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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

HEY there, HI there, HO there!

This is what you get when you Guest Write on your daughter's blog while she vacations. My post at Dreaming What Ifs reminisced about a trip we took 30 years ago (included pictures of Karmyn as a ### year old) to Disneyland.

"Year of a Million Dreams" is the 2007 motto for Disney.
So, I want to thank Jammin' and Buttercup for giving me one of my millions of dreams this year.

I couldn't wait to wear it.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Fun Monday #27, My Open Refrigerator

Amy at Family Life is hosting this weeks topic.

She asked "We saw everyone's kitchen one week (just can't remember which week). Now I want to see INSIDE your refrigerator. And DO.NOT.CLEAN.IT.OUT. We want to see it in all its glory. However empty or full. And if you don't have a refrigerator? Show me your cooler, or whatever container you use to keep things nice and cool."

Nothing to see here in our kitchen. Even though it looks like there is food, I can assure you that there isn't much: Some fruit, soy milk, and condiments I probably purchased in 1980. There is Coffee in the freezer section. I will never buy another fridge with water or ice on the door... unless the design is much improved. Move along now ------

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The following picture is inside the over flow garage refrigerator. Usually it contains beer, pop, and the hubby's bike riding essentials like HAMMER GEL. (Yum. aaaaack) However, we attended a picnic last evening so you will also see my leftover strawberries in a HUGE container and the macaroni salad that I begged off my friend Sandra.

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I might add - this Hot Spot refrigerator is over 50 years old. We saved it 20 years ago from being trashed when someone else was cleaning their garage. It is a late 40's or early 50's model. See the little freezer unit in the upper right hand corner? Yes, and that is ice building up, too.

Here's the list from Amy's refrigerator
Lil Mouse
Arkansas Songbird
The Other Bear
Happy Working Mom
Lisa's Chaos
La Bellina Mammina
Swamp Witch
Jennie Boo

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Three of the Contessa's Nine Lives

Morning. She surveys her Kingdom.

Afternoon. Her Royal Nap.

Midnight. The Catristocracy is unpopular with the working class.

Moaning Myrtle

That lovely musician in Arkansas (Quarter Notes) tripped me, sat on me, forced cod-liver oil down my throat, and then threatened to make me guess her weight if I didn't accept her meme tag.

The only redeeming factor was that she gave me a license to rant. (As in that old Arkansas story about Goldilocks and the three bears: "She rant all the way home." )

Speaking of Arkansas - My sister moved to Hot Springs while her children were small.

Seven-year old Matthew walked down the lane while the movers were unloading the truck. He came upon an old gentleman repairing a barbed-wire fence and proceeded to stand quietly and watch him.

The fellow straightened up for a moment and wiped his brow with an old blue hanky. He looked at his nosy little new neighbor and decided to make conversation.

"Hey son, what ya reckon?"

Poor little Matt. He was quite stunned by this question.

"Mister," was his shaky voiced reply, "I just got here, I haven't been wrecking anything!"
* * * * * *
Now back to the Meme. I'm going to just say the first things that come to my fingers. They often think faster than my brain when I am typing at 80 wpm. (I drive fast, too.)

Four things that should go into Room 101 and be removed from the face of the earth.
(What is Room 101?)

Cystic Fibrosis

Three things people do that make you want to shake them violently

Forget to give me pertinent information.
Pass me on the freeway then immediately pull in front of me and slow down.
Let their kids run wild in the grocery store, while yelling at them at the top of their lungs.

Two things you find yourself moaning about

The hitch in my get-along when I've sat in one position too long.
The dent in my wallet when I fill my gas tank.

One thing the above answers tell about yourself

I should walk more, drive slower and less often.

Hey..If you decide to Rant away with Goldilocks, send me an invite!

update: according to Wikpedia - Room 101

from a a BBC comedy radio and tv series, in which celebrities are invited to discuss their pet hates with the host in order to have them consigned to the eponymous chamber
or -
the location in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four within which, for each person, is the worst fear they can imagine. Appropriately, this is supposedly named after a conference room at BBC Broadcasting House where Orwell used to sit through tedious meetings

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Scenes from the 200 mile bicycle ride

Six of the eight guys at 5:00 a.m. preparing to take off from Seattle. Hubby is third from right. Group included our Pastor and two of his sons.

