Monday, September 29, 2008

One-Page Story

onepagestory02

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sundays I Write Letters

RE: ONE-PAGE STORY
Dear KBezzie,
Well, aren't you smart? How about you try nuking a stale old-fashioned donut whilst unemployed and living in a Days Inn?

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
Thank you for sharing your burnt muffin story. It makes me feel better about the donut.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: L.L. BEAN GOOSE DOWN JACKET
Dear KBezzie,
You are correct. The mittens you made me don't match my new jacket. They are too close in color so they look matchy-matchy. But, those mittens go perfectly with my dark purple quasi-peacoat (the mittens make the jacket look like an eggplant).

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
Rest assured, I will be wearing a hat and scarf when I debut the jacket in chilly weather.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear NikBudnik,
So what kind of jacket did you get for Colorado? Hmmmm??

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Toni,
Thank you.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: WEEK #38
Dear Mom,
Yes, I did post about the book before I posted the planner scan. This is how I blogged during the black out--I wrote the book review in my planner and then typed it up when the power came back on.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: J-41 VEGAN SHOES
Dear KBezzie,
I guess the fact that they are not made with any animals and the rubber is made from some recycled materials cancels out the wrongs that you have pointed out.

And, I have no idea what you're talking about with the Aquarius. Are you talking about the compass?

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
What if I did pay more than $25 for them? Hmmmm??

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: OUTDOORSY NUTRITION
Dear KBezzie,
We have to stay strong against the nutritional terrorists. Yes, your sneezes may be inhibited at the salad bar, but we must endure a bit of incovenience for the safety and integrity of our nutrition.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
You're not missing anything.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik

Friday, September 26, 2008

Outdoorsy Nutrition: SOYJOY

soyjoy01

Here's one that I skipped. How I did it, I don't know because there are SOYJOY ads in a bunch of different magazines.

My first impression of these bars is that they're really difficult to open. I guess they're safe from nutritional terrorists, though. The taste is much better than some bars I've had. But, these are kind of small and kind of expensive.

These bars are, of course, made with soy and soybeans are supposedly a superfood and really, really good for you. That's all fine and jim dandy, but who's really making these bars? Ends up Pharmavite, who owns the Nature Made brand, too. After researching outdoorsy nutrition, I've come to the conclusion that you need a good story to be bona fide outdoorsy. The food has to have started in someone's home kitchen, originally tested by the very friends the creator hiked into the woods with. SOYJOY does not have that story.

Eat 'em if you have the money to spare on something small, tasty, and nutritious, but don't expect them to fill your soul as well as your belly.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Outdoorsy Gear: J-41 Vegan Shoes

J41shoes01

Remember when I went kayaking? I wore my new J-41 shoes, which I bought to somewhat replace my devil Teva sandals.

First, how could you not want a pair of these J-41 shoes for yourself? The disgusting contrast of yellow against green yells, "I don't care how ugly the color of my shoes are. They perform well and I'm so adventurous I don't need my shoes to look pretty, I need them to perform." You know you want to believe that you're adventurous enough to justify purchasing these shoes. I do.

J-41 is all about adventuring on your personal journey. Everything they say on their website makes sense. But, there's one thing that makes me question their legitimacy in the outdoorsy category: their connection to Jeep. "J-41 is a registered trademark of Chrysler LLC and is used under license." And, the traction is supposedly "Jeep engineered." Upon further inspection, it appears some reputable outdoorsy shops carry these shoes. So, I'll go with my gut and say they're just as outdoorsy as all of those other brands people wear to work and not the mountains.

They performed well kayaking. I received the tiniest blister on my heel, but what new shoes don't give you blisters? They got dunked into the water (not because I flipped the kayak) and dried out like champs. Now I'm torn between begging summer to stay so I can continue to wear them and asking winter to come early so I can wear my new down jacket.

J41shoes02

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Week #38

08week38

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Outdoorsy Gear: L.L. Bean Goose Down Jacket

downjacket02

Folks, I've wanted this jacket since I finished school at Portfolio Center and turned my car in a northernly direction. Unfortunately, once I got to the Pacific Northwest, I didn't have the funds to purchase the jacket. And, once arrived in the just as cold Midwest, L.L. Bean was out of my color, then "Green Tea."

This year, bountifully employed, I wasn't going to go another winter without this jacket. So, I started peeking on llbean.com early so I could catch it as soon as they started to list their winter clothing. At first, I thought I was going to have to resort to purchasing a black jacket. But, I held out long enough and they finally listed a "Lily Pond" colored jacket. That name is even better than last year's!

Okay, so I haven't been able to wear it yet. Ohio is still getting up in the 70s and 80s during the day. But, Old Man Winter, if you're reading this, you can stop in anytime. I'm ready! Because I haven't been able to wear it yet, I can't tell you about how it performs, but I have a really, really good feeling about this jacket.

I know that you're dying to see what I look like in it. Here's a little peek. Please note that my luscious lockes are ponytailed up.

downjacket01

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Monday, September 22, 2008

One Page Story

onepagestory01

I'm trying something new: telling a story on one page.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sundays I Write Letters

RE: SUNDAYS I TRY TO WRITE LETTERS
Dear KBezzie,
How dare you speak of my Whole Foods pizza in such a manner. I think you can burn in hell with your old-man generator!

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
Thank you for your concern about my hamburger. I appreciate it.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: WHAT'S ON MY MIND
Dear KBezzie,
Yes.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
Please send mini Maglite light bulbs and size D batteries.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: WEEK #37
Dear KBezzie,
I thought the moose quote was amusing. I take no responsibility for the quote itself, but I apologize for posting the offensive words.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
Next year, I will remember that.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: BOOK REVIEW
Dear KBezzie,
Please reference my letter to you Re: Week #37.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
You're probably a better person for not reading this book.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: KAYAKING SATURDAY
Dear KBezzie,
Yes, my good FAMILY at USACE. I apologize.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
Yes, I was wearing a life jacket. Yes, my friend took the pics. My friend is behind the camera taking the pictures. Hahahaha!

Sincerely,
T. Budnik

Friday, September 19, 2008

Kayaking Saturday

Last Saturday, before the hurricane blew into the Midwest, I went kayaking with a friend who has the kayak hook-up. I have a personal rule never to decline an invitation to go kayaking except in the case of death. So, when my friend asked, I accepted and eagerly counted down the days.

I let my friend choose the destination, because I have only been on the water once before in a kayak. We went to Brookville Lake in Indiana. Guess what? The recreation site is managed by my good friends at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

We toodled around the lake a bit. We saw birds and witnessed one of them swoop down and catch a fish. We heard power lines crackle. Nothing says you're in the middle of nowhere quite like that sound. Seriously, though, it was spectacular. Despite the wind making the lake a bit choppy, it was quite enjoyable and relaxing to paddle around the lake.

I know you're all dying to see how extremely cool I look in a kayak, and dear readers, I won't disappoint you.

kayak01
The classic thumbs up.

kayak02
Kayaking action.

Just in case you're wondering, no, I did not flip the kayak and have to demonstrate my mean swimming skillz. (I can only swim on my back--it's a good thing I wore a life jacket.)

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Book Review: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

walkinwoods

Finally, this is the Bill Bryson book that I've wanted to read for a long, long time. I didn't read it before because I either couldn't find it at the library or it was too expensive (new or used). And because I wanted to read this book, but couldn't acquire it, I read 2 other books by Bill Bryson that I could obtain.

Like his other books, this one has a lot of facts and factoids. At some points he digresses from his personal experience on the Appalachian Trail and rambles on about the history of this or that which somehow relates to the AT. This, I don't like so much.

The biggest let down of this book is that Bill Bryson didn't even do the entire trail. He started out at the southern terminus and walked to Virginia or thereabouts, but took a ride through a state or two. Then he hiked bits and pieces before he attempted the Maine part of the trail (he didn't make it all the way). Because he didn't complete the trail in its entirety, I wonder why it gets so much attention (they sell it at the visitor center at Amicalola Falls, where thru-hikers check in).

I suspect its recognition stems from the fact that it captures the spirit of the trail. I don't know what that spirit is, I've never done the trail, but I'll go ahead and assume that Bill Bryson has captured it.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

"So the woods are spooky."

"Life takes on a neat simplicity, too. Time ceases to have any meaning. When it is dark, you go to bed, and when it is light again you get up, and everything in between is just in between. It's quite wonderful, really. ... All that is required of you is a willingness to trudge." (I find this one applicable to long-distance driving.)

"A moose is a cow drawn by a three-year-old."

This is all to say, go ahead and read this book and get it out of the way.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Week #37

08week37

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Monday, September 15, 2008

What's On My Mind: A List (Accompanied by Doodles)

WOMM22

1. The power was out.

2. And I had just bought some hamburger.

3. I needed to take things out of my adventure purse and put them into my wallet and work bag.
4. Leaves were falling everywhere.

5. The first two items you already know.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik
Sundays I Try to Write Letters

Dear Readers,
I apologize for the belated edition of Sunday Letters. It just wasn't in the cards for me to write yesterday. See, Hurricane Ike decided to make a visit to the Midwest. (Who woulda thunk Cincinnati is a destination?) The winds were so fierce just about everyone lost power, including yours truly.

The power flickered off around 3pm. No biggie, I thought, because how long could it last? After 3 hours I started to listen to the radio on my mp3 player. Well, Sunday evening radio stinks because it's all syndicated shows--no news. (I will admit to listening to Delilah for awhile--it's a guilty pleasure. God Bless.) I went to bed early because what else is there to do in the dark?

I slept way too much and awoke a bit early for work to a still-dark apartment. I left for work half hoping there'd be no electricity (power outage day--yah!), but hoping there was electricity (because I didn't want to go back to sitting in my dark apartment). There was power. So, I wished with all my might that the power came back on in my apartment so I wouldn't have to toss the 2lbs of ground hamburger I purchased just hours before the power went out. Thankfully, the power was back on by the time I got home from work and it had been on long enough for my hamburger to be frozen solid.

Readers, you're always in my mind. I write for you. In order to serve you better this week, I am going to skip the individual letters and focus on all of the exciting posts I have planned. I hope you're not disappointed. If there's a burning comment you want addressed from last week, bring it up in this post and I'll address it next Sunday.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Friday, September 12, 2008

Poor, Poor Squirrel

Last Saturday I drove with a friend down to Jefferson Memorial Forest just outside of Louisville, Kentucky to do some hiking. I offered to drive and, oh, how I wish I hadn't.

Along the interstate, very much in the middle of nowhere, a squirrel darted out into the road. Now, I count my lucky stars that I've never been in a car accident. I'd like to think that it's because I'm a good driver, but I realize that this just may be because I'm lucky. In this squirrel-in-the-middle-of-the-road situation, I played it smart--I didn't swerve and I didn't slow down (there were people behind me).

But, the little fella was so stunned, he couldn't run, he stood straight up and looked at the speeding silver death coming towards him. I did my best to straddle him. And, I don't think I got him, but I know that he either died of a heart attack or was squished by the cars following me.

Before I even headed off to hike, I put birdseed out on my back steps for the animals. Usually, the squirrels (being the biggest animals in the back area of my apartment) get there first and make sure to eat all of the sunflower seeds before eating the other seeds, which they fight the birds for. Well, Sunday afternoon, this was the scene on my back steps:

creatures02

creatures01

Chipmunk, check.

creatures03

Birds, check.

Squirrels?

Squirrels?

Where are the squirrels? I know that the sunflower seeds are all gone, but that usually doesn't stop the squirrels. I think they know what happened! They're either pissed at me or attending the funeral of their Kentucky cousin--or both.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Week #36

08week36

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Monday, September 08, 2008

What's On My Mind: A List (Accompanied By Doodles)

WOMM21

1. Last Friday I woke up in a dreary mood.

2. Outside it was drizzling, just like it was in my head.

3. On the ride into work, for a change of music, I put in a CD I listened to on my way to Oregon and the entire time I was there.

4. This was not such a good idea. Because it made it drizzle harder.

5. Then, on the way home, the blower in my car stopped working. Well, it went back to working only on high. This problem I had fixed only two weeks prior.

6. The next day (Saturday) I took it back to the dealership, but I would have had to leave it there because they didn't have a lot of mechanics working.

7. I told them I'd bring it in during the week.

8. And then I went hiking.

9. Totally and completely unrelated: I've started switching Corey the Cat!'s food over from Iams to Purina One. We'll see if it makes him a healthier cat.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sundays I Write Letters

Dear KBezzie,
We all know that you always have monkeys on your mind.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
Oh, I know your secrets. I'd tell you how I know, but it's a secret.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: ADVENTURE FRIDAY
Dear KBezzie,
Thank you, for now I know what I'm going to do for Thanksgiving: go on a delightful fall hike and return home to a Hungry Man turkey dinner. Mmmm...I can't think of a better way to spend a fall day off.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
Are you getting enviro-political on my blog? Thank you!

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: WEEK #35
Dear Mom,
Yes, it's been 3 years. On Tuesday, it'll be 3 years since we drove into Atlanta. Time does fly. I can barely believe that it's almost been a year since I graduated from that fine school in Atlanta.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: BOOK REVIEW
Dear KBezzie,
Well stated. I think that human-Earth relationship needs both nature and nurture. See, we are part of nature and will have an impact on the environment, but we also need to nurture our relationship with Earth. While uncivilized humans did (or do) certain things unconsciously to maintain Earth, I believe civilization has put many degrees of separation (even if it's just in our heads) between humans and Earth. So, we need to be more conscious about our actions and be mindful of how it impacts Earth.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Daddy,
I'm not going to lie, I think the fact that you mentioned harvesting Pig's (for those who don't know Pig is a cat) fur. But, you make a good point. You should relish the fact that a short drive up the Glenn Highway affords you a breathtaking vista. And, you should relish the fact that you live in a state where the roads are referred to by name, not by number.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
No, the author doesn't have too many answers. (In fact, her use of rhetorical questions was an annoying aspect of her writing style.) But, there's enough food for thought in the book that you can start formulating your own answers.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear NikBudnik,
I'll address both of your comments in this one letter. Thank you. Someone had to rag on me about my bias agains MAs! See, you remind me that sometimes degrees mean jack, because in the end you have to be able to communicate with the people and the people don't care how many letters are behind your name. They care about what you have to say.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: OUTDOORSY NUTRITION
Dear KBezzie,
What granola bars do you speak of? Did you make them? If you have a recipe, please send it.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Birdie,
Good idea. Good idea! For awhile I was eating dried apricots at work during snack time. Although, work is far from outdoorsy.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
Hoo! The apple does not fall far from the tree! You wanna know the snacks I take to work? Whole raw almonds and a diet cola. I guess great minds think and eat alike!

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear NikBudnik,
Well, if you make your own granola, why don't you send me your recipe? Then, I'll tweak it to fit my outdoorsy needs.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik

Friday, September 05, 2008

Outdoorsy Nutrition

Dear Readers, it appears that I have run out of outdoorsy nutrition bars to review. I'll admit that I didn't test all of the nutrition bars available at my local Whole Foods, but I did test the majority and the ones that really screamed "outdoorsy."

So, I'm going to turn to you for guidance. Are there any outdoorsy nutrition secrets you're keeping? It seems a lot of people came out and said they like the Kroger Crunchy Granola Bars. What else are you eating (and not just bars) in the great outdoors or to make you feel like you're a bona fide granola munchin' outdoors person?

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Book Review: Flight Maps: Adventures with Nature in Modern America
by Jennifer Price

FlightMaps

First, I will say that this book was a wee bit difficult to get through. It's kinda long and it's kinda written like a research paper (probably more like a thesis for the length). I attribute this to the fact that the author holds a Ph.D. from Yale. (Seriously, I'm waiting for someone to give me a hard time about my blatant bias against writers with degrees higher than a B.A..)

Second, I will say that getting through this book was worth it. Much more worth it than Thoreau's book.

Third, the book looks at how we relate to Nature through five different case studies. These stories come from a hundred years ago to 1999 (when the book was published). The main point that sifts to the top is that people generally view Nature as separate, or as other. We don't realize that we LIVE in Nature and that we ARE Nature. This is somewhat due to the fact that we have a complex economy.

"Consumers' failure to see their own powerful connections to pigeons owes much to the commodification and distance that characterize modern encounters with nature. But the failure to make connections is convenient."

See, if we buy a table at Target, we don't necessarily have to give any thought as to what the table was before--a tree. And because we're not connected, well we can use our definition of Nature to suit our philosophical needs--politics, religion, etc..

But, as Jennifer Price makes clear, "Nature is not a separate place. ... It is, you could say, a continuum, that ranges from the wildest pieces of nature to the most transformed."

I like this book because it's a thinker. And, it confirmed some suspicions I've always had. When I was first exposed to Thoreau and his "live life deliberately" in the woods, I wondered if one could do that in the city--do city trees and birds not count as nature? When I was in Atlanta, I was shocked and appalled that no one else was disturbed by the fact that the asphalt stank to high hell when it rained--isn't city air nature?

But, I, too, am guilty of defining Nature as "other" and "separate." In Atlanta I purposely left the city to get closer to nature. I rate the legitimacy of the hikes I take (whether they really are bona fide hikes--and they have to be rugged and in the middle of Nature to be real). But, I also had the inkling that Nature wasn't as separate as being 60 miles from the city. I have come to realize that although I didn't do much hiking or outdoorsy things in Alaska, I was very much in Nature and appreciated it, even I couldn't articulate this when I lived there.

Flight Maps is a little old, almost 10 years. While reading it, I wondered what Jennifer Price would say about the green trend that has taken off in the last couple of years. It seems more and more people are conscious of green economic behaviors. Many companies are touting that they are "going green" and not only cutting costs, but also cutting, reducing, or offsetting their "carbon footprint." Individuals are, too. While I won't say that this is necessarily a bad thing (because I think more people are thinking about their role in the environment), I can't help to think that perhaps it simply fuels the idea that Nature is separate. Why should we erase our footprint? Aren't we, too, part of Nature?

People, it's a good book. Find it. Read it.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Week #35

08week35

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Adventure Friday

Folks, last Friday was my last Friday off. (It's okay to cry a little.) Now, what's a chick to do on a beautiful day off? Hike, of course. I picked a hike from my guide, got into my car, and hit the road. The Gorge to Fort Trail Loop at Fort Hill State Memorial was my destination.

Folks, I have to stop convincing myself that 60-70 miles down a state route isn't a long drive. It IS a long drive. A long, long, long drive. I swear it took me like 2 hours to get there. And I was greeted by an all but empty parking lot--there was one other car there which had transported what appeared to be a set of grandparents and a couple of grandkids. These people had no interest in the trail.

Folks, I spoke too soon when I said that I wanted a more rugged trail. This trail was rugged. Rugged with spiders! I was doing the crazy-lady constant brushing my arms because I could feel spider webs. At one point, the trail was blocked by a huge web. And I wanted to turn around. But then I asked myself if I was going to seriously turn around after 15 minutes of hiking after 2 hours of driving. A stick did the trick. But, there was a second web not too far down the trail. This web I didn't have the heart to knock down. It was really intricate and the spider was working so damn hard. Fortunately, there was enough room for me to duck around it.

Folks, the sign at the trailhead explained that the trails run through a nature sanctuary or something so they're only maintained to the point that you know there's a trail there. I appreciate this, but the spiders, I don't. I finally got to this point and decided it wasn't much of a viewpoint as it was a turning around point.

FortHill01

Folks, here are some pictures so that you may one day in the far, far future scroll through old blog posts and think, damn, this chick sure has done a bunch of hiking. And, maybe you'll think that spiders don't scare me.

FortHill02

FortHill03

And, finally folks, I'm not done with this trail. I'll return, but in late fall/early winter when the spiders have retired for the season and the leaves have fallen and maybe that viewpoint will actually reveal a glorious landscape.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Monday, September 01, 2008

What's On My Mind: A List (Accompanied by Doodles)

WOMM20

1. I think I've done this before.

2. But maybe with my planner scan.

3. Anyway, doodle.

4. What's on your mind.

5. Not what's on mine.

6. Maybe I need to revisit this project.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik