Wednesday, September 22, 2010

See You at the Pole....or maybe not. :/

It was brought to my attention, by many friends' facebook postings, that today was See You at the Pole.  If you are not familiar it is a national student lead prayer meeting.  Basically every schools flag pole is the designated meeting place for students, teachers, staff and parents who want to pray together for their school, our president, and country. 

Last year Gabriel and I met at his school which had a huge turn out!  His principal came as well.  We stood with our sweet friends, the Morgans, and prayed.  Not everyone says a prayer but we are all in agreement together. 

Last night, when I read those posts, it made me realize that I had not heard anything about it.  I asked Gabriel if he had heard anything from the other students.  He had not. 

"It might not be something that they have ever done at your school Gabe.  Do you still want to go?  It may be that we are the only ones there."

Gabriel did not miss a beat.  He "of course" wanted to go.  This would be Drew's first SYTP and so he wanted to go to.  I called my neighbor to see if she had heard anything about it.  She had not heard of it this year or any year. 

"They say Colorado is a purple state,"  she said.  "We are not very far left or right."

Interesting.  I think I labeled myself as purple just this past election but SYTP is not a political issue to me.  It's not an issue at all.  You go and you pray for your friends, teachers, safety of the school, blessings on our president and wisdom for our leaders. 

I was beginning to realize we might be the only ones.

So this morning I got the boys up.  Drew said he decided he did not want to pray at the school because it was boring.  I told him that was fine but that he would need to be quiet while other people are praying.  Gabriel came in, pounding his fist into his hand.

"What did you say?  Did you say that praying is boring?!  You better take that back!"

Aye yi yi!  I had to pull that one aside for a talk about Christ's love and grace....geez.

We got to the school in record time.  There was no one there but it was a bit early so I thought we would wait.  In the mean time the boys ran around "shooting" each other. 

Great.  I hope we don't get in trouble for playing "guns" on school property.

The game switched to tag and then hide-and-go-seek and one came.  Then a mom walked up with her kids.  She smiled at us and the kids all said "hi."

"Are you here for See You at the Pole?"  I asked.

"  What is that?"

I explained.  She cocked her head to the side and said "Cool.  Never heard of it.  We are just here for school."


The buses started to come (all two of them) and so I called the boys over.

"It looks like no one is coming.  Would you still like to pray for your school?"

They both agreed that they did and so we joined hands and bowed our heads.  Drew opened it up thanking our Father "for this beautiful day.  Be with us all at school and let it be fun and safe."  Gabriel prayed much the same thing but added a request for less homework.  Then I prayed for the students, teachers and staff.  I prayed for a great school year, for safety, for God's peace, love and mercy over their school.  I prayed for our principal and then for the president.  (I also prayed for a good outcome in the next election here.  There is some amendments that could effect Colorado schools.)  And that was that. 

With a hug and a kiss they went on to class.  I got in my car and cried the whole way home. 

I would like to say that I cried because there was not anyone there to pray but mostly I cried because the experience compounded my longing for "home."  I knew that this morning our good friends were praying together and my sons and I prayed alone.

I have made a great friend in my neighbor, Caren, and she has been awesome about putting lots of new faces in mine.  I know many people here but we are still in the very surface level of these relationships.  On top of that is the cultural differences between Colorado and Texas.  They don't really like Texans here.  They especially let you know it on the road.  That really pisses me off because I am driving at LEAST the speed limit and drive just fine on the mountains but they still like to try and drive their car up my butt and then yell at me while they pass me.  Really if you are damn fool enough to go that fast on the mountain go right on ahead. 

I am not your stereotypical Texan.  I have no accent.  I don't do the big hair thing (well...mostly).  I dress appropriately for the grocery store and for manual labor.  i.e. I don't wear heels for every occasion.  I am not a republican. *gasp*  Probably the most Texan thing about me is that I am not a conformist.  If Coloradoans would like Texans to go away or at least blend into the background harping on them is not going to make it happen.  It makes me want to be even more obnoxious about my Texas roots. 

I sort of digressed there...  The point is: no one was there.  This made me feel more alone.  More obviously "not from around here."  I think I hear an accent coming on...

As I was driving home, Matthew West's "More" came on.

Take a look at the mountain Stretching a mile high
Take a look at the ocean
Far as your eye can see
And think of me

Take a look at the desert
Do you feel like a grain of sand?
I am with you wherever
Where you go is where I am
And I'm always thinking of you

Thanks for the serenade Jesus!

Monday, September 20, 2010

This National Geographic moment was brought you by....

Interestingly enough, Aaron and I both have cousins that live near our new home.  Mine is about 2 hours away and is my 2nd cousin.  Aaron's is also a 2nd cousin and lives about 5 minutes away!  Neither of us had ever met these relatives prior to moving here.  We went to meet Aaron's cousin this weekend. 

