Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hawaii Best & Worst

An old file that must be saved for all time and eternity.  It's incomplete but in retrospect, that only means that we were having so much fun past the first few days that we forgot to talk about how awesome it was!!

Day 1
Big B . . . .  sunset
Big W . . . .   not having time to eat between layovers

Middle B. . .  getting up early & going to the airport . . . getting going
Middle W . . . . the suspense of the last 20 minutes before we landed

Little B   . . . .  finally eating
Little W . . . .  having to pee so many times

Mimi B . . . .  going to the beach 
Mimi W  . . . when my headphones made my earrings hurt on the plane

Day 2: grocery shopping, breakfast @ Longboards; pool day
Big Best . . . .  being @ the pool all day
Big Worst  . . . that I discovered I don’t have enough contacts for the whole trip

Middle B . . .  playing floaty bed jousting w/ kai in the pool  & breakfast
Middle W   . . .  when we had to leave the pool 

Little B  . . .  pool time & playing with Rees 
Little W   . . . that we had to leave the pool 

Mimi B . . .  snorkeling in the pool
Mimi W  . . . going to bed . . . wanted to go back to the pool again

Day 3:  pineapple plant, hale’iwa joes; pool, cosco & pizza

Mimi B  . . .  chickens at the pineapple plant
Mimi W . . .  driving for forever

Little B  . . .  pineapple maze
Little W  . . .  not getting to swim @ the pool w/ tunnels because it was closed

Ree B   . . .  pineapple whip
Ree W  . . .  low blood sugar

Big B . . .  pineapple maze
Big W  . . .  bug bites from the pineapple maze

Day 4:  pool, lei making, turtle beach, tacos
T Best . . .  seeing the turtle and taking my floaties off and starting to swim on my own
T Worst   . . . having to go to turtle beach when I wanted to stay in the pool and swim without floaties

Kai Best  . . .  turtle beach , snorkeling and seeing the turtle
Kai Worst  . . .  that Rees went to lei making because I wanted to keep playing w/ her

Ree Best  . . .  seeing the turtle
Ree Worst  . . .  nothing was bad today 

Shae Best  . . .  seeing the turtle
Shae Worst  . . . my face. . .  I have a cut in my lip that is making my face hurt.

Hiking: Palmer Lake

Hiking is one of my greatest joys.  Research shows that 20 minutes in nature . . . hiking, walking, bouldering, seeing things and breathing fresh air can completely hard reset your outlook.  I absolutely believe it.   One thing I wish I had done from the start of my hiking life was chronicled it .  . . . blogged the hike, the terrain, the experiences.  When we traveled in Hawaii, I followed several blogs that led me to local turtle beaches, great family restaurants and experiences I would not have wanted to miss.  I'm not hoping to be someone's hiking travel guide, but sometimes . . . . it would help if you were hiking with 3 kids under 4 to know that the terrain on this one is up, up, up.   Maybe you're just getting back into hiking boots after knee surgery and would like to know that what is up, up, up is also down, down, down.  On gravel.

Palmer Lake(s).    Like I said, I'm not an expert.   My oldest daughter's volleyball team mates like to do this hike and have done it several times this summer.    It's NOT "the" Palmer Lake, but rather the back entry that goes up to the twin reservoirs.  It's beautiful, but I feel like that's a bit of a given with a hike through the foothills of Colorado.   Of course it's beautiful and that shouldn't be why you go.   Parking for this one is hard to find.   I'll do more detailed instructions later because, in all honest, I can't remember.  I know you go into Palmer Lake, take a left before you hit "the" lake and then wiggle through a neighborhood, sort of take another left on a marked (not marked well, so keep your eye peeled for a little sign on the right), very skinny side street that takes you down a winding one way road to parking and a trailhead.   Again, more later.   Once you find it, parking is good.   Open to sun.  Trailhead is to the west.  

On the day we did this one, we went mid-day on a weekend.  Trail was busy with lots of dogs.  If you can manage to hike mid-week, I strongly recommend it, just for lessened trail traffic.    The trail is gravel and uphill for a large part of it.   It does level off but it's quite a long jaunt in, open to sun, minimal shade.  The views are through a craggy canyon and are, of course, beautiful.   On the ascent to the lakes, you can hear a stream but there is not water . . . nothing to frolic, play in, let your dog drink from . . . . it's just gravel, dusty, up, up, up.    The first lake appears on the left and the second, again on the left just beyond.  The best part of this hike is the far side of the lake when it really opens up into the back.   Rockslides and terrain have altered the back of the lake trail so it's closed to loop, thus . . it's an out and back hike.   There are side excursions off of this trail, but the main trail is an out and back.  To date, we have not done any of the side hikes (but would like to do Dome Rock at some point.)

Blogger disclaimer:  I am NOT a trail guide. I am not a tour guide. I'm me, writing on what I prefer and what my kids prefer.   So in writing the next piece, know that I've contemplated my favorite hikes and what they showcase.   My favorite hikes are loops.  I like a loop much more than an out an back, simply for the variety in terrain.     I quite enjoy a hike that is woodsy, mountainous with some ups, some downs, some shade, some meadows, a bit of water and for a truly great experience, bridges or waterfalls, too.   I know, I want the whole hiking enchilada.     Palmer Lakes' twin reservoirs is lacking some of that for me and my kiddos, but like I said . . .  it's still beautiful, we still love the hike and we'll do it again and again :)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Thoughts on Tahoe

My thoughts on a 10 day vacation to South Lake Tahoe, written by one exhausted mom who is probably too tired to think straight.

First let me get the vacation platitudes taken care of.   Yes, it was fun. Yes, Lake Tahoe is beautiful.  More on that later.  Yes, the weather was nice.  Yes, the travel was safe.   Ok then, moving on to the beefy parts of a vacation  .  .  

Planning a family vacation is no small undertaking.  When you are the planner, nothing really goes unconsidered.  Timing of departure, flights, airport snacks, carry on contents and what to pack.  Even the number of ounces on the face lotion doesn't go unnoticed.  I found a grocery store on line and checked prices of sunscreen and bug balm as I contemplated  . .  to pack or to buy once we arrive?   Six people on a vacation eat a lot of food, ask endless questions and are otherwise out of their wits.   I want them to HAVE FUN on vacation, not worry about buying bug spray or pinching their pennies.   Turns out on this vacation, I probably did that all wrong.  Lessons learned, eh?

Ten days in Tahoe .  . . Three with MOTH at the helm and the rest with just me, the mommy-in-charge, as MOTH came home to work.   Things at work, after all, have been crazy and they "couldn't do without him."  Bright sides:  it saved us money in kennel fees and house-sitter cash.   Also on the bright side, I actually missed my husband for a few days.   It seems funny to type that out loud, but I must admit, after 18 years of marriage  ... missing my spouse isn't a common emotion.   It was kinda nice to miss my man (a little.)

Ok, vacation paraphrasing, in list form, because that is how I think:
* We stayed in a beautiful place, courtesy of a smart timeshare investment years ago.    I will never tire of checking out of a gorgeous hotel with a zero balance on a hotel folio.  It makes me happy.
* We rented a boat from a small marina and went power boating around the lake for a day.  
* We rented a tube from the same marina and pulled the kids around the lake at top speeds hoping (deviously) to spill one off into the frigid waters of Tahoe.  
* We hiked a 6 mile round trip hike to the world's most pitiful waterfall.  Oh, I know . . . the concierge told me "it's not waterfall season".  Still, as we stood on the bridge taking it the reason we'd be hiking for the last three hours, the comical look on the kids' faces as they said, "this is it?" will stick with me forever.
* We swam and we swam all over the land.
* We hot tubbed.
* We shopped.  We bought hoodies and shirts, stickers, nail polish that changes color in the sun and tiny bullets that have knives inside.  We bought a Christmas ornament and a couple of trinkets for grandma.
* We ate a couple of meals out.  California Burger Company & Base Camp Pizza.
* We went to the beach -- two different ones, to be exact.  Lakeside by day and Ski Run (or was it Ski Hill?) both in the day and for sunsets.
* We tried to hike Vikingsholm but the trail was closed for a search and rescue and parking was nil, so we took a scenic drive, talked a bunch, made a list of hopes and dreams as we drove the scariest mountain highway on record.   10 mph hairpin turns coupled with no guardrail rail and lots of tourists driving like maniacs had my butt cheeks clinched tight until we were safely back at lake side.
* We went to a magic show.  It was amazing.  The performer was part magician, part comedian and was a terrific showman.  The kids had a blast!
* We binge watched season 5 of the Gilmore Girls.
* We collected a giant pinecone, lots of little black rocks and tons of tiny shells from the beach.   In our quest for knowledge, we learned that Lake Tahoe is being invaded by rapidly reproducing invasive Asian Clams.   Speaking of quest for knowledge, we also learned about Vikingsholm, lots of stats on the lake and area stories and trivia from a live performer named Mr. Tahoe.
* Two words:  Heavenly Donuts.

Summary, emotions and wrapping up the rambling:  

I think the summary of Tahoe may best be caught with the icy words of MOTH, upon our return.  Remember that he was there for 7 days less than we were, and his summation went like this:  Been there, done that.   I'll be honest when I say that it kinda stung.  While I don't really want anyone to lie and say they had a great time if it sucked, I also constantly seek a tiny sliver of "getting away was awesome", "thanks for planning all of that", or "that was the bomb." A "been there, done that" review from the family who hasn't done anything more than say "what ware we gonna do next, momma" stings just a tiny bit.  Let me go back and see if I can capture the "I missed my spouse" emotion again.     Kids summary:   the lake was amazing, especially the pure amazing, vivid blue.   Boating and tubing were the highlights, followed by beach time, collecting shells, hiking and pool time.   They also enjoy walking around and shopping, people watching, seeing things that aren't like home.  

