Chatty Cathy clip your string…

I figured that if the roiling river of drivel was there to flow, I might as well post and cleanse the palate after the last one.

I think I’m either a hoarder or flashing back to being a settler in the woods with very little food surrounded by hungry bears and possibly zombies.
I have this weird thing about having enough food on hand for… whatever.
Emergencies would actually require a different set of foods (easily cooked, pre-cooked, etc) so it really isn’t the emergency thing. Zombie attacks would require more ammo than I care to keep on hand. Though actually now that I think about it, I think I was traumatized by a few episodes of “Gordon Elliott’s Door Knock Dinners” where some famous chef and Gordon Elliot shows up on your doorstep and want to make dinner out of what you have on hand.
Eek.
If you look at the stuff I have in my wee pantry (1920’s kitchen-long tall cabinet) then you see a few luscious goodies from Trader Joe’s (though I’m trying to avoid canned things now, so the items will have to be different.)

I also have a freezer now, a birthday present from a few years ago, and boy howdee that made me happy to have all that freezer space. (Fine, I’m weird. 7 pounds of unsalted butter makes me squee.)

(Actually I had my own version of Door Knock Dinners happen and happily I had several NOMmy things on hand that pleased the chef… namely a sweet corn and crab souffle). So, aside from the ongoing mess, the fact that I haven’t showered today and that I am wearing a 2 yard piece of polarfleece sarong-style to keep warm, I’m ready.
Bring it Gordon.

I had a nice solstice and xmoose thankyouverymuch. The rules for solo holidays vary from the group holiday.
When you are visiting family, all the old rules apply:
1. You have to wait until the designated hour to open your prezzies.
2. Special jammies MUST be procured (I still adhere to this even in solo conditions.)
3. All regular holiday traditional meals must be acknowledged, or eaten.

But since I have been solo on most holidays lately (not a big deal, I like to mix it up) I have been applying those rules:
1. OPEN PREZZIES AS SOON AS THEY HIT THE DOORSTEP (Don’t hurt the UPS dude, he’s just the messenger)
2. Special jammies MUST be worn (they can be ratty as hell and not fit for public as long as they are comfy)
3. Eat special holiday food whenever and in however many quantities you wish. For example: if the special spaghetti sauce that is normally reserved for xmoose eve can be eaten for 3 days straight (minus the noodles; carbs, you see…)

But despite my assertion that I only cook 3 times a year, I didn’t really cook for xmoose this year and probably won’t for new year’s. I roasted a chicken and did some sweet potatoes in the oven, but that was about it. I think I’m still tired from the last 6 months.
Also, I’m kinda focused on redoing bits of the house. The kitchen always needs to be de-cluttered, but I managed to do a bit of tactical rearranging. I moved the kitchen armoire to the entryway and the table back into the kitchen (until I get tired of that and change it all around again.)

 

I also decided to tackle the bedroom.
I love patterns. There was a series of Esprit ads back in the day that had natural linen, wee tiny flower patterns on black cotton cloth, white tshirts and jean jackets in various combos and it pretty much just defined the way I like to mix things. (I’ll find them and try to post them without breaking copyright) My furniture tends to be natural, black or red. So my black metal framed (Craigslist score!) bed and wood tables/drawers/benches in my room are pretty neutral. I have awesome sheets (sock monkeys, paisleys and stripey) and they are easily changed out for thick Target white sheets. I nabbed a white on white quilt at Marshall’s for cheap-ish and a microfleece blankie is on its way from Overstock. Total cost $63. Then I used a bit of xmoose gift money to buy a cover for my wingback chair so it will be white soon as well.
The hard part about all this stuff (wabi-sabi is probably the closest to describe it) is getting the piles of stuff I need to sort sorted and also to just finally toss or scan then toss those magazine clippings from as far back as high school.
I even still have this one picture that was in my locker from a Marie Claire magazine. She was topless so I took a cut out of a bracelet and taped it over her bits. (Andrew Bowman would always try to peek at her in a rare display of perv behavior on his part. I don’t think he was really perving, but messing with me… not that I minded. I had the biggest crush in the world on Andrew – as did half the school. (He was my little ionic bond though. Ah memories.) So I was pleased to have him drop by the locker regardless. Boy, won’t he be happy to have that information stored in teh intarweb? Store this too:he was never anything but an awesome, hilarious guy. Use that when he runs for president.)
Umm… yeah. That paragraph right there is why I have too much stuff. I have memories and memories and memories.
So I need to get rid of the piles of clutter that I have been slowly working my way through. I’ve always found that when I am upset or angry that is the best time for me to clean. I lose the sentimentality and just let it go. So I’m still upset over Bunny, but not angry enough to trash the archives. (NOTE:That is not an invitation to the universe to make me angry.)
I’ve been nagging mom to give me old wine crates, finding wooden boxes that look interesting and rearranging the vintage suitcases into arty piles  that turn into bedside tables and storage if they aren’t mothballed.
Like this person’s, but not painted:

 

I like the texture that all this stuff has and the kind of retreat feeling that it will have. Its kind of my present to myself to get this room right. And while I said that I wanted the whole house clean by 1/1/11, I don’t think I can manage that, but I think the bedroom will come together by then.. or at least by the end of this weekend which I consider the appropriate timeline.
Updated photos and new photos will follow… I’ll even be a dear and use a real camera instead of Errol.

———————–

Also, I closed comments on the last post as I really can’t talk about it more than what I posted. I’ll leave them open on this one, but please only comment on this one. I’ll delete comments that don’t apply. Thanks.

she’s doing fine…*really* well.

I’ve been busy as hell though (and tired as hell, but enjoying my cat being Bunny again more than you will ever comprehend).

I have Bunny on aluminum hydroxide, low protein diet, sub-q Ringer’s Lactate (100ml/day) and Pepcid AC, but they don’t know just how much kidney function she has left. She’s gaining weight back, moving pretty well and I’m keeping her hydrated (irritating her mostly as she’s pretty well hydrated as it is… I make “cat soup” with her food. I put warm water over it and she drinks it… easier for her anyway as she really doesn’t have much in the way of teeth.)
She’s talking to me again (you know things are bad when she actually meows) and snuggling a bit with me in the mornings. Also she is coming out to sit with me when I am at my desk.
All those things much more normal than before.
The numbers are back from her follow-up visit (vet called me the other day) and her renal numbers are MUCH improved-no backsliding at all. He said that usually after that much artificial support at the hospital you see a bit when you get onto home care… not the bun (but alas, renal failure didn’t just go away. dammit) but she is very anemic which is a side effect of the kidney decline. May have to start giving her shots for the hematopoietin that she isn’t generating enough of…
She’s way more herself, but I see the anemia manifesting as lots of sleep (even for a cat) well, maybe not more sleep; but deeper sleep. I get to watch her dream.
That in itself is charming and gut wrenching at the same time.
(Though the vet seemed happy she was dreaming and sleeping well.)
Her appetite is fabu (still eating a full can of cat food a day (mostly the renal failure diet, but I’m splitting it to 75/25 with Turducken/Grammy’s Pot Pie so she can rebuild muscle with actual protein and maybe get in a little red blood cell action).

Anyhoo, not that I count, but I haven’t cried in 4 whole days (yay me.)
The house is a mess, but I don’t feel like setting it all on fire anymore. Mostly am just reorganizing and throwing out old things (not into the landfill either). I actually did some things on my to do list (which was turning into a wishlist) instead of laying on the bed staring at her or just sleeping near her the whole weekend.

In other news, I will be trying my hand at cassoulet this coming weekend. Because I haven’t been able to get to the grocery store for weeks now, my fridge is bare (save for cat food) and I think I’m craving proteins.
I’ll blog it, natch.
G’night posterity.
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Its in French!

Scam Alert

Bonjour,
Je vous prie de bien vouloir m’excuser pour cette intrusion qui peut paraître surprenante à première vue d’autant qu’il n’existe aucune relation entre nous.
Je voudrais avec votre accord vous présenter ma situation et vous proposer une affaire qui pourrait vous intéresser.

Je me nomme Mlle.KONE FANTA j’ai 22 ans et la seule fille de mon Père Honorable KONE SYLA, qui était un homme très riche, négociant de Café/Cacao basé à Abidjan la Capitale Economique de la Côte d’Ivoire, empoisonné récemment par ses associés Après la mort de ma mère le 21 Octobre 2000, mon père m’as pris spécialement avec lui.

Le 24 Décembre 2003 est survenu le décès de mon père dans une clinique privée (PISAM) à Abidjan.

Avant sa mort, secrètement, il m’a dit qu’il a déposé une somme d’un montant de (850.000 euros) Huit Cent cinquante Mille euros dans un compte bloqué dans une banque de la côte d’ivoire le but dêtre transferé en mon nom comme héritiere.

Il me recommande aussi de chercher un associé étranger qui pourrait honnêtement me faire bénéficier de son assistance pour sauver ma vie et assurer mon existence.

– faire une demande de transfert de mon compte bloqué sur son compte et servir de gardien.
D’ailleurs, je vous donnerai 25 % et 5% serviront aux dépenses éventuelles qui seront effectuées.

Je vous serai reconnaissante de pouvoir bénéficier de vos conseils utiles .

NB : Je vous recommande de traiter cette affaire avec subtilités et confidentialité vu la dégradation de la situation socio politique dans laquelle nous vivons présentement.

Que Dieu vous bénisse
Mlle.kone fanta

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Packing List: AT Gear (the important stuff for 1 week)



Mom and pack shakedown, originally uploaded by fredlet.

Jansportjuno73Pack: JanSport Juno 73 Pack – yes, its a big pack. They asked us to bring a larger one and really it fit pretty well and carried all my stuff (much to the guide’s chagrin since I abhor a vacuum and must fill empty spaces…) I was probably at 32 pounds with all my and the group gear. Funny story at REI, when we went to go get mom’s pack, we told them of the requirements and he really tried to steer us to a 3000 cu in pack since the 4500 one is really huge. I was hesitant to go smaller, while I did agree with him, 4500 is huge, I didn’t know what kind of bulky group gear our guides would be giving us and I didn’t want to be flouting their requests already. We ended up saying thanks but no thanks to the guy and eventually coming back to find her pack on our own. Its starting to be an issue with REI folks actually. They are very nice and very smart, but they don’t seem to get that some of us have weird requirements (like me and my men’s hiking boot things and our listing for a large pack for this trip) and that sort of bothers me.

Osprey Rain CoverPack Rain Cover: Osprey Raincover XL at MRO, this weighs about 8 oz and squishes down nicely into its carrying case (moreover you can get it BACK into its own case which is downright amazing.) Also, serves double duty as a rain seat that you tighten around yourself while you sit on the ground with the upper part curved around your shoulders. handy when you are under a tarp but still sitting on the ground.

Clothes: (all my clothes lived in a Sea to Summit waterproof bag (8L) to prevent them from getting wet and also served as my pillow at night.)
–>2 shirts (cool max Champion brand from Target on clearance last year) *Necessary* since I sweat and it was warm on the uphills, but cool after you took off your pack. When it was rainy, getting things to dry was a bitch and a half (and the quick dry only made it a bitch to dry off in the sleeping bag with me)
–>Rain Pants that also zipped off to shorts, but walking in these shorts was a clammy affair. I primarily used these over long johns or over my other shorts to keep warm/dry (and the fact that my legs were cold indicated that it was *cold* as I frequently run around in shorts and a wool sweater all year round here in Nor Cali.)
–>Shorts (cool max) I got these at Target and these were FANTASTIC. I need to get a couple more pair since these suckers ROCK.
–>Socks I took 3 pairs of SmartWool (or the REI brand, buy 3 and get 10% off) and swapped socks every day. Some people advocate changing sock mid-day, but I found that if I took of my shoes mid-day that my feet hurt on the afternoon trek. Your mileage may vary. I slept in one pair and alternated the other two. The happyhappyjoyjoy thing about SmartWool is that it does NOT get stinky or gross. Hooray for natural materials!
–>Undies: Ex Officio magic undies-quick dry and anti stinky.
–>Long Undies: I did a combo of SmartWool (top) and Polarmax Tech Pants long undies and while they were both ok, I really should have gotten SmartWool on both ends, the SmartWool was much more comfy. I slept in my long undies at night, both for warmth (though my sleeping bag was double plus good! especially for having been on sale for $69, but I’ll discuss it later…) I was a squicky about my skin on skin since I was pretty gross. It helped me to sleep (mom said this as well after one night that she didn’t sleep in hers.)
–>Rain Jacket: A Marmot shell that I zipped the fleece out of
–>Boots: Merrell men’s Mesa ventilators (because I have yet to find a pair of women’s hiking boots that are wide enough for me… jeebus, girls, how do you walk around on those little popsicle sticks without falling over?) though the one’s I linked to aren’t exactly it, they are ventilators which probably also helped with my feet not getting hot in combo with the SmartWool socks. I can say that I had exactly ZERO problems with my feet (and frankly I thought I would have problems with them since my feet are sort of diva-high-maintenance-Bitchy-McSnipe-esque as far as feet go. Needless to say, I was very happy- the cold I had, well, that’s quite another matter.)
–>Gaiters: I got the ones made of the same material that my Mistral pants are made from… good stuff, but I am actually pondering some Outdoor Research ones.
–>Camp Shoes: MRO had Nothinz on sale for half off… I was going to go the cheap flip flop route, but I yielded to peer pressure, and it wasn’t a bad decision. Croc knockoffs would have been just as good… plus mom bought them so even better. ;)
–>Hat: mine looked like a regular baseball cap, but is actually a winter runner’s cap with little earflaps that can fold down for the cold… and I used ’em, too. Brrr.
–>Knee brace

Tent: this was group gear and they brought it for us… It was an REI Half Dome tent ca. 2004. Very good tent, we were rained on pretty heavily and we stayed dry. Roughly 6 pounds and made of heavier material than the new UL ones they have now.
Boffo! A good one…

Rosa sleeping bagSleeping Bag: Sierra Designs Rosa, on sale as previously mentioned, kept me nicely warm. It has a little feet liner at the bottom that I haven’t seen before that was really nifty as well as the dual zipper that let me stick my feet out even when the rest of the bag was zipped up. As for the ‘narrower through the torso nonsense’, well, I ain’t, to put it very bluntly. I also sleep on my side, so I’m pondering the Big Agnes bag that is built for us side sleepers, though I like the fact that the Rosa is lighter and synthetic (goosedown loses warmth if it gets wet and takes forever to dry). Still making my decision on this one. I would like a smaller bag so that it doesn’t take up a crapload of space in my bag so I can use my UL 45 pack in the future.

Sleeping Pad: Thermarest Z Lite. I have a Thermarest that I used for years and its heavy and a pain to deal with (inflate, un-inflate, etc.). I like the fold up design of this and I can bunch up parts of it to work as a pillow or under my knees when I lie flat (as I can’t really sleep on my side with my current sleeping bag). It also is nice and light, easy to manoeuvre (putting down, picking up). I did beat it up on trees when I walked though since I put it up on the top of my pack (having removed the pack lid with the pocket previously.)

Eat-y things:

–>Spork:I had a red one (which I left at home… duh) so I bought a blue one at MRO. Not bad, but I think I like mom’s Foon.
–>Cup and Bowl: I liked the bowl (its easy to open it up and lick it clean), but the cup wasn’t as fun. I didn’t bring a plate. I might consider bringing this cup or more likely this one that I use all the time anyway even though it weighs a bit more.
–>Camelbak: 2L…worth it.

Personal Patch Kit: Its an Outdoor Research ultralight organizer with little things like nail nippers (for fighting off bears), Tylenol (lots), Sudafed (even more), skin goop, toothbrush, toothpaste, baby wipes (for every other day wipe down) and other little snickety things that would get lost in the wilds of my pack.
I think they tried to talk me out of it, but it was one of the things that I held firm on (instead of using ziploc bags for everything).

Misc Items:
–>Gorilla Tape
–>Bandannas (x2)
–>Trekking Poles: I wasn’t certain how I’d work with these and mom definitely was skeptical. But they saved my butt all week. I balanced myself with them, pushed myself up mountains, took the weight off of my knees (which I will discuss later) and pretty much earned their keep (and I bought cheap-y ones in case the airlines destroyed them in my duffel I checked, so I’m guessing even lighter weight ones would be even better.) Also, if I decide on the other tent I thought was cool, it would use the poles instead of tent poles for double duty.
–>Treo in waterproof case that also had my ID and insurance card (in case of bears… they are deathly afraid of HMO’s, you know) and earphones. I probably could have lived without my Treo on this trip because I was so sick, but otherwise, I think I would have still wanted it with me.
–>Garmin eTrex Vista for fun and to see our altitude, to mark waypoints where we stayed etc. because I am a big geek. I would take this again in a heartbeat.
–>Journal small spiral binder (4×5) for notes + pen
–>Camera: My old Sony waterproof 2megapixel one so I wouldn’t worry about killing my good one on the trail.
–>More ziploc bags for trash, daily snacks, messy things, stuff that went in the bear bag at night, etc.
–>LED headlamp: A Energizer one which I didn’t use much as I observed the hiker midnight rule (a.k.a. going to bed when the sun went down… about 8 pm or 9 pm. Giggling from other tents went on long after… it really was one big slumber party. ;)

Food:
Now, I don’t know that I can fairly assess my food situation for this week. I caught a cold and was stuffed up and MISERABLE (not to mention other issues that some of us girlies have to deal with directly) so I really didn’t eat much this whole week. (Nor did I want to…)
No, really.
In fact, everyone was going out of their way to make sure I actually put food in my mouth and ate it. To be perfectly honest, I could go for a while and not worry about missing a meal. They should have worried if I didn’t drink water (which I managed to clear out my Camelbak just about every day even though it was nice a cool out side, no problem with water at all.)
It hurt to eat stuff since my throat was raw, my taste buds were not functioning (well, no nose, no taste) and the one or two times I even remotely felt hungry was when we were walking and it went away after about 3 minutes. It wasn’t a big deal.
Here’s what I actually took (more than other folks because of my persnickety stomach)

  • package of dried mushrooms
  • 1 big package cheese mashed potato mix
  • 10 string cheeses
  • Cheese mix from a macaroni and cheese box
  • GORP (with a liberal amount of peanut M&M’s, because really, who are we kidding?)
  • beef jerky
  • 15 Cherry Pie Larabars (my favorites)
  • Mild Slim Jims
  • Contrast that list with what I actually ate that week:

  • 1 piece of jerky
  • 4 string cheeses
  • 1/4 packet dried mushrooms (these were amazingly good in the potato ‘soup’ listed below)
  • 1/2 of the mashed potato mix (I ended up putting a couple of spoonfuls into a 1/2 c of hot water and ended up with potato soup… also very good. I looked forward to that as much as I did the…
  • Group food: chicken soup/chicken boullion/miso soup mix ~ 1/2 c each night as an appetizer as soon as we got off the trail and had water heated.
  • 1/2 of a mild Slim Jim; it nauseated me
  • 1 Larabar over 3 days (the nuts hurt my throat)
  • 7 peanut M&M’s (I remember counting them)
  • Group food: Some noodles with the cheese mix on it
  • Group food: black beans and rice, but I remember having to choke them down (not because they were bad, mind you, but because I couldn’t swallow very well because of my cold.) and keeping them down was a chore as well. Not a pleasant meal. The cups of soup were the highlight of the trip.
  • 1 cup of Earl Grey tea one morning
  • No breakfast, but then again I never eat breakfast (though I didn’t even want coffee… weird. Most likely I just wanted to stay in my sleeping bag a little longer rather than get up to get hot water…) The rest of the trip was lots of water, but I didn’t notice not eating much at all. I think everyone else was more concerned about the food situation than I was.
    Frankly, it was just another chore.

    What I didn’t take (that I would need to take on a solo trip):

    JetboilJetBoil: We used a group feedbag situation that involved the guides having the stoves. That sometimes meant that I had to eat earlier than I wanted and didn’t have hot water when it would have been nice to have (later at night before I went to bed to warm up a bit.) I have an insulate-y sleeve that I should have brought for my Nalgene bottle so I could have kept some water at temperature.

    Outdoor Research NightHaven ShelterTent: Outdoor Research NightHaven Shelter with footprint. I like the fact it is 2 pounds and you use your trekking poles.

    More Gorilla tape and the other little things like a lighter,water filter, a tarp and light rope that the guides took.

    All in all, most things were good… but marshmallows and hot chocolate would probably be on the list somewhere as well.

    AT:TUE

    6/12
    The morning dawned somewhat dewily on the tents.
    I got up and got mom some coffee back in the tent and organized our stuff out of the bear bag (actually more accurately named “the mouse bag” as it was to keep the rodentia out.) and moved the rainfly off to a sunny patch to let it dry.
    I tried to eat a Larabar (normally my favorite thing) and had to quit halfway through it since swallowing brought tears to my eyes. I put it away for later.
    The lead guide came over to talk to me this morning about me being sick.
    She was concerned that on the day we crossed Wilburn Ridge that my being seriously slow could be a problem if weather got bad. Exposure out on the ridge if there was lightning was a seriously dangerous prospect. People have died… and neither she nor I wanted that.
    I understood her point of view. The danger was real, my cold was potentially going to get worse and she needed to know if she needed to get me out.
    I told her that I would go and go and go. I wouldn’t stop, I wouldn’t be as fast as everyone, and realistically I couldn’t promise any speed increases, but I wouldn’t ever stop or give up or whine about it. I also told her that despite all that, if she thought I might put someone in danger that she should tell me. I wasn’t about to ask anyone to get hurt on my account.
    We decided that we’d see how I did that day (it was a shorter day) and that there were still places for me to hike out that weren’t exposed in front of us if worse came to worse.
    Needless to say I felt even more horrible after this talk.
    What if I were ruining everyone’s trip-especially mom’s? I know how much she looked forward to this (I had, too.)? What if I became that problem child that no one ever wants to deal with? The guilt of yesterday hit harder, my cold wasn’t better, I felt worse everyday, and now, I was a problem.
    Glorious.
    I also knew that my mom was concerned. She blames everything on me being overweight (middle east strife, global warming, etc.) but I’ve always been awful on uphill stuff even when I was in somewhat reasonable shape, so while me losing weight wouldn’t be a bad thing, it most likely wouldn’t make me any faster slogging up a hill.
    The good news was, Tricky, the lead guide wanted me to continue (as did I) and was pretty positive about me doing it. I didn’t think she’d lost faith in me yet. (and there was no way I would be the one who said quit. They really would have to kick me out bodily. I’m stubborn as hell, yo.)
    We packed up after gathering in a circle to do stretches all around and moved off to the area near Wise Shelter.
    Tricky and Almanac switched duty each day for lead/sweep. So today, I had custody of Tricky. It was kind of nice to be able to have the guide all to myself (even if I wasn’t able to hold up my side of the conversation as well due to breathing.)
    DSC00693.JPGWhile I was making the climb of the first hill, she gave me some pointers about tackling hills and general trekking pole usage (I was getting the hang of them, but I was still learning, so pointers were much appreciated).
    Basically, I needed to slow down and conserve my puny resources. So I started to retrain myself on my pace.
    Mr. Potato Head is pretty ingrained and muscle memory is not an easy thing to redo, so I spent the day working up new walking song… or rather, a walking uphill song.
    I ended up with a mishmash of imagery.

  • The slow pace I kept on the uphill combined with the trekking pole usage reminded me of elephants moving (shut up).
  • Elephants like peanuts.
  • The accompanying sound is a combo of a drastically slowed down baby elephant song that sounds like a foghorn.
    PEAAAAAAA-Nut.
    Repeat ad nauseum.
    But, by the next hill, I only stopped once to drink, because regardless of whether I can still breathe while going uphill, I’m still a klutz and will fall down if I try to drink from my camelbak tube, use trekking poles and walk at the same time.
    Let’s be realistic here. Some things you can’t solve with PEANUT.
    Mom coming up the hill from The ScalesAt times, I was even in front of mom. (To be fair, she was stopping every 5 seconds to Hoover up the wild strawberries along the trail. I’d give her even odds with a hungry black bear duking it out for the strawberries. I can’t win here.)
    It became even more clear to me that breaks were irritating. I’d show up at the group break about 5 minutes after they flopped down (drastic improvement here, folks-still with the snot and the cold and the cramps, that was persistent) and not want to stop.
    Still not hungry, though. I’d watch them eat and I’d drink some water and take pictures then we’d go.
    Granted, this was an absolutely easy day on rolling trail, but I kept up, I didn’t stop and I made it to camp right about the time everyone else did.
    We set up camp just north of Wise Shelter (oh yeah, did I mention we were hiking North to South? No? Oh, well now you know.). The meadow was surrounded by rhododendrons, there was a river running just north of us (that we crossed over on a very cool bridge on the way there), took advantage of the privy and mom and I sat down in the tent for a bit.
    Well, she sat for a bit. I passed out and woke up about 2 hours later when I got cold.
    I had a fever at that point, even I could feel it, so I took out the sleeping pads and bags and went back to sleep.
    Alien in the tentI have two pictures of this part of the day… one of the alien from inside the tent and the other one of the roof of the tent. There is evidence of me walking around, but I was generally as elusive as Sasquatch.
    I could hear all the fun going on all around me, and I sort of enjoyed the half day vicariously listening to everyone talk about the snake they saw at the river, mom coercing Sassy into finding firewood for a fire, Almanac starting dinner and the following gem of a conversation.

    (Rustle, rustle, rustle)
    Miscellaneous people: What’s that rustling? Is that a bear?!
    Almanac (in mom voice): Who’s there!
    Sassy: Its just me, Angela. (she was in the bushes looking for firewood)
    Teabag: Oh, all bears say that!

    And forever more, all bears are named Angela.
    Then, additionally, Sassy flushed a couple of robin babies.
    One looked sort of like a 20 year old boy refusing to leave home (effectively ready to go, but not yet kicked out) and the other one had the crazy baby robin feathers and not quite ready for prime time.

    Mom:Its a fledgling.
    [I couldn’t ID the voice]: looks like a baby.
    Mom: its a fledgling.
    [I couldn’t ID the voice]: a what?
    Mom:A FLEDGLING.
    (I could hear the “whatever” in the silence.)

    I emerged briefly for dinner, and while it tasted fine, it was black beans and rice, and my throat was seriously trying to kill me for eating this. I barely managed to swallow the little I had and keep it down. That was an unpleasant meal. I wanted more of the chicken soup.
    I took more drugs and went back into the tent.
    After they started a fire (I could hear mom grousing about being talked out of packing marshmallows – “But they are light!” she grumped.) and a game with the group of “2 truths and a lie” I went to sleep.
    There had been a brief discussion about my continuing the next day and we decided to to let the weather decide. I had reiterated that I wasn’t quitting, and that short of a thunderstorm, I would go until they told me I couldn’t. There was one last place I could hike out at Massie Gap and we’d see how that went.
    Jeebus what a horrible night.
    I dreamed that they kicked me out, I dreamed that they magically found a horse trail that I was able to skirt the ridge, I was half mourning Rhododendron Gap that I had built up in my head as a magical fairy place (must have been all the drugs, I’m not usually sentimental over bushes.)…
    I’m sure that this was brought on by the sudafed/tylenol cocktail that I had been pushing trying to make myself somewhat less comatose, but the sentiment remained.
    And then it started to rain.

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