Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Adventure’ Category

I live in a community that is filled with stay-at-home moms and blue hairs.  That combination together makes for a very “narcissistic” experience anytime you go out.   Each Friday the kids and I head out to our favorite shopping experience (Trader Joe’s) but getting to and from the car can bring a level of extreme adventure to the table that could rival climbing Mount Everest in the risk and cost factor.  This is the inspiration to my Top Ten Tuesdays!

10.  When scouting out a parking spot, it is not acceptable behavior to pass by a soon-to-be available parking spot, throw on the brakes and then proceed to back up (without looking) ten spots to try to get it.  Look, you missed it, move along and give the poor schmuck behind you a opportunity to reap the rewards of your cluelessness while saving his and your bumper!

9.  I notice that blue hairs rarely ever look over their shoulder while backing out.  It is more like this; adjust review mirror, slam into reverse and hit the gas pedal.  Apparently, nothing exists beyond the scope of what is in view of the review mirror.

8.  It seems that those that are BMW owners think that the parking lot is the Autobahn.  If there is a speeding car in the parking lot, it is a BMW 99.9% of the time.  I know that the company once known for making airplanes, but that ship sailed decades ago.  You are not in an airplane ready for take off, you are in a car in a parking lot full of all kinds of obstacles, mainly me and my two small children trying to push a cart to our car.

7.  When you open your door, please be mindful of the GIANT car within 2 feet of yours.  Having your red paint scraped across my door panel just pisses me off!

6.  Mothers, when loading up your groceries, please secure your small children first.  Allowing your children to play chicken with the BMW is not going to fare well for either party.  Do you know how much BMW parts cost to replace?

5. Those that keep Cujo in the car as they run errands.  Nothing is more frightening than while getting out of your car a dog in the car next to you jumps up out of nowhere and is able to stick their head through the crack and snaps at you. Don’t make me have to use my pepper spray on the beast!

4.  Those that leave unruly children in the car, because they would be hellions in the store is not working for you either.  Yes, they are secure in the car, but jumping up and down in the driver’s seat and manhandling all the controls is a recipe for disaster.  Risk them knocking down a few display items than taking out 5 parked cars, a little old lady and her purse dog, and a parking lot light post. Trust me your parenting style will be judged about the same with less damage.  Better yet leave them at home and risk them burning down your house.  At least it would limit it to YOUR stuff being damaged.

3.  When looking for a parking spot please multi task and watch for pedestrians! 

2. When you know someone is waiting ever so patiently for your spot as you load, please  don’t decide you can shift into tortoise mode just to be a PITA.  I saw you zipping across the parking lot and loading up your bags with a purpose before you saw that someone is waiting for you to leave.  Trust me your display of new-found power is just making you look like a Jack-a-lope!

1.  PUT YOUR CART AWAY!  It is beyond me why people have issues with this concept, because they would be the first to have a fit if someone’s abandoned cart plowed into the side of their car or into their tail light.  This is not only the top of this top ten, but this is my biggest pet peeve.  If I can put a cart away with two small children, anyone can!

Read Full Post »

 

A quick order of housekeeping.  Today I have been on double duty for Top Ten Tuesdays and  was also  featured on the recently Freshly Pressed blog of  The Life of Jamie as her guest blogger! Thank you Jamie, it was fun!

In almost every town in America there are certain neighborhoods that ban together and go all out decorating their houses for Christmas.  They are a festive bunch that are willing to invite all of the public into their neat and tidy cul-de-sac streets and manicured sidewalks.  They even make sure they park in their garages so there are no cars on the street for optimum Christmas light viewing.  Their kids pass out home-made cookies and hot coco and there are even little bins where you can dump your expired canned goods to go towards the homeless.  Yes, it is a bit of Mulberry in the new millennium.  But like anything wonderful and soulful, there has to be a group of jack-a-lopes that have to go and ruin the fun. 

Yes, I am going to bombard everyone with my 12-days of Christmas crap inspired moments well into the New Year!  This moment inspired me enough to make it part of my Top Ten Tuesdays! 

10:  If you decide to bring your dog please clean up after it.  Nothing spreads the smell of holiday cheer than dog poo on the bottom of your shoe which transfers into the car!

9.  If you have kids that must wear roller skates, ride a scooter/skate board or even a bike make them risk it in the middle of the street with the drivers not paying attention to their driving and more to the Whoville exhibit.  I would much rather them get hit from behind than me or my small children.

8.  If you are driving to the area and wish to park and walk the neighborhood, please pay attention to where you friggin’ park.  Seriously? Parking right in front of the house with the Charlie Brown Christmas exhibit works for you?  At least you could pull up six feet and not be blocking Snoopy and the Woodstock!  Really, I saw a whole family in a mini-van do this two nights ago.

7.  If you are going to partake of the goodies supplied by the local kids, give them a buck and pack out your trash!

6.  Don’t allow your kids to play tag in the sea of cool inflatable Christmas characters.  Someone is going to trip over the tie downs and get hurt and somehow it becomes the owner of the house fault.  Again, another true story only in Southern California my friends.  Now you know why Gloria Allred is so successful!

5. Why does someone feel compelled that as long as it is dark outside that it is OK to wear jammies.  It is 6:30 pm, it is not even prime time TV time yet. This goes along with my whole thing with middle-aged women not wearing jammies in public.  

4. You are not cool cruising up and down the streets standing up through your sunroof texting!  What do you think this is? South Beach? Jersey Shore? The only thing that is out looking at Christmas lights are annoyed husbands, grumpy grandparents, screaming kids and frumpy housewives. 

3. Be mindful that there are others wanting to walk along the same sidewalk as you.  So stopping in the middle of the sidewalk while texting, attending to a needed item within your stroller or adjusting yourself is considered rude and it holds everyone hostage to your narcissism. 

2. If you chose to drive instead of walk, turn off your headlights, everyone’s retinas will thank you!

 1. Parents when you let your kids get hopped on Starbucks and then they are running a muck and smack into me or my small child, do not get testy with me when I “accidentally” push them into a bush to slow them down. “Opps, I guess little Timmy should have been more careful on where he was going!  That bush just came out of no where!”

Read Full Post »

Not my jeep, but looks exactly like it.

When I was in my mid- to- late twenties I was a Human Resources Manager and Payroll Manager for a large car dealership with several locations.  There were about 220 employees that ranged from sales, service techs,parts clerks, managers, office staff, etc.  We had a color of diversity in culture, personalities and management styles.  The one department I very much loved and appreciated was the Service and Parts Departments.  It was a man’s world and I tend to get along very well with men; I am not easily offended and I love practical jokes.  Every day I would check in with the various service departments and get my fix of off-color banter and practical jokes.  I was far from being a conventional Human Resource Manager, which I was told made me a good one (I think many in my field would debate that).

I had recently bought a brand new bright yellow Jeep Wrangler (that was the love of my life until I got pregnant and had to sell that for my beloved Volkswagen wagon – somewhere in Idaho that little yellow Jeep is playing in the snow.).  The first day I drove it to work a bunch of the service technicians and managers were standing in the service bay drinking coffee and one yelled out, “Did someone call a cab?”.  They did that everyday, thereafter, it never grew old to them.   As I was getting out of the car, one of the service managers starting giving me the business that I must have decided to change teams.  “Change teams?” , I asked.  He said,  “Yes, you decided to become a “lip stick” lesbian.” He continued with,  “Everyone knows that when an attractive single woman buys a Jeep that is their “coming  out” gift to themselves.”  I just rolled my eyes and laughed and finished his banter with famous Seinfeld line, “Not that there is anything wrong with that!.” 

