Another Awkward Week [6.13.14]

Goodness if I haven’t been the worst blogger in all the land lately. I’ve barely had time to read blogs (save a few of my fave housewives, obvi) much less write one. I’ve felt crazed with work and travel and visitors and I’ve been dealing with this debilitating butt injury (don’t ask) (obviously I’ll tell you all about in just a few moments)  and life is just whooshing on by. Whoosh, whoosh!

Before we know it, it’ll whoosh right on up to August 16 and holy cats, y’all, we have a LOT to do before then. By “then” I mean our wedding in case you for some strange reason don’t think exclusively about my life and the important dates therein. I will update you on many, many wedding things next week, try not to die of excitement before then but for now, the usual nonsense.

A look at what was keeping it awkward this week. Two weeks. Three? Oy!

 

These Paper Boobs:

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I ordered a bunch of brassieres from Gap Body this week and they came stuffed with paper - I guess to help them keep their shape? For some reason these paper boobs made me laugh and laugh and laugh so I lined them up on the floor where they just look like balls of white paper because um, that’s what they are.

Actually they look like biscuits. Now I want biscuits!

Isn't biscuit a hard word to spell? I always want to put a "q" in there.

Which, side note to the sidenote, through working at Penguin I have come to learn just how many people think that Penguin is spelled with a "Q." A LOT of people. GUYS no, just no. There is not a Q in Penguin, are you kidding me?

Biscuit, on the other hand. There is probably a Q in there.

Oh. My. God. Liz. WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT.

Point of this horrible story: my assistant Margaret came in and caught me taking this photo and was like WHAT are you doing and I was like “photographing these paper boobs, obviously” and she just backed slowly out of my office and down the hall and sprinted out the door.

JK she has yet to run screaming from this office but I would NOT blame her if/when she does. She always catches me doing the weirdest stuff. Licking tupperware. Paper boobs!

Ugh.

BISQUITSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

These Sandals:

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Cute, sure. Cuter still when you learn they are Bass, ordered after I ran an extensive Google search for “sandals with proper arch support.”

29 going on 89, y’all.

This Bootay:

It’s mine!

J to the K it is very clearly Beyonce’s but mine pretty much looks the same in the fact that we both have butts but the similarities pretty much end there.

Anyhoodle, as I mentioned earlier, my booty is currently on the disabled list. But srsly, though. I guess all this running took a toll on my body, for the weeks after my half marathon I started having increasing pain in my left hip and glute, especially when sitting for long periods of time or upon first standing up. After attempting a zillion weird home cures and diagnosing myself with fatal diseases like I never don’t, I finally got myself to a physical therapist who concluded that I had a tight IT band and a strained piriformis muscle.

The piriformis is this weird little muscle that goes from your butt around your hip and is supremely hard to stretch so now I go in to physical therapy twice a week for what basically amounts to 30 minute nonsexual butt massages.

It is awesome. I am not even remotely joking. I’ve never had a back or shoulder massage, I have a sad life I guess, so this is my first taste of the massage world and I am LOVING it. It is the best part of my week! I mean I feel a little strange just laying there, booty up, getting a rub down and I’m always worried I’ll fart in the PT’s face but so far, so good!

My hip is starting to feel better, but I might have to pretend to still be in pain...I’m like, legit addicted to butt rubs.

This Straw:

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Actually it was another straw but I forgot to take a photo of it so this is a substitute straw.

Just don’t worry about it.

So last weekend my cousin Angie was in town and it was the best! Angie is the coolest - she is an art teacher and one of her students won a prestigious national Scholastic Gold Key Award so she was in NYC for the awards ceremony at Carnegie Hall. So amazing, right?

Right!

At one point during the weekend we were sitting around at the bar, just casually hanging out, not even remotely drunk (that came later when, while Angie attended the awards ceremony, her boyfriend Jeremy, Brian and I proceeded to ring up a $200 beer and french fry tab, yikes) and I picked up my glass of water to take a drink straight from the glass, forgetting there was a straw in the glass and as I turned the cup towards my mouth, the straw poked me on the underside of my nostril just CENTIMETERS away from going straight up into my nose, impaling my brain and killing me.

I almost died and Angie just laughted and laughed and laughed and said she thought sometimes I made up my blog stories but she now saw first hand I’m actually that hot of a mess.

Can’t make this up, kids.

PS I ALMOST DIED!!!

(PSS Not really.)

PSSS now I want a bloody with my biscuits. LET'T ALL GO OUT TO BRUNCH!!!!!!!!!

Ok still the worst blogger, even when writing! None of these stories are funny to anyone but me and even I"m like eeeehhhhh? Eh. My brain is mushier than my muscles which are surely atrophying now that I am a sedentary blob with a broken butt cheek.

I'll be back next week with WEDDING UPDATEZ and good stories I swickity-swear.

Have a great weekend! Call your dad on Sunday!

xoxoox Liz Ho

Some Unsolicited Running Advice from a Self-Appointed "Expert"

As I mentioned yesterday in my deeply empowering half marathon recap, I am all in on this running lifestyle. I have drunk (drank?) the kool-aid! Well, Gatorade, if we're being precise. I might go so far as to call myself a runner. Last week a friend of mine asked me how I got myself into running, saying that learning to love the sport is a goal of hers. I adore talking about myself and pretending to be an expert so I figured I'd share my tips for the whole WORLD to enjoy. For the record this is a real person, named Katie. I'm not just making this up so I can continue to brag about my physical fitness.

So! Just a few verbose (as always!) thought below, may they inspire you to love running as much as I have. And I knowwww this is getting boring, I swearity-swear this is my last running post for at least a week.

HOW TO BECOME A RUNNER:

ADVICE FROM SOMEONE WHO JUST RAN THEIR FIRST HALF MARATHON AND NOW THINKS SHE'S A TOTAL EXPERT 

1a) Sign up for a race. 

Having a goal to work towards gives you a light at the end of the tunnel, a reason to get up from the couch and pound the pavement. There are plenty of races for every level from beginner to pro. Pro races are also known as The Olympics and if you're qualified for those you probably don't need to be reading this blog.

1b) Then tell EVERYONE. 

This step is possibly the most vital step of all. The more people you tell about your race plans, the dopier you'll look if you drop out.  Registering for a race is a big step, but does it even count if no one knows? If a tree falls in a forest, etc? I suppose you could just rely on your own self for motivation but personally I am most moved by the admiration and acceptance of other people, so I made sure to tell literally the entire internet the moment I signed up for my half marathon and then when I trained, I visualized myself crossing the finish line to applause and then instantly uploading photos to multiple social media forums where my loved ones would heap praise upon me.

I am a) barely exaggerating and b) not ashamed and can't stress highly enough how important step 1b is to your success.

2) Dress the part.

Until very recently, I was completely unconvinced as to the necessity of quote-unquote workout clothes. Why would I spend my hard earned money on UnderArmor leggings and tank tops when I could wear a free t-shirt from some kind of college volunteer day and a pair of enormous Nike soccer shorts that I have had since literally 2008 when I purchased because they were part of the official uniform of the US Women's World Cup Team? Girls who wear cute workout clothes can't possibly be taking it seriously. They're just trying to look adorable, unlike me over here in my grungy apparel, holding my shorts up with a safety pin. A true athlete!

My attitude was entirely changed this Christmas, when Brian's parents sweetly gifted me with some warm weather running gear - a pair of black tights with jazzy hot pink pattern zipping up the calves and a matching hot pink zip-up jacket. It was unlike anything I would ever purchase for myself, but it instantly became my favorite outfit and somewhat of a motivational costume. Putting it on I transformed from casual jogger to Hot Running Girl! Fit and fashionable.

I've since purchased a few "running" outfits and they help keep me motivated. Putting on my sweat-wicking tank top and compression capris tells my brain: "NOW WE ARE RUNNING!" Silly? Maybe! But it works for me.

