Utah Trip – Hiking

Our Utah trip this past summer was awesome. Of course, the highlight was being reunited with Jake, but we also had some great adventures together. One of my favorite things to do in Utah is hiking in the mountains. Unfortunately, I was not in great shape this time because I had just started running again. Consequently, the first hike in Utah’s heat and at a much higher elevation didn’t end well for me. I definitely lost my cookies going up the mountain. Fortunately, Jake and the Mayor took great care of me and we got down the mountain safely and intact.

The medicine I’m on with Calibrate is great, but nausea can be pretty bad, especially with exertion. Hence, I lost the cookies on the first hike. Our second hike was an easier trail with more shade, but the elevation and heat still kicked my arse. This time I was careful it take more breaks and keep my heart rate lower. I didn’t lose my lunch that time, but the hike kicked my butt. We did see a beautiful snake slither across the trail. Thankfully, it was not poisonous. Unfortunately, it was too quick for us, so nobody for a picture.

One of the most unique hikes we did was at the Golden Spike National Historical Park. This park is about an hour northwest of Ogaden on the northern shore of the Great Salt Lake. Rather than a hike up a mountainside, we hiked down to the shores of Salt Lake. Due to the drought, the American West has experienced, the lake is at its lowest level. Consequently, we hiked across the dried-up lake bed for more than a mile to reach the shore of the lake.

It was striking how dead birds or insects would lay preserved from the salt on the lake’s bed. As we approached the shore where the waves were breaking, there was a wide crust of salt running parallel to the waterline. As you looked out over the lake, it was a beautiful blue with haze coming off the water. It was gorgeous! Meanwhile, the waves of the lake had a bright reddish hue that made the lake look otherworldly. I was not tempted to go in the red water, but Jake and the Mayor did. They both said it felt like an Epsom salt bath. When they walked out of the lake, a layer of salt was left behind on their legs. Naturally, they collected some salt to use at home.

Beyond the beautiful hike on the bed of the Great Salt Lake, Golden Spike National Historical Park is a pretty neat place. They still have Victorian-era locomotives that travel the tracks, so visitors can see what they looked like. There is now a plaque where the golden spike used to be commemorating the coming together on the intercontinental railroad. As for the actual spike, it’s now on display at Stanford University.

There are several other hikes you can do at the park. We opted, however, to drive up to the Chinese Arch. It was a terrifying drive with a drop off of thousands feet to the right side. Meanwhile, the gravel road up to the arch was super narrow. While the arch was worth the drive, I’d probably go for the hike the next time around. I wouldn’t want to do that drive again.

My favorite hike this trip, however, was to Gloria Falls in Little Cottonwood Canyon. I love hiking the Cottonwood Canyons because it’s significantly cooler than hiking in and around Ogden. Our elevation at the start of the hike was over 7800 feet. By the time we hit the waterfall, our altitude was almost 9,000 feet. Thankfully, this particular hike is not arduous because if it was I really would have struggled. Once we got to the falls, the air temperature was in the low 60s. The rushing water coming off the mountains certainly had a chilling effect.

Gloria Falls, it’s absolutely stunning and worth the hike. There is plenty of space to take a good rest or eat a picnic lunch, which is awesome. If I had planned better, I would have brought lunch. The hike itself provides stunning vistas out over the forests of the canyon, the mountains, and the distant valley. It’s a popular hike, so you’ll want to head out early to find parking. Also, the last part of the trail is unmarked. Consequently, be sure to download the map from the AllTrails app, so you don’t get lost. Albeit, you’ll likely run into plenty of people on your way up to the falls. Nonetheless, this is a trail I’d hike again anytime I found myself in Utah.

One of the solo hikes I did on our last Utah trip was right next to the Weber Ice Sheet. It is a simple half-mile paved loop around a pond. While the boys enjoyed open skating, I enjoyed walking around the pond and picking blackberries. I was shocked when a beautiful doe crossed in front of me as she went near the pond to eat. When I looped around again, she was standing in the middle of the path just taking it all in. After seeing all the videos of bison goring stupid tourists at Yellowstone, I decided to give her a wide berth. Unfortunately, she was not there when I came back to run the next day.

All in all, we had some great hikes during this last Utah trip. Ones that I’ll certainly explore again. I’d love to spend more time hiking and exploring both Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood Canyons. Also, if my parents travel with us again, I think they’d really enjoy Golden Spike National Historical Park. Now back in Florida, I can tell you that I miss waking up in the mountains every morning. I love being up on the mountain exploring everything and every view it has to offer. There’s something almost spiritual about it! Anyway, I love Utah and I love hiking in Utah!

Deployment Diary – Saying Goodbye

I decided to keep an electronic diary of my thoughts during deployment. By the time this is published, he will be back home.

Saying goodbye to our eldest is never easy, but this last time it was particularly hard. This time it would be the last time I got to hug him before he left on his first deployment. To say that hug contained a lot of emotion and love would be a gross understatement. While he was excited for this new adventure, the mom in me couldn’t help but be anxious and worried sick. Naturally, I tried my best to hide this from him. After all, I didn’t want him feeding off my anxiety. Nor did I want him worrying about his mom.

Perhaps the hardest part of all of this is not knowing the details. He’s limited in what he can share with for obvious reasons, but it makes it hard when you don’t know the when and where. At the moment, we’re just waiting for the shoe to drop. Obviously, it’s been a bit nerve wracking.

Twilight Zone

Last weekend’s hockey tournament was like stepping into the twilight zone. To be fair, it’s our fault for going. The memorial day tournament, as long as we’ve been involved in Florida hockey, has been an unmitigated disaster/twilight zone. This year’s tournament was no exception. Our weekend also had a 70s/80s flair courtesy of the Saddlebrook Resort. The furniture in our room was probably older than all of us.

Sunday was by far the worst day. Our first game of the day was an absolute disaster. In fact, it’s probably the worst hockey experience I’ve had to date. That my friends is saying a lot. One of the refs was not sober and did the job at a level commensurate to his lack of sobriety. There were only two refs as well because folks don’t want to pay for four. We should demand that there are four at the higher levels.

Consequently, the other team ended up with two goals that should never have happened. One the opposing goalie caught the puck and held it. There should have been a whistle or a play the puck here, but there wasn’t. As our boys came off to change, the goalie release the puck to his teammate, who naturally got a breakaway and scored. The second goal happened after the puck hit the netting in the neutral zone and wasn’t whistled dead. Apparently, the puck never crossed the line either, but that wasn’t something I could see from my vantage point.

By the third period, we had tied it up and the game started to devolve. There were several skirmishes that resulted in players being tossed from the game. Strangely, the refs never reported any player numbers or corresponding infractions. It was an absolutely odd situation. However, it would only get weirder after the game when the opposing coach added a goal for his son to the scoresheet. Thankfully, there was someone in the tournament office that watched the game and knew it had ended in a tie. Who does that shit?

The assistant coach added a goal for his son after the game.

The oddness of the day was punctuated in our second game by an opposing parent that walked back and forth behind the bench flicking off the kids. Seriously? I should also say the opposing coach was an asshole trying to get us to forfeit stating we had suspended players that were playing. Obviously, that was complete bullshit. I firmly told the coach to take note of the suspensions already noted as served on the scoresheet. He took a picture and huffed back to his bench. What a loser. At any rate, I will happily skip next year’s twilight zone tournament.

Monday we headed home, which is always a fun drive. There’s no worse road to drive than State Road 60. It’s awful anytime of the day and in any kind of weather. Once we got home, we quickly left again to go see my brother and sister in law that can to town Thursday. We all had a blast at the BBQ and the kids got to hang with their cousins, which was great.

Prom Season

It’s prom season here in the Hockey Mom Fig household. This weekend our younger two will be heading to prom. Goalielocks is going to his senior prom tonight, while the Mayor will be going to prom tomorrow. Getting these two ready for prom has been quite the adventure. Last weekend, I had them both fit at Men’s Warehouse for tuxes. They were both in rare form and had the gentlemen fitting them in stitches. I, however, was in less than a great mood as the tuxes set me back nearly $600. Now prom is expensive for girls, but at least they get to keep their outfit.

Last night, I took the Mayor for a sorely needed hair cut. He looks great! Goalielocks needed one as well, but had volleyball practice, so it didn’t happen. Oh well, his hair looks fine as it is. Once Goalielocks got home from practice, we headed to Men’s Warehouse to pick up the tuxes. It was a zoo albeit better than it had been Saturday. We were quickly served.

What took a minute was having each of the boys try on their outfits. Goalielocks chose a grey suit with a darker gray vest and a red bow tie and pocket square. His pants were a little shorter in style, but I’m told that how the kids wear them these days. Meanwhile, the Mayor also picked out a gray suit (albeit a different one) with rose gold accents. His pants were quite a bit longer, but fit really well. It was interesting to see their individual styles come through in each of their tuxes.

After the fitting we went back home to watch the end of the Panthers’ game. Unfortunately, Hulu was down, so that couldn’t happen. Consequently, we ended up watching Gordon Ramsey adventure through Finnish Lapland. It was fun to see him foraging through the swamp for my favorite cloud berries and blueberries. The scenery was amazing. I look forward to returning to Finland and exploring the country beyond Helsinki. And for tonight, it is night one of prom season! I love it!

Beautiful Evening

The hubby and I spent a beautiful evening near the water for my birthday. For dinner, we went to Two George’s, which has a great location. The food it okay, but I wouldn’t wait more than 15 minutes for a table. It was a pleasant, breezy and not too arid of a night. We sat at one of their covered rocking picnic tables outside. Our food came out promptly and was good. My favorite part was the conch fritters.

After dinner, we headed south to hit the beach. Since the beaches near us close at sundown, the hubby drove down to Delray Beach. It was an absolutely gorgeous evening, but the wind near the water was ridiculous. At times, it felt like my legs were being sandblasted. Nevertheless, it absolutely gorgeous looking out over the waves. Their were storms to the north with some beautiful lightning accentuating the sky. Next time I’d love to sneak the puppies onto the beach. The beach was the perfect way to end our beautiful evening.


William Wordsworth, ‘It is a beauteous evening, calm and free’. 

It is a beauteous evening, calm and free,
The holy time is quiet as a Nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquility;
The gentleness of heaven broods o’er the Sea …

Month End

A couple of years ago, month end (along with cycle end) would have made me crazy. In fact, it took shelf to uncouple from the unhealthy month end cycle after leaving my last job. I certainly don’t miss the insane rhetoric regarding “priorities” that I had to endure there. Thank God none of that same lunacy exists in my current role. If it did, I would have ran for the hills ages ago.

Literally me everyday at my old job

Nevertheless, intrinsically I still want to finish the month strong. I mean the fact my job has a great bonus structure has nothing to do with either…. Or does it. Fortunately, after quite the shitty week last week, I ended February on a very high note. Despite the lack of volume, I still managed to put up a 10K day and put 70K plus more than last February on the books. I’m definitely thrilled anytime I break my previous record for a month.

If I had to pinpoint a cause, I’d have to say it was on a account of my wonderful sales assistants. Today I broke out a new AFLAC duck for them. Anakin took to it right away and naturally got very territorial over the duck. Athena, on the other hand, decided she was absolutely terrified of this new AFLAC duck that is identical to the last one. Ultimately, I had to put the duck up, so Athena would stop hiding behind my hubby.

Great Day

It was a great day at the homestead. I ran a few errands in the morning, took the Mayor to his evening practice, but still managed to be quite productive around the house. It’s always a win when I get my to do list accomplished over the weekend. Especially when it’s still hockey season. I even got my two mile run in!

This evening the Mayor was able to return to his homework for practice. It’s the first time we’ve been back since the fire. Honestly, it was good to be back home. Nonetheless, it also sad to see two of the three rinks still closed. It’s going to take awhile for the rink get back to 100%, but fortunately the Mayor’s team is back to having regular practices. I know, he for one, is stoked and relieved to be back on the ice.

Speaking of a great day, I sure hope I close February out with a big day tomorrow. Friday sucked at work, so I’m definitely in need of a good day. I’m also hoping March is will be a much better month than February ended up being for our team. The week should be a good one as the Mayor has a scrimmage Tuesday, which is always fun.

With everything going on in the world, like the war in Ukraine, it’s hard to believe what’s happening. I think my generation has been a bit spoiled being born at the tail end for her Cold War. For the majority of our lives, we’ve known peace and had a rich childhood experience. Conversely, I feel that our childrens’ generation has had a dramatically different experience, which makes me sad.

Silly Anakin

Our silly Anakin has a love hate relationship with feet. One minute, he’s peacefully licking them. The next minute, he’s growling and attacking your feet. Honestly, there has to be something in the deep recesses of his subconscious mind that causes this behavior. We adopted him at three months, so who knows what happened to him before that point.

He’s a bit of anxious dog. For months, he’s been afraid for the stuffed AFLAC duck. Moreover, he was particularly afraid of the noises it made. Flash forward to this past Sunday when he decided that the stuffed duck was his best friend. Since then he’s carried it almost everywhere. In fact, he even brings the duck to bed with him.

Apparently, he’s still not a fan of the AFLAC quack because this morning he chewed the sound box out of the stuffed animal. I found it in pieces on my bedroom floor. Miraculously, the duck is still in pretty good shape considering the surgery it just endured. Fortunately, I was able to get the batteries and electronics away from Anakin before he decided to eat them.

This evening the hubby and I’ve been chilling on the couch watching television. Unfortunately, there is something about my hubby’s feet that are freaking him out tonight. He’s freaked out at them twice. The next minute he’s back to being calm and just hanging out. He’s such a silly Anakin.

New Day

It’s a new day and a new month. Today was a much better day in the office. I cleared 10K easy despite working an hour less. Coincidentally, that’s exactly the kind of day you hope for. It’s still our busy season, but this year’s OEP seems to be less busy than last year. Nevertheless, I’m primed for success and have great support from my leadership.

Naturally, the key to my success is my fabulous sales assistants. They were well behaved today , which is always a bonus. I love having them by my side as I work all day. In fact, they’re really a great selling tool. People don’t always like sales calls, but most people love animals. My puppies are pretty quiet, but when they do bark my clients love it. This opens up the door for them to talk about their furry kids. Happiness is sharing cute animal stories with your clients as they buy from you.

Speaking of a new day, I officially started the Calibrate program this afternoon. It’s a metabolic reset program that led by a MD and coaches. My endo encouraged me to give the program a try to help take off the remaining thyroid weight and normalize my cholesterol numbers. So far the hardest part has been having to give up the Splenda in my morning coffee. They start the program gradually as it promotes success. If you make too many dramatic changes immediately, it makes it hard to sustain.

Whoops

Whoops, so apparently playlist is today’s prompt for bloganuary. I was a day early for the prompt. Oh well, music was in my mind yesterday, so the prompt worked well. Tomorrow, I’ll rejoin the challenge with the right prompt in the right day. Speaking of playlists, I added some Oasis to my 90s playlist today. Wonderwall was the perfect song to cool down to and finish my workout.

It’s Friday, but this week it doesn’t mean the end of the work week for me. I’ll be working tomorrow albeit not a full day. Two more days to finish the month strong, so hopefully tomorrow is a good day. Saturdays can be hit and miss. I do like that Saturday don’t start until 10:00, so I have a lot of fine do get stuff down before work starts.

Meanwhile, we are expecting some seriously cold temperatures, by South Florida standards, this weekend. In fact, we could see low temperatures in the 30s, which is crazy. Nevertheless, we probably still won’t turn the heat on. We’ve used it so infrequently that it smells terrible when you first turn it on. Honestly, we’ve probably used it twice in the sixteen years that we’ve lived here. Thankfully, we have plenty of blankets and hoodies to keep us warm.

This week I got back on track with my BBG workouts and running. I just finished the third strength training workout and have two more runs on the week. Next week I’ll start BBG 2.0. This is the second time I’ve finished BBG 1.0. Albeit it was structured differently this time, which was nice. Today’s run absolutely kicked my butt. Hopefully, it will be easier next week. Anyway, tomorrow I’ll rectify my whoops by posting the right prompt for the day.

Lastly, one of the members of our hockey family needs our help. Coach F, who. Goalielocks has played for, is a wonderful hockey dad and coach. Unfortunately, they just lost their home to a fire. Please consider donating to this wonderful family and help them rebuild their home. You can donate here.