Wednesday, November 11, 2015


It's November?!?  
How did that happen??  

You are probably wondering how I am doing in my Master's level English class, and the answer is - maybe surviving.  My annotated Bib is due on Thursday and I feel like I have about half of it done.  I have tonight and tomorrow to wrap all that up.  I might just survive.
Then I need to actually write the paper.   AHHHHHHHH

October was pretty cool here.  I missed out on a couple great Kayak trips, but we had FRIENDS from Michigan actually VISIT us and stay the night.
It was awesome, 3 weekends in a row people came to Kentucky for one reason or another and we managed to see all of them.

We drove a little over an hour to catch people heading farther west and had lunch.  Then we had A and T stop by on their Drive back from Texas.  It was fabulous to have people we haven't seen in 2 years come visit. :~)

Tom cooked a ton and we played games and just hung out.  I forgot what it was like to get my butt whipped by someone other than Tom in a game.

Then B and H came to visit for the weekend with the Dogs. I can't decide if Brando enjoys the visits or just tolerates the girl dogs.  That was an insane weekend because we had stuff to do and so did our friends, but we managed to have breakfast and play games a couple times.  WE did acquire one of the games, so next time we are gonna whip your butts.

I almost forgot that some other people came to see us in August. They were driving back from Tennessee and decided to visit.  That was GREAT.  Of course, Tom made a ton of food and we went to Lost River Cave in town. 
 My favorite place to show people the weirdness that is living in karst country, it explains why none of us have basements.  Unless you count one made by building your house on a hill, that's not a basement, that is just a walk out.

If you dig for a basement, you might have to jackhammer out some rock, or go a little too far and get a basement that is anywhere from a 400 square foot bat cave, or something that runs on and on for miles.

I just realized that Bruce Wayne must live somewhere in Kentucky or maybe the Virginia's.  I don't think too many other states have so many cave possibilities. Certainly not Chicago, Detroit, or New York - that would just be all underwater.
Hmm, where is Gotham anyway??

Well, I'm off to work on my paper.  I'll try for pictures next time.
Christmas will be here in a minute.

We should be home for about 2 weeks.  Try to squeeze us in your schedule.  I don't know if Karaoke will happen while I'm there but I sincerely hope so.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Graduate English Class

How long have you known me?   Think about that for a second.

I just need to tell you now at the MIDDLE of this semester that I may be in over my head.  I signed up for my first Master's level English class in August.  I was a little wigged out about finding one to take, that I probably wasn't nearly as picky as I should have been....  Or more likely, the class I really wanted was scheduled at the same time as the ONE class I teach at night for the community college.

I am pretty sure I have done what is expected of me up to this point.  Finish reading the books we have been given, for the date we are discussing them.  Along with answering all the questions she has given us about the books.  Along with trying to discern anything -ISM about the book that I could recognize on my own.   
That last thing - not doing as well with it.

What do I mean by -ISM?   If you have taken any lit classes, you might have run across that term.  It is supposed to make you think about what categories you could place the book in- romanticism, socialism, Feminism, Deconstructionism, and any other -ism you could imagine.  This is something I DO NOT DO while reading books.  I missed out on this particular type of class in Undergrad or during my teacher instruction classes.

I totally see why I missed out on these types of classes.  Actually, come to think of it, I do believe I took one Literature class and NOW I understand why the teacher hated my paper.  I could not figure out what in the world she wanted from me.  Now, I think I know from just 6 weeks in an actual ENGLISH Literature class.

Anyway, Next week I'm to give a presentation on the next book we are to have read for class. I am supposed to point out the -isms found in the book.  I am also supposed to compare the book to the one we just recently read before hand.  I am also supposed to make a worksheet to hand out to class.  JOY.   Tomorrow, I must dive in deep to do this work.   I have at least managed to read the whole story, so now I can read stuff about the story in order to make some ideas and meanings come out of the craziness of ENGLISH Lit.

Do you know any English Literature PHd holders?  I have gotten to know my first and I can sincerely tell you that I had no idea.  She specializes in a couple authors from a very specific time period and WOW, the amount of background work she has done on them is absolutely amazing.  Traveling to other countries to spend several months over several years to do research is pretty darn amazing.  

I am just glad to see that she is a pretty good teacher to go along with all that research and dedication to what she knows.  When someone tells you that you should probably go find the original thing and check that out, there are really compelling reasons for that. 
It's too late for me, but I will try to get to know the people I meet who have done it.

Sorry, no pictures today.  Maybe I'll post stuff I learn about the book I'm doing next week.

Just thought you might like to know what strange and amazing thing I'd gotten myself into this year......... 

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Ricoh WG-M1 - YouTube

How often is your life in Limbo?  Waiting for someone else to tell you something?  I feel like I have been floating in that place for a couple weeks now.  Actually, it has been most of the summer.  I did not stop planning the rest of my life, but today I am totally WAITING...

