Monday, May 29, 2006

The Hard Part is leaving

The Hard Part
Originally uploaded by Canadian Loonie.

I didn't want to leave this morning but alas I had to get back to the real world. This picture was taken after I had finished most of the descent to the parking area. I turned around to try to capture the angle of descent. It is a much tougher climb than it looks. I tried to be careful of my knees. I had them braced and used my poles as often as needed. Hopfully that will have kept the pounding down to a minimum. I did manage to do the 2.5 miles out in 1 hour. I have lost some of my trail hardness, but not all of it. Mind you, downhill is faster than uphill. I still did make relatively good time going up hill and on the flat sections. I can tell that the body remembers and yet I have lost tone as the body was complaining later too. At least I had fun and had a great weekend. Can't ask for much more than that.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Ethan Pond and lazy Sundays

Ethan Pond

Woke up stiff and sore this morning. That was to be expected as I did no stretching whatsoever. I actually have still done no stretching. For the most part I feel good. I opted to skip Zealand Hut and instead headed back to spend the night at Ethan Pond. It was a beautiful day and I met som every nice people. I had a chance to chat with the four guys lugging in everything. they may have even had a sink in their packs somewhere. They had a Coleman stove, Coleman lantern, a ton of cotton clothes, lots of chew, cigarettes and beer. They did have almost every luxury including frozen venison in a cooler, but no camp chairs. Those rocks around the campfire got very hard, very fast. I ended up grabbing what few extra clothes I had and butting then in the drybag and sitting on that. It worked really well when I left a little air in the drybag, but it seems the drybag doesn't keep air in when under pressure. Oh well, it was better than a plain, unpadded rock.

So today was a lazy day spent mostly relaxing around the pond and chatting with other hikers staying at the site and dayhikers coming in for a break. I did end up with a mild burn on my forehead and nose. At least I was not as bright red as some of the guys who had spent all day out in the sun fishing. They must have picked up some glare from the pond too.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Ripley Falls

Ripley Falls

Out for a lond weekend. First major hike of the year and the first since getting off the trail last year. I am carrying about 25lbs of stuff, 5lbs of which are a tent I am testing. It is a nice tent and maybe the weight would be better shared between two people but today I am alone. Lots of space with just me and my gear in the tent. I figure, if I can upgrade to a tarptent, I may be able to get the weight down to 20lbs. I may have a hard time breaking past 20lbs without investing heavily in new gear, so 20lbs I will try for and stay at.

The picture above is of Ripley Falls which is about 0.3 miles in from the parking area but is along a steep section of trail. This same section is part of the AT that I hiked last year and I had a hard time with it then as well as now. The trail contiues up at a steep ascent for a while before becoming a more gradual ascent. Shortly before tho turn-off for the Ethan Pond Shelter, the trail levels off and is quite flat and easy after that. I found a nice off-trail camping site right near Thoreau Falls and settled in early.

I am testing a tent, sandals, drybag and raincoat this trip. The weather is warm, maybe about 20C with some wind, partly scattered clouds and some scattered, very light showers earlier. The raincoat worked well with me wearing the hood and therest of the jacket as a packcover. The double zipper was especially handy here as I could zip up to my chin with both zippers, this held the hoot to my head while leaving the rest to drap over the pack.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Running around and taxes

Today is a running around day. I have to hit the post office and mail out some stuff, then hit the RMV to get a drivers license and register the car. Hopefully I can get all that done before other things start closing as I wanted to pick up some yarn and return a jacket too. At least my taxes are finally finished for this year. Just have to post them out.

Looks like this long weekend will be a little better weather-wise than last weekend. It maybe a little overcast but I think that will be better than more rain. I am planning a camping trip up in the White Mountains in New Hampshire this weekend. It will be a nice gently loop hike with low mile days. Mostly it will be a chance to use the gear I am testing. I am currently testing a dry bag, a tent, a rain coat and hiking sandals. So far, I really like the rain coat and I have had a pair of sandals from this company so I know I will like them. I am not really that fond of the tent, although maybe it will grow on me. It is rather heavy so I may have to restrict it to car camping once I have tested it sufficiently for this test series. This weekend will also be a test run of how my knees are doing with a relatively easy hike and how my back is doing, it was also bothering me a lot by the end of the thru-hike. I will see how light I can get the load (although 5 lbs worth of tent is hard to get down) and how comfortable I am.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Here comes the sun...

It is finally looking nice out once again. While the wind is a brisk breeze, the sun is out so I am not complaining. I will try to enjoy it while it lasts. There is no telling if the non-stop rain of the last two weeks will find a way to come back.

I took off Friday and Monday of last week so I could get some car stuff done. Turns out I still have to go to the RMV to get the car and myself licensed as there was no way to have the insurance on the car effective for that day. Silly me, I should have called them on the Friday and set it up for the Monday. Oh well. I will have to go to the RMV Thursday night and try to get all that stuff done then. I am still waiting for the new mirror for the car. I expect that to take a few days and it is best to put off the registration so I will have the mirror before I have to get the car inspected.

I bought the cat a new toy. I had to as it seems most, if not all the toys I had for him have been lost to the people who have been taking car of him. First a friend, then my parents. Guess they should be able to keep some of the toys for the other cat I left with them, but that left me with no scratching post. I found a scratching pad that had an arch made of plastic brisles. My cat seemed to like it at first but since I just got it yesterday, I will give him some time to get to play with it while no one is home. It was moved this morning, but then so where the things on the cupboard. If I can get him to walk through the arch, it will brush the cat for me.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

An Entire Weekend of Rain

I went up to Montreal this weekend only to find that the rain followed me. It was overcast and rainy the entire time I was there. It did brighten up a little one morning getting everyone's hopes up, but to no avail, it still rained. I did have my knees looked at again. Just when I thought I was doing really well with them, I go and bash my right and best knee very badly. I ended up with some swelling and was unable to bend my knee. I suspect it will hurt for a few more days. I did learn a few stretches that I could work on to help loosen up the thigh and new area. Once the knee swelling goes away, I will start working on those.

I had to import the car back into the States, which I tought would be a very painful process, but they just filled out the paperwork and waved me through. I had more trouble getting the car out of the country then into it. I do need to get the driver side mirror fixed up before I can get it inspected. I ordered the wrong mirror and had to have them send me the correct mirror. Hopefully that will come soon. I also need to get new motors for the windshield wipers as they are slow and prone to overheating. I had them just stop in the middle of wiping the windshield in a heavy downpour while on the highway. So new motors as soon as I can.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I like Google

I really like Google. What started off as simply another search engine, slowly grew into email, then Froogle and Picasso. Now I have noticed within my Gmail account, a link for extras. So in my boredom one day, I clicked the link and explored some of the many extras Google now provides. I disovered that Blogger is run by Google. I also discovered a calendar feature, and the coolest in my opinion was the notebook feature. Now I can save page links or interesting paragraphs found on the web into the notebook and be able to access it from any computer. I am not sure if I find this interesting because it is a new thing right now or if it is something that will become really cool and well used. I think it may be because I miss being able to log into my home computer and add to a file or create a file. I am currently sitting behind a firewall and all I really need to do is get the correct port opened that will allow me to log into my computer. But I am lazy and maybe this will be handy enough to continue being useful. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Oh! What a beautiful morning...

The sun was shining so brightly this morning and there was not a cloud to be seen, just a slight haze in the sky. It was nice to once again see the sun, to have a shadow. Most of the puddles have disappeared but there where still some substantial ones that will take some time to go away. The level of the stream near Alewife has gone back down to where it was before the rain. All, in all, a day that should be spend outside enjoying the return of the sun to our realm of existance. Unfortunately, there is more rain in the forecast for later this afternoon and more rain predicted for the next 5 days at least. I thought April showers brought May flowers, not May showers.

In the end I will get to enjoy very little of this nice day, being stuck inside the lab. Hopefully it will still be sunny and nice out when I leave at 4:30. To add insult to injury, today I have to count cells which means sitting in a room with the blinds down and a light timer that guarantees I will be sitting in the dark within 10 minutes. I guess I would rather count cells than deal with animals. Luckily there is very little animal work to do right now. There is also talk of hiring someone to help with the project I am working on and maybe I can see about pawning off the animal work onto the new person and assuming a more cell based role.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Rain, rain go away...

It has been raining for the last week. And I am not talking about off and on, but solid rain with no stopping. It has also been quite heavy for most of the last few days, rarely tapering off into mist. Today seems to be a misting day and it looks like rain is forecasted for tomorrow too. There are flood warnings in effect and some towns have flooded. There was a picture on teh front of the Metro paper of a man fishing in the middle of the street out in Peabody.

Of course, this would be a perfect time to be testing the rain coat I am waiting to receive. I didn't get it until today and tomorrow will likely be the last of the rain for the rest of the summer, knowing my luck. Just like the Yaktrax I was supposed to be testing but ran out of snow for.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Mostly settled in now

Work is picking up now. I have much less "free" time now and actually have things to do. At least that is the case today. I did have time to sit down and watch a Nature film that one of the professors brought in. IT was called "The Queen of Trees" and it was about a fig tree. While it may seem boring, I suspect that this film would be very good with a crowd of people and some alcohol. It was quite entertaining with a crowd and sober, but I think a little alcohol in the mix would make for lots of silly entertainment. Basically there was a lot of innuendo in the film.

