Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Nature Hike: The Perils of Carbondale

Many of you may know that I live in Southern Illinois. However, I'm not sure how many of you were aware of how "wild" parts of Southern Illinois are. But not to fear, I'm about to enlighten you.

This weekend, Sam and I went hiking in the little Grand Canyon. It's a 3.5-4 mile circular hike down a huge, steep hillside, through a creek bed, and back up another steep incline. On the way, there are a few overlooks that give some spectacular views.

For example, this view. Pretty cool.

The big views are hardly the reason Sam and I hike around here though.  Most of the trail is covered by trees and crowded with underbrush. And that's the easy part. Lots of places on the trail are literally just walking on the side of a cliff. The trail even goes straight down a tiered waterfall, with steps cut into the stone.  And, all of that is super cool too, but still not why Sam and I go hiking here.

Not kidding about the cliffs.

We go to hike the Little Grand Canyon because there are so many cool creatures there! Snakes, lizards, birds, fish, and a ton of toads and frogs! Everywhere you look, there are little animals. We're working on identifying some of them, but I think it's fun just to see them. Take this guy, for example. We saw three or four lizards of the same species, but this guy practically posed for a picture:

 "I'm sexy, and I know it."

And these fish came right up to us when we went to look at them. I hoped they just wanted to say "hi" like the animals in Snow White. When they all lunged for the rock I tossed in the water, we figured out it's probably just because they thought they were going to be fed...

Feeding wild fish probably isn't the best idea...

However, there is also danger lurking in the woods! We almost got eaten by a cottonmouth!!!! (Okay, fine. I'm not 100% sure this is a cottonmouth. And it also did not lunge, threaten, or bother us in anyway. We didn't even get closer than five feet to it. And it's definitely too small to eat us. But still. It COULD be dangerous!)

Look at him! Definitely, possibly venomous!

It was certainly an adventure. It's nice to be able to drive twenty minutes and be somewhere kinda wild. And that place, surprisingly enough happens to be in Southern Illinois.

Anyway, I have nothing else for you, except this cave that looks like a face going "aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh":

A big cave mouth, and little cave eyes!

 'Til next time!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Today is a good day.

Sigh. Guys, I have a problem. It's not an uncommon problem, but a serious one nonetheless. I was sitting in my quiet little living room feeling totally sorry for myself this morning. And every second, I came up with another reason to feel even sorrier for myself.

Seriously. Full-on pity party. Feeling bad that I don't have a job yet, feeling bad that we can't have a dog in this apartment, feeling bad that my coffee was getting cold and that iwastesomuchtime.com wasn't very funny this morning. Then I started feeling bad that my living room doesn't have enough windows, and that I wished it was pomegranate season already and that Sam doesn't come back from work until 4:30 which is six whole hours from now and I have to be by myself until then. It started to get really ridiculous when I felt sad that my legs were sore from sitting and pouting all morning, and that I had six dishes in the sink to do, and that I should probably vacuum this week. (I obviously have a hard life.)

Finally, it got so ridiculous, that the living room couldn't even hold my sadness anymore, so I had to move to the sunroom.... And then I felt sad in the sunroom because it was messy from the last time I was in there, as I hadn't cleaned it up yet, and that I keep losing to Lance from the Elite Four because his dragon Pokemon are better than mine.

So, here I am in, in the throes of depression, when I heard an acorn outside the sun room. I looked up, and this is what I saw:

Now, it's a little hard to sit around and keep telling yourself how much life sucks when this is the view outside your windows. Especially when the sun is shining, there is a nice breeze, it's a beautiful 65-70 degrees, AND twin fawns just walked through our backyard with their mom. (Of course they freaked out when I opened the door, so I didn't get a picture, but you get the point.) 

 I really couldn't stay inside, so I went and walked around my yard for awhile, looking at the grass, listening to the birds, smelling the air, and generally having happiness forced upon me by Mother Nature.

I mean, THIS IS WHAT THE SKY LOOKS LIKE TODAY! How can you be grumpy when the sky looks like this?!

After that, I had to do a little re-evaluating. Perhaps my life doesn't totally suck. For example:

I am currently without a job, but I do have two interviews coming up, and I'm almost done applying to grad school.

I do have six dishes to do, but half of them are mine, and Sam did the dishes yesterday.

I have to vacuum, but most of the cat-hair from the previous owner is gone.

Sam is gone during the day, but I get to spend my whole evening with my best friend and greatest husband ever.

My legs felt a whole lot better when I actually stood up and did something.

We can't have a dog, but Sam's parents are bringing our lizard Comango to Carbondale in two weeks.

PLUS I live somewhere where I can fish five minutes down the road, hike for miles, and have adorable animals walk through my backyard everyday.

When I look at it that way, I suppose I was being a little ridiculous this morning. Okay, okay. I was being completely absurd. It's so easy to get caught up in feeling sad. All I have to do is sit and make excuses for why everything is wrong, and I'm not required to make any changes. Sometimes, what I really need to do is just stand up, look around, and realize that the forecast is really good.

