Recent Non-professional Exploits

Sierra Club's One Day Hike

Learning the Violin

Since 1974 the Sierra Club has sponsored a "One Day Hike" of 100 kilometers from Georgetown, DC to Harpers Ferry, WV. The trail follows the Potomac River along the C&O canal towpath - a beautifully scenic trail through National Park lands and skirting the Appalachian Trail. Although beautiful, the hike can be gueling - especially on one's feet. It begins at 3am and participants have until midnight to finish. At 16.5 hrs, I was a little behind my time from last year, but finished in 13th place overall. It's a tremendous, liminal experience, completely immersed in one's own body and the surrounding beauties of nature.

I've always wanted to play the violin, and always planned to learn. Recently I realized that I'm not getting any younger and that the odds of my life's circumstances radically changing in a manner conducive to studying the violin were rather slim. So I determined to quit waiting around and have been practicing daily for several months. With the help of numerous youtube videos and helpful pointers from a friend at work, I no longer scare myself with the sounds I make. My family still jokes about my tormenting a dying llama, but fortunately it's now more joke than reality. I've made it through my first two instruction books, and am building a repertoire of celtic songs for serenading myself.

Gardening

Even as a kid who hated vegetables, I've always loved gardening. I'd love to have my own little homestead and grow or forage most of my food. Life's not conducive to that now, but I am proud of what I've been able to do. I have 29 straw bales growing everything from tomatoes to oats to flowers. I also have a good sized strawberry patch, blackberry bushes, and squash plants going wild. We also added two large, three-tiered garden boxes this year, and have been amazed at how well the plants are thriving. Garden-grown kale, sauteed in butter with onions and a touch of salt is perhaps my new favorite food. Just as amazingly, the natural deer-resistant techniques employed this year have worked!