Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The third year of life

Oyyyy, 3 year olds. They have an amazing ability to try the patience of the nicest person. I have to admit I am not the nicest person today. My 3 year old is really pushing it right now. I cannot stand the bawling. The whining. The constant temper tantrums. Oyy is it nap time yet?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Favorite book/cd club: SS Blog Challenge week 2

Imagine that you have just joined a club. It is a FAVORITES book/cd club. When it is your time to make a suggestion you should suggest a book and cd that is your favorite –the one that you really connect with. Your goal is not to please the group but to convey something about yourself with your selection. Select the one book that you really connect with for whatever reason. Select the album/cd that you would keep if you were only allowed one for the rest of your life. Along with your selection please explain why.

This is a really tough one for me. I have never been a great lover of literature. I read trashy romance novels from the grocery store. You know the kind, they are a couple hundred pages long, have no in-depth moral significance, just a quick, clean, entertaining read. I have always loved these. In high school, a friend of my mom's gave me, literally, a wheelbarrow full of these books that she had piled up in her car. I am serious, we pulled them out of her car until the wheelbarrow was full. I organized them by book type and read them one by one. It took months, after all I was in high school and 4-H and a half dozen other extracurricular activities so mostly I read late at night after chores and studying were done and I should have been asleep. (hmmm, that was a bit of a run-on sentence there) So the upshot is that while I love to read, I don't do it for anything beyond mindless entertainment.

However, there is a poem. Every now and then something will happen and the poem or at least the last line or two, will pop into my head. The poem is "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost. I had to memorize this poem in high school. At the time I wanted to rebel because I thought, in accordance with all high school students out there, that it was just a mindless regurgitation exercise to keep us busy. Now, looking back at my life so far, I can see how that poem has true meaning. We make choices throughout our life. We pick a road to travel. We have options and sometimes assume that if option A does not work out we will just go back to option B. Unfortunately, option B may not be there when one realizes that option A is a dud. Or perhaps option B is really just as full of potholes and mishaps as option A but they are different potholes and mishaps. For every action there is a reaction and for every decision there is a consequence. I tend toward the safe way, the easy way. I made the decision to not work my butt off in college and rather played around for two years, wasting valuable time and money and getting nowhere. That decision still may come back to haunt me as Matt and I will one day truly and firmly get a handle on our finances and may regret my inability to get a high paying job. Oh, I have college experience. I even have 7 years of work experience at a good job but there are those dividing roads again. I took the one less traveled and became a stay-at-home mom. I let my training drop by the wayside and have not kept up with developments within my field. I made some bad decisions regarding leaving my old job, resulting in a lack of professional recommendations should I ever need them. Besides they are more than 3 years old and in a profession that is changing daily, 3 years is an enternity. The road less traveled. My mother worked, my MIL works still, my grandmother, all of my aunts save one or two, many of my female cousins and my SILs all held or do hold paying jobs. Yes, I know that raising my 3 children is an important job. My time volunteering in school and with their 4-H club are important tasks. Even my Creative Memories business, while I had it, was important. However, within my family it is the road less traveled. I married young, I had my first child at 22, then had another at 26 and yet another at 30. I am now approaching 34. And really what am I? Just a mom and some days I don't think I do a very good job of that. So where do I go from here? Hmmm, need to go read that poem again.....

The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Now for the music. I love me some country music and there are some powerful messages in those songs. Messages of hope and faith. Messages of disgust and disdain. Messages of patriotism and love for home, country and family. Messages of brutality overcome. I don't think I can pick just one CD. I am not even sure I can pick one artist. Okay, okay, the challenge is to pick one artist, one CD, one song that touches me. The artist would probably have to be either Garth Brooks and his song "The River" or the late, great John Denver and his song "Take Me Home Country Roads". I can't honestly tell you what albums these two songs are on. I am terrible with remembering artists, album titles or even song titles but these two speak to me. One speaks of dreams and in essence destiny and the other speaks of going home again, gathering dreams and memories close. Each speaks to me in a different way. I think many of us would love to "go home again". By that I mean, go back to a time when the decisions were only as complicated as whether to play baseball with our friends or go jump in the swimming hole for an afternoon cool off. Go back to look at those roads I talked about again and see if the decisions about which one to travel would be different. But we all have dreams too. Dreams that push us or pull us in one direction or another. We may learn to ignore those dreams but every now and then in the quiet of the night, they will push their way to the forefront. As we look at those dreams, we may actually decide that they are not worth the effort it would take or we may decide that those dreams lead down a road for which the junction is left far behind. Or we may find that those dreams are important and are just patiently waiting to be realized. I have found that a dream of my youth has begun to resurface. Perhaps it is one of those dreams that is like a river. Perhaps I have just been sitting in an eddy watching the water rush past just waiting for the right moment to venture back into the current. All through my youth I always dreamed of being a mother and a teacher. The motherhood part has been achieved, rather embarrassingly easily. The ease of our reproduction is a gift. One that was not bestowed on either of my sisters-in-law. Watching their struggles made me all the more grateful. However, I have digressed from the point I was getting to. The point is that there was more to that dream than just motherhood. The other part of that dream is being a teacher. While some will argue that being a parent is being a teacher and that being a 4-H leader is being a teacher, a sentiment I agree with, my dream is of being a teacher in a more formal setting. As I spend time in the classroom this year helping in DD Emily's class I find that perhaps I am just in the eddy of the river. Perhaps one day the pull of the current will bring me back to the center of the river and I will come home to my childhood dream. Only time will tell. For now, being a mom and a 4-H leader and all the many other little jobs I have, will keep me busy. I will leave you to contemplate the words of my two song choices and how they apply to your life.

Take Me Home Country Roads
By John Denver

Almost heaven, West Virginia,
Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River.
Life is old there, older than the trees,
younger than the mountains growin' like a breeze.
Country roads, take me home,
to the place I belong.
West Virginia, Mountain momma,
Take me home country roads

All my mem'ries, gather round her,
miner's lady, stranger to blue water.
Dark and dusty, painted on the sky,
misty taste of moonshine
teardrop in my eye.
Country roads, take me home,
to the place I belong.
West Virginia,Mountain momma,
Take me home Country roads

I hear her voice in the morning hour she calls me,
the radio reminds me of my home far away
and driving down the road I get a feeling
that I should have been home yesterday,
Country roads take me home,
to the place I belong.
West Virginia,Mountain momma,
Take me home, Country roads
Country roads take me home,
to the place I belong.
West Virginia,Mountain momma,
Take me home, Country roads
Take me home, Country roads
Take me home, Country roads

The River
By Garth Brooks

You know a dream is like a river
Ever changin' as it flows
And a dreamer's just a vessel
That must follow where it goes
Trying to learn from what's behind you
And never knowing what's in store
Makes each day a constant battle
Just to stay between the shores..
and I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
Like a bird upon the wind
These waters are my sky
I'll never reach my destination
If I never try
So I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry

Too many times we stand aside
And let the waters slip away '
Til what we put off 'til tomorrow Has now become today
So don't you sit upon the shoreline
And say you're satisfied
Choose to chance the rapids
And dare to dance the tide..
yes I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
Like a bird upon the wind
These waters are my sky
I'll never reach my destination
If I never try
So I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
And there's bound to be rough waters
And I know I'll take some falls
But with the good Lord as my captain I can make it through them all..
yes I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
Like a bird upon the wind
These waters are my sky
I'll never reach my destination
If I never try
So I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
Yes, I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
'Til the river runs dry

Monday, January 28, 2008

Snow Day

The end of a week of frigid weather (at least by our standards) resulted in enough snow to cancel school. Here we only ended up with about an inch but Mom and Dad who live down in the southeast valley ended up with over 6 inches of snow. It is really unusual for them. I remember lamenting as a kid that we lived in the "banana belt". When every town around had snow our little area would get nothing. Where we live now, we are usually the ones with snow when no one else has any.

Anyhow, we have had 3 days where school has been canceled due to weather but this is the first time that there was enough snow to play in. The kids got out and played. The sun is melting it pretty fast so there was not a lot of time. They threw a few snowballs and built a snowperson. Most importantly I was able to get my yearly snow pictures. We usually get one really measurable snowfall a year and so I have to get my yearly pictures for the layout. I have seen some really cute layout ideas this year. I will have to get my pictures downloaded off the camera and printed so I can play.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Recipes and memories. SS Blog challenge.

Food and favorite recipes evoke memories. Often we cling to favorite recipes when the people we associate them with are gone. We use the recipes to bring to the forefront the sweet memories of those we miss. I have a number of foods and recipes that do that for me.

One of my favorites is a recipe called Raspberry Topper. It really is nothing complicated, just yellow cake covered by raspberry jam and a topping of marshmallow cream mixed with whipped topping. While it is tasty, there is nothing overwhelmingly outstanding about the recipe in terms of any culinary greatness. The reason this recipe means so very much to me is that I got it from my grandmother. While Grandma is still with us physically, she is slipping away mentally. Time and age have taken their toll. She will be turning 96 in April. I miss the Grandma of my memories. The Grandma who took my brother and I to her house every summer. The Grandma who played games with us, referried our fights, wiped our tears and gave hugs liberally. The Grandma who taught me some of the funnest card games I know.

I love my Grandma. She is a sweet lady who loved all of her 9 grandkids, 21 great-grandkids and 1 great-great-grandkid to distraction. I cherish my memories of canning, cooking and baking with her. We had so much fun in the kitchen. I can remember making grape juice with her, just hoping nobody got burned and that the juice actually made it into the jars. Man does purple grape juice stain!!

While Grandma is still with us, it is obvious that her time with is slipping away. Her frailty makes her much more vulnerable and the dementia makes it difficult to hold a conversation with her. I miss her as she was, love her for what she has always been and make her recipes to relive the many great memories I have of the time I have had the privilege of spending with her.

I love you Grandma.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

New member of the furbaby family.

Yesterday the girls' 4-H club hosted our second annual Rickreal Roundup Small Animal show. We had showman there to show their rabbits and cavies from all over. One family even came as far away as Grants Pass. My girls made a self-defeating decision not to get their rabbit out and practice with him in the weeks leading up to the event so they did not get to show. Jessie has had a hard fall/winter with her pets/show animals. She has lost to date 1 goat and 3 rabbits. The rabbit available to show is her sister's though both of them could have shown him. We went to help the club to run the show and to look around at the sale animals in hopes of perhaps acquiring a new show animal. However, I also did not want to her jumping at the first animal she saw. She looked at the sales area and saw a little lilac mini rex with a pedigree that she was interested in. However, it sold before I even got a chance to look at it. I was still hesitant about getting another animal, the losses are hard on me too. However, one of our local breeders had put several of her animals in the raffle so I decided what the heck, I would toss in a few tickets. I was sure I would never win, after all I never win anything. Imagine my surprise when one of my numbers was called. I am now the proud owner of a very nice sable chinchilla mini lop doe. She has a pedigree and a very nice genetic line. She is ready for breeding and hopefully will give us some really nice babies. I need to get to work on getting a set up in place so we can breed her so she can kindle and be done with babies by fair time in August. After all I did not get her for me, I got her for Jessie to have something to show. We are very happy to welcome her to our family.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Great, the Good and the Really, Really Ugly: Part 5

In this post, I am going to combine the last couple of days so I can finish this up and also because there is not as much to talk about. Just the really, really ugly part of the trip on December 31st.

December 30th:

Check out time at the campground was 11:00 a.m. so we got up and got busy. We fixed a nice breakfast of pancakes, sausage and eggs. Then we put the camper back on the truck, made sure the site was clean and headed out. Matt has cousins in the Sacramento Valley and his grandfather is in Chico. We decided that we were so close that we would head that direction for a visit. We got to Chad and Denise's house at around 12:30 or so. Soon after we arrived Chad's sister Kami and her family arrived. They stopped by on their way home from spending a few days playing in the mountains. We had a nice visit with everyone. It was so great to see them all. We really enjoy their company and don't see them often enough. Chad and Denise's little boy Jacob just recently turned one. Wow has he grown since we saw everyone at the family reunion this past summer. We ended up staying for quite a long time just relaxing and visiting. Unfortunately, that meant there was not time to stop and see Grandpa. We really have to get down there sometime again soon. After a quick stop at one of the local produce stands for oranges and grapefruit, we finally pointed the truck to the north and started the long trek home. We decided to just drive until Matt got tired. He decided that we would stop at the rest area just south of the Siskyou mountian pass for the night. As we pulled off the freeway, we heard a funny sound that we could not identify. It obviously was coming from the tires. At first we thought it was the road but it turned out to be much worse. After we got the kids into the camper and settled, Matt did some investigating, thinking that perhaps the tread had separated on one of the tires. What he did discover scared us pretty badly. Apparently, four of the lug bolts holding the right rear tire on had sheared off! We had just spent several hours traveling at around 70 mph. Oh how scary that thought was. We decided to go to bed and figure out to do the next morning.

December 31st:

New Years Eve Day started out with Matt trying to figure out how we were going to deal with the tire issue. In the meantime I was working on cleaning up the camper a bit. Apparently I bumped a tube that carries propane to a heater we don't use, loosening a connection and releasing propane into the camper. This ran us all out of the camper. I sent the kids to the truck to wait and discussed our options with Matt. He had decided that the best option was to try to get back to Yreka to find a repair shop. Yreka, via the scenic highway that runs on the other side of the river from the freeway, was about 10 miles away. At 8 to 10 mph that is a long trip. The scenic route is just that, scenic and there are a number of narrow bridges, steep drop offs and sharp corners that were enough to send me into a catatonic state. Unfortunately we got oh so close but not close enough. The last of the lugs gave out about 4 miles from town. Luckily we were going really slowly so when the inevitable happened, we were stopped almost immediately. There was a man who lived right there who was quite prepared, called CHP for us and set out cones and flares to warn drivers as they came around the corner. He also gave Matt the number for a tow company. Matt called and the tow truck was soon on its way. A CHP officer soon arrived too and helped with directing traffic. When the tow truck arrived it was clear that it was going to turn into a long ordeal. The truck was totally not going to be able to take care of the issue. The driver immediately called back and had another truck brought out. This one was a flat bed that they were going to try and put the truck up onto to take it to the repair shop. I had my doubts that even this truck was going to work out and low and behold, I was right. I got to take care of and try to entertain the kids in the cab of the tow truck as the two tow truck drivers and Matt tried to get our camper/truck up onto the flat bed. All they really succeeded in doing was wasting a lot of time and messing up the bumper of the camper. After a couple hours of sitting on the road side, a repairman from the repair shop came out, knocked out and replaced four of the lugs, put one of the tires back in place and we made a very slow caravan to town. He only did four because that was all he had on hand at the shop. They had to call around to other shops and get the other four brought over. So finally after many hours and several hundred dollars, we were finally able to get on our way again. We went back out the scenic drive, found a particularly scenic spot, made and ate a very late lunch then turned the truck back north.

We decided to head to my mom and dad's to pick up Emily's canary that she got for Christmas. Mom and Dad have an annual New Years Eve party that we enjoyed. It was so nice to get out of the truck, relax and chat with friends. Most left before midnight but one neighbor hung around. David and Jessie ended up crashing on the coach before midnight arrived but Emily made it to celebrate the coming of the new year. We popped some champagne while mom and I campaigned with Matt for us to stay the night and head home in the morning but he was rather adamant that he wanted to head home. Since he was driving, I would end of sleeping the whole way, there were animals at home that needed care and it had been a long and harrowing day, I gave in so home we came. We pulled in the driveway at about 2 a.m. By the time we got animals checked on and got settled in it was 3:00 a.m. before I finally fell asleep again.

January 1st:

We spent New Years Day hanging out, relaxing, doing a bit of laundry so everyone had clothes to return to school and work while we watched football. The kids activated their Webkinz accounts and got all set up. I can see this being a serious addiction, if not for them then for me. Some of those games are fun! It was a pleasant and relaxing day.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Great, the Good and the Really, Really Ugly: Part 4

December 29th:

