Thursday, July 26, 2012

Update: Owen's Summer List

Visit Vulcan

Owen went dressed as Michael Jackson the Zookeeper.  My mom bought a magnet with this view.  I would consider both of these typical behavior for the subject mentioned.

Here's where we stand in the dining room.  Mom and I scraped wallpaper glue all afternoon; it looks like the floor is covered in shredded chicken and I could fall asleep sitting up right now.  But we must work on.  Mom and Dad fly home tomorrow and I lose my free labor...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Look what we started

The dining room transformation has begun!  That Marimekko wallpaper I put on the idea board is a no go though.  I went to order it and discovered it costs $150 a roll.  How did I not notice that the first time?  Ouch.  It's evidently cool to just seal over distressed walls and call it a day.  But somehow I imagine it's easier to pull off in a London flat than an Alabama suburb.  I'll keep you posted on our progress!  Love it when Mom and Dad come to town and light a fire under me.

Oh, and take a look too at what's growing by our driveway.  Someone spit a pit and it grew.  I can accidentally grow peaches but no amount of love and effort on my part has saved our cherry tomatoes.  Ironic.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Update: Owen's Summer List

Visit a cave and take a really bright flashlight
Doh!  He's blurry...  but that rock behind him is in fantastic focus.

The weather wasn't going to cooperate with our plans to swim today, so we road tripped north to Rickwood Caverns to knock another item off the list instead.

We had a teenaged boy for a guide, so our tour was chock-full of references to serial killers, rattlesnakes, and sudden power outages.  He talked Owen into crawling into this crevice and then informed him a woman had been killed in the cave and was buried right in there beneath his feet.  So what do you think Owen is thinking in that second photo?
  • What did he say oh look cool that rock above his head is awesome I wonder if could climb up and touch it and then jump all the way down and...
  • If I cry will all the other kids on the tour laugh at me?
  • Dude... you're such a goofball.  How is it possible that girl in the gift shop was flirting with you?

Thursday, July 5, 2012


When we left for Colorado on June 22, the closest wildfire to our rental house was about 40 miles away.  Four days into our vacation, two more started: one in Estes Park 25 miles NNW and one in Boulder 10 miles SE.  

High Park Fire in Fort Collins; We were in downtown Boulder when lightning started the Flagstaff Fire.

Owen set up a firewood drum kit and held a concert for us one evening.  You can see the Flagstaff Fire (and a thunderstorm) in the background.  We even dubbed his band Owen and the Wildfires.  Dark-slash-inappropriate humor is a family specialty.  

So, yeah, the fires cast a figurative and literal haze over our vacation.  We watched the news obsessively and fled to the windows with binoculars every time there was a close lightning strike.  Growing up on the gulf coast taught me how to handle hurricanes, and living in Birmingham has helped me develop my tornado M.O., but I have no idea how to be smart about a wildfire.  I now have a much greater respect and empathy for those who do.

Our rental house itself survived a wildfire in 2003, and most of the ridge we were on still looked more like a moonscape than a forest.  I found a lot of beauty, though, in what the fires left behind.  When we looked to the horizon, we saw ongoing destruction, but we could also look right outside our window and see rebirth.  Cacti growing in burned out stumps.  Tiny but dense groves of birch trees fighting together to come back.  Birds, field mice, rabbits and (of course!) chipmunks moving in to repopulate.  Maybe I'm just stretching for an obvious truth here, but I did feel hope.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

America the Beautiful

Thought today would give me a good excuse to share some landscape pics from Colorado.  Happy 4th!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Colorado Critters

After our hike at St. Vrain, we came home to discover signs that a critter visited the house while we were out (stuff knocked over, little poops in the master bathtub, pee on my suitcase... ). We checked the house thoroughly, discovered a window without a screen, crossed our fingers that our visitor let itself out the way it came in, and went about our business of playing cards/watching Euro Cup soccer.

About half an hour later, from where I'm playing cards in the kitchen, I hear the soccer bunch erupt and even see a few of them jump up on the couch.  My first thought:  England scored a goal.  

Not exactly.

The brave among us (ie. not the ones who are still up on the couch) set out to liberate one petrified juvenile chipmunk.

Strategy 1:  I'll corner him, pick him up with a towel and put him outside.

Result:  Fail.  I get the chipmunk shiver when he springs from the towel, runs up my right arm, down my left and leaves me holding only the tippy tip of his tail.  Which is no longer attached to the rest of him.

Strategy 2:  Coax him outside with a trail of peanut butter crackers.

Result:  Fail.  Chipmunks lose their appetite when in fear for their life; rabbits, however, love free dinner and a show.

Strategy 3:  Joe will corner him in the closet, pick him up by (the rest of) his tail and deposit him outside.

Result:  Phew... success

These last photos are courtesy of Joe too, since he found these antlers while hiking behind the house.  Definitely more fun to make your own Colorado critter than to be visited by real ones.
Rebecca + Jennifer; Coach + DD; Owen