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The wildest animals we saw at the Grand Canyon: French girls

grand canyon lodge north rim

Lee looking into the canyon from the Grand Canyon Lodge at the north rim.

So there we are, taking our first looks at the majestic Grand Canyon from its north rim. It’s 9 a.m. and we’ve brought our breakfast with us to eat as we gaze at the colors and shadows on the formations in the morning light.

We are in the main lodge building of the Grand Canyon Lodge, which is the centerpiece of the National Historic Landmark lodge and cabins on the edge of the rim. I’m taking photos of Lee looking out into the canyons from the three large floor-to-ceiling windows in a cavernous recreation room filled with leather couches and chairs.

“What are those girls doing?” I hear a nearby couple talking to each other. “I can’t believe they are in heels out there.”

I move up to the window to see what they are talking about and sure enough, there are three 20-something females standing on a point of the rim that juts out. Two are posing like Miley Cyrus at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards for a third, who is taking photos.

Lee and I laugh, shake our heads and move out to the terrace where we can have our breakfast in the fresh air.

travel_nr gc squirrel looking over canyon.jpgtravel_nr gc squirrel on hind legs.jpgtravel_nr gc squirrel teeth.jpg

As soon as we take our food out of the backpack, we are visited by a friendly squirrel – clearly a master at begging for scraps. I put the zoom lens on my Canon and start taking photos of the cute critter when my eyes get diverted back to the rim.

The photo shoot has continued. The girls have stripped down to bra and panties and are striking poses. Then the bras come off. Someone shouts down to them, “Kiss her.”

{OK, I made that last part up but if I’d thought faster I would have yelled it!}

These iPhone images will give you a perspective of the position of the formation where they were standing. Oh, and by the way, it was about 40 degrees outside!

travel_nr girls small 1.jpgtravel_nr girls small 2.jpgtravel_nr girls small 3.jpg

Since I had the zoom lens on (for the squirrels, remember?) I took some photos but have to admit it felt a little exploitive so I stopped after taking a few {and making sure they were in focus}. But hey, it’s not like I went to some club and sneaked in my camera {don’t try this, you’ll get banned from the property…so I hear}.

I’m at the freaking Grand Canyon trying to get my nature on and these girls decided to put on a show. In public. In front of huge viewing windows of the main building at that north rim. This is how I’ve rationalized that it’s OK for me to post these images.

So here ya go – the wildest animals we saw on our 10-day trip that started in Las Vegas and circled the Grand Canyon. By the way, we ran into the threesome a few minutes later on the trail {fully clothed} and Lee thinks they were speaking French.

North Rim Girls 1

travel_north rim girls 2


travel_north rim girls 3 copy

Also posted in Lee, Photography, travel, Weird shit that happens

I want to leave the dermatologist’s office feeling violated

I had my annual appointment at the dermatologist last week. In case you didn’t get the memo from the American Cancer Society, you should see a doctor for an annual skin check just like you should see your doctor for a check of your other bits.

I don’t want to chance it since I’m whiter than the whitest white girl. I’ve been going annually to a dermatologist for maybe eight years and I always leave the appointment disappointed. I’m not sure how to say this without sounding really demented – I want to leave the dermatologist’s office feeling violated.

I mean, just a little violated. Like, feet-in-the-stirrups-knees-fall-open violated, not waking-up-after-a-dental-procedure-with-my-shirt-unbuttoned violated. {If there’s fun to be had, I want to be awake/alert for it. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve said that on a date.}

My point is: I always leave feeling like they didn’t really check as thoroughly as they could have.

They tell you to leave your bra and panties for the exam. How weird would it be if I asked to take them off? I’m already uncomfortable sitting there in a paper gown that barely comes down to my waist and using a paper blanket to cover my legs. Might as well push uncomfortable to awkward and make me feel like there’s little chance she missed anything. How do we know there’s not a pre-cancerous warning sign sprouting up underneath my bra line or somewhere that needs to be pulled apart to really see?

As this illustration suggests, I suppose I could do a more thorough self-exam and ask her to take a look at anything suspicious I find.

This illustration is from

My skin check went fine, she didn’t see anything that concerned her {on the parts she could see, anyway}. However, I didn’t leave unscathed: I had a needle injected into my eyelid.

Getting a needle in your eyelid

I’m not really afraid of needles, but thinking about having one injected in such a sensitive spot on my body was a little nerve-wracking. Especially considering there was no medical reason for it, I just wanted to have a tiny skin tag removed from my left eyelid because it bugged me that it was there.

After the skin check, the physician assistant and nurse left to allow me to get dressed. The nurse came back into the room to set everything up for the procedure. The PA was going to inject my eyelid to numb it, and then use a hot knife-like tool to burn off the skin tag and seal the skin.

The nurse left the room to get the PA. They took only five minutes to come back but in those five minutes I could not stop glancing over at the needle sitting on the counter. The needle she was about to stick in my eyelid.

I imagined that at the very moment she was injecting my eyelid, I sneezed and forced the needle’s shaft deep into my eyeball. How stupid would I feel to have lost sight in an eye for a completely vain reason!?! It was a skin tag so small that nobody else probably noticed it.

When the PA came in, I was trying to decide if I should tell her about my sneezing premonition. You know, so we could work out a hand signal that I could throw if I felt a sneeze coming on.

I decided against it because if I said it out loud, I might just will it to happen.

She warned me the procedure sometimes resulted in a black eye {for the patient, I asked just to clarify}. The whole thing took less than 20 minutes and instead of the black eye, I just had a bruised and sore eyelid. While it was uncomfortable and stung a bit, the procedure didn’t really hurt. The strangest part was smelling my skin burning.

I should’ve taken a photo of the needle in the office to share with y’all. WARNING: DO NOT GOOGLE ‘NEEDLE IN EYE’. I’d recreate a photo, but I can’t seem to find any spare needles around the house. Instead, I just have this image of my bruised eyelid.

My eyelid after being injected with a needle & having a skin tag burned off.

Adam Corolla killed my Kindle Fire

My friend John has been telling me to listen to Adam Corolla’s podcast for years. YEARS. But I never got around to it, even though many of the stories John would share from the podcasts cracked me up.

Last night I was searching the tunein app on my Kindle Fire for something to listen to as I fell asleep. That’s a habit I’ve had for about 10 years now: more often than not, I have to have something playing to fall asleep. I prefer talk radio because listening to a story settles my mind and allows me to fall asleep. The TV would work just as well but since Lee is a princess when he sleeps & can’t tolerate any noise or light, the TV is not an option. So instead, I wear headphones to listen to podcasts and then wake up with the cords wrapped around my face and neck.


OK, back to where I was going with this.

I happened to see The Adam Corolla Show listed on tunein and decided to finally listen to it. I was excited to see a recent episode featured Sarah Silverman so I selected that show and started listening.

I woke up this morning and my Kindle Fire was dead. DEAD. Adam Corolla killed my Kindle Fire. That bastard.

I’ve had my Kindle since November 2011 and I’ve never had this issue. I finally listen to this podcast and my Kindle won’t work the next day. Coincidence? Hmmm…

The back where the battery lives was warm but I couldn’t get it to come to life in order to turn it off. I plugged it into the charger and the indicator light didn’t come on. John, the same friend who got me into this mess (kidding!), works in IT and helped me out of self-induced technical issues at Cessna more than a handful of times. I knew his first words to me would be: take the battery out and then reinsert and see what happens. See, I was listening John! But I didn’t see any way to reach the battery on this thingy.

So I left it plugged in and went to the gym. When I got home, it was still not working. Before taking the leap to call Amazon, I decided to Google the issue. I found some folks who did a hard reset by holding down the power button for 30 seconds, letting go, then pushing the power button again.

It worked. So Adam Corolla, you’re off the hook.

Debating whether I listen to his podcast again …

Start where you are

Lee & Melinda in the Bahamas in November 2012.

These days, I feel like I can’t do anything unless I first Google it.

“hiking in South Carolina”

“making magic brownies” {oh, that was research for a friend}

“choosing a web host for my new WordPress site”

“ranking players for 2012 fantasy football” {that didn’t work out so well, shoulda just gone with my gut}

So I Googled “making my first blog post” and the only link that caught my eye was from, where the writer was celebrating a year of posts. She shared that her very first post was inspired by the thought to “start where you are” rather than try to tell the past and future of your story.

Sounds good to me.

Here’s where I am to start 2013:

  • I’m 41 years old.
  • I live in Wichita, Kansas.
  • I’m married to Lee. He & I will celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary on Jan. 15.
  • We travel a lot. Short weekend trips as well as week-long getaways to the Caribbean and other warm spots.
  • Until October of 2012, we were the parents of a 15-year-old rat terrier named Astro. Since we are kid-free, she was like our child. We had to have her euthanized but I’m certain I’ll still be posting about her.
  • I bleed black and gold for the University of Missouri. M-I-Z!
  • I’m a writer. I started as a sports journalist then moved into public relations and marketing while always keeping a toe in the freelance pool.
  • I’m on a sabbatical or a career-break, whatever you want to call it. I no longer work in an office or have a regular paycheck. I’m taking freelance assignments while making sure to leave myself time to explore new interests, new paths, new whatever.
  • I’m starting this blog! I plan to share my sabbatical journey, photos and words from our frequent travels and any other topics/activities that move me to share my opinions/experiences.

Many of my friends have been listening to me talk about starting this blog for at least a year. Thank y’all for your words of encouragement. I’m hoping to hear from many of you in the comments section! Be nice :D

It might seem like a no-brainer for a writer to start a blog, but read my About Me page and you’ll see I’ve struggled with getting started.

So here I go…I’ve started with where I am. Stay tuned for posts that share the past of my story and posts that reveal the future of my story as it unfolds.