Serenity, Nature and being miles from a mall

Last weekend I was finally starting to recover from the "swine flu incident", so my boyfriend and I took our girls and a few of their friends to some property he owns a couple of hours from where we live.  Here are the girls at the start of our trip:


Aren't they beautiful? 

I wish I had a picture from the end of the trip when they were all weeping from sunburn even though I kept yelling SUNCREEN at the top of my lungs every 15 minutes we were on the boat.  I can only imagine how much pain they were in, we were boating for over 5 hours and they seemed to think that sunscreen would prohibit them from ever having another boyfriend and living life as lonely spinsters. 

The trip was amazing, we went hiking to a damn the first day and ate dinner at a remote lodge.  The accommodations consisted of a trailer and a small cabin, more of a shed really.  I always marvel at the simplicity of going up there and leaving everything behind.  It reminds me of what I'm striving to accomplish by throwing off many of the trappings that surround my life and resisting filling it with more, more, more!

When I got divorced two years ago, I took my wedding rings to a jeweler with the intent of trading them in and buying myself a big right hand ring.  My daughter Emily had other ideas.  She said it would be cool if we all got matching rings- (at one point she wanted matching tattoos, but I vetoed that idea).  We ended up with cool matching diamonds.  Mine is bigger than the two girls, but they all match.  Or matched.  Here is a picture of Emily just before she dropped hers in the lake. 


I'm not sure why she was wearing it wake boarding, but when she tried to take it off, it slipped out of her hand.  She looked so sad, and I almost had a heart attack, but in that moment I remembered that things aren't what mattered, and I knew if I yelled at her it wouldn't help, only make her feel worse.  So we got her in the boat and she cried and it broke my heart to see her heart broken.  At that moment I realized that if I hadn't been out on that lake, so far away from all my own status symbols and possessions, I might have reacted differently and I couldn't stop thinking about how much I have and how little most of it contributes to my happiness.  What is important are waterfalls, days on a boat, sunsets, giggling teenage girls, campfires, boyfriends who are so kind and generous to take 6 women to the woods, family, milkshakes and star filled nights with the moon shining- and smores.  I've never been so glad to be that far from a mall. 

Shout out to simplicity

We drove for 5.5 hours yesterday to drop my nephew off at his summer job.  He lives in Seattle but decided he needed to work on the edge of my universe.  He is a great kid and flew in a couple of months ago for his interview.  That time I schlepped him to his appointment, out to eat, home to sleep and back to the airport the next day, which was a walk in the park compared to the 11 hour round trip over two days.  But I adore him and he's my older sister's kid and I'm still afraid of her from the time she whacked me over the head with a phone when I was 10. OK, I adore her too and know she would do the same for me. 

So off we went, sandwiches packed, car gassed up and more Ipods per person than is legal. 

The lodge is called Jacob Lake Inn and has been in the same family for a million years.  Long story, but we know the owners and they are some of the nicest people you could ever meet.  Best cookies in the world.

We arrived around 7pm and sat down to eat dinner when we realized that 3 out of 4 of our cell phones didn't work.  The conversation went something like this:

Nephew: my phone doesn't work

Me: bummer

Nephew: but my phone doesn't work

Me: bummer

Nephew: take me back now

Which of course we didn't.  We just left him there like the bad relatives we are, and because its good for him.  He'll need a phone card, but probably won't know how to work the payphone. Can you imagine a teenager without a cell phone?  Apparently there are only a couple of service plans that work out there, it is a miracle they find kids to work there every summer.  Maybe they don't tell them until after they get there and are watching their parents pull away.  "Kid, did we mention your cell phone won't work"- followed by an evil cackle.  Their parents pull up at the end of the summer and the kids fingers are shriveled up and bony from lack of texting. 

The room we stayed in didn't have a phone, or a television- when they said "Rustic Cabin", I thought they meant I had to bring my own shampoo.  The lack of television made my boyfriend break into hives.  Everywhere we go he brings a gadget that has a lifetime of movies and TV shows on it.  We hook it up and after driving for 5.5 hours he's happy to sit and watch Bones, or Star Trek or whatever. Gosh, the guy deserves a break.  But no TV.  Tragedy.  No cell service.  World ending.  Mine was the only phone that worked and we spent half the night texting the world to let them know they could reach him through me.  

The next morning we went on a hike!  And saw nature!  And enjoyed it! 

Simple, rustic, relaxing, fun.  Maybe we should all work in a lodge this summer. 

Road Trip!!!

On Friday morning we are driving to Boise for a family reunion.  My daughter works for Old Navy and when I told her we were going she was upset because she was going to miss Dollar Flip Flop Day.  What? 

I was so confused, then she explained that once a year Old Navy sells pairs of flip flops for a dollar each.  Last year they sold THREE MILLION PAIRS OF FLIP FLOPS.  Apparently they sold out in just a few hours. 

I'll digress here for a moment and ask a question- how can they possibly sell PAIRS of flip flops for a dollar?  I doubt they are selling them as a loss leader, so the only logical conclusion is that they are being made somewhere by kids making .10 cents a day.

I was able to get my daughter somewhat OK with leaving for the weekend by promising her we'd scope out an Old Navy as soon as we pulled into Boise. So on Saturday morning we will have driven for 5 hours, spent the night and then we'll wake up early so we can be there Dollar Flip Flop Day. 

And you wonder why this blog is necessary?