Wednesday, November 21, 2012

On any given Wednesday

I was going to take the boys on a hike today to Button Rock, but, um, I slept through the alarm.

I love hiking in the morning, when everyone has energy. We postponed it til Saturday or Sunday, depending. Probably Saturday.

Anyone wanna come?

Today, I'm going to finish my coffee, and escape to a coffee shop to write.

Yep. I'm livin' the dream today! In an ideal world, that would be my every day ha, but hey, what can one do?

I'm lucky enough to have a job this year that lets me have time off.

I feel every blog post should have a photo, something that captures and inspires. So here you are:

My morning inspiration:

So I've been doing the creative journal, and have discovered that writing three pages daily helps me write later, because I think, oh, man, I wrote three pages, but none of the words are toward my stories (I have a short story and a novel I'm working on at the moment). So then I have to carve out time to write words toward my stories. I can't stand the thought of having written, but not having any of the words progress. Whatever works!

My artist hour is going to involve finally sewing the binding. Husbear wants his quilt, as does my sister. She doesn't have a name in the blog. I'll have to name her so I can continue writing about her.

Lets call her "Wispy Rain Mist" because she's living in Portland, Or.

So Wispy Rain Mist has been bugging me about her quilt that I'm making. I doubt I'll finish it by Christmas, but I'm going to try to get both her top and Husbear's top done by then.

It really depends on how good I am at managing my me-time.

**Someone, please help me find some me-time.

Oh, and some good book pics:

Raising Happiness - great book, I'll have to write about our first family meeting and failed custard tart dessert maybe... maybe not.

City of Bone, Angels, Glass, CatNip... whatever, I made it through the first two and a half before being annoyed by 17 year olds that are really 60 year olds in 17 year old bodies. Think I may be done with YA for a while. BUT, they are good reads if you're not yet jaded, cynical and raising a teenager the same age as the heroes and heroines because then you'd know how ridiculously fantastical the stories are.

p.s. This post is dedicated to Awesome Aunt, who tells me that she reads my writing, and thinks I'm funny.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pre-Thanksgiving No-Plans

This week, as in you know, the first day and a morning of the week, we haven't done much. Mostly, I'm taking time to enjoy the not-work I'm at, catch up on some writing, hang with the family and prepare for Turkey Day and the post-turkey-day-black-friday morning.

These shots were taken on Sunday. I totally adore them.

This was taken on a Sunday bike ride with my friend. We had a crazy day of biking and coffee and fun. Turbo loves his bike rides and the coffee shop.
In case there isn't anyone who doesn't know, this guy is a quirky fellow. I took some candid shots while we were conversing at Red Frog. Eight is a very serious age. And giant cookies are very important.

If you're wondering where Bear is, well, once we get Bear on a bike, we can enjoy his company at Red Frog. In the meantime, I'm planning a nice hike with the kids tomorrow, and we'll see some candid Bear shots.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Colorado Fall

This is where I run, bike, and live.

It's so gorgeous!
I didn't have to drive anywhere for any of it. It's just, where I am...

Beauty in the every day places should be appreciated every day.

Upper left, part of my running trail. Upper right, a resting point on my bike trip.
Bottom picture, view of the briddge, part of our bike path. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Saturday night write - Clack

Clackety clack Husbear reminded me that to do what I need to do, what I want to do, I need to put the time in.

That being said, I believe for Christmas, he's going to buy me a clackety mechanical keyboard that makes a lot less clackety noise than my clackety keyboard that I have now.

I love mechanical keyboards. For me, it's helpful, to have to put some weight on the keys, to feel them clack clack clack...

I've started a writing once a day challenge with me, myself and I, think I might have mentioned that. I count any type of writing if it's with some purpose for form, and the clackety clackness of typing on a mechanical keyboard helps. I love the clack sounds.

Clack clack... it makes me want to type more. I'm a much faster typist with the clackety keyboards. What I'm really hoping for is a ninja keyboard, it has a kinda pure clackety sound, but never mind my geeky obsession with keyboards, back to the point.

Because Husbear is right, it's about the time. I know how to write, how to put words together, I'm clever with some of my words, funny with others. I've been told my words make people laugh. A few times, I've been told, my words made people cry. I can evoke emotion. I have succeeded, then, for the words I write cause people to react, to feel, to gain something from the thoughts I express in the form of written expression. It's been too long, too long since I focused on a single project and wrote, daily. The last time I wrote daily, I wrote a book. Clackety clack every day, and I turned out a novel. No, it's not published, or been sent out, for various reasons. Mainly, for me, it was a rough draft of the process of writing. No, that one is not meant for the world. Maybe some day. But not now.

My brilliant goal, my brilliant idea, my highest achieving self, says, get up early at 5 a.m. and use that hour and a half you usually waste away in sleep! Why sleep! You can get so much done if you just dont' sleep, as Turbo and Bear explained to me when I found them at 4 a.m. playing on their computer...

The problem is I like sleep. It's a good thing there are other hours in the day.

I typed that last line, and this one, JUST because my keyboard is so clackety. It's why the desktop is better for writing for me. MacTops don't have clackety keyboards.

It irritates Husbear that I call my Mac ProBook a MacTop, but really, that's what it is.

Admittedly, this post is a bit clack clack clack, clackety clackish.

Originally, I was going to write about the mediation cushions for Turbo I've been compelled to purchase. Maybe I'll save that one for another day.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Happy 16th

She's 16 today.

Sixteen years ago, she, my first daughter, was born. Her.

This one. The one above, in the photo. That one.

Her daddy came home just in time for her to be born. He left later, and came home six months later. We met him at the airport, late at night. She laughed.

We moved to England, and tried to figure out the whole parenting thing.

She doesn't remember, but there were walks in British parks. Trips to the market in Bury St. Edmunds. Strolls through Cambridge's cobbled streets. I went mad with British child fashion for a while. She can't remember.

We moved and spent a winter in North Dakota. I took her for a walk on a sunny cold day where the snow glittered - we slipped and slided on the ice. I wrote a lovely story in a loft there, and she went to preschool for the first time. She didn't like it.

 We moved to Virginia and she played with our friends'  ferrets and hung out at work while we made games and hung out with other kids who's parents made games.

We moved to Washington, where she was a big sister, and, as a sort of consolation for being forced to be the big sister of two babies, got her a kitten, Ariel, who is still around: her cat and no one else's.

Somewhere, through it all, she kept growing. Now, here we are, five years in Colorado, and she's 16.

Six. Teen.

We took her to Outback Steakhouse - our family tradition is to go out to eat to the kids' favorite restaurant on their birthdays (we're crap at parties). She had a nice steak, because she's 16.

I had two glasses of wine. Because she's 16.


How did 16 happen? All those years, 16 years. Oh dear, dear.

So, happy 16th to my 16 year old. Happy 16th to me.

I may just have another glass of wine.

Monday, November 12, 2012

It's November NaNoWriMo

I'm not doing NaNoWriMo, but I am doing everyday writing.

I've sort of done the NaNo writing, but I decided it's best to get into the practice of writing, more than it is to eek out something amazing. Though, I am sure some of the works do become amazing. If you're purely writing something, it will come across as pure, unless, of course, you can't write.

In which case, drawing or painting is always an option.

Although, the truth is, if you love doing something, but do it poorly, it's okay. As long as you're income isn't dependent on it. For instance, I love drawing and painting. I love pretending my drawing and paintings are good, too, however, I'm awful at it. The random studies on chairs and my kitchen will never see any light, ever. I'm not an artist, though, I'm a writer.  The daily writing is why I'm blogging at 7 a.m. instead of getting ready for work. I find I'll write more throughout the day if I write a bit in the morning.

Plus, it's hard to get ready for work when Husbear is hogging the bathroom. The myth about women taking longer showers is debunked by this singularly, excessively scrubbed and groomed red bear.

Normally, I'll attach a picture that goes along with the theme of the post. Today, all I have is this:

Husbear, modeling the quilt my friend made for me.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

It's my B-day and I'll Gogh if I want to...

Monday is my birthday really, but my friends and I had a day out in Denver.

We went to this fabulous breakfast place, Snooze Eatery, in Denver, and it was pretty much the only food we needed all day, because... yum... Of course, it would be ridiculous to let the fact we had eaten this huge breakfast to stop us from getting dessert later... 

We went to see Van Gogh's exhibit, which I thought was great, and, to show my appreciation for his honest art, I will be purchasing two mugs depicting two of his most famous paintings. And who says I can't appreciate art?

That's not fair, though, I found the exhibit inspiring, and now I'm searching for a biography on van Gogh, because now I'm utterly fascinated, but not by his life, but his works and his words. I found some of his quotes wonderful, and words that every artist, writer, person seeking for more, should become familiar with. One of my favorites;

“I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.”

My friends are awesome, and I always enjoy spending time with them. I've claimed them as my friends shortly after I moved to Colorado (to their dismay), and I can't imagine a world without them. This isn't true, I can imagine my life without them. I've always relied on my friends to keep me here, to not allow me to drift in the natural direction my mind tends to drift, which is, last time I drifted, somewhere just past the outer moons of Saturn, I believe.... I need my friends, they are my anchors. I always dread my drifting, my difference, my not-always-here-ness will bore them, but so far, they're still here, anchoring.  

And they are ridiculously silly. One accepts what one must...

This is at the Denver Art Museum, on our way out. The real surprise at the Denver Art Museum was the El Anutsui exhibit. They called it a retrospective, and going through it, I was amazed at his ability to capture history in such an amazing, unique way. He used bottle caps and wood and clay and glass and normal materials heaped in trash piles or found all around, and told stories! Anyhow, it was a pleasant surprise, and I enjoyed that exhibit as much as the Van Gogh exhibit. Of course I would, I am always interested in how stories are told, whatever the medium. I am, I think, more interested in telling stories than simply just writing, and I love the stories his art spoke.

Saturday was a great day, but it's really my friend, Denise, who (she made me an epic quilt everyone in my family is trying to steal)  pretty much planned this for me, because, true to my typical style, I couldn't decide, make up my mind, or figure out what we should do, only that we should go out and spend time together. 

The best of me has always been the people around me, my friends, my family, my ridiculously fat and round cat... and this picture of faces and food and stuff pretty much sums it all up:

Dear friends, you're awesome. Le Pizza.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Oh, the Creative Life

Isn't it funny how the most creative people struggle with actually doing the creative work?
**for those people who are creative and don't struggle with doing the creative work, I mean the rest of us...

I do a lot of creative work. Just not MY creative work. And so begins Day 1, Week 1, Version 3, of the Creative Way 12-step, er, week, program. I love it, I've gone halfway through it before, and it always helps - it works for me. It just makes me better in my creative life. This time, I'm going to go through it all! My favorite part are the daily 3 pages, and the weekly artist dates.

I count yesterday's bike ride as an artist date.

Yesterday, I went on an hour long bike ride by my lonesome self. I stopped at one point, 30 minutes in, to take stock of where I was. I mean, I knew where I was, but I didn't realize, really, where I was - not far from civilization, but alone in a desolate area. Alone in a desolate area, but one filled with life. A dry place, with a pond and a splash of colored leaves on trees in the distance. It was so beautiful, and the place, the moment, the time, instantly calmed my mind, my stresses, my worries and made me feel a part of this strange beauty, as if everything else that existed mattered less than that I was in this one place on a paved trail through Colorado terrain.

It is not a lot, it is everything.
I'm not the greatest photographer in the world, but I like capturing moments and feelings. This one says everything to me about where I am both in my head, in my heart, and in the world.

I think that one of the hardest things to do in life is to remain true to yourself, because it requires truly knowing what that truth is - shutting out the should-dos, the must-dos, the expectations, the projected desires, the whimsical fancies that distract - how do you find that truth? How do you find you? It's a lonely process, because it requires withdrawing, turning in, closing your eyes and listening to a voice you probably haven't heard since you were 8, when you may not have known you, but at least every moment was honest. If we live honestly, truthfully, then every moment can be an honest moment, and every action a true action. This way, we can live a life true to ourselves. I Think we also have many truths at different points of our life, because we change, and that is okay, to recognize this change, but there is one true me, just as there is one true you, and one true everyone.

Pictures capture moments in time and place, but sometimes they capture meaning. This picture resonates with a truth I seek, a clarity of mind I desire, a spirit of serenity I long for, place of belonging so palpable I'm surprised I'm not still there - a cluster of long grasses swaying (or, maybe I am still there).

This is not a beginning, but a new search, a new journey sparked by all the other journeys in my past. I have a destination, I'm just not quite sure of the way, or what I will find when I get there.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Hello Saturn

My mom was an astrologer, and obsessed with Saturn. Saturn changed signs recently, and has moved into my native sun sign, for three eyars.

I don't know what sign Saturn moved into in my chart, though I suppose I could look it up. What I do recall is my mom saying that this was the age where writing would be big for me.

Maybe it's superstitious, I don't know, but I'm going through the Artist's Way creative journey (again, ha!), and I've resolved myself to doing the work, and not the judging. I'm so great at judging, that I never actually finish. I'm over that.

I'm really motivated to start, but it's Husbear's birthday tomorrow, and we were out doing things he wanted to do, and now is the first time I've been able to sit down and write a word. Since I'm too tired to write a story, I thought I'd just do what every sane, capable and working writer does, and write.... words, regardless. We never know, as writers, what words will be the words that bring the next idea, story, meaning. We never know, as writers, what our words will bring. To not write them is to receive nothing, to give nothing.  So I'm writing down the words.

And working very hard to not worry about anything else.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Wildly abandoned

I had a 1/2 co-worker, 1/2 friend - you know, that in between stage when you realize you wouldn't mind spending time with your co-worker outside of work - anyhow 1/2 friend, suggested that I was funny (ha!) and could toootaally write funny things... if only I would. Except not everything is funny, but, I did think she had a point. I'm not good at funny, buuuuttt...

She got me to thinking, she's right, because I think, but don't write, because when I write, I self-edit. Writers should never self-edit the first draft. It's the hazard of being trained to write to deadline. They do matter, but when you get to the point that you're automatically gauging word count and messaging, in a story about fairies and trolls, well, that can work against you.

So I'm going to begin writing with wild abandon. Just wildly writing.

There's no real topic, just the things that occur that I can comment on without my self-editor making it nice.

Today, we're going to write with wild abandon about the moment you realize the kid on the playing field, the one on the soccer field, the one running halfway across the field into the menacing faces of the other team to kick the ball away and down the line, that kid, he's not yours.


Nor is the goalie who takes a ball in the face for the team.

The kid who's running, always running to the ball, chasing it but never quite catching it, you have to admire the passion - one day, he'll get that ball. He could be good, once his skill matches his heart, and one day he will....

He's not yours, either.

No, yours is playing midfield. That position on the field for kids who aren't aggressive enough to be forwards, plowing the ball through the other team. It's not for fierce defenders ready to be stampeded by an onslaught of opposing team members as they form a wave headed right for your goal. And he'll never be the goalie. Dreamers don't do well as goalies.

He's a midfielder.

It's his favorite position.

And it's okay, if the ball is across the field. The other midfielder can get it. I mean, he's one of two midfielders. He knows this. He's busy, and his teammates look like they've got it under control.  No need to go exerting yourself, charging across the field when the sun's already beating down on you, if you don't need to.

He's patient, and eventually, the ball will get to him. Then, he can kick it, maybe, if someone doesn't run across the field and kick it first.

That's your kid.

And it's totally fine. Your boy is only 8 and he's having fun. You don't need to tell him to attack the ball - that's the cry of today's coaches -- attack, attack the ball, attack it... He knows that attacking the ball is the ideal. Attack...atttaaaaackkk... aaah.

You don't need to yell at him to run when he's walking to the ball. The coach is already telling him to hustle, hustle... (Good job, coach, letting him get some play time!)  Hustle! Hustle! It's okay. You just need to let him join the team, and learn... whatever it is he can learn. And it totally counts if he stops the ball because he happens to be standing in the place the ball lands.

Maybe he's learning he loves soccer and he'll always play midfielder because while he loves the game, he's just not in love with the game.
Maybe, it's that he doesn't love soccer, and he's bored, and he only likes soccer as a friend.

On any given day it'll change. But, he's got every Saturday through November to decide.

Last week, it was the best game ever.
This week, soccer's stupid.

And that is just how I was about every thing I ever tried, liked, tried, hated, tried and tried and well, while I never succeeded spectacularly at any one sport, I did get to play Field Hockey, Track, (Shot Put, of all things), Cheerleading (okay, I was 5, but it still counts!), gymnastics, Roller skating (for real, I got to Silver Star, thank you very much!) softball (ugh) etc etc.

And so, now I know, that boy, that kid, he's totally my kid.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Today's Trail!

Check us out.
It's been a while, too long really. I have a love/hate relationship with blogs. I blog in my mind all the time, but the technology to automatically publish mind-blogs on the web doesn't exist yet. I'm looking forward to it, though.

It's always hard in this house to adjust to a new school year. It takes about a month, which is absurdly long, but there you have it.

We're finally settled and into a routine, and so today, the first weekend I found myself without an obligation, with a to-do list that could be ignored, and with a gorgeous Sunday, I took the boys, my daughter who refused to be photographed today,  and our friend off on a hike to cross a stream 23 times. Mind you, most of the stream was dry, but we all agreed we'll do the hike again next month when we (allegedly) will have more rainfall.

This is one of my all time favorite shots of the day:

There's something honest about this picture it captures every truth, every thing...I see more in this shot now than I did when I took it.
This bird was an amazing shade of blue, which, of course, I failed to capture!
I'm a gorgeous shade of blue, but never mind,
I'm a shadowy winged piece of freedom here.
Look, just look at how bad arse I am!

This is what I love about living where I do. There's so many great places to go and see so many amazing things. The hike was a full 3.2 miles from start of trail to end of trail to back to truck. And I got some amazing shots of kids being, well, genuinely themselves. Check these kids out in this album:

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I felt fall...

This morning, on my Sunday long run, I felt something I haven't felt in a few months... cold.

Even after the first warm up mile, even at mile 7, there was a chill and I wished I had something just a little more than a tank. It was early in the morning, I left at 6, but the cold lingered for a good hour.
Bear telling me about something important
over a cup of tea in our kitchen. 
Fall is coming.

And with fall, pumpkins. Pumpkin Pie is Turbo's Favoritest Food Ever. We talked about it over tea tonight. I was preparing a new muffin quiche while he was looking over the kids baking book, chatting about how he wanted to bake, and how he couldn't WAIT for Pumpkin Pie. Then we talked about muffins, breads, and oh my. Guess what I'm planning to do on Sundays when the weather's chilly and it's a busy school year!

All this talk of fall, the muffin quiches in the oven and having tea with my best buds, I got that feeling, that cozy, nesting feeling. There's something comforting about being in the kitchen with the kids on winter nights talking or drinking tea, or sitting in the living room just being around each other - it is the benefit of those nights when it's too cold to go out, too dark to even want to - those nights are precious.I know I know, it's still summer, but it's not really. Not at all. It's the end of summer. I felt it this morning. I felt it tonight. We may have hot days ahead, but they are quickly coming to an end.

Here's to many nights in with my Drama Girl, my Husbear, my Bear, and my Turbo!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dear Quilt

Medieval Red Roses is the fabric I chose to
cover over the first failed binding. 
 Dear First Quilt, aka Iko Iko Quilt.

There are 12 year olds who wouldn't produce a quilt as poorly quilted as you. I apologize.  In my defense, I don't have patience, have never been able to cut straight lines and don't really know how to use my sewing machine properly -- size 3 stitches? no zig zag?

So I picked out all your crazy dark red fabrics... Camelot, Court Jester, Medieval Dot Splitter Splatter, Knight in Armor Batiks, etc etc, and made you, my lovely Iko Iko Quit. I learned the importance of cutting square shapes into actual squares... and sewing straight lines. I managed. I discovered that sometimes, sometimes when your lines are so not straight that even your binding can't fix it, you can easily double the width of your binding.

And now Iko Iko Quilt, here you are, with your bizarro random stitching that shows up bright white on the dark reds, you're flawed pillowing or gapping or whatever it's called when you don't do things right in quilting land, and you're double-wide binding.

All I've left is the final hand-sewing on your binding. I expect to suffer injuries often, but nothing horrendously serious beyond pin-pricked fingers, and a few incidents of sewing you to my yoga pants.

But, alas, Iko Iko, you're one step away from being done. Now, I can sit idly in front of my shows, sewing blissfully. I can start on my sister's quilt, cutting square squares, and rectangle rectangles, and soon, Husbear's quilt and hopefully, eventually, my lavender one, to be followed by an epic Purple Goth Mood piece.

I won't hold your flaws against you, Iko Iko, it's not your fault you got a pre-beginning novice with no basic art skills, or patience, or actual talent to create you ... I still love you.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mysterious! Secretive! Hush!

That's what all my writery books say. As I'm working, I should be secretive about my work. Mysterious about my words. Hush! Hush!

So fine, I won't tell anyone what I'm writing, only that I've got something to work with, which is always a nice  thing to have when you're a writer.

I know, people are so breathless with anticipation. It's like, it's like I'm Dean Koontz and I just released a new series. Only I'm a writer who's never released anything except newsy articles for a military newspaper and fantasy stories for a game, but... but I FEEL like I'm a writer about to release something wonderful.

Yes, I live optimistically. But really, it's about the words and the story.

I usually track page counts or word counts, but I'm not there yet. Right now it's all setting and mood and time and age and figuring out who these people traipsing about my head are, and why it is the middle of July and hot and 90 degrees but in my head it's the eve of a cold, harsh winter... Brace Yourself... Winter is... naaah I can't do it.

Yes, I know, this post is very stream-of-consciousness - it has been edited for context where needed, but for the most part, comes direct from my brain.

I know, my brain is a very strange place. Imagine what it's like to live in it.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Dwindling days of summer

We've got another month or so of hot weather, but my summer ends pretty much this week. Cue sad music.

Today, I went on a trail hike/run/walk/ to Green Mountain, where, at the summit, Colorado Native and I were accosted by a Hummingbird, in all its glorious ability. We watched it hover with the appearance of standing still in mid-air, wings beating so fast we could barely see them. It was probably the most epic thing that happened today. That, and watching clouds form from infancy to full-on storm clouds with lots of rumbling!

I didn't take a camera today, because, I thought, meh, I'll leave it in the car... alas, of course, it was one of the most beautiful trails I've been on. Ha. I'll capture some of it in the fall, I'm sure.

It's a great way to end a week.. if only I could find a way to bring the trail to the office!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hot, Long July Days

The boys are pretty much wiped out from all the summer activity. Camp three times a week and hikes interspersed have done them in. Today, they ix nayed my idea of a short, beautiful hike by waking up before 7 a.m., turning on Batman Lego and letting me know that was the plan. "Mom, we beat the joker. We unlocked the level where we can be villians..." oooh boys, good go defeat... Batman... that's great... I think...

I was tempted to force them on the hike -- it's SUMMER, the SUN is out, it's GORGEOUS, we belong OUTSIDE, we can go on a lovely hike through Enchanted Mesa and IT"LL BE FUUUN.. but then I remembered my days off in the summer, and how sometimes, sometimes it was just so wonderful to be able to hide in a corner and read a book, or watch some cartoons, or just... be... so today I am letting them be. It's day 23 of 31 days of hot sunny days, followed by another month of hot, sunny days. Summer feels so eternal, until it's gone, and in January, inevitably, I will say, winter feels so eternal... and both are true. Every moment, an eternity.

A magical sight on the Enchanted Mesa Trail!

The boys may have needed a day, but while they were at camp, I managed to take Drama Girl with me on a hike, this is her shady spot on the trail up to the Royal Arch, FlatIrons. I want to do more of those trails, but when it's cooler. I've discovered that my family is seriously heat adverse, and if temperatures ever are going to be above 93, (seriously) all outdoor activity has to be completed by noon! 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

When You Write, if you get it wrong, Your Characters Will Politely Haunt You

Sometimes you've got a story all mapped out. Outlined. Characters. It's good. You're excited. The characters' are excited. There's joy. Hell, there's a plot! Woot. You sit down to type, and write, and suddenly, the page is blank because something is all wrong. Something is very, very wrong, and your frozen in front of the screen. The characters just aren't there.

So you stare at that stupid page and realize it's not even July anymore. You can't even get the season right. It's not hot out at all. Fall has been in the air for a while. There's a noise, too. Someone young is talking in a quiet whisper, just whispering in your ear, your head, the air, you can't place the whisper but you hear it, patiently trying to get your attention without shouting at you or startling you. It's a quiet insistent  whisper. Maybe it's the voice that woke you up at 3 a.m. when you were staring at the dark sky wondering what it was that was so urgent, what had startled you to awaken. It's been bothering you for at least two days now so you know the voice is getting a bit hoarse.

You're thinking this, and then you realize since it must have been trying to get your attention for a while now, you could at least start listening to it.

Ah, you hear the voice, you think you understand. This voice that's been whispering in your ear for a while now, is telling you its story, and it makes sense, there's this one character in another half-written story that didn't belong there, but belonged with this voice, and I had it only partly right. Suddenly, the old outline is gone, the characters skidaddle, the perfectly-set up story is a house of cards. The plot empty.

That voice is more real, and then words fall on the page easily. You already HAVE the characters, you just had them in the wrong place, and you recognize the voice, so you know whose voice it is...and the words flow, but there's just something else, something... shocking, an actual surprise. The voice you thought you knew, when it first started talking to you, maybe some years ago, maybe a month ago, who knows, you realize then, you didn't really KNOW the voice, because, you see, you thought the voice was a girl.  Now, you know, really really know,  it's not a little girl with brothers and sisters. It's this little 11 year old boy. It was always this 11 year old boy....

And that's a lucky day, when you have a character whose voice is so strong it pulls itself out of you, introduces itself and starts telling you the story you need to write because you haven't been writing it, and is kind enough to take the other character to you, well, that's a lucky day. A creepy day, because really, it means my characters are haunting me, but a good, lucky day!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

An Account of Hiking Heil Valley on a beautiful July Friday

I had wanted to do the full Heil Valley loop after completing half of Heil Valley's Picture Trail from Lyons, and the Lichen/Wapiti Trail from Boulder with my boys. There's an entire trail loop that runs through what I think is some of the prettiest terrain in the foothills around here. I needed to do it sans children, since at 8, they don't really have the endurance yet for a five hour hike with only a lunch rest. I invited Colorado Native *I've known her for a few years now. She now has an official name for my blog.*  along because what the hell, she wasn't doing anything that day...

I love the stillness of the distant peaks.

When I came here with Bear, we saw Wild Turkeys, and to his dismay, and my pleasure, not one Black Bear. Well, no Wild Turkeys on this hike, not one! I did see a Red-Tailed Hawk ride the wind in front of me, soaring beautifully canyon just off of Picture Trail, all casual and bird-of-prey like. And, this fella:

Hey little fella, you eat bark and berries, right?
My friend Colorado Native and I ran into two older woman who were hiking the Ponderosa Loop. They were being all whistly and noisy, which we did find odd, until they explained that there was a bear up ahead just off the trail about 150 ft, and we should make noise as we pass. You know they're locals who know the trail well when the viewing of a Black Bear doesn't frighten them so. Sure enough, one of the woman explained she'd been hiking here for many years, and not once did she ever encounter a bear! It was an amazing chance encounter that we took pictures of.

A bear off Ponderosa Loop Trail - bringing authenticity to our nature hike.

Until the Bear realized we had stopped and were you know, paparazzi-ing it, and turned its cute little maw our way and took an ambled step forward. The older woman suggested we all skidaddle, Colorado Native agreed, and I whined about not getting a good full-maw shot which more than made up for Colorado Native's whining about her sore feet because she engaged on a five-hour hike after running 13 miles and the entire angry-bee-after-my-food crisis whine where I lobbed my sandwich maybe a couple of times to distract said angry swarm of three bees... Just saying...

The rest of the hike took us through the most beautiful part of the trail, the Wild Turkey trail. We wandered on a trail shaded with abundant Ponderosa Pines to look up and be surprised suddenly with a meadow!

Not the most meadowy meadow we came across, but a meadow nonetheless.

I can't wait to do this trail when the wildflowers are at the height of their bloom!

 This view is one of the reasons why this hike is now one of our favorites.

Check out the view.

It was an amazing hike, and we left with plans to do a longer hike up to Button Rock Reservoir in August, which I can't wait for, and a return to Heil Valley in the fall to do the full Lichen to Picture Trail hike.

I so heart nature.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Writing it all down

I had promised myself most of the year that in July, I'd really kick off and seriously get back to the writing. It's the third part of my three-part goals I set a while back. It was just three things. To write, read, and exercise.

And finally, happily, I'm writing.

And how I love the writing.

I had a few stories I could work on, and settled on trying two out. The first one, as much as I wanted to write it, wasn't ready to be written. It's not filled in yet. The second one, the words, the story, the characters, they're ready. So that's what I'm spending a few nights a week on. I had a blast coming up with the correct character names, and while I don't think I'll finish this book in a month, I do know the first draft won't take long - it's just flying!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Little Trips

I'm not picking my nose.

It's summer, and I know a lot of people are going to amazing places, doing amazing things, and seeing amazing stuff.

Well, I live in a place of amazing places, so it doesn't require a trip to see amazing stuff. But we're not really 'doing' anything or 'going' anywhere.

Turbo's ready for the ride!
The thing about this summer is how much exploring I'm trying to do with the boys and Drama Girl, when she's inclined to come along.

It's pretty awesome how I can go for a run, or hop on a bike and go for a ride, or drive 20 minutes to a great hike, and find the most incredible, beautiful sights. It's my goal this summer to really show the kids this amazing place they live, and the amazing things you can see in nature.  I want them to be explorers and adventurers, and to love and crave the outdoors. It's pretty easy to do with kids, they're naturally inclined that way. That's why this summer, it's really about the little trips.

Today, Turbo and I set out on one of our little trips to a cafe in Niwot.  He's been waiting for his long bike ride with mom for about a week and a half. It's about  6 miles to the cafe and 6 miles back, so he got a bit of a workout on his bike. 

Turbo and I  chatted all the way there and home. He stopped to take pictures with his own camera a few times on the way back.  I bought the boys $1.50 photo albums so they could document their summer with pictures. I also grabbed a bunch of disposable cameras at Target for like, $5. I don't think they're quite ready to not lose/break/destroy a real one. They also have little notebooks to write down anything interesting when we go on our trips. They don't write in them much, but occasionally, they'll surprise me with a desire to 'observe' something!

Hot chocolate! I know!
When we got there, Turbo, ordered pancakes and hot chocolate. You see those two freckles on his face? I love those two freckles.

This picture on the right shows how gorgeous and picturesque (get it, picture, picturesque?)  it was this morning, and what an awesome view we get on the ride!  We've just come out of a ridiculous heat wave, so having morning temperatures in the 70s was a wonderful treat, and those are seriously some of the puffiest clouds ever!

The ride takes us past his favorite creek (okay, our only creek) and the rains from last night made the waters higher and faster than normal.

 I don't know how many times I was convinced he was going to ride his bike into the creek. He loves watching the water rush by, and kept getting distracted by it on our ride.

The entire ride and breakfast took up our Saturday morning. Just a little trip on a cool, breezy Saturday from one place to another.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Fourth of July Hike

This July 4th, there are so many wildfires in Colorado, and such a danger of fire because of the intense heat and dry year, that the city won't be celebrating with fireworks. The sale of fireworks has been banned, and our neighborhood has been at it's quietest this time of year in... well... years... But what better way to celebrate our land than through walking it? I took Bear on a hike to Heil Valley. We took the Lichen Loop until it hooked up with Wapiti, then took that trail. It was, as Bear described, 'Over-Awesome' because, see, awesome just didn't describe it enough....

The thing that took me by surprise the most? When he randomly ran to me, hugged me, and said 'I love you mom' before scampering up the trail. Awwww, Sweet Bear!

This was probably the first time in a long time, I had alone time with Bear. What did I learn about him on the trail? He wants to be a builder.... There are some dull pictures of paver stones I was forced to take, because they were 'interesting' somehow...

Happy Fourth!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Renaissance Festival Braids

We went to the Renaissance Festival, and essentially discovered how quickly a 15 year old teenager can spend her money!

This, though, I think was worth it:

And I can totally see how this could be justified:

But the tourist hoodie and the $20 puppet and the other bits of food, I'm not sold on, but hey, that's how you roll when you're 15 apparently!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer Manifesto

Thanks Denice! Because of you, I have a summer manifesto, too.
It's very short.

Explore our playground!

Hi Bear, please don't fall....

We kicked this first manifest off with a trip to Rabbit Mountain, aka Grasshopper Mountain, on account of the zero rabbits sighted, but the bajillions of grasshoppers leaping into our legs as we climbed.

Bear declared it his favorite trail until today's little jaunt to Heil Valley Ranch, which is now his favorite, but won't be, once we go to the next trail.

Both Turbo and Bear are excited about all these hikes and explorations we're taking, which is exciting for me, because I love getting outdoors finally!

This summer is the first summer I feel I could really do that with the boys, and we're busy picking out new trails to explore daily! I  can't wait to hit RMNP!

Lunch on a rock at Picture Trail

It's a long, dusty road