Friday, July 15, 2011

The Full Moony (Well, Almost)

Oh, this summer is flying by WAY too fast, and not enough kayaking is happening. Too much work is happening for me, that's for sure! It's putting a cramp in my recreation!

Knowing that Friday was going to be a full moon, and knowing that I'd be waiting tables while said moon was reaching fullness, I decided an almost-full moon was good enough, and took the girls out on our little lake for a paddle on Thursday night instead.

Here's the first and last picture my camera took before the battery died.

The sky was fairly cloudy at this point and the sunset was gorgeous. We hadn't yet unloaded the boat so we quickly drove back home for a back-up camera.

By the time we unloaded and got on the water it was just about dark. I was happy to see the clouds disappating. I was afraid we wouldn't see the moon at all if they stuck around.

It's not that easy to get pictures of your crew whilst paddling and while some of the crew is screaming, "Don't drop my camera in the water!" Hence these rather awkward photos:

But the four of us "girls" fit nicely in my tandem kayak, a point I am always thrilled about.

We began to notice bats flying around us and on closer inspection, LOTS of bats flying around us! They were dipping down to the lake surface for insects and actually touching the water. I was thrilled! (of course, I love snakes too).

I've never seen so many in one place and they would come fairly close to us as they zipped by. (And I don't think any other animal "zips" as well as a bat.)

Well, Shel-bell was a little freaked out at first. She had heard that old myth about bats making a nest in your hair. After watching them for a bit though, she realized that they had no interest in slowing down their feasting for her lovely hair, as tempting as it was, and she set about trying to capture a picture of them.

Not an easy task! Out of 50 some shots, she finally got this:

She was so proud!

Natalie and Suey enjoyed the bats as well. Suey actually got up from lying down and perked her ears up. That's about as excitable as she gets, to which I am thankful!

After an unsuccessful bullfrog hunt, we packed it all in at about 10pm. It was a fun little outing and as always, an adventure!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Can't I Get Paid to Do This Everyday?

I got paid to kayak today. How awesome is my job? (Ok so not today, today, but Friday, but since my computer and/or Blogger is lame and wouldn't post thisthen, I thought I should correct this mistake. Sure I could've changed it to "I got paid to kayak on Friday." But what's the fun in that?)

We took our little preschoolers on a field trip today to my little lake. I got to meet them all there with my kayaks and give them rides. We did the same thing last year during out summer school program.

Some of our kiddos are severely affected by autism or other disorders, some are in our class for language delays, some are on the autism spectrum but have made such great strides that the average observer would never suspect that they've had challenges.

It almost seems to me that the ones severely affected get the most out of being on the water. Kiddos that are high strung and easily tantrum were calm and relaxed in my kayak today.

I was able to paddle along with a flock of Canada geese and it thrilled one little guy to no end. He's non-verbal, but he was expressing his excitement through vocalizations and waving his arms. It was so cute!

One of our boys that is main-streaming into kindergarten was my kayaking buddy today. He really couldn't get enough paddling around. I had seats for two, and when those were full, he would sit in the foot area in the bow, just so he could go out again. We would get close to the cattails and look for fish and we even spotted a crawdad.

Along with kayaking the kids "fished", waded, played in the sand, and enjoyed a picnic. A great time was had by all. I love my job!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Why I Hate The Swedes (and how they helped me create a new clean (ish) swear word)

This is why I hate the Swedes. It has to do with a certain retailer, and their inexplicable way of designing things to be incredibly frustrating to put together. They add directions to their boxes, and include fantastic pictures for reference. However, the pictures may or may not resemble any item in your box (or your country).

I bet you all think I'm referring to that famous Swedish retailer IKEA, don't you? And while I have had a little experience with their lovely products, no that's not it. There is another company who has trumped IKEA. It is THULE (don't ask me how to pronounce it. It's part of their evil plan to have an unpronounceable name).

I had experience with them last year when I bought the roof rack for my car. The place I bought it from told me it could be a little challenging to put together and that I should find a patient friend to help, a nice place in the shade to park my car, and an ample supply of alcoholic beverages to complete the task.

In my younger years I was pretty mechanically inclined and used to do all my car maintenance myself, including replacing water pumps and a carburetors, so I thought, ok, I can do this. Well, it was a challenge indeed. And although I don't drink alcoholic beverages, the installation process made me consider having a swig of something fermented and nasty tasting to relieve my stress.

Well, yesterday, I picked up a fairing (or as I like to call it, the wind deflector thingy) for my roof rack. The roof rack is a handy thing once it is installed (and the installers blood pressure has returned back to normal), however, the wind roaring over the roof rack gives the passengers of the car the impression of being in a wind tunnel. The radio has to be turned up to top volume, and conversation is peppered with "HUH?" and "WHAT?" and then given up on all together.

When I bought the fairing, I asked how hard it might be to install. The friendly clerk assured me that unlike the roof rack, this would be simple and involved a couple clips.

Why, oh why, do I trust these guys?

I am the queen of clean swear words, but was astonished to find that I had blasted through my vast repertoire on step 1 in the directions! I find there is something therapeutic in cursing while working on a difficult task, but my clean ones just weren't cutting the mustard for me. I was using one of my favorites, a line from the movie Elf, "SON OF A NUTCRACKER!" but was finding it lacking. Not wanting to go hard core, I changed it up just a little and came up with "SON OF A BUTT NUGGET!". It was just dirty enough to be satisfying, yet still clean enough for my kids ears (in fact they found it quite hilarious and entertaining).

Many swear words later, said fairing was installed and I happily drove to work today without the whistling and gusting I had become accustomed to. Heck, I could even hear the radio.

All this made me think that maybe we should start a rating system labeling items as to their difficulty in assembly by how many swear words you will have to use in the process.

Level 1: Use of 3-4 common swear words required

Level 2: Use of approximately 7 swear words including some hard-core ones

Level 3: Use of all known swear words including those often referred to by just a letter

Level 4: Use of all hard-core swear words in any and all combinations, including the use of an entire sentences so filthy they would make a rapper/truck driver/sailor cringe.

Level 5 will be a special designation given just to imports from Sweden. Level 5 will encompass all other levels plus the capacity to invent new and even more heinous swear words. You may need a degree in cursing just to purchase a level 5 item.

I hate the Swedes.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

VERY Unlikely to be Kayaking

Even for an unlikely kayaker like me!
A lot of winters we kind of get a false spring, so kayaking in January is NOT that far-fetched. In fact I did it last January. This winter has been particulary cold and snowy though. So kayaking is not even a remote possibility, but the sledding is great:

(My little Shel-belle is in the middle of this train somewhere with a friend and a group of sledders we met.)