Sunday, August 30, 2015

My Husband Hiked to Union Falls

So my husband hiked alone to Union Falls in the Bechler region of Yellowstone National Park yesterday. Prayed my guts out because 16 miles is a long time to be alone in Yellowstone's back country.

He also had to ford a swift and "deeper-than-I-thought" river, twice of course. And he never carries as much water as he should. So I made him promise to tell a few other rangers about his plans. I also made him promise to text as soon as he had reception.

Well, it was a beautiful day and he didn't see another soul for the first six miles. I take that back. Squirrels have souls. When he arrived at the falls, he gasped audibly because they are so amazing. Union Falls is where three rivers spill down together from a height of 250 feet. He had the whole place to himself, but ended up spending just 25 minutes because sooner than later, you realize you still have 8 miles to go so you had better get started.

He told me, and I believe him, that his first thought was that he wished I could be there with him. him.

While "out that way" he visited another warm-water soaking pool he's read about in a guide book and then he stopped at West Thumb to stretch and walk around the boardwalks which added another mile. His grand total for the day was 17.2 miles! I'm not sure I would have been motivated to throw another mile in all for the sake of stretching.

He decided he would order a pizza from the employee pub to take back to the apartment for dinner. This is a splurge for the budget but I don't blame him one bit. It was a little early for the pub to open, but he waited patiently. Turns out they're not baking pizzas anymore because their oven has asbestos in it and the NPS put a LOCK on it! Hilarious. They haven't had internet at the VC for like 3 weeks now and the pub doesn't have an oven. So he went to the Lake Lodge cafeteria and ordered the small plate version of their turkey dinner. It wasn't pizza, but it got the job done.

He texted a photo of the falls. I wish I could have been there too, but I am thrilled that he got this amazing hike on his list of "getting to know the resource." I'm also thrilled there were no bear encounters and that he managed to keep himself off the evening news.

Oh Yeah, so about the hair...

I struggle with doing my hair. Always have, always will. No one ever taught me. My mom didn't do my hair or teach me how to do my hair. My three older sisters weren't around much. I just heard bits of this and that at school and tried my best.

Then I got older and really started paying attention to my hairdresser. I ask questions. I buy the expensive "products" she suggests. I buy the styling tools. And yet...

These things don't come naturally to me. Also, I refuse to damage my hair by flat ironing it every day all because straight is "in." I mean, I have my morals. I also pretty much loathe the time required for any success at all.

I started getting lowlights (opposite of highlights, meaning not blonde) to hide some of the gray. And why am I hiding the gray? Because my husband is ten years younger and although he never puts any pressure on me about that, I put pressure on myself.

The other day a coworker complimented my hair. This always makes me chuckle because first of all, I feel judged. I'm one of those people who thinks, "You didn't say a word the last 47 days so it's been pretty bad for a long stretch, eh?" Then of course, I wonder what brought on the compliment so I think back to my styling efforts for the morning. Almost without FAIL, it's the day I don't do anything with my hair. I didn't wash it, curl it, or anything. Just rolled out of bed and said, "I can't."

On the days I actually do make an effort, it's like a total failure guaranteed. You see, in the words of my three older sisters, I've always been "a sweaty child." They tell me I was a perspiring baby. I was born in July and sweat was my middle name. I have always been a big perspire-er and have just learned to sort of embrace that. Well, I'm still getting up at 4:30 every morning to work out, but my gym doesn't open until 5 and I don't get home until 6. Even if I get right in the shower (sometimes I read/study or eat breakfast first) and end my shower with the coldest water I can stand, I am still sweating. As scalp stays moist. So I crank the AC and have every fan in the house going full blast. I don't actually put clothing on until right before I leave so I can stay as cool as possible.

I turn on the hair dryer to follow Ms. Hairdresser's Styling Tips, but you know what? Hair dryers put out HEAT. And HEAT makes me SWEAT. MORE. More than I'm already sweating! Because when I work out, I try to beat my distance from the day before or burn at least one more calorie than the day before, so I am working hard at the gym every day which just warms up my core. Oh, yes, the AC is blasting in my car on the way home from the gym. You bet. I am drinking ice water. I do carry a lot of insulation around (which is why I'm working out), so I have that going against me. And in the end it doesn't really matter which magical potion I use, or whether I diffuse, or if I activate the cool shot hair never dries! Until about 9:30 a.m., but that's two hours into my contract time.

But nobody SEES the amazing things going on with my blood pressure, resting heart rate, and cholesterol. They don't think about the fact that I have not been diagnosed with diabetes like two grandparents, both of my parents, all three older sisters, and two cousins. Nah...they just notice that my hair isn't quite as bad as usual, so they feel inspired to say something in case I'd like to make it look not-as-bad-as-usual the following day as well.

And since no one else has said it aloud, I'll advocate for myself, "Good job never having an abnormal A1C and good job staving off diabetes as long as you possibly can!"

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Former Students (and my little hair disclaimer)

For some reason, lots of former students have been dropping by to visit. They don't seem to be hearing about it from others and deciding to do the same thing the following afternoon, but they are coming in droves. Sometimes independently. Sometimes in small groups.

Which leads me to believe I may die soon. Ken will say a few words at my funeral, "I know her students really loved her because they would stop by and visit her in the classroom. I don't know WHY they did that because I never would have visited any of MY old teachers in a million YEARS."

Teenagers need someone other than their parents to just listen to them. They confess everything. They tell me how much they love their seminary teachers (seminary teachers, if you could only see their faces when they light up in such a genuine way...they adore the way you teach the are getting through!). They tell me who's hot...and who's not. They tell me how much all the teachers at the high school swear (in every class). They tell me they've failed their driver's test seven times. They tell me they're not sure if they will serve a mission. They tell me they've never finished a book in their entire lives (Except Divergent!...but no interest in the next installment). They tell me their older sister is pregnant and living with her boyfriend but she has her CNA and one year done at the local university.

They ask if I still take my students to the cave!

One asked what grade I teach. I said, "Fifth. I was your FIFTH grade teacher!" He says, "Really?!? Are you sure it wasn't third?" I'm sure. Then he says, "I don't remember ANYTHING about elementary school except you." They ask if I remember that they missed a week and a half of school after they had their tonsils out because of all the bleeding. No, I don't remember, but now that you mention it...a vague reference is coming to the surface.

They are darling.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Pocatello Rendezvous

Three days of school gone just like that! Love my new group but am still anxious to settle in once we get to know each other a bit better. Our routines will solidify this week because after all, we get to go to the LIBRARY and that fixes everything!

I took off for Pocatello around 4:00 p.m. on Friday. My principal reminded us several times to leave right at 3:30 p.m., but I had to call a couple of families. Traffic was terrible as expected, but possibly worse, since I lost that half hour of head start. The ranger had already checked into our hotel at 3:00 p.m. I arrived at 7:30 p.m.

We went to eat at Sizzler (his choice...he lives in the woods, so I don't care what he chooses). I usually feel satisfied with their salad bar, but it was kind of "meh." After dinner we swam in the hotel pool and had it all to ourselves! I thought the water was SO cold (maybe that's why no one else was swimming?). It took me forever to get all the way in and my teeth were chattering nonstop. TR wondered what my problem was. I did too. You would have thought I was jumping into a glacial lake or something. But then we went to the hot tub and he thought it was SO hot, but I thought it was just perfect.

On Saturday we went shopping at the Pineridge Mall. I mentioned to TR that all the other teachers had shown up for school with something fresh to wear and perhaps I should buy a new shirt or something. Fortunately, he actually likes seeing me buy new clothes so three shirts later, we headed for Red Lobster. I know. Spoiled brats.

I keep trying to ask TR to share meals with me at restaurants, but he doesn't like the idea. He really likes having ALL of his own food. I wasn't interested in taking leftovers home with me for a long drive on a hot day with no cooler, but he had a cooler, so I sent my leftovers to the park with him. We both ordered shrimp (mine were coconut) and linguini with alfredo (with more shrimp). It was Crab Fest, but we chose not to "afford" it.

After lunch we headed to Costco so he could get a few things to haul back into the park. It was great to do some walking around after that huge lunch. After that we drove back to our hotel and sat in his car for awhile cuddling, chatting, and saying a long goodbye.

Then I drove the weary miles home listening to Harper Lee's latest book.

Today I had Church, but ditched Sacrament Meeting as soon as I swallowed the water to make it to my stewardship interview. That meeting lasted over an hour and then I headed back to my ward to catch Relief Society. We've been members of that ward for six months now and I still don't know more than a handful of people. Hopefully I'll start learning names and they'll start learning mine, but it will probably take years. due to our adventurous, not-so-typical, vagabond lifestyle. When TR comes back they may wonder, "Wait, she has a husband?!?"

