Sunday, June 27, 2004

Fire EMT-B

Hey folks-

Heading out on a fire somewhere in this great Nation. Photos of storm will have to wait and then I am sure I might have some other ones from the fire and such. Should be back around July 11th.

Stay good.

The Desert Storm

To walk on the beaten path is like sitting in the water of someone else's bath. To take the road much less walked upon lets you explore what is unknown.

The time was 4:20 PM. Scheduled time the off-alarm would ring would be 6:30 PM. But I didn't care obviously because I did not walk into my house until 8:30 PM. I was in search of an earthen dam. I never did find it but I found something else that was a little peculiar for being out in the middle of nowhere. I will post photos later.

I had looked through the binoculars where I thought this dam was supposed to be and then drove along the road to park. I wasn't judging distance or area very well because I parked way too far away from where I thought it was. I started walking and walking and walking. But I am not complaining. I had never been to the area before and I was in an exploring mood.

I looked north and saw those two clouds forming like a funnel. I thought how exciting I am going to be in the middle of a tornado. Actually in the southwest they are called microburst for some reason. They do the same effect though. I kept watching the clouds and the lightning in the distance. It doesn't rain in the desert everybody knows that.

As I said I never found that dam, but I found this corral thingy. I say thingy because it wouldn't have held animals in, but it was clearly some sort of fence. May be at one time it was bigger, but it wasn't now. It is so darn weird to come over a hill and find something of this nature. Why out here in the middle of nowhere. I pondered all of this as I smelled the pleasant aroma of a desert rain in the distance. I was about to get pounded.

I started back towards the area of the vehicle. I am wearing a pair of twill pants and a white t-shirt. First, I wish I could describe the smell of a desert rain approaching and then the smell afterwards. It is so great. There is this freshness in the air, but also this smell of a mixture of wet fur, earth, and brushes. It is indescribable unless you have smelled one. Like the photos I take, you just wouldn't understand without being there. WHAM! That lightning was a little too close. And the thunder that followed only meant one thing. I was going to be wet very soon. NOTE TO SELF: Carry rainpants when it looks like rain in the distance.

I was walking south and the rain was coming from the west traveling east. I think I still have water in my ear. The great thing about a desert rain is that it last may be 5-10 minutes. However, it is a hard and hurtful rain. It was almost like it was hailing it was pounding upon my arms so hard. My shirt was now as seen in a white tee shirt contest. I am sure a visitor will be waiting at my vehicle when I return. My pants now weighed about twice what they normally weigh. And my shoes now filled with water and collecting the Utah clay on them increased in weight as well. I finally stopped to put on a jacket, but the rain was easing up. This was only for my benefit of keeping warm. I am completely drenched. My hair is matted to my head so terribly that I can't even run my fingers through it. I find the road and look for my vehicle. I can't see it either direction, however; am quite certain it is south of me. I start walking on the road. I pull out the binoculars to see if I can see it. Nothing.

I finally see the vehicle in the distance. And all I can think of at the moment is that box of Honey Wheat Thins sitting on the front seat (fresh box). I am also thinking of the fleece jacket and rain pants in the back seat that I will be changing into. The vehicle seems to be getting further and farther away. I am about a quarter of a mile away and the vehicle seems like it is in auto reverse. The rain is starting again. I am so close and my jacket is almost dry. Let me make it.

I get to the vehicle, open the passenger door, and prepare to undress. I have stripped off my wet, white shirt and bra and slip back into the uniform shirt. I turn around to sit in the vehicle as I take off my wet 20 pound pants and look across the valley. There is a rainbow so bright and large in the near distance. I quickly undress and redress. I stand on the edge of the vehicle and realize I can see both ends of the rainbow. My lucky day because at one end is a pot of gold. I attempt to get both sides in the rainbow in a photo, but the work camera won't let it happen. I pulled out my trusty Canon Elf. Nothing. The battery must be dead. However, I failed to mention it did get a little wet so that would be the 2nd camera I have destroyed in the last two months. I drove down the road in attempt to get both ends. And then I saw it. The rainbow was actually a double rainbow and once again I could see both ends. Now I was really lucky because that made two pots of gold.

I started back towards home. The visitors that endured the rain and did not wimp out where getting a treat today. The lighting of the desert surrounding mixed with the rainbow(s) was just fantastic. I had that rainbow my entire drive home. It was like it was moving south while I was driving. At this time, I was wearing a pair of rainpants, my uniform shirt, and a uniform jacket. I did not have a pair of shoes on because they were soaking wet. Once arriving at the entrance there were some common sense visitors at the beautifully new, blocking my view of the valley, gas station looking entrance booths. They looked overly confused. I stopped and got out. I must have looked like a wreck.

ME: Can I help you? (There were two vehicles and two individuals standing near me needing help. I was looking at the second person standing there because I figured while I was talking to these other people, she would say "I have a quick question". FOLKS--there aren't any quick questions.)
COMMON SENSERS: We have this annual pass and there isn't any place to insert it in the fee machine. There is no sign in saying what we should do.
ME: (Wanted to say: Hell, after the booth closes most people don't pay). Well, just drive right in because you have the pass. (Now granted I didn't look pretty at this moment, but I was kind of in uniform minus the shoes)
COMMON SENSERS: Are you sure?
ME: (NO NUMB NUT) Why yes. If you have a pass, just go right in.

The other individual who didn't ask the quick question was actually more of a normal individual and we had a nice chat.

Sometimes you have to endure the hardships to see the rainbow.

Friday, June 25, 2004

The Towers in the Winter Posted by Hello

My Porsche is too good for COMMON SENSE

Thirty more minutes and the work is over alarm would sound. No, we really don't have an alarm, but one goes off in my head once in a while. The radio chimed "Patrol, 200". Patrol answered.

200: We have a disabled vehicle in the Towers area.
Patrol: I am in town and will be heading that way.

I said I would go up and see what was going on. 6:01 PM. I drove up the hill to the Towers area. No vehicle description. I pulled into the parking lot. Two vehicles there. I asked if they were broken down and both replied nope. So I started driving again and found the broken down vehicle.

He was parked in the road right next to a very nice pull-out. He was also parked on a blind curve. (Question to self-is there any other kind of curve?). She, we'll just assume wife, was sitting in the passenger seat. I could tell they had a flat because he already had the jack out and under the vehicle. I also determined or assumed few things--he had never changed a flat in his life, this was a rental Boxster, and he had about zero common sense.

Me: do you have it under control or do I need to call a tow truck.
Boxster: No, I think we have it. But the book says we need to block the wheels. You don't have any blocks with you, do you?
Me: (This is what I wanted to say--oh yea, we carry those along with our fire gear, SAR pack, EMS pack, personal pack, and my lunch bucket). Um, well there are some really nice rocks right there that would probably work. RETARD! (Ok, that wasn't said).
Boxster: Oh ok.

I walked down a ways to direct traffic. I was not about to help change his tire. I called Patrol and asked to head my way to help with traffic. Let me just say that I had one of those hand held STOP/SLOW signs. They aren't that small. And they make great frisbees when the wind is blowing 20-30 miles an hour. I could barely stand up trying to hold it. I couldn't even hold it the normal way, but had to hold it against my body to brace it. And then we come to the other visitors that are more interested in the blue Porsche Boxster than paying attention to my hand waving them through. I have to say though that 99% of the people were thankful with a wave and actually did slow down. The wind was blowing so hard I couldn't even hear my radio.

Boxster looked like he was finished. He walks to his vehicle to pop the trunk in the front while his wife is pushing down on it with her hand. I hear his voice in a tone that indicates frustration, irritation, and get your fricking hand off the trunk. I smiled. The wind is still blowing as he opens that trunk and the only thing I am thinking is please let go of it so it flies into the air. And it would have too if he would have not held it. They are finally finished with putting everything away. Patrol had arrived and was around the curve slowing down traffic.

Boxster: Do you have air at the station?
Me: (Are you new to the world?) Yea at a gas station in town they will have it.

I got into my vehicle which was right behind his. I should have known better. He thought it would be easier to turn around right there in the blind curve. So I had to get back out of the vehicle to stop all traffic both ways again. 12 points later, he finally had the Boxster turned around and heading back into town. I cleared the scene and drove down to the turn around down the road. 6:24 PM.

Me: Patrol, we are clear from the scene.
Patrol: Why didn't he pull off in the pull out?
Me: I think it had something to do with my rental Boxster can't get dirty.

Little did Boxster know that with the wind blowing there is so much dirt in his vehicle we could make his own sandbox. I started back towards the office. Boxster was doing about 15 miles an hour. I finally blew by him because it was now 6:27 PM. Wonder if he ever found some air?

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Red-Tailed Flyers

My schedule said to start work at 10am, but with the heat bearing down on the desert floor, I went to work at 9am. Just means I get off an hour early. Anyway, the task today was to locate a red-tailed nest and see if there were any juveniles in the nest.

I pulled up to the parking lot, doused myself with OFF with cancer causing DEET, and headed down into the wash. Mosquitos should be gone, but the deer flies would still be around. There was absolute silence as I walked above the wash eventually dropping down the rock face into the wash. The breeze was just blowing slightly through my ears. The birds were chirping, the doves mourning. Echoes shatter the rocks and the violet-green swallows paint the rocks with their shadows.

I entered the third canyon on the left and paused a minute to add more DEET and OFF because the deer flies were swarming me. My pant legs were just covered so I sprayed my entire body with the stuff. Just as the canyon opened up I saw a hawk fly up the canyon. With the wrong lighting and the quickness of the flight, I was unsure if it was an adult or juvenile. I located the nest, however; it was empty of any juvenile birds or parents. I walked underneath it and did not observe any signs of dead chicks so that is positive. I scurried up the dirt mound across from the nest and saw the red-tail (further referred to as RT) perched on a rock. The RT appeared to be a juvenile (further referred to as JR), but I couldn't be 100% sure because I had the crappy binos today.

I needed to find some shade so I could wait and watch the nest. It was not going to happen because the left side of the canyon was sun drenched so I pulled up a rock and waited. I was smelly, tired, hot, and smelling of OFF, but absolutely content. The rock I was sitting on was pretty covered in droppings so I assumed that they used this area frequently. There was also quite a bit of rabbit fur in the area.


That noise scared the shit out of me. That scream was so close that I thought it was going to get me. I looked up and around, but could see nothing. And then just 10 yards to my right the juvenile flew across the canyon and towards the nest. JR tried to land, but it was a false ledge so JR returned to my side of the canyon. JR had to be within 20 yards of me although I couldn't see her (it might have been a male, but we are going with her) because of a boulder between us. I waited. I have about zero patience for this type of work. 10 minutes, 11 minutes, I must go look. And when I did she flew into a tree and was even more difficult to see. I definitely needed to get closer to view more of the characteristics to see if it was a juvenile.

I started walking towards the area slowly. There was no way to hide behind anything. JR had to be watching me the entire time. I found some shade under a Juniper tree. Ah, the smell of juniper is so grand. Brings the senses alive. I need to spend hours observing to get a feel of RTs, but it is boiling hot. The birds on the other hand can spend all day because all they do is fly, rest, fly, rest, eat, poop, hunt, etc.

Patience wore out so I started walking again and was able to get around the tree and come at it from another direction. 20 yards away. Her eyes are staring at me as intently as I am staring at her. Wonder what is going through her mind. She is beautiful. Her breast is a pale reddish color and underneath her breast are brown stripes of sort. She does not have a red tail which indicates she is a juvenile. She was well concealed within the cottonwood because I would stop to write something and then couldn't find her again for a bit. I told her I was no threat, just observing. She said ok by not flying away. 10 yards, 5 yards, I am leaving the area. She has yet to fly away. I am right underneath her. She is beautiful as said.


At first I thought it was her again, but realized it was coming from further up the canyon. I walked right underneath her and she didn't move. I went back towards the nest. Two adults came over the cliff face and were circling. They were calling out to JR, but she was not answering. They circled and circled. Calling out and calling out. No movement or answer from JR. Again, I walked towards the tree of JR. She just turned her head and observed me walk out of the canyon. I looked back one last time and waved.

I observed an adult on the rim of the canyon in a dead juniper. He was talking rather loudly and waiting. He eventually flew back towards the canyon where the nest was. I hope JR finally came out and settled down her parents who were frantically looking for her.

Sweat dripping off of me, my body smelling of OFF, and my soul screaming the RT song, I exited the wash and headed for the office to slurp down that cold refreshing coke. What a job I have!

Saturday, June 19, 2004

The Fee Wingers

I work in an area that collects fees. They have a group of fee collectors that come from all walks of life. But we will get to that later. We have one road into the area and we used to have this wonderful little shack where they collected fees. It was about the size of a bathroom, but without the sink, toilet, and tub. Sometimes there would be 2 or 3 people in that little booth. I could never understand why because only one could collect fees out the window. I always thought the other one was for company. Anyway, we moved the collectors down the road a bit to a beautiful new, blocking my view of the valley, gas station looking building. Now there are two booths and they have to scream across one lane to talk to the other person. Wonder if they are lonely. The funniest thing is that sometimes both lanes are open and we still have a line down the road because the visitors don't realize the other lane is there. Oh well, visitor's lose as usual.

Anyway, when we had the one shack, I had to drive by them no matter what because it was the only place into the area. However, now with the beautiful new, blocking my view of the valley, gas station looking building, I seldom go through there because there is a by-pass road. I think this might disappoint them a little. And here's why...When I used to go through the one shack I would always give them a treat of some sort. I don't know why this started, most likely because I always have a snack for myself and I offered it one time. Then everytime I came through they expected me to give them a snack. Almost like when the bell would ring in Pavolov's study. Little did they know that most of the time, their snacks were food of mine that was going to go bad and I needed to get rid of it. Guess I can't pull that anymore. The treats started getting better in my book. There was pringles (I am always eating those), Krispy Kreme donuts, wheat thins, and sometimes candy. I am just a generous person.

The thing that sucks with the beautiful new, blocking my view of the valley, gas station looking building is that when I drop off a treat to one booth and the second one is open, then I have to make this big u-turn to deliver the second donut. The other day I drove through the north booth and asked the collector if she wanted a donut. She said no and then I said it was a Krispy Kreme donut. OH YES. Then I drove to the other booth and dropped one off there.

So some of the collectors often meet on a Wednesday night for wings and soda. There is mostly just three of them from fees and sometimes other departments join them. I gave them my blogspot page address to read one wing-night. So this afternoon I was changing vehicles reluctantly and decided I would drive through the fee booth. The main reason I drove through was because while I was cleaning out some of my stuff, I found a box of Honey Wheat Thins. When I pulled up to the south booth, I gave the box to Goosebumps and said she could have the whole box. Honestly, I don't know how long it has been there. Anyway, she said that I should write a story about the wing-night group. But how do you write a story about a bunch of weirdos? Easily of course...

Why would I call her Goosebumps? It is 100 degrees and she has a jacket on? What is with that? What exactly is she hiding? She always is carrying this backpack as well. It is the weirdest thing. I think she might be some sort of spy for the federal government. Also, at wing-night (10 cents a piece) she has them cook the wings super, duper leather on bone so barely any meat is left. Now what is the point of that? Plus she orders too many to eat and then takes them home. But the jacket, now that is weird.

There is also Big Bear. This guy is just as weird. He has the driest humor, but he is one of the funniest people I know. He kind of looks like a big bear cub. I have yet to see him eat wings at wing-night, but then neither do I when I go. He always used to get 25 wings and a soda. He's been on a wingless diet lately from my sources.

And lastly with the 3 wingers, is Ranger Smith. Do you all know who Ranger Smith is? He is the ranger from Yogi Bear. Don't ask how I came up with this, but when I was passing the booth today I thought that was a good name for him. He is constantly calling the LE complaining about people driving around the wrong way. He is very observant though as he possibly observed the German visitors with an open container the other day. He often brings his wife to wing-night. And I think he especially likes the offerings that I hand out at the window.

