Sunday, February 24, 2013
Ok, Westie friends, here is my late trip report... And for those of you who thought the San Francisco trip was impressive, I actually outdid myself on this one - 2,700 miles in 5 days!
Amy and I left on Aug. 23, 2012, for our road trip to Casper, WY and all points in between. We drove to Missoula, MT for our first night (8 hours), then on to Casper the next day (9 hours plus a few more for sightseeing). I was very excited when I saw that our route was taking us right by Little Bighorn, as I'd just been reading a book about Custer's Last Stand from the Indians' viewpoint.
It was dark as we were going through Wyoming, and I was just zipping happily along when suddenly, there was a huge dead deer lying right in front of my car. I jerked to the right so that I could hit it with just my two left wheels instead of tearing the undercarriage out of my car. Amy, of course, thought it was hilarious. Andrew and his friends wondered how I managed to hit a DEAD deer. Takes talent, I say. Amy danced on Sat. She did ok, but didn't seem to have much energy. I figured it was a combination of hours of sitting in the car plus the 5,200 ft. elevation. When you live at sea level, you almost need an oxygen tank at that elevation.
I love the openness of the mid-west. We've never seen so much "nothing" in our lives.
After Amy danced, we took off for Mt. Rushmore (4 hours). Made it in time to see it in the daylight and then watch the evening show. It was incredible. I've always wanted to see Mt. Rushmore and it's so exciting to actually BE some place you've only seen in pictures.
We stayed overnight in Rapid City, SD, then left the next morning to drive even farther east to the Badlands. The GPS got us lost and we ended up taking a detour through a cool little ghost town of sorts. Found an old jail and had fun locking ourselves up.
We finally found the Badlands, which, by the way, is very aptly named. It looks like the surface of the moon. I only wanted to see bison, but we never could find any.
As we were driving through this barren landscape, a little head popped out of the ground by the side of the road. Prairie dogs! A little further down the road, we pulled into a parking lot that was actually a prairie dog community. Amy was beside herself, completely overcome by the cuteness factor of these little guys. Needless to say, we spent at least an hour just snapping photos and squealing (well, Amy was squealing, I'm much too mature to squeal).
Then on to the famous Wall Drug, where we spent several more hours. Had a buffalo burger (I guess that's why I didn't see any live ones - we were EATING them), then checked every single store for the perfect cowgirl hat. Scored! And only $15!
Hadn't seen one of these since I was a little girl in Colorado.
After Wall, we headed out for BIllings, MT, to spend the night. The GPS decided to take us on a different route then we'd planned and, by the time we discovered it, it was too late to turn around. Amy got some nice photos, even though we had no idea where we were.
For some reason, this photo makes me really want to hit the road again. I think I must be a hobo at heart.
Montana is beautiful. I want to go back and see more of it. The weather was really nice, then suddenly we were in a hailstorm like I've never seen before. I was almost stopped in the road because I could barely see where I was going. The upside is that, afterwards, Amy got some incredible photos of the sun's rays.
We raced to get through Idaho before dark because I was really tired of looking for deer. I actually had to stop at one point to let a doe and her fawn cross right in front of me. They obviously know the pedestrian laws.
It's a 12-hour trip from Billings to Kent, but we made it! I think we rolled in at about 1:00 a.m. I can't even describe how much fun we had. Amy spent her car time wisely; she learned all the words to "I've Been Everywhere" and sang it for 45 hours.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
...in four days! When I mentioned that I'd driven 1,978 miles total, one of my Westie team friends noted that that was almost 500 miles a day! Well, all I can say is that Amy and I packed a lot of sights, laughter and fun into those miles. I just wish that driving was considered a cardio activity. Here are a few photos of our adventure.
This clear blue sky is reason enough to leave Seattle for a few days. The mountain is Mt. Shasta in California. We stayed in Medford, OR the first night, got to S.F. on Sat., Amy danced Sunday morning (got two first places and has now moved up to Preliminary Champion status).
I was so proud of myself for getting us down to the Golden Gate Bridge, but all we could see of it were a couple of supports! Darn that fog, but we had fun anyway.
After leaving San Francisco, we visited the Ghiradelli Outlet Store in San Leandro (per Amy's request), then headed toward the ocean. The road we decided on was a straight line on the map, however, it looked like someone's intestines when we were actually travelling it. Amy was so scared, I think she left permanent imprints on the door handle. Whoever posted the 55 speed limit has never driven on that road - I was going 20 and even that felt too fast. (I guess our clue should have been the name: Mountain VIEW Road.) We finally made it to the ocean just before sunset.
At this point, we were pretty much stuck. Our hotel reservations were 180 miles north in Arcata and it was getting dark, which meant I had a LONG drive on more curvy roads (Hwy. 1 to Hwy. 101), plus I had the added excitement of watching for deer. 4 1/1 hours later, we arrived at our destination, a little worse for wear, and collapsed into bed. The next day (Mon.), we headed south again to see the redwoods and the Avenue of the Giants.
Then we headed to Oregon to find the perfect beach...
We left the beach and headed for home. Literally. I drove all night (with two rest stop naps) and arrived home at 8:30 a.m. Three days later I am still recovering, but it was so worth it. Loved every minute and had a wonderful time with my beautiful, fun daughter!
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
So, my son's girlfriend accidently shrunk my bathing suit in the dryer last week. My silent rejoicing at the fact that I wouldn't ever have to squeeze into another one was quickly extinguished when my daughter exclaimed, "We'll have to go get you a new one!" To add to the pressure, I then received an email from Abby, the girlfriend, with a link to Lands End and a note apologizing and saying that she wanted me to pick out a new suit, which she would pay for. Now, even though she shrunk it, number one: it was an accident, and number two: she works for minimum wage at Starbucks and is still paying off the car she totalled a few months ago. No way was I going to let her buy me a $60 swimsuit. (And no way was I going to let her, a size 0, order me a size 12.)
Now, you probably wonder why anyone in Seattle even NEEDS a bathing suit if they're not taking water aerobics or swimming laps in an indoor pool. If anyone ever does venture into a lake, it's only around Labor Day after we've had some warm temperatures for a few weeks. Even then, it's bone-chilling. The only reason I need a bathing suit is because my daughter and I travel occasionally for her Irish dance competitions and she has managed to cajole me into the pool with her when we stay at a hotel. She's been the one to convince me that no one else really cares what I look like and it's ridiculous for me to be so obsessed about it. And I've discovered that it wouldn't matter anyway, because we're usually the only ones in the pool and hot tub. I finally figured out that if my slender, beautiful, little daughter isn't embarrassed by me, then I shouldn't be embarrassed by me, either.
So, today we set off for Penney's with a photo of the perfect suit ripped from an ad and a $10 coupon. She, of course, got sidetracked in the clearance racks, then the dresses, then the shoes, and I was beginning to think she had forgotten all about our original mission, but no such luck. "We have to find your bathing suit!" she said. "I think they sold them all." I said. Nope, there they were - racks upon racks of every color and style imaginable. She holds up a tiny little zebra-striped top. "You should try this on!," she smiles. Yeah, maybe 19 years ago before four pregnancies and three insatiable nursing babies caused my perfect 34B's to balloon to 38D's. "Yeah, that might cover my nip*les," I reply.
We finally find what we came for - a beautiful teal shirred one-piece with substantial enough straps to hold the girls up. I slowly meander toward the fitting room, stopping as often as possible to delay the inevitable. I finally get up the nerve to undress in front of the hated full-length mirror and pull on this tiny piece of lycra that magically stretches to fit my substantial curves. And you know what? It doesn't look half bad. The shirred waist tucks me in around the middle and it's not creeping up in all the wrong places. If it weren't for my fat little legs, I'd say I looked pretty good for a middle-aged mom of three.
I guess the moral of this story is Acceptance. I have to accept the way I look right now at this moment, on this day, if I am going to continue to try to change. No, I haven't lost the 30 pounds I thought I would have lost by now, but I'm exercising and lifting weights and eating well. I'm trying and I have to accept that I'm trying. Not getting angry about the way I look, or getting frustrated that the hundreds of squats I've done haven't given me long, lovely legs, or just throwing in the towel because I ate too much chocolate yesterday. I have to live today. Memories with my daughter aren't going to wait until I look great in a bathing suit. I have to put that bathing suit on today and make those memories before it's too late. Fat legs notwithstanding.
P.S. Driving home, I said to Amy, "I've always had fat legs. My entire life. I'll never have legs like yours." She turned to me and said, "You'd look really funny with my legs." It was a moment of pure insight. I realized that God had given me MY legs and I needed to stop wishing for someone else's.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Some days would be better spent in bed. This was one of those days. After finally getting to sleep around 1:30 a.m., my alarm went off at 6:30 (unusually early for me) and I crawled out of bed to get ready for an hour and a half drive south in order to testify at a custody trial. As I'm getting ready, I accidently drop one of my new earrings down the sink and can't retrieve it. Then, as soon as I finish applying my make-up, the phone rings. It's my friend (father of the child), telling me that his attorney said that I don't have to come to court today. I thank him, tell my son he can go back to bed, and head to the coffee pot for the first of many cups of coffee.
My husband leaves for his rustic mountain cabin to check on the propane supply and I sit to veg on the computer for a while. In retrospect, I probably should have gone for a walk instead, but my asthma was acting up from the cold my daughter so kindly shared with me, so I excused myself from exercise.
