Saturday, July 28, 2012


Woke up, blogged about Colorado, showered, and then...did not get to move forward with the rest of my day. Plans! I had 'em. However, the virus in my tummy took charge and I was back in bed with a garbage can at my side. K woke me up at 1:45 p.m. to let me know he was going to the doctor (persistent hand/finger pain). At 4:00 p.m., I migrated to the sofa. At 6:00 p.m. I asked for crackers. Dozed on and off during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Slept all night.

All I can say is I am SO THANKFUL to have had the TIME to be sick! This would have been so much more difficult had I been teaching. So, there you have it, my thirty-fifth day of summer vacation was spent sick in bed all day. A necessary day. No time wasted. A day well-spent. It's just that being sick wasn't really on my list of things to do.

Friday, July 27, 2012


Woke up at the Old Columbine Campground in the previously mentioned forest. So, on our way here the afternoon before, we stopped at the Forest Service in Norwood, Colorado to ask the nice lady how the roads were up to the mesa because July=Monsoon Season and there had been some rain and we didn't want to get stuck. Oh, she tells a good story. She told us the road was good and it was was. She also told us the scenery was great and there are tons of ELK up there and that we could camp anywhere we wanted on the forest, didn't have to be in a campground, and all that jazz. What she failed to mention were the thousands of cattle grazing on the forest. At least the campground was free. Elk schmelk. My favorite K quote of the day was, "By the way, I did step in that cow pie." On the other hand, K enjoyed watching me play the part of Bossy Cow by telling the cows in no uncertain terms to get away from the tent and the picnic table. These four cows were contemplating walking right past our table so I marched toward them, speaking in a tone of authority. They stopped. They chewed their cud or whatever cows do. They looked like insolent teenagers challenging me, "So what are you gonna do about it?" I stepped closer, raised my hand and pointed, "Go the other way!" The four gangstas continued to stare straight at me. One fine lady let 'er rip and just peed in all the silence while we stared each other down. I tried not to take it personally. They finally decided to go around. K says I'm pretty entertaining. We drove home, unpacked, and cleaned up.

Just a word about cleaning up. You know, I'm pretty good about all this camping. A lot of girls wouldn't be able to take it. I know how to get by without showers. Every wet wipe/personal wipe is worth its weight in gold. We know how to heat water and wash up. But sometimes, every so often, the grime of camping starts to get to me, and it really did this time, probably because of the cows. I think it was the smell of cows that put me over the edge. I got to thinking about all the suncscreen, the insect spray, the sweat, the salt, the sour body odor if you don't shower anyway, the coal cinders stuck in our hair, the hand sanitizer, the wipes. By the time we rolled in yesterday, I was thirty-one flavors of ripe camping. I carried two loads up the stairs and then jumped into the tub. After my bath, we proceeded to clean, wash, sanitize, and air out everything--all better now!

One last thing...while eating dinner after we got back last night, I grabbed some stuff my grandmother wrote about her life (I was reminded when we saw the bear and told K I would share some stuff with him when we got home). I read excerpts aloud to K about her trips with my grandfather. They hiked, they backpacked, they saw bears, they had picnics. They went to a lot of the same places we've been. My grandma was a teacher as well. As I read a few things about my grandma's life and things her students told her and their parents told her, and realized just how much my life seems to parallel hers, I cried. K just grinned and said "It's all in your blood; you're following her footsteps." I never even meant to. I thought I got the outdoorsy stuff from my dad. My grandma was a wonderful lady. If I'm turning out to be just a little like her, then I'm doing okay. By the way, she wrote about teaching kindergarten one year...get this! She had 42 students in her morning kindergarten and another 43 students in her afternoon kindergarten! I guess I shouldn't complain about 37 fifth graders!


Woke up in Mesa Verde National Park. K and I did this park (toured everything, hiked almost everywhere, drove everywhere) a few years ago, so we weren't really here to spend time in the park, we just camped on our way home. There were deer everywhere! We did hike up the Prater Ridge Trail before leaving the park--we hadn't done this trail previously. As we continued our journey we stopped at a few places (Lizard Head Wilderness Area, Telluride--one guy called it "To Hell You Ride") and ended up camping in the Uncompahgre National Forest in the Ouray Ranger District--more about that later.

