Traveling with Lori (if you dare)

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Trilium Lake, Oregon : August 2003

You have to give my husband a lot of credit. I’m not easy to travel with. Take Trilium Lake, for instance. I insisted that we do the Columbia River Gorge/Mt. Hood Loop during our Pacific Northwest jaunt. Which meant driving down to this area from Seattle and spending the day seeing the sights recommended in our Most Scenic Drives in America book. It points out places to stop, scenic views, and cool attractions.

He left the navigating to me as we started our ascent. Things went pretty smoothly. We started to get glimpses of Mt. Hood in the distance. Then we stopped at a cool ski chalet rest stop and I fueled up with a mocha before heading on to the next sites. As I sipped my mocha (made by a guy who used to live in Sterling Heights), I saw a brown sign pointing to Trilium Lake. No big deal. Then I saw another brown sign and I got concerned and looked at my map. Yikes! We’d missed two attractions just in that short 1/2-mile stretch. I was determined to see everything I could, so this was not a good thing.

When I yelped in alarm, the husband volunteered to turn around. “Yes, of course, turn around. I want to see Trilium Lake!” So we headed back to the sign and went in the direction it indicated. Which led to a dirt road that took us to some campgrounds. This is where I said, “Campgrounds? Where the hell is the lake?” (I’m a bit impatient at times.) The husband suggested that the lake was here, we just needed to look for some more signs. I suggested that we go back and take another turn. We took my suggestion, of course.

We ended up at another dead end in another campground (but got two amazing photos of Mt. Hood that we never would have seen otherwise). I was quite anxious and disappointed at this point. The husband was quite annoyed with me at this point. So we returned to his suggestion and went back to the other area, drove past the campground, and found…the lake. Not so hard, really, but I tend to make things seem harder than they are. I guess I like to add a bit of drama to the scene.

After the frustration ebbed away, we wandered over to this incredibly beautiful and quiet lake. Mt. Hood was, just as promised in the book, majestically reflected in the water. I got several great shots and we walked around among the fishermen, campers and fellow travelers, enjoying the scenery.

Sure, it all ended well, but I subject that poor guy to so much before the happy endings! I’m sure he’d relish the opportunity to tell you about my tirade when we got lost in the financial district in London while trying to find the Tower of London. It’s all part of traveling with me. At least it’s not boring!

Chilly

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Vancouver’s China Town : August 2003

Why is it that 66 degrees outside feels much warmer than 66 degrees inside? It’s ch-ch-chilly in my house!

Greetings

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Apparently this is how Canadians say, “Danger: Electricity”; Grandville Island, Vancouver : August 2003

By my observations, there are subsets of people in our culture.

  1. Those who say “Hello” or “Good morning”
  2. Those who gleefully say “Hello” or “Good morning”
  3. Those who smile in greeting
  4. Those who say absolutely nothing
  5. Those who say absolutely nothing while giving you a cold, hard, lifeless stare

I’m usually a subset #3, responding quite happily to subsets #1 and #2. Sometimes, though, I can achieve subset #1, usually only managing a “Morning” instead of a full “Good morning.” It’s the people in subsets #4 and #5 who work my last nerve (reference ala 1989).

Like the woman I encountered on my morning walk/jog yesterday whom I greeted with my best subset #1 “Hello!” only to receive a huge subset #5 in return. She was pushing a baby stroller. How can a woman pushing a cute little baby in a stroller be so incredibly unkind and unresponsive? It’s just not right. And it was pretty darn defeating. Good thing I was at the end of my walk.

So which subset are you?

Heh…you said “nut”

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Scenic beach along Chuckanut Drive, Washington : August 2003

On our way from Vancouver to Seattle, we decided there had to be a better way than traveling Highway 5. So we inquired at the Travel Information Center across the border. The woman pointed us toward Route 11, otherwise known as Chuckanut Drive. (Which gave my inner child the giggles, of course.)

What a great tip. It’s not a long drive, but it winds along Samish Bay, and there are plenty of scenic areas where you can stop and gape at the coves and islands before it straightens out and heads through some beautiful farmland.

The reason I never make the bed

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Lucy in her favorite spot

When I get out of the shower, this is where I find Lucy. Every morning. Snoozing away. So how can I disturb her simply to make the bed? I just can’t bring myself to do it. I’m such a sucker!

The bulb dilemma

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Is it the “el” or the “L”? (I vote for the first one)

I love the garden center. It’s kind of like the art supply store. I’m not so good at art, but I love all the brushes, pens, papers and gadgets that go into creating masterpieces. I’m getting better at gardening, but I’m still quite the wet-behind-the-ears beginner. Yet put me in a garden center, and I’ll buy stuff.

Case in point the many, many bulbs I purchased on Saturday. I just saw photos of gorgeous peach tulips and I grabbed a package of bulbs. And so it went for four other packages. Now I have to figure out where to plant them. I haven’t prepared any soil for them. I haven’t decided what other plants can go there in the spring once the bulbs die back. I haven’t put an ounce of thought into it. So goes my gardening strategy.

Go, Cubbies!

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Yeah…good luck getting a ticket right now

Last month we went to see the Cubs play the Dodgers. I bought tickets four months in advance and we were still in the nosebleed section. (Although nosebleed at Wrigley is a good seat nonetheless.) Watching the game last night, I really wished we could have been there. It’s exciting to see them playing this well, and the crowd is so behind them. I was cheering and squealing and squeezing my pillow oh-so tight during the last few pitches. It’s been quite a while since there was any thought that this team could actually make it to the play-offs. Go, Cubbies!

Productivity (or lack thereof)

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Summit on Columbia River Gorge Drive, Oregon : August 2003

Working from home is great. It’s also not-so great. Especially when you’re actually trying to get the work done while your four pets create all sorts of havoc around you. The new guy, Pete, wants to be in the office with me and has the jitters about every little thing so he’s constantly pacing. Juliette barks at anyone who comes up the walkway, regardless of whether I’m on the phone. Lucy jumps up on the desk whenever she fancies and pads all over my papers, sending many to the floor. Maggie once mistook the brand-new iMac for the older version that was there the day before and tried to jump up on top of the monitor — only to have it go crashing to the desktop and scare the bejesus out of both of us. Those antics along with the piles of pet hair that collect daily in this house can be enough to drive a person batty.

Not enough time on my hands

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The first thing I see each morning…drat!

How am I supposed to get everything done? I just don’t think it’s possible. There’s the old complaint about not enough time in a day. Now, as a responsible, gotta-work-to-make-a-living adult, I get it. My to-do list for this weekend is way too long for the number of hours I have allotted to accomplish it all. Not fair! And when it comes to focusing on a task, I go off in all directions. I start cleaning the kitchen, get distracted by something in the bedroom, which then distracts me to something in the office, which leads to the basement. I leave behind a trail of unfinished things…brooms in the kitchen, catalogs to be recycled just sitting on the bed, unpainted doors, half-unloaded dishwashers, this darn site that has plenty of work left on it. It’s all just hanging there. Calgon, take me away!

Big House Red

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Only $11.99 at your local grocer

I like wine. Although I couldn’t tell you anything insightful about the flavors or bouquet. In fact, I recently felt like a completely unsophisticated Michigander (even given my five years in Chicago) when the waiter at my fave Greek restaurant poured me a glass for my approval. (The Skouras ’99 Merlot, which was excellent, that much I know.) I mean, what are you supposed to do in that situation, give him a rundown of the taste sensation on your palate? And just forget sniffing the cork. What does that mean, anyway?

But I can certainly take a sip of a wine and tell you should it stay or should it go. The Ca’ del Solo Big House Red is definitely a keeper in our house. It’s become my favorite go-to for a nice, tasty red. And it doesn’t hurt that it has such a cool label. Embarassingly enough, I think that’s really how I choose my wines. Cool label? Get in the cart, you sexy bottle!