Colleen has a penchant for biographies. Wherever we have been she haunts the bookstore for local women and their struggles and achievements. I hardly paid attention.
…Well, I do. It’s like when the kids were little and I half listened as the “wife” would prattle along at breakfast. I got practiced at listening and being able to repeat the last ten words so as to look engaged as I avidly read the sports page. (I can still do it, though I don’t need to… no current wife.) To paraphrase, she one day related, “You know (NYC) cabs like to come up beside you and honk while you are driving.” Distractedly, “Oh, what do you do?” (avidly reading said NY Times) She replied excitedly, “When they beep I look over and they jump ahead and cut me off. So instead, I step on the gas and don’t allow them past.” She sat with a satisfied smug grin while I cringed knowing that her next car accident was right around the corner. “No! Don’t do that!” as I realized that, indeed, I did have the ability to follow a conversation without listening.
We leased a Volvo wagon in 1991. It was a running joke among my friends that we had no original parts on that car when we turned that vehicle in. (She was a new driver.) We actually achieved the ignominious distinction of being uninsurable. Imagine paying $26,000 a year for auto insurance. Yep! A month later I shopped for another vendor and we were immediately invited to enroll in a major carrier at about $1500/year. Go figure. I did not ask why and we were still insured with them decades later.
…okay, back to my story. Grand Canyon. I’m there for the pictures and the scenery. We’re in the bookstore. Sunset is in an hour. Look! Surprise! Books! Mary was an architect at a time when there were no women in architecture. She (actually) had to have men draw her plans. And she designed some pretty strange stuff. So it’s good the men were there to help (watch over) her….KIDDING! Her designs at the Grand Canyon were to incorporate her buildings to fit in with the environment. She also was the designer/architect for the “Harvey houses.” (Remember: Judy Garland – “The Harvey Girls.) Yes, Mary was pretty special and a woman of achievement at a time long before “equality.” I learned something new. Wasn’t that special?
Iconic. Bucket list! It’s something you gotta see! A must! I took it (this pic) the same afternoon as starry night (see yesterday’s post).
It’s been done before (this picture). I’m not the first one in this spot taking this picture. But it’s my picture. I did it. I took it. When you stop to think about things, the Grand Canyon has been around for a very long time. Ginny pointed out something casually when she mentioned that it’s people who matter. That’s unique. That comes around once. In the scheme of history people are forgotten except for heinous war lords, assassins, etc. However, this monument to nature will endure. It’s my pic. The metadata says that I was there with my camera. I suppose a nostalgic pic of the kids or… Ginny would be more sentimental. “Priceless!” as they say in that current credit card commercial.
No, not Van Gogh. I just stuck my camera up and took a pic. Wow! The son of a gun (camera) actually got a picture of the stars. (Warning: If you have a small screen device or your screen is dirty, you ain’t gonna see nuthin.’ Sorry. What you should see? White dots and star trails… and clouds – upper right.) No tripod. Hand held. I was about as surprised as you might be. The darn thing shoots in the dark. Technology! Ain’t it great? The things that a CPU will do never ceases to amaze me. I’ve tried it a few more times, but with less success. Mostly, it’s been too cold lately…. Brrrr.
Note to self: A picture with little white dots is hardly gonna blow any socks off. There are a few clouds along the margin. Mostly it’s ho-hum, yawn….Add a little color so the readers will stick with me. Note to self: I am not a nut…I am not…
Imagine – he’s in the circus clown hall of fame. He slipped away on a technicality until…now. A staple and star he left/retired from the Big Apple Circus. Then a girl accused him. It was too late. He could not be fired since he was already gone. The circus changed owners. Now he’s back. The #MeToo movement fired up his accuser and he’s gone. Long story short. I hope I got it right.
Vincent Tullo for The New York Times
This son of a gun posed with my kids (when they were once kids). Who’d have known? As the NY Times noted: that’s not the man he is in “costume.” Yeah, pun intended (with sarcasm and shock). Sorry kids. I’m really sorry. Shocked? Saddened? You bet.
The kids taught me to do this silly pose. I’m too old and can’t jump too high any more. But here’s the secret. Bend your knees under you. Even a few inches of elevation will look effectively dangerous scary. The trick is to look like you are hovering in air without the ground beneath. Someone thought of this. Who? And, I did it. The significant other in my life is afraid of heights. She took this.
Did I mention that visiting the Grand Canyon was on my bucket list too? As with most things it/this happened spontaneously. I don’t recall ever going somewhere specifically because of a such a desire that I planned it. Mostly, I fit life into what is happening at the moment. We were on a cross country trip. You have to cross over somewhere? See the hat? Gloves? It’s was da** cold! I got mittens which allow my fingers to hold/feel the camera controls. And for those who know me, this is probably the last photo of my beloved pair of jeans. Kaput, three years, alas, poor jeans.
Simple. Sometimes simple is good. Backlight, detail, close-up, it just comes together. It was but a moment. I’ve taken numerous nice shots like this before. Someone no longer dear to me once said, “You’ve hundreds of flowers and sunset pictures, what is the point of stopping to take one more.” I never listened. At the end of the day I regret that I ever did. Call me stubborn. At least I feel enlightened now.
Look it up: It’s listed.
I was warned about this road in a tourist office at our last stop. We continued and I was oblivious to the warning. The woman told me I would have to drive this road at 10mph. Ha! I laugh in the face of danger! We had had an interesting conversation about Bears Ears which had just been reduced drastically in size by the current president. Yes, that idiot. But the woman agreed with her/not my president. States rights vs Fed. It made sense for a bit until I realized that there’s coal and uranium rights too. Give the critters a break… But, I digress.
I’m used to seeing signs with warnings for “curves” ahead. I should have suspected trouble when the curves were horizontal. The next big warning were the stickers plastered over the sign like a badge of courage/honor for those who had passed this way before. Poor “dumb” me. It’s a three mile unpaved road with hairpin switchbacks that drops 1000 feet to the valley below. If you are riding in the passenger/shotgun seat, it looks like a sheer drop every inch of the way. Hey! It is!
My passenger screamed all the way down. She denies it! She says she whimpered. I offered to let her out to walk. She replied, “Then you’ll die alone…” It was not even a difficult downhill ski slope. But the view at dusk was pretty spectacular. Too bad. Down was thrilling. Up would not have been so much fun. That “republican” woman!? Do you think she sent me this way on purpose?
Since we returned history has unfolded to reveal that Bears Ears was reduced so that hunting and cattle grazing could begin again. And, the mining interests – coal and uranium could begin again. Bastards! That’s simply disingenuous. I’ve seen pictures of the mining operations. I’ve read about health issues that followed. How many bombs do we need? I guess you follow the money. Preservation of nature is not a priority for some.
The arches are made from sandstone. This was as close as I got. Most of them are far, or a hike, or are not accessible. It was very cold; we didn’t hike. It’s fascinating to read how the arches formed. This one was off road and behind a large sandstone formation. Someone explored and found it a long time ago. Thanks. We stuck to the short trail and got to see it. This has been on my bucket list of pictures. It’s not “the picture.” I’ve been there now. Time was short. It always seems that way. But, I got to see it, experience it, and share it with someone I love. Perfect.
We took a bus around to some viewpoints along the Grand Canyon. At one stop there were elk grazing right by the stop. We did not get off the bus. So many things to see, too little time. Drat! I thought I could see them on the way back. No such luck. The bus did not stop there on its return trip. Double drat! I got lucky. In the parking lot was a male rubbing his antlers. He was there only mere feet away. And, I had my camera and my images! It’s off season. The elk don’t mind tourists. They trot along the roadways in groups. Yes, I got lots of shots. Yay!
It was through the kindness of strangers that I saw the big horn sheep. They were mere dots on the mountainside. It’s sheer cliff. The distance was at the limit of my big lens. Dots, they were just dots. But I saw them. And I got a shot(s). There was group of loud Korean tourists ahead of me later as we walked. I decided to return the kindness and pointed out the sheep. They could not see them nor could they see them even when I pointed. I pulled out the trusty iPhone and enlarged the image. Immediately one of the men walked forward toward the cliff as he pointed excitedly to his companions. Oh my! I pulled him back and told (gestured to) him not to fall off the cliff. He grinned … and held back. Yeah, I wondered, if no good deed goes unpunished.
I got lost. Lost track of time. I had scheduled posts back in December until now and did not realize that I have not posted in several days. It’s been hectic. But not too bad… catching up. I know. I know. It’s long beyond Christmas. But I just came across this image. Origin: Antique Store – Ohio. We had one growing up. It’s not exact but a close facsimile. Enough to trigger a memory. We fought over it. I know this. I do not remember what the dispute was about. By default my brother Eric has the Santa. He’s the last one home. I’ve seen him light it at Xmas time. Nostalgia.
Speaking of tardiness: We did not return home from travel until December 20. Try and buy a Christmas tree in Rehoboth, Delaware then. Nope. We did Lowe’s and Home Depot. They carry fresh trees at reasonable price. Nope. There were a few “Charlie Brown” trees. Sadly. And for $60. Oh boy! Plan B. We drove 50 miles north to Dover. Ha! Double ha ha! We found a few trees at Home Depot – $60 – semi acceptable. And Lowes? As we walked in, the sales clerk said, “Half price, everything just went half price.” Clearance! We got a tree, a large poinsettia, and several other small live trees/bushes for the mere price of $39. Yes! A fortuitous bargain. The tree turned out to be perfect after we trimmed it. I’m too OCD to wait again. Next year I’ll remember to get a tree sooner.
What do you do when you are on a road trip and you miss your cats? Po (Pablo) is one big cat! He’s Po because the kid can’t say the name. It figures. How big? How do you get the idea into an image? Comparative? Tristan is tiny for his age. Not too much help there. Po stretches across the seat of the rocker. He just looks big. I don’t know, but I don’t think Po jumps.
I have been to a liquor supermart. They have some expensive bottles behind locked glass doors. Yeah, over $1000 pushing $2000 a bottle! Funny, too, they had expensive herbs and such in Chinatown when I was there. Hmmm is there a segue? We found… Boulevard Autumn Radler and Avery Tweak. The Radler was a remembrance of mad beer run in Kansas City. We got a growler but no cans. And the Tweak was our $30 bottle at a restaurant in Boulder. Don’t ask. That was a hell of an expensive bottle! $12.99 retail in the store. It’s aged in oak and they treat it like a wine. I was advised to age it for three years to let the taste mellow. Did I tell you I don’t drink? We got a couple. I’ll try to age it.
The crowd is small. It’s full of character stereotypes that do weed. And then there were perfectly looking “straights.” Don’t ask why I was in. But it’s apparently legal and definitely not for medicinal purposes. I decline to tell you if I ever… and I wonder how many amongst them are Republicans? It’s a superstore. You get ID’d entering and when you purchase. It’s worse than a porno shop. I learned about leaf names, quality, cost, and a myriad of choices. Cash only, they got an ATM by the door. TMI Tobacco, drugs, and alcohol are part of our culture. It will all kill you. Your choice. Funny, ‘cause I don’t.
Silos dot the horizon. I am drawn to the new. There are plenty of rundown abandoned farms with forlorn spinning windmills. The newer shiny silos are the symbols of today. Technology in farming has turned away from the picturesque. I tried to get some quaint farm pictures. I missed.
I drove fast enough to be passing most trucks on the road. I was surprised by some of the things in tow. But you only have limited choices in getting things from one place to another. Sometimes it just doesn’t seem as efficient as it might be. For instance, you would tow your car behind your tractor trailer cab?
The New York Times likes to publish articles about 36 hours in…. ‘you name the city.’ Here is my … evening in Kansas City. We arrived after dark. It was really a pass-through heading to Denver. But since I had been here last year, I had some foreknowledge. We chose Grunauer Restaurant and the Red Lady Lounge. The restaurant is a German restaurant with schnitzel my latest favorite food. It is a pounded thin cutlet breaded and fried up. There were alternate selections for my gluten free vegetarian companion. The restaurant was not crowded and the meal was great. We can’t predict traffic and could not schedule any events. Perfect. The other “drop in” was the Red Lady Lounge. I am not a bar person. I don’t drink alcohol. But jazz is fun: no cover: dark: in a very untraveled part of town. In other words, you would not necessarily go here or want to park your car here. The music was good. The sound was poorly balanced. Hey, it was live and we sat next to the organ. Impromptu jamming, a very laid back relaxed atmosphere, it was a very pleasant end to the day. Yes, we packed a lot into one evening in KC.
The plains states are flat. Yes, there are some rolling bumps you might call low hills. So, poles make a statement in the skyline. It’s harder to get an image. Any majestic landscape will minimize the poles. Any close-up covers up the majesty of the plains. Ah, the choices one makes…
3-D symbolism is pretty rare any more. McD has its golden arches. But the Sinclair dino? I saw another 2-D flat sign for Sinclair in the city. No appeal. It’s like jingles. No one advertises with jingles any more. Remember, “Brylcreem, a little dab’ll do you…” They still sell it. Wow!
So, we looked up oil derricks in Kansas. You see them occasionally and seemingly randomly placed singularly in a field. They pump slowly. There is nothing else visible – no pipes, no storage tank, no attendant workers. I have seen them in California too. I do not think of Kansas as an oil producing state. Indeed, the market has collapsed in recent years. The old derricks keep pumping. We passed with barely a glance.
I was struck by the juxtaposition of tech. A solar panel was powering an oil derrick against a background of wind turbines. Progress. The future. Symbolic. Symbolism. Irony. Mankind moving toward the future. What will our life be like when petroleum has gone? We have an elaborate road system. What will travel on it?
We only got a glimpse this time. You can’t do everything. Some things are once. We stopped before. We nodded and remembered the first time around. This time around we passed up on the Eisenhower library and the cathedral on the plains in Victoria. We tried to see different things. I can’t believe that I have been to Kansas as many times as I have. Shhhhh, let’s keep this fact quiet.
Did you know he was a neurosurgeon? Not me. His show was black and white TV from the ‘50’s. It was still showing on cable in the wee hours in the 80’s. Huh? Well, Jules would be up. She was an infant. I got out of getting up with her. I followed certain rules: Sleep on the side of the bed farthest from the door. If you hear the baby cry, don’t move (in the bed). And finally, “Honey, I’m operating in the morning.” Lisa would watch bleary eyed as Ben solved another medical neurosurgery mystery. Then I would get queried in the morning to “solve the case.” Amazing! He did it all without CAT scan or MRI. Yes, he was a true legend. When Dave was born, he never cried. Lisa was too exhausted from Jules, so she left him alone, and he stopped crying.
If you stop often enough you might be surprised. Hays, Kansas. We braked for antiques. It was far enough along in miles that we needed a break. You try to pick something good. It wasn’t particularly (good). In this little shop off the interstate a Scottish woman gave us a whole story of this piece she had acquired and shipped from Scotland. Religious symbolism was all over the piece. She described religious plants, symbols signifying the books of the bible, the carvings, and even Celtic influence. Jesus had two right hands? There was a representation of the Pieta. She was looking for a museum to purchase her treasure. I would agree. It should find an appropriate home. I did not ask the price.