30 November 2009

Feasting Images...

Thanksgiving morning dawned bright...sunny and actually quite warm.

Which may have made my Nanook of the North furry boots and leggings unnecessary (the leggings were not fur...and it was my new boots debut) but in the name of fashion (and the raised eyebrow and, "...What are you wearing?!"  I got when I showed up at The Airstream was worth it) I wore them all together anyway.

This is widely acknowledged in some circles to be Rich and I's third Thanksgiving together...

(Mostly my circle)

And I finally got the damned fantastic vegan potatos au gratin perfect!

(yes, the third time is apparently the charm)

(so is finally sitting and really reading the recipe and instructions...and being mindful of the amount of liquid...so that it's not a sloshy potato soup...I mean, don't get me wrong, the flavor has always been out of this world...the liquid sloshing over the edges of the casserole dish onto the car floor mats was not. )


Also debuting at Thanksgiving this year were these Sock Monkey sock/slippers.

There's a lot of lounging around on Thanksgiving Day (there use to be a lot of hiking promises made...but we can't time the eating and napping with feeling energetic...and instead feel lethargic and too full to hike)  and watching movies in between eating and napping.  So, these babies were a must to keep the tootsies warm (and you thought Rich raised his eyebrows over the furry boots?!)  As you can see by the picture I had the laces with the rather large pompoms facing each other on the inner part of my legs.  I want you to know this is not the smartest placement of said things.

In less you want to constantly be either untying yourself, or tangling your laces up making you try to take a step only to find yourself tied together at the calves.

I did not fall and hit my head, but I did think that I would have kicked some serious butt in a three legged race.

Or a hopping on both feet race.

Or hopscotch.

Kind of.

I wizened up at some point and switched feet...or rather socks.  My feet are stationary and are attached at the ankle...making it impossible to switch them around (and messy to do so in such a small area) The socks on the other feet?  Perfect.  The ties and pompoms are in the exact right space.

Although, they still come untied when you wear them while napping.

25 November 2009

Happy Thanksgiving...

We're all feeling tucked in here at Foolsewoode in preparation to celebrate our thanks for the bounty that is our lives...

This year was particularly abundant in friends and family...business and success.  There was also a lot of other things that happened that I shall place under the term creative growth so that I can instead focus on the positive.

I was up one family member this year in the form of a rescue kitty that I received on the Fall Equinox, and this week I had to make the hard and painful decision that he is not working out in our household.  He works out in my personal household...but Mena, queen kitty?  She can't seem to adjust.  I don't know why...she's been around other cats before, but maybe at her advanced age of 12 it's too hard for her right now.  I gave Hermes a good start and he's off to a new adventure and is doing well...waiting for his forever home.  I hope he is able to find it in time for the other winter holidays.  It was sad to see him go, but I feel lucky that he came to stay for the two months he was here...and I was happy we were able to have a part in his transition into a better life and get him out of the alley he was abandon in and into a more safe stable place.

Now I'm watching my Mena come back to life a little bit more than she has been the last two months.  She's happy.  I'm happy.

Life is Good.

Happy Thanksgiving!

24 November 2009


Or something like that.

Just because I hike them does not mean I remember their names...
As a matter of fact, often Rich has to drop me a note and let me know that I've slipped up.

Once I was a perfectionist that got embarrassed by such things...now I'm not.

(ok, I am)

So, this canyon hike Rich planned out (there were several ideas he had to choose from) consisted of hike hike hike...slot canyon.


I waved my arms around a lot at that suggestion.

I love slot canyons.

I also love waving my arms around a lot.
It makes me feel like a Muppet.

Now.  After yesterday's cautionary tale of the famed rock formation The Control Tower, you'd almost bet that we couldn't find this canyon because it was listed in the same book we had used for trying to find the stupid rock formation, so in all probability the slot canyon didn't exist...but as it's attached to Buckskin Gulch, and Rich already knew where that was (due to a previous trip out to see The Wave...) I figured we were in good hands and wouldn't be slogging all over tarnation (that's western speak for BFE.)

Plus?  As an added bonus...Rich's knee hurt from all the dancing he did the day before, so we couldn't go hiking across any sand dunes.  Phoey.

Cause I was totally up for it.

yeah right.
(actually, I go to they gym most days...so I wasn't that bad off)

So. we parked the car at the parking lot and set off.  While we were in the parking lot we saw groups of campers who were in shorts and I scoffed because it was still very cold and they were probably going to freeze (cause I was wearing 3 layers complete with fleece lined wool gloves and hat.)  Rich then took that moment to suggest that maybe it was us that were cold and those people had most likely spent the night in a heated space and in a bed (this immediately made me miss my bed.  And heat.  And running water...and chocolate cake.  What?  It was morning, and I hadn't eaten yet...we could barely thaw the water for decaf for crying out loud.)

Show off short hiker people.

We hiked mostly in a creek bed (that was dry, because we were still cold remember...so no water is good water, which is exactly the opposite of what you think in the Summertime) passed the turn off trail for The Wave (which I knew Rich was itching to go on...and made me ask him if there are actually people checking your passes somewhere in there, and how would they know that you weren't supposed to be there, or that you had been there at all?  I mean, does your DNA change as soon as you see The Wave?  Is there a cheek swab test I missed back at the parking lot?  Rich said it didn't matter, because would be cheating if we went up there...he quickly went on to suggest that perhaps we would have better luck on a weekday if we wanted to go that route since apparently you almost have to kill someone to obtain a pass to even see this place...)

A large log stuck in between the canyon walls...most likely due to the insane pressure of many pounds of rushing water during rain storms.

After hiking quite some way down this creek bed (making me hot...apparently it's hotter in this part of Utah.  Don't even talk to me about shorts...) we came to the opening of the canyon and the start of the slots...which made me giddy.

I will try to explain myself.

Being in a slot canyon is like being in the Earth and having her throw her arms around you and hold you in a safe embrace...and really?  Who doesn't like hugs?  Well...that's not to say that you'd want this particular hug during a rainstorm...because like a hug from a busty aunt or cheeky uncle during the holidays, it would most likely leave you quite broken and dead..

The light in a slot canyon is also so diffuse and beautiful...which is most likely due to the high walls and confined space therein.  This particular canyon was pink, red, yellow and orange...and was all stripey, due to the sandstone that was forming it.

I decided that maybe the reason I like slot canyons so well is because it's like happening upon a great secret cave.  Only you still have fresh air and daylight.  Cause I'm not sure about actual deep caves or underground things...I have problems watching Jock Cousteau and most of the stuff he does without feeling a bit sweaty and looking around the room for the nearest Exit.

Or maybe it's just that with all the curving around, slot canyons happen to be really good feng shui, the way they caress you with their curves and beckon you to turn their next corner to see what is up ahead.  Combine that with these amazing colors and all the stripes on the walls and you've got a pretty great seduction going on.

Oh Mother Nature..

You big flirt.

Also...if you aim just right, the pictures you get while in a slot canyon makes you really look like you know what you're doing.

I wish I could say that Rich was jumping for joy as much as I was.  He has discovered he's a bit wary of slot canyons now, and doesn't think of them as warm hugs from a lost lover but more like bear hugs from a potential enemy.  This fact annoys him.  I know how that feels.  After all...he made me hike UP on some rocks the day before and I was totally nervous (and other things...) so I was totally prepared to turn to him and say, "Get in there boy!"  but, he'd already charged ahead, so I was left standing there talking to myself.


We did discover something though...Rich was actually very calm and seemed at more at home than he usually does in a slot canyon.  My personal theory is that while the other slot canyon we've been to is sand...this one is rock, and he being an experienced rock climber means that rocks speak to him more than sand.  He's already good friends with the rocks and they have held court before, and decided to become good friends.  I could really tell he was fine when he stood and fiddled with the head of his tripod instead of walking out of the canyon when we were hiking back...even though he could see the end of the canyon just mere feet away.

Whatever it was...he was fine.  Only a little nervous (he admitted to me)  And I made sure I didn't say anything at all about how happy I was that we weren't claustrophobic (cause I did that once before totally offhanded mind you, and it was not OK...and I've felt very bad about it since.)  Or how I could stand in the middle of the canyon and touch both sides with my hands.  Oh wait.  I did say that...complete with a demonstration.  I think it went something like this:

"Hey!  This is like standing in my kitchen at home!"
while putting my hands out to touch the sides of the canyon.

But, it didn't throw him at all...he just laughed at me.
I was both proud of him and excited.

More Rich time in slot canyon =  More Sadira time in slot canyon

The only thing that made him hesitate was the first large drop down the canyon floor.  You see, when the water rushes through these small areas, like a lot of creek beds, it steps down and down and down...leaving large piles of rocks behind which create large drops down to the next part of the creek bed floor (there is a word for it, but I have no idea what the heck it is, I just kept thinking how pretty it would be to see it full of water...like all these waterfalls everywhere...you know, as long as you weren't being crushed to death)  But that first big drop?  It was several feet...like about 100...or 15 or something like that, I don't know, I have a problem with distance and square feet and whatnot...but not to worry.

There was a ladder down.

I spied it when I looked over the edge (feeling a bit sweaty at the time because heights do that to me...we're quite the pair, Rich and I...but at least we spend a lot of time practicing encouragement and making up little cheers for each other) So, Rich got down on his tummy and put his feet over and felt around for a while and said, "Nope. I can't touch it...nevermind."  And I was like, "I'll do it!  Get up..." (only in a more encouragy sing-songy sort of way)  So, I got down on my tummy, swung my legs over the rock and let myself stretch out (which is one of the reasons why I take yoga) and found the top of the ladder...knowing that Rich would catch me if I slipped.  Even though he had a pack on...and was holding his camera attached to a tripod and my full camera bag was in his way.

I wonder why I thought that?

