Do you like MC Frontalot? I do. I especially like this song. It amuses me that I am sharing it here.
Great, yes? Nerdcore fills my soul.
So there are various genres of bad blogs, if you will, but one of my least favorites is the "album"-style blog, which consists exclusively of photos from personally significant events (usually vacations or some such) with minimal commentary, and no word-based posts to break the monotony of facefacefacebuildingbuildingSILLYfaceOMGSOBORING. Some people should just start a Flickr account, know what I'm saying?
If you think I am talking about you, I am not.
Anyway, I went on vacation last week and I regret to inform you that I am going to post some pictures now. Don't worry, though, I will also post some stories to keep things interesting.
The stories and the picture are not going to match most of the time. What, you think I need to post a photo of me white-water rafting if I am already GOING TO TELL YOU ABOUT IT IN VIVID DETAIL WITH MY WORDS? I don't have to prove anything to you through photographic evidence. I'm not a freakin' journalist.
Ahem. Last week we had a family reunion at the Skalitude Retreat in Methow Valley, WA. It's in Carlton if you know where that is. You don't? Well, Carlton is kinda near Winthrop? Still no? Well, it's like three hours northeast-ish of Seattle. It has trees, but rattlesnakes, so it's like this weird mix of Western Washington and Eastern Washington. The retreat center had cabins with showers and electricity, but solar power and composting toilets, so it was also this weird mix of living large like swanky vacationers and being green. It used to be a commune. Also, lots of us slept in tents, so it was kind of like camping.
I should preface this by saying that my extended family is quite close, and we actually enjoy spending time together, and so a family reunion for us is something to be looked forward to rather than dreaded. I have anecdotal evidence that this is somewhat unusual.
We were there from Saturday to Friday. It was very pleasant.
David and I drove there all by ourselves like big kids.
David is driving here.
We brought Sego along with us, too. Here is a photo series about Sego's attitude on long car trips.
I get to go on a car ride? I promise to be very very good.
Seriously, we're not there yet?
We're never going to get there, are we? Not ever ever.
Luckily, Sego can't talk, so he can't complain. This is a rare instance where Kids = 0, Dogs = +1.
One of the main pastimes of Koler Family Reunions is the playing of volleyball. Nobody in my family is all that good at volleyball, and yet because we are as a general rule pretty competitive people, most of the volleyball tournament players are out for blood. Even myself, even though I suck at volleyball (having two eyes would up my advantages some). I like winning, and I would say the team I played on won about 50% of the time, which isn't bad. My trash talk, however, was awesome 100% of the time.
We played boys versus girls, shirts (or bras) versus skins, and random selection games. I got noticeably better at setting after an errant hit knocked over someone's beer and pandemonium ensued. Many of my family members gave me some HOT TIPS and explained some of the rules that I had never really understood, so overall the daily volleyball playing was a success. Also, there were millions of flies that landed on our bare skin and made us feel like barnyard animals while we played. They didn't bite, they were just annoying.
Fact: I am good at serving.
Here are some photos of the meadow where we played volleyball and where I walked Sego on a regular basis until I heard a rattlesnake one day and got a little paranoid about him being bitten. He basically had the best vacation ever. No leashes, three other dogs to play with, and lots of attention from kids and adults alike.
Remember that one week in August when I lived on a commune with my family and went for a walk every day in a gorgeous meadow? Yeah, me too. Also, I have since cleaned my camera lens.
Rafting and Trauma
I had never been white water rafting before, but David and my dad had been a few times (boy scouts). Two of my cousins are actually licensed river guides, so we got to go rafting for cheap and I got to be yelled at for my bad paddling form by a relative instead of a stranger. Paddling a raft is really counter-intuitive, I feel. Maybe I have just spent too much time in a canoe. I think I need to go a few more times before paddling will make sense to me kinesthetically.
Despite my lack of paddling prowess, rafting was extremely fun until the last fifteen minutes of the trip. Until then we were all enjoying the sun on our skin and watching the kids pull the adults into the water and float around in their life jackets. Then suddenly we approached some rapids that we weren't expecting and all but seven of us were out of the boats. There wasn't any time to reach the people who were in the water, so they had to just float through. Watching my eleven year-old cousin's head go underwater in a rapid two or three times scared the SHIT out of me. Luckily he was fine except for some bruises. He was actually the least panicked of all of us.
A couple of the adults who weren't as buoyant as the kids got banged up a little more. My uncle who is a doctor got the worst of it. I don't think he'll be going white water rafting again anytime soon.
Aside from the fifteen minutes of sheer terror and thinking that my uncle was dead when we pulled him into the boat and he had his eyes closed, it was a successful trip? Is it sick that I really do want to go again?
This is not the river we went rafting in, but it is a river.
We Have Angered the River Gods
So after that kinda scary day of rafting, we thought we would recover the next day by doing something quiet and relaxing in the river. Apparently, the river sprites do not like my family.
We planned to drive a couple miles up the river, park our cars, and then float down the river in rafts and inner tubes until we reached the swimming hole where the little kids and less adventurous adults would be hanging out. The only problem is, we couldn't find a place alongside the river to park, so we ended up driving a little further than we planned.
My cousin from Sweden and I were in a raft together, and while we floated along we had a great chat about pretty much everything you can think of. We had a pretty nice raft so we ended up getting ahead of everyone else (who were in inner tubes and a sucky raft, respectively). At one point, we realized that we had been in the water much longer than the two hours that we had planned, and my aunt mentioned that she and I ought to paddle ahead and send someone with a car to pick everyone else up.
Pretty soon she and I were floating in the raft alone, with no end in sight, with no food or water or other people. I don't remember what else happened because we were both delirious with the heat.
Eventually we arrived at our destination after over four hours. We were both really sick, but luckily another cousin gave us the clothes off his back (literally) and someone else brought us hummus and beer (because beer will hydrate you! wait ... ).
I do not think I will do another activity involving boating in rivers for a few months.
If you know me, you know that I hardly ever complain of being hot. I am almost always cold. So when I woke up at midnight the night after River Fiasco the Second because I was too hot to sleep, I knew something was really wrong. I went to the kitchen and drank a glass of tonic water, a glass of juice and ate slice of watermelon. My cousin who is an EMT came in, felt my forehead and determined that I pretty much needed to poison myself with water to make my fever go away.
We went outside and watched the meteor shower and drank insane amounts of water and talked. He pulled out a joint after a couple of hours, which made the conversation even more entertaining. At about four in the morning, we determined that my fever was gone and I could go back to sleep.
I love that there are so many people who take care of me.
That pretty much sums it all up.