a99kitten’s Musings

I blog about a WHOLE LOT of stuff :)

DSQUARED2 Women’s Hiking Pump…

DSquared Hiking Pump

Hmmm….I’m thinking maybe not a good idea when heading downhill with huskies or needing to outrun a bear:)

Went on a great hike this morning! Took the buds out early but it was already too warm for them so I went on the long, uphill hike alone (Storm thanks me.)

Saw a few runners sprint past me. Saw them at 3 different spots on the hike but all 3 were young (late teens), shirtless, SKINNY, and wearing those teeny runner shorts I thought went out in the 70s for me. And all I could think as they ran past me was “Run Forrest Run!” But besides them, and a gazillion chipmunks, birds and butterflies, no one else. A very peaceful hike. Plenty of time to think….which brings me to the question that got stuck in my head…a question I’m sure I’m not the only one to ask. I’m sure it’s been addressed somewhere but I haven’t read it.

Why at the end of the “revised” Return of the Jedi does Anakin appear young, and not old like he used to and like Obi Wan? I mean, can you just choose your apparition age? Bonus if so. But then why would Ob-Wan stay Alec instead of Ewan? So that’s not it.

It’s obviously not as simple as your apparition age is as you were when you died because we saw older, crusty Darth die.

It can’t be because that was when Anakin was last a member of the non-dark side (it’s always the dark side but never the light side..) and a “true” Jedi because really he did pretty questionable stuff back when he was a teenager with the whole ‘slaughter all the Tusken Raiders who took your Mom and lie to the Jedi Council about Padme’ business. And he technically reverted back to good when he shafted Palpatine to save Luke. I believe this is what the general consensus is but let’s face it – Anakin was a lying punk already in AOTC.

So then is it because the Jedi ARE actually a bit more judgey-judgerson than we know and they didn’t want a burnt, grown over with scars, pizza-face Anakin in their blissful nether-universe? I hope not…I think we all need to believe that they are truly good both inside and out….

But as a side note, I do actually like the change GL made to the end of ROTJ (NOT Ep VI to me) with the various cities celebrating. Just need to work out this Anakin business… :)

My dogs are great :) But the 4 people that read this blog already know that :) And while they are the same breed, and even related, they have very different personalities.

Storm is feeling better and better now. He has Cushings and I’ve been trying to get his medication dosage to the right levels for months now. I think we did it. His energy levels are definitely back to normal. Now, this doesn’t mean he won’t be a lazy little fur-sausage when given the chance! He has always been more of a couch potato than his brother.

Yesterday husband took Angelus to Squaw Valley with him so he could get some off-leash snow play up on the mountain and meet some other buds. There was an Earth Day event up there so Angelus got to meet a porcupine! Apparently he was *very* excited and wanted to play with him. I doubt the porcupine felt the same way :) He only takes Angelus because it’s difficult to control both at the same time in such an environment and husband is not up to that. Plus Storm has been fairly unenergetic for the past 9 months or so due to his illness so not up to the task.

But yesterday, I had left for a hike and husband was loading Angelus up and Storm jumped in the truck like “nuh-uh – you are not leaving me!” So he called me and I doubled back a bit to meet him and get Storm. So Storm went on my hike with me. And he was a little trekker. Storm used to be like this all the time on long hikes and I was very happy to see him return to it! Head down so he walks like a wolf and trek, trek, trek, must finish the  mission, must get to where we are going. This is why he would have made a great lead sled dog. Just point him in the direction and he just goes. No stopping.  No dilly-dallying. Unless woodland critters are involved that is ;) But then when he gets home, he is just as happy to rest wherever I am.

On the other hand, Angelus has a more Buellerian outlook on life. Life moves pretty fast and you need to slow down and sniff around or you might miss good stuff :) Angelus just wants to be outside, enjoying himself all the time. Doesn’t have to be crazy running around or climbing mountains goat-style (in fact he says uphills kinda suck), just outside, sniffing, saying hi to other buddies, peeing on trees or just lying on top of a snowhill and looking around.

Funny how they each have different strictly-husky traits. And then each has other traits that are definitely not “husky-like”. If you put them together, they would form a perfect stereotypical husky. But then they wouldn’t be Angelus and Storm.

Love my boys. :)

I went snowmobiling for the first time in my adulthood yesterday. I went as a little kid but didn’t drive so that hardly counts :)

You start on these nice, wide groomed trails and then we were off up to a lookout. Up meant windier, narrower, less groomed trails. I drove part of the way up and it was SUPER fun! Snowmobiles do not have power steering. So you have to pay attention and use your arms to control this thing 100% of the time. And a lot of leaning (like when driving a motorcycle.) So I scrunched forward and in my supreme geekiness, pretended I was driving a speeder bike but on planet mixture of Endor and Hoth (through the forest and trees BUT in the freezing snow!) :)

Totally like Leia on a speeder bike!

Totally look like Leia :)

We came upon a couple who had crashed their snowmobile into a tree stump/well. Husband got off and helped the guy get it off. So then after that, I let husband drive as the trails got narrower and I didn’t want that to be us!

Husband drove a LOT faster than I did and I was flying up and off my seat over and over. My neck and back felt like when you take a hard butt check on the ice – spine condensed. Visualize an accordion…

Made it up to 8656 feet elevation where they have a warming/lookout hut. It’s called the Martis Valley Fire Lookout hut. It’s cool up there and you can see everything (hence the reason they would look for smoke and fires from up there.) The views were amazing. The sun was setting and the sky was filled with gorgeous colors.

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

Mountains

Majestic...

I love the mountains. I can never get enough of the beauty no matter what season, snow, sun, cloudy – always. Beaches are gorgeous – I do love Maui (and even my own beach at home) but mountains are my absolute favorite. The Sierras are awesome. I’ve been to Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, British Columbia and Banff. I loved them all. Nothing can compare to the beauty of the mountains for me, not even a gorgeous sparkling Tiffany’s window display ;)

Loved this tree's contrast...

Loved this tree's contrast..

majestic...

Someone had broken the door of the hut earlier that day so we were using the big slide windows they have to get in to the hut. The hut has a deck which is probably nice in the summer. It was icy so I took a digger on it which I’m sure would have been funny to catch on video :)

The snowmobile place closed at 6:00pm and it was a little after 5pm so we decided it was time to head back. Plus I was now freezing and starving! Husband took what he thought would be a shortcut to make it down quicker. But it wound around the mountain instead of down so put us in the opposite direction. By now it was getting dark and I was imagining all of the stories of people who get lost in the forest in winter and they go off trail and are never found alive again…great (I have quite a vivid imagination!) Luckily husband does have a good sense of direction and got us back on the trail we needed. We got back to the main gate and my hands and face were only partially frozen solid…

It was fun. Would I go again? Sure. Would I go all the time? Probably not – unless I got to drive my own and knew the trails better. It is a great way to get way up there where cars can’t go in the winter. Would be fun to take snowshoes up there and hike around too. And if I ever get my 100 acres in Wyoming – it would be super fun to have my own snowmobile to tool around :)

This morning I woke up to lots of fresh snow outside! The trees were covered in fresh, fluffy whiteness, the decks were all white, our driveway hadn’t even been plowed yet! Needless to say, the huskies (well, Angelus) were anxious to get out!

Since the vet had to shave Storm’s belly for his ultra sound, and it hasn’t really grown back yet besides peach fuzz, he is not quite as excited about the snow right now. Imagine your bare skin out there in the snow! So he goes on shorter walks or on completely plowed/smashed down snow walks. I actually don’t wear my gloves when I take him so I can gauge how cold his belly is getting. So no freshies for him :(

Angelus on the other hand cannot get enough of it. He does get tired after awhile of going through the deep stuff. But then he will rest for 10-15 minutes and wants to go again! He is definitely a 9-yr old puppy :)

Every day we have been here for our Christmas vacation, I have taken both of them on a short morning walk and then take Storm back home. Then Angelus and I go out and search out a snow adventure :) And if you let him lead, he will find one!

We finally figured out a weird loop trail/street walk that we couldn’t figure out before. Figured best to do when it was snowing and everything looked the same ;-) But we did it! We started out from our driveway and then took the fire road up the hill which was now just a deep snow trail…up hill…can you say legs burning? But I let Angelus lead and this was the way he wanted to go. Thanks bud… But then we made it to the top (well, the “top” where I decided to turn right) and then took a few streets, a few snow trails and eventually, after about 2.5 hours ended up back on our street. That was the first day Angelus actually looked a little tired. He did find a few spots where he had to dig some snow caves which probably makes him a little tired after awhile :)

Angelus digging for gold...or gophers

But this morning, we walked with Storm for little awhile – I think he liked the snow :) Our street was kinda-sorta plowed. But our driveway was not so they were gliding through it. It really is amazing to watch huskies in the snow. Talk about completely engineered for the weather. We saw our new neighbor and their little dog (who is a little savage beast – what is with little dogs?) Then we dropped Storm off at home when he said he had enough (he sits down and says with his eyes “I’m not going any farther”.)

All of the side streets had not been plowed yet so it was going through a snowfield just walking through all of the neighborhoods. We saw a family trying to push their non 4-WD truck of the snowbank in their driveway – good thing they had 4 teenage sons! But everyone had a smile on their face – how could you not in this pretty snow?!

Then we came upon a guy who was the biggest grump ever! We saw him on one street walking his black lab and I smiled and said hi – he just scowled. Ummm..ok. Then we saw him on a another loop and his dog barked at Angelus so Angelus grrred back (but in his friendly tail-wagging let’s play grrr) and the guy got all pissy! After his dog was barking and pulling first. Whatever dude. As he is literally dragging his barking and snarling dog away I hear him say (in a non-authoritative voice so no wonder his dog was not listening) “no, no, we don’t want to get near that kind of dog” WHAT? Dude – my dog is behaving and not yanking MY arm of the socket. I think I found who Dr. Seuss modeled the Grinch off of.

What made me giggle a couple minutes later was I saw him way ahead of us (Angelus stopped to play in some snow…)

Angelus contemplating digging but watching another dog...

…and I saw 3 off-leash dogs shoot out of trail and onto the street and start running up to that guy and his dog who was now pulling and yanking. The dogs were pretty harmless(ish) but it was sure annoying him. Normally I would agree with his annoyance about the off-leash dogs (and still seeing no people yet) in the street but meh…he was grump.

I mean – it was a gorgeous, snowy day. The kind of day Dean Martin sings about! Everything was so fresh and fluffy and white and pretty and marshmellowey world-like! How could you be outside walking around in that with your buddy and be such a sour-puss??

So the 3 off-leash buddies came up to us and one of them tried to get a little pissy with Angelus but he handled that. And then everyone was fine. Dogs generally figure things out pretty quickly if you just let them.

So we continued on our way and then stopped at the open field and Angelus decided this was a good place to lay in the snow and eat some. So I climbed up there with him and we hung out for a few minutes :)

Rest stop

As we pulled into our driveway, it was still unplowed. So I let him off leash and he jogged down to a snowbank and climbed up there and dug a bit. Then he thought we should just hang out there for the day :)

My house, My snow

I got up there with him and we laid in the snow (thank you waterproof clothes) for awhile. Then when I said we should go in…I got mopey face from him :)

Why do we have to go in Mom?

So we went in. But we will be going out again for another snow adventure! It’s still snowing as I type. And according to weather.com we are supposed to get more snow today, tonight, tomorrow and Friday. So really – this has been a very merry husky Christmas :)

Today is a Monday. I should have been awake at 5:00am and taking the huskies out and then packing, closing up house etc. to head back to the Bay Area and work for another week. It seems however that the husky snow dance works very well.

What’s the husky snow dance you ask? Well…when the huskies and I look at the weather report for our winter weekend trips to Tahoe and see the snow we want is not forecast until Monday or Tuesday AFTER we leave, we decide that isn’t right. It’s not fair to the huskies. So we decide to should change it.

Our first snow of the season (back in November) was not supposed to start until the Monday morning we were driving back. This was according to the highly-paid meteorologists using billions of dollars in weather satellites. This was the forecast on the Monday before, the Wednesday before and even Thursday before we went up. The huskies and I decided we wanted the snow while we were going to be there, not after we left. So we did a little dance like I imagine the ancient indian tribes did for rain…(ok, not really but mentally we did! Funny visual though right?)

We drove up on Friday…in a snowstorm. Basically white-out conditions on the highway, icy roads, cars pulled off as they couldn’t drive because they had cars, and not trucks or SUVs, or even chains. Why? Because they checked the weather and it said clear weather for the weekend. Silly tourists listening to weathermen….

Our driveway was buried when we got to the house. We got the truck down the driveway and into the garage. The huskies leapt out of the truck and ran around like tasmanian devils. I seriously need a video camera :) Even Storm was crazy excited and he doesn’t like snow half as much as his brother. Especially now with his belly shaved from his ultrasound a couple months ago. It’s sllloooowwly growing back but his belly is basically peach fuzz. Could you imagine running in the snow with no clothes on – bare skin? COLD! It snowed more on Saturday and then was clear as the weathermen predicted…after the snow they didn’t. :) Husky snow dance – 1; Weathermen – 0.

Then for Thanksgiving they predicted clear skies with 1 day of partly cloudy skies. I said no way – we needed snow for Thanksgiving weekend!! The huskies needed some fresh powder to run in! The past 2 Thanksgivings have dumped snow here so why should this year be any different? Didn’t snow on Thursday – boo :( BUT – we got it on Friday!!! Husky snow dance – 2; Weathermen – 0. :)

Then this weekend the forecast was for the snow to start on early Monday morning and snow all week! After we left – boo :( I kept my faith that once again, the power of the husky Force would win and that the weathermen would be wrong…every day I checked the weather forecast to see if it changed and every day it said the same thing. Monday AM snow to last all week. But Saturday and Sunday would be sunny. Cold…but sunny (Monday was forecasted to have a low of 1…when I’d be out with the dogs in AM…brrrr..)

When we got here on Friday night it was clear – stars in the skies. And COLD! Very pretty for sure but it’s wintertime…snow is a must. Saturday morning, clear skies. Boo. Took the huskies out (a brisk 17 degrees out) and then half way through our walk the wind picked up, the clouds were rolling in. Could it be? The huskies did a little extra snow dance (this was really more like me running & chasing the huskies through forest but same thing!) About an hour later – snow :) It wasn’t sticking yet but it was falling :) And then it started sticking and it was getting colder. That night, coming home from dinner, it was 6 degrees out. When you are not a husky or dressed the like Stay-Puft Marshmellow Man, 6 degrees is frackin’ cold!!

Sunday morning I woke up, a dusting of snow from overnight but nothing major. I got sad – looked like the weathermen might be right this time (no…that simply couldn’t be…) It was still very, very cold out. And the clouds and wind were rolling in again…Angelus and I politely requested from the weather gods to bring the snow early please…2 hours later it was snowing. Angelus had 3 snow-fun outings yesterday (Storm said 1 was good for him.) By 8pm, he was racked out on his bed soundly asleep. And it was still snowing last night…and it actually hasn’t stopped yet. About 24 hours of snow so far. Husky snow dance – 3; Weathermen – 0.

Late last night, when I was packing up I said it would be fun if we got snowed in and couldn’t leave in the morning. Not sure my husband agreed completely with it being “fun” but we checked the weather. The weather statement was a big page of RED WARNINGS about high winds, snow advisories, white out conditions on the freeway, possible freeway closures for the next 48 hours, and warnings about making sure you have enough food, water and batteries in your house. Huh…ok. I smiled…

We knew we couldn’t leave as early as usual anyway as they wouldn’t have the freeway cleared. Or our street for that matter. So this morning I woke up to about 2 feet of fresh snow in our driveway. The plow service came around 5am (you hear them come as it sounds like your house is getting strafed) so this snow accumulation was just between 5-8am.

Deck this AM after husband cleared of snow last night!

Deck this AM after husband cleared of snow last night!

Our street this AM

Our street this AM

I dressed in my Stay-Puft outfit (ok, actually my snowboarding clothes) and leashed the buds up! Watching huskies in the snow is like watching pure joy in a child’s face. If it doesn’t make you smile and laugh – nothing will. The driveway snow was up to Angelus’ chest – over knee-high for me. He just glides through it. Poor Stormy couldn’t stay out long – the snow went up to his belly at this point so his naked belly was submerged in snow. So Angelus & I took him back and went back out. I don’t think he minded too much be warm inside tho :)

Storm says "my belly is cold!"

We stayed out for about 1.5 hours – playing with neighbor dogs off-leash & kids (schools here had a snow day too), running up and down snow hills (he is a LOT more graceful at this than I am!), digging in the snow looking for chipmunkcicles (he did, I watched) and walking up our street which hasn’t been plowed since last night so the snow was almost thigh-deep for me. We stayed in the tracks made by the big trucks that can make it down.

Angelus digging for gold...or chipmunks...

Angelus digging for gold...or chipmunks...

And it’s still snowing…and snowing. The tracks we made on our way out of our house/driveway were covered by the time we got back. It’s a lot of snow :)

Handsome snow guy :)

Handsome snow guy :)

Angelus is napping now after our AM snow fun. My legs got a little tired too – my snow boots are like 5lbs each so it’s a workout hiking through snow!

Rest up after snow fun!

Rest up after snow fun!

So we will rest up and go back out in a while for a 2nd shift of husky snow fun :) So the huskies and I really feel like kids today who got blessed with a good snow day…as I hum Jimmy Fallon’s “Snow Day” to myself…:)

Finished a good husky walk this AM! Just me and Angelus since Storm is on light duty. We walked along 2 beaches for just about 2 hours. He got LOTS of sniffing and peeing on things in :) Got to say hi to a few dogs but pretty quiet out until the end of the walk (why I LOVE Sunday mornings – everyone ie either at church or hungover so it’s quiet :) )

Yesterday on our walk at Surfer’s Beach there was a huge school (or pod or herd – they all work – I looked it up!) of dolphins. So many that the area they were in and jumping in and out of the water was black. Then today, in almost the same area, there were tons of sea lions jumping in and out of the water and honking (they way they talk) and pelicans dive bombing the water. So obviously there are a bunch of fish out there creating it a yummy smorgasbord. Of course, this then creates it a cafeteria for Mr. Great White who likes to frequent NorCal coasts (they closed the water portion of the beach at Stinson Beach last week after 2 were spotted.)

But then maybe some of the jerk tourists who come and leave their trash on our beautiful beaches will venture into the water today and not be able to swim as fast as the seals… :) Here are a couple pics of the water but you can barely make out the seals (look for the little gray heads in the water!) There were so many jumping in and out but with a husky on an extendoleash and trying to get a good pic at the right moment was tough – especially with the just a phone camera.

Seals and pelicans

Seals and pelicans

pelicans and seals

pelicans and seals

Got home and took Stormy out for a short walk. His tail was waggin’! Husband left to go to Monterey so Storm was left home alone – he hates that. He was happy to go out, sniff stuff and pee on some trees. But he gets tired and hot quickly with his Cushing’s. Will be great for him to get on a medication that fixes that and he feels better. Although he will never enjoy long walks like his brother does. Angelus is a crazy outdoors maniac!

Now I’m home and time to make my todo list for the day. I have so many items that I want to get done flying through my head – we will see how much I can actually get done. Getting them in list form will be helpful. The sun looks like it is trying to break through the fog so if it does, I might have to break for some PTH (prime tanning hours.)

While I write my TODO, I have the GAC Top 20 Countdown on. I had CMT’s on yesterday am :) Pretty song I had not heard before by a group I have never heard of…”I Get That All The Time” by Due West:

Ok…list-making time….

This weekend I saw cyclists fly through stop signs and red lights almost causing accidents twice.  Had they caused the accident, they would have lost the flight between their puny little bikes and the cars/SUVs that would have taken them out.  And in doing this, the drivers of the cars probably would have been cited for something or other and then felt bad for the unintended squishing of the bikers. But really? I saw both of these situations and the bikers would have been 100% responsible for their own accidents and potential maiming.

The first was at a 4-way stop light. The light turned red. All cars were stopped in both directions that were red. The crossing traffic started to go and then the bikers blew through in their bike lane and a lady had to slam on her brakes to avoid them.  What if someone was behind her? They might have then rear-ended her? Or what if she hit her head in the brake-slamming? Oh but who cares because the bikers have the right of way no matter what (NOT!)

Second instance was a 3-way stop sign. Everyone stops. Car that is *supposed* to now go is about to turn left. BUT, here comes 2 bikers who blew through their stop in their quest to not lose momentum going down hill.  A**holes. The car has to make a sudden stop mid-turn. WHY? Take the jerks out. That’ll teach ‘ em.

No – I don’t actually believe that (the taking them out part or the that will actually teach them anything part is your guess.)

Living in the SF Bay Area I hear all about how riding bikes is so much better for the environment, better for traffic and smog, blah blah and the bikes have the same rights as auto drivers on the roads blah blah.  Well, if you want the same “rights” – act like it. You get the same rules too then jerks.  I cannot count the times I have seen bikes sail through stop signs, red lights, cross out of their lanes into traffic just so they can ride next to their biking buddy.  Umm..no!

I live on the coast. Only way to or from there are a couple of 2-lane highways with teeny-tiny “bikes lanes” at best. I have seen auto drivers drive half way into your “bike lane” (it’s the emergency lane as their is no indication of it being a bike lane)  going around the turns of Highway 92. Frankly, I consider the bikers on Highway 92 a safety-hazard. Have you seen the drivers on that road ? And the amount of large trucks that use it daily? You MUST be crazy if you are doing that for any type of “fun”.

Driving home on 92 tonight I saw a biker riding ON the line separating the “bike” lane and the real traffic. The car 2 cars in front of me had swerved about 5 times so far (I’m going with retarded or drunk) and I didn’t really want to have to stop and give my witness account of your splatting. I needed to get get home – I was hungry.

And the bikers who use Highway 1/Devil’s Slide – you guys have a death wish. And you are also a huge safety menace there.

Look, you are not a car. You cannot keep up with cars. And you will likely die if hit by one. Stick to areas/routes where you can safely ride without being a hazard to yourself OR OTHERS.

And even on those routes you are a hazard and can’t follow simple rules. I hike a lot. One of my favorite trail systems has BIG signs….signs with words, pictures and arrows for even the biggest dolt to understand.  Bikers yield to hikers and horses, hikers yield to horses, and horses get to go.   This is common etiquette on all trails but there it is in black, white and color to remind you…but…

On one of my long hikes, I was hiking on a trail where 2 downhills poured out into an “intersection” and then various trails continued on from there. 2 people on horses were a little lost and asked me to help them with their trail map. We were over to the side of the one trail, and basically stopped in the middle of the converging trail ends at the intersection – so off to the side of the trail and not on either of the trails.

This woman biker comes blazing down and yells at everyone to look out, which startled the horses (and all of us) and one of the horses almost threw their rider.  She yells “you can’t stand there” and “yield to oncoming bike traffic”. So I yelled back “NO – YOU have to yield to everything standing here – read your trail map and signs.” She said there were more bikers coming and that we needed to watch out on the downhill. I said “no – they need to watch out.” Again reminding her of the giant yield signs and the order of yield on these trails (thinking to myself ‘or I’ll accidentally push one of you over…’) She just gave me a dirty look and continued on. One of the horse riders looked at me and said in their oh so proper English accent “well, she’s a bit of a testy bitch isn’t she?”  I laughed out loud because yes – she was.

I know not all bike riders are like this. I know plenty of people who ride and have never seen any of them pull this type of crap (on the few rides I have done with them anyway.) But there are enough of them out there to really sully the reputation.

And don’t even get me started on the jack-asses who participate in the “everyone ride their bike days”  in SF (not sure if only for Spare the Air days or if for others too.) Unbelievable what news stories you see about them and their crappy antics (hitting cars on purpose, kicking cars, etc.) If they tried that with me I’d get out of my car and whack the mf-er with my maglite flashlight kept in my car for just such an emergency…But it’s SF so what do you expect…(it’s a pretty city but FULL of whack jobs.)

Anyway…if you ride a road bike and are sharing the road with automobiles – use the same lessons you apply when driving your car (on 2nd thought, use the same lessons you learned when getting your license because most drivers around here are idiots so I am assuming one of those idiots is you.) And if you are on a mountain bike and sharing the trails with hikers and horses – key word there is you need to SHARE the trails and follow the yield rules.

Oh, and by the way, yes you DO have to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks just like cars jerk. Next time, I am shoving a stick through your spokes…

Today is the last day of my birthday/4th of July vacation :( very sad…

I’ve been hiking every day and doing chores, staying and then yesterday had an afternoon/evening/night out at the park/beach for the 4th and fireworks. My hike yesterday was awesome. Gorgeous as always. But again – for the 3rd time on this trail – butterflies swarmed around me during this 1 section. VERY AWESOME!  Like walking with them. I wish I could have videoed it :) On Friday I did a 3-hour hike but yesterday changed my route and it ended up being 2.5 hours.  But all pretty – all the time :)

Tahoe Mountains 1

Tahoe Mountains 1

Tahoe Mountains 2

Tahoe Mountains 2

Tahoe mountains 3

Tahoe mountains 3

I will be back either next weekend (depending on Wicked Tickets in SF!) or the weekend after but I still hate leaving. SOOO planning a Labor Day week vacay…

So because it’s my last day, I decided to just chill today. No plans of hiking, Squaw Valley pool party (going to the August one though!), hiking to Squaw High Camp, whatever. Just chill. It’s been nice :) Spent the day in the sun – on my deck, walking the huskies by the lake (although did try to avoid the sun for them!!) and then our clubhouse pool. Husband said “we should do this every time we come here.” Ummm…I always want to go to the pool – it’s YOU who can’t relax!

After about an hour, I went back home and to our deck again! Been getting caught up on my last 3 Vanity Fair magazines today that I haven’t had time to really read. As much as the articles have SUCH a grossly LIBERAL BENT, I still enjoy reading the mag for their old-world, old-society articles.  Plus any Annie Leibovitz photo spreads are beautiful. For now…but if they keep up with the pathetic Obama ass-kissing, I might not renew. At some point it’s just gross. Although they did turn on Bill Clinton so who knows – might make for fun reading in a year or 2…

I was still determined to make one of the mac and cheese recipes from my new-ish cookbook. I chose the City Hall Mac and Cheese by Henry Archer Meer. I do not know who that is but futzy, fancy foodies might? I googled him and he owns a NYC restaurant called City Hall (hence the name of this recipe!)

It was fairly simple. This is pre-baking after milk and cream reduction and cheese adding/melting and spice adding and then pasta adding…

City Hall Mac & Cheese

City Hall Mac & Cheese

Put it in the oven to bake and then took Angelus on a short after-dinner (his dinner) walk. And we FINALLY saw a coyote!! Hadn’t seen once since winter!!! Storm decided he didn’t want to come on our walk and all I saw was a tail out of the corner of my eye and it looked just like a fluffy Storm tail! I thought did husband bring Storm out? NO! Once I looked and saw it was a brown and grey coyote looking quite cute and fluffy like our little Storm. I tried getting a picture but he wanted no part of me or Angelus. But he was only 2 houses away from us so I am keeping my eye out tonight!! I did hear 1 in our backyard 2 nights ago – maybe the same little guy.

Timed walk to be done with mac & cheese baking. Looks and smells SOOOOO good:

Baked mac&cheesey goodness!

Baked mac&cheesey goodness!

Having with BBQ hot dogs (since I didn’t get one yesterday for the 4th – I have been craving one!) and they will compliment this mac&cheese nicely! I just tried it….OHMYGOD good!!!  Page 32 of the Macaroni & Cheese cookbook “52 recipes, from simple to sublime” by Joan Schwartz. Get one!!! :)

Today was a fun day! I did sleep in till about 7am like a lazy slack! Huskies said HOT outside already Mom! I took them down to a forest walk so it was mostly shady so they could stay cooler. They had the same reaction today that they had last fall on this same walk – something wicked this way is! They smell a bear? Or a dead body? Ghost? Angelus is afraid of nothing (ok, well…bees…) and he was acting strange and not wanting to continue on down the path.  And Storm had less than zero interest in continuing. So I of course made them continue on…but then was imagining a scary movie…where the dumb girl makes her dogs keep going down the scary path even though every person watching the movie is screaming at the screen to listen to your dogs!!! So we turned around :)

After doggie walk and coffee and email..I went on my hike. About 6 miles with 3 of it straight uphill. Beautiful though. A great hike. The goal was making it up to Hawks Peak. And I did :)

Hawks Peak view 2

Hawks Peak view 2

There was still snow in some of the higher elevation areas.  And the best part – I saw 1 biker in the distance but other than that – came across no one. Very peaceful.  It was windy up on the tippy-top rock at Hawks Peak so I had to be careful not be blown off the rock!

Hawk's Peak View 1

Hawk's Peak View 1

I was using my iPhone app TrailGuru and it said about 6 miles and almost 2 hours but then my battery died – doh!! Good thing I didn’t run across any bears and need the phone camera!

Then it was lunch (turkey burger!!) and sun/tanning time! I just started reading James Patterson’s “8th Confession”. I realized today as I was going through my stack of books that I brought that I *always* read a James Patterson book on my vacation. So I moved it up in the priority pile :) These are always fun summer reads. This is the Women’s Murder Club series he does. I really like this series. ABC made a short-lived TV series based on it last season which I also liked. But not as much as the books obviously. Although Angie Harmon (who played the main character – Lindsay Boxer) was quite likable. I find his books, and this series in particular, to be very fun reads. And when you are baking in the sun, “thinking” books are not always the best (Milton Friedman’s “Capitalism and Freedom” is next in my pile…might get pushed down for “Gossip Girl” till after vacation..)

After sun time, it was chore time – laundry, cleaning guest bedrooms used this weekend, vacuuming house (I am ALL FOR 1 story houses btw…truly….stairs suck), hosing off deck pollen & spider webs (Angelus was VERY happy with this), and taking the garbage and recycling out to the bear box for pick-up day tomorrow. Now…I considered “accidentally” dropping garbage in the driveway and entryway to “accidentally” attract a bear or 2 (they LOVE and know when garbage day is – very smart bears!)…but I didn’t (dang it!)

Then we did another short buddy walk. I wore flip flops when I did this…unwise…I stabbed my foot on a big stick. OUCH! Bleeding!!! Crazy that the buddies can walk on all the sticks and rocks like they do. What pansy feet I have :)

I set myself a time limit on chores so it was time to make dinner and pick a movie! I made my tofu spaghetti – yum! And watched “Doubt”. Good movie. Not as dark as made out to be…but perhaps that is because A) I like the actors (Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams) and B) I’m not Catholic. Good watch though.

But now just about time for sleepy so I can do it all again tomorrow :)