What a lovely weekend

This weekend has been one of those rare times where every day has been beautiful in its simplicity and surprises. Back when I was working at the Park, I wrote more about the simpler aspects of my life and I think I should get back to doing some of that. Here is my awesome weekend at home.

Friday was the surprise beginning. Due to situations beyond our control, the Guru and I decided to head out early and just rearrange our hours in the coming week. Thus, I had a half day on Friday. Handsome and I decided to go out for dinner and we happened to be craving Mexican. I had heard of a spot called Alto Cinco, so we headed for there. Aside from the stupidly long wait due to their tiny dining area (supposedly they are expanding soon) the food was completely worth the wait. The dishes were executed with simplicity and truly incredible flavor. Plus the beer selection found Handsome and myself quite happy. I then closed the night with a long overdue phone chat with the lovely Persephone which often puts me in good spirits.

The morning started off with another wondrous surprise. If you read the previous post, you know that I just recently finished a scenic design for a show. Well, Saturday morning, I opened my facebook to a message from someone I did not know. The message came with a link and a simple “thought you would want to read this.” Turns out the link was to a review of the show in DCMetro Theatre Arts and that review happened to have a whole paragraph of positive words about my set!!!! This is my first review and to have my work so clearly understood and celebrated nearly made me cry. Upon reading the entire piece I was also happy to see that the writer was very balanced in her opinions. She did not inflate everything with flattery, nor did she tear the production apart with nastiness. She dealt with the production fairly and with intelligence. I am deeply moved that she found my work effective.

Armed with that star of warmth, Handsome and I went off to run errands. Errands are excellent fun when they include the Army Surplus Store (yay new work drab and a Mussette bag to replace my broken backpack), the farmers market (delicious and cost effective), and Target (new shoes for both). The day was kind of icky, so I convinced Handsome to go see Disney’s Frozen. Although I did not think the music was as stellar as usual, the animation was absolutely stunning and the story heart warming. The theater was in a huge mall and upon our exit Handsome suggested we go into the Apple Store. I was hesitant at first, because although I’m in the market for a new computer, I have not saved up quite enough. Such a state can make me grumpy in the Apple Store because I just want my new stuff now!! Still, Handsome cajoled, persuading me that looking at machines now rather than later would help me do a better cost analysis. Upon entering, I was greeted by a fellow coworker from the Stage. I knew he worked at the Store, but I did not know he would be working that day. Turns out I gathered a lot of excellent information from both him and the lovely young lady he was training. I am a person who uses her technology into the ground. Thus, good information about a future purchase (especially when that information is about excellent discounts) is as precious to me as the item itself. We ended that day with an egg and lemon soup that was surprisingly delicious and a light compliment to the previous evening’s gorging.

Today, a simple and productive day. Went to another church (cross your fingers, we’re gonna try it a few more times) and spent the rest of the day cleaning and restoring the apartment to pre-Christmas look. Do you want to know the best part of the day? Handsome and I cuddling under a blanket and dozing on and off for a few hours. In fact, this weekend was mainly wonderful because Handsome and I got so much time together after a long stint of being separated/only being together for a day or two/seeing each other in between craziness etc. I love him, I love living with him, and this weekend was everything and more because we got it completely to ourselves.

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Grueling hikes and Living Room Improvement

I had the most fabulous weekend. Twas the perfect mix of productivity and adventure. Saturday began with the usual foray to the farmers market and then there was an unusual foray to Big Lots. Handsome and I have been desperate to buy a couch, but we both were unwilling to pay exorbitant prices. I was willing to go a bit more expensive to get one from a place that delivered, but Handsome was more inclined to get a piece from Goodwill at a significantly lower cost, and just try moving it ourselves. Thank goodness I remembered that Big Lots sold furniture and, as it turns out, they go through a third party company for delivery. We got a fantastic sofa for an extremely reasonable price. The couch arrived today with no difficulty and I must say it makes the living room look so much more like a room that one could actually live within.

We spent the rest of the day yesterday hiking. There are pictures, but my bandwidth is down below zero so they shall be loaded at a later date. Handsome’s coworker suggested a trail in the Adirondacks that was called Blue Mountain Lake Trail. The trailhead was about a two hour drive from us through gorgeous central New York countryside. The leaves in the mountains are already beginning to sing the first notes of fall. We arrived to a crisp sunny day. The trail is (supposedly) two miles, but it is not for the faint of heart. The first two thirds are definitely rocky, but not hugely challenging. Then, the final portion. A steep incline up extremely slippery rocks with an active stream of water spilling down from the upper reaches. We have done a lot of trails, but this one was among the most challenging thus far. However, the view at the summit was worth the climb a thousand times over. There is a small fire tower at the top, looking like one should do anything but put weight on its steps. You climb the winding stairs, duck the low landing, and then look out on something close to Glory. Surrounding you is the entire sprawl of the Adirondacks. The trail is apparently one of the “center” trails where one can quite literally be in the heart of the mountains. The hike up was arduous, the hike down was rough enough for me to take a tumble (some ugly bruises but none the worse for wear), but that sight filled my mouth and heart with the taste of awe and adulation. Completely worth the climb.

 

Today was as productive as yesterday was adventurous. First, I went to a church that I might actually continue to attend (cross your fingers, after three tries I am a little weary of church hunting). Though small and quite traditional, I found the energy soothing and the sermon engaging rather than taxing. I came back and proceeded on a DIY craze to shame any of those on HGTV. I fixed two broken pieces of furniture, put together lighting for living room, and set up a most lovely spice shelf. Below, I have put a picture of sneak preview of the improvements we have been enacting. Tis a most special thing, that spice shelf. You see, that is actually a shadow box that my grandfather made for me before he died. I was very close to my grandpa and I still miss him well and often. I have not had the shadow box in my room since my high school days because moving it so often would have been too risky for my tastes. It used to house all manner of small breakable things that I found pretty. Here, I was a little flummoxed about where to put the darn thing. The box is special, but with the limited wall space in my room I didn’t know a space that would do it justice. Then, a brilliant idea. My grandpa was an excellent cook and baker, I think he would have liked this choice.

 

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Best life

I have been in Syracuse for three weeks. I have been at my new job for three weeks. I have been living with Handsome for three weeks. The glorious part is that all three realities are in a good place. Again, I will not pretend that I spend my days skipping about through singing paint brushes that gayly do all the tedious base painting; nor do I have the luxury of coming back to a TV ready apartment where both Handsome and I talk to each other in dulcet tones about sweet nothings….  my life is so much better. I work. I sweat. He works. He sweats. We talk. We manage. We play. We love. We adventure. It is so funny to us that people consider our move to be almost crazy. “What, you just packed up and left? Moved somewhere you had never been before deciding to move there?” Yes. Yes, that is exactly what we did. The interesting part is that the decision felt so calculated. However, when I think about it, the main spur was the fact that I got a great job in the area. I was going to move for that reason alone. That does not feel crazy to me, but apparently others find it very bold. Handsome coming with me seems braver to me. He had to find a job, pick an apartment with me, and uproot himself from the town he lived in his entire life. In sooth, my decision to fly all over is due more to my nature than to any particular courage on my part. I admire Handsome far more in this case. He made a leap, and not just for my sake. He dove head first with abandon and fire into a whole new lifestyle after maintaining his place for so long. I am a blessed woman for all that I have, but having such a brave man in my life is really one of the brightest.

A Place to Make One Believe in God

 

I am one who feels the presence of the Lord most strongly when I am tromping about in His raw creation. In other words, natural places with lots of trees and few people about. Handsome and I decided to take a trip to such a place. For the last 5 and some days, we have been exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park via the gateway through Bryson City North Carolina. Handsome found us a most beauteous cabin for our base of operations, and while I will certainly post pictures of its fabulousness, I am far more excited to share some shots of the wonders we found on our various adventures.

A shot from the first trail we followed. Easy walk, nothing rough.

A shot from the first trail we followed. Easy walk, nothing rough.

Handsome kindly posing on a rock bed we made our way on to during our walk.

Handsome kindly posing on a rock bed we made our way on to during our walk.

Handsome spotted these two floating along, and thanks to my new lens I could actually capture them properly.

Handsome spotted these two floating along, and thanks to my new lens I could actually capture them properly.

From that simple trail, we were pointed in the direction of Mingo Falls. Please be aware that in order to reach these falls, you have to climb about 170 steps of varying size with an unyielding, steep incline. However, the sight is definitely worth the climb.

Glorious

Glorious

Frozen Teeth

Frozen Teeth

Closeup

Closeup

As long as I live, 
I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. 
I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, 
storm, and the avalanche. 
I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, 
and get as near the heart of the world as I can.  John Muir
From the falls, we decided to take a drive along The Road to Nowhere. No, this is not just an unofficial title created by a Shel Silverstein enthusiast, that is actually the name of this stretch of highway. Despite its lack of intelligent stopping point, the road was full of wonderful overlooks, and a tunnel that hid an incredible treasure. (NOTE: Some of the following pictures may include some profanity and inappropriate images. I tried to pick the least offensive shots, but just in case, my posterior end is covered.)
Did not expect to find this in the Smokies

Did not expect to find this in the Smokies

One of the (many) sections of wall

One of the (many) sections of wall

Another closeup

Another closeup

Yup, yards and yards of graffiti and street art. The tunnel was probably around a quarter mile, and every inch from front to back and six feet up was crawling with layers of paint. I could not have been more overjoyed because such a plethora of this type of art is often difficult to find, let alone photograph. The credit goes to Handsome who prodded me to go with him into the tunnel. The above pictures are just a pittance of what I photographed.

A shot from one of the pull offs on the RTN

A shot from one of the pull offs on the RTN

And another

And another

Our final hike proved to be the most difficult hike that either Handsome or myself have previously encountered. The trail is called the Smokemont Loop, which is 6.5 miles round trip. The distance does not seem so terrible, but here is the breakdown. The first 2.5 miles is consistently uphill. Not just a minor incline, I am talking a steep, unending uphill battle that does not have any breaks to its name. Then, the next two miles are a sharp downhill where keeping your feet is glorious fun. Finally, you then have two more miles of flat terrain, crossing over the river on occasion. Please also note we had done a 3/4 mile nature trail prior to this hike, so all things told we hiked 7 miles that day with about 3 miles (the nature trail was also mostly uphill) of it being uphill. I did not get pictures of the first four miles because I was a little preoccupied with actually accomplishing it, but later in the hike I remembered to enjoy pretty scenery.

A more calm part of the river

A more calm part of the river

Handsome and I enjoyed these little bridges immensely

Handsome and I enjoyed these little bridges immensely

I just really like this shot

I just really like this shot

I chatter, chatter, as I flow,
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever. Alfred Lord Tennyson

The sights I have seen only more strongly instill in me the Presence of that Whom I love most dearly. I hope to return to here, as well as go on to find more such places in this wide world.

 

The Market (the Pumpkins)

I may be in Florida, but today lifted my spirits into an autumn song that almost allowed me to see the leaves change on the trees around me. After a wretched two evenings, a simple trip to the farmers market with the lovely ZeldaStark managed to completely put me in a glorious place. Turns out all I needed were some pumpkins 🙂

What I see every time I go, with a little extra on the side.

So many glorious gourds!

This lady makes them look even more fantastic!

So many different kinds!

So ugly, it’s pretty

This is a sight that was so visually rich I almost felt tearful.

 

Some of the more interesting things in this world are sometimes in places that we already love.

 

Immediately Happy

Work right now is hectic as things begin and end all over the place before they really are ready for either state of being. Despite the frustrations, I am so immediately full of happiness I am just riding on the air current until it is time to dive again. First, I just had a hair appointment. I know, I know, way to be a female who contributes to the stereotype. However, I care very little stereotypes, and the joy I feel from my hair is an expression of my inner identity using the limitations of my current physical shell. I enjoy taking care with my appearance because I am a creature who inherently wishes she could change the way she looks depending on the day. One day, an aqua mohawk, silver dragon wings sprouting from my back, sapphire eyes, and tattoos running all over. Another day, fire engine red hair falling well to the ground, sunflower yellow butterfly wings, molten irises, and skin that glows like an ember. Other days create such appearances that I would have a hard time describing through the medium of words. Alas, such changes to my appearance are not currently possible in this world, thus I make do with a haircut that allows me to see at least a glimmer of how I truly see myself. I am thankful that I found The Edge Salon, because getting a new person to cut my hair after nine years with the same stylist is a terrifying prospect, especially when the haircut is not exactly typical. My new stylist is an absolute delight, and though I do miss my other friend terribly, I am still really glad to find a place that can maintain my hair. I got it freshly colored tonight, which was an extra delight. The fine lady doing my hair created a subtle melted blend of autumn and chocolate, and I am absolutely content. As for my other happiness, I just feel beyond blessed in my current relationships. Though one in particular is highlighting this fact at present, I am just in awe of the fact that I know so many glorious people who enrich my life every day just with the knowledge that they allow me to be a presence in their lives. Though I consider the Lord to be the only One I can call a firm foundation, the people that He has allowed into my life have been a constant reminder of the love that follows me to any place I may wander. I love. I am loved. I fly.

DOA (4)(Please look to previous posts for 1-3)

So, this little love is the first lorikeet I encountered. This begins the highlight of my day. There is a portion of the park where you can actually go into an aviary with a bunch of these birds flying all around you. For a fee, you can get a little cup of lory nectar….

And feed the birds directly. Andddd, if you are lucky, and very patient…..

One of the prettiest in the aviary will land on you and feed right off your hand 🙂