Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Kaibab Squirrel

There's this rodent around the North Rim of the Grand Canyon known as the Kaibab Squirrel and it looks like an odd skunk. They move quickly so until I saw my photos, I would have described them as black squirrels with bushy white tails. Well, they have other color as well, but they are a sight to see. I don't know why I never saw them before at the North Rim. Or maybe I just don't remember, but this time, they made me pay attention!

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Whole Halloween Thing 2017

I try to keep it fun for my students. I do put on the semblance of a costume. I grin and bear it through the forced parade at my school, loathing the fact that I have to walk past hundreds and hundreds of parents, to be "on display." I am truly thankful for the parents who bring the party and I do wonder how much they spent! The kids absolutely LOVED the party!

However, Halloween hasn't been fun for me for years! When we were first married I rallied to buy pumpkins for our little home and make things festive, but my husband kept asking, "Why?" He doesn't have a lot of Halloween spirit either, unless someone dangles a product with the name Reese's under his nose. I would like to think things would have been oh so different had we been gifted children. I really would have taken them trick or treating. I would have thought about their costumes way ahead of time. children were sent to our home, so I guess I've become a bit of a Halloween grouch.

First of all, between the parade and the party, we lose most of our instructional time on that school day. Do you realize how much stress I feel to get through the curriculum? Do you realize how much more anxiety is attached to my job then say, five or six years ago? Scores are going up, but at what price? The loss of a day of school costs me as a teacher. I can't enjoy the "soft" school day because it only makes me get further behind.

Secondly, the kids are not themselves. There's something about putting on a costume that makes them forget their manners, our procedures, and how to separate reality from fantasy. It's a trying day in terms of management. Couple this with the consumption of a lot of sugar, and the emotional anticipation of heading out after school to beg for even more sugar...well, I've lost them you see.

Last of all, ...I originally wrote a lot here, but decided I could get in trouble if the wrong people happened to read it, so in the interest of staying off the evening news, I'm taking it down. It's come to that. You can't really be your real self on your own blog. No, not if it's public. And no, not if only 17 people read it.

And I don't know why I never put this together before, but it smacked me in the face this year, after my cousin posted a photo of herself with her siblings in their costumes as children, that there is not one single Halloween photo of me or any of my five sisters anywhere in existence...because my parents never took a picture. They never did much for Halloween either. I don't remember trick or treating more than twice perhaps and I don't remember anything about costumes other than perhaps buying one at the store once. I have no memories of being a witch or a fairy or anything at all. Don't worry, they were great parents in many ways, but nobody doted on us for Halloween. I'm sure they were working at their store until it closed at 8:00 p.m. I do remember one year Mom and Dad came home from the store after they closed at 8:00 p.m. Pumpkins had been purchased for us, but we hadn't done anything with them. It was too late to trick or treat so my dad said, "Girls, we're going to carve pumpkins!" Kudos to him for trying to make things at least a little festive, but even as a child I distinctly remember thinking, "It's too late. Halloween is over. Why bother?" I dutifully sat on the kitchen floor scooping all the guts out of my pumpkin, going along with the whole thing, just like I go along with it every year at my elementary school. Parents, the way you spin something to your child really DOES matter. It really sets a tone.

After school, I ran to the hospital for my mammogram. They were giving out chocolate truffles and compact mirrors. Then I ran home to pick up my husband and off to the temple we drove to be proxies for my aunt and uncle (baptisms for the dead). We were the only patrons at the font. It was a great experience! Then we went to the Olive Garden where we were seated immediately and served immediately by Oscar. We ate well and used a gift card. Then we went shopping at Kohl's. We were the only customers in the entire store and loved having the place to ourselves. So relaxing. So there. My professors told us there would be no class, so for once, I had a free night--no class, no church meetings, no scouting...finally! A chance to shop once. Halloween ended on a great note! I'll keep trying to get used to it.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Paria Riffle

After The Ranger emerged victorious from the Grand Canyon, I took him to our lodge and put him to bed after his shower and snacks and drinks with both Tylenol and Ibuprofen. The next morning, we made a couple of stops around the South Rim and then left the park. We stopped at Navajo Bridge and Lee's Ferry. We walked down to the Colorado River to stretch The Ranger's legs so he could keep moving here and there. Playing in the river was perhaps the highlight of my personal Grand Canyon Adventure. I waded and splashed and gloried in the feel of it all...the textures. There was a perfect rock to sit upon whilst drying toes and getting the sand off prior to putting the socks and shoes back on. Just perfect. So lovely. I am an extremely cheap date.

Dear Couple Taking in the View

Dear Couple Taking in the View at Grand Canyon,

I was mesmerized by you. Your hats made the scene for me, if humans had to be included. The bench. Your dog, another dimension of the story. He with his back to the grand, and you with your backs to the parking lot. I apologize for my stealthy photography. You won't be famous, but should these photos ever come back to you, I didn't mean any harm. I loved you in a second. Loved your desire to drink in the air, the sky, the sun. You took your time on that bench before taking your walk. You were models of how it should be done. Inspirational, and so I had to snap a few, even while my husband tisked and tisked asking in a loud stage whisper, "What are you DOING?!" I couldn't help it. I smiled at the way you stacked your bowls, after letting the dog slurp up the last, and placed them on a rock before you wandered out to the point where everyone goes using steps and handrails. You knew they would be there on your way back.

With deep fondness,


Mud, Rocks, and Leaves

We went to the Grand Canyon for Fall Break so The Ranger could hike it Rim to Rim in one day. He did great! He wasn't trying to break any records or anything, even stopped for lemonade at Phantom Ranch, but still, it only took him 12 hours and 45 minutes to hike 24 miles which includes about 9000 feet of elevation changes up and down. I am very proud of him.

I love the Earth and believe that it was created by Jesus Christ. I think that mud, rocks, and leaves are so beautiful. These simple things lift my soul and make my heart happy.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Each New Day is an Experience!

Ah, so much has gone unrecorded...missed. I hate our new computer's photo downloading/uploading process. Hate. So much that it makes me not want to try blogging.

This is the most difficult beginning of a school year I've ever had. I wish I could properly satisfy all of the requests being made, but I leave so much undone every day when I walk out the door.

The kids are AWESOME! I love them. They make my day everyday. I am so exhausted at the moment that I can't think of one funny thing to share with you.

Maybe someday, in old age and retirement (if I can ever afford to retire), I will catch up on the blog. For now...ppphhhhht.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Anemone Geyser and Mud Pots

Anemone is a really cute geyser because it's pretty, erupts every 7-10 minutes, and drains in a swirl like a toilet. Little kids love it. It only gets about six feet high and you can stand right next to it on the boardwalk. I always stop and wait for it when I pass by because I can't get enough of its cuteness. And then there are thrilling things happening at the mud pots all the time. I REALLY can't get enough of the mud pots.

The Sanders Family Visits Yellowstone

Back in the day I attended this Young Single Adult Ward at Church. That's where I met the Hirsch Boys and the Sanders Boys. I'm not sure why I became friends with all those guys...maybe it's because some of them were my home teachers, but at any rate, we're still friends. When Jeff married Rina our friendship became dormant, which is only good and right. I did call him up once to tell him I was engaged and he asked me what my fiance did for a living. When I told him he was a park ranger, Jeff said, "Ah, that's just perfect for ya, Jod." I'm pretty sure I met Rina before they were properly engaged and I remember that she gave me a gift at the time. Well, she's been giving me gifts ever since! Whether we visit them in Phoenix or they visit us in Yellowstone, the girl is always showing up with presents! I think it may be her Love Language. I'm so glad Rina reached out to me on Facebook several years ago. We reconnected in person in January of 2014 when they were visiting family in Utah. That's the first time they met Ken and the first time I met their children. We're not in touch all of the time, but "lately" we've seen each other more often and it was a pleasure to spend a day in the park with them. Their children are funny, brilliant, and beautiful. Because of the nature of Jeff's work (and Ken's work), I've actually been able to spend more time with Rina and the kids. She is so nice!

They got to go on Ken's Geyser Hill Walk before they left the park. I hope they'll come play with us again.

Granite Ghost Town

We visited a Ghost Town called Granite near Phillipsburg, Montana and we had a lot of fun walking around and exploring. The one scene is what's left of Miner's Hall. The Superintendent's House was very cool and mostly intact. For a good half hour we had the place to ourselves and then others started showing up. We had lunch "in" the Catholic Church.

Thistle--the Most Beautiful Invasive Plant to Photograph

Lest anyone mistake my posts...I am not a photographer, so please don't ever think I'm boasting about my photos--I just post because I think they're pretty or they remind me of a fun time somewhere with my husband. For some reason, I have a thing for thistles and yet...they are so nastily invasive, I shouldn't post photos. Sigh.