Every year, since 2003, I create a CD that was a compilation of my favorite music of that year, things that I listened to obsessively, songs that plucked my heartstrings, each song has its own story, weaving a thread through the tapestry of my year and meaning something significant to me.
I present to you the offering for this year via Spotify:
This year has had ups and downs to be sure. It started off pretty uncertain, swung it’s way into awesomeness, but the last couple months of the year left something to be desired. It’s been a busy one, I think I need to make some plans in 2015 to take better care of myself again and start some internal healing again. I’ve got lots of big plans, just need to find the time and money to implement them.
Things that happened this year:
- Driving alone from Albuquerque to Dallas, taking the long way and stopping at The Big Texan Steak Ranch, Cadillac Ranch, Tex Randall and Caprock Canyon.
- Anniversary trip to Vegas: Red Rocks, glitz and glitter, California hot springs, tiki drinks, Hoover Dam, Valley of Fire – Fire Wave.
- Driving back to Utah: The Thing, Tiki Bars in Tucson, Saguaro National Forest, hot springs, over the mountains and into Sedona, and finally the beauty of Zion.
- Fossil Rim Wildlife Center (never mind the two nights in the ER)
- Epic RoadTrip: Guadalupe Mountains National Park, White Sands, Shiprock, Valley of the Gods, Moki Dugway, Goosenecks State Park, Natural Bridges, the far side of Capitol Reef (and later the easy sections too), Bryce Canyon (trying to hike down the Navajo Trail) and Zion National Parks and the hike out to The Wave. A side trip of airstream trailers and drive in movies, Hwy 12, Mystic hot springs and snow. Moab, Arches, Delicate Arch, Hole-In-The-Rock, Canyonlands, Mesa Arch at sunrise and petroglyphs.
- Cowgirl photo shoot
- Super awful hive outbreak for two months
- Extreme allergy testing
- Some really screaming headaches for 6 weeks
- 21 day hard-core elimination diet
- Another weekend of bluebonnets in Ennis for spring
- Extrication class.
- Four calves born on the farm.
- Didn’t really run a 5k, but got shots anyway. (Keep Austin Weird 5K)
- Carnivals! Rodeos! (Luling Watermelon Thump Rodeo, Cedar Park Rodeo, Chisholm Trail Roundup Rodeo, Austin Rodeo, Bastrop Homecoming Rodeo)
- We had a new tank dug, a bunch of land cleared and a new fence put in along the western property line
- Filed for business (finally)
- Started teaching my niece how to drive
- Saw the swamp for the first time: trip to Caddo Lake/Jefferson/Uncertain, steam stern wheel ride.
- North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Jacob Lake, Observation Point hike and the most amazing sunset, Cedar Breaks and the ancient bristlecone pines, Emerald Pools, Vegas: High Roller.
- Bands I saw: Balmorhea (twice!), Tycho, Brad Paisley, Randy Houser
- Suburban Dad Survivalist Field Day
- CERT training
- 911 Memorial stair climb. Up and down 110 flights of stairs in bunker gear.
- Took dozens of sunrise and sunset photos
- Walking around McKinney Falls State Park
- Witness the partial solar eclipse and a full lunar eclipse
- Slept in the back of my truck on the beach on Padre Island watching the moon and the stars.
- Another successful BBQ and auction for the fire department, and a benefit motorcycle ride; I got to ride half of it in a sidecar and the other half on the back of a 3 wheeler!
- Pacific Coast Beach, Coronado, Scripps Pier, La Jolla Cove, La Jolla Sea Caves, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Salton Sea, Joshua Tree National Park, Bristol Dry Lake, Cedar City in the snow, Delight Hot Springs, Death Valley: Zabriskie Point, Badwater, Furnace Creek, Racetrack Playa and the Grandstand, Ubehebe Crater, Scotty’s Castle.
- Saw the green flash while the sun set over the Pacific Ocean from Scripps Beach.
- Smokey Bear Historical Park, Ski Apache, Cloudcroft, Ruidoso, National Solar Observatory, Alamagordo, Roswell, Carlsbad Caverns, VLA (National Radio Astronomy Observatory Very Large Array), Artesia (with it’s great neon signs) and driving to and from and all the pretty things to see between.
- Emergency Vehicle Driver’s Training class (super fun!)
- Was through Vegas 8 times last year.
From last year: my goals and the status:
- Spanish: ever on the list. I have the Rosetta Stone program. I’m going to need to schedule time to do this every week, like a class if I’m going to accomplish this.
- Debt: I made some inroads in paying off some debt, with a few sacrifices. We’ll see how this pans out in the long run.
- Farm business: I registered the business, still have a few things to hammer out on how to make this work.
- Year of Going Deeper: I didn’t really end up doing much with this, but it is my goal and intention to start up again a regular meditation practice (starting today)
- Travel: I traveled a ton this year and saw amazing things.
- Exercise: I had gotten a fitbit and got into a fairly regularly. It is my intention to continue and expand that.
- Allergies under control: I’m not sure if this is better, I still have moments, but it’s less intense than it had been.
- New tattoo: I have an idea, just need to hash it out and make it happen
- More hiking, more walking/running, starting up some regular exercise (kickboxing?) and weight training. Getting healthier in general. Eating better, taking better care of myself.
- Make meditation a regular thing again
- Work on myself more mentally/emotionally.
- Spanish: I’m going to schedule time every week to work on this
- Farm Business: I still have a couple of items I need to look into for the business, and talk to a couple of people about how to best go about making sure that everything is taken care of, but I’m hoping that I can figure it out.
- Photography: I intend to shoot more, find things to shoot and experiment with and get better at this.
- Dancing: I would like to learn to dance. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s a thing I have never gotten around to. Waltz, Country Waltz, Two-Step, anything else interesting…
- Laying in the bathtub singing and the notes resonating in my little corner, I can feel the notes on my skin through the water.
- My sweet babies
- This is what my face looks like when you have two girls under 11 “do” my hair.
- “Tactical defensive pinching – now in flat dark earth. Or multicam for an upgrade fee!”
- Almost perfect french toast (that was just slightly crispy) and elbows up coffee drinking on a Sunday morning.
- Wonderful sunrises
- And amazing sunsets (yes the clouds really were that color!)
- Flying into Vegas Sunday afternoon the clouds were amazing. Looked like you could step out and sink into the softness
- Beer, friends and rodeo
- Comestibles and beverages
- The feeling of getting in the car, putting your boots up on the dash and just taking off to parts yet unknown.
- Cute little cabins in the swamp where I got one of the best night’s sleep in months
- Amazing little General Stores with soda fountains and just all the cute little schmuntzes you could want.
- Still working on my 1000 cranes…I’m way behind now though…
- Dead lifting fifteen 80 pound bags of concrete out of the truck counts for my weights workout for the day. And no, I didn’t even chip one of my shiny red nails doing it.
- Charlotte the Argiope
- Was out feeding all the things for sunset then decided to go for a walk. Amazing skies, chasing the giant moon, then having her light my way home in the dark, no flashlight needed! The breeze blowing, my arms outstretched, singing. Nothing but the bugs, the cows, the sound of my voice and the crunch of the gravel under my feet.
- Long, languid bath with watermelon candles, some reading and then a Tara Brach “talk” while soaking. Good way to end the night peacefully.
- Little Nigel, pearly dusk sky, nearly full moon: farm perfection
- Days when I can quote my favorite poetry in regular conversation, for the win!
- A great morning: I got up at 6:30, before the sun, and went to milk the cow (something I had forgotten how much I adore the zen moment of just me and the cow in the quiet of the pre-dawn), fed the horses as the sun started climbing over the horizon, fed the dogs and let the chickens out and kissed hubs goodbye as he went to work. Then I went for a run in the cool morning air, came back, rinsed off, made myself a very tasty green smoothie and sat down to start my workday at 8:15. I felt like I got so much accomplished and started my day off on the right foot.
- And giant spiders!
- Lying listening to music to distract my brain, it’s a meditation, of sorts. Losing myself in the soundscape, in the rhythms and the places that it takes me, riding the ebb and flow. Music is so important to me, it has the power to soothe, to turn it all around, to bind it all together and make the ordinary extraordinary. It is a line straight to the core of me, it is feeling and image captured in wave modulation, moments distilled and encapsulated in the notes.
- Driving home, listening to perfect music at top volume and watching the extremely fat disc of the sun slip down the sky, the last light red and warped.
- Summer storms encroaching the farm
- Cows hiding in the garden
- Magic shell and raspberries
- I went to sit on the dock in the dark. It was a little creepy, couldn’t see anything but stars and fireflies reflecting off the water, and hear the frogs, bugs and the occasional (and sometimes very large) splash. It was absolutely magical. I tried to get some long exposure shots, but I was a little afraid of dumping my camera and everything I had with me into the lake to sit there for too long. That and it was very still and I had sweat pouring off me.
- It’s pleasant in the swamp, not too hot in the shade of the cypress, not too humid. I’m sitting at the end of the dock listening to the birds (that I don’t recognize) and bugs punctuated by the occasional fish jumping. There was a white egret in the front yard this morning, then the dogs had to go chase it. There’s lots of cicada sounds…things I don’t recognize…
- Being Uncertain…
- After the morning I’ve had I need to stop to pee and caffeinate. I asked for “a cortado pretty please with cherries on top” and this is what he gave me. Also, fastest cortado slam ever.
- It’s too late for dinner, I didn’t feel like making anything so I’m eating watermelon, straight out of the melon!
- I was up at 5am to the cow screaming outside the window. I went to let her out and witnessed the perfect, little, earthshiney, fingernail moon low in the eastern sky and the Milky Way draped over the sky, canted northeast to southwest. It never fails to stop me in my tracks, staring up at the sky slack-jawed and feeling like a tiny speck in the giantness of the universe. Anything I think and feel are lost in the great cosmic swirl, an insignificance, not even registering in dance of the birth and death of stars.
- Driving down the dirt roads of my county that I love, windows down in the truck, country music blasting, the sun getting low, sweat sticking my shirt to my back, the clouds perfect little poufs…
- After having three too many sangrias Friday night and spending Saturday, slow, sick, hung over, napping and recovering, the day after I managed to get up and feel like a million bucks and we went on a pie and fried chicken adventure and had a nice, slow, blissfully quiet evening. Then I woke up feeling even better, had a nice morning meditation sit, fed the horses, got some work done and then swept through my bedroom and bathroom and the back half of the house like a tornado: cleaning, vacuuming and mopping. That evening I had a clean bedroom, fresh sheets, clean air filters and floors.
- I crawled out of the tub and into bed to watch the lightning. I shut off everything in the bedroom and bathroom that had a light, however small. My alarm clock got turned over, my glow in the dark jellyfish got stuck in a drawer, I took my toothbrush off the charger, unplugged things with charge status lights until there was nothing but the light from the smoke alarm left and lay there for an hour watching (and listening to) the light show until I drifted off to sleep.
- Dirty little birdy feet.
- Ancient bristlecones, altitude and sunsets
- And perfect shots of the the three of us.
- The most cutest moth that I was able to *pet* It was like he screamed “Nooooo! I AM the NIGHT!”
- Kneeling down in the rain and taking photos of snails and their reflections.
- Amazing overlook hikes! “Ahoy, I am Ahab, and that is my Great White Throne!”
- Gorgeous sunrises that wake me up with the pinking
- Hanging on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon like a boss
- Boney, the truck!
- Diners! (and pancakes and griddles and greasy spoons)
- Showers, and scrubbing off grime and stink. I love the ritual of showers, the things I do before a shower, the putting on feel-good music for while in the shower and all the little things after a shower and feeling good and clean and the whole process is so enjoyable
- Tiny little itty bitty snails that catch my eye while I’m walking. I stopped, knelt down and watched it, snapping photos with my phone. I must have looked a sight kneeling in the middle of the dirt road scrutinizing what looked like a rock.
- A stiff, cool breeze that blows over the tiny little hairs on the back of my neck and through the curly, sweaty tendrils of hair falling out if my clip and across my chest, cooling me and giving me goosebumps.
- A squirrel in the top of the gum tree eating the berries and throwing the stones on my metal roof causing sounds like shots. I looked up at him and asked him what he was doing and he chattered at me and threw a seed at me.
- I’ve taken to wearing lipstick and eyeliner when I leave the house and it’s made me feel surprisingly good about myself. Just little things, but it’s like dressing up to go to the grocery store, there’s something about not feeling like a schlub walking around doing regular errands that makes it more special.
- Butterflies that hang around to visit.
- The blissful, sweet, sanity-returning, complete unconsciousness of drugged sleep when it was much needed snuggled deep in the covers, feeling my muscles melt and like it was the most comfortable place in the world ever.
- Waking up early and watching the sunrise tip the tops of the clouds with golden light before sliding down to the tops of the trees and filter through the brush to kiss the earth.
- Funny little flowers that look like they can’t possibly be real or maybe are from some other planet.
- Balloons! There are never enough balloons filled with helium in the world!
- Friends, and feeling loved and wanted.
- The sweetest comment from an old friend: “One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about knowing you is your refreshingly cute way of looking at the world.. When we were teens you taught me not to rage at the storm, but dance in the rain. As adults you keep reminding me to take pleasure in the little things.”
- Calf selfies
- And silly, cute calves.
- Freeze dried peaches remind me of my childhood. I had a mild obsession with freeze dried anything when I was a kid. It reminds me of being tucked in corners with snacks and a book in my own little world watching people.
