Friday, September 28, 2012

Top Ten Things I Love About Colorado

     When I was in college, one of my best friends was named Amy.  She was from New Jersey and at that time, she was one of the funniest people I had ever met.  I have a picture of a pee stain in our hallway where we laughed so hard one of us peed all over the floor.  (I'm going to go ahead and just blame that one on her.)
     Our sophomore year, we lived in the same room together and somehow during that time, we started 'publishing' a top ten list.  Every Wednesday night, by 10pm, we would have it posted on our door.  I wish I could find some of them.  I can not for the life of me think of any topic, but I do know they were funny.  The rest of our hall would be waiting outside our door for it to be posted.  (I'm thinking they were hard pressed for entertainment.)  We could hardly get them done because we were laughing so hard at ourselves.  Those were the good ol' days.
     I'm publishing this list on my own... no one's sitting outside my door waiting for it to be finished.  Maybe I should have relished in the limelight a little more back then.  But, without further adieu... here are the Top Ten Things I Love About Colorado.

10.  There's weird people here...
        and they find me (see last two posts).  It is the one constants in my life right now, weird people,     and it gives me something to write about it.

9.  The regular people.

     Unlike the South, or certain places in the midwest, most people haven't lived their whole lives here.  I rarely went anywhere in Ohio (my city) where I didn't know someone. One time, when I was really sad about the possibility of moving here, I said to a friend, "I'm not going to know people every where I go in Colorado!!"  My friend said, "April, no one is going to miss that but you."

    Anyway, people here are really friendly.  One of my first friends also has a little girl from China that is the exact same age as Emme... and they love each other.  So fun!  Think God planned that out?

8.  Milk delivery.
     What in the world?  No hormones and all that other good stuff.... or not with all the good stuff... however you want to look at it.  I don't care.  They deliver and it's WAY better than the milk at the grocery store.  And, if that wasn't enough, they also deliver eggs (1-2 days old), butter, orange juice, half and half, bread, sour cream, yogurt... and on and on and on.  The prices are about the same as the grocery store... except the milk is $.80 more per gallon (but totally worth it).  The delivery charge..... drum roll please..... $3 per month.  AND (big fat AND) if you run out of milk for some reason during the week, they bring more... NO CHARGE!!!
     We love Friday mornings.  We run downstairs to see what the milkman left.

Leaving out our order on Thursday night.

Friday Morning

7.   No bugs!
      Well, there are some bugs but not many.  We can sit out at night and not get eaten alive by mosquitos.  We can eat outside without flies landing and barfing (or whatever they do) on our food every 5 seconds.  We can leave our doors wide open.
     I was very annoyed when the only fly in Colorado made his way into our house and landed on my left arm every minute for an hour... until I smashed him flat.  It was rare... that fly in our house ... almost made the news.

6.   The Unlimited Amount of Things To Do
      I don't even know where to start.  The whole state is a huge playground.  Hiking, skiing, fishing, biking, National Parks... it would seriously wear me out to come up with a list.  Use your imagination and google.

5.   Church
      We thought it would take FOREVER to find a church.  We had been warned.  And, after the first week, when we all walked out of church, looked at each other and said, "Nope!", I thought it was the beginning of a LONG hunt.  But, week #2, we went to a church and not one of us could stop talking about it all day. (I'll tell you more later about that week... later... geesh).  We went back week #3, week #4 and no one was opposed to making it our home church.  We LOVE it there!!  The preaching is solid and applicable and that pastor is not afraid to call a sin and sin and let everyone know about it.  There is nothing politically correct about him.... and, we love him!

4.  No traffic... and when and if there is traffic... it's caused by a herd of elk.  Traffic reports you don't hear about in Ohio.

3.  The scenery
      If I ever come up missing, I'm probably just driving around Colorado... looking.  It's GORGEOUS here.  It never gets old.  The mountains can look different every day depending how the sun is hitting or the type of weather.  We went fishing (again) last week (surprise) and I sat at this lake forgetting to watch my bobber because I was starring at the back of Pike's Peak.  Last week, the back side had a lot more snow than the front.  It's beautiful with the snow.  But, it's not just the mountains, it's the rocks and the streams and the waterfalls and the trees and the wildlife.  If you've never been to Colorado, you must put it on your bucket list.  If you are a personal friend of mine, you are always welcome to stay with us!!  (I really mean it!)


