Monday, July 30, 2012

Not Just Hiking - July 2012

Want to see what I am reading and have read before I post my complete list at the end of the month? Want to know when I read a book or what I am going to read? Check out my Goodreads page. Want to see a list of every physical book in this house? Want to know what my husband read? Want to know what my kids own? Visit LibraryThing.


Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
For Shelf Discovery - Even more upset with my school and small town librarians.  It was bad enough that they never sent me in the direction of Cormier and that they kept some of Blume's best books away from me.  But to be the young girl I was and to have been denied this book was a tragedy.  I loved this book now on my first reading of it and I know I would have loved it then.  I was reminded of myself so many times, that I think it would have been a comfort in my self-doubt plagued youth.  My favorite line was when Sara Louise's husband says "God in heaven's been raising you for this valley from the day you were born."  Sometimes I feel like that ... although I don't have a place because we move so often, I feel like I am destined for this life.  It would have been nice to have thought - back then - that I had a destiny.

Are You in the House Alone by Richard Peck
For Shelf Discovery - Here is one I am not sorry I missed.  I don't like scary books.

Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris
Another superlative offering by Mr. Morris ... and it barely touched on his efforts and successes in creating the National Parks and the National Monuments.  I can't wait to get to the last in the trilogy.  Apparently, he became yet more fascinating.  Morris is an excellent story-teller.

Bringing Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel
The second of three planned books that fictionally chronicle the life of Thomas Cromwell.  Proof, once again, that the people behind the power are usually the most interesting.  This was not an easy read.  It required concentration and time.  It was worth it.

Billy Lynn's Long Half-Time Walk by Ben Fountain
I was just disappointed in the lack of originality.

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
Oh, I liked this book.  I am so glad I read it in the middle of summer and the middle of baseball season.  I think it was the characters ... Henry was another one I loved.  The little guy wins in the end.  And in this case so does the big guy and the girl too.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
I didn't get the appeal.
(added in mid-August - my 12 year-old son, however, loved it)

Book in July: 7
Books in 2012: 54

Monday, July 23, 2012


What can you say about Stampede? I am not even going to try to explain it ... I'll just let the photos speak for the event.

Day One: Rodeo

I love it when the horse wins!

My favorite event is always the Barrel Races.
Women are smart enough to STAY on their horses.

Day Two: The Chucks

The Start

Coming around the last run ... heading towards the finish.

And the winner is ...

Upper Kananaskis Lake

In between trips, we did manage to get in another 10 miler.  10.75 miles to be exact.  I remember this trek well, because we saved the toughest part for last.  Who knew the interpretive trail (which I thought would be paved and flat) would entail the most elevation.

It was dreary and rainy most of the day, but these mountains are always beautiful.  I was in between cameras (didn't want the extra weight so I didn't take my big camera) and, unfortunately, my iPhone did not do this trail justice.

I have to remind myself how lucky we are to live here.  People pay to come here on vacation!  I can see this every weekend.

Upper Kananaskis Lakes:
Distance: 10.75 miles
Elevation: negligible
Miles hiked in 2012: 46
Miles hiked since arrival in Canada: 115

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Down and Up Vacation

Phew!  I am home for at least three weeks.

While I love, love, love to travel.  I also love my home and need a little down time to unpack my suitcase, sleep in my own bed and cook some homemade meals.

Our June vacation was crazy and mixed up and horrible and wonderful all at the same time.  We were supposed to go to Alaska by private aircraft (ours with my husband as pilot) in a group of about 6 other planes.  But things began to fall apart in early June.  I realized I didn't really like some (most) of the people on the trip.  The people I did like decided not to go.  A VP called a VIP meeting for right in the middle of the trip - about my husband's project.  The plane broke down.  The first and the last reasons had more to do with our decision to cancel than the others did.  We fixed the plane, but by then the excitement had worn off.

So we took our two kids, our packed suitcases and headed to the West Coast.  Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle and Idaho.

The downs came first ... we didn't really like Vancouver.  It didn't help that we had to wait for three hours in traffic and drive through the worst part of town after 11 hours on the road to get to our hotel.  It also didn't help that it rained constantly and that the hotel charged $35 a night for parking.

We did enjoy the aquarium and the float planes, but if I never see another totem pole in my life I think I will survive.  Granville Market was wonderful (although it did spoil us for Pike Street market in Seattle later in the trip), but we were happy to head to the ferry after just two days.

Yes, we did walk across that bridge.  No fear of heights in this family.

Then came the ups.  We spent three glorious, sunny days in Victoria on Vancouver Island.  The museum was better, the hotel was better, the view was better.  We spent more time outside.  We hiked.  We saw whales.  Sometimes all on the same day.

Butchart Gardens

Whale Watching.

Hiking the Juan de Fuca Trail (a feeder to the West Coast Trail).  That my friends is the US int he background ... the Olympic peninsula.

We hiked 6 miles - which put us over 100 miles in less than a year - with next to no elevation gain.  In the mud.  That was a new experience, and I am not sure the cleaning staff of the Fairmont Empress appreciated our tracks.

After Victoria, we headed to the states and landed in Seattle.  Pike Street market was a let down after the beautiful Granville Market of Vancouver.  Yay, the first Starbucks!?  I guess this is one of the drawbacks of being well-travelled.  I was not impressed.  But then I have seen the antiques markets of San Telmo in Buenos Aires, the seafood markets of Seoul, the fake good markets in Shanghai and the and the food markets in Thailand.  Pike Street did not impress.  I am a little ashamed to admit that we spent more of our two days in Seattle at the mall and eating than we did being tourists.  Hey, when you haven't eaten at Chipotle in a year, you put your priorities in order.  In Seattle's defense, the Museum of Flight was wonderful. 

The best part of the trip came at the end.  We ended up, by pure chance and because the roads in the United States are much, much better than the roads in Canada, in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.  And I fell in love.  I think I could live there forever.  Granted it was beautiful and sunny.  The people were friendly. We ate the best steak of our lives.  We flew in a float plane.  Kind of hard to beat.

What are the odds?  Could you hit that green?
I told you it was beautiful.

At the end of the day we learned quite a bit about ourselves.  We probably aren't the best people to ask to go on a group vacation.  We have been traveling by ourselves for so long that we are just used to each other.  We don't like people making decision for us.  We also probably aren't going to visit too many cities on our vacations in the future.  Maybe Rome, maybe New York.  that is about it.  Wide open space and blue skies for our family.

Where are you going this summer?

Juan de Fuca Trail:
Distance: 6 miles
Elevation: Negligible
Miles hiked in 2012: 35
Miles hiked since arrival in Canada: 104

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I could use a little help.  I have just built the brand new website for out Calgary based Boy Scouts of America troop.  However, I am learning what it takes to get the site to actually show up on Google.  Would you mind ... for a day or so ... putting a link to the site on your blog.  Just a day or two?

I'll come visit and click through ... I promise!

The website is ...


Friday, July 6, 2012

Would You Move?

Apparently, more and more people in the US are saying they won't.

We have moved 11 times in close to 17 years of marriage.  All have been work related and all have been with just two companies.  It is expected that you will move at least once in your career.  Performance reviews make it very clear that an unwillingness to move will negatively impact your upward mobility.

As a disclaimer, I will also note that all of the moves had a stable job at the end and all were paid for by the corporation.  In the last 17 years, I have not packed or lifted a box.  All I have done is make plane and hotel reservations.

From The Economist

That make economists fret: a nation of stick-in-the-muds could face disappointing productivity growth and more stubborn unemployment than it is used to.

On the other hand, I have only moved state to state once.  I have been more likely to move country to country.  I think it is good for my kids - they are pretty tough and adaptable.  It is good for my husband - he is rapidly moving up in the company.  It is good for me - I get bored staying in one place too long.

We said "no" once.  We didn't want to move to Angola.  Actually, we wanted to move to Angola, but we didn't want to expose the boys to the constant malaria medication.  We gave up a lot of money, but some things are not worth it.