NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Monday, January 23, 2012

This is What a Feminist Looks Like

I finished reading a book tonight loaned to me by my amazing 21 year old daughter who is majoring in Women's Studies at UWEC.  While I agreed heartily with everything between the covers of "Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture" by Ariel Levy and felt that it exposed a topic more people needed to take a deeper look at, I felt uncomfortable broaching the topic on Blogger or Facebook. I decided that the very fact that I felt uncomfortable bringing it up was a pretty good indication that I probably should!

The author explores the new "raunch" culture, where "empowered women" bare all for Girls Gone Wild, pursue casual sex as if it were a sport, and embrace behavior that once would have been considered the domain of male chauvinist pigs. She argues that what women are promoting as liberating is actually sending women's rights backward and leading our young women on a path that can lead nowhere good. She covers the beginnings of the women's movement and how she thinks we got from there to here. How did Sex and the City, Paris Hilton, little girls wearing thongs, Playboy bunnies, strippers and the porn industry come to represent what young women of today aspire to become? Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

"...It can be fun to be be an honorary man. But if you are the exception that proves the rule, and the rule is that women are inferior, you haven't made any progress."

"If you start to think about women as if we're all Carrie on Sex and the City, well, the problem is: You're not going to elect Carrie to the Senate or to run your company. Let's see the Senate fifty percent female; let's see women in decision-making positions - that's power. Sexual freedom can be a smoke-screen for how far we  haven't come."

"In 2004 our forty-second president, George W. Bush, the leader of the free world, proposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to forever ban gay marriage - which was already illegal. If half this country feels so threatened by two people of the same gender being in love and having sex that they turn their attention - during wartime - to blocking rights already denied to homosexuals, then all the cardio striptease classes in the world aren't going to render us sexually liberated."

"If we believed that we were sexy and funny and competent and smart, we would not need to be like strippers or like men or like anyone other than our own specific, individual selves."

It's easy to believe the war for equality has been won. Sometimes we need someone to remind us that it's still worth fighting for. My daughter does that for me, I hope today maybe I did that for someone else!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bucket List

I was surfing blogs and came across someone's post about their RV'ing bucket list. There are so many places we want to go and things we want to do that twice I've wasted a whole snowy afternoon mapping out a first year on the road. This also had the advantage of figuring out mileage, camping costs, entrance fees and so on so that we could get an idea of what we might spend in an ambitious first year on the road. I was delighted to find out that we would actually spend less on gas and go less miles traveling the country than we do now! My husband has a long commute every day, so we currently average $400 or more a month on gas expenses between us. Between the 2 main vehicles we also travel 50,000 miles per year! At least when we're RV'ing we'll have something to show for all those miles we travel.

As for a bucket's what I came up with:
  • Yosemite National Park - Wayne's top destination wish! I can't wait to hike Half Dome!
  • Hang gliding in San Francisco area - this one is all about me...Wayne plans to keep his feet firmly on the ground!
  •  Vancouver Island -  this one has been on our list long before I read Rick and Paulette's descriptions on their blog. We also have a few family members in the Vancouver area that it would be great to visit.
  •  The Wave - a photographer's dream!
  •  Glacier National Park - got to get there before there are no glaciers left.
  •  Joshua Tree National Park - another place in danger of losing its namesake feature.
  • Oregon coast - wasn't on our list before, but I've really enjoyed all the bloggers' descriptions and can't wait to see it for myself.
  • Hike to the Great Gallery in Canyonlands National Park
  • Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Antelope Canyon
  • Mono Lake
  • beignets at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans - I can thank my daughter for this one popping up on the list!
  • Snorkeling in The Keys
  • kayak Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve- got this idea reading the blog at Carolina Footprints.
  • The Freedom Trail in Boston
  • Albuquerque Balloon Festival
  • And if I get really ambitious...maybe the Other Half half marathon  in Moab!
The list could go on and on...and on, but the lyrics from "This Land is Your Land" say it best "...from the Redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters, this land for made for you and me"! I'd love to hear about everyone else's bucket list destinations they haven't made it to yet, too, because there's always room for more great places on our list.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Newfoundland 2010

I was inspired to upload some of my favorite photos from our last trip to Newfoundland by Judy  and her picture of last season's pitcher plants. We flew there in September 2010 for a long overdue visit with relatives and had the opportunity to see some beautiful sights and enjoy the fall weather. We drove up to "Site Sam" which is where the radio tower is at the former U.S. Navy base in Argentia. Argentia is where I was born and is also where the ferry terminal is located for RV'ers who are considering a trip to this beautiful island.

My son Cory on top of Site Sam

 While in the area we stayed at Wayne's mother's home in Placentia. The town of Placentia was established as a fishing settlement and the British and the French waged war over this area for centuries.  It was also a valuable military port due to its strategic narrow harbor entrance. Castle Hill  features the remains of the military fortifications built to protect the harbor, and is always worth a visit.

Wayne looking out on Placentia from Castle Hill

Wayne's brother Harold's boat

 I took a few early morning walks while in Placentia, and loved reconnecting with this place where I spent many happy times with my mother's family.

Ambrose Shea lift bridge
 My son Cory and I also walked from Placentia to Freshwater one afternoon. Freshwater is where my mother's family mostly lives, and the best part of walking to my grandmother's house is going up Old Settlement Hill. Your legs burn by the time you reach the top!

Freshwater wharf

 On another afternoon we walked down the hill to First Beach with my mother and my Uncle Ronnie. No sun and sand to be had at this beach, but still worth a trip, especially if you need some exercise.

My mom on the road to First Beach

Cory finds a moose track on the beach

 We scoured the shore for treasures, finding mostly seaweed, rocks, and barnacles, but also a few starfish in the tidepools and even spotted a seal offshore and watched him for awhile.


Tide pool treasures

 Cape St. Mary's bird sanctuary is within a reasonable drive so we made a stop out there one afternoon also.

Cape St. Mary's

 Another daytrip we made was to Salmonier Nature Park. Wayne had been here before, but it was new to me and I was quite surprised by the wide variety of native animals in natural surroundings. The enclosures are scattered along a boardwalk trail and one of the plants I photographed was the Pitcher Plant which is the province's official flower.

Pitcher plant

If you're visiting Newfoundland and you take a trip into St. John's, don't miss Signal Hill where the first transatlantic wireless signal was received in 1901.  We skipped the tower and hiked down the North Head Trail to get a great view of the harbor and the Quidi Vidi Battery and Lighthouse.

North Head Trail

It was berry pickin' time and so I took my great-niece Emily out to pick blueberries on the bog.

I filled my bucket too!

 In addition to picking...and eating...lots of blueberries we got to see lots of ponds...and more pitcher plants.

 There's much to see and do in Newfoundland, and I hope I've inspired some of my fellow travelers to consider it for their next trip!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Volo Bog

I saw online that America's State Parks were offering  "First Day" hikes. Unfortunately in our region today, highs were in the low 30's with gusts of wind over 40 mph! I doubt they had much of a turnout at Kettle Moraine today! If the wind hadn't been so bad I would have gladly taken a short drive over to Volo Bog in Illinois and gone for a short hike. I've been there a few times and would have loved to hike again on the Tamarack View Trail which is 2.75 miles long and winds around the bog.When I went last spring I was lucky enough to be able to spy on a family of Canada Geese for awhile from the level trail.

After completing the easy loop hike I decided I might as well add the 1/2 mile interpretive trail that is mostly constructed of floating sections of boardwalk and platforms.

As I was finishing up my stroll...I spied some muskrats in love! I loved the little squeaks they were making!

 So, a hike in Volo Bog in winter will be a new experience...but I think I'll wait for some snow and a nice calm day! Happy New Year!