A squirrel but no licorice or good trees.

Man-wonder and I had been talking about getting back into camping after an absence of ten years plus.

We finally made it out last weekend.

The plan was to use our comfy double chair mattress in the back of the truck, but, at the eleventh hour, we stood there staring at the skinnier-by-the-minute space between the wheel wells (our truck is small) and zipped out to find a tent. camp site (4)Which we did. We also found a cool camp stove, two skookum (hefty) folding chairs

and a hammock, because who goes camping without one and we no longer had one.

As for the tent—They say ‘three person tent’ but what they really mean is three of those short stick people you see on decals on vehicles.

And heaven knows what we were, or weren’t, thinking about the chair mattress since it was the perfect size to fit between the wheel wells. Which meant the wheel wells would hold us on the mattress right? But since the tent was about two feet wider – if we didn’t keep a firm grip on each other  we’d be kissing the tent floor. . . I think we did more cuddling in one weekend than we have in the last ten years.

camp site day sights (1) I like camping!

We thought we’d reserved the ‘perfect’ campsite.  It had stunning views of the strait and there was a lovely winding river fifteen feet below our site.The launching area for canoes and kayaks was spitting distance away and hey—the bathrooms were even closer. And boy, were we impressed with the way the gravel covering the whole site was raked to perfection for us.

But have you ever tried to sneak out of a tent and walk across gravel at two in the morning for a pee-run?

If the unzippering/zippering of the tent flap doesn’t give you up, the tiptoeing-across-gravel and still sounding like dragging chains sure will. No worry about meeting up with a bear or a cougar—the gravel works better than any old bear whistle.

The most disappointing moment (other than realizing I’d forgotten to bring licorice) was when I realized there was nowhere to hang my hammock! The  only trees close enough together were three feet over the bank at edge of the campsite. Meaning, if we managed to hang the hammock I’d have to take a flying leap to get into it. . . Yeah-No. It’s still in its protective sealed bag.

Back on the good side of our adventure—we canoed up the river as far as we could and at one point we paddled over a school of circling salmon waiting for the rains to fill the river so they could swim upstream and spawn. We saw seals gobbling salmon while turkey vultures camp site day sights (4) hung out in the trees watching and waiting.

And we shared our campsite with what I thought was a hunched up jerky young squirrel (think of kittens who hunch up and skitter everywhere). The squirrel, when it wasn’t skittering around, liked to sprawl out in a patch of sunshine and snooze, ignoring people.

Turns out it was hunched up because it was old. It died, sprawled out in the sunshine, on our last morning there.

I didn’t take a picture of the squirrel, dead or alive, and I wasn’t fast enough to catch a shot of the salmon under the canoe but I did take did catch the stunning sunsets and sunrises

campsite - sunrise (5)

camp site - sunsets  (8)

and the mainland mountains across the strait.

campsite - sunrise (2)

But here’s the kicker of the whole camping weekend—the campgrounds are five  three one and a half minutes from our mobile home park.

No time to get restless and wish the never-ending ride home was over. . .and not enough time for our thick wood-smoke aroma to rub off into the truck upholstery. . .

Yeah, I like camping. . .

 

How time rushes slowly past

It’s been one year since Mom passed away. Such a jumble of thoughts and feelings  passing through me this week.

Mom’s death last September (10th) opened up a rift in the family (okay, my actions lit the fuse) and it’s been hard to think of Mom without getting lost in those attached issues.

Too many times I felt like family was doing a whirling dervish in my head.

Working through the grief, the anger, the emptiness took so much longer than I thought it would. Funny, my word for the year (chosen last year) was accept and that’s been my struggle this past year. I had to accept that what had passed was now in the past.

As was is as is and not everything in life can be tied up in a nice tidy package with a sleek bow on top. Sometimes the messier things get, the stronger the lessons are.

And we should all know by now that the best lessons are often the ickiest! And I’m here to say too true by a million. . .

 Maffeo Sutten Park just be dusk (1)

I don’t think I have shared this before. One of life’s unexpected yet juicy moments and not really one you can share; at least not right away. Sometime things need to be held close to the heart for a while.

