Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Seattle Bound....

at least for a look most know, we are headed out to Seattle tomorrow to begin the investigation into the possibilities of a new beginning in the pacific northwest....not really wanting to uproot and move across the country but still curious about the opportunity...spending hours upon hours debating the issue, pros and cons swirling around in my head...I get the following fortune in my fortune cookie last night:

"Be prepared to accept a wondrous opportunity in the days ahead!"

I know, I know it is only a silly cookie, but could it be fate? We'll see, I just thought I would least it put a smile on our faces and lightened the mood of the trip.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Trip Back...

This weekend led us on another quick road trip this time back to my alma mater, Allegheny College in Meadville, PA. I spent four wonderful years at Allegheny and can attribute much of who I am today to the experiences gained during that time. Walking through campus, I envisioned posting about the changes...buildings that have been remodeled, removed or even the new buildings but after everything sunk in its really isn't that different. Yes, there is a new athletic facility, revamped student center and artificial turf on the football field but these are simply aesthetic...ok don't tell that to the many many generous donors who poured millions of dollars into these updates...but it is the small liberal arts feel, everyone is a name with a story not just a number. The current student athletes we spent time with talked about finding the right balance between athletics, academics and fun....getting out of that afternoon lab with minutes to spare before hitting the field...the same exact issues we faced "back in the day." But what I find most comforting about Allegheny is the sense of community you feel from the time you step on campus....a community where academia, athletics and the arts blend together to become one....we had past and present student-athletes, past and present coaches, past and present faculty and past and present members of the athletic department many familiar faces welcoming us back to campus after so many years.

Walking the campus stirred many memories of the years I spent at Allegheny. Every building holding a little piece of my history....Quigley Hall where I spent most of my time as an economics major, many off all nighters locked in the small classrooms convincing security it was a good idea just to walk on by and ignore the light shining beneath the door. Brooks Hall where I spent my first semester adjusting to life away from home, learning how to deal with different personalities, learning how to make your own decisions and yes deal with the consequences. Reis Hall, home of my liberal studies humanities class...I struggled in this class more than any other during my four years but it had one of the greatest impacts...your final grade was dependent on four papers and a self college writing was one of my weaknesses and I did everything within my power to take classes with midterms and finals as opposed to writing and research papers...but this humanities class empowered me to strive to improve myself instead of making excuses, to learn to overcome, find answers to problems even if you don't have the best tools..needless to say my papers were merely average but my self collage saved the day...I took a completely different route than everyone else in the class and made a self portrait out of actual items that meant something to me rather than simple magazine clippings etc ...using a entire baseball...the leather outside, that yards and yards of string wrapped inside the leather, the pink core, the red string holding it all together...pulled apart and reassembled into a self portrait with a few other items, beer caps (of course, it is college right?), advil, pages of a book, laundry tickets and taco bell receipts...let's just say this little three dimensional project saved my freshman gpa and I will never forget the confidence I gained from the Professor's evaluation of that project.....
caution abrupt change of subject to follow:

I started this post a few days ago and haven't had the time to get back and finish it and wow have things been in an upheaval ever much for reliving the past it is our future we now must deal with.....Tuesday I receive a call confirming my company does indeed want me to come to Seattle for what I am calling a test drive of the city. There is a good opportunity for me our Northwest office...but it is so far away. Far away from friends, family and simply familiarity of our surroundings. I have spent a total of two and a half days in downtown Seattle and then a brief drive by on our way to Port Townsend last spring so to pack up our home and head across the county is still something I can't get my head around. At times it sounds wonderful, I mean Seattle is beautiful and so many places to explore but then reality sets in...again it is SO SO far away and a bit pricey to live there. In the recent months we have been contemplating moving and gone as far as contacting our realtor and have looked at several houses in Granville...a quaint little New England style village about 25 minutes east of us...we have contemplated moving to Chicago..oh how we love Chicago... but now Seattle is in the picture. So many things swirling through my head...rural charm, midwest urban or the pacific northwest..I can picture myself in any of these diverse surroundings but where do we really want to be? how will the dogs take the move? what about the cats? too many we'll just take in everything we can during our 4-5 day visit in Seattle and see where this adventure may lead...we are spending one night in Port Townsend to unwind, walk the beach, visit the bead store and spend some time with Carol and Buddy at our favorite PT B&B. Then we will hit Seattle with our resident friend and now tour guide..Dji..pictured here with her two furry friends.

