Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Detour

"The beauty and charm of the wilderness are his for the asking, for the edges of the wilderness lie close beside the beaten roads of present travel." -- Teddy Roosevelt

We despised every minute of packing up the car to return to Vegas. We were returning to extreme heat and unending sunshine...the black hole of foliage. Adam (usually a lead-foot) seemed to drive more slowly each mile as if trying to delay our return. It was in the midst of this slow, painful drive that we decided to make one last stop. We turned off the road and headed into Yosemite.
The park was breathtaking. My only wish is that I could've seen it before the paved roads and throngs of tourists - to see it the way that Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir saw it - wild and beautiful. When the sounds of the deer stamping and snorting, the whisper of the wind, and the songs of the meadowlarks were the only noises that echoed through the valleys.

"It was like lying in a great, solemn cathedral, far vaster and beautiful than any built by the hand of man." -- Teddy Roosevelt
"I grow very fond of this place, and it certainly has a desolate, grim beauty of its own, that has a curious fascination for me." -- Teddy Roosevelt

"Nothing could be more lonely and nothing more beautiful than the view at nightfall across the prairies to these huge hill masses, when the lengthening shadows had at last merged into one and the faint after-glow of the red sunset filled the west." -- Teddy Roosevelt
Adam and I learned a valuable lesson on that short journey through the settled wilderness...

Monday, January 4, 2010

From the mouths of babes...

The Kilpatrick Family (L to R): Rosie, Brenna, Marie (my sister), Darci, Jon, Shelby, Liam

Scene 1: Marie's house, Christmas Eve. Adam has been playing the role of "horsey". It is Rosie's turn and she is "riding" on his shoulders.

Rosie: Horsey, where did all your hair go?

Liam: It's the cancer.

Shelby: It isn't the cancer that made his hair fall out. It's the medicine!
(Both the cancer and the terrible medicine that makes Adam's hair fall out came as a big shock to us...glad the kids warned us!)

Scene 2: Mom and Dad's house. Family members are embracing and saying their goodbyes. Brenna has just given Uncle Adam a hug goodbye.

Brenna: Don't die in war, Uncle Adam.

Adam: I won't Brenna, I'll see you sometime next year!

Brenna: Yeah...If you survive!

We're looking forward to next year when Darci can talk!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Camping in Oregon

Vegas is...hot (among other things). Summer days are routinely 110F. If the wind is blowing, you feel like someone is blasting a blow dryer in your face. If it isn't, you begin to understand how a Christmas goose feels as it is roasting. This isn't the hottest place that Adam and I have ever been, but it is the hottest place we've lived. If you have been to Vegas, you know that trees, grass, and flowers do not grow here naturally. Every once in a while you will actually see knee- to thigh-high sagebrush rumbling along through the suburb as if it were cued for a sunset dueling scene in some Clint Eastwood or John Wayne movie. So, in August when the Vegas sun is at its worst, where are we going to go? I'll tell you where. Someplace cool. A place where the root beer flows like water. Where beautiful people flock instinctively like the salmon of Capistrano. I'm talking about a little place called...Oregon.

So we, (being who we are...) flocked instinctively to Honeyman State Park in Oregon. Adam used to go there as a kid with his family. It is a wonderful park with the ocean, beach, a lake, and a forest all within less than a mile of each other. Adam can ride his 4-wheeler in wicked high sand dunes, then come back to the campsite and go swimming in the lake. We did a lot of relaxing and a lot of playing. This was also our first time going camping with Oscar. Luckily, Oscar slept most of the time we were in the car. We stopped fairly often to re-tire him out. One of Adam's favorite rest stops is a large stop off of I-5 right near the California-Oregon border on the Klamath river. It's just off the interstate, but it is so quiet. You can hear the wind rustling the leaves and the river gurgling next to your picnic table. Every time we take the drive up to Oregon, we stop there to eat lunch.

We spent the first day camping on the lake shore with Adam's mom, Jan, her husband Don, and FOUR dogs...Soldier (lab), Simon and Keystone (bulldogs) are Mom's, and, of course, Oscar. Just for our own future reference...4 dogs+1 ball=chaos. We also learned that day that Oscar is a very patient puppy...the picture on the right is Oscar...after Adam buried him in the sand. Adam also taught Oscar how to dig...the video is at the end of the post...Oscar obviously enjoyed it and has recently been caught trying to keep up on his skills in our backyard.

The lake shore is just on the other side of the hill from the ocean beach which means...a nice white, soft, sandy beach. What always throws me off is the number of people swimming...including Adam. It wasn't even 70F...they must've all been native Oregonians...I was wearing 2 shirts, a jacket, and jeans and was still cold. Once we get to the lake, we take a nice little 5 minute stroll to the other side of the lake. There's a nice sandy hill and beach, and most people don't bother walking over there, so it is usually just us. It is also the same section of the shore where Adam and his family would play when he was young.

The best part of going camping in Oregon (when coming from Vegas) is the extreme shock that your eyes go through...everything is so...green. And it is so nice to be out in the fresh air. One of my favorite parts of this last trip was taking Oscar for his walk every morning before Adam woke up (most of the other campers were still asleep too). It was so peaceful. Most of the campground was still. Everyone that was up was still whispering to each other or talking in hushed tones. You could hear the trees, the squirrels, and a few crackling campfires. I love the smells of camping in Oregon, especially in the morning - the trees and moss, the damp earth, the breakfast campfires (and breakfasts!) of the other early risers - love it all. If there were a soundtrack for the morning walks, it would be something along the lines of John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High"...without the Rocky Mountains...

Having Oscar around camp definitely changed things a bit. We had to keep him tied up and keep the blue jays out of his food. We learned that our not-so-little puppy still thinks that he's a lapdog. Accommodating him is a little easier at home on our large armchair than it is in a camping chair. I knew that I would be cold up there, but we figured Oscar's a dog...with fur...he'd be fine. Not so. He was cold every night and every morning. So, at night, he would sleep under a blanket (or two) sandwiched between Adam and I. During the day when we were outside of the tent, we had to find alternative ways of keeping him warm. He was a little scared of the fire, so we ended up wrapping him in blankets everytime he settled down for a nap.

Adam's favorite thing about Honeyman is the dunes...fairly steep, loose dunes. We take the ATV up there so that he can play. He puts on the paddle tires and does death-defying stunts...sometimes on purpose, sometimes not so much. The dunes connect the campground and lake with the ocean. Oscar and I met him on the beach one blustery day. (It took us the next three days to get all the sand out of our ears, eyes, hair, pants, shoes, paws, fur....

We love the simple pleasures of camping. The biggest stress is making the fire for the night. the biggest decision is whether to play cards or catch. And, ah...the food. Mountain Man breakfast every morning, roasted marshmallows and hot dogs for dinner. What could possibly be better?!? Unforunately, you can't spend your entire life playing frisbee golf, bocce call, catch, and sitting around doing nothing. So, we celebrated our last evening at camp by heading out to the blustery beach again, this time to watch the sun set. Oscar loved the beach...

The next morning, we packed up camp in the rain (c'mon...it's Oregon...it had to rain at least one day), and headed back home. Of course, we took a little detour...

Monday, September 7, 2009

High Heels and New Friends

Oscar is continuing his enjoyment of my favorite pair of high heels. It took me a long time to find an identical replacement...but I finally did! Of course, the first day I wore them, I came home from church, took them off, and had them dangling in my hand...Oscar opened his mouth to take it from me. After a sharp "no" and an extremely dirty look, he learned to stick with the old ones.

Adam's brother, Evan, just moved in with us, and Henry (his dog) is now Oscar's new best friend (whether Henry likes it or not). At least they're getting along!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Adam's Hometown

I remember the first time Adam and I went to his hometown of Oakland, Oregon. It was going to be my first time meeting his mom (and I was ridiculously nervous). Ad told me it was a small town, but I really didn't believe him. I thought, "small...okay....like 2,000 people...that's small." No, we're talking 850 people small. We recently visited and I am happy to report that the town now claims 954 residents. (I'm not sure I believe them.)

Downtown Oakland

Adam always told me he thought the area was a bit of a genetic cesspool, but every time we go back, he seems to become more and more fond of the place. It does have a bit of the small town charm. It has a cute historic downtown area which used to be full of stores, a bank, and a hotel among other things, but they have all been replaced with high-end antique and art dealers who cater to summer tourists travelling along I-5. Most of the stores have changed over time with the exception of Stearn's Hardware store that opened in 1887 and is still a family-run business. Of course, the Oakland Tavern is also still in business...

