Friday, May 21, 2010

A nice relaxing weekend

So a couple of weeks ago, the weather is beautiful. It was in the 80's and the sky was a beautiful blue. We thought we had seen the end of the rain!!! I mean we saw three times more rain than average in April.
On that Saturday, we took our run to Alamo. What is nice about this run is that there is a lot for the kids to see. We take time to see the horses, and this time brought carrots. It was beautiful 15 mile run.
When we got home, Sophie made a sick chicken. Basically it is a string attached to a plastic cup. You wet your fingers and play it like an instrument. She had learned to make it in school. It worked like a gem.

On Sunday, after meeting, we just took it easy. We relaxed, the kids played in the kids pool, we made turkey burgers, ate outside, followed by a couple of games of Sorry.

The reason I why I am reflecting back on two weeks ago is that this weekend, and through next week, we are anticipating showers. And it is cold - the snow level will be back down to 3,000 feet!!! It is supposed to be 70 on Sunday; but we live in the East Bay for the 80's and 90's that are common this year.

Also, we have had a lot of grey days. Boy we cannot wait till summer!!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It is that Shasta Lake Time of Year!!!!

Every year, around May 10th, I get the Shasta Lake bug. I go on-line, check the lake level, click on the Pit River Bridge traffic cam for live pictures of the lake.

Especially this year. May be it is because we have had record rainfall. Maybe it is because it is the 30th anniversary of the Eruption of Mt. St. Helen's (I flew over the the volcano the day before the May 18th eruption coming back from a trip on the lake when I was 11.)

But it is definitely one of the places that I can't thank my grandfather enough for giving us the memories of this place. This is the only place that I can totally relax. And this place has been the source of so many great memories.

The pictures in this post were taken by Jim, Beth, and I and are taken from our last houseboat trip in 2005 .

The trips were rotated every year in the 70's and 80's by each of my grandfathers kids. So one year it would be our family, the next would be my Uncle Steve's family. My Uncle Phil went a couple of times during this time. In the 90's, we began going as the entire Willer clan with two boats. I got the benefit of going on most of the trips as "navigator".

We caught all sorts of fish from huge catfish and carp, to a lot of trout trolling, and bass and bluegill in the coves where we would dock.

We all had our favorite parts of the lake. My grandfathers favorite location was towards the end of the Big Backbone. My grandmothers favorite area was up on Squaw Creek. It was the most remote part of the lake, and she always said that it reminded her of "the end of the world." This picture is from Squaw Creek.

My favorite was on Elmore's Bay on the Sacramento arm. This was the place where we would always catch the largest catfish. This is also where my Uncle Steve caught our first large mouth base. He caught a fish on every cast.

This also a great place to get out of the boat; hike, and think.

It is such a peaceful place, with very sketchy cell phone coverage and the boats did not have televisions.

It forced you to relax. Even when it rained, we stayed inside and played rummy, trivial pursuit, and this peg game that my grandmother brought on the boat. I later found the same game at a Cracker Barrel in Georgia and a restaurant near Disneyland.

We had gummy bears, chex and peanut mix, frozen snickers (my grandfathers favorite), and crystal light. We at nachos with Que Bueno, or hot dogs wrapped in tortillas while we trolled down by the dam or under the Pit River Bridge.

Dinners were great too. The first night would always be KFC that would be picked up at Redding next to the Chevron Station. Wednesdays would be Steak night. We would have hamburgers. And we would have S'mores. For the longest time I thought we had invented them on the boat!!

Breakfast would include grandpas best pancakes. I make pancakes often for my kids, even got a griddle; however, to this day they do not taste as good as he made.

This trip was never about the fishing, never about the trip, never about what we ate. It was about family. It was about being able to spend time with my Grandfather and Grandmother.

It was about being thankful for a grandfather who was interested in his children and grand children and wanting to give them the best vacation possible. It was about giving them the best memories of all.

Beth had a similar time with her grandfather. That place was in Eastern Washington in the Blue Mountain foothills. This place is called Tucannon. The fishing was great, but it was all about the memories.

The last trip my grandfather and grandmother couldn't go. It was a bittersweet trip. However, this was the trip that I could share this experience with my children.

I miss this time I could spend with my grandfather and miss him a lot. I loved these trips because of the time I could spend with him.

I hope this summer I can take them up there, even if it is just for a camping trip. And when they are a little older, we too can restart going back on the houseboat so they can have their own memories.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Multi-cultural Day and the Girl's School

This past Friday, Emma and Sophie's school had their multi-cultural day. It was a way for the kids to learn about many cultures instead of just focusing on one or two. For the second grade class, it meant bringing the family to hear kids sing song and participate in arts and craft projects.

Different families were assigned to bring different cookies and drinks. Beth had volunteered to help set up and man an arts and craft booth.

There was a lot of help; but it was really needed. The multi-use room was packed. Since we live in a very diverse area, it was a great way for the kids to better understand the local cultures.

Emma had pick one of the cultures of the family. For Emma, this proved to be a challenge. Should could have picked Scottish, Norwegian, English, French, German, or Irish. She chose to write a research report on Ireland and the Irish. Then they had to make a picture of that culture.

One of the requirements of the assignment was to describe traditional Irish clothing. Of course she put down, tweed and tartan. However, one thing I learned is that the wool sweaters from Ireland are called Aran sweaters. I don't think I ever knew that.

While we were waiting for the show to begin I took a couple of pictures of Sophie and Myles. Boy, they are getting big.

Myles especially!! He is already as tall as half the 5 and 6 year olds in Sophie's kindergarten class!!!
Later that evening, there was a multi-cultural night for the entire school. We had just finished our grocery shopping and stopped by. The kids had never seen a DJ, so we stopped by for "5 minutes only," which ended up being 45 minutes. While the kids danced, I helped myself to some Lumpia and Scottish Shortbread ( I know, interesting combination). The kids had a lot of fun.