Sunday, December 30, 2007

29 December 2007 The Medicinal Powers of Caching

I've had a few days of very bad pain. I had also realized that the pain was hand-in-hand with a severe fever. I was wasn't certain traveling was a great idea, but Ali drove us to PA. I really wanted a day of fun so I decided to take the risk.

By the time we reached the first cache, I realized how much I was forgetting. I had left my winter jacket at home and something that never happens had. My camera had stayed behind. :-( We were going for AGT caches in Venango County, but stopped for a couple that looked interesting along the way. I am really glad we did. After about 4000 finds, the caches are still fun, but there just aren't many that knock you over with excitement. Indiana Jones and the Geocache did. It may be the best cache ever. We were in two caves before finding the right cave. The second cave was the largest I have ever seen with narrow paths leading to the chambers and drop-in chambers. It was amazing.

The really funny thing is that I felt better as the day progressed. I paid dearly Saturday evening, but had a great time. The photos are from one of Dove's Christmas presents. She was wonderful and let me borrow her new camera for some photos. She was even gracious when I wanted to grab a few waymarks. :-) It's a good thing to have friends.
27 December 2007 Mantua Esker and Headwaters Rail Trail

Through the magic of earthcaches, I learned today what an esker is. We went caching in the small town of Mantua. The walks were short, but there were enough of them to combine into a nice day walking without freezing in the cold weather. Besides learning about eskers, we also found what seems to be a nice bird area. We saw a pileated and a couple bluebirds plus the normal northeast Ohio winter inhabitants. It looks like a place to add a spring visit.

We also got a chance to walk for a bit on the Headwaters Rail Trail. It has been so long ago that I forgot the perpetual donations we made to make this trail a reality. It's still quite new, but it has the makings of a really wonderful place to bike. As long as the wolf hybrids at the one street intersection stay behind their fence. It's a little scary to see some serious teeth growling at the front of a creature and see the tail wagging at the rear. :-O Does that mean it will enjoy biting me?

We finished the day with a stop at a local pharmacy in Mantua. The last few days of pain were terrible and had worn me down so we made an emergency stop. We were really happy see an old fashioned ice cream counter inside the pharmacy. We stopped for an ice cream treat and visited with a very friendly lady who owns the store. It was a pleasant way to end the day.

There's not a lot of color around these days so grey scale seemed the way to go.

Friday, December 28, 2007

26 December 2007 At The Zoo

Someone told me...

Its all happening at the zoo.

I do believe it,

I do believe its true.

Its a light and tumble journey
From the east side to the park;

Just a fine and fancy ramble
To the zoo.

But you can take the crosstown bus...

If its raining or its cold,

And the animals will love it...

If you do.

Somethin tells me...

Its all happening at the zoo.

Simon and Garfunkel
25 December 2007 Christmas Caching and Turkey Tracks

Monday, December 24, 2007

24 December 2007 Oh Christmas Tree

This is our Christmas tree. Since this blog is here to show my world, there is no better window to my world than through this tree. My mom and dad taught me that a Christmas tree is a collection of the memories of your life. If you read on, I’ll share some of my world with you.

My dad was a journeyman. He left high school early and later joined the Navy to fight in World War II. From the moment I first remember, he was always working. He worked as a tool and die maker by day and part time in a local hobby shop after hours. Come Christmas time, he would work six days a week at the hobby shop while still holding a full-time job. It was years before I realized our toys came from his sacrifice of working all those hours and my mom’s sacrifice of raising us while he was away. He would work at the hobby shop until the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Knowing now how hard he worked, I have no idea how he did it for so many years.

Our Christmas trees in those days were filled with old glass ornaments from my grandparent’s tree and a lot of craft ornaments. The craft ornaments were Styrofoam balls with colored string wrapped around them and piping and sequins for decoration. My mom and sisters made the ornaments. My sisters and I would make a rope from rings of construction paper and wind that around the decorated tree. The last lights at the top of the tree would be a couple sets of bubble lights from my grandparent’s tree. These were the old bubble lights in many colors. When one would go out the whole string would die.

I was lucky to grab the bubble lights from my parent’s home before they were lost. I was also lucky that each year near the end my mom would pack up a box of those old glass ornaments. She would box the ones I loved best and give them to me to take home. Each year I would take them back to grace their tree until the time came when their tree would not be decorated. The Silent Night ornament was always my favorite.

Our tree is also graced by a box of pink ornaments from my sister’s first Christmas tree. It was one of those grand sixties, silver-foil artificial trees that was lit through a rotating four-color wheel. My sister’s tree used to be in a room above our home. She was also the first person in our family to buy a color tv so every year at Christmas time she would let me go to her room and watch Rudolph and Charlie Brown in color while that silver tree with the host of pink glass bulbs flickered through its four-colors. The box of ornaments came from Halle’s, a long gone Cleveland department store landmark that was a wonderland for a young kid to visit.

Another sister used to make handmade ornaments. She has amazing talents. One year she was making leather crafts. This hand-made leather Christmas tree has graced our tree since she gave it to us.