She and her husband are a very nice couple and have lived here for about 13 years.  I am really awful because I can't recall their names?  Debbie and Harry?  Let's call them that.  (Details, Michal!  Pay attention to details!) 

Deb and Harry live about 1000 ft higher then us.  They have seen 3 mountain lions in the time they have lived up here.  I guess the higher elevation makes a difference because my neighbors have been here for just as long and have not seen anything.  Of course Debbie tossed an unfinished hamburger out off of her deck.

"For the foxes, " she said. 

She also showed  me a smudge on her sliding glass door that was left by the nose of a bear.  They see bears quite a bit.  (Hamburger maybe?)  I had noticed a similar smudge on our front window.  I figured maybe one of the kids pressed their forehead to it or something.  I would have to see which side of the window it is on.

A very cool thing about this visit was that Debbie has scads of old photos of their family.  I mean OLD!  There were folks in Civil War uniforms and such.  This sort of thing is always such a thrill for me!  I used to work in the archives at TWU and had the privilege of transcribing oral histories, letters and diaries.  There is so much to learn from these treasures!

The best part was seeing the family resemblance in my children and Aaron, even in these old, old photos.  One particular gent was named O.E. Cox.  He was sooo good looking!  This fellow was Aaron's great grandfather.  He was apparently a pretty cruel man, sadly.  He had blue eyes!  Not many of Aaron's relatives have blue eyes.  Aaron had that in common with O.E. as well as his chin and nose.  O.E. had a gorgeous set of lips!  Aaron has a really nice bottom lip.  Bless his heart.  We don't know where his upper lip is.  God forgot it.

When we got home I examined my smudge on the window.  It was the right shape and I could see the nostrils... It's a bear!  Maybe he came to see if I left the hummingbird feeder out.  Aaron is not completely sold.  He thinks the height of the smudge is not right.  I kind of hope it is though!  I would love to see a bear.  I mean, I'd like to be in my house watching the bear from my window.  That would be cool.

Another NatGeo moment I had this weekend was a scuffle a squirrel had with a hawk.  This squirrel really bugs me.  She is very noisy.  Chatter titter chatter titter!  She does this all the time and very loudly.  She really likes to do it early in the morning or when I am just turning in for the night.  I think she is scolding my cats and warning them to keep away from her nest.  Her nest is high up in the tree that is right in front of our house.  Sometimes, when I am heading out to get the boys at the bus stop, she will be sitting on the fence post eating flower seeds.  I can get pretty close before she takes off, chirping and tittering, up into her nest.  This is what we call squirrely behavior.

Anywhoo, I was in the house when I hear her freakin' out about something, accompanied by a whole new sound.  Screeching.  I look out of my window (which is about level with the nest) and there is a huge hawk perched on the edge of the nest with it's wings spread open.  It is screeching and making all kinds of ruckus.

Oh my gosh!  He's going to eat that squirrel! 

I was all torn about it.  On one hand it would be nice to not wake up and fall asleep to the squirrel alarm.  On the other hand it sounded so scared and it would be a gruesome way to go!  I couldn't look away because I had to see if the hawk was going to eat her there or carry her off in his talons.  (Do chickens have sharp talons? - Napolean Dynamite) 

The hawk was more of a scoundrel then I thought.  He did not attack our squirrel but only bullied her out of her nest.  I think he was hoping to find babies under her.  He was a lazy hawk and did not want to wrestle with Squirrely.  (She is rather plump.)  He wanted an easy meal.  It did not appear that there was anything for him to feast upon.  It looked to me like he left with empty beak and claws.  He missed out on Squirrely too because he scared her off. 

The hawk took off (a magnificent sight) and Squirrely came out from hiding under the deck and ran up into her nest.  I could hear her softly murmuring her little chatter titters.  It was the saddest little sound!  I just wanted to shimmy up the tree and tell her it was ok.  I may leave a few nuts and seeds out for her today. 

Right about the time this happened my neighbors invited me over for wine and paninnis.  Best people ever!  Gabe and I went and, when Drew and Aaron returned from the Broncos game they were at, they joined us as well.  It was a lovely evening. 

As night fell, Drew got all nervous again.  He went out to the deck to bring his scooter in because he was afraid it would be eaten.  Right after he came in I saw a grey tail swish by.

"Was that a cat?"

We looked out and on the deck was a very young fox.  He was part grey and part red and wore black socks.  The kids all gathered on the floor at the sliding glass door.  The little fox walked right up to the door to get a close look at the kids!  Then he sat around for pictures.  My neighbor, Kevin and I were getting as many shots as we could.  Most of mine did not turn out so well.  I did not want to use a flash. When I finally did I got a pretty good shot and Little Fox did not even seem to care.

