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Happiegrrrl Climbing

Where I've been, and things that have happened while I was there.

Last Build Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:14:53 +0000


Guess Where Swanky Will Break Down(First)? Or – A Pool to Fund Repairs

Sat, 29 Oct 2011 16:32:00 +0000

Update: 11/3/11 - ALREADY, we have a winner... :(  What makes a breakdown?  hearing a sound that *doesn't sound good*  and deciding to have it looked at?  maybe not.  But then, after nursing the vehicle to a place to hold until the appointment next day, and then upon starting it, smelling a smell that *doesn't smell good* and deciding to tow the few miles - yeah.... that counts.Our pool winner is Lauren P., who chose Morgantown, WV.  Swanky's getting looked at in Sheppensburg, PA, 169.89 miles for Morgantown.  What will be the diagnosis...?  Stay tuned for Pool Round Two: Where Will Swanky Break Down(the SECOND time)?  Any donations/guess received as of now will be applied to that pool.NOTE: For Updated List of *Official* Pool Entries, click this link, which will take you to a page on the ClimbAddict Designs website   Last year, Swanky the van was brand new, to me. I bought it from a cop, and my mother(who was a nurse) once told me “Eye doctors can't see; ear doctors are deaf, and psychiatrists are crazy.” Well, I figure that line of thinking probably goes beyond the boundaries of the medical field, if you know what I mean. Now I know there are plenty of optometrists with 20/20 vision, just like most police are law-abiding citizens, but if the lies this guy told me about that van weren't a crime, I don't know what is!Not that Swanky(which he became named due to his luxe interior of blue and cream-colored velour upholstery) broke down RIGHT AWAY, but within 20 miles after driving away as new owner, the Service Engine Soon light came on. Then, two days later, when I was parked at the Trapps for a day of climbing, and I was showing my partner the carriage that would convey me out west for the winter, I noticed a drip... Coming from the rear side of the van, I hoped it was just condensation, but the sniff test resulted in an undeniable fact – Swanky had an ulcer that was eating away at his gas tank badly enough that I could time the drips. I was parked at an uphill incline, so turned him around with his rear tilted skyward and went climbing. Upon return, there was no gas puddle, or smell, which meant the hole was at least not too low.... Little consolation that was.Of course, since I was traveling cross-country, I made an appointment with Beek's, the local car doctor(I don't know if the people at Beek's can drive well, but they sure doesn't fit with my mom's diagnosis of medical personae; they are really great, and honest, at auto mechanics and service). I was informed of worse than just a gas tank - poor Swanky was too sick to even pass inspection in his current state. The van this policeman told me had been babied apparently had a rather neglectful parent.Yes – I should have had the van looked at by a competent person before considering buying it. You win no prize for that. But, we are headed back west again, and you CAN win something by guessing the nearest town where Swanky breaks down at first! Last year, once on the road, we went all the way to Wisconsin, before losing the Serpentine Belt on the highway near Mossinee, WI.. Then, on to Sedona, AZ where a gash in the tire wall had me replacing it(but the guy assured me the slit wasn't bad and he'd personally drive on it. “That tire has MILES of tread left on it” he said. But I didn't want to risk having a blow out at 70mph on a highway in the middle of nowhere, on a hot desert day. So, that wouldn't count for a breakdown. Nor would the fact that I mentioned that the oil gauge seemed to be acting wonky, and the diagnostic they performed told them the oil sender unit was about to go. Breakdown averted, as was Swanky's appointment with the Reaper....We got to Joshua Tree and one night, parked in the Pit, I smelled gasoline. In denial, since the tank and several lines HAD been replaced less than two months previous, I did what most women would do....ignored it.Until the day the van wouldn't start.Long story short, it was in Tucson, AZ where that occurred, and I had a pirate mechanic drop[...]

Happiegrrrl's Hairgoods - A New Development On Etsy

Fri, 30 Sep 2011 17:09:00 +0000

Most of you know I am an addicted rock climber. I happen to think my vintage button hair accessories are the perfect accessory for pony-tailed climbers, and if you see me at the cliffs, you can bet I'll be sporting one of my own hair goods!

Recently I was invited to join a "team" on Etsy - a group of rock climbers who have shops, or who are buyers on Etsy who may be interested in rock climbing good(or goods made BY climbers!) If YOU fall into that category.... why not join the Etsy Climbers Team?  As I said - you needn't be a seller on Etsy to do so - just an Etsy member, who is a climber. 

Or - if you don't care to do that - you can still keep up with what's new from the Team on the Etsy Climbers Facebook Page. We can use all the Likers we can get!

If you'd like to help Happie on her roadtrip, there are a few ways to do that! You can choose to support any of her online shops, such as ClimbAddict T0-Shirts and Giftware for Climbers, Talisman Studios Hair Accessories or Or, you can send her a (very much appreciated) donation in any amount via PayPal, by clicking the button here:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ If you enjoy my blog and would like to subscribe through RSS, you can click the FeedBurner Badge here. Thanks for your support! (image)  Subscribe in a reader(image)

Happie Doesn't Have Enough to Do Already...

Fri, 23 Sep 2011 17:55:00 +0000

 ...and so I have added - not one - but TWO new projects to my repertoire.  That's on top of the recently launched line of chalkbags under ClimbAddict Designs.The new ventures are similar, and came about when I was invited to join a team of sellers on the platform called Etsy Climbers. This is a group of people on Etsy who rock climb and either have shops on the site, or use the site to shop. The Team Page provides a place for you to join, if you are interested.At any rate, I was excited to join this newly-formed team and immediately started presenting ideas for team promotion and activities.  I guess I did not really notice that the team did not have very much activity.  Oops.  The ball had been sent rolling and the team Captain was very interested in my help.The problem was, it soon became clear that she had a lot on her plate, and wouldn't be able to help me with any of the ideas for a while.  She told me to go for it on my own, and so I began by builinding a Facebook Page for the team, Etsy Climbers on Facebook,  which you can find here.Unfortunately, it also became clear pretty quickly that I would need to be making decisions on behalf of the team, and as I came to her for approval, she felt it would be best dealt with by having me take on the Captain position.Well - I felt a bit uncomfortable, worrying I might have pressured her, but I also felt she was sincere.  As so - I am captain of this team.  To that end - I hope you might consider Liking their Facebook page, which I linked to above.  There are many talented climbers in the team, and together we make jewelry, greeting cards, chalkbags, prints, herbal teas, lip balms and climbing salves and more.That said - when I first gave the group my list of ideas, and was met with excitement from the team captains, I wondered who there seemed to be no other feedback, except from one person who feared I was going to use the opportunity to self-promote at their expense. And as I waited for the captain to return my emails about the ideas - and wait4ed.... - I thought "Okay, these people don't really have interest here.  But my ideas are good, and there are a lot of climbers who would be interested in acting as a collective, and they don't all have shops on Etsy...."I waited as long as I could stand it - but eventually I said "Okay - I am going to begin development on that group"  And thus began Creative Climbers.The platform will be a network for climbers who are artists and entrepreneurs, and will work to collectively promote the various ventures of it's members,  It will also be a place where people who want to support and work with climbers can easily find them.And here I am... a month away from getting in my van to drive cross-country for the winter, broke, and with two very time-consuming projects to work on, which will probably pay very little dividends, and none for a while.WHY do I DO these things to myself???Nonetheless, I am excited about the projects.  The Etsy one is further along, as I feel an obligation to the team, whereas nobody really knows that Creative Climbers exists yet.  I do have a Creative Climbers FaceBook Page, as well as one at Twitter, but so far that's it.(Click the Facbook Link if you want to get updated or become a member).  That will change on October 8th, as ClimbAddict is sponsoring the New Paltz Climbing Film Festival with donations of chalkbags.  I will have a table in the lobby as well, to show the chalkbags line, and Creative Climbers will also get some representation, since Climbddict is a member(the one member) of Creative Climbers...So - if you are attending the film fest. come by and say hello.  I will be holding a drawing for one of my chalkbags at the table as well(winner will be able to choose from any in the line), and who couldn't use a fabulous hand-sewn chalkbag!  I know I sure could, since I still have the very first prototype dangling from my harness...hahahahI have be[...]

