Browsing Archives for September 2010

After four days in Teton and Yellowstone, we packed up the pop-up and headed out to meet up with the CD’s nurse Kay and her partner Bill and Kay’s daughter, Sarah who lives on a ranch outside of Cody with Stuart and their two daughters Shaney and Soriah.  Did you get all that?  Should I sketch out a diagram?

The CD

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Nurse Kay and Bill

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Sarah and Stuart

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Shaney and Soriah

Let me complicate it further by telling you a bit about Sarah and Stuart as they are sort of a phenomenal couple.  They were finalists for the show ‘The Amazing Race’ and could have been on it, but the man who owned the ranch that they were working for at the time wouldn’t let them take the time off.  Sarah is a cowgirl who worked the ranch until she had her second daughter Shaney.  Stuart is a cowboy and a singer/songwriter.  Last year he was out roping cattle and a rogue cow drug him off his horse, across a rocky pasture breaking his back and legs in a billion places.  HIs femur bone was sticking out of his buttock when they picked up his battered body, loaded him into a pickup and drove him back to the ranch where he waited for an hour for a helicopter to pick him up for emergency surgery.  His bone was out of the socket for so long that doctors were sure he would never walk again.

But he did.

Stuart recovered and was slowly getting back to cowboying on the guest ranch where he and Sarah met and worked for ten years, when he was suddenly let go.

The couple have now settled on a new ranch where Stuart works for a guy who owns one of the largest companies in the world.

And Sarah spends her free time running up the nearby mountains, training for marathons at high elevations.  She just finished a race that had a gain of 7000 feet over the course of the race.

So that’s Sarah and Stuart in a nutshell (emphasis on nut).

But first!

We took the Chief Joseph Highway to get from Yellowstone to Cody.

Should you ever be up in these parts…

I highly recommend this route.

Once we arrived in Cody, we hunted around for a hotel room as we were all kind of sick of camping (except the CD who is never sick of anything that involves hardship and suffering).

But there were no rooms available in the entire city because the Sturgis motorcycle rally was going on just down the road in South Dakota and the entire town was full of bikers on their way to the event.

So we stopped at a diner and filled up with all the best forms of grease and starch and headed out to find Sarah and Stuart’s house.

We arrived really late at their house and not wanting to wake anyone up, we set up the pop-up in the dark hoping that we were in the right place.

In the morning we were greatly relieved to see Kay’s horse Apache.

Kay made us waffles for breakfast and then she made us pack up for a horse ride up the mountains.

Each of my children were placed on a horse and then a baby was placed beside them.

Drew got Shaney.

Calder got Soriah.

And Ethan got baby Jack.

I have to tell you that my boys are not experienced horse people.  So the fact that they were handed babies to care for…

While they rode a horse…

Up a mountain!!!!

That was full of GRIZZLY BEARS!!!

Seemed REALLY CRAZY to me.

“Here son… get on this here horse and now here’s your baby to care for.  Keep a hold of her!  Make sure she don’t fall off!  Have fun!”

What is going on?

Is this what all horse people are like?

Is it some kind of trial by fire/horse/baby mentality?

But I figured that these people knew what they were doing, so we set off up the mountain.

This is Sarah leading Ethan and baby Jack up the mountain.

About half way up the CD was sick of my complaining about how hard the trail was and how my calves were burning and how I wished we were sitting in a beach cabana and where the hell is my cocktail with the little umbrella in it and why are we climbing up a mountain with bears and snakes and horses with babies?

So he heaved me onto a horse and told me exactly where I could stick my beach umbrella!

This is me relaxing on a horse!

Please note that I have the signature Wyoming baby clutching my waist.

These Wyoming people are NUTS!

This is grandma Kay with her baby Shaney.

Look!  There’s me!

I’m on a horse!

I’m riding a horse!

Me!

I ride horses!!!!

I am a horse rider!

I RIDE!!!!!

I RIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!

I ride and sing songs!

And yodel!

I am so horsey!

I am such a natural horsewoman!

I could probably give riding lessons!

I should open a riding school in Kansas and teach the Wyoming baby/horse method of riding.

Wait!

Where’s my baby!

WHERE’S MY BABY!!!!!!!

WHERE’S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh! Here she is with Drew!

How did that happen!

Does this mean I am no longer qualified to open my riding school?

And that’s when Mister Mule Train came through.

And Kay and Bill had to push their horses up the hill so that the mule train could get around us.

Please note the trail we were riding on was really just a tiny ledge of dust.

I found a tree that would stop me from rolling down the side of the mountain and in the traditional Wyoming spirit, I clutched a baby.

This guy was with the mule train.  I think he is that one actor.  You know the one?

And this guy looked like an actor too.  What is his name?

The mule train people were ending a three week fishing trip to the most remote spot in the continental United States.  It is located in South Central Yellowstone which backs up to the Shoshone Wilderness.

Do you know what makes a spot remote?

The distance that it is from a road.

There aren’t many spots left in the continental US that are very far from a road.

They had to pack in their own bear fences which they then set up around their tents because you know… it’s just not a vacation unless you are setting up a bear fence around your super remote campsite.

Here’s a bear fence around the playground at the one room country school where Shaney and Soriah might attend someday.

It kind of puts a new spin on dropping your baby off for their first day of kindergarten don’t it?

For Chrissake!  Don’t forget to shut the gate!

Oh!  And it’s a drug free school zone too!

Well now that is a HUGE RELIEF!

Back at Sarah and Stuart’s place, Stuart was home.

He demonstrated his bear safe trash can for us.

And then he showed us his can of bear spray which he always keeps handy.

Sarah takes bear spray on her runs up in the mountains too.

Oh that just makes it all seem so much more SANE!

After our horse ride up into the mountains, we ate some lunch and then hiked down to the creek behind Sarah and Stuart’s house.


The boys and the little girls played in the shallow cold river…

And then we hiked back to the house.

Stuart played a few tunes for us…

And we packed up and headed on towards home.

Here ends our Yellowstone/Teton/Crazy ass people who live in Wyoming/vacation.

It really is a gorgeous state to see.

But you need to be a lot of heartier than me to want to live there.

And A LOT CRAZIER!

The Haunted Oven

September 15th, 2010

On Friday night, I decided to make some homemade pizza with some fabulous fresh produce from my garden. I gathered some sweet red bell peppers, some tomatoes, one of the last remaining onions from own onion patch and a fist full of fresh herbs. I was totally pumped to use my own frozen tomato sauce from last year. I even had fresh mozzarella on hand! This was going to be a great pizza!


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I poured some olive oil in a pan and sauteed some onion, herbs and garlic.  I chopped up tomatoes, olives, and peppers.  I fried some sausage and got out a bag of pepperonis.

The boys gathered around the stove like hungry birds snatching at pepperonis and black olives, but I shooed them away and added the tomato sauce to my sauteed herbs and a bit of honey as I like a slightly sweet pizza sauce.

Then I started on the pizza dough. I mixed up a simple batch from a store bought package and set it in a warm spot to raise a little and then I turned on my oven.

The oven heated for a few minutes and then it turned itself off.

I turned it back on and it heated for a few minutes and then turned itself back off.

I turned it back on.

It turned itself back off.

I went downstairs and flipped the breaker and turned the oven back on.

It heated for about three minutes and then turned itself back off.

I tried using the ‘rapid pre-heat’ button.

Turned itself off.

I tried using the convect button.

Turned itself off.

I tried standing on my head, doing cartwheels, muttering curses, shaking my fist.

Turned itself off.

I looked at my bubbling pizza sauce perking away on the gas burner, the rising dough on the counter top, the garden fresh ingredients all chopped and ready to be sprinkled on top and then I slowly and very morosely put it all away.

And we had sandwiches for dinner.

Blech!

The next day I tried the oven again.

It worked beautifully.

I made my pizza and it was AWESOME!

Even better with a day for that sauce to meld and the dough to rise.

As soon as I was done using the oven, the interior light started flashing on and off for I am not kidding you – TWENTY MINUTES!

The oven light blinked on and off, on and off, on and off.

On and off, on and off, on and off…

On and off, on and off, on and off…

The boys gathered around the stove and we all just stared at my oven as it flashed over and over again, beeping each time it blinked off or on.

Then it stopped.

And now it is back to only heating up for a few minutes and then turning itself off again.

I called a repairman.

Him – What is wrong with your oven?

Me – It’s haunted.

Him – What?

Me – My oven is haunted.

Him – Can you describe the problem?

Me – It turns itself off after heating for only a few minutes.  Lights flash when no one is touching the buttons.  Sometimes it works just fine and other times it is clearly trying to scare the hell out of me.

He can’t fix it until Monday.  Until then I am stuck with a ghost in my oven.

A roast ghost.

On a piece of toast.

That’s how I like my ghost the most.

Sorry about that rhyme, but it seemed like a good way to end this horror story.

It is Spirit Week at the local middle school and today was 80′s day.

I had the rare pleasure of  styling my son’s hair, blow drying it into a poofy pompadour, rolling his jeans, loosening his high-top sneakers and most importantly getting that collar to STAND UP!

Then I took a series of very weak photos to display our effort.

Hey!

I can’t be the stylist AND the photographer!

And this is the CD a few nights ago wearing plaid and plaid.

He is fiercely unafraid to bust the boundaries of the fashion world WIDE OPEN!