Monday, August 13, 2007

How I'm Spending My Summer Vacation

Hello again, World (she says pretentiously, since The World in general is quite unaware of her existence.) I thought it was time I checked in to tell you how the Meow hiatus is going, and share some pictures from Ked's and my latest adventure. I'll get to the pictures soon, since they're the good part, and just give you a brief summary of the summer thus far.

Ked and I have been getting a lot of project work done, although not as much as we would like, of course. (I'm not sure that "as much as we'd like" is even remotely possible, since I can construct some pretty long and detailed project lists.) Our master closet is almost finished. The flagstone patio is just a few stones short of a barbeque, and the gutters are still hanging over our heads, as is fitting for gutters to do. We've got several things that have to get done before the weather shifts toward the perpetually rainy here in Oregon, including finishing the outdoor painting we started last year, but we're making good progress in general, so I have high hopes that we'll get the crucial stuff done before the Oregon soggies render such outdoor accomplishments obsolete.

After the summer projects get put to bed, I think I'll be coming back to the Meow with some fresh zeal. We won't be taking on many home improvement projects for a while after the ones on our current list get done, because we have a project of an entirely different kind to tackle. The exciting news-of-the-moment, is that the musical version of The Screwtape Letters that Su, Ked and I, with the help of a couple of friends, wrote has been approved by C.S. Lewis' estate, so we can begin working on that production soon. That's a GIANT project, that will involve lots and lots of to-do list-making, but for now lets just leave ourselves at the joyous "Hurray, we've been approved" stage, and I'll fill you in on the production progress once things get rolling. No use letting the cheerful glow wear off before the work can actually begin. I won't be able to rope Ked into remodelling my sewing room, putting in a new bathroom, building a gazebo, or probably even changing a light bulb for quite some time, since he will be busily composing accompaniment tracks for the many songs with which we have crammed our musical. I'm sure I've mentioned before that Su is a complete genius, and the songs she's written deserve lavish attention from my wonderfully gifted husband. He'll be happy to give them such attention since he loves that kind of work--much more than building closets and adding bathrooms.

Okay, now on to the pretty portion of our post. Ked and I took a brief break from our labors yesterday to head up to Mirror Lake, on Mount Hood, about 50 miles from Portland. Hiking in about 1 1/2 miles from the highway, through a lovely forest, you come to the lake, and a spectacular view of Mt. Hood. If there's one thing we love here in the Pacific Northwest, it's our mountain and ocean views, and the scenery at Mirror Lake is one of our local treasures. On calm days, when the lake is at peace, the mountain is perfectly reflected in the still waters (thus the name), and the sight is so worth the drive and the climb to get to it that you ask yourself why it's been so long since the last time you were here--even if the last time you were here was last week.

Even before you get to the lake, the views start to lure you onward.

Of course, you do have to work a bit to earn the reward. (Not really that hard. This was just a photo op kind of scene.)

The reward is ample, though, wouldn't you agree?

You also have that whole self-satisfied "I did it" thing to go along with the view.

Not being satisfied with "I did it," Ked and I had to tackle Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain, which adds about 3 miles round trip and 1,500 feet higher in the air to the hike. We knew that more wonderful views awaited us up top, and so we started on our way up the ridge.

We had to stop along the way to take lots of pictures. It had nothing to do with needing to breathe. Really, I just love the way the clouds dapple the forested foothills.

Getting to the top, we had to pause for a He-Man, Masters of the Universe moment.

Kedley being Kedley, he also stopped to put on a jacket. Global warming, indeed. (If you look closely, you can see Mirror Lake, looking like a little puddle there to Ked's left.)

By contrast, I'm still perfectly comfortable in my tank top and shorts. Alas, temperature is the only topic upon which my Kedley and I cannot come to a near complete agreement. It is the tragedy of our life. Don't you feel terribly sorry for us? Nah, me neither.

Mount Hood isn't the only beauty up there. Besides wildflowers in abundance, there are plenty of other mountain views, and forests rolling on forever. We saw what we assumed were Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Adams, and if it had been a clearer day, we suspected we'd be able to see what's left of Saint Helens as well.

Behind Ked is the ridge we climbed. Aren't you impressed?

I mentioned beach views, so I thought I'd toss you this bonus photo from a trip we took on a Sunday jaunt a few months ago. That's Boiler Bay behind me. The Oregon coast is just chock full of the picturesque and charming. I highly recommend a visit.

Well, there you have it. How I'm Spending My Summer Vacation: Work and play. I'm getting in plenty of reading (I don't think I'll ever take a vacation from reading--such is the life of an information addict), sewing, movies, long walks and a few good hikes. I hope your summer is going well, and I'll see you again sometime soon. Head on up to Mirror Lake if you're in the neighborhood. It really is lovely this time of year.

Note: I'm very frustrated with the spacing of the photos and captions, but Blogger is being maddeningly uncooperative and won't let me fix them. Maybe it will let me later, but for now this'll have to do. BAD Blogger!