No Upgrade Needed

ring-november-2016

“Wow. Your 16th Anniversary is coming up, and you’ve been together almost 20 years?! It’s time for an upgrade!”

“No, thanks. I love him just the way he is.”

The clerk who helped me with my cleaning & inspection was talking about my wedding ring, but I couldn’t help but tease her. …and I was almost offended. I wouldn’t change this ring for anything. Past-Present-Future. Aquas stand for faithfulness, and they ward off poison. I don’t need a bigger diamond. I’ve got everything I need and then some.

#SorryLadyNoCommissionForYOUToday

Mummies in Denver

Mummies: New Secrets from the Tombs
#MummiesInDenver

On Friday, we were able to arrange Dad’s work schedule so that we could whisk Claire away from school at the sound of the bell and head to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to check out the new Mummy Exhibit! (We are members of the DMNS, but we were given free tickets to check out this exhibit.)

Ever since Claire was but a wee lass, her favorite room at the DMNS has always been the Egyptian Mummies. Every time we’d visit the museum, we’d stop by and see the mummies. As what happens with toddlers and preschoolers, some visits to the DMNS would be shorter or longer than others, but regardless of how long we were there, a visit wasn’t complete without going to that room.

When I found out they were bringing a larger exhibit of mummies to the DMNS, I *knew* we HAD to go. (The Mummy Exhibit opened October 14, 2016 and goes through February 5, 2017. A special ticket required.) Going on opening day was just icing on the cake.

Quote from the website:
The exhibition is a rare glimpse at a collection of mummies from The Field Museum in Chicago, many displayed for the first time. Using modern technology and noninvasive research techniques, scientists avoided the hazards of unwrapping the fragile specimens and uncovered a wealth of new discoveries. Medical scanning, DNA sampling, and advanced computer modeling revealed a storehouse of natural and cultural information with extraordinary detail.

We were not disappointed!

It was absolutely amazing, mind-boggling, really. We’d never seen so many mummies up close…and not just replicas (there were a few), but these are the REAL DEAL. The only thing between us and these amazing specimens was a thin protective case, and thousands of years, which seemed to vanish before our very eyes.

This exhibit includes mummies from Egypt AND Peru, which was unexpected. (When I think “mummies,” I think of Egypt, so it was really fascinating to learn about how mummification played into the Peruvian culture, too.)

Cameras were allowed in certain parts of the exhibit, but the more delicate pieces were off limits to photography.

We spent an hour in the exhibit, and when we were done, I asked Claire what her favorite part was. She said it was a tough choice, but she settled on “The Gilded Lady.” This particular one was last seen in public at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. As you can see in the photo (which I was allowed to take), you can see her CT scan, and what she would have looked like (in the reflections).

Claire and "The Gilded Lady"

Claire and “The Gilded Lady” (click image to enlarge)

The juxtaposition of these ancient relics and the marvels of modern science used to see their inner secrets was amazing.

All evening, I thought about this exhibit. I just couldn’t wrap my head around what we’d seen and how old these specimens were. I thought about what these people would think if they knew that thousands of years into the future, they would be on display in a museum. Then, I was struck by two thoughts: On one hand, these people never wanted to be exposed. They did what they could to prevent tomb-robbers, and to protect themselves from the elements. On the other hand, they wanted to live forever…and now they have.

If you get a chance, you need to check out this exhibit. It truly is amazing.

A Simple Solution

A couple days ago, I posted this picture on Instagram with this question:

How do YOU deal with this design without going completely crazy. Asking for a friend... #shiftyglance

How do YOU deal with this design without going completely crazy. Asking for a friend… #shiftyglance

As I found out, I wasn’t alone. Other have struggled with this cap design, too. While pondering this goopy mess last night, it hit me. I had a CRAZY idea, and tried it, and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it sooner:

You just screw the cap off and bypass the goop completely!

You just screw the cap off and bypass the goop completely!

