Sunday, February 27, 2011

Two bloggers meet

We always hear stories about how small the world is, but until you experience something like I did today, you don't really understand just what that means.

I've been writing a blog for many years. Started out as a paper and pen diary, but quickly progressed to the internet as soon as this was available and I found it. I'm a writer by profession, so it's only natural for me to keep track of my life this way.

I was surfing around one day and saw a photo of Warren, PA. That's not too far from where I live, so I followed the link to a page and there was Linda Gross' blog called Linda's Photo Journal. We started exchanging comments on our blog posts and promise to get together for coffee some day. Never thought that some day would be in the middle of the northwestern PA winter, but it did!

Ridgway hosts a huge, international carving gathering every February. It is the largest non-competitive gathering of these extreme artists in the entire world and it gave the town the name of "Chainsaw Capital of the World." It draws hundreds of carvers and upwards of 40,000 visitors stopping by the see what chainsaw art really is. Walking through town, we saw plates from New York, Ohio and several other States. If you've never seent this extreme artform done in person, you really need to check it out. How they can look at a log and "see" the animal or whatever in it is way beyond me.

I had posted about it last week for Camera Critters and not long after, Linda sent me a note saying she hoped to get here and would I be around. Of course, I'd be here, just depends on whether or not I could get out of bed. Arielle got up since I had to take some photos and interview a few of the carvers, creators and visitors for ny article. When it was time to leave, I just took an extra pain pill to let me keep moving a few hours. Trevor took me over to the carving grounds and stuck beside me to make sure I didn't get bumped or fall and hurt myself. It's so embarassing that I need my 16-year old to walk beside me and hold my hand at times to keep me from falling. My balance is really off these days. (Keep your fingers crossed the new neurologist in Pittsburgh can help)He isn't one of those teenage boys who won't be seen with their mother. He's had to help me walk or get up for several years, so he doesn't think anything of it. I know the kids snicker at him and call him "Mommy's boy" and worse, but he just pretends those mutants don't exist and he does what he knows is right.

We had just got to the carving lot and I get a call from Linda who she says she and her husband Bob were about 12 miles outside of town and asked where can they park. The town is REALLY full because of the gathering. About 10 minutes or so later, she calls again. They're there! While I try not to get nervous meeting new friends for the first time, I can't help it. I lose words and have trouble following the conversations at times. I look like death warmed over many days. Thankfully, it was a decent morning pain-wise and I was able to smile and enjoy the day. Trevor and I walk down to where they're waiting and there is Linda's smiling face walking towards us. That is what told me we're going to be great friends. If you've never seen her blog, you owe it to yourself to stop by and see her gorgeous photography. Her photos are a reflection of what a wonderful person she truly is, both inside and out.

We walked around the carving grounds, stopping to take many photos. Bob beat me to posting a photo of Linda and me, but I'm glad he did. The photo turned out really nice. Linda and I share the same passion for photography, so we had plenty to talk about. She had her new camera with and is just learning how to use all the features. I'm sure her photos will turn out beautiful!

After seeing everything we wanted to, we went to the best Italian place in town - Patalano's Place II. I always take new visitors there. We talked and talked and laughed a lot, too. Our time together was far too short, but we'll meet again and this time Randy or the kids will drive me to Warren and she can show me around.

Thank you, Linda and Bob for stopping by and for making my afternoon a very good one. Lets do it again soon. :)

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Camera Critters #151

Time for my favorite weekly meme! Yes, it's Camera Critters time!!!!

All the photos were taken at this year's Ridgway Chainsaw Carving Rendezvous. It's their 12th year and everyone I interviewed has said this was the best year ever. It was cold and snowy at times, but the variety of animals carved is unreal. There were many carvings I would have loved to bring home, but they were way out of my price range. At least, I have the photos to remind me of the beauty that can be created with a log and a chainsaw, talent and a lot of imagination!

If you want to see more of the world's best animal photos, stop over at Camera Critter's central

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday's images

I'm behind, as usual, but there are my Wordless Wednesday images. Will post more after the Swiss Steak fundraising dinner tonight.

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Camera Critters #150

The day is almost over and I just remembered it's time to put up my favorite meme - Camera Critters!!!

This week, I'll be sharing photos from the 12th annual Ridgway Chainsaw Carving Rendezvous. It’s that time of year again when the world’s elite in the extreme art form that is chainsaw carving descend on the small Northwestern Penna. town of Ridgway. What began as a small backyard gathering in the winter of 2000 of six friends has turned into the largest non-competitive event in the world and is the reason Ridgway has been dubbed, “The Chainsaw Capital of the World.” This will mark its 12th year as the week-long event kicked off Saturday and runs through next Saturday, Feb. 26.

The event was the brain child of twin brothers Randy and Rick Boni. After Randy moved away, Rick and his wife Liz have turned the backyard gathering into a world-class event that attracts hundreds of participants and thousands of visitors. Carving is the universal language that everyone speaks, whether their English is polished, broken or non-existent.

If you want to see more animals from around the world, stop over at Camera Critters' central at

Forgive the lack of clickable links, I had to get a pain shot and I'm having trouble thinking. Hopefully, I'll be more normal tomorrow.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentines' Day

Since Randy works tonight, we decided to celebrate yesterday. We went to a nice steak house for dinner. Well, it looked nice on the outside and the food looked nice when it arrived. Sadly, looks can be very deceiving. My crab legs were cold, my shrimp scampi was cold and my baked potato was luke warm. The only good thing was the freshly-made bread. Randy ordered prime rib, but what he got tasted more like pot roast. Not a good start to the night.

Romantic comedies just aren't our style, so for Valentines' Day, off we went to see The Rite. Yeah, the exorcist movie starring Anthony Hopkins. The movie started off very slow. Hopkins didn't appear til the movie was half over. That's when it got good. As everyone who has seen him act knows, he plays a good psycho. Watching Hannibal Leckter conduct an exercism is interesting, but the fun begins when the exercist is possessed and has to rely on a wanna-be priest who isn't sure there is a God. The story is based on real-life, so they say. The wanna be is sent to Rome to learn to be an exercist when he wants to leave before being ordained. The class is being taught at the Vatican, but for some reason the teacher is speaking in English and calls Michael "the American" when he shows up late the first day of class. The teacher speaks perfect American English. I can do the willful suspension of disbelief, but it's the little things that bother me. The actor should have at least had an Italian accent.

The movie was pretty good, once you get by the little things. Sadly, I got slammed near the end of the movie with a killer migraine and could barely walk out it hurt so badly. Hubby helps me out, we order pizza to take home to the kids and off we go.

I have injectible pain meds since the doc can't always be available to me. Randy and Trevor both were taught to give them to me, so that's how I spent the last of the holiday weekend - curled up in the dark with Mittens, my arm on fire from the shot and my head exploding.

Maybe I'll do better for St. Patrick's Day?

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