Saturday, May 26, 2007

Wonders of God's Creation

Today we left to drive even farther north to the Grand Canyon. I naively believed the Grand Canyon wasn't all that great and definitely wasn't on my list of must sees. Oh how wrong I was. Pictures definitely don't do it justice. (So now I will post some pictures.) Going out to the edge of the rim I was blown away by the expanse of it all. I never expected it to be so big. You look over the edge and are at a complete loss for words. It did kind of look false to me, like it was the backdrop on a movie set. It's just completely unreal.

When traveling to the Grand Canyon you must take a few days to truly see everything that you want to see. You can not see everything in one day. There is a bus tour that takes you to different photo spots along the rim which you can only see on this bus ride. We did a bit of hiking down one trail. I only went about halfway down because Jessica started to get a bit winded and I didn't want to make anyone else turn back.

I was amazed at how different the same spot could look at different times during the day. Brandon and I have decided that someday we want to go back and take a backpacking trip down to the bottom of the canyon. It is the only way you can get to the bottom as it takes several hours to get down and twice as long to get back up.

I was also surprised to hear that if you want to take a mule down you have to book it a year in advance.

In the picture of Matthew to the left if you click on it you will see some local wildlife. Unfortunately I didn't get very many good pictures of Joseph and Noe was particularly elusive it seems.

In Grand Canyon National Park I saw the greatest number of foreign tourists I have ever seen in such great concentration anywhere in the US. We came across quite a few Germans and saw a great many Asians. They came from far away to see the grandeur.

It is definite must see on the list of places to visit before you die. Now go book some tickets, I'm sure it's not at all busy during the summer.

Friday, May 25, 2007

On the Road Again...

Today we woke up bright and early and headed north to Slide Rock State Park. It was definitely nice to see some trees again.

Slide Rock was pretty cool. First we hiked around and climbed the rocks a bit because the water was super cold. A couple of the kids were brave enough to take a slide but I'm not that nuts. When I finally did get in it was breathtakingly cold. I mean it was so cold that you feel like your insides are freezing. We did have a blast.

I didn't take the big plunge though. There is a big rock cliff under a bridge that makes boys into men. It's a good 40 foot jump. Many climb to the top and look down in fear. They sit on the top trying to psyche themselves up only to climb back down in shame. My nephew Joseph decided to become a daredevil and took the jump quite a few times. There would be all of these trash talking guys standing up there calling each other wusses (and far worse) and here comes this skinny little twig of a 12 year old who doesn't hesitate and runs clear off the end. If I learn how to post video I will add one of his jumps.

We spent most of the day there and moved on to Sedona for a bit of site seeing. It's a very artsy place with lots of big houses and resorts. I got to test my parenting skills when we went into a "glassables" shop. My SIL Jessica sent her three boys to sit outside as there were plaques throughout the store reading, "You break it, you buy it." Turns out I should have sent my "boy" out too. He was admiring a glow in the dark glass cube and decided to show it to Kat. When he was setting it back on it's precarious corner it fell off onto the shelf with a loud thump. Yes, he broke a great chip out of it and ended up having to buy it. The store owner was very nice and only made him cover her cost of it (about half) and sent him on his way with it. I kept my cool and didn't yell at him because it was only an accident. He said to me later, "Why couldn't I have chipped a neat looking one. Instead I get stuck with an ugly cube." Oh well.

We stopped at Jessica's favorite, Cracker Barrel before heading to our hotel to get some much needed rest.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Arrival

We arrived in Phoenix this morning to visit my brother and his family. Boy is it hot here, I don't want to hear anything about it being a dry heat. It's still hot!

As we pulled into the gate and waited to get off the plane I caught sight of this and Brandon convinced me to take a picture. For some reason I thought it was hilarious, Brandon thought it was too so at least I'm not alone.

The first thing that stuck me as we drove around town is how bright it is outside. I mean, we have full on sunshine here but it is nothing compared to there. We were told to keep our sunglasses on while outside so that we didn't burn our eyes. We were also informed that we needed to carry water with us at all times so as not to get dehydrated. When my sister-in-law Jessica first started working outside soon after their arrival she had to go to the hospital for heat stroke. Her doctor informed her she needed to find a job working indoors.

Another thing I noticed was the lack of trees. You can see cactus and hills for miles but no naturally occurring trees. I would miss that if I lived there, and changes in weather, sometimes having a cloudy day is nice.

That evening we went to the baseball game. It just so happened that our home team was playing there. We were treated to a complete slaughter, thanks Astros. They have a swimming pool out in right field which I have never seen at a ballpark. I was unimpressed when I actually saw it. I expected something more than a dinky little pool. They pulled out all the stops on that one.

My nephew Matthew was the only one of the three kids who was interested in going to the game. All he needed was his bag of was roasted peanuts and he was all set. He cheered on his Astros to the bitter end much to the amusement of the adults sitting near us. They were impressed with his enthusiasm and dedication and told him they would do better next time. After the game was over we headed back. Time to get some much needed sleep for our early start tomorrow.

Friday, May 11, 2007

She Really Took the Wind Out of Their Sails

There once was a potentially wild woman called Andrea. She was really special because she was ahead of her time. Everybody awaited her arrival with baited breath. Then she decided she wasn't ready for her close up and turned and fled. All the world's a stage and there is always a fresh excuse for some drama.

The meteorologists and media were becoming quite giddy that there was a sub-tropical storm brewing and it was going to hit land! They dug out their dire predictions about how this is going to be the worst-possible-hurricane-season-EVER!! Everybody panic!!!! And then, the storm was downgraded and not expected to hit land. You could hear the utter dejection in the meteorologist's voice as he forlornly proclaimed, "Well, (sigh) Andrea isn't doing to well..." (His exact words.) He really did sound like someone had just shot his puppy.

Because a storm of any kind raining down its fury on anyone is a good thing? The total destruction and devastation it can bring is a good thing?

And thank you for personifying a storm.

Friday, May 4, 2007

This Just In

News anchormen never cease to amuse me with their wit. Yesterday afternoon we had some spectacular thunderstorms. In our northern counties there were even tornado warnings. Since tropical storm Alison hit a few years ago any kind of weather is a major event in the local media. We like to poke fun when we see a reporter standing in ankle deep water, gravely speaking of wide spread street flooding in all of their dramatic glory.

I had Brandon pause the DVD we were watching just so I could see what they would come up with on the 10pm news. I wasn't disappointed. They reported high winds, hail, and an unconfirmed twister. They showed clips of limbs laying across roads, uprooted trees, and damaged houses. They aired interviews with overly excited, cream of the crop eye witnesses.

Then came the gripping, ratings catching, Emmy winning commentary;"Nobody was seriously injured but a tree branch did fall on a man's head."And then they segued into another story. That's it? We looked at each other and both burst out laughing. Brandon kept repeating, "This is so wrong, but I can't stop laughing." And they make the big bucks.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

A Well Deserved Night Off

Earlier today my wonderful husband informed me that he was taking dinner duty tonight and I had the night off. Of course I happily agreed. I was able to come home and at my leisure finish the book I had a few pages left of, do my cardio salsa workout, and sit around. It's nice to not rush-rush for once.

Brandon has been wanting to try the absolutely delicious looking Steak Sandwich courtesy of The Pioneer Woman. The smells coming from the kitchen are absolutely divine.

I always feel very special when Brandon does the little things for me. Cooking is not something that comes naturally to him. The man can multi-task on a computer to the point he has so many tabs and programs open it makes my eyes water and my head spin. He can write complex programs and edit pictures quite deftly but nearly loses his head when it comes to recipes. Knowing that he is sacrificing his precious time to make me some yummy food which I could probably do in half the time makes me feel pretty darn special. (Can you tell that "acts of service" is one of my primary love languages?) So I have given him some helpful pointers and left him to work some magic. Did I mention how wonderful it smells?

Growing up Brandon wasn't given many opportunities to help out in the kitchen. One of his "favorite" phrases is, "Watching is helping." When I tease him with it I get the sarcastic smirk and annoyed eye-roll and coming from this easy going boy, that is saying something. His PSA is: Parents let your kids help you out no matter how much time you "waste". Who cares if you can do it twice as fast. By helping out as a wee one it builds skills and confidence. (And character, mustn't forget character.) It makes for a self-sufficient child who when he grows up doesn't have to subsist on ramen noodles, corn dogs, or pre-shaped beef patties. And he is able to give his loving wife a break on the cooking once in a while.

I have to go, I hear him scooping that tantalizing meat on the rolls.

Edit: All right, you HAVE got to go try those sandwiches!! Good stuff!!