Queen Mean

Misanthrope on the Move

 

Random Observations from the Road

These are just some random thoughts that have occurred to me over the last couple of weeks.

  • In Wyoming, cattle ranching is a big thing.  As are free ranging buffalo.  So it is not uncommon to see a thirty cars pulled off to the side of the road, while people take pictures of about 30 wild buffalo while  twenty yards away a whole herd of hamburgers on hooves look on, clearly thinking “What the fuck makes those guys so special”.  Behold, buffalo butts in all their glory:

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I, of course, didn’t bother to take pictures of the envious cows.

  • There are two kinds of hikers.  First there are those who think that they are hiking for the experience of hiking and who stop every two seconds to go oooh a bird, ooh look at that flower, ooh ….squirrel, ooh I’m dying let’s take a break.   Then there are those for whom hiking is a death sport, and who hike as if they will have life points deducted from them if they fail to get to the end of the hike well under the average time it takes everyone else.  Guess which one I am?  Guess which one Hubs is? Apparently hiking is not about the experience. It’s about beating everyone else who has ever hiked.  GETERDUN! This is my typical view of Hubs as we hike.  Although this ground was relatively flat so I was actually not as far behind him as I usually am.  Usually I can just dimly make him out, up ahead in the distance.Hikeahead
  • This is one of those squirrels I saw when I was hiking like a normal person.

squirrel

  • Not having a DVR is a pain in the ass as I am now forced to watch commercials. I really want to know why companies think it’s beneficial to them to create obnoxious spokespeople.  It’s not like I was dying to go eat KFC prior to watching one of their commercials and now after being forced to watch the new Jackass Colonel repeatedly, I want to set all their franchises on fire.
  • It’s amusing how easy I can earworm my husband.  Just wait til he’s concentrating on something else, hum a few bars and he’s whistling show tunes all day without quite knowing how it happened.  I don’t have a DVR anymore, I have to create my own entertainment.
  • We finally saw a bear.  On the same day that Hubs forgot to bring the bear spray.  True, the bear was like a mile away and down a valley, but the point is, if the bear had been at all ambitious we’d be dead and it would be all his fault.

 

  • There’s a deer hidden in these two photos.  First one to find them both gets to take my place on this trip.

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Tomorrow we are going on an overnight camping trip.  I will be sleeping on the ground like some hippie in 38 degree weather and dirty clothes.  Yay…  Of course Glacier National Park is currently on fire because some inconsiderate douche did not manage his or her cigarettes or lit an illegal campfire so it might be cancelled.  I see this as yet another sign that I am not meant to be hiking.

My dog is never going to forgive me …

Posted by: | Posted in: Random Life Stuff

Divaesque

This is my dog Diva.  She is a creature of habit.  She loves a routine, mostly because she is dirt stupid and doesn’t like being confronted with new situations that require her to spin the hamster wheel in her head.  She’s a good dog and she likes being obedient, which is one of the reasons she likes routine.  She doesn’t like being in a situation where she’s not sure if she’s allowed to do whatever she’s doing.  To give you an example of how much this dog is routine-oriented, I offer up this prime example, that many of my friends will have already heard.  For years, I took Diva and our other dog Kenzie for a 2 mile walk that started with us leaving our driveway and turning left to go around the block.  One day, because I needed to drop off something to a neighbor who lived about half a mile up the road to the right, we turned right coming out of our driveway instead of left.  I was about 100 feet down the road when I realized Diva wasn’t with us any more and I looked back and found her lying, belly to the ground, claws dug into the street, refusing to move because I had completely altered the entire universe by making her go right instead of left.  She was lying there, prostrate in the street as if I’d just beat her with a pipe because we had turned right and she couldn’t figure out how to walk going the wrong way down the road.  She was traumatized beyond the telling of it.  Now, we’ve picked her up and are making her move houses every couple of weeks on this road trip of ours.  To make matters worse, she’s lost her guide dog, Kenzie.

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Kenzie was our first dog.  We adopted her when she was around 2 years old, though we aren’t really sure of her exact age.  We got Diva as a puppy roughly a month after we adopted Kenzie. Basically for the entirety of her life, Diva has not had to think, because she’s spent the last 13 years looking over her shoulder, seeing what Kenzie was doing, and following that. Unfortunately, just a couple of weeks before the road trip, Kenzie succumbed to old age and we had to let her go.  So not only has Diva lost her best friend and leader, she’s now being uprooted every few weeks and having to experience all new environments with no clue how to function in them.  We didn’t quite realize just how bad off she was until a couple of days ago, when we realized she couldn’t walk through a door that was just cracked slightly ajar, because she’d never been confronted with this situation before.  Kenzie had always pushed the door open on her way through, and Diva would follow behind.  Diva spent 10 minutes whining outside the door, completely unable to figure out that she just needed to walk in.  I’ve spent the last two days teaching her how to walk through slightly open doors. I wish I were kidding.

kenzieanddiva

Prior to the last month, when we’d leave and come home, Diva would greet us, say a quick doggie hi and then go back to the couch and nap.  Our comings and goings were of no particular interest to her, because she was always with Kenzie.  Now, she has a spastic meltdown when we return even if we’ve only been gone for 20 minutes.  She follows me endlessly around the house with her nose practically up my butt, because she doesn’t want to be left alone for any length of time.  Today, I thought we’d had a breakthrough. I have been reorganizing and repacking the car because we are moving to a new place on Sunday and I am trying to get a system going.  After about 30 minutes, I was pleasantly surprised by the realization that Diva wasn’t doggedly following on my heels as I moved from laundry room to kitchen to living room. I figured she was having a quiet nap on her bed, and we’d made some real progress in her mental health situation.  Then I realized that she’d apparently followed me outside about an hour before on one my trips to the car, and I’d locked her outside.  All alone.  By herself. In a strange place with strange grass and strange birds and chickens and weird neighbors.   For …a ….whole… hour.

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The freak out when I finally brought her inside was … impressive.   I am currently looking into whether Montana has doggie psychiatrists because I think she’s going to need it.

Divamad1

 

 

Exhibit “A” in the Upcoming Divorce Proceedings…

I woke up this morning with my head already …not good…with a cough and a general sort of “blech”  feeling. Which usually would not be a problem as I would just drug myself into a stupor and couch it all day but we’d planned for my first hike in Glacier today.  Hubs had assured me that this piddling little 11 mile sojourn was a piece of cake, primarily downhill, because we planned to park one car at one spot, take the second car up the mountain and then hike down to the first car. Downhill most of the way, he assured me.  He. Fucking. Lied.   After hiking about five miles in, 4.5 of it completely uphill, I was reduced to screaming at him, WHERE’S THE DOWNHILL YOU PROMISED ME??!!  WHERE IS IT?!!! (It was the last 4 miles, straight down the damn mountain, no grade at all, just down…)

My suspicion that this was in fact a death march was only heightened by the knowledge that spouses have been offed on the exact trail we were hiking only the year before.  Knowing this in advance, we’d decided to keep a 100 feet of distance between us at all times, just in case the urge to give a little shove became overwhelming.  As my ire at the lack of easy downhill hiking grew, we decided that 200 feet might be safer for him.

Now Hubs, to his credit, is in awesome shape.  I am not.  He’s been hiking for about 2 months straight and can nimbly run up the path like a freaking goat while I trudge and plod along behind.   It’s fun watching his face as we are swiftly passed by elderly women, hordes of obnoxious teenagers and germans.  He seethes inwardly inside, knowing all these people are beating him at life, while he’s held up by his infirm and aged wife.  Eat it, Hubs.  So coughing and hacking my way uphill, picking my way gingerly downhill due to the vertigo, an 11 mile hike that probably should have taken us 4 hours actually took about 8.  Hubs, hampered and frustrated by the glacial pace; me, plotting his death with every step.  (Hubs wants to interject here to point out that this paragraph does not accurately reflect his state of mind and my description of his response has been twisted inside my bitter and slightly warped brain.  But as we all know from the whole “it’s mostly downhill the whole way” he’s a liar, so who are you going to believe, me or him…).

The hike itself was fine.  Here’s some pics.  Not a lot, because like a dumbass, I left my memory card out of my camera so I had to make do with my cell phone and stealing the hubs camera a couple of times. So most of the photos are fairly crappy.

First off, the flower situation was ridiculous.  Despite hating every minute of it, I cannot deny that hiking through miles of flowers on every side of you is pretty sweet.  The photos, again, do not do the place justice….

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              Flowers

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Here’s a picture of me, taken from the 200 foot minimum safe distance.  A couple of things should be noted here.  First, that misty stuff?  Clouds.  We were actually walking through clouds.  It was ridiculously cold.  I am wearing 2 longsleeve shirts, a fleece that I stole from Hubs and a jacket. I looked like the StayPuft marshmallow man and I was still freezing my ass off.

mistyme

 

A minor little point that should be made is that I have vertigo, and for various reasons, when I fall I go left. And of course, the sheer drop off the entire way down was to my left.  Yet more proof in the column he’s trying to kill me.

This is a marmot.  It’s a varmit.  Hee hee.

Marmet1

And that’s about it.  A hellish hike, followed by a two hour drive home.  Once again, still looking for the fun.  Still not finding it.

Mountainview

 

 

 

 

The assassination attempts begin in earnest.

Posted by: | Posted in: Travel

Today’s hike was 15 miles. FIFTEEN miles.  Uphill. Both ways. In the rain (you thought I was going to say snow didn’t you, but no, it was rain).   The original plan was for me to hike in to a spot that was about five miles in, while Hubs went on to hike an additional trail leading up to Lake Solitude which was an extra 2.5 miles.  Considering I’ve only hiked a grand total of 7 miles up to this point, I thought I’d be doing fairly well to hit 10.  But then we got to the juncture and I  decided I’d try for the whole shebang.  Because I’m a moron that’s why.   Once my legs stop shaking from exertion and my head recovers, I am sure I’ll be glad I did it, because in retrospect that 2.5 miles to the lake was some of the most beautiful hiking imaginable but I’d have been much happier to have seen it from a litter carried by well-built and well-oiled Swedish men.  Or you know, any Chris Hemsworth lookalikes in full Thor mode.

Hiking along, we came to a rocky outcropping where we saw this:

H15pica

Now if you saw this thing in your house, you’d scream and call the exterminator posthaste, but because we’re out of doors, we take pictures instead.  This is a pika.  It’s cute, it chirps like a bird.  It’s a rodent.  Not much else to say.

Next up on the wildlife adventures, we saw a mother moose and her baby.  They looked so good, I had moose stew for dinner that night.  Kidding, I ate buffalo.

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H15babymoose

Towards the end of the hike, I looked to my left and saw a deer that could not have cared less that I was close enough to slap its ass.  It walked along beside me on the trail for a good portion and then strolled out along the road ahead of me.  It was tres nonchalant and way too cool for school.

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Apparently, I am not predator enough to worry the likes of her.  I am going to have to work on that.  I was totally armed Bambi! I could have easily shot you!

Now some may know that I have a thing about bridges and tunnels.  A thing as in, I really, really don’t like them.  I know they are made by men, and men are lazy and no doubt the cheapest labor imaginable goes into the making of these things, so I am fairly confident at some point, all the bridges are going to just collapse.  I do not like crossing bridges is the point.  As we are hiking, I see this in my future…

H15bridgeThat’s basically like, a log, stretched across a gorge that I am going to have to cross.  Nuh uh.

Hubs walks jauntily across it, waving at me to assure me of its solidness (I have a pic of him being a jaunty crosser, but he hasn’t signed a release form for me to use it, so no go.)   I walk up to the bridge and this is what I see…

H15rottenbridge

And I am just like, nope.  All the nope.  But unfortunately, I can’t let Hubs beat me so I cross, sure that at any moment the bridge is going to buckle under my bulk and send me crashing, if not to my death, than to my fairly severe maiming.

Eventually we got to Lake Solitude.  7.5 miles, about 3/4 of which was grueling uphill slogging, and this was end game:

H15lakesolitudeAre you underwhelmed? Because I was underwhelmed.  To be fair, the lake itself was not the wow.  But the hike there was really quite fabulous.  So below, I’ll just throw out some pics of some of the pretty shit we saw along the way.

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H15mistymountain

H15mountainmeadow

 

 

H15pinkflowerrock

H15rivermount

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(This is actually the vertical section of rock that we had to climb at one point.  You can see Hubs way up there, I am lagging behind and cursing him and his hiking enthusiasm all the way to hell and gone.)

 

H15verticalmountmeadow

H15yellowrockflow

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And that was basically the 15 mile hike.  It should also be noted that it rained for half of it, and was cloudy and overcast for most of the other half.  The sun came out for approximately 45 minutes total and I managed to burn the living crap out of myself because I didn’t think I’d need sunscreen in a downpour.  I am so not meant for being out of doors.

 

 

 

 

“Hell is Other People”

Posted by: | Posted in: Random Life Stuff, Stupid People, Travel

The hubs and I are basically hermits.  We are misanthropes by nature, therefore going out into the world away from our cave and having to interact with numerous people displaying various degrees of hygiene, intellect, and manners is quite challenging for us.  We are currently staying in a “lodge” in the middle of Grand Tetons National park.  By lodge, think rows of Motel 6 rooms without air conditioning, fridges, microwaves or any basic amenity of life.  The lack of air conditioning necessitates leaving the windows open throughout the day and night in order to avoid boiling in your own sweat stew. You would think that people would possess the basic common courtesy to STFU between the hours of 9pm and 8am if they were walking outside but you would be vastly overestimating the degree to which humans are capable of pulling their heads out of their asses and recognizing that there are people besides themselves about in the world.

I was already cranky from the lack of quiet when we arrived back at our sweat lodge one day to find that the previously unoccupied attached box to our right was now tenanted with two whackjobs and their two screaming curtain climbers.  Now Hubs and I are childless by choice.  I’ve never changed a diaper and the times I’ve held a child could be counted on one hand with fingers left over for flipping the bird and thumbing a ride to somewhere children aren’t allowed.  I don’t particularly find the joy in quiet, well-behaved little dribblers and I really despise those who are being reared by parents who believe that children should be seen and heard and indulged at all times instead of stuffed in a closet somewhere until they reach an age where they can carry on a civilized conversation. It would have been too much to hope that we would get neighbors who were actually schooled in how to live in the world with children. No, we had to get the “let children be children” parents. They apparently think it’s peachy keen to lull their little nose-dripper to a restful night’s sleep by letting it scream itself into oblivion.  Now, if you are in the privacy of your own home that’s a perfectly valid option for child-rearing.  However, when you are sharing a thin wall and wide open windows with people who don’t find your little shitsacks at all adorable or amusing, come up with a better bedtime routine.   I did find amusement in this exchange I had with Hubs though…

Hubs:  So is there something wrong with their kid, like mentally?
Me: What do you mean?
Hubs: It talks like “myah bwah bwah dah” all the time.
Me: I think that’s just because it’s two.

6 miles, 600 foot elevation gain and 60,000 mosquitoes

Posted by: | Posted in: Travel

The first hike is in the bag.  Completed and done.  The hiking adventures start in the Grand Tetons National Park. I had requested a short hike that was mostly flat since I needed to accustom myself to the elevation and also I am extremely lazy.  We hiked around a lake that apparently no one hikes around because the trail was overgrown and you were slogging through waist high weeds for 90 percent of the time.

LakeHike1a

It had rained the previous night and I found out my new hiking shoes weren’t actually waterproof. Hubs, who has apparently become some sort of eco-fascist decided not to bring along actual bug repellant with proper cancer causing chemicals that actually, you know, work and repel bugs. No  instead he brought some hippy-dippy eucalyptus lemon crap that worked about as well at repelling the hordes of marauding mosquitoes as me standing there going “Shoo you bloodsucking fiends, shoo now.”

LakeHike1

Staggering and weak from losing several pints of blood, I managed to sustain my first injury (on the first hike even, I am totally going to die).  A huge tree had fallen across the path requiring you to lever yourself up and over it.  Except the frakking thing was waist high on me and it had spears sticking out of it and in trying to hoist my fat ass over it, I managed to jam one right into my leg. Luckily it didn’t break the skin, but the bruise is pretty.  Hobbling onward, I came to a narrow bridge that had been liberally fertilized with bear shit.  Seriously, it was like the bear just walked across it, crapping as it went, making for the worst game of hopscotch in history and me with a gimpy leg. I was about to commit ritual suicide right there on the path when we rounded a bend, and I saw the beautiful sight of cars, one of which was ours, that would take me back to civilization.  Considering this hike is roughly 1/2 the distance and 1/4 the elevation gain I am going to have to accomplish when we do the week long hike in Colorado in six weeks, I am writing out my will as soon as I finish the blog entry.

 

ImpalingLog      (This is not the actual impaling log as I was too busy cursing and leaping over bear crap to take a picture of the assailant, but this gives you an idea.)

The Math Gets Confusing

Posted by: | Posted in: Random Life Stuff

Today’s my 15th/8th/3rd wedding anniversary.  If it seems like I am a little confused or possibly a polygamist with an attachment to July weddings, neither is the case.  Hubs and I have been together for 15 years.  Seven years into it, on our seventh anniversary (which just happened to be on July 7th) we had a faux-wedding in Venice, Italy, where we rode a gondola and recited vows (well he recited vows, I didn’t, that’s another long story).  It was not at all legally binding, which was nice in that we had an out.  On the fifth anniversary of our Venice trip, we decided to tie the knot for real, and since we’d had the fake wedding in the real Venice, we decided symmetry demanded the real wedding take place in the fake Venice in Vegas.   Frankly considering it took him so damn long to come up to scratch, I think all the years prior to actually getting married counts in the total.  But then he considered our first marriage to be as real as the second one, which leads to several conflicting dates.  So I think he’s obligated to get me a gift for each anniversary: 15, 8 and 3.  He disagrees.   Considering 15 years is  Big Metal Chickens  and we are on a roadtrip that would make the gift of poultry impractical, I’ve decided the gift of our love is enough.  That and the fact that I think this might be the first anniversary we’ve spent together in ages.  We aren’t a sentimental people.  Happy anniversary, Hubs.

Friends bring joy. Nebraska, not so much…

Posted by: | Posted in: Food, Travel

I’ve finally realized the purpose of cultivating relationships with people.  You don’t have to pay for hotel rooms as often.  Spent a few days leeching off the kindness of the SIL and the Brother in Iowa, and then spent a night in Grand Island, Nebraska with the mother of my best friend for 30+ years.  Hit the road early this morning as I am still pretty much on EST time and drove through Nebraska. And drove and drove.  Nebraska’s geography is an absolute wonder in its absolute lack of anything interesting to look at.  I don’t think I’ll be becoming an honorary cornhusker any time soon.  Nebraska has one thing though, something my BF has been extolling the virtues of for years….

 

Runzasand

That, dear reader, is a Runza. Now I’ve long been dubious of eating anything that sounds like it’s the byproduct of a gastro-intestinal disorder, and my skepticism was not at all diminished when I unwrapped the bag and saw that.   Now if you are a Yankee, you might be familiar with White Castle and if you are a Southerner, you may have passed (hopefully) a Krystal burger or two.  But Nebraska’s unique version of dog food patty on a bun is the Runza.  Only they add cabbage to it.  Because cabbage, that’s why. Runza.  Quite possibly the most aptly named fast food experience there is.

Tonight, it’s on to Wyoming where I’m spending my 4th of July in a second rate hotel in a third rate town on some random stretch of highway eating a frozen dinner because all the restaurants are closed.  But never fear, what this town lacks in ambiance it makes up for in having the state penitentiary right down the road.

Road Trip to Hell: Hiking edition

Posted by: | Posted in: Uncategorized

For those of you who may not know, Hubs suffers from OCD and ADD. He gets massively obsessed with something for a very brief period of time, throws himself into it headlong, wrings all the joy out of it and then abandons it within a few weeks to months.  His latest enthusiasm is hiking, and he’s dragging me and the dog along with him.  We’ve rented out our house to friends and are heading to the wilds of Wyoming, Montana, Colorado and Utah to hike the National Parks.  Considering I have a tendency to pass out from exertion and altitude, I am fairly confident his sudden enthusiasm to go mountain climbing is all just an elaborate plot to kill me.  I should definitely check into whether he’s taken out any life insurance policies on me recently….

 
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