Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mission Get the fun on-Day 1

The celebration of my temporary hiatus from being a student began yesterday with a trip to Crater Lake. We loaded up the entire clan and drove down I-5 until Roseburg and then slipped over to the scenic route and finished the rest of the trek via the scenic-by-way along the Umpqua River. It was so beautiful.

We arrived at Crater Lake about noon and grabbed some over-priced lunch before hiking about and generally enjoying the beauty that mother nature had on display.

After hiking around the lodge area we headed back to Rim Road for some sightseeing via car.

We got out to do a little hike to see the Pinnacles. Well worth it, even if the mosquitoes where the size of our heads and thirsty for blood!

We continued around the drive until we couldn't go any farther. Exhausted you ask? Nope:

Snow! In July? What does one do when you are blocked by snow in July?

Luckily we had the kids along to show us.

While they were playing, I took the opportunity to work on my modeling career.

Finally, it was time to think about heading back on the 3+ hour drive home. A dog's bladder can only survive so long, especially where everyone you count on to give bathroom breaks is currently in the car with you. So we hit the road and headed back for home. Of course, we got a little distracted along the way.

If this sign looks familiar to you, and you can't tell why, it's because it has graced this blog before. Sean introduced me to this feast of Americana last summer when we went on our Redwoods trip. You know how sometimes you remember things as better being better than they really are? Well, that was not the case here! Delicious as expected.

Except the clientele has really gone down hill. Just look at the hoodlums hanging around.

With full bellies we headed home and called it a successful day! Mission accomplished for Day 1 of "Get the fun on."

Wonder what I'll do for a follow up today!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

FREEDOM-Sweet Freedom!

After 6 weeks in solitary confinement, I'm finally FREE of the confines of Summer Term. No longer will I spend my days sitting on my ass staring at a computer, or an ipad, or reading one of the pages of the 2 reams of paper I went through this term. Nope, I finally slayed that dragon last night.

What to do now that my days are carefree? This is the life of a teacher. Long free summer days, paid for doing nothing. What shall I do with this freedom? Why I could just get in the car and drive until...oh yeah, Tuesday, when I have my first math committee meeting. No matter, I'll leave after that, it will be great why I'll just hit the road and be gone for..6 hours because then I have to go to 3 days of teacher workshops from Wed-Friday. And so the leap frogging goes for the month of August for a teacher.

A good teacher friend once said to me "August is for teacher's what Sunday night is for everyone else." Yes, she is right. You know work is coming. In fact for teachers it actually starts. First trickling in as little workshops, a few days here and there, no big deal until all of a sudden you're two weeks into the month and you find yourself driving to the classroom setting up and planning once again, panicking about how far behind you are.

At least I had half of June and most of July, that's why we really do this job, that sweet freedom of June and July oh that was so wonderful.........DOH!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

It will be fun!

This is the start of the first and I'm sure to be annual, "Barrel to Keg" relay. It went from Harris Bridge Winery in Wren to Rogue Brewery in Newport. 69 Miles. WTF were we thinking signing up for this thing? But "The What Train?!?" was ready to go!

And so it started, Sarah was slated for 3 legs, Stafford and Sean 4 each and me? Well I was set for one. What's that you say, one? Yeah, I know. I suck. I had originally planned on doing two but after a pretty major hiatus from anything other than sitting on my ass doing school work for the past 4 weeks, doing my scheduled two legs of 11 miles total seemed foolish especially since I hadn't run more than 4.5 miles in the past 3 weeks and that was awful!

The big surprise of the day was the weather! It was hot. Not just hot, crazy hot. It was supposed to be around 65-70 max. Nope it was over 80 for most of the day. Now that is a lovely summer day, especially when we haven't had summer yet this year. Except we were in the middle of running 69 miles. In relay legs that averaged around 6 or so miles each. Yikes! But, I only had to do one. And it was flat, and as I recalled, in some pretty shady spots. And...It will be fun!

I have been having some real trouble lately with my inner demons. They tell me I suck. They tell me I'm slow and they tell me I'm an idiot to try and run with the rest of my family pack. Today, with the heat, the not flat leg and the blister and cramping that started just a few miles into my 6.7 miles, my demons were screaming. I didn't even remember my mantra I had practiced so much in preparation for this. But, I finished. 10 minutes slower than my own goal for myself, and 2 minutes off my time projected by my captain, I hung my head in shame as I climbed into the sag wagon.

Luckily the rest of the team was a bunch of Rabbits. They kicked ass on every leg. Sarah the Gazelle actually did 3 legs. 3 legs! That's 15 miles to you an me. I've never even ran 15 miles. Her first leg was a full 20 minutes faster than Captain Stafford had projected on his little spreadsheet of anal planning. What an engineer!

Sean was amazing. He seemed to get stuck with a hill of some variation of hell on every single one of his 4 legs. Here is what he looked like after the dreaded Leg 10 which was pretty much a series of hills from hell leading through the beautiful metropolis of Toledo Oregon.

That is one tired boy. He still has one more leg to do after this too. And so it went, Sarah, Stafford and Sean trading legs for most of the day with one little leg done by me in the mean time. Luckily, I did get a badge to show for my work. I have a foot full of blisters on my left foot. One of them almost looks as gross as the one on Run Fat Boy Run. Seriously, it grosses me out every time I look at it.

At about 6:32 Sarah, Stafford and I waited at the staging area for Sean to come over the Yaquina bay bridge and meet us for the final 100 yard dash to the finish. We saw him on the bridge and within minutes he was with us and the announcer was calling off our names. We started running to the finish together and I instantly fell behind. Damn turtle legs. Luckily, Sean took a glance back, saw my instant lagging and grabbed my hand to pull me up to him where we finished the race together, hand in hand across the finish line. To those that watched, it looked like the world's most romantic gesture. Really, he was just saving my sorry ass from more humiliation of the day. However, I personally really, appreciated it. Pity hand holding or not, it was worth it. 10 hours and 32 minutes of fun! Yes, it was fun.

And this little turtle, got herself a rabbit in the end.

Oh, and a dual purpose finishers medal, a cork screw and a bottle opener.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thoughts before dawn

I cry two times a year. Some years there are other days, random days when life overwhelms, or a good movie or lame commercial hits just the right chord. But in general I'm more of a stuffer, an arms length girl if you will, so that tears don't rise too often.

Both days are for the same reason. My father. Who has been gone for six years now, which still amazes me because every now and again I think I see him somewhere, or that I should ask him something and then I remember again. I wait for it to get easier, and it has, until it isn't. Like on Father's day, when at some point in the day I lose it. Like this year, randomly in a hotel room, listening to some song on the radio. I don't even know what song it was.

This morning I woke up at 3:30 with a terrible stomach ache. Tossing and turning I couldn't get back to sleep. Rather than risk keeping Sean awake, and pondering all the school work I still have to do, I got up. I'd just go grab a quilt and lay on the couch for a while. So I headed to the spare room where they are kept. Hmm, I thought to myself. I think this is a day I could use a little Dad as I grabbed the quilt Crystal made us from his old shirts. No sooner did I hit the couch than the salty tears started trickling down my cheeks. Oh yeah, today's the other day. July 20th, the day we lost him. No indication the tears were coming, they just did.

And so I let my mind wander through the past as I thought of all the time I was lucky enough to have my Dad. All those things that were especially Dad. I'm just like him. It is so funny to me how the things that annoyed me the most about him when he was alive are the traits that I now hold myself. It's like a mirror. Short fuse, quick irrational anger, a detest for mornings (how ironic I'm up before dawn today). A fierce loyalty to friends whether earned or not, love of family and silly car trips. Nothing makes me smile like the smell of industrial hand cleaner, or a deep diesel Riesling. My sense of humor and my losing it at inappropriate times. That is all from him.

I'm not the only one either. I see him in Zach. In the way that he crosses his long legs and reads the comics. In his silly laugh and his sense of humor. And the cowlick. Oh that cowlick. Yes, that boy has Thompson in him.

And so on this 6th anniversary of Dad's death, I celebrate his life and legacy. We are all here, together at last and I believe, carrying forward all that was good in him. We are after all, family.

Since I'm up, I think I'll go watch the sun rise.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Girls love bugs!

This is me at the OSU Bug booth at DaVinci Days this weekend. I've never gotten to see a Walking Stick in person before so this was a real treat! One of my student's did their bug report on them last year so it was extra cool. I'll have to find him in the fall and show him my picture.

This on the other hand was something I had seen before:

College days. Probably not the first, nor the last college girl to see one of these. Maddie on the other hand, was intrigued. She had the choice of holding this cool rare leafy walking stick, or this nasty ass cockroach and well, you can see her pick.

You gotta love a girl who will pick the cockroach!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Great Escape

Yesterday I got up early, got my morning run in, came home and made a to do list of all the work I need to get done over then next two days in my classes. Armed with the order of things I need to do I made my first move.

I set the list down on the table and left the house.

This is where I ended up. The beautiful Oregon Coast. Even though the weather people made their brilliant predictions for an awful day on the coast, it was warm and sunny. The kids played in the sand, I napped on a log with a belly full of chowder, and after a couple of hours we headed to the Aquarium. We wandered around enjoying otters, sharks and jellyfish. It was a wonderful day and a much needed break from the grind of the school work!

I wonder how I can avoid my work today...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Talking smart!

This morning I woke to the sound of rain outside my window. It is a welcome change to the bright sun stream of the past several weeks. Why would I say something like that on an Oregon July day? I'll tell you why my friends. Better yet, I'll show you.

This is what my Summer looks like. I just spent the past hour writing a response using gigantic words about why students should work in learning communities and the pointless nature of multiple choice high stakes tests. Do I really need to pay $400 a credit to say this? Oh, well at least I'm increasing my ability to talk smart.

By the way, here is how Rogue feels about my Summer endeavor. Look closely, you can see the shatter marks in his spirit.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cool like that!

I've been trapped at this computer for the majority of the past few days working on my literature review. Yuck! While I'm learning interesting new data filled goodness, I'd rather be playing outside with the other teachers!

Today I got out for a lovely little 4.8 run with Sean. I say "little" but really it may as well have been a marathon. It was hot and I was tight in all the wrong places. But with Barrel to Keg less than two weeks away, I've got to get my time in. I hope between PT and maybe a massage if I'm really lucky, I'll survive and even enjoy the relay.

And so as I type away, getting more and more sore as the hours tick by, I was thrilled to hear one of my all time favorites on Sean's surf fest going on over on the couch. It was the distinct, angst riddled voice of Humphrey Bogart himself. Casablanca. My all time movie favorite!

"Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."

Damn...they just don't make them like that anymore.

Martini anyone?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Chug Chuggin Along

Today we ordered our team shirts for the Barrel to Keg Relay. Sean designed this killer graphic of a train on the front with our team name. The back was supposed to say "The What?!? Train, Chug-Chuggin' Along. It was beautiful. But, it was two screen printing costs and an additional 2.75 per shirt which ended up being about $60 more bucks when we already forked out a cubic ton of money for them in the first place. We wanted tech tee's due to expected weather and..well let's face it, we are way beyond running in cotton t's. We aren't your average weekend warrior for god's sake.

So, one week from today we will have a set of 2 tech t's per team member and cotton t's for the support crew for our crazy endeavor. I hope they look cool!

I'll just have to keep chug chuggin along without the reminder on the shirt. I expect I won't really need it since that seems to be my constant status this summer. Between summer school, PT and what not, it's all I seem to be able to do.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Trail Tale!

Yesterday was a beautiful day for a Mt. Bike ride. So after lifting weights for almost an hour with Olivia, we loaded up the bikes and headed out to Oak Creek. I knew I needed fuel so I grabbed a banana and a muscle milk before we left. I thought that would be fine.

I started to have a glimpse of being in trouble on the endless gravel climb up to the junction of choices. My crankiness factor increased exponentially. Why is real biking so much more difficult than spin class? Once we hit the junction of choices, I was completely fried. 40 minutes of straight climbing took it's toll on Miss irregularly low blood sugar and I hit the wall. I bashed a perfect bolt pattern into my right knee trying to clear the down tube to get off my bike. That's when it happened.

I turned and looked in the direction we were supposed to head and I saw it. It came out of the shadows and stood in the middle of the road. It was probably 100 yards down the road. At first I thought it was a deer. No, wait, it's much bigger than a deer. Shit, look at how strong those back legs are. COUGAR! It just stood in the road staring towards us. I said to Sean "there's something down there." He looked, "where?" He couldn't see it. During this same time I'm fumbling with my new gloves trying to figure out how the hell to get them off so I can pop my sport beans into my mouth before I fall over. "It's right down there!" I say to him as I finally rip the glove free and shove beans into my mouth, assessing the situation. Clearly I'm not going that route anymore and I'm trying to pump fuel in before I have to ride like the wind once the cat figures out it can catch and kill me. Besides, those sport beans were delicious. Excellent last meal choice I think to myself and clearly the cougar would want in on the action.

Sean says to me "there's nothing there, Trace, you're hallucinating". Yeah right I think to myself, you'll be sorry when you're eaten and I'm half way back down the hill. But to humor him I say, "fine, but we aren't going that way, I'm tired and we can go to the top of Dimple Hill but I'm not going that way."

About this time, a curious thing starts to happen, my hand stops shaking and I gather enough courage to look down the road again. I can't really make out the cat anymore. Hmm, I think it must have moved. God I hope it isn't right behind me now. But then I keep looking and I can make it out again. Yes, yes, there it is. Yup, it is there alright. Probably just as it was in the first place. A shadow, down the road. Shaped like a cougar mind you, but just a shadow.

And so I hopped back on my bike and rode up to the top of Dimple Hill just before we took this picture. Of course, I took ribbing all the way up from Sean, about how if I would have eaten when he asked me too before we even started the big climb, I never would have hallucinated a giant bear trying to kill me.

Jeez Sean, don't exaggerate. It was a cougar dude, if it was a bear I would have been fine.