Monday, June 28, 2010

I'm Baa-ack

Last week was spent with my husband and 2/4ths of our kids, in a Honda CRV, crisscrossing the land between Yellowstone and South Dakota. The most American of vacations, the road trip is "see the USA in a Chevrolet" kind of fun. In fact, when I read that 1960's slogan, a picture forms in my head of a family: Mom in capri pants, a string of pearls adorning her crisply starched peter pan collar; Dad smoking a pipe, hair Brylcreamed into a perfect wave above is forehead; 2 children, a boy and a girl, both with a spray of freckles across their cheeks, bright-eyed with the excitement of "seeing the USA in a Chevrolet" and the joyful anticipation of riding in a 72 sq. foot space for hours on-end with people they love and can't get away from!

We got into West Yellowstone and were unable to check into our hotel until later. When we finally went back to check in, they explained that we were actually booked into the "annex" just around the corner...OMG.

This picture doesn't really do it justice. It was like the the Bates hotel meets a serial killer's knotty pine hide-away. I loved the ingenious way they "updated" the bathroom, in 1972 or so, by building a formica counter top around the wall sink. And what a touch of class the truckstop style soap dispenser adds! After dropping off our luggage, it was decided over dinner that we just could not stay there and we began an earnest, and ultimately successful, search for a new place.

The next morning we began our 3 day Yellowstone adventure.

We had dinner at the Lake Lodge. Very, very lovely and delicious. We joked that it looked like something out of 'The Shining'. When Don asked where the bathroom was, I told him to look for the creepy twins at the end of the hall.

On to Montana, Pictograph Cave State Park. These ancient cave drawings reminded me of the trendy "Ugly Dolls" that are so popular now. Fantastic images!

I LOVED the terrain of the pictograph caves, the quiet with meadowlarks and crickets providing the soundtrack for viewing the grand arches and
primitive artwork.

The Hampton Inns are our favorite places to stay, always nice, with the required free breakfast. But there were other little hotels, that were nice with a friendly, homey feeling, especially one in Cody. Their clean rooms and colorful hanging flower baskets and pots surrounding cute bistro sets showed the owners took a lot of pride in their place.
We saw so much, I won't bore you with more pictures, but Devil's Tower, Rushmore, Little Bighorn, Crazy Horse..the Black Hills are all so gorgeous. There is just soo much to see and so many pictures to take. If you haven't been to Yellowstone and East to S. Dakota, go!
I want to go again, someday!
Should we make it a girl's road trip!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

2000+ Visitors, yeah!

Yippee! Woohoo!
Since I added the nifty Statcounter, I have been waiting and watching for the 2000th visitor to my blog and today, when I logged in, I was at 2011!!
2011 visitors since I added the gizmo sometime in the Spring.
2011 visitors and about 65 comments.
hmmm, I'm no mathematician, but my Windows calculator tells me that's only a 3% comment rate.
Guess your just a reserved bunch.
Or my posts are too boring to elicit a response - "oh geez! Not another boring anecdote about Cathy's so-called life."
Or most of you land on my blog accidentally - "Dang, I was tryin' to find out about the care and feedin' of my doggone acanthus plant and I end up on some gal's diary!"
Or you're offended by my political opinions - " That woman is a liberal nutcase whose ideas are not worth the time taken to write a comment!"
You're just a reserved bunch!
Anyway, thanks to all for stopping by, accidentally or not.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Trip to see the Folks

I left this morning to visit my mom and dad in Hurricane. After forgetting my phone and having to turn back, and then spilling a drink down my "fresh from the cleaners" jacket, I was on the road!
I love solo road trips.
With the temperature set just as I like it and the radio tuned to Saturday morning NPR, I drove as fast as I wanted with Peter Sagal and Carl Kassel, Tom and Ray and Ira Glass as my traveling companions. They kept me quite entertained, never telling me to "watch my speed", "turn up the air" or "watch out for that truck".
All of the rain that we have had lately has provided a verdant, green, beautiful landscape! Black cattle and white sheep dotted the fields, while low hanging clouds skimmed the foothills. It was such a treat to watch the landscape, looking even more lovely than usual, roll by as I drove.
The red rocks came into view as I traveled further south. Fluffy, white clouds floated on flat bottoms, like meringues in a bright blue soup. It was such a pretty sight! The mesas were bright apricot and plum and the temperature, which had been in the fifties, rose to the seventies. I opened the sun roof, just reveling in the moment.
After visiting with my folks for a while, they had visitors come over and I excused myself and decided to blog about my lovely drive. Thunder boomed, lightening flashed and it began hailing, big penny sized hail!
Wow, it was really coming down in a deluge! I love a crazy storm and I watched out the window as it came down, noticing my car parked out front...
the Sun Roof!!!
The next day, I took my mom into St. George for her chemo. It was nice to be with her as she got her blood work and picc line readied. I dropped her off for the actual hour and a half of chemo and ran some errands, including a trip to one of my favorite stores Urban Renewal where I bought some wonderful old to get the stains out!
Mom comes out of her treatments feeling pretty good, the effects of the poison coursing through her veins isn't felt for a couple of days, then it kicks in and she feels a "little" sick and a "lot" tired. Her white hair is still hanging on and is as beautiful as ever. After her treatment, we went to Olive Garden for soup and salad. It tasted so good to her as she had not been able to eat fresh fruits or veggies since last treatment because of her low white cell count. Poor mom, she loves fresh food and was really tiring of canned goods, so it was a real treat to have some salad at last! The treat for me was just being at lunch with my mom!
On my way home, I thought how grateful I am to be able to make these visits. I often think of all the circumstances that allow me to do so and I am thankful: Thankful for my car, my job that provides money and the summer off to visit more often, my health, our proximity to each other, still having my wonderful parents and a hundred other things!
I'm very lucky or blessed, however you prefer to think of it, I am grateful!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Paris, P.F.Chang's and pretty niece, Kelly

My niece recently left for a few weeks in Paris.
I know, I know... life is hard all over!
I really am happy for her, and actually feel like I am visiting Paris,vicariously through her!

We had a Bon Voyage party for her. Kelly, her mom Cheryl, my daughter Shan and I, went to P.F. Changs for dinner the week before she left. It's one of our favorite places to eat too much, laugh and talk too loudly, and have way too good a time.

Had you been sitting at the next table, here are some of the gems you may have overheard.

Cheryl- "I'm gonna go to the bathroom and take off my bra...does anyone have a big purse?"

All- "Europe, You're up, You're up..". (guess you had to be there)

Darling Second grade teacher/waitress- "Would you like to order some dessert?"
All- "of course!"
Me- "We could share the chocolate cake!"
Cheryl- "ALL of us?! We'll look like lions at the kill!"

Kelly, a dessert lover, bemoaned the demise of Mimi's chocolate pecan pie-
"When I heard they weren't making it any more I bought three pieces. I ate two and..."
I interjected - "then she varnished the last piece to worship at her dessert altar."

The waitress, who cracked-up everytime she came to the table, brought us our chocolate cake, along a free piece of cheesecake! She delivered the bill, laden with fortune cookies. The bill and cookies rested on a black paper decorated with Chinese calligraphy.
I said to no one in particular, "I wonder what this says?"
The waitress answered in a Chinese accent, "you owe me for the cheesecake." She got a good tip!

It was a fun night! Keep the travelogues coming, Kelly!