About Last Week 2/3-2/9/2020


The excitement started on Sunday with the receipt of the email below. For the past several years, I have randomly submitted requests to the lottery for a cabin at Phantom Ranch located in the Grand Canyon National Park. I never expect to get a slot but I keep doing it. Usually mid-month of the month following a request, a nice email arrives telling me that my request was not selected.

In January it occurred to me I had not submitted a request in months. So I did. John finds this process amusing and feels fairly secure in the fact that my name will not cycle to the top. Sunday, as I was scrolling through emails, an email with “Phantom Ranch” caught my eye. I commented to John that it was a little early for my rejection letter and opened it up. It was not a rejection but a “congratulations ” on the selection of my lottery submission for a cabin in 2021. Yay! It took John a little while to get to Yay!

Now all I had to do was select meals and times and pay for the whole thing. We discussed the hiking, food and times and came to no conclusion. I get antsy easily and I was afraid I would forget the “pay by date” therefore forfeiting the reservation. By mid-Monday, I made some decisions and submitted payment. John seems okay with the choices and I have found him looking at my Grand Canyon map this week. We still have a lot of planning to do surrounding both sides of the hike but are very excited to have this experience to look forward to.


While John and I share a love for hiking, his go to sport is bicycling, mine is running. Not that I mind bicycling but I just don’t, much. I know he would like to go on a multi-day bicycle trip, we talk about it a lot. I just don’t grab my bike and go for a ride, much. I have decided to get on my bike, weather permitting or spin bike at the Y if not. Not everyday, of course, but enough to build multi-day bicycling strength and stamina. Hey, maybe I can get a bicycle trip to Italy or France out of it 🙂

Today was my first spin class in quite a while. Getting on the bike was a win for me but holding the pace and intensity was a challenge that I did not achieve. A goal for another day!


It has been raining monstrous amounts here. Flooding, closed schools, kinda rain. Weather pretty much discourages me from getting outside but I am going to have to toughen up. Rain is in the forecast through next week.

Downtown Knoxville


Thursday was my last art class for this cycle. I have not put in enough time in these four classes to make much difference in my ability. My instructor says anyone can learn to draw. That maybe true but you have to put the effort in to get the results.

This class was all about “foreshortening”. I still have hours to put into this drawing before it looks okay. Right now it is pretty flat. I have had the weekend to think about it and have some ideas to make it look, well, not flat.

I enjoy art class. I started taking classes last fall and I find the process both stressful and fun. Unlike my father, I am not a “natural” artist but I am determined to get better.


Friday was hike day. John took the day off (excluding the two hours he worked before 8:00 am) and we went to Frozen Head. I wrote about our hike in the last post so I will not do so here. https://smithposts.com/2020/02/09/freezing-in-frozen-head-spicewood-trail-2-7-2020/


The week’s rain turned into snow on Saturday morning. The local news reported that bridges and overpasses were slick and to stay home if possible. We had made plans for lunch with my sister and brother-in-law and decided to go for it! John and I saw several accidents on the way to their house.

I was uncomfortable driving in the conditions but the closer we got to Oak Ridge (our lunch destination), the less snow we saw until there was no snow at all. Apparently Oak Ridge was just on “right” side of the weather system and received no snow at all.

View from our bedroom window.
Our birdfeeder station with remained busy all day.

Big Ed’s Pizza was our lunch destination. Sometime over the last few weeks a news story ran about Big Ed’s 50th anniversary. Big Ed’s is located in Oak Ridge and is an institution to many folks around here. It has been more than 20 years since any of the four of us had been there and we wanted to have the experience again.We had forgotten just how good the pizza is!

We spent about two hours eating and lost in conversation. By the time we left, the snow had stopped in Knoxville and was beginning to melt. Big Ed’s has not changed a bit since the last time we were there and it was just as busy as ever. http://www.bigedspizzaoakridge.com/

Located in an almost vacant strip of store fronts near Jackson Square.
My and my honey. “We would like a medium pizza with onion, mushrooms, olives and Benton’s bacon.” Yum!
My sister, Leslie and her husband, Mike. Yes, we look a lot alike.
Bar and kitchen at Big Ed’s


Finally Sunday. The day started cool and foggy. By afternoon the sun was out and the temperature rose to the mid 50’s. We raked leaves and thoroughly enjoyed being outside, warm and dry.

Lenten Rose from the garden
Yes, that’s the sun!!
The crocus absolutely glowed in the sunshine.

This entry was posted in About Last Week, Art, Family, Flowers, Outside, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to About Last Week 2/3-2/9/2020

  1. lexklein says:

    So exciting about your space at Phantom Ranch! I had no idea they had that system; I might have to start entering each month also. Thanks for putting that on my radar. I wonder if we are flexible enough to go when we get in, though …

    • smithposts says:

      I am pretty excited about Phantom Ranch!!! Took me a few submissions to figure out that I can put in a specific set of dates for each of the 3 options or a specific date for the 1st option and request 1 night any day of the month for the second option (this will make sense when you look at the lottery). It does take some flexibility.

      I have been reading through your blog; you are a wonderful writer. I am totally fascinated by your amazing accomplishment of 29029 Everesting. I suspect that at almost 67, I may have passed the time to do such but it is an interesting thought!

  2. lexklein says:

    Thanks for the nice compliment! I heartily disagree that you have passed the time to do something like 29029! In my short poke around your blog, I saw many references to being active (and wanting to hike to and from Phantom Ranch is not for slouches!), and the beauty of this event is their insistence that it not be seen as a competition. That helped me so much. It IS hard, very hard, but most of it is in your head, and I might argue that at almost 67, you’ve got more strength in your head than a lot of people. This is not a sell job for this one event at all, but I did get a lot out of pushing myself harder than I thought I could. Anyway, I want to read more of your stuff, too, so off I go back to your blog for a few minutes! Thanks again for visiting mine.

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