Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Peter's Hike

On Sunday, Peter mapped out a 10 mile hike. The four-hour trip took him up the mountain to Beaver Creek Lake and back down. Katherine joined him halfway. She took the chair lift up instead of climbing. I was a little bit nervous about Peter going out there alone, but he assured us he had planned it all out, and he knew what he was doing. He has skied and snowboarded on this mountain since he was 3 years old, so he knew his way around. Along the hike, he took some very nice photos. One is a self-portrait he took with his camera's timer. The other two are pictures of wildlife he met along the way (a fox and a deer.) Thankfully no bears were on the trail!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Up, Up and Away!

No one was happy about getting up at 5:00 this morning, but the Camelot balloon launch was at 6:30. I guess they have to fly early before the sun heats up the ground and it causes thermals in the air. After we watched Merlin (our pilot) and his crew inflate the balloon, we all hopped aboard. We rose pretty fast to 1,500 ft. Merlin kept pumping more hot air into the balloon, and each time he did, I thought my head was going to catch on fire. You can see from the photo that actual fire goes up into the balloon. It makes a very loud noise as well. The strange thing about being in a hot air balloon is when you are up there, you don't feel like you are moving at all. Merlin says you become "one with the wind". We stayed up there cruising around for about a half hour. Then we dipped down and tried to land a couple of times. It took another half hour to find a good landing spot. We finally touched down on a dirt road. The chase crew caught up to us, and they helped us make a smooth landing.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Me & Moonshine

Where else can you ride a horse to a 5-star restaurant? Don and I decided to go to Beano's Cabin last night. We had been there several times in the winter, delivered by a snow-cat-driven sleigh. But this was the first time we went in the summer. The options were: van, wagon and horse. We decided to be adventurous and go up on horseback.

My horse's name was Moonshine. I could tell from the start he was stubborn. He didn't like how tightly I was holding onto his reigns, so he kept popping his head up in the air. I got the point, and I loosened by grip.

The handler lined us up in a row, and Moonshine was behind a horse named Cash. His rider was a guy from Texas. I knew he was from Texas because he was wearing big black cowboy boots. Don said people from other states wear cowboy boots, but I just knew he was from Texas.

Moonshine was living dangerously on the trail. He had his head right in Cash's rear end the whole time. I think he liked the feel of Cash's tail swishing back and forth on him. I was sure Cash was getting irritated. I was worried he would either rear up and kick Moonshine in the head or worse yet, pour a pile of horse manure on his nose.

They told us if the horses try to eat grass, pull up hard on the reigns. Moonshine must have been pretty hungry, because he was grabbing at anything he could get in his mouth. I kept telling him he wasn't allowed to eat any of this stuff, but he didn't listen to me.

As I write this, my own rear end is giving me a reminder of the ride. Don told me afterward that I was supposed to lift up out of the saddle when the horse started to gallop. Apparently I didn't do that!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hitchin' Post

We took a ride over to Vail on Saturday to check out the Vail BBQ contest. It is sort of like a rib cook-off. About 15 local restaurants offered a variety of BBQ pork dishes, hoping to be chosen as the best BBQ in town.

Peter and I didn't see anything we wanted to eat, but the rest of the family had dinner. I was walking around and happened to see something that made me do a double take. Tied up to a hitching post outside one of the stores was a very obedient Westie.  I have seen horses tied to hitching posts, but never a dog!

Vail must be very dog friendly. I noticed there were many dogs walking around with their owners, and it made me miss my Riley.

I didn't stick around to see who owned the Westie, but I hope he wasn't planning on riding him out of town.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Beaver Creek in the Summer

Here are some things I love about going to Beaver Creek in the summer:

1. There's no snow, so I don't have to feel bad that everyone else is out on the slopes but me.

2. Beaver Creek (the actual creek) runs high and fast just outside our windows. It sounds like a waterfall, and it is great white noise for sleeping.

3. No humidity. It's hot, but you don't sweat. When you walk out of the shower, you are dry before you even reach for your towel.

