Saturday, December 26, 2009

Rush of madness over

Now that everyone can sigh in reliefe the best and worst of all holidays is past: Christmas. It amazes me every year how we become so stressed over our expectations in others and ourselves; when it's a time to celebrate the beauty of life.

Did you see the sunrise on Christmas morning? If you didn't here it is for you. My gift.

Destination Phantom Ranch - Made it!

Our Cabin, isn't it pretty?

From outside our cabin. It's like fall the the cottonwoods yellow.

This is the next day; when my left hand was swollen like a blown up glove. I figured I'll go the ranger station and get a cortosone shot. Well, I was surprised by the action.

Last view from the ground as the doctor ordered them to fly me out. I was really surprised - the blisters on my feet, and my calve muscles were sighing in relief.

But I will have to go back down (the Bright Angel Trail!) and do it right by hiking out.

I look forward to the pictures Zac got as he was able to stay on the 2nd night and hiked back up the Bright Angel Trail. Our things were duffled out on the mules.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Adventures begins...

Started at the Kaibab Trail head about 6:30 - it was actually darker when we started this was after a bit.

Oh My! More $%^&*#$ stairs!!!! If I ever get a house there won't be a freaking STAIR in it!

Finally flatter ground; with the patron saint of patience: Zac. Once we got to the ranger station it was such a relieve to have only 200 yards to go and it was uphill!

On the last leg which is all stairs; it is relieved by the beauty of the inner gorge. Amazing.

Our tour guide to Phantom Ranch

Happy Christmas Eve

my first snowman made on my first day of vacation

Thursday, December 10, 2009


It's been years since I've taken more then just 2 or 3 days off. Overdue.

The itinerary has changed a little but the basics remain the same;

meet Zak at Las Vegas and spend the night
drive home
do what we can on a limited budget for two days
Hike down to Phantom Ranch
Hike back up (Wish me good luck)
Go to the managers party
Spend one more night at Las Vegas
Come home

Pictures will be forthcoming, in the meanwhile I'll re-arrange, clean the apartment and enjoy just being.

Well my flight out to Las Vegas got cancelled so Zac drove in
We walked and explored, had breakfast at ET and signed up for two nights at Phantom in a cabin
Hiked down - Yeah I made it
Zac hiked up - I got a flight out
Definately recuperated
Enjoyed the managers party - won a toaster oven
Got some great pics at Las Vegas - but I wasn't impressed
It felt good to get home

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Being watched from afar 11/28


Morning entertainment - two large beautiful bucks sparring.

I switched to my 300mm lens

I felt like I was part of a filimg crew on "Wild Kingdom" in my own backyard

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Happy December, I think

Well it is December. Maybe it's because I don't have a tree that I'm just not in the 'spirit'? Dunno. Baby it's cold outside - it really is.

I am looking forward to Vacation with Zak. I've never been to Las Vegas and am a bit unsure as everyone but one person I know has said "you'll love it". I'm certain I'll enjoy the food, escaping canyon food is always a GOOD thing. I'm hoping to get us tickets for a good show and take lots of photos. I'm sure I'll look around goggle-eyed like a true tourist I might as well wear socks with my sandles. The hardest part I'm having is picking out a hotel to stay at; a little more research is called for.

Other things are planned, including hiking, Flagstaff, Sedona and possibly Prescott. There are many things to see and do here in Arizona as there really is anywhere one goes. The main event is of course my back yard; the Grand Canyon; so that's the main thing.

Well this month begins on a busy note and looks to be continuously so throughout the month with various parties and such I will seek comfort, rest and beauty in between when ever I take a concious breath. I hope yours is filled with comfort, rest and beauty with every breath.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving pictures

Before the swarm. Didn't get an'after'as I was enjoying it as well.

Yes I actually do dishes...when I have to.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

Yesterday everything was great, had a lot of people in and out throughout the day at Patrick's. It was funny; everyone consumed a lot quickly at first; then all sat back rubbing out stomachs, then slowly got up and picked at the food throughout the day. Quantities of wine were consumed, laughter filled the air along with various degrees in conversations; one side of the room would talk about religion or philosophy, another side of the room would talk psychology.

So here it is the day after, I'm off. Not going shopping; well I do need to go to the store for Patrick and a few things for myself. I plan on making a turkey soup at Patrick's insistance. I'm out of dill, unfortunately it can't be found here at the canyon. So I'll call it dill less turkey soup except there is dill on the turkey, well was. It turned out well even with the carmelized skin.

I hope everyones black Friday is a safe one as we go into Christmas time. Zak will be here in two weeks! Can't wait to see him.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

American Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. The surge in electric bills have begun - as soon as that oven was cranked to start the bird and fixings.
The deer are frollicking and the sun is shining, no snow and none in the forcast at least for now. I'm secretly (well not anymore) hoping it doesn't fly until Zak has left.

The Christmas Jazz station is on my Yahoo radio and in 5 minutes I put the bird in. We've moved the dining venue to Patricks, as he's got more seating spaces, a tv, and we decorated until midnight last night last night. Between the two of us we tend to come out almost as a whole (he's gay, haha. Half of my kitchen items is up at his apartment. I'm not putting up a tree this year; there's enough in my back year. I did put out ornaments and I'm watching a heard of deer wander past my window.

Okay, it's over 1 hour later the skin is darkened (more then I wanted since I spread honey on it - oh well), so it's tented with foil, and the turkey smells really good. It's weird having my house empty of people on a holiday; even in St. Augustine I had company at least the last year I was there. Once the food is put away literally and figuratively I will work on Christmas Cards, and getting ready to mail out one or two packages of presents. I will take advantage of the post office being open tomorrow. It's nice being off for four days. I'm looking forward to doing a few things besides laundry and cleaning the apartment. Maybe get a little hiking and drawing in.

Almost time, the chairs are upstairs as I kneel to post; glancing up I see a doe and a buck pass by. I wonder what they think and say when they communicate; oh to understand would be pretty interesting I think.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Next week already. This last Friday seemed to be the LONGEST day at work; we all ran out as that minute hand hit 5pm. We ought to get a clock that at 5 o'clock pm yells the word "Freedom" in Mel Gibson's great rendition. Now earlier in the week it was very busy with a group of people from central reservations visiting. We all took turns showing them around; and they we're kept running from early in the morning until well into the evening. They hardly got any free time and I imagine they went through the mind melting all the information overload upon their return. Still my part was fun as I get a kick out of showing off my 'backyard'.

Today was the first "Art Talk" - I hosted a class at the rec center to go over the basics of drawing. Two people showed, but hey, that's two more then 15 minutes before hand. After we went to lunch, we took in the exhibit at the Kolb. The two ladies with me decided to hike down the Bright Angel trail a little ways; I sat and drew for a little while. It was really breezy and didn't take long for the breeze to whip up and become colder; so I put my things away and headed out. Just in time there was a large group of Japanese visitors heading out with cameras at the ready!

Pulling out the Christmas items I was assalted with memories of last Christmas here. Last year I was excited, for the first time in quite a while, whereas this year I shrug. Maybe it was being with someone to do things together, but I'd rather it'd be in a healthy relationship or none at all. This year it is the latter; so I make the best of it as it's certainly not my first Christmas alone; and I'm sure won't be the last.

Zak will be here in less then a month, I've set my vacation time to spend time with him. And since he's getting a car, to escape the canyon for a little while. It's really not so bad, I'm realigning still and have some plans in the fire for changes, some beginning in the new year getting back to basics. Though if I get any more great catalogs with cute clothing I won't have room.

Not sure if I'll blog about Thanksgiving; I'm hosting it at my house for friends and friends of friends some old some new. Though I'll miss my dear friends in Florida my heart is with you and I am thankful for the closeness we cherish whether we're miles or continents apart.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The middle of...

November, already! Seems all I want to do when I get out of work is come home and either stick my nose in a book or go to sleep early. It's been really nice in the afternoons, though the days are shortened. I go to work in twilight, and come home in the dusk. Pretty sunsets, though the nights are getting longer and all those unspoken words in between.

I got an art table from someone who is leaving so that is set up and is being used - at least it's holding my art supplies - well not the sketchbooks or watercolor paper, except for what is currently being worked on but it's being used for the purpose of it's intention.

Zak will be here in one month! I can't wait. Beyond that I'm contemplating a new year move - back to a dorm room. Various reasons are inspiring me, at least I won't have to live with anyone due to my status. Right now it's just a seed, we shall see what January brings.

In the meantime, (there's that word again)I've got Christmas presents to think of, a visit with Zak and going back with him to Las Vegas to see him off, and/or getting there to pick him up. (he's getting the car but it would be nice to go visit a few places while I can.) and I'm waiting for my hair to grow back in. I do want to see how long I can get it again; this time sans fake color.

Of course I still gaze at my glorious back yard, avoid the elk and deer - especially when wearing my leather or suede coat. They don't seem to like those.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


The CDC (Center for Disease Control) website states that 99% cases of the flu reported since September 2009 are the H1N1, aka the swine flu. It is a doozy. It definately has different characteristics from the other known flu's as it attacks the bronchial tubes quickly.


DON'T USE ANYONE'S PEN - silly? maybe but think about how the germs from someone coughing into their hand before signing a credit card receipt.

Use your debit card rather then cash - there's already a gazillion germs on paper cash, cut the handling down as much as possible.

Carry towlettes that contain alcohol on you or with you; if you have to shake hands wipe discreetly or say politely "I'm getting over a cold, please understand it is a pleasure to meet you..." if they aren't happy that you're concerned for their welfare well think about it.

There are many precautions presented on the CDC's website; just google CDC.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Humphreys Peak

The highest of a group of ancient vocanic peaks known as the San Francisco Peaks. It lays between the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff. Near the top is a ski resort that is quite popular. Gayle and I decided to drive to it (because I've never been there) on our way back from Flagstaff one day. The part we went to is over 9000 feet up, there's a lot of switchbacks (not as bad as in Oak Creek Canyon), and a lot of Aspen. Considering this was the back end of October (the 24th) I was surprised to see a lot of leaves still on some of the Aspen.


Happy November. It's been a long but not slow summer into fall time period. Through it I took several trips, some over night, some day trips. I fought spider bites (several times) and illness (this last one took me for a loopy ride!). It's been 6 months since Mike left and I feel as though I am waking up. Just in time for winter. We had a little snow the other day - it didn't stick - and today it's a balmy 60 degrees.

Earlier this month I took a trip with the rec center to Sedona. We started out at Slide Rock, which is just as the name implies a rock feature you slide down with the water. I didn't plan on riding down, just enjoying the scenery; I thought it's just a bunch of woods around the area great fodder for drawing. Little did I know it was actually once a homestead; on it the apple trees are still tended and there are several of the buildings in use by the NPS. I was also struck at how much it resembled Utah, you decide for yourself.

Saturday, October 03, 2009


Not officially the beginning of fall, but it has been cooler in the mornings. Came down with something Thursday, went home Friday and after as much pampering as I can do I feel a lot better. Working a lot, as September and October is busy months for groups not been doing a whole lot of anything else. Zak's visiting in December, looking foward to that.
So in comes October, I'm not as excited as I usually am with regards to the approaching holidays; maybe the excitement is waiting? For what? I guess I'll know when it (what ever that is) happens.
The elk have been using my back yard as a 'singles' meet; this last week they've been bugling a lot. Such a funny squeak from such a large animal.
Well I hope to have more to blog about this month and I hope everyone's month is filled with happy surprises.

Happy Birthday MJ

Looks like we're on the way to 50! I know I reach it 6 months before you, but that's okay you'll get there eventually.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

My backyard

I decided to go down the Bright Angel Trail for just a little bit. So I put together my hiking things; water, apples, snacks, then threw in my sketchbook and pencils. I thought what the heck it certainly is a different world below the rim might as well get a practice piece in.

I ate breakfast at Maswik then moved on.

Just past the first tunnel I came to a bend that was shady, cool and had some rocks to sit on. In the center of the bend is a tall skeleton of a Douglas Fir. I was surprised the trail wasn't that busy but then the park has slowed down just a bit as school has started; so I took out my sketchbook and a 6B pencil and started.

I was more then surprised at the number of hikers who did stop to look and was quite surprised to get "nice sketch", "beautiful", and a father/daughter smiled and said "we'll check on the progress on the way back". I had to giggle. Well needless to say they did and they were very sweet, the daughter asked to take a picture of the sketch and me, and I consented, as did another lady later. At least this time they asked. What surprised me more was the reaction to just a rough sketch, a really rough one at that. So here it is:

A smaller part of the bigger whole (or hole) literally and figuratively.

On the way back I found another spot - once again around the first tunnel I will go down to tomorrow morning and sketch.

Back door friends

Yesterday I noticed a sap sucker (bad name for a very pretty bird) outside so I ducked inside to get my camera. I didn't realize until I had stepped mid way onto the porch there was a doe about 20 feet away; she looked at me sorta startled and I said "well hello".

Then she started walking towards me; which startled me so I took a step backwards and she stopped.

She looked at me for a minute; then noticed the sound of my neighbor talking on the phone.

She stopped to think for a moment before moving on:

Meanwhile the sap sucker had moved a little bit so I went to find him or her, and found it I did: