Monday Motivation – inspiring words by L. Sepe and bumble bee photography

Today’s uplifting quote comes from one of the most beautiful ladies to ever grace the planet, Lauren Sepe. This girl has a captivating spirit that seeks out all the beauty in the world around her, which means you’d do well to follow her word.

To compliment her wise words, enjoy a lovely pair of shots I took this weekend at Railroad Square Art Park. Spring is officially upon us, and the bugs are lovin’ it.

“The pursuit of happiness is a matter of choice! If we regularly deposit encouraging thoughts in our minds, bite our lips before we begin to complain and shoot down that harmless negative thought, we will find that there is much to rejoice about. The best things in life are unexpected because there were no expectations. Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference… Make your optimism come true!” – Lauren Sepe
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Freshly baked cinnamon buns, rolled in BACON – of course I took it there.

I love bacon. I love bacon-covered turkeys for Thanksgiving; I love bacon-cooking alarm clocks – I love bacon. This morning, Niko and I took it to a new level with one of the greatest breakfast inventions ever to grace my kitchen: bacon-wrapped cinnamon rolls.

It’s been a while since I last updated with some tasty climber lady treats, so I figured I’d make my comeback with a bang. I don’t eat a lot of meat, but I am obsessed with bacon.

Super simple to make. All you have to do is pan fry a few strips of bacon (we only made three in this batch in case it was a failure), and leave them slightly underdone. Then you unroll your tube of cinnamon buns, and unravel the buns that will be blessed with a slice of bacon.

Line up the bacon on top of your unraveled bun, and then roll that bad boy back up. Proceed with your cinnamon rolls as usual, and don’t forget the icing!

Genius, I know. Now it’s off to the rock gym! We’ll see how well I climb today with a belly full of bacon and cinnamon goodness – but it was totally worth it. Happy Sunday, readers!

Lesson of the Day: Don’t Procrastinate Burying a Dead Bird

When I came home from work on Thursday, I found a startling addition to the little garden area by my front door: a downed adult bird, sitting motionless in the grass. I ran inside to put down my bags, then called out to my housemate that there was a hurt bird we needed to help.

“Uh, he’s been there for about four days,” she informed me. Hmm, maybe not so much hurt as he is dead? I still had to investigate my poor fallen buddy.

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Video of the Day: Sweet Wakeboarding in a Cranberry Bog

Why didn’t someone think of this sooner? Wakeboarding in a giant lake of plump, floating berries – the visuals are phenomenal. It really brings the beauty of a wakeboarder’s ability to manipulate water to a new level of aesthetic vision. Red Bull, I’m impressed – how artsy of you!


Update on Sender, Rescued Climbing Pup Extraordinaire

Since last November when we first found a sweet beagle pup at the bottom of a mountain in Tennessee, Sender has been the unofficial mascot of the Tally Rock Gym. She hung out at the rock gym, spent a few months in Tampa fighting off deadly heartworms, and even went missing for a few days on her own little adventure.

This weekend, Niko and I had the honor to babysit Sender while Jeff was in Gainesville for a climbing competition. Honestly, Jeff is lucky we returned her at the end of the weekend – Sender is the most well-behaved, sweet heart of a dog.

Deathly allergic to anything cute and fuzzy, I made Niko promise that Sender wouldn’t sleep in the bed with us. What happened two minutes after we snuggled up? Sender snuck her way directly in between us. I couldn’t even be upset, she was too cute and slept like an angel the entire night.

Niko was manning the rock gym all weekend, so Sender and I got to play out in the beautiful Tallahassee spring weather. We went for drives around town, and Sender nearly jumped out of my window after making friends at a stop light.

We spent the majority of our weekend at the rock gym, but we weren’t climbing. Sender and I attracted customers by sunning ourselves out on the front dock of the gym, and I think Sender may have gotten a better tan than I did!

We toured Railroad Square a few times, and Sender made a bunch of friends who were blown away by her amazing story.

I’m still in awe as to how any human could possibly abandon this amazing creature. She’s six years old, and has a heart of gold. Did someone raise her, then just decide to ditch her once she caught deadly heart worms? I simply can’t fathom how cold your heart would have to be to look Sender in the eyes and then dump her at a gas station.

But you know what? If that foolish owner hadn’t left Sender at the Kangaroo gas station at the bottom of the mountain that houses Little Rock City, we never would have be blessed with her company.


Mission of the Day – Find a Great Hidden Spot Outdoors

You heard me, readers – I’m sending you on a mission today. With beautiful weather that’s warming up into the 80s, it would be a crime to stay inside today.

Your task is to venture outside and find some place beautiful. It doesn’t have to be an epic trek into the unknown to find a hidden gem; all you have to do is open your eyes and appreciate what nature has surrounded your life with.

The photo below comes from a great unexpected find in Wyoming. Our Jeep was puttering on its last drops of gas, and Jeff decided to take the next exit in hopes that a gas station would be there. Well, there was no gas, but we found this beautiful boulder formation:

You’ll have to excuse the shabby iPhone images, spontaneous adventures often result in me not having a proper camera.

Another example of a great spot was found during the last remnants of the summer of 2010. I was enjoying a lazy morning drive that left me lost somewhere on the Woodville Highway. I veered off a little road, and followed it until it dead-ended. I found myself at a dock, and this is what I encountered:

Get outside, and explore!
Spring is here, and you’d be a fool not to bask in this sunshine.

You can help the Climbing Club at FSU today, just by munchin’ on a homewrecker! DO IT.

Who doesn’t love a fat, rolled burrito? Today from 11:00 AM until 11:00 PM, the Moes located on Tennessee St. has generously offered to help the Climbing Club raise funds for upcoming climbing trips and competitions.

So grab a friend, or five, and head to Moes for a delicious lunch or dinner – and be sure to tell the cashier that you’re there for the Climbing Club! Enjoy your favorite Moes delicacy, and a portion of the proceeds will go directly to the Climbing Club. It’s really a win-win situation, folks.

Check out the event page by clicking here.

It’s official – I AM WEARING SHORTS TODAY. Get outside, folks!

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to spring. I may be jumping the gun by a few weeks, but it’s hitting 70 today – so the shorts are on. This is the first time since October that my twiggy legs have felt the freedom of bare sunshine.

If you’re inside right now, you need to peel yourself away from the interwebs, put on some shorts, and get yourself outside! My housemate and I are headin’ out after class to soak up some sunshine – we’re on a mission to regain our pre-winter skin hues.

Also, let’s try to ignore how ridiculous I look in that photo. I just needed to capture the moment, people. Come join me out at the Rez for some warm sandy playtime. Climbing later is always in the cards.

Tragic caving death of two Gainesville climbers offers a solemn lesson for all explorers

In the aftermath of a climbing accident, the entire climbing community becomes affected by the tragedy, whether personally acquainted with those involved or not.

This past weekend, a group of ten climbers set out in the Rocktown area of La Fayette, GA for a weekend of adventure. The group was spelunking in Ellison Cave, which is one of the deepest cave systems in the entire nation. Ill-prepared, the group entered the cave wearing only t-shirts and shorts.

As Grant Lockenbach, 22, and Michael Pirie, 18, rappelled down a ~120 foot drop, Lockenbach dropped a bag and attempted to retrieve it. He became tangled in his rope, trapped beneath a frigid waterfall. Pirie immediately sought to aid his friend, but ultimately wound up in the same position as his comrade.

Their bodies were recovered from the site, and it is believed that they perished from hypothermia.

I have been reading heaps of articles about the incident, and every piece makes remarks about the excellent character of these two victims. They were great members of their community, and had the best of intentions.

Their accident serves as a stark reminder to all climbers and explorers: as thrilling an adventure is, you must be prepared. It is all too easy to get in over your head while climbing, but you must be comfortable with your limits.

The incident reminded me of the time the boys attempted to summit the Grand Teton over summer. As they stood before me, ‘ready’ to traverse snow fields in their duct-taped shoes and flimsy sweaters, I was overcome with anxiety over their lack of preparation. Thankfully, the boys were all fine – but their lack of preparation prevented any of the crew from completing the summit.

Please, please exercise caution when engaging in high-risk activities. Yes, you are an adventurer, and yes, adventures are most often spontaneous and lack planning, but you’ve got to use your noggin sometimes, folks. I can’t bear to imagine losing a member of our closely-knit climbing family.

Coffee cake muffins, climbing and Masa are on the agenda – must be Valentine’s Day!

I had forgotten how much I love Valentine’s Day until last night, when my good friend Cealey surprised me with beautiful sunflowers at my condo.

Cealey’s unexpected gift was a sudden reminder that I was a horrible valentine and hadn’t planned anything special for Niko. He made us fancy reservations at Masa for an amazing meal of Asian-fusion cuisine – and I had nothing more than a little mailbox and a tiny strawberry grow kit.

Around midnight, I started furiously cutting heart shapes out of red and white construction paper. I crafted some pipe cleaners into hearts, and scrounged up some sparkly confetti that I had in my bottomless craft drawer. In the morning, I woke up extra early and whipped up a batch of crumbly coffee cake muffins. I attached paper hearts to toothpicks, and adorned each treat with a sweet message.

Everything got arranged together in a simple basket I had at the house, and a jellyfish doodle got upgraded with two glued on hearts – bam, instant card. Add a few Werther’s butterscotch drops, some curled ribbon and festive issue paper, and you’ve got yourself one sweet Valentine’s surprise!

It was a mission to deliver the package, but it eventually found its way to Niko. He texted me claiming that it was the “best vday present EVER,” so I must have done fairly well.

Now it’s off to find an outfit that’s going to be fancy enough for pad thai and Chilean sea bass at Masa, yet comfortable enough for two hours of climbing directly after dinner – it is Monday folks, so climbing club is a must.

Happy Valentines, or un-Valentines, Day!