Monday, August 31, 2009

Mares Eat Oats, And Does Eat Oats, And Little Lambs Eat...Oh, Crap!

It's been an exciting weekend around here, sports fans. Let's see; first I went camping for the weekend, not too far away, just over to Nunn's Park in Provo Canyon.

Ro stopped by, with her son, to see Bridal Veil Falls because she's never been there, although she was born and raised in Utah.

(Insert eyeroll here.)

Then on Sunday morning I checked my mail on my phone and I got an email from a person I know in NYC who is in the carriage industry asking if everything out here was alright. She knew about the runway.

"Runway?" I say to myself. "What about the runway? Out by the airport? I don't live by SLI; the carriage barn isn't by the airport…WTF is going on at the …" I read the message again and it says "Runaway". Okay; in my defense I didn't have my reading glasses on and I neglected to hold my phone at arms legnth. So, now I start to tweak. My friend ~A~ was working last night. My other friends were working last night. What the heck… so I call Ro.

Ro has no idea what I am talking about. She tells me to call Kar. But first I call ~A~, but she doesn't answer. Then I call Kar. As it ends up she did not work last night due to an unrelated injury. Finally it's Marky-Mark who I call, last because I figured he was in church, but he gave me the skinny and you can have it too, right here

And here:

Aaaannddd here and here and, well, you get the picture.

A horse has an episode, does a small amount of damage to a parked car, freaks some people out, runs over a cop's bicycle (which he kind of ditched under the carriage when he came to the aid of the driver) and it MAKES THE NATIONAL NEWS.

Hey, guess what? Last week the guy who lives at the end of my block ran a red light and got T-boned by a semi. He was killed instantly. Also last week a guy ran over his kid and it died. Ted Kennedy succumbed to brain cancer. Will you be seeing stories about brain cancer, distracted driving and Spot the Tot? No. Why? Because, PETA wants you to believe that animals are more important than people, that's why. And because there is no organization full of zealots called PETP.

Bad things happen around the world every single day, and much of it will never hit the national wire services. A lot of it won't even make your local news. Why? Because stories about things that we have been desensitized to are just not "news". 120 years ago a "story" about a horse that runs off was not news. Today it's a sensation. A call to arms.

Which makes me ask, where were the boo-hooers and the hand wringers when a guy pulled his horse out of a trailer out in Utah county, shot it, and left it to rot in a ditch? Where were the online news story commenter's when they found five dead horses out in the Grantsville/Tooele area?

And where are the ALF folks when the person in charge of the Norfolk, VA humane society left her dog in her car for four hours on a hot day, and then it succumbed later that night because of the heat?

Oh, yeah, they're going to be sitting in their air conditioned offices raging because Jim decided to spook. That's where.

Silly me.

So, here we were at lunch today, discussing the incident. Property damage. Minor (very minor) injuries to the driver, Jim the horse walks away unscathed. We discussed how it hit the AP wires, and what the other possible fallout could be, besides the owners being responsible for the damage to the car and the bike. We go our separate ways.

Later Ro calls and tells me: Hey, I got a call from a lady this afternoon. She saw the report on the news this morning, and she says, "My daughter is getting married and I thought what a nice way to have them leave the reception. So I copied the phone number down from the video and called to book a carriage."

(Insert Ro and I, ROTFLOAO)

I guess there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Choose Your Condiments Wisely

Spending a week with two teenage girls can be an enlightening experience in many ways.

"Let me explain. No, there is too much; let me sum up."

I use the terms "Weaksauce", "Awesomesauce" , and "Uber-Fail". The girls advised me that the correct terms, which of course I do not know because I am not 15, are "Lamesauce", "Cool Beans", and "Epic-Fail".

(Okay, Epic-Fail I know but I often forget "Epic" and grasp "Uber" out of my melon oblongata because, for some odd reason, it's easier for me to remember.)

I advised that my contemporary slang was derived from Jumping Percheron's Stacey, who is much more hip (and younger) than I am. The girls insisted that Stacey could not possible be more hip than they are. My defense of Stacey included the information that she is in the Air Force, lives in Hawaii, and is teaching her Percheron mare to jump. They still insisted that Stacey could not possibly be cooler than they, so I threw in that she collects and drives DSM cars (whatever those are) has a drivers license, and therefore her mother does not have to chauffer her around. They acquiesced, and I won that round. However, they still insist the correct terms are Lamesauce and Cool Beans.

While in Chicago The Kid and I were shown sign language by my little brother to indicate "over sharing" and "inappropriate comments."

They are called the TMI Turkey

and Awkward Turtle.

We don't use too much non-ASL sign language here for fear of being mis-identified as Latin Kings or Bloods when in fact we are Crypts because we look best in blue, although we are also partial to the color purple.

Last week I modeled my pirate costume for The Kid, and asked how it looked;

SD: "So, do I look like a Pirate?"

The Kid: "No. You look gay."

SD:"So… I look like a gay pirate?"

The Kid:"No. Just gay."

SD:"But…these days it’s hip to look gay, right?"

The Kid:"Not.In.Your.Case."

I come from a generation where we used terms like Groovy (which I heard at least twice while camping from the teenage girls) Cool, and Far Out. Now, I dislike the term "Far Out" because some people use it over and over as a comment or response for everything and I just want to smack them. Wease, for example, was uttering the term continuously awhile back until I threatened to kill her in her sleep. Of course I would have to be a Ninja to sneak past the pack of dogs that sleep on her bed, but she stopped using it so the threat didn't have to be carried out. I once had a trainee who used it so much my eyes glazed over and I was trying to figure out which location to push him off the carriage would do the most amount of damage when he decided that he was just not cut out for a Carriage Driver's Life and "Went to use the john" forever.

I recently sent out a tweet (yes, I'm on Twitter) about a novella by Victoria Dahl titled "The Wicked West" and immediately got a response from an automated program that searches for tweets with the word "Wicked" in them and auto-responds with one of a select number of phrases. I found this almost as annoying as the "Far Out" trainee.

So, I propose that we officially make the terms "Weaksauce" and "Awesomesauce" because I refuse to be out-hipped by two 15 year old girls. No matter how phat they think they are.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ahoy, Mateys!!!

I be workin' in the wheelhouse when Wench Ro hailed me on the squawk box and be inquiring if I be available to do some plundering on Saturday at the Elderly Scallywags Lair.

I was sitting around doing nothing when my boss Ro called and asked me if I could help her do a specialty at the Christus St. Joesph Villa Senior Center.

I be considering attending a conclave fer the Sundance Slaves but parlayed that I could work it into me agenda.

I was invited to a Sundance Volunteer party but would be able to squeeze it into my schedule.

Wench Ro swabbed the decks of the dingy, pressed ganged Black Hearted Charlie into service and sailed the high seas to the Scallywags Lair.

Ro loaded the carriage into the trailer and we got Charlie Horse out, tacked him up, loaded him and headed out.

The tradewinds be not fair sailing for the schooner so we did a bit of rowing to speed up the knots in the shipping lanes, and with no leaks or beaching we finally arrived into port.

The truck is a p.o.s. and I thought we were going to have to get out and push it up the onramp for I-15 but eventually we made it…never going over 45mph on the highway which made the folks driving behind us very happy…

We arrived at the Elder's fort and low and behold! The scallywag landlubbers kept a-boardin' us over and over, but they never managed to overpower our fiery crew; Black Hearted Charlie gave no quarter, Wench Ro was in charge of loadin' the cannons, and I, the Dread Pirate Roberts, was on the poop deck, observing the battle and takin' no prisoners!

The gig was driving the seniors around the parking lot. It was their annual family day and had a pirate theme. Charlie chugged around for ninety minutes, and was absolutely fabulous when people were rolled up to his face in wheelchairs to say "Hi"; he stood rock still ( with Ro's help) as some of the less mobile residents needed assistance in and out of the carriage.

Finally, with the bloody sunset the battle came to an end, both sides calling it a draw. We loaded up our ship, hoisted the skull and crossbones, and sailed for our secret pirate cave, vowing to return next year with more dangerous men and ammo, and take the treasure for ourselves! Argh!!!

The people in charge were thrilled that we dressed up and want to make sure that Ro and I come back next year for the Luau theme, when, even though he's a gelding, we will make sure that Charlie Horse get's lei'd.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Camping Defined Refined

One last post about my "camping" trip, and a little info about me.

People who know me would ask about my vacation plans and cringe when I announced that I was going "camping."

"Camping?" They would sneer with a shudder. "I hate camping. It's so… dirty and primitive and uncomfortable."

So allow me a moment to explain my version of "camping";

I do not hike three miles into the woods with only a rucksack, mosquito net and pointed stick as my equipment. I consider it to be "camping" when I stay at a hotel without room service. And even when we did, on occasion, camp in a tent, we did so in a campground and I always got a site complete with water and electric. I had my own porta-potty and shower (they make very nice 3X3"shower" shelters now for just that purpose) and would bring a 20 inch box fan, portable DVD player, and my coffee maker because I do not like to be inconvenienced.

Mr. Slave Driver, during one such excursion, remarked that he was surprised that I had not brought along a window air conditioning unit. I replied that the suggestion was asinine- the tent window would never support an A/C, and they were all out of the free standing units at Lowes, so the fan would have to suffice.

Mr. Slave Driver— snort followed by an eye roll.

Those drivers that work with me know that I continue this theme even driving carriage. Upon returning to the barn in the evening they grab their few meager possessions off of the carriage they used and head into the driver's room. I, on the other hand, make at least three trips back and forth, collecting all of my junk. This is one reason why I have one of the "big" lockers. Plus I pounced just at the perfect time, when Michelle announced she was quitting, and I glommed onto her locker before it had even cooled.

On the other hand, when someone needs something, guess who they come to? Forgot your rain coat and now it's pouring? See SD. Headache/cramps/pulled a hammy and looking for some Advil Love? SD carries a veritable pharmacopeia in her bag of tricks. Need a pair of gloves? Check. Dental floss? Besides cleaning between your teeth it also works well when a minor fix involving tying stuff together is necessary— and it leaves that DIY fix it project smelling minty fresh.

So, to get back to the original subject, camping to me is not the "camping" that the Boy Scouts do, it's staying in an efficiency apartment filled with your stuff, that has wheels and you drag behind your truck. It simply changes zip codes and scenic views. Sometimes you have cable and Wifi, and sometimes you have squirrels and bats.

But you always have your stuff, your coffee maker, and your bathroom.

(Authors Note: with this last travel post I will return to my normal blogcast schedule of Mondays and Thursdays, unless something really exceptional happens or, when no blog is present, nothing happens. Thank you and have a nice day. Or, if you can't have a nice day, just have a day.)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Capitol Reef Gets No Love—

I know it's been a few days, but we returned home and had to unpack and remember, I've been "gone" for close to a month now. So needless to say there was a lot of stuff to catch up on.

We packed up Saturday morning and headed to Torrey, Utah, which is 1) just outside Capitol Reef National Park and 2) is in the area I'm setting the next story I've got in mind. I am a little bit familiar with the area because of a Carriage Drivers Campout I went on with my buddies a few years ago but my family did not accompany me on that excursion so they were newbies.

Unlike the other parks which mostly go down in elevation because you are on the top, Capitol Reef rises up out of the ground to breathtaking heights as you drive along the highway. We stayed at an RV park in Torrey that is adjacent to the plateau rising at the base of Thousand Lakes Mountain. It's very impressive. No little foothills, no pre-curser to what you are about to hit, just wham! Wall. You can see where the mesa sides have crumbled and formed little "ramps" of rock leading up to the face.

Now, let me tell you the weaksauce part; we've been to Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Zion, and even the north rim of the Grand Canyon, but this? This is fabulous and it was virtually empty! And even worse this was one of three "Freebie Weekends" the government had to promote the national parks system. Most years there is only one free weekend. So even on a free weekend, Capitol Reef can't get no love.


Anyway, I have to go and run errands now. I need to get some "real" writing done, not just my blog stuff (no offense but nobody's ever gonna want to publish this blog… few people are reading it these days anyway, so— ) and I have to come up with a costume for Saturday since I'm helping Ro do a gig at a senior's center and the theme is pirates.

Argh! PIRATES!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Take A Hike!

At Kodachrome Basin State Park we drove around for a while and then took a hike.

At one point we let The Kid drive (she has a permit, God help us…)
because the park was fairly empty and we were on a deserted dirt road. It surprised us that this park was so empty but the ranger at the gate said because it's so hot here in August the park gets little traffic but it picks up again in September.

Named for the Kodak product, because of its photographability (I know it's not a word, but you get the point!) I found it ironic because they just recently quit manufacturing that particular line of film.

So, once again, beautiful. Empty. Colorful. And then of course, because despite our ages we're really immature, we giggled all the way out of the park because of one particular stone…structure.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Devil Is In The Details

Red Canyon, just outside of Bryce

So far this week we have gone to a different place every day, with the exception of Tuesday when we fished in Panguitch Lake. And every day I turn to my posse and say, "Okay, now this is my new favorite park," because it just keeps getting better each time.

Thursday was Bryce Canyon, and it is full of awesomesauce. It's difficult in this day and age to impress the MTV/CGI/iPod generation because they can see the most fabulous things on TV/Big Screen without getting off their butts, even if those things don't exist in reality because of the magic of special effects. So, it's pretty cool when you can impress a teenager.

Bryce Canyon="Cool Beans" ("Cool Beans", for you people who are either bereft of teenage company or live under a rock, is a good term, an impressed term. A platitude.)

We started waaay up here

And on a completely random musing, it's interesting to note that a lot of "outer space" based movies are filmed here in Southern Utah because of the terrain and landscape. One of my favorite Tim Allen movies, "Galaxy Quest", was partially shot down here, along with parts of the newest "Star Trek" film.

We went down this a way

Anyway, Bryce Canyon: Very cool, and we went on a 1.5 mile hike that kicked my @ss .

Two Bridges

I have a bum knee and an even worse hip, so long walks going uphill are painful. Not to mention that I'm really lazy. And I've elevated whining/bitching/moaning to an art form. But to truly appreciate your environment you have to get down in it and that's what we did.


Bridge, which is really an arch; there was a big fire in this area just this past July. Remember: Only You Can Prevent Forrest Fires! (Except for the ones caused by lightening...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Gettin' Your Zi- on

Zion National Park

While I was planning our camping trip, The Kid came to me and asked if she could bring a friend.

"Which one?" I inquired, because some of her friends grate on my nerves like sand in your underpants.

"K," she responded.

That brightened me up immensely because I like "K." She is a sweet girl with a fun personality and fits right in with our mocking, teasing, quick witted family. You have to be fast on your feet in our clan or I guarantee you will not survive.

And it was a good move, allowing The Kid another one of her species. She is an only child and has been raised in the company of adults all of her life, but even we can't sink to the unbelievably silly machinations of teens when they are bored beyond belief, so it's good that they keep each other amused, even if it is at the expense of our sanity…The Bordom Twins

On Tuesday we rented a pontoon boat and went fishing on Panguitch Lake. The girls huddled under a sleeping bag at the start because it was early (7 am) and a bit chilly but later they crawled out from under their shelter and joined in. Chilly Chicas

On Wednesday we went to Zion National Park. The Kid and I drove through it last year when we returned from Tucson, and we raved about it so much that Mr. Slave Driver insisted that we include it in this years vacation. We ended up having dinner in the town of Springdale because the girls were starving and it would easily be a two hour ride back to camp.

Hiking made the girls very hungry
It was beautiful but a loooooong day, and the ride home through very dark, winding, deer and cow infested (free range cattle out here) roads was …intense.
Can I eat it?
But it was a great day, and we returned to the trailer exhausted. Today (Thursday) is Bryce Canyon which is much closer and not quite so large.

And yes, I will need a vacation after my vacation.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Occidental Tourist

Ro says my blogging while on vacation is boring. Sorry. When I go "away" I try to be a tourist, and therefore less jaded than I usually am… so here are some boring notes from an occasional tourist.

Utah: Many times people, sometimes in the course of me doing my job which is closely related to tourism, tell me that they find Salt Lake City to be beautiful. I always say "Yes, it is." But the truth of the matter is thus:

Salt Lake is to Utah what an ugly, red-headed, pimply faced, uncoordinated fugly looking stepchild is to the Pitt/Jolie family. It's o-kay…when seen alone and from a distance. But when measured up against its wilder, scenic, majestic cousin, Southern Utah, it clearly loses the beauty pageant hands down, and here's why:

This is a very tiny, almost (when examined next to a park like Grand Staircase Escalante) microscopic national park named Cedar Breaks. It is where we went today. I adore Southern Utah. Arches, Dead Horse Point, Zion, all breathtaking with their weird and hypnotic hoodoos, windows, canyons and other geological formations made by wind and water. Soft red and white sandstone sculpted into fantasy figures that tweak the imagination. Chessmen, T-Rex, a trio of nuns, all fascinating to view, and they almost change shape depending on the angle and time of day you look at them. The beauty that surrounds you at times leave you awestruck and speechless.

Slave Driver- speechless! Well then you know it's some good shit.

On the way back to the campground we're staying at we saw this guy;

Clearly workin' it old school. Him, his horse, and his dog, herding the sheep.

And my apologies to any of you who may be ugly, red-headed stepchildren. Salt Lake really is beautiful...on it's own, alone, in a corner.
This is probably the ugliest picture I took all day, and it's the view of Panguitch Lake from our campsite

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Home Again, Home Again, Piggly Wigg

Yes, I know, I'm behind on my blogging, but I think I made up for it last week, don't you? I've returned home from two wonderful, fun, feckless, but exhausting, weeks in Chicago. It was great to see my homies, a Cubs game, Italian Beef sandwiches and Pizzeria Uno. But I missed my husband, my dogs, my carriage tribe, and the big pale blue sky of Utah. Now I'm home for four days and then guess what?

Yup, going on vacation…

While I was away Ro sent me a text to tell me that Cletus missed me. I called her upon my return and asked, "Why did Cletus miss me?"

"Because he needs someone who loves him and babies him like you do," she replied.

So I assume that I have Cletus this Saturday when I work.

Tomorrow I go to lunch with Ro and maybe MBA and give them their precious tourist chotskies (souvenirs) and catch up on all the gossip important business thingamabobs transactions that have occurred while I was away. Then I do a crapload of running around trying to get my stuff together in time to leave for Panguitch, Utah to go camping.

Yes, camping. We like to camp, and because I think that the definition of "camping" is staying at a hotel without room service, we bought a travel trailer, so our camping this time will be the big deluxe kind. There is supposed to be Wifi at the RV Rark so I may even get to blog. But as usual I will take tons of photos. Utah is the most beautiful place I have ever lived, and I love photographing it.

So, once again you may or may not hear from me for a while but like that annoying critter in the "Whack-a-mole" game I should surface occasionally. Until then, talk amongst yourselves.