And so concluded another adventurous weekend here in the mountains of Colorado.  I did not sleep well last night and have been up since 3 a.m.  I have not heard a peep from Squirrely yet.  Ha!  I beat you this time!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Michal the Mountain Woman

I have found that I am very much a flat-lander and rather citified at that. It's not that I don't enjoy mountain living, I truly do, but I am....inexperienced.

If you follow my blogs you know that I am living where mountain lions and bears dwell. I have yet to see one but we all make sure we have the kids and pets in at dusk and dawn for safety, you don't hike alone, we bring in our hummingbird feeders, keep our trash in until pick up time and these sorts of things. I see foxes on a near daily basis and there is rumor of coyotes but they are not typically in these parts.

The previous owners of our house did have a bear on their front deck that was trying to get to their hummingbird feeder just this summer. In our neighborhood there are community chalkboards along the way advertising things for sale, lost pets and bear sightings.

It's kind of fun and novel right now. There's a small element of concern but nothing that keeps me from going out and enjoying this place.

At Baking Day this week, some of the ladies invited me to go mountain biking with them. I declined since A. I don't have a bike and B. I can't recall the last time I was on a bike on FLAT land let alone a rocky mountain terrain.

These same ladies go skiing every Wednesday during ski season and would like me to join them in that as well. Hm...we'll see. I'm not a fan of not having control.

"The more you ski the more you will gain control!" encouraged one ski bunny. I'm just wondering how many times I will have to fall down in the wet snow before I finally gain this control...

One evening one of my dear friends called from Texas. To quiet the noise of my children and the call of the dishes in the kitchen, I took a glass of wine and my phone out on to the front deck. We have a bench there that faces a lovely view and the hummingbird feeder.

The feeder was busy that evening and was providing a great show! The hummingbirds are just so beautiful and spunky! They are a bit territorial so it's fun to watch them dive bomb each other. They make a great zing-zing sound too.

So I sat there chatting with my friend, Shalah, and watching the hummingbirds when one flew right at my face! I kid you not! Very unfortunate for my friend on the phone, I screamed.

"Oh my lands!" I gasped, "A hummingbird just buzzed me and went right for my FACE!"

"Uh huh. A hummingbird, eh?"

"Yes! At my FACE!"

"Why don't you settle down there Mountain Woman. It's just a hummingbird."

"I know they are tiny but they have very long sharp beaks. Very sharp looking and quite threatening when it is coming right at you. Did I not mention it charged my FACE!"

My theory is that is was going for my wine.


Today I joined my neighbor at Red Rocks Amphitheatre for a work out. (Google it.) She works out with a trainer there. I don't quite feel up to joining them yet. I still get out of breath walking up our driveway. I opted instead to take a hike on one of the many trails around the facility.

At the Trading Post they directed me to an easy trail. A little more then a mile, it basically goes in a circle and ends back at the Trading Post. Sounded pretty perfect and they said that it's great for beginner hikers and people still acclimating.

"Is it safe to go alone?" I asked.

"Oh sure!"

With that I headed out and followed the arrows on the trail. Not far along I started to get a little creeped out. There was no one on the trail. What if I run into someone and they are a crazy rapist or something? I mean, if I was killed out there an animal could eat my remains and I would never be found!

I kicked a few of the big rocks in the trail until one was loose. A weapon. Anyone messing with me will get their head bashed in.

Sweet. That was good. I felt a little better.  I continued and then...there was rustling in the bushes.  I raised my rock to shoulder height and encouraged myself to press on.  There was more rustling and then....a bunny hopped out.  I tried to take a picture but it hopped away.  Then the dirt trail sort of ended and it was an expanse of rock.

I guess I walk out on the rock then...

There are signs posted everywhere that tell you not to climb the rocks. It's like a $1000 fine! I felt very naughty to be hiking on the rocks.

I hiked on and the rock ended and a dirt trail picked up. At the end of the rock was a sign that said "Danger Beyond This Point."

Is that danger past here or past the edge of the rock?

I reasoned it was past the rocks edge but I was unnerved anyway. I had not gone far down the trail when, about a foot in front of me, a mouse scurried across the trail. I screamed and decided to turn back, reasoning that if there were mice there were SNAKES!

When I was almost back to the start of the trail I came upon two ladies walking with dogs. They seemed cool and they had dogs for protection so I asked if they would let me join them.

"I got a little spooked walking alone and by some of the critters on the trail."

"Well...what sort of animals did you encounter?"

"Um...well.." I got embarrassed as I began to realize how silly I was about to sound. "There was a mouse."

"Uh huh...and were you going to smash the mouse with your rock?"

"Oh. No. That was for people. I mean, like if there was a crazy person on the trail or something."

We stood there for a brief moment as we all realized that I was the crazy person on the trail.

"Oh well there are snakes out here," piped in the other gal. She obviously felt sorry for me and did not want me to feel like a bigger idiot then I already did. "It is better for you to hike with someone. You can walk with us."

I think I may have seen daggers shoot from the other chicks eyes but her friend either did not notice or ignored them.

"What's your name? Where are you from?" I guess it was pretty evident that I was not from around here. And so we went on our way as I begged them to not judge other Texans based on their encounter with me.

In the end, they invited me to meet them again sometime in the mornings. They kept it pretty vague though...

I told Aaron about the trail.

"Is it somewhere we can take guests?" he asked.

"Well...some people."

"Some people to hike and some people to die?"

"Exactly. Our young athletic guests to hike. Our elderly guests to die."

I did not tell him about the mouse or the boogey man/trail bunny. I am Michal the Mountain Woman....sort of.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A little tenderness: Follow up to yesterdays blog on spoiled brats

‎"This is what the Almighty LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: You can be saved by returning to me. You can have rest. You can be strong by being quiet and by trusting me." Is 30:15

That's how God says "Shut up."

So yesterday was a very bad day. A bad weekend with The Drew-bug was followed with a bad morning. My patience was gone and I handled him badly.

I have been told before that I expect too much from my sons and there may be some truth in that. I have high standards for them and for the most part, they meet them. My goal, as a parent, is not to raise a good kid but a great adult. My sons will not be the kind of men who needs a mommy and so then looks for one in his wife. They will be capable in their own right and will look for a partner, a yin to their yang. (Oh the inuendo! I digress.)

I don't expect them to behave as an adult now but I do teach them with their adulthoods in mind.

Where I messed up with Drew yesterday was not trying to handle him like an adult but handling him like his brother. They are as different as night and day. From a very young age Gabriel has responded well to talking it out. He is a thinker. Ideas start in his head and then move and take root in his heart. He is very philosophical and likes to mull thoughts and ideas around out loud.

Drew is like me. He's emotional. He's also not going to let anyone tell him what to do. Tell me I can't and I will have to do it. (When I lived in MO I made 12 dozen tamales by myself because my grandmother and mother told me that I could not make them alone with two babies underfoot. Watch me.) This is not a terrible trait. It could be detrimental if not weilded appropriately but it could also be a great help in life. That will not change in Drew and should not. It's one of the spices God put into him when he mixed up the Drew ingredients.

Catherine had great advice to "try a little tenderness."

I knew as soon as Drew said he was going to head back to Texas that part of this ugly attitude was adjusting to the move. His tone with me was not a home-sick tone but a snotty little "I'm challenging you with this one" kind of tone. That did not evoke a feeling of sympathy. It pissed me off. The other big player in Drew's recent behavior is that this is the first time for him to be in school full time. He went from 3 half days a week to 5 full days. The boy is tired.

Instead of considering those things and responding to his emotional needs I reacted to the immediate Turd-ittude. I promise things started out with a full cup of patience (3 days ago) but by Monday morning I was done. I didn't include the half of it in the blog either. The kid was ridiculous and he knew it. He was throwing everything he had in his arsenal out there.

I wanted ideas to drive the unthankfullness out of him. Truth is, he is a pretty grateful little guy. He was just acting out to, what has to be, a stressful time for him. What I got, instead of punishments for Drew, was a big spanking. I felt so bad for trying to put Drew into the Gabriel box. I felt awful for not getting down on my knees to see his circumstances through his perspective.

So I walked down to the bus stop to pick him up with tears in my eyes.

When he got off the bus, he thanked the bus driver for the ride home (like he does every day) and apologized to me for the ugly morning.

"I'm sorry about this morning mom. I'm sorry about the sausage biscuit sandwich." I wrapped him up in my arms and kissed his head.

"I forgive you baby! I'm sorry too. That was a bad morning."

So we walked up the hill to the house together and talked about the rest of his day. We did homework together and then he asked to watch tv.

"Buddy, I'm sorry but because of your bad attitude this morning you are grounded from the tv tonight."

"What?! But I said I was sorry!"

"You did and I appreciate that but there still has to be a punishment."

"Well, that's lame!"

A few minutes later I hear the tv on.

"Buddy! Are you seriously watching tv? Now you are grounded from tv for the rest of the week."

"Aw man! This stinks!"

I sat with him on the couch and put my arm around him.

"It does stink. You made a bad choice to disobey."

The rest of the night went pretty well. This morning he would not get up. I'm alright with that because I'm not a morning person myself but after about the 5th time I had to walk by and say "get up," I was done. We argued some more and then he finