Fatigued and Dehydrated in Paradise

Alpine girls

Avonlea and Rilla picking wildflowers in Bear Creek!


It’s a spectacular, sunny afternoon in Alpine Meadows. I’m alone in the “Munchkin Cabin” while Lucy naps on the cool kitchen floor. The rest of the family is swimming in the brisk Truckee River. Fortunately Craig and the girls understand that I need some down time. Moreover, if Lucy and I accompanied them, she’d drive everyone bonkers barking at the plethora of ducks floating peacefully down the river.

Meanwhile, this past week I assumed I’d avoid updates about Robin Williams since I’ve been unable to receive internet or television/radio in the cabin. I was wrong. It turns out that Robin Williams had strong ties to this area, which was relatively close to his San Francisco base, for over the past twenty years.

He loved taking his family skiing at the Alpine Meadows Ski Resort, which is five minutes up the road from our cabin. He enjoyed Alpine so much that he became close friends with the ski director. When the ski director had his first child, a Fed Ex truck delivered a gorgeous rocking chair sent to him by Williams that has become a family heirloom.

How do I know these facts? Well, the other day in front of Truckee Safeway I grabbed the two local weeklies. In my hurry I didn’t see that Robin Williams was on the cover of each one. Since these feature stories were personal, heartfelt accounts that went beyond the gruesome headlines, I allowed myself to read them.

One article discussed Williams’ longtime patronage at an upscale Tahoe City restaurant called Wolfdales. He visited this waterfront locals’ favorite many times. Once he even brought some of his Monty Python friends and they evidently brought down the house.

Today, while Craig visited the Tahoe City Library with the girls to do some work, I walked by Wolfdales restaurant with Lucy. We paused for a moment just ten feet away from where my hero Robin Williams crossed its threshold numerous times. I imagined him having good evenings there despite his troubles, but the darkened doorway was an eerie sight.

I took in a deep breath and carried on with my stroll with sprightly Lucy by my side. Walking in the fresh, lakeside air with my adorable puppy helped me mentally, and I didn’t feel quite as sad as I’ve felt since Monday night.

Meanwhile, Craig and I noticed that we’ve been affected by the Tahoe altitude more than we have in the past. I know we’re both getting older, but…the entire time we’ve been here I’ve felt totally wiped out. Craig mentioned that he has woken up each day feeling as if he had a hangover. Neither of us drinks alcohol anymore, however, and today he told me he thinks we’re not drinking enough water.

“I bet you’re right!” I agreed.

During past visits to Alpine Meadows, I drank plenty of the delicious Tahoe tap water, but on this trip I’ve hardly had any. Duh! I should have known better. I’m hoping that I’ll get more energy as a result of drinking enough water from now on…

So please believe me, I know how lucky we are to be on this trip, but I’m not going to lie to you – in many ways it doesn’t feel like a vacation at all! My husband has been dealing with work-related crises every day. Our two daughters have been fighting up a storm, which is nothing new. However, before this trip I’ve had them occupied for several hours at a time with their friends on a regular bases, giving me an essential break. Up here for the most part we are around one another 24/7.

We’re in tight quarters in the aptly named Munchkin Cabin, so it feels claustrophobic at times. There are no four-star restaurants on our agenda – that’s for sure. We make most of our meals in the cabin. Due to our trip budget, our activities must be low-cost and they mostly consist of visiting state parks and beaches. Lake Tahoe has some of the most beautiful state parks in the world.

I can just hear some cheesy, woe-is-me, “wah wah wah” music playing in the background as I type this; I’m not sure how I’d take it if I read someone else complaining about a Tahoe vacation! I’m hoping to earn your empathy when I explain that I’m personally really struggling…mostly with the lack of structure on this loosely planned getaway as well as with the other points I brought up.  

Another big challenge is that since I’ve been so fatigued, I haven’t exercised the way I have at home, and obviously that brings down my mood. My sleep has been worse than usual, complete with 2:00 a.m. bouts of coughing. At least last night I finally slept without waking up to cough my lungs outs for twenty minutes – at last I’m on the mend.


Anyway, please…don’t be jealous of my vacation! 😉


At least I haven’t seen a bear through the window this time like I did during my previous visit! Yes, that happened a few years ago. I was taking a shower while my girls watched a video in the Munchkin’s living room. Craig was napping upstairs. When I came into the dining room, I looked out the large window. Five feet away from where I stood dripping in my towel, I saw a BIG bear cub staring right back at me.   I couldn’t believe my eyes!


Without thinking, I yelled out “Bear!!!” The cub ran up the steep hill away from the cabin (No mama bear was in sight!) and I ran to check the front door, which was wide open.


Our metal garbage can was inside the hallway and its metal lid was on the floor. There was some garbage strewn about. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the bear quietly climbed up the long, steep staircase into our cabin while the girls watched the video; it went through our garbage without a peep, and then it took off.


It turned out that Craig had made the egregious mistake of leaving our door cracked open in bear country. It amazed me that the bear was so quiet inside our cabin, and of course I thanked God that baby bear or Mama Bear didn’t explore the Munchkin further and spot our girls!

All is peaceful for now. No bears are meandering outside my window, no ostentatious multi-million dollar homes are being constructed next door (as is happening throughout this area), and I don’t have to hear my girls switching from sweet to screechy within ten seconds flat.

I better get my book and read while I can focus.   I brought up my copy of the recently published “A Mother’s Climb Out of Darkness – A Story About Overcoming Postpartum Psychosis” by Jennifer Hentz Moyer. It’s not exactly light reading, I know, but very interesting and relevant to me nonetheless. Moyer was not only diagnosed with postpartum psychosis immediately after her son was born; she also received a postpartum bipolar disorder diagnosis a whopping six years after childbirth. Moyer has become an active mental health advocate and she’s featured in the book “Back from the Brink” which profiles people with depression and bipolar disorder.

Thanks for reading, and take good care of yourselves! I’ll return to reading your wonderful blogs next weekend – I miss them all!












26 thoughts on “Fatigued and Dehydrated in Paradise

  1. Vacations can be exhausting because of the lack of structure. Not only have you been dehydrated, but the air is thin up there, so you are oxygen deprived. To the extent that you can, rest (or hike) and drink up that fresh alpine water.

    • I have a new definition for “vacation” – a vacation does not include:
      1) two uber-needy children
      2) a dog that barks at every other dog in a town that is massively dog-friendly
      3) a back injury
      4) a sore neck
      5) no internet connection at home base! 😉

  2. Beautiful picture. The scenery looks so wonderful – away from the city and all the distractions of the digital age!

    • Thank you Vic – it is a truly spectacular place! But even heavenly scenery can only do so much for one’s psyche (sorry to sound like a prima donna, but it’s true!) Take a look at my new definition of a vacation in response to Kitt’s comment below… 😉

  3. Wow – My mother she is a doctor and was reading your blog and its details. There are many important factors you’ve mentioned. She would like to thank you!

  4. Hey Dy, I have to remind myself all the time to keep drinking. And it does help combat the fatigue a little. What a coincidence that you are so close to a place that Robin WIlliams frequented at this time. It sounds like a lovely area. My Mum went to Lake Tahoe on several of her visits to my brother and his family over the last twenty years. It’s also a favourite destination of my brother.
    Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

    • Hi dear Glenn! Hope this finds you well, my friend. That is so cool that your Mum and your brother have visited Lake Tahoe. I wonder which towns they visited – next time you chat with them, please ask them if they recall…. if you feel up to it.

      We hang around the West Shore and we frequent Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley, Tahoe City and Truckee. It really is incredibly beautiful there and we’ve been fortunate to experience Tahoe in the winter and the summer. Next time we go on a trip, however, I’m making sure I have internet, ha ha! Ten days without reading my friends’ blog posts (in which I have LOTS of time to do just that) is simply waaaay too long for me! I’ll be catching up with your life over the weekend via Glenn2point0, and thanks as always for reading and for your insights! I enjoy each and every one!

  5. My wife gasped as I read out the bear story!!
    We of course only get to see asian sun bears at the local zoo. They’re pretty small. We have no clue what it’d be like to face one for real, but we get why it’d be scary.

    • Hey there!

