Monday, February 28, 2005

The Big Storm That Wasn't.

Today was a stay-at-home day. Yesterday, the forecasters were predicting 10 inches of snow - a debilitating amount here in the DC suburbs - and as a result everything came to a standstill. Schools closed, government went on leave, civic groups cancelled, and we decided to sleep in!

We enjoyed a nice brunch of french toast, Virginia smoked bacon, red grapes, yogurt, and mango juice while the world outside was having fits and starts. You see, the big snow never came! We received a scant 3 inches here in the 'country', and the inner burbs got even less.

It wouldn't be Washington without cries for investigations and allegations of wrongdoing, and today's 'free' day at home for the kids was no exception. For our part, we relaxed, talked, and took our leisure. We went to the mall for a short while later in the afternoon, which was all but abandoned.

No caching today, although we were tempted. We were just SO lazy that the day drove right by us! I'll be in Dallas meeting with the FAA and my colleagues this week - perhaps I'll be able to sneak in some caches while there!

The Big Storm...

Sunday, February 27, 2005

2Wheel'in Continues to Thrill with "Too"!

Nightengale and me were delighted to take the trail today for 2Wheel'in's latest cache hide: A Little Difficult "Too" and we just LOVED it! We hiked a little over three miles today along one of our favorite streams and nailed all three stages of this multi-cache.

The first hide was quite fun, as it reminded me of a similar hide placed just recently. Nightengale felt it was her duty to leave multiple trails of confusion in the snow so as to throw off any following cachers!

We passed a horse and rider on the way to stage two, and once there we quickly made the find. I remember talking to Bill about doing just this style of hide last fall, and I was tickled to see it realized in this way. WOOWOO!

Nightengale found a well seasoned and very straight hardwood limb - walnut, I think - at the second location and laid it near the trail for pickup on the way back. When we returned, she carried this 15 footer the 1.8 miles back to the car and has claimed a very nice hiking stick for herself. We'll work on sanding and sealing it in the coming weeks.

Stage three turned out to be the trickiest of all, since the hide was well concealed right next to the 'obvious' hiding spot, which is just what I would have done! We went to and fro, up and down, and even took a break to observe the aquatic fauna close by. The cache finally revealed itself with a little probing, and I happily signed the log.

Our hike back was a great one, as we talked about all manner of things. I truly treasure these times with my daughter - and I know that she will take these memories with her. We arrived back home after dark- muddied, weary, and happy. I roused up some hot food while we watched Fawlty Towers and shared a warm evening with the cat on the couch.

I wish every day could be like today... I am so proud of my daughter, and I wish that our time wasn't so short - the years are whizzing by! Soon she will be an adult with children of her own... And me? I'll be caching with my grandkids along the beautiful banks of Difficult Run!

On the trail for A Little Difficult "Too" (GCM8XD)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

ORD Walkabout

Today was a 'return to work' day, and I capitalized on the clear, cold weather by taking a long walk in Chicago. No GPS today - I left my Sportrak at home on the dining room table after changing the batteries - so no caching this week.

My walk took me by the House of Blues on the way to Navy Pier. It was too cold to stay on the pier for long... the light breeze was enough to drop the wind chill to an uncomfortable level. I just love the architecture and history of Chicago. It seems like there is something new around every corner no matter how many times I visit.

Some of my favorite buildings in Chicago!

Monday, February 21, 2005

R&R at Home

Sunday and Monday were spent enjoying the comforts of home. It's funny, people are usually shocked when they hear my reply to the classic question: Where are you going on vacation this year? I always stay home! Home is the one place that we airline types are always trying to get back to, and it is a real pleasure to simply relax with friends and family.

I did manage to clean some parts of the house that have been neglected lately, and I sanded my hiking staff in preparation for a fresh coat of polyurethane for the upcoming season. My friend 2Wheel'in gave me a geocaching medallion which is going to look really nice on my staff once I'm done.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Color Guard Competition: 2/19/05

Today was a very full and tiring day for students and parents alike, as nearly 50 Color Guard Performance Ensembles came together to compete for honors. My daughter's squad put on a fine show, and we watched many, many other school ensembles perform a wide variety of themed performances.

If you are new to Color Guard, as we are this year, it is a combination of theatre, movement, sport, and music. It requires agility, discipline, coordination, and teamwork to a very high degree, and the resulting performances are nothing short of breathtaking to watch. I am VERY proud of my daughter and her whole team - if you get a chance to attend a Color Guard event, don't miss it!

I have included some photos below, though photography is challenging at these events due to a 'no flash' rule. For safety reasons, flashes are prohibited during performances due to the spinning rifles, sabres, and flags used by the ensembles.

A performance ensemble gets ready for action!

A surpise ending! This is the first time that ticker tape has been used in a performance that I have attended.

This exploration of movement from India was a good show.

I had to put on my shades on for this performance group!

