Tuesday, November 15, 2016

All that Tolkien said that mattters

I said this to someone today, and she laughed, because it totally outed me as a geek. Most of the people I work with kinda know that about me. It just sorta comes out. I often think about what to do with the time I have, and I've blogged about it, and so, of course, you all know, I choose to write with that time (and quilt and bake and whine about the writing). One day, maybe, like Tolkien, I'll be published. I'm probably not going to write an entire epic journey filled with the most direly important quests - unlike Tolkien. And there probably won't be a separate language attached to my stories. But, there will be a book...

I've been thinking about the stories I want to write, and keep wanting to drift into a middle world fantasy, taking me far away from the Science Fiction I'm writing now - it's the ultimate escapism.

I've also been thinking about what to do now, in a world where suddenly, people are nervous and afraid for the future. Oh, they are. There's no use pretending they aren't, or telling them to knock it off. Or to work toward unity. We're too far past that. Too much has been said. It's part of the reason why I pulled back from social media, and the news even. There's so much pain and hate on both sides.

I feel our world has gone mad. Or maybe, looking through history, it's normal for our world to be mad, and this is just how it is. This is not like any other election, or any other year. People are not protesting because they lost the election, people are protesting because they are afraid they will lose their civil rights; their freedoms. They are protesting the voice of mockery and hatred that somehow was not silenced over the course of 16 months. This is a reaction from fear - fear that the things they had will be taken away. I refuse to rage and hate though. I still believe there's a better way than anger.

But I am sad. I didn't want my sons to grow up in a time of turbulence and strife, a time of hardship, when hate and intolerance are trying to gain a foothold in the hearts of my countrymen/women/children. I didn't want them to enter their last year of Middle School and enter High School in a climate of political and social turbulence.

Which brings me back to Tolkien. We all wish that our kids would know peace, prosperity, and kindness, but we can not choose the time they live. We have to raise them with integrity and character and strength, because they are growing up now, no matter the state of the country or the world,  and all they can do is decide what to do with the time given them.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Addicted to the Crown

This post is completely unrelated to the post title.
It's a marketing no-no. I didn't want a dramatic post title though, and I am addicted to the Crown.

I deactivated my facebook account. I think I need a break from it all. It's not the people on it, not my friends and family, it's the other 'stuff' that I didn't realize I was taking in, all the ads and upworthy content and things that, no matter how much you try to filter out, still pops up. Some of the comments from friends of friends or watching  Facebook's annoying habit of changing things around so all your settings sometimes, wonkily, reset to ones you didn't want. I'm over it. I didn't delete it, but I did deactivate it. I think people can still post on it or chat to me, but if you do, and I don't respond, you'll know why. I 'believe' I still have messenger.

I could have put this on Facebook but honestly, the thing that Facebook peeps hate is people posting on Facebook they're leaving Facebook.

These next two months of the anno horribilis I plan to hide out a bit, and regroup with myself. There's tons of writing to do, lots of quilting and baking, and of course, my job, my family, and my friends. Life goes on. It's not a call for complacency, it's a reminder to live. Be aware of the clowns, but don't let the clowns destroy you. Don't go off with clowns, either...

I won't be on Facebook. I'll occasionally pop on Twitter. I'll occasionally post to the La La Land Facebook through Husbear's facebook because he hasn't used it, so there will be literally nothing on his wall. We'll see how two months Facebook free goes, and maybe I'll be back in January, or maybe not. Maybe if my feed is all cats, I'll be back on.

I would love to move to Canada, but that's because Canada is becoming more and more what America is supposed to represent. (It always was, I mean, they haven't changed, but we have) but really, moving to another country requires well, a job in that country lol. It's okay, Canada, I'm not taking it personally. I always did like Canada, though, even before it was cool to like Canada!

See you all in a bit! I've got some writing to do.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

It's still fall - no rush to leave the trees...

Winter is coming. Eventually. It's hard to believe, since outside it's sunny and getting into the high 60s. But this tree, this tree knows winter is coming. It's bright yellow leaves are drooping and some have already fled for the great leaf pile in the sky. My boys probably know winter is coming, though they've been avoiding it, still wearing flip flops and shoes. It is coming, though. The mornings and evenings are cooler and there's a slight nip in the air, even on warm days. I've mentioned a bunch of times that fall and spring, the seasons in-between, are my favorite. This year, I think the leaves are clinging to the trees longer than most. Usually, a storm or wind will come and take them away, leaving us stuck with bare branches until snow falls, and melts, leaving us bare branches again...
This year, I noticed the winter flannel sheets I normally toss on the boys' beds were missing. I have no idea where they went. I have found a pillowcase. That's about it. So I bought fun winter flannel sheets. I have this thing about winter. It's cold, so everything should be fun. Otherwise it's just a really cold season.  Changing the tablecloths for each holiday and season and the sheets each season is my one tribute to Pottery Barn, but I do it on a Target budget. These are the cutest sheets I bought this year. The fun prints go on the boys' beds. Husbear isn't as fond of fun prints as I am, so we get plaid, which I'm equally fond of. Of course, now that I've bought all the sheets and tossed them in the washer, I remember where I stowed last year's plaid flannel...But ti's okay. There has never been a case where plaid was overdone.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Bread enablers

My friends are enablers.
I've taken up the craft of baking homemade breads - everything from sandwich loaves to artisanal breads. I've just started a month or two ago, and made some quick decisions... no, I am not springing for a $300 mixer so I'm going to have to knead by hand. Yes, I have all the wrong tools, and need the right tools. No, I had no idea the dough whisk and chopper scraper really existed until now. I mean, I knew they existed in a sort of 'oh yeah' kind of way. But then when I was watching a video on how to mix and knead bread, both came into play and I was all like, 'I totally need those two things.' Then I didn't do anything about it, and tried to make my plastic spatula do the job. (Nope.)

So, thanks my enabler friends! My next two attempts will be a baguette (because YUM) and another sandwich bread. Looking for a much bigger surface this time on the sandwich bread.

Guess what I'm doing tonight. And writing, of course. Definitely
getting my nanowrimo words in!

Tuesday, November 01, 2016


I'm hoping to get a rough draft out of this.

I have the outline for this story.
I have the 'secret' that only I currently know.

I have the characters. The town. The setting.

Lets do this!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

A lovely birthday weekend Sunday of blood sausages and corsets

This is us.
I mean, mostly. At the museum today I was viewing some of the Venetian portraits, and the tour guide was talking about how they were interested in the character of a person and not just the likeness. (I wasn't actually on the tour, just eavesdropping)  I also read it on one of the little explaining-side-panels. The image I was looking at was this cocky, dark-haired-bed-head beefy dude looking all dude-ish-tough in armor. The Jon Snow of ancient Venice, only one who smiled. I love this picture because it kinda covers not only our individual personalities, but how we relate to each other. My friends will read this blurb, and one will sarcastically ponder it, and half-heartedly consider it, and the other will laugh and think maybe the blood sausage I ate is poisoning my mind.

One is thinking: I'm stuck with these two. One is thinking "Muahahaha" and one is
thinking "Can I hold this expression any freakin' longer? Take the shot already." I
also have some serious crazy eyebrow going on.

I ate blood sausages!
Well, I ate a part of a blood sausage. It was disguised on the menu. They didn't call it a blood sausage in English, and it was the only menu item that wasn't described in English. But the waiter explained what it was and what mustard went with it. It's the darkest of the four sausages, and the filler was curry, because blood sausages need a filler in order to be edible. (My friends and I are now experts on blood sausages because after we all tried it, we wikipedia'd it... I really only ate a few bites of the blood sausage. It was one of four from the  sausage sampler for I te for lunch, and I am pretty much now not going to eat until Thursday. I couldn't even finish the four sausages. But I can tell you the sausages were local and delicious, and now I want to try more blood sausages to see if there's one that has a filler I like more. We're also as a group, going to find Haggis, and eat it.

Museum trip!
This is my friend.
She's been my friend for like, ever.
Okay, like, a very long time. Loong time. Years.
We went to the museum for my birthday.
And played dress-up.

There was a Masters of Venice exhibition, and we were struck by all the Madonna/child images where the mother figure looked less than pleased with the too-old-to-be-a-baby baby figures. This is my friend reenacting one of those portraits.

She rocked it.

We're still slightly confused by the order of dress, but close enough. I only regret she didn't do the neck ruffle.

Apparently, we found one of the few places you could play with clothes and trinkets... though they were apparently meant for children... who knew?

This is a picture of my other friend. Who I've also known for ages. She tried on the outfit, and completely rocked the neck ruffle. But instead I'm putting this picture of her standing and looking out the window at a view of Denver and beyond. I don't know why I like this one, but I do. It's very her. I mean, the neck ruffle was her, too, so it was a tough call.

There's pictures of me but they are inappropriate to put online, because it turns out, I can rock a corset and make pictures inappropriate. I could also put one online, but I'm shy about what I look like in photos (ha!).

I did play with fabric, though, because there was also an exhibit on Japanese fashion from the 1980s and 1990s...  There was a great little room on fabrics and yarns and threads... that also featured a lovely knitting group. If I lived closer to the museum, I'd probably hang out there all day, too. As for the Master's of Venice, I know using gold was kind of their thing, but it didn't take long for me to think that their obsessive use of gold in the renaissance was just not something I could appreciate. I know, I know, it was big back in the day.  

November is Nanowrimo. There are a lot of rules. Well, no. There's one rule. Write 50,000 words, and write every day. The Great Gatsby was apparently, only around 50,000 words. We should bring novellas back. I like that length. Anyhow, my personal goal isn't to just write 50,000 words, but it's to get through most of the first draft of my next novel. This means I might have to put revisions on my sci-fi draft off until December, which is okay, since no one is going to want to look at drafts in December anyhow. Also, I've revised the first five chapters, and the last three, mostly, so feel comfortable sending the novel out, knowing it takes weeks to get a response.

It's going to be a quiet month, November, because I'll be working and then coming home, and shooing everyone away from me so I can write. I'm kinda looking forward to it.

Turning into a recluse!
I mean, I'm not, but I really appreciate the quiet time when I'm pretty much left alone. I've got a lot of things to deal with, and I'm mostly an introvert, so the more I have to deal with the more I like to hide out, and the winter is the perfect time to do that. I expect a lot of early-nights in loungewear writing or quilting or coloring or doing some other craftsy thing.  Take tonight for example. A big day at lunch (I ate blood sausages! and the museum and it's 7:15 p.m. and i'm wearing plaid pajama pants thinking about how to make a Russian felt hat for my costume for Halloween tomorrow thinking about how I need a day to recover from my fun day.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Fall leaves are beautiful here, too!

This was taken on a walk from one building to another 
today at work. I wish I had my 'better' camera but
I wasn't expecting to see this :)
This morning, out the window upstairs, some leaves
blew by, just like they do in those old Charlie Brown 
television specials and Winnie the Pooh books.
Winds blowing yellow leaves through the sky.
These leaves had a slight crunch, not as crisp as they
will be in a week or so. 
Fall is beautiful here, in Colorado, too, and just colorful
enough to remind me of all those favorite, beloved fall
days when I scattered leaves with my sneakers and stomped
on piles to hear the crisp sound of dry leaves cracking in half.
Happy Fall!

Thursday, October 27, 2016


This train stopped me from getting home quicker.
I raced it on the highway, thinking I could make it, but nope.
So I sat in my truck, watching the train roll by, listening to its horn, 
staring at the red blinking lights on the rail road crossing signs. 
I could have been annoyed. I could have.
But I remembered all the times my boys would get excited
every time we were stopped and they could watch a train roll by and 
well, I'm kinda like my boys. I like trains.

....except the ones that roll through, horns blaring at 4:30 a.m.....

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Happy Birthday to all of us

I love this picture.

I don't know why it's all fuzzy and blurry, I blame the lighting.

It's Turbo and his Aunt Nikki.
It's cold, and I love this blanket. And my aunti..zzzzzz

It was the 'everyone's fall birthday bash' which is a brilliant idea. The entire lot of us have birthdays between September and December, from Nikki's husband Code and Nikki, Husbear and myself, Drama Girl, and Turbo and Bear. We are all fall births. September through December. So we all get together sometime in October or so, it's only the second year so it's not fully established, and watch the younger kids open up presents. Okay, and us, too... Nikki gets the best cards. I'm hanging hers up on my 'best cards' wall. Also, I don't get cards, so I'm going to put in a reminder to send them all e-cards.... 
Cards aren't my language of love, right? ummm...
This photo though, is great, because there's really a deep affection between the boys and their aunt and uncle. They love Code, too, but somehow I don't have a picture of him. What the heck n crap. Anyhow, here is this dark, blurry, super-adorable pic of Turbo and his aunt.

Happy birthday - find me that mug... you know the one....

Monday, October 17, 2016

The oct. 17th images

I am quickly taking a picture just to take a picture because I said I would. It turns out, though, I'm not outside as much as I think I am in October. Even though it's often nice out. Except today. Today was crazy windy and I had to send my boys chasing after the outdoor toy box that got blown away. They don't even use the toy box anymore. Now it just collects spiders.

This pic isn't a a great one, but it's a great indication of what my nights between now, the season of early sunsets and chillier nights, and spring, the season of endless days and warmth, will consist of.

The outfit I will be doing most of my
writing and revising in this fall and winter.
Is it winter? It feels like it should be winter.

The cat that will watch me write, because his perch is 
right next to my computer, at desk level, and he has 
learned that sometimes, oftentimes, too many times,
writing somehow involves ice cream.

Also, to make up for the craptastic pictures I just posted (is it the lighting? was there a filter? why is it blurry? do I just have blurry vision now?) here are some random lines from the book I'm revising:

“Warning. Warning. Ship functions not fully online” 
The ship kept repeating this over and over as we flew through the hangar door - still in the process of opening - and straight into space. We rolled and tumbled with the high speed acceleration and would have been tossed about the cabin if we weren’t strapped in. The ship’s gravity wasn't working yet and the ship was spinning out of control.  True to Jam’s word, he barfed. I did, as well. My throat burned with the acid left behind. Hennie just closed her eyes and hummed. Figures she wouldn’t barf. Finally, we stopped tumbling and spinning. We were in space and off the OEF ship. Now, we had to flee.

It's not the best passage in the book, but it's one of the passages I need to revise.

Good night all!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Picture-less Sunday

I don't have a picture for today.

Which makes me feel guilty.

So here.

My Sunday night attire includes fuzzy slippers. Imagine that.

After this blog, I'm going to sit down on my couch, prop up my fuzzy slippered feet, and finish Stranger Things on Netflix, which is like, one of the best shows I've seen in a long time.

I'm completely and fully aware of the election coming up in three weeks, as all of us are. My ballot is being mailed to me on Monday, and sometime Tuesday, Wednesday or so I'll get it, and I'll spend the night filling it out not just for president but for all the other myriad issues and candidates on the ballot. I've got a big, thick voting book and the internet. I'm not just checking boxes.

But I did say I'm done talking about it on Facebook.

I don't know if I can go all the way to November not talking about it on Facebook. But I'm going to try.

I'm obsessed with politics right now. I'm obsessed with the electoral prediction maps. I'm enthralled by what is going on in Utah. I'm terrified of orange-haired clowns. I'm disturbed by the threats and hate calls people who express their opinion are receiving - for instance the Republican newspapers endorsing a Democrat for the first time ever. I'm sick of twitter-rage promising civil war. I can't believe Russia is so invested in our election, as if a Russian dictator thinks he can influence the election - which, btw, should be terrifying.

So I'll try my best. I'm avoiding the debate because it's an embarrassment for our country to have to watch. I might watch it because we all like disaster movies. I don't know.

Happy Sunday everyone, we have three weeks to go...

Friday, October 14, 2016

My Friday Night Boys

Well, boy.

But the other boy is doing the exact same thing.

Turbo with headset, whatever game, Overwatch maybe,
and using my coffeemug which I totally said he couldn't use.
Also, that's my waterbottle. WTH kid.

They have a four day weekend - no school today and no school Monday.
There is so much joy in their hearts right now.
I'm not even quite sure why they have the days off, but they don't need babysitters anymore, so I don't really pay attention. It's made my life simpler.

These boys of mine make me smile. Except when they don't do laundry. Or clean their room. Or say annoying things when you're out getting them their favorite pizza and throwing in horrible-for-you pretzel bites filled with cheese and bacon they're like 'Mom can we hurry I'm sick of being here.' 

Mostly, they make me smile.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hello Fall

It's nice to see you around for this short while
before a strong wind comes, and knocks the color
off your branches or maybe a big rain storm will
will cancel your parade of colors.

The light wasn't great. This is fall at later dusk.

You can see the bright of the yellow where the light
of a dusky sun is peeking through. Dusky sun. It's
not even a thing. 

Getting darker.

I like the yellow against the dark bark. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wednesday, Oct. 12 - blurry boy caught not being blurry!

I didn't take a picture yesterday afternoon. I looked at all the leaves on the trees changing colors, and thought how beautiful they were, but didn't snap a picture. Doh!

This morning, though, I did.

Remember the blur, from the last post?

No! Don't look away!
He's a blur today to.
'Are you trying to take my picture?'
'What, who, me? No.'
He sees the phone.

'oh COME ON kid. It's my project. I just want to take a picture a day this month.'

'um you want to take a picture every day of me?' he says in a voice that indicates his concern for my level of affection, and reinforces his belief that maybe I really am turning into 'that creepy mom' he keeps telling me about, in hopes by discussing his fears, it won't come true.

'NO. I want a different picture every day of different things. Lots of things. Trees and stuff. But just one of you, occasionally. Okay? Just one?"


Maybe he's just blurry in life, too.
"Um, dude, what are you doing?'

"You're making me laugh."

"Can't I have a smile?"


"Okay. There. Why can't you smile?"

"Every time you make your eyes do that thing it makes me laugh and when I laugh I turn away."

"I was trying to get you to smile. Why can't you smile?"

"It makes me turn away."

"Yes, you're very skilled at being blurry in photos."

Fine, alright, go to school blurry man.

Monday, October 10, 2016

This morning's photo

This is a cute photo.

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It was taken this morning when I ran out of milk for coffee and had no creamer.
I used whipped cream. So that white foam in the green cup is my creamer :)
The boys' heard that sound of upcoming yumminess, and ran over to where I was, snagging bits of whipped cream off the top of my cup right before they left for school.

One of my favorite times of day is this morning time, between 6:20 and 6:45, when the boys and I are the only ones up, and we're in that in-between time, where they are all ready for school and downstairs scrounging for food and I'm drinking coffee before I get ready for work. It's about 20 minutes of stress-free time for the three of us, and it's our time. We talk about nothing and everything, but not about school or work or chores because there's a full day of that ahead. It's morning. The beginning of the day, and there's no need to do anything other than enjoy the 20 minutes before that beginning.

I grabbed a quick pick. Turbo is in the hoodie, Bear is the blur, because Bear's superpower is running from ever having me take his picture... I was not stealthy enough. He doesn't mind having his picture taken. Just when it's taken by me.

That's my Monday photo!

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Picture catch-up!

I said I'd take a picture a day every day this month and post it, because it's my favorite month, but I didn't post any this week.

I did take them, though!

Tuesday, Oct. 4th's image:

Ghoul eyeball cupcakes!
Tuesday, I came home to my sons carving the pumpkins I was trying to get the energy up to be excited about! I was happy (yay, I didn't have it in me) and bummed (wtheck-n-crap they don't need me to carve pumpkins anymore?) So I made ghoul eyeball cupcakes.

Wednesday, Oct. 5th's image:

I wasn't feeling Wednesday. Not at all. It was a chilly day. I was up late the night before watching the final season of Game of Thrones. It was a rough day at the office, as in, I got to the office and was having a rough time just starting... and I needed a morning coffee. The Starbucks line was just too long so I strolled into this little Tea and Cakes shop and it made my morning.
I also got a breakfast burrito which has nothing to do with either Tea or Cakes, but was fairly delicious.

Thursday, Oct. 6th's image:

GASP. I forgot! But here, have a nice image of our Halloween-themed table!

I'll have you know, that is a bowl of fresh roasted pumpkin seeds, done by yours truly!

Friday, Oct. 7th's image:

I've already tweeted this image out. It's a cup of pumpkin spice outside of Ozo coffee in our new sort of hang out mall-esque area. We'd gone out for a date night and had burgers and then decided to kill time before the movie sipping lattes in front of the fire pit. I didn't want to do a selfie or anything. In the time we sat there, our friends crashed our date night and hung out with us, which was a lot of fun, and we saw another friend of mine wandering by. It was a nice, cool night and perfect. Then we saw the Magnificent Seven, because Husbear and I both love Westerns.

Saturday, Oct. 8th's image:

Happy birthday Husbear! 
We made his favorite dinner: Bibimbap. Then watched a movie, which wasn't super great, but Bear and Husbear liked it. Turbo isn't really into movies unless they are super interesting. Like, Pacific Rim... (/cry)

Marinated flank steak. Cucumbers in red tangy sauce. Tang sauce. Sauteed carrots
and spinach. Bean sprouts (mmm). Rice. And there's kimchee, too. Mmmm.

This is one of our favorite dinners, though, and the only reason we make it infrequently is because of the many different side dishes and components that go into making it. 

There aren't a lot of people in these images, but they are a great representation of my week this week, so there's that! Next week I'll try for actual people. Maybe. No promises!

And finally, today's image:

Everyone is dabbing. Even the dead.

And if you don't know what dabbing is, look it up. Also, it means I'm waaay cooler than you. Because I know what it is. And our purple tattered skeleton friend here knows what it means too. 

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Yesterday's post!

I said I'd do a daily photo to celebrate my favorite month, and didn't post one yesteday!


I meant every day-ish...

But here is yesterday's photo, taken yesterday, but posted today...

Ahh, my mini-Yorick, I knew thee not at all.
But you are a great addition to our Halloween
themed kitchen table decor. 

Sunday, October 02, 2016

I inflicted family fun day - the great corn maze and pumpkin patch trip

Years ago, in a corn maze not far from here....

The first year we did the corn maze.
And nothing else because tired and cranky
kids don't want to stay around corn all day

And today, in a corn maze not far from here....

This is today. When they are not interested in posing for mom. Because whatever.
Not one good pic of my daughter. Because she only does selfies. It only took us 30
minutes to become the bickering family in the corn maze - it's because we know how to family.
Bear said I could take his picture, because with his shades and hat, no one would recognize him....
He still resisted a bit, but,  I know the secret ways of the camera. Yeah, I'm talking to you, Mr. UK Dude-To-Cool to Smile.

He smiled until I pulled out the camera. Because cool does not smile,
unless it's an ironic smile. Or maybe a sneer. And disdain. He's so 12. He
was the crazy grinning one in the top photo, too. 
And you, Mr. Actually enjoys the camera.
I adore this picture because of the cool hat. I don't know why he wasn't smiling.
I think his brother infected him. But we were on our way to the pumpkin patch.
It was between this picture and one that showed off his amazing freckles and half-grin.
I have to put this picture in, because omigosh.
My shades are cool. My hat is cool. And I'm looking at you
while pleasantly bemused. I'm too good looking for this family.
Why am I even here with these people? Where are my people?
We rode weird bicycle pine derby car things, too.

I smoked them after, because I'm better at pedaling. But it took a while to
sneak around and pass the little road hogs.

Go go go derby rider! 

We also collected a bunch of pumpkins that shall be carved and set outside for squirrels to feast on all month. 

I did all of this after spending the first hours of this morning (4:30 a.m. hours, because my nose) trying to cure a sudden bout of a head-coldy cold. It appears a hot shower, two saline rinses, 3/4 of a pot of coffee, a maple covered donut (feed a cold, people, feed a cold) and some weird sinus spray that may or may not have expired, will get you through for a day. It also appears that you can take all the elderberry syrup you want, you'll still get a cold.  Stupid elderberry. And of course I didn't have to put any of this in here, I could have just left it out, but honestly, I feel like whining a little. Here, have a pumpkin patch shot!

The pumpkin patch, corn, and the front range in the distance touching the clouds.
 Look at our skies. We have forever skies in Colorado!

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Picture a day: October is so my favorite month!

Can you see the yellow in the trees, and the hint of oranges? Can you see the
leaves on the ground? It's not a New England fall, but Colorado has its own fall beauty.

September is ending, and now we're into my favorite month of all time. I love October. I love the changing colors of the leaves on the trees and the crunch of leaves on the ground. I love cool mornings and sunny afternoons with a crisp bite of cold, not enough to shiver, but enough to know winter is... well you know.

I love pumpkins and sweaters and flannels and the color orange. I love walking and hiking in this weather. I love getting excited about soups and stews and winter nesting.  Which is why this month, I'm going to try to do a picture a day. I want to capture the things I love about October.  Not to diss September, September was really enjoyable this year, and I like the month, but October is kinda mine. Oh, and it's my birthday month. But I stopped counting years because once you stopped getting carded for things, who cares? Somehow, though, October became my favorite month. Fall my favorite season. Followed by spring. Maybe I just like the times in-between.

Today's picture is in the park in my 'hood. Can you see the hint of yellow changing in the trees? Can you see the leaves on the ground? They are sprinkled on the roads and sidewalks and it makes me happy. 

Today's picture was going to be a coffee mug, but I think I overdid that in August. Happy October!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

We're pine trees today

It's cool to be shiny, right? And it was that bright
out, I'm pretty sure. I've had that hat for like, a
bunch of years. Why don't I have a new hat?
This is me today. It's not the best picture of me at all. I'm hot. And shiny. I had to fudge with the retouch tool to hide my bra strap (it bugged me beyond belief). I'm wearing my dark glasses, no make up, and the sweat from the long hike and the bright sun makes me look, well, like I'm relaxing on a stone bench on a hot day, which I was. Except it wasn't super hot out when we started. It was a cool September day that only became hot after an hour or so of uphill. But I think this photo reflects who I am better than some of the photos where I look waaaaay better, less shiny, and my features are shown off at a better angle.

It's just I see this photo and it feels like me. I'm wearing the hat and sunglasses I wear so much on runs and hikes. I'm a victim of the Colorado sun, wind, and constant pull of the outdoors. And I look as content as I feel. (Until about ten minutes later, when we were all off the trail completely, going uphill when we should have gone downhill, and I was thinking simultaneously about falling, and also how this particular trail was a great setting for the novel I've got in the hopper, while complaining at my friends I was pretty damn sure this wasn't the right way to go...)

It's September, and weather is slowly shifting into fall weather, my favorite season, my favorite weather. It's cooler in the morning and cooler in the evening, but mostly, short sleeves and shorts weather in the afternoon. Except today, which was rainy and cold all day.

This year, my life has been transitioning in time to the season. I love it when that happens, when changes in life happen with the changes of the season. I've transitioned through the hot summer months into a not-working-at-home job with the county that I'm loving so far. My sons have transitioned into another school year. My daughter is continuing her slow, ever-so-slow transition into adult-hood, working two jobs, much to her dismay (it's hard to get a full time retail gig nowadays). My husband is transitioning into a period where he's rethinking his role and what he wants to do for the next 20 years.

All in all, it's a gentle period of change, not like some of the more abrupt ones my family has experienced in our many years of existence as a unit. If my mother were alive today, I'd ask her, couldn't there be a chart for families, just as there are businesses? Ours would be one of constant changes: harsh, slow, big, small, abrupt, frustrating, scary, anxiety-producing, wonderful, confusing, and so on. I think we are a family in constant motion, constantly adapting and shifting to unpredictable circumstances so much so that we accept that as our norm, while looking for ways to thrive through it all. We'd be the Vikings that left bitter, cold, and beautiful lands for greener, more temperate pastures in new lands. (Well, we'd be the vikings still looking...but you know the story ends well)

And I thought about it some more. Not the chart. I'm sure my mother would have said yes, and then I'd have bugged her until she did a family chart for us. I've been thinking about the transitions and changes we've gone through over the past years, and how frequent they have been, and difficult. Oh, I know we're not the only ones. But, this is my blog, so, you get my life.

His roots are all Colorado. I see how the mountains
and trails and creeks already have taken root in my
boys and in how much they value nature, the
environment, big skies, big mountains, and long
sunny summer days with shorter sunny winter ones.
Growth never comes from staying the same. The roots that form a tree grow into something other than the roots under the ground, though it's the source of their growth. They tower, spread out branches, sprout leaves, produce fruit, and white fluffy stuff  if the tree is a poplar in my grove. The trees that grow out here, a bit higher up, the Ponderosa Pines, are shaped by the terrain and climate around them. There are some that grow around rocks. That grow almost sideways. They can't grow the way they are expected. But they grow anyhow. They adapt to the changes. They are still trees. They are just not the tree they, or anyone else expected. They are therefore unique. And they stand out - defiant, cocky little pines they are. Sometimes, they grow so large you can't see the obstacles they've grown around or through. They absorb it. Growth comes from change. Greatness, I expect, comes from great growth.

I don't think that analogy does what I'm trying to say justice, but I'm stuck on the tree thing now so lets work through it.

I know my roots. Somewhere on the East Coast in a poor little mill town that grew into a poor mill city born of and filled with immigrants that I can trace back to.  My family isn't a family made of founding members, but of the teeming masses looking for a better life. And from those roots, that life, my childhood, those lessons and values, of course, often without knowing it, I have navigated life. And my life has had many changes and challenges, many transitions, and through each one, I have grown. As has my husband has, and my children still are. If life is meant to be filled with experiences, good, difficult, bad, sad, hard, happy, fun etc., we're doing it right. Like a tree that grows around its obstacles, that changes to thrive, well, that pretty much could be my family's motto: We grow, we change, we thrive.

We make a nice family of Ponderosa Pine. We're the ones hanging on the edge of the mountain, growing around rocks, acting like it isn't a big thing at all. And maybe one day, through this change, and constant growth, there will be greatness. Even if it's only a personal greatness, meaningless to the world, even if in the end we look just like another tall great pine, indistinguishable except to those who know to look closer to the roots and through the years.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Summer round up! Nothing exciting to read here. (No, really... there isn't)

What? It's been almost a month!

My sons have left the house early for their walk to school so they could climb a tree on the way.

I just love that they are leaving early just so they can have time to do that. I love that they discussed it, planned it, and are excited about it. Climbing a tree... to have such dreams :)

Time flies in summer, especially the end of summer, when school is beginning and family life gets hectic.

Some fun things I learned about myself this summer:

Kombucha - of course I was going to try it. My kombucha phase lasted about a quarter of a bottle of cranberry lavender kombucha. It's just not my thing. Love the fizz, but I don't love it enough. Maybe I need to try other flavors. Or maybe I can just stick to sparkling water. (I know Connie, I know you don't know what it is.... lol it's okay - you're not missing much!
Yeah yeah, it's a picture of my morning work out ensemble. But
only because blogs need pictures. I heard it was a rule.

Body pump - this is my new workout and I looove it. Love it. Love. It is all bar weights and movement. It mixes up real well with my Tues/Thursday/maybe Sunday runs. I go Wednesdays and Saturdays, and want to add a Monday, but not quite there yet.

Body flow - A yoga mix class with some pilates and very basic tai chi movement. This is great the day I do body pump because it stretches every muscle I used.

Audible books - Listen to novels on the way to work! Doesn't get better than this. Except I'm reading Atlas Shrugged, which is eternally long, and I think I need to take a break from it, or maybe listen to it like twice a week... why is it so loooong?

My son's budding art talent - So much drawing. So much artwork. He's in art this year too, so it'll be interesting to see how he incorporates some of what he learns in his own work.

My other son's discovery of academics - Looks like we're in another year where he's loving school. He's upped his classes a level, and so far, not a word of complaint about the workload and he's still loving science!

Girl child's two jobs - I'd like her to have one full time job, but for now, this will do. It gives her money, gets her out of the house, and teaches her all sorts of things, like how if you don't have money, you can't buy anything, and how even if you work, you can still not have money... hmm...

My new job - So far, I'm really really enjoying the people I work with and the work I do. I know I know, I'm still in the 'new job honeymoon' phase, but so what, I'm enjoying it!

15-minute walks on Pearl Street  - By far my favorite part of my work location. I love just stepping out onto a cobblestone pedestrian bypass and strolling up and down people-watching.

Writing - Oh migosh. I know I know I'm still working on my revisions, but I'm also outlining my next novel and I'm excited about it.

That's pretty much it. I'm hoping to blog more frequently but honestly, I've pulled away from social media as strictly a hobby, and while this isn't 'social media' per se, it's not a life long ambition for me to be a blogger. So yeah, less tweets, less Facebook, less paying attention to a social media culture that changes every two seconds. It's fun, yeah, but it's a time drain. When I become a successful published author who needs a platform because I have an actual reason for a platform, then well, then I'll be more frequent.

Because I'm totally one day going to be a published author who needs a platform. Maybe lol. My question of the year is 'How will I become a successfully published author.' :)
I'm not at all stressing it. It's just a 'wouldn't it be nice...' thought.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Happy Sunday - thoughts

Happy Sunday everyone!

Pearl Street, Boulder Co. in July

I’ve stayed out of the work force for about a year, thinking seriously about planning a path that I wanted to follow rather than taking whatever opportunity came up. Oh, sure, in the beginning I applied to everything, filled out my checklists and went on interviews, but I was a hamster in a hamster wheel. I also played around with a freelance business. I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I thought I would. I couldn’t stand the hustle of client hunting and follow-ups. I didn't have a sense of purpose. Maybe, in ten years, I might have a different view, but not now. I of course considered doing nothing but attempting to write my novels, but that is something I will continue to do on the side. Writing novels for me is a discovery process, and I haven’t yet discovered the voice that I’m happy to settle on. I write because I love to write. Publication will be a moment of pride and joy. But just a moment. The real joy is in the process.

I was at this mid-point place of asking questions and taking my work seriously because a while ago, a good long while ago, like many women, I sacrificed career momentum - great career momentum - for my family. It’s nothing I’m going to cry about, I’d do it again and again, over and over, and happily, because the particular needs of my family required that I be home for them, or that I take jobs that were more ‘favorable’ to their schedule. And I enjoyed the times I spent at home and I value the time I spent in jobs that let me be home more often. The time with our children is fleeting. So there are no regrets. Especially since I, if I wasn’t working, was working on staying relevant through school, and if I was working in family-friendly jobs, they were related to my field. All told though, I really only fully stayed home for four years when the boys were younger, and this past year, though I've been continuously either looking for work or working so it only qualifies as 'staying home' simply because my location was home! So a drop in the hat, my time at home.

But I was looking at a new world now. A world where my sons are old enough and in a good place, in a good school, a good neighborhood, a good and independent frame of mind, where their needs are, while still higher, not so great that I can think more about what I want in work rather than what I can do that will still help the family. I was also looking at a new employment world where it's normal for people to step out and back in and out again and in, where changes in industry are seen as valuable and accomplishments matter more than staying somewhere. I, and frankly, anyone who's stepped out, or who's in the wrong job, was in a position where I could jump back in to my field with purpose and a sense of direction.

So, after oh, six months of discovery, rediscovery, thinking I wanted one thing, changing my mind, wanting another, applying for all sorts of things, I stopped and asked some questions. What do I love? What have I loved? Where was I the happiest? What do I miss? What did the offices and environments, where I was happy, look like? What were the people like? How did they like their work? Where do I want my career to take me? What type of organization do I want to work for? Where was I not happy? What did those places look like?

Then I stopped thinking. I took a few weeks to just live without doing anything, and let my mind figure things out in the background. Then, I came back to it and focused on finding places that matched the answers to the questions I asked myself. It turned out to be higher education, government, and large non-profits. Places that had a greater mission. Places that worked on making a difference in the communities they are a part of. Places that put a high value on employees and culture. But places that were larger, which was a surprise to me. Organizations with structure who still managed to grow and change. Organizations with room for development and the ability to move and grow without leaving. Organizations that had a reputation for investing in employees, mentorship, and growth. Organizations that  after talking to people and seeing what the organization does in the community, I would be proud to be part of.

And now, I work on Pearl Street in Boulder, which is about as gorgeous a place you can work, in a really cool looking building, for a large government organization. I’ll probably update LinkedIn in a few months, when I have more of a feel on how to summarize my new role, but for all my friends who don’t know, right now, Boulder County is where I’m at.

**and a nice thank you to my friends who have kept me sane and supported me while I went through the whirlwind wacky emotional theatrics of trying to find the 'right' thing instead of 'any' thing!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Getting away!

We just got back from a three day trip to Estes Park, which is just up the road from us, but up the road from us in the mountains, and I love the mountains. Possibly more than the sea. I'm not alone of course, which is why it’s ridiculously crowded in downtown Estes, and ridiculously overbooked at every possible place you can think of in July. We found a place a mile outside the Rocky Mountain National Park entrance, on the Fall River, which is a stream, but not a baby stream. A full, loud, lovely mountain stream that winds its way doing its thing, not caring about anything except its path. So lovely.

There aren’t a lot of deep thoughts to share about this trip beyond ‘wow. I wish I could live in the mountains’ and then the ‘okay but what would living in the mountains, year-round, entail, logistically? I could probably get from the mountains to the mountain town, but leaving in winter, with my not-love of driving… would I NEED to leave the mountain town in winter/ever? Do drones deliver yet? What do I have to do to actually afford the mountain place I want? Would anyone else in my family come? Maybe they could visit…?’

I unplugged. It was great. I'm now going to work on unplugging on the weekends, too, because life is better when it's not being tweeted.

So yes, I love mountains. I love woods. I love being in woods in the mountains, and I enjoy the fact I live so close to things I love. No deep thoughts.

Things I learned about my family this little getaway:
  • A 4.5 mile hike is okay. A 7-mile hike is not. Even if it has waterfalls and a river and a lake full of lily pads. It wasn’t supposed to be a 7-mile hike...
  • Mountain streams are cool and everyone in my family loves mountain streams, but nobody
    loves them as much as Bear and I, who logged the most time going outside to watch and listen to the stream, if anyone was actually logging time. And mountain streams are pretty fast and pretty loud, and a lot of fun.
  • Rock shops. We went to a rock shop, and it was one of the highlights of the trip because who doesn’t love peridot, rose quartz, random slabs of Colorado marble, chunks of onyx and adventurine? There was also a museum and lots of stones and trinkets to buy. The boys got hematite bracelets and Turbo bought peridot because it’s his favorite (who knew?) and Bear got a pyramid thing-a-ma-jig. We did end up buying a rose and black marble chess set because it was cool.
  • Bumper boats are the best. Seriously. The best.
  • My sons have no consideration or courtesy when driving go-karts. Seriously, boys, you had to lap me? Twice? And was it necessary to ram into me? I’m your mother, Turbo (who, I belatedly am realizing, is a more apt nickname than I ever intended it to be).
  • Bear finds the BEST shops. He led us to an interior design shop in downtown Estes that had the best woodland animal plates and mugs. I can guarantee you that between the time I write this, and post this, I’ll have already looked up those woodland animal plates and mugs...
  • Husbear is the best at Marco Polo, but his skills are far too advanced for his family, who are not stealthy in the water at all.
  • We all agree that having a pool all to ourselves is amazeballs, and are really happy everyone else was out and about doing non-pool things while we were in the pool.
  • The hot tub on the balcony was pretty cool, since there’s just something nice about being outside in hot water while stars are twinkling. Except when you’re not wearing glasses, and then they are just blurry light spots that look like maybe dust.
  • Hummingbirds are fun to watch.
  • Birds are fun to watch. Pretty sure I saw the same black-billed magpie flying about.
There really aren’t a lot of 12 year olds who don’t enjoy nature, and mostly, I think, stick someone in nature long enough and they’ll get it.

Now, I have to resist the temptation to look up every cabin located in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park and plan more trips than I can take...

In the meantime, enjoy a lovely slideshow of some of our trips highlights :)

RMNP/Estes Park, 2016

Friday, July 22, 2016

A most amazing hike

Last night, after midnight, I got a call from Sweden.

It wasn't this guy, the guy in the picture on the right, So I didn't bother answering. Although it did leave me with the strange 1 a.m. question... why didn't this guy call me? I told Husbear that Alex Skarsgard didn't call me, and he had a very disappointing lack of sympathy...
I couldn't even fall back asleep. I ended up going through all the people I could possibly have known that could possibly be in Sweden that could possibly need to call me after midnight, that weren't named Alex Skarsgard... nothing. I think if I'm going to get a call from Sweden, it should be from Alex Skarsgarard.

My friend, who bravely snuck up on these 
amazing red flowers. It's rough, the wilds.
But that's not what this blog is about. This blog is about my most amazing hike where I almost died falling down a rocky waterfall because I wore the wrong shoes. With photos! Of the hike, not the almost-death, though it was determined by my friends that if I did fall to my death, I should be sure to be cheerful about it, and maybe on the way down give them a thumbs up and a big smile...

Okay... so this hike was outside of Nederland and the trailhead was located at the end of a deadly five-mile unpaved boulder-infested narrow road that no sane Kia Soul would ever traverse... yet, two did! Including the one I rode in. The trail is for Diamond Lake and it's beautiful.

Close up of these amazing flowers 
which eventually I will look 
up and name. Properly.
I haven't gone on nearly enough hikes this season, but I'm hoping to make it up with a few August and September hikes. I love trying new ones, though, because there's always a new view or a new place to find and love. This particular trail was rich with creeks and the death-rock-waterfall, which I didn't think to take a picture of, because I was too busy trying to cross it without slipping and plummeting, and a gorgeous lake at the end which isn't big, but was beautiful.

I love hikes for so many reasons. The views are one of them. In Colorado, when you go on a hike, there's a very good chance at the end there's an amazing view that comes straight out of National Geographic. And it's all RIGHT HERE where I live. Another reason is the nature effect. I love being out in nature. It completely resets my soul. It makes me happy. So happy. I am the person on the trail who's huffing and puffing up an incline smiling because it's so beautiful and peaceful and there's flowers and creeks and sky and ahhh... yes, yes one day I will live in a little mountain town and a big smile will be my every day expression.

Here's a pretty image of the waterfall-death-creek I had to cross. 
I took a picture so people could see how brave I was if I fell... 
and no, I don't care if a gazillion other people just  hopped across like 
happy speedy bunnies, I had the wrong shoes on, 
I'm a foot shorter than like EVERYONE, and it was SLIPPERY!

This is the view from another angle, where I wasn't focused on the wild plummeting water. It was a trickier crossing than the image makes out - slippery rocks! Non-ankle-supporting hiking shoes! Short legs! It's a dangerous world out there for the hobbit-folk! If I were one. Which I'm not. I just empathize with their height impediments, that's all. 

That was the scariest part of the hike. Then, we were rewarded with a shady path.

Beautiful flowers:

And fields of them:

and beautiful lake views:

Colorado is my happy.