Monthly Archive for August, 2010


We'll see you after Labor Day! Have a great holiday!

What day is it?

I love that Claire is in school four days a week now! (Granted, they are half-days, but I’ll take what I can get!)

I must say, though, that I’m exhausted! Having to be up and out of the house by a certain hour, every day for four days straight, is a challenge…not to mention the shear energy levels it takes to remember what day it is.

Yes, I have a calendar with me wherever I go. Yes, I know the day of the week. I may have to cheat and look at the calendar when I get up, but I usually remember it. But every hour or so, my mind goes into a tailspin.

“WHAT DAY IS IT!?” my brain screeches, out of nowhere. My heart skips a beat in a momentary panic, that feeling you get when you think you’ve forgotten something.

All last year, school = Tuesday or Thursday. All through the summer, school (art class) = Tuesday or Thursday. Now, this is still true. She goes to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but she also goes on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Claire loves our new schedule, and she’s adjusted quite nicely. For the last two years, she’s begged to go to school every day, so getting to four days a week is a dream come true for her!

I knew there would be a transitional phase, but I didn’t expect it to be for me.

The Obligatory First Day of School Shots & My Not-So-Secret Plot to Take Over the World

Claire is in Pre-K!

We had a little photo shoot this morning.

I’m not sure if you can tell from these photos, but she was BURSTING with excitement.

I’m not sure if you can tell from these photos that I am too! Eight hours a week to myself? Alone with my thoughts? Being able to write without interruption? Being able to do anything without interruption?

Look out! I may just be able to take over the world.

…or at least be able to get dinner figured out ahead of time.

Yes, I am the crazy lady who wishes her kitties a Happy Birthday on her blog.

Jasper & Merlin are NINE YEARS OLD today!

I can’t believe my first babies are almost a decade old!

It seems like yesterday we were bringing them home. (We had to wait until they were big enough to bring them home. You can read all about that here!) Look how TINY they are!!

Eight Years ago!

October 2001 - Merlin & Jasper

Happy Birthday, guys!

Searching for Modern Day Buried Treasure: The Joys of Letterboxing

Have you ever been Letterboxing?

Letterboxing?  What’s Letterboxing?

I admit it;  I’d never heard of it.  When Mile High Mamas featured a post on Letterboxing, I clicked through thinking it was a craft project or something.  Or maybe a sport?  I had no idea.

But it wasn’t either of those two things, and what I discovered was amazing!

In fact, I was intrigued.

Yes, I’m The Casual Perfectionist. Would you expect anything less? Claire is the cute little hot-pink flower (as seen in the other photo below).

Letterboxing is a hobby that goes back to the 1850s!  It’s a lot like “geocaching,” in that you search for little boxes of “buried treasure” that someone else has hidden.  In Letterboxing,  you use puzzles to figure out how to find the “buried” treasure, rather than a GPS device.  (I’m using “buried” in quotes, because most Letterboxes aren’t actually buried. Oh, and some clues require the use of a compass, but not all of them do.)  Inside each box is a stamp that you use to mark your own book.  You then use your own personalized stamp to mark the book inside the box.  When you get home, you can log on to the website and record the find that way, too.

I popped in our city and state into the “Find Letterboxes” link, and I was surprised to see dozens of options within miles of our house…and HUNDREDS in our metro area!  There was a Letterbox relatively close, and the puzzle seemed relatively easy, so we decided to go find it.

At one point in the riddle, these particular instructions told us to “go in a bearing of 110” on the compass, and so we borrowed Daddy’s compass, and he gave us a quick lesson on how to read it.  It’s been ages since I’ve read a compass, and other than knowing where the major North East South West directions are, I’ve never used one to go a “bearing” of anything!

But, I listened to what he said, and it made sense.  Kinda.  Then, he gave us the “Just because I earned a badge in this doesn’t mean I remember exactly what to do!  I haven’t used one of these in years!” disclaimer, and off we went.

From the clue, I thought I had a general idea of where the Letterbox was hidden.  We figured out the riddle and then got to the part where we needed the compass.

We were to take a compass bearing of 110 and walk 39 paces from the little pine tree.

I did exactly what the former Boy Scout had told me to, and we ended up scaling a rather annoying fence and traipsing through a rather difficult portion of “natural grasses.”  In fact, I wasn’t sure how we were going to find ANYTHING out there, let alone a small hidden box.  We were out there forever.  None of the clues really made much sense when we got to the end of our 39 paces.  Does that look like a little line of trees to you?  Which trees would be numbers 1 and 2?  We’re not doing something right…

Here’s where I admit that I’m a little too OCD for Letterboxing.  Correction:  I’m a little too OCD to STOP Letterboxing.  We looked for an hour.  I just couldn’t give up.  Claire was a trooper through this whole thing.  We were getting tangled in brambles, but she didn’t care.  She wanted to find it too.  Here’s where I admit that Claire has inherited my OCD tendency when it comes to puzzles….and Letterboxing.  Who knew!?

Finally, I pulled the plug on this expedition.  We made our way to the more civilized part of the park, but I just couldn’t quit.  The thought of going home empty-handed weighed heavily on my mind.  We decided to follow the instructions, step by step, one last time.

We found it! We moved some sticks before taking the photo. Can you see it?

We made it to the little pine tree again.

That’s when I really thought about the compass and the bearing of 110.  That’s when I realized my mistake.  My husband’s instructions had led us on a path of true north, NOT a bearing of 110.  When I made the adjustment, we ended up going in a completely different direction, and all of a sudden, the other clues started to make sense.

We looked down, and there it was!  We’d found it!

In Letterboxing, you’re supposed to be discreet when you find one.  You’re supposed to usher it away from the hiding place to make your mark in the book, before re-hiding it in the same place.  You’re supposed to do this in secrecy and quietness.

I was bursting with joy and did use a hushed, although excited whisper, but Claire screamed, “WE FOUND IT!?!” at the top of her tiny lungs.  Needless to say, we’ll have to work on that part.

We stamped our book.  We signed theirs.  We re-hid the box in the exact place we found it.

On the walk home, Claire asked if we could go find another one.  Right now.

What you need for Letterboxing: Book to record your find, ink pads (Claire’s is pink & mine is lavender), personalized stamps, pen, instructions (clues/riddle), and a compass (not always needed or used properly. Heh.)  If you click to enlarge the photo, you can see where Claire and I have signed our book, just like we did in the Letterbox book.

Needless to say, we’re hooked.

We have our own personalized stamps all ready to go.  I have a whole list of other Letterboxes to find in our area before we venture off to farther locales.  I have a renewed understanding on how to read a compass.

Claire and I not only found our very first Letterbox, we’ve found a new obsession.  I mean, hobby.  We’ve found a new hobby.

So, what about you?  Do you Letterbox?  …and if so, do you have a Support Group I can join?  😉

Featured Elsewhere: My NYC Recap at Mile High Mamas!

Yes, some random stranger offered to take my photo, and I'm so glad she did! Thanks, Random Stranger! (Yes, I told her it was OK to tip the camera to get all of both of us in the shot.)

I have a confession to make: I knew I was going to have a great time in NYC for BlogHer10 before I even got there. Yes, it’s true. I’d decided before I even had my bags packed.

You can do that?
Yes, you can, and I do it before every trip I take.

Will things work perfectly? No. Do I expect them to? Absolutely not. Would I want them to? Of course! Casual or not, I am a perfectionist, after all.

Does any of this matter on my final evaluation of the trip? No, not in the least.

If the perfection of a trip decides my happiness, I’d never be a happy camper. If I never got to dip into my Bag o’ Plan B Tricks, things would be rather boring, right?

So, before every trip, I decide that I’m going to have a good time regardless of what the reality of the situation dictates. It’s my Travel Zen Mentality, and it’s worked like a charm all the years I’ve been traveling.

This trip was a little different, so I knew I needed to really take a full dose of it this time, because for the first time ever, I’d be traveling by myself.

Well, as “by myself” as I could be with thousands of people around me at any given moment.

The potential to think too much about that and all the What Ifs could eat me alive if I wasn’t careful.

I was going to explore NYC by myself, and I couldn’t wait!


Self-Portrait with Lady Liberty

I had a FANTASTIC time in NYC! Stay tuned for more details... 🙂

Playing with my imaginary friends in real life

I’m off to NYC for BlogHer ’10!

I wrote about it over at Mile High Mamas, and I can’t believe the time has come!

My flight leaves after noon on the 5th, jetting off into the future.  East Coasters live in the future…didn’t you know that?  On Sunday, I’ll fly the friendly skies back into the Mountain Time Zone, wondering where all the time went and how it got there so quickly.

I can’t wait to experience BlogHer for the first time!
I can’t wait to meet my imaginary friends in person.
I can’t wait to see some locals halfway across the country.
I can’t wait to relax in a room all by myself. (No offense to my wonderful husband and awesome daughter, of course.  Do you think they’ll even notice that I’m gone?)
I can’t wait to get up close and personal with Lady Liberty.
I can’t wait to learn new things about writing, blogging, and social media.

Bottom line?  I just can’t wait.

If you’re interested in taking a peek at what I’m doing, look to the left side of the blog and scroll down to the Twitter application, or check out my twitter page directly.  I won’t be updating the blog or Facebook until my return, but I do hope to use twitter to capture and share my adventures.

…and I’ll be sure to tell you all about it when I return!

A Visit to The Stanley Hotel

We love Colorado. We’ve been here since 1999, and we have a rather constant stream of visitors that pass through our doors.

We affectionately call this place The Hotel Rasmussen.

I’ve been tempted to search for a good place to buy mints for pillows…in bulk.

Speaking of hotels, years ago, we took some friends up to The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. It’s iconic and really cool to see in person, especially if you’re a Stephen King fan.

Last week, when one of my friends from college was here, we decided to do that again.

Claire has only seen it from a distance, and it’s been years since I’ve gone.

We had a blast!

The weather was perfect. The crowds at The Stanley were minimal. The crowds in Estes Park proper were insane, so we headed back toward Denver and checked out the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder for a while.

While at The Stanley, we had lunch in the restaurant, and we checked out the waterfalls behind it.

We lounged on the terrace overlooking the pool.

I use the term “we” loosely.

A fantastic time was had by all! And, no, we didn’t see any ghosts, but we were assured that they saw us. 😉