Friday, February 18, 2005

All work and no play... was just that: we got up early in Bentonville and loaded up for Chicago. Next was a turn to Omaha, which was full both ways so we were a-hoppin' to get everything done. At least the weather was good and we ended up finishing on time in Chicago.

I got bumped off of my ride home, holiday travelers I guess, but was lucky enough to grab the last seat on a flight to my alternate airport - and I even got an exit row seat with a window! You have to understand - we Flight Attendants NEVER get to look out the window for very long, so it's a special treat to just sit in a seat and watch the world go by. On arrival fate smiled again and I was able to share a taxi with some loyal subjects who were heading home on British Airways. Brits can be so witty - it's always a pleasure swapping stories with them in my travels.

I finally arrived home a scant 5 hours later than scheduled to the warm nuzzling of my fat cat Casper. Casper is a twenty pounder, and he lives the good life at my house. We rescued him from being euthanized and had a hand in healing him from a rare and deadly infection (due to abuse!), but that's another story. Casper beat me to the couch, as you can see, but he won't beat me to bed!

...Casper doing what he does best!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

XNA-LAX-XNA: a birds eye view

We departed XNA right on time today and enjoyed a nice ride out to LAX. We saw the Razorback Softball team at the airport - we had taken them to LA just two weeks ago. This time the bubbly co-eds were on their way to DFW for a game, and we wished them luck.

The ride was smooth up high and we enjoyed a commanding view of the southwestern US. We didn't spot any military aircraft this time, unfortunately. One of these days I'll be able to snag a photo of aerial refueling for the blog, or perhaps a formation flight.

We were greeted by our 'Raider Nation' ground crew, who were in good spirits even though the football season has ended. They did an outstanding job of prepping us for the return flight, and while we were on the ground we got to watch the venerable SAAB 340s of our fleet conducting various operations -which brought back memories for my crew. Three of us flew SAABs for 10 years, and the sound of those props brought smiles to our faces! It was almost like old times...

Here we are on the way to LAX. This photo was taken at 40,000 feet over northern New Mexico. You can see the snow capped high mesa, and on the horizon are the Colorado Rocky Mountains. At this altitude, you can just start to see the curvature of the earth!

On the ground in LAX: our CRJ 700 has the same engines as the A-10 Warthog, and let me tell ya - this rig can CLIMB!

Here's our rig getting gas, potable water, catering, cargo - the works! - for our ride back to XNA (Bentonville/Fayetteville AR.)

Bentonville Bust

Today was another hurried day due to our late arrival in XNA. I slept in a little, but the result was very little time for cachin' this morning. I made my way through the Rogers suburbs for the 'Silver Bullet' cache, weaving through a suburban maze to finally reach the park - with only 5 minutes to make the search before I had to head back!

I tried my best, but the hiding spot eluded me in my haste. I took some pictures of the most likely places within 30 feet. I'll get another crack at this next week - where would you look?

Well, maybe here would be good... I just love a good bridge hide!

Is it here? this was where I zeroed out...

Or how about here? Lots of places to hide!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Cachin' in Cleveland

I got off to a late start today, sleeping right through my 11:00 am appointment with 2Wheel'in for a webcam cache! Bill was more than sympathetic after hearing the story of our late arrival in Cleveland last night, and I hurried down to the corner of 13th and Euclid for the photo session. I must say, I am a lousy photo subject, but Bill did a bang up job of making me look good! Thank you, my friend!

After the webacm, I walked up to the site of 'Polish Cannon', a traditional cache near the lakefront. Time was short, and I had to search quickly. There were boot prints all over the place, and I found many of the spots indicated in the recent logs, but came up empty handed for the cache. Oh well, I'll save it for next time.

Today is an easy, though long schedule. We'll fly down to Dallas, then over to Fayetteville for the night. I have some unfinished cachin' in Fayetteville, so hopefully the weather will be decent tomorrow.

Here is my tribute to the Blind Squirrel Squad - many thanks to my good friend 2Wheel'in for manning the camera for these cache photos!

On the corner for the Downtown Cleveland Webcam Cache... it was pretty busy today!

Cleveland is filled with beautiful public art displays... it is impossible to record them all in this blog, but this one is my favorite.

A beautiful hazy day in Cleveland - the broken cloud deck is courtesy of the 'lake effect' from Lake Erie.

The 'Polish Cannon' cache, which I have DNF'd twice now.... Grrrr!

Brown's Stadium... there is a cache just out front!

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, right on lake Erie.

Broad Wing hawk next to the hotel on Lake Erie

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A rainy day at O'Hare

Well, I got to work today where I was greeted with rain and drizzle. This put a kink in caching, so I spent the morning doing Airsafety work and visiting with old friends.

This afternoon we'll be flying to Nashville and back, then to Cleveland for the night. The weather appears to be marignal throughout the midwest... I'll be looking forward to that hotel bed tonight.

Mmmm... lunchtime!

Waiting for somewhere to go...

Opening Day!

Welcome to Airsafety's Cachin' Madness!