Highpointing Maryland

On the morning of my birthday, after getting into a tiff over whether or not we needed a map (yes, for the record), Good Man and I “highpointed” Maryland. To reach Maryland’s highest point, you start in West Virginia near a tiny city called Silver Lake, at this cairn.

Start Here

The hike apparently runs along national forest property and some coal company’s property. Blazes along the way were orange…and red…and blue.

The hike is only a mile long, but you gain 700 feet in that mile, so for the two of us, it was a steep hike. Also, the point is barely inside of the Maryland state line.

About Halfway Up

Crossing the State Line

Almost There


After We Added Our Rocks to the Cairn…

We Signed the Logbook and Got Our Certificates

Good Man Found This On His Pants…

Which Made His Face Go Like This…

The View to the East

We’re Here!

All Chained Up


Found on the Side of a Tree

Leading the Way



After the hike, we went a short distance up the road to Our Lady of the Pines, the “Smallest Church in 48 States.” Ahhh, I’ll let someone else work out the 48 states part. I’m sure there are actually smaller churches since this Catholic church seats 12.

Right next to the church (and built by the same family) is the “smallest mailing office” with daily outgoing service, window service every Friday the 13th, and parcel service Feb 29th. (No joke—the sign said so.)

Stained Glass

Mailing Office

Dinosaur Land!

Good Man and I went out of town for my birthday this weekend. We went to West Virginia via I-66, and stopped for a brief break at Dinosaur Land.

When I was younger, I ended up going on a lot of road trips. Road trips with family, debate trips, whatever. Visiting places like Nowhere, Iowa or Wall, South Dakota or Orange, Florida (with a giant orange store) were staples of the trips. Eventually you’ve gotta get out of the car, and you may as well have fun while you stretch your legs. Tourist junk, cheap t-shirts, and pure cheese. It’s part of the Great American Experience in my mind.

Good Man, however, has never really experienced the pure joy and cheese of Roadside America.

I paid our $5 each ticket fee and we started the “self-guided” tour. As soon as we saw the trees, Good Man said, “How in the world did you find this place?”

On the web!”

Eventually I’ll put all the photos in a trip album, but these are the cheesiest highlights. And really, that’s what we all want to see: the cheese.

Really, Honey?

Inside a 60′ Shark

“There Are So Many Dinos…”

This is How It’s Done

Fistless Fist Bump

Dinosaur Land Teaches Life Lesson #1: Death Happens

Good Man’s New Buddy

Praying Mantis Me


He Got Me!

Oh, No, Not King Kong!

His Mistake

“And what was your mistake?” I asked a kid who gave the completely wrong answer while going over math homework in class.

“My mother helped me!” he bellowed, “And you’re right, we should do our homework ourselves!”

I grinned while the class roared, “So your mistake was your mother?”



This is the same kid who told me that every day he prays his bus will get a flat tire so he doesn’t have to come to school. I replied by saying that every day I hope he’s sick so I don’t have to see him. I said it while grinning ear-to-ear, and he completely got my sense of humor. He slapped his thigh and said, “I know, me too!”

Now he walks into class every morning, pouts, and says, “No flat tire.”

“Yep, and you’re not sick,” I end up replying.


“It’s magical!” a student said, after we found multiple patterns in a chart during math class.

“No,” I said, “it’s math.”

“It’s mathical!”


In class we’re doing a lot with globes. My students can label the seven continents and five (yes, five) oceans, but going from a two-dimensional map to a three-dimensional world is a big leap. They have a hard time mentally wrapping the edges of the map around.

(Also, to them, the Atlantic Ocean is always in the middle, so next week I’ll be having them label a map where the Pacific Ocean is in the middle, like so many of the maps I saw in Korea. I might even spring an “upside down” map on them.)

So we’ve cut out maps with twelve gores and put them together, and we’ve done origami to create a globe.

Today I gave the students outline maps of the continents and Styrofoam balls. “You’re going to create your own globe,” I said. “We’re going for effort and attention to detail, not perfection.”

Thirty minutes later, one of my students showed me his globe. “…and my South America sort of looks like a wolf with no eyes, no mouth, and no nose.”

Thank You, Good Man, For Putting Up With Me

Poor Good Man. It’s been One of Those Days…

“Where are my keys?”

Good Man smiled, “Did you check by your computer?”

“Why would they be there?”

“You are Amanda. You put everything everywhere.”

Two minutes after I found my keys…

“Can you call my phone?”

Good Man whipped his head around, “What?”

“I put everything everywhere. I can’t find my phone.”

“Which phone? My phone or your phone?”

“Your phone.”

Good Man dialed, “Have you found your phone yet?”

“No, and now the battery is dead.”

“Oh, my wife…”

Three minutes after that…

I reached over to a piece of paper on Good Man’s side of the office. “Can I throw this away?”

“I never criticize your piece of the floor.” He sang, “Case closed!”

I spotted my black backpack on the floor and rummaged through it. “I found my phone!” I said triumphantly, holding it up.


“In our hiking bag.”

Good Man shook his head sadly, “You bring zombie phone that turns itself on and off hiking. You want us to die.” (He’s right. My phone is a zombie. It turns itself off and on and decides when the buttons work and don’t work. Very annoying, but we just haven’t had time to upgrade our phones.)

“‘Live together, die together,’ isn’t that what you always say?”

Day Trips With Mother: Bukchon Hanok Village

Shortly after my arrival in Korea, Mother and I went to Bukchon Hanok Village together so I could go to an embroidery museum (specifically Han Sangsu Embroidery Museum).

I don’t know why I’d never made it out to Bukchon before. It’s easy to get to, right off of Anguk Station on the orange line.

The hanok village is an area of Seoul where hanoks were protected. I adore hanoks and really want to live in one, so I enjoyed wandering around.

At the museum, I was able to buy a kit to do some embroidery. The instructor only spoke Korean, but I was able to keep up with what she was saying. She thought Mother was there to interpret but quickly realized she wasn’t.

Practicing Embroidery

Mother and the instructor rattled on and on about where they were from (the instructor was from Jejudo if I remember correctly), their kids, why Good Man and I don’t have kids…

I practiced listening, only interjecting occasionally. Finally, the instructor said, “Mother? Why do you keep calling her mother?”

“Oh, I’m her mother-in-law.”

“Ahhhhh, wow! You must be so happy to have a daughter-in-law who studies Korean.”

“No, no,” I said, “I don’t speak it well.” If there’s one thing I can do in Korean, it’s put myself down like a good Korean.

A Kimono

French Knots!

Dragon Motif

The museum had a no photography sign (which I only saw as we were leaving), but I asked for permission, and like always, it was granted. The museum was small but full of really beautiful embroidery samples.

The flower made up entirely of French knots was gorgeous! My French knots are terrible, so I won’t be making that any time soon…

Embroidery in Progress

There was also a room in the back area where a woman was working in an embroidery project, and several other projects could be seen in progress. Mother wanted me to pose and pretend I was do it, but I said, “It’s not my work!” The instructor merely chuckled, but I couldn’t take credit for this perfection!

Old and New

Are those skylights in this photo? Interesting…


Lotus Flowers

Pinecone in a Hole in the Wall

President Lee Myung-Bak’s Childhood Home

After I’d gotten the gist of the embroidery (but not finished my hankie), we explored the area some more. At one point, a Japanese-speaking tour guide and an English-speaking tour guide walked past us. (I saw some more later when Sister and I went shopping. Who are these wandering tour guides? Did they exist when I lived in Seoul?)

Mother rapidly said something, and the English-speaking tour guide grabbed my map and said, “Ohhhh, maybe you need an English one.” I didn’t correct her, and she said, “So she says you want to visit Lee Myung-Bak’s old home?”

I looked at Mother, then back at the guide. “I guess I do…”

The whole time we were walking to the home, Mother thought I was going in the wrong direction. “Mother, I speak English. She spoke English, I know where I am going.”

When we got there, it was actually two homes right next to each other that he’d lived in. Mother whistled low and said, “Our president grew up rich.”

Teddy’s Hung Out to Dry

(Clear/Bright Sky Drive)

We were walking along 맑은하늘길 which sort of runs along the side of a mountain. We needed to get back down and I headed down these stairs. They are far steeper than they look (darn the cloudy day with no shadows) and Mother balked. “Amanda! It is so steep!”

(I didn’t see the traffic cone on the roof when I took the photo.)


We made it down to a patjuk (red bean paste porridge) restaurant and on the way, I saw this mask hanging on a wall, and these tiles built into a building. The bright colors of the mask, and the lines of the tiles really caught my eye.