The Onion Winner

Forgive my slowness, my spirit animal is the sloth. I’m feeling more energized this morning, so it’s time to award the most fabulous prize of a 52 onions, or things that look like onions!!

Since I’ve ended up super busy even when I get home from work, I’ve decided just to push through and do this from work. This means I won’t be doing a video like last time, and I also don’t have any of my fancy bloggin tools, like a picture editor. But it must be done!

To complete this award giving from work, I decided to pull a name out of a bin. First, I wrote out everyone’s name.

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Then, I crumbled up everyone’s name and dropped it in the recycling bin. Added benefit is that once I’m done, there’s no cleanup.

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Then, I reached in and pulled out a name.

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It’s Emma from ‘Fraidy Cat Eventing!! Congratulations!!! You’ve won the prize of the year! Although she has yet to be reached for comment, I’m sure she will be overwhelmed with surprise at the thought of 52 onions or things that look like onions.

Don’t be sad if you were not the winner of the onions! There will be more random giveaways to come, maybe some buckets or a 2009 Honda Accord, depending on what I find, so be sure to check back!

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Hiking in the Shenandoah

Before we go back in time, this weekend, I managed to have my car break down in DC. Ever the gracious wife, I agreed to a quick trip to DC to reset some computer equipment. I offered to just circle the block, but Dave insisted we just park. So I park, but then when I realized I parked illegally, I tried to start the car to move it, and it wouldn’t start. In the thirty seconds it was off, my car turned on me. Fiats are CRAP. It was a good commuter car, but now it’s broken my heart. Six hours later, I finally make it home, quickly ending my dreams of getting a ride in before dark.

But let’s go back in time to a happier time, to a two weeks ago, when I went hiking in the Shenandoah.

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Some of it looked like this, but some of it was narrow and windy, requiring single file line. At one point, I had to pull onto the shoulder/boulder to let some people through.

Going into the Shenandoah in late October, I was expecting lots of beautiful fall colors. Well, there really wasn’t. What a waste of a trip into nature!

"Hmm, looks a bit too green in here."
“Hmm, looks a bit too green in here.”

The main reason my hiking partner and I go hiking is to collect stamps in our National Park Passports. I mean, I guess there’s that whole nature and exercise thing, but we are serious collectors. We need to collect stamps from all the parks in the U.S. It’ll be a difficult journey, but so far we’ve got a couple of VA ones, and nearly all the DC ones. It helps that all the DC ones are so close together.

Even further back in time to when we collected DC stamps. Here I am with a very important DC monument: The paddling boat dock.
Even further back in time to when we collected DC stamps. Here I am with a very important DC monument: The paddling boat dock.

But back to the past, except less past than the time I was in DC. There are bears in the Shenandoah. In actuality, there are bears in 95% of Virginia. There are a lot of bears around. But, especially in the Shenandoah. And especially in Virginia. There was a warning sign of what to do if you encounter a bear. Make yourself big, and if they attack, fight back. We had our own personal technique.

We made sure to practice our bear poses.
Practicing our bear poses. She was inspired by “The Scream”.
I am posed for flight.
I am poised for flight, ready to use my coat as a distraction.

So after acting stupid in the woods for a bit…

Ahhh!! She's been trapped by a vine!!
Ahhh!! She’s been captured by a vine!!

…we eventually continued on and got to a fork in the trail. On the right was gravel road on a steep incline. On the left, a wooded trail descending into the woods. Guess which trail we took!

Yes, my terrible, awful navigation skills took us up the gravel path. To be fair, the map descriped the trail as continuing on a fire road. It looked like a fire road to me.

The gravel road went on for about 1 mile, and it was all uphill. The entire trail we were hiking was only supposed to be 3.8 miles. The gravel road twisted around, doubling back on itself, and then had a few stretches of straight. While I am glad we got the exercise now, it was agony. Eventually, we reached a weather station on top of the mountain. While not our first clue that we weren’t on the right trail, it was a pretty big indication that perhaps, just maybe, we weren’t where we were supposed to be. Especially with all the warning signs around, telling us of dire consequences should we start touching things.

Luckily we did end up finding an unauthorized footpath that led back to the actual trail. It seems we weren’t the only ones to make such an idiotic mistake. And, it was all downhill and then level after that. It seemed amazing easy after that horrible trek. And this is how I learned I will never be able to be a true mountain climber. My pipe dream of climbing Everest has vanished after that 1-mile hike up a moderate slope.

Hurrah for downhill!
Hurrah for downhill!

