Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lake Chelan: 2009 Vacation Video Slideshow

Here is a short video slide show containing a limited number of my favorite photos taken during our recent 5 night vacation at Lake Chelan.

Previous Lake Chelan vacation posts have recently been published that you may have accidentally missed. Here are quick links to those entries, for your convenience.
Lake Chelan: Grown Up View
Lake Chelan: Mikayla expresses her opinions
Lake Chelan: Alexia expresses her opinions

Lake Chelan: Alexia voices her opinion

Here is my video interview with Alexia during our final afternoon at Lake Chelan. This video was filmed immediately after Mikayla's video and Alexia didn't have any idea about what I asked Mikayla or what Mikayla answered.

For your convenience, a transcript & explanatory footnotes follow the video.

Video Transcript:

Eric (E): "So, Alexy, what did you think of our vacation?"
Alexia(A): "It was pretty good?"
E: "Did you enjoy it?"
A: "Yeah."
E: "What did you like best about your vacation?"
A: "Water park."
E: "The water park?"
E: "What did you like the least about this vacation?"
A: "The rain."
E: "The rain? How often did it rain?"
A: "No! Wait! The duck when it died."
E: "Ahhh. The duck. That was pretty dramatic, huh?"
A: "Yeah."
E: "Would you ever want to come on a vacation here again?"
A: "Yes."
E: "What would you like to tell people about your vacation?"
A: {giggles}
E: Repeats: "What would you like to tell people about your vacation?"
A: "Mikayla is going like this {makes rabbit ears with first two fingers} behind your head."
E: "Great."
E: Repeats again: "What would you like to tell people about your vacation?"
A: "Ummmm... that it was fun?"
E: "OK. Where else would you like to go on a vacation to?"
A: "Ummmm, Hawaii."
E: "Hmm. Alright. Anything else?"
A: "No."
E: "Thank you."

Re: The duck
See the video post of Mikayla's interview where the duck story is explained in her footnotes.

Re: Mikayla giving me bunny ears
Alexia and I were on the patio and Mikayla was inside, behind the closed sliding glass door. Since she had already been interviewed she pretty much knew what was going on and was simply trying to be a distraction. I should have known.

Next Chelan post:
Lake Chelan: 2009 Vacation Video Slideshow

Previous Chelan posts:
Lake Chelan: Mikayla voices her opinions
Lake Chelan: Grown-Up View

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lake Chelan: Mikayla voices her opinions

Here is my video interview with Mikayla during our final afternoon at Lake Chelan.

For your convenience, a transcript & explanatory footnotes follow the video.

Video Transcript:

Eric (E): "So, Mikayla, what did you think of our vacation in Lake Chelan?"
Mikayla (M): "It was pretty fun. The water slides were fun, but I saw a duck get killed today."
E: "Oh. That's horrible. How did you feel about that?"
M: "You know."
E: "What was your favorite part of your vacation?"
M: "Water slides."
E: "Oh yeah? What else?"
M: "And the water trampoline."
E: "Uh huh. Would you ever want to come here again?"
M: "Maybe."
E: "Hmmmm. Where would you like to take a different vacation?"
M: "Hawaii or Arizona."
E: "I see. Anything else you would like to say to the camera?"
M: "Yeah. Bugs."
E: "What about bugs?"
M: "Bugs infestation everywhere."
E: "Oh. How do you keep them out of your room?"
M: "Ya don't."
E: "Is that it?"
M: "Yeah. No! No. You have to see the ducks. The mean duck that killed my little duckling."
{Camera zooms to water trampoline where ducks were last seen swimming, but no longer in sight}
E: "The duck is missing. We'll get a picture tomorrow."
M: "Wait! That lady's got a red face. That lady has a red face."
E: "That lady {indistinguishable}"
M: "{indistinguishable}
E: "Anything else?"
M: "No. Goodbye camera."

Re: Bugs
We aren't sure what they were... gnats, no-see-ums, fruit flies... it doesn't matter, but there were millions upon millions of these buggers hanging around town. They were very noticeable near Darnell's in the evening. During our second night we made the mistake of leaving the patio door open to help cool down the living room. This allowed millions of these bugs to infest our quarters. They all congregated around the lights but would then perish and drop dead on top of the table, or straight to the kitchen floor. Blech. We learned our lesson about keeping the doors closed to keep these buggers out.

Re: Ducks
While playing at the beach on Thursday, Mikayla witnessed a mother duck and her five ducklings attack a lone duckling on the beach. It was a cruel lesson in 'natural selection' and 'survival of the fittest'. Mikayla and another girl tried unsuccessfully to separate the lone duck from its attackers. We were able to offer the lone duckling a nice beach burial and some heart felt words.

Re: Lady with the red face
At that time there was a lady sitting at the end of the dock and her skin looked unusually red. It was due to the sunset which was occurring across the lake and was casting a warm yellow/orange/reddish glow over the area.

Re: indistinguishable commentary
This might have been due to a camera issue, but neither Mikayla or I could figure out what we said. I expect it was something along the lines of the sunset causing the red glow on the girls face.

Related Lake Chelan posts:
Lake Chelan: 2009 Vacation Video Slideshow
Lake Chelan: Alexia voices her opinions
Lake Chelan: Grown-up view


Lake Chelan: Grown-Up View

We just returned from a 6 day, 5 night family vacation at Lake Chelan. We stayed at Darnell's Resort and if you've been to Chelan before, you'll likely remember seeing the huge "D" atop their building.

Our room (2 bedroom, sleeps 6 to 8) was located immediately below the "D".

The room was decent, but a bit more dated than we were expecting, although it was nice to be close to town with a sandy beach, pool and hot tub.

Tanya's parents went with us since they happened to be in the state anyway.

Believe it or not, we didn't take ANY of the pets with us. The dogs got to vacation at Paula's house while the rest of the pets took a stay-cation at home.

Lake Chelan is about 190 miles or so from where we live, but we were able to drive the scenic Cascade Loop (east on Hwy 20 and west on Hwy 2). Some of us enjoyed the mountain scenery (me) while others weren't as comfortable with the curves and steep terrain (Tanya). I did learn that scary roads keep her from reading her books so we were able to enjoy some nice conversations along the way, although a few of these conversations followed a pattern:
T: {Gasps!} Here comes a corner. You'd better slow down.
E: Honey, I'm already doing 5mph below the speed limit.
{Repeat about every 1000 feet or so}

When we arrived Sunday evening, it was cloudy and had rained a bit earlier in the day.

Monday we toured around the east side of the lake, out to the town of Manson and took a detour by the house that I used to stay at during the early-teen years with Ken Reid and his family. Their house hasn't changed, but their neighbors houses have at least doubled in size. Wow!

This was followed by taking it easy at Darnell's beach and a visit to the Chelan Riverfront boardwalk for a nice stroll.

Tuesday we went to the waterslides at Slidewaters and enjoyed the sunshine.

Here are the grown ups taking it easy at the waterslides.

It's easy to know this is our family because this is easily visible in the near vicinity:

Wednesday we went mini-golfing and toured along the west side of the lake to the State Park.

Thursday we shopped around town, just visiting the local merchants and enjoying the local museum.

On Friday, we toured around town looking for murals containing apples. It sounds strange, but some of us were fixated on it (T!)... and it was listed as one of the "101 things to do at Chelan" list. The girls really got into it also, so it did turn out to be more fun than one would imagine.

As we headed west we stopped to visit the Rocky Reach dam on the Columbia River. There was a neat mural inside the visitor center:

Also, the spillways were open a bit so we were able to see the water rushing through the dam (from a distance):

We didn't go into the dam museum because the only way to get there is to take the dam elevator (pun intended). I wasn't up for that, so we decided to go visit the playground instead. We'll leave the museum for our kids to take their kids to when they are our age. ;)
The grounds around the Rocky Reach dam are very well maintained with a lot of flower beds all around. Here is a butterfly that I found taking a rest.

We arrived back home safe and sound Friday afternoon.

The girls immediately ran off to collect our pets from the pet sitters and to resume our normal chaos.

More pics and comments from the kids will follow shortly.
Links to other Chelan Vacation posts:
Lake Chelan: Mikayla voices her opinion
Lake Chelan: Alexia voices her opinion
Lake Chelan: 2009 Vacation Video Slideshow


Friday, June 19, 2009

It's Summer (for some of us)!

The girls enjoyed their first full day of summer vacation today.

I got to get up at the regular time and get ready for work.

By the time I was ready to leave, the whole family was already awake (NOT my fault... I'm blaming the dogs).

As I was heading out the door, Alexia's voice of curiosity calls out from upstairs:

A: "Where are you going?"

E: "I'm going to work."

A: (In a tone that mixes curiosity, confusion, disgust and disbelief) "You have to work in the summer?"

E: (dejectedly) "Yep."

A: [Silence as she presumably goes deep into thought, pondering this horrific possibility]

Rumor has it that the girls did a lot of cleaning up around the house and they even rearranged Alexia's bedroom furniture.

Tonight Alexia is at a slumber party and Mikayla has Paige over here for the night.

So... it feels a lot like a Friday night... but it's not.

Bummer for me.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Camp Orkila - Spring 2009

June 8, 9 & 10th Mikayla had the pleasure of visiting Camp Orkila (website or blog) on Orcas Island with her 6th grade class.

Since the company I work for primarily sells products to schools, we get to use 24 hours of 'work time' to volunteer in schools... so here was my perfect opportunity to spend three days as a chaperon. The best of both worlds in this case.

The weather was fantastic.
The scenery was beautiful.
The kids had a blast.

The kids stayed in cabins that didn't have any doors. This meant that if you bring food into your cabin, it insures that you will be visited by raccoons during the night. Despite chaperon intentions, my cabin has raccoon visitors both nights. The upside was that it kept the kids quiet because they knew the raccoons wouldn't come if they were being noisy. ;)
Here is a picture of Mikaylas cabin.

It was located right on the beach. The view from there looks like this:

It was a perfect location (unless there happened to be a tsunami) and the sunsets were picture perfect.

The kids were put into activity groups that rotated through different challenges. All in all, the challenges were challenging but also enjoyable... except for Orienteering (learning to use a compass). That class just couldn't hold up against the other activities.

Day 1

Our first activity was "The Big Swing". One by one (or in doubles if they wanted) kids were attached to a cable and the rest of the group pulled a rope to raise the swing high into the air. Mikayla was brave enough to get hauled all the way to the top. How high? I don't know... but I'll guess it's 100 feet. I've tried to highlight the 'top' in the photo for you (can you see the redish blotch?).

It took her a few tries to get the cable to release and then as she's hurtling toward the ground she screams "I'M FREAKING OUT!!". We laughed. She enjoyed it immensely and was all smiles thereafter.
Here she is after her swinging... still wearing her bouffant cap.

After the Big Swing they had an "Incentives" activity which involved some group teamwork events to accomplish one goal or another. They had fun, but not everyone was into the teamwork spirit just yet.

Day 2

Next up was the Climbing Wall.
Mikayla climbed that thing like she was Spider Man (or Spider Woman).

This was followed by Orienteering. No pics of that event as it wasn't photo worthy, but reading a compass is a good skill to have.

Orienteering was followed by a game called Life & Death in the Forest. Again no photos, but it was a fun game played in the forest. Some people were Salmonberries who were hiding from the people who were rabbits. Rabbits tried to catch Salmonberries while hiding from the people assigned to be hawks.

In the last round I was assigned as the 'hunter/gatherer' and could capture anyone. Like I said, it was fun, but I almost pierced my nipple running into a branch of a tree. Yes, it's healing nicely, thanks for asking.

The final activity of the day was the High Rope Walk. In this activity two belay teams provide safety as one person climbs up a tree and walks across a thin cable to another tree, about 40 feet up in the air. Here is a pic of Mikayla walking on the wire.

Day 3

The last activity was the Rope Bridge where the group had to work together to build a rope bridge between two trees on their own, through trial and error. With only a couple of hints they eventually figured it out and each one was able to safely cross it one by one. Here is Mikayla crossing the bridge.

Suddenly, camp was over and we returned back to the mainland.

Unfortunately, it sounds like this will be the last year that Little Mtn Elem. 6th graders will get the chance to visit Camp Orkila as the program is being cut due to budget reductions. Hopefully we can get it back into the budget by the time Alexia reaches 6th grade.


Friday, June 12, 2009

2nd Grade Winter Concert... in June.

The much awaited 2nd Grade Winter concert was held at Alexia's school this morning.

It was originally scheduled for December, but was cancelled due to the memorable weather. The same weather that kicked off our fantastic Christmas vacation.

So... with three days of school left, I was able to attend the concert this morning. It is nice that they didn't stick with the original winter songs.

Honestly, it was truly the best Elementary School concert I've seen in a long time, and Alexia performed wonderfully. They sang, they played xylophones, did a dance and waved around pastel scarves that would have made any number of glam rock bands jealous in the mid 80's.

Here she is, sharing her heart warming smile with everyone.

Here is the concert video. This is the SHORT version. That means it's just under 10 minutes long (you've been warned). I say it's the short version because the full version is almost 13 minutes. You're only missing three songs.

If you really want to hear the missing songs, just ask Alexia to perform them live for you. Be sure to ask her to demonstrate her "Role Model Walk" while you are at it.

Here (hopefully) is the video:

Spring Concert 2009 from Eric Rolfs on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Checking the Mail

After work I went across the street to get the mail.

Generally speaking, checking the mail is rather uneventful (yes, even in my family). Probably that's why I only check it about once a week.

Today was different.
There were two papers taped to the exterior.

The notice on the right side looks like a typical missing pet notice. Here is a close up photo:

After carefully reading this notice a couple of things became very clear:
1) Sophie can't find her way home.
2) Sophie can write, but doesn't know how to use a phone.
Definitely keeping my eyes open for this cat. She'd make a great pet. ;-)

After a couple seconds of looking around, kicking some bushes and calling "Here Sophie, her kitty kitty... I've got a pencil... and some paper..." with no luck I decided to see if the other posting would be of any interest.

Guess what?

You are correct. It's very interesting.

I've hidden the phone number. It's our phone number (if you didn't already guess that).

Mikayla is quite creative. She loves dogs (and all animals) and loves to walk them (and give them baths apparently). Surely she could earn a good amount of spending money undertaking such a venture.

What would such a service be worth?

PetSmart charges $40.

What would Mikayla charge?




How about:

I should have known.

Now I'd better go check the voicemail.