Sunday, October 28, 2007

Lumberjack & Long Hikes

So, our lives are different now. For the past umpteen years on the final Saturday in October, I've either made a trek to Jacksonville or huddled around a television to watch the so-called rivalry game between Georgia and Florida. No more! This year, we went to High Valley in south central Idaho to hang out with some of our new friends at a rustic cabin. It was so rustic that it had no electricity and was heated by a wood stove.

Instead of agonizing over a football game for three hours, I was playing Paul Bunyan with Frank and Brook. What was originally supposed to include a mountain biking trip in the Boise National Forest turned into a burn pile, stick gathering, tree cutting extravaganza along the side of a mountain, interrupted only by text messages from fellow Georgia fans feeding me the exciting news of the Bulldogs' stomping of the Gators. So, just for all of you out there who don't believe me, here is a picture of me with a chain saw felling my first tree as Brook shoves it over.

On Saturday night, we slept upstairs in the loft of the cabin, which is also the preferred sleeping location for Dudley, the incredible snoring dog. After about one hour of him trying to wake the dead at the foot of our bed, Janel asked me to relegate Dudley to the living room downstairs. Kate and Frank both told us Dudley wouldn't mind. So, there I was, scooping up the snoring machine and transporting him down the stairs in the middle of the night in the pitch black. Dudley didn't wake up or even flinch, for that matter. But he did keep snoring. All night. ... Here's the unsuspecting snorer on the trail.

My new friend Frank is one bad dude. He jumps out of airplanes and helps fight wildfires. He's also a great leader, understanding his crews' strengths and weaknesses. He quickly recognized my inefficiency with a hack saw and switched me to pick-up-sticks detail. If there's one thing I can do, it's pick up sticks. Cutting down the tree with a chainsaw was my reward. I'm hoping to do more of that in the future. Now, before you freak out and think I've abandoned my environmentalist activism, thinning trees is actually a healthy thing for the environment.

On Sunday, we went for a hike with Frank and his wife, Kate, in the Boise National Forest. I forgot the baby carrier so Frank graciously requested to help carry Faith. We traded her back and forth--and as you can see, Faith made a new friend, too.

We had a chance to take in some of the beautiful Idaho mountain scenery, including traipsing through some early season snow.

On the way back, I had one of my favorite fatherhood moments to date when for the first time since Faith was an infant, she fell asleep in my arms like a sack of Idaho potatoes. I think she slept on my shoulder for at least a mile of the hike before I placed her in her car seat. She still didn't wake from her slumber.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Faith and Alphonso, the Bear!

So, poor little Faith has been so sick this past month! She has had cryptosporidia (a water-borne parasite) and had to go to the emergency room because she was not quite herself--she ended up having a 104 degree temp and a viral infection that just needed to resolve. Well, at the emergency room, everyone was so sweet to her, and the nurse gave her Alfonso the bear. When she was sick, she held very closely to this little bear. Now, she loves him, but is busy feeling better and busy tending to other activities. Here is a picture of her with Alfonso (named for St Alphonsus hospital that we went to).

Man Tag


1. Who is your man? Jason

2. How long have you been married? 5 years

3. How long dated? 1 year 3 months

4. How old is your man? 33 today!!!

5. Who eats more? I do!

6. Who said “I love you” first? Jason, 5 months before I did:)

7. Who is taller? Jason

8. Who sings better? I do

9. Who is smarter? Hmmm.. that is a toss some things he is smarter, some I am.

10. Whose temper is worse? toss up also

11. Who does the laundry? this stage of marriage he does most of it.

12. Who takes out the garbage? Jason... but Heather, I have to remind him:)

13. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? I do, when your are laying down.

14. Who pays the bills? He does!

15. Who is better with the computer? Jason

16. Who mows the lawn? Neither, we are in an apartment!

17. Who cooks dinner? 99% of the time, I do! I love to cook!!!

18. Who drives when you are together? Mostly, Jason

19. Who pays when you go out? Usually, Jason

20. Who is most stubborn? Probably me! But he can definitely be stubborn at times too:)

21. Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? Jason, but sometimes me!

22. Whose parents do you see the most? Ummm...probably my parents, my whole family lives in one spot, so it makes it easier to see every one on the same visit!

23. Who kissed who first? Jason kissed me! the nerve!

24. Who asked who out? Jason asked me out.

25. Who proposed? Jason, at Jake's icecream place!

26. Who is more sensitive? Me, but he is pretty sensitive for a guy.

27. Who has more friends? He does has a lot of people he keeps in contact with, I mean HUNDREDS!!! So, I would have to say, definitely him!!!

28. Who has more siblings? Jason does--he has 2, I have 1.

29. Who wears the pants in the family? Jason, I like wearing skirts at times.

I tag, Tia aka Christina!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Ten to Two ... and Tights

During our trip to Syringa, Janel surprised me with a guided fly fishing float trip down the Clearwater River. When the guide rolled up, I must confess that I was a bit bewildered by his appearance. It was kind of like Mikhail Baryshnikov meets Bill Dance. He was wearing tights underneath his shorts (it was 45 degrees), a strange complement to the pinch of Copenhagen smokeless tobacco bulging from his bottom lip. I didn't really know what to make of him and wondered if he was about to take me on Idaho's version of snipe hunting.

Nevertheless, I decided to climb into the boat with him and learn the art of fly fishing. One of the most important things I learned is that fly casting is like sawing a board while flicking your wrist between the 10 (on the back cast) and 2 (on the foreword cast) positions. I did OK, but started getting the hang of it when I switched from using my right hand to my left hand. (Being ambidextrous, it's difficult sometimes to decide whether the left or right is best.) Here I am in action.

But then the jokes started coming. At least, my guide called them jokes. I would respectfully call them type casting fables. And when he found out I wasn't a Mormon (Idaho has the most Mormons per capita in the U.S.), he started telling Mormon jokes like they powered the boat. That's when I began pondering just how cold it would be to dive into the water and swim for shore. But I thought better of it and tried to switch the subject.

While I didn't catch any fish, I did get a great philosophy lesson from my tight-wearin', snuff dippin', fly fishin' guide. Some of the things I learned can't be repeated (what happens in the mountains of Idaho, stays in the mountains of Idaho), but most of what could be repeated isn't worth repeating. Maybe next time I'll get a guide who will just help me fish in peace.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Fly Fishing, Flags & Fall

Since we've arrived in Idaho, I must confess that I still feel like I did in the seventh grade when I started attending a new school. It's awkward. You're trying to fit in, hoping people don't notice the big zit on the end of your nose. These days, it's hoping people don't notice I talk like I just walked off the set of Gone with the Wind. But, frankly, I ... digress.

This weekend, Janel and I headed north to Syringa, a small community nestled on the Clearwater River, to celebrate our five-year anniversary. Faith decided it wouldn't be fun staying home alone, so she decided to join us.

On our way up to Syringa, we made a pit stop in New Meadows, population: 543. While I am accustomed to watching Janel stop conversation in a room when she walks in, I'm not accustomed to having that happen for myself. But while trying to turn in my comment card at the BBQ joint we stopped at, I moseyed into the bar where four ranchers were yukking it up with the hostess. Suddenly, their laughing stopped and they all stared at me like I was a three-headed cow. I couldn't figure out why until I walked outside and looked down at my hands. Janel took this picture of me outside the restaurant. Can you figure out why they stopped talking?

It's probably not everyday they see a man with what appears to be a giant, fluffy pink purse. In fact, it's a floppy seat for Faith when she sits in a highchair, but I understand the confused looks now.

We drove for what seemed like forever. And I must admit that at 32 years old, I'm just now realizing how vast our planet is. Several years ago, I stood on the equator near Quito, Ecuador. On our road trip, we posed for this photo at the 45th parallel--halfway between the north pole and the equator.

When we finally arrived in Syringa at our cabin, the view was surreal. Wispy clouds had drifted down to our level and were climbing up the mountain. Check out a view of the mountains just above our cabin.

The last thing I noticed before we entered the house was the presence of a tattered Confederate flag flying on a fenced property near the cabins. I couldn't believe it!

Idaho didn't even receive statehood until 1890, so what in the world was this guy thinking by flying it high over his double-wide? Who knows.

And while you're probably bored--or still in shock that I would carry a giant, fluffy pink purse-looking contraption around--I'll just tantalize you with the topic of my next post: Janel's gift to me of a guided fly-fishing trip down the Clearwater River. Oh, the stories those guides tell!