Tuesday, December 21, 2010


My trip to Death Valley this last weekend did not go quite as I had planned, hoped, or wanted it to. So I had to improvise.

C'est la vie.

Thursday night was a wonderful holiday party full of sugar. My sister is the hostess with the mostest...a veritable Martha Stewart with a side arm and flak jacket. She'll charm your socks off with one of her delicious appetizers at the same time she is divesting you with force of the dessert fork when you should be using the salad fork. She is pretty much the sweetest bad-ass I know. I recognize my biases, having shared a womb with her, but I think you would probably say the same thing depending on which side of her asp you are standing.

For the party, each person was instructed to bring four dozen cookies to exchange with the other guests. Being the procrastinating fool that I am (and perhaps the anti-hostess), my cinnamon oatmeal cookies were made at 4:30 AM on Thursday morning before I went to work for eight hours and then drove the two hours to her house. Anyway, the point of the exchange is that you end up taking home the same amount of cookies that you brought with you, but a variety of flavors made by a whole variety of people. It is a great idea, actually, especially for those of us who love sugar. However, while I am currently without last winter's additional 20 pounds thanks to the Big D (and I don't mean Dallas), four dozen cookies is a lot for one person to consume. A lot.

I didn't mind eating as many cookies as I could on Thursday night since my Big Plan for Friday was to go out into the wilderness and walk around. You know, work off the extra calories from the cookies (and hot buttered rum, and artichoke dip, and cheese ball, and hamburgers, and candied walnuts, and peppermint bark...).

But then I got out of bed on Friday to this scene...
That is not blue sky. That is not dry weather. That is not even warm weather. While I am not merely a fair weather hiker, and am usually willing to go out in some really crappy conditions to see amazing archaeology, as it is my sister's park...the decision was made that I must be "smarter than the average visitor" and not get stuck somewhere because I was too devoted to the goal of touring to pay attention to the weather. Honestly, it is not an adventure until you are uncomfortable, but it is not fair for the taxpayer to cover the cost of a search and rescue because I was too engrossed in the rock art panel to notice the wall of water coming down canyon.

So I stayed on her couch. And read The Stranger by Albert Camus. Spiked my coffee. Slept every few hours. And watched Waitress with Keri Russell just because I love this line:

"Dear Baby, I hope someday somebody wants to hold you for 20 minutes straight and that's all they do. They don't pull away. They don't look at your face. They don't try to kiss you. All they do is wrap you up in their arms and hold on tight, without an ounce of selfishness in it..."

It makes me cry every time I hear it. Like right now. (You probably ought to watch the movie if you have not already seen it).

And. I. Ate. Cookies.

On Saturday, Sister and I had Big Plans to go out to the Racetrack, where the rocks move freakishly across the mud and no one knows why...but the rain on Friday made it hard to get out there. So we went up to Wildrose instead.

We visited the Charcoal Kilns...
Took advantage of breaks in the clouds to take pictures of the pretty mountains.
Got above the clouds at Augerberry Point to see what the Valley looks like after a winter storm.
And were chased by villains in ore carts at the Eureka Mine.
It was really a close call for both of us. Luckily we had cookies to fend them off.

Sister had to keep working on Saturday after our outing, so Ellie and I went for a nice long walk with a new friend and her two dogs. Ellie was thrilled to chase other dogs, and I was thrilled to have someone to talk to!

And then I ate cookies.

The rain started again on Saturday night, and was in full force by the time I left Sunday morning. I probably should have been terrified driving over Towne Pass in fog, but I think I have been desensitized to scary driving conditions since that time I lived in Eastern Montana...

Plus, I had some cookies to eat so I felt alright about the whole situation.

I managed to make it home with only one dozen cookies. I would like to tell you that I only took one dozen cookies from the party, but that would be a blatant lie. I ate four dozen cookies over the course of the three days I was in Death Valley. This box of cookies is just a bonus.

And I am NOT going to apologize for it.

Because really...Thank God for Cookies.


Anonymous said...

Too funny. No wonder there was a long pause on the telephone when I said I waiting for you to get here to make sugar cookies! We can forgo the cookies and just move on to more substantial food types...like fondue.

Archaeology Ash said...

Can we have steak too? I really need steak.

C said...

A) I totally agree with you about cookies.

B) I Totally agree with you about "Waitress!"

C) I really, really hope you are feeling better.

D) I totally agree (in the post above) with you about the water in the hot toddy.

Have one for me!