Outakes (Interlochen State Park)

On Sunday I visited Interlochen State Park. While the park was more of well kept campground, I still enjoyed walking about and taking some pictures of various natural lovelies.

I walked along the nature trail in the park. The whole walk was riddled with pine trees and the scent was most intoxicating. I was immediately cooled by this scent, seeing as I associate such a smell with Christmas and snowy forests. A very simple trail, but I enjoyed it immensely.

This is a snag that had been struck by lightening and thus was rent apart for all to see.

This is a snag that had been struck by lightening and thus was rent apart for all to see.

A shot of the upper innards of the snag.

A shot of the upper innards of the snag.

Aside from the plant life, I encountered some simple critters. Though common enough I do wish to share their sweetness here.

I know they are pesky, but I must admit that I dearly love chipmunks.

I know they are pesky, but I must admit that I dearly love chipmunks.

I mean, come on,  look at that face!

I mean, come on, look at that face!

Apparently they are common, but this is the first place where I have seen a black squirrel.

Apparently they are common, but this is the first place where I have seen a black squirrel.

Finally, for the cutest critter of the day…





Outakes (Camp Tour)

The following are merely a collection of images that capture things that I find beautiful about my current location. I didn’t take any shots of the shop I work in, or the dining hall where I have been taking my meals. Still, I think you’ll get the idea.

Although I don't live in one, I do very much enjoy all the cabins scattered about the campus.

Although I don’t live in one, I do very much enjoy all the cabins scattered about the campus.

I have a thing for all the trees around here, sue me.

A shot of one of the auditoriums. I will not be painting anything that goes in here, but the space looked so stunning from this angle.

A shot of one of the auditoriums. I will not be painting anything that goes in here, but the space looked so stunning from this angle.

Yes, of course I found the geese (and their fluffy little adolescent goslings).

Yes, of course I found the geese (and their fluffy little adolescent goslings).

Felt like I was flying just by looking at this.

Felt like I was flying just by looking at this.

I could definitely get used to this :)

I could definitely get used to this 🙂

Wild Journeys to Good Places

I am now in Michigan, and what a wild ride to get here. I mean, I guess it wasn’t completely wild in the sense that I didn’t suffer any trouble with dragons or wild boars, but by the standards of my own normality I would say there was a slight funk of wildness about the trip. Handsome and I left on Saturday, driving 8 hours to Ohio to stay with my friend The Raven. The Raven is a friend of mine whom I met at WordBridge last year, and he is by far one of the most talented and intricately woven people that I know. His abode happened to be at a halfway point between my parents’ place and the Camp, so he was kind enough to offer us lodging for the night. I could not have imagined a more pleasant evening. The house that he and his wife share is a most beautiful structure that clearly has been loved and rendered to fit the energy of its inhabitants. They had a huge backyard that felt like a tiny woodland and an incredible dog named Scout who suffered my terrible throwing for the sake of chasing various objects into the greenery surrounding. The Raven regaled us with tales of folly, anxiety, beauty, and general wonder as well as taking us to a most excellent restaurant where we ate entirely too much food. The evening was spent in the company of him and his wife on the back porch as we discussed the state of modern theatre as we watched Scout stare down a pair of raccoons (safely up in a tree…the raccoons not the dog) and later a storm that was so heavy a downpour to look almost unreal. The next morning, we were sent off with a most delicious breakfast (a quiche consisting of egg, cheese, spinach, bacon, and mushrooms) and a warm farewell.

I left Handsome at an airport three hours shy of my destination. The goodbye was a little harder than usual for me because I have gotten a little spoiled seeing him so often of late. I know I should not be so wistful considering he and I will soon be living together, but welcome to the immediate desires of the human heart. Driving to the Camp was like nothing I have ever experienced. I have driven through wooded areas, but nothing like this forever place where trees actually have enough presence to remind you how insignificant you are in the midst of this landscape. I drove and drove, deeper into a world where I could feel my shoulders lose their tension while my heart beat itself into my throat. I finally arrived at the Camp, which is something of a cross between a miniature college campus and the old-fashioned-log-cabin camp. I thankfully managed to get my keys and into my room, but I was not long there. The gentleman who hired me, R-Dog, kindly drove me to meet with the rest of my co-workers for dinner. I am not going to list all of them right now, but I am sure they will all crop up sooner or later. Dinner was a raucous and relaxed affair that allowed me to only munch on my foot a few times, while also giving me the opportunity to say intelligent and witty things that made up for afore mentioned foot munching. After dinner, I lent a hand to a couple coworkers for move-in and was returned the help for my own belongings. We then sat up talking into the wee hours…which was not the wisest decision considering the early wake up. Still, I could not have begged for a better welcome and though there is more to tell, I think I will hold off until some of the more interesting paintwork begins. Suffice it to say, I think I made an excellent choice coming here.

Everything That Has Happened

I feel like I have been flung into a completely unfamiliar universe that is trying to play at being familiar. I suppose that happens in a sudden upheaval. When I moved to Florida, everything was different, from faces to the fact that seasons disappeared. I find a delicious comfort in that. As I said, adapting to a new place is one of my chief delights. Now, I am back in a place where the cold rips right to your ribs, and I recognize the faces and places that once required evolution on my part. None of this makes much sense to those who are only acquainted with my adventures through the blog. So, I shall lay out all that has happened since I posted last

– I visited a relative whom I shall call the Silver Lady. She took me on many a wonderful adventure from cracking pecans, to a shop full of curiosities, to a restaurant of the most delectable southern cooking ever to grace my meagre palette. A trip that shall definitely receive its proper due in a later post.

– My most recent job became a thing of the past. The contract was up, and I thus left with the park with no regrets and no intention of returning for another season. I do not wish to outline the reasons in this venue. Suffice it to say that I have only so long to seek an opportunity to enjoy what I do more often than I do not, and I refuse to let that time fly from me.

-I left Florida. With the job over, and no intention of seeking another season, I decided it was time to fly northwards again. The accessibility of the east coast is much easier to tap when not at the very southern tip of the country. Also…..I did not want to stay in that location. I am a child of seasons, and a lover of the cold. Not many agree with me, but I would rather be shaking from the organs outward with chill than be an inconsolable puddle of melting misery, with the heat peeling out every ounce of strength. I like to be reminded of how special the sun really is, and I love a winter landscape. The trees are exposed and vulnerable. Standing against the sky they look human. Much as Florida’s constant greenery is a beauteous sight, I crave change in the things I see every day. There are other reasons far more practical, but I deeply missed winter, and that in my mind was just a good a reason as any.

-I said goodbye to those I would miss. For some, I was able to bid them farewell at a local bar on the  evening of our last day. Most of the seasonals ended on the same day I did, so we gathered at a bar to enjoy drinks and contemplate our varying amounts of freedom. For others, I managed to meet up with them at places of good food and drink, swapping final stories and promises of contact. Though my heart did clench slightly, I also have distinct feeling temporary when it comes to goodbye. My industry is far too small for truly permanent leave-taking. Eventually, you will see everyone again.

– I made the move in a car, and Handsome joined me for the ride. He flew down just to help me pack, clean my apartment, and escort me from Florida all the way to my new dwelling in New Jersey. Odd as it may sound, Handsome and I do really well in a car for hours at a time. Though we have certainly known each other long enough to have exhausted our topics of conversation, somehow, we still manage to fill hours with talk that makes those hours move as smoothly as dark chocolate. Thus, the trip was well and truly a pleasure.

-I moved in with the parental units. As happens with early adulthood, sometimes we need to live somewhere that allows us to get our bearings before striking out on the next adventure. My parentals are being extremely gracious, and I expect that I will not be with them overlong. The nice thing is, they are glad to have me with them. Even nicer, I am glad to be with them as well.  The house is not the one I spent my childhood within, nor the dreary in between place they had for a time. This house is large, and holds light like a stained glass window. Every room is a cheerful color, so that the overall effect is akin to the inside of a box containing pastel Skittles. A mile from the beach, a minute from a gym, and situated so that I am only three hours from most of my friends, the house is a good place to sit and breathe for a time.

I am now visiting Baltimore, where a good chunk of my community is found. There is a new play festival here, and, although I care little for football, with a town that loves their team so obsessively, I couldn’t possibly not stay for the Super Bowl. I have been delighted to see those that I love, eat incredible food, listen to new works, and make dinosaur landscapes using mashed potatoes, broccoli, and dino-shaped chicken nuggets. There is joy, sadness, and strangeness all bound in me right now. But, as I said, such is to be expected with such a major upheaval, and there is much still to do before the sorting of myself can occur. So as usual, hobey ho! So we go.

My Weekend, Quite Perfect

This weekend rocked all kinds of socks, shoes, and other various attire that could be said to do so. Handsome arrived Thursday, and Friday was spent meandering around Lettuce Lake. We stopped at one end of the boardwalk, and I happily sketched away while he took the opportunity to nap. We met a lovely gentleman who was a fellow artist, and we happily passed some time chatting with him about various stuff. Then, we went home and proceeded to prepare for a costume party at Super Lady’s domicile. Sweet Shooter was kind enough to drive, and I was pleasantly surprised by how awesome the party was for me. Normally, I don’t do well in large groups of people, and a good portion of the people at this event were unknown to me. However, a perfect party is had when everyone is friendly and drunk in the enjoyable fashion, and that was exactly how this one ran. I had lovely conversation, enjoyed some Yuengling, and did quite well in a game of giant Jenga. Quite an excellent evening to be sure

The next day, Saturday, Handsome and I decided to go back to Lettuce Lake and rent a canoe for the afternoon. A totally perfect idea. The river was calm, and we saw many a beauteous bird and tree as we made our way. I have a deep fondness for canoeing, ever since my camp days. For a time, I was even certified by the Red Cross in canoeing (yeah, certification for everything these days). I learned most of my skills from a canoe trip I took through the Adirondack State Park. I was 17, and it was probably one of the best weeks of my life. I had not canoed since, but getting back into one on Saturday settled my heart in a strange and glorious fashion. I easily remembered the strokes to steer the vessel with little trouble, and I got to again enjoy the feeling of slicing through that water as though it were a silk curtain. I managed to get some lovely pictures of the trip.


20121104-220306.jpg20121104-220328.jpg20121104-220343.jpg20121104-220403.jpg20121104-220428.jpg20121104-220428.jpg20121104-220455.jpg20121104-220511.jpgToday was a fitting end to a fabulous weekend. We went to market, and then headed off to The Refinery for brunch. If I have not gushed about this restaurant, or even if I have, I simply must do so now/again. This is my favorite place to eat in all of Tampa, because it is a most unbelievable combination of everything I want in a restaurant. Local produce, interesting menu options, gourmet cooking, excellent drink menu, and surprisingly affordable. I went to brunch with the Gentleman once before, and I have not gone for brunch since. Today was just as unfairly delicious as I remember.


20121104-220618.jpgAfter stuffing ourselves senseless, Handsome suggested we go take a tour of the Cigar City Brewing Brewery. He had toured there last time he was in town while I was at work, and he was adamant that I would enjoy the experience. He was completely correct (which is not out of the ordinary). Though a very small brewery, Cigar City Brewing is a world renown brewery with seven beers in the list of the top 50 beers in the world (note that no other single brewery, let alone a micro brewery, can claim that many). Our tour was $5, and we were immediately given a pint glass, which we got to keep, and then taken into the small brewery attached to the tasting room. We got to fill our glasses with our beer of choice at the beginning of the tour. Handsome and I went for a dark called Maduro, and what a spectacular choice. The beer was smooth and rich, quite a delightful brew. I never thought I would be one to enjoy beer, but ever since I discovered the rich variety of flavor that one can experience within this beverage, I simply can’t get enough. The tour was concise and informative, and we then wandered back into the crowded tasting room. Handsome and I expressed how much we enjoyed the Maduro, and our tour guide insisted we try the Vanilla Maduro. I cannot even begin to describe how scrumptious this beer’s flavor is, even having had a fair number of different varieties in my short life. The fullness of the vanilla is a perfect accent to the richness already in the beer. Handsome and I were so taken, we bought a growler before we finished our pints. Top all this off with a charming conversation with a couple at the bar, and the time spent at the brewery was a worthwhile experience. Such a great weekend!














Outakes (the rest of those moments/ Lettuce Lake)

On Tuesday, I found myself in my own good company at a most magical spot just down the street from my home. ZeldaStark turned me on to the location, and thus I found myself spending a good portion of that day at Lettuce Lake National Park.

The park does have some trails for jogging and biking, but I spent my time exploring a portion of the extensive boardwalks that wound through the riverlands.

The trees were dense in that strange way that marsh growth can seem so slender, and yet you can’t make out what’s beyond. However, then there is an opening.

I am horrible about looking up the names of things, because I enjoy making them up in the private recesses of my brain. I also feel a certain pretension giving a thing a name that has known itself far longer than I have been alive. Thus, I admire and am content to just love the appearance of these trees.

"Just eat the blossoms, that's the good stuff."

These were scattered all through the beds of the swamp leaves, and I was utterly charmed.

I found an observation deck, and this was a view off of one side.

A most lovely gator

This pretty came swimming up to join me. She was not large, maybe four to six feet, but I was mesmerized by her for a goodly while.

She circled around for a while…

…then she swam right up to the platform. I promise anyone who is concerned, I was actually completely out of reach, and I did not close that distance for the sake of the picture.

Though I wished to stay indefinitely, the sun began to descend, and I had another engagement.

And so, reluctantly, I took my leave with every intention of returning soon.