Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yellowtail Revisited

Last weekend we made our annual trip to Yellowtail with our friends, Todd and Claire. This year we had our friends Todd and Jamie C. with us, and their kids, too. The weather was gorgeous and everybody had a blast. Thank you, Lovell, WY, for such a great party! Thank you Todd & Claire for making this so fun (Todd, next time, change in the restroom, and not so close to the sticker bush)!

Friday, June 12, 2009

I Walk To Music

Time: 54:28
Miles: 3.44
Calories: 484.7

My B asked, "Why didn't you just finish out the half-mile?"
I told him, "Because my cool down song ended."

It was true. It was "Everything" by Lifehouse. Perfect cool down song. First of all, it's like, six minutes long. Second, I LOVE IT. It's the new theme song of my next novel. I just decided that.
I love it when older songs come back to you and take on a new meaning because of something you've experienced, or are experiencing.
Yes, I am one of those people who listen to lyrics. Story after story after story.
Sometimes I don't want to know the lyrics, and then I turn the station.
It is fun to hear my youngest walking around singing "Whoa, we're halfway there. Whoa, livin' on a prayer. Take my hand, and we'll make it I swear, whoa, livin' on a prayer..."
Or my oldest singing, "Tenderness... tenderness... where is it?" I used to bounce around and slam dance with my best friend, Laurel, whenever that song came on in high school. We thought we were so cool. Well, maybe not, but it made us happy.
Braeden and I learned the entire new Fray album by heart, singing together on our way to school last semester.
Jacob is always singing something. That's how I know he's happy. New, old, kid stuff, musicals.
I would have a hard time walking without my workout music. I don't know how people do it. I actually pull myself out of bed because I am anticipating the music, not the walk. It feels great when I'm done, though.
U2, Elevation. This song is the reason I should not walk in public. The groove gets me and no one should have to see that. Hooray, treadmill. Dance to it.
Muse, Super Massive Black Hole. Even if I am at the last of my three miles, and the sweat is trickling past my ear, this song hits, and I am attacking that 2.5 incline as if I have just started.
I have two leather beanbags that feel great in my hands. I grab them throughout the walk and throw some punches like Billy Blanks... jabs, uppercuts. I feel like Rocky. Whose theme song is on my B's workout playlist.
My point is, I am grateful for the rhythm, the pound, the drive, that gets my aging body going, clears my head, makes me reach. It makes me feel young. So does the pleased smile and thumbs-up my B gives me as he passes the treadmill, peeking at my time. And I mouth the lyrics to him, and his smile widens, because he knows exactly which song is on my MP3 player, and why my pace is hoppin'.
I walk to music.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Things Grow

I know that I have slipped in a few of my thoughts about gardening in Cody, Wyoming... how hard it is... how discouraging it can be, and how tricky it is to find what grows, and what might, and what does not at all. But today I went out with my youngest and we were reminded of the things that do well here, that survive the long long winter and negative temperatures, and burst forth at the slightest hint of sun and warmth. After putting together a couple of hanging baskets for the front porch, and three color pots for the backyard, I got the camera and took some pics of my hardy perennials. Very hardy.We still have lilacs.

Onion Chives, Sage, and the Thyme made it this year.

The American Cranberry Bush. Makes you feel patriotic just looking at it.

Our young flower bed. Thank goodness for Lupine.

I gave up on Roses this year. Peonies thrive here, though. Even pretty before they open. They moved, though. A hot pink blur.

Honeysuckle. Doing very well for its second year.

These Delphinium will pop in vivid blue and white any time now. See me in the gazing ball?

Love, love, love the bleeding hearts, and they love the cooler summers here in Cody, and the Coral Bells. The Shasta Daisies do, too, but I need to thin them down before they get huge and bloom. I'll be transplanting some of them to the side bed we made last year.

This is my arch nemesis. It is called Creeping Morninglory, but I have another name for it. This is what I do to it. Instead of using 2 oz. of the grass and weed killer to 1 gal. water , I have to use 50/50 to get this reaction. The first picture has already had one dousing. It needs two to look like the second picture. Even so, look at the green leaves out at the ends. If I pull it, if any root is left at all (and I have pulled out foot long roots), the piece sends out shoots and more shoots. No wacking this one up. You'll end up like the Sorcerer's Apprentice.

But let's end on a happy note. This is my gardener helper (she couldn't find her other glove, but made do. What a trooper). She also kept me dry when the rain began to fall and I was still assembling the color pots. Which I will post pictures of after they mature a little. Color pots look a little frazzled right after assembly. So do I. I think I will have some cocoa.
That's another blessing of cold weather. Cocoa almost all year round.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Trail Girl And The Eagle Scout

