Sunday, September 30, 2007

Riding the waves at Lake Raystown

You know, this fall is really an awesome awesome semester. I've been doing some really fun things lately. Today, Aviva and Justin invited me to go water skiing with a friend of theirs out at Lake Raystown. I had never gone water skiing, and was extremely unsure of the whole thing, but was able to get up on the skis after only a few tries.
Justin showing off his mad skills

Me wiping out one of the first times.

Starting to get up.. when I finally did get up Aviva didn't have the camera in hand, and by the time she got it out, I had already tumbled into the water. You'd be impressed by some of my crash landings! Ha ha. They were some pretty ridiculous tumbles...
Aviva, Jud and I

A sundog. Believe it or not Aviva pulled over to get a look at this sucker.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Mini-bike extravaganza

Ok, so you wonder what the kids in Central PA do for fun? How about setting up a course with jumps for racing with little kid bikes?? Yeah.. gotta keep ourselves entertained. ;)

Tonight was my second mini-bike race party, but the first time I got the guts to actually try it. It was SO much fun, I'm really going to miss these kids when I leave.
Clay and opponent getting ready to begin the race

Tim showing off his skills

Lauren and Jen at the start getting revved up

Whoops, one man down!

Once I get more pictures from people I'll post them. There's some funny ones that's for sure...

Friday, September 28, 2007


So today was quite an interesting day for weather. This morning the roads were wet from the rain yesterday and overnight, but was a beautifully sunny morning. I brought my rain jacket to campus with me just in case. After the crappy string of 3 classes in a row, I found myself with two hours to blow (I could have been productive, but the beautiful day wasn't letting me stay inside) so I went downtown to do some "window shopping" at the gear shop downtown. You know.. dreaming of goose down coats, headlamps, ski pants.. stuff like that. I didn't take my rain jacket along, convinced that a rain storm couldn't fly in that quickly. Afterwards I decided to roll on down College Ave some more and found the farmer's market very enticing. I stopped by and got some goodies, and saw a dark cloud approaching in the distance. I should have ran at that point, but didn't. Instead I went into another PSU gear store to browse around. When I came back out and headed back to Walker, I knew I was in trouble. The dark clouds encompassed the sky and and the wind began to pick up. Then the rain came. And came. And came... so to say the least I got rained on.. a lot. Whoops. I was taking refuge over roofs but didn't feel like sticking out the entire time for the storm. I felt pretty silly since my rain jacket was sitting in my office. After I got back to Walker, soaked, the squall line gave a couple of streaks of lightning and left us, leaving a trail of these little guys behind...
What are those you ask? Cumulonimbus mammatus clouds.. only the coolest clouds ever!! Weather nerds get excited about them.. and honestly, the whole 6th floor WAS pretty excited about them. After they lingered for awhile, the sky completely cleared up and the awesome fall weather ensued.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A celebratory walk in the woods

My roommate Marcie passed her Ph.D defense yesterday morning. When we asked her what she wanted to do to celebrate, she wanted to go on a hike. Her and I decided to go up Mt. Nittany and planned on going on one of the loops.
Marcie and Jake at one of the look-outs
The leaves are slowly beginning to change even though it's going upto 86 TODAY. (GROSS.)
Me at another look-out.
So we tried to follow the map of Mt. Nittany provided at the trailhead but found that there were many many MANY unmapped trails. We ended up getting lost.. very lost.. to the point that we got completely disoriented, ended up looping the mountain twice, coming to the same point at which we realized we were first lost.. in the pitch dark with no headlamps. We were very very lucky that the moon was out and partially guiding out way. My cell (with full service and full battery) guided the rest of the way. I'm also very glad that I was with someone who stayed calm the entire time and didn't panic. I could name a few people who would have freaked out in our situation.
We never ended up at the trailhead again, but at that point we just wanted to get on a road somewhere. We stumbled upon a house with barking dogs that looked vaguely familiar to me. Basically, in a nutshell, the house we stumbled upon was indeed somewhere I have been before, THE Dr. Craig Bohren's home. I had been there my freshman year in '03 for the.. meteorology Mt. Nittany hike!! If you are still wondering who Craig Bohren is, see below.
It was ironic really, because I was talking about the man to Marcie earlier in the hike and how he trains dogs. I can see it now.. 'Newsline in the meteorology weekly': "Girls get lost on Mt. Nittany and stumble upon Distinguished Professor Emeritis of Meteorology who leads them back to their car in the pitch dark really far away from where they ended up." Ha ha.. whoops!

Well, that pretty sums up my day. The story is much much funnier if I tell it to you in person because there's so much more to it.. but for now, this will do.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Signed, Sealed, Delivered.

I've been waiting for this moment. My grad school application is done. This last piece of mail will be sent out tomorrow morning, and I do mean tomorrow morning. Everything else is out of my hands. It's up to my professors to send in their letters, and then it's all a waiting game after that! Already I feel like a huge weight has been lifted and I realize how much time I spent on this thing. But here it is... signed, sealed, delivered.. I'm yours! :-)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Pyramids of Chocolate and Friendly Ducks

You know, not only do I get paid extremely well at my job at the climate office, but my boss provides a never-ending mound of pistachios and CHOCOLATE in the office. While we were listening so intently at the meeting yesterday, Eric decided to build a pyramid out of our goodies!
Tonight we had our student council meeting outside and had some friendly, curious visitors!
Donati makes friends with the little duckling.
The duck comes further in the crowd to say hi.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Ride. Hike. Boulder??

This morning a group of grad students and I went down to Rothrock for a nice morning hike. 5 of us biked down, and passed cars, cows, and tractors on the way. Oh Central PA you are entertaining but so beautiful in your country ways! For our hike we decided to ascend up some large boulders on something that isn't marked as a trail on the map. It was awesome climbing up it - here's a less rocky part of it:
Aviva smiling for the camera in the Central PA trees. The plants surrounding the trails reminded me of low willows in AK.
Mushroom?? That looks like it could kill me. But it makes for some contrast in the woods.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wipe Out!!

So I completely took a good spill on my commuter bike today. Leaving west campus and heading over the IST bridge to Walker building, I decided to try to adjust my headlight while I was riding.. and BOOM, lost my balance and went flying down into the brick wall. I was so embarrassed and scraped up my body pretty good. Best part was, I was on my way to a meeting with the guy in charge of funding me for work for our NPS project. Good thing he's known me for 3 years and knows of my constant biking, so the wreck didn't seem completely out of the ordinary (Although this was the first time I EVER wiped out on my commuter). But since I'm talking about this bike.. isn't it purdy? It's very fast around town - 27" tires, singlespeed, jazzed up commuter bike, with a bugle horn. Yes, that's right, a bugle horn, $5 straight from the shelves at Target. It used to have a retro computer too, but I tried using it in the 0 degree weather last year and it stopped working. (boo!)On a brighter note, today was my kind of day weather-wise. Upper 60s/70-ish degrees all day. It clouded up this evening but is a very comfortable day. Funny though that it feels kind of chilly compared to the crazy heat that we've had.
State College isn't so bad now is it?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

ECCC Mountain Bike Opener!

This weekend was the ECCC season opener at Lehigh! This is the closest race other than our own - about a 3 hour drive east of State College. Unfortunately, it was hella hot, was about 80-85 degrees the morning of the race.
We were lucky enough to have a real home to stay in, rather than piling 10 people into one hotel room. Ryan's grandma lives about 5 minutes from where the race was at Lehigh mountaintop campus in Bethlehem. She fed us and everything!

There was a XC course (my fav), a short track XC course, and two downhill courses throughout the weekend. I did the XC and STXC (I hate the STXC, don't ask me why I keep doing it). The XC was the same exact course as two years ago. While I was riding through it, I noticed exactly where I wiped out on one of the bridges and fell into the ditch two years ago. Luckily, I didn't relive that moment.

Somehow there were three of us girls racing for PSU! This is an "away race" tie-breaker for females as long as I've been there. I was very excited to have other girls from our club racing.
Jess (the awesome freshman), Kelly (my super senior bud), and I after the XC race
That's me cursing the short track race in the bug infested woods.
Caitlin from Tufts - my partner in crime in Womens B last year rockin' the Womens A STXC.
Downhill gear?? I wish I was that hardcore!
Tim breaking away in the STXC.

Overall, the PSU crew scored 4th for the weekend, not bad considering the 1st through 3rd place schools had way more racers than we did. Our freshman girl, Jess, is a really strong rider even though she just began riding a few months ago.

Next weekend we're heading down to Maryland for an enduro race and a few other events. Endurance races = awesome.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Hot Hot Heat

Ok... it's 8am, the relative humidity is 94% and it's going up to 89 TODAY.

Summer needs to end. Even my roommate from Miami thinks so. :-)

Monday, September 3, 2007

A surprise visit from NJ!

Yesterday afternoon I got a call from Alexis and Jonathan saying they were on their way to State College from Hershey! As Alexis said, "State College was just too tantalizingly close to not come". HOORAY! They came and we wandered the streets of State College. It was really nice to have them here. I also got to see my good friend Becca on Saturday - she came up for the football game. I was just getting used to not seeing my alumni friends.. and they suddenly reappeared from their respective homes!
Al and Jonathan on the lion -
Al and I being goofy on the lion.. his ears are like handles!
This was my last weekend in town for a little while so it was very good timing to see my good ol' friends. Yesterday and today I went exploring to see how to get to Scotia from my house via the bike paths. Yesterday I didn't have enough daylight to figure out where all the paths went, but today I did get to Scotia and rolled around there for two hours. There was a fun ramp built up on this log.
5 days til Lehigh MTB Season Opener!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

108,000 Fans

Something glorious happens when you put 108,000 screaming fans into a packed stadium. I wasn't at the front line of it today since I was working at the concession stand and not watching the game in the stands, but the Penn State Football Glory lives on. I smile and remember why I love Penn State so much.

Here's the Cycling club's stand at Beaver Stadium:
My favorite line working at the concession stand was a guy coming up to me and asking, "Where's the beer at?" Sorry buddy, no beer here. I told him to go downtown after the game.

We played Florida International University today, whom I haven't ever even heard of. Thrashed them up 59-0. But the entertaining part about the game today was that after our game was over, fans began to leave, but stopped dead in their tracks to watch the rest of the Michigan game on the TVs... And Michigan got beat on their own turf, OUCH! Michigan (and Ohio State) are our big rivals, so everybody was jumping and cheering that Michigan lost to some no-name football team.

And this is when we say...