- My friend Mikey posted this wonderful thought about Pumpkin Spice and Autumn that I loved so hard:
The greatest bit of Pavlovian conditioning done to suburban white America is Pumpkin Spice. September rolls around and, suddenly, everything is pumpkin spice. Everything. Coffee, beers, deserts, ravioli, lip balm, aerosol body spray. Everything.
It’s an ingenuous marketing tactic. They’ve convinced people that everyday spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice mysteriously disappear between March and September. They don’t. You can get them whenever you want. Furthermore (despite the fact that very few “pumpkin spice” items actually have pumpkin in them) you can get pumpkin all year round, as well. It comes in cans already gutted and mashed up and cooked. Very convenient. But nobody wants pumpkin spice in JULY. Pumpkin spice is a fall thing, right?
See, this is where the psychology part comes in. Pumpkins, naturally, are a “fall thing” because of their growing schedule and, traditionally, signify the fall harvest and Halloween etc. Pumpkin spice comes from pumpkin pies etc. and activate those powerful sensory memories. While pumpkin spice certainly tastes like something, the smell is what really gets us. They are warm smells. We’re reminded of family and snuggling under blankets and fireplaces and crunching leaves and early nightfall. We so strongly associate these things with fall (add pine and peppermint to the mix at wintertime) that the thought of them any other time seems…unnatural. Seriously, try lighting a pumpkin spice candle in July. It makes people uncomfortable. It’s weird. Summer doesn’t smell like nutmeg. Summer smells like citrus or coconut. How long before someone says “Smells like Fall in here”?
So, in the last week or so, the pumpkin spice items have begun rolling out. For people who are not fond of colder weather, it creates unease. Summer is ending. Fall is here. Winter is coming. They must flee. They must run. Worst…season…ever. For people like me, however, who love fall and winter, it means an end to sweating and bugs and headaches etc. and a much more pleasant me. I love pumpkin spice because I have, through years of clever marketing and life experience, been conditioned to love it. It makes me happy and I’m a sucker for happiness.
- The other day was Teddy Bear Day, which makes me SO happy, because I love my Armpit Joe so much.
- I did the 2014 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb this year, and I can still feel my legs. I’m in this video at least four times if you can find me.
- The downside of 73 flights of stairs both up and down is trying to go up any more stairs after that.
- The city looks (and smells) weird this early on a Sunday morning
- I do so very much love middle of the night thunderstorms.
- It rained, like poured and thundered and lightning, for an hour and a half. I can’t remember the last time that happened. Total was 3/4 of an inch!
- I woke up early, fed the horses, helped move a bale of hay for the beef cows, and still had time for an hour walk before I got started at work and before the day got too hot.
- Amazing sunrises. Clouds mounting, golden light, streaming steaminess. Worth waking up for.
- The one tiny little lone rain cell that parked over the house last evening as I lay in bed. Suddenly, total downpour rain on the roof. Just as quickly, it quit. The weather is fickle, but we won the lottery yesterday.
- Monsoon rains at sunset and rainbows!
- Sunset streamed golden through the windows of the house and so I walked outside to look and was rewarded with the most amazing sky. Virga, rainbow, golden cauliflower clouds in the distance and everything suffused with a warm glow. I watched it until the last bits of sun turned orange and pink and purple on the fringes of the clouds and the moon shone bright peeking through.
- I had some downtime in the afternoon so I hosed off the back porch, cleaned out the cast iron tub and filled it up to the very top and climbed in. It was hot and a little muggy outside, and the water was perfect. I had good music playing, good things to read and perfect partly cloudy skies. As I lay there for an hour, I watched the clouds build and build until they slowly exploded into thunder and rain all while I lay there.
- Feeling competent and effective climbing in the back of my truck to help load feed (and then unload it by myself when I got home). I love how much stuff I am able to do on this farm, I love feeling independent and like I can, for the most part, take care of myself.
- The always-excited-to-see-me greeting from Ollie when I come over. He is always so happy, the perfect floppy happy dog.
- Delivering dinner in a thunderstorm, pouring warm rain and heavy wind. Despite my umbrella I was still completely soaked to the bone and it felt so good.
- I walked a few miles yesterday and on my last leg, momma drove up past me on her way to work and rolled down her window to greet me. I hung in her window and took a long pull off of her mint iced tea and it was the perfect refreshment to get me home.
- The endings to pretty decent birthdays filled with food, swimming, chiropracty, scotch and cigars.
- Fancy grilled cheeses and Ziegen Bock beer with a scoop of dark chocolate ice cream!
- Taking momma out for a country music concert!
- Dog’s got a vet appointment in town, so we took him out for tacos
- The new Sugar Mama’s Bake Shop has a much better vibe, and their cheese plate (with house made cherry jam) with a hefe was perfect late lunch with all the flavors mixed together.
- I stood outside in my pasture staring at the brightly shining Milky Way, watching the far off lightning flicker the sky, a shooting star scream across Cassiopeia and then first Nora, then Tex and the rest of them had to come see what I was doing standing in the middle of their pasture. I scritched on them all, gave Tex a big hug and then headed back inside the house.
- My favorite tree and poofy clouds.
- Cool breezes, lazy mornings, squirrels chasing one another through the trees, cloudy skies, almost chilly temps, a cup of tea and an old favorite book. It is all just perfect!
- I was in Berlin on New Year’s Day 2001 and stood gaping at the Siegesaulle squinting to see angels there. Or in Zoo Station, standing and listening to my thoughts. They were in the Gedächtniskirche, and in the Potsdamer Platz…And I said, “Now. And now, and now…” (thinking of all this watching Wings of Desire)
- Silly chicken nests
- I got home from fancy dinner and I fed the horses and checked on the cows. I’ve got three cows that are due to calf soon, and so I wanted to see how they were looking. Grace looked like you could drive a bus through her ass end and her bag is like a beach ball. Delilah doesn’t look at all like she’s even pregnant, and Darla was somewhere in between. All the cows are up front, except Darla. Hubs spots her in the back laying down, then standing up, and one of the cows takes off towards her and I just *knew* she’d calved. We get down there and she had JUST dropped the calf. He was still covered in the sack and laying in a puddle. As we stand there she has two huge explosions of liquid and she passes the rest of her placenta almost onto my foot. I knew the donkeys would soon get overprotective, they’ve done it before where they won’t let the momma near the calf which just won’t do, so I have to move them. I had my dress on from dinner still so I just pulled it off and handed it to Hubs. I can hose myself off easier than I can get placenta out of a dress. Darla was a little bitchy (rightly so) and gave me grief when I went to pick him up, but I hauled him up and carried him to the dairy pasture with the other calves and mommas. I was covered in mud and the insides of a cow. Mom held the hose while I got most of the big chunks off before I came inside to shower off properly and scrub out my underthings. Never a dull moment!
