21 July 2010


We don't move in until Aug. 1st, but here's a (crappy cell phone camera) photo of the house we'll soon be living in. The full tour will have to wait until we haul all our crap there and the dust settles a bit.

Oh, and we have to find the camera cable... which box is it in again?

20 July 2010


That's Doodlese for "exploring". Still stuck in the Utah routine of being unable to conduct business around town on Sundays, we've taken to making Sunday our splorin' day.

First we headed northeast to Black Moshannon State Park. Took some windy dirt back roads (yay!) to get there, marveling at the green everywhere. People keep telling us it's been dry this summer, and counties around us are on a drought watch, but it seems really wet and green to this western girl. Heck, we've had at least six rainstorms since we've been here. Big thunder-n-lightning rainstorms. Very wet. But I digress. My point is it's really really green here.

We had a picnic then walked the bog trail at Black Moshannon. Found an orchid (Epipactis helleborine - a non-native), a mycotrophic plant (Monotropa uniflora - Indian Pipe), a carnivorous plant (Drosera rotundifolia - a sundew) and a couple of cute lycophytes. Great outing.

This past Sunday we went south to Bear Meadows Natural Area, another beautiful boggy spot. J heard that the blueberries were ripe down there, so we decided to check it out. Sure enough, blueberries galore. We picked for a while, but Doodle got bored so we kept hiking along the loop trail. We saw a ton of Rhododendrons and Vaccinium (blueberries), plus some ferns and a whole bunch of deciduous trees that I don't know. Boy do I need to learn my Eastern trees. Made it about a mile before Doodle decided she was done hiking and we turned around.

After Bear Meadows J wanted to check out a bouldering location further south. By the time we got there both kids were sound asleep. He hiked off to find the boulders while I sat in silence (ahhh) and read. I finally woke the kids up when I realized we were all slowly roasting in the car and should get out to enjoy the shade of the forest.

We got out and had just started our hike up the hill to find J when we heard him hoot, letting us know he was on his way back down. We met up and decided to let the kids play in a nearby stream. While Doodle was eyeing the water striders Roo was trying to launch himself headlong into the stream. J set him down in the shallow stream and Roo was thrilled, splashing and crawling to his heart's content. I caught a crawdad the size of a half-dollar and showed Doodle. She held it, let it go, then begged me to find another. J and I caught a bunch, one after another, to be examined and liberated by our little crawdad aficionado. Once Roo got cold and Doodle became less enthralled with the crustaceans we went back to the car.

On the way I spotted a log sporting a sizable clump of oyster mushrooms. Yum! Mushrooms were collected and put in the cooler for the drive back home. Successful outing in the form of blueberries, both in bellies and in the cooler, mosquito bites, tired forearms, photos of crawdads deemed "cute!", and mushrooms for the cooking.

I'm really liking Sunday splorin'.

19 July 2010

What we've been up to

Since recovering from the Awful Lung Funk of 2010, we've been busy exploring this area. Here are some of the things we've done:
-Visited ArtFest, listened to live music, then ran across campus in a torrential downpour. We (especially Doodle) are loving the frequent, warm summer rains and the break from humidity that they bring.
-Went to People's Choice festival in Boalsburg, watched bellydance, and talked to the performers and an instructor. I'm hoping to start taking classes with them soon.
-Went exploring out at Black Moshannon State Park. Post coming soon.
-Explored Bear Meadows Natural Area for some blueberry picking, then drove down to a bouldering area for J to explore. I sat and read in the car with napping kids, then we all played in the stream and harassed small crawdads. It was great. That post is also coming soon.

This past Thursday we had to be out of the apt all day because the painters were coming to spiffy up the place before it's rented out Aug.1st. To stay busy all day we:
-hiked around at Millbrook Marsh (mymillbrookmarsh.org) for a couple of hours followed by
-little coffee shop/café for a break from the heat, followed by
-the community pool! For three hours! (note to self: if I even CONSIDER going to the pool later in the day, have J apply sunblock to my back before he leaves for work. Otherwise there's no way I'll get sunblock on my back, and I'll burn. again. OR I can take J's advice and find the sexiest lifeguard on duty and ask for sunblock application help. while holding my adorable baby. right.)

In other news, Roo took 17 steps in a row on Saturday! 17!!! Yes, we have video (finally). Yes, we know where the cord to connect the video camera to the computer is. It's in a box, of course. (which box? Umm, not sure. As soon as we know, video will be posted.)

Still on the to do list:
-find more of the parks in town, go to a park playgroup (now that I'm on some mailing lists and know when playgroups are happening)
-make it to the downtown S.C. farmer's market one of these days.
-much more exploring of natural areas
-minor league baseball! (Single A short season, just like the Spokane Indians.) Here in town! And they have beer!
-chocolate-covered bacon at Herwig's Austrian Restaurant downtown. Must. try.
-head to some bars in town. Bee Labbers coming to PennState soon beware! I'm planning to get my first S.C. bar experience with y'all!

14 July 2010

Box Labels

Having friends pack and label your stuff means sometimes you end up with strangely-labeled boxes (and not just because the Stranges labeled it). So far we have found the following:
-Fragilish (ish?)
-Get Baked! (baking supplies)
(only one of the items listed was actually in the box)

I love finding these. Makes the box monotony not so bad. Thanks friends!

12 July 2010

The Craziness of Getting Settled

Alternate Titles: This would be so much easier if we weren't all sick, or The First Weeks in State College.

We all arrived sick, sinus funk and deep cough. Lived in a hotel for the first 5 days in town. Tried contacting a bazillion people about housing the first day, but it was Sunday. Had no place to live. Went to an outdoorsy store on Monday, J talked to people about meager climbing locally. Heard back from a guy about subletting his apartment for July. Saw apartment. Went for it, as most places seemed to be coming available Aug 1st, and our chances of finding and moving into a house before then seemed pretty slim. Contacted more people about housing. Heard back from an elderly P.I.T.A. (Pain In The A$$) landlady wanting to rent a 3br house, got lectured on fiscal responsibility, budgeting, and her fixation on numbers. Ugh. J was feeling worse and worse, so he saw a doc, got a chest x-ray. Not pneumonia, just bronchitis and a sinus infection. *sigh of relief* J lost his voice. I did a conference call w/ J's PI, because J couldn't talk. Moved into apartment July 1. Discovered that broiling hamburgers in a baking dish works okay when you have very limited cookware. Urban camping, complete with sleeping bags and camp cookware in the apartment. Saw another house, found out we were second in line on that one. Talked to P.I.T.A. landlady more, got more lectures on the importance of a budget, said we wanted the house despite her harping about numbers and the fact that "responsible realtors like [she used to be] didn't put our country in the predicament it's in now". over and over and over. *sigh* Felt progressively better, health-wise. Went to farmer's market, bought local pork (OMG DELICIOUS!), fresh veggies from some Amish folk, and stopped at a roadside Pennsylvania Dutch-run stand to get some homemade ice cream from a woman with very burly, strong hands. Signed the lease with P.I.T.A. lady. We have a place to live until the morning of July 31st (the apartment), and for one year starting Aug 1st at noon (3br house). In the short time between, we have a storage unit and will get a hotel room. Oh, and Roo took his first (and second and third... now up to SIX!) steps in the midst of all this. And we unloaded our freight trailer of belongings into the storage unit with some help from J's new labmates. And celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary with takeout sushi. And Roo got sick again, putting us in quarantine for 3 days.

In summary, it's been kinda chaotic. But we're feeling better (even Roo, as his latest funk subsides), J is working, Doodle has her train set again, and all is mostly right with our little world. Two and a half weeks until the pollinator conference here (note to self: get crackin' on that poster!), then another week until we uproot again and move into a house! with a garage! all to ourselves! ...just as J heads to the Botany meeting in Rhode Island. Meaning I get to relocate us and our few not-in-storage belongings to the house, then slowly haul more of our in-storage crap to the house and get established. It'll work. Eventually the Gods of Chaos will cut us a break, right? Right?

11 July 2010

roadtrip redux

This is the quick&dirty version of our roadtrip.

Day 1: Left Logan late (4pm instead of ~10am) due to extra errands to run (#1: get nearly-flat tire fixed before loading Jeep). Had burgers in Laketown, drove to Rawlins, WY.

Day 2: Doodle played at train engine park in Rawlins. We drove to Vedauwoo, a climbing spot between Laramie and Cheyenne, and played for 3 hrs while J climbed, and Doodle chased chipmunks out of our gazebo (which, by the way, is a great way to teach a kid about not feeding the wildlife while also wearing said kid out in the process). Finally rolled into Kearney, NE as the lightning bugs wound down for the night. Camped at a lake, got mosquito bites.

Day 3: Kearney to Princeton, IL. Finished with Nebraska (hallelujah!), liked and exploited the wireless internet access at Iowa reststops (while still wishing we had an iPhone).

Day 4: Drove to Chicago where we met and had lunch with J's cousin Candy at one of Obama's fave restaurants, Medici. The service and bathroom lighting left something to be desired, but the food was really good. Drove through Indiana, part of Ohio. Ugh, Ohio. Turnpikes, expressways, and corn. But Window Crayons are awesome and double as 3yo makeup, and fuchsia sequined headband+sweaty napping kid = fuchsia-stained forehead. Should've taken more photos that day.

Day 5: Fremont, Ohio to State College, PA! Asked in OH if we were heading to the PA rainbow gathering. Hooray for looking like a ragged bunch o' hippies. PA has topographic changes! and far less corn! and Amish wagons! with canoes on top!

next up: The Craziness of Getting Settled. Or, this would be so much easier if we weren't all sick.