Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Gnome's Cohort in Crime

On our walk through the city last night I spotted another gnome -- hiding near a porch. I'm sure he was helping our little gnome because I believe they work at night and he seems to be carrying a flashlight.

A question: I know there must be lady gnomes otherwise they would be a dying species, BUT -- have you ever seen one??? Wait ------- I don't think I've ever seen a young one either. Maybe they ARE a dying species.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Garden Visitor

"A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them."
Liberty Hyde Bailey

In our case, I think the "someone" is a little gnome. I found him standing guard over the tomato and squash plants this morning. But actually I'm not sure if he was tending the plants or if he was planning on taking some of the veggies as he had a picnic basket over one arm!

The above quote is from Liberty Hyde Bailey who lived from 1858-1954 and was a horticulturist and botanist. He was also a co-founder of the American Society for Horticultural Science. As #1 daughter is a horticulturist, I thought she'd appreciate this quote.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I Keep Forgetting My Camera Lately

I left my camera at home for the last Summer of Jazz concert this week so I have no pictures of it but the music was great. It was Kevin Mahogany's Kansas City Revue. Lots of dancing early on this time. We shared it with a dear friend -- actually a "framily member." You know, more than a friend, almost like family.

And then today we went up to Mountain Fair in Carbondale and I left my camera at home AGAIN! I realize now that God is trying to tell me something about living in the moment and not worry about getting those pictures. I should just enjoy the moment. But I do have pictures of past Mountain Fairs which would still work today:

This is the nice lady who makes the Saint icons. We had previously bought St. Bernard from her and this year we bought St. Valentine. Nice work and very nice lady. And gotta love her sign!

This act was not here this year but there was still plenty to watch. We enjoyed the Limbo contest and it ended in a tie between a young man (probably early 20's and most assuredly a gymnast) and a little girl about 10. Lots of fun.

Plenty of lively music in the Gazebo. Although I must say that the group from the Aspen Jazz summer camp was good when they were just playing their instruments but the singing reminded me of "America's Got Talent" -- the acts that you say to yourself, "Does that person REALLY think they can sing?"

And of course lots of kids! They are so fun to watch. They were dancing, spinning, crying, screaming, getting lost, getting found, and sometimes........just quietly enjoying the shows like the rest of us!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

How Dry We Are

Tom was just on a conference call with his IBM project team and there was lightning and immediately a HUGE clap of thunder. He told them that the storm was too close for him to be on the phone and excused himself from the call. Moments later we saw the smoke from our backyard -- the lightning struck the mountain near us. We called 911 but haven't heard any sirens yet, although maybe they're hoping the rain will put it out. We hope so too.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Flat Tops Wilderness / Trappers Lake

We enjoyed a few quiet days at Trappers Lake in the Flat Tops Wilderness. This area was visited by Arthur Carhart, a Forest Service official, in 1919 and he was inspired to preserve this area as wilderness. The Forest Service agreed and Trappers Lake became the first protected wilderness area in the US. In 2002, lightning in this area sparked the Big Fish Fire which destroyed over 17,000 acres, the Trappers Lake Lodge, a couple barns, the hottub lounge, and several old historic cabins. The new lodge is up and running, with Holly and Carol as our wonderful hostesses, the meals were delicious, and we stayed in a sweet old cabin.

Tom is still upset with how devastated the area looks since the fire but I found a particular beauty in all the incredible wildflowers and watching deer and their babies running through what was left standing when the trees burned.

Tom attempted to fish Trappers Lake but the darn fish ended up nibbling the toes of his waders and kept looking up at him as if to say, "Ha ha, you can't catch me!" (They were right!) As they were jumping out of the water all around him I thought perhaps they enjoyed the smorgasbord of insects as opposed to the individual fly lunch he was offering.

We hiked the Wall Lake Trail going about 6 miles up the trail, and at about 10,000 - 11,000 feet, the air is crisp and clean, but I started to get nervous when I saw some clouds forming. I'm petrified of lightning and know how dangerous it is in the Rockies so we headed back down. It's a beautiful hike, and I will get flak from dear daughters for not completing it, but maybe someday..........

The only unpleasant part of the trail were the piles of horse poop we had to step around and over. And I don't think I'm the only one who thinks horses are a problem as I saw this sign at the beginning of the trail:

It has been said that when God goes on vacation God goes to the Colorado wilderness. I'm sure you can see why.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Kitchens are Dangerous

There's a reason I don't spend a lot of time in the kitchen. As Tom informed the ER staff: "My wife stabbed herself!" It was not nearly that exciting.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Just what causes those rockslides?

I've never liked driving through a narrow canyon during a rain storm or when the snow is melting a lot for fear of rock slides. They happen frequently around here including one that closed I-70 during Thanksgiving vacation one year and we ended up with an extended stay because of the serious damage to the road. But we've never been up close and personal to a slide -- until today.

We decided this would be a great morning to bike to Hanging Lake, a ride of about 12 or 13 miles along the Colorado River. We were doing fine, enjoying the gorgeous scenery until about 4 miles into the trip.

Tom stopped to move a boulder off the path:

While stopped here we began to hear rocks sliding down the slope to our left. What a surprise. It was a bit nerve-wracking but really neat, too. Remember, I'm not a pro so the video is somewhat wonky:

Once we got up to Hanging Lake we came upon a group of lovely Amish women who had just biked in. Can you imagine riding a bike wearing a long dress? Didn't seem to bother these ladies.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Jazz this week

Marlon Jordan, jazz trumpeter, entertained us this week at Summer of Jazz. Cloudless day, cool evening, great music. What more can you ask for? Here is a photo and a little video. The video is dark as it was towards the end of the show, but I think the music comes through just fine.

This photo was taken as we walked towards the bandshell. Lots of folks carry in their low folding chairs. Here's an independent little fellow.

A bit of the show for you:

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Just finished reading My Stroke of Insight by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. If you haven't yet seen her talk at the TED Conference yet, it's well worth the 20 minutes.

In college I was fascinated by the split-brain experiments that I studied in Physiological Psych courses. Here is a neuroanatomist who got to study her brain from the inside out after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. Fascinating, but even more interesting is how she came to discover the physiology of enlightenment.

This led me to looking through those silly tests on the internet to see if there were any that tested for right/left brain dominance. Found a couple and here are my results:
Brain Lateralization Test Results
Right Brain (62%) The right hemisphere is the visual, figurative, artistic, and intuitive side of the brain.
Left Brain (34%) The left hemisphere is the logical, articulate, assertive, and practical side of the brain
Are You Right or Left Brained?
personality tests by similarminds.com

You Are 30% Left Brained, 70% Right Brained

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.

Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.

If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.

Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.

Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.

If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.

Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

So, I guess I'm right-brained. Or more likely to use my right brain. Or I'm in my right mind? Hmmm............ Go figure.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Peace and Quiet on the Fourth of July

For the Fourth of July we decided to head over to Veltus Park where we could park our lawn chairs and read alongside the Roaring Fork.

It was such a pleasant place to read. The temperature was quite a bit cooler in the park, the occasional rafters were fun to watch zipping along the river, and we each had a great book to read. Tom had The Dark Tide by Andrew Gross and I brought Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. Ahh...........heaven on earth.

Until we began hearing clunking noises behind us!

The young folks involved were very apologetic and told us that "if we yell, 'Heads up' then.........." but we cut them off and told them we were already thinking about moving our chairs, so not to worry! We moved up river, read a bit more, but realized that as the young folks had four -- yes, four--- large bags of charcoal, this was probably going to more party and noise than what we'd enjoy. Bye-bye for the evening, Veltus Park. But it was lovely while it lasted.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

How Big is a Micro Fridge?

I saw a sign nearby while we were out walking the other day and it got me thinking about the size of refrigerators. Clearly there is quite a range (pun intended). I found a GE fridge with a 41 cubic feet capacity. It's 7 feet high and 6 feet across. How many people have such a large family that they need this huge fridge? Maybe they use it as a bedroom? Really folks!

The average size seems to be between 20 and 25 cubic feet. Then there are the small refrigerators. They are about 5.5 cubic feet. From there we move down to the compact ones. These are quite small, about 2.5 cubic feet. These you could put in your dorm room to hold your milk or sodas - yeah, right. What? You can't get enough to eat and drink in the cafeteria?

If you want to go even smaller, there's a mini fridge. The inside dimensions are 8.5 X 5.75 X 5.25 inches, can fit in your car, and can hold a six-pack.

This brings me to the aforementioned sign:

Just how small is a micro fridge? What would you put into it? A sandwich? A deck of cards? But it actually sounds like a good idea. There's an obesity problem in the US and I can see that those huge refrigerators probably help contribute to it. You can't leave food in the fridge for too long so you would be always trying to finish up that side of beef or the community gardens. But with a teeny-tiny micro fridge you can only have a small amount of food on hand. You could be running back and forth to the grocer to keep it stocked. Maybe you could even carry it in your backpack while hiking. With this tiny fridge you would surely keep the weight off. I like it.
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