- Thursday night around 11 I had settled into bed when all the donkeys and cows started bellowing and Hubs was like, “we should go check on them…” I sleepily mumbled, “you go ahead, honey…” and rolled over and was out like a light. A (seeming) second later he comes running in saying he was calling and texting me that Grace had her calf! I hauled myself up and got dressed and headed out and sure enough Gertrude was still sopping wet but up and walking around already and alert and perky. She’s very curious and adventurous and bigger than Meatball. She wanders away from Grace this morning exploring and wanted to see what everything was.
- All dressed up and somewhere to go!
I spent last weekend in East Texas on Caddo Lake, my first time to the swamp. I drove through Louisiana for the first time last year and saw swamps from the rest area, but I’ve never spent any significant amount of time there.
They are beautiful, eerie, and just amazing. Three days and I only got one mosquito bite! (I got more chigger bites from that from walking out into my pasture last week)
I was amazed to find the sky so bright, reflecting off of the lake and then lightning bugs flashing here and there. Absolute perfection!
After our hike out to The Wave, I rested in Springdale for a few days and got to witness glorious morning rain and clouds in the canyon.
Clouds over the West Temple
Then we took a circuit of Highway 12 through Bryce and an amazing route through central Utah. There’s a reason they call it one the best drives in the US, for sure!
We stayed the night in an Airstream trailer and watched a movie in the drive-in, then went on to Torrey and Capitol Reef for the night.
We drove down the Capitol Gorge and took it as far as we could go, stumbling upon all the glorious old barns tucked way back in the back roads. They were some of my favorite parts, old gnarly barns, so much texture and lovely light!
The next day we hiked the Hickman Bridge Trail to stretch our legs (and lungs).
The second part of the road trip was spent near Zion National Park, but we took a day hike out to The Wave near the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in the Coyote Buttes area of the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness on the Utah/Arizona border. The Wave hike is somewhat of a legend, a permit is required, there’s only 20 given a day and they go fast and are reserved up to 4 months in advance.
I find the geology fascinating. Per wikipedia: “The Wave” consists of intersecting U-shaped troughs that have been eroded into Navajo Sandstone of Jurassic age. The two major troughs, which comprise this rock formation, are 62 feet wide by 118 feet long and 7 feet wide by 52 feet long. Initially, infrequent runoff eroded these troughs along joints within the Navajo Sandstone. After their formation, the drainage basin, which fed rainwater to these troughs, shrank to the point that the runoff became insufficient to contribute to the cutting of these troughs. As a result, the troughs are now almost exclusively eroded by wind, as indicated by the orientation of erosional steps and risers cut into the sandstone along their steep walls. These erosional steps and risers are oriented relative to the predominant direction of the wind, as it is now naturally funneled into and through these troughs.
The Wave exposes large-scale, sets of cross-bedded eolian sandstone composed of rhythmic and cyclic alternating grainflow and windripple laminae. The rhythmic and cyclic alternating laminae represent periodic changes in the prevailing winds during the Jurassic as huge sand dunes migrated across a sandy desert. The thin ridges and ribbing seen within The Wave are the result of the differential erosion of rhythmic and cyclic alternating grainflow and windripple laminae within the Navajo Sandstone. These laminae have differing resistance to erosion as they have been differentially cemented according to variations in the grain size of the sand composing them.
It’s almost impossible to get a sense of the place unless you’re there. It’s such an otherworldly place, the photos are stunning but I’ve found them to not make any sense until I got there, took my own and then looked at others. Also, most of them have no sense of scale of the place, no reference points so it makes it hard to figure out. Different treatments of photographs can bring out colors and textures in different ways.
A sense of scale of the place (though you can’t tell that he’s standing probably 5 feet higher than she is), and different treatment from the above photo to bring out more of the colors.
The hike out there was long and somewhat confusing, the hardest part was slogging through sand and climbing up over a ridge. We left later in the day, knowing we’d want to hit it in the late afternoon and evening light (for something different) and stay out a later to get night shots with the sky. We watched the sun set from there, and I wandered around barefoot through the sand and over the ridges, wanting to feel the place, touch it, taste it, relish in the rarity and specialness of the moment and the place.
Looking back at the trail that led there through the opening, the doorway, to The Wave at sunset
The textures fascinated me, the ridges, the colors, the curves. It was the sexy curve of the hip of the Earth and I wanted to run my hands all over it.
We were there for six hours or more, it was not an easy hike in, and the GPS and the will to get back to the car and have a donut from the gas station in Kanab were the things that got me back to the car. But it was well worth it. I’d love to go back, spend more time there just be-ing.
- Driving into town down all the back roads, I was awash with the feeling that summer is here (even if it’s not official). The backyard tub is back in service, the road’s all dusty, trees are green, it’s time for even more summer country music, freezee pops and ice cream sambitches, watermelons and cold beer and for the Milky Way to be up at a reasonable hour again. I love Texas so hard, and I love living out here in the country.
- I am a country girl photographer!
- There are two tiny little birds building a nest in the birdhouse that is sitting in the corner of my front steps right outside my office window. The birdhouse has been sitting there for a year or two, I keep forgetting to put it out somewhere.
- Puppies who wait
- The upshot of zesting two bags of oranges for my double batch of orange soap is that now I have orange juice for breakfast.
- Went to sit on the old bridge on Creekside. I listened to the wind and the bubbling water until I was soothed.
- Avocado margaritas for the win.
- I always love seeing the big barn owl swoop from the trees on my way home.
- I had a fever for a lunch counter, so I stopped at Nau’s and got a grilled cheese with egg and bacon and a strawberry shake!
- Interesting quote that I just passed while looking for something else entirely:
“Let your joy scream against your pain”
- Ironclad beetle
- My tiny sliver moon shone down just after dusk, and as always, brings a smile to my face and peace to my heart.
- Drunk rodeoing.
- Hubs was a sweetheart and thoughtfully brought home my favorite local fried chicken for dinner. It was absolutely the perfect thing to eat; crispy, salty, moist, fantasticness.
- My sweet cows; as noisy, pushy, curious, full of personality and sometimes not so bright as they are, they bring me such joy and happiness.
- Racing a storm home (and beating it). Nothing like a little adrenaline to make life more interesting.
- My mother and I laughing uncontrollably, fueled by each other’s uncontrollable laughter in a never-ending cycle.
- A warm shower and a cool bath when you’ve been sweaty and sticky and in the heat all day at an extrication burn class and then building a fence. Washing my hair is the best feeling in the world after days like that.
- Ice cream with big chunks of fruit in it and homemade blackberry cobbler.
- When waking up multiple times, snuggling in with hubs and sleeping a little later nestled in together.
