27 March 2014

Follow up Friday...

Follow up Friday: Just Checking in.

Just checking in.

Amazingly I got all five girls to Texas without incident.   Score one for the mom.

The surprise was a stretch limo to pick us up at the airport and bring us to the house.
Just keeping it classy.
We'll slum it on the return trip.   Can't be the  Kardashians all the time.

We've had lots of girl drama.  Friend visits. And rain.  The main goal of the trip was to come home tan. (For the girlies, not for me.) We'll see.

Also had a car break down while Bunny was driving. This caused Belle to go on and on about how reliable her car had been until her sister BROKE it. Somehow she has forgotten how much she HATES that car. Even though she picked it out. And it's beautiful. And it has treated her well. Thank goodness she got a loaner.

Thursday was dinner with my parents, my niece, her husband and their babies. Couldn't wait to get my hands on those twins. They are almost one! Can't believe it.  But how did I get through the night without taking a picture on MY phone?

And my New Orleans weekend trip has taken an amazing turn for the better. While I love a road trip, I spend a lot of the time on the road as it is. My sweet friend that was driving me was going to come from Austin, pick me up and then off we would go.   Enter my fabulous and wonderful brother who offered  tickets to New Orleans, saving me a 7 hour drive and her a 10 hour drive. I love him. He's the bomb.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

24 March 2014


Happy SIXTY FIFTH wedding anniversary to my parents.
Happy Spring Break to me and the girlies.

Today is my parents 65th wedding anniversary. Imagine.

They were married in 1949.

Here's a few fun facts from 1949.

On January 1 KPRC Channel 2 began broadcasting in Houston.  (There were lots of firsts in the TV broadcasting industry this year.)

January 31: The first daytime soap opera, "These are My Children", aired.  No relation to "All My Children" and Susan Lucci was not involved.

March 2: The first automatic street light came on in New Milford, Connecticut.

June 3: The first Negro graduated from the US Naval Academy. (Yep, Negro.  That was the word back in the day.)

June 23: The first group of women graduated from Harvard Medical School.   See? Equality all around was in the works.

August 14: There was a military coup under Colonel Sami Hinnawi in Syria.
Just proves that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Syria is still in the news.

August 29: Russia tests and explodes its first atomic bomb.

September 23: President Harry Truman announces that there is evidence Russia detonated its first nuclear device.   Guess everyone didn't have Smart Phones. News travelled s.l.o.w.l.y.

October 4: The American Contract Bridge League voted 58% to keep Negroes out.    Equality came in fits and spurts. One step forward, two steps back.

October 26: Harry Truman increases the minimum wage from 40¢ to 75¢. Geez- that's almost doubling the minimum wage. WTG Harry.

December 12: The American League votes to reject legalizing the spitball.  Baseball players rejoice. Or not.

And on March 25, 1949 Jean Boyd and Stewart L. (Roy) Nelson got married.

Awwww.   First kiss. 

So we are celebrating.   As we should.


It is Spring Break for the girlies.
In a momentary lapse of common sense I agreed to fly to Texas with my two girls PLUS THREE of their  Colorado friends.   One of the friends has never flown before.

Should be a total blast.
I have a special surprise scheduled for the airport.
They are planning on going to the beach and who knows what else.

Mostly I imagine these Colorado girls are going to be overwhelmed by going from a town of 6000 people to a city of about 80,000 people which is on the outskirts of the 4th largest city in the United States. (A little over 2 million people)

Once we are in Texas I will be abandoning my family for a couple of days and heading to New Orleans for a girl's weekend with some friends from High School.   There I am going to accomplish No. 21: Go to brunch by heading to Commander's Palace on Sunday.

My traveling partners for New Orleans.

And then we will be back in Colorado next week.

This will be the last post for a bit until I am reunited with my cabin and my big computer.

Have a wonderful week.
Pray for me.

(And I had a horrible realization. Those tiny seedlings that I managed to sprout will be left unattended for a whole week. No one around to water them. What a horrible mother I am. I'm going to try making a little terrarium but I'm not too optimistic. We'll see.)

Doomed to die?
Please don't call CPS.
(Or would that be PPS? 
Plant Protective Services)

And don't bother to try breaking into our cabin. I've put the neighbor on alert and he is packing heat most days in addition to being on pain meds for a bad back. Some days he likes to save up his meds and take them all at once. He is very protective of us. 

19 March 2014


And still working on No. 39: Grow a vegetable.

Believe it or don't.   Today is the first day of Spring.  It says so on my calendar.

Gorgeous, huh? Look at that moon just hanging in the morning sky. 

So of course, this is what I woke up to on the last day of winter.

Apparently Mother Nature is not a fan of paper calendars.  Or maybe she just wanted Winter to go out with a bang.

Anyway, by 3:00pm, the snow was gone and I went out and played like Oliver Wendell Douglas.

Look what is coming up in my flower beds!

Fenced in so the deer don't snack on them…

I think these are tulips. About a year and a half ago I asked the hubs to put some bulbs in the bed just in case we might be back in time to see them bloom.  I never really could tell if they came up last year- we missed that month entirely, I guess.   But I'm pretty sure these are the same bulbs.  It's kind of like Christmas, I'm not 100% sure what is in the packages.  

Lesson #1: Draw up a map of the beds as you plant things so you know what is coming up and where things are planted.  

And look what has decided to sprout after all!

Look closely on the right. There are small green sprouts.


Even though I was positive nothing would come of these seeds if they hadn't popped up within two weeks, I was wrong. 
It took almost three weeks and now I have 9 little plants. 
What are they? 
No idea.
Either tomatoes or peppers.
The two pots on the left are still just potting soil. I really am giving up on them.

Lesson #2: Label everything. 

And since Spring is upon us I decided to leverage my odds of some vegetable actually growing to fruition.  (Vegetition?)

So I planted these:

and these:

I'm going to accomplish No. 39: Grow a vegetable  if it kills me.

18 March 2014

Another Day, Another Castle

Grrr…  The Internet Gods are not shining down on my little cabin.
Neither are the Plumbing Gods for that matter.

Tried to tidy up today's post/draft that was started on my iPad but the silly big computer would NOT connect last night. Five feet away the iPad is humming away sending data hither and yon into the web-o-sphere. The big Mac sits like a lump, not even giving me the dreaded "cannot connect to server" message. Just doing ….nothing.  So Tuesday's post will be arriving on Wednesday for most.

And can an iPad keyboard get crumbs in it? Maybe it was that face-plant off the desk onto the wood floor, but the keys on my iPad seem to be developing a mind of their own. Or auto correct, which I have always thought of as incredibly intuitive, has decided it is smarter than me all the time. I type periods and get question marks.  Or the sentence "I try going to the castle" becomes "It yoe going tot her aste".   Huh? Crumbs in the keypad for sure.

Anyway, blogging issues. The pain and suffering I go through to entertain the (very tiny) masses.


We made it to the Ice Castle in Breckenridge, but just barely.

Gorgeous enormous Ice Castle

Last Friday the girlies and I headed out through South Park (of Comedy Central cartoon fame, for real) to Breckenridge to see the Ice Castle.  Because this part of Colorado has warmed up (unlike the rest of the U.S.) the castle was scheduled to close the very next day. Melting is inevitable when the temps are above freezing.

Belle and a friend a zillion years ago 
when they realized that South Park was a real place.

It was both fabulous and maybe a tiny bit disappointing. 

The castle was smaller than we expected. But inside the icicles were amazing and there were paths and tunnels and little caves. Looking up was the best.

Me, doing my best Ice Princess impersonation.
Also trying very hard not to slip on the ice…

 Up, my favorite direction, was the best.

We were a bit concerned about being impaled by falling icicles.
Thankfully we survived.

But we missed the boat. I think to truly enjoy the wonderful-ness of the Ice Castle we needed to go at night, when the sprinklers that keep it "growing" wouldn't be quite so obvious and the LED lights embedded inside the ice would glow. We agreed it would make a fabulous romantic date.  In the day light it was not quite as magic.

 If you are a teenager, this is just one big Instagram opportunity.
But isn't that cavern lovely?

 Bunny tucked inside a little cove. 

You can see along the sides where things are starting to melt.
Still, it was magical.

Hopefully there will be next year.  And we will go at night.  This year there were three Ice Castles in the U.S. and Colorado has been one of the lucky states to have one for the last few years.

If you want to read a bit about how the Ice Castles are formed, click here.
And if you want to know how they came about in the first place, click here.  It's a fun story and one of those "Why didn't I think of this?" moments.
O yes! I know why I didn't think of it.
I was living in  Texas. My only hope of building anything with ice would require a VERY large freezer.

And then back to the Plumbing Gods.
We were gone all day on Friday, something I did not give one second thought to.
Until Sunday when I walked through the laundry area and heard the water heating revving up. I looked at the girls and neither one had been in the shower. And they certainly had not been washing dishes. So it pinged the back of my brain, but not much.  A second pass through that area alerted me to the sound of splashing water. THAT got my attention.
The water heater, which is centrally located in a closet in the exact middle of the house (apparently situated so as to do the MOST damage possible in case of a leak),  was spewing scalding hot water. Into the closet. And onto the floor.

Hot water heater. 
In a closet.
Under the stairs.
Backed up to the kitchen on one wall,
the living room on the other.
And surrounded by water-hating laminate floors. 
Great plan.

Just like the stairs, the hot water heater is not installed according to any building code.
Which means when it overheats, the pressure valve releases and water goes everywhere, not neatly down a pipe and away from the house.
So while the Plumbing Gods were working against me, there obviously was a higher power at work, too.
If the heater had exploded while we were in Breckenridge, we would have come home to our own indoor water park.
And we could have had our very own little Ice Castle.

Whew. Dodged a bullet there.
Because really, what are the odds that we would be in the house the exact moment that sucker decided to blow?
We were Lucky with a capital L.

For the cabin tour, click here. (You can see what didn't get destroyed.)
For more musings on castles in Colorado, click here and here and here.

13 March 2014

Follow up Friday: Truth in Chickens...

Follow Up Friday: Truth in Chickens 
and Veggie Failure (maybe) (probably)

This afternoon I happened to visit our local Murdoch's which is the home of baby chicks and baby ducklings.
Of course I had to say hello to all the peep peeps and quack quacks.
And then I noticed something.

Rhode Island Red baby chicks are rust colored.

Bunny had New Hampshire Reds.

Wrong state.

They are related, the New Hampshire Reds were bred from Rhode Island stock.

But I hate that I misled everyone.

This is what Bunny's chickens will actually grow up to look like:

A little lighter in color than the Rhode Island Reds.

Glad I could clear that up.

It has been ten days since I planted my seeds for tomatoes and bell peppers. 

Maybe I should have listened to the nice man at Wal- Mart regarding planting days. 
Or followed the lunar cycle for planting seeds according to their Zodiac signs. (Huh?)
Or something.

Anyway, this is what the seedlings look like:

 Very nice pots of damp potting soil.
And nothing else. 

Yup.  Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
Not even a hint of a seedling peeping out.

I think I need to go back to Kindergarten and try the lima bean trick.
You know- a jar, a paper towel and a lima bean. 
Certainly I could get THAT to sprout.

If a 6 year old can do this, certainly I can, too.

But I'm giving this batch a few more days. 
Maybe it has just been too cool.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

On the positive side, I am heading to Breckenridge for the day to see the Ice Castle.
That's not really on the original list but is part of my "explore the castles of Colorado" experience.

And I will be heading back to Texas for the girls' Spring Break and while there will take a side trip to New Orleans.  No. 21: Go to brunch  is on the schedule for that trip.

Everyone have a great weekend. That's my plan.

12 March 2014

No. 10: Start a business that makes money

No. 10: Start a business that makes money- even if it's only $10.00

OK. I confess.   My expectations are small.

Sort of.

My friend Cherrilla and I have been plotting on this for  a bit.

Cherrilla, when she visited in October.

We were talking today and she said her goal was to have our product in a glossy magazine or associated with some celebrity.   I said my goal was world domination.
At least we are on the same page.

I have been doing some research and all I can say is I totally admire anyone and everyone that has ever started any business more complicated than a lemonade stand.

This has been on my bedside table the last week or so:

Excellent reading if you want to fall asleep promptly.

Pretty much I have determined that starting a small business online invites jail time if you don't follow about a gazillion rules.  It's pretty intimidating.

Forty years ago the two of us attended the Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and majored in art. And crafts. And Mexican boys. We learned all important lessons like how to spin our own wool and weave tapestries and how to make pornographic pillows using turpentine transfers.  O! And we learned a little Spanish along the way.  So we have some history. 

Cherrilla 40 years ago.
Hasn't changed a bit, just like me.  

And we both love to sew and have a bit of a creative bent. 

Here's a sneak peak at my part of the new biz.

Lots of fun fabrics!

Cherrilla's part of the business will look much the same only more fabrics in smaller cuts. 

And at least Cherrilla has some experience with this small business stuff.

She's been making By the Sea Salt for the last 15 or so years and selling it.   It's great stuff, fabulous for mixing with a little parmesan and olive oil to make the BEST bread dip. You should try it. 

Click here to order.

So stay tuned.  We are still fine tuning exactly how we are going to start. And we need a name for this venture.  
But No. 10 will happen, sooner or later. 

And if any of you readers have suggestions, ideas, warnings, whatever re: starting an online business, please feel free to share.  Thanks!

11 March 2014

Adios Juan, Pablo. Goodbye, Steve and Franklin.

Adiós to the chicks.

True to her word (and probably a first in this household) Bunny sent the chicks on to a new home this evening.

They have been great fun and I have learned more about chickens than I ever thought I would know, but it was time.

Juan, Pablo, Franklin and Steve were almost to that lovely "chicken dinosaur" stage. They were definitely beyond cute hatchling stage.

Most of their feathers were coming in.  The cute fuzz was gone.

More scruffy than cute.
Typical pre-teens.

Carlos was probably the happiest to see them go. He has pretty much been banned from the upstairs while the chicks were in Bunny's room.

Noisy peep peeps. 
Good riddance.

Bunny has a friend at school whose family raises chickens.   They had just gotten their flock of babies and were happy to add our four to the group.

Franklin in the foreground checking out the new digs
while one of the resident chicks checks out Franklin.

This family also has full grown chickens and a lovely chicken coop.
Bunny's babies will be very happy.

The grown ups in the pen next door to the baby chick house.

And best of all this family was really happy to get four more chicks. 
In exchange they offered us a cat that had followed their boys home. 
We declined. 

Then they offered us some fresh eggs. 

Aren't these pretty?

We accepted.

Somehow I think we got the better end of the deal.

Now.   If I can just convince Belle we don't need ducklings.
Because ducklings are the next live thing on sale at the local feed store.

07 March 2014

Follow Up Friday…on a Saturday

Follow Up Friday … on a Saturday because I forgot to hit "publish"

Haven't done a Follow Up Friday in a while. Obviously it's been too long since I forgot to actually publish this one.


We are still in Colorado.
It occurred to me that I may not have actually addressed this point.   The plan was originally to come to Colorado for the fall semester of school.  (No. 20 Lite: Move)
Bunny and Belle had such great time and adjusted so well (State Champion Cheerleaders!) that they campaigned to stay through the end of the school year. 
Belle will graduate from Salida High School in May.  
I'm not sure they realized that the fall was the "lovely weather" time of year and by staying they signed on for  the "cold, snow, ice, more cold and lots of mud" time of year.   But Spring will come and in the meantime we are managing.

Speaking of Spring, the seeds got planted (No. 39) and I have been told by more than one person that growing tomatoes from seeds is not an easy task. We shall see.  
Here are the pots on the sunny (but not today) windowsill waiting to sprout. 

We still have chicks and they are trying to learn to fly.   

Top to bottom: Juan, Steve, Franklin and Right: Pablo

Two of the chicks are Buff Orpingtons (Steve and Franklin) and two are Rhode Island Reds (Juan and Pablo).

Juan and Pablo will look like these 
Rhode Island Red HENS eventually.

From the beginning it was obvious that the Reds were going to be true to their breed as they have been a little bit bossier.  "Rhode Island Red chickens can be feisty and independent, and their seemingly endless curiosity can get them into trouble." That would explain why they occasionally peck at the Orpingtons and why when startled yesterday one of them FLEW to the top of the box they are in.   Apparently full grown chickens aren't much for flying but the youngsters can get quite good at it. I keep telling Bunny she is going to walk into her room one day soon and there will be four chickens pecking around her carpet and not in their box.

Steve on the left and Juan on the right.
Juan is a Rhode Island Red…note his darker feathers. 

This is a full grown Buff Orpington.
They get these lovely fluffy butts. 
Almost wish we could keep them that long.

Pablo (bottom) and Steve (top)
It's really hard to get baby chicks to sit still for photos.

The Buff Orpingtons are winter hardy (as are the Rhode Island Reds) and have sweet personalities (unlike the Reds).  The breed originated in Orpington, Kent, United Kingdom in the late 1800's which explains the silly name.    I love that they get fluffy butts when they are grown.pretty sure Bunny was not aware of that when she purchased them.

Anyway, the chicks are fun and we have enjoyed watching them.  I don't think Bunny will have any problem sending them on to their new home once they start to escape as she can't sleep in the same room with them now. They peep peep peep all night and she has nightmares that they are going to take over her/the house/ the world.  They should be gone by next week.

I took care of my own little personal energy crisis by spending yesterday outside at the Hot Springs.

Mt. Princeton Hot Springs- we just plopped ourselves in the river.
Water temp is about 102º depending on where you sit. 

We have a new neighbor (No. 49: make a new friend) and her daughter was visiting so we all decamped to Mt. Princeton Hot Springs for an afternoon of sun and Vitamin D followed by a yummy dinner in town at The Fritz
I came home with a bit of a tan and very relaxed, ready to tackle the rest of winter. 

Happy weekend. 

06 March 2014

Energy crisis

Not much of a post today.

Belle had her wisdom teeth out last  Friday and the oral surgeon was very specific about her getting her meds every four hours-even in the middle of the night. 

The worst part of the day for someone that hates veins.
I'll spare you the video of her AFTER the removal.
Suffice to say she was delighted with the arrival of the wheelchair.
"My chariot awaits!"

Common sense would say that she is 18 and she should be responsible for setting her alarm and getting her meds taken and I should be able to sleep through the night. 

Reality is Belle is a very hard sleeper without drugs. With Vicodin AND Ibuprofen AND leftover anesthesia, well, she's pretty much comatose. 

So for three nights/days I got no more than 3.5 hours of sleep at a time.  Because not only did she need pills she also needed to "eat a little something" with those pills. Cue mom rummaging around the fridge at 2:00am looking for mashed potatoes to warm up or Jell-o to serve.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

And guess what? I'm too old to have a newborn. Which is basically what it amounted to having. 

So I am still trying to recover from last weekend.  Seems I've been moving slow all week.

I think there might also be a bit of the "winter is STILL here?" syndrome mixed in with that.
Definitely think that people must do to some extent what the animals do in the cold...if not hibernate at least go dormant.

Pretty much how I've been feeling.

And then this morning I happened upon a BBC article that suggests we are entering into a mini ice age. 

Not so much "global warming" speculation but a real observation that the sun is entering a less active phase similar to one in the 1680s. Less solar activity means less sun reaching the earth and more ice and snow in the winter.

Not the end of the world, just a phase.

So maybe we should all be online shopping for some of those great sweater sales you find this time of year. Because certainly every sweater I own is looking a little "same ol', same ol'"at this point. 

And cruising the Internet is about all I have the energy for.

And here's your PSA:
Daylight saving time starts at 2:00am Sunday, March 9.
Move your clocks forward one hour.


As much as I hate losing that hour in the day, I do relish the idea of more sunlight in the evening. 

03 March 2014

No. 39: Grow a Vegetable

No. 39: Grow a Vegetable.

Ok. This one sounds easy enough.

I was looking through the list trying to find a challenge I could get started on.

Some are seasonal, some are specific to different locales, some require the opportunity to present itself.

But growing a vegetable just requires a window sill. At least for now.

Yep, this is what I'm going to grow.

At the local Wal Mart today I made the mistake of asking a nice gentleman when was a good time to plant things in this area.

Note to self: Next time you think about speaking to strangers, do a sniff test to see if you can discern the alcohol on their breath before you jump in with questions.

My adviser's lunch apparently.

I did manage to find someone knowledgable who did explain quite a bit about planting.
More than I really wanted to know, in fact.
I learned about Soil Block Makers and specifically how many of these delightful items this gentleman owned. And I learned about the 4" press that is coming in the mail next month to his house.  And I met his wife. And I learned what he was going to be planting. And that I should plant by the moon. (Moon phases, not moon light.)
And I deduced that he had maybe 2 or 12 beers for lunch before heading out to Wal Mart.

A soil blocker for seedlings. 
I do not have one.
Nor do I plan to get one.
But I have been schooled on what to do with one. 

Once I managed to escape his clutches informative monologue I skedaddled down to the seed aisle and buried my head deep into the seed packets.

Growing some of these, too.

On the next aisle over I heard the nice man giving an unsuspecting couple a long winded oration over Diatomaceous earth. Lucky them.

Anyway, I picked up some seed packets for tomatoes and peppers. Certainly these are veggies I can handle.

Cross your fingers.

They need to be started indoors for six to eight weeks before they can go outside.

Rather than make my own soil blocks I went with Wal Mart's Seed Starter kit and some starting soil.
Sorry, sir, your speech was inspiring but I'm just not that into this project yet.
Baby steps.

Let's see how I do….

If you read last week's post, then you know we have baby chicks.

I am happy to report they are all four still alive and growing. 
Carlos is still afraid of them.


Franklin, Juan, Pablo, and Steve.
I did not name them.
And they are supposed to be all girls. 

This really is turning into Green Acres.
(Some of our other Green Acres moments here and here.)