So yeah. Actually my life is pretty great. Thank you, tiny deer, for reminding me.

P.S. To be fair, I do keep losing to Lance in Pokemon, but I guess it's not that important :)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Wall Hangings: Glimpses of Eccentricity

That title might be a little bold. But as I was looking around the house this morning, it occurred to me that we have some weird things showcased on our walls.

It started out innocently enough. I just wanted to make the house seem more lived-in, but Sam and I (okay, mostly me) like some weird things. Also, the whiteness of the walls has caused me to compulsively cover them with anything and everything I can find. (In fact, I ran out of 3M poster hanging tape today. I even put it on my grocery list, although it's probably for the best right now.)

Anyway, as I started going around and actually looking at all the things I have taped together on the wall, it started to get a little strange. Sure, it started out normal, but the typical "crazy cat-lady"only started with one mild-mannered cat too. Before you know it, she's covered in scratches, she can't find her tv remote under the fur shed all over, and she's got seven cats that sleep in her bed while she's demoted to the couch, (not unlike the girl who lived in this house before us.)

Exhibit #1: The Normal Things
Not everything on my wall is weird. I have some very typical things. Like this nice clock, or this picture frame full of people that I love.

Exhibit #2: Nature Things
This isn't weird either, not by my standards anyway. My husband is a fisheries major and we do to do things outside! It's perfectly reasonable that we would have a scientific fish poster, a witty "Fisherman Lives Here" sign, and a sentimental paper cut of a great outdoor scene. 

Exhibit #3: Alphonse Mucha?
Here we start to digress from the previous theme. Yes, I am an artist, but I get that an Alphonse Mucha design study doesn't really fit the mood we set. Weird? Not necessarily, but perhaps it is a little out of place. 

Exhibit #4: Old Winking Man?!
Seriously?! Where did this guy even come from? Why did I agree to hang him on my wall right above my computer? Why is he looking so seductively at everyone?! 

Exhibit #5: Pandas. There are pandas everywhere.
This is perhaps the most disturbing trend because I didn't realize it until recently. Yes, I have a lot of panda things, I always have. But I really did leave a lot of things at home when I moved! I only have two panda wall hangings. 

But as I started looking and cleaning, I discovered my walls are not the only place the pandas are lurking. On my night stand, my panda necklace....

Under my craft desk, a panda trash can....

And in my closet!!! The horror!!!!

Okay, so maybe the stuff on my wall isn't that weird. But the title says "eccentric," not weird. And it is definitely eccentric. Plus, the winking guy is totally weird. And I do have a potentially unhealthy amount of panda things. (Actually, I'm pretty excited about having the cute little guys with me all the time.)

Until my next update on the status of my house, (or whatever catches my fancy next time I feel like writing) I hope my pandas brightened your day :) 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Home is where the Pandas are (No, I don't mean China.)

As usual, I'm pretty much the worst at keeping a regular journal, blog, or really anything of the sort. But until I get my professional life all figured out and now that our apartment is pretty much settled, I suppose I have a lot of free time on my hands.

So, this is for you guys who've been asking for updated apartment pictures. Aside from just unpacking and putting things away, we've been trying to get as much color as possible into the place. The carpet is tan and the walls are white, and at first glance, it just feels... bland. But I think we've done pretty well since our move-in on August 17th. Here's a sampling of our space.

Exhibit #1 - The Breakfast Nook (currently the puzzle table, but we eat food here too):
It may not look like much, but it has a big window and lots of natural light. The best way to wake up in the morning!

Exhibit #2 - The Kitchen:
If you are thinking to yourself, "Wow that's a lot of stuff and not very much counter," you would be correct. But at least we have all the appliances we need for modern convenience! Plus, the cabinets are pretty new, and Sam and I don't take up too much space anyway. I like to think its cozy.

Exhibit #3 - The Living Room (a.k.a. the Nerve Center):
This is where I spend pretty much all of my time during the day. There are a bunch of window doors around so we get a lot of light, and the tv/couch is here. If you notice to the right, my craft table is also located in this area with my computer. So more specifically, that corner is where I spend most of my time during the day, either job searching (Meh...) or crafting (Yay!).

Exhibit #4 - The Bathroom (or "Room with that orange counter):
Yeah. this one didn't change much. The counter is still orange, and the walls are still white. But we did add a shelf! And it's much cozier with a rug and a panda towel.

Exhibit #5 - The Bedroom:
This room is still the least colorful one in the house. But that's because the bookshelf in the room is white and I haven't put many things on the walls. I like to think that the absurdly colorful comforter makes up for it though.

Exhibit #6 - Panda Rug:
It really ties the room together.

Alrighty, well, that was fun. I hope you enjoyed your visit to our humble, but homey abode! Now my mom can stop complaining about not having enough pictures :)