Sunday, March 22, 2015

No One Said The Road To National Geographic Was Going To Be Easy

You know what's NOT relaxing?

When you're hiking along, honing your photojournalism skills, your trusty assistant at your side, carrying all the things he insisted you didn't really need to bring...

Yes, that is my camera case, binoculars, and jacket.
And no, I couldn't carry them myself because I had
to walk around with my camera at the ready.
...taking pictures of beautiful butterflies...

Ok, that's a moth but butterfly sounds prettier.

...and birds...

Does anyone know what kind of bird this is?
I'm a photographer not an ornithologist so
 I have no clue, I just thought it looked cool.

when you see a huge bird diving...

...and another one swooping...

and you run after them wildly, sure that you have come across a bevy of eagles, ignoring your trusty assistant's assurances that eagles don't nest in this area.

And you realize that they aren't eagles at all.


Which means that, in light of all the swooping and diving and the sheer number of the creatures in the trees, you're pretty close to something DEAD.

That, my friends, is NOT relaxing at all.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Photos, Frost and Flowers

I think Opie’s favorite part of our recent hikes is the way I seamlessly blend culture and nature, thus adding education and intellectual enlightenment to his days.

This is especially true when we are hiking early Saturday morning after a lengthy celebration at our favorite pub, George’s.

Like last Saturday when we hiked Turkey Mountain. We got up early (one of us under duress and protesting weakly) and headed over to this urban wilderness area in South Tulsa.

“Which way do you think we should go?” He asked. 

“I, I take the road less travelled by,”  I  said. And when he just stared at me, I assured him “It’ll make all the difference.”

Oddly, he doesn’t seem to find this illuminating at all.

It also didn’t seem to be helpful when I said “I’m sorry we can’t take them both, I’ll just look down this one as far as I can, to where it bends in the undergrowth.”

“What are you talking about?” He asked.

“You know you read these Robert Frost poems in school!” I shouted.

“I was a computer major.” He said.

“High school, you should have read them in high school!

“I didn’t,” he assured me.

But I was pretty sure he had and just didn’t remember…probably he only needed a few more notable lines thrown his way to jog his memory and open his mind.

“And make us happing in the darting bird, that suddenly above the bees is heard.”

“I can’t hear you,” he said then but I’m pretty sure this was a lie. So I tried again. “Nature’s first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold.  Her early leaf a flower but only so an hour.” And that didn’t seem to ring any bells either.

 “Oh my Ponyboy Curtis!” I said. “I know you read The Outsiders!”

“I saw the movie,” he said and that’s when I knew he was messing with me because we have the same strong feelings about reading books before watching movies based on them.

“Should we start back?” He asked.

And I tried to explain that we still had miles to go before we sleep, miles to go before we sleep…

…but I guess I was wrong.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Great Yogurt Battle of 2015

I thought today was going to be a pretty normal, low-key day. I got up early, let the dogs out, guzzled coffee with reckless abandon, and then began making Opie’s lunch.

(It is interesting to note that a lot of people have found that last bit horrifying, as if I have single-handedly set the feminist movement back 50 years by packing my husband’s lunch. Here’s the thing: It’s not like he forces me to do this; if it were up to him, he’d cheerfully buy a hotdog or something equally horrifying every day. I like making his lunch. But I digress…)

Anyway I got out a yogurt, like I always do, and this is what I saw:
Please note the expiration date in the upper left corner--MARCH 11th!!.
Today, in case anyone isn’t aware, is March 12th.

To be honest, Opie probably wouldn’t have noticed or cared.  He maintains that the expiration date is more of a suggestion than a rule and that things are fine a few days beyond.

Which is, of course, crazy talk.

But the real problem was that I bought that yogurt yesterday.

I bought the yogurt that expired on March 11th ON March 11th. Or, to be more precise, the grocery store tricked me into buying their leftover, hovering-on-the-edge-of-spoilage yogurt by pushing it to the front of the case and rightly assuming I wouldn’t check.

The miscreants!

Some people can let these little things go, throw the yogurt away, and continue with their day. I’ve often wondered what it’s like to be one of those people...

I immediately checked all of the yogurt I bought yesterday, loudly cursing at each new March 11th expiration date. “Robbed!” I muttered to myself, storming around the kitchen and waving my hands in the air. “I’ve been robbed and cheated and I’m not going to stand for it!”

At moments like these I can actually hear my friend, Martha, in my head saying “Kimberly, the yogurt was what? $4.00? Get over it!”

“There’s a principle involved here!” I assured the invisible Martha. “I’m not going to sit back while, once again, corporate America rips hard-earned money out of the hands of a working family! I’ll get over it when I see justice done.

And it was on fire with this righteous indignation that I packed up the yogurt, found my receipt and stormed back to the grocery store like a woman on a mission.

As I approached the customer service counter and the teenage boy behind it, though, I heard Opie’s voice in my head urging courtesy and calm, reminding me that getting banned from the only grocery store in town would be a disaster of epic proportions.

So, I calmly put my yogurt and my receipt on the counter and explained my dilemma. “I bought these yesterday,” I said. “And they all expired yesterday.”

He stared at me like I had a grown a second head.

 “I don’t want my money back,” I assured him.  “I just want to exchange this for some yogurt that isn’t expired.”

And this clearly is a situation not covered by the grocery store customer service training manual because he just kept staring at me…and I began to wonder if I had somehow gone all Tower of Babel on him and started speaking in a strange language.

“I’d like to exchange the yogurt.”  I said again in the clearest English I could manage.

Which is when he called this other young whippersnapper of a girl over for help.

I explained the situation to her and she raised her eyebrows skeptically. “Do you have the receipt?”

I pointed it out to her and she began examining it and the yogurt in question like she was reviewing government documents for the CIA.

After a few minutes of this, I said “I don’t mean to be obnoxious,” (which is usually a pretty good indication that I am, in fact, about to be obnoxious) “But I don’t understand what you think is really going on here. I mean, I can assure you that I’m not the head of some underground black market yogurt-scam ring. I’m not trolling grocery store after grocery store trying to con my way to millions, 4 yogurts at a time.  I just want some yogurt that won’t kill me.”

“I don’t think it’s going to kill you,” she said.

And I kind of wanted to punch her in the face. Instead I smiled coolly and said “You never know. I have a really high intolerance for spoiled dairy products.”

At which point the manager came over to see what the heck was going on. I explained for the third time and he stared at the two employees like they were crazy.

I’m not going to lie, I felt vindicated.

“Of course you can exchange it,” he told me. “It shouldn’t even have been on the shelf.”

And I was going to stick my tongue out at the two young whippersnappers who’d been treating me like a freak show but then I remembered that I’m a Christian and an adult and ostensibly a role model.

Besides, they’d already turned away.

So, the short version is, justice was done.  I got my yogurt (although they were out of Caramel Macchiato and I had to settle for CafĂ© Late…but that’s ok, I’m breezy, I let these kind of things go) and all is right with the world.

But now I have to know—am I the only person in the world who would take the yogurt back? Would other people have eaten the yogurt? Would you just have thrown it out? Please will someone assure me that I’m not alone on the battleground for yogurt justice?