Wednesday Walkabout – Red Canyon Utah

I’m back with another episode of Walkabout Wednesday where we’ll take a short walk in some of the places we’ve visited. Today we’re stopping off in Red Canyon, Utah. Located along Highway 12 in Southern Utah, just 13 miles from Bryce National Park lies Red Canyon. Part of the Dixie National Forest, it is home to several hiking trails and lots of fantasy spires and hoodoos for which the area is famous.

Hoodoos – rocks or sculptures?

We stopped by the visitor center only to learn that it was closed due to covid concerns. The restrooms and trails were open though so off we went. Poor air quality from wild fires conspired with an elevation of 7400 feet to keep us on the bunny trail which goes around the visitor center and back away off the road.

Legend People

We are surrounded by water and ice-shaped sculptures affectionately known as hoodoos. The hoodoo’s tall, knobby and eerie shapes have earned them many names throughout history. The Paiute Indians of this area call them “legend people.” When Anglo settlers saw the formations, they called them “fairy chimneys” from their own myths. This hoodoo rich area was dubbed “Utah’s Fairyland.”

Legend Person fall down, go boom

Legend person fall down, go boom. BIG boom. It is not uncommon to see fallen rocks from breaks in the formations and rock slides. The sandstone formations are permeable and over time break down which is how they were formed after all.

Symbiosis at work

We came across this stunning boulder in varying states of decomposition. The black and colored specks are lichen which makes it a stunning example of nature’s symbiosis.

Oh, that’s what symbiosis is

Above, for those of you who were wondering what the heck red rocks have to do with symbiosis …. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough lichen in the world to filter out that much ozone and smoke so we headed off to our next destination, Vernal Utah.

Vernal Dino Land

We had plans to visit all of the dino attractions and had been looking forward to this section of the trip in particular. Unfortunately, upon arriving I discovered that the throbbing headache I’d been fighting all day was accompanied by a fever. Quick call to my PCP back in South Dakota advised that it could be Covid delta variant (that was making the rounds last year) we were both fully vaccinated so best advice was to treat it like a flu, rest, water, and self-quarantine for 5 days.

Dino Art At Last!

So this towel sculpture at our hotel was as close as we got to the dino-art I was hoping to photograph. The museums and activities would have to wait for another time as we spent our 5 day stay in the hotel. On the upside, we did find several restaurants that delivered to our hotel, so we didn’t starve and honestly, the virus laid me out too bad to do much but sleep anyway.

Linking up to Marsha’s PPAC #50 this week. Do go check out some of the posts so much fun 🙂

That’s the conclusion of our walkabout this week.

From Castle Serenity ~Remember there is beauty as far as the eye can see ~JP

I Put on Pants – A Spoonie Award

I don’t mean to brag, but I am totally rockin this day. Not only did I get out of bed, but I put. on. pants! Yesterday was what could euphemistically be called a “low spoons” day. In all honesty, it was, in fact, a total, complete train wreck. Including meltdowns and tantrums. Now I’d like to tell you that it was a visiting grandchild that threw said tantrum, but, alas, it was none other than me. I wish I could tell you that this is an exceedingly rare event but no, it’s rather too common for comfort and I’m considering just penciling it into my planner for like “Monday Meltdown” or “Tuesday Tantrum”. All it takes is a trip to the hardware store where we did not find what we wanted, well OK we did but not at a price we were willing to pay, and it’s a new sump pump because we’re (read that Superhubs) not sure if the one we have works and we’re supposed to get five inches of rain over the next three days.

Then, just one innocuous comment, a casual dismissal of something I have taken it into my head matters more than a cure for cancer. Something that matters not one jot, something stupid like trying to follow Superhubs hand signals as he guides me through parking the car in the garage around the gargantuan garbage can and the stupid cardboard boxes that are STILL HERE from our move three months ago. I mean really? I have to negotiate my way around the ancient box springs that we had to move out of the house and the garage is as far as it got because we have no idea how to get rid of it. Because it’s not that I have depth perception issues or blurry vision from lack of anything remotely resembling a tear film in my eyes, and you know, I have to do EVERYTHING around here. And no don’t you dare offer to park it for me! Boom! BAM! SOCKeroooo! It’s like a bloody Batman Show (the real one with Adam West). Yes, a sixty-something great grandmother sat in the middle of the floor blubbering like an over stimulated two-year-old.

Fortunately, I am blessed with Superhubs who sits down beside me, holds me, makes little shushing sounds until the worst of the weeping subsides. And then asks “what hurts?” So I can sob out “EVERYTHING!” Yeah, that’s one of the worst parts of being a spoonie. Painger is a very real thing. It’s when you think you’re angry but, really, you’re just in pain.

