Wednesday, March 02, 2011

A lot to cover in one post.

(Lots of photos in this post...if you'd rather just see them full sized in a slideshow formate, click HERE and enjoy!)

Different perspective to say the least...
Bernie called our next door airline pilot dog loving neighbor yesterday to ask if he could return a favor.
You see, we walk his dog when his family is out of town, and we LOVE doing it.
Krauss is a big white boxer and just the sweetest thing.
We love walking along with him twice a day, and don't even mind the "baggy" moments.
We pour a bowl of dog food for him, fill his water dish and give him a good romp help him get over bing lonely from having his family gone from him.

Usually our son pops over to tend to our four cats when we are out of town.
This weekend we all will be gone; Jeff's cats will be tended by his soccer pro friend who I believe is allergic to cats.  Isn't that kind of sacrifice what true friendship is all about?

Anyway, Bernie called our non-cat owning neighbor and asked if he would be willing to drop by and dump food in our cats dishes and top off there water.
He was fine with that...and then, being totally clueless about the ways of cats, asked the question that was mystifying him:

"How do you get them all to come back in after you let them out?"

I haven't stopped doubling over with laughter since I heard this innocent statement.
I keep mentally picturing our neighbor letting all four cats out (mind you, the babies never get to go out anyway) then I picture him filling their feed bowls, topping their water dish and then standing at the door yelling  "Here Kitty Kitty...Come on home Hart!  Time to come in Frenchie!  Tate!  Bitsy!  Get in here...Get in here NOW!" etc etc etc as the cats would have long since disappeared from sight.
I picture him desperately roaming the neighborhood looking for those d*** cats...
Hours of his life would be consumed.
He just doesn't seem like the kind of person cut out to be herding cats.

Bernie kindly clued him in:  "Oh, not a problem...we have a special whistle...we just blow it and the cats come RACING back home."

Yeah right...
(Tate:  This dog guy is going be taking care of us?  I think we are all gonna DIE!)

Bernie did tell him the truth eventually.   He seemed quite surprised to learn about "indoor" cat life styles and the function of a litter box.

Just wait until he discovers that the output of four cats is about the same as the load from one great big white boxer dog...only scattered between three litter boxes.  We'll make it easy for him: he only needs to scoop once while we are gone.

In other news:

Last Sunday we headed out to do some cross country skiing/snowshoeing (again...I'm going to miss doing this come spring mud season)
We saw a moose!

Look close...see the kazillion deer too?

I finally got to see the local red rock area in the snow.

Signs were posted that the trails were closed to protect winter nesting animal life.
These shots were taken almost by the side of the road.
(Special note to Sara: These are the rocks you saw. We did figure out how to get to the road down below.)

Do you see a face here like I do?

I've been studying photography tips; one of them is to note when the sun will be hitting a particular scene. 
Note to self:  This should have been an early morning shot if I wanted a really good shot.  The light was coming in behind the scene.

One of the joys of snow scene photography is being able to see where you have been via foot prints left behind.

I was just walking up the road taking shots when I came across this sign.

Probably a clearer rendering of this shot can be seen in the slideshow format, but there were words etched into the red rock walls.  I don't know when the etching was done, but the old timey lettering and the brand name of a kind of Bitters...well, I have a hard time imagining modern graffitti artists going to the trouble of carving that particular bit of advertising.
The Mormon Pioneers (and all the other folks who came to SLC before train service) would have come right along the path/now roadway that we were on.  Why not advertise on the natural billboard space?

Frozen waterfalls thrill me every time.

And then there was another sign with some interesting trivia. 

Now THIS was the kind of scene I was really hoping to find; thick snow with just bits of red rock peeking through.
Would you believe it was across the street?
I was so busy shooting the towering red rock that I didn't even think to turn around to see what I could see behind me.
Talk about Photography 101. Look right, look left, look up, look down, look behind you....
The mantra is the means of never missing out on the best scene in any location.

We last saw this area in the fall and I was longing to see it with snow.
Now that I know about the waterfalls, I long to see it in summer.
I'm betting that there will be some really cool flowers in the area then.

As the sun was sinking behind this outcropping the snow took on a really interesting glow.

The snow also records the direction that the snow storm has traveled, in this case it came in from the north.

Love red rock up close too...

Just a few miles away it was snowing and foggy.  Go figure!

Now I am going to back track:  The red rock time was at the end of our outing.
The adventure began with us driving out to East Canyon through snow and mist rising from the asphalt.
I really don't understand how it can be below freezing and yet there will be fog hugging the road.
It is a rather magical effect, really dreamy like.

We parked and geared up, and started hiking/skiing up a road.
I remembered to turn around and saw the clouds forming at the end of the canyon.
I was really looking forward to getting down low where I could see more trees and stuff.

I was hiking and hiking and hiking..waiting to access the trail head...

Snow mobiles were rocketing by and making me nauseated with the fumes from their fuel.
(I used to go out in my dad's small boat as a kid and never felt the least bit sea sick.  Then a college student I went out on a much bigger boat with Bernie's uncle, into insanely high seas and with a smoky boat engine fighting to get us back to land.  The combo of the waves and smoke had me sea sick for the very first time and to this day that particular exhaust fume odor makes my stomach roil immediately. I had no idea that boat engines and snow mobile engines used the same kind of fuel.  I will be avoiding ski mobile trails in the future that's for sure!)

"Er, Bernie?  How much farther to the trail head?"
"Oh, it was back where we parked."
(Moments like these are when commitment and vows count more than the fleeting emotions of love.)

It was a pretty stiff climb up a long, long road.
Bernie was looking forward to the ski down part.
Yeah...I don't blame him for looking forward to that.

We wondered if that bump on branch was a hummingbird's nest. 
(And yes it was snowing on us.)

Utah families get their little ones out and about regardless of the weather.
I have seen four week olds being bundled into sledges with  mom skiing along pulling the tyke.

(This shot taken was right after I said "I'm done.")

As a So Cal girl I have so much to learn.  I kept looking at the valley floor and it wasn't until I was half way back to the car that it finally dawned on me that the white field below was actually a LAKE!!!

Doesn't knowing that make this scene even more beautiful?

We laughed so hard at this little fellow...isn't that just the coolest hat?
He looks like he is wondering what we think is so darn funny.

Adorable little face...hope his cheeks stay warm.

So was after the ski/hike that we headed over to the red rock.
(Ugh, just thinking about that engine exhaust smell has me feeling queasy again.)

Lots and lots and lots of deer...

These are Bernie's shots of the area. 

He spoted the black water stain on the cliff, I had missed that.

And after we lost the sunlight we headed home and went out to eat at an India food buffet while still dressed in my powder suit.  No one even batted an eye.
(Vicki, it was  the same restaurant with the Ramadan celebrators that you saw!)

And in STILL other news:

I got new glasses and two surprises.
The picture above was taken while I was trying on frames.
Notice the sample nice thin lens?
Notice how the glasses tops sit nearly in the middle of my eyes?

(Don't you love those wild temple bars?? The inside of the frames are bright lime green!  Fun!)

Almost all my glasses have  rested on my face in that manner. People have even pointed out that I need to buy glasses that are different; believe me, I try.
I fell in love with these glasses but the really sat too low to consider.
Then came the surprise:  My optomistrist pointed out that there is a number assigned to the size of a nose bridge.
Most glasses now days (like hats!) are only made in ONE bridge size LARGER than my particular nose bridge size.  The glasses slide down to where my nose is broader and there they rest.
I need a size 15; most glasses are size 16 or larger.
I have been selecting and wearing glasses for 46 years now and NOT ONCE has anyone mentioned this fact to me. 
Instead I patiently have been trying on glasses randomly instead of by size.
It would be like trying to find shoes that fit without knowing they came in various widths...can you IMAGINE???
Then...wonders of wonders...I was informed that I could have nose pads retrofitted on any pair of glasses to make them fit my face.
Double wonder of turned out that this particular glasses company (prodesign: denmark) offers their glasses with the option of noses pads or molded in "saddle" style bridge.

My "real" new glasses: Not the nose pads and the block of ice thick lens.
Drives me crazy that I have the most technologically advanced lens made to compress the thickness and STILL I am looking through a slab of glass and have to pay big $$$ for the compression that insurance never covers. 

Dear Insurance People: Do you really think I could manage to walk around with lens that are three inches

The nose pads lift the glasses away from my face, which will address steaming up issues while snow hiking, AND will also allow me to let my eyelashes grow.
I know, most people don't "grow" their eyelashes on purpose.  I have, using the prescriptive eyelash growing product.  It really works, and in my case, that turned out not to be a good thing: within three week of using the prescription my eyelashes were batting against my eyeglass lenses.
I curled them...and finally had to take a pair of scissors to them.
Eyelashes hitting lenses is really annoying!
Eventually the long lashes fell out in due course of time and the new lashes were normal length.
Now I can't wait to try growing them long again.
And I *might* even give my students a chance to apply those artificial semi-permanent lashes too.
Why not?

(Me in my old glasses, worn in my traditional down on the nose to make fit fashion.)

So you  might ask why I don't just wear contacts or get lasik?


1.  I have worn contacts since I was 14 without a single problem until I hit pre-menopause.  Turns out that the body chemistry changes changes tear composition as well, and results in most women experiencing a dry eye condition.  Move those dry eyes to a dry climate like Utah and it is "Bye bye contacts!"

2. I actually need trifocal lens which requires custom lens. My eye doctor in Houston was going crazy fitting my lens; I did great with the focusing in my brain to view through each area of the lens as needed, but each time I blinked a bubble formed inside my lens.  He remade three pairs for me but we moved to Utah before he could figure out what the problem was.

3.  I went to see if I was a candidate for Lasik last month.  Boy did I get a big surprise: turns out I am definitely NOT a candidate, not because of my heavy prescription but because I have Peludice Marginal Degeneration.

The word "degeneration" connected with "your eyes" is not something one wants to hear.

PMD means that my eyes are no longer a nice sphere shape, instead the front lens of my eyes have bulged a bit on the bottom, making them a bit pear shaped.  The bulged area is thin, and must not suffer anything that might make it thinner, such as a lasik proceedure.
It might even bulge more...making my vision uncorrectable with glasses.  At that point huge contacts that would cover out to the whites of my eyes would be necessary.
(And with the dry eye issues this is really a horrific thought)

My PMD is mild and correctable with glasses for now. Generally the condition strikes 20-30 year olds, and the bulge does whatever it is going to do and then it just stop bulging.  Keeping my fingers crossed that that was what happened to me...and that was why suddenly the eye doctor couldn't fit contracts on my irregularly shaped eye.

Most eye doctors don't look for that irregularity; the condition used to be considered quite rare but with all the people coming in for Lasik now, the condition is being identified at more milder stages.

PMD is a genetically carried condition. No one in my family has ever had vision that couldn't be corrected with glasses so I think I am going to be just fine.

I confess that every time I hear a commercial for Lasik I get a bit sad knowing I will never have perfect vision on this earth, and will always need to wear glasses for the rest of my life.

Oh well.  

At least I know now how to get a pair of glasses that actually fit!

(I am just amazed you read all this.  I'll be off blogger until next week to make up for this uber long post!)