Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tower of Dreams

There is a lovely house that I pass by on my way home every evening.

Set close to the lane I travel on it was, up until about a year ago, fairly non-descript.

In fact, the much larger homes around it dwarfed the modest looking house. As it were, a poor step-child to the other mansions situated around the golf course and country club.

But one day I noticed some construction taking place near the front door. Day by day, week by week, a tall cylinder took shape.

And my puzzlement grew.

A cone was built on top, like a hat.

And my curiosity grew.

Finally, windows were cut in the cone, seemingly haphazardly. And a curved wooden door with black iron hinges.

And I shook my head in bewilderment.

Then came the whitewash.

And I saw it was a tower.

An artist arrived while I was toiling away at work one day.

And I was amazed.

The evening was still young when I saw the tower completed.

And I sighed in delight and wonderment.

A Tower of Dreams.

Raised on fairy tails, both dark and light, I immediately wondered if the talented father built this for his lovely young daughter, ill and in bed.

But being the mindful writer of this passer-by tale, I decided that it was obviously built by a talented father for his very young, and very fanciful daughter, whom he loved very much.

And I drove the rest of the way home with a sweet smile on my lips.

It was...


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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Snowshoe Sisterhood

A couple of years ago, three very good friends of mine invited me to go snow-
shoeing with them for the weekend. Having never been on a pair of "tennis rackets" before, I decided it was about time I tried it out, and I was doubly thrilled to be able to spend some time with them.

So, on that sunny Friday afternoon in October, I was packed and ready to go, excited about the ladies out weekend. I met P and J at J's house and, after repacking the back of P's van with my meager luggage (ok, winter sports packing is not very meager with the ski jackets, winter boots, sweaters, moisture resistant trousers, thermal underwear - times two, plus the mittens, gloves, hats, four pairs of ski poles and snow shoes, and all of the other weekend sundries. Always dress in layers!) We picked up L, repacked the van once more, and were on our way to the mountains.

With our "home base" being a wonderful little B&B in Estes Park for the weekend, we took off towards the mountain snow on Saturday morning, armed with our power food of nuts, fruit, granola bars, a picnic lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and suited up in as many car-comfortable layers as we could stand.

Soon we were turning into the parking lot where we would pull out the rest of our gear and start our trek up the trail.

I received a quick lesson on how to stride while wearing snow shoes from P, and then we were on our way.

The terrain is steep and our line started to stretch out amidst the sounds of the crunch of the tips of our ski poles breaking through the snow's crust and the clack of our shoes hitting the bottom of our boots. Quickly out of breath (elevation at this point is somewhere around 9,500 ft.) I have to stop more than once, if nothing else but to listen to the quiet of the gentle snowfall, and to enjoy the beauty of the forest.

In due time, we all agreed it was time to stop for lunch and, while we found a lovely level place to eat, we remained standing as it was too cold and wet to sit on the nearby snow-covered rocks and logs. Perhaps it is also due to the fact that it was rather difficult to bend gracefully in our snow pants - or maybe that's just me. (!) No matter though, we have built up an appetite, and we voraciously devoured our sandwiches which have been flattened by being packed in our backpacks. I have never tasted such a delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich in my life!

We are soon off again, thankful that we are headed downhill, and we found ourselves in an easy stride, laughing and chatting as we made our way around the second lake.

It was mid-afternoon by the time we arrived at the trailhead sign indicating the distance and degree of incline we have just traversed, and I took a few pictures showing the elevation change covered (from lower left to lower right; 16%, 15%, 16%, 12%, 11%, 14%, 12%) just around Bear Lake. The trail to Nymph and Dream lakes were a bit more challenging/easier depending on whether you were headed up hill or down, but certainly much less crowded!

Once back the parking lot and shedding our gear into the back of P's van, we walked around a bit to get back our "sea legs" (it took me a little longer to shift out of the sliding stride mode, and my feet felt like lead) but we were soon on our way back to Estes Park.

We were fortunate to come upon both a herd of mountain goats, and a herd of elk, grazing by the side of the road on the outskirts of town.

(it is certain that the Bull Elk was watching alertly somewhere just out of sight...)

P, L, J, and I made it back to the B&B, deliciously weary and we all fell onto our beds for a quick nap before we changed our clothes. Upon P's recommendation, we drove back into town for a scrumptious meal at a local Italian restaurant. I was sure our faces gave away what an amazing time we were having. Of course, our smiles and laughter could also have been due to the margaritas we were enjoying as well - perhaps it was a little of both! I just know that glow stayed with all of us throughout the rest of the weekend until we finally packed up and headed for home where we wearily (and somewhat sadly) said our farewells.

That weekend was certainly memorable, not only for the awe-inspiring country we were privy to and for the satisfied feeling of pushing my body in a new and challenging sport. They were certainly important, but would not have been the same without the very special camaraderie the four of us shared.

That fellowship was enjoyed on the midnight walk along the darkened roads near the B&B on Friday night, during the bottle of wine (or two) passed around as we massaged our weary muscles in the jetted hot tub on the deck on Saturday evening, in the morning walk to the lake in town to see the great herd of majestic elk grazing at the water's edge, through the laughter, the singing, the being alive and being together with such fabulous friends.

There is definitely something to be said of embracing the "sisterhood" often, and I highly recommend it to all of you.

Note: for those of you who might have noticed that I have indeed spent another wonderful weekend with these three ladies (and a few new ones too) when we spent the weekend together for L's birthday. I posted about our visit to the wolf preserve. Another....magical....weekend!

They are very special to me and I am lucky to be able to count them as my friends
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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Rankling....


As I posted last night, I was rather excited to jump into bed early to read the latest Ian Rankin I had downloaded - a bargain at $6.99!

However, as I was reading the first short story, I started to think that it had a familiar ring to it. Undeterred, I continued to read when, well into the second short story, I realized that it too seemed oddly familiar.


Yes, it is true. I had already downloaded the whole book some months ago - different cover, same book. I did enjoy it (as always) but apparently didn't remember it very well.


Darn it. Now to find and pay for one I haven't read...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Getting On...

It was back to work today, after a week and a half of much needed down time. Although there was a flurry of activity around Christmas, the days this past week or so stretched before me like taffy, and I took full advantage of not being "obligated" to do this or that. Yes, it is true that I laid low and decadently stayed in my pajamas well past the appropriate time of day on more than one occasion.

No matter, I thought, I won't be having company or going anywhere, at least for awhile. Unless I wanted to, that is.

Which, as I am sure you can imagine, made this Monday so difficult.

Rest assured, I dressed as comfortably as was allowed at the college today, jauntily wearing the beautiful scarf my sister gave me for Christmas.

Alas, I am suffering a bit this evening. I was back in my pajamas by 7:00,and it is not even 9:00 p.m. now. Unfortunately, my eyes (and weary body) are no match for my usual greeting of the "owl." I fear I shall be retiring soon, to read the Ian Rankin I downloaded last night, and will most assuredly be asleep well before 10:00.

Does this mean I am getting old?


Happy 2011!

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