Friday, July 31, 2009

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in a photo Friday, and since we just (two weeks ago!) returned from a fabulous weekend camping in beautiful Sequoia National Park. I thought I’d post some pictures of our weekend. groupphoto

Before we get any farther, let me introduce you to the key players: this is our motley crew. An assortment of friends from various places. Now the first thing to know is that we’d never survive camping without the guy in the bright orange shirt (you can’t miss him, see him?). Why you ask? He brings the coffee.


Our Friday afternoon drive started with a stop at the top of the grapevine. A fine place to spend 45-minutes, especially in the middle of triple-digit heat between big rigs and a blazing fire.


This was the reason. A wonderful reminder to never ride an Amtrak bus. But, at least they got the luggage out. Way to go Amtrak!


Once we arrived at our lovely accommodations at the Lodgepole Campground and wrestled with putting up our monster tent in the dark. We settled in for a weekend of big trees, good friends, and breathtaking views. And let me tell you….these trees are big. Big enough to drive through!


A tree to drive through! Of course I got out to take pictures.


The General Sherman Tree, the largest living tree on earth.

We also saw bears. Apparently the ones with the giant orange tags are the ones which had an “incident.”

(Side note: I’m curious as to what constitutes an “incident”? Aren’t you? Are we talking a encounter with human food? Or a mauling? Because I’m not sure I’d put those two in the same category.)

I’m glad I knew this bit of information after I snapped a few pictures.


Also, a buck (and several deer) walked through our campsite. This is the national park (at least in California) if you want to see wildlife. Take that, Yosemite.


Instead of hiking this year, J and I opted for to do the Kings Canyon Highway, a scenic drive through Kings Canyon National Park (Sequoia’s sister park). The 31-mile rollercoaster road begins with a jaw-dropping descent into the canyon and eventually runs parallel with the gushing Kings River.


On Sunday on our way out of the park we did a bit of classic park attractions. Like climbing to the top of Moro Rock, which commands greats Sierra Views. Only, I wouldn’t recommend walking in old flip-flops.


View from the top (or nearly the top) of Moro Rock.

We returned home on Sunday night exhausted (sleeping on an air mattresses just doesn’t cut it for me!), and happy that I only go camping once a year, but very much in love with Sequoia National Park. It’s much less crowded than other National (and many State Parks). Which only adds to the appeal.

For more Photo Friday fun head to Delicious Baby

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me

So I turned 29 last Tuesday, I know, I know, it’s been a while, but please forgive me as I have been celebrating! My birthday is not just one day of celebration. And, of course, I have been celebrating the birth of America too. Well, and writing a research paper, and creating a wedding album for a friend, are just among some of the activities worthy of my time these days. But, back to turning 29, doesn’t it sound like one of those fake ages no-one really is? You’re in no-man’s land, in the cusp year. Not quite in the golden 30’s, but not really relating to those in their early 20’s. It’s like being 19, or 9, or I imagine turning 39 or 49. Personally, I almost wished I’d just skip right over from 28 to 30. Because really, when it comes down to it, what’s the point of 29? It just feels like a weird limbo age, the bridge between “Wild and Crazy” to “Low-Key Dinner Parties.”

(As a side note, for those that know me in the flesh and blood know that I have never really been “Wild and Crazy” I’ve always been much more the “Low-Key Dinner Party” type of gal. Well, except maybe for the six months I spent in Ireland. I was pretty wild and crazy then, and potentially the twelve months after my 21st birthday. But, still, not too wild and crazy comparatively. But, now I don’t have to pretend to be “wild and crazy” and I can look back at those brief “wild and crazy” times with fondness and laughter as I am enjoying my “low-key dinner party.”)

All that being said; however, I was really looking forward to my birthday this year. Mostly, so that I get this almost-at-a-milestone-year on and over with and move on to the new decade. Not that my twenties weren't a ball. They truly were. They started out with a bang: living in Dublin (where incidentally my “Wild and Crazy” days began), graduated college, ran a few marathons, walked down the aisle to the Wedding March, together with the bank - bought a house, traveled to some far-flung places, adopted an adorable puppy, and (fingers-crossed) will graduate from graduate school this decade. Whew. Maybe they weren’t all that bad. And, maybe 29 will be a banner year for me. No wonder I couldn’t wait to get started.

Also, presents really help.

But here’s the thing: if you’d seen me on Tuesday morning, after my dentist appointment (yes, yes, I am one of those crazy people who actually enjoy the dentist), you would have asked yourself whether I was turning 29 or 8. I was going to Disneyland. Internet, you get in free on your birthday.

After a thrilling cleaning (no cavities, natch), coffee and bagels, J and I headed to “the happiest place on Earth” for a day of pirates, ghosts and goblins, Peter Pan, Space Mountain and carnation ice cream. It was a pleasant day, sunny, but not too hot with a nice cool breeze and lines were never that long.

Before my birthday, J had asked me if I wanted to go out for dinner, as per our custom, on Saturday night, but to be perfectly honest, I really kind of didn’t. Perhaps it was the non-stop busyness of the weeks prior, or maybe it was the economy, or the exhaustion from the big-day being surrounded with out-of-town visitors, baby showers (no, no, not my own), and Independence Day BBQs, but all I wanted to do was snuggle up on the couch with our latest Netflix and a bowl of strawberries. So, that is exactly what we did as a pre-birthday celebration. Of course, after the fabulous steak dinner with grilled veggies. (Which J cooked and cleaned up entirely on his own. Do I not have the greatest husband EVER?)

And the funny thing is - this is pretty much exactly what we did for my birthday three years ago too. So, I guess what I’m saying is that hey, I may be 29 now, homeowner and part of an old married couple, but I CAN STILL PARTY LIKE A 26-YEAR-OLD. Well, a 26-year old who likes partying with only her husband, in her living room, in pajamas pants and a tank top, with a puppy at her feet, of course. But still.