Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Round Two: Three (Big) States in One Day

This time it was Utah, Nevada, and California as we drove from Salt Lake City home.  Phew!  Long, exhausting drive.  Seeing the Great Salt Lake and Great Salt Flats were the most memorable new (to the girls) experiences.  This was in Wendover, Utah, near the Nevada border.

Wow, all that salt!

Puck was fascinated!  Or maybe he just liked being able to run, run, run...

The girls are creating video blogs, I think, having fun filming each other and the sights

Met this crew briefly off the Hwy on our way back.  They were headed up to the mountains, going in the opposite direction, so we stopped to say high.  H isn't happy because someone said, "look at the monster truck on TT's head" to get him to look at me and obviously, there was nothing there..."  :-)

Monday, July 29, 2019

Three (Big) States in One Day

Another remote journey through a corner of Colorado, then Wyoming, then Utah.  Made it to Salt Lake City and saw the Beehive house (not pictured) and the main temple of the Church of Latter Day Saints.  Learned a bit about the history of the LDS, Brigham Young, polygamy, and the symbolism of the beehive.  Interesting!  I have such respect for all of the people who journeyed across uncharted territory and imagine all of the untold stories of people who tried and failed, perishing along the way...

I'm still utterly fascinated with the remoteness of this drive, even though we returned on a different route, intentionally seeking a bit less isolation.  So many small towns, roads with no cars, and vast mountain ranges, valleys, and plains with no people or sign of people for mile after lonely mile.

Saw a creepy number of dead coyotes along these remote roads

New state for the girls

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Grand Lake Animals and Flowers

We saw gorgeous wildflowers everywhere, plus moose, elk, and deer!  The moose and baby photo was taken at dusk, so hard to capture well.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Day 3: Dirt Roads and Colorado Rainbows

We ended up on a dirt road for about 30 miles - totally gorgeous and everything was fine, but I wondered where we were and if we were lost.  It felt like we MUST be lost - hardly anyone around, very remote, and a dirt road... (what if it deteriorates to nothing?)  There were certainly no gas stations or other services...  we were fine, though, if a bit wet for a while from a rainstorm.  (We learned later that in a nearby area, mudslides had washed the road away, but we were fine). A very bright rainbow - and sometimes two or three of them - followed us for miles.  Had to stop for a silly photo of a rainbow growing out of K's head.  :-)

Day 3: Dinosaur Museum in Fruta, Colorado

In "dinosaur country," this was a worthwhile stop.  They encouraged us to bring the dog and the cat in (I was going to send the kids in and wait outside).  It was interesting to see an actual paleontology lab, fossils from the region, and more.  But the very best part was a machine replica of a 8-foot tall T-Rex because it utterly freaked Puck out.  He started at it as it moved and made noises, then cowered behind me.  Hee, hee...

Day 3: Moab and Arches National Park

Amazing and so cool - the pictures say it all.  We all had a great time exploring, spending the day in awe...

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Day 2: Donner Lake to Moab, UT

A crazy long day, insanely isolated drive.  I was utterly fascinated by the isolation for the first eight hours, staring down roads that led off of our already empty one and wondering why they were there, where they led, and why anyone was down them.  We saw a swarm of locusts, a military testing site, and valley after valley filled with emptiness.  (After the first eight hours of fascination, I wanted to see cars and people. The worry about finding the next gas station, of wondering what would happen if we broke down, was wearying after a while.  We were fine though... just overwhelmed by the sheer emptiness of it all.)

This is Stokes Castle near Austin, Nevada.  It was built in the late 1800s to model  a medieval villa outside of Rome.  It used to be three stories, with balconies, built and decorated with luxurious furnishings.  The man who built it lived in it with his family for two months one summer and it was never occupied again.  It overlooks a wide desert valley and is on the side of a hill near Austin, Nevada.  Austin used to be "the friendliest town on the loneliest highway in America" but they seem to have lost that designation to Eureka, which is further east.

No cars ahead, no cars behind.  All day...

We pulled over for a swarm of locusts, but most of them kept going and I didn't chase them through the desert, just got a shot of one straggler.  Seemed to fit the desert setting really well.  We also saw some deer, which surprised us.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Camping at Donner Lake

G got to go with my parents, joined by my sister/her cousins.  Cousin time is the best time!  K and I joined her late on the second day, after K got off work...
G and her cousin jumping.  Such fun, such joy!

She slept better than I did!  I must have been too groggy to make good decisions, 'cause I just don't fit curled up under her seat in the car.  In the middle of the night I had a giggle fit because I realized that there was no place for my knees!  But we could see the night sky and it was gorgeous - tons of shooting stars.

They aren't thrilled with the car either, but did a great job...

Saturday, July 20, 2019


  K had to attend for her job!  Pretty cool, considering that meant that we got in free and she got paid for being there.  It was an incredible production, perhaps the best we've seen, and Lady Macbeth in particular was awesome, strong and scary and broken and tragic.  I actually got tears in my eyes when she died, in part because when the messenger delivered that news to Macbeth, she came and leaned into her husband, a sad ghost, which emphasized the tragedy of it.  Truth be told, we were dreading the production a bit because it was "a modern verse translation" and I was braced for a different experience, but the language didn't seem very different at all, certainly the core language that moves us so was left intact.  It did begin and end differently, in a homeless encampment, with the actors reciting poetry of empowerment, a rage against the fear and subsequent dehumanization that those living on the streets feel.  We struggled, though to get the link between empowerment of the homeless, those who are dispossessed, with the story of Macbeth, which is a story of horrible abuse of power by someone who had ultimate control.    Maybe it was the legacy of ambition, which is common to humanity and exists through the ages.  Maybe it is that sense of being invisible, of raging against any situation in which you feel that your destiny is not within reach.  Maybe it is the horrors of abused power, the reality that homelessness, while rendering individuals powerless in many ways, doesn't necessarily confer grace or wisdom, that a Macbeth-like abuse could easily occur.  Having this conversation afterwards, as we moved from incomprehension to better understanding, was rich and interesting.  (We also ran into one of K and G's former Shakespeare teachers, which was a fun surprise!)

Thursday, July 18, 2019

A Job!

She's been trying to make money with various business endeavors for a long time - and doing decently, actually.  But this is her first paid job, first interview, first time completing employment paperwork.  It's been a great experience, working with a group of teens to market Shakespeare and other artistic experiences to youth.  Part of her job was to go to an art exhibit/performance after work and some of the other kids joined her there.  It was so cool to see her interacting with confidence with the artists, performers, and her peers.  Proud of this awesome kid.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

State Baseball Championships

Her team took second and she played well; proud of her!  Chaotic week, since the games were a two-hour drive (three with traffic) and she started her first paying job this week, which was in SF.  Whew...

Lining up for the first game/national anthem.  The lovely view is courtesy of our location - in scenic Woodland, where temperatures were in the high 90s.  Beautiful field!

Playing first flawlessly (no errors)

An exciting close call, photo courtesy of G

"Baseball players aren't supposed to smile."  Really? 

After the second game, I got a text from her coach after midnight.  He said, "I want to thank you for raising a wonderful person.  Katherine [is] a breath of fresh air to coach and I attribute that to you and how you raised her.  Her passion and drive [are] undeniable.  ... thank you again."  Wow!   Unexpected and nice.  I told him that we should have expected her to love baseball, given that she was born on Giant's Opening Day!  

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Tahoe Camping

So much fun!  Perfect weather, fun in the water with cousins, lots of love with the smallest cousin, and a huge bear in camp - awesome trip.

Beautiful sunset over Emerald Bay

Reminds me of playing with my cousins in a similar-sized boat when I was a kid.  Best times ever.

Bear headed out of camp - scared off by Abuela's clanging pots and yelling!

All five, overlooking Lake Tahoe

The cat went camping again - not loving it.  Puck didn't even notice the bear!