Penny Fall/Fail?

I’m gearing up for the annual trip to Wyoming, except this year, we are going further into Wyoming, so far in, in fact, that we’re going out.
While usually we skim the state’s fringe by hunkering home base into Cheyenne, this year we are heading northwest to Jackson and Yellowstone, but we’re staying three nights in Idaho, which makes perfect sense, because…well, I don’t know, but when I was looking for room to sleep, this one yelled “yes” to me.
I booked it! Paid the deposit! Woot! Rest isn’t due for a whole week! (And that was last week!)
Blink. Blink.
Okay, so vacationing is expensive and for the next two weeks until we leave, my wallet is on lock down, which hampers the Bubs’ summer fun.
Hampers mine, too.
For instance, I wanted a haircut before we leave. Solution: pull hair into ponytail; snip the ends, et voila, an instant “layered” look. (That’s what I’m telling my stylist who will fix this hot mess when I can afford to see her again. Until then, I like hats.)
What to do with all the hours left to while away in poverty?
Pinterest. Internet is paid up for the month and it doesn’t cost to look, so, yes, to Pinterest!
Yesterday, I loved Pinterest.
Today…not so much.
Remember when my kitchen gave me no joy, thus I ripped out a huge chunk of cabinetry to “open the space, let me breathe more freely with joy, worry about where to put actual kitchen-type items later”? Yeah. That’s a hot mess, and I was sure Pinterest would have the cure.
Penny floors. Have you seen them? I’ll wait here while you Google it…
Lovely, right?
And what’s cheaper than sitting on the naked floor, gluing pennies to give it a nice coppery glow, while the Bubs languishes in all the video gaming time he and I both need to turn my cement slab into a masterpiece? Nothing. Nothing is cheaper than that.
I dug out my hot glue gun, turned it on to burn away the dust it had collected, assembled four dollars worth of rolled pennies, and proceeded to glue away! I even tried to put all of the coins face up, so my superstitious Mom won’t freak out at the good luck leaking into the slab. (I can tell you now I’m not as OCD as I once thought, because Abe be darned; within seconds I only wanted the stupid roll of stupid coins stuck to the stupid ground and I didn’t care about stupid heads nor stupid tails and why oh why did I have to go to the Pinterest?)
Well. I can tell you this, which is no surprise…four dollars doesn’t go very far. And if you lay four hundred pennies out end to end, well, you have a place mat. I need a bedspread, though crib size, and four dollars in copper lays out to the size of a place mat?
Pennies are hateful.
Bubs’ piggy bank was bleating to me from his room. Really. It lured me in there with its, “I have more money than you right now” witticism, and I followed the sound, because you know what? My kid really and truly stored more money — though silver — on his dresser than I have in my vacation depleted bank account.
I grab said piggy and go to shaking.
What is the only thing that will draw my Bubs away from his intense gaming? The sound of money. Which bodes well for his entrepreneurial future, but completely busted me in the maternal venue, as in “Mama, why are you robbing me?”
I proceeded with, “Honey, only the pennies. And I’ll pay you back.”
“Pennies?” he warbled. “But that’s the bulk of my stash!”
While I lauded his verbiage, I dratted his excellent hearing and puppy dog eyes that guilted me into almost putting the loot back. Almost.
Because the hot glue was still hot and Mama was in the midst of a project.
Anyway, I told him I heard a mysterious noise coming from the PlayStation or whatever system he has and convinced him it might be shutting down, which immediately made him vanish from sight.
And I glued more pennies.
Another three dollars, and still I have a lot of blank cement left to cover.
I need more glue. And many, many more pennies.
(Pennies add up to actual dollars so quickly, don’t they?)
Which requires having the pennies, thus rendering my project dead in the water until I donate platelets for money or work for three weeks after returning from vacation.
I have to write my son an August — maybe September — dated check for $7.24 to cover the costs of my crafty side.
Stupid Pinterest. This never would have happened if I hadn’t been dazzled by the four-minute demo video that lured me into thinking, “Hey, pretty! Sanctioned nonsense as an adult! And yes, yes, I have a glue gun and one jillion pennies!!” (Nope. Nope, I don’t.)
That kind of thinking is what gets people in trouble.
And proceeding to dig into a closet I haven’t opened since the 1900’s to look for a throw rug.


Okies on Tour: The Glass (Gloss) Mountains

What does Fourth of July mean to me?
A day off.
And a day off is simply destined to be a road trip day.
It just is.
Because I’m a tourist in my own state, I wanted to see the Glass Mountains, AKA the Gloss Mountains. Lore calls it both, seemingly because a British gentleman said “glass” like “glaws,” because…he was British.
Which, frankly, led to all kinds of questions, like, “Why was a British dude in the middle of the prairie in the middle of the upper half of the middle of the state in the middle of the US??”
But no marker answered that burning question.
Has no one else pondered that anomaly?
I wanted to see these mountains because for years I’ve seen them pictured beautifully within the pages of promotional dental office calendars.
And, as per the pics, when the mountains are shiny with sun-setting light, they are truly lovely; striations of coloration all over the place. Ask any dentist, they’ll tell you that, “Yeah, those hills look like plateaus of stained glass panels atop the prairie. Now, rinse.”
I might paraphrase, but I had to see those hills for myself, right?
So I pointed myself northwest and I darn near missed my target.
The entire Glass/Gloss Mountain State Park is book ended by signs saying “Welcome” and “Thanks for Visiting,” within a half mile distance to each other.
Circling back to the parking lot, I parked and prepared to scale the less-than-ominous looking butte of a “mountain,” elevation 200 feet, according to Wikipedia.
Scale we did, and do you know, proper foot wear is a must when climbing the side of anything rising to the sky at a 70 degree angle? My toes clung to the plastic sole of my flip-flops, while I kept telling myself their lack of tread was a point in my favor. Goats don’t have corrugated plastic soles on their feet, so boom, I win.
Fortunately, the short distance was equipped with a metal handrail presumably re-purposed from a ship from the 1880’s, it was so rusted and bent — scoliosis of metal, nearly curly, I tell you — and I clung to that bad boy as though it were a lifeline, because it was. For the last fifteen feet or so, I was no longer walking across pieces of ladder laid over the rock face and instead climbed upon boulders, white ones that looked like chunks of quartz. The all-rock terrain tested my toes, lungs, and gratitude equally.
But I made it.
I made it.
When I pivoted to see how far I’d traveled, well, I got a little woozy. See the above photo. Notice how the “trail” seems not to exist but was instead carved by millions of furry-bodied lemmings who sloughed away any edges as they fell to their doom? I did not Photoshop this, folks.
Needless to say, I was willing to sit a while and enjoy the valley view before tumbling to a painful lemming-like death.

Up top, I followed a “Trail” marker for the twenty feet necessary to reach the “End of Trail” marker, which stopped abruptly at the edge of an equally high precipice.
I had hoped for an elevator.

I thought there was no good way down.
And after psyching myself up for a good long while, I literally tiptoed my way down the side of the hillock, across those ladders, nearly bounding with over confidence at the end, telling fellow “hikers”, “Aw, shoot, it’s not as bad as it looks,” as I hustled back to the car.
Because, hey, over-and-down-on-foot was the only way down.
Except it wasn’t. Look at this guy who literally jumped! What a show-off.

I swoon at heights, truly, and yet I considered, “If I’d had a parachute, would I have preferred its twenty second ride to the laborious ten minute stalk-of-terror it took to return to prairie civilization?”
I nodded sagely to myself and answered Me honestly when I replied, “Hell, no.”
By the way, from experience I’ve learned that the Glass/Gloss of the mountains looks Red/Rouge, with a Matte/Anti-gloss finish on cloudy days.
Which means I need to gear up with my camera and return to the mountains on a sunny day. I’ll stay at the bottom, too, I believe.
No parachute requested, thank you.
Happy Fourth, everyone!

I Throw in My Ranching Gloves

Faulty gate latches and my own blind excitement about a road trip led to the pathway to destruction for five of my beloved chickens.
Four hens and the most beautiful little rooster I’ve ever loved, gone to the unmerciful jaws of two bored dogs who wanted to play keep-away with live bait.
Two beautiful, no-evidence-obvious-but-still-they-were-dead corpses greeted my dusky return from the road, after we Okies toured the state’s northeast Green Country.
I tell you, while the sun said goodnight, my heart cracked in half.
No other signs of life came running from corners to rest for the night. How could I blame them if they were there? I’d stay there, too, wherever that may have been.
This morning, I went to cluck with my girls. The rooster was silent; he lost all of his tail feathers and any vestige of pride while I warrior-ed the road yesterday.
And there, in front of the gate, was one of the girls I thought I’d lost.
Mangled, weary, but bright-eyed and quiet.
I bawled like a four-year-old, then retrieved the Neosporin and coated her wounds.
She’s in the coop now, in the shade, near water and food and the rest of her tribe, who still can’t cluck their condolences. It really is every bird for herself. And I can’t blame them for that, either.
But for the last hour, I’ve had my eye on every hidey-hole in the yard, armed with bandages and tears in case another feathery friend wants to trust me again.