Tuesday, September 29, 2009

one more reason the internets rock

between now and October 9th, the Ken Burns National Parks documentary series is available for viewing online.

go. watch. NOW!!!

ps. um, i'm serious people. scoot!
pps. don't cry. they find him eventually...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

it can't rain all the time... or can it?

went off for more fun with the Southern Highlanders this past weekend.

Friday night, i hiked in from Clingmans Dome to Silers Bald with John in the dark and pouring rain. amazing sunset in spite of the rain.

glorious sunset, even through the rain

we arrived to meet up with Dave, George, and Vince for a great night of carrying on. (we're all sorry, Warren. well - sort of.)

Saturday: rain. rain. more rain. the rain was so fierce, we never left the shelter. about noon, i ran out of knitting. about two, we were having push-up contests. the rains continued.

John began singing.

i started seriously considering throwing myself from an overlook to end the torment... which is right about the time, Kevin arrived bearing wine and a break in the monotony.

Kevin actually had other plans that night so he hiked out after an hour or two! the rains continued. Dave maimed John 'accidentally'. more rain. Grady and Bobby floated up. more. rain.

Sunday, the rains break and we had a glorious hike out.


composite group photos:

Vince, John, Dave, Kevin, George and me
Vince, John, Dave, Kevin, George and me

John, me, Bobby and Grady

John, me, Bobby and Clark

[Mileage: 4.4 each way.]

Friday, September 25, 2009

welcome home (hopefully)!!!

after 3 months of searching and close calls, i am finally in contract on a house. like me [or anyone for that matter], she needs some work - but she is a happy, quixotic house and just chock full of potential!

the good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise, we will close Oct 15th. my plan is take some time off work the following two weeks to get her sass back on and officially move in on Halloween.


Monday, September 21, 2009

truer words...

even for me, this last weekend was a bit overscheduled - but i wouldn't have changed a thing!

first, i enjoyed a rousing good time dancing at KLX:
KLX 2009

stayed out far too late and then rose early for to blitz another Habitat house. afterwards, i was lucky enough to head once more for the hills.

although we made crazy good time on the build due to the mad skills of the UT Women's Rowing Team, the gang was long gone on the trail by the time i could make it to the Smokeys. i hiked in from Elkmont along the Little River trail in the rain and dark to meet the boys at campsite 24. enjoyed a tender welcome as only the Highlanders can offer when i pulled into camp at 9pm...

the woods were serene in the rainy mist, the trail wide and even, and the river sang a lovely serenade. l i hiked in the near pitch for quite some time before being forced by prudence to turn on my headlamp. i found myself reflecting on my life and the many ways i have been blessed.
  • my job is my calling and daily encourages me to stretch and grow to make the world a better place.
  • i have known cavernously deep, Shakespearean love with all its attendant tragedy and desolation. though Chopper has been dead just over 20 years now, i can still see and hear him as if it were yesterday and remain grateful for our time and the lessons it continues to provide.
  • just shy of 5 years ago now, i was also privileged to experience the pure and passionate wonder of true and abiding love. though our paths were meant to diverge, i regret not a second and continue to take much from that ponderous gift.
  • gentler, stronger and more loyal friends than mine cannot possibly exist. their honesty and generosity in spirit and deed humble me daily and their support during my times in shadow cannot possibly be repaid or matched.
  • truly, deeply blessed am i that the closest and greatest of my friends remains my mother. a braver, truer and more loving soul never was. she lifts me up when i stumble, floods my world with laughter when it is gray, and daily inspires me to reach beyond what i am to what i can be.
  • most specially yet also most privately, my faith and trust in God continue to deepen each day i am blessed to continue living and exploring. i see his endless compassion in the actions of my Habitat family and my friends; his capacious joy echoing in every new dance and skip; his piquant humor in my daily misadventures; and his great tenderness and love in the endless miracles of the trail.
these truths settled their fullness all around me in the empty stillness of the night. i found myself breathless with gratitude for the life i have lived thus far, with all its challenges and sorrows and darkness. it is the darkness, after all, that has helped me to see so clearly the joyous and shimmering colors of life!

in a recent letter, a friend wrote this:
I am so proud of you! You look so free and happy in your travels. Wow! Good for you. I don't remember ever seeing you so happy! Keep backpacking.

... and so it is and so i remain ever vigilant for the next gift on this winding road...

step 1

step 2

step 3

may life bring you such bountiful blessings and joys as well!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Easter egg

our Intensive Care Unit is being remodeled and this is what i have passed daily for over a week as it slowly grew:

a girl can only leave such temptation aside so long. Monday i broke down and slipped this in the wall:

just so there would be no confusion on the source:

teaser: watch this space for [hopefully] big news after the weekend!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

another weekend in paradise

with the Southern Highlanders:

i hiked in along Wolf Ridge into campsite 95 with John, Jack and Jerky Mike. after socializing with the Highlanders, John and i left our packs and went on a 'stroll' up to Parson Bald... without water, lights or our brains apparently. Song For David kept rolling through my mind. John and i ran into Jack (who had his headlamp) so ran the last 15 minutes up to summit. took a few pix and ran like fleet-footed gazelles down the trail in the near dark till we caught John who we followed back to camp like two wayward puppies. next morning we hiked out along the Twenty Mile Loop. (17 miles total)

came back to this post by Andre Jordan:

coincidence? i think not.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

not to be vulgar...

but i have just popped my cherry on Machiavellian political machinations. i received word tonight that my first foray has resulted in the opportunity to purchase $82K in [badly needed] equipment for my section. hours and hours and hours of misery compiling data, convo-ing with random humans, and writing the dang* proposal actually coming to fruition. anyone see the Horsemen? they must be around here somewhere.

*told my students my goal for the rotation was to work on reducing my cursing... i am totally on a roll - only 4 expletives (one of the students is keeping a tally) in 3 days (and no particularly sailor-worthy ones among them). that is practically Sunday school for a veterinary internist!

much more importantly - photos are up from my Wednesday night jaunt:

and my weekend in Heaven:

wait - that means we are close to TWO almost perfect weeks in a row. seriously, where ARE the Horsemen?

Friday, September 04, 2009

'nuff said.

more living

goodbye bash with the Americorps 'kids':

sucks to have them leave but what a privilege to know them. 'sides, they won't get too far - family almost never does!

last weekend's Saturday hike to Fall Branch Falls with a crew from Meetup:

if you listen carefully, you can hear tiny cries as the mosses mate. :) a peaceful jaunt to an amazing waterfall - only wish the trail had been longer.

updated House Mountain to include photos from my Sunday morning hike with Bill:

no photos yet from Wednesday night's backpack up LeConte- will upload after this weekend's Smokies backpack...