Pioneer Day

Pioneer Day is a state holiday in Utah, therefore, it doesn't count as a regular day of summer vacation, because the teachers who do teach at year-round schools here get the day off as a holiday--not a day of teaching, not a paid holiday, simply a day of no school for everyone, kind of like Thanksgiving. We went on an historic train ride called the Durango and Silverton Narrow Guage Railroad. She was a coal-fired engine and it took us 3.5 hours to get to Silverton and about 3 hours to get back. They let us off the train for two hours in Silverton so we could walk around and eat lunch and buy fudge (everyone, including us, boarded after lunch carrying little white paper sacks with said fudge hiding inside). We were in an "open-air" car which meant we had coal cinders coming at us the whole time. Everyone wore glasses to protect their eyes. There were about fifty people in our car: the two of us, and forty-eight Texans. No kidding, everyone was from Texas! The scenery was incredible! One of the most amazing things that happened was...WE SAW A BEAR!!! This was K's first time ever seeing a bear in the wild and he had a smile on his face for a long time! However, he's not sure if it "really counts" because he wants to see one on a hike, not from a moving train. Because the bear was running and because we were on a moving train, K reached for the camera, but we couldn't get the shot--no time. I told him it totally counts because out of the cars on that train, the bear was right in front of OUR car! Gift from Heaven!

The guy from Texas on my left asked where we were staying. I told him we didn't know because we were camping and hadn't decided exactly where we would drive after the train ride. He flipped out. He said, "NO KIDDIN'??? Ya'll don't even know where you'll sleep tonight? Do ya'll have a tent?" I affirmed that yes, we had a tent. He continued, "So you just go wherever and pitch your tent and SLEEP in it?" I affirmed that we did. He persisted, "Outside? In the wilderness? Out in the country?" Yep. I asked him where he was staying and what he did in Dallas. He briefly answered and then just went right back to the fact that we camp, "So ya'll camp a LOT? Do you ever run into anything dangerous? That is amazing! I'd like to try sleeping in a tent once! That just sounds so adventurous!" We ended up sleeping in the campground at Mesa Verde National Park that night. Following are a few more pics of the train/ride.


Took off Sunday after Church and headed for Colorado for a few days. On my thirty-second day of summer vacation, I woke up in Highline State Park which is right on 11 8/10 Road! The names of the roads in Colorado near Mack Mesa and Loma were just killing me. Hysterical, I tell you: N 3/4 Road, etc.! Had to take a picture!

We drove through Montrose to Ouray where we stretched our legs a little by hiking in a city park there called Box Canyon Falls. First we did the easy trail down into the box canyon where it was dark, cool, and loud with the roaring sound of all that water coming in. Then we did the native plant loop. Then we hiked up to to the high bridge which began with a staircase of 95 steps. You see, counting them helped me to climb them. After that it was dirt and rocks until we got to the top. People were wishing they had my hiking stick. We managed to dodge the rain showers most of the time. Following are a couple of pics from the falls and one of a yellow-bellied marmot who didn't mind posing for us.

After lunch, we headed to Silverton to go on a mining tour. The mine has this great gig going in order to keep all the visitors happy and out of their hair while they wait for their tour--panning for minerals! It sure kept us occupied! Our guide told us the mine was named Old Hundred for the hundreth psalm in the Bible which has that verse that says "make a joyful noise." All of our yellow coats had names on them. Mine was "Sneezy" and K's was "Poot." They loaded us up into their little rail cars and drove us in. From there it was a walking tour and Joe taught us more than we ever knew before about mining (face, ribs, bottom, back). His information about using dynamite reminded me of some of Arlo's old stories about using dynamite. Following are pictures from the mine tour. We drove on to Durango and slept there for the evening.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

All You Can Eat

Yesterday was Saturday. We had a wonderful day. It started out with a community rummage sale. I didn't do one thing to help organize it. These ladies in the neighborhood took care of obtaining permission, posting signs, and all the rest. It was the Third Annual for our little community. I had never even been. However, I've been purging books and dusting shelves and organizing things over the past couple of days. We had quite the pile to donate to DI (which we do regularly). We never ask for "charitable contribution" receipts when donating to DI. We never sell anything online. We have thought about putting things on the sidewalk with a sign that says "Free to a Good Home" but those were idle threats. We did give away our Love Sac via Facebook posting, but we made them come and get it. So, I got this wild hair and said, "Why not? Let's give it a whirl!" My mother, the queen business woman of North America who could sell snow to native Alaskans, or what have you, would be so proud. I have a little of her in me and managed to convince people to pay me actual money for the privilege of hauling away all of our old stuff. It's pretty hilarious, actually. A few dollars richer is a lovely way to start the day.

After the sale, we headed off to a bakery called Kneaders. We've been there before and my favorite-ist thing from that bakery is...are you ready...their Large Green Avocado Salad, or whatever they call it. That salad is the BEST! LOVE IT SO MUCH! However, for years now folks, literally years, I've been hearing about their amazing French toast. The ladies in the faculty room keep mentioning it. I was so doubtful. How could French toast be that great, you know? I mean, it's bread, egg and milk, and syrup, right? I asked many questions about it and people couldn't adequately describe it, they would just end up urging me to try it. Now I know.

I will merely attempt to describe it for you, but knowing already that I will fail, I strongly encourage you to go eat for yourself. They start with some kind of cinnamon swirl bread. It's thick and soft, but hardy enough to withstand being soaked and cooked. What do they soak it in? I have no idea. However, I've heard it's rich stuff which may or may not include cream and egg. And what goes on it? The plate comes with two big pieces of French toast along with a little cup of syrup and another cup of strawberries and whipped cream. I initially thought I would favor the strawberries, but no, the syrup captured my heart. I obviously don't know what's in the syrup either, but it's not your plain Jane fake-o maple syrup. I believe it just might be caramel infused! If I ever go again, I think I'll ask for no strawberries and get two syrups instead. The strawberries and whipped cream were just fine, but paled in comparison to the syrup. And Emily was absolutely right--they call it "all-you-can-eat" but you simply can't get past those two pieces.

Back at home, I bathed, because that hadn't happened thus far in the day. Then I promptly crashed for a two hour nap. K just laughs when I crash because he never naps. He has seen me reach my limit many times and after I sleep, the whole world is better. I'm good to go. My mom always says I will never get an ulcer. When things get tough, I sleep and then I wake up and handle them. I don't really know why I was so tired yesterday.

The Mister and I chipped away at a few household tasks and then got this splendid idea that we should head off to another all-you-can-eat place. Don't worry, we don't do this all the time. We skipped lunch and waited long into the afternoon before heading to Tucano's, a Brazilian grill. Their salad bar is phenomenal and this time they had sushi! I will freely admit I had five pieces of sushi. It was, in a word, good. After Tucano's, we meandered all over Costco, walking up and down aisles whether we needed to or not, because we really needed to move our bodies and walk! From there, we headed to our local grocer to grab things packaged on a smaller scale. Luckily, they had several more aisles for walking. We fueled the vehicle. We hauled things up and down the stairs. We unloaded and put away. We settled our finances on Quicken. And then we went to the pool. NO ONE WAS THERE! On a beautiful Saturday night, we had the pool all to ourselves. I opened a few cards and a couple of presents. Happy Birthday to me!

Saturday, July 21, 2012


The days are sort of starting to run together, I tell ya. No pool today because I continued culling books, a project started yesterday afternoon. I'm getting rid of over a hundred books and those shelves sure needed dusting! Pretty much, that's what we did for quite a while as The Mister got in on some of the organizing as well!

The biggest news of the day is that I babysat for a family with three children. It's been awhile since I've done that, which is funny, because I used to babysit all the time. Babysitting paid for practically my whole college education (I was a nanny for five summers on the East Coast) if you consider nanny-ing, working at the preschol/daycare, and babysitting for the Howell Family and others. The only non-babysitting work I did in college was typing papers for grad students. Oh, and a couple of scholarships and grants.

There was a five year old girl, a three year old boy, and a fifteen month old boy. The mom had to leave right away to meet her honey for a hot date, so of course, the baby began to cry. Poor kid, I was the only woman to cling to and yet, all he could do was look away and sort of hyperventilate at the same time. Couldn't let go of me, but hated to have to hold on--such a fix he was in. He calmed down when I put him in his high chair. The three year old boy immediately began wearing my sandals around (I had left them at the door), pulling on the decorative strings attached to my capris/shorts at the knee and unsnapping the pockets on my backside while I mixed up dinner. The five year old was ecstatic about giving me a special picture she colored of the two of us (with hearts! my fave!), folded in a very professional manner. They didn't lose a second asking for their yogurt popsicles for dessert. We played games, read books, the baby went right down, more games, more books, potty, brush teeth, prayer, and I didn't hear a peep from anyone. Easy, EASY kids!

While reading, the three year old decided to put both hands on my face to squeeze it into various positions. While changing the baby before bed, the other two decided to play with him by grabbing the pacifier out of his mouth and throwing it and then tickling him and bringing several toys and stuffed animals to him. The baby began to laugh and when I commented, the five year old said, "He LIKES us!" Such a sweet family. The five year old won all three games of bingo and admonished me at one point to not cheat by looking. :)

Friday, July 20, 2012


Another no-photo day, which is fine. Woke up, studied, ate, went to the pool, showered, dressed, and departed for The Big Meeting about the health insurance changes in the district.

Does anyone else work for a company which gives you FIVE plans from which to choose? We still haven't decided, but I don't like little games that make me think I'm playing Black Jack in Vegas. Hubby decided that after the meeting would be a great time to try a new restaurant, Chubby's. Chubby's??? Yes, Chubby's. My grilled chicken was great, I must say. And there were ten LDS missionaries in there chowing down so I guess they liked it too.

