A day at the cabin!

All week we had been planning to (finally) hike back to the cabin that some friends generously offered to us back in June. Ever since our first trek down into the valley we have been excited by the concept of spending a weekend at the cabin, but the whole prospect seemed a bit daunting in practice. What if Mar couldn't sleep in such close proximity to the rest of us? What if there was a bed-wetting incident with no washing machine. What if, what if, etc...

So I had the idea of just doing a couple of day trips to scope things out. There still exist huge benefits associated with getting away from it all, even if it is just for part of a day. Thus, we made our plans to head down to the cabin Saturday morning.

However, when Saturday morning arrived, there was no guarantee that we'd follow through with our plans. While there are great benefits that come with a good hike and a day spent in the woods, the trappings of modern life have their appeals as well. There we found ourselves at 9am, the boys watching Nick Kids, the both of us sprawled on the couch dozing off between rounds of Words With Friends on our respective iPhones.

Then came the familiar voice of Depression. I really hate that guy, but he likes to sidle up to us in moments like these and whisper nice-sounding suggestions in our ears. "Wouldn't it be great to let the kids watch TV all morning while you sleep for a few hours?" "Psst, send the kids outside and watch some TV of your own. Things don't get any better than that," "The weekend doesn't last forever. In a couple short days its back to the grind. Why don't you veg for a while?" and "Hey, isn't there some ice cream left in the freezer?" At the time, it always seems like that guy has great ideas. But just like the allure of a giant stack of pancakes, what at first sounds like a great idea, usually leads to self-loathing half way through.

So with our combined force of will we peeled the family off of the couch, packed two backpacks and the kids in the car, and headed to Chantry Flats in the San Gabriel Mountains. I'm so glad we did, because yesterday was a truly wonderful day:

The boys outside of cabin 14: The Green Lantern

Our friend Cool Moose greeted us. So did the spider webs.

Mar left Monkey inside.

Monkey!

Playing cards on the deck. Owen and I played War (he won), and I taught Owen one-card poker (I won). Erin made hot dogs for lunch. We had smores soon after.

Mar! His face is covered with a carefully mixed concoction of BBQ Ruffles, katsup, mustard and dirt.

Owen wins a double war hand (two ties in a row!)

Best. Lunch. Evar.

Sometimes a picture says it all.

Good ole long-arm!

Erin here. Not pictured, was a family barefoot boulder jumping excursion, a failed nap attempt for Mar, and plenty of chucking rocks & acorns into the stream. The water was nice an cold, reminding me of tubing trips down the Frio River when I was a kid. Both boys hiked the 1.5 miles down to the cabin, and made it most of the way back out (uphill) on their own two feet! It was such a joy to hear the water rushing, the woodpeckers working, and watch the giant trees swaying in the wind. I can't wait for our first overnight there!

kelle said…
Hey, tubing on the Frio, huh? I didn't know one of you was from Texas! That's one of the only ways my parents can convince me to come visit them...plan a tubing trip!
mama mia said…
This chantry flats place looks amazing.

On the Height of J.J. Barea

Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea standing between two very tall people (from: Picassa user photoasisphoto).

Congrats to the Dallas Mavericks, who beat the Miami Heat tonight in game six to win the NBA championship.

Okay, with that out of the way, just how tall is the busy-footed Maverick point guard J.J. Barea? He's listed as 6-foot on NBA.com, but no one, not even the sports casters, believes that he can possibly be that tall. He looks like a super-fast Hobbit out there. But could that just be relative scaling, with him standing next to a bunch of extremely tall people? People on Yahoo! Answers think so---I know because I've been Google searching "J.J. Barea Height" for the past 15 minutes.

So I decided to find a photo and settle the issue once and for all.

I then used the basketball as my metric. Wikipedia states that an NBA basketball is 29.5 inches in circumfe…

Finding Blissful Clarity by Tuning Out

It's been a minute since I've posted here. My last post was back in April, so it has actually been something like 193,000 minutes, but I like how the kids say "it's been a minute," so I'll stick with that.
As I've said before, I use this space to work out the truths in my life. Writing is a valuable way of taking the non-linear jumble of thoughts in my head and linearizing them by putting them down on the page. In short, writing helps me figure things out. However, logical thinking is not the only way of knowing the world. Another way is to recognize, listen to, and trust one's emotions. Yes, emotions are important for figuring things out.
Back in April, when I last posted here, my emotions were largely characterized by fear, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion and despair. I say largely, because this is what I was feeling on large scales; the world outside of my immediate influence. On smaller scales, where my wife, children and friends reside, I…

The Force is strong with this one...

Last night we were reviewing multiplication tables with Owen. The family fired off doublets of numbers and Owen confidently multiplied away. In the middle of the review Owen stopped and said, "I noticed something. 2 times 2 is 4. If you subtract 1 it's 3. That's equal to taking 2 and adding 1, and then taking 2 and subtracting 1, and multiplying. So 1 times 3 is 2 times 2 minus 1."

I have to admit, that I didn't quite get it at first. I asked him to repeat with another number and he did with six: "6 times 6 is 36. 36 minus 1 is 35. That's the same as 6-1 times 6+1, which is 35."

Ummmmm....wait. Huh? Lemme see...oh. OH! WOW! Owen figured out

x^2 - 1 = (x - 1) (x +1)

So $6 \times 8 = 7 \times 7 - 1 = (7-1) (7+1) = 48$. That's actually pretty handy!

You can see it in the image above. Look at the elements perpendicular to the diagonal. There's 48 bracketing 49, 35 bracketing 36, etc... After a bit more thought we…