Gramma goes tubing

Gramma goes tubing

Despite having been born in Minnesota and living in the Land of 10,000 Lakes the first decade of my life, I'm not big on water sports. To any degree. I still don't know how to swim... even after having swim lessons as a child and again at 40 years old.

I'm not deathly afraid of water, but I certainly don't seek out splishy-splashy fun in water over my head. Not even water up to my chest, to be honest.

So it should come as no surprise that I've never whiled away hours in an inner tube on a lake. Nor have I engaged in tubing…

Read More

Camping on the Arkansas River: The truth about our 35th anniversary adventure

Arkansas River

My husband and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary over Father's Day weekend. Because 35 years together seemed quite a milestone, especially considering I was a week shy of 18 when we wed and he was just 21 — plus marital, financial, and medical BS throughout the entire year of 2016 that threatened us surviving to the milestone — we wanted to mark the occasion in some extra special way.

So for months we considered this and that, here and there, seeking sites and such we'd never experienced before. Then reality set in. Limited finances and limited paid time off for Jim — who started a new job not long ago — limited our options. Being residents of Colorado, though, a state folks come from around the world to see, there were plenty of touristy things nearby to choose from.

None felt right, none felt celebratory and special enough.

We soon found ourselves on deadline for making a decision and reservations. For some crazy reason, I suggested camping. In the wild. In a tent. Like we used to when our daughters were young. We hadn't gone in and we had never camped just the two of us, sans kids.

The idea of setting up camp for two, spending evenings under the stars, making s'mores for us — and sharing a marshmallow or two with Mickey (our dog) who we'd bring along, too — immediately felt right. Felt fun.

It was settled. I sought a site, made reservations. We pulled camping gear from the garage rafters, all stored since camping adventures with our kids. We added to the pile to pack in the car assorted leisurely pursuits. Games to play, the telescope for stargazing, binoculars for Big Horn Sheep searching, Jim's guitar for him to play, a couple books for me to read. We were stoked!

So my husband and I marked our milestone wedding anniversary by camping. And we hated it. Worst. Time. Ever...

Read More

Wacky weather! Plus, GRAND Social No. 214 link party for grandparents

Wacky weather!

I was born in Minnesota, land of not only 10,000 lakes but lots of tornados, too. From what I've been told throughout the years, I was in a tornado when I was 18 months old. Houses were demolished, people died, and my mother was bathing me when the funnel clouds first swirled through our neighborhood.

My family survived with nothing more than scary tales of the tornado. Mine are just retellings because being only 18 months old at the time, I obviously have no recollection.

I've lived in Colorado for more than 40 years. Tornados pretty much never happen in Colorado Springs, where I've lived for more than 30 years. Last Friday, though, an Emergency Services alert blasted my cell phone, followed by a message stating "Tornado Warning in this area. Take shelter now."

I was the only one home other than my animals, so I took Mickey to the lowest, safest spot in our house (didn't even attempting wrangling up the two cats who wouldn't stay put anyway) and I headed to the highest, least safe spot in our house in hopes of spotting the twister.

No twister as I peered out the upper level bathroom window, but I did capture this (plus several other similarly ominous shots):

ominous clouds 

I waited and waited for a funnel...

Read More

Multigenerational travel: Why vacation at the YMCA of the Rockies

Until a couple weeks ago, when thinking about the YMCA, my thoughts turned to workout equipment, fitness classes, swimming lessons. I certainly never considered the Y as a destination spot for a family vacation.

A weekend at the YMCA of the Rockies changed all that. I now have countless reasons why YMCA of the Rockies ranks near the top of my list of family getaways. And countless photos confirming those reasons, a mere smidgen of which I'll share here.

why vacation at the ymca of the rockies

The YMCA of the Rockies recently offered me a multigenerational travel opportunity I couldn't refuse: a free weekend in a fully furnished log cabin located on its 850-acre property minutes from downtown Estes Park, Colorado, and bordered on three sides by Rocky Mountain National Park. Estes Park has long...

Read More

Perfection... no effort required

“About the only thing that comes to us without effort is old age.” 
 Gloria Pitzer

Most days I agree wholeheartedly with cookbook author Gloria Pitzer's quote above. I put in a fair amount of effort — and thoughts on how to most effectively put forth said effort — toward being a halfway decent wife, mother, friend, human being.

The same is true regarding my attempts to achieve something at least halfway close to pleasing when fiddling about with photography. I take a jazillion photos, choose one that's perhaps meh, then...

Read More

Angles and angels and what grandmas won't do for their grandkids

We got our first big snow of the season last month. When Megan heard about the snowstorm, she asked that I make a snow angel to show the boys how it's done. See, my disadvantaged desert-dwelling grandsons have never, ever made a snow angel.

So, being the accommodating grandma that I am, I made a snow angel for my grandsons. As it was too cold and the snow too deep for me to venture out into the yard, I decided to lie down on the snow-covered deck, just outside my kitchen door.

I flapped my arms and legs (the best I could with the rocking chair obstructing my flapping right arm) as Jim made a brief video on my phone of me flapping and flailing for my grandsons then carefully rising from the snow, hoping...

Read More

2015 Subaru Legacy road trip: Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Disclosure: I was provided a 2015 Subaru Legacy free for one week for review as part of the #SubaruLegacy blogger program. Opinions are my own.

As regular readers know, I once owned a 2015 Subary Legacy 3.6R Limited. For a week. As part of the #SubaruLegacy blogger program.

During that week, I had a fun-filled day with my friend Ruth, part of which included a road trip in the Subaru Legacy to Paint Mines Interpretive Park.

#SubaruLegacy Red Rock Canyon

What regular readers may not know is that at the end of that week, Jim and I took a road trip in the Subaru Legacy across town to Red Rock Canyon Open Space—one of the many...

Read More

2015 Subaru Legacy road trip: Paint Mines Interpretive Park

I was provided a 2015 Subaru Legacy free for one week for review as part of the #SubaruLegacy blogger program. Opinions are my own.

Last month, I had a sleek and chic sedan for a week. A 2015 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited, which I told you much about in this post right here.

During the week I had the Subaru Legacy, I visited a few places nearby that I'd never been to before despite having lived in the area for more than thirty years. One spot I toured: the Paint Mines Interpretive Park in Calhan, CO. My friend Ruth of Cranium Crunches—a devoted fan of minerals, gems, and geological wonders of any sort—was in town for a day and was delighted to sit back in the comfy passenger seat of the Legacy and head off to the Paint Mines with me.

The Paint Mines Interpretive Park is an overlooked gem of a place many folks in Colorado and beyond may not...

Read More

Colorful Colorado, plus GRAND Social No. 168 link party for grandparents

Colorful Colorado

Over the weekend, Jim and I visited a local park (actually called an "open space") that we've heard much about and passed the entrance into literally hundreds of times. To further test drive a Subaru Legacy I had for the week for review, we decided it was high time to head deep into Red Rock Canyon.

This is a sampling of what we found:

Red Rock Canyon Open Space 

So peaceful and pretty!

I have nearly 300 more photos from the nearly three hours we spent...

Read More

Fossil find

Colorado has seen unprecedented amounts of rainfall so far this summer.

Which means most Colorado residents are seeing unprecedented numbers of weeds in our yards.

Jim spent several hours pulling weeds in the front yard on Saturday. The yard looked better and better as he pulled and pulled, but it sure seemed a not-so-fun waste of time.

Until he found this...

fossil

Yes sirreee, that is a fossil. Found right...

Read More

6 best bits: West to Westcliffe and my week driving a 2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited

The town of Westcliffe is one of my favorite spots in Colorado. My mom had property outside of town for quite a few years, and my husband and I used to take our daughters camping there a few times each summer for several summers in a row. Some of our most memorable family fun took place in Westcliffe, with the Sangre de Cristo mountain range providing a spectacular backdrop.

Though our favorite camping spot was sold many years ago, my family and I still enjoy the scenic trip west to the tiny town—where my dad now lives. Coming around the curve just before town and seeing the Sangres spread out before us never fails to take our breath away.

subaru outback sangre de cristos

The trip to Westcliffe, with its steep grades and twisty-turny pass through the...

Read More

Winter wonderland: The Breckenridge Ice Castle

Though many folks across the country may be tired of cold and snow, the following is a recap of my recent encounter with cold and snow — ice, actually — as you've likely never seen it.

Breckenridge Ice Castle

On Saturday, Brianna, Andrea, Jim and I took advantage of free tickets I received to review the Ice Castle at Breck, one of only three such icy palaces in the country. (If you're in Colorado, be sure to see the giveaway below...

Read More