Thursday, February 4, 2016

Jane takes a hike

My "Discover Virginia" project got off to a bit of a rocky start.

Immediately after my last post I eagerly scoured the Outdoor School website for classes to help me check off my list. I signed up for an Outdoor Rock Climbing for Beginners course. Then fall happened and my class was cancelled due to rain.

I was sad for like a second. Then, someone said "Billy Goat Trail" and I was all "sign me up!" After all, if you can't rock climb you may as well scramble.

Turns out, I had exactly the right attitude. See, I assumed "rock scramble" translated to "move quickly so as to not fall down an incline covered in scree." I thought I would have to literally scramble up certain parts of the trail. Makes complete sense, right?

Yeah, well, I was wrong. A scramble is sort of like the bunny slope of rock climbing. You have to pick your way up, over, and around some pretty sizable rocks.

Following in the footsteps of Brandon and Zac.

My fellow hikers were super kind about helping me navigate the best path, and they were always quick to offer a steadying hand or a boost. However, like a petulant toddler I insisted I wanted "to do it myself." But, because I can find ways to fall down on perfectly flat ground there was always one experienced hiker in front of me and one behind. Just in case

How could you not trust those faces?

No special climbing shoes or ropes were required, but there was a bit of hand-over-hand hoisting.

See Zac climb

Okay, fine, Some members of our party climbed and hoisted and scrambled. I opted for something resembling more of a crawl.

See Jane crawl

Athena did a little bit of climbing and a little bit of crawling, but I think the crawling was just to keep me from feeling lame.

It's nice knowing your friends have your back

I was absolutely fascinated with what I have dubbed "the Venus rocks."

It looks like two different rocks got smushed together, but I have no idea if that's really what was going on here or if different parts of one rock reacted differently to elements of erosion. Surely somebody reading this can give me an explanation.

The Commodore - oh yes, The Commodore absolutely had to come along - was so over the stupid two-toned rocks. He preferred the scenery from the flat rocks closer to the water.

Actually, internet, there are no bad views at Great Falls*.

*Okay, Athena might have been stuck with a less than stellar view a few times throughout the day.

See Jane's butt

Putting aside Athena's possible trauma, it was an excellent hike with excellent people, and an excellent way to cross off number 2 on my Opt Out list.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Jane Opts Out

Remember when the fam and I relocated from Tampa, Florida to Springfield, Virginia on account of Ben's job and the general awesomeness of the greater DC area? That was almost two-and-a-half years ago! Two. And a half. Years.

And, recent events have led me to believe we have less than a year before we're marveling at the general awesomeness of a completely different region.

But, wait! I don't feel as though I've really done Virginia yet. Yeah, I've covered the museums. And I've graced The Kennedy Center with my presence for a few productions. Many clothing stores, several antique shoppes, and a good number of restaurants have endured my patronage. But the actual state of Virginia has all but escaped my attentions.

This is especially sad because I work for REI (yeah, who would've thunk it?).

REI Woodbridge, VA

Also, Virginia is gorgeous.

So it's about time I embrace the culture of REI Woodbridge (and everybody - EVERYBODY - I work with) and adopt the latest trend to Opt Out(side).

I'm making a list, which will probably be revised, of activities I just have to do before I vacate the state. So far, I have 10 activities penciled in:
  1. Play disc golf
  2. Go on a hike that includes a rock scramble
  3. Go camping
  4. Participate in a local stewardship project
  5. Try Stand Up Paddle-boarding
  6. Kayak
  7. Rock climb
  8. Learn to navigate with a map and compass
  9. Repel
  10. Plant an edible garden
Obviously, some of these will have to wait for spring. Luckily, our fall has been temperate thus far so I can jump right into the outdoors. I'm open to any suggestions and recommendations too.

I am also open to you wishing me luck. My biography contains quite the list of injuries I sustained when not being adventurous.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Secrets are no fun

Remember back in January when I alluded to a big change coming in 2014? Well, I suppose it is time to 'fess up.

Emily is moving.

I know I don't owe you all an explanation, but I hope you understand that we feel it is in her best interest for her to live with her father. It was a hard decision, as I'm sure you can imagine, and it has been followed by many difficult steps to prepare us all for this change.

Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~ Elizabeth Stone

At summer's end Ben and I will have to take on an entirely different parenting role - a long distance one. Luckily, we live in the age of the internet so we'll be able to "see" and talk to each other regularly.  We plan to have some fun finding creative ways to say "we love you" across the miles. Of course, there will also be visits and family vacations. Those are some of the silver linings.

A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path. ~ Agatha Christie

My personal journey will be a search for my new place in the world. Who am I outside of "mommy;" what do I like, how do I act? I suppose some excitement can be found in the prospect of looking for myself...but I'm not there yet. I'm still struggling a bit with accepting this whole scenario. I imagine this is a lot what parents sending their kids off to college, or those in the armed forces preparing for deployment feel like. It is a strong cocktail of grief, apprehension, and anxiety, with a spritz of excitement and a sour lemon twist.

It's not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can't tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it myself. ~ Joyce Maynard 

As in all things, We can only do our best with the time we have left of Emily living here full time, and with the time that follows. And with whatever time comes after that.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Good as Gold

When it comes to jewelry - either for me or for my house - I've always favored silver tones. My wedding ring is platinum, my belts all have silver buckles, and all my bathroom fixtures are either chrome or brushed nickel.

Over the past few years, however, gold has crept its way onto my radar. Apparently I'm not alone. Thanks to cinematic prowess of The Great Gatsby opulence is in and gold is expected to be a huge trend in weddings this year.

I wouldn't say I've become obsessed, but I have amassed quite a collection (pins) of ways I could gild the lily.

On the homefront

Wit & Delight
Nancy Lorenz
ShopBop via COCOCOZY
Golden Girl

What do you think? Can you see yourself sporting a little gold leaf this spring?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Baby, it is cold outside

Like really cold. I apparently should have been training for this sort of weather because my body is not conditioned for the cold. Nope.

We got our first snow in December; an early winter in DC terms.

Some of us were more excited about it than others.

By the end of January we'd had more than 7 seven inches of snow and maxed out the allotted number of snow days for our school district. Internet,snow days are only fun one day at a time. Four consecutive days of school closures equals too many hours of a stir crazy child. I hit my limit about three days before she did.

Sure, it looks all beautiful and romantic, but really it is cold and wet. And more cold. With a side of ice. It looks like Narnia up in here!

And now The Washington Post is projecting another 5 to 14 (14!!!!!) inches before the end of this week. Good thing Emily thinks shoveling snow is a type of fun.

Also, she acquired this really awesome hat.

Smiles make everything awesome. Even snow days.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Quote to Consider

The background photo was taken at an amazing conference center 60 miles south of Walden Pond. Yes, that Walden pond.

Inspired by Dave Ursillo. Think about it.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Then and Now

I've been on Pinterest forever. Okay, not forever, but since its inception more than three years ago. Just skimming through, some of my pins came from early spring of 2010. Today I boast 95 boards and more than 7,000 pins.

I occasionally go through my pins to make sure they have a proper link and hash tags. It's a side effect of the crazy. Lately I've also become intimate with my "Decor to Adore" and "Mastering my Domain" boards because, you know, I'm a homeowner now.  It cracks me up to see how my tastes have changed in just three short years. Let's do some then and now comparison.

Once upon a time, this kitchen looked ideal.

from shona hem via pinterest

Now, this is what makes me swoon.

from Small Place Style via Pinterest

There was a time when I would walked 1000 in these shoes.

Polyvore via Pinterest

Today's choice would be almost as precious, but not nearly as cloying.

Where did you Get That via Pinterest

This would've been just the right amount of sparkle.

Fashion is Poison via Pinterest

These days, less is more.

1st Dibs via Pinterest

I haven't painted my finger nails in years - probably  close to a decade - but I almost considered doing this.

Hitchhiking on the Howling Road via Pinterest

Now, I'd more likely entertain this manicure.

Bloom via Pinterest

I'll never doubt Karen Millen's sense of design and tailoring.

Karen Millen via Pinterest

But I think I'll don something a bit more playful while I still can.

1st Dibs via Pinterest

I have always had unreal expectations about how much I can get done so you can imagine how long some pins have been sitting on my Make Me This board just waiting for me to actually make them. Among my early ambitions was this ruffled cardigan.

Life is Beautiful via Pinterest

However,since there are only 24 hours in a day I'd rather spend my time on this more tailored refashion.

Z via Pinterest
Speaking of that odd universal lack of time, you don't even want to know how many things have been pinned with the greatest intentions and absolutely no follow through. Whoops.

New Year's Resolution, anyone?