Impromptu Camping

Friendly Giant brought up the idea of camping probably a week before we actually went. Yes, fall camping, why the heck not? We chose a lake, did some research, and on Saturday, went on our merry way. We didn’t want to go too far (like we normally do), so we chose something quite close.

We decided we were going to go to Weaver Lake. Driving along, we ended up going too far and missed the turn. It didn’t matter though, we were kind of screwed. The tailpipe of the 4runner decided to fall off and was dragging. The CCCGGGRAHHHHGCRRR noise wasn’t too pleasant, nor was it good for it to be dragging, so we stopped.

Our first solution was to duct tape it and rope over it, hoping that the duct tape would melt and the rope would keep it strapped up; unfortunately, it didn’t work too well and within 5 minutes, it was dragging behind us again.

We stopped again.

Mistress and I got under the truck and Tophat brought up something we were thinking about (because nobody had a coat hanger!). We threaded ratchet bits through a piece of rope and tied the pipe up as tight as we could, having the metal touch it so it wouldn’t burn… it worked, and that’s currently what’s holding it up.

We made a joke about it though. 4 men and 2 women and the women are the ones working on the truck while the men stand around not knowing what to do. It was funny.

Eventually, we found our lake, BUT… it was closed due to some sort of construction? What the hell? Everything said it was open! So we decided to go look for Chehalis, after all, it couldn’t be that far away. We went down a road that we found in a map book that was supposed to connect, but it didn’t. It was pitch black. We ended up going past some sort of correctional facility (we have those here!?) and ended up in a weird place with ghost lights and power lines. Holy crap, power lines. Getting out of the truck, my arm was killing me. When we got home I actually had hand prints on my arm…

Since we couldn’t find the road to Chehalis (at this point, it was BLACK), we followed Fisher’s directions to get to Elbow Lake. We couldn’t really find the pull-off he was talking about, but we did find something near a creek, which obviously flowed into the lake, and camped there.

The weather was pretty good. We had a nice fire, some food (hello, smokies on a stick), and some good conversation… and probably a drink or two… or five. I don’t drink very often, but sometimes it’s interesting.

We kept hearing flutes… they said they heard harps. We believe in “supernatural” stuff, whether it’s spirits (“ghosts”), Bigfoot, fey, etc. And normally, things aren’t scary, we’ve dealt with so much over the years, but the darkness seemed to creep toward you, so it was a bit creepy. Perhaps one day I’ll write about those experiences?

The next day, we decided to go for a trek to see if we could find the lake. Apparently we drove further than we thought, but it was cool. Walking through a creek, trekking through the woods (thank you, waterproof boots!). On the way back, Mistress and I stayed behind and went through the woods instead of back through the rocks. We kept looking at all the different mushrooms and fungi. We’d never eat anything we were unsure of, but just looking at how many different types of fungi there was was neat.

1383204_10151718717141430_1041080464_n

 

We didn’t really take pictures because it was just an overnight trip, but look how awesome this looked!

We left a few hours later. The drive home was nice and quiet.

Oh, camping. We need to do you more.

Advertisements

Thanksgiving

For those unaware, Canada does celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s generally celebrated on the second Monday of October, but my family has always celebrated on the Sunday. Originally, it was celebrated in late October/early November (with the harvest). After WWI, Armistice Day (now Remembrance Day) and Thanksgiving were to be celebrated on the same day; however, they felt like they should be different days, so now we celebrate on the second Monday of October.

thanksgiving-charlie-brown-snoopy
(Thank you Mr. Schulz!)

I like history, let’s have some fun, shall we?

  • Many relate Thanksgiving to the United States, but long before Europeans set foot in North America there were celebrations of thanks and harvests in Europe.
  • We can trace Thanksgiving back to 1578 when Martin Frobisher (from England) voyaged to find the Northwest Passage (sea route connecting the Pacific and Atlantic). They experienced freak storms and ice, losing a ship in their trek. When they arrived in what’s now known as Newfoundland, him and his men gave thanks for surviving such a treacherous journey.
  • With the aforementioned fact, it shows that Thanksgiving was celebrated here 43 years before the pilgrims landed in Massachusetts!
  • Why is Thanksgiving in Canada in October, otherwise? We’re farther north. Our crops tend to be ready in October, and it’s more about giving thanks for a bountiful harvest than it is a bunch of slaughtering pilgrims.

A lot of people view Thanksgiving as a time for food and that’s all, but it’s so much more than that.

I get so upset when people have friends with nowhere to go and families turn them away. Thanksgiving isn’t a time only for family, it’s for everyone. My family has always been incredibly open about that. If you don’t have anywhere to go, you’re coming over for dinner and entertainment!

This year, there was my Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother, W, Artist, me, Boyfriend, Little P, Tophat, Mistress, Tim, and even my parents’ neighbours showed up for a little while. There was supposed to be more people that showed up, but they didn’t make it for whatever reason.

We like to cook. There was two turkeys, a ham, potatoes, brussel sprouts, broccoli, honeyed carrots, stuffing, cranberry sauce Mistress and I made, and homemade buns… oh, and pie. I’m glad there was so much food, it means I get to eat leftovers! Yum, yum.

But it isn’t all about the food… I got to spend time with people who matter to me…

What am I thankful for?

  • A wonderful and supportive family.
  • Friends I can be myself with.
  • A boyfriend that loves me.
  • Freedom…
  • Being able to walk.
  • Having everything that I need.

I’m thankful for a lot, I only mentioned a few (and quite vague) points. I reflect often.

This past year has been nothing but change, and it’s been, more than likely, the best change I’ve ever had in my entire life. I don’t always act like it, and I don’t always notice everything (who does?), but I’m thankful for everything, big and small. And to anyone that’s made such a positive impact in my life… I love you! You make life worth living, even when I don’t want to anymore.

What are you thankful for?

Aquarium!

As many of you know, though my birthday is tomorrow, my family wanted to take me to the aquarium. I have been dying to go…

Today was a beautiful day (despite raining, ahem, pouring, for 5 minutes) and Dad wanted to drive. There was a lot of cool stuff as soon as we walked in, but this isn’t in any particular order.

Aquarium 2013 - Family 014

S really liked the jellyfish…

I’d never been to the aquarium before, I had never even been to Stanley Park before! One day, I’d like to walk around the park. Even if it’s only part of it.

We paid for everything (which was kind of expensive…), and S got a wheelchair. I like to use one when there are long distances involved. I walked still, I pushed it around until I needed it, but it’s a useful tool to have and I’m really glad that they offered them.

We also got our photo taken. I kind of wish we could’ve gotten a copy, especially since I don’t think we have a family photo, period. Unfortunately, it was over $20 dollars, so we didn’t.

Aquarium 2013 - Family 021

I have no idea what kind of fish this is. I didn’t make note of what anything was, for that matter. I can usually identify reptiles, but give me a fish and I’m dumbfounded.

There were a lot of photos that didn’t turn out too (poor piranhas). Let me explain.

I could have messed with the ISO to help with the movement of the fish, but I didn’t want to give up all of the quality. I had to use my “museum” setting because for some reason, turning off my flash didn’t work (I tested it). The museum setting is pretty shaky, I had to hold my camera with both hands.

Anyway, a lot of people were shooting with flash. In fact, I was getting very mad at a man because he was scaring the octopus. He was just shooting and flash, flash, flash, and the poor octopus was trying to hide!

I don’t know if it’s just me being considerate but… when I want to take pictures of animals, I turn my flash off. Unless it’s my dog or something, I turn it off. Horses, snakes, fish, whatever. It’s considerate, I always figured that the flash would spook the animals or something.

They weren’t everywhere, but there were signs saying not to shoot with flash. People still were.

There were monkeys and my Mom said something to me and I responded with, “people that shoot with flash are mean”, being completely oblivious to the people in front of me that are within hearing range. The husband told the woman to turn the flash off and she just started FLIPPING OUT!

Look, lady. You’re scaring the monkeys, I’m sure you wouldn’t want a light flashing 300 times in a row in your face either!

