Sunday, July 31, 2005

The reduction of beauty aids

A painful process Posted by Picasa

My life in a carrying case. Photo taken three months ago.

I knew I needed to trim back on the (extensive) various and sundry beauty products I employ! But thinking about it and doing it are two different things. It was so hard to decide what to throw away. It took me two whole days to finish the job. I should get three gold stars. It was exhausting.

I haven't seriously missed anything. That's odd because I had so many products. You'd think I'd miss something, yet I cannot name the brands or contents of any of those bottles and containers that I threw away.

Well, once I did think about my Spectrum coconut oil.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Casper, Wyoming

Did I say good-bye to Wyoming? Whoops, we're back. We decided to loop around and go to Yellowstone National Park before we leave the midwest.

I'm falling in love with Casper. It's working class. It's slower paced than Southern California. It's not multicultural. It's not crowded. It's a no personal income tax state (one of seven in the U.S.). It has a college which I need for when our son reaches age 15 or so. There are incredible thunderstorms and I'm crazy about thunderstorms. The air is clean.

Today we visited the refurbished Fort Casper. 'Twas a pretty good museum and fort. Casper is named after a sergeant who died fighting Indians near the fort. Next we did some marketing. Went to the mall and got our son new sockies. They'll stay white for one, single wearing no doubt. The mall has excellent stores. No vacant storefronts which is a sign of good economic health. We got up early in the morn, 5:30am, to see the first annual hot air balloon event. Nearly singed my hair when I got close to one of the balloons being filled with hot air to get a photo. Cool! I couldn't decide which photo to upload so I'm not uploading one at all.

Our reservations for Yellowstone are for the 10th to the 15th of August. We're going to cruise around and check out some cities around Yellowstone in the meantime. May stay at Grand Teton National Park for a week or so if we can get reservations. Through our entire trip, Yellowstone is the first place we've needed reservations.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

South Dakota Badlands National Park

South Dakota Badlands Posted by Picasa

Anyplace where there is soft rock and erosion there can be badlands. We used to live near a "baby badlands" in Southern California.

The ladder

I'm actually a little scared Posted by Picasa

Oooh! I did this hike twice and now my thighs and my calves are quite sore. But that's a good thing. On my way down the logs were hot and my hands got red. Today at Interior, South Dakota it was up to 109 degrees. We left Southern California for cooler weather. Duh!

When we did this hike it was about 100 under the hot sun so I couldn't complete the trail. My husband and son finished it, but we all went back again in the evening so I could go all the way to the end and back.

The Notch trail, moderate to strenuous

Hi Posted by Picasa

Me. I made it to the top.

Always a wife

Still telling my husband what to do Posted by Picasa

I'm advising my husband on how to take this picture of my hair going up the SCARY straight-up-the-cliff step ladder. He asks if I'm ready and I say no I'm not ready and I will tell him when I'm ready. Does he listen to a thing I say?

I'm wearing my hair up every day due to this heat.

He does not listen

Washer woman behind Posted by Picasa

No he does not listen. My husband thinks himself very hilarious taking a photo of me from behind. I'm not looking too graceful on account of, I'm WORRIED about FALLING thank you very much!

I sewed this dress. I wish I had made more before we left on our trip. I hate shorts and don't own a single pair. I hike in long dresses and skirts which are very comfy in hot weather.

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore Posted by Picasa

This place has changed so much since we were here 17 years ago in 1988. Back then you basically walked up a few steps, looked at the faces and you were done. There was an itty bitty cafeteria if you wanted to eat a lunch. It all seemed rather anticlimactic.

Now there is a fabulous granite entry with flags of all fifty states lining the way. There's a bookstore, a gift shop, a big cafeteria. There is a .6 mile trail with stairs. It's impressive. The next day my calves were really sore. We listened to live Lakota music performed love by real Lakota native Americans. The drummer was handsome and the drum was neat. (Aren't drummers are always cool?) He said he played the drum in the same manner and style that native Americans did in times past. A very good place to visit.

This pic shows all the talus at foot of the mountain. Dynamite was used for 90% of the sculpture and then tools were used to sculpt the faces!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Devil's Tower, Wyoming

Devil's Tower Posted by Picasa

This is it. Devils Tower. After 106 degrees yesterday today the temp was a nice 75 degrees and for that we are grateful! We tried to hike the 1.3 miles around the base of Devils Tower yesterday but I couldn't go far. My face was red as a tomato and I'm just not as tough as I used to be. I've lived in El Centro and 29 Palms, California so the heat didn't used to get to me, but now it does.

This is a photo of an extrusion of igneous rock. As my son told me, igneous rock used to be magma and when it comes out of a volcano it's called lava and when it dries and hardens it becomes igneous rock. I taught him but I keep forgetting.

It's a sacred place to the American Indians and it's easy to understand why. You can look at it and look at it and not get tired of it. We walked the trail twice. It's kind of like Joshua Tree National Monument I think. You just don't tire of it.

We're at the KOA which is right next to the entrance to the park. Every night they show Close Encounters of the Third Kind outside. It was stupid but in a fun way. All I remembered was the mashed potatoes scene. I didn't realize how much of the movie I had forgotten. It felt very American to be sitting there watching that movie with all the other camperoos.

The Corps of Discovery

Lewis and Clark storyteller Posted by Picasa

At the Devils Tower, Wyoming, campfire talk the park had a very talented storyteller come and tell the story of Patrick Gass an Irishman on the expedition who was an excellent carpenter and he also kept a journal. His journal was the first to be published and he lived the longest. He even outlived Sacajawea's baby boy, Pomp.

We're glad our son is learning this through storytelling. When I learned about Lewis and Clark in elementary school it was all sort of fuzzy for me. Hearing this storyteller, watching him use Indian sign-language and singing songs with him makes learning so much more fun. It makes the information stick so much better than a textbook can I think.

Yesterday's prairie dog

A chubby prairie dog Posted by Picasa

They're so chubby! They're eating very well. They don't drink water you know. That's part of why it's important that people not feed them. People food has salts, sugars, preservatives, all of which can make the prairie dog very ill, or worse.

Call me Prairie Dog Woman

Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel Posted by Picasa

For two and a half hours today I sat with my camera at the prairie dog town inside Devil's Tower National Monument. I got leg cramps! But I didn't move! The prairie dogs did not cooperate and my pup photos were a flop, but I sat small and quiet and got quite close up to this Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel. He is so tiny and ran so fast that at first I thought it was a fat lizard. Unlike the prairie dog, the 13-lined ground squirrels do hibernate in winter.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Broke one of my favorite mixing bowls

I guess the road was a little bumpy, but I didn't realize it was this bumpy. I went into the trailer to use the bathroom and saw that a cupboard door had popped open. The pots and pans must have flown out. They were on the sofa. And my mixing bowls... They were on the floor. I carefully put everything away. The pans were fine. But one bowl was broken beyond repair and I had to sweep up the many pieces. I wanted to cry. It wasn't just any bowl.

Of course I could have brought my stupid, dented, lightweight steel mixing bowls. But no. I love these bowls and I wanted them to be with me. Remember the shades of avocado green and harvest gold that were all the rage in the '70s? These bowls are, or were, the avocado green color before time faded them. To the weak, untrained eye they're ordinary, unremarkable bowls. True enough. But in reality; ah yes, in reality they are retro vintage glass bowls in three sizes: small, medium, large, in famous '70s pukey green. And my dad gave them to me. They are from the house I lived in when I was fifteen years old.

In these bowls I baked my first lemon meringue pie, including pie crust from scratch. Perched on the kitchen stool, leaning over with my nose almost on the glass of the oven I watched, with eager anticipation, my meringue peaks turn light brown. Perfection. Everyone liked my pie so much I didn't even need to refrigerate it. It was gone too fast. In the molecules of these bowls live the hum drum, everyday happenings of life; the tears, the joy, the fear, and the promise of my yet unlived life when I was 15 years old.

Now I own only the small and large sizes. It would take millions of hours of hardcore yard sale hunting to ever replace my middle size bowl.

And I can never get out of bed early enough.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The prairie dogs

I love prairie dogs Posted by Picasa

I love prairie dog towns! This is eight and a half miles east of Big Timber. Just wait till we get to Custer State Park in South Dakota. There are hundreds of prairie dogs there. I can't wait.

We're on our way to Devil's Tower in Wyoming tomorrow. The one like in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. 'Member that old movie from 1977?

Greycliff Prairie Dog Town

Greycliff Prairie Dog Town Posted by Picasa

I sat low in the gravel for half an hour to get a pic. (Not of the sign, but of the PRAIRIE dogs.)

Chicken pot pies

My husband says he rues the day he bought Banquet frozen chicken pot pies. He bought four; two for him and two for me, and I've eaten one for dinner three nights in a row. They're really good. I can't stop liking them. I will eat one every night.

Drove to Big Timber, Montana today

Sunset tonight at Big Timber, Montana Posted by Picasa

Free Wi-Fi at our campground. How cool is that.

We drove from Great Falls, Montana to Big Timber today. The temperature reached 105! Then we had thunder and lightening and a short rain shower in the evening. Awesome. We don't see this in California.

Paid $2.35 a gallon for fuel (diesel) at Flying J's. Ate breakfast at Elmer's, one of our most favorite restaurants. We used to go the one in Palm Springs.

