Monday, September 15, 2008

Outward Bound is here...

It's time for me to venture into the wilderness. I just wanted to write one last blog to let everyone know I will be out of the blogging world for about two months. I will try to blog once while I'm at Outward Bound, but chances are my next blog will be after I get back on November 3rd. I'm really looking forward to this experience and I hope to have a lot of stories to share when I return.

Thank you to everyone who reads my blog. It has been a really fun thing for me to do. It's almost like a personal diary that I can share with my friends a family. I also have really enjoyed reading blogs. I'm pretty sure that my sister is the master blogger. She literally keeps a list up on her whiteboard so she doesn't forget about anything. Anyways, I will really miss reading up on everyone while I'm gone. But, I'm looking forward to all the reading material I will have when I return.

"I now walk into the wild" -from the movie Into The Wild.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

One last hoorah...

Since I might not be able to blog about this after it happens, I thought I would share it now. Tomorrow I'm leaving State College to go to Nashville, TN to visit good friend/old coach Buffy Baker and her family. I haven't seen her in over a year and I'm extremely excited about it. She has been a huge support system for me throughout my college tennis career and continued that even during last year when I had a new coach.

Buffy is part of the inspiration for doing Outward Bound, so I thought it fitting for her to send me off. Plus, it will be fun for Rich and I to hear all about her and her husband's adventures when they did Outward Bound. I look forward to visiting with them and seeing how much the kids have grown up.

No Gas?

I had a very surprising experience on the road today. I was on my way to State College from McLean and following my new favorite route provided by Garmin. It's a back way that takes a lot of country roads, but ends up being more than 30 miles shorter in distance. My gas light was about to come on, so I decided I would stop at the next gas station I saw. So I pulled into this gas station and found that every single pump had sign that read, "Sorry, we are out of gas today." I opened my mouth in awe. Given, this was a small town in the middle of nowhere, but still I never thought that would happen in my lifetime. I wish I had thunk to take a picture of it, but I was a little more concerned with getting gas at a station that had some. Plus, I desperately needed to use the restroom. Anyways, I thought I would share this story because it amazed me so much.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Reuniting with old friends

I recently got back in touch with some very old friends of mine, and have since had great experiences with it. Therefore, I'm reflecting in a blog. This past Tuesday, I got together with two old tennis friends from when it all started, Mike and Jonathan. I probably haven't seen them in over 6 years. We played tennis for about an hour and a half, but mostly chatted trying to catch up. Then on Wednesday, Jonathan joined me for a drink with another old tennis friend, Cassie. Some of my fondest memories of my early tennis years had to do with the group of people I shared them with and it was really great to spend time with them again. I hope I will remain in touch with them.

Also, on Wednesday I reconnected with, Zach, a friend from High School. Through the early years of college we had really kept in touch well on the Internet, but I guess our lives got so different that we eventually lost touch. The other night I happened to catch him online and we chatted away catching up on old times and our new lives. Then on Wednesday, we went to Great Falls park and hiked for a couple of hours. Sorry, no pictures. Again, I hope to stay in touch with him after I return from my adventure.

For my own purposes, the lesson I learned through the whole thing is the importance of communication. I have a poor history of keeping in touch with people and therefore I have lost touch with a lot of great people. I have been really trying lately to change that pattern and last week was another huge inspiration to do so.

I should also mention that I happily reconnected with a more recent friend, Ceren, who is living and working in India. What great insight into the world she has shared with me.

Email is a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Labor Day Tradition

Since I can remember, it has been customary for my Dad's side of he family to gather in Syracuse during Labor Day weekend to celebrate the New York State Fair. So, this past weekend Rich and I spent the holiday with my family. On Saturday night we went up to Tunkhannock, PA where my Aunt Marilyn and cousins all live. We had a very nice dinner with them and then roasted marsh mellows, even though I was so stuffed. I was glad I got the chance to spend time with the Kelly's, since they wouldn't be making it up to the fair. It was also nice to see my old dog KIA. The next morning, we got up early and had breakfast with Marilyn at Marsha's, a local diner. Then Rich and I headed up to Syracuse. We went to my Uncle Jon's house, got settled and then headed for the fair. Normally the weekend starts a day earlier, so we had to cram some of the old traditions all in one day, rather than spread out over a few days. So, we went to the fair and ate more awesome food. We also had 25 cent milk and looked at the butter sculpture and sand sculpture. I was pretty impressed with the sand sculpture. We also watched a skateboarding and biking show with some pretty cool stunts. Then, we headed up to Victory, NY where my Uncle Jim lives and started hosting a bon fire a few years ago. We again had MORE food and chatted all evening until it was time to light the fire. Some of Marilyn and my Uncle Ralph's old High School friends were there and it was really neat to hear all about their childhood and all the trouble they got into. When it came time to light the fire, Marilyn declared that she would start it this year. After a little bit of trouble, the huge fire was ablaze in no time. For the rest of the evening we hung around the fire, trying to stay warm and shared good conversation. We really wanted to make smores, but the fire was too hot. So, my cousin Bobby bravely risked himself to go in and rake out some of the fire so we could roast the marsh mellows. It was a really tiring, but very fun day. The next morning we continued with the traditions by having breakfast pizza. Are you getting the idea yet that this whole weekend was about food? Then, we headed to Dewitt and Fayetville to visit my Dad and Grandfather's graves. My Aunt Mary Jane placed a fair ticket on my Dad's grave last year, since it was something he loved to do so much and luckily she had another one this year so I guess she started a new tradition. Then we met my Grandmother at my Grandfather's grave and headed over to her house for some refreshments and to visit with her a little bit. Finally, we headed to Heid's for the last Labor Day tradition. Heid's is a local hot dog shop that sells Coney's. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's basically a white hot dog that is a lot tastier than a regular hot dog. Then we headed home, with a quick stop in Mansfield to visit with Rich's Mom. It was a jam packed weekend, but I'm so glad I got to be a part of the tradition that college had gotten in the way of for so many years!

A special thanks to Marilyn, the Kelly's, Jon and Mary Jane, and Jim for all of the wonderful hospitality.

First PSU Football game 2008

This past Saturday was the first game of the season for the Nittany Lions football team. Rich and his Dad have been going to games since he was a little kid, but since his Dad was going to be out of town I had the opportunity to go. The night before the game, some old friends of Rich came into town and we all went downtown for a little while. By the time we got home and went to sleep it was about 3:30am. I guess we were all trying to re-live our college days, which for the other 3 people in the group was a few more years ago than myself. Well, needless to say the next morning came to quickly. Rich and I were so tired that we didn't even go to the noon game! We stayed at the house like bums and watched the game on tv on the couch. The only valid excuse we have for doing this is that we were leaving right afterwards to go visit my Aunt Marilyn and cousins in Tunkhannock, PA. But still, this to me was a true statement of getting older! We are supposed to go to the second game this Saturday. That one starts at 3:30pm, so hopefully we will get enough sleep to show our faces in the stands!