July 4th at Lake of the Woods Oregon

Current Location: Rocky Point Oregon on a coolish partly cloudy day at 57 degrees F

I must say, after the heat wave we experienced during the latter part of June and early July, this cool, rainy weather is a welcome blessing!  But I also must say that I am really glad that July Fourth was hot and sunny and gorgeous, in spite of a late thunderstorm in the mountains.

map to lake of the woodsFrom home to Lake of the Woods is an easy trip

For several years now, we have talked of trying to camp at Lake of the Woods for the Fourth of July weekend.  Only ten miles away, Lake of the Woods is a high mountain lake that is clean and swimmable.  Unlike our magnificent Klamath Lake, filled with birds and ripe with food for them during the summer (aka algae).  In fact, blue green algae is harvested on Klamath Lake and sold as an expensive food supplement.  My grandmother swore by this stuff, along with liquid chlorophyll, and lived to be 86 eating bacon, chicken fat, pure butter and lots of cream.

1-6-19-2004 Sailing Lake of the WoodsMo and I sailing at Lake of the Woods back in 2004

We have tried several times to get a reservation to camp at Lake of the Woods.  There are two main campgrounds, Sunset and Aspen Point.  Reservations are allowed at a maximum of six months in advance, so on January 1 I started calling at 8am.  Too late.  Every single reserved site through July 4th was already taken.  A couple of times in the past, we have driven up a few days early to see if the non-reservable sites might be available.  Nada.  All taken through July 5th.

Camping_Jul16003Tent camping with the grandkids at Lake of the Woods pre MoHo days

We even tried for the expensive campground at the Lake of the Woods Resort.  People must reserve these sites years in advance.  Who knows, we have never been able to get any kind of site anywhere at any of the campgrounds around the lake.  Maybe it is the fireworks, maybe it is the evening music at the resort, maybe it is just because it is a lovely lake that is boat-able and swimmable and it is summer time.

Last year we scouted the entire perimeter of the lake hunting for possible parking spots along the roadway where we could hike into the lake.  We found a couple, but much of the lake is ringed by privately owned residences leased by the Forest Service and the shoreline is off limits.  Last year with plans to drive the ten miles up the hill after our day at home in Rocky Point to see the fireworks, we decided that dealing with traffic and people and all that was just too much trouble.

July Fourth_149Klamath Falls fireworks were great when over Lake Ewauna and Veterans Park in the past

This year, the Klamath Falls City fireworks show was moved from our lovely Veteran’s Park to the local fairgrounds.  Bleachers, dirt, pavement, crowded parking, and crowds.  Not even a grassy park to have a picnic or a pleasant place to hang out while waiting for the very late hour of darkness to arrive.  No thanks.  They even moved the parade from early evening before the fireworks to mid morning.  Much too long to wait around all day between the parade and the fairgrounds fireworks, so our little town of Klamath Falls was a no go this year, in spite of the many holidays we have spent there in the past.

Once again, we came up with an idea for going up to Lake of the Woods for the fireworks and it worked perfectly.

2015 Fourth of July (11 of 51)That is the MoHo next to a random truck in a ‘no parking’ spot, and our convenient picnic table.

Mo and I got up early on the 4th, and drove the MoHo and a second car to the day use area at Sunset Beach.  We arrived just a little bit after 6am, and were happy to see that there were still parking spaces available for boats and trailers on one side and more long spaces that didn’t specifically prohibit vehicles without boat trailers on the other side.  We parked the MoHo in a spot right next to the picnic area near the boat ramp, and staked out our tablecloth on the big picnic table nearby.

2015 Fourth of July (1 of 51) We then drove back home and loaded up the kayaks on the small trailer and hauled them up with the baby car, leaving the trailer in front of the MoHo. When Melody arrived at the Rocky Point house at 11am, we loaded ourselves into the baby car and drove to the day use area.  Of course, by then, everything was jam packed full, and after unloading the rest of the supplies that we brought up in the car at the MoHo, Melody and I parked the baby car in a wide place on the main road and hiked back to the picnic area.

2015 Fourth of July (12 of 51) The best part about using the MoHo for a day trip was the convenience.  We had a refrigerator to keep everything nice and cold.  We had our own clean bathroom and a place to change, a bed where Melody enjoyed an afternoon nap, and a place to retreat and wait for the fireworks safe from crowds.  The price was perfect!  $5. parking reduced to $2.50 with our Golden Age pass was a lot less than trying to pay for an entire week or two of camping just to get a space.

2015 Fourth of July (13 of 51) The day was perfect.  Gorgeous.  Blue skies and warm temperatures.  It was my first day in the kayak since my surgery, and Mo and Melody obligingly hauled the kayaks down to the beach for me.  It was heaven getting back on the water again at last.

2015 Fourth of July (27 of 51)2015 Fourth of July (8 of 51) We had fried chicken, potato salad (of course), watermelon, and chocolate cupcakes to keep us well fed throughout the day and evening.  We had our comfortable chairs, the great picnic table in the shade, and lots of entertainment watching the people playing, swimming and enjoying the perfect family Fourth of July day.

2015 Fourth of July (16 of 51) Later in the afternoon, Melody and I kayaked over to the main resort marina to watch the huge crowds mashed in together along the beach and hear the loud and happy rock music playing out over the water.  Everyone was having a great time, and it was pretty noisy and looked like the “in” place to be if you wanted to party.  We were extremely happy to be at the other side of the lake!

2015 Fourth of July (19 of 51)We found out during the day, from a helpful ranger, that the fireworks would be shot off on the southern shore of the lake, and that the trees between us and them would block our view.  Ah well.  Hiking around a bit for a better viewing site didn’t yield much, so we accepted our losses and decided that hearing them would be enough.

2015 Fourth of July (41 of 51) As sunset approached, the skies were filled with color and the water was still warm enough for swimming.  Lo and behold, once the fireworks started, we found out that we only had to wade out into the water a few steps to see at least part of the huge colorful blooms exploding in the sky.  I love the sound of fireworks, and one of my favorite moments of the evening was hearing the incredible echoing of that sound from the opposite side of the lake.  It sounded like distant thunder.  Amazing.2015 Fourth of July (47 of 51)

We had already decided to load up the kayaks and hook up the trailer while it was still light, thinking it would expedite our departure.  Of course, it did do that, but next year, if we do this again, we will leave the kayaks unloaded and take them out a bit from shore to watch the show.  There were many boats on the lake, but not any close up near the dock to worry about, so it would be perfect.2015 Fourth of July (50 of 51)

When we pulled out after the show, we were the first ones out of the parking lot, Mo leading the way in the MoHo, and both of us were amazed at the quick escape without any traffic problems at all.  Most people had to get to their cars or get their boats out of the water, so it took longer for them to get moving.  We were down the mountain and home in minutes.l

2015 Fourth of July (5 of 51) On another sad note, most people know that fireworks are deadly for dogs, and we saw a beautiful retriever in the road that had evidently run from its owner in fear and was killed.  Broke our hearts.  The statistics are awful.  More dogs are lost during the Fourth of July than any other time of year.  Lucky for us, Mattie was safe in her crate tucked away in the motorhome sleeping.  She seems to be not the least bit disturbed by the noise so we didn’t have to worry about her at all.

I have such good memories of the Fourth, and this year added to them once again.  Even though we had just one daughter sharing it with us, it was nearly perfect. Stories from the other daughters and grandkids about their day in other parts of the country were perfect as well, so I wasn’t too sad about not having the big family gathering that I sometimes enjoy on this great family day.

One last note: I decided that I needed a “bridge” camera, something smaller and lighter than my DSLR for our coming trip to Ireland, and for times when I might not want to haul around the big heavy camera and lenses.  I tried out a Canon SX60.  From what I hear, it isn’t as good as the SX50.  I tried it for the entire July Fourth weekend, but couldn’t come to terms with some of the features, and the picture quality.  (All the photos in this post  from 2015 are with the Canon)

I know lots of Canon users that will think I am crazy, but I took it back on Monday morning and my check had not yet cleared.  I must say that our local Leo’s Camera Shop was great about the return.  I just wish that they carried the Panasonic Lumix FX1000 which shipped today.  I would have loved to have purchased locally.  At least I tried.

We will see if I can be happy with this one.  As Erin says, nothing will truly replace a DSLR, so it is always a trade-off in one way or another.

