Monthly Archive for September, 2010

What “DIY” REALLY means to me.

Yes, it’s true! We are in the midst of a “minor” Kitchen Remodel. No, I’m not sure what we were thinking, but it sounded like a good idea at the time…  😉

Over at Mile High Mamas, I wrote about our forays into the wonderful world of DIY. We’ve been doing this for over 9-years now. Can you believe it?

Go check it out!

Comments are closed here, but I’d love to hear what you have to say over there!

Letterboxing

Well, it’s official.  We’re hooked.  If you notice, there is a new tab at the top of the blog:

Letterboxing

Not only are we dutifully recording our finds on the official Letterboxing website, I’ve decided to make a list of them here, too.

Claire and I love looking through our real, hand-held, made-of-paper, Logbook and seeing the different stamps made from the intricate carvings.  I’ve even written notes next to each one so that we can remember the adventures we’ve had.  The note like, “old, dead tree with BEES! and spiders!” makes me laugh.  Another notable one is “Skunk bridge!”

So far, we’ve escaped relatively unscathed and always eager to find the next one!

Cavalia: Beauty, Suspense, Artistry, Skill, and Magic come alive in Denver

FlyingOver - Fly - Frédéric Chéhu - Photo used with permission.

“How are they doing that?” Claire asked, her eyes wide with disbelief as she watched the women flying above the horses. She gasped again. “How are they doing that?” she whispered to me.

“Do you really want to know?” I asked in return. “Or do you want to just see it for the magic it is?”

“I really want to know,” she said.  She’s four-and-three-quarters, after all.  She needs to know things.

So, I told her there were wires attached to harnesses, and that’s how the women on the stage were gliding like fairies over the horses and their riders.

As they spun together in the center of the stage, almost appearing to come together as one, Claire said, “They look like a butterfly!” The logical explanation did not diminish the magic of the moment in the least. “They’re beautiful.”

I couldn’t agree more.

At times, ours eyes were tricked into believing they were defying gravity, mocking it even at times. Sometimes the artists were defying gravity, or at least bending it a little to their will.

I still get shivers when I think about what we witnessed on the stage at Cavalia. In fact, words can’t describe it….but I’ll try: Cavalia is an equestrian show from one of the creators of Cirque du Soleil, and like any Cirque du Soleil show I’ve seen, I spent a good portion of it gasping and holding my breath.

The three of us were given free tickets to the premier on September 22 in Denver. Our seats were five rows back from the stage. Incredible! I do have a confession to make: Yes, I was given free tickets, but I’m not obligated to write about this at all, let alone give in a glowing review. I’m writing about this, because what we experienced at Cavalia can’t be described; it has to be experienced, and if you have it in the budget to go, go. Now.

Before arriving at the show, my husband said he hoped our seats weren’t too close to the stage, just as Claire was asking if we got to ride the horses. In fact, I have another confession to make: I knew I would love this show the minute I saw it was about horses. My husband wasn’t initially convinced. He’s not what you’d call “a horse person.” I knew Claire would like it too, and she was thoroughly impressed before it even officially started.

I was curious to see how they would work the horses into the routines, and I was absolutely amazed. The skill, training and genuine caring for the horses was evident.

Trick Riding - Lynne Glazer - Photo used with permission.

The verdict: As someone who appreciates horses, I thought it was a fantastic show, and I can’t stop gushing about it. My husband, who “isn’t a horse person” thoroughly enjoyed himself, but put it on par with other Cirque du Soleil performances (which, in case you didn’t know, means he loved it despite the fact that horses were involved.) Claire, on the other hand, loved it on a whole different level. Her interest in horses has dramatically spiked. She’s asked if she can take riding lessons to go along with her Ballet! I’m afraid we’ve created a monster.

I’m not sure which was my favorite part: Was it the moments when horses galloping at full speed sped by our seats as the performers showed off their tricks and skills? Or the image of the horses projected on what appeared to be a fine mist, giving a ghostly presence to the stage? Or the woman who calmed and controlled eight horses at once, just by a movement of her hand or a sound? Or the “real” snow that fell on the stage and parts of the audience while acrobat danced with rider, in blatant disregard to gravity?

Bungee and Rider - Frédéric Chéhu - Photo used with permission.

No.

My favorite part of the show was the look on my daughter’s face when she realized that magic really does exist.

…wires or not.

Surely there’s a better icon than this?

I’m afraid not.

…and don’t call me Shirley.

Is that rain coming out of the sun, or is the sun crying?

I’ve been witness to rain while the sun shines here in Colorado, more times than I can count, so this shouldn’t be surprising to me. It just makes me laugh.

Mr. CasualPerfect took a pretty cool photo

You’ve seen this photo before, but I wanted to take this time to officially enter it in a photo contest.  (Click on the “Greeblepix Contest” above to see more details!)  He took it with our little point-and-shoot camera, and I love it!

Click on the photo to enlarge.

Title: The Red Bucket
Taken by: My husband, Mr. CasualPerfect
Location: On our trip to San Francisco, CA
Date: August 28, 2010
Camera Stats: Canon PowerShot Digital Elph
Touch Up: None

Happy Picture Day!

I’ve written about Picture Day before, but I’ll keep my opinions to myself this time.  I mean, how can someone be critical of a day that brings out this?

Claire is EXCITED and has been planning her outfit and hairstyle for a week.  I can’t WAIT to see how she handles this when she actually has two digits in her age.

San Francisco: Redefining “boring” one public transit ride at a time

Well, are you ready for some San Francisco stories of adventure?

The short version? We had a great trip! Claire has always been a fantastic traveler, and this was no exception.

The longer version? Grab a drink; sit back and get comfy…and fasten your seat belts.  I’m afraid this may be a bumpy ride in parts, quite literally…

Speaking of transportation, we bought a “Seven Day Passport” that allowed us to ride the MUNI and public transit all day, every day, regardless of “type” (the cable car, street-car, bus, and train were included…except BART, but that’s okay, because we weren’t headed in BART’s direction anyway) all the days of our stay for a one-time relatively low fee. Claire was free to ride anyway, and after a couple roundtrips on anything, we’d paid for the pass.  We HIGHLY recommend this option if you are a car-less tourist in San Fran. Of course, when we got to Daddy’s fancy-schmancy hotel, we were informed that the room CAME WITH A CAR that could be “arranged for free” for our stay.

We opted to stick with our passes and explore on foot, not wanting to tackle the driving and parking challenges of San Francisco.

In other news, I’m completely spoiled and may never stay in a “regular hotel” again. Just kidding.

Our trip wouldn’t have been an adventure without at least a little drama, and we definitely had some drama!

On Tuesday the 31st, we decided to combine our trip to explore the Mission District with our Letterboxing obsession, and we found a couple treasures! Perfect! After dinner, it was time to head back to the hotel, and we got on the bus.

Because we’d already been in San Fran for a few days at that point, we felt like experts. We knew which bus we needed, and we found it with ease.  I thought it was a bit odd that the front half of the super-long “double” bus was almost empty, but we were happy to find seats and sat down.

That’s when the screaming started. A woman next to us started screaming obscenities, out loud, to no one in particular and everyone within earshot. I told Claire to just focus on me, and not pay attention to the woman, but it was hard. My husband and I debated getting off the bus and catching the next one, but then the woman got up from her seat and started weaving and stumbling around. Was she just confronting the demons in her head or getting off the bus? Surely if she wasn’t getting off the bus, she’ll be thrown off the bus for acting this way.

The next stop came and went, and she was still there screaming and stumbling, so we got up and went to the back half of the bus, not wanting to get off the bus just yet.

The screaming in the front of the bus continued, and not long after that, one of the people at the back of the bus started yelling at her and the driver.

Awesome.

This woman starts yelling about how the driver should throw “The Freak” off the bus or call the cops or both. She then started saying that if she was late to her half-way house again, she’d be thrown in jail. Again.

Seriously? You just can’t make this stuff up!

Then, The Freak at the front of the bus kicked it up a notch and got out these sticks and started hitting the seats. I am not sure what the sticks were, but they looked like drumsticks. She got dangerously close to another passenger, and when that happened, Half-Way House Lady in the back of the bus started yelling even louder and went up to confront The Freak.

As I’m typing this out, it all seems obvious that we should have gotten off the bus at our first inkling, but everything was happening in this weird slow-motion reality that is so clear when looking back and so confusing when it’s happening.

Now, the two of them are screaming at each other. There is kicking and hitting with sticks, and the bus driver is FINALLY calling the cops. He pulls over and gets out his phone. Right about at this time, Half-Way House Lady pulls a knife.

A KNIFE.

The INSTANT that knife blade flashed, I grabbed Claire and ran. With my husband close behind me, we bolted for the door. We jumped off the bus and fled on foot. I don’t remember how many blocks we ran before we slowed down. I remember glancing back at the bus and wondering if they were finally being thrown off, and if they were, we didn’t want to be anywhere near it.

It’s been a long time since I was quite so scared, and I’ve never experienced that level of alarm with Claire in tow. Yikes!

We knew we were headed in the direction of our hotel, but we didn’t know exactly how far away it was, so we kept running. I knew it was too far to go the full way on foot, but our choices were severely limited at that point.  I wanted as much distance between my daughter and a knife fight as I could possibly get.

We stopped to catch our breath, and Claire started asking all kinds of questions. What’s wrong with that woman? Why was she saying those things? Why was she hitting people, and why doesn’t she have all her teeth?

I used this as the perfect teachable moment about the dangers of illicit drugs. Drugs that doctors give you because you’re sick? Those are fine if you use them the way the doctor tells you to. Drugs like what this woman had used? Bad. I swear, this bus-ride was more effective than any made-for-television movie or after-school special.

I also told her that there was nothing to worry about. She was with Momma and Daddy, and we were headed back to the hotel. Those crazy ladies couldn’t hurt us now.

The area where we’d bolted and fled on foot wasn’t the best area, so we kept moving. I have no idea how much time passed, but the bus eventually caught up with us again. Everything looked relatively calm, so we got back on.

After plopping down in the seats, I looked at another passenger and quietly asked, “Are they gone?”

She smiled and said, “Oh my goodness! Only in San Francisco! Yes, they’re gone. I’ve never quite seen it THAT bad.” And then her eyes got really big. “Wait. You guys got off all the way back there!! You guys made incredible distance!”

We laughed about how we hadn’t wanted to be anywhere NEAR that. Yes, I laughed because I didn’t want to cry, and I hoped Claire didn’t notice that I was shaking.  It wasn’t until we got back to the hotel and I was alone in the bathroom that I left myself feel that fear.

WE’D FLED A KNIFE FIGHT ON FOOT.

On Wednesday, I was determined to make good memories to cover up the scary ones from the night before, so we rode the cable cars again. We’d had good luck with that on Sunday, and it was something I was comfortable doing by myself with Claire.  The wait in line was insanely long, but it was so much fun. In totally related news, I’ve been calling those things trolleys for years. They’re not trolleys. They are cable cars. There IS a difference. Who knew??

Anyway…back to the story. We went to the Wharf (Pier 39) to visit the sea lions, and we even had our portrait drawn on the way back!

Looking back, Wednesday was pretty boring. There were no knife fights, and we didn’t have to flee anywhere on foot.  It’s all relative, I suppose.  😉

Then, on Thursday, when Daddy got back to the hotel from his conference (around 3pm or so), our mission was clear:

We went out to the Presidio to find Yoda.

When we were putting together our plan of attack, we both laughed that the only “convenient” way out there was via bus.  We’d not had the best luck with the bus at that point, but what else could happen to top a knife fight?

So, we figured out which bus we needed, and we set out.  The bus arrived, we crossed our fingers, and away we went!  We’re going along, when all of a sudden, there was a terrible screeching noise.  That weird slow-motion reality is back, and the bus is jack-knifing in the middle, and people are being thrown forward and to the side.  People are swinging from the bars.  People are falling.  Everything is sliding.

In the blink of an eye, my right arm shoots out, and I try to catch Claire.  I try to keep her from slamming into the seat in front of us, but we both hit the metal bar and metal back of the seat in front of us with pretty good force.  Daddy was sitting in front of us, and he almost fell out of his seat, but he didn’t have a seat directly in front of him, and he was able to hold on.

Everything that slammed forward, reverses and stops, and we all sit for a moment in disheveled confusion.

Our bus has hit a car.

OUR BUS HAD HIT A CAR.

A car had pulled out in front of us, and the bus driver had slammed on the breaks.  He was able to stop quickly enough that the only damage he did to the car was take off the mirror and dented the side.  The driver of the car was very apologetic to everyone that got off the bus.

Yes, once again, we’re forced to get off a bus without reaching our final destination and go to the next stop, but this time, we weren’t fleeing for our lives.  This time, we were making sure we’re all in one piece.  My knee was bruised, and Claire was complaining about her chin, but I didn’t see a mark on her.  I’m pretty sure her chin made a bruise on my ARM instead of slamming into the metal seat bar. It all happened so suddenly, and without warning. I can’t believe I was able to catch her just before she REALLY slammed into the seat, which is really hard to do when you’re also flying forward!

So far, the bus isn’t ranked too highly on my list. 😉

Again, for Claire’s sake, we shook off the accident and went on in our adventures.  The above tweet was typed with shakey fingers after we were safely on the second bus, as I was pretending to be okay.  We were on a mission!

Successful at finding Yoda we were.

After our photoshoot with Yoda at the Presidio, we headed to the Wharf again. That evening, we rode a street-car back, and there wasn’t a knife fight, and we didn’t hit a car, so it was pretty boring…

…in comparison. 😉

You won’t see any sunrise pictures here

Now, when my husband and I get to Hawaii in October, and the time-difference is four hours…in our favor…you *may* see some sunrise photos, but we’re just not sunrise kind of people in the real world.

In fact, when we were on our way to the airport for our super-early-to-us flights to San Francisco, Claire got to experience her first sunrise.

“I’ve never seen a sunset rise before!” she said.

Her description makes perfect sense to me.

In San Francisco, we shared a room with Claire. She had her own bed, and we had ours. It actually worked out nicely, because the room had something else:

A magnificent window seat.

This photo really doesn't do the window seat justice. It was AWESOME.

As soon as we got to the room, she wanted to know if it was her bed! Had it not been so narrow and quite so high off the floor (seriously, there was a large wooden block used as a step just to get up IN the window seat), the answer would have been yes. But, as luck would have it, she got a big ol’ bed to herself and could play in the window seat whenever she wanted.

The window seat had wooden blinds she could open and close on a whim and had a wonderful sheer curtain that when pulled closed made the window seat into its own magical place with a barrier to the outside room on one side, and windows that opened up to the world on the other. The fantastically large windows gave a view of the city that was just breathtaking from our vantage point on the 11th floor.

Claire slept really well in the room. For some reason, the time difference worked in our favor. Yes, we let her stay up later than normal, but in reciprocation for that, she slept longer in the mornings.

Before going to bed the first night, she asked permission to get up and play in the window seat with the dolls she’d brought on the trip, and we obliged. “As long as you don’t wake up Momma and Daddy, you can do that!” …and it worked like a charm.

Every morning, we’d awaken to soft whispering and giggling and see this:

No, the photo isn't blurry. I secretly took a photo of her through the curtain.

There wasn’t a sunrise in sight, and it was the most beautiful thing imaginable.

San Francisco!

Last week, we had the opportunity to travel with Daddy to San Francisco! We had a FABULOUS time.  Just like any other trip we’ve ever taken, it was full of adventure.

I tried to be cognizant of the fact that our traveling partner is only about 3-and-a-half feet tall, and she’s only 4-and-three-quarters years old. Those things together can be quite the combination, but she was a trooper!

The first day we were there, we had the opportunity to head out to the ocean. This photo was taken by my husband, and it’s one of my all-time favorite photos. It hasn’t been doctored. The only thing I’ve done to this one is added a water-mark.

You can click on the photo to see more detail.

I love the expression you can see in her step. I love the soft breeze blowing her hair. I love how the red bucket glows in the sunshine. I love her reflection in the wet sand. I love how intent she is on the beach and that she’s completely oblivious to the camera.

I didn’t even know he’d taken this photo until we got home and I was looking through the camera.

I love it!

Over the next few days, I’ll be recounting our stories from San Francisco. If you were following along with our antics on twitter, you may already know some of the highlights, but I’ll share them in more detail anyway.

Stay tuned!