Monday, September 10, 2007

sparrow and doris' DAY OF FUN!

one of my main birthday wishes was: to go camping. i hadn't been in FOREVER! since before i was married, i think. there is only so long i can go without the grand outdoor pleasures of roasting marshmallows on a fire and sleeping on rocky ground and getting all my stuff to smell like smoke. besides that, summer is my favorite season, and camping is an active celebration of summer, in my book. gotta get it before it merges into the cold and crisp and pumpkinny-ness of fall! my birthday was on labor day weekend and therefore i thought it would not be wise to attempt a camping outing at the time. however, the weekend after that, tara and camille made it happen. i kept telling her the two days before we left: "we are going to go outside--all weekend long! you're gonna love it!" since she continually desires to go outside. this would be perfect. i even splurged and bought some wine and marshmallows for the occasion. not that she got any of those.

bright and early saturday morning, tara picked up sparrow and me at our house, and we headed north to the great beauty of big sur. it was quite the decision, i daresay, to take sparrow up the infernally curvy highway 1 again, after hating that drive so much in july, but if that's where we were camping, it had to be done.

we stopped in SLO to get some wood, which we were calling wooo'd (rhymes with food) and getting sparrow to start saying it too. she even helped us to load the firewood into the suv.

when we got to the much-talked-up andrew molera state campgrounds, tara and i were immensely pleased to find that there were spots open. (it is her favorite campsite in big sur.) then the ranger said, "you know there's no fires allowed here, right?" what. "no fires!" i exclaimed, "we have a professional chef coming in!" hahaha. well it's true. camille was bringing fish and sausage and eggs and multiple other heat-needy items. we spent the next hour or more trying to get things re-situated: finding a private campground with fire allowance, attempting to get a hold of camille somehow without service on our cell phones, driving back and forth, eating burritos, figuring out how/when to change sparrow's poopy diaper. baby was extremely restless in the car at this point. when we stopped at the general store to get burritos, she was so excited that i couldn't keep her from bee-lining straight for the creek. tara went to get us a campsite while sparrow and i waited for camille, and i took sparrow's clothes off and let her play in the water. the stream had rustic-looking comfy wicker chairs in little groups sitting right in the water. the effect was completely magical; i felt like i had walked into another world, a mark-twainish fantasyland where people sat in chairs in the middle of streams under dappled sunlight, reading newspapers. the water was (obviously) very shallow and clear and gorgeous, with clean-looking pebbles and rocks. little goosepimpled, barefoot sparrow found a bigger rock to sit her little diapered bottom onto, then, shivering, would reach into the water and grab handfuls of rocks and pebbles and gleefully say, "one, too...WEE," on "wee" throwing the rock with a splash and being completely delighted every time. this is the beautiful state in which tara found us when she returned to collect us again. we were a bit worried about camille, but by some fluke she received a text message that tara had sent, and arrived at the new campsite right as we did! and not only had she brought fish and sausage, but she also brought kimberly lumm. a double bonus, since kimberly can spout "you've got mail" quotes with the best of us. this was going to be fun.

the rest of the afternoon was spent setting things up, eating (of course), and hanging out by the creek. the new campsite, you see, was right on the river, and would have been quite beautiful if it weren't for the fact that the camping spaces were the size of parking spots and there were tents, cabins, and cars everywhere! didn't feel that much like nature(and i had to keep a sharp eye on sparrow at all times). in fact, there was a huge cabin looming over our campsite; we were right in the "front yard," as if we were the serfs in some lord's kingdom. we had also spent $50 for this campsite instead of the $10 charge at andrew molera. but we knew it would be well worth it when we smelled what camille was cooking. camille and i agree that camping is all about the food. well, ok, it's about nature too, tara, and getting away from the demands of everyday life, but back to the food. first we had tasty sandwiches in the afternoon, plus chips and home made salsa. then we decided to take a little nap to sleep it off so we would be hungry for dinner. hahaha.

then camille made tasty green salad, artichokes with aioli sauce, eggplant with a garlic wine sauce and fish. all over a campfire with lighting help from tara's car head lights. soooooooo good! then of course we got to roast marshmallows. sparrow had taken a nap in the tent, but that night she would not go to sleep alone in there. even when i was sure she was fast asleep, and lay her down, she would sense it and wake up and so she stayed up as late as we did. then we snuggled up in the tent together, with tara, and were super cozy and toasty in the morning.

breakfast consisted of several kinds of sausage, high-quality bacon, toast with butter and jam, fruit, scrambled eggs, sauteed vegetables, and my favorite: coffee. a bit tricky to make it in nature, but still possible. and my half and half had kept, even though i hadn't had it in a cooler for the whole ride up. whew!

we packed up the tents and everything and headed back to andrew molera state park when we were done eating. there was beach access there, and kim and camille were going to stay there for an extra night despite no fire, as tara and i drove home later. we hiked over to the beach and found out that you actually have to wade through a fairly deep pool in order to even reach the beach. for some reason i was super uptight about getting my underwear all wet. not wanting a cold wet bottom, i suppose. watched camille and tara go through the cold water up to their boobs. they even took sparrow across for me, who cried and clung to camille and nearly struggled her down in the middle of the deep part! kim and i walked up the cliff to see if there was another way. but there wasn't. i would rather have gone in naked than get my underwear wet at that point. but there were other people around, so it looked like that was going to be a very rude an awkward thing to do. anyways, we were about to brave it, when i saw another man wade in, and come out on the other side without even getting his shorts wet! HEY! there must be a shallower route! kim and i found it, and i am happy to report that my underwear came through unscathed.

why was i still wearing my underwear and not a bathing suit to the beach, you ask? it's fairly complicated, but truly for me the beach is about lying around in the sun. i just wasn't expecting to get wet.

and that's what we did: lay around in the sun. eating chips and carrots and playing scrabble, just sitting on a blanket for about six hours. it was perfect for sparrow. normally she attempts to run right into the waves when we are at the beach, so i have to keep a close eye on her and don't get to just loll about. this beach, however, had a big strip of rocks in front of the water, so she couldn't really get to it by herself. hurrah! there were shallower pools that she could play in, and did, but i was soooo pleased that she basically just toodled around for the whole day and entertained herself with sand, sticks, and seaweed. the girls and i got pretty seared in the long sun-exposure, but it was the most relaxing time! my body is now in the process of shedding the sunburned layer in big disturbing pieces. i don't like to look at me at the moment. WHY did i neglect my berries/spirulina-chlorella regimen? grrr. sparrow, i am pleased to tell you, did not get sunburned. i had clothes and/or hat on her part-time but she also went naked, and honestly, this was all day. i only ever take her out to the beach for an hour, max 2. it was incredible. she obviously has a much better skin-shielding diet than i, what with her kale/broccoli-eating ways.

in the late afternoon we trudged warm and happy back to the car and got ready to go. tara and i had to get another burrito for the road of course. we thought sparrow would be out cold in no time, since she hadn't had a nap. but she ended up screaming her head off for the first part of the trip, upset that she was in a car seat instead of a bed, evidently, and wanting to be home. i drank my green tea, unnerved that she might have gotten sunstroke or similar. she finally settled down when i put my hand back toward her. she grabbed my whole forearm like a teddy bear and fell asleep clutching it. and was perfectly fine after all. babies just need extra love when traveling away from home.

and that, my friends, is the story of sparrow's first camping experience.

From sept. 07

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