Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"It's right there!"

Went to Wal-mart, yes, it's true. I was looking for Dramamine for my better half. Couldn't find it. Looked and looked. Couldn't find it. Asked the pharmacist if she knew which aisle the Dramamine was on. She said, "Same aisle as the Tylenol." Oh good! Looked some more. Could NOT find it. Looked SO carefully. Nothing. Found an employee with a name badge and everything. I asked her, "Do you happen to possess the secret knowledge as to where the Dramamine might be?" She didn't hesitate, "Yeah, it's right there--bottom shelf, left-hand corner, very bottom." Oh good! I squatted down...looking, looking. No luck. She came over and repeated herself. "Bottom shelf, on the corner. Oh. We don't have any."

Saturday, December 17, 2011

School's Out!

My Christmas Vacation began at 4:00 p.m. yesterday (Friday 16 December 2011). Actually, I lied. I cheated the school district by three minutes. When I turned my car on to drive out of the parking lot, my car clock said 3:57 p.m. I don't really feel like I cheated too badly though because the district already got that three minutes out of me back in the '90's.

I was supposed to head straight to Little America in Salt Lake City to meet my husband, however, there was a change of plans. A neighbor of ours asked for a ride. I tried calling other people to arrange that ride for them. No luck. They had to leave their vehicle at one hospital parking lot while they were being transferred to another hospital by ambulance. They just needed a ride from one hospital to the other to pick up their car. I couldn't say "no." As much as I wanted to be carefree and see my husband for a wonderful date night in the big city, I took a little time to help those people. I still remember being car-less until after I graduated from college. It was very difficult. So many people gave me so many rides. I try to give rides whenever possible. This was a good choice yesterday, I believe, especially under the circumstances.

Little America is a very nice hotel! My husband is the grand master of arranging Wholesome Family Recreation. It doesn't matter if we play outside in the wilderness or if we own the city for a night or two, he knows how to show me a good time. We don't have to have really nice hotels. We have camped in the rain and the cold and have learned to enjoy that side of things as well. We have stayed in plenty of cheap podunk motels. But let me tell ya, we had the loveliest room at Little America! Ahhhhh....

Because of the delay caused by my little service project, I ruined K's plans for dinner before the concert. We walked to the train station and jumped on Trax to head toward Temple Square. Of course the lights were amazing! Too bad there's no snow, but it was a mild evening as far as December is concerned. After walking around for awhile, and a surprise romantic kiss from my Sweetie under the branches of a beautifully lit tree, we headed toward the Conference Center to enjoy an evening of Christmas Music by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Orchestra at Temple Square, baritone Nathan Gunn, and actress Jane Seymour. This annual concert (last year featured David Archuleta) is first rate. I still find it unbelievable that the tickets are always free (all of the tickets for all 22,000 seats for all four performances)! There were some amazing lighting techniques used. K said, "If they would light up the organ pipes like that for General Conference I might be able to stay more focused!" They had dancers and costumes and bell ringers. They had everything. I wish I could take you all.

After the concert, we were starving. We attempted to get food at three restaurants at Temple Square, but the place was packed. We decided to just start walking south on Main Street toward our hotel and see if we could find any restaurants. We found a little Italian cafe called Michelangelo's. It looked empty. The sign on the door said they closed at 10:00 p.m. and it was 10:00 p.m. Through the glass of the door, the guy behind the counter smiled and waved us in! We ate! K had rigotoni with sausage and onions. I had spinach ravioli. The bread with oil and balsamic vinegar was divine.

While eating, K started noticing all of these people dressed as Santa walking on the sidewalk. "There goes another one!" Some of them were jogging. We were guessing all the reasons so many Santas would be walking on Main Street in Salt Lake City after 10:00 p.m. on a Friday night. Were they doing something like "Santas for Fitness?" Or were they just jogging to stay warm? Were they all late to the same party?

We continued walking south skipping the other Trax stations, opting to walk the rest of the way to the hotel. We continued passing many, many people dressed as Santa! At one crosswalk, we saw one group of Santas run into another group of Santas. They didn't know each other, but one of them was carrying a big boom box, and both groups of Santas merged into one group and danced (really well!) on the sidewalk. K and I were laughing--wish I had the video. Another crosswalk found us waiting with a couple of Santa People. K finally asked, "Is there some sort of Santa Party going on?" They replied, "Yes!" I commented, "We've seen MILLIONS of you guys!" The woman said, "Yes! There are millions of us!"

Back at the hotel, my darling husband produced a piece of Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake for me directly from the Cheesecake Factory! He had stopped there on his way into town. I'm tellin' ya, he's a Dreamboat, this guy of mine!

We both slept in, but as usual, I woke up first and helped myself to the amazing bath tub in our hotel room (amazing as could have a dance party in there). They even provided bubble bath! kind of morning. I let K sleep until ten and then we ambled over to the Breakfast Buffet. Scrumptious. We've always heard about the food at Little America, but this was our first taste. I usually eat much earlier in the morning, so I was feeling a bit ravenous,and when I took my first bite, I had another love burst for my husband and said, "Thank you for bringing me here!" Bagels with cream cheese and lox, fresh pineapple and blackberries, and crepes. There was no way to taste everything. K did have the omelette chef make something special for him. We thoroughly enjoyed our breakfast while leisurely chatting in those big comfy chairs.

Just walking around the foyer of Little America is an experience, especially when everything is decked out for Christmas. We saw a huge Gingerbread creation which took fifty-five hours to complete (no camera, sorry). So festive.

We left Little America in my car to find a new-to-us outlet. Yep, we're talking Maxfield's Chocolates. I seriously don't know how my husband hears about all of these places, but we did make a purchase. We headed back to Little America so K could pick up his vehicle and we kissed goodbye until we see each other again. People always ask how we do it--this living apart thing--well, this is how we do it!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Something New

I've decided to try something NEW! Something I've never ever done before! There's something fresh and different on the Horizon. I'm not going back to the cave this next summer as an interpretive park ranger. I'm hanging up my flat hat. Instead, I'm going to try my hand at being a stay-at-home WIFE! You know, just for ten weeks, during summer vacation. And it won't really be ten whole weeks because teachers are required to do a lot of stuff in the summer.

My husband has never known me not to have two jobs. Two overlapping jobs which gets a litle intense every spring and fall. Jobs that are mentally and physically exhausting. He's been a good sport. He would never prevent me from choosing what I want. Well, I want a break. I want a breather. So I'm going to take one.

Don't get me wrong. I know that being a stay-at-home wife is a very demanding role, especially if one does it well. I'm really not thinking I'll be at the pool every day without a care in the world. I'm thinking other things. I'll let you know later how it goes.

Prior to becoming a National Park Ranger, I did volunteer work. I was a teacher at Summer Clear Creek for two summers. I tutored students. I'm not about to get lazy or anything. I'll find something worthwhile to do and I'll probably start with cleaning out the silverware drawer.

For a decade now, teachers have been asking, "How do you do it? Aren't you tired?" They exclaim, "I need my summer. I could never do what you do." One person said, "You should enjoy your summer." She meant that I wasn't enjoying my summers because I was working full time. Well, I HAVE enjoyed my summers! Every. Single. One. I love that cave and all the rangers and all that I've learned and the general public. I have loved it all. So I don't want anyone thinking I wasn't having fun. Parts of every job are difficult, however, it was the fun parts that took me back year after year. If I ever gave the impression that someone was forcing me to work there, I apologize. Not going back is one of the most difficult things I've ever decided. In fact, I feel sorry for all of you that will never be able to say that you were a Timp Cave Ranger. You'll never know the secret. I will miss my litle hat spot in the backroom of the VC and I will resent (jk) the ranger who takes on my radio call number. But I will love, Love, LOVE spending more time with my husband!

Husband. THE VERY BEST GIFT out of all the gifts I received from that old cave. I am really looking forward to seeing him on a daily basis again. When he first went to the Spike, it was "for just one year" and I was already underway at the cave, so I stayed on. We never knew if he would be renewed for another year or get another job somewhere else or when they would next advertise his position or how many Veterans would apply and so, inch by inch, we kept making these decisions until now we're staring at the last six months of his four year term.

Now you know my plan. However, people's plans change all the time and I don't have to answer to you. Maybe I WILL go back to the cave or get a job somewhere else or take a lot of classes or spend my days at the pool. Perhaps I'll never clean out the silverware drawer afterall. I'll let you know.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Letters to Santa--What a Girl Wants!

More stolen writing from my students...

Dear Santa:
I would like a toy that looks just like my cat, Spirit. Please make it the same size, or at least try. Please make it soft, or at least try. Please make it a stuffed animal, or at least try. Please make it cute, or at least try. Please try. Spirit died and I miss him so much. He's a cute, fat, boy cat, black and white. Please try to make him stand and sit.

Dear Santa,
For Christmas, I would like a laptop. If you bring me one, I won't keep bugging my parents to get me one. They would thank you so much. I can go on educational websites to learn things. I wouldn't have to use my mom or dad's. I would have my own to use. If you do get me one, I want it to be pink.

Dear Santa,
I have been good this year and I deserve a microphone with a stand. I would also like the series of My Sister the Vampire. And and iPod Touch. These are the things I've done good. I have helped people out, sick or not sick. I have been listening to my parents. And I have been doing my homework. I like presents.

Dear Santa Claus,
The day that I am writing is my birthday. Or do you already know that? Anyways, what I really want is a telescope, or at least a good pair of binoculars. Here are the reasons why I so desperately need one. 1) In the future, I might be a good astronomer, if I can get to know the night sky. Later, I can possibly discover something new. 2) I will finally stop begging for one or the other. 3) I can enjoy camping trips more. Santa, it is afterall my birthday, so maybe you will consider this letter a little more, about getting me a telescope or a pair of binoculars.

Letters to Santa--What a Boy Wants!

Here I go again, ripping off student writing...

Dear Santa Claus:
What I would like for Christmas is a Lego set and a model car or airplane. I love building, like your elves. It would give me something to do instead of homework and other things like that. When I grow up, I will give it to my kids, so, I won't give it away.

Dear Santa:
I want a Wii for Christmas because our Wii is not working and we have games on the Wii we need to play. And we love to play the Wii. I really want to play a game I have. And I am saying please.

Dear Santa:
I am asking you to give me a little dirt bike. It will be cool and everyone has one but me. If you give me one, I'll need a helmet too. My parents want me to have one, so give me one please.

Dear Santa,
I would like a horse! Why a horse, I know you are thinking. Because horses are my passion! I've loved horses for my whole life! I love going on horseback rides, but I have to travel an hour just to get to the horse. It would be a lot easier to have one right by my house so we don't have to spend lots of money on gas. It will teach me big responsibility and that will help me with life lessons later on! So please get me a horse. PLEASE!

Dear Santa,
This year I would like a Nook tablet. This is the only thing I would like this year. I like this tablet because you can watch movies and play games, so it is something to keep me entertained. I want this, but if I don't deserve it, then I won't get it. But, it is a mutual thing, because my parents don't buy it for me, so they don't waste money. It will not cost you a penny because your elves can make it for me. You can save your energy for next Christmas. So, what do you say, are you with me? Since this is the only thing I want, I will be super good and I won't lie, steal, disobey, and fight. I will be an angel child for the year. And I can also play with my little sister for as long as she wants.