Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Plans for snowshoeing!

I've been getting some maps and info for our snowshoe day, and am getting more and more excited! We'll head up to the Bear Lake parking lot in Rocky Mountain National Park, and then go toward Nymph, Dream, and Emerald Lakes. As this article says, it is a great first snowshoe destination, and the scenery is amazing.
We'll keep it flexible, so if anyone gets tired or cold they can head back and we'll all meet later at a restaurant in Estes Park, and those who want to go on a bit more can. Here's a map of the area and additonal information on elevations, etc.

Yipperooney - the only downside I can think of is that we'll be lucky to see 2 or 3 different species of birds! Here's my prediction - gray jay, mountain chickadee and one mystery bird!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Project completed - now on to the cookies!

Oh boy, I am pretty excited to say that our project is done! The closet is painted, the doors are hung, the mistakes have been corrected, and I even put a fresh coat of paint on our two little stools (which we got free from some electric company, oh maybe 30 years ago!). So, hip hip hooray for Mom and me. Now we can move on to important stuff like making Christmas cookies.

Tomorrow night we will decorate our tree, and I put new lights outside (although Mom just told me that part of them aren't working. How can only part of them not work? - sometimes I wonder...are there gremlins out there?). It's hard to explain how excited I am to have everyone here for Christmas. It just feels wonderful, it warms my heart, it feels like a gift from all of you. It is even more special because it is also Sierra's homecoming. They always say that part of the joy of doing something is in the planning and anticipation, and I have to agree, I am already having a great time just getting ready for our time together.

I have a feeling this week at work will be a little slow. Lots of folks will be gone, and for me, I think it may be a hard week to concentrate. But I have only one must do thing this week, I have to get a paper sent out to a journal. That is one part of my job that is hard, but that I really enjoy - getting some of my work published.

Only 6 more days til the excitement starts! Hasta entonces.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Es la temporada de la navidad o de las fiestas?

Recientemente, en las noticias, hay mucho debate sobre las palabras correctas para describir la temporada. Es la Navidad? O es, más generalmente, las fiestas? No me importa. En realidad, en los Estados Unidos, es la temporada para comprar, comprar, comprar!

Y, para mi, por este año, es la temporada para una gran celebración con todo mi familia! Lo más importante es mi familia. Estoy muy emocionado para ver todos de Ustedes.

Les quiero mucho.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Living each day

I have a friend from our Men's Group at church who has had brain cancer for about two years, and is now at home under Hospice Care. Actually this week he's in a nursing home because his wife had to go and be with her mother. Ken and I have known each other almost 20 years, and for many years a group of men would go up to his cabin in the mountains for a 3 day winter retreat. We'd sing, play cards, drink beer, cook, hike in the moonlight. Lots of good times and memories.

When I go and visit Ken, it's hard sometimes to know what to say or how to be. Some days he can think clearly and some days it is harder for him to be coherent. A few weeks ago we were playing a game or two of cribbage to pass the time, but the last few visits he hasn't been able to do this. Several months back, he shared with me that he feels he has lived a full life, and has no regrets. More recently, he has wondered about how much longer he should hang on. It's hard to know how to respond. I try to empathize, and I try to listen. I ask a few questions now and then, but mostly, I just spend time with him, and ty to help him pass the time.

A few days ago, when I left, Ken said to me "I love you" and I replied back "I love you too, Buddy". That was a pretty incredible moment for me. I realized there are very few adult men in my life that I have said that too. But it felt good, and I thank Ken for breaking the ice.

It's powerful business, this living and dying stuff. Kens' situation makes me appreciate all the more the blessings in my life, and most of all, my family.

Friday, December 09, 2005

House Project - nearing the end, sort of....

Before the house project update, check out this back yard wildlife. Mom put out some old apples and voila! We had two bucks and several does chowing down just a few feet outside the window. I love this property!

The closet and shelves are now all painted, but I have to cut the new bi-fold doors to size to fit the smaller space. Interesting construction - a super thin wood laminate on some kind of paper board. And basically some glued together cardboard for internal strength - they are hollow core.
We will have lots of good storage space:

But the "sort of" part of the title of this post is that we still have to sand down the old doors, which were stained, and this is quite a project. Mom did this one, and now it should hold the paint well:

Love you all.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

A new house project

Well, it started out seeming like an easy and straightforward project... but things always seem to get more complicated. We decided to take down the old closet and storage area and repaint the back room (washer/drier room), and rebuild a larger closet and storage area. Here's the area with everything stripped down.

Since we were going to paint everything, Mom started fixing up the woodwork around the doors, etc. The folks who used to live here (that many years ago!) had dogs, and they had scratched the doors frames and messed it up a bunch. So, Mom has been adding wood filler and sanding a lot! And them it takes several coats of paint to cover it all up, so it has been a lot bigger project in that sense than we envisioned. Check out the scratches and filler:

The last photo is the closet, storage area part way done. I had a few mistakes in measuring and had to make some adjustments, but I think it will all come out ok. I can never quite envision all the details, and then when I start building, I realize - "hey that won't fit like I thought it would". So, hopefully it will all be done and painted by the time everyone gathers here for the holidays. That or Mom and I will be crazy!