Tuesday, July 31, 2012

National Parks

There are so many things that I did not know about National Parks before starting these trips, that I think as a public service, I'll go over some of them.  This is the stuff that I didn't find in any of the guide books that I scoured from the library or websites that I obsessively looked through.  I plan to make a little series of places we have been as a family, as well as tips and what we would do differently or the same.  But as an introduction, this is some stuff that shocked me the first couple of times out:

Jr. Ranger Program - this program is the best and we didn't know about it until we had been to 3 National Parks.  Almost all National Parks participate and kids can earn a badge for completing a workbook.  Most of the workbook is games and puzzles although it does involve a bit of hiking, Ranger Talks, and research.  Our 9 year old Dear Daughter loves this program and it is the first thing that she asks about at the first ranger station we visit.  The program is free but it is a good idea to donate a couple of dollars to the ranger station at completion.  The newly sworn in Jr. Rangers have this very sweet vow to protect the National Parks and the earth that has made me a little misty all 8 times that my daughter has said it.  My Dear Son does not often participate because he doesn't like to do any extra work.  It is age appropriate for him as well (11 years old) but it is a battle I don't fight.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Cleaning-up Facebook

When I was out visiting my Mom, she decided that it was time to join Facebook (basically so she could have a pinterest account). I took a deep breath, poured a glass of boxed wine, and began to explain how to be a member of Facebook-- and not have it drive you crazy (or offend  your old "friends").  I've told the story since, and quite a few people have poured themselves a glass of wine and leaned closer... apparently, MANY MANY people are driven nuts by Facebook and rather than fixing the problem, they avoid the medium entirely.  Here is what I told my mom:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

LIVE at Red Rocks

Some Concerts Attended by Me or my DH but mostly Both
I'm not at all musical.  My parents aren't terribly musical either (my Eccentric Ol' Dad - here after EOD) plays the harmonica from time to time but I don't know that I would go so far as to call it a talent. But they did have highly talented friends; as a kid, I spent countless nights curled in a corner and lulled to sleep by guitars and drums jamming out all sorts music.

I "played" the clarinet for 6 painful years before the realization really set in that I have very little rhythm and no increased ability regardless of how long I practice.  But I never-the-less LOVE music.  We sing along, however off-key and off-beat we might be, and we especially love a wide variety of outdoor live music.  It could be U2 or a Fest (we went to Ska-fest in Victoria BC) or a local park or the 5th grader on the next street over playing Stairway to Heaven.  Music refreshes my soul and brings me to tears nearly every time I see it live.  I don't know exactly what it is, but music heals and cleanses me. Maybe it is because of my total lack of talent, but music seems magical; it inspires me. I love to hear talented (not necessarily famous) people play.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Breakdown

The Sweet Little Pool
Life doesn't always go the way that I plan (how dare it!). Like this camping trip for instance... Tonight we are sleeping in a very sweet Comfort Inn with a pool and a lovely (indoor) shower that is not coin operated. We have a continental breakfast and a climate controlled room.

Basically, The way I plan these Odysseys is to get an idea of how I want the trip to go and then everything falls into place flawlessly, intermixed with a couple of good stories. I'll admit that we are really lucky. Even things not executed perfectly, often turn out for the best. Glacier being a perfect example.

I have always wanted to camp in Many Glacier, the most highly coveted campground. It is the farthest north and has the most glaciers to hike to. We did our research and that campsite usually fills by 2pm. We were on target for a noon arrival. Only we didn't leave on time because we couldn't find the electric cord that made the trailer lights work. We looked everywhere. For an hour... and still nothing. Finally, we found it, where it belongs, just camouflaged with something else kind of dirty and black. At this point, we were running late but not too late... only to collide with the biggest small town parade in history. EVERYONE came out for this event and we couldn't make it 2 blocks, for another hour. By the time we got close to the campsite, it was filled (by 11:15am -so even the absence of these issues would not have put us there on time); and we were forced to stay in my 2nd choice.