Blast From The Past

You know you are getting older when you start reminiscing about the "good old days" or how kids have it so much better than we did or how you can't believe how much candy bars or pay phones cost these days (they are no longer a nickel, grandpa!) Oh wait, we don't really use pay phones anymore? Exactly. However, despite the fact that this will prove my age, I am going to do just that! Here are a few things that bring back fond memories of times past. 

The princess telephone with the long cord that you used to drag into your room so that you could sit and chat with your girlfriends for hours even though you had seen them all day at school. I don't know what we talked about, but we talked forever! My parents used to have to drag me off the phone and I remember getting call waiting, which was like really out of this world at the time. Also, remember getting star 69 and thinking how sophisticated that was, although I was not (and am not still) a big fan of calling back an unknown number to ask them if they had just called me. 

Vienna sausages: maybe this is just something that my family ate, but we ate these a lot. My brother's specialty was Vienna sausages with scrambled eggs with too much garlic. We called them "Dracula's Death." Remember how the little sausages were all stuck together and they slide out in a clump with their attached meaty Jell-O juice like a baby from the womb? It is kind of gross but I would probably still eat them if I was out camping. They are kind of a right place, right time kind of food. We also ate many other canned meats such as corned beef hash, spam and deviled ham. 

Color block clothing: I know this is back in style, but I think it was the style of clothes that I wore when my Mom picked my outfit, not the one I wore when I could pick out my own garb (no offense Mom!) She also dressed me in skirts, which didn't really take, and when I finally bought my own clothes I was a tomboy all the way. I still prefer pants over skirts but have come around a little towards wearing stripes from time to time recently.

Nice sweater! I am about 10 years old.

Passing notes in class. It is so sad that everyone just texts now because it was so fun to pass notes in class! Sometimes we would have three or four people on the note and we would pass it around in circles. Mostly we wrote about the following topics: why one person was mad at the other, which boys we liked, what the boys were doing, why we thought they were doing that, who liked who, who was going out with who, what we were going to do after school, what we were going to do that weekend or who had just broken up with who. Very riveting stuff, but very important at the time, and I guess actually not much different than what some of us still talk about now. 

Nylons: this is not from my childhood, but for my first job (and for several years) I had to wear nylons every day. I finally (just a few weeks ago) threw out my bag of used (but perfectly good) nylons and donated several unopened packages (that cost me about $10 a pop but probably have a value of about $0.01 now!) of nylons. I don't know why I was keeping them, as I have not worn nylons in at least about 20 years! The hoarder tendency of keeping things because they are "still perfectly fine" or "I may use them someday" runs strong in this family (but that deserves it's own post!)

Mixed Tapes: I know that now you can share a Spotify playlist, but it just doesn't have the same charm as the songs that you taped from the radio which had the announcer talking over them and the station identifier in the middle of the songs, along with any background noises from the house. I still have one that I got from a friend and I am pretty sure it starts off with the Rick Astley song Never Going to Give You Up and also has a Firehouse song on it. Good times. Gotta love the 80s. 

I am off to find my old cassette player!

Requesting a Song on the Radio: not only did we listen to the radio a lot, but did you ever DEDICATE a song to someone? I did and then we sat in front of the radio forever waiting for it to air. I think the only time I did it, it was the song So Happy Together by the Turtles and it had nothing to do with me liking or being with the person, I just liked the song and thought it was so cool to hear my and my friend's name out loud where anyone could hear it (seems pretty tame now with all of the social media though)! 

Did you do any of these things? What things from your childhood do your friends or your kids think are ridiculous or funny? 


Looking Back: Juneteenth Weekend

In the spirit of some of my blogger friends, I will call this Five Things Tuesday, the road trip version! Since I had an extra day off, I drove down to Sequoia National Park for a little bit of backpacking. Here are five things from the long weekend that were interesting or fun! 

Backpacking in Sequoia NP: I had a great time hiking around Sequoia National Park, although once again, I was foiled by snow, downed trees and high river (read: impassable) crossings. However, I never let that bother me too much and I had a fun time exploring, even if I could not do the loop that I had intended. This year has been difficult for hiking plans, as the normal entry to Yosemite is closed due to road damage, the road to Kings Canyon is closed due to road damage and many of the roads in Sequoia are still closed due to snow and/or road damage! It was a rough winter in the Sierra, let me tell you. 

View of Valhalla and Hamilton Falls

Hamilton Lake

Trip to Aldi: Since I was driving down through Fresno, I decided to stop at Aldi (this is the closest one to my house, and is about 200 miles away from me) for a little wander through the aisles. Since I was going to be in the car for a while and I couldn't have food in my car at the park, I did not buy much, but I had a lot of fun checking things out. The weird thing though is that when I arrived, there were only about 6 cars in the parking lot and I feared they were closed but they were open but it was nearly empty! Maybe the Fresnans have not gotten the memo that you can get good things at Aldi on the cheap? It probably did not help that the following stores were all on the same street within about a two mile stretch: Smart and Final, Grocery Outlet, Costco, Albertsons, WinCo. 

Tesla Semi Truck: I saw this on highway 99! I did not know that Tesla made a semi and it was a very strange site; it looks like a toy. I checked later and apparently the Modesto Frito Lay factory is testing them out so that is why I happened upon one. 

Road Trip Snacks: Although I normally try to eat healthy, when I go on a road trip, I give myself a pass to eat what I want! This included corn nuts (guilty pleasure), peanuts (the dry roasted ones with the yummy MSG) and lots of jerky! Actually I also bought some cheese and carrot sticks from Aldi on my way home, so I guess this time the snacks were not really that indulgent! 

Pilot: My Favorite Gas Station: Every time I go on a long road trip on a major highway, my stop of choice is Pilot/Flying J. When I go to Oregon in the summer, they are perfectly spaced out and my routine consists of the same thing every time - get gas (even if I am half full), get ice tea/lemonade combo (Arnold Palmer) refill with lots of ice and use the bathroom. Every. Single. Time. I have had disappointment when stopping at other truck stops and they do not have unsweetened iced team from the fountain drink section (not a bottled one from the cooler) so I just stick to the one that has what I want! 

What did you do this weekend? What are your favorite road trip snacks and/or break stops? 


What I Love

Earlier this year I did a list of gadgets that I use all the time and I thought it was time for another one! Here are a few more things that I either gained a newfound love for recently or have cemented my existing love for in 2023. 

Miso Soup: This one may seem a little strange, but if you have the right ingredients, this is an easy, fast and simple dinner item that you just can't beat. You can supplement it with rice or salmon or just eat it alone, but either way it is delicious. I even love it so much I have made a camping version! Here is what you need to get started: miso paste, dashi, tofu. That's it! If you want to have fun,  you can add: green onions, wakame or any meats or noodles (I like these). For camping, I use the instant version and add rice noodles for a quick two minute dish while on the trail. To top it off, you can add furikake! (I have put links to Amazon, but you can get all of these ingredients at your local Asian food store, or even Whole Foods has them now). 

Reusable Sandwich Bags: I started using these when I was hiking because I felt like we create so much trash with single serving items. There are cloth, washable versions of either sandwich bags or snack bags and these are great for dry snacks like granola, peanuts or dried fruit. There are also silicone ones that are supposedly leakproof. I use these for wet items or things I want to keep fresher or put in the cooler (like carrots or grapes etc.) but have not tested them on any real liquids. I gave a set of these to a few friends and one of them uses the cloth ones to keep her toiletries in check! 

Dry Wet Wipes: These are a game changer. How many of us carry around bulky wet wipes in our purse or car? However, if you have a smidge of water, these expandable wipes are great! They literally only need about a capful of water and then they are large enough and strong enough to wipe down your entire body. I am not just saying this; I have tried it! I usually use them for camping but also have some in my purse for everyday use. I like them so much that I told Santa to give them to all of my family members a couple of years ago. 

Audiobooks: I have to admit, over the last few years, I have moved strongly into the team audiobook camp. I used to listen to a lot of music or podcasts when I ran or drove, but now I am audiobook all the way. Doing this has upped my reading game by probably roughly one book a week and if I am hiking for multiple days or doing a lot of gardening, it could even be two or three! I have gotten to where I do listen to them at 1.75 speed most of the time, but an average book at normal speed takes about 10 hours to finish. 

Gallon Sized Hydroflask: I have a knock off version of the Hydroflask in the gallon size (roughly 4 liters) and it is awesome. I can fill it up with water and ice on a Friday when I am headed out the door on a weekend trip and if I do not drink it all, it often still is about half ice when I get home on Sunday. This has been great for weekend hiking trips when it is really hot and we get back to the car hot and sweaty and parched, but it is also great for long road trips; when I drove to Washington last summer, I kept it right next to me in the car the whole time. It is a bit hard to drink from while driving but I imagine you could get a straw top instead of a screw off and the problem would be solved. 

What things do you use all of the time or have you discovered recently? What does your go to road trip car kit look like? 


Looking Back

As I mentioned last week, Memorial Day weekend normally kicks off "summer" in these parts. It means we can start swimming a little, even if the water is frigid and it marks the beginning of camping and hiking season. This year we had a very high snowpack and some parts of the Sierra have over 10 feet of snow still, but this did not stop me from getting outside anyway. Here are some of the highlights. 

Memorial Day weekend, I went to Yosemite for a few days of backpacking. Basically depending on what way the hill was facing and whether or not there was tree cover, there was snow from about 6,000 feet in some places or as high as 8,000 in others. Additionally there were a lot of downed trees due to either the recent fires and or the snowpack causing them to fall. The cherry on top was the creeks and rivers, which are all swelled up three or four or more times their normal size. This meant altering my route several times, but did not detract from the beauty of the region. 

Panoramic Trail view of Half Dome

Top of Nevada Falls

Sunrise on Half Dome

Merced River

Snowy Trail

Four Mile trail - view of Half Dome

Four Mile Trail - view of Yosemite Falls

Four Mile Trail - view of El Capitan

Last weekend was my Dad's birthday and I met up with my family to do some regular camping, hiking and a couple of rounds of Spades. We met near Mt. Shasta, in an area called Castle Crags. I have driven by this a bunch of times and have even hiked near it, but I did not know that you can hike right into the middle of it and it is really beautiful! It was quite hot though, probably over 90 degrees and we wanted to go swimming, but the Sacramento (and all of the rivers) river is still flowing a bit too fast for our liking. 

Mom and Dad looking at the Crags

Crag Dome and Mt. Shasta

Dad nearly at the top of the Crag Dome trail

View from the top (with Mt. Shasta)

What did you do this weekend? Is it hot where you are? Have you gone swimming yet this season?