Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bodega Bay

We tried a new beach the other day. This one was freezing in comparison to our normal adventures at Stinson Beach. But they had nice flowers for picking there.

And more sea shells.

I actually found a whole sand dollar, but it broke in my pocket. Which almost made me cry.

Logs to climb.

Birds to chase.

Strange designs to carve into the sand.

And a nice soft place to flop down and rest. My idea of a good day at the beach

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"Springtime in the Rockies" or "Insanity at it's Best"

I think it has been well established that Mary and I are crazy,
but we confirmed it yesterday!

 Last week we had gone down to celebrate "The Boy's" birthday
and Mary mentioned that she had heard there was going to be an
Amazing Race casting call in Denver, but that she couldn't find anything 
on the official TAR (The Amazing Race) page.

We talked about what a blast it would be to do the race,
so I came home and did a search and forwarded the information to Mary.
The casting call would begin at noon on Friday.

By Wednesday we had decided to do it.
We printed out the thirteen page application, 
made copies of our passports and plotted and schemed.

Only the first 200 teams would get time with the film crew, so
we figured we should camp out the night before.  

Naturally I had an MDT scheduled for Thursday after school, 
so I knew I wouldn't be able to leave town until about 5:00.
Fortunately, we discovered that teams couldn't line up 
before 6 a.m. so that took the sense of urgency away.

I drove through a monsoon to get to Longmont.
That was an adventure in and of itself.

We spent the better part of the night comparing answers on our applications
and trying to figure out what to write on those we had left blank:

"What is your relationship?"

Hmmm .... that's a hard one to explain.
We finally went with step-mother/step-daughter.
I always wanted to be an evil step-monster.

"How has your team mate disappointed you?"
Hasn't  happened.

"What is the worst experience you have had with your team mate?"

Well, let's see.  There was the time that we all went to Mt. Rushmore.  We got up early, ate a hearty breakfast of oatmeal with raisins and set off.  Forty miles down the road "the boy" throws up all over me.  Did you know that raisins reconstitute when wet?

"How are you and your team mate different?"

She has a freakish sense of direction and can
 remember places after only being there once.
Me?  I can't find my way out of a parking lot!

"What famous person reminds you of yourself?"
Does Oscar the Grouch count?

We finally went to bed about 11:00 or 11:30 with the alarm set for 2:15.

We set off for Aurora in high spirits.
Ten minutes into the trip it began to sprinkle.

By the time we got there, it was coming down in sheets.

I know, it's hard to tell from the picture, but believe me 
when I tell you that in front of those lights was a horizontal sheet of rain.

We discovered we weren't the first to arrive.

We parked and decided to sleep for an hour.

Mall security was there to prevent early birds from lining up before the magical hour.

Oh wait, that's not the right security guard!

"Move along buddy, you can't be here yet."

At four-thirty we decided we should go to the Evil Empire
and buy another camp chair and pick up a tarp.

We went back and proceeded to wait.
Lots more vehicles had appeared while we were gone.

Dome lights were on everywhere as people completed their applications.

At a quarter till, men appeared and began erecting a canopy.
People surged to the door, only to be chased away.
An informal  line seemed to be forming in the parking lot, 
so we figured it was time we got out.

"Amy Green Coat", the CBS honcho running the show 
who just happened to be wearing a green coat,
was explaining where the line would begin and that one
 team member needed to be against the wall to be considered in line.
The she unexpectedly stepped back and yelled at everyone to line up.

Pandemonium broke out.
It was worse than Black Friday.
It reminded me of our days selling Beanie Babies.

The crowd surged forward and we raced to the sidewalk.
Mary pushed her way forward and secured a place
one out from the wall.

I stepped in beside her.

Have you ever heard baby calves separated from their calves?
That's what it sounded like.
"Mom!"  "Sue!"  "Alfred, where are you?"

Amy Green Coat explained that we needed to be in pairs
just like they were for Noah's Ark.  With all the rain, it made us wonder
about her choice of example!

Anyone three out from the building was removed to the end of the line.
We steadfastly stayed put even though we weren't officially next to the building.
There were probably 50 or 60 of us huddled together with an assortment of umbrellas.
Within minutes we were soaked to the bone and I was reminded of my
whaling experience.

Amy Green Coat went to the end of the line 
(which wrapped around two city blocks)
and directed teams to back up.

That gave Mary the space she needed to slip in.

Mannette, to the right of Mary, in this picture didn't object in the least.
Now that our place in line was secured, I was free to document the madness.

The line went from the front of the building, around 
the side and then wrapped around the back.

We were number 20 in line.
Mary and her elbows rock!

