Monday, April 27, 2015

Flatiron 2015

When March came, I was resigned to the fact that Flatiron would not be happening this year. That's the funny thing about me being resigned to things... if I have the will, I'm never truly resigned to anything. Lake Powell last year... no one to go with, but we ended up going anyway. Snow day earlier this year... we found a patch. Flatiron... when we got back from California, I saw that the weather would be cooling off, and I somehow convinced my little sister to go with me.

And here we go!! Looking back from the Siphon Draw basin. Still 1300' to climb!

My sister never hikes, so I did a whole lot of waiting. She kept threatening to turn back, but I kept encouraging her on. At the base of the final wall, I alternated between taking pictures and calling out for her. She never replied, but she did finally text me. She was still coming.

My view through the canyon out into the valley.

Little did I know she was taking photos of her own, my photographer sister with her artistic touch. Her views are just a little better because she sees them through her creative lens.

This was my view of Flatiron for those fifteen long minutes. It was begging me to crest it.

The whole day was cool and cloudy, and the flowers were out in full bloom. I was truly stunned by the colors of the desert, as I had never before seen so many flowers on that mountain. Maybe February is a bit too early. Just maybe I was lucky I didn't have a chance to go until March.

Yeah, I encountered all those flowers up top on my way over to the precipice. And at the edge, that view that never gets old. Hello down there!!


It was sprinkling by then, and a little chilly with the wind, so my sister was just slightly annoyed when I insisted on finding the perfect rock for taking my traditional "Feet over Phoenix" picture. Hopefully next year I'll have new shoes.

And then she disappeared into the flora behind us, chasing the century plants for their photographic beauty.

I found some other beauties while I was waiting.

The trek down was a little bit treacherous, as the sprinkling came down persistently, and the rocks became wet and slick. No one was going up now. We thought we might be the last two on the mountain until a man passed by and warned us not to take our time getting down. He had heard horror stories about trying to descend the Siphon Draw basin when it was wet. "It can be hellish."

We pushed on, stepping as fast as we could without twisting our ankles. And yes, we slipped a few times. As the sprinkling continued and the rocks no longer had any dry spots, I tried to calm my nerves by joking about needing to find shelter for the night, even though I was the tiniest bit afraid it might actually happen. About the time we rounded Creaky Knee Bend (so named because it was where Russ turned back two years ago), the sprinkling let up, and we paused to look back.

Just a few minutes later, we obtained the upper edge of the Siphon Draw basin, and to our surprise and great delight... it was completely dry. Tiny miracles. I guess I even felt confident enough to stop and capture these beautiful fire red flowers, which seemed to grow right out of the solid rock. Amazing little creations, bursting with blooms in such a harsh environment.

As soon as we got to the bottom of the basin, it started to rain again, and by the time we got to the car, we were soaked through. Despite the rain, my sister managed to capture one last shot of the Superstition wilderness blanketed in resplendent beauty.

Until next year.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Headed for Hollywood

Even though Russ is a native of southern California, he had never visited Hollywood. That's kind of weird, right? Sunday morning, we decided to brave the constant traffic jam that is Los Angeles and take a walk on the Walk of Fame. But first we got to show the kids the pollution, graffiti, trash, and bums that were everywhere. So glamorous! I was a little nervous carrying my expensive camera and purse, so I held on tight. I felt like we were in a third world country... it was that bad! We took a selfie across the street from the Chinese theater (that washed out building in the background), which Brando was too stubborn to be in.

Somebody offered to take our pic, and since he had a wife and a baby in a stroller, I figured he wouldn't run away with my phone.

There were just a few stars with names that the kids recognized (and to be honest, I couldn't recognize even half).

The pickings were even more slim when we got to the area with the hand and footprints. Luckily, we found Morgan Freeman, who was the voice for Vetruvius in Lego Movie. Paige was disappointed to find out Will Farrell didn't have a star yet, but he is supposed to be getting one this year.

I finally convinced Paige to get a picture by some of the prints, and the only other ones that were even remotely familiar were the stars from the Harry Potter movies. She was less than thrilled about the whole experience, but she eked out a smile.

Next we stopped by Russ' star for a picture.

After a few more blocks of stars, we were ready to head home. Goodbye Hollywood... you are totally overrated!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Park Roast & Pi(e)

It was March and over 90 degrees in San Diego, so yeah, we were roasting! That didn't stop us from having fun, though. Russ and his brother got all the fixings we needed for a picnic lunch, and they even prepared it, too!

Cousin time!

Didn't we just barely get all the sand from the beach cleaned off? Here we go again!

This is a familiar scene... the brothers most likely talking about movies while their mother stares into space, bored out of her mind.

Slide action!

Kallie is always a favorite.

So glad the cousins brought such fun games to play.

This kite was wrapped around the ramada pole, and the kids untangled it so they could try to fly it.

It was busted, so this was about as good as it got.

The boys decided to give it a try and had a blast running all over the park.

They just wouldn't give up on it!

After park time, we headed up to Temecula to hang out with my aunt and uncle and cousins. My youngest cousin is Paige's age, and they spent most of their time together playing in his giant buckets of Legos.

Later on, we met up with some friends who used to be in our ward to celebrate "Pi" day at Marie Callender's! This holiday was obviously thought up by some genius... get it? (Who wouldn't want pie?) Apparently nobody sent the memo to Marie, though, because they were short on pies due to this delicious holiday.

The next day, we took the kids to Hollywood, which means just one more California post and then we're back home! (Will I ever catch up?)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Beach n Boomers! (Again?)

I guess I'm skipping Thursday because there wasn't much to report. We went to lunch with Russ and I went into the office to visit my old co-workers. It was nice to see everyone, but no pictures to share. Friday was beach day. We borrowed beach toys from the cousins and headed to Mission Beach... along with a bunch of other Zonies!

Running up to the receding water and then running back toward the beach when the wave comes in never gets old.

The water was SO COLD, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the kids. I'm convinced they would have been happy all day.

After the water play was the sand play (the part I dread!).

I took about a zillion pics, but it was worth it. So handsome.

The bucket had a hole in it, so one of them tried to plug the hole while they both carried it in. The look on their faces is pure fun.

This was Kallie's idea for a pose. Future surfer?

Rinsing off... if only there was a clean path back to the car!

I "hurried" back to the in-laws' house in rush hour traffic (almost a complete standstill sometimes) to get ready for our double date. I tried to come up with an interesting date idea, but no one went for the magic/comedy show. I bargained with them by requesting the Brigantine for dinner in exchange for the goofy golfing activity. A little pricey, but totally San Diegan, and the sole piccata was divine!

After dinner, we headed to Boomers for goofy golf (though a different location than Monday night's activities). Somebody's ball got stuck in the giant pumpkin.

That's the scorecard, not his undies.

Most likely getting another hole in one.

Will she get a hole in one? NOOOO!

Before the last hole, Russ decided to add up the scores to check our standings.

So much suspense... will Russ win? (Oh wait, that was a given.) Sadly, I let Adam edge me out of the number two spot. Curses!!

Our standing rule is that winner buys ice cream... which almost always means Russ. So we went to Cold Stone to celebrate. YUM.