I am sure as the time progresses along this summer, I will come up with more and more great stories of these characters. But I just have to say for all the times I have brought them goodies while passing through the booth, I have never been bought a beer at wing-night.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Going Away Party

A friend of mine got another job in another area. We used to work together when I worked at that area. I received word that the going away party was going to be on Tuesday. Perfect. Tuesday was a day off and Wednesday was another day off that would be used to recuperate from Tuesday. Last week sometime, Saturday if I remember right, I drove into another State to purchase some real alcohol for less than an arm and leg. For those of you that don't know anything about the State of Utah, the alcohol must be purchased from the State Liquor Store or it is only 3.2 alcohol. And when you purchase it from the State store you are paying 11.80 for a 6 pack. I bought the same beer in the other state for 13.00 for a 12 pack. Welcome to a state run by religion.

The party wasn't until 730pm on Tuesday and I knew if I arrived any earlier, it would just require me to drink more and begin earlier so I didn't leave for the 2 hour drive until about 4pm. I played a round of golf and watched a IFC film before heading out.

It is a drive I have done so many times that I could probably if legal do it blindfolded. It is a drive of absolute beauty with the scenery changing every 10 miles. Tuesday's drive had the addition of clouds a building and the desert lightning. There is no way to explain lightning in the desert except grand and breath taking. I listened to my XM radio comedy channel the entire way and laughed continuously.

I arrived around 6pm and by 630 the first cocktail of Malibu rum and pineapple juice was flowing into my veins. I brought that entire cooler of beer and drank one the entire time. You know the saying--liquor before beer, you are in the clear. Beer before liquor you are never fing sicker. I hadn't eaten all day so the buzz was going to come quickly. 1 hour until dinner was to be served. We started snacking as we were preparing everything. It wasn't going to help what would happen the rest of the night. Dinner was served and more drinks were consumed.

There are going away parties and then there are roastings. In my line of work, be prepared that you are going to be roasted. Be prepared for those stories 'what happened tonight stays here' to be told. Be prepared for your deepest secrets to come ripping out in the open. Just be prepared. JB really didn't get that roasted. Mostly because he is an unbelievable guy who minded his Ps and Qs whatever the hell those are. He had stated to someone that he was leaving the area to find a suitable girlfriend or wife so he was given a inflatable wife including fur handcuffs. They were hoping he would stay if they gave him the wife. No, he is California bound with surf board and everything.

I would say the party had about 25-30 people at it. A society of its own if you would say. Most of the people living in the provided housing projects. When there is food, there are people, and where there are people there is laughter. And JB provided us all with a great laugh that no one will ever forget and I will make sure I bring up at his next going away party. JB sat down on this white chair to have his dinner. I really didn't see the entire thing, except the aftermath of it. But from what I gathered he tipped back when he sat down and fell back which ultimately knocked over the food and the tiki torch (which was burning) which in succession caught the fence and the grass on fire. Hightower immediately sprang into action and put the fire out. One of the owners of the house was sitting inside where I was standing and said um, my fence is on fire.

ZZ Top brought the ever famous jello-shots. Once he brought moonshine to a party. It was strong enough to blow fire. Anyway, ZZ is famous for these jello-shots. It just happened when I was in that other state I saw ZZ in a store and asked him if he was going to make the shots. He said sure. They went quickly. I usually lose count of how many I suck down. And it is absolute peer pressure because when someone opens the cooler holding them, you hear 'throw one here, over here, right here'. It is a group thing. You never do one by yourself. Definitely not a closet drink. Then the screaming Os came out. I lost track of those as well. Then I moved into the milk, Kuala, and vodka. At one point, I looked down to find a beer in one hand and a drink in another.

Back around 730, I remember blowing up the air mattress I was going to sleep on that night. That was an important thing to do because then they could just roll me onto it after I passed out. I brought out the air mattress around 130am, possibly because time was irrelevant, and laid down. The house started spinning like it did in the Wizard of OZ. The foot on the ground stabled it. What is with that? I asked for a blanket and then another one. I remember showing Paul my mouse tattoo and then it was over. Sound asleep. I remember JB saying earlier in the night that he would call people around 11am tomorrow to see what was planned for the day. I rolled over at 11am and decided I needed a coke badly because I had this sickening taste in my mouth.

Good friends, good food, good conversation, good laughter and all just to say Good-Bye to a great friend! That is just how I want my funeral to be like. One big party.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

The Nest of Raptors

I gotta say I get paid good money for the stuff I get to do. The only sucky part is that I pay a 1/3 of my salary. Yes, I actually do. So I figure that 1/3 goes to the times that I am off hiking.

On Sunday, I headed out on the trusty 4x4 Road to pound my body to pieces, patrol the road, and mostly to check on the red-tail nest. Previously, I had spotted 4 birds on the nest, however; one might have been an adult. I parked the vehicle and started up the embankment. I could tell already that something was not kosher about the nest. Something was just not right. No, it was not. Most of the nest was laying below the original nest. There was one chick sitting on the ledge near the nest. The adult immediately came into play. I was going to have to get below the nest to check to see if others had perished. This was not going to be an easy task. I was informed by G-Baby that red-tails don't dive bomb like Coopers Hawks so I wasn't overly concerned. Well, I wasn't until I got within 50 yards of the fallen nest and was using binos to check it more thoroughly and heard the SWOOSH. Then felt the presence of the adult hovering in the air over me. Oh geez, here comes the beak into the top of the head image. I tried talked to the adult informing it I was there to learn, help, and everything else possible, but my words were not comforting in the least bit. I backed away and watched the chick and then the 2 adults for about an hour. Had the others fledged? I don't know, but I hope that is what happened to them.

Monday was just going to be the birds, lizards, and me plus any other wildlife, however; in the desert most wildlife does not come out until the night because of the heat factor. I understand why after Monday because it was a scorcher. I started about 0900 hours hiking out to the eagle nest. We had not seen a eaglet for some time there and were worried it had perished. I saw an eagle flying west as I was approaching, but was not sure if it was an adult or juvenile. Ever see an eagle's nest? They are huge and I suppose smell awful. Anyway, I found no sign of the bird below the nest. There is a crack directly below the nest so it is possible it could be there if it perished. But there were several areas underneath the nest I had to check and two of them would require climbing. It is amazing how much strength two fingertips get when one is hanging from a ledge. It is amazing how well your toes inside a pair of shoes grip a small ledge when there is no ledge to be seen. We tell visitors it is much easier to go up then come down on the sandstone. I have to agree with that statement. As I kept climbing higher and higher, I kept thinking how the hell will I be getting down. I got down in one piece. As I was walking back to the vehicle, I heard a raven called out and looked towards that direction. The shadow I was seeing across the rocks was definitely not a raven. It was an eagle who was being tormented by the raven. It was enormous as it flew directly over me in constant battle with the raven. Sometimes flying upside down trying to get the raven away. Unfortunately it landed where I couldn't see it any longer and unfortunately it was an adult.

As I was walking back I found a bottle probably dated from 1913 from the Norwich Company. You will know them more by the name Pepto-Bismol. I have always wanted to find a bottle fully intact. It even still had the cap to it. The other thing I always wanted to find was antlers and I found some later in the day as well.

I drove down to the nest area and then started hiking. The time was now 1100 hours and the heat was hot. The shade is your biggest friend in the desert. Many people don't believe that. I have been told the shade I was standing in was 102 degrees, but the rocks just below me were 130 degrees. Any opportunity to get into the shade is a must. I stopped to rest and pulled out my lunch. A wonderful burrito from Banditos. Best Mexican food in the world. I know that is pushing it, but it is darn good. I topped out and looked over Eagle Park below me. It was beautifully calm and quiet. And then the ever noise of the ravens. I then saw a red-tail flying near them and figured the adult would be back at the nest as soon as I arrived. The last time at this nest I sat 50 yards away underneath a tree and watched her. She didn't have any chicks so she wasn't concerned about my presence. And when I arrived and she didn't return I suspected we had lost our chicks of this nest. I walked behind a fin and came upon the first chick. Badly decomposed and smelling good enough to make me gag. And the only thought that came to mind was how will I ever deal with a dead body if I need to. The second chick wasn't as badly decomposed. I could make out a lot more of the features like the white mohawk. Poor souls. I snapped a few pictures, measured them, and gagged myself out of the area.

It was a quiet trip back to the vehicle. The only thought through my head was there is a coke on ice waiting at that vehicle. I was draining the water pretty good because of the heat, but that coke quenched my thirst so much more.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Golf-Who invented the game?

Back in the days of Private Investigating, I had to work a case about a lesbian golfing relationship. She was supposed cheating with a woman who owned this golf shop. I ended up purchasing a set of clubs. And no, the company didn't pay for them. But I got into golfing sort of.

The game sucks. Well, today the game sucked. Last week on nine holes I shot a 48. My dad said was that PGA rules. Well no, it was Sara's rules and best ball play. I play by myself most of the time and usually hit 2-3 balls off the tee. Whichever is the best hit, I play that ball. It isn't like I am going for the championship. I am playing for the heck of playing. You know PT time.

Today I played 18 and drove the cart. Usually I walk it because you can't call it PT time and drive a cart. Heck, technically we aren't supposed to call it PT at all, but two of us do. JOKING. I played alone as usual. And today, I sucked ass. If it was a par 3, I got a 6. If it was a par 4, I got a 6. If it was a par 5, I got a 6. Scary--666. Oh well, I was just out there for relaxation and fun. Whoever decided golf was for relaxation was an idiot. It is one of the most frustrating games. The point of PT time is to do an activity that keeps your heartrate up. Hello, like golf isn't keeping the heartrate above the normal?

The course's advertisement is "beautiful scenery on every hole". I try to use that as my relaxation technique. Today is was only half working. I will agree though that the views are spectacular. On Hole 14 if you know where to look in the distance you will see some rock art. Every hole has at least one rabbit, squirrel, and chipmunk running around, lounging in the shade, or whatever else they do. The other day, I watched a rabbit go from one side of the course to the other, come close to another rabbit, and then return to the other side. Ok, that was weird. I find myself frequently talking to the animals mostly because we have invaded their space. I tell the rabbit laying in between the tees that I will just be a moment and if he could wait over in the shade at the other end, he can have his space back shortly. It was scary when he went to that shady part and waited. I didn't look back to see if he had return to lounging between the tees because I was cussing the balls. I saw a deer on hole 8 today. There were frogs and bullfrogs. And I saw a handicap squirrel. I kid you not. This thing had no use of its hind legs. It was the most amazing sight really.

This course has another feature that I truly believes sucks! The course is surrounded by the desert. And I will be the first to say that it is beautiful. However, it sucks up balls like crazy. I think the club house makes more money off of ball purchases than green fees. Anyway, I lost two balls today. I watched exactly where it went. I mean exactly. I searched the area for a while and couldn't find it. I truly believe that if you dig up some of the chipmunk holes, you will find many, many golf balls. I did find a couple of the balls that I hit into the rough, but all in all I lost two today. And that was a low day.

