Friday, September 07, 2012

Summer Fun

These first few are from the annual pilgrimage to Henrick's Park. Though our summer wouldn't officially start for a few weeks after this, the blooming rhododendrons always tell us that it is just around the corner. These were taken on a Sunday afternoon; we also brought a picnic and some frisbees. My parents came just a week later and we did a repeat on Mothers' Day. Our Eugene weather is so typical this year: A glorious May followed by June monsoon and then two months of days between 75 and 85. Absolutely lovely. Plantboy tells me that we have changed from a La Nina weather pattern to an El Nino one. All I know is that it means we could continue with our lovely summer well into October. It makes me want to rent a house at the coast and write a novel. Isn't that the way one should spend a rare Indian summer?

When my parents came to visit we had several beautiful-weather days. It was a relief; they had started to believe that we only had rain here in Oregon! On one of those lovely days we hiked up to Spencer's Butte. The hike is only a couple of miles, but pretty rigorous. The boys did great, and were well- rewarded with a view of miles and miles in every direction. This could very well become another family tradition. We took my parents to my favorite beach spot while they were here too, on my birthday even. After a lazy afternoon at Haceta Head we found a wonderful Italian restaurant in Florence where all of the beachcombers ate every scrumptious bite. It was a delightful birthday.

Our bountiful harvest started early this year. My pictures from June and July are a little thin around here. I was completely consumed with school, which I had to finish up a couple of weeks early so we could vacation in August. My classes were harder than they have been since my undergraduate biology days. I love doing hard things, though. My sense of accomplishment was profound and I learned so much that will help me career-wise. My children were definitely ready to get their mother back by late July. In June I visited Utah for a few days on my own, which was really lovely. I haven't done anything by myself for a couple of years. On July 4th, the Jedi took some of this lovely produce and set up a mini farmers' market (the market was mini and so were the farmers) in our neighborhood, which is always a happening place on July 4th. The produce sold even better then my huge, gooey Rice Krispy Treats. The boys made bank and then there were fireworks. A fun day all around.

The hammock was everybody's favorite place to take a turn until it had to come down so Plantboy could put up laundry lines. Two weeks before vacation my dryer broke. Still waiting on our insurance company to finish dealing with the fix. After much hubbub and our vacation right in the middle of the whole process, we will be getting a new dryer.  By the time the thing is ordered and here it could be October. *sigh* Another reason to be grateful for Indian Summer. And modern life.

A big part of the reason for when we took our vacation was for Plantboy's biennial family reunion. It is always some where different depending on who plans it. It seems to get better and better and we've done some really fun things over the past dozen years. This year's reunion was at a cabin in the Middle of Nowhere, smack dab between Monticello and Blanding. The seclusion and mountain view during the evening thunderstorms was just what this child-of-the-West needed in a vacation. We also spent a day a little puddle of a reservoir which we had all to ourselves. I had the best waterski run I've had in a decade. We also spent much time in the canoes and sunburn became my long-forgotten nemesis. The pain on my scalp reminded me of growing up in the days before sunscreen. 

On our way back North, we stopped overnight in Moab. We discovered the relatively new public pool, which is very likely Moab's best kept secret. Next time you go, stay in a cheaper hotel with a lousy or non-existent pool and take the kids around the corner with your savings. Plan to stay a long time; it is that great. The next morning we climbed to Delicate Arch, which hike we didn't start early enough. Or take enough water. My face in these pics is as red as my shirt. Sunburn? Heat Exhaustion? Dehydration? Check. Check. Check. It took me until the next day to properly recover. Aren't the Jedi tough little fellas?

The biggest drawback with this vacation was how much time we were in the car. At one point I estimated that it was probably about 60 hours over three weeks. It wasn't just the long road trips either. Stuff in Utah just seems more spread out. My poor guys are used to being 15 minutes away from any where we want to go. The Youngling was especially batty. The others, with their books to ready, Harry Potter to listen to, and years under their belts, did much better. When I came back to Oregon I came on my own (Plantboy had already returned), and I was a little nervous, but the boys did admirably. 

Because we didn't quite kill them off at Delicate Arch we hiked the Wind Caves in Logan two days later. I remember it being much easier. Of course, It was 15 years ago. In the fall. And at night. The reality is that distance-wise and elevation change-wise, this is a harder hike than Delicate Arch. Awesome. Notice the red face? I'm working on Sunburn on top of sunburn here. The Youngling and I just about didn't make it. Again, so glad we did. But I just need to remember something essential: Utah August is damn hot. 

We rounded out the trip playing with cousins and a short trip to Bear Lake. In Bear Lake I paddle boarded for the first time and I really loved it. Bear Lake was breezy and kind of choppy that day, and I kind of have the itch to try the paddle board on the ocean. It was just so fun and such great exercise. And, if I do say so myself, I was pretty good at it. Of all the athletic skill that has totally eluded me, balance is one thing I have in spades. 

When we came home Plantboy took Jedi Knight salmon fishing. They caught this bad boy who was quite delicious the next day for dinner. The rest was put in my freezer. I just heard from Plantboy, though, who is fishing again today. He is bringing home two more. Does anybody have a good recipe for fish tacos? We need to try something else. 

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