Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall Break October 2014

My parents came to visit me in Arizona over my 4 day weekend (Fall Break) in earlier this month (October) since I hadn't seen them since last February. We did a lot while they were here. They arrived Thursday about the time I got done with school, so I introduced them to fellow staff. Then, we went and dropped some of their stuff off and they got to see my new place. After that we went downtown to Beale Street Gallery, so that I could show them some art and where I bought a couple of their gifts. After that we went to Boston Antiques and looked around. I have gotten some awesome antique oriental furniture from Boston Antiques, so I wanted to show them that place. On Friday morning we got up and I took them out to Colbaugh Processing, so they could see the showroom of the local Turquoise mine. They also have some other neat gemstone beads. After that we headed towards Flagstaff. We stopped in Seligman and Williams and did some looking around.
We didn't travel up to the Grand Canyon from there because by that time it was late afternoon. We did check out the train ride information to maybe do on a future visit. My dad made us a hotel reservation at Twin Arrows Casino and resort because he thought it was up by the Grand Canyon, but it was actually past Flagstaff and on the corner of the Indian Reservation. We don't gamble, but it was still a really nice hotel. We ate there for dinner. The next morning, Saturday, we got up and drove down to Sedona. On the way into Sedona we stopped at the Native American roadside stands as a friend recommended we do that. They had lots of different things to sell. Then we continued down into Sedona. They were having an art festival at the high school, so we went to that. They had lots and lots of booths and lots of great art. I enjoyed just walking around and admiring it all. Next we went to one of the vortexes.

Amitabha Stupa

Sedona has a few, but my Mom's knee was bothering her, so I didn't want to do one that was going to be a super long hike. So, we went to the Amitabha Stupa. It was pretty awesome after having lived in Asia to see a stupa in the United States. It was pretty easy to get to and we stayed for a little while. I think I would have liked to have stayed longer but it was hot out and so we probably only stayed half an hour. I definitely want to go back though. After that we drove down through Cottonwood and Camp Verde. I wanted to stop at Montezuma Castle and Well, but by the time we got down there they were both closed for the day. We decided to just drive back up to Flagstaff where we were staying. We ate dinner at Salsa Brava. I had blackened Salmon fish tacos with mango salsa. So delicious. It was worth the wait. On Sunday we got up and drove up to the Grand Canyon. My parents were last there in 1976 on their honeymoon. It was my first time going there. We stopped in Cameron, Arizona as I have a brother named Cameron. We stopped at the Cameron Trading Post. I got my brother a postcard and I wanted to mail it to him from the Cameron post office, but since it was Sunday they were closed and I had no way to get any stamps. I was kind of bummed about that. I took a picture of my parents in front of the Cameron, Arizona post office.

Cameron Trading Post 

After that we drove over to the Grand Canyon and stopped at lots of spots along the way to look down into the Canyon. We did go to the Mary Coulter, Desertview Watchtower. We went up into the tower and were able to look way down into the Canyon and way into the distance. We didn't do everything there was to do as there was more than we could do in one day, but we made notes of things that we would like to do the next time we go to the Grand Canyon.  We also stopped at the Tusayan museum and ruins. My dad really wanted to stop there and look around. We drove down through Tusayan (the town) and stopped at the IMAX to watch a film on the mysteries of the Grand Canyon.

It was very enjoyable. We ate at a pizza and pasta place before driving back to Flagstaff. On the way back it was dark out and my dad was driving. We saw a huge elk that was thinking about crossing the road. My dad still has good reflexes and neither the elk or us was hurt. On Monday morning we got up and did a little bit of looking around Flagstaff. There was a photographer I met about 5 years ago at an art festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He now has a studio in Flagstaff, so I went to visit his studio. Shane Knight has a great gallery. He has this one photograph of the Tetons that I hope someday I have enough money to buy. The Tetons are very special to me and it is the only photograph that has really stood out to me enough that I would like to have it. We ate lunch at Cuvee 928. It was a delicious lunch and I was full enough that I didn't have room for Cold Stone. After that we headed back towards the Grand Canyon Caverns and took a tour. I was there last January and really enjoyed it. I thought my parents would like to go and they did. After that we headed back to my place because I had to get groceries and some things ready for the next day since I had to go back to work. It was an enjoyable trip and I am glad I got to see and spend some time with my parents.

Grand Canyon West 26th Anniversary

Eagle Point 
I was invited to go to the 26th Anniversary celebration of Grand Canyon West. It was Saturday April 26, 2014. I went with another co-worker and then we met up with another co-worker, her husband, their daughter and a nephew. It was raining on the way up and then snowing when we got up there. I had gotten out a sweatshirt, but then left it thinking that I was taking too much stuff with my rain/wind jacket and hat. I ended up buying a sweatshirt at the gift shop there because it was too cold for just my light jacket. After I did that we went and got in line to take the bus to the Skywalk. My co-workers husband picked up the shirt they were giving out to everyone for each of us. We rode the bus to the Skywalk and Eagle Point. We took pictures of the Eagle in the rock, why it is named Eagle Point and looking down into the canyon.It was kind of scary because this little kid was running around with no parents around and we were afraid she was going to take too big of a risk and fall. We walked around and looked at the different examples of houses: teepees, and huts. After that the co-worker, that I rode up with and I got in line for the Skywalk. I am not afraid of heights, but am afraid of falling, so I thought being up on the Skywalk where I could look down below me would make me freak me out.


We aren’t allowed to take cameras or cell phones up there. They say that it is to preserve the glass by preventing those items being dropped on it. We had to put all of our stuff in the complementary lockers. It was a long line, but the wait wasn’t too bad. Fog started coming in while we were waiting. Once we got up there we could see that they had rugs laid on the one side to walk on so that people wouldn’t slip and fall on the glass since it had been raining and snowing. I actually wasn’t afraid at all. There was a photographer assigned to our group to take pictures, so we would walk a little bit and then he would stop us to take pictures. You don’t really get to spend a long time up there but kind of get herded along. After that we went back into the main building to look at our pictures and decide which ones we wanted to purchase. Since we had these purple wristbands it was not as expensive as normal, which was a good thing for me since I didn’t have much money to spend. I was able to get three pictures. I got one by myself, a nice one of my co-worker and I and a silly one of the two of us. After that we went through the line and got the free lunch, another deal with the purple bands. They were doing a presentation for the Anniversary. It was a nice and informative presentation. After that we went to look for our other co-worker and her family but we couldn’t find them and the cell service was non-existent. So, we hopped on the bus and went to the next point, Guano point, and walked out a ways almost to the historic tram and looked there. The sun was starting to come out so we decided to head back to see if we could get the helicopter ride. We rode the bus back to the starting point and went and got tickets for the helicopter and boat ride. It was also discounted because of the purple wristbands, which was nice because I definitely would not have been able to afford it otherwise. The timing was perfect and we didn’t have to wait at all. I was a little nervous since it was windy. I hate turbulence in planes and so wasn’t sure how I would handle being in a helicopter.

 When we took off I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to laugh or cry. I really enjoy it though and loved getting to see out of the helicopter. We flew to the bottom and took a short boat ride up and down the Colorado River. Then we ended up having to wait for awhile until the helicopter came back, but I didn’t mind as I was thoroughly enjoying being there. After that we flew back up and got in the vehicle and headed back to down. We went out to sushi for dinner and one of the choices I had was the Grand Canyon roll, as I thought it was fitting. It was a great day and I am glad I had the opportunity to go.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Ghost town, A hot air balloon festival and caverns

Over Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend, I started working on exploring Arizona. First on Sunday we went to Oatman, a ghost town, on Route 66. It is advertised as the ghost town that won't die. It kind of reminds me of Keystone in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It has a main street and little shops all up and down the street. We pretty much went in every shop and looked around. There were lots of donkeys that are loose on the street. People take pictures with them and feed them food. I am not really sure why there are all these donkeys. Oatman is located on Route 66. After that we drove to Lake Havasu. They were having a hot air balloon festival. We saw the London Bridge and actually drove over to it. I was so not impressed. I thought it would be much more elaborate. We also walked under the bridge and along the river down to a park. We were trying to figure out where the hot air balloons were because we couldn't see them. We ended up getting back in the vehicle and driving a little bit before we got to the place and then we had to walk a long way to get to the place where they were. There was also a band that was playing and lots of food and vendors selling different things. When the sun started going down the balloons started landing and some they inflated again. When it got dark they had the glow event. We were able to stand in the middle and watch the balloons light up. Sometimes they flickered, sometimes they went in time to music and other times they did full on blasts. It was so awesome. We were surrounded by these huge hot air balloons and just watching them light up was awesome. We eventually left after watching for a long time and they were still going when we left.

On Monday we went to the Grand Canyons Caverns. It was awesome. There were no stalagmites and stalactites. The crystals weren't as impressive as in some of the caverns I've seen in South Dakota but it was still interesting. I liked learning the history of the caverns. It is a dry cavern 220 feet below the earth's surface. There aren't many dry caverns in the world. The guy who discovered the caverns thought that he had discovered a mine that had silver, gold and diamonds all together but after it was tested found out it was just crystals. After that he started setting up tours for $00.25. The person was given a lantern and lowered into the cavern by hanging onto a rope. This is where the saying "dope on a rope" originated. Later he had a swinging  bridge and stairs that people used for $00.50. The humidity is only 3%down there. At one time they were trying to figure out where the air was coming from, so they released red smoke and waited up top to see where it came out. Two weeks later they got a call from people that work at the Grand Canyon saying that red smoke was coming out of the walls. That is why they changed the name to Grand Canyon Caverns.

There is a mummified bobcat in the cavern. She had fallen down the hole and broken her hip but still tried to get out. Since there is so little moisture down there and nothing grows she ended up mummifying and they left her down there for people to see. They also have a replica of a huge sloth that also fell down the hole and tried to get out. One can still see the claw marks that she made. She broke her back. They removed her to investigate what happened to her so she didn't mummify, but they wanted a replica made so people could see how huge she was. There have been some people that have gotten married down in the cavern. They also have a suite set up so people can stay the night there. They have a band stage and they used to have concerts down there and said they plan to start again. It is also set up as a shelter. They set it up as a shelter during the Cuban missile crisis. They still have supplies there and could still use it as a shelter but because the population of the near-by towns have grown they wouldn't be able to accommodate everyone like they used to be able to do.  We had a great tour guide and he was very informative and funny.

11 Questions

1.     Who was your most memorable teacher, and why? My 6th grade teacher was very special to me. I have known since I was in Kindergarten that I was going to be a teacher, but she is probably the first teacher that really encouraged me to actually become a teacher. I also remember giving her a present (even though I don't remember the occasion) and my classmates teased me about it. So, even though she loved it I still also remember being teased about it. 
2.     Who is one of your educational mentors, and what makes them so special? Well, Dr. Carol Hess was one of my college professors and I kept in touch with her for several years, but she retired this year. She inspired to me to be an awesome teacher. She also has lots of life experience. I never thought I would be brave enough to do the things I have done, but I looked up to her and thought if I want to be as awesome as her someday then I can’t stay in my comfort zone and never take risks.
3.     Which song describes how you are feeling today? Add the youtube clip if possible 
      I can't even remember how long (I know it has been at least since elementary school) I have felt like I am living my life upside down and from the outside looking in. I am usually attracted to darker music, but this lighthearted song actually also fits how I feel. 
      Paloma Faith "Upside Down"  
4.     What is your favourite restaurant/place to eat in the city in which you live, and why?
      I actually have two. One would have to be Sakura Sushi because I just started liking sushi my third year overseas and I am so glad that I can continue to eat it back in the US and other Asian food. The other would be Plaza Bonita. I also really love Mexican food, and I even though I really love Asian food I really missed Mexican food while I was overseas. 
5.     Which video is *cracking you up right now? (*making you laugh) Give us the link!
      I can't remember what my favorite one is called and can't find it. So this is my second favorite. 
      I can fit in there. 
      Twitter wasn't working earlier but I have it now. Medieval Help Desk
6.     What is one thing you learned recently, that wouldn’t have been possible without technology? How did you learn it?
      Well, this year has been an adjustment and my first 6 months in my new town I worked seven days a week, which did not give me the opportunity to meet new people. I also spent a lot of time staying connected with people far away, which is great, but those people can't accept invitations to do things in person. So, this spring I have been working on learning things not using technology and meeting people face to face rather than through technology. So, one of the things I have been learning is how to knit and I am taking a knitting class and meeting other people that knit. I am sure I could watch videos and learn how to knit but my goal is to meet new people where I live. How this ties into technology is that I learned through twitter at the beginning of the year about choosing one word for the year instead of resolutions. My word for this year is Balance. Moving to a new place is always a huge adjustment and there are many things I need to balance so that I make it a successful move. My personality is not always one that leads to balance, so I am really working on trying to improve that part of me. 
7.     Can you please snap a picture of one of your everyday views, and share the photo here?
Hualapai Mountains

8.     What is the next place you want to visit and why?
I have lots of countries that I have yet to see and I have a long list. I think my next trip I would like to go back to Switzerland. I loved Switzerland when I was there, but it has been several years and so I want to go back to see if I still love it as much as I do in my memories. There is something about Switzerland that calls to me and it has been too long since I was last there to consciously remember what it is, but hopefully going back I can find it again and be satisfied. 
9.     Complete this sentence: Teaching is a wonderful profession because…
      I get to work with students everyday. I enjoy continuing to learn myself and working with others to teach them new things. I can share my love of different things with them.  I love being able to be around young people because it keeps me feeling young. They have some great stories to share and they love my sense of humor. I also like the fact that I can make a difference to someone and that they know that there is at least one person in the world that cares about them. 
10.  Can you please list 5 of your favourite movies? Feel free to elaborate on why you like them. Or not!
This is tough.
James Bond movies- I don’t have a favorite, as I love them all. I love James Bond. 
"The Princess Bride"- I really like this movie because it was the first non-cartoon love story and it has action and humor too.
"The Shawshank Redemption"- I don't know. I just do. 
"The Red Violin"- I saw this back in college and it has stuck with me ever since. I recently bought it and watched it again. I still love the story of it.
"An American in Paris"- I love old movies and I also love to dance. Even though I wanted to be a teacher since I was little, I also wanted to be a prima ballerina. When I was little I planned to teach during the day and dance at night. So, not only is an old classic, but it also has dancing in it and it is overseas so it more exotic than the US. 
11.  How do you unwind on a Friday after school? That really depends on how the week went and the mood I am in. Sometimes I like to stay in, make dinner and watch a movie with popcorn. Other times I like to go out for dinner and dancing.