Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Just Call Me Dan Rather

'Cause here's the news. We have moved into this lovely Double Wide manufactured home almost two weeks ago...

We are in escrow right now, and won't close until around July 24th. This long wait is for some capital gains reason or something, the former owners need to own the house for a full two years before selling. They loved the place, but unfortunately one of them found out she was allergic to everything that grows here. Sorry! Therefore they are generously allowing us to rent their former vacation home (since we got booted from our housing) until said day.

The home is a three bedroom, two bath place, with a fairly open floor plan that can be glimpsed here under a pile of stuff that has now grown exponentially until it nearly engulfs the pseudo rattan ceiling fan.

It had god awful wallpaper in the bathrooms and the obvious brown simulated wood grain paneling that we are currently covering over with really smelly primer paint (PS. Paint is smelly!) and some lovely vibrant hues from the generic knockoff Martha Stewart and Ralph Lauren palettes. We are really hoping that nothing falls through with the purchase this time, as we have already put in about six days worth of work and a deposit on the new carpeting that would not be monetarily compensated by the other owners. So wish us luck on that one. Or lend us some money. One or the other.

Ours is a lovely neighborhood, up on a ridge with quite a few houses tucked back from the winding dirt road. The disadvantages are that we are on well water, have a septic system and have no public trash collection. BUT the neighbors across the street have two horses and three llamas, and that pretty much makes up for it. AND before Bailey got to them, we had long-eared hares, and cute little cottontails hopping around in our back yard, but I'm afraid he might have chased them off last night. Boo. I also saw a little fox crossing the road at sunset yesterday, and we both paused and checked each other out for over a minute. (Me from the safety of the car.) We have beautiful old oaks on our (soon to be) six acres, and even a picturesque tree swing. There is another building pad on the property where we would love to eventually build a "real" house or move this one down there and build up here. In addition we have a huge back porch that overlooks the lovely valley beside us and pretty much doubles our living space in the warmer months.

Speaking of weather, we are at an elevation of only 3,000 feet, so there won't be the colossal snow storms to deal with like when we lived in Tahoe. It still may get pretty durn chilly here in our single-pane windowed, 4-inch walled Double Wide, but at least we won't have to shovel daily snow. And speaking of physical activity, I seem to be regaining my health and mobility in both the tush and neck areas. Thank you for your concern yet again. And to leave you with something to giggle about here are some silly pictures of me in a whiplash collar. (And my new Target black kitten heels.) Good combo, eh?

Why I Hate Male Yoga Instructors


Male yoga instructors contort you into awkward positions with little or no regard for how it may affect your feminine mystique. For example last night our slightly goofy substitute instructor made us do this thing that, well, sucked air into my vagina like a freakin' bellows. And then what happened during the next asana, but much to my horror, it came flrblatting out in a sound closely akin to that of one soiling one's trousers. Not once. Not twice. But three times. And there I sat burning in shame and trying to act like nothing happened but really wanting to raise my hand and explain to the class that, no in fact, I did not just scatologically let loose into my stretchy yet supportive yoga shorts, but did in point suffer from air being expelled from my delicate girlish bits. But then no. Because that would not really ameliorate their gross-out factor, now would it? So there I sat, suffering my bodily shame in silence. But no more! NO MORE, I tell you! Because I have the whole of the Internets to share my shame with! My shame AND my fear and loathing of the dreaded male yoga instructor. Thank you, and goodnight.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Coming In For A Landing...

Exciting Weekend on the Home Front

So we did some wonderful homey things this weekend, including painting the majority of the interior of the Double Wide a lovely "Martha Stewart Green" according to my husband. We still haven't unpacked much, aside from the necessities of life, and the rest is in colossal piles in the center of each room. It is kind of like living in a rat maze, only there is no higher power providing cheesy rewards, durn. On our way into town to pick up some more paint we noticed that a neighbor was having a garage sale. SHOPPING! Yay! For a measly $24 we got a bench for the front porch, a double burner camping stove, a lidded chicken roaster, camo pants, sparkly earrings, a four drawer filing cabinet (to replace the 2 drawer one the movers dropped) two camp chairs, two hack saws and a jack for Janine. And the big bonus is that we got to meet some neighbors. Oddly enough as we were getting ready to leave they just happened to mention in passing that they are the local "dealer in guns". Hmmm. Good people not to piss off, I guess.

In other news, it is just gorgeous up here. I set up the hummingbird feeder outside the kitchen window and we just have zillions of the little buggers around here. The two regular bird feeders have drawn quite a crowd as well, including swifts, which I'm told don't usually land much. I did have to get a collar and a bell for the kitty so we couldn't be accused of entrapment, be she seems to be taking it in stride. Both pets are incredibly happy and spend their days alternating between sprawling on the back porch and patrolling the property. The sunsets and sunrises are superb, and the air has this wonderful soft, fragrant quality at these quiet times of day that just makes you pause and breathe it in. I guess I've just never really lived this far out into nowhere, and I'm surprised by how much I like it so far. And we're still only a half an hour from the Yosemite border. Sssshhhh. Don't tell anyone, but things seem to be going really well!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Too Good To Be True

So remember that whole whirlwind moving escapade, where the nice people from Ace packed everything that wasn't nailed down? Well, we just got our delivery (yay! stuff OUT of storage!) and lets just say that they are not on our christmas card list. We got some lovely surprises, like our dining room table cracked in half, and our butter dish full of four-month-old butter and smelling like, well, ass. Not to mention our printer that no longer prints, but makes a really distracting loud buzzing noise instead, the very exciting crushed bottle of ink, the silk shoes soaked in said ink and the handmade pottery piggy bank shattered into a million pieces.

Then the movers volunteered to unpack for us. And by unpack what they really meant was to take stuff out of boxes and throw it in the corner. Wow, that was a highly over rated service! (Hint, say no if asked this question!) And then one of the movers got into a fantastically colorful argument with his girlfriend on his cell phone, complete with raised voices and vivid language. Eeeek.

At the risk of sounding like a rich bitch who is impossible to please, these people sucked. Whew, I feel better already. And since we are definitely not rich, I guess that just leaves me with bitch. I can live with that.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Whiplash Collars, The Newest Accessory

So you know how some mornings you wake up with a sore neck and then proceed to ignore it for the next 4 days while it continues to get progressively worse? And then on the fifth day you can't actually get out of bed because it hurts so much you think you might be sick all over your incapacitated self? Then your husband threatens to call the ambulance and all you can think about is the fact that you really need to change your underpants and brush your teeth before you see absolutely anyone that morning?

Well, that is how I ended up at a lovely wedding in Half Moon Bay in a stylish black whiplash collar. I did eventually manage to get out of bed with a little help from The Hub and popped in for a quick visit to the doc. We left there with a handful of high street value drugs and an admonishment to call on Monday if it got any worse. Worse? Ha ha, funny doctor!

So it has actually calmed down to a dull roar since then, but then today The Hub's office mate insisted on talking to me about her two year battle with the pain of a ruptured neck disk and scared the pants offa me! These Mariposa docs are gonna think I'm some kinda hurtin' bird if I go in there again, first my butt and now my neck. I used to be healthy and active. Woe is me. At least I am semi-settled into my NEW DOUBLE WIDE MANUFACTURED HOME! And I can sit on the back porch in a wheelchair and stare into the lovely view...

Friday, June 17, 2005

Sunset Schmunset, Dark Schmark and Allen's Wenches?

Okay, so after that wonderfully detailed home inspection, a quick lunch, and then fighting traffic on a Saturday in June to get into the park, we finally got a-hiking at the ripe old hour of 6:20. Yeah, at night. So this pretty much put us at the top of the falls for sunset, which I might add is lovely, but sorta makes the hike down a bit of a challenge. Fortunately we were all highly prepared, no Donner Party hiking for us! We had snacks (of course!), warm clothes and even headlamps! Well, we had two headlamps between the three of us, AND I just want to mention here that my safety freakness payed off and the itty bitty emergency flashlight that I had stashed in my pack about a month ago came in quite handy for the third person who shall remain nameless who forgot a headlamp! Toot toot (own horn and all). Fortunately we didn't need to use the space blanket, emergency whistle or spare set of allen wrenches that I also had stored. Thank heavens for that. We stumbled back to the (untowed, yay!) car hand-in-hand at 10:30 pm, to boogie home for the afore-pictured towering platter of nachos! Well-deserved face stuffing, my favorite kind! Oh, and hey, did I mention the mist? AT NIGHT?

Picture credit to Mr. Skoog

Monday, June 13, 2005

I Can Bring Home The Bacon...

Do you know that Michelle Shocked song where she sings about having 15 minutes to make a 30 minute drive? Well that may be this blog entry today. So in quick review, the weekend with the Skoogs was chock full of home inspecting, hiking, biking, bouldering and (of course) eating. And spiders. For some reason we were blessed with numerous friendly spiders this weekend. For example, I found this affable chap in my shower on Saturday morning.

He and a buddy were hanging out in the bathtub waiting for a slightly naked and severely nearsighted me to blunder into their party. After having a small and silent hissy fit in the bathroom where no one could see me, I donned my PJ's again, bucked up my courage and did the cup-card trick to karmicly transport them out of doors. Actually it wasn't really courage, I just couldn't stomach the idea of being a wimpy feminist. Shamed into action again.

The other arachnid encounters consisted of a translucent cousin specimen crawling on the Skoogs' legs inside their sleeping bag (eewww!) and one more really quick fella sprinting around in the kitchen. This last one ended up being too quick for the cup-card process, and sorta got mangled during his rescue mission. Sorry buddy, we tried.

Moving on. Mr Skoog then performed a very detailed and thorough home inspection for us at the new place we are supposed to move into on THURSDAY! And then we all went for an extended hike in the Valley. This hiking event deserves an entry of its own, and shall be found in the future under the heading "Sunset Schmunset!" That is pretty much all I can get to tonight, but I'll leave you with these, my two favorite meals of the weekend. All catered by Yours Truly. And fry it up in a pan...

Friday, June 10, 2005


So, The Hub is off today for Las Vegas where he will be attending an old friend's bachelor party. This is a rather uncharacteristic destination for these guys, as they are all kinda outdoorsy, straight laced, the teensyist bit nerdy (in that new-age sexy way, honey. I swear!) and well, poor. I know that they are big boys and will find plenty of things to entertain themselves, but all I can picture is them suffering through hot-cheeked embarrassment as some spicy tamale bobs her bits in their faces. Hey wait, that sounds... entertaining! I sorta wish I could be there to see them squirm, tee hee.

As for my weekend entertainment, I again will have the pleasure of seeing The Skoogs! The Mrs. will be in attendance this time so it will feel a little less like a tawdry husband swap. Yay! Mr. Skoog will instead be performing a professional inspection on the new home that I haven't mentioned yet out of BlogJinx phobia. But... here's the sneaky tidbit... we may be moving in as little as a week or two. And that's all I'm sayin'!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Tiptoe Through The Two Lips

Well, It is that time of the year again, when I finally get around to doing the Everest sized mountain of laundry that The Hub and I produce. Yeah, its not a very regular process these days, you try rustling up a zillion quarters on a weekly basis in a town with only one market! Anyway, here's my latest laundry challenge:

This is a lovely picture of my sexy feet and no less than seven half eaten breath mints. The really gross thing is that three steps up from here there are just as many done-been-chewed gum wads. (Gum, not as aerodynamic, doesn't fly as far?) You are spared the gum visual however, because it doesn't photograph as well. Who knew? The only thing that I can hypothesize about this situation is that someone in the neighboring 3 apartments is hiding something from their roommate/spouse. Something to do with their breath. Smoking, drinking, eating too much garlic? So while doing the laundry these days, not only is one juggling one's colossal laundry sack, and a family sized detergent bin while keeping a keen eye out for rapacious spiders, but one is also forced to perform the Shared Apartment Spaces two-step around someone else's oral jetsam. Eeeewww.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Bases of Life

Today promises to be a very exciting day! (Again, exciting for me, nauseating for The Normal.) I had my penultimate visit to the physical therapist today and managed to get some digits! No silly, I am completely faithful to The Hub, I got the number of the crazy mountain biking lady that works at the office so that as soon as I get my sweaty little hands on my own bike, we can Make Some Plans! Yay!

