Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Study In Comparative Energy

Camp de-I was at capacity this weekend with the arrival of granddaughter 1.1 to join her cousin and soul mate 2.2 (they are just a few months apart in age and have always gotten along famously even though they don't see each other very often).  One of the top attractions at Camp de-I is the outing to The Hinkle Family Fun Center, which is not a full fledged amusement park but has a host of activities kids love and is just minutes from the Tower.

Wanting to beat the heat and the crowds we got there just when it opened at 10 AM and until around 1 PM there weren't a whole lot of people there.  This allowed us to do multiple repetitions of all the things they liked with very little waiting.  Wife and I participated to the greatest extent possible.  Over five hours this consisted of:
  • Bumper boats (my favorite because they have squirt guns and it turns into a free for all of soaking) - 4 times
  • Bumper cars - 4 times
  • Trampoline/Bungee jumping - 1 time
  • Go carts - 2 times
  • Laser tag - 4 times
  • Laser frenzy (crossing a laser beam space) - 2 times
 Wife and I managed to do all the bumper boat, bumper cars, and go carts (we had to drive).  I made it through 1 laser tag, Wife through a second.  We skipped the trampoline and laser frenzy.  By 3 PM we were exhausted.  1.1 and 2.2 were lining up there next few hours of activities.  The Grandparents pulled rank.

To add insult to injury (real injury as the jolting from the bumper cars and go carts had caused havoc with our various arthritis issues) while wife and I sat comatose in our chairs nursing a drink, the grand kids continued to play for hours more and finished up before going to bed with about an hour of dancing exercise!

They did sleep late the next morning.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Camp de-I

Isn't it the dream of every young child to get to spend time at fabulous Camp de-I in the summer?  No?  It is only their nightmares?  Only de-I's children who have a desire to ship out their little ones for a break from summer child care would actually send their kids to Camp de-I because it's free?


Well nonetheless we have the lovely 2.2 enrolled in the de-I Overnight Camp. There are all kinds of activities for her to indulge in.  Of course there is Sandia Outfitters Guide Training.  So I took 2.2 out for a hike and I think she thought it was more like being a Sandia Outfitter client than a guide...little does she know!

Then there is always the popular baking classes

The Extreme Exercise Class

Crafts of course

The Ice Cream Social with homemade Ice Cream

Finally, there is 2.2's FAVORITE activity.  If you live in a house with 3 siblings and have two step siblings for the summer where you can NEVER get time for yourself.  You sign up for........


Where you spend hours in your bunk happily playing with your device and no one tells you where to go or bugs you or gives you chores. 

Ahhhhhh bliss.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sunset, Sunrise, New Addition

While I'm working on my opus post bringing the whole transition cycle to a close (I actually have a page and a half of outlined notes!) and finally find the time to write it, more monsoonal pictures plus a surprise guest member to the de-I household.



New Addition

Granddaughter 2.2 who is almost 9 (in a couple of weeks) flew all by herself from the East Coast to spend time with de-I and Wife.  We went shopping for some food and she told us she wanted to make this fruit and goat cheese salad for us.  We no sooner in the door then she had me being sous chef while she prepared her apple, raspberry, blueberry, goat cheese salad. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hanging Gardens Updte

Things are progressing along nicely with the Hanging Gardens project.  There's a lot less disruption and chaos involved with this than with Crystal Palace project.  We may be about two weeks til completion (roughly).

Sorry about the shadows

Monday, July 14, 2014

Making Bastille Day Relevant To The United States In The 21st Century

You may not know that today is Bastille Day but all we Francophiles sure are.  The Storming of the Bastille was one of the defining moments of the French Revolution.  Nowadays in the US the most that happens on Bastille Day is people go and eat French food and drink French wine.  But maybe we should not be so blase about this and remember some of the causes of the French Revolution in the first place.

The French Revolution was ultimately caused by the great disparity between an elite class that dominated the distribution of financial resources and a government that was highly dysfunctional and unresponsive.  Perhaps as you consider the long-term trends in the US of the more and more economic rewards accruing to the wealthiest class and a more and more remote, dysfunctional government you might wonder if our future might look more like pre-Revolution France.

Of course, one would hope that things never got that bad here but it is dangerous to ignore symptoms and trends.  Hence my proposal to turn Bastille Day into a US holiday complete with activities that would remind our elites and government of the ultimate penalties that might accrue to those who blithely ignore their responsibilities to the common good

My Revised 21st Century US Bastille Day Celebration

The key to the new Bastille Day celebration will be the reminder to all that the highest classes do have responsibility to to common good and that in the great scheme of things there is accountability.  To achieve this we would revive that great tradition of the French Revolution of lopping of heads with the guillotine! 

Now the last thing we want is a return to the Reign of Terror.  God forbid.  We just need a gentle reminder to those who might abuse their positions that there are ultimate consequences to greed and self-deception.

Each year we would start our celebration on the 4th of July, our own proclamation of independence and of personal freedom.  On the 4th there would be the beginning of lottery to chose the one person from the elites who would be their personal representative to be led to the guillotine.  On the 4th all the appropriate names would be entered into the lottery.  This would include at a minimum the President and all his Cabinet, all the members of the Senate and House of Representatives, the Supreme Court, the CEO's of the Fortune 500, etc.  But certainly there should be more.  Maybe the major entertainment stars, athletes, state political figures, high level career bureaucrats, hedge fund and private equity managers.  It would take a lot of thought to make sure we properly defined who the elite class was.

Anyway, all those peoples names go into the lottery on the 4th.  Then with great fanfare and hoopla on each of the succeeding 6 days (think a giant nationwide reality TV show) one half of the remaining people on the list are removed from consideration.  Think of the media field day of showing the faces of those that are coming out of the lottery pool and those that are still in!

That takes us to the 10th of July.  On the 11th of July, the remaining names are put into the lottery ball type machine and just like the daily lotteries around the country, some lucky member of the hoi poloi picks the name of the elite member to be sacrificed.  More great media moments; those that are not going and the in depth look at the person who will be the representative of their class.

On the 12th we start the ceremonial process of building the guillotine by the Washington Monument.  There are all kinds of specials on the media about the French Revolution and its causes.  Our elites (who are not chosen) are all proclaiming their commitment to the value of the greater good and the specific things they will do in the coming year to make good on those commitments.  Our chosen elite sacrifice is feted, interviewed, stories of his or her life are shown.  Then on the 14th we do the complete enactment including a procession on a cart to where the beheading is done.  There are lots of postmortem stuff done by our elites to ensure effective stewardship of their role at the top of the pyramid.

I think that within a very short period we'd see a better balance in our country and real addressing of problems.  Help me make the New Bastille Day part of our traditions.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Odds and Ends

I always have these good intentions of writing certain things but they often get delayed.  The 'transition' process has really picked up and I think I can say that I've really turned the page.  Hopefully a fuller post later but one sign is that I filed to get Social Security on Thursday.  Like all government related processes it seemed a lot more complicated that it need be.

We have been blessed with an early monsoon.  Yay.  Given our deep drought conditions this is welcome.  It also means they've reopened the national forest so hiking is back on the agenda.  And of course we get the beautiful sunsets that come with monsoon season.

Meanwhile the backyard renovation continues.  All the new retaining walls are in and they've started the brick work.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Construction Update

Now that we're back from the reunion the backyard remodel is in full swing.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Reunion 2014 Report

We got back on Friday afternoon from Wife's family's 5th reunion.  They've really got things down pretty well.  This was a much reduced version because of a number of influences so we only had maybe 50% of the total it could have been.  Yet this turned out to be a blessing because we got to spend much more time with various family members than we usually do.  In particular we got to spend lots of time with some of our nieces that we really didn't know that well and that was fun and rewarding.

Wife and I were careful to remember what we learned from our recent European trip and did not push ourselves too hard.  The family has developed a system where each family takes responsibility for a meal.  That means there's only one meal you have to purchase, prepare and clean up after.  Everyone finds it far easier and fairer.  Plus everyone was upping their culinary game as well.

We did a lot of hanging around and talking.  Being in Colorado was great.  Many fewer bugs than the Midwest.  Cooler and drier too.  It was only a 5 hour drive from where we live.  This will be probably the one and only time that we have a reunion this close to us so Wife and I reveled in the lack of travel bounty.

Tribal Rites

First thing we did was get henna tattoos from one of our nieces

Maybe I'm Not A Romantic

One of our major excursions was spending a day on the Durango to Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway.  This gets talked up by people as one of the things you must do in this neck of the woods.  The romance of the old coal powered steam engine going through spectacular scenery.  I for one found it to be something I could have missed.  The experience of sitting in very bumpy 19th century style rail cars for 7 hours was rough on the body.  The spewing of coal fired smoke so that you had ashes and cinders on you while you looked at the lovely scenery through your own personal cloud of pollution grated at the green, granola eater in me.  And frankly I though scenery I saw driving and hiking was equal to anything we saw on the railroad.  Not something I need to do again.

The Train

Some of the better scenery from the traion

Domestic Tranquility

Another niece doing dishes

Sister-in-law, blogger, In The Sticks, practices her Medieval barbering skills.  Hubby wasn't feeling well so I think she was doing leeching next.

Her she models her motorcycle amour.  
This inspired me to develop motor cycle jousting for our next reunion.


Many of the family members love the outdoors and hiking.
Right by our campground was a trail into the San Juan National Forest, the Bear Creek Canyon Trail.
It was spectacular.

Scenes On The Road

We drove to Telluride one day and stopped to take these pictures of some of Colorado's 14,000 foot peaks.