Friday, July 31, 2015

Another relaxing morning soaking in the party pool and enjoying the view.

Mama strolled by with her twin fawns; one pranced on ahead while the other stuck close by her.

And speaking of wildlife, look who was bobbing around in the pool today...

While he does look ferocious

Tom lived to tell the tale!

The folks who brought him also brought "Bob in a box" for tomorrow's auction.  I think Bob would be a fine addition to our pool, though he won't look quite the same <g> without all the foliage.

This dad, Gary, said this t-shirt pretty much summed up parenting some of the time.

More fun vehicles pulling in; these pix are especially for Tracy.

Wednesday I nabbed this shot of Noah power-washing the algae from the swimming pool.

More rain this afternoon, so maybe I'll start a jig saw puzzle.

Shadow, who has been assassinating cute bunnies and hummingbirds (that live outside) seems perfectly happy with the mice who have made it inside the house. (Terry says it's possible he's even brought them inside to play with.) One mouse found its way into my sack of goodies in the pantry, and (smart critter?) went straight for the good stuff, the bag of Hershey's Kisses. It pigged out on a couple, leaving only the empty shredded wrappers as evidence.  We've seen the mice run brazenly across the room on several occasions, and so far Terry has trapped a couple.

I was tired last night and crashed without even reading in bed, which is unusual, and this morning I'm still in a bit of a lazy mode.  With the party weekend starting tonight there's quite a crowd (on our way out to town yesterday there was a steady stream of vehicles coming in) and no doubt some of them are already in the swimming pool. So I doubt I'll get any laps in today.  If I said I was crushed about that would you believe me?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Long e-mail from Tracy awaiting me this morning, but sadly the news about Miss Betty isn't good.  Unless things change drastically it's not likely that I'm going to get to see her again.

This morning I only got in 1/4 mile swim before folks started showing up (early) to play in the pool. Rather than try and dodge them I went for a soak, and had a very pleasant conversation with Marty, a woman from San Diego.  Then, since I never had run into John and Charlie Jean yesterday (and knew they were planning to leave today) I stopped in at the Welcome Center where Doug checked the computer to find out where they were camping or staying.  From the info I had it looked like Sunset 1, so I walked back up there - but the room had already been vacated.  One of the women up there said they'd left early to catch a plane.  I was disappointed, but having learned their last name I thought I could do an internet search and find her Houston gallery.  Which I did... except that an e-mail to their address listed on the site came back as undeliverable. 

But later, loading up Terry's car with the recycling, Doug came by and said that John had left his card for me in the Welcome Center before they left.  It has the same e-mail that didn't work, but once I'm home I can try calling them, or, as a last resort, snail-mailing them.

Terry has gifted me yards and yards of fabric (dolphin and whale panels) she bought years ago to make  some curtains for Lucia.  Since that never happened, she wondered if I could use it.  There is enough fabric to make a LOT of quilts, and I'm thinking of sharing with several of my quilting friends and see how creative we can all be. 

We went to town in both vehicles because after lunch Terry and I were going to stay in town and run errands while Tom would drive Neil back here.  Tom and I got to Salida 20 minutes before the scheduled rendezvous time, so we stopped in at at small book/gift store to kill some time.  Long story short: there was a knife distributor in there selling some very nice Damascus steel blades to the store owner, Tom mentioned that he makes knives, I pulled out one of his cards, they looked at the knife on the card and asked if he had any with him (of course), Tom brought out his case at which point the two men drooled over the knives, and then each guy bought several - AND each one definitely wants more.

Lunch at the Firefly was delicious, though it did take a very long time to get served.  Afterward the guys left to head home, and Terry and I ran a whole bunch of errands.  I got the 'needed' marbles, beads, and treasure rocks to throw into the party pool this weekend (I used up the stash I bought last week) but the hat store (which had exactly the wide visor Terry has been looking for displayed in their window, but which was closed last Wednesday) was gone... as in the store was emptied, with no sign as to a new location.  To (sort of) make up for it we saw a doe and her fawn nibbling in someone's front yard.  We did get to shop today at the Bungled Jungle (fun place!) which was closed on Wednesdays; I couldn't afford their one-of-a-kind art pieces, but did buy a tee shirt.  

