Thursday, May 31, 2007

Plimouth Village


In Plymouth, Massachusetts, of course.

Back in the day it was spelled with a y or an i but William Bradford, the governor, wrote it with an i, so that's why the signs say Plimouth Village. It's a re-creation, not the original village.

It was a good stop and now after seeing the rock with my own two eyes I'll always remember the pilgrims landed in 1620.

It seems that I'm more of a wanderer and a looker than my two men though. They went to the colonist's village and the Wampanoag village and they didn't want to go the Nye barn. What was in that barn? I wanted to see. But we went home. Oh well.

But on to other news. We're in Maine now and we're overall quite an unhappy crew. Well, I tell you, we are where we planned to be doing what we planned to do, but we are not happy here. It's sooo crowded. Ever since Niagara Falls, all the campgrounds we've been to have been so close to cities or virtually in cities or towns. We have roads going right by us with lots of traffic. The roads are narrow, only two lanes, one in each direction, but where are the cars coming from? They go on and on and on. I suppose we should have had an inkling that it would be crowded in the eastern coastal region of the U.S.! We wanted to go to D.C. and especially to Gettysburg, but I don't think we can take it. It's not relaxing driving in the least. It's like freeway driving the whole way. We miss the open road. My shoulders are tensed and I notice I need to shake it out.

So. We are quite close to Nova Scotia, my goal. It's perhaps four hundred miles away. But bad as it sounds, I don't think I want to go anymore. Not only that, our satellite dish stopped working. This is very bad. Half of my curriculum is online. I need internet access for school. Everything I need in terms of information is there at fingertips reach. It's a luxury and quite a loss to be without it. Husband thinks we're too far north for the dish to work. It happened similarly last year but I don't want to go weeks without, this year.

Like that Seinfeld episode where Kramer says, "Do you yearn?" Yeah, I think I yearn. We yearn. For the open west.

I'm using the campground connection which is like dial up. That's another thing. Our rig is too long to fit in the only national park in Maine. I'm really sad about that. The national park is where we'd like to be, not in an RV park. And the cost in these RV parks is so high. For this much money per night we should be having a blast.

Tomorrow we will decide what to do. Right now, it's like a nightmare and we're driving in eternal circles in Redondo Beach, California.

The Wampanoag Village


I've been using the term American Indians or Native Indians. Whatever they want to be called is fine with me, I just need to know what it is. I think it'll be easiest to go by the Native Nation and know which tribe you're speaking of. The people are clad in period dress (and for the men that's not much) and are quite informative and interactive, but they're not role playing.

In Canada the Indians go by "First Nation" or "First People." This is because they want to make it clear that they were there before the French and before English.

And on Canadian public radio I heard a debate about whether the label of "squaw" was an insult or not. The general consensus was that it is an insult, but the guest on the radio show was defending the term and explaining why it wasn't an insult, unless perceived as such of course. It was a good debate and she took callers. I tended to agree based on her argument, that it wasn't an insult, but in real life I don't think it'll ever fly.

An English Colonist


She was very talkative. Part of what makes the tour so fascinating is that the colonists are role playing. You can't call them pilgrims because they didn't call themselves pilgrims - we call them pilgrims. This lady thinks that I'm looking for a place to live and she said that's what brought her here. You can't mention anything 21st century because they'll have no idea what you're talking about. The actors are very well versed in Plymouth area history. Seems like a neat job to have, if nothing else, to wear the outfit! But really the history is spellbinding when you listen to these role players. They all very, very good actors.

Not a cooper


I thought he was a cooper, but a cooper is a guy who makes barrels. This is a blacksmith.

This was the highlight of Plimouth Village I think. It's really hot in here! He just finished using the billows (is that the word) to heat up the iron and he's shaping it now. The metal was red hot at first. It was real fire and sparks and everything.

Sparrow in the Massachusetts sun

A goat (face)


I don't know about the goats, but I know that some of the cows the colonists had are considered rare breeds today. The didn't have the black and white milk cows we have nowadays. I don't know if this is a special breed of goat or a regular goat.

The actual rock plus a piece of trash


I was wondering how to show the rock to scale because all the photos I've seen it looks like the rock is small enough that I might be able to pick it up, or a least some really strong person could. It was much bigger than what I expected.

And there happens to be a piece of trash inside the bars of the monument today, a juice box. A sad commentary, isn't it. Why the ranger on duty doesn't see to it that it gets picked up immediately, I don't know. So there's my object to indicate scale. Two big grown-ups could stand on the rock at the same time, or maybe four children. It's granite.

And to my surprise, the pilgrims probably never really set foot on the actual rock! Here's the story at PBS:
QUESTION 8) After traveling over 2,700 miles from England to the New World, the "Pilgrims" first came ashore on Plymouth Rock and established their permanent colony.

ANSWER: FALSE. After completing their journey of over 2,700 miles on the Mayflower (traveling at a speed of two miles per hour), the Pilgrims first anchored in the harbor of present-day Provincetown, Massachusetts, on November 11, 1620. Over a month later, the Pilgrims selected the location for their new colony, which they named Plymouth, at the site of an abandoned Indian village. However, at the time, none of the Pilgrims mentioned stepping onto the land at a rock or boulder. The first mention of Plymouth Rock as the "landing place" of the Pilgrims didn't happen until over one hundred years later. In 1741, an elderly resident of Plymouth named Thomas Faunce identified a large boulder on the beach as the spot where the Pilgrims first made landfall. Faunce's father, who arrived in Plymouth three years after the original Pilgrims, was told about the Rock by one of the original colonists. Since none of the original Pilgrims wrote about the Rock when describing their arrival, and since Thomas Faunce's story was a third-hand account 121 years later, there is no way to know for certain if the Plymouth Rock story is true. However, the Rock is an important symbol of the courage and determination of early colonists; it currently stands in Pilgrim Memorial State Park in Plymouth, and thousands of tourists visit it each year.

In Plymouth, Massachusetts


Behind us is the rock. It's surrounded by the roman pillar design and inside you look over a fence and about ten feet below it's sitting in the sand.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

It's Memorial Day. Nearly done and everyone is home by now, but I didn't have a connection so I couldn't post this morning.

My grandad, my mother's father, was a career Navy man and he died as a POW on a Japanese ship. They were, are, called The Hell Ships because being on them was a living hell. Things that happened on this ship and others like it, are unspeakable.

My grandad suffocated to death in the hold of the Oryoku Maru. My mother's story about her daddy, is here.

I built the site, Oryoku Maru Online, for her quite a few years ago before I was doing the homeschooling. After I started homeschooling I just couldn't find the time to work on it. It's sorely in need of updating. I went into a bit of a funk while working on it as its content was difficult to be immersed in - and over a period of time when you create a Web site you do tend to get immersed. I read, and read, and read about the hell ships. I talked on the phone with a survivor, but he didn't really want to talk so one brief conversation was all I had.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

New places

I was singing "New York, New Yoooorrrrk!". Then I remembered we're in Massachusetts.

After Niagara Falls we spent a night in Schenectady, New York. I've heard of it before but now I can say I've been there. Very pretty and very green. The people were very nice. But at Niagara Falls at the KOA campground the people were real grumps. We didn't like it there. The girls at the front desk never cracked a smile in four days and one was rude to me when I was checking in. I took too long getting my glasses out of my purse and I guess it was too much for her to wait one minute. If only she were my child. Boy, I'd give her an earful.

So we drove through New York, the whole thing, on the 90 East which is a turnpike and now we're in Massachusetts. Turnpikes. I always wondered, what is a turnpike. Well, what it is is a nice, smooth, straight, well-maintained road that you must pay money to drive on every single time you drive on it. I call it highway robbery. It's very un-American I say. Surely not what Eisenhower had in mind. And if you don't take a toll road but you want to go across the state, you'd have to go willy nilly all over the place on other roads. The toll roads cost us a hundred dollars. Even more because we haven't paid all of it. We mistakenly got in the EZ Pay line and drove through but that's for people who have a prepaid ticket to drive through. The state is sending ours to us in the mail. I just hope there's no fine along with it. I almost thought we weren't going to Nova Scotia on account of those toll roads - my husband complained so much.

The funniest strange thing has happened. I bought new pajamas and the top is a bright pink tank. I never buy pink. I buy lots of black, brown, maroon, but no pink. The thing is, this pink top looks fab with my face. What to do. Change my world? I don't know. They say (they) that as women age, their complexions change, and jewel tones look better than muted shades. I don't know what I'm going to do about it yet. But something.

We maneuvered the trailer into the tightest spot ever tonight and had lots of help doing it. The people here, they're sooo nice. It's a very working class place, filled to the brim with campers. I hear young people (there are tons of children here) at a campfire sing along at the moment. I hear loud laughter of men and women. Dogs barking. When my husband came into the trailer after we were all set up this afternoon he said, "Looks like a lot of seedy people around here." And I shushed him. I told him I knew a-plenty of supposedly upper crust people who were not nice one bit and you can never judge a book by its cover. We have an impressionable young one listening to everything too. Later, he said that it was exactly the kind of place where he'd have camped with his own family when he was growing up. It's true. There are people here who you know work hard, some not of course, but many struggle day to day, month by month and everyone wants to have fun for the holiday. There are quite a number of seasonals. Seasonals are folks, families, who reside in the campground full time. I like it here. Memorial Day is one of the worst days to be traveling and looking for a campsite on the same day. Duh. We're lucky we're not camping in the parking lot of Wal-Mart.

When I washed my pajamas yesterday the bottoms shrunk. The pink top still looks great but now I have high waters. Everyone knows, high waters are the kiss of death. I may as well wear a sign that says "Liliana is a dork." I have no respect for clothing that can't stand high heat from a laundromat dryer.

Yesterday I saw a newborn fawn. It was along the side of the road in the tall, green grass. Its spots were so white and it looked like it could have been born that day, or the day before. It couldn't have been a week old. It wobbled on its four legs in the grass, watching a man who stood before it taking pictures with a pocket camera. We drove by at 60 mph in our truck. Couldn't stop since we were pulling the trailer. But even if I could stop, I wouldn't have stopped. I only hope the guy didn't touch the fawn. When we were in Idaho I talked with a woman who took care of abandoned fawns. It happened all too often that people came across a fawn and assumed it was abandoned when it was not. The mothers leave them while they go graze. She said the worst thing humans can do is touch a fawn because then the mother will refuse to care for it. I couldn't bring myself to photograph a baby that's afraid, and worse, roust it from its safe place. To take a photo like that would make me feel bad every time I looked at it.

