This summer, we have only been to the pool 14 times, for Skipper's ONE session of lessons. I think this is the fewest number of pool visits in a summer that the kids have had since Skipper was born. Here's your obligatory pool trip photo series.
I hosed the girls down before the walk to the pool. It's really very hot here.
I feel that these photos are a sort of Rorschach test. Do you see an adorable little girl?
Or perhaps a goofy schemer?
Or perhaps a Machiavellian mastermind plotting to take all your snacks?
Today Cook dropped Skipper off at a new camp for the week. He reported that she did not freak out or cry, which is great progress. She reported afterward that she enjoyed her day and made several friends.
I took Duchess to HER new camp, an intensive dance camp that is really just a lot of dancing (ballet, contemporary, hip hop, musical theater, "movement improv") with two short breaks for changing clothes and eating snacks - no "camp" activities or structure. We arrived exactly at what I had understood to be the "camp" drop-off time, but it turned out that the time was in fact the time that the first class STARTED. Duchess was pretty anxious about the prospect of being the worst kid there, and she was already sweaty and flustered because we had biked there at a sprint, due to a forgotten lunchbox and a subsequently late start. In this state, she had to hurry to change into her ballet clothes (and putting tight stretchy clothes on a sweaty body is never fun), and then walk into a class already underway. The age group is 9-11-year-olds, so of course Duchess was the tallest kid there by at least five inches. The other girls, almost all of whom have been taking classes at this place for at least a year, looked like delicate little ballet elves with perfect buns and pointed toes, and Duchess came in like an Amazon, towering over all of them, her hair haphazardly clipped and sticking out every which way.* I thought she looked gorgeous, of course, broad-shouldered and radiant with life, but she felt pretty terrible about the whole scene, and I left her hunching cautiously over a barre, warily taking the fifth position. When I picked her up, she was devouring some of the food she hadn't had time to eat, and looking kind of feral and wild-eyed, but she said she enjoyed the classes a lot. She wasn't the worst kid there, and tomorrow we're going to arrive a little earlier. She's looking forward to it. Should you be curious, she says that she's best at ballet, but enjoys contemporary dance the most.
*This has been happening all of Duchess's life. Because she's so very enormous, she often looks oddly out of scale, like Alice in Wonderland.
1) I have stuck with my exercise program, more or less, for six months. You would think that having exercised for 2.5-5 hours a week on top of my regular activity (which amounts to 4-5 miles of walking a day), I would be notably lean and fit. This is not the case. (I am certainly fitter. I may actually be stronger than I ever have been, which is very satisfying. I sometimes offer to pick up heavy things for people. Of course, I can't lift very much, because my Strongest Ever is still pretty wimpy.) Due to both my advancing age and my tendency to eat too much of everything, I am not going to be lean and fit unless I make drastic lifestyle changes, and I am not going to do that. But I'll keep going with it. Fending off additional weight gain and getting fitter is a reasonable and worthy outcome, if unexciting. Cook suggested I set myself an independent goal, like running a marathon or climbing a mountain, or bench pressing 200 pounds, but I'm not feeling it.
2) I am so old that Birkenstocks have become trendy. Also, high-waisted pants, but somehow the Birkenstocks surprised me more. I do like the idea that I will eventually become fashionable if this normcore thing sticks around.
3) Summer is half over.
4) I have been watching TV. Specifically, I have been watching Friends. FRIENDS! I am enjoying it, but I had forgotten/never realized how soaked the show is in homophobia and misogyny, plus the astonishing whiteness of it all. Also, I had forgotten how much I loathed Ross. So I have mixed feelings.
Duchess did outdoor camp, overnight LARPing-in-the-woods camp, and expensive choose-your-own-adventure camp. Skipper did outdoor camp, and two weeks of Japanese camp. (Culminating in a performance in which Skipper was the Very Hungry Caterpillar in Japanese.)
We've also been on two weekend trips, and have just returned from a five-day trip to Central Oregon. All this has been very fun and very exhausting. We have been scrambling in our spare time to catch up on things like cleaning and grocery shopping and whatnot, but it seems worth it. We kind of front-loaded our summer, and we'll have a brief break after this next trip.
With no further ado, here are the photos. You should bear in mind as you look at these photos that it has been spectacularly hot here for weeks, and it was spectacularly hot in Central Oregon as well. My children are not at their best in spectacularly hot weather. Well, nobody is, but some of us at least try to smile for photographs. Also, take note of Duchess's outfits. She forgot to pack any shirts at all, and ended up poaching some of my shirts. And my flipflops (which, to be fair, I originally stole from one of my fabulous cousins). On the last day, she took an ancient shirt of mine that once belonged to my grandmother, and wore it awesomely buttoned to the neck. Oh, and note Cook's Vacation Hat, which has survived a few vacations and may be on its last summer.
Day One & Two: Lots of driving. Then Bend, featuring the home of Auntie and Uncle Tae Kwon Do (though they were not in residence, so we just got to enjoy their lovely home in their absence), downtown Bend, and the High Desert Museum. It was very, very hot. SO HOT. Skipper was pissy.
Day Three & Four: Lots of driving. Then camping at Walton Lake. The lake was beautiful but, sadly, was infested with whatever causes swimmer's itch. It was very, very hot. (Though it rained briefly on the second evening.) Lots of driving, to the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Bed National Monument, then to Fossil. We ate an enormous amount of dinner in Fossil (in the only restaurant in Fossil). Skipper waddled out of the diner, post-rootbeer-float, looking like a boa constrictor after a meal.
Day Five: Horseback riding! I have no photos of that, but it was pretty great. The trail guides for the ride were cowboys who apparently learned to talk at the School of Talking Like a Cowboy, and who offered virtually no instruction, just plonked us on the horses. They then led us over hill and dale, unlike the plodding trail rides I've been on before. It required us all to step up, including Skipper, who had never been even within twenty feet of a horse before, and was plonked on a horse like the rest of us, handed the reins, and instructed to "Go over to the left side of the road." She was a champ. Cook's horse was an asshole and bit other horses, and my horse tried to rub me off on a juniper tree, and Duchess's horse tried to eat everything in sight, and the cowboys said "Don't let him do that." (Skipper's horse ignored everything, including being bitten on the butt by Cook's asshole horse, and just carried Skipper. Good horse.) While this may not sound fun, it was exciting, and really very fun, once we caught on to the fact that our horses were actually pretty low-key and responsive, and we probably weren't going to die (and, importantly for me and Cook, Skipper probably wasn't going to die). Cook even had a good time, in spite of the stress of attempting to manage his asshole horse.
Then lots of driving, with a brief stop for a very hot visit to the Clarno Unit of the John Day Fossil Bed National Monument. I really cannot emphasize enough how hot it was. I took a lot of pictures. Then we went home. It's still hot.