Friday, October 30, 2009


Dickidoo is going hunting with his buddies for a week.  Elk camp, deer camp, man camp... they can call it what they want.  I call it what it is.

Vacation!  Woo Hoo!  And I get the queen sized Serta for a week!

I've been cooking and freezing like a crazy woman to show my appreciation.  Elk chili.  Elk-a-roni.  Elk stew.  Tomorrow I'll whip up a batch of elk curry.  If nothing else those guys are going to be eating good.  Or... they'll be so sick and tired of eating elk that they won't even bother to take a shot when one walks by them.

I got a scary email from my Baby Sister yesterday.  She's recently been diagnosed with some kind of spinal disease that may require surgery.  In the mean time she's popping 18 pills daily to deal with the pain.  18 pills?  I couldn't imagine it.  I couldn't even manage popping a birth control pill once a day thus the 5 Oompas, so there is no way I could do 18 pills.  With surgery there is always the risk of paralysis but she is young and strong.  She's scared but she'll never let something like this slow her down.

And here I am belly aching about how bad my love life is.  All of a sudden my problems all seem so insignificant. I really have it easy. 

Last night Rocky's boyfriend told me that he thought she was mad at him.  She later told me that she thought he was mad at her.  I told her that they were both over reacting to something silly.  All they needed was to be a little more sensitive to each other's feelings and learn to let silly little things go.

Even as I was saying those words I realized that it was probably the best advice I could ever give myself.

"Be more sensitive to each others feelings and learn to let the silly little things go."

(Yeah, okay, fine!  But I still get to decide what is silly and what is not!)

I should probably make the guys some cookies or something sweet like that.  I don't want them to get hungry and have to pack up and come in early.  Maybe some brownies, and I'll get them some hot cocoa mix.  And lots of toilet paper, enough for a couple weeks just in case they should get snowed in or something equally wonderful like that.  Yeah, that sounds like a plan!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pride Of Mesa Ridge

The High School Marching Band season ended on Saturday, highlighted by the State Championships.  Becca's participation this year marked her 4th and final year in the Color Guard.  She was the only 4 year Guard member and for that accomplishment she was given the honor of carrying the American flag during the retreat at the end of the night.  This is only Rocky's 2nd year but she is as dedicated as her sister. Rocky may be one of the tiniest members of the band but she has big ambition and she absolutely ROCKS! Last year the Pride of Mesa Ridge took 5th Place in the State Finals.  This year they placed 4th.  Way to go Oompas!  Way to go Mesa Ridge!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

And now... back to our regularily scheduled programming.

Zack left for New York this morning.  He's going to try his hand at yak wrangling at my sister and brother-in-law's farm.  He's been looking forward to it ever since they accepted his offer to work there for room and board... and the opportunity to mess around with the welder, and maybe the tractor or other large machinery.  I'd rather see him in a regular paying job, but this is a wonderful opportunity for him to gain some new experience and it certainly will be helpful for his aunt and uncle to have the extra help during the winter now that all of their own children have moved away.  Poor Val, just when she got rid of her last child I start sending her mine!  What a brilliant concept, I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner!  (kidding Val, just kick him out and send him back here if he gets too much for you.)

"I think you'll have fun, except maybe for the mud and poop which all kind of looks the same there."  I told Zack before he left this morning.

I sure am going to miss his intellectual banter.  I am not going to miss trying to get him to share my computer with the rest of the family.  He's hooked on Bejeweled and can play for hours!  I think he was trying to get in as many games as he could before he left because he won't have unlimited access to a computer once he gets to the farm.  Poor guy's going to go into Bejeweled withdrawals. Game over! 

And how about them Broncos?!  6 and 0, yeah!  As for the Steelers... the Super Bowl Chumps  Champs, they're 4 and 2.  Awwwww, what's the matter with your team Dickidoo? Maybe they're just too old for the game.  6 championships is a good legacy but it's time to let a younger... BETTER team take over! Go Broncos!

ps: 64 days until Christmas!  Ho Ho Ho!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A huntin' we will go... 2009. (edited)

With the change in my current lifestyle it is safe to assume that this fall would be my last season for hunting.  With that in mind I was determined to fill the freezer one last time, to prove my worth as a provider for the family. 

My friends all thought Dickidoo was either very trusting or very stupid for going out in the wilderness alone with me... with a loaded rifle, and for good reason because for the first time in our 25 plus years of marriage he is actually worth more to me dead than alive.  But with kids like ours, even as old as they are, I don't relish the thought of being a single parent and it suits me to be able to say 'Go ask your father!'

Preparation is a ritual.  I washed my camo and blaze orange gear in hunting soap... which smelled like dirt.  I then showered with soap and shampoo that also smelled like dirt. (I suspect it is so difficult for hunters to spot elk during the season because the elk can spot hunters from miles away... we all look like big fat blaze orange pumpkins and smell like dirt!)  At o'dark hundred we were up and out in search of the elusive bull elk.

Dickidoo had the perfect spot in mind.  We arrived early, got set up and waited. We weren't the only hunters in the area but that was okay, we didn't mind sharing.  Too bad the other hunters didn't feel the same way.  They didn't think twice about talking loudly, walking around us and then walking right through the field in front of us.  Jerks! 

It was pretty obvious that we were in the wrong place at the wrong time so we began to look for signs and tracks.  'Signs' in hunting speak is 'shit'. 

Deer shit, elk shit,
Oh shit, bear shit!

Dickidoo knew where the elk would pass through so we set up a make shift blind.  If the elk showed up as planned I would be filling the freezer. Unfortunately a couple of helicopters doing low altitude maneuvers decided our little area was the perfect area to train.  "We appreciate your service guys, but seriously, go away!"  Of course, they did not.  They circled until all of the animals in the state of Colorado had migrated at full speed to Kansas.  Not cool!

Time for Plan B (or was it Plan C?).

Plan B incorporated the assistance of Dickidoo's friend who was hunting up the way who would be in communication with us via a two way radio if he happened to see anything moving in our direction.  There's nothing that makes one lose the urgency for relieving one's self in the woods than the thought of some guy with high powered binoculars up the hill behind you and some guy with his son scouting around in front of you.  I had to go soooooo bad that I thought I would pop, but there was no way I was baring my full moons with that much traffic all around!

Day one was what I call a 'Murphy's Hunt', when anything that could go wrong did go wrong.  Day two could only get better, right?
Not so much.... There was no fresh sign anywhere, except for bear scat. And let me tell you something about hunting in Colorado.  Colorado is in the Rocky Mountains.  'Mountain' is another word for 'up'.  In Colorado everything is up.  Even down is up.  To get to the top of a mountain you must go up.  To get back down you still must go up.  And no matter how up you are, there is still upper and then it's all uphill from there!

I don't like up.  I really don't. 

So when Dickioo suggested that we wait in a nice little scrub oak hollow looking out over a meadow, with very little up involved, I was ecstatic.  We visited the grave site of an 8 year old boy who died in 1886.  Dickidoo affectionately calls him 'Jimmy'.  We would be hunting in Jimmy's meadow.  Dickidoo is a spiritual hunter.  He asked for Jimmy's permission and then he asked for Jimmy's blessing.  I had a hunting prayer that I whispered over and over.  'Let me be swift and sure.'

It was almost sundown when Dickidoo spotted the antlers among the scrub oaks.  He followed their progress patiently through his binoculars.  I sat by impatiently, waiting for a glimpse of the big bull Dickidoo promised was coming.  Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, the bull crested the hill.
It was a decent sized elk although not so much wide as tall... I admitted aloud.  My future ex gave me an 'are you fricken kidding?' look.  He uses that look on me a lot although I'm not exactly sure why.

Steve jumped into gear and began a new plan of action.  The bull had disappeared behind a dam with 3 possible exit routes. We moved into place... and waited.  And waited.  And waited.
It was almost sun down.  I was running out of time so we began to run as quietly as we could through the cactus minefield to peer over the dam and possibly spot the bull.  Just as I got to the base of the dam Dickidoo hissed for me to look to the left.  I turned right and only saw my husband's excited face.  'Left, left!' he hissed again, running over.  I peered over his shoulder and he grabbed me by mine.
'Your other left!' he growled, physically turning me to my left, and then I saw it standing just 100 yards away.  It was a picture perfect pose, broadside and motionless.  Not so much wide as tall.  I dropped to one knee, took aim and squeezed the trigger.

It was a picture perfect miss.  How could I miss at 100 yards?  I'm dead on at 300!  I quickly reloaded and shot again and this time hit my target.  The bull spun and took off back behind the dam.  Dickidoo grinned and congratulated me but I was worried because I could no longer see the elk.  A few moments later we spotted the him laying down near a pinon tree not far way.  It jumped up and took off again, disappearing near the tree line just off to our right (the right right, not my left right).  It was getting dark.  Dickidoo left to get the truck and I waited, listening for any sign that the elk was leaving the wooded area we had seen it enter, hoping that it had bedded down.  Aside from the wind and my constant prayer it was silent. 

'Swift and sure, please don't let this life have been in vain.'

Dickidoo returned a short time later with a couple of friends to help track and retrieve the elk.  In the dark it was almost impossible to find any tracks or blood trail but these guys are good. Dickidoo found two small drops of blood, nothing more, and there were no fresh tracks.  It was as if the elk had been walking on air... or tippie toe as I suggested. Steve's friend was the one who found the bull, tucked in next to a pinon just 100 yards from where we last saw it.  The guys told me where to place the final shot and it was over. 

Some people think hunting is cruel.  I respect their stance.  I, however, hunt without regret or remorse.  I hunt for food.  I will get about 400 pounds of meat from the bull.  That will feed my family for many months, and it sure beats hotdogs!

The bull, which I refer to as Jimmy's Bull, weighed about 700 pounds on the hoof and carried a 6X6 rack that the guys are guestimating will score over 300 in the Boone and Crocket thingie, which means nothing to me but Dickidoo insists that it's 'one fricken big bull!'

We have a standing rule in our family... 'You kill it, you clean it.'  I started that when Dickidoo used to bring home fish for me to gut (yuck!).  It sounded good at the time... until I began hunting.  After my first kill I had to gut my own kills. Dickidoo was in a good mood though (or maybe he realized that it would take me 4 times as long to do something that would only take him 20 minutes to do), and he offered to field dress the bull. I weenied out and jumped at his offer.  Hey, I may not be able to tell my left from my right, but I'm not entirely stupid!  (Thanks Steve!) 

Not only did he clean the elk for me, he also took it to a butcher to process the meat so I didn't have cut and wrap the meat myself, and he's having the antlers mounted (European mount.... I won't have room in my future home for half an elk to hang on my wall.)

While this was quite possibly my last hunt with Dickidoo, it was probably my best hunt ever.  Nothing but good memories.  Murphy's Hunt... anything that could go wrong did go wrong, but it ended up perfect. It was the hunt of a life time with the bull of a life time, (although not so much wide as tall)

Thank God, thanks to the Spirit of the Elk, Thank you Jimmy.  Thanks Dickidoo, that was amazing!

Edit 10/21/09: Dickidoo suggested that I rename the bull 'Jimmy's Bull' in honor of Jimmy McGlothlin (January 10, 1878 - October 3, 1886) whose spirit watched over us that afternoon.  In actuality it wasn't a "Murphy's Law" kind of hunt at all.  It was a "Jimmy's Law" hunt, when everything that could go right did go right. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mantra (if you say something often enough you're bound to believe it eventually)

Ahhhhh-tumn lasted all of 5 minutes in Colorado. It is now winter. Winter for me has always been cold, crisp mornings when you can see your breath, sunlight reflecting off of diamond tipped snowflakes and a crackling fire in the fireplace at night as the family sits around reminiscing about winters past.

Although the mountains are capped in white, the snow has yet to stick down here in the foothills. The chimney remains clear, the hearth is cold and dark. Everything is different now. Everything has changed. The family is split in different directions as all growing families do but I fear that the bridges we cross are being burned behind us. Sometimes I ponder the classification of 'family' and wonder if we even qualify any more. Life has become a mosaic of technicalities.

I am, therefore I am.

I miss the sentimentalities of the past. I miss laughter that comes from the heart and reaches the eyes. I miss spontaneous hugs and holding hands. I miss the comfort that comes with naivety and the peace of innocence. I wonder where I went wrong. Did I zig when I should have zagged?

My daughter quoted me the other day... 'No regrets,' she said, mimicking my voice as she repeated my mantra.

No regrets. That thought has kept me from drowning in self pity many times during my 49 years on this earth. If I had zagged instead of zigging... where would I be today? What of my life now would I have achieved? What pain would I have avoiding, what joy would I have missed?

No regrets indeed. (thanks Baby)

It is a good motto, but now a new thought enters my mind. One day, when I look back upon these events, what will be my take-away, my silver lining? What positive thing will emerge from these past few months to make me believe without conviction that I have no regrets? Try as I might I cannot think of anything right now... I haven't a clue, but experience has proven that there is always something if one is willing to step back and look at the big picture so I shall keep my eyes and mind open to the possibilities.

I still miss the way we used to be... and but it was all just a part of the path we took which has led us to where we are today. What now?

I guess a nice fire in the fireplace is as good a place as any to start.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Brrrrr.... (but in a good way)

Baby, it's cold outside.... 

In fact it's down right nipply!  I love it!  It tried to snow earlier.  The heavy snowflakes melted just before they hit the ground.  The sky remains grey and over cast.  My nose sniffs in anticipation, searching for the scent of a crackling fire in the the fireplace; steaming cocoa laced with peppermint; and pine.

78 days until Christmas!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Something to smile about...

After months of procrastination the boys have finally begun to pull up the carpeting in the upper level of the house, revealing what promises to be a beautiful blond hardwood floor beneath. I find myself pacing barefoot on the unfinished floor with the same enthusiasm I experience when walking barefoot on a wave dampened sandy beach. If my feet had lips they'd be smiling. My face does have lips, and believe me, it's smiling from ear to ear. Thanks guys, but don't stop now, you still have the rest of the house to do!

We celebrated Becca's birthday a couple days early since she and Rocky will be at a Marching Band competition on Saturday. The boys have always seemed ageless to me, with their easy tempers and laid back attitude. The girls are more emotional and every day is a major, dramatic occurrence of one sort or another. Is Becca really going to be 18? Did Rocky really just turn 15? It feels like they should be older, like maybe 30 and 25. When the boys were little I could get away with answering the question 'Why?' with 'Because I said so, that's why!', and that was good enough. I never even heard the phrase 'But Mom....' until the girls came along. It would be very easy to assume that it is a girl thing, but I was once a girl, and I know for a fact I was never EVER that bad. (Save it Mom and Dad, nobody would believe you if you were to disagreed with me here!)

My big sisters have been nagging me about getting some of my scenic pictures up. I kind of lost my enthusiasm for photography when my camera crapped out on me and Dickidoo proved to be very reluctant to let me borrow his. My second hand camera has issues that kind of take the fun out of photography, but in the end my thirst for preserving the beauty of the world as I see it took over and I'm back behind the lens, snapping like a crazy woman. I have, however, decided to retire my old photo blog 'Through the eyes of the Beholder', and feature my new photos in a different blog, one I started in 2007 to feature some of my favorite photos but kind of lost interest when my camera died. It's a different format, the photos are really large, and some of the files have been X'd out (I might be able to fix them once I get more coffee in my system), but I think over all it's a nicer presentation. Here's the link: COLORADO AT THE SPEED OF LIFE

In other news... How 'bout them BRONCOS? Yeah!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

More Pictures~

Art's Aspen Haired Girlfriend


Aspen Gold~

You can't see them but she is wearing Converse Hightops
with her dress.

A rare photo of Art.

Photo Shoot~ Pikes Peak


Father, daughter

Waving to the tourists... I think they thought she was a celebrity.

Art's Pink Haired Girlfriend.

Becca, the Snow Princess~