- Lighting cars on fire, putting them out, punching out windows, cutting out glass, cutting off the roof, rolling up the dash. Destruction and learning win-wins.
- All working together under the direction of our pro, knocking the fence project out, and having something really great to show for it at the end.
- A squirrel walking down a power line, just as easy as you please.
- Hubs letting me borrow his car to drive into town because mine smelled like dead things
- Listening to soothing, mood-calming music at full blast because there was no one else in the car but me
- Three hundred paper cranes
- The cows chasing after the truck and trailer and then the tractor full of hay, and sneaking bites as they walked and chased alongside
- A million billion wildflowers along the sides of country roads. Makes me want to collect fistfuls and carry them around with me everywhere I go…
- Singing at the top of my lungs “with your arms outstretched trying to take flight, leaving everything behind…” And sticking my arm out the window like a wing. “But even at our swiftest speed, we couldn’t break from the concrete…”
- Armadillos crossing the road in the middle of the night
- My teacup collection
- The tiny lizard camping out on the ceiling of the porch when I came home
- Stopping on the way home at the highest point I knew, turning the lights off and looking up at the stars. From the middle of the county, you can see the Milky Way draped across the eastern sky, still pretty low at this time of night, with Sagittarius, Scorpio, Cygnus, and the Big and Little Dipper all shining and winking brightly. It soothed me, to be standing looking up at the huge vastness. It’s a perspective check, a good measuring stick for my problems, a way of thinking outside of this tiny little head of mine.
- Going out to feed and milk my sweet cow Nora. The act of going out there, and the repetition of milking her is so soothing to me.
- I went wading through thigh high weeds and wildflowers to get a shot of my tree without the power lines in the way and when I got back to the car I found a Mexican blanket flower in my boot!
- Exchanges like these:
Me to Hubs: “Do you like my tractor shirt?”
Hubs: “I think your tractor shirt is sexy.”
Me: “50 bonus points for you for country song reference!”
Hubs: “Your car smells like mayonnaise.”
Me: “It’s a step up. At least it doesn’t smell like dead things anymore.”
- I went out to take photos of the cows and of the sunset and the breeze was blowing in a most pleasant fashion. I decided to grab a Shiner and sit on the porch in my rocking chair, listen to the wind in the trees, the chimes dance in the wind, the poultry cluck and chirrup their goodnights, watch the sun slide down the hazy, sticky sky and try to clear my head and just be.
- My chickens (and turkeys) as they “lead” me to the feed shed to feed them…they are all so funny and every day fill me with such delight.
- My niece laughing: Snort, cough, choke, laugh, snarf
- The finish line
- Watching the high tension power lines go up and down connecting to the towers. Following the lines slide with the clouds as the backdrop of the lines of sheet music.
- (Very) Small town rodeos
- Driving down dusty dirt roads, on the way places
- Waiting for dinner after picking up the niece
- Sitting out on the porch watching a gentle rain and I think, “hmm, now would be a good time for a run…” (with a daisy behind my ear)
- Awesome tiki week drinks in a rodeo tiki mug. I’m in love!
- June was muggy and hot with a 50% chance of baths on the backporch. It’s been surprise rainstorms, rodeos and carnivals, cloudy nights and daisies. It’s been cows and catfish and afternoon naps and peaches straight from the tree.
- Trying to figure out how many giant marshmallows I can fit into my mouth. The verdict: only one, and barely.
- Surprise downpours!
- December 21, 2013 – June 21, 2014
I put a solargraphy can up on the corner post of my milk shed winter solstice last year and took it down yesterday. I need to figure out a way of getting more sun lines on the paper and less of the stuff below, that may be about angle or getting it up higher off the ground.
- Yes, I did stick my hand under a pile of bagged, fresh tortillas and then grab the warmest and hold it up to my face to cuddle before putting it in my cart…
- The first (and last) of the peaches off of the tree. It’s the first year it’s fruited significantly and I’m so excited. We got probably 50 or so peaches off the tree and they were perfect little orbs of juicy amazement.
- Plans and parts for an outdoor hanging bed on the back porch
- Perfect little daisies down my driveway
-I pause reading: I sit wrapped in my big smooshy easy chair, my knees pulled up to my chest and folded to the side as I usually do in this favorite chair of mine. My big Texas mug of herbal tea in my hand, I bring the cup up to my nose to inhale the flowery bouquet and take a sip, letting the cooled liquid swirl around in my mouth. I taste the chamomile, the lavender, the hint of sweet of licorice and rose. Then I pull the bag out, slurping the corner and missing it, dangling in the air above my face and get drops of tea that dribble down the side of my chin and my neck like a juicy watermelon slice. I giggle, wipe my neck and smile, putting the mug back down.
And in that moment absolutely everything is right and just as it should be.
- Daisies in the setting sun
- Driving home I turned off the radio, and slowed down at my tree to gaze at the long golden light. The waxing gibbous moon in the east to my left and the low and setting sun in the west to my right. It was a split second of holding there, pausing, weightless in that perfect moment.
- Country sunsets
- Wittle buck teefed Nigel
- My sanctuary, my perfect bathtub, full of candles, amazingly wonderful art (mine and others), Chinese lanterns and a solar (or lunar) tube, a basket full of Lush bath products, my antique razor, a basket full of magazines to catch up on and my Bluetooth speaker. It’s the most perfect place that I spend a large portion of my evenings in.
- I had the house to myself and I laid on the couch gloriously lounging, epically reading and dozing in the most delicious manner. A long, slow, brilliant afternoon of me laying about listening to music (until the speaker died, then relishing in the silence) with a grin and absolutely, perfectly content with where I was. I love deliberately lazy days like this.
- 26 pound wheel of Caerphilly cheese (a sharp, salty, strong cheese that’s almost Parmesan but softer) was cut, the rinds shaved off, shredded and bagged in 30+ 2-cup vacuum sealed baggies for the freezer!
- THIS is why I run.
I was that completely hopeless kid in gym, I was kind of always chubby/slightly fat, I ran a 17 minute mile all through high school and felt like I was going to die the entire time. I was almost always last picked for everything except kickball, which was the only thing that I was decent at because I imagined that ball was whatever boy had pissed me off that week’s head and making that bitch sail through the air and past everyone in a glorious channeling of pre-and post pubescent rage. I got out of gym for an entire year because I had mono and I was so damn excited about it. Had I known earlier, I would have tried to break another bone or tried to contract ebola to get out of gym for any other year. Running for me was always a thing I dreaded. But when I moved out to the farm and was suddenly 30 minutes from any gym, and an hour plus from any decent gym, running seemed to be a thing that I could do down all these dirt roads and pack in a workout in 30 minutes. And once I learned how to barefoot style run, where I used the ball of my foot and avoided the heel strike as much as possible, it didn’t feel like I was sending bone-shearing earthquakes through my shattering knees up to disintegrate my hips anymore and after the initial shin splints, sore calves, feet and toes, I started to *almost* enjoy it. I can walk around in heels with no problems because I can walk around with that much weight on the balls of my feet, they are used to it. I ran my first 5k a couple years ago. I ran for a few months, then signed up for it all while doing the C25k program. I don’t know that I’ve ever made it entirely through the program either, I’m usually ahead of whatever they are telling me to do, but it’s a good guideline, and something to shoot for at minimum. I was SO damn happy to have been able to run that entire 5k, let me tell you. I was slow as shit, I think I was either the second to last or last in my age bracket, but I didn’t care, I damn well FINISHED the entire thing and I ran the ENTIRE thing without stopping. Just getting across the finish line was an absolute miracle to me. Going from that chubby girl in school who hated gym to this strong, crazy, I’m-going-to-do-it-anyway mid-thirties woman who finished the entire goddamn 5k…I do it because I know that I can do damn near anything that I put my mind to.
- Supermoon rising in the african dusty sky
- The pink full moon rose over the rodeo arena and then slipped under the anvil of that huge storm to the west of us.
- Big tick-fat moon on the horizon and a pretty sunset, fence’s fixed (thanks boys!), truck’s fixed and I cooked really good dinner for everyone. Everything is a little more right with the world tonight.
- I had some time to kill, so cake. Because, why the hell not?
- Wenda and a dinosaur!
- No joke, a 24 hour pecan vending machine. With whole pecan pies available to anyone even at 3am, for those pecan emergencies. Ms. Pearl approves.
- Radio pumping out great tunes, got wood fired pizzas, a couple of farmhouse sour beers, a nice breeze, life is goob.
- The best view is through the horses ears.
- They all seem to want something, don’t they?
- “Watch it man, I’ve got a beverage here…”
- Free slurpee day!
- Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain
- My county’s best: hay and cotton
- Art I made:
- My own poetry, to help work through feelings and release their hold:
Bitter angry hateful vitriol
Makes me shake
I feel it
I feel it all.
Vibrating with intensity
A hunger to destroy, to consume like wildfire
In the pit of my stomach, all the suppressed words I want to punch and kick and scream
I want to translate my anger into red rivulets
I want there to be blood
And I’m afraid
Of so many things
Strong fear, clutching like claws in my tender heart
The fire, the rage, the gripping fear all wrapped together in one ball of flashing eyes and claws
Trapped in a corner
No one can save me
And I can’t save anyone
In all the ephemera of what is
Just this now, ever now, and now and now
I reach my own hand down into my own darkness
To pull myself up
- Spending the afternoon reading in a coffeeshop.
- Spending a Sunday afternoon chilling and grilling with friends.
- I got a new toy, but then had to give it up.
- We got a new DVR from DirectTV that’s a TiVo! Now I can have that very satisfying “bloop” when I do things, I’ve missed it in my life.
- We watched JD and Gary halter and saddle break two two-year-old fillies this morning (and I got to help a tiny bit and take photographs)
- Giant female jackrabbit, she was probably like 18-20 inches nose to tail. Just walked right up to us like, “hey what’s up?”
- Giant goliath beetle toodling around
- Clifford the big, red truck
- I spent an evening driving around, watching the amazingly ever-changing super-colorful sunset through the rain clouds, then sat on the dirt roads and in parking lots til well after dark watching the lightning streak across the sky from the storms.
- A most amazing poem!
By Oriah Mountain Dreamer
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for,
And if you dare to dream of meeting
Your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
For love, for your dream,
For the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow,
If you have been opened by life’s betrayals,
Or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain,
Mine or your own,
To hide it or fade it or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy,
Mine or your own,
If you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
Without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic,
or to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself,
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.
I want to know if you can be faithless and therefore be trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty
Even when it is not pretty every day,
And if you can source your life
From its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure,
Yours and mine,
And still stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver of the full moon,
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair,
Weary and bruised to the bone,
And do what needs to be done for the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you are, how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
In the center of the fire with me
And not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
From the inside
When all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone
And if you truly like the company you keep
In the empty moments.
- Illusory photos
- “The outward flared look to the clouds along the base of the storm is evidence that the storm had become outflow dominant…cold air being pushed out…a process that typically happens in high precipitation storms that don’t remain quite strong enough to shunt most of the precip forward and out of the updraft. The vivid colors in the hail and rain core are the result of certain wavelengths of light being absorbed by the rain and hail within the storms core. Only certain wavelengths will make it through…mainly the blues and greens”
- Millie the rockclimbing cat
- For anyone who is interested in seeing what some of the places I went on my last road trip to Utah are like from above, here is a great little video! North Window and Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, Mesa Arch (and false kiva which I did not make it to this time) in Canyonlands National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, The Wave in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the Moki Dugway … all in *winter* and all just as stunning as I remember them.
I recently went on an 18 day epic road trip from Texas through New Mexico and around Utah, some of my favorite country.
I started out in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, traveled to White Sands and Goosenecks State Park in Utah, and finally made it to Natural Bridges National Monument and Capitol Reef National Park.
Here are some images from the first part of the trip.
Goosenecks State Park in Utah
Sunset at Owachamo in Natural Bridges National Monument
The Cathedral Valley Overlook in Capitol Reef National Park
Cathedral Valley in Capitol Reef National Park
Temple of the Moon in Capitol Reef National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
The Watchman and the Virgin River in Zion National Park
- I love that pearly pinky blue eastern sky just after the sun sets in a cloudless sky.
- Henri had her very own cowbirds following her around today, kinda cute.
- New baby calf surprises!
- I sat outside at midnight listening to the thunder and the rain start quietly and slowly build to a blowing crescendo, driving and insistent. I love the sound of the rain on the roof, the thunder far off, the smell of wet earth. Flashes illuminate the landscape, momentary glimpses.
- Put the horses back in the pastures so we could work on the fencing, but when they were wandering around the yard, I thought they were going to climb the front steps and try to come in for a beer and tv.
- Needing to have multiple words for love, like having multiple words for snow
- First backyard bath of the season
- I like watching the vultures fly on the thermals, the clouds sailing by, the long golden light, watching the cows mill about, hearing the wind through the trees and watching the leaves sway and dance, hear the acorns roll off the roof, the crows call, the soft splash of the water in the tub, the windchimes tinkling, the sound of the gate squeaking on its hinges in the wind, smelling the farm in all of its richness on the breeze. I feel the breeze on my bare wet skin, chilling me and making me shiver – a novel change after muggy sweating.
- Amazing phalanx of sweets and colors for Mother’s Day brunch!
- Thoroughly enjoying Grand Budapest Hotel. I really thought I’d hate it, the previews made it look so ridiculous and not really at all what the movie turned out to be about.
- A good hard morning of work pulling up fence posts, sweating and getting good and tired. I’ll miss the gigantic prickly pear cactus that gives a ton of fruit every year and the funny place that the tree has grown around the barbed wire in that one spot, but I’ll be even more glad to have a good sturdy fence along our longest property line finally.
- Warm, glorious, driving rain!! Bonus mid-day thunderstorm, for the win!
- Saw that it was likely to storm, possibly hail, so I moved the truck and the car under the carports. Then because it was warm and lovely and I needed a pick-me-up and I was about to take a shower, I just stripped down and danced in the warm rain instead until I was absolutely soaked. Benefits to living in the country!
- Sitting outside listening to the rain on the rooftop, the wind blow through the trees and the windchimes, the drops in the puddles. It’s the perfect temperature, if a little moist.
- A love note from my soup lady. She’s the best!
- A partial cure for vacation hangover: Go out and pet my cows and horses, get in my car and drive around my neighborhood with the windows down, country music station blaring and sing at the top of my lungs. Stop at my local convenience store and get a huge iced tea. Then stick my left arm out the window like a plane wing while screaming down my back roads. I remember why I love it here so much and why I’m so glad to be home. Makes for a softer landing than sitting home wallowing that I’m not sitting at some lunch counter in the middle of nowhere eating grilled cheese and ogling America.
- Homecoming Texas BBQ after two and a half weeks of Utah doing bad things to meat. And to boot, David Alan Coe’s You Never Even Called Me By My Name (You Don’t Have To Call Me Darlin’) is playin’ on the radio. Glad to be home, glad to have my hubsand back, glad to have good BBQ and old classic tunes.
- Standard, pre-leaving Vegas, slight hangover, insomniac night, breakfast of champions. And my favorite waiter, Nick, is serving at Hash House A Go Go.
- My all time favorite Tiki bar in Vegas, amazing and ass-kicking drinks, getting bought a drink for talking guns and whiskey to the locals and talking shit with the bartender.
- Jean Phillipe Patisserie, both in the Aria and the Bellagio, with chocolate fountains, rose raspberry macaron, tiramisu and an espresso. Pure, sweet, decadence.
- The beautiful flower sculptures at the Bellagio, butterflies, tulips, foxglove, daffodils, absolutely beautiful.
- Hiking up to Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park, a little lizard decided to come and sit down next to me.
- 4000 miles, 5 states, 3600 photos, 8 National Parks, a couple of state parks, a half a fifth of bourbon and a six pack of Porter. Good trip.
- The best grilled cheese I’ve ever had, twice in as many weeks. (Blondie’s in Hanksville, Utah)
- The perfect place to meditate, on the edge of the Canyonlands from Dead Horse Point Overlook
- Pre-roadtrip really awesome beef jerky runs
- Baby cows in green fields surrounded by golden rocky hills
- Giant baby breakfast burritos from Blake’s
- Morning doves cooing from a pole
- Tiny chirping birds from the highest branches
- Watching the moon set over Guadalupe Peak
- Waking to pink stripes in the sky and a far off cloud bank
- Sharing the random, out of the way gas station with the guy that just got out of the Army and was headed home
- PopTarts for breakfast
- Standing atop the rock watching the sun rise over the cloud bank in Guadalupe Mountains
- The pitch black rolling hills, only seeing the mountains for the lack of visible stars
- Watching the moon rise through my passenger window
- Sunset through my windshield
- Tall pine trees and rolling hills
- Fire training grounds in Carlsbad
- Great names of places: Sleepygrass, Cloudcroft, Skywater, Hi-D-Ho drive in
- Great vintage signs: White Sands Motel
- Playing on the monkey bars, swings and spin-and-puke at the campground playground
- Fat little wobbly puppies
- Wardrobe change going from mountains to valley and back again
- Lightning and storms over White Sands
- Finding the car again after getting lost in the dunes
- Post hike hotdog and custard stop
- Walmart stop, of course and obligatory ridiculous purchases (bubbles, my little pony, playdoh)
- Flat skies that turned stormy
- A giant freaking pistachio at Pistachioland
- Flying my emergency kite (finally – I’ve only had it for damn near 20 years)
- Soft pillowy sand poufs that felt really good under my toes
- It started raining just as I got back to the car from hiking, perfect timing
- Sitting in the car listening to the rain on the roof
- Glorious showers and liberal oil application to combat wind burn and sand blasting
- Travel braids
- Tiny travel stops cute gift shops on reservation land
- Hot ass (at the travel stop)
- Amazing and fast breakfast, even if I didn’t get to sit at the counter
- Barrel cacti (and welded ones with bob wahr)
- Donkey art; on the rooftops and where they probably shouldn’t be, just like real life
- Lava rock and wildflowers in Valley of Fires
- Rock with wings; clouds with teeth
- I love that you can see Shiprock for more than 40 miles away
- Cool ranch Doritos taco
- Dappled light on mesas, rock outcropping sand desert
- The way the light reflects off the red rocks and tints the bottoms of the clouds pink
- Poufy clouds and virga as far as the eye can see
- As I was driving into the sunset, I could see my bones through the flesh on my fingertips from the sunlight behind them
- A raven riding the thermals and sounding in Goosenecks
- Just barely making it for sunset, scrambling down and getting the full 200 degree view of the entrenched meander
- The sun shining off the back and wings of the raven just below me
- Watching the dog star set, driving back to see Orion sliding down the horizon
- Polygamy Porter and a ribeye at the Swingin’ Steak
- Drunk facebooking about peanuts, the moon, and mortality
- Brunch on the edge of a cliff of Goosenecks
- Sitting then laying on the edge of the Goosenecks
- Fire tv, stars, river, crickets
- Having someone else clean up after brunch because I just couldn’t
- Me ordering dinner, pushy bitch style
- Tiny flowers on the edge of canyons
- Completely rearranging everything in the truck tearing down dirt roads in Valley of the Gods catching air and scrambling my brains
- I dreamt of snow in canyons
- Watching the moon rise
- Red dirt, pinion pines and virga in Fry Canyon
- Climbing up the Moki Dugway and being able to see Goosenecks, where I stayed, Monument Valley, and Valley of the Gods
- Finding a great and fairly remote camping spot, and being able to laze in the morning sun on chilled skin
- Quick pork chop dinners
- Owachamo and bugs and frogs and sunset and Orion
- Laying on the rocks watching the light fade
- Altitude sickness and being able to fix it with caffeine and b-vitamins
- Seeing things for the first time
- So many stars
- Eating dinner in front of the fire
- Amazing clouds while driving out to Cathedral Valley
- Gas station in a cave
- Really good pancakes and the perfect grilled cheese
- The Christopher Walk-In
- Driving along the water pocket fold
- Cedar and pine fire; smoked girl
- Hike out to the fins, finding the perfect dead tree atop a hill
- Lunner of mixed random things, strawberries and almond Choco spread, mandarins, tin of sardines, smoked oysters…
- The truck just running up those dirt/rock roads like a champ
- River Ford (and Honda)
- Again and again, be here now. Hard to remember, but coming back again and again
- Firelight and stars
- Amazing pre-sunrise drive to the Temple of the Sun, Moon and Stars
- Bentonite hills
- A crow, hanging ten on the wind over the road as I drove past
- Making a snow angel at 9600 feet
- Hula hooping cow signs outside of Orderville
- The Hogback on highway 12
- A hot shower when you’ve not had one on five days
- A wonderful warm bed, staring up at the stars all night, listening to the wind whip through the trees and being warm and snuggled inside
- A rainbow over Bryce Canyon, caught in the dappled light and the virga
- Looking down into the canyon, then crawling down over the edge to hike down into it, and peering down into the switchbacks of Navajo Trail
- Listening to music all night to soothe me
- Driving out of Bryce, alone, through the beautiful countryside, seeing the buffalo snoozing on a hillside, the clouds give way to clear skies and feeling good
- A great greeting, brunch, and a much needed shower
- Waking to rain on the roof and clouds in the canyon
- A good morning, feeling connected and part of it all
- The best French toast I’ve ever had, and waffle French toast too!
- That first moment of walking into The Wave after that long and hot hike. All I could say was, “Ohmygod! Ohmygod!”
- Walking around barefoot, feeling the rock and sand beneath my feet, running my hands along the lines and curves
- Steel wool spinning in the dark
- Seeing the ISS scream overhead and it’s support refilling satellite
- Tiny iron pellets in the sand
- Hiking out in the dark, via GPS, both much easier and harder than the way in. The cool breezes and amazing starry skies made it so much better. There is also something about hiking in the dark (like the Subway) that is just magical.
- Finally getting home and showering and crawling into bed to sleep in.
- Woke to the rain on the rooftop all snuggled and warm in bed finally catching up on some much needed sleep. Then got up to find the Watchman peeking in and out of clouds and the West Temple playing peek a boo with the sun. I walked up the hill to get an unobstructed view before breakfast.
- Homemade pie, soup, fried chicken or grilled cheese places, especially if they’ve got wood burning or pellet stoves and tractor seats at the counter
- The Wave: it is the sexy curve in the hip of the earth; the lines, the curves, the color, the texture, the light…simply one of the most amazing places I’ve ever seen.
- That bitch, Sandy Plain
- Frozen coke and Fritos and Munchos
- Cute little boy waiters at the counter. And adorable barrel rider waitresses.
- Airstream trailer hotels
- Breakfast at Kiva Coffeehouse, amazing views, really great food, and tea and coffee.
- Local distilled Utah desert essential oils
- Stopping to investigate art, talk to locals
- Guy Tal, stone hearts and daisy cathedrals
- Driving Capitol Gorge and the barns at the end of the road
- More goosenecks and entrenched meanders on the road to nowhere
- Watching Blazing Saddles at the drive in and having the proprietors be as excited about it as we were!
- Hot showers when I’m cold
- Driving into snowstorms, where you can see them coming for miles
- Ice cream when it’s 50 degrees outside, because I’m on vacation dammit
- Eddie the dog, who kept wanting the ball thrown inside, was the cutest tea companion
- B&Bs with massage chairs in every room
- An amazing dinner spot out in the middle of nowhere, (Torrey) Utah
- Amazing views, sweeping expanses, snow on the mountain tops
- Blowing fine snow, like hyper-drive
- Tiny snowmen at 9500 feet
- Field water sprinklers freezing in the grass
- Bucolic pasture meadows tucked between mountains
- Pink first light on the mountain tops
- Candy clouds at sunset from the hot springs bath tubs on top of the hill
- Hot springs, cialis commercial sunsets and warm water
- Curling in the one big cast iron bathtub with my best friend and talking for hours
- Riding a camel. Kissing a different camel
- Steak and green bean dinner al fresco
- The fire, my sweet little moon setting and a sky full of stars.
- Waking early to find Sagittarius and the sexy part of the Milky Way up in the southern sky
- Driving in the dark, singing Peter Gabriel and Natalie Merchant at the top of my lungs
- Driving in the early morning to Mesa Arch and being quiet in the early pre-dawn hours
- Sitting against the rocks on the edge of the cliff watching the last light fade and the moon and the stars reflect off of the Green River
- Watching the fire in silence
- Hole N The Rock super kitsch
- Eggs Benedict with bacon
- Climbing up the little pulpit rock behind the North Window to catch the shot with Turret Arch through it. Being perched up high looking out
- Sunrise in the truck from the campground in Arches, the sun screaming in my eyeballs
- Heading into Moab and brunching at Milt’s then back to the same place for early dinner of grilled cheese and milkshake
- The hot server at Milt’s who reminded me of people past
- Quite possibly the best hamburger ever
- Lucking out in getting a camping spot in Arches and also at Horsethief, considering they were both full. The nice couple who gave me their campsite because they were leaving a day early.
- The hike to Delicate Arch was brutal, but the view well worth it
- Staying to shoot stars and having that had a great light painting setup and stealing their light
- That GPS has saved my bacon several times this trip
- Brushing and polishing a buffalo
- Long lasting dust Devil
- Tiny ants running along the trails and hills
- Sexy curves of hills, leading to spires and castles
- Oranges and whites and reds and greens of pine trees
- Winds whispering through the pines, swaying the tall boughs
- Being sad, but also feeling like I don’t want to waste my life, that I want to be the one who lived life as fully as I could, that I seized every moment
- I make paper cranes. Sometimes very very tiny cranes out of tiny paper napkin rings.
- Glorious showers, full pressure, good water, hot water, no time limit, getting clean and conditioned finally
- Morning cups of tea
- Early morning hikes, four small ones with great views and having my knee not freak out
- Petroglyphs (and seeing them for the first time)
- Not being able to sleep, soothing myself with Tycho on repeat
- Getting up at first light and looking out the window to see the pre-dawn glow but all the lights still on; that perfect transition time
- Shared breakfasts
- Flying over White Sands and starting to pull myself out of my sad, pining funk, feeling like I can do this, I can run on my own power, that I can come back to life again
- Bees on cactus flowers!
Aristotle’s opinion was that friends hold a mirror up to each other; through that mirror they can see each other in ways that would not otherwise be accessible to them, and it is this (reciprocal) mirroring that helps them improve themselves as persons. Friends, then, share a similar concept of eudaimonia [Greek for “having a good demon,” often translated as “happiness”] and help each other achieve it. So it is not just that friends are instrumentally good because they enrich our lives, but that they are an integral part of what it means to live the good life, according to Aristotle and other ancient Greek philosophers (like Epicurus).