Category Archives: nature freak

Hoh Rainforest

Did y’all know we had a rainforest in the lower 48? I didn’t until I went there.

On my very long list of things to write about.

It’s not an adventure if everything goes as planned

The tools I have can’t help me if I don’t use them.

My friend Tarina (Somethingina, as Frank calls her) came in from Texas last weekend, and we had a good, if short, visit. She arrived Thursday night, two days after returning from a week in Paris. A little palate cleansing before going back to work, if you will. After a quick tour of the house, she hit the sack pretty much right away on Thursday, jet-lagged as she was.

Friday morning I made bacon and eggs–with Falls Brand bacon, which we feed all of our guests, because yum. Then Tarina and I headed to Shoshone Falls, just east of Twin Falls. It’s a two hour drive, and we had six or seven hours before we had to be back to pick Frank up and head to Horseshoe Bend to catch the Thunder Mountain Railroad at seven p.m. We were in no rush, as we had plenty of time, so we had lunch at Chili’s in Twin Falls, and when we left there, we checked the clock. We had about an hour and a half to enjoy the falls.


When we’d exited the highway, there was a big brown tourist sign that said Shoshone Falls 8 (miles). And we’d gone about three when we’d stopped at Chili’s. So we got back on the main drag and kept going, watching out for more of the brown tourist signs. There was a big intersection with forks heading off in several directions, and I chose to turn left. I immediately decided that was a wrong turn and turned back around so I would have been going straight had I not turned. Okay, fine. But we started to get away from town, and I just had a feeling that we were still going in the wrong direction. So we stopped to ask for directions to Shoshone Falls.

Do not stop in Twin Falls and ask for directions.

So we walked into this grocery store, and there was a guy getting a DVD from the Red Box. I asked him for directions to the falls, and he gave us vague directions and basically told us to go in the exact opposite direction of where we needed to go. I was okay with following his directions for a little while, as he had put us on a road that would take us east of town, and I remembered that the falls were three miles east. But then we passed the three-mile point. Tarina pulled a map out of the map pocket and tried to figure out where we were, but the map of Twin Falls did not go as far out as we had. When the road turned south, I decided to call shenanigans on this guy’s fabulous instructions and turned around.

On the way back to Twin, we saw a sign–Twin Falls 12. Seriously, twelve miles? So we noted the odometer, and nine miles later we were looking for any sign of Falls Lane or Boulevard or whatever it’s called, because that’s the street we’d been hunting for. No sign. Then we were back in town. We headed back north, and I pulled over at a Walgreens. I was going to ask for better directions this time, but I went ahead and checked our map of Twin Falls. I was now completely oriented and could see where we needed to go, which was basically the exact opposite of where our beneficent directions-giver had told us to go.

So we continued to go north, counting down the number of minutes we would have for looking at the falls, because we really needed to be gone by four o’clock to make it back for our train trip. We finally found Falls Lane (ahem, barely south of Chili’s) and headed east, and oh, by the way, it was now rush hour, and school was letting out, so we had school zones and all that.

We finally got to Shoshone Falls at three-fifty-three, which gave us a grand seven minutes to check out the falls. Oh, and I’d forgotten my camera. Tarina had hers, but I don’t have copies of her pictures yet, so all I can tell you is that everyone says that it’s prettiest in the spring, but we were both wowed by what it looks like in the fall. Absolutely stunning. There was a rainbow where one of the falls splashed into the river and everything, and I’ve never seen water as green as the river is there. I’m serious, the river at the bottom of Shoshone Falls is as green as the Caribbean is blue.

When we got out of the car at the falls, there was a couple standing next to their car, and the guy asked us, “Are you getting married today?”

I cocked my head. “Um, no. Not to each other.” After we walked off, we passed what was obviously a setup for a wedding, and we finally got why he was asking.

We stayed about fifteen minutes at the falls and then decided we needed to boogie out of there. We’d seen everything, so it’s really all the time we needed, but it would have been nice to have that hour and a half of cushion.

We raced home, trying to pick Frank up at six-twenty so we could be to Horseshoe Bend by seven. We got there at six-thirty, and when Frank jumped into the car, which was already racing out of the driveway (okay, not really, but close), we started telling him the story of our day.

After we told him the part about finally getting to the falls, he said, “The GPS wasn’t working?”


I’d totally forgotten we had that.

To be concluded…

Splish splash, baby

Saturday evening, we went whitewater rafting on the Lower South Fork of the Payette River. First, let me give you some advice if you’re ever going whitewater rafting on a hot August day: go in the evening. It was beautiful on the river. The water was cold, but not too cold because of the time of day, there was a nice warm breeze between rapids, and the sun hid behind the mountains most of the time, so no sunburn.

We went with Cascade Raft and Kayak again. Last summer when we went, we did a full day, where most of the day is spent lazily floating the river with rapids spread out throughout the day, they feed you lunch, and you have a lot of time to sit and look at the scenery. That was fun. This time we did the half-day trip, which is three hours, and most of that is spent in rapids. I can only remember two or three spots where we had a lot of time for conversation and checking out the scenery.

We went with Laura (aka Elle) and her husband Jesse. The drive on the bus from Cascade was fun, because once we made the turn at Banks (a turn I missed, once upon a time, and will never miss again), we could see the whitewater we would soon be navigating. And, uhm, it was really white. Also funny, because there was a group of ten Asians going on this trip, and we all got up to look at the whitewater, and while my eyes were going huge with the knowledge of my impending doom, I suddenly heard a LOT of very high-pitched oohs, ahs, and things I didn’t understand. The Asians were very excited and also could not believe they were about to do something so intense. They were cute, because the guys were even louder with the scared noises than the girls.

We parked and got the big safety talk. What to do in a number of situations–it’s one of those talks that makes you want to crawl under the bus and cry for mommy. During the talk we learned that our safety kayaker (the kayak that stays with the rafts to help people who’ve gone overboard) was a guy named Andrew. I say guy, but what I mean is kid. He looked twelve. We later learned that he’s sixteen and an expert kayaker and can be your bestest friend if you’re the man overboard. A little scary to know that your life could very well be held in the hands of someone who can’t even buy cigarettes yet, but we watched him do his thing, and he knew what he was doing.

The four of us got our life jackets, helmets (!!!), and paddles, and then we got a guide and raft to ourselves, which was cool. We were the first raft to put in. The water was coooooold on our feet when we walked the raft in, and Kevin was like, “Don’t be shy, you’ll be getting a lot more than your feet wet.”

We had one or two Class II rapids first, if I recall correctly, and then we did the Class III Bronco Billy.

We’re making great faces in this picture.

I think between Bronco Billy and our next big rapid, Staircase, was when I did something I will never tell our theoretical children about. I rode the bull. It’s not kinky like it sounds. I got up on the front of the raft, threw my legs over the front, and held on for dear life while we went through a rapid. I think Class II, but maybe Class I. I held onto a carabiner (attached to the front by our guide, Kevin) and one of the ropes on the side of the boat. It was exhilarating and scary and had me in scream-giggles until I snarfed water. Even after that, it was fun fun fun. Sadly, no pictures of this event are available.

Our next big rapid was the Class IV Staircase, the signature rapid for the Lower South Fork of the Payette River. It’s a third of a mile long, and avid rafters from all over the states have either traveled to do this rapid or heard of the rapid at one time or another. And it lives up to the hype. When we saw it, before we were in it, Elle and I gave each other looks that said everything from, “Oh, crap. We’re all gonna die,” to “Who’s gonna take care of my cats when I’m gone?”

I love this picture of Frank and Jesse. I don’t know what happened to Elle, but you can see my paddle and my helmet there behind Jesse. Kevin’s gone, too.

I love this next picture for one reason: Seeing Frank take a wall of water right in the face.

Staircase was so. much. fun. When we were done, we had a big hi-paddle-five, whooped, hollered, all that. It was AWESOME.

After Staircase, we did Fake Slalom, which I think is a Class II or III–I think II, and then Slalom, which is a Class III or IV, I can’t remember which–I think IV. It has two big drops, and the rest is easy. But the drops are insane, and Jesse and I almost flew out of the raft at the same time, and I was grabbing for the rope across the middle of the raft. It’s crazy when you feel your butt come several inches off the raft, and your whole body starts to lurch. If you don’t have your feet set right and one wedged in the raft, you’re going for a swim. We all managed to stay in the raft.

One of us got caught on film not paddling! Shame shame!

Again with the faces. Elle’s kills me. She’s just so happy to be there, not working. Haha. And Frank is so determined to beat that rapid into submission. Either that, or he’s reaaaaally concentrating, looking for Aquaman.

We had one more rapid, right at the end where the South Fork meets the North Fork. The water is about twenty-five degrees warmer where they meet, and as soon as you go into the rapid, you feel like your feet are in a warm bath. This is where Elle decided she would ride the not-kinky bull. She enjoyed it, but instead of snarfing water like I did, she got slammed back into the boat by a rather rowdy wave. The guys were no-shows on the bull riding, because they’re sissies. ;-)

We had a great time. I’m in love with whitewater rafting and can’t wait to do it again when my sister’s here next week!

Back to reality

Yesterday morning, we got up and left our little inn in Tropic, Utah (seven miles east of Bryce Canyon) and went to Bryce. It was amazing and dusted with a little bit of snow. There were approximately ten people in the entire park when we were there. It was pristine, and within five minutes we were talking hiking trip, with some camping thrown in for good measure. We didn’t stay very long, maybe an hour, but I took a lot of pictures while we were there. Here are a few, and I know they do not do the canyon justice…

One of the overviews from Bryce Point.

Close-up from the same point.


It was overcast because the sun was hanging out behind the clouds. I loved this picture.

This bird was playing hard to get with my camera, and after I managed to catch him, he squawked all through the canyon.

Isn’t he beautiful? He stayed nice and still for me.

We got in last night and spent today in our pajamas. Tomorrow I guess we have to go back to reality and jobs and such.

Born to do it.

Hey, so sorry about the absence. Like you noticed.

How was your Independence Day? Unless you were one of the 1215 airmen, Marines, sailors, and Soldiers who re-upped at the Al Faw Palace in Baghdad, it wasn’t nearly as good as mine (do you know how tingly I get simply knowing they did it at one of Saddam’s palaces?). Did any of you see a bald eagle, our national bird, on the nation’s birthday? I would say “me either,” except that I did, while floating down a river in the middle of the forested mountains. You wish you were me.

Oh my goodness, y’all, I can’t even put into words how much fun it was (but I’ll try). First off, I can’t believe that I was such a chicken about it before. The first time I hiked the Grand Canyon, I figured that hiking it was crazy enough (it is, a bit), and no way ever would I be insane enough to raft it or to ever raft any river, because that’s stupid and dangerous! I had canoed many times, but that just doesn’t have the scary factor that rafting has, for obvious reasons. I mean, canoeing can be really hard if you’re on the right river, but generally you’re only tipping over if you hit a tree or a log or something (done that).

Wow. So we drove up just past Horseshoe Bend to Cascade Raft & Kayak for our all-day rafting trip. The Cascade people are very nice, and the guides are great (well, I can’t really speak to all of them, but Eli was excellent). At the headquarters, they put us on a bus to take us to the North Fork of the Payette River, about a forty-five minute drive. Just driving up there is amazing. Since we were on the bus, we could see more than we could have seen had we been driving in the car; we could see down past the trees to the river and the miles and miles of Class V rapids that we passed. Breathtaking and a little unnerving, because you’re like, “Oh no! What if we miss a turn or something and accidentally end up on those rapids and die?” I assume I’m not the only one who had that reaction.

About half an hour into the drive, we stopped to pick up other people who were meeting us at Cascade (I think that’s where we stopped). There were three groups. One was a couple, one was a big family of several, and the other was a family of nine. While we were waiting for the family of nine to arrive, Frank and I sat on the bus and watched the people; we also fidgeted, because we couldn’t wait to get started. The big family of several was taking their sweet time getting themselves ready for the trip, but we later learned that the family of nine wasn’t there yet, so the severals knew we weren’t waiting on them. Now here’s something I hadn’t seen before: A man took off his shirt, and he wasn’t remotely Marky-Mark-like, so I mostly just put on my “ew” face and tried not to watch, but it was hard not to watch, because I was so fascinated by his behavior. The man took off his shirt, lathered himself up in sunscreen (sooooo much sunscreen), and then put his shirt back on. I don’t understand this, because where I come from, you put the sunscreen anywhere that isn’t covered by your clothes. I was still scratching my head and trying to figure that one out when he took off his shirt again. Rinse repeat. Lathered up all over again. Put his shirt back on. Rinse repeat. I don’t know if he was trying to turn his 15spf lotion into 45 or what, but that man applied sunscreen no fewer than three times to the same areas (which would be clothed). Finally, I said, “How much of that is he going to put on?” to no one in particular. The other couple still on the bus agreed that my question was valid, and one of the guides acknowledged the over-lathering. Human behavior is strange.

When the family of nine finally arrived, we got going. We were able to see parts of the river we would be rafting, and the guides kept us entertained with their corny joke-cracking. This is also when I learned that there were children on the bus. Children. The kind that scream and fuss and make lots of noise. I was not on board with this, because what if one of the loud teenage girls ended up on our raft? Srsly. This was a worse thought than taking a wrong turn at the Class Vs.

We got to the whatever point (drop point? enter the river point? get on raft point?), and we almost got smashed into by an impatient guy and his small child in a truck — impatient guy obviously not able to see the giant bus and trailer backing across the highway into a too-small parking lot. People were all kinds of rude in the lot, too. No, the river will disappear if you get into it before I do, so I’m going to be a total jerk about sharing this public parking lot and public river! Anyway, I, being a chick and paying customer, stood idly by watching the guides and a couple of the men unload the rafts, praying that we would be on an all-adults raft. I was so pleased when Eli called the three adult couples to his raft. But Eli was wearing shorts that said “Lost,” and, not wanting to end up on an island in the south Pacific with humidity and Others and toner monsters, I worried just a little.

Finally we were in the river. As I got braver and gained more trust in my life jacket, I scooted more and more off of the cushion on the inside of the raft and onto the outside of the raft, where you are supposed to sit. By the end of the day, I was actually comfortable sitting on the edge. Go me.

The first half of the trip was mostly calm. The majority of the time, we sat there with our paddles while Eli did all the work. He would tell us when to paddle and when to stop, and other than that, we sat watching the amazing scenery as we floated by. We didn’t see any wildlife on the ground (other than chipmunks), but we did see a bald eagle. In the wild. On Independence Day. Because we’re awesome. There were two or three rapids before lunch, a couple of Class IIs and one Class III, I think. Class IIs were fun, but I was ready for more. When we got to the Class III, I squealed in delight — so. much. fun. My brain started screaming inside my head, “I WAS SO BORN TO DO THIS!” Brain was having lots of fun. Apparently, Frank’s side of the raft got nailed on that rapid, because when we got to lunch, I noticed he was drenched head-to-toe, and I was only drenched waist-to-toe.

We stopped for lunch, and they even accommodated my diet. They feed you sandwiches halfway through the trip, but for me they had a salad, because Frank had told them I needed to be GF. It was basically one of those bag salads with iceberg lettuce and cabbage bits (I’m pretty sure they gave me the whole bag, because wow, that was a lot of lettuce), but they made sure to tell me more than once that I could add turkey and veggies from the sandwich fixin’s (which I did), and they sent me three different kinds of dressing, two of which I was able to eat, and I also ate some fruit. I’m not a fan of iceberg lettuce, but I didn’t care, because it was food, and I got to eat it. Oh, here’s a cutie-head moment for you: I took my digestive enzymes along, just in case I got glutened. I didn’t think about the effect that water has on gel caps that dissolve in water, so I was like, “Hey! I’ll stick these gel caps in my pocket, since my pocket is snug, and they won’t fall out! I’m so smart!” Only I didn’t say it out loud, so Frank wasn’t able to remind me that the gel caps would be melting as soon as I got wet. So we’re standing there, waiting for lunch to be served, and Frank asked what was on my shorts. Oh, it’s just water, I thought, but when I looked down, I saw that I had a huge painting of orange and brown all over my khaki-colored shorts. I said, “Oh. Um. I put my enzymes in my pocket before we left.” Frank just started laughing at me. It looks like something rusted in my pocket.

After lunch, we got back on the river, and I couldn’t wait for the next rapids. This leg seemed a little more full of the splashies, so I was giddy. We had a few more Class IIs, a small III, and a big III. The small III was actually more fun (I think it’s called Francois), because it lasts longer and gets all up in your face. The big III was a ton of fun, too — y’all will have to see the pictures of us going over that when we get them, and you won’t believe I did that.

After the last III, it’s all calm floatiness, and the guide does all the work. Frank and I had already decided we want to move on to the bigger rapids, the ones where you have to wear a helmet. I should probably wear one of those just walking on my two feet, so I’m thinking my helmet should come with a full faceguard or something more. Either way, bring it on.

The drive back was a nailbiter, because the girl driving the bus (also the photographer) was driving crazy scary. You know, left wheels over the center lines of the two-lane highway. Other cars would zoom closely by our bus, and she would be like, “Did you see that guy?” Um, did you see you? But she was nice and took good pictures of us, so whatevs.

My birthday is coming up (it’s the 19th, don’t you forget it!), and Frank has already asked me what I want. “Take me rafting again.” “Yeah, but what about a present?” “Take me rafting. That’s my present.” He still thinks he needs to buy me something I can hold in my hands, so I’m like, “Fine. Get me a TV show on DVD. We don’t watch enough of those. And take me rafting.”

i can go without food for a week

I’m so excited about the prospect of hiking soon! And not just the kind where you hike for an hour and turn around and go home. I mean you get up early in the morning, pack a lunch and a ton of water, hike until late in the day, and return to your car just as it’s getting dark. Of course, overnight hikes are even better, but a long day-hike doesn’t take vacation days, and those are going to be reserved for family, at least for the first year or so.

There is only one problem I foresee in our hiking future. While Frank still has his Grand Canyon hiking boots, I actually have none. I did have a pair the first two times I hiked the Canyon, but I gave those to my mom, because they hurt my feet so much. When I hiked the Canyon with Frank, I used a combination of running shoes and a pair of sturdy velcro sandals. My feet actually hurt less than they did with the hiking boots, but wow, the pain was still horrific. That was before I gave up dairy and gluten, so I have far fewer foot problems to start with these days, but I still think I need to get a good pair of hiking boots. But I’ll tell you — I am the worst at picking out hiking boots. Every pair I’ve owned, even the expensive ones I gave to my mom, have just been foot killers.

I guess when we get there, I’ll have to go to the big outdoors store and look around. I know from last winter’s grand opening that they do carry hiking and hunting boots, so I should be able to find a pair. Knowing me, though, I’ll buy them online after I know what I want. That way I can price shop.

Actually, I wish I hadn’t already given Frank the go-ahead on Guitar Hero, because hiking boots would have been an even better Christmas present for me. Oh well. I’ll just take the money out of our grocery budget. Who needs to eat anyway?

small child dies in Grand Canyon

I’ve seen this Grand Canyon story pretty much everywhere now. First one of my readers pointed it out to me (she was actually at the Canyon that day), and now I’ve seen it on a ton of blogs. It’s a very sad story, and it’s apparently turning some people off of going to the Grand Canyon. So here are my thoughts on the whole thing.

I’m not a parent, but I have been around a lot of small children and was even one myself. I’ve been at the Grand Canyon with Essay, and her toddlers were there (one still a baby) to greet us when we finished our overnight hike. I’ve seen so many children on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, so I can only imagine that even more children go to the South Rim every year (South Rim gets about 90% of Grand Canyon’s annual visitors). This is the first time a four-year old has died in the recorded history of the Canyon, and before this, the youngest to die was thirteen. There is generally at least one death per year at the Grand Canyon (average is two to three), and child deaths are very rare. Why? Because parents know what non-parents know: the Grand Canyon is a giant hole in the ground with massive rock face and deadly drops everywhere. This is no big secret — if you can’t figure it out for yourself, there are park rangers everywhere that let you know. There are signs up everywhere. Danger! Danger! Falling over the edge is really bad and could result in death!

Most people are overly careful (I know I am) at the Canyon, especially with their children. And parents should be careful with their children no matter where they are, and no matter what dangers are nearby. On a Disney Cruise, at Disney World with a bunch of strangers hanging around, when there’s a big hole in the ground a few feet away, when they’re playing at the park, when they’re around large dogs, camping at the lake, when they’re around people they don’t know, near a swimming pool… It’s called parental responsibility. I know the parents probably only looked away for a few seconds, but a few seconds is all it takes.

And there are ample railings at the Canyon. Generally, all of the edges at the topmost part of the rims have either stone walls or steel rails as impediments. Any place we visited that didn’t have railings, we made sure to stay a good two to three feet away from the edge (even where there were stone walls, because they’re high enough to block children but not so high that an adult can’t easily fall over them), and if it was windy, we basically hugged the wall of the Canyon (when we were down in it) or stayed even farther away from the railings (on the rim). The kid was with her family where there wasn’t a railing — I’m guessing they were on one of the hiking trails, and after you’re away from the highest elevations, the rails disappear and the trails (usually three to four feet wide) are very plainly laid out. It’s very clear: you do not deviate from the trails, or you could die at any second. Even on the trail, you don’t lean over the edge to get a good picture, you don’t slide down a shallow smooth face to get a little closer to nature (how will you get back up?), and you do not feed the wildlife. And you hold on to your kids. Responsible parents should have no problems with their kids at the Canyon — like I said, kids are on the rims and in the Canyon every day. I feel really bad for the family here, especially considering that her dad is a fighter pilot and risks his life for the country every time he goes up in a fighter, but the girl didn’t die because the Grand Canyon is dangerous — and it is dangerous — but because they didn’t keep a close enough eye on their daughter. It’s horrifyingly sad, but it’s the truth. It’s a little understandable because they apparently had multiple children there, but you just can’t let go of your small children on the trails — really you need to hold on to them no matter where you are at the rims. One couple says they heard a parent say, “Don’t move,” and then she went over the edge. So even catching your child right at the edge is not safe enough. You need to be able to catch them ten feet away from the edge and don’t let them venture any closer than that without your holding on to them, at least until they’re old enough to really understand what “your life is in danger if you disobey my instructions” means.

Do you know who is most likely to die at the Grand Canyon? Not children. Not women. Adult males. I was really scared before my first backcountry hike at the Canyon, so I asked one of the park rangers how likely it was that I would die. He told me the statistics and noted that adult males die more often than any other group and that it’s usually because the adult male decides it will be hilarious to pee over the side of the rim. So just don’t do anything stupid, and you’ll be fine, he told me.

All that said, I wouldn’t take my kids once they’re out of strollers until they’re about ten or twelve. Not necessarily because of the danger, but because younger kids (from what I’ve witnessed just watching the people at the Canyon) have fun for about five minutes, and then they’re bored. That’s when the crying and chasing and scream-giggling and whining starts, and that makes the serene Grand Canyon experience much less enjoyable for the rest of the family and the complete strangers, most of whom want peace when they go to the Canyon. Seriously, on the patio of the Lodge where you get the overall expansive view of the Canyon? People whisper their conversations out of respect for the other visitors. Most people don’t talk at all, they just soak in the surroundings.

bad squirrel!

This is for my blogdaughter Gradual Dazzle.

We had this little visitor show up a few weeks ago. Squirrels aren’t my favorite wildlife, but they are wildlife, so I started snapping pictures. I thought he was so funny, crawling around on our porch screen… until I realized that those streaks running down the screen were squirrel pee. Bad squirrel peed on our screen!

I was appalled. And now you can be too.

different strokes

I’m always amused and amazed at how different people feel completely opposite things about the same places. Serenity moved from Seattle all the way down to the southern tip of Florida and loves to go to the beach to relax; Frank and I want to do almost the exact opposite, moving eight hours away from where she started so we can get to the mountains. I think Tarina (who takes a big vacation every other day, it seems) chooses vacation places based on how much sand she can get between her toes – if there’s an ocean nearby, she’s happy. And when she dragged me to the beach, I talked on my cell phone while she played in the sand and the ocean. I’m a horrible friend, I know, but hey! I at least went with her.

Essay grew up in one of the Carolinas –- either the North one or the South one — and I remember the way she used to (and still does) talk about whichever Carolina she hails from. We’ll just call it South Carolina, and she can correct me later if I’ve said the wrong one. Essay talks about the Carolinas with the fervor and love with which I talk of Flagstaff. I suspect that if her husband, Ess-o, didn’t have ties to Texas, she would do her best to talk him into buying some South Carolina real estate and moving the family out there. Meanwhile I can’t get away from the east coast fast enough, and while I wouldn’t mind trying this Carolina barbeque she always raves about (then again, she also raves about sweet tea, ew), I can’t imagine in my wildest dreams that we would end up purchasing Charleston SC real estate ever in our lives. This part of the country is just not … well, the desert.

And then there are the Texas freaks. I used to be one of them, because if you’re born there, you are automatically a Texas freak. You love Texas above all other states, and you never want to leave there. Eh, I got over it when I first camped at the North Rim, which was in the thirties at night and the seventies during the day. I am, of course, now considered a heretic. I guess I turned into a nature freak. And oh. Essay? So not a nature freak. When we camped at the bottom of the Canyon (upper seventies at night at the end of August), it was the first time either of us had ever been camping that we could remember. I loved every minute. It was over for her, I think, when she saw her first scorpion.

notes about nothing

  • So… I’m almost done with all the filing, and then I’ll be caught up and never get behind forever. Seriously, I’ve been behind on my filing since about… oh… 1998? So yeah. This will be a good thing.
  • What else… Frank is finished painting all the doors. As soon as I’m finished packing up everything in the livingroom (the last room with *stuff* in it), Frank can paint the livingroom trim, and I can pack away the last few things in the garage.
  • I love Super-Fantastic Ultra Wish Time on “The Soup”. The little head that goes, “Eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-ehhhhhh”? Makes me laugh out loud every single time.
  • I found my poetry. Even my big poetry notebook from high school. Ech, I used to be so maudlin. But the stuff from when I was going through my ugly divorce doesn’t suck. I also found a concept for a novel that I kind of… er… backgrounded. I don’t even have a full concept. But I do have main characters, setting, etc. I might go back to it someday. I’ve started several over the years. I think I lost a few when my computer crashed. I have one on Frank’s laptop… The thing is, I’m ready for our lives to settle down so I can write earnestly. Write my novels. I’m a good story teller. Terrible at coming up with the story, but good at the narrative and dialogue.
  • Moving… we’ll go wherever the road leads. We’ve looked at several places. Amarillo — not gonna happen, though it is my favorite place ever to have lived. Phoenix real estate is tempting — decent prices, close to the Canyon and other hiking… but… no grass, no four seasons. Austin is great but still humid, and I fear we won’t do outdoorsy things once we get there because of the humidity and distance from the desert. Idaho… the only drawback I see is that we’re not close to my family and friends. But close to Frank’s family, in the desert, hiking everywhere, parks everywhere, so close to a ton of national parks, four seasons… It will all depend on a couple of factors, but I guess y’all can tell where I’m leaning.
  • Tonight I was burning candles on the wall sconces in the bedroom. I decided they’d been burning long enough (I could see them from my position in the sitting area), so I went into the bedroom to put them out. I heard a drip, drip, drip. Put out both candles. Still, drip, drip, drip. I knew where this was going… Sure enough, there was a massive pile of wax on the carpet, drips on the wall, splatters on the back of the bed frame. Thank goodness for irons and goof-off. We’ll see if the iron works before I try the goof-off (which could potentially bleach the carpet). Good thing I haven’t thrown out the iron. I’ve considered it. I never use it….
  • I’ve been making decent meals lately, and one of the best ones I’ve made recently? Gave us both heartburn. Too bad, that. Oh well. It was particularly inspired, too.
  • We’ve finished BSG, seasons one and two. Watched season five of
    “Friends” (BJ’s had it for $17). Now we’ve moved on to season one of LOST. So. We either have to buy more TV DVDs or move on to the movies.
  • I’m almost done with the next chapter of Harry Potter. Sorry I’ve gone down to posting one at a time, but we’re so busy. And ready to get out of here.
  • Ya know, I love Pier 1 candles — they smell so yummy — but they sure don’t burn well. My Tar-zhay candle that I bought on clearance for $3.88 burns so much prettier. And there is nothing more frustrating (in the candle world) than a pack of Party-Lite tealights that have off-center wicks and therefore only burn for about half an hour instead of six hours. Brutally disappointing. Ta, musees. I’m internetted out for the day.

I would like to go hiking, please

Preferably somewhere not muggy.

zion grand view
Zion National Monument, July 2003. This is right before Essay and I hiked the Grand Canyon. I went with Essay and her sister N. We drove Zion later with Essay’s parents, too. But hiking… you just can get the hiker’s view from a car window.

statue girls
Two silly girls (Essay and me), making rock statues at the place where everyone makes rock statues. After we splashed around one of the water pools.