So, in light of yesterday’s emotional train wreck, I decided to reward myself with a Spoonie Award. I’m wearing pants, and that’s a step in the right direction. Fellow Spoonies, always remember that you are amazing, strong, powerful health warriors. It’s OK to lose it once in awhile, grab your heating pad, tylenol and a cup of tea, go snuggle up. Do what you can to take care of you, this day will pass and tomorrow is another day.

Til later ~ Too low on spoons to give a fork ~JP

Monday Mundanities — Life, COVID and Cerebral Angiograms

Last week was one of “those” weeks. You know the ones that have you so stressed out you want to scream about something that really doesn’t have anything to do with anything at all. We met with the new Vascular Neurosurgeon (nice guy, oh so young) to discuss the findings of the latest brain pics (cerebral CT scans). Probably nothing but there is a slightly enlarged blood vessel that he wants to get a better look at. Yeah, I really hate it when they use words like “further evaluation is needed” and stuff like that. Now because it’s COVID year 3 and my Knight is a LADA diabetic, this procedure requires significant prep work.

First there’s the COVID test. Must have a negative covid test no more than three days prior to exam. O….. K….. oh yeah and can’t get it at the drug store, have to drive into the hospital for theirs. Then, must be off metformin (diabetes med) for two days prior and two days after. Then, must reduce long-acting insulin day before and day of procedure, and …. a twelve hour fast, prior to. And this is the “simplified” version. Transradial cerebral angiography is no little thing although complications are less common than with the femoral artery. Yeah, OK. You’re shoving a catheter into the man’s brain for pete’s sake don’t tell me there’s a “slight risk of complications”. Kind of reminds me of when they first started talking about “routine brain surgery.” EXCUSE ME but how is that not an oxymoron? Routine and Brain Surgery should never be used in the same sentence. Add to that the simple fact that my Knight had every. single. complication. known to happen as a result of the embolization of six cerebral arteries, and you’ve got a totally stressed out JP and a whole lotta anxiety tears.

Long story short, we made it through and although the procedure took MUCH longer than expected (3 hours expected vs. 7.5 hours actual), everything is OK. The enlargement appears to be benign and likely left over from the original AVM, or a simple congenital factor. Get another angiogram in two years and if that shows no further problems, he’s as good as new, or at least as good as it gets.

That’s all from Castle Serenity for now. I’m off to open my January Surprise box and see what fun creative activities I have in store.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Witchy Wonderings — Holidays and Covid Boosters


Welcome back to the mishmash life of a couple of Spoonies navigating retirement in Bluegrass Suburbia. It’s been a month since we made the “big move” from a South Dakota RV park to a Townhouse in Central Kentucky. Our relatives say things like “well, you had a good long run.” Hey! We’re not DEAD, just retired and homeowners *insert shudder*. I admit it was the end of an era but the next chapter is just beginning.

We’re still dealing with a bit of culture shock. There are STORES and RESTAURANTS and ENTERTAINMENT, oh my. We ate lunch out every day last week. Yikes! And enjoyed every one of them. Double YIKES! OK, OK, my waistline can’t handle much more of this. Time to back off the pizza and apple pie!

I got my COVID booster shot yesterday. Once I actually got it scheduled it all went pretty smoothly. I got both booster and flu at the same time, no cost for either. I was in and out in about 30 minutes (most of which was spent filling out paperwork). My arm is pretty sore and I am slightly fatigued but over all I’m doing OK with it. My KOC (Knight of the Old Code) gets his on Monday. We decided to get them before we head up to the northern part of the state for Christmas holidays with kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. We’ll be spending 3 days 2 nights in order to get ’round to visit the families. I am looking forward to spending a holiday with the kids for the first time in 15 years. But oh my I am exhausted just thinking about it.

With the winter holiday season in full swing, many Spoonies, myself included, suffer from lack. Lack of sunlight, lack of energy, lack of funds, lack of joy. It’s easy to get caught up in all that we can no longer do. To look at the neighbor’s perfectly decorated tree shining through a picture window and feel something less than happy. It’s been hard this year. I’m in serious spoon deficit (exhaustion) from weeks of over-extending myself with the move. I’m easily overwhelmed by the glitz and hubbub that surrounds the season. But, with a few meltdowns, and several reminders that happiness is a choice, I’m content with my evergreen swag on the entryway, my wee lemon cedar “tree,” a tiny poinsettia and cards from prior years strung as a garland. It is enough.

As I prepare to celebrate Yule, the coming of the light, the return of the sun, I remember the words of that Zen Master of Magic – Albus Dumbledore “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

The sky wears a shroud
as the Sun hides his face
beneath a cloak of grey
Where is the blue
to brighten my day
A squirrel runs along a branch
outside my kitchen window
I watch as he scurries,
his long tail twitching
and quivvering with excitement
and I smile, I laugh
today I choose happiness

Til next time ~Choose to be happy ~JP

Spoonie Retirement and Magical Mundanities Episode 4 — Beauty and the Bootleg Fire

Welcome fellow Spoonies and various other sentient beings to another episode of Magical Mundanities where a couple of retired Spoonies seek to find the magic in a mundane world.

We continued our stay in Oregon alongside the Willamette River. I did my daily yoga practice outside our Bungalow shortly after sunrise, while the air was still cool and dew-covered grass tickled my toes. Breakfast of oats with yogurt and fruit, followed by a walk along the river. I became enchanted by the antics of some garden snails and spent probably more time than I should have perched on the front step, tea in hand, watching their escapades.

This guy got his shell stuck for a few minutes but eventually wiggled his way down between the boards to cooler, shaded ground.

We took a trip out to the fish hatchery to watch the fingerling salmon practice fall jumping against the flow of the aerators. I find it so amazing that even at this tiny size (the fingerlings are less than two inches long at this point) they have that instinct to leap against the flow. Even though they are certainly not in a natural environment, natural instincts are definitely at play and I delight in their antics. Much of the rest of the hatchery is still closed to the public but all in all it was an entertaining afternoon.

Fingerling Salmon practicing

In the afternoons, after the sun slid west enough to cast shade from the privacy fence, I went back outside to lay in the shade on a beach towel and listen to some vlogs I follow. While there I watched the progress of a “bleeding tooth” mushroom. So named for it’s white cap dotted with red spots. It reminds me of something Alice might have found in wonderland. Although not toxic, the mushroom is too bitter to be considered edible and, so far as I can tell, has no medicinal value. It was interesting to watch the red dots slowly grow and dissolve the entire cap in a matter of days.

Bleeding tooth mushrooms are beautiful. Creepy, but beautiful.

Impending smoke mixed with low cloud cover leads to declining air quality.

Alas, our relaxing three week idle was not to be. Lightning strikes ignited several more forest fires in the area and between the Bootleg and local minor fires, air quality began to plummet. Once it reached 150, we packed up and resumed our travels, rerouting as best we could. The Bootleg fire alone has already consumed over 413,000 acres of forest. It breaks my tree-hugging heart and I fear for the animals and birds. I fear for us all. It seems the entire western half of the US is on fire right now. Ah but that is a story for another time. Right now, there are still tiny moments of magic and beauty to be found along the way.

Give a listen to the Cottage Fairy, a fellow Oregonian, who relays the terror and hope of our current situation.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Sunday Stills and Weekend Coffee Share in the July heat

Welcome fellow Spoonies and various other sentient beings! Come in, grab your favorite cuppa and let’s visit a bit with Natalie at the Weekend Coffee Share and Terri at Sunday Stills. Our Sunday Stills prompt is “angle” and I found oh so many on our recent adventures.

Last week, we visited Mountain Home, Idaho and took a mini tour of Penny Alley which is a local alleyway that has been dedicated to dozens of urban murals in this tiny rural town. According to the local brochure “in 2016 a group of local artists came together to transform a nearly 320 foot stretch of alleyway in the city’s downtown into an outdoor art gallery featuring a collage of different works of art painted on the walls of local businesses.” We spent a sunny (yeah read that HOT!!!) morning walking the alley, snapping pics, and eating outdoors.

It’s business hours so a lot of this collage is blocked but still sooo worth the look. I can totally dig the wild angles in the dream catcher. Dude!

Adventure is out there!!! LOOK at all the angles in the mural, each sun ray had it’s own design. Plus, it’s purple … and pink! 🙂

I considered cropping this shot but wanted to keep the “OMG this is the alley of actual working businesses” feel. I like the lines of the bricks through the murals and the way the angles are broken up with curves and blending of the individual pictures in the mural.

I particularly love this. Maybe it’s the quote, I am a John Muir fan, or maybe it’s the scene, or maybe it’s the style. This shot is not pixelated, the rough “texture” is intentional. Up close it rather resembles one of those photos transferred to canvas texture. However it was done the result is much in keeping with the alley-feel. I shot this from a straight-on angle with my hinney squeezed up against the far alley wall, stupid camera phone. ;-p

After a long stroll we made our way back to the car through a little craft fair. It was fun to see the offerings. We returned to our hotel and spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool, splashing, relaxing and practicing that wonderous vacation ritual of napping. So many great angles in the rock water feature.

Hope you’re staying cool in your part of the world. We’re enduring another round of record breaking heat here in the west and midwest USA. To read a bit more about Spoonies and summer, check out Magical Mundanities Episode 3 –Summer Spoons.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Spoonie Retirement — Life Love and Temperature Intolerance

Welcome fellow spoonies and other sentient beings to another edition of

Spoonie Retirement. The week has gone by, as weeks tend to do. After the hub-bub of the last few weeks it’s been nice to relax a bit.

Above buttermilk skies in the morning, here at the Ranch

If we were having coffee this week, I’d wish you a happy Beltane, then I’d brag that all of our de-winterizing is done on the RV and we’re ready for Spring. Hang on just a minute … this is summer weather! We seem to have by-passed spring this year. Two weeks ago we had snow, this week we have highs in the 80’s. Summer craziness has already begun here at the RV park. Sections of the park that have been closed all winter are open once again and are fully occupied, as people come out to celebrate the good weather. Humpffff, good weather in deed, too hot for my liking.

Trees bursting with buds

As Spoonies, Superhubs and I both suffer from temperature intolerance, and it changes. In the winter I find 59-60f perfect indoor temps, in the summer I’m freezing at 68, sweating at 78. Yeah, I have a teeny tiny thermal comfort zone. So while two weeks ago I was putting on extra sweaters to keep warm, I am now stripping off layers and wandering about in shorts. Symptom management requires constant adjustment. Regrettably, I also loathe air conditioning which complicates things a bit more. Don’t misunderstand me, I still USE the A/C, I just don’t LIKE it.

Lilacs are already in leaf, blooms can’t be far behind.

Like a lot of Spoonies, a sunny day can wreak all kinds of havoc with my immune system, triggering flares from my feet to my eyes. This is the time when simple, easy meal plans involving little to no cooking become essential to our well-being. Big batch oat porridge, prebaked frittata cups and fruit with or without yogurt are breakfast basics. Lunches are salads and wraps. Dinners are mostly foil wraps, outdoor grill or “slow cooker” meals.

With heat intolerance, the main problem we face is afternoon fatigue, so we plan around it. Chores, exercise, and activities take place in the mornings. Once 3:00 pm hits, that heavy, can’t breathe, can’t move, OMG-I’d-die-but-it-would-take-too-much-energy fatigue just crushes the life out of you. A cool shower in the afternoon will revive enough spoons for a light supper, movie, and bed. On the menu tonight, greek chicken casserole. This low carb version is “baked” in the slow cooker with side salads or microwaved vegetables from our local organic coop. Hope you’re having a wonderful week, do come join us at the weekend coffee share hosted by Natalie for sips, quips, shots and talks.

Stuff I’m watching and doing today

til next time ~Have a Blessed Beltane ~JP

Spoonie Retirement – Life, Love, and Medical Appointments

Checking in with the Weekend Coffee Share. Do come join us for quips, sips and shots.

Well it’s been awhile, the past couple of weeks have been kind of whacky here at Chez Spoons. There were 7 medical appointments, 2 vehicle maintenances, highs in the 70’s and highs in the 30’s. Yes, that’s spring in the Black Hills.

April began with storms moving in and fabulous cloud patterns.

If we were having coffee this weekend, I’d do a little more bragging about our daughter who recently graduated nursing school. She works (by choice) in the ER. Says she likes the adrenaline. Whew!

I’d tell you about how exhausting it is to have back to back to back to back doctor visits each of which involves 2.5 hours of driving (round trip). Phew! Good news on all fronts. LADA (type 1) diabetes is stable and endocrinologist says “whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.” Pulmonary function is down but still well within normal range. Unfortunately, eye pressures are back up in one eye so we’ll be returning for another pressure check next month ;-p. Dyshidrotic eczema is keeping me from walking very much, but to offset the disability, I’ve taken up chair aerobics. Yes, you can get a pretty good cardio workout in a chair, keeping the pressure off sensitive feet.

Grass coming up everywhere, greening the landscape.

And then, another snow storm. All told, we got about 4 inches which melted in a matter of 2 days.

Most of the snowfall melted on contact with the streets and walkways, clinging to the grass and bushes.

And then, just like that, the wind shifted, the snow melted and blue skies returned … for awhile.

Oh man! Check out the hair … memories … arggggg

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Spoonie Retirement – Life, Love and Covid – Weekend Coffee Share

Greetings fellow Spoonies and other sentient beings to my contribution for Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Natalie. I got my second Covid vaccine injection last week. Wiped me out for a few days but, all in all, I think it’s worth it, especially now that I’m feeling human again.