When my son finally got up (for the second time), he decided that he would install my new microwave since my hubby hadn't had time to do it. He first attaches the wall plate, then my 16-year-old son and I heft this 50 pound beast up above the stove. Andrew climbs up on the counter and starts to install the bolts when we hear, “Oh no. I need washers.” He jumps down, tells us to keep holding this thing up while he runs to the GARAGE to look for washers! I thought my arms were going to fall off. So much for my strength training. He finally gets back, screws all the bolts in, and we step back to admire his work. A few minutes later, I notice the (unopened) bag of instructions on the table along with a small metal plate. I say, “Hey, Andrew, was this supposed to go on the microwave?” Of course it was – on the BACK of the microwave! So, UNinstall the beast, attach the plate, Adam and I have to use what little strength we have left to hold it up once again, and finally, it's installed. I ask Andrew why he didn't bother to read the instructions first (besides the fact that he's a man) and he said, “Because I memorized the instructions to the last one.” (different model, which we took back).
Since my old microwave was still taking up space on the kitchen floor, I got on the computer to find a place that would take it. Found a metal recycling place close by, so Andrew, his girlfriend Abby, and I put it in the car and headed down the hill. When we got there, I pulled into the dirt drive and stopped to read the sign, which said (in big red letters) “Proceed at your own risk.” Ha! What can that mean? I pull in and tell the guys I need to get rid of my microwave. One of them says, “Yes, we can take it but we can't pay you for it.” PAY me for it?! Heck, I'd pay THEM to take it at this point. I've been tripping over it for two weeks now. He tosses it in the dumpster and I pull back out onto the road. Thump, thump, thump, thump... hmm, something doesn't sound right. I pull over and Andrew hops out to check my tires. Sure enough, there's a big screw stuck into one of them. Now I understand what the sign meant. On to the tire shop to get it taken care of. While we're waiting, Andrew and Abby mention that they're hungry, so we head over to Red Robin. The only thing I'll say about that is while I'm ordering a burger off of the Gluten-free menu, the waitress looks at me and says, “No bun?” No kidding. Cost of tire repair: $17. Cost of lunch: $28. Cost of “free” microwave disposal: $45.
We finally arrive at home and I go into the laundry room to put the kids' clothes in the dryer. One small problem: the boys' white socks and underwear are now a lovely shade of baby blue (compliments of Amy's new jeans that snuck into the wash). I show Andrew a pair of his “new” shorts and socks. He is not happy (at least, I assume that since his eyes are bulging and his mouth is hanging open). I told him I would attempt to bleach them. I haven't checked yet to see if it worked. I just don't think I can take any more today. Maybe I'll save it for tomorrow. You shouldn't use up all your fun in one day.
Friday, October 22, 2010
I was weeding out my email today and came across this. For those of you who live in the Pacific NW, you know how TRUE these are!
The Pacific Northwest According To Jeff Foxworthy:
1. You know the state flower (Mildew).
2. You feel guilty throwing aluminum cans or paper in the trash.
3. Use the statement "sun break" and know what it means.
4. You know more than 10 ways to order coffee.
5 You know more people who own boats than air conditioners.
6. You feel overdressed wearing a suit to a nice restaurant or to church.
7. You stand on a deserted corner in the rain waiting for the "WALK" Signal.
8. You consider that if it has no snow or has not recently erupted, it's not a real mountain.
9. You can taste the difference between Starbucks, Seattle's Best, and Veneto's.
10 . You know the difference between Chinook, Coho and Sockeye salmon.
11. You know how to pronounce Sequim, Puyallup, Haceta, Yaquina, Yachats, Issaquah, Oregon, Yakima and Willamette.
12. You consider swimming an indoor sport.
13. You can tell the difference between Japanese, Chinese and Thai food.
14. In winter, you go to work in the dark and come home in the dark while only working eight-hour days.
15. You never go camping without waterproof matches and a poncho.
16. You are not fazed by "Today's forecast: showers followed by rain," and "Tomorrow's forecast: rain followed by showers."
17.You have no concept of humidity without precipitation.
18. You know that Boring is a town in Oregon and not just a state of Mind.
19. You can point to at least two volcanoes, even if you cannot see through the cloud cover.
20. You notice, "The mountain is out" when it is a pretty day and you can actually see it.
21. You put on your shorts when the temperature gets above 50, but still wear your hiking boots and parka.
22. You switch to your sandals when it gets about 60, but keep the socks on.
23. You have actually used your mountain bike on a mountain.
24. You think people who use umbrellas are either wimps or tourists.
25. You buy new sunglasses every year, because you cannot find the old ones after such a long time.
26. You measure distance in hours.
27. You often switch from "heat" to "a/c" in the same day.
28. You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit under a raincoat.
29. You know all the important seasons: Almost Winter, winter, Still Raining (Spring), Road Construction (Summer), Deer & Elk season (Fall).
30. You understood these jokes and will probably forward them.
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