Little Green Aspergian Spaceship

Your ticket to another planet

Yellowstone trip
Better late than never on posting about Yellowstone.

I had fun on that trip, although the plane rides were a bit rough for me because I had a URI.

The first travel day was long. After flying out to Salt Lake City, we had to drive to Jackson, WY for our first night. We stopped in Soda Springs, ID for burgers and then drove the rest of the way to Jackson. We stopped at an Albertson's grocery store to buy breakfast for the next day, and there was a cute magpie in the parking lot. The next morning Mom and I hit the little shops in Jackson. Dad called it the upscale Gatlinburg. Mom bought a little electric pot to boil water in at a thrift shop, and I bought taffy and a root beer at the candy store. We left midday for Yellowstone, and we drove through Grand Tetons National Park on the way there. We got to Yellowstone in the late afternoon and stopped at West Thumb Geyser Basin. That basin is right up next to the Yellowstone Lake. There were pretty blue hot springs, mud pots (including a tiny one), and an old geyser that doesn't erupt any more due to being submerged in the lake for a long time.

We got to Old Faithful Lodge and checked into our cabin. We went back to the lodge and ate dinner after that. We all had Shepherd's pie made with bison meat. We watched Old Faithful erupt after that and also explored the General Store, Education Center, and Old Faithful Inn.

The next day was the roughest day in terms of walking. We explored most of the geyser basins and also went to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. (not to be confused with the actual Grand Canyon) This was the first day we saw bison. They were in the parking lot at Biscuit Basin, our first stop of the day. At another stop at the Fire Hole lake, we got to see the unpredictable White Dome Geyser erupt. I got to see Grand Prismatic Spring that day too, although it was too steamy to see it, and I saw other springs that were just as pretty. We saw both the Fountain paint pot and the Artist's paint pots, but since it had been dry, none of the paint pots were boiling very much. The neatest stop was the Porcelain Basin at Norris Geyser Basin. It was a short walk, but it was one of the most colorful walks with blue, red, yellow, and green springs. There was also a nice little museum there that we walked through. We did the Back Basin loop on a later day Which is where Steamboat Geyser is, which is the biggest geyser there. Our climax of the first full day in Yellowstone was the north rim of the canyon. Mom and I climbed down the steep trail to look over the lower falls. It is the biggest waterfall in the park, and all the others we saw there pale by comparison. Dinner that night was a turkey plate for me, and we watched Old Faithful erupt again. After dinner, Mom and I walked up Geyser Hill behind Old Faithful, and we were lucky to see the Lion Group Geyser erupt. We even walked into the spray, and it was not hot. It soaked the boardwalk near it.

Our second day we went to Mammoth Hot Springs where the travertine terraces are. Those boardwalks were mazy, and we accidentally walked down to the wrong parking lot. We went to the Roosevelt Arch and Gardiner, MT after that, by was of Old Gardiner Road. It was an old gravel road that goes through the wilderness. We struck out in terms of wildlife on that road. We didn't see any. There was a store in Gardiner that had three cute store dogs. I got kisses from the friendliest one, but I don't mind dog kisses. We went to Undine Falls after that, and then back to the cabin, stopping at Black Sands Basin on the way. I thought the hot springs there were just as pretty as Grand Prismatic Spring. Dinner that night was Bison Meatloaf and creamed spinach. I went to the gift shops after that and got huckleberry twists candy and a souvenir spoon. The spoon was for the lady who kept Izzy and Rocky while I was gone. That was when Dad saw Beehive Geyser erupt.

Our last full day we drove up the opposite side of the loop road and went past Yellowstone Lake where we saw elk. We drove though Hayden Valley and saw big herds of bison. We drove up to the south rim of the canyon, but the trail on that side didn't go all the way down to the falls, and part of it was too steep for me to climb down so I didn't. We went back to Norris Basin after that and walked the Back Basin Loop. We went back to Old Faithful early that day, and then Mom and I walked up the long boardwalk to Morning Glory hot spring. There is a paved trail that goes there too, but it misses all the geysers and hot springs. Dinner that night was meatloaf. I went in the gift shop at Old Faithful Inn after dinner. It had the neatest things at it but they were also pricey. I do wish I had bought the raven finger puppet. It was cute, and I saw it at several gift shops. There were a lot of ravens at Yellowstone.

