Posts Tagged 'Photos'

Slowly Returning

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I think.

At least that’s the plan.

I’ve been “on staycation” for about two months now, with posting here pretty sporadic.

A lot of stuff has happened. Most recently the shingles came back to my eye, and for the last three weeks I’ve been dealing with that, complicated by the fact that I seem to be reacting adversely to the antiviral the doctor wants me to take.

We had a wedding here of one of “our own,”,that is one of the members of our local congregation, a young lady who happened to be one of the students in my Sunday School class, and went on to become one of my dear friends.

Friends and family came in for the event, and such things always cram a lot of things into a very short time, where you spend days after recovering, not only from the simple exhaustion of late nights, longish drives and lots of talking, but having your head and heart full of wonderful moments that surface in a disjointed parade of memories afterward. (See my Introvert post, Static and the Need to Recharge, about needing to “process” the sudden high-volume of “deposits” that have been made into your soul)

At the same time as this was happening, my hubby was away elk hunting, and I had full charge of walking Quigley. (I don’t usually walk him every day — we take turns.) Hubby returned successful, so then we had, well, A LOT of meat to deal with. YAY! (We were completely out of wild game and I detest store-bought hamburger, and am not much fonder of ground turkey…) He did most of the work, but the kitchen and refrigerator were commandeered for about a week, I think, which was… distracting at a minimum.

Then there was the matter of my car failing its emissions test, twice, and various  trips to the repair shop, until finally it was decided that we could get a waiver on the whole thing. And all of this pretty much happening concurrently.

So it’s not really been the most “restful” staycation, and it’s not like I’ve had nothing to do but play… though I have managed a bit of that.  In fact, I actually went on 2 Artist’s dates!  And  yes, a month ago or so, I picked up the next Artist’s Way book, Vein of Gold, and started working through it…  only to stop not far in as the Lord took me off in another direction… but that, I think, is for another post.

In fact, I’ve already written a good deal more than I had thought I would. I just wanted to take a tiny step back toward regular blogging, and here I’ve got a full-sized post already. 🙂

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Trip to Moab

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that my hubby’s aunt had died and they were having a memorial service for her in Moab which we were considering attending.

Since it was “only” a nine-hour drive (without stops) we decided it was doable and left early Friday morning, heading out of Tucson fairly early. The memorial service was Saturday, and we drove home Sunday. With stops, the trip was twelve hours. Which wasn’t bad, but left both of us pretty tired Monday. I did nothing but lie around and it wasn’t until Tuesday that I began to put things away, try to get caught up on the things that didn’t get done and fuss about my rose bush.

I’d asked the neighbor to water, which she’s done many times before but somehow a soap can lid fell down behind the gate she needed to open and got it jammed so she couldn’t get in. Talk about weird… The result was that neither of the roses got watered for two days, during which our humidity was something like 13% or lower and the dew point was practically zero. One of them was droopy but recovered. The other lost almost all its leaves. It was very, very sad.

But after watering, fertilizing and laying down some mulch, it looks like it will survive… new leaves are now sprouting, so I’m happy about that.

In any case, that along with all the other things, which seem like nothing but end up taking up the minutes, took most of my time last week. Plus, Monday was Memorial Day and my hubby was home… so not only did I lack the time, quiet space and mental energy to write a blog post, I did no work on Sky either. I’m hoping to get back to it tomorrow, however.

For now, I thought I’d share some shots I took from our trip.

Quigley likes to rest his head on my shoulder or Stu's hand looking out the front window while we travel

Quigley likes to rest his head on my shoulder or Stu’s hand looking out the front window while we travel

monument valley trashed small

Traveling through Monument Valley I was shocked to see the rash of the white trailers and various structures which had sprung up at the bases of the rock formations. From a distance it looked like a scattering of trash. If only they’d painted their trailers and structures a color more like the surroundings… Ah well, I guess there’s no place left that’s immune to development these days. Maybe the Sahara Desert. Or the Gobi…

Redrock cliffs in the waning sunlight as we neared Moab

Redrock cliffs in the waning sunlight as we neared Moab

Driveway and cliff view from the house of hubby's relations where we stayed.

Driveway and cliff view from the house of hubby’s relations where we stayed.

Fabulous log fence and field of yellow flowers nearby.

Fabulous log fence and field of yellow flowers nearby.

Amazing cottonwood tree on the grounds of our hosts

Amazing cottonwood tree on the grounds of our hosts

my poor sad, dried up rose as it looked when we first returned...

my poor sad, dried up rose as it looked when we first returned…

Recon

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If I am to liken writing a book to fighting a battle, or preparing to build or whatever, it is important that one count the cost. To do the recon first. If you send soldiers out into the field and tell them okay, I want you to explore all this region and map it for us, since we have no map, and I want you complete that in three weeks – that would be a ridiculous assignment. No one knows what’s out there. A more reasonable assignment would be to send the people out to map for a particular period of time. Then evaluate what they have and decide the next step. External factors may demand decisions be made on less than complete information, whereupon the outcome becomes far less certain.

Might need to have a number of recon assignments before you are ready to launch any kind of operation.

In book writing, you never really know the terrain until you’ve actually written the first draft. You can stand at the edge of the unknown territory and see there’s a mountain there, a valley there, a canyon there. You can surmise what you will find, and you can estimate a route. But until you are actually down there and walking through it, you cannot know how it will go, where it will go, what you will encounter, etc. So I think it is time to plot the book, try the first trip through the wilderness and see where I end up.

White Mountain Memorial

Last weekend, as I mentioned in an earlier post, we gathered together with my son and his family, and my sister up in the White Mountains.

When my son was growing up and we were home schooling, we used to take an annual trip up to the White Mountains to a place called Big Lake where we camped for about three days, enjoying the changing of the aspen. My mother always went with us and my sister drove in from New Mexico to join us.

We have all sorts of good memories associated with these trips, and my mother especially enjoyed them, so we decided to have a trip in memorium for her.

Originally we were going to do it last fall, but after the Wallow Fire  blazed through there last summer, we decided to wait a year.

We had never camped in an official campground, but in our “own” special spot off the road to Big Lake. There was a pipe spring there, an old cabin, and a glorious stand of aspen — in addition to expansive views of the open range, which my husband glassed morning and evening for antelope and elk. (Click to enlarge all photos)

It was a place far enough away from the roads we could let our dogs roam free, and they loved it, too. We camped, roasted marshmallows, took hikes, sketched, painted, and took lots of photos. Sometimes in the wee hours of the morning, we even heard the elk bugle as they came out in the fields below us to challenge one another.

Though I had prayed the Lord would spare it, we had no way of knowing if the place was even still standing, for the fires had raged right through that area…

Given my son and his wife had Lily, only a little over a year old and would be coming from California, we opted for staying in a condo in Pinetop and driving out to spend the day at our spot rather than camping as in the past. I think it was the right decision.  We had a wonderful time.

Here are a few more pictures:

View from our cabin in Pinetop. I love the way the aspen leaves flutter to the ground in the wind which you can almost see in this picture.

Lily walking like a pro. She and Quigley became friends and cohorts in making trouble. She opened the drawers and doors and he took full advantage!

En route to our “spot”: the fire had raged through much of the forest, leaving skeletons of burned out trees

Thankfully we found our spot mostly untouched, complete with the cabin my mother, sister and I had sketched many times

The trees nearby were also still standing unharmed, and the aspen were midway through their autumn display

Lily was fascinated by the gold aspen leaves quivering in the wind

We saw this guy at the end of the day as we were driving out. Great finish to a wonderful day.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine

No, he’s not solely mine, he belongs to my hubby as well, but that doesn’t matter. He is still “mine” as far as I’m concerned: a wonderful blessing from God that I enjoy every single day.

We were doing tricks this morning (he rolls himself up in the blue blanket) and when he looked up at me,  I just had to get the camera!

So I told him to stay and went off to get it, and he stayed. Then I told him, again, “head down” and he did it and click. 🙂

Cause and Effect

A while back I decided to try out one of the WordPress Daily Post’s challenges of the week which was to pick a random fact about your day, any fact, as long as it didn’t seem that interesting, and write about that in a way that would make it interesting.

Having no idea what in the world I would write about, I sat down and did a nonstop. And ended up with two posts. The first was Me vs the Space Time Continuum and the second is the following:

 

 

Today I had to suddenly interrupt my routine to spend half an hour cleaning big yellow fish oil stains out of my light blue pants and striped shirt.

It all started last week when I pierced the end of a fish oil capsule so I could squeeze the contents onto a saucer for Quigley to lick up….

No, wait… it actually started before that when I bought the fish oil capsules, the ones that were supposed to be burpless and odorless. They were two bottles for the price of one! That’s something like 180 capsules.

So I brought them home, poked one down Quigley’s throat, half fearing I was going to choke him to death, it was so big. And hard. These are for-people capsules but there is no way this side of heaven I would ever be able to swallow one of them (and once I’m actually in heaven I’m certain there will be no fish capsules to swallow, nor any need to!)

Anyway, he didn’t protest, so I sat down to eat breakfast and read the bottle – I always read the bottles, the packaging, signs… everything in sight… And thus I got to the part where it explains why this fish oil is burpless and odorless: because the capsule holding it doesn’t fully dissolve until it hits the small intestine.

But wait a minute. These are for people. People have a longer digestive cycle than dogs. By about three hours. What if it never dissolves and ends up as a “foreign body obstruction” in Quigley’s gut? [I have this paranoia about foreign body obstructions when it comes to Quigley if you recall. (If not, see Miscellaneous Update and Cut-off Paper Clips  from my old blog.)

So I decided to do an experiment. I got out two small bowls, put vinegar in one (because our stomach fluids are acidic) and water in the other. Then I dropped a capsule in each bowl and measured how long the capsules took to dissolve: about four hours for the one in water; more like 12 for the one in vinegar. Twelve hours?!

Fortunately Quigley was still alive after the experiment concluded, no foreign body obstruction, no several-hundreds-of-dollars worth of surgery bills from the vet… but it left me thinking it might be better if I just poked the caps open and squeezed out the oil for him to lick off a plate.

So that is what I was doing last week, when the capsule somehow twisted in my fingers just as I squeezed and squirted on my clothes… light blue shorts, light blue, white and black striped shirt. I put Resolve on the grease stains right away, then tossed the clothes into the washing machine. When they came out the stain were still there – just round dark spots on the fabric, the typical grease stain, not wildly noticeable. I wore them the next day, then tossed them into the dirty clothes where they sat for a week until my next laundry day. Which was today.

But when I pulled them out this morning intending to dose the stains with Resolve again… Aack! Those not so bad “grayish” stains had turned bright yellow. And expanded in size. And were not remotely unnoticeable.

Which necessitated the immediate interruption of my morning routine for an extended period of scrubbing, soaking, spraying on more Resolve, following that with a Fels Naptha scrub, to only the slightest effect. Finally I gave it up, tossed the clothes into the wash with the rest of today’s load. Alas, when the cycle finished, they remained unchanged.

So I applied more Resolve, more Fels Naphtha, helped along this time with my cleaning toothbrush… until I decided since none of that was doing the trick, and so put some Clorox for Colors right on the spots and washed them afterward. That worked. Sort of. The stains are still there but much fainter. Faint enough I can live with them now, though I’ll have to try more Clorox next time I wash them…

And the point of all this? It’s the Cat in the Hat sequence of cause and effect. One thing leads to another leads to another and suddenly instead of getting into the office in a timely manner to work on the book, I spend all morning messing with the laundry…

This sort of thing happens to me ALL THE TIME. I don’t understand. Why can’t things just be simple? Why are there always these hidden complications??

Where I Get My Ideas

Sketch of the Grand Canyon’s Inner Gorge from Plateau Point

Last night and today I have been doing something I haven’t done in a very loooong time.

I’ve been updating my website. Yes, I have a website in addition to this blog. The link is in the margin to the right.  The last time I updated it was in 2009, when The Enclave came out and all I did then was put a notice on my home page and add a page just fro it. I didn’t even remember to change the “last updated” blurb in the header, so that it still said “July 2007” when I started to work last night.

I had no idea it had been that long. I’ve been thinking for some time that I need to integrate it with the blog, but that’s about all I’ve done: think.  And not much of that, either.  Too many options, too little knowledge and WAY too little time!

But with the re-release of Arena, and this month’s free e-book special of The Light of Eidon, I figured I should probably get back to the website and at least update Arena’s cover and mention the special.

In the process, I’ve found some fun things there; things that I’d forgotten.

Like the Arena Scrapbook I made to illustrate some answers to the question, where do I get my ideas?

Here’s the start…

“People ask where I get my ideas.  As with all authors, mine come from things I’ve experienced in my life, either directly or indirectly through reading, movies or things others have told me. Sometimes places or events surface that I think are completely original, only to discover later that I actually experienced them somewhere before.

It was a real shock to be walking down the upper switchbacks of the Grand Canyon’s Bright Angel Trail some twenty years after the first time I’d done it and come to a spot that was “straight out of Arena.” Until then, I thought I’d made it up completely.”

To see the photos of experiences that spawned various elements of Arena, I invite you to visit my Scrapbook Page HERE.


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