Sunday, December 18, 2011

Approaching Saturnalia

Claire is back. She flew in from Costa Rica a day or two back. Last night, she and Jarrod stayed over to join us, then Jarrod left for the Broncos-Patriots game. While he was gone, the other sisters and partners came over to wish her an early birthday. I will post a few pictures later, but will only mention here the mid-day meal menu. Mary and I marinated two sets of chickens thighs, one in lemon and black pepper and the other in yogurt, cumin, cilantro and garlic. The latter I cooked less thoroughly because I selected out the larger thighs to fit in the larger casserole dish... Accompanying the poultry were grilled Brussels sprouts, cut in half and doused in olive oil and garlic/butter mashed potatoes. The weather allowed us to sit outside in the sun as the temperature hovered in the low 60s, but we retreated to the family room to listen as Claire narrated hundreds of photos she collected during her fall semester experience. Shane called from Knoxville to say he was on the way. I spoke to my parents to touch base in the pre-holidays. Tally ho for now, Cheers.

Approaching Saturnalia

Claire is back. She flew in from Costa Rica a day or two back. Last night, she and Jarrod stayed over to join us, then Jarrod left for the Broncos-Patriots game. While he was gone, the other sisters and partners came over to wish her an early birthday. I will post a few pictures later, but will only mention here the mid-day meal menu. Mary and I marinated two sets of chickens thighs, one in lemon and black pepper and the other in yogurt, cumin, cilantro and garlic. The latter I cooked less thoroughly because I selected out the larger thighs to fit in the larger casserole dish... Accompanying the poultry were grilled Brussels sprouts, cut in half and doused in olive oil and garlic/butter mashed potatoes. The weather allowed us to sit outside in the sun as the temperature hovered in the low 60s, but we retreated to the family room to listen as Claire narrated hundreds of photos she collected during her fall semester experience. Shane called from Knoxville to say he was on the way. I spoke to my parents to touch base in the pre-holidays. Tally ho for now, Cheers.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

First two days in July

Mary and I arose late for us. The SLV sun rises early, but yesterday we didn't. I intended to get out to fish early, but didn't make it until closer to noon. I spent two hours perusing the on-line content for a web class on family and community engagement, then headed out. The river is still fairly swift, so I looked for places up the south bank, across from Nat's house, to cast. Brown trout followed my spinners, but they did not bite. By now Mary and Eve had walked up to where I fished across the river from the Beaver Patch. Determined to try something more natural looking, I considered casting one of the flies in the tackle box, but settled on a small rubber minnow. A 16" brownie took the bait, got landed then grilled for lunch. All in all I spent two hours on the outing from cast to meal.

After lunch, Eve and Mary drove to the Peddler to provision Eve for a hike she planned to take up to Crestone Needle by way of Westcliffe. More on that below. I spent time in the potato cellar culling through cables and OLD computer hardware, we are talking back to the early 1980s and Texas Instrument 99/4a "upgraded" with an additional 32 KILOBYTES of memory. I sorted ADB and serial cables and loaded the Subaru with some old Mac books and trash bags for a combination trip to the dump and Rainbows End. Intentions to have Eve practice night driving were dashed when I discovered I had misplaced my keys, but Mary accompanied me to leave Eve at the Basinger's for the trip out this morning. Eve texted this morning that she and Ian had set up camp.

We drove to the Rio Grande Sanitary Landfill, the dump, this morning then enjoyed breakfast at the Movie Manor (me Huevos Rancheros and her eggs and sausage) then decided to drive on to Alamosa to pick up a prescription and other errands. We dropped off some old books at Rainbows End strolled around the Green Spot where I picked up a bag of blood and bone meal combo. Next was back to the Alamosa Rainbows Inn where I found, then rejected an old printer but picked up another vintage full size USB Apple keyboard. Next was to Milagros for coffee, then City Market for groceries, finally to Big R for a fishing filet knife.

We had to stop in Monte for coffee at the bakery on main street. Mary visited Sheryl Scherzer at her bead store. Owen works with her there. Upon arriving home, we noticed how unsettled the weather was, so I checked out the radar for the Westcliffe vicinity. Mary did some research on the Crestone Needle climb, a level 3. With the weather passing through, and news of a couple of hikers who died trying a Level TWO climb, we fretted a bit, then felt some relief to see the front had passed through the camping area Ian and Eve set up for the climb tomorrow. They are both outdoors types, but a climb up a 14,000 peak could be challenging.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hither and Thither

On a recent email to Hannah, I remarked that my day was full of blog worthy events, but now I can't recall anymore than that they were a mix of work related readings and doings and ranch diversions. I tend to multi task due to general restlessness and the need to avoid sitting too long. I don't keep a regular journal like I used to which brings me to ask Mary questions like "What did we do yesterday?" or even "What day is this?"

To keep track of work I want to document, I am using a little iPhone app called "TimeLogger" which lets me set a time and categorize the task. With July on the horizon, it will be too soon that I need to return to work. One of the tasks I set for myself was something of reinvention, at least sorting again through strengths and interests to package and market to the administrative work I do for the school district. Perhaps that will be what you hear about next.


It has been hot, dry and windy. But this morning, rumblings over the mountains brought coolness.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Working in the Garden

Actually, it is mostly a flat of sand and rocks. The automatic sprinkler I set out didn't work too well with the water turned off at the pump, but I soaked the spot after we arrived. This morning I set beet seedlings in peat pots into the now wet sandy soil. Does "loess" describe what we are dealing with? It's better than the clay in Loveland.

Mosquitoes are out, but this morning I noticed lacewings landing on my hands. I am about to go to the Pipe Dream East to secure hinges to a shed door and will stop by the river to look for them there. The river is still fairly high and swift, but much less muddy. Snow pack estimates were put, from mountain readings at 101% of normal, but some experts contend the river flow will be more like 60-70% of normal.

The forecast is for 86 today. The Basinger family will be hosting a farewell meal and get together for a foster child leaving to join the military. Lebanese food has been prepared. We'll head out for perhaps warmer wetter in the Antonito area where the rendezvous will be held. My back has been very still and sore upon rising after sitting, but I think I will be able to enjoy the day after some garden stretching to plant those beets.

The bigger picture and gardener's shoes

west section: carrots, beets, garlic, something else...


Happy tractor operator, before the tire went out.
NEUROptera !

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day 2011

Hello, All

Thanks for the Fathers' Day visit and gifts. Eve, here are pictures of most everything except the lovely pictures Pele drew for me, Mary's New Yorker subscription and the bag of pretzels I munched with a beer while resting my aching back.

 The owl mobile from Hannah is the same brand as the Blue Heron mobile Mary brought home.
 Another from Hannah, a fish wall hanging.
 From Mary, some fancy schmancy "fish bone and skin tweezers".
 From little acorns might oaks grow feltings with natural acorn caps.
 A "paisano" cup with some santa fe style incense sticks.
 From Jessica, Shane, Claire and other stuff with Mary, a book of Papa Poetry.
 No celebration is complete without a skull.
And from Hannah, the Dad Sauce.

I neglected to add Jarrod's tea, all the way from China! Jasmine and Ginger - Can you tell which?

And here's one more gift I neglected to share; Claire likes the shade-grown, I like the taste.

Love you all, Dad

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Owls are Back

Greetings from the San Luis Valley!

Unlike the previous two summers, the owls are back to the ranch sooner with plans to stay at least a bit longer. Roger's last contract day was Tuesday 7 June. Monday and that Tuesday, however, were spent attending Colorado Dept. of Ed. sessions at UNC. Wednesday was a freebie for the district as he wrapped up some loose ends then it was off to the ranch Thursday. Since Roger and Mary have been back, they have visited the Kelsos up the street at Sargent district, started watering the dry lawns, and planted a garden, more on that later. Shane helped Roger return the front right tractor tire and he has tried his hand at fishing. The river is terribly swift, muddy and high for fishing, but Shane has enjoyed walking to fish. More briefs, and maybe a theme later.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Hannah

On the occasion of Hannah's birthday, I thought I'd shoot out a quick post. Feeling poorly after days of Pele's feeling poorly took its toll on Hannah. But by the afternoon, she was perky enough to come by with Jeremy and Pele to enjoy a piece of Mary's angelfood cake and take in the gifts from Mary, Eve, Claire and me. I crafted a simple two stick mobile with a bird and butterfly trinkets from Tesoros in Austin. Claire and Eve sent a loteria set and a card and Mary provided the rest. Pele fell asleep before arising with Jeremy sitting watch in the car with her until they both came in for gifts and cake. After they left, we had had desert first, I grilled the chicken I had marinated in lime and chile flakes for soft chicken tacos with cabbage and avocado and topped with sour cream and chipotle salsa. Shane called earlier to say he hoped to leave Ann Arbor for Loveland sometime mid-week. Transitions are hard, so we wish him a happy one and a speedy, uneventful trip. On a related note, Claire and Eve were inconvenienced by SW Airlines losing their luggage yesterday afternoon then returning it to them at 4:30 a.m.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ear splitting notes

Except for the lowest notes on the sax, I have worked up my embouchure to play for 20 something minutes across the range of the horn. However, I picked up the flute over the weekend rather than the saxophone to run through my Patterns of Jazz workbook practice. It is a modern classic in music theory study published in 1970 that I did not rehearse with fidelity. However, I do have sufficient scale proficiency to play across the entire "circle of fifths"scale progressions.

It is still much easier to play the flute than the sax due to the pressure of the mouthpiece on my inner, upper lip, though I produce a much better sound on the sax. [I don't bite the mouthpiece like some players do.] The lower notes are breathy and the highest notes are shrill. It is the latter I experimented with after wondering how one of the exercises would sound in the upper register. Finding a fingering on the chart helped me produce one note (highest G?) much clearer and I stayed with the exercise in the upper register.

When I stopped I notice louder ringing than usual. My last such encounter was over Thanksgiving when my earplug slipped out of place in my left ear while using the chainsaw. I took some time to recover from that escalation back down to the persistent but familiar whine I am familiar with. Without a bell and playing at the top of the tube, the screechy notes are pushing some high decibels. High, chirpy passages for Afro-Cuban jazz pieces are out of the question, though I might try protecting the left ear...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cold Day Off

Greetings, SQkids

Frozen rain yesterday coated the roads before any snow fell,  then the growing chill kept them slick. Rather than expose the children to the elements, or the buses to extra wear and tear, the district called off work and school for all. Cheers!

The sun IS coming out. Even more than usual is the mild seasonal paradox of bone chilling cold on bright, sunny days. "It's the TILT, stupid."To which I can only reply, I hope the Egyptian people topple Mubarik.

Did I share the  recent Squid Fest with you?  Since most of you were there, take a moment to reflect and leave me alone. Really, though, the gatherings are always something to look forward to and more fun than a road trip since any bickering is less intense, the food is fresh, and a bathroom is only a few steps away.

Mary and I are going back to the ranch Friday 18 February after we attend a "Thompson Education Foundation" breakfast. Someone nominated me for the "administrative, technical and professional" (APT) educator of the year. My first reaction was to delete the TEF breakfast invitation, then the "you've been nominated" invitation, but Mary convinced me to attend and to RSVP for both of us.

I have been more cynical, even sardonic about such recognition, but lately the news met an unfulfilled need or sign that anyone cared about what I was doing. So I replied to all that "I already felt like a winner being included among such good company" or some such remark and stifled the urge to repeat the Grouch derision of club membership that included himself or any reference to a "mutual admiration society"...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Colder, Warmer

Mary and I have been setting the Loveland house thermostats to the low or mid-60s range. Keeping a cooler temperature facilitates sleep, not to mention reduce hearing costs. However, after one particularly chilly time down in the den, I decided to raise the temperature down there to the higher 60s. Hannah noticed it when she came early last week with Pele. I appreciate being able to sit down there and read or join Mary before the fire, which is not a particularly effective way to keep warm. The upstairs bedroom is about 64 degrees, but the den is closer to 68 degrees. I can see how this 1.0+ centigrade difference would matter world wide. It sure makes a difference for the comfort and enjoyment of the den.

A side note, while searching for information about land use leases, I discovered "Beef" magazine and noticed an article by an editor describing a theory counter to anti-climate change by human activity.

Enjoy: http://beefmagazine.com/cowcalfweekly/0121-ethanol-subsidies-way-out/

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The civic life

Mary joined me at a public discussion hosted by the governor. She noticed an article in the Sunday about a tour that ran through Del Norte designed to get public input to build local economic develop plans that would coalesce into regional plans and finally up to a state wide jobs creation and world trade policy. The usual suspects were there. The superintendent of schools and the district's bond administrator were there as well. A few students and a sprinkling of "regular citizens" introduced themselves. There were the suits and local politicians, a lot of business people and executives and some local officials interested in economic development. A few farmers spoke up about water issues and there was the usual griping about regulations and taxes. Only the governor mentioned anything about the internet, no one brought up web based industry or complained about the schools doing their job to prepare students for college or careers. There are some interesting tech, engineering and design (TED) firms opening shop in northern colorado that make science and math more important to learn, but I hope people don't forgets the arts and humanities. When someone complains that something is "bad for the economy", ask "who is the economy for?".

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Happy Our

I took Mary out to the Rockbottom happy hour this evening. After four days of 1/2 to full day meetings, I needed a break. RB features $5 "starters"and reduced drinks. We have two or three appetizers and 2 or 3 drinks between us then leave, occasionally to Barnes and Noble for Americanos and cheesecake for an outing that costs between 30 and 40 bucks. Today I walked Mary over to Best Buy to look over flat panel TVs, but we left without a purchase, I was loathe to part with $700 for a 42" TV to put in the den. Actually, I will continue the search for a digital replacement as I am exploring the option of over the air plus netflix movies perhaps with an AppleTV box to view netflix on demand and other web offerings. We subscribe to comcast for internet with sufficient download (and good upload) speeds that would allow decent streaming viewing. I have to add that I could chuck the whole viewing thing and get back to sounds. Yesterday I spent about an hour dabbling on the sax. I can't imagine pushing air through the horn for very long and considered switching to the flute which places no pressure on my inner, upper lip where the sax mouthpiece hits. I remember seeing school buddies bite the mouthpiece to play, but the vibes drive me nuts and probably would literally do so with the sound energy transmitted through the teeth to the brain.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Happy Little Habit

Bedtime and wake up time are hard to establish these days. They are reminders that we are not yet cyborgs capable of endless, relentless mental labor. I have the clock radio in the room set for 5:50 a.m. which awakens me to a market place spot. Usually I lie there and listen. (With my poor hearing, any rustling or shifting drowns out the low volume I have set the radio.) I tried setting the alarm earlier, to 5:25, to give me more time for stretches and exercises for my back and shoulder, but I opted for a little more sleep even though the consequence is not arriving to work by 7:30. What I am trying to add now is a little post time to this blog to see if the anticipation of the writing helps me awake more rested and alert. Brewing the coffee is about the only cognitive task I can handle this morning as I didn't sleep until about 11:30 last night. 10:30 is better for a restful 5:50 wakeup and exercise. Maybe I will compose a blog about more than nothing!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Post form the iPad

When I first got my iPad I conducted a few "blog from the scene" posts of district functions. The glass, or software, keyboard is not easy to use. I soon learned that the iPad is a great READ machine, but a crappy WRITE unit. If you haven't seen the Galeria Quintanilla,or MobileMe gallery, especially on the crisp iPad display, you'd know what I mean. Any, I willmclose with a gripe about having to shovel snow, if I could build the context then drop the improbables, I would have a funny post. But I'm too tired to be clever. Shoveling snow off a double car driveway plus a backyard patio sucks. Good night.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saturdaze

I slept OK, but didn't wake rested. Now before 11:00 a.m. Mary and I are thinking we'd better get out and enjoy the day before the storm approaches Sunday evening and Monday morning. This morning I inspected the pot holding my Christmas Cactus (so called) to discover tiny, white fuzzy eggs on the tray under the pot and a few more under the pot. The small cache near the drain hole still held a thread of silk. I moved the eggs to a small jar and placed them on the shelf where I might watch them. My only naturalistic endeavor this morning was to remove the bulk of the dead, hairy cactus (truly) we had let freeze out on the porch... I found two nibs of green and transplanted them in a smaller pot using the same soil in the original. No water yet. The christmas cactus went back down to the kitchen sliding glass door way stand and I moved my Euphorbia splendens (?) up to my study where the CC was. On a living things note, I am glad that there is snow over the garden. I have spinach and garlic overwintering there which will benefit from the cover and the moisture.

Friday, January 7, 2011

First week back

It was easier getting back to work this week, but once there and back home I discovered my energy and enthusiasm was down. A few days back, perhaps Tuesday, I felt like I was coming down with a cold. There is a gap in the writing I began on the ranch, mentioned in the previous post, that corresponds with this down time. Keeping up the journal helps me keep up with my time, something like listening for the breathing of a loved one. I am not pleased to report only a halting start on the exercise and only brief puffs of play on the WX5. However, I will take some time to get out in the sun this weekend before the snow and cold returns.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

No resolutions but new routines

Forget about resolutions, but call up practices you wanted to continue to make it through the SAD season. I had abandoned writing in a paperbound journal, but during the holidays and regularly until a day or two ago I started journaling again. Not sure how it would go, I took an old journal and flipped it upside down to write on the back of the pages. Another practice irregularly practiced is time on the elliptical exerciser. The unit back on the ranch is much smoother and quieter, and I will exchange it with the more cumbersome and noisier unit up here this year. I noticed how easily I became breathed with moderate exertion, so rather than stamina, my focus until spring will be on aerobics - 20-25 minute sprints to raise and maintain my heartbeat between 125 and 130 b.p.m. Finally there's the little matter of music, or more specifically, sounds. I parked my wind controller ("WX5") at work. My thinking is to get GarageBand out more often to learn  podcast controls AND to play with the sounds. That also forces me to play the sax at home, actually a richer sound machine. Somewhere in this season will I get to making a mobile or two?