Friday, August 31, 2007

D-d-deadline!

Today's the day my proposal is due. I have my 60 pages, unfortunately, I'm still one scene short in Chapter 3. I wrote two scenes and realized a third was needed. One from the hero's POV. Of course, I have Pilates and am meeting a behind-the-scenes (and wife of a rescuer) member of Portland Mountain Rescue to talk about my book and characters this morning. Not to mention taking the kidlets swimming this afternoon. So that scene will have to wait a bit.

My editor did give me two extra days as I mentioned yesterday. As long as the manuscript is in her inbox when she arrives Monday it's fine. That's one thing I love about the time difference between here and London!

Oh, and guess what arrived in the mail yesterday? My AA (galley/page proofs) for SOS Marry Me. Thank goodness they didn't arrive sooner or I would have totally lost it!

Better get to work. I have a few minutes before I have to leave!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Aaack!

Current (as of this morning) Tally

New pages written: 5
Old pages revised on paper: 0
Old pages revised on screen: Prologue and Chapter One
Pages of revisions typed in: 0
Pages lost or gained due to revisions: none
Total page count to date: 59 (Minimum page count = 60, but this will turn out to be higher)
Days remaining until D-day: 1 (Gulp!)
Emails from editor in UK: 1 (I sent an email yesterday asking if I needed more time would it be okay if I emailed the proposal Sunday since due to the time difference between here and there she wouldn't open it until Monday morning anyway. She said yes!)
Emails from agent in NY: 0

Chocolate consumed: M&Ms in trail mix
Junk food consumed: Trail mix
Exercise: walking
Television watched: none
Tears: none
Clip for the day: I'm going to post some photos below from our Bend Trip since I forgot my camera yesterday. (I wore a backpack and forgot to put the camera in it.) The words won't match the photos, but at least you'll have something pretty to look at! These pics are from our Saturday hike around Tumalo Falls in Bend. The first two pictures I took. The last three Tiffany took. No comparisons please. She's a pro. I'm not.

Pressure. So much pressure. I hate deadlines, but I have to admit I'd never finish anything if I didn't have them. Just how my brain works.

Yesterday I took the kids to Fort Vancouver. We went on a tour and learned how the Hudson Bay Company operated there. It was interesting and the best $3 I'd spent in a long time! The kidlets loved the pelt room where hundreds of different animal pelts were stored, recreating what the room looked like when the place was operational. Thankfully, they had used tanned hides so the smell was much better than it would have been back then. Finn was enthralled by the traps used to catch the beavers!

Next we headed to the store where they traded with Native Americans. The kids loved seeing all the products and learning how everything was converted and priced in beaver pelts. The pelts were sent to England where the fur was plucked, leaving felt to make hats from. A valuable commodity back then. The guide showed them how to make fire using flint and an iron tool. The girls loved all the beads hanging from the ceiling.

Afterwards we had a picnic lunch at a nearby playground and then headed to Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver so the kidlets could splash around in the water features there. A fun day, but not much writing. I didn't get started on the proposal until the late afternoon, had a break for dinner and family time, then worked until almost midnight.

I love this project. I love how it's coming together (slowly, but that's okay!) I also love all the research I find via google though I must admit some haven't been easy to read. Results from searches on "climbing deaths" and "climbing partner death guilt" made me go "hmmmm." Other articles I found during searches such as "climbing spirituality" made me go "wow." One thing is for sure, I really want to try and climb Mount Hood next spring. Fingers crossed I can do it!

Well, I've got a babysitter coming to play with the kids so I can head down into my cave and work today so I'd better get busy. My editor may have given me a couple extra days to work on this, but I'd like to get as much done as possible now. I don't want this proposal breathing down my neck the way it is right now during the last weekend of the kids' summer break!

Have a wonderful Thursday!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Catching up and the Cutie!

Catch-up Tally

New pages written: 6
Old pages revised on paper: 0
Old pages revised on screen: Chapter 2
Pages of revisions typed in: 0
Pages lost or gained due to revisions: ??
Total page count to date: 54 (Minimum page count = 60)
Days remaining until D-day: 2 (and I barely have a chapter three yikes!)
Emails from editor in UK: 0
Emails from agent in NY: 0

Chocolate consumed: a Hershey's chocolate square
Junk food consumed: slice of birthday cake
Exercise: none
Television watched: none
Tears: none
Clip for the day: I have a special picture for you instead of a link or You Tube video today.

