, , ,


National Parks

Jay and I traveled west for two weeks to visit Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. I’m still writing in my travel journal, based on notes I took of our daily activities. Almost a month later, and I’ve only completed day 10 of 16.

Once I’m finished with the journal, I hope to take those memories and turn them into posts to share here. So far I’m kicking around ideas about perspective, enjoying the journey, controlling anxiety, and making sure ‘experts’ are trustworthy.

Because sometimes the grumpies even happen on an epic vacay.


Mr. Lemoncell’s Library Olympics by Chris Grabenstein

Book 2 in the series did not disappoint. Given our large vacation itinerary, I didn’t have a lot of time to read. What little downtime I had, I devoted myself to making my notes of our activities. This book made for easy reading, and I finished it early in the trip.

Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor

Due to the ‘Rona, we decided to drive 27+ hours from east Tennessee to Wyoming/Montana, and audiobooks made this chore a bit easier. I appreciated Leaving Church (not sure “enjoyed” is the appropriate word).

Highfire Eoin Colfer

I read the first part of Highfire in the form of a library hardback. Heading out for vacation, I downloaded the audiobook and finished it up via my car speakers. I prefer Colfer’s YA novels, and sometimes his profanity seems as if he’s trying to prove the novel is a book for adults. Overall, however, I enjoyed the story.

Then We Came To the End by Joshua Ferris

Ugh. I’ve owned this as a paperback for a while. I downloaded the audio to help me get into the story, but I never truly clicked with this selection. After I finished, I realized the audiobook had been abridged. Honestly, that seemed like a blessing, less time to waste on a novel trying too hard to be clever and original.


Time in nature with Jay

We had some not-so-treasured moments during our vacation hikes. Like the time I almost got killed* by a bison. Or the time an elk almost mistook* my panic-induced sobbing for a dead animal.

*Perhaps these are slight hyperbole. I’ll let you decide when I share the full story at a date to be named later.


Grand Tetons as seen on the Forks of Cascade Canyon Trail

We also completed a hike that quickly made our list of the top 5 hikes we’ve ever completed. We revisited our memories of previous vacations and made plans for future adventures. When you’re alone all day, every day with someone for 16 days, you get creative with conversation topics. And (for the most part) I enjoyed that time together, away from the distractions of this world.


Jay’s birthday -> Halloween -> Thanksgiving -> Christmas

So basically Happy New Year!

Jay turns 41 this year, and like every year, he’s requested no fanfare. He shares October with my sister and brother-in-law, and my family just looks for an excuse to have a cookout. As long as no one draws too much attention to his advanced age, I think he’ll survive.

Then of course the following week is Halloween and the rest of the year usually flies by after that. Then again this year feels like it has contained 1,000 lifetimes, so maybe we’ll enjoy a slower-paced holiday season. This will be my first year with Christmas decorations in the new (smaller) house, so that will require some creativity. And I’m hoping that unlike last year, Jay and I will be healthy enough to enjoy a proper toast at the stroke of midnight, leading into 2021.

The calm before the 2020 storm: a photo of Jay & I in our Carhartt bibs
at the Garth Brooks concert in Neyland Stadium.

I’m long past the link submission time for Heather’s Share Four Somethings, but I love her motivation to look back and catalog the month. Also, just because I’ve missed the link-up doesn’t mean I still can’t share!