biRthday paRty

We love having grouped birthdays. Aunt Becky and nephew Carter are two days apart in April. We gathered at Carter's house for the celebration.


Grand Canyon 2

Today was filled with the things that make Grand Canyon the treasure that it is. History, geology, photography, native anthropology, weather, and wonder. After a good breakfast - the kind we're not used to and only enjoy when traveling - we left the little town where we are staying and joined the stream of cars entering the park. Scott happily used his Senior National Park Pass to get into the park without a fee. We followed the tourists along the main road then veered off to the south and began a long drive to an area of the canyon called Desert View...stopping along the way at pull outs and overlooks to stare and gasp at one beautiful vista after another. When I say gasp, I'm not being dramatic. Looking down over the edges of the cliffs (with no fences or attempts to protect anyone from falling) does bring gasps. I'm not height-phobic, but I had to back away several times - it was almost more than I could handle.

We made time today for Scott to put on his red apron and be an artist. He made a sketch of an incredible view with a rock formations. Then he oil painted a picture of the Watchtower (a historic stone building that is nearly 100 years old and was designed by a woman architect named Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter) and the ledges and valleys beyond the tower. The painting is beautiful.

I loved today. It was enchanting and soul filling. I sat on a hundred-year old wooden bench and wrote a little essay. Writing calmed me. I craved the solace of sunlight and warmth, so I walked along the rim and looked out to view the horizontally-striped cliffs...layers of red sandstone, white limestone, gray shale, green sagebrush, and golden grasses. (Actually, scientists have identified 16 geologic layers.)
I enjoyed watching the acrobatics of the large, black ravens as they flew across the canyons, caught the April breezes, flipped and somersaulted. They performed gracefully, as if they knew that the visitors standing on the balcony of the Watchtower were watching and shooting photographs of them.

I took this photo just before sunset. Then for the next two hours, I just kept gazing at the view in front of me. It is the kind of scene where you'd say, "If you painted that, it would look fake." The layers were so incredible.


Grand Canyon 1

I'm blogging using my cell phone which isn't nimble or quick. But I want to remember today because it has been filled with new sights and places. We're sitting in a little restaurant called the Arizona Room...right on the edge of the south rim of Grand Canyon. If we walked ten yards, we'd fall off the edge of the magnificent cliffs in this Bright Angel Trailhead area of the canyon. Below...so far down that it looks like a dark green ribbon weaving through the red cliffs, is the Colorado River. There seems to be a magnetic pull to the river - people up here just have to get down there - and back.

In fact, one of the reasons we came to Grand Canyon is so Scott could show me where he and our son, Mike, hiked two years ago - from the south rim to the north rim - a distance of 22 miles - in one day. Also on the hike were Mike's good friend Gordo and his wife Jessie, our friend Dr. Gordon Wood and his sister, and Dr. Frank Peterson and his wife Jodi. AND toward the end, were a couple of Nepali college students who helped Scott along the way when he got separated from the group and was so tired and dehydrated that he could hardly walk. Today, I said a quiet prayer of gratitude for those two young men from Nepal who let Scott join them and kept him putting one foot in front of the other as he pushed up the slick, steep, and dark uphill trail. I just did not appreciate the magnitude of the hike until I saw the trail for myself today - well, I saw a small part of the trail...but I saw the beginning and ending of the hike and that was enough.
Our selfie as we started our day exploring Grand Canyon.
It's so beautiful here. Because it's spring, the sagebrush and prarie grasses are green, there are purple and yellow wildflowers, and lots of birds in the air. The weather has been cold at night but warming up to the low sixties during the day. It's perfect hiking weather. The south rim village area reminds me of Yellowstone and other national parks with vintage-looking lodges and rock-lined pathways that were built in the heyday of national park improvements by the Conservation Corp back in the thirties. Many of the Grand Canyon buildings have Indian and motifs and architecture. If you wander into a gift shop you'd better want to buy silver or turquoise jewelry or Native American hand-woven rugs and pottery. It's all so fun to look at. (The views and the gift shops.)

Scott has been spending a little bit of time sketching and while he sketches I write or go for walks. Today I left him at a lookout point sketching a gorgeous view and drove the rental car in search of a restroom. I missed the turnoff to the picnic area and drove and drove and drove and began to feel frantic and lost. Plus I had no cell reception nor GPS reception. I got a little panicky because the road was abandoned, and I couldn't believe the picnic area was so far away. Finally, I pulled over, found the MAP that Scott had thankfully bought and thrown in the back seat and tried to figure out where I was. I realized that I had driven WAY out of the main public area and so I turned around. When I finally arrived back, Scott was just finishing his sketch and hadn't worried about me at all. All's well that ends well, but I hate being lost and I need to be smarter when I take off alone in a strange place. Better to just stay put. I like to people watch...I should just do that. I'm reading a new book called Thrive by Arianna Huffington. If I have a good book, I don't mind sitting by Scott and reading while he paints or sketches.

Scott's sketchpad with today's pencil sketch. 
We hiked both yesterday and today...yesterday we took the Rim Trail and saw spectacular views from the top of the south rim for miles and miles. We also saw a herd of elk and lots of squirrels and ravens. And an eagle soaring from cliff to ravine. It's funny to see the tourists go crazy over the elk and deer here. Since we have deer in our back yard on a daily basis, they seem like no big deal to me. But, just like Yellowstone, if someone spots wildlife here, everyone stops whether walking or driving, to take photos and enjoy the novelty of it.  Today, we went about an hour down the Bright Angel trail then turned around and hiked back up. It was enough for my knee - I'm still being careful and healing from a tear in the meniscus. I did pretty well, but I've about decided I need to have it scoped. I loved every minute of the hike. The scenery was amazing, the hikers were entertaining, the sense of accomplishment felt good - even though it was one-tenth of Scott's grand Grand Canyon hike. 
Beginning the Bright Angel trail.


decorating Easter eggs

We had a night of crafting at Sew and Sews! We met at the lovely home of Rexann. She had darling Easter decorations everywhere. We sat around two large round tables and cut and glued and talked and laughed. 

It brought back memories of our crafting/stitching days when our group first started getting together. It's hard to believe, but that has been about 35 years ago!! Many of us have sons or daughters who were babies when we started attending Sew & Sews. They now have homes, jobs, and children of their own. We laughed about our unfinished projects - some of which are still in closets and cupboards - me included. 

Lisa Ellis taught us how to decorate Easter Eggs with torn napkin pieces and egg white or decoupage. Once we got the basics, the creativity began to flow! It was fun to see what everyone was doing with simple paper napkins. 

These are some of the 48 eggs that Lisa decorated for the evening. 

Lesa and Debbie

Joni and Lisa




Kristen and Rexann

Debbie and Bonnie

                                                                    Debbie and Shari
Lisa and Nancy

Karla played for us on  Rexann's lovely piano.

Rexann's Easter decorations inspired us.

And the pies delighted us!