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21 November 2013

Okefenokee Recap

I made it back from the Okefenokee Swamp in one piece.  All fingers and toes are still on my person.  To be honest all the alligators we saw were quite small.  While I'm sure they would gladly eat a toe or two I also think that they would have a hard time if I was fighting them.  I was expecting much larger specimens and instead I got this:
Swamp Gator {Explored 11/19/2013}
I'm pretty sure this was the biggest one we saw and he was about 9 feet long from nose tip to tail.

When we arrived Friday night our leader had us set up our tent at the same campsite as this delightful older gentleman's campsite since we are new to camping.  John from Plains was his moniker.  John is in his late sixties maybe and is a very experienced camper and canoer; he owns a peanut processing facility in Plains, Ga. He is the nicest guy.  My friend and I really didn't understand that we would actually be camping right next to our car and that it meant you could stock your car full of shit you might or might not need.  Despite me telling y'all that I found out we would have power at our disposal I still packed pretty minimalistic.  I'm not really sure what I thought about camping since I've only done it a couple of times, but I thought you eat, sit on the ground around the campfire and go to sleep or whatever.  We pull up to the site and John asks us if we have blah blah blah.  No, of course not.  Much later after the fire is stoked he tells us to bring out chairs over. Um, what chairs?  The next morning he asks if I want coffee (we are still at the campsite).  "Sure" I say.  He tells me to bring my cup over and get some.  I told him point blank "John, I didn't even have camp chair.  Why in the hell would I have a coffee cup?".  Needless to say I am much more prepared for the next time I go car camping.

We spent the first night in the tent.  It proceeded to rain all night and my one tiny sleeping pad didn't really cut it.  I tossed and turned all night long.  It doesn't help that I like my feet out of the covers and my mummy sleeping bag was constricting.   The next night the park ranger from Cumberland Isl and a wildlife refuge employee from the Okefenokee (both were the coolest folks on the trip other than John), invited my friend and I to sleep in their cabin since they had a whole extra room with 2 twin beds that were going unused.
It's quite hard to resist the siren call of open beds when they are free and it's raining cats and dogs. So I agreed and my friend and I spent a comfortable night in a plush cabin. They really are plush too. I highly recommend you stay in one if you go visit the western side of the Okefenokee.

Other things we saw: a wood stork, a red shouldered hawk, plenty of ibis, anhinga and deer, and a couple of cute yellow-eared sliders.

Yellow Eared Slider

White Ibis in black and white

The paddle was fun.  I think we did somewhere between 8 and 10 miles on Saturday. We walked around Billy's Island a bit, but that wasn't the best part for me.  The history of Billy's is cool though, there just isn't much to see other than your typical coastal interior. The paddle to Minnie's Lake and back was my fave.  It gets quite narrow in the canal and cypress dot the way.  Despite being with a very large group, there were parts were no one was close to me so I got to experience the swamp all alone.  So quiet and magical.  Also spooky since it was overcast and grey outside.  Because of that I didn't use my good camera during the run up to the lake and back.  I got some cool pics on the IPhone, but it's not the same.  By the end of the paddle I was really hurting.  My shoulders and arms were out-of-control sore.  I had to push through and get back though.  Especially since I spent the last hour really needing to use the restroom and a swamp is not a good place to go out and pee behind a bush. I am definitely signing up for more trips with the Georgia Conservancy.  The next one on the schedule will be my second service trip to Cumberland Island, but I also went ahead and booked an over night trip down the Flint River. I'm especially excited since John from Plains is leading the way.  He is one cool dude.

