Sunday, August 31, 2008

One Last Chance

Today, you have one last chance...well maybe tomorrow too - we're not all that vote for Jeff's video "Back On My Feet" for inclusion in the Reel Rock Tour. If "Back on my Feet" wins, it will be included in a film festival that will travel around the world to 100 different cities. How exciting! We'll be going to the premier in Boulder, CO on September 10th to find out and I'll let you know when I know. Do your part and vote. Voting ends September 1st. We're not sure yet if that means midnight tonight, or tomorrow. So, if you can continue to vote on September 1st, I'll post tomorrow to let you know.

Eagles Go Green

I was very impressed with the Eagles emphasis on going green when we attended the game on Thursday night. Check out a few of the ads they had up about recycling and our own wastefulness as a society. Jeff even noted that he felt bad for teams for whom "green" wasn't going to be an easy segway like the Eagles.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pennypack Farm

I signed up this evening for a CSA small share at Pennypack Farm in Horsham. Pennypack is a CSA. Everything (good and beyond organic) that I read about in "The Omnivore's Dilemma" was present there when I visited and I'm so excited to begin my winter CSA share at Pennypack! Check it out and see if a CSA share is for you.

Ship Magazine Article

Jeff wrote an article for Ship Magazine in the Crow's Nest. Don't forget to vote for his video!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Vote for Jeff at the Reel Rock Website. His video is "Back On My Feet."

The Valley of Vail

For the last leg of our trip to Colorado, we lived it up at the Vail Cascade Resort and Spa. We spent the first evening at the weekly "Hot Summer Nights" concert series featuring the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. On our second day in Vail, we rode a gondola to the top of the mountain. While at the top, we jumped on the trampoline, played disc golf, and ate lunch. Upon our return to the valley, we shopped in Vail Village and walked the Alpine Garden. Definitely a relaxing finish to a busy trip!

Be Bolder in Boulder

We always try to make the most of our time in a vacation location. While in Boulder, we first enjoyed a nice shower. Then we walked to a well known climbing gym called "The Spot." On the way, we passed through Pearl Street. After climbing at The Spot, we returned to Pearl Street and enjoyed some shopping and the Asian Festival going on there. There was a great performance that we were just in time for featuring percussion reminiscent of Drumline. We alsoOn our second day in Boulder, we went hiking near the Flatirons and visited the campus of Colorado University. We went back to Pearl Street for one last go and then returned to the hostel for the night. In the morning, we would leave for Vail. visited the site of the upcoming Reel Rock Tour Premier at the Boulder Theater. With that in mind, don't forget to vote!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hostelling It

While in Boulder, CO we stayed at the Boulder International Hostel. With three hostel stays under my belt, I think I should become a reviewer. Charleston's "Not So Hostel" had the most character and charm. San Francisco's "St. Paul Hotel" was the most like a hotel. The Boulder International Hostel had the distinction of being in very good walking distance to downtown attractions and it actually featured a spot on Colorado University's Fraternity and Sorority Row. Jeff and I could only imagine that it, too, was once among the great houses of either a fraternity or sorority. It made sense with its combination of individual, double, and dormitory rooms and communal bathrooms. Overall, I love hostels.

The Great Lakes of RMNP

On our last day in Rocky Mountain National Park, we made the elevated hike up from Bear Lake to Nymph Lake to Dream Lake to (finally) Emerald Lake. We attempted this hike in the am in the cold and rain. It was much nicer in the PM, though we only made it down right before some more rain. Check out some before (AM) and after (PM) pictures as well as a shot of Emerald Lake.

Going Wild In Rocky Mountain National Park

While in the Rockies, we had the opportunity to see a number of animals. In fact, a chipmunk (literally) jumped in my lap! Fortunately though we were in bear country, we did not have any ursa encounters and we didn't get to see any big horn sheep, though we did see the lakes from which they get a lot of their vitamins and nutrients. On our last day, we had a close encounter with both elk and mule deer.

Rocky Weather

We arrived in RMNP to sunny skies and perfect weather...for about a half hour. Which, looking on the bright side, was enough time to successfully get our tent up. There was a brief thunderstorm - just the kind that we'd been warned about. Then, that night, it started to rain...and it continued to rain for the rest of the camping portion of our trip. Combined there was a period totalling about 6 hours of non-rain. In fact, when we tried to drive up to the arctic tundra environment of the park on Trail Ridge Road, it was snowing. We stood in the midst of a August. This particular weather system prevented us from getting to the arctic tundra. Next time! All in all, the weather didn't keep us from doing much of what we had planned. Jeff was able to conquer the Suzuki boulder. We hiked to Emerald Lake and we learned...a lot...inside the visitor's centers around the park.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bike to the Shore

My sister has signed up for the MS Bike Race: City to the Shore. To donate to support her for this cause, click here to access her secure donation page. Thank you!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Today was Jeff and my 2nd wedding anniversary. Though I spent about half of it in airports, my romantical husband did not disappoint. We went to the site of Jeff's proposal and renewed our vows. So...on that note, vote for him in the Reel Rock Tour.

Flying the Friendly Skies

And now, after an absolutely jam packed and wonderful trip, I will complain about the level (or lack thereof) of customer service in the airline industry. Once again, we a plane....on the tarmac...for two hours. This time, we were headed home and we had a connecting flight. Do I want to fly if there is a mechanical issue with the plane? Of course not. But I would like to be treated in a humane and respectful way. Customer service rep on the intercom, "OK, folks, I'm going to be honest with you. All of you that have connecting flights in Las Vegas are not going to make those connecting flights. You have two choices. You can continue to sit on this plane and fly to Las Vegas. You'll have to stay the night there, gamble a little, but then you're on your own to get the rest of the way. Or, you can get off the plane now, go to our ticketing desk and get this sorted out." Hmmm, let me think about that. Should I fly to a destination equally far from home and be out the cost of a flight, perhaps having to replace that flight with multiples (which we did), or get off. So, we got off. Then, we were spoken to in a very rude tone by a "customer service" agent. Really? When I asked her for her name and wrote it down, she was much more accommodating. Should that really be necessary? So, after a loooong wait in line - a line we'd already waited in four hours (at least) prior to this point - we arranged for three flights instead of two. From San Francisco to Chicago, to Pittsburgh, to Philadelphia. At least none of the rest of those flights were delayed. On a positive note, Orbitz calls with updates on flight status. This seemed nice in the beginning. I didn't have to check the website before leaving, I was well apprised of my flight status. Then, when each flight was delayed, I got a voicemail every half hour or so. That adds up to a lot of voicemails saying the same thing. But, I do appreciate the service and would definitely recommend Orbitz for future travel. We stayed in a Hostel called St. Paul Hotel. It was really quite nice and in a neat historic building. This was a good value for San Francisco and conveniently located to the bus and train station as well as walking distance up Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower. By the way...US Air and United, and I will be flying the friendly skies with them again on Thursday. Yay!

Cable Car

One last thing...a ride in a cable car. Not the most efficient form of public transportation, but pretty cool none the less.

Full House

Where's cousin Jesse? And Michelle and Danny Tanner? These are the "painted ladies" as our tour guide referred to them, also known as postcard row and...the houses from Full House's intro.

Twin Peaks

We ventured to the top of the twin peaks to get another great aerial view of the city.

The Beach

Though it was freezing, there were still surfers in the water and ominous warnings on the signs at the beach.

Coit Tower

When we got back to our hotel/hostel, we decided to venture up one of San Francisco's many famed hills. Not nearly as "easy" as it might seem. We went to the top of Telegraph Hill and then to the top of Coit Tower where we witnessed quite a view of San Francisco, Lillie Hitchcock Coit's favorite city. She donated the funds to the city to beautify the area. While she lived in SF, she was known as the # 5 Fire Company's mascot who helped rally them to the top of Telegraph Hill during a fire. The tower is intended to look like a fire hose nozzle.

Sausalito Coast

We visited the Sausalito coast which boasts a LOT of boats, some great shops and restaurants. Sally Stanford, who has a very interesting past (there were some red lights involved), became mayor of Sausalito many years ago and built it up as a tourist spot and it has been successful as such ever since. What a visionary.

Muir Woods

Muir Woods is an area of preserved Redwood Forest just outside of San Francisco. We spent about an hour walking some of the trails and admiring this beauty of nature.

US Air Guitar Championships

The original reason for traveling to San Francisco was to go to the US Air Guitar Championships. What an experience! I am so happy that I was able to enjoy this event and appreciate this form of art. The participants entered onto the stage in Everlast boxing robes after introductions. Then each performed his/her song and was judged by 3 judges. After all 24 participants performed their individual events, the competition was narrowed down to the top 5 (or top 6 in this case due to a tie). Unfortunately, Rob was not among this upper echelon...but next year. There was a break during which two mascots competed: Air Bear versus Lou Seal. Very fun. The final performances were fabulous and "Free Bird" was Not to be missed. I will definitely be at the Philadelphia Regionals next year.

Catamaran Sailing

On our first flight to San Francisco, we the plane...on the tarmac...for 2 hours. Why, you ask? Because someone forgot to empty the toilet. So we waited for them to get down to business. We arrived only 1 hour late - magical winds. Still, it was a little tight getting to our first tour a Catamaran Sail of the bay. We took the 9x bus line which took us about a block from Pier 39. We found Pier 39 easily enough, but finding Dock J was a little trickier. After finding it, all the directions were very clear. Hindsight and all that. The Catamaran Sail was awesome! Chilly, but really a great intro to what this city has to offer.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Alcatraz (Can I Escape onto it??)

Chickity, chick, chick, check!
Well, sort order to actually visit Alcatraz, you need to book a reservation on the ferry at least two weeks ahead of time. Let this be a lesson to you all as I did NOT know this. However, we booked three AMAZING alternative excursions that I am looking forward to. In my quest to now stay up (we just got back from the JJ concert and I have to pu my mama at 5 in the am) I will tell you about them and catch up on other online escapades. We will be going on a day sail of the San Francisco Bay which will feature as a view Alcatraz on Friday. On Friday night we'll be going to the US Air Guitar Championships. I do not think it's just a coincidence that this momentous event is taking place on the same evening as the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics. I'm pretty sure (jk) that the USOC is considering Air Guitar as a sport in the future Olympics. On Saturday, we'll be going on a bus trip to Muir Woods and up the Sausalito coast. I cannot wait to see some redwoods. I hear they're sort of impressive. Saturday night, we'll probably do dinner in Chinatown and on Sunday we're going on a bus tour and ferry tour of the city and the bay...again to feature a look-sie at Alcatraz.

On a side note, after some investigation it appears that I will not have access to the internet and thus not to voting at my fine establishment The Saint Paul Hotel (hostel, know). So, I am encouraging you all the more to continue to vote in my absence. I will be leaving my computer and Jeff will vote doubly hard throughout the weekend, but regardless - more is better!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Jack Johnson

That's right...I'm going...tonight.

Coming Soon...San Fran

More "Places to See Before You Die" from iGoogle. Coming up on Friday! I cannot wait...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Moss Rehab

Just got an email from Moss Rehab. That is where Jeff spent time literally learning to walk again. We are so appreciative of everything they have done for our family. And now they're going to post a link to vote for Jeff's video too. How cool! We are blessed to have such a wonderful network!

Rock out on Facebook

SZ started a group called "REEL ROCK TOUR" on Facebook to support voting for Jeff's video. So...I signed's a problem. But I digress - you should too! Then join "REEL ROCK TOUR" and vote for Jeff's video "Back on my Feet."

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Monkeying Around

Just your average for him.

Jeff's Inbox

Also in Jeff's inbox yesterday - and I'm sure today, were a number of emails from others who have had or have GBS and/or their family members. His video is giving comfort, inspiration, and motivation to a lot of people out there. He's been receiving emails from all over the country. This truly is amazing! Please vote.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Silly Me

And I thought my Wee Me was created to encourage you to support our democracy and vote for our country's next president. Little did I know that "Back On My Feet" would be storming the nation. In addition to the awesome outpouring of support that we've received from friends, family members, and co-workers, Jeff's e-mail is also featured on the GBS Website. Kathy Romano from WMMR's Preston and Steve Show also let us know that Nick (also from the show) will post a link as soon as he's back from vacation. "It's all happening." ~ Almost Famous (the movie...I'm not narcissistically indicating that he's almost famous...but maybe he is). So, as I'll reiterate every single day (that I have access to the Internet) until September 1, please vote for "Back On My Feet" at the Reel Rock Tour Website.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Reel Rock Tour PS

Additionally, what Jeff failed to mention (but I will) is that you can vote (I think) once a day and vote from multiple computers - not that I would encourage such behavior (oh yes, I would do that, wouldn't I??). VOTE NOW!!!

Reel Rock Tour

From Jeff...

So...Let me do I start. Most of you remember how back in October of 2006 I became really ill with Guillian-Barre Syndrome. I was hospitalized, spent time in rehab, etc. Anyways, It was a really important experience of my life that I went through. I learned so much about whats really important, etc. So fast-forward to my recovery. Most of you know how important rock climbing was to me before I was sick...and those closest to me know how much that passion helped me in my rehab and getting stronger post illness. To say my passion for climbing increased after my illness would still be an understatement.

Throughout the year following my recovery I spent a lot of time thinking and trying to process the whole experience. I knew I wanted to find a way to not only tell about what happened to me, but also spread awareness for GBS. Armed with my trusty MacBook and camera, I thought it would be fun to make a short climbing video. It was a lot of fun to make and Elle did a great job helping out and giving input. Making the video was also very therapeutic for me.

So...blah...blah...blah...come on Chunky get to the point...well here it is...

I decided to enter the film into a national climbing film competition, The Reel Rock Tour, its sponsored by The North Face and other climbing companies. Its a 100 city film tour that shows the latest climbing videos featuring some of the worlds top climbers. Honestly, it took about 30 seconds to enter the contest and I really didn't anticipate anything. Well, it has made the finals and is up for voting on the website...

Just click on the filmmaking competition Vote Now! link and look for the film "Back On My Feet".

The bottom line is this...

I am completely overwhelmed that this little video that I made is in the finals. Its nothing terribly exciting. I talk about what happened...and I climb one of my favorite local boulder problems (a V0, nothing hard) and thats it. But, it does raise awareness for GBS and stresses how important this simple act of going from the bottom of a rock to the top is to me and others like me.

So, go to the website and takes no more than 20 seconds. Watch all the videos, just watch mine, do what you want. If you like another video better than for that one! I'd be lying if I say "I don't care if I win". I'd LOVE TO WIN and have my video included on the tour, but if not, I'd just love for everyone to take a look and drop me some feedback...what did you think?? did you like it? hate it?

Also, PLEASE...

pass it on...forward it with a little message to everyone in your address book...

if you are on facebook, myspace...send out a bulletin, start a group, etc.

I just want to thank my wife Ellen for spending that afternoon with me and helping film and my good friend Jeff Rupertus who taught me everything I know about filmmaking. The rest I learned by making mistakes, haha.

So please vote for "Back On My Feet" at
and pass it on to everyone you know.

Thanks !!!!

Jeffrey Zschunke

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Last Last Lecture

I was involved in some professional development for school this week and the focus of one of the days was using time wisely and we heard a lot from an exceptional person named Randy Pausch. His advice, especially in regards to time management, is remarkably spot on. If you haven't had the opportunity to see any of Randy Pausch's talks, may I suggest that you do so. Below is a commencement speech he gave that I had not yet seen, but one that was 9 months after his 3-6 month diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. As we do know, he has now passed on, but only after doing everything he could with the time that he had; an example we all should follow.