Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lake Tahoe

I wrote a bitter blog post on my five year anniversary in June. Maybe someday I'll post it. I was sad that Andy never even wished me a happy anniversary that day. His parents called and sent a card, bless their hearts. And my mom called. But Andy was out of town and he didn't say one word about it. Granted, we had agreed to celebrate later because he would be gone (he always is on our anniversary), but I thought he would at least send flowers or call or leave a note. Nope. Nada. So I may have overreacted late that night when I freaked out at him on the phone. He said he was sorry, but that what he had planned would totally make up for it. I was doubtful.

But then this weekend we took our little anniversary outing, and it was perfection.

We left the kids at my mom's house at 9am on Friday, and then we headed for the airport. We took a flight into Reno, NV that was just less than an hour. Once we landed we headed for the rental car. I thought Andy was going to the rental counter (I forgot that he does this several times a week and at this point they have the car waiting for him), so I stopped to look at some brochures about Reno and Tahoe. Next thing I know, I was being approached by a man about my age. He was good looking, but his eyes were horribly bloodshoot and he had a strange twitch in his shoulders and neck. I probably wouldn't have noticed anything else except he came really close to my face and asked if I was there alone. I said no, I was with someone, and started to walk away. He followed me very closely and said "you looking for a way out of here?" I turned around to tell him no, that I was fine when I noticed his very raw, scabby nostrils. Ah, cocaine. That explains a lot. From now on we will call him CG for Crazy Guy (or Cocaine Guy, you choose).

Me: No, I'm here with someone. He's getting a car. I'm fine.
CG: Come back here. Hey, come 'ere.
Me walking away
CG: (Pressed against my back) Let's get out of here. You wanna get out of here?
Me frantically looking for Andy
CG: Come here. Don't leave. Come here.
Me panicking.
CG: Come on. Let's get out of here.

He was following me this whole time, breathing down my neck, when all of a sudden he stopped dead. I had turned around to tell him to leave, so I saw him look scared and then back away. I turned around to see what had happened, and there was Andy giving him a look that could kill. My hero. Mr. Nelson looked devilishly handsome as he stared down the crazy man, grabbed my hand, and lectured me all the way to the car about "how he couldn't leave me alone for a minute..."

That was the exciting beginning to our Reno time. We stopped and ate lunch at Baja Fresh (not romantic, but it's our favorite so don't judge), and then we headed for the lake. Reno is this hot, sagebrush covered, FLAT, desert town, and then about five minutes out of town, bam, you hit forest and your ears go crazy as you start to climb quickly. It feels totally random.

It was beautiful and it smelled like mountain heaven, so we stopped the car several times just to wander around. Here are some of those wandering shots: (Also, I finally got our Nikon fixed, so these are much better than the cell phone pictures I've been taking for the last several months.)

Our first view of the lake from the car:
An overlook where a nice couple insisted on taking our picture:
So we're driving around for about 40 minutes in the forest that looks like this:
When suddenly tall buildings shot up out of nowhere:
We checked into one of those tall buildings, and this was the view from our room:
We were in South Lake, CA which is literally 2 steps from South Lake, NV. It's very Alps-y, with a definite Bavarian vibe to all of the buildings. They had the ski lift going to go up and see the view, but we never did make it. After we got settled in, we walked for about five minutes through the forest to the beach that looks like this:

It was gorgeous. The water is so clear, and it's a perfect turquoise color. The mountains, forest, and beach are all amazingly therapeutic on their own, but put them together, and it's just sublime. The sand is perfect. It's not so fine that it's annoying, it's got some grit to it, but it's still incredibly soft. The beach was foot heaven. As soon as I stepped on it, I told Andy that it was absolutely perfect pedicure material. I tried to resist the urge of looking like such a commoner, but I couldn't. I sat down on the water's edge and scooped up fistfuls and scrubbed down my soles and heels:

I was right. It was incredible.

After playing at the beach for a while, we headed North again to an amphitheater on the beach to see a performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. It's one of his funnier plays, and we loved it. The stage is right on the edge of the lake, so from our seats it looked like this:
There's a "premiere" section of cushioned Adirondack chairs where the staff waits on you, and everyone indulged in great food, tons of wine, and fruity little liquor drinks. We both had a burger and fresh fruit early on, and then right before the play started we had ordered a plate of cheese and crackers. There was some kind of confusion because we ended up with breads, cheeses, and salami, but it was still really good. I forgot to take a picture before we had eaten most of it. It was very fancy.

At intermission the waiter brought us turtle cheesecake, and then for the final act we had hot chocolate and hot apple cider. Yeah, we're disgusting. We ate way too much. But we felt like royalty and couldn't resist.
This is a terrible picture, but you can see behind us all the way up the hill is beach chairs. These were reserved as well, but then behind that was open to the general public for blankets and their own beach chairs. It was a beautiful venue and a lot of fun. A perfect, romantic evening. One thing I love about Andrew is that he likes this kind of thing and he gets it. I've taken other boys to plays, and they yawned the whole time and checked their watches. While he definitely catered the evening to the nerdiness that is me, I love that he laughs and applauds and appreciates it as well. It couldn't have been a better anniversary date.

Saturday morning we spent hiking. We didn't do as much as we would have liked because we got stuck on this one lane road with a lot of traffic going both ways, and we traded off between running into the mountain on one side, or falling off a sheer cliff into the lake on the other. It was a really slow, tense drive and by the time we finished it, we didn't have time left to wander. Andy later told me that he had an escape plan hatched in his mind for when our car plummeted into the water. It was that bad. But what we did see was fantastic. Here are some random shots:

The pine cones from these trees were as big as my head.
Andy's like my little travel gnome. I make him show up in all of the random pictures.

This was one of the first summer homes built at Tahoe in the late 19th century.

I love that this kitchen style is back in and trendy right now:

The view from the front porch:

After we finished hiking, we went back to the beach and had lunch at a little restaurant on the water front. I'm not a picky eater at all, but the food was terrible. I got a pork sandwich with sauteed onions and apples. Sounds interesting and flavorful. I was imagining a pulled pork type thing, but it was small bits of pork fried so long that you couldn't taste what kind of meat it was, and then some soggy apples placed on the top. Andy had trout and his wasn't any better. All in all, we decided the food is free and you're paying for the location.

After lunch, we walked the beach and talked about how sad we were to go. We missed the kids and we always cut our trips short because we don't want to leave them alone very long. We feel magnanimous rushing home to them. Tonight, of course, we went to pick them up and they both cried and clung to Grandma and didn't want to leave with us. We bitterly thought of our long, lazy meals, our full night of sleep, and walking everywhere without dragging two whining little balls of attitude. As they cried and dug their heels in, Andy said, "remember this moment next time you want to hurry home to them."

Here we sat on the beach saying our final, sad goodbye:

We loved it there and intend to go back every chance we get. Of course as much as we complain, we're dying to take the kids and show them the next time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cupcakes and Irrigation

Today was a fun day.

I volunteered to take treats to some ladies from church, but rather than spending the whole day baking, we went to the Sweet Tooth Fairy. They're a little cupcake shop that has the best treats. I loved how excited Calvin and Autumn were to pick out their own cupcake and eat it outside on the bench. (Yes, Calvin is still in his p.j.s. It's a constant battle.) Autumn chose a strawberry cheesecake flavored concoction. Calvin opted for raspberry cake with lemon frosting --he's all about picking everything by color. Last week at the ice cream shop he had an icky mojito sorbet just because it was green.

After cupcakes, we skipped naps and went to Grandpa's for his watering turn. It's magical for the kids. This time I couldn't help but be hyper aware of all of the cow poo floating beside me and bumping into my legs, the drowning insects scrambling to get on higher ground (I saved about 40 of them. I'm hoping it'll make up for one or two of my black marks in heaven), and the cows that stood there and leered at my tiny daughter.

These cows like to chase the roosters, bucking and kicking at them, so they make me super nervous around Autumn, who adores them, and goes straight up to them any chance she gets, waving at them, saying hi, and mooing. I do not enjoy these interactions between the girl and the cows.

Standing at the gate as the water started to rush in:

Playing in the tree:
(he wanted to climb, but he was scared once he got up)


Grandma delivering fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies after using a wet wipe to scrub off germs (try not to think about where their hands have been):

(is it inappropriate to point out the Hitler-esque mustache?)

Making wishes: (he wished to be able to talk to an animal that lives in the stars)
Whispering secrets, laughing, living in their own little world. Peas and Carrots, these two are:

Trying to save bugs:

Sad, stinky cows with flies all over their faces.

Maria is a PETA princess in the making. She is a feisty defender of all animals and their rights. Someone said something about the cow's nasty rear-end, and Ria jumped in to defend the unsuspecting bovine. I told her if she loved cows so much, she should prove it by allowing him his dignity and cleaning him up so that nobody would make fun of him. This look is her trying to determine if we were serious, and if we were, just how strongly she felt about defending her beliefs.

Misc. play time:
Uncle Jesse and Ayshie

Grandpa lifting the kids up on a stick. They loved this!

Especially Autumn:

Everybody's favorite, Auntie Carrie, showed up just as we were finishing the fun: