A more ordinary week

This week, Nancy asked if we wanted to go on a six-mile, moderate hike in Yacolt Burn, but I told her we had decided to do something super easy because I was recovering from being sick. Maja had already planned a harder hike with her on Tuesday. But Maja ended up getting sick, so she cancelled that hike and our Wednesday hike. Wayne had been supposed to take Luke to the groomer while I was hiking, but since I wasn’t hiking and Wayne was having back problems, I took Luke to the groomers. He looks very pretty now.

On Thursday, we had our people training for using Luke’s e-collar. It was amazing. One of the things Luke always does on the leash, even with a prong collar, is pull as hard as he can, despite me using the correction with the collar (a short jerk). I spent most of the time after learning about the controls walking around with Luke on his leash. He walked right next to me and didn’t pull on the leash at all. The only problem with this is that he seems to think he only has to do that at Enzo’s, so yesterday I took him down the road on his leash, and he did very well. I will have to do more practicing.

It was my birthday on Friday, and Wayne gave me a backup device (yippee! not!) and a nice Aran cardigan. The only reason I got a nice sweater was that I circled it in the catalog along with the color and size. I haven’t worn it yet, because I want to make sure that Luke has completely stopped jumping on me first. He would have it in snags in no time.

That day, I went over to Christine’s and we walked our dogs and had coffee. I always enjoy visiting Christine. She gave me a little jam container that I can use for tea parties.

My only birthday requirement is not to have to cook dinner, so we tried out a Szechuan restaurant in Vancouver that was opened by some Portland restaurateurs. I had the personal hotpot with lamb and broccoli added (it comes with tofu and leeks, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and wood ear) and for an appetizer, the Szechuan wontons in special sauce, which looked delicious in the picture on the menu. The hotpot was hot without having much other flavor. The sauce needed something. However, the wontons were fabulous. I ended up dumping some of my special sauce into the hotpot, which improved it. We will go there again, because Wayne’s food was also good, and good Chinese restaurants are few and far between here in Battle Ground and Vancouver. In fact, the ones we have been to in Battle Ground are horrible, and before this one we only found one mediocre one and one bad one in Vancouver.

Luke did much better in his Saturday class with the e-collar on.

On Sunday, my niece and her family and my sister took us to Portland for a birthday dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant. Yum! I am sure I gained five pounds, but I haven’t checked because there was no Weight Watchers meeting on Monday. After we stuffed ourselves to the gills with Ethiopian food, we went to Powell’s for about 45 minutes before taking ourselves off to Salt and Straw, Portland’s decadent ice cream parlor. Weight Watchers just went out the window. Several of our party tried an a salted caramel ice cream with bits of crispy turkey fat in it. It was really good, even though it sounds horrible. I just stuck to plain salted caramel.

That’s really about all of note for this week except that on my birthday, I also heard from my brother Steve, who lives in Seattle. He said that our cousin Amy, whom he had briefly visited when he took his oldest daughter down to school in L. A., was coming up for Christmas. I haven’t seen my cousin Amy since she was a little girl and I was in college. She lives in Spain, where she is a French hornist in an orchestra. She married an Icelandic man, Petúr, who was also in the orchestra. Sadly, her husband died last year, still young. She was invited to L. A. by a friend whose husband also recently died. So, she’ll be coming to visit Steve and co., and then they will bring her down here, along with her youngest son. Or, since Steve’s family is very disorganized, she may come here and they will come down later. My brother John and his wife Lucie know her, and they will be here, so it won’t matter which way it happens.

Finally, we’re started planning a non-Thanksgiving dinner for the Sunday after the holiday. I am hosting. We’ll see how everything works out.

 

Our guests arrive

A view of Dole Valley from the Tarbell Trail

Our Wednesday hike was to someplace different and a more difficult level of trail. We went to the Tarbell trailhead in the Yacolt Burn State Forest. We had gone there before but had taken the easier trail toward Rock Creek Campground. The other way is rated moderate in AllTrails, and I have so far been avoiding moderate trails. However, we took that way this week, toward Hidden Falls, and as far as we went, which was a couple of miles on a 10-mile trail, it wasn’t that much more difficult than some of our other hikes. We went with my niece, Katrina, and her two children, and we all had a good time. The trail takes you high above the Dole Valley, where we had some very nice views. Unfortunately, in some places it is logged right up to the trail. I don’t know why the forestry people can’t leave a six- to ten-foot area around the trail so that we can stay in the woods when we’re hiking. The logged areas are pretty hideous. We also ran into areas that had been logged in the past and were in various stages of recovery.

Most of the rest of the week centered on cleaning the house to get ready for our guests. However, I did take Luke to class on Saturday. Because I injured my hand so skipped last Saturday’s class and then there was no class on Memorial Day, he hadn’t been to class for two weeks, and it was like he’d lost all his brains. That is why, when the class had an unclassified special event at Lewisville Park on Monday, and because I won’t be here for Saturday class, I thought I should take him. It turned out to be a pack walk, at a fast clip, around the park. Between that pack walk and our mini pack walk, which on Monday was only me and Christine, I walked over 21,000 steps that day! I got home, pretty pooped, at 8:30 PM and still had to cook dinner and eat it. Cleaning the kitchen that night went out the window, so I had to get up extra early the next morning to make sure it was done.

Because, of course, yesterday morning my guests arrived. Karen’s plane from Detroit came in around 9:45 and Ray’s at 11:15, so Karen and I hung around the airport for a while waiting. We drove home, during which Ray remarked to Karen that she was going to be responsible for finding her way out of our neighborhood, a joke because the route seems complicated when you don’t know it. (You only take three roads after getting off WA-503, but they are wind-y, so it seems more complicated than it is.) After we had lunch on the back deck, the three of us (not Wayne, of course) decided to go for a walk, so we went to Moulton Falls, where we walked about four miles, taking Lukey along. So, lots of exercise so far this week.

And that’s about it for this week.