Thursday, July 10, 2014

Holiday Weekend

Thursday, July 3

Couldn’t wait for our weekend to start. So excited to get packed and head out.  Twenty minutes later...we were stuck.
Mass exodus.

Where are all the people coming from?  Good heavens, driving I-70 before, during, or after a 3-day weekend is pure torture!  STOP MOVING HERE!  Denver is not the place for you!

Colorado Department of Transportation advised not to travel east between the hours of 3:00 and 7:00 p.m.  We obeyed.  It took us one hour to get from our home to the top of Floyd Hill.  Thank God we had hospitable friends in Evergreen.  A nice place to rest, refresh and use the bathroom.  We visited and caught up with them for two hours waiting for the traffic to subside.  It did not.  We got back in the fray and headed east.
Destination:  Glenwood Springs

With the unplanned stop, it took us 7 hours to reach our hotel.  God we were tired.  Good thing our tee time was @ 12:20 p.m.

Friday, July 4

We let it go.  It is heavenly to wake up in the Rocky Mountains.  We wonder where the crowds have gone.  Glenwood is not overly crowded.
 
We stumbled upon a beautiful, little, unknown jewel, the Ironbridge Golf Course which used to be a member-only course.  Not anymore.  We really enjoyed our day here.  Several holes are on the river and the back plays into the mountains.  We will most definitely be back.  Hopefully, upon my return, I will be a better golfer…
19th Hole.
Red, White & Blue.
We spent our Saturday at the “pool”.  Not just any pool.  It is the world’s largest,125-year-old, naturally-fed hot springs pool with therapeutic waters.  We love it here.  This has been a regular summer activity for us for the past 23 years. 
See that reddish "spa" building?  It is the original from 1888.
We were a little disappointed to find out that the city would not be having a fireworks display in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Storm King Mountain fire and the fallen firefighters.  We Googled to find any other holiday celebration in the valley.  Really.  How did we manage before cell phones?  Siri?  MapQuest?  I digress.

We decided to go to a family-friendly-picnic-in-the-park in New Castle a very small, nearby mountain town.  What a gem!  The park was small and the BBQ dinner was hosted by the local school.  It was clean, friendly and quaint.  The fireworks started promptly at 9:30 p.m. accompanied by an amped-up stereo, playing every American anthem ever written.  Only problem?  A fairly big wait time in between the obviously choreographed timing of the rockets.  We noticed firemen with headlamps and flashlights scouting the hillside after every display to make sure there were no burning embers.  The fireworks exploded directly over our heads with an eerie echo in the canyon.  Bits of soot and artillery shell landed in our laps.  After a short while, we decided every city should lengthen their display.  These were some of the best fireworks we’ve ever seen!  The “show” lasted until 10:20 p.m. – 50 minutes! 
Pleasantly surprised. 
Happy and feeling patriotic.

We decided to hike on Sunday.  With the 20th anniversary of the Storm King Mountain fire celebration going on; there was no better hiking trail than the 4.2 mile Storm King Memorial Trail. 
OMG.  About had a heart attack. 
It was straight up & hot.  Glenwood had really planned a special day here.  A helicopter was flying back/forth bringing in the fallen firefighters’ families, landing on the original helispot.  An airplane dropped 14 yellow banners, one for each firefighter.  And, there were firefighters stationed all over the trail.  Most of them lived in the valley, but some were from Bend, Oregon, where the fallen hotshots and storm jumpers had lived.  It was really something.  Man…it was steep.  I hiked with such a lump in my throat!
 
And my heart hurt.  And my lungs.  My head!  My legs!  My back!
 
 
These men & women are in shape!  They wore their packs.  We tried one -- 35 lbs!  OMG.  He also carries a 25 lb. chain saw, wears a hard hat and suit.  I can’t even imagine.  These people have a special calling – a “fire” in their gut.  They were born for this. 
Wildfires are somewhat of a common occurrence here, but now we understand a little more.  We appreciate what they do for Colorado.  The firefighters had to scramble up this mountain without the benefit of the trail, the manmade stairs, and they couldn’t see and the fire was racing up behind them.  What a tragedy.
It was an honor to hike on such hallowed ground.

We were not in a hurry to get back on I-70 and make the trek home.  We had many "what if” plans.  We hit the “ascent” at 4:26 p.m. – the long approach (a 9-mile climb) to the Eisenhower Tunnel, fully prepared for bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Surprise!  There wasn’t any, we didn’t even have to hit the brakes once.  This is the mountain escape I remember from my youth.
 
What a glorious, meaningful weekend in our great state, but please…don’t move here!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Goal Update

Quick.  Quick.

I am updating my progress for my goal to complete 100 layouts in 2014:

It's been kinda slow and go lately.  I am working on a themed Halloween (yes Halloween in the middle of July -- good thing I've got loads of supplies).  This is a mini album for my grandson -- one that he can just drop his yearly costume pics and Halloween activities in each year.   It has been time consuming, but will be so cute!


Only 26 more to go!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

My First Published Layout!

I am officially a published scrapbooker!  Yahoo!

Fifteen years of scrapbooking.
Numerous tries.
Many rejections.
 
You will find me on page 205 in the June Issue of Scrapbook Generation's CREATE magazine.

Only one teeny, weeny, itsy, bitsy problem…
...they spelled my name wrong!  
Ack!  
Oh well, any press is good press, right?

I seriously could not be any happier!  It's a great feeling to see your work in a magazine!  Even if they're not really printed anymore...

Here is the LO in all of its glory:
I remember Gavin’s 3-month photo shoot…trying so hard to capture his new baby grin and new emerging personality and his first "tummy" pose.  So, when I was finally able to get it scrapbooked, my mission was exactly the same.  Imagine my delight when I found baby boy papers/stickers to match the stuffed-monkey-growth-measuring animal we’d been using all these months!

The LO was actually based on the April, 2014 Scrapbook Generation sketch.  They release new, FREE sketches every month.  I simply answered the call for submission.
Take a closer look at the detail:
Is that hand stitching you ask?  Yes.  It.  Is.  Painstakingly poked, threaded and stitched with three-ply embroidery floss.  But, I love the dimension it adds to the LO and it is so perfect for a kid-themed project.  If you are as old as me, you might remember the yarn stitching cards we practiced on when we were kids...with a giant needle!

I have mentioned plenty of times how much I love Scrapbook Generation Sketches/Books.  They really help me when my creativity goes on hiatus.

Most of the products I used were from Doodlebug Design (they make the cutest darn kid products -- bar none).
 
Products I used:
  • Snips & Snails Icons cardstock stickers
  • Snips & Snails Cute Cuts cardstock die cuts
  • Snips & Snails Cardstock:
    • Monkey Business
    • Nursery Stripe
  • Bazzill Cardstock
  • Fancy Pants Royal Blue Large alpha stickers

Now, I just need to do the LO's for Gavin's 4 month shoot, 5 month, 6 month, One! etc. 
Get the picture?

Have a very safe and happy 4th of July!  See you on the flipside.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Niagara Falls

Well, what a neglected blog this is!!  I haven't posted in over two months...I've been a bit busy, I guess.

What's been going on here, you ask?  It'll take more than one blog post to catch up...but here's a start.

May was just so darn hectic!  We have three birthdays between April 22 and May 15, and Mother's Day was just four days before my birthday!  I really do like to celebrate my birthday all month long. For me, it isn't really a birth "day" -- it's more like a birthday "month." (Oh, my poor family!)  We had loads of dinners, presents and cake...and then just a week later...we went to Mexico!  A family-reunion-kind-of trip (more on that later)...which takes me right to June. 

June is just as busy!  We've got a one-year old!  Yessirree!

I did manage to squeeze in some cropping on National Scrapbook Day (5/3).  Spent the day with two of my dear scrapbook pals and managed to get 22 LO's completed.  I've got loads to share.

I am trying to go backwards and fill in some of the "holes" that are missing in my chronological scrapbooks. Our 2011 trip to Niagara Falls has a 100-page digital scrapbook, but it needed a traditional layout too! Celebrating our milestone anniversary was very special.  It needed to be memorialized, traditionally.  If you have not been to see the falls, I highly recommend you add it to your bucket list.
I based my layout on this sketch from Let's Scrap:
You will notice that the main photo of the sketch was designed to stretch across the two pages.  It could have easily been two, square photos, but I am totally fine with cutting my photo!  Panoramic photos are perfect for this technique!
 
The entire LO was made with the beautiful products from the Enchanted line by Creative Memories. So very sad to see this company go out of business.  I wish you could feel the raised embossing on the printed paper.  The ink splatters are printed on the paper, but it sure looks like I spent hours doing that...and no mess! I will be very stingy with the remaining product I still have in my stash.

Here is a closer look at the dimension and beauty of this line:
Thanks for dropping by...my next scrapbook LO I plan to share has been featured in a magazine!  Yes, that's right.  I've been published!  Woot!  Woot!  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Any Day Now...

...we are gonna have a walker!
Our grandson just turned 10 months.  He is taking his first wobbly steps all by himself.  He thinks it is great fun.  Lots of giggles. Purely a coincidence that he is wearing that particular onesie.

Pay no attention to the grandma in the background.  She's just there to get him started.  His mommy was catching him on the other side and got some great photos of the new activity.  (I just had to animate them!).

I give him two weeks.

Friday, March 14, 2014

@ 9 Months

@ 9 Months, he:
  • is a crawling machine
  • pulls himself to standing on almost anything
  • puts every "thing" in his mouth
  • says "ma ma" and "ba ba"
  • stands alone for about 5 seconds
  • make "ooh ooh ooh ooh" indian noise (if you pat his mouth)
  • is very curious and investigates non-stop
  • first tooth is barely visible (but has broken through!) hence, the jaw grinding instead of smiles
  • learning to wave
  • had first "spaghetti & beef" (Gerber) last night!
  • will walk almost any day
  • will no longer sit still and pose for pictures
  • somehow knows he is wearing a sticker.  Rips it right off.
And is loved beyond words.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mardi Gras 2014



Soggy.
Wet.
Fun.

On Friday morning, as he likes to do, Bill enters my office and says, "would you like to go see the 4:10 showing of the Son of God, or would you like to go to Mardi Gras?"

What?

Are you kidding me?

Scramble.

We are lucky to have family in the travel-related industry.  A daughter-in-law who works for a hotel chain and a brother-in-law who works for the airline, but I was not optimistic.  Who is gonna score last minute travel discounts to Mardi Gras?

I was pleasantly surprised.  The hotel hookup was the easiest.  We were able to score an employee discount to the Ritz-Carlton.  The Ritz-friggin-Carlton!  And we were listed for the 9 available seats on Sunday morning. (I would've preferred going on Saturday, but we couldn't get the employee rate!).

I packed my suitcase haphazardly on Saturday night, fully expecting that we wouldn't get on the flight.  We checked in at the gate and not only got seats, but got premium exit row seats together!  We were going to Mardi Gras! (my second time...Bill's first)

We landed Sunday afternoon and headed to the hotel.  My first time at a Ritz-Carlton.  So impressed.
Room 831
The lobby.

The courtyard.
I can imagine it filled with happy people when the sun is shining!
Check out the gas lamps!
The Thoth parade was in full swing on Canal Street. Right out the front door of our hotel!  Pleasantly surprised.  The weather was great -75 degrees.  Bill immediately changed into shorts!  Nice getaway from the cold Denver weather we left behind.
It's Bloody Mary : thirty
 
 
"Hey, Mista!  Throw me something!"
We ventured up St. Charles that evening to watch the Bacchus parade.  Found us a nice corner with some locals who very generously shared their "homemade" bench.
Bill's never met a stranger!
Drink of the night?  Hurricane!
Bacchus King:  Hugh Laurie
  

Well, that lasted all of one day.  We woke up on Lundi Gras (Monday) to a whopping 41 degrees, a very big 35 degree swing in the weather, but at least it was dry.  Time to see the city.

Yes, we could have walked down Canal Street to the river, but where's the fun in that?  Had to ride a streetcar!  Love them!
Riverwalk
We were able to do a fair amount of walking around the city and I did my best to show Bill the sights.
Saint Louis Cathedral
Like my hat?
Jackson Square
So worth the wait!
Caught some great beads here!
We were lucky to catch a Second Line parade!
Louis Armstrong Park.
Infamous Bourbon Street
Original hitching posts.
The crowds from Sunday to Monday had greatly diminished.  We again watched the parade(s) from the front door of our hotel. Front row.  Bill bought "leave-behind' chairs.  Our hotel set up a door-front bar with food & drink.  Saweet!
Drink of this night?
Hot chocolate.

Royalty: John Schneider
 

King Quentin Tarantino
Most impressive of all the floats.
I checked the weather forecasts that night of Lundi Gras and knew we were in for a cold Fat Tuesday. I had planned to get up early, get breakfast, and line up to see Zulu, a parade which rolls through the Treme and Central City on Mardi Gras morning. Zulu celebrates Black culture, and their prized throws are hand-decorated coconuts. But when I woke up at 7:30 a.m., and heard the patter of rain outside, the loud patter of relentless rain, I was in no hurry. The rain kept a lot of people in bed: Zulu rolled as planned, and while most years the majority of spectators go home coconut-less; because so few people showed this year, everyone there got a coconut. We took home six coconuts. Six! And, some of the best darn beads yet!

I paid $50 to STAND is the grand stands three years ago and did not get a coconut.  I know people who have celebrated Mardi Gras many times and did not get a coconut.  We got six.

Six!

Some of the conversations we overheard:

  • Coldest Mardi Gras since 1899
  • It has rained every single time Mardi Gras has fallen on March 4
  • I've lived here 26 years, first Mardi Gras I've missed due to the weather
Most of the bands marching on Tuesday opted out.  The parades were much shorter.  My pictures? Non existent! Pretty hard to balance an umbrella and a camera.  Yet, I managed just fine when the coconuts were being handed out!
Krewe of Elks
(aka the Truck parade still rolling @ 3:15)
Photo taken from the warmth of my hotel room
(notice the thinning crowds)
I still feel bad that Bill's first Mardi Gras was dampened by the rain. He could of cared less.  He was a throw-catching machine!  We brought back two big bags full of beads and every carnival-type-toy-stuffed-animal-thingy you can imagine.

To our pleasant surprise, the rain did not stop Mardi Gras. The place was not as crowded as on sunny years, but people were there, having fun.

Three fun days = 7 parades!

Wet.
Soggy.
Fun.