More pics:
Pop art anhinga

Fall in the Swamp

Swamp Reflection


My favorite:
Parking Lot

A cool truck that we saw on the way down:
Old Truck

14 November 2013


Welp, I said I would make an appearance this week and so here I am... ready to prove myself wrong and actually follow through with a promise. Ahhh it sucks.  So I kind of wish I could be writing this post next week because I'm hoping I have a lot of pictures and things to share.  Why you ask?  Because I'm headed to the Okefenokee Swamp to do a little canoeing and camping.  Sounds like I've become a bit outdoorsy right?  I hate to burst your bubble, but not really.  As much as I wish I could say I've been hiking and camping all year, sadly I haven't.  I've done a few hikes, but nothing that's taken me outside of the state or even really to the mountains.  I have most certainly not camped since my 30 x 30 list when I did a camping night near Blood Mountain.    I'm pretty pumped about this weekend though.  It's supposed to be lovely, except for a bit of rain and I have never been the Okefenokee which I've heard is beautiful.  I just got this cool waterproof case which might (or might not) allow me to get a close up view of an alligator in the water.  It probably won't since south Georgia swamps tend to have black water.  And because I am afraid of alligators.  So the chances of me sticking my hands in the water anywhere near an alligator are slim to none.   I do hope to get lots of wildlife shots though which y'all know always makes me happy. I'm camping too whichis killer, especially considering we will have a partner cabin that we are paired with.  Therefor I get to use running water, showers, and fridges while camping.  Instead of camping I should just call it laying my head down in a tent.

The one other big thing that has happened lately is that my newest nephew, Easy E has arrived weighing in at 10+ lbs.  Kid was big.  He's  now 2 months old, but I'll post newborn pictures below so that you can roll your eyes and grumble to yourself about how this blog is turning all baby blog on you.   It's not, don't worry.  If anything I'd turn this bitch in to a puppy blog with pictures of cute dogs all day long.  Kind of like this one:
Oh yeah, Moose the baller, shot caller...twenty inch blades...on the Impala Highlanda'

Anyways here goes some of those annoying pics of Easy E I was talking about.  Remember to not roll your eyes too much otherwise they might get stuck like that. 

  Half finished

Sleepy Boy


and the pièce de résistance:

*I'll be back next week with a recipe.  Only because I took pics of the food on instagram so now I feel I gotta give you something to wet your lips and quench your thirst.

13 June 2013

Hawaii and Back

Fuck me, I am a terrible blogger.  Maybe because I don't get any comments so I feel like I am talking to a wall. To be honest that shouldn't matter much since I talk to my dog and cat all the time (the joys of being single) and they sure as hell don't understand anything I say except maybe hungry, walk, and out.  So I last left off by telling you I was leaving to head out to Hawaii for a family vacay.  Well I'm back, slightly tanner, and a whole lot more annoyed at my family.  Basically Hawaii is an amazing spot with lots to do and I hope to go back, but I sure as hell will never go back with my family.  It's sad that I feel this way and maybe I am being a spoiled little brat since my parents footed the bill for housing and airfare, but golly gee whiz my parents seem to have forgotten that I am 31 and not 13.

Abstract Seashore

The week started by my brother, sis-n-law, and parents picking me up at my house- I should have taken public transit.  I spent 2 hours with them waiting for the first leg of the flight.  Then it arrived and there were 4 hours in the plane together.  We landed in Phoenix and had an hour to hang before we got on another 6 hour flight to Honolulu. Needless to say I spent 13 hours in extremely tight quarters with my family and we hadn't even arrived at our destination.  I should also tell you that my parents and bro talks incessantly. I'm not saying that I'm quiet, I am also a talker, but not anywhere near the extent they are.  After 13 hours of constant chatter and claustrophobic quarters we arrived to our first stop Honolulu.  Since we arrived at 7 pm, we were just spending the night and flying out to our final destination of Maui the next day.  As we are heading to our hotel scummy motel my dad tells us he got 2 rooms; one for my brother and his wife, and one for me and my parents...because a 31 year old single woman shouldn't be afforded the same amount of privacy as a married couple.  Needless to say I booked my own room.  Good thing since the dump we were in contained one full bed in a room with about 2 feet of clearance on 3 sides of the bed.

The next morning we headed to the airport to catch a 9 seater plane out to Maui.  I got to listen to my parents and bro bitch about how long the line was taking when clearly a 9 seat plane wasn't going to take off without 5 of it's passengers.  The best thing about riding such a tiny plane is that the weigh all your stuff as well as every person in order to distribute the weight evenly throughout the plane.  When it was my turn to get on the industrial sized scale instead of averting his eyes like everyone else does my DAD blurted out to my family, everyone in line, and the dude behind the counter helping us  "Looks like my daughter needs to go on a diet".  Oh yes, he really did say that.  I immediately walked off with tears in my eyes.  Anyone who knows me, and I would say my parents know me pretty well, knows how sensitive I am about my weight.  I have always been chubby.  Funny thing is I work out more than any one of my friends, all of whom are smaller than me.  Oh and I had foot surgery in January so I haven't really been able to work out since then (though I am back at boot camp now).  This pretty much put a damper on the rest of vacation.  While I got past it, I will never get over it.  My mom played it off like "Oh, men don't realize what they say".  Fuck that... there isn't a person in this world that doesn't realize that weight is not a subject you bring up with women.

Anyhoo back to this long winded retelling of my story.  We get on a the tiny plane and after 45 minutes arrive in Maui.  The airport overlooks the gorgeous crystal blue waters.  We arrived at 10, but can't get in our condo until 3 so we head to a fancy resort mall on the beach, where we shop for a bit, have lunch, and then hang in the sand.  We come back to this same "mall" 2 different times during our vacation... not my choice, but when you have 1 car for 5 people you have to trudge along. We finally get to the condo and it's lovely; right on the beach with amazing views of Molokai across the way.

The first full day we hung at the condo and went to a cheesy luau.  The next day my bro and sis-n-law dropped me off at the top of the volcano Haleakala so I could go on a 5 hour horseback ride to the crater and back. Yes, I was the only person dropped off, and I was the only person not part of a couple.  Another yay for singlehood.  My parents picked me up.  The following day we snorkeled at Kapalua Bay.  I got to swim with sea turtles - it was quite awesome.  By this point I was extremely annoyed with my family.  My brother would just drink constantly and talk incessantly and my parents thought that we should spend every waking hour as a family. Oh, except when my bro and his wife wanted space then I should spend time with them because me being single means I never need space. I love them, but it was just too much. The day after that we went for the most expensive massages ever.  I'm just telling you I will never again pay extra for getting a massage on the beach.  Especially considering we had to walk 2 minutes from the spa to the massage tent through the heat there and back which gets you out of the massage zone and the tents were right next to the pool so on one hand you can hear waves breaking, on the other you get to hear kids playing at the pool which was directly on the other side as well as people walking along the path right next to the tent.  It was at the Hyatt spa in Kaanapali.  I recommend getting a massage inside.  Skip the beachfront. The last full day we all did our own thing which perhaps made that the most enjoyable day for me.  I rented a bike and was on my own schedule.   I drove over to Kapalua Bay to snorkel, I went out to eat at a local Hawaiian restaurant, I hung on the beach, and chatted with some local Hawaiians.  The last day we left Maui on the first flight out and spent the day in Honolulu.  By this time I was about done with it all. I just wanted to be on my own, doing my own thing, but Kila, my sis-n-law had planned ahead and rented a car so I hitched a ride with her and my bro.  It was fun.  We hung in some parks, hiked to a waterfall, and walked around waikiki.  Then we spent another 13 hours together on the way home.

I wish I didn't feel like such an ungrateful bitch, but I will never ever go on another family vacation unless I have my own room and own ride.  I can't be reliant on someone else that much nor can I be around people who are so different from me. I love my family, but I'm like the black sheep... I love personal space and time alone, I'm much more liberal, and much more open to new experiences and ideas.

Anyhoo after all that bitching here are some pictures from Hawaii.  You can see a lot more on my Flickr Page.

Sea Turtle



Surfs Up

This picture made it on Flickrs blog.  Quite exciting!
Out Fishing

02 May 2013

Over and Out

Flying out to Maui in the am.  Who's jealous??  The pups are all snug in their temporary homes and I am prepared to be back in a couple of weeks with some amazing photos.  Get pumped up!

30 April 2013

Finally Finished

This is hopefully my last post about my one and only bathroom.  Click HERE to read a previous post.

To bring you up to speed... months ago when I had already started purchasing items for my kitchen renovation, I noticed that there was an odd spot on the ugly pine floors right next to the toilet.  I felt this and realized the wood was rotten.  Uh Oh!  I decided  I needed to go ahead and get the bathroom done before I fell through the floor while sitting on the toilet.  I have HATED the bathroom in my house since I bought the place; the light was hideous (me not adding missing bulbs didn't help), the mirror builders grade, the old POS vanity, and the super grungy pine floors better suited to a cabin in the woods. Since I was already going to get the floor replaced I decided I would go ahead and replace the light, mirror, vanity, and toilet.  The 1950's ceramic tub and decent square white tile would be left alone.  

Flash back to the beginning of April. The contractor is supposed to start on my house this morning.  I get a call around lunch from him telling me I need to come by and look at some things in the house. I ask if this is bad.  "Could be worse" he answered. I had a co-worker who has been a home inspector for years come with me to make sure whatever he had to tell me was true and honest.  I don't want to get scammed for being the naive homeowner that I am.  Basically we get there and he has already started the bathroom demo.  He found all kinds of rotten wood; from a supporting wall to the sill of the house.  He also found that it was rotten under the tub too, which meant the tub had to come out. Sad day indeed.  This is one of the problems with owning a 93 year old house.  You open something up and notice all the rot and decay that needs to be redone. The main reason for all the rotting had to do with the toilet pipe being attached to nothing so basically it just moved slightly all the time so water was always leaking out. 

Basically what should have been a quick remodel tuned into a major renovation.  I had to stay at friends house for 2 weeks since this is my house's one and only bathroom. Staying in a friends small 800 sq foot house with me, her, her 2 anti-dog cats, and my brand new adopted great dane Moose was a bit difficult, but we managed.  Now I have a nice new bathroom with no plans to redo it any time soon.   

The things I had done:
- New tile floor (also new subfloor) which is penny round from The Tile Store
- New toilet 
- New tub
- New vanity (Godmorgon from Ikea)
- New mirror (Molger from Ikea)
- New overhead light (indoor/outdoor light from Home Depot - I might replace this, I'm not sure I like it here)
-New shower curtain (Restoration Hardware)
- New trashcan  (SimpleHuman)
-Wall and ceiling repainted (Moonshine by Benjamin Moore) 

Things to do: 
-new door handle (Bella has chewed up the one on the door)
-hang art
-hang towel holder
-hang a window shade

Just a few pictures of the (mostly) finished product (click on any of the pictures to make them bigger):

and some comparison shots from what it looked like to now:

23 April 2013

Kitchen Confidential

Well, my kitchen is finally finished and my house is mostly back in order, other than the massive amounts of art that haven't been rehung.  I wanted to show you some after shots of the space as well as some comparison views.  First off, the remodel took a lot longer than it should have.  This isn't due to the kitchen, but due to massive amounts of rotting wood hidden behind the bathroom walls and under the bathroom floor.  Yay 93 year old house! Here is the link back to my last kitchen post.  I will post about the bathroom next time.

Anyhoo, the things I redid this time (I had already repainted bottom cabinets grey, replaced hardware, and painted the fridge):
-New counter tops (On the main stretch it was a lovely patterned Formica and it is now Glacier White Corian, on the microwave stretch is it is now butcher block)
-New sink (went from a shallow 5 inch two bowl, to a 9 inch one bowl)
-New faucet (short to crazy tall)
-Microwave is up on a shelf (not wasting valuable space)
-White subway tile back splash with dark grey grout (possibly my favorite feature)
-Ceiling and walls painted pale grey
-New track lighting
-Open shelving repainted white (still need to do the inside of the dish area open shelving)

Last things that need to be done are to get a new range, hang up artwork, paint the insides of the main open shelving, and paint the upper cabinets and put new hardware on them.  Then I can call this kitchen finished.

Here are the pictures (click on any pictures to make them bigger):

And some comparison shots of what the kitchen either looked like before I bought the house or before this round of work was done (click on any pictures to make them bigger):

02 April 2013

Welcome Home ze' Moose

Ooops, I did it again.  I welcomed another new animal into the household.  Since Bella has been living with my parents full time because of her aversion to my house (I'll share that story some time soon) and since Hobie the lab left to join his dad up north and since Tommy the cat is lovely,  but isn't a dog I felt I needed another warm body with me.  This is where you meet ze' Moose.

Basically I was sort of kind of looking for another dane, but kept backing out.  I emailed a local rescue after I saw an extremely crappy pic of him just asking how he was with dogs, cats, and people.  the lady emailed me back, but I never responded.  Right before I had to drive Hobie up to Knoxville to give him back to his dad the lady emailed again saying Zeus (Moose's former name) would be at Petsmart @ perimeter the following day if I wanted to meet him.  I was going to back out and then decide "what the hey, it can't hurt".  The following day, after suffering from Hobie withdrawals (I mentioned him HERE), I went to meet Zeus (Moose).  He seemed nice enough, but I was still going to let him slip out of my life.  The rescue lady asked me to fill out an application though so being the good follower I did.  She called me two hours later to tell me I was accepted to adopt him.

Errrr, don't you need to actually check with my vet and references to make sure I'm not bullshitting.

Anyhoo, we made plans for me to pick him up.  They allowed me to take a week to essentially foster him and make a decision.  To be honest I wasn't planning on keeping him.  I don't think I made the final decision until the day the week was up.  The reason I wasn't going to keep him is because he was (is) super needy in the house. He is constantly on me like white on rice and doesn't give up. Some people may like this quality, but I can't stand a super needy anything, be it man, dog, or friend.  Also he wasn't (isn't) Bella.  The reasons I did decide to keep him are simple.  Moose is great with dogs, ignores cats, and loves people.  Those are important traits for a dog to have.  He also is very easy going.

Right now we are in a training class. Luckily I had him stay at the training peoples farm a couple of weekends ago so they could drill in the basics. I now realize what they meant when they told me "[he's] stubborn"  when I picked him up.  Moose and I have had a trying time with the commands, but hopefully he will pick things up.

Without further ado meet Moose:

19 March 2013

Recipe Time: Jerk-Spiced Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower and Chickpeas

I made quite a delicious meatless meal a couple of weeks ago;  this brussels sprout, chickpea, and cauliflower dish as well as cream-less cauliflower leek soup. I often cook veg at home, I just find it quicker. This dish is quite tasty; I adapted it from Food & Wine Mag.

  1. Recipe
  2.  3-4 Tablespoons of jerk seasoning (I like to find the most interesting and legit looking seasoning at the grocery.  Oftentimes it's easier to find if you look in the grocery stores specialty section.) 
  3. 1+ tablespoon of red pepper flakes ( I like to stir things with my spicy spoon [so says my friend] so if you don't like things quite so spicy don't add the flakes considering jerk seasoning tends to be spicy as is)
  4. 1/2 cup of olive oil (extra virgin or plain)
  5. One 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained and patter dry (It's important to get these dry.  The drier they are, the crispier they will get)
  6. 1 lb of small brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
  7. 4 cups of cauliflower florets (or 1 heads worth)
  8. Salt
-Preheat the oven to 425.  Pour the jerk spice mix into a large pan that is oven safe.  Heat on the stove top at low heat for about 2 minutes shaking the pan constantly.  
- Add most of the oil to the pan (save a tablespoon or two for the cauliflower). Once it shimmers add the chickpeas to the pan and cook on medium to high heat for about 5 minutes or until the chickpeas are getting slightly crispy.  
-While the chickpeas are cooking take a baking sheet/ roasting pan and lightly oil.  Put the cauliflower on the sheet and then coat with a smidge of oil. Sprinkle with a bit of salt.  Put the pan into the oven.
-Add the brussels sprouts to the pan of chickpeas and mix in. Let cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring once or twice.  You want the brussels to slightly brown.
-Once the brussels are slightly browned take the chickpea and brussels pan and put it in the oven next to the cauliflower pan. 
-Cook for 15 - 20 minutes stirring once. By this time the cauliflower should be slightly brown, the brussels cooked and browned, and the chickpeas are crispy. 
-Pull out of oven and mix the cauliflower in with the brussels sprouts and chickpeas. Add a bit of salt and some ground black pepper.  

You are good to go. Enjoy!

08 March 2013

My Kitchen Renovation

I told you about my bathroom renovation and showed you my plans so now I am showing you my kitchen plans.  Right now the glaciar white corian counter tops are on and the sink and faucet are in (check out the instagram photo on the side if you want to see them).  What isn't done is the butcher block counter top, microwave shelf, lighting, and tile. Oh and I'm going to get a new range at some point.  I wasn't planning on it, but with clean white counter tops my cheap Magic Chef range that has been in this house for who knows how long sort of looks like shit so I've decided to replace that too.  The tiny cabinet where the microwave sits is what will be butcher block and there will be a shelf for the microwave to sit giving me access to that counter top. In a kitchen as small as mine I need all the space I can get. Please don't be scared by all the crap junking up the kitchen.  It doesn't normally look that junk filled, but for some reason I decided to take picture after I had stocked the kitchen full of the items that will be used in the reno.  Also the tidy cats container contains dog food, not litter and I have cleared off the fridge completely since viewing how messy it appears in photos.  I hate my house being cluttery and these pictures make it seem like that is true.  Wait until the finished product.  Hopefully I'll have new pictures for you in 2 to 3 weeks.

Kitchen Before

Kitchen Before

Kitchen Before

Kitchen Before
My Kitchen Reno