Thursday, August 26, 2010

We Took To The Woods

Getting out of the house for adventures is nice and all, but I spend a lot of time at my desk at work listening to audio books and on my couch at home reading. If you like reading then it can be an adventure too. I just finished "We Took To The Woods" by Louise Dickenson Rich and I loved it. She writes about how her and her husband live in a little house in Maine away from pretty much everything except the river, the trees, and a handful of far away neighbors and logging camps. It's funny and sweet and mesmerizing. It gives me wanderlust to go back to Maine and stay there. I wonder what my life would be like if I'd actually gone to college in Maine like I'd wanted to and almost did. Anyways, this is one of my favorite passages from the book. Not one of the winter chores parts or the funny stories about loggers or fisherman, but a little something about raising her kids in the woods and making sure they have the things they need. Enjoy.
"What can we give our children, then, that won't be outmoded, that won't, under some eventuality that we can't foresee, prove to be a handicap to them?...
We can give him a happy childhood to remember, a way of life that he will be willing to die to protect, if the need arises. That sounds like a grim and Spartan gift to a little boy, but it's not as dangerous a gift as the belief in pacifism and universal well-wishing to which my generation was exposed. I don't want to raise my son to be a soldier—but if he has to be one, I want him to be a good and capable one. I want him to know what he's fighting for—and Freedom and Democracy won't mean a thing to him unless they are all tied up with memories of things he has loved ever since he can remember: things like the sound of the river, and the way Kyak lies and dreams in front of the open fire on a crisp autumn evening, and the picnics we've held at Smooth Ledge. The name of his country won't be worth fighting for unless he can remember from experience that his country is the place, not of equal opportunity, not of universal suffrage, not of any of those lofty conceptions so far above a little boy's ability to comprehend, but the place where he walked with his father down a woods road one evening and saw a doe and twin fawns; or the place where he came in from playing in the snow and found the kitchen warm and fragrant and his mother making popcorn balls. That's all that I can give him; that's all that I dare to try to give him—something that he will love enough to want to preserve it for himself and others against whatever danger may threaten from whatever quarter, and the toughness and courage with which to fight for it."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

When Babies Turn One

It's no secret that I'm not the biggest baby fan, but when they can start holding their head up and laugh, I start getting interested. Around the time they turn one, something happens and I like them finally. It could have something to do with the fact that I love watching one year olds tear apart their first birthday cake... (or second birthday cake) This is Alec, my brother Andy's most recent kid. My parents were in town so they came down to my house to celebrate Alec's birthday. I made a cake and charged the camera battery because I am ridiculous when it comes to taking pictures of kids and cake.
Around this time he lost interest, I think it was the fact that he had frosting and sprinkles stuck to his eye lashes. The before and after cake pictures:
We didn't bother eating any of his cake. We ate one of these... my current favorite cake to bake. Brown sugar cake with coconut cream frosting...
After cake we opened presents and played Twister. I said it before and I'll say it again, Sarah's got the Twister skills!!! They're getting even better. I think she should stay in ballet and I'm pretty vocal about it to her parents whenever I see them. How could you not keep this girl in ballet class?!?! (or maybe classes at this place) I'm considering starting a facebook group. 1 million people to keep Sarah in Ballet
Alec is considering joining the facebook group

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cloud Drawings

This is the new hobby I invented for myself to fill the time at work when there's no work to do. Usually I listen to audio books, browse recipes online, update my blog, read other people's blogs, and go for walks on the trails in the foothills, but I needed something new. I mentioned before that I've become obsessed with taking pictures of the clouds over the horse pasture in my backyard. Everyday I come home from work, and sometimes when I wake up I'm taken in by how pretty the clouds always seem to look over this field and since I always have my camera in my purse I usually take a picture. It started one day when I was scrolling through them on my computer looking for a new desktop background and thought, that looks like my grandpa playing pool, and I outlined it. It's a sad substitute for laying outside in the sun and watching the clouds go by in person, but it's the best I can do in my cubicle these days. (Some are hard to see unless you blow them up)
Grandpa playing pool Jellyfish
Osprey catching a fish

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I have bad luck with cars

While I was at the cabin I woke up on the screened in back porch which is normally so peaceful and tranquil, to the sound of an excavator backing up on the dirt road out front and it crossed my mind that I could back into my car. I sat up and looked out the screen window and saw my dad standing and looking at the back of my car. It was too late. I have back luck with cars, or maybe I have good luck since the insurance companies always pay for it. The really bad part was that unfortunately most my climbing gear was in back and got covered in broken glass. My rope has to be retired and I don't look forward to wearing any of my climbing shoes anytime soon. Would you? The scene of the crime including the perpetrator (in blue) and the victim.
The visit to the cabin wasn't all bad though. I did get a chance to brush out Simon's hair.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Roadtripping back home

Driving to Canada was nice. We walked through the woods eating wild raspberries for breakfast, we stopped to eat and take a walk in Bellingham Washington and when we crossed the border there were bald eagles flying next to the road... but driving home from Canada was even better. For one, we took small highways and scenic roads almost the entire way. We got to drive through The Cascades in Washington at dusk following the cold Skagit River into amazing towering mountains. We ate dinner under the mountains and froze our feet in the river. We drove through acres and acres of ripe ready to harvest wheat fields as far as you could see where I made Jake sing "America The Beautiful" for me. We passed through small towns full of little diners and antique shops we would have loved to stopped at if we'd had the time. We camped next to a lake where I was so tired from driving I filled out the campsite register with a date in November and paid with Canadian money. We drove through cloud covered mountains in Wallace Idaho and along the train tracks to Coeur d'Alene while listening to Josh Ritter sing about where we were in his song "Wings". We passed through the thick forested hills of Montana and saw lonely log cabins next to beautiful rivers as well as a sampling of their many various license plates. We followed the Salmon River back in Idaho where we saw osprey calling from their nests and passed Borah Peak, the tallest mountain in the state. We saw thunderstorms gather over the distant buttes and drove through the rain with the windows down. After we watched the sunset someplace around Blackfoot we got on a real freeway for the first time in 2 days. All this was accompanied by good conversation, music and storytelling. Usually driving home from a good vacation is depressing, but this was nice. Good company, good scenery, and good snacks. The depressing part didn't even hit me till we reached Salt Lake.
Nice leg tan Jake...
Jake was beside himself with excitement to be in these mountains and wanted a picture in each direction. I suspect he'll be back to climb them soon. Another one of Jake and my random candid looking self portraits where we appear to have caught ourselves unaware that we are taking our own picture. (Ignore Pat's lunch box hanging from the sign)