If you're in the market, Marshall's & TJ Maxx always have tons of name brands on supersale and Old Navy, my #1 favorite clothing retailer has a great line of workout attire at spectacular prices!

All this said, don't go too overboard, this is still a workout, not a fashion show. And NO ONE likes the girl who matches  her bellybutton ring to her neon crop-top. A little subtly goes a long way.

3) Make a Plan...and Keep Visual Track of your Progress 

The internet is chock FULL of free training plans for all sorts of races. I've heard rave reviews about the Couch to 5K program for beginners and Runners World has a series of training plans for every level.

I worked with a plan by some guy called Hal Higdon, with a few tweaks by my personal trainer, Brian. I loved this training plan - simple, adaptable and knowing exactly what was expected of me each week helped me to stay motivated and energized.

I made a series of calendars for myself for the duration of my training process, indicating what was on the lineup for each day and also leaving a space for me to write what I actually achieved that day. Most training plans are very general, just Week 1, Week 2, etc and for me, seeing the physical calendar dates was helpful.

For the first month I was diligent about updating with my actual mileage and though I sort of fell off that wagon by month 2, I still consulted the calendar regularly to remind myself what was upcoming. Seeing the long run distance inch up by one mile per week made me feel like such a badass.

4) Reward Yourself

Cheese burgers after long runs? DON'T MIND IF I DO.

5) Have a Buddy

I ran this race by myself, but had lots of buddies helping me prep for it. I had Brian running beside me on all of my long runs, encouraging me every day and standing on the sidelines cheering for me while I raced. My cousin Dani ran her first half marathon a few weeks before I did and we emailed back and forth about how much we loved it and another cousin, Kelly who took up running around the same time and has been slaying it in races all spring, shares inspirational quotes and photos on Facebook, encouraging me to keep it up too . And my friend Mary also ran her first half earlier this spring, so we'd compare training notes, run along the river together after work and bond over our new-found obsession with running. Weirdly enough, Mary and I got basically the exact same times on our first half marathons! How cool is that.

There are lots of local running clubs in my area, but I've been hesitant to join one, the huge group mentality kind of stresses me out and I wasn't quite ready to make that commitment. But maybe it'll work for you! Or find one pal to train with or just see who else in your group of friends/office is a runner and bond with them.  It is fun to have someone to comiserate with and, like my crazy mentality that if you tell everyone you'll be less likely to quit, it helps me to feel like I'm  not alone...I'm running for Brian and Mary and Kelly and Dani and everyone!

In the whole world!!!!!

Grandiose, much?!

7) Rock the Tunes

I never listened to music while running until very recently. I'd either run with Brian and talk to him or run on the treadmill and watch old episodes of How I Met Your Mother. I also didn't know how to play music on my phone because I am the worlds smartest modern human. Luckily, this spring I discovered both Songza and Google Play Music and with their help was able to put together a pretttty baller running playlist.

Running to Songza (or Pandora, I guess) is super fun because you don't know what song is coming next, so it's a fun surprise every time! This helped me to discover some awesome throwbacks from college (ain't no Hollaback Girl!) and then spend most of my run just reminiscing about listening to those songs on repeat with my pals. I then figured out how to create my own playlists, but still like to play on shuffle so I'm always on my toes. This is really boring...why don't I just stop talking and share what I'm jamming to lately: 

  • Lorde, Royals 
  • Pitbull & Ke$ha, Timber (I could basically listen to this song on repeat all day and night both while running and just while going about my day.) 
  • Rihanna, Don't Stop the Music 
  • Danity Kane, Damaged (cue memories of 2008 girls vacation to Miami!) 
  • Taylor Swift, We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together (LIKE I wasn't going to have some Swizz on here)
  • One Direction, Best Song Ever (I'm an adult!)
  • Katy Perry, Roar 
  • Katy Perry, Teenage Dream
  • Katy Perry, T.G.I.F (I just really like Katy Perry)
  • Nicki Minaj, Starships
  • Kanye West et. al, Monster (I always go extra hard during Nicki's verse. You can be the king now watch the queen conquer!) 
  • Icona Pop, I Don't Care 
  • Austin Mahone, Mmm Hmm Yeah (I have no idea who this person is and I'm pretty sure he might be 12 but it came on my songza one day and features Pitbull and I can't say no to Pitbull and now I love this song.) 
  • Anything Taio Cruz has ever done: Dynamaite, Break Your Heart and my personal favorite song Hangover, which introduces the genius term "shitfaceded" 
  • Flo Rida, Wild Ones
  • Nelly, Country Grammar 
  • Kelly Clarkson, Stronger
  • Sara Bareilles, Brave 
  • Destiny's Child, Bootylicious
  • Jackson Five, ABC 
  • Little Mix, Wings (again, I have no idea who these people are but this song is a jimmity jam)
  • Avicii, Wake Me Up (I don't really approve of Electronic Dance Music or "EDM" as the kids/cools are calling it but I do like this song!)
  • Bastille, Pompeii (heyyydey oh, hey-dey) 
  • Cobra Starship, Good Girls Gone Bad
  • Beyonce, Crazy in Love (obviously always and forever) 

6) Don't Be Afraid to look Dumb

I was talking to someone recently who didn't want to run in public because they were worried they'd look dumb. And as much as I want to pretend to be above that, I totally get it. Fear of looking stupid is one of the main reasons I quit trying yoga so I need to learn to practice what I preach. So for both me and all of you to keep in mind: who cares! Who cares if you stop and walk or run slow or think you swing your arms weird or if you air drum while running and dance at stoplights. Everybody looks weird doing everything and no one is paying attention to you, they're all busy worrying about what they look like.

8) Just. Keep. Running. 

This is a little hippie dippy and hard to quantify but at a certain point your brain is going to want to stop running and you're going to have to tell it to shut the eff up. One of the simultaneously most exciting and challenges for me while training was when I realized that my body could  keep running. That when I felt tired or bored or ready to quit it wasn't my body giving out but my brain giving up. I had to figure out how to shut off the part of me that wanted to quit, walk and go home and just. keep. running.

I don't know what to tell you to do this in your life. For me, it was turning up my music, staring right ahead and literally saying, out-loud (see what I said about looking weird?!): "you've got this, Liz. Keep going." And then I'd keep going.

In the time it took you to think about quitting, your legs probably went two, three, four more steps. You CAN do it.

9) Go Ahead and Brag! 

Proud of your training or your race time? Pat yourself on the back! Go ahead and upload that finish line photo to multiple social media feeds and watch the likes roll in.

10) Always End Lists with Even Numbers! 

And those are my tips!

I am obviously super clearly not an expert but people (one person) were begging for my advice (politely asking about my training routine) and I have to give the world what it wants! I hope this inspires at least one person to get out and start running both because it's super fun and also because I'm DYING to be considered a positive role model.

Now, let me ask you: How do YOU get motivated - to run or otherwise? Runners, anything you think I'm missing? Any workout songs you'd suggest?! 

Thanks for reading this! I have no idea how to end this post. OK BYE!  Smooches!

 

One (Specific) Awkward Year: 30 Before 30!

Friends! Thanks to all for the sweet birthday wishes, you are some nice people. I'm already feeling older and wiser and maybe just a scoonch wrinklier, too. In the spirit of making the most of my fleeting 20's, I've decided to become a lifestyle blogging cliche and create a 30 Before 30 List - 30 things to try or accomplish before I hit the big, you guessed it 3-0. Corny, indeed, but I do love a good list and am always up for a challenge or thirty. Plus: think of all the writing material!

Also, I know what you're thinking: Liz, why don't you focus on your day-to-day lists and do things like clean your house or mail that wedding gift to your cousin who got married back in July or I don't know your job, and I hear you loud and clear on that one, and I'll definitely consider getting to those things eventually, but eh: boring. I need to reach for the stars, here before my AARP membership kicks in. (KIDDING).

I looked to a lot of other blogs for 30 Before 30 inspiration and stole a few good ones, but tried to focus on things that are actually possibly possible in the next 360 days (already losing time! OH GOD!) Much as I'd like to ride nude on the back of a great white shark off the coast of Bali, I just don't know that it is quite doable on my dwindling time frame.

Some are silly, like getting a bikini wax (why is this even a thing that people do?), some are more intangible like solving my stomach issues and some miiiight be impossible, see "run half marathon" and "pay off credit card debt." But ALL of them are happening. They are! Before September 14, 2014 the list below will be donezo and the whole world will know my name! Or I'll still be entirely unfamous but with less debt and a smoother bikini line. Nowhere to go but up, friends!

Now quickly for the wild card: Number 30. I was realllly stretching for material as we got into the high 20's here and decided it might be fun to take a little audience poll. What do YOU think I should do in this next year? I'm taking suggestions for something that is legal, not weird or perverted, not expensive (unless you're paying, in which case, I'm all ears) and maybe a bit ridiculous to add to my list. Let's hear your suggestions - the best one wins!!

And we're off. I'll do my best to document what is sure to be a THRILLING year, I sure hope you'll follow along.

30 before 30

30 Before 30

1. Run half marathon

2. Pay off one credit card...put a dent in the other. (yes I have 2 credit cards. Proud American.)

3. Get a bikini wax

4. Take photoshop or other online design course

5. Submit something for publication

6. Visit each of the 5 boroughs of NYC (I'm coming for you, Staten Island!)

7. Do a pull-up (yes, just one. Aim high.)

8. Find a regular volunteer program

9. See a play on Broadway

10. Watch The Sopranos

11. Learn to shuffle cards

12. Stop biting my nails

13. Take a trip with my mom

14. Read outside of my comfort zone (looking for suggestions, literary pals!)

15. Visit Storm King

16. Get Acupuncture

17. Roast a chicken

18. Grow a vegetable to a point where it is edible i.e. don’t kill it

19. Zumba

20. Host a classy, adult dinner party

21. Add at least one more state to my list

22. Solve my stomach issues

23. Trapeze class

24. Reconnect with an old friend (I already have one picked out! Lucky person!)

25. Decorate our apartment

26. See the cherry blossoms in DC

27. Take out my navel ring (GREAT ONE, Liz!)

28. Make an IRL blogger connection

29. Hike 5 new peaks

30. Blog Challenge!

Boom. Let's do this thing. Thanks for following along and now if you'll quickly excuse me, I have a LOT to accomplish. First stop: Trapezing! Or maybe I should just get back to work.

xoxo Liz Ho

One Awkward Hike

Monday! How was everyone’s weekend? Actually, I shouldn't mislead, it is Sunday, still, while I’m writing this. I’m on a bus back from DC and I keep coughing and sniffling and just ate a messy, enormous, smelly Italian hoagie, so I’m pretty much that disgusting person who gives public transportation a bad name. Sorrrrrry!  Also, my cellular tellular is dying and I really want to plug it in, but the plug is underneath my seat mate’s legs and she is giving off a REAL air of sour B and I already asked her once to plug in the cord to my laptop (all for this blog! For YOU!) and don’t want to bug her again because I’m a little chicken so I’m just praying she’ll get up and go to the BR or prop her legs out the window or something.

AAAAAnnnnd we just came to a complete standstill on the Jersey Turnpike. And the couple in front of me will not stop making out and petting each other’s faces. CURSE YOU, bus transport! You are ruining my life!!

Whew. What say you we cut down down on the histrionics and focus on happier times, eh? So, as I mentioned, I spent the weekend in America’s Capitol with my friend Maureen and we had a delightful visit, though we did not see either of the Obama girls, or any of the cast of Scandal. Next time!

