Working on the Railroad
Spring break continues. Sticking with the themes of the week (doing things, being good hosts, video highlight reels), our latest GC covers our Wednesday on the D&SNGRR. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad has been a staple of southwest Colorado since before the time of dial-up internet, and with Laura and Ashley having never been on a real train before (and Gracie and I looking for our own ‘southwest firsts’), we decided to give the old steam engine a try. Awesome decision.
A misty, snowy morning melted into a beautiful afternoon on the ol’ railroad. Enjoy the highlights- I’ve only been working on them all the livelong day.
Until next time,
Day at the ABQ Zoo
Exhale stress. As the worries of the school year melt away in the week-long oasis that is Spring Break, Gracie and I find ourselves playing host again. This time, Laura and Ashley (two of Gracie’s old high school friends) are sharing their time off with us in the southwest. They flew into Albuquerque on Saturday night, and we spent Sunday at the ABQ BioPark (Zoo/Aquarium/Botanical Gardens) before making the four hour drive back to Cortez in a sandstorm.
I’ve actually really enjoyed having visitors, as it’s forced me to spend my break actually doing something, instead of just sitting on the couch watching my Rockies and squeezing the cat. Here’s a highlight reel from our day at the zoo. Enjoy.
Until next time,
It’s nice to have visitors. It’s really nice when those visitors drive for three days to see us. Makes us feel special.
So as I mentioned in my last post, my sister (Alanna), her husband (Luke), and their two kiddos (three-year-old Keegan and two-year-old Lucy) spent three days crossing the thousand+ miles in a van to come see us on their spring break. They left still-snowy Wisconsin on a Friday and finally pulled into Cortez on a Sunday afternoon. How they survived a trip that size with two toddlers is beyond me. #TrueMeaningofDetermination
Gracie and I had thought that during our week playing host our cozy shack would probably feel more like a cramped, noisy elevator, and it turns out we were right! Within ten minutes of arriving Keegan had sprinted into one of the rose bushes in our front yard and spent the next hour screaming like someone’d told him Jake and the Neverland Pirates had been cancelled. Poor guy. Things got better for Keegs from there.
Like any good hosts, Gracie and I knew we wanted to try to cram as much action as possible into the family’s small window of vacation. Among the highlights, we went to the park to feed the ducks (In Cortez the ducks do not respect personal space), had a family screening of Frozen, did as much National Park hiking as humanly possible with two toddlers and my quite-pregnant sister, made two trips to Cortez’s amazing rec center (How have we never used it until now?), and golfed 18 at our local course 'El Conquistador'.
While cycling through my header photos you might have noticed an image of a golf ball next to what appears to be a sleeping goose. SPOILER ALERT: That goose is actually dead. While Luke and I can neither confirm nor deny any involvement in the death of the animal, I can say that we chased a drive over a hill to find the ball resting in close proximity to the deceased. I like to think the bird passed of natural causes. Heart attack, maybe. Or eating too much gravel.
Speaking of eating too much, during their week in the four-corners region, the family got to experience some of the finest dining Cortez has to offer: "The Molcajete"- a sizzling cast-iron pig stuffed with a bevy of meats, Stonefish Sushi - a legitimately delicious sushi restaurant in the middle of the desert (Above: a Volcano Roll- six spicy lobster rolls covered with a cone of spicy lobster and topped with roe lava. Try it.), and my world-famous Sweet and Sour Pulled Pork. I know we ate more than that during the week, but my memory fails me. OH YEAH- fruit snacks. The kids ate several pounds of fruit snacks. We’re still finding them in, around, and under the furniture.
The Bottom Line
As I’m home alone writing in a quiet house, I find myself missing the sound of the little ones running around and knocking things over. Fast, fun week of quality time with my niece and nephew (and Alanna and Luke). Oh, and we got our first guestbook signature!
Until next time,
Lucy loves her some duck slide.
Mol. Ca. Jete.
A few months ago in a post about the ABQ International Balloon Fiesta I wrote that seeing a balloon from my Grandma’s hometown was “the most incredible ‘it’s-a-small-world-after-all’ happenstance I’ve ever experienced”. I think that just got topped. This week Gracie and I hosted my sister, her hubby and their two little ones on their spring break. And while I’ll get to all of that in a later post, today I’ve gotta share a story about what happened along the way.
I’d arranged to take two personal days this week (Wednesday and Thursday) so I could better see that my family had a proper southwest experience. We’d planned to go to Arches National Park on Wednesday, and with two toddlers and my sister being quite pregnant, we knew we couldn’t do a ton of hiking; we were going to see the arches that were most accessible.
We hiked around Windows for a bit, then drove to the north end of the park to see Landscape. I was loitering in front of the trailhead sign, trying to see how far of a hike it was to Landscape, when I felt someone standing close behind me. Being as polite (read: non-confrontational) as I am, I apologized and stepped aside to share the sign. And then I heard “Ian?”
I turned, expecting to see someone Gracie and I have known or worked with here in Cortez. Instead, it was Susan, the para I worked with last year back in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Mind blown.
For about five minutes, Mrs. W (As the kids and I called her- her last name is a W followed by a few handfuls of the most difficult Scrabble letters) and I just laughed at the bizarre coincidence that we’d bump into each other at a trailhead some thousand+ miles and almost a year from the last time we’d seen each other. We caught up a bit, shared some work stories, and were on our separate ways. Oh, and she finally got to meet Gracie!
Until next time,
That cute leafy border is pretty manly too.
-Cadbury, on Facebook
Mancave: Manliness Under Review
I like to think I’ve carefully crafted my digital projection of myself. Nothing gets slapped on my Facebook wall without first being approved by me, I make multiple drafts of my statuses before posting them, and I’ve hid friends from my feed for nothing more than misusing possessive ‘their’. I was always so careful… until I wasn’t. Last week, in my haste to gloat about my recent garage projects, I posted the following picture and caption without taking the time to consider every conceivable way it might be interpreted. Pride goeth before the fall.
"New mancave shelf. Swish."
Fairly straightforward, right? Non-threatening? For my time and effort out in the garage I’d anticipated no less than a digital round of applause, handshakes and manly slaps on the back. But in reality, shortly after submission my post was met with sarcasm, jeers, and pokes. "Why did you paint your mancave peach?" "Did you pin this on your Manterest board?" "Wo, man cave?" "Where are all the deer heads and beer cans and other manly things?" Animals.
Now in retrospect, that border I picked doesn’t exactly scream manly, and a poke about it here or there was probably deserved… but the broad wave of vitriol launched towards me rocked me in such a way that I now find myself in the position of stubbornly defending my mancave. Upon further review, I’m confident you’ll overturn any challenge of my mancave’s manliness.
- The first thing you’d likely see upon entering my mancave might be my Packer stock, if it weren’t for my countless (three or four) other pieces of Packer art and memorabilia obstructing your view. A canvas of Rodgers hoisting Lombardi. Another of Lambeau during Week 1 of the 2011 season. A newspaper clipping featuring Nick Collins celebrating in the end zone during XLV along with one of Nick’s football cards I’d found describing that very play on the back side. And yes, being a Packers shareholder does entitle me to make important decisions for the future of the franchise. Manly.
- You know those shelves you were poking at? They came from a pile of sticks. STICKS!!!!! Real manly.
- If you glance to the northwest corner of my cave it’d be hard to miss my flatscreen. It’s way too big for the room, I paid too much for it, and I really didn’t need it anyway. Undoubtedly manly.
- You’ll probably chuckle when you notice that I have quite a few plants in my mancave. The truth is, most of them are dying because I can’t be bothered to consider their needs for water or sunlight. Absolutely manly.
- Yes, there are small nick-nacks on my shelves. I put them there because it made my wife happy. You bet, manly.
- On the north wall is a growing collection of national park posters framed with old wooden boards. Those close to the source say most of those boards were salvaged from the decks of old whaling vessels. Distinctly manly.
- I don’t have a skylight, but I’ve been thinking about adding it to my list of projects. Quite manly.
- In the center of the room is a bulky old coffee table I got at a garage sale for $5 a few years ago. Gracie’s been trying to get rid of it for some time now. She’s failed. On top of that table is a terrarium in which I planted a cactus so sharp it could probably kill you if you swallowed a half dozen or so of them. Without question, manly.
- Lastly, from my mancave window I can gaze upon the monolithic Mesa Verde, a place where a thousand years ago people commuted to work by climbing up and down cliffs. Traffic jams didn’t lead to today’s passive-aggressive road rage. They lead to death plummets. Ridiculously manly.
As you can see, in the time of chimpanzees I am a caveman.
Until next time,
After seeing my workshop game on that shelf, I guess my swooning wife started thinking of other junk she wanted fixed up. The other day while she was antiquing with Trena, Gracie sent me a picture of ‘my next project’. With my sister, her hubby, and their kiddos planning to visit little Cortez, Colorado on their spring break just a few weeks from now, our house was in dire need of an entryway bench to sit on while we tie our shoes. Or so I’d been told.
Three days later I’d finished my first-ever reupholstery project. It was kind of fun.
Until next time,
Winter in southwest Colorado isn’t the same animal I’d grown up with in Wisconsin. Back home it’s long, ugly, and eventually chokes the life out of you. Like a boa. Here it’s tamer, cuddlier, and altogether more pleasant to be around. It’s supposed to rain all weekend in Cortez, and I wouldn’t be surprised if our lawn was already green next week as the result.
And along with all this early spring weather… come GARAGE PROJECTS. Whenever Gracie wants me to do chores I hide in the garage and build stuff for a few hours. The other day she wanted me to do the dishes. So I built this shelf from a pile of sticks instead. Manly.
Until next time,
Friday was our 100th day of school. I don’t remember it being this way when I was little, but it’s a pretty serious deal now. As such, earlier in the week I sent out a note and a plastic bag asking each of my kids to bring in 100 pieces of something edible to make a ‘100th Day Trail Mix’.
When the bags came back on Friday, they were filled with…
One hundred Cheetos, Cheerios, Honeycombs, craisins, chocolate chips, Goldfish, Cocoa Puffs, strawberry marshmallows, M&Ms, Peanut M&Ms, Peanut Butter M&Ms, Rolos, wrapped Hershey Kisses, uncooked macaroni noodles, and one Xbox game.
If you could get past the crunch of the noodles and the Xbox game, the mix was actually pretty decent.
Until next time,