Tag Archives: #lifeisgood

Zone of Totality …

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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/

 

Hot Days, Cool Nights … Siesta Anyone?

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Mount Rainer in the sunshine

The past few weeks our days start early, until about noon, when the thermometer hits 100+ it’s time for me to hide out in the air conditioning until about 20:00 (that’s 8:00 pm for you non-military time folks). It’s so hot I’ve run out of adjectives … blazing hot, melting hot, boiling hot, sizzling, scorching, red hot … and if someone says, “well, it’s a dry heat at least” … as they search for a positive … I’m glad they’re positive. Sweetie hooches up in his gun shop while I spend time researching an elusive ancestor and reading … I now understand Spanish and Italian siestas and I embrace them!!

But, I’m positively breaking my live in the now philosophy and am looking forward to next week when we’ll hitch up the Mini Winnie (I’ve yet to find that perfect name for her) and head for the mountains and rivers of Eastern Idaho and Montana and wishful thinking … cooler temps? maybe?

You’d think with all these free afternoons hidden away that I’d have my traveling list written and have everything ready to go. Nope, notta even a little bit, well, except when I think about it in-between books. I suppose I’d better get out from under this siesta fogginess and make sure we don’t forget something … though one of my well-worn travel motto’s is “if we don’t have it we don’t need it”, or  if we really do need ‘it’ then “Improvise, Adapt, & Overcome” (Marines Thank you for letting me steal your unofficial motto).

It’s a celestial month, August 2017, and on the night of the 11th we’ll be in the mountains of Eastern Idaho and in the midst of the Perseid’s Meteor Shower  and although there’ll be a waning gibbous moon  I’m hoping to see more than a few “shooting stars” sitting in the darkness on that mountain side.

When we return from mystery rivers, dutch-oven dinners, concerts and the night of shooting stars, we’ll only have a few days to prep for before Solar Eclipse Party people  head our way.  Oh! I’ll need a list for that too … our 30+ people eclipse party seems small compared with the thousands upon thousands of solar eclipse seeking hordes that have rented every hotel, motel, cow pasture, campground and free open space between here and the west coast just to watch the stars come out in the middle of the day (or that’s what the solar experts are saying)! Our little “ranch” is dead-center of the solar eclipse path … That reminds me, I’d better practice my camera’s time-lapse settings (like the rest of the world is doing). I’m planning on this party to be as much fun as 4th of July last year … I hope no one is disappointed … sometimes it’s hard to beat a chart topper, but it’s definitely a bar to reach for.

Sunset in Packwood Washington

Last weekend we packed our fishing gear and headed to Washington state to fish some creeks and rivers near Mt Rainier … we weren’t disappointed. Sweetie’s daughter, new to the fly fishing addiction, caught the 2 largest trout while I not fishing at the time &  hiking in my flipflops slid right over damp moss, down slick rock and into the creek. Two lessons from that watery encounter … First, take your own advice and remember the lessons you taught the grandkids to “Don’t hike in your flipflops”, and Second, don’t put your phone in your jacket pocket when you skid into an icy cold mountain stream … can anyone say, “Hello new iphone 7”?

Hot days, cool nights and breezes through the pines … life is good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dare You to Keep Your Eyes Open!

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When company comes callin’ up here in Council, Idaho we like to take them places that’ll scare the pants off of ’em.  If not truly scary, then at least give them a view they won’t find anywhere in Pennsylvania … the home of our latest visitors (Cousin Tom & his girlfriend Kelly).  We picked a 130+ mile round-trip drive through Idaho mining & Forest Service history. Sweetie was the Assistant Fire Management Officer (AFMO) for the Council Ranger District on the Payette National Forest for six years (before he met me 🙂  ); he knows cool stuff about the roads, mountains, people, and history of the area … he is a great tour guide.

It's a small town fer shur

It’s a small town fer shur

For starters we drove through the towns of Bear  and Cuprum (latin for copper) … snugged into the forest; small places remaining from the mining heyday in the 1890’s. Once boasting thousands … now, uh, less than 10? … few homes and fewer people.  We didn’t see many smiling faces as we drove past … more like what the H are you looking at kinda faces.

Horse Mountain Fire Lookout ... Payette National Forest

Horse Mountain Fire Lookout … Payette National Forest

Anyway, past these little spots we slowly wound our way up to the Horse Mountain Fire Lookout Tower from which you can see the Seven Devils mountain range and below (about a mile) you can see the thread of the Snake River in the bottom of Hell’s Canyon.Nothing this high in PA Horse Mountain Lookout Viewpoint over Snake River in Hells Canyon

Some folks think the road to the lookout is ‘scary’ … well, strap on your seat belt and grab your camera … the slow going, gravel road named  Kleinschmidt ‘s Grade will send chills down your spine, at places you’ll want to close your eyes, and if you are brave enough to look you’ll get a mountain goat’s eye view of the world.  The road was built as a way to move ore to the river; a way Mr. Kleinschmidt hoped would be faster than hauling the ore by wagon and mule team. It is a spectacular drive even if the road didn’t help Mr. Kleinschmidt’s financial ventures.

Kleinschmidt's Grade Photo Op

Kleinschmidt’s Grade Photo Op

Finally at the bottom of the grade and half-way home, we headed south toward the Oxbow and on to Cambridge. We pulled off in one of the well maintained and shady boat launch sites to give the Mala dog a swim and unfold our legs before starting back to the ranch.

The rest of the trip was uneventful and ties into several day trips I’ve shared with y’all before … in my Idaho Winter Wandering — No Snow and A Saturday Explore where we ended up in Cambridge and picked over the pawn shop and the art gallery. I love road trips; old trips, new trips … I saw 3 more trailheads on our journey that intrigued me and that I put on my I want to do that sometime list. Trip Stats? 1 dog, 1 4×4, 4 people, 6 hours, 130 miles …. unlimited smiles.

The trip doesn't look treacherous, does it?

The trip doesn’t look treacherous, does it? Can you tell the steep parts?

Elevation ... not much change was there? LOL

Same route, elevation only … Nah, not much of a drop at all!

 

 

 

 

 

How many miles?

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Red Rock Walkin ...

Red Rock Walkin …

I’m a family history junkie (if you hadn’t figured that out) and I often lament, “why didn’t they write something about their life”? I would love to read a journal or a letter … some tangible word that would bring their thoughts, hope, dreams, struggles, triumphs or daily hopes alive. In the meantime I haven’t kept a journal regularly, I’ve tossed more letters than I can count, and … in my quest for Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond, one of the weekly tasks is to write my Memoir .  Uggg, I think each time I sit down to answer the thoughtful questions meant to open up my locked consciousness. It’s not that I haven’t had a life … I have … much of it I’d just like to keep private, and some I’d just as soon as not remember … if you don’t mind … but, there are things sliding out of my memories that I haven’t thought of in ages (if at all).

Describe your room at ages 6-12: I didn’t have to share and I didn’t have a closet or a door … which was ok because if I had a door to slam I would have been grounded.  I haven’t even thought about what my room looked like … there was an upholstered rocking chair and a bed. There is no color in my memory of that room until I was 12.  I wonder what that means.

Beginning this journey has been slow.  I did pick a stupid time to start; I/we have been on the road for about a month. In fact, the new Escape, purchased the 4th of May has …wait for it… rolled over 6700 miles on yesterday’s trip up to Council. Dang! 11 months sticking around?  … sigh.

Can I find the bright side to lowering my road days? It’ll give me time to work on clarifying Me 2.0  or rather make that 62.0 … nope, I’ll just skip ahead to 62.0.2  … the first version of a release is always a bit buggy.

Pssst … nah, I won’t really be hanging tightly to the homestead … life is too short, family too dear, nature too enthralling, and adventure really does call when you least expect.  I may have to rent an Escape …. So, where are you going?

 

 

 

 

 

Gratitude Mode is Powerful!

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Alexus ... the Fireball!

Alexus … the Fireball! Grad 2016!

Dakota ... long boarder surpreme! Grad 2016!!

Dakota … long boarder supreme! Grad 2016!!

I’m into gratitude mode … contemplating all of the good and beauty around me. I keep rediscovering the power of gratitude  (how easy it is to forget and get sucked into woe is me mode) … Last week I started my journey with Julia Cameron and following her guide to discovering creativity and meaning at midlife and beyond. Start the day with Morning Pages; 3 8 x 11 long-hand, free thought writing each morning (just as you wake up). It’s one of my favorite things to lay on the edge of wakefulness and let my mind wander where it will while I gather lost thoughts from sleep and open to the possibilities of the new day.  These morning pages are letting me capture those thoughts, feelings, and intentions rather than having them float away with full consciousness.

It’s been within the morning pages that I have rediscovered and had gratitude reignited in my heart … getting outside of my whiny self and truthfully see the abundance in my life. I literally have been ‘counting my many blessings’ like the hymn I learned in Primary when I was young.  Pages and pages worth of blessings … last night’s list had many small things including having a toothbrush and toothpaste.  Large blessings, the biggies are easy to see in the moment, like seeing 2 more of my grandchildren graduate from high school and having further educational plans and a direction … but was I thankful for the car I drove 450 miles, the fuel in the car, good roads, no accidents, convenient pit-stops, no rain, my daughter for having a guest room, etc. etc. etc. … well, you can see how long and how fast a list of blessings can blossom.

Later I’ll be heading to Hobby Lobby for my  solo “Artist Date” which is another tool in the process.  I love Hobby Lobby … I think I’ll leave my debit card home.

And if you’d like to hear or learn Count Your Blessings … click here or click here

Bilbo Baggins is my Hero

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You gotta have a motto!

You gotta have a motto!

If you’ve kept up with my last few posts you’ll notice a theme … I’m feeling a bit, what’s the word? Retired? Yep. Retired. Accepting that word as opposed to the phrase ‘Not Working Anymore’ has been much to hard to accept.  Creeped me out actually.  When I quit working I left a career that I absolutely loved working for the U.S. Forest Service. Twenty-one years of absolute joy, excitement, and adventure. The last 5 years were pretty close to hell on earth.   I didn’t just quit working I escaped and that made the transition to ‘not working anymore’ a relief. It was a thank goodness I’m alive relief … more than that, thank goodness I didn’t toss anyone down the stairs relief.  But now it’s time to put those last 5 years into a box, tape it up and toss it into the incinerator. I just have to let it go and remember the 21 years I loved working and making a difference … maybe that is what I am sensing is missing … making a difference?

It’s starting … the 12 week book adventure I’m going on … Julia Cameron’s  It’s Never to Late to Begin Again:Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond.  I’ve started reading. Today I am starting with morning pages, a walk, and a mental walk-about … to seek and find something more, something new, something old or find just me..

I admit I’m feeling a bit like Bilbo Baggins leaving Bag End the second time … knowing the time is ripe for change and new adventures.

The Road goes ever on and on 

Down from the door where it began. 

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then? I cannot say!*

*Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Book 1, Fellowship of the Ring

Loving it All

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IMG_2305Welcome Monday! … my To-Do list has additions, the fruit trees blooming in the yard smell delicious, the sun is shining, the lawn mower is calling as is the mini roto-tiller and there are about 10 hours today to ‘git ‘er done’. Garden beds are calling and birds are singing and I’m sitting on the couch writing. Much is on my mind and in my heart.

Do you wonder sometimes why there are ups and downs in life? What tips the scales from good to bad in a minute or how we get on the slow slide into the blahs? Yep, life is just like that … it’s meant to test and try us. Yep, life is meant to help us become our best today, tomorrow, and always.  Yep, life is just like that … there is bad that goodness shines brighter in our hearts, sadness so we may know joy, tears so that laughter has meaning, and  …

Many of my life choices have brought me tears and heartache, the choices of others brought devastation that I had no control over … coming out on the other side of such pain, fear, and despair I gained much and can see the good in the horribly bad … I gained strength, courage, forgiveness, hope, optimism, joy, and most importantly love. I learned I can do hard things, but do not have to become hardened. I can forgive as I have been forgiven. I can see the sun shining behind the storm and know that it is always there and I need not fear the darkness.

I’ve learned that nothing can sustain true intensity forever … just as a tornado dissipates, an earthquake shakes only so long, a flood eventually recedes, calm does return. Though often it takes quite a while to clear the debris left behind and after the healing has started … I have learned that after the mess is cleared, the view is infinitely more beautiful … especially if I don’t go searching for the junk the tornado, earthquake, or flood washed away and carry it back into the yard.

Today the sun is shining bright in my life, challenges still come and I expect they will forever.  I have learned the most important thing … that I have never been alone. In the darkest of my nights, the deepest pits of my pain, in the face of my stupidity and fear I was always protected, guided, and loved by Christ my Savior who carried me when I didn’t know him, when I rejected him, when I was wandering in the wilderness. He saved me from myself, he rescued me and gave me life, joy, happiness, faith and hope.

IMG_2303He is the light in darkness. He is who He said he is: The living Son, of the living God.  He knows me, He knows my name, He died for me, He lives for me … and you.  Always.