RIP, Little Baby O

It’s been a while since I’ve written, sorry about that.  I’ve moved to a new apartment that has a yard, and I’ve had a lot of transcription work to do in my free time, so there hasn’t ‘been much time to write. 17436096_10154809315754930_3801261957445801897_o

Also, as the title of my post shows, I lost my little Osito.  Last week, it was a “shit show” as we call it sometimes at work – three euthanasias all pretty much at the same time.  My hospital only has two visiting rooms, set up to look like a living room of sorts, where parents can say a final goodbye to their loved furballs.  Then I came home.  I went outside with Morgan for a few minutes, to the back yard, as I always do.  When I came in, I said aloud, “Okay, where’s little Osito?”  It’s normal for her to sometimes sleep through my initial entrance, but usually she wakes up by the time Morgan and I come back in.  I looked at all of her various beds spread out around the kitchen and the bedroom and didn’t see her, which started to get me worried.  I then went over to her favorite bed area, and that’s when I saw her.  She was clearly dead.

Words can’t describe very well how I felt.  This little girl has been a major love in my life for the past four years.  I adopted her when she was 12, thinking I might have only 2 years or so left with her, and then I learned chihuahuas can live til about 18 or 20, sometimes.  I hoped she would be one of those rare exceptions and make it to 20, or hey, even live forever.  One can dream, right?  She was turning 16 this year.

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outside my first apartment in Albuquerque.  

During the past few weeks, I had noticed she was squatting a lot more and it seemed like not much urine was coming out.  I also noticed she was having less control of her bladder.  Whereas before she might have tried to wake me up at night to put her down from the bed onto her pee pads, it seemed like she was just peeing in her sleep, and then I’d wake up to find both of us lying in it.  Yep, eew.  Not good.

So I  took her to my vet and she diagnosed a urinary tract infection, and did some blood work.  Her kidney numbers were a bit elevated, and so were her white blood cell counts.  I expected the higher level of white blood cells, since her body was fighting an infection.  But we weren’t sure if the kidney disease was recent, or something that had been underlying for a while.  My vet prescribed Clavamox, an antibiotic that I could give in liquid form, since her teeth are pretty much, well, she had one.  I think.

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one of her favorite activities: sleeping!

Osito normally loved her sleep, but I’d been noticing lately that she seemed to sleep even more.  I ascribed some of it to her lack of appetite from the antibiotics.  So we tried to give her an appetite stimulant.  It was only 1/4 of what was already a very small tablet, but when your dog has basically no teeth, it can be hard for her to “gum” a pill pocket and get the pill that way, and if i just put it into her food, she would lick around it.

So I started giving her Royal Canin’s Recovery food on Friday night, heated up.  She seemed to really like it, and it probably helped that she hadn’t had a pill in about 24 hours.  My vet also gave me Covenia, which I could give to Osito in injection form, having learned how to do Sub Q stuff when I was an animal caregiver at Best Friends.  That would eliminate the need for oral meds, or so we hoped.

Earlier last week, I had taken Morgan for  a walk to one of the Open Spaces that is located close to the Rio Grande.  I carried Osito in my “Outward Hound” pouch and she seemed to enjoy the walk.  Well, until the wind kicked up, and it started to drizzle a bit, and then I was partly running back toward the car, so she was jostled around a bit.

Last weekend, on Saturday, we had a really sunny day.  So I took her along with me and Morgan on our walk, again in her carry pouch.  She had so much sun on her face, which I know she always loved.  She was content to be carried around.  I remember wondering how many other walks like this I would be able to have with her.  Maybe a part of me suspected what was coming.

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At Lone Rock Beach.  I think it was the first time she had ever felt sand between her little toes.

The next morning, she ate ravenously from the heated up food, and then she fell asleep on my lap, her belly full with good food.  I’ve always loved those moments, looking down at her and knowing she trusts me enough to allow herself to be at her most vulnerable around me.   One of the best feelings I’ve been fortunate to have in my life is to look around the room, see all of my animals with one glance, and know that they feel safe and content.  Maybe that’s how human parents feel.  I’ll never know for sure, but for  me, it’s enough.   Some of us just weren’t meant to be parents to humans, only pets.

I just always wish I had been able to be with her at the end.  To hold her and kiss her and let her know how much she was loved, and still is.  But some suspect that she may have waited for me to not be around, and spared me that pain. All I know is, it still hurt.  And does now.

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Moments like this would make me melt.  Seeing her and Bonkers together.  They’re together again, just now in heaven. 

I ran Osito back to the hospital where I work, and she will be privately cremated, which means I will have her ashes back shortly.  I picked out an urn that is in the shape of a heart,  and have paid to have her paws impressed into clay.   The words “My Little Baby O” will also be on that plaque.

Osito will join Bonkers and Sebastian, Chloe, and my paw print of Daisy (my foster dog from Best Friends), and my picture of Clara in their place of honor.  (Clara was buried out behind the house I used to share with my now ex-husband.  My parakeet was also buried out back.)  They are always close by me that way, physically, and in spirit. I don’t think your animals ever leave you, honestly.  For Osito, I know that is especially true, as I will explain in my next post.

Osito, before you, I never understood why people could love little dogs like they do.  Now, I totally get it.  You were the main inspiration behind my leaving my job in Harvard to work with animals.  You changed my life.

You are missed, more than you could ever know.  I love you, baby girl.

 

 

Inspirations and Internal Changes

Cactuses are starting to bloom near where I live. After visiting the botanical garden, I'm more aware of them.

Cactuses are starting to bloom near where I live. After visiting the botanical garden, I’m more aware of them and the desert’s beauty. Amazing that something can live and thrive with so little water.

While I was in Phoenix, I visited the Desert Botanical Garden and the Butterfly Wonderland. Both were a bit pricey (the botanical garden was just over $17 with the AAA discount and the butterfly garden cost about $21 with another discount given to me), but very worth it in my eyes. When I was at the botanical garden, I saw so many volunteers and you could tell they were very happy to contribute to the beauty of the place as well as connect with visitors. When I was with the butterflies, I just thought of all the changes that these creatures go through, and how many we go through in our own lives. They showed a video on the lives of monarchs and all the challenges they go through on their several hundred mile long migrations. Then I spent a lot of time in the butterfly room afterward, and even had the luck of having a butterfly land on me – I’ve never had that happen before!! Ever! (And I’ve been to a few butterfly museums/sanctuaries in my life!)

When it landed on me, it really tickled!

When it landed on me, it really tickled!

Both places reinvigorated me to remember things that really make me happy and I decided to take the plunge and go ahead and buy the Tower Garden for my apartment after all.  (It’s something I have mulled over off and on for the past year or so, but when I was in the RV, I just didn’t have the available space.) I have a friend back home in Boston who has one, so I know the claims that they make of producing so much produce in such a short time are legitimate. I’ve seen it with my own eyes and tasted the produce her garden made! I know it is a bit expensive to start off with, but my goal is to eat primarily what I grow myself. I feel much better when I am eating a lot of greens and fruits, and the tower garden will even allow me to grow strawberries! Yay, I can’t wait! And just knowing it is coming, I have not had the inclination to eat a lot of sweets and junk this week. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I feel like I want to detox, detox, detox!! Get all the crap out of me and out of my apartment!

When I spent that hour along Oak Creek Drive just north of Sedona, I think it transformed me. I can’t put it completely into words but it seemed to have a profound effect on me. Since then, I just feel, well, different. It made me want to slow down and listen to the birds more and figure out why that is. Why I feel so drawn to now learning about nature and holistic health and detoxing my body, and my life, etc.

View from the scenic view pullout at the top of the Oak Creek drive. This photo only shows two of the many switchbacks you have to navigate to get there.

View from the scenic view pullout at the top of the Oak Creek drive. This photo only shows two of the many switchbacks you have to navigate to get there.

On Monday, I just had this major urge to clean out stuff in my closet, so I took about 5 bags of stuff to the local animal shelter for the animals there to use. My pets don’t need all the extra blankets I had in my closet, and they don’t need all the extra rugs and pet beds. However, the animals there do. Not all of them have a soft surface to sit on – mine do. It felt AWESOME to take all that stuff in, because I knew I didn’t need it, they did. I also realized, when I tend to hang on to more stuff, it’s coming from a place of insecurity inside myself. Like when I first moved out of my marriage, I took all these extra things like towels, and blankets, etc. I was scared at the time that I wouldn’t be able to afford even the basics so I took everything that I could that he didn’t want. I felt like more stuff equaled more security. I know now that it’s just the opposite. When I have less stuff, I feel happier and more secure because the stuff I do have is the stuff I want and love. And it’s all that I need, no more.

Look close - do you see the butterfly hiding among the leaves?

Look close – do you see the butterfly hiding among the leaves?

I know Sedona is one of those new-agey kind of places, where people believe in vortexes and crystals and what a lot of people might think is a bunch of junk. But I want to open my eyes to some of it – I got a few books out from the library about crystals and their healing powers and am going to educate myself about them. Maybe there is nothing to any of it, and maybe it really is a bunch of “hooey,” but maybe I will find them helpful, and in this life, I think we need to each find our own way. If there is anything I have learned these past few years, it’s that there is no one RIGHT choice of life for any of us. Trying to pigeon-hole myself into the box or boxes that I thought were right for me only ended up hurting myself in the long run. Or, maybe, they didn’t. Maybe they were all leading me to where I am meant to be, and what I am meant to be. After all, I wouldn’t be who I am today without those experiences. I wouldn’t  know how strong I can be alone if I hadn’t gone through the pain of a divorce. I wouldn’t know how empowering it feels  to be true to yourself if I hadn’t not been true to myself at one point in my life. Does that make any sense?  I hope so.

Blue butterflies always catch my attention.

Blue butterflies always catch my attention.

I’ve just finished reading a book called Most Good Least Harm: A Simple Principle for a Better World and A Meaningful Life, by Zoe Weil.  And I’ve recently begun reading another book called Living Forward: a Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want, by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy. Both of these books provide you with some questions to really focus on and think about your answers. The second asks three questions at the beginning:

  1. How do I want to be remembered?
  2. What matters most?
  3. How can I get from here to where I want to be?

I will let you know what I think of the Living Forward book when I finish it. It’s also available through Audible.com.  I’ve started formulating my answer to question number 1, though, and here is what I have so far.  I want to be remembered as someone who was good to animals and to others, as someone who was positive and who made a good contribution to this world. I want to have been a happy person, someone who was in touch with herself. Someone who always  liked learning. Someone who wasn’t wasteful. Someone who had a good handle on her financial situation and wasn’t a mess when it came to saving money or having debt. Someone who didn’t have a bunch of extra crap in their life!

I went for my first run in several weeks yesterday. A “run” might be a bit of an exaggeration. It was more like a slow jog. But it got my heart rate going, and I even broke a sweat, and I reminded myself of why I liked to exercise before. I told myself it would only be two loops around the neighborhood and that’s all I did. I also told myself that it was ok to walk, and I did. I don’t know why I just stopped several weeks ago, I just did. I was finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning and the idea of getting up even earlier. I just couldn’t stomach the idea of getting up early to exercise, even though that had been a mainstay of my life for many years now. It’s only been the last few days where I have even woken up BEFORE my alarm, and felt excited enough to get out of bed. I’m not sure what’s going on, with these changes, but I will let you know when I figure it out, if I do.

Navajo Mountain off in the distance. I see this every day from my neighborhood and on my way to work. A very sacred place for the Navajo Nation.

Navajo Mountain off in the distance. I see this every day from my neighborhood and on my way to work. A very sacred place for the Navajo Nation.

A friend of mine from back east left a great comment on my blog last week and has inspired me very much with many of her thoughts she has shared with me. She reminded me that it’s ok to not be the person you once were. It’s ok to change. It’s ok to not feel comfortable when you are somewhere new, and that you can invent or create who you are, NOW.  Who you are now can be different from who you once were. 

Ok, that’s enough of my musings and babblings for now – I’m going to get out there and go for my run, ahem, slow jog, and sweat out some more toxins. Until next time… thanks, as always, for reading!

 

Reflection

IMAG0780.jpgI drove home earlier today from the Clarkdale, AZ area. It’s south of Sedona and Flagstaff. Everyone told me to be sure I didn’t drive on the major highway, but to instead take the drive along Oak Creek. And I’m so glad I did. The drive reminded me more of the east coast types of woods I am used to. I saw the creek flowing and was able to sit under the trees and listen to the breeze rustle their leaves, the way the breeze used to ruffle the leaves of the trees near the reservoir back in Boston.  I remembered what it felt like to lay down on my back under the trees and see them swaying above me, and then how it felt to take a picture of them with my cell phone pointed up toward the sky.

Today’s drive was about more than taking the scenic way home. It was about remembering and realizing anew what makes me happy. Being one with nature, and using as many of my senses as I can to appreciate it. I looked, really looked, at the greenness of the leaves around me. I listened to the creek babbling as the water fell and flowed downward past me. I smelled the air around me and the freshness and slight dampness to it that you just don’t get in the Lake Powell area (unless a storm has just moved through, which is rare.)  While I sat there, I finished my organic green superfood drink I had just bought at the natural grocers store – a brand I had never had before but would like to get again. I felt good about consuming it, knowing it will only do good for my insides.

I took a small notebook down with me to the side of the creek. I wanted to write whatever just came to me, and here’s what I wrote.

Three questions: 

  1. What do I need?
  2. What makes me happy?
  3. What gives me peace?

Then I just started writing thoughts as they came to me, and in no particular order. I didn’t want to censor myself. I’ve put brackets around a few of them just to give you some context.

  • being in a health food store like I just was, with so many vegan choices so I could be more true to my principles
  • eating green again
  • feeling whole
  • hearing the birds outside
  • hearing the water rush downstream
  • being able to write again
  • remembering this feeling when I am no longer here [i knew i would want to recreate it for myself]
  • having these trees provide shade to me, and so much more.
  • lots and lots of trees.
  • beauty
  • sound of wind through the trees
  • freedom
  • feeling after a really good run, when you feel like you could go on forever [thinking of what used to make me happy and wondering if it could, again]
  • familiar [the comfort you can sometimes draw from the familiar, whether it’s people, or surroundings, etc.]
  • learning
  • growth
  • freedom
  • nature
  • beauty in the simple
  • being alone to learn about myself and not feel like i am lacking
  • [being or feeling] centered
  • having a goal
  • having something to focus on
  • peace
  • calm
  • feeling like no one else is around
  • water
  • ginger
  • organic
  • feeling that i never want to leave
  • positivity
  • being true to myself
  • the smell of the woods
  • the smell in the air right before a storm
  • my animals and how excited they get to see me
  • seeing my family and reconnecting with them again
  • taste of ginger
  • eating well
  • taste of real food (and yes, I even underlined it at that time when I wrote it)
  • idea that i could come back here again so easily
  • the color green, from leaves
  • living frugally
  • living simply
  • not having waste
  • eating raw, but also pasta [they had so many good raw vegan foods in the natural grocers store, but i realize i really, really love pasta! and that is ok!]
  • fresh food
  • fresh produce
  • knowing i needed to stop [on the road]
  • taking the time to stop [following my feelings]
  • the beauty of a spring day
  • hope
  • anticipation
  • love
  • rebirth
  • can do whatever you want to do and set your heart to

So there you have it – my stream of consciouness. I may not have been in what is known as one of the four vortexes that are in Sedona but I feel like sitting by that stream, the place just called to me. I could have stopped anywhere along the road, but I decided to stop there. And then I heard the water, and then I knew I had to go sit by the stream  or creek. I knew i would also know when I was ready to move on, and I did.

I hope that each and every one of you can have an experience like this, or have some time to be introspective, if it helps you. I didn’t originally want three days off in a row but now I am so grateful to have had them. It allowed me to spend more time with my oldest brother and his wife than just quickly at the wedding, and it gave me the time to drive home slowly today, to see the beauty around me and really take it all in.

And today, I am feeling better about things and myself. And I’m really thinking about what I want to be the NEW Me.  As someone said in a comment to my last post, sometimes it’s not about going back to who you were, but becoming who you are now. And embracing it.

Thank you as always for reading, especially since this makes two posts two days in a row!!

No Matter How Old You Are, You’re Still Someone’s Baby

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These two will always be my babies, even though they are 14. (Bonkers and Osito)

I talked to my mom last night on the phone. As usual, she worried about me “freezing to death” in this RV of mine. No matter how many times I have told her I am ok, I have lots of warm blankets, and the animals to curl up with at night, plus two space heaters, she still worries. She worries about the heat and the money situation. She’s a mom. I’m 43, and she’s turning 77 this year, but I’m still her middle child.

After I hung up the phone, I realized I should have said to her, “Mom, don’t worry about me. You taught me right.” We didn’t have a lot growing up, and she ended up cleaning houses after my parents split, to make ends meet and also to be home when we got home from school. But what she taught me is that there is always a way to make things work. I may not make a lot of money right now, and it does seem frustrating when I figure out my bills for the next pay period and see “wow, I’ve got like 120 to make it through including my food and gas” but then I remind myself, it’s doable. I don’t need a lot. And I only have that small amount because I am insisting on putting some money into savings every month. I refuse to live, as they say “paycheck to paycheck.” It is very, very important to me to have a cushion. If there’s one thing I have learned over the past several years, it’s that I never EVER want to go back to that feeling of having pretty much nothing in the bank and a maxed out credit card to boot.

When I tell people that I think my fifth wheel is too big for me and my fur family, you should see the looks I get from some people. It’s quite clear that they think I’m insane. But what I see is a big trailer that has high ceilings, which, while I love their sense of openness, cost more to heat, and cool. What I see is that in the evenings, after I eat my dinner, we all hang out together in the bedroom portion of the fifth wheel (in my case, it’s a front bedroom so it would be the part of the trailer that would be hanging over the bed of the truck, if there was one attached.) We all hang out on my cozy bed, with a space heater cranking away, and either a good book or a TV show or something on netflix to keep us comfy. They tend to gather close to me, and I feel very loved. When I wake up in the morning, they are usually all still there.

So, we don’t need all this space. I don’t need the big closet that spans the width of my trailer. I have two dresses I brought with me from Boston, and have yet to wear them. None of my clothes need to be ironed. (In fact, I don’t even own one and plan on never needing one again.) I could fold them all and put them in bins and be just fine, which would most likely be the case in a smaller RV.)  My animals are all seniors (two turn 15 this year) so they don’t have all the crazy energy of young kittens and puppies. They like to be warm and to rest. (As I write this, one is sitting on my lap with his head on the table – if he could reach the computer keyboard to rest it there, trust me, he would.)

Making a lot less money than I ever have before in my life, I realize now what is important to me. The beauty of the natural world around me, good friends, the love of my animals, a great book to keep me company (currently reading Man’s Search for Meaning, by Victor Frankl, which was  a gift from someone and I highly recommend it). Food that allows me to retain my health. Exercise to keep myself strong. Having my priorities straight for my life and trying to evade the negativity of others and the world when it rears its ugly head. Making sure I have enough food to feed myself and my animals. Knowing I will see family in just less than two weeks when my brother embarks on yes, another 100 mile race, and when my sister will be coming to visit in February. It’s these things I have been trying to focus on, rather than what I don’t have.

And yes, Mom, not freezing to death in the winter. 🙂

What do you focus on to ground yourself in this life?

As always, thank you for reading.

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Alone…. But Surrounded by Beauty

Have you ever felt alone, while you’re in a crowd? I have, and I’m sure I’m not alone (no pun intended), in this.

Last weekend, I just felt the need to get out of town. I knew on Sunday the weather would be fine, but on Monday (my second weekend day), the weather would turn to crap with a mix of snow and rain. So, if I was going to get out of Dodge, I had to do it that day.

I have really missed being around a decent-sized body of water. Back east, I had a reservoir out back behind my apartment building, and even while I was there, I knew how much it could ground me, being able to walk near it or see it every day. There were days I was very stressed out when I came home from work, and a short walk outside with little Osito, watching the waves while she did her business and sniffed every leaf she could find on the ground, and I would feel a lot better.

Lone Rock in the distance. My friend Jason tells me that the water is a few hundred feet deep out there.

Lone Rock in the distance. My friend Jason tells me that the water is a few hundred feet deep out there.

So, I decided to go to Page, AZ – specifically, Lake Powell. I’ve posted pics of Lone Rock Beach before, but every time you go, it  looks a bit different. The changing light makes the lake look new  each time I go, and as the minutes tick by during the day, it changes as well. It’s one of those places I can breathe. And the other day, it was just so amazingly quiet. It’s colder here now, so there were no boats out on the water (other than in the marina). I had said to my friend Dan that day, I needed to hear some waves. There were no waves that day, as you can tell from the photos. The water was completely still.

While I was at Lone Rock, there were only a few other vehicles there. It was weird to be there and not see any RVs parked along the shore. (You can dry camp overnight there, I guess, however, only during certain times of the year. You need to pay for a camping permit with the NPS, if you are going to be there between the hours of 8 pm and 6 am.)  It’s weird, the things that you associate at times like that. I saw a couple with their dogs playing on the beach, running around and sniffing everywhere. It brought me back in my mind to a weekend trip I had taken once to Cape Cod when I was married. I remember watching my (then) husband play on the beach with our yellow lab, Ruthie, and remembered taking  a photo of him while he was taking a photo of the sunset. It’s at times like these that I have missed having someone in my life. Someone to share quiet moments with. Don’t get me wrong – I’m ok with being single, and having the freedom that comes with that. But sometimes it would be nice to have someone again.

Wahweap Marina at Lake Powell

Wahweap Marina at Lake Powell

I sat near the marina that day for a while and just marveled at all the boats still in the water, in January. Back east, that would not have been the case, as many times even parts of the Boston Harbor would freeze up. I just listened to what I thought were generators humming – not sure. It was so quiet there, that the sound of just two people walking on the dock could be heard quite far away. I saw a boat named “My Viagra” and it really cracked me up. I remember thinking “Compensate much, dude?” 🙂   Being near the marina reminded me of many trips I’ve taken with my mom on vacations over the years. Anytime we were near a place with a marina, we liked to go and sit and watch the boats come in and out. We used to look at the bigger boats/yachts and think of what those people did for work to be able to afford them. (I know, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it, lol.) There was something with this visit that I noticed, though, that I had not seen at a lot of other marinas back east. So many of the boats had water slides coming off of the back end. I guess that’s just one difference between the northeast and the southwest. The water is usually so cold in the northeast (especially if we are talking the Atlantic Ocean) that you don’t really spend a ton of time in the water. It’s refreshing to go into it once, but you get in and get out. At least I did!

Before I hit the marina, though, I tried (again, unsuccessfully) to take a tour of the Glen Canyon Dam. I had looked online and seen that tours were given at 9, 11, 1 and 3. But when I got there, at 12:40 pm, the guy said the 12:30 tour had just gone down. I told him that’s not the time I had seen online. Clearly, there’s an outdated web page up there. Next time, I will call to make sure what I’m seeing is up to date.

I didn’t feel like waiting around until 2:30 to take the next tour so I walked around the dam’s visitor center for a bit and saw pictures of Horseshoe Bend on a big digital display they have inside. I know that  walk to it can be pretty hot in the summer, so I decided to go look at it that day instead. I’m so glad I went.

Horseshoe Bend - this site is pretty famous

Horseshoe Bend – this site is pretty famous

It’s amazing how many people from different countries I saw there that day. And I realized I have missed being around people from many different cultures and walks of life. At my last job, I was exposed to students from all around the world, every day.  I saw couples taking pictures of themselves, standing close to the edge of the cliffs (you could tell who was afraid of heights by the tentative steps they would take toward the edge, and I admit, I was one of those folks.) I saw groups taking “action” shots and people posing as if they were “climbing” up the edges, yelling to one another “use your trying hard face!” It was funny, and I found myself laughing at some of the jokes.

And I wished I had someone with me. Even if it was just a friend, someone to say “oh hey, look at that little building down there near the rock in Horseshoe Bend – what do you think it is?” Just someone to share the experience with, you know?

Anyway, the picture below is from out back behind the Lake Powell Resort. As I stood near the one bench and looked at all the empty patios at the waterfront views, I marveled at the difference between now, which is their low season and what the place will be like in just a few months when the crowds return. I can’t wait to return there at that time.

view from sitting out back near the Lake Powell Resort - if you can go there, I highly suggest it. Imagine having this view outside of your hotel room!

view from sitting out back near the Lake Powell Resort – if you can go there, I highly suggest it. Imagine having this view outside of your hotel room!

Anyway, I just wanted to share some images of the beauty that is within a very short drive from me – just 75 miles away. If you’ve never been to Lake Powell, I suggest going. And the resort of the same name is the only one with property that has rooms on the lake, just an fyi.

Have you ever felt the same way, alone but not alone? Luckily for me, it was fleeting and I comforted myself with knowing I was surrounded by beauty.

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Zion National Park’s Pa’Rus Trail

My lunchtime view - close to the Visitor Center at Zion. I *think* that rock formation is called The Watchman because it overlooks the Watchman Campground.

My lunchtime view – close to the Visitor Center at Zion. I *think* that rock formation is called The Watchman because it overlooks the Watchman Campground.

I asked my friend Dan the other night, “does it make me pathetic that I go to Zion almost every week these days?” And he said “no!” I don’t know what it is, but I just don’t feel comfortable sitting at home on my days off. Maybe because I know that during the week, there pretty much is no other option after work, since it gets dark at 5:30ish.  Living in a small town is one thing in the summertime when the sun only sets around 9 p.m. (we’re so far west in the mountain time zone, that’s why) and you can go hiking after work. But now, it gets very cold here after the sun sets. The difference in temps between daytime and nighttime can be about 30 degrees. I’m sure those ranges will get even larger as we get more into winter. And no, I’m not looking forward to it, not one bit. I think the only thing that will save me this winter from sinking into an abyss (yes, I’m being a bit dramatic) is the fact that we get more sun here than we did back east. I remember sitting and looking out the small window of my office last January. The sky always seemed to be a foreboding gray and on a really gloomy day it could be almost dark by 3:30 p.m. Continue reading

Observations and Thoughts While Hiking Zion National Park’s Observation Point Trail

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This pic was taken toward the beginning of the hike, when I stopped to eat my pb&j sandwich. You find the trailhead for the Observation Point Trail at the Weeping Rock shuttle stop.

One of the good things about where I live is that one of the most amazing national parks is pretty much in my backyard. Just a quick forty minute drive or so to the Visitor Center where on weekends through the end of November, they are running a shuttle service through the scenic road of the park. Yesterday, I felt like challenging myself so I set out to do the Observation Point Trail, which is described by Zionnational-park.com as “[t]he path is steep and gains elevation quickly, making it one of the most strenuous of the classic hikes in the park. If you have poor fitting shoes it can be quite painful on your toes on the return hike.” (I found the description to be accurate, btw.) Continue reading