The Saga of the Stove

Wed, 09 Mar 2011 17:53:00 +0000

It all started, I believe, when I decided to buy a twenty-pound propane cylinder to use for a Mr. Heater unit in the cabin and for cooking fuel while on this southwest tour. Back in October, I went to the Agway in New Paltz and they had only one unit left. I bought it, slightly upset at the price, which was something like $25. Unfilled. When I got the cylinder home, the first night I hooked it up to the Mr. Heater and could not make it work. Not a good omen. A few days later I called the company, assuming there was something wrong with the heater or way I had hooked it up. The service agent explained that the new cyclinders have a 'vacuum purge' system, apparently to insure the consumer does not get shorted when having the cylinder filled, which has an unintended side effect. The slightest amount of pressure, when first connecting the hoses and opening the valves, somehow tells...something...inside the hose mechanism that there is a problem, and the gas flow is shut down.Great....I stand witness to the fact that the defect works just fine. I've had troubles every single time I had to reconnect the hose and use the thing. But after a few false starts, I understood how to cajole the set up for my Mr. Heater.Then I hit the road.Traveling in a van, I felt it would be a little cumbersome, if not unsafe, to keep the cylinder/hose/stove connected, but as of today I refuse to disconnect the thing unless absolutely necessary. It's just too ridiculous, trying to get the gas to flow with each fresh connection.But all this is really just back-story. The saga really started the first time I stopped along the highway for dinner, back on November 15th, 2010. I pulled into a rest stop area somewhere in western New York, anticipating my first meal on the road. Having been cooking on a camp stove daily since May, I was used to that; it would not be a novelty of any sort. Nor would the gathering of each and every item needed for the meal preparation beforehand. Cooking out of a cooler/camp stove, outside, IS different that in the convenience of a modern kitchen, as anyone who has gone camping is aware, but again, I had been living that way in the cabin. I was used to it. The new twist would be that I had to remove the various food/gear bins from the storage areas within the van. Cooler, spices, water, vegetables, pasta, etc.; each stored in a different location, some easily accessed, and some needing more effort, especially in the beginning, when I couldn't remember where I had put many of the items.After patiently, and with some annoyance with my bad organization, I gathered everything needed to make my favorite meal – bean burritos in a pot. I hooked up the stove, turned on the valve, clicked the Pietzo lighter and....nothing. Trying again – a few times – I realized there wasn't the familiar hissing of flowing gas.“Oh crap,” I thought. “The stupid cylinder.”Disconnecting everything, I set it back up and....couldn't get gas flow. I found a thin stick to manually purge the back-up of gas that had accumulated at the valve, as the guy from Mr. Heater had explained in his tutorial on getting the damned thing to work. Technology....Still nothing.I must have taken down/set back up/turned valves for the assembly in every possible combination. Three times. FINALLY the set up must have decided to stop resisting, and worked. Fifteen rather frustrating minutes had passed; it seemed like longer, and though it wasn't really that cold outside, I imagined how untenable this would be when it WAS cold. Or windy. Or I was tired. Or running behind whatever sort of a schedule I was one. Or just expecting an item I had paid good money for to work properly.....And so the saga began.Each – and every – time I went to cook so much as a cup of tea; if I had disconnected the hose, I found myself in an epic reprisal. And some of those times it WAS cold. Or windy. Or cold and windy, and I was tired.... Never found myself tethered with a[...]

ClimbAddict Has a New Promotion

Mon, 20 Dec 2010 23:52:00 +0000

My alternate personna, ClimbAddict Designs, is running an end of year promotion. Giving away $50 in product - you can find information on the Moments In Climbing - 2010promotion here!

Trying to garner People who *Like* ClimbAddict on Facebook, so I can spa...ummm, update them with new design info, Item of the week and such. It's been told to me that I am simply - NOT - getting the word out about the damned company, despite my nearly incessant efforts. I guess I have not been working smart....

On a personal note - Yesterday I walked around the Desrt Queen Mine area with a (famous) climber, who happens to be living at the Pit, which is where I am camping, in squalid luxury, several days a week. We stumbled upon the coolest on miner's cabin, near Fraggle Rock. I have pictures, but haven't edited yet. Will be posting once I do that.

An other news - my camp stove is funked up.... I have purchased a cheap interim one from Walmart, which is clearly worth every penny OI have paid for it..... Campmor, where I bought the original one, has been called and says to send it back, and they will refund or replace it. I am NOT trying to get over, but whatever is wrong is within the regulator on the hose system, and should not be occurring(it's leaking gas - not a good sign). I truly do believe an item SHOULD withstand use for the 3/4 year of daily use it has had and so I am sending it back. All I need is the hose replaced, and will say so - It's a shame to have the thing replaced if all they need to do is send a new hose, but I have the feeling a new stove will arrive in the mail.....

If you'd like to help Happie on her roadtrip, there are a few ways to do that! You can choose to support any of her online shops, such as ClimbAddict T0-Shirts and Giftware for Climbers, Talisman Studios Hair Accessories or Or, you can send her a (very much appreciated) donation in any amount via PayPal, by clicking the button here:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ If you enjoy my blog and would like to subscribe through RSS, you can click the FeedBurner Badge here. Thanks for your support! (image)  Subscribe in a reader(image)

Is It WRONG to Take a Joshua Tree Home With You?

Thu, 16 Dec 2010 23:47:00 +0000

Let's suppose a friend of mine asked me this question(Really; a friend. I swear!). What should I have said? What would YOU have told them?

Probably you'd say something like "Are you crazy??? Don't you know how delicate, endangered, BIG those things are?" Or "You mean from the actual park, the National Park??? Are you CRAZY?"

Well - you'd be wrong. The answer is "Sure! You really SHOULD take a Joshua Tree home with you."(if you happen to be in the neighborhood(of Joshua Tree Natinal Park).

"Why?" you might ask, and I'll tell you.

It's because the Joshua Tree in question is not the living article....but a whimsical miniature recreation, sculpted in copper wire and set amongst a base of stone, created by local artist Eric Pfranger.

Eric makes these beautiful Joshua Tree sculptures and places them for sale at venues such as retail store and local landmark Coyote Corner, and the Joshua Tree Chamber of Commerce.

Here is an example currently at Coyote Corner:

And here's another one!(You can click this image to make it bigger sized)

You're next question might be along the lines of "How can I get one?!" The answer is simple, really. You'll have to come and pick it up!

So - if you happen to be in Joshua Tree, give Eric a call and see if he's got a tree available for you. He has no website, but you can call him directly, at (760) 974 - 6646.Tell him you heard about his wonderful creations from Happiegrrrl!

If you'd like to help Happie on her roadtrip, there are a few ways to do that! You can choose to support any of her online shops, such as ClimbAddict T0-Shirts and Giftware for Climbers, Talisman Studios Hair Accessories or Or, you can send her a (very much appreciated) donation in any amount via PayPal, by clicking the button here:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ If you enjoy my blog and would like to subscribe through RSS, you can click the FeedBurner Badge here. Thanks for your support! (image)  Subscribe in a reader(image)

