Tuesday, 20 October 2009

There and Back Again, part 2: a snake, a bear, a death, a swarm

Although it is nearing the end of October, I'm still reveling in the events that happened on our wanderings throughout the mountains and deserts of Utah, Arizona, Idaho and Wyoming this past summer.

Sebastian, our 18-year-old nephew from England arrived with us as we stepped onto the desert soil of the stunning and sacred state of Utah.

Our first journey began as we drove to Moab/Arches National Park and camped in sweltering heat for 3 nights. We hiked to delicate Arch and spent two hours alone there...alone! It is highly irregular to find oneself alone at Delicate Arch in the month of July but it happened for us. It was breathtaking to be amongst nature's artifacts and play around like Indiana Jones. Later, we spent some time in Devil's Garden looking at some of the arches. Sadly, I was feeling pretty poorly (lack of water) and waited the men out in a mysterious shadow being created by one of the large standstone cliffs. We signed up for a tour of the Fiery Furnace. It about blew my head off to see the perfect formations and kryptobiotic crusts that were in tact. Simply stunning! We spent a quiet evening at Dead Horse Point, cooking dinner on the cliff edge as we waited the stars to appear. It was a perfect evening.

After Arches/moab, we ventured to Mexican Hat, Utah. This has to be one of my favourite places in Utah. We stayed at the San Juan Inn (I highly recommend it) and purchased loads of Navajo crafts and medicines. There was a lovely and quirky native man that shared many stories of all the Hollywood actors that would film nearby and get absolutely smashed with the locals. Apparantly, he was also a famous artist. Quite amusing. :) We also "cliff" jumped in the shallow San Juan River. That was refreshing and a bit creepy as we had to crawl up the hot rocks with shedded snake skins mingled throughout the stones.

Off to Monument Valley we drove. Wow. This is another place my heart felt the vibrations and heard the echoes of an old generation of people and memory - the Navajo. We stopped at their mini side street huts to admire their crafts, stories, and the view. Such good souls!

~ a snake ~

Passing through Monument Valley we made our way to the Grand Canyon - Finally! The Grand Canyon is definitely not overrated. Our first full day we spent hiking around the Grand View trail amongst a thunderstorm (not a good idea as the lightning was within striking distance!)
We never intended to hike to the Colorado River and back out in one day on this trip. However, that is what our adventureous spirits concluded would be the BEST experience...heh. We were told by many people and read many warning signs that we should not attempt to hike to the bottom and back out in one day. Apparantly, about 250 people are pulled out of the canyon each year "that look like us" because they suffer from heat exhaustion or dehydration whilst attempting this task. Hmmmmmm. We were certainly determined not to be rescued and packed well for the journey. After seeking advice on how to hike smart from a canyon employee, we began our excursion at 3:00 am on the South Kaibab Trail, after having slept only 3 hours. HMMMMMM. I have to thank the South Kaibab trail for giving me my awesome calf muscles. The trail is steep and all down hill. With a heavy pack of 5 liters of water, 3 peaunut butter sandwiches, 4 pears, 1 bag of crips (chips), 1 apple, 10 cereal bars, 10 strips of fruit leather, toilet paper, 3 bottles of sunscreen, 1 first aid kit, 3 large sticks of beef jerky and a few other items, my calves were shocked.
After 6 hours (I think) we reached the Colorado! We were so grateful to dip our toes and dunk our heads in that river. We made our way to Phantom Ranch to rest our bodies during the heat of the day. The advice we were given instructed us to wait until around 3 or 4 pm to begin the journey up. Glad we did! It was unbearably humid (due to the vastness of the Colorado) and hot. The temperature reached a record high... 112 degrees! The heat completely drained us as we desperately sought shade and relaxation, none of which was in abundance. Did I mention that we had a double layer of clothing? (*wink*)
We set off for the ascent at 5:00 pm, much later than expected.

(again, i'll continue to update this over the next few days)

Saturday, 29 August 2009

There and Back Again, part I

We have experienced many things (!) since the end of May. We celebrated 3 years of marital bliss and 32 years of Nathan’s mortality.

This post will consist of our travels back to England ~

Arriving in the British Isles, we were soon off to Northern Ireland for 5 days. Finally ~ my feet touched ground on the most enchanting of lands! I could ALMOST feel the vibrations from the old faerie folk shooting through me like an ionospheric lightning storm *sigh*. I got hold of a map and was immediately drawn to the nearest set of stone circles. So, we drove to the Beaghmore (bay-more) stone circles and played around with the Ancients for about 4 hours. Eventually, we continued driving through the glorious countryside, then puttered north to Portstewart on the northern shore, and finishing the day at Dunluce castle. It was absolutely breathtaking. The following days were spent hiking in the Mourne Mountains and driving the lovely Antrim coast to Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and Giant’s Causeway.