Tom got me a new action camera for my birthday.  I am enjoying it.
It is a Ricoh WG-M1.
Everyone would ask me- why not a Go-Pro? I am just a little too controlling to do that.  First you pay $300+ for the camera with no screen, then you have to buy the waterproof housing and all the special adapters to attach it to things.  Yes, they did that all on purpose - to sell more stuff.

The Ricoh is based on regular cameras with the abilities of a Go-Pro. I put a regular quick release on the bottom and waaaa-laaa, it goes right on the rig I already made for the Kayak.
So far, I am rather pleased.  It took me a while to figure out some of the things it does and see which view I liked better.  It has Wide/Mid/Narrow lens setting and NO Zoom, but no action camera has a zoom.
Here are some shots in each style taken at 14 megapixels.  If you want to see YouTube videos from it - Go here...
Make sure to subscribe to see the new stuff.

(Click to embiggen- stolen from The Bloggess)
 The first shot here was taken using the Narrow setting on the pictures.  I'm pretty sure that is what I had set on these. This is from a trip down Green River, this is a creek that we can't normally go down. The water was high, so we could get through.  There is a Tiny bit of distortion on the edges and corners.

The second picture here is from Barren River Lake.  This one was done set on Mid - so there is a little rounding on the edges.  Oh, I have a picture on Facebook you can see the trees sort of leaning in.

This picture is from Drakes Creek and that day everything should be on Wide, because I kept having to turn the camera back on over and over again.  Anyway, you can really see that this is the Wide, you can see the black edges of the lens cover (to make it waterproof).   So, the center of the picture is clear, and normal, but the edges are all warped.
The auto turn off feature totally sucks. Each time you turn on the camera, all the setting go back to Wide and anything else you changed goes back to reset.
I turned that off, and life is way better.
The battery lasted longer than I expected.  Plus I finally got a second one, so it's okay.
Overall, I am really happy with the camera.

The biggest problem that I ran into is trying to get an extra battery for the camera.  Of course Amazon gets items listed that companies say will work and so Amazon links it to the camera.
I ordered a battery and charger for pretty cheap, I knew it was cheap and didn't expect a great and powerful battery, but I was not expecting it NOT to fit.   This Battery does not fit.

The company that was selling the battery offered me a second one to fix the problem.  I certainly took them up on it and noticed some other guy had the same problem that I had. Amazon notices I contacted the seller and asks me to write a review of the company.
I had already written a review on the battery and basically just said the 3rd party company is screwing everyone up.
So, I write a pretty good review of the company.  I said that the company did what they could to take care of me.  I had already waited 2 weeks for a battery that fit and it didn't.  Luckily I did not have a big trip planned where I KNEW I needed that 2nd battery.
I mentioned that sadly the company that made the batteries was messing them up.

Then I get a phone call.  I hadn't gotten around the sending the batteries back for a refund; I was busy teaching summer school.  I was okay with the phone call to help me take care of the problem.  At this point I had ordered the expensive Ricoh battery to make sure it fit in my camera.

But Rep for the camera company was like - Take down your review and I'll give you your money back.    WHAT???  It was a good review of YOUR company, but that doesn't matter because it wasn't 5 stars. Then,  East Photo, called me again  because I had not had a chance to go online and take down my review of their company.  She was all, "We refunded your money, why haven't you done it.
Well half of it - I hope the charger I got works??  Little nervous there - trying a 3rd party charger feels weird after the battery fiasco.

Sooooooooooooo,  long story short - HA - I took down my Amazon review of the company and said fine, be whiny - I'll just say how annoying you were on my BLOG.  You can't make me take this down.  I know not too many people see this, but it's still on the internet.  I think it is pretty crappy to tell someone I'll refund your money if you take down the review.  I call BS!!!!!  Complete BS!!!

Anyway- Happy summer.  It's August and school starts here next week.  Can you believe that?
Go check out my videos on Youtube - and I'll see you around.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Feels like the same old thing....

  I was thinking about it today and realized that yes, I feel like I am writing about the same old thing all the time.  So, I just haven't written a blog in a long time.

This spring was a little crazy.  The weather would not get it together for March and April, so our normal weekend on the water got pushed back to MAY.  Plus our vacation to Florida also got squeezed in there.

It's already June and much has happened in the last couple months.

D came for Easter and we hit Shanty Hollow lake; because of all the rain, the Barren River was way too high and not safe to be on.  That was a lovely day, the sun was out. We hiked to the waterfall.  I'll look for a picture.

We managed to get on the water a couple times in April.  The creeks were all up a bit which made it pretty fun.

I got more hours at my mall job.  The assistant manager quit, so we had a lot of hours to spread around to everyone else.  I was working 6 days a week, between school and the mall.  I was ready for our vacation in May.

Tom and I took off to Florida.
We had a great time stopping to see John and Missy in Alabama.  It really helped break up the drive going to and from.  We took the boats this time and managed to go Kayaking a couple times - in between Universal Studios days.   That was awesome.

Going to NASA and Kennedy Space Center was truly great. We did the big tour and saw the space shuttle launch pads and the giant mover.  Space X has already taken over one of the launch pads and other companies have taken some of the other old spots on the grounds.
Seeing Space Shuttle Atlantis was the BEST thing ever.  I always wanted to see one and it was even better than expected.

The whole set up was great and people had lots of kids there, and I guess that is who a great deal of the place is built for.  I just don't think most of them got much out of it.  I was amazed at the amount of real things we created in the 60's.  There were so many things I did not know.
I think the reason we stopped liking space so much was the extended time between the moon missions and the Space Shuttle launches.  It took 12 years.  The entire 70's went by and the only thing that we sent up were satellites.  Sure those made a big difference in our television watching, but it did not create the buzz that a people'd launch did.

One last thing....
You all know that I really enjoy giving back in one way or another.  Guess it's one reason I became a teacher.  Anyway, we try to support things going on around us.  This past weekend was one of those situations.
A group called "Kids on the Block" does puppet shows in schools to help students learn how to talk about things happening at home or school that they just can't figure out how to tell someone.  Sure you may hear people say, "tell me if someone touches you", but get mad every time your kid says, "So and SO is touching me."  So in that all important time to hear them goes by because you aren't listening.
Anyway, one of the supporters of the group wanted a fund raiser that got kids outdoors and wasn't just another color run.  The owner of Lost River Pizza knows our Kayaking friend Tangie.  She owns Green River Scrubs.  She asked us to help with a paddle on the Barren River.  A group of us went to make sure all the newbies made it through the trip in one piece.
The Local newspaper  did a story on the trip and took a few pictures.  They got my backside and a picture of one of the guys that does the stand-up board.

It was a rather slow paddle for us and some people were having a hard time going slow, but overall, it looked like everyone had a good time.  A group of us met at Lost River pizza afterward and had a rather good time. The shirts are very comfortable and the gift bags had some cool stuff in them.  I'm glad I could help out and have a great time doing it.

PS.  Please let me know if you do want more of the paddling stuff.  I have links to adventures I have made.  Most of this stuff shows up on Facebook, so I don't post on here as much.   If you like stories of the trips let me know, those certainly would go here better......

Monday, March 02, 2015

We were on TV!!!

Back in JUNE we went on a trip down the Green River in Mammoth Cave National Park.
I told you we were going to be on TV - and yes we were.
I totally forgot to share that here.   I shared it on Facebook, but heck - not everyone see's that.

Without further ado-----   CLICK HERE......

Weird thoughts

I like to make a lot of plans.  I could probably tell you where I plan to be most weekends for the next 5 months.  Plus, I know where I want to be for a few more weekends, but not sure if they are all going to pan out. 

The weather is much harsher, creating more barriers to getting certain things done.  There might be snow here on Wednesday and everyone is starting to freak out now.  I could not get near the gas pumps at Kroger today.  I guess I'll get gas somewhere else. 

Working out only gets better if you start with baby steps at my age and up.  I know it feels like you have to go whole hog and jump in with both feet.  Sure, but only if it's for 20 minutes or so.  I've been working out twice a week, most of the time, since November. I guess you could say I am pleased with my results. You can't see it in my weight, but I can sure feel it in my muscles.  (Okay, people tell me I look smaller.) 

Old dogs get cranky, especially if they are a bulldog.  I can not believe how anti-human my poor brat has become.  Don't ring the doorbell, or knock on the door;  otherwise, he feels it is an invitation to start the battle royal.  He's decided that you must pay him homage, and even that doesn't keep him from deciding to bite your leg.  I apologize to all, we just can't figure him out. 

It seems to get harder each year to find that cool job.  I found a place that I really want to work at for a long time and darn it; I just can't get hired full time.  I am getting a great deal out of the professional development they have available, and am just enjoying being at least part of the fun.  Thank goodness I work with extremely nice people. 

Oh, and I do want you to come visit me.  Yes, you.  Family or friend!!  I'm sure we can find a weekend or so to squeeze you in. LOL

Monday, February 09, 2015

Adventures in Winter Kayaking.

Forgive me for my absence.  Really have I a million things to share. I just am having a harder time getting myself to actually write anything. 

