Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Second Hike in Sedona

So, at this point in our story we've been in Sedona for a few hours.  We're finishing a hike, the light is fading, but sunset is just barely starting.  We want to get up to the lookout at the trail head to see what we can see.

First off, it's a pretty empty day on the trails.  It's December, the temperature is in the 30's, and it was raining earlier in the day.  I was expecting mud, but the air is so dry that while the ground looked like mud (gloopy, swirled) it was hard and...dry.  So, so dry.

We met one couple, coming back from about where we turned around.  We chatted for a few minutes about what was up ahead, and she (it was a man and woman) mentioned that she'd met a really nice man during their hikes that day. He gave her a rock carved into a heart!  So fun.  We parted ways, traveled on for a bit, and turned around.

Little pile of rocks shrine.  There were lots of these, the closer we got to the look out

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Coming back, we could hear a man talking somewhere up in the rocks, REALLY well.  Like I said, the acoustics are amazing there.  So as we're walking up to the lookout, and I hear the voice again.  And of course I am going to stop him (and the woman with him) and congratulate him on projecting so well.  Because I am so far away from home, and I haven't slept in years, and I'm hours from my kids, and I've been hiking, and I'm so pumped up on endorphins from all the hiking and sunshine and red rocks and being away from my kids it's not even funny.

And....he knows he projects well.  He comes up here nearly every day to play his flute (EEP!  It's the flute man!).  He meditates up there.  Well, then...are there any vortexes around here?  Because I'm hiking in Sedona, and I would REALLY like to hike through a vortex.

Oh yes.  See those rocks behind us?  Where you're headed?  THAT one is the warrior rock.  THAT one is the kuchina rock.  The vortex is where the energies meet.  The warrior holds the masculine energy  the kuchina holds the feminine.  I want you two to go up there and just sit and meditate.  Sit TOGETHER, OK?  Just soak up all that energy from the rocks, and if you have any bad feelings or worries or troubles, let Mother Earth soak them in. Just let them flow out.  OK?

And then he gave me a rock carved into a heart.  "Oh!"  I exclaim.  "Did you make this?"  He smiles reluctantly and indulgently at my incredibly inept question. "I helped it become what it is."

"Oh.  It's beautiful.  I promised my daughter I would bring her home a special rock, thank you!"  At this he asks how many daughters I have and gives me two MORE, because this one was meant as a gift for you.

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So now, I'm completely overwhelmed by all of this, and I'm still just buzzing with endorphins and I have Wonder Daddy so tight by the hand it's not even funny.  So of course I offer him a gift.  "No, no.  I don't need a gift."

"Oh, but we're MUSICIANS.  We sing!  We can sing you a song!"  So now the woman with him is kind of squealing and clapping and can't wait to hear our song and I give my husband my most adoring, PLEADING look, and we launch into Silent Night at sunset in the middle of a trail in Sedona, a week before Christmas, for two people who have just told us to talk to Mother Earth.  Because that's the kind of thing I do.  Apparently.

Kuchina Rock
Kuchina Rock

Warrior Rock
Warrior rock

Oh, and we walked up to the rocks.  Wonder Daddy saw the warrior rock and said "LET'S CLIMB IT!"  I declined and went and meditated at the Kuchina rock, and thought about all the women who had been there before.  Who had touched this rock and tried to leave their worries here.  They'd left behind trinkets-- shiny beads and figurines-- tucked among the rocks.

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It was a beautiful evening.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Our Trip to Sedona (with lots of pictures)

During our Christmas holidays in Arizona, the hubby and I took an overnight trip to Sedona to sleep/celebrate our anniversary/take some time away from the kiddos.  (And sleep.  Did I mention that?  Because I slept 13 hours STRAIGHT that night, and it was amazing!)

This was our second time there, and we knew we wanted to get some hiking in.  Sedona is amazing and gorgeous and very, very New Age.  Folks that believe in reincarnation, spaceships, alien abduction, life forces, auras, mind reading....they gather there.  There are 7 vortexes there, I believe.  Some sort of swirling conglomeration of Energy.  Supposed to be really great for you.

Anyway, we went hiking, it was gorgeous, and I took my camera.

We head over the mountains and go through a little town called Jerome.  It's tiny, and it's literally perched on the side of a mountain.  Kind of precariously.

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Once we reached Sedona, we found our first hike.  And our first Thing We Didn't Understand.  This little clay fellow was perched at the trail head, slowly disintegrating.  Why?  Perhaps to show the ethereal nature of art.  Or Life.  Or maybe it's like a voodoo doll, and someone's life is slowly falling apart somewhere.  Or maybe it's a worry doll, and as it gets taken apart by nature, the worries will just flow away.  I don't know, but it's beautiful.

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So we get into the hike, and hear flute music.  Like a tribal flute music kind of thing.  Wooden flute, incense type of music.  There's a fellow on top of a rock formation a good ways away, playing a flute, then pausing to swing an incense ball, and then goes back to his flute.  (The acoustics here are incredible.)  And we pass a barefoot hiker (the temperature is in the 30's) who will walk and then pause.  And listen.  And walk a bit.  Perhaps there's energy in the rocks?

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The hike was amazing.  I loved the agave plants.

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The rock formations are just breathtaking.  I can see why there are so many New Age folks here- you can't see this and not believe in SOMETHING.  It just stirs it up.

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This is about where we turned around- the light was going, and we did NOT walk to be on this trail in the dark!

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MAN he is one good looking man.  Sheesh.

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OK, so after this hike we went on a tiny jaunt up to a lookout, because the sun was just starting to set.  And it got weird, but it's a long story, so I'm going to break this story right here.





Monday, January 28, 2013

Garden Walk In the High Desert

It was cold in Arizona. And dry. And windy.

But, I found some color on a walk one day. All the yards are xeriscaped with different colors of rocks, but some intrepid souls hid water lines under those rocks to feed a few plants.

Trimmed witch hazel, I think?
No clue.  But more red!

Another witch hazel?


OK, I'm stumped.  Beauty berry?  But isn't it pretty??

(One of my very least favorite things about traveling is that I have no idea what the plants are.  Even if I've seen them at home, they always look a bit different in different environments.  I figured this out when I spent a summer in Provo, UT and took daily walks and lamented every single day that I couldn't name anything.  The weeds and grasses are the worst to identify, and I couldn't write home about the beautiful ....thing....because I couldn't name it!  If anyone can recommend a REALLY GREAT plant ID app or book, I would be so grateful!  I haven't found one yet that didn't seem extremely limited in scope.  For example my "Weeds of the West" book that generally covers California.  Helpful.)

Friday, January 25, 2013

IPhone Photos from a Christmas in Arizona

How's that for a title? After a long Christmas vacation to visit Wonder Daddy's family, this is what I've got on my phone.

Man, I miss the sunshine.

Testing out a new piece of recording equipment.  Like father, like son :)


Snow in the high desert.  And sunshine.  Sob.


In-N-Out burger.  Double-double, animal style.  Sadly...or thankfully...I prefer Five Guys now!  Which is good, because In-N-Out doesn't operate in Washington.

Entertaining Cocoa with selfies.  I love that my new phone has a camera on the screen side- Cocoa and I play this game a LOT :)
Met up with some old/new friends.  I used to catch the school bus at the end of his driveway, back in 3/4/5th grade.  He and his amazing wife live just a few miles from my husband's family now- small world!


More fun with Cocoa's face.  I love his face.


Cousins, with their lovies- these two are just a few weeks apart in age.  But not in size.  But sakes alive, that little Cam-Man just hops everywhere, and talks up a storm.  (No really- he hops all over the place, like a bunny. He weighs like 20 pounds, I'm sure.  Cocoa is pushing 30+...hello MY STURDY GENES+DAD'S HEIGHT.)


Nothing to see here.  Just chillaxin'.

Ow.


On the way to the airport.  Blue skies.  SOB.  Nana, can we be snowbirds?  We'll just buy an RV and camp in your driveway for January/February every year.  I'm sure Wonder Daddy could figure out a way to telecommute....for 8 weeks straight...yeah.

My Guys

I have two guys, and they are good guys to have! (My brother had guys too, when he was little, but they were imaginary. And he sent them to live with Grandma when we moved and he knew she needed some Guys to help her more than he did. We never heard from those Guys again.)

My two awesome guys.

(When you come back from returning a shopping cart, this generally isn't where you expect to find your son. But man, my guys look good in plaid!)



Buddies

These two. They can be quite the buds sometime. My Mimi and Cocoa.

Of course, Cocoa is friends with absolutely everybody.  Parking lots take a long time to walk through, because he stops and waves and calls "bye!" to every passing car, and he won't budge until they've waved back.





Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy New Year

I'm sitting at my computer, with Ernie reading about Paul Revere and Abigail Adams next to me.  School is going well, finally.  What we've been doing is school Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.  Maybe Friday, but often not.  It wasn't going well- she wanted to play with her siblings, and doing so many subjects a day was completely overwhelming for her (even if they'd only take 10 or 15 minutes if she would just SIT DOWN AND DO THEM.  See how frustrated I am?  Caps means frustrated.)

We've moved to a block schedule- I write out everything she needs to get done to get through five lessons.  When she's done with our list, she's done for the week- she loves it!  Last week she finished everything in two days, with no frustration or tears.  They were long days (still shorter than her friends' school days), but the promise of freedom made it easier for her to swallow.  Also, choosing what she does next is fun for her, and less pushing from me.  This is perfect- I want to invite my kids to learn, instead of pushing facts down their throats.  (So long as they continue to WANT to learn, this is perfect.  They're going to learn their prescribed lessons whether they want to or not, so finding a way to make sure they keep WANTING to....)

She starts a P.E. class this week at our YMCA- one hour of games in the gym, one hour of swim lessons/free swim.  I hope this is a good thing- I'm a little nervous, because I can't be with her.  There is no child care available during the class hours, so I'm expected to drop her off and come back when class is over.  She's never been in a locker room before, never used a lock before, and I don't know how closely these kids will be supervised.  In my worst nightmare, she gets completely lost in the building, which is baloney- no one would let that happen.  But still.  The staff hasn't been getting back to me to answer questions, and the sign up system is a complete joke (between patrons AND staff.)  Just nervous.  As of right now, I've paid for the class through the next three months, and they can't find any record of her.  We're off to a good start!

It feels good to be starting a new year.  We've delivered a truck load to the dump and another truck load to the donation trailer in the next town over.  My goal this year is to simplify and take care of what's important.  Health is a big one.  We need more activity, less sitting.  (Guess what family is moving to a weekly Kinect-and-Pizza night, instead of Pizza-and-Movie night???)  More doing for others, less moping.  More fruits and vegetables, less toast.  (I'm looking at YOU, Ernie!)  More promise keeping, less excuses.  We need to rely more on what we know is true, and less on what others think.

We have house goals- get the yard cleaned up, get our house projects finished.  I want to get all the spackling and touch-up painting done, and then start budgeting and finding art and furniture that fits the space and makes this home feel complete.  All of our marriage has been use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.  I'm feeling materialistic, and want to start finding some things that are functional for our space.  Oh, and get rid of EVERYTHING that is not either useful or beautiful.  We're doing pretty good, in some spaces.  There's a catch-all room downstairs that...catches everything :)  However, I got rid of 95% of my fabric last week, and we're slowly making our way through.  It WILL be a proper guest room.  One that people would be happy to sleep in.  So far there's a comfortable bed and an empty dresser.  And a lot of stuff.

However, last week I set a list of 7 extra tasks to accomplish by the end of the week...and they happened!  Let's see if this week can be a repeat.

1)  Plant fall bulbs.   (Yes, really.  It will totally work, because this is the Pacific Northwest.  And if it doesn't, I will reach my dream of having potted bulbs in my yard.  Ones that I can drag to the side of the house when they start to look bad.)
2)  Clean up spare bedroom- deliver donations and garbage to proper places.

And...I think that's enough for one week!  Add in school activities, normal cleaning and cooking, and wiping bottoms...pretty full week.