Our lovely hostess completely wore us out. Well done, Diane!

Each day our diet consisted of pub food, snickers, bread, cheese and tomatoes. Delicious! I was able to detect Nathan’s Irish ancestry, mostly in his eyes, as we met many Irish natives (not all, but quite a few).

We loved N. Ireland's old and gentle beauty and long to visit again someday.

The rest of our time in England was spent enjoying our old favourites ~ Canterbury, London (we finally shopped goth in Camden and visited the Tate Britain!!), Hythe Coast, the countryside, and many others. Oh, and I spent one solid week packing and shipping boxes of our “stuff” ~ (mostly clothes and dvds). Phew!

Stay tuned for more posts about our adventures in Utah! For now, here are a few images from Northern Ireland.

enjoying pub food, superb Irish drunks and lovely music

feeling a bit magical

nathan feeling a bit magical like us

we three gargoyles


Dunluce castle

enjoying a rare sunny day at Carrick-a-Rede

more Carrick-a-Rede (my favourite)

along the Antrim coast

Antrim coast

a beautiful eveing at Giant's Causeway

Giant's Causeway

Saturday, 9 May 2009

My Cat Substitute and Other News

I want a goat. As Nathan is extremely intolerant to cats, I believe a goat could satisfy my cat deficiency. I attended my twin nephews' second birthday party yesterday and met "Baby" - a lovable, bleating bundle of goaty goodness. She was absolutely adorable.

In other news, I finally completed my licensure program to certify as a Speech-Language Technician. I've already been delivering speech and language therapy to kids in five schools for the past few months. Now, I can do it for more money. :) I work with regular education students in addition to special education students.

Nathan will begin his first degree in Creative Writing this fall. He's somewhat anxious but eager to develop his promising writing talent.

We are now gearing up for our month long excursion back to the UK in June. We'll be taking a most anticipated holiday to N. Ireland whilst over there. :) Perhaps I can convince Nathan of the awesomeness that is Michael Flatley?! Which reminds me ~ I have now officially begun my journey back into the world of Irish dance. After having taken a few years off, my calves, hips and thighs are happy to receive the agonizing pounding of the leaps and hop-two-threes they once knew. *sigh*

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Updates...anything else?

Finally meeting Mr. Mel Hays - a student of my mum's from nearly 15 years ago. He is a very nice bloke. Don't mess with Texas!

Nathan's mission reunion in Salt Lake.

BATney and some friends after a recent fashion show. Should I refer to myself as Lady Bats or Batney? I can't decide.

Brit the cat model. My agency called me up and asked if Nathan would like to join the agency as a model AND an actor... Heck Yes! Looks like I may have some new competition... ;)

The delectable Kristen with our close friend mr. ahi.

Delicious Nathan. He is outrageously gorgeous. Mmmmmmmmmmm.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

yayayayayayayayayaya ~ nathan's arrival and my...departure?

Nathan arrives this weekend! I was planning on arriving at the airport, heart thudding, sushi in hand when suddenly I was booked for a fashion show. Do-oh! After some deliberation we decided the money (though not much) was worth it so I have arranged for my mum to fetch Nathan... sort of like she did the first time he flew to meet me...if you ever want to know THAT story, come to dinner with Nathan and I and we'll have a productive laugh.

Monday, 2 February 2009

One Wedding and a Tuna Roll

Much of the family descended upon Ross-on-Wye near Wales over the weekend to see my cousin Jared marry the lovely Catherine. As Catherine goes by 'Cat', my nephew Matthew, 'Mat' and my gorgeous wife by 'Bat' it has the makings of a nursery rhyme!

The wedding was lovely. The vicar struck a good balance in being warm & friendly without losing the reverence of the ceremony, the setting was beautiful and the speeches at the reception were both amusing and touching. It was evident that the happy couple were exactly that, as they beamed smiles all day. =)

My brother Simon and his wife Lisa couldn't make it so that was a shame and I missed Britney a great deal. She would have loved it.

On my return home to Kent, we discovered snow had settled on the ground as arctic weather had moved in. We hurried inside the house and I checked the post as I have been every day. Thankfully, it has arrived! I finally have a visa application interview this week. Normally I welcome the snow but it has been causing travel chaos, particularly into London so I'm a little worried that it will interfere with my travelling in for my appointment. Hopefully it will clear by Thursday. That's what I'll be praying for!

I think I'll be hard pressed to make it in time for Valentine's Day but the end of our separation looms on the horizon and that is most welcome.

Britney has been revelling in having been able to eat lots of sushi since returning to Utah and I hope it won't be too long before I'm tucking into an Inside-Out Tuna Roll =)

For those of you in Utah, I look forward to seeing you soon!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Intimate Exams, Sundance, Imbolc and Lord of the Dance

Nathan had his VISA medical appointment this past week in foggy London town. Heh. I guess I failed to mention to him that the doctors would be checking a lot more than his pulse. Surprise!

I attended the BMI roundtable discussion at Sundance last week with my dear friend Kristen. The panel consisted of several directors of Sundance films and their composers – a very interesting group of people! We hobnobbed a bit, introduced a few key people to Kristen’s Halloween Carols and found a lovely bookshop that featured a most frisky character - Dolly the cat! Yes, there is a bookshop in Park City that has a cat. She wanders around the shop doing what cats do, I guess. I believe this was the highlight of my Sundance jaunt. We spent a few hours chasing, purring and playing with our silky-black feline friend. *sigh* I miss my kitties.

For those who celebrate Imbolc (which is probably none of you as it is a pagan holiday...heh), happy Imbolc! Well, the TRUE Imbolc is the first full moon in February...

On Friday Mr. Sarlo called me, as he remembered my obsession for all things Michael Flatley, and offered me his Lord of the Dance tickets. Muah! My mum and I had a lovely time. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a massive Irish Dancing fan. In fact, I’ll soon begin the An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha’s (The Irish Dancing Commission in Ireland) TCRG certification program. The TCRG certification allows me to teach Irish Dance.

Let’s see…what else…

We’re still not sure when Nathan will be arriving in Utah. I am being deprived the presence of my Mediterranean Prince! Soon he will wake me from this winter sleep…

Sunday, 11 January 2009

p i c t u r e s

Sunset 11 January

Moonrise 11 January
the battle for light has begun

Late sunrise in Syracuse. The Southeast of England certainly did not have regular snow days. I missed how glorious the snow can make the land appear.

Ben Lomond Peak glowing from the last light of the day. I missed this mountain! Nathan and I visited the 1st Ben Lomond Peak in Scotland ~ equally stunning. :)

Our newest nephew James in England doing what babies do best... besides pooing.

Cayde's son Isaac paying homage to Liverpool FC. This one's for you, Nathan. ;)

Cayde with his adorable twins.

Giving my future niece the kiss of death. Brianna is ready to give birth any day.

Thursday, 8 January 2009


We had a lovely Christmas and a not so lovely New Year’s Eve, for Nathan and I bid farewell to each other on the 31st. I have mixed emotional associations with London Gatwick Airport for either I’m coming home, eagerly awaiting the embrace and sweet kiss of my true love, or having to leave his divine presence. *sigh*

We expect Nathan to be granted his Visa sometime in February. Surprisingly, the notorious American Visa process has moved very quickly for us – perhaps because we have fervent prayer on our side? :)

Nathan had a very successful knee surgery the Sunday before Christmas. According to the post-op appointment, the surgeon indicated that Nathan will be in perfect condition come February.
Nathan was instructed to arrive at the Hospital at 8:00 am. We arrived at 7:30, before the nurses and surgeons, just to be safe. It turned out that 7 other patients were instructed to arrive at the same time. Hmmmm. Then we found out that Nathan was LAST to be operated on, which meant he'd be seen to at 2:30 pm. HMMMMM. The unfortunate thing was we had to drive an hour from home to be at this particular hospital so we couldn't easily go home and wait a few hours. The fortunate thing was this hospital had reclining chairs! Bless the NHS for their idiotic scheduling but for their reclining chairs.

It has been wonderful to fly back to the glorious snow-covered Utah. The mountains never fail to impress. I'm hoping to go skiing/snowboarding but as we're desperately poor, no chance this season. :(

I have entered my final semester of licensure to become a Speech Language Technician. Finally! I’ve decided to post-pone my graduate studies for a few years. I have NO motivation to continue my education at this time.

I’m trying to get Nathan to write a few blog entries because they will be far more detailed and interesting to read. Until then, you’re stuck with me.

Christmas morning.

While I was away...
Nathan has become a scruffy scavenging man. Heh. Not really. I made him grow his hair and beard out and send me a picture - sexy! grrr, baby. very grrr!