Tag Archives: Grand Canyon

Miss Diehl’s Grand Canyon Playschool

220px-New_havasu_fallsThis year is my fiftieth class reunion–Yikes! Where did the years go! But it got me thinking about some of the things that happened in high school. One of my best memories is a trip I took with some friends between our sophomore and junior years. Somehow we managed to convince our English teacher, Miss Diehl, to take us to the Grand Canyon. I’m pretty sure my parents only said I could go because they thought Miss Diehl would turn us down. Thinking back on it, Miss Diehl probably went along with our scheme because she didn’t think our parents would let us go. Anyway, everyone underestimated our powers of persuasion.

We spent our first night in Peach Springs, in the teepee motel.  The following morning, we left early to take the sixty-mile dirt road to Havasupai Canyon. Somewhere along the way, we had a flat tire. Since the tire was damaged beyond repair, it was necessary to buy a new one once we got to Flagstaff. That seriously cut into the amount of money we had for the trip and required some recalculations. If that wasn’t bad enough, no one had figured  how expensive food would be in Havasupai Village. Everything had to be brought in by horseback, including us. The horseback ride was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. Once in the canyon, we stayed in the lodge. The only food we could afford was a large jar of peanut butter and loaf of bread.  That was what we ate for our two days in the Canyon.

Anyone who has been to Havasupai will tell you that it is like no place on earth. The water cascades down into brilliant blue pools surrounded by red rocks. The first set of falls are a two-mile hike from the village. Further down is Moony Falls that is reachable by climbing down from a ledge. For part of the trip down, hikers pass through tunnels and at other times use spikes driven into the walls. The spectacular falls is certainly worth the effort.

Leaving Havasupai Canyon,  our next stop was the Grand Canyon, where we camped in a tent. We found plenty to do, like ranger talks, hikes and the west rim drive. Our last stop was Oak Creek Canyon and Slide Rock. There I wore out my very best cut-offs sliding down through the pools of water. This didn’t make my mother too happy when I returned home, but it was worth it.

This trip was certainly one of my fondest memories from high school and one that I will always remember. I was even able to remember the words to the song we made up. It is to the tune of “My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean.”

We’re Pam and Diane and Rosemary, and we’d like to relate to you

A few of our many experiences, in Miss Diehl’s Grand Canyon play school.

We took a trip into the Canyon. The Indians were so very kind.

We had lots of fun riding horses, but oh my poor behind.

Our days are divided in periods, and now just to mention a few:

There’s reading and resting and meditating, and of course letter-writing too.

Last night we had stew for our supper; for breakfast we had stew again.

Today will have stew for our dinner. I’m ready to jump off the rim.

When I get home to my mother, I know what I’m going to do.

I’ll eat and I’ll drink and be merry, for Miss Diehl I’m going to sue.

A “Rosey” Future

birthday cakeToday is my birthday. I’m sixty-seven years old. That means that for at least two years, I have been a senior by any definition used by any store, restaurant, or movie theater. My status as a senior affords me plenty of perks and I try to take advantage of as many as I can.

One of the first things I noticed when I retired was that time seemed to slow down. This was a surprise because I was expecting quite the opposite. When I was teaching, I was always looking forward to something in the future–the next long weekend, fall break, etc. Being retired is like being on fall break, immediately followed by winter break, before beginning spring break, which takes me to summer break and then back to fall break. Actually, I love that aspect of retirement. The only problem is, there’s no urgency to get things done–There’s always tomorrow. (Well, maybe that isn’t really a problem.)

Fortunately, I am enjoying excellent health and vitality. That allows me to do most anything I want to do. I think a lot of seniors have bucket lists. Before I retired, I had three things on my list. The first was to finish reading the Bible cover to cover. I had been working at it for a few years, but after retiring, I was able to accomplish that in a few months. The second item on my list was to become a docent at the Highland Center. I have been doing that for two years. Finally, I wanted to go on a fifteen-day cruise to Hawaii. Since I’ve made my reservations for that trip, my bucket list is empty. Now I’m busy working on a new list. At the top is hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and camping over night. I hope to do that in March or April.

Recently, I found this picture of me standing with my two Scan_20150714grandmothers. I must be about three or four years old. I estimate that my grandmothers are in their fifties. (They are my namesakes–Mary on the left and Rose on the right.) What amazed me most about this picture is how matronly they look. It’s the way women their age dressed at that time. Grandmas today are much flashier dressers, of course, but it also reflects our attitude. We aren’t ready to fade into the background.

As we Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age, we are redefining what that means. As we have done atBrenna and me every stage of life, we are establishing ourselves as a force to be reckoned with. Not ready to be put out to pasture, we are taking on new challenges and new careers. My cousin, Ken and his wife, Katie, for example just launched a new career selling real estate.

For me, my retirement career is writing children’s books. Although I have not sold enough books for the IRS to consider it a business, I do see it that way. I work hard not only at writing books but also at promoting them. The competition out there is fierce and as every writer knows, we must pay our dues before achieving success–if success ever comes. Because I believe in what I’m doing, I will press on whatever the outcome. If my books aren’t discovered until after I’m gone, I’ll be okay with that. At least I’ll have my legacy.

And so, today, on my birthday, it seems appropriate to reflect not so much on my past successes or failures, but on my future which I think looks rosy indeed.

Confessions of a Fitbit Fanatic

IMG_0921 (2)Why am I walking around my house in the dark at eleven p.m.? Do I need a drink of water or to use the bathroom? . . . Did I forget to plug in my phone or turn off my computer? . . . Was I awakened by a strange noise and I’ve gone to investigate?  No, it’s not for any of those logical reasons.  I am walking around in the dark because I still need four hundred more steps to earn my badge for 25,000 steps in one day. Sound crazy? Please allow me to explain.

For Mother’s Day this year, Mike and Vikki, my son and daughter-in-law, gave me a Fitbit Flex.  At first it seemed like a fun new toy. I wore it most of the time, but sometimes I forgot to put it back on after my shower. I liked how it kept track of my sleep and reminded me to drink more water. After a few weeks, I decided to set a goal to lose a few pounds. I chose the easy path because I wasn’t serious about it. I did my best to record what I ate each day. What I liked most about the Fitbit was that I was in control. Unlike diets that tell you what to eat, I could choose what I wanted. All I had to do was make sure I burned more calories than I consumed.

My Fitbit would probably have continued to be no big deal if it hadn’t been for what happened  Memorial Day weekend.  I received an unexpected email from Vikki, inviting me to join a weekend warrior challenge. It sounded like fun and so I accepted. Soon after that, I remembered that Mike and Vikki planned to go on a long hike that Saturday. I figured I didn’t stand a chance of winning. By the end of Saturday, I was in fourth place even though I had 20,000 steps. But there was still another day left and now Mike and Vikki were tired from their long hike the day before. Just like the tortoise that won the race against the hare, I kept walking on Sunday and managed to sneak by everyone with more than 40,000 steps for the weekend.

Of course, I was elated with my victory over a group of people more than twenty years younger than I am. In fact, I liked it so much, that I went looking for other groups to compete in.  I joined a group called “Born in the 1940s.” Since I was born in 1948, I am a baby in that group.  The goal of the group is to still be walking in the 2050s.  I have a personal goal to live to be 100,  so this seemed like the perfect group to join. Currently, I am in tenth place behind nasamike. I think I’m doing well considering jimmywalkingstick, who is in first place is more than 200,000 steps ahead of me. Close behind me is a lovely lady named Betty.

These are not people I know, but I like to pretend that I do know them. I picture nasamike on a tread mill on the International Space Station. He even gets some of his steps by walking on the ceiling and the walls. jimmywalkingstick might be this man I encountered once who runs to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back out every day. I think of Betty as a friend who is walking with me, encouraging me to keep going.

If I had a friend who nagged at me every day about what I ate and how much I exercised, I would probably avoid that friend. But my Fitbit isn’t like that. My Fitbit sits passively on my wrist until I ask how I’m doing. Then my  Fitbit  gives me a peptalk, calling me champ because I walked ten miles in a day or awarding me badges for walking 250 miles. (Which of course I deserve because that’s like walking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back ten times.)   Fitbit, my friend,  I’m glad I met you.