2.  The mountains
      When I come out of my bedroom every morning, I see a window in the hall that perfectly frames a huge 14,000 ft mountain.  The last week or so, as the temps have gotten a little cooler, I think we all look to see if there's snow on it.  New snow... more snow.  It's a sad day when the clouds cover the mountains.

1.  The weather.

      No humidity.  Sun EVERY day.  Is there any more to say?

   Sneak peek next post:  Top Ten Things I Hate About Colorado

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I Met Grizzly Adams This Weekend.... Of Course I Did!

          Our big cross country move landed us in Colorado.  Most mornings I wake up and still can't believe I live in Colorado.  I get confused really easily too.  Like yesterday, I went to the grocery store and my lady/manager who bagged my groceries said, "Have a great afternoon and enjoy the game!"  I said, "Thanks!"  Then I walked away in my head saying, "Enjoy the game?  Enjoy the game?  What game?  Is Ohio State playing today?"  I was seriously so confused.  Then it dawned on me... the Denver Broncos were playing the Monday Night Football game.  The only reason I even conjured that up is because I remember Paul saying it in passing.

     Speaking of Paul, I do believe he is on a quest to explore every square mile of Colorado.  So, Saturday morning we drove to Denver for Jackson's soccer game and then we were on a mission to check on Breckenridge.

     We're all about free entertainment, which there seems to be a lot of in Colorado.  So, upon arriving in Breckenridge, we jumped on the free gondola.

     I'm not so found on this type of transportation.  Any time I think of thousands of pounds of equipment traveling along a piece of dental floss, I get a lot nervous.   My kids look happy and confident.  Gracie's new friend, Emily, who we brought with us for the day... looked like me.  'Deer in the headlights!  Why would we put ourselves on this ride INTENTIONALLY?' look.

           Looking longingly, wishing I was back in that parking lot. 

Had to take a picture of Emme holding Shelby's hand.  It was sweet and most of the time she can't stand Shelby (We can not figure out why.  Every time I ask Emme why she doesn't like Shelby, she says, "She always smiles and says 'HI Emme!"  Definitely a reason to hate someone, right?

 And, it just kept going and going.

And, though we would make it to a platform where one could get off, like this ski resort, guess what?  Either way you have to ride it back down.

Jackson was mad because I would't let him ride in a one by himself.  He should have been more mad at his dad.  While I agree that this mode of transportation must have rules, like only 8 people in cab.  There should be one rule that stands out above the rest:  NO FARTING!    Seriously, how mean is that?  There's no air, no way to escape.  It's just cruel and unusual punishment... for nothing!  We didn't do anything to deserve that sort of treatment.

They thought is was funny. 

Well... ha. Ha. Ha.

     Every time the car would go over the pulley system, I would accidentally let out a little scream.  Emme thought this was hilarious.  Jackson was still mad.

Gorgeous, huh?

     Breckenridge was having a Beerfest... er... I mean... an Oktoberfest this past weekend.  I thought it sounded really fun... until I got there.  People can drink A LOT of beer.  AND, did you know people dress up in German costumes for this event?   Yeah, well, I did not need to see the amount of cleavage and short skirts that I was seeing.  We quickly discovered that we enjoyed the unbeaten path WAY more than the beaten path.

 We had more fun playing in the stream.

I would be perfectly content to sit by that stream all day.

I think a lot of other people agree.

We were safe following that stream until we ran into the bungee trampoline.  We are all about free entertainment... this did not qualify.  But, I told Paul I feel like sometimes we torture the kids.  We make them come to these things and then all we do is say NO to everything.  So, we decided to let them jump.

And, I am so glad we did!  Their faces were priceless!  Jackson, once he got over the fear, managed to do a double backflip.

Gracie on the other hand... she tried and tried... just to do one flip.

On her last trip, she made it!!  YAY GRACIE!!

Sunday we decided we should explore more of Colorado.

So, Sunday, after church, we decided to go fishing.  We loaded up Jackson and Emme and 3 of our neighbors and drove an hour away to a beautiful area.

How cool is this tunnel through the mountains?   Also, please note, we are driving on a DIRT road.

Of course, I would not want to pick any area that was safe.  I've decide Colorado is not safe.  Hmm...

We picked our location and minus the person who was in the car you can see in the background, there was not another soul for miles.  And, that car was only there for a minute.

Jackson carrying all the gear.  Paul brought that bucket because he seriously thought we were going to catch a fish that big.

Jackson drinking out of his camelback.  If you don't know what that is, it's a little backpack that has a bladder (you can imagine how much I just hated writing that... sounds so gross.)  Anyway, it holds 50 oz of water.  There's tube that goes into the bladder.  You know, I'm not sure why they even bother with the word tube... why don't they just go ahead and call it a urethra.  Anyway, to all my Ohio midwest friends, this seems like a completely unnecessary thing to own.  However, now that we live at 6000 ft above sea level and find ourselves playing in mountains an additional 2,000-3,000 ft above sea level, it is necessary.  It is very easy to get altitude sickness and become dehydrated.  So, at a ski shop, we found them for half the price as the ones at Dick Sporting Goods, so we bought them.  Jackson has been dying for one.  You are now looking at the most hydrated boy in all of Colorado!  

You can see for yourself that there are no other people around.  Anyone you see in the picture, is with our group.  Paul was helping Jackson and I was intently helping the 3 other kids I brought with us.  I mean I was focused.  But, all of a sudden, I smelled something that didn't smell so great.  The smell greatly resembled taco meat or body odor... as I think they smell exactly the same.  It was an odd smell because just minutes before I was thinking how wonderful it smells in Colorado.  I was even trying to think of a way to describe it to all of you.  There's a hint of pine but it's mostly just a clean, sweet smell.  What I was smelling all of a sudden... not clean!

     I was trying to fix a fishing line and watch Emme when I heard this deep voice, "Mom, do you mind  if I get in and bathe?"  I was startled and jerked my head to the right only to find Grizzly Adams-Mountain Man, standing way too much in my personal space.  His face was very weathered... wind swept tan (yes, there is a difference between this kind of tan and a regular tan), dry, cracked.  I especially noticed the crack on the side of his nose.  He was in desperate need of some vaseline.   Anyway, I said, "No, I don't mind" because those were the only words I could find.  

      I mean this man seriously scared me to death.  I didn't hear or see him approaching.  Where in the world did he come from?

     Grizzly Adams took off his shirt and shoes and socks and started walking in the water.  

     Then I became a bit alarmed.  I started thinking, "There's miles and miles and miles of shallow stream JUST like this.  Was it REALLY NECESSARY for him to come right HERE?"

     Once he made it to the middle of the stream, he dove in and began swimming upstream... only he did not move one centimeter because the current was too strong.  Then he turned as if to sit on his bottom and  he starting scrubbing down his shorts... in the back and yep, in the front.  He proceed to use only his hands to also "wash" his face and his arms and his arm pits and on and on.

    Then he came walking back toward me.  He grabbed his towel and started a conversation, "All these kids yours?'  I said, "Only two of them?"  

     He looked at Emme, "Where's this one from."  
     I answered, "China."  

     "Yeah, I knew it was some place like that.  Her hair is beautiful.  My second wife always wanted that hair."

     So, I said, "Where is your second wife?  Chopped up in little pieces in that stream?

     (OK!!  So I didn't say that!  That's what my friend Gina said when I was telling her this story:-)  Funny, huh?

     At this point, Jackson had left Paul and had rejoined me so I said, "Hey Jackson, why don't you go get dad and see if he can fix this line?'  I just wanted ol' Grizzly Adams to know that I was not alone.

    At that point, Grizzly Adams moved down to the pile of rocks and walked down to the water.  Now, why didn't he just do that in the first place?  
     Geesh!  Seriously?!  Why do the weirdest things always happen to me?

     I'm sure you are wondering if we needed that big bucket.  The answer in NO... we did not catch a single thing.  But, it was one of the most beautiful places I have even been and I enjoyed every second of it.  I even went into the water TWICE to unhook fishing lines that were caught.  Who knew I was made for Colorado?