Saturday, March 28, 2009

Today's hike

Wild Cat Trail in not a maintained trail, so you have to keep your eyes peeled for the cairns. Gotta watch for venomous snakes and insects they say. We didn't see anything but a little old lizard. Didn't even see a bird fly by.

Found out Wild Cat Trail hike isn't free. It's cost us fifteen bucks. Why I oughta. Ya gotta pay to enter the area where the hike is. It's called the "fee area" and when you pass the gate you pay. Bummer, man! So we paid our $5.00 each and drove to the trail head.

This hike is 3.2 miles around the base of the monument called West Mitten, and in between the two Mittens. It was awesome. I mean, I am in awe walking up so close to the big rocks. I like rocks. See those two little pinpricks on the trail? Those are the guys who started right before us. Let's follow! We're going to walk the whole way around the Mitten shown on the right. Brochure says it starts out easy (that means downhill), becomes moderate (it's level part around the monument), then becomes strenuous (going downhill, naturally, means you have to go back up hill). Actually, the uphill part was slower going but not what I'd call strenuous. They were just being cautious in the brochure I think. Part of the way you walk through deep sand and that's good for the legs; harder walking, but good for the legs.

This is the other side of the Mitten.

We finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird. It was good! I think I did a good job reading because my husband was quite emotional and talkative at the end of the story. It was hard to read aloud. I found it to be the most difficult read-aloud I've done.

Also, I made reservations for the Tetons and Yellowstone, two weeks at each in July. Hope it turns out. Reservations and us usually don't get along. For some reason we have the hardest time sticking to reservations. They're hard to get for Yellowstone and the Tetons though, and you really cannot go without reservations and a big rig unless you're the bettin' kind. For Yellowstone I was lucky. I got one of the last two sites large enough for our trailer and truck. Whew! I almost cut it too close.

Tomorrow we're on the road to Arizona. This time we know where a McDonald's is for a nice cup of coffee. Well, Arizona is only about three minutes from here cause we're in Utah just across the state line, but we'll be driving about four hours to our next destination.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The road today

It was so cold it snowed a little bit today. And we got hail. We went for a drive to Kayenta about 20 miles away and came back to town - there was a dust storm! All this weather in one day. Now it's 11:00pm at night and it's 30 degrees. Oooooh, chillllly. I'm makin' chicken soup tomorrow.

There were only dust flurries at our campground and we were surprised the mesa got much more snow than we did. Look at it, will ya. Real snow!

And we passed this rock. It looks exactly like Shiprock, but smaller. I'm pretty sure, in the words of Wikipedia, it's the erosional remnant of the throat of a volcano. Looks like the Navajos have an old horse corral at the base of it.

There is only one hiking trail in this area that is free and if the weather will allow it, I sure hope we get to hike it before we go. Tomorrow's a homeschooling day but afterward we can do a little something. I absolutely must get back on track with my Bible reading. I haven't read it all week; not since we've been here. Eek.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I'm getting my groove back! This evening I practiced catching the sunset with a couple Utah Junipers in the foreground. This one I took in RAW format which is a digital negative, and was pleased that it enabled me to bring out the colors so prettily. I am so waiting for the day when I can get a really awesome sunset.

One of the Mittens with deadwood. This stop is next to a place where Navajos were selling jewelry. A lot of the jewelry was very pretty. I was impressed and I'd have bought some if I thought I'd ever wear it. And the prices were very reasonable.

We drove the 17 mile loop and it was it bumpy! We never went faster than 15mph and it took us nearly three hours to go through it. We did stop a lot. This is a high contrast image. I am trying to learn High Dynamic Range imaging and this has the feel of an HDR image but it's not the real thing. It's turning out not to be so easy to learn. But, that is okay. I have time. :) An HDR image combines three images into a single photo: one standard exposed, one over exposed and one under exposed. This photo is just one .jpg though. I worked all last night trying to combine three images and ended up with zip, nothing, nada. Erf.

I'm all sandy. Even my hair is sandy!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Monument Valley

These are called East Mitten, West Mitten, and Merrick Butte and these hues are the exact colors our eyes saw!

We only went to the museum today and then out to dinner, early, at 4:00pm. I had an oxymoron for dinner. Jumbo shrimp with wild rice. It was quite good. It was so much that I have leftovers for tomorrow.

We did do lessons today. That reminds me, the other night our son crowed as he was reading in bed, "Woodrow Wilson is really interesting." Haha! I guess you have to homeschool to hear that one from your kid! I don't know a thing about Woodrow Wilson except he wore glasses.

We have full hook-ups this week and it feels like a luxury using as much water as I want. I'm in my husband's good graces because last week when we didn't have the sewer hook-up (not all campgrounds offer the sewer connection at each site) I discovered I can make our gray water tank last seven days instead of two and a half by washing the dishes in a large pot in the kitchen sink and dumping the water in our bathroom sink. Our trailer is unusual in that it has two gray water tanks instead of one. It's weird. One tank would be normal and so much easier. But the kitchen one is very small and the bathroom one is very large which is backwards because when you're roughing it you're going to shower at the campground showers and you're certainly not going to wash a load of laundry. You're gonna conserve your water as much as possible. Seems like the manufacturers decided to put in a huge tank in the back for the shower and clothes washer and a teeny one in the kitchen, consequently just washing dishes a few times completely fills the tank. We've never, ever filled the back tank up. Why didn't they just make one big tank for the kitchen and bath? We used to have to hook-up and pull the trailer all the way to the dump station to offload the gray water from the kitchen tank, or use the Blue Boy which is a plastic container that you put the dirty water in and you roll it to the dump station. It's not a pleasant job because the gray water stinks and it's hard to get under the slideouts to drain the gray tank for the kitchen (another mistake by the manufacturer). Anyhoo, short story made painfully long, my husband thinks I had a total brainstorm and is happy I saved him from using the smelly Blue Boy.

I accidentally ate a whole package of graham crackers and two Oreos with two glasses of milk at 9:45 pm. I don't know what overcame me. Alas, I was powerless as in, no will power.

Tip for photographing animals

I woke with a headache and various maladies so we're not going to drive the loop today. I think with it being as chilly as it is I'll end up all crickety and unhappy what with getting in and out of the truck dozens of times and getting frozen hands (I lost my fingerless gloves awhile back and haven't found a replacement).

Here's a pic from yesterday. I snapped everything handheld just to see how my camera and I would do. Here is a free tip.

Picture Takin' Tip and Trick

All critters run or fly away fast if they see a human approaching. There are exceptions, naturally. For instance, a black bear, a grizzly bear, a moose, or a mountain lion might come right toward you. I have no tip for dealing with that, except stay in the car in the first place!

For everything else that's cute, if you're in a vehicle and you spot a furry or feathered creature close by the road and you want a photo, if no cars are behind you, slow way, way down or even stop, but don't get out of the car. They're not afraid of cars and trucks! That's the tip. They're used to vehicles. What I do is roll down the window fast as I can and sit on the door if the animal is in front of us and snap best as I am able while my husband navigates. That's how I caught the horse above. But only people with good balance should try this. In all other cases, put your camera on Sports Mode (people will argue but it works for me), put all distractions out of your mind, concentrate fully on focusing and not shaking, and just shoot out your side window when you see animals on your side of the road. You might get a memorable shot.


I've been practicing silhouettes. At the campground we winter at I didn't get a chance to drive out to any good silhouette locations so I got a lot of creosote bushes pretty much. Here, there's open range and so the animals can cross the road. It's a delight! The soil is so red here that in the afternoon if there are big clouds, we saw the bottom of the clouds reflect a light pinkish hue.

If this photo had an awesome sky I'd be satisfied.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Red Breasted Robin

Apparently his proper name is American Robin. He wasn't the brightest bulb though. He kept flying into our window. I think he saw the reflection of the tree in the glass and he kept trying to land. Poor feller. Fortunately he didn't fly very hard because the branch was only a couple feet away but it was rather distracting. We had to keep going outside to shoo him away. His is a fine specimen of a tweety bird though, isn't he? Quite handsome.

Woke up at 7:00am this morn and it was four hours till we got on the road. First, it snowed during the night! Quite exciting for us southern Californians. I walked about to take some snow shots, didn't get much, came back and husband was trying to get snow off of the tops of the slide-outs. I used to wonder why folks didn't camp in winter. Now, duh, I know one of the reasons - snow on slide-outs. You can't pull them in, or if you do you'll end up with very wet rooms. Oh dear. Finally we pulled out at 9:00am and had our tasters all set for McDonald's coffee and breakfast. There's nothing like McDonald's coffee and those cinnamon bun things when you're tooling down the road. Mmmm mmm. It's the only time I like McDonald's food. Couldn't find a McDonald's though! No way? Way. So we ate at a restaurant and it was like we were stuck in the '70s. Suffice to say, my dried up omelet with bacon bits was delicious because the restaurant ambiance made up for it. Cheap prices, lots of long hair (it's near a Navajo Reservation) and there was even a mini jukebox at each table that reminded me of dayzzz of old.

And we had to stop at Wal-Mart to buy a few last minute food items because where we were going there's not much shopping available. Like I said, finally got on the road at 11:00am.

And we're here! Monument Valley. It's incredibly beautiful. I took some test shots just to see what my camera would do. Ooooh, my camera likes the East Mitten, the West Mitten, and Merrick Butte. I practiced capturing sunset photos too. I am sure to find a good silhouette here! Tomorrow I'm taking my wide lens and my tripod out for a drive on the loop.

It's cold here, in the 40s today, but we don't mind. The crowds are much less this way.

We missed church. We listened to our pastor on audio last night and talked and talked. My son and I, that is. We miss our pastor.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Chaco Canyon NHP, New Mexico

Finally. I have photos of Chaco Canyon National Historic Park. Per se, it was a nice day. Technically, it was a bad day because we had clouds and heavy clouds make for a blah sky. Apparently it was too much to hope for puffy, billowy clouds or even a basic clear blue sky. On the up side it was not too hot to walk all over the place and we did do some walkin'. I've heard that it's pretentious to say "per se." Even so, I like the sound of it.

The road isn't paved all the way there, only part of the way, so four wheel drive is nice to have. Interestingly, we passed only a couple people going out there, but when we got there we found the campground was full! It looked fun, but it offers no hook-ups I think. On this road we saw three working sheep dogs herding sheep right across the road in front of us. They ran toward me so fast I was a bit alarmed, and not knowing whether their intentions were to bite me or lick me, I jumped back into the truck posthaste. Boo hoo. Turned out they were real friendly. She who is not courageous will miss great shots. I ended up with a photo of a flock of sheep behinds in need of shearing. It's not something people want to see.

We got to the Visitor's Center and were excited to walk to our first ruin. There's a loop you drive, about, hmm, six ruins maybe, and this one was a mile walk there and back, and too irresistible to pass up because it's right there at the Visitor's Center.

We climbed the hill behind the ruin and looked down. You have to remain on the trails in this park, you can't wander about, but the trail was very nice.

And here's a little higher behind that ruin. We came up here to see the petroglyphs. That's Fajada over there sticking up and you see the Visitor's Center, the parking lot, and people walking up the trail we came up on. The land is so. . . . vast! I do wonder if I should enlarge the photos more for people who like to click on them. I don't know if it would discourage people who might have slow connections from clicking on them, or if most people have fast enough connections and large enough monitors and want bigger photos.

Here are the petroglyphs.

This is the first thing you see at Pueblo Bonito which is the largest of the pueblos and is the one I most wanted to see. We didn't go to the others because, basically, after you've seen a couple pueblos you're about done. This one is the largest of all of them! It's like a maze almost. Fun to walk through. Long ago the pueblos were all over the plateau and were connected and were quite the accomplished culture between 800 and 1250 A.D. They traded far and wide even into Mexico. I'm fascinated by the Anasazi Indians. How could so many of them find enough water???

Boy, I need to learn how to put my own sky in there, don't I! Yes, indeedy. Must.

This shows some of the kivas. Perhaps they conducted sacred ceremonies here. No one knows and everyone wonders. It's about six feet deep so you wouldn't want to fall in there. I cannot IMAGINE how they dug these out of the hard ground.

Lastly, here is the spot I had all scoped out before we got here - four little doorways. I had planned on sunshine falling through the doorways onto the floor, but it didn't happen for me.

Tomorrow's supposed to be super windy so doesn't look like a promising photog day. I want to sit outside and try to capture some birds - digitally, that is!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Award day!

I got an award. It's from Jules at! Thanks Jules. It was the nicest surprise.

I am so happy with my blog circle and lately it's ever widening. The blogs I read are quite edifying! That means they build you up. Having gotten this award I'm inspired to really work hard on my attitude and gratitude. Starting. . . . okay, starting, now!

As to the rules for accepting this award:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post. (Done!)
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs who you feel are worthy of this award by displaying great attitude or gratitude in their blog! (I'm doing five because 10 is too many for me.)
3. Be sure to link to the blogs you nominate within this post.
4. Let your nominees know about the award by commenting on their blog.
5. Link back to the person who gave you this award.

NOW, on to the blogs I nominate for the Sisterhood Award! All of these blogs display great attitude and a spirit of gratitude so widen your horizons and check 'em out!