The other feature on the course that sucks is the trees. You watch Tiger on TV hit through trees and put it right on the green. Not Utah trees. I have yet to hit through a tree. I also think this is part of the squirrel conspiracy. You often see the chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits huddled together in one area. They are conspiring something. Anyway, I hit the ball and see it going toward the tree. I just start walking toward the tree because I know it isn't going through. Sure enough--WACK! And down it falls behind the trunk. Just smile. This game is relaxing, right.

I have never had a golf lesson in my life. I am naturally athletic and just am able to hit the ball straight most of the time. I am really out there for fun. However, my consistency drives me, wait my inconsistency, drives me insane. As I said earlier, I shot a 48 the other day. Today, I won't even tell you my score, but if you multiply 6X9, it isn't a pretty score. I will say I parred a few holes on the back 9 though. So lets just use an example, I am on Hole 16. I hit a beautiful first shot and then get a 6 of course. Hole 17, I feel I do the same damn thing with regard to grip, position, etc. and the shot goes all wacko. Ok, ok. I know obviously I didn't do exactly the same thing. One time I will put a beautiful shot on the green using a 7 iron. I feel that I am the same distance from the green on the next hole so I pull out that trusty 7 iron and land short. My putting sucks no matter what day. Primarily because I get up there and hit the ball. Never goes where I am aiming, which I know, I know, means I probably wasn't really aiming there. I guess in time and with practice, I will become more consistent, but I feel like I should already be there.

I will be out there tomorrow again most likely after purchasing another $10 package of balls from the club. I think I will walk tomorrow though because I seem to take more time on my shots. I will post a comment of my possible score. Have a good weekend folks.

Thursday Golf Update
The game was on today folks. I was hitting unbelievable shots and then putting like usual. I found my niche for hitting the ball into the air so it is no longer a wormer screwer like my dad calls it. The inconsistency is still there. The short game and green game still suck, but I knocked down the 6s today. I parred a hole. I keep a running total on the same score card to mark my progress. Today's scores looked much better than two weeks ago. I did have a couple crappy holes, but all in all it was a great day.

I had to play quick because I had to pick up someone at 1pm. I teed off behind a two-some using a cart. I was walking today which I think helps my game more. I caught them at hole 2. As I walked up to their cart, they had already teed off, but found it necessary to let me play through. In the typical redneck, back desert Utah talk, one of them says:

Redneck: How we doing?

In my typical smartass talk: I don't know, how are you doing?

Think that is when they decided it was a good idea to let me play through. I shanked it into the desert and lost the first of 5 balls. While kind of looking for that ball, I saw a leopard lizard with a speed lizard in its mouth. Pretty cool actually. On hole 4, I normally come up short, but today I lost the second ball as it flew over the back of the green and disappeared. The next 3 balls went into the drink at hole 8, but while waiting for the senior men to tee off of 9, I walked around the pond and found 9 balls right near the edge. I parred hole 9. So it definitely turned out a great day.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Attacked by WNV

Yesterday G-Baby wanted me to hiked up the wash to check out a nest of a Coopers Hawk. I get paid an hour of work to do physical training so I got up early and took my PT time hiking up the wash. Well, when 8AM rolled around I was at work still in the wash. That was the plan. The plan was to go early to beat the heat considering I am probably still having symptoms of the dehydration.


I don't know why I didn't think of this beforehand, but I didn't. Hello, I was hiking in a wash that contained water, which you would think I would think there might be some mosquitos. Some? A zillion of them.

They were swarming me as I hiked through the overgrown area. I finally stopped to put on the OFF with DEET (so you develop symptoms later of some disease). It was a battle getting that on as they swarmed around me. I didn't put any on my face just because but later I would apply some to the face because I was getting eating alive.

Important note when applying---make sure you aren't spraying it directly on the nozzle of your bladder tube. Why? Because it doesn't taste all that great when you take your next suck of water. Heck, I already have an issue drinking water, I don't need any more help in not drinking it.

After hitting the dry area, the deer flies took over for the mosquitos. They hurt worse than the mosquitos, however; I don't think the deer flies carries the West Nile Virus.

We have been having some trouble with cows getting into our area which is not allowed. I thought I had heard one this morning and when I heard they were dealing with more along the highway, I contacted Opie and told him what I heard. I tried to warn him not to come into the wash, but he had already started up. He radioed later saying he was leaving the area and I said I was coming down.

But then I felt the swarm again. And then I felt myself lift off the ground and start floating in the air. No, the dehydration wasn't getting to me again, the mosquitos where carrying me away. Ok, not really, but it felt like it.

I think I made it out without any major bites, however; I still feel like they are surrounding me, sucking my blood, and leaving me with marks all over. Yea, yea...I know, I know...drink more water because it will help with my altered mental status. Oh yea, I saw a coopers, but not the nest. Another day in the heat without the mosquitos.

End note: Remember D-Day! Although it was 60 years ago, there are still those veterans that are living because they were 18 and probably younger. And all I can say is THANK YOU

Saturday, June 05, 2004

The Desert Heat Part II

Friday morning was not a pleasant one for me. My morning started at 330 AM. I was laying in bed thinking any minute now I am going to get sick. I finally felt it coming and walked into the bathroom. I remember hugging John tightly and that is the last thing I really remember. I woke up and opened my eyes to view the side of the toilet. I had obviously passed out. I got up and decided some water was in order. I poured the water into the mason jar and carried it into the bedroom. I grabbed a pillow off the bed and then placed it next to the toilet. I was sure I would end up there again. According to the clock, I believe I was out in LA LA land for at least 30 minutes.

I downed some water too quickly obviously because I almost didn't make it into the bathroom this time to lose it all into the toilet. I remember spitting into the toilet. I woke up some time later laying on the pillow comfortably, but having weird dreams. I sat up and immediately dispensed the water into the toilet. I sat back against the wall and thought please don't let me dry-heave all day, I can't handle sleeping in the bathroom all day. Today, my jaw hurts so obviously in one of the passing out phases I bumped it.

I called a coworker's voicemail and asked to please check on me around 10 since I had already passed out twice. Side note: this is normal for me to pass out when I throw up. The doctor said so. At approximately 6am I called two other coworkers and told them I wouldn't be in, but if it was an emergency (some carry out), give me a ring (well page since my phone has been out forever) and I would come do my best.

I moved myself to the couch and set up sick camp. Water, book, phone, pager, etc. I read and slept on and off for a little while. At 8ish, I braved the outside world and made a trip into town for gatorade, 7-up, and two crossiants. I was able to get the crossiants down without them coming back up, the gatorade tasted so good, and I never got to the 7-up. Around 11am, I took a shower and decided I couldn't lay around anymore and braved the work atmosphere. I didn't think I would last very long, which I didn't, so I didn't even get dressed in uniform. We are in the process of moving offices so I helped the best I could there. Back and forth between buildings and my residence in the heat was not helping the situation.

BF called. He didn't give me the lecture he usually does about drinking water. He figured I had been suffering enough. I said G-Baby wanted me to go get an IV. He said I hope you do and it hurts. He didn't mean it in a hurtful way, but more of may be you will learn your lesson way.

I went back to work and shuffled papers on my desk. This wasn't working so I went back to my residence where the swamper wasn't working either, but I stayed put. I laid down in the bed and slept on and off between the telephone ringing and the construction pounding away. I made it through the day without craving the coke (coke cola that is) and today I have vowed to drinking nothing but water. I have been vowing that for sometime now so wish me luck.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

The Desert Heat melts, fries, destroys, and sometimes kills

I live in the desert. I primarily have lived there my entire life except for the few years I went to college in the mountains. My dad will say that I spent most of my time on the mountain skiing going by my GPA, which is primarily true, but oh well. I got that degree I will never use. Anyway, this is about the desert.

Today was hot. I sometimes enjoy the heat. I grew up in a town of temperatures that exceeded the index every day in the summer. I enjoyed the heat. I still enjoy it. I am usually in a jacket when it is 80 degrees. Today's temperature was 94 degrees. I was drinking water like it was going out of style which is quite rare for me to do.

Part of my job is to conduct surveys at various trailheads within our area. Sometimes it is long, sucky, and boring. During the summer months, I have to get 50 a day. Little to say, I didn't get them today. Depending on the location, I often take a book to read. Usually it is a book related to work things, but I am almost finished with my personal book so I was reading that. Did I say how dang hot it was---let me repeat 94 degrees. That is 34 in Celsius. Either way HOT.

If I was a man, I would be less than a man after sitting there sweating half the day. I smell wonderful. So I am reading my book. I turn the page and the page falls out. I continue reading. Turn another page, it falls out. It was so dang hot today that it melted the glue of the binder of my book. I kept reading. I need to finish this book. It has been one dragging on and on. I was going to donate it but it will go in the trash (recycle bin) after I finish it tonight. Last year, my entire Geology book fell apart. Yea, yea, I know better to read those books out there with the heat, but I need something to do while waiting. Do they make glueless binders? I wish!

I moved to my hometown when I was 1 years old. We came from the midwest and in the first winter we were still swimming in the pool while all my sibling's friends thought we were crazy. The following year we didn't swim in the winter because we had become wimps and beach children. How hot was my hometown? Last year it hit 130 degrees. Yep, beat its other record of 128. That isn't normal, but we survived.

In that state, you don't purchase dark vehicles because it just gets too damn hot to touch anything inside. You go from A/C house to A/C car to A/C building. It is hot in the summer. How hot? The blacktop is hot enough to fry an egg in a frying pan. You think I am joking, but I am not.

When I was going to college in the mountains, my brother called and said we are coming to visit this weekend. I was living in my dad's condo at the time so I couldn't very well say no. What I said is why are you coming? He said he had called time and temp at 3:00 AM (that is the time he goes to work) and it was already 115 degrees. 115 at 3:00 AM is just crazy. I said come on up!

You don't leave soda or pop cans unopened, cd/cassettes or anything that would melt in a microwave in your vehicle because it will explode or melt. Each morning you lather yourself up with 900 SPF sunscreen or plan a future trip to the doctor to have skin cancer removed. Of course when we were growing up, my family used to cover themselves in vegetable oil. But we soon learned that we didn't want to look like a leather bag.

I hope you don't think that I am complaining about the heat. Give me 100 degrees over 65 degrees anytime. I don't think I have blood left in the my veins because I would prefer to hibernate during the winter months. The cold just makes me whine, bitch, and complain.

Welcome to the summer heat of the desert because this heat will cause some great stories come the rest of the summer thanks to ill prepared visitors.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

"Around The Next Corner" Often Gets Me in Trouble

I went hiking alone today. Primarily because my crazier than me hiking partner (aka: boyfriend, further referred to as BF because it could mean various names) has been gone for forever in a day. So I am going to talk about that real quick before jumping into today's adventure. BF has been in another state for about 3 weeks now. His mom has had a terminal illness. He has sat there and watched her get weaker and weaker until he finally heard her take her last breath. Rest in Peace BF's mom!!! But it made me start to think about death and I don't think I could sit around and watch a loved one perish like that. It also made me reaffirm my belief there is not a higher being and that Jack Kevorikian should be receiving awards not jail time. Enough said.

I woke up this morning before being woken up. I am living in a construction zone and would rather wake up to talk radio than BEEP BEEP BEEP. My phone has been broken all weekend so I went to the office to check the email. Just want to thank Jeremy for his help on my Blogpage. I left a voicemail with my boss--hey heading up to # Canyon for the day. If not home tomorrow morning, send out the troops. I drove up the road and gassed up. $40.00 later I was on the road. It was a short drive.

The night before I had a discussion with my BF regarding the canyon. He said I would be hiking up canyon and I stated that didn't make sense to me because the canyon flowed down and across the highway. Guess who was right? Well, never mind because you know I am not going to admit that I was wrong.

I parked my overpriced, over mileaged SUV and headed UP the canyon. Supposedly there are some great rock art panels in the canyon. I saw two different rock art sites and they weren't anything I would rave about. The hike was great even though most of it was in soft sand. I hiked all the way to the end of the canyon. Well, not really the end, but I couldn't climb up any further. The crazy thing was here was this pour off and a ton of pine cones, but not one pine tree anywhere to be seen. I found another pour off later that had the same thing with regard to the pine cones.

I would not see another person the entire time and that is one of the things that I enjoy, but it also makes me nervous because what if something had happened. Oh well, nothing did. Anyway, it was just me, the birds, the kangaroo mouse, the lizards, the falcon (yes a bird), nature, and the planes. What the planes? Well, there is an airport nearby and many people hire planes to fly over the area. Why they do this I am not sure? I am sure that the view is great from the air, but getting down in the dirt, the poison ivy, and the water lets you smell, taste, feel, and hear everything else. But heck, stay in the planes and away from me.

While hiking up to the end, I had looked up into an alcove and there appeared to be some rock art. So after hiking up to the end, I returned to the area. After climbing up to the alcove and realizing it wasn't rock art, I also realized that the Indians wouldn't have chosen this place to live because it would be a pain in the rear to climb it every day. I also realized that I really didn't know which rocks would stay when I stepped down on them because I caused at least 3 rock slides.

Things are weird when I am out there alone. I hear the wind before it even hits me. And sometimes it never hits me. Weird. Today, I walked into this grove of cottonwoods and the leaves were rustling with music, but there was no breeze anywhere to be felt on my hot body. I just thought UM? Weird.

After hiking the main canyon, I decided I would check out a side canyon. Why? Well, for one I hadn't found those great rock art panels. Two, it was my day off and I didn't have anything else to do with my telephone broken and I was sick of playing 900 games of freecell. And that side canyon would be where Around the Next Corner would get me kind of in trouble.

I hiked up the canyon and then I saw another huge alcove. I mean there had to be something behind all those rocks. An arch site or rock art. There just hand to be. So I hiked up there skirting all the poison ivy the best I could and looked over the edge. Guess what was there? Yeppers nothing. However, in climbing up there I could see around the next corner and that corner looked promising.

So I started down what I had just climbed up but in a different area. I walked through something that stuck into my shoes, socks, and legs. So I spent the next ten minutes getting out the stickers. I would have to do this about three more times. And I never could figure out what I had been through. I had come to a ledge and was now going to have to down climb it. It looked doable. Looked like some good foot holds and finger holds. Of course, I didn't factor in that the rocks weren't really attached all that well. But luckily I had on my conspiracy store (REI) shoes that were waterproof as long as they didn't get wet. I haven't been able to wear them for quite a while because of the toe so the soles are perfect grippers. I barely slipped and of that was only 5 feet. I continued on...

While I am out hiking, I have two voices (these are different from the other voices I hear) that rule my hiking. One is obviously the voice of reason. This one tells me to drink water, sit down and rest, eat something, drink water, drink water, drink water, do you think that is smart to climb up there, drink water, etc. The other voice is the one that normally overrides reason. This is the one that says keep going because you have a lot to see, water is overrated, that route is climbable, you know stupid things like that.

The water was running in the bottom of the canyon, but not a lot of it. As long as the water didn't go over the tops of my shoes, they were waterproof. But to get to the next corner, I had to skirt through some serious poison ivy. I am not festering and blistering and itching so I am pretty sure I don't have it. I just kept thinking, what if I have it and pick my nose and then is it going to be in my nose. Such deep thoughts when I am hiking. What I was working towards was this hole in another alcove. All I could think of was 'my BF has either rappelled down it or is going to want to when I tell him about it'. It would be cool. But once I got there, I decided I needed to see what was around the next corner. Once again, through the poison ivy, up over rocks, scrambling up loose rocks, and up to that corner. And guess what...there was another corner. I decided that was the last corner and turned back towards the hole I was after. Once again I went through those dang stickers and had to sit down and get them out again. I wish I had my digital (coming soon says the camera store) because the hole was really great. I decided it was time to start back.

The reason the corner thing gets me in trouble is because I keep going and going, not drinking or eating, and then I am ready to die when I have to hike back to the vehicle. There was zero shade hiking back and the sun was out bright. I am actually sunburned. I made it back to the vehicle and guess what I wanted more than anything. Yeppers, a coke! And I thought I could wait until I returned back to town, but I had to stop at the Shell and get a life line. AHHHH! I got back in town and called the boss to tell her I made it back alive.

I am trying to decide if I should hike tomorrow or just take it easy because my toe is just killing me. I'll hike!