There is this place in Utah that is very mystifying. It is flat and white and vast. Always. So if you happen to arrive in this place and you're not sure if it is winter or summer, and you looked out of your spaceship window, you would be confused. Is it a frozen lake? No. It is 80 degrees outside. But.....
Taste it. It's salty. The Great Salt Lake.
I have a problem with directions, namely north, south, east and west. My brain has no instinctual compass and therefore I travel through life going mostly the wrong way. In keeping with my quest to become more and more directionally proficient I decided to travel to a country where everything is backwards. It was not enough to be insecure just part of the time. I chose to drive a car with all it's parts in the wrong place as well as steer that car toward the wrong side of the road. And then I found that when I needed to make a turn the windshield wipers flew on, and when it rained I would use the blinker. And at intersections I just lingered for a long while trying to overthink my next move just to be sure I didn't cross over to the bad side. It took me 12 days to get the hang of it and when I got home the first thing I did was flip the windshield wipers on when I wanted to turn right.
So New Zealand (South Island) was great. Of course the driving was bonkers but so was the climate. I just couldn't accept that a subtropical rainforest can exist within a quarter mile of an actively moving glacier. Buckets of warmish rain falling in torrents, warm steam rising out of the jungle and oh yea, that's ice just ahead.
---Franz-Joseph Glacier Track---
Also the water situation threw me off. There's a lot of water in New Zealand whether it's coming down from the sky or in a river roiling down from a melting glacier, grey with sediment. Sometimes the rivers can be clear dark blue or bright light blue or milky turquoise blue. The lakes...well their color changes with the sun. There's even the Tasman Sea which gets a piece of all these shades of water. And I haven't mentioned the white water which cascades down a cliff face only when it rains hard and long.
grey water from the glacier above, the river is full of emulsified sediment (Mount Cook)
----Hooker Valley Track---
clear blue glacial water with no sediment ---Rob Roy Glacier Track---
milky blue rivers in the valley, a combination of glacier runoff and rainwater
clear multi-blue lake near Queenstown
slate blue Lake Tekapo
baby blue Lake Pukaki (fed by the Mt Cook glaciers)
orange Lake Wanaka
The Tasman Sea (west coast)
AND....Milford Sound (fiords)
THE BIGGEST "WOW" OF THE TRIP
This only happens when it's raining....on our way back through this canyon at the end of the day the cliffs were dry
I kind of invited myself. I said: Hey Dave I wouldn't mind going on your Company's Annual Dive Trip with You and Hailey. And Dave said: Ok. They like you.
So I went and it was fun. Not awkward, at all....really! In fact, a vacation with Dave was kinda fun because we both knew we don't have to live with each other. We can hang out with the daughter and do fun things and be chill. For a week.
Super-fantastic dive schedule with no hiccups, no stress, no drama.
dynamic Dave having fun
Hailey hanging out at the hotel
Ready to go out for a night dive, dive boat docking behind us
Since Tanner's first St. George expedition was such a glowing success, we did it again. And with just as much joy as before. We had new adventures and experiences such as conquering the "great iron barrier", also known as "a typical boundary separating a neighborhood from a ravine". Watch how we overcame this great obstacle.
After passing the first "test of iron", Tanner was guided down a really treacherous sand mountain "the 20ft riverbank of death" to a small steam, aka "the perilous sandbar of satan". He forded the torrent, hand in hand with HaileyThe Brave and then collapsed on the opposite shore to sit in 6 inches of water. Thereafter he threw stones into the water.
I picked Tanner up straight from school and told him we were going on a long ride. He was thrilled. As the drive time lengthened Tanner became increasingly delighted. When we ventured into new territory he was hysterically excited. This was "the real thing".
I haven't taken Tanner anywhere for over five years due to his explosive ability to become a violent mess. He's been mellowing in his old age though, so I figured it was time for an overnight stay in a safe space. The desert house was the perfect solution.
During the 5 hour drive Tanner was ultra alert and super animated. Once we arrived at the house he was in heaven. And even on our adventures he was delightful and curious.
When the Hosenfelds go to California we always do it in style. In the past we have rented a beach house: fully furnished, fabulously decorated, fantastically adjacent to the beach. These vacations have been the highlight of our year; having all the Hosen's living together in harmony. Relative harmony...mostly. Twenty three people in the same house at the same time. Six different mini-families in the same house at the same time.... Everyone in the kitchen of the same house at the same time. This year mom went ALL IN! I mean she took all my dad's money and threw it into the most beautiful beach house I have ever imagined. She rented one of those untouchable movie-star type palaces that I used to stare at in absolute awe! And it was 100yds from our beloved San Clemente beaches. There was a jungle pool. There was a hot tub. There were decks. The big kids played together, the "littles"got along and the parents were sooo happy and content. Nothing more to say.
We reluctantly pulled ourselves away from paradise for a day trip to San Diego, which turned out to be another success. La Jolla sea lions and tide pools were a great addition to this excellent experience.
Hey! I just reached a milestone in my life, and it came right on time. Disclosure: It's all about ME... I have a daughter who graduated from high school. I didn't have to do ANYTHING. She enrolled in these AP and CE classes? Whatever... turns out she got college credit for stuff and now she's going to some higher education place. She is going ALL-OUT on her future or something? Anyhow, she wore some "rope" around the neck of her graduation gown and stood up when the speaker said "honor student". I'd like to think that I had a part of her ambition. But I didn't.... I'd like to think that I'm a proud parent of an extraordinary, independent, sassy daughter. And I am! I take credit for that.
Graduating Class 2017 DAVIS HIGH SCHOOL (850 Seniors)
Proud Mom, Proud Dad
THE UNFORTUNATE VICTIMS OF THIS MILESTONE: GRANDPARENTS
Sometimes we all hear jokes about a person being "special" or "rides the short bus" or " isn't all there". Well, that kind of describes my Tanner although he is a real person. My Tanner is sweet, affectionate and forgiving. Many times I am unkind to him because he is so messy, so difficult and so time consuming. But before I know it, he is right by my side giving me a hug or gently touching my face. He looks into my eyes with a sincerity unmatched by anyone I have ever known. It is at these moments that I feel such an intense love for this boy. I just poke him in the tummy and he laughs heartily, forgetting that I was ever mad at him in the first place. So, through all the tough spots and sacrifices we make as a family, Tanner adds a unique element to our lives....he makes us admirable.
hailey (18 yrs)
Whenever I think of Hailey, I picture a playful little ten year old. Except these days she is so grown up and responsible I hardly give her the credibility she deserves. Hailey handles this family with a maturity that I respect so much. She is a rock. And although I never need to worry about her I almost wish she needed me more than I need her.