I wish that man had not stopped on the interstate to do that.

Today I photographed a domineering swan who didn't want anyone in the pond with him. Nothing really turned out but it was it was exciting to see. He was magnificent. But then, we were on the other side of him and saw his leg sticking straight out behind him. I think he broke it and it healed that way. He's full of pep in spite of it.

I hope we will have Internet where we're going. We're in the eastern deciduous forest and that's bad for setting up the satellite. Tonight we paid three dollars for a very poor connection and it's only on one computer - which is not mine.

Friday, May 25, 2007

37.5"

I'm 37.5 inches today. My son did a measure because I just couldn't wait. The showers here were nice. They even had a bathtub. Never have I seen a bathtub at a campground before today. Quite unusual. If it was a cold winter night I'd hop in it in a flash, but today is hot and humid.

I like even numbers best though. July 1 will be 38 inches. I can't wait!

Will this work


My little S2IS takes movies. I dropped it on the asphalt today and it bounced a couple/three times, much to my chagrin, but she's still workin'! Yay! Canon makes sturdy cameras.

And I tried uploading a short vid just for the ducks of it. Not a great video, but I think it worked. Videos might be fun!

Water is water falling pretty much anywhere, unless you're there to hear the roar with your own ears, feel the mist in your face, and see the massive amount of H20 pass by you with your own two eyes.

In 1912 there was a small boat accident and a seven year old boy went right over the falls. One of the Maid of the Mist tour boats picked him up. Alive. His 17 year old sister survived too. She was picked up before going over the falls. The driver of the boat died.

The falls are worth seeing. Everyone should see them once in their life. So let it be written, so let it be done! But it's extremely touristy here. Four days is a-plenty. I'm grateful that we were here and able to do a couple of the "touristy" things to boot. When I was a child we would have been able to see the falls only. Still, the falls alone, on their own, are quite a feast.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Niagara Falls Butterfly Conservancy



A blue morpho. They fly and fly and fly and when they alight somewhere they close up their wings! I spied this one though. I wore an orange cotton tunic and the butterflies were attracted to it. I had butterflies sitting on me!

A butterfly zoo is lots of fun. I had fun for about two hours. My husband and son had fun for about ten minutes. Hehe!

Butterfly - Banded Orange

Butterfly - Blue and White Long Wing

Butterfly - Tree Nymph

Butterfly - don't know what kind

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Americans

Gimme, gimme, gimme. More, more, more. Bigger, bigger, bigger. The square footage of newly built homes in the United States is going higher and higher. No one wants to live in a house with only one bathroom anymore.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18806103/

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Title-less

I wish I didn't have to think of a title for every post. Do I want a title for every post? Do I need a title for every post? I do not.

Tomorrow will be a full day. We're in a fun place. A little, well a lot, touristy, but what can you do. Such is life. I can't very well discourage the other nineteen million, nine hundred ninety nine thousand, and ninety seven people from visiting here in 2007. We have time for the less touristy stuff later. Probably right after we leave here.

I just had deja-vu while typing that last paragraph! Neat. Either it's a totally cosmic night or a mere blip in my brain synapses.

[crickets chirping]

Drove by Lake Erie today. That was cool. It's very big you know. Very GRRReat. We could not see the other side. It's like an ocean!

When I was eight I went to "the beach" with my cousins in Nebraska. I wore one of those little sunsuits. Remember those? They had spagetti strings that tie at your shoulder and elastic at the waist and legs, and they were puffy above and below the waist. I really wasn't crazy about them because I thought they were quite unflattering to my just-turned-eight-years-old figure.

So we were at this beach and I was utterly mystified because there were no waves. Where were the waves, I asked. My cousins explained to me why there weren't any but I didn't get it. It was quite confusing. The beach sand wasn't very beachy either. I think I had fun anyway.

As I was writing this I found out my Aunt Gail fell and broke her wrist badly and maybe cracked her hip too. She may be home from the hospital already but I am not sure.

We ate the last of the sandwich meat she gave us for lunch this afternoon in the truck. It was real thin sliced roast beef and ham. Aunt Gail's food is food for the soul. She's famous for her fried chicken and pies. If ever I can cook fried chicken like Aunt Gail, stick a fork in me. I'll be done. The best I could ever be. The other day, as I walked out the door from her house she asked me to send her some postcards of places we're going. I told her I would and, bad as this sounds, I wondered if I really would.

I found out that my sister and I are the only ones she still sends birthday cards to. She's been sending them every year for 47 years. She used to tape nickels and dime and quarters in them when I was little. I loved it. I didn't even acknowledge the one she sent me last year. It was returned to her undeliverable. I'm bad about that. We move and I don't tell people. I'm very thoughtless that way. I have her address memorized except for the zip code. I have the zip code somewhere in my messed up address book so once I find it I'm set. I can't believe I ever worked in city planning because I have no remnants of planning or organization in my life currently.

Aunt Gail. That's what could have titled this post. Naturally, I don't deserve an Aunt Gail. Tomorrow I will send that post card.

We go

It's a travel day. I went to sleep early last night. Thought I'd get up but I was more tired than I thought.

