Taxes Well Spent

A long bike ride along the Poudre Trail made me appreciate a city that spends its tax revenues on the people that live in that city. What a beautiful trail. I hope the day comes when they figure out how to get the trail under or over I-25. Except for that little gap, the trail extends from LaPorte to Greeley. Quite a feat, if you ask me. There are marvelous parks and rest stops along the way, including a botanical Treasure Island in Windsor and CSU’s Environmental Learning Center.

Reflecting again on my recent trip to Acadia NP in Maine, I cannot help but urge people to support the National Park system. What treasures our country has (they truly are part of what makes America great) and our descendants, children, grandchildren and beyond, deserve to have them protected and there for them to enjoy. Acadia did not let me down. I should have scheduled one more day there (I seem to leave each park wishing for one more day) but there was so much to see in the rest of New England. I had never been there to explore before. I will go back! Sailing was the highlight, but then there was the good seafood, the calming sounds of ocean and rock, the soft forest, oh on and on. It was a delightful trip.

I’ve had a difficult time getting back into writing. The end of my YA novel needs a lot of thought and work to weed out the unnecessary and fine tune the closure. Ack. I just want to go to the mountains and enjoy the colors of autumn, or go kayaking, or or or. I’ve started dead-heading in the yard, planted some more mums for next year, and need to bring in the patio furniture, hoses, etc. A little bit each day is what I tell myself. It will get done. Despite the current cold, I know there is more warm weather to come, though Mother Nature has had a real attitude this year.IMG_2720

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A Great Trip!

Well, this certainly seems odd, sitting down at my desk to write a blog. Rather seems like I should be out sailing, or kayaking, or canoeing, or driving to the next hiking trail. By the way, I thought Colorado had a lot of hiking trails, but we don’t hold a candle to New Hampshire. That state has trails! Everywhere! And then there was all the rich history of Boston. Love that city! And Bar Harbor Maine – wow.

The New England woods are different, softer, than ours. I suppose it stems a lot from the types of trees that grow there. The evergreens are not the stiff spruce of Colorado’s high and dry climate, but softer, airier trees mixed with the beautiful oaks and maples that make the colors so rich in the fall. Birch is everywhere too. I brought home a piece and it is surprising how tough the bark is. I thought it would be paper thin layers, but it is more like leather. No wonder it made such good canoes. So pretty too.

The funniest thing about staying in a New Hampshire cabin in the woods this time of year is getting used to the sound of large acorns crashing down on the roof, or your head. I truly mean “crashing down,” no little plops, but loud cracks and pops. A person has to get used to walking on them too, crunch, crunch, crunch across the deck and down to the dock.

Best of all was the pair of Loons that live on the little lake we were staying at. They are so pretty. They are also amazing divers, staying under water up to thirty seconds at a time when fishing. If we were quiet, they let us paddle fairly close, but they were careful to maintain a proper distance. We noticed there did not seem to be many birds. Maybe they had already migrated south for the winter? The color was just starting, but we saw enough to get a good taste of what is coming, making it even more difficult to leave. I am truly blessed by such a great experience. Speaking of good taste – Maine blueberries. I can recommend a place to get the best blueberry muffin you can imagine.IMG_2727

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The Flip Side

The fires in Montana are almost unbelievable. The haze and smoke that has drifted here to Colorado smells horrible, and burns my eyes. I am saddened to hear of the destruction in Glacier National Park, and yet following the flooding and loss caused by Hurricane Harvey, it becomes almost a negligible loss. That, however, is no comfort to anyone in the evacuation zones caused by the multiple blazes threatening homes and lives. Their fear is real, their loss just as devastating. And now there’s Irma.

How many disasters can we handle at one time? No sense in worrying over that question. Roll up your sleeves and help, send a donation, or volunteer in your community. If we make each town, each village, each neighborhood the best that it can be, we will have done our part, and that’s the best that can be done. If you are tempted to look the other way and not donate, then don’t cheer for cuts in taxes, smaller government, and less intrusion from Washington, because the non-profits cannot do all that needs to be done in the wake of a disaster such as Harvey.

Loans to rebuild homes and businesses are essential to an area’s recovery. In order to be affordable and actually help, those loans have to be backed by our government. New building codes that strengthen levies and allow for canals and pumps to mitigate storm surge come at enormous cost. The only entity with enough money to do all of that is our government. Floods hit everywhere. Fire burns everywhere. We cannot hide our heads and think it won’t happen to us. It does – and it will. Like it or not, our government is useful and necessary.

Watching politicians haggle isn’t pretty, but its the process – and it always has been. Read a little history if you don’t believe me.

I am off to visit Acadia National Park with a little kayaking and hiking thrown in for good measure. See you on the flip side.

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So the last blog was rather on the fly. Thought I would put a little pre-thought into this one. It’s going to be a very busy weekend, so I’m on it. I woke up with a headache, and yet, once I got past the slow start, I got more done than the day before. How does that work? Maybe it was the list I made in the wee hours when I was worrying about what it was I had forgotten to do and couldn’t remember.

I couldn’t sleep. Now I’m wondering: could I not sleep because a headache was coming, or because I couldn’t remember what I forgot? Or: Did I get a headache from trying to figure out what I forgot and no sleep? Goodness. That gives me a headache. Sure hope I sleep tonight.

I think we have the holiday weekend food all figured out. It has been six years since we were all together, and we didn’t have the youngest two grandchildren then. I sure wish my mother could make it over the hill for the pictures. That would be something. Having all of us at once would overwhelm her, and I know she doesn’t enjoy looking at her own pictures anymore, but I’m sure she will love seeing one of all of us. Me too.

I’ve begun the process of packing for the upcoming trip to Acadia. It has already snowed in the White Mountains, so I’m packing a jacket. That seems crazy. I haven’t solved the camera delima yet. In the past I’ve gone to a national park without my SLR and regretted it big time. However, my taste in photographs is changing, and my phone camera usually does a pretty good job. I’m more into capturing the essence so I can write about it, or capturing the people and that doesn’t take an SLR. To get stunning pics requires the really big lens and I’m not into taking that. More pondering needed.

My heart is heavy for Harvey’s victims. Please do what you can to help. The heroes and volunteers have been amazing. Thank you to all of you, along with the first responders and the Red Cross. Mankind can be amazing.

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Please Donate!

All day yesterday I had the feeling that I was missing something or not getting something done. Now I know what it was. I wasn’t writing today’s blog. Oops. No time to edit and re-think and ponder. It is what it is today.

I sent a donation to Red Cross and urge you to do the same for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. There are such incredible stories of hardship and heroism, and conditions keep getting worse. The long term devastation and emotional toll hasn’t even begun yet. Watching the news makes me think everyone should have a boat in their garage. It is hard to imagine how they will get kids back in school this fall when so many don’t have a home to go to. I suppose though, that getting a school up and going may give the kids the only sense of normalcy they have for the rest of this year.

We are under hazy clouds caused by fires out west. Such extremes!

This is the last blog for August. Time keeps marching by. I remember thinking it went slow when I was a kid waiting for that next birthday, so I’d be older, or waiting for the school year to be over, or waiting for a vacation to come. That sensation has certainly changed. It all comes too fast now. Speaking of vacations, though, my next national park visit is zooming closer. I shall again be on blogging hiatus while gone, but will post pictures on FaceBook when possible. In the meantime, I am looking forward to seeing all of my grandkids – together in one place at the same time – for the first time ever! Family pics are going to happen!


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Horrible Harvey

My deepest sympathies to the victims of hurricane Harvey. The devastation is horrific. The best way I know of to help is by giving a contribution to an organization such as the Red Cross. They are set up to get in fast with the essentials the victims need. Every little bit helps.

School is off to a great start. The jangled nerves are calmed and once again, a routine settles in for families after the annual ‘first-day’ ritual of the parent’s happy dance or tears or both. For the grandparents, it’s a different kind of feeling. I can go hiking or biking IMG_2454in the middle of the week and run into a much smaller crowd, which is nice. Shopping is less crowded and noisy. But something is missing.

I am in a transition period, an odd sort of place. I jump between perfecting the finished work and really delving into the next book. The synopsis is done, queries are going out, the kids are moved in (still unpacking and painting, but hey – all in good time), and autumn looms. Soon, too soon, winter will return. Wow. What thoughts this morning.

Decades ago, I had a huge yard, really huge with several flower gardens, a large vegetable garden, and an orchard. With a business and three kids, I could never get all of the weeds pulled. By the time I got around to the last bed, the first one was rampant with weeds again. It was not satisfying at all. I learned a lesson from all of that. One small flower bed, kept immaculate and pretty, is far more satisfying that a dozen unkempt ones. Keep it simple stupid. Boy does that fit me. Now, in this small yard, I can actually go days without having to do any yard work. It feels kind of weird, but I’m sure I’ll get over that.

I long for the country. First time in over a decade that I have felt that way, but my country roots are playing my song. Any readers who have followed me through my last move, know what a difficult time I had, so rest assured, I don’t take the thought of moving again lightly. I will have to ponder this for some time.

and so it goes…

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Well, the Eclipse of 2017 is over. I loved watching it. The most remarkable phenomena of that hour to me was the cool temperature bringing out the mosquitoes. They normally wouldn’t come out until dusk, but here they came in the middle of the day. The 2nd thing the day brought to mind was the fact that whenever I’ve experienced that kind of a cool-down in temperature, it is usually caused or accompanied by wind. Amazing.

My granddaughter’s new bike is working out super-duper. The new helmet hasn’t come in yet, but we are waiting patiently. Not. I bought another rack system for the small bikes and got it put up in the garage. While I was at it, I cleaned and organized a bit, so it looks better, not perfect, but better. Since gardening is coming to an end, I thought the next project would be cleaning the tools and putting them away till next season.

School starts tomorrow for my granddaughter. I know she’ll love it, but I am somewhat sad to see our summer come to an end. We have hiked and biked and talked, learned new games and played old ones too. She is getting really good at entertaining her little cousin, which is awesome.

In a couple weeks, I take off to explore parks on the north-east coast. While I’m at it, I get to visit with my niece and another good friend, so this should be an awesome trip. We have hiking, kayaking, and lobster eating planned. Other than that, my only hope is for relaxation after the drama of this summer. Some fall color would be nice too, but i’m not counting on it, although my crabapple tree already has leaves turning yellow and falling. The driveway is littered with them. Hmmm.

and so it goes…

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