I have a newish phone. Since I am technologically inept, my husband set some stuff up for me and I now have access to some of his old photos. I either hadn’t seen them in a while or had never seen them ever. This child of mine has informed me that she won’t be doing any hiking with me this summer. When you have children and teenagers, in particular, you have to pick your battles. Since I am from the other side of Southern Utah, we rarely make it over to this territory. I really want to make a jaunt over there, but I probably won’t. I don’t like crowds and there is plenty for me to see at home. The Moab area has always received a lot of attention, but it used to be very dead in the offseason. With the advent of social media, there may be no more offseason.
I am not talking about the kind we talk about in my church regularly. That is a whole other subject. Everyone has been lost in that way before at some point. I am talking about you don’t know where you are. LOST! Once upon a time, I was an ambitious intern. Well, not as ambitious as some of my fellow interns who got to work at the Supreme Court or caring for the Clintons’ cat (It was 1996.) or other places that they deemed cooler than our internships, but an intern nonetheless. I met a lifelong friend the moment I walked into my housing and with our “lesser than” internships, we had an AWESOME summer. My friend got asked to housesit for a week and she took the job only if they took me on too. That weekend morning, I arose and went for a walk. I love walking. I’m sure that is not obvious. I did not wake my friend to tell her I was leaving. It was before cell phones and constant connectivity. It was a beautiful Maryland summer morning. Everything was complete perfection. I was in a residential area with some of Washington DC’s chicest homes. I walked for a while then it started to get warm. I could have kept on going, but I had no provisions. I needed to turn back. The only problem is that I didn’t know the way OR the address where I was staying. Before panic sunk in too bad, I remembered I had seen a street sign with my beloved home state on my morning trek. I backtracked until I found the UTAH street sign and prayed to find my way back. I was sooo happy to get back to that house.
Let me tell you about someone who made an impact. In 1986, I started middle school. My mom made me signup for orchestra. I wanted to take art class! She had previously made me take piano lessons and I sucked. I literally sucked through a few years of lessons. I could not read music. I chose the viola. I don’t know why. Probably cause I didn’t want to be there and it wasn’t the violin. I didn’t know anything much about the violin either. The class turned out not to be so bad. The teacher was an OLD lady who was nice. She had wrinkles and she was beautiful. She would walk around the room and tune our instruments before we started playing. I can NOT fathom how bad that awful racket must have sounded, but we were in a soundproof room so everyone else was spared. We started by plucking our instruments. I had a severely broken arm from an old school summer and even started playing with a cast beyond my elbow. As time went by, the jumbled up stuff on the page started to come together. We were making music.
In 7th grade, I decided I was enjoying it and I needed to improve. I asked my orchestra teacher who could teach me private viola lessons. I started taking lessons with another awesome teacher and improved beyond my imagination. Each year, we moved up with the same teacher. It was a small town. She drove to the high school for half of her day to also teach there. Soo she was also my high school teacher. My sophomore year, I left for study abroad. Upon return, it was back to orchestra. We took state that year. That means we had an awesome performance at a statewide competition. We didn’t let down our little town where we didn’t have the best of anything, but we had the best arts programs. That same year in 1992, we took an orchestra trip to Disneyland. We had a master class with a pro musician aka the rare paid unicorn. We couldn’t wait to ditch the playing for the rides. Our teacher was there by our sides for the fun too. I don’t know how she kept up with us, but she did. After the school days were over, I probably only saw her once. She was a bit stooped over but looked the same. She was still as beautiful as ever and had a smile and a hug for her former student. The effects of her teaching reach far and wide. I doubt much of what fast money that people aspire to achieve these days will leave the impact she did and what some good teachers do. RIP JUNE THORLEY 1928-2019
We like to travel, but my husband didn’t want to go to China. The Great Wall was on my life to do list though. Well, when work moved us here that is how I knew I’d definitely be finally seeing it. It is much less commitment to just come on a ten-day tour to China! This portion of the wall is on the border with North Korea. It is in Dandong, China. Most Western tourists will see the wall on their Beijing stop. Beijing is not near here at all. Obviously, I like hiking but some of the stair climbing on this had me scared and breathless. It is not suitable for everyone, but there are portions anyone could do. The stairwells easily rivaled any scary European ones we had climbed up. It took us about 2 hours to do the entire Dandong wall. There was an entry fee of around $10 / 60 RMB per person. It was a really fun day trip from our current home.
I was just on booking dot com looking for some future accommodations today and I came across an article that I had to read. The 5 best hikes in the world Wow. What will they include? Five is sure a small number. I go to the list and I have only loosely heard of one particular destination. That isn’t to say that the other ones are not epic, but insert eye roll. I don’t need some list. Is someone going to give me a medal cause I have done their particular list? I want my 5 best readers to know that the hike YOU do is the very best one. You don’t need to go anywhere special to do it. You do it where you are. Disclaimer: if you are from somewhere flat like Kansas where my dad is from, then you may need to actually go somewhere. My general definition of hiking includes a bit of varied terrain and elevation change. Anyway, you can go on a hike NOW. (If not, you can highly likely go on a WALK.) If you want to add some random BEST to a future list, great! But don’t choose only to do something if the circumstances are perfect. Get out and sweat a little or a ton and get some fresh air.
I recently read this as a comment somewhere referring to exercise. It caused me to ponder the why…..?…. Maybe because it is something that most everyone does so it is rarely intentional. You join a gym, pay your activation fee, your monthly fees, etc…. Because you have spent A LOT of money, you just know you are FINALLY going to get fit. Those $1000 sign-up fees will guarantee your success. I always thought it would be rather exciting to join a gym. ****I have since joined a few. ***** I came from a small town and the only ones I had used were at my high school (in a scary basement on dirt!!!) or at college in the 90s. Today’s college gyms are a little different. Think: NICER. It was fun at a “real” gym for a few years. I attended lots of dance and yoga classes. I still can’t dance, but I was at the epicenter of the Zumba craze. (In the back looking very dorky!!!!!) After pondering the above question coupled with a book I just read called Predictably Irriational by Dan Ariely I am going to surmise it is because we don’t value what we don’t pay a lot for. In order to make walking cool, it is time to charge people a lot for it. LOL
A few years ago we had a potential opportunity to move to Singapore for work. I wasn’t really compelled to pursue it. We had friends who had lived there, but I didn’t have a ton of interest. We had also just moved and I’m not good at the moving houses thing, although new places and people are always fine by me. Anyway, we ended up there for part of our spring break. Singapore is awesome. I had really no expectations, except for their famous cheap food. Yummy！What we discovered was that it is a very efficient place compared to our current home. Singapore is beautiful. It is a lush green jungle and way too humid for my taste, but a cool place to experience. I can’t say whether we’ll go back, but everyone definitely wants to.
A few years ago when I was learning about this new to me blogging world, I wanted to attend a conference that to my surprise was happening in my city. As usual, I was late to the game. To my chagrin, I had no ticket to attend this event where the new age cool people were that week. Even if I had a ticket, would I be comfortable with these cool people? No. Instead, I went to watch what I could with my young children in tow since part of the event was outside in public. It was a hot day. We hung out on the periphery because the cool people didn’t use to have kids. (Now, children are incredibly useful tools for instagram pictures.) We eventually treated ourselves to some great Mexican food and went home. Fast forward, I was recently checking the blog of the GURU who created that event. Though I have read a few of the organizer’s books, I’m not super knowledgable about this person. The blog had turned negative. Every post was now a post about how things were NOT awesome. What a letdown. This person was mortal just like me! J/K ha ha.. Unless your GURU has moved on from this life, (Muhammed, Jesus, Buddha, Insert whoever) then life will always be filled with obstacles and be wary of the guru. (The get rich like me kind, get
healthy/SKINNY off my product kind, get awesome like me kind…..) I hope things turn around for this blogger. I did learn a lot from the author’s books.
Stuff shuts down in China for their new year celebration. We had no idea what to expect. We heard that stores would be shutting down and people would be going home to their hometowns and villages. We figured it was a good idea not to plan on doing much. I tried to get all of my groceries for awhile to avoid holiday shopping. I avoid stores in the USA during holiday times too so I figured it could be a thousand times worse here. My husband worked from home for the first few days of their new year. New Year’s Eve was preceded by random fireworks going off all the time. (Fireworks go off here on any old day too.) We knew it was going to be bad. LIKE A LOT OF FIREWORKS! However, nothing could have prepared us for hearing in one night a total culmination of seeing and hearing more fireworks in one day than in my entire life of +4 decades. AND…. That was just in my neighborhood of about a 10 block radius. We don’t even live in the city center. We worried at times that our house would start on fire and we wouldn’t have anywhere to seek refuge since everyone was literally celebrating. Luckily, we awoke the next day intact. I am very happy all the festivities are over. It was quite the ordeal and the country practically shuts down for a whole month. If you live for fireworks then you may enjoy finding yourself in China for this event, if not, STAY AWAY!!!
When we arrived in China, we had little to do. We immediately checked things out and walked a lot, but it got hot. I walked the dog at night and it felt like a sauna. We preferred to stay inside with the a/c. Then, school started and family walks took a back seat more often than not, but school is out for Chinese New Year this week.