September 2009


Today I am taking a break from my Utah trip more than a month ago to show you a place we found this weekend due to letterboxing. We have been hunting boxes for over two years and started planting boxes this past spring, but we had never been to a letterboxing event before. This one was nearby, so we went, and what a good time we had!

El Rancho de las Golondrinas is a place I might have never known about were it not for this event. (The way a lot of places are–we find the COOLEST places by letterboxing.) We arrived late, and I am not terribly into people pictures, so this post just shows a little of what I saw. Because we were late, we really only had time to find boxes, not explore the museum, but we will go back; it is a very cool place.

This event also brought me face-to-face with the first person I have ever met through blogging. I actually knew of her family before blogging due to letterboxing, but that connection made us notice one another in the blogging world. So I met Rapunzel from Laughing Orca Ranch as well as her children. She has a picture of that (I pray she does not post it; I’m horribly non-photogenic!), but I did not get one. But for a much different (and more thorough) view of this incredible museum, go to her post here.

So here is what I saw of the museum in the midst of my frantic efforts to find 12 letterboxes in a very short amount of time.

This flowerbed with zinnias was right inside the entrance. I liked the picture having the flag in the background.

This flowerbed with zinnias was right inside the entrance. I liked the picture having the flag in the background.

This is probably my favorite photo from the excursion, but unlike Rapunzel, I LOVE fall! (Although her grudges against it are reasonable.)

This is probably my favorite photo from the excursion, but unlike Rapunzel, I LOVE fall! (Although her grudges against it are reasonable.)

I have no idea what kind it is, but I love the blue underneath this lizard. (And I always try to get lizard pictures when I see them.)

I have no idea what kind it is, but I love the blue underneath this lizard. (And I always try to get lizard pictures when I see them.)

The area had water, thus it was greener than where I live, and had big trees. Lots of good trees to climb. My daughters loved it!

The area had water, thus it was greener than where I live, and had big trees. Lots of good trees to climb. My daughters loved it!

This is the view in one direction from a hilltop. It was quite picturesque. (I should have taken pictures every direction, but we were in a hurry.)

This is the view in one direction from a hilltop. It was quite picturesque. (I should have taken pictures every direction, but we were in a hurry.)

This is a working mill. (Not working the moments we were there.) My daughters were smitten with the frogs in the mill pond. I was smitten with the building.

This is a working mill. (Not working the moments we were there.) My daughters were smitten with the frogs in the mill pond. I was smitten with the building.

Wildflowers always require a picture. I saw these only in one small area. I believe the are "Butter-and-Eggs," Linaria vulgaris.

Wildflowers always require a picture. I saw these only in one small area. I believe the are "Butter-and-Eggs," Linaria vulgaris.

I believe this is a Viceroy butterfly. If I had a butterfly book I would look up its range. I know Monarchs; I grew up where they were abundant, and have several pictures of them, and this one just did not look exactly like a monarch to me. Please correct me if I am wrong.

I believe this is a Viceroy butterfly. If I had a butterfly book I would look up its range. I know Monarchs; I grew up where they were abundant, and have several pictures of them, and this one just did not look exactly like a monarch to me. Please correct me if I am wrong.

This cottontail arrived when I met Rapunzel. Apparently it was RIGHT behind me, but I missed that part. I liked the sun through its ears.

This cottontail arrived when I met Rapunzel. Apparently it was RIGHT behind me, but I missed that part. I liked the sun through its ears.

There were two old churches at this place. The history of the entire place is quite interesting.

There were two old churches at this place. The history of the entire place is quite interesting.

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 a little area we saw on the way into and out of Bryce Canyon–not far from there at all. We went on a short hike here looking for a letterbox. I had not even gone through all these pictures yet, and just looking at them, the colors kind of shock me. You can see why it’s called Red Canyon.

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

Note to my regular readers:

I have a lot going on in my life right now. I will tell you about it when I have a chance, but that probably will not be for a while. So no posting other than the memes I help with, and little visiting. I DID get my taxes finished, then I had to take care of the annual Flexplan stuff, but that is finished, too. Our dog had a run-in with a skunk yesterday morning (this in a place I have never seen a skunk nor smelled more than two times in the 7 years I have lived here), so that has added to the things to take care of. (I am sure some of the smell will just have to go away of its own accord; there seems to be nothing we can do to remove every trace from the house. Actually, when we find the offending item that has a propensity to absorb amazing amounts of odor or that the dog touched, we can remedy it. But it seems we have not been able to find everything.)  Have a fantastic weekend!

In my last post I said that it would be my last SkyWatch post from Bryce Canyon National Park, but many of  you thought it was the last post about Bryce. My apologies for that. I have to do one more. I could do ten more, but one is necessary because I have not yet shown you my favorite overlook.