Right now I have a short break between appointments in which to do some laundry, make some cookies and update my beloved blog. And actually two of these three things are crucial for the final event of the fun filled day. But first... my next actual appointment is at 1:00, when I will be getting my very own personalized tour of the local wastewater treatment facility! 100 percent directed by what I want to see (and smell!) It helps that we met the secretary of the plant and her husband the first week we were here, and that they have the exact same Zippy car that we do. (Little blue sesame seed of a Honda Insight hybrid car) Actually this is quite funny in a small town, as everyone waves at us along the road, thinking that we are the local priest and his wife/wastewater secretary, so we happily wave back and bask in the popularity that we have gained in such a short time! So Mrs. Priest/Secretary was kind enough to rope someone from the plant into giving me my own Personal Poop Tour. She's nice.

THEN the cookies and laundry come into play. I'm goin' biking with our neighbor, Mrs. BBQ! How is this possible, you say, when you have no bike? And what the heck does this have to do with sugary snack foods and powdered detergent? Remember that tourist shack bike rental place? Well I think the owner sorta had a crush on my Tahoe friend last time, so in a fit of zealous, flirtatious, generosity he offered me the use of the bike anytime I wanted. Seeing as I can't really return the favor and give him unlimited access to TahoeGal (who lives far away and may or may not be interested), I'm bringing Home Made Cookies instead. Just as good in my book. Well, better than a kick in the teeth, in any case. The laundry part isn't as exciting, just need to clean the super cushy padded bike shorts to help protect this bum injury. So today will cover all the Bases of Life; health, domesticity, professional networking, and outdoor fun with neighbors. Oh, and poop. Did I mention poop?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

But We Can Be Tranquil, And Thankful, And Proud...

The Hub and I had a dream date day on Saturday. Well, dream for me, nightmarish for some... We braved the world of rental bikes again (this time at a Serious Bike Shop instead of a tourist rental shack) and actually got fairly adequate bikes for $7 less! Still a small fortune in rentals, but, well, cheaper than crack. You have to pick you addictions. So anyway, we went on the lovely 007 trail out of Bass Lake, something I used to ride in the good old days when I was a local backpacking guide. It was interesting to ride something that I had ridden in my fledgling mountain biking days, I remembered the trail as being rather tight, technical, and rocky, and was curious as to what my current judgement would be. Was I a total wuss back then, or was I stronger due to youth and a summer spent schlepping food for 15 people over high mountain passes?

And unfortunately again, I have no definitive answers to Life's Big Questions, as one outside influence has completely changed the experiment. Motorcycles. Poor 007 never saw what hit him. He's kind of a wreck. What used to be a fast fun swoopy single track with hoopty jumps and challenging rock gardens is now a 6 foot wide, 11 mile long sandbox full of boulders. Don't get me wrong I still had an awesome time, managing to scare myself careful, maintaining the rubber side down, surprising my self with some quick thinking and bike handling skills, all while getting a great workout. But I feel the need to mourn the passing of an old friend. It is the beginning of the biking season here and the trail is looser than my bowels on a race day.

The recommended route for 007 is to ride up the paved/dirt road (for an hour and a half!) and take the single track down. Now I'm not assuming that this is due to any altruistic biking reasons, it would just be a heck of a schlep up the single track on a bike. But the folks with petroleum power don't suffer from the same compunction. It seems that it is even more fun for them going up than coming down. We pulled over once to let a group of no less than 5 motorcyclists pass us, and not only were they spewing dust and diesel fumes, but their tires were cutting deep sandy ruts while spraying baby head rocks into the trail every time they goosed the engine. I know, I know, its the age old argument, who gets to use the trails? The hikers hate the mountain bikers, the mountain bikers hate the motorcyclists, the horses are scared to death of everyone, and I don't like anybody very much.

So there we go, I don't have any idea how I rate against my 24 year old self, nor do I have any answers as to who gets to actually use the land of many uses. 007 is still fun and formidable, but he has lost some of his grace. Oh look I just proved the old adage that you can never go home again. Durn, why didn't you tell me that before?

OH, HEY! I started this entry out with the Dream Date, I forgot all about that! So after our butt-whooping Exercise Event, we moved onto the Reading Books and Swimming in Bass Lake phase of the day. Glorious. 'Nuf said. Then on to, you guessed it, FOOD! We went to a superb sushi restaurant called Oka's where, oddly enough, they have fabulously fresh fish in the middle of the mountains. And there we proceeded to stuff ourselves silly. Yay! And here's the even odder part, we ran into two (of the four) couples that we know, way out in Oakhurst! (For those of you who aren't familiar with the area this is about an hour and 20 minute drive from El Portal.) So we had a fabulous double date with one couple while the other celebrated their one year anniversary with their extended families. (Congrats!) And we still aren't done! Nope, one more activity for the Dream Date Day. We continued our double date over to the local movie theatre and saw Cinderella Man. Which was possibly just a teensy weensy bit shy of the massive amount of hype, but quite enjoyable nonetheless. Topped off with the 80 minute drive home and a quick bath we slept like logs. Can we do it again today, huh, huh? Can we?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I'll Get You, My Pretty.

So back pre-Memorial day I was having a ton of fun with my buddy Karel here at home. I made her ride her bike up a hideous local hill with me in order to see this:

Of course I had to RENT a bike to do this, as you well know since (join me for the chorus here), my stuff is all in storage. So I rented this bike. Now I know we've all had the experience of renting something, while our own of this very same item is somewhere inaccessible. And we all know it sorta sucks. So we are riding up this "hill" for about an hour and a half in the punishing sun and Karel is trying not to hurt herself laughing at me. My bike has had the lowest gear replaced with a "SUPER GRANNY" gear. So I'm either grinding away in the second lowest gear which is slightly too hard on this hill, or my legs are going around like the clock hands in The Time Machine, while the bike is barely moving forward fast enough to not tip over. In addition to this the seat post is a bit too small for the frame, so my seat keeps slipping lower and lower no matter how I tighten the quick release clamp. So here I am with my knees flying up around my ears, sweating buckets, moving slightly slower than walking pace. Yeah, she thought it was funny too. So funny in fact that she couldn't stop singing the little musical phrase that comes on in the Wizard of Oz when the Wicked Witch of the West rides here bicycle out with the flying monkeys. Careful, that one will stick with you for the rest of the day!

After this punishing bike ride we went into the valley for a little climbing. It was so worth it. What an amazing place to live.

And yes, we are 60 meters off the ground right here, clipped into a bomber anchor with many redundant features. And yes Dad, I am actually wearing a helmet. No, really I am! Karel lent me hers since I was leading the climb and... wait for it... mine is in storage!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Hellllooooo Summer!

So Hey! I'm back in town! What a fabulous weekend! I hope y'all enjoyed the summer kick off with something close to the zeal we experienced! So the Bike Ride was just darned lovely!

AND it was even better because it included FOOD. LOTS OF FOOD! Like every 15 miles there was more food! And the main lunch spread... Wowzers! Mmmm mmmm! It was a crazy chow layout, with the tastiest barbecued chicken EVER, and ribs, smoked salmon, brie, fresh cool salads, and of course, chow mein and doughnuts. What bike ride is complete without chinese food and doughnuts? And more gatorade than 500 people could ever drink. And did I even mention the scenery yet? Rolling green farmland, strategically scattered herds of statuesque horses and snow capped mountains in the background. Just incredible. And you know, it was Memorial Day weekend, which usually means one thing, traffic! But not in the bucolic Indian Valley. Maybe 20 cars passed us all day! There were more bikers in this valley than cars! Can you tell that I liked it? The 60 miles whizzed by in a warm glow of chatting and snacks. If you ever have to ride a bike that far, I really can't recommend a more pleasant place to do it.

Entirely too nice actually. Next year, it'll have to be the full 100 miles! Who's with me! PS. Did I mention that they (the Full Century Riders) got an extra snack station?! AND they brought out strawberry sorbet for the FCR after we (Metric Century Riders) left, those rat finks! Just 'cause they rode another measly 40 miles and climbed another 2000 feet. They think they deserve sorbet. Huh! Next year that sorbet is mine, all MINE!

Snow Capped Background

Mrs. Skoog at the Chow Down.

We finished out the rest of the weekend with lots of camping and throwing sticks for the dogs in various surface waters. Oh. And eating. Don't forget the eating. We did one more tiny ride to try and justify all the food we were stuffing down our gullets, but honestly the nether regions were a bit too tender to put in any serious mileage. On the way home we did do a small hike near the Sierra Buttes which was really pretty, but there's entirely too much snow up there and Mrs. Skoog (much akin to Mr. Skoog's visit to the Mariposa Grove) wore sandals, so we didn't make it too far. Mr. Skoog had however, opted out of the hike and took that window of opportunity to ride his bike some more, and ended up riding about 75 miles, all the way back to their house! The crazy nut ball!