Monday, August 31, 2009

Dear Tourist,

Dear Crabby Tourist Lady in the Light Blue Jacket Who Was at the Lebananon Mine on Sunday,

I don't know where you're from, but I'm wondering why you're here. Of course, I should be grateful that you're here in our state, spending your crabby tourism dollars when you could be doing it elsewhere, and in the end, I guess I am. Because afterall, I'm pretty sure tourism is the mainstay of our state.

But, must you be such a jackass when you're here? You're on vacation. Why aren't you happy about it? I didn't see you crack a smile, or even remove the grouchy look on your face, the entire time we were on the mine tour. And our guide was pretty darn funny.

I guess if you want to be a crabapple, go right ahead, but keep it to yourself next time.

I was willing to overlook your first snarky comment when we were all crowded around the mining cars selecting hard hats to wear into the mine. I apologize if we took too long to fit the helmets on our kids, but did you need to push in and say, "Can anyone else get a helmet?" It just made you sound like a crochety old bag, which you look every inch of. A more pleasant, "Excuse me," would have accomplished your goal nicely. Plus, did you not hear the guide suggest that people gather on both sides of the mining car to choose a helmet? Did you really need to barge into where we were working to get the helmets on the kids anyway?

But what really bugged me was when you tried to GRAB THE SILVER ORE SAMPLE OUT OF MY CHILD'S HAND later in the tour. Seriously? Grabbing a rock from a kid? Twice--once when another child was handing it to him and once when he tried to hand it to me. That's just rude. Did you think he was going to break the rock and you wouldn't get to see it?

I'm pretty sure when my other son then asked me, "Why didn't I get to see the rock?" and I responded somewhat loudly, "Because THAT lady apparently needs to see the rock sample RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND," that your husband heard me and was embarassed by your behavior because before I knew it, someone was handing the rock back to me. I don't know, maybe I just embarassed myself reciprocating with that kind of behavior, but I was pretty dismayed that an adult would act like that. Grabbing the rock from someone is something I'd expect my six-year-old son to do.

In the end, I feel sorry for your husband because he's dragging your annoying ass all through our great big state and probably having to listen to you snipe about this, that and the other thing for days on end. And I guess I feel sorry for you, too, because you can't apparently enjoy the beauty of what's around you enough to even crack a smile.

I hope you have a good trip home. Come back next year, bring your dollars, but please remember to pack a smile. Heck, go nuts and laugh a little, will 'ya?

But, before you really raise my ire, learn how to drive on a roundabout before you get here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Down By the Old Mill Stream

Now the refrain from that song is running through my head.

Anyway, how cool is this?

It looks fake, but it's not.

Eamonn came across this old mill when he was out mountain bike riding on Saturday. It was built in 1892. When I asked if we could get to it, Eamonn said, "Not in our car." Meaning some sort of 4-wheel drive massive thingy is probably required. He said the road isn't a road at all--more like a goat path.

It's too bad I'm not a mountain biker--I pretty much only ride around the neighborhood--because this is a good exaple of What's Out There That I Can't See From Here. Yes, I do some hiking. In fact, there's an amusing story from the first year we lived here. Access to the mountains around us is restricted during the season when the elk are migrating, which is usually mid-October through mid-April. So on the first day the trails were open in April '07, I headed up into the hills above our house. I got to the top of a climb and, because I am a flatlander originally, I expected to have this huge panaoramic view. And what did I see? The other side of the mountain of course--just more and more mountains going on before me. I climbed up to the top of the next one, just to see if maybe there was a panoramic view from there. Nope. More mountains.

But it just goes to show me how much is out there that you can really only see unless you get waaaay on out there. Like on a mountain bike. Eamonn has seen all sorts of stuff. Elk, deer, bears, etc. No mountain lions, which is a relief. They freak me out.

Anyway, I thought this mill picture was way cool. When I Googled it, because Eamonn told me the mill was located in Crystal, Colorado, and I didn't know where that was, and I found out it's one of Colorado's ghost towns (we visited one near Aspen last spring).

It's also called Dead Horse Mill. More pictures.

According to my friends at Wikipedia, it's one of the most photographed historic sites in Colorado.

Almost makes me want to start mountain biking.

Monday, August 24, 2009

One More Week

Stay with me people. A week from Wednesday the kids will be back at school and the world will be my oyster once more. Of course, I will be filling that time with, um, work and hopefully organizing the closet our bedroom, which I started three years ago (no lie) and never finished, but I also hope to get back to blogging on a regular basis. And maybe I'll tackle last fall's to do list.

I've got a few blogs planned for this week, but I mostly suspect that everyone else is busy (HA--I wrote "busty" first) with back to school prep and the final summer frenzy.

So, hang tight (I won't even print what I just typed instead of "tight"--obviously I need to file my nails), and we'll all make it to fall unscathed.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The British Invade Colorado

So now that you've seen a million pictures of my various and sundry friends and family, I offer you a million Colorado scenery pictures. And, I admit, a few more various and sundry family members.

Karen, Neil, Michaela and Dean visited us early July and we all headed en masse to southeast Colorado for a little sightseeing.

We met them in Denver and headed south to Colorado Springs where we went to Garden of the Gods.

It was hot there. Africa hot. But that didn't deter us from scrambling around on rocks and outcroppings of all sorts.

We cooled off with a drive up a mountain and a hike to a waterfall. But it was still pretty hot.

Have I mentioned I hate hot weather?

In Colorado Springs, we also went to the Flying W Ranch, where we chowed down on a chuckwagon supper (that might be the first time I have ever use the word "supper") and then listened to the Flying W Wranglers, the world's second oldest western singing group. Yee haw! I think it might have been a little much for the Brits though--by the end of the show, I was the only one left at the table.

After Colorado Springs we headed up Pike's Peak where we saw rare wildlife, came across some snow, and did some yoga at the summit. Well, Karen and Neil did anyway. And I got it all on film. Or disk. Whatever.

Throw in a trip over the Continental Divide, ice cream in Breckenrige, the Glenwood Caverns, swimming, and a ride on the Vail gondola and you've filled a week's worth of your time in Colorado.

And there's still a million things in this state we haven't seen yet.

Just give me some time.

At any rate, here's a glimpse of the British Invasion of Colorado.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Back on the Job

Tap, tap, tap. Anyone still out there? Man, I needed a break. And obviously, I took it.

We're back in Colorado after 2 1/2 weeks in Ohio, which was very fun. But I did notice that my Mom had developed a nervous tic in her eye by the end of the trip.

As I was looking back at our pictures, which I'll post a link to here in a sec, I realized that this trip was mostly about seeing people as opposed to going places. It was a very different trip from last year when the boys and I went a few days early to Ohio, but then Eamonn joined us and we went to Niagara Falls and Eamon and Nicole's wedding. That was a vacation trip. This turned out to be more of a visiting trip. Not that we didn't have fun--we definitely did--but you'll see in the pictures that it's all about the people!

According to the boys, the Ohio State Fair was definitely a highlight of their trip. I was all excited about it, too, until I was actually there and having to try to appease two boys who are separating in terms of their levels of interest on things. Finn is still happy to do the kiddie rides. Declan is more interested in trying more of the "big kid" stuff. Frankly, even if Finn did want to do bigger rides, he's not tall enough for most of them. So there was a lot of compromising going on at the fair this year and they were both good sports. In years past, Eamonn and I would divide and conquer, which is good, because I don't really relish going on too many rides that I know have been assembled on site in a matter of hours. My Dad was with us for a few trips down the Giant Slide. I am happy to announce that I did not "scream like a girl," as I have been accused of doing in the past.

I will now be entering a detox program for people who have consumed too much Donatos Pizza and Graeter's Ice Cream. I lost count of how much Graeter's I ate. Donatos--twice. Sushi. First Watch (my poached eggs on my caps were a little overdone, which made me sad, but oh well, the conversation was second to none). Ice cream at the fair. Homemade ice cream at Grandpa's. Numerous bowls of popcorn with Mom while watching Midsomer Murders at night.

Number of workouts while in Ohio? One walk. I did go horseback riding, but the horse did most of the work.

My fat pants are snug. It's a little alarming.

One of my big goals on this trip was to record my Grandpa talking and telling some of his infamous stories. I remember my Dad tape recording my Great Grandparents when I was about Finn's age and I wanted to do the same with my Grandpa, who I think, as I've talked about before, is pretty much the greatest person in the world. I mean, who is 96, still buys rental properties as investments, and does all of the necessary clean up himself? I need to take a lesson from that.

Anyway, over the years, there are a few things I've realized when generations pass on. First, their stories mostly go with them. Yes, there are the timeless tales that get passed down, but the details and nuances that the original storyteller adds go missing. And also, I just miss hearing their voices--their funny laughs, their dry delivery, their little sayings. I miss that. And, belive it or not, I come from a very funny line of people. My Great Grandpa Moffitt, who lived into his 90s and died when I was a freshman in college, was a character like you wouldn't believe.

So blah, blah, blah, the bottom line is that I wanted to record Grandpa and some of his stories before it was too late. Not that he's unhealthy or anything, but whether you're 96 or 26, I'm infamous for procrastinating and then regretting not doing stuff like this and I didn't want to miss my chance. And if I get to record Grandpa until he's 106 now, I'll feel very, very lucky.

I did buy a new camcorder to get all this done and the boys and I had fun experimenting with it and then recording Grandpa. I did discover that the microphone on it is so sensitive that it picked up all of my jabbering relations in the background. And kids, including my own, seemed to like to stand right in front of me while filming. I needed one of those "on air" lights. Or a dart gun.

Anyway, the camera is totally cool and I love it. It's a Panasonic, 60 GB hard drive, 75x optical zoom and a battery life of about 2 hours, which dramatically beats the 3.3 minutes we were getting on our old camera. The fact that it's about the size of my hand is a bonus. I haven't downloaded any footage yet. But I'm lazy that way. I'll probably get to that right before my next trip to Ohio. Also, I need to backup my laptop's hard drive first because I have some concerns about its, um, behavior lately.

So, now that you've held on through all of that rambling, you can check out the pictures HERE. And just a note about the captions on the picture, when I was particulary verbose (which happens a lot, as you know), you'll see the caption end in . . .Just hold your cursor arrow over the caption and you'll be able to see the whole thing. Because I wouldn't want you to miss any of my electrifying wit.

In a photographic bonus, I'll be back soon with pictures from Karen and Neil's visit in July. I realized I never posted them! Now those will be some serious scenery shots.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Book Report: Anne of Green Gables

I can't believe I haven't blogged for a week. I'm so sorry. That doesn't fit at all with my New Year's resolution to blog five days a week. But then again, I'm also not following my New Year's resolution to lose 20 pounds and I've already missed three days of flossing so apparently since my resolutions are shot to hell for '09 I can just skip blogging and feel OK about it.

So, as you know, I'm in Ohio. Eating. I can't blog because my fingers are too fat.

Just kidding. Just because my rings will not longer slide off and on easily doesn't mean cause for too much alarm. Or does it?

Anyway, we've been having a great time and one thing I've been doing here is reading and continuing to work on my Summer of Juvenile Literature. I have discovered that I'm a much slower reader than in bygone years. Either that or my children don't actually want me to be literate any longer because they constantly want me to pay attention to them versus reading.

What a pain.

So I discovered something last week. If I take the kids to the park when there are likely to be many other children there, they begin playing with said children and sometimes I can read for stretches of two and even three minutes without having someone scream, "Mooooooommmmmyyyyy!"

It's very excellent.

And so, with the park strategy in place, I was able to finish Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

I never read these books growing up. Frankly, I thought they were about a prissy English girl. Imagine my surprise, then, when I found that Anne was from Canada, eh? Prince Edward Island to be exact.

Basically, I want to live there now.

I had trouble getting started. Anne is an incessant talker so the book is written in a stream of consciousness style that follows Anne's thoughts, which are all over the place. I found this annoying. But then I realized you all put up reading my stream of consciousness style on a daily basis so I decided to cut Anne some slack and keep reading. Also, my cousin, Cinda, said Anne would grow on me and to keep reading.

I did. Because I try to obey orders.

And I'll be darned if Wednesday afternoon didn't find me sitting at Orange Township Park, the park near our old house that the boys loved (they call it the Orange Fish Park) and crying, yes people, crying, over the ending of Anne of Green Gables.

I know, I know. I can hardly believe it myself. But there I was, nonetheless.

I won't spoil the ending because I know there are. . .I don't know. . .like, maybe one of you who will now race out and read Anne of Green Gables and it's such a bummer if the ending is ruined by some plot spoiler like myself.

The short version of the story though is that Anne is an orphan who is adopted by a very unlikely twosome--spinster Marilla Cuthbert, and her also unmarried brother, Matthew (And, I would like to ask here, why is there not an equally unattractive name for a never-married man like there is for a never-married woman? Spinster? It's so hideous.). Marilla and Matthew are actually expecting to adopt a boy and by mistake, a girl, Anne, arrives. But they decide to keep Anne and the story follows their lives for five years, focusing on the crazy predicaments Anne tends to get herself into. Which made me laugh out loud several times. It was kind of like reading about Finn (and occasionally myself), in many respects.

The "old fashionedness" of the book really appealed to me. Although I'm convinced I should have been born in Jane Austen's time (all those empire waists hide big thighs), I could also picture myself in this early 1900s time period. The entertainment was all about socializing, putting on programs at the town halls, sleigh rides, going to town, etc. OK, so I actually hate socializing and I'd be more like Marilla and sit home and then hear the details when the young 'uns returned, but I liked reading about it. I imagined my grandparents' youths being much like this.

So, there you have it. I loved it. It was just a sweet, sweet book. And the same day I finished it I made Mom drive me to the library to get the second book: Anne of Avonlea.

Nancy Drew has taken a backseat for the time being.