When visiting Bryce Canyon, one can go to an overlook for every major amphitheater and see all of it in just a few hours. However, we spent 2-1/2 days there and did not have enough time to do all we wanted. The overlooks only made us want to see more. One day we will return and go backpacking in the bottom. (If you know anything about me and camping, you would KNOW it is an incredible place for me to even consider such a thing.)

Paria View--looking left (click photo to enlarge)

Paria View--looking left (click photo to enlarge)

My favorite overlook was Paria View. I cannot tell you why it was, but something there just moved me more than all the other places. (I honestly loved them all, and some close seconds were the Upper Inspiration Point and  Bryce Point.)

Paria View--looking right (click photo to enlarge)

Paria View--looking right (click photo to enlarge)

What amazed me at this place is that there were chipmunks on the ledges running around like it was nothing. Of course it was nothing to them, but I wonder if they ever mis-estimate a jump or something slides and they fall. (My children wondered this as well, and I emphatically told them OF COURSE THAT NEVER HAPPENS!) If they fell, there would be nothing below until the canyon floor hundreds of feet down. It made my stomach a bit queasy watching them.

Since in the last post so many of you said that sunset was a terrific way to say “Good-bye” to Bryce (and it was; it was our last night there), I decided to include a close-up of the same sunset at the end of this post, the real “Good-bye.” (For now at least.)

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

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!

I think this will be my last SkyWatch picture from Bryce Canyon National Park. Not much else I can say about this; it speaks for itself.

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.

One evening at Bryce Canyon National Park we hiked to Mossy Cave. This part of the park is not accessed the same way as the rest, and you could go there without paying, I think. (But come on, the whole place is incredible, and you need to pay to see the rest of it.)

The trail to Mossy Cave. (Click photo to enlarge.)

The trail to Mossy Cave. (Click photo to enlarge.)

The relatively short hike (seemed like 1/2 – 3/4 mile each direction?) took us to Mossy Cave and also a waterfall. I am a save-the-best-for-last-type-of-girl, so we went to the cave first.

I said in a previous post that I would not post a picture of the cave; I did not think I took one because it was not terribly photogenic. (OK, I took a couple, but they were close-ups of something specific that I’ll show you later.) But when finding pictures for this post, I found one.

Mossy Cave--granted, a bit boring. (click photo to enlarge)

Mossy Cave--granted, a bit boring. (click photo to enlarge)

It was a shelf-type cave with an overhang. (I am sure there are more proper technical terms for this that I am entirely too lazy to research.) It was a bit disappointing that we just walked to where it started and had to stop; no one was allowed inside (or under, as it really was).  But truthfully, that is NOT the reason to take this hike. The waterfall is.  (And the hoodoo arches with the incredible sky as seen here.)

The waterfall near Mossy Cave (click photo to enlarge--notice people below it.)

The waterfall near Mossy Cave (click photo to enlarge--notice people below it.)

The waterfall is just a short distance from the cave. A very shallow creek runs through this area and creates the waterfall.

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

My girls were in heaven. (But someone please remind me to take water socks on trips whether or not we think there will be water. There is always water SOMEWHERE!)

I loved the light on the creek. (My girls just liked the creek.)

I loved the light on the creek. (My girls just liked the creek.)

We knew there would be a waterfall on the hike, but we did not know how absolutely wonderful it would be. When we got there, people were playing in the shallow water below it. Not having proper footwear and having young girls, we did not let them play in the falls, but this picture gives you an idea of the size of it.

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On the way out we saw a couple of mule deer. It was our best deer encounter (other than chipmunks and ground squirrels) the entire time, BUT… I had been playing with shutter speeds with the water and forgot to change the settings, so none of the deer pictures turned out particularly well.

mule deer

mule deer

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!

The photos below have nothing to do with this post. I had no pictures to put with the post, so I just took a series that I was pretty sure would never make it to SkyWatch Friday. This is a sunrise about 3 weeks ago. The pictures were taken within about two minutes and I think include the view from every direction from my house.

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

Before I started blogging, I hesitated quite a long time to do it, even though pressured to do it by two of my cousins. The main reason was time. I  knew I did not have time. I still do not, as evidenced by my irregular posting and visiting. But another reason is that I thought it was a bit narcissistic. I thought WHO CARES about the daily happenings of anyone else.  Before I dove in myself, I spent several months reading other blogs. I realized they are not all self-absorbed. (I do not read the ones that I think are.)

However, I have been thinking about my blog lately because one fairly regular reader and commenter once said something like “whatever your blog is about.”  I laughed (I often laugh at his comments; he has a wonderful sense of humor whether or not he means to be humorous.) because it is true.  My blog has no theme. I knew it would not, but it is glaringly apparent when compared to the blogs I visit. Most could be categorized as something. Mine cannot. It is about me. It does not get much more narcissistic than that. And this post will probably be the worst yet. Thank you to all you who come here even though the topics are so varied and there might be three sentences one visit and an epistle the next. And for putting up with me.

