Monday, August 17, 2009

Adventures on the AT

This weekend we went backpacking with some dear friends. This was the very first backpacking trip for all of the kids, as well as Kathryn. I personally was feeling a little nutty for taking a baby for an overnight hike-in camping trip, but the hike in was pretty easy, and short enough (2 miles) that we could bail if needed. And it was awesome.

We hiked to Little Rock Pond in VT - this is a section of the AT that is also the Long Trail. Although the day was hot and sticky, we got there in time to get settled in the Lula Tye shelter, and go for a swim before dinner. While setting up for dinner, we met a thru hiker named Gozer. She and her hiking partner Fancy Pants (love trail names) are doing the whole Appalachian Trail on only 1000$ each. Amazingly little money - and without mooching. They only accepted our invitation to share dinner when we told them the extra would go to the dogs - we definately could have packed less food :). Very cool people, and I wish them good luck and godspeed on the rest of their journey. Certainly made me realize that any AT trip for me will be when the kidlets are in college or beyond, when I can disappear for 6 months. Perhaps we'll do the Long Trail through in a few years...

Didn't sleep that well - on high alert that Bridger might try to crawl out of the lean-to, which he tried once. But it was cool and not too buggy, and there were owls around. In the morning we packed up, hiked out and went for a dip in the pool at the condo. Rob got to bike a little. Everyone was happy, had a great time, and we all agreed that doing two, even three nights next time was feasible.

Some pictures of our trip:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

First Harvest

The garden looks wild. Between the killer slugs, endless rain, and the wedding bonanza (bonanstravaganza to steal a friend's awesome word) weekend that just finished, I thought I'd killed it. But no! Yesterday I picked through the weeds and crazy tomato-cucumber plant tangle and found:

Three cukes and a zucchini.

I'm not too worried about the zucchini being a bit large - there are three others on the plant that I'll catch earlier. This one can be sliced into thin strips and used in place of lasagna noodles - mmm. Happy Happy!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Food Allergies Suck, or, Why I Think 'The Secret' is (mainly) Bullshit

Bridger seems to be increasingly sensitive to eggs. On Wednesday my dear friend C came over with Nora for breakfast. I made waffles, which involved seperating egg whites and yolks. I let the white drain through my hands, but as always, washed my hands well in hot soapy water before touching anything. Fast forward about an hour... Bridger, who was shirtless (flashing those little man-boobs) because it was hot, developed what looked like a cluster of mosquito bites on his back, which in about five minutes has spread to his stomach. Now, with all this rain, there have been a few buzzers in the house, but not enough to do that. B had shared a new brand of rice puffs with Nora, so while C called the company to inquire if they share their processing facilities with any egg products, I re-read the information I have on egg allergy, and then began to think that it may have been contact. The hives were only where my hands go to pick him up. Call to the doc confirmed that that is the only possibility that makes sense.

This makes me pretty nervous, to be truthful. Each reaction has required less egg. The last time he reacted from consumption he had a TEASPOON of a large (12 inch diameter) pan full of gratin that had a SINGLE egg in it. Result? Covered in hives, and puking. Now this time I touch eggs, I touch him, and that contact point is covered in hives, and oh yeah, he ended up puking. I keep repeating in my head, 'he'll grow out of it, he'll grow out of it'. But until then, eggs are EVERYWHERE. Even the flu shot is grown in eggs, so that's off the table this winter. Thank goodness it looks like he has no plans to stop nursing, so I can at least give him any immunity I have. But yeah, this food allergy thing? It sucks. It never was on my radar, we have no family history of food allergies, I followed all the new 'rules' given to me by the doc regarding solids. And yet, here we are. Which brings me to the second part of the post title...

In YTT last weekend we watch the movie 'The Secret'. The book was endorsed by Oprah a while ago. I had heard some buzz, but really didn't know what the premise was, and thus tried to watch the insuing woo-fest with an open mind. What a mistake. The first third of the movie was dedicated to telling you, dear viewer, that anything that has gone 'wrong' in your life you have created with your negative thoughts. Now, as a survivor of sexual assault, I can tell you categorically that I did not THINK my way into being raped. And that Bridger is NOT allergic to eggs for any other reason than his immune system rejecting a protein. That whole section I was really kibbing out - it's been a long time since I sat through a trigger like that. Here are some notes that I took: 'OFFENSIVE', 'where does free will come into play?', 'sometimes shit just happens', 'I BELIEVE one cannot control what happens to us, but one can control how we react to our circumstances', 'skeptical because they are claiming to have THE ANSWER'. There are things in life we just can't control, and this thinking totally ignores that, but at the same time lets you off the hook for the things in life you have control of, the things that you can do to mitigate your circumstances. And wow, talk about blaming the victim in the incidence of violence and tragedy!

Now, in fairness, the movie wasn't a total loss. Once they got past claiming that you can think your way into a 4 million dollar house (how is that the measure of happiness and success, anyway?), there were some good points about gratitude. And I do think that positive thinking is important - we used Hypnobirthing for Bridger, and that labor preparation involved affirmations and 'visualizing' the birth that I wanted. I've used visualization in riding. But all the affirmations in the world sometimes don't play out. Shit still happens, and not because we didn't manifest our intentions well enough.

I think the real measure of success is how one deals with the shit in life, because all life is with some hardship, some pain. I think it's necessary; the heat, pressure and stress all mold us into stronger beings, if we let it. Our bones require stress to lay down new tissue to grow and strengthen. Carbon requires high heat and terrible pressure to become a diamond. My aim is to survive and thrive, regardless of the hand I am dealt.

Time to get packed up to head north - think if I wish hard enough the car won't need any gas?