The fires here in Southern California have turned the sky a Halloween orange and clouded them up for the 4th. Crowds still gathered to watch the fireworks even though, in my opinion as a Scrooge, seen one you’ve seen them all. All they really seem to do is make our four-legged friends all freaked out. Someone should invent dog-friendly fireworks.

Camping seems like a distant memory; it’s funny how the brain can sift out the bad stuff and only remember the good stuff. You have to have a heart full of hate to not allow that to happen. Already I’m seeing the trip through rose-colored glasses when it was anything but. The sorry-ass truth is that you really notice being a single parent when you try to camp. Even with help it was a trying task putting up this huge tent, then moving it and finally striking it. I was a sweaty wreck each and every time and I cursed my inability to settle down with a mate at that moment. My mother and I agreed that there really are just some things only a man can do. It sounds sexist but hey, when you’re on the prairie and life is truly hard labor must be divided. And when it is divided, one doesn’t think it terms of fairness but in terms of skill. Men are better at the spatial thing. Women are better at storing and cooking. Yeah, I know. I tried to believe otherwise and have fought this notion my entire life up to and including the time I installed my own toilet, no kidding. I really did. I also tried to take my iPod apart and almost got it working. But in the end, I broke a delicate connection pin and the whole thing was FUBAR.

I’ve come to accept the simple fact that I will never be good at putting up tents nor putting bikes on bike racks or car roofs.

Anyway, I brought back some pictures to show you all. Why? Who knows. One must document these things.

Still Life with Camping Crap

Have Mac, will travel.

On our next to last day we braved the surface of the moon the beach. It was so cold and inhospitable I felt like we were on the shores of England or something. Here in Sunny Cal we pride ourselves on our great beaches. This one, though, was just too windy, hence the absence of any people.

The hideous tent to the left and a clothsline. I actually did laundry and was at once grateful for the invention of the washing machine. What a great step forward for man. Or woman.

My sleeping tent. Funny, camping always seems fun in theory but you really have to come prepared. I slept on a little mat which was about like sleeping like on the cold, hard ground. I didn’t put my tent on level ground (of course), which meant I was sliding down it all through the night; I don’t think I slept very well at all, though my sister did bring me a foam mattress when she came to stay.

If you ever look at cooking blogs, as I do, you’ll note this picture for the utter lack of grace and basic human decency.

But hey, the pancakes were good.

Campfire girls. Emma and her best friend, also named Emma, called Emmas by most, hang by the fire. Both, especially Emma W. (left) were strangely obsessed with fire. What is it about that anyway?

Having a GREAT time.

An example of my really bad packing skills.

My one indulgence. For me, camping, and life, is all about the coffee. I’ve discovered that COSTCO’s coffee is the best coffee around, srsly. I also drink my coffee out of a thermos and not a cup because it stays hot longer.

My crazy mother hangs out.

My crazy mother holds an egg.

A great way to boil water.

Putting our tent to good use.

One of these days, I’m going to get organasized.

This is really what happens. No joke. They tore through everything, my mom’s canvas cooler, our neighbor’s tent…

We did get one last good beach day in. Hurray for good weather when it chooses to present itself.

A better way to travel, let’s face it.

I’m glad to be home. Emma got sick the moment we arrived and has had a high fever for a couple of days now. I’m hoping she’ll be better by tomorrow. Then I’ll take her camping again.