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click photo to enlarge

Today I did not really want to say anything about September 11 because so many others have. I also find it irritating how something so tragic that drew a nation together for a few days (or an afternoon?) is now often used in a political sense to tear it apart. (Certainly not everyone, but I have seen plenty of  “Remember 9/11, and be sure you remember why this event makes me right in my political opinions.” I have seen this from opposing viewpoints. Can we just remember a tragedy without being disparaging?) I rarely mention politics in  this space because I hate politics. I hate extremes. I think all sides have extremes. I think the extreme left and the extreme right both want to take away freedom–just in different ways that appeal only to them. (My viewpoints make both sides upset, so if I really got into this, I would likely alienate my entire readership.)  I hate statements that have little other purpose than to be inflammatory. I hate it when people can dish it out but cannot take it.  So I choose to avoid the topic entirely–most of the time. Which is why I was going to avoid any mention of 9/11.  But something compelled me to tell my part of that day’s story. I was pregnant with Chic. I was at work. The tiny television in the Conference Room was on for people to watch the horrific scene over and over. (I am personally not a fan of watching the same tragedy over and over.) Then the Pentagon was hit. Just a couple of weeks before that Prince Charming had been doing an internship at the Pentagon. (Leaving my pregnant self home alone much of the summer.) What was horrible before was real then. But real for me was not, and will never be, what real was for the people who lived and worked  in New York City and Washington, D.C. on that day or who lost someone. They know real. The rest of us just speculate.

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click photo to enlarge

In my car today, on the way to drop off some stamps and to pick up Chic, I suddenly started crying about my mother. There is  nothing special about today in relation to her, but maybe I was thinking about the 9/11 loss. Chicklet was talking to me, and I could not even speak. When I started blogging, I thought I would write a lot about my mother. About her life. About her death. About her 10-year dying process. But I have written very little. Some days I want to just unload it all. But part of me is afraid. The few times I  have discussed her before, the reactions have not been at all what I expected. My reason for wanting to share her story has to do with lessons learned. It is not about me at all. I do not want sympathy or consoling words. I want people to understand what happened and why. I guess I do not know how to say it in a way to make people understand, or else I am not ready. But today, I missed her.

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click photo to enlarge

Last Friday (or Saturday, I don’t remember when it went up) I did a post and said I would see you on Monday. I did not. The day had several totally unexpected things happen (I spent most of the day in front of the computer working on things for Art Class), but ended well (and also unexpectedly) with an afternoon/evening with our “gaming friends” playing Settlers of  Catan–Cities and Knights. (And have been behind blogging since.)

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click photo to enlarge

Now for some more random (and hopefully lighter than the first two sections) things…

1– I  have decided I do not like cooking much right now. Nothing has changed, really, but I get SO. MUCH. ACCOMPLISHED on days I do not cook. I am great at multi-tasking, but I think I hate it. When I cook, I want to focus on cooking. When I cannot focus on it, I think I would rather not do it at all.

2– Our electricity has been flashing lately for every thundercloud that goes over. I realize this is common in some parts of the country (southern Missouri, for example), but it is not common here. And it is starting to get on my nerves because I am at a computer so much of the time.

3– I have two times a day when I can think–really think. Those times are when I exercise and when I cook. (And cooking might involve so many other things that it does not count.) But I am thinking about a post relating to my aerobic activity which is biking (usually to school, but sometimes in the neighborhood). It will mostly be a rant, but I cannot get it out of my head.

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click photo to enlarge

4– My husband is gone. He will be gone most of the weekend at a seminar related to his position at church. I hate it when he is gone. (For many reasons not the least of which he is not here to have water boiling on the stove to add to my bath when it gets cold–because I do not like running water in the tub because the wait for hot water is too long.)

5– Tonight’s bath is scented with Black Amethyst from Bath and Body Works. I was not into that scent much during the heat of summer, but I am liking it a lot again now. (Have I told you how absolutely glorious September is in this part of the country?)

6– My biggest project of the week has been doing my taxes. No, not estimated quarterlies, but the ones that were due on April 15. The last few years we have filed for extensions (even though we always get money back) because I do not have time to do them (and Prince Charming, forgive me, is useless in this area). But they have NEVER been this late. If I were married to Daryl (which I think is impossible because neither of us are lesbians, though neither of us oppose them and their relationships, and who also has a wonderful 9/11 post today), she would have divorced me by now for how long this has taken. Prince Charming is just happy he does not have to bother with financial things.

7– I really, really, REALLY do not like word verification on Blogspot. Really.

8– When I grow up, I want to be her.

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This is Swamp Canyon at Bryce Canyon National Park. The link will tell you why it is so named when one might expect nothing but desert in this place.

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.

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