Saturday, August 27, 2011

On the Road Again (Part 3)

We decided to return to driving for our Colorado vacation this year.  Durango is the closest airport but airfare for the two of us was going to be what we thought was exorbitant. We could have flown into Colorado Springs but that would have meant renting a car and driving at least 5 hours each way, which was more expense and meant time in the car anyway. So, a 17 hour drive it was. Our normal long-range drive M.O. is to split up the trip on the way out and do a full-on, non-stop run for home on the way back. This trip was no exception.

The best place to stop for the night on the way out was Albuquerque, which just so happens to be home to a friend of mine from junior high. She and I have reconnected on Facebook in the last couple of years. We weren't close friends back in the day; we were in athletics, choir, and some classes together but didn't pal around together outside of school. It's funny how time changes our interactions, though. Some of the people I interact with the most on Facebook are people that I didn't know all that well back in the day. 

Once she knew we would be coming through town, she offered to put us up for the night. The thing about seeing people after a long absence is that you don't really know whether even a remnant of the connection that you had back then still exists. Added to that uncertainty, I knew we'd be coming in late and would most likely be super cranky grub monsters from our long car ride, so I suggested that we meet for breakfast the next morning before we headed north to Colorado. My friend offered up her husband's fantastic blueberry pancakes. We set a time for our arrival and all parties involved had the guaranteed exit strategy of the Intertia's need to be in Ouray to check in to our rental house, should one of us discover that the other has morphed into some kind of crazed superfreak in the intervening years. 

Suffice it to say, we had an absolutely wonderful visit.  My friend is, in every way that I could see, still that sweet person I knew back in 1984. Her husband and son were absolutely delightful. (Unfortunately, we didn't get to meet her daughter, who wasn't at home.) We talked and laughed and got reacquainted (or in the case of the spouses, got acquainted) and totally blew our exit strategy out of the water.  My friend and her family may have been thinking, "Why won't these people leave?!" but I never got that feeling and we could have stayed all day.  I look forward to seeing them again sometime soon.

Our return trip was a little like Smokey and the Bandit.  We left Ouray at 4:15 am MDT and arrived at our house at 10:15 pm CDT. We saw the sun come up and go down. We stopped for gas and bathroom breaks and little else. It was a very long 17 hours in the Jeep but what a great trip.  Couldn't have asked for more.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

On the Road Again (Part 2)

The second point for our vacation itinerary was near Mancos in the Southwestern part of the state.  It's the Jersey Jim Lookout--a decomissioned U.S. Forest Service fire tower. It's 55 feet tall with no running water or electricity, and a bathroom at the bottom of the tower. Run by a non-profit group, it's available for one or two night rentals from mid-May through mid-October. It looks something like this:

This wasn't our first rodeo. We had been there five or six years ago and really loved the experience. Admittedly, it isn't for everyone.  Between the height, the stair climbing, and the lack of amenities many people wouldn't consider it for a part of their vacation experience. The Ritz, it ain't. But oh, the view.  You've got a 360 degree view of some beautiful country with stupendous sunsets.

Without the city lights, the stars are absolutely brilliant. The first night, I awakened at 3:30 am and really had to go to the bathroom. I tried to roll over and go to sleep, but nature was calling too urgently. I got up, put on some shoes and a jacket, grabbed the flashlight and headed down the stairs. Once I got to the bottom and looked up, I could see a million stars and the Milky Way was truly a haze of starlight spanning the width of the sky.

Our second day there we decided to hike the Sharkstooth Pass trail, which is just to the left of the peaks in the second picture above. It was a two mile hike that ended at 12,000 feet at the top of the pass. It was a great hike with wildflowers, marmot sightings, and a birds eye view of two valleys. Here is one of my favorite pictures from the trip. Sharkstooth Peak is in the background.

My next post will describe our time in the Jeep as well as our visit with a former schoolmate that I hadn't seen since 1984. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

On the Road Again (Part 1)

TLS and I have been sweltering here in Texas (along with about 25 million of our closest friends). Add to that the fact that we only took a stay-cation last year, and we were quite ready to get outta town for a real, honest-to-God vacation this year.  I have a theory about people: you are either a mountain person or a beach person. You can appreciate the beauty of your "opposite" place, but for absolute soul nurturing, it's gotta be one or the other. I, for one, am a mountain person. There is something about the views and the crisp mountain air that refreshes me like no place else.  I spent many vacations of my childhood in the mountains of Colorado and had introduced TLS to the central mountains of Colorado.  It had been several years since we'd been there, having gone to Yellowstone and northern Michigan on our last two vacations and I thought it might be nice to branch out to a new area of Colorado. I'd heard great things about Ouray, so I found a rental house right on a creek and booked a week there.

I guess there's only one word that describes my reaction to the area around the Ouray: WOW.  The peaks around there and Telluride (about a 30 minute drive west) are just spectacular. They are just "peak-ier"--sharper and more rugged. It's an area with a wide assortment of hiking trails. Our second day in town, we were looking at books on off-road trails in the local bookstore.  The scene went something like this:

TLS:  There's a trail called The Devil's Punchbowl.  It's a moderate trail. No wait, it's extreme.
Me:  (laughing) Yeah, anything called The Devil's Punchbowl has got to be extreme.
Woman seated nearby deciding on books to purchase:  (laughing)  I'd agree with that.
Me: Oh, I see you have In the Woods. I read that this year and it was wonderful.
Woman: Oh, thanks for the recommendation.

Everyone goes back to doing what they were doing.

Woman (getting up to make her puchase): Are you guys also going to be hiking while you're here?
Us:  Yes.
Woman:  I went on a hike to Blue Lakes today and they are just amazing.  Are you from around here?
Us: No, near Dallas.
Woman:  Oh, well, the lower lake hike isn't too bad. The first part is steep but as long as you take enough water and take your time, you should be fine.
Us: Thanks!

We ended up taking her suggestion later in the week and I'm certainly glad we did. Although, dang, she was definitely NOT kidding about the first part being steep. I said at one point to TLS, "It's probably not a good sign when you can feel your heart beat."  Kudos, Woman seated nearby deciding on books to purchase.  It's because of you that we were able to see this:

Next post, I'll talk about our second destination where we stayed in an old Forest Service fire tower.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Another Good Book

I just finished reading A Good Hard Look by Ann NapolitanoLoved it.  The author took the famous author Flannery O'Connor and her hometown of Milledgeville, Georgia and crafted a fictionalized story of love and loss on top of them.  A couple of plot points flirted with melodrama and cliche, but Ms. Napolitano's beautiful prose made them rise above the ordinary. I have a feeling that I'll be thinking about this one for days, wondering what the characters did after the end of the novel. Someone in Hollywood will want to make this into a movie and I admit that I'll most likely end up buying a ticket. And bringing a hankey.

Friday, July 29, 2011

I'm Not Crying. I Just Have Something in my Eye.

One of my favorite blogs is A List of Things Thrown Five Minutes Ago.  It's kind of difficult to classify their niche but it is mostly pop culture, baseball, and the absurd. (I know. I said it was difficult to classify. And I'm really not doing it justice. Check it out.) They had a post this week about movies that can reliably make people cry. Researchers determined in the late '80's that the scene where the father dies in the movie The Champ is the most tear-inducing.  ALOTT5MA asked which movies made in the interim were as or more sad. 

I'm going to admit upfront that I'm a crier.  I get choked up at books, movies, and even commercials. Does anyone remember the Polaroid commercial with the two brothers (cousins?) running around at a family reunion taking pictures of everyone that they ultimately use to make a photo collage for their elderly grandfather? That one always reduced me to tears.  There are several movies that are guaranteed to make me cry.

They are (in no particular order and I'm going to issue a blanket spoiler alert warning right now):

Steel Magnolias
(Two scenes) When they turn off the Shelby's life support machine and M'Lynn sits with her daughter while she passes away and the scene in the cemetary when M'Lynn loses it after looking at her "brown, football helmet hair" make me blubber like a baby. 

Lars and the Real Girl (a small, underappreciated film - check it out)
Bianca's funeral.  When I saw it in the theater, I sat between two of my friends. I started to cry but had no idea whether they were even enjoying the movie, so I just leaned back and let the tears slide off the sides of my face. I then saw one of my friends reach up to wipe away the tears and heard the other start sniffing.  When the movie was over, my friend D said, "I can't believe they made me cry over a plastic woman!" And that, my friends, is the whole point of this quiet little movie.

Toy Story 3
The scene in the incinerator when all the toys accept their fate and hold hands to wait for the end brings tears to my eyes.  I knew the first time I watched this movie that Pixar wasn't going to kill off those sweet little toys, but it was still suspenseful and oh so sad.  I also get choked up at the end when Andy is going off to college and he gives all his toys to his mother's friend's little girl. So sweet and so emotional.

Pixar has the keys to my heartstrings.  The five minute "scenes from a marriage" montage at the beginning of the movie so wonderfully captures a lifetime of happy marriage without any dialog. It is absolutely brilliant but the portion where they start to plan for a baby, go to the doctor who shakes his head, Ellie ends up in the backyard just sitting and staring, and Carl goes out to comfort her has special meaning to me because of our trials with infertility. By the time Ellie dies before they can live their dream of going to South America, I'm a basket case. The interesting thing is that Up has been in heavy rotation on one of the movie channels and I always watch (I know, I know, I'm a glutton for punishment). I call TLS "the tin man" because he likes to act like he doesn't have a heart, but he totally does. I had no idea that he was as affected by that montage until I was watching it one afternoon just as the scene was about to start.  He was walking through, glanced at the TV, shielded his eyes with one of his hands, and said, "Oh no, the sad part is coming on."

Out of Africa (my all-time favorite movie)
The very end of the movie is a shot of a pair of lions lying on the patch of ground where Denys Finch-Hatton is buried. There's a haunting voice-over by Meryl Streep describing the scene that says, "Denys would like that. I shall have to remember to tell him."  Those damn lions on the grave get me every.single.time.  And still I watch it again and again. 

Does anyone else have movies that always make them cry?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Things We Think But Often Do Not Say

I actually started this post back in 2008.  I guess I just had to let the idea marinate for a few years.


I read an article yesterday about a US Army Major (Andrew Olmstead) who was an avid blogger and was, unfortunately, killed in Iraq earlier this month. He had written a post to be published in the event of his death. His last post manages to be erudite, funny and touching. I wish I had been reading his stuff sooner (and under better circumstances) and it makes me think that we could have been friends if we'd happened to live/work/be in the same place. Anyone that quotes Team America--World Police, The Princess Bride, and Plato is someone I can hang with. Here's the link if you're interested in reading it.
My interest here is not to get into a political or polemic discussion about the war in Iraq. Everyone has his or her opinion, to which he or she is more than entitled. But it seems to me that the majority of the time, despite discussion, people's minds or opinions aren't changed and everyone just ends up being irritated.

What struck me most about the idea of a "Last Post" is that the things that are most likely to be included are things that really should be said while you are still alive. I have no doubt Major Olmstead expressed his sentiments to his wife and family prior to his death and that he only used his blog as a public forum for them, but it inspired me to be more mindful of telling the people around me how greatful I am to have them in my life. And since I have a (potential) world audience, I'd like to do some expressing of my own.

I have said before that TLS is one of the best things to happen to me and I mean that with all of my heart.  He is smart, funny, kind, and generous to a fault. He'll happily give you the shirt off his back, help you build a fence, and give you a killer gift for a special occasion. He's a friend to animals, has an amazingly quick wit, keeps our household in good running order, and does the difficult but necessary deeds that seem to be beyond my ability to bear. He makes me laugh--daily. And he ain't hard on the eyes, either. We've laughed and cried our way through almost 20 years together and I cannot wait to see what the next 20+ has to offer.

An Actual Conversation at Casa Inertia

Feeling nostalgic for blogging, I've scoured my planner for my password, which I had completely forgotten, and used it to log on.  I'm looking at the dashboard and contemplating whether or not I want to actually post something.

TLS: (walking through the kitchen, glancing at my laptop) Whatcha doing?  Oh, The Misadventures of Inertia Girl.  Are you resurrecting her?

Me:  Maybe. Thinkin' about it.

TLS:  Do you want me to start writing for you?  I have some time on my hands.

Me:  I think I might pay money for you to guest blog.

TLS: (walking away) ...laughter...

And ... scene.

We'll see whether I can come up with enough material on my own or if I need to put TLS on the payroll. One day (or post) at a time.  And in the meantime, I've changed the template to mix things up a bit.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

So what's been up with you?

I knew it had been a long time since my last post--mostly because I had completely forgotten my Blogger password--but had no idea it has been over a year.  Of course, there really aren't too many things that are different from June 2009. Still in grad school (with this being my last semester of course work, thank the lord), still happily married to TLS, still refusing change unless it is forced upon me.  Yup, same ol', same ol'.

That being said, I have started a new job.  What, you might ask, brought this on?  Well, the prior job had become almost unbearable. Not because of the people (who were great) but because of oppressive management and a general boredom on my part. But me being me, I didn't set out to make a change. I just sat back and let it come to me.  And, almost magically, it did.  A couple of former co-workers contacted me and said that their company was looking for an administrative person and asked if I was interested.  I initially told them that I wasn't looking to make a change because I was getting close to graduation and it wasn't in my new chosen field.  They continued to woo me and we ultimately came to realize that their administrative needs included information needs that I was pretty uniquely qualified to provide.  It has really been a win-win situation.  I guess it just goes to show that inertia does have its upsides--occasionally.

It's good to be back in the blogging world and I hope to be a much more frequent poster, which is really not a very high bar to set for myself!