(By the way, I always clip the bottom of the toothpaste tube. Figuring out that step eons ago was the first step back from the edge for me…)

I would tell you how much calmness this simple solution has brought into my life, but you’d probably laugh at me, so I’ll keep that to myself. 😉

Raindrops on Roses

raindrops-on-roses

I have been taking pictures of the roses outside of Claire’s school for a while now. I put them on my instagram, but this one I’m sharing here, too. Those really are raindrops. For the first time in MONTHS, we got rain today! I was hoping for a full-on rainy day, but by the time pick-up rolled around, I was able to park and walk to get Claire, as usual. This isn’t a bad thing, because I got to see this rose….with raindrops. I love it!

Click photo to enlarge.

Hide & Seek With Merlin

merlin-hide-seek

For once, the ol’ trick of “If I close my eyes, they can’t see me!” really works!

First Day of Fifth Grade!

#TrueFeelings

#TrueFeelings

Our Trip to British Columbia & the Pacific Northwest – Part 7: Temperate Rainforest & Seattle

From Kalaloch Lodge, we headed to Seattle via the Olympic National Park. One of the things we wanted to do on this trip was hike in a temperate rainforest.

We were able to stop by Lake Quinalt and do just that! (Be sure to click the images to see more detail.)

I used the panorama setting to capture this tree. The drapes of moss were impressive!

I used the panorama setting to capture this tree. The drapes of moss were impressive!

Mossy Tree

Temperate Rainforest

Mossy Maple Bottom

Mossy Maple Top

Some of the trees were hard to identify by their trunks, because they were just completely covered in moss. We were startled by one tree (above) when we saw it was a MAPLE. What? How crazy is that??

The other thing that was just completely mind-boggling was the fact that there were NO BUGS. What? You can go hiking in a rainforest and not be carried away or eaten alive?? Unbelievable! (But true!)

The above photos do not do this temperate rainforest justice. It was an amazingly magical place!

After our hike, we headed on into Seattle. This time, our hotel was close to the Space Needle. We discovered that our room was on the other side of the building from the Space Needle, but we still had a view of it!

See the Space Needle in the Reflection?

See the Space Needle in the Reflection?

Sunset Reflection of the Space Needle

Sunset Reflection of the Space Needle

Reflection of the Space Needle at Night

Reflection of the Space Needle at Night

You get the picture (or three), but here it is again!

Space Needle

The next day, we met a friend who lives in the area and we went to explore things we’d not had a chance to the last time we were in Seattle.

Olympic Sculpture Park

Olympic Sculpture Park

Pike's Market! (I LOVE the funny restroom sign!!)

Pike’s Market! (I LOVE the funny restroom sign!!)

And just like that, it was time to head home. When we travel, we pack efficiently. No one believes us, but here’s our luggage. All three of us share the big red bag. The two backpacks are carry-ons, as is my red bag. We also brought along two tote bags that fold up into tiny pouches, but we didn’t even need them! Yeah!

How to Pack Light

Another trick? We have a luggage scale. That big red suitcase is 48.5 lbs on the nose, baby! (We try to leave some wiggle room when dealing with the 50 lb weight limit.)

We had such an amazing trip. These photos are just the tip of the ice-berg, and these memories will last a lifetime.

Just catching up? Check out Part 1: Vancouver, Part 2: Goats on a roof & Port RenfrewPart 3: Random Dragons and a lighthousePart 4: Deuce Days in VictoriaPart 5: Victoria, and Part 6: Finding Sasquatch & Kalaloch Lodge!

Our Trip to British Columbia & the Pacific Northwest – Part 6: Finding Sasquatch & Kalaloch Lodge

On that Tuesday, we headed for the ferry. As luck would have it, our hotel was RIGHT BY the ferry dock, so getting there wasn’t even an issue. (It was good we were close, because we needed to be there 90-minutes ahead, per regulations.) We had reservations, and everything went without a hitch.

While we were waiting, Claire yells, “SASQUATCH! I found Sasquatch! There’s a Sasquatch ON OUR CAR!”

What?

Okay, let me back up.

We’d told Claire this trip was to explore British Columbia, see the grandparents at the car show, explore the Olympic Coast, and… FIND SASQUATCH. Everywhere we’d hiked would have been PERFECT for Sasquatch, and we’d point that out…every time, but we’d not found him yet.

…until now.

She was adamant, and we were confused. “On OUR car? You mean THIS car, or someone has a Subaru?” I asked, looking at the cars in line behind us. “No! OUR car. THIS car! The Jeep!” she said.

When she pointed it out, we couldn’t believe it.

(As always, click photos to enlarge!)

Sasquatch!

Sasquatch!

SASQUATCH HAD BEEN FOLLOWING US THE WHOLE WAY! Literally. Jeep had painted this on the inside of the back window, right above the windshield wiper. What?? How clever and cool! (You couldn’t see it from the outside because of the tinted windows, and you really had to be looking right at it to notice it!)

Well played, Jeep. Well played!
(This didn’t meant we actually stopped looking for ANOTHER Sasquatch…)

While on the ferry, we saw ORCAS! Yes! This is the first time we’ve seen whales, and to say we were extremely excited about this is putting it mildly! We saw five spouts from the blowholes and two tails. Wow! What a treat!!

From Port Angeles, we made our way to the Olympic Coast. Again, we were greeted with fantastic views and scenery. This area is so lush! It was sunny again (still), so I’m thinking those tall tales about it being gloomy all the time are just a way to keep people from moving there! 😉

Kalaloch Lodge was our next stop on the itinerary. At check-in, I found out I’d been pronouncing this wrong in my head. (I’d been saying “Calla-lock,” when, in fact, it’s pronounced “Clay-lock.” Good to know!

This lodge has no TVs or phones in the room, and there is no Wi-Fi. We’d been unplugged from Social Media this entire trip, so that didn’t bother me. My phone had just enough oomph in some places to send quick texts, so I told one of my sisters to pull up the Kalaloch Lodge Webcam.

I told her we’d be down in that area and to see if she could see us on the monitor.

Sure enough! She was able to capture us! (The screen refreshes every 30 seconds, so these were fun to see!) If you look, you can see us. We’re the group of three exploring on this side of that huge log.

Kalaloch Webcam Pic 1

Kalaloch Webcam Pic 1

Kalaloch Webcam Pic 2

Kalaloch Webcam Pic 2

Kalaloch Webcam Pic 3

Kalaloch Webcam Pic 3

What may be hard to see in these photos is that it’s NOT gloomy there! There is sun and blue skies. (You can *almost* see it in the reflection on the water in one of the pictures.)

Mom and Claire Kalaloch Lodge

After dinner and a good night’s rest, we set out to explore some more!

Kalaloch Lodge Gazebo

Kalaloch Lodge Gazebo

Rope Assist - Unlike most of the other beaches and trails we'd explored, this one had a nice Rope Assit! This was very handy in making it down (and up!) to (and from!) the "real" steps!

Rope Assist – Unlike most of the other beaches and trails we’d explored, this one had a nice Rope Assist! This was very handy in making it down (and up!) to (and from!) the “real” steps!

The beach at Kalaloch Lodge

The beach at Kalaloch Lodge

The sand was HOT and the water was COLD, so that created a magical MIST that was just mesmerizing! You can see the sunny blue skies peeking through!

The sand was HOT and the water was COLD, so that created a magical MIST that was just mesmerizing! You can see the sunny blue skies peeking through!

More Mist

More Mist

Mist and Waves

Mist and Waves

The Low Tide revealed Rocks!

The Low Tide revealed Rocks!

This is called the "Tree House." All that's left for the ceiling are roots!

This is called the “Tree House.” All that’s left for the ceiling are roots!

All along the shore are Driftwood Forts.

All along the shore are Driftwood Forts.

This picture makes me smile! Hair tied up? Check. Three layers, flip-flops, and pants rolled up? Check. Sand dollars safe in hand? Check. Ready for the picture? Nope.

Sand dollars? Yes! We had so much fun looking for (relatively) intact Sand Dollars! We found some!

Sand dollars? Yes! We had so much fun looking for (relatively) intact Sand Dollars! We found some! (We didn’t find them on the driftwood…that would have been way too easy!)

Castle Builders hard at work

Castle Builders hard at work

Sunset on another beautiful day.

Sunset on another beautiful day.

That next morning, Claire told me Puppy had asked so politely to look outside, so she set up the pillows for him.

That next morning, Claire told me Puppy had asked so politely to look outside, so she set up the pillows for him.

Next stop? Hiking through a temperate rainforest and exploring Seattle!

Stay tuned!

Just catching up? Check out Part 1: Vancouver, Part 2: Goats on a roof & Port RenfrewPart 3: Random Dragons and a lighthousePart 4: Deuce Days in Victoria, and Part 5: Victoria!

Our Trip to British Columbia & the Pacific Northwest – Part 5: Victoria

After Deuce Days, we spent the evening exploring Victoria.

Water Taxis in a Row

Water Taxis in a Row

The view of Victoria from the water taxi was neat!

The view of Victoria from the water taxi was neat!

By Fisherman's Wharf, there is a community of 33 quirky houseboats.

By Fisherman’s Wharf, there is a community of 33 quirky houseboats.

We found a playground with a view of the harbor!

We found a playground with a view of the harbor!

We spent the next morning with the grandparents, killing time before they took off on the ferry back to the US. We found a fun vendor by the harbor, and Claire found a neat cat hat!

Cat Hat

Claire in a Cat Hat

After lunch, we went exploring along the coast, and we did some letterboxing.

Look what ELSE we found in a cemetery!?

Look what ELSE we found in a cemetery!?

Craigdarroch Castle

Craigdarroch Castle

Willow Beach

Willow Beach

Beach Geese?

The Beach Geese cracked us up!

Beautiful hanging flowers

Beautiful hanging flowers

I couldn't stop taking photos of all the flowers! I think I'll do a whole post on just the flowers...

I couldn’t stop taking photos of all the flowers! I think I’d have enough to do a whole website on just the flowers!

Stay tuned for more!

Just catching up? Check out Part 1: Vancouver, Part 2: Goats on a roof & Port RenfrewPart 3: Random Dragons and a lighthouse, and Part 4: Deuce Days in Victoria!

Our Trip to British Columbia & the Pacific Northwest – Part 4: Deuce Days in Victoria

After our adventures on the way from Port Renfrew, we checked into our hotel in Victoria and touched base with the grandparents. Wait. What? Yes! The grandparents were going to be attending Deuce Days in Victoria. As luck (or ultra pre-advanced planning) would have it, our trips to British Columbia were going to coincide.

This is a car show that happens every three years in Victoria, British Columbia. The grandparents (my inlaws) have gone to the last four of them. They drive Papa’s 1932 Ford, “the little yellow car,” from Omaha all the way to Victoria for the show!

(As always, click to enlarge photos.)

"Daey and Papa"

“Daey and Papa”

This year’s show boasted 1,500 cars (all older than 1951), and over 100,000 people in attendance. Yes, really! The city of Victoria did an amazing job welcoming everyone and handling the crowds, and we had a great time!

Here are some photos from Deuce Days:

The Little Yellow Car

The Little Yellow Car

The Yellow Deuce Saga

The Yellow Deuce Saga

Nebraska

Nebraska

32

32

Hoods Belong in Jail

Hoods Belong in Jail

Claire and JoAnn Little Yellow Car

Yes, there were just a few people there...

Yes, there were just a few people there…

Stay tuned for more from Victoria!

Just catching up? Check out Part 1: Vancouver, Part 2: Goats on a roof & Port Renfrew, and Part 3: Random Dragons and a lighthouse!