A couple of days ago I was down at the city’s inner harbor park, people watching and sketching when I realized I was sitting right where I had been one year ago.

I’d just finished dealing with the details of Mom’s cremation and had  walked down from the funeral home. I was sitting there plugged with grief and  all around me life was doing  its stuff. I remember being full of strangeness—as if I’d stepped outside of my own life. Totally surreal.  People were laughing and yakking. Kids were yelling and dogs were barking.

And Mom was dead.

So there I was, mindlessly staring at everything, and nothing, when something in my peripheral vision fluttered past. Something small and light-colored. I thought something had blown out of a tree nearby. Or maybe it was a butterfly. It landed beside me on the bench.

That was the moment surreal took a gobsmack between the eyes.

I was staring at Mom’s social insurance card on the bench — the same card I’d tucked inside the folder at the funeral home (along with her birth certificate and all their legal documents). I stuck that folder inside a manila envelope which went into my backpack—the same closed backpack sitting between myself and Mom’s card. . .

So how did Mom’s card end up fluttering onto the bench?

I know what I believe—it was a heart nudge. I felt it then and I’m still feeling it now.

Ciao for now Mom.

Fish Talk

It’s fishing mania right now and since Man-wonder is a fishing addict we’ve been hanging around the shoreline catching the tides.

And there have been interesting moments.

Like watching the damp poetry of a line of fishermen standing, maybe ten or fifteen feet apart  tossing out their lines when, upon hearing a splash of a leaping fish, turn in tandem to cast in that direction.

Or when the good-sporting hoots and conversation that drift ashore quickly turn to low grumbles and snide remarks when less-than-sporting fishermen/women don’t release  fowl-hooked ones. Illegal and worse — dirty fishing.

Personally, I think they deserve the title of ‘fishing whores’ bestowed upon them.

Another goober-sliding-into-stupid move we saw came from a canoeist, and I truly hate to say anything bad about someone who canoes, but this goombah deliberately  paddled into a mess of fishermen and began cutting the lines as they fell over his canoe.

Ever seen a group of ballistic fisherman? Ever seen a canoe leave a wake?

I have.

Even the seals like to get into the action—One hungry one slipped into the middle of a circle of fishermen around a school of fish which sent the fish into a broiling mass just before they took off in every direction.  Within seconds all there was left was a group of either laughing or forlorn-looking fishermen reeling in empty lines as the seal feasted.

Another broil, on another evening, almost caused Man-wonder to do a tush-dive when a school broiled around him close enough to be banging into his legs.

Ever seen a man dance in waders?  Wonder if the fish were laughing?

I know I was. . .

Another evening we watched a group of teens having an absolute hoot. They were nailing fish like they had magical lures and as soon as one teen hooked a fish another teen splashed over and held out the bottom of his tee-shirt like a net and caught the fish. Together they’d unhook the fish and after a kiss to the snout they’d release it, laughing like bandits the whole time.

And, when I got tired of watching the water action I’d look up and catch some magnificent sunrises, sunsets and odd cloud formations.

sky shots (16)          sky shots (27)          sky shots (10)

sky shots (21)      003

But, all this fishy action leaves me with a couple of  questions—Like what do fish talk about underwater?

fish dreams

And, just how many fishermen pee in the water?

thCA8XOT8K

 

 

People’s opinions, travelling books and pissy-hissy fits

First off, I ran across this blog posting and it knocked me back, and continues to knock me back, because I keep re-reading it. Here’s the link

http://momastery.com/blog/2014/08/11/give-liberty-give-debt/

Such wise thinking!

The other thing I’ve been doing is drooling (not from heat sleeping this time). No, this drooling is over the Midori Traveler’s Notebooks.

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I want one. I really, really would like to have one. Not that I need one. Or that I could justify the cost of one.

I just want to have one.

So color my creative side excited when I received the latest blog from Debbie-Anne Parent’s Ephemera’s Vintage Garden site and she has put up a video on how to make your own version of the notebook. Not only that but she directs the viewer towards another video with even more detail.