I am for the most part unpacked and mostly settled. I still have to move the aquariums to their permanent homes and get them up and running. I think the little 30 gallon tank will have some fish in it, but I think the 55 gallon will just be turned into a terrarium. I don't feel like dealing with fish anymore and may even turn the 30 into a terrarium too. I still also have to move boxes down into the basement for storage and set up the dining room. Right now the table is pushed under the window to make room for the storage boxes. I want to get it into the middle of the room, get the 55 galon aquarium in there and the sewing machine into the corner and find a place to set up my easel. As it does not fit into the sunroom, I think I will turn the sunroom into a sitting room with book and have a reading room. All I will have to do is find a comfy chair.

Since I am mostly settled in now, I emailed a few friends in the area and will be trying to start a StitchandBitch and an event night. I am hoping to be able to gather people together once a month at least to get out and see some event, either a play or a movie and get some food too. Another thing that would be nice to do will be to have poeple over to knit with and talk to. It is a great way to learn new techniques. Or show off l33t knitting skillz.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Rude Awakenings

So there I am, trying to enjoy the early morning quiet in a blissfully drousy state, when the cat starts chirping at the door. And yes I do mean chirping. So now I am wondering who taught my cat that it is okay to start chirping at 5:30 in the morning. After a few minutes, he decides meowing would work better and at that point I get up and let him in. Then I lay back down hoping to find that sleepy calm. But to no avail. The cat is trying to get into the sleeping bag with me then trying to rub me with him wet nose. So much for getting any more sleep. I managed to lay there for a while longer before I could no longer take the cat's insistance on attention. I got up and started cleaning out my room. I decided I wanted to wash the floor in there before moving all my furniture and things in there. I figure it will be the only time the floor will get washed. Of course, the cat leaves lots of little footprints on the floor in retaliation for not paying enough attention to him. Such a needy cat.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Moving Day

So how much worse could a day possibly go. First me and my roommate take friday off so I can get up to Montreal to finish packing. Six hours later and a meal in the belly and I find out the truck is in Rutland which is three hours south of Montreal, not near Burlington as I thought it was. So back in the car we get and down to Rutland we go. Managed to spend a total of 5 hours in Canada. So we ended up crashing the night at a nice cheap hotel, yes they do exist, then picked up the truck. Dropped the car off in Burlington as there really was no need to drive it all the way to Montreal. So of course it starts raining at this point and then I get massive cramps. My father and roommate did most of the loading. I still managed to help a fair amount, running up and down stairs. I think my knees are getting better as they really didn't give me any problems. I am still trying to be very nice and patient with them. At this point, the truck is loaded and I am feeling somewhat better, I give the cat some Gravol to calm him down for the ride. Giving a cat a pill is not a fun thing to do, especially a big male cat. I had some trouble getting my hand around both sides of his face to hold his jaw open. Eventually got it in. He still complained, very vocally, for the first part of the trip. At this point, as the day had been mostly bad, I am assuming the worst for the border crossing. They barely checked the truck out. In fact, they didn't even open it up, just took my work for it that is contained household goods. At least that part of the day went well. And eventually the sun came out, making me feel better. Unloading will happen tomorrow. Not sure if anyone will come as all my friends have said they couldn't make it. Oh well, at least the truck is not full.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The dangers of IKEA

I discovered IKEA yesterday and I heard my bank account scream in agony. The store has some very nice things. I like the fact that they have similar items in all price ranges. Can't afford the 300$ table, buy the 100$ instead. Can't afford 4 chairs, get 2 now and 2 later. I wandered around the store trying to find the perfect chairs to match the nice birch table I bought from the old tenets. They had several styles, and prices. I didn't want a pre-padded chair as I thought it would be hard to keep clean so that limited it down some. I also wanted all wood and it had to be birch to match, and that brought it down to 2. I chose what I felt was the nicer of the two. I also bought nice seat pads and felt pads for the feet. I also discovered a lot of other things I would really like to have from IKEA but just can't afford right now. So, like any good addict, I carefully jotted down those items in a list, then promptly forgot the list in the cart at the cash register. Oh well, guess I will just have to go back. I will have to go back anyways as one of the chairs I bought had a few problems with it. Mostly they were asthetic but I can be anal retentive that way and it would have bothered me.

While I was at IKEA, I decided to read the little sale sheet for my new table. I was mostly curious as to how many people they claim can be sat comfortably around the table. Seems the table can handle 8 people without the leaf and 10 with the leaf in. Not too shabby. I think I want to have a sushi and bad Japanese movie night. Well, maybe I will try to find something good to watch. Although, a bad movie watched with alcohol in the system and a large group of poeple could be fun. In the mean time, I only have three assembled chairs and one awaiting an exchange. I will take care of the exchange next weekend and also pick up a few other little things I had seen and wanted. Oh dear, the addiction is growing.