4. Can't beat the weather. It is in the 80's during the day and drops to the 50's at night.

5. Aspen leaves flutter in the wind.

6. It's bear season, so you just might see one (and I did yesterday).

7. It's the off season, so crowds are low. You can actually walk into a restaurant at 6:00 and get a table.

Friday, June 25, 2010


There is a life-size bronze sculpture in Beaver Creek plaza that we have always loved. The artist is Walt Horton, who passed away in April. The title of the sculpture is "Repentance." A young Native American boy is face to face with a grizzly bear. The boy shot an arrow into the bear's hind quarters and is truly sorry for his misdeed. If you look closely at the photo, you can see the arrow. In another sculpture by the same artist, the young boy is shown pulling the arrow out of the bear's hind quarters.  That sculpture is titled "Redemption."
We have a much smaller version "Repentance" in our family room at home. It reminds me of Beaver Creek, but it also reminds me of how God forgives us when we mess up and then ask for forgiveness.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mountain Driving

I always forget how much I hate the drive from Denver to Beaver Creek, CO until we get in the rental car. The fear doesn't start right away, but once we get outside the city and into the mountains, I have heart palpitations.

It wasn't always this way. It started the year we rented a 33-foot motor home and drove to Yellowstone National Park. During that trip, our brakes went out  while descending Big Horn Mountain in Wyoming. We'd all be dead right now if the emergency brake hadn't come to the rescue. After that incident, I start to panic every time I see signs that say "steep grade ahead", "trucks use low gear" and "runaway truck ramp."

It doesn't help that Don has no fear. It would greatly ease my anxiety if he would not do a few things like: drive 80 MPH downhill, change lanes driving 80 MPH downhill, and go around curves driving 80 MPH downhill. He says I'd be much better off if I would close my eyes and go to sleep.

I've tried that! Every time I close my eyes I have to reopen them to see what he's up to. I am compelled to keep an eye on him. I guess he's right...I don't trust him! If I drove, it would take four hours to make the trip instead of the usual two. I wouldn't leave the right-hand lane no matter who was in front of me.

At least the drive in June is better than the drive in December. When it snows in the mountains, it really snows. Then you not only have to worry about your brakes going out, but you also have to worry about avalanches and icy patches. Just thinking about it makes me break out in a cold sweat!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Design Her Gals

One of my favorite websites is

From this website, you can create your own note cards and print them from home. When you get started, you enter a "dressing room" where you choose your body type, eye color, skin tone, hairstyle and hair color. Then you choose your outfit and add fun stuff like pets, accessories, sports equipment, eye wear, etc. After you get yourself looking better than real life, you can add words to your stationary or note cards. I print my note cards on Avery 8577 Postcard paper which prints four note cards at a time with perforations between them.

You can save up to nine designs, so making them as gifts for friends is a breeze. Right now, it costs $19.95 for a one year membership. It used to be $45.00, so this is a bargain!

The best part is a portion of all sales is donated to the Gal to Gal Foundation, which supports stage IV breast cancer patients and their families.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Baby Goats

My friend Tammy is a farm girl at heart. She loves to be outside digging in the dirt. She thrives on it. She also has a love for animals. Right now she is caring for three dogs (one is a foster dog), four bunnies and four goats. At one time she had some chickens and a rooster.

Two of her goats are the responsibility of her 13-year old son. He is going to sell them at the fair in the fall. They did not give those goats names. The other two goats belong to her two younger children. They are pet goats with names.

Tammy stopped by my house on the way home from picking up the two pet goats. They were just days old. I have never seen anything cuter in my whole life. They were just like babies. I wanted to cuddle them. I never imagined a goat could be so cute. She says they follow her everywhere she goes. They think she is their mother.