Our last stop was the grocery store, and then on the way out of town we stopped at a fruit stand for some palisade peaches.  We had seen the guy on our way into town, but since it was so late in the afternoon we were worried he might be gone.

Long day - it was after 6:00 by the time we got back, and of course we still had to unload all the stuff we'd bought and put it away - so now just going to kick back and relax.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

By the time we headed back up to the party pool this afternoon it was starting to cloud over, which was no real issue.  Neither were the sprinkles of rain a little bit later. But once I started hearing the rumbles of thunder I was out of there.  It seemed to stop, but I came back to the house anyway.  When Terry got back she said I'd missed a whole bunch of fawns who hung out by the John Lennon rock, which is right next to the pool.  Oh well.

Over the years that I have been visiting here I have been lucky enough to see lots of wildlife; in addition to all the deer, there have been bats, snakes, porcupines, skunks, and many different birds.  (I also consider myself lucky that I've never been here when the bears have decided to visit!) But in 35 years I have never seen a shark in the water...

After dinner last night I was called away from the dishes to "come look at this", which turned out to be a doe on the rock wall outside the kitchen.  While that in itself is not that unusual, the fact that she was lying down was.  But before I could grab my camera Tom arrived at the gate and the doe decided to move on.

Tom's rock-collecting yesterday near Lake George was not terribly successful, but it was beautiful where he was and as a bonus the wild strawberries were plentiful and at their peak.

When Neil had gone walkabout last evening (looking for Terry to return from yoga) we ended up outside the visitor center where folks were gathering for the evening hike to the bat cave.  There was some sort of medical emergency happening on the porch, and during our dinner later we saw an ambulance, lights flashing, heading out.  This morning I spoke with Scot (who is running some of the bat tours, though as it turns out not last night) and he said that Larry, who does some of the astronomy workshops here, had started to feel ill after dinner and his blood pressure had sky-rocketed.  

I woke up around 6:00 this morning and was in the swimming pool not long after 6:30, so I was able to finish my 1/2 mile before anyone came to drain the pool. Relaxing in the Apple Pool afterward I was recognized by Craig; he remembered me from last year when I filed down a nasty sharp tree root that had the nerve to grow right in the middle of one of the paths.

Also at the pool was Sophie, with her people, Elizabeth & David.

Sophie's 10, but still quite spry.  David said Sophie hiked a 14-er with him last week, and did great.

Not all dogs are such good mountain climbers.  The other day, when I was leaving the Party Pool, a woman was having a 'discussion' with her little dog which had planted itself firmly at the fork in the path there.  It was quite obvious that the dog wanted to turn left to the party pool, and not right.  Turns out the woman was just headed to the Waterfall Pool, a short minute-walk on the level path.  But that path also leads to the top pool, where they'd gone yesterday.  That trail is a very steep 1/4 mile climb (that feels much longer!) which the dog obviously remembered and did not want to repeat!

As long as my camera was handy <g> I snapped some more photos around the pool.  I think this is a columbine flower.

And the light looked great for some additional pix of the Mexican Hat coneflowers.  First I snapped this one.

And then I noticed the shaft of sunlight, and snapped another hoping to catch it. I did!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I may have mentioned that one of the (many) things I like about Valley View is the people I meet here.  Today that was a couple from Houston, John and Charlie-Jean, who are artists.  When I happened to mention that I live in Phoenix he told me that his entry won a competition for a (mile-long?) wall along Dunlap Ave. in Phoenix.  That was 7 years ago, but what with all the beaurocratic snafus (long story) it hasn't actually happened yet - though it's looking like maybe in November.  We plan to keep in touch, and I hope to be able to watch some of the progress during the expected 2-week installation.

Terry was able to go to yoga today while I stayed with Neil. She hadn't been able to go for months, and even though she said today she stretched muscles she'd forgotten she had I think she really enjoyed the chance to go. However tomorrow she may really be ready for a soak in the nice warm water!

Last evening I used Terry's phone to call Patti and we all sang her Happy Birthday.  I didn't talk long because they were just sitting down to dinner, but long enough to ask if she'd started back to work that day.  She hadn't.  :)

Tom took an alarm clock (set for for 4:15!) out to the truck with him last night because this morning he needed to pick up Reggie on The Row at 5:00.  The plan was to meet Reggie's friend (Mike?) at 9:00 near Lake George (where Mike owns some property) and go rock hunting. I woke up at 5:05 this morning and did not really want to get out of bed, but I am a big believer in Murphy's Law.  IF I didn't go check, the alarm clock would not have gone off and Tom would still be asleep.  If I did go check, the truck would (of course) be gone. So I got up. <g> The good news is that after confirming that the truck was indeed gone I eventually went back to sleep (and slept in) so it's been a lazy morning.  

I did, however, clean the bathroom and start a load of towels for Terry.  She mentioned that Michael had commented on how much help we have been (did I mention that yesterday Tom helped hang the large second gate) and added that she certainly is in no hurry for us to leave.  My assumption was we'd blast off in a week (after bookclub) but Terry says she doesn't need us to leave until the next (big) wave of company arrives August 12th.

Here it is 10:30 and I haven't even been up to the pools yet.  At this rate I'm guessing I've lost my opportunity for swimming laps.  If I said I was crushed would you believe me? Lol

Monday, July 27, 2015

This afternoon was spent reading in the shade by the pool.  I finished Good Kings, Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum, which is the current selection for Terry's bookclub, which meets next Monday.  

"Bellwether Award winner Susan Nussbaum's powerful novel invites us into the lives of a group of typical teenagers - alienated, funny, yearning for autonomy - except that they live in an institution for juveniles with disabilities.  This unfamiliar, isolated landscape is much the same as the world outside: friendships are forged, trust is built, love affairs are kindled, and rules are broken.  But those who call it home have little or no control over their fate. Good Kings Bad Kings challenges our definitions of what  it means to be disabled in a story told with remarkable authenticity and in voices that resound with humor and spirit."

I like this spot where two of the creeks converge (and have taken several pix I just haven't posted) but this afternoon when I went by I noticed that someone was making excellent use of it!

I swam another quarter mile today, and this time without stopping.  HOWEVER, before anyone gets too impressed, today I did all but the last length breast stroke.  There was a woman in there really swimming laps - but I'm only competing against myself, and I did better today than yesterday when I didn't swim any.

It's always a bonus when you see a penguin, right? Here's one I ran into on my walk back down for breakfast -

Later in the Apple pool we were chatting with Scott, a hiker & biker who is volunteering here for two weeks leading the evening tours up to the bat cave.  

When I found out he lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas I told him how I spent my first year there. (My parents "honeymooned" driving from NYC to Fayetteville so that Dad could start a teaching job at the law school; I arrived a year later.  We stayed until I was one, when the Korean War emptied the law school of most of its students.  That meant there were fewer professors needed, and as the last hired Dad was the first fired. That's when we moved to the DC area.

Scott asked if I'd ever been back (no), though on a trip through in their RV some years ago Mom and Dad tried to find the little house they had built (with help from some of his law students) and weren't able to.  Scott says Fayetteville has doubled since he moved there in the 1980s, so not surprising that a tiny house built out in the middle of nowhere in 1949 has since been swallowed up.  He says if I can find out where it was (will have to see if Mom can give me some route number crossroads) he'll send me a picture of what it looks like now.

Doe and fawn posed perfectly (sideways but looking directly at me) right outside the fence here at the house this morning - but without remembering to turn off the flash on my camera all I got was the reflection of the flash on the glass.  Said flash, of course, sent them running.

Guess I'll go swim my laps and try to redeem myself... <g>

Yesterday was Betty's 92nd (!) birthday, but sadly she spent it in the hospital. She's not doing too well these days, though I haven't been able to access FB lately so without cellphone coverage I don't have the most recent details from Tracy.

Today is Patti's birthday, and I'm guessing she's having to spend it back at work after the summer hiatus. Not the best way to celebrate a birthday, right?

Speaking of birthdays reminds me of presents.  Yesterday morning Shadow left one for me in the bathroom, a headless bunny.  Could have been worse - he could have put it on my bed, right?  Sadly just while we've been here he's also caught at least a couple of the hummingbirds.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

I was in a "mood" last night, so not only did I have trouble falling asleep, but I was up during the night.  Still in a crappy mood this morning I decided to pass on swimming laps and went straight to soaking.  I even had the party pool to myself for a while.

People did dribble in after a bit.  The does don't seem to mind the hum of conversation, and come right down to the water's edge to graze.

New arrivals to the pool warrant her attention, but don't really bother her.

Her fawn, however, is a different story.  We could hear it calling to her from the safety of the woods (the sound is a cross between a meow and a squeak) though she didn't seem to care, and pretty much ignored it.  I managed this shot, which captured the spots.

Yesterday Neil had difficulty climbing the steps out of the party pool, complaining of their slipperiness.  And he's right; the thick growth of algae (which thrives in the warm water) had made them treacherous.  So this morning I borrowed a bristle brush from Mark and went to work.  It was not as difficult as I thought it might be, and in short order I had the railing and steps scrubbed back down to the metal.  Everyone using them afterward was properly appreciative.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Another busy morning at the Party Pool.  For starters, I learned to count to 5 in Hungarian: egy, ketto, harom, negs, ot.  (Thank you, Edit.) 

Then I practiced my stone-stacking skills, making it to 5 today.

It didn't last long, because  this 5-month-old puppy (does anyone else see a pattern developing here?) came to investigate, and there went my stack of rocks.

These dogs behaved more maturely, waiting patiently for their people outside the swimming pool gate.

Took more photos, this from the trail between the Party and Swimming pool.

Lots of pretty flowers around the swimming pool.

Walking back to the house I always check out the cars for interesting bumper stickers, etc.  These intrigued me, so once back at the house I checked it out on the computer.

FSM stands for Flying Spaghetti Monster, the "deity of Pastafarianism, a social movement that opposed the teaching of intelligent design and creationism in schools.  It was first described by Bobby Henderson in a 2005 open letter to the Kansas State Board of Education to protest their decision to permit teaching intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in public schools science classes." 

Can't figure out how to post the link using my iPad, but you can look it up for yourself.

I reached the 1/2 mile mark the morning, which feels good! Now I have to decide if I'm going to keep adding 4 lengths each day, aiming for a mile. That would be an admirable goal. 

Then it was time for a relaxing soak in the apple pool (after my less-than-graceful entrance) and after that I rewarded myself with breakfast: fresh peaches in some of Terry's homemade yogurt.  I've taken care of  a few of the housekeeping tasks: the laundry is folded and put away, and I also vacuumed now that we seem to be done with the rain.

Seems like it might be time to hit the Party Pool and toss in some more goodies for the kids.  When I did that the other day one of the grandmas told her charges that they were seeing a fairy in action.

We dined in Salida last night, outside and riverside at the Boathouse.  Dinner was delicious (and filling) and as we pigged out we watched the kayakers playing in the Arkansas.  Some were still out there when we left.... Brr!

As a bonus we also got to listen to some live music from inside.  Apparently they were having country swing lessons last night, so I especially enjoyed their selections.

Once back at the house I tried staying up to watch the next segment of Faces of America (Becoming American), but just couldn't keep my eyes open so I went to bed.  Then, around 11:00, Terry woke me with a phone call from Hoogie.  It's a good thing I'd given him her phone number; he couldn't find the gate key to get in and take care of irrigation.  Luckily the key was where it was supposed to be and he'd just misinterpreted my directions.

This morning I've already washed a load of laundry, and now while it's in the dryer I'll go swim my laps.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The rest of the morning was spent relaxing in the party pool.

Tom certainly enjoyed the overcast skies.

Terry & Neil enjoying their soak -

This fawn was a little camera shy, but did give us a brief glimpse.

I played with some of the rocks, though never could get my ducks more than 3 or 4 high.

This is the wider view beyond my rock shot (above.)