Sunday, April 19, 2009

Countdown to New River Festival

Now I'm getting nervous. New River Birding and Nature Festival is a few short days away! As Susan says, "Is anybody ready to pee their pants yet?". I have been incredibly busy with work (budget season with a cantankerous CFO) and family obligations (hosting Easter weekend for 20 people) that I didn't see New River sneaking up on me.

Suddenly I have a to-do list a mile long to get ready for my 8-hour drive and my week with the Flock in West Virginia. Get the oil in the car changed; buy bug spray and sunscreen; assemble electronics (GPS, laptop, cell phone and camera) along with all their assorted chargers; buy a West Virginia road atlas in case the GPS fails me; decide which bird books to bring; pack the Teaching Company CDs (European History and European Lives from 1715 to 1914 is my latest purchase) to make the car trip entertaining and informative (I hate long distance car travel); put bottles of water and the Freez-Pak in the freezer for the cooler in the car; buy snacks for the drive; check that the hotel has wi-fi; stock the house with frozen pizza, Gatorade and Mountain Dew for the housesitter who has a particularly monotonous diet; buy enough cat food, litter, suet and bird seed so the housesitter can take care of my animals; remember to buckle the stone chicken in the passenger seat so she can be the New River flock mascot (thanks Susan) and pray that I don't get stopped by a trooper on the way down. Explaining a cement chicken riding shotgun may be hard to do.

I have the 1/2 week package at New River, so I don't arrive until Wednesday evening and my first field trip, Birding by Butt (gotta love it!) is on Thursday morning. Then it is Cranberry Glades on Friday and High Country on Saturday. After checking out of the hotel on Sunday, I will be driving an hour or so to Renick, West Virginia, to spend two days with my uncle and cousin who built a vacation cabin there. I have done some pretty sweet birding on their property (7 life birds on my last visit), so I anticipate another two days of birding after my three days at the festival.

Mostly, I am nervous about meeting the rest of the Flock. I met Lynne, Kathi, Susan, Laura and Delia last fall in Cape May, NJ at the Autumn Migration Festival. I was a lurker on their blogs for almost two years and never had the nerve to comment or introduce myself. Now they have opened their arms and their huge, wonderful hearts to me and I feel like a freshman at a new high school, worried about fitting in. There will be other members of the Flock that I will be meeting for the first time, like Mary. Sweet, wonderful Mary who moves me to tears with her blog posts and gorgeous pictures.

So the tension builds as the trip approaches. Part of me is nervous but most of me is so damn excited I can hardly stand it! Lots to do, lots to look forward to...


Susan Gets Native said...

I know, right? I'm about to jump out of my skin!

Mary said...


I brought the suitcases out. That's all. I've shopped. But not enough. Somehow, I will get there once I get a physical address to use Mapquest. My drive is about 4 hours.

I'm as nervous as Nellie! I haven't met ANYONE BETH. At least you have met several...

I worry because I feel fat and I have wrinkles but I have a feeling once I get there it won't matter.

It'll be fun to see you!


Lynne said...

I took two weeks of vacation from work. New River week, and this coming week- to get ready for the next week! I've become crazy nervous these last few days. My most recent fear is that I won't be able to keep up. And the only bird I'll be able to id is a Robin. And I'll wet my pants because I can't pee in the woods. And I'll have to walk across a bridge that I can see through....

Beth said...

Wow, Susan, Mary and Lynne! Now I don't feel as nervous. I didn't realize all of you were nervous too! Well, I am looking forward to seeing all of you and can't wait. See you in 10 days!


KatDoc said...

Oh, Beth - I can't wait to see you again! Sorry you won't be there for the whole week, but even a half-week will be great. I'm not on any of your field trips (Boo-hoo!) but I will get to hang with you in the evenings, at least. Take care of that chicken - she is precious cargo!

No one is fat or wrinkly in West Virginia; after all, it is "Almost Heaven." You will be the most popular person there - we will all be asking you for photo advice. Can't wait to finally meet!

Lynne: There are no scary bridges to walk over, you will ID more than a robin, and we will be sure to find a potty for you. We will have to find you a new stalker: "Excuse me, but aren't you HASTY BROOK?"

See you all real soon,


LauraHinNJ said...

I don't know girls, but I feel one of my trademark sappy blog posts brewing with all this silly nervousness.


I'm arriving Wednesday, too, Beth and think I may be on that Cranberry Glades trip with you (which has me really excited for all the carnivorous plants we might see!)

dguzman said...

You guys are so funny. Don't be nervous, Beth! You're going to be laughing so hard and having so much fun that you won't have to be nervous. Just drive safely and ENJOY!

Beth said...

Thanks, Kathi. I can't wait to see you again too. Sorry we aren't on the same trips, but you, me and the cement chicken will have a blast with the rest of the Flock. And never forget that I was Lynne's FIRST and best stalker!

Laura - glad we will be able to spend some time together. I have been to Cranberry Glades before and it is gorgeous. Saw my Blackburnian Warbler lifer there. Can't wait to revisit.

Delia - I am sooooo sorry you won't be there. We will all raise a glass in your honor.