Monday, July 6, 2015

Today's adventures

 Today we went to the REC center where my dad took us on a tour.  He was quite popular and was greeted by many of the people working out or wandering around.  Upstairs they have lots of exercise equipment and a room for classes including kickboxing.  My son had to try out the punching bags.  I don't think he realized how firm these bags are.  A couple of punches and kicks and he was done!
 We peeked in on the construction of the new pool area.  They are adding a giant slide that will go out of the building and wind around back into the pool.  There is a big ladder inside for you to climb up.
 This is the lazy river area where you will float down a switchback from one end to the other.  My dad wasn't sure how you got back to the start.  It won't be so fun to have to get out and have to walk back to the beginning to start the trip over again, but maybe that's how you get your exercise.  Or, maybe you have to swim upstream.
 There was a section for swim lessons for kids and lap lanes and even water aerobics.  My mom goes to those while my dad does his exercises and can watch from the many windows in the upstairs exercise area.  He says the little old ladies keep an eye on him and give him a hard time for not walking fast enough.  They've tried to encourage him to join in on the aerobics, but he has no desire to get in the pool with them.
 It's a really big pool and this is separate from the newer pool they are adding.  I like the ramp into the pool that a wheelchair can go down.  That would be great for aqua therapy.
 They even had this really big area for the parents of the swimming kids to sit and watch or sit and text as most of the parents were doing.  You can see at least three of the 5 parents on their phones here.
 Then we were off to the local plant nursery after our tour.  Had to get a flower fix.  Not that I am not getting enough from the flowers at my dad's house, but we saw these pink and green petunias at a local restaurant and figured the only place that would have them was the nursery.
 If you are looking for an orchid and the ones at the grocery store just don't cut it, this nursery has them in every shape and color.  Of course, you will pay a pretty penny for them.  WalMart sells them for $10 and these were in the $30-$100 range, but if you could afford them, they were oh, so pretty.
 My mom has grown orchids for about as long as I can remember and has had almost every kind I've ever seen, including all of these.  I used to know the names of them.  I love the more exotic ones like these that you can't find at WalMart, but of course, can't take them back to California and on a teacher salary can't afford $100 for an orchid anyways.  But, I do love to look at them and admire God's handiwork and man's ability to manipulate DNA to make so many more varieties.
 These remind me of old men with big beards.
 One thing I love about orchids is they bloom for so long.  I've had some that were in bloom for 6 months.  You surely do get your money's worth out of them.  Not like cut flowers where they last a week if you are lucky.
 Whoever puts the displays of flowers together sure does have an eye for color.  They had baskets and pots of mixtures of flowers everywhere and each one was beautiful.  Lots of different arrangements of blooms.  Some flowers I had never seen before and it sure made me want to go home and plant up a couple for my yard.  but of course in California where we are in a drought, I'm not sure I'd be able to keep something like this alive.  It's raining here almost every day and even though the temperatures get pretty hot during the day, the cool off nicely at night.
 We even checked out the vegetable plants.  One thing about California that has Colorado beat is the long growing season.  We do not get snow, so can grow vegetables almost year round and can certainly start our vegetables earlier.  Although I tried to grow tomatoes this year and planted seeds, the ground squirrels or rats came along and ate the tops off the plans after they were about  3 inches tall so I won't be getting anything from the garden this season.  Oh, well, there's always the farmer's markets to get fresh, homegrown tomatoes.
They even had this beautiful butterfly tree.  Now I want to decorate my house with butterflies.  Maybe not the real ones, but just look how beautiful the colors are.  Too bad I don't have this much room in my house.  Time to get rid of some of the junk I've been keeping and surround myself with beautiful things!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

how is it possible?

The big bag of yarn my mom has here is still overflowing.  I'm working and working and making hats as fast as I can and the yarn isn't disappearing.  These little baby hats don't take much yarn and take about 30 minutes each to make.  It's nice to have something to keep my hands busy while being lazy.  There's probably enough yarn in the bag for 100 hats but I don't think I will have enough time to finish that many.  I guess I will just have to come back again!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

celebrating the 4th in Colorado

 Happy Birthday America!  Celebrating the 4th is way different here in Colorado.  Back home in California things are pretty calm and mellow.  Most people who celebrate go to city organized events to watch the big fireworks.  Some will get together and swim or have a BBQ or picnic.
 Fireworks are illegal almost everywhere so very few people actually get them and use them.  Here in Colorado, at least at my dad's house, the whole neighborhood came out and must have spent $500 on the Safe and Sane fireworks.  We got some Pop Its and Sparklers and enjoyed the much bigger and noisier display in the middle of the street.
 We saved back half of what we bought for when my daughter comes out on Thursday.


 While waiting for the festivities to begin, my dad and I worked on the puzzle we started earlier this week.  My little guy helped us get started on it and then came in at the last minute to put the last couple of pieces in.
 I used to like making puzzles when I was little and if a piece didn't fit I found that if you sucked on the piece and got it wet and then pounded it, the piece fit much better.  Of course, you had to do that with a lot of pieces because of course, pounding a piece into a place that it doesn't go isn't really a good solution when it comes to puzzle building.  we had that trouble with this puzzle.  Someone had put a piece in the wrong spot and we couldn't find one of the pieces until we figured that out.
 My dad got out the blowtorch to light the sparklers.  I guess that's one way to do it!


 There were about 45 neighbors out enjoying the show.  Across the street they had a fire pit and were roasting marshmallows.



He enjoyed watching the bigger, louder fireworks, but had a great time dancing around with the sparklers.  He jumped into my lap with the large displays went off.  We sure know how to celebrate around here!

Friday, July 3, 2015

baby hats

While here in Colorado, there is a lot of time to sit and talk.  I like to keep my hands busy.  My mom has a bag of yarn that I was using last year that she hasn't touched since I was here last.  So, I decided to start making baby hats that I will donate to the Mother Baby program back home.  There's probably enough yarn in the bag for another 50 hats.  I wonder how many I can get done before I leave on the 13th?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Colorado Trip

 My youngest child and I left for Colorado last Friday to stay with my dad while my mom went to a family reunion in Canada.  Her family is from Poland and they escaped during WWII to Canada via Germany.  The rest of her family stayed in Canada, but she met my dad on a trip to Europe and moved to California when they got married.
 My little guy has been keeping himself entertained by playing on my dad's treadmill and playing video games.  It's nice that he can find things to do all day while my dad and I share stories.
 My mom and dad have a really nice deck that is raised up about 4 feet and sitting on it makes you feel like you are in a tree house.  They both love to grow flowers and plants and the plants keep my dad busy with watering several times a day during the summer when the temperatures get high.

 The first day there we found a shed skin of a snake.  Last night when my dad and I went for our walk around the bike path, I saw a very small black snake, but couldn't catch it.  They have a family of bunnies living under their driveway and my son tries to catch them when we come home from lunch or dinner.  He got within 4 feet the first time, but the bunny just looked at him, laughed and hopped away.
 He's such a low maintenance guy who is easily entertained.
 I'm making him write about his experience on his blog mikestalesoffifthgrade.blogspot.com if you want to check out what he has to say about the trip.


 We've gone swimming twice at the community pool.  My parents live in a really nice neighborhood that has a rec center and pool.  The pool has lifeguards and once an hour, they blow the whistle and the kids all have to get out for 15 minutes of adult only swim time.




 I got a new suit for our trip and after two days in the sun finally have a little color on me.  I think I blinded a few people on the first day :)
 We took a ball and threw it around both days.  My arms were really sore after the first day.  I didn't realize just how out of shape I was.  But, throwing the ball for 45 minutes is a good workout.
 I forgot how much fun swimming can be.  I know that I will need to keep going back to our pool when I get home.  Normally when my son does swim lessons, I just sit on the side and wait for him.  I keep meaning to get in and swim, but then there's the hair washing and the drying off and what a pain to change clothes.  But I do sleep better when I spend a little time exercising.
 And it is so much more fun when you have a friend to play with.  The second day we went, there were two kids who asked to join in our ball throwing game.  A girl about 8 and a boy about 13.  The pool was a bit more crowded and we kept hitting other people in the head, but nobody complained, I guess they expected to get hit since they kept swimming in the middle of our game.
 My son liked jumping in off the side and catching the ball as he was going into the water.  He's getting a lot more brave with his water skills.  The year of swim lessons has really helped.  It's good to know I haven't been wasting my money.

 Yesterday and today I've noticed an invasion of ladybugs around my dad's place.

 There are hundreds of them on the deck railing, pots of plants, leaves of the trees and all the bushes.  There are no aphids (at least not any more) and if they land on me, they bite really hard.  I've always known they can bite, but they usually don't.  Maybe these guys are especially hungry since there are no more aphids anymore.
 There are some with spots, some without, some are orange, some bright red, some little some big and it's really interesting to watch them come flying in and land on a leaf or branch and then wander all around.

 I'm not sure what brought them in, maybe the wind.  I'm also not sure how long they plan to stick around.  One of the local nurseries was advertising ladybugs for sale.  When I was a kid we used to buy ladybugs and praying mantis and they would stick around for about 2 days and then all disappear once the aphids were gone.  So, unless they are eating the tree sap (or me!) I don't think they will be here for too long.
 I've been noticing beautiful clematis vines and flowers all over the neighborhood.  These are ones growing in my dad's backyard.  I tried growing them in Vacaville, Ca (northern Ca, where the temps are 108 this week) and the don't do very well.  Probably too hot and not enough water, but they sure are pretty flowers.


 Maybe the ladybugs are on vacation too.  Colorado is a nice place to visit.  If it wasn't for the snow in the winter, I'd like to live here.
 The beautiful green grass sure beats California's brown, dead everything.  We are under strict no watering rules right now and I'm afraid of what I will be coming home to.
 We went to my dad's doctor appointment yesterday and got his pacemaker appointment scheduled for next Thursday.  He has a 2 wire and needs a 3 wire instead.  When I called a couple weeks ago, they said he would be able to get the procedure done while I was here.  Yesterday when we went in to get it scheduled, they said the doctor didn't have any appointments available.  I explained how I was only going to be here through the 13th and the doctor cleared a time for my dad on the 9th.  I thought that was pretty nice of him to make room for my dad to get the procedure done and for them to make arrangements to work around my schedule.

 My daughter is coming out on the 9th as well and will take a taxi to the hospital to meet us.  She will stay for a few days and the doctor said my dad will be up and moving around the next day so we should be able to get out and go to dinner and he should be back to telling stories (which is what my daughter loves the best) by the next day.
 He will probably heal faster with more people to listen to his stories so having my daughter come out for a visit will be good for all of us.
 My mom is having a great time on her family reunion trip in Canada.  They send pictures every night and although there is no story to go along with them. my dad and I try to figure out what they are doing.  My sister's family took her along with them.  They drove from Colorado to Vancouver for the reunion which is this weekend and then will drive back next week.  They will be home the day before I leave for home so I do get to see my mom, but just for a little bit.