Sunday, September 25, 2011

Autumnal Equinox Celebration

We took no photos of our campsite. We stayed at Granite Flat Site #52 and it was perfect! We made fried potatoes in the cast iron skillet and K warmed me up in the morning with hot chocolate and oatmeal. Simple food. Simple pleasures. You can hike directly from Granite Flat, but to save time, we drove a mile up the Silver Lake Road to this pullout. The colors are wonderful. Everything was perfect. Can't say enough about the weather, the company, the whole experience...we are so blessed.

Another sign. I may have mentioned this before, but we met in a cave, got engaged in the wilderness, and married in God's temple. That's a lot of symbolism!

This is the "secret entrance" to the Enchanted Forest. It's right in plain sight, but the trail is faint. There is evidence that it gets some use, most recently, by a horse. Most people probably hike right on by, staying on the main, well-established trail, never knowing what they're missing. We got engaged in the Enchanted Forest and so far, we've hiked back there at least once each year for a visit. This all added to our celebration of Autumn!

One of the things that makes the Enchanted Forest so enchanting is the water. Lovely.

The Oregon grapes are ripe! I usually eat 5-10 every year, but then I feel guilty for taking food right out of the animals' mouths. K has tried them, but says they need a cup of sugar to make them decent.

This is the "exit" of the Enchanted Forest. We know exactly where it is, but even so, when we try to get to the Enchanted Forest through this "back door", we often walk right past. By the way, I saw another snake yesterday right about here. K cannot believe what a snake magnet I am. I used to hike to petroglyphs with this woman who was close to the Indians. I would always see snakes while hiking with her as well. She suggested once, "Maybe the snake is your clan." Personally, I think I see them because my dad always taught me to look for them since I was a wee little hiker.

K and J. We had a magical time enjoying our walk in the woods.

Autumn landscape.

We were married in the fall. And these were our wedding colors.

Okay. Let's just make one thing clear. K and I focus on the beauty of the natural world while camping. And thank goodness, because folks, I do not look like I just walked out of an REI catalog when camping. I decided to document some of my personal camp fashions. If it doesn't make you chuckle, that's okay, because at least it makes me chuckle. Please note that I did have the sanity to avoid actually modeling this stuff. It's a good thing K never reads the blog. Let's start with the Blue. As in, old blue flannel night shirt. In fact, I've realized while typing that all of the following photos of clothing are items that I actually owned prior to marrying K. We're talking years, people. Which is why I feel perfectly fine about wearing this stuff while camping. Perhaps one day, I'll upgrade...

Red and green plaid. Yep. These are the bottoms to a pair of pajamas my sister gave me for Christmas once upon a time. I don't recall whatever happened to the top, but the bottoms have served me well for camping. Thanks, Sis!

Ranger green. I sleep with this on my head when it's chilly at night. They say a ton of your body heat escapes through your head, so a little hat is just the thing. Besides, sleeping in our tent at night is about the only time I can really wear this piece of the uniform...

Pink. These are sheepskin slippers and they are one of the best things my dad ever gave me. So warm, so comfortable! I have a very nice goosedown bag to sleep in, but when the temperatures are a little colder for spring and fall camping, I stick these on my feet at night. Cozy.

Yellow and green. Bright green. Flip flops are handy when tenting. Who wants to struggle with shoes and socks when you really need to get out to the restroom?

Red and black plaid. This is a zippered flannel shirt that I sometimes throw on as an extra layer. It's true.

This is the whole ensemble. Talk about Fall Colors!

Sigh. The end.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sucker Punched

I had bus duty all last week. Bus duty is actually a pretty fun time, especially when the weather is as lovely as it is these September days. Why is it so fun?

Well, first of all, you get to be outside. Fresh air, sun, and all of that.

Second of all, you get to see all the students arriving to school and going home again at the end of the day. This can be very amusing. I've had kids have a conversation with a certain point on the asphalt (talking to the ground) and explain their imaginary friend to me and what their friend is saying back. I've had kids walk up to me, do the splits, and then run off again! Often, children will get off the bus, make a beeline for me, and give me a hug. So sweet.

Another thing about bus duty is it makes you feel like a movie star. As the buses pull away in the afternoon, many children are waving at you from their seat windows. Sometimes they call out, "Goodbye Mrs. Kyburz!" And I wave back. And smile. And I feel loved. Afterall, it's the only fan club I really have.

Additionally, bus duty gives me the chance to see some of my old students. They are big sixth graders now. I finally saw S. on Thursday afternoon--first time this school year. He was all smiles! Such a brightly shining face! I said hello and then asked my standard question, "Who is your teacher this year? S. told me it was Ms. B. I always follow up with something positive, letting them know that whomever the teacher is, they are the luckiest kid in the world to have that teacher. He then said, "Yeah, she's my BEST TEACHER SO FAR!!!" Such a brightly shining face. My face? I'll admit there was a slightly plastic grin frozen there momentarily while he skipped away to his bus. Yep, sucker punched.

Dates with my Boyfriend

K is full of surprises. For being such a quiet man, I am perpetually shocked at all the fun ideas he has rolling around in his head. Stuff I would never think of, know about, or consider. Recently, on a Friday night, he propositioned me, "I'd like to drive you to Inspiration Point." I laughed. It reminded me of an old episode of Happy Days. The next thing REALLY surprised me, "We're leaving at six in the morning." Seriously??? My K, who loves to sleep in? My K, the official Night Owl in the family?? I was incredulous. He explained the road was narrow, often with no place for oncoming traffic, even something as small as a four-wheeler, to pass. So we HAD to go early, seeing how it was going to be a Saturday morning, in order to avoid rolling off the cliff side. And we left BEFORE the crack of dawn.

This is Willard Bay from over 9000 feet. It's quite the view. It was windy and cold. From the line-up of four wheelers and pickups, I'd say we were about the forty-sixth vehicle to get there. The sun certainly beat us up there. When you combine the sun with the wildfires all around, this shot was hazy.

These pictures were taken on the way down. I'm not sure of the elevation of Inspiration Point or Willard Peak, but if Willard BASIN is at 9300 feet, then...we were UP there (but I don't think we passed 10,000).

Busy bees buying breakfast.

After our adventure to Willard Peak, we stopped off at Mantua Reservoir for a walk. It was the loveliest of mornings. The water was pretty, the sun was perfect, and we had the place to ourselves. How can you not feel happy when you're walking outside with your Sweetheart and looking at cheerful flowers such as these?

In addition to the sunflowers, we saw these things. What do you think? A species of thistle perhaps? Don't know. After Mantua, we stopped at Paul's Patch in Perry for some luscious fresh fruit. It was Peach Days afterall, so we HAD to have some!

I'll close this post with a view from our humble abode. When we woke up yesterday (09/17/2011), we saw that it had snowed. Lovely Mount Timpanogos was adorned in white up top. The picture is not clear because of the sun, but the snow was there, I promise. We are almost at the autumnal equinox. Time marches on!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It is EVEN!

Of course, some fifth graders just couldn't decide who had it easier--boys or girls?

"Both because girls have stay at home jobs like cleaning and cooking, taking care of kids and pets. And sometimes boys do cleaning, cooking, taking care of kids and pets. But they both can have very hard jobs or easy jobs. Also, boys most of the time have to do heavy lifting, but some girls do that too. The end."

"It depends on how you think of it. At first I thought boys, and then I thought girls. I really can't decide. I think boys because less boys work with little kids as a babysitter, but most girls don't junk their head with video games, so we don't become zombies."

"Both. Boys have hard jobs, but girls have to feed the kids and pay bills. The easy thing for boys is they come home to a nice warm supper. The easy part for girls is they get to stay at home. So it is even."

Ah, love the early attempts at being PC!

BOYS Have it Easier!

Again, the journal prompt was: Who has it easier? Girls or boys?

Following are the responses from children who decided that boys have it easier.

First, we'll hear what what some ladies had to say about why it is, indeed, easier for the gentlemen:

"Boys have it easier because they are lazy and don't care what they are looking like that day. And sleep and that is why boys are easier than girls."

"Boys because all they do is play football. Girls have to do chores and other things."

"Boys, definitely, cause girls have to do all the work, cook, clean, dishes, look nice, and boys watch football, play football, all they ever talk about is sports!"

"Boys. Because girls have to have babies and they have to take care of them."

"Boys. Life is hard for girls. They have to do their hair, look cute, do nails. While boys sit around lazy eating junk food and burping all day."

"Boys because all they do is take a shower, put deoderant, put some clothes on and going and play football, baseball, or basketball. Girls clean, do dishes, cook food, and do laundry. Girls do more work than boys. Boys have an easier life. So boys have it easier."

"I'm not sure as kids it's basically the same, but when you grow up women have to have kids and take care of the kids. They also are the ones to find babysitters or daycares. The women do all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry. The men work hard every day at their jobs. They also have to teach your kids how to drive. They have to protect their family. The girls list is longer so I think boys have it easier."

And now we'll hear from some boys about why boys have it easier:

"Boys have it easier because the girls have to carry a baby in their stomach."

"Boys because they are stronger and more active and they do cool sports. And they rock and they are awesome. The end."

"Boys have it easier cause they don't have to clean as much or give birth."

"Boys because girls have to be pregnant and have to have babies."

"Boys because they don't cry a lot, friends with anybody, they don't get pregnant, tough and strong. Mentally tough. Can wear anything. They can eat whatever they want."

"So who does have it easier, girls or boys? I say Boys! Because girls have to worry about money for earrings, hairspray, flat and curling irons, bobby pins, shoes, nail polish, clips, and fancy clothes! And boys just have to have one bottle of deoderant and they're good for a week. And clothes and food and we can live. So there you have it. Boys have it easier than girls."

GIRLS Have it Easier!

School is back in session and I asked my fifth graders to respond to this question in their journals: Who has it easier? Boys or girls?

The following responses are by all those who voted "Girls!"

First, we'll take a look at what some ten and eleven year old gentlemen had to say about why the girls have it easier:

"Girls because they don't have to go to work, but boys have to and when they get home they are tired, but girls aren't if they don't go to work. If they do go to work, they will get tired."

"I think girls have school easier because I know more boys that do not pay attention. I don't know, maybe girls don't pay attention more than boys, but I think that boys don't pay attention more than girls (a little conthusing)."

"Girls because boys have to live on stress and work longer because girls don't live on very much stress as the boys. The girls have so many things that the girls like to do the easy stuff while the boys do the hard stuff."

"Girls cause girls can't be hit by boys, but boys can be hit by girls."

And now we'll hear the explanations from the ladies about why it's easier to be a girl:

"Girls. Why? Because girls get away with stuff easier. Say that you hurt your brother then he hurts you back and it doesn't even hurt that much. And then you just start crying really loud. Then your parents would come in and then your brother would be in trouble or a boy who hurts you back. Here's reason #2. Girls are cuter, prettier, beautiful, sweet, nice, kind, sassy, funny, and boys you have to help make them handsome."

"Girls. Because they have so many things. They have shoes, jewelry, and purses, so girls have it better."

"Girls. They have gymnastics easier because boys don't try to be as flexible as gymnasts because they think gymnastics is too girly! Wow. I know boys who are flexible! Boys just like football! Great! Urgh! Wow! I can't believe it. I'm not even in gym and don't really want to be in it to be honest. So yeah. But I am in cheer which I don't know why we have to tumble! Next year I'm going to play soccer! So we don't have to do as much tumbling in fact NO tumbling! I really will. I do like cheer but we have to wear long sleeve shirts! I just really want it to be fall!"

"I think girls can do it easier cause girls are pretty and beautiful. Girls are smart, girls are good at singing and dancing. Good at having fashion. Girls rule. Girls are the best. Girls have longer hair."