I spent the afternoon and evening catching up on financial internet tasks and filing receipts. I am not prepared for school tomorrow.

I AM NOT PREPARED FOR SCHOOL TOMORROW. And yet...I scrolled through photos from summer and blogged about my weekend. When will I learn?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Folks Keep Offering Beer to My Husband

We don't drink. So this is amusing to us.

TR gave a tour at Mud Volcano last week and a couple from the Netherlands was really impressed. They had such a good time that they went to their car to retrieve cash for a tip and hiked it back to my husband. TR refused the tip (can't tip a park ranger), but the people persisted. Not wanting to lose his job, he kept repeating, "No, really, I appreciate the gesture but I can't accept that money." So the guy says, "Okay, we see you out tonight, we buy you a beer!"

Our cooler broke. One handle just snapped off while TR was carrying it across our campsite in North Dakota last month. Without that one handle, it really is quite difficult to manage. So we bought a new one. Then we had to figure out how to dispose of the old one because it's not like you can just stick it in a trash can in Yellowstone. We began thinking of people who might still wish to have a free cooler, even if broken. One of the rangers spoke for it and after examining it, carried it away for us. Win-Win. As he left, he asked, "Are you sure you don't want me to give you anything for it? Case of beer?"

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Caldera Living Day 49--Last Day of Summer Vacation 2015

Thursday 13 August 2015

TODAY. Today is the last day of summer vacation. And I simply don't have time to catch up the blog. So enjoy the pics and here's a quick narration...

Sometimes Ken wears his Eisenhower jacket at evening programs and I LOVE it! I hiked Mud Volcano every morning for a long streak after completing my workout at the employee rec building and one morning I found cool spider webs. We went to the Billings Montana one evening on our way to North Dakota. Nice to get back to the Billings Temple.

We went to North Dakota (40 states down, 10 to go!) and hiked in both units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I sleep better camping in non-bear country than in bear country. We got buzzed by a rattlesnake who was catching rays out from under the ledge of his rock. He had just shed his skin and was feeling vulnerable I suppose.

I built the fires for K's evening programs (and did a great job). It was literally a Sunday Evening Fireside every week! Speaking of "great job"...that's my ranger! He does so many things so well--proud of him!

I hiked Mount Washburn while K was at work one day and was disappointed the bighorn sheep didn't get my memo this time. However, a fox showed up with a dead marmot in it's mouth, so that was a lovely consolation prize.

I could spend hours staring at white mud bubbling up out of the earth.

We paddled the Henry's Fork of the Snake River once again...a guaranteed great time.

Saw my dad and his wife for the first time since my mom's funeral (2.5 years). Glad we could make it to their home for a couple of days. Also saw my mom's headstone for the first time. It makes you think when you see your own name engraved in a cemetery.

I have a lot of photographs of bison.

I have spent loads of time at school unpacking my classroom due to the new carpet which was installed last month. Tonight I was alerted to the fact that my class list could be viewed online and so I sat here just grinning as I clicked through the photos of my new batch of 30 children! They just make me smile and I haven't officially met them yet. Nine of them are siblings of former students!

Since I've been home (a week ago today) I've trained three ward Primary presidencies and have been to six appointments (medical checkups). My team met for six hours and I attended Round Table in addition to checking on two of my units (I am the Unit Commissioner for six units in the BSA!). I have been working out at the rec center and even tried a Spin Class (what was I thinking?). K just rolled in tonight for his weekend. Occasionally, I watch Chopped like at 10:30 p.m. while folding laundry, but I can never seem to catch a full episode.

We know a lot of people who are struggling with their health right now and our hearts go out to each of them.

This was my fourth summer away from the cave and I think I'm getting used to it. I don't think I'll need to post about every day of vacation next year. I can be normal about having teacher time off now. It only took four years of not having two jobs to finally feel like I don't have to account for every moment. Oh, and I read 16 books this summer. And I LOVED volunteering more at YELL, especially the natural comedy that comes with working the front desk at the VC. This was the longest summer vacation in the past four years because the district didn't make us go to four extra days of training with them! I only hiked about 50 miles this summer...maybe more...see, I'm getting lazier about being "Data Girl."

I hate the part where we live apart. That never gets easier. Signing off from all that Caldera Living and Summer, #therangerswife