Friday, August 29, 2014

A Family Tradition

Sitting around the campfire. Telling stories. Eating together. Walking the woods. Hunting. This is a family tradition. I'm proud of my youngest son for carrying on. He passed his hunter safety class this past weekend.

He sat through hours of instruction, had to actually demonstrate safe gun handling, and pass a test. Of course, as a family, we've discussed gun and hunting safety often over the years.

Our community's hunter safety was full so we actually headed to the coast to make it happen. It was a great way to get out of town, celebrate the end of summer, and of course, accomplish his goal.

The field day (live demonstration) was held in a small town at a community center that had once been a school. The community has turned it into a library/community center. After an hour or so of waiting (bored), one of the organizers let me in on a secret...there was a hiking trail with falls. So I set out to see what I could discover.

Well, lo and behold... it was in fact a waterfall. These used to be a state park but the road caved in this past winter and it's shut down, barricaded. But the nice Sheriff's deputy I ran into said it was fine to park and walk up.

It was a gorgeous walk. Easy. It's fun to be somewhere different. Here in Klamath we have gorgeous pines, mountains, sagebrush....head to the coast and there's ferns, huge gigantic trees, and thick underbrush. Here in Klamath it's 90 degrees, there it's 58.

Of course, you saw my post earlier this week so you know I spent some time on the beach and at Shore Acres. On the way home, I surprised Nate with a trip to the Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon. My grandparents lived in Roseburg while I was growing up and a trip to the Wildlife Safari was in the cards each year. I was excited to take Nate. You can walk through a certain part and it's sort of like a zoo. And then you can drive through and even feed the animals. It's worth it if you're in the area. The pics aren't great but here are a few:
The boys pose in front of the safari bus

you know when you're taking a photo and it turns out funny???

a bear in the mud

the giraffe

These little guys came right up to the car

You could buy food to feed them

All in all it was a great trip!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Camping on the Oregon Coast

A steep and dramatic cliff overlooking a rocky shoreline. Dangerous waves washing away the rocks. A small
picturesque house and beautiful gardens blooming with roses, dahlias, bamboo, and trees. It's romantic and tragic. . . at least that's the way I've always seen it. My grandparents used to take me to Shore Acres when I was young and I always thought it was hauntingly beautiful. Gorgeous and sad.

A few years ago, I read A Gathering of Finches which is the story of Shore Acres. It affirmed the gorgeous and sad truth of the park. The woman gives up a marriage and her only child for an affair. Her affair has his own secrets. They discover money can't buy happiness. If you decide to go to Shore Acres, read the book.

At any rate, the gardens are beautiful.

 We walked through the park and Nate even stopped to smell the roses.

The house is nestled in the middle. Not huge, not pretentious, just a cute little house. There was a wedding getting ready to happen. White chairs filled the lawn, tuxedo-ed men walked in and out looking nervous, wringing their hands. Photographer was setting up equipment.

We also spent some time on the beach, going through tide pools. So fun.

We camped at Bastendorff Park which was a good place to stay. Clean. Well kept. The showers were a bit dated but we had a great spot.

And who doesn't love a good campfire....
It was a great way to wrap up a summer!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Klamath Weekend on $20

I nearly always feel that I'm a terrible mom because I can't afford big elaborate vacations. Silly right? I mean, if you as a friend were telling me that, I'd tell you that you were silly and that your kids were lucky. But yet, that's what I do....worry it over and over and over.

This year, I planned to do the Grand Canyon. Well,  it didn't happen. I've worried it over and over. And then I accepted it. My son helped.

About a month ago, I woke Marc up on a Sunday and said let's go hike. So we grabbed his girlfriend, packed some water and a few snacks and headed to Crater Lake.

Crater Lake is about 50 miles from where I live. It's in our county and is Oregon's only national park. Millions visit from around the world each year. I've gone in the winter, fall, and summer and it doesn't matter what season, it's breath-taking.

It was a gorgeous day. The lake as usual was the most brilliant blue. The skies were clear. It was very warm but not too bad. We drove around the lake, pulling over to the viewpoints and gazing down at the water.

We decided to hike to one of the waterfalls. It was beautiful and I had never been to it before.

It was there that I heard Marc telling his girlfriend how I always took him to do stuff and how awesome it was. He wasn't complaining that I don't take him on elaborate vacations...he was bragging because we go do so many cool things together. I heard him telling her that I take him to places he's never even heard of.

Hm, maybe I'm doing something right.

It helps that we live in an amazing place with lots of natural beauty as well as other things to do. Things like Crater Lake.

It helps that I work for the Chamber and so get to know some cool little things and know some pretty cool people. So when my niece and nephew came for a visit, I was able to do some pretty cool things on a very small budget.
Paige holds a 3day old ostrich

The kids hold ostrich eggs that weigh
between 3 and 4 lbs each
For example, through the Chamber, I met a woman who runs an ostrich farm. She invited us out to see the babies.

Really, how many people can say they've done that? (By the way, if you're ever in Klamath, you can do this too. Just check with the Chamber and they'll tell you all the cool stuff).

They're a funny looking bird

Then we spent a fair amount of time swimming. Our local pool is the Ella Redkey Pool. It's geothermally heated and is an outdoor pool open year round. It's gorgeous with gorgeous grounds and beautiful blue water, and a big blue slide.

The kids swimming at the Ella Redkey

We got to see a baby ostrich hatch

Then we went out to Malin to the city park. It's nestled in trees, it's a huge park, and has a great play structure. We drove out there on a Sunday and were thrilled to find they also have a pool and that it was open.
The kids at the Malin pool

Nate dives

playing in the park

 The pool was nearly empty so they kids almost had it all to themselves which they loved. The skies were dark and it rained a bit but still, they swam.

Anyway, long story short. I live in an amazing place filled with fun things to do for a small amount of money. The kids had a great time, we created some memories, and I got to see lots of smiles on their faces.

Monday, August 18, 2014

39 x 39 - My 20 Year Class Reunion

I really debated about going to my 20 year class reunion. High School wasn't a terrible time for me but it also wasn't great. I had low self-esteem. A terrible boyfriend. Struggled with my parents divorce. And almost worst of all, split my time between two high schools hours apart.

My freshman year I attended Burns High School. Home of rednecks and cowboys. I wanted to be in a city and instead, mom had moved us to Burns - population 3000-something.

My sophomore year, we moved to Prineville. Slightly bigger but still full of cowboys and rednecks. I was there my sophomore, junior, and almost my whole Senior year.

In April of my senior year, a spot of trouble (said with an English accent to make it sound cooler), had me moving back to Burns to graduate.

So to say I feel disconnected from either school would be an understatement. I am often jealous of the people who have ties with folks they went to high school with. Or the people who had an awesome high school experience. And I've learned that a great high school experience doesn't have anything to do with popularity but it has everything to do with being an active participant. My friends who played sports, were in band or drama club or dance team or mathletes - they have the best memories. Bus trips. Friendships.

I was the girl who didn't do anything. I was too self-conscious to even participate in the spirit days during our homecoming weeks. I scooted through hoping to not be noticed. I didn't get picked on or anything like that - I just didn't get noticed.

Ok, so it's been 20 years and I still have no idea how that happened. But I decided to go. I'm glad I did. It was fun even if no one knew who I was. Even though the only photo they had of me was from freshman year when I went to winter formal with Ben Hoffman and I HATE that photo.

It was fun to hear what everyone had been up to. So mark it off my list, I did it. Here's a couple of photos:

A "gorgeous" glamour shot from my junior year.

My senior photo. Great hair!

 Winter formal with Rodney my sophomore year.

The photo on my name tag was freshman year. 

Here's our group today. 

I had to make a pitstop at the High School for a photo:

 I can say I'm glad I had lost all the weight I have. Look pretty good, right?? I will say I think I've gotten better with age. LOL

It was fun and worth going to. I think I can skip any future ones. haha