Friday, August 20, 2010

From the Mountains, to the Valleys and Back Home

Back and skating right along.
The camping trip was lovely. It was a bummer than my mom couldn't come due to her illness, but I kept in contact on the cell phone every couple days and she was feeling so much better after a few days of rest. In fact, she said she had a burst of energy once the house was empty and started cleaning like a mad woman. Good for her. It helps her feel better to make her home clean and the quiet time without my dad aggravating her about what time she needs to wake up, or any other little thing that gets to her...well, let's say it was a peaceful and productive week of rest for her.
The weather was great but I would have voted for a little more heat. The nights were really cold but the sleeping bags were toasty most of the time. I just kept an extra blanket nearby, just in case. And wore my socks to bed. Aww, we're tent campers. It's all good. Actually it was just T and I (with the dog) in our tent. Dad slept in the VW Vanagon.
Suzy did excellent as a camping dog. I brought the crate and she slept in that without a peep. There were a few nights where the raccoons were nosing around the campsite, but Suzy was nice and quiet. Of course, she was tethered 100% of the time. It's the rule for dogs anyway, but especially needed for my run-away opportunist. After just one day, she was the color of mud, and happy to be there. Dirt don't hurt and she rolled in the fine, dusty dirt all day. Oh well. You just have to get used to it or it will drive you crazy. Thank goodness for the nearby lake. That's where most of the dirt comes off of us--as we swim to the far buoys and back. No showers up there and no hot water either. Well, that's not totally true. You can take a shower near the General Store, but you need to have your quarters ready. The showers are pretty dilapidated and run down, but if you can look past all that, you'll feel nice and clean and your hair will smell good for a couple of days for your efforts. Me, I decided to save my quarters, put my hair in a pony tail, and just put up with the dirt until we got back home. The layers of dirt and sunscreen add to the depth of a golden tan, so there's that added bonus. I hiked around the lake (about a 5 mile moderate hike) trying to catch up to my son and some others that took off about an hour before me. Suzy didn't know what the heck I was trying to do but she kept up nicely as long as she could. I was trekking at a fast-ish pace in order to find my son, but I never did run into them. By the time I was about 3/4 done, I went to trudge on but then there was a 9 pound weight dragging at the end of the leash. Suzy was done, in no uncertain terms. She was laid out with all four legs pointing in different directions and her big brown eyes looking up at me. I tried to coax her, but it was no good. She was pooped. So I scooped her up and walked with her in my arms for a little while. She perked up pretty quickly and made it the rest of the way without any trouble. It was frustrating though, that I never found the group I was looking for. Apparently they had taken a lunch break and went towards the inlet river to swim in some pools of water.
I wanted to hike with T all around the lake (since he had only done the hike 1/2 way there and walked the same side of the lake back) so 2 days later, when my sister and her husband and son came up for the weekend, we all set off together. And Suzy too. T wasn't as fast a hiker as I thought he'd be. I mean, normally he's got so much energy, but he just kept whining about how tired he was and slow poking along. What?? You're 7! And you have tons of energy! Now get up there and catch up with your cousin (he's 9 years old)! It wasn't a lot of fun nagging him to get going and keep up. But after we stopped for a bit to explore some of the river and boulders, he was able to do better and hung out mostly with he cousin and uncle. Weirdly, Suzy conked out at the same place she did 2 days before. I guess we know where her limits are for hiking. Still, I was quite proud of her and T too.
I wondered why the heck he didn't have the energy to buzz around like he usually does.
And then days later I realized: his asthma. He was wheezing most mornings and evenings, so I had him use his inhalers mostly twice a day. But since he doesn't ever complain about being out of breath, I didn't put that piece of the puzzle together until later. The dust from the dirt, plus the daily campfires are probably what led to the trouble. And maybe an allergy to some sort of pollen up in the mountain. I was like that with asthma and allergies up at Pinecrest as a kid. Since we've been back he hasn't been nearly as wheezy and coughing.
Overall, T had an EXCELLENT time playing with the other kids, exploring the forest and playing games (lots of bicycling around and playing badminton).
T and the other kids earned a Junior Forest Rangers rank, by attending some fun nature presentations, doing a nature hike (and collecting cool things to make a collage), and doing a rubbing of some leaves to make some really cool pictures. They got a gold pin and a very official certificate too. We all learned about water conservation too and sang songs about evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and conservation!
This year T did the clay project again too. Last year he made a really neat raccoon. This year the project was a deer. T made his an adult male deer so he could put in little antlers later (with some manzanita bush twigs). After he created it and painted it, they ladies took it and will fire it in their oven in town. Then they'll send it in the US Post. It's a really cool reminder of that day--about 2 weeks after getting back to the routine of regular life. Some of the deer looked more like giraffes with their long necks, and some were posed taking a nice long drink from an imagined lake (not sure they intended it that way!) but T's is standing tall, with big ears and a handsome tail too. It was hard to let him do it by himself. I kept wanting to help him and give him pointers but he kept swatting me away like the irritating gnat that I was. I forced myself to sit on my hands and keep quiet while he worked his artistry. It will be fun to see how the deer turned out and I'll be proud, no matter what.
In the outside amphitheatre we went to see "Despicable Me". They play movies 4 days a week. It's a fun thing to go to the movies under the stars--but it does get cold sitting on that hard bench in the dark for 2+ hours. T had a great time and LOVED the movie (and me too). Well, OK, there was a little whining about not getting popcorn to eat, but I wasn't willing to stand in that line and pay $6 for a bag. Call me cheap. Coincidentally we bought the Nintendo DS game with the same name for some new entertainment for T on the ride up to Pinecrest. Now the characters have more dimension and meaning after seeing the movie. At least to me. I don't know if T really cares. He just likes to play a good game!
At the end of 8 days, we were ready to come back home. Suddenly T seems so much bigger and more filled out. Must be that mountain air!
T was sad to leave but excited to start 2nd grade!

Boo. Time is passing too quickly.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Well, it's crunch time to try and get everything packed for camping. I've arranged for a neighbor to house sit so that's one thing off my mind.
This is our annual camping trip to our favorite place and T has been looking forward to it for the last few months. Another 401 family is coming too, so T will have plenty of kids to play with and he's really gotten into fishing and the lake has plenty-o-trout to be caught!
It's a little tough to find the time to get all the packing and shopping done since I've had to work every day this week due to extra days at work, but what's really made it much tougher is that my parents have been pretty sick with some mean virus. It's times like this that I realize how much I depend on them to do the stuff I would have to do, if I didn't have them in my life. Thank GOD for my parents. I will try harder to show appreciation more often for all they do for T and me. The nasty virus started with T and myself and when my parents got it, they had the worst of symptoms. My mom is usually the one who suffers most with any given illness. I have no idea why that happens since she's mostly a healthy person otherwise. She's still no where near in good enough shape to make the trip with us, which is killing her. It was only yesterday that she could fathom standing upright for more than a few minutes. She's coughing and moaning in pain and gets dizzy easily. The doctor said it's just something she has to ride out but gave her plenty of medication to help with the symptoms. It doesn't help much.
I certainly won't have as much fun there without her. I have a feeling she is planning to pull it together and drag herself into my car. She's a very stubborn woman. It will really surprise me if she lets us go without her. And if she does, I bet she'll drive herself up there in a few days. Or maybe not. She really is quite sick and there's not much worse than being really sick while camping--no amenities and no health care nearby. Plus, there's something about the altitude that makes it worse. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out this week.
Suzy will be coming with us. We have a nice tether that she will be on ALWAYS, the little escape artist! I think I'll also place our campsite info on her collar--just in case.
I haven't written about this before, because it really does need pictures from before and after to do the story properly, but I had my backyard done and it's 99% finished!! It's SO pretty. I still have some electrical stuff to do, once the lanterns arrive in the mail. Plus a shade sail to hoist and then, voila! I promise to give a full story/pictorial as soon as I can. Money is really tight now that I spent it all on the backyard, so I have to wait a bit longer for that new computer that will allow my pictures to be uploaded.
I hope this trip is all we've worked it up to be.
Should be lots of fun.