Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011, Stepping In and Out of Comfort Zones

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

2011 became for us, really more specifically, for Moi, a year of stepping in and out of my comfort zones.  Sometimes dramatic steps, other times cautious, slow, small baby steps.  As I was walking (for exercise) around the park the other day my mind wandered, well more like blasted sideways, every which way, random thoughts, somewhat disconnected, but, all about my comfort zones.  Here, in no particular order, just blasting sideways outta my memory banks, some things that took me IN and OUT of my comfort zones in 2011:

THE Trip, lots of comfort zone stuff, bears and bison in Yellowstone, trams in Palm Springs (the over the top, largest OUT of my comfort zone event ever).

Below:  Sedona Arizona:

120 heat factor near Amana Colonies Iowa (that heat was also an over the top OUT of my comfort zone event, dangerous too).

Hiking in Moab and sliding down boulders and formations taller than I (OUT of my zone, but I did it).

Below, Man in Dead Horse State Park, he was IN his comfort zone, I was OUT of mine, even just taking the photo I was WAYYY OUT!

The views in Monument Valley, Bryce, Moab, Arches National Park, Zion National Park (the drive in was something else), Capital Reef (thanks Jan).   All new and visually exciting, but I am going to call them IN my comfort zone.  My eyes could not take it all in, Sony tried, but, also in reality failed.  It was all just so H*U*G*E!

Below:  Mesa Arch, Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park:

Boondocking vs full hookup camp sites.  Full hookups, definite IN the comfort zones, boondocking was at first OUT of the comfort zones, but, I loved it, even more than Man.  It was especially fun with all our MOC friends.

Lousy photos and some that take my breath away (both IN and OUT of my comfort zones, I think I learned something, then, I forget it, so I go learn it again!  LOL)

Reminded myself how much I don't like captcah, the necessary evil of blogging and the internet.  Many of my friend and readers don't like it either so this is an OUT of comfort zone, which sadly will remain here on Reflections and my other blogs till someone shuts off all the snarly nasty spammers.  Like that is going to happen, well, no, don't see that happening at all. SIGHHH

Babies born, loss of angels.  Both remind me of the circle of life, bringing me IN and OUT of my comfort zones, some shaking me to my foundation, leaving me different forever.

A huge IN the comfort zone:  We have friends all over this nation, so we are rarely somewhere alone.  We met bloggers and RVing friends almost everywhere we stopped.  It is comforting to know that our friends are nearby, and are available for lunch or dinner, a walk in a park, shopping and visiting.

In the family research part of my life:  Salt Lake City and the research mecca, TOTAL IN my comfort zone.  I miss onsite research, I miss research at the local Family History Centers.  I walked in, felt right at home, breathed in the familiar, hear Carol sigh, a total enjoy, the total IN!

Other family history comfort zones, I had to upgrade to RootsMagic 4 during my research time in Salt Lake City.  Giving this an OUT  of my comfort zone.  Learning curve is never fun, makes me snarly.  I was familiar with RM, but, 4 was quite a bit different than 3.  I still am not IN my comfort zone with RM4.  So, to take myself even further OUT of my comfort zone, I am now seriously looking at Legacy.  I am so far OUT of my comfort zone with this that I stopped all input for a month or more, thankfully, I was not doing a lot of research, but, still, events piled up, I need to address this.  So, I am doing what any right minded researcher does, I am using both and inputting my data to both.  Yea, the OUT of my comfort zone just grew larger yet.  

Other IN and OUT issues:  Snarly volunteers cross the web make the OUT of my comfort zone list.   Being addressed as "Miss Carol" while here in Alabama, way IN my comfort zone.  Time learning new software, new web sites, Google+, takes me OUT of my comfort zones for a while, hopefully, eventually, this morfs to IN my comfort zones and become good things.  Google + is really expanding my horizons, meeting new people, having new ideas tossed at me.  The photography I see there challenges me in so many ways, and if nothing else, I sure am enjoying the OUT of my comfort zone time I spend at G+.  Sometimes being OUT of my comfort zone is a very good thing.