For a second, I thought I might want one too. Fortunately, I am not a farm girl at heart. I can imagine what Don would say if I told him I got a goat. I think he would ship me out with the goat. Riley would spend all his time rounding up the goat. A herd of one. For now I'll be content to visit Tammy's farm.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Daniel played soccer for 13 years without an injury. So how did he get sidelined playing Fugitive with his friends? Never heard of a game called Fugitive? I hadn't either. Picture a grown-up version of Hide and Seek. Some people run around the town in the dark on foot and others track them in their cars. When the trackers see a fugitive, one jumps out of the car, chases him and takes him to the designated "jail" spot. There is a starting point and an end point that each team is trying to get to first. While running, Daniel stepped on an uneven chunk of sidewalk and fractured the top of his right foot.

I told him this sounded like a dangerous game. He said he could be doing much more dangerous things. What can a mother say to that? It worries me that some of his friends listen to Gladiator songs to pump themselves up beforehand. I guess it's a guy thing.

He's out of the game for awhile. No running or driving. He can't even go to work for a couple of weeks. We leave for vacation in two days which means no hiking, biking, tennis, or golf. Not even white water rafting.

Daniel's middle name is "on-the-go", so this isn't easy for him. He realizes it could have been much worse, and he's thankful for that. He said next time he plays Fugitive he's going to be a driver. I don't even want to think about it.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Girlfriend Golf

I went golfing with two girlfriends on Friday. Since the two friends hadn't had much experience golfing, they suggested a Par 3 course. I thought it was a brilliant idea since I'm not that great a golfer myself.

We paid $11 each for the golf. It was $5 for a cart, and we would need two. My friends said "oh, let's just walk". I asked them if they were quite sure about that, and they said it would be fine.

After we finished hole 1, one of the friends commented that she was glad we were only playing three holes. When I asked her what she meant, she said, "well it's a Par 3 course...there are only three holes". When I told her that I was pretty sure there were 9 holes, both friends said we should go back for carts.

I told them we didn't need to golf all the holes. We could stop whenever we wanted. So we continued on to the next hole. As we were teeing up, the young man from the golf clubhouse came driving up in a cart, yelling, "ladies...that's hole 5...hole 2 is over there," and he pointed to the right. We paused for a few minutes and then responded, "it's ok, we aren't going to play all the holes anyway".

We played hole 5 and walked to a sign that said holes 6 & 7 were across the railroad tracks. We couldn't see those holes, but we could see another hole to our left. We got out the map to make sure it wasn't hole 4. It was hole 8, so we decided to play that hole next. After hole 8 came a natural hole 9,  and we were finsihed!

We ended up playing four holes on a Par 3 course, and it took us an hour and a half. I was thankful for two things that day: 1) no one else was on the course and 2) I was able to laugh harder than I'd laughed all year.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Bible in 90 Days

Last summer I set out to read the Bible cover to cover. I had never done that, and there were some books of the Bible I had never read. I picked up a special Bible that told you when to start and stop each day in order to get through the entire Bible in 90 days. In order to keep up, I had to read 12 pages a day. If I skipped a day, I had to read 24 pages the next day. This was incentive to keep up!

I was diligent through the middle of July. That's when I got to the book of Isaiah, and I needed a break. After skipping a week I lost momentum. The thought of reading 84 pages to catch up discouraged me. I abandonded the project on page 585.  It was easier to go back to reading familiar books of the New Testament.

I just picked up the book again. I calculated that I have 463 pages left. That's less than half the book. I can do that. I'm not sure I will read 12 pages a day, but I will keep reading until I finish. What's nice about reading the Bible straight through is you can better see how God's plan, mercy and love plays out in the lives of His people.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Old Friends

When I was in Girl Scouts, we used to sing this song: "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold". I marvel at friendships in my life that have lasted more than 35 years. How is it that we can get together and still feel as close as we did when we were teenagers?

There are six of us in this cheerleading photo. Five of us are still friends.  We spent a lot of time together in the 70's, forming a bond that cannot be broken. We went to each other's weddings, helped each other through 13 pregnancies and watched each other's children grow up. We still get together for dinner about two times each year to laugh, catch up and laugh some more.

The thing is, I know if I needed a friend, any or all of them would be by my side in an instant. And I would do the same for them. That's friendship that's golden.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Where are My Glasses?

I sat down to read a book last night, and after getting comfortable in the chair, I let out a grunt of despair because once again I didn't have a pair of reading glasses handy. I can't see anything without them. There is usually a pair on top of my head, but for some reason they were not up there.

This happens to me at least once a day. It's not that I don't have enough reading glasses. I buy them in 5-packs. They are scattered around the house, but they never seem to be in the right place at the right time.

 I decided to go on a hunt to bring them all together.  There were two in the kitchen, two in my purse, four in various bathrooms, one in my car, one on the nightstand and two by my computer. Not counting the pair Riley chewed up yesterday, I had a total of 12! There should be no excuse to be without a pair.

I am going to redistribute them to all the locations where reading is necessary. I have also vowed not to put them on top of my head. That is how they travel to other rooms. This way there should always be a pair or two where and when I need them.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Monkey Business

Don is a big Cleveland Indians fan. He loves baseball. Each year he buys tickets to a number of games, and we drive to Jocobs Field to watch them. But most of the time he watches the games from the couch in our family room.

Every year on opening day, Don reaches in to the TV cabinet and pulls out something he calls the "rally monkey". This monkey is dressed in an Indians jersey and cap. The rally monkey then hangs on the nob above the TV for the rest of the season. He won't take it down until the Indians' last game.

I've not complained about the monkey who looms over us all those months. In fact, it's been there so many years, I only notice it when friends come over and ask about our unusual stuffed animal decoration. I just reply, oh...that's just Don's rally monkey. If they know Don very well, they seem to understand.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Engaged to be Married

Katherine came home from a visit to Chicago with a new ring on her finger. Well, the ring wasn't on her finger at first. She wanted us all to gather in the family room for the announcement. Josh asked her to be his wife on a Lake Michigan beach last Friday. We knew Josh was going to pop the question at some point since he asked our permission first. Katherine and Josh met their freshman year at North Park University and they have pretty much been inseparable since.

A wedding date hasn't been set yet (they need to graduate from school first). Our prayer for them is that they will keep God in the center of all their plans and that He will bless them with many wonderful years together.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tired of Charbroiled Wasp

For years I have battled paper wasps building nests in my grill. Every time I lift the lid to light the grill, I find a new nest. I use the grill every other day in the summer, so I've discovered that wasps can build a nest faster than a group of Amish men can raise a barn. In order to avoid getting stung, I have taken to keeping the lid of the grill down while I light it. The grill instructions say to open the lid to light, so I stand back in case of spontaneous combustion.  Before I put the meat on, I remove the charbroiled wasp who is tightly clinging to his blackened abode.

In relaying this story to an exterminator friend of mine, I received a suggestion. He said to take dryer sheets and stuff them in the entry holes of the grill. The smell of the dryer sheets would repel the wasps. He added that I should remove the dryer sheets before I light the grill. I am pretty sure I had that much sense!

Now my grill looks like the Flying Nun. But I don't care because it works! A week has gone by with nary a wasp in sight.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sacrificial Love

Do you see that golf club in my hand? The only reason a golf club could possibly be in my hand is that I love my husband. The thought of playing golf would never have crossed my mind otherwise. I am trying to join him in one of his hobbies so we can have fun together. It's supposed to be good for your marriage. I wonder if it counts if I'm only pretending to have fun.

If I could hit the ball, it would be different.  I once golfed in a ladies 9-hole league and averaged about an 84 for 9 holes. I was happy with that performance.  I'm not sure what happened to me. Now I can barely make contact with the ball. Peter is trying to help me. We went to the driving range a couple of times. He says it's in my swing. He told me to make a divot. I don't like making divots because it messes up the grass. To avoid messing up the grass, I top the ball. He also said he thinks my clubs are too long. I like that excuse even better. Blame it on the clubs! 

Someone recommended reading Ben Hogan's classic book on golf. I'm not sure golf is something you can learn by reading a book, but reading is what I like to do, so it is worth a try. In the meantime, I'll keep praying for rain. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Used Book Sales

I can't pass up a used book sale. You never know what you might find. For instance, yesterday I stopped at one and picked up this treasure: The Stay Out of the Kitchen Cookbook by Lynn Dallin (1968). The cover is so very much the 60's. I love her hairstyle, her outfit and how delicately she is holding the soup tureen. A recipe from the book:

Kelly's Mad Scream of Delight

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 c. milk
1/2 t. curry powder
1 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 lb. rock cod fish fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 No. 303 can peas, drained
1/4 c. crisp bacon, crumbled
1 large onion, grated
6 ripe firm tomatoes

Combine soup, milk, curry powder and salt & pepper to taste. Butter a baking dish. Layer fish fillets, soup mixture, peas, bacon and onion. Cut tomatoes almost through with 6 cross-cuts and spread to form roses. Place them on top of the layered mixture, and sprinkle grated cheese over all. Dust with paprika. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serves 6.

Now I have to figure out how to make this dish and stay out of the kitchen too!

Friday, June 11, 2010

"No Love" Cookies

I feel guilty every time I buy store-bought cookies. But every once in awhile I just don't have the time or inclination to make them from scratch. As my kids were growing up, I often made cookies. It got to the point where they wouldn't eat ones from the store. There is a difference. According to Peter, store-bought cookies don't have any love in them. He calls them "No Love" cookies, and he usually won't eat them. Love isn't an ingredient on the recipe card along with flour, sugar and butter, but when it is missing, you can tell. I just tasted one of these "No Love" cookies from Sam's Club. It was extra sweet and it had a funny after taste. Looking at the ingredient list, I'm not sure if it was the Palm Margarine or the Soy Legithin that made it taste funny.

At least when you make your own cookies you know what's going into them. You can even leave some of the sugar out because the extra love will make up for it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Getting Down to Business

It used to be I could take Riley out in the morning and he'd get right down to business. After a few minutes we'd go back in the house and I'd have my cup of tea. Lately if I want to drink my tea while it is still hot, I have to take it out with me.

The problem is there are too many critters in our backyard. It is very distracting for him. There are chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, deer, and recently, wild turkeys. The deer and turkeys are bigger than Riley, so he doesn't go after them. The rabbits and raccoons only show up in the evening, so the real problem is the squirrels and chipmunks. He especially has a fondness for chipmunks.

Before he goes potty, he runs around the yard and checks all the chipmunk hiding places: by the firepit, under the deck, in the storage chest, etc. Only after he realizes one more time that they've outwitted him, will he relieve himself. Then he's more than happy to accompany me back into the house for his potty treat.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sewing Cornhole Bags

I learned to sew in the basement of a convent when I was 12 years old. The nuns of my Catholic grade school took us girls every Thursday for lessons in sewing. The first thing I made was a jumper. It was the kind that slipped over my head. It had a front facing, but no zipper. I was very proud of it when I walked the runway in the fashion show at the end of the school year. After I learned to sew, there was no stopping me. I made everything from pillows to halter tops...dresses to bathing suits. I even made my prom dress my senior year in high school. The amazing thing is that I also made my boyfiend's suit.
  Prom 1977

Today I am reduced to sewing bags for the cornhole game my teenage son is making out in the garage. We went to the fabric store to pick out blue and yellow duck fabric. We went to the  Pet & Garden store to get pig feed (dried corn) to fill the bags. Peter did the hard work of cutting out 16 7" x 7" squares. I did the easy part - sewing the bags. He weighed eight portions of corn on my postage scale so the bags would be regulation weight (14.5 oz.-16 oz.) He made a paper funnel and poured each corn portion into a bag, and I sewed up the open side. It didn't take much skill, but the sense of pride that comes with making something with one's own hands was still there.