30 September, 2010

Let's Go Shopping

Anyone who has cats knows that there's something magical about an empty box or bag.  Chiona sat inside this bag for more than 10 minutes batting at the sides - just to hear noise? to make it move? to make me wonder?...

21 September, 2010

Sister Visit Part II

I *so* appreciate the family visits I get because some of my siblings work seasonally in Alaska.  It gives me something to look forward to every spring and fall.  Sara just came through to spend a few days with us, and we had a fabulous visit!  Her visit was shorter than usual, since she needs some extra time for apartment hunting in Seattle and the family get-together in October in Utah.  So I get fewer days now, but I'll get to see her again (along with practically my whole family) when we're remodeling my mom's house.  Bittersweet, but acceptable.
Because the weather is still nicer than it was earlier this summer (lots of fog now, but at least not rain), we moved the firepit down into the yard and spent more than one evening sitting around a fire visiting with friends.  Greg had plans for big hikes, but was kind enough to chop up enough wood for some good fires before he went.  Most of the wood was bits & pieces of our home remodel project from last winter.  I think there were three doors, several lumber bits, and firepit-sized pieces of plywood - all of which burns HOT!  Makes for a nice - although somewhat aromatically diverse - fire.  But the marshmallows still roast just fine!!  =)  (I got a picture of his leg when he returned, because he was so dirty that it looked like he had a tan line.)
Sara and I had some good conversations and spent as much quality time together as we could while she was here.  I'm looking forward to seeing the whole family in about a month - and now it's time to start the anticipation of the spring visits.  It gives me yet another pleasant idea to focus on during the long, dark, cold days.

13 September, 2010

Blueberry Fun Day

We're finally getting some rain-free weather - just in time for fall.  Wish we could've enjoyed more of it during the summer, but I'm glad we're at least getting some now.  It gives me a little hope that this winter may not be as bleak as I've been thinking.  With the nice day today, we definitely had to do something outdoors to bask in the golden glow... so we headed up to Flattop to hike Blueberry Loop.
I think this is only the second time this summer that I've been up to do the Loop - maybe the first, since the one time I remember Jennifer and I headed that way, then turned around and went elsewhere because of the big, dark clouds.
 The weather was *perfect* for our little hike!  Lots of sun and warmth, with a breeze to cool the sweat from our brows.  If I didn't know better, I'd've thought it was a balmy summer day.  But everywhere we looked, there were reminders that this is fall - beautiful colors, but a slap in the face that winter is coming fast.
Because the cold and snow come even earlier at these higher elevations, this will probably be the last jaunt around the Loop for this summer.  Man, I sure hope that next summer provides better weather for hiking and enjoying the out-of-doors, but I'm also grateful that we've had the few opportunities this fall to shake off the wet & dreary, and enjoy some warmth & sun before we're socked in with the dark, cold, & snowy.

06 September, 2010

King Mountain Campout

For my second (and final) campout of the season, I went to King Mountain with Todd and Anita.  It's been such a rainy summer that I was really glad the weather seemed like it was going to behave for the weekend.  Friday was absolutely gorgeous.  In fact, I meant to go to work... even got to the parking lot... where I decided that there wasn't really that much work for me to do, and it wasn't critical for me to stay.  So I called my folks and let them know that I wouldn't be in (apparently sun-itis can strike randomly and hard, especially when your summer has been drenched in rain and you think you're developing webbed feet).  Then I took a lovely drive out to the campground.
There's just something wonderfully relaxing about being outside, sitting around a fire, visiting, and watching the stars come out at night.  It's so peaceful.  Even though I'm not in my big, fancy, memory-foam, spring-loaded bed, (and there might be bears), I sleep really well when I'm camping.  Unless my nose or toes get cold, of course.  (It also seems that I need less sleep - I generally get fewer hours of sleep per night, but wake up earlier and more refreshed than I would at home.  Must be the crisp, clean air...)
Anyhow.  We picked King Mountain again this fall so we could go to the fair.  What?  The fair, you say?  Haven't you already been there?  Yup.  Going twice this year!  I'm for sure going to repeat on the cheese curds, pickles, and pretzel.  Everything else depends on whatever strikes my fancy...
We interrupt this post about camping to bring you an update on my 2nd trip to the fair...
More face-painting, more eating, more fun.  The pregnant cow was gone (off to give birth?) and an even bigger pumpkin was on display (1101 lbs. - a new state record - instead of 902).  Also more rain.
But we had some ponchos and of course the vendors are going to be prepared for our typical fair weather.  Gloves, knit caps, full-size umbrellas, ball caps,and elasticized umbrella caps... there were any number of ways to keep from being drenched.  (Not so much luck staying dry, but damp was fine.)
And apparently I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer.  Did I learn my lesson from last week about bringing dry socks and shoes?  Nope.  Feet so wet I was sloshing and the soles were itchy by the time we were done with our fair excursion.  Maybe I'll figure it out in time for the fair next year...
We now return you to your regularly scheduled camp trip to King Mountain....
It's amazing how well a warm fire works for drying out the dampness of a rainy day spent at the fair.  Of course, it helps to get clean, dry socks so after your feet are de-pruned you can slip into some nice, fire-warmed socks and dry shoes.  A little relaxing, more chatting, and some game-play makes for a really enjoyable evening.
We were originally planning to head home on Sunday, to have Monday free to unpack and get ready for the work week.  Plans changed when I found out Greg was coming home from his hike excursion early, and they'd be passing right by the camp ground.  (That's some authentic frontier gibberish)  The group stopped in to visit for a bit, dumped my husband and his gear, then headed out.  And our small group decided that  it was worth one more night of camping before we headed back to reality. (You don't see that everyday)
Turns out, the best weather of the whole weekend (aside from the fabulous Friday drive) was on Monday.  I'm grateful we opted to stay the extra day.  Between the good weather, marvelous companionship, and relaxing atmosphere, that did more to get me ready for the coming week than any amount of housework and clean laundry could have done.  (Can't talk! Drinkin'...)
Now it's time to clean the gear and pack it away for the winter.  (Nope.)  Maybe next year's weather will allow for more than two campouts.  Although, if we only get two, may they be as enjoyable and lovely as this one.  (Hell, yeah! Got a wiener dog.)