Monday, December 31, 2012

Hello 2013

All right, Rudolph, Holly, Frosty and I have successfully completed the challenge we set for ourselves for the last month of 2012: we have posted entries to our blog each and every day without missing a single one!  We have posted on school days, holidays, and travel days – which has not always been easy.  I am very proud of our family to have accomplished this!

And now, onto 2013! So, I thought it fitting for this last entry of 2012, I would post my wishes for my children for the upcoming year.  I wish for you:

More hikes
More wonder
Less homework
More days spent at home in your pajamas
More chocolate chip cookie bars
Less drama
More sleep
More music
Less pressure
More laughter
More creative writing
And most of all, more love!

Looking forward to sharing with all of you in Holidailies 2013!

Peace,  Eve

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Internet Fights

            Alright, so to me, there is nothing more entertaining than watching people fight or argue on the internet. The battlegrounds where I tend to see these are places like Facebook (obviously) and the comment sections on YouTube videos (and the fights almost always have nothing to do with the video). I’m sure there are fights on other sites. YouTube and Facebook are just the ones that I visit most.

            On the Internet, of what I’ve observed, people like to fight over religion more than anything else. Multiple times I’ve been on YouTube watching a movie trailer or whatever, and then I’d scroll down to the comment section and BAM I’d be watching a Christians vs. Atheists war. I guess people just really like to fight for what they believe in. Which isn’t a bad thing, in my opinion. But I think that people shouldn’t thrust their beliefs onto others. That probably pisses me off more than anything else. When people are like, “Oh, I see that you choose not to believe in god. That’s cute. You are wrong to do that because I say so”. That upsets me when I see things like that. Who cares what other people believe? Don’t worry about trying to CONVERT them. Yeah.

            Also, people can be incredibly vicious when fighting on the internet. No matter how bold or confident someone is in real life, they always seem to be able to be nasty when fighting on the internet. I guess this is because people are only represented by a username (assuming you’re on YouTube or some other anonymous site). They have nothing to show or to be ashamed of other than a username. No one can use what you have ever done because they don’t know anything about you, except for what you might have said in a past comment. It’s like being reborn, to put it lightly, which makes people bold and fearless.

             Well, sorry to end my share of the Holidailies on a sour note, but today I was just stumped on what topic to write about, and this was the first good thing that came to me. This was fun. Thank you.

For the last time of 2012,


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Who Would've Thunk It?

Dreams can be regular, like dreaming about having your best friend over if you haven’t seen them in a while, or maybe a big feast being eaten if you didn’t eat dinner before you went to bed, but some can be totally random and odd. My dreams are commonly unrelated to anything in my life. 

Dream #1: Tarzan Ride
One of my weirdest dreams took place in a water park. I was on a flume ride with Eve, Rudolph, and Frosty, about to go down the biggest drop in the world (or so it seemed), when... you know how the flume carts sort of go in a loop to get back to the ride entrance? Well, they do, and I jumped into one that was next to us at the last second, and started going backwards through the ride. I rode the abandoned cart, with my knees scrunched to my chest (the cart was apparently on wheels and much smaller than all the other carts), into a room that wasn’t terribly big, but circular for some reason. I sped down a thin, spindly track and watch a Tarzan-like man wind up is arms as he got ready to hit me on the head with the bright orange-and-pink boppy hammer he was holding. The little toy tool came down on my head with a deflated squeak as I raced into the next room. The Tarzan man was there again, but this time with a football attached to the end of a long string. I was out of the bucket- sized cart and running exhaustedly away from him as he tried desperately to hit me with the football. I tore down the path with caution and entered an elevator with a bathtub in it. I don’t know why, so DON’T ASK ME!!!! As soon as I got out of the elevator, I ran for my life and straight into my family’s arms. They got me lots of popcorn and sweets and then we walked off into the sunset and out of my dream.

Dream #2: Zombie Pilgrims
          Okay, so before I start this story, let me tell you. It’s not as long and it ends quite abruptly, because my uncle taught me a technique for not having to sit through potential nightmares. Now, let’s begin. I started out as a British ruler, a princess, when a pilgrim apocalypse started. Angry undead pilgrims were everywhere, trampling every house in sight. A violent looking woman with mascara dripping down her gaunt face in long, haunting streaks bared her yellow, gnarled teeth at me disgustingly. I ran as fast as I could (I was wearing a many-petticoat dress) into the nearest standing building which turned out to be a Zen house, and a big sculpture of a red Chinese dragon in the middle of the room was being worshipped and buffed to a glittering shine. I ran around the corner away from Mascara Face, who had morphed into a dragon lady. She swooped around the ceiling as I entered the next room. My grandma’s bathroom! Before Mascara-Dragon Face could enter the bathroom, I told myself to leave the dream and then woke up.

          Whether you have life-based dreams or strange illusions that make no sense whatsoever, dreams make a nice story to tell. Clear your head and spend maybe an hour emptying your brain onto a clean sheet of paper. Nightmares or not, I guarantee your head will be happy and free. Bye-bye, readers.

                   Your friend,

                             Holly Day

Friday, December 28, 2012

Things That Go Bump In The Night

We travel a lot with our kids.  We’re big fans of the National Parks and of exploring natural wonders in other countries as well. 

We loved visiting Yellowstone and seeing the fields of bison along with the hordes of other visitors, playing in the tide pools with other families at Acadia National Park in Maine, and hiking the Fiery Furnace at Arches National Park with a park ranger and two dozen other people.  All of those were fun experiences we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.

But I must admit, some of the more interesting, exciting and unusual experiences we’ve had on our trips have been at night.  Yes, that’s right.  Just when everyone else around us is turning in, we’ve had some of our more thrilling encounters.

At Sequoia National Park in California, a sunset drive through the picnic grounds put us up close and personal with a very large black bear.  As we drove through, we spied it sitting on its butt right next to the parking lot chowing down on what looked like pine combs.  When we pulled to a stop right near it and rolled down our windows to grab some photos, it paused for a moment to check us out.  After seeing that we weren’t a threat and weren’t going to chase it from the picnic ground, it went right on back to doing what it was doing.  We spent a good 10 minutes watching it up close before it got bored and moved on.

At Tortuguero Park on the East coast of Costa Rica, we went on a night walk with a ranger down to the beach.  It was a warm, moonlit night and our way was illuminated by only a red-tinted lamp carried by the ranger.  At first, Rudolph and Holly weren’t sure they liked being on the beach in the darkness.  But soon, we arrived at what we came there to see – the giant sea turtles would emerge from the sea, shimmy their way up the beach, dig deep holes and then lay their eggs.  There in the red-tinted light, we watched as hundreds of golf-ball sized eggs were emitted from a single seat turtle.  When the laying was completed, the turtle used its flippers to swat at the sand violently to bury the eggs.  Once satisfied the eggs were sufficiently covered, the turtles would rest for a while to gather up the energy to return to the sea until the eggs were ready to hatch.  To this day, my kids still talk about this experience as if we were guest stars on an Animal Planet show.  It was hard to believe that we were really there, in the moonlight, witnessing what we had witnessed.

At Tarangire National Park in Tanzania, we were awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of very heavy footsteps near our tents.  We were staying in a tented camp that night.  The canvas walls were fitted with screened windows which were covered by canvas flaps for privacy.  I rolled over in my cot and just as I pulled the canvas flap back to survey the situation, two large legs walked right past my window.  Those legs happened to belong to a giraffe.  I rolled off my cot onto the floor and crawled over to Rudolph’s cot and rustled him from a sound sleep.  For the next hour, he and I sat silently by the window watching three giraffes in the moonlight as they ate from the trees around and over our tent.  One of our coolest experiences ever.

The last example I’ll site (and there are plenty more) came from just last night.  Because of flight delays, we arrived in Everglades National Park late in the day.  We grabbed some dinner at a local Cuban place and then instead of retiring to our hotel for the night, we driving into the park in the dark.  We met a group that was heading out for a 45 minute starlight walk with a ranger to go looking for birds, frogs and alligators in the dark.  It was a full moon so we only rarely needed the flashlights we had brought.  And the walk did not disappoint.  Shortly after starting the walk, a giant Blue Heron swooped down from above and landed in a tree not far from where we stood.  A 5 or 10 minutes further out on the elevated walkway put us within about 6 feet of an alligator rolling around in the water.  Sure we could have seen other gators in the daylight.  But being there, at night, in the moonlight, with the ranger and a few others, we were able to experience something special that I know we’ll remember forever.

So if you ever find yourself in one of these places, instead of turning in early with a cocktail or a book, consider whether there are opportunities to experience something special in the darkness.

Thanks for reading.

- Frosty

Thursday, December 27, 2012

America's Best Idea

Full disclosure: I did not conjure up that name but it is just perfect…”America’s Best Idea” is not democracy, public schools or even Starbucks.  America’s absolute Best Idea is its National Park system!  As far back as 140 years ago people in this country knew what we have here is absolutely gorgeous, unique, and at risk for misuse.  So, the smart folks with vision made sure the government put aside many of the more distinctive and irreplaceable pieces of land and here in 2012 we have 58 National Parks.  They are AWESOME.  If you don’t know about them yet or are not convinced, herewith is a sample:

Everglades N.P.: These days, we live in houses or apartments that string along main streets with strip malls and more strip malls and parking lots.  About the only thing one sees along the way are squirrels.  Not so in the Everglades.  Walking on boardwalks built safely above the swamps, one observes the alligators peacefully gliding, barely surfacing the water.  They seem not to have a care in the world.  In fact, they seem to have all the time in the world. Blue Herons rise up out of the sawgrass; they are busy maintaining their nests and finding food.  The Everglades does not shout “here I am!!” rather it sits quietly, patiently waiting for you to come around and take notice.

Arches N.P: Okay, I picked this one next because it is a completely different example.  Arches is all about sculpture, made by Mother Nature.  The stark contrast between the bright sun, the almost-barren landscape and the red rock formations just demands your attention.  It is total eye candy and it gets even better – you can climb on it!  You can wedge yourself in narrow holes straddling the rocks on the left and the right, squeeze through, jump down, over, and under.  Rock is the star here and there is good reason for it.

Yellowstone N.P: This one is my son’s favorite.  I think it is because he loves the bears – both black bears and grizzly bears.  For me, it is definitely the buffalo, they harken back to another time.  You might think I am referring to the era when the west was the Wild West and a cowboy couldn’t walk ten feet without tripping over a buffalo; but for me they seem even older – like prehistoric animals. Standing in their presence is like standing staring through a time portal jumping back through history.  Add to that the geysers spewing steam that smells like sulfur and I expect a dinosaur to emerge from the mist at any second.  This would certainly happen if this was a movie!

Denali N.P: Yes, there is that huge mountain in the distance (20,320 ft) – that is, if it is one of those rare days and it is not too cloudy and you can actually see it.  But the thing that grabs me about this national park in Alaska is the sheer expanse of the thing.  When you are there, you are out in the middle of nowhere – no street signs, no gift shops, no conveniently located public restrooms.  And to top it off, you are driven through the park in a beat up old school bus where you sit very quietly as you observe big scary huge large grizzly bears hanging out and rolling around and doing whatever it is grizzlies do.  Here in Denali, you are on their home turf so you better just sit quietly if you want to get to watch.

Rocky Mountain N.P.: I saved my very favorite for last.  Simply put, this park has a soul.  Yes, there are many species of animals to be found that will capture your attention and hearts – elk, wolves, bears, etc.  But for me, it is the mountains that speak.  They are there, with their arms outstretched, forever watching the human race come and go.  Witnesses to our history, the mountains somehow take note. The mountains seem simultaneously to protect us and keep us in check.  Standing in their presence is absolutely a divine experience not to be duplicated anywhere else.

This is just a taste of what America’s national parks have to offer.  They are gifts set aside from our predecessors that are waiting for you to discover.  Yes, truly America’s Best Idea.

Thanks for reading.