Found an article about moonbows at the L.A. Times. Never heard of moonbows.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Goslings over there


I saw them today and yesterday. Sure would like to get a little closer. I saw a robin's nest today too.

Wore my hair in Dorothy braids. The kind where you make two French braids with the braided parts about four inches long and the rest is a pony. I wore them to the front. Then the long part was in my way so I wrapped the ends around my head. Now I look like a washer woman. But I don't do floors anymore. I used to wash the tile on my hands and knees because a mop does not do a thorough job you know. Now I do a quick sweep and my husband waxes the fake wood in the kitchen. It's about 3'x3' in area.

Bought our curriculum for next year, so that's done. Finished a science project with predictions and observations about decomposers this afternoon that went well. I mean, our son did. He got an 83% on the first half of his end of semester grammar test. The second half of the test is tomorrow.

I'm frying chicken now. I don't have Crisco though so it might not be very good.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

My friend, Fox

She has mentored me hugely in my Christian walk, as has Kara. She says what I seek to hear and sometimes that which I don't want to hear. They are my two most important Christian women and I wouldn't be who I am without them.

All day thoughts of her and her family have come to the forefront of my mind. When I was six years old I came home from first grade and when I walked in the door I found out my dad was gone. They'd gotten a divorce. My eyes cried. Not me, but my eyes by themselves.

Strange. It was like that today. My eyes have been crying by themselves and my nose running.

And at the same time, I am trusting fully in our Heavenly Father too. Despite the miles, our prayers of intercession and supplication rise heavenward in unison.

It's cold

We went for a walk because I saw geese and goslings but mama and papa made a hasty retreat with the babies when they saw us. I didn't want to scare them off so we backed away. The goslings were so cute! But too far away. The photo above is actually full of green trees and green grass but it's too chilly! My ears started to hurt so we came inside where it's nice and cuddlebug warm.

I had the most fun posting my Antelope Canyon photos last week. According to the traffic report that came in my email yesterday, I had the most visitors ever in a single day, 332! I had no idea. That's a world record! Usually I have five daily dedicated readers, give or take. Heh.

At the photographers forum there were two comments that especially made my day. I want to keep them to read whenever I want so here they are:

Very nice
It's satisfying to record such a wonderful place, yes? And you did it very well. Thanks for posting...Ole Bob

Wonderful, Liliana
Hi, I love your pictures. I've seen hundreds of shots of this canyon, but some of yours are unique. It gives me a better sense of the "place in its entirety". I had no idea. Here's a thought, print these in a series of 8x10 crops and frame them. Then put them up on a diagonal on one of your walls. Some of these are a great series and are frame and hang worthy. Thanks so much for sharing them. Diana


Are those nice or what. It was fun.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I am

We were driving down the road and I tipped my coffee up to my lips but I wasn't paying close attention and the little opening in the top was too far to the right. Consequently, I poured a good amount of coffee all over the front of me. And I'm wearing clean clothes today too! It's my drinking problem. Haha! So I said I was mental. My husband was quiet for a couple minutes and he said, no, I'm not mental. I'm cerebral. That guy! I feel so good in the light of his love.

I finally added my hair length record and hair routine to my sidebar. Critical stuff. See it over there. Pretty interesting. Don't know how you can avoid reading it. ;)

Sweet Canada

We are here! We waved to Canadians and they waved to us. It's a long holiday week-end in Canada and so lots of families are camping this week-end. Where we are there are a lot of musicians. It may be an interesting night. Monday is Victoria Day. It is a day to celebrate her birthday and also, I hear, the beginning of summer. I'm sorry, I don't know which Victoria. I have to Google this.

We had the neighbors and people across the road watching us pull into our spot this afternoon. I don't know why! lol! But they were all friendly and helpful. When my husband set up the satellite for our internet it drew a small crowd of men. Men like to ask questions about the satellite sometimes!

Canada is pretty big so saying you're in Canada is like saying you're in the United States. Generally if you specify a province it helps to know where in the country you are. We are in...Ontario. It is beautiful.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Hello Michigan

We made it all the way to Michigan. Michigan is a total peninsula and it has some islands at the top. No one told me about that. Shouldn't someone have mentioned this in fifth grade geography?

We are so tired. With the time changes it is now three hours difference from what we're used to. Night, night.

The three i's today

Iowa, Illinois, Indiana. Don't know if we'll make Indiana, but it's possible. I slept too late and missed horse pictures. Drats and double drats.

The last three places we stopped all had Wi-fi. How nice!

We're too far north to see Lincoln's place. Another year. But Nova Scotia is getting closer and closer!!!!!

Hey, my husband's disconnecting the electri

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Washed my hair


Dang, I've washed it again and it's only been two days. I'm really spazzing out. I just can't help it. I'm on a worshing kick. After it dried I put in it a side braid. I'm an inch or two from having my ends touch the chair when I sit. Kewl. That'll be a milestone.

My husband washed the bedsheets so I always like to be sweet and clean when we have freshly washed bedding. We need a new comforter really bad. We never did put a duvet on this one and man, it's nasty looking. It's passable as long as no sun is shining on it. Kid got a bloody nose on it once or twice, must have been some crayons or markers on it at some point, and there are additional other unknown spots. Things which we really don't want to know. Parents' bedroom has much more going on when kids are small. I remember the beautiful bedspread we had before we had our late life surprise baby. I think it got baby throw-up on it, I know it got peed on, and the beautiful bedspread became a thing of the past. We downgraded to the more functional comforter. Very warm, but now very ugly.

Tomorrow is a driving day. And tomorrow I will no longer be the mother of a nine year old. I'll be the mother of a ten year old! Oh my. Only eight years till he leaves us. The time is slipping away so quickly. Our eldest turned 29 last week on the 12th. Next year and I'll be the mum of a 30 year old. Double oh my!

The picture of today was taken in Grand Island, Nebraska. My husband was putting fuel in the truck and I saw this old building around the side. I'm not sure what it is, or was, but it was beat up. I'd like to find a bright red one somewhere someday. I desaturated it and put it through a sepia filter to give it that old look.

I'm hungry!

Aunt Gail's kitchen


There is no place like Aunt Gail's kitchen.
There is no place like Aunt Gail's kitchen.
There is no place like Aunt Gail's kitchen.

Click your heels three times.

And your heart and your tummy are full and happy.

We left with a load of fried chicken, homemade apple pie, homemade dill pickles to die for!, breads, coleslaw, fresh corn-on-the-cob, thin sliced ham and roast beef lunch meat, and candies - that she could not afford to give.

There is no place on earth like Aunt Gail's. As always, we had a wonderful visit. Too short. I love her so much. Here's a photo to last me until next year.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Antelope Slot Canyon, Page, Arizona



Surreal. For months I've wanted to come to this place. Now I am here.

Upper Antelope Slot Canyon


Beams of light. My photos are just okay but this is a shot many of the photographers seek. Well, like this but better.

You don't see her but our Navajo tour guide, Angie, is behind the rock to your left throwing sand in the air for us to take pictures of the smoke sifting back down to the ground. She was a wonderful tour guide.

Upper Antelope Slot Canyon


This is my second beam of light pic. Everyone is ooohing and aaahing and cameras are snapping away.

Upper Antelope Slot Canyon


One of the fascinating things about this tour is that you can turn your camera any which way to creative wonderfully abstract images. I'm looking straight up.

Upper Antelope Slot Canyon


Upper Antelope Slot Canyon is wildly popular. You don't see people in the photos but believe me, this place is full of tourists and lots of them have point and shoot cameras. The tour guides help everyone get the best pictures possible no matter whether you have a tripod and fancy equipment or not, at least that's how our tour guide was.

The colors in the upper canyon are more striking than the lower canyon, but I would not necessarily say, more beautiful. The upper canyon is far more well known and far more crowded than the lower canyon. It's a very easy walk-through compared to the lower canyon and that's probably why more people go there. It was a 50 minute tour.

Upper Antelope Slot Canyon Entrance


This is where you enter the upper canyon. See that tour vehicle? There are about eight others parked near the entrance. Everyone is inside the canyon! Each truck has about 10 or 12 people riding in it. It was a fun ride from the town of Page, Arizona, to the canyon! It's about 15 minutes of street driving and 15 minutes of bouncy driving in the sand. Our truck stalled out for a minute. That was exciting. lol!

You're on Navajo land


The canyons are on the Navajo reservation and so you pay for the tour and you also pay a fee ($6.00 each) for permission to enter the Navajo reservation. All the Navajos are really nice. You will see lots of Native Indians in the region of Page, Arizona.

Lower Antelope Slot Canyon Entrance


That's my husband and that's how you get into the LOWER Antelope Canyon! I was very surprised! The canyon is about 1/4 mile long and part of it is wide and easy to walk through, part of it is narrow and you have to squeeze sideways and hold on so you don't slip, part of it you scramble, and there are some small ladder steps and some tall stairs. It's so worth it to go through. We only ran into two other people and we were there for two hours.

This time, I brought my tripod and it's highly recommended that you use one to get quality photos. You have to do a lot of long exposures due to the low light. I just did it handheld in the upper canyon and many photos had blur. They look fab in your LCD until you view them full size. But I am satisfied that I came away with anything good at all.

Lower Antelope Slot Canyon


So you see, the colors are not as dramatic but it is nevertheless a wonderland. This geology is created by flooding. The water swirls and curls and corkscrews through the canyon and that's why such shapes are created. Can you imagine!

Some years ago 11 tourists died. They were washed away by a flood. Their tour guide said bad weather was in the far distance. They came out of the canyon and saw no rain. The guide said don't go back in but the tourists did not listen. This happened before the place was well known as it is now. They died for their foolish ignorance of the weather. Our tour guide told us this story but I had already read about it online. She also was very clear about saying the place held no sacred or holy significance to the Navajo people. This was contrary to what I had read online, so there you go. Everything you read is not necessarily accurate.

Lower Antelope Slot Canyon


It's only wide enough for one foot at a time. It's a nice addition to make the walk easier and it's only about three feet high. I should have put my husband's foot in there to give it some scale. But he does have big feet.

Me in Lower Antelope Canyon


This is my first picture of me taking a picture. How about that! I know, big wow. But I'm wearing a stickum tag on my top that says "Photographer - 4 hours - Ken's Tours" so I am feeling very proud. They gave it to me to wear.

Lower Antelope Canyon


Our almost ten year old son had a ball in here. You're not supposed to climb but I let him do a wee bit of careful climbing. This is a much more playful place for kids than the upper canyon.

Lower Antelope Canyon


A closer look. It's not limestone, it Navajo sandstone.

Lower Antelope Canyon


Yes, you walk through here.

Lower Antelope Canyon


The hues are real and genuine. If you go there you will see these colors too!

Lower Antelope Canyon


I hope you enjoyed the pictures!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

It's one of my favorite days of the year. On Mother's Day and my birthday I can do no wrong. Anything I say is always right and everybody loves me all day long! Well, two people anyways - my husband and son! I awoke to a Mother's Day card with a beautiful Swarovski heart inside. My youngest son bought it at a campground store and made the card with no reminding or encouraging from my husband, so it's doubly, triply sweet to me. He gave me a multicolor glass heart about a month ago for no special reason except he wanted to. That is the very best gift of all - one for no special occasion.

The message my son wrote in his homemade card melted me. Then today we drove all day long and had dinner at a Perkin's restaurant. It's one of our favorites in this part of the U.S. We're in Nebraska tonight. The great state of Nebraska. The Platte River runs all the way through it.

Tomorrow we get to see Uncle Jim! He's coming over at 10:00am. He's in town too. He drove here from Arizona.

It was 88 degrees today with a strong wind. But the road was level and straight and that made us glad. Tomorrow we have to get a flat tire for the trailer repaired. Did I say we got a flat tire two days ago? Well, we did. Fortunately Jehovah let us have it IN the campground in the morning and we saw it before we left, so my husband changed it. Thanks to the Lord and his wonderful ways, we did not have the flat tire on the road in the mountains. Thank you for your prayers. :) It is abundantly evident that they affect our travel. We also have to get some kind of O ring on the fuel tank replaced. They'll have to drop the tank to get to the O ring so my husband can't do it himself. We can't top off the fuel unless we fix it and topping off can take us an extra 100+ miles. Diesel prices are not bad. I hope they don't rise like they did last summer.

I phoned to wish my mom and my step-mom a Happy Mum's Day. I learned that my new daughter-in-law has not emailed my dad's wife so that makes me feel good that it's not just me she hasn't written. Maybe she's just real busy. Our son wrote me a wonderful, long email, so I'm floating.

It's been a very good day. We have laundry to do tomorrow, and visiting, and homeschooling. I worshed my hair tonight and it's silky soft. I've washed it three times in the past week. I haven't washed it this often in...a looong time.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Tripods, hair, and dreams

It was a long driving day. Tomorrow will be too.

I want a new tripod. The one I have is old. I mean really old. A friend of my husband's gave it to us about 20 years ago. It's amazing that we kept it. I just started using it and I can tell it makes a difference. I didn't use it before because it's a royal pain to set it up. My husband sets it up for me. Each leg has three parts that have to be pulled out and you have to turn knobs to make each part stay. It's like a spidery thing. Terrible.

In the slot canyon (photo to come but I'm too tired now) I stopped and talked to a seasoned photographer and I asked him if he knew tripods very well and he said yes, and I showed him mine. Mine won't turn the camera sideways. It should, but it doesn't. He looked at it and I hoped he could show me how to make it turn my camera sideways and he said, "This looks pretty old. It doesn't turn." lol! It's practically a toy tripod. Oh well. So I started shopping around for a tripod and it looks like I'm going to have to get a second college degree to learn about tripods and figure out which is best for me. Then I need to take out a loan or empty my bank account. Maybe I can get one in the fall.

My husband dreamt of Ava Gardner last night.

Major news flash. I have a large Ficcare Maximus. And I love it. I wear it every single day and it's great for traveling. It fits against my head so nicely. This is a quality hair clip! It's strong and stays where I put it even in my slick hair. And I can make some pretty bun designs with it sometimes too. Why didn't I indulge myself and buy one a long time ago? Mine's blue. I'd say it's navy though they call it Jean - to go with jeans I guess. That's why I picked it. Actually, I thought it would be a bit of a brighter blue, but oh well. I'm not buying another because one Ficcare shall suffice. I washed my hair this evening. Now I have to sit here all night because if I lie in bed and fall asleep and turn, I'll have bloops in it in the morning. Maybe I should sleep like Memoirs of a Geisha. Or maybe I will sleep like a ballerina like I did when I was nine - it will be a laying down pirouette.

The world is so beautiful. We went from desert to snow to green meadows today. We won't drive this route again though, not with a trailer. We didn't realize it was a narrow, winding, mountain road. It looked okay on the map. When I went into the trailer it smelled like brakes burning. Next time we'll take the extra, extra long way around. My husband is exhausted from the drive and sleeping like the dead.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Pic of the day


Dedicated to EowynJudySunshineSubsumed!

The Colorado River, at a place called Horseshoe Bend, near Page, Arizona. My first try at photostitching. This pic is made with four singles stitched together to make one. I didn't get the bottom of the river because I don't have a wide enough lens yet (I see one in my future now!) and I dared not step any closer to the edge. It's a long ways down! It was 90 degrees out when I snapped this. I'm so rough and tough. Heh. My upper thighs are sore tonight from the walk.

Eowyn, you are generous in words and thoughts. Thank you for your inspiring blog and for a post just for me tonight. Sometimes I just open your blog and stare at it. lol! Words cannot quite express what I wish to say. I'm glad someone recognized that I did go when I seriously didn't want to. I could give a hoot what anyone thinks when I don't go to things, but I care what my boy thinks and feels. They changed the date because of us, I think, so I couldn't squirm out of it! My son winked at me while he was up there with the pastor. Sure made me smile. Hopefully time will soften the new wife's hurt and she'll someday realize that what my family lacks for in show and following formalities, it makes up for in other ways. Sigh. It's a long way around.

I like your style, EowynJudySunshineSubsumed. Thank you for being a blessing to me.

Got lost

Last night I went to the showers to wash my hair because there was sand in it from the slot canyons. Our shower head just kind of drops the water on you and I need some power. Some force! They charge 8 quarters for 15 minutes here. I checked with a girl first about how the showers are. How's the water flow? How's the spray? How's the temperature? Which stall were you in? (Because one shower might be great and the one next to it is crummy.) This girl says she shaved her legs, washed up, and washed her hair twice with 8 quarters. I should have considered more carefully the fact that her hair was two inches long all the way around and they're tenters. Of course she'd be thrilled with any shower facility at all.

Took me 16 quarters to be heavily misted in a crummy water saver shower and then it was dark outside by the time I finished. I forgot I can't see in the dark anymore. I walked and walked and walked. I couldn't see the Y in the road. At one point I crossed the desert (between two roads for a shortcut) and walked to the trailer that had the light on. It looked just like ours but when I got there but the man in the chair was not my husband and the trailer was not ours!

Finally I decided to go back to the shower building and wait for someone to come get me. In the daylight you can see our trailer from the shower building. At night, I was completely lost one and a half loops from my trailie. What am I? Six years old? Our son came on his bike and took me home.

The Reserves

Our son, an ex-Marine, has signed up for the Marine Reserves.

I can't decide on what to say, so I guess that's all I'll say.

I'm finished editing and re-editing this post.

Yes. That feels right.

Getting over it

EJSS made it easy for me. I'd been wondering how to do this. I'll just answer and it won't hurt much!

It's almost May . . . Liliana will be back! "Hi!" says I.

And,
How was your (oldest) son's wedding? Beautiful.

What did you wear? A cotton khaki skirt, a heather green sweater set, black pumps. No jewelry.

How did you do your hair? A sock bun. It turned out really well.

May we please see pictures? No. None were taken.

Did you have fun? No.

Does your son seem happy? Very.

May God bless and keep their marriage always. Yes.

I don't adapt well to group activities. I get a stomach aches, or a headaches, or the diarrhea. I always get sleeplessness every time...even when I have a good time. I shake like a stupid Chihuahua. For April, I had all of symptoms for the entire month, and on top of it got sick with flu-like symptoms. Finally, to add insult to injury, I came down with an ugly cough. It's all in my head and I'm fully aware that it is, and yet it still dogs me. I've been through it enough that by now I can feel my way through, but I'm afraid every time at some point. Of what, I don't know. It is not logical. Last year I told my son I didn't want to go to the wedding, but he made it clear he wanted me, us, there, so we went. He is my heart and he knows me, and I like that he's up front about things. So I dove deep into my Bible and fortified myself. And I got through it, with prayers from my grrrrlfriends in Christ, but I did not do it with any amount of grace. I did it, essentially, with no grace. Zip for the grace. Still, it's better than medication all of which all has its own side effects.

It was beautiful, yes, but for my husband and me, too much pomp and circumstance.

But the bride may, possibly, be a bit, hmmm, bent out of shape with me, or us, or the family. No one on our side gave her a congratulatory hug after the wedding. I think she may be hurt about that. Could be? Well, I wanted to but there were too many people. If there was a line we surely would have gotten in line, but all her family was tight around her in a circle and there's no one in my family going to jockey for position, shoulder to shoulder, for anything. So it didn't happen. No one mentioned photos to us. My husband and I left. My sister and her family left. A couple others on our side left. My dad and his wife stayed the longest. They stood out front and I know they wanted to be in pictures, but the bride and groom were nowhere to be seen. Turns out they went to the side of the church where they thought the wedding planner was going to be, but she wasn't. It was about 15 minutes from the sound of it. In that time, my dad and his wife, that would be the groom's grandparents, left also. My dad was real disappointed about not being in pictures and I feel real badly about that. Our son does too. I think the bride does too. The bride did all the planning by herself and she was stretched pretty thin with all the excitement and I think the end of the wedding went the way it did simply due to miscommunication and lack of communication.

My husband and I did not dress formally and the bride wanted us to dress in tuxedo and formal floor length dress. My husband said no from the git-go. I don't even have a place here to hang a regular length dress. I thought we'd be just sitting in the front pews, but the week before the big day I learned the bride wanted us to participate in the ceremony. Not something we wanted, but we did it because she asked. I did not want to do it, but it was actually quite moving. She had we mothers light candles and then she had both sets of parents place hands on their child and give their approval to the union. And also, none of our family attended the reception. Because. It was held in Tijuana. The bride was so sad that that we did not go. We did all get gifts for them. She did wear my pearl necklace that my husband bought me in Japan as something borrowed. I was happy that she wanted to wear it. She looked really happy and really, really, really lovely, and our son looked so handsome. I will remember their faces always.

So, ahem, the bride hasn't emailed me since before the wedding.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. Can't really pour any sugar on it, can I. I wanted to be a really good mom-in-law, but I'm not. I pretty well flunk. It is not my intent to disappoint the bride. She's a doll, but she's sociable and outgoing and I am the opposite. My sons are sociable and fun to be around, both of them. So I did something right somewhere? That's the overriding, most important thing.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Dead Horse Ranch State Park


We've never heard of this park. It's great. There are hiking trails, biking trails, a couple lagoons stocked with fish for the fisherpeople, good birding. Tuzigoot is a few miles away and that's an interesting pueblo to see. The Verde River is a lush green riparian zone smack dab in the middle of the desert. 'Tis remarkable. The historic town of Jerome is about seven miles away.

In the visitor's center we ran into a couple who remembered our son from the campground in southern California. We talked at length because they went to Nova Scotia in 2005 and they even took a ferry and spent a whole month in Newfoundland! The wife was a former high school teacher and she was very complimentary about our son. She had watched him ride around and visit friends. I like compliments from teachers!

Walking to the lagoon


The view to my right. Is it north, south, east or west of the lagoon? I have no idea. I just walk!

The lagoon


Today is cloudy but the day we arrived was sunny and the lagoon had a tropical light blue hue.

Great Blue Heron


Next to the lagoon at Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Arizona. He's better than my others. The first blue heron I ever snapped was in December of 2005 and I didn't even know what it was. Kara identified it for me.

What do I spy


With my little eye in the distance?

Tuzigoot


It's a national monument. There is an ancient pueblo here. Just like the Anazasi (which means 'Ancient Ones') of Colorado, no one knows what happened to the Native Indians who lived here. Were they wiped out by disease, war, taken by aliens? Seems we shall never know. They mysteriously disappeared around 1400 A.D. Some of them might be present day Hopi Indians. The women did like to wear hair accessories. That much we know for sure. Tuzigoot is an Apache word for crooked water. It was a very good visit.

It's an ancient pueblo


This is just one "wing" of the place.

Ancient hairsticks


Displayed in the Tuzigoot museum.

My favorite hilltop trail


I walked up here every day. Well, every day for three days. Lots of prickly pear cactus flowers and creosote in bloom, and even some soaptree yucca blossoming as well.

Single blossom


They're all over the hilltop in yellow and purple.

Prickly Pear Cactus Flower


Symmetry.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Jerome, AZ in the distance



It's a tiny city sitting on the side of the mountain. We're going there. The city down below is Cottonwood. Cottonwood is nice too. Everything looks so new there. Lots of Californians moving in I hear.

Jerome, Arizona


My husband's mother was born in Jerome in the early 1900s so he wanted to come here. He was last here in the '60s or '70s and said it has changed a lot.

This place is chock full of history. It was a copper mining town and copper is the reason why the Arizona state flag has a copper star in the middle of it. I'd say it's definitely worth a stop. It's all touristy now but if you enjoy shopping, especially jewelry and art, there are a ton of cute shops. As depicted by the photo, the town sits literally on the side of the mountain. The streets are narrow and I've no idea where the residents put their vehicles. It must be top secret. We weren't even there during the high tourist season and parking spots were tough to find.

Jerome Historic State Park


It's not what I usually think of as a state park. It's actually a mansion in Jerome that you walk through. It's over 8,000 square feet. For $3.00 each you can tour it. It was interesting. Built by James Douglas (the younger), owner of the Little Daisy mine. He was wealthy all right. He also was hired to manage the mine in Bisbee, Arizona.

A little story I read about James Douglas, Jr. went like this. He approached a woman who was doing laundry in her front yard and asked her if she took in shirts. She said yes. When she washed them she noticed how frayed the shirts were and she repaired holes in the elbows. When he picked them up she recognized him and asked him why such a rich man was wearing dirty shirts with holes in them. He referred apparently to some old Mexican adage, something about he was saving his money for beans. I like that story a lot. That's partly how such rich people get so rich sometimes. Not only do they earn a lot, they're not afraid to be real. Back then, men had to be not only smart to be successful mine owners (and miners too), but it was very dangerous work. James later gave up his U.S. citizenship and returned to his home country of Canada. He came from Quebec. He spoke flawless English and Spanish. Well, he must have spoken French too then, right? Those French in Quebec are kind of crazy I hear. Intermittedly, they want to secede from Canada! Well, I don't mind as long as they don't kill anybody. We hopefully will see Quebec this summer on our way to...Nova Scotia.

Alamo Lake State Park


In southwestern Arizona. Haven't heard of it? That's because it's no great shakes. It was our first stop after leaving southern California. During the seven hour drive we went through Yuma and through the infamous snowbird home of Quartzite. It was 99 degrees during our drive and boiling hot the two days we stayed there. It was so hot outside we didn't even leave the trailer during the day. I snapped this pic during our evening walk - the only time we dared venture outdoors beyond the comfort of the air conditioner.

Photo taken May 2, 2007

Ruddy duck, male


It looks like he's looking right at me but he's quite far away.

Photo taken April 9, 2007
Santee Lakes Regional Park
With my trusty little Olympus