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  • I’ve been doing this exercise:
  • I don’t think anything can adequately convey how much it can hurt, but I’ll try.  Derik (my trainer) said, somewhat jokingly, “Most of the women I start on this say childbirth hurt only slightly less.”  Yes, well…I had a c-section.  The epidural wore off in the middle of it.  Okay, imagine that pain.  Believe it or not, this exercise did come sort of close to that sharp, excruciating feeling the first time I did it.  There were tears dripping off my face onto the gym floor.  The cool thing, though?  The second time I did it, a couple of days later, no problem.  Sure, it was really painful, but exponentially less so than the first time.  It was even less painful today (the third time).  There is hope, especially since doing this on a daily basis may help relieve some – or a lot – of my knee pain.
  • I am now reading The Hunger Games.  Wow, it’s as fabulous as everyone says it is.
  • I just got a great email.  In 2005, Jason and I drove from Atlanta to St. Louis to see one of the last games at Busch Stadium, before it was torn down to build a new Busch Stadium.  While there, we planted a letterbox with a very cool stamp, if I may say so.  Upon arriving home, I lost the clues for the box.  Oops.  *Time warp to 2010, almost exactly 5 years to the week after that trip.* Someone found the box, rescued it, looked me up on, and emailed me tonight.  I do hope the box is intact and that we can get someone to replant it in that area.  Trust me, this is very exciting news for a letterboxer.
  • Kalen has a raging ear infection.  It’s so bad that doctor actually recoiled from his ear when she first looked in.  Apparently, both ears are fire engine red on the inside.  Of course, he feels miserable, but he loves the pink amoxicillin (who doesn’t?) and the break from school to watch Star Wars movies.  What is he most upset about?  Missing the first Lego Engineering class after school tomorrow.  (That “24 hours free of fever” rule.)  I can’t say as I blame him, especially when I think about how much that class cost.  Oh, and, I guess, the Legos.
  • That should do for some random.  Plenty more available if you click the not-so-ugly button up top!

March 20, 2010

The guys’ first ferry ride

My hair + wind = photo opportunity

Picnic lunch at the park housing the first letterbox on our list

Tiny flower from a boy (tucked into my ring)

Hiking through the woods, on the way to letterbox #2

The beach at the end of the trail ~ lovely surprise!

Look at that view!


Playing around while waiting for Dad to find letterbox #3

Future heartbreakers

Races…great way to tire them out for the trip home.

Boy, it’s humid in Atlanta in August.  I know, I know, it’s a given, but I really do forget just how bad it is out there when I’m happily ensconced in my air conditioned home.

This morning, we had a playdate with our neighbors…from our old neighborhood, that is.  Their oldest son is Kalen’s age, and they were in the same Kindergarten class last year.  These boys have so much fun together, and they were troopers this morning!  I needed to replace the logbook in one of our most popular letterboxes, so I recruited them to accompany us on a mini-hike to take care of it.

Of course, I took my camera…and you know it’s Monday.


So today, I did my part to educate friends about Letterboxing and Bench Monday.  Both make me happy!

Getting together with friends we don’t see often enough makes me even happier.  Thanks for a great day, guys!

Last weekend, I visited my sister in Virginia. Heather’s in law school up there, and we see each other only once or twice a year, so we were due for a sisterly-type weekend. So, without further ado, a brief photo journal, entitled Sisters in Arlington:

Chapter One ~ Thursday evening

Our heroine arrives at the airport, where she is greeted by our heroine. The two make the brief drive to Our Heroine’s Home, along the tree-filled avenues bordering the mighty Potomac River.

After a brief respite, our heroines enjoy a dinner of Scrumptious Specialty Sandwiches at a local eatery benefiting homeless animals. Our heroines then decide to make the journey to the Olde Neighbourhood, where they seek out the abodes and schoolhouses of old. Following our heroine’s well-honed sense of direction, and relying upon no small amount of luck, our heroines find the second of their Childhood Homes in the area.

Our heroines finish the evening in grand, sisterly style, accompanying the local easy listening station on the car radio at the top of their lungs. Upon returning to our heroine’s home, they peruse the Wonders of Cable and enjoy a period film, featuring an actor from a musical film often watched in our heroines’ Girlhood Years.

Chapter Two ~ Friday

Our heroines spend Friday out and about in the sweltering heat, accomplishing Important Tasks and Necessary Errands.

Our heroine also receives a tour of our heroine’s Educational Facilities, and experiences the wonderful quaintness that is Old Town Alexandria. That evening, our heroines enjoy a gourmet delivery dinner of Chinese Cuisine while watching Ocean’s Thirteen, Monty Python, and That Mitchell and Webb Look. There was Much Rejoicing.

Our evening ends with a Birthday Celebration for our heroine’s dear friend, the Fairy Princess Laura, accompanied by libations and classic bluegrass entertainment.

Chapter Three ~ Saturday

Our heroines being the Renaissance women that they are, Saturday is a day of both woodsy, outdoorsy adventure, and air-conditioned musicality. The day begins with the Ancient Sporte of letterboxing. The first such hunt being a Disappointing Failure (including the losing and Heroic Retrieval of our heroine’s prescription sunglasses), our heroines regroup and reconsider their goals.

The weather being what it is, our heroines decide to make the attempt for easier letterboxes, succeeding in retrieving five.

The day’s success is celebrated by our heroines in the local theatre, where they enjoy a rousing musical film entitled Mamma Mia! The show receives mixed reviews from our heroines. Our heroine is moved to tears several times, while our heroine declares it “okay.” Both agree, however, that a Fun Time was had by all.

The evening is spend at the local tavern, an establishment populated by the finest wait staff and most talented chefs our heroine has yet encountered. Our heroine unwisely overestimates the amount of food and drink her stomach can accommodate and leaves feeling slightly ill, which is in no way a commentary on the quality of food available at the Fine Tavern. (In fact, our heroine cannot stop thinking about the rabbit gnocchi and somewhat incredible pork chop she encountered that evening.) It should be noted as well that our heroine is correct in her observation that, “Javi makes the best mojitos on the planet.” Javi (not Javy) is welcome at our heroine’s home at any time for company and said mojitos.

Chapter Four ~ Sunday

The following morning, our heroine uses the leftover steak and chop to create an Omelet of the Highest Degree, accompanied by peppercorn bacon and French pressed coffee. Our heroines spend the morning in Leisurely Pursuites.

In order that our heroine might not be late for her appointment with Snoop Dog that afternoon, she drives our heroine to the airport shortly after lunch.

Our heroines have enjoyed a fine weekend of Song, Food, and Sisterhood. (Thanks, Swis!)

Saturday was an important day on the letterboxing calendar. It’s known to many as National Plant a Letterbox Day, and over 800 boxes were planted and logged on Atlas Quest that day, more than twice as many as were planted on the day last year. It’s also the day of the annual LbSe (Letterboxing Southeast) gathering at Stone Mountain. This was the fifth annual gathering, and over 100 people showed up! One bunch came from all the way from Seattle as part of a cross-country field trip. Lots of folks camped and stayed in nearby hotels, boxing on Friday and Sunday, leaving Saturday for socializing and exchanging stamps. Knowing the boys wouldn’t find a whole lot of joy in hanging around the picnic ground all day, however, we broke our day up.

We hit Stone Mountain running and managed one box before the 11am gathering time. That box turned into our greatest letterboxing adventure to date. As usual, once we got to the part of the clues that took us off trail, Jason (yeah, using trail names throughout this blog is just getting too cumbersome) went after the box. With the boys as young as they are, it seems safer to keep them on the path, avoiding potential meetings with forest dwellers and itch-inducing flora. After about 15 minutes, however, I began to worry. I cupped my hands around my mouth and yelled for him. No answer. Again. No answer. I joined the boys in kicking the damp sand on the path, trying to distract myself and them. A couple of minutes later, I yelled again, and still no answer. At this point, I was imagining all sorts of horrible things, all involving me contacting the park rangers. Nicky piped up with, “Where is he, Mom? I’m about to cry,” which of course almost induced the same reaction in dear old Mom.

And then it hit me. We were both carrying cell phones. Duh. I called; he answered.

“Where are you?”

“Trying to find you! I found the box, and I’m lost.”

We decided to hang up, and I’d continue shouting for him periodically, even though he hadn’t heard any of my yells so far. Eventually, he showed up, and we sat down at the nearby picnic table with the box. The box that says, in very large letters, GEOCACHE across the side. Crap! It’s not a letterbox at all. Sure enough, it’s full of dollar store trinkets. I sent Jason off with our letterboxing stuff, so he could [hopefully] find the real letterbox and stamp in there without hiking back and forth twice more. About 35 minutes later, he showed up back on the path, and we went to picnic with a hundred other boxers, a couple of whom had found that same geocache and box earlier in the morning.

The rest of the day was, while not uneventful, definitely less excitingly nervewracking. We met lots of old and new friends (all of who were wonderful), met with Jason’s brother & his wife who happened to be at the park that day, found two more letterboxes, struck out on three other boxes, and ended with a pizza dinner amongst like-minded outdoorsy artistic types. At the end of it all, the boys declared it a Great Day.

(See Part I here.)

Saturday night was interesting, to say the least. We knew heavy storms would be coming through, and they were heavy, all right. Fredbird woke up to them shortly after 3am, even with the air conditioner, refrigerator, and dehumidifier running in the hotel room. He turned on the TV and woke us all up. Rotation was being picked up by the radar in our area, and “possible tornadic activity” was rampant. Those little lines that point out the paths of what they think might be tornadoes were running straight through the intersection where our hotel sat.

Tornados freak me out. Twister (the movie) didn’t help a whole lot, either. I held it together, though, and put a big blanket down in the tub, stashing all the extra pillows in the bathroom, too. We were ready to run in there at the first sign of a tornado in the immediate vicinity. After a while, though, the majority of the storms passed, and the boys and I went back to sleep. Fredbird stayed up most of the night, watching the reports and the radar, just to be safe. He’s a good guy. The boys, as usual, were up at 6:15, and I managed to keep them mostly quiet for a couple of hours, but finally gave up and told Fredbird it was hopeless. 🙂

We drove to Callaway Gardens, and wow, what a gorgeous spot. I’ve only been once before, about 15 years ago, and that was for their Christmas Light thingy at night, so it was a very different experience. The weather was beyond gorgeous, too. The storms had pushed out all the haze, leaving puffy white clouds and a great wind that rustled the treetops. The letterboxing on Sunday was much more successful than the day before, and we found our first box within a few minutes. (We left a hitchhiker there, which was picked up the same day!) On our way back to the car, we saw a snake basking in a pool by a waterfall. I pointed it out to the guys and quickly backed away (we were on some decking well above it). Little Turtle said, “But Mom, you’re afraid of snakes.” “Yes,” I replied, “that’s why I’m back here. Can we go now?” I have never seen a snake that close up without glass involved. Compared to snakes, tornadoes are like a nice spring day. I don’t do snakes.

Next was the wonderful birds of prey show, on the way to which we crossed over a bridge where people throw [appropriate] food down to the turtles and ducks. Aren’t they cute??? Now there’s a reptile I can love. We also checked out the butterfly habitat before going after a couple more boxes. One was an easy find on a lovely little trail. The other, however…not so much. It was hidden near a stump next to a heavily populated walkway. We were there well over 30 minutes, waiting for breaks in the “traffic” and digging like heck in the leaves. We never did find that darned thing, but I connected online later with another boxer who had found it that day. She said it was difficult, but it was there. Dangit, another bust!

Our last box at Callaway Gardens was on another great little trail near the restaurant. (Here are the boys waiting on the bench while Fredbird retrieves the box.) After finding that one, we drove back through LaGrange for some Starbucks (poor Fredbird was a bit wiped after his long night & needed caffeine for the upcoming drive) and headed toward home.