The wind got so bad and it began to snow, so Amy Green Coat 
moved our line to the side of the building because 
she was worried about hypothermia with some of us.  

It seemed much colder not being next
to the building, but it gave us room to set up our chairs and undo our tarp.

Yes, we are inside of this little cocoon.

Our view was somewhat limited of the outside world:

but we could hear all of the snippets of conversation going on around us.

A group sang Happy Birthday to Alfred.

The manager of the Chili's restaurant across the street
yelled at everyone to come over and warm up.

Somehow no one was willing to give up their place in line, 
but someone hollered back and asked if they delivered.

We had plenty of room, so we invited Mannette
to join us under the tarp.

She had broken down and gone into Sports Authority
and purchased boots, wind pants and a rain poncho.

We enjoyed visiting and determined that
we shared many interests.  She is a retired high school
teacher who is also a quilter.

We hadn't done a video and rumor had it that we needed one.
So we threw one together and Mary zoomed off to the Evil Empire
to make a DVD from my SD card.

She returned after a fashion with the news that it was
still the night crew on and we couldn't get one made.

In the meantime, Amy Green Coat had confirmed that
you didn't need one, because that was the purpose of the casting call.

From time to time we looked out and thanked our lucky stars for the tarp.

Check out the umbrella by the arrow.
There are two team members huddled together under that.

Time slowly crept by.  Mary went and found the bathroom again
and when she stood up, her ass was completely wet.

Turns out, mine was too.

My wallet and some of it's contents were soaked.

Funniest thing ... this is what umbrellas look like when they grow up!

Check out the camouflage tent!
Evidently somebody bit the big one and bought it.

About 9:00 we were rejoicing that we had made it half-way through.
We were soaked to the bone and couldn't quit shivering, 
so Mary started thinking about Starbucks and getting
something to eat and a hot drink.

Mannette produced Atkins bars 
and volunteered to go get drinks for us 
since she had waterproof clothing.

She even refused any money.
While she was gone, we decided she 
was too nice to be on the Amazing Race.

She came back with hot chocolate, hot chai, and 
banana nut muffins.

Let me tell you, the hot chocolate warmed the cockles of my heart!

We dozed and talked and dozed some more.

Our feet were absolutely frozen and we could barely move.

The upside of wet feet is that the rain/snow/hail/sleet 
washed the blood from my finger mishap off of my new boots.

Mary was sporting a fancy new hair-do.

Who needs a balloon to create static electricity?!

Finally it was announced that they were going
 to start filming early because of the extreme conditions.

We were number 17 at this time.

Mary went and got the car and pulled it around.  

We stuffed the chairs and tarp into the trunk and she 
raced back to line.

Once she got back, I left to go find the bathroom and saw these sad
little tulips.  I knew just how they felt!

Do you have any idea how hard it is to undo your pants when your 
hands are frozen and you have a bum thumb and bandaged finger?!!!

"Uh, excuse me, but would you mind undoing my pants?"

Fortunately it didn't come to that.
I got back outside just as we were moving inside.

They took us in and snaked the line around the store.

I tried to clean all the water spots off of my glasses so I
could be a bit more presentable on camera.

We finally worked our way to the registration desk
and got our chance in front of the camera.

Our filming went very well and we are guaranteed
that our application will be reviewed.

We left and the line was still snaked behind the building.

Now we wait.

Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Across the Road

Every spring, since Andrew started working at the farm, I've seen these big patches of yellow grass appear along side the levee road. Yesterday, we finally investigated.

It turns out that the grass is actually tiny little yellow flowers.

With a lot of little mud puddles in between, perfect for jumping.

Monday, April 19, 2010

On the Bright Side

As I mentioned yesterday, I had planned to run to the
Evil Empire and buy beastie food, get some gas 
and then clean up my raised beds

and rototill my beloved garden spot.

 Not that it needs it or anything.

I really think school shouldn't start until the first of October.
Then I might get my garden cleaned off in the fall.
Yeah, and pigs might fly.

At any rate, I had decided to expand my garden this year.
I spent most of January drawing out plans on graph paper.
This area is going to be an additional garden space.

Hey!  I can hear you snorting.

The canine crew has already starting the clearing for me.

I figured a little gas and a box of matches and voila' ....
garden space.

Anyone have a fire retardant suit I could borrow?

Maybe it was the plan to torch the weeds that caused divine intervention.

Instead of firing up the rototiller

(doesn't it look forlorn?)

we spent the morning at the emergency room.

I wanted to try it anyway when we got home, but
the more sensible of the two of us convinced me to call
Sister Two and arrange a visit at our aunt's house instead.

I'm glad I listened.
Trey's growing like a weed.

This is the little guy when he was about seven hours old
(okay, give or take ten hours) ----

and now this is him at seven weeks!

I even let Mardell have a turn at holding him.

We enjoyed a very pleasant supper at the new restaurant:

I learned that you can't go anywhere with a small baby quickly.
Everyone has to ooh and aah over him ..... and why not?
He's darn cute.

Of course it doesn't help that Sister Two knows everyone and their dog!

The afternoon was over before we knew it and it was back to the Bluffs
to prepare for another week at the grindstone.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yes, Virginia .... that rotary cutter is sharp!

Warning:  the following post is somewhat graphic. 
 If you have a weak stomach, venture no further.

Today was forecast to be bright and sunny ---
the perfect day to rototill the garden and clear away last year's debris.

We were in desperate need of beastie food
 so a trip to the Evil Empire was in order.

However, before we went there we went
 to the sewing studio to feed the birds.

I noticed that the finches seemed to be readying to nest
 and that they had no nesting material,
so I dug through the scrap box and found 
some bright material to cut into teeny strips for 
them to use in their nesting box.

I was on the very last strip when I somehow whacked 
the side of my left index finger.

I knew I had cut it pretty bad so I ran into 
the bathroom and it began gushing blood.

Okay, so it wasn't gushing, but that sounds 
so much more dramatic than it was bleeding like a bitch!

Naturally, there wasn't a roll of paper towels
 on the sink like there normally is, 
so I began rolling toilet paper and applying pressure.  

It was soaking through 
the Cottenelle as fast as I could pull it off the roll.

Mardell had stepped outside to admire our blooming tulips, 
hyacinth and daffodils and was blissfully
 unaware that I had cut the entire side of my fingertip off.

Was she ever surprised when she walked back in!
But she grabbed our first aid kit and 
found the gauze and wrapped my finger up.

We soon determined that it wasn't going to stop bleeding, 
so off to the emergency room we went.

Trust me, you do not want to visit the emergency room on a Sunday morning.

Not that anyone probably wants to visit an emergency room at any time ......

They began to check me in and a nurse came in the room
 and asked me to take the gauze off so she could see the wound.
I dripped blood all over their floor so she immediately 
took me back to trauma one.

The receptionist had to come find me to give me my fancy little bracelet.

The first thing the nurse did was clean the affected area.
"This is going to sting a little," she warned.

She got it cleaned up so that we could see what was what.

It really didn't look so bad ... but it wouldn't quit bleeding.

 I took about 1/8th of an inch off in the outlined area.
Just took the whole side of the tip of my finger right off.

It continued to bleed so she opened up two more packs
 of $300 gauze pads and left me to apply pressure.

I finally managed to get it semi-stopped and 
was feeling quite encouraged.

Then we had to wait.
And wait.

And wait.
And wait some more.

Mardell could tell I was getting antsy and 
was ready to be out of there,
so she sang to me.

"Soft kitty, warm kitty,
little ball of fur,
happy kitty, sleepy kitty,
purr purr purr."

Sheldon and Penney would have been proud!

When the crew from Air Link called in and then the helicopter landed, 
I knew we were probably there for the long haul.

We were directly underneath the landing pad 
and we could smell exhaust from the helicopter.

We could hear them wheeling bodies into various rooms.  
I looked at the cut and figured in the world of triage, we
might be lucky to leave by midnight.

Finally a student PA came in and pronounced that it couldn't be stitched.
No kidding?  I had that figured out before we ever went to the hospital
and I don't have a medical degree.  

She messed with it to make sure there were no foreign bodies in the wound ....
and caused it to once again begin bleeding profusely.

So back to the pads and pressure.

Two hours after we had walked in, the doctor finally came in.
She confirmed it couldn't be stitched and 
said the nurse would be in to wrap it.

Before that happened though, she decided that it 
probably needed to be cauterized to stop the bleeding.

Without any warning, she applied nitrate to the left edge 
that seemed to be bleeding the most.  

I was quite proud of the fact that I hadn't cursed to this point.

They heard my "SON OF A BITCH!!!!" down at the staffing station.
The doctor mumbled an apology and hurried down to the
 said station to laugh her ass off!
At least the nurse warned me that it might hurt a bit.

The nurse finally arrived to apply a tube bandage with this 
handy dandy contraption.

I considered stealing it when she told me I would have to change
the dressing every day for a week.

Not really.
But it would have been easy.

She got it all bandaged and within two minutes
it was already bleeding through.

She was afraid that if she messed with it, 
it would bleed even worse so she added several more layers
and sent us on our merry way.

We changed the dressing tonight
and it looks pretty good....

but so much for rototilling anytime soon!

The up side is that I can't do dishes for another week!