Thursday, June 27, 2013

Las Vegas, Off The Strip

I was thinking that perhaps I should make it clear we didn't actually take our kids down for a week of gambling in Vegas! It sort of sounded like it.

An array of cousins to play with

A family reunion brought us to the desert and a discovery that there is a bit more to Vegas than flashy hotels and glittering shows.

The beauty of vacation is that you can just sit around and veg in the heat, and that's just what we adults did. The kids were oblivious to the heat and spent tons of time running through the yard (grass!), playing in the treehouse (trees!), and jumping on the trampoline.

It really was a lovely little oasis in our normally hectic lives.

SPF 70!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


We just spent a week in Las Vegas, including the 20 hour drive down and the 17 hour one back. BLRGGGHHH. That's all I can say about that.

But, Nevada. Hmmm, it's kind of a weird state. If you're from Nevada, I'm sorry. I'm sure it's lovely in areas (it is, we drove through some of them)

and it grows on you (but not much else grows there. It's so HOT!)

but it's not going anywhere on a list of places I might be interested living in.

Part of it is the whole bizarre concept of Las Vegas. An entire city in the middle of nowhere devoted to feats of engineering and illusion. Lights and smoke camouflage the cracks in the facades and the dirt in the corners and the goals seem to be to obliterate memories (alcohol!) and wallets (gambling!).

We drove through some of the most desolate land I think I've ever seen. And people live there. What do they do? How do they survive? These are questions I contemplated as I snapped photos and spammed all of my friends and followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. (Sorry everyone but I was desperate for entertainment and my kids had the Kindle.)

(in desperation I ended up reading two entire books on my phone while we drove, because apparently we need Kindles for everyone when we travel long distances. Ha!)

Then there were the brothels, renamed "Ranches" I noticed. I don't want to dig into the metaphor too deeply.

Finally, there's Area 51. If aliens did ever visit they picked the perfect discreet spot. If they didn't, well it's the perfect discreet spot for government activities they don't want anyone to know about. (I've just put myself on multiple watch lists...)

All that to say...I like to travel so if you're up for a road trip I could probably be convinced to tag along again.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Favorite Scramble

The Mt. Hood Scramble is my favorite race. I realized that as I was on my hands and knees crawling through brush and trying to locate the next pink tape fluttering from a tree branch to tell me where to go. My shoes were oozing muddy water.

Excited to start!

I've written about this race before, I've run it every year since I discovered it except for those two lifestyle hampering pregnancies I survived. It's grueling and crazy and challenging fun. Every year is different and there's always something that catches you by surprise. This year it was getting stuck in the river for a few moments with one leg pulled down by the current and the other stuck on a root, then I clawed my way up the other side of the bank.

Muddy Aftermath

It's just so out of the ordinary; it's literally a breath of fresh air, no matter that the elevation makes you feel like you're sucking it in through a straw.

Can't wait until next year!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Monday, June 10, 2013

Steigerwald Lake

We're trying to ramp up our outdoor explorations again. A couple of weekends ago we explored the lowlands right before you enter the Columbia Gorge. Steigerwald National Wildlife Refuge.

We managed a count of 18 giant orange dragonflies, 1 deer, 1 swan, a bunch of ducks, and a variety of other birds of various sizes. Please note all of the bird watching. My children are forcing me to acknowledge birds and hide my instinct to cower. They are very challenging (The children. And the instincts...)

Note of interest for this trail - it's dotted with sculptures. They're nicely placed along the path and we enjoyed them. Then, right at the end, The Princess stopped to peek into a hole in a tree. Hidden inside was a sculpture of a giant beetle. There was no indication that it was in there, just a child's curiosity would make the delightful discovery!

Now we definitely have to go back and scour the hidden areas for more treasures!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Polka Dots

A May wedding.
We had torrential rain all week; monsoon quality.
But this day, it was perfect.


Monday, June 3, 2013

I'm a Runner

I'm a runner. I find it absurd to type that because much of my relationship with running involves an inner dialogue along the lines of "I'm never ever doing this again, this totally sucks." And yet, I find myself back out on a trail or the hot tarmac again...

Hood to Coast Relay. 196 miles, 36 hours. Crazy

Some of it's practical, it's a good way to stay in shape. Some of it's just plain cheap therapy. Sometimes there actually is that "runner's high" feeling. Some of it is stubbornness, I hate to quit.

But, my many years' history with running seems to point out that I might actually just be built for running...

Night running!

It began officially in 6th grade. Our PE teacher started the 100 mile club that year. Every kid in the school was eligible to win a prize if they ran 100 miles in a school year. We ran a mile every day at the start of PE class - that's a lot of miles but there were still many miles to be run outside of school, and run them I did. Since I am also ridiculously competitive I was also working my best time - 6:04 that year.

School Sports Day, Rosslyn Academy. Kenya, East Africa

When we came back from Kenya sports was the easy way to find a group in school. Since there was no way I could compete on the field hockey field, running it was. I made it to State every year, despite a vow to quit during each and every race. Running the backwoods of Maine with my Dad on the bike and our chocolate lab crashing through the forest was an experience I loathed at the time but treasure now. Things always look better when you've survived potential death from lack of oxygen.

And, now here I am twenty years later still running. Slower, achier, just as out of breath. Some things change, some don't.

A few weeks ago The Princess ran her first race. She was so excited. That girl ran her 1/2 mile with a nonstop smile in just less than 4 minutes. I was so proud, especially when I noticed her fantastic stride.

And then, the other day as I met up with her, Sweetpea, and Steve with just a mile left on my run, she asked if she could join me. I slowed down, she took off, and we ran the last mile together. She ran the entire thing chatting the whole way and when she finished she asked when we could do it again.

She's a natural, maybe she gets it from me.