Newest adventure first -  
How do I create the suspense I want for this post?  Well, there you are- you are warned that it really should be suspenseful, but you already know the outcome..... 
If you have read any part of this blog, you would know that I like to Kayak.  I'm not just a summer and it's warm and there is nothing else to do person.  I am a - lets plan this for weeks on end and go every Saturday that the temperature will even sort of allow you to be out on the water.  I like the temp to be somewhere above 38 degrees F, without a ton of wind;  that about covers my expectations. 
Saturday, January 31st,  fulfilled my preferences and after testing the air at 7:00am, I was ready to hit the road and get some kayaking done.  My only other caveat is that I prefer to go with other people.  I know it's not a great idea to go alone, especially when the creeks are up and it is cold outside. This weekend, my normal crowd planned an outing and I was thrilled to tag along. 
Most of the day was fabulous.   The sun finally came out from behind the clouds;  the birds were flying or swimming as they are likely to do. Some turtles even came out to soak up a few rays from the weak sun.  We had done about 8 miles of the 12 mile trip when I had 2 choices of direction I should take. 
Instead of just taking the simple route of beaching my craft and walking around the huge log that crossed the entire creek.  I changed my mind in the middle and tried to get all the way across to the low spot of the log that ran just under the water.  I had waited just a smidge too long to change directions.  Of course I was sort of sideways across the creek, trying to make it to the far side. 
That log created a lovely blockage and caused the river the speed up there to go under and around it.  I hit the log with the flat side of my kayak.  I'm not even sure if I had hit it head on that it would have made much difference.  I would have wound up in the same situation. 
I was almost to the end of the log to go over the low side.  Sadly I pushed down with my paddle on the upstream side of the log and leaned.  OOPS- of course this is your first instinct to do anyway- so almost everyone does this at least once.  My lovely kayak that had kept me from dunking for over a year; gracefully tipped into the on coming water and schloooopI got pulled under with the current. 
This wasn't the first time I had experienced this phenomenon.  I did this once long ago on a whitewater trip in West Virginia.  There is video proof of that adventure.  None of this one. 
I found myself in the water.  Not quite upside down, but disoriented, never the less.  I opened my eyes and found the light and properly swam with the current to the far side of the log.  I could not go any farther I would find, because I was tangled in my many cords coming off the kayak.  (I'll be rethinking my paddle leash after this incident.)    
The log had two lovely fist sized stumps sticking out on my side of it.  I was able to grab those and pull my upper half mostly out of the water.  I noticed the cords and paddle basically holding me there at this time.  My buddy, who is usually the really crazy one, shows up to help drag me to shore.  It took us a few minutes to disengage me from my tangles. 
I realized about this time that the water did not feel nearly as cold as I expected it to be in January.  Also, the current was rather strong and it felt the need to steal my cheap rubber boots right off my feet.  My buddy got me to shore and I crawled upright and started peeling off the many layers of wet clothing.  I looked up to see the other two guys crawling out on the log to disengage my boat from the log. 
I was certainly cold, but surprisingly did not feel like hypothermia was happening to me.  I pulled off my neoprene neck wrap- as I hate the wind on my neck - and found my chest under it was still sort of dry.  Oh how I love neoprene now!  I'm sure by keeping my chest mostly dry, I was more capable of continuing to function. 
It took a bit to dislodge my boat.  The log and current were doing a great job at holding it hostage. I peeled off all the outer layers and was working on my socks when Boyscout came over with his canoe and picked me and my wet clothes up and took me to where the other guys had managed to wrangle my boat to the shore.   
My kayak is very open inside and it was completely filled with water.  They had to turn it over then set it up on end to get most of the water out.  My extra clothes, in the dry bag, were still attached, so they threw that to me and I started layering on new stuff.  My giant Irish wool sweater and other coat were lovely to find.  My head sock had gotten wet, but some clean socks and some outer wear pants  were great to help hold in what heat I had left.   
I was missing some gloves and shoes; as the current ate my boots.  Boyscout once again came to the rescue with both gloves and soft boots to survive the rest of the trip. 
Later when we took inventory, I had only lost my boots and my Garmin.  I still had glasses on my face. My water bottle and seat cushion had been rescued, along with everything else attached to the boat.   My phone, camera, lunch and 1/2 skirt were all still there and properly connected.  
Garmin is being great and helping me with a replacement at a discounted price.  My Fitbit survived the dunk and continued wetness in my shirt until I got home.  After syncing it and checking the time - it looks like I went in about 1:40 in the afternoon.  The Fitbit then shows I started walking again at 3:15, which means it took an hour and a half to dislodge my boat and paddle the last 4 miles. My buddy W.. really turned on the speed to help me keep warm and get out pretty quick. 
I am pleased to say that this experience, while a little hair-raising, has not deterred me from planning  other winter kayaking trips.  I am thinking long and hard about going out on Trammel creek coming up, but I may not go because of lack of boots and not from abject fear.