Monday, June 27, 2016

July! Well, nearly

Once again, a catch up post!

It's been hot.  And it's only rained a couple short bursts, enough to jack that humidity!  Whew!  It feels like what I remember July and August feeling like.  Hot, dry, dead grass, wilted leaves, dogs laying on their sides in one spot so long they make a little puddle with their hot, wet breath.  It's hot enough that to check the mail-a walk so short I have often gone without bothering to put on pants-I put my hair up, slather on sunscreen and have gone so far as to use an umbrella to shade my hide a bit.

I have been sort of productive.  I borrowed a steam cleaner and made myself ill cleaning the carpets. It was hot and gross, the cleaner was much better than any I have used before and the amount of sheer mud it sucked up from the dirt that filters under the carpet was appalling. I did 3 runs and the last was just as bad as the first as far as the amount of fine silt that poured out.  And the dog hair!  

Washed the baseboards, the bricks, the cabinets and Matt mopped the kitchen floor.  Then I made cake because it's his birthday today.  Devil's food with chocolate marshmallow icing.  It was not half bad and there's 3 slices left on the island, just waiting...  I have to think it through.  

Had lunch with Daddy last Thursday and walked with Karen on Wednesday.  We did 7 miles, which is pretty good for this heat.  The week before, we went swimming and Matt and I walked at the track a couple times.  Other than that, I have been home reading, organizing, planning and ordering stuff. And sitting in front of a box fan.  We mowed, Ben and I have been messing with the dog pool which has been taken over by frogs.  17 at last count.  The dogs are drinking out of one of my big mixing bowls, which is a PITA because they need refills 2-3 times in a day.  That's why I bought them a pool 3 years ago-I can wash it out once a week and refill it every 2-3 days instead of morning, noon and night! 

The new boat dock, it has a jumping platform, which I did not even go look over.  eeee!  It's not heights, it's the water closing over the top of my head.  It skeeves me right out!

Nia was given 1 week to live, I mean given a bath, last week.
Look at that face, UGH.  She's so the drama hound.

After our HOT walk, Karen said, "Wow, you look pretty good!" in response to "How hideously sweaty am I?"  We went out to eat anyway.
I like to think sweat is melting fat, but the scales beg to differ.


I have more shoes on the way.  I have tried on so many trail shoes and I have sent them all back.  So many have safeguards against pronating and it ends up meaning they press the side of my foot just above my arch.  I wore a pair of Sauconys in the house for about 10 minutes and I had a red spot. Those were the worst, but they all do it.  My beloved boots SHREDDED my left heel (it looks like leather now), I was looking at trail shoes to lighten my load, but the only brand left is Keens and they are just as heavy as my boots. hahaha! Oh well, Matt swears by them because they are made for Fred Flintstone, the toe space is phenomenal.  As long as his toes only hear vague rumors of a shoe nearby, he's happy.  I like toe room, but I need that arch support.  Just, apparently, not ALL the arch support.

I bought a stack of National Geographic maps.  At $10 a pop, they are so pricy I usually just print out the sections we plan to hike via the internet but I decided $10 was WAY cheaper than 'totally lost'. When Chan and I were in VA, We just had the map for the section we were hiking, in fact we walked off the map at one point, went around a curve and popped back on it 1/8 mile later.  But we did not explore beyond the boundaries because-who knows what trail went where?  They were all marked at turnings, but no mileage or destination indicated.  There was a young man who spotted us at an overlook from down in a valley and he waved us down and slogged up the hill to see if we knew where we were...or actually, where he was. I decided I would like that very information at hand all the time, so I bought maps to cover the Jefferson National Forest and Mt Rogers, Springer and Cohutta, Chattahoochee National Forest and specifically the Tellico/Ocoee areas of Cherokee National Forest.  

While there are 19 maps for Tennessee, there are 0 for Alabama.  Not even for the Pinhoti!  The Pinhoti trail crew has their own set of maps which are HUGE and cost a fortune.  And I will buy those at some point, too.  I have map apps on Matt's old smart phone (which I have inherited), but only an idiot would trust there will always be a signal (there isn't) and a way to recharge as needed.  I don't want to be a slave to the socket and have to plan my hikes around recharging and I am not hauling a solar charger around, mainly because I am not planning on walking in the sun any more than I have to!  When they perfect that generator that goes in your shoe and stores power via walking, I will look into it.  Still won't mean I don't need a map!  I will say, the AT is well marked-until it isn't. There were a couple sections just in Grayson that had us confused and from reading blogs, I am seeing that nearly everyone walks off the AT at some point and wanders around until they find it again.  Trails overlap, share a corridor and then careen off, cross and recross...there's ALWAYS good use for a map.  Even if it's just to see the next water source.  

Anyway, that's the news.  We are headed out after these storms move through, going to swim and do some very minor backpacking.  Be back for the weekend because I don't fancy being out on a holiday!  I can't even think of anywhere that would not be packed, other than home in front of my fan.  hahaha! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

40 and 41/52 and quick update

Hike 40 was a 28 mile loop at Mt. Rogers with Chan, though it took us 3 days of walking.

Hike 42 was 3.1 mile lake loop at Indian Boundary Lake.

I set out at the first of the year to hike 52 hikes, mostly on different trails, to walk 1000 miles and to camp out 30 nights.

It's the middle of June and I am ahead on my 52 hikes, I hit 400 miles this morning, so I need to walk 6.66 miles a day the rest of the month to hit 500 by the end of June.  HA!  I have camped out 14 nights. So...sort of on track.

It's HOT.  Melty and uncomfortably hot.  If the summer continues at this rate, I will be WAY behind because I really don't like being sweaty.  We walked last night at the track and between the bugs and the heat, I was done at 2.5 miles and did my walking on the treadmill this morning.

Headed out to swim this afternoon, the kids are staying with friends for a couple days.  Chan has mostly lost interest in backpacking more, so I will be planning my next trip solo.  There's another route I want to try.

Got my Obsidian box in yesterday.  Summer camping quilt, trekking poles, wool hoodie, backpacking food, cookie mix (that was odd) and a full size set of the sunscreen I really like. It will all get used at least.  The box was awesome-it's triangular this time.  The last box fell into pieces during shipping and they had to resend me all the small items.

Not much else in the news arena.  Matt's on the new job, Jake's still working full time.  He just bought a car off Matt's old boss.  So now he has AC and a CD player among other things that will make life better for him.  He drove to Atlanta last weekend.

When I was his age, I was pregnant with him, so I am glad he can blow through $200 at Six Flags and only come back with a slight sunburn and a hideous hat and that his biggest whine is having to get to work an hour early twice a month for meetings.  That's how it should be at 20.  Not pouring canned corn into a measuring cup so there would be enough for later and eating it cold to keep from using the stove and running the power bill over $30.  I don't ever want the kids to go through that,

Anyway, that's the update!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

GA Aquarium #1

The GA Aquarium is #1 in the nation, but it's also #1 on our Summer List of Things To Do Before Chandler Starts Working

I had mildly fretted about going after school was out, I don't like crowds or noise or lines.  But I love Disney and there are all of those there, so I figured I would live.
Happily, it was not packed, the only thing I had to wait for was some Nemo-obsessed mother/daughter pair to quit pointing 'him' out to the younger brother who gamely held a stuffed clownfish and said nothing, no matter how many times they screeched.  I imagine he knows as well as I do that Nemo is animated and a real clownfish is not.  That wasn't Nemo-you stand your ground, kid.

We drove over and back in the same day, Atlanta is just under 4 hours away, making it a LONG day trip, but doable.
Alex is going twice a month to an allergy specialist who has had great success in helping with food allergies.  He has a peanut allergy and has to have an epi pen at all times.  The 'cure' won't magically and with Alex wolfing down PB&J, but over time he can build up a resistance to them so that he can be exposed and not end up in the ER.
I think of it as the Dread Pirate Roberts Plan
So anyway, they are in Atlanta often, so we tagged along!

I am sure we have seen these before, but I don't recall nose fish.

I'll say no more.

Jump in, Esther, ssssswim with usssss

We watched the whale sharks being fed

Chan blocked part her face in nearly every 'posed' shot.
I don't know what my kids are doing, they made silly faces in most of our family vacation shots too.  It makes me sad.

Inde is MAGIC

I sneaked this one to avoid face-hand syndrome

We went to see the Niafish


The beluga bite each other and leave scars.  They seem so happy all the time, I don't know if it's playful like Nia and Murphy beating the crap out of each other or if it's serious.  They seemed to really like clamping down on tails.

We went to the dolphin show, which I really enjoyed!  The trainers seem crazy about dolphins and the dolphins seemed happy and willing.  The jumps were amazing, but not surprisingly, them riding around being pushed by a dolphin was my favorite.  There was discussion afterward with the trainers about dolphins as rescue animals, which is totally doable as far as training goes-they would go get people and haul them back to shore.  I decided they would have to be wearing a sign or something, I can't imagine being near death and BAM, a huge dolphin comes up and starts snouting you.  They are SCARY.  I would not want to be out in the wild with one.

No photos during the show, but we were seated in the correctly named 'splash zone'.  We got wet, but the middle section in the dead center was soaked through.

 Another sneak shot

This no longer fools him, the selfie with accidental Ben capture

We got to the aquarium around 12:30 and left around 6 to get some food, then Katy talked our way back in and we stayed until they closed and were nearing 'poke with a stick' mode to get us out.

We spent at least an hour during the day just watching the whale shark tank.

We went back up to see the dolphins in their play pen area outside the performance tank.


These guys were enjoying rolling on the carwash strips so much the whole area was stinky with musk, it was kind of creepy!

It takes nearly all the kids to make the biggest ray!

And it does take all of them to make a dolphin!

ice wall

Alex can jump a 17 foot alligator in 2.5 leaps, Ben in 3
I can do it in 17 jumps.

two foot, standing still launching forward, they can clear 6 and 7 feet at once!!
That requires belly muscle

FINALLY, an open touch tank.  We hit them ALL DAY when they were on breaks.

Art from beach debris

Emma loves fun!

Full of food, we head back in!

Tired people, moving floor...

We got back home around 11, I zonked right out!  Looking forward to a possibly rainy day in which laundry and Netflix are my major considerations.  60% chance!  It would be the first time in 3 weeks, so we need it.