Category Archives: Family

Portland Food Odyssey — Shut My Mouth!

Standard

Durfur Oregon

There are thousands, if not hundred’s of thousands of millions of words written about food; how to grow it, buy it, cook it, eat it. Words written attempting to describe a flavor or smell, texture or color of food.  I have a friend who is not a foodie; she’s described food as fuel and can eat the same breakfast, lunch, and dinner for days and be satisfied.  My sweetie on the other hand loves food; meal planning, purchasing, preparing is a joy for him and partaking of the finished result is most often a joy for me. Though at one time I did ask that he cut down on garlic … everything, no matter how distinct the dish sort of tasted the same.

With the hundreds of thousands of millions of words written I will not attempt to describe the foods we’ve enjoyed these past two weeks, but I will share a few of the restaurants, joints, bakeries, and spots that when you find yourself wandering around Portland you really should try. These places are in no particular order, and are spread all over the place.

Though it did start with an impromptu decision on our drive through the Columbia River Gorge to stay 12 miles south of The Dalles, OR at the Balch Hotel in Dufur. No that’s not a misspelling.  The hotel was built in 1907. Restored beautifully and located in a small town farming community which isn’t tumbling down and nearly deserted. Our room was full of antiques and original light fixtures, the bed and pillows were totally comfortable, and the claw foot tub was the highlight of the renovated modern bath. The morning’s surprise, the included breakfast was fresh with homemade yogurt and granola, sun-dried tomato and spinach omelet, a blueberry muffin, and fresh squeezed orange juice.  I think that breakfast was an omen of our forthcoming culinary ‘joys’.

After Sweetie did some urban forestry, removing some poorly placed old trees in son’s backyard we were taken on a 20 minute ride to try our first ever Khao Man Gai at where else? Nong’s Khao Man Gai … Rice, Chicken with Asian spices and too-die-for chicken broth soup.

Later that night we Google Mapped our way to downtown Portland located on Mississippi to taste oyster nectar at the Olympia Oyster Bar , just so you all know, I don’t eat raw oysters … they creep me out. I did have the seafood bucket overloaded with clams & mussels. Their bread was thick and rustic, just perfect for soaking up the liquid gold at the bottom of the tin. Sweetie’s son runs the kitchen and cooks (you don’t cook oysters) and sitting at the bar we watched him in action.

Remember that was just our first afternoon in town …

Breakfast was en’joy’ing perfectly cooked eggs, while sitting next to a lovely fireplace, on an enclosed patio at the Tin Shed Cafe, which is dog-friendly in case you wanted to know. They have a Fido Menu, served along with a dish of water for your furry friends.

Truly mouthwatering vegan, gluten-free lemon bars

Wandering through the Alberta District where the Tin Shed is located, we were introduced to what I think  is the first time I’ve eaten vegan, gluten-free baked goods where the sweets taste like desserts. Shut my mouth! Yep! On a scrumptious lemon bar. I heartily recommend the Back to Eden bakery … it’ll be worth the hunt for a parking space, I promise. And I don’t make promises lightly …

Mid-afternoon found the gaggle of us meeting at Cathedral Park and then a cross-town jaunt again downtown (where we found an actual parking garage) and later a very large bowl of fresh raman from at an eatery called ???? that’s right I don’t remember, but it was tasty and I can’t even tell you where it was. I nearly forgot brioche donuts from Blue Star Donuts … they were sold out of my favorite lemon poppyseed so I settled for spicy mexican hot chocolate (and a few other varieties that disappeared just as quickly)!

Can you believe I didn’t take any photos of dinner? No family snaps, snaps of food, or the building. you’ll just have to take my word that the Authentica Mexican restaurant was worth the hike after finding a parking spot a few blocks down the street. Opps! I almost tried to describe the food… I’ll just say “try it ” we loved the Chili Relleno.

Come Saturday and topping off our food odyssey the daughter of my heart  had us over for brunch before we headed home … my mouth is watering thinking of it and I think I may have to try to recreate the potato, egg, and asparagus dish, and hope I don’t forget the fresh mango on the side.

After our tantalizing odyssey I’ve decided that we’re in a food rut .. a stuck-in-a-rut make the same easy favorite recipes when it’s time for a meal kind of rut; or when we head out for dinner we go the the same 3 or 4 places and it takes a road-trip and time with family and friends who really are foodies with a capital F to shake things up and get us thinking on another plane. My other local food plane will include trying that small, place down the street that’s tucked into the little shopping mall, stop at a new food truck … or that Bosnian sandwich shop whose parking lot is always full … I’m thinking of looking for a Khao Man Gai somewhere in Boise … well a girl can hope, can’t she?

Life is soooo good and tonight’s dinner is quail with mushrooms, asparagus and basmati rice.  See ya later friends … quoting Julia C. “bon appetite”!

“It’s Simple, but it’s Not Easy”

Standard

I have a friend who is an internationally known body builder and health trainer. I once told him I was ready to get in shape, I was ready to lose some weight, and I asked him for some advice.  He said I can tell you what to do, “it’s simple, but it’s not easy”.

Simple: Eat less, exercise correctly.  Easy? No. It was tough to eat less, it was hard to do exercises that worked my body correctly. Though I tried to stay strong and focused I sabotaged myself. I made cookies, one cookie wouldn’t make a difference.  Then, one cookie became 3 and then it was even harder to go back to simple and finally I lost sight of my goals, and then just stopped following his advice, because it wasn’t easy.

I’ve thought about what he said quite often “It’s simple, but it’s not easy”. Many important and life changing things are simple. But not very easy. Why?  Because Easy doesn’t strengthen us, easy doesn’t encourage us, easy doesn’t build character … expecting something great while the way to get it is easy is one of Satan’s more well used and popular tools of deception.

God gives us straight-forward, seemingly simple, commandments; Love the Lord your God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength and the other is like unto it, Love your neighbor as yourself.

In our most fundamental doctrine we’ve been given the knowledge that we are children of a living God. The scriptures teach us this in many ways:

So, I asked myself some questions … Do I believe I am a child of God? Do I act like I am a child of God? Do I treat everyone with kindness and compassion knowing they are children of God? Do I reach out to my neighbors without a goal to convert them? Am I afraid to reach out to my neighbor because I think they might try and convert me? Am I welcoming and loving to everyone I meet?

I thought, yes? That Yes has an attached question mark. Then I thought about the word all. We are all God’s children. Well, then I thought … What about the people around the corner with 27 old cars out front that I criticize every time I drive by? What about that screaming child kicking the back of my seat in the airplane? What about people who have different political opinions? How about those people that just rub me the wrong way? How about people that … well you get the idea.  I didn’t like my answers … they weren’t a solid yes! My answers were  ‘well’, ‘kinda’, ‘sorta I do’, ‘maybe’, ‘sometimes’ …

How do we forget this fundamental doctrine? Because it’s a simple truth. We know we are children of God, but it’s not easy to remember and act upon when we aren’t focused on it, because the natural man sees with the eyes not the heart.

Satan works very hard to keep us separate. He works to keep us focused inward on ME and to forget WE.  Looking around on social media, listening to the news, even conversations within our own families we can see he’s been very successful in creating an environment of Us versus Them.

I want to focus on 3 ways or ‘weapons’ that Satan is using to blind us and stop us from seeing & treating God’s children as our brothers and sisters.  Then I will share with you the Secret, Not-so-Secret weapon God has given us to defeat Satan in this on-going war.

The first weapon Satan is using is Contention.  This is so blatant that the Lord gave us specific scriptural warning to beware:

“He that hath the spirit of contention is not of me [saith the Lord], but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another”.[v]

Contention stops us from seeing everyone as a child of God by separating us into groups so we comfortably live our life in our own bubbles; contention breaks our personal peace and causes us to harden our hearts and blind our eyes to everyone not like us. Who look differently, live differently, believe differently.

President Russel M. Nelson taught us how to combat contention[vi]

He says, “…show compassionate concern for others. Control the tongue, the pen, and the keyboard. Whenever tempted to dispute, remember this proverb: “He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.” (Prov. 11:12; see also Prov. 17:28.)

He goes on to say: Bridle the passion to speak or write contentiously for personal gain or glory. The Apostle Paul counseled the Philippians, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” (Philip. 2:3.)

But the ultimate step lies beyond beginning control of expression. Personal peace is reached when one, in humble submissiveness, truly loves God.”

He then directed us to Heed carefully this scripture:

“There was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.”

A second tool Satan is using is Pride

I never thought of myself as prideful. But I was so excited when I bought the next best car to my dream car which is a 1963 corvette … my new car was a nice little silver blue Z3 … it looked like the old ‘vette. So, one day I’m driving down the road, feeling all, this is cool, when I realized I wasn’t feeling this is cool, it was I’m cool. I was comparing my car with those around me. It was like a punch in the stomach.  I was like the Nephites!

Most of The Book of Mormon is seeing the rise of pride in the Nephites. We read about their Pride in their wealth, pride in their clothing, pride in their homes, and pride in their own strength… The pride which was their downfall.

First I tried to talk myself out of that thought, I’m not prideful! But after that day almost every time I got in my little car I remembered that feeling and those thoughts. Finally, the ultimate reason I sold my car was because of those feelings.  I’m not saying driving a nice car makes a person prideful, but I was prideful when I drove that car. After that moment of knowing; I saw many other places I had let pride in; like being at work and thinking I can do this better, more efficiently than anyone here in this meeting … why do I have to listen to what they have to say?

The Guide to the Scriptures describes this hurtful Pride as:

A lack or absence of humility or teachableness.

It goes on to say: Pride sets people in opposition to each other and to God. A proud person sets himself above those around him and follows his own will rather than God’s will.  Conceit, envy, hardheartedness, and haughtiness are also typical of a proud person.

In the New Testament, James (2:2) teaches us how pride separates us from one another and how to combat that pride within ourselves.

For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;

And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:

Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, though shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well:

But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

Mormon also teaches us to combat pride through yielding our hearts unto God:

Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God”.[vii]

And another tool Satan is using to blind us from seeing and treating one another as brothers and sisters is Unrighteous Judgement.

President Thomas S. Monson in his 2010 General Conference talk Charity Never Faileth, told this story:

 “A young couple, Lisa and John, moved into a new neighborhood. One morning while they were eating breakfast, Lisa looked out the window and watched her next-door neighbor hanging out her wash.

“‘That laundry’s not clean!’ Lisa exclaimed. ‘Our neighbor doesn’t know how to get clothes clean!’

“John looked on but remained silent.

“Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, Lisa would make the same comments.

“A few weeks later Lisa was surprised to glance out her window and see a nice, clean wash hanging in her neighbor’s yard. She said to her husband, ‘Look, John—she’s finally learned how to wash correctly! I wonder how she did it.’

“John replied, ‘Well, dear, I got up early this morning and washed our windows!”

Although we are warned about judging un-righteously we do need to judge daily about many things and people.

From True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference we learn:

“Sometimes people feel that it is wrong to judge others in any way. While it is true that you should not condemn others or judge them unrighteously, you will need to make judgments of ideas, situations, and people throughout your life. The Lord has given many commandments that you cannot keep without making judgments…

Judgement is an important use of your agency and requires great care, especially when you make judgments about other people. All your judgments must be guided by righteous standards”.

Elder Lynn Robbins in his Oct 2016 General Conference talk The Righteous Judge taught us to follow Christ’s example of righteous judgement.

“In His mortal life, Jesus Christ was a loving judge, uncommonly wise and patient. He is known in the scriptures as “the righteous judge”, and His counsel to us is to also “judge righteous judgment” and to “put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good … [and] to judge righteously”.[viii]

Heavenly Father commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves. He has given us the best tool or weapon to combat Contention, combat Pride, and combat Unrighteous Judgement. Really, it’s the tool to combat all that Satan throws at us.

It is God’s love. This is the Secret, not-Secret weapon God has given us to defeat Satan.

  • We see he told us the weapon to use against contention is to “Fill our heart with God’s love”,
  • the weapon against pride is to “pray and fast and yield our heart to God”, and
  • then, to combat unrighteous judgement rely upon Him and “trust in the spirit”.

My family is a microcosm of the world … as its grown it has become truly diverse in every way. Even though they are adults with children of their own I have struggled, and do struggle with their choices; I struggle as to how to reconcile my beliefs and theirs, my lifestyle with theirs, my viewpoints and theirs.

At one point I gave in to anger, judgement, & frustration. I was angry with them, I was fearful for them, I often was ashamed of them.  I would feel guilt, shame & more frustration. It was overwhelming and heart-breaking. I could hardly be with some of them, or even talk to them. There was little or no love in my heart or between us in our family.

On my knees praying for help, praying for forgiveness, asking for guidance … begging for God to help me understand them, and begging to know what I could do, what I should do … The Lord answered my prayer so profoundly that I am not the same.

He told me that it is not my job to judge them. He told me that he knows them, He knows their paths, he knows their plan, and He knows what they need.  They are His, as am I. My job is only to Love them.

That answer to my prayers taught me and helps me remember to treat and love each one in my family circle as a precious son or daughter of God. I don’t always succeed, but God’s love helped me separate their actions from who they are, his children … and love has returned.

Over time, I’ve come to understand that His words apply to everyone I encounter. Heavenly Father wants us to remember that He knows everyone. He knows everyone’s paths, He knows everyone’s plan. We all are His. Our only job is to love one another. Everyone. Not just in church, not just those who like what we like, or do what we do, but everyone.

How has he taught us to love one another? How has he taught us to love our families? Love our neighbors?  The stranger? The refugee? The prisoner? The homeless? The sick?  Those of different religions, colors, creeds, tongues, lands and people?

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

And he also taught us

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; …

46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?

47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others?[ix]

God’s not so secret weapon is that we are to love and serve one another. We are to love with God’s love, and we know that God’s love is the pure love of Christ, which pure love is Charity. And we know that God’s Charity Never Faileth.

In the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Moroni gave direction as to how to be filled with Charity …

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; [x]

President John Taylor, the third president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, taught the importance of not only believing, but practicing the Savior’s plea to love our neighbor.

Love one another, and work the works of righteousness, and look after the welfare of all, and seek to promote the happiness of all. That is what God is doing.”   

“When you get the Spirit of God, you feel full of kindness, charity, long-suffering, and you are willing all the day long to accord to every man that which you want yourself. You feel disposed all the day long to do unto all men as you would wish them to do unto you.”[xi]

Going back to what my friend told me, “It’s simple, but it’s not easy” … Simple: treat everyone as a son or daughter of God.  Love thy neighbor as thyself. But to remember and do that is often not easy because we are only men and women and are not perfect.  I believe that as we follow Moroni’s guidance to pray with all the energy of [our] heart for the gift of Charity and the guidance of the Holy Ghost and if we follow Nephi’s counsel to press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men  we will see everyone as they truly are, we will treat them and serve them as our brothers and sisters; as children of our Father in Heaven  … As God knows and sees us.

May we always remember we are all our Father’s children. May we all desire and pray for the gift of Charity, and may God’s love enable us to overcome Satan whose only desire is to stop us from returning home to live in Celestial glory with our Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ.

I testify that we are, all of us, the sons and daughters of God; our Father in Heaven knows each of our names, each of our needs, and knows our heart’s greatest desires. He loves every one of us with His infinite love, no matter our circumstances, where we were born or live, our trials, our opportunities, or our choices. For the Father offered even his son, Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life as an example to us.  Our Savior, Jesus Christ, died and atoned for our sins, the sins of everyone, in every place, in every time, in every circumstance.

Hands Across America 1986 — Philadelphia

Hands Across America 1986 – Midwest, USA

 

 

[i] Moses Chapter 1:13

[ii] Psalms 82:6

[iii] Acts 17:29

[iv] Doctrine and Covenants 76:34

[v] 3 Nephi 11:29

[vi] The Canker of Contention, by Elder Russell M. Nelson

[viii] The Righteous Judge, by Elder Lynn G. Robbins

[ix] Matthew 25:35-47

[x] Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ  Moroni 7:48

[xi] Teachings of the Presidents of the Church (of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), President John Taylor, Chpt 3 Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself

Today’s Tribute is to Newton’s 1st Law of Motion

Standard

Christmas holiday company left 45 minutes ago … though they’re out the door the ions, electrons, neutrons, atoms, & quarks are still spinning all around and bombarding me. There is definitely active energy excitement going on here.  Even the silence feels like it has weight.  My mind doesn’t want to generate thought, my body doesn’t want to do much but remain stopped. The past week(s) we’ve proven Newton’s 1st law of motion: that a body in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. Well my body wants to work on the other half of Newton’s first law of motion – sometimes referred to as the law of inertia that an object at rest stays at rest until acted upon by an unbalanced force.

Charlie; our foster dog … he misses his real momma

Was I being mean or what?

The 4500 miles, a new dog member to our family, then our annual 5 course plus dessert Christmas Eve dinner (carb overload) and wonderful friends, Christmas dinner and more wonderful friends (less carbs), Sweetie’s daughter & husband spent a few days successfully getting us onto the X-C ski tracks around McCall for the first time this year (like we’ve had nooooo snow to speak of) and so now the biggest unbalanced force that will be acting upon me will be the combined efforts of the dogs at my feet for a walk … later … much later.

And with that statement I am closing up the year of our Lord Two Thousand and Seventeen with a sigh of contentment, a heart full of gratitude for uncountable blessings, and a prayer of thanksgiving in my heart for all the days of this year. All the days of love, days of friendship, days of pain, days of sorrow, days of hope, days of joy, days of tears, days of failure, days of success, days of shadow and days of sunshine.

Thank you for joining me on this year’s journey around the sun. I’ve loved every minute of it I hope you have too!

 

Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.  Psalms 106

Denial to Acceptance … Really

Standard

Last week … Indian Summer

Each seasonal transition I have a mini meltdown … I become so invested in the current season that I never want it to end.  Tuesday last I moved from foot dragging, whining denial that fall is giving way to winter and Indian Summer won’t last into acceptance of winter’s charms. Icy winds and night frosted branches, snow dancing down and sun peeking from beneath clouds to glitter on said frost.

This week @Cascade, Idaho … yes, in November … like 3 days ago

It’s here … although on the calendar we may have more days of Indian Summer which I will revel in … winter is coming, snow is falling and plans for the winter months are starting to bustle to the front of my brain. They are the indoor, quieter activities, interspersed with days of mountain shusshing skiing (alpine & nordic), a trip or two south of the snow meridian, and maybe I’ll get the first chapter of the life story of my Great-Grandfather Hyrum Chase Nicol outlined if not completed.

What’s on your late fall and early winter want to do list? I hope it includes giving Thanks with family and friends, and giving secret service where it’s least expected. I hope your list contains stuff that will make you break out in bubbles and giggles of laughter, and trying recipes that will waft great smells from your kitchen, and will your list contain projects to actually be completed before (like me) your mind wanders away?

So my friends, I’ll keep wandering, even if it’s only in my mind and soul and finding that perfect run, on the perfect snowy powder day … you’ll join me, won’t you?

 

Zone of Totality …

Standard

So there was this thing about 10 days ago that created a sensation across the states (and the world) … the total solar eclipse. Now I’m not an astronomer (I tried, but I can’t stay up all night), and it’s taken me almost my whole lifetime to learn the names of and recognize the phases of the moon. But I LOVE eclipses; total or otherwise.  I haven’t traveled across the world to watch one (or I haven’t yet), but after being an eye witness in the Zone of Totality I just might.

We’re ready … total solar eclipse 2017

Check the light, the sun is about 1/2 covered and the night wind started blowing.

When the hype started 5-6 months ago I realized that our little ‘ranch’ although not in the exact center of the path was in the zone and I immediately thought PARTY!! And what a party it was … 17 peeps made a 7 hour trek to experience totality, plus our next door neighbors (next door meaning they get in their truck to get to our place).  The hype and Facebook and twitter and newspaper articles are awash with photographs … I heard folks were disappointed they didn’t turn into vampires, at least that was one rumor floating around… yeah, well … it’s what I heard.

This is soooo cool!

So, just 2 days before the eclipse I was talking to my little sister about how I wanted to experience things and stop seeing them through my camera lens … My point was I spend too much time ‘capturing’ the moment rather than ‘living’ the moment. So, what did I do? I wasted precious time trying to ‘get a shot’ of what my eyes were seeing (which didn’t work) and I wasted time that I could have seen the stars that came out, I could have, I could have … but I didn’t. But I will when I see the next total eclipse August 12, 2045 which goes dead-center over Utah, and after all I’ll only be 91 … guess that’s something to put on my I need to see and experience again list.

What else do you do at Grandpa’s ranch but ride the 4-wheeler

Just so you know that I did invite everyone I know and talked to in Boise and surrounding areas to come up and see the Total Eclipse … and what did I hear? “It’ll be 99.5% total here, why should I drive 2 hours north and get stuck in traffic”? What’s the difference? What’s the difference? It’s like running 26.195 miles of a marathon and stopping because 99.5% is good enough”. It’s like Neil Armstrong peeking out the window of the lunar module and saying, “this is close enough”.

In the Zone of Totality
Photograph Credit: Wyatt Taylor (yes, he’s my gson) Follow his Instagram @ High_Peaks_Adv and webpage

We were Here! We experienced the light dim to colors I’ve yet to have words to describe, to feel the temperature drop 15+ degrees and the night winds start blowing, to keep tipping solar viewing glasses up and down to see the light change, to look at the corona, to see the colors change again.  Then to watch that brilliant blast of solar light as the sun exploded into the beyond just as the moon slipped infinitesimally past  totality … it was a diamond ring.

But I missed stars! and I WANTED to see the stars. What a hard lesson that was … again.  My lesson? Be Here Now!

What an AWESOME display of the perfection of the universe and of God’s love to put the planets in such perfect alignment that on August 21, 2017 we were in the Zone of Totality … we saw & felt a Total Solar Eclipse!

The fam & friends had packed and were on the road before the end of the light show .. attempting to make it to the interstate before the throngs plugged the 2  lane running past our house.  It was a good plan, but an hour south they became part of the miles of traffic stoppage with other like-minded folks.

The total eclipse was worth it, and to add to our excitement Saturday night we had a 3 hour find Max the Schnauzer (dog with a heart condition) scavenger hunt. After many tears and recriminations he was found under a bush 100 yards from the house after a search of 90+ acres, and several miles of the rails to trails.

Idaho Eclipse Weekend Artifact; found in clothes dryer. Finder quoted saying, “I thought I said NO”.

Not to be outdone, Sunday was the evening of the RATTLESNAKE ! My theory is the old school gangsta rap they were listening to called the snake across 30 feet of burnt dirt and rocks, to hunker under the trailer & coil up next to the boombox between two girls.  Later the daughter discovered that No to a 10 year old son isn’t no to his grandpa.

Isn’t Life Grand?

Where will you be for the next Total Eclipse? https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/future/

 

Chills, a Nudge & Footsteps

Standard

Hyrum C & Isabella Murdock Nicol Homestead Uintah  County, Utah. Settled 1906

Five years ago I was in Duchesne (pronounced Do-Shane) Utah over the 4th of July on a fire assignment … before in-briefing I spent a couple of hours in the county records office researching the homestead my great grandparents had near there. I was able to get a copy of the ledger page showing the final patent they received and the sale of the homestead. Just before we left for another assignment, a few friends and I drove up Sower’s Canyon and found the old place which is now inside the Uintah-Ouray Reservation. We took pictures, Dick made a video and at home I found a photo of my great-grandfather and grandfather outside the door of that cabin. It gave me the chills.

Well, lately the “Indian Ranch” has come to mind more than a few times; I don’t know why, but I have learned that when something comes to mind without a reason it’s something I should pay attention to. The attention I’ve been paying to the nudge has lead me to read old newspapers, searching for my great-grandfather’s name. Eureka! There were more than a few articles and advertisements found; one or two with my great-grandmother’s name also. So I’m on a hunt. For what, I’m not sure, but I’m certain in time it will be revealed.

In the meantime I had a wander through old newspapers. They’re fascinating, filling the bulletin board of a frontier and homesteader’s life: Who is traveling, who is sick, who changed jobs, who built a barn, bought a cow or a horse, put up fence in record time, or bought a murder house cheap. The insights into the world of frontier homestead towns and people had me thinking of the hard life and many sacrifices they made to build a country from nothing but raw materials and their hands. A big box store wan’t around the corner to pick up an extra board, saw blade, or food. They cut the trees, forged the iron, plowed the fields and built canals and dams in the desert to water those fields, their cattle, their gardens and themselves. They were no strangers to government greed and graft, religious contention, migration and immigration problems, financial market fluctuations, divorce, and violence.  I highly recommend a perusal through the Utah Digital Newspapers project if you have Utah ancestors or even just want to peer back in time.

So as I sit here, hooched up in my air conditioned room, on a comfy couch, sipping a smoothie after an early morning golf game peeking into the windows of my ancestors lives and I’ve decided I’m grateful that it’s not the time I was called to live in … because I know that I’m soft, and expect water from the tap, commodities in the store just down the street, instant communication, and stuff to do, places to go, access to everything I could ever want or need at my finger tips and once ordered they’ll show up on the doorstep tomorrow.

I also realize I live under the same sun, watch the same moon and stars each night, and by walking (figuratively or not) their trails and holy places, I follow their footsteps and I’m grateful for the realization and knowledge that I am part of an eternal chain of life; mother and father to child, as far back as life itself.  Now it is I  who is great-grandmother and I ask myself, what story will I leave behind? Where are the prints of my footsteps heading?

 

 

 

 

7 Days 7 National Parks … RED ROCKS TOUR 2017

Standard

We’re Baaaack! If you were wondering whether I had truly packed too much into our southern Utah/northern Arizona red rock road trip … the answer is Nope! I surprised myself that the sack was just big enough and not too full. It is possible to smorgasbord a little bit here and a little bit there and taste some of the wonders of my favorite part of the world … whetting the appetite for more, and more, and more.  Of course, the more and more is for another adventure. It always comes down to too little time and soooo much to do, see, learn & experience.

So, after planning, mapping, and anticipating this 8 day adventure (not counting the going there and getting home days) I can recommend this Itinerary with the caveat that in my experience, going to a National Park after Memorial Day is only for the strong of heart and crowd loving. That said, even two weeks before the official start of the summer travel season the National Parks, camp sites, view points, restaurants, and highways were FILLED. It was a shocker to my system.

We officially started our road trip from American Fork Utah when we met up with the cousins from PA , driving their rented from Salt Lake City RV America motor home. On to Moab, Utah where we arrived to find EVERY campground full, every side track FULL, and finally found an unpopulated gravel pit 10-12 miles down SR 313 toward Dead Horse Point, off of a side road. I’m not kidding, any area that would accommodate a tent, a car, a trailer or RV was taken.  So beware.

Delicate Arch … there is Always someone beneath it. Sigh.

Arches National Park, by 9 am was almost bumper to bumper to the Delicate Arch parking lot. The hike to the arch is worth the effort. Honestly! In the evening Dead Horse Point, showed off the river and canyons with joy. Albeit with cold wind and gray clouds making us hurry more than usual. I was murmuring outloud that I wished the sun would come out and put the canyon walls on display. Someone took ‘offense’ at my remarks, saying something like This is Beautiful … what more could you want? If you’ve never seen a golden sunset on red rock walls and reflecting from the ribbon of river wound through the country below … well, you can want more than flat light.

Island in the Sky never fails to inspire the heart and soul and the walk along the rim shows wonders yet to explore (next time). Then off to Bluff, Utah … pioneer history, Hovenweep … ancient history, Butler Wash … even more ancient history, then Monument Valley … John Wayne history (think Nathan Biddles in the 1949 movie, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon), and onto the southern route to the Grand Canyon.

Monument Valley: We didn’t see Forrest Gump, but did see a group of Japanese kids recreating the iconic scene!

 

We turned onto a Kaibab National Forest road about 8 miles from the south entrance and found a grand camping site. Then the wind and rains came.

It’s May … not Elk Camp in the Fall!!

Here were are, in ski hats and winter coats (we could have been at fall elk camp it was so cold). In fact, the next morning traveling toward the gate at the south entrance to the park there was SNOW on the ground. Not just a skiff, but large patches. And I was into layers of jackets and a coat to stay warm.

What can I say about the Grand Canyon that isn’t a cliche? It’s is an experience everyone should aspire to behold. Photographs, paintings, watercolors, mixed media interpretations just can’t open the heart to its immensity and timelessness.

Packing up that afternoon we were again on the road through Cameron AZ toward the Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument where we arrived too late for a camp spot at the Stateline campground near the Wire Pass Trailhead … so morning found us waking up in the trail head parking lot, along with several others.

Buckskin Gulch

The hike into Wire Pass and a right turn into Buckskin Gulch slot canyon(s) is always a wonderland of experiences … and this one was no exception. The usual drop over the rock at the mouth of the first slot was made much harder from last fall’s rainstorms which washed out the landing area … the drop was far greater than the last visit. Getting back up was accomplished only because we arrived at the same time folks were starting the drop. A big push from below, a huge tug from above … no skinned knees, but it was a blessing ‘fer shur’.

The last stage of the trip, a night in Kanab, dinner at Houston’s Trails End,  and some sand scraping before the final day at Zion National Park. Description? ZOO, it was a ZOO! There were so many people and cars, trucks, motorcycles, trailers, RVs, bicycles and hikers that I went into sensory overload. We hit the road north early and stayed the night camped at my mom’s in Orem, which was a smile on my heart.

Last night of the trip found us in Salt Lake City, at the Little America Motor Lodge … ah, a long hot shower, dinner with some of the Utah fam and Sunday morning to sit in the historic Tabernacle at Temple Square and listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (for FREE)! Wonderful.

I slept most of the way home to Boise.  So, chalk up another 2100 plus mile road trip that’d I’d take again in a heart beat and stick around a few areas a while longer … that stick around a while longer is already added to “The List”.