Monday, June 27, 2016

California to Iowa, Part 2


When last we spoke en route, we were headed out of Hurricane, Utah, and into Zion, 
fueled with breakfast pastries and coffee. 

Almost immediately out of town, the red rock began to rise up out of the distance.




Pretty soon, we were in Zion National Park, and if you have a bucket list, I'd add this one to it as soon as humanly possible. Because, it is beautiful.







Now, granted, we went at about the perfect time - late March/early April, good weather, about 9 a.m. in the morning. A dusting of snow had just fallen, making everything look like Christmas.






It was, in a word, enchanting. 






We drove through the rest of the park, and it seemed, all too soon, that we were headed east again. We made another stop before heading to Colorado, but that's fodder for another blog post. 
Until next time, keep it in the road.





Tuesday, June 21, 2016

California to Iowa, Part I


So, we went to California in March, to help my aunt and uncle move, and bring back some family heirlooms. While we spent most of the time with family, hearing stories of the things they had collected over the years and reminiscing, we made sure to focus on priorities. And by that, I mean the best burgers ever.




I kid, I kid! But for the love of grease, why isn't there an In N Out in the Midwest?? 

When we weren't eating fast food or packing or talking family history, we were driving, and our route took us from southern Cali through Utah to Colorado and back across the grain belt to Iowa.

There were orange trees and almond trees.



There were organic farms and roadside stands selling produce at unbelievable prices - avocados 10 for $1!



And there were local nurseries with cats and beautiful plants, the likes of which should never live here, but somehow an orange tree made it inside the car?



And of course, there was a brewery: Sequoia Brewing Company.



We had a flight of several choices, but I want to say the Big Horn Red IPA and the Black Oak Porter were both favorites. We also picked up a few brews to take home at the local grocery store. 

Then, at long last, there were foothils, and mountains and higher elevations. 



We ended up in Hurricane, Utah, the first night, before driving into Zion. Two things to not miss in Hurricane: Triple TJ's Cafe, a family-owned joint with excellent sour cherry cobbler and super nice people, and River Rock Roasting Company - just buy all the coffee and food you can carry, especially coffee beans for later and the delicious breakfast croissants that can feed two people for hiking. Holy moley. 



From there we journeyed into Zion... but that's another blog post. Until next time!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

May Books




Another month, warmer weather, slightly better wrists, a bit more activity and a new stack of books. Thus, with sun and actual warm weather (yay!), we end May.

I haven't been blogging because my wrists still aren't up to snuff, and I'm supposed to be resting them on the weekends, instead of, you know, trolling the internets, writing blog posts and making jewelry, etc., and so on. So I haven't been doing much of that - just the usual chores. Lifting a tasty beverage is an approved activity, so that's been helpful.

I can, however, lift my laptop with one hand, so there has been improvement. Also, walk the dogs and hold a leash without wincing, mostly. However, this blog post is being written in stages, so we'll shoot for sometime in early June... 

Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events, Books 2 and 3: Because that's what they had at the library. Picked them up to see what all the fuss was about, and it's surprising how addictive these little tomes are! Going back for more... 

Spark Joy, by Marie Kondo: Picked this up, and promptly cleaned out my closet, packed up some books into boxes and cleared out three boxes of paper. I'm not sure what I was waiting for - a permission slip? - but in any case, the book boils decluttering down to one thing - does it spark joy? And if not, chuck it. There's also a bit about how to fold everything, if you're into that kind of thing. Really enjoyed this one, as she has such happy writing, and came back to it as a reference often over the month. Was sad to return, so may be a book buy later this year.

Above the Line: My Wild Oats Adventure, by Shirley MacLaine: I can't say why I picked this one out of the stack. Hadn't read anything by her before, although she has a few books from over the years. In any case, this is a hodgepodge of thoughts, ranging from the present moment to past lives and historical (?) context. Have not seen the movie - can't quite tell if it is released? Anyway, I kept reading mostly to see what the conclusion was, and while the movie wrapped up, I can't say that the book did, really. Pretty much what you'd expect if you picked up a book by Martha Levinson from Downton.

The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide to an Inspired Life, by Jessa Crispin: If you've never really understood tarot, or what the cards mean, this is an excellent book to solve all that. She writes in a way you'll understand, explaining what the different cards mean with life examples. Easy to read and well-written. Also more of a reference, than a read-all-at-once deal.

One Wild Bird at a Time: Portraits of Individual Lives, by Bernd Heinrich: Think what you would do if you had all the time in the world to watch and study birds, and then by some chance, you also had a scientific background to back those observations up, and then to top it off, you were able to write all this down in such a way as to bring the reader into the experience, rather than fob them off with dry facts and such. Then you would have this book. By the time I got partway through, I was thoroughly invested in this starling couple's lives and what happened to their offspring, and also had learned exactly what a starling chick eats. Amazing. Got an extension at the library for this one! 

Eligible: A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, by Curtis Sittenfeld: I'm a bit of a P&P junkie - I own the BBC boxed set, have opinions about the most recent movie (the hair! the language! URGH!) and may have read the book a few (hundred) times. So, when my friend Amy brought up this new element, I had to try it out. Really impressed by the modern workover Sittenfeld gives the characters - and I think she did a bang-up job translating the family situation into the current world. At first blush, I thought her Lizzie possibly too outspoken. However, we have to remember how little it took to step out of decorum in the 1800s, versus the range of decorum today, and so she had to make it fairly out there to match up. I could go on, but really, P&P fan or not, quite a good read.

Figge Art Museum: Celebrating 10 Years, various: Having reported on the funding streams for this museum, I was curious what this book would entail. A lovely tribute, really, with a nice section on the history of the museum and how the collection started. Also, excellent photos and detail on the collections the museum has, which in the new building can be shown properly. I believe this is only available locally, so this is a library link. However, I imagine it might be in the local bookstores as well. 

So, there you have it. May books! ALSO, a quick note: I've mentioned my friend Darla's book, Oracle: Divination for Magical Babes on this blog a time or two. She is doing a MONTH of giveaways right now, to celebrate her second journal volume, Divina: A Journal for Magical Babes, Vol. II, being released later this month, and also some courses she is teaching for her School of Dreams and Divination. Free tuition! Also, jewelry, books, good stuff. Click on over to get the details. :)