Too soon for snow?

Too soon for snow?

With Labor Day in the rearview mirror, who's ready for snow?

Too soon?

It's not too soon in the Pikes Peak Region!

On Sunday (which, admittedly, was before Labor Day, not after), Jim and I headed to the park bright and early for the annual Labor Day Lift Off hot-air balloon festival in Colorado Springs (which is where I captured these colorful shots in 2015). We set up our โ€ฆ

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My (uneventful) week in photos

I haven't done much of anything worth writing home about about on my blog this past week. Which, in all honesty, is okay with me. Sometimes busyness and booked calendars are highly overrated (not to mention exhausting).

Even with nothing much on the agenda, though, I did manage to take — and in one case, appropriate from my daughter's Facebook page — photos of the nothing much marking my days. Following are a few such markings from my past week.

bear yard art
A chainsaw-crafted set o' friendly bears a neighbor recently...

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2015 Labor Day Lift Off Balloon Festival

Yesterday morning, Jim and I got up bright and early—while it was still dark, in fact—to nab a lakeside seat at Memorial Park in Colorado Springs.

Our super spot was ideal for nabbing some super shots of the annual Labor Day weekend balloon festival, renamed this year as the Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off.

colorado springs balloon festival

I've placed forty of my favorites in a Labor Day Lift Off photo album in...

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2 things I learned while up on my roof

I have lived in my house nearly eight years but had never been up on my roof.

Until the Fourth of July.

On July Fourth, Jim and I decided to sit on our roof to watch the many Fourth of July fireworks displays that take place to the east of us and to the west of us. Here's what I learned while up there:

ONE: I need to learn how to photograph fireworks.

These are the best fireworks shots—of more than 70—that I got:

fireworks 

Not so great. I'll be...

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What I learned this week: I am blessed

As a long-distance grandma, there's this fact about me: I miss my grandsons. Daily. Sometimes hourly.

Thing is, despite missing my grandsons all.the.<cuss>.time, I have a pretty good life. I was reminded this week of just how good it is.

I have mornings that feature:

Hummingbirds on my deck...

hummingbirds 

Deer doing their daily doings while I walk my dogs...

deer 

And this heartwarming feeding I was thrilled to witness...

 

(Though I was chided for interrupting...)

All that while Pikes Peak keeps watch from the west...

Pikes Peak 

And that's just my morning, just one small sliver of my day, my life. There's much more that's equally amazing, equally jaw-dropping awesome. How could I consider myself anything but blessed?

Though that's not really a lesson I learned this week, it's one I tend to forget. The sights above — all photographed yesterday morning — reminded me once more how blessed I am, despite missing my Megan and my grandsons. And reminders are nearly as good as a lesson, I think, especially when reminded again and again, just as I was yesterday.

So there you have it: I am blessed. And that is what I learned — or re-learned — this week.

(Now if I could only learn how to not miss my grandsons.)

I'm off for the weekend! Best wishes for a lovely one for you and yours. I look forward to seeing you here again Monday. Cheers!

Today's question:

What did you learn this week?

What I learned this week: Sometimes the hassle is worth it

I take my dogs on a walk nearly every weekday morning. We walk as fast as my legs will take me, and the round trip is about a mile and a half. It's pretty much our go-to exercise — for the dogs as much as for myself.

I used to take my point-and-shoot camera with me each time, but ever since getting my DSLR, I've avoided taking it. The camera is fairly large and bulky, and even though it takes awesome photos and I love, love, love the camera (a Canon EOS Rebel T3i), it just seemed a hassle to wear it on my morning walks. Especially because I try to race-walk the majority of the way, and the idea of a camera bopping along on my chest from beginning to end of the walk didn't appeal to me.

This past week, though, I decided to try bringing it anyway. I keep seeing cool things on my walks, and I kick myself every time for not having my camera on me. I do carry my iPhone, but it just wasn't doing the job the way I wanted when I'd photograph this or that along the route.

Turned out that managing to keep two dogs in line while juggling my phone, my pepper spray (to avoid this happening again) and now my bigger, better camera is, yes, a bit of a hassle. But once I figured out to situate my camera along my side rather than hanging in front (to avoid it bopping on my chest), it really wasn't that big of a deal.

What was a big deal? The photos I managed to get, photos such as these:

deer grazing

three deer

deer up close

deer cross road

deer in pines

Pikes Peak

Sure can't get such things on my iPhone. The hassle was definitely worth it.

And that is what I learned this week.

Today's question:

What did you learn this week?

18 things I love about October

Leaves dancing in the street.

Snow on Pikes Peak.

Taking the sunshades down from my kitchen skylights.

Pumpkin-flavored anything and everything. (Except pumpkin-flavored macaroni and cheese. Which I have tried...and didn't like.)

The anticipation and excitement of little ones looking forward to Halloween. Not just my grandsons but even those I hear in stores, chattering away to Mom about the costumes they want, what their friends plan to be, the candy they love.

Lady in White, which I watch this time of year every year.

Sweater weather.

Sock and slipper weather, too.

Kids in Halloween costumes. Especially when they look like this:

Or this:

(Megan will surely one day pay for the cuteness she foisted upon her boys.)

Indian Summer. Far less hot and harsh than regular summer.

No more watering or worrying about the flowers and more in the front yard, back yard, side yard.

No more fans scattered about the house.

Snuggling once again with my cat Abby, who was continually pushed away during hot weather.

Blankets back on the beds. And curling up under them for my nightly read.

The first wafts of smoke from wood burning in a neighbor's fireplace. (We typically wait til November to burn a fire in ours.)

Caramel apple taffy.

Visits with my grandsons. We always visit in October. This year I'm fortunate to have two visits planned—one at the end of this week, another at the end of the month. An extra-special reason to love this October in particular.

Today's question:

What do you love about October?

Good news and a happy dance

I don't know about you, but the continual bad news of this summer is taking a toll on my mind, mood, and disposition. While I'm far from wanting to play Pollyanna, I have been craving some news that warms my heart rather than hurts it.

With that in mind, here are six happier bits of news I've been thankful for the last few days—followed by a happy dance, courtesy of Bubby:

The Olympics. When in the mood for uplifting and inspiring, nothing tops the stories of the young women and men doing what they do best and going for the gold. There's not just one good story associated with the 2012 Summer Olympics, there are hundreds, if not more. And the Opening Ceremony this evening will undoubtedly lift spirits, warm hearts—and, if you're anything like me, elicit a few tears, as well.

Miracles. There's so, so much horror and heartbreak associated with the Aurora movie-theater massacre that took place just 70 miles up the road from me; it's often just too much for me to watch, read, think about, talk about. But the incredible story of Petra Anderson, the young musician who was shot in the head but won't suffer brain damage because the bullet hit her at exactly the point of a minimal and previously undetected brain defect is absolutely worth a smile. And a fist pump. Truly miraculous.

Tickets to ride. When my grandsons left my house to return home a few weeks ago, we had no plans to visit again, which is unusual. Since Bubby's birth, there's been virtually no visit that ended without plans in the works for the next gathering—until this last time. Budgets are tight, schedules are packed, and as far as the eye could see on the calendar, even into 2013, it didn't appear I'd get any time with my boys. The other night, Jim said, "What the heck—just book it!" I now hold tickets for Jim and me to fly to see Bubby and Mac in October. THAT, to me, is great news!

Bear watching. Sure, there are lots of animal videos online to take your mind off the serious and sad stuff, but when I read of this one in the paper, it made me smile and head for the computer. Just this past week, news was that Explore.org recently started live streaming footage from the high-definition webcams they set up along Alaska's Brooks River in Katmai National Park. Now folks everywhere can watch the annual rite of hundreds of black bears feasting from the largest Sockeye salmon run in the world. It's grand diversion of a different sort, so refreshing and engaging—and thrilling when you see a catch. This good news is worth sharing with the grandkids, too, who will get a kick out of the imposing bears patiently awaiting fish to come their way. (Hint: It seems to stream better when choosing the "pop-out" option.)

More streaming video. Like the aforementioned plane tickets, this one is more of a personal bit of good news. Sort of. Though I'm willing to bet someone out there is just as happy about this good news as I am. You see, Jim and I have become addicted to the (yes, rather violent) series, Breaking Bad. We've gone through the entire first four seasons in just the last couple months. Wednesday night we stayed up late and watched the final four episodes available on Netflix, then lamented being in limbo waiting for the fifth season—which started two weeks ago—to come out on DVD or be available on Netflix. We don't have cable, thus no AMC television channel on which the series airs. Then, lo and behold, I checked AMC online yesterday and, YES! Full episodes of the current season are streamed online. Very good news indeed! At least for me and Jim—and any other non-cable subscriber who can't get enough of Walt and Jesse.

Snow. Yes, I said that word again. On the very same day that I posted about snow, it appeared—in July, mind you—on Pikes Peak! Imagine that. Per the comments on that post, it's clear many of you would not consider the arrival of snow good news. But as hot and dry (and flammable and uncomfortable) as it's been the last few months where I live, news of moisture—of snow!—on the mountain overlooking my city was very good, refreshing, and smile-worthy news to me.

And now, for the promised happy dance from Bubby:

Today's question:

What recent good news—personal or public—elicited from you a happy dance?

This post linked to the Saturday Sharefest.

Spring not yet sprung

Many of the blogs I visit regularly have lately featured spring in all its glory: trees in bloom and flowers, flowers, flowers. Beautiful flowers of purples and yellows and pinks and more.

Well, that's not the way we do spring in Colorado. At least not yet, at least not in my neighborhood.

As proof, here are two highlights from my walk with the dogs yesterday, neither of which feature flowers. (Neither of the photos, not the dogs. Well, the dogs don't feature flowers either).

(The white bar on the photo is part of the fence they're standing on the other side of.)

Sure, I'd be thrilled to see and smell flowers blooming, the true signs of spring. But if I can't have those, I'll gladly accept and appreciate what else Mother Nature has to offer, including snow-covered Pikes Peak and three curious deer.

As for blooming trees and flowers, I'll wait patiently.

For now, anyway.

Today's question:

What does spring look like in your neighborhood today?