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!