Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ricky Raccoon Is My Neighbor

Last Saturday, while talking on the phone with my family out on my back steps, I witnessed a raccoon descend from a fire escape and then scrounge around the back area of my apartment for food. This is probably the same raccoon I discovered on my back steps one night.

Do you know how extremely difficult it is to describe what a raccoon looks like and what it's doing over the phone? I don't think any of my family members understood what a "pom-pom tail" is or that Ricky would not make a good coonskin cap because of this tail.

Here's a picture that clearly displays Ricky's pom-pom tail:

Ricky01

And, he was "washing his hands." Really, he was just digging. Here he is doing it:

Ricky02

Here he is just looking sheepish:

Ricky03

Finally, he went back inside:

Ricky04

Ricky05

At least Ricky isn't a cockroach. I'd rather have 'coons than roaches.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Friday, May 30, 2008

Baby Corey the Cat!

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Last Friday, I started my day by finding this photo in my email inbox. One of the friendly O'Bryonville Animal Rescue people found this picture of Corey the Cat! and thought I'd like it. Oh, and how I do!

And so I share with you this cute joy. Because, if this is one of the first things you see on a Friday morning (or any morning), how could you possibly not be in a good mood all day long?

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Flat Fork Ridge Trail to Pioneer Village

I told you that last Sunday I pretended it was a Saturday. You may be wondering how I would go about doing this. Well, it involved going for a hike. Determined to find good hikes around the Cincinnati area, I consulted my hiking guide on the real Saturday and chose to pack up the spy camera and do the Flat Fork Ridge Trail only 55 miles north of town. I chose this one because it's easy to get to and it's a 6 mile hike. When I did Buzzardroost Rock, I felt like I was ready to take on longer hikes.

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The deal with the Flat Fork Ridge Trail is you start out at Caesar Creek Lake. This is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project. As far as I can tell the USACE part of the recreation/dam area is connected to the state park section. Of course, each time I saw that white castle on the red square, I felt a twinge in my heart for this former employer. Essayons! That really has nothing to do with my hiking adventure, though.

So, I parked at a picnic area where families were lighting charcoals and prepping buns. I took off on the yellow-blazed trail as my guidebook instructed me. For about a mile I walked in woods and walked along the lake where there were lots of Memorial Day weekend boaters. Alongside the lake is a fossil bed. There were fossil hunting families. I didn't really pause to look. You have to get a free permit to collect fossils. Maybe next time.

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I witnessed some guys fishing in the creek. I'm sure if you look closely enough, you can make them out in this picture.

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Finally, I came to the suspension bridge that my guidebook noted. But, my guidebook discussed it in a weird way. It says, "you cross on a 'swinging' suspension footbridge." "Swinging" is seriously in quotation marks. I had no idea what this meant.

Here's the approach to the bridge:

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It's all grown over. I walked through the bushes. And saw this:

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The bridge looked a little shady. I evaluated it. I walked down to the creek and noticed that there was a little path going from the creekside up to where the trail starts after the bridge. I tried to find a way to cross the creek--if a couple of rocks had been closer, I could have done it without getting my feet wet. I thought to myself, "If the bridge isn't safe to cross, there'd be a sign, right? Because so far this trail seems well maintained. What the heck, I'm going to cross it!"

So, I walked back up to the bridge. I grabbed onto the "handrail" cables and took a couple of steps. The bridge started to "swing" and I noticed one of the cables that should be parallel with the other and to which the boards should be attached was running crooked under the boards.

After three steps I said, "Ah, hell no!" and boogied back to the safety of non-swinging land. And, so I got burned. I headed back to where I was parked, exploring little side trails down to the creek and lake.

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Before heading back to Cincinnati, I stopped at the Caesar Creek Lake visitor center and asked the friendly man there if the suspension bridge was safe to cross. He said it wasn't and that it was the state park's responsibility and that no one really knows when they'll replace it. But, if the creek's low, you can usually find a way to cross. I thanked him and was thankful I didn't go out further on that bridge.

Despite being burned and hiking only about 2 miles when I really wanted to do 6, I think I'll probably go back. It's a really nice place. It's civilized enough to where I didn't feel spooked. And, next time I go back, I'm so taking off my shoes and socks and crossing that creek. It's going to be fun!

Oh yes, I almost forgot. Here's my obligatory hiking self portrait:

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Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Week #21

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Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Book Review: The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America by Bill Bryson

lostcontinent

I keep picking up Bill Bryson's books because I really want to read A Walk in the Woods (but I'm too cheap to pay full price for it and the used price is too much). I read The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid and it was pretty good. I found The Lost Continent at Goodwill for like 50 cents and it's about a road trip, so I bought it.

This book is so much better than The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. Starting in his hometown of Des Moines, Bill Bryson goes east and then west. The entire book, he doesn't really express any excitement for his road trip. In fact, most of the time he seems disappointed with what he finds. While I love road trips and would accept any road trip invitation, I think this unromanticized account of a cross-country trip is accurate. Road trips aren't a barrel full of monkeys the entire time.

Bryson's sense of humor doesn't really match mine. There are times when he's trying to be funny, and maybe he is to some people, but I wasn't laughing. And, he does a fair amount of moaning about "the good 'ol days." But, I did find some good zingers and nuggets of truth, though. Here they are:

On leaf blowers in Georgia: "He had a leaf blower, a noisy contraption with miles of flex snaking back into the building behind him...The idea, I gathered, was that you would blow all the leaves into a pile and then gather them up by hand. But every time the man assembled a little pile of leaves, a breeze would come along and unassemble it."
(I can't tell you how many times I witnessed this during my stay in Atlanta.)

On the West: "I was entering a land of drifters: dreamers, losers, vagrants, crazy people--they all go west in America."
(I consider myself to be one of the dreamers, thank you very much! Haha!)

On the Grand Canyon: "Nothing prepares you for the Grand Canyon. No matter how many times you read about it or see it pictured, it still takes your breath away. Your mind, unable to deal with anything on this scale, just shuts down and for many long moments you are a human vacuum, without speech or breath, but just a deep, inexpressible awe that anything on this earth could be so vast, so beautiful, so silent."
(True. As far as I can tell, I saw the Grand Canyon from the same place Bryson did.)

On Road Trips: "And the toilet seat didn't have a SANITIZED FOR YOUR PROTECTION wrapper on it, denying me my daily ritual of cutting it with my scissors and saying, "I now declare this toilet open." These things become important to you when you have been alone on the road for a while."
(Once again, this is true. I don't think any of my motel toilets had one of those wrappers, but there are little rituals you pick up along the road.)

Overall, this book was a good read. It was also fun for me since I've been to a lot of the places he mentions. Pick it up if you're in the mood for a good road trip book.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik
First Donation with Hoxworth

As you know, last Thursday I donated for the first time since October and with Hoxworth Blood Center in Cincinnati. And, as you know, since I've donated with different organizations, I like to compare the service.

The Hoxworth Blood Center has gentle hands. When I told the Hoxworth person to use my left arm, she started looking for a vein, decided she didn't like them so much and started to check them out on my right arm. She informed me that she liked them better on that side, so without hesitation, I switched. The entire process went smoothly. No bruises. No weird, painful turning of the needle. And, no clotting halfway through making them stop and rendering my half pint useless. It's only by habit that I tell them to take from my left arm. Her willingness to ask me to switch shows that she was doing her very best to make the process go smoothly.

If I was only evaluating their ability to painlessly take blood without any problems, I'd give them flying colors. But, there's another aspect of donating blood: the interaction with the person who does the screening and the person who actually takes the blood.

The screener was fine. The person who started the process of taking my blood was fine. It was the man who took over I had a problem with. He took over by slowing down the flow of blood and then proceeded to make a joke about how he had to "tie pretty ladies down" so he could talk to them. And he repeated the joke. I was in complete shock that he was making such disgusting, sexist jokes, that I can't remember if he said "tie down" or "tie them to a bed" (I was lying on one of those reclined donation chairs). Regardless, he was metaphorically joking about raping women .

I immediately expressed my disgust by exclaiming, "Holy Jesus!" Obviously, he didn't perceive that I was disgusted with his jokes, because at the end of the process he was "young lady-ing" me. "You're all done, young lady," he said. And, being over the initial shock, I replied that he needed to work on his manners. He told me he was just joking.

Oh, folks, isn't that the oldest excuse in the book? "Just joking." Really? Because I wasn't laughing when you were "just joking." I told him that I wasn't kidding. He apologized. And I thanked him for apologizing.

Here's the deal, offensive Hoxworth blood taker, you can never talk to me that way. You can never talk to a woman that way. You can never talk to another human being that way. I can assure you that any human being that (hesitantly) laughs along with your sexist, disgusting jokes or remains silent, has yet to find their voice--their power--to demand that you treat them with respect. Unfortunately, you're not the only person who hasn't figured out that we're all human beings and deserve to be treated as such. I've dealt with too many people like you that I will no longer fake-laugh or be silent.

Although, I had this bad interaction, I will continue to donate blood. Because in the end, I'm helping other people. As always, I encourage others to donate. (And, I always encourage people to speak up against comments and jokes that are degrading.)

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Monday, May 26, 2008

What's On My Mind: A List (accompanied by doodles)

WOMM06

1. After I finish this post, I'm going to start prepping my June greetings.

2. On Friday O'Bryonville Animal Rescue is having a housewarming. Since they registered at Target and these are Corey the Cat's! friends, I bought some cat scratchers to take with me when I go.

3. I bought Corey the Cat! a collar. Unfortunately, the tag is so small, I couldn't fit "the Cat!" on it. So, it just has "Corey" and my phone number. Now, I just have to gain enough of his trust to slip it on.

4. I'm thinking that pretty soon I'm going to revisit "BudnikSpeak," a memoir of sorts told through family vocabulary. The words that are in the book so far are just the tip of the iceberg. I've been keeping a list since I started the project and one night last week I thought I had lost it. But, I found it. Whew!

5. Along with prepping June greetings, I have to balance my checkbook, prep my rent and parking checks. And, you know, paying a little extra on my student loans would be nice, too.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik
Sometimes I Write Letters on Monday

Dear Readers,
I apologize for the belated letters. Please forgive me. But, I’m fortunate enough to have today off in order to celebrate Memorial Day (and the holiday start to summer). Yesterday, instead of writing letters, I was busy pretending it was Saturday (and today I’m pretending it’s Sunday).

Here’s some good news: I have a ton to blog about. This week is going to be blogalicious. Stay tuned.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: WHAT'S ON MY MIND
Dear Readers,
I received a message from the apartment maintenance man. He informed me that what I killed was not a roach. Instead it was a water bug. They recently sprayed for water bugs and he figures that they scared one into my apartment. I, like a fool, googled water bugs. Nope. What I found was NOT a water bug. And, holy moo cows, I hope I never encounter a water bug.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear KBezzie,
In my book, an “early bird” is an “old person.” And, no, inhaling cockroach dander does not disqualify you from giving blood. Only certain sexual acts and residency in certain countries will disqualify you.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
Geez, you really want some cookies, don’t you? As far as how many pints I’ve donated, I’m sure I’ve given at least a gallon now. I donated 3 times with the Blood Bank of Alaska, probably 6-8 times with the Red Cross in Georgia, and now 1 time with Hoxworth here in Cincinnati.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: ADVENTURES WITH A RAT NAMED RASPUTIN
Dear KBezzie,
Yes, why not a rat on top of my fridge? I do enjoy that lady bug you keep on your toilet.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
Since bringing in Rasputin, I haven’t seen any more roaches.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Toni,
Corey the Cat! is quite okay with the new occupants. I think they’re all BFFs.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: WARNING
Dear KBezzie,
I’m happy to learn that Andrew knows a cute cat when he sees one. Corey the Cat! is definitely cuter than Springs (and all other cats—sorry, Birdie. Pig just isn’t that cute, even with his deformity).

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
You sound bitter. How many cats have used you? I’m pretty confident that Corey the Cat! and I will be together for a long, happy time.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Birdie,
I do regularly talk to Corey the Cat!. How could I not? There’s no way I’ll do anything to scare him like suddenly grabbing and squeezing him. I don’t want him to be perpetually afraid of me. (I’ll earn his trust and then gently pick him up and nuzzle him—and perpetually be able to pick him up and nuzzle.)

Sincerely,
T. Budnik

Thursday, May 22, 2008

WARNING: Cute Cat Stories Ahead

I realize that I haven't written too much about my new roommate, Corey the Cat!. And, people keep asking my about how things are going with him.

Here's a picture taken shortly after I adopted him:

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And here's one taken just last Sunday:

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Don't you just want to bury your face into his furry body? Oooh!

Okay, so those pictures should tell you a little something. That's right, Corey the Cat! is still shy. I know a lot of self-proclaimed cat consultants have told me that I just have to lovingly manhandle him so that he can realize how good it feels to have human hands petting him. I've been giving him his space and sometimes I'll crawl halfway underneath my bed and give him a good pet. Last Saturday, I decided I'd give manhandling a try. He came out from under the bed by himself and got into the fort I created with a blanket and a lawnchair. So, I closed the bedroom and bathroom door and grabbed some treats. I fed him a couple of these treats and lowered down so I could pet him. Well, he decided to boogie. And, boy, he was nervous that those doors had been closed. Of course, it didn't help that at that moment my neighbors decided to noisily enter and leave their apartments, freaking Corey the Cat! out even more.

Eventually, Corey the Cat! retreated back to his fort and I was able to pet him a bit. But, let me tell you, that cat is not going to have any manhandling no matter how loving the touch is.

He is getting to the point where he'll walk around when I'm standing up--cautiously. And he's such a sneaker! In the mornings when I walk out of the bedroom to make my lunch, he'll be in the living room hunched under a chair. I'll say good morning and then turn around to spread some peanut butter on some bread. I'll turn around to see where he is and he'll be gone! He's always doing this--waiting until my back is turned to boogie.

You wanna know the cutest thing Corey the Cat! does? He likes to scoop his krunchkas out of his food dish one by one to eat them. He'll scoop one out onto the floor, eat it, and then repeat. Usually, he'll start this as soon as I go to bed. And so I'll fall asleep to the sound of krunchkas being pulled along a stainless steel bowl, then the sound of it hitting the hardwood floor, followed by the krichy-krunch of him eating it.

And, finally, when he drinks water, he likes to scratch the floor. Sometimes with both feet. So it looks like he's running in place! Ooooh! So cute!

Until the next Corey the Cat! update.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Week #20

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This is a sign that I need to start seeking out adventures. It's kinda sad when the only things that get written down in your planner is when your student loan payments hit and what bills you have to pay.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Adventures with a Rat Named Rasputin

Saturday I finally got around to bringing in my traveling partners, Rasputin, Mojo, and Monty. They've been hanging out in my car and I noticed Monty's vest was starting to fade in the sun.

Now, I may have purchased a bed and a tableset, but I still don't have a whole lot of space to place such things as two sock monkeys and a rubber rat. So, I had to do a bit of stacking.

Here's Mojo and Monty atop some books:

sockmonkeys

Then, I had to really search for a place for Rasputin. Can you see him?

Rasputin01

Even though I was the one who put him atop the refrigerator, I cannot tell you how many times I've jumped when I've seen him out of the corner of my eye. I think he's freaked me out because 1.) he's dark like Corey the Cat! and so f0r a split second I think Rasputin is a cat, and 2.) he looks like he's ready to pounce up there.

Rasputin02

But, he's going to stay there because I don't have any other place to stick him. And, I think it's funny to have a rubber rat in my "kitchen."

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Monday, May 19, 2008

What's On My Mind: A List (accompanied by doodles)

WOMM05

1. I'm getting back onto Project 25. Back in October I gave it up for graduation stress. On my drive and stay in Oregon, I couldn't focus enough to do it. Because being unemployed and living in shady apartment isn't the most comfortable situation, you know. Once I got to Cincinnati, I tried to do it again half-heartedly. But now, I'm ready.

2. Sunday morning, after grocery shopping with the few early birds, I hit Starbucks and got a Mint Mocha Chip Frappuccio. Oh my goodness. That stuff is like crack. Let's just say from 8:30am until noon I was going strong and accomplished more around my apartment that I ever have. And, for those of you wanting to call me out on Project 25, this round of the project, I'm going to allow more frequent "splurges." Last time I did a monthly splurge. Maybe this time it'll be a bi-monthly deal. Hopefully by doing this, I'll be able to stick with it longer.

3. There are two buns in the oven, so to speak. Not in my oven. Thank you! They're actually in the ovens of two people I care about dearly. Here's to healthy baking! And, geez, now I'll have more birthdays to remember and the pressure of being a cool aunt is so on.

4. COCKROACHES! There was a gargantuan cockroach in my bedroom last Friday. I was napping and Corey the Cat! was more active than usual. Upon investigating what he was up to, I saw a big something on the wall. I immediately went into instinct mode and flicked on the light, grabbed a shoe (the same shoe I killed the spider with awhile ago), and killed the bastard. I'm trying to figure out if my apartment maintenance people will spray, or if I have to do something about it myself. And, I've got to make sure any measures taken to prevent more roaches from entering the premises won't kill Corey the Cat!.

5. On Thursday I'm donating blood. Finally! I haven't donated blood since Atlanta. I've held off on donating in Cincinnati because they have blood drives at my place of employment. I've been waiting for a drive so I can meet some blood buddies at work. Well, they've kept pushing back the drive date until now. Around here, blood is collected by the Hoxworth Blood Center which is a part of the University of Cincinnati. I'm excited because this will be the third different blood collector I've donated with (in Alaska it's the Blood Bank of Alaska, in Georgia, the Red Cross). I'll get to compare Hoxworth with these folks. So, use your gentle hands, Hoxworth, use your gentle hands!

6. A couple of weeks ago, I learned that I could plug my MP3 player right into my computer speakers and have a good listen. I have now become very fond of setting the player on shuffle and listening for extended periods of time.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sundays I Write Letters

RE: WHAT'S ON MY MIND
Dear KBezzie,
I take solace in the fact that you experience the same nomadic problem.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
No, I do not want to go back to the ATL. It’s just that last week there were a lot of things that made me remember my time there. Although I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the ATL, it will never be my first choice of geographic location. The air is too stinky and the traffic too heavy.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: I WANT ONE
Dear KBezzie,
No, I would never trade in Corey the Cat! for a chupacabre. I would make him cohabitate with a chupacabre if I had the opportunity to adopt one.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
Yes. The book is about outdoorsy athletes who have spiritual experiences. Isn’t that great? Don’t you want to read the book now?

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: WEEK #19
Dear KBezzie,
I made Fishing Cookies. And they were delicious.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



Dear Mom,
Your cookies are waiting for you here. Come and get ‘em.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Toni Tagged Me

Read her blog Sew Transformed here.

The rules:
1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

Here it goes:
"Salem is said to have been renamed by missionaries. According to one story, the name is an Anglicized form of the Hebrew "shalom," or peace, while another story suggests it was named specifically for Salem, Massachusetts. Although trappers and farmers preceded them in the Willamette Valley, the Methodist missionaries had come in 1834 to minister to Native Americans, and they are credited with the founding of Salem."

Can you guess what book that's from? From just those sentences, it really sounds like something I wouldn't ever read, let alone have closest to my desk. It's Fodor's Pacific Northwest with Oregon, Washington, and Vancouver. The book rests upon my shelves right on top of all my maps and road atlas.

I'm going to break the rules and not tag anyone, but feel free to take part in the merriment.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Week #19

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Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I Want One

explorersinfinite

Damn you, Outside! I just received the June issue in the mail yesterday. This morning over a bowl of cereal, I read a blurb about Maria Coffey's new book Explorers of the Infinite. It's a book about extrasensory, spiritual, and supernatural experiences of outdoorsy athletes.

Now, maybe the reason why I want this book is because the blurb begins by mentioning Reinhold Messner's yeti sightings. And, you know how much fun I think cryptozoology is.

Going to amazon.com, it looks like it's not available until May 29. So, for now it'll sit on my wish list.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Monday, May 12, 2008

What's On My Mind: A List (accompanied by doodles)

WOMM04

1. The U.S. Postal Service is getting to be ridiculous. They sent back my sister's graduation card because it was too small for 41 cents to get it to it's destination. After putting another 41 cents on it, it came back again. My Younger-Older Brother hasn't received his birthday card. The card was somewhat 3-dimensional. I'm sure it jammed some ridiculous machine. All I can say is that my Mom better receive her Mother's Day gift in one piece.

2. I killed my first Ohio spider either Thursday or Friday night. He was in my bedroom, high on the wall. I had to get a chair to squish him. But, compared to Atlanta spiders, he was nothing.

3. I awoke Sunday morning to thunder. That was one of the first things that blew my mind in Atlanta--thunderstorms at all hours of the morning.

4. My Atlanta roommate called on Thursday night and we had a good chat. Above, you can see my 5-minute rendering of her as Sarah McClown. She told me that there's a recruiter that reminds her of me. Which made me think about how some of the people I see in Cincinnati remind me so much of people I've seen in other geographic locations. There's one guy I swear looks like he was an engineer at the place where I worked throughout college. There's another guy that you could pick up and drop onto the UAF campus and he'd blend right in.

5. In conclusion, I've been thinking about Atlanta a lot. Or at least the differences between Atlanta and Cincinnati. And what a mind trip travel and moving really is.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sundays I Write Letters

RE: BOOK REVIEW
Dear Mom,
I am glad that you share the same pet peeve about book labels. My suspicions about being adopted have been extinguished.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear NikBudnik,
Yes. Buy the book. Buy it used on Amazon.com and not only will you be saving money, but you’ll be saving the environment, too.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: WHAT'S ON MY MIND
Dear KBezzie,
I believe I will try that site. I had someone else recommend it. Thank you.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
I don’t know how glasses over the net work. I will let you know as soon as I do.

And, yes, I want you to keep going.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Carly,
Owning a snakebite kit is a win-win situation. One, you look like a badass for owning one—people who don’t wander where snakes are would never need one. Two, if you pull one of those things out right after you or someone else has been bitten, well, you’re just a hero.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: WEEK #18
Dear Mom,
Don’t you know me? I never let any household good diminish completely before I restock. Thus, I am not rewearing dirty clothes. I simply only have about 1 load of laundry’s worth of detergent. And this past week I bought more detergent. There is no stink to be smelled.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: THE FIRST HIKE OF 2008
Dear KBezzie,
I would say it’s safe to assume that it is buzzard poo on the sign.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik
Happy Mother's Day!

I'm so bad at remembering days like this. I didn't remember Mother's Day until I was in Target looking for a birthday card for my Younger-Older Brother and saw the special Mother's Day section. (I didn't even think to buy my sister a graduation card until I saw that special section, too.) But, let me tell you, I've had this small Mother's Day gift for quite some time. I checked the original date I scanned it--May 28, 2007. But, I didn't draw it specifically for my mom. I drew it for my book Budnikspeak--the second edition.

BudnikHQ

The drawing was tucked away in a sketchbook and since I had already sent my dad a drawing of his trailer last year for Father's Day, I figured I'd send my mom this drawing. Maybe she'll hang it next to the trailer drawing and their permanent and mobile homes will be memorialized together.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The First Hike of 2008

buzzard02

I'll be the first one to say that it's a little sad it's taken me so many months to finally get back outside. The weather can take part of the blame, though, because when it's freezing or there's fresh snow on the ground, there's a good chance I'm not going to be motivated to hike.

As you know, last weekend I bought an Ohio hiking guidebook. Flipping through the book over breakfast this past week, I found a hike only 70 miles-ish from Cincinnati that has a bit of change in elevation. (Have I discussed my quest for an imposter mountain? If I haven't, to make a long story short, no one I've asked knows of any imposter mountains in the area.) The hike I found, Buzzardroost Rock, sounded like it potentially could satisfy my craving for an imposter mountain.

This morning I got an early start and hit the road. I drove SR 125 for all of the 70 miles--straight through the 'burbs and through podunk small towns. This road isn't fun to drive. One, you can't legally go faster than 55 mph. Two, because it goes through the burbs and so many small towns, there are tons of stop lights and the speed limit is constantly going from 35mph to 45mph to 55mph down to 35mph back up to 55mph then down to 45mph. Half of the time, I didn't know the speed limit. But, closer to Buzzardroost Rock, the road gets twisty-turny and hilly. And, the speed limit is more 55mph than not. Because I wasn't driving in the dark and pouring rain (like I've driven other twisty-turny, hilly roads before) it was like driving in Motorweek. Fun!

The parking lot is only large enough for four cars and there were two there when I arrived. The entire hike up, I didn't see a single soul. Surprisingly, I wasn't spooked. Maybe I'm getting used to hiking solo. The trail is great. It's wooded and there are multiple hills to climb (the largest being the last). It's not as difficult as climbing Stone Mountain, but it'll still let you know that you're not in shape.

buzzard05

Here's what you can see from the top:

buzzard07

buzzard06

The air smells sweet up there. I kid you not.

Of course, BUZZARDS!

buzzard04

At one point, I could hear the birds gliding through the air. Ah, people, that's what it's all about.

And some wise graffiti.

buzzard01

Or maybe it's not so wise. You know, with misspelling "what" and all.

Oh, you know I wouldn't write about hiking and NOT post a self portrait.

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Going hiking was absolutely what I needed. This past week has reminded me that I love (and need) to wander. And that I love nature and sometimes I just need to get out and burn some energy and simply breathe. And notice the little things, like the sound of a bird gliding through the air, little shiny green beetles, butterflies, and wildflowers.

This hike is a good one. I just wish it was a bit closer or at least the road to it wasn't so cumbersome. But, I'll probably go again.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Week #18

08week18

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Monday, May 05, 2008

What's On My Mind: A List (accompanied by doodles)

I'm still not feeling like drawing fonts. So here we go again:

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1. Starbucks Frozen Mocha Frappuccinos! I'm sure I told you, but in Atlanta I fell in love with these so much that I figured out how to make them on my own (to save money). Of course, making them at home proved to be a hassle and long story short, I haven't had one in about a year. Oh, and I probably love saying the name just as much as the taste.

2. I just read in my new hiking guide book that you should NOT suck a venomous snake bite. The reason is the venom will enter your bloodstream through the vessels under your tongue. It's a good thing I read that because I so would have sucked a snake bite. Seriously, all I've ever heard about is people sucking snake bites and living to tell the tale.

3. Speaking of hiking guide books, I just bought one for Ohio. I'm so ready to hit the trails, get some uber-fresh air (the air's pretty damn fresh in Cincinnati compared to Atlanta), and becoming one with nature again.

4. I need new glasses. Not that my prescription needs to be strengthened, but my frames are getting kinda funky. And, I've had them for three years. It's time for a new look.

5. There's a hobag tiger cat in the neighborhood. It wears a pinkish-purple collar, so based on common stereotypes, it's a female cat. Well, she's interested in Corey the Cat! and shows up at the back door at night. The hobag cat was freaking Corey out last night. Before then I've never heard him growl or hiss. I had been in bed for half an hour when I heard the commotion and got up. I figured it was the 'coon who likes to hang out around the apartment. Nope, just the tiger cat. I shooed her away. I can't have my Corey all stressed out.

6. After living here for a couple of months, I think I'm a little disturbed by the fact that the view out my windows is another apartment building. Why can't I have it all? Great location AND lack of neighbors?

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Book Review: Everyday Matters by Danny Gregory

everydaymatters

This book met my expectations. It wasn't on my wish list long before one night I was feeling saucy and ordered it used from Amazon's Marketplace. (Oh how I love buying used books via Amazon!)

Do you remember Dan Price's book Moonlight Chronicles that I read about a year ago? Well, these two guys know each other--part of Everyday Matters takes place in the desert, a trip made with Dan Price. And, the styles of the two books are very similar--delightful.

The back of the book labels it as "self-help/inspiration" which I think is funny because the front of the book labels it as a "memoir." This was a pet peeve of mine while working in a bookstore--the mislabeling of media. I do believe this book belongs in literature with the rest of the memoirs. When you slap "self-help/inspiration" on a book you ruin it because it's destined to share a shelf with some awful books. And really, isn't literature inspiring? Doesn't it help the self?

I read the book in one sitting. One, because it's an easy read, and two, it's the kind of book you can't put down. Good people, click your way to amazon.com and purchase the book. Then read it. And love it.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik
Sundays I Write Letters

RE: WHAT'S ON MY MIND
Dear KBezzie,
Oh, I will try some local produce. As soon as I find where to purchase it.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
I bet you would have spent $16 sending me old issues of Outside. Or, $16 in phone bills reading it to me over the phone.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Birdie,
I’m glad that you think of me when you see Outside.

I think Anderson Cooper probably feels like all the people who have two first names.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: WEEK #17
Dear KBezzie,
I don’t mind shopping when old people shop. Plus, I like the music.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
No, the puppy wasn’t the only thing I was looking at, but it was the only thing I was interested in.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: OH, OUTSIDE!
Dear KBezzie,
Yes, the Midwest is feeling quite stable. At least for me it’s not a land filled with shady apartments, employment, and hookah smoke.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
Hmm….I guess my neck of the Midwestern woods hasn’t been hit by any of those storms. I don’t have a television, so I’m out of the loop.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear NikBudnik,
All I can say is thank you for your comment. Your poetic words are assuring.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik

Friday, May 02, 2008

Oh, Outside!

As soon as Outside magazine arrives in my cramped apartment mailbox, I uncrinkle it and set it on my table. While I eat and while I avoid doing dishes, I read it. A couple of days ago, I read this between bites of cereal:

oregonad

An ad for Oregon. Which of course reminded me of my month and a half spent there trying to figure things out. You can't see it, but the tag is: "Oregon. We love Dreamers." Way to rub it in, Outside, that I once was an Oregon dreamer who traded it in for the stability of the Midwest. But trying to figure it out in Oregon was exhausting. I faced shady roommates who smoked the hook'. I faced becoming homeless again just a few days before Christmas. I went back to working retail. I almost hit an elk on a dark, twisty, turny, rainy road. I never regretted it, but I was glad to have a stable opportunity float my way.

Now that I'm in the Midwest, I feel like it's time to start exploring again. The weather's great. The sun's staying out longer. But I cringe at the thought of pulling out a map and charting a course. Or getting lost and turning in the same direction three times to at least face my original path (four to get back on it). The best explanation I have is that I'm still recuperating.

Then, a few pages later, I read this:

andersoncooper

It's an interview with Anderson Cooper. And the quote that makes it all worth it: "It's OK if it sucks. Of course it's going to suck at times. But it's also going to be exhilarating and invigorating, and it's going to quicken your pulse in a way it's never been quickened. And you know what? Not everything has to feel good. That's sort of a revelation--at least it was for me. You should go through it. It should suck. It's not all about enjoyment."

Oh, Anderson Cooper! Thank you. That's exactly what Oregon was for me. And, now I think I'm refreshed.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik