Monday, July 23, 2012

Mountains, bisons, geysers...

We got back from our trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.  It was wonderful to be in the midst of nature and of course great to be internet free for a few days.  The long drive from SLC was a bit of a pain going in especially but somehow we got through it.  The day after reached YS, we went around the huge park seeing a lot of the geysers.  "Old faithful" of course didn't disappoint and dutifully erupted around the expected time.  We managed to get a place to stay inside the park the second night, especially considering we booked at the last minute.  The cabin was in the thick of the woods and we checked in late evening.  After KB rested for sometime, we again went out to see some wild life and got caught in the middle of a "bison jam".  A herd of bisons were crossing and cars were backed up in the one lane road.  One bison was walking along the side of the road and started coming towards our car which scared me a little.  But it just walked away soon after.  We got some really nice pictures of the bison though.  Sadly that night, KB woke up with a fever while B and KG were fast asleep and it was raining outside and the drops were pelting on the roof of the cabin.  KB was so hot with the fever and woke up crying with nightmares.  I sat up half the night cooling him down with a wet towel until the medicine took effect.  Thankfully I had taken the medicines with me because nothing was open or available in the middle of the park.  Somehow he managed to be energetic in the morning when he woke up.  We drove around some more and saw more interesting geologic formations and then drove to the next hotel inside grand teton national park on the third night.  I had called the morning before to try my luck and managed to get a hotel reservation inside the park.  Normally people make these reservations one year in advance it seems!

Yellowstone has its own charm and the wild life makes it very interesting.  But grand tetons - god, that place is so majestic in its beauty and so serene and peaceful during dawn and dusk.  It is the kind of place you should go to to relax and just soak in nature's beauty.  The lodge we stayed in was incredibly good and the view from the restaurant attached to it was a panoramic view of the tetons.  It was a pleasure to be there with the kids.  If I were rich, I would be going there very often!  By some divine grace, KB managed to muster enough strength to see things during the day and also pull through during the drive back to SLC.  We visited our friends there and then flew back to our place.  KB gets motion sick and is also the kind who will think about it so much and psyche himself before he gets on the plane.  So he threw up many times on both flights.  One time in the car, I could not be prepared since it came without any warning.  But at other times I was prepared and had a barf bag ready for him.  Somehow managed to get through all of it.  He pretty much survived those three days on apple juice and water and air! Ate two slices of bread for the whole day.

On the flight back, I was at the receiving end of a random act of kindness.  Just to distract KB, I asked the steward standing next to our seat if I could get head phones for the kids.  The guy said I would have to wait till the flight took off since they would be selling head phones only then.  He then paused for a moment and asked if it was for the kids.  I told him KB gets motion sick during take off and I was hoping to avoid him throwing up.  He told me to wait for a second and then went in and got two head phones for the kids even before the plane took off.  He said, "I know how it is...I know the routine!. It was really nice of him to have helped me out.  It was an early morning flight and KB threw up three times even before he entered the plane.  So pretty much there was nothing left to throw up.  But still the distraction helped since there was some show on cartoon network (we don't have premium cable at home) that he wanted to watch at that moment.  Such simple acts of kindness make such a big difference.  I always tell myself the only way I can thank that man for his kindness is to pay it forward to someone else and try to go the extra length even when I don't have to.  Just the way he did.

I was so cut off from world news those two days that I got to know of the CO shootings only when I got back home on Sunday.  On friday night when that horrible incident was happening in that movie theater, I was up at night in that dark cabin with the sound of rain and cooling KB's fever down with wet towels.  My prayer then was that KB's fever should not get worse, that it should not escalate into full blown bronchitis or asthma and mentally I was making plans as to what we would do if his condition got worse by morning.  The next morning, I was so relieved and thankful that he woke up feeling much better and energetic.  I was so thankful to what ever power it is that controls these things.  Now when I think back, I think of the victims of the shooting and their families and how for them their world had descended into horror that Saturday morning to be rudely woken up to such unimaginable tragic news.   It is strange how we all learn to cope with these different worlds - our own, the world immediately in front of us and that world which is remote but brought closer to us by the media.  How else can the world go on? We just have to move on no matter what happens.  We have to survive things that happen to us and to others and keep on going for there is no other choice.  If I pause to think of this person, how destiny chased her, I find it so bizarre.  How can the same thing happen to someone twice?  Sometimes you just cannot make sense of this universe and nature's ways.  Why would a brilliant neuroscience student do this to others?  What did he not get in his childhood that turned him into a monster?  Or would he have turned out this way despite what ever his parents did to raise him well?  Such a torrent of emotions and thoughts when you read such news. 
One can only hope that somehow such tragedies don't happen again.  I have digressed far from the world of bisons and elks but I am glad to have that world to turn to to find some calm and peace in our confusing existence.