So, once we return I will update the highlights of our trip, initial impressions of Seattle and hopefully will be closer to some answers on what lies ahead.........

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

What to do with a weekend....

Weekend goals usually include laundry lists of overdue household chores, recreational activities, family time, short road trips and of course much needed R&R. Well, since I completed the most delinquent chore on my list by mowing the grass late into the darkness of Thursday night, I had three days to see what could be squeezed in before the work week began again………well it started off on an interesting but very odd note…Kim had gone down to Cincinnati on Thursday night to meet up with her friends Ruth Rae, Kelly Snelling and Shara. Ruth and Kelly were in town putting the photography together for their upcoming book…A Charming Exchange. Well one thing led to another and they all had a bee in their bonnet to visit the Spring Grove Cemetery on Friday evening – one of the largest cemeteries in the US and also home to some champion trees. It is 733 acres with some amazing memorials…due to the heat of the day an impending closing time, we only had about an hour to spend but did snap a couple shots. There is still a lot more to discover and I really would like to research the trees both the native and exotic ones at the cemetery before we head back. We then enjoyed a round of drinks and dinner at Maggiano’s to top off the evening…the Peach Bellini’s were just what the doctor ordered after the hot excursion to the cemetery.

Saturday was filled with biking, family fun in both Dayton and Newark.
It was definitely a hot day for mountain biking at Lake Hope but it was so worth every minute. The trails were dry, dusty and fast…Lake Hope has a little of everything to offer rolling singletrack, descents, climbs, jumps and logs. Me, Tara and Kathy rode about 13 miles and finally have the perfect loop down - Copperhead to Habron to Bobcat to Wildcat. The first descent on Wildcat is perfectly placed to get the adrenaline pumping for the last few miles. Thanks to some fellow bikers we met along the way we were well prepared to get a little air on a few of the jumps on the way down. I can not wait to get back to Lake Hope-should be a lot of fun come fall...good riding and prime photo ops.

Sunday was topped off the weekend with a bunch of nothing…Kim and I met Heather at Bob Evans for breakfast came home did nothing…went out for a quick trip to Target and Barnes and Noble…then nothing. All in all a great weekend…from adventure to family to absolutely nothing!

Finally, as many of you have read on Kim’s blog a new vehicle has made its way into the family….many of you have been asking so here it is at Lake Hope mountain bikes and all:

Monday, August 6, 2007

Personal Growth through Art……..

As you have read over the past couple months I am slowly venturing into the art world and little by little letting myself become captured by its unyielding grasp…..perhaps it allows me to express myself in ways not done before….allows me to open up to the world in a way I would normally be uncomfortable….allowing me to speak without uttering a word…...perhaps it not even about me…..perhaps it about expanding horizons and meeting different people from across the globe, different personalities, beliefs, styles and different forms of expression……whatever is behind the pull is powerful and allowed me to tap into a part of me that has been unseen until late….for some this may surprise and they may or may not see a sort of transformation…other may just see is just another adventure….in any event I would like to thank those who have supported and inspired this new venture…what prompted this post you ask? well, it is artfest 2008…..the schedule of classes came out last week and I was telling myself I was excited for Kim and it will be fun to look through the classes and see what classes would interest her…well what classed not taught by Nina would interest her as we all know she could not get through artfest without her Nina fix, but really who could blame her??? ……anyway, I find myself not reading the classes from her perspective but from mine, would I like this? could I transfer these skills to other projects? could I see myself in the class? Is it over my novice head? The whole idea of artfest is still a bit intimidating...last year I experienced it from a distance, looking in through the window only poking my foot through the door when I felt comfortable…such as evenings at art asylum, the night on the beach and vendor night….surrounded by so much creativity and talent…even as a participant I may still feel like an outsider, perhaps not an intruder but definitely an outsider…..should that keep me from taking classes? I know the answer that was a rhetorical question but still one that goes through my mind….so after much debate I think I will take the challenge and send in my registration and see what happens…..I will give up my days exploring the Fort and Port Townsend on two wheels but perhaps our stay this year can be extended a few days before and after Artfest in order to get the best of both worlds…..the pictures seen here are from artfest 2007 – a few of many faces that I have come to love. Thank you everyone for your encouragement especially kim and nina who keep gently guiding me through this new journey….