My mom and dad were always really active in our church. That included the annual Santa’s Gift Shop each year. For months my mom and our church women would get together to make Christmas items for the year’s craft sale. The bakery was something to wait eagerly await. Throughout the evening they would raffle wonderful cakes and pies and sell cookies along with their craft wares. It was an annual event for me and my siblings to stop and visit. Later as my brother and sisters had children, they would also show up to join the festivities. My Dad always worked Saturday evening, but come Sunday morning, he would take his turn as Santa before returning to the sales job at the hobby store. The events were little family re-unions.

As a youth one of my favorite places to spend free time was Marblehead and East Harbor State Park. I would drive to Marblehead with friends and fish for white bass on the shore. We would walk out in the water and fish about 20 feet off shore. When we tired of fishing, we would drive over to East Harbor and spend the rest of our day hanging out at the beach. The ornament came from one of the small stores in Marblehead.

The ceramic penguin was a gift from a co-worker at Sohio my first year there. Sohio was large, and I had never met this person. Yet one afternoon near Christmas he walked though the area with a box full of home made ceramic ornaments. He offered me an ornament. The little penguin has been on the tree every year since.

The first year Ali and I were married, we were still working for the same company. We were in Buffalo on business and stopped at the Walden Galleria to kill some time. We ended up buying a bunch of ornaments at one of the shops. The one below was one of those ornaments.

Ali and I used to take my parents to the Apple Butter Festival each fall in Burton, Ohio. My parents loved walking around Century Village and checking out the artists and crafts people at the festival. One year, I noticed this ceramic artist that made glazed decorations. I commented on the quality of the work. Later on my mom or dad snuck back and bought me one for a birthday gift. Today, it is a memory of an afternoon together.

Every year Ali and I make certain we set aside time to visit the Cleveland Museum of Art during the holidays. It always seems as though our other attempts to find time to visit this wonderful place seem to get postponed by everyday distractions, but we always manage to grab some time for a visit to this special place. Each year we also find at least one ornament to take home with us to add to the collection of memories on our tree. This orange is from one of those holiday visits.

Over the years we’ve purchased a lot of ornaments for our tree from arts festivals and crafts festivals we’ve attended. Each one holds a memory for me. The gold leaf is from Wild Wind Festival in Warren County Pennsylvania. The leaded glass tree is from Cain Park Arts Festival.

The tree is also accumulating memories from our geocaching adventures. A Three Beans Christmas pin, acorns from Jeeps the Squirrel, and bells from a FunkyMonkey Christmas party all have a place. We keep one of each of our yearly ornaments too. We just received an e-mail from a cacher this morning that had found one of this year’s ornaments in a cache.

Thanks for spending a quiet moment. Please remember this a season for being with those you love. Remember to tell them how much you care and remember the good times with those who are no longer with us. Thanks for visiting my web page. I hope you all have a special day and a Merry Christmas.

24 December 2007 Lake County

We have a bunch of unfound caches in Lake County. We spent a quiet afternoon visiting a few of these caches. The lake was really rolling today.
22 December 2007 Elk Creek

It had been a long time since I had been to the PA home so even though it was only for a day, we were determined to make a stop before Christmas. We stopped for a few Crawford County caches on the way. This covered bridge is supposed to be haunted by a little girl who fell from the top of the bluffs into Elk Creek and by a mule (yes, a mule). I just wish one of those two would show up at night and scare the pants off the losers that have covered this old bridge in graffiti and seem intent on destroying it.

I spent a few moments chatting with the guy fishing in Elk Creek. I was walking through the bridge and heard his fish hit. It was an impressive fight and the fish won after about three runs and five minutes. He said that was the third one he had hooked and lost that afternoon.
21 December 2007 Coming Home (Again)

This trip was my first from Canton Akron Airport. I've never flown this close to Christmas (and will try not to again). I arrived at the airport at 5:45 am for a 7:30 flight. My bag never got checked until 6:30. By the time I got through security, I was the last person on my first flight. When I arrived at the Cincinnati Airport, it was standing room only. Major kudos to Delta for being on time on a really busy day.

Ali and Kathy met me at the airport. We spent the rest of daylight caching in the Canton area. The weather was grey, but we had a lot of fun. We also found two pvc caches that reminded us why these are a bad choice for a container in a cold weather place like Northeast Ohio. Ali and Kathy had fun trying to get this one open, but did not prevail.

Kathy found the frozen deer prints. It must have been just the right combination of snow and weather temperature to make an imprint that would freeze and pull out like the ones in the photo.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

20 December 2007 Santa Claus, Indiana

It was raining buckets on my drive from Evansville to Louisville. My hope for caching my way back had been dashed after two finds at a park near our office. Since it's the perfect season to visit Santa Claus, I made a detour. The town was disappointing. It didn't seem overly friendly and wasn't really decorated. Maybe with a main street manager they could really draw the visitors. I had fun. Now it's time to go home (finally). I hope Santa didn't lose my Christmas list. :-) I wasn't sure what he meant with the part about being naughty and lumps of coal. ;-)