25 June 2015


Brains. Love 'em. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I just love brains. Love how they work, how different they are and how the same thing can be perceived so differently by two different people.

Wishing my brain was synesthetic, but its not.

But it can do lots of things like draw and write and Hallelujah! I do have common sense so I'm not totally complaining.

I love smart people. Not just book smart but everyday smart and specialized smart and people that have just one interest that they know a whole whole bunch about.

I don't have much patience with stupid.

And stupid doesn't necessarily mean no book smarts. I've met a few book smart people that couldn't find their way out of a paper bag.

With three kids I've gotten to experience three totally different brains. When I was pregnant with the third I kept saying I didn't care if it was a boy or a girl- truthfully I didn't want to know. (Thanks, Amy, for spoiling that surprise!) But mostly I was curious about who would we get. Personality. Brains.

Probably one of my most favorite pics of this kid.
Even with the giant diamond in his ear.

The first kid, the Big Guy, is a musical whiz. He can play anything by ear. He learned how to read music but he doesn't. In that respect he's just like my brother, Paul. Paul could sing and play anything,  a trait that I was always totally jealous of. I can't carry a tune in a basket. Zero musical talent. None. Big Guy got it all.
But Big Guy can't do math. He learns it, then it just goes...I can't tell you how many math classes he repeated in high school but it was a lot. One semester of algebra was repeated three or four times. He was privately tutored twice a week for math from the time he was in fourth grade until he graduated from high school. Year round. I thought music was supposed to help kids with math? Not in his case.

First time surfing, got up right away.
Same with snowboarding, skate boarding, etc, etc. 
Natural athlete.

Then came Belle. A mover and shaker from four months. Literally. Set her on the floor at four months plus one day and turned my back. She rolled from one room to another. And never stopped after that. Belle didn't crawl, she rolled. Then at 8 months she walked. At 8 months and one week, she ran. She could climb anything. We had to nail the dressers to the walls. She had gross motor skills AND fine motor skills from the get-go. At one year old I could put her in her car seat, drive thirty minutes and she would still be in the seat, but her shoes would be unlaced and then re-laced in an entertaining if not exactly correct order. Every sport came easy to her from bikes to horses to surfboards and soccer.

Belle could recite the entire Golden Book of Cinderella at the age of 3. Word for word. That book has about 30 pages, it's not a board book. But Belle struggled with letter sounds. I knew she wasn't reading but it took her teachers a bit to realize it. She could "fake read" so well.  Belle is dyslexic. And I cannot tell you how many times she has amazed me with her logic and ability to see the same situation that I see in an entirely different way. It's like she comes with the ability to see something from the back rather than head on like the rest of us.  She still memorizes like a champ. It's a really handy quality. She's a great waitress because of it.

Bunny can bake. That's a math and chemistry thing.
Once she told me she was going to make crepes. 
I warned her that people tried for years to perfect making crepes, plus we didn't have a crepe pan.
No problem. 
She followed the recipe and they were easily some of the best I'd ever had.

Last we had Bunny, that third kid. At first I didn't really notice in the chaos of three kids and moving  from one house to another, that she was talking in full sentences at 11 months. She could sing the alphabet song all the way through, correctly, about the same time. At 3 she taught herself to read. From about 6 to 8 she played a game where she could look at a word and tell me if it had an odd or even number of letters in it, faster than I could count the letters myself. Big words. "Neighborhood". We would see words on a sign  and she would shout "Even" before I could even finish reading it out loud. She might not have known how to spell the word but she could certainly tell me how many letters it had. And she was NEVER wrong. She eventually tested out as Gifted and Talented in math and science.
BUT!! "Left" and "right" are concepts that still challenge. (Although, thankfully not so much since she has started driving.) And if it wasn't for her sister, she would have been dead a million times because she could NOT remember to look before crossing the street or to not walk in the middle of the road.

Could these three kids have been any different? Totally different brains. Totally different thought processes.

Challenges but also compensations.

And then I was talking to a friend of mine whose mother has Alzheimer's. What an awful awful disease, slowly robbing victims of their memories, their mobility, their lives.

Her mom has been diagnosed for quite a few years now and had gotten to the point where she was pretty much immobilized. The home had her in a wheelchair. She didn't walk.

Last fall she had a few seizures.

Seizures are uncontrolled electrical impulses in the brain.   And guess what?

Now her mom is dancing. And walking.



For those of you getting this by email, the video may not show.
Click here for the link.

Isn't that amazing???

Brains. A never ending source of wonder.

21 June 2015

Happy Father's Day!!!

Happy Father's Day!!

A very special happy Father's Day to my dad, Stewart L. "Roy" Nelson.

Love you very much.

Is that an 80's wedding dress or what???
And isn't that a handsome dad?

Happy Father's Day to all the daddies out there who support, love and raise their kids.   Good job. 


17 June 2015

FIBArk 2015

FIBArk 2015...

I've talked about FIBArk before. First in Boating the Arkansas (River)
Here is last year's post:


FIBArk: It's a Party!  June 2014

FIBArk: First in Boating the Arkansas 

Today is the start of FIBArk.

What's FIBArk, you ask?

First in Boating the Arkansas (River) is the nation's oldest whitewater festival. And it's held right here in my backyard of Salida, Colorado.

From the official FIBArk website a brief history:

The FIBArk boat races started June 19, 1949 when six boats entered the Arkansas River in Salida on their treacherous 57 mile run to Canon City through the vertical cliffs of the Royal Gorge Canyon. Fueled by the spring snow pack runoff from the mountains of the Continental Divide and 5 or 6 feet above normal level, the river water ripped down the canyon creating tremendous currents and boiling rapids where the valley walls narrow and the river floor drops.

Only two boaters finished the race that year and the following year the course was shortened to 45 miles. Only one person finished the second year.  In the interest of keeping the contestants alive, the race was shortened again to 25.7 miles for the third year. It is still the longest whitewater race in the U.S..

And probably the most fun. The entire town turns out for four days + of races, parades, beer, and music. And maybe just a little pot.

Thursday evening is the Tenderfoot Hill Climb.  Remember my drive to the top of S Mountain last week? Runners start at the base of the mountain and run STRAIGHT UP, then back down again.  And they do it in less than 12 minutes. It's amazing. I get out of breath just watching. 

Runners heading STRAIGHT up to the top of Tenderfoot/S Mountain.
Photo by Matt Kroschel/The Mountain Mail

Friday starts with a Pancake Breakfast, followed by races in the river, a carnival and live music in the park.  At night there is dancing on the grass in front of the bands.

Saturday morning there are 5 and 10k running races followed by the parade down F Street. I LOVE a small town parade. Candy is thrown to the kids. There are firetrucks and police cars, the mayor and the Shriners. So much fun and it makes me feel like I am in 1950's America.

 Veterans proudly march.

People line the street for the parade down F Street.

All day long there are more water races and then at 5:30 there is the Hooligan Race. Anything that floats (and lots that don't) can "race" down the river in front of a screaming and cheering crowd. O yea- no actual boats are allowed. Most contestants end up in the water, most floats end up disintegrating. 

 River Rat

 There's a very large bridge support in the middle of the river these guys are trying to avoid.

A prison break? 
Nope, just a Hooligan float.

Then more music in the park. And dancing. The air is heavy with smoke...a contact high is possible. 
Beer and wine are served. Babies dance.  Gray haired couples dance. Teenagers dance. All are welcome. As the night goes on, the girls get prettier, the guys get more handsome, the party gets louder.  Last year we wisely took a hotel in town just so we wouldn't have to drive home with the rowdies. Don't have one this year but I figure the girls have friends in town to stay with and I won't be out late. 

Music at Riverside Park.
Not even dark and already the photos are blurry.

The actual downriver races are on Sunday. There's a river dog contest. And more music. 

By 6pm, things are wrapped up, the whole party is over. 

This year I confess to seeing it more from a local's point of view than in previous years. I went into town today and stocked up at the grocery and ran all my errands. I'm not interested in trying to fight the crowds over the next four days if I don't have to. And already I am weary  of the drivers not familiar with the canyon road that I drive every day. It's a narrow road, river on one side, mountain on the other. Each direction has one lane.  Nervous drivers tend to straddle the middle yellow line. That would work if it were a straight road, but it isn't. Not at all.  I dodged two cars today-both coming at me in my lane- on my way into town. 

Nevertheless, I am still excited for the fun to come. 

An Update:

Taylor Stack, 15 and the current owner of our baby chicks, won the Tenderfoot Hill Climb with a time of 10 minutes, 39 seconds. The second place runner came in at 11 minutes 7 seconds which means Taylor was hauling butt up and down that hill. Even more impressive, he didn't even look like he had broken a sweat doing it. Just came running across the finish line like it was a stroll in the park. Amazing. Especially when you consider he was running at an altitude of about 7000 feet. 
(And he was only 7 seconds off the all time record speed of 10 min 32 seconds set back in 2006.)


FIBArk is one of my favorite things about Salida.   Four days of partying in the middle of town. Rides, races and music.  I LOVE the music. What's not to love about people of all ages dancing in the grass next to a beautiful river under the watchful eye of a giant "S" while free, live music is playing? Seriously!

So FIBArk starts on Thursday.

I will be experiencing it from a different aspect this year because I will be working during the days.
It should be busy, don't think I will really care.    I can still go into town for the music at night and hopefully will make it into town in time to watch the run up S Mountain.   Sunday I can still watch the racers come under the bridge in my little town.

But this year the river is high. REALLY high.  For the first time since they started having it, the Hooligan Race will be cancelled.  That's a really smart move. Two rafters were lost last week in our area of the Arkansas River. An 11 year old boy and a 52 year old man.   Absolutely no reason to put a bunch of partiers in make-shift rafts on a river that dangerous.

Here's a little video of the river to give you an idea of how fast and high and WILD it is:

If by chance this video does not show up, click here.
And excuse the sideways view. Didn't look like that on my iPhone!

Basically there are trees and logs and Lord knows what else floating in the river. So if the rushing water doesn't carry you away, the debris will pull you under.

Hoping this weekend will be a fun and safe time. Best wishes to all the water participants.

I'm gonna stick with the music!

15 June 2015

O My Goodness.


Somewhere around the end of May I just lost interest.

Probably a bit coinciding with work starting full time but also just a by-product of not having time or money or locale to work on my list. 

Everything is just on the back burner.

I think I will pick up speed again in July. Once I figure out exactly what I am doing and where I will be.

Until then, I have a garden update.

I have volunteers.   I could tell when we bought this place five years ago that there had been beautiful gardens. But the cabin had been empty for 3 or 4 years before we bought it. Then for three years, we didn't live here full time.  The gardens suffered.

Lots of rain and an application of fertilizer has changed all of that.   Plants that I didn't know existed are now blooming. Thriving. Growing.

It's wonderful.

First off the irises.

O my goodness! They are just gorgeous.  I don't know their official names but these giant purple ones are breath taking. The insides are lined with yellow fuzzies. I've been cutting them and taking them into work. So pretty.

And the big surprise was the yellow irises.  I knew there had been purple ones. That first year a couple had bloomed but I thought they needed dividing or were too old or something. Never had I seen the yellow ones. But here they are this year.

The yellow ones are in three different spots in the yard. Yet I never knew I had yellow irises. 

The daisies made an appearance last year but this year they are back in full force.

Don't they look happy?
I love these little daisies. 
Sometimes they grab a flower or two. 
I can share. A little.

My peonies. Well. I'm making progress. They are making progress.  At first I was just getting a few leaves. Last year they were divided and moved and fertilized. A few more leaves.  This year one of the plants is starting to look like a plant. I still don't see how it will have a flower, seems too insignificant to hold up a huge bloom. But maybe. Crossing my fingers and holding my breath.

Maybe I should go out and read "The Little Engine that Could" to these guys.
I think I can. I think I can.
Just one lovely peony? 

And the most amazing volunteer of all. This guy showed up last year and had one giant alien eye bloom. (We left town before the rest of the pods opened.) I had no idea what it was. I was pretty sure I was reliving "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". This year I am even more sure of it. I mean, seriously. Look at that thing. Pod people. 

Turns out it's just a poppy plant. Not something I have ever seen in Texas. Can't wait until I have a bunch of those red alien eyes staring in my window.

And not of the volunteer variety, but actually one from the list. No. 39: Grow a vegetable from scratch.  My potato plants. Up and doing their thing.


02 June 2015


Back...sort of.

Did ya miss me?  

I'm surfacing again after a week or so of being bogged down.  

For one I suddenly started working full time at the coffee shop which, while lovely and fun,  also has been a huge shock to my system.  I haven't worked full time in TWENTY THREE YEARS!!!

Me and the espresso machine. 
Best buds.

I've been exhausted. And poor Carlos is left at home alone so I spend the hours when I come home playing fetch and "drop it" and all those other fun dog games.

"Throw dis for me mama, please."
Carlos is modeling his Thundershirt
Amazingly it works. Keeps him from totally panicking when it thunders.
If you were in a car when it was hit by lightning, you might have a fear of thunder and lightning too.

There was high school graduation- no one in our family but certainly plenty of the girly girls' friends. So presents and cards had to be procured, graduation outfits shopped and, of course, attendance at the actual event. It was just as fun as last year.  Congrats to all the 2015 Salida High School graduates.

Hey Ruth! Hi Kelsey!
Good job everyone.

And I am doing nothing, nada, zippo towards completing my challenges.

Hardly even thinking about them.

This weekend I go to Denver.  Seeing a play on Saturday night. Meeting up with Bunny who will be flying home from a week with her sister in Florida. Picking up a car that  has been worked on in Colorado Springs.

I'll get back to the list eventually.

Until then, bear with me.

Happy Summer.