What is it about the Fourth…

Current Location: Rocky Point Oregon 88F and clear with a predicted high of 95F

I got an email this morning from friend Jeanne telling me all about her great weekend on the lake in Vermont, shared with family and friends and her sweetheart.  I don’t know what it is about this holiday that triggers such summertime nostalgia, but I love it.  Loved reading about Jeanne’s adventures and loved remembering the holidays of my childhood as well as the more recent family times we have managed to share.

Fourth of July 2014 (26 of 63)At the moment, I am at the computer in my home office, windows wide open, breezes cooling the house from the morning banana bread bake, and sunlight lighting up the elm leaves under the forest canopy.  The elms were supposed to be a hedge, purchased a dozen years ago by Mo from a mail order catalog.  Some are still hedge size, but most of the row have morphed into tall if rangy trees, reaching for the tiny bit of available sun.  They are home to lots of birds and bugs this time of year, and make a great backdrop for gazing out the window instead of focusing on the task at hand.

Fourth of July 2014 (1 of 63) Sorry to say, it certainly isn’t patriotism, although I do like flying the American flags on this day.  I love my country, but am not rabidly patriotic, celebrating the Fourth as the birth of my country.  I celebrate the Fourth as a reminder of family tradition. 

As a kid we got up before dawn and foster mom Dorothy would pack up all the fixings to make biscuits in the coleman camp ovens on half a dozen coleman stoves.  We made biscuits for the entire church picnic gathering at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia.  There was a “plunge” for swimming, baseball diamonds for one up softball games, lots of grass for sack races.  We had a huge breakfast, and usually there were more than 150 people from the church that participated in the day’s activities.

Fourth of July 2014 (31 of 63)Bocci Ball at Rocky Point

By evening, after the hot dogs and potato salad, we gathered up our blankets and found a spot on the grass to watch the fireworks, shot high above the park.  There were sparklers and smoke bombs and of course those amazing fountains that everyone loved.  There was the smell of sulfur and the fear of stepping on a hot sparkler wire among the blankets.  In California in July, the days were always hot and the nights were warm.  The fireworks were spectacular.

Arcadia Park (1)Arcadia Regional Park in 2014

I searched the internet to find that the park is now the Arcadia Community Regional Park, administered by the county of Los Angeles, and nary a word about a fireworks display on the Fourth of July.  Some great memories are destined to fade into the past, much like the old Firefall at Yosemite.  Not many remember what that was like either, but I do, and treasure that memory as well.Yosemite_Fire_Fall

Now we make new memories.  Most of the time, in July, we are close enough to Rocky Point to gather at least part of the family for a celebration.  Potato salad is always part of it, but I no longer force my kids to do sack races.  Sometimes we don’t even bother to go to the fireworks, even though there are displays in Klamath Falls at Veteran’s Park and just 15 minutes away at Lake of the Woods. 

Traffic, crowds, mosquitoes, midges, all have a bit of a dampening affect on our best laid plans.  Instead, we stayed right here and played bocci ball into the dark of night.  No fireworks here at Rocky Point.  Not a one at our place.  Even though we are on the edge of the national forest, where fireworks are illegal, the drought knows no boundaries and there is no need to take chances with fire and explosive stuff.

Instead, we listened to distant neighbors shooting either guns or firecrackers or both.  Maybe next year we will actually get a reservation at Lake of the Woods and go camping 15 minutes from home so we can watch the fireworks and not have to drive anywhere when they are finished.

Fourth of July 2014 (23 of 63)Daughter Deborah

Daughter Deb came up from Grants Pass, and daughter Melody and my grandkids came out from Klamath.  We ate lots of summer fruit and veggies, with sinful dips to offset the healthy stuff, and Deb shared her Dijon marinated chicken with all of us.  Melody came with three, yes three watermelons and we did manage to eat two of them. 

Fourth of July 2014 (24 of 63)Daughter Melody

I made brownies that were perfect and my favorite potato salad that wasn’t so much.  I learned that if you put too much celery and onion into it, the dressing gets watery as it sits.  Can’t believe I didn’t know that, and also am amazed at the world we live in where I can type in “watery potato salad’ and get answers in seconds. 

Our closest neighbors, Wes and Gayle, are here for the season, and we were delighted to have them join us for supper and lawn games.

Fourth of July 2014 (3 of 63)We got out on the lake twice, a nice long paddle up Recreation Creek toward Malone Spring in the afternoon wind and then the next morning another beautiful paddle on the glassy bay toward the main lake.  Midges are just beginning to hatch, the lake is just beginning to show an algae bloom so it was great to get out there before the season progressed further.

Fourth of July 2014 (63 of 63)Paddling out on the main Klamath Lake from Pelican Bay.  That is daughter Deborah out there.

We punctuated the day with a few silly old movies that I converted from ancient VHS to DVD.  It was a happy sadness as we laughed at my deceased husband Lance making silly jokes and watched my iconic grandmother, also deceased, being her famous self.  Melody made sure the grandkids watched, since they have no memory of this matriarch of our family.

Fourth of July 2014 (39 of 63) Granddaughter Axel

Of course, there was a “flower walk”, another tradition that has followed us through many homes in many places since I started gardening in earnest back in the late 70’s.  Gotta share all that is blooming, all the successes and some of the failures.  I think the grandkids disappeared into the cabin before the flower walk, checking out facebook and phone messages.  Some things stay the same and others definitely don’t. 

Fourth of July 2014 (40 of 63)Grandson Xavier

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and the Fourth of July.  And oh yes, don’t forget Halloween.  Somehow these days have come to mean far more than what they stand for in our family.  They are the times that we all do our best to get together and participate in some of the old family rituals that have come down through the years.  Our family is small, it is me and my kids and their offspring. I do hope that the grandkids will remember some of the times that we have shared in the same way that I remember Fourth of July at Arcadia Park.

 

July Fourth

In Rocky Point, Oregon Sunny and Clear Current temperature 70F Hi today family fourth86F Low today 59F

I know I must say this every year, but I LOVE the Fourth of July.  No reason that makes any sense, I love my country, but I don’t get excited just because she is having a birthday.  I just love the day.  I have “issues” around it.  If I am somewhere my family is not, I will get as weepy as a kid at Christmas without Santa.  My kids know this about me and just shake their heads.  Even truck driving daughter Deanna has managed to surprise me with a July Fourth visit now and then from half way across the country.  My kids remember two things, I am sure.  Potato salad and sack races.  They all hated those dang silly yard games that I made them play when we all got together for the holiday picnic. 

Grandpa Lance with Matthew and Steven on the 4th at Tubbs Hill in 1986

Lance with our grandsons, Matthew and Steven in 1986Back when they were younger, and we all lived in or near Coeur d’ Alene, we would pack a picnic and hike around Tubb’s Hill to watch the fireworks over the lake. There are family stories that have grown to mythic proportions about those hikes to the lake, and then the hikes back around in the dark to the car.  Just a couple of miles, with flashlights, and lots of people.  It was fun.  I was insistent that we have a picnic, no matter the weather, and there were some very wet, very rainy picnics on a blanket under the big red wagon in Riverfront Park.  Our favorite family story includes a rainy hike around the hill and a place we dubbed Guacamole Cave, named for our snack entertainment while we waited out the storm on the way to the lake. My husband Lance was alive, my two little grandsons were just 3, and now they are both 30 years old.  It was a different world and a different life, but we still have potato salad!

Guacamole Cave on Tubb’s Hill (our own personal name of course)

Lance, Michael, Sue, Matthew, Steven, Deborah, Melody, and friend in Guacamole CaveIn recent years, since I have been in Klamath Falls, we have trundled ourselves downtown to enjoy the local parade, and then waited for the very late fireworks over Lake Ewauna, with varying degrees of delight.  Sometimes the midges are out, sometimes the wind blows too hard for the big booms to make it high enough over the trees.  Sometimes it is hot.  Sometimes it is wonderful.  This year I didn’t care how wonderful it might be, I just decided that maybe the potato salad and family games on the cool green lawn in the cool Rocky Point shade would be enough.  It was.  In fact, it was very nearly perfect. 

Deb to the cottage-014 Mo and I were recuperating in the quiet house this morning and she said to me, “You know, I think this was the best Fourth of July ever”.  I couldn’t agree more.  Of course, there was an extra little treat that made it even more special.  I got to have TWO daughters here instead of my loyal youngest who lives nearby.  My eldest daughter Deborah has returned to Oregon, and was here for the holiday.  In fact, she is now settled into the cottage for the time being, as she readjusts her life and leaves Texas behind.  She loved some of Texas, in fact she loved most of Texas, but other parts of the situation weren’t acceptable, and she decided the best place to be was home near family.  Mo and I never intended the cottage to be a place to live, but we still have been fixing it up so it was perfect for Deb.  We now have a caretaker, and with the third interview in the works for a local Grants Pass job, Deb may just be settling in to an even better situation in the near future. 

family fourth-001 Of course, with family coming, all the little places we have around for people to stay needed a bit of sprucing up.  We spent several days over at the cottage working on details.  Mo fixed doorknobs, made sure the plumbing was all working properly, made drawings of which plugs were on which circuits, and I raked.  I discovered that those beautiful madrones, evergreen leathery leaves, drop big batches of old yellow leaves as the new leaves emerge, meaning I get to rake that acre in June as well as in the fall!  Oh, wait….Deb is there now!

We also have the little cabin here at Rocky Point, next to the house, and it is a great place for Melody’s family to stay when they visit.  It even has its very own composting toilet, a nice little kitchen and refrigerator, and hot water heater.  We love having people stay there, and it is nice to open it up and freshen the air, and dust the cobwebs away. 

Gardening has taken a big priority this time of year as well, and the flowers are just now coming into full bloom.  The incredibly hot weather we had last week has dissipated and now we are back to cool nights and mornings and days in the low 80’s with bluebird skies.  Ahh….perfect.  Of course, with all these projects going on, quilting has taken a very back back seat in the list of priorities.my favorite columbine

Melody came with her family the night before the 4th and we celebrated the beginning of the holiday morning with a big pancake breakfast.  Even though the heat has lessened a bit, it was still a good idea to get out on the lake before the sun was high and hot, and we were on the water in the 4 kayaks before 9.  It was a perfect morning paddle with me, Melody, Xavier, and Axel while Mo waited back at home for Deb to arrive.

kids at Harriman We paddled south into Pelican Bay from the Rocky Point launch with a plan to continue into the Harriman Spring run and then back out through the marsh into Klamath Lake.  love that osprey

The spring run was gorgeous, and we saw pelicans, cormorants, lots of common terns, several great egrets, a few blue herons, Canada geese, and a beautiful osprey who posed nicely, and a beaver who was too fast for me.  Is he making bird sounds?

Xavier has only paddled once before but by the time we finished our 2.5 hour trip he was leading the pack. 

which way did you say to go? We couldn’t find our way to the lake through the vegetation, even though the water was high enough, but the wocus and rushes and tules were just too thick to paddle through easily so we backtracked to Harriman Spring.I think Deb likes the kayak, and she is wearing Bel's Habitat for Humanity hat.  Nice.

When we returned, Deb was relaxed in the living room, and after putting the final finishes on the potato salad I went out for another 2 hour paddle with a different group.  Melody and I went out with Mo and Deb and went the opposite direction, south into Pelican Bay and through the marsh back to Harriman Spring. 

Mo and Deb led Melody and me into the marsh from Pelican Bay and we found the way through this time on the afternoon trip This time we made it through, but it was interesting to see just how different the trip can be depending on the time of day.  The morning was still and full of reflections and the afternoon had fewer birds and a lot more wind.  Both trips were wonderful and by the time we all got back to the house we were ready to fire up the bbq for burgers and POTATO SALAD!  Yum.

Axel On the previous evening we pulled out the Bocci Ball set and played some good games with Melody and the kids, so we were ready to redeem ourselves again with another round on the grass.  Bocci is so much fun, very little equipment needed, just those balls and a place to throw them.  By the time we finished the last game and Melody and her family departed for Klamath Falls, we all felt perfectly satisfied with our family fourth.

Xavier I didn’t hear a sound out here.  Fireworks aren’t allowed in the forest, and even on the private land I think most folks care about the fire danger and don’t want to jeopardize our beautiful forest home.  I love fireworks, but I surely didn’t miss waiting around until 10:30 at night for them to start, fighting the traffic, and then driving home around the lake near midnight.  Deb spent the night here before going home.  I can’t say just how much I missed her.  Even though we were as close as the phone and email, Texas is still a very long distance and knowing she is just over the mountain is soul satisfying in a deep way.  Two out of four kids close by is a pretty good ratio, I think, in this day of dispersed families.

checking the distance We are now planning for a short trip next week when I will finally get to visit the famous Sisters quilt show.  Roger and Nancy (Mo’s brother and SIL) will be sharing that with us, and after the show we will all go up into the Newberry Crater east of Bend for a couple of days camping at East Paulina Lake.  Excited about that one.  I remember the last time I was there it was raining, but I had a magical kayak trip one evening with fish jumping all around me and practically jumping into my boat.  I also know now where the lakeside hot springs are located and plan to check them out.

family fourth-028 I am still making progress on our plans for next winter, and with the help of some blogger friends have managed to get plans and reservations firmed up as far as the end of January and South Padre Island.  The planning process, especially so far out in time, seems a bit daunting to me, especially with the necessity to know where we will be in February in Florida so I can make reservations there.  We traveled all of Alaska for almost two months without reservations, but I don’t think that would be very smart in Florida that time of year.  Of course, the Military Fam Camp in Key West, our most distant destination, doesn’t take reservations anyway, but I still need to have a general idea of when we will be there.

A couple of weeks ago I was incredibly stressed, going through all sorts of stuff with kids and such, and a friend listened to me saying, “I know it sounds trite, but it will pass”.  You were so right, dear friend, it has passed.  It all worked itself through, the daughter is here, the kids are fine, and I am back to enjoying my lovely little stress free life of retirement!  Good advice!!

 

From the Heart

“It shifted from being written directly to my family and friends to something with more explanation and less from the heart, if you know what I mean. “ “paying too much attention to the reader community and not enough to my own preferences. “

DSC_0006 Words this morning from a trusted friend brought me up short. I know the feeling, and I fight it sometimes.  Case in point: my last post and this one.  There is enough going on around here that I have some things to write about, some life to share, and yet I found myself liking the way the last post looked so much that I didn’t want to upstage it with a new one that wouldn’t have those photos of my pelicans.  Now just how silly is THAT?!  Mo said, “Well, why don’t you just put the pelicans up on the header photo?”  Yeah, ok, I’ll do that, and yet the thoughts behind why I didn’t want to write a new post were still somewhat interesting to me. Sounds like I may be slipping into what this friend described in that last sentence I quoted in the first paragraph!

the lily in the cabin bed My Goal: write from the heart.  Write about stuff, explain stuff, but keep the heart in it.  Write as if I were writing to a trusted friend.  Of course, some stuff I wouldn’t even write to a trusted friend so I won’t write that part in here.  Those parts are saved for private journals that even my kids will never see. The good thing about this goal is that when I go back and read (and I DO go back and read my own blog), it will be entertaining and fun, and will help me remember not only what I saw and what I did, but how I felt about it.  At least that is the goal.

the hedge rose, blooming here at Rocky Point Personal journals, on the other hand, can be incredibly depressing to read later.  I journal a lot when I am angry, depressed, or just plain falling apart.  Not fun reading.  On another note, I don’t seem to have a lot of personal journaling going on now as I did when I was younger.  Life is less full of angst and worry and frustration.  I guess after 66 years, it is about time, right?

I think especially of this kind of “from the heart” writing when I think of Sherry’s story of David’s journey.  I have mentioned them often enough that anyone who reads my blog has probably found theirs. Good news today with 8 million stem cells in his collection!  Then, again from the heart, Laurie Brown’s eulogy to her Dad. Semi-True Tales of the Road has been one of those that stands out so far above so many of us that it is hard to see it wind down a bit. The only blog I read for years, I still always watch for a post from Laurie. Many folks mentioned her great campground reviews, but when I think of Laurie, I think of great food stories, seriously funny moments (aka Desert Hot Springs), and the clay oven. 

Merikay and Craig walking down to the docks from Rocky Point Resort Speaking of bloggers, last week brought us another blogger meet-and-greet treat, with Merikay and Craig visiting our world.  They spent a long time hiking the trails of Crater Lake, many that Mo and I who live an hour away have never traveled.  Then they camped a couple of nights right here in Rocky Point, giving us the chance to get Merikay and Craig out on Recreation Creek in the kayaks. 

OK Merikay, you can do it I love showing someone how much fun it is to get out on the water in a kayak and this was no exception.  We had a perfect day with water smooth as glass for our morning adventure.  Getting into a kayak for the first time can be a bit daunting, and once out on the water, it sometimes takes a few moments to get used to that wiggly feeling.  Within a short time though, that feeling goes away and your body settles into the balance much like it happens on a bicycle.  We had a nice, short paddle for their first run, and I do hope they will try it again.  It is such a great way to get up close to the birds and feel a silence on the water that is hard to find any other way.

A little benefit of blog meet-and-greets are the photos!  Loree has photos of Jeana on her blog since they met up as Loree traveled east, and we got a great photo of Loree on Jeana’s blog as well.  Now isn’t that just fabulous?!  Somehow the photos that others take of you are quite a bit different than the ones you might put up on your own blog.

DSC_0020 Later that afternoon I invited Merikay and Craig to the house for supper, along with our closest neighbors, Wes and Gayle, our Tucson friends who live here in the summer. We had appetizers on the porch, dinner inside at the dining table, and dessert back on the porch, all accompanied by a few different wines supplied by each of us.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself, especially since hostessing a meal is a favorite thing for me to do.  I was having so much fun I forgot to take photos of the table, the food, and my guests.  I guess that is a good sign.

Fourth of July was wonderful.  I do love the Fourth, not for any particularly patriotic reason, but for its ability to bring up happy childhood memories and to create small town joys. As I spent the morning making potato salad and meltingly perfect chocolate cupcakes, I remembered my foster mother, who loved all holidays and taught me to appreciate them with huge church picnics, decorations for everything, and always always great holiday food.

2012-07-04 Veterans Park Celebration (48) With Melody and family in town, Mo and I drove in for the celebrations.  Klamath Falls once again scheduled the holiday parade for 5 in the evening, ending in Veteran’s Park, where the fireworks were scheduled to go off at ten pm when it is finally dark here.  It is much nicer to have a later parade and only have to drive to town once.  When the parade was in the morning, it was harder to figure out what to do with ourselves while we waited for the fireworks twelve hours later.

Kevin and Elric for the sheriff's department This time, the parade was nice, but I still wish we could get more marching bands to come. There was only one.  Parades need music!  There were lots of red white and blue decorations, however, and the Shriner guys in their little cars always make a parade seem like the real thing. Of course, seeing my son in law and my grandson representing the Klamath County Sheriff’s department was a treat.  Kevin is a reserve deputy, and Elric got a big kick out of being in the cop car in the parade.  UhOh. Elric is now Xavier, but I keep forgetting.  I have no clue why teenagers think they have to change their names, but I am trying to get with the program. Seems to me that Elric is enough of an interesting name, but n-ooo-ooo. He has to make it more interesting! He is 13.  What can I say…

yum2012-07-04 Veterans Park Celebration (96) Hillary/Axel (remember that other name change I mentioned in the last post?) spent most of the time between the parade and the fireworks volunteering for the face painting booth.  Terrible me, I can’t remember what the booth was promoting, but it was some sort of socially redeemable venture, I am sure.  We had fun watching her and as the evening wore on, the line grew exponentially.  Word was getting around that she was painting some fairly radical faces, unlike the typical butterflies and such.  Well, with a name like Axel, who would expect butterflies anyway?

By the time the fireworks started, we were all starting to get fairly chilled, but the bugs weren’t out this year so that was a blessing.  Why don’t I remember that even if it is 90 during the day, the air will require sweats, jackets and even gloves by ten pm.  I hate to say it, but when the fireworks began we were pretty disappointed.  It may have been because of the high winds that evening, but once again the big booms couldn’t seem to rise above the trees lining the lakeshore at Veteran’s Park. 

2012-07-04 the Fourth It made for some interesting photos, especially with the full moon rising right where the big fireworks were exploding, but it also made for a few unhappy folks hanging around all evening waiting.  Next year we may just give it up and go check out the fireworks at Lake of the Woods, closer to home for us, but not part of that small town Klamath thing that we love. 

I guess the small town Klamath thing means there isn’t enough money for a big town fireworks show.