Tea and Chocolate

It was a nice Sunday in that it was relaxing and I checked a few things off my to-do list. The weather was ominous though. I like a good rain, and I love a good thunderstorm, but driving around in it isn’t so fun. Still, we survived to do laundry, run some errands, and attend the Habitat for Humanity Chocolate and Tea.

2014-04-13 14.07.38

Jon received tickets through this work, and since we’d never been before, we thought it would be a fun new experience. Besides the chance to drink tea and eat chocolate goodies, there were also silent and live auctions. I took a bid number…just in case. There were several silent auction items that looked interesting, but nothing I couldn’t live without.

2014-04-13 14.20.32

The snacks were tasty. There was a chocolate fountain and an array of baked goods. Jon pointed out that I failed at Strawberry Dipping 101 even though I stood right there when the person ahead of me was being shown the right technique. I don’t get enough quality chocolate fountain time I guess.

2014-04-13 14.47.47

I’ve only been to a couple live auctions, but I’ve enjoyed every one I’ve gone to. I love listening to the auctioneer. This live auction had several neat items. One of my favorites was the handmade quilt pictured above. It wasn’t in our budget, but I’m not ruling out the chance of bidding on a quilt in a future auction.

2014-04-13 15.23.02


Funnily enough, I did win something. They were passing this ring around and no one was bidding, so I threw a bid out. I thought someone outbid me, so I kind of lost track of what was going on. They finally closed it and…whoop…I won! The ring is not my usual style, but I’m going to rock it anyway. Jon suggested I go get it resized. It fits on my left ring finger, but not my right. However, that might not be an issue much longer, since my other rings are becoming increasingly loose.

All the proceeds went to Habitat for Humanity. We had a good time, and since they hold this every year, I’m hoping we can go again next year and maybe plan ahead money wise so we can bid on more things.


Our First Geocaching Event

Tonight, Jon and I attended our first Geocaching Event, Post Hallo”weenie” Roast, and had a blast, though getting to that point was a little rough.

The day started out okay. I had an eye exam this morning and everything checked out fine. I believe my vision has actually improved slightly in the few years since my last exam. I ordered some new lenses and frames, and I should have those by next week. So that was good.  Work wasn’t horrible. I got quite a bit done and used my lunch to start this year’s NaNoWriMo project.  After work, however, anxiety crept up on me and I had a tough time in the two hours we were doing stuff before the event.

Besides my normal social anxiety that was peeking out due to the prospect of meeting new people, I was also feeling road anxious and had a hard time driving with all the people leaving work and going to sporting events. Normally, I can deal. Today was really tough. I think that even though I used this week to do more activity outside, this coming week needs to put me back in the gym, because that has been effective at keeping the high amounts of anxiety at bay.

Things finally eased up when we found two caches near where the event was being held and actually made it to the event itself. The event was a fire and weenie roast hosted by one of the area’s more well known cachers. The place it was held seemed a little scary at first, but it was actually a really cool area. There was a 400 yard walk from the parking lot to the campsite where there was a grill, a firepit, and some stone benches for seating. There was also a huge field to one side, and a hill that I believe lead to a creek on the other. There were two caches in the park, but we opted out of going to them, deciding to go during the day sometime to explore the area more thoroughly.

This reminded me of The Blair Witch Project, but the actual area wasn't as creepy as one might think.
This reminded me of The Blair Witch Project, but the actual area wasn’t as creepy as one might think.

We had just gotten settled, did a few introductions, and were getting ready to roast some hot dogs when a storm started blowing in. We’d seen the lightning in the distance, and it just seemed to be getting closer. There was talk of moving to the event to the host’s house, but after checking the weather, it looked like it would only be a short one. To stay out of the rain, everyone walked back to the parking lot and waited the storm out in their cars.

I have a mild phobia of lightning. I love thunderstorms, but I worry about being outside in one because I don’t want to get struck by lightning. I was more than happy to wait it out in the car, but once we got there, it rained for three minutes and the thunder and lightning were nowhere to be heard or seen. Once the rain let up, everyone headed back to the campsite to eat and enjoy the rest of the evening.

The event gave us the chance to put some faces to names. Everyone was super nice and offered to help us when we were ready to hide our own caches. Semmels (the host) gave all the first timers a bison tube, and later he hooked us up with a few micro containers to hide as well.

Film canisters and bison tubes
Film canisters and bison tubes

We also met North Coast Cacher and discussed how his Wamego Boat Ramp cache has thwarted us several times. We had a good laugh over it, but seriously….we are going to find that one. If the weather holds tomorrow morning, I think we’ll head out there again, despite me saying last time that we were going to give up on it completely. Now it’s just becoming a challenge.

The event also gave us a chance to discover several travel bugs, including one brought by NCC and ones on people’s vehicles. This only confirms that we really need to get one for our car.

Besides talking to people, I got to enjoy a bonfire, something I loved doing as a kid and don’t get to do nearly enough as an adult. I got to eat roasted hot dogs and have a s’more, and Jon and I got to look at the stars for awhile. It was a great night! There are two more events coming up, and I’m definitely less anxious and more excited to attend both of them.

It’s way past my bed time, so my writing projects will have to wait until tomorrow. Hope everyone out there is gearing up for a good weekend!


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.

100_1865 100_1866 100_1867 100_1868

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.

100_1878 100_1880

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…


A Veritable Smorgasboard

Plans for tonight changed again, and writing didn’t pan out, so Jon and I decided to go to the county fair. We were going to go this weekend anyway for something different, we just bumped up the “when” of the adventure.  The last time I remember going to a country fair was when I was a teenager. At the time, I didn’t care about events or animals. I probably cared about the fair food. I might have played some games. But for teenage Amanda, the fair was about the rides. It was that bracelet that gave you a pass to ride the rides over and over again for three hours. Of course, it was also a time when rides didn’t make me nauseous.

As an adult, the experience of the county fair was different, but there were lots of familiar moments. Like the smells coming from the food stands, the people standing in ticket lines, and the whoosh of the ride hydraulics.  The smell of animals is standard, as is people in all different manners of dress and lack thereof.  Kids ran around and screamed and cried. People pushed through the crowd. Others, like Jon and I, just shuffled along, figuring we’d get to point B at some point.  There is something fun about that whole cluster. I don’t think I would have said that six months ago, and maybe I wouldn’t agree on a regular basis. But today I enjoyed it.

We got there early, so we scored a good parking spot. Things weren’t scheduled to start until five, so we had some time to kill, plus we were waiting for my friend to get there before we had dinner. We started out by walking the fairway and checking out the booths and food stands. It’s kind of fun seeing all the deep fried offerings. I smelled funnel cake and was like “Yeah, baby,” but Jon smelled it and it made his stomach churn. At that point though, I was still planning on indulging in something by the end of the night.

2013-07-26 16.56.56
I don’t know what a cowboy cheesesteak is, but I want to find out.

We walked through the cow barn and browsed the 4H displays. I was never in 4H, so I didn’t realize all the hobbies one could do through them. Like Legos! Later we found a shady spot to wait. I was fearful of all the bees buzzing around the area. They apparently didn’t care about the number of people milling around, though. None of them stung me, and I didn’t hear anyone else crying out in bee-sting pain.

When S got there, we went ahead and had dinner. They were holding a Blue Valley Pork Producers BBQ, and for six dollars each, we got a pork burger, chips, baked beans, a drink, and ice cream for dessert.

It might not look like much, but it was pretty darn tasty!
It might not look like much, but it was pretty darn tasty!

I’ve always been pretty anti-bean, but I did taste them. They tasted good, but I have a problem with the texture. However, that pork burger was seriously one of the best things ever. They called it a pork burger, but it was maybe just a pork chop on a bun? Either way, I want another one. And sundae cup ice cream? I haven’t had one of those in forever.  Dinner was well worth the six dollars and probably the better option healthwise over the other offerings (someone said turkey legs aren’t bad, but I’m not entirely sold on those).

We wandered into the carnival area to check out the games but ended up opting out of playing any. About halfway around the circle, I got sick to my stomach. The only thing I can figure is that the movement of the rides messed up my equilibrium just by existing in my line of vision.  I felt better after a short rest, then it was off to see more animals and watch a sheep show.

Yes, those are sheep in what look like jazzercise outfits. I don't know. I didn't ask.
Yes, those are sheep in what look like jazzercise outfits. I don’t know. I didn’t ask.

We also saw some other people we knew, one of whom was getting a deep fried Oreo and funnel cake. By that time, the only thing besides dinner we’d bought was water, and we were okay with that. While the smells were still great, somehow both of us had lost that urge to splurge. And by both of us, I mean me, because Jon was kind of “meh” about it from the start.

I told Jon later that it really makes you feel like you’re part of a place when you go to a fair and see people you know.

It wasn’t anything wild or crazy, but it was a really good time and I’m glad we went.  I’ll have to cap the night off with some allergy pills to recover and prep for tomorrow’s big adventure (because you know we’ll have one), but that’s okay. Totally worth it!



Winter Woolfest 2013

Yesterday I went to Wamego’s annual Winter Woolfest.  I’ve been having some social anxiety again lately and so I was a little nervous about going, especially because I decided to attend a demo and a class, and sometimes, learning new things is stressful for me.

Luckily, the social anxiety stayed away, and I had a really good time. I got there early because I wanted to sign up for one of the limited space demos. The vendors were already set up and several other attendees were in line waiting for class sign up.

The first demo I attended was about shuttle tatting. Truthfully, I had no idea what tatting even was prior to the demonstration.  I found out yesterday that tatting is a way of making crisp lacework by making knots with thread and a tool called a shuttle (you can also do it with needles, but the person doing the demo made a good case for using a shuttle and that’s what she was showing us how to do).

Tatting looks fun, and though this wasn’t a class, I did sign up to take a class if they offer one in the future. It looks intricate but not complicated, and like knitting, it looks like once I get the hang of it I’ll find it nice and relaxing.

At the demo, I met up with my friend V and we did a little more browsing before going to the Mexican restaurant down the street.


This was my first time eating at Toto’s Tacos, but it was tasty and the inside is cute. It’s only open for lunch most days, so we got there early to beat the crowd and spend some time relaxing. While there, we met another knitter/spinner. The three of us exchanged numbers and planned to meet up for the local knit night in a couple weeks.

After lunch, it was back to the Woolfest where we did some more browsing. Every time I go to one of these things, J. Felbs tells me to bring him home a miniature alpaca, one the size of a Corgi. I’m sure he knows they don’t exist, but a man can dream, I guess.

V and the Little Alpaca
V and the Little Alpaca

I didn’t actually bring this one home, but it was adorable.  Among the other vendor booths were yarn and roving and tools, and it was painful to walk by without buying anything. I was saving my spending money for after the last demo. Plus, I’m trying to pare down my yarn stash before acquiring anymore, but saying “no” to new yarn is not easy.

Before our second class, we hung out with Stephanie (our new knitter friend from Toto’s) at the spinning wheels for a little bit, and I finished knitting my own project. Not long after, the drop spindle class V and I wanted to go to started.

The spinning wheels looked fun…this may be a thing in my own fiber arts future…

I’ve avoided spinning for a long time. The idea never really interested me until recently, and then, even though I started having a passing thought to try it, I didn’t think I really needed another hobby. But when V suggested we try it, I decided to see how it worked. Besides watching other people spin, seeing all the beautiful colors of roving at the fest also sparked my curiosity.

I borrowed a drop spindle and roving from the instructor and gave it a try. At first, I couldn’t seem to get what everyone was doing. Spatial tasks don’t always sink in right away for me, so I needed a little extra help from V. Eventually, though, I figured it out. The techniques the instructor taught weren’t easy for me to follow, so I sort of modified things a bit. Apparently, like knitting or crocheting, there’s really no wrong or right way to do it. It’s all about getting a finished project.

Though I enjoyed it, I decided to hold off on buying a spindle and roving. V’s going to let me try it a few more times on her tools. When it comes to hobbies, I tend to go all in, spend a lot of money, do it a few times, and then let everything it on the shelf and collect dust. I figure a few more times trying it should give me a better idea as to whether it’ll be something I pick up on a regular basis. If I continue to like it, then spinning will be in my future.

It was a good time at the Woolfest and I’m glad I went. Besides just being a good morning, it also sparked my enthusiasm for knitting and learning new things. I’m definitely going to try to make it back next year.