Monday, May 30, 2011

memorial day weekend

Camping trip #2 for 2011. Memorial Day weekend, Roger took work off Thursday and Friday and we headed up the Poudre River Canyon along Hwy 14. We changed campsites every morning - driving approximately 1 mile between sites - and managed to find a spot each day even without reservations. Definitely spring camping - some rain, some wind, and the heater turned on a few times every night. I feel like a wimp sometimes that these little people think camping means sleeping in a 'house on wheels,' but then wake up and realize that if were tenting it, we would most likely just stay at home. There's still time for 'roughing it' when they're older!

Campsite #1 - Lower Narrows. We had a nice spot on the end, with our own little beach to do what we all like best: Roger harassed the fish and the kids threw rocks and dug in the sand. I scored the post of water carrier.

Katie likes to dress up for everything, including camping.

Campsite #2 - The Narrows. Roger did some more harassing, me and my friends did some exploring. There are some nice campsites at the top of a hill that you walk into from your car. There is also a lot to be said for 'roughing' it in the RV, so that in the morning when you're moving on to the next site it only takes 5 minutes to pack up and head out.

There was TONS of wood to play on - we did some balancing and jumping and found a log that made a great teeter totter. There's Max giving his version of 'thumbs up.' It was good to have something to climb around on to warm up - definitely springtime in the Rockies.

Alex had his first run in with a cactus on our first night. Luckily it didn't slow him down too much from hatching some games. The grabber thing we found the first night got some serious usage, from 'grabber attachment of an excavator' to oar to fire stick.

Campsite #3 - Dutch George. Pretty cold and rainy this day. Luckily there was a small boulder field to climb on rocks, and we made another teeter totter with a log. The folks next to us set up a bunch of tents with no rain flies. We couldn't figure out exactly what there plan was - especially as it was drizzling off and on all day. At night when it started to pour I really wondered how they were doing, but didn't get a chance to ask them in the morning as they had packed up and left!

We did our usual morning twinking, and talked about whether we should just call it early and head home or keep heading up the canyon and try out another site. We checked out a few campgrounds, had lunch in Rustic, and then decided we might as well camp one more night. SO glad we did!

Campsite #4 - Kelly Flats. Best campsite of the bunch - the return of the sun might have had something to do with it, but it also didn't hurt that we had an entire loop of campsites on the end all to ourselves . . .

Or that our fearless leader finally caught that elusive fish! It made a nice addition to dinner.

The kids had another nice afternoon of digging, hauling water, and throwing rocks. I played princess and sat by the river and sewed - in between water hauling duties. And it was finally warm enough for the popsicles! Seven was finally worn out and ready to rest.

Great trip - and now we have some fun campsites checked out for when you all come to visit!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

a little less hillbilly

We have now progressed from this 'chicken house' in the living room

to a bigger house - still in the living room (because we're fancy like that and the 'maid' likes to dust) to their official house OUTSIDE!

The girls are fat and happy, and increasingly difficult to catch! Now we just need to see some eggs!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

rain rain rain

It's been so cold this spring! It's the end of May and the lilacs are still blooming! We've only had popsicles ONE day . . .
played in the sprinklers/watered the plants ONE DAY . . . .

and showed off our muscles ONE DAY. And that was WEEKS ago!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

best birthday ever!

Around Christmas, Roger started hinting that he had a great gift idea for me. Then he said he decided to wait for my birthday. He started the serious hinting up again in April. From 20 questions, I learned that Part A was mineral, Part B was metal. There were 5 parts. The hint that I remember the most was 'it satisfies almost all your needs' (which include but are not limited to kat time, creating, learning something new, doing something a little uncommon and/or difficult). I asked him if it involved heat - thinking it might be a lamp work class, but he said it was something I have never done before, so that was out.

Closer to May he said that he was starting a new hobby, so he wanted to make sure that Tuesday nights were open. I still didn't catch on.

Sunday before the big day he continued the torture by asking some friends to ask me if I had figured out my birthday present yet. By this time I was thoroughly exasperated. Monday after dinner he gave me an envelope. The torture continued: there was a gift certificate inside with nothing but an address. The address led to this website:

GLASS BLOWING CLASSES! I haven't thought about this little adventure for a few years. The arrival of my small friends put this one WAY on the back burner. Thanks to an incredible husband with a great memory and NO gift palsy this year I am playing with molten glass once a week. For 5 weeks . . . or maybe longer.

(Maybe what I really need is a photography class.) The first week's project was a 'worm' or ornament, and a paperweight. Just to get a feel for the glass and how to use some of the tools.

Week 2 was a tumbler - or vase in my case. Not pretty, but the amazing thing is that this baby made it into the annealing oven. At the second to last step, I set the blow pipe down too hard on the gate and the piece fell ONTO THE FLOOR! The lip totally caved in and started to close. The teacher jammed a wooden paddle inside to keep the sides from sealing to each other,
got my piece back on the punty, and saved it. INSANE!

Week 3 was a vase, spinning out the lip and then ruffling it. I talked my way into some color. SO FUN! This time I was a little chicken on the heat, so it took a second heat - courtesy of the teacher - to get it hot enough to spin out, but then I swung it to finish it. This one is has a bit of a lean, but we're just going to grind off the bottom a little and it shouldn't be noticeable.

Week 4's lesson was adding a 'bit' to the basic form - I made a green footed vase - currently in the annealing oven as we speak - because I really don't need any handled beer mugs. This vase went a little 'banana' on me, but it got straightened out. The lip ended up a little flatter on 2 sides than I'd like - next time turn more while swinging the pole. I'm not in love with the final shape but it was a good lesson. And yes, I do realize that it's only the 3rd piece I've blown.

After the first week, I was a little bugged. I assumed that glass classes would be like pottery class: teacher demonstrates the thing to be learned, students grab clay and go crazy for the next 3 hours. For glass class, there are 3-4 students and you each make one project. That's it. The first night after I made my paper weight in 30 minutes, I then watched for 2 hours while the other two ladies made their pieces.

I am not usually one for watching, and group projects were NEVER my forte in school. I don't think I ever got marked down for 'does NOT work well with others,' but it's definitely not something I seek out. Is this because I like to control everything? Maybe. :) I like team sports that are active, but not working in groups.

After the second class, and making something more involved, I've come around. Glass blowing is a group activity. For me, it's the team sport of art. It's very difficult - even for experienced gaffers - to be successful working alone. For beginners, it would be impossible to put a piece away alone. AND the watching is definitely not passive - or doesn't have to be. I've learned at least as much by watching what the others do than by actually handling the glass and pipe myself. This old dog CAN learn some new tricks! Who knew?!