More about vacation

Today I laid around feeling under the weather. Sent my husband and children off to the Lake Association Annual July 4 Family Fun Day for lunch. It’s around the lake a bit, at a cabin that has a nice stretch of beach.

They came back too soon, having already eaten, and insisted that I needed to accompany them back–via paddle boat–so Daddy could participate in the sailing race. So I grumpily went down and paddled over with the boys, while Kirk sailed over. A storm was rolling in, so there was an extravagant and uncharacteristic amount of wind on the lake.

We sat and watched swimming races. Ate some cake. And Kirk and T decided at the last minute to sign up for the paddleboat race. There were 3 other boats. Kirk and T won handily. Joy! A blue ribbon for T.

Then the sailing race. I helped steady the boat for Kirk, and gave him a push as the start was signalled. The wind was such, and he was busy fussing with the rudder board and the tiller, that he skidded sideways right into a dock. I pushed him further out. The other boat was well away already. Kirk got the boat going the way he wanted, tacked, tacked some more. Heading into a stiff wind, he leap-frogged his way to the first buoy. As he tacked just below the buoy, I saw that he’d caught and overtaken the other boat. He passed just on the other side of the buoy and headed straight downwind to the next buoy. The other boat tacked too soon, missed the first buoy, and lost wind for several minutes.

Kirk tacked around the 2nd buoy easily and came smoothly in to shore several minutes later. It took the other boat at least 5 more minutes to land. As we were picking up our 2nd blue ribbon for the day (Go, TEAM!) it began to rain, great huge drops of cold rain. Everyone ran to gather their belongings and sprint for home. Our sprint was, of course, straight across the choppy waters through the rain. We arrived home, and dashed inside for movies and drying off.

I watched the 2nd movie we’d rented–“Pride and Prejudice”. A chick movie if I ever saw one. My children could not even imagine why I didn’t turn it off already. I thought it was lovely. Keira Knightly does a creditable job at Elizabeth Bennett, although I’d rather see someone like, oh….Gwyneth Paltrow…in that role. I know, Gwyneth has done Emma, so she can’t be Elizabeth. Still, I think she’d be fine. Rosamund Pike was magnificent as Jane, and Judi Dench was, as always, fabulous. Donald Sutherland was actually quite moving as Papa Bennett–I didn’t have as much sympathy for that character reading the book, but after seeing Donald in that role, I was much more fond of him. The guy who played Mr. Darcy was not exactly the physical type I always think of for him, but he was really excellent in that part. Anyway, it’s a good movie, but it helps if you have already read and enjoyed the book, and it helps if you are female.

After dark, the fireworks started. It is a tradition around this lake that there be fireworks at various docks and beaches every night for several nights before and after the Fourth. We went out on the deck, then went down to the lower deck, and finally all the way to the dock, to watch. Between the fireworks (some of them too big to be legal in this state) and the lightning to the north, and the fireflies, we had quite a display.

I’ve always felt that fireflies were a completely improbable creature, that someone must’ve invented the idea of them. I certainly never saw any growing up in the Arizona desert. The first time I saw one, I was here, and was struck dumb with amazement. They are real. So are: Baltimore Orioles and cardinals. I’d also never seen any of those in AZ.

Of course, there are a few things in AZ that most people here don’t believe really exist either: huge hairy tarantulas that make mass migrations across roads and deserts, all together. Gila monsters. Jumping cholla. Black widow spiders, which are so plentiful in AZ that my mother kills a dozen of them every day in her carport. My husband used to tease me about checking my shoes for black widows and scorpions before putting them on, until another Arizonan unrelated to me confirmed that it was true. He also teased me for thinking that clean-cut young men in white shirts and ties, and riding bikes were probably Mormons–they always ARE in Arizona. If anyone ever wonders why Arizona is so Republican, take a look at a demographics map showing concentrations of Mormons across the country. But I digress–most Mormons couldn’t be called wildlife, and that’s what I was talking about.

Anyway, we continued with the New Wildlife Sightings this evening with another species of woodpecker–possibly the Red-Headed. Also, a Ruby-Breasted Nuthatch. I think that’s what it was called. Also, when we were sitting on the dock for the fireworks, we heard a deep-throated quacking sound that my 8 yo son identified correctly as a bullfrog. And there were TWO loons out on the water tonight. It is the call of the loons which most sooths my soul when we are here. It is lonely, melancholy, serene,…

It is now raining steadily, and is late enough that a woman who’s had a sore throat and fever aches all day should rightfully be in bed. So more tomorrow. Possibly.

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