29 May 2014

Taking a minute out to be proud....


I'm taking a minute from everyday life to announce how proud I am of middle child, Belle, for graduating high school and pretty much having her life planned out. Or at least as planned as you can get at the tender age of 18.

Last Saturday Ms. Belle walked across the gymnasium at Salida High School along with 57 other of her newest closest friends. She was handed a lovely diploma holder and picked up the real thing in the school office after the ceremony.

And what a fun ceremony it was!

I have only been to the ginormous Texas high school graduations where there are 600 kids and it is held in a stadium and people come and go. The only advantage to those graduations is that our last name starts with a B and graduates are announced alphabetically.

This little ceremony started with the Pledge, a song from the choir, the band playing and a procession of the graduates coming in two by two.

Surprise! Not alphabetical.  Belle was one of the last to come in.

No hired speaker- the students spoke and also chaired the program.

 Proof! She really graduated.

There was a slide show that had the kids' baby pictures first, followed by their senior picture.  The students got to choose a snippet of song to be played while their pics were on display. It was fun trying to guess which kids were which either from their song or baby picture. Belle's song was "She's Like Texas" by Josh Abbott Band. Perfect.

After the diplomas were handed out, there were a few more words said by the muckety mucks and then there was the recession.  (Not the economic kind but the departing procession kind.)

O Boy!

Accustomed to the staid deportment of 600 graduates quietly filing out after a brief flurry of cap tossing, I was totally caught off guard by the party that left the gym.

Two by two they left.
The first couple of pairs were waving and smiling.  Then two boys walked down the aisle wearing rooster hoods. A few students later, one had removed his robe to reveal his fire fighting outfit. (Forest fire fighting is a BIG thing here and many boys go into the field.)  Another was in his dirt bike  racing uniform; he's  going pro next year.  (You go, Garrett!) There was a horse head hood. Lots of the kids had party cannons that boomed and sprayed confetti. Boys carried out girls. Boys carried out boys. Belle and her friend met center stage, theatrically air kissed and beauty pageant walked and waved down the aisle.

Belle and Madison in a flurry of confetti.

They were allowed prior to the ceremony to put whatever they "needed" under their chairs. "Needed" items included masks and party poppers.

Anything could be and was worn under the robes. Many of the boys obviously had on shorts.
In a perverse twist, Bunny's friend boy who graduated actually had on a tie- a rare and coerced occurrence. I attribute that to his mom being from a more Southern state. She's trying hard with that one to make him civilized. He would prefer to be a country boy, thank you very much.
And one student even had on a tux. This is the kid who every single day of school has worn a coat and tie. Always. By choice. It's his thing.

I love a school where everyone is allowed to let their freak flag fly.

And Ms. Belle?

After a brief chat, she headed to Sonic for lunch and then home to change. She wanted to work one last night before heading home to Texas, where she will work some more.

That girl is driven.  She likes money and she knows she needs to work to make it.
In April she took a job here waitressing and worked five days a week. Coincidentally, the restaurant is only open five days a week. (A little shout out to Buffalo Smokehouse- good BBQ if you are in the area. The owner is originally from Texas. He knows what he is doing. And there is a wonderful museum collection of motorcycles and Western memorabilia.)

And now Belle is back in Texas for three weeks getting summer job(s) lined up. Last year she worked for Grimaldi's Pizza and hopes to pick that job up again while graduating from hostessing to waitressing in the process. She also has an in with another restaurant for a hostessing job. Her plan was to get back to Texas before all of the other kids got out of school so she could get a jump on the summer job situation. Smart.
Even smarter, one of those restaurants has a location in Florida, near to the school she plans to attend.  Guess who also plans to work in Florida?

She will do well in life.

 Belle with her proud momma.  
She's really only a half inch taller than me. 
I had on heels. She had on HEELS.

I am so proud.

27 May 2014


A day late and a dollar short. 

That seems to be my status for the time being.

Long weekend, Belle graduated, the hubs and Boy up for a few days, and then a longggg day today driving Belle to Denver so she could fly back to Texas.   She beat the guys home...they had a 17 hour drive...and she was thrilled to arrive to a filthy house and a dead car. 

And guess what? There's not a thing mom can do from1000 miles away.

Sooo.....   No Tuesday post and Thursday's post will probably be on Friday. 

We will return to our regular scheduled programming next week. 

21 May 2014

Thank you....

A Big Thank You

Today I am taking cookies up to the front desk of the high school.

I think the school has been one of my favorite parts of our stay here. The front desk ladies are amazing. The principal actually knows me! (And not because of discipline issues, but just because we are new.) 
The girls and I have been made to feel welcome from the very first day they enrolled. The differences between the school here and the school in Texas are many, many. Some things are better, many are the same, some are probably worse. 

But overall, no regrets. None.

Good ol' Toll House cookies.
High Altitude version.

The girls have LOVED the four day school week.
Bunny has been researching schools in Texas that offer four day school weeks. Guess what!? There is only one! And it is nowhere near where we live! Our Lady of the Hills Catholic High School in Kerrville, Texas fits the bill. Unfortunately we aren't Catholic, we live nowhere near Kerrville and Bunny doesn't get to go to private school.  Five day school week for that girl next year. 

Salida has small classes. Small school. Only about 300 kids. So many things are possible when the school is not tasked with crowd control.  

The teachers know everyone. The principal knows everyone. Teachers that don't actually teach my girls know them as "the Texans".
(Hell! Half the people in town know the Texans. I was getting my windshield repaired and the repair guy knew the Texans AND who they were dating. Because the girls are both dating local boys, people know of my girls. I'm always getting told what nice families these boys are from.)
Having always lived in a big city, this is just endlessly amusing. 

But my favorite part of the school has been the flexibility and sensibility. 

If the girls are sick or even just going to be traveling, I call the front desk, they make a note and Voila! it's taken care of. I don't have to send a doctor's note or lie that they were ill when they weren't or explain anything.  Amazingly I am considered the parent and therefore capable of deciding what constitutes a reason for my girls to miss school.  The school still has a maximum number of days a kid can miss each semester-just like Texas-but I have yet to be threatened because the girls have been absent.

This is so unlike Texas that I just can't explain.  Last year when Bunny was very sick, she missed many, many days of school.   Her absences were all documented. She had doctor's note after doctor's note. We still received a letter from the school district saying we were subject to prosecution and a fine because we were not getting Miss Bunny to school on a regular basis. (You can read about that ordeal here and here and here.)

Contrast that with Bunny texting me last month saying she was having a horrible day and she just really wanted to come home. She'd had a fight with the friend boy, she wasn't feeling well and it was just a no-good day. I called the front desk and mentioned she was having a bad day and wanted to come home and maybe there was a little drama going on. I was met with concern and advised that she had missed a lot of her last two classes but she hadn't missed too many of the mid day classes, so if she wanted to leave for a bit to recoup, that was fine as long as she came back for her last classes. "Just have her stop by the front desk".  
Common sense.
It can be hard being a teenager.

Academically a few of the classes have not measured up to what they would have been taught in Texas. Overall I think the classes in Colorado have emphasized more hands on projects, more group projects and more real world applications. Maybe school wasn't as hard, maybe it was just taught differently. There was one week of standardized testing. I believe last year in Texas the girls had three weeks. But overall they learned what they needed to. Bunny will do fine next year. Belle will graduate and go to college.
The experience over all outweighs any educational deficiencies.

But the main reason those cookies are headed up to the front office? 

When Belle was in middle school in Texas, I volunteered every Monday for three years at the front desk. The principal would come by often and occasionally we would interact.
That principal did not know my name. He did not know my daughter. He could not have put my face with my daughter's or even connect our names. And yes, I did introduce myself to him.

The first month of school here in Colorado I was leaving a restaurant and passed by the principal. I had met her one time. She stopped me and asked how the girls were adjusting to the new school.
What? She recognized me even though we weren't in a school setting.

Those cookies are well deserved. 

I will miss Salida High School. 

Salida Spartans State Champion Cheerleaders-
Homecoming Parade

For some background on just why we are in Colorado rather than Texas click here and here and here.

19 May 2014

It's a Bird, It's a Plane...

It's a Bird, It's a Plane....Nope.  It's a Bird.

Birds! We have them all of the sudden.

This is our fifth Spring to own this house and the very first time we have had any birds besides the hummers.

Pretty much around here if you fill a hummingbird feeder, they will come.
But other birds?

We have even commented on how it would seem this would be a lovely spot for birds- but there have NEVER been any besides a random crow or two.

One year I filled the bird feeder in June and in August ALL of the food was still there.

The next year I filled the bird feeder and ....

These aren't birds.

But they still ate all the birdseed. 

This year I decided to try again.  You know... Hope Springs Eternal and all.

And Voilá!  Birds.

First it was just the Robins and the Steller Jays with a Chickadee or two.

 Mr. Robin

 Mr. Chickadee

and a Steller Jay

But on Sunday I glanced outside and wow!  I thought somebody's parakeet had escaped. 
The brightest yellow bird was out there. And then it was joined by a black and red bird. 
And more yellow birds. And then a yellow bird with a red head. 
What was going on??

I'm not sure but we have Birds with a capital B.

 An Evening Grosbeak.
This is the guy that first caught my attention.

 Male and female Evening Grosbeak on the feeder and a female Black headed Grosbeak on the fence.
These guys travel in flocks which would explain why there were 6 or 8 at a time in the yard. 
Today they seemed to be everywhere. 

The male Black Headed Grosbeak.
Love must be in the air.
Couples everywhere.

This guy was a bit more elusive. 
It's a Spotted Towhee but I couldn't get him to pose for me.

And in the less flashy but still cute category we have these two:

 A Gray Headed Junco...

and a Chipping Sparrow.

But the one bird that I could not get a picture of was the Western Tanager. He flew by me twice but never settled.   You will have to settle for a picture from BirdwatchersDigest.com:

The Western Tanager.
A real show-stopper.

And of course the Hummingbirds are here.   They showed up a couple of weeks ago.
Turf wars have already begun. I'm going to need more feeders.   Last week when we had our (hopefully) last snow, I snapped this picture.  Poor guy.

 This was taken from inside. He had to come around to the window side to find a 
spot that wasn't snow covered.

This is probably the same bird, a male Broadtailed Hummingbird.
He has been guarding this feeder with a vengeance.

And this sweetie is a female Black-Chinned Hummingbird.

I can't wait to see what else will come. Even the neighbors who have lived in Colorado forever say they have never seen so many birds.  We are attributing all the visitors to the abundance of snow we have had compared to the past few years. Who knows!?

On a more entertaining note, while I have been typing the girlies went to McDonalds for a dinner of French Fries and McFlurries. (I know, I know. I am a fabulous mother that prepares healthy and tasty meals for her children.)  In the drive-through lane they had to wait a bit longer than usual.
I don't know if he was ordering a salad or just checking out the leaves surrounding the speaker.
But I can assure you we don't have this problem at home in Texas. At least not in the city. 

Deer in the drive-through.
Business as usual.

And on an even MORE entertaining note, Bunny looked out the window last week and asked me "Mom, does that lantern out there ever turn on?" 
Ummm.....Honey, that lantern is the bird feeder. 

I love how teenagers are so observant.  It's probably all of that health food I feed them.

Have a great week.

14 May 2014


Changes are coming....


School is almost over. 

Belle is about to graduate from high school.  (How can that be?)

My "full-time" time in Colorado is almost up. (How can that be?)

It's not like I won't be back. But I won't be back living here I imagine. (How can that be?)

Back to the heat, the humidity and the responsibility of Texas.  (How can that be?)

I look around the little cabin in the woods and wonder HOW we will gather up all the stuff that has made its way up here and get it stuffed into two cars and get it home. Do I have to drive home? I don't want to.  I. DO. NOT. WANT. TO. MAKE. THAT. DRIVE.  Please may I fly home and let someone else drive my car? Please?

I started washing and storing all the sweaters and hoodies and jackets that have accumulated at the front and back doors. Then we had another snow. Back to square one.  

Between Monday and Tuesday of THIS week we got a foot of snow.
All gone now. 

The freezer and pantry need emptying. Time to start eating what we've got whether it's what we crave or not. 

I look in the girls' rooms and think "no way". Thank goodness getting all their clothes together is THEIR problem, not mine. 

Honest. These are unretouched pictures of what their rooms look like on a daily basis.
Yes, they both have closets AND rolling hanging racks and dressers and yet...
their clothes are on the floor. 
Carlos hides his bones underneath the clothes piles.

My car needs tires and its service is due. Bunny's car needs an oil change. The Hummer needs an oil change, too, before it gets stored for...the summer?   For a few weeks? Belle is still lobbying to take it home with her but it needs to stay here.

And then what? 

Belle is bound and determined she is going to Florida in the fall for school. Community college.
NOT in Texas.  That's pretty much her only stipulation. That and near a beach. Preferably with tanned boys that have pretty eyes nearby.  Need to get that organized. (The school, not the boys.)

Both girlies will be leaving friend boys. Everyone has known it's coming from the beginning but I'm not sure that will make it easier. 

It's time to move on to the next stage. The next adventure. 

I'm not sure I'm ready. 

CHANGES: David Bowie

I still don't know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
Every time I thought I'd got it made
It seemed the taste 
was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I've never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I'm much too fast to take that test

(Turn and face the stranger)
Don't want to be a richer man
(Turn and face the stranger)
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can't trace time

I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence and
So the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware 
of what they're going through

(Turn and face the stranger)
Don't tell them to grow up and out of it
(Turn and face the stranger)
Where's your shame
You've left us up to our necks in it
Time may change me
But you can't trace time

Strange fascination, fascinating me
Changes are taking the pace
I'm going through

(Turn and face the stranger)
Oh, look out you rock 'n rollers
(Turn and face the stranger)
Pretty soon you're gonna get
a little older
Time may change me
But I can't trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can't trace time

12 May 2014

No.40: Make a cake from scratch for somebody's birthday

No. 40:  Make a cake from scratch. 
Bonus points for doing it at high altitude!!

Last week my friend Liddy called and said she was headed to Colorado for the week. She has a house a couple of hours away from mine and she, a friend and a sister-in-law were coming up.
I was invited over to visit. Yay!

Turns out, Liddy's ummm...28th...29th?...birthday was coming up so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to knock out No. 40: Make a cake from scratch for someone's birthday.

Then I realized I would have to be doing a high altitude cake. We are about 7700 feet above sea level here in the little cabin in the woods. 

Google to the rescue.

I found this Website:  THK:Not Quite the Handy Kitchen.
Which had this cake recipe and even better- the reasons WHY changes are made to high altitude baking:  The Perfect Altitude Cake
I wish this guy was still posting. His name is Trevor and I get the feeling maybe he was/is with an aide/missionary group. I may be totally wrong. But I loved reading his blog.  Living in Peru and then Ecuador and cooking at high altitudes in primitive kitchens.
My kind of Heaven- making do in a foreign place.

So here we go.

The original is a Dark Chocolate Cake recipe from AllRecipes that he tweaked.

His ingredient list with notes:

My crowded counter with ingredients...
and toaster.

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour PLUS 2 tbsp
    Note: Don’t measure the flour exactly.  The goal is to measure out more than needed.  Spoon the flour out into the cup and instead of scrapping off the excess flour that piles on top of the measuring cup, just pour it in.  Then, add two tbsp more of flour.  This gives the mixture more structure.  
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    Note: When you are baking at high altitude, leavening products become a huge challenge.  The idea is for each tsp of leavening called for reduce to a 1/4 tsp.  So, 2 tsp was the original amount so we reduce it to 1/2 tsp.
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    Note: Again, more leavening.  Since there was so much, I cut this in half from the original amount which was 1/2 tsp.  
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, melted
    Note: Usually you would cream the butter and sugar together.  Instead, you are going to melt the butter and mix the sugar with it.  I’ll explain that later.    
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar MINUS 1-2 tbsp
    Note: Baking at high altitude, sugar also affects the outcome of a product.  It’s necessary to take out a certain quantity of sugar.  I left out about 1-2 tbsp of sugar.  
  • 5-6 eggs
    Note:  The original recipe called for 4 eggs.  You will want to add more, this also contributes to the amount of liquid in the mixture and the out-coming structure.  The eggs we get in Peru are various in size, some are extremely small, so I used 6 eggs in my mixture.  If you have all pretty well sized eggs just use 5.     
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

  • and then his explanations and how tos...

    Note: explanations and more in-depth directions are all in italics.
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).  When baking at higher altitude, it’s necessary to increase the temperature of the oven.  It’s usually the basic rule of thumb to increase the temperature by 25 degrees.  You need the liquid in the batter to evaporate quicker so the overall structure will set before it can rise too much and then break and fall.  

    Grease 3 – 9 inch round cake pans or one 9×13″ pan.  
    In a medium bowl, pour the boiling water over the cocoa, and whisk until smooth. Set aside and let cool.
    Looks yummy- but it isn't. Yet.
    Needs a LOT of sugar!
    In another bowl sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.

    Basic note for baking at high altitude.  Mixing and beating the batter by hand will give you more control over how much air is incorporated into the mixture.  I will explain as we go along why the amount of air in a batter is so important.  

    All seems nice and normal until this point.  Here I did something that I thought was going to ruin my cake.  I melted my butter over low heat on the stove and added the sugar to this, whisking until well incorporated.  Now, the first reason I did this was because the Handicap Kitchen mixer caught on fire and is out of commission. 
     The second reason is my theory for why this is necessary.  When you cream your sugar and butter together you are essentially creating pockets of air in your fatty product (butter).  Butter is not the only thing that does this in a cake batter, eggs also do this.  But, while a cake is baking at high altitude it’s important to not have TOO many air bubbles.  The leavening products react with the air pockets and cause them to grow.  This is their job!  But, at high altitudes this process happens a lot quicker and if there are a lot of air pockets and a lot of leavening product in your cake batter it will break and fall.  You will cry.  So, the challenge is to beat air into the batter in moderation with a reduction of leavening.  Make sense?  So, by melting the butter, I basically removed one more constituent of the danger of getting too many air pockets.  

    Melting the butter and sugar instead of creaming it.
    Novel concept.

    Once you’ve mixed your sugar and butter together beat in the eggs.  It’s important to not beat the eggs in all at once.  However, you do want to be careful of beating the mixture too much.  I beat in two eggs at a time twice and then the rest of the times one egg at a time.  Does that make sense?  If you beat the eggs too much you will have to problem of too many air pockets.  You need to beat in the eggs just until they are mixed into the batter.  This should be approximately beating ten times for each (or pair) of eggs.  

    Add in the eggs.
    Then stir in vanilla.

    Add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture.  It’s important at this point that you stir instead of beat.  If you beat you may add too many air pockets.  Work carefully, folding the flour into the batter and mixing in the cocoa mixture.  

    So far, so good.

    Spread batter evenly between the 3 prepared pans or into the 9×13″ pan.
    Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool.  I find that at high altitudes it takes a bit longer to bake cakes all the way through.  You may need more like 30-45 minutes.  

    The world's most uninspired cake pic.
    And yes, I needed 35 minutes.
    I iced this baby with Betty Crocker's Buttercream Frosting.
    And threw on some store-bought candy lettering:

    I went with 29. Seems like that was a good age.

    And how did it turn out?
    It didn't fall.  
    I thought it was a tiny bit dry but then again, the buzzer went off and I didn't hear it, so the cake may have been baking along for a couple extra minutes.
    The flavor was great. Chocolate-y and not too sweet. 

     Candles to make it look less pitiful.

    Lisa, Liddy and Kristin
    Slightly blurred because.....

    this is how we started the cake ceremony:

    A Magnum of Dom Perignon.
    Triple yum. 
    If you're going to drink champagne, might as well make it
    good champagne.

    Happy, happy birthday Liddy!

    No. 40 is done and has been consumed!

    10 May 2014

    Happy Mother's Day

    Happy Mother's Day!!

    A Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there.

    A super special shout out to MY mom.

    Me and my mom. 
    Sadly I had to go back to 2008 to find a picture of just the two of us.
    But I guess that's okay- we both looked pretty good six years ago.

    You've got to give her credit. She had two boys and still had the nerve to have a third kid. (Which makes me the baby. Gotta love me! )

    She wins the zookeeper award for allowing more pets in our house than even I have.  
    My brothers had snakes. And turtles. An opossum. Fish. I had an alligator.  Small furry animals.We had a goat. In the backyard. In the middle of Houston. A dog. Some cats. 
    (But never a horse. I REALLY wanted a horse. Got one now!!)

    She sewed.
    Doll clothes.
    I had the BEST dressed Troll dolls ever.  Nobody else's dolls had a real fur coat.
    Me clothes.
    My prom dress was conveniently crafted to disguise the hip to toe plaster cast I was sporting at the time.

    My prom dress, made by mom.
    Back in the 70s, pre-PC, I believe the Robert E. Lee HS 
    prom theme that year was "The South Shall Rise Again".
    I was a Southern Belle.
    My girls would slit their throats before they put on a dress that I had made.

    And for the bravest mama prize, she and my dad allowed me to go 1000 miles away, to another country, for art school when I was 18. This was before cell phones and Internet and there wasn't even a land line to keep us connected. It took a minimum of two hours just to get through to an International operator. A letter took two weeks.
    None of that bothered me in the slightest but I imagine it was a bit of a challenge for them. 

    I look like my dad but I've got a ton of my mom in me.
    My kids say they feel sorry for people that cross me....I think I might have gotten that from my mom. Nice as can be, but don't try to screw with us.
    And it seemed she could do, make, create anything, something my kids have said about me.
    That is, when they aren't telling me that I don't know how to do anything.
    Although she can cook.
    Me, not so much. Or maybe it's just no one likes any of the stuff I like to make.
    Something like that. 

    So happy mothers day to my wonderful mom. 

    And happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. 

    Hugs and kisses. And flowers.

    And a special get well/speedy recovery/Happy Mother's Day wish to my mother in law.
    Poor baby fell and is now in re-hab recovering from a broken leg and a shattered shoulder.

    07 May 2014

    No. 29: Plan my Funeral Part Two

    Part Two:
    No.29: Plan My Funeral

    O.K.  Don't panic, Mom.  I am not planning down to time, date and location.  

    I just want to set some ground rules.   Throw some ideas out there.

    Cremate me.   Do it on the cheap. I'll be dead, I promise I won't care. Get the heavy duty cardboard box, not an urn.  Again.  I'll be dead.  I won't care and I'm not going to spend eternity in that container anyway.

    Let's have a nice memorial.  Rothko Chapel in Houston is lovely but otherwise, it doesn't need to be at a church. If the weather is nice it can be outside. In the park. I would love a museum- is that possible? Surrounded by art. Heaven.  At someone's house. Or even in a beautiful restaurant or hotel.  (Which does not mean at Los Tios...)  I won't be too picky.

    Rothko Chapel in Houston.
    Incredibly peaceful.

    It would have been nice to have my brother Paul play the guitar or piano, but since he isn't available, maybe we can find someone else to do that. Big Guy ( I just can't keep calling the oldest Boy- he is 22 years old now) plays guitar beautifully (and the piano) but I'm not sure he would want to perform.

    Anyway, since I'm planning and dreaming, let's get Rufus Wainwright in. I want him to play the piano and sing "Hallelujah".  It is such a beautiful song and he has such a beautiful voice.

    Throw in "You Raise Me Up" ,"You'll Never Walk Alone", "Unchained Melody" (If only the Righteous Brothers were around to sing it. Alas, only one "brother" is still alive.), "Amazing Grace", "I'll Fly Away", "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow" and end up with "Unforgettable".

    So there's the music.  Or at least a good start.

    If I'm lucky enough to go in the Spring, fill the place with peonies. If it's the summer, make it gardenias. I want people drunk on the scent.

    My absolute favorite. 
    I wish computers had Smell-O-Vision.

    If those flowers aren't available I will go with lilies or roses- but the kind that smell. And smell wonderful.   Again, drunk on the scent.  And stick with pale pinks and whites. Might as well consider the aesthetics.

    Find someone to officiate- just to keep things organized. Review my life- so far I've lived it thoroughly. I may not have done anything spectacular or news worthy but I have certainly had fun and plan on continuing to do so. This story hasn't been completed yet.

    Finish off with some champagne and beer.  A toast to the hereafter.
    Some snackies and visiting and call it a day.

    And then....

    Let's make it a Destination Scattering.

    Some of the ashes need to go to Cozumel and some to San Miguel de Allende.  Mexico is in my soul as much as any other place in the world.

    San Miguel de Allende, Gto.

    Pretty sure some of them would need to come to the cabin here in Colorado.  There is an attraction to the Twin Sisters that I find almost magnetic. I drive up the mountain and frequently have to stop and take a picture. I'm just so in awe of them.
    Or sprinkle me in the Arkansas River.
    Somewhere in this vicinity.

    The Twin Sisters.
    I've been watching them every morning for the last nine months.

    Toss a few ashes into the Gulf of Mexico.   It's okay to just sprinkle me off the end of the jetties at Surfside. I'm good with that.   I love the beach, I love the ocean.

    Quintana Beach near Surfside at Sunset...

    Toss a handful of ashes into Oyster Creek right in the middle of Sugar Land. I've spent enough time there, I deserve to keep the turtles and snakes company.
    Sprinkle me around the Hill Country of Texas. San Antonio, Austin-I've lived in both and frequently wish I still did.

    Finally take me to Paris. Please.

    And when it is all said and done, I hope I will have lived life well enough that someone will want, no, insist, to read W. H. Auden's poem Funeral Blues, slightly adjusted just for me.

    Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.
    Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
    Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
    Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

    Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
    Scribbling in the sky the message (s)he is Dead,
    Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
    Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

    (S)He was my North, my South, my East and West,
    My working week and my Sunday rest
    My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
    I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong.

    The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
    Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
    Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
    For nothing now can ever come to any good.

    While some people may think this is morbid, I don't.  It has been great fun thinking about the music.
    I've been captivated by Auden's poem since I first heard it.  There are places I want to visit again and again. If I can't get there in life (Or hey! Even if I can!) I would love to visit in death. I like the idea of  thinking about the last big party.
    That said, I have no intention of using any of this info any time soon.  And I reserve the right to change my mind on all of these choices.

    Here's to life!