Day 3: Becoming an Outdoors Woman 2013

Somehow, I stumbled into Sunday morning with no caffeine and no Aleve. I felt it, too. I was excited for my last class, but my back and knee were starting to give me some serious grief. I still made it to breakfast where Jami gifted me with a cool BOW pin to congratulate me on completing the walk. Once again…amazing people.

We only had the one class on the last day, which was probably good because everyone else seemed just as tired. My class was geocaching, with the same couple who taught my GPS class. We split into groups and walked around the camp finding geocaches that they’d hid, some difficult, some easy. I’d been excited for the class, and I had fun, but I held back to let the others find the caches, at least for the most part. I was the only one who did it regularly, and some of the others had never even tried it, so I wanted them to experience how fun it was.

At the end of the session, we got to find a real one that’s hidden out by Rock Springs. I was the first to find it in our group, but I didn’t let the others know. It’s fun when Jon and I compete, but the group dynamic there was a little different. Either way, I got to log it, and I did so within like five minutes of the find.

Lunch was served before the day ended, and I won a magazine subscription to the Kansas Wildlife publication in the silent auction.  I walked back to the cabin where I was one of the last ones to leave. I hadn’t done any packing that morning since I’d woken up late, so I was on my own for packing and hauling stuff to the car, but it wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t have that much, and after the craziness of the weekend, I was okay with a little downtime on my way out.  I filled out some thank you notes for the instructors and headed home.

I’m so happy I was clued into this program. The days leading up to it brought some anxiety, the same kind I experience every time I’m getting ready to do something new.  Maybe that makes it even more worth it, to push through that fear to do new things.  The actual classes weren’t all challenging (with the exception of fishing), but they were a learning experience and the instructors were great. The people were friendly and  welcoming, and everyone had a different story and personality.

I highly recommend that anyone with a BOW program in their area give it a try. Here in Kansas, there is a spring session and a fall session, with the spring session being much smaller. If I can, I’m going to go to it, and my plans are to make sure I get back for next year’s fall session.


Day 2: Becoming an Outdoors Woman 2013

I was awake at 5:30 on Saturday morning, but after getting dressed I laid back down for awhile. They brought coffee to the camp at 6:15, so I got down and dirty with some caffeine and Aleve to give myself a little extra pain protection.

My first class was GPS for beginners. Even though Jon and I geocache, we use our phones to find the coordinates. I was curious about the actual GPS handhelds and how they differed from what we used and from our auto GPS. We walked around and played with the devices for a bit. I really liked it and am hoping to get one soon. I’ll probably start out cheap and move up later. For now, I’m good with something basic.

Need to get me one of these bad boys...
Need to get me one of these bad boys…

After lunch, my afternoon class was nature journaling. The class talked a little about what it was and what we were hoping to get out of it. Most of the others wanted something physical to keep. I wanted to know how I could do a better job at conveying my outdoors experiences online.

To put the whole nature journaling thing into practice, we went to one of the picnic areas to observe and take notes for awhile. We had tools to draw or collect things, but I took pictures and wrote, and the note taking ended up being mostly a free writing experience. The exercise was really relaxing, almost meditative. Even if I don’t start doing it on a regular basis, I’ll definitely be posting a journal blog from that session.

This little stream was one of my favorite journaling spots. So relaxing...
This little stream was one of my favorite journaling spots. So relaxing…

I chilled at the dining hall lounge for a little bit, using the Wi-Fi to do some updates and visiting with another attendee of both the weekend event and the nature journaling class. I’d been going back and forth about doing the mini Race for the Cure that BOW was holding to support the Susan G. Komen foundation. I was going to support it with a donation, but I couldn’t decide if I was up for the walk yet. It was 1.25 miles, which isn’t a lot, but more than I’ve done all at once in several years.

I finally decided to do it, figuring I’d be late for dinner, probably, but really wanting to push myself. So I committed. Jami, the BOW coordinator, offered to walk with me. I warned her we might miss dinner but she came anyway. I’m glad she did. The company and motivation were great. I don’t know if I would have given up if she hasn’t been there. Maybe, but maybe not.

The walk was hard, mostly because of the hills I think. But each hill was a small accomplishment inside the big accomplishment of the walk itself.  In the last stretch, two sisters, older women who’d finished their walk, joined us to finish the lap. The support and friendliness was overwhelming and totally worth the hills.  We made it right as dinner was starting. As we got closer to the end, I warned the others I was going to collapse on a bench the minute we got back. But when we got there, I stayed upright. Here’s the thing…once the walk itself was over, my recovery was really quick. Yeah, I was fatigued and hot, but I don’t think it even took 30 seconds for my breathing and heart rate to go back to normal, and I was nowhere near as exhausted as I’d expected to be.

After dinner, I went to another mini session. This one was about photo editing in Picasa. I’ve had Picasa for awhile now, but haven’t done anything with it, so it was nice to see some of the nifty little things I could do.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to the campfire. By that time I was exhausted and a little unsure about walking that long stretch to the fire and then back to cabin in the dark. However, some of the volunteers gave me a ride to the fire, and Jami gave me a ride to the cabin later. I got to experience the campfire and even had a s’more.

The second night’s shower was much better thanks to the learning curve. I was in bed a little later than the night before, but I slept through the night and actually ended up sleeping in on Sunday morning.


Day 1: Becoming an Outdoors Woman 2013

What a weekend! I’m tired and a little bit sunburnt, but the BOW experience was definitely worth it.  Like I did with Gen Con, I’m going to break these down into day posts because it seems like a lot to put into one long blog post.

I got to Rock Springs a little before 10 on Friday morning, after dropping Jon off to work and grabbing a quick breakfast sandwich. I had a little trouble finding check in, but eventually found parking.

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Almost everyone else in my cabin was there, but thankfully I scored a bottom bunk. The ladies were so nice and welcoming. They helped me bring my stuff in and gave me some newbie pointers.

We had lunch (the food was great all weekend, and there was a lot of it), then the welcome meeting, then our first class. Mine was Intro to Fishing. We started out learning about the more popular fish native to Kansas. Then we learned about different poles and how to tie a hook, lead, and bobber. I caught on to making the knot fairly quickly, so now I kind of want to go fishing so I can show off.

Learning about fish!
Learning about fish!

Once we had our poles ready, we headed down to a small fishing hole and stream. The area was beautiful, but I was feeling tired and a little shaky. Standing on the edge was making me nervous. I still caught several fish, including the only large mouth bass of the day.

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The anglers in my family should also take note that I put a nightcrawler on the hook by myself and didn’t get too grossed out. And I unhooked my own fish. Next year, I might even take the advanced course or the course where I learn to filet and cook a fish.

The mini Walk for the Cure was originally scheduled for that night, but they switched it up since we were getting a visit from Theresa Vail, also known as Miss Kansas 2013. Instead, we did a Chuck-A-Duck (I didn’t win), and later I went and visited with Theresa for a little bit.  She was genuinely sweet, and in case anyone was unsure if her love of the outdoors was genuine or not, it is.

After dinner, I attended a mini session called Kansas Critters that was taught by the same instructor who taught my fishing class. The session went long, but it was really interesting, and I actually learned and retained several outdoor facts. I debated going to the campfire afterwards, but I ended up just heading back to the cabin instead. I was tired, and the walk back itself was even more exhausting. It was uphill, over several rocky, uneven steps. I made that trek many times over the weekend, and it never got easier.

Not gonna lie, that night I felt a little homesick. My shower experience might have had something to do with that. I’d been given a pair of shower shoes by my friend, but I hadn’t tried them on first, and they ended up hurting my feet. The showers themselves weren’t horrible, but they had the hard rubber mats inside the stalls, and those hurt my feet even more. Because I’ve never actually showered in a camp setting (at least that I can remember), I was ill prepared all around, and so by the time I got back to bed, I was hurting and exhausted, and even though I’d had a great day, I still missed Jon and my own bed.

However, I slept fairly well, and when I woke up the next morning, I was refreshed and feeling good and optimistic.

To be continued…


Ahoy, from Captain Patch Jones!

It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day, and Jon just clued me in as to what my pirate name is. Epic. His is Fluffbucket Bones Jones.  Truly epic.

Today was my Friday since I’m off tomorrow for Becoming an Outdoors Woman. I’ve been a little anxious all week about it, but tonight I’m excited.  I packed up everything except for a few last minute morning things and have my papers printed and ready to go. We passed the area coming back from Wichita, so I have a decent idea of where I’m going. Yeah, I think it’s going to be fun. I’m even going to take part in the mini Fun Run tomorrow night, walking it of course. I’m pretty sure I’ll be the last one to finish, but I don’t care. I’m going to do it anyway.

My friend made me a care package to take which includes some toothpaste, bug bite stuff, and face wipes. She also gave me a pair of wrap around sunglasses, which are going to be awesome for this weekend and for future road trips, not to mention geocaching. Between that and the stuff my other co-worker and friend is letting me borrow, I think I’m set. I’ll get there and realize there was something I forgot, probably.

Jon and I were both sore today, so we decided to skip the gym. I don’t know yet if that’s a good idea or not. We’re going to try to slide our third day of the week in on Sunday, but we have gaming and I’m figuring that I’m going to be exhausted from the weekend.  Still, we’re going to try. Our plan was to head home, then stop at the rec center to do a zombie mission on the walking trail. But the sky this way was really dark and I saw lightning. Lightning scares me. It’s awesome to watch if I’m inside a building or even my car, but I hate being outside when it’s striking within a hundred mile radius. So yeah, no walk either. I’m justifying this by saying this is my rest day before a few days of outdoor activity, so the goal is now to make sure I get that activity.

Besides packing, I also cast on for an easy scarf project to take with me and finished watching The People Under the Stairs. I’m leaving for the weekend with several projects pending, but I’ll be putting in some time on all of them next week.

Better log off and start winding down for the night. Just a reminder, unless I find a random signal, there won’t be any posts for the next couple nights. See you all Sunday!


Happy National Cheeseburger Day

It was National Cheeseburger Day, so I would say the highlight of the day was having a cheeseburger for lunch.

The rest of the day was work, gym, and editing.

I was going to write some posts to schedule for this weekend, but I don’t think that’s going to happen, so here’s the heads up: there will be no posts on Friday or Saturday night. I’ll be out in the cell free zone called nature and won’t have access to internet or good cell signal, so after tomorrow night, the next post will be Sunday. I’ll hopefully have a good recap of Being an Outdoors Woman and some pics to share.

Not going to lie…I’m a little nervous about it.

I’m exhausted tonight, so a shower and sleep is probably going to happen earlier than normal.



Getting Back into Alignment

It was a pretty rough Monday morning. Yesterday was spent mostly sleeping, so this morning I had that “too much sleep” hangover. I was also still sore. I might not have been so sore if I had pushed myself to go take a walk at some point yesterday, but that didn’t happen, so whether it would or would not have helped, I was still sore most of today. My back was in knots, so I hobbled more than walked. Luckily, the work day was good. It stayed busy enough to pass quickly, but not so busy I couldn’t get stuff done.

After work, I went to the chiropractor for an alignment. My regular doctor wasn’t in, so I saw one of the other doctors there. They’re both really good, so I didn’t mind, and I didn’t want to wait three days considering how jacked up I felt. Like magic, when the doc was done, I felt about ten times better. I still have some residual and alignment soreness, but everything was loosened up so I could at least walk normal again.

I picked Jon up and we went to the library to renew a book. While there, the message on the dashboard came on saying my oil was low. I had him check, and sure enough, we were getting dry. So we took an unplanned trip to the quick lube to get that taken care of. I was due for an oil change anyway. In fact, I was overdue. I tend to look at the dashboard stats, which isn’t always the best idea, since the percentage on the dashboard doesn’t necessarily take into account all the driving we’ve been doing. So technically, I was about a thousand miles past (one mark against my attempts at full adulthood).

Luckily, there wasn’t a leak, and the change was done in ten minutes, probably less. The guy at the front desk there reminds me of Michael Cera. He’s really friendly, and they’ve always done good work for me. Eventually I’ll have to take the car somewhere for a major tune up, but for now, these guys have been quality.  So yeah, it changed our plans a little bit, but nothing drastic. Also, Monday afternoon seems to be a great time to get an oil change.

For exercise tonight, we decided to walk the mall. I’ve been wanting to walk outside, but it was raining and I didn’t want to get caught in a downpour. Also, since I’d just been to the doctor, I had to take it easy, so we didn’t do any zombies or C25K, we just kind of strolled around the mall. We had a pretzel snack, and we stopped in one of the stores we’ve never visited. It’s a food store that sells kitchen items but also all kinds of teas and coffees and little snacks, as well as candles in the back room. I tried some roasted chestnut coffee, and we bought some wafer cookies to try.

At home, I worked on some projects. Now that Tengaicon is over (the event portion of it anyway), I feel a little bit more relaxed about handling some other things. Current projects include Tengaicon follow up, editing my friend’s book, and getting through a Coursera course. After I finished the first one, I haven’t put much time into any more and have dropped several of them. I kind of want to do this one, though I’m going in knowing that I probably won’t finish with a certificate. I’m going to read the excerpts and watch the lectures, but I’m not much of a message board person, so I doubt if I’ll get full credit.

I also put away laundry and debated picking up my knitting needles, but decided against it. Might take some knitting to BOW this coming weekend, but just not ready to get into or finish a project. I still feel like I accomplished something tonight. Tomorrow is a gym day. This week we can meet one of our goals, but with BOW happening, we won’t meet both. Unless I count the walking I do there, which I might, especially if I do the mini-walk. But as a couple, we’re taking it easy and just focusing on one.

But now…bedtime.


Vacation Recovery Day

I’m always glad of the extra day of vacation I take after Gen Con. It’s a day to relax and recharge, but it’s also time to get stuff done and get my head in the right space to get back to the regular grind.  I slept in a few hours and felt like I had a road trip hangover when I finally got up. A shower cured most of the fuzziness, but I’ve been kind of dragging all day. I suppose that’s to be expected.

I received a confirmation letter today saying I was awarded one of the scholarships to the Being an Outdoors Woman program, which means I’ll be able to attend for less than I’d anticipated. I figured I wouldn’t get it, so I was pleasantly surprised. I’m really excited for that weekend, though I am a little nervous. I suppose that’s normal. I never went to summer camp as a kid, at least not until I was in junior high, and then those camps were more academic.

We started the day off with laundry. I wasn’t in the mood to try and multi-task, so I sat with Jon at the laundromat and played through the Learn to Play pack we got at Gen Con for Legend of the Five Rings. It definitely feels more involved than MtG. I think I liked it, but I’m going to have to practice more to figure out what’s going in, and I’ll probably have to enlist the help of one of the local players to help with further understanding the cards.

After discussing Chipotle in the car yesterday, we went there for lunch. I love their burritos, but they’re huge, and I tend to realize only after I’m done that I probably shouldn’t have eaten all that. We were going to go to the gym, but then Chipotle and tiredness happened, so we called today a rest day. We stopped at Dillon’s to pick up dinner and lunch for tomorrow. Since Chipotle had felt indulgent, we decided to juice for dinner, something I want to get back into to make sure I’m getting my fruits and veggies.

On the way home, we decided to hit up a geocache. It was one we couldn’t find before, and I figured that with some experience under our belt, we might be more apt to find it this time. We were successful, but we were a little irritated that we didn’t realize what it was the first time around. Even this time, we looked at it a few times before finally “finding” it.  The irritation was at ourselves, not at the person who placed it. If anything, I thought it was pretty clever.

I scheduled a couple more Gen Con posts to post tomorrow and Wednesday. If by some chance you’re reading this but didn’t read about Day 0, you can find it here.  I should have used the evening to put away laundry, but decided that playing Trains with Jon was infinitely more important.  I won both games, but I suppose I had the edge since I’d played it a lot this past weekend.

Some other cool stuff:

Jon got an email to set up a job interview with a firm in Missouri.

We’re going to try to do the Orc Stomp 5K at Gen Con next year, which means we’re going to start training right away. We’ll most likely walk it, but we’re going to do the Couch to 5K program to try to up our walking speed.

In other gym news, we’ve set a goal for ourselves. Since we’re going to be 5K training three days a week, we’re going to aim to make it to the gym three days a week. This is to both increase our exercise level and to decide if we’re going to keep our memberships after the end of September. If we make our three times a week goal, then we’ll keep them. If we slough off and find excuses not to go, then it’s really just a waste of money and we’ll cancel our memberships in favor of more walking.

There is a chance we’ll get to volunteer for AEG at a gaming con in KC in November. It’s the week before our trip to St. Louis, which means we have to work out a few more logistics of the trip. Nothing is set in stone yet, but it’s definitely something that might happen.

Gen Con sparked some gaming mojo in us, and it looks like we’re going to try to do a DnD 4th Edition game. I believe we’re also going to do some Pathfinder in a couple months. I’m easing back into it. Still not sure if I’m ready to run any games and I’m going to hold off on doing anything online (partially because my computer is having some major issues), but I’m kind of looking forward to gaming in a small group again.

I’m sleepy already, so I might punk out on putting away laundry and just pull some clothes for tomorrow.  An early night’s sleep should be helpful in getting my mind back to the work day mindset that starts bright and early tomorrow morning.


Preppin’ and Restin’

It was a good day of rest for Jon and I. I was sore again this morning, though I knew I would be with climbing that hill yesterday.  I’m not complaining…it was a good soreness…but I had to stop my brain from being slightly obsessive about going out again for a long walk.  It helped that my shoes were being washed, so I couldn’t walk anywhere for a good portion of the day.

We went over to a friend’s house while she and her family were in KC. She was awesome enough to let us watch her movies and use her laundry facilities while we kept her dog company. My tennis shoes are now nice and clean, though they seemed to have shrunk a bit in the wash. They felt fine on my feet afterwards, though, so I’m sure they’ll be fine for the week.

Later, we went and found a quick geocache to get our “souvenir” for the 31 days of Geocaching this month.  It was close to my friend’s house and turned out to be a really easy find. I spotted it first, so I’m the winner today (whoo!) and we took the trackable, hoping to find somewhere to leave it in Indy or one of the states in between (if we should happen to stop somewhere where a cache is nearby).

I grabbed some headbands from Walgreens and we got smoothies from the People’s Grocery for dinner before heading home.  We packed our clothes and most of our toiletries, which means we just have a few last minute things to pack tomorrow night and to grab Tuesday morning. I sent out a confirmation email to the friends who are riding with us to Indy, and it was around that time that I started the “What if?” game: what if we get a flat tire? What if the car breaks down? What if something happens to our money? This is a dangerous game, and I hate it when my mind goes there and starts making me anxious.  I’m doing okay so far to keep it at bay though, and my plan, if something should go wrong, is to not panic, do what needs to be done, and just roll with it.  Don’t worry, but be prepared…that kind of thing.

That about sums up the day. The only other news was that I received my confirmation for the Being an Outdoors Woman (BOW) weekend.  I didn’t get all of my first choices, but that doesn’t bother me, especially because my registration was so late. I’m signed up for fishing, GPS 101, Geocaching (I know, right?), and nature journaling. There’s also a mini Race for the Cure that I’m thinking about participating in, even though I’m a really slow walker. It’s like a mile and a half, though, and I think I could handle that without it taking all night. Right?

This is one of the rare instances I want Monday to get here, but that’s because I want to get it done and over with so we can start vacation.  So I’m off to shower and sleep so I can tackle the last minute stuff tomorrow.



Nothing to See Here

Really…there’s nothing going on here. The day was pretty mellow and boring. Highlights (and I use the term loosely) include the following:

I sent in my BOW registration.
Laundry was done.
I tried some frozen Greek yogurt.

My legs hurt today, and Jon is having some ankle issues, so we didn’t even geocache, opting for some house cleaning activity tonight instead.
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Crossing Things Off Lists

In an effort to travel with less stress, I’m trying to get as much done as I can this week to prepare for our trip to Gen Con next week.  I was able to check a couple things off the big to-do list today.

First, we went to a local car wash and vacuumed out the car.  Jon and I have made an effort to keep the car trash-free (yay for adulting), and we decided it was time for something a little more heavy duty, so we vacuumed the floors and the cup holders, which had gotten kind of gross, and then we wiped everything down with cleaner wipes. It didn’t feel too strenuous, and now our car is clean and passenger ready.  I even took an extra step and put a monthly general cleaning reminder on my calendar so we can keep up with that.

Second, we picked up our travel snacks. Originally, we were going to go to Target and use the credit we still have on a gift card. Since we also had a gift card to Menards and wanted to go find a cache there (didn’t find it, but rescheduled only to be stealthier later), we just went ahead and shopped there.  Trail mix, dried fruit, and beef jerky should be good for both travel and for walking around the convention center.  We also picked up some travel toiletries so we could make sure everything was packed and ready the night before.

As far as our GC list goes, that’s about all we got done tonight, but I think it’s going to make a huge difference by the time we leave. Other things we have to do this week include turning in our change for some spending cash, cleaning the house, cleaning out the trunk of the car, and, of course, packing.  My goal is to have everything packed on Sunday night to put in the car on Monday night, so I can get to bed early and be ready to hit the road at 5 on Tuesday morning.

The rest of our evening included some geocaching and dinner out at Cox Bros BBQ.  We also picked up some lunches for this week. I had every intention of getting stuff to make some easy pasta salad and then forgot. I even had a list. I fail at groceries, sometimes.

The big excitement of my night was finding out that another of my favorite webcomic artists is going to be at Gen Con. I’m thrilled, and this means I will have to splurge on a plushie if the artist brings any. Or a book. Or both. I have my priorities.

The last thing I want to mention is something a co-worker told me about today.  It’s a program called Becoming an Outdoors-Woman. Camping that involves sleeping on the ground doesn’t agree with me, but I do enjoy  outdoor activities and would like to revisit some of the things I did in my youth. Plus, I love new experiences.  I don’t know if I can register for the fall one right now, both due to time and money, but I am going to apply for one of their scholarships since this would be my first time going and I could swing the remainder of the cost. If the fall one doesn’t happen, I think I’ll aim to sign up for the spring one, pending our location after the first of the year.

On the whole, it was actually a pretty good Monday.