Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day at School, a Career First

My team wanted to meet today even though it's a holiday, so that we could get our summer collaboration over with one day sooner and say "hello" to summer. So we did. We met from 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

I haven't left. I worked on some school planning things and then I did homework for my BYU class. I guess I could have done this homework on Saturday prior to driving to Pocatello, but I chose to clean my home.

It's all my choice. I can't complain. But when I see on Facebook all the fun things people were out doing today, it does make me tempted to feel sorry for myself. Even my husband got to drive back roads from Pocatello to Jackson and then back into the park. And I'm still here at school.

I used to spend a lot of holidays in my classroom prior to being married, but I guess those days aren't over with yet. What a crazy life. I hope this reading endorsement is somehow worth it. My professor emailed us on Friday to say that he sent us the wrong reading for tomorrow night. The correct reading was attached. And then he wished us a nice, long, relaxing weekend.

To add insult to injury, I missed my nephew's graduation in Iowa yesterday. I guess I'm really bad at being a good family member if I spend a holiday by myself at my workplace. How do I get myself into these emotional scrapes? Why am I so responsible about completing work?

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Rendezvous in Pocatello

We hadn't seen each other since saying goodbye early Sunday morning 15 May. He booked a hotel in Pocatello. Said he'd be there by 9:00 p.m. yesterday.

So I drove north starting at 6:00 p.m. We often text each other message like this: "Leaving West." "Leaving Snow." We met up in the hotel parking lot and headed for Sizzler.

We went to church this morning. We did our receipts and finances and went through the mail.

I fell asleep. He finished his ambulance driving training online modules. He woke me up at 5:00 p.m. I left at 6:00 p.m. Got home at 9:00 p.m.

"It's kind of romantic for you guys...still dating...meeting at hotels," they say.

It's kind of exhausting.

But I'll take it over the alternative.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Our Debut Hike on the Storm Point Trail 2016

One morning we were invited over to Mike's and Laurie's trailer to say "hello" and meet Laurie's sister. Their dog and cat were there, of course, Jane and Poncho. Mike says Jane is SO happy to be back in Yellowstone because she has way more friends here. I held her on my chest just cuddling and she snoozed for awhile. Back in Florida, nobody comes to visit, so it's kind of a quiet season for her. Poncho was being super extroverted that day. Ranger Laurie is a retired vet and kept saying, "She's not usually this friendly! Boy, she's being really outgoing today." Kass and Sirri came over so it was fun to chat with them as well. You get those four talking and the entertainment is at its finest. So good to catch up and see how everyone wintered over! We mentioned we were going to hike the Storm Point Trail (BEAUTIFUL weather that morning) and Kass, the wildlife specialist specializing in grizzlies, just sort of caught my eye and said, "There's a bear ranging between Storm Point and Steamboat." Gotcha. Fortunately, we didn't see any bears while hiking.

The trail starts at Indian Pond. There was a bull bison hanging out, but as we started, he headed off into the trees toward the shoreline. The lake is the lowest I've ever seen it. The rest of the ice had just finished melting. The birds were loving the sandy shore--looked like the tide was out or something! We saw a lot of bison hair that had been rubbed off on the trees along the trail. I had to photograph this particular patch that looked more like an entire carpet! Shaggy, shaggy bison! I photographed some bear scat--it was everywhere. Actually, we saw all manner of scat--different types of animals. Some rangers put bear scat on a paper plate and stick it in a gallon sized baggie in order to use it as a display item in their interpretive programs. Me? I've never scraped up bear scat for any reason. The trail crew hadn't been through yet, so we were crawling under downed trees, climbing over downed trees, and finding our way around downed trees, just like the bison. I was once again so grateful for my knee surgery. The trail was a little more adventurous that day. We had Storm Point all to ourselves. It was such a pretty, Pretty day and a wonderful time spent with my Sweetie.

125th Anniversary of the Lake Hotel

We attended the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Lake Hotel on Friday 13 May 2016. Superintendent Dan Wenk spoke with several other dignitaries. Folks were dressed in period costume and I learned a few things. Afterward, the hotel had beautiful cupcakes on silver trays and delicious punch served. We sat in the hotel's Sun Room to enjoy ours, right by the fresh flowers. The Sun Room is where the String Quartet plays all summer. The view is glorious. It's the oldest hotel in the park, of course.

Sheep Sheep

We had to drive to Cody and saw these Bighorn Sheep outside of the park boundary. I never get tired of it. Elk in the backyard all the time. Bison here, bison there. I just don't tire of seeing all these animals.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Bit of Ice Left on Lake

The ice on the lake had already started breaking, but not all of it!

How the Place Looks on 12 May 2016

So. I went to sweep off the back porch only to discover an old nest of sorts. I documented the height of the grass in the back "yard." We'll see how that changes in a month. Only a bit of snow when we arrived. Can you find the elk in the backyard? And that kettle pond down there? Screaming with the boreal chorus frog. I tried to copy and paste a link to a short video where you can hear them. Hope it works!

Moving to Yellowstone and Unpacking at Fishing Bridge

Before TR left for his tour of duty, little piles of stuff started to appear around the house. What? You don't own any hat traps? I just thought I would document it.

And then we unpacked. It was interesting for me to see what all he packed since he did it by himself. I mean, yes, I generally know, but when I carried this HEAVY plastic drawer of Forest Service maps into the apartment at Fishing Bridge, I had to smile. That's my boy! Slightly addicted to maps and atlases.

Thought I'd snap a photo of the food he selects. Shelf stable milk is such a great thing to have on hand. He's fond of all the ramen and yakisoba and cup of noodle soups for lunch.

And then there are park ranger textbooks. He studies a lot in the park to improve his many, varied interpretive programs. Plus, when you live without internet and television, you tend to read more than the average bear.

And with all that studying comes study breaks which obviously require some type of M&M's. I personally think four big bags is excessive, but this guy has a serious sweet tooth. Cheaper to haul them into the park in bulk than to buy them at the G Store (general store).

Don't worry, I'll transport some fresh vegetables and fruits when it's my turn to move up there.

Cutest Fifth Graders in the World!

I'm choosing to not post photos because, you know, potential law suit. But I have the best pictures of my class doing so many fun things: state reports, Hope of America, archery, fishing, setting up a tent, their mother's day gifts they wrapped themselves, dance festival...where did the month of May even go? And there's another year of teaching in the books. They all have so many great characteristics. They have so much going on in their lives. I let them just play outside a lot today while I sat on the Buddy Bench and so many kids came up to me and just sat next to me to talk and talk. I will miss knowing what's going on in their lives. Can't wait until Back to School Night in August!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Surviving Yellowstone

A woman died today in Yellowstone because she was attempting to photograph an eagle and was hit by a car while walking across the road. Such a tragedy.

And you've all heard about the baby bison and the guys walking on Grand Prismatic Spring. You may not have heard, but my husband, TR (stands for The Ranger), told me someone brought a baby deer into a visitor center saying, "We found this." People are selfish. And crazy. And yes, well-meaning. Perhaps ignorant. I know, I'm sounding like a know-it-all and I really don't know it all.

You really should read DEATH IN YELLOWSTONE. Riveting stuff.

In the words of a former ranger there, "Everything in Yellowstone is trying to kill you." True story. Whether it's the wind blowing a tree down on you and causing your death or slipping off the edge of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, or burning yourself in a hot spring, or getting eaten by a bear...there are lots of ways to go in Yellowstone. But you can navigate your time there safely, usually.

For example, last week TR and I drove both of our cars there. You know what? We don't speed on park roads. We actually keep it at 45 mph max (some spots are slower). It's just not worth it. There are signs that suggest "slower traffic use pullouts" but I don't pull out and let people pass because 45 is the LIMIT, the MAX and I'm not going slow. It's different than allowing drivers to not keep the laws of the land and speed to their hearts' content on the freeway. There are curves, wild animals (you could buzz around a curve and suddenly be confronted with five bison in your lane or whatever), and idiot humans making poor choices. People need to remember to pack their patience. Yellowstone had 4.1 million (MILLION!) visitors last year. You don't get to ignore the rules just because you feel entitled to move to the front of the line or something. Nope. You get to just sit there in your vehicle and enjoy the scenery wherever you happen to be stuck in the park. I suggest you carry extra water, food, and amusements such as books and games that don't require a battery. Oh, and the cell service is not everywhere and not always reliable. Sorry if you're addicted to your phone 24/7.

A week ago today, TR and I hiked the Storm Point Trail. I photographed bear scat. There was all manner of scat on the trail. We clapped. We shouted. We carried bear spray. We prayed that morning for safety. There was a bison in the area. We moved around him with plenty of distance. We did everything we could to stay safe (except invite someone else to make a larger party of hikers). And we enjoyed ourselves immensely. We're not perfect and we might die in the great out of doors someday, but People...please practice safety rather than selfishness.

If you can't handle driving 25 or 35 or 45, stay home. If you feel enraged that you are stuck in a bison jam, skip the busy national parks this year. If you haven't matured enough to anticipate delays in the world's oldest national park during the centennial celebration and can't keep yourself occupied in your vehicle for an hour or two (or more...a bus tipped over once blocking the entire road and that road was closed for like seven hours causing 175 mile detours for some people, oh shucks), do your fellow humans and all the wild beasts a favor by not entering the park.

Try to think of those around you. It's not about YOU.

I feel sorry for the family/friends who saw that woman die today. But I feel really sorry for the person who hit her. I don't know if speed was a factor or if she just stepped into traffic without looking. But there are some folks tonight who are really hurting and suffering with mental anguish. Her death could have been avoided if all involved had been more thoughtful about their surroundings. It's not about you.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Just Buying a Hair Product at the Store Today

We went on 8 errands today! I think 8 is a lot of stops. But we made it. At one of the stops, I purchased a Biolage hair styling product as suggested by my hair dresser even though it costs a small fortune. I should just give up, but I do continue to at least make efforts with my hair.

Anyway, the clerk was very slow and trying too hard to chat with each customer standing in line waiting for our turn to get the sale rung up. When it was my turn to step to the front, she was still workin' it and so she brightly asked, "Do you have kids?"

"Nope," I said.

I don't always add on that we've had four pregnancy losses.

So she tried a little too hard once again, "But you're goin' to see your mom, right?"

I answered, "She's underground."

I walked out of the store.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

I Don't Even Have Time to Write This

This was my day yesterday. Yesterday happened after Tuesday which is when I taught school all day and then attended my graduate class until 8:30 p.m. Yesterday happened before today which is when I'll teach school all day and then attend Round Table until 9:00 p.m.

Yesterday was Hope of America.

A teacher friend needed a ride to school because she was leaving on a jet plane after school and needed to leave her car at home. So I woke up, went to work out, showered and all that, and picked her up at 6:45 a.m. She had me stop at Paradise Bakery where she had phoned in a take-out breakfast order for both of us. We gobbled it down at school.

We got ready for our field trip and went on the bus for the grand dress rehearsal. Then we went to a park so the kids could have a picnic and play. Then we went back to school and I had recess duty.

After school I met my new second counselor (stake Primary presidency) at the Scout office to help her get her uniform shirt and essential badges in order. Had a bit of time to kill after that so I stopped at Barnes & Noble to spend that gift card received in March for teacher appreciation.

Met my team at a restaurant prior to the evening performance.

Went to the performance. Hiked up the hill from the stadium on this knee surgery knee two weeks ago--impressive! Got back to my car at 9:25 p.m. Got home at 9:50 p.m. Not bad.

So. I woke up in Pleasant Grove. I went to American Fork. Then I went to Lehi. Then I went to Provo. Then I went to Pleasant Grove. Then I went to Lehi. Then I went to Orem. Then I went to Provo. Then I went to Pleasant Grove. Yeah, so only 9 cities/errands in one day. Whew!

Got up at 4:30 this morning and worked out again!