Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Watermelon Seed Spitting


That's a life skill, right?

Rhetta had her Girl Scout kick-off meeting and is one excited little girl. She had gone to sleep talking about registration and it was the first thing she said when she opened her eyes the next morning, making her Daddy giggle since he was the one waking her up.

She is a new Brownie and has already earned her first patch (not badge, patch.) I promised her I'd show her how to attach it to her uniform which made us both realize we don't know what the Brownie uniform looks like. Is it a sash or a vest? I don't know! Couldn't have changed that much since I was a Girl Scout, could it have? In fact, I think it's less uniform than in the old days when we had dresses and hats and sashes. We got all of our uniforms at Goodwill-ies. They had a rack of them so lots of sizes and styles to choose from. I can't think I've ever seen a GS uniform in a thrift store around here. Maybe we can make her one! I think she'd like that.

While people were arriving the kids ate watermelon with express instructions to save their seeds for spitting. Rhetta had spent some time going from one huddle of girls to another trying to make friends. I let her do that until she decided to sit by herself, not really giving up but done socializing, then I steered her to her troop so she could sit with them. After snacking and carefully saving their seeds they all gathered into a circle for introductions.

She did so well with her public speaking. Gathered were several troops from our area of the county. They began by (re)learning the three fingered salute. Then each girl spoke in turn their name, where they're from and what they are looking forward to. Rhetta didn't need any direction. She spoke clearly and loud enough for everyone to hear her name and town and said, "I love to have fun with all my new friends." So sweet. I told her later how proud I was of how well she spoke and she said, "Momma? Did I enunciate?" I said, yes she enunciated very well (this from a conversation they have frequently on the school bus). She asked, "Am I well?" LOL Yes, you are well but being well is different from doing something well. Such things spark interesting conversations.

After the introductions were through they separated into groups which then formed in circles around some hula hoops set out flat on the ground. On a signal from their leader they commenced spitting as many seeds as possible in a set time limit into their hula hoops. The group with the most seeds in their hoop won. It's all in fun as everyone got a prize and a patch, and got to spit. One girl was very serious about her spitting. She had sat practicing before the meet and greet by standing some distance away from her friend who held a paper plate. She would then aim for the plate, hit her target, and ask the girl to back up a pace and start again. I was very impressed at her accuracy! Girls crack me up sometimes.

So we have a Brownie now with spitting skills and she couldn't be happier to be a part of a "club". I wonder what patch comes next, Booger Flinging?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Had I Taken a Camera...

This would be a picture of the huge isolated thunderhead that met us at the top of the rise on our drive west out Sawmill Mesa on the Uncompahgre this afternoon. The view toward sundown was sprawling with juniper and piñon, and the storm was changing rapidly before our eyes. Lightning was striking out of the center of that behemoth with no clear goal but to freak us the shit out.

This would be a picture of the exact spot I got my old Chevy truck stuck in the mud while traveling that road during another, much rainier season. Rhetta was still a little thing and we had to abandon the truck and walk back to town. Rob and I took turns carrying her while we slugged through the ever deepening muddy slush. We stopped at times under the juniper to get out of the rain and hoped beyond hope we would not be struck by lightning. We hiked for miles and miles this way until we came to a spot that was sunny but still slick with mud, and to our surprise a truckload of people coming up out a canyon that spurred off the main road. We hailed them and caught a ride back to town. Rob and his dad later went back to pick up my truck and in a miracle moment Rob spotted one of the trees under which we sought shelter and there sitting on a rock was Rhetta's purple and yellow sippy cup we had left behind unknowingly the day before. (Rob has informed me my memory of this isn't entirely accurate, that we knew the cup was missing and went right to it and that it wasn't his dad but a co-worker named Matt who took him out there two weeks later to get my truck. Huh.)

This would be a picture of a natural wetland used for a stock pond during the cattle drives in the spring and fall. The pond was circular with even concentric circles of starting from the outside: prairie grass, peppermint, water hemlock, reeds and some kind of floating broad leaf plant the kids called lily pads. We weren't really paying attention to what all was growing there until we actually stepped into the mint and the scent thus released nearly knocked us over. Then once we got to looking at it all very closely it was apparent we weren't treading on mere weeds and we began a short catalog of everything we could identify.

This would be a stunning picture of the sun shining through the top of the shrub oak w/acorns hidden among the foliage as they are still green.

This would be a picture of Willon excitedly pointing out a very large cow pie.

This would be a picture of the family holding hands hiking away from the camera up a steep hill on the Cabin Bench Trail No. 125.

Lastly, this would be a picture of a huge, maybe 20 feet tall tree truck, dead and free of bark still showing char marks from the lightning that killed it who knows how long ago. It's bigger around than I can wrap my arms and the soft silver of weathered wood. It's surrounded by young Ponderosa pines and scrub oak but looking up from the base they are nearly invisible to the bright blue sky above and sunlight pouring out from behind on all sides.

P.S. In the course of writing this I learned why trodding is not a word.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Said, He Said.

I said, "Get your FEET down, and don't spill your cereal."

He said, "I was just eating it upside DOWN, and I'm OK with that."

Then I made him reenact it for a picture.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Still 4

I know. Unbelievable, right?

Willon started his second year of preschool today. He looks, speaks and reads like a 6 year old. However he still acts like a 4 year old so a 4 year old he will remain.


He wanted me to show you his new backpack.


Say "Bees Knees"

Another fun photo shoot brought to you by the goofiest kids on our block.

My Very Own 3rd Grader

Happy first day of school, Sweetie. Shine like I know you can.

I am going to miss you something awful.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

C'est Magnifique!

I finished a stack of those ruffled skirts I mentioned. I missed getting a shot of the sweetest 19 mo. old model by not having my camera on me at the time. But here they are, in all their ruffles. This fabric was delovely to work with. Easy peasy, really. It was my first time sewing gathers with the serger and they came out bee-youtifull.



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

7 Years Quit

My Stats (QuitNet):

Your Quit Date is: 8/9/2004 12:00:00 PM

Time Smoke-Free: 2555 days, 22 hours, 31 minutes and 36 seconds

Cigarettes NOT smoked: 51,119

Lifetime Saved: 13 months, 11 hours

Money Saved: $5,623.20 (then), $14,313.60 (today's prices)

For anyone interested, my start date was roughly July 1981. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Cupcake Oven Mitts

I got a pattern called Hot Cakes at a quilt shop called Nana's in Old Colorado City, CO. I also grabbed some fat quarters which I have long since turned into other fun things, plus some extra for "the stash", but I digress.

I was so excited to get some of these done up I neglected to leave anything for the seam allowance. I'm telling you right now it turned out OK but I won't forget next time. Woe it is though when you crank out the pieces for 10 pairs before you notice. They aren't too small to use and they are selling so I am not going to complain!

You can see the size here with Rhetta as my hand model and then myself as the model (I have big hands, just so you know).



They were super fun to make. I varied the stitching on the cup halves and changed up the prints for mismatched pairs. They're a real hit with the folks at the farmers' market. My daughter also loves them and picked out a pair for herself.


This one turned out my favorite. Not just because of the color scheme but I think because it looks like chocolate. I cannot stop myself around chocolate cupcakes!


The next batch will be the proper size, I swear, and a friend gave me a great idea for embellishment. Look for that update soon.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Sometimes Rhetta chooses to crash on the couch. Sometimes she stays up late because of that. Sometimes because of staying up late she sleeps in.

Her sweetest brother misses her when she's sleeping. He was very quiet however and rather than wake her up by trying to share her spot he went and got a matching pillow and his own blanket.

He whispered to me from his spot on the floor, "I'll just be right here until she wakes up."


Friday, August 5, 2011

Pickin' in the Park in Paonia Part 1

Tonight we saw another awesome free concert at the Paonia Town Park. An incredibly gifted and unique funk band called the March Fourth Marching Band came out from Portland, OR and blasted us into a funkadelic fun time.

It was a whole lot too loud for the kids' tastes so it is lucky for us (regardless of what day we go) the park has an engaging, well designed, sensory oriented playground. Rob and I took turns going to the stage while Rhetta and Willon had a few hours of outdoor mayhem.

Here's the band and some of the stilt dancers at the beginning of the show.



Their poster I liked very much. 20 members on the road. Even more on the poster. Every one of them a different talent and personality. High energy and highly cacophonous yet blended beautifully into an organized, well-working, musical, rhythmic machine. My kind of folks!


Rhetta enjoyed a bird's eye view from the crow's nest.


Willon wouldn't hardly be still.


Very much like Herman the Blur now that I think about it. (The stage is but a distant blur itself. See it there at the pinnacle of the merry-go-round.)


And so, here is a snippet of some of that fabulous energy.

Herman the Blur


I have tried every setting possible on my camera to capture this adorable creature so you can see just how freakin' cute he is to no avail. Either he is too fast or my camera doesn't have the right settings, or quite possibly I suck with this camera. Whatever the reason I decided a short video would suffice. Notice how the only time he sits still is with his little butt toward me? Yeah, I see how it is.

Plus a quick one of him and his best friend... Lola... heh.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Clever Boy

Willon and I spent some quality time in the back yard this morning while Rhetta slept in a little. We looked at everything blooming and inspected all the different vegetables. We ate ripe yellow cherry tomatoes and squished some squash bugs. We took the compost to the chickens and he fed them some cracked corn. The yard is so enchanting in the early sunlight after a rain.

Nothing is more enchanting however than a cute, clever little boy.

Willon came across a dry spot in the wood chips. He stood inside it and postulated thusly (Cross my heart, I just stood there listening):

"Look, Momma! A dry spot? How did it get here (looking around for a possible source)? Hmm... maybe it was an umbrella." He punctuated this with raised eyebrows.

He then looked down and proceeded to turn in place, inspecting it all the way around, and around, and around, and around, and around. Not finding an answer that way he then looked up into the sky thoughtfully.

"Maybe," he said "the sun was shining right here. Just right here." All the while studying the sky, then the spot, then the sky, then the spot.

Now looking intently at the spot he reckoned, "Look... it's roooooound on this part and straaaaaaight on this part just like... (thinking, thinking)... a wheelbarrow. Maybe it was the wheelbarrow!"

Then he said with much conviction, "Yeah. It was the wheelbarrow."


Monday, August 1, 2011


Yard sales and thrift stores. These are my favorite places to shop.

I am not a treasure hunter the way the re-sellers are that comb people's shops and garages for anything they can turn into profit. I am in general looking for useful, fun, sturdy things to use and repurpose. I do end up paying more than I want sometimes but the majority are deals I am comfortable with.

Just last week I was looking for treasure and came across a stack of three old card tables. I am always on the lookout for tables I can use at the farmers' markets and craft shows. For one, the old ones are far sturdier than anything new. For two, they are a rare find because no one gets rid of their sturdy stuff. I was immediately elated upon sight of these tables and even more so at the marked price of $5 each. I was testing the first one's legs when a man walked up with an armload of other stuff and said, "Those are mine." A re-seller. I was crushed. I really wanted at least one of those tables. He would not give however so I just said bummer and went about looking at old cross stitch magazines.

I don't fault re-sellers. It is first come-first served, and I would have snatched them up first if I could have. I do feel some pain yet for not getting there a few minutes earlier than he. I actually have moped about it for days. To be so close to something I would have loved forever, well I'm just sad about it. How funny to be so attached to something that was never mine for even a second.

I don't believe in luck, fortune or karma but some of you might think one or more power was at work for me yesterday. We were up visiting the boy in Grand Junction yesterday when along the way I saw a yard sale sign that read Sunday Only. That alone was unusual, I thought. Sunday Only. I said, OK, we'll go pick up the boy and then stop at this yard sale first thing. They were only a few blocks apart after all, right?

No, I didn't find any card tables. I am certain that was a once in a lifetime thing. I did find some other treasure that made me feel much better about my bad timing last week: a handmade pine bench, a brand new green (squee!) and white birdhouse I am certain has never been outside, and a vintage school desk. Since I am one to brag I will tell you I paid a total of $13 for the three of them, and I did well bargaining. Well, not with the school desk. I asked if it was for sale and the father said yes. The son said, "It's mine." so I asked the son how much he wanted for it. The father let him answer and handled the much less than expected price with grace and almost imperceptibly keen self control. He then said it was an antique (it's not) and looked at his son. I looked back at the son but he was firm on his price ($5). I politely didn't try to talk him down because I thought his dad wouldn't be able to handle it, poor man. I'm going to use it in my potting shed, hee!

Here they are. See how the birdhouse is the identical color green as the house-house? Treasure!



An Evening at Vega State Park

We spent the better part of our afternoon and evening at Vega State Park today. It was a welcome break from the heat (merely in the lower 80's Fahrenheit) and the fresh air was practically intoxicating.

What best to welcome us upon our arrival at the dam than a wide full-spectrum rainbow?


Late summer in the mountains is really late spring. Everything is in full bloom and the wildlife is diverse and numerous.

A sure sign the nights still get cool however is the ripening wild serviceberries. I tried my first one today. It was similar to, yet sweeter than, a blueberry. I think I could really go for a serviceberry pie.


How about this vibrant, red, mountain berry? I forget what Rob said they were but he said they are edible although very, very sour.


It is a very busy time of year up here, har har. (Mexican Hat-like flower. If anyone can tell me the name of it, please do!)


Some other beauties caught my eye, like these: an Indian paintbrush, pink asters and lupine.


This, I have no idea. She's delicate and charming and her lavender stamens were a lovely surprise.


This one, too, no idea and also surprised me. It looked like some kind of high prairie grass only dusted with neat, feathery lavender petals.


Speaking of surprised (oops); spooked a doe.


She had been feeding down near this pond created by high waters and left stranded by summer usage downstream.


This big guy, an easily-four-foot-long beaver, didn't seem to mind us at all.

I say rather, do you mind?


Visible here is an Osprey nesting platform that has, if you look very closely, a nest on it. Neither bird was present during our wandering tour but the gals at the visitor's center said they have a nesting couple up there this year. I didn't dare get any closer than I could zoom from several hundred yards away.


My sweet girl fluttered around with a monarch butterfly finger puppet...


... while my sweet boy picked a flower just for Momma.


Later in the evening the thunderheads started to form over toward the west so we made our way around the last stretch of shoreline. (this sounds like we hiked around the lake but we mostly had to drive it.)


Our last little walk afforded us a nice spot for a family portrait before the long drive home in the dark.

We've been dreaming about a summer/retirement cabin in the mountains somewhere close by. Gunnison was our choice 10 years ago followed by something up on Lamborn Mesa nearby. Today that dream switched to the Collbran area. We were that enchanted.