretty confident that the Army was close to being done (they were wearing blaze yellow vests at this point) so I headed to Ground Zero.

I was elated to find the cache and see an empty log. Sweet FTF victory!  I unzipped my parka, reached into my inside pocket and found…nothing. Right. My pencil was in the liner pocket. Which was in the foyer hanging on the coat rack.

There I stood, in the driving rain, parka unzipped, hunched over trying to keep the log dry  and no writing implement in hand.

I just did what I always do in these situations. I signed my name with mud. There was plenty to go around.

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chris on January 27th 2012 in Geocaching