I had remembered reading clues for the Newnan area before our trip that mentioned being in some part of the Coweta County Fairgrounds. We figured this might be our best bet for a hiding place for the Coweta box, so Fredbird handed me his Blackberry, and I searched out the information. We ended up at the Nature Center at the fairgrounds, finding two more boxes, and planting one of our own.

Sorry if this has been a bit long-winded, and if you’ve made it this far, thanks for sharing our weekend with us! I can’t remember a Mother’s Day I’ve enjoyed more. We left plenty of boxes in the area untouched, too, so there’s plenty of fodder for a return trip!

You may remember that I asked for a weekend of letterboxing for Mother’s Day. My guys came through!

We left Friday morning, stopping on the way to pick up my mom and drop her off at the MARTA station. She’s visiting my sister in Virginia this week. Sis just finished her second year of law school – you go girl!!

In keeping with the series of boxes I’m carving to document where the names of Georgia counties originated, I mapped our path and learned that we would be traveling through Coweta County on the way to Callaway Gardens, and our hotel would be in Troup County. (Callaway Gardens itself is in Harris County, where The C Team were kind enough to plant a box for me four years ago.) We stopped in Newnan with a list and Google map of various parks in that city and quickly discovered why those parks haven’t previously been planted with letterboxes. The first small park was nothing more than a poorly-maintained ball field, and the second was a large complex of fields. Unlike similar parks in Gwinnett County, however, there was no walking trail surrounding the fields, and thus no place that would make a reasonably accessible – yet hidden – niche. The third (and last) try was a small park that reminded us a lot of Thrasher Park in Norcross. (See the “kids” playing on its great playground?) Unfortunately, like Thrasher Park, this one was so well manicured that it was obvious any box would be found immediately by maintenance workers. We decided to bag the box for the time being and brainstorm for a place to hide it on our way home Sunday. On the way out of Newnan, we pulled into a parking lot where the boys bought me a Webkinz at Hallmark. They’re quite excited that I’m on Webkinz now, and I am the proud owner of a Leopard Lizard named Henrietta.

Our next stop was in LaGrange, to see if we could check in early at the hotel. We did, and we were given a list of parks at the front desk, so we had lunch and hit the road in search of a hidey hole for Governor Troup. The only park that was listed as having “hiking” had campsites, fishing and a horse trail, but no hiking in sight. The folks manning the camp office had no idea what we were talking about when we asked about hiking trails. Bust. So we drove around a bit, following our noses, and found a perfect spot!

After a nap at the hotel, we headed to Roosevelt State Park to check on the Charles Harris box and try to find some other letterboxes in the area. The box (and a couple of others) are hidden near President Roosevelt’s favorite picnic spot, Dowdell’s Knob. We could certainly see why he loved it so much. (That’s us at Dowdell’s knob in the photo. Check out that view!)

We found the Harris box without problem but had to give up before finding the other box on this section of trail. Thunder started to roll, and since we were nearly a mile away from the car, we figured it might not be safe to stay out in the woods. Dangit! Back at Dowdell’s Knob, we waited around a while for people to clear out, and retrieved the box hidden there. We were dismayed to find that a geocacher had found the box and taken the hand-carved stamp. In its place was a nut like hundreds of others we’d seen on the ground that day. Whether the nut was left by the ‘cacher or by someone else we’ll never know, but it was so disappointing. I hated that I’d have to go home and write to the person who had been so proud of that stamp. (In the clues, she mentioned that she was particularly proud of it.)

By this time, the thunder had started up again, and we were all exhausted and a bit cranky about our lack of boxing success. We headed back to LaGrange for dinner, baths (grimy kids!), and our beds.

I’ve been getting boxes ready for our trip this weekend. Two traditional boxes and a hitchhiker will be finding their way into the Georgia wild. I’ve been intrigued by the idea of wrapping the boxes in camouflage duct tape as a way to keep them from being quite so obvious. Unfortunately, Jo-Ann’s doesn’t carry it, and I don’t particularly feel like driving to Bass Pro Shops just to buy tape. Jo-Ann’s does carry colored duct tape, though, and I bought some brown, figuring it’ll help with the camo situation.

I didn’t realize, however, that these letterboxes would make me so hungry. The tape is exactly the color of melting Hershey’s milk chocolate. Mmmmm…letterboxes…

This weekend’s work:

This used the same pattern as my previous purse, but – again – I played with the stripes. I also bought a skein of Bernat’s Boa yarn (this color is “Tweety Bird”) for some added interest, and the button came from my stash of extras. This is one fun, funky purse! I’m going to have a hard time giving it up, but – alas! – it is meant for someone else.

I met my friend, Heather, for a Mom Date this morning. (In order to keep our sanity in a world of errands and To Do lists, we try to meet for coffee and bookshop browsing every few weeks.) Last week, when I discovered plarn crochet, I called Heather and issued an Earth Day challenge: We would each make a plarn bag. Well, we’re both hooked. Now, we’ve always known that we crochet differently – different tensions, etc. Today we discovered just how differently. She used the exact same pattern for her bag as I did (the round one), and hers is easily twice the size of mine! We got a good laugh out of that. What is a smallish purse for me is a nice-sized market tote for her, and I’m even using a larger hook than she is. Considering that I use about half the recommended plarn for my bags, I’m willing to bet she’s doing something right, and I’m doing something…well, not wrong per se….just different!

The reservations have been made for our Mother’s Day weekend near Callaway Gardens. I’m looking forward to a day of letterboxing and a day at the gardens (where there also happen to be hidden a couple of letterboxes, I believe!). I’d better get carving…

It occurred to me a couple of days ago that Mother’s Day is coming up, and for the first time in three years, I don’t have to work that day! (I’m on a leave of absence.) I began to think about what I’d really like to do for the day, and I decided I’d really like to spend it outdoors with my guys, preferably letterboxing.

So, it’s set! The day before MD (aka Mother’s Day, aka My Day), it looks like we’re going to drive down to Callaway Gardens. Fredbird’s employee discount will get us a great rate at a hotel in nearby Lagrange, and we’ll pass through two counties that I can do boxes for: Coweta and Troup. My Charles Harris box in Pine Mountain is apparently in need of a new logbook, which I’ll admit is a large part of the reason I chose to visit this part of the state. I’ve never seen the location of this box, as The C Team planted it for me years ago. Of course, Callaway has a few boxes of its own, and the Pine Mountain Trail has several, too. Looks like the makings of a great letterboxing weekend! (And I’ll figure out later how to make it up to my mother-in-law for not being around on Mother’s Day. My mom will be in Virginia with my sister that weekend.)

So, for the new boxes…these will be part of my Georgia Counties Series. Each box in this series is in honor of the namesake of the county it’s planted in. I’ve barely begun, with boxes planted for DeKalb, Gwinnett, and Harris Counties. Coweta County is named for the Coweta Tribe of the Creek Nation of Indians. Boy, is it hard to find information on the Coweta Tribe! The most prominent member of this tribe, according to written history, is a man by the name of MacIntosh, who was half Coweta Creek, half Scottish. He’s the one who signed away the Creek lands to Georgia and was later put to death by his tribe for that crime. Not someone I’m particularly in the mood to immortalize in a stamp. I’ve found a few other articles and websites about the Creeks, but nothing at all in reference to the Coweta Tribe. The few things I have found are going to be difficult to translate into stamps, but we’ll see what I can come up with.

The other un-planted (for me) county on our drive to Callaway is Troup, named for one of the governors of Georgia. There are several portraits of him to draw from, but I’m actually quite inspired by a photo I found of his tomb. It’s striking, and I’d love for this series to be more than just a portrait gallery of famous Georgians. (e.g., The Gwinnett stamp is a replica Button Gwinnett’s signature, as he was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.) I don’t know, though…a tomb is kind of morbid. Regardless, I won’t make the final decision known here, so the stamp will be a surprise!

My boys

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