Back at the ranch, we looked up all of our health care expenses for the last ninety-two months on Quicken to see just what we've been spending on office visits, medications, and surgeries. I'm so glad the hubster can just pull up these colorful little pie charts so we can see where the money has been going.

I went off to finish my visiting teaching for the month. Pleasant! D-O-N-E, done!

Upon returning home, something possessed me to start purging our home of books. I keep a LOT of books around. It was an emotional experience to decide to give up some of my favorite series which mean so much to me, and yet, I know I'll probably never read again. I always pictured myself having this dreamy home library so the children would grow up surrounded by worthy literature in a home of learning, however, there are no children and we're not home that often. K reads nonfiction mostly, so I decided to declutter and reduce the amount of worldy possessions we have--there's only so much you can fit into a seven hundred square foot apartment. I will try to let the library store most of my books and just know that these copies in these series will go on to bless someone else. Don't worry, there are still a couple thousand books in my classroom for my fifth graders, but these series were a little too old for fifth graders and so I will part with them. Yes, the library can store our books, iTunes can store our music, and Netflix can keep track of our DVD's. My dad says you spend the first half of your life accumulating stuff and the last half trying to get rid of it. I guess my life is half over!

We had leftovers for dinner and K's mom called, so we each chatted with her. Called my sister to see if she wants any books and she does! See? I've already found a good home for them! Had good intentions of going to school today, but I never made it there. And just like that, THIRTY DAYS of summer vacation are...poof!...gone!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Let's see...I actually skipped the pool today because I had appointments (hair cut, VT, etc.). A little scripture study, a little food shopping, a little service, a little laundry, a little time in the classroom. I guess the whole idea of summer vacation has been catching up with me because my husband asked, ever so nicely before heading for his long day of errands (car repairs, etc.), "Sweetie, would you like to be in charge of dinner tonight?" The poor fellow. He's been remembering to thaw meat and think ahead and I've just been going along with his ideas. So I laughed and replied, "I'm all over it!" We had Mexican Lasagna and it turned out better than it's ever turned out before. We had lettuce, chopped tomato, black olives, and fresh-perfectly-ripened avocado to go with it--everything was so cheery and colorful! The dishes are waiting for me in the sink. The fresh cherries we bought the other day or incredible! The dishes may have to wait until morning.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Pool, Pool, POOL. Just cleaned, perfect temperature, sunny morning, all to myself, could not have been more perfect. Could have stayed all day. But! The Mister and I made a plan to clean our little home. So I dragged myself away from that watery playground and faced the music. Together, as in side by side, we cleaned the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedroom, the living room, and the dining room. We scrubbed, we laundered, we tidied, we dusted. Oh, it will never be perfect, but it's good enough to sleep in tonight.

This afternoon we made a visit to the Draper Temple. Neither of us had ever been to that one (missed the open house). We knew we would go to some temple today, not because it happens to be ward temple night (sorry, ward, for not supporting you), but because today is my personal little anniverary of the day I received my own endowment in the Washington, D.C. Temple. I keep track of these milestones and commemorate this particular one by attending the temple, of course! often happens...we were asked to be the witness couple.

We went over our finances again, cooked dinner, studied together, and watched a movie. It's a simple life, but we love it. All in all, a good day's work with some relax time in the evening.

Monday, July 16, 2012


The above photo was taken from a trail in American Fork Canyon this beautiful morning. We hiked from the Pine Hollow trailhead to the Salamander Flat "meadow" and then headed up toward the Ridge Trail. It was two glorious miles up with just us, the wildflowers, the butterflies, and a few squirrels standing at their posts along the way, sounding the warning cry that humans were encroaching upon their territory. And then we turned around. We've hiked this/these trail(s) many times in all seasons, and we just can't get enough. Sometimes we hiked quietly, sometimes we chatted about this and that. K said, "Thanks for coming on a hike with me this morning, Sweetie." I answered, "Thanks for inviting me!" It was the best.

Prior to hiking, I made an early morning venture to Wal-mart to procure school supplies for my next bunch of fifth graders. Sure, the notebooks are dirt cheap, but it takes time to sort through the boxes and get enough of each COLOR you want. A clerk came by to see if I needed any help and I said, "I've got it under control and I promise to put everything back nicely." Which I did. I wonder if the people watching the security cameras ever get a kick out of me. The cashier lady wondered if kids were obligated to bring their own stuff. Well...that would be nice, wouldn't it? I mean you can ask people to bring everything on your little list, but you won't get it all. I explained that I want the children in my class to feel like they have equal access. One student might show up with three crisp notebooks and another student may not even have the courage to ask their parents for a toothbrush, let alone school supplies. So, I just do what I do. K is starting to get used to this annual event. He doesn't protest as loudly as he once did. As I was pushing my cart away from the checkstand, another employee, Connie, stopped me and said, "Let me guess! You're a school teacher!" She proceeded to hug me and say, "Thanks for all you do!"

After we returned from hiking, we had a simple lunch. K asked me to cut his hair. I cannot take any responsibility for the result as I've had zero training. I just do what the man asks. We worked on a few household chores/tasks (family history, thank you notes, putting away camping equipment) and then headed to school to drop off all that shopping I did. K was nice enough to make and print labels for me--so glad!

Back at home, we had potato bar for dinner with the left over baked potatoes from yesterday's meal. Hit the spot. And then we cleaned the kitchen, studied a certain topic in the scriptures for FHE, and now I'm "posting" as he calls it. The days are just flying by!

Yeah, who cares about unemployment? We're making the most of our time together after that four year tour of duty. Every day is a holiday with K, and every meal a banquet!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Marco! Polo! Mom!

The pool at night seems to be an endless source of amusement. I prefer going in the mornings when I have the place to myself, but since I woke up in a tent this morning, miles and miles from my pool, I went tonight.

When I arrived, there were two soon-to-be-sixth graders who happen to live in the same building, Collin and Kiara. There were two fifteen year old cheerleader girls who were flaunting everything they had in their bikinis (and they had stuff!). Shortly thereafter, three people showed up, all in their early twenties: a married couple and their male friend, James. The two guys in their twenties quickly reverted to their childhood. One would say, "Do a belly flop!" The other would say, "I can jump out farther than you!" The wife stayed in the corner saying she couldn't do much because of her pregnancy. Now mind you, I have never seen or met any of these people ever before in my entire life.

So, the jumping and the splashing escalated as it is wont to do. Pretty soon, James, the twenty-three year old single guy calls to me, "Mom! Will you judge our belly flops to see who wins?" I respectfully declined, thinking he had called me Ma'am, not Mom. While those grown men were having their little contests, the wife remarked that "they never grow up." I mentioned that I teach fifth grade and it was all seeming a mite familiar. She laughed. I asked her how old they were, so that's how I know their ages.

Wifey Dear invited her husband to the hot tub leaving James in the pool with the rest of us. He cheerfully piped up, "Anyone want to play Marco Polo?" All accepted the invitation except for myself. I continued my little exercises in the deep end. Now, when there are "big kids" in the pool playing with little kids, I can't help but watch closely and monitor. I wonder why the adults try so hard to interact with the youngers. I was suspicious of James. After Round I of Marco Polo, James called to me, "Mom! Are you playing this time?" Again, I bowed out, smiling that he had chosen to address me as such and deciding that yes, that's what he had called me to begin with. That's okay, I thought, if he thinks I'm someone's mother here, then he'll keep himself in check. None of the kids said anything. Maybe they thought he really was my son. After a couple more rounds of Marco Polo, he tried to include me once again, "Mom's playing now. Get her!" No, Mom was not playing.

At one point, Kiara, the sixth grader, grabbed onto me from behind, using me as a shield to protect her from James who was yelling "Marco!" I smiled and said, "You can't use me as a shield. I'm not playing." Collin yelled, "Lightning!" And we all got out of the pool. K asked, "And you wonder why I don't like going to the pool with you at night?"


K called me the other morning at school and announced, "We now have tickets to Les Mis." I was SO happy! I had never seen it live on stage before! So for my twenty-sixth day of summer vacation, we headed to Cedar City for the annual Shakespeare Festival. I loved Fantine! I loved Eponine (sp?)! I loved Jean Valjean! The performance brought some emotions to the surface and for me, that's what makes a great book/movie/musical/conversation, etc. It's that emotional connection, just like they teach us at park ranger school.

First, we had business in Cedar. I take classes through SUU and my school district, and SUU has had my name wrong since I married. No, not my last/married name, they changed that without question, but my middle name. So, I took a boat load of documentation to the registrar's office and they fixed everything. Appearing in person does wonders as opposed to emailing, calling, and faxing. All for a middle initial, mind you!

We next scavenged the campus for Anna's mural. Anna is Ranger Anna to us, my favorite yodeling ranger of all time. She graduated from SUU with degrees in art and outdoor recreation. We asked around a little in the student center if anyone might know where her artwork is permanently displayed, but they couldn't help us. We went to the library and asked if they had a list of artwork on campus (we hadn't seen it and we didn't know the title of it, just Anna's name). They tried, but failed. They were just about to send us to the art building when Linda the Librarian said, "What's the artist's name?" When we told her, she said, "Oh! I know Anna. I used to join the hikes she led for the outdoor recreation department. I'll walk you over to it." Fortuitous.