So, I have a pretty good story. You'll want to click on the pictures to get a bigger view as you read.
As I mentioned in my previous post, my B and I took off for Yellowstone last weekend, taking our favorite route from Cody, up through Sunlight Basin, then Cooke City, MT, to the NE gate of the Park. We arrived at about five or six-ish in the afternoon, and drove to the Lamar Valley, our favorite animal spotting area. Early evening is perfect for this, and we pulled off on a random trailhead. We could see the trail led up a clear hill, with trees running down far off to the left of us, where I assumed a creek ran, up to foothills and into the trees. But, for the most part, it was a clearing of gently rolling slopes, and to our right and behind us, we could see forever. B had his bear spray harness on, and I had my camera. We weren't going far, so we didn't even take water. We could look down behind us and see our suburban and the road most of the way, unless it was obscured by one of the rolling slopes. We could also see, to our left, further down the road, a group of cars parked, probably tourists watching buffalo, and could even see a large herd in the distance, lower and far away.
Well, we are climbing on boulders and wallowing in bufallo wallows, snapping pictures and sticking to the climbing trail, when I mention I can hear the creek.
"What creek?" my B asks.
The creek over in those trees," I answer, pointing.
"I don't hear it," he says.
"Oh, yeah. Let's go see it."
I look at the worn dirt path my feet are standing on and say, "Um, I'm a trail girl. I stay on the trail. Trails are very important to me."
"Trail, shmail," he replies. "It's right there. Look, we can still see the trail as we walk over there."
I look, then look back at my feet. "But, I like the trail."
"Oh, come on." He begins to walk, a smile on his face. I don't want to be alone on the trail, so I hurry to catch up to him.
"You know," I say as we walk and I try to keep up with his long strides, "this is the time of day when the animals go to water. They go to the water to drink, like, any time now."
He chuckles softly and gestures to the wide open area. "Nothing is here. We're fine."
We crest a bank, and a soft drop below us reveals a creek almost hidden in rocks and trees.
"Oh, pretty," I say, and snap a picture."
B turns up stream and begins to climb.
"Shouldn't we go back to the trail now?"
"Do you think? Let's climb a little here." He knows what he's doing, it's his birthday, and he is enjoying himself.
I follow a little, but then say, "Okay Brandon, let's go back to the trail."
"All right. Let's head back."
We turn and head back, cresting the little ridge, and the sun is low, shooting across and it is gorgeous. So I take some more picture as we walk toward the trail, and B stops and gives me a smooch and it is quite romantic. We reach the trail and turn downhill, and I stop cold.
"Um, there is a buffalo on our trail."
Far below us, a bull bison is standing on our trail.
"Oh yeah. He'll be gone by the time we get there." He takes a step, and movement catches my eye much closer to us down the hill. I grab his shirt and stop him.
"Um, Brandon... there is a BEAR on our trail."
He stops cold. "Oh, crap, there is a bear on our trail."
About 40 yards away, a black bear is making his way... guess where?
"I TOLD you animals go to water this time of day. He is going to the creek, where WE were, because we left the TRAIL." I am really pulling on B's shirt now.
"Uh-huh," is all he says.
Then we start to laugh quietly because we are pretty nervous. I take a few pictures and we inch our way down as the bear eventually disappears over the bank to the creek.
Well, we circle wide, and as I take careful but long steps, I say, "I will leave the trail a little for this."
We look ahead. The buffalo is still on our trail, chewing. The area narrows there, and he is between us and our car. I am still looking over my shoulder to make sure the bear is still thirsty, and also to my left, where he came from, because now I am remembering that herd of buffalo down so far away. They could be thirsty. It was hot that day. I was thirsty.
We slow as we come up on the buffalo, still a good twenty-five yards between us. He turns and looks at us and is so bored I am insulted. We take a few steps past, and he decides to mosey off the path and away...to the WATER, I am sure. We make sure he is bent on his course, then walk quickly to the trail, which I almost kiss, but buffalo... blech.
We approach the car, and see two cars parked there.
"Are you guys all right? Did you see the bear?"
It is a woman with a Texas accent (it said she had one on her license plate) leaning out her window.
"Yes!" My eyes, I'm sure, were buggin'. "It walked right across our trail!"
She nodded. "A bunch of us were watching that bear down the road, then it turned and made its way up here, and we said, 'What is that?' and I said, 'Those are hikers!', so we high-tailed it over here to make sure you made it back alive, and then we saw that!"
She pointed behind me.
There, in the dirt, just beyond the driver's side of our car, was a whole skeleton of a young buffalo, fairly freshly picked clean.
I slowly turned to B. "DID YOU SEE THAT BEFORE?"
He gave me a sheepish look. "Yeah. I didn't want to freak you out, so I didn't say anything."
He didn't want to freak me out.
Now, just so you know, I am aware that Black bears are generally very shy, and will most likely run away as opposed to Grizzlies, so I wasn't very freaked out.
But I was unnerved enough that I didn't think to take a picture of the skeleton, which would have been great to show the kids.
I was in my car. With the door shut.
And we were both laughing. It was awesome.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Take Time

We celebrated my B's 40th this weekend with an escape to Yellowstone, backpacker-style (well okay, a backpacker with a suburban). Sometimes, it is good to get away and remember who you married.

Written By: Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio
"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught
me. It is the most-requested column I've ever written."
My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends
and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their
journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God
never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one
is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no
for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie.
Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years,
will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you
did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's,
we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."