Yesterday ...or, I guess today? I can’t keep up my own timeline. I’m going to post this on Monday, but as I’ve already established, I’m currently writing it on Sunday, so the hike was today. But when you read it will be yesterday. So confusing, this world we live in! So, let’s just say on Sunday we went for a gorgeous hike in Great Falls State Park along the Potomac River. Hiking is so fun right? I mean, it’s just walking. But with good scenery and occasional inclines, making it seem much more exciting than the average power stroll. I am a huge fan.

Not like you asked, but here are a few photos from our woodsy walk.

dc1 dc2

B-E-Yootiful!

I don’t get out into nature nearly as much as I would like, what with living in the concrete jungle and all. There are actually quite a few hiking or camping areas relatively close to NYC and some accessible by public transportation - in my five years living here, I've taken advantage of this situation exactly one time, a tale I've been meaning to share with y’all for months!

So. This past October, the 27th, to be exact, the significance of which will be explained in just a quick moment, my friend Kathleen (who is a different person that the Maureen I went to see this weekend...all my friends are named Kathleen or Maureen or Caitlin or somesuch, Irish Catholic problems) and I decided to take a day trip up to Harriman State Park, a nature area in New Jersey, just across the NY border, accessible by the Metro North Railroad. We’d had this plan in the works for several weeks, so we went ahead and hauled upstate, despite a number of ominous factors warning us against the trip, including:

  1. A grey, cloudy day, which was a possible signifier of things to come (see no. 2)

  2. As I mentioned, it was October 27, and the Weather Channel was abuzz with warnings of a little hurricane named Sandy making its way up to the NY/NJ area in a matter of hours, ready to slam us all to smithereens.

  3. There was a murderer on the loose in the woods. No, really!

Apparently, just about a month before our planned hike, a man named Eugene Palmer shot and killed his daughter-in-law and then hightailed it into the Harriman Woods behind his home. A grizzled former park ranger, it was suspected that Palmer could still be bunkered down in those same woods. The woods we were about to hike.

Did we let any of this stop us? Offff course not.

Did we take great care to plan and prepare for our trip? Of course not, again. Kathleen and I are similar in that we’re both somehow a mix of Type A bossy planners and laissez-faire free spirits. We’re both very strong at organizing steps like, A through E of a trip or event and then just leave the rest up to chance. This works just perfectly when in low pressure situations such as “Oh, let’s meet at the west side entrance of the park at 10 AM under the oak tree….annnnddd then we’ll just lay and maybe get ice cream and play the rest of the day by ear.” This works LESS perfectly in higher pressure situations, such as this one where we spent all of our vigilant planning effort on memorizing train times and stocking up on snacks, and then got laid back about key details like printing out maps and even confirming the exact train station where we should be disembarking.

We knew the hiking area was called Harriman State Park and saw that there was a stop on the train line called Harriman, so without doing any further investigation, we foolishly assumed that was our stop – we’d pull right up to a large, clean visitor center where staffers would greet us with maps and guide us on our way. There were plenty of other peeps in hiking apparel on our train and two stops before Harriman about half of that crew got off the train. “What morons!” we exclaimed. “They don’t know what they’re doing!” At the next stop the remainder of the hikers disembarked and we still thought we knew better than they did, even as we watched them join up with an official tour guide as we pulled away from the station.

“Now arriving in Harriman!” the conductor yelled, as we pulled into a completely abandoned, open station that consisted of literally nothing more than an empty parking lot and a plexiglass rain shelter.  No visitor station. No maps. No other hikers to be seen. PRAISE BE to the lord above, we were able to access cell service out in this vast wilderness, and quickly pulled up the train schedule to see when the next locomotion would be arriving to bring us back from the direction we came – we weren’t giving up, yet, but we knew we needed to go back at least one stop. The next train would be arriving in a cool two hours, so we did what any big city girls would do and called for a taxi. We should really lead some sort of Outward Bound trip with these amazing roughing it skillz.

While we were waiting for the taxi I had some SERIOUS business to attend to in the form of urination. I had to go the whole train ride up but decided to wait and pee at the imaginary ranger station as soon as we arrived, because of course it both existed and had impeccable bathrooms. Instead we were abandoned in a parking lot with nary even a portajohn as far as the eye could see, so I went into a grass field beside the train tracks and just as I was letting it flow, a car pulled into the parking lot and I thought they might see me and choked and peed all over my jeans.

 hike1

Exhibit A.

Finally about 45 minutes later our chariot arrived and drove us the five miles back to the previous town where we found ourselves out seventeen dollars and STILL without any maps or guides. Again, this town had no ranger station or signs pointing “This Way To The Woods!” or anything even remotely indicating that it was right up against a safe, happy hiking zone, but we had seen other passengers getting off here and knew we must be slightly closer. There was a farmers market set up next to the train station, so we found some firemen manning a cupcake booth and asked them if they could direct us to the woods.

“Sure thing,” they replied, jerking a thumb towards a nearby underpass/rape tunnel. “Just head on under that highway and take your first left and there you are.” Not seeming to show ANY care for the fact that we were two single women without a map or a clue, about to head into the woods where a known murderer was hiding.

We hadn’t come this far just to go home, so under the overpass we went. I snapped this shot of us just before we went on our way, noting that it might be the last photo ever taken of us alive.

hike2

Our “hike” brought us through a residential neighborhood where they had both amazing autumn décor:

 hike3

And punny political signs:

hike4

Zing!

And then fiiiiinally we found ourselves in the woods. It was grey and utterly silent and full of weird creepy things like this abandoned car:

 hike5

And this broken down woodshed:hike6

There was no real change in topography,  so we just sort of meandered around this very flat, winding trail by ourselves, using faded trail markers and Kathleen’s GPS to guide the way. Again, killing it with our girl guide skills here.

There were some helpful signs along the way like this one:

 hike7

In case you don’t know what a pole is. And this one:

 hike8

Which I’m pretty sure meant “K for Killer, hiding this way!”

And this one which literally said “Killer hiding in here enter at your own risk.”

 hike9

Yeah.

But there was also a lot of beautiful autumn foliage  and cool sticks for playing Lord of the Rings.

hike13

 "You Shall Not Pass!"

We made the most of our circumstances but it was kind of clear we were preoccupied – me with creating horrible scenarios wherein the killer would sneak out and attack us and bring us to a cave where he would kill us and eat us for sustenance and Kathleen with creating horrible scenarios wherein the skies opened up and swooped up our frail bodies into a hurricane windstorm and both of us with just figuring out where the H we were and how we were going to get out of these damn woods.

Finally our trail popped out onto a paved road and, per Kathleen’s phone, it looked like we were very close to the REAL ACTUAL visitor’s center, where we could, at the very least, get a map and a toilet and sit down to eat our lunch. Instead it turned out we were still quite far away, so we wandered through yet another residential neighborhood, sitting on someone’s front lawn to eat our packed sandwiches, narrowly avoiding being hit by passing cars. Eventually our trek brought us into a tiny town with a train station. The next train back to New York was OBVIOUSLY not coming for another three hours, so we killed some time popping into the cute local library, where they were having a dollar book sale (I bought five) and then spent the remainder of our “hike” sitting at a bar drinking beers and talking about boys. BUT it was a historical tavern AND we were on the patio, so it was still a more rustic experience than anything we would have gotten in the old Big Apple.

So basically, if this were an actual Girl Scout trip we probably would not have received our badges for Conquering The Great Outdoors or Reading The Signs of Nature but would definitely have badged in the areas of Savvy Cell Phone Use, Budget Book Buying and Inevitable  Day Drinking.

All in all, I’d call it a roaring success.

Also, out of sheer curiosity, I just looked to see if old Eugene Palmer had been found yet, and according to this Fox News article (my fave news outlet) from just one day ago, he is still believed to be alive and on the loose and is the subject of an international manhunt.

Wild stuff! Keep an eye out, friends. This guy could be anywhere. Be safe and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do… which means you should find out exactly where he is hiding and head right into his lair without a map or a plan. Good luck!