Remember how I forgot to bring my camera when I climbed with the climbing cutie the week before last? Well, he sent me this pic and said I could share it. Such a nice guy! The photo was taken during one of his cross fit workouts at this gym. If you don't know anything about cross fit, check out the Workout of the Day Blog on the link to see what these people do for fun. I think they are insane, but you might find more pictures of the cutie there!

The cutie is the one lying closest to the camera. Whatever he did that day sure wiped him out, but that's what he gets for taking a few days off. His words, not mine. Hmmm. Looks like I'm not the only one who goes climbing when they should be doing something else!!! Glad to know I'm not alone!

I doubt I could do one thing on the list of daily cross fit workouts. Better stick to my twice a week Pilates sessions and climbing! What do you do to keep in shape?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

This week's free book winner is....

Thanks for all the blog comments and birthday wishes. Much appreciated. I'm back home and ready to hit the proposal hard. It's due on Friday. Yikes! Freak out time.

Here are your random numbers:

12
Timestamp: 2007-08-28 15:46:46 IST

The winner is Tori! She broke Dru's winning streak!! Please contact me, Tori, with your snail address and book choice. See here for your choices!

A new contest is now underway so please post those comments so you, too , can win a free book!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Climb Like A Girl

I had a great birthday! The day started early and right away I got presents! My friend Tiffany handed me a bag as soon as I came downstairs. Inside were a Climb Like A Girl T-shirt that is soooo cute and a Prana tank, exactly what I wanted to buy myself to climb in. Needless to say, I ran back upstairs to change into my new tops before heading out!

We drove to Redpoint, met our guide, Will, and headed to Smith Rock. This is a picture of Tiffany and I right before the hike down into the park. The temperatures were cooler than on Friday, but as soon as we reached the first route called Purple Headed Warrior (I kid you not!) the sweatshirts came off. We were right in the sun and it got hot fast! By the way, most of these pictures were taken by Tiffany (unless she's in them!) She's a professional photographer who's opening up her own studio!

After Will set the route for us, it was my turn to climb. I was so excited as I tied into my harness. Will and I checked each other to make sure everything was correctly buckled and tied in. I got the okay to climb on. I put my right foot on the wall and realized I was still wearing my tennis shoes! In my excitement I forgot to put on climbing shoes. We all had a good laugh while I changed shoes. The hardest part of the climb was the beginning. Once I got past that part, it was easy and fun climbing. When I got down, Will gave me a lesson on some knots I'll need as I take my climbing further.

We climbed over Asterisk Pass (scariest climb of the day for both of us even though we were roped up and scrambling) to reach the other side. There we found shade and cooler temps. We did a really fun climb. It has a 5.7 rating, but I can't remember the name. Tiffany wanted to take photos of us from the top so Will secured her to the top and stayed up there while I climbed. This climb only had one "spicy" part.

This is a shot of all three of us at the top of the route. You can see Tiffany's leg. We were laughing pretty hard as I climbed through Will's legs. It was confusing with all the ropes. I hooked into the anchor and untied. It was a little disconcerting at first hanging off my personal safety anchor so high up, but I got used to it while Will did some rope management. He also showed me how he belayed off the anchor. I'd never seen that before. My feet got tired after awhile so I had no choice but to hang there for a few minutes. That really upped my confidence in the security of the gear.

On our hike around the park, we stopped at another climbing route. A 5.7 rated climb, but I forgot the name. It was a crack climb. This one had a hard start. At least I thought so, but Tiffany, as usual, had no problem. She just headed up. The rest of the climb was fine, but the rock was a little different than what we'd climbed on before.

Here's a close-up shot of my feet. This is on the same crack climb Tiffany was on. There were tiny nubs (not sure what the correct term would be but that's what they looked like to me) that provided great footholds. I still need to work on my footing, but I'm making a little progress there. You really have to trust your feet and not worry about your hands so much.

Speaking of hands, these were my hands at the end of the day. I'd gotten a blister on Friday. Unfortunately on my first climb, the tape came off and the blister got a lot worse. Will taped my finger and it was fine for the rest of the day. It's pretty nasty looking now though. A few days I'm sure it'll be fine and if I climb this week I'll just tape it again.

The three of us stopped for a drink of water and a picture before making the final push to the parking lot. It was a great day spent with amazing company!

After a refreshing shower, my family and Tiffany's had dinner at the Pine Tavern in downtown Bend. Yummy scone biscuits! We headed home and had birthday cake. I got cards from the kids and a pair of Tevas from Tom. I needed new Tevas after losing one of them during my climb at Exit 38 outside Seattle. I fell asleep really early. A totally wonderful birthday!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Climbing at Smith Rock!

We arrived at Red Point and discovered we had the same First Ascent guides as last time! The kids were thrilled. They loved Zach and Nina. We drove to Smith Park, but parked in a different area. We were going to climb inside the park this time.

We hiked down to an area called the Dihedrals. The rock was different than the North Point area. I found it easier to climb on since my feet stuck better. This shot shows the different routes we were climbing. My oldest is climbing on the left. My friend's son is on the right. The kids did better this time out. The two youngest are still a bit tentative, but they had fun. A morning out in the dirt among rocks? What kid wouldn't like that!

Rose was a little hesitant getting on the rock since this route went much higher than those on our last visit. We told her she could come down whenever she wanted. She wanted extra help getting up so I climbed up to give her a few pointers and also make sure she didn't swing the wrong way once she was ready to come down. She really liked being a climber in pink. Even her harness was pink. She didn't mind the orange helmet too much since it matched mommy's.


This is Tiffany sending yet another route. She's my gym climbing partner, my nanowrimo-buddy, writing pal and good friend. We used to be neighbors, but still manage to see each other now that I've moved. She did great out there scaling the rock the way she does the gym walls. Awesome to watch. We had a lot of fun out there and tomorrow the two of us are going climbing. I can't wait!

Here I am on one of the routes. No fear of height issues at all. t was a lot hotter this time and we didn't have as much shade as the last time, either. The hike out was draining. We stopped off at the Terrebonne Depot for a delicious lunch, made a quick stop at the Sun Spot for an ice cream, got home, showered, rested for a few minutes, went out for pizza, came home and hopped in the jacuzzi. Pretty much as good a day as it can get!

The scenery was just gorgeous. I have shots that Tiffany took, but the pics are too big for blogger and I haven't figured out how to resize them. If I figure it out, I'll upload them!

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Funtime Friday

Thursday Tally

New pages written: 5
Old pages revised on paper: 0
Old pages revised on screen: Last part of synopsis
Pages of revisions typed in:
Pages lost or gained due to revisions:
Total page count to date: 48 (Minimum page count = 60)
Days remaining until D-day: 7
Emails from editor in UK: 0
Emails from agent in NY: 0

Chocolate consumed: Handful of m&m's
Junk food consumed: none
Exercise: none
Television watched: none
Tears: none
Link for the day: no time

I upped my minimum page count to 60 pages after finishing the synopsis yesterday. I'd gotten stuck at the end, but thanks to a brainstorming session with my cp figured it out. We'll see what she thinks of what I did since she's got that part of the proposal now.

We're in Bend at my friend's house. She made a yummy dinner for us last night: cedar plank salmon, corn on the cob, potatoes, greek salad and hot fudge sundaes for dessert. This is only the second time we've been to the house in the summer. The last time was two years ago. It's a little strange not seeing snow!

I'm missing my furbabies, but we're heading to Smith Rock today to climb as a family so that's a big consolation. Hope you have a fun Friday!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Living in the Cave

Tuesday/Wednesday Tally

New pages written: 8
Old pages revised on paper: 0
Old pages revised on screen: First scene of Chapter 2
Pages of revisions typed in:
Pages lost or gained due to revisions:
Total page count to date: 43 (Minimum page count = 55)
Days remaining until D-day: 8
Emails from editor in UK: 0
Emails from agent in NY: 0

Chocolate consumed: Brownie
Junk food consumed: none
Exercise: none
Television watched: none
Tears: none
Link for the day: no time

I've been a very good girl, between the writing and the kidlets, however, there hasn't been a lot of extra time for the Internet which explains yesterday's lack of a blog post or my visiting any blogs out there, too. But sometimes heading down into the cave is what I need to do especially when we're taking off for Bend today to celebrate my birthday this weekend.

I did get to the mall yesterday to pick up school shoes for the kids and other things they needed. Though trying to find shoes for three kids at once is not easy, but we managed and ended up with five pair. We also found a little store that carries the newest kid-sensation: Webkins. I have no idea if I spelled that correctly, but you get the idea. They are these stuffed animals that you register on-line and do other stuff with on-line. All three of mine want one. Hubby thinks anything that requires a kid to go on-line should be outlawed. Needless to say, I see a battle brewing when it comes times to send letters to Santa this year!

