28 June 2013

Friday Funny

More links to make you blink...


Cookie Monster!

Good eye.


What cut ups!

Good grief.

All kinds of awesome.

Oh, my gosh cute! Pricey, but so, so cute.

Some of these are so funny, I can't stop laughing!

Too funny!

Now if this doesn't make you smile, NOTHING will!

27 June 2013

Glacier Peak

Cinquefoil and Alpine Sunflowers near Glacier Peak

21 July 2007

Yet another late night, so I can't write everything I want to write. I've been working on photos ever since we got home from climbing Glacier Peak. Computer problems abound. They magnified when I started trying to make a girls camp slideshow. At least my photo downloads went well.

It's been a really fun day. We started out with the goal of Whale Peak once again, but weather moved in, and we had to cut the hike short. Whale Peak was just across the ridge. I think we could have done it in about an hour. Well, The Lizard could have done it in about 10 minutes. But he saved it to go up with me another day.

We had to run back to the car the last half mile or so because the lightning was getting so close. It's awesome to hear it echoing off the mountains when you're in a bowl, but it sure scares the devil out of you when the count between flash and boom is less than 10 seconds.

The wildflowers on our hike were spectacular. I always get excited when I find a new flower I've never seen before, and today I found two. Top that off with an elk stampede witnessed from about 1,000 feet above, all caught on video, too.

I haven't used the movie feature on the Fuji camera too often, so I'm never sure how movies will turn out. This one came out great, considering I was at about 12,000 feet, breathless not just due to the altitude but seeing that many elk in one place moving in unison, too. Absolutely breathtaking!

25 June 2013

Wordless Wednesday

My Flower Bed by Jeanne A. Hurt

Detail of My Flower Bed by Jeanne A. Hurt

March of the Umbrella Flowers by Janet Fogg

Detail of March of the Umbrella Flowers by Janet Fogg

Bloom Where You're Planted by Nancy Staton

I Only Had One Color in My Paint Box by Lynn Jaenke

Detail of Bloom Where You're Planted by Nancy Staton

Columbine and Ferns by Annette Kennedy

Paradise Rainbow Basket by Torie Anderson

Second Chance by Barb Broshous

Detail of Second Chance by Barb Broshous

Detail of Second Chance by Barb Broshous

Inside the Garden Gate by Michael Kashey

Detail of Inside the Garden Gate by Michael Kashey

Hydrangeas by Sandi Moore

Detail of Hydrangeas by Sandi Moore

Hydrangeas by Sandi Moore

Handcart Peak, Teller Mountain and Point 12,624

Extreme Hoof Skiing on Handcart

14 July 2007

We did it! We summited Handcart, Teller and two other mountains that probably go by numbers instead of names. Beautiful day. Lot of time spent way up high. We followed the ridge around the bowl, and we saw a ton of mountain goats. None up close, unfortunately. These guys don't see too many humans, and the ones they do see are either on machines making lots of noise or carrying machines that kill animals. So they were pretty darned nervous about us being up there.

That was the one annoying part of the day. Lots of four-wheelers. All but one seemed polite and friendly, but the noise began wearing on me.

For the first couple of hours, we had the place to ourselves. We had no trail to follow, so it was akin to what the pioneers may have experienced. Then all of a sudden the hills were crawling with motorcycles, jeeps and quads.

I skipped one of the summits on the ridge because I was tired. It may have been the tallest one. I wanted to do Whale Peak. But I was tired, and we weren't sure the weather was going to hold. We probably could have done it. But I don't mind that we have to go back again. Very pretty place, even with the noise.

We had tossed around a bunch of ideas for today and opted for Handcart Peak because it's close, we didn't think it would be too crowded, and it would be a new area for both of us. I thought it would be cool because Pioneer Day is coming up.

We had thought about Humboldt, Kit Carson, Mount Hope, the Keyhole on Longs, Sunshine, Wild Horse, Cirque, the knife edge on Torreys or riding up Mount Evans. Hopefully we will end up doing some or all of the above at some point this year. We're running out of summer weekends already, believe it or not.

Editor's 2013 Note: We went on to climb four 14ers in 2007, including Sunshine, but nothing else on this day's list made the calendar that year.

Alpine Sunflowers and a visitor on Handcart Peak

24 June 2013

Snowflake Monday

Another round of snowflake rocks for the garden...

I keep finding more wonderful blue flowers, and I put snowflake rocks around where I plant the seeds so I can remember where to water. Plus, once the plants do grow, the crochet on the rocks (which did indeed last through last summer's extremely harsh drought and this year's winter and spring storms) helps modify summer temperature at ground level just a wee bit and retains moisture through the hot summer sun. Add to that how pretty they look in my newly xeriscaped* rock garden and how neighbors react to my unique front yard... Now you know why I keep making snowflake rocks for my garden!

Snowy Snowflake Rocks

* Xeriscaping is landscaping requiring less water than a grass lawn and minimizing run-off. The term was coined right here in Denver while I was still living in an arid area of New Mexico, and I learned there how to choose appropriate plants and build berms on sloped landscapes to reduce or prevent erosion.

Before we took out our grass (which wouldn't grow in our native clay anyway and which I was horribly allergic to), we were using quite a bit of water via sprinkler three times a week (water restrictions during drought conditions) in a wasted effort at trying to make the lawn green. Now, with our xeriscaping, designed by me and featuring mostly drought- and heat-tolerant plants, I use three gallons of water a day (in a watering can) to help our new plants get established.

As long as we don't have drought conditions like last year, I shouldn't have to water as frequently next summer if my lavender, salvia, forget-me-nots, daisies and asters develop good root systems this year. I never have to water my pampas grass, day lilies, hyacinths, grape hyacinths, tulips and irises, and we never have to use the inefficient sprinkler system now.

I got the idea for the crocheted rocks for the garden from cycling jerseys, believe it or not. Jerseys are not made of cotton because cotton soaks up sweat and keeps it right next to the skin, muggy and miserable. If cotton does that to skin, I thought, perhaps it might have the same effect in the garden. My theory appears to be correct. Rain from a storm still saturates the crochet on the rocks several hours after the sun comes out. The plants seem to love the humidity created by the covered rocks, too.

Oh, and I LOVE spending time in my front yard now. Every day!

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!

Puff, the Magic Snowflake

Frozen Crocodile Tears

Many Many Thunders

Victoria Blue Salvia

Blue My Mind

Day Lily and Hyacinth

Day Lily

Finished Size: 1st Snowflake, 1.5 inches from point to point, 2nd Snowflake, 2.25 inches from point to point, 3rd Snowflake, 2.5 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 8 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, water soluble school glue or desired stiffener, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

Garden Snowflake 5

Garden Snowflake 5 Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: 12 sc in ring; sl st in starting sc. Pull magic circle tight, but leave opening big enough to allow stitches inside it to lay flat.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), * 1 dc in next sc, ch 3, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook (small picot made), ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook (large picot made), ch 2, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook (small picot made), ch 1, 1 dc in next dc; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; bind off. Weave in ends.

Garden Snowflake 6

Garden Snowflake 6 Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc in ring, ch 3, * 3 dc in ring, ch 3; repeat from * around 4 times; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2. Pull magic circle tight, but leave opening big enough to allow stitches inside it to lay flat.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), *1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 1 dc in same sp, ch 5, 1 dc in same sp, ch 3, 1 dc in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; bind off. Weave in ends.

Garden Snowflake 7

Garden Snowflake 7 Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: 6 sc in ring; sl st in starting sc. Don't pull magic circle too tight.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in same sc, * 2 dc in next sc, ch 3, 2 dc in same sc; repeat from * around 4 times; 2 dc in same sc as starting dc, ch 3, sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 3: Ch 5 (counts as 1 dc and ch 3), sl st in 3rd ch from hook (picot made), * 3 dc in next ch 3 sp, [ch 3, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook (sc picot made), ch 1, 3 dc in same sp] 2 times, ch 3, sl st in 3rd ch from hook (picot made); repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last dc and last picot of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 5 below starting picot; bind off. Weave in ends.

Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch the snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

Blue Me Away

22 June 2013

Goin' Home

2013 Ride the Rockies Finish Line

15 June 2013
Ride the Rockies, Day 7
Canon City to Colorado Springs
48 miles

Taking a day off yesterday may have been a really good thing, and for more than just the cough that isn't so bad now.

It was much easier to sit in the saddle today, and it's not because everything has healed up perfectly. It just wasn't as irritated today.

However, I also learned a very important lesson today. I've been forgetting to take my hyaluronic acid almost every day because I've been too focused on making sure I have everything I need each day, pedaling for what feels like all day every day and trying to get to sleep each night so we can get up at 4 a.m. and not feel thoroughly exhausted.

Disc pain today was significant. I didn't do anything to aggravate it, so it's got to be the HA. Which means... the miracle drug works!!!

Twice today I was in tears because the damaged disc was so painful. Never again will I forget my HA. I've discovered it's the new most important thing I pack for a weeklong trip. It's my new most important routine that must not be forgotten!

On the bright side, The Lizard gave me back rubs that really helped whenever I needed them during today's ride. Nothing like a personal masseuse on a hot bike ride! As I recall, I felt a difference within three days when I first began taking the HA last year. So by Monday, I should be fine. (Author's Note: It took until Tuesday, but I'm fine now.)

The Lizard rode with me most of the day today, and that was awesome. There were some icky cobblestone-like roads, and my saddle wasn't too happy about that. But the day off the bike made bumps more bearable, and today was the first time I've ever reached the final destination before closing festivities officially begin.

We didn't have as many wildflowers alongside the road today. We were lower in elevation than we've been all week, and the heat and drought have affected all the growth. There is more brown and yellow here than green.

Bull thistle is at peak outside of Colorado Springs. I want to go back and collect the flowers to keep them from spreading (they are considered a noxious weed in Colorado) and to dye some yarn with them. I'm curious what color they would produce.

When you arrive in the final host town early, family and friends who've gathered to cheer on their favorite cyclists haven't grown weary of cheering and ringing cowbells yet. The welcome we received in Colorado Springs as we crossed the finish line was one of the best I can remember! When The Lizard grabbed my hand for the finish line photo, the crowd really let out a whoop, and tears filled my sunglasses-covered eyes because I was so happy to be done!

The End!

One Tired Cyclist

Finish Line

Finish Line

Typically, even when I'm sore, I'm sad to see Ride the Rockies end. The week goes by too fast, and I feel as if I sped through a whole week of vacation.

This year, I'm so happy to have finished all but one day, and I'm so glad we don't have to sleep in a tent tonight!

I'm glad I get to cook our dinner tonight instead of eat out. I'm glad I don't have to slather on sunscreen tomorrow. I'm glad I don't have to wear mole skin tomorrow. I'm so thankful for air conditioning! And no alarm tomorrow. No sirree! I'm sleeping until noon!!! (Not really, but it sure is nice to fantasize about!)

I've decided Ride the Rockies is a lot more fun if I've adequately trained.

This was a fun week, and I enjoyed the ride and the awesome scenery. I rode stronger than last year, when I also inadequately trained, thanks to the March bicycle accident that left me with a broken wrist, a cracked vertebra and six weeks off the bike. Being in the "hot seat" almost all this week, though, has diminished some of this year's pleasure, even though this pain is much preferable to the back pain I endured last year. I'm not sure I could have done anything differently this year, but I can take this lesson into next year and hopefully gain from the experience.


Everyone at work loved this!

Yes, I used sunscreen.  Every. Day.

We opted for a circuitous and scenic mountain route home instead of the easy one-hour jaunt up I-25 to avoid smoke from the Black Forest fire because I'm still coughing so much. Even though we bypassed Monument and Castle Rock, our hearts go out in full to the hundreds who lost their homes this week and the family of the two who lost their lives.

When we first rounded the corner on our street after the long drive home, the first thing I noticed was my gorgeous delphiniums. Four radiant blooming stalks, and all are different shades, even though they were all the same color when I bought them.

The flowers I planted from seeds – columbine, foxglove, lupine, hollyhocks, poppies, windflowers and bachelor buttons – have all begun sprouting and budding. I see what looks like dandelions growing in a few places, and now that I've seen chicory along the roadside for a solid week, I am going to wait to pluck these because they might not be weeds after all.

The neighbors who cared for our yard while we were gone said we hit 100 degrees one day last week, so they watered the garden a second time that day. We have a ton of smelly laundry to wash, but boy, oh, boy, is it good to be home!

California Poppy

golden poppy

First Day Lilies of the year.  What color will they be???

fade to lavender

bluest blue

Canon City to Colorado Springs

Day 7

21 June 2013

City of Dreams

Canon City Sunset

14 June 2013
Flag Day
Ride the Rockies, Day 6
Salida to Canyon City
0 miles

I sagged today.

And I cried because I elected to sag.


Cypher in the Soot

Bicycle SAG


The Shuttle to Canon City

Predawn Cyclist Gets Pass by Shuttle

The sun peeks over the hills.

One of the first things I noticed when I got off the bus this morning was a poster advertising the need for foster parents. Oh, the memories, in this, the very town in which I gained a daughter...

Message in a Bottle
Did that; adopted one of yours.

Back in 1993, my first husband and I adopted a 10-year-old boy, Taz. We were his foster parents for five years; his complicated adoption took that long.

I wanted a daughter. I prayed for a daughter.

One day, a Wednesday's Child in the other Denver newspaper (there were two back then) described a 7-year-old girl with many of the same circumstances and difficulties my adopted son had experienced. I thought she'd be a good match because I thought I knew by then what I was doing. I was experienced! I was a therapeutic foster parent, and I was pretty good at managing severe stuff.

Later in the day, a co-worker brought me a clipping of that same Wednesday's Child. She thought the girl was a perfect match for me.

So that night, I asked the husband. The then 12-year marriage had never been strong and fulfilling and had been deteriorating at a more rapid pace since the adoption. Responsibility and he just didn't get along. He said no. So I let go of the dream.

Until the following Sunday, when my bishop gave me a copy of that very same Wednesday's Child.

I knew it had to be. Without consulting the husband again, I applied to become foster parent to a little girl in Canon City in need of a permanent home.

We and two other families were selected to meet the little girl, Raz, on three separate weekends and spend a day with her in Canon City. The husband was not thrilled, but Taz was bursting at the seams over the possibility of a little sister.

We had a good visit with Raz. We hiked up a waterfall, we had lunch together, and she and Taz seemed to bond instantly.

One of the other families was selected. I let go of the dream once again. The husband decided to let go of the marriage. We separated. Taz and I moved to Denver alone.

A few weeks later, I got a call from Raz' caseworker. The selected family was military and received orders for outside the country. They decided, due to special needs, not to take Raz. Was I still interested?

Without telling the caseworker my current situation, I agreed to pick up Raz at the home of her foster grandparent in Silver Cliff the following weekend. My bedroom in my tiny apartment became hers, and I slept in the living room until a three-bedroom apartment became available.

During our first official home study, I disclosed the ugly secret. Raz' caseworker blew a fuse. She said she had not followed this child for seven years to watch her go to a broken home. Yet she allowed me to keep Raz because of the progress I'd made with Taz and because of the bond between Taz and Raz. The caseworker said she would watch me like a hawk.

One short year later, I adopted Raz alone, as a single parent.

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is my connection to Canon City.

The cyclists begin arriving.

Inflatable Agent Orange

The nice thing about sagging today is I got to see The Lizard pedal into town. The only time I ever get to see him pedal into town is during the Triple Bypass, because I can't ride that one.

I was so excited to see him, I forgot to take a photo! He's been craving ice cold pop every day, so I met him with a big, cold, icy soda, and he downed the entire thing almost immediately!

Because I was one of the first riders in town, I got just about the best tent site ever. While waiting on the other side of the school for The Lizard, our tent got moved. No note, so we didn't know why. Tonight we received a voice mail that was sent when the tent was moved but not delivered in this city of signal weak until many hours later explaining I'd parked in a no-parking zone before volunteers had a chance to put up the no-parking signs.

Prime Real Estate

Waiting for the Last Baggage Truck

After bedtime, we moved our tent to a better location and wound up with the best spot we've had all week, the only tent on the concrete between two buildings. Total quiet, total isolation, no foot traffic and a good, solid sleeping surface with no bugs.

A Baby Visitor!



What a beautiful flower!

Roses, Roses

Before retiring for the night, we visited a yarn shop, a quilt shop and a bike shop. The Lizard picked a yard of Kokopelli fabric for a new bandana, and then he found a lizard family I got to stalk and shoot before rain set in once again. More help for the firefighters, I hope.

Many of the volunteers here have family members fighting the fires. All of the bike security volunteers but one are fighting the fires, and the lone remaining security volunteer is manning the bike corral through the night by himself.

The town of Florence, which the riders went through today on the reroute and which we will pedal through again tomorrow, had planned to use whatever ride funds they raise for their own non-profit organizations. Now they are donating everything they take in to the firefighters.

The smoke today is not as bad, but reminders of what is happening are everywhere.

Baggage Trucks

The Sherpa Service in Action

More Sherpa Action

Up go the Tents

Canon City Bike Corral

Canon City Sunset

Canon City Sunset
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