While walking around in the student center, we ran into Linda Wills, my former assistant principal who is now a principal at another school! Hugs were exchanged and we found out through our chit-chat that we would all be attending the same performance in the afternoon. Nice, nice.

We dined in at Arby's for lunch and as we were leaving the parking lot, we noticed a certain van in the drive-thru with a certain bumper sticker with a picture of the Earth and three words: Love Your Mother. K asked, "Hey, isn't that BJ's van?" Why yes, it was! Ranger BJ took me to the Shakespeare Festival for my first time last summer. We stopped right next to her and her family. We waved. We honked. We called out. They were extremely focused on the menu and ordering their food. Understandable. So then we waited for them to leave the ordering area and move further through the line at which point we pulled up next to them again repeating the above mentioned antics. No luck.

We headed for the theatre and found our seats. The show was sold out and the place was packed except for one little empty seat right next to us on our row. Who showed up? Linda Wills! Can you believe the connections we were having? So it was lovely chatting with Linda even more. She is such an ace.

After the show we headed up Cedar Canyon. It was starting to rain. The fog rolled in. We were going to camp at Navajo Lake, but found a better spot lower down. The showers were off and on, so we thanked Heavenly Father for sending the moisture we so desperately need, even if we were pitching our tent right in the middle of it. And that sort of concludes my twenty-sixth day of summer vacation. I'm not counting Saturdays, remember? Because most people who work full-time get two days off a week anyway, and since those are often Saturdays and Sundays, they don't count as a summer vacation day in my little Jody's Book of Rules. However, we had such a glorious day today, that I must continue!

We headed for Cedar Breaks National Monument. This was my eighth July in a row of visiting Cedar Breaks during their Wildflower Festival. It was threatening rain. The fee booth and VC weren't opened yet. We decided to walk the Columbine Trail (my name for it) from the VC to the campground. Magical. I'd be happy to take you there. The elevation is 10,000 feet and the flowers just do their thing--my little flying columbine! We decided to head back due to the rapidly changing weather and ended up sitting in the car for the worst of it. We donned our rain gear, swiped our annual pass, and headed for the VC, which by the way, has been remodeled! A bunch of rangers were crammed in there without much to do. One lady did walk in and innocently asked, "Will the Wildflower Festival still be going on today?" Such an innocent question. You see, the festival IS the flowers. It's going on for as long as the flowers are willing. I guess what she wanted to know may have had something to do with the guided walk at 10:00 a.m. She got a little frowny-faced when she heard about that. She was already soaking wet. I think she thought there would be some great big indoor auditorium or something...

We've hiked all the trails there multiple times and this wasn't a day for hiking, so we headed for Parowan.

Next we headed for Cove Fort, a place I had never visited, but K had some years ago. If you get the chance, go. We had the nicest time. Elder and Sister Perry from Oregon, walked out to the parking lot to meet us! It was only sprinkling, so we joined them for a personal tour. We started off with a 15 minute video in the cabin and then they took us to the fort. I loved everything they said. I loved the symbolism they used. The four of us had such pleasant conversation that I asked to take their picture. We are planning to serve a mission together someday. I hope that dream comes true.

Next stop was Fillmore. The missionaries told us about a place called Cluffs. We are so glad we asked! I had the Phillmore (get it? Fillmore?) Philly and K had the Bleu Cheese Bacon Burger. Our server was dressed in a black shirt and Tony the Tiger Frosted Flakes pajama bottoms!

From Cluffs, we headed back down the main drag to the Territorial Statehouse. We sure pack in the museums and historic sites and this was an interesting place. They have all these framed pictures of Millard County settlers, etc. and I found some pictures of some Beckstrands (they were all in alphabetical order) and of course, some Hinckleys.

And for our last stop...we dropped a little money at The Red Barn in SOUTH Santaquin, not Santaquin proper, but South Santaquin. All I can say to my wonderful husband for another amazing outing is, THANKS, SWEETIE! The brightness of the fruit is the color of my happy heart.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


K kindly pointed out my little pile of sandals and flip flops which had somehow accumulated in the middle of the dining did that happen??? For the last decade or so, it's been nothing but hiking boots and brown socks! And these are not all of the pairs of sandals and flip flops I own. I wonder why I need so many different pairs. In fact, I'm certain I need more. Sandals. And flip flops. I just do.

I drove up the canyon this morning to volunteer at the cave, but S. was missing from her duty post. School was calling my name, so I worked there again today. Couldn't stay long though, because I really wanted lunch. I added tomato, mushrooms, and salmon to the leftover salad from Olive Garden yesterday. Dee. Vine!

With lunch came dish duty, a little more laundry, and receipts (we keep spending and we keep wearing clothes). And a shower (no point in showering before the cave trail, at least for this sweat monster). I cleaned and organized some things in our closet and then...drum roll please...I ironed. I ironed while watching Simon Birch, a nice-ish movie, but a little too cheezy for even me--ruined the emotion that was supposed to be there. My favorite line between these two twelve year old boys was, "Why won't your mom just tell you who your father is? You already know you're a b@$t@rd. You may as well be an enlightened one." Anyway, the ironing took exactly the same amount of time as the movie, so that worked out well.

We had spaghetti for dinner, if you must know. K did the dinner dishes. I've been reading a lot and appreciating the time to do so. This evening, we walked down to the pool. K left early, but I stayed until I was the last one there. However, I did leave before Jose arrived to lock up.

There was a couple in the pool clinging to each other, face to face, while talking and giggling. Didn't take long for me to figure out it was their first date. I think they're both in their thirties. He casually mentioned, between giggles, that he has sleep apnea. She didn't catch on. She asked, "Oh? You have trouble sleeping? When I can't sleep, I read a book at one in the morning!" He caught on that she didn't catch on. More giggles. He explained sleep apnea a little further and mentioned he'd had surgery to enlarge his windpipe and that was necessitated by acid reflux. More giggles. Then he said, "I guess I shouldn't be talking about all my ailments on a first date!" More giggles, more clinging. She followed up with, "Well how else are we supposed to get to know each other?!?" There were about fifteen other people around, jumping, diving, splashing, and what not, but those two were oblivious. With all the splashing, they spoke more loudly, so I wouldn't call it eavesdropping. I'd call it entertainment.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Scripture study, pool exercise, watered flowers, shower, shave, and shine, visited friends, delivered gifts, worked in my classroom, ate out at Olive Garden, pharmacy, Red Box, movie/mostly nap, planned the future (that's right, the whole thing, right down to the smallest detail), called some friends (VT), watermelon for dinner (so full from lunch), watched Night of the Grizzlies on PBS (ate popcorn...light dinner), and of course, blogged.

Hubby's iPOD

K got an iPod a couple of years ago. I don't know what all he has loaded on it, but he seems to load stuff regularly. I usually only use his iPod while sitting on an airplane. K will say something like, "Do you want me to find a conference talk for you or maybe Car Talk or maybe a podcast about the Civil War?"
We used his iPod for Family Home Evening the other night. You see, K downloads the Ensign every month so we pulled up President Uchtdorf's Home Teaching message for this month about being in the middle. That is just one little slice of my darling husband.

And last week in Glacier...K got into the tent before I did one evening. When I got in and all settled, he said, "Wanna watch a geology video?" Yep, before our trip, he downloaded several little geology talks/videos about Glacier National Park so he/we could keep learning all the time. We watched one about argillite, the type of rock we'd been noticing in the park and which the ranger had talked about during her evening program an hour prior.

I just love so many things about him!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Doctor appointment, car wash, bank, pharmacy, reading, laundry, swimming, and the monthly Relief Society Midweek Meeting (it was wonderful! thanks to all the ladies who planned, prepared, and participated). I had a perfectly ripened avocado sliced on my sandwich for lunch along with mustard, tomato, spinach and turkey--divine! I also had fresh cherries with lunch--divine! Love, LOVE, LOVE having time in the summer to prepare fresh, healthy lunches here at home. And time to peacefully sit and savor them.

I love having a clean car, inside and out, but sadly, I just don't keep up with it like I used to. The inside doesn't get too bad, but the outside was a shabby mess. As I tipped the guy for hand waxing it, I expressed my delight and he told me he had a lady come in with a Suburban earlier today with seats that were "practically coated with candy." When she came back later to retrieve her vehicle, she started to cry because she was so happy with how clean it was. She asked how they had done it. He said, "Ma'am, I had six people working on your car for two hours straight!" Cleanliness can be so temporary and yet so satisfying.

Monday, July 9, 2012


Today was Garden Day. After being gone for two weeks, we had a little work to do. The garden is actually flourishing, much to our surprise. Things are growing well enough to count on some vegetables soon! We'll let you know if and when the day actually comes. It was hot, hard work, but we kept each other going.

After the garden, we headed for Walgreen's to order prints of some of our Glacier photos. Then we went to the post office to resume delivery!

After the post office, we hit the grocery store and stocked up on fresh produce and a few other items. Back at home, we fixed and ate lunch and then washed dishes and got dinner going in the crockpot. After this, we sat down to work on finances: balanced last month's statement, recorded all of our trip receipts, etc., etc., etc. All the while, the washing machine and dryer were doing their duty, so we stopped at times to fold and hang clothing.

Dinner was so good (baby back pork ribs)! Dishes again...not so good! A little more laundry, a little Family Home Evening, and a little more trip planning (I know. We are ridiculous!). After our calendar/Rand McNally Road Atlas party, things are winding down for the evening. Just wish the temperature outside would wind down a tad as well.

By the by, I had the opportunity to drive someone to the Emergency Room last night. We were there for about three and a half hours. She's doing fine, but boy, the other people walking into that place had stories! Bless those ER workers! Especially the gal who welcomes and processes everyone--smile on her face no matter what.

One of my favorite moments was when we were almost leaving. It was 10:30 p.m. and in walks an older woman holding a towel to her head with blood spilled down the front of her shirt. Okay, I get it, a bleeding head wound. Another woman was with her, probably her daughter. With them was an older boy, maybe 10-12 pushing a stroller with a younger boy, maybe 2 years old. To enter, you have to go through these automatic double doors, so as Mom was escorting Grandma in, she called to the older boy behind her, "Stay right here!" The obedient fellow stopped on a dime. Right there between the double doors.

Immediately, Mom and Grandma disappeared further inside where the kids couldn't see them. I wanted to invite them through the second automatic door to the waiting room where the rest of us were, but decided to not interfere. When Mom says "stay right here" in THAT tone of voice, well, of course, you would stay right there, no questions asked. Soon after, Dad arrives along with four more children, all aged between the older boy and the kid in the stroller! This is cracking me up that they brought the whole fam damily to the ER for Grandma's bleeding head wound. I mean, it's 10:30 p.m. and I know it's summer vacation, but shouldn't someone be thinking about putting some of these children to bed? Maybe they were out somewhere with only one vehicle. I understand.

So anyway, Dad and all the kids also stop between the double automatic doors and I heard the dad ask, "Why are you waiting here?" The kid responded with the best, most uncontested excuse anyone in the universe could ask for, "Mom told me to." Dad did not take one step further, because, you know, when MOM SAYS, and she says it in THAT tone of voice, nobody, and I mean NOBODY dares to defy! Especially when Grandma is bleeding.

So then Mom comes back to the double doors because she needs Grandma's purse. However, the automatic doors are confused because there are now SEVEN people standing between the two sets of doors and the sensors forgot how to open. Mom is saying, "I need Grandma's purse!" Dad is waving his hands up high in the air to get the doors to open. Mom says more loudly, "Give me Grandma's purse!" The doors still don't open. It was just comical, but I wasn't laughing out loud. Finally, the doors open, Mom got Grandma's purse, and that's when we made our exit--you know, while the doors were still open.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Lake McDonald is my favorite lake, I'm pretty sure. The following images are looking north, looking south, and then our stop at Garnet, another ghost town. We met my youngest sister, Angie, for lunch in Missoula, but I completely forgot to get her photo. The Mister and I packed it in the best we could on this trip. There are so many details I'm leaving out. We made chicken fajitas one night (a new camping menu for us to change things up a bit) and pork and noodles another night. We paid $2.50 each for shower tokens and just as I got in to the shower booth and undressed after waiting for three other ladies to have their showers, a man opened the door to the place (but not my booth) and said, "Maintenance! The showers will close in ten minutes!" Oh great. The tolken would produce hot water for eight minutes, but if I took the whole eight minutes, that would only leave two minutes for dressing and that was cutting it a little close for me, so I hurried through my "shower" and dressed, feeling nervous the whole time that Mr. Maintenance was coming back any second. We went to an evening program about wildlife and the ranger said someone that very day had encountered a grizzly on the trail (in an area near where we were hiking) and a man in the front row raised his hand and said, "That was me and my wife!" Turns out they followed the protocols and did everything right and all was well. K has been to Yellowstone three times, Grand Teton twice, Glacier once, and he has still never seen a bear in the wild. While driving home, he said, "Well, now that we have bear spray, maybe we should go back to Yellowstone." So many trips, so little time. However, I feel pleased that we've been able to spend so much time together and that my Summer Vacation has been meaningful and not wasted. We will rest this week and catch up on household chores. But Yellowstone and so many other places are calling to us!


Our adventures continued in Glacier--we took a boat tour at Swiftcurrent Lake near Many Glacier Lodge. We walked "over the hill" and continued on a different boat at Lake Josephine. We had some cold and windy times, bundled up on the Fourth of July. We hiked on the Swiftcurrent Pass trail to Redrocks Lake and the falls above. More sheep, more goats, more deer.