I was walking down to the pool with Brad yesterday, and I said, "I think I'm going to retire Off the Rails." His reaction surprised me.
"But WHY?" He seemed genuinely concerned.
"It's just that I'm so busy writing for other people..."
"But Off the Rails is your place to write about your personal adventures..."
Brad was right. I can't abandon this blog. It's the 21st century version of a journal. It's a constant reminder that I live my life to its fullest.
So what have I been up to?
The day after graduation, I went horseback riding with Jessie-formerly-Kreuger-now-Lohmann, my mom, and my sister. We arrived at the stables and were greeted by a wonderful group of people, including a song-bird cowboy and a former-Montana-ranch-hand-TEENAGER. I blogged about the experience for Kline May Realty. Yes, I get paid to blog. You can read more about the adventure here.
Brad and I went for a 12-mile paddling trip on the Shenandoah River. It was Brad's first time paddling, and it took him a while to get used to it. His kayak trajectory reminded me of a drunk person stumbling around. He couldn't keep the boat straight...whatsoever...for the first three miles. I thought I FINALLY found something he wasn't good at, but, alas, he perfected his form by the end of the trip. Damn.
The day we paddled, it was cool May Sunday, and we welcomed the clouds and their relief from the heat. The highlight of the trip? Nope, not the riverside picnic, but a new Brad-ism. Every time we encountered a rapid (however very small it may have been) Brad exclaimed, "Let's tackle these rapids!!!" We did manage to be only a few of the people who didn't capsize in a strong Class II rapid. Strong for Class II, not that Class II is too strong. I blogged about the experience for Kline May Realty. Yes, I got paid to write this blog too. You can read more about the adventure here.
Since graduation, Brad and I have gone on three hiking adventures:
1) Big Run Loop in the south district. It's a 5-mile loop through the wilderness. The best views are at the beginning and the end of the hike, and the last time we hiked this trail, Brad pissed off Momma Bear. Luckily, no Momma Bear on this hike. Only Poo Bear.
Cute, ain't he?
2) Stony Man and Little Stony Man in the central district was the second hike we've done since I graduated. It's a very touristy hike to beautiful views. Less than 4 miles total walking for two hikes. I blogged about it for a new website that I'm helping get up and running, Shenandoah Valley Events. You can read more about the adventure here. P.S. You can tell how windy it was by my out-of-control hair. Talk about adrenaline rush sitting on that rock...
Photo credit Brad Roberts for the picture. Wasn't going to say anything, but he's sitting next to me right now and yelled, "I TOOK THAT PICTURE."
But I took the other two.
and most recently, 3) We hiked South River Falls in the central district. We hiked this trail yesterday in the 90-degree-ish heat. I was panting heavier than Rex at the end, and that's all I'm going to say about that. Oh, and I drove home with barefeet in a sports bra and shorts...and Brad was shirtless. Total redneck move, but we were THAT sweaty. I think we're officially Rockingham County residents now...
Rex also went swimming for the first time. He's not the biggest swimming fan despite his webbed feet. He gave Brad the cold shoulder for a good twenty minutes after he got out of the water.
A Wedding Weekend
John and Jessie Lohmann, my brother-from-another-mother and now sister-in-law-by-another-mister-in-law, tied the knot last weekend. TALK ABOUT A FRIGGIN PARTY!!!
A river-side venue, rustic decorations, a hay-bale sectional with cloth AND pillows, two bonfires, one stacked with wood over 10 feet tall, dancing til 1AM, and the best company ever made this the wedding of the century. Yes, I realize I'm not married yet. Still...it was the wedding of the century.
The night before the wedding, the groom, the best man, the best man's best girl, Brad, and I dined on a late-night feast of mac and cheese and weiners. It made me feel like a kid again except, I enjoyed this meal with coffee laced with chocolate vodka. Umm...yum?!
The day of the wedding, a group of us set-up for the festivities (bride and her bridesmaids excluded), making sure the table cloths were perfectly knotted, the baby's breath tied beautifully with lavender ribbon to the "alter" chairs, and that the birch tree/purple mason jar lanterns/baby's breath centerpieces looked just right. Check out the sneak peek on the DBE Photography Facebook page for an idea of the venue and the awesome people in attendance.
The ceremony was beautiful and so personal. Jessie's cousin officiated, and humor was interspersed throughout the non-traditional vows. I laughed out loud and even teared up...a little...I guess. Fine. I teared up.
The dancing after the ceremony and awesome meal was straight awesome. I just watched a video of John and I dancing to Macklemore, video was recorded by Dan Emmerman, my like-a-father-but-not, who is owner of DBE Photography, at around 1 am. I need dance lessons...desperately. I really, really need dance lessons.
While the dancing crowd danced, Brad and I hung with the bonfire crowd, cuddled up by one of the two bonfires that burned that night, and when the party ended, we camped out on the river. We camped out on the river the next night too...waking up to foggy river sunrises in the morning and the company of some of the people we cherish most in this world.
Here is a pic of us from the wedding. Photo credit goes to the lovely and friggin' awesome Mary Dunkleburger.
On our way home from the wedding, Brad and I checked out Cabela's. It was our first time there. One of my co-workers at Kline May Realty said, "It's the Disney world of Outdoors Stores." He's so right. It made me sad to see the stuffed animals, though, but that added to the Cabela's experience, I suppose.
Redbox movies, ice cream sandwiches, deck-chilling, barbecuing. Date nights, crafting, and more is what I've done since graduation. And I'm lovin' it.
What's crazy is I have fun during the work-week too. It's like life is my playground, and I'm realizing that the hard work really did pay off. I do miss all of my friends who moved away though.