Archive for June, 2019

Moab – April 18

So long Salt Lake City, you seemed nice, but we’re not here for the city, we’re here for the better stuff.

While planning this trip, all I kept hearing and reading was that it was going to be near impossible to get into Arches National Park….it was high season, it was Spring Break, it was the week leading up to Easter. So basically, don’t make any plans that hinged on getting into Arches. So we didn’t. But we did figure that since we’d be passing right by the entrance on the way into Moab, we’d take a look. And if the line wasn’t too bad, we’d go for it.

THERE WAS NO LINE!

In fact, people were streaming out of the park!

Neither of us really had any idea what to expect beyond arches in general. So we thought we’d wet our feet with a 2 mile out and back hike on the Park Avenue trail; and what a introduction to Arches! It was gorgeous, and lovely and so unlike any other place we’d ever been. Huge slabs of red rock and off in the distance snow-capped mountains.

Next Up: Balanced Rock. Yes I know you’ve seen billions of photos, big deal it’s a rock balanced on another rock. But A. it’s right off the road B. there’s a virtual geocache and really C. it is cool. I will say that even this early in the tour of National Parks, I ready to do some full body tackling of the jackasses who blatantly ignored the signs to stay off the damn rocks and stay on the trail.

Onward to Delicate Arch viewing area. It was HOT. And we weren’t sure how much else we’d be able to see – all those warnings about no place to park! – so we thought we’d check it out from afar first. But before that, a parking lot snack, on the sidewalk in front of the car while ravens eyeballed us and waited for us to spill. Also, time to switch to shorts.

After checking out Delicate Arch from afar, Chad suggested we head out to Landscape Arch instead of hiking out to Delicate Arch, since we had technically seen it. And you couldn’t see Landscape Arch unless you walked out to it.

So, just to let you know, walking on sand is terrible. And there is a lot of sand in Utah. A LOT. Anyway.

You wouldn’t think anything quite so large as Landscape Arch could visually sneak up on a person. You would be wrong! Or at least in my case, it snuck up on me. Behind the arch is a rock wall, so as we approached there wasn’t the telltale bit of sky or light coming through the arch, it was visually deceptive. Until it was extremely obviously just there!

What is even more crazy, is that until 1991 you could just pretty as you please walk right up to it and hang out under it. Which is what was going on when some folks thought they heard thunder…until they noticed some small rocks falling and then a huge slab broke free! Needless to say, you have to keep your distance a little bit now.

Because it was so long, it was really difficult to get a good photo, which is pretty much why we go see these things for ourselves. This was clearly a trip where the photos we took were going to be used to jog our memory, more than memorialize what we were seeing.

It was starting to approach dusk and honestly the last thing I wanted to do was to try to set up our ultra light tent, that was had not used since our trip to Colorado several years prior, at civil twilight. We’d booked a little campground in downtown Moab – yes, downtown by a creek – called Up The Creek Campground. It was quite nice and the price was right!

What we discovered as we unfurled the tent and set up camp, was that we’d clearly never cleaned the tent properly cleaned the tent post-Colorado. As if we needed a head start on the sand collection!

I see that I failed to mention one important thing about Moab and our timing. It was Easter Jeep Safari Week (not to be confused with Discount Lion Safari). Which for some reason had escaped my noticed when I went into vacation triage mode and arranged the logistics of this trip. It certainly makes sense about the accommodations being difficult to find and insanely expensive – please see our decision to camp in Moab.

There were literally Jeeps EVERYWHERE. All shapes, makes, models, sizes. Sock. Lifted. Modified. Crazy modified that you couldn’t really tell it had been a Jeep. Falling apart (pretty sure that Willys was a legit WWII relic and it looked in about the same condition as the one we saw in Cambodia). Brand New.

As if I wasn’t overstimulated enough having gotten into Arches at first go and now here I was surrounded by Jeeps. Be still my heart. 

Clickity click on the thumbnails to see more photos in big form!

chris on June 23rd 2019 in Family, Geocaching, Travel

Blackadder – the costume(s)

In 2000 I made Chad an Elizabethan costume. It was based on the BBC series, Black Adder. I only did it because Chad foolishly said, “if you make that, I’ll wear it.” Pffft. Challenge accepted.

My resources to replicate said costume were:

  1. Grainy VHS tape that was probably a copy of a copy
  2. Some photo copied & self-published books about how to make men’s Elizabethan costumes
  3. A few costuming web sites
  4. Some sketches I made from said VHS tape while it was on pause
  5. Janome sewing machine
  6. Babylock serger that scared the hell out of me

Surprisingly, the costume turned out OK. I’m not saying this to humble-brag. I’m saying this because my level of costuming skill at the time would rank as pretty darn low and technically lacking. I was self-taught – both sewing in general and definitely costume in particular, had no idea how to properly scale up or down a pattern, and was recreating from blurry photos. Let’s be honestly, I was mostly winging that mother.

 

The next year, I made a few modifications and updates. The slops got better for sure. Although I still had (or currently have) no real idea how I’m supposed to use that serger. 

Over Halloween our headless horseman was brazenly stolen off the porch. He was wearing the jerkin, doublet and sleeves – the most integral pieces of the costume.  

I was livid.

And yet, by then I’d made Chad a newer, fancier, slightly better gold Elizabethan costume.

It was no Black Adder, but it was pretty nice. And had been very time consuming.

Several years later with some more costuming experience, I decided to start from scratch. Historical garment resources had come a long way in 11 years. I decided the best place to start was a new chemise, which was the easy part. Although I still sucked at scaling patterns and dealing with fitment issues. I was, however, much better at muddling through via mock-ups in cheap muslin! A hard earned lesson, believe me.

Chemise done, a new set of neck and wrist ruffs were in order. There was a lot of conflicting and confusing info out there regarding construction. So I picked what seemed to make sense (having already gone through several different ways of making them) and machine embellished the 260 inches of fabric. At the very least, it was gonna be a huge upgrade from his original ruff. 

At which point I stopped,  pinned the ruffs into sections, put it aside “for a few days” and there it lay. Forgotten in a corner, a distraction for a different day.

Eight years later I decided it was time to review my costuming closet, make some alterations and perhaps see about that Black Adder costume again.  After all, costuming references had gotten a lot better since 2011!

I was off to the races – the turtle races.

Step 1: Locate and wash ruff material

Step 2: Find newer, better reference – a 44 page .pdf with photos and diagrams!

Step 3: Spend unnecessary amount of time on Pinterest looking up Black Adder

Step 4: Spend a week going back and forth about adding black trim to ruff material (see above)

Step 5: Spend 2 days searching craft stores for appropriate trim

Step 6: Start hand stitching trim to 260 inches of ruff material

 

To be continued, in hopefully less than 8 years.

chris on June 17th 2019 in Blogroll, Creativity

Hello, Inanna!

 
A few weeks before vacation, an instant message popped up from a ferret club member wanting to know if we would be interested in a white ferret that had just come into a rescue.

We’d been thinking about bringing home a youngster, partly as a playmate for Nyx (so she’d leave poor Yeti alone) and partly because there is nothing so joyful as a young ferret running around like an idiot! 

Chad happened to be out of town but I sent him a message with her picture. He said if we could wait until after we got back from vacation he didn’t see why not.

Little Miss Inanna joined the family on May 6. Operating under the assumption that she was as big as Yeti, since she looked huge in the photos, I took along the boys dog crate to pick her up. well that was a mistake because as soon as I saw her I thought crap this is not going to work. But then again maybe it would so I tucked Inanna into the crate and off I went. 
 
Approximately five minutes later while in traffic, I caught a blur of white out of the corner of my eye on the floor of the passenger side! I hit the brakes reached down and missed! So I threw my bag in her general direction scaring the tiny ferret to the back seat.
 
 
Fortunately her next foray to the front of the car was under my seat! It took a little bit of dexterity since I was driving, but I managed to nab her without wrecking. Holding a very bouncy little ferret in my hand, I drove to a pet store and buy a much smaller carrier! 

Our timing was not great for bringing home the little one. By then we knew we were losing Sasquatch. But when the Universe offers you a ferret, you take the ferret.
 
Welcome to the chaos, wee beastie! 
 

chris on June 1st 2019 in Animals, Family, Uncategorized