The Shaggy Dog Journal

Faith Moves Mountains

Sewing, Quilts, Cooking and Other Fun Stuff

Life Served Sweet


Let me add, that if you don't wish to pick up your award, that is okay. I have to specify this because Fetafilter is a blog by a mom and a dad, and so no matter how hard he tries he can't be a sister, however this predicament is easily mitigated because the other half, the wife, is a sister. And anyways, I checked the rules and technically they don't call out that you have to be a girl to get the award.

I have to go to bed now. I will have let the nominees know of their award nomination status tomorrow. I have to get up very early tomorrow instead of my usual 10:00am so I really must get to sleep. I hope the Sisterhood Award Board doesn't fire me!

Quiet day

We got a lot of school done so it was a profitable day. We both actually missed our hsing schedule and welcomed our old routine. Monday was a driving day, Tuesday we were all three pooped, Wednesday we went to Ship Rock (I found out it's two words for the monolith and one word for the town) and it was a long drive there and back so we were pooped again. Today my husband took the laundry to town and washed everything while we stayed home and did lessons. It was nice.

This picture is from the walk we took this evening after dinner. There's an easy trail to go downhill and then you can walk the shoreline as far as you like. The kid was making me a nervous wreck because he had to be right on the edge throwing rocks in the water so when I couldn't stand it another minute longer I told him, let's go back home.

We may go back to Ship Rock for a closer look. Since it's on the Navajo Reservation I was afraid to take any dirt roads around it so we stayed on the paved road. I got one fairly nice pic but sure would like to get closer. I'm scared of the Indians sometimes! One time when we were on vacation on our way to Nebraska we stopped at a spot that had a cemetery on a hill. It was a wide, lush green area with rolling hills and anyone stopping would see the cemetery with its quaint white picket fence. I think, as I recall, it was a historic place but not a monument or a park or anything. So anyways, we three (this was twenty years ago with our older son) got out of the truck and walk up and into the cemetery and were reading the headstones. Out of nowhere, honestly we don't know where they appeared from, about six big quiet Indian men came inside and stood and stared at us. They didn't say anything. It made us so uneasy as no one was around, that we made a prompt exit. It was the weirdest thing. Thing is, if there was any signage that it was private, or if they said they rather people not walk around, we'd understand. No, they just came to scare us. Ever since then, I'm more careful of Native American places.

Anyhoo, I phoned the city and found out any of the dirt roads around Ship Rock are public and we're welcome to drive on them. 'Tis a shame I didn't call before we went the first time.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Navajo Lake, New Mexico

[This picture is from the campground looking to my right. I am standing in a camp site.]

We made it. We drove yesterday from 9:00am to 4:00pm and boy - are we out of traveling shape. We all had sore beehinds! We were shifting cheeks from noon to four o'clock.

We've never been to this place and had never heard of it but it's mighty beautiful. There are only a couple other people in the campground besides us so it's peaceful. It's a large campground with well over 78 sites. Temperature is about ten degrees cooler than in southern New Mexico. This is part of the Colorado Plateau and we are at 7,000 feet elevation so that's why it's cooler. And I can feel the air is thinner. The air is dry in our noses too. We had to settle for a site with no sewer hook-up so we'll have to move to empty our tanks in a couple days. The full hook-up sites are smaller and they don't have the view that the partial hook-up sites have. See all the houseboats at the marina! This place must be hoppin' busy in the summer months. We have not yet gone to the visitor's center but we plan to tomorrow. We also plan to go see a giant rock and some ancient Indian pueblo ruins tomorrow.

I am utterly fascinated by the ancient Pueblo Indians. They are called the Anasazi and for some reason around 1200 A.D. they vanished. Vanished without a trace, or so we think. Perhaps there was a drought some say, or perhaps enemies overcame them, or perhaps, right, aliens took them. I first learned of the Anasazi when we visited Mesa Verde State Park in Colorado. I didn't realize that the Indians vanished also from this area at the same time. Their disappearance is more widespread than I thought. I'm now more perplexed and fascinated by them than I already was!

[And this picture is looking straight ahead.]

I made scalloped potatoes tonight and they were really good.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dog tired

All, as in all, my muscles are sore. Biannual trailer cleaning is done. Tuna salad is made for sandwiches tomorrow. Everything's in order to exit stage right about nine o'clock in the a.m.

On the road again! I just can't wait to get on the road again! Lalalalalalala. . . . Oops, I can't hold a tune.