A few days later I had happened to pull into the local health food store and a woman just pulled in right behind me and started up a very friendly conversation. Once inside she kept following me and talking and finally she blurted out that I was so beautiful and she just has to go out on a limb and see if I am seeing anyone.  Me, being naive, yet obviously knowing that she was on the opposite team the minute I met her, I thought she was asking because she had a brother or a male friend she wanted to set me up with.  I told her I was single and she said, “Great, would you like to go to dinner with me tomorrow,”  My head started spinning since I had never been picked up by a woman before. I turned a million shades red and fumbled all over myself trying to find the words to say,  “I am not gay,  but flattered by your invitation.”  The woman then proceeded to ask me if that was my Jeep I was driving.  I was a little confused what my Jeep had to do with this, but I told her it was.  She looked really confused and then rejected and quickly excused herself. 

The next day I went into work and told the two service managers about my adventure in the health food store and they were just rolling on the floor in tears holding their stomachs.  One of them said to me, “See, I told you, that Jeep is going to open doors to your rather boring dating life that you never knew existed.” 

Over the next two weeks I had four more similar experiences happen like at the health food store.  Every time I would go and tell the service managers about it and they would just be hysterical over it.  I was starting to think they were right.  Wow! I never knew the type of car you drove determined your sexual orientation.  It was a shame that I was not interested in women because my dating life would have been resurrected from the dead. 

A few days later I was leaving work early and it was the light of day.  I went to put a box of employee handbooks in the back of my Jeep and there I saw it; the answer of why all the advancements from the same-sex.  It was a thin rainbow bumper sticker that ran along the length of my bumper.  I never saw this before, I had not put anything in back of my jeep until that day, the way I parked at home never gave me the opportunity to see it and I never left work before sunset. 

The sticker looked very closely like this.

The minute I saw the sticker, I knew who the culprits were.  I peeled it off my bumper and headed into the service manager’s office. As I entered in the office with the sticker in hand they exploded into laughter and asked me what took me so long.  They told me that they put that on my Jeep the very frist week I bought it.   They said it was a riot to hear me come in and tell of my encounters and walk away so puzzled by how a car could be that impactful. Now it made sense why each woman looked utterly confused when I would tell them I was not gay.   Apparently, the whole service and part department were in on this joke and were highly amused.  I had to admit after all the practical jokes I was in on with other people, I had it coming to me and I too had a good laugh.  However, I did tell them to fasten their seatbelts, the karma from the lesbian community coming back to them was going to be really bad.

Read Full Post »

It was a dark and stormy afternoon, this past Tuesday, as we headed out to the “Happiest Place on Earth”  for their special Halloween celebration.   When I woke up Tuesday morning it was raining, not just raining, but pouring!  The kind of pouring that Texans call, ” a cow pissin’ on a flat rock” pouring.   I live in Southern California, the only worry we have in October are wildfires, not rain, thunder, lightning and hail. 

With the weather the way it was and the forecast showing it only gettng worse,  I called Disney to see if we could get a rain check since I had purchased these tickets for the family in advance for this particular day.  They nearly laughed me off the phone and pretty much told me that I could buy a poncho from one of the many gift shops and to pretty much suck it up.  So we packed up the kids and headed to the Happiest Place on Earth. 

When we got there, we loaded the kids up in the double stroller and put their rain coats on.  We headed out of the parking structure, which is conveniently located about a mile from the park entrance.  You can take a tram from the parking structure, but that would mean we would have to break down the stroller and all its contents (I tend to over pack when on outings so my stroller usually looks like a yak or sherpa heading to base camp of Everest).   It was only a light drizzle so we decided to “go for it”.   About three minutes into the walk, the heavens open up and we get soaked. It is raining cats and dogs!  I have PD1 holding a unbrella and trying to referee her from stabbing her sister in the eye with the umbrella spokes that is sitting behind her.   While trying to do that, I am not paying attention to where I am going and walk through puddles that could support a school of fish. 

We finally get to the gates, I am soaked, the hubs is soaked, but the kids are fairly comfortable and dry.  As we enter through the security portion of the entrance the Disney staff, must have taken pity on my “drowned rat cat” appearance and did not force the issue.

As we head in there are a million people there!  How could this be? It is pouring! Are there this many people as cheap and dumb as me to insisting on going to Disneyland in the rain?  Everyone is wearing those infamous ponchos that the customer service rep told me about.  I refused to not get one out of principal, which the only person it hurt was me, my rain jacket lost it luster of holding back the rain about an hour into the adventure.

While navigating through the park and you combine strollers, rain, people in ponchos and people texting, you are in the making of a huge disaster of pending foot, leg, hip, arm, back , neck and most of all butt injuries. The butt injuries are the most common because when someone is stupid enough to be pushing a stroller in the rain, while wearing a poncho that they can’t see in, and trying to text or twitter about how much fun they are NOT having at Disneyland, and they run over you, well lets just say the phone finds a new home.

Finally it is time for some rides!  We unload the kids and head to Dumbo!  The line is pleasantly short and we head into the loading section.  As I am stepping into the pink elephant, I am welcomed with an ice cold drench to the feet.  The friggin’ bottom of the ride if full of water!  Oh great! Just great!  Well, that explains why that ride had a short line.  Shortly after my feet get drenched, they rid the water from each bottom.

After Dumbo we take refuge in the Merrry-Go- Round until the rain lets up.   It is now dark and we head to Small World to only find that it is closed.  Drat! However, there is a long line and at Disneyland long lines usually means something fun and exciting.  I ask a random middle-aged guy standing in line with his family what the line was for, he said, “Candy!”  Candy?  I was puzzled.  I know that during this event Disneyland has stations set up for the kids to go and grab a handful of candy from, but this line was something deserving of meeting Mr. Wonka himself.I pressed the guy a bit further to the details of the “candy” and he said, “It is just candy!”  I could not help but laugh out loud and say, “Seriously, you are waiting in an hour long line, in the rain, for plain Hershey bars?”  He said, “Yes, it is all about the experience, plus they give you a lot of candy for the wait!”  I replied back in my soaken, sassy tone, ” Well, if it is a lot of candy you are looking for,  that is what Costco is for!” He was not amused. 

I kept looking back at the line and it just kept getting longer and longer.  The hubs kept saying that we may be missing something so I again asked a staff member and they verified it was just the candy line.  Those people were insane! They had small children, standing in the rain getting soaked for a few measly candy bars!  The hubs and I both agreed that we would rather have hemroid surgery than be that stupid. 

The evening was full of misfits and odd ordeals.  We managed to NOT stay dry, but we kept our humor and mockery of all the idiots we saw.  We must have rode the Merry-Go-Round and Dumbo a million times and we did manage to traumatized PD1 on two of the rides, which I will address in part two of this series. 

The moral of this story is don’t go to Disneyland ever while it is raining, even if you already have paid for your tickets in advance. You will only be surrounded by stupid, wet and insane people. The smart, dry and sane people stayed home and watched Toy Story and ate candy from Costco.

Read Full Post »

The hubs brother and wife are trying to set up another outdoor adventure for this summer with us.  In discussion with the hubs about possible dates, he pulled up this post and told me to re-read this to remind myself what we are going to get ourselves into.  Apparently, they have upped the ante and this adventure will involve kayaks.  Great now they are going to try to do me in by telling me it is a “calm and relaxing lake” just around the bend and I will be in a class 4 rapid heading straight for a 80-foot waterfall!

  

Day Three of “Four Days of Outdoor Adventure Fodder” Continued . . .    

Like I mentioned before, I went on a 57-mile backpacking trip with the hub’s brother and his wife about 3 or so years ago.   It was a trip that came equipped with many adventures, some down right scary and unpredictable, some created by the environment, and some self-induced.    

A Snake:  We had just started out on the backpacking journey. I had my 37-pound pack strapped to my back, my hiking sticks, and my IPOD charged and jamming as I led the crew, trail blazing, like I was Lewis and Clark.  We were at about the four mile mark into the trip, I had U2’s, “Desire”, blaring on one ear and completely in a zone scrambling over the elevated rocky terrain.  As I was stepping up and around one larger rock I heard a rattle and then felt and heard the strike.  That all happened in about .2 seconds.  I freaked, OK I not only freaked, I was hysterical. First off , I hate snakes and have  a tremendous phobia of snakes of any kind.  I can’t even handle seeing them on TV.  Secondly, I hate snakes and wished they were all extinct – end of story.     

    

So here I am flailing and screaming at the top of my lungs, “I got struck, I got struck!”  I then lost my balance and fell backwards smack into the hubs.  He catches me somewhat, organizes me about six feet away from the “attack site” and begins to question me.  I am ripping off my left shoe terrified and now just half hysterical! My mind was racing on how the heck am I going to get out of here and why the heck am I not feeling any pain. “It must be shock!”, I thought.  The brother-in-law was rummaging through his pack for the snake kit and the sister-in-law looked like she just saw a ghost.     

I finally got my shoe and sock off and to my surprise the reason I was not feeling any pain was because that damn snake struck me on the thick leather portion of my hiking shoe!  It only grazed my skin, never puncturing it.  You could see where the fangs grazed the skin.  Everyone all breathed again and I kept rubbing my eyes out of disbelief I was so lucky.   The guys went over to investigate the scene. Sure enough there was a 6-foot rattlesnake hiding under the rock he was originally sunbathing on when I surprised him.    

After I gathered up my wits again, I had to press onto the journey. I knew that in just a few short miles I would be at elevation and I would not see a snake for days. That was motivation enough for me to keep from throwing in the towel and head to the closest Marriott.  The hardest part at that moment was I was going to have to walk past the snake hiding under the rock.  I never hustled so fast in my life.     

To this day I am more jumpy than I ever have been when it comes to trail running and hiking.  I actually drive the hubs crazy with my new and improved snake phobia, but he does swear that I must be  part cat since I used up one of my nine lives that backpacking trip.      

Four Letter Pass and a Near Broken Neck: On a side note, I need to preference that when you decide to go on a 57-mile backpacking trip with huge elevation changes, gear is a factor one must always consider.  Now anyone that truly knows me, knows that I am very generous with others, but cheap when it comes to myself.  The hubs tried to convince me to buy a new backpack for this trip, but the sister-in-law said I could use one of their old ones.  She did let me know it was and external frame that was probably 20-25 years old.  Being cheap, not wanting to spend the $300.00 for comfort and taking the risk for future writing material, I opted for the “vintage” free one.  Two words: BAD MISTAKE!   

The "vintage" pack I tortured myself with.

The pack I should of thrown down the dough for!

We were on day four of our journey and we were now in the thick of elevation.    None the less this day started early and I knew that I had my work cut out for me with the climb of Glenn Pass.  At its highest point it is around 12, 000 feet.  Climbing anything above 10,000 feet can be challenging, but then add a large pack and you are essentially screwed.   As we started the climb I went to my place I go when I have to push my body to its brink.  It is a true savior at about the 18-mile marker of a marathon,  the transition from the bike to the run during a triathlon and when you are schlepping up a mountain side with very little oxygen and carrying a yak on your back.  The ascent had its challenges, but easier than I expected. It was now time for the fun part, the descent! So I thought . . .      

The brother-in-law said that the lakes we could see as we were going down was the area we were camping for two nights.  All we have to do is just get down to the bottom and it was set up camp, eat, fly fish and relax in God’s country for two days!  I was like a horse to the stable, I was off and running!  After about two hours of heading down the switchbacks of Glen Pass, I realized that the lakes were still as far away as they were 2 hours ago.  My legs were now jelly and my gusto was fading.  I kept telling the hubs, “Are we there yet?”  Another hour goes by and still we are not getting any closer.  We never stopped to rest, we just kept pressing on. The “mirage” of the destination was still completely out of reach.  My knees were now swelling from the hours of impact of hiking down the step trail, my head was pouring and my spirit was now not only broken, but I was pissed off!       

  

Just about that time we hit level ground and were at the lake!  I thought, “Thank God! We are finally here!”  Nope, we now had to walk another mile  around this God forsaken lake and then over a fallen log and down another trail to reach the friggin’ campsites.   I thought I was going to kill someone, if I had the strength.  Each step was like I was negotiating for another.   I think I may have hallucinated a helicopter and maybe a burro coming to my rescue on a few occasions.   It was the longest day of my life and I felt it would never end.     

  

 Like  child-birth, kidney stones, gall stones and broken femurs, they do have their moments of uncontrollable behavior and bad coping skills.  We  just seen the sign for the camp and the brother-in-law, who left us in the dust when my knees started acting up, was standing there in a clearing. I was so thankful and almost giddy that it was over.  I was already starting to unfasten my “cheap-A” backpack when he said that the camp was still about 1/4 of mile up the trail and he just came to show us where it was.   I lost it!  I flung that thirty something pound “cheap -A” backpack off my body and like the Incredible Hulk, held it over my head and threw it with all the remaining strength I had.  The brother-in-law looked at me as if I was Linda Blair from the ” The Exorcist” and the hubs tried to hold in the laughter since he never saw me crack like that.  

It's not a backpack, but you get the idea!

Once I threw the pack, I knew something was not right.   I could not lift my head. My neck froze!  I could not move my head up or down nor left to right.  It was like I was paralyzed.  It was the result of looking down for hours with the aluminum bar of the backpack pressing down on the back of my neck (having a physical and emotional meltdown probably did not do it any favors  as well).  I was scared to death that I was seriously injured.  The hubs and the brother- in-law jumped into action and led me to the camp.  We were now 20 plus miles in and the only way out was by helicopter or burro.  The pain was so intense I loaded up with Advil and fully clothed jumped into the frigid alpine lake hoping that would cool my muscles down and unlock my neck.  It worked!     

 
 
 

 

Actual shot of Glen Pass (a.k.a. Four Letter Pass)

The next morning while drinking coffee, feeling the stiffness and painful effects of the previous day, and gazing at Glen Pass I realized that I must have dropped the “F-bomb” a million times while hiking down its endless switchbacks.  At that moment I renamed it “Four Letter Pass”.   It was a unanimous vote for all that were present for that profanity filled adventure.    

(161. . . should have never had the half of the ice cream sandwich with the hubs)    

   

   

Read Full Post »

The Fourth and Final Day of “Four Days of  Outdoor Adventure Fodder” continued. . .

This is a little ditty, dedicated to the brother-in-law.  I made up to pass the time during the Ray Lakes adventure.  It is set to the tune of “Twelve Days of Christmas”.

On the first day of backpacking the brother-in-law gave to me, a “vintage” backpack from the pit of Hell.

On the second day of backpacking the brother-in-law gave to me, two snake kits.

On the third day of backpacking the brother-in-law gave to me, three rapid river crossings.

On the fourth day of backpacking the brother-in-law gave to me, four stormy nights.

On the fifth day of backpacking the brother-in-law gave to me, five bugs of giardia!

On the sixth day of backpacking the brother-in-law gave to me, six snakes are striking!

On the seventh day of backpacking the brother-in-law gave to me, seven sleepless night!

On the eighth day of backpacking the brother-in-law gave to me, eight days of sunburn.

On the ninth day of backpacking the brother-in-law gave to me, nine blisters bleeding!

On the tenth day of backpacking the brother-in-law gave to me, ten more miles to go!

On the eleventh day of backpacking the brother-in-law gave to me eleven, itchy bug bites!

On the twelfth day of backpacking the brother-in-law gave to me, twelve thousand foot drop-offs!

(162! Huh?  I am blaming the heat and water retention! )

Read Full Post »

Day Two of Four Days of Outdoor Fodder Continued . . .

 

A few summers ago, my hub’s brother and wife invited us on a 57-mile backpacking trip in King’s Canyon, California.  We were going to do the Ray Lakes Loop which consisted of nearly seven days of . . . hell.  I decided that is how they tried to initiate me into the family.  They wanted to see if I had what it takes to make it in this family by taking me out into the wilderness and exposing every nerve and emotion I may have and if I was truly the girl scout and outdoor girl I claimed to be.  Most of the time I rose to occasion and even surprised myself.  Yes, there were some not so shining moments, but seriously, digging a hole for your poo, is never a shining moment and I coined that whole business, “the archaeological dig”.   There was another not so fortunate situation for me that is still discussed today by all that were present, mostly the hubs.

In preparation of this trip my sister-in-law and I worked on the menu of meals. I was responsible for two dinners and she was responsible for three, we were on our own for breakfast and lunch.   They were in their second or third year  of backpacking and I had been backpacking most of my teen and adult life.  I remember thinking after the fourth phone call on just the subject of  meals during backpacking, “this is not my first rodeo, so I got this in the bag.” 

Me, being a minimalist by the influence of a father that taught survival training to USAF Academy Cadets, I thought my extra effort of tossing a small bottles of wine, champagne, gourmet cheese, salami and some social crackers I found at World Market Cost Plus would just blow them away.   I even found some pre-made polenta and chipped beef that you could throw into a skillet on the camp stove add a little parmesan and wallah, a bit of the mediterranean at 10,000 feet!  I was cocky as a peacock as I was cramming all these different ingredients I found at Trader Joe’s and World Market Cost Plus into my bear box. 

The first night was their turn for dinner.  We got a mid-afternoon start so I had no idea how they rolled in the food department, since we never stopped for lunch.  After setting up camp I went to help prepare dinner.  It was like she was Mary Friggin’ Poppins when she pulled out her bear box.  All these ingredients came out of no where and all I could hear was Alton Brown, from Iron Chef America, narrating what I was seeing happening before my eyes.  She was making chicken curry over rice and not from one of the dreadful freeze-dried packages of Mountain House that backpacker’s use!   She is going to spank me in the meal department – I am very competitive by nature, so my head was spinning.  I calmed down a bit with the thought I am not a big fan of curry nor is the hubs, so she may not have this in the bag. 

Oh no! It was unbelievably good! The best curry I ever had to this day and then she followed it up with an instant pudding dessert that was delectable and a perfect finish to a great meal!   That night while trying to get to sleep, I shared with the hubs my concern that I have just been schooled in the Iron Chef Outdoors aspect of this trip and  hope my polenta dish will save face.  My hubs knowing his brother, clued me in that his brother researches things for months, tests them out and does everything with amazing perfection.  He does not know the word failure and his wife normally follows suite.  

I could not sleep that night, I was dreading my meal.  I did not research a thing, I made up my whole menu in the dry good aisle of Trader Joe’s.  I finally had a plan!  I will open a bottle of wine and serve that first, alcohol mixed with altitude will be my edge!  A girl has got to do what a girl has got to do.  It was not like I could run down to the next tree bend and find a market, I was committed. 

The next day I was energized by my plan and by lunch I was back to the role of cocky again until . . . we stopped for lunch.  They pull out their bear box and again it was like Mary Friggin’ Poppins.  There was bagels, peanut butter, packages of tuna with mayo and relish,  good salami and provolone cheese (she vacuumed sealed herself) , this amazing trail mix it when on and on.  I open my bear box and it was now smushed warm Laughing Cow cheese, broken crackers and a pouch of tuna with bread that was so dense and hard it was like eating a brick of cardboard.  I could see my hubs looking at the lunch he was eating and then at their spread of envy.  I think I saw a tear running down his face.  I was beside myself, I was getting skunked in the foodie department in a bad way. 

That night my chipped beef over polenta was terrible! Can I say, “Got too much salt?”  I think everyone swelled up like the Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters.  The only things that helped each person get that meal down was the vino and the fact we were starving.  As we were going to bed, my hubs said, “Oh, thank God it is their turn for dinner tomorrow!”  I rolled over and fell asleep swollen and defeated.  

The next morning I swallowed my pride and looked forward to their meals.  Oh were they good! They were the only good things we got to eat.  On the car ride home from the trip, my hubs told me that next time we do this with them, I need to take what I learned from my defeat and beat the pants off of them.  Trust me, the rematch of Iron Chef Outdoors will have a much better outcome!  I will reign!

(160)

Read Full Post »

In the spirit of this being the last summer holiday weekend when many are packing up their cars, RVs, trailers, backpacks and coolers to set out for one last hurrah, I want to celebrate the close of yet another summer with some outdoor adventure fodder!  After each post, feel free to share with me any of your adventures or misfits with the great outdoors; amusement and misery always loves company!

________________________________________________________________________

Morning Yoga and a Bear

 

The hubs and I have a love for the great outdoors, while many go to beach resorts to reconnect, we rather reconnect sleeping on the cold hard ground, have no toilet facilities or very primitive ones, enjoy the taste of dirt with every bite during meals and push our bodies to the extreme level climbing mountains.  Of course this would bring anyone closer!  The feeling you are going to die any moment, regardless if you are sleeping in a tent or scaling a 18 inch ledge 3,000 feet up, would definitely wake anyone up to noticing your spouse.  These experiences just brings us closer and gives us a totally appreciation of clean sheets, the fizz of soda, warm showers and an evening with the boob tube!

On one of our very first adventures as a couple, we decided to hike to Half Dome in Yosemite and then climb it.  Since it makes for a very long day, most that do this camp out the night before and the night after.  We found a campsite about a 40 minute car ride to the trail head that was set back in a very remote area outside of the park.  If you have ever been to Yosemite you would understand that they have a bear problem, a seriously bad bear problem.   The camp host said that he had not seen a bear in this particular area in years, but that did not rule out the possibility of one wandering through the grounds at any given time. 

Around 4:45 am, I woke the hubs up telling him I had to go to the bathroom and would he come with me.  He could have been resembled as a bear with his grouchy response, ” I told you not to drink any water before bed, you are on your own!”  I tried to explain to him that I left my glasses at home and I can’t see, so I needed him to guide me to the outhouse – I am literally blind without my glasses or contacts.  He just mumbled something obnoxious and turned over.  I laid there for a while seeing if I could hold it and the stream running right next to our campsite was not helping that situation.

I finally grab the flash light and proceeded to head out into the darkness. As I was leaving the tent I head the him call out chuckling, “Watch out for bears!”  I just rolled my eyes and headed out into the darkness towards the direction of my relief. 

I was kidding myself, I could not see a thing even with the flash light .  Using the solar-powered light attached to the outhouse as a guide, I stumbled along the walkway.  I was just about 20 feet away from the bathroom when all of a sudden something appeared in the shadows from behind it.  It was tall, big, black and about 50 feet away from me.  I froze, shut off my flash light and reached my arms in the sky and stood as tall as I could.  I remembered that  is what you are supposed to do when you see a bear.  It kept coming towards me, my heart was nearly beating out of my chest, I was sweating profusely and sick to my stomach.  “This is it”, I was thinking “When it hits me, just play dead”.  The black image is now at the outhouse and it stops, turns to me and says, “Good Morning, aren’t the stars just amazing!”

I am still frozen in the “bear is going to eat me” pose and I numbly reply, “Yes, I love doing Yoga this time in the morning!”  He laughed and headed into the bathroom.  I then checked myself to see if the contents of my bladder let loose in my fright. Then the sudden feeling of total embarrassment flushed all over me.  What a friggin’ idiot I must have looked like!

To this day I wonder what that guy truly thought when he saw this terrified woman, eyes screwed shut, and stretching herself  out like she was Gumby at 5:00 in the morning.   After I told the hubs of my near miss adventure, he howled out of laughter and for the rest of the day he steered clear from me anytime we were near any type of sheer drop off.  Smart man!  (161)

Read Full Post »