I Don’t Know What Day It Is…

Please don’t expect coherence from me this week. Maybe by Saturday, but not today. Yesterday was exhausting, but we made it home and girlchild made it to Portugal. Well. Two of us are still in Boston…long story. Everyone is fine, as far as I know, although probably irritable. The dogs (and the man) are probably very excited to have us back…my dad showed up at 7:15 AM to get his dog (he texted first). My cat seemed happy to see me and then whacked me…probably for leaving…or because I still smelled like the cat at the house where we stayed. I was absolutely lame at taking photos of the house or the cat or a lot of things.

Yesterday, we got out of our rental house, helped the girlchild move furniture and dishes and the last of her stuff into storage and the house basement, destroyed a cheap wardrobe and dumped it illegally (but on campus, where they get big bins because they know this will happen, said goodbye to the girlchild, dropped the two stay-behinds at a hotel, drove through a storm, dumped the car, and then stood in an airport (most of the seats were taken) for a while, watching the storm out there…

Yes. Grading shit. Although I wanted to start watching videos and somehow persuaded myself that I needed a special hookup, which is how you know I was exhausted by then because there’s a sound port on the right side that I use at school Every Damn Day. Oh yeah.

Our flight was about 40 minutes late leaving, because they held flights at other airports because of the storm. Then we were an hour late landing, so I got home at around 12:25 AM and collapsed into bed, where my brain went on overdrive and then I tried to shut it up.

I don’t know what day it is. I don’t know what time it is. And I’m driving BACK to the airport tonight to pick up the two stragglers.

It’s all good, though, because she graduated and that’s it (well, until she decides she does or doesn’t want to go to law school or environmental grad school or change gears altogether and become a endocrinologist…which would be useful in this family).

Good job kidlets. Now go out and conquer the world. Or just do good things for nature. I don’t care. Be content. Be passionate about something. Be awesome. Be yourself. Come see me occasionally…otherwise I will chase your ass down.

I did stitch a little on the plane…honestly, it was dark and the girl next to me kept putting her head in the light and although this transfer paper is better than the Saral, it’s still hard to see without good light. And this is an awful picture…but she’s almost done.

I couldn’t see the last bits of it in the dark.

And then I traced the last one at the house the night before…

She shouldn’t take long. Then I think I will draw another 6? I don’t know. I’ll check in with the guy selling them and see what he says. I did start a drawing on the plane, but didn’t finish it. I need to do a drawing for my Patreon folks by this weekend. I need to edit my video too. And I need to go to school and get ready to teach reproductive anatomy. Hopefully the headache will be gone by then. For now? I need to get more tea in me, find the Motrin, brush my teeth, tell this hot flash to go suck lemons, and hope my car starts…and I can find my keys. All that. I can do that.

Graduation Up the Yin Yang

Thunderstorm and lightning, plus hail…makes for an exciting night. There’s another one coming tonight, when we try to fly out. That sounds nice.

I am exhausted. It’s been a long weekend. Saturday, we helped the girlchild move a ton of stuff. Her dad broke her dresser, but it will work for storage. Sometimes I wonder about timing. She’s leaving today for Portugal and not coming back until she has to be out of her apartment. She has a sublet for the summer, but can’t move in until the 24th. Not so ideal. So storage it is.

Then we went and walked around Walden Pond…

It was beautiful. Too many people though. Dinner back here with the girlchild etc. Etc is vague on purpose. It was nice though. We’re in a nice house and everyone has a bedroom. It’s a little light on seating for a group this big, so I’ve been at the dining room table to grade etc. it has a nice leafy view and lots of light.

Sunday, we had three graduation ceremonies…the first at 8 AM. Getting 5 people through showers and breakfast was fine, except it was really early California time. My brain is a little fuzzy.

Girlchild is still job-hunting, like many of these graduates.

Graduation ceremonies are horrible things to survive.

I stitched a lot…only one person talked to me about it. Said she was fascinated watching me stitch (2 hours for the big graduation, an hour for each of the smaller ones)…

I finished this one in the second ceremony. It took about 4 1/2 hours…definitely smaller and easier to stitch than the other ones.

I started this one…and got more done on it in the third ceremony.

Lunch was “how can we eat all the leftovers.” We failed. There’s still stuff in the fridge.

Here she is with my lovely parents…who read my blog for the pictures.

There’s one of you guys! The goal we came up with is no wheelchairs for all of my niece and nephews’ graduations. So they need to keep moving. We figure the last graduation will be when my dad is 89 1/2, so we should be fine. (Laughs hysterically)

Sunday night was a great tapas dinner. I graded into the night.

Today, we’re doing the final move into storage and cleaning…then hopefully getting on a plane home. Right now, I’m being vacuumed around and harassed to finish eating And writing so we can get out of here. I expect more stitching in my future and maybe grading, and probably not enough sleep tonight. But she’s done with school…yay! And now we just need to finish paying for it. I hope she has fun on her post-grad trip and comes back to a job offer. That would be awesome. I hope we make it home tonight. That would also be awesome.

Watching Videos and Stitching

I am in the lovely leafy neighborhood of Lexington, Massachusetts, in an old, funky home (ok, it’s not old to your East Coasters, but I’m from California, so we don’t know shit about old). Girlchild is graduating from college, so we have descended upon this town to torture her.

Today, we will be sightseeing and helping her move shit. Tomorrow, we sit through 3 graduation ceremonies.

So I spent 5 hours or so on a plane yesterday, watching videos and stitching.

I finished one, but it needs washing and ironing.

So there’s that. Don’t expect coherence out of me. It’s really early for my brain.

I did bring quilt parts to trim too. So hopefully some of that will get done. Breakfast now…

Freak Out Morning

I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten something. But I have a packed bag and I’m leaving soonish. It’ll all be fine.

Hey! I finished ironing! Yay! I used 143 fabrics…here they are.

I have a car arriving here in 12 minutes.

Maybe earlier.

I started cutting stuff out last night…actually a good start…I bagged it all up to take with me…

Hopefully I’ll get some done. Katie…my parents’ dog…showed up last night.

Yeah. My sub cancelled yesterday and no one picked up the job, so my co-teachers will have to cover. Sorry guys. At least I’m not teaching sex ed today! Plans sometimes work. See you on the East Coast in a while. No stress! Meditation app on.

Sweatin’ It in Arches

After two nights in Bryce, we drove to Arches National Park, which basically took all day. We went through a bunch of wild landscape, up over a snowy pass…

We were on this scenic highway 12, which was really beautiful, but long. Totally worth it. At some point, we came to Capitol Reef National Park, or maybe Escalante/Grand Staircase was first…I don’t remember.

That looks like Capitol Reef. We ate lunch in a shady spot and then it rained.

Not bad…just enough…

I basically spent the whole day staring out the window at all the weird rocks…especially those green ones.

We didn’t hike…there wasn’t time.

We did get out and look at stuff though…like petroglyphs…

Cool stuff. By the time we made it to Arches, it was after 5 PM, there was no one on staff anywhere, and we had to try to get a tent to stay in rocky ground. That’s our tent in front of their camper (it was the only place the stakes would go in).

And here’s what happened to the mallet.

Oh well. The stakes went in well enough to survive the wind and rain storm the next night.

We got up relatively early the next morning and walked out to the Devil’s Garden area near our campground…this time, we actually camped in the park. With no showers. I remembered that later.

The thing about Arches is that there are arches everywhere…the one below lost a major piece back in the 70s, so you can’t go up to it anymore. I’m OK with that.

It’s pretty huge though.

This is what stopped us going to one of the arches…climbing up this rock fin. Too slippery.

We got about halfway up and stopped. Other people kept going. I’m OK with that too.

Flowers and plants everywhere…a bonus of a rainy spring.

I think you totally miss that in summer. This is Delicate Arch. We did the in-between hike, not the rock-scrambling hike. There are people up there. Not us.

It was also pretty warm in Arches. I don’t do well with warm.

The flowers do though. This is Pothole Arch…fascinating thinking about the science behind all these.

We did all the short hikes during the day…

There were lots of people on these. Pulling a dance move? Nah. Pointing at an arch.

There were lots of them.

So a weird selfie, but mostly was trying to get my feminist shirt, which I hiked in, and a bunch of women told me they liked my shirt. That was cool.

Nevertheless She Persisted applies to many things. Turret Arch…

So I have all these appliqued quilt blocks from 2005-2007 that I did (a friend made the patterns), and some of the places we went are in those blocks…like this one.

This is one of the Windows, North or South…

I think it’s South.

Then we went into town for alcohol, wood, and gas. All important. We came back and tried to hike Park Avenue in the middle of the day heat. Ugh. No. We got about halfway…but I really feel like these rocks should just fall over.

They are illogical. The valley was very warm.

I can’t imagine it in July. Interesting rocks above and below though.

Petrified stream beds. Balanced Rock!

We did over 11 miles of hikes that I counted on this day, but this was like 300 yards off the road…so we walked much farther than 11 miles…just in little bits.

This is Skyline Arch…we hiked out to it.

Because we wanted to see the rock fall…some huge piece fell out back in the 1940s and is lying in the path. Not as exciting as the view up.

Then we headed back to camp…had a snack, refueled packs, and did a longer hike to see Tapestry Arch…

And then Broken Arch…well, flowers first…

And trying to find the path with stone cairns…some big, some tiny…

And wandering around the sandy landscape…until we found Broken Arch…

And a view of where we were hiking next, to Sand Dune Arch…this is the back view of Broken Arch…

At Sand Dune Arch, stupid tourist photos got in the way…this lovely Asian woman is in all my photos because her husband kept saying, “put your arms up.” “Now move forward three feet.” And my patience was wearing thin. His as well…

Although he smiled for me. Heading back toward camp…it was further than we thought…

But there were very few people out there. This funky flower…only the top one can be purple! All the rest are yellow!

Weird. We had a long discussion about open carry in a National Park, because of the guy who was hiking in front of us at Sand Dune Arch, with his gun. To protect himself from??? I just don’t know. Scared old man.

Back to the campsite, where we attempted to clean up enough to go out into public for dinner. Yes! Food cooked by other people in a restaurant! What a concept. We earned it.

Still no shower.

On the way back, we rode through a storm that then chased us into our tent for the night, tensely listening for thunder, planning to run to the car, finally collapsing exhausted by probably 9:30 PM.

The next morning dawned perfectly clear and beautiful…

So we packed up and got ready to leave. We originally had no plan for after this…we’d thrown around ideas, but knew we needed to start heading back home. So in the restaurant in Moab, we made a plan (because we had no cell service in the campsite)…and made a reservation for Tuba City, near the Grand Canyon. A quick day trip through there, then heading home. More on that tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I survived my first day back at school yesterday. I’m exhausted. No shock there. This is puppy love while I’m grading assignments on the stationary bike.

I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. I packed up one quilt, six to go. I traced this piece, ready to embroider…

I’m a little short on two of the colors, so they hopefully will show up in the next week or so. I’ll go as far as I can. I started some of the embroidery on it…just because I need to get them done.

She’s pink and purple for now. And then I cut stuff out for a while.

I went to bed early again…

It’s going to be a rough week. But I’ll get stuff done. I have to.

Breathing Deeply in Bryce…

Is not a thing. Not while hiking. No oxygen up that high. OK, not really, and we did eventually adjust, but it made hiking a challenge. After two days in Zion, we left for Bryce Canyon National Park (not a canyon). It’s not very far away, and there are a lot fewer people than Zion, hallelujah. A chunk of the park was still closed for snow…including some hikes and the main road past mile 12. That was still cool, though, because it was beautiful with the snow on the rocks.

So we camped just outside of Bryce, because campsites in the park are first come, first served, and we didn’t think we could get there early enough to get one. It was just outside the park, though, so no worries. We got in, set up camp, and then headed off to Bryce to see the sights.

The first day, we just drove to all the overlooks and well…looked at them.

The snow made it even more beautiful…

No matter when you go to these parks, the weather is going to have an effect…too hot? Too cold? Snow closed the road?

I enjoyed seeing Bryce with snow…

I think I’ve only been here once before. I’m not sure.

So driving up to the points closer to where the road was closed, there was definitely more snow…

At least by the side of the road…

Natural Bridge was as high up the road as we could go…and these guys were hanging out there…

We didn’t see much wildlife at Bryce…just a few deer on the last day.

We figured it was too cold.

Although our first night, we heard what sounded like a very lonely or wounded animal. A really loud animal. A sound that worried us a bit. Is that a bear? I don’t think that’s a bear. Do we have bear boxes here? Um. No. We don’t.

Bears are pretty rare up there, but the noise was loud and from a large animal.

Plus honestly, we kind of froze a bit on the first night camping here. It was in the low to mid 30s (good thing it didn’t get down to 18 degrees like we had originally seen). We didn’t prepare enough for that…the second night, we figured it out.

Anyway, so we got to all the overlooks on the first day, and then headed back to the campsite.

So we overlooked this field…there’s a fence on the left and in front that is the end of the campground, and then there’s all this open space out there. It didn’t block any of the wind, but that died down around 8 PM…

There was still snow in some of the campsites, but we liked this one well enough. It was pretty damn quiet. We made skillet enchiladas the first night…

Pretty easy…

Pretty tasty…and then the sun started to go down.

Definitely time for fire.

Like I said, at this point, the wind had died down.

And the moon was starting to come up behind the tent. We changed into warmer clothes…

And watched the sun go down and the moon go up.