Once the footpath reconnected with an actual hiking trail, we interrupted a man’s date with his lady friend to beg directions. He spent several minutes with us, thoroughly explaining where we were, and the correct path to take to continue his hike, while his lady tried to hint to him they should move on. But, he knew his directions, and he wanted to make sure we went the right way.

The correct route!
The correct route!

The rest of the path was so simple, it felt way too easy. We’re probably ready to move on to more challenging trails at this point. As long as the challenge isn’t a really long, uphill gravel road.

We eventually made it back to the car, and began the next leg of our journey: The journey to food. Skyline Drive is really long, especially when the speed limit is 35 mph. Eventually we buy some at the hiking cafe, and then, it was time to head home.

While driving, we came across a traffic jam. There was a bear! People were getting out of their cars to stare. We stayed in the car, it seemed way safer. But the bear got bored of the crowd and left after only about 30 seconds. Oh well… at least I can say I saw one.

Thus concludes Shenandoah hiking adventure.

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Sailing

My family all went sailing this weekend. It was a bright, sunny day, gorgeous sailing weather.

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I decided it was the perfect time to learn how to use my digital DSLR camera. I’ve had it forever, but I don’t do a whole lot with it. In general, I’d like to take more photos, so why not take good photos?

So my first attempts at photos looked like this:

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Since that’s not really the effect I was going for, I decided to take some other photos of random things around the boat.

Here’s a spool with some rope on it (clearly I know my boat terms!)

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Here’s the deck of the boat.

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And finally, here is me, looking in a mirror, It was incredibly hard to get the camera to focus on me, since it doesn’t auto focus like a point and shoot. But somehow I managed. I’m a trooper like that.

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Travel: Jacksonville, NC

On Wednesday, I drove with my coworker down to North Carolina. We rented a Chrysler 200, which  spurred many questions on the way down, such as, is there a Chrysler 100? Could it possibly be more uncomfortable than the car we are sitting in? Why was this car designed to be so uncomfortable? Why does the armrest not extend enough to actually be useful? Why do car makers put non-digital clocks in cars? Why are we recessing technologically? Why are there so few non-digital clocks in my life?

We were staying at the Hampton Inn in Jacksonville, NC, and I have to say, they vastly exceeded my expectations. I though they were a low end hotel, but their lobby was a welcome sight after driving for 6 hours. Everything looks fresh, clean, and modern.Even though I was about to pass out, I fought through it to take pictures of the room I stayed in.

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It was nicer than the fancy hotel in Texas that I stayed in. How is this possible!? I don’t now if they are all like this, but I will be looking at Hampton Inn’s next time I travel. They even provided makeup removing cloths. Maybe I live a sheltered life, but I’ve never stayed in a hotel that provided those. That little $0.02 cloth made a big impact on me. As well as the clean and comfortable bed and room and such. I did find an ant in the bathroom though. Since the room was so clean, I gave it a pass, maybe he hitched a ride on someone’s shoe. Also, being the idiot that I am, I could not figure out how to turn down the AC, so I was pretty cold all night. Getting ready the next morning I did figure it out. The control is on the wall, not under the window. Oooooooh.

Breakfast was good, if you eat carbs. I try to avoid them, so I tried some of the fruit. Something was not right about that fruit. So I ate nearly nothing. Then I went to work and also ate nothing, because there was nothing but donuts. Finally on the way home I ate some sushi. That was a good sushi place, but you always wonder…I’m about to be in the car for 6 hours, and I’m eating food that is known for sometimes having questionable qualities. Do I risk it? Obviously I did risk it, because I am a risk taker (only in regards to sushi). Since I had a mostly pleasant trip back up, other than being uncomfortably full, I’d say it was worth the risk. And the sushi place didn’t look that questionable anyway. It seemed decent, and the lunch special got me three different rolls plus a salad for about $10, so I can afford that kind of risk.

On the way back up, someone asked me if the bow on my shirt signified something. It was kind of silly, but the man was really sweet and scurried away after I laughed and said no, it’s just part of the shirt.

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The black thing he was asking about is on my right shoulder. That would be the left side of the pictures. Sorry if I’m explaining too much. The shirt is from White House, Black Market, and is one of my favorite work shirts. I usually wear a camisole under it because it is low cut, but this day, I was again a risk taker. However, it did not bring more people over to talk to me when I was at my job, so it was not good enough at baiting young men. Or maybe it did work for the few that I did speak with and I would have had none otherwise. Hard to tell.

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