Was anyone going to tell me that BusyHomeSchoolMom has returned to us from the distant land called In Real Life? She has a March post up and not only that, she's working out. And not only that, she's doing the plank, like me. I didn't even know what the plank was until a month ago. I'm going to be very inspired by her blog. I need it. I've been a little depressed about leaving all my classes.

Today I cleaned out the closet and offloaded a bunch of weight. Most of the extra weight amounts to creative projects I've left unfinished. I packed away my knitting and knitting needles. Gosh, I love my knitting needles but I forgot about them all year. I packed two sewing projects (skirt patterns and fabric). I am so ashamed! I packed one baby quilt - this is my third year working on this little quilt because I'm stuck on a step. Overall, again, somewhat depressing. Face to face with my undone projects I felt knee high to a grasshopper.

I'm not sure if I mentioned we did obtain the storage space we hoped for here in town. It's huge and waaay cheaper. We could live in it it's so big! In April we will transport our household goods from storage in CA and store it here, closer to us. That'll be so nice. The alternative was to sell off more of our stuff this year as storage prices were rising and I wasn't exactly looking forward to that. Now it's worked out better than I could imagine. I think a still, small voice is speaking to us.

Tomorrow is our last day at our church. We'll miss it terribly. I think I miss it already. How will I stay strong without my pastor? I need that weekly spiritual food. I need that one day of the week to refill my soul to strengthen me to be in world for the next six days.

On Monday night I will be a-postin' in my blog from northern New Mexico instead of southern New Mexico! I will try to write Sunday but it's likely to be a busy day what with packing up. We need to rearrange things inside here to ensure nothing will fall or break while we're driving. Being stationary means we didn't have to worry about battening down anything. We're going to pull all the slide-outs in and move one site over so we can super clean our site before we go. My husband gets annoyed with me because at the last minute I get all caught up in raking the sand and making the site looks purty for the next resident. I explained to the men that I want to leave this site as we found it and when I wasn't here I found out my husband said to my son, "Does that mean we should throw trash back on the ground, put a sand dune under the picnic table, and replace all the dog pooh we cleaned up?" Very funny. Not. I concede, the site was in poor condition when we came but we have a reputation to maintain. I don't care about other people - this family will leave this site a clean and welcoming sight for the next camper who pulls in, and that's the name of that tune.

I am sad and blue about leaving and at the same time excited and anticipatory about traveling to new places.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


I ate some grahams and read stuff online. I'm putting together content for a week long lesson plan on the topic of drug abuse. It's kinda fun. I like doing research. We did extra lessons, or I should say he did extra lessons today to make up for Monday since Monday will be a driving day. Gonna love gettin' on the road. I have to find our Willie Nelson CD.

Son was at the neighbor's and I don't know how the subject came up but the dad asked our son if he knew who Nancy Pelosi was. Our son told him Nancy Pelosi is the Speaker of the House. Guess his jaw dropped. Heh. We can't stand Pelosi and I made sure our son knows who she is, where she's from, and what she stands for. I never thought the subject would ever actually come up though. It appears that a verse came to my mind just now:

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12).

Friday, March 13, 2009


We had two big rains today and one is happening right now! My husband told me to quit pounding on the keyboard and I told him I'm not pounding at all - it's the rain falling on the roof. It's as if we have a tin roof ya know. I like the sound.

I did yoga class today. My arms are still spindly and I can't hold myself up in the plank position for even a full minute but I have the strongest legs in class. Now that we're leaving I'll go to pot. Boo hoo. No, I will try to work out on my own. I will think positive. We leave on Monday. Oooh, I'm maybe getting excited. A little. My yoga teacher told everyone to say good-bye to me because today was my last day for class. She is so sweet. It was like being in second grade.

I need to buy a Mastex heating cap and I plan to do so soon. I need to upgrade my hair care regimen and that's what I think I need to add. I will do a hot oil treatment once a week. That's the plan.

There are a couple aches and pains bothering me and I will not write about them because I reject them. Do you hear that painful arm? Do you hear that achy knee? I reject your discomforting me and I do not recognize you. Go away!

I had a fair day today. Sort of have a case of the blahs almost, but not quite. My sister said it's the time change. Could be.

Took a pot of my home made chicken soup to our favorite ranger tonight. He has the flu. I told him it's a very manly soup and I warned him that if he sees a bay leaf in it, don't eat it cause it'll kill him. The guy will eat anything. He eats apples, core and all! I could not find that bay leaf but I know it's in there. I hope he likes it and I hope he will feel better when he eats it. Chicken soup really is the best thing for you when you have a cold or flu. That's not me talkin'. That's science! I want to take some to my aerobic instructor too. She has her hands full caring for her dad, shuffling to doctor appointments, taking care of her own husband and three children.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

After pic 41.5"

Alrighty. As a few peeps know, I pulled my pics down yesterday. I, I, I freaked out a little. I'm back to 41.5 and as I blogged yesterday I realized my current after photo reminded me of another photo. So I looked it up in my blog and found one taken in June 2008 that looked just like my hair looks now! A slight mental meltdown immediately ensued and I took down my whole Tuesday post to give myself a chance to think. I don't know what I expected, but I guess I expected to get a trim and still be like maybe 43" or something. A girl has to go with the flow though and have a grip on reality.

I asked for two inches off. The measurement shows he did take off more than I planned but I saw what he intended to cut before he took the scissors to it (he held it up for me to see first) and I approved. Even my son was watching and he gave his okay. I trust Ivan implicitly. I know he would never cut more than necessary.

I think Ivan has a good eye. I think he did cut it to a better hemline even though it's back a little farther than I expected. I picked a different before photo than I had up yesterday because it shows the ends better for comparison purposes.

All day today I've felt great with my new ends. Once a year = new ends! How many times did I comb through my ends last year I wonder. I wonder such deep wonderments. Today I wore a single braid down, a style I don't normally wear, and I keep admiring my braid tail which is now a little stub instead of a wispy whisper of a tail.

On to some self-aggrandizement and edification.

This is the third year Ivan has trimmed my ends. Finally, this year he commented on my hair. It's about time. Thank you very much for throwing me a bone. He was talking to my son who was standing next to us (I think he thinks it too flirty to say it to me) and said, "Your mom has nice hair" and then he followed it up with, "Your mom takes good care of her hair." Well my head about puffed up too big to fit in the barber shop. Those two sentences were worth a three year wait! When he was done I stepped to my husband and swung my hair to the side and declared "What do you think!" And he liked it. I was happy. Altogether happy.

Two more hair incidents have I to blog. When we got home a man across the street walked over with his dog and said, "Wow, I've only seen your hair up. It's so long." I was ebullient. I know, it doesn't take much to give me a good day. And, best of all, today my son told me that one of the park rangers was waxing on in the office about how long my hair is and the superintendent said, "Really? I guess I need to see her hair!" Haha!

So, to sum it up. I wish I had hair like Jen's, so thick. But I don't. But my hair is not too bad. I enjoy it. It's different. It's part of who I am. The ends Ivan cut were woefully wispy and ragged and uneven. It will be ever so interesting to see how it grows back and how it looks at this time next year. And as my son watched me sit here and study and compare my before and after pic, he said, "Mamma. It's still long." Hehe. My son. He reads my thoughts sometimes. It's all relative, isn't it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I got my hair trimmed. I missed aerobics because our teacher is taking care of her dad. We got a new storage area and we're going to transport our California stuff from there to here. Husband got our awning fixed and reattached. Yay!

My child

I suggested he get a notebook and take notes during church. At first I suggested he write three brief sentences. I didn't think it would be too painful. I hoped it would relieve me of having to hear a single dollar bill get crunched around a hundred times, folded and refolded so tight you could smoke it, or watching him out of the corner of my eye scribbling on the bottom of his shoe for half an hour. Sitting beside him, even with an empty seat between us, when he does that it makes me wanna jump clear outta my skin. I bought him a little red spiral notebook. Talked it up. But he didn't want to take notes, and in time the little red notebook got beat up and ripped from bein' pushed around on the bookshelf. It got no love.

A month or so later I was talking about how I had to buy a second notebook because I filled my first one and oh how nice it was to have all my notes from the previous year to look back on when I needed them.

Then he said he wanted to buy his own notebook. I shrugged, well, go ahead, get one. He bought one. He picked a black one from Wal-Mart, small, with an elastic on it and a ribbon place marker in it. He used his own money even though I said I'd buy it for him. And he began to take notes - not three sentence notes. Tonight he invited me to look at his notes and they were nearly as thorough as mine. What changed him? I admit, I saw him peeking at my notes but I pretended not to notice.

And last night I offered to read the Bible before we went to bed and he was practically jubilant about the idea. I declare. What's got into our boy. I don't know, but I'm not complaining.

I'm teaching my husband about Gideon tonight and tomorrow night. He's my student guinea pig. I pretend to expect the best out of him and often I do get the best out of him! Aw, he could tell me to stop but he's good, he's been kind, about listening. Gideon is in the book of Judges in chapter six and seven. I read chapter six tonight and all the good parts are in chapter seven which I'll read tomorrow night. I cannot do two chapters in one night because my husband can't sit still that long. My son and I good naturedly josh him for not being able to focus too long on devotionals. It's okay. I am not discouraged. I'm a homeschool mom and anyone who's homeschooled a boy for kindergarten and first grade can teach a gruffily old husband too. Faith comes by hearing and I have to see to it he hears a little bit every day. You can't take anything to heaven except the souls you help save. It's a thing I'm working on little by little.

Monday, March 09, 2009


We're antsy to leave. I don't know why but the closer it gets to time to go, the faster the time flies. I feel I want to catalog every view of the lake, every drive up the street, every song of the thrasher, every bunny and jackrabbit hopping by. How will I recognize them when I come back?

My aerobics teacher missed class tonight. Her dad fell off of a ladder off of a roof last week. He took that last step up to the roof and accidentally pushed the ladder away from the building. Did I mention that? And he was hurt badly but he was home from the hospital in a few days. Something must have happened with him. Her sister came here to help with his care but our teacher lives only about a block from him. She has three little ones too - her youngest son is only one year old. I wonder how they're doing.

Tomorrow I'm going to see Ivan to get my ends trimmed.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


It's such a boring week-end. There's been wind for three days and there will be more wind tomorrow. It's been blowing from 25mph to 50mph - enough to rock the trailer sometimes. I like the wind but not this much wind! It makes a nice lullaby at night but I'd like a break.

Since I can't actually use my new lens I've been reading about it and looking at photos and making 3x5 note cards to remember what I want to try. Sigh. Not too exciting.

But I am having nice dreams. Photography gives me nice dreams.

In the evenings we're reading a new book, To Kill A Mockingbird. I remember the movie from when I was a kid and it was kind of scary and I didn't understand all of it. I understand more now. I am appreciating the humor and irony and little Scout's personality more completely as I read the book for read aloud. I'm still also reading Les Misérables on my own and I'm fascinated by the bishop character.

I'm thinking about High Dynamic Range Imaging photography where you take three photos (or more) at different exposures and blend them thus obtaining, capturing, more luminance; that is to say, more shades of light and dark in a photo. I successfully figgered out how to enable the automatic exposure bracketing on my camera so I can take three images in quick succession with a single click: one just right, one over, and one under exposed. Cool. For some reason when I tried this before, a long time ago, it was beyond me and I could not get it to work. Got discouraged and quit trying. Whoops, that's called fixed mindset instead of having a growth mindset. This time I read and read and reread till I understood it. Now, I am in need of a view. I also figgered out how to adjust exposure compensation to increase or decrease the exposure value. I am in need of a sunset sans the wind to test that one out. We had a spectacular magenta sunset a week ago. I hope another comes before we leave.

We leave to go to northern New Mexico and southern Utah in nine days!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Sometimes I lack eloquence

I should add that the word 'putrid' and all of its various forms such as putrefying, putrefaction, and putridity, has been all the rage with a certain 11 1/2 year old boy around here. As I reread, I believe I may have been suffering from arrested speech development in last night's post. Nevertheless! I did some research and found a page that answered my question. It took a few minutes of research though because all the pages I found at first used it just like I used it and as I understood it. I found Jesus hung out with sinners is a very a popular saying.

But he didn't. He moved in their midst. That's a big difference from hanging out with people. I think you could say he hung out with Mary, Martha and Lazarus, who were strong believers but he didn't hang out with the prostitute at the well.

Thing is, I heard the phrase from a youth pastor's wife whom I liked very much. Because she had said that, I felt justified and went ahead and made a MySpace page (I don't have it anymore) but I still felt unsettled about it so after a few months I deleted it. I told her why in an email (because she was one of my two friends and she asked why I took my page down) and she never wrote me again and she speaks to me very little too. I felt kinda bewildered. I didn't say there was anything wrong with her page I just said I thought it was not healthy for children and as an adult I thought I ought not be there when I wouldn't want my own child there. When I used to visit her page after I deleted my profile there would be sometimes extremely suggestive profile pics of other accounts at the bottom of her private page. Seriously, some were not even suggestive. They were blatantly s*xual. She has six kids and her eldest is my son's age. Our boys don't get along well.

Ordered my new lens tonight.

The evening was exceptionally beautiful. It was like an early summer night at 7:00pm. There was a bit of a zephyr and it felt wonderful against my skin.

I had a good workout last night and tonight although I had to put my step aside and do plain aerobics for part of the class tonight. I worry about my foot bones and one knee and my left foot didn't like the step tonight. After class I told the teacher I hoped she wouldn't mind if I set the step aside and not use it all the time and she enthusiastically said, "No problem." And she said she wished more people would listen to their bodies and do the same and that without the step is as good a workout as with the step. I don't know. I think I'm adjusting to having an older body. I'm not used to it not doing what I force it to do. Sometimes, it just tells me, "Liliana, we're not doing this." And that's the end of the conversation. So, I focus on form instead of speed. In dance we focus on form but in aerobics they focus on speed. It doesn't help me to do a lot of repetitions of a movement if I'm doing it in poor form. Either way I'm gonna be dripping sweat so I may as well go slow and sweat. Go slow . . . .and look good doin' it! Boom chicka boom chicka boom, boom, BOOM.

See, this post mostly goes in 2009 Spiritual Tour category but as usual I've got my topics all mixed together.

I thought of one more thing. Two of my scabs came off from where I got the laser treatment for brown spots (seborrheic keratoses) on the 23rd and there's nice light pink smooth skin underneath! I'm happy! One small spot was right between my, um, heavenly endowments, and what a place to have one. Why would I get a spot there? It's hardly in the sun. But I read that they're hereditary, not from the sun. Anyhoo, it's gone! I know it's no big thing but I sure feel good that it's gone. I'm not sure if the laser worked on the red dots though. I can't tell yet.

I think I know what she said

She invited me to join a gigantic prayer group online. I checked the site and found not a word of mention of Jesus Christ. It's a feel-good new agey thing (which I used to love), but it's not bible based. So I told her and did a bit of the email witnessing and invited her to church and she wrote me back the nicest comment. She loves me, yeah, yeah, and basically, ifns I water it down and take out the main idea, she told me to stick it where the sun don't shine - and she said it so kindly. I think she gave me a pat on the head too. Ah well. I'll give it another try another time. She takes verses out of context a lot or uses a verse and leaves out the part she doesn't want to say. Makes me kinda blue.

It occurred to me tonight that the phrase "Jesus hung out with sinners" might be putrid. As in, pretty much full of lameness. It makes it sound so smooth and cool, but the thing is, Jesus wasn't a sinner. I am one. That's a difference. That's the difference. A huge difference. Jesus was perfect. I'm pretty much not. Methinks the "Jesus hung out with sinners" line that's so easily bandied about might be a completely bogus charge worthy of review. It came to me when I was listening to my audio from church of a couple weeks ago. I listened to a section, a sentence, about 30 times in order to make out what Pastor was saying. He referred to this phrase and said it was a cop-out. Whuh? So that's why I gotta review it.

Truck's in the shop. We had to get her towed from our site to the repair place. How sad! Husband read about an improved method for replacing with fuel filter - and afterwards the truck wouldn't start. He was mad! He said, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Why did I do it differently from the way I've always done it when the way I've always done it worked just fine?" Well, there's no good answer for that so I told him you gotta be careful about over-reading on the Ford truck forums. I said it's like the time I read about applying mayonnaise on hair as a conditioning and beautifying treatment so I tried it. Son said, "Mamma, why is there mayonnaise on your head?" I mumbled something about how pretty my hair was gonna be, went and washed my hair and dang, I had stringy hair and leftover mayo in my hair for two days. That stuff's hard to wash out. So, you gotta be careful about what you read online. At times, too much information isn't a good thing.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

A sweet tooth

After evening church I came home with a major sweet tooth and I knew just what I wanted. Cake batter. I found a box in the cupboard stamped best used by December 2008. I mixed it up and filled a Sesame Street paper bowl up and, yum, had a second bowl. It was just what the doctor ordered! My husband thinks I'm bananas but I know what I want and I'm not ashamed. Haha! He doesn't get sweet teeth like I do. There was plenty left over so I made a loaf shaped yellow cake. We don't have frosting but it came out nice and moist and I think it'll be very good with coffee in the morning.

Church was amazing this morning. I'll miss it here so much when we go. I'm gonna save my tithe money and give it to this church when we come back. In the past I'd give to whatever church we attended. Once we went to a Calvary Chapel in San Diego that didn't even pass a plate. We had to ask where can we leave our money. They didn't believe in passing the plate and those who chose to give put the funds into a box that's attached to the wall in the back of the sanctuary. We were surprised.

Welp. I'm gonna go to bed and read.