The next day we left Yellowstone for Lava Hot Springs, ID. We stopped to shop at West Yellowstone, MT, a town right outside the park. Their souvenirs weren't as nice as the ones in the park shops. Our cabins at Lava Hot Springs were nice, but the bathroom was in a different building. There was a big dog running around and some chickens, and it was by a river. Mom and I spent the evening at the Lava Hot Springs Hotel were we got passes to swim in the hot pools. The big water park was too crowded for us to go. I nearly forgot my towel the day we left, but I was able to get back into the bathroom and get it.

We drove to Salt Lake our last day of vacation, and we went to the Tracy Aviary. So many cute birds, but the Andean Condor was hiding. I finally got to see Sandhill Cranes up close in person. They had two King Vultures and a cute and friendly Great Green Macaw who climbed down the side of his cage for attention. Their bird show was neat. It was the first indoor one of the season. They had a hornbill, a toucan that I got to hold, a Red Tailed Hawk, a Milky Eagle Owl, a red crested turaco, A roadrunner, and Aplomado Falcon, a Black Vulture, and a Green Wing Macaw. There may have been others I've forgotten. The toucan was cute and sweet with pretty blue skin around her eyes. The turaco had attitude. The trainer said he thought he was a big bird. I was surprised at how cute the roadrunner was. Then there was the black vulture who did the cute hop that they like to do, but she did it so fast we couldn't get pics of her.

We went to In N Out burger for dinner and then pretty much were done since we had to leave the hotel at four the next morning. It was raining in Charlotte when we got home. Then I unpacked some and went to get Izzy and Rocky. Izzy was so happy to see me that he let me pet his belly without protest. He didn't even give me a dirty look. They didn't fight over the food dish when they got home either.

I'm trying to get back into the swing of things since vacation. I've been sick ever since we got home. I went to the doctor yesterday and found out it's a sinus infection. I'd had fever since Tuesday, but I forced myself to go out for Mom's birthday dinner at a Mexican Restaurant and then cake. I made her a carrot cake. Then I forced myself to go to the first BSF of the year. I still feel awful, but I have medicines now. I'll deal with future stuff when I feel better.

The eclipse and this week's trip
The eclipse was amazing. Des and Chris had come up the day before and brought Bullet with them. She was totally out of character because of how sweet she was. She let me pet and kiss her, and I was able to scratch her head like I used to do with Rudy. We put her cage on the screen porch next to Izzy and Rocky's cage, and even though they couldn't interact, they all enjoyed chirping back and forth to each other.

The day of the eclipse, we packed cameras, camp chairs, a cooler full of pop and frozen water bottles, and a bag of snacks and headed south to Lexington, SC. We left at 6 am so we beat all the traffic going down. There were lots of choices for breakfast at Lexington so we stopped at Chick-Fil-A. Most of the stores weren't open yet when we got to Target, so we messed around in there for a while first and looked at electronics and DVD's. Then we started walking down to the other stores, and there was the cutest little moth that looked like a hummingbird. It was even green with a white belly like a hummingbird and had a false tail. He got annoyed by us watching him and finally flew away. The morning was spent shopping at World Market, Petsmart, and Best Buy.

It was cloudy when the eclipse started, and the sun was behind a cloud when the app told us it was first contact. We set up the cameras and the chairs and watched the sun shrink into a skinny little crescent. There were little crescent shadows under all the trees in the parking lot, and we also projected one using a pin hole. I was able to make a pin hole with my fingers and project another one.

We were joined on the parking lot by a few others as the eclipse went on. There was a big group of police that worried us for a second, but were just bringing glasses to their friends. There were some sun bathers on the next median over from ours, some people behind us, and some tailgaters. We also saw a guy dressed like the grim reaper come out when it started getting dark. He had a sign that said, "The end is near." Then there was my eyes guy, who has been immortalized in my drawing and Des's video. I have never seen anything like totality. There is nothing like it. It got dark. There were sunset colors all around. There was a very nice breeze, and the temperature dropped to what I would consider pleasant. Also, the lights on one side of the parking lot came on, as did several store signs. The twilight leading up to totality was very weird. It was not the normal pinkish orange gold twilight, but a grayish purple one. Then I saw the black sun with its pretty shiny corona. We got great pictures and videos, but they don't do it justice.