Adam's House

Adam grew up in the same house his whole life. Adam's house is adorable and his mom keeps it up very well. It is cheery and cozy...and, most importantly, feels like home. But, beware it is NOT on the postal route. The town Post Office worker doesn't deliver mail to people, so everyone has to go pick it up. The area of the town of Oakland is 0.7 sq miles (source: Wikipedia). Is it really that hard to work in a couple deliveries?

Bart's Market

One of Adam's earliest jobs was working for Bruce and Janice Bartholomew at Bart's Market in "downtown" Oakland. Bruce still says that Adam was his best Produce Manager. Adam has too many stories to list about his time at Bart's. For example, he and his friend Caleb used to look through the bottom of every bottle of Coke, Pepsi, or Dr. Pepper to make sure that they got the winning bottlecap. He and Bruce would hide in the coolers to catch shoplifters, including the town's one roving drunk (he was known to sneak into the coolers from time to time). He once was trying to be a good employee by going above and beyond to clean a smoke stain around the pipe of the store's wood-burning stove. In "cleaning" the ceiling, he ended up smearing the smoke residue around until an eighth of the store's ceiling was black...the stain was still there over 10 years later. It was also at Bart's that he developed his love for Big Mamas. Big Mamas, for those of you who haven't heard of them, are the classic gas station/small grocery store check-out counter item...a giant tub of unnaturally red sausages in some strange red vinegar-y solution. I honestly can't tell you how they taste because I am terrified of them. They smell like vinegar and Tabasco mixed with a little pig farm (not pork...pig farm...slop, manure, etc). Bruce has since sold the store, but every time we go home, we have to stop by Bart's so Adam can eat his Big Mama while roaming the aisles.

The Oakland Meat Locker

Adam and his brothers used to go down to the town Meat Locker for jerky when they got an extra buck. So, while Ad was taking me on his trip down Memory Lane, we stopped in to pick up some jerky. Adam was in FFA (Future Farmers of America) while in High School and has thus been exposed to animal slaughtering and butchering. I, on the other hand, have not. My very first experience with this was this year, as a 29-yr old. I saw my first cow being butchered while hanging from a hook at the good ol' Oakland Meat Locker - I couldn't look away. (Very happy to have missed the lead-in to the butchering, by the way. I think the slaughtering might have turned me into a vegetarian.) Their jerky was really tasty if you're ever in town.
I joke on Oakland (and Adam for having grown up there), but it really is a cute little town, made even better by his mom and step-dad making it feel like home.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Oscar...Our New Addition

We were hoping for a little bundle of joy this year. The one we received from the stork, however, was a little furrier than we were hoping for…and came with a tail (kinda…). Adam always had a dog growing up, and told me (even before we were married) that having a dog is a necessary part of raising a family. So, once I separated from the Air Force, we went searching for a dog. While looking for a Weimaraner, we stumbled upon a little Boxer, almost completely black, with a white chest and paws. The first time we played with him, he jumped around like a little bucking bronco, chewed on my scarf, and peed on the floor. Somehow in all that, Adam decided that he was definitely the one. When we brought him home, he weighed 12 pounds, and was a little over two months old. He is now almost seven months and over 45 pounds.

His First Day Home

Oscar is part of the family, and has also seemingly become our “practice” child. He is so much like a child. We had to potty train him (without the diapers), when he was really young, we basically had to cuddle him to sleep (he’d only sleep in our laps), and while he didn’t need to eat at night, we did have to get up every few hours to take him to the bathroom. Now that he’s a little older, he rebels (especially when we tell him to go to his kennel), he cries and whines (once he’s finally IN the kennel), he makes incredible messes (the pictures are just a small sample), and he begs for treats.

Things we love about Oscar:

  1. We call him Wiggles because he shakes his entire hind end when he’s excited
  2. He’s so cuddly
  3. He’s a playful ball of energy
  4. How high he can jump (we’ve been face-to-face when he jumps)
  5. His INCREDIBLY long tongue and floppy ears
  6. He sleeps in the oddest positions
  7. He can scale a six foot chain link fence
  8. He plays better defense during a basketball game than most humans we know
  9. How excited he is to see you when you come home
  10. His unconditional love and willingness to forgive

First Bath

Swimming Lessons

Sleeping in on a Saturday Morning
(no...he doesn't sleep on our bed)

Dr. Destruct-O

Neutering Day

Monday, October 6, 2008

Well...it isn't pretty (yet), but at least it is started!