Aquarium 2013 - Family 024

I like the way the bottom of octopi look, I’m not sure why, it just looks really cool.

Here’s what he (or she?) looked like:

Aquarium 2013 - Family 026

Disclaimer: I’m not responsible for reflections in the photos.

Basically, we just walked around and looked at fish… and other animals.

Aquarium 2013 - Family 033

Colours, colours, colours…

We saw a puffer fish! I wonder if the residents ever wanted to eat him…

There was a lot of other animals, not just fish. For example, there was this area with tarantulas and cockroaches.

Look! Madagascar hissing cockroaches! I only know that because of watching Fear Factor as a kid…

Aquarium 2013 - Family 040

You know, I’m not really scared of the “creepy crawlies.” Even seeing spiders behind the glass doesn’t bother me. I’m terrified of spiders, to the point I freak out and run away (I’ll leave the story as to why for another day), but get me outside and I don’t really mind, it’s the same as looking at them through the glass.

So like I was saying, there isn’t just fish and whales at the aquarium. There’s this cool “Tropical section” where it’s really hot and humid. There’s birds and beautiful butterflies (unfortunately, I couldn’t catch the pretty blue butterflies on camera – sadface). There’s also a sloth! Unfortunately, the sloth was pretty high up and covered by branches, a picture of him would’ve shown up like a white-ish, brown-ish blob in a tree.

Aquarium 2013 - Family 048

I liked the colour of these guys.

These guys were squawking a lot while we were there. There was also water dripping on us. Yes, I’m sure it was water.

Aquarium 2013 - Family 054

Birds, birds, birds…

Aquarium 2013 - Family 064

Mr. Monkey looks so lonesome. 😦

It’s okay, there were plenty of monkeys in there. This is where the lady freaked out for me mentioning the flash being mean. It’s not my fault people are stupid…

I really like monkeys.

I was going to share pictures of the anaconda, but they didn’t turn out too well. When you first walk in, there’s actually a boa (at least that’s what my Dad said, I never got to see it).

Aquarium 2013 - Family 068

I did get this picture. I’m pretty sure one of these guys is a black rat snake.

I can show you the anaconda if you really want…

There was actually two of them in this enclosure. They were HUGE!  My Dad read out the card and it said that they can get big enough they’ll eat deer. Deer? Wow! My Mom said she hopes mine won’t get that big. My snake won’t even get to be half as big as that, but it was pretty cool.

But I’m a reptile fan…

Remember how I said I couldn’t get a picture of a blue butterfly? I couldn’t but I did manage to get this one… only because it landed though.

Aquarium 2013 - Family 079

There was, what I think was a moth, that looked like it had  a very large eye, it reminded me of this giant moth thing my great-grandma gave me. I still have it, it’s just become very fragile – the dust has come off the wings leaving them transparent in some places.

There were also turtles and frogs, but none of their pictures showed up properly!

My Dad has always wanted a pet caiman…

Aquarium 2013 - Family 086

I didn’t think it was real… until it opened its eyes…

Back to water-y stuff!

Aquarium 2013 - Family 089

I really like things that are colourful. This was just beyond beautiful. I actually have a few pictures from this same area.

Look at all the colours!

But it gets even better…

Aquarium 2013 - Family 094

How cool is this?

Thanks to Finding Nemo, we now call these “Nemos” – clownfish and lookalikes.

There were also sharks. I’m actually quite upset that none of my shark pictures turned out. Sharks are one of my favourite animals, some of you may remember me saying I used to have an obsession with sharks…

We stopped near this little stand where workers were talking about sharks and even had their jaws. Sharks don’t actually have any bones in their body (except the ones they eat!). Their body is cartilage, really. Most of it “melts” away when they die, leaving only the jaw (if you’ve noticed, people only find shark jaws/teeth), usually because it’s calcified cartilage.

The woman was telling us things and asking us things, and I just went on and on about them.

She was amazed with my shark knowledge, she even said so!

We talked about megalodons, and how sharks have been here for 65+ million years. We also discussed how sad it is because of their near extinction (though they’ve survived mass extinctions 4 times, I believe now, maybe 3…) thanks to finning and fishing. Well, and in some places it’s legal to slaughter them because they’re “dangerous.”

Seriously people, be more afraid of an orca than a shark. Sharks are curious.

There was also a sea turtle in the shark enclosure, that was badass. But again, none of the photos turned out. I love sea turtles though!

I did, however, get this awesome picture of a stingray from the shark tank.

Aquarium 2013 - Family 111

Go stingrays!

This month is actually focused on sharks and stingrays, I thought that was fantastic.

Have I ever mentioned that I love dolphins?

They were my favourite animal at one point.

Aquarium 2013 - Family 127

Dolphins represent playfulness and freedom.

Not to mention they’re just amazing.

There were also belugas:

Aquarium 2013 - Family 147

Unfortunately, we missed the show.

There were also penguins.

African penguins.

Aquarium 2013 - Family 151

My Mom was arguing with me, saying penguins don’t live in Africa, but… sorry, that’s what these are (love you, Mom!)!

There was a sea otter, but it was swimming with a human and there was more of the human showing than the otter.

We also saw a lovely, little seal.

Aquarium 2013 - Family 159

There was a lot to see, I wanted to see it all, read it all… talk to it all…

Unfortunately, Dad’s back started really hurting, so we had to go home early. I wasn’t ready to go home yet, but that’s okay.

I was expecting there to be a little bit more, but… for what it is, I really liked it. I liked seeing the animals, I would’ve liked seeing a show though, or going through one of the movie things… We didn’t go everywhere either, I wish we would have.

THAAAAAANK YOUUUUUU, MUMSY AND DADIO!

Siblings too!

* * *

Yesterday was my Mom’s birthday.

My Dad and I went on an adventure. I bought lemon meringue pie, and we got really funny cards. Dad couldn’t find ambrosia so he picked up breakfast for her instead!

Afterwards, Mom, my Sister and I did a bunch of running around. Eventually, we went to pick up Kitty. It was soooOooOoOOoOOOooo nice to see her again! I haven’t seen her in, honestly, probably close to a year. She made me an amazing picture, it’s full of things that I like – Cheshire Cat, Darth Vader, Jack Skellington, Triforce (well…), TMNT – she even included my zodiac sign! …thing…! I wish I could paint like her. The other day, I was sitting in the visual arts centre at school and all I could think about was Kitty, she’s a good artist. She’s going back to school for pet grooming though.

I’m gonna have to visit her more often. I forgot how amazing she is!

Friendly Giant showed up and we all talked. Despite being Mom’s birthday, Mom made us a bunch of awesome foods – chicken wings, shrimp, fruit platters, etc. I freakin’ love my mom! Seriously, she’s better than all the mom’s in the world! I might be a liiiittttle biased.

I tried spinach dip for the first time in my life and holy crap, it was delicious. My sister set it up like this:

Aquarium 2013 - Family 005

Not all the food was out yet, but I thought it was cool, she carved out a bread loaf!

Cheesecake Queen and Tophat also showed up! It was nice seeing them. I got given brownies. God, does Cheesecake Queen make a good brownie or what? Well, you don’t know, and I’m not going to show you… especially since they’re almost all gone. THEY’RE EATING MY BIRFDAY PRESENT! 

I found out some interesting things, I’d like to talk to them more about that. We all just talk about random stuff.

I hope Kitty wasn’t too uncomfortable. I felt really bad!

* * *

…I wore my cape.

“To the kitchen!”

“To the bedroom!”

Tophat even simulated the cape in motion so I could pretend I was flying.

…I also wore my cape in public… I’m sure that has to do with why I got ID’ed…

We also went to the 7-11. The guy that complimented me on my earrings was there again. He said I looked nice and commented on my dress. I said that purple was my favourite colour and he said, “mine too!” and explained that it meant loyalty and so on…

Tim was happy that Tophat and Cheesecake Queen came. I wish that he could’ve come too. Growing up sucks sometimes, everyone either has to work, has school, or we’re entirely broke.

I’m glad I have friends though… all of them! I just hope I don’t get too annoying… 😉