Saturday, May 27, 2017

Life Lately.

A week or two ago I deleted my Facebook. Some of you may have noticed, some might not have. (I usually only notice things that appear rather than disappear- also, I read an article recently about how our brains are hardwired to do that, so whatever.) I haven't missed Facebook at all, though. There have been like two instances where I wanted to be able to look someone from high school up and see where they are now and wasn't able to, but otherwise I've hardly even noticed. I do NOT miss scrolling aimlessly through my Facebook feed looking for something to entertain me. Not at all.

I probably would have deleted it sooner if I knew that you can keep messenger while your profile is deactivated. (Shoutout to my friend Liam for letting me in on that secret!) So now I'm Facebook free and loving it. Not sure anyone will even read this post though, since I think people only see them when I publish to my Facebook wall, but oh well. We'll deal with that later. Right now, I'm simply updating you on my life these days.

It's the end of May and I leave for Europe in just a few short weeks. I have no idea what I'm going to do alone in Greece for a week, but I'm planning to mostly just bum around on the beach. Seems legit to me. Maaaybe I'll come up with something else to do while I'm there, but honestly if all I do is the beach bum thing, I think I'm fine with it.

Last weekend I got to see my childhood camp friend, Hillary, get married to her high school sweetheart. It was a beautiful wedding and honestly one of the most fun weddings I've ever been to, I think. Even though her little brother is totally afraid of me now because I tried to pressure him into dancing (I KNOW he's good at it! I've seen the videos on instagram and stuff!) and he's a 15 year old boy who is not about peer pressure from 26 year old women that he doesn't remember (even though I've totally known him since he was like six!) oh well. After the wedding I got to see my dear friend Simon host and perform in a burlesque show which was also super fun.

All spring long, I've been going to as many of my brother Jon's track meets as I possibly can. Yesterday I had the extreme pleasure of watching him make a new school record and PR by successfully clearing a high jump of six feet four inches. It was incredible. He's also got the school record in hurdles and tied the school record for pole vault. What a champ! He's been all over the Kennebec Journal (our local paper) sports section. If you've missed all that (I almost did, because of not having Facebook) here's the article they wrote just about him. It's pretty great. He's also been mentioned in a few other articles over the past couple weeks because he's basically everyone's favorite person to watch at the meets. Seriously, it's hilarious- all the boys are always whispering "What's Jonny doing now?" and "Has he done his high jump yet?!?" like he's some big celebrity. Also, when he made the 6'4 jump, I swear half the people at the track came over to watch.

Also a few weeks ago my brother Zac graduated from Thomas College- whoop whoop!- and then Jonny went to his senior Prom later the same day. In case any of you missed the photos of that, I will admit that my sister and I dressed up in our own old prom dresses and went down to the boat landing to take pictures with him and his girlfriend. Because obviously my sister and I are the highest quality sort of siblings. (It was actually my idea, and when I mentioned it to Britt that morning she said, "That's the best idea you've ever had!" So then we were definitely doing it even though I think she wanted to chicken out.) It was actually totally hilarious though. We didn't tell anyone we were going to do it and my mom almost fell over laughing when she saw us. I think Jonny was entertained, too.

Other than that, life has been pretty normal around here. I've been trying to get more exercise lately, even though some days it feels like it's going to kill me. I've gotten to eat fiddleheads a few times this spring, which I have enjoyed immensely. Last week I even took showers on two consecutive days (and I might even do it again tomorrow!) so basically I'm killing it on the self-care. You can be proud of me. I'm proud of myself.

Monday, May 8, 2017

A Drive Around a Crater.

So after leaving the redwoods, I decided to detour(ish) inland a bit to check out Crater Lake National Park. Because I was really trying to hit as many national parks as I could. And I am so very very glad that I did, because Crater Lake was totally my favorite of all the parks that I went to. Granted, I only spent about an hour there, and there really wasn't that much to do. But it was just so damn peaceful up at the top. And still. Even with a zillion tourists milling around, I found it completely zen because the lake at the top of the crater is just so serene looking. It was really just totally wonderful.

Also, the little volcanic rock island in the middle of the lake (you can see the very edge of it in the left-hand side of the picture I'm in) is called Wizard Island. And what's not to love about that?

It wasn't until after I left Crater Lake that I started having problems. First of all, the park is seriously in the middle of nowhere (okay, most of the National Parks are, but whatever) and I was a little afraid I was going to run out of gas. But I didn't so that's good. Although, it turns out in Oregon you aren't allowed to pump your own gas which sucks because I kind of hate letting other people pump my gas. But whatever, I lived.

But then, as I drove along the curving roads of Oregon, I was getting a liiiittle bit tired of driving and wasn't focused as much as I probably should have been and I popped off the road a bit. On a normal road, this wouldn't have been that big of a deal. I probably would have just kicked up some gravel or something and fixed it. But on this particular road there was no gravel. Just a 6 or more inch drop off from the pavement. Going down over it wasn't that big of a deal, but when I corrected it and went back onto the road, both of my right tires popped. It all happened in about a second or two, but I knew immediately that something was very very wrong. I managed to pull over in a kind of decent area (but like I said, the road was very curvy and there wasn't really a shoulder) and called AAA to come help me. Obviously, I don't drive around with two spare tires, so it required a tow. I wasn't going to get anywhere for new tires before businesses closed, so I called the Costco (my original tires were Costco tires) in Eugene, Oregon and asked if I could have my car towed there and leave it there for the night in their parking lot. They said yes, and I just had to wait for the tow truck man to arrive. Luckily I had a few books packed, and I also utilized the time updating my budget to include the new car expenses. I booked a hotel using hotwire from the tow truck and managed to get a place that was only a mile or two from the Costco where I left my car (but the tow truck dropped me off there for the night and I only had to walk in the morning).

It actually made me feel better that something went wrong. I was more than a third of the way into my trip at that point and I had spent many many hours driving. I tried really hard not to speed that much, but I tend to drive a little on the fast side and sometimes I don't even notice cause I'm just in the zone. I'd been a bit uneasy, sure that I would have some sort of problem over the course of my monthlong trip, and flat tires was wayyy better than a speeding ticket (or, god forbid, an accident) that would have probably been more costly and potentially made my insurance go up (barf). So with this snafu under my belt, I felt a bit calmer about the rest of my trip.

Also, while I sat in the back seat of my car waiting for the tow truck to arrive, I found the receipt for the tires I purchased at Costco (they were less than a month old) and was then able to present it at Costco the next day. Lo and behold- my tires were still under warranty and I was able to get two brand spanking new ones put on completely for free. SCORE! It was pretty damn exciting, really. So with that whole catastrophe I was only out about seventy extra dollars. Not too bad, really. Praise the Lord for Costco's really excellent return policy/customer service guarantee.

And with that, I continued on my merry way to Portland. It was a day later than I'd anticipated, but all's well that ends well, I suppose.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Camping in the Redwoods.

(See, I TOLD you I had some more posts ready!) 

So, we’re at Thursday, August 11th and I am leaving San Fransisco (I just wanted to put that in there in case this timeline and eight month delay has gotten confusing for anyone). I drove North toward the Redwoods. Now, there are a few different national parks where one can observe Redwood forests. One is Redwood State and National parks (duh) and one is Sequoia National Park. Apparently, Sequoia National Park is more impressive because that’s where the really wide trees are. Apparently the Redwood National Park has tall trees that are also wide but not as astonishingly wide. The internet seemed to think that if you’re only going to see one, you should head toward Sequoia. Well that’s cool and all internet, but Sequoia national park wasn’t on my way. At all. So Redwood National Park it was. 

Along the way I passed an advertisement for a drive through tree. So I went. I paid five dollars to go down a twisty road and drive my car through a tree but then I wimped out and panicked because I wasn’t sure my car would fit, so I turned off and parked my car on the side. Let’s take a moment here to appreciate the fact that I drive a sub-compact car, and if any car was ever going to fit, it was probably mine. But again, panic. Then I walked through the tree. The hole in it was wide enough that I couldn’t touch both sides with my arms extended. I checked later and determined that I can do that in my car, so my car would have fit. Of course. Damnit. 

Anywhoo, you can take highway 101 all the way up through and see some pretty incredible trees, but there’s also this scenic detour you can take and I figured, “What the hell, the whole point of the rest of this day is to see Redwoods. Might as well detour!” And so I did. The road was winding and slow moving but it was so, so beautiful. The trees were ginormous! I was driving through it in the late evening and the sunlight was barely making it through between the trees at that point. Pictures really didn’t do it justice, especially since I didn’t couldn’t get a human in with it for perspective. 

I camped out that night at Elk Prairie Campground in Redwoods State Park. It was pretty lovely and there were a zillion huge ferns all around my camp site. I kind of wanted to make friends with some people at the camp ground (like the dude I could hear playing guitar for his friends) but ultimately was too much of a chicken. Oh well. It was still lovely.

In the morning I went exploring to a part of the park called "Fern Canyon" and I will say that while it was cool and very pretty, there was no place that looked like a canyon with walls completely covered in ferns. I was disappointed, not gonna lie. But I did climb up in a huge redwood tree and self time a photo that I later used on my Christmas card, so it wasn't a total loss, I guess.

After that I hit the road for Oregon and left California in the dust.