One of the hottest days - 98 degrees in one area and very humid . Not typical Western Washington weather.

The hubby taking a break about mid point.

The finish line at Lloyd Center In Portland, Oregon after 11+ hours of pedaling.

Our good friend Mike and the hubby race to the second finish line. The first one is out in 27 seconds.

**update. Forgot to give our good friend Kim credit for the pictures. She drove the SAG vehicle - I didn't get to go. The hubby corrected me to a bit over 11 hours on the bikes. But, the day was actually 13 hours on the road because they took rest stops as well as a lunch stop. They consumed an inordinate amount of fluids and snacks.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Meme of past posts

Shelly Dupree (but that's not who she really be) suggested I do the archive Meme. I like the idea of revisiting my favorite posts. The rules are simple. Choose something from your archives that meets the following criteria.

(Great for new readers and new blogging pals!)

* Link 1 must be about family - My Favorites is about my 7 grandchildren. At the time I wrote this we had number 8 well on the way. When we lost him, in my sorrow I returned to this post and edited him out. Now I regret doing that. But SURPRISE! Number 9 is on the way and will fill our hearts with more wonder and delight. Read and discover why he/she will soon be my favorite.

* Link 2 must be about friends - I invite you to read the haunting story of The Piper. It weaves life and death into an afternoon of a pipers echoing tune.

* Link 3 must be about myself - After reading The Runaway, you'll realize I was an annoying child.

* Link 4 must be about something you love. My husband, of course! So it was only naturally to let you see his best side on my 100th post.

* Link 5 can be anything you choose. There are so many TAGS/Memes and AWARDS rolling around the blogosphere. They are like pesky space junk that orbit the Internet and return in a meteor shower. I know someone tagged me recently to write some random facts about me. I've lost track of who it was. Thats why I'm going to let the sun shine on a certain tag, again. I allowed my alter ego, ME2 to help me out with a meme. You can read the disastrous results here.

I 'm thankful for this meme popping up at a time when my mind is distracted with other things.
I look forward to have some of you point me to your favorites, too. Go forth and be tagged..... only if you want.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Butter Mints

Robin gifted me with an ornament filled with Authentic Kiawah Island, South Carolina Spanish Moss, some Hint Mints, and yummy butter mints that melted in our mouths. No reason in particular, but for the fact that she is who she is.

Here is the proof. EXCEPT... for the butter mints. As I said, they melted in our mouths.

Thank you Robin!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Fun Monday #26 - A Friendship Ends on This Earth

When Peter (aka Willowtree), todays Fun Monday host, asked ""Tell us about your best friend. Particularly things like: where you first met, how long you've been friends and why you think you are best friends," I began writing about my life long friend.

Unfortunately, events that were expected, but not with such haste, prompted me to do an immediate rewrite.

Our Aunt Pat died yesterday. This post is dedicated to her and her Best Friend, Anne. Thanks in advance for reading. No comments necessary.

(Please do visit Peter and the other participants.)

Photo taken of Pat and Anne this spring.

Aunt Pat was a strong and intelligent woman. She was a feminist long before the word was in the dictionary. She never married. I know she had offers. She was brilliant and somewhat intimidating. (She helped develop a small portable kidney dialysis machine in the early sixties.)

When she was in her early 50’s, she met Anne on an overseas guided tour. The two hit it off.

A widow, Anne was a mother and a grandmother with a lifestyle much different. Intelligence, spunk, and delight in the world around them drew them together. They became fast friends.

For over 25 years, they met each week for dinner. They vacationed together. The two could talk for hours, and did.

Pat’s body grew weary several years ago. In our concern, we asked her to move the 250 miles to our hometown so that she would be close to family.

“I’ll think about it,” was her response. I doubt she thought about it once. The reality was that Anne was her family.

On one occasion we were talking and Pat said, “If either Anne or I had been born a man we would have been married.”

She and I laughed about the remark, but I knew she was serious. Pat loved her friend deeply.

The past five years Anne transported Pat to each medical appointment. That is only one of many items on a long list of “Anne dids.”

Each time we would call and check in, Pat informed us that Anne was taking care of ‘things.’

For the past year, Anne has been our source for keeping track of Aunt Pat. Anne’s report last week prompted the hubby to visit Pat on the weekend. They spent several hours of quality time.

Yesterday, July 22, 2007, Aunt Pat died with Anne at her side. Anne will plan the service - one last thing for her best friend.

Today if you asked me about friendship, I would describe it for you in one word: Anne.

Good-bye to a Grand Grand Lady. Thank you, Anne, for loving her.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Saturdays Show

Sunshine, Sprinklers, and Shadows
(Early this morning the three played an optical symphony.)

Snake Scenery
(The river runs 1,040 miles from the Grand Teton Wilderness, Wyoming.)

Spying on Shore Birds
(Osprey can be 22 inches tall, have a wingspan of 6 feet, and fly 40 mph.
The mama "fish hawk" charged us from her nest when our boat drifted in too close.)

(K's first tubing adventure. She was a natural.)

Surprised Siblings
(The two A's jumped a wake and smacked down hard.)

Sail Ho me Squiffy Men!
(A ghost ship flying under the Jolly Roger. Stuart Little Size.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Todays Headlines

Tooth Embedded In Rugby Player's Head

Brisbane, Australia - Ruby player Ben Czislowski kept competing for more than three months despite the headaches that started after a clash with an opponent. Last week, his doctor found a tooth embedded in Czislowski's head

***I suppose finding any teeth left in a rugby players head would be a surprise.

Worms Fall From The Sky In Jennings

Jennings Police Department employee, Eleanor Beal was just crossing the street to go to work when something dropped from the sky. "When I saw that they were crawling, I said, 'It's worms! Get out of the way!'"

***There you have it. Global Worming.

Outhouses Yields Mysterious Artifacts

VENTURA, Calif. A spot where a pair of outhouses stood 130 years ago is proving to be a treasure trove for archaeologists who braved the lingering smell in the dirt to uncover some 19th century artifacts - and a mystery.

****Pull up your stool and join the pa-a-a-a-a-awty.

Manmade hunk of Metal Crashes through roof in New Jersey

BAYONNE, N.J. (AP) A man was watching television Tuesday when he heard a crash and saw a cloud of dust. In the next room, he found a hunk of grey metal measuring about nine centimetres by 12 centimetres, with two hexagonal holes.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters said Wednesday that a colleague had solved the mystery: The chunk was part of a commercial wood chipper. How it got on a New Jersey roof was anyone's guess.

***Everyone is stumped.

Salad Prompts 1-hour Lock Down on Pittsburgh Government Office.

PITTSBURGH - It took a bomb-sniffing dog to figure out that a brown paper bag left in the bathroom of a government office building was just lunch.

The bag was found in a women's bathroom on a shelf under a sink. A sheriff's deputy arrived with a bomb-sniffing dog and quickly discovered there was nothing explosive about the salad.

***BLEW cheese. She should have asked for Roquefort.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Presents, Presents, Presents

I opened my mailbox Saturday to discover an envelope from Amy at A Family Story. I cheated on her 300th post and wrote comments until I was the winner of a Starbucks Gift Card. So now I'm heading down for a Strawberry Green Tea Frappuccino. Or blackberry, or blueberry. Y.U.M
Thank you!

The hubby rode his bicycle 200 miles on Saturday from Seattle to Portland, and then drove home on Sunday.

"I have a present for you from the team," he announced when he arrived home.

Don't you think it looks downright sweet on me? Apparently they ate a watermelon during one of their rest stops. The size of the fruit sticker prompted some laughter at my expense regarding the sticker story from last week. Thank you dear, and the rest of you cycling crazies.

Today, the mailman delivered a large envelope and a medium sized box from Min of the MamaDrama Bloggers down in Houston. I love saying "Down in Houston." It just rolls off my tongue in a very Texas drawl, and I feel like wrestlin' a steer.

Apparently, Min was impressed with the sticker story, too. At the last minute she inserted this prized possession into the envelope that she prepared to send the award certificate. Her advise?

Reserve one 'already passed' page in your date book to keep handy
for sticking all those annoying fruit stickers on. No matter where
you're lunching, the date book is often handier then a trash can. It's
important to keep tabs on these little guys, they have the habit of
turning up in the strangest places.

You must admit that Min's collection is far more colorful and plentiful than my one itty bitty washed out Nectarine sticker.

But wait, there is more! I was, after all, the 20,000th commenter on their blog. And for those of you who wonder; Yes, I commented perpetually, as I did in Amy's Starbucks contest just so I could be a winner.

D'Y'all got it? Dad blame it, dad gum it, dag nabit, I won it.

I removed the mailing wrap from the first box. In it I found bubble wrap around this 2nd box. I opened it to discover a teeny box surrounded by crimson satin.

And, in the teeny box was something that, should I upload the photo, I would no longer be able to retain my G-Rated blog status.

So, here is the deal. If you want to know what the Mama Drama team bestowed, I invite you to E-mail pamela the dust at yahoo dot com. I will reply with a picture attachment.

Thank you Min! Thank you Jenny, Kate, Heather and Stephanie. And, Dick Chainy, too.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Fun Monday #25, The Car --- The Call

Tiggerlane, the Neophyte Blogger is hosting today's fun. She is adjusting her tiara and telling everyone: I wanna see your CAR! It can be your current car, the first car you ever had, maybe your first new car with that new-car smell, a car you wrecked once, or even the dream car you would drive - given all the money in the world! Oh - and if you have a truck, SUV, lawnmower, whatever the local authorities allow you to drive, let's see it!

* * * * * * * * *

A young firefighter was off duty when he heard the call reporting a one-car rollover on his scanner. He was only one mile from the scene so he hopped in his pick up truck and headed down the country road.

The heavy downpour limited visibility, but he glimpsed the dimming lights from the car about 50 feet off the road. He pulled over, leaped from his rig, and traversed the short distance fighting the mud's attempts to suction off his boots.

When he reached the car, he recognized it and the young woman driver. She was one of the Fire Captains daughters. My Fire Captain's daughter.

I answered the phone quickly as I wasn't quite asleep. I knew Amanda should be home soon, and I was worried because the rain was relentless.

The voice on the other end of the line was a familiar one - a firefighter. He asked for the hubby and I quickly handed over the phone.

I heard the hubby's side of the conversation: Is she still in the car? How badly is she hurt? Where are you? Yes - we can be there in 20 minutes. I agree she should be transported by ambulance.

We jumped up, threw on coats, and ran out the door in less than a minute. My heart beat on my rib cage like a prisoner banging for escape on the bars of his cell.

It's every parent's nightmare; that middle of the night call to inform you of an accident involving a child. The drive there seemed to take forever, although I know it was only minutes. In the distance, the flashing blue and red lights finally came into view.

Amanda was already on the Backboard by the time we arrived and the emergency responders were loading her into the warm and dry ambulance to get a better look at her.

I could see the car on its side where it landed after flipping. The road was slimy from mud that overflowed from a rain saturated fallow wheat field. That and a set of new breaks - a treacherous combination.

She was conscious and responding correctly to the questions the paramedics were asking when we caught them at the ambulance door.

"I'm sorry about your car, mom," she said when my teary face appeared over her for a short moment.

Now that she has a daughter of her own she understands how absurd that statement was -- who cares about a piece of metal on wheels when your child is hurt and you don't know how badly.

Much later, at the hospital Emergency room, the on call physician placed the X-rays on the lighted view box.

"These are Transverse Process fractures," he explained. No head injuries. Lots of bruises and abrasions, but no other broken bones.

I have perfect recall - my standing there - looking at my daughters broken back - with her belly button ring highlighting the center of the film.

It has been nearly 7 years and Amanda's injury still triggers back pain and phantom nerve stimulation. Yoga is helpful.

(This was the only picture we could find of my 1991 Buick Regal Gran Sport Coup)
Oh yeah... the car. It was a great car. The insurance company totaled it and I eventually bought another one that gets me where I'm going.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Whale Watching Tour

Spring break of 1990, like every other spring when the girls were young, we went to the Oregon Coast. It was our first year without Karmyn; her college was on a different schedule then our school district.

Whale watching out of Depoe Bay was the adventure we chose to highlight this particular trip. It would be a first for our family.

That morning we ate breakfast in the beachfront condominium while watching turbulent breakers hit the shore. Even though the storm was miles out at sea, its effect was churning the sand and crashing high in the rocks. This, too, was a new experience for us.

The ocean refused to mellow and a three-hour postponement of the charter resulted.

After lunch, we returned to the launch area. The captains conferred and decided the trip was on.

There were several boats between 40 and 50 feet in length at the pier. Our group of four boarded with about 15 other people. The other boats were also at full capacity. The hubby and I insisted that our daughters wear life jackets, as did we. I was shocked that many of the passengers did not.

Depoe Bay has a very narrow entrance. Each boat had to time its departure to best maneuver through the churning surge.

As soon as we left the more tranquil harbor, I knew it was a mistake. I did not know that I would get so sick.

A fishing boat that belonged to the fleet radioed a whale sighting due west. The captains pointed their boats out to sea and the diesel engines droned and whined depending on our position in the swells.

The rolling waves were so deep that we lost sight of the others as we dropped into deep and angry watery canyons. Up and down, up and down, down, down, down, and then up. My lunch was threatening the “up” part, too.

Our youngest, Amanda, turned grey and the hubby took her into the small wheelhouse (?) at the center of the boat where she could sit down. Another man joined them and brought his son, who promptly regurgitated his lunch all over our expensive camera and bag.

I wanted none of that. The hubby said there would be less motion at the back of the boat so I hugged the railing and found my way there. The ride was somewhat more stable, but the diesel fumes from the struggling engine increased my discomfort.

Suddenly, a large cooler stored against the cabin slammed across the deck and knocked the woman next to me off her feet. I was too sick to offer a hand. The captain moved somewhat skillfully across to help her up.

After a brief apology, he chained the offending container with the help of his one crew member. Then, he picked up his thermos coffee cup and began to climb one-handed up the ladder that lead to the bridge. The boat lurched violently and he fell from the fourth rung and landed on the same woman that he had only a moment ago helped to her feet.

In the meantime, middle daughter Jen positioned herself on the narrow walk on the side of the boat and held tight to the railing. In her trusty raincoat, she was having the thrill of her life. She was unfazed by the vomiting people surrounding her. She dodged the majority of it and leaned into the spray from the water smashing against the hull. The young woman standing to her immediate right had been conversing with her by yelling over the engine and the ocean.

“I never get seasick,” the twenty-something woman shouted through the din. Without warning, she turned and lost all the contents of her stomach.

When Jen laughed at her, the conversation ended.

Several times from his higher viewpoint, the captain yelled “whale to starboard” or something like that. Unfortunately, I was not letting go of my rail. Besides, each whale disappeared in the swell before anyone on the deck could ever figure out where it was.

I was deliriously happy when the captain announced we were turning for home.

We rode a little smoother in the swells heading toward land. However, each boat still had to challenge the treacherous and narrow harbor entrance.

Arriving in the calm harbor, I expected to feel better. But, that didn’t happen.

I felt woozy for at least 24 hours. Amanda experienced nausea for two days.

I learned several valuable lessons from this whale-watching charter: (1) some of us cannot sail in rough seas, and (2) seasickness is physically debilitating, and (3) sometimes even sea going veterans don’t always read the ocean correctly.

I am happy to report that a few years ago I gave whale watching another chance with more positive results. This time my two sisters, my daughter Karmyn, and a niece accompanied me.

We used the same charter service and had a wonderful experience. The ocean was beautiful, the sun was shining, and the whales surfaced many times along our boat.

Moreover, because of the blessing of the day, the captains extended our cruise far beyond our allotted time.

PS. Nobody puked.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Birds and The Bees (In my Garden)

House Sparrows caught in the act.

A honey bee

I don't know who his friend is.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I'm Just Peachy

Look CLOSELY at that yummy juicy nectarine. If it wasn't for Rainier Cherries, I think the nectarine would be my most favorite summer fruit. *Tropical Fruit excluded.

That is why I ate two of them for lunch on Monday. It was my last meal, so to speak, and I wanted something that I would genuinely enjoy.

Tuesday morning I was scheduled to have a mid life crisis. You know -- a colonoscopy. This meant that I was denied dinner on Monday night. Instead, I guzzled water, caplets, more water, and more caplets.

After a miserable night, I was required to get up with the sun, eat no breakfast, and repeat the caplet and water torture one more time. I doubt the need to tell you the intended results. I will concur that it works.

Upon my arrival at the clinic, the nurse assured me that the worst of it was over. She was correct.

I don't remember anything until I heard her calling, "Wake up Pamela, wake up!!!"