There are Lewis and Clark interpretive signs all along the highway. I picked up a book about the Lewis and Clark expedition and am reading it aloud while we drive and at bedtime. The chapters are super short and to the point to keep everyone's attention.

I finished reading the book of Esther for family bedtime story last night. The most remarkable thing about the Book of Esther is that God's name is never, not even once, mentioned in this book. The lesson I learned is that despite that fact that God's name is never spoken Esther's story demonstrates how He is always present. His hand is guiding events and shaping lives all the time and even among non-believers He still does his work. I read it from my little boy's Adventure Bible. The text is sooo easy to understand and he learns the stories so well. He memorized "if I perish, I perish" from chapter four which shows Esther's (who was probably only around 14 year of age at the time!) extreme courage in the face of a possible death sentence from King Xerxes of Persia. Now even my husband knows all about Esther!

This month I was totally immersed in books about Alaska and so I picked up several when we were in Juneau such as The Blue Bear (handsigned by the author Lynn Schooler) which was quite good but not the best of the bunch that I read, and Working on the Edge by Spike Walker which took me the longest time to read but was full of scary and heartbreaking true stories about men who catch crab.

On a whim I picked up a quirky little book called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time which was a fast, easy read and I liked it. It sort of has no ending really but it was worth reading. It's has a unique perspective, that of seeing the world through the eyes of an autistic person. I was surprised to find Amazon has some 900 reviews on it. I had no idea.

The best of the bunch in my opinion were three stories by Jack London (all in one paperback) The Call of the Wild, White Fang, And To Build a Fire. I hated to put it down. I highly recommend these stories.

I received three mosquito bites today, one on my right arm, one on my back, and one on my left arm. The most I've gotten in one day is nine. I'm just glad they're not biting me through my jeans. That's what they did in Alaska. The mosquitoes are large, quite large, in Alaska. Methinks that living in Southern California all my life I am spoiled what with having no mosquitoes to contend with. I don't know how people can survive with mosquitoes. I don't like being bitten. It freaks me out.

Most notable, with the hot weather today I was able to air dry my hair outside. My hair thanks me, I know.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Sunset four minutes later Posted by Picasa

Purple skies as evening falls Posted by Picasa

Rain and thunder today

Rain and thunder today Posted by Picasa

I was so pleased this one turned out. It shows the rain falling from the clouds.

Conejo (Spanish for bunny) at our campsite Posted by Picasa

Windmill along the way Posted by Picasa

Bales of fresh hay

Bales of hay beside the road Posted by Picasa

Technically it may be alfalfa. I thought it was a pretty view. I snapped this from my window while we were driving. My Olympus C-720 has a phenomenal stabilizer and 8X optical zoom. I am bouncin' up and down in the truck and it still can take a fabulous picture. It's very good at taking nature and outside photos but its limitation - it takes lousy inside shots.

Big Sky Country

This is Big Sky Country (It's Montana) Posted by Picasa

Montana's nickname is Big Sky Country. Quite apropos. Sigh.

I tagged myself...

  • What are you thankful for in your life this week as compared to last week? I love Canada but it's good to be home; back in U.S., back in the U.S., back in the U.S. of A.!
  • This year, as compared to last year? I am living my philosophical destiny; not talking it, not wishing it, not dreaming it. Doing it.
  • This past decade, or 20 years, or more? To be alive with a body that works.
  • What about your family are you thankful for? Of course, that I have them at all.
  • What about your spouse are you thankful for? That he never belittles me.
  • If you have ever lived or worked among people poorer than you, what did you discover about your own life? That I should work and improve myself in order to attain my goals.
  • What basic necessities do you have that you take for granted? What qualifies as necessities? I take little for granted.
  • What luxuries do you have that you take for granted? Money and love. Money and love can come and go. You never know. If you think you know then you're taking something for granted.
  • What things are you tempted to complain about which (if you look closely) also reflect great blessings? Signs of my physical aging.
  • What are you thankful for in your house? Currently my house is a 24' travel trailer. I'm thankful that our family resides in it in harmony.
  • In your neighborhood? We have a new neighborhood in every campground. We like that.
  • In the surrounding area (city, town, county) near where you live? We're traveling this year, but I will answer that I'm grateful for all the different places we go and the variety of people we meet.
  • What can you look forward to, God willing, in the next week? Another phenomenal sunset.
  • In the next decade, or 20 years, or more? What is it! I won't know till I get there.
  • What else are you thankful for? You know the folded potato chips in a bag of Lay's potato chips. Those.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Chuckwagon races Posted by Picasa

Chuckwagon races

The Calgary Stampede Posted by Picasa

We went to the Stampede on my 46th birthday. It was such fun! The whole city, and Calgary is a big city, gets into it.

The chuck wagon races at Calgary Posted by Picasa