Okay, I need to get busy. Still need to write another scene so I can send a chapter off to my cp before we leave. I also need to fold laundry and pack. Is today a chore day or a fun day for you?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Monday Tally

New pages written: 1
Old pages revised on paper: 0
Old pages revised on screen: 7 (rewrote entire first scene in Chapter 2. Much better now!)
Pages of revisions typed in:
Pages lost or gained due to revisions:
Total page count to date: 35 (but only 30 are polished) Minimum page count = 55
Days remaining until D-day: 10
Emails from editor in UK: 0
Emails from agent in NY: 0

Chocolate consumed: Brownie
Junk food consumed: none
Exercise: walk in rain, one hour Pilates Mat class
Television watched: none
Tears: none
Link for the day: I visited Marianne's blog yesterday and had a good laugh when this came up after I answered the quiz to find out What Movie Is Your Love Life Like?

Your Love Life is Like Titanic

"Promise me you'll survive. That you won't give up, no matter what happens, no matter how hopeless."

You think that you only really have one true love in your life. And that you better to anything and everything to be with that person.
You tend to be very nostalgic about past loves that didn't work out. There are many secret feelings that you keep to yourself.

Your love style: Deep and emotional

Your Hollywood Ending Will Be: Bittersweet


Only one new page yesterday, but I'm happy with the progress since it's another scene done! YAY! And a good scene if I say so myself. Considering it was me and the three kidlets all day, we left the house at 3 o'clock not to return until 7:30, that's not too bad.

I could go climbing tonight, but already said no. Hubby didn't say I couldn't go, but when I asked, he did say, "Don't you have a proposal due?" Good point. So I will stay home and write tonight while the kids are at dance. Besides I get to climb twice later this week. No sense pushing it!

Well the kidlets and the kitties need breakfast! Better feed them before I have a mutiny on my hands.

What are your plans for today?

Proposal Tally

Starting Tally

New pages written:
Old pages revised on paper:
Old pages revised on screen:
Pages of revisions typed in:
Pages lost or gained due to revisions:
Total page count to date: 35 (but only 23 are polished) Minimum page count = 55
Days remaining until D-day: 11
Emails from editor in UK: 0
Emails from agent in NY: 0

Chocolate consumed: Brownie
Junk food consumed: none
Exercise: none
Television watched: none
Tears: none
Clip for the day: not today

Hope you had a good weekend! Ours was busier than I thought it would be. Our oldest ended up performing yesterday at a street festival. It was great to see her dance, but that took about three plus hours out of my writing day. Add in church, lunch and a whole bunch of other stuff and even staying up late couldn't make up the writing time I missed.

I've given up on trying to be productive on my own so the daily tally is back. Perhaps public embarrassment over my lack of pages each day will finally make me write!

Have a Happy Monday!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

This week's book winner is...

Thanks to everyone who left comments on the blog last week. I figured out if I leave the alerts blogger sends me in my inbox, I can skip putting the names in a spread sheet and simply count them there. Much easier. The winning entry according to random.org is:

Here are your random numbers:

6
Timestamp: 2007-08-19 16:32:52 IST

The winner is Dru again with her comment on my Mirror, Mirror! post! Please contact me with your snail address and book choice. See here for your choices! Last week, she picked The Blue Zone by Andrew Gross. We'll see what she chooses this week!

A new contest is now underway so comment away! Let's see who can keep Dru from walking away with all the books! Good luck!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I don't dance!

Well, actually I love to dance, but the title of this blog was my favorite number from last night's High School Musical 2! The kidlets love the movie, even more than the first one. Mackenna loved the song Fabulous, and Finn liked the song I Don't Dance. Not surprisingly each of those songs were sung by their favorite characters: Sharpay and Ryan.

I thought it was a very cute musical. I missed the last fifteen minutes because I had to pick up the oldest from her...drum roll please...High School Musical 2 premiere party, but I'm sure I'll be seeing this over and over and over again. And that will be before the DVD hits the shelf!

If you want to know what a professional reviewer said, here's a review from the New York Times. In spite of some criticisms, the reviewer liked it.

Did any of you watch it?

