27 June 2013


On the Down Side

Yesterday I wrote about looking up.

My husband is someone who is always looking down.
He doesn't trip or run into things.

He does FIND things!

Walking through parking lots he is always finding change. Tonight he picked up another penny. Sometimes I wonder just how much change he scavenges in a year.

Pennies and nickels
 and dimes, O My!

Driving a little car that is low to the ground he has found two watches,a bracelet,  a $100 dollar bill and a few twenties. Also lots of "diamond" earrings that have been separated from someone's ears. (Why are people removing their earrings in parking lots?)

He did not find these. 
I wish.
But he has found many similar earrings. 
Just not as nice.

When Bunny was little and closer to the ground she found "some money that daddy dropped".  Two hundred dollars to be exact.  Except that daddy hadn't dropped it. But someone had. We were between San Antonio and Houston, the owners probably miles down the road.  Bunny treated us to a lovely dinner on the San Antonio Riverwalk that night.

Dinner on the Riverwalk.
Thanks, Bunny.

So maybe looking down isn't as inspiring but it is more lucrative.
And probably safer.

Found anything good on the ground?

26 June 2013


Looking Up

We used to have a fabulous and wonderful Golden Retriever named Jake that always watched the sky. He would chase after airplanes as if he had a chance at catching them.
Carlos also watches the sky and tries to catch birds.


Do you look up? I think we all have a tendency to walk along, looking at the ground or our phones or the people around us. But how often do you look up?

Saturday night was a "Super Moon".  It was enormous - I wish I had been at the beach to see it reflecting into the water. It was a perfect moon for the ocean.

My Super Moon photo which looks a lot like a regular moon photo. 
It was very impressive in person.
Not so much in my photo.

When I am in Colorado, the stars are overwhelming at night. Near Houston we are surrounded by so many lights that the stars are few and far between.   You forget living in a city that the sky is sprinkled with glitter.

Not stars but rain sprinkles. 
Still looks like glitter.

I quickly learned when I started horseback riding that you must look up....look at where you want to go. If you look down, guess where you end up? The ground hurts when you fall from 6 feet up. 

Bunny has her eyes focused beyond the jump- right where she wants to end up.
Look down, hit the ground.

In 2011 I saw the movie The Big Year about bird watchers vying for the "Birder of the Year" title. Who can see the most birds? After that I tried counting just how many birds I see. I'm certainly not a bird watcher but living near-ish to the coast and across from a creek- I see plenty. Add to those Texas birds all the Colorado ones that are new to me plus the ones I've seen traveling- I've got to be close to two or three hundred. If I didn't look up I wouldn't have seen the woodpecker that is nesting in my tree.

A beautiful little bird in a perfect hole.

Every afternoon when I look at the camera on the Colorado cabin there is no sky. Seems the entire state is burning. Fortunately so far the area around us has been spared.  That could change tonight.  But the mountains are lost in smoke every afternoon from fires 100 miles away.  There is no looking up there right now.
My morning view.  
By 4pm there are no mountains- just smoke.

The downside to looking up? I run into things.  I trip on curbs. I might be labeled a bit of a klutz. 
But the view-I think it is worth it.

I realize this has nothing to do with my challenges- just me rambling on my keyboard. But look up. You don't know what you might be missing.


23 June 2013

No. 32: Snow-cone on the first day of summer

No. 32: Snow-cone on the first day of summer or the last day of school

I totally missed the last day of school for a snow-cone.  My children no longer need picking up at school. It was a bit sad for me in fact this year. Normally I pick up kids and have Alice Cooper's "School's Out" blaring on the car CD player. But this year Bunny rode home with Belle and I wasn't even in the picture. Nor was Alice.

So Friday was the first day of summer, the summer solstice, and I finally made it for a snow-cone.
The hubs and I dropped off Bunny at a friend's house and slid into the Refresqueria at 8:53pm. They close at nine.

Looks deserted but it was still open.
And it was still 80 something degrees outside.

I ordered a medium cherry. Should have stuck with the small....I couldn't finish it.


The sun rose Friday at 6:22am and set at 8:24pm (at least in our little city it did) , giving us the day with the most sun light of the year. It will stick with that pattern for a few weeks, decreasing by seconds, until it slowly and noticeably starts rising later and setting earlier. The amount of daylight will continue getting shorter until Saturday, December 21, which is the day with the shortest amount of sun light. 

The summer solstice is not the "longest day of the year". All of our days except for the one in the fall (25hours) and the one in the spring (23hours) have the same number of hours: 24. Unless you don't go for the daylight savings time confusion in which case pretty much all of your days consist of 24 hours. 

I'm already planning a winter solstice party....hopefully in Colorado in the woods with lots of fairy lights against snow. Doesn't that sound wonderful and magical? (No. 31: Have a solstice party) 

Welcome summer.   
Beaches, snow-cones and lots of sun to come.

No. 32 is done. 

20 June 2013

Follow Up Friday

Follow Up Friday:  Home from Colorado

Some random thoughts -some of which may turn into posts next week.

I am home from Colorado where I attempted to blog on my iPad. O man, that is not happening again.
I don't care if Blogger has an iPad app. It is challenging, at best, to use. I will be carting SOMEONE'S laptop up there with me next time I go.

Colorado was lovely and a bit warm but nowhere near as warm as Texas.

I am now more familiar with the intricacies of the modern toilet than I had ever planned on being.
I also know a bit more about wells than I had ever planned on knowing. The most important thing I learned about having a well is to get on very good terms with the local plumber. I'm hoping the cookies I dropped off at the plumber's office will help with that.

Unscrew what? Where does the water go? 
Why did my instructions disintegrate? 

I also learned how to clean the filters on the water hoses to my washing machine. Thank you YouTube.
Did you know you can pretty much learn how to do anything on YouTube?
If you want to learn how to replace a Mercedes Benz passenger side mirror after running it into a mailbox- you can. Just Google it and YouTube has a very educational video. Boring- but educational.
(And no- I did not run my car into a mailbox. But my daughter might have.)
If you want to know why your washing machine is taking 45 minutes to fill, Google "Why is my washing machine slow to fill" and again...YouTube to the rescue.

Mostly I learned that changing out your well pump causes a great deal of sediment to be stirred up that then comes into your pipes and clogs up EVERYTHING. The faucets had to have their filters cleaned, the toilet fill valve was replaced TWICE and the washing machine hoses had to be cleared. I'm sure the electric water heater will die soon because of the massive dose of sand and rocks it received. O well.

And this was considered a vacation.  Hmmm.

There were highlights, though.

We played bingo at the VFW and WON!

Wait! What number did he call?


On Thursday, June 13 there were an extra 2000+ people in town for the Ride the Rockies bike tour. In Texas I have always been in awe of the people who do the MS150 bike ride. One hundred and fifty miles in two days seems amazing. And painful.
Well, Ride the Rockies was supposed to be 513 miles this year but because of a forest fire there was a re-route increasing the mileage an extra 30 miles. So 545 miles, give or take. Over seven days. And all of the riders were in town at once. My traveling companion and flashlight holder, Diane, and I went down the hill early-ish on Friday morning to watch the riders fly by on their bikes- only to discover that those riders are eager beavers.  We missed all but the stragglers.

"Ride the Rockies" riders going down Hwy 50.

FIBArk was going on Thursday through Sunday. This is "America's Oldest and Boldest Whitewater Festival" celebrating its 65th year. There was a parade, a homemade floating raft contest and many, many kayak  competitions. Also live music at night and lots of festival food.  We stayed in town at a fabulous old hotel so that the teenage girls could be close to the action and the ancient mama didn't have to be driving the river road at midnight or beyond. We only misplaced one teen girl for a brief period of time. Not so bad considering how many boys those girls know.

 I  love a small town parade with Veterans...

 and old trucks...

 the local Roller Derby team and kids scrambling for candy...

and, of course, a political float. 
I think this had something to do 
with Government Pork, but I'm not sure.

The Hooligan's Race featured home-made rafts.
I think I hear the theme to Deliverance playing in the background.

Music in Riverside Park.
(Slightly blurred-darn cell phone cameras.)

We went whitewater rafting on Monday. The water temp was somewhere around 55 degrees. Bless the guide that sat in front of me and did his very best to shield me from the splashing, ice cold water. The river was high and fast and it was GREAT fun.

Into the rapids we go...


Made it!

And Tuesday as we drove to the airport in Denver we got to listen to the National Weather Center Alert  telling us to "take cover immediately" because of tornadoes. I'm used to pretty extreme weather in Texas but I will say Colorado can come up with some doozies when it comes to storms. To our left the sun was shining and to our right the world was ending. A large tornado passed over the airport about thirty minutes before we got there. No damage though and minimal delays.

No, I wasn't a nervous wreck driving towards this. 
Not at all.

And now I'm home and back to work and back to working on my list.

16 June 2013

Happy Father's Day!!!

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads, Soon-to-be-Dads, Stand-in Dads, Granddads and Moms-that-have-to-be-Dads, too.

I hope your day is wonderful and you are spoiled beyond belief. 

A special Happy Father's Day to my dad who is 1000 miles away right now.

And a special Happy Father's Day to the hubs, the father of our three great kids. (Not real happy with a couple of them right now, but still, they are great overall!)

 This is where I insert a great pic of the hubs, only I am traveling and the pic I want is at home on my computer-not on a Cloud where I can get to it. So, no charming picture. 

Happy Day! 

15 June 2013

And the list goes on.

And the list goes on....

And on and on...

You know how one thing leads to another and then another???

The broken water pump got fixed but then I noticed that the potty was running.
I checked the flapper. It was good.
I pushed and pulled on other parts inside that toilet tank. Still running.

A running toilet is a problem.  I've been told that "water is gold" in Colorado. I've also been told that wells are running dry around our area. I don't need a running potty draining my well. 

I must say my friend, Diane, is a GREAT sport. 

We went to True Value in town and talked to the plumbing expert.  Apparently when sand gets in the fill valve,it runs. You would not believe the amount of sand that came through all the pipes after having the pump replaced. Guess the sand stopped up our fill valve, too.

So we bought a part and with the girls out of the house, Diane and I set to work. I was slightly nervous at taking apart our only toilet after plumber's business hours. 

How many friends would help you disassemble a toilet? 

     (Love the "no eyes" look I'm sporting along with my grand bib necklace. Always wear your jewels while doing the plumbing.)


                             Read the instructions. Makes life so much easier. 

Amazingly, we did it. It works perfectly, not running anymore and we did not flood the house. 

I'm beginning to feel like Super Woman. Or at least Super Plumber. 

13 June 2013

And then again....

And then again, maybe I am not up to this.

Tuesday, after a grueling 3:15am wake up, a two hour plane ride and a three hour car drive, we made it to the cabin in the woods. 

There are six of us. Each girl has a friend and so do I.
That's six women.

After a bit of settling in, Bunny decided to take a shower. 
That's when the trouble started. 

NO WATER?!  I checked the breaker box. I turned things off and on. Then I did what any sane person  would do. I called for back up.

I have a colorful and kind neighbor, Cliff, who loves his cats and will gleefully do anything to help out.

Good thing. 

I thought the water filter was clogged...but that filter was "conveniently" placed under the middle of the house.

Uh,no. Not going in there. 

Bless Cliff's little heart-he crawled under there. The filter was not the problem.

A quick call to the plumber and I was told that someone could be out FRIDAY. This was on Tuesday. Six women, no running water from Tuesday to Friday? I don't think so. I begged. I pleaded. I promised cookies. Then I got put on the "list".

Twenty minutes later I got a call. Someone was on the way to help us.


We made a hotel reservation just in case. Wise move.

Here is my well pump being dragged outside of the well.

Here is the end of the pump pipe that is not supposed to be corroded or broken.
But it was. No pump, no water.

Amazingly the plumber found us a new pump AND found someone to install it on Wednesday.

A lovely night at the hotel later, a visit from the magical well guy and we are back in business. 

And here are the cookies. Need to drop them off. These are my Wednesday thank you notes- finally getting delivered on Friday. I promised. I will deliver. 


  I can do this. I think. 

10 June 2013

No. 20 Lite

No. 20 Lite: Move!

O! How I wish I were really moving.

But a decision has been made.  I will be relocating. That almost counts as a move.

What started out as a whim by the two girls four years ago when we first bought our Colorado cabin will turn into reality this fall.

I will be taking Belle and Bunny to Colorado for their Senior and Sophomore years of high school respectively.   They will go from a school that has a gazillion rules and over 2000 students to a school with a more relaxed attitude and a little over 300 students. Three hundred total. Not per grade.

Their dad supports this idea mostly because it gives him an excuse to head to the cabin more often than he already does.
A little disillusionment with the current school district made the decision easier. (See here for one reason why...)

We will be trading this bird here...

For this bird there....

What a turkey...

And this wildlife.....

For this.....

And this....

O my!

Also trading a four bedroom, two and half bath house with a three car garage for a three bedroom, ONE bath log cabin with NO garage. That last part might  be more of a problem than the one bathroom. At least once it snows. Which it will.

It's going to be an adventure. A BIG adventure. The drive to school every day will involve a canyon road and dodging deer rather than a hop on the freeway and dodging drivers on cell phones.  (No cell phone yakkers on the canyon road. It goes through Bureau of Land Management land where there is no service. Besides, if you are talking on the phone while driving the canyon, you will eventually end up in the Arkansas River.  Or plastered into the side of a mountain.)

Instead of being five minutes from Target, I will be two plus HOURS from Target.  YIKES! Wal Mart and Safeway (and ANY and ALL food stores-and those are the two food stores) will be a mere thirty minute drive- again through that same canyon.
There will be no Chick-Fil-A.   That part is a tragedy, not an adventure.

I will have to accomplish No. 49- Make a New Friend or I will be pretty lonely during the week.  The girls already have many friends because they have been hanging out in town for the last few years.

I imagine the entire family will be racking up the frequent flyer miles.

The plan is to go for the fall semester and then see how things play out. Belle is definitely thinking she will want to graduate from high school in Colorado. Bunny is planning on returning to Texas for the spring semester. Now.
They both may hate it from the get-go.
I am committing to the fall semester and leaving my options open.

It will be hard to leave my parents who live across the street right now. They will soon live 1000 miles away.
I will miss Boy who does not like to travel and probably won't come up. (But we will come home, so that's okay.)
I hate leaving my fun and flexible job and my amazing and wonderful boss. I have made her promise to fire whoever takes my place if I decide randomly to come back. I don't think she really agreed to that, but I'm sure we could work something out.
We will take Carlos the Amazing Dog but the kitties will stay here with the daddy-o. They don't travel well. (Ruby the Chinchilla will probably come with us, also.) Picasso the horse will stay.
My bunko group may try to find a replacement for me. That would REALLY be tragedy. Only because I would cause bodily harm to anyone who tried to take my place in that group.

But...I love change and the girls have repeatedly asked to do this. After years of saying "No, silly, you girls go to school here" I realized that they could go to school anywhere. Consider this a mini-foreign-exchange program. Because I promise- this will be foreign to all of us!!

On Tuesday we head to Colorado to spend a week. I'll do a little preliminary planning for the fall relocation.
But mostly we are going to play.

Follow along with us... changes to come!

05 June 2013


Recharging my batteries....

With the end of school looming and some changes around the house in the works, I haven't been focusing much on anything on my list.

I have been trying to tie up some loose ends and get lots of errands/appointments done and overall just neaten up day to day life. Also trying to get everything organized for the June trip to Colorado. But sometimes all that day to day stuff is exhausting.

Yesterday morning I woke up and realized there was nothing, nada, zip on my calendar for two whole days in a row. WOOHOO!

I texted a friend for lunch plans.  Carlos and I did the two mile trot around the neighborhood.

friend texted she couldn't make lunch.
That was a good thing because by 11:00am I had faded. By noon I had the chills, and shortly thereafter a fever.
Just the low grade kind that makes you feel crappy but doesn't really mean anything.

So I went to bed.
I played Candy Crush on my iPad. (Curse the child that introduced me to that little addiction. Here's some insight into the game. 300+ levels?? Nooooo! ) I read. I dozed. I watched useless TV.
Kids came and went. The hubs came home and quickly realized there was no dinner, or thought of dinner, or probably even any food to make dinner so he wisely grabbed a kid and took her out for food.

If you don't play this already, DON'T start.
More addictive than WWF.

And everyone survived.

This morning I woke up better, not 100%, but much better.  Still feeling a little wobbly but no fever.
Today I have done the bare minimum. Got the dog some food because we were O-U-T, out and otherwise he would not have eaten this evening. Paid the bills. Played more Candy Crush. I'm stuck on Level 33.

So.  Coincidence? I wonder.
Did my body just say "ok, here's a couple of days with no demands, I'm giving up"?
Or was it really just a little virus?

And if anyone knows how to get past that stupid Level 33 on Candy Crush, PLEASE let me know.

02 June 2013

We Are Not Alone

We Are Not Alone...

I know, I know.  You are thinking aliens.

And while we do have this guy hanging around the house, aliens are not the topic for today.

Instead, my visitor is much smaller and has built her own little house out in the backyard.

We originally noticed a woodpecker hanging out in this dead tree limb, but we figured it was just looking for bugs.

This afternoon I was chatting with Belle by the pool and looked up to see THIS. What an amazing little hole. 

And then I noticed a little eyeball staring back at me.

Well, hello.

What a pretty little red head you have there.

Do you have any babies inside that hole? 

She came in and out a few times, eyeing me all the while.

My National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America identifies this little dear as a female red-bellied woodpecker. Personally I think her head looks redder than her belly but then, National Geographic has not been pounding on my door asking me to name the wildlife.

Now that I know she is there I will be on the lookout for babies.

We have had baby Cardinals and baby Blue Jays but never baby Woodpeckers.
I am so excited.

Stay tuned.