After totality, Chris and I had to take a third quarter break to get drinks and do other things that needed to be done. Des watched the entire eclipse, but we all were back for the end of it. Everyone else had cleared out after totality except us and the tailgaters with the yellow tarp. We got smashed by traffic on the way home and took 21 pretty much the whole way because I-77 was backed up from Columbia all the way to Charlotte. Mom and Dad had dinner for us when we got home, but we pretty much went straight to bed when we got in. We only stayed up long enough to eat, check on the budgies, and take showers.

They went home the next day, but not until after we had eaten breakfast at Bojangles and shared pictures and watched Des's eclipse videos.

I've also had a doctor's appointment this week, and got medicine for an inflamed eustacean tube. I don't want that when I get on the plane Wednesday. I was able to buy it over the counter. I've also been to a pool party with my mom's friends. Then on Saturday, Dad, Mom, and I went to the Latin American Festival for dinner. We all got tamales for our dinner, and then I bought a strawberry and mango snow cone. It used real fruit puree as the syrup, and the strawberry had chunks of strawberry in it. Then Mom and I went to a big Harris Teeter down there and to a used book store, The bookstore had a cute grey cat as a store pet, and she was friendly and very soft.

We've been getting ready for our trip to Yellowstone. I'm going to do laundry and pack tomorrow, and then I'm taking Izzy and Rocky to my friend, Lois's, house. She's the lady I dogsit for when she goes on vacation, and also when she had her last surgery. I hope Brody leaves the birds alone. This is my first "big" trip in two years. I will hit four new states. I leave Wednesday and get back the following Wednesday.

Birthday, weekend, and stomach problems
I had a good birthday this past Friday. The first thing I did was go up to Duck Donuts and bought one. When I discovered them, there was a line out the door, and now I know why. I got a maple bacon donut, and it was fresh made ans still hot when I got it. It was loaded with real bacon bits and maple glaze. That donut was worth the stomach ache. So was the cake that Mom baked for me. It was a three layer cherry cake made from scratch. After lunch, Mom, Dad, my brother Nick, and I went to Asheville, NC to the pinball museum. We had to kill time at the shops across the street first because there was a wait list for the museum. That museum could not have been more 80's. There was a big room of pinball machines in the front, and two rooms of arcade games in the back. I even found a model solar system on display with all nine planets. It looked like one I'd seen in elementary school. They even had old posters and boards from pinball machines hanging up in the bathroom. I played several games, but I'm not that good at pinball. The transformers machine was a fun one, and there was an old pirate themed machine that was fun. I did really well at one called Barb Wire, and that one was fun too. Nick made a top score on the ACDC machine.

After the museum, we went to Burgerworx for dinner. Then we went home and had more cake. I got books, socks, a lunch bag, candy, ginger candy, and a new Flip Video for my birthday. I need to put batteries in that Flip and take some movies of the budgies. I moved them together last week, and they get along well. They are both much calmer now that they have each other, but Izzy isn't a momma's boy any more. He rarely wants to get on my shoulder for cuddles now. He and Rocky play with toys together.

I've felt bad physically all weekend. I had my HIDA scan yesterday, and I had a weather related sinus headache on top of that. I've had it since Sunday, and it is still not gone. For the HIDA scan, I had an IV put in, and the tech injected radioactive dye in to make my gall bladder show up. I laid under a big camera for an hour for the dye to work, and then got hooked up to an IV machine with a drug in it that stimulated my gall bladder. That stuff made me sick, but he said that happens to some people and not to others. I went from daydreaming about lunch (I had to fast for the procedure.) to feeling like I had eaten too much of something bad in about five minutes. I was able to eat lunch after the procedure (soup), but I felt awful all afternoon and skipped dinner. I've been eating candied ginger and drinking ginger ale to try and settle my stomach. The scan showed normal, but I still feel horrible. I need to go buy some Prilosec OTC because the doctor recommended it. Next step is an endoscopy, but it's not until October.

I've read some interesting library books this past week. I finished the first one in one afternoon. It was "When Breath Becomes Air." It was written by a neurosurgeon who got terminal lung cancer in his last year of residency. His wife actually finished the book. Mom begged to read it when I was done with it, and she read it during my HIDA scan. Then a read one that was written by a Marine sniper, and he had collected stories from snipers in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm reading one right now about a doctor who created a typhus vaccine. I haven't gotten to the parts that take place during WWII yet. That's when it is supposed to get interesting.

A very sweet surprise
I had a very sweet surprise happen today. A friend from church's daughter was at a rock concert, and there was a budgie flying around. He flew straight to her, but since she has two cats, she couldn't keep him. My friend loves animals very much and is always finding homes for rescues. Guess who she called first. So now I have a new budgie. He's a normal light green who I have named Rocky. I have him quarantined in the office right now, and I'm also going to try and tame him a little bit. I plan on introducing him to Izzy after quarantine, and putting them both in Izzy's cage if they get along. I will get pics an videos later. The cage he's in now is actually bigger than Izzy's cage, but it is old and not quite as well made as Izzy's cage, and I plan on giving the cage back. Rocky is very sweet, and I hope he and Izzy get along. He has already sat on my finger.

The last couple weeks
I've had a very busy last couple weeks. Well, the week of June 26 wasn't that busy because I went away on a retreat from the 27th to the 30th. I needed it, and finding the place I went was an answer to prayer because all the retreat centers were full. Mom found me a hermitage cabin in Valle Crucis, NC that was connected to the Episcopalian conference center up there. There were four little cabins up on a mountain, and they were all self contained for solitary retreats. I had to bring in food, but they had everything else like a kitchen, a washing machine and dryer, a nice bed and bathroom, a little shelf of books, and rocking chairs on the front porch. There was a nice little porch swing across the street, and there was a chapel right next to my cabin. They also had hiking trails, and they provided walking sticks in the cabin. I hiked every day I was there except the day I got picked up because it rained that day. I walked down to a waterfall, up to a pond, to an old study field that App State University used to use, and to the conference center on my different hikes. I also hiked a very difficult loop trail that ended up back up by the cabins. It was steep and they warned me. I'm glad I had walking sticks because I couldn't have done that trail without them.

After my retreat, I stopped at Mast Store in Valle Crucis and bought a bag of mixed old fashioned candy. I found jelly nougats and put some of those in my mix, but they didn't have coconut Neapolitans. They don't carry those any more. I also bought some hard candies, several flavors of Caramel creams, mints, Mary Janes, two kinds of Bit o honey, and zots. I also bought a Dr. Pepper in a glass bottle so I could save the cap. After going to the store, we drove to my aunt's house in Boone to have lunch. Two of her granddaughters were there, and they were so much quieter and better behaved than my niece is it isn't even funny. She wasn't there, thankfully. She had VBS that week.

This weekend I finally had another chance to go to the swimming pool again. It was nice, and Mom, my niece, and I stayed for almost two hours. Thankfully, my niece found a friend to play with so Mom could have a break.

We had a nice Fourth too. Mom, Nate, my SIL, and my niece went to a festival in the morning. That festival was nice. There was a percussion unit there and they led a bicycle parade for the kids. There was also a fire truck that turned their ladder and hose into a giant sprinkler. I didn't run through the sprinkler, but I bought myself a snowcone to cool off.

That afternoon, Nick came over for dinner and then I rode back with him and hung out at his house for a while before the rest of the family met us to go watch Charlotte's fireworks. We threw poppers off his balcony, and he showed me a new video game that he helped fund. They used crowd sourcing to fund it. He found a parking garage where you could watch the show from the roof. The fireworks were an hour late because of a late baseball game, but there were amateurs shooting them off on the streets all around us, and we could see the Carowinds fireworks display off in the distance. There were neat fireworks in this display that I had never seen before. There were giant fire fountains, hearts, cracklers, and these pretty sparkles that floated down like butterflies. They also had a false finale. Everyone clapped and started to leave, and then they started shooting off more fireworks. My niece had a blast, and she met a new friend. That was a sweet golden retriever named QC. QC really liked my niece and kept her occupied while we waited on the fireworks. Toward the end of the fireworks, Nick and I had a funny conversation.

Him: Does she have a normal voice? (referring to my niece)
Me: No. Now you know why I went on retreat for three days.
Him: I totally get it.

Yesterday was a recovery day for me. I've had a bad cough since last Friday, and I only got about six hours of sleep the night before last. I don't remember what I did yesterday morning, but I slept most of the afternoon. Then we had a bad storm in the evening, and the power was off for two hours. It was worse for others though. CRC's network was still off this morning, and they had a tree down somewhere at CRC. Also, a friend's house got struck by lightning and it blew up their modem and wifi router. They will have to get new ones.

Mom, Nate, and his family are up north for the next week. Dad and I are thankful for the quiet. He ordered a second aquarium and is going to set it up over the fireplace. He needs a new filter that hangs off the back of the aquarium instead of one that is inside it. Once we get it set up, he's moving the male Endlers to the new one and leaving the females in the current one. He just traded a bunch of Endlers fry for some live plants. We are going to split the shrimps between both tanks. We like our Endlers. They are pretty and entertaining.

I've been bad about not posting.
I finally have a break to write in here. It's been a busy past couple of weeks. Thagirion has visited me twice. I have family visiting from overseas. They are visiting relatives today. The Red Tails at work are feeling nesty so I can only go in their cage to clean it if they are in good enough moods to let me. I've had an ultrasound appointment to try and diagnose some side pains. Izzy has been very talkative, and the fish seem to have new fry every time I look in the tank.

My visits with Thag were really fun even though they were short. I got to take her over to the pond this time. It's a retention pond in a business park, and it's like an oasis for wildlife. There are always lots of birds, turtles, and fish there. It rained the day we went, but that didn't stop us from seeing some neat animals. The Great Blue Heron who fishes there was there that day. We also saw a giant grass carp, my first water snake of the season, lots of robins, a fledgeling swallow, and the ever present turtles. We also made several trips to Walgreens, and she found these colorful soaps that Dove makes. She bought the green one when she stopped here on her way north and bought the rest on her way back south. They included a pretty blue one, the orange one that smelled the best out of all of them, a purple one, and a tan one. They also make a pink one, and the original white one, but they sell those colors everywhere. She only found the other colors at the Walgreens in Huntersville. She also found a travel sized shower scrubby. We were talking about how they need to make those, and then lo and behold, we found them. They had pinkish-red ones, dark blue ones, and one yellow one left which she bought.

She also showed me a cute kids show on Youtube where all the main characters are parrots. The yellow budgie acted just like Bullet. I need to find more episodes of that show. It was so cute.

I've had fun with visiting family, but I'm glad to get a break. My niece is a high maintenance handful. She's just learning to ride her bike, but she wants to lead and hates it when more experienced riders pass her or go faster than she can. She would see me coming from the other direction and turn around and try to get in front of me. Luckily the road is wide enough I could swerve around her. She still needs to learn to get out of the way when a fast approaching cyclist (me) rings their bell at her. She also managed to do what I thought was impossible, fall while riding a bike with training wheels. She not only got mad at me for riding fast, she got mad at my brother (her dad) for riding fast and passing her. He was riding my old electric bike that still works.

We did have fun at the park. I took my niece on the carousel, and my sister-in-law took her on the little train, which I rode too. We also walked around the lake there, and let my niece get soaked at the splash pad. We went to Lexington BBQ on that trip. Other trips included a petting zoo and the Concord Mills Mall. My niece didn't go to the mall, thankfully. We are most likely going to go to the outlet mall without her too.

They visited my cousin in GA this weekend. I don't know how she's done it, but my niece broke her arm again. Last time she visited in 2015, she broke her left arm up by the elbow. I don't know which arm she broke this time, but at least she didn't need a pin put in this time. Mom is going to get a waterproof cast cover so we can take her to the pool. She loves the big waterslide, and luckily the water is shallow enough that she doesn't have to know how to swim to get out of the way. She doesn't know how to swim. That is one thing my brother will have to teach her because my SIL can't swim either.

I made Dad a cute card for Father's Day. He requested banana splits for dinner tonight.

LJ 18th anniversary

#mylivejournal #lj18 #happybirthday

My Stat card from LJ.

lots of stuff happening
Lots of stuff has happened since I last posted that I need to write about.

First, we have a fish tank now. It was Dad's idea to get it for my niece when my overseas family visits this summer. I decided to wait and let her name the fish. We have four Endler's Livebearers, two males and two females. We also have two fry, but we aren't sure if they are Endler's or not. They are closely related to guppies and can have fertile offspring with them, but they are a separate population in the wild. The males are prettier than male guppies. They are silver with a black bar, a patch of red, and a line of shiny green. They have black and red stripes along the top and bottom of an otherwise colorless tail. One of our males has a long flowing tail, and the other has a short tail. The females are plain silver with colorless fins, and right now the fry look like miniature females. If either fry is male, it will still be a couple weeks before they start coloring up. We also have three cherry shrimp and a snail. Those all like to hide.

Easter was nice, but I ate too much chocolate, most of which I bought the day after. We had prime rib, twice baked potatoes, broccoli salad, cooked carrots, and carrot cake for Easter dinner, and my brother, Nick, came to visit with his dog.

This past weekend, I went to the National Whitewater Center with Nick. It had a big festival going on all weekend, but I only went on Saturday. Nick had done a paddle board race on Friday and won his heat, so he went back on Sunday for the final of that race. On Saturday, I took Colby, while Nick paddle boarded for fun in the morning, and then he did the endurance race in the afternoon. I watched the entire race because I'd been walking around the center all morning looking at vendors, watching people on the water, and watching people do zip lines and rope courses. I didn't buy a pass to do any of that stuff, but watching was good enough. Lots of people had brought their dogs too. I saw the most adorable toy fox terrier.

I have finally seen Finding Dory. I liked Finding Nemo better, but Hank the octopus was a fun character. I also watched a cute documentary about puppies.

I've started the Whole30. I like getting to cook for myself once and a while.

Transportation Museum
This past Friday, Mom and I went to the North Carolina transportation museum. It was in an old train station in Spencer, NC. They have turned all the old train yard buildings into museums, and their main exhibits are old trains. They also had old cars and a model of the Wright Brothers' plane. One of the display train cars was an old caboose, and the old roundhouse had an old hospital car and an old post office car that you could walk through. There was an old dining car and an old lounge car too, but they weren't open to walk through. There was also a display of model engines, and I found the model Conrail engine which is like so many of the real engines I saw growing up in a town dominated by a train yard. I looked for other familiar models, Union Pacific and CSX, but I didn't see those. I guess because those are more from the North and Midwest. There were old cars in another building, and one of those was an old pick up truck that was turquoise and white just like our camper. There was an old milk truck and some old Fords from the early 1900's. Some of them were even older than the model T.

We also got to ride around the museum in an old train. All the coaches were from the early 1900's, and the engine was an old diesel from the 1950's. I think there was an old steam engine in the roundhouse, but I also saw one through the window of the back shop. The back shop and the turn table were closed for renovation.

Mom and I wwere going to have lunch in Spencer. We had seen the downtown from the train, but we discovered that it was mostly dead when we drove through it. We drove to Salisbury instead and had lunch at a BBQ place. The portions were big even though we got the smallest tray. They had nice spicy coleslaw and a hush puppy on the side. We explored downtown Salisbury after lunch. It was fun to explore the old consignment shops and gift shops. There was also a very nice book store, and one of the gift shops had a very pretty and sweet cat as a store pet. She was very soft.

I learned something new about St. Patrick's day that I didn't know. I learned that Catholics wear orange and Protestants wear green. A guy that was in one of the shops said that. He also said, "She must be both because she's wearing green and orange." My red jacket looks orange in certain lights I guess, and I was wearing a green shirt that day.

Dixie's tribute
Here is my tribute to my sweet dog, Dixie, who we had to have put down on 2/20.



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