Thursday, July 31, 2014

Playing Outside

Hot Time, Summer in the City, Day 30

I was fortunate to be able to spend some time with the grandchildren on Day 30. They love to play outside so I rested on the porch swing while they had their fun.

 Miss Baby Elephant, hanging out with Grandma. I love this photo because her Scandinavian hair is visible. Don't let anyone tell you that brown hair and brown eyes are dominant. Em has brown hair and brown eyes. I actually told her once that she would  never have blue-eyed children. Of her three children, two are blue-eyed blonds. The third is a brown-eyed blond. Bauer's Viking blood conquers all.

Avatar chose to work instead of play. He's just like that.

Chunk showing off his mad biking skills.  He tells me that he doesn't need "stabilizers."  
Translation: Training wheels.

It's a good day when I get to be around these kids. I don't know what will happen when Kay starts having kids. Maybe I will force her to live within one mile of me too.

Power Outages

Day 29, A Summer Storm

It rained for three days in a row here this week.  The bright side is that The Pond fills up and we get to water our gardens. Rain also has a sweet ability to put out forest fires. The downside is that when it gets too dry, our dirt turns to a pottery-like substance that doesn't allow the water to soak in. Instead it becomes a conduit for mud and newly-formed rivers. We've had a couple of nearby mudslides that hampered travel in and out of our county.

The accompanying lightning took out the power for a few hours on Day 29. I have a confession to make. I sometimes enjoy bad weather. It might be related to childhood when I lived in Tornado Alley and my mother would gather us together and direct us to the basement. We would all huddle together with a flashlight or a candle, listening to the transistor radio, waiting for the "all clear" signal. While I don't enjoy the devastation a storm may bring, I do appreciate the majesty and beauty.

I really needed to take a shower, but the lightning prevented that for a while. (For those who didn't grow up in Twisterland, never take showers when there's lightning about. Not good.) When the lightning was gone, so was the power. It was out long enough for me to realize that my shower was going to have to be by candlelight.

My camera--the only thing that worked during the outage!

Spray Paint!

Summery Things, Day 28

One of my favorite ways to spend time outdoors is with a can of spray paint in my hand. (Sorry, that's about as outdoorsy as I get.)  For obvious reasons, spray painting is not really a cold weather endeavor. So when the sun is beating down and the box elder bugs are crawling all over everything, I know it's time, and hot enough, to grab something ugly and a can of paint.

This was an old Easter basket I had hanging around. Since Weston is now 15, you know how long it's been hanging.  It was shades of dark purple, green, and pink, but I thought it would look better in pistachio. Krylon Satin Pistachio to be exact. This type of basket is great for delivering goodies to someone's house, when you don't necessarily need to have the basket back.

Old peanut butter jar and Krylon Ocean Breeze. Perfect for holding a spray of white daisies. 

This is a table I rescued from a curb junk pile. It was black and is still a work-in-progress. It's being painted white first, as a primer. It still needs a couple of layers. And then I need to decide whether I want it to be Pistachio, Ocean Breeze, or Jade (which is pretty close to Pistachio.) After it's painted, I have visions of visiting The Graphics Fairy for some furniture transfers in French typography. I've never  done that before but if I mess it up, I'll just spray paint over it!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated by Krylon to promote their products. I happened to have them on hand from Mother's Day last year when the males said, "What do you want for Mother's Day? Please, give us a clue!"  Oh, and The Graphics Fairy does not know I exist, but I think everyone should know she exists. She is real.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Departure

Day 27, The Camping Adventure Begins. I enjoy it vicariously.

Some people enjoy punishing themselves by seeing how little they can survive on for an entire week. Outdoors. In a forest. I am not one of those people.

I am what is called a "glamper," meaning I need to have a mall within a mile in case I run out of Victoria's Secret Sensual Blush body wash while I'm camping. Another prerequisite to my going camping is a tent with an air-conditioner and a guarantee that there are no bears or snakes within a fifty mile radius. My son however, feels that soap would weigh down his pack and is therefore not a necessity.

He and his mountain-man buddies left town on Day 27. They're driving four hours away through northern Utah and southern Wyoming to arrive in Utah's High Uintas mountain range. They will park vehicles and say goodbye to them for a week as they hike through the wilderness. They've been warned that if they are weak, they will be left behind.

I am no longer his protector. I'm not crying. Really.

Part of the crew.

Last minute rearranging and texting. No cell signal where they're going.

Securing the load.

Knowing that I will not see my son for a week, and that he might get eaten by a bear, get attacked by a wolverine, or get a blister, I attempted to secure an intimate last minute hug from him. Instead, he grabbed my forearm, said "Brotha," and yelled "Freedom!" as he turned his back on me.

I turned to Computer Geek, grinned, and said, "Yes, freedom!"

Breakfast in the Park

Summer Enjoyment, Day 26

When the weather is nice, sometimes you just have to eat outdoors. It's definitely a summer activity because I'm not too fond of parking my parka on a snow-capped park bench.

July 26 found us at a local play place having breakfast with our friends. We had pancakes, scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, and watermelon. This is the closest I get to camping.

I didn't get too many photos because I was helping serve food. I grabbed my camera to snag a few parting shots shortly before people started leaving .

Cutie-Pie Pixie and her pretty mama

Weston's friends. The big hole in between Dash and River is where Weston was sitting before he saw my camera. My guess, by the looks on the boys' faces, is that Weston ducked under the table.

Bauer, trying to coax Miss Baby Elephant down the slide


Celebrate summer by taking your food outdoors!

Camping Equipment

Summer Fun, Day 25

When you live in the country you must accept the fact that for a few days every summer your living room looks like this. There is no point in vacuuming the carpet, dusting the furniture, or entertaining visitors.  The camping participant (in this case Weston) uses the various rooms in your house as a staging arena, a place to organize equipment for the upcoming camping trip.

Usually Weston's camping adventures are limited to an overnight stay in the nearby forest. He and a few friends will hike up the mountain, pitch their tents, and sit around a campfire texting their friends.  The only food they bring is cheddar cheese chips, some Swedish Fish, and maybe a Gatorade. In the morning, they fish a squashed doughnut out of a backpack, hike back down the mountain, and spend the rest of the day pretending like they don't need a nap.

The above "mess" signifies something greater is at hand. Note the JetBoil stove, the foam sleep mat, the first aid kit, the extreme lightweight sleeping bag, a water filter, the hammock, and the one week's worth of t.p. Not shown is the week's worth of food, such as flavored rice, oatmeal, beef jerky, trail mix, foil pack "canned" chicken, granola, and hard caramel candy.  No junk food now. It's not worth the extra weight. All food must be justified as vital to survival or it's not being packed.

Now, these survival items are on the couch. Soon, they will be spread back out on the floor in an attempt to pack and re-pack for greatest efficiency. It's not unusual to get everything packed only to realize something important was forgotten.  The mini-deodorant. The trial-size toothpaste. Shampoo?  Not happening.

Stay tuned for Day 27...

Friday, July 25, 2014

Pioneer Day, A Party, and a Fire

Day 24, Pioneer Day, or as we in Utah call it, Fourth of July--Again!

July 24 is a state holiday for Utahans. It commemorates the day, back in 1847, when Brigham Young looked at the Salt Lake Valley and proclaimed it good. We have lots of parades, picnics, and fireworks on July 24, so it's like getting two July 4ths while the rest of the country gets only one. Most businesses are closed, but the nice thing? We still get mail because the post office falls under federal government! Woot! (I apologize to my post office friends who never get a Pioneer Day off.)

Em and her kids went to a parade so I tagged along.

American flags always get me misty-eyed.

Rejoice! Avatar let me take his picture!

Chunk, scoping out the loot. It was funny because before the parade, Chunk said he hoped he scored a water bottle. He got one. Avatar said he hoped he got a T-shirt. He got one. The power of positive thinking!

Miss Baby Elephant got into the chasing after candy groove.

Hee hee hee--Chunk

 Computer Geek, Weston, and I got invited to a birthday party for a cute little 4 year old.
Happy Birthday, Pixie!

And what's summer without a forest fire? I'm hoping it will be out soon because the other side of the mountain doesn't look that far away.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sandals and Flip-Flops

Day 23, Summer Footwear

Hanging out, watching Jeopardy in my THONGS.


Miss Baby Elephant


Tiny Dancer



Original Quangster Janice sent us these feet all the way from Scotland!

Enjoy it while you can.


Hot Summer Night, Day 22

One of my favorite childhood memories is staying outside late on a summer night, listening to the locusts whine, predicting where the next lightning bug would emit its glow, and watching the stars come out one by one. A special privilege was being allowed to play outside in our pajamas!

I still enjoy spending hot evenings outside, but instead of running around the yard, I sit in my lawn swing and watch the sky turn dark. We don't have locusts or lightning bugs in central Utah, but we do have crickets.

Gradually, the 4-wheelers quit racing up and down the road (my street is a mountain access road,) the neighborhood kids head inside for bed, and the peacock stands as a sentinel, cawing loudly whenever a car enters his turf.

On night 22, Computer Geek and I welcomed the darkness as we sat on the swing and discussed the day's events. We got misted by the sprinklers in the back yard, but it felt pleasant. We could hear Weston and his friends a block over, playing Fugitive, a night-time game where the players try to avoid being spotlighted by the headlights of the searcher's car. And of course I had to take a photo, but of nothing, really. I just aimed into the dark and clicked.

 Star light, star bright.
First star I see tonight.
I wish I may, I wish I might
Have the wish I wish tonight.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Family Night at the Pool

Summer Blast, Day 21

Our local pool closes at 6:00 P.M. and reserves the 6:00-8:00 P.M. slot for private parties. I would go to the pool more often but I haven't bought a new swimming suit in years and the thought of spending $3 to sit there and wish I could go in the water doesn't seem all that fun. On day 21, they hosted a Family Night during those hours and only charged $1 to get in. For a buck, I'll go sit by the water.

Daughter Em and extended family were there. It's always a joy to see little kids splashing around or going down the slide.  I'm usually the only adult there with a camera, which makes me feel somewhat pervish, so I make sure I am obvious about only taking pictures of the people I know.  I also do a little creative cropping of photos to eliminate any strangers in the background or any immodesty. It was a beautiful night and well worth the dollar.

Baby Elephant and Em (and M&Ms)

Holy Cheeto Face!

River and Dash

Baby Elephant squirting her mom and not feeling one bit sorry about it


I've been diligently trying to get some good pictures of Avatar, but he's getting older now so this is what I usually get.

Mr. KindleHead

Mr. ShirtHead 
(Yes, there is an "r" in there; I double-checked)

Undoubtedly I shall have to study up on some paparazzi tricks. I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Summer Party, Day 20

We had two reasons to celebrate on July 20.

1. National Ice Cream Day
A day devoted to my favorite dessert!  Well, a day devoted to my favorite dessert next to fudge, key lime pie and seven-layer bars, all three of which are better when served with ice cream anyway.

I made a cake in honor of National Ice Cream Day. After I made the cake I realized I don't really like cake unless there's ice cream on top.  I called Weston, who happened to be out and about, and asked him if he had any plans to stop by Wally World. He said, "I'm there right now."  Hallelujah!  It was meant to be.

He brought home some ice cream so we didn't have to miss out on the holiday.

And it's a good thing we had cake and ice cream on hand because...

2. A new little person entered the world!
Daughter Gnome and her husband William the Bruce had a baby boy yesterday. He joins older sisters Heavenly, Hoolie, and Ladybug.  We're sure excited to have another grandson and can't wait to meet him in person. He doesn't have a cool blog name yet. I'll have to think a while on that one.  

My heart swelleth...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Road Trip and a Miracle

Summer Breeze, Day 19

In a week, Weston will be leaving with a bunch of his mountain-man friends for a one week hike in the Uinta Mountains. He's been excited about it for several months and has been using his pay from his new job to buy needed supplies.

My son is no stranger to camping, having grown up in a mountainous region. He's camped in a snow cave and has slept in a hammock. Overnight. In the mountains. Where there are wild animals. Who eat people.

Before I get myself all riled up about the dangers of this upcoming camp-out, I'll carry on with the road trip story.

A couple of weeks ago, Weston bought a new sleeping bag for the trip. Couldn't he use our family sleeping bags?

No, because they aren't "mummy style" bags.

Couldn't he use the new mummy style bag that he bought for the mid-winter snow cave camp-out?

No, because that one was designed for below-zero temps and therefore was too heavy to be carting around while hiking 15 miles a day uphill.

He needed a compact lightweight sleeping bag that would be good for around 30 degrees at night.

You can tell I grew up in the city. I didn't know that you need a new sleeping bag for every type of camp-out. Where was Bear Grylls when I was growing up?  Oh yeah--not born yet.

Anyway, apparently the new sleeping bag didn't quite cut it on a test run so it had to be returned. (And who knew camping required test runs? Not me!) That left Weston less than 6 days to find a new sleeping bag. There was much discussion between Computer Geek and Weston as to whether it was more cost effective to drive an hour away and look for a new sleeping bag, or whether it would be better to pay for expedited shipping.

So that he could look at, feel, and smell the new bag if we took the road trip, we decided it would be better than having one shipped sight unseen. We headed to the largest nearby town, about an hour away from us. (Yeah, sorry, that's what we consider Road Trip! in my house.)

See what I mean about the labeling of mountains?  This one is mountain V.

We stopped at a sporting goods store where Weston found the perfect sleeping bag for the trip. However, it was $69.99, which was a little more than he wanted to spend. He also saw a pair of light weight cargo pants that he wanted, but they were $30.00.

Computer Geek talked him into checking out the local Big W to see if he could find something cheaper. We spent about an hour at Big W, but found that a comparable bag was indeed cheaper, with the emphasis on "cheap." It was made out of that new material that looks somewhat like heavy-duty knitted paper. They make shoes out of the same stuff. After much deliberation, Weston decided to head back to the sporting goods store and buy the $69.99 sleeping bag.

We drove back and he picked up the sleeping bag that he had been looking at before. But now, it had an added feature that it didn't have an hour ago--a pink tag!

That's right, folks, half price!

Needless to say we were in awe about the situation. We felt like Someone was looking out for little Weston. And if that Someone cares enough to make sure Weston got a half price sleeping bag, wouldn't He also care enough to make sure a bear doesn't eat him on his hike?  That's what I'm counting on.

And what did Weston say about all of this?  "Now I have enough to get the cargo pants!" 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Swimming Lessons

Lazy July Summer Days, Day 18

The Chunk had his last swimming lesson for the year so Computer Geek and I tagged along. The last day was reserved for fun so the kids were rewarded for all their hard work with trips down the water slide. Chunk was just a little bit too short to go down by himself so the swimming teachers went down with him.

How fun is that!

Miss Baby Elephant was being kind of grumpy. She wouldn't turn around to talk to Grandpa or me. I finally thought I'd engage her through her doll. "Will you show me your new Anna doll?"  
Instead of turning around, she lifts Anna over her shoulder for me to see.
  Stinker 1, Grampires 0
She warmed up to my charms eventually.
This is how Michael Phelps started.
Baby Elephant wants to join the fun.
Daughter Em found a gift idea on Pinterest so she personalized it and gave one each to Chunk's two teachers. In case it's too small to read, here's what it says:
"You're oFISHally the Best!
Thanks for teaching me how to swim
Even though sometimes I act like a FISH out of water!"
She filled it with Goldfish crackers and Swedish Fish and decorated it with puffy fish stickers.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Pizza Night at the Park

Day 17

It was a hot and sticky night. The lady of the house had been battling a migraine all day and was somewhat irritable. The thought of firing up the oven or cooking over a hot stove made her even more so.

Suddenly, a thought or three popped into her brain. Pizza Pizza! Little Caesar's! Five bucks!

Once that thought was there, there was no getting rid of it. Luckily she has a swell husband who was totally into the idea. Even the surly teenager agreed that pizza would be "okay." He guessed he would go with us.

The husband decided he would spring for the $8 pizza instead. 
It has one-inch thick crust which suits his bread fixation nicely. 
I'm more of a thin crust, extra pizza sauce kind of gal.

View from the park. In Utah, we label our mountains so they don't get lost. This is Mountain S.

This annoying little creature screeched at us the whole time we were eating. 
Sheesh. You would think she had babies around or something.

Heh heh. Oh.

Hot desert sand. Crunchy desert grass. Just makes ya wanna get right out there and spike a ball, huh?

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