Monday, June 30, 2008

The trip home

The rest of the trip by popular demand. Cool that anybody is reading this.

So after leaving the Grand Canyon we drove until mid-afternoon and stopped at a volcano. The hike up was all lava.

Our little shutterbug in a lava cave.

The oldest tree in the NM growing out of the lava.

Looking into the crater.

And if the volcano wasn't enough there was also an ice cave. Yes, in this cave it stays cold enough that the pond in the bottom never melts. In fact every year the ice gets deeper. It felt good in there after all the hiking. Like stepping into a freezer. The only photo that turned out doesn't show the ice, only us, but what a handsome group.

Even an hour later, along the side of the road, we could see lava spewed by the volcano and it's brothers.
The next day and last day was all driving. However in the late morning we needed a pit stop and took a chance on a billboard add and stopped at the Dinosaur Museum. What a lucky break for us.

As pretty as the southwest is...

There is no place like home.

So very green. I love it.

Monday, June 09, 2008


We were to leave the Grand Canyon right after breakfast and while I had hiked the rim the day before I still hadn't walked more than a few feet down. So when I woke up I slid out of bed, grabbed my camera and took off. I would like to say I made it down a mile but I'm sure it was only half a mile or a little less but I had the place to myself. The only people on the trail were almost at the bottom, they must have started hiking in the dark. I stayed out there taking photos of the sunrise and only turned back after I was passed by the 3rd group of people. It was starting to get crouded, time to get back and load the van.

Photos of the sunrise.

Don't hit the deer.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

It's been a year...

since I started the food stamp challenge. It's 2 days short of the year and I have 2 weeks of food in the kitchen but I'm ready to go back to the store so last night I pulled up all my receipts for the year and added it up. $1309.74 or $25.47 a week. I didn't make it. Although, I was really close and I could have made it with more work. More on that later.

I did just fine until thanksgiving. I even hosted a few fancy meals for friends and had a people stay over a few times and fed them all just on my food money. But at Thanksgiving I had a set back when the urge to cook the whole thanksgiving diner for myself took over. Buying the 3 turkeys and all the fixings cost almost $300. At that point I thought I had blown it for 3 days of fun times and extra tasty food. However, that food lasted me well into March and it turned out I was ahead in the game.

But this was a hard semester with long hours and the last 3 months of it I pretty much lived off of granola bars, string cheese, and dark chocolate peanut m&ms. That diet completely wreaked my monetary goal and my eating healthy goal too. The last 3 months ruined the whole year.

Now that school is over and I’m eating again it’s harder to meet my goal this spring with the price increases we have seen. It’s also really stretching it now that I have cut wheat 100% from my diet. No more ramen for me, so special food needs makes it more difficult too. Although I was still able to do a little specialty shopping at Whole Foods the coolest grocery store with the highest prices around so it’s not impossible. And now that I know Hy Vee caters to the wheat free cook I think I can get the same ingredients for less.

So is $21 still doable? Yes, but only if I really watch it and have time to cook, and only if I eat real food and not junk, and only if the real food is frozen not fresh. It’s easer if I do fewer and larger shopping trips once a month or once every other month and then just do with out a favorite food, or even a perceived necessary food until the calendar says it’s time to go back. So while it’s doable, $30 a week is more realistic for me.

Friday, June 06, 2008


I haven't forgotten but I'm still having problems. Is my photo account full? Is Blogger having a few down days? Did they just rearrange stuff on me? I don't know and I can't tell. I'm getting a head aches so I am backing slowly away from the computer.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

At The Canyon

Day 3 we woke up at the canyon and we spent a quiet day. The morning was driving around the lower part of the rim stopping and looking. The place is just huge.

playing with my zoom lense

After a lunch at the Laundromat we all went our separate ways. Some took a nap at the cabin, some a bus trip to look at more sites. I walked the rim. The day was cool and sunny, the walk a easy hike, and the view stunning. The people along the way happy and friendly and surprisingly mostly foreign. I had no idea that it was such a destination for people from France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Australia, and those were the just accents I recognize or people I talked to. There were many more I couldn't place. The best part was at the end of the hike. I hopped the free bus to ride back to the cabins. Hikes are the most fun walking only one way.

That night we played cards in the cafeteria and went to a talk on the history of the road we had traveled earlier in the day.

There is so much of the trip that I don't have photos of that are important too. Seeing the mule train and the chipmunk with Brandon as the sun was rising. Watching the condor glide below us. The crisp thin air, the dust, the smell of the trees, and being so dry that my skin hurt. Running in the dark to the late night lecture about condors that wasn't about condors at all. And just hanging out in one of the most breath taking places on earth.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Day 2

The next day was less driving and more doing so no knitting on day 2 of the trip but lots of photos.

The Painted Desert is stunningly beautiful.

Newspaper Rock

Bad Lands

Petrified Forest

The day ended pulling into the Grand Canyon

Monday, June 02, 2008

Summer Vacation

While I'm back now, I'm going to post one day at a time to keep the photos in check. This was a great vacations for photos and I did a little knitting too. The first day was all driving. We got up at 4am and drove until a late bed time.

There was a stop 5 hours in for some Kansas history

The rest of the day was spent counting trains.

and water towers, grain elevators, and windmills, but I don't have photos of them. I wish I had thought of getting a snap of the wind farms we past.

I knit a One Skein Wonder for the trip. I knit the first 3/4 over 2 days a week before leaving thinking I could finish the last 1/4 over the next 5 days and have it done in time to pack. Nope, I still had the last 1/6 to knit in the car. I finished it at the Grand Canyon and wore it, but sadly it looks stupid in those photos. This is a knit that only looks cute posing in the mirror. It looks so cute posing in the mirror that I will wear it again even thought I have proof that it doesn't look cute out and about. In fact, it looks down right weird in the photos.

The yarn is a cotton/rayon blend I bought for weaving years and years ago. I used a size 2 needle, cast on the smallest size and knit until it was big enough. The swatch skewed so the back is in seed stitch to stabilize the yarn. I have hopes that the skewing on the arms won't matter. After half a day wearing it stretched out of shape and I'm going to wash and dry it to shrink it up a bit.

I'm digging the bells sleeves. I made it by not decreasing the arms and adding 2 stitches after the elbow. I had no idea that 2 stitches would be all I needed at such a fine gauge. I also made the sleeves 3/4 in length because I hate how bell sleeves drag in food at the table. They are the best part of the shrug.