August 2009


August 2 was our first full day at Bryce Canyon National Park. We awoke to a temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit. That was reason enough to be there in August!

That morning we did “The World’s Greatest 3-Mile Hike” which is the combination of two shorter trails. One trail is the “Queen’s Garden Trail” and the other is “Navajo Loop.” We could not do longer hikes on this trip because of my ankle problems and because 4 miles is about the limit of our 5-year-old.

Here are the pictures. Most will enlarge if clicked.

This is near the beginning of our hike that started at Sunrise Point.

This is near the beginning of our hike that started at Sunrise Point.

A view of the Bryce Amphitheater between two hoodoos.

A view of the Bryce Amphitheater between two hoodoos.

The redness comes from iron.

The redness comes from iron.

The family on the trail.

The family on the trail.

This is why it is the "Queen's Garden Trail." The hoodoo formation on the left is said to look like a profile of Queen Victoria on her throne. (I'm not sure why it could not be any queen.) My daughters thought the formation just to the right of it, a little lower, looked like the head of a dragon. (This impressed them more than the queen.)

This is why it is the "Queen's Garden Trail." The hoodoo formation on the left is said to look like a profile of Queen Victoria on her throne. (I'm not sure why it could not be any queen.) My daughters thought the formation just to the right of it, a little lower, looked like the head of a dragon. (This impressed them more than the queen.)

This was the first experience my daughters had with cairns. They loved it, and the oldest one got into putting a stone on any one she could find--usually doing something difficult to balance. These cairns were in the bottom of the canyon.

This was the first experience my daughters had with cairns. They loved it, and the oldest one got into putting a stone on any one she could find--usually doing something difficult to balance. These cairns were in the bottom of the canyon.

The trail in the bottom was all-but-deserted, and quite different scenery than the top.

The trail in the bottom was all-but-deserted, and quite different scenery than the top.

The trees in the bottom had some terrific shapes for framing the stone parts of the canyon.

The trees in the bottom had some terrific shapes for framing the stone parts of the canyon.

This little area enchanted me. I loved the way the hoodoos and trees, similarly-shaped, were all together in a garden of sorts.

This little area enchanted me. I loved the way the hoodoos and trees, similarly-shaped, were all together in a garden of sorts.

I think this is "Wall Street." So named because not much sky could be seen through this part of the hike.

I think this is "Wall Street." So named because not much sky could be seen through this part of the hike.

This is near the top of the path out. This is QUITE a climb. Thankfully the scenery is spectacular, so it's fine to stop frequently to take pictures (rest). I think the hike would be easier to enter this way (Navajo Loop) and leave the way we came in (Queen's Garden). People were going down in this place in flip flops. I would not recommend that.

This is near the top of the path out. This is QUITE a climb. Thankfully the scenery is spectacular, so it's fine to stop frequently to take pictures (rest). I think the hike would be easier to enter this way (Navajo Loop) and leave the way we came in (Queen's Garden). People were going down in this place in flip flops. I would not recommend that.

We made it out! One 5-year-old was very, very tired! She walked most of the way herself, even the last, uphill part.

We made it out! One 5-year-old was very, very tired! She walked most of the way herself, even the last, uphill part.

This is actually part of the rim trail between Sunset and Sunrise point. This hiker, with bad ankles, was limping a bit by this point.

This is actually part of the rim trail between Sunset and Sunrise point. This hiker, with bad ankles, was limping a bit by this point.

If you are interested in last week’s Bryce Canyon (which is not technically a Canyon, but I will address that later if I have space) episode, go here.

My World is a weekly meme in which participants are virtual tour guides. Go check it out and see the worlds of others. Or better yet, take a look at the guidelines, and do your own My World Post!

PaperCake
Today is someone’s birthday. Not mine. I never talk about my birthday. But I love to talk about others’ birthdays. And today, Donald Kinney from A Photo A Day (and some other terrific blogs) is 62!
Kitty would make something like this for Don if she could.

Kitty would make something like this for Don if she could.

If you have never been to his place, GO. NOW! He lives near San Francisco and is one of my very favorite photographers. He gets great images from the city, and many more from surrounding areas. My favorites are usually his captures of wildflowers, but he makes art of anything.  Worth the visit. Tell him Happy Birthday, and send him some virtual cookies!

Cookies

For some randomness, I first need to clarify two things from this post. First, Chic is 7. I said she was 8. She will be 8 in a few months. I am not even sure what made me think she was 8 when I was typing, except that all the cousins  “her age” are already 8.

The second thing is that the picture of the bike wreck was a re-enactment without Chicklet in the trailer. I actually had my camera with me when the crash occurred. (I am lucky it did not get banged up.) But when my dramatic, overreacting girl is silent and not moving after a potentially bad accident, a camera is not what I am thinking about. So when I decided to tell the story, I tipped over the trailer after a later bike ride–after Chicklet was out–to get a picture. (She was all too happy to not actually be in it when I did that.)

And thanks for all of your kind wishes. For something so bad, it really was fine.

My last piece of randomness today is about tomatoes. I love home-grown tomatoes, and I grow them every year. My climate is not conducive to this, and the last two years I have not gotten any to speak of until mid-August. This is just wrong, but I continue because I need them, if only for a short while. And by now–only two weeks later, the nights are getting cool enough that they are already slowing production. I barely get enough to use for ourselves, definitely not enough to can, and rarely enough to give away. BUT… I LOVE to give away tomatoes. It makes people happy, and that makes me happy.  So I thought you might like to see this.

TomatoBag

Since I do not have that many to give away, only 4-6 at a time (plus a couple of handfuls of cherry tomatoes), I decided to put them in cute bags. I made a bunch of these so when I have tomatoes, they are ready to go. This makes me even happier.

Now about a different me. This was me a while back.

LongHair-March

I have been getting more and more tired of my long hair. I love it when I do something with it, but it takes more and more work to do that. Drying time if I style it is 45 minutes – 1 hour. (If I do not style it? Pretty much all day to dry.)  Needless to say, my schedule does not accommodate this regularly, so usually I just let it go. Some days are better than others, but the low humidity that makes every day a good hair day when I style it makes most days bad hair days when I do not. So for a while I have been thinking about cutting it off. But it was long enough that I wanted to make sure I could donate what was cut, and I was not sure it was QUITE long enough for that, so I was waiting.

But it kept bugging me. I finally decided to do it this fall. I was getting my hair trimmed last week. I would talk to the hair dresser about it and hopefully plan to do the big chop at my next visit.

But I went in for the trim, and my hairdresser, whose hair has been similar to mine since I met her, had CUT HER HAIR! While waiting I squirmed in my chair. I LONGED to have mine cut. But I had made no preparations. It might not be long enough. I did not have ponytail holders. Maybe I should wait and try to do it somewhat publicly to raise awareness and money for the cause?

So I sat in her chair and she said, “The usual trim?” I spilled my story, culminating with HER hair. She said she was SURE mine was long enough to donate. (10 inches for one place, 12 inches for another.) I asked if she had ponytail holders. She’s a hairdresser, of course she did!

So she made two ponytails and braided them. Just to be sure she measured them. TWELVE INCHES! Then she cut them off.

CutHair

This is me now.

ShortHair

I did this 1-1/2 weeks a go. A few people who know me in real life might be surprised to see this. The crazy thing? I hate attention… HATE. IT. I sort of like being noticed, but hate attention. (How whacked is that?) So cutting twelve inches off my hair is a sure way to avoid attention, right? The only thing I really regret is that since this was on a whim, I did not have a chance to take a good picture of my hair from the back. If I started today, it would take about five years to get it back to the length it was. The braids were in the mail to Locks of Love the next morning. It is in my past. I am happy.

When I met Prince Charming, my hair was about the same length as it was before I cut it. We lived a long way from each other and only saw each other about once a month. After a few months I cut it quite similarly to how it is now and did not tell him. It was a test of sorts–to see if he would flip out because so many shallow men demand “their women” have long hair. He passed the test. In fact, he loved it. I obviously did not tell him it was happening this time, either, since I did not know myself. But he loved it again. He’s a keeper.

This arch is really two hoodoos that are next to one another.

Hoodoos are formed when arches break in places where the rock is fragile like in Bryce Canyon National Park. Thus they were probably both arches at one time. (And they will both likely eventually be standing straighter with nothing going horizontally.)

This shot was captured during “the World’s Best 3-Mile Hike” of which you can see more next Monday for My World Tuesday.

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

To see LOTS more terrific sky pictures or to find out how to participate in this meme, head to the SkyWatch blog.

The Good:

Yesterday was crazy, but the craziest part was the part spent in the jury assembly room for a federal district court near downtown Albuquerque.

2009-08-26_11-20-05.Jury

My summons came quite some time ago. I begged off for having two children and no daytime childcare. No one cared, but I never got called to appear… until yesterday. I begged again, saying I would have to bring my 5-year-old with me. No one cared.

So yesterday after doing some of my weekly work at my church which I normally do on Wednesday, Chicklet and I went to the jury assembly room. Chicklet had a backpack stocked full of necessary items for surviving an undetermined amount of time quietly. Lots of small toys, coloring books, food and most importantly, her “home blanket.” Chicklet had also been made to understand very clearly about quietness and sitting still and in the courtroom she would have to be dead silent.

After checking in, we happily found a sofa where we spent the next two hours. Probably 45 minutes of that two hours was a very nice, very polite man doing an orientation for us. He was truly a jewel of a man because all but a couple of the questions people asked were the type that had I been in his place, I might have snapped, “Did you not listen to what I have been saying for the last 15 minutes?” or “Did you read ANYTHING we sent to you and gave you today?” I must say this man and his staff were efficient and friendly. (Quite an unusual thing for my part of the country, actually.)

I had a feeling once we got to the court room they would let us leave because there were strict rules prohibiting things that caused distractions–things like gum-chewing. I was thinking Chicklet could be a much bigger distraction than the rudest of gum chewers. But she was being SO good. I knew she could not be that good for a whole trial as she would get too tired to behave properly, but she was so good yesterday, I began to fear they might not send us home.

A lady (friendly and efficient) came in and said they were getting ready to go, but she needed to see two potential jurors first. I was one of them. They dismissed me before the courtroom! We had been there two hours, but got to leave and were home in time to get a quick nap in before going back to school to pick up Chic. When we left Chicklet almost threw a fit was a bit disappointed because I had prepared her for the courtroom and we never got to go, but all in all, this was GOOD!

But it is even better. Usually I am not home on Wednesdays. That meant that this week I would not be home TWO days which totally wreaks havoc on my schedule since I am always busy and working on something. But everything I usually do on Wednesday got moved to Tuesday this week. Usually that would have been an inconvenience, but after being gone all day yesterday, it is so lovely that I am home today! I choose to believe that God was looking out for me. (Yes, I believe in God. If you do not, that is fine. Call it the Universe or something.)

The Bad:

I need to lose weight. OK, a lot of people do. And I am not the poster child for obesity, but I am also not skinny, or thin, or even close these days. In fact, I weigh my all-time high–which I have only weighed once before after some very specific circumstances. The bottom line is that I like to eat and for the past two years, exercise has been sporadic due to bronchitis, ankle injuries, bronchitis, more ankle injuries and more bronchitis. But the past summer has been good. My aerobic activity is exclusively biking now (does not do further damage to my ankles) and I made Chic start biking on her own so I did not have to pull her in the bike trailer. (She more than doubles the weight of just Chicklet.) The goal was to prepare Chic to be able to ride her bike to school while I go along with Chicklet in the trailer.

We have yet to ride to school since school has started, and we only got to do one trial run before it started. This means I am not getting enough exercise. (But I am eating as if I am!)

So last Friday, we were set to bike to school. First, Chic’s bike had a flat tire. (We Prince Charming had not changed her tubes to the self-sealing kind which are necessary for this trip.) So I decided to do it anyway with Chic in the bike trailer–it’s only half the 11 miles since I drop her off. We were headed out early, and Chic started talking politics. (She’s 8.) I got so engrossed in this conversation (trying to explain things without clouding her opinions with my own) that I missed the turn to where we park to start biking. I did not realize this until about a mile later. It was too late to go all the way back, or we would be late to school, so I thought of a place we could park closer. When I turned, Chic realized she did not have her backpack. I had no choice but to go home. THAT was a disaster. The school traffic near our home is horrendous. (The last two mornings it has taken me 13 minutes to go half-a-mile. I live about 8 miles from Chic’s school, and the drive is 40 minutes.) I knew we would be late if we came back that way, so I went another way–hoping to save time so I could just go back home and bike with Chicklet. Traffic the other way was horrible, too. I nearly witnessed 4 separate accidents. (People here are not known for polite driving.) There was unexpected construction, and it was just a mess. I was wondering if God was trying to tell me not to bike that day. (I decided, possibly stubbornly, that it was something more evil that did not want me to exercise.)

Late to school. Late home, but I decided to bike anyway–even though Fridays are extremely busy days, and that one was worse because we were having guests for dinner the next day. We got loaded up and headed out. I was a big ball of stress, and when I was rounding a corner early in the ride, I almost wrecked. I did not know what was wrong, but my bike was sliding. I got off, and saw this:

2009-08-26_10-40-18.BikeTrailer

The trailer had caught the edge of a curb and flipped over, and I dragged it through the rocks. Chicklet was not moving or making a sound. I could see rocks inside the trailer by her head which had to hit the ground. This was a BAD accident. Someone who had seen it driving by stopped to help. But all was well. No major damage. Not a scratch on Chicklet who is the type to screech at the top of her lungs for the slightest thing. So the bad turned out good.

The Beautiful:

Recently I got gifts from two separate blog friends.

First is from Leia of We Love Luna and Bonjour Luxumbourg. I love ALL this stuff. I love that it is cute and is in French. There is even a little book in French to read to my girls.  Can I read French? No, but I’ll learn enough to read that book about that cat. Go visit her. Luna is a gorgeous cat, and Leia is all kindness.

2009-08-26_11-15-14.Leia

Also, Fishing Guy sent me this beautiful example of his photography, in the nice frame. He even printed something else in case I wanted to change it. (Why would I, but how nice is that?) Go visit him, too. His blog has always got something different on it.

2009-08-26_11-13-58.FlowerPicture

And the rest of you just make me happy with your nice comments and generous visits. You are all beautiful.

On August 1 we embarked on our annual trip to Salt Lake City where I go to a Convention each summer. Since moving to the desert Southwest, we have always made this trip as a family and spent some time in interesting places–usually a National Park, but sometimes a National Monument, and often both.

This year we spent 2-1/2 days in Bryce Canyon National Park. It did not disappoint, and like all such places we have been, we only want to go back. Will there be enough time in our life to do what we want in all of them? We can only try.

We arrived in the evening, but since our time was short, we wanted to take a peek right away. Not knowing anything at all about the park, we decided to go to Sunset Point since it was right about sunset. This might not be my choice in the future because it seemed like everyone else in the park was doing the same thing, and I am not really enthused with crowds.  But it was beautiful and definitely worth the view.

The pictures below are of Bryce Amphitheater from different angles–mostly taken at or near Sunset Point. Let it be noted that this is near the park entrance, where the altitude is the lowest–over 8000 feet. We were  little chilly as darkness came to the beautiful place. It really was never hot there at all during our stay.

A traditional view of the amphitheater. (Click photo to enlarge.)

A traditional view of the amphitheater. (Click photo to enlarge.)

A photographer getting a different view.

A photographer getting a different view.

The same photographer is in this photo, but it gives an idea of perspective.

The same photographer is in this photo, but it gives an idea of perspective.

I loved the tenacity this tree growing in territory that should have been hostile too it. (Click photo to enlarge.)

I loved the tenacity this tree growing in territory that should have been hostile to it. (Click photo to enlarge.)

The same tree is in this picture.

The same tree is in this picture.

Bryce Amphitheater from near Sunset Point looking toward Inspiration Point. This is an enormous area. Several stops along the route will give a different view of this icon of Bryce Canyon. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Bryce Amphitheater from near Sunset Point looking toward Inspiration Point. This is an enormous area. Several stops along the route will give a different view of this icon of Bryce Canyon. (Click photo to enlarge.)

To not overwhelm you with pictures (that may all look sort of alike), I will cover Bryce Canyon over several weeks.

My World is a weekly meme in which participants are virtual tour guides. Go check it out and see the worlds of others. Or better yet, take a look at the guidelines, and do your own My World Post!

This is from the first evening we were at Bryce Canyon National Park. We did not want to waste time, so we dumped our stuff in the hotel room then went for a little hike along the rim about sunset.  Why is this not a picture of the canyon itself with an incredible sky behind it? I just liked the color in this one. I will show you  Bryce Canyon in future My World Tuesday posts.

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

To see LOTS more terrific sky pictures or to find out how to participate in this meme, head to the SkyWatch blog.

A few weeks ago I showed a picture (sorry, it’s at the bottom of the post if you want to go look) and said it was my second-ever lightning shot. It was my first intentional one, actually. But earlier, the same storm produced the scene for the shot below. I did not know I had captured lightning until I uploaded and viewed the photos. I like this picture better than the other one, but I am into orange and gold skies.

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge (I think it's worth it.)

Were it not for the signs of civilization, I almost think this could pass for Mars.

To see LOTS more terrific sky pictures or to find out how to participate in this meme, head to the SkyWatch blog.

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