Friday, August 29, 2008

part of history

On Wednesday, I ventured to downtown Denver to experience the street scene that was present due to the Democratic National Convention taking place. And what an experience it was. My words here cannot do the scene justice but I'll try to describe some of what I saw.

The convention took place at an arena where the Nuggets and Avalanche play. It is located just down the street from what is called the 16th Street Mall (outdoor, not indoor, mall). That's where all the people congregated. And there were a lot of people.

Some protesting. Others publicizing their cause. Some shopping and eating. Others selling their wares. Some performing for money. Others performing to send out a message. Some worked there (it is a business district). But most were there to just be a part of it all.

There were reporters with big video cameras and mikes. There were a lot of people with the official passes hanging on lanyards from their necks. There were those who looked like they were someone special and should be known, but I didn't recognize them. A majority of the people walking around had cameras taking pictures of anything and everything.

And there was police everywhere! It was understandable why they were there in such force. And during this last week, there were very few incidents where any kind of force was taken. Their presence was all that was needed.

What was strange is that all the shutterbugs snapped pictures left and right of the police in whatever they were doing. They could have been on horses, or bikes, or motorcycles; or standing at attention overlooking a protest; or walking amongst the crowd; and even posing with those who had the nerve to ask to pose with them. I was one such shutterbug. It was like the police were the celebrities. They didn't pose (unless asked), but they couldn't do anything about all the people taking picture after picture of them. I'm sure it felt weird for them.

They're nothing special, but you can view all my photos on my Flickr photostream. There is a slideshow option.

I'm glad I went downtown to be part of the crowd. This kind of event doesn't happen in one's backyard everyday. And I am proud of the city of Denver for doing such a good job at hosting such a monumental and historical event.

No matter what party affiliation you're a part of, you can't deny that this convention and Barack Obama's nomination is historical. In the future, I can say I was a part of that history.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

what's a mom to do?

"Mom.... guess what?"

The call came on my cell as I pulled into the garage last night. I had just returned home after visiting Danielle for the afternoon. I went down to pick up the bicycles she had borrowed for the summer. I was tired after driving an hour each way and spending the afternoon shopping (you know how shopping can wear you out!).


"I forgot my wallet in your glove compartment."

I love seeing my kids and take every chance I can get to do so, but the second trip down south was a little much.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

the good, the bad, and the yummy

Here's a few new products I found and felt a need to share my opinions on...

My daughter brought this gem to my attention. It's a new Sharpie pen that - get this - won't bleed through paper. It's a nice pen without that feature and I use it for everything from writing checks to writing notes. But what I really am excited about is that you can use it in your Bible because it won't bleed through those thin pages. Check it out.

......... ..

Part of my daily morning routine is pour myself a bowl of my all-time favorite cereal: Honey Bunches of Oats. Sometimes I eat it twice a day. Since the original came out, Post has put out several different varieties that include different fruits or flavors. I've never strayed from the original because I don't care for fruit flavors in my cereal. But the other day I picked up two new varieties; chocolate and Just Bunches (which is just the little bunches of oats without the flakes).

I thought I'd like both since I like chocolate so much and let's face it, it's those little bunches that makes the cereal so yummy. But I was surprisingly disappointed. Chocolate cereal - no! I guess it's not just fruit flavors I don't like in my cereal. Just bunches - no! I need those flakes to balance out the taste of the cereal. I'll just stick with the original, thank you very much.

Back in July of 2007, I posted here about the new McDonald's iced coffee and how much I l.o.v.e.d it. But then in November, I was diagnosed with diabetes and could no longer partake of one of my favorite drinks. There was just too much sugar in it

But oh, happy day! McDonald's just came out with some new flavors and one of them is sugar-free vanilla. I had one today and I am doing a happy dance. YUM!

Monday, August 25, 2008

on to the next race

Well... the Olympics are over. It was a great two weeks, filled with fierce competition and some amazing stories. And one thing is for sure, China sure put on a fantastic show. I enjoyed it all and was sad to see the flame extinguished. But maybe now I can get to bed at a decent hour.

But my TV won't go quiet this week. The DNC (Democratic National Convention) is taking place, and here in my home town of Denver. Needless to say, there's a lot of excitement around town.

So I was wondering if I should try to make it downtown some day this week and be part of the craziness and chaos. I would take my camera along and try to capture some of the activity and the people. It wouldn't be easy. They have many roads blocked off and the downtown area will be packed. But it might be worth it. After all, it's part of history and it's happening right here where I live.

But then I think, nah... I'll just stay as far away from the mayhem as I can and watch it all from the comfort of my family room while wearing my pajamas.

I'm undecided... stay tuned...

Friday, August 22, 2008

isn't it crazy?

... that summer is coming to a close? Where did it go? The weather may not be an indication that the fun in the sun is winding down, but the kids going back to school sure is.

Here's my Aloha Friday question:
What is your fondest memory from this summer?

I had a fun and busy summer, full of fond memories. I'd have to say our trip to Alaska was the highlight. I'll always have some great memories from our time as a family together and the sights and adventures we experienced.

Aloha Friday can be found at An Island Life each and every Friday.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Nancy, of More Than Enough, tagged me for the quirky, but boring, meme. I need to state 6 quirky, but boring, facts about myself. Since I'm feeling a little down and not feeling like doing anything, which includes blogging, I thought today would be a good day to post this meme.

Back in January I posted 6 quirky things about myself. I had to go back and read it so I didn't repeat anything. This meme is not only quirky, but boring. I had to think a bit on that.

1. I have never liked buffalo wings because of the mess of picking a little bit of meat off of a chicken bone. But just in the past six months I have started eating boneless buffalo wings which is really just chicken tenders with the buffalo sauce. It's the buffalo sauce that I'm lovin'. I can't believe I've gone my whole life without enjoying this wonderful taste.

2. I am really good at remembering names and faces. I am so thankful I am because I think it's a blessing to be known by name after meeting only once. It's an ability that was very useful being in youth ministry.

3. I pretty well wear the same jewelry every day; diamond pendant necklace (if not this, then a cross pendant), small diamond stud earrings, wedding rings, plus 4 other rings, one being a thumb ring, a watch, and a toe ring.

4. I have no cousins. My mom and dad were only children.

5. I am really good with directions and having a feel for where I am and where I need to go to get somewhere. If I've been somewhere once, I can pretty well get back there and know where to go from there.

6. My chocolate fix: M&Ms. I frequently buy a small bag just to have around, so I can pick up a couple at a time to suck on. [I'm sucking on one now =)]

I don't have the energy to tag anyone but would love to have you play along if you wish. If you do, let me know so I can come visit.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

a new project

With Jake going off to school, I have now officially become an empty-nester. I do have some ideas and plans for some of my free time. I'm sure I'll be writing about them as the they flesh out more and ideas come to fruition.

I have come across a project that I think is worthwhile and that I would enjoy. It's called x365 and done through blogging, which means I have started a sister blog. I know... I know, I've started sister blogs before for projects that I wanted to tackle only to abandon them.

This new one will require that I have an entry for each day for a year (thus the name 365). I wasn't able to keep up with the picture a day project. What makes me think I'll be successful at this one?

I am hoping I can stick with this one because I truly believe and am excited in it's purpose. And even if I don't actually post on a certain day, I can make it up the next day. The purpose is to get 365 posts done in one year.

The project: to write about 365 people who has been a part my life in some way or another. A different person each day. But the fun part is (I say fun now but I may end up hating this little aspect) that my reflection of the person is done in 48 words - no more, no less. Why 48? Because that is my age. And in October, I'll increase it to 49 words.

One of the purposes I have in blogging is to leave a written record of who I am, and what I'm all about, for the generations who follow me. I think I will richly add to this blog by sharing 365 people who I have crossed paths with in my 48/49 years. And it will bless me to reflect on those who have had an impact on my life.

I invite you to stop by any time to check out who the person of the day is. I realize that most of these people won't mean much to most of you and I don't expect a lot of readership. I am doing this more for myself. And if nothing else, it will give me something to focus on during this time when I'm trying to get used to an empty and quiet house.

