Sunday, October 11, 2009

Here Comes the Bride

In a (very) small and (very) informal ceremony, Larry and I got married last Wednesday (10/7/09). We hope friends and family understand our lack of enthusiasm for a big production, preferring instead to have Reverend Selby perform the "ceremony" and a couple of friends sign as witnesses. Following is a blow by blow of the event.

The good Reverend Selby of the Universal Life Church of Modesto, California, rendered "Here Comes the Bride" and said a few words:

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We listened intently to his sage advice:



Following the "ceremony," we took a group photo and went to dinner:


Our chalkboard announces the news:



The weather for the weekend was supposed to be like this . . .


. . . so we decided to "honeymoon" in Olympic National Park for the weekend. We did some hiking:


and stayed in the honeymoon suite:


Best of all, the Olympic Hot Spring just south of Port Angeles, WA, at the end of a 2.5 mile trail. Lovely soaking pools. Holler if you want directions.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Young Lovers Meet The Third Wheel

This is Daughter #3, Katie, and her boyfriend Mike. As soon as school was out in June, Larry, Katie, and I went to Tulum, Mexico, to visit
daughter #2.
Alas--Mike could not come, so we were forced to leave him at home. :-(



This Daughter #2, Natalie, and her boyfriend Pablo. They are young and in love.



This is me and Larry. (We are old and in love.)



This is Katie, AKA The Third Wheel.



For reasons that are difficult to explain, this was the general sleeping arrangement.



This is Pablo's pal, Arturo, who is a dive instructor.



Arturo took us snorkling in a cenote, or cavern filled with fresh water.



Here are the Young Lovers and the Third Wheel enjoying Happy Hour.



For reasons that are difficult to explain, we drank all night but never got drunk. (A bit of water in the booze?)



The beach was built of stunning blues and whites.





Here are the Young Lovers lounging together by the beach.



Here is the Third Wheel lounging alone.



Here are the Old Lovers and the Third Wheel eating tacos.



Here are the Young Lovers and the Third Wheel looking at ancient Mayan ruins.



Here's the cabana where we all stayed: Young Lovers, Old Lovers, and the Third Wheel.



Poor Katie.



The Young Lovers and the Third Wheel take in the view.



The Young Lovers and the Third Wheel take a break.



Larry takes a moment to ponder how the hell he ended up on a Mexico vacation with all my baggage.



At the end of the week, we all took the bus to Cancun and hopped a plane to Mexico City. While we waited for our flight, the Young Lovers played dominoes. What happens next? Do the Young Lovers have a terrific fight? Will they make up in Mexico City? Will the Third Wheel come along or go back home to her boyfriend Mike?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Keyton, Lola, and Katie

We recently took a little trip. Larry doesn't fly much, so he was very excited to get a window seat.



When we arrived at our destination, I found myself stranded with two small children. While I cleaned up the dinner dishes, Keyton introduced Lola to his favorite video, the ballet version of "Peter and the Wolf."



Larry and Keyton worked up a gymnastic routine. The blue monstrosity in the background is an air mattress, a college student version of the Murphy bed.

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Lola worked on her eating skills.

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And when we got back home, Katie helped me with my extensive yard work.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

First Time for Everything: Larry's Planning Goes Awry

We've decided to spend spring break in Death Valley (again) to enjoy the sun and warm weather. When we arrived, this is what we found:




The next day looked like this:




Larry spent months planning this trip. He purchased and studied every map and guide book known to man. He had planned a motorcycle trip through Titus Canyon and was not about to let a little rain disrupt the plan. Larry got the cycles ready while I secretly decided the ride was a bad idea.




Despite the impending rain, we followed the almighty plan. We spent all afternoon racing to stay ahead of the storm.




The next day the plan called for a backpack trip up Fall Canyon, around the top, and back down via Red Wall Canyon. After my lack of preparation last year found us lost and out of water in Marble Canyon, Larry spent days finely honing his backpacking plan. He knew the route, had the maps, and even talked a ranger into disclosing the location of a top-secret spring. He was Callister-Quality prepared. The plan could not fail. We headed into Fall Canyon with upmost confidence.




Due to Larry's research, this 18' impassible dry fall and bypass trail came as no surprise. 




When the load got too heavy, Larry mercifully let me stop to rest.




The canyon was full of amazing things like a blue lizzard, plants growing out of cracks, and weird rock formations.








We trudged along, using the GPS, maps, and laminated copies from the guidebook to find our way. Nothing could go wrong with Larry so prepared. It was nearing dark when we came around the corner and found this unexpected disaster. It doesn't look like much in the picture, but we ran smack into another dry fall, this one 15' of polished dolomite with no easy way around.




Unable to get around, we made camp. Larry worked into the night reading maps, studying the GPS, and pouring over the alphabetized, color-coded, and laminated photocopied pages of the guide book he'd brought along. I pretended to be worried, but after screwing up my planning so badly last year, I secretly rejoiced at Larry's misfortune.  It looked like Larry's planning sucked, too, making us even.




The next morning, Larry risked his life scaling the fall and then pulled up the packs.




I played the grandma card and climbed around on the terrific trail Larry helped me find.




Whew, we made it! But wait--what's this? Another dry fall, again not mentioned in the books nor by the ranger. This one consisted of a jumble of colossal boulders wedged between sheer canyon walls.




We spent five hours trying to get around. We tried to climb the rocks in three different places. We tried to climb out of the canyon and go around. Each time, we came to a life-risking place and chickened out. Our friend the Chuckwalla advised us to give up, so we did. All of Larry's planning had failed.




While we walked out, the way we'd come, I asked Larry a million questions: How did it feel to be a failure? Was this the first time his planning had not paid off? Did this inspire him to do more planning next time, or less?




After a seven-mile hike back out, we reached the motorcycle shuttle only to find a minor mechanical problem. Grumpy Larry fixed it right up.




After abandoning our hike, we took the bikes into the Panamint Mountains for more exploration.






I rode with great caution and stunningly bad clothes.  I've set a goal to do something about both of these problems (but probably won't).

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Along the way, we found all kinds of interesting things.

An abandoned mine:




Weird rocks:




Fossils:




Wildlife:




Petroglyphs:



Mysterious moving rocks at the "racetrack." Apparently howling winds slide the rocks over the dry lakebed when it's muddy or frozen.




We said good-bye to Death Valley for at least another year. As I work on this blog tonight, Larry's already making plans to return. He's found an photo journal online posted by some guys who made it over the dry fall that stopped us in our tracks. "If they can do it, so can we," he says and pounds the table.  "With a little more preparation," he tells me, "we can make it over next year." Apparently, more planning has begun.  Fall Canyon, here we come.