After a wakeup call from David at about 8 a.m. we got up and got going. Everyone dressed for the day and then we called Jim to see what the plan was. It was decided that we would meet up with them at the Country Waffle restaurant in Dublin at around 10. We had some time to spare so we hung around the camper. I wrote about yesterday's events and the girls played with their games. Matt played with his GPS and David just generally caused confusion. When we got to the restaurant we had a bit of a wait. It was crowded!! Finally we got a table big enough for all 8 of us. We waited for Jim and Traci to arrive. Jim finally came with William but Traci was not feeling well so she decided to stay home. Each of us ordered our favorites. Jessie had a big strawberry waffle. She loved the whipped cream as usual. David had pigs in a blanket and ate every bite. Emily had Swedish Crepes with strawberries. I also had the crepes with sausage and a bisquit with gravy. Matt had one of the place's special breakfasts. He shared his bisquits and gravy with William who loved it. He ended up eating a whole biscuit by himself. Over breakfast we decided what we were going to do. The day was gray and drizzly so we decided to go somewhere inside instead of on the hike that Jim had originally planned. We took both cars. Jessie and Emily got to ride with Jim and entertain William. Matt really wanted to take the truck down Lombard street the famous curvy street in downtown. So we headed for downtown via the Bay Bridge. After navigating the streets of San Francisco with the help of the GPS unit we arrived at Lombard Street. While it seemed impossible that the truck would fit down, it really was no problem. David and Matt both enjoyed it. I got a couple good photos on the way down but I had to force myself to keep my eyes open. We got down safely and then waited for Jim and the kids. Matt walked back and got a couple shots of them coming down. We also took a quick trip down the steepest road in San Francisco which is saying a lot in a city known for its hills. It was really steep. Luckily the brakes work well on the truck! Then it was time. We were headed for the biggest landmark in the entire city, the Golden Gate Bridge. However, the weather had not cooperated with us at all. The fog was thick and the rain was trickling down. We went across and stopped at the vista point but there was hardly anything to see. Only bits and pieces of the bridge were visible as the fog floated about. We did not stay long at the vista even though there was lots of stuff to read about the bridge and surrounding area. It was just too cold and damp for the little ones. William thought that the best part was making hand prints in the raindrops on his Dad's Prius. The next stop was the Bay Area Discovery village. This was an activity museum for the kids. There was a special area just for the tots so David and William, accompanied by the dads, headed in to play. Unfortunately, Matt had left his camera at the camper and his phone in the truck so we have no pictures of them in there or in the Clifford exhibit. The big kids were not allowed in the tot area so the girls and I headed off to some of the other exhibits to see what we could do. We first visited the new muscial instrument they had constructed called a Xylobell. Boy could they make a lot of racket with that. Playing the xylophone part made a big metal bell ring. There were all kinds of different musical instruments rigged up to make the big bell ring. Next stop was the Art studio, where the girls made African print art. We left them to dry on the racks and headed over to the wave room. We figured we would return to get them later. Unfortunately when we went back someone had taken Emily's so she had to make some more. We just kept those with us that time. The wave room was cool and was where the girls spent most of their time. There was an acutal wave machine that showed how waves move through the water and then up onto shore. There was also a big wheel with different shapes in it and sand so when you turned the wheel the sand formed different formations around the shapes. The best part was the hands on room where you can explore the way different objects are affected by different forms of motion. There was a big tank where they could test wind on toy boats, a tank that had a current in it with plastic fish and other objects to test drag and resistance in water. There was even a wind effect one to see how different shaped objects move in the wind. Both girls had a great time at the different activities. After we exhausted all of those possibilities, we moved over to the Virtual reality section where the girls became underwater sea creatures on camera. What fun. After that we went over to the Bay building where there was a big toy train set up, "underwater" tunnel, a replica fishing boat and replica of the Fisherman's Wharf Grotto. While this was really geared more to the younger set, the girls found things to do to entertain themselves for quite a long time. Eventually William and David, along with the dads, joined us. The boys loved the trains and played with those for quite some time. Eventually though they did go and explore some of the other activities. While we sat and watched kids, another mom and I struck up a conversation. She grew up in the bay area but now lives in Utah with her family. We had a nice chat while the kids played. She was kind enough to take a picture of all of us together in the rare moment that the fog cleared enough to see the bridge. While I have my eyes closed, it is still a great family shot. It was finally time to call it a day. The boys were happily exhausted and both napped on the ride back across the bays to the east side where we met up with Traci and had dinner at a restaurant called The Hop Yard. The food was excellent but the company was definitely better. We took a short walk across the promenade and had dessert at Cold Stone Creamery. The boys played outside checking out the fountains under the careful eye of Jim while Matt and I got to visit with Traci for a bit. Sadly, it was soon time to call it a night. Jim sent William home with Traci and gave the kids a ride back to the camper so that David could have a turn in the "electric" car. What a great day spent with family we so rarely see. William is such a little boy now. He is sure to give his mom and dad a run for their money in the coming years. We look forward to having them come to visit us so we can introduce the city boy to wide open spaces with plenty of room to run! Now I sit here, with my family all asleep, enjoying a bit of time to relive the day as I document it. It is sad that we have to head home tomorrow. Hopefully we will get to come back sometime soon!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Great, the good and the Really, Really Ugly: Part 3

December 28th:

We had a slow start to the day after the recent late nights. Everyone got to take a shower in the teeny tiny camper shower. Daddy fixed a breakfast of pancakes. We decided that it would be easier to take the camper off the truck so dad did that while we waited somewhat patiently. Jim had called and said that their flight from Colorado Springs to Denver was delayed and they were trying to get on another flight to make their Denver connection. Thankfully it all worked out and their flight landed close to on time in Oakland. In the meantime, we scouted out the Pleasanton/Dublin area and found Jim and Traci's house. We stopped for lunch at a Burger King while we waited for Jim and Traci to call. Finally we met them at their house to drop David off. He was so excited to go play with his cousin William. He went right with Jim with no problems. Jim directed to us to the best place to find a BART station and we were off on our adventure. We left the truck at the Lafeyette BART station and hoped on the train to head into San Francisco. Ironically, at one of the transfer stops (MacArthur?) Matt's coworker Eric boarded our train. We chatted with him all the way to the Embarcadero stop where we got off to catch the MUNI subway to take us to the ball park. In another twist of irony we boarded a subway car and ran into friends the Virtues. How strange to meet up with two groups of people we knew in all those throngs of crowds. It was fun to chat with them as we rode like sardines on the subway. It is amazing how many people can cram into such a small space. The transit officials, in their infinite wisdom, did not run game trains so everyone that was heading in that direction were trying to crowd into the same trains. Then there it was, the stadium was in sight. The train car emptied and we all headed enmass to the entrance gate. We got our tickets out, said goodbye to our friends and headed in the gate. We entered at the second street entrance. AT&T Stadium is where the Giants play baseball in the summer but tonight it was all about football. Oregon State and the University of Maryland Tarapins were set to get it on and the fans were excited. Our seats were in a corner kind of under the big screen. We could not see the end zone on our side after the crowds filtered in but with the big screen right there, we did not miss anything. We enjoyed pregame entertainment from some sort of drum and rhythm group. The excitement of the crowd was palpable. We could feel the energy and could tell that a good game was about to commence. After hearing a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, the teams were introduced. First to enter were the Maryland Tarapins. By the way a Tarapin is a turtle. Who knew? When the Beavers were introduced the stadium got loud. It was a sea of Orange and Black with a few red supports thrown in here and there. Oregon State won the toss, we elected to kick off. The teams lined up, Serna gave a good boot and the game was on. It was a hard fought game. Maryland seemed to have the advantage early scoring on their opening drive and then the offense of the Beavers kind of stumbled. But lucky for the Beavs, a Tarapin ran into Serna on the kick so we got the ball back. That drive resulted in the first of three Beaver scores. The game went back and forth throughout the first half with the Tarapins leading during most of it. The Beavs made a late drive and tied the score at 14-14 going into the half. The second half brought more back and forth play. The teams traded turnovers but eventually late in the third, the Beavers scored the go-ahead touchdown. While the Tarapins made a couple of good drives in the fourth our defense held out and we got the win. At the end of the game officials made no effort to keep fans off the field so down we went. I got a picture of the girls with Jeff Van Orsow. He had to be tired but he was all smiles and very nice with the girls. We got to mingle with some more of the players and watched as the game trophy and MVP awards were presented. After lingering a bit longer to reval with the other OSU fans we headed out to catch a train back to the BART. On the way out we followed the sound and found the OSU band entertaining a small crowd. We stopped and listened while they played a song or two and then the fight song. It was in a small space so it was LOUD. It was great. Then it was time to become a sardine again. The trains were running for free which was nice of officials. And there were more trains running so the wait was not long but the trains were just as crowded. The mood was jubilant as many, many Beaver fans head back into downtown San Francisco to go to hotels, cars or perhaps bars to celebrate. We arrived back at the station where we had left the truck via BART at about 10:15. Then we went back to Pleasonton to pick up David and return to the camper. We made plans with Jim to meet for breakfast in the morning.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Great, the Good and the Really, Really Ugly: Part 2

December 27th:

The alarm went off way too early at 7 a.m. The goal was to get to Union Square in downtown San Francisco by 11:30 to see the team rally. We had discovered that the frying pans had been left at home so while I got things situated in the camper, washing dishes from the previous night and such, Matt went over to Wal-Mart and got a new set. After breakfast of bacon or sausage and eggs, David and I ventured over to Wal-Mart to procure a few other needed items such as a warm jacket for him, which would become handy to have later in the day, and a few other essentials. After stowing the purchased items we returned to the road to find a Bart station. We headed first to Concord but did not see a station close to the freeway so we continued to Pleasant Hill where we parked the truck for the day. As I said, we were hoping to make into San Francisco in time to watch the OSU rally at Union Square but we did not make it. We rode Bart from Pleasant Hill to the Powell Street stop near the cable car terminus. David had the best time. David is fascinated with trains of any shape or description so the Bart ride was a particular hit.

Waiting for the Bart train.

David had the time of his little life! "It goes fast!"

After procuring a city map we headed out to start our day of sight seeing and transit riding. Since we arrived in the city at around lunch time we wandered around looking for a place to eat. We found this little bitty Chinese restaurant. Oh was the food good!! I forgot to get a picture of the front but it was a popular place with the local lunch crowd. After lunch we went to ride the cable cars.

We purchased all day passes and proceeded to stand in line for an hour to get a ride.

The kids had a great time.

Just one of many, many OSU fans we saw around the city that day.

We went as far as the cable car museum on this first trip of the day. The cable car museum was cool and would have been more interesting for me if I had actually be able to read any of the plaquards. Unfortunately, I spent most of my time following David from place to place.

After a thorough inspection of the train museum, we returned to the cable car stop where we intended to ride to Fisherman's Wharf. Unfortunately, on this busy and bustling holiday weekday for many, the traffic was really bad and few cable cars were able to get through their routes and we were stuck waiting a VERY long time. Eventually we did manage to squeeze on one and rode down the Hyde street line to the Wharf. The day was nice with just high clouds for the most part. We had a gorgeous view of the Golden Gate Bridge at the end of the Hyde Street Cable Line.

We had hoped to be able to visit the maritime museum but we arrived after the last tour had started. To bad too cause the tours were free today. Since that possible venue for entertainment was out we wandered off down the street checking out restaurant menus as we went. We soon happened upon Joe's Crab Shack. It looked lively and smelled good so we entered and waited to be seated. The food was good, the adult beverage I indulged in quite tasty as well and we all stuffed ourselves full enough to continue on with our adventures. We proceeded over to ride the Mason line back up to the California line where we caught that cable car as well so that we managed to ride all the lines today.

View of the Christmas lights from the California line.

While on the California line we enjoyed a bit of banter with some University of Maryland fans who had traveled clear from near Baltimore to attend the game. That is true dedication to the sport.Emily requested a ride on the electric bus so that was our next destination. Thank goodness for those all day MUNI tickets, they got us on all kinds of transportation. I know the picture is not great but it is the only one we have. While riding the bus we encountered a couple of Oregon State fans whom we chatted with a bit. He is a professor of International Business at OSU and traveled down with the team. It was interesting to chat with them for a bit while we rode the electric bus with no real destination in mind.

After leaving the bus, we caught the electric trolley to head back the way we had come. We were intending to stop at the Ghiradellia store on Powel near our Bart station but met up with a nice gentleman who directed us back to Fisherman's Wharf and Ghiradellia Square. The poor kids were pretty tuckered out by this time.

However, they perked right up at the prospect of a chocolate sundae. After sundaes were consumed and the chocolate making process observed, we proceeded back to the cable car line for a ride back to our Bart Station. This was a bonus ride that we had not anticipated. It was really cool to ride from one end of the line to the other. Poor David did not make it though. He fell asleep part way up the line sitting tucked into his seat beside Daddy. He was such a trooper. He had a great riding day.

After a quick potty break at the end of the cable line, we hopped back on Bart to return to the truck. The trip was uneventful and all 3 kids fell asleep. It was certainly quite different on the trip back than on the trip in. The excitement was over and exhaustion had won.

Somewhere around dark the rain had started to fall so part of the trip had gotten drippy and chilly but it could not put a damper on our day. When we arrived back at the truck, Emily and David climbed up into mommy and daddy's big bed and Jessie, Matt and I climbed into to the truck to head for our camping spot at the Alameda County fairgrounds. We arrived here at around 11:45. After a bit of work getting situated in our spot, everyone is tucked into bed to rest up for whatever adventures tomorrow morning will bring prior to meeting up with Uncle Jim and Aunt Traci so David can go with them for a visit. The game starts at 5:30 at Giants stadium so it will be back downtown we go for more fun. It was great to share this day with the kids. Other than the waiting in line for the cable cars, the kids really seemed to enjoy all that we did. I love having days where no-one is fighting, nagging or harping. There were no responsibilities beyond keeping each other safe. What a great day.

Here a few more random pictures from the day: