Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Let Me Drown in Your Laughter. Let Me Die in Your Arms

Last night I had a dream that John Denver was still alive and looked like he did in the 70's and he wanted to meet me after his (well attended concert - which should have clued me in that it was a dream).

Anyway, the dream seemed to go on for hours and hours and all it was, was me wanting to meet John Denver for a date after his show, but blowing him off for my husband and being conflicted and then having John Denver give me another chance to meet him, and then me flaking on him, and so on and so on, and right when it seemed that I would finally leave my spouse to be with John Denver, I woke up and felt awful about choosing him over my husband. Where the hell did THAT dream come from?

All I can say, is that if I had that dream when I was 10 years old, it would have been a lot shorter. I would have left any husband I had to be with John Denver without a drop of guilt. I guess maybe I have matured a little now that I'm in my 50's.

Also, I'm blaming my now 7 day migraine for all of this. Who knows what weird doors all that pain has opened up in my brain. I might totally revert back to my mid-seventies self and start wearing smock tops and earth shoes, and listening to Olivia Newton-John and watching "The Waltons". It's a slippery slope.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

I Used to Get Mad at My School (No, I Can't Complain). The Teachers Who Taught Me Weren't Cool (No, I Can't Complain).

 Time for a recycled post:

 When I was in 4th grade, I was desperately trying to get diagnosed with a learning disability. Both my brother and my sister supposedly had one and they got to see Mrs. Sanchez. She was a big proponent of positive reinforcement, so my siblings were constantly coming home with super balls, candy and best of all, stories about their lunches at McDonald's. Back in 1974, you were still allowed to use food as a reward. My plan was to get diagnosed, have my class in Mrs. Sanchez's room and then be so good that I used up her entire budget on McDonald's lunches every week. The school indulged me a couple of times, but the third time I asked to take the test that should have led me down my Mccheeseburger path, I was denied.

I don't remember specifics, but I think the principal sounded like this; "Listen kid. You don't have a learning disability and you're not gonna get one by taking the tests over and over. So, scram." Actually, it was the seventies and we lived in Mesa so I'm sure he spoke less like Nick the bartender from It's A Wonderful Life and more like a progressive Mormon worried about my self-esteem.

What I lacked in a learning disability, I made up for in a speech impediment. I had a lisp up until that year. Lisps are adorable until you reach that awkward age and unless you're moving to Barcelona, you want to try to lose it and fast. Which meant I had to meet with a speech therapist. Unfortunately, she was no Mrs. Sanchez. She was so boring, I don't even remember her name. I sat in her room and recited, "Sammy snake, Sammy snake, Sammy snake..." into a tape recorder.

I know I can't make it through a post without mentioning my short attention span, so I figured I'd bring it up again. Sitting down for very long is difficult for me as an adult, but as a nine year old, it was torture. Finally, one day my teacher went out and left me to my recitation so she could smoke a ciggie in the hallway and chat with some of the other teachers. I continued on and she told me she would listen to it later. Halfway through, I belched very loudly into the microphone. I felt so rebellious. But instead of listening to the tape later, my speech therapist came back early and decided to go over it with me. I couldn't look at her as the tape rolled on. "Sammy snake. Sammy snake. Sammy snake. Bwaaap! Sammy snake..." My teacher was sufficently horrified.

"Chur-LEE-ta!" I was so busted. I didn't even laugh uncomfortably like I normally do in awkward situations.

"I'm sorry, but it was soooo boring." She wasn't sympathetic. She was, in fact, very annoyed for the duration of our classes together. I once heard her relating the incident to another teacher when they were standing outside the door. The other teacher said,

"I guess there's one in every bunch..."

The good news is, that I lost my lisp that year. Maybe the therapist had a plan all along. Her strategy was to bore the lisp right out of me. And now I don't even have to consciously think to put my tongue behind my teeth when I say Sammy snake. Which is good, because you know how often I'm always talking about Sammy snake.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Moonlight and Love Songs Never Out of Date

Archie is scandalized by my reading choice.

I'm going to go ahead and interrupt the vacation posts, with a traveling by books in July one. Especially since it's almost September now.

In July I only read five books. Since I was able to travel in real life, I figure I was okay with such a low number.

1.) The first book I read in July was "Valley of the Dolls", by Jacqueline Susann. It was written in 1966, and at that time I believe it was very sensational and considered debauched, but now it's pretty tame. It was fun to go back to that time, but sad that the women felt like they had to over medicate themselves to deal with their relationships with men. I'm sure there are plenty of women who still feel that way even now. Sigh.

2.) The Second book trip I took was "Where the Red Fern Grows", by Wilson Rawls. I first read this book in third or fourth grade and the author came to our school to read from it. It took me to The Ozarks in the 1920's. It was a great adventure story and I'm always a sucker for an animal saga. It was perfect Summer reading.

3.) I read "Modern Lovers" by Emma Straub. It takes place in New York City and deals with parents who were in a band back in the day that was considered pretty cool, but now they have their own children in high school and how they have to pass that torch, while still dealing with their younger adult selve's issues. I really liked it and the writing was excellent. A nice two-for-one book trip.

4.) I read Christopher Moore's "Noir" when we were on vacation, so I didn't have tons of time to take that trip within our trip, but it was so crazy and fun. It takes place in San Francisco right after World War II. It reads like an old detective novel, but it has aliens in it too. I thought it was a hoot.

5.) The last book I read was "Where'd You Go, Bernadette", by Maria Semple. I have heard the movie isn't that great, but I was very entertained by the book, which takes place in Seattle and everyone is rich and there is a lot of talk of architecture, and the main character is at first, not very likable.

All the books I read in July were a lot of fun. Of course, they can't beat our actual vacation, but I haven't seen much in this world that could.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

You Realize That Life Goes Fast. It's Hard to Make the Good Things Last.

On Monday we reluctantly left our resort and Zion and headed toward Bryce Canyon.

It was Coadster's last day with us. Since we weren't sure she was coming on the trip with us when I booked everything, the last two stops could only house two people, so Coadster was going to head back to Iowa after lunch. It was so great to have her with us. She helped so much with driving and she was a great sport to hang out with a couple of old people and put up with our geriatric antics.

We went to the visitor's center to see what would be a good hike to see cool stuff in a few hours. They suggested the Navajo Loop. So, we did that.

It was really cool. I'm so glad that Coadster got over her fear of heights from when she was a child, because this would have done her in.

Luckily, the trails were wide and not hard to walk on.

We loved the little archways to walk through too.

We were also going to try and hike Queen's Garden, but Coadster had a long drive ahead of her, so we bailed on that and hopefully, Coadster will have a chance to come back and do it later.

We agreed that Navajo Trail was a great hike to do if that's all you had time for.

Sadly, it came time to say goodbye to our Coadster. We were so sad to see her go, but we were very glad that we had that time with her in such perfect conditions. I always say this, but try to make the fun experiences happen whenever you can, you never know what can change in your life, and you'd hate to say, "I should have done that..." I hope that even when I'm (hopefully old) at the end of my time here on earth, I will have these images and memories to look back on and still be in wonder of it.

I really did like Bryce Canyon. It was beautiful and the Hoo Doo's were so cool to behold.

After Coadster left, John and I decided to check out the trails through the park.

Bryce was the only park that we saw that had an actual bike path through it.

Because there was a shuttle and there wasn't much car traffic, we even rode off the bike path up to Inspiration Point.

Once we got there, I felt very inspired. What incredible views.

We took the path through Dixie National Forest and just to the border of Bryce Canyon city and then turned around.

Since it was getting late, we decided to save the bike path past Bryce Canyon City as far as it would go for the next day.

In the evening we got pizza at the Bryce Canyon Inn, and it was delicious. Strangely enough for a Mormon state, the local beer we had in Utah was great too.

We were going to try and stay up and watch a movie in our AirBnB that night, but we watched a half hour series and both crashed. All of this hiking and biking can really wear an old person out.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

By the Rivers of Babylon, There We Sat Down. Yeah, We Wept, When We Remembered Zion.

The day after the Subway hike, we were all exhausted. We decided to just take the shuttle to a couple of shorter, easier hikes for the day.

The first hike we did was in The Narrows.

The Narrows is an area that is mostly creek bed where the canyons get more narrow as you hike through it.

This year, the water was a lot higher than normal.

So, the hike was a little more strenuous than we had hoped. Coadster hiked a little with us and then headed back to rest on a bench.

John and I carried on a ways. We didn't want to do the entire hike, because we didn't want to leave Coadster sitting by herself for too long.

At one point, John decided to escape the crowds on the main artery of the stream, by taking another route with a faster current.

I foolishly followed him, and by the time he got to the other side and was going to tell me not to risk the current, it was too late.

I did make it safely to the other side, but it was a "fun" little adventure.

We headed back and met Coadster. We decided to get out on the shuttle stop that was just a little hike to the stop where there was a short little hike to a lodge where we could get ice cream - very important.

 On our little hike, there was a family behind us and the guy was apparently in a hurry, and apparently, a jerk. We were on a narrow path with on a ledge and the guy along with his wife and young son scurrying behind him, came whipping around us and John lost his balance and almost fell trying to move to the side. The woman half heartedly apologized, but had to almost run to keep up with her jerky husband. So annoying.

 By the time we made it to the lodge, then hopped on the shuttle, and had cold pizza for lunch in the parking lot at the visitor's center, Coadster and I were officially fried.

As I've said before, going on these trips with John, I have to be strong about telling him that I'm too tired to do strenuous work-outs all day every day and I have to rest. I finally told him that day.

So, we headed back to the Ponderosa Ranch and Coadster took a good long nap, while I laid around and read and took dips in the jacuzzi and the pool here and there. It was exactly what we all needed.

In the evening we decided to go to Springdale for dinner. We were on the other side of the park from it, but it has nice little restaurants, so we ate Mexican food, and then headed to the Canyon Overlook trail on the way back to the resort.

This was a short but beautiful hike.

The colors and shadows were even more beautiful as we approached sunset.

We thought about sticking around to actually watch the sunset, but we didn't bring any flashlights and it would be hard to navigate the hike back in the dark. So, instead we headed home, and packed up as much as possible before we left for Bryce Canyon in the morning.

One of these years, I'd love to go back to all of these places and spend a hell of a lot more time there and see more of the beauty. I feel like we barely scratched the surface in Zion.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

"The Words of the Prophets Are Written on the Subway Walls..."

I know that I said the Friday Antelope Canyon Tour was on the top of our list of things we did on this vacation, but the Subway Canyoneering hike would be right next to it on that list.

In my extensive research for this trip, I found this helpful blog: In it he talked about a canyoneering hike in Zion called the Subway.
It explained that we would need a permit, and it was hard to get one. We had to apply for it three months in advance and then they would let us know the month after whether they drew our names in the lottery.

We were very lucky and we did get drawn. We also had to pick up the permit the day before and get poop bags, and if we had to poop, we had to go in them and carry it back out with us. You'll be happy to know that it wasn't necessary. We also had to bring some warm clothing in case something bad happened to us and we couldn't climb out of the canyon. Whew! It all seemed a little daunting.

The hike was supposed to take 6-10 hours. Originally, we were going to try and get up really early In case it did take us ten hours, but our glamping place supplied us a free breakfast that started at 7, so we ate and then drove the hour and 15 minutes it took to get to that side of Zion.

It was an out and back, so the first and the last parts of the hike were the least enjoyable.

We hiked straight down about 400 feet on a sometimes slippery, dusty trail.

Being Midwesterners, we said a lot of "Opes!", and "Woopsies!" as we tried not to trip over rocks on the way down.

Once we made it down that "hill", we hiked our way down the stream bed, which made me wish I had stronger ankles.

After hiking a few miles, we finally made it to the prettier parts of the hike.

The terrain, even around the stream was really varied.

As we neared the Subway, we started hitting these gorgeous, red rocked waterfalls.

The hike was thirteen miles long, but it was slow going on account of the tough terrain and us wanting to stop and gawk and swim in the holes.

We had heard that some of this red rock could be pretty slippery, but it wasn't too bad at all.

I loved these hanging gardens.

We didn't think it could be any more beautiful, but as we got closer to The Subway, it got prettier...

...And prettier...

...And more awe inspiring.

It was hard to imagine that the Subway itself wouldn't be anything but anti-climactic after hiking through all of this.

This little waterfall crack might someday become the next Grand Canyon. Behold the power of water.

We finally hit the Subway area.

We wandered around the outside part of it and talked to the people who were canyoneering from the top down, which required wet suits and rappelling gear.

We figured we should stop and eat lunch before we hiked to the pools and the waterfall yet to come.

Then when we hit the pools. Wowee! They weren't anti-climactic at all. It felt like we had traveled to another world.

A world of infinite beauty and possibilities...

...Until we came along and messed up all of that magic with our human horse play,

and shenanigans.

So, this is The Subway.

When we were hiking in, there was a group of younger women. I'm going to say they were in their twenties, but I'm old enough that anyone under forty looks like a teenager, so who knows.

Anyway, this group of women headed out on the hike right behind us, and we kept running into each other after one of us would stop to eat or play in a swimming hole, or what have you.

When we got to The Subway, you can swim to a twenty foot high waterfall. At first, Coadster and I weren't going to do it, since we knew how uncomfortably cold a waterfall fed swimming hole can be, but some of the women in the group said they were going to get in there. So, we decided that if they were women enough, we would be too.

Turns out the water wasn't that cold after all. We took turns playing in the pool, and then we figured it was time to hike back out.

We were exhausted before we even got to the uphill part and then once we ascended, we were like the walking dead. But we made it out and back in about 7.5 hours, and even though I hate to use the word, it was epic.

That evening we had pizza and beer at the resort restaurant and then went back to our tent space and had a fire. I have no idea how we stayed awake as long as we did.