Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vacation 2009

Bob and I are back from a camping vacation to the Black Hills, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Badlands, and Teddy Roosevelt National Parks. As noted in the previous post, in a moment of weakness, I agreed to this 11 day CAMPING adventure. Great news! We both survived, and had a pretty darned good time, most of the time. We ended up spending three nights in motels, and seven nights in the tent. After setting up and tearing down the tent four times on the trip, I have to say that we have the process pretty much down to a science. I am learning a lot about camping, and my husband's affinity to require the camping gear to be cleaned, stored and used in very specific ways. He has a "system" in his mind, and it takes a bit of getting-used-to. For me, this trip was all about the scenery and the animals we saw. Aside from the animals we see routinely back home, we saw: bison, elk, mule deer, prairie dogs, herons, pelicans, osprey, wild horses, pronghorn antelope, ground squirrels, and one each grizzly and black bear. We heard an elk bugle one night, and saw one fight between two bull bison. The only animals I wished we had seen (but didn't) were bighorn sheep.

The scenery is just as beautiful as I remembered it from our last trip out there seven years ago. It is impossible to take a bad picture if you remember to remove the lens cap and hold the camera relatively still. This is my favorite spot in the Grand Tetons, and my favorite picture from the trip if I must be made to choose. Yellowstone is a much larger park, and there is certainly a greater variety of interesting things to see there. But for sheer beauty, I don't know of anyplace in the world that has more of an impact on me. It truly is my "happy place" and I never get tired of the view.

I hope we will return to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. It is a place of unsurpassed beauty, forever changing landscape, remarkable wildlife, and for us, treasured memories.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Kids Getting Hitched, and Preparing for Departure

Last weekend was fantastic! We had 12 twentysomethings, plus three dogs, plus two weddings going on. It was the type of weekend we used to have regularly when the kids were home. Our yard was a tent city, lots of cooking, laughing, and business. I loved it. Every minute of it. I miss having the hustle and bustle around the household all the time. I miss these twentysomethings calling me "mom" and wanting to share their lives with me. It was wonderful.

Now that it has quieted down again, today is packing day. THE packing day. THE only day to prepare for our 10 day camping trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. "The List" is in progress, the dishwasher is changed out, the dryer is running, medications ordered, doctor appointments are rescheduled, and Bob has called to see how things are going here. I love the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, I really do. But the camping portion of the trip has me feeling a bit indifferent and worried. I believe we are going to have a great time, but I'm having trouble getting excited about leaving tomorrow. The day before any trip is usually a day of nerves, and not wanting to forget anything, and finding stuff I rarely use. This time seems to be no exception. I am hoping that I will be able to blog a bit while we are on the trip, but we will have to see where we can find wifi service and power. In the meantime, I'm off to change out the dryer again.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

One of those days....

You've had 'em, you know you have. Today is one of those days when it is important, very important, to just keep feeding me as much refined sugar and salt as you can possibly find. Just keep it coming and we may make it through this day unscathed. It would be wise to permit, make that encourage, me to nap in between fixes of sugar and/or salt. I've eaten a Hershey bar, pretzels, and "caramel" toast. I washed 'em down with a Diet Coke....caffeinated, thankyouverymuch. These are things I don't eat when I have my wits about me.

I've warned Bob. He knows what he should do when he gets home. Sometimes he likes to live on the edge, today might be one of those moments. I've even explained that there are times in a woman's life when biological factors swing in one way or another and it is best to just don the protective gear and hide. Don't be a hero, Bob; just pass me some Ho-ho's using a long stick.

In my altered state, I have agreed to go on a 10 day camping trip to Yellowstone. Now, it really isn't surprising that I am going to Yellowstone. I love it there, really I do. As for the Grand Tetons, I would gladly live there just to get up every morning and gaze upon their beauty. The key word in that topic sentence was camping. Yes, camping. Tent camping, even. Now, some of you know the story of the one, exactly one, time my family went camping when I was a child. My maternal grandparents LOVED camping, but my parents decidedly did NOT. The horrors of camping have been reiterated on a quarterly basis throughout my life.

Other "accomplishments" of the day include: showering, but not fixing my hair; wrapping wedding gifts, with new wrapping paper that somehow ended up being too big for the boxes yet pieced together at the ends; buying desired concert tickets on the radio auction; and throwing in certificates for three fast-food places just for good measure; and thawing porkchops, but so far I've not managed to cook them.

Ahhh, I love vacation. A million things on my to-do list, and exactly nothing accomplished. I think I'll just chalk it up to hormones and see if I can whip up some chocolate-covered potato chips.