Today I'm going to be attending my nephew's 8th birthday party-bowling!-and trying to squeeze in as much writing as I can. The clock is ticking on the deadline. Less than two weeks to go. I may have to bring back the tally to make me accountable for the rest of the pages!

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Climbing with the cutie!

Last night I went climbing with four people from the climbing forum I belong to. Two I had met before. One guy, Bill, had showed me the traverses I've been doing and the other was the climbing cutie. Everyone was so helpful, nice and patient. They were all excellent climbers, too, which just reinforced how much I suck, but I still had a great time. While everyone shot up much more difficult routes, I struggled on one of the easier ones, Glenn, named after a homeless guy who Bill and the cutie met while setting up the route. But thanks to tons of help and expert advice from the amazing (and totally buff) climbing cutie I made it up. By the end of the evening I was tired, but felt as if I'd made a little progress along the learning curve.

But I must tell you I was absolutely terrified getting down to the rappel site. Bill set up lines so in case we fell we wouldn't tumble down, but my fear of heights definitely was at a high during the scramble down. I couldn't imagine doing that without being secured to something. Of course the climbing cutie comes along in flip flops and just makes his way down with out hooking into anything. I doubt I'd ever have that much confidence to do that. I'm much too addicted to breathing!

On the writing front, I got my opening back from my critique partner. A little bit of work to do before I can get back to Chapter 2 since one leads into the other. So that's on the agenda today.

On the home front, today is the day the kidlets have been counting down to. It is the last day of their fencing camp, but that's not what they've been so excited about. Nor was it the most amazing summer vacation we just got back from. No, today is the premiere of Disney Channel's High School Musical 2. The girls even laid out the outfits they wanted to wear during the show. Yes, this is a big deal for the tweener and preschool set. All I know is there will be yet another soundtrack, DVD, game and other stuff to buy now.

But seriously, if you haven't seen the original High School Musical, rent it from the video store. It's a cute movie with a great message. A lot like Grease from when I was younger. I just hope the sequel doesn't disappoint!

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Proposal Pressure

My proposal is due in two weeks and I'm feeling the pressure. I don't know why the first three chapters are so hard for me, but it's plain torture even though I love this story and the characters. I'm on Chapter 2. The prologue and Chapter 1 are with my critique partner. So what did I do last night instead of write? Go climbing. What am I doing tonight? Climbing again.

Remember that lack of discipline I've written about before? Yes, I'm pathetic. But I can't help it. I really do enjoy climbing.

But I think it's really a symptom of summer. My lack of discipline gets worse with the kids home, the sun out and so much fun to be had. Add in vacations and deadlines from June to August are just really hard.

I've been thinking about this whole summer concept and have come to a conclusion. Year round schooling makes a whole lot of sense to me. I'd much rather have the kidlets get a few weeks off throughout the year. Some school districts have implemented this, and I don't know why this concept has taken off. Kids lose so much retention during their summer months off. Granted I could see child care issues for working parents, but if all schools were doing I'm sure some enterprising childcare providers would come up with something.

Think about the vacation aspect. In summer, popular vacation places raise prices and you have to fight crowds. If you like winter sports like us, you're stuck going during Christmas vacation (when prices are outrageous) or pulling kids out of school if you want more than a weekend on the slopes.

And finally, I can't ignore the deadline aspect. Working around a few weeks off would be much easier to manage than a couple months off. What do you think about year round schooling?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Mirror, mirror

I saw this picture on a forum and fell in love with it. A quick goggle search led me to the Palo Alto Host Lions. The following is from the writeup that accompanies the photo: "If you want to know his true nature, you must catch him unawares before the One Mirror where he loves to project his secret soul and gaze upon his true identity - the mighty Lion."

As someone who wears many different hats (wife, mother, writer, daughter, sister, friend, etc.) and often more than one at a time, I sometimes am surprised by the reflection staring back at me in the mirror. Unlike the ginger cat who is really a lion inside, I'm not sure I'd recognize my true identity if I saw it. What about you? Who or what would you see if you gazed into the One Mirror?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

And the winner is...

Thanks to everyone who left comments on the blog last week. As I put the names into a spreadsheet (leaving mine off), I ended up with thirty-one entries. I then went to random.org and had them select the winner:

Here are your random numbers:

3
Timestamp: 2007-08-14 17:22:48 IST

The winner is Dru! Please contact me with your snail address and book choice. See here for your choices!

A new contest is now underway so comment away!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Home!

We're back from our vacation and trying to get into the routine again. I'll post the winner of last week's commenter contest later today. I haven't had time to do much but get unpacked and laundry!

Hope you're having a great Monday!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Misadventures on Mount Bachelor

I took this picture on Wednesday. I found two fawns resting in our backyard. The two of them filled me with a warm and fuzzy feeling. That's how I woke up feeling on Thursday morning. Excited for our excursion to Mount Bachelor. We skied there in January and in April, and I couldn't wait to see the place sans snow. Hiking there had been number two on my list of what I wanted to do on our vacation week.

Our plan for the day seemed flawless. There would be ten of us. My friends with the ten kids from back home were here so we were taking up two of their boys with us. We'd pack lunches, take two cars and leave at 10:45. We planned to be eating at 11:30 maybe noon if we ran into problems. Plenty of time to hike down before we hit Rose's naptime.

As we drove to Mount B, we hit a roadblock. Literally. Hwy 45 was closed. We backtracked to Hwy 40, an unpaved forest service road. A couple of miles down that, we turned around. No one knew how many miles we'd have to travel so we decided to go back to Sunriver and go through Bend. By then, the two minivans needed gas. By the time we reached Mount B, purchased lift tickets, made a bathroom stop and headed up the lift it was one o'clock. Close to naptime. Uh-oh.

No problem I told myself as I rode the chairlift enjoying the beautiful views. This is a little girl who just rock climbed at Smith Rock. She's hiked four miles. She wanted to keep skiing in a snowstorm on Mount B in April. She walked down from Mount Hood's Miracle Mile chairlift when she was only 2 1/2. She's tough, a trooper. Of course, none of those things had fallen during naptime.

We ate lunch, and the kids wanted to play in snow. We started up the trail leading to the snow. Rose stopped. She started to cry. It was too hard. She kept slipping. I understood her concern. Mt. B is volcanic with lava rock. It's not the easiest hiking especially for a four year old. I asked if she wanted to skip the snow and go back down. She responded with an adamant "yes!"

But when we got back down and she saw the kids playing in the snow, she wanted to go back up. Not up the same trail we'd just come down, but through the rocks. She was starting up herself so I thought why not? The way up was harder than the first one looked, but at least she was excited and not whining. And there was a path I could make out.




Rose negotiated her way over the rocks with little problems because all she could think about was the snow. A couple of times she wanted to hold my hand, but that was it. We reached the snow patch just as the others wanted to head down. They were above us and there was no easy way to reach them to take the same path down.

I let Rose play a few more minutes, and then it was time for us to meet up with the group down below. Big problem. Going up was easy. She did not want to go down. We made it down with me lifting her over the spicy parts, but I could tell she was reaching her breaking point. I was beginning to wonder if I was going to get to go on my hike after all.

We met up with the others and started down the mountain. it was fun to hike where we'd skied. But as we stopped to take a picture, the tears started welling up in Rose's eyes. She didn't want to go down. She wanted to go back up and take the chairlift. A couple of minutes of negotiation and candy did no good. She wasn't moving.

So...everyone else descended while Rose and I made the climb back to the mid-mountain lodge. The gang waited at the lift to wave goodbye to us. So much for my Mount Bachelor hike. Rosie was asleep as soon as I started the car. She slept the entire way back to Sunriver. I wrote a little when we arrived back at the house so it wasn't a total loss. Though I must admit I'd have rather been hiking. Still it's part of being a mom. My routine never changes all that much just the scenery. Maybe next year!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Another Perfect Day

Thursday began with a soak in the hot tub and ended with reading time. Two things I never have enough time for at home. It doesn't get much better than that. In between was biking to the park, playing soccer, a little bouldering for the kids, writing for me during the little one's naptime while the others played mini-golf and rollar skated and a date night with hubby.

My friend, Deb, offered to watch the kids so we could have some alone time. We ate dinner at an Italian restaurant, Marcello's, in the Sunriver Village. It was so yummy! Hubby had the special, some chicken with pasta dish. I opted for a Mediterranean Calzone.

After dinner we headed south to check out Caldera Springs. A new resort being developed by the same folks who built Sunriver. The houses being built were huge and gorgeous. Hubby later found out they were million dollar homes being constructed for an upcoming parade of homes kind of show.

I had pictures I wanted to upload, but I can't get them to download from my computer. I think I need a new cord.

Today's adventure is a trip to Mt. Bachelor where we skied in January and April. We're going to ride the lift up, have lunch and hike down.

Hope you have a great Friday!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Fun in Sunriver

No big adventures on Wednesday. Not that we took it easy. This is after all a vacation which means cramming as much into a day as we can. Oh, wait. That's real life. Vacations are supposed to be relaxing!

Today we drove to the Sunriver Stables. This is the view from near there. As you can see we've had beautiful blue skies and sunny days. Perfect temperatures, too! Hubby took our two oldest and my friend's youngest on a long bicycle loop that passes by the Lodge and circles back. I was in charge of our youngest for the morning.

The two of us headed to the pony corral. A pony ride is a yearly tradition. The first year we vacationed at Sunriver she was too little, but the other two kidlets were small enough to ride. Now she can ride and the older two are too big! Rose beamed on her two laps on a brown pony named Candy. Afterwards she hopped on her Barbie bike, and we headed in the opposite direction as the others had headed hoping to hook up with them on their way back.

We met up and made our way back to the stables where the kids checked out the horses. Then it was home for lunch, naptime for Rose (writing time for me), baseball and ping pong for the others. In the afternoon we biked to the tennis courts and played for an hour then hit the pool. After dinner we were tired so watched a DVD, High School Musical. Another fun day in Sunriver!

On the writing front, I love the story and what I've written so far, but it's proceeding very slowly (molasses in January slow) so I asked my friend to read the prologue of my current work in progress. She's a die-hard reader (faves are Nora Roberts and Lisa Jackson) and I wanted to get her opinion. She's not an easy person to please. There are stories of mine she didn't really like that much such as If the Ring Fits... which is a reader favorite so I knew I'd get an honest opinion. But in this case I got the thumbs up and was told she almost needed Kleenex. Yay! That's the emotion I was going for so huge sigh of relief on my part.

Hope all of you are doing well! What's going on in your part of the world?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Smith Rock Climb!

We left Sunriver at seven o'clock in the morning with a lot of excited faces in the back of the minivan. I was so psyched to climb and get the kidlets & hubby outside for the first time. My best friend, Deb, was a little concerned how one of her kids might do since neither had climbed before.

As we approached Terrebonne, hubby pointed out Smith Rock to the kids and told them that's where we would be climbing. Suddenly the minivan got very quiet. The excitement drained from their faces. The smiles disappeared. No one seemed excited to climb. Someone whispered, "That is so high." Another, "Do we have to go all the way to the top?" All five kids thought they would be climbing the huge face they could see, hundreds of feet into the air. Hubby, of course, didn't correct their wrong assumption. Before the fear and trembling got too far out of hand, I explained we would be climbing different routes that were much lower and easier. I also added no one had to go all the way to the top and could come down whenever they asked. A huge group sigh of relief could be heard. Crisis one averted!

We arrived at Redpoint a little before eight. I'd booked a guided half day climb with First Ascent for the seven of us. Deb just wanted to tag along and take pictures. The price included gear though I used my own. I choose First Ascent because they have a great reputation working with kids and that was going to be the key for this being a successful outing/intro for the kids. I managed to get all three of mine loving snow skiing this past winter so rock climbing is next!

After everyone got their shoes, we headed to Smith Rock Park. We were going to be climbing at North Point. One of our guides, Zach, got me setup with all my climbing gear back in April at Redpoint, and my kids remembered him. They were happy he would be taking them climbing. I asked Zach if I could go with him when he set the top ropes. I figure the more times I see it done, the more comfortable I'll be doing it myself. His first route choices were already taken so we moved to the other side and put on our harnesses. Once again, the most scary part was setting the anchors. We clipped into the bolts at the top and I got a lesson in anchors. I learned about SRENE and how to set two top rope routes using one rope in a W configuration.

Our other guide Nina (pronounced Nine-ah) led the rest of the crew down to the climbs. There was a lot of scrambling over rocks. At one point, Debbie and hubby had to remove their packs to squeeze through. We suffered one injury during the approach and our first tears of the day. My eldest fell and her hand landed on something that stuck a bunch of white splinter-like things in her hand. We picked as many as we could out and used water to wash out the rest. Luckily it didn't keep her from climbing. Crisis two averted.

Our oldest got over the splinters in her hand and gave each of the routes multiple attempts. She found the hand holds difficult, but didn't give up. Each time she hit a route she went higher than the time before. She made it past the roof on Jersey Shores, but just couldn't continue on. When asked what her favorite part of the day was, her answer: "The climbing."

Zach and Nina talked to us about what we would be doing out there. They showed us techniques like smearing, edging and stemming. They also went over a few rules such as keeping our helmets on due to rockfall and not bouldering. Then it was time to climb. They went over the figure eight knot with each of the kids as their turn came up.

Our seven year old son has been the most timid of my three kids, but he was the first one to step up and want to climb. All five kids had problems understanding how they could get through trouble spots, but they all did excellent thanks to the guides who made sure the kids felt safe. When asked what his favorite part of the day was, his answer: "the hike out" which was a "spicy" scramble up to the top.

Our youngest was a real trooper. She would only let Nina belay her, however. The two became fast pals. We think it might have had to do with the saying on Nina's T-shirt, "Climb like a girl." Rose fell and scraped her knee on her second attempt up Lean Cuisine, which led to the second round of tears, but a bag of candy we had hidden in one of the packs worked its magic and as soon as I pulled it out, the tears stopped. One piece and she was ready to climb again. This time, Zach came over to give her a few pointers.

Here's another shot of our youngest making her way up Lean Cuisine. She didn't make it all the way up, but she did great considering it was her first time out and she's only four! She was much more interested in showing off for those watching her than the actual climbing. She also gave Jersey Shore a shot, but it was getting close to her naptime and she just wanted to be done. I asked what her favorite part was. Her answer: "The hike in and the girl who belayed me."

This shot shows you how two of us could climb at once. Hubby is on the left being belayed by Nina and our oldest daughter is on the right being belayed by Zach. Hubby, who has summited Hood, Shasta, Whitney and Popocapetl, said rock climbing was harder than Alpine climbing though it didn't take as much endurance. He was using his arms too much rather than his legs. That kept him from reaching the top because his arms kept getting pumped.

This is Deb's oldest, age 11, on Jersey Shore. He had never climbed before so this was a real challenge for him. He did great thanks to all the help from the guides, who as I'd hoped were excellent with the kids (and adults, too!) I asked what his favorite part was. His answer: "Everything."


As for me, I really felt myself moving up the climbing learning curve. A few of the techniques I learned the last two times out started making sense when I put stuff together.

Deb's youngest (9) is a natural athlete and though he'd never been climbing before he rocked. He sent both routes and loved every minute of it. When I asked what his favorite part of the day was, his answer, "Making it to the top twice."

The funny thing about climbing was none of had ever been to Smith Rock so we had no idea what to expect. Deb and her family had been in Yosemite last week and saw climbers at the base of El Capitan. She assumed Smith would be the same-a flat area with a few trees where you could sit and watch the climbers, not being up on the rocks right there at the ropes.

This was the "spicy" way out that my son loved so much. Zach carried the youngest out to make sure she reached the top safely. It was an awesome day. I felt great climbing and made it to the top each time I climbed! But most of all I loved watching the kids climb and seeing them improve as the day went on. We topped it off with a stop at the Sun Spot for ice cream cones. A great summer day that's for sure!

Climb on!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Bambi Pays A Visit

This morning while the older kids went for a long bike ride with my friend, Debbie, hubby and I took the youngest on her own ride. We headed to the park where we played on the swings, slides and teeter-totters, then rode to the pool to check it out. We were gone over an hour and a half. She was a real trooper for hanging in there and keeping up on her new 16" Barbie bike.

While Rose napped in the afternoon, I wrote and the others played tennis. After she woke up, we hit the South pool. The water so warm, but felt really good. When we got home, a deer was in our yard. It came right up to me as I stood on our back deck. I think it was waiting to see if I'd feed it. I didn't.

But it still didn't go away. My two daughters came out onto the deck to see it. The deer kept looking at the littlest one. Maybe it thought she would give it some food! We have deer who come to our house all the time, but never so close. Needless to say the girls were mesmerized.

As we were cooking dinner (spaghetti, salad and garlic bread) I noticed a whole bunch of deer in the back yard. This time there were two bigger deer and four fawns. This little guy was so cute. Rose came out on the deck with me and said, "It looks just like Bambi."



Here's a group shot of the gang who dropped by to nibble the brush in the backyard. I couldn't get all the deer in the picture, but I got most of the fawns.

On today's agenda: Climbing at Smith Rock. The whole gang is going. I'm so excited!

Hope you have a good one!