Wednesday, August 17, 2016

06_12 to 15_2016 St. Louis for a Conference - Spending time with Evie Merrill

This blog is way out of order, but better late than never!

Business took me to St. Louis for a quick in-and-out trip. I had almost no free time so I only contacted my former  neighbors to see if we could grab dinner. It was great seeing my former house. It look as good as it ever did which makes me really happy.
The new owners are caring for it well. And though I don't have photos, the inside has been changed. Most of the color on the walls is gone (except the green dining room, and what was the bird's room which is still a  nice blue). The kitchen was renovated with granite and it looks fab. How do I know? The new owners - two guys from Houston gave me a tour. It was really kind of them.
The flowers I planted in the back are thriving and jungle like!
A very sad part of the trip is that when I wrote to see if John and Evie could share dinner, I learned that John had passed away a few months before. He'd been battling recurring cancer.  He really was a solid human being and the world lost a lot with his death.
It was fantastic spending time with Evie. They were the best neighbors!
I hope to get back to see her again soon.
Have you ever wondered what you look like to an ant while trying to open a (locked) hatch of a Prius while the driver is applying the brakes? This. This is how I look. :)

08_2016 Found more photos visit from Mom, Rachel, Hannah and Zoe on my phone!

After posting the other trip photos, I realized I had some photos on my phone that I should share.

Here is Zoe and Pente watching a movie.
The dreaded Bean Boozled game memorialized. I am still scraping my tongue from the vomit bean. Seriously.
Here is mom with Hannah's memory book while Hannah was out hiking. Was it posed? Or real? For the right price I was spill the beans.
And here is mom coloring on Rachel's coloring canvas. Real or posed? You be the judge...
That I organized them, and took this photo (proudly) probably tells you a bit about me that you may not have know. Very pleasing...except that one red pencil. That is disturbing.
When Dave was hiking with the girls, mom, Rachel and I did some stuff in my car. Only problem is that my car has two seats and a (DELUXE!!) bed in the back.

Here is Rachel on the bed before we closed her in...
Mom catching up on her sleep.
While they were here, we set the squirrel trap, but for three days, we didn't catch a squirrel. The day after they left we had success. Such a cute squirrel.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

08_25 to 29_2016 Mom, Rachel, Hannah and Zoe visit Boulder CO - Part II

Another thing we did that we oddly have no photos of is that on Tuesday, we drove to Estes Park to take a tour of the Stanley hotel. It is the location of several movies including a part of the Shining. And it's where Stephen King stayed when he got inspired to write the book .

We had hoped to eat there too, but by the time the tour ended, the restaurant had stopped serving lunch. Boo.

The final day is the day of presentations. This year, Judge Dave again kept copious notes of each presentation. Presenters were judged on presentation, attitude, cleverness and other important skills. 
Here Zoe is sharing her initial which she decorated during the week.

Also not pictured this week was a heinous couple of hours when we played with the Bean Boozled. These are jelly bellies of the more horrific flavors including vomit, dog food, rotten fish, etc. There was a ton of laughing, lots of spitting out partially chewed jelly bellies, and scraping of tongues. It was a tie in my opinion that the worst was the dog food and the vomit. The rotten fish was pretty awful too.
And here she is sharing what she learned, did, and hopes to do in the future with the audience.
A depiction of our time at the Stanley, plus a chicken she colored.
Mom's presentation started with the sharing of her colored peacock. She engaged the audience well.
Some of her clever depictions of what she did during the week. This shows her flying into Denver (flights were delayed a lot both arriving and leaving).
Rachel also gave an engaging presentation.

Wow, that's a nice face! Happy to know that at times I actually look like that! Yikes.

Here is my initial and one for Dave that were decorated during the week.
Because Michaels did not have enough books, I used open pages in my memory book from two years before. 
We also walked on Pearl Street mall one day (after the rock club) and had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. Here is my depiction of this event.
And while I was not there, this is my vision of the girls hiking in Eldorado with Dave that morning.
Hannah drew the straw that enabled her to present last.   Here she is describing her week.
Hannah's presentation was multi-media including sharing of the pimple popping soda she bought on Pearl Street the day before. While a super gross label, it tasted sort of like cream soda with the aftertaste of perfume. :/
Hannah is sharing her initial decoration....
Finally, prizes were distributed. Rachel won for an excellent first time presenting. She was awarded a lovely bag with a dog on it.
The judge was impressed with Zoe's presentation. As a result, she was awarded a lovely bag from our fierce judge Dave.
I was awarded a beanie baby for my cartoons.
Mom was singled out for having the most decorated letter 'E'.  She also received a lovely travel bag with some birds on it. 
And it should come as no surprise that Hannah too was awarded a very important prize of a lovely bag (which a chihuahua on it) for her multimedia presentation (drink, music, and drawings). 

08_25 to 29_2016 Mom, Rachel, Hannah and Zoe visit Boulder CO - Part I

Mom, Rachel, Hannah and Zoe flew in to spend five days in Boulder. As is usual, we got a lot done and had a lot of fun. Mostly, these two blog entries will be in order - but not totally. This software is super challenging to deal with, so bear with a bit of disorganization.

As we always do, everyone got a memory book and we had a lot of markers, colored pencils and stickers to use to record our activities. As we also always do, we each presented our memories at the end of the trip - these photos are on the second half of this two-blog entry. Here we all are in the midst of our media and books. We had nice stickers, but Rachel demanded more and better stickers so we did have to head back to Michaels to get more. We learned she is a bit of a sticker hoarder (this was her first time with the books and presentation).

This is the part of the blog that is out of order. The last day they were here, Dave, Hannah and Zoe hiked up the Rattlesnake Gulch trail for some fun outside and some great views. Mom, Rachel and I did some other stuff you'll see on the second blog.

Here are the girls at the trail head. Happily, they did not find any rattlesnakes.
Hiking up, up and up....
Here they are pointing to the summit of this particular hike.
Summit or Death! they made it!
An action shot. Sort of looks like a bear is charging from out of the woods. This is the best photo of the trip!
Looking across the valley.
Dave took the hammock so there was some 'extreme hammocking' happening on the summit.
Reading an informational sign about the hotel that was once on the summit. It burned many years ago.
I believe this was prior to the sticker infusion from Michaels
Each evening, someone was in charge or planning, cooking and serving a healthy meal. This is the first night in which Chef Hannah served fettucine alfredo with chicken. It was a big success.
That evening, they also prepared a birthday cake for my mom. She's celebrated her birthday about 9 days before but was sick so we celebrated this night instead.

It was one of the best cakes ever - no lie.
It was decorated with teddy bears holding gummies candies and some fun candles.
Some of the time was spent on a coloring craft. Everyone got a canvas to color. They were fun, but we all barely completed them prior to the presentations.

We also watched many movies including Dumb and Dumber; Planes, Trains and Automobiles; Inside out; The Shining and probably others I've forgotten.
This was Zoe's cooking night. She made a delicious meatloaf with salad and fresh corn on the side. The meatloaf was devoured without a scrap remaining. Super good!
On Thursday we headed to the Boulder Rock Club so the girls could climb. Here is Zoe working on a fun boulder problem in the cave. 
Hannah is taking a moment to rest while mom and Rachel watch.
There were some other activities that we did not get photos of. On Wed, we drove to Colorado Springs to do an "escape the room" thing. While we did not escape the room in time, we had a great time playing!

This photo is of Rachel's chef night. She made chicken enchiladas that were also devoured completely.
Pente loved having everyone around of course!
This photo too is out of order and from Friday. Here Rachel is working with the girls to pack their suitcase. Looks a bit like a bomb went off!

More in the second installment of this two-part blog...