Sunday, March 31, 2013

Day 11 Carter gap shelter 3/31/13 Easter Sunday

Miles hiked 12.5

We had an excellent Easter Sunday.  We had trail magic at the 22 annual Easter Sunday hiker feed. We had omelets and wonderful treats. It was a cool overcast day with drizzle off and on. We are staying with several hikers from the shelter last night. The weather is supposed to be better tomorrow.  Kaboose

Today was one of the esiest 12 mile days so far during the thru hike.  It was fun hiking today. More later. - sassafras

P.S. the Easter bunny made it to muskrat shelter

Day 10 muskrat creek shelter/ Georgia is done!

Miles hiked 11.8

We past our first state line today. Georgia is done and now we are in North Carolina.  The welcome in to North Carolina was tough. The first 3 Miles into North Carolina had the hardest climbs of our hike.

We hiked off and on with Blissful who thru hiked with her son in 2008 when he was 16. She will be ridge running in the Virginia,  we hope to see here there.

There are some very nice people at the shelter tonight.  Rain is predicted for tonight.

The hiking tomorrow should be less intense.  Kaboose

Today was the hardist day so far whrn we got into north carolina today. We hiked 11.8 miles today. It was fun hiking today in general. More to come. - sassafras

Friday, March 29, 2013

Day 9 zero hiawassee ga

We took a zero today at the budget inn/hiawassee ga. It does not look like much from the out side, but the room is clean, it has cable and wifi. We had a nice complimentary breakfast at the holiday inn express, dairy queen burgers for lunch and subway for supper. Before breakfast, we walked down to the  grocery store to do our resupply. We already have that task down pat. We also got some more alcohol for our stoves.  We will get a free shuttle ride 11.5 miles back to the trail from the motel in the morning. We will cross into north Carolina tomorrow, one state down, 13 to go.

We met Blissful today, who thru hiked the AT with her son in 2008. She wss very nice and supportive.  Kaboose

Today was relaxing. I had fun. We got all of our chores done today that we had to do. - sassafras


Well, I wanted to be able to leave comments completely open but holy cow, I get multiple spam comments every day, it's crazy and frustrating.  I keep getting excited that I have a comment and then it's some formula comment with a website link.  So I apologize in advance if it makes commenting harder, it didn't want it to be this way.

I know I haven't been posting very much and I really want that to change.  Sometimes it's hard to post when you don't want to offend anyone but I don't even know if things are worth saying if they don't offend somebody.

Someone commented on another blogger's site that they used the wrong spelling of the saying, "back and forth" and they were kind of mean about it, like ha, ha, you pretty girl, it's "back and fourth," better luck next time empty brain and I was like jeez, I really thought it was back and forth but even if it's not do you have to dig at someone over a misspelling?  And then I looked it up and unless my search is wrong, it is "back and forth" and I wanted to go back and be like, "stupid head, it is back and forth," but I didn't.

My SIL posted photos on Facebook of her daughter with adorable bunny ears on.  It was so cute and then I started getting sad.  I get sad less and less but sometimes something really strikes me.  I'll never be able to put bunny ears on my baby.  Like it's the worst thing imaginable.  And it's not really, it's not the end of the world.

I decided a while back the best way to handle holidays is to take charge of them.  If Halloween makes me sad because I'll never have that memory of trick or treating with my children then I'll start throwing a dinner party on Halloween to distract myself.  And it works, it really does.  I make Christmas a big deal because I love Christmas and decorate the house and put up a tree, these things are supposed to be important because you're making memories for your kids but I make it important for us.  And then I throw a Christmas party at our house just to make sure all the decorating is justified.

I've been looking forward to dyeing eggs, another family tradition, and it's so easy thanks to Pinterest because ALL of the dyeing ideas are for adults.  Oh really, you're going to teach your 2 year old to gold leaf an egg.  I don't think so.  Parents are shrink wrapping those plastic covers onto eggs just like my mom used to.  So I was excited about how fancy I could get dyeing those eggs, I was looking forward to it, and then bam: baby in bunny ears.