The next morning, we planned to hike the Fairyland Loop. We didn’t get up very early, honestly, after not sleeping much, and my blood sugar had crashed, so that always helps me be in a sunny mood. We got to the parking lot a little late, but it turned out OK. I think we started hiking around 10 AM.

So in this loop, you hike down into the amphitheater and then around inside for a while, and then you hike out. It was awesome. Breathing was an issue at times, but mostly it was OK. It got warm at times when the sun came out…I was perfectly happy with the clouds and slightly cooler temperatures for most of it though.

It was definitely cool seeing the formations from below as well as above.

It’s supposed to be an 8-mile hike, but somehow we managed to make it 9 1/2 miles.

I guess we wander a lot.

That formation is definitely a cat.

I was fascinated by the trees, dead and alive. I saw at least 4 different pines, including one very strange one…

The one in front…almost sausage-like branches with the thicker needles.

There were people on this trail, but not a ton…and most of them understood trail etiquette, until we got to the very end.

And there’s flowers growing in rock…

We stopped to breathe as needed…

So the trail down to the Tower arches here is a shorter one…so lots of people here.

But we climbed out here…

And went and found a bathroom, washed off our muddy boots (I think my boots still have Bryce mud on them). There was a little snow on the path too, but not much.

But that was at the top, at Sunrise Point. Then you have to walk around the rim to get back to Fairyland Point, because the shuttle doesn’t go there.

It’s mostly level. MOSTLY. I saw on the hiking apps that people were arguing which direction was easier. I’d recommend starting at Fairyland Point and hiking down and back on the rim. Otherwise, you’re climbing up Fairyland for about 3 miles.

I like a short painful climb better than a long one.

He agrees.

The last 2 1/2 miles were all on the rim…

Which was a nice way to end. So I think that other fire picture was actually the second night, where we were warmer (dressed better, towels on the air mattress, etc), but the wind picked up and was throwing things around. We did sleep better, and that weird animal only yowled once. Well. So not a yowl. This is a shitty picture of what is probably a pronghorn antelope (it was far away), and when you listen to them online, that was what we heard.

A lonely or horny antelope. Good to know.

Meanwhile, I’ve been doing stuff here. I swear. Getting ready for school. Ugh. But also…finishing the second embroidery. Gotta get these washed and ironed and officially photographed.

And also cutting out Wonder Under, because I finished tracing on Saturday night.

Good to know. Plus yesterday was Calli’s 10th birthday…

From the girlchild. This is her baby. Old baby, for sure.

OK, off to school. Not sure exactly what I’m doing today, but I know I’ll be tired doing it.

All About the Rocks

Wow. I think this is the longest I’ve gone without posting in years. In my defense, my cellular connectivity has been iffy as hell, if not nonexistent, for much of this trip, and when I did have it, I was busy doing something else or totally exhausted after hiking over 11+ miles a day. I realize that’s not much to some, but this old body has been running on little sleep, weird food options, and lots of climbing around for days now.

Seven Magic Mountains outside Las Vegas

That said, it’s been freakin’ awesome…a mind-blowing trip of all the different geologic formations you can get in two states (Arizona a little, but mostly Utah). I think we both decided while huddled in the tent last night during a rainstorm that we were done with camping on this trip, though, as we pinky-swore to wake the other one up if we heard thunder, so we could race to the car before lightning hit the aluminum connectors of the tent. Or the ground.

First night checking out Zion…

So this is the short version. We left last Wednesday on a long drive to Zion National Park. We originally had a reservation for the east side of the park, but they closed the road going through on April 9 to fix storm damage this winter, so I found a weird but functional place on the west side in La Verkin about a week before we left. It had a kitchenette and shared barbecues, so we used those (yes, even for pre-hike breakfasts of sausage and eggs). It’s Spring Break for about a million people, quite a few of them from other countries, and they all had the same plan for visiting Zion. We went in to the park that night to plan the hikes for the next day. We also did the Archeology Trail as a warm up for the next day…and saw our first wildlife.

Mule deer everywhere…

We got our butts up early and headed out to garner a spot in the coveted Visitor Center parking lot (you don’t wanna know how early), and then caught a shuttle to a hike I said I’d never do: Angel’s Landing. It was still morning cool, which is a good thing, because that climb and the Walter’s Wiggles with 21 switchbacks (it didn’t seem like that many) is not something I would’ve wanted to do in hot sunlight. We didn’t do the last stretch that’s single file and a chain attached to a rock wall, but we did go all the way to Scout Lookout. Some might call that chickening out…I don’t care…we did awesome.

Looking down from Scout Lookout…

From there, we caught the shuttle and did all the things we wanted to do…part of the Pa’rus Trail, the Lower Emerald Pool Trail (Upper and Kayenta were closed due to storm damage), Weeping Rock, and the Riverside Walk out to where The Narrows starts (also closed, because the water flow was high from Spring melt and rains). At that point, we’d had it with crowds of people and their bad tourist behavior. The Angel’s Landing crowd understood trail etiquette and were amazing…the shorter hikes? OMG. People. Really. So we headed back to our domicile and another barbecued dinner. We did a lot of miles that day…my app says over 14 miles that day total.

Waterfall at Weeping Rock

Friday found us driving to Bryce Canyon National Park, where we camped outside the park, because everything else was first come, first served, and we didn’t want to risk having nowhere to stay. The campground at Ruby’s Inn was quiet and the showers were free and hot, and it wasn’t as cold at night as it was originally supposed to be, but it was still pretty damn cold. We got there pretty early on Friday and set up camp, and then headed off to Bryce to check it out. I’m glad we did, because we saw a bunch of the easy stuff on Friday, thus allowing us to do a really long hike on Saturday without feeling like we had to then go look at everything else. There was snow at Bryce, most recently from like 3 days ago.

See? Snow.

Sleep was not our friend Friday night; it was just too cold. Nevertheless, we got up early again and headed out for the Fairyland loop, which goes down into Bryce and wanders around, then climbs back out (oh yes, at elevation No Oxygen for You), and then traverses the Rim Trail back to the Fairyland parking area. Wow. Great hike, but we did way more than the 8 miles it claimed.

Down in the amphitheater…

We figured a better sleeping plan on Saturday night (towels on top of the air mattress to stop the cold seeping up from the ground, even though we had a tarp that was supposed to help with that, plus three layers of clothing, and wool socks, dammit, because cold feet were an issue the night before), and got out of bed early again, expecting (rightly so) a long driving day.

I have absolutely no idea what this is a picture of, but it was on Sunday.

We made it through parts of Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument and then Capitol Reef National Park, and finally headed into Arches National Park in the late afternoon, where we actually had a reserved site. At this point, it was Easter night, and there was no firewood or alcohol to be had (both useful for keeping moods light after a long hard day of driving, plus trying to pound tent stakes into hard rock), so it was not the best night, but the morning dawned ready for a day of hikes. And hike we did.

Double Arch in Arches National Park

We were camping in Devil’s Garden, so we started on that hike, although we turned around at the rock scramble where I was like um no way, can’t do that. So we then drove through the park, stopping at just about every possible sight, attempting one longer hike at Park Avenue (way too hot in between the rocks). We made a quick trip into Moab for alcohol, ice, gas, and firewood (the necessities), but then continued on to see the rest of the arches and other bits. We made it back to the campsite, and set out on a trail marked by rock cairns to see three different arches. I think that was what put us over 11 miles that day. Awesome views though and mostly avoided stupid people.

Crazy drive at night in the rain…

We had decided to treat ourselves with dinner out (there’s only so many camp meals we know how to make before wanting to drown ourselves) , so we headed into Moab for burgers and beer (or wine, as you prefer). On the way back, in the pitch black, a rainstorm wandered in and we white-knuckled the drive all the way through the park to the campground, watching lightning strikes out there in the clouds. The campground was dry as a bone, until about 5 minutes after we arrived, when the raindrops started…and then the wind. Holy crap, everything in the car or the tent, no fire tonight! In the end, we were so tired from the day of hiking that we went to bed, no thunder ever sounded, and we slept really well. Not too cold, just right, so tired we didn’t mind any of it.

Monument Valley

There was no cell service in our campsite (further up the hill had it, but they also probably had a rougher night with the wind and the rain), so we had mapped some ideas out at dinner in Moab. Canyonlands was a possibility, but in the end, we decided to brave the crowds at the Grand Canyon. We left Arches this morning and drove through Monument Valley (we didn’t go through the actual park…that’s for another trip) on our way to Tuba City, where we actually booked a hotel room. With a shower. Because there weren’t any in Arches and I think we really needed that. So we’re clean now and have a crazy plan for tomorrow, I had my Indian Fry Bread and retraced the most recent embroidery…more about those and the daily (almost) drawings in another post. Grand Canyon tomorrow and then heading back home. It’s been a whole lot of wow and hiking our old asses off, but I think it’s been an amazing trip so far. We have a pact for tomorrow to leave the park when one of us feels like pushing someone over the rim. We know this will be just a quick view of the park, and we’ll plan another trip later.

I have graded nothing. I have dealt with very little email, due to lack of access. The world is still rotating, though, and that’s a good thing.