Thursday, June 29, 2017

Random things from today

During English class, I told Noah that I would give him a big hug if he could spell "reminiscence" correctly.  He wrote, "remenicence" and I gave him a big hug.  He seemed pleased.  I said, "That's not quite right, but I just wanted a big hug."  Then I taught him how to spell it.  Later in the lesson, he wrote it correctly and I hugged him again.  He said, "I don't deserve that.  I just copied it from the book."  His next vocabulary word was "immaculate".  I asked him if he knew what it meant and if he could use it in a sentence.  He said, "It means very clean, as in 'Noah is immaculate.'"  He said this while farting, so I told him he's the opposite of immaculate and that his next word would be "flatulence".  In other gross news,  Noah returned from the bathroom and gave this speech to Sarah, who often forgets to flush: "We are not making soup in there, Sarah.  We don't need to marinate and simmer all day.  Just flush it right down."

During lunch, I dropped my fork with my right hand and caught it in midair like a ninja with my left hand.  I yelled, "Wow!  Nice catch!" to myself.  Sarah shook her head and said, "I pity you sometimes."

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


I introduced my kids to one of my favorite poems ("If" by Rudyard Kipling), which ends with:

"If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!"

Noah loved it.  
Sarah said, "It's good, but it's kinda sexist, don't you think?"
We talked about the fact that some women can be the kind of man described in the poem.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Jump roping armadillo

I had a date with Noah before we go pick up Sarah from camp today.  I bought him a slushie and took him to the library, where Andy the Armadillo (Texas Roadhouse's mascot) gave him a plastic cowboy hat.  He was too cool to wear it, but I wasn't. 

We watched a Guinness World Record guy jump rope and do all kinds of tricks.  It was a nice day to sit in the shade three feet away from my son (wouldn't be cool to sit any closer to me) and watch something interesting we've never seen before.

The jump rope guy even called the armadillo up to jump with him.  That didn't work very well, but at least we can say we've seen a jump roping armadillo.

We're going to pick up Sarah soon, and I rented a movie that she's been wanting to see, so I'm hoping to have a movie night with her tonight. She'll sit close to me but won't hug me.  Noah will hug me, as long as it's not in public. I'll take what I can get.  I love my teenagers.

Monday, June 19, 2017


Me: Hey Noah!  There's a double rainbow!
Noah: (from his room, probably wearing headphones): Thanks!
Me: Thank God! He's the one who made it!
Noah: What?
Me: Just come out here and see it!
Noah (goes to the kitchen): Where is it?
Me: Well it's not in the kitchen. Look out the back door.
Noah:  Hey, there's a rainbow out there!
Me: Yes, I know.
Noah: Cool. Where's the food?
Me: What food?
Noah: I thought you called me and said food was ready.
Typical communication around here.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Colorado--day 8

9:10 a.m. -- After working for two solid hours (cleaning the entire cabin, washing, drying, and replacing bedding and towels, packing and loading up the van), we got a nice early start for a long day of driving.

9:20 a.m.-- Mike noticed that one of the tires on the van was a little low on air, so he decided to fill it up before we went any further.  When he twisted the cap off, the whole valve stem broke off, and all the air rushed out of the tire.  So there we were on the side of a dirt road at the bottom of Mt. Princeton with a flat tire.
 Notice Noah is barefoot, because he had settled in for a 15 hour drive home.
 Noah worked on getting the spare tire ready while Mike removed the flat tire.  See those turdy-looking things behind Noah?  I spent several minutes trying to figure out what kind of animal poops in that shape before I realized they were old, dirt-covered hot dogs.

 After working in the hot sun on the dry dirt road, Noah opened the back of the van to find Sarah lying like a slug in a nest of blankets and pillows she'd made.  He put on an English accent and said, "Oh hello milady! Can I serve you in any way?  Perhaps lick your feet clean? Oh wait...they're not even dirty because you've been sitting in the chariot the whole time."  She just shrugged and said, "Not MY fault you didn't wear shoes." 

We drove into town to get the tire fixed.  Buena Vista is a small town, and it was a Saturday morning, which meant nowhere to get the tire fixed, which meant we had to drive 30 miles to the next town (Salida).  It took a long time, because you can't drive over 45 mph on the spare. The people at Big O Tires were wonderful, put a new valve stem on, only charged $15, gave us a free map, and got us back on the road within an hour.  By then it was after noon, and we had made almost zero progress toward home.

About an hour and half later, we came to an intersection where a woman was holding a cardboard sign on which she'd written "Any help appreciated".  I was in the middle of eating a bag of grapes, so I handed the bag to Mike to give to her.  He rolled down his window and yelled, "Are you hungry?  I've got some grapes."  Noah, oblivious, yelled from the back of the van, "No, thanks. I'm not hungry. Just thirsty."

By afternoon, we had decreased in elevation, and it was HOT on the dry dusty plains.

We had gone from 35 on the top of Cottonwood Pass a few days ago to 102, all within the same state.

8:00 p.m.  The kids wanted to watch a DVD, so I was looking through the selections, which we've been adding to since the kids were little.  Jokingly I asked them if they wanted to watch "Baby Genius: Trip to the San Diego Zoo".  They both said, "Oh yes! We love that one!" So that's what they did for the next 45 minutes.

We drove all night and arrived home around 5:45 a.m. totally exhausted.  You can't tell it in this picture, but these three furballs were thrilled to see us!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Colorado--Day 7

Our last day. Bittersweet.  So hard to leave this place, but I look forward to being able to breathe again and pet my cats.  Mike and I went out early this morning to look at lots. Meeting the realtor tonight.  Going white water rafting through Browns Canyon this afternoon.  Trying to balance vacation fun with the work of looking for land. I just caught Mike mumbling to himself, "Paved roads, natural gas..." It has been a wonderful week, but not very relaxing.  Starting the process of washing sheets and towels and getting packed up to go home.
Rafting was wonderful! We all loved it, especially Sarah, who smiled big the whole time and even burst out into laughter at one point.

 The back of Noah's life jacket kept blowing up and hitting him in the back of the head. He thought it was me tapping him on the head because I wanted him to turn around for a picture. So in this picture, he's saying, "Mom! Would you stop taking pictures!"
Our guide, Natalie, took this one during a calm stretch of water.
Near the end of the trip, Natalie said we could relax and move around because the rapids were over.  I relaxed.  Soon after that, a rock collided with the raft right at the spot where I was, and it popped me out like a cork.  I went sprawling across the raft and almost went over the other side, but my hero (Mike) grabbed my ankle and hauled me back in.  Somehow I didn't even let go of my paddle.

When we got back to the cabin, it was right back to work. We met Bob the realtor at our last prospective subdivision.  We think we found a winner. We'll have a 16 hour drive to finalize our decision tomorrow.
It was a perfectly beautiful night to go out on the deck and look at the stars.  We could see so many!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Colorado--Day 6

Mike and Noah left this morning for their big hike up Mt. Princeton.
 Meanwhile, I made chili and cornbread and washed a huge load of dishes (no dishwasher at this place).  Then Sarah and I went into town to hide our painted rocks for strangers to find.
 We left one near the river, one outside a coffee shop, one at a playground, and one at the humane society behind this cat bench:

We also petted all the cats at the humane society.  
Mike and I looked at more lots for sale.  Having a hard time deciding.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Colorado--Day 5

Mike and I met a realtor this morning, who showed us several lots in the area we like.  We're working on figuring out finances and details. Our dream is to build a house and move here after Mike retires. 

 Mike and the kids rode horses. I have thought a lot in the past year about the many ways I have exploited animals all my life, and I don't want to be involved in it anymore.  I used to go fishing and horseback riding, but I don't now.  So I went for a hike.
Noah on Pepper, Mike on Stormy, and Sarah on Missy.

 My hiking buddy
 We've seen this strange creature a lot today.  I assume he's some sort of squirrel, but I've never seen one with such long ears and a long tail. His fur looks silky.
 Another creature I've never seen before.  Jackrabbit? Hare?  You can't tell from this picture how big he was, but he was BIG.
 Sleeping Indian Mountain.  The head is on the left, arms folded across his chest, feet on the right.
Mike and I went to visit our lot again at sunset and ended up on a different adventure that involved this spectacular grove of aspen trees, a trout pond, and a beautiful hike along a rushing river.


If you're not into TMI, stop reading now.
Being way up here at 9000 feet above sea level has interesting, and rather unpleasant effects on the body.  Most noticeably, it's hard to breathe. I can't walk from the bedroom to the bathroom without panting for air.  The air is not only thin but also incredibly dry.  I put lotion on constantly, and my skin just sucks it up and stays dry.  The insides of my nostrils are like a desert, and the boogs that form are hard and dry like little rocks.  I always feel congested.  My hair feels like straw and is full of static electricity.  I've also proven Boyle's law.  Remember this one from high school?  "The absolute pressure and the volume of a gas are inversely proportional."  So since the air pressure outside the body is decreased up here, the pressure inside increases, and that means....extremely prolific farting, all day and even all night long.  But this weather and these views are all worth it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Colorado--day 4

Mike and I left the cabin at 7:45 a.m. to look at some land for sale. The kids were still sleeping.  Saw some animals on the way.

 Here's the site of our future home on Habitat Dr. in Buena Vista.  $60,000 for over 5 acres. Beautiful mountain views all around.  Mike is completely smitten. 
 After scoping out our land, we made an impromptu childless trip up to Cottonwood Pass, making plans for our new house all the way up the mountain. 
 An unattractive selfie in front of the Continental Divide.
 We went all the way to the end of the road and saw a spectacular view.  We were the only ones there, except for a couple chipmunks and some birds.

 The temperature was 59 when we were at the bottom, and in the 20 minutes it took us to drive up the mountain, it dropped to 35.  The wind chill had to be in the teens.  Mike was wearing sandals, since our original plan was just to go look at the lot.  I had decided at the last minute to take a little jacket.  Glad I did.  It was so cold!!
I went for a hike behind the cabin, crossing the creek and going into the woods to look for bears. I didn't see any, but I had a nice hike on a beautiful day.

Then we went to a free paddleboarding thing at a park.

We're only eating one meal out this week, and tonight was the night.  We went to Eddyline.  Noah and Mike got wood-fired pizza; Sarah got a burger and fries; I got mushroom pesto quinoa and a spinach salad. It was all very good.

There were several pretty paintings of local scenery. They were all for sale but way too expensive. The smallest ones were about $200, and the biggest were over $2000.
The kids climbed the boulder across from Eddyline, and then we went to Sarah's favorite park again.

 We went to a different park for an outdoor concert. Beautiful night for it.
Interesting tree at the park.

Cows in the road on the way home.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Colorado--day 3

Our first full day at the cabin.  We all went to bed early last night and slept great.  Got up early this morning and saw two deer outside the cabin.

 Watched the moon set behind the mountains.
 After breakfast we got ready to go for a hike to the playground nearby and Lost Creek.

 leftover rabbit near some bear scat
 Sarah and I painted rocks.

 Sarah painted this seascape, complete with octopus.

I painted the mountains.
Noah rode the ATV while we were painting.
Then he took her for a ride.

We played at a park and took a walk on our favorite walking trail by the Arkansas River.

Noah grilled burgers (veggie burger for me); I made fries and salad; Mike cleaned the kitchen.