Jerome, Arizona - A Photo Essay

Sat, 11 Dec 2010 21:13:00 +0000

As promised, I would post images and info on the portion of my travel where I came through Jerome, Arizona. My friend Tim suggested I really should stop and have lunch there, or at the very least, get out of the van and take a walk around. "Jerome is the coolest little town you've ever seen." he told me. He was right!I did not stop for lunch, mostly because I arrived there at about 8am, but also because I had just spent $300 getting the van repaired the day before and that was pretty much my food budget for....about 2 1/2 months. Instead I pulled over in front of Nelly Bly's, which is now a drinking establishment, and pulled out the stove to brew my own breakfast cup of coffee.Cup in hand, I and Teddy strolled up and down this hillside town, enjoying a sense of history, perseverance, and proof that a town does NOT need to kowtow to corporate America in order to be vibrant. There was not a single franchise to be seen. Not even a gas station or bank! Each and every store was a privately owned, mom and pop operation. Admittedly, I do not know much about Jerome, but do hope to go back with Peter once he arrives in January. Until then, I will post some links for you which may provide more information about the town. I'll do that after the images, all photos I took that morning.The Hotel Connor and Neighboring BuildingA view of the land below the town of JeromeHistorical Block and Remains of the Mine Offices and Bank BuildingA Safe Displayed as Art and ArtifactSmelting Furnace From an Area MineThe Remaining Wall of a Long-Gone BuildingStreetlight - They don't make 'em like they used to!A Loveley Window from one of Jerome's BuildingsPlaque for the Motor BuildingThe Motor BuildingPlaque for Jennie's Place, an historical BordelloPlaque for Husband's Alley, so named after Prostitution was made illegal in the townAnother pretty buidling currenlty in use and providing Jerome visitors a glimpse of it's quaint modern charmChandelier and Vines on the Porch of a Jerome EstablsihmentA Big Blue House on the HillsideJerome's FirehouseUnknown Building in the Valley Below, as Seen Near the Motor BuildingLINKS:Tourism Information - "America's Most Vertical City" and "Largest Ghost Town in America"Wikipedia Entry for Jerome, AZjerome Times - Including a "Stories and legends" and elements from the twon newspaper published in the 18800'sConnor HotelGoogle Images for JeromeIf you'd like to help Happie on her roadtrip, there are a few ways to do that! You can choose to support any of her online shops, such as ClimbAddict T0-Shirts and Giftware for Climbers, Talisman Studios Hair Accessories or Or, you can send her a (very much appreciated) donation in any amount via PayPal, by clicking the button here: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ If you enjoy my blog and would like to subscribe through RSS, you can click the FeedBurner Badge here. Thanks for your support!  Subscribe in a reader[...]

Upon Arrival....

Thu, 09 Dec 2010 16:03:00 +0000

Despite my dark, and never mentioned aloud, concerns, the van made it to Joshua Tree. I rolled into one of the primo sites in Hidden Valley Campground last night about nine pm. Not without drama, of course. But each epic was a “Terrie-type” one; that is to say – no true inconvenience was involved. The first on-the-road problem arose just after I left from my family visit in Wisconsin, where I enjoyed leisurely days of lounging on my sister's couches while the wretched Wisconsin winter taunted me outdoors. I should also mention the wonderful Thanksgiving celebration we had the Saturday following the holiday – yum, yum, yummy! At any rate, I had offered to drive my younger brother Al back to his home in Wausau, which is slightly north, and west, of Green Bay, where I had been staying with my older sister Gini. After driving 90 miles, I dropped him off and went upstairs to see his apartment. Upon returning to the van I smelled an odor which I instinctively knew was a sign of trouble, yet allowed myself to quell the fears by believing the rubber-like smell was probably some oil I had spilled while topping off before leaving Green Bay.It wasn't, as you likely have surmised.As I drove southbound on an interstate(53 or 51; fifty-something or other), with cruise-control set at 65, each time the engine would surge for an uphill injection of fuel, I would hear a slight, crinkling noise. “Uh Oh,” I knew, yet had no frame of reference to diagnose this additional clue.What the sound was, I guess, was bits of the accessory belt crumbling and dropping away, as the belt wore away. It finally frayed to the breaking point; the belt broke, engine thrust dropped, and the power steering went out. This occurred as I approached an exit ramp at Mossinee, allowing me JUST enough time to understand I had to take that exit and get a safe place to stop immediately. I rolled through the stop sign at the exit's end, and drove the couple hundred feet to a Kwik Mart convenience store, “conveniently” located so very closely to my break-down it could hardly be even considered such. Talk about a micro-epic! How much less traumatic could such a thing have been? Had just a few seconds passed before I knew I had a problem, I'd have been past the exit, broke down on a highway and having to walk the distance to the mart, then back to the van to await the tow.Fifty dollars and a half an hour later, I was deposited at Martin's Auto Repair, where I was told “We can't get you in right now. It will be about an hour.” A whole hour!? I was surprised the man thought that would be considered even a slight inconvenience, considering I had just been towed to his place of business, with a full day's work already in process. Maybe he saw the New York plates on the van and figured I was...a New Yorker(with it's inherent “hurry up and wait” mentality).I played online, updated my businesses, and within a short while was back in motion. Things went smoothly, except for the daily oil reading conundrum, until I passed Albuquerque, New Mexico. Reading the dipstick in this van has been practically an exercise in futility, and probably the dilemma is compounded by the fact that I really would like to believe what the guy who sold me the van told me - “It doesn't burn or use a drop! When you get to California, add a quart. That's all you'll have to do. It just had an oil change too! Here's the paperwork.” The stick barely registers oil at some points, and other times is coated. Often when no oil has been added.... When I brought the van home, a friend looked at it(tut-tutting the whole time, and worrying aloud for my future) and said “You're down a quart.”Having “just had a change(with paperwork!) that seemed – odd. Yet when I took it to the mechanic for a go-over(yes, NOW I understand just why – even on a $2,000 used vehicle – you ta[...]

I Feel Like a New Woman Since Arriving in New Mexico!

Fri, 03 Dec 2010 14:58:00 +0000

I left Wisconsin after a visit with my family this past Monday, and started my southwest drive by actually heading slightly to the northwest, as I gave my brother Al a ride home to Wausau. I stopped in to see his apartment, and as I went back to the van, smelled an odor which set off the "UhOh" receptors of my brain but denial told me that it must simply be a little bit of oil I'd spilled earlier as I topped off at the gas station.It wasn't.Several miles down the highway, as the cruise control kicked in as I went uphill, I'd hear a little crunchy, crinkling sound... as if I'd driven over wet asphalt and bits were dropping from the car.... That wasn't a very comforting sound.JUST as I neared an exit, power dropped considerable, and the power steering failed. I had exactly enough time to realize I needed to take that exit and get safely stopped out of traffic; preferably near a place to ask for assistance in calling a tow truck.Limping in to a Kwik Trip gas station/convenience store, I rolled up to a parking spot, parked and cut the engine. Opening the hood, I looked for, and found, the obvious. Well, actually found remnants, that is. The fan belt was fried and had disintegrated, leaving just a string or two of...crinkled dry rubber near the alternator.That sucked. But it certainly could have been worse. The people in the store suggested a tow truck driver who turned out to be pleasant, helpful and reasonable on cost($47.50). He took me to a repair shop who got the van up and running in short order, despite having a full day's schedule of appointments and several walk-ins they turned away. Thanks, Martins Auto Repair!The rest of the trip went fairly smoothly, except of course the Kum&Go debacle. Easy sleeping in Walmart lots through the midwest, miles and miles and miles of grasslands in Kansas. And oil wells. Lots of those. And quint, holding themselves up by their bootstraps towns, dotting the highways of Iowa, Kansas. Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas, most of which I cut just the corners on. Except Kansas... I went straight through that one. But it was still very nice - a pleasant drive on decent highway.Yesterday I crossed from Texas into New Mexico and the change of terrain was immediately obvious. Instead of flat cattle-grazing ranges and commercial feedlots, and oil wells, the land became rich red soil, peppered with desert grasses and Juniper. Hills rolled with cut-ways hinting at the mountains coming as I ventured further. Massive hills rose up from the flatter lands as if they did it just to surprise you as you crested a hill and caught sight of them.I stopped in Santa Rosa to rest, refresh myself with an ice coffee, give Teddy a walk and some Teddy-Time, and then began heading toward Albuquerque, where I stayed for the night(in a Walmart parking lot, of course.... I'd wanted to check for free camping in a *more natural* setting, but missed the last roadside pull off 30 miles east of the city. Thinking there would be one more, I soon came upon the suburban sprawl and knew I had gone too far....This morning, I am at U-Mound, a bouldering spot right outside Albuquerque in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. After my coffee, and Teddy's breakfast - that's where we are headed.I HAVE arrived! If you'd like to help Happie on her roadtrip, there are a few ways to do that! You can choose to support any of her online shops, such as ClimbAddict T0-Shirts and Giftware for Climbers, Talisman Studios Hair Accessories or Or, you can send her a (very much appreciated) donation in any amount via PayPal, by clicking the button here: If you enjoy my blog and would like to subscribe through RSS, you can click the FeedBurner Badge here. Thanks for your support!  Subscribe in a reader~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ If you enjoy my blog and would like to subscribe through RSS, [...]

Kum & Go Plays Bait & Switch

Tue, 30 Nov 2010 18:34:00 +0000

UPDATE: 2 hours after I Tweeted a link to this post, I got a Twitter response from a Kum & Go representative. Seems this person tweets practically 24/7, according to the profile log.... Wonder if the Twittering is the main duty in their job! At any rate - this person, who goes by ^MPT on the Kum&Go Twitter profile said he was emailing HQ(or someone, at any rate) about the issue. He wrote(via Twitter):You sure will. I'm typing up an email now. We'll take care of you. Thanks for your patience. :) ^MPTI replied to his Twitter post with:Thanks for the reply, ^MPT. I'll be duly awaiting response from HQ. Let's HOPE they will desist on the pricing misrepresentation. and within MINUTES he wrote back as follows:You should have a reply in your inbox. I sent it to the email on your Blogger profile. Let me know if you didn't get it. ^MPTUnfortunately, the email was not there as mentioned, but it is likely because that contact is outdated. I will update the contact email and advise to him, but I am wondering why they can't simply respond to the letter I emailed them in the first place - which DID have the current contact email!So I am back on the road, headed south to warmer weather(I hope!). I'll do another updating post soon, but need to vent. I HATE unethical business practices, and if you agree that this is the case upon reading this post, I hope you will help me go on a boycotting tirade against Kum & Go gas stations. The title on this blog post links directly to Kum & Go's Contact Form(as does this link. Send them a note telling them how you feel about such tactics. And do please link this post up and down the internet highway! Twitter, Facebook, even MySpace if it still exists! If YOU have had a similar tactic employed by a gas station while on the road - please post about it in the comments section.Here's the letter I wrote, after filling my damned 33 gallon tank, which had like 1/8 left in it at the time.Hello -I pulled in to buy gas, seeing the price of $2.71. MOST places have the lower octane gas as the cheapest. NOT this station.The only prices listed on the sign were one for gasoline, and one for diesel.When I got to the pump, I did notice two choices for gas, but naturally assumed the lower octane to have been the one advertised on the board.Nope. While the board DOES say "super unleaded" is $2.71 9/10, I am sure that the station is WELL aware the consumer sees the price only.When I looked at my receipt and noticed I had been charger $2.81 9/10 instead, I was QUITE pissed off. I bought 23.661 gallons off your gas, at a cost of $66.60, and was - in my opinion - ripped off out of $2.36.While it might not *seem* a big deal, I am well aware of the factor when applied in quantity.This behavior tells me that Kum & Go is an unethical business. I am on a cross-country road trip; one which is being reported on on Facebook, Twitter, 3 international website discussion boards for adventure athletes(who travel extensively) and a blog with a good number of viewers. You can BET I will be posting this letter and details.Would you like to comment(which will be included in follow up postings).Thank you,Terrie~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ If you enjoy my blog and would like to subscribe through RSS, you can click the FeedBurner Badge here. Thanks for your support!  Subscribe in a reader[...]

First 24 Hours On the Road

Tue, 16 Nov 2010 15:44:00 +0000

Well, first 19.5, actually. It's 10:30am and I am lolly-gagging at a rest stop on Hwy 17 near Bath, NY. Got a late start yesterday, leaving New Paltz between 2:30 and 3pm. The van has been running smoothly and it makes me nervous to feel comfortable about that; so many people took one look at Swanky and shook their heads sadly, that I fear something catastrophic will occur along the way. Please universe, protect me from that!After driving past the Mohonk Preserve one last time, and waving good-bye to my beloved Clove Road(See you next year, cabin! Hank says it is likely I can have it again.),I headed south on 209, and then west on 17. A half tank of gas later, I stopped and filled up as was suggested by the security guy at the preserve Visitor Center(I forget his name!!!) who told me to go this route over the one I had chosen, which was 209 through the Delaware Water Gap and then crossing wide through Pennsylvania. He said, "After Corning, there's nothing for a loooong while! Get gas!"And as I passed Corning, I had to listen, but instead pulled off the highway at the town just further, called Painted Post. The reason being that the Corning exits offered only one gas station choice, and I felt my wallet might be taken advantage of if there was only one choice. Painted Post had 3 choices, and it was just a quarter mile off the highway exit to the one I used.I thought it would be an easy off/on to the highway, but as I went back, the exit was closed for roadwork. So I had to backtrack for the detour, which....I didn't follow. Instead I pulled off at the very next exit, but then it intersected with another big highway, and worried I would somehow get herded onto that unwanted route, I turned off to the smaller road instead. I figured I'd drive down that a while, turn around, and get a decent warning as to where the entrance back to17/86 was, instead of having to make the choice in the seconds I would have otherwise had. What can I say? I haven't been regularly behind the wheel of a car in a long time.At any rate - as I drove down that side road, I saw a Walmart.... And it lured me right in! Ever before, when people said "You can camp overnight at Walmart," I would snub the idea. I thought I would want to do better than that. I had figured I would get back on the highway and continue on to the rest area near Bath, where I actually am now. But I had stopped at the previous rest station to feed and walk Teddy and you know....the people I noticed sort of had a really anonymous vibe. Plus, the parking is right there where every single car using the place drives within feet behind your vehicle. So - I figured WalMart couldn't be any worse.And it wasn't. Probably better even, since I did notice a few condom wrappers on the ground as I made coffee here this morning. I don't think anyone was hooking up in the cars at the WM lot...but anyway....So, I even went in to use the WM potty, but I will say it now - I pledge to do my best not to give WM any of my money on this trip. But that won't stop me from using their bathroom, and yes, I will sleep in their lots again I think. Somewhere around midnight, a cleaning truck drove through the lot. I was awakened by the recurring droning sound it made, and finally after several passes I was like "WTF IS that?" and looked out the window, just in time to see the big yellow behemoth swipe right up alongside the passenger side of the van.!"That's a little close," I thought, but figured it was probably just an open lane the truck would use, and who knows - maybe there was some trash sitting there to be scooped away.But then the truck turned around and came for another pass - and repeated it three damned times! "Shit," I though. "They are going to have someone from security come rapping on my window and ask why I am [...]


Wed, 10 Nov 2010 20:56:00 +0000

Well - the van has been bought and the modification to a road trip rig is in progress! Here are some photos of the "Before/After" work to get the sleep/storage platform in:First, some pictures of Swanky, or Senor Swanky, as the van is more formally called, in general:So, Ken, who worked as a trailhead assistant at the Mohonk Preserve this year, offered to help me out. He said he "had a few tools, and though he wasn't the greatest" carpenter.....hahaha. The guy did SUCH an awesome job! The platform has dado cuts, is sturdy as can be, and is shaped perfectly to contour to the van walls. He even did cutaways to allow me to more easily slide the curtains. It really is beautiful. But what a lot of work! Two days of it!One seat out, and more to go.... Here's Ken, having removed one captain's chair, and locating the bolts that hold the base to the van bed.Teddy is wondering if he can keep this one. He found it most comfortable!I would hold a vise grip pliers on the nut , while Ken cranked, and cranked, on the bolt heads. Those things were welded.The captain's seats were bad enough, but the rear bench had 8 more bolts, and another 4 for the seat belts. Having already taken several hours, we elected to slice the belts, leaving the bolts/hanger in situ. The bench was held down by metal keepers, and so we loosened the bolts just enough to slide the keepers away from the seat base. Then we lifted the bench out. Sure, i bit of floor space is junked up with the left-in-place hardware, but all in all, well worth the effort spared.And what swanky seats they were! I tried to sell them on Craigslist, but with little time to wait, had no bites, and instead gave them to a climber who offered to take them though he couldn't pay anything.The van, emptied of the seats, and ready for the work to begin!Ken manually cut each dado with his radial saw.I would say I helped, but.....this was the only saw work I did; one dado. Fun!Sidewalls are done, ready to have legs joinedHere's one sidewall, set into placeTeddy was the foremanBoth sidewalls in place, with cross bars in as well. Looking good!Adding the center supportReady for the plywood topLots of screws later, the top is secured. But NOT before many small adjustments were made to contour the shape EXACTLY to the van dimensions. This thing is a perfect fit.The platform is done! It will hold a full-sized mattress, with room along one side for small bins. Underneath, has 19 inches clearance - room for large bins. Still, because the van has a high-top, there is enough headroom to sit on the bed comfortably.The foreman takes a final walk-through....Ken did such an awesome job - He even cut away sections to make it so the curtains are not compressed by the platform edges.This cushion was part of the "before" set-up, where the bench folded flat into a bed-type of thing. The problem was that the clearance for storage below was was nowhere near enough to keep climbing and camping gear for a 5 month road trip. As well, the bed was about 3/4 sized. But the cushion I kept, and will place it atop the side storage bins. I can rest it upright as shown, place pillows in front, and it becomes a couch back!This fabric panel was also part of "before." It was sewn to the top/back of the rear bench, as if it were a cape. It hid the seat brackets and also camouflaged anything that might be stored beneath the bench. I simply ran a length of thin, stiff, accessory cord through a turned seam already in place, and tied loops at each end in an overhand knot. The high-top has some little front windows, and they have snap-in-place covers to cut unwanted sunlight out. I unsnap the top, outermost corners, slip the loops on the "cape" atop the male part, and resnap the cover. That holds the lightweight f[...]

Happie is Very Unhappy. But Still Happy, Nonetheless.

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 17:17:00 +0000

My damned assistant stole my client base, decimating my animal care service within the span of a few short emails. Premier Pet Care, which saved my butt when I walked away from the corporate world and into the realm of starving artist back in 2001. Little did I know, at the start, that when I started climbing(in 2004), having a dog walking service would be the perfect type of business for someone who needed time away from being physically present on the job. But it sure was! When I began climbing, I was still doing all the animal care myself, and working up to 30 days at a time with no full days off. I was tired. My first climbing was in the gym, and I could fit it around my work schedule, but once I got out into the real world – the Gunks, Seneca Rocks, and Joshua Tree that first year – it really sucked to have ONE cat-sitting job on a Saturday..... Not because it would make it so I couldn't GO to the Gunks, a 90 minute drive away, but because it meant I had to do the cat sit job at about 5:30am, in order to make the 7am bus which would take me to New Paltz where a partner would pick me up! An assistant was needed - desperately. And thus the search began. I had good luck with nearly all the people I worked with over the years. The first one got fired because of climbing. It was the summer of 2004, and the Republican National Convention was being held in New York City. The town, nearly 100% NOT Republican, seemed to be just a few steps away from being under Marshall Law. Protests were rampant, police were everywhere, and the tinge of riot soured the fetid August air. It was Friday evening and the next day I had one client's dog to walk, two sessions early afternoon and also at 5pm. I thought I could hack the strain the convention was drawing to the city, but the Gunks were calling me stronger; if I had to be hanging by a thread, what better place that upstate, on a dynamic rope?! I called my assistant and asked her to take the sessions. She begrudgingly agreed to do it and the next morning, away I went. I had a great day of climbing.But when I got home, I had a phone message. The client had gotten home early, and found their dog had not been walked for the early afternoon session. Not only that, but moments after they had arrive, at about 4pm, my assistant DID arrive, obviously intending to do only one walk and thinking no one would be the wiser(save the poor dog who could not tell anyone; god bless our loyal companions who bear the brunt of human selfishness so stoically).Furious with my assistant, though I knew I had pushed her into accepting the work when she really hadn't wanted it, I simply had no choice but to let her go. Had that been the only transgression, I would likely have (obviously) taken her off that client, and continued to work with her. I generally had systems in place which protected against such occurrences, and other clients where there would simply be no opportunity for such misconduct, but she had made a few other errors which pointed to the fact she was not an upholder of the highest ethical standards. In animal care, this is a key requirement; she had to go.I learned from the experience, and though I had a few other instances over the years where I needed to reprimand people, I have only had to fire one other person in the eight years I have run Premier Pet Care.So, it came as a bit of a shock the other day when my current assistant emailed me stating that he was giving two weeks notice, and that he had offered my clients the opportunity to work with him directly.You see – because I have been living upstate since May 1st, his two weeks notice actually meant that he was firing ME, and taking over my business.The plot is a bit more complex, of cours[...]

Happie Needs a Mobile Home!

Mon, 04 Oct 2010 20:31:00 +0000

For a couple years now I have been wanting to head west for the winter months, and each time I chickened out. In 2009 I was just about ready to do it, and then I got offered the chance to live at the cabin instead. It came unexpectedly, and I jumped at the chance. But I just wasn't prepared to leave my clients for three months and THEN tell them I was going away for another six.But things went well, and now here I am again. Even moving into the cabin on May 1st this year, I knew I would have real difficulty going back to civilization (If one can call NYC such a thing...).And so - I'm not. I have scrimped and saved, but also lost some income opportunities I had been counting on. IS tight. I mean, I have enough to live on and all, but here I am, starting to look at a vehicle and - gulp - my budget is pretty skimpy. The fear of buying a junker and getting stranded in Kansas, waiting to save enough for whatever has gone wrong.... I'd rather hedge my bets beforehand.And that's where you come in! Now, I'm not begging, nor trying to get over on society(well...maybe that). Feel free to click right away from this page and never look back! But I am NOT too proud to ask for help! And that is eaxactly what I am asking for:If you would like to help me by donating a dollar or two, or whatever amount, towards the purchase of a pickup truck/camper, I would be very grateful. If you need no further information - here is the donate button:If you DO desire more info, here it is! The button goes to my PayPal account, and is a safe, secure way to donate. As for what I am looking for - I would like to get a small pickup(wishing to find a Toyota 4wd, 5 speed with a 3/4 ton capacity) and a small slide-in camper. Nothing especially luxurious, though I do want to have a propane fridge and a sleeping place atop the truck cab. No leaks in the windows would be a good thing, too....Not that I expect to be bombarded with huge donations from the world all over, just in case that does happen.... I would cap the amount at $5,000. Anything above that amount will be donated, in equal shares, to the Mohonk Preserve, The Access Fund, and the Yosemite Climbers Association. I will also remove the Donate Buttons from this post in mid November, which is when I will hit the road.Now - maybe you don't want to give something for nothing. That's understandable. Maybe you might like to pick up a t-shirt or some other item from my ClimbAddict shop, or maybe you could use some pretty hair accessories, from my Talisman Studios shop, or other t-shirt shop Outrageous Tees. I've been working hard with these venues to make an income, and hope you might be interested in taking a look. I'll also be adding a new design at ClimbAddict in the next few days - "Sendit University," which will have a section set up as a "scholarship" page, where a portion of the retail price goes toward sponsoring my poor butt on the quest to live a bit off the beaten path. That should be ready by the weekend, so long as I am not rained in at the cabin and unable to get to an internet connection to work on the thing.So.....feel free to donate. Or not. Or even donate in the form of a caustic remark in response to this post! I enjoy another person's diatribe as much as anyone, and unless I find it just too assinine, I'll likely post it. If you think I m find your remark rather unsettling, you would be right in assuming I will elect to delete it rather than publish it. If that's the case, why not create your own blog and post away. Let me know, and I'll try to pop over and make some nasty remarks that YOU can decide whether to post or not!So - Here's the Donate Button again. Thanks for taking the time to read my re[...]

The Battle of Mobility – OR - Two Legs vs Four Wheels

Mon, 16 Aug 2010 17:09:00 +0000

My friend left her car with me for the month of July, while she sublet my place in Manhattan. She did it partly so her vehicle would get some exercise while she was away, but mostly as a gift to me, since I do not have one. I was a bit reluctant to accept the thing, partly because I couldn't help but feeling responsible for it's welfare, imagining some unforeseen accident not of my fault but damaging the car nonetheless. But mostly because I must have know in my heart that, though I said I'd use it only for the occasional run to town for groceries, the lure of easy transport would be harder to resist than I was admitting.It was.Lauren left the car on the last Tuesday night in June, and by Wednesday noon, I had decided it was okay to use the car to get to a trailhead on the western edge of Minnewaska Preserve, several miles away.Now THAT decision was partly due to the fact that I HAVE wanted to check out the farther reaches of the park, and I am really not a fit 12-mile a day hiker, but more like a 3 to 4 hours and I'm ready to call it a day type. But mostly it was because the guy who I have had a giant crush on since last October, and who has been visiting me on and off since, and who had spent much of June staying at my place, had left that morning to road trip in the western states. There is more, as one would expect, but this post is about the relationship between me and cars, and not me and men, though I suppose I should mention that Peter did have a van, which made forays into town for groceries and laptop recharging much more convenient. Perhaps that is where the slippery slope began to erode.As regular readers of the Happiegrrrl chronicles know, I got the opportunity to live on a nature preserve for three months in the fall of 2009, and this year I am there for the entire season - May 1st through some time in November. Though at first it sounds idyllic, for "most" people this would actually be an unattractive situation, since the cabin I reside in has no electricity or plumbing, and is situated under a canopy of trees which make the inside dark even on sunny days. It's chief draw, to the uninitiated, would be it's immediate proximity to world-class rock climbing, but upon further inspection, most would find it unacceptable for more than a very short time period. And that would be people who own a car and can simply get up and go whenever they please. I came up last year without a car, knowing I would be dependent on others, paid or out of friendship, for anything requiring a drive. I packed my gear in on two weekends, arriving via train at the Poughkeepsie station twenty-plus miles away. A friend was paid to transport me from the station to the cabin, and we made an agreement that i would call upon her once or twice a week for rides to and from town as needed for errands and supply replenishment. Included in the deal was the occasional trip to her house for a hot shower. It seemed workable to me, though a potential hassle getting coordinated, since my location is not within cel phone service range.The first trip went well, though my efforts at planning the various errands I wanted to do ended up including too much to be accomplished in the available time. The second request was problematic because she got a full-time job that would make her assisting me an inconvenience for her, and she offered to set me up with another friend for the future. Instead, I began hitching rides into town and taking people up on serendipitous offers of a ride. That meant I had to ration what could be achieved on planned outings, and also be ready to go with the flow for those who offered rides. What I ended up doing was using the rides, if they[...]

Climbs Well With Others - I SWEAR!

Tue, 10 Aug 2010 18:18:00 +0000

A lot of people who live very near the Shawangunk ridge, who say they used to be obsessed with climbing, tell me they moved here from New York City or elsewhere specifically to allow for more climbing days, but once they had been here a while, they came to the realization that they were actually getting out less! Funny, how what had been an every weekend dedication for those people had morphed into the occasional day out or even, for some, a complete hiatus in climbing.I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that once you can climb on weekdays, the chaotic weekend energy at the Trapps, or even the Near Trapps, becomes fairly unappealing. If one's dance card was previously filled by other weekenders, the transition to partnering with people during the week may not come as easily as one might have hoped, as well. Too, if one has spurned their old stand-bys in hopes of the quietude of weekday climbing, they are likely to find themselves with no willing ropemates when they DO make that booty call..... Within this type of scenario, I can see how time could fly by quickly, and one might wake up to realize they hadn't been climbing in days, weeks, or even - gulp – months. Luckily, this hasn't been completely my case, but I have to admit that I didn't climb a single day the week before last, and it wasn't because the temperatures were in the upper 90's, as they had been for much of July.I'm the type who isn't truly proactive when it comes to inter-relationships, and climbing partnerships are no different. I wait for people to call me, or post a request for partners online without answering any of the requests made by others for the same time! I have great days out with most everyone I have ever climbed with, but don't make the effort to set up another day of climbing. Unconsciously, I fear rejection, just as in other aspects of life, but this post isn't intended to be a psycho-self-analysis and I won't be delving into that realm.My 2010 season has been a bouquet of sometimes old, sometimes new partners, along with sometimes rosy, sometimes blue days for me. I started climbing in the spring of 2004, and though I have partnered with well over a hundred different people, the dedicated partnership has been fairly elusive for me all along.Some people thrive on that intimate companionship, and the relationship enables them to push harder at their grade limits, and enjoy a lower level of stress, since the partners know each others quirks, strengths, weaknesses and personalities. Personally, I can't imagine climbing each and every route with the same person, even if it were someone I was in a romantic relationship with. I like the diversity of different experiences even at the expense of continuity and increased stress from unfamiliarity that comes with climbing ala carte. Besides - since we're not getting psychoanalytical - people leave; relationships deteriorate, and even worse, they sometimes die(in non-climbing-related situations, hopefully!). I've seen it happen to others - the significant other, or even just another girlfriend or boyfriend moves on, and suddenly they find themselves touching the void, climbing partner-wise. Death, of course, is entirely different; I intended the previous mention in a jocular way. May those loved ones of anyone reading this piece rest in peace.Nevertheless, with a variety of partners, one has room for the ebb and flow of life's relationships tide. It's OKAY if the person you want to climb with has some commitment that means they can't get out on a stellar day. The fact that they are getting married, attending a funeral(there's that death sentence fragment again - oh dear!)[...]

Need a Gear Fix?

Wed, 21 Jul 2010 01:32:00 +0000

No - not THAT kind of fix, you gear junkies! I mean a fix to the zipper on your tent or down jacket type of fix!

Sewwllymon tells us on a thread that the place TO go in SoCal for such things is the Wilderness Workshop, owned and operated by Janise Clooney since 1982.

Now, don't be discouraged when you click that link and find that the website offers no email addy or contact form, and asks you to giver Janise a call at 323-256-0723 to discuss what she can do for your trusted and beloved(and irreplaceable!) gear. Just pick up the phone, and make that call - like we did BITD BEFORE the impersonal automation of the net.

Pasadena Weekly ran a story on Wilderness Workshop a while ago, so check out that article, "Nature's Fabric - Wilderness Workshop Has Outdoor Repair Needs All Sewn Up" and find out a little more about the company.

It's really hard to get outdoor clothing repaired(as I surely found last fall when trying (unsuccessfully) to have my down jacket's zipper replaced....Hey! I need to call Janice! If I send that jacket out now, it will be back in plenty of time for the cold winter days. Thanks Sewellymon!

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$3 Off all ClimbAddict T-Shirts!

Mon, 05 Jul 2010 18:41:00 +0000

The deal is:
- $3 OFF all ClimbAddict T-shirts on July 7-8th.
- Shop at
- Enter code TMINUS3 at checkout. There will be a little box titled "Have a Code?" when you go to the "Billing and Checkout" page after ordering - that's where you enter the TMINUS3
- Promotion starts on July 7, 2010, at 12:00 a.m. (PST) and ends on July 8, 2010, at 11:59 p.m. (PST)

Here are some of the designs to choose from!

Send It All With Sendital!


Chalk - The Other White Powder
Yer Gonna Die!!!

Climbing Cojones

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Mon, 21 Jun 2010 18:40:00 +0000

Living on a nature preserve is certainly different than residing within a municipality such as Chelsea in Manhattan, but it's not without it's own society. At first I wasn't really conscious of the connection that the preserve created between myself and the many others who come to this land, whether for only a portion of one day out of their entire life, or as a regular user here on a frequent or even near daily basis.Sure, I noticed others about me, and interacted with them on a variety of levels, but I didn't really understand that each and every one of us is part of this environment on a level not unlike those of a small town.More than a hundred years ago, part of the Mohonk Preserve land holdings constituted at least one organized community, the Trapps Hamlet. Before that, it is known that natives to this area traveled across the Shawangunk Mountain ridges while on hunting expeditions and camped upon it's escarpments, at the very least. Of course, time continued and progress was was unstoppable. The Shawangunk berry pickers of the late 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, though a transient group, were the last to use this land as a way to subsist and survive, enjoying community amongst themselves as an integral part of that experience.Nowadays, the Shawangunk ridge offers an extraordinary opportunity for nature lovers and those who enjoy outdoors adventurism. Climbers come from all over the world to challenge themselves on the steep cliff faces. Hikers, cyclists, photographers and naturalists mix with families here for a day of picnicking on the scenic grounds. And as the mission of the preserve unfolds, animals and plants native to this area once again have a habitat in which to thrive.Look around! Chipmunks, squirrels, snakes, wild birds and even bears(if you are lucky enough to see one) on the preserve are glowing with vitality. The waterways are refreshingly clear, teeming with growth and healthy life. Plants, for the most part, survive their entire life without being trammeled into oblivion before having the chance to play their part in nature's cycle. The Mohonk Preserve is abundant with joie de vivre, and humans, understanding their place within this strata, intuitively take a submissive role to nature. For a fraction of our time on this planet we accept that we are not the dominate force.Plants, animals, land, water, and the ever-changing weather cycles are the construct of this microcosm of our universe. Each element depends upon the others for survival, and the part humans play, though subordinate, is that of the steward. Without those people who populate Mohonksville to protect it, the land would be no different than any other scenic area available to the public at large; trashed forever by unfettered development, and polluted to a level where life is unsustainable due to a faulty system of checks and balances.So – just who are the people of Mohonksville and what roles do they have within it's culture?Most obvious would likely be those whom we see on a regular basis; the rangers, trail head assistants and volunteers with a public presence, such as those who lead hikes or assist guests at the Visitor Center. We might view them as representatives of the township of Mohonksville. Less known to the general public would be the administrators who must, by duty, spend much of their day sequestered within the offices of the preserve, and other places that often go unnoticed by most people. Without the efforts of those who serve on the Board of Directors, handle office responsibilities and provide maintenance[...]

2010 - Pre-emptive "It Was a Very Good Year" Post

Sat, 27 Mar 2010 17:03:00 +0000

I like to plan ahead. That said, come New Years 2011, I expect to be reminiscing about how incredible 2010 has been for me.The first three months, unfortunately, have not been. In some respect, "stagnation" would be an apt word for some areas of my life. Up until a few days ago, I had been seriously struggling with feelings of "How did I get here? How do I work this?"(ala Talking Heads "Once in a Lifetime" lyrics). Winter was about work for me - I started to expand my t-shirt empire... More aptly, my t-shirt anthill. But it's MY anthill! It ain't much, but Ive spent the last few months building a second shop for ClimbAddict, and also an umbrella shop called OutrageousTees.comI am still looking at this thing, this entrepreneurial baby of mine, and thinking "Sheesh, yer an ugly little runt...." But - I keep pecking away, adding new designs and hoping something will come of it. Something sort of NEEDS to come of it, for this is to be my replacement income for my animal care service, a healthy chunk of which I am letting go of as we spea...errr, write. And read.Outrageous Tees seems to be a pretty redneck t-shirt shop. That's going to have to be okay, since the largest market of t-shirt wearing people do sort of tend to fall into that category... Just because I think up these designs, just because I commit them to pixels, doesn't mean I would actually wear them myself! And some of them aren't so awful...and maybe some better ones will come. But like I said - this winter was a weird one, and what came out of it, came out.Partly, I was waiting on someone. Someone I thought had romantic interest in me. Guess not..... And that is sort of sad, because that someone had some characteristics that I greatly admired. I don't meet many people who have characteristics I would consider greatly admirable. There was also a slight blip on the health radar. Well, actually there still IS that blip. And I don't know what it means yet. Very likely it is nothing, as in benign, if you catch my drift. But I won't know for another few weeks. If it's not nothing - well, them my pre-emptive Fabulous 2010 post will have been written pre-emptively. But I digress...This post is about how AWESOME 2010 is going to be for me, now that winter has subsided and new life is springing up all over the place. The BIG really very big! I am going to be living on the Mohonk Preserve again. In a cabin, acting as a caretaker. My job description is: Open the gate in the morning. Close the gate at night. Pick up any litter that litterers leave. Keep an eye on things.In return, I get to live in a cabin in the middle of the woods. A twenty minute walk from the cliffs. I will be there from about May 1st through November. I TOLD you it was awesome! No electricity, nor plumbing. A quarter mile walk to drinking water and a mile to cel phone service. Eight miles to town - no car.....I did this last fall, for three month, so I know what I am getting into. Several people - guys, even - have told me they are surprised; that they don't think they could handle this. I don't understand why....So - during this wonderful period, I have some creative projects to work on. I'll be doing pen & ink studies of the various trees and other plantlife, and also illustrating the various stanzas of a children's poem wrote several years ago, called "Patrick the Fir Tree." I'll just have to find out which of the spindly little firs in my massive yard is Pat, and see if he'll pose for me.I also intend to do more writing than I did last year, though there[...] ~ That's a Good Link List!

Tue, 09 Feb 2010 14:01:00 +0000

Recently, I met a Twitter user, Tristan Higbee. Met him online, I mean. He had just started a new climbing blog, Daily Climbing Tips. The idea is, that each day he will post a bit of helpful information, or some other climbing-related tidbit. Each day!

Well, it's been two weeks already and he's still on track. The entries are short, simple, easy to read articles, and it looks like he'll also include a smattering of videos and gear reviews. Worth taking a look, I think.

But that's not the end of it. I guess Mr. Tristan got an idea, when he posted about his new blog here, on As one would expect, he got a few nasty burns from the regulars, and also a jump-on-the-bandwagon load of other bloggers seizing the moment to post links to their own blogs.

That must have been the impetus for him to create an adjunct site,, which is a catalog of various climbing-related blogs. Already he's got more than 30 listed, and there is an easy-to-spot "Add a Blog" link which anyone can use to submit a blog to be included. Blogs are vetted before being added, but this one got through, so the bar isn't all that high!

The cool thing about is that it reads like a front page of a newspaper. Blogs excerps are listed as the author posts, along with the name of the blog for identification. This way, the newest content is always right at the top ~ Very easy to keep up!

Nice work! So, take a minute and check out both these new climbing resources, add your blog, or suggest a good one that should be included.

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The Great ClimbAddict Pro-Motion and Booty Giveaway!

Tue, 19 Jan 2010 18:14:00 +0000

Note: To skip the heavy verbiage that is my hallmark, and go directly to the promotion information - CLICK HERE!I know I have been remiss in writing about my personal climbing, travels and the minutiae of my day. Bear with me if you can; I've been getting out there, although now it is winter and I am definitely going stir crazy here in NYC. I got back from living in the cabin upstate at the end of November. A week later I was in Joshua Tree for two weeks. Now I am back in the city since mid-December. About one month and.... I want out! Hopefully I will be back in the cabin within a couple months - got to find a way to support myself this time around, because I am thinking on making some pretty big changes to go along with it. Possibly letting go of this apartment finally - scareeee!But that's not why I write today. i write because the things I have been doing to fill my day have been work related. Trying to get my hair accessory line, Talisman Studios, up and out there. And some work with the t-shirt stuff.Recently I had a giant influx of creative energy on that and, bolstered by pretty decent holiday sales, decided that "maybe I CAN do better with ClimbAddict! Maybe I can even sell a decent amount of goods!" Hahaha - it's so easy to delude myself. Easier to distract me. And that is exactly what has happened...You see, somewhere within that spin cycle of creativity, it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to make a Valentine's Day promotion. Now - originally this promotion was SUPPOSED to be for my hair accessories. But try as I might, I just could NOT come up with an idea. Of course, now that I implemented "The Great ClimbAddict Pro-Motion and Booty Giveaway!" a good promotion for the hair goods immediately came to mind. GAAAHH! It's true. But now that must wait, and I will implement it for an Arrival of Spring/Easter time frame. Look for me to co-op with some beauty and bath product suppliers around that time.But, back to ClimbAddict and this Valentine's Day Promo.... Somewhere I must have read someone's pun using the word "pro" for condom. Not to hard to do, considering that I have an pretty sick addiction to the climbing discussion boards. I probably see that innuendo at least once a day. But for some reason I thought "Hey! I know! I will order a wholesale lot of condoms, come up with a punny tagline and include that as a graphic with the ClimbAddict logo on them and give them away for a Valentine's Day event!Well, hell. Why not!? It seemed like a good idea at the time... And I figured they will be good giveaways at climbing/film fests, bouldering comps(parents of the mini pad people will just luuuuv this idea, no?) and other such events.And so....I went to work. I came up with that tagline; it's "If you're not free soloing ~ use protection!" Considering that Valentine's Day is the international day of luv, I figure it's a good tie-in as well. I did the art, which is included below for your reference. Then I researched and got the best deal on a pretty massive quantity of prophylactics. The idea is, that people send an SASE, and I return the envelope with one or two condoms included. I'm also adding sets of stickers, but I just could NOT come up with a way to make some conection to "stickies" and "rubbers." If you can do it - post it to the comments and I will be a happiegrrl.And, not only that, I am going to put all those SASE's in a bin and randomly choose three winners, who will be able to choose up to $50 worth of stuf[...]

ClimbAddict Expands

Fri, 25 Dec 2009 18:10:00 +0000

Design personalized gifts at Zazzle.

Along with the ClimbAddict regular shop on CafePress, we're beginning to work with another Print-On-Demand house, Zazzle.

With Zazzle, we're able to offer our designs on an even greater array of products. Particularly of interest for climbers will be the Microfiber shirts available for men and women in tank, t-shirt and long sleeved styles. Zazzle also has Hoodies and Sweatshirts in a greater color selection than our CafePress shops, and the ability to customize you choice. You can vary the design graphic/location or add personalized text.

Click the thumbnails in the slideshow above, or go to our shop at

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Help support Happiegrrrl in her quest to travel, climb and live an adventurous life(instead of being stuck at home working.....). Visit her online shop, ClimbAddict, for original designs on t-shirts, jackets, caps, stickers and giftware.(image)

The End is Near!

Wed, 18 Nov 2009 18:40:00 +0000

Less than one week left for me here on the preserve, and then it's back to....civilization. At least what most people would consider a more appropriate version of society, when comparing life in a cabin with no plumbing nor electricity with that of a New York City apartment.I don't want to go. I'm happy here.But I must, and I will, with hopes that next year I will again be here, living in this special, special place.My biggest surprise was the level of disgust many people openly expressed in my very willingness to even want to live this way. When I added that I wouldn't own an automobile, they seemed to get it. I had simply gone off the deep end. In their minds, that is.Going sans car was the key to this kingdom, I declare, should anyone be interested. The simple matter is, that one just can not experience the natural world while whizzing from place to place at sixty miles per hour. The Shongum Path has been my commute, and a pleasant one. Somewhere along the traverse I lost two entire clothing sizes, and gained an intimate connection with much of the plant-life along the way. Teddy and I were often alone on those journeys, not another person on the trail, and when another human happened along I was often initially shocked by the ingress. I had been that deeply immersed in the experience of...experiencing the path I was on.Not to say I was always observing the many variances in moss, lichen, trees, bushes, flowers, leaves, caterpillars, birds, sounds and such; sometimes the thing one becomes most aware of, when walking quietly, is that which is the world within themselves.There was plenty of time for me to delve; I walked that path back and forth several times each week. Mostly taking stock on the things I have to be grateful for, this time in the cabin being just one. My choices over the past ten years or so led me to this place; my distaste for corporate sustenance, which eventually expelled me, forcing me to find a way to be self-supporting. The interesting labyrinth I walked trying to find my way toward that goal. Climbing - the change in life that changed my life! Now I see what life has to offer, and though I am to return to city life in a few short days, I am a bit concerned. Will I be able to stand it? The noise and urban bravado were taxing my levels of comfort in the months(years, more aptly) before I too this hiatus in the woods. Altercations between myself and others were occurring more and more frequently; I just couldn't keep my mouth shut when confronted with selfish stupidity. Teddy has been unmolested by hostile, unhappy, people dipping their shopping bags of heavy groceries for three months. Nobody believes me when I say these types hit try to him with the bags on purpose. But I know. I watch, and I see their faces as they prepare for attack. It's intentional. No doubt about it.No doubt about it – there will be problems with my return....~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~If you enjoy my blog and would like to subscribe through RSS, you can click the FeedBurner Badge here. Thanks for your support!  Subscribe in a reader~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Help support Happiegrrrl in her quest to travel, climb and live an adventurous life(instead of being stuck at home working.....). Visit her online shop, ClimbAddict, for original designs on t-shirts, jackets, caps, stickers and giftware.[...]

The Last Round-Up

Fri, 18 Sep 2009 07:40:00 +0000

As many of my friends know(owing that I have a big mouth), I've been lucky enough to get a gig as caretaker at a spot with the Mohonk Preserve for a few months. Tonight I head into the city again; not for good, but as part of my transport to the Yosemite Facelift. My flight leaves out of JFK on Friday morning at 7, and I need to be on the first bus from Grand Central in order to make the flight within my “no stress” early arrival cushion. That's a 5:30am departure.... And so, I must leave here this evening at some point, get the last train to Grand Central just before 11pm, and find ways to fill my time between 1 and 5am, when I can go to the bus pick up point. Will the police tool me, or will my white-girl, non-transient costume save my soles from their constant demand to “Keep it moving?” Yesterday was supposed to be – SUPPOSED to be – a rainy day. So instead of climbing, I stayed near the cabin, anticipating marvelous thunderstorms and the musical percussion of rain as it tickles at, or pounds away against, the leaves of the forest trees. It did not rain. I tried to make do, sure that the precip was coming any time now. Bike ride, walks with Teddy, conversation with the dude manning the gate, a game of Scrabble(Me against Me 2), reading. Things like that. Which left a lot of free time. Time which I spent walking the road and picking up trash along the way. 'Keep America Beautiful' and 'Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute' were the environmental educational phrases of my childhood era, and they were fairly well implanted on my forming mind. My parents did their part in the process; dad would have us 'police the area' when we went on country picnics, whether they were in roadside county parks or under the shade tree of a farmer's hay field. Mom always had a trash bag available for picnic pickups the moment we touched down. If a bit of wind tried to make off with paper plates from our picnic table, she excitedly encouraged us to save them before they were goners - drowned in the waters of a fast-running stream, or playing Dodge Ball with cars on the the heavily trafficked interstate we'd pulled off. I'm going to Yosemite specifically to participate in a major clean up campaign. Sure, to climb, socialize and wonder at the wonder, too. But mostly for the Facelift clean up event. I'm happy being a picker-upper. So it was a natural thing that I spent yesterday ...policing the area... before heading off on vacation. Scouring the roadside, bumbling through brambles, and sloshing over watery ditches, on a mission. In search of wayward trash. Your trash.... Not “Yours” as in “You.” Buy you know what I mean. Perhaps I should have written “Their trash.” Those despicable “They's.” It's always Them.... Or the They's and Their's. Those people who have no respect for the natural beauty of nature! No concern for the bitty fish who swallow their garbage, innocently mistaking it for food, in turn picking up the pace on their slow march to death. Couldn't care less for the cyclist who gets a flat from running over the shards of their broken beer bottle, slung from the window of the car. Let me tell you – DUI is alive and kicking, despite strong legal repercussions. Nearly all the cans and bottles are of the Budweiser brand, interestingly. Whiskey fifths are a distant second, so far as containers for intoxicating beverages are disposed of r[...]