My x365 project can be found at:

Monday, August 18, 2008

looking back, looking ahead

I remember it like it was yesterday. In fact, it was seven years ago this summer. Jake was going to church camp as an ingoing sixth grader. I was a camp counselor.

He was so young and had no experience leaving home and being a part of a camp situation for a whole week. He was thrown into a group of mostly seventh and eighth graders, people he didn't really know all that well because he had just joined the youth group. Sure, he had his mom around but it wouldn't have been cool to acknowledge her, let alone lean on her for either support or comfort.

I could only watch from afar. The first few days were the hardest. From my mother's eyes - and heart - I observed what seemed like a mere child who was on the fringe of the activity most of the time. He seemed lonely. He seemed friendless. It broke my heart.

This is some of what I'm feeling at the moment. Jake leaves for college tomorrow. He's not old enough to leave home. He's going to be lonely, out of place, friendless. I need to protect him, to hold his hand, to help him through all the tricky twists and turns ahead.

Of course, that isn't true. It's just how I feel as his mother. Feelings, I'm realizing, that don't change as fast as a child ages. In that way, college is going to be more of an adjustment for me than it will be for him.

At camp, it didn't take more than a couple of days for Jake to not only become an integral part of the group, but to be that kid that others enjoyed being around. He was cute, smart, nice, polite, friendly, a little mischievous, resourceful, and responsible. I found myself letting go of the mother role for the rest of the week because he didn't need [or want] that from me during that time.

Jake has those same qualities now. In fact, they are stronger now and he has acquired even more. He will do well living away from his home and in college. He will be learning more about himself, about life, and about learning. He will make new friends and experience student life. He will enjoy himself in his new environment. And as a mother, could I ask for anything more?

I am proud, and Don and I have accomplished what is meant to be. We've worked hard for 18 years to come to this point. We are indeed proud and happy. I just have one question... how long will this lump in my throat and tear in my eye remain?

Saturday, August 16, 2008


I have literally watched hours of the Olympics and listened to the endless commentary on the events and athletes. The word that is repeated by all the commentators over and over is unbelievable. It's an appropriate word because whether it's a phenomenal feat or a shattering disappointment, it describes perfectly what is taking place in these Olympic games.

I find these Olympic stories unbelievable...

The picture perfect school girl who sang as the Chinese flag entered the stadium at the opening ceremonies was actually lip syncing to a pre-recorded version of the song sung by a seven year old who won a grueling competition for the privilege of singing at the ceremonies. Evidently, she just wasn't cute enough because of her buck teeth (which I don't even think she has) and was told she could not perform live. source
UNBELIEVABLE that China feels it that important to give the illusion that they are without flaws.

All you have to do is look at a few of the Chinese gymnasts to wonder to yourself, "how old are they?" You have to be 16 (or turn 16 in the Olympic year) to be eligible to compete and the Chinese team members' passports claim they are 16. But several have questioned this. Associated Press tracked down a Chinese government story stating that one of the gymnasts was 13 at the time of the story, last November. source
UNBELIEVABLE that China feels that they have to win, and they will cheat to achieve that goal.

A Swedish wrestler who won a bronze medal threw it to the floor after it was awarded to him. It was in protest to his opinion of corrupt judges. I read several articles on this situation and it seems that a lot of athletes and coaches in the wrestling community feel that this sport is all political and has become corrupt. source
So... is it UNBELIEVABLE that an athlete would show such bad sportsmanship as to throw down his medal ... or ... is it UNBELIEVABLE that an Olympic sport can be so obviously corrupt and nothing has been done to rectify it.

Michael Phelps wins 8 gold medals.

Friday, August 15, 2008

i'm humming the olympic song in my sleep

Kailani at An Island Life hosts Aloha Friday where Friday posts are made easy by simply asking a question.

I've mentioned it a few times... I am loving the Olympics. My eyes are bloodshot and I've been having headaches because I'm not getting enough sleep because I'm up late watching them. But I figure I can handle it for 2 weeks and then get back into a better schedule.

My questions are (because I can hardly ever ask just one):
Are you watching the Olympics? and
What is your favorite sport to watch?

Yes (duh), I am watching and my favorite has been beach volleyball (both men and women). But obviously, the swimming has been very exciting. I'm also looking forward to the track and field events.

Just for the fun of it, check out all the Aloha Friday participants.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

mosaic me

I could either write about the Olympics again because that has been what has been consuming a lot of my time lately, or something completely different. My blogging buddy Melissa, of Mejojac's Memos, posted this fun little Flickr meme. Since I love photography and I've been spending a lot of time on Flickr lately, I thought it would be fun, too.

1. Diana+ 2. Enjoy! 3. Footjam 4. Sunflowers kissed the wind 5. Ewan McGregor 6. I need a break! 7. Downstairs to the volcano 8. Strawberry Shortcake 9. Showtime! 10. Friends Home Family 11. zero gravity 12. What I see

Here's how you play:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using ONLY the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker. Choose 3 columns with 4 rows.

The Questions:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name. (no Flickr? use a nickname or favorite animal)

Let me know if you decide to give this a try and I'll come by to check out your mosaic.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

look at those teeth...

The last day we were in Alaska, we stopped in at a wildlife refuge. I posted the best pictures here on Flickr. There are photos of bears, fox, moose, and a bald eagle.

More Wordless Wednesday here and here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

a lot to get done...

for today...

Outside my window... are new neighbors across the greenbelt. They're working on a house that's been neglected for quite some time.

I am thinking... that this is my last few days with Jake living at home. And that he has a lot to do before he leaves next week.

I am thankful for... Jake and 18 wonderful years.

Last week at this time... I was uploading, editing, and posting my pictures from Alaska. (

From the kitchen... it's pretty quiet there right now. I should figure out what to have for dinner.

I am creating... another batch of photos from Alaska. These were taken at a wildlife refuge that we visited. Some great pictures but the animals were behind fences, not out in the wild.

I am going... to go wake up Jake, because like I said... he has a lot to do to be ready for his move.

I am wearing... pajamas.

I am reading... Cold Tangerines and Jim Rearden's Alaska, Fifty Years of Frontier Adventure.

I am hoping... to also get a lot done this week.

I am hearing... Brody barking at the neighbors and The Today Show on TV (Olympics!!)

Around the house... there are a lot of piles of "stuff." Some needs to be put away, some will be part of Jake's move.

One of my favorite things... is the Olympics (see previous post)

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

Men's gymnastics wins bronze! Another amazing win.

The Simple Woman's Daybook originated at The Simple Woman.

Monday, August 11, 2008

i'm glued to the tv

I love the Olympics. Let me say that again... I just love the Olympics. Let me get specific... I just love watching the Olympics.

Here's the top three things I love about the Olympics.

1. The opening and closing ceremonies, but especially the opening ceremony. I enjoy watching the host country design a program that is unique to their history and culture that is also entertaining and beautiful to the eye. The opening ceremony from Beijing was absolutely spectacular. I couldn't take my eyes off the TV and each separate production in the ceremony was amazing beyond words.

2. The competition. I've been known to be competitive and I enjoy watching all kinds of sports. The Olympics gives me the opportunity to watch so many different games, matches, and events. I also enjoy the aspect that the athletes are from all over the world and that the competition is between countries.

3. Although I don't enjoy watching athletes/teams lose, I love watching emotional wins - especially when it's the USA. I'm sure part of that is because as an American, I hear some of the background stories of the athletes. It becomes more personal. The win, or just competing, becomes the culmination of hard work, overcoming obstacles, sweat, tears, hopes and dreams. How can you not want to watch all of that play out on a court, or in a swimming pool, or whatever the venue may be?

A just got done watching the men's 4x100 freestyle swimming relay where the French team was favored. Where the French team were cocky and talking about "smashing" the American team. And it was the French team that was ahead most of the time. But on the last lap, with the USA's anchor trailing the French anchor, USA's swimmer overtook the competitor to touch the wall first, within hundredths of a second ahead of the silver winning French swimmer.

It was so exciting. My heart was pumping as Jake and I were loudly cheering the USA swimmer on. That last half of a lap was incredible to watch, and it was an amazing win. Not only did USA win the gold, but they "smashed" the world's record. Icing on the cake... they put the French team in it's place. It was a glorious and historical moment and I had the privilege of watching it.

That's why I love the Olympics.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

pens, pencils and a pretty pink backpack

The little girl turned the corner and exclaimed, "Look mom. Isn't this backpack bee-oo-tee-ful!? IT'S THE ONE!"

I was in the school supply section in my local Target. Not only was this little girl wearing a pretty pink backpack dotted with little ponies, but an ear to ear grin as she communicated to her mom that she had found the perfect backpack for the new school year. It melted my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

Years of memories flooded my senses. How many times had I visited this section of the store at the beginning of each school year? With checklist in hand, I and my two eager soon-to-be students would scour each shelf and rack for every item on the list, plus more.

Danielle always found more than what was required. From a very early age, she had a love of pens and folders and highlighters and notebooks and everything the school supplies aisles could hold. She still has it today. She can't leave a store of this sort without oohing over the pencils and aahing over the pens.

As I watched all the mothers with their lists and a multitude of kids loading up on Hannah Montana folders or Transformers notebooks, I relived my time in those seasonal aisles with fond memories but was also grateful for the fact that my time there was over and done.

That was Thursday. Today Danielle and I ran to Target for some birthday gifts. After picking up our items in the electronics department and browsing through purses and clothing, Danielle says, "let's go back to school supplies."

And we did.

Friday, August 8, 2008


I love bringing home souvenirs from places I visit or vacation at. Besides the usual Tshirt and magnet, I brought home some cool stuff from Alaska that I'd like to share in today's Show & Tell.

These are bark carvings hand made by the owners of the cabin we rented for the week. Here's what is written on the tag: This mask has been carved by hand from the bark of the Black Cottonwood tree, which occurs in the lowlands of Alaska's southcentral and southern coastal forests. The bark comes from trees that have been dead for 5 to 6 years. It is then possible to remove bark that is up to 6 inches thick.

The mask on the left is about 4 inches long (without the hair) and the hair comes from beaver and mountain goat. The one on the right is smaller, about an inch (without hair), and is made as an ornament. This one is trimmed with beaver and reindeer.

This is also an ornament which I purchased in one of the local shops displaying Alaskan art. The only description on this one is: Original designs inspired by the art and legends of Alaska's Native cultures. It has the artist's name along with her address and email, so I know it was made in Alaska and not someplace like Ch*na.

I liked it and bought it because it reminded me of a sun. And you know I'm all about the sunshine =)

And the last of my, rather ours, souvenirs wasn't anything I, or we, could put in our suitcases - unless we wanted to deal with a horrific odor. So, we had it shipped home. Yep... it's fish. More specifically, the halibut that Don and Jake caught on their fishing expedition. Anyone want to come on over for a halibut dinner? We have seventeen pounds of it.

For more Show & Tell, click on over to Kelli's There's No Place Like Home.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

i need my wi-fi

I knew there wasn't going to be internet in the cabin (in Alaska), but I took my computer anyways. I knew I wouldn't spend much time on it, but I wanted to be able to check in once or twice. By check in, I mean my email, my blog, my Facebook (that's where teens get a hold of me), and maybe even read a couple of blogs.

I figured I'd be able to find free wi-fi at a coffee shop, and the owner of the cabin confirmed my thinking. By Monday night, I was going through withdrawals getting anxious about getting online. The whole family wanted to get out of the cabin so they agreed to go into town with me to find a coffee shop.

By the time we got into town, the two coffee shops that we could find were closed but even if they had been opened, we couldn't find a sign displayed anywhere telling the passerby that they offered wi-fi. We looked for said sign at every establishment we passed with no success.

Then I got the bright idea that I would turn on my computer and as Don drove, I would keep pushing the button asking my computer to show me any available networks. It got to be quite comical. There would be one displayed but then I'd lose it because we were in a moving car. Don would turn the car around and we'd go back to where I had a connection only to find that the connection wasn't strong enough and my computer wouldn't connect.

After three tries (driving-turning around-parking-driving again-repeat), we found a network offered by a hotel (should have thought of that in the first place). Don pulled into the parking lot and there we sat... me on my computer, and the other pushing me to hurry because they had already spent enough time in the car.

Needless to say, I hurriedly wrote out that first post, checked my other stuff, and then closed my lid. My next post I wrote out ahead of time but went to the exact same parking lot to post it. We then did find a small eatery that offered wi-fi. We ate lunch there one day and each one of us were able to check all those very important connections to our life back home.

Vacations are great, but we still need our connection to home.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

coming straight for me...

...but then she stopped

check out the rest of my moose pictures from my trip to Alaska here.


more Wordless Wednesday here and here

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

a place called Homer

We don't always take big vacations like we did this year. The year Danielle graduated, we went to Maui. This year was Jake's year and after looking into several different options, he chose Alaska. The next thing we needed to decide on was where in Alaska.

After more discussion, it was unanimous that the ocean (and whales) is what everyone wanted to see. With that in mind, Since I knew my blogging buddy Nancy, of More Than Enough, used to live in Alaska, I asked her where would be the best place to go. She highly recommended her home town of Homer, and I'm so glad she did.

Homer is a beautiful little fishing town located at the end [literally] of the highway, 225 miles south of Anchorage. Located in the harbor is a long gravel bar known as the Homer spit. We spent a lot of time on the spit, either to catch a boat, do a little shopping, bird and fisherman watch, or just be part of the daily activity.

As I posted earlier, we went whale watching and Don and Jake went halibut fishing. We spent the rest of the time sightseeing in town and around the area. With the majestic mountains meeting the ocean and wildflowers dotting the varying shades of green that surrounded you, the landscape was breathtaking.

We took in all the sights, the sounds, and the smells of the area. We spent time on the beaches and up in the hills. We ate at the local eateries and conversed with the local residents. We became a part of Homer for a week... and Homer - and Alaska - became part of us.

I've posted my photos on Flickr and they can be seen here.
You can view them as a slideshow by clicking on the slideshow icon at the top right of the page.
Tomorrow... moose!

Monday, August 4, 2008

some observations

I've recently made two observations. One, Saturday night at the airport in Anchorage and the second one in the wee hours of the morning somewhere over crossing over from Canada into the States.

As I sat in the midst of a hundred people or so, all waiting for their airplane to take them home but excited over the time they spent in the great frontier known as Alaska, I eavesdropped on many conversations and had one myself. They all were about the adventures of the last week, but with a twist. It seemed like each person telling their story was trying to outdo the other person.

"I caught this many fish!"
"I caught this big of a fish!"
"I caught a halibut on a fly rod."
"We saw bears."
""We lived with the bears."
"We hiked up a glacier, lived in a shelter we made by hand, ate berries and the fish we caught, and fed the extra to the bears."

... well, I didn't actually hear that last one but you get my drift. Alaska is so big and there are so many different things you can do. And I can see how people come to the end of their week excited over their conquests and adventures. But it all got so old and it made me feel like I didn't do enough on my vacation.

But I didn't allow myself to feel or think that way. For me, I had an amazing and enjoyable vacation even though my week paled in comparison to some of the stories I was hearing. An airport in Alaska is probably one of a few places in the world where people feel a need to compare their vacations.

But I don't think vacations should ever be compared. They should be cherished as time spent with those you love, away from the daily routine, and where memories can be made and remembered.

The second observation; I cannot sleep on a plane. So I've made a decision; In the future, I will do everything in my power to never again travel via airplane during the early morning hours when I should be in a bed sleeping.

Due to the fact that I spent most yesterday sleeping since I didn't the night before, I am still in the middle of going through all my photos. Hope to have them done by tomorrow.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

time to go home

I'm sitting in the Anchorage airport, waiting to board an 11:30 pm flight home. It's been a wonderful week with amazing scenery, fun adventures, and memories that will last a life time.

I will post a few of the pictures when I get home and have a chance to upload them, look them over and edit if necessary. I will most likely put the week's worth of photos on flickr and post a link to them. Look for them soon.

I'm looking forward to being home. Vacations are great and Alaska was a wonderful vacation destination, but going home in the end is one of the best parts of a vacation.