Monday, April 30, 2012


Today was laundry day because yesterday we got a free couch from Tig's parents, who got a free couch from her friend. So, today I went to the laundromat. I hope you feel better Tig!

I didn't ride my bike because the laundromat is very close to home. Instead, I pushed the Instep trailer like a stroller, which is exactly why I bought the kit. It walks very easily, and while I touched my toes to it occasionally, I was never in danger of kicking the thing while I walked. The handlebar is just the right height for me too.

Blue's cat Isis thought it was a nifty way to do laundry too.

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Flowers, and a Guest

A very friendly momma kitty who has shown up.
Haven't seen her kittens, if they are nearby, or under our house.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Have Trailer, will Haul

After yesterday's awesome day, I thought today being a workday would turn out comparatively boring. Not so!

I decided to wear a dress, firstly. I was too chicken to attempt the chill morning air with bare legs, so I wore my sweatery tights underneath. I don't have any dressy shoes which are not strappy sandals, so I was presented with another obstacle. A bus driver is usually required to wear shoes with covered toes and heels- no sandals, flip-flops, clogs or the like. I'm assuming the rule is to prevent shoes coming loose and interfering with the pedals, or perhaps to not impede movement during an emergency- when it would really not be a good idea to have to worry about your shoes coming off. So, I decided to wear my boots. They are brown and don't match, but I guess in the photo it doesn't look so odd as it seems when I'm looking down at my feet.

Good morning!

On the way home, I decided it was too warm for the tights. I swapped them for bike shorts, which I had planned to do. I wasn't thrilled with the way the skirt caught on them, so I decided that I didn't need anything to protect my modesty if I was wearing black underwear. It turns out that with only my skin to touch, the skirt behaved very well and didn't ride up embarrassingly at all. Yay!

For cooler shoes, I decided that water shoes were fine, even if they did have pink on them instead of red. Oh well.

Our car decided not to move at all this morning. I got back after an easy field trip as Jamie was trying to leave. He had decided to go to class early in case the car acted up- remember I mentioned the transmission being flaky? Well, the car was not in the mood to back out of the driveway at all, much less go to school. I ran to get my old backpack out of the closet while he got his folders out of the car, then while he was changing clothes I stuffed a water bottle in a pocket, rushed out to the garage, hooked up the air compressor and aired both the tires on Chainless. Then I watched somewhat nervously as he pedaled off. He did not have his brace on, and remember he just sprained his ankle a week ago.

He made it to school just fine, or so said his text message. He also asked me to stop by our friend's house to pick up the lawn mower after work. 

So, I finished organizing the closet (no one told us that the Beagle is a nesting creature! he ruins any nice pile of folded clothing if he can get to it). I squeezed the trailer through the gap between car and wall, loaded up the bag of Goodwill items, then all the recycling on top of that. I pedaled to the Thunderbird grocery store and did all the recycling for $6.25. Three bags were unacceptable because they are a funky energy drink that came from Grocery Outlet. The stores with recycling centers only give deposits back for the brands they sell. Oh well. 

Trailer now empty, I folded it and continued on to work to take the field trip kids back to school and drive my regular kids home. They behaved very well today too. The it was off to Tig's house to collect the mower.

It fits!!

Had to twist it a teensy bit to get the bulbous blade housing past the bars, but it settled in just perfectly.

Off we go.

I have determined that I absolutely must get a more stable kickstand if I want to keep doing fun wacky stuff like this (I do). The Pletscher Double Leg Kickstand is what I think I want. It folds up just like a regular kickstand! My bike fell over several times even with the trailer brake on.

Also, Jamie reported that his ankle hurt going to the school, but coming back home it was fine. Mostly the seat is what bothered him. I believe we have a leisurely stroll to Fred Meyer planned, perhaps we will pick up a cushier seat like he used to own.

Yay for a day of accomplishments! 
Congratulations baby on your first commute! 
Yay Mike for commuting by bike! 
Yay Blue for walking (he rode his bike to work before any of us, and over an inter-coastal waterway bridge, even!)!
And RAWR for my hauling laundry, a dog, a child, recycling, clothing donations, and a lawn mower in two days!!

I win.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday: Laundry day with a twist

Saturday was our weekly Pathfinder game, hosted back at our friend's house so they could make special birthday wings for her brother. We had lots of wings, and homemade drinking vinegar (neither of which my taste buds particularly enjoy, but they were a big hit, and I did not go hungry). I think the favorite drinking vinegars were blueberry, strawberry, and honey. They mix the flavored vinegar with carbonated water and ice cubes to make a yummy drink. We finished the night with goblin battle and cheesecake.

The other weekend day must therefore be devoted to a not-so-fun chore: laundry. We use a weekend day, and then Jamie's mom visits on Tuesday for laundry and TV night. The black car transmission has decided to be finicky, and Jamie promised to help a friend fix his thermostat in his vehicle. I offered to take the laundry to Tig's house myself to do it. Jamie said "can you do that?" and "sure".

So, I got my bike and trailer, hooked them all up, made sure I had sunscreen on, and loaded the trailer.

Jackjack had to go with me, since he has officially been diagnosed as a senile old-timer dog. He will wander the house often. I think he forgets what he is looking for- usually the water bowl. We have to take him outside on a regular and frequent basis, because while he is still continent, he forgets that he has to let us know to take him outside when he has the first urge, and then later it is too late and he will just go the next time he really has to, no matter where he is. So it's better that he stays with me- his mommy and someone he really knows.

Unfortunately, I found out that the purple backpack I have is not ideal for a Jackpack. It has a zipper with a single pull, instead of two slides that meet in the middle. This means that below jack's neck is uncomfortably open, allowing him to stick a leg out, and also that the zipper behind his neck just gradually becomes looser. I couldn't take him like that! I was slightly disappointed, because I remember him really enjoying the first try at a Jackpack. But, he was placed in the trailer too on top of the clothes basket.

It still counts as a ride!

We set out to conquer the four miles to my friend's house. Four miles should take 20 minutes, give or take a few. Well, I think I made it in 40 minutes. Laundry weighs a lot! Jackjack is around 20 pounds by himself, and it seemed to me that the basket weighed about a million. The bike path has a very slight tilt to it- uphill going towards Tig, downhill back home. Also, it seemed like the wind was against me, but it felt really good to cool me, and oddly I didn't notice the breeze as a drag, because the sheer weight of the trailer remained more constant. I spun along readily enough in my very easiest gear, which made me breathe hard, but it most definitely saved my legs. Five minutes after I finally arrived to greet everyone, I felt ready to ride again.

I started the machines, and we decided to go to the park with Marty, Tig's daughter. After a small fiasco involving sunscreen and Marty rubbing it in her eye, we were ready to go. She was very tired, and extremely unhappy. The trip was easy, but I had a soundtrack of small silences with crying in between. We arrived and unpacked our small picnic, which made her feel much better. After a while she forgot to be mad about her eye and tired.


We walked over to the playground.

Marty liked to watch the swings, but she was afraid of the first one we put her on. They have a few of the bucket-style baby swings. So, we tried swinging together.

She liked this much better.

Marty took a break to try some slides, but then she came back to the swings.

She doesn't need a stinkin' baby swing!

She did eventually fall off, but she kept one hand on the chain and sort of swung off, landing in the gravel just like this. She then started digging in the dirt as if that was exactly what she had meant to do all along. Tig had a mini heart-attack, I think.

Then it was back to the little forts with slides, some dirt-digging and people watching. She came back to the swings and decided that a baby swing was better than no swing at all.

She might be a little tired.

Who needs sleep?! 
I had to include this slightly blurry picture. I think it is a great shot.


We headed home after meeting one of Tig's coworkers and sharing baby sunscreen with her. On the way, I heard a scraping noise, and we stopped because I thought a brake was dragging. Instead, the noise was a hissing, as the air escaped from a puncture in Tig's rear tire. We walked easily the rest of the way. Marty had fallen asleep almost immediately after we started pedaling, and I easily transferred her to a beanbag inside when we got back home.

I folded the first load of clothes as the second one finished tumbling in the dryer, then shoved those on top. I found out the basket will fit in sideways, allowing Jack to ride in front of it. He whined a lot during the trip. I can't tell if that means he didn't like it, because Marty whines in the trailer too!

Overall, I think it was a wonderful weekend.

Friday, April 20, 2012


The sun finally came out today, hooray!

This morning I didn't particularly enjoy the ride to work. The reason is because glasses hate fog. I need little tiny windshield wipers installed, or that spell Hermione does for Harry's glasses so he can see to play Quidditch. The fog was completely thick and clingy, obscuring distance vision and wetting my windbreaker pretty well. Not only could anyone not see very well, but I was especially hampered. Pretty much my glasses got opaque and wet, and no matter how much I wiped them, I was looking through a haze. Either that or peeking over the lenses to see: blur. I'd rather see through the haze, thank you very much. I used to say that in an emergency I would be able to drive if I had to. I'll have to amend that statement to include the disclaimer- only on bright clear days. Or maybe I couldn't do it after all. It's a scary thought.

But, the fog did not last forever. I rode home in a clearing sky, and then let the dogs out sometime later to a yard filled with sunshine. It felt so good, that I decided I just HAD to do something outside today. I had arranged to go back to work early and take my school bus to be washed, so I decided that Zoomie badly needed a bath too. I went out with a brown washcloth (the darkest of my hankies, to hide the grease stains) and a Pyrex measuring cup full of hot water.

I simple wipe down became an all-out tear down and rebuild as I turned Zoomie on her back, removed fenders, chainguard, and rack. The fenders came completely off, and I even took the fenderstays off to get at the dirt lurking under the bracket. To get to the fenders, the wheels had to come off too, and they both got some love with the washrag too as I wiped every spoke and the rims and tire sidewalls. I might have used a tire shine on them if we had any (carefully avoiding tread, of course).

Then Zoomie got put back together, and I put the chain oil on. I am fairly certain that the incredibly annoying squeak from the chain is not actually the chain, but a derailleur pulley wheel. I soaked both in oil, probably wasting it, but could not get it quiet.

Zoomie is clean, but doesn't really seem that different for the effort. She has a LOT of battlescars from this winter and before, including the large gash that was there when she came out of the box, seriously scraped and bent cable adjusters at both brake handles, a shortened pedal edge (to match the nearly-shorn lace of the sneaker I had been wearing and much thinner plastic grommet), just to name a few. But her streamers are still bright, if slightly frayed.

It was so hot that I wished I had not been wearing the somewhat black jeans with purple embellishments, and had on shorts instead. Really wished. It was hot. Now I am sitting home, writing this after having absently scratched my forearm, and I've discovered that they are burnt between my wrist and the bottom of my three-quarter sleeves. Time to find the sunscreen!

I am still happy to have the sun.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wow, Busy Weekend!

On Friday I had my first all-day field trip with kids from Klamath Falls. I got to take some of the older students from the elementary school I service all the way out to Crater Lake, an hour and a half away. I remember the clear bright blue of the lake in summer when we visited, but this time I didn't get to go to the same look out pointas my previous visit because it was covered in snow. I didn't really get to see the lake at all. Instead, I went snowshoeing with the kids and listened to Ranger Darby telling them about local animals and their winter adaptations, the kids dug in the snow and learned that deeper snow is warmer than snow closer to the surface, and how that log they had visited during the summer was actually right under them, and they were 12 feet above it where they stood in white.

One snowshoe on! 
They are much smaller than i expected. Under the toe is a big metal toothy bit to bite into the snow for better purchase. I felt like a duck walking in them on pavement.

This is the view I got of the lake, all misty and mysterious from a passing cloud.

The buses!
 We had to do a turnaround in that narrow corridor of snow-walls. Let's just say that it was only slightly wider than my bus is long.

Snowshoeing single-file.

Digging a hole to learn about snow. The hand on the right is scooping snow to measure weight and such. The group I stayed near had the best digger and our hole was done the fastest.

Ranger Darby. 
I want that jacket he's got- it looks like the perfect all-weather cover.

A self-portrait, using the activity box to hold my camera.


I got me in it! 
Aimed from the end of my arm- it isn't as easy as my sister makes it look.

Deep snow. It's hard to see, though I tried, but this snow is calf-deep.

Some sunshine on the far wall of the crater.

Leaving Crater Lake. I'm very glad I was not by myself making this drive.

Snowing. It seemed much faster, and more dangerous, going down.

Saturday's regular Pathfinder game was canceled in favor of a trip to the Lava Beds instead. We included me, Jamie, Maryann, Blue, Tig and Marty, and Steven. Every time we go, there are new and exciting things to see. This time it was a cave called Indian Well, I think. Little globs of ice were all over like the ghosts in PacMan. Also, this trip ended much more differently than our others! 


Blue made a snowman! 
We put it in a bush when we got to the car, rather than have him melt in it.

Jamie's belt broke, and Marty liked shoveling with the piece of it.

Here, have a taste!

A tiny mushroom as we entered one cave, with moss.

As before, a peek through the binoculars at the visitor center.

Balancing, sort of.
This time we visited Mushpot cave, which is like an introduction to caving with a paved walkway and podiums here and there to explain formations, with lighting.

How does it taste?
Along the walkway to Mushpot cave are other signs with various explanations, such as for "ropy lava". There was one for obsidian too, but this shard was from a rock further along the path.

This rock. 
I admit, I collected some shards from the gravel that might someday become a necklace and earrings.

Indian Well cave, I believe.

Ice glob. 
They grow upwards like stalagmites, some with dimples in the middle like this one, where the water drips down onto it.

Close-up of beautiful ice glob.

The footing was pretty, but treacherous.

Sleepy Marty. 
She didn't make it all the way through the Indian Well, so we decided that our last stop for the day would be Captain Jack's stronghold, where Tig would stay in the car with Marty while she napped.

It turns out, you should not speak ill of a dead host when you're traveling their stronghold.
Jamie tripped, or slipped in his shoe or something, and this photo was just after he fell and was inspecting things. Can you see the swelling of his ankle already? We think it is sprained.
He limped out with us (using the short path again, of course).

On the way out we stopped to see the petroglyphs. This wall used to be underwater and people would be in boats to draw on the wall.

We're pretty sure that is an owl nest, and that he might be at home. Can you see him?

We think it is an owl nest- because this is a rodent graveyard!

Pieces. Look how tiny.

 We were finally on the way home, enjoying warm sunshine through the windows, when Steven asked if we'd like to stop and see baby goats at his parents' house. So....

Baby goat!

Marty with Momma Goat.

Two kids.

Jamie with a kid!

And me with one.

Marty liked my favorite one too.

Finally, we decided to go bowling. Before we did, though, Tig took us to her office and used their therapy laser on Jamie's ankle.

Unwrapping it.

Pew pew!

When Tig finished with Jamie, she passed the laser over my palm for a moment. It feels warm, and then hot if it stays in one place too long. She would pass the beam in circles back and forth around his whole ankle, and he said it immediately felt better. My hand tingled pleasantly for a few minutes too.

Tig treating a human patient.

The wonderful laser. The green next to it is its pretty cover.


Marty liked rolling the ball by herself, and it took her a bit to warm up to the idea of this contraption.

Cute little shoes!

Marty loves bowling.

She liked it more as a jungle gym.

The therapy laser made Jamie feel good enough to (very cautiously) bowl with us. He beat me, as always. I did fairly well, managing to pick up almost all of my spares before it was obvious that I got tired and started missing everything I aimed at.

On Sunday, Maryann went to Badger Run with Tig, and Jamie and I went to her house to start laundry. We found Tig's old crutches and walking boot from when she broke her ankle rollerblading. As luck would have it, she broke the same ankle, so the boot worked perfectly for Jamie. The crutches were too short, but he didn't need them with the boot. He loves that thing, and walks all over the place with barely any limp. The only bad part is when he kicks something, since his foot is much bigger than Tig's and his toes poke out.

I can't believe sometimes how lucky we are to have such good friends.

We spent the day doing laundry and watching Game of Thrones before going home.

Monday morning I was surprised to see these bruises. I thought they would have shown up sooner or not at all.

I'm sort of glad to be back to a routine, and happy that I have two more field trips coming up, though none as long as Friday's. We had a busy time!

What did you do over the weekend?