If we were having coffee, I’d brag that we started Spring cleaning, clearing out the last (hopefully) remnants of Winter.

Above a shot of the back of our media cabinet. You can see several inches of frost along the top and corner. Those 10+ days below zero did a number on our little home. That’s one of the things about being a full-time RVing Spoonie, you’ve got to pick your battles. We do everything we can think of to keep our place warm (skirts around the base, plastic overlay on the windows, etc.) but honestly, RV’s are just not designed for extreme weather. We did fine, no busted pipes or anything but there was a good deal of set up and crisis management involved, such as several days without water due to the heated water hose freezing up.

And, of course, I’d have to tell you about the weather. The cold has departed, being replaced by the winds that are common here in the Black Hills leaving the skies bright blue with little wispy clouds. My personal harbinger of Spring.

The grass is greening, the snow is gone, Spring has sprung.

Flowering annuals are poping up, campers are arriving and it looks like it’s going to be a wild ride this summer.

On the health front the dyshidrotic eczema blisters on my feet are improving enough that I’ve gotten out for short walks most days and my yoga routine adaptations (to not use feet) are coming along nicely. Spring vegetables are slowly showing up in our local coop and the farmers market should be opening soon. The local produce is still of the “hoop house” variety as we will likely have more snow sometime this month, but we are hoping for the best. I did get a bunch of gorgeous radishes and asparagus which I must say are definitely at their peak right now. Hoop house, hothouse, or ITG (In The Ground), they taste great after a winter of mostly frozen produce.

I’d talk about next week, which includes 4 medical appointments and one maintenance appointment to get new tires on the car, total of 5 appointments in 5 days. Yep, that is what it means to be a Spoonie, the “human pincushion” thing. I’d share that BIL #1 (the one with Covid) developed pneumonia and got an infusion of antibodies. He is doing much better, thank goodness.

I would undoubtedly whine a bit about the looming tax deadline and kids and grandkids who still expect me to have the answers to anything tax related. But then, I’d wax rhapsodic about the simple joy of watching the robins and rabbits in the yard. Come Spring, and welcome, bring your light to gently wake us from Winter’s slumber.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

 

Spoonie Retirement – Life, Love and Covid — weekend coffee share

Laundry building, covered with icicles.

Natalie is our host for weekend coffee share where we all gather for a virtual cuppa and chat about our week.

If we were having coffee today, we’d be having it inside. Looking out the window at the sunshine, and the graupel (tiny snow pellets) falling right through the sunshine. The remains of our last snow storm have pretty well melted in the warm sunny days this week, we started off with lots of icicles from the slow thaws freezing again over night.

Snow covered bush that began to thaw and froze into icicles overnight

Inevitably, talk would turn to Covid. I got my second vaccination this week and I must say it’s hit me harder than the first one. I took the Pfizer (2 doses 3 weeks apart) vaccine and should be clear in another 10 days +- as it takes 2 weeks for maximum effectiveness. I have no illusions, I know it may well not prevent me from contracting the Covid-19 virus. It should, however, dramatically reduce my odds of hospitalization or death so I figure it’s worth the annoyance of symptoms for a few days.

Since we’re talking about Covid, I’ll mention the domino effect of exposure. My dear brother-in-law has contracted the virus. Talked to him on the phone and he sounds dreadful, first domino tips. Brother-in-law # 2 has been diagnosed with cancer and was scheduled for surgery this week. Due to potential exposure from a close relative, they have postponed his surgery for 3 weeks, there goes second domino. We had a trip planned for mid-April, but since BIL #1 will be recovering, BIL #2 will be in post-surgical quarantine, we’ve decided to postpone the trip for a few more weeks. Third domino …. splattt.

Dusk here at Hart Ranch, snow mostly gone (for now).

Life goes on much as it has this past year, groceries are bought on-line or sometimes in-store. We deal with chronic illness, and we carry on. I try to spend some time each day, looking for the beauty of the day. This morning the sun was shining prettily so Superhubs and I took off for town, picked up a few items at our local health food coop, got lunch at a drive thru and went to the park for lunch. It’s cool and windy enough that we ate in the car, but it was still awesome to get out of the house. You see, there is beauty to be found in even the dullest of days so look for it. And if you don’t see anything beautiful, look again. And if you still don’t see it, look harder.

A potted plant, with a tiny bloom, and a wee bitty butterfly outside a factory in Taichung, Taiwan. Sometimes you have to really look to see it.

What I’m listening to

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP