Some family, some rhombus and some pig love

Once upon a time there was this blogger who had a blog and she wrote posts like 4 or 5 times a week.  That girl is a slacker and you can tell her I said so.

Im a slacker

In the meantime, I have a bunch of stuff to tell you about so let’s get started, shall we?

On Thursday, the second of August, which I believe is the day after the last day that I posted, I had my long awaited appointment with the pulmonologist.  I wore a very cute dress which is important but I’ll tell you why in a minute.

 

dress

The best mirror in my house just happens to be in the bathroom.  Don’t judge.

Anywho, the first thing that I had to do after arriving for my appointment was a chest x-ray.  It was uneventful.  Next stop, the pulmonary function test and I won’t lie, I was super nervous because the last time they told me that I had mild COPD.

The breathing machine was not tons of fun but my shoes are cute.

Let’s fast forward past all the boring stuff.  First, I do not have COPD.  In fact, I rocked that breathing test like a champ.  The doc says my lungs are in awesome shape.  Although, I do have a touch of exercise induced asthma.

Second, my chest x-ray was fine and the doctor didn’t even feel the need to repeat a CT scan.  I have to say though, I may still insist on one in the next 6 months just to be on the safe side and to ensure the pulmonary nodules they found last year haven’t grown.

So, what about the breathing problems I was having?  It turns out that if you lift hundreds of pounds of retaining bricks over several days you can actually strain or even tear your rhombus muscle.  Yeah, I know.  Mystery solved.  And oh yeah, I’m an idiot.

After the doctor, I had a retail therapy session.  And remember that cute dress I showed you earlier?  It is not so cute in a wind storm.  It blew up over my head much to the delight of the 70ish year old man sitting in the car facing me.  It was mortifying, to me, I don’t think he minded.

On Wednesday night I headed down to Nokomis to hang out with Inspector Gadget and the family.  I was afraid the beach would be really bad because of red tide and don’t get me wrong, it was definitely there, but not as bad as it has been.

Nokomis Beach

After spending the weekend in Nokomis, MacGyver and I headed back to Clearwater with Danny and Alma.  They spent a few days with us because tomorrow Danny will be headed back to California and Alma will head off to Sweden.  We took them to Pier 60 on Monday night.

Pier 60 has entertainers that perform from 6:30 to 10:30 for free.  They’re called buskers.  Did you know that?  I didn’t.  Anyway it’s sort of like Mallory Square in the Keys except Monday night.  The buskers performing that night were not very good.  And since they work for tips I felt really bad for them.

After Danny and Alma left my in laws came up for my mother in laws chemo treatment and I have the best news y’all.  After only 4 chemo treatments, she will not need anymore.  The cancer has shrunk so much that they feel they can perform surgery to remove the rest.  As you can imagine, we are all so thankful and so relieved to hear that.  The surgery will be sometime in the coming weeks.  But keep saying prayers because obviously, they are working.

On Thursday Inspector Gadget and the family came up to see us because they had to leave to go home a week early.  How’s this for random?  They came down for vacation, read a neighborhood newsletter about someone looking for a home and sold their house in a day.  So they had to rush home to pack and they’ll be moving into my in laws house since they’re now living in Florida.

We spent a few days with them before they left and I hated to see them go.  I can never have enough time with these two…

Robin and Vinny

Hmmmm, what else have I forgotten?  Oh yeah, Hank has a girlfriend now.  She’s a pig.

Hank and Tilly

Literally.

And that brings us to today.  We’re almost back to normal.  Well, our normal anyway, whatever that is.

What have you been up to?

Have you done anything exciting?

Hiking Hocking Hills

One of the places the kid often raves about it Hocking Hills.  He’s been there quite a few times since moving to Columbus and he always has a great time.  With more than 10,000 acres of state parks there are a ton of things to see.

I was super excited when he took the day off of work on Friday and we headed there.

Hocking Hills

I didn’t bring trail shoes with me so I just wore a pair of regular running shoes.  It wasn’t too cold that day so a sweatshirt was all I needed.  Luckily I had brought my Columbia backpack on the plane with me and also, luckily, the kid offered to carry it after about 15 minutes.  Bonus!

Hocking Hills State Park has five separate sections: Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls, Ash Cave, Cantwell Cliffs, and Rock House.  The only part we didn’t visit is Whispering Caves which is located on the Hemlock Bridge Trail and we didn’t have the time to do that one.

Old Mans Cave Old Man’s Cave is named for a hermit, Richard Rowe, who used to live there.  His family moved to the Ohio River Valley around 1796 from the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee.  Richard and his two hound dogs traveled through Ohio along the Scioto River in search of game. On one side trip up Salt Creek, he found the Hocking Region and he lived out his life in the area.  He is buried beneath the ledge of the main recess cave.

Old Man's Cave

We hiked through all of the trails in just over five hours.  In all I believe we walked a little over 12 miles.

hiking hocking hills

Some of the trails were a bit steep and the kid said that people die here almost every year.  We researched the park before heading out and were very careful while hiking and I cannot stress to you how important it is to pay attention.  We were extremely careful and still managed to trip a few times.

Hocking Hills Hocking HIlls

The trail markers were easy to follow and we never got lost which was a big fear of mine because typically I can’t find my way out of a hole.

top of the mountains

hocking hills

hiking

It got fairly warm later in the day and I switched into a lighter jacket.  The kid went with short sleeves but I was not that brave.  It’s still Ohio and this Florida girl was cold.

lake at hocking hills

The kid and I hiked around this entire lake, and I am here to tell you it was a lot longer than it said on the marker!  We didn’t mind but I don’t think anyone had hiked around it in a while.  There were some parts that were particularly muddy but we rallied.  The had stocked the lake with over a thousand rainbow trout the week before so there were some guys out fishing.  I was a little jealous when I saw two of them with a stringer of 9 fish!


hocking hills

hocking hills suspension bridge hocking hills gorge

It was so beautiful and I couldn’t help but take a thousand pictures.  Unfortunately, we had to take a break and delete some apps on my phone because I kept running out of space!

waterfall in hocking hills

waterfall

The water in Hocking Hills State Park is the most beautiful color you’ve ever seen due to the minerals in it.  You can’t swim at the waterfalls but they sure are spectacular to look at.

Hocking HIlls Waterfall

cliffs

The kid said that he has never gotten his friends to hike the entire thing so he was pretty stoked that I wanted to.  I wish we could have seen the last part but it was already 5:30 in the afternoon and we had to drive back to Columbus.  I told the kid the next time I visit we have to go back so I can cross it off my list.

I know, I know, I’m killing you with all the pictures but I couldn’t help myself.  It was just such an incredible place.

Here’s one last one because I just can’t help myself.

hocking hils water

There is a lot of walking up and down so if you’re not used to that it might be a bit hard to see all of the parks on your first visit.  The kid and I love to hike and we’re in pretty decent shape but we had some very sore calves the next day.

If you’re ever in Southeastern Ohio I highly recommend this place and in case you are a proud owner of a four legged friend, the park is pet friendly.  The next time I come, I’m bringing Hank.

When is the last time you went hiking and where did you go?

Caverns and Graves

I’m back.  My plane touched down around 5 in the evening on Sunday.  Of course, I have a shit ton of pictures and I really need to share them with you so at least two days this week you’ll have to indulge me.

Ohio Caverns

The Ohio Caverns was originally an aquifer which held an underground river of melted glacier water. The river eventually receded to lower levels of the ground and is now unseen.  In 1897 a 17 year old farmhand named Robert Noffsinger got curious when he noticed a sinkhole on the property that would fill with rain and then be completely dry the next day, so he began to dig.  After reaching limestone and finding a crack he was able to break through and lower himself into the caverns becoming the first living being inside of them.

 

Ohio Caverns

Ohio Caverns

The Ohio Caverns contain many crystal formations. Approximately 90% of its stalactite and stalagmite formations are still active.

Cavern stalagmites and stalagtites

You will see examples of every type of formation in the Ohio Caverns: iron oxide formations; manganese dioxide formations; calcite formations: stalactites, stalagmites, columns, flowstone, soda straws, and helictites; and Dual Formations.  Dual Formations are extremely rare and the Ohio Caverns is the only known cave in North America, (and one of very few in the world), known to have Dual Formations. In the Ohio Caverns there are calcite stalactites growing on the ends of iron oxide formations.

 

Cavern Crystals

Dual Formations

Did you know there is a difference between a cavern and a cave?  A cave is any cavity in the ground that is large enough that some portion of it will not receive direct sunlight and there are many types of caves.  A cavern is a specific type of cave that is naturally formed in soluble rock with the ability to grow speleothems. So, although a cavern can accurately be called a cave, not all caves can be called caverns.

Ohio Caverns

After we left the Ohio Caverns we were driving down a road taking the scenic route back when we spotted a row of old stones on the side of the road.  We turned around and went back and discovered Bigelow Cemetery State Nature Preserve.

Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery

The cemetery isn’t plowed or mowed as it contains many prairie grasses and wildflowers.  Unfortunately we did not get to see it in its full splendor as the wildflowers bloom in mid to late summer but we didn’t mind.  We felt so fortunate that we found it and were able to see it.

Bigelow Cemetery

Some of the graves dated back to the early 1800’s.

Old gravestone

There was one row of an entire family who all died around the same time, most likely from some sort of disease.

grave stone

I found it so interesting how they wrote the date of death and then instead of a birth year which is commonly seen today, we saw things like ‘aged 75 yrs, 2 mos, 5 days.  It was so interesting.

This next set of stones was off in the corner.  I think some of the pieces may have been broken parts of stones that they haven’t found or damaged gravestones that haven’t been repaired.  Whatever the case I got an overwhelming sense of sadness looking at it.

Bigelow Cemetery

I’m so glad that I was able to see this piece of history which is located at 600 Rosedale Road in Madison County, Ohio.  I was so enthralled by the history of the place that I researched the families who were buried there.  It was quite interesting.  I hope I can visit there again someday.

Have you ever visited an old cemetery?

Have you ever visited any of the caverns in the United States?  I’ve seen Ruby Falls, The Lost Sea, Luray Caverns and the Ohio Caverns.  I have a thing for caverns obviously.