Random (but not really)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Rebuilding the State I Love

I’ve been–like everyone else in the state I suppose–thinking about the flooding that devastated so many lives on Friday.

As you know, Michael and I have been trying to visit all the state parks and forests, and in doing so we’ve driven through so many of these areas in the past two years.

Last week we were in Richwood. We drove past houses that seemed hadn’t seen better days for a couple decades. Shop front after closed shop front. Roads that were in need to repair–like all the roads in the state.

These small towns were already struggling to survive, what will this horrible destruction do to them now?

While the Cherry River has receded and the streams of water coming off the hillsides have resided Friday, many in Richwood were concerned that it was only the beginning of their problems.

Both of the towns remaining stores where people could shop for food had been destroyed. The Rite Aid and Dollar General stores, next to the Richwood Fire Hall, had been submerged in more than three feet of water.

(from the Charleston Gazette Mail)

That’s correct. The only local place for people to get groceries was a dollar general and a Rite Aid. It’s not uncommon in this state for people to have to drive 30 to 60 minutes to get to an actual grocery store. (See: Food Deserts)

Go here and here and here and here.

Look closely at the pictures of the cars and homes destroyed. So many of the people whose homes and vehicles were destroyed were already living on the edge, how many will be pushed right over the edge after this? How much do you think insurance gives you for a 10 or 15 year old vehicle–the only way you had to get a job? Enough for a new car? Certainly not. If your house was already in need to repair, how much do you think the insurance is going to give you, for a home in an area with already low property values?

With so many businesses destroyed, what will these people do for employment?

So many roads that were already in bad shape were destroyed. And I do mean destroyed.


In so many of these towns, if a road is destroyed, you can’t just go a couple blocks around to get to your location. You have to go miles and miles down roads–some gravel–to get to where you are going. And if you’ve never driven down a lot of gravel roads, five miles can take you half an hour or longer–probably longer with likely flood damage.

We’ve got all this damage in already struggling areas, in a state where we were barely able to pass a budget because there simply is no money.

So, just how is all this going to be fixed? How can you rebuild businesses when roads are destroyed? How can you rebuild homes when jobs are few and far between? How can you even move when your insurance settlement is unlikely to be enough to get you a good start somewhere else?

I love my state, but I worry how much more we can take.

Doesn’t mean we won’t keep on trying, but all of this breaks my heart as I worry about all those who lost their homes and jobs and vehicles–and family members.

We’ll go on, because we’re a proud and stubborn people and we love our state more than you can imagine, but it’d be nice if someone would cut us a break.

If you would like to donate to flood relief, please check these links.

Written by Michelle at 8:32 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: West Virginia  

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sunday Flower Pr0n: Mountain Laurel Edition

I was sort of obsessed with the Mountain Laurel on our hike.




Blackberry flowers





Written by Michelle at 12:22 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,Photos  

Hiking WV: Cranberry Wilderness

Every time we go to Cranberry Glades, I say, “we really need to come back here and hike more” so Saturday we finally did.

It was a gorgeous hike, and we ARE going to go back and hike more. We actually had a hike where we didn’t see anyone else the whole hike (although there were other people in the area, mostly visiting the Nature Center and driving along the Highland Scenic Highway).

Location: Cranberry Wilderness
Trail: Forks of Cranberry Trail
Distance: 6.1 miles
Elevation: 4190-4684 feet (0.2% grade)

Looking out over the Cranberry Wilderness.


A section of the Forks of the Cranberry Trail.


Elephant Rocks


One of today's views

If you’re looking for some solitude that you can’t always find at other state and national parks/forests, I highly recommend visiting the Cranberry Wilderness.


I’m going to start adding another bit here, which is where we stopped to eat (if we enjoyed our meal). This is both for anyone visiting the area looking for a place to eat, AND for us, so we stop having the discussion, “What was that place we stopped to eat around here? I really liked it.”

Mumsey’s Iron Skillet
761 Richwood Rd
Richwood, WV 26261
8:00 AM – 8:00 PM

I had the Southern Fried Chicken and it was very delicious.

Written by Michelle at 10:54 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Hiking WV: New River Gorge: Glade Creek

To escape the cicadas, we headed south to the New River Gorge area, which is free of this brood. It was hot, but it was good to be outdoors, and to not be bombarded by cicadas.

We chose the southern terminus for our hike which we shan’t do again, as we had trouble getting out, since the road was steep and narrow, with loose gravel in the steepest parts. (We’ll head to the north terminus next time.)

The hike itself was very easy, as it is an abandoned railroad bed, and beautiful, since it is along Glade Creek.

Location: New River Gorge
Trails: Glade Creek, Kates Falls Trails
Distance: 5.3 miles (partial)
Elevation: 1853 – 2145 feet (1% grade)






Here is the I64 bridge that goes over Glade Creek near the start of the trail.


Written by Michelle at 9:15 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Sunday Flower Pr0n: New River Gorge

Here’s a little of what we saw hiking the Glade Creek Trail at the New River Gorge.




Written by Michelle at 8:55 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,Photos  

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Dr. Phil Memorial scholarship

On April 12th, my friend Dr Philip Edward Kaldon? passed away.

Those who knew him, wanted to do something to remember him, and so it was decided to fund a scholarship for Clarion SFF Writers Workshop in his name.

If you would like to help sponsor a future SFF writer, in the name of a man whose writing days were too short, please consider a donation to our Dr. Phil Memorial scholarship.

Written by Michelle at 6:56 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading,UCF  

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Books of May

Between the seemingly never-ending rain, and a bout of anxiety/depression, I read a LOT of books in May. 18 books in fact, my second highest month so far this year.

The best book of the month was Witches of Lychford a novella by Paul Cornell (10/10). Main characters were female, one of the women was elderly, the others were middle aged, and there was great dialogue. I also really enjoyed London Gambit by Tracy Grant (8/10), which is the latest book in the Malcolm & Suzanne Rannoch series.

Here are the books.

Supernatural Fantasy Novella

Witches of Lychford (2015) Paul Cornell (10/10)

Historical Mystery

Malcolm & Suzanne Rannoch
London Gambit (2016) Tracy Grant (8/10)
Lady Darby
A Pressing Engagement (2016) Anna Lee Huber (6/10)
A Talent for Trickery (2015) Alissa Johnson (7/10)

Supernatural Fantasy

Jane Yellowrock
Shadow Rites (2016) Faith Hunter (8/10)
Mercy Thompson
Moon Called (2006) Patricia Briggs (8.5/10)
Blood Bound (2007) Patricia Briggs (8/10)
Iron Kissed (2008) Patricia Briggs (8/10)
Bone Crossed (2009) Patricia Briggs
Silver Borne (2010) Patricia Briggs
River Marked (2011) Patricia Briggs
Frost Burned (2013) Patricia Briggs
Night Broken (2014) Patricia Briggs
Fire Touched (2016) Patricia Briggs
Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson (2014) Patricia Briggs

Alpha & Omega
Hunting Ground (2009) Patricia Briggs
Fair Game (2012) Patricia Briggs
Dead Heat (2015) Patricia Briggs

All of the books I read this book were ebooks.

Because of the bout of anxiety, there were a lot of re-reads this month. 13 re-reads in fact, and about half of those are books I first bought as trade paperbacks and then purchased again as ebooks.

Genre-wise, it was mostly fantasy, since I re-read the entire Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega series.

Fantasy : 15
Mystery : 3
Romance : 2

17 of the books were written by female authors, making it 88% female authors this year. (Making this, so far, the opposite of the year I read every single published Spenser mystery when I had the flu.)

Written by Michelle at 8:33 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  

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