Day 146 – Flyin’ High

IMG950272Cedar City, Utah…race week, we are setting up the race course and rock crawl for the weekend, so we’ve been on site at Three Peaks Recreation Area for a week.  I love our life.  The boys finished marking the race course today, so I was finally “allowed” out to walk the course.  Up to this point, I’ve been relegated to walking the perimeter where there was a fence I could follow.  Pretty smart, actually.

The course is well marked, Josh and Kyle did a great job, I walked 5.5 miles of it, it’s a little longer than that, I opted not to do the weaving within the county park area and beelined it to the trailer.  My phone had died at mile 3 so I was a little bit bored, no music left.  It was a great hike, but it sure seemed like it was uphill both ways, just like my dad used to claim when he walked to school.

There aren’t really very many animals at this park, we’ve seen a bunch of jackrabbits, some lizards, but not much else.  Most parks there are some deer, and a number of times there have been rattlesnakes, I don’t miss those.  What I did run in to today were two hawks that were pretty unhappy with me.  There must be a nest nearby, they squawked and squawked.  I love the sound of predator birds.

Getting back to the park, I found our friend Todd had showed up to do a little wheeling – getting ready for the weekend.  When he offered me a ride in his Wildcat I was all for it.  I climbed in through the window, no doors of course, strapped on my 5 point harness and tightened them down.  I threw on my helmet and grabbed the “oh, sh**” handle, I was ready.  Todd took off and put some speed on it, it rolled over the mounds, the rain started and was pelting us, made it a little painful, but not enough to make us stop.  We finished the last section of the race course within the County park and came around for the road crossing jump.  Todd hit the throttle and we jumped, it was awesome.  I love that flying feeling.

Thanks, Todd, for giving me the opportunity to ride in a UTV, even after all the races we do, I almost never get to ride.  It was fun to see it from a racer’s perspective

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Day 148 – I want to be an Artist

artFor years I have fancied myself an artist, I’m not, but I want to be.  I can’t paint,  I can’t draw, I don’t photograph well, but I can do a number of things well, just nothing that would count as an artist.  I can cook a pretty good meal, every day of the week, on a Camp Chef.  I can craft well, not my own ideas, but I’m pretty good at embellishing others.  I love to make handmade cards, but my friends have to come up with the ideas first, I just know how to improve them.  I can sew, kind of, I can crochet, kind of.  I used to embroider and tole paint a lot, then I had kids.  I can put together a room that looks good, I can decorate for an event, I can create party favors, but still, I’m not an artist, I am a crafter.

So, surprisingly, when I told Big that I want an art studio when we finally land in one place, he didn’t bat an eye.  “Good idea,” he said.  I wonder what he knows that I don’t.  My latest obsession is found art, salvage art, upcycling.  What ever you want to call it, I am obsessed with re-purposing household goods.  There are a ton of things out there that have uses other than what they were intended for and my goal is to figure it out.  In my “house” we use a ping-pong net to hold the books on the bookshelves; we used iron pipes and couplers to create a pot/pan rack for the wall; we use mason jars for everything; we have old bus seats in our living room, but it’s not enough.

I picked up a book at my latest book store called “The Salvage Studio.”  In it, they show great ideas on how to truly re-purpose stuff that is old and outdated, from baby cribs to trophies; lamps to forks, I really want to do this.  I want to go wander through a thrift store or an antique shop and see what I could do with all the items in there.  I can’t actually buy anything, or work on a project because I have no room and no storage, but I’m hoping this might be my calling, finally an artistic side that I can actually use.  This isn’t a new obsession, but it is one that is nudging me hard right now.  I so wish I had a workshop….maybe someday.

Day 152 – Merit Badges for Adults

sisterhoodI am giddy with excitement, for years I was a Girl Scout leader, my favorite part was as a Junior leader when the girls were very focused on goals and earning their badges.  Ok, maybe it was me that was focused on it, but I loved earning badges.  By the end of my years as a Junior leader, my badge book was trashed it had been thumbed through so often.  My girls were experts in many areas, we never cut corners, we always followed the plan all the way through so they actually learned something in the process.

…and now I find out that there are badges for adults, I am so excited.  No, it’s not through the Girl Scouts, it’s through a sisterhood of farm girls.  No laughing here, I know I’m not a farm girl, but I believe in a lot of the same things they do.  I believe the earth provides much of our bounty, I believe that the old ways should not be forgotten, I believe I have an obligation to others to make their lives easier or better.

Last week we were in Lowe’s, again, buying wood stakes for the race course, I was bored so I stopped by the magazine section.  Most of the magazines were how –to’s on how to build something for the home or garden.  Not too realistic for a girl that lives in 280 square feet of a mobile estate, i.e. a semi-truck.  So, I happened upon Mary Janes Farm and picked it up.  Over the course of the next few days, I read it cover to cover, a lot of it is kind of shallow, not in thought, just content – it’s difficult to expand on every topic – no great meat on the bones of the articles, but enough to make you think.  The quilts in the April-May issue were incredible and I loved the homemade crafty stuff, but then again, that is what I enjoy.

So when I found the ad about the Farmgirl Sisterhood, I was intrigued (www.farmgirlsisterhood.org) – it seemed to celebrate all the things that we farmgirls pride ourselves on.  One of which is getting rewarded (i.e. merit badges) for trying something new and perfecting it.  Just like the Girl Scouts.  I am now a proud new member of the sisterhood, can’t wait to start earning my badges!

 

Day 154 – History Preserved

shilohShiloh, almost six square miles in Tennessee that once housed families and farms, a peach orchard, a couple of ponds, smiles and laughter, over 70 buildings of one sort or another..  One hundred and fifty years ago, the Blue and the Gray clashed in a bloody battle, over 111,000 men met in this small space; over 7,000 died, more than 30,000 others were wounded.  One of the first battles of the bloodiest war in the history of America in the War Between the States, took place in April 1862 at Shiloh.

It has become known as The Civil War, fought from 1861 to 1865, over 10,000 battles raged across the country – as far west as New Mexico, but concentrated in along the borders states between the Union and Confederate states.  There are many monuments to both throughout the country, this was our first all out tour of a military battlefield.  The Shiloh National Military Park is well put together, the museum holds artifacts from the time period, the movie is well worth every minute, but the battlefield is what will impress you most.

Each space is filled with markers that relate the troop movements, relate the battles won and lost, the sheer number of participants.  There is a nine mile loop that takes you through the various spaces to give you an idea of what it must have been like, but we were there with probably 100 other people, not 100,000.  I can’t even imagine the crush of people, all carrying weapons, the damages were staggering to both the North and the South.

This is definitely a place the Junior Ranger program came in handy, I learned so much more by answering the questions in the book than I would have had I just toured the grounds.  And, as an added bonus, because we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, I have an opportunity to earn my Junior Civil War Historian Badge, you can bet that I’m going to get that bad boy.

As a follow up to our tour of Shiloh, Brices Crossing and Tupelo, I read The Widow of the South, by Robert Hicks.  Set in Franklin, Tennessee toward the end of the war, it describes in incredible detail the lives of some of the combatants and the families living in the area.  Highly recommend, a very moving story based on a true one.  There are thousands of books on the Civil War, I used to ask my dad every time he was reading another one if the ending changed, he always just smiled and went back to reading.

Day 157 – Big City Fun

slossBirmingham, Alabama – The Magic City, a city full of history, much of it tainted, but preserved just the same.  Interesting to see a city embrace what was once wrong and expose it, no cover ups here, more pride in seeing things righted.  They say that history is rewritten by the victors, it is unusual to see the history here not covered in sugar.

Sunday was fun day for us, the race was over, we have an extra weekend before our next event, and, of course, it is raining.  We see that a lot.  When asking the locals where we should go – the first suggestion was Sloss Furnace, without hesitation.

Sloss Furnace is an incredible place, it is where the city of Birmingham grew up.  In the late 1800’s, early 1900’s – all of the jobs were in iron.  The city was surrounded by mines, all of the ingredients necessary to make pig iron, which in turn makes goods were right there, ringing the city.  The mines were company owned, the mills were company owned, even the people became company owned.  You know the song, “I owe my soul to the company store…”  Everyone worked in industry, everyone paid the price – the hard work, the dangers, the long hours, the heat.  Sloss Furnaces was just one of many to ring the city.  In 1971, Sloss was given over to the City to preserve, to hold on to the history from whence it came.  It is an impressive industrial park, every part is laid out as it once was, no big safety lines to keep you off the structure, just some common sense applied.  The big rusting towers, the brick work, it is fascinating architecture wrapped up in industrial know-how.  The structure celebrates the lives of all who worked there, lived there, died there.  In the rainy atmosphere, you could feel the purported ghosts who gave their lives to raise, not just a city, but a grateful nation.

Our next stop was the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, built in the city that saw so much violence grow from simple things that those of us in the west never really understood.  Fifty years ago, the world in the south was a different place.  There was separation and segregation in all things, from neighborhoods to schools, to drinking fountains and buses.  Simple ideals that we take for granted were fought for, were died for.  We talk about the wars fought around the world for freedom, we forget that once everyone in our own nation wasn’t free.  The Civil Rights Institute is someplace that needs to be visited by everyone, regardless of how you feel about race, creed and color.  As I watched the film of Martin Luther King’s “dream” speech, tears came to my eyes, I imagine I would have felt the same listening to Abraham Lincoln at the Gettysburg Address.  All men are created equal, truer words have not been spoken, let us pay heed to them now.

We ended our tour of Birmingham at the Vulcan statue.  Vulcan is the Roman god of fire, he represents the history of the start of the city.  They have stood Vulcan on a high pedestal overlooking the city, he was forged of cast iron in the early days of 1906 for the St. Louis World’s Fair.  At one time the local Jaycees had used Vulcan for a campaign to end traffic fatalities, today he has been rebuilt and stands proud above a proud city.  I thoroughly enjoyed our play day, I especially like it when it comes with so much history and look forward to the opportunity to spend time in Birmingham again

Day 153 – Rant in Progress

***WARNING*** Rant is progress, I don’t normally spout political views, but I’ve had enough; if you want to view me as the Pollyanna I am, skip this post, you may find we don’t agree on a number of topics.

I see very little news in my lifestyle, so imagine my surprise when I saw an “anti-capitalism” rally/riot on tv today.  Where do these folks think the money comes from to provide government services, those are from taxes, that are paid by capitalists.  That’s how I’ve always seen it.  We went to the Civil Rights Museum in Birmingham last week, it was a reminder to me that violence isn’t the answer, that respect is what our country needs, respect for all, whether race, creed, color, religion or sexual preference.  When we battle amongst ourselves, we divide our nation.  We take sides that are not worth taking, perhaps instead we should learn tolerance and to coexist with our neighbors.  Perhaps instead we should show patience and listen to the grievances of others and accept them for who they are.

I’m not advocating we allow those that would cause our nation harm to gain the upper hand, I’m not advocating that we relinquish the fight against those who do not believe in America.  What I am asking is that we recognize that we are one nation, One Nation, under God and indivisible, but only, ONLY when we do not ourselves get divided over politics and rights.  Ask yourself, what right is someone asking for that brings you harm, chances are there aren’t any.  Let’s stop fighting amongst ourselves and fight those that wish to oppress us.  Let’s recognize that for two hundred years we’ve managed just fine and stop trying to protect ourselves from ourselves.  Let’s let adults make decisions, let’s keep the inmates from running the asylum, whether in our own homes or in our government offices.  Let’s stop coddling our children and our leaders.  Let’s stand instead against the world that threatens to divide us.

We shouldn’t need a Boston or World Trade Center to remind us that we are all in this together, all we really need to do is remember our history.  Remember where we came from and why.  Did your parents or grandparents emigrate to America?  So why are you so against immigration…..Is your family part of a hunting legacy like mine?  Then why limit what firearms I can own….Did you choose who you wanted to spend your life with and marry them?  Then why not let others do the same?  We need to all rise up and make our own choices, we need to accept who we are and that our world is changing.  Don’t pass laws to protect me from myself, that’s my job, let me suffer the consequences of my own actions, not suffer the consequences because of others.  Let’s remember our history, people, and that we all have the right to vote.  Let’s put people in jobs, let’s preserve our military, let’s live and let live – fight tyranny and oppression, not each other.  Let’s stand as a nation undivided

Day 161 – Crazy Fun

colorrunI am fortunate enough to be acquainted with some crazy people, you know the type, always calling attention to themselves, even when it’s unintentional.  I live with a couple of those on the road, both Big and Josh could be described that way.  I am the quiet one of the bunch, not to say I don’t have a good time, but I can’t manage to play quite like they do.  When I left for California, I said, in my outside voice, “Ok, you have three days, a birthday, and a $1,000 spending limit – you need to behave.”  But that was the only stipulation I put on them.  They tend to tone down some when I’m around, I never know what kind of calls to expect when I’m gone.

By the end of the first 24 hours they had been cut off by the bartender, prayed for by a stranger and one of them had almost puked and not because of alcohol.  They are just those kind of guys.

I have girls that I like to be around that are similar, today I got an invitation to join a Color Run in Colorado Springs.  Now, I don’t know if they were just being nice in inviting me, but I am thrilled that they did.  These girls are the kind that have a party wherever they go, and to get to be a part of the party makes me feel all kinds of special.

The hardest part about this group, so far, was deciding on a team name that wouldn’t offend anyone.  I am not always successful, but I really work hard at trying not to offend, it’s not always easy, but I try.  So here are some of the fabulous names that were suggested:  Team Birthday Bitches; Team Aren’t We Fabulous, Team Me and My Colored Bitches, Team Color Commentary.  I had to draw the line at Me and My Colored Bitches, I just couldn’t imagine what anyone not at the Color Run would think of that – fortunately, there are some awesome girls in the group who kept working on ideas – we are Team Too Too Fabulous – oh, and that’s because they think we need to wear tutus on this adventure, my ass should never be showcased in a tutu – but I’m in anyway.  I am so looking forward to this, it isn’t until September, but how much fun will this weekend be!  Thanks for the invite!