I enjoyed a few hours in the garden yesterday afternoon, searching for the last of the fall color, and delighting in the antics of a little sock monkey.
30 October 2010
29 October 2010
Imagine my surprise when I went to the garden this afternoon and found a monkey of all things. What sort of ghouls and goblins are you finding around your parts this weekend?
(More sock monkey pics to follow, but we've got a spooky hoe down to get to...)
28 October 2010
27 October 2010
The words are coming a bit slower to F - in reality it's probably more of a normal pace. We just didn't know normal when we gave birth to the first child to come into the world speaking in paragraphs. F talks all the time, and the gibberish is getting clearer and clearer by the day. She even lays in her bed at night and babbles out endless strings of consonants until that moment when a group of them form a recognizable word that relates to a recognizable object and the people around her take notice and then joy of joys! She's got herself a new word. If I go back to a Vegas reference, it's a little like watching one of those slot machines spin around and around, with their tinkling noises and the blur of cherries and bars and sevens. And then the sevens line up in a row and a new noise emerges and everyone turns to look and point and admire. "Ball" is our latest row of sevens, and now she likes to rummage through her books to the ones that have a ball hidden somewhere in the pages, turn each page until she finds one, point her little finger on it and triumphantly declare that she has found a "Ball". So of course we look, we point, and we admire. And she loves it.
And when we tire of finding all the balls in our books, we go back to the standby - finding our belly buttons. Always a crowd pleaser.
My sister asked me for some photos of this wall to show a friend, so now everyone can see just how far behind I am on updating photos in this house to actually show that there are more than three people in this family. In my defense, I have taken as many (or more) photos this time around, and for the last few weeks I've been sorting through, uploading them, and getting them cropped and sized for a big order. These are inexpensive frames from IKEA and I have a drawer full of more so I'll just add to this and intersperse some of F throughout. I have a few of them down right now, and a few with just white paper in them, and too many cute photos to choose from. Next time you see this wall I hope it will be painted its new color and updated as well. You can hold me to that...
26 October 2010
The last part of our trip was in Las Vegas - M had a three day conference, and I tagged along for the free hotel room and dinner dates. This was my second trip to this city - both for convention-type events - and I must say, it's not growing on me. I'm not complaining about the time away from work and other responsibilities, or even the pure luxury of a few days with an agenda outlined completely by me. But I find the place a bit depressing in so many different ways - the cheesy replicas of real places, the smell of stale cigarettes and the tinkling sound of slot machines, the miles and miles of circuitous routes from one building to another with absolutely no link to the outside world. And that doesn't even touch the experience of taking an evening stroll under the neon lights where you have to navigate through an endless stream of silent solicitations. It is pretty cool to have so many theaters and performances and superb restaurants (if you ignore the buffets) to choose from within walking distance. We scored on two nights with some truly enjoyable dining experiences and great seats to one of the Cirque du Soleil shows. I'm sure there will be other times when work will bring us back to this one-convention-hall-fits-all kind of place, and they might coincide with times when your super generous mother-in-law takes a week off of work to come down and spoil your children while you hike the canyons and the dams and the strip for a few nights of escape. But if I had to choose, I'll take the real cities, with the real sites, and the restaurants that require directions with right and left hand turns instead of straight ahead and up those escalators. St. Mark's Square is just a glorified food court at the end of a mall coincidentally named the Venetian, with a Grand Canal that smells of chlorine and overpriced perfumes, next to a Ben and Jerry's and an Abercrombie and Fitch. Piazza San Marco, and for that matter, Paris, you are not.
25 October 2010
On Sunday, after our journey to the Grand Canyon, we drove back over to the Hoover Dam to see it during the daytime. The day before was the big bridge opening event, but the crowds were a bit thinner on Sunday. The bridge was something else. Here's a short video showing the construction of it. It's pretty spectacular to see it in person.
We toured the dam and walked around outside a bit before heading back to Boulder City for the afternoon. It's a neat tour and visitor's center, but the dam itself is the best part, especially with the views of the river and the lake and now, that bridge. Leaving the dam around 1pm and heading back into town, we got a good glimpse of why that bridge and bypass is so sorely needed. The traffic backs up for miles and miles with no end in sight. My advice - go early, or don't go at all. And nighttime is just as spectacular.
23 October 2010
With a work conference in Las Vegas scheduled for mid-October, we decided awhile back to postpone celebrating our tenth anniversary for a few weeks and tacking on a few days of our own to that trip. We flew in to Las Vegas and then drove out to Boulder City last Friday night. The sleepy little town apparently closes up around 10pm, and seems a world away from the the bright lights of the neighboring city. Even sleeping in the next morning put us wide awake at an early hour on Pacific Time, and we headed out of town towards the Grand Canyon. We had to take a longer route there due to road closures for the ribbon cutting ceremony at the new bridge over Hoover Dam (more on that tomorrow), but the drive was scenic in that sort of brown, rocky, desert kind of way, and took us through towns named Searchlight and Bullhead City and in and out of Nevada, California and Arizona.
And oh, my, was it worth it.
Looking back at the photos, it all seems so surreal, just as it does when you are standing there. It is so vast, and so beautiful, and so enormous that you can hardly wrap your head around it. And then you walk a while on along the rim and it changes. With every step the view is different, the colors and shadows and chasms shift and you want to keep taking photos but the camera is just a big cumbersome object between you and the view.
And so you get this crazy idea in your head to hike it - not the whole thing of course, because to do so would require equipment and stamina and a touch of insanity, none of which you currently possess. But a good hard three hour hike, with a rating of difficult but doable, and an optimistic attitude.
So down we go.
And after an hour or more of picking your way down steep trails and around pack mules, your partner of ten years climbs out on a rocky perch to capture some photos of the trail as it continues, and you stay back from the edge and will yourself to remain vertical. You ask him to be careful, and to remember the girls we've left behind at home, and of course he does, and you do, and you talk of bringing them back to this trail in between the labored breaths of the hike.
Eventually, what goes down must now go up, and you wind your way back up the trail, switching back and forth up the face of the cliff, switching leg muscles as well, and feeling the full affect of the afternoon sun and little shade. And the views continue to change, and the sun goes lower in the sky, and you see tiny dots of color and little backpacks winding their way up to the rim and you know that you'll be there soon too, and glad that you took the time to see a tiny piece of this grand place with your best friend.