After watching both videos I screwed up the courage to dismantle (carefully rip apart) a cool little leather book full of thin blank pagers which has been sitting on my shelf unused for far too long.

I made three signatures (sections of pages) for my ‘travelling notebook’ ; one of drawing pages, one of writing pages and one of graph pages. Each signature has 48 usable pages. The fourth section I added was a daily planner I found to fit the 6″ x 4″ notebook.

 Behind all the signatures I slipped in a back and front pocket page to hold things like receipts and cards. I also included a pen holder (using wide elastic and double-sided tape for the first time so the verdict is still out on that puppy!). I added an elastic bookmark (with button attached as a nod to my sewing). To keep the book closed I’ve attached a loop of round elastic cord.

 It’s a rough little book inside, but not bad for the first one. And I tried to upload some pictures of my leather baby but my dinkish tool aka my computer, is behaving rather badly at the moment.

  It has decided to not recognize any of my USB devices today. Yesterday  pop-up window were quick to inform me that it couldn’t connect to my printer  as I watched my items print out. And quite often it likes to tell me that its sound devices aren’t working—usually when I’m listening to something.

Do I think my system is heading for a crash? I’d like to help it along at times. I truly would. But maybe it’s time I did the mature, adultish  thing and take it in for a checkup. . . and try to answer their questions without sounding like someone who should never, ever be allowed near a piece of electronics.

Sometimes I hate being a grown up. Throwing a tantrum was so much easier.

donderwolk

Somebody turn the heat down . . . Please.

 

thCA99PFJX

Ever have one of those weeks where there isn’t much to say? Where nothing much happens and what does happen seems shallow enough that the effort to think about it is too much?

Where the hot weather keeps on popping the sweat and the warm nights keep on stealing dreams of solid sleep.

Where neighbors are barely nodding hello to each other and no one seems capable of long conversations outside when their air conditioning is pumping away inside.

I finally get what they mean by the hazy days of summer. I always thought it referred to the dry dusty days of continuous sun, but now I know they were referring to our heat-fried, snooze-less brains.

Plus there’s the fact that an unusual heat wave makes everything and everyone slow down which means:

  • Any job is going to take twice as long to do
  • Or, because it’s going to take longer, it will be shoved aside for ‘later’
  • Or, in a heat-fractured dither, it’s forgotten completely.

Bad news for those of us serious readers because, as any reader knows, the minute you pick up a book and start reading, the not-done, the half-way-done, and the ‘push off ’til later’ tasks will squeeze themselves right between the sentences on each page, crying out for attention.

And that, as any heat-suffering reader knows, means putting the book down to take a nap—a necessary step in building enough energy to attack the annoying cloying tasks.

But then, as one surfaces from their thick, sweaty, close-to-coma-like mid-day nap session, the reason for taking it has vanished—evaporated in the humidity.

So one picks the book back up only to . . .  well . . . it’s just a vicious hot cycle.

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So, don’t let anyone kid you—summertime isn’t all play and holidays.

A mini-roadtrip into the dawn

Woke at four this morning to catch Man-Wonder quietly getting dressed.

“What’s up?” I snorted from my warm pillow (yes, drool does make it warm).

“Timmies.” He said.

I was up and dressed, including removing any night-hare breath from my teeth and waiting at the door before his shoes were tied.

Fifteen minutes later we were dozily sitting across from each other in the surprisingly busy coffee shop (doesn’t anyone stay in bed anymore?) when he said, “Short roadtrip? Check out the pinks?”

fish-jumping

Even though I’m not a fisherperson, I was standing at the door  dangling the keys from my fingers by the time he slid out of his side of the booth.

Pooh to responsibilities and let the road-trip begin. . .

An hour later we pulled into a well-known secret fishing spot up island. Man-wonder wandered over to where a number of fishermen were spread out on the shore  while I headed away to where a single well-aged beach chair was waiting. (Bless you whoever put it there)

sun-setting

Lord, it was the perfectly magical time of morning to be on the beach. Dawn was somewhere behind the first layers of cloud in weeks but you could tell it was there because right in the middle of the clouds there were three tiny openings. Like wee panes of old wavy glass windows where the most brilliant gold-orange sunrise was glowing through. Between the clouds and the horizon the sky was banded in soft pinks and blues. Across the bay, there was a band of islands, each one a different hue of blue-gray with wisps of cloud rolling between them.

I felt like kissing my fingertips and yelling bravo!

But that would have disturbed the approximately 5 dozen seagulls resting quietly about 30 feet in front of me.(Huh, who knew a seagull could be quiet?) Just to one side of them about 2 dozen geese quietly drifted on the water. Actually, aside from the crickets and the occasional cry of a loon, it was so quiet I could hear the swishing of the fishing lines as they were cast into the water.

OMG—perfection at its freaking perfected most!

Then came a splash followed by a happy yelp and the sight of every single seagull lifting into the air to do a long loop around the battle of man and fish. When the fish slipped the hook they returned to wait quietly on the shoreline.

Too bad no one caught anything while we were there – it would have been interesting to see if the seagulls would dive-bomb for the fish. And if they did, would the fishermen go after the birds???

I wished I’d been awake enough to remember the camera. But even more I wish there was a way to record the smells by the ocean in the dawn.

 

Priceless.

 

 

Everything and nothing

 

Okay, the great ride finally happened and it was as much fun as I had hoped and I finally understood why Man-wonder didn’t argue so much about me wearing his Ranger Rick hat. He knew I’d be wearing a pair of honking big puffy ear protectors (I got the lime green ones) and the only thing that fit under them was a baseball style hat.

I should have known he was being too nice. . .

My biggest discovery of all—bum muscles I’d forgotten I owned and, two days later, learned that they can cramp just like any other muscle.

Holy muscle spasms Woman-Wonder!

Aside from that spasm of fun, things have been quiet around here; mostly due to the heat. Our biggest excitement is arriving at the beach of our local city park shortly after dawn

morning cometh

so Man-wonder can join the others patiently trying to lure a pink salmon onto their lines.

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Me? I find a nice bench to sit on and do a little writing, a little reading and lots of chatting with whoever comes by. I ended up sharing the bench with a local artist. I love it when life gives you gifts moments like that. I was able to pick his brain on watercolor paints, brushes, types of paper to use and why and mini-lessons on how he achieved some of the effects in his work. I even managed to snap a picture of his 30-year-old paint box and hear the story of why it was given to him.

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I do deserve a smack upside the ear though because I didn’t think to snap any pictures of his work.

What a big goombah eh?

But I did get his card—which just happens to include his website;

http://www.johndhallam.com/

So maybe I’m just a medium-sized goombah . . .

 

 

 

 

Secateurs and a chin-strap hat to go

So the big ride ‘em lawnmower event didn’t happen.Man-wonder had too long to think about it; his imagination took over and he put it off for a week, hoping he’d be ready.

Curses were heaped upon his head!

But now—here it is—THE NEXT WEEK—and since his back  isn’t one hundred percent back to healthy form yet he ever so nicely asked me if I thought I would mind doing the job. . .

*snort*

Oh, yeah—like I don’t have it all planned; secateurs clipped to my work pants like a six-shooter just in case I have to jump off the machine and annihilate a rogue dandelion popping up just out of blade-chopping distance. And I’ve already picked out the best hat for the job. It’s the one he calls his fishing hat but I call it his Ranger Rick hat since he hasn’t hung any of his hand-tied flies on it yet.

hat shot(yeah, that’s Man-wonder hat and his head in it. Can you see the frown lines? I see them a lot!)

I picked that one because it’s got a chin strap dohicky which might come in handy should I get the G-Forces rocking on the machine (think downhill and wind).

So yes, I am looking forward to this Friday. And if he weasels out again . . . well, let’s just say the property is large and it might take them a while to find him.

Kidding—I’ll just run over his Ranger Rick hat with the truck. . .

I’d better make sure I enjoy every moment sitting on that majestic yellow and green beastie because there’s a good chance I’ll be banned from it after Friday.

Wonder if I’ll have time to snap a ‘selfie’?

Headline: Woman Wonder born amidst blades of grass

Writing this week will be taking a beating as I am having to spend time outside helping Man-wonder who strained his back last week. This week I am acting as Woman Wonder (okay fine – I made that name up, he didn’t.) He’s calling me the woman-behind-lawnmower, which I find rather boring and hardly worth curling the tongue over.

First, let me admit I’m not athletic. I’m barely mobile if it’s too hot, rainy or cold outside. I like sitting.

I know how to straighten up and space out the spine. I sit with an angled stool (below me not in me) and I keep the knees slightly above the hip line.

See – a student of sitting.

Besides, I’ve studied the best of the natural-born sitters which just happens to be babies. If you don’t believe that – check out those little chubbies of cuteness—their spines are a joy to watch.

So, for me to take over the some of the tasks of landscaping where I can`t run inside as soon as my face gets all hot and icky, is going to be tough. The other horrific thing is the sun makes my nose run. Oh, hell, anything beyond a simple sit makes my nose run. I used to laugh at Mom and her box of tissue for every room. Let`s just say I`ve lost that snotty attitude.

But I`ll do it. And secretly—I have to admit to being a teeny-tiny bit excited over the fact that if Man-wonder isn`t in good enough shape for his Friday job, which is the one where he rides his ride’m mower over and around five acres – I GET TO DO IT!

I get to run it. Not beside it. Not behind it. On it!

Cathie on lawn mower

Yehaw!

Oh, I have driven it on pavement and it was fun – waving at the neighbours as I screamed down the road at a half mile per hour, goggles and earmuffs firmly in place and waving like the queen in one of her horse-driven buggies (and, hell, probably moving faster than I was).

But this time I`ll be running it over five acres of hillside with wide sloping lawns right down to shoreline.

I hate to admit it, but come Thursday night, if Man-wonder shows no sign of soreness, I may have to sneak over and re-adjust the numbers level of his side of the bed—just enough to through a kink into his plans . . .

Randy with cane

That`s not really mean-spirited is it? After all, he`ll have Saturday and Sunday to re-cooperate. And I`d be right there pampering him. .  . like a good wife should.

 

 

Words to Ponder

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While at my favorite bricks and mortar book store the other day I was rooting around in the ‘sale’ bins like a pig in pen when I came across a Reader’s Digest  ‘Quotable Quotes’. Pure Gold! Because—next to who-dun-its, art how-tos, herbals, cottage picture books, etc., etc., quote books are a passion. Here’s a few I’ve stopped to ponder over:

 

“A peacock that rests on his feathers is just another turkey.” – Dolly Parton

You know—beneath all that hair and hooters Dolly is one smart chickie.

 

“When in doubt, look intelligent.” – Garrison Keillor

I know this to be true. Just try looking over the top of your glasses at someone. It’s a thinker’s pose man. An action which always creates a niggle of squirm and doubt in others.

 

Treat a person as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat him as he could be, and he will become what he should be.” – Jimmy Johnson

Well, duh. Any wife/partner/female half of a duo knows that.

 

“Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.” – Richard Carlson

Yeah, and sometimes I feel like there is evil in those two words—socially acceptable.

 

“When you finally accept that you’re a complete dork, your life gets easier. No sense in trying to be cool.” – Reese Witherspoon

Okay, move over Martha I think I’ve just found my new hero!

 

“Happiness hides in life’s small details. If you’re not looking, it becomes invisible.” – Joyce Brothers

Now that is something we know as children but forget through the major part of our lives only to become re-acquainted  with it as we become older. I guess there is something to be said for not being able to run too fast.

 

“Good taste is the enemy of comedy.” – Mel Brooks

Amen. I wonder if Mel and Reese know each other?

 

Now, if you will excuse me, I hear some unread pages calling my name.

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