Sunday, September 30, 2007

At Beavers Bend

We're back from Beavers Bend, wishing we had a few more days to spare. Shana and I had a little trouble getting out of town and to the campsite: little things like not being able to find a highway entrance, things like that. Luckily we were not the ones charged with getting there early and getting us a good campsite for three tents and a teeny tiny camper. We arrived to find our group in a nice campsite at the rear of the area, full of tall trees and backed by a river.

Diane and Sharon had brought the Tab out for its maiden voyage. We had all been looking forward to seeing it in person. Sharon couldn't keep it at her house, so it has been pining away in a storage facility where none of us could see it. Everyone had looked at it on the Internet, but it's even cuter in person. It's little; when the bed is unfolded it fills most of the trailer. It's tidy and compact like a boat, with lots of little cubbies and storage niches all over. It's the most adorable little trailer ever, and we're all jealous.

Of course we had also been looking forward to seeing another camping luxury: THE OVEN! It was brand new in the box, and vintage Coleman. It's a little different in appearance from those available now, but the principle is the same. It goes on your camp stove, in this case the enviable and highly desirable Coleman Roadtrip Party Grill (item 9940). You fire it up and pop your biscuits in. Susi earned her "Queen of Campsite Cooking" badge by making us tasty golden biscuits for breakfast before we ran out to our various pursuits this morning.

Beavers Bend is a beautiful park, with a lot to do. There are stables and a narrow gauge railway, a little beach, canoe and kayak rentals, fly fishing, hiking, bike trails - if it happens outdoors this place has it in a stunning setting. On Saturday part of our group went fishing. Shana and I rented kayaks, and the rest of the party went out mountain biking. Saturday's fishing wasn't successful in terms of catches, but the spot was lovely and everyone had a chance to relax.

Our kayak trip was really nice. We paddled along on a peaceful river with beauty on all sides. I saw a pair of courting copperheads - a startling sight, and one difficult to photograph since they were entwined on a pile of sticks of nearly the same color as their bodies. After our river adventure Shana and I went for a short hike. We were looking for an easy ramble, but being unfamiliar with the trails we ended up with a challenging steep and rocky trail. The views of the river were spectacular, but more strenuous than we had planned for. After about a mile of that we turned around and came back. The mountain bikers took that trail by mistake as well, and found it to be an exhausting experience.

This is the last place Dianne saw her cell phone. She was in a bit of a hurry, and her cell phone jumped to its death. She was extremely reluctant to rescue it from its horrible fate. Although the incident was sad, I must admit we all got a great deal of entertainment out of calling her phone in the hopes of startling subsequent visitors. Dianne was a very good sport about it, but then she's had plenty of practice. This is the third phone of hers to have suffered a hideous death this year.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Drive By Posting

I'll be out in the woods most of this weekend, so no new posts will appear until Sunday night. I'm hoping for some good WAACO pictures, and some beautiful scenery. I am also hoping, just a little, to get a picture of Bigfoot. There have been lots of sightings in the area over the years, so I hope luck will be with us. I'm not entirely sure that the rest of the group will share my idea of lucky! Fall weather is here and I'm sure that even without a Bigfoot sighting we'll have a grand time.

This is me and Vivian weekend before last enjoying a Hawaiian moment. She weighs 18 lbs now - getting to be a big girl. When she gets mobile she'll be a terror. As it is the hands get everything instantly and she has the grip of death.

I'm on my way out to get camping supplies - I'll be updating with tales of the campfire Sunday night.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Kicking and Screaming

I've been so busy settling in that I have not felt at all like blogging about it, but in the interests of continuity I've dragged myself over to the 'puter to get a little something out there. Some of it is so mundane that I can hardly expect it to make good reading (how much excitement is a new broom likely to generate, really?), and in some ways it's such a big change that I haven't digested it yet. This week I was able to go home over lunch to let the dog out, something I really have not been able to do for ten years. Roxy has really been enjoying that. She and I are enjoying some new walking routes: a very nice one through a nearby park for the morning, and one that goes around a large school property in the evening. Those are our favorites for now, but I'm sure we'll find others we like. We are really close to a golf course, but I have not yet seen a way in. I suspect it's well fenced.

And then of course there is the "crafts room". This is just about the whole picture - the closet doors in the left picture finish up near the exercise ball/desk chair in the right. The pointy brown thing in the lower left corner of the right picture is the big craft desk.

I have yet to actually put the room to work for anything more creative than uploading pictures or blogging, but it's convenient and bright and I know it's going to work out great. All of my supplies are in the same room, from gift wrap to fabric stash. If I am short of surfaces for a big project I'll bring the camp table in for a temporary workspace. Now all I need is to get back in a creative mood. I'm thinking I'll sit down to knit this evening.

The camp table is going for a trip next weekend, to Beavers Bend State Park. Our menus were finalized over breakfast yesterday, and I think I can find all of our equipment. One crucial decision about the menu involved thinking of some item which would require the use of a camp OVEN. Yes, this is how our minds work. All I have to do between now and then is decide how many bikes we need to take and what kind of sock project will be fun. I'm hoping that Shana's car won't be in the shop over the weekend, because I have my little Focus back and although I can get our camping equipment in it, the fit is a really snug one.

The Lexus was totaled after all, and we all had to swap cars back. I'm afraid Alex got the worst end of that deal, because his truck needs some repairs and he was really enjoying having the little and cheap to run Focus. The lack of back seat presents some giant challenges for going anywhere with the baby. Shana's car needs something which will surely be warranty work, but which might require a wait for a part. It's such a pain that the bus service here is so bad. What should be little problems get the be big issues.

Nancy's camera is sick, so she brought Rita and her Christmas gift from Inace over for photos. Inace got Rita a butterfly kit - you get the little cage, etc., and send away for the caterpillars when the weather is suitable. After you get them they eat and grow and go into their little chrysalises and emerge as beautiful butterflies. She got Painted Ladies, which are very pretty, but do not live for a very long time.
Nancy wanted to get some nice pictures, but her camera was in no mood. The butterflies were sleepy and calm in the cage, but restless and flightly outside of it. In order to get a good picture of the butterfly on Rita's finger be "bribed it with molasses - looks kind of gruesome but worked really well.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Now Broadcasting From Our New Location

Finally the move is over! Now my living room looks like this. I thought I might be blogging from here on Saturday, or maybe even Friday night, but we had a delay in getting the miracle of cable, and therefore my Internet connection. Additional requirements needed to sign up for long distance service were not met by our providers, so we had to reschedule our installation. We did not end up with cable service until yesterday. I had taken a few days off to get our new home in order, so I was going to be around anyway. Since the cable also provides our Internet and phone service we were reduced to communicating via cell phone (like the pioneers!). Other than the cable delay everything went smoothly. The only thing I have looked for but not found is Shana's fm antenna for her stereo system. I just today found the "farmacia", our stock of non-prescription meds. The Ibuprofen has been sorely (!) missed. Today is my last day off before I go back to work, and I have two boxes of miscellaneous crap and one box of gift wrapping supplies to unpack or throw out left. Shana has three boxes of books waiting to be unpacked, and we have some art to hang. I've got all the electronics hooked up and working, including email, which always seem to blow up when we move or change hardware. We even had the Humps for dinner last night (a little crazy since we had to look for everything). I guess we are officially moved in!

Saturday I took a little time out to meet Alex, Jamie and Vivian downtown to tour the Myriad Gardens. Jamie packed us a picnic lunch of sandwiches and frozen fruit bars, which we enjoyed under the shady trees. We walked around for a while, enjoying the lovely plantings and the cool breeze. We were fortunate enough to have a sunny but cool day to visit the gardens. Then we went into the Crystal Bridge to enjoy the tropical gardens. It was just spectacularly beautiful. The facility has been renovated, after a long closing. It's full of butterflies and fabulous orchids. The plantings are gorgeous - all shapes and colors of tropical foliage and flowers. There are pools, little streams, cute little lizards and lovely waterfalls - just the place to restore me during a hectic weekend.

Vivian seemed to enjoy it - especially any yellow flowers. She grabbed at everything in reach. My sunglasses were items of special interest. Of course anything she got hold of went immediately to the mouth! After the Crystal Bridge we went outside to see the Koi. The Myriad Gardens has been in place now for many years, and the Koi were some of the first features. They have grown over the years and are just spectacular. Some of them look to be at least 10 pounds.

Needless to say, no crafting has taken place this weekend. I have set up my craft room (!) so I can find everything, but my book shelf looks like I stood across the room and threw books at it, so some work needs to be done there. I packed my books by size, to get the most into each box. This was not helpful when it was time to shelve them. Tomorrow it's back to work, and since it's Wednesday, it's back on the bike to ride the hills. Life will be normal again, so I should have some crafty time available.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Bust a Move

Lest anyone think that things are not happening here, this is what my living room looks like today. The dining room has a somewhat similar appearance, but all of the boxes in there are marked FRAGILE. Shana got the cafeteria ladies mobilized for her, and they've saved all of the boxes for her. I never would have thought we'd need so many, but there are still some things that need to be packed. Luckily there are still some boxes in the garage. I'm moving the fragile boxes this weekend, and maybe a little more - depends on how many trips I want to make across town. I'll take boxes with me every time I go to work before moving day to unload on my way home. Alex is coming Wednesday evening to help with a truck. I am hoping to get him to shift the big boxes for me. I am hoping to minimize the number of mover hours we have to pay for.

Shana's in Florida this week. She's hustled like crazy to get most of the packing done before she left because once she comes back there just won't be time for serious packing. She'll have to catch up at work and a few days later we are out of here for good. I pushed her to get a lot done, and now she is having her revenge. She and Shelley are sending pictures like this one to me from Key West. I don't feel sorry for her now - she can catch on her rest on the beach! Shana signed up for a jet ski tour and turned out to be the only customer, so she got a private tour all for herself. The high point of the tour was flying past a couple of cruise ships at the docks.

I've got the garter rib socks more than halfway down the foot - they should be finished this weekend during a football game unless I get real busy with the lugging and packing. The Jigsaw socks are still half done, but I'll cast on the for second sock this weekend even if I get nothing else done. I'm still really liking the way this is knitting up. I was concerned that since they are just 60 stitches around they might work up a little too narrow, but I think they will be OK after all.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Look for the Union Label

Today is Labor Day, and lest anyone think that Labor Unions are the boil on the butt of humanity that the Republicans consider them to be: it was unions that brought an end to child labor, and who won us our 40 hour week, some at the cost of their lives. Preachy bit finished.

We had an informal WAACO ride this morning. Kim had found a route for us that was a bit over 25 miles and uphill in all directions. Quite a good training ride, and the weather was just perfect. Our route is a part of the 40 mile route for next weekend's Oklahoma Bicycle Society Streak. Most of us are planning to ride. I had originally intended to ride the 100K but after this morning I'm thinking maybe the 40 mile will be plenty! Kim was planning to ride the 40 mile, but may choose a shorter distance based on the difficulty of the course. After breakfast at the Classen Grill we went on to our various activities for the day.

Alex came over for dinner with Jamie and Miss Vivian, who is in fine form. She's got a real lively interest in food. Vivian had half of a roll, some mashed potatoes and about a quarter of a nectarine, all eaten as though she hadn't seen food for a month and did not know when food might ever appear again. I'd made Shana a banana pudding for her birthday cake and Vivian thought that was pretty good too, even though she's not too crazy about bananas in general.
Most of the activity around here is still revolving around packing. Most of the kitchen is packed up; in fact nearly everything but the bathrooms and my clothes are packed. This week I have to get my stuff packed up and ready to go so that when Shana gets back to town we can get the boxes out in advance of the movers. Shana and I took yesterday afternoon off to rest a bit. I finished the first jigsaw sock, although I have not yet grafted the toe. I turned the heel on the garter rib sock during my Saturday feast of football games. Not exactly flying off the needles, but I am squeezing out a tiny bit of knitting time.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

A Mixed Bag

This week has been a mix of things, some good and some not so much. On the good side I think we are turning the corner on the move. We've sold the house: which is a tangible sign that things are moving forward. I've got the kids' old rooms emptied and swept out. That was a big job, and one I struggled to complete. I've been through the viler corners of my room and my craft stash, so the first purge has been done. I've been unable to do all my purging in one pass because of my tendency never to throw anything out. In some cases this has been good because I've been able to come up with oddball things at just the right time, but there is this little downside...By the end of this three day weekend I expect to see a lot of progress. Shana will have most of her things packed up - she'll be out of town for a few days starting mid-week, so she has less time to dawdle around than I do. Shelley is coming over to help us with the packing today, and Rita will be helping my pack up my books. God help me. Actually, I use my books so brutally that I don't think she can do much more damage to them.

I had a bit of car trouble yesterday. I've been using a borrowed car lately while Alex is driving my little Focus. He was driving his dad's Lexus and found it too expensive to run and too nerve wracking to protect from dings and scratches. It's low mileage and has been babied so that although it's and older car it's really pretty. Yesterday I was standing at a friend's desk when one of my co-workers came up to me with a strange look and a stranger question: "are you the one who drives the nice Lexus?" My stomach began to hurt immediately. It seems that she got crosswise with her nearly brand new Buick and creamed the driver's side of my borrowed car. I was horrified and upset, the more so because it's not my car. It looks even worse in person. She gave me her insurance information and I drove home taking care of my usual Friday errands on the way. It was inconvenient because while I could open the driver's side door from the inside, I had to climb in over the bucket seats and stick shift from the passenger's side. I called Elaine's insurance company (USAA, and they were wonderful) to be told that they'd be arranging to have the car towed to the repair facility because it would be unsafe to drive. DUH - with the door latch obviously compromised the door might swing open at any time! Until the car is repaired I have a rental Chevy Malibu with 400 miles on the odometer. This is quite a novelty because I have not driven a brand new car for some time. It's especially nice since it wasn't even my car that was damaged.

Today is also the big opening Saturday of college football - so we should be enjoyably diverted while we pack. I'm hoping to finish the garter rib sock, or at least get past the heel, before the football ends for the day.