Coming back to Gulf Shores Alabama for some of our winter months, so so so IN my comfort zone, like coming home again.  We were here for 5 months during the 2009-10 winter season, we are back and just enjoying it, breathing deep, IN our comfort zone.

The ultimate (for Carol) IN my comfort zone, being with Man and the yorks in Tana and a bunch of deep red rock (below, Monument Valley camping):

So, in hindsight, 2011 was packed full of IN and OUT of my comfort zone moments. Can't help but wonder, what 2012 might bring. I think I am ready!

Happy New Year to all our friends and family, may 2012 bring you many opportunities to reach out and step IN or OUT of your personal comfort zones.   With any luck at all you will get to experience both IN and OUT events, go ahead embrace the challenge.

* By the way, no goal setting or resolutions here at Reflections for 2012, part of my comfort zone experience is trusting my Maker to put me where I need to be when, to not question, to trust, to give up the false belief in control.  The ultimate step OUT of my comfort zone.

Friday, December 30, 2011

What Man Got Tana for Christmas, Well, What Man Got Man For Christmas

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Dish, mega millions of telie stations delivered 24/7.  Man loves it because it is month to month.  He's happy.  Merry Christmas Tana, errrr, Man.


THE Trip, Yellowstone National Park, Roosevelt, Snow and One Last Look

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Our last day in Yellowstone was June 25th, 2011.  We were driving what I have chosen to call the north loop in the park, it was called Grand Loop on the GPS.  After the bear sighting/photo op thrill, we continued east towards the Tower-Roosevelt area.   Below, this is the Roosevelt Lodge area, this is the lodge and general store.  We stopped for a short break and a snack.

Below, the cabins, yes, you can book a stay in them, they open in mid May and close early September.  And yes, they are quite small.  Cute, aren't they?

Next we stop at the area known for the bleached cliffs, which also had these outstanding formations, but, first the beached cliffs.  In this area there is a lot of steam that rises from the Calcite Springs, steam and chemicals.  The combination of steam and chemicals actually turn the cliff above the springs and river a pale yellow/white pulp.  Sure makes for a pretty photo.

In the same area there are some basalt formations called hexagonal columns.  They were formed due to lava which actually caused a flood of fire about twenty five feet deep.  That is a really horrible description of the notes I found on the signage, and now we all know why I was never meant to be a scientist or geologist!  LOL  Here are two photos, see that contrasting stone that looks like it was just chiseled out , neat, eh??  The river cannot be seen in this photo, but, it is down there.

Zoom a bit:

The road now takes a turn towards the south, we are headed toward Canyon Village, but there are several more beautiful sights to see, and one last really good dose of snow.  Not far from the Calcite Springs area shown above is the Tower Falls. They drop 132 feet, it is a short 150 yard walk down to the viewing area.

Back in Big Butt heading UP the mountain we stop for a photo op, panoramic style:

We climb from about 8100 feet to close to 8450 feet according to the photos I took of the GPS (my techy way of taking notes!  LOL) and it was 56 degrees and there was just a bit of snow left on the ground from last winter:

As we continue back down the mountain from Dunraven Pass (elevation 8859 feet) I take just a few more photos of this huge magnificent Yellowstone National Park, our first national park, the last is below:

Our visit to Yellowstone will be over as soon as we drive from Canyon Village back west to Norris, then south to Madison and then west to West Yellowtone.  I took no more photos.  It has been quite the week, geysers, mountains, fish, bear, bison, baby bison, rivers, waterfalls, lakes and more of each.  It was expensive to stay there, even with Tana, the most we have paid anywhere, I believe.  The elevation was an issue for us and thus there were sights we did not see, roads we did not drive.  Not sure we will ever be able to go back, but, the crystal clear lakes, streams, rivers, snow covered mountain tops will be forever in our memories and I have just a few photos to help maintain the memories.

Yellowstone was, simply - Totally! Awesome!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

THE Trip, Yellowstone National Park, It's Bear Time

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Man had a few bucket list items during THE Trip.  One was to see bears, black and grizzly.  Our first chance at seeing a black bear had been a couple of days prior and even though he saw the bear, the photo op was a bust. Man had tried, but, bear was not cooperating.  I'll tell ya right now, that his bucket list still includes the grizzly, and I for one, am just fine with that.  I was already pushing my luck and comfort zone with my close encounter with the bison and the elk or mule deer that just about ran into Big Butt two days prior in the Canyon Village area.

On June 25, 2011 after lunch in the Mammoth Hot Springs area, we continued our drive around what I am calling the "north loop".  Now headed east we are headed for the Tower-Roosevelt area of the park.  From the photo below you can see that the rivers are all quite full, they had four times the normal snow fall the winter before in and around Utah, Montana, Wyoming and other northwestern states of the US.  Snow was still on the mountain tops and the rivers had not yet crested from the melt off.  All that water and the spring green sure made for some beautiful scenery.

There are several areas in the park where we noted there had been fires, some set as controlled burns, others, acts of Mother Nature or careless visitors.  Burned areas are dramatic, one can imagine the drama of the event, and the prior beauty.  But, it is a time of re-birth as well, and I find it rather fascinating to view the aftermath, the new tiny trees and their pale green beginnings.  You can see the lay of the land, pockets of water, maybe paper thin springs and running water that you cannot see through the heavy forests.  During our ride from Mammoth Hot Springs to Tower-Roosevelt I spied this area that had burned, and there near the base of this burnt tree, a shelf mushroom.  The photo is not the best of the mushroom, but check out the evidence of the fire and the evidence of a forest being re-born.

We continued on our drive, and not 2 minutes later we saw, yes, here it comes, a BEAR!  It was lumbering down the hillside coming directly at the road, and us.  And, I had Man do just what they tell you NOT to do, pretty much stop on the roadway, and of course, you block other traffic behind you (cause you know the oncoming traffic has done the same thing - - stopped).  There are no shoulders to speak of, so, if you stop, you stop on the road.  We wanted to watch bear and of course, Sony and I wanted a photo op.  I rolled the window down, and started shooting.

See, here it comes:

Closer, and moving along at a pretty good clip, even though you think of them as lumbering, from our first glance and photo till my last photo, about 3 minutes time.

And, closer yet.

About this point in the photo shoot Mr. or Mrs. Bear was getting pretty close to Big Butt and occupants, which included all 3 yorkies.  Taking no chances that said bear would smell said yorkies and become overly interested I gave Man the "let's get outta here NOW" command, and he hit the gas peddle.  We were the first vehicle stopped in the queue, so away we went.  I tried for one more photo, best of the photo op in some ways, only, missed the head portion, SIGHHH.  Only regrets this entire trip, photos missed.  If Man had not stepped on the gas quite so hard, oh, never mind!  LOL

And, that is our bear story/sighting of the entire trip.  Close enough for moi.  Total encounter a little over 3 minutes, you just saw ALL the photos I was able to click off.  The rest of the time I was in stunned awe!

* By the way, none of these photos were edited as far as size, I  most likely had Sony zoomed some when the photos were shot, but, the post photo editing I did with Photoshop consisted only of a bit of auto correct, a little brightness and/or contrast adjustment and maybe a tweak with the sharpness tool.  So, yes, that bear came fairly close to the truck and occupants.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

THE Trip, Yellowstone National Park, Driving to Mammoth Hot Springs

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

On June 25th 2011 we made our last visit to Yellowstone National Park.  We left West Yellowstone, drove to Madison and turned north.  At Norris we kept going north, heading to Mammoth Hot Springs.  On tap for the day is to have lunch at Mammoth Hot Springs, then drive what I am calling the north loop, east to the Tower-Roosevelt area, then south to Canyon Village area and returning to Norris, Madison and West Yellowstone.

Below:  Sheepeater Cliff, name for the Shoshone Indians who used the bighorn sheep.  The cliffs are now a very popular climbing place, for young and old(er) alike.  You can't tell from this photo, but, lots of youngsters just scamper up this cliff, almost as if they are bighorn sheep.

Sony brings us closer.  And, no, Man, nor I, attempted a climb.

Below:  another view of the area, more cliffs  The cliffs were formed some 500,000 years ago by basalt lava that formed these columnar joints when it cooled.

This is the Golden Gate area, ya, we drove over that bridge, and ya, ole Carol was looking out the window of Big Butt on that far right side.

On some park signage nearby I found this photo and information.  The signage explains that a wooden trestle was built in 1885 by the Corps of Engineers.  It has been replaced twice since 1900.  I have to say, I am really glad it was replaced, cause the chances of getting me over this wooden thing are slim and NONE!

Turn around 180 degrees from the view of the bridge and behind you, Rustic Falls.  Putting the search engine to work I found some web sites, one web site that talked about Rustic Falls, here, and another site is here.   Fun to look at the difference in the amount of water coming over the falls on these two sites.

Continuing our drive north to Mammoth Hot Springs, at one point you can see the town, the Albright Visitor Center and Historic Fort Yellowstone, below.

We drove through the Upper Terraces area, and probably would have stopped for a photo op or two, but we could not find a parking spot for Big Butt (and we were getting hungry!).  But, Man snapped this nice photo of the Orange Spring Mound out the truck window.  This spring flows from vents from the top and the side.  The color comes from thermophiles that living in the hot water. (As a reminder, when I link to another web site, you must be the judge as to the validity of the information.  I find em, lead you to em, you read em and judge em!)

The formation below is called Liberty Cap, it is 37 feet tall, created from a hot spring that was active in this one location for maybe hundreds of years.  The internal pressure raised the water to a great height, which allowed the mineral deposits to slowly build up.  Kinda cool, err, warm eh??

We finally made our way into Mammoth Hot Springs and had a wonderful lunch.   Many of our friends asked us if we saw the herds of elk while there.  Well, mmm, NO.  Not one elk.  Even the sign said we should see elk.  SIGHH.

We did spy this bird, it is a black-billed magpie.

And, we saw these rodents, believed to be the Uinta ground squirrel. They were busy little creatures, scurrying, having some lunch of the weeds and grasses growing there.

I have to admit, they are kinda cute, and my faithful readers will remember how much I love (?) rodents.  NOT!!

After our lunch we wandered over to the visitors center, and had a look at the displays.  It was time to get back on the road, we will head east towards the Tower-Roosevelt area, and we will have a bit of a close encounter with - - well, come on back, and soon I'll show you - -


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday's Tip, Revisiting My Top Ten Soapbox

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

I have been spending the last few days concentrating on one of my many projects, that of copying blog posts individually into a word processor and saving them as individual files.  I use this as another method of backups, I can convert to PDF files which I can use in a book project or attach to my family history data base.  I am way behind on this project, like so many other projects, some would say I am having too much fun.  Sounds good to me!  LOL

So, I am working on December 2010 and am enjoying re-reading posts, taking a trip back in time, Las Cruces New Mexico, the Organ Mountains and some end of the year type posts.

I really liked this post, liked it enough to decide to share it with you again.  This is a first, I have never re-posted. I hope my family history readers enjoy, maybe take away something that will help you in your search.


Barbara over at Life From the Roots, has done several posts about her Top Ten - Top Ten Sayings, Top Ten Hints, Top Ten - Brick Walls, etc.  I have enjoyed her "series" a lot and told her so, and she immediately issued the challenge, "Do one of your own."  I giggled and said, if I had ten tops, I would.

And, then, the other day I had one of those memory trigger things go off in my head.  Next thing I knew, I had my own Top Ten - My Soapbox Times Ten.  Ten lessons I repeat time and time again when I have the opportunity to teach.  Here ya go Barbara, in no particular order:

1.)  Spelling don't count.

2.)  Source, source, source.  State your sources, in your notes, in your footnotes, source it baby!

3.)  Do your census work.

4.)  Don't skip generations.  Work generation by generation.  Ya, tedious sometimes, but skipping creates major trouble for most of us sometime down the line.

5.)  Give credit where credit is due.  Cousin Joe shares a photo with you, mention him, thank him somewhere, in your data base, in the caption of the photo in your printed work, on your web site.  You owe him, give him credit.   You would not have that photo without his generosity.  It does not hurt to give credit to others.  It does not diminish your volume of work, it only enhances it, shows community.

6.)  Thank your volunteers.  Did you get all this fabulous family stuff without the help of volunteers??  If you did, may I say, WOW.  If you had help, thank them in email, or even better, send them a small donation, tell them to go have lunch on you.  Oh, and if they had expenses on your account, pay them, and then add that lunch $$.

7.)  Give back.  Volunteer to help someone else.  Feels great, pay it forward.

8.)  Share your research.  Keeping it to yourself??  May I ask, why?? Not saying you have to share everything about the 25,677 people in your data base with every 10th cousin 3 times removed you meet up with, but, sharing some about your connection, that far flung ggg, something or other, is the right thing to do.

9.)  Have fun, laugh.  OK, this is serious to you, you want exact dates, places, you do sourcing that would make Elizabeth (Shown Mills) proud.  But, remember, all work and no play makes the family researcher a grouch.  (Or something like that!  LOL)  Really, look for the silly, the ridiculous, the absurd.  Smile!

10.)  Start with yourself, be very sure you know WHO you are.  Many many years ago an article was written about an English gentleman, we shall call George.  George researched for something like 20 years, personally interviewed over 2000 of his closest kin.  Finally got around to interviewing his aunt (no times removed, just his aunt) and, the very first thing out of her mouth was,

"But George, you were adopted!"

As far as I know this is a true story, but, even if it is not, I think you get the lesson.

Go forth and research, I'll get off my soap box for now.

*Graphic courtesy of, noting I stitched the numbers together to make one graphic to get the number 10!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Where Did All The Comments Go?

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

I have been spending time reviewing old posts here on Reflections, copying them into individual word processing files for backup purposes.

It is an interesting trip down memory lane.  Fun, joyful, sometimes sad, but, always interesting.

But, I cannot help but wonder, where did all the comments go?

Last year this time I received quite a few comments on quite a few posts.

Maybe you all are bored with THE Trip.  Maybe, I really should have moved THE Trip to it's own blog.  Maybe I just don't write interesting stuff these days.

Maybe you are all just so busy.  Maybe turning the captcha back on discouraged you.

Maybe you just aren't reading??  Well, someone is reading, my numbers reported by StatCounter have made me smile, 35 so far today, the days prior, Christmas day 98 hits, going back further 153, 120, 181, 203, 158 and 150.  I smile at those numbers.

So, why the downturn of comments?

I have chatted about this with other bloggers, I am not the only one noticing this.

Has the heyday of blogging come and gone?  Or is it that we have so many great things to read that we zip in and out, or use email delivery to read or one of the RSS feeds/readers and never visit the sites, so, rarely comment.

Where or where did the comments go?

*Ohh, for the record, I noticed the down turn well before the holidays, so it seems to be an ongoing issue.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Crèche of Salvation Mountain

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

The reason for the season.

Merry Christmas to all.

From Man and Moi.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Man, Santa and Moi, Wishing You a Merrrrrrry Christmas

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

HO HO HO, Merrrrrrry Christmas

* BTW, Santa gave the gal that sat down just before me a VERY large diamond ring, the ring was not large, the diamond was!  I figure I must have been bad all year, maybe for years, Santa did not give me any diamond ring.  Hmmmmpphhhhh.  Good thing I really don't wear much or covet jewelry, don't you think??  Ya, me too!  I would prefer that Santa bring me a new techy toy!  Or pay for a months rent in a fabulous campground.  Just sayin - -


Tana Decorates With Yorkies, But Of Course!

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence