Friday, April 17, 2009

Nitrocat's California Adventure

For my birthday, my parents gave me a plane ticket to Sacramento to see one of my brothers. Of course, Mom went with me and we had a wonderful time. I won't bore you with all the family stuff, but know that it included teaching my nephew to fake cough, lots of story reading, an introductory lesson on Fountain Pens, and some therapeutic gardening. It also included a letterboxing meet n greet and a day out with new found friends.
Amber Gillespie, of Gillespie Tribe fame, arranged a get together at Straw Hat Pizza. (Sorry, but you're going to have to look at my mug alot in this post.)

We were honored with a surprise visit from time-traveling enigma, OB Juan

Grumpy Grinch is actually two people, but you knew that, right?

Team BearCat made it all the way from Tennessee. It's so much fun to meet people that I have been exchanging postals and LTCs with for so long.

The day after the event, I hooked up with Doublesaj & Old Blue, and Princess Lea (below) for some Nor Cal letterboxing.
In the National Archives we got a Sesquicentennial stamp that has nothing to do with letterboxing! Have you ever heard of such a thing?!

Free Range Chickens running all over Fair Oaks, Ca. How fun is that?

And Ant Eaters in people's front yards. Illinois is so boring by comparison.

Fabulous day. Fantastic trip.'s good to be home. We are so getting chickens though.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sam's California Adventure

Let me tell you a little story by way of introduction. Most of you are probably familiar with Boxing Buddies. And most of you have probably seen the commercial where the dad takes his little daughter's monkey on a business trip with him. If you combine those two ideas you will have a pretty good understanding of how Sam the Lion was created. My recent trip to Sacramento (sans children) caused a little bit of sadness (understandably) on the part of the 6yo. Her solution (which I thought was brilliant) was to send Sam with me on the trip, with a promise from me that he would go everywhere I went and get his picture taken.

What is a trip to CA without stopping at In-N-Out?

Sam wanted to pick oranges from the neighbor's tree...

... got cootied at the Meet n Greet (another post on that later)

...Ate at Ludy's BBQ in Woodland. If you are ever in the area, this place is a must. Yummy!

...wrangled Crocodiles...

... helped fly the plane home...(ps-I Love you, Southwest!)

...and finally tired himself out.

There are several obvious advantages to vacationing with a stuffed animal. You don't have to feed them, they never whine and you can stuff them in your backpack when they are a nuisance. They also represent a little piece of home that you can take with you everywhere and they remind you of your children when you miss them terribly. Thanks for coming along, Sam!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

~Al Fin~

LTC Spoiler Alert!!!

It took about two months longer than I had anticipated, but I am extremely happy to announce that the last of the Rainbow Pixies is finally completed. They have been dragged several thousand miles across country in an effort to get them done whenever I had a spare moment to work on them, but the job is complete at last. Any of the cards that I owe will be in envelopes in the mail no later than Wednesday. Additional trades will be arranged shortly thereafter.

As a side note, I should mention that the 6 year old has already found another set of pictures that she thinks would make great stamps. And of course, she's right. But there is more than a dozen of them and my head hurts just thinking about it. She has a letterboxer's eye, if nothing else, and is beginning to want to go out with me. At our favorite nursery yesterday, she saw some really cool boxes and mentioned that they would make great letterbox containers just as I was thinking the same thing myself. Between the two of us, we will never lack for ideas, that's for sure!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Banner Day

Ever have one of those letterboxes that you can't quite get to because it is all by it's lonesome in an out of the way place? I've had one on my radar for quite a while and yesterday proved to be the perfect day for that one box.

The girls only like to go boxing with me when atmospheric, physical and emotional conditions are precisely in sync. We had a bunch of errands to run and I picked up a bag of bribery at the store. I slyly told them that I would share the candy with the first two children who volunteered to go with me to find one easy letterbox. There was head nodding and jumping up and down, so we went.

Now for a bit of a history lesson. The historical Illinois & Michigan Canal corridor runs 110 (give or take) miles from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River. The DNR maintains trails along much of the old canal tow path. (I have quite a number of boxes slated for the I & M, but that's another story.) I highly recommend that you take some time to explore the link above.
The crushed gravel trail was pleasant to walk on and the weather was perfect. We spent the 1 mile round trip singing silly songs, petting every dog that passed, and discussing the history of the canal and the operation of the locks. Try explaining that without pictures! We also got to see a barge go through the Dresden Lock. We're going to try making a working model of one. I'll let you know how that goes.

We saw several dozen Ruby Crowned Kinglets, which as it turns out, are only in this area during their migration. They were not much bigger than a hummingbird and very brave and adorable. We also saw a Tricolored Heron and a Belted Kingfisher. The Heron would have stood taller than the girls if we had been close enough! Of course, staying true to my alter identity, I find birds utterly captivating.

We rescued the box from the impending doom assigned it by the cachers who found it last, so we felt like heroes. There was a cute hitchhiker in the box too. And...drum roll please...This was my 200th find! I know that's not what my AQ profile says, but it's not counting the super secret black ops boxes. If I told you about those, I'd have to make you disapear.

So, all in all, it was a spectacular day. We only looked for one box, but we made that one really special.