Too bad they don't allow camping

Because I am very much into Being Out of Town, and Getting Out of the House, and Hand-feeding Giraffes (wait, what?), when a friend invited me to spend the day near Fossil Rim with him, I happily accepted.  I thought we would hike around the countryside (yep, especially when you get lost), give a baby goat a bottle (not as easy it as it sounds, especially when all the baby goats are far more interested in... eating my shirt), and pet some horses (done and done).  I hadn't realized that the person whose house he was sitting had an all-access pass to the wildlife refuge nearby and that we would in fact be going on safari in the middle of Texas.

According to the rules of the park, you should only enjoy the animals from your car.  

Do not get out of your car to snap camera phone pics of the view.
Also, please only hand-feed the giraffes.

Do not hand-feed the other animals.  Even if they stick their big fuzzy heads wayyyy inside the car and blink their greedy eyes at you.

And, should your friend's friend's (following that?) dog get into it with a skunk, you can earn extra karma credit if you stick around to help with the tomato juice bath (and, oh darn, not make it to the gym that evening).  And it's ok to double-up on the latex gloves and then spend the next few hours paranoid that you still smell like wet dog and skunk.

[Sorry, no pics for that last one.]


In short, I still suck at climbing

If you’re wondering, the drive from Dallas down to Hueco Tanks is LONG. 9 hours, give or take an extra 30 minutes here and there for a speeding ticket and an almost-border-crossing (TF’s car does not, unfortunately, have a compass in it, and sometimes? When you lose your only map and neither one of you has any sense of direction? You head to the border without realizing it). Accidentally going to Mexico would have been fine, I told TF, as long as he understood that it would absolutely require pounding tequila shots and a Mexican standoff before we headed back. He had more of a problem with the idea of slamming tequila at 10am.

The hikes to the climbing routes were alternatively interesting, exhilarating, and brutal. Some of them involved crossing ravines or shimmying up and down a rock face, either lugging the crash pads on our backs or throwing them down/up ahead of us, and no ropes.   And I have the tiny pictures to prove it:

We camped at a deserted site and slept blissfully through two nights, interrupted a few times by 1) fierce winds that threatened to turn our tents into kites, 2) a roving pack of coyotes passing through with all the bluster and howling of a motorcycle gang, 3) finding a significant pool of water in the middle of his tent, exactly where he’d set his cell phone (Classic Desert Prank* Number One! Mysterious water in your tent! Joke’s on you, ha ha!) and 4) pulling prickly pear cactus needles out of my ass in the middle of the night (Classic Desert Prank Number Two! Needles in your sleeping bag!).

TF conquered about twice as many routes as I did, but I learned how to execute a double foot cam start which was pretty bad ass, if I do say so myself. It involves shoving your feet into the rock above your head, then pulling yourself up by your legs so your hands can latch onto the holds, then, you know, climbing around.

The trip was a much-needed escape, and I came back to town exhausted and content, and kind of missing the desert life. If Monk and the dogs had been there, I think I would’ve been happy to stay out there even longer.

Next on the list: Climbing in Oklahoma, possibly next month. I know, who would’ve thought Oklahoma had more than surrey with a fringe on top? Whatever the hell that means.

*We discovered 5 Classic Desert Pranks on this trip:  #3 is a variation on #2, with cactus needles in your chalk bag- the bloody fingers certainly up the hilarity of this one; #4 involves stealing a tire off your friend's truck in the middle of the desert, after it's been overloaded with garbage for a trip to the dump (this is what we figured must have happened, after discovering an abandoned pickup truck being used as a dumpster at our campsite); #5 would be making someone hike a mile down the mountain with a crash pad on their back, all so you can get a photo of their Sponge Bob-esque appearance, only to tell them that's not actually the way we're headed, so, come on back, ha ha ha!  Oh, the silliness!


Also, it's been unbelievably windy here which is making my brain shut down

Oh hey.  How's it going?  Long time, no see and all that.  Somehow this month I stumbled into a spa job and my own office within 24 hours of each other (literally stumbled into the office situation when a new client gave me the wrong suite number for his outcall appointment- 90 minutes later I had a chiropractor offering me a ridiculously low rent option for a massage room in his wellness clinic), not to mention an obscene amount of chair massage business, a handful of new outcall clients, so, um, I seem to have found myself a bit... over-scheduled lately.  Also, I'm heading down to El Paso this weekend with TF to show off my lack of climbing skills ("hey kids, check out how I climb with my elbows!  Wanna learn how to smash a kneecap?!").  So sometime in the next two days I have to figure out how to set up a flimsy tent I've never actually used, despite the fact that we've had it for about six years now (that means we've moved it... three times?  Three times we've packed this thing among our belongings and lugged it to a new place, where it has sat in a new dark corner, gathering new layers of dust.  I would not be surprised if I pulled it out of the pack tonight and watched it crumble away at my feet).

The spa job was initially supposed to be a way for me to pick up a little extra money on the occasional Saturday, but I'm pretty sure they bonked me on the head with a Music for Relaxation CD during the interview because I found myself committing to three days a week at the place, much to my post-interview, dear-god-what-have-I-done dismay.  So now I get the bonus anxiety this week of trying to extricate myself from the scheduling mess I've created.  Genius, me.

I had my first massage appointment at my new office space last night and, despite the room being a little on the small side ("oh!  that clunking you just heard?  That was just my ass hitting the wall, don't mind that, ha ha ha!") I think it's going to work out just fine.  The only problem being I've been so pro-outcall with my existing clients I don't think any of them will be inclined to give up the convenience of in-home massage to trek to my new office.  So now the marketing campaign for new business must begin.  Should be a hoot.

I'd better get going here- lots to cram into my day, including several minutes of gazing in awe at the brand new sleeping bag I forced myself to buy yesterday.  So shiny!  So insulated!  So.. Red!  And no flannel lining, or sticky zipper issues!  Welcome to the 21st century, kiddo!  You will now know how it feels to actually remain DRY and WARM while camping, imagine that!  

To add to the excitement of camping/climbing preparations, TF and I are having a rather heated debate about headlamps, the purchase and use thereof, and I should find out later today if my latest argument via text (I'm not wearing no goddamn headlamp.  I am old school 4 realz.  You will have to pry my FLASHLIGHT from my cold, dead hands.  Fuckin headlamp nazi.) has finally put that shit to rest.