30 July 2009
28 July 2009
While the munchkins were in princess land, the backyard now devoid of kids became adult playland. Well, ok, more like man land. The pool was dumped, toys put away and the yard was cleared. In place was a rigged basketball court - a plastic kids basketball hoop mounted atop the kids jungle gym. The men were all lined up around the 'court', tossing a small soccer ball into the net, hootin and hollarin as they played horse.
I know now, how to properly entertain kids and men. Rule of thumb - be sure you always have an 8-pack of princess slippers in the house and plastic basketball hoop in the backyard. Don't worry about a ball, the guys will figure something out.
It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent. ~Dave Barry
So, I'm telling you, the campsite we reserved for this weekend was the crappiest campsite we've ever seen. We got site 13, lucky number right? Wrong. Very unlucky indeed. Site 13 is one of 31 sites at this campground that was smack dab in the middle of 30 back country toothless campers on hiatus from the backwoods. The sites were so close together you could watch your neighbor sleep from your tent. To make matters worse, when we checked in, the large motumbo woman with the raspy voice and lisp from missing teeth, told us 'not to be afraid of the bunnies. They love it here. In fact, the store across the street even sells packages of bunny food but of course, they are happy to eat anything we give them.' My heart sank. How were we going to quietly set up camp and chill while our 3 dogs were murdering the camp friendly bunnies one by one?
Instead, we opted to head to the beach for a few hours and forget about the nasty little campsite we had awaiting us. We took a little snoozer on the beach while the dogs, tied on long tethers to a large piece of driftwood, tried to dig to China in the sand and had contests on who could mark on the driftwood the most. Then after a long walk down the beach, we went for a drive. On a whim we drove by our favorite little motel about 2 miles away where we found new owners and after a bit of chat with them, discovered to our delight they had 3 empty campsites behind the motel, complete with grass, wood, fire pit, bathrooms and showers - and no bunnies. Without hesitation we paid for the site and began setting up camp - to heck with the other joint! We tethered the dogs and let them roam the grass and chew on the firewood. We did end up getting one neighbor camper family next to us - definitely from the backwoods and missing a few teeth. But they were friendly enough and kept their distance. Funny thing was, we only had a two-man hiker tent - not big enough for 2 humans and 3 big dogs. We had borrowed our friend's two-man tent so we set up both tents next to eachother and split up at night, each of us with a dog or two.
When we arrived back in town, it was unusually hot and muggy, unlike the cool breeziness from the beach. Well, why not extend the fun so we set up the tent in the backyard, complete with a fire, beer and music. We fell asleep late with the dogs resting peacefully just outside the tent. A few hours late into the night I woke up to raindrops falling through the tent skylight. We scrambled to put the cover on and went back to sleep only to wake up a couple hours later in the blistering suffocating sun. Our bodies and sleeping bags were drenched in sweat. So much for the leisurely morning we had planned with a fire, coffee and breakfast in the backyard. We scooped up our gear and fled for the inside of the house where we turned on the A/C and sat in front of the fans to cool off.
When you think about it, camping is a funny thing. It's ironic that we leave our comfortable urban lives to eat hotdogs and chili, use smelly latrines, and sleep a few nights outside on the hard bumpy ground. That's one way to look at it. Another would be that we temporarily trade in the comforts of home because we crave peace, slowed pace and a closeness to nature - our roots. Camping forces us to slow down, breath in fresh air, play games, talk to eachother and forget about the rat race. It may be hard working prepping to go and quite a drive to get there but once the tent is set up, the fire is going and the beers are open, you know it was worth all that effort. I think from now on we are going to fore-go the national park seen. They book for the whole season 9 months in advance of the summer. We may also fore-go the county campground scene as the impression it left on me is still digesting. I'm going to pull out my long lost book called 'Free campsites in Oregon and Washington' and start researching. We'll see how that pans out. Either way it happens, it's still camping even though we'll without a doubt eventually encounter the toothless back-countrymen again. And that is ok, just as long as there are no bunnies.
23 July 2009
After the hotel was reserved, I forgot about everything for a few weeks. But something was nagging at me - the cost of the hotel. It was under $160 for one night including pet fees but it WAS a beachfront room. Still it was a lot of money to spend for just one night. We're trying to be a little more thrifty during these lean times. Finally I got tired of agonizing over it and canceled the reservation. We'd just drive up to the beach for the day, run the dogs, grab some fish n chips in town, watch the sun go down, have a fire on the beach then drive home. That was fine with us. Basically we just wanted to get out of town anyway.
So today, I'm at work and a co-worker hears of our change of plans. She tells me about a campground that she just made reservations at a week ago. County campgrounds apparently do not fill up as fast as state campgrounds. I call and the host tells me they are completely booked. We chat awhile about the campground and the area and talk about how it's our anniversary. Ah well, no big deal, it was worth the try. Mental note for next time!
After work I'm walking to my car and my phone rings. It's the campground host. She says it's my lucky day, a campsite just became available. Now check this out, when I talked to her earlier nothing was spoken about a cancellation list or a call back. After thanking her profusely, I booked the sight, we packed our camping gear and are ready to hit the beach tomorrow. Miracles do happen. Things just work out sometimes. Very cool!
21 July 2009
20 July 2009
As the sands of time fall, those youthful skills are washed away with the tides. But this weekend, high tide came and went, leaving the shore awash with hula hoops. Our family gathered them up and ever so slowly the ancient tribal dance was revived. The Hula Hula.
16 July 2009
15 July 2009
So I woke up late with a half hour to get to work on time. I raced into the kitchen to get the dogs fed and make coffee. Oh crap, I forgot to buy coffee on my way home from work yesterday. Not even a tiny little coffee ground to suck on anywhere. Now that is bad. I stood there in the kitchen for a moment in a daze. What do I do now? I've never not had coffee first thing in the morning. Come on Sarah, get yourself together. Slowly it sinks in that I can do this. I can get ready without my coffee. Or can I.
I stopped contemplating my dilemma only because I was getting seriously frustrated and the clock was ticking. I don't know how I did it, the memory of it all is so cloudy, but I made it out the door ready to go to work. The only thing that kept me functioning was that I knew I'd stop by the coffee shop down the street on my way to work, but no, the gods of time would not allow it. Seems that now I had 20 minutes to get to work - on time, allowing no extra minutes for a coffee pit stop. It would not have been out of character for me to make up some excuse to be late to work in order to assure I got my coffee. However, today I could not be late. I had a meeting starting the second I walked in the door. You have got to be kidding me, I was going to drive to work without my coffee. I could make it, I thought. I'd get there just in time to make my appearance and run out the door for my cup of joe.
The drive to work was arduous. I'm telling you I got behind every sunday driver and because of them, hit every red light. Then I got in the wrong lane in a construction site and had to wait as jerks with their fresh coffees drove past me without giving me a glance. Usually I listen to the radio, but today was pure rigid silence. Something about not having my coffee made me forget all my usual routines and seriously messed up my mojo. I pulled into the parking garage at work with 1 minute to spare. It was at that moment that I realized that it was now or never. If I didn't get my coffee now, I would implode and plus I could feel a mean headache coming on from lack of caffeine.
At the risk of being late with no excuse, I ran into the coffee shop next to my office. I was met with a line of people waiting to order. No No No No No. This could not be happening. Impatiently, I waited in line. I avoided all eye contact, making it clear that I am not in any mood to chat. I ordered my coffee - an extra large with an add shot - gotta make up for lost time.
As the elevator door closed to take me up to the 7th floor, I closed my eyes, raised my cup and took my long awaited sip of coffee. Ahhhhhhhh. Ok, I think I'm going to make it. I took one more gulp for good measure, put my smile on and stepped out of the elevator. Everything was going to be ok now. I silently resolved to get up on time tomorrow and made a mental note to buy some coffee beans on my way home today. I will definitely do the latter but I cannot guarantee what time I will drag my ass out of bed tomorrow morning.
13 July 2009
Sunshine Day Lily
Clematis creeping over from the neighbors
First Blueberries of Summer
12 July 2009
Same thing as teenagers. Idaho didn't have a mall back then. We'd pack up the motorhome and we'd drive to Portland where there were two big malls. Dad would park the motorhome in a far away spot and we'd spend all day shopping. We each had a budget for school clothes that we had to stick to. We'd shop all day long, stopping only to eat. Dad would take us in all the cool clothes shops, pulling us along to the back of the store where the 50% off and clearance racks stood. If we absolutely could not find anything in last years passe clothing, he'd let us try on the clothes at the front of the store. But, we'd be sure to be informed that if we bought this full priced outfit, we'd have less money left to spend. At the end of a long day, nothing would be purchased. No, that is how dad taught us patience. Everything we wanted was written down on a spreadsheet, with store name, what floor of the mall it was located on and the price, oh and if it was discounted or not. That night in the motorhome, he'd talley our expenses, we'd discuss the totals and the must haves and cannot live withouts. The next morning, we'd hit the mall at opening time, split up - half of us with mom and half with dad. We zip around the mall making our purchases, seeing clothes we'd missed the day before and making last minute changes to our purchasing game plan. That was how we got our school clothes until Idaho finally got a mall.
To this day, I have become a thrifty spender. You won't catch me in a mall but I will always dressed to the tilt in my own special style, I restock my wardrobe monthly (on pay day) with deals under $10 at all the local hip reuse clothing stores that Portland offers. Because I can spot deals like a bird spots its prey, I can accessorize myself, my husband, our house and our yard with the expertise of a seasoned bargainer. Fo' free is the best way to get things, but fo' sale will do just fine. Thank you dad.
07 July 2009
Walking to the bedroom, I hang my purse up, and, sometimes I swear that song will start playing in my head - "...Oh, it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day in the neighborhood...", for I am already pulling off those business casuals and ready to slip on my homey comfortables. I understand Mr. Rogers now. I'm on his same wavelength - let me tell you, work clothes are not my thing either. Finally, my hair goes up and now it's time to get my drink on. Plus you know Mr. Rogers had a little drinky drink because soon after he changed clothes, he'd hop on his little red train and ride into neverland.
05 July 2009
Warren: Hi Colin, How are you? I heard you rode your big wheel today in the parade.
Colin: Yeah and Maddie rode her bike WITHOUT training wheels!
Warren: Wow, Colin, that is really cool. I bet you are really proud of your big sister.
Hmm, better take another shot.
Far away eyes
Later, we walked into the house to find Susan's teenager Riley and his teenager friends posing with my camera. Must run in the family, huh. Oh and ah yes, blackmail for when they get older!
03 July 2009
Ahhh, the lazy days of summer. It's too hot to do a thing. With my hair in a tight bun on my head and the least amount of clothing possible, I roam like the dogs from room to room trying to find a cool corner. Hourly splashes of cold water on my face and quick jogs through the dog pool keep me only momentarily refreshed. Anytime I have to step outside I am hit with the heaviness of the heat. I'm hungry but I don't want to cook so I drink some cold water and eat blueberries from the fridge. Even though I had a good nights sleep, all I can think of is the best way to beat the heat is to sleep through it. My room is somewhat cooler than the rest of the house. It's dark and the ceiling fan has been blowing all day. Laying down I drift into a long sweaty sleep. When I awake the sun is waving goodbye for the day. Wind is blowing the curtains up and down. Ahhh yes, I say as I stretch deeply, now I can start my day.
02 July 2009
Warren and I thought we had it made in our little house with our two labbies - Huckleberry, aka The Boss, a yellow lab; and Bettis, aka The Bus, our black lab. Both born in the country and hand picked by us at just 8 weeks old.
Huckleberry came into our unsuspecting and naiive doggless lives like a hurricane, eating and chewing everything in site and sleeping only when her little body finally couldn't go anymore and then she'd drop like a narcoleptic. Puppy school helped to train her - and us. Huckleberry came with us to get our second dog. She picked Bettis who happened to be the biggest dog in the litter. A rapidly growing gentle giant happy to just be petted, Bettis became Huckleberry's main attraction taking some of the heat off of us exhausted new doggie parents. She tromped on him, chased him around the yard, took away his toys yet allowed her new brother to cuddle up next to her at night. These two dogs never have known hardship, just twice daily walks, ongoing training, trips to the dog park, the beach and the river, doggie swimming pools in the backyard and endless chewies, pettings and love. Any behavioral issues that came up were only the result of the stages of growing up - chewing, barking, territorialism, walking nicely on a leash, potty training, crate training, and eating slow enough to taste their food.
We had considered getting a third dog after a few foster dogs had come and gone. In fact, like a mother who yearns for another baby, I don't think I had a 'stopping mechanism' in me at that time - I was sure we'd adopt a few more over the course of the next few years.
Then a little brown tornadoe flew into our path. Little did we know, he would be the missing piece to our puzzle and would be the one that made our house a home and our family complete. Tahoe, aka Little Bug, 6 mos old, a brown labbie with a curly tail arrived as a scared nervous little foster dog. We weren't sure Bettis was going to accept another boy in the house, in fact, we thought Tahoe would become an appetizer. But Bettis, by now a good 50 pounds bigger, let Tahoe know in the ways that dogs do that he was going to be the lowest on the totem pole but that he would be happy to be his big brother. Within 2 hours of his arrival, we decided that Tahoe had found his forever home with us. We adopted him within a week and thus began the long journey to help him overcome his past.
Tahoe had been abandoned when his owner had been evicted. In the shelter, he was so ridden with anxiety that they thought it best he go to a foster home for a while to mellow and get some training. His fear and nervousness did not allow him to sleep more than 5 minutes when he'd jump up at any noise crying and looking out the window - presumable for the owner that never came back. When we'd go outside for a smoke, he'd dive bomb the windows, desperately trying to get out so he wouldn't be left again. He at so fast that we had to start feeing him in a muffin tray with water coated food to slow him down. He stole apples and bread off the counters if he was hungry and pulled like a wild bear on a leash.
However, as the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, Tahoe caught the hang of our routine. Walks in the morning, then breakfast, then the dog run, then lunch time work-week break, then afternoon walks, play in the backyard, dinner and chill time with the family on the couch and finally bedtime in his crate. Little by little, hestopped freaking when we went outside, just nervously paced back and forth in the window until we came back in. Finally, he'd sleep with one eye open in the window as we hung outside for a bit. He became a nice little walker, hardly pulling at his leash and told us when he was done with the crate and ready to sleep like a big boy with his brother and sister on dog beds.
The biggest milestone came just a few months ago when he started wagging his tail. Not a thing you much think about but for Tahoe was a breakthrough. He was finally relaxing enough to have time to be happy. Day by day, his tail wags became bigger, more confident and more frequent. He even discovered the tennis ball that had been flying past him for a year as his sister chased endless balls. Now he even retrieves the ball and is learning to catch. After being not too sure of the dog pool, he tentatively gets in and starts splashing around. His favorite thing to do now is to cuddle up with you when you awake in the morning. He flops next to you and rolls over on his back for a belly rubbing while he gently licks your face. He knows a walk is next and after that is breakfast.
Tahoe turns 2 years old on Saturday. He's a survivor and he'll always have fight in him to protect himself and his pack. But his little heart is now full of love and he knows he is safe. He's a part of the pack and knows this is his forever home. The three amigos have become inseperable. Huckleberry is busy raising her two little brothers and bossing them around. Bettis is thrilled with his dual role now as a little brother to Huck and a big brother to Tahoe. Bettis stays busy nuturing his big sis and his little brother, always reminding Tahoe that he is the top boy. Tahoe loves being the baby and is eager to please us all. Warren and I take full pleasure in watching them grow up and seeing how close their bonds have become.
It seems we have all come to peace with our roles Happy Birthday to our little bug who is reveling in his second puppyhood! I have no wish now for a 4th dog. You think I'm telling a white lie do you? Well, I could be, we'll just wait and see what life brings our way. Our hearts are always open and ready. For now though, we are a family of 6 (including Marley our cat), and these three crazy labbies keep us busy, broke and blessed.