Sunday, July 31, 2011

It's been an interesting weekend.  Very good in a lot of ways.  A few things that I would far rather ignore than deal with.  But beyond those things a lot of fun.  Well, beyond those things and the MOSQUITOS AS BIG AS YOUR HEAD!!  Have I mentioned that I hate mosquitos? Because I do.  Anyone that protests the death of any living thing needs to understand that any mosquito who lands near or on me clearly has death wish and deserves whatever it gets.  I don't know why they like me, or why my bites like to swell up or why the itching has to be so bad that it might make me absolutely crazy (although that last bit might have something to do with my definite pansy-ness).

Anyway, I tried to use the itchiness as a reminder to pray for people.  Only, for whatever reason, I couldn't keep specific intentions in mind like I often do, so I was praying for "whoever needs it right now".  Then, in talking to friends and reading blogs, that could have been a lot of you!  And so I am praying for you, for whatever that's worth!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Eating Healthy

I've been thinking recently that I need to eat a lot more fruits and vegetables.  I just don't get enough.  Then, over the last several days, I've watched a couple of documentaries revolving around fruits and vegetables.  One was talking about being vegan.

Now, please. I'm from the Midwest.  I don't see me going vegan any time soon.  However, I don't mind taking some of the recipes and using them to eat fewer meats and more vegetables.  Let's talk about how this worked.

1) Saw the documentary.
2) Got fired up about eating vegetables and having them taste good.
3) Went to the store, got what I needed to make veggie wraps.
4) Ate two veggie wraps for supper (they tasted AMAZING, by the way).
5) One hour later, got hungry and made a 3-meat pizza.
6) Now I'm craving cheesecake.

On the plus side, I actually ate some fresh veggies today!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mysteries

I've told you how I've felt about Mary at various times.  I suppose it's not that hard to guess that I have also had a hard time with the rosary as well.  To be honest, it was partly because it either bored me, or I didn't feel like I paid enough attention to make it worthwhile to pray it.  Still, it's growing on me a little.  For example, I loved the way one priest explained it.  He said that the Bible is something that we should hold onto, read, keep within our hearts.  And when we couldn't physically read the Bible, we could pray the rosary.  I'm starting to love that aspect of the rosary; the way that it highlights different aspects of Jesus' life.

About the time that I graduated college, the Luminous Mysteries came out.  Now those were some Mysteries that I loved.  I loved to think about Jesus' baptism, and our call to live out the fullness of the baptism that we have received.  I loved to think about the marriage feast of Cana, and I would pray for those that were married and were called to marriage that they would be able to spread the wine of God's love to the world.  I loved to think about Jesus' proclamation of the coming of the kingdom of God and what we could do to spread that kingdom.  And I especially loved thinking about the institution of the holy Eucharist and what that meant in my life.

Slowly, so that I didn't even realize it, the Luminous Mysteries started to fade out of such a singular place in my life.  About 5 years ago, I started to notice more of the Sorrowful Mysteries.  I learned something of the carrying of the cross.  I had to learn to accept my cross in new ways.  It was a much heavier load than I expected.  My carrying of it was a lot less smooth and graceful than I thought it would be.  I had imagined I would be strong carrying a cross; I didn't realize I would be so weak, would fall so many times, or would need so much help.

About 3 years ago, I started to notice the meaning of the agony on the garden.  To be alone, to be crying out, to have God not take anything away, and to have people falling asleep on you.  It's quite the thing to be in such pain over something and to have the people that you would normally turn to be the very people that you can't talk to for various reasons. Part of the reason that you can't talk to them is because there is something about that time that you have to walk alone.  I guess I don't know how to explain it better than that.

About a year ago, I connected with the scourging at the pillar.  To be hit, blow after blow, and it's just draining.  You can't do anything to stop it.  You can't do anything to keep the life from seeping out.  It just hurts and there's not much to do but try to survive.

In the last 6 months, it's been the crucifixion and death.  A numbness that left me crying out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

It makes me realize that even if I can never fully understand what Jesus has been through, He knows exactly what I have been through.  


I still don't claim to pray the rosary well or faithfully, but I do appreciate it more.  


There is something else that I recently realized; after the Sorrowful Mysteries come the Glorious, and those begin with resurrection and new life.  Hopefully soon.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Getting Lucky

Oh, c'mon.  This is me we're talking about.  I didn't mean it that way.  I'm talking about taking pictures.  You can go to a beautiful place, and you may get some great pictures, or you may not.  You may get perfect lighting, or the lighting might completely blow out your shot.  Or you have a great set up, but not such great knowledge of how to use the camera to the best advantage, and you might end up with something that should have been awesome, and... wasn't.

Other times you show up, and you don't even have to work at it.  You just get lucky. The light is absolutely perfect. There's not even a hint of wind.  All you have to do is point your camera and the result is this:



I've been to Bear Lake a number of times, but this is the first time I ever saw it quite like this. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

I'm Much Better at Physical Therapy

I wanted to do Quick Takes today, but I couldn't come up with 7 good ones.  So instead, I will put up a poem.  I have not written a poem since elementary school, and I would be hard pressed to explain how this came about, except that inspiration struck after a conversation in the break room at work.  Be forewarned that authors that haven't practiced their poetry since second grade turn out second grade level stuff.  (But that's okay, because it gave me at least 5 minutes of entertainment writing it.) Without further ado, I give you:

An Ode

George Washington Carver
You are a genius
And a hero
Thank you for inventing peanut butter.

Without you, pb&j would just be j
My peanut butter filled pretzel bites would just be pretzels,
And peanut butter cups would be nothing but 
meaningless 
chocolate 
shells.

On the other hand, without you,
I wouldn't be eating my weight
In peanut butter snickers each week.*



  *This poem is TOTALLY copyrighted by me and is not free for use without permission! ;)


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Giving Thanks in All Things

I am thankful that in being single:

1) I needed roommates in grad school, and ended up with a couple of wonderful ones.  G, who is the sweetest person you could ever meet, and S, who is possibly the most laid back.  Both were wonderful to live with (and both could use prayers; one has had 2 miscarriages in the last year and the other is struggling with sub-fertility and is ready to turn to IVF).  I have so many memories of those two; like the time S. and I bet G. two dollars to eat the nasty looking octopus at the Chinese buffet.  When she did, we paid up in pennies all over her bedroom floor. S and I also had some wicked foosball tournaments, in which she mostly kicked my butt, but I won some, too. (We had to procrastinate from homework somehow...)

2) I am thankful that I got a chance to go farther away for one of my internships, to a place that I came to love and that became home 5 years later.

3) I am thankful that I got a chance to study my faith on a whole different level once I was out of school and had some time to kill; in particular that I got a chance to spend some serious time with Theology of the Body.

4) I am thankful that, because I was single, I kept going to these get togethers with these people who had so many inside jokes, I despaired of ever fitting in.  However, they were awesome, and I kept going when they would invite me.  Given my introverted nature and the way I was uncomfortable initially, it was a good thing that I was single and I needed them, or I might not have stuck it out long enough to really get to know them.  They turned out to be some of the most amazing friends a person could ever have.  (And now I want to cry because I really, really miss them!)

5) I am thankful that in the midst of my singleness, there was a certain insecurity that kept coming up, more and more insistently, and that it led to some amazing healing from God.  I can't tell you how happy I am that if I do ever get married, I won't have to depend on my husband to try to heal a wound that only God could really heal from the inside out.

6) I am thankful that my relationship with God went from "good buddies", to a whole deeper level that I never could have imagined.

7) I am thankful that I can indulge myself with TV on DVD. (Wait, how the heck did I go from 6 to 7??)

8) I am thankful that I've had an opportunity to move to a new place and discover a part of me that I didn't really know.  Going hiking and climbing seems so natural, but I used to be a couch potato.  I especially did not realize there was a part of me that really likes the way it feels to scale some rock!

9) I am thankful for all the opportunities I've had to go to daily Mass.

10) I am thankful that I can get up early or sleep in on a weekend, depending on my agenda for the day.

11) I am thankful that I have a great job that is very rewarding.

12) I am thankful that I got a chance to discover the beauty of regular adoration (which I need to find a way to return to!)

13) I am thankful to have had things to offer up for the people in my life.

14) I am thankful that I could buy a camera and indulge in taking a LOT of pictures.

15) I am thankful that because I needed a place to vent my spleen, I discovered this world of blogland, and was consequently able to meet a whole other group of wonderful, amazing friends from all over the country!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gratitude

Give thanks in all things.

I have to be honest, I can't give you the full context of that quote.  Not because I don't know where to find it or what comes after, but because I'm not sure I'm ready to deal with it just yet.  It is a wrestling match that is beyond my strength at the moment, but I'm sure that will come later.  For now, I am thinking about this:

Give thanks in all things.

You know, I have to be honest.  I'm really, really glad that it doesn't say to give thanks for all things.  As far as I'm concerned, some things are bad.  Natural disasters are bad.  Tragedy, bad. Sin, bad.  None of those things are beyond redemption.  Many of those things can lead to good things.  Nonetheless, I would just as soon not give thanks for the bad things, it's hard enough sometimes to give thanks in the midst of the bad things.

Singleness, I guess, is not really a bad thing as bad things go.  It's a painful thing, and I think the inherent loneliness of it is a bad thing.  In and of itself, it's rather a neutral thing.  If you are called to it, it can be a good thing with some hard things thrown in.  If you do not feel called to it, then the hard things fall square on top of the fact that you are not where you feel like you should be and it's pretty rough.  On the other hand, I'm not asked to determine whether it is good, bad, or indifferent.  I am only called to give thanks in the midst of it.

You know what started me thinking about this?  A wonderful, amazing friend of mine (whose biggest fault- in my mind- is that she lives hundreds of miles away and I can't hang out with her every day... although, I suppose since I moved, it's really my fault, and maybe she wouldn't really want to see me every day anyway... so glad she knows I love her a creepy amount and won't be surprised that I at least wish for such a thing!!) is helping to write a Bible study for a girls youth group.  She asked me to look it over, and I was happy to, right up until the moment I read it.  Then I wasn't so happy to read it, because it was all about gratitude and giving thanks in all things.  Since I wasn't feeling particularly thankful about much of anything, it was what you might call a well-placed kick in the seat of the pants a wake up call.

Give thanks in all things.

It doesn't mean that I can't still want things to change (today or tomorrow are good for me!).  It doesn't mean that singleness was the only thing that could have allowed these things to happen. (The whole "Thank goodness you were single so things could work out in your life this way" argument.  I don't like where that particular line of thought can end up.  I don't like the idea that a bad thing has to happen in order for a good thing to happen.  I prefer to think that good can come out of either a bad or a good situation.)  Some of these things are directly related to my being single, but not all of them are.  However, since I am single, and these things are parts of my life that I am grateful for, then they still fall under the idea of being thankful in my singleness.

Anyway, tomorrow I'm going to try to go for a list of things that I am grateful for in the last 10 years of being single.  I've posted some before, but I need to remember them again.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Religion Saves the Day

Welcome to my latest installment about why I love religion.  Maybe it's because religion gets a bad name a lot of times, so I feel the need to defend it.  Or I feel the need to be contrary.  It's one or the other.

(Note: If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, this is probably just a rehash of what I've already written, so you can move on if you'd like.  I say it's "probably" a rehash, because I went back to check some old posts, but I got bored looking for them after 2 minutes and gave up.)

Here's the thing, I know a lot of people that say "It's not about a religion. It's about a relationship."  Usually they mean it's a relationship with just them and Jesus.  I got all fired up again after I heard Jason Gray's "More Like Falling In Love" on the radio the other day.  This song and I have an interesting relationship.  There's something about it that I enjoy listening to, but I also realize that if I took these words at face value, I might be without either a religion or a relationship by now.  Don't blame the song, though.  It is just a concise expression of a very common attitude in American Christianity in general; one that I hear from Protestants and Catholics alike.

Give me rules, I will break them
Show me lines, I will cross them


Is that what religion is to you? Rules, lines in the sand?  Well, no wonder you hate it.

I need more than a truth to believe, 
I need a truth that lives, moves and breathes
To sweep me off my feet...


I was right there with him for the first two lines, but that last one lost me.  That last one is the kind of thing I'm talking about...

It's gotta be more like falling in love
Than something to believe in
More like losing my heart
Than giving my allegiance
Caught up, called out
Come take a look at me now
It's like I'm falling, oh
It's like I'm falling in love


And it goes on, more of the same.  The thing is, I don't wholly disagree with him.  It is about relationship.  It is about being in love and realizing that the truth that you cling to is not some idea or concept, but rather the very Person that you long for with all your heart.  That part is all true.

It's the part where he (again, he speaking for a prevalent attitude) wants to rip religion away from the picture, as if it were a separate thing.  To me, there is not a distinction between the religion and the relationship.  To me, religion is not rules and regulation. It is relationship.  There are rules, but I think boundaries are a good thing. (Tell me, which kids feel more secure and loved, those who have boundaries at home, or those that are allowed to run wild?*)

If following God is not about relationship with Him, it's a pretty useless thing, full of guilt trips and baggage.  So in that sense, Mr. Gray is correct.  However, when God leaves suddenly things are a little different. There is no feeling, no sense of Him anywhere. If I had been convinced that following God was a matter of being swept off my feet, I don't know where that would have left me.  Nowhere good, probably.  As it is, I may not know how to find Him.  I may not know how to make the numbness go away. I may not get any answers, but I know where to look.

It is in the rules.  Particularly the rule about going to church on Sunday.  I praise God for that rule, because I needed it to get me to Mass, and I need Mass.

It is in the liturgy.  That public form of worship, where I can unite myself with others who are going through similar and wildly different things, but we are all there united with Christ.

It is in the creed.  Standing up and affirming that I believe what I cannot feel or know at this moment.

Religion is what gave structure to my relationship and that structure was all I had to hold onto sometimes.  So, Mr. Gray, I need a truth that lives, moves and breathes as well.  But I need to lose my heart and give my allegiance.  I need to fall in love and have something to believe in, something concrete and structured.  I can't do one without the other and still make it through.  My hope and prayer is that all of the people that have such a wonderful understanding of how important a relationship with God is, will also come to understand how religion can be an enrichment of that relationship and give it a depth and foundation that can make the relationship last, even when the going is tough.

I know that everyone's faith walk is different, and some people have been greatly harmed by the misuse of religion.  I pray for their healing, and I think that it's a good thing if they focus more on the relationship aspect than the structure.  In my case, it is because of religion and the mystical Body of Christ that I have any faith left right now.

*Religious rules, like discipline at home are a good thing, but both can be used improperly.  For the sake of this post, let's assume that we are talking about healthy boundaries and not rigorous and harsh imposition of rules.

Friday, July 8, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday


7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 123)
Okay, as I don't really have 7 Quick Takes today, I'm going to do 7 quick pictures.  They're all of the same thing, starting just before the sun was up and the progression of the sun coming up and the wind picking up.  (It sounded like a really good idea at the time, but I didn't realize how little the differences showed on the blog.  Oh, well.  I'm posting it anyway.)  Head over to Jen's to see how less lazy people do Quick Takes!







Thursday, July 7, 2011

Clarification

I am sorry if I offended anyone with my bitterness the other week.  The stinky thing about being bitter is that it's hard to look outside yourself.  As I reread my post, it reminded me that someone told me that I had all of the subtlety of a bulldozer.  So true.  I knew it was the kind of post that could (and did) cost me readers, but I made the decision to post it anyway.  The reason that I did is because when other people are honest about the warts and all, it really helps to know that I am not alone when I struggle with some of these things.

My only regret is that there was a comment made about the post mocking those that have hope.  I deeply regret that I came off that way.  I certainly didn't mean to mock those with hope.  I only meant to be honest about where I was at that moment. I was having very real issues with hope and faith, and did not mean to demean anyone who is beautifully holding onto theirs in their own struggles.  In fact, them holding on is such an example and a light to me that I hate that I was a dimmer switch to them!

I thought about taking the post down.  Partly from pride.  I don't particularly like coming off so ugly.  But in the end I left it up.  It was where I was at that moment, and writing it was hard but also cathartic. Perhaps blogland is not the best place for such things, but I was feeling a little low on options, and I needed to get it out.  Not only that, but I hope that it can help me remember sometimes.  I have wondered why and how people could get to the point of losing their faith.  I no longer wonder that, and I hope it will help me to be more compassionate in the long run (you know, once I get over myself).

Therefore, to those that hope, that are in a much better place about God's plan and God's timing, thank you for your example as you continue to hold on.  For anyone who felt that I was taking a jab outward, I'm so sorry!  Please realize that the post was completely selfish and about me, not about anyone else.

The Body of Christ

A couple of weeks ago, it was the feast of Corpus Christi.  The body of Christ. Normally this feast makes me think a lot about the Eucharist, and those thoughts were certainly there (especially since the priest at the parish I was visiting was on fire for the Eucharist!)  However, the phrase "the body of Christ" stuck with me and took my thoughts down a little different tangent at this Mass.

You know the saying "Just me and Jesus", or "All I need is Jesus." I was thinking about how untrue those statements are in my life.  If it were just me and Jesus, I'm not sure that I would still have any faith.  It's true.  The only thing that has gotten me through parts of these last several years are the others in my life.  My family, who are some of my best friends.  My amazing friends, who are just as much family as my family.  The saints, who are truly our older brothers and sisters in Christ. And you all here.

Sometimes, it is because I need someone to listen.  Sometimes I need a swift kick in the seat to get me going again.  Often it is because I couldn't make it without everyone's prayers.  Just as importantly, I need to be able to pray for others and to know that I still have something to offer someone else who is also struggling.

I get why sometimes we would rather have it be "just me and Jesus."  In a world that is broken by sin, we make so many mistakes and commit so many sins in the name of church, that it would be easier to take the other people out of the equation sometimes.  As for me, however, it will never be "me and Jesus."  It's going to have to be "me and the body of Christ."  All of us, united through Christ and in Him, that's what gets me through.


Tune in next time to discuss how I feel about "It's not about religion, it's about a relationship!"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Your Guide to a 4.5-star Hotel Stay

Perhaps you are way cooler than I and don't need such a guide.  And by cooler, I mean "richer".  When I was growing up, we often stayed in a tent because hotels were too expensive. And if we did get lucky enough to stay in a hotel, it was a Super 8, and half of us were sleeping on the floor.

In fact, a couple of years ago, my sisters and I took a trip and stayed in this:


Look at that lopsided loveliness! I may have told you at the time, but it's more that the fact that it was getting old enough that you couldn't pitch it straight (because my sisters and I may not be that handy, but we can pitch a tent properly when it's not so decrepit); the door that you see in the picture is sewn shut and we had to crawl in and out of the large back window.  All in the interest of saving a few bucks so we could do a road trip.

Anyway, last weekend I decided that I wanted to get away.  Many of my weekends are full, but when they're not I don't know what to do with myself.  There was this one area that I had really been wanting to go take some pictures, so I decided on Friday that if I could get a hotel room for a decent price then I was going to go for it.  Now, I'm still not rich, but I hate Su.per 8 and try for something a little nicer.  I decided that would try for something along the lines of a Hamp.ton or a Hol.iday Inn Ex.press at a price that would be normal for the Midwest (rather than the inflated, gouge-the-tourist price) and just see.

Here's your first tip for your next stay at a 4.5 star hotel- Hot.wir.e.  I love that website!  All of my normal choices (usually rated at 2.5- 3 stars) were normal prices, but then I noticed that there was a 4 star hotel for the same price as those 2.5 star ones!  Sign me up!!  I admit that I was a little suspicious (what's the catch?), but I had to try it once.  Turns out that it was an off-season ski resort that was just trying to fill up during the summer.

Here's something to keep in mind if you ever do this.  Immediately after I paid, then they told me about a couple of extra fees that I would likely incur.  I hate hidden fees, but in some ways I was glad I didn't know.  It ended up being an extra $30 in my case, which was doable and worth it for the experience.  If I had known, I may not have signed up and then I would have missed out.  However, that can be a budget-buster sometimes, so be aware.

One of the fees cracked me up.  It was the fee for the valet parking!  You have to understand; I'm from the Midwest, and we park our own cars, thankyouverymuch.  My experience with valet parking is from watching TV, so I wasn't real excited to give up my keys.  I wasn't too concerned with any of the scenarios that I usually see on TV, like Ferris Bueller's problems, or a crime show that I recently watched where the valet stole the car and used it in a drive-by or things like that.  However, they give you a ticket to say that they aren't responsible for any damage that may occur... Really? Like if you run it into a post it's not your fault?  But I didn't have a choice, and you know what?  By the end of my stay, I got kind of used to having my car brought to the front door and waiting for me.

I pulled up to the hotel with a little trepidation.  First there was the valet thing, and then there was the sheer fanciness of this place.  I felt like I needed to be dressed up to go in the front door, and there I was in my hiking clothes.  They open my car door for me and ask if I would like help with my bags.  Umm, I think I  can manage my one overnight bag, thanks.  It's funny to have someone opening all the doors for you... walking you to the elevator... pushing the button.  It's nice, but I also wanted to laugh the whole time.  I'm used to "Here's your key, and the stairs are over there."  It was certainly one of the "Dorothy, you're not in Kansas anymore" moments.

Here's the room (actually, they called it a "studio"; I thought that was just for apartments, but I guess it does sound fancier than just a plain old "room"):


Down that hallway to the right was the bathroom; I didn't get a picture of the shower, but it was a very nice stand alone number.  I liked that they had shampoo and bodywash bottles, large ones.  That meant that they didn't have to put out new little ones all the time.  Very environmental of them.  There was a note that if you wanted to take the bottle with you, you were welcome, but there would be a $45 charge. Yeah, no souvenirs for me, thanks.


To the left of the hallway was a full kitchenette. Is that an oxymoron?  If it was full, wouldn't it be a kitchen? Anyway, the point is that there was a stovetop, microwave, refrigerator/freezer and a full set of dishes and silverware.

Not that you can see it too well in the picture, but there you have it.

King bed; that blanket on the end is all soft and furry.  I'm sure it was synthetic; this establishment was way to environmentally correct for it to be anything else.  However, between that and the fireplace,

 
I desperately wanted to come back in the winter.  This place would be awesome after a long day of skiing.  Actually, since I've never skied, I'd be okay with hanging out in the room while it snowed outside.  Alas, this place will be WAY beyond my price range that time of year.

Now, there's two other features of this room that we need to discuss.  One is the tub:

Let's just discuss that this thing really is the perfect size and shape for a good soak.  It was A-mazing.  Now let's discuss that you can see the bedroom in this picture because one of the walls of the bathroom was glass.  Really?  I get that this is going to be a romantic getaway for couples a lot of the time, but I still have issues with it.  Maybe if the toilet was hidden behind a screen or something... I know I'm single, but nothing screams romance like taking a dump in full view, am I right?  Yes, there is a shade that you can pull down, but it's still a little odd.  Apparently, though, this is the thing to do.  I was discussing this with someone that has the money to stay in these kinds of places most of the time.  She just shrugged and said it was the way a lot of these places were.

Whatever.  Unless I meet some rich sugar daddy, it's not like I'm going to have to deal with it very often. I will say that when I forgot a book, it was very convenient to be able to watch the TV in the bedroom while I enjoyed a good soak.

Oh, also.  When you pay the lowbrow prices for the highbrow establishment, you don't necessarily get the nicest room.  I mean, my room was very nice, but it was right over the driveway, so I heard the car doors from those hardworking valets kind of late into the night.

In summary:

1) Beware of hidden fees.
2) Valet parking is actually kind of nice.
3) Customer service is out of this world.
4) "Full kitchenettes" are nice, too, because from the looks of the restaurant on site, it was pricey.
5) Watch out for curious glass-walled bathrooms.
6) And if you have a tub like that in your room, take a soak in it, whether you want to or not!








Sunday, July 3, 2011

Distractions

One of the things that has been happening when I try to go hiking is that I get slowed down by the flowers.  I love all the wildflowers.  They are so pretty, and I don't think of myself as a flowery person, but I can't help it with these.  Now that I have a good camera, I can actually take close ups of them, even of the little tiny ones on the alpine tundra.  Those are the ones that fascinate me the most.  They look so impossibly small that it's hard to imagine them surviving anywhere, let alone in such an incredibly harsh environment.  

Pineywoods Geranium

Cinquefoil

Wild Strawberry (and they taste great later in the year!)

Dunno, but I kind of like them.

Colorado Blue Columbine (my favorite!)

Alpine Forget-me-not

Again, not sure

But look how small they are!  That's my pinky finger looking ginormous there.

Dwarf Clover

No idea, but I love that they have purple and pink blossoms side by side.

Prickly Rose


Western Red Columbine

Two-Lobe Larkspur
I believe the ones in the header picture are Silvery Lupine.  Don't quote me on those names, someone gave me a book, so I'm trying to learn to identify them, but some are harder than you'd think to match up.

Friday, July 1, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 123)
1) Thanks so much for your support on the last couple of posts. It really helps.  Y'all are awesome.  To be honest, not too much has changed, but there are glimmers here and there.

2) As a little update to this post, I should tell you that I'm still fighting the smell of stale cigarette smoke in my apartment.  Sometimes, it's even the fresh smell of cigarette smoke.  Love it.  Not!

Okay, now that I have that 6th grade moment out of the way, I can tell you that I've got a couple of air filters going, I've blocked of a major area where it was coming in and I've learned that it's much worse when the AC is on. Which is all to say that it is not near as overwhelming anymore, and I can make it through the next month. (Or should I say this month, since it will be July when you read this.)  At the end of the month, moving will be happening.  However, I don't have to move because it turns out my chain-smoking neighbor is moving! In the meantime, you may want to buy stock in Fe.breeze.  (I do wonder sometimes at what concentration air freshener becomes more toxic than secondhand smoke; I may be approaching those levels...)

3) Last weekend I took a little trip, because I could and because I didn't want to sit around my apartment all weekend.  Got a sweet deal on a hotel and saw some beautiful country.  It was great, but this weekend, I should stay home and work on my apartment.  Usually I get settled pretty quickly, but since there was a long time of not being sure if I was staying or going, I sort of ignored it all.  I just found out that the neighbor was going to be moving.

4) Climbed some 5.9's today.  That's the hardest stuff that I've done so far and it almost took a girlfriend belay to do it, but I made it. (A "girlfriend belay" is if your belayer is practically pulling you up the rock, rather than just catching you if you fall.)  The more experienced climbers like a little slack in the rope.  I like the rope tight enough that if I manage to squeak up a couple of inches, I don't lose it when I slip.

5)  I'm having a little problem hiking recently.  This is happening for a couple of reasons.  One is that I'm really getting annoyed with how slow I am coming down the mountain.  No, you don't understand, we are talking snail's pace and ridiculous.  Another is that I've been a little limited in what I can hike due to limited hiking partner availability.  And also, I seem to be getting completely distracted by the wildflowers. I am a sucker for tiny wildflowers, especially with a good macro setting on the camera.

6) I seem to be out of things to say for the moment so...

7) Tell me, what are you up to for the 4th of July?

Head over to Jen's for more Quick Takes!