Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Well, I survived the white water rafting.  What scary fun!

Literally, I was scared half to death.  I have this love/fear thing with water.  I’m fascinated by it, love the romanticism of it, the beauty and mystery of it, but, I’m terrified of drowning.

As the old cliché goes, though:  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Or, it makes you scream:  “Holy Shit!”  a lot.  Really a lot.

Thank God there are young men in this world like Brock, our guide, who revel in this sort of adventurous life-style and make it their duty to take excellent care of us holiday thrill-seekers.  These young men (and women) who work these types of jobs are truly heroic.

I chose, purposely, to sit at the back next to our guide as I figured (rightly) that it would be the safest place on the boat.  If I was going to be pitched overboard, at least he’d be there to grab me right away.  Thankfully, for both of us, that never happened.

But, we came close.

A class IV rapid is a scary, scary beast.  Big drops in the water called bowls, where the raft just plunges down into, huge waves  that slam the raft about as if it were a toy, and the loud, angry churning of the water all around, so loud you can barely hear the instructions to get your oar into the water and paddle HARD!

Then, you’re out of it and laughing, amazed that the last 30 seconds of your life were lived so intensely, but there’s no time to contemplate your success because Brock is hollering:  “Okay, here we are, oars in the water on my go!  WE DO NOT WANT TO GO FOR A SWIM HERE, DO YOU HEAR ME?”  And then, it’s another class IV, this one bigger and nastier than the last.

I nearly came out of the boat on that one.  Ass up in the air.  The only thing that saved me was the ropes.  The lovely, lovely ropes.  I grabbed on and held on.  To hell with paddling!  Meanwhile, Brock is up behind us, steering us out of the rapids.  The amount of physical strength such a feat must take.

I asked him after if he was done for the day.  Nope.  They would be going out with another group almost as soon as we got back.  There was a break for lunch of about an hour.  But that was it.

My hats off to them all — they are an amazing bunch of young people.

The rafting was the highlight of my trip to the mountains this time.  Usually, it’s just hiking, but this time we decided to switch things up a bit.

Our first day we drove to Field, B.C., where we stayed with some friends of Heather’s.  Wonderful people.  We drove up to Takkakaw Falls and got soaked, partly because of the mist spraying off the falls, (which are beautiful) but mostly because of the rain.

Rain has plagued us now for nearly two weeks.  Straight.  We are sick of it.  We had hoped that up in the mountains it would be drier and more summer-like.  But, no.  It was overcast and rainy most of the time.  We did not let that dampen (ha ha) our spirits or our plans.  Albertans, Canadians, in general, are an intrepid bunch.  Especially as our summers are so damned short.

Sunshine or not, temps barely in the teens or not, we are going to get out there and enjoy ourselves.

After the rafting, we had a couple of hours of down time and then we headed into Banff to pick up our hot springs tickets and to go for our trail ride.  It was a lovely ride, a bit cool, and unfortunately a nose to tail affair, but really, quite lovely to trek on horseback into the mountains.

We’ve decided that our next adventure just might be a 3 or 4 day horseback trip into the back country.  I think that would be fun.  But I’ll have to really take some strong measures to stretch and stretch and stretch.  My knees and groin tendons were just screaming after two hours on the back of a horse.

Sunday, we drove back into Banff for a small hike around Johnson Lake and then a soak in

the Banff Hot Springs.  It was lovely.  But, I have to say I do prefer the hot springs at Miette over the ones at Banff.  Up at Miette you are surrounded by mountains, at Banff you’ve got a view of one mountain and then the hotel.  Just not the same experience.

Monday, Heather and I got up and left Lynn who had to return to work that day and drove through the mountains via the Columbia

Highway and then into Jasper.  We stopped at Mount Edith Cavell for a short hike around the base of the Angel Wing Glacier, and oohed and aahed over the lovely alpine flowers.

The glacier put on a grand show by delivering a number of avalanches down onto the tail that hangs above the foot of the glacier and the glacier pond below.  Was quite amazing to watch.  The sound was like a freight train or jet flying very low overhead.  Then there would be a massive crack and the snow would cascade down over the rock face.  Very beautiful.

So, now, I’m back at home.  My mini vacation is over. I’ve got a bazillion things to do and time is flying by.

Hope everyone is enjoying this break.  Let’s all pray for sunshine and summer weather!

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7:11 and I’m not getting ready for work, but I should be. . .

I’m supposed to be getting ready for work, and for a meeting after work.

I just can’t do it.  All I want to do is sit here, write a bit and then go work in my gardens.

The house is a flippin’ mess — I’ve tried, really tried all week to be a good house keeper, but it’s a losing battle.  At least we eat.  And clean up the dishes.  The rest of it will just have to wait until I’ve got the time and the need.

Thank God I’ve got tomorrow off.  Have great gardening plans — the weeds have staged a rebellion and I must get out there with my guillotine!  The rain better hold off until I’m done.  (Sorry Heather.)

Our keys to the apartment in New York came yesterday, along with our tickets to Wicked.  Three weeks from today me, two of my sistahs and a sistah-in-law will be in the Big Apple.  Five days of frivolity, fun, food and fantasy.  Cannot wait.

Well, I really must stop this and get moving.  Huge sigh.

Tomorrow can’t come fast enough.

Happy Easter!

Okay, so a brief update on the hot flashes — they’re not as bad.  Thank God!  and Heather.  She told me to try Swiss brand HRT.  So I did.  Dr. R had recommended I try a progesterone cream, but I was a little leery about that.  I started out taking 4 capsules of the Swiss HRT and am now down to 3/day.  I still get the odd flash, but they’re no where’s near as bad as they were a week ago.  At least I’m sleeping through the night (mostly) again.

Had a great break!  Once I goSpringt back from convention in Lethbridge.  Had a sore throat, which I think was allergies.  Kind of knocked me on my ass for a day or two.  Or, maybe, I was just run down from all the runnin’ aroun’ I do.  Who knows?  Anyway, after I got rested up I was rarin’ to go.

Last Thursday we picked up Timothy and Hailey and had them for 1/2 day.  We flew kites, baked cinnamon buns, played loud games, went to Hailey’s Tae Kwon Do and then had ice-cream right before taking them home to bed.  We had a blast!  They made me better, I swear.Learning to fly

Friday, Tim and I took off for Jasper.  via Mayerthorpe, cause we’re a little dopey and don’t know how to read signs very well, apparently.

anyhow. . .  we figured it out before we got to Grand Prairie, which was a good thing.  Don’t really know what we would have done there for fun.

The mountains were great.  We went for a hike at Old Fort Point, I got some lovely shots of the river and the bridge and a gnarly old pine.  Then we stayed in an overpriced, but very roomy suite at Whistler’s Inn, (where we generally stay when in Jasper).  We had a lovely meal at Cassio’s and then went for a short walk before turning in for the night.  No wild and crazy antics for us.  We were bushed.

Got up late Saturday and packed everything out at 10:30.  Had an expensive, but tasty breakfast at the Soft Rock Cafe, where someone stole my orange juice when I got up to go to the bathroom.  Crazy!  I guess they were thirsty and couldn’t afford their own.

We did another short hike up Patricia Lake trail but got wierded out by a ranger who told us a cougar or wolves had killed a deer on the trail and he was there looking for it.  (the carcass)  He was all nonchalant about it, but I couldn’t help listening for stealthy sounds in the trees around us — which is really quite pointless when the wind is blowing and things are scritching and scratching everywhere around you.

Tim finally spotted the carcass while I was busy setting my camera up and whistled for the ranger.  He came trudging up, said thanks and dragged it off.  Sheesh!  I got a few decent, but boring shots of the mountains to the east of Jasper and then decided enough was enough.  We finished our hike and then made a bee-line out of town.  Got back home around 8 p.m.  Tired, but happy.

Yesterday, we had a nice brunch with Landon, Jenn and the kids.  The kids were all hopped up on sugar, but what the hey — the Easter Bunny only comes once a year. Once again, the kids made my day. Ethan is really beginning to develop a personality.  He’s just like Landon was as a baby.  A ‘pudger’ as we called him.  But happy?!  OMG! he’s a happy little guy.

Later in the day we went to my niece, Lisette’s, for a barbecue with her and Scott and Michelle.  Scott’s on his way to Mexico again.  Then he gets home for four days and heads off to Pennsylvania for 3 weeks.  A busy guy.  Looks like things are really starting to go his way.  Very happy for him.  Michelle, too.

on to other things. . .

. . . last night finally got around to watching The Road.  I’d read the book in the summer and thought it was an amazing story.  The movie left a lot to be desired.  Viggo was good (when isn’t he?) but the story is so bleak and depressing, it just didn’t work on film.  Also, and I’m grateful for this, they chose to leave out a lot of  the really horrific stuff that made the book so compelling.  Much of the time you couldn’t hear what was being said because the characters spoke so softly. My advice — don’t waste time on the movie — read the book.  It’s amazing.

I am so glad it’s Spring.  Tim and I went for a nice walk in the early morning sunshine today and it felt like all was right with the world again.  I am so happy that winter is once more behind us.  The dark, cold mornings, the dark, cold evenings a thing of the past.  From now on, it’s steadily increasing daylight and sunlight and warmth.  Soon, the early flowers will be out and the birds will be singing in the big pine outside my bedroom window. I’ll be able to get out and get my gardening gloves on and muck around in the dirt.   Yay!

Because it’s Spring I feel compelled to try something strange and renewing.  So, I’m not going to watch TV from Sunday to Thursday.  If there’s time and I don’t have better things to do I’ll watch television on Friday night and Saturday.  I want to see how much more I can accomplish by not sitting in front of the ‘boob tube’ every night.

Granted, I don’t watch TV that much anyway — never enough time, really — but I have found myself plunking down in front of it a little more than I want to, these days.  Normally, we PVR everything and watch it later so we can skip through the commercials, but that can still eat up 2 or 3what it's all about hours a night.  When I started thinking about it, I was sort of appalled by how much TV we were watching.  So, this morning, while I was folding sheets I decided:  Time for an experiment!

Tim’s not thrilled.  I’ll probably be doing this one by myself, too.  Oh well, to each his own, I say.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Happy Spring everybody!