In my own personal review, I would say:
* Lake Tahoe is an amazing lake, especially if you haven't done a lake vacation.  Having said that, it is NOT a particularly accessible lake and everything is set (at least in South Lake Tahoe) to absolutely rape your pocketbook.    There are charges for everything from parking to parking to parking.  And then the parking!  Really, it's a wee bit too spread out to NOT need a car and having the car is something of a pricey hindrance.  
* On cost, I found it very pricey.   All in all, vacation for a family of 6 came in comparable to Hawaii.  Let that sink in for a bit.   I had sticker shock and we choose to not do several things because of price.  Most powerful example:   Heavenly Gondola and fun park.  Pay $45 per person to ride a gondola.   Then pay $100 per person for fun park at the top.    Bottom line:   Breckenridge is our second home and you can ride the gondola for free and play all day at the fun park, which has near identical attractions, for half the price.
* Ten days in Tahoe is probably too long.
* If Tahoe is your spot, go through the motions to find a VRBO and stay lakeside or somewhere with immediate lake access.   Our beautiful hotel was advertised as a "short 10 minute walk" to the beach.  Reality:  short 10 minute hike through winding side streets and constructions noise to a public beach littered with straws and maxi pads where 90% of other Tahoe visitors were also there.  Also, ouch!  The beach is manmade and has GRAVEL, not sand, so take your flip flops for sure.  (This is Lakeside Beach . . . the other was much better!!)

Emotions:  I am rested.   I logged 5 nights with 100% sleep ratings in sleep cycle.  I was able to unplug on one or two days and I accomplished life's greatest gift of all.  I completely, 100% engaged with my kids while we were there for the extra week.  They were amazing, I felt strong and capable and I bonded or played was present for all of them.     I didn't ask for "one more minute" and have it turn into 30 minutes.   I didn't say "when I'm done with this work stuff . . . . " and I didn't put anyone off, so I wind up the vakay feeling much like Wonder Woman.

Monday, August 10, 2015

I never know where to start . . . .

I never know just where to start . . . so I'm jumping in again . . . . don't I always say that.   I don't aspire to be one of those bloggers who makes a million dollars imparting my knowledge on mankind, so it doesn't matter where I start or finish.  This is about me.  My selfish minute to pound away at the keyboard and just purge my mind of shit.  Shit, shit and more shit.  

I stopped blogging.  For a long while.  It appeared to me that I attracted the wrong audience and given my readers, I couldn't be myself.   Then, an a-ha moment.  I don't want readers.   I never really wanted readers.  I wanted what I just said.  So I took this thing and put it together in a word document.  And I just typed.   Someday, I'll have to insert that into the missing years.  

But not now.  Now, I'm starting somewhere and picking up nowhere . . . . 

The end. 

And a new beginning . . . . 

I never thought I would hear myself say . . .

"Son, two things you don't do into the wind . . . spit and piss."

This, as our car is barreling up Austin Bluffs, he spit into the wind, the wind caught it and splattered chunky hunks of phlegm and slobber across his little sister's face.  


The things you say to a son . . . .

Friday, June 05, 2015

The Knots Prayer

Dear God:
Please untie the knots that are in my mind, my heart, and my life.
Remove the have notes, the can nots, and the do nots that I have in my mind.
Erase the will nots, may nots, might nots that may find a home in my heart.
Release me from the could nots, would nots, and should nots that obstruct my life.
And most of all, Dear God, I ask that you remove from my mind, my heart and my life all of the am nots that I have allowed to hold me back, especially the thought that I am not good enough.  Amen.

I like it.

IDK where it is from to give credit, but I like it . . . . I probably pinned it or took it from social media.

Kids, read this at my funeral.

Death is nothing at all.  It does not count.  I have only slipped away into the next room.  Nothing has happened.  Everything remains exactly as it was.  I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.  Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.  Call me by the old familiar name.  Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.  Put no difference into your tone.  Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.  Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.  Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.  Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.  Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.  Life means all that it ever meant.  It is the same as it ever was.  There is absolute and unbroken continuity.  What is this death but a a negligible accident?  Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?  I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner.  All is well.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

I really should be packing.
Leaving can be very stressful.
I have a sick kid at home today.
My friend got unlimited texting today.
It has rained buckets the last two days.
The backyard is a mud bog and I don't want to let the dog out.
Today I learned the female pinecones contract and close up when it is raining.

Monday, May 04, 2015

I care

 I make sandwiches. And omelettes. To show that I care, this is what I do ..... I make sandwiches and omelettes. My children will probably remember me for making sandwiches and  omelettes.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Oh my God.  I'm busy.   

I look back on my life with four little kids and I shake my head with all-knowingness that can only come with experience from living life in the trenches.  I thought I was busy then.  Oh.  My. God.  I had no idea.  NO.  Bloody.  Idea.