Anonymous said...

Glad you had such an uplifting holiday at the park. Do share photos pls on the blog.

Senseless things happens all the time noon but trying to make any sense of them serves no purpose most of the time. Like I mentioned here perhaps just a month ago, I was devastated to be diagnosed with breast cancer (in my mid 30s) this year. I was barely coping with that knowledge and trying to schedule my surgery, radiation and chemo, summer camps for my son, a caretaker when I get too tired for him etc when we learnt a week ago that my husband's mom who's 65 has Hodgkin's lymphoma which has spread thru out her body. Chemo isn't an option anymore so she's been given six to eight months to live. My husband is in the biggest dilemma of his life- can he risk leaving me here in the U.S. to cope up with my treatments alone by myself and go off to Mumbai to be with her for a bit or.......
My sister is trying to get here and be with me and god willing she will be here sometime soon so he can be with his mother for a bit.

Before all of this we lived the typical two working professions one child happy-go-lucky life worrying about the trivial stuff, arguing and thinking about our next meal(we're foodies). And now all of a sudden all we're discussing are radiation doses, chemo rounds, mammas and some more non stop.

Someday I hope to visit yellowstone with V my 8 year old. You're right about the hotels in the park being booked many months in advance. We tried getting in a month ago but couldn't.


Aparna said...

Your vacay sounds great! have always wanted to visit Grand Teton, never managed it.
Poor KB - motion sickness is horrible! is KG ok when she travels? It must be hard for him and all of you as well.

The CO shootings were so bizarre and upsetting. Kept thinking of all the people whose life changed in one instant.

noon said...

Hi Deepa

Thanks for your comment. I was very sad to read about what you are going through. It is totally heart breaking. No young parent should go through this kind of tension. Have faith that it is a very curable cancer and you will be cured and live a long life. You will for sure. Do what ever it takes to keep that faith. It is very sad what your husband is going through emotionally now. Two important people in his life...may be he can go for a couple of weeks and then go back again after your treatments are all done? I can imagine how you day life is normal and the next day all this...seriously it is just unbelievable. I will be praying for you Deepa. I know you will get out of this and be ok after all the treatments are done. You can visit YS very soon with V. You have to go to the Tetons after all your treatments and relax there for a few days. You really should. Those mountains have a way of talking to you...put things in perspective...that life goes on...that the cycle of life keeps on going in nature...that we need to only live in the moment and that is all we can do. I will send you the phone nos (if you are ok with emailing me) for the lodge we stayed at - am sure you can get a reservation at the last minute also. Every one hyped it all up saying you have to book one year in advance. But there are rooms that become available due to cancellations.
I am also so grateful that you have a wonderful sister who is there for she coming from India?

noon said...

Aparna - vacation was good and a little tiring for me because of KB falling sick. But I am so grateful that he managed to have energy during the day time so we didn't spend all the time in the hotel room after spending through our nose for going there, for the hotels etc. Since it peak travel time at these parks, they hike up the prices for even ok hotels. KB's motion sickness is getting worse because now he is more grown up and he is so the thinking type who will prime himself for it even before it starts. What can I do...I just have to hope he outgrows it. Since he didn't throw up in the flight back (he threw up three times before it) - I told him that he has conquered it and now he will be ok. Let's see...
Well - you can always visit the Tetons on your next holiday to the U.S. Madam super holiday planner! :)

vedant said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hi noon,

I just left a comment in response to yours but used my son's email a/c instead. Would you mind pls. deleting it asap. We don't use his account publicly but I think I was logged in and used it by mistake.


noon said...

Deepa - thanks so much for your comment. God, your son asking you if you will live till he is ten just breaks my heart. Pavam god knows how they process this kind of information. Esp he is too sharp. I can't believe he looked it up in the internet! Too much. How old is he? Memorizing flags?! Here KB only wants to watch the competitions. That too swimming and basketball - he waits for that. What day is your surgery? Please email me a line if you can after you get back to normal letting me know how things went. Am so glad your sis will be here soon. Thank god for big mercies.
Am sure you will come out of this fine and you guys will be vacationing happily at the Tetons very soon. Mr.V will be full of questions there for you about the animals.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for taking the comment off. V would never let me live it down if he stumbled there by mistake. He runs a private blog because he loves writing and we have to keep making sure it's still private and hasn't turned public by mistake sometimes.

V and KB are so alike in their watching preferences. V also watches Basketball and swimming like crazy. And soccer is a close favorite. Perhaps because he participates in those two sports avidly. Does KB enjoy those two among his activities?

I will certainly drop you a line after "I'm Done". The thing they only know if they're done after the tissue comes back from path with clear margins. Otherwise they have to go back in for more which is a bummer. In 10 to 15% of the cases it's turned invasive and they only know when they look at it. But I'm asking God for a pass on that:-)
I've never had any surgery before in my life and am a chicken when it comes to hospitals. But I'll be fine because I'm going to have to pretend like it's no big deal under V's watchful eyes. He turned 8 this year but acts like he's 18! He has all kinds of advice for me which would involve incredible will power on my side like giving up chocolate forever(since he isn't given much but I do tend to nibble on some everyday). I think he figures he's got this one chance to lord it over me and advise me:-) He told me recently eat only whole grains and organic vegetables if I'd like to stay cancer free because he read an article on it online. He's a character alright. Among his big dreams is to invent a medication that would instantly bring me back to life should I conk off and he's asked me to stay alive till he can get a little older and work on it:-)

Reading your blog always feels so reassuring. You chronicle the ups and downs of life in general and raising kids so honestly and bravely. And now it feels like I have a person in the blogosphere sending good vibes my way.
I wish KB lived closer. I'd have gotten the boys together. It feels like they might be a good fit. Someday.....who knows.


noon said...

Of course of course, am sure KB and V will meet up. Some children are born 18 I think. V seems to be one of them. KB also - we call him thatha so often at home. Always lecturing to us/his sister. I get blamed for his anxieties of course. Even the dentist the other day said, "Normally children don't ask so many questions...he is thinking tooo much. The mother needs to reassure him..." blah blah. He did not cry for the extraction (of the incisor that would not come out) but because they put in some foreign material that is not a part of him into his tooth to fill in a very tiny cavity. He was most upset about that. Why did you put something permanent and foreign in my body?! Anyway kids like V - I know what you are talking about. Can totally picture him lecturing you. KB hates chocolates but is willing to try dark chocolate with high percentage of cocoa because it has flavonoids. Of course he cannot accept new food easily, so he tried it and said porum! :) But you do that - dark choc with 65% cocoa at least - tastes good.
You will surely be done with this ordeal very soon and will be free of it. I cannot even say the word you know - hate it so much.
KB is not into soccer but loves basketball and swimming.
Blog - wow - incredible for his age. KB doesn't even know what a blog is. Should tell him.
Best wishes for this week. Think of V and his 80 year old advice etc when you go in for surgery - will put a smile on your face. You WILL be ok. Hope your sis will be here soon. Will wait for your mail saying everything is ok.

Neera said...

Wow went through such a lot! Kids falling sick on a vacation is such a bummer but I am glad that it didn't deter him from experiencing such a lovely place. I so want to go there.
And its so sad - about the CO shootings and now the equally senseless WI shootings. I really wonder why acquiring guns is so easy here :(

noon said...

Hi Neera - yeah, that was the saving grace - that he somehow had energy during the day to see places...once he got home, just eating home food, he got better!
Don't even tell me - I just don't get it - if it is so easy to access guns - I just don't see this situation getting better. Only worse.

noon said...

Deepa - hoping to hear from you. Hope surgery went well and you are recovering fast.

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