Anyway, set my foot on the top step of the ladder, felt it move under my weight and said, "Ohhhhh...it's moovey!"  And he said, "Nope.  Not comfortable with this!"  and I said, "Oh come on! I'm already down here...If I can do it, you can do it..."  Mostly because I was already worried about how the heck I was going to get back UP the rocks (which is the other reason why I do yoga) and I thought it would be nice to help him out, because I wanted to take the opportunity to cop a feel he always helps me out whenever he can...

I didn't think this was the best time to mention that the ladder was actually a step ladder.

I didn't figure that would help the situation any.

But, he got down just fine...in fact, we got down the next set of stones...but the next set?  Yeah...Rich determined that was about a 12 foot drop and was all sandy and had no place to put our hands to grip and that he would probably slip and crack his jaw open..and after the recent bout of dentistry he's just had done, we figured it would be a bad investment in his future.

Also?  I was totally unsure I could get back UP.  And if I'm worried about UP?  I can't enjoy myself at all...because all I think is UP?  UP?  What am I going to do if I can't get back UP?  Become some sort of slot canyon dweller existing on the meager offerings of other day hikers?

Probably Rich would have hauled me back UP over the rocks like he had to do on the step ladder part of the hike...Poor guy.  I can NOT for the life of me figure out how to get my foot up by my ear and still have enough umph to get purchase with said foot and haul myself UP anything.  So, Rich planted his feet...and pulled me up.  He said he was a bit worried because I leaned back and he thought I was going to fall backwards...and then I would have probably hit my head, and we all know how that goes.

(I believe there is actually some sort of video footage of all of this that he is working into a podcast.  I'll let you know when that's up, for your enjoyment...maybe we can aim for Thanksgiving so that you have something to do while digesting your feast...Sadira in a slot canyon not climbing UP rocks and referring herself as a grease ball.  What?  Sleeping in a fleece lined wool hat for several nights has that kind of effect on one's hair)

So, we reluctantly turned back...promising that it would be fun to come back during the summer and hike in from the other direction where there's water and wider slot canyons.  Really...something for everyone in that case.

I'm angling for my birthday or our anniversary.

Rich also admitted on the hike back to the car that he'd read somewhere that perhaps you should bring some rope while hiking this canyon...which made me laugh (internally...outwardly I probably grimaced) because I can't even begin to figure out how I would use rope to do anything but get caught up in and then be swinging upside down from a bunch of boulders.

If this happens you can bet I'll make Rich podcast that too.

23 November 2009

Coyote Buttes...

Sitting poised with my fingers over the keyboard of the Mac and I hesitate.  It feels like I have about two seconds before I have to jump in and then the rest of my life begins again.  I want to say, the real part of my life begins, but I am guessing that every part is the real part...it's just that some of it is more necessary for the other parts to become more real.

What I'm trying to say is that I'm back.
And, I'm trying to process the whole trip.

I'm back from my trip to Coyote Buttes (the first of many because there's so much to see and do in this particular corner of the world)  Coyote Buttes is kind of around the same area that The Grand Stair Case - Escalante is.  Well, and Zion.  And Bryce Canyon.  And the hiking Trail that goes from Mexico to Utah (which has a name that I can't remember right now.)  It looks like one of a million places out there...and to tell you the truth, I can't figure out how the heck people find these great spots!

Honestly.  You have to get permits in advance and then have the right car, and then have to be able to drive the thing through crazy sand dunes...then get on your hiking shoes, load up your day pack with enough water and food, grab your camera and start hiking.

It's a sight.

Early Thursday afternoon found us pulling into a wonderful camp spot that is right on the Utah/Arizona border (one of many in the area...the border markers at any rate.  You could drive yourself silly trying to figure out exactly what state you're in at any given moment...one step to the left and you've entered Utah...a little further up?  Welcome to Arizona...) The campsites in the area are run by the BLM and are totally free.


They have a little gazebo with a picnic table poised underneath, a fire pit, and wonderfully maintained restrooms (because Rich likes to baby me...well that and he decided with all the cold we shouldn't be adding freezing trips to potty in the brush to the mix.  And I had already expressed concern about the whole cold camping trip...but he made sure we were fine.  ThankyouRich!)

And if you don't want to stay in a campground?  Pull over in most areas, it's free there too.

We quickly got to work setting up camp.  We're both seasoned campers and years of preparing and careful experimentation (or something like that) have narrowed our gear down to compact cases...and sacks and other things with handles.  Rich just acquired a TurboTent (only his was an insane deal on Overstock.com, and makes me very jealous, cause it's all big and fancy and you can stand up in it, only I could never remember that so I was kind of lame crawling around the whole time...holy cow!  There's a tent that attaches to the car?!  I wonder if he saw that.  I mean, it would be a bummer with all the carbon monoxide and whatnot in the morning when we started the truck to get warm.  Never mind...) and after unpacking it, we put it right up (there was a bit of head scratching, but we read the directions and were quickly on our way...we're both direction readers, so this is helpful)  In went our clothes, pillows, sleeping bags, bag liners...and my extra down comforter.

Laugh if you must, but each morning we awoke to the inside of the tent lined with the most beautiful silver ice crystals (beautiful if you didn't have to get up and face that kind of cold) and frozen water for coffee.

The extra down comforter made me mighty comfortable indeed.

Some of the first rock structures...

Each morning after several late night (and rather chilly) bathroom runs in the moonlight, Rich would wake up and start the truck and we'd both jump in to some heat...and eventually thaw water to have coffee.

We headed out rather early on Friday morning to Coyote Buttes getting our gear half ready at camp and half ready when we got there (we were desperate to let it warm up) after traveling on a crazy sand dune road.

We got off to hiking soon thereafter.

Cany Corn formations (I'm naming them myself here cause they were all yellow, orange and white) with the Tepee formations in the background

Swirly Bases...

These rock formations are quite a wonder.  First they looked so far away I was like...harumph!  (especially as we were hiking in sand dunes, because there's something about walking in sand dunes...after a while you're painfully aware of parts of your body that you're normally not aware of while you're out hiking on solid ground.) and then you're just upon these massive structures for no reason whatsoever.

And they're huge.
And colorful.
And awesome.

And have the craziest bases to them that looks like they were just corkscrewed up out of the ground.

Which they probably were.
(I think I took a Geology class in College, but I can't remember.  It was a long time ago.)

Rich's first time to these formations...he eagerly crawls into a caverny thing.

Sandstone Fins...

I walked around and said WOW a lot.

It was pretty impressive after all.

We walked all over and in and around until Rich decided it would be best if we walked UP.  Which is usually where he wants to be...UP on top of rocks.  I'm usually OK with UP too, but I found myself hesitating this time.  After having fallen several times over the last month and hitting my head, I am a bit more cautious (which is a nice way of saying that I was scared out of my mind to climb up on these things) and very slow about putting my feet down (which is also a nice way of saying that I was trying not to cry and slide down the mountain...probably hitting my head at the bottom if not the whole way down) and feeling a bit grumbly under my breath (and slightly eye-rolly.)  But, Rich assured me I could do it.

I did.

But I was still scared.

Fear gave way to a better sense of footing and calm however.
So, maybe I worked through it.

I didn't fall and hit my head, so that's good.

And I wasn't too freaked out the rest of the time.

Leaves and waves of sandstone...

The beautiful and insanely cool patterns all over some of the rocks...I'm sure some know it all out there knows what these are.  This know it all does not.

After hiking around and getting my breath back...we sat in the sun and ate a little lunch and discussed our future...looking out over the rocks....while holding hands and sighing.

Cause' we're all romantic like that. 


Actually?  We ate, and we were in the sun, and I have no idea what we talked about...and it really is hard to eat while you're holding hands and sighing and looking into each others eyes...so that probably didn't happen exactly that way, but it's my blog so I can pretty much say anything I want.

  Except that I totally saw a squirrel...

And I was all, "Squirrel!!"

And Rich was all, "where?"

Cause he though I meant a furry squirrel...but in reality it was totally a rock squirrel.  So I was all nice and patient and spent time pointing it out.  Which made Rich laugh.

And I like to make Rich laugh.
Especially after he makes me face my fears.

It's beats my first reaction of throwing a fit and pushing him down, kicking him and running away.
(yeah.  I'm dramatic)

After all, laughter does make the world go around.

 And we stood and marveled at all the stripes and colors.  All the reds and yellows and purples and such, that were running and flowing freely through the rocks...Rich was throwing rock formation words around like an expert and I was thinking...pretty.

We made our way down this large formation in search of The Control Tower.  Which was some impressive looking thing in a book Rich was carrying with him.  We set off with GPS directions and found ourselves in the middle of a sand dune...We scratched our heads and looked around and headed off into some direction or other.

There are rocks all over this place.

  We walked up to the nearest formation and said HA!  And then realized after comparing pictures, this was not The Control Tower.

It was some rock formation posing as the control tower.

And Rich huffed and puffed off this rock formation (which we both agreed was still pretty cool...but you know how it is when you're on a quest) into the sand dunes to check his coordinates once again (because we were starting to look around for the background that was in the picture itself in the book, and really...it all looks vaguely the same.  Big cool rocks, some more bumpy rocks behind it and the horizon.)

He wanted me to wait while he foraged ahead so I wouldn't get tired.

I was more interested in stripping off some of the layers I was wearing by this point cause all this sand dune hiking was making me hot.

But, not at hot as this guy...

Whom apparently didn't find The Control Tower in time.

I stood and pondered and wondered if this too, was to be our fate.

Then I pointed into the distance.

I'd found it!

We walked up and down about 100 sand dunes and when we staggered up to the rock, we realized that rock wasn't The Control Tower either.  So, I rolled my eyes and suggested since we were on more firm ground that we try, "...up in that direction..." and vaguely waved my hand in an upwards sweeping motion...

And Rich lept up and said, "Wait!  That's IT!!!"

And ran.

When just seconds before we were all hot and panting.
He has such good enthusiasm reactions.

I ran after him shouting, "Because I found The Control Tower, can I have a cookie?!"

And what do you want to bet that it was The Control Tower?

Cause' you'd be a big ole looser if you did bet me...

Which is kind of what we were feeling like right about that time.

I must have missed Rich's happy dance...because I think it was right at the end of it he put his hands on his hips to demonstrate his anger (or the Macarena...one of the two...Cause I'm pretty sure the Macarena is part of his happy dance) and he twisted and his knee popped and caused him to make a very funny face (not in a good way) ...which freaked me out because I could barely carry myself over these sand dunes much less him and his tripod...I mean, I know he has the SpotMe thing and he can get air-vaced out of a place, but I'm pretty confident that I alone I can't drive the Titan through all the sand dunes (cause we totally got stuck on the way back to camp and had to try out his MaxTracks...which worked like a charm, even though they buried themselves down in the sand about 3 feet and when Rich came back to retrieve me from the side of the road, he found me standing there scratching my head saying, "I have no idea where they are!!?!"  Leaving us to then dig around while he was saying, "Are you sure they didn't fly off?"  and me shaking my head saying, "NO.  They were right here a second ago..."  Which pretty much makes me think if I can't stand by the side of the road and keep my eyes on some big orange plastic tire grippers, I probably can't drive in this stuff.  Oh, as a side note, we did find them...and we got unstuck...and it was awesome and it made us laugh quite a bit.)

So, I was pretty much contemplating my fate as a dried up set of bones out here when Rich said, "I know The Control Tower isn't supposed to be that big of a structure anyway...I have a feeling that we've got to be practically standing on TOP of this thing!!" all while rubbing his knee,  which made me suggest that either it was only 12 inches tall and that was some pretty fancy Photoshopping in that book or it's probably one of those urban myths like Big Foot or Fat Free Chocolate Cake.  Rich suggested that either he had the wrong GPS data or that the guy in all actuality found this 12 inch tall rock structure, dug a hole under it and shot up to make it look all big and impressive.

Cause' we couldn't find it.

So we gave up.

And walked towards the car instead...and found The Control Tower on the way!


We did find another neat area as a total accidental bonus behind an enormous dune that housed some sort of red cave (according to the guide book...)  which was more like a divet in the side of a formation (I'm starting to wonder about the author of this supposed guide book...) and it wasn't so much red as it was pink.

Apparently it is red for 23.7 minutes sometime in the afternoon.

Whatever the case may be, we had to give up our search for the famed Control Tower because we were tired of staggering around in various sand dunes...and vowed we would beat the guide book guy with a rock which we personally named "The Control Tower" if we ever saw him in person needed to get stuck on the way back to camp  get back to camp and eat and dressed and ready for bed before 5:30 because if you get in your sleeping bag any later than that you may freeze to death...or at the very least, be very uncomfortable...and it had to be going on 3:00 for heavens sake.

And another thing about falling asleep before 7:00?  You tend to wake up needing a bathroom break and look over at your partner as he says, "...Guess what time it is?"  Cause' he was up watching cartoons..."7:35."

Which causes you to push up your fleece lined wool hat with ear flaps (cause it slipped over your eyes while you were asleep) which at the exact same time causes your partner to laugh at you because in reality he smiles every time you put on said hat, and when asked he admits to thinking it's cute (I personally think it itches, but it was warm and I was too scared to take it off when I feel asleep so whatever.) which makes you blush, because it's always nice to get compliments...

"Seriously?!  In the morning?"


"How long have I been asleep?"
(cause it felt like ages)

"For about 25 minutes."

good grief.

All in all...It was a spectacular day, full of great hiking, facing fears, being totally immersed in colors, getting stuck, The Control Tower,  Squirrels, awesome food...and some pretty great company...not to mention some fun camping.

Because I really do like camping no matter what the weather.

Specially if I have an extra comforter or two.

18 November 2009

Getting Away...

Today is both My Father's and Rich's Birthdays.
(insert Freudian joke here)

In honor of both of them, I am going away for a few days.

Oh.  That kind of sounds strange doesn't it?
Happy Birthday Boys!  I will spare you my company and leave...

My Father actually happens to be having a his big Birthday Shin-dig at his place in Italy...I wish I was there, but you can believe I'm there in spirit.
(which is a bummer, because I'd rather be there in form so I could enjoy all the food and wine)

This series of pictures is from my recent trip to California, where we made a point to stop by the beach before we left for home to dip our toes into the ocean.  We ran to Seal Beach which has been a stomping ground since I was a small child, and also one that I visit when I visit my father (as it's very close to where he lives)  We had breakfast at Ruby's which happens to sit itself at the very end of the pier out there.

We were virtually alone for breakfast, which was odd.

We drove by my Father's house (well, in the general neighborhood) and I was a bit sad that he wasn't there to give a big hug and kiss to.

I thought of you a lot while we were stomping all over dad, so you were there with me in spirit too.
(and you would have loved the pumpkin shake I had that Ruby's has for a limited edition sort of time)

Rich and I are actually going away for his Birthday.
Not just me.
We'll be together.

At one of his current favorite places at the moment.

I have been joking all week that I hope I don't freeze because it's been in the 30's both here and there at night as of late.  My crazy joking acts like a smoke screen to cover up the fact that I've never done any real cold weather camping, so I am scared I'm going to be cold and then freak out.

I tend to take freaked out to a whole different level where there's lots of crying involved.
He has been warned though, and I think he can handle it.

It feels like I was just lucky enough to go somewhere and now I'm rushing around getting things all settled so that I can turn around and do it all again.

I am noticing that I feel a bit guilty about having so much fun out in the world, and like I should be saving money for the holidays and bills and that I should be somewhere working instead.

I think I may have to abandon that idea all together and embrace a more joyful attitude instead.

When you own your own business, you are responsible for taking care of every aspect of it...there are no paid holidays and days off.

But, I think everyone deserves a little rest and relaxation.

Guilt free.

I will see you back in this space refreshed and with new photos next week.
Have fun all...

17 November 2009

Sandwich Board...

A little assignment my mother gave to me when I got back from Disney...

"Could you paint a sandwich board for the front of the new shop?  It doesn't have to be fancy."

Apparently she doesn't know me

I picked up the board that day and went to work designing this new sign.  I wanted to do something fun and not just run a Sharpie over the whole thing and call it a day.  I have a lot of left over paint I've used while painting the interior (and exterior for that matter) of Foolsewoode...and I found a little added surprise downstairs as well.

A small pint of crackle paint I picked up at a yard sale some time ago.
My mother really likes the "Shabby Chic" look, and had starting waaay before it caught on everywhere else.

Saturday I was up early researching vintage pictures of Gypsys and printed my favorites onto paper.

I primed the existing sign, and then covered this with the dark brown paint I used in my living room, then a layer of the crackle paint and a final layer of cream which I think I also used in my living room.

I was a little worried the crackle paint was too old, but lo and behold.  It crackled up quite well!

I, painted the black border, Moge Poged the pictures onto the surface, and then free-handed the name and arrows over the whole thing.

I really enjoy the way the sign turned out overall.  I really wanted to get it done before leaving again this week, and if I would have had more time, I probably would have found a font I loved and made some stencils and used those instead of free-handing the letters myself...but it's kind of whimsical this way...Which fits in perfectly with this new shop.

She liked it as well...and I offered to make her a sign to hang from her awning...

After all, I have two gypsy pictures left I didn't even get to use!

16 November 2009


This weekend was busy.

I'll spare you the details...but I will say that I'm mightily overwhelmed and I am seeking solace in the pauses between things.

Things on the to-do list.
Things that are happening.
Things that I have no control over.

My life seems to be going at an incredible pace already and it is speeding up.  I'm kind of amazed.

I have enjoyed the pauses.

This weekend was full of celebration for Megan and Matthew's new arrival (due soon) starting with a very intimate ceremony and celebration on Friday Night.

We washed our hands in rose water to let go of fears and expectations.
We further threw herbs on the fire to let go even more.
We sat in a circle and talked about motherhood, while Megan's mother brushed her hair...we offered advise, told stories, listened, laughed and cried (well, I cried.  I cry a lot these days.)  We, as women, have so many stories and so much wisdom.
We lit candles.
We wove a web to signify the interconnectedness of all of us...and I wear the piece of wool twined around my wrist four times until Megan gives birth and we welcome another little girl into our web.
We shared food and drink together.

As I sat in the room and cast a glance at everyone who was there, I was so moved.

As always, there were people who could not be there with us and they were there, just not in physical form...but those of us who were there?  We've been there in the middle of each others lives during joy and struggle, in one form or another for many many years.

As mothers, daughters, aunts, sisters...

The bond never broken, like a web...stretching out to keep us all connected.  It is amazing at these times when I'm reminded that I am a woman...part of a sisterhood of creativity and beauty...love and nurturing...I know it's one of the many clubs I belong to in this life.

Pausing to remember things that sometimes slip out of my fingers during every day hustle and bustle.
Something bigger than just myself.

Saturday was the larger shower.

Nicks Feed Your Face subs decorated surfaces...wine, coffee, iced tea...lemon bars.
There were gifts galore for this new life and her new mama.
There were smiles and giggles...laughter and fun.

And a gift for everyone there.

A belly dancer came and danced for us, among us...twirling and spinning, shaking and shimmying, playing bells and telling stories...in an older form of expression.

I think the only thing we did not do together this weekend was sing.
But, you can bet that there was plenty of music.

I, for one, needed this particular pause.  A quiet moment in between the activity to breathe.  The chance to let go, regroup and dream about my own future and the things I want for myself...those precious hopes that I'm not quite ready to let go of and the things I want for everyone around me.


Women connected again.

12 November 2009

Winnie's Got Chutzpah...and Other Sordid Tales From The Magic Kingdom...

Apparently as a young child I use to sing the Winnie The Pooh song something like this:

Winnie's Got Pooh!


I was little.

It was an honest mistake...and one I was doomed to repeat years and years later, usually belting out the wrong words to songs at the most inopportune times (luckily never on stage with a famous person, but there you go.) We like to sing in my family, it doesn't matter what the words are...we just sing away. We're musical that way.

Anywho...on my visit to The Magic Kingdom this past weekend, I was presented with the opportunity to meet some of my friends from the 100 Acre Woods. And when I mean "presented with" I mean, I let my eyes fill up with tears at one point and said, "I want to go see Pooh!" and off we went, to critter country. They've replaced Bear Country Jamboree with The Winnie The Pooh ride you know...and there is a wonderfully decorated spot where you can sometimes catch various characters...so, while I'm sad not to see the singing bears from my childhood, at least there's some sort of small consolation.

When we arrived there was a line.

Yes. They have lines to meet the characters now too...which probably cuts down on people freaking out when other rude guests run in front of them and ruin their pictures (speaking from experience here...somewhere out there, there is a picture of me hugging Mickey Mouse while he was posing with someones family that didn't happen to be mine. What? We're passionate people. We're also excitable...and sometimes I have the tendency to forget other people exist.) When we got to the picture spot my sister rolled her eyes, crossed her arms, and tapped her foot.

She apparently doesn't feel the same way I do about the 100 Acre Woods Friends.

Then we were informed Tigger was going to leave for just a minute, but would be bringing back Pooh!

Oh Pooh.

YOU are my FAVORITE 100 Acre Wood Friend.

I was so excited that I ducked under the rope and went into the gift shop to look around after making Steven and my sister promise to save my spot.

Apparently I don't feel the same way about the 100 Acre Woods Friends that I do.

And a short time later, we had our turn and got to meet Pooh in person.

I was very excited and told Pooh this. I said, "Pooh? I am very excited. You are my FAVORITE 100 Acre Woods Friend. Out of all of them. You're number one." Which I'm sure made the guy in the furry bear suit just thrilled (I know Pooh is a literary character and he's not real. Mostly. The fact that there are several adult sized and very realistic costumes out there hasn't escaped me, they just add to my enjoyment of Disney...After all, I'm not insane. Just excitable.)

(And passionate.)
(And I like to sing)

My sister opted out of being in the picture and was behind the camera, and I was so very excited by the whole thing that as soon as she took our picture, I stepped away from Pooh to grab my camera. I was also trying to be polite to the other 45 people waiting in line to meet Pooh...so it was no surprise that I totally missed Pooh turning to me and asking for a hug. Well...miming for a hug, the characters are not allowed to talk. It was only when DaNece and Steven were yelling, "Sadira?!? Sadira!! Winnie The Pooh wants to hug you!!" that I turned around and saw his little furry arms reaching for me.

I already had my camera in my hand...and I turned around, my face fallen, and I started to apologize profusely to this little yellow bear. This is the moment he put his head in his hands and started to mime cry.

I made Winnie The Pooh cry.

At Disneyland.

In front of everybody.

This has to rank right up there with the time when I was 9 months old and wrapped my little baby hand in Santa's beard at the department store when I was there for pictures, and when my mother lifted me up off of Santa's lap...off came Santa's beard. In my hand. In front of other small children...who I'm sure were astounded and horrified (as the story goes, I don't remember) But, probably not as mortified as my mother...of course, I didn't feel anything...I was 9 months old for crying out loud.

This totally makes up for it.

Me standing at Critter Country consoling one of my most favorite literary characters ever.

He sucked it up after I grovelled for a bit...and we gave each other a big hug.

This is when I heard the voice of Pooh, or the man inside the costume of Pooh give a big and rather raspy chuckle in my ear.

Um. Oh. I think maybe I just got hit on (to put it nicer than groped) by Pooh Bear.

Apparently I am his favorite character as well.

How flattering.

And a bit creepy.

Wherein Steven has the right idea by having his picture taken with a character...without the character even knowing it...there is certainly much less groping involved.

Other crazy things at Disneyland include the amount of double strollers. Now I know this is a family park, and certainly an amusement park geared more towards children...but the double stroller in the hands of the stop and go and the more aggressive parents? Not a great thing...especially when the double stroller has seats side by side instead of one right behind the other. In all fairness, we were warned by Steven before arriving at the park, but it was hard getting use to people running my feet over, stopping in front of me, or using their children as a battering ram to get through the crowds. May I make a suggestion Disney? In the more congested areas of the park, can you rope off paths for stroller and non-stroller guests?

Balloons. Balloons are lovely, they are also festive and fun. They also abound at Disneyland. I remember as a child always wanting a balloon when arriving at the park, but nicely being told by my parents that there was no way that was going to happen at the beginning of the day, because either they didn't want to carry them, or they didn't know where we would put them while we were on rides, and they just knew that the balloon in the hands of a child would eventually end up hitting someone...this also happens when the balloon is tied to a stroller, and a parent is jogging through the park. We saw this first hand as there was a sweet couple in front of DaNece and I hand in hand, all gooey eyed and walking towards Frontier Land, when the young gentleman was accosted quickly and cleanly by a balloon that was floating behind a stroller. He screamed as he put his hands up in front of his face after being hit in the head and tried to unwrap the balloon from his neck before he was drug behind the unsuspecting parents, beating the balloon away rather forcefully. TIP: Parents at Disney...I know you love your children, it is already obvious as you have had to take a second job to pay for a trip to Disney...but please, for the love of all that is holy, consider buying your balloons at the end of the day. Or consider buying a different souvenir all together, balloons loose their helium quickly and the ratio of money to enjoyment may be better spent by getting one of those huge colorful suckers instead.

Just Sayin.

No matter all these things and more, Disney is still The Happiest Place on Earth.


I'm back.

Actually, I was back on Tuesday and officially diving back into my life yesterday...but as I was floating around in the cosmos that are, I didn't get a chance to blog and check in. I notice I'm having a hard time readjusting to life when I kind of really want to run away and go on some rides instead...I do love a good roller coaster. The great music Disney feeds into your ears, the smoothness of the ride and the great speed, as I find myself leaning forward to feel the wind in my face for the optimum thrill.

It's almost as exciting as being at work.

We drove in on Saturday...with a quick stop to stretch our legs at The Lucky Jeans Outlet...um, I mean, we walked around the outlet stores in Palm Springs. I'm not going to make this sound like anything than what it was...an impromptu shopping trip.

But, we did stretch our legs in the process.

We made it to our wonderfully campy hotel The Castle Inn and Suites right across from the park...a place that was fit for princesses for sure. With a sweet little swan towel in the bathroom to add to the fun! After checking in, we hurried into the car only to get lost while going to pick up my sister from the train station so she could spend the night with us at the park and the next day...

Steven, our wonderful host and guide (seen here in this picture as the tour guide in the red shirt who had his hand up most of the time while shouting, "Party of Four?!?!" through the park as we diligently followed behind him) was able to get off work an hour early. Oh, did I mention that Steven works for Disney right now? He does indeed. I met Steven back in the day when we were both a bit younger...and I was so proud when he announced to me that he had a paid internship with Disney. After beating out stiff competition for his position (because he shines brighter than most) he happily planted himself in the middle of all that is Disney and promptly insisted that I come and visit before he was done with his stint.

I happily complied and started planning this trip, inviting both DaNece and my sister to come along (Steven has some amazing perks working at the Magic Kingdom...Did you know it's $90 for a park hopper pass now?! I honestly don't know how the average family can afford a day at Disney...with the expensive food and everything...lucky for us, we didn't have to go this route)

I haven't been to The Magic Kingdom since they've been done with the new park, California Adventure and It was a wonderful addition to the park indeed and full of all things California. There is a place where they make sourdough bread for the park that gives tours and samples...right next to the Mission Tortilla Factory that does the same thing.

Also? Disney was half decorated for Halloween and half decorated for Christmas so it was doubly enchanting!!

The new park also houses The Scream roller coaster (2 rides right after one another) and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror...which I was indeed terrified of riding and ended up riding 5 times, ahem...it was a hoot!

The new park also houses all things Pixar...including a 3D Bugs Life interactive theater...and a Muppets 3D theater (in which I sat and tried not to cry the whole time because it was like seeing old friends again!)

Back in the original park, the Haunted Mansion was decorated totally for the holidays and in a Nightmare Before Christmas Theme.

I was totally enamored and found this ride even more enchanting (and less scary) than normal.

The decorations...wreaths and swags...It's all in the details and Disney does a bang up job!

The group in front of the mansion...can you see Jack's sleigh and the list of children hanging off the roof??

Other things that happened:

We ate lots of yummy food all over the park, including food at The Blue Bayou restaurant...the one at The Pirates of The Caribbean that smells so lovely when you're leaving the ride? Where the food is pricey, but amazing...and you eat in a darkened area that is lit only with Chinese lanterns and candles...and we were serenaded by live jazz.

I also Had a Mickey Pretzel...I'm telling you, you may have to put your house in hock to travel to Disney (and it's cheaper to buy an annual pass than pay for 3 days there) but it is always worth it...the details and magic are amazing.

It was also a stellar visit for characters. We ate an insane breakfast at Goofy's Kitchen, which is at The Disneyland Hotel...it's a crazy buffet with an omelet bar, peanut butter and jelly pizza and lots of insane desserts. We ate until we were a bit ill...The characters also visit you at your tables...just in case you didn't get enough of them in the park!

Honestly though, I have never met this many characters in the years I've gone combined...so it was a treat!

The lines weren't that long per say...Disney has this Fast Pass thing, so you can get a ticket for the more popular rides and go do other things and then come back later and practically walk right on. The longest line I waited in was for Peter Pan, which is the most popular of the classic rides...and one Arthur wanted me to ride just for him (I thought...I went back and read that email and I got it totally wrong...so I blame him for that wait...giggle! It was worth it) And I rode everything I wanted to, saw the Enchanted Tiki Room, visited Tarzan's Tree House, and Tom Sawyers Island...and then rerode most of the rides 4 more times.

Practically perfect in every way.

Which reminds me...why isn't there a Mary Poppins ride??

Tomorrow I will tell you a 100 Acre Woods tale...

And what happened when I met Winnie the Pooh...

And other crazy tales of our Magic Kingdom Adventure.


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