So now, I'm totally nervous about going to my dad's for Easter.  Am I going to break down and start crying at the sight of my brother and his wife and his two adorable children making Easter memories while Brian and I watch from the sidelines?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Day 8 Hiawassee Georgia

Miles hiked 9.8

Today was a great hiking day. It was cold getting out of camp, but it warmed up and we flew down the trail. The plan was to hike to the last camp spot before Hiawassee,  but the hiking was so nice because it was sunny and in the 40 's. After the last freezing days it felt great.  We hitched into Hiawassee and tried to get a room af the Budget inn were we have a reservation tomorrow,  but they were full. We ended up walking down to the holiday Inn express.  We soaked in the Jacuzzi, swam in the pool and are now eating pepperoni pizza. This is after having some great burgers at Hardees. This hiking can be tough.  Kaboose

Today was fun. We somehow missed the gap before the road so we went to town. We are having a zero tomorrow. More later. - sassafras

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Day 7 steel gap stealth camping

Miles hiked 9.8

What a day.  We started the day at over 4000 ft, temperature of 15 degrees and winds over 40 miles and hour. Less than two hours later we were having trail magic of sausage biscuit sandwiches hot coffee a chocolate. We ended the stealth camping in a hollow that is getting the afternoon sun and it is just beautiful.  Kaboose

Today was fun. We got trail magic. The weather was warmer than the last few days. Having fun so far. -sassafras

Day 6 blue mountain shelter

Mile hiked 7.3

Today was our coldest day. The water in our bottles froze.  There was two inches of snow on the trail. We had a good hike, but there were wind gust of 45/50 miles an hour.

Tonight We are at blue mountain shelter at 4000ft. It is cold we have our tent set up in the shelter. This is usually bad manners,  but our tent takes up the same floor space as our two sleeping pads. No one at the shelter minded. We will really appreciate warmer weather.  Kaboose

Today was fun. We are taking small miles this week. Having fun! -sassafras

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Day 4 neels gap/goose creek cabins

We took zero Today at goose creek cabins. We could only stay 1 night at mountain crossing. That was okay my me because this staff stayed up till 1 am play music and partying.

we are at goose creek cabins. We have electricity hot water and heat. We spend the day relaxing, eating, and listened to our music. We went through our gear and dried it out.

Our plan is to hike 4 days and get to just out side hiawassee ga and take a nero (a short hike in to town and spend the day there.

The weather has been cold and rainy,  but we know "no rain no pain no maine" kaboose.

Today was just all relaxing. I had fun for my first zero day. Two-thirds more days of cold and rainy weather. - Sassafras

Day 5 low gap shelter

Miles hiked 11.5
We had a good days hike. We hiked out of neals gap to low gap shelter.  There were a few good climbs. It was cold in the 20's with wind gusts of 45 miles an hour. We feel good and are going to keep the miles below10 for the next few days to make sure we really have our trail legs before pushing it. Kaboose
I had a good day.  We met a girl scout group from Miami Florida.  They had hiked for two days in very bad weather.  They were going home early. It was a good idea the weather was bad and some of them were sick. I told them I was a girl scout and about my hike for hunger.we gave them our blog info and I hope they follow our hike

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Day 3 neals gap

Miles hiked 11.9

It was a long wet and cold day, but sassafras was still in a great mood.  We hiked over blood mountain.  The mountain was in a cloud with no view.

We are now at mountain crossings hostel, run by our friend pirate. We also met Baltimore jack, and he was very nice to sassafras. We also met lumpy who gave us a ride back to amacola last year.

We did our resupply for the next 4 days. They had a very nice selection,  and it was less expensive than mailing the same things here.

It is suppose to be very bad weather tomorrow,  so we will take a zero at a cabin tomorrow.

Today was a good day to hike in the fog. It was fun just to stay at the hostile today for little than half the day. - sassafras

Below are pictures of sassafras and Baltimore jack and sassafras and pirate. Both trail legends.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Day two woodys gap

We hiked 12.9 miles today. It was cool and cloudy. We had ice oin our water bottles this morning.  We feel good and sassafras talked all day. It is nice to hear what she is thinking.  We are in good spirits.  We are looking forward to getting to neals gap and have some town food, a bunk, take a shower and do some laundry.  We are in good spirits,  physical t we feel well, it looks like a stretch of cold rainy weather coming up.  This will be our first big test. Kaboose

Today was fun. The weather was greaf for this season. We hiked 12.9miles today longest day so far. We got trail magic middle of the hike today. - sassafras

Day one hawk mountain shelter.

Miles hiked: 8.1 mile (plus 0.9 up to spinger.

Today was great,  all is well. My legs felt good and sassafras did not kill me on the uphills.

We are hiking with z-man from Austin Texas and a group from white blaze (hikerboy and his crew.

It is cold even for us maniacs. It is windy and will be in the low 20's tonight and may snow tomorrow.  Our gear is working well. Kaboose

Today was great but it was cold today when the wind came. It was fun hiking this part of the section -sassafras

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

We are at the hiker hostel in Dahlonega Georgia

What we did today.
315am plow snow in maine
430am drive to Boston
1015am fly to Atlanta
130pm train ride
300pm van ride to walmart/subway/hostel.

We met hikers from Australia, texas, California and Minnesota.
We feel great and ready to get started.
Everyone at the hostel are great.  Kaboose

Today was great we did a lot of traveling but it was still fun to do. The plane was the most fun. -Sassafras

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

We fly out tomorrow.

We just got the call from Leigh from the hiker hostel to confirm our pick up at 3pm tomorrow.  We are packed and ready to get started.

Joyce is anxious, she knows that my leg that was crushed in a motorcycle accident has been bothering me. I think it will be ok with two days rest and some ibuprofen and Tylenol.

Sassafras is doing her part by resting on the couch.

We will. Post an update tomorrow.  - kaboose.

I can not wait to start the Appalachian Trail in i am so excited you will hear from us tomorrow when we go to Georgia. -Sassafras

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Well, today was supposed to be the day the guy who broke into our house last year takes his plea.  Is that what you call it, "taking a plea"?  I should know this, I'm married to an attorney. 

This guy had broken into a house before our house and was caught but his case was resolved after our crime was committed.  So when he broke into our house he hadn't yet broken his probation.   He actually didn't even go to jail at all regarding our case, he turned himself in and when you do that you get a court date and you go home.  But then he was caught in possession of a firearm (as a felon) and that's what really did him in.  He's been in jail for that since October, I think.  That's the charge that revokes his probation.  And when they did the plea offer, everything was lumped together and the judge decided no, his revoking his probation should mean serving that time after our lump time.  And the guy who broke into our house didn't accept that plea offer adding 6 months (I think) to his sentence.  So now it goes to trial.

I admire that the judge did that, that he's actually in trouble now for his first break in.  This whole time I've been thinking - No Freebies.  It's easy when things start piling on to lump it all together as one thing but I never liked that.  And yet he's been in jail for months now and now that he's actually been punished and he was going to go to prison for a bit longer I was satisfied.  I was happy to end it, have it be over.

Brian says he has a case with the gun because he wasn't walking around with it, it was in the house he was staying at.  So that could potentially be dropped, meaning he didn't revoke his probation and he's only left with the break in of our house.  I don't even know what that mean if he's found guilty of our break in but not the gun charge.  For just our house, what is the punishment?  He left his fingerprint on our bedroom window so I think that's pretty solid evidence, it's kind of odd to have a jury trial with a fingerprint, kind of a waste of resources and a whole lot of peoples' time, but that's how the system works.

I've written two letters in the course of the last year.  The first one was more for the judge.  It was back when I was so worried about "freebies" and I wanted our crime to be considered on its own.  The second letter I wrote yesterday after one of my 4am wake ups where I can't fall back asleep.  I wrote the letter for the guy who broke into our house.

I've always had this sense in myself that if you just explain something to someone they could see your side.  I think it came naturally to me to see another person's side so I just assumed it did for everyone else as well.  And I believed it to be true until I started writing my blog and it began to get popular.  When I first starting getting negative comments I thought to myself oh I just haven't explained myself very well so I would try to re-explain my position.  And I was taken aback when this didn't work, people still hated me and didn't care to have me explain myself.  I could explain myself all day and they would feel the same way.  I think politics have gotten like this too.  You can explain yourself until the cows come home and people will still think what they were thinking at the start of the conversation.  I'm a liberal (who thinks she's an independent) and most of my family are hard core tea party so you can see how there's not any wiggle room there (and yet at the root of it we all want the same things, which is the funny part of it).

But there's still this part of me that wants to shake this kid who broke into my house and tell him, you hurt actual people, people with lives and hopes and dreams and problems and pain.  You added to that with no good purpose.  And after all these months of thinking about him and how is life got the way it is and how to change it for the better now, I wanted to tell him what the world had to offer him.  Did I think I was going to change him?  Just that dreamy part of myself.  But since the plea fell through my letter wasn't read in court today and will never be read to him.  And it's not over after today.  There's a jury trial next month.  A jury trial!  I never even imagined that.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Donate to Sassafra's Hike for Hunger

It's hard to believe we are leaving on our adventure in only 9 days. Several people have asked us what we would like them to do if they make a donation to their local food pantry in supports of Sassafras's Hike for Hunger.


Any and all donations will be greatly appreciated!

a mixed bowl

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Flour and Stone

"We're running a lunch special.  A pizza for one and a salad for $19".  This was the start of my dialogue with the Flour and Stone staff, and at prime lunch hour I witnessed several other conversations that started the same way.  I stayed for lunch, but more than half of the others left with various levels of huff and head-shaking.

I'm not sure what Flour and Stone is trying to be, but whatever it is, I don't think it's going to work.  There is a huge and captive business/ tourist lunch crowd in this area, with a whole lot of crappy choices for them.  It's hard for me to imagine shunning this crowd the way Four and Stone does.  When the place first opened, it was dinner-only.  That really baffled me.  Now they're open for lunch, but a solo luncher would be hard-pressed to get change back from a 20.  If they're shooting for some sort of upscale restaurant vibe, neither the counter-service setting nor the sparse decor are going to make that work.

But readers don't want paragraph after paragraph analyzing decorations and business models and what might or might not be going on in the mind of a restaurant's owner. The Sun Times would still have a food section if you did.  You want to know how the pizza is, and I'm going to tell you - not that good.  The crust is thick and overly bready.  It's got more char than Pizza Hut, but it's in the same ballpark.  The sauce is tart and watery, and could use salt.  Toppings include onion and garlic that are still raw after coming out of the oven, and mushrooms that are bland and need more cooking time too.

I saw an interview somewhere, where a Flour and Stone Owner said, bizarrely, that what he is describing as Brooklyn-style pizza is based on the style of pizza he ate growing up in Rochester, NY.  I believe him.

Flour and Stone
355 E Ohio St  Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 822-8998

Good bye party

They had a goodbye party for me at work today . I worked with some of these people for almost fourteenth years.  It was bitter sweet,  I enjoyed working with them, but the pressures of management were a lot. I received many generous gifts. Their generosity was humbleing. I will be looking forward to working with all of them as a staff nurse in six months or so.
I am using my fancy phone to type this, doing this daily will need some getting use to. I tried the voice recognition option, but I guess I mumble too much for it.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Gross, Rayon

I think one of the hardest problems with being a plus sized girl is trying to find clothes that are stylish and come in your size.  Just because someone is overweight does not mean they have to dress dumpy or wear polyester all the time.  And yet, it's nearly impossible to find clothes that aren't made of polyester and/or look dumpy.

One dress that has caught my eye a time or two is this one by Anthropologie. 

I've seen it on famous people, bloggery people, and even flaunting its tiny size in the store window.  I know better than to fall in love with something like this but I love the stripes and the red and it's so cute...

So when Old Navy came out with this dress I gasped a little. 

And then I realized it was made of rayon and cried why or why to the Old Navy gods.  But last week I was trying to get to $50 for free shipping so I had it shipped to be just to give it a shot.


Sigh.  This is the frumpiest dress I may have ever tried on in my life.

beet & pear salad

makes 2

almond butter mousse

makes 4

Friday, March 1, 2013

Oscar Party Insight

Hey guys, sorry in advance about my photos, these are iphone photos from 1/2 hour into the party.  This is the reality of throwing a real party and not having a photographer come over and stage your dining room table for a pretend party and you can tell it's a fake party because there's not enough food, there's like 5 petit fours and a bowl of jordan almonds.  Ok, ok, maybe I'm a little too worked up over the supposed "party blogs" who aren't throwing actual parties.

At my parties the food isn't even ready when you show up.  If I'm lucky I already have the platters out and arranged how I want them with little cards on them that say what goes where.  I didn't even get that far this time and other folks placed things on the table for me.  No staging here, I'm afraid.  I wasn't done cooking until 1/2 hour into the party and then everything sort of looked like this.  Sigh.  Note to self: you need different salt and pepper shakers for parties.  The Costco ones aren't feeling the vibe here.

My black and white striped runner is from etsy, I would have had to buy a long piece of fabric and then sew it myself, I don't think I would have saved money doing it myself.  Be careful if you go this route because some people just sew a zig zag stitch down the side and not really hem the fabric.  This one is hemmed. I have French flags in my vase, you can kind of see it.  I bought a bunch of flags to make a garland or something but couldn't figure out how I wanted it so I just stuck two in the vase.  My napkins are totally hidden but they have macarons on them.  They are very cute.

No one eats tossed salad at parties.  At least I didn't buy a fancy salad dressing container.  No more salads at parties for me.  That little bowl of raspberries behind the salad, big hit!  Also fruit was huge last year when I did fruit kabobs.  I have to remember that.  That cute silver star confetti is all great until it's time to clean up. I'm still finding little silver stars everywhere.  I usually use small plates and will in the future.  I used large plates because I thought people would have their salad and then their quiche on the same plate.  I don't know why I thought this, probably because that's how it's served at a restaurant.  Like one person ate the salad, it might have been my husband.

If you want sources on anything ask me in the comments and I'll get them for you.  Same with links to recipes.  Most are on pinterest but I'd be happy to put them here too.

I've been waiting a few days to write this post because really I wasn't sure what I wanted to say.  Part of me thinks that might have been my last Oscar party and part of me thinks with some changes I would go again.

I can't really even pinpoint what stressed me out so much with this party.  Wednesday before the party we had like 5 people who were going to come and our closest friends weren't coming and no one from work was coming (I really felt like Michael Scott, in a bad way) and I really just wanted to cancel the whole thing.  It takes a lot of work to pull this off, I knew I had 2 days of prep in front of me and I didn't want to go through it when guests were dropping like flies.  It's a sucky feeling when you feel like people don't want to come to your party.  So keep that in mind if you like your friends and they ask you to a party, especially a themed party or something more than, "hey we were going to invite a couple folks over and have some chips and dip, wanna come?"  I'm talking about when someone gives you a hand made invitation, it's a big deal when invitations are involved.

Brian rallied and next thing I knew we had 12 people coming.

The next thing that happened was we went grocery shopping.  Keep in mind that I had a French themed party in mind and all my recipes were very french.  The bill came to $250!  I was expecting like $150, $250 just seemed nuts to me.  That's over $20 per person, crazy.  I looked over the bill to see what I could have cut out and dropping the crab quiche would have been a big help but it still would have been over $200, and I don't know if 1 quiche would cut it for 12 people.  Next time and every time from here on I'm going to have a better idea of how much I'm about to spend.

Then on Saturday I started baking.  I was four hours into baking with no breaks and I had not even completed one dessert.  I had 2 desserts almost finished (the macarons and the eclairs) but nothing was completed.  By 10pm that night I had 3 desserts done and all my sauces.  That about 8 hours of solid cooking and I still had Sunday.

Sunday it was time to get dressed and I didn't think my dress was appropriate but it matched the party and it fit me and Brian said it was fine and I should wear it so I did and I was miserable.  I was so uncomfortable and I knew the stupid dress wasn't age appropriate and none of the other girls even dressed up.  I felt pretty ridiculous.

I had test ran Macarons two other times making about 4 or 5 batches total and though my cookies tasted fine, they were a beautiful robins egg color before they were baked and came out like a brownish green and I was pissed.  I still am not sure how to fix that a) cook them less, I think maybe I'm overcooking my macarons or b) use a powder-based food dye instead of the gel so I can get a more powerful color post-baking.  I really thought I had them perfect this time, I would have taken a photo before popping them in the oven if I knew they were going to brown out.

The recipe I used for the crab quiche called for too much crab and that was pretty much all you could taste.  It was still okay but not what I was going for.  And crab is expensive and I'm not sure if the expense is worth it. The other quiche was 10x better and way less money.

And now for the good:

Oh my god, I made mini-croque monsieur and they were divine, so unbelievably tasty.  Instead of using mustard since I don't like mustard and Brian is finicky with mustard I used extra bechamel sauce to coat both sides of the bread and again on top and it was so delicious.  These are high high maintenance sandwiches, I wish I could serve them at every party but they take way too long.  But for small affairs, these are going on the menu.  I really want to try them with country ham.  I feel like it might be the best thing ever made.

The quiche Lorraine was really really good.  I am definitely using that recipe again.

The mini-eclairs were very good.  A lot of work, I mean a lot of work, but they were cute and could be done before hand and tasted very good.  My American palate wants the custard filling to be slightly more sweet and the chocolate dipped a second time and I would make these again using those modifications.  Really good.  Look how cute they are, little fat things.

I still want to try to get the macarons right, that's saying something.  You haven't defeated me yet, French pastry!

I really like picking a theme and going with it and if I stop having Oscar parties I won't get to try this again.  Part of me is thinking, let's just see what movies are nominated next year and what sort of menu I might want to try.

So, I'm thinking this is my last Oscar party but I'm not 100% sure.

Oh, I almost forgot, 3 of my dishes used Gruyere cheese (at $12 a pound) and though tasty, Gruyere is not something we eat every day.  I would not recommend having Gruyere dominate the menu.  It's smelly and the smell sticks around, despite soap or open windows.  Just keep that in mind.  It's a two day post party commitment of EVERYTHING, AND I MEAN EVERYTHING smelling like Gruyere.  One dish, okay, three dishes, too much.  Trust me on this one.