      I can’t explain in writing how my looking at that bear in the eye affected me. One thing I didn’t mention in my post is that my bear “encounter” freaked me out so badly that when we went out to dinner that evening, I started drinking alcohol again after a long absence. (On the brighter side, I’ve been alcohol-free almost a year. Even if I see a bunch of bears up close & personal I have no choice but to abstain. If I drink, I can die from the combo. of alcohol and my MAOI, so that works for me.)

      Anyway, I’ve never seen an Asian Sun bear but the name alone sounds cute – that and the fact that the critters are small. I hope neither of you nor I ever see a bear closely in this lifetime! 😉 I’d rather be having a massage or a spa day!!!

  6. Oh, wow ! Hope you are feeling better and will be coming back soon. So sorry that the cough is still bothering you but everything is better than having bear at the front door .. 😀
    The girls are looking so adorable, I zoomed into the pic to see their faces. Give them my love. Hope you are drinking up ( I know its hard, m dehydrated all the time)
    Love and Care

    • That’s so cool you looked at my girls’ faces, Zeph! They are both photogenic cuties, I must say. I’m back home now, and thank God that evil cough is history! Between that dry, hacking cough, my back injury and a screwed-up neck, I felt like I was 90 years old up there!

      I’m off to work out for the first time in 12 days, & I’m praying my back behaves itself. I just put arnica gel on it, which has helped with my knee injuries and assorted aches and pains. I hope your exercise routine is going well!!!!!

      Take good care, my sweet friend, and I wish you a WONDERFUL weekend!!!!!!!

      • Girls are sure adorable. I love em in the pics. Thank God that the cough is better. It is hard when the health screws up a vacations. I hope that your work out goes well today and your back is back to health. Is arnica gel any good? I have no idea about it. aaawww hun I hope you have a great weekend as well. ❤ ❤

    • Hi there sweet Z! Thanks so much for your comments – they always lift my spirits, they really do. Arnica truly helps me with knee pain (it’s cheap too – around $6 or $7) and it helped a little with the back pain. You can buy it at health food stores and probably at CVS and some markets. Thank God I was able to work out last night and so far, so good! I’m very relieved!!! I hope that your weekend is going well and that you post more to your blog when you’re up for it!!!!! I know sometimes the wind just goes out of one’s sails and writing is the LAST thing you feel like doing! Just keep moving on and things will shift, right? (Or should I say “write”? ha ha ha ha!!!) Sending you all my love and a huge hug and powerful intentions that things keep getting better and better for you this week. xoxoxoxoxoxoox Dy

  7. This is sort of a side note, but you mentioned that lack of structure really effects your moods or day. How have you noticed this in relation to your bipolar? Do your symptoms or stress levels go up?

    I’m curious because I never in all honesty thought of that as something that might trigger me. I’m trying to think back at recent vacations and if there were structured activities or not. I always thought it was my ADHD husband that needed constant energy filled activities and entertainment, but maybe he wasn’t the only one?

    Also you mentioned down time. I feel like I need some down time to myself a lot too. I know I’m a natural introvert, so that plays into that. But it makes me wonder about stressors and bipolar as well.

    Anyways. Just trying to pick your brain. 🙂 Thanks for the post, it’s given me new places to start researching.

    • These are great points that you bring up!

      When I don’t have structure, then I start heading dangerously towards depression and my anxiety rises. Yuck to the 1000th degree! But it can’t be just any kind of structure. I discovered I really do need certain elements that can be worked into a trip.

      I had three main parts of my day virtually disappear while at Lake Tahoe. A lower back injury struck me a couple days after we arrived & it prevented me from exercising vigorously each day. The pain was totally excruciating and I was always on edge for the pain to strike. I’d be fine one moment, and then move slightly and be in agony. This injury happens every once in a while and it lasts about a week. It began in the late 1990’s when I herniated one of my lower discs while lifting a heavy box. My therapist (who I spoke with on the phone) advised my going to a chiropractor but I was hesitant to do that – it hasn’t helped me in the past and I didn’t want to start up with a stranger in a strange place. I knew if I took it easy the injury would go away.

      Working out has been so important for my mood, and I was used to doing it almost every day. It proved to be a problem that I suddenly couldn’t do it, & I was one unhappy camper.

      Then my morning routine of checking emails & Facebook over coffee and breakfast went out out the window since our internet didn’t work. My evening ritual of enjoying your assorted blog posts also didn’t happen, and while there were other things I could do, obviously, I really missed that part of my routine.

      The a.m. and p.m. internet habits I mentioned don’t sound like that big a deal, but found they really do matter a lot to me.

      Despite my back problem and the lack of internet, I did enjoy my downtime when I could sink into a good book or walk Lucy briefly at places like the beautiful Sugar Pine Point State Park. I also loved seeing the girls have fun at the state park beaches.

      Sorry to go on and on here – you inspired me, ha ha!!!!

      I’d love to know what you research about these things, so please keep me posted – I hope you blog about it!!!!! Thanks for writing too – I love your comments!

  8. Lovely Dyane ..
    Awww..😍😍😍😍😍😍…. I envy u… Ur in Such a gorgeous place. Post more pics of ur trip ..wish I could visit those places some day .. I badly need sometime away from my work .. Enjoy Ur break … Have a lovely time with your angelic kids … Take Care ..

    • Thank you sooo much for writing! I hope you got a chance to see the pictures I posted yesterday of Avonlea & Lucy and the mountains! It really was beautiful there but I found that it didn’t matter how gorgeous a place was if my mindset was sucky. :((( I’m not proud of that! I tried to rise above it but I pretty much failed. I’m just glad to be home and that my back pain (which I re-injured while there) is almost totally better.

      I hope with all my heart that you get the chance to visit Lake Tahoe someday. You definitely deserve a break, you dear soul!!!!!!! Don’t work *too* hard!

      sending you a big hug & lots of love!

  9. Hey Dyane! Thanks for your comment. Thinking of you up there. No internet? You’re meant to read and relax, then. I know I feel cut off on vacation when we don’t have internet but that’s the whole point. It feels odd, I know but enjoy the break from everything mainstream while you have it. The world is in disarray, there is little “good news” and believe me, you’re better off not being connected right now. I say, read up on what you want to read. I love reading memoirs from musicians in the 70s. My Kindle is loaded with them. Enjoy Paul McCartney’s!
    As for screaming kids, I don’t know what to tell you. The only experience I have with that is being one! My sister and I argued over a lot of things and it must’ve driven my mom crazy. I don’t know how she stopped us. We were only 2 years apart and very competitive. It was inevitable I suppose. (We still haven’t stopped though now it’s worse b/c we’re not talking…)
    You know what to do girl. I say: more water, yes. Ignore: more. Cook: less. (Everyone can read instructions….THAT’s when you take Lucy out for a walk, when everyone says they’re hungry. Put boxes out and leave! 🙂 More naps (think of it as R&D for when you’re 70 and writing a book on senior living). Take pics less. Why not? It’s your last 2 days, you’ve got enough, right?

    See if you can practice that your last 2 days. It’s called self-care. I am getting better at it. Al-Anon is fantastic for teaching it! I have gone sporadically maybe 10 times which puts focus on taking care of yourself. A must try even though both Nora and I don’t drink, and I don’t know any active alcoholics, I go for learning self-care. It’s a foreign concept to me. 🙂

    No more bears! But very cool you saw one!
    And I love that you are connected to some local history of Robin Williams. I think you share my reaction to his death. It’s hard to think about but you found a peaceful way to connect. Perhaps being there was meant to be. You received family time, down time to regroup for yourself and time to process your past and his death. It’s also a celebration of someone’s life. Though we tend to focus on the ending, there is an entire play, movie, book, not just the final sentences. (I too, am that way.)

    Good luck hon! Email me when you get back.

    • I save all your comments (and emails) in a special WENDY INSPIRATION file on my laptop. I am so lucky to receive such thoughtful comments from you. They always touch on matters relevant to my life & they’re practical & useful, from a bestselling author – that’s not too shabby in my opinion!

      I try to practice all of your suggestions because they resonate with me! Thank you for spoiling me the past few months with your perspectives – I know you’re getting super-duper busy again & you won’t be able to comment often, if at all (which I understand!), so I’ve cherished the time you’ve taken to respond to me.

      Lots of love & good luck with the books-in-progress!

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