Spring has finally sprung up here in the mountains! I know, most you have been in full bloom since late April, but up here, it’s a late occurrence and last week our Aspen trees finally bloomed giving us some new life up here. My lavender plants on the other hand – well, let’s just say that most are still pretty dormant save for a leaf or two that are turning from the standard dead-brush brown to silvery gray/green. I don’t know what I was thinking when I was dreaming up a lavender farm up here. Sure, they do great up here when they come back to life, but the growing season is so short up here that when most people are harvesting their lavender in June, I’m just starting to see them grow and don’t usually harvest until September. Ah well, still fun to tend to in the short season.
This past weekend we hosted a good friend of mine up in the mountains. She lives “down the hill” as we say and she wanted a change of zip codes, so to speak, to get a sense of a holiday weekend as she had to work today. What I love about her is that she doesn’t need to be entertained…she is happy just sitting, enjoying the view, reading, journaling, chatting, etc. – the simple things. This makes hosting oh-so-easy and allows me to also do the same relaxing. And there was lots of food to be had – from quiche and homefries to grilled sausages and homemade sweet potato fries to grilled chicken souvlaki/gyros to buttermilk pancakes. And homemade mojitos…perfect for a sunny weekend! This type of weekend beats any outing in my book. We had a great time.
So the bear…oh the bear…it’s back. Actually, I think it’s more of an off-spring. There is a very active online community up here that we refer to often when trying to figure out where a wildfire might be to who’s a recommended tree cutter to where to get our local fresh eggs (which taste awesome by the way – yolks are buttery/creamy – like no eggs I’ve ever eaten!). Well, this online community has been chatting up about a mama bear and her two cubs lately. I have no way of knowing if the bear I encountered last week was part of that family, but I assumed it was just another bear. Well last night, after my friend left for home, we had our deck doors open in the evening and our husky Sierra outside on the deck – her favorite place. All of a sudden we hear a loud menacing bark and I looked at David puzzled and asked “was that Sierra?” because she never barks so we don’t hear it often but this even sounded different from her rare “leave me alone” bark that she uses to get Zoe off of her. I heard a thud similar to the sound I heard when the bear visited last week and was climbing the deck. We jumped up, turned on the deck light and brought out flashlights. Sure enough, we saw a smaller bear running away and up a tree. Looked about the size of our dog, much smaller than what I encountered earlier. Perhaps this was another bear? Perhaps this was the cub of the mama bear? Needless to say, we have to be extra careful. Last week’s visit was clearly not a one-time fluke. This time, however, was much more calmer – I wasn’t being woken up in the middle of a dead sleep, I wasn’t alone and it wasn’t on our top deck, so this time was much more intriguing. I charged the camera on my battery and waited, but no further visits happened. Our good girl Sierra scared it away which is what needs to happen for the safety of everyone/every animal involved.
So our car is sick…we share a’99 Volvo and it has cost us a LOT of money over time. Parts and service are expensive. It is a pill. But after David’s truck was totalled, we had no choice but to stick it out. We’ve been fortunate that it’s been running smooth for the past year or two, no major fixes needed, but on our way up the hill from running last minute errands on Friday, it started to overheat and shake and shimmy. No bueno. It doesn’t help that the closest Volvo dealer is an hour away. So we’ll get it checked out tomorrow hopefully. But now we’re trying to figure out how much money we further sink into it before calling it quits and getting a newer vehicle? As it is, we need to replace the brakes and get new tires…fixes that will cost no less than $500; then if we have another $500-$1000 in expenses, we have the tough decision of paying it out and holding onto the car for as long as possible (and hope it lasts us another 50K-100K miles) or trade it in and get a used vehicle (which could then cost us $200-$300/month in car payments). Even if all the fixes came to $1,500 it could last another year vs. a car payment that could cost us $2,400-$3,600/year. I don’t know. Sure it would be nice to have a newer, fancier vehicle that is more reliable and gives us peace of mind but does it justify the extra cost. *sigh* Did I mention that my cell phone kicked the bucket this week and my power cord for my laptop also took its last electronic breath this week. Not a good week for the wallet, but hopefully the rule of “everything happens in 3′s” is complete. Unplanned expenses just plain suck.
Speaking of sick, that is the state of my husband. Today is our wedding anniversary and we started off the morning in urgent care. He is sweetly apologetic about being sick on our anniversary, but I reminded him that this is a true testament to marriage – taking care of one another. We spent the day napping and watching TV (which – by the way – is going very well! Don’t miss cable at all).
So remember how I was taking an ice skating class and trying to get past the misery? Well it finished and we signed up for another. I actually look forward to skating and getting my technique down. The only issue I’m having is with skating backwards and cross-overs but keep trying and going to the practice skate session to figure it out. I mentioned that I have always wanted to learn how to speed skate but needed to learn how to not only stand but skate around without losing my balance. Last week we went to a public skate session and be still my beating heart, there were two speed skaters there. I mustered up the courage to approach them about their history with speed skating and they were delightful to talk to. They even gave me a business card of one of the two rinks in Colorado that has speed skating sessions and I think I might check it out! I can’t believe that 2 months ago, I could barely stand on the ice, now I’m actually thinking about joining a speed skating group? Crazy. I think I’ll continue my 2nd skating class and learn those crossovers before I try my hand at speed skating. However, I’m proud of myself for pushing past the fear and the tears, for continuing on with something I had loathed and now I really enjoy. Go figure!
One final thought. I know some of you might be wondering “what happened to Friday shop updates” and “are you even doing art anymore?” After we went away to Rocky Mtn. National Park, I needed to do some thinking and planning with regards to my business. So I took a break from creating, hence no shop updates. I found I was all over the place and inundating myself with ideas so much so that I was feeling overwhelmed and getting nothing accomplished. I’m also one of those weird types that can’t focus if my environment is cluttered. Having a visitor stay with us for a weekend gave us the final push to organize our downstairs, finally donate the bags and boxes of goods that had filled up our guest room and clean up my studio which looked like a tornado had descended upon. Now I feel like I can refocus and jump back into it again. I’ve been fortunate to have received custom orders in the past couple weeks, but I need to list new items again, so expect to see a Friday shop update this week!
Okay, enough of the random ramblings. Hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!