Then the Gastroenterologist turned around and asked, "Say, do you like nectarines."

Even in my loopy stage of awakening, I knew that it couldn't be a routine question. Especially when he, the nurse, and the anesthesiologist were all giggling.

I can't believe I am showing this to the world. The doctor saw a strange growth of my colon and maneuvered the microscopic camera in for a closer view.
Yes, indeed! Nectarine Summeripe 4378.
You don't need to enlarge it - take my word for it.
The physicians first encounter with one in over 30 years of practice.
It could only happen to me.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Fun Monday #24, Relax

Deb at 1CrazyStitcher is todays host - and just wants to see "your favorite place to relax."

The Contessa can relax anywhere. Today she was just letting it all hang out on the couch.

I sat in my favorite relaxing chair. Immediately The Contessa jumped up on me. Lucky for me because I wasn't in the mood to apply make up. And, lucky for you that you didn't have to see me that way. (PS. for all of you who gave advise about hairballs, thanks. I'm going to try the baby food squash. She has never let me brush her, she already eats hair ball formula food, and I smear the petromalt on her legs like a cream cheese on a bagel. It is frustrating.)

The hubby is relaxing in the hammock by the pond. I like to swing there, too. He has ridden his bicycle 135 miles the past few days training for STP. (Thats the Group Health Bicycle Classic in which he will ride a little over 200 miles in one day with his cycling buddies and thousands of others.)

Join the fun and post your favorite place to relax, whether it be a "chair, corner ledge, or limb!" (Deb's quote, not mine.) Head over to Debs melon patch and hang, relax and spit a few seeds with the gang.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Blogging Chicks Carnval

There was a blogging chicks carnival today and it has been so long since I participated that I nearly forgot to link to it.

I think it's time for a reminder.... and some encouragement for those on the blogroll to participate in the next one.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

109 Degrees

If you can't stay cool... then at least you can make cool faces. A special greeting from my favorite new six year-old neighbor.

Yes, it really was that hot today. The dragonflies stayed close to our small pond. My mom called them Devil's Darning Needles.

We have friendly fish. Each and every time I walk off the patio they surface and beg for food. The hubby hopped in to clean something off of the pond bottom and they swam around between his legs and nibbled on his toes.

In the morning the lily was exquisite. But, the furnace in the sky demanded its toll.

After work, I drove home in a frying pan. The lily and I are both wilted.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Thank you Mama Drama Min

Mindy Sterba, of the infamous Mama Drama, christened me (and four others) as Rockin' Girl Bloggers.

She must have seen my last summer post, I ROCK. I worked a second job sifting the drain system rocks out of our torn up back yard.

Image Hosted by <span class=

It is always a treat to see what Min has compiled for her latest write up. Her style is inexplicable - Willowtree says I should use the word indefinable, and he is correct. I wrote this at midnight so my choice of words is not inexplicable– so I invite you to visit the Houston Chronicle’s Mama Drama team and check out the fun for yourself. Tell them I sent you.

As a recipient of this prestigious, esteemed, valued, and highly desired award, I am obligated to pay it forward to five other deserving rockers. How do I choose just five out of the 128 blogs I follow? They are all special and unique. Some of them are even rockin’guys.

Nevertheless, choose I must!

(Drum Roll Please)

Dreaming What Ifs and Full Time Everything.

Karmyn and Amanda are my daughters. I taught them everything they know. However, I did not teach them everything I know.

Grandmothers Musings.

Ruth is 80 years old. Still Rockin.

Here, There, and Everywhere 2nd Edition.

Deslily (Pat) is a Jersey Rockin Girl. She is a veritable Star Observatory (as in Hollywood.) Or, if you have interest in books of fantasy genre, then Deslily is your sorcerer. She’s read them all.

Catching The Light.

Vickie's tag line reads Diary of a Horny Red Necked Christian Woman. She is all that and more; sweet, unpretentious, funny, a great photographer and just the real deal.

Given that today is the 231st celebration of the Declaration of Independence - it was only fair that Min, who tagged me, and all the bloggers I have highlighted are all firecrackers. Please link to them and enjoy the celebration.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Fun Monday #23, Summer Memory 1969

Today's is being hosted by Jenni at Prairie Air. (Boy, could I rhyme a fun Limerick with that.) Her instructions:

ur mission, should you choose to accept it:
Share one or more of your favorite summertime memories with us. It can be a childhood memory or more recent. The memory can be a vague conglomeration of how you spent summers past (catching fireflies, playing outside till dark, watermelon seed wars) or it can be a detailed memory of a specific event. You may write a poem or short story or just tell it like it was. The main idea is to communicate the essence of summer and what symbolizes the season in words and/or pictures.

My contribution once more strays slightly from the rules. The following is a most unfavored summertime memory - but I hope it will be a favorite for you. Join the other participants and their memories by clicking here.

* * * * * * * * * *

Mom spent her first 19 years as an itinerant worker. Dad was a self-described hobo for almost as many when they met. When they said “I DO” I believe they were promising each other to love, honor, obey and to never cook over another campfire, pack another tent, or sleep on the ground again. We, therefore, were not a camping family.

Fast forward to the summer of 1969. I, their youngest child, accepted an invitation to visit my older sister Sandra who lived in Bozeman, Montana.

My brother in law Brent loved to back pack. Sis was learning. I was eager for a promised weekend exploration with them and some of their friends into the Bridger Mountains. The lack of experience and proper equipment was of no concern. Sleeping high in the sky under the stars enticed me.

The plans altered when Brent was called in to work. Their friends said I was welcome to accompany them.

Sandra showed me how to pack the essentials such as extra socks. I had new sneakers but no hiking boots.

“Food is more important than mascara,” Sandra insisted, and I petulantly removed hairspray, rollers, and lipstick. (Teenagers!)

When we finally hit the trail I was with four strangers: their friend, his two (younger than me) teenage daughters, and his pre-teen son.

It was a beautiful Montana Sky and a trail that climbed straight up towards it. By the time we hit five miles I was pee- oh -oh- pee - eee – dee, POOPED.

The rest of them stopped and stared when I removed my pack and dropped to the ground to examine my blisters.

“I think I need to go back,” I panted.

That would have been a great time to have a cell phone, but they weren’t invented yet.

“If you go back to the car,” the man told me, “you might have to wait there for two days.”

So, he picked up my back pack and carried it on top of his for the rest of the climb. By the time we reached the chosen camp spot I was feeling terribly guilty and quite a bother.

After setting up my sleeping space and being a drag on their efficient dinner routine, I was relieved that the sunset allowed me to skulk and slither into my bag. There I shivered all night from the high elevation cold, lay on seventy-jillion sharp rocks, and resisted the urge to go relieve myself because I was scared spitless.

The four of them greeted the morning with the same competent and eager attention they had displayed the previous day. In short order they were ready for the day hike on their agenda. (I kept my thoughts to myself –hadn’t we hiked enough already?)

The back packs were staying and I thought I could handle a hike just fine. An hour in, the trail narrowed and curved up a steep cliff.

“Are we going to cross that?” I questioned with disbelief.

One of the girls waved her hand at me as though she was dismissing my fears and replied, “We’ve done it bunches of times!”

The little boy smirked.

I followed them slowly, one foot in front of the other, trying not to look at the 300 foot drop off. Then the path literally disappeared and I watched them find foot holds on rocks and dig their fingers into solid ones above their heads pressing their bodies flat against the sharp slope.

“Hey you guys,” I called , and heard my voice echo on a canyon wall. “I can’t do this, I’m going back to the campsite.”

After assuring them I could find my way back, I slid on my behind sideways until I was away from the ledge.

I made a few wrong turns and read “lost hiker” headlines in my worried thoughts.

The campsite finally came into view on the wrong side of the canyon. Rather than retrace my steps I chose to trudge through some nasty looking brush and trees growing atop another steep drop off.

I was halfway across when the tangled alpine trees and brush began thrashing violently. The sudden pounding of my frightened heart drowned out the rustling of an approaching beast. This was Grizzly country so I prepared to throw my body off the cliff into the frigid water below. When it broke through into the clearing, a beautiful 8-point buck looked at me with disdain, turned gracefully and disappeared over a ridge.

I poured to the ground in a puddle of relief. Picking myself up to finish the trek, I vowed to never leave the campsite again.

They hiked again the next day, but I remained with the rocks by the lake shore. Any memories of the hike back to the car and drive home are a blur.

I never backpacked again.