"Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind... We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith." -- Margaret D. Nadauld

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sharpening Up My Cockney Accent

Inigo and I are having a very good time going to our play rehearsals every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. Some nights are boring and there isn’t much to do, and some nights are full of choreography, singing and “blocking.” (As a newbie to this whole live stage experience, I have learned that “blocking” is where the director walks us through a scene to show us exactly where we are supposed to stand and how we’re supposed to look.)

As a “non-principal” actor in this production, my official role is “Londoner.” But in that role, I have a few choice parts I have been asked to play:

In the song Who Will Buy?, I am a school teacher, marching across the stage with 6 children. I pretend to write on an invisible chalk board while the children are misbehaving behind my back. That will be fun. The school kids are cute and full of life. We’re already having fun hanging out together.

My next part is new to me. Last weekend I got a call from the director and she actually gave me lines! At the end of the play, when Bill Sykes has beaten Nancy to death I get to first whisper his name, “Bill Sykes” and then when the shock of hearing his name has reverberated around the stage, I then SCREAM, “It’s Nancy! He’s killed Nancy!”

Of course, I have to say it in my best Cockney accent.

Whatever that is.

Inigo has a line in this scene too. When Bill Sykes stumbles on stage, holding Oliver as a hostage, Inigo – with all the shock and horror he can muster – points and yells, “Look! There he is!”

I’m trying to teach Inigo to keep looking scared, horrified, etc. after he delivers his line. Tonight, he said his line – perfectly I must add – and about 2 seconds later, scratched his behind and looked back at me to see if he’d done a good job.

I tell ya, he doesn’t need to worry. He did an amazing job. He’s been practicing that line for a month and he’s got that accent PERFECTED!!! I knew that having a house full of drama queens would eventually pay off.

(ME? Dramatic?!?!? NEVER!!!!!)

I know, to a lot of people this isn’t a big deal. But this is something I’ve always wanted to do. And I’m so glad I get to have this experience, with a director I love and respect, before we head off to New Florin.

However…. (and now is the frustrating part)…..



Our production company is using the costumes that the high school uses. Yes. Teeny tiny teenagers. Kids that have no hips, no guts and certainly no boobs.

It was HUMILIATING going to the costume fitting tonight to try to find a skirt that would pull up over my massive hips. And I will admit that I actually ripped one of them trying to get it off. Why don’t people sew with elastic?!?!?

I brought home a couple skirts, but I am thinking that sewing a skirt can’t be too hard. I think I’ll just buy some cheap fabric and make my own. I can get it done in an afternoon, I think. And I’ll put ELASTIC in the waistband. DUH.

Of course, I’ll need to find my sewing machine and dust it off first….

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We had another wonderful Saturday in My National Park over Memorial Day Weekend. This time we went with my sister, Red, and niece, SaJo, who came up to visit from Happy Valley. Thankfully our good fortune held and we were able to see three more bears. That was especially nice since SaJo has never seen a bear in the wild and the last bear Red saw was 16 years ago.

I took another gazillion photos. My hard drive is getting FULL to the brim with pictures of My Park.

Shackie has the same problem.

So we got together and decided we needed to create a blog dedicated to our photographs and our experiences of the Park.

And so, we give you,
Our blog dedicated to the one place on earth that we love the most.

We hope you enjoy it! Because we enjoyed going there and taking the pictures for you!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

That Alarm Button is TURNED OFF!


Today is May 26.

The last time I wrote anything was May 3.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I actually wrote a post about 2 weeks ago that didn’t get published. It wasn’t very fun or exciting, so I put the ax to it and sent it away…

Not that today’s post will be any better.

I’m simply too exhausted to be witty and clever.

Tired. Tired. Tired.

It feels like I’ve been running 100 mph in a gazillion different directions, helping with this and that and that and this.

I need to learn how to organize my time a little better.

Don’t get me wrong!

I’m not complaining…. at all.

I have a good life. We’re all happy here. Just a little tired.

But today is THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!



We made it through!!

And I’m turning off my alarm. And I’m sleeping in tomorrow.

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The past several weekends, when Max comes home, have been refreshing and fun times. We’ve been to My National Park twice since my post on May 2 and have had fabulous times.

Max whisked me away for Mother’s Day weekend while Steck stayed home with Inigo. (Very grateful for her!) It was a wonderful weekend even though we were plagued with terrible weather and ANOTHER flat tire (up to that point it was our THIRD this year!)

(And yes, I said, “up to that point” because we had ANOTHER flat last weekend. Yes. It’s true. We’re having terrible luck.)

(Oh. and two of the tires were unable to be repaired. They were shredded.)

The last two trips to “The Park” we’ve been fortunate enough to see bears. Both black and grizzly.

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This is our “selfish bear” from Mother’s Day. We were the only people that saw it on the hill and we didn’t tell anyone that walked past us it was there. We pretended that we were looking at a small herd of bison that are just to the right of the pic (you can’t see them). We fooled a few people too!


But then some students from Quebec walked by and saw it and we were doomed.

DSC_0043 edited

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We saw three bears last weekend. We went up just for the day with Shack and Little Miss DooLittle. Poor Stinky was stuck at home because he was sick.

This is OBVIOUSLY a grizz. What’s crazy is that he is walking through a campground that is currently under renovation, so the road into it is closed. About 30 minutes previous WE were walking around this same campground –down that same road - looking for restroom facilities. I’m going to try posting a video of the bear walking across the same log that Inigo had walked on.
We need to remember to carry bear spray with us….


These next pictures tell a story. Can you tell what the story is? Look closely….

In the center of this picture, do you see the coyote approaching the mass of brown on the ground ?DSC_0101












Well that mass of brown is a carcass of something big… an elk or bison… and the coyote is hungry.
It wants a bite.
But why isn’t it getting closer?
Why is it moving farther away?


Look again! Where is the coyote?
What do you see popping up from the carcass?
Is that a big brown head with ears on top?
(I believe you can click on the image to get a closer view.)


Oh! A bear has already claimed its prize!
And apparently the bear didn’t go to kindergarten because it’s NOT willing to share any of the nourishing, rotten meat it’s chewing on.

The bear has returned to his feast.
You can see the coyote is trying his approach from a different side now.


This poor coyote is going to have to find a rabbit or mouse or something else to eat. The bear has finally chased it away!


Who knows?
Maybe the coyote can find a meal in this…
A Yellow Bellied Marmot!

This is the 3rd and final bear we saw as a group last weekend:


Look closely.
Can you see it?
We made a joke that we were looking at

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

Here’s a better view:
He’s obviously a black bear.

What’s sad/scary/extremely gross is that right after we were making jokes about “bear butts” we came upon a car that was pulled over to the side of the road. We thought the occupants were looking at this gorgeous creature:
(Can you see the velvet on his antlers? What a treat for us to see it that close!)

We quickly realized that that’s NOT why they were pulled over. A woman from the car was crouching on the side of the road, and RIGHT AS WE DROVE BY stood up to reveal her pants were down around her ankles.
Yes, she decided to take a potty break right IN FRONT OF EVERYONE!!! She wasn’t hiding behind any trees, or bushes or even along side her own car.

Now, that’s gutsy and obviously disgustingly gross for those of us who were forced to witness her exhibition. (Also, it’s not like My National Park doesn’t have strategically placed facilities throughout the Park. You know…. something that has walls, doors that lock, etc. etc.)

It gave a new meaning to our previous joke.
”Bear Butts” quickly (and sadly) became “Bare Butts.”


On Sunday evenings when Max has to drive back to New Florin, he can now drive through The Park and cuts about 2 hours off his driving time. It’s quite pleasant and it means he gets a weekly trip through.

Yes, I’m jealous.

Sunday night as he was driving in the rain and dark, two more black bears ran across the road, in front of his truck.

That brings his weekend bear total up to FIVE!!!


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Somewhere in the middle of all this wildlife viewing we also took a trip to State Capital to see the musical, Wicked.

We also went with Shack, Little Miss and Stinky.

It was everyone’s first time to see it and they were thrilled. Everyone loved it.

Can you believe I’m going to say this?
It was just okay.
I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t as thrilling as when I saw it before.
I guess you can’t compete with the first time.
Maybe it’s because I knew the story and I knew what to expect.
Maybe it’s because the stage was so small.
The auditorium is just a bit bigger than the auditorium in our new high school.

Don’t get me wrong.
I was happy to go and happy to have that experience with my family (Inigo went to a friend’s house during the show) and friends.

It was just….


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With school ending here are a few things we are looking forward to:

* Inigo’s first piano recital. He’s so ready he’s bored.
* Finishing up baseball season. At least half the games so far have been cancelled due to rainy/terrible weather.
* Helping my parents move. This was a quick decision. It’s happened in the matter of about two weeks. Sadly, I haven’t had enough time to help the way I’ve wanted to or they’ve needed me to. Here’s hoping for more free time!
* Continue with rehearsals for “Oliver!” We’re spending a lot of time learning choreography and lyrics as well as playing piano for Wednesday’s rehearsals, but we’re having a LOT of fun!
* Work on marketing for the play. My job is to create posters, fliers and contact media to make sure word gets out that we’re performing it. Oh. I’m also in charge of our theater company’s blog.
* Pack the house. Yes, I’ve still got to go through the entire house; clean it; pack it and plan on a fairly massive garage sale later in the summer.
* A quick trip to OR for our niece’s graduation.

Here’s hoping there will be time for an occasional blog posting too!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Nostalgia vs. Practicality

Wow. I didn’t know cleaning out a closet would hit me SO HARD!!

I have started packing in preparation of our move. My Dad has been volunteering at the LDS Cannery in Guilder and has been saving boxes and bringing them by the truckful to me. I figure I might as well start sorting through things in my house while there is no pressure, so I can take my time deciding what to keep and what to send to D.I. (or possibly garage sale).

Yesterday I packed some books.

Today I began working in our extra bedroom where I’ve been storing a lot of Buttercup’s youthful memorabilia. For some reason I saved ALL her dresses. Almost every (church) dress from newborn till age 6 or 7. I originally saved them in hopes that she’d have a little sister to pass them down to. Then when that didn’t happen, I saved them out of nostalgia. Then I thought, well maybe when she grows up she’ll want the dresses for her own baby girl.

But now we’re moving. I don’t know where we’ll be living once we get to New Florin. I don’t know how big our house will be, how much closet room we’ll have. I have to stop and make a decision:  do I carry these dresses around with me for another 10 years? Is it really practical?

As I was going through each dress, remembering how beautiful Buttercup looked in each and every one it struck me (again) how quickly time passed. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was her whole world and she was mine? Well, she is still my world, but I’ve certainly lost my top spot in hers. She’s so busy with school and work and planning for her future  that sometimes I wonder if she even thinks of me at all. (Although, I like to think I’m still in her top 5… )

After I went through each dress --and only kept about 5-- with tears flowing down my face, I dug deeper into the closet.

Oh mercy.

That’s where I found her little pink elephant wind-up musical plush toy that we got when she was my newborn baby. The song it plays is When You Wish Upon A Star. That was chosen because she was my first miracle baby. Because I wanted her so badly. Because having her was a wish come true.

Of course I’m keeping that!

Underneath her elephant, I found her TWO woobies (blankies). Yes, my daughter had TWO! And she loved  them so much. She slept with BOTH of them till she was 8 or 9.

Of course I kept those.

I found the pink ceramic teddy bear that held the flowers that my parents gave me while I was in the hospital after she was born. I found her Achievement Days Banners and book. I found her Girl’s Camp Manual.


I found her childhood. And it made me miss her.

And it made me cry.


Alyssa_27 (2)x

(You can see her two woobies wrapped around her in this picture above ^)



Monday, May 2, 2011

Bison, Elk and Wolf…. OH MY!!

As per what the calendar says, IT’S SPRING!!


Well, the calendar says spring, but where we live that doesn’t mean that we have a lot of spring-like weather. My neighbor’s daffodils have finally bloomed. My tulips are a couple inches tall… no buds on them yet though. I am thinking that one day soon I need to get out and mow the lawn for the first time this year. But I’ll have to mow in between snow storms or anchor myself with a rope to the trees in my yard to keep me from being blown to Kansas in the 40 mph wind gusts. (Also, I need to dodge the shingles that are being blown off everyone’s roofs!) We are under a constant advisory for heavy frost (it was 24° when I got up this morning).

So, what I’m saying is that “spring” is a subjective term.

However, the Powers That Be have decreed that my National Park needs to be open to vehicles again and have plowed out the roads and thrown open the gates! Actually, they opened it two weeks ago, and we couldn’t get there until last weekend. I felt like such a slacker… I felt that I was neglecting my furry animals and bubbly geysers after such a long winter.

It was such a happy moment when I flashed my All Park Pass to the still friendly Park Ranger (she admitted she’s not as friendly in July) and crossed the border into my Happiest Place On Earth. Can you hear the big, satisfying sigh escape my lungs as I think about it? Ahhhhhhh…… home again!

We were surprised by a few things: First of all: There’s still a TON of snow up there! Yes, it’s melting quickly, but there are still a couple feet left on the ground. We’ve been there with snow in the spring before, but the depth was very unusual. (Check out my CLOUD BLOG to see one of the mountains I snapped a picture of. The snow still looks so deep!)

Our second surprise was in the form of best friends. Right after we entered The Park we drove past one of the pull-offs along the river and whaddaya know? There was Shack, Little Miss DooLittle and Stinky parked and hanging out with some of Stinky’s co-workers! We hadn’t called them to see if they wanted to go together like we usually do because… well, why didn’t we call them? I don’t know! But it was a wonderful surprise and when we invited ourselves along with their party, they very graciously said we could hang out with them. (Before Max quit at the hospital here, he worked with these same people as well. So it was a little “co-workers reunion.” They are good people.)

Our agenda was kind of limited. Many of the roads are still closed and the back country is closed due to grizzly bear activity, so we had to skip hiking and stick to the “touristy” areas. i.e. geyser hotspots, visitor’s centers, etc. But those places aren’t bad in the spring when tourist numbers are down. Going into the new Visitor Center at Old Reliable was pleasant because we had the run of the place to ourselves and could see and interact with the awesome new displays they have.


(This is an “indoor” geyser display. It shows how hot water starts to boil and build up pressure before it finally releases through a hole at the top.)

The third wonderful surprise was that we actually saw 3 brand new baby bison! We thought we were still about 2 weeks away from birthing season so when we saw these darling little things we were thrilled!! We probably sat here for 15-20 minutes just watching them.

I’m sorry….but as many times as I’ve driven by and watched bison, I still love them. I still love to stop and take their picture as they walk past my car. I love to listen to their hooves clip clop on the pavement. I love to watch their heavy head swing back and forth. I love, most of all, to hear their little grunt and snort as they communicate with each other. They are such massive, powerful animals.



The bald eagles are back and soaring through the skies. They aren’t nesting yet… at least not what I could see… but they’re there and we were happy to get reacquainted with them!


Per our tradition, lunch was spent in the parking lot of Old Reliable. It was about 38° with a chilly breeze turning our sandwiches into frozen weapons that could chip a tooth.


(I wonder where Max’s coat is?)

Sadly, we had to part ways. When you travel with National Park Newbies, they have tendencies to get bored more quickly and since Shack and Stinky were their hosts, they needed to leave too. So Max, Inigo and I kept driving up the road and sadly waved good-bye in our rear-view mirror.


You’d think these kids had never seen snow before!

We really didn’t want to leave, so we pointed the car toward another geyser basin. A HUGE area that is chock full of geysers, hot pools, mud pots…..

What an adventure that was! See what this sign says:


Well, they meant it! Some parts of the boardwalks were completely clear of snow and ice and others…. well, just look at the athletic training we experienced:


Balance Beams galore




And don’t forget to check out the awesome shoes my son wore! Yes, Good Mommy of the Year award goes to me. I grabbed his coat, gloves, hat and earmuffs but didn’t check to see what he had on his feet. Yeah for sandals!

But it was all worth it for views like this:


And fun shots like this:


To gain perspective on just how much snow is left in parts of The Park, look at this:



The entire day was a highlight, but the truest highlight of the day was this:



This little beauty was out hunting in the grasslands. Now, I’m no expert, but this seriously looks wolfish to me! It was pretty awesome watching it pace back and forth across the surface of the icy snow and then suddenly pounce and shove its head down through the crust. We didn’t see it catch anything, but the process was pretty amazing!

Sadly, we didn’t see any grizzly bears this trip. But we almost did! We saw it’s tracks in the snow across the river and someone saw a carcass it had been feeding on. But when you’re tabulating sightings, an “almost” doesn’t count. :(

An otherwise uneventful drive home completed our first trip of the year. There is a rumor that we might go again next weekend…. I’ll hold my breath for this one. Because that would be the ultimate Mother’s Day gift for me!

(Thankfully, while we were there we didn’t run into idiots like these people. They were there two days before us.)


Since I wrote this post this morning, I have experienced a true spring!! I got the lawn mowed for the first time…. which was amazing! I didn’t think I’d get the mower started without the help of Max, since it hasn’t been run in at least 6 months. BUT IT STARTED ON THE FIRST PULL!! (I have to say another BOO YA!!) And while I was mowing I noticed that the tulips in my back yard have buds as well as my Violets have bloomed.

*sigh* LOVE IT!