Sunday, August 30, 2009

I Blinked And Now My Baby's 18!

Hard to believe that just 18 years ago, I popped out my first baby after three weeks of constant contractions. The doctors kept telling me they were just Braxton-Hicks contractions, but why don't they try three full weeks of Braxton-Hicks contractions every two to three minutes without a break? I'd finally hit my breaking point and go to the hospital, only to be sent home after an hour or so of observation. The last time they sent me home, I left in tears swearing that I wasn't going back, I'd just have my baby at home.

Well, long story short, I did eventually go back to the hospital and have Digger there. By the time I had him I was so sleep deprived that I lost track of time. It wasn't until I took him for his first well baby check that I realized I'd lost a day or two. In my mind, because of being so exhausted, his birthday was September 1, when in actuality it was August 30. It's amazing what happens when you are totally and completely spent. So after I wrapped my mind around losing an entire day, I accepted that maybe I'd been wrong about the day he was born. Obviously, since his birth certificate and hospital bills clearly stated his date of birth. Oops. What the heck kind of mom was I going to be when I couldn't get his birthday right immediately after his birth?

He was an amazingly patient first child; much older than his years when he was a baby. I look back at pictures of him and see a little man, not a little boy.

Some of my favorite Digger-isms (he was adamant about all of them):
  • Mustin' Bustin' as in, "I like Mustin' Bustin' 'cause the pretty girls kiss you when you fall off!"
  • Cowboy-girl: "I am a cowboy, Ash is a cowboy-girl!"
  • Mynastics: "I don't go to jim'snastics, I go to mynastics!"
  • "The Practice have prickers!" Yes, Devon, the catus have prickers, I mean stickers. (But prickers is an apt description, don't you think?)
  • Fighterfighter: "I'm going to grow up and be a fighterfighter." I guess firefighter was too difficult to say...
  • Drunk, drive, go to jail: That's what he thought the lyrics to "Jump, Jive, and Wail" were. Hey, makes a certain amount of sense.
  • "My butt burped!": One night we were at Grandma Mary's and Digger was standing in his pajamas in the living room when suddenly his eyes got big and he slapped both hands over his butt and exclaimed, "My butt burped!". He didn't have the word for fart, and when you think about it, a fart is actually a butt burp.
I've got a million favorite memories, after all, in eighteen years a lot of memories can be made. Some of my favorites:
  • We saw a kid in Campus West who had a mohawk arranged into easily 8" spikes, each spike dyed a different color and covered with a condom. Digger looked at the kid for a minute, then looked at me and said, earnestly, "His mom's gonna be pissed!" I almost couldn't chastise him for saying "pissed" because I was laughing so hard, and besides, I agreed with him.
  • Digger got his nickname from the girl's volleyball team when I was the head trainer at Rocky Mountain High School, because every time he fell, the girls would say, "Oh, dig-ger".
  • Digger's favorite movie for a long time was "8 Seconds" and he'd act out the Lane Frost death scene over and over, beginning with the ride, the fall, and being gored by the bull. Then he'd stagger to his knees and wave for help before falling to the ground, dead.
  • Dinour, his imaginary pet dinosaur, caused a lot of trouble at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Dinour made lots of messes at the dinner table, so many that Digger had to take Dinour by the hand and lead him outside before dinner. Dinour couldn't mind his manners so he had to stay outside.
  • One time, he fell down the steep, narrow stairs at Grandma and Grandpa's house and when Aunt Not A GunDiva went rushing over to see if he was ok, he put one hand up to stop her and said, "Don't... touch... me." Guess he'd spent too much time in the training room.
  • For his fifth birthday, he insisted that all of the males attending his party come in a tie. Not a suit and tie, but a tie. At that point in time, he wanted to be the president when he grew up. Glad he grew out of that little phase.
  • When he was just a short snort, he put those big ears of his to use. He'd pull up on the tips and hiss for his scary face - was actually pretty scary.
I can't believe my little man isn't so little anymore. It certainly hasn't been easy, but he's turned out okay. I know he's no angel, but he got through his childhood mostly intact. Now, if I can just get him well into adulthood unscathed. The scary thing is that he's just ten months younger than I was when I got married, and two years younger than I was when I had him. Hopefully, he'll make better choices than I did.
Love you Digger!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Random Thought...

Do you think animals name their off-spring like we do? I mean, cats and dogs have litters, how do they keep the little squirts straight? What if most of the litter is behaving perfectly, but one or two are being total brats - how does the mom yell at the brats without yelling at the well behaved ones?

Just a thought...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mountain Therapy


The majority of the time I have "Mountain Therapy" it's on the back of Estes. Today, RCC and I did a different form of Mountain Therapy; RCC's partner, Mike, invited us to join him, so we met up with the Mountaineers club and took the Jeep up the Middle St. Vrain trail. The weather was absolutely beautiful in the mountains - sunny and warm. Since we're headed to Moab in a couple of weeks, today's outing was perfect for testing out the Jeep (or the Lil Blue BoX as RCC's has taken to calling her).

The Lil Blue BoX was one of the few "stockers" on the trail and I'm sure that there was more than one person who thought we wouldn't make it. However, RCC's been doing this a while and is a good driver, so there really wasn't any point during the ride that we were in danger of being stuck. We had lots of rock obstacles, water crossings, and mud holes. It was a great time and a great way to get out of the heat.

Here's video of Mike and RCC negotiating the lake crossing...

video

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Three Most Adorable Kittens Ever...& A Spoiled Horse

The latest batch of kittens are sooooooo dang cute! Ash hates the names I gave them, but they all look so much alike that I used horse face markings for their names, so let me introduce (from left to right) Snip, Blaze (can't see his markings behind Snip's ear), and Star. They're not quite five weeks old and they're so dang cute. I know, I already said that, but they are!


Estee's been acting a little sore recently and really favoring her right foreleg, so she got a good stretching out before our ride. Since I don't want her "unbalanced", I stretched both legs, trying to loosen up her chest and leg muscles. Sometimes she likes it, sometimes she doesn't. Today, she wasn't thrilled, but allowed me to stretch her out. Could be that I bribed her first with Black Oil Sunflower Seeds first.



Finally, I was finished stretching her out and decided that she was sound enough to take out on a short ride to try to work out a little of her soreness. Bill hopped up on Ranger and we headed out onto the mountain. Estes was a little pissy at first because she didn't want to go on a trail, but we found a trail that we hadn't been on in a long time and she was much, much happier.

When Estee's happy, everybody's happy!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

My Perfect Husband

Well, he may not be perfect perfect, but he's perfect for me. He called me from work this morning, out of the blue, and asked if I wanted to go out to dinner. Like a date, without the kids and everything. I was surprised that he'd want to go out after working six days in a row; his job's not like mine, he actually does real work, while I more and more shuffle papers.

I looked forward to our date all day. We'd planned on going to Chimney Park Bistro, but after looking at their menu online, we decided on Jay's Bistro in Old Town. We were a little concerned about parking since New West Fest is going on downtown, but we needn't have worried.

I had the most amazing dinner that I couldn't pronounce - thank God RCC knows how to pronounce all those high-flalutin' words - some five pepper crusted filet in a green peppercorn sauce over garlic mashed. It was absolutely delicious - I ate every bite and would have eaten more except the plate was empty.

Dessert was even better. A few years ago my friend Glenna had introduced me to Godiva's Dark Chocolate with Raspberry filling, which is my all time favorite candy bar. Dessert was like my favorite candy bar, but supersized! It was a flourless chocolate cake with chocolate ganache with raspberry sauce. Heaven in my mouth!

What a great idea RCC had and I love him for it even more!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Monster's in High School

Just got back from registering Monster for high school. Where on earth did time go? You know, I didn't have to send the others to high school until they were sophomores, but the school district, in its infinite wisdom, decided that they needed to move to a four-year high school. I realize that most of the school districts in the nation are four-years, but that doesn't mean it's right or that I like it.

Monster, as you know, moved to Arizona last year to "start fresh" with his dad. Well, apparently his fresh start got spoiled and he moved back in July. While he's still rambunctious and without a brain-mouth filter, he's been doing fairly well (at least to my knowledge). He asks to go places instead of just going (most of the time), is where he says he's going to be (when I call to check up on him), and is home not only on time, but early! He's getting tired of me reminding him that he can find trouble a mile away and join in, so he really needs to toe the line.

He seems to be okay going into high school. I'm uncertain. Maybe the "older" atmosphere will do him good; but I'm afraid that he'll continue to try to impress the older kids and keep getting in trouble. Only time will tell, I guess.

Here's hoping he's seen the light and chosen the right path...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

For the Ladies at RWTTD...

Sand Beach Lake in the Wild Basin Area of Rocky Mountain National Park...
Click on the image to enlarge it. The first picture is what you see as you leave the trail and then the trees open up to the most amazing lake ever!



















Finishing a Project

...I hope. Most of you who know me know that deep down in my soul I'm a writer. It's what I do, kind of like teaching. I never intended to grow up to teach, but it's what I do, who I am, I can't not teach. I feel the same way about writing. It's what I've always done, it's what I do. I gave up the dream of becoming a published writer years ago; the pragmatic side of me, the side that has to house, clothe, and feed my children took over.

Last year, I started a collection of short stories about my years as a wrangler. Again, that project got set aside after a strong start. I've started and not completed more stories than I can count. I've got notebooks and notebooks full of my writing that "someday" I'm going to do something with. Well, "someday" has arrived. I've started a new blog (http://gundiva-talesfromthetrail.blogspot.com) and will post a different short story each day until my story is told. I have to give a lot of credit to the movie Julie & Julia, which is not a movie about food, but about writing and finishing what you start.

Thank you, Julie Powell, for giving me the kick in the pants that I needed to finally see something through. Maybe once I finish Tales, I'll move on to finishing one of my many other writing projects.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My Girls

Yesterday, Jay and I went to see Julie/Julia and there's a scene in the movie where Julie Powell says, "Cobb Salad Day tomorrow. Dreading, dreading, dreading." The next scene is of her and three of her friends out for lunch (they all order Cobb Salad, with different ingredients removed, hence the name "Cobb Salad Day") and it becomes apparent why she was dreading it. Her three friends are all just busy, busy, busy and it's obvious they do lunch because the "have" to, not because they want to.

I can't imagine having friends that I would dread spending time with.

My girls, Staci, Robin, and Sue, are all amazing women and I don't get to spend nearly enough time with them. We had a "Girls' Night" last night and went to the Chophouse in Denver. Our original plan was to go to Sing-Sing beneath the Chophouse, but we decided we'd just grab dinner at the Chophouse and then head down (literally, Sing-Sing is beneath the restaurant).

I met my girls when I was dating my ex, Brian, more than ten years ago (I can't believe it's been that long). If nothing else, I have to thank Brian for introducing me to some of the most incredible women I've had the joy of spending time with. While Brian and I were together, I saw the girls weekly, as they played on Brian's soccer team. Eventually I started playing soccer, too and I saw the girls two to three times a week. Over the almost five years Brian and I were together, Staci and Robin became like family to me. I'm not sure I would have gotten through my breakup with Brian without them (it's a good thing they got me through, 'cause now I'm married to the most amazing man on the planet).

In the past ten years we've been through some truly horrible, heart-crushing breakups; incredible trips to England, Ireland, Scotland, and Italy; weddings and childbirth. Through it all, my girls were right there with me. There's no way I could ever dread spending time with them.

It took us four hours to get caught up on each other's lives. Staci's kids are growing like weeds and I feel all sorts of guilty for not seeing them more often. I haven't seen Nick since he was just a couple of weeks old and now he's toddling around after his big sister, Samantha, whom I also haven't seen in ages. Staci and Paul are one of the happiest couples I know - because of them, I refused to "settle" for anyone less than perfect for me. This was really hard to do sometimes - I was convinced I'd be single the rest of my life if I didn't settle. It worked out though, because I've now married a man who is absolutely perfect for me, the man of my dreams.

Robin and Mandy just bought a new house and are getting ready to start trying to have a child of their own; Robin's been through all of the preliminary work up and it all looks good, but there's a whole lot more involved in deciding to have a child for them. Mandy's got a son from a previous relationship, but Robin for years has talked about having a child of her own and they have to think about things that have never crossed my mind. Just the choice of a sperm donor (someone you know, someone local, someone from a different state?) is mind-boggling.

Sue, just yesterday before she came to meet us, was offered, and accepted, a new job. It literally fell in her lap, one of her old bosses looked her up and offered her a job completely out of the blue. It comes with regular hours (she's working the craziest hours ever right now) and a $15,000 increase in pay. She deserves a good job that will make her happy.

I missed Nicole, who couldn't make it because her husband, Squid, is off at soccer camp and she stayed home with their beautiful daughter, Molly. And my sister, Nelle, couldn't make it because she had to work for her son's gymnastics team. So, not all my girls could make it last night, but it was wonderful to spend time with the strong, independent, amazing women I get to call my friends. I'm so blessed to have them in my life and the only thing I really regret is that our children won't get to grow up together; my kids are almost out of the house and Staci, Nicole, and Robs are just now starting their families. No matter, though, we're the kind of friends who can pick up where we left off even if it's been almost a year since we've seen each other.

I love you girls. Thank you for being my "besties".

Sunday, August 2, 2009

RZO Summerfest

Last weekend RCC and I attended the Rock Zombie Outlaws' Summerfest, sadly the last one to be held at its current location near Arapahoe Road and Parker in the Denver area. In February, we attended RZO's Winterfest with Tinkerbell, RCC's full-sized Chevy rock-crawler, whose transmission seized up just ten minutes off the truck. This time we opted to just take the Jeep and camp overnight.



Since the Jeep is completely stock - he hasn't modified it at all yet - our options were limited as far as obstacles we could attack, but we found a few and had a good time on them. And they say it's not a good day unless you get stuck, which we did beautifully. We had been driving around the property, tackling the obstacles that were doable in the Jeep, and found a creek crossing that looked like it might be tougher than some others we'd done, but still was doable. So off we went, down the slight hill, splashing across the creek, and powering up...powering up...shit...powering ourselves right into the sandy hill across the creek. The sand had looked fairly stable from the opposite side of the creek, but once we hit it, we just buried ourselves. Deep. RCC did such a great job of attempting to power up the hill he buried the front axle in the sand.


We were lucky that another driver saw us and offered to tow us out with his full-sized Chevy Blazer. The problem was that we got bogged down at the first part of a two-part rise; there was an initial hill - where we got stuck - followed by a slight flat space and another hill. The truck hooked us up, but we were so stuck that he couldn't budge us while also trying to tackle the second hill.
We lucked out a second time and another truck who saw our predicament offered to hook onto the Chevy and pull us out in tandem. How's that for being stuck? Our small stock Jeep took a full-sized Chevy Blazer and a Toyota pick-up with a V8 to tow it out.
I had to laugh at a comment I overheard while the two trucks were hooking us up. One of the drivers looked at the other and said, "Beginners." Certainly I am a beginner, but I wasn't the one driving and if they had realized that the driver they were towing out was the owner of the infamous Tinkerbell - even if they don't know her name, they know her - they would have had a whole lot more to say than just "beginners".
We spent a great deal of the day mostly watching. The Zombie Graveyard is always a popular place to congregate and watch carnage (4-wheeler-speak for breaking big expensive stuff). RCC had told me that he wanted to replace his metal cable on his winch with a nylon one, which is much safer. After watching two nylon winch cables break without any injuries to anyone, I think he's getting nylon for Christmas. The metal cables don't rebound as well (or at all) as the nylon ones and the energy has to be transferred somewhere, which usually means that it whips around uncontrolled taking out anything in its path. The nylon cables just drop to the ground, sparing anyone nearby.
We did watch a scary moment when one of the Zombies got stuck in the Graveyard and three people were rocking him side-to-side, hoping that he'd get a bite somewhere on the rocks and be able to drive himself out. He got a bite, alright, and nearly ran over one of the guys helping him out.

video

The bad thing is that once the Zombie broke loose, he then hit a rock with his front passenger tire and knocked his tire off the bead, which started a whole new rescue effort involving a Hi-Lift and a borrowed 37" tire.


I also got to see something I'd never seen before - a Jeep Wrangler doing a one-handed handstand. I have no idea how on earth this driver kept from going ass over teakettle, but he managed. I was a little slow on the trigger for the camera, so the picture is just as he's peaked and started to come back down. His only point of contact with the ground is his front driver's side tire; the front passenger hasn't quite touched down on the rock yet.
The day was amazing even with the intermittant thunder, lightening, and rain. Throughout the day, we'd drive by the bonfire site, where they were building a giant man to set aflame. It was fun to watch the progress throughout the day and I couldn't wait for sundown when they were to fire him up.At sundown, however, lighting the Burning Man proved to be a bit of a challenge. We watched one of the Zombies get a ride up to the top in the bucket of a tractor and dump at least ten gallons of gasoline on him. You would think that would be enough, right? The problem was that even the best laid plans go awry and the person who was to light the Burning Man with the flare gun missed.
M.I.S.S.E.D. Missed. With a flare from a flare gun. Missed.
The flare went skipping along the ground, across the area for the bonfire and ended up in a crowd of people. No one was hurt, but a lot of people were laughing. The second shot also missed, going straight up in the air no where near the Not-Burning Man. Third shot - you gessed it - also skittered through the crowd. Finally, someone took the flare gun away from Sir Miss-The-Sixty-Foot-Pile-Of-Logs-In-Front-Of-Him and shot the tinder at the bottom of the Not-Burning Man's feet at point blank range. It took - sort of - briefly - before the rain won out. In the end the Zombies set up a true fire bucket brigade, with one person holding the gas can, filling up keg cups with gasoline, while others threw the gasoline onto the Sort-Of-Burning Man. Sort-Of-Burning Man eventually became Finally-Burning Man and the wait was worth it, despite the rain pounding away again.


An almost-entirely-sleepless night in a leaky tent ensued, thanks to the Party Brigade in the next campsite. About the time the music would quiet down and I'd fall asleep, I'd be woken up again by the drunks changing CDs and the music blaring again. In the few minutes of sleep I did get, I dreamed of using my new shotgun on their stereo. About four a.m. they thought it would be a good idea to load up into their buggies and race up and down the road leading into the campground. At that time, my short-lived dreams changed to shooting out a tire with the shotgun. Up and at 'em bright and early the next morning (really, what choice did we have), we wandered over to the smoldering bonfire. I decided that the white-hot smoldering coals would be perfect for roasting the marshmallows that we didn't roast the night before, so RCC and I found some sticks and had ourselves roasted marshmallows for breakfast. It's good to be a "grown up" and get to have marshmallows for breakfast!

We spend day two mostly watching - there's just so much going on that it's hard to take it all in - before packing up and heading home. I had a blast, even if I wasn't the one getting the Jeep filthy this time, and am more than a little sad that the RZO crew is losing their land because of some stupid political dispute. The Rock Zombie Outlaws are a great group of people who hosted amazing events that brought people together for good, clean (or maybe not really clean) fun. I'm hoping that they will be able to find new property soon and rumor has it, they are looking hard for a new venue.