Sunday, November 2, 2014

Brenda and Rocks and Halloween

This is my cute friend, and my cute husband. We went on a double date to the shooting range. I wanted to write a little about this because I realized I've got complicated feelings about guns. I grew up in Southern California where regular use of guns for hunting, like around here in Utah, is not the norm. My exposure to guns was hearing about drive by shootings, and a gun tragedy at my Dad's employee's house. They weren't something good guys had. The bad guys had guns. 
 A few years ago Jeff talked me into getting my concealed carry permit. I remember being in the class as they handed around a gun to show us how to take it apart.  I was shaking and had a really hard time through most of the class. I felt like an idiot reacting this way, but as I remember and write all of this out, I'm inclined to give myself a pass. Anyway I got on board, and Jeff and I have had some really good times at the gun range with friends. 

 My friend's husband is a great hunter as is Brenda herself. They have been very generous with elk and fish --not a bad gig to be their friends! The guns themselves are fun -- like high tech toys. You just have to always keep in mind at the same time that they are dangerous. It's an odd juxtaposition.
 The bullets themselves are pretty --like shiny jewelry. As you shoot, the bullet backs (the brass) pop out of the back of the gun, and they are HOT. One of them popped right into the neck of my blouse and burned the heck out of my chest before I could get it out. Turtlenecks only for me from now on at the range.
 Monte brought his high powered rifle to let us try. I was scared to shoot it because I remembered the kick of a shotgun and how much it hurt my shoulder, but there was next to no kick on this guy --it was just LOUD. That was one drawback of a date to the range, you can't really have a ...conversation!
 The next day Brenda and I had our Haunted half marathon up the south fork of Provo Canyon. It was beautiful. One of the prettiest courses I'd ever seen. Huge race though --there must have been 2,000 people there, and most were in costume. We saw: the Jamaican bobsled team, Wolverine, the Joker, Tweedle dee and dum, a Home teacher on the last day of the month (that was hilarious. He was in a  full suit and tie), lots of witches and Minnies and Mickys. I wish I could remember all of them. 

 Great props.

 Oh! Alice in Wonderland.
 I liked the big markers --you weren't going to miss them!
 I loved this -- a group of friends dressed as the Pink Ladies. They welcomed us to the finish line. We took our time this race :)

 This last Thursday I needed some centering, and indulged in a drive up to Rock Canyon for my run. Most of the leaves are gone now, but I still loved it. The rock formations are spectacular here. 
 I saw a Western Blue Jay --can you see him? I may buy a dang telephoto lens for my phone camera!


 I don't know why this happens, but every once in a while you see a candle flame of a tree left with its glory. 



 Halloween itself we went to our neighborhood's street of treats. Who need trunks?? My friend Kelli puts herself on the line year after year organizing it, and it's a wonderful time to talk with everyone and just enjoy yourself. When I was little we would have ward potluck dinners that I loved (I have great memories of running up and down the halls --reverence? What's that?), and this reminds me of that casual, fun atmosphere although it's a neighborhood thing instead of church. 
 We take our Halloween seriously around here!


 It was my turn to plan the date night, and I really wanted to go do this Sleepy Hollow ride that Brenda had told me about. Her husband was hunting, and this was the last weekend, so I booked Jeff and I for Halloween night. I felt kind of bad leaving the trick or treating early, but the kids were good with a movie and PLENTY of treats, so we went for it. My other friend called last minute to ask me for a good date idea for her and her husband, and I asked them to come along. Made it twice as fun. We hadn't done anything with them in a long time. 

 I still had my orange "Merida" hair from street of treats, but I figured it matched Halloween.




These were gorgeous horses. They pulled us through Sleepy Hollow village, and we saw Ichabod's school, and Katrina van Tassel's house, and raced through the forest with the Headless Horseman chasing us. The story played in the cart, and they had the whole thing set up around us. It was really cool. I highly recommend it! I tried to take a picture of the Headless Horseman, but...black horse, dark night... you couldn't see much. 

Now I want to go back for this. Brenda are you up for it? I stole your idea for Halloween so I owe you!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

It's all beautiful...

 I've been doing a lot of avoidance strategies lately: facebook, netflix, reading blogs. I realized I was so busy for a while, it gave me a great sense of purpose. When things slowed down a little bit, I had a hole I needed to fill. Add to that a scare I had the other day (well, it hasn't gone away yet really) with a friend's health, and I found I was trying to escape my own life. 
 I was reading John Scalzi's blog, and ran across a post that really resonated: It's all beautiful and nothing lasts.   He talked about a dream he had, and this is something he says in the dream. What struck me, was that it wasn't defeatist, it was motivational: it doesn't last so enjoy the heck out of life while you have it --whatever it is. 
 I went to my daughter's choir concert last night, and they had a mentally handicapped girl there participating. At the end of the first song, she screamed "more more" so the choir sang her favorite song for her. She was so over-stimulated that she kind of lost control, and was rubbing her face and shouting, and flailing, and I thought --her parents! The pain they must feel right now! The pain they feel every day! But I looked at the choir, and those kids just saw that they were making this girl happy. They saw beauty. I realized that you could see the moment in two different ways. I've been looking at things wrong a lot. 
 Excuse the clichéed simile with autumn and death. Each week I see more and more leaves fall, each week the beauty moves down the mountain. At first the brightest colors are the furthest away, but as winter and death gets closer, the color moves down towards the valley, toward my own front yard. Soon the aspens by my driveway will be bright gold; then they will be dead for winter. 
 With more intense feelings, even bad ones, come more beauty. I valued my friend more as I feared for her health. I mourn the loss of having little babies in the house, and passed a mom with a 6 month old in the grocery store yesterday, and said "you are so lucky!" I saw the beauty in the little baby girl precisely because my baby days were over. I don't remember if I knew how lucky I was when I had babies. I hope I did, but there is beauty in the remembering and yearning too. 
 So I run up the mountain, and enjoy the beauty even of the leaves that have fallen. When winter comes, I will no doubt exclaim over snow and ice crystals. I hope I can stop and enjoy listening to Ari and Kai's chatter after school today. Tia still thinks I'm funny sometimes. I hope I appreciate that now -- It won't last!
 To see the beauty, I have to look for it in each moment. Remember with fondness, and not block the pain --there is beauty in the fallen leaves too.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Autumn.


 Fall. Oh my goodness. It's gorgeous around here. Jeff and I took our Friday night treat up the mountain with lawn chairs and just enjoyed the sunset and beautiful valley. We talked about how it seems like since we started spending more time outside, we've gotten to really love where we live. We are so spoiled. 




We are NOT good selfie takers! 
 The sky is a deep, deep blue.
 The bushes look like flower arrangements.
 We did steal one frame of honey from our bees, maybe next year we can track down a spinner we don't feel dumb paying to rent. With only 7 frames full we couldn't justify renting a 9 frame spinner. Next year...
 I just cut and slow -melted the one frame's worth of honey. 
 I love my babies more than I love running and autumn trees, but it seems like I never post pictures of them. I have three little readers. I wonder where they got that from? 
Kai has a few good buddies I'm really grateful for. All of our kids are very settled in our little town. Here they are on another mother's roof --probably good I wasn't around, but I'm glad they had a little adventure. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Halloween Party 2014

There are four of us in our neighborhood. Every year, one (or two of us some years) hosts a Halloween party. Sometimes kids are invited, sometimes it's a couples thing, but there needs to be at least one party in our neighborhood -- it's tradition. I was really not feeling up to it this year, one of us just had a baby, the other is going through some allergy stuff, so I somehow bamboozled Kelli into hosting in her backyard this year if I helped. Awesome is what it was. Because the yard is huge, we could invite as many people as we wanted to. Door to door fliers were... I wasn't willing to do that, so we decided to put it out on Facebook and specify that people tell their neighbors who weren't on there about the party. There were people who swear they knew nothing about it until they drove by, which was crummy. I told my carpool kids to tell they families, --at the last minute we almost sent out an email to the Relief Society group, but at that point it was only two days away. Anyway next time maybe I will recruit kids to do the fliers. I don't want ANYONE left out EVER! Anyway a big load of people came. 

 We supplied hot dogs and hot chocolate, and asked everyone who came, to bring a dish to share. We also specified that you had to come in costume or you'd have to sing karaoke. One of my more brilliant ideas. Not really. Great costumes showed up! Recognize the guy in red (you won't if you're younger than 40 apparently -I  thought it was great. I'm 42)?

We also did some games for the kids --pin the bow-tie on the skeleton, bean bag toss, some card games, mummify your friends with T.P.  There are probably some great pictures floating around about now of the Bishop mummified. The toilet paper started getting thrown all over the yard, so that game ended a little quickly...


 Audrey, the friend who just had the baby, overachieved as usual, and sewed costumes for almost her whole family of 8 (of course the older boys wanted to do their own thing). Adorable melty Olaf.
 Frozen was of course a huge deal this year. 
 I loved seeing this costume on this girl - if you know the story, it's the younger sister, the one without the showy talent -who actually ends up being the great hero of the story. You love both sisters, but you're glad the younger one gets her moment.
 Ari knew what she wanted to be -- every year she has a very strong opinion of her own. This year it was an elf princess. I made her a Lothlorien broach for her cloak (and the cloak actually).

 I loved that the older kids dressed up too.
 Another little Elsa.
 Kai was a ceiling fan. Notice Thor on the left? He's from a  "Whole family of Supers! Looks like I hit the Jackpot!" (name that movie) --you'll see his parents in a minute.
 This is Audrey --remember her from Frozen?

 Youngest in the Superhero family --he had a late nap and didn't want to wear his Clark glasses.
 Here's the fourth friend --half of the superhero parents. She loves Wonder Woman. This is a fabulous role model for girls actually --wait --I have an article. This is actually part of why I was Merida this year. I'm OK with her being a tomboy, know that's not all I have to be --it's not a choice between tomboy and princess! 
 Kelli has a great fire pit that came in handy when it cooled off later. We were sweating as we set up, but I was glad for the fire later.
 Tia was "The seven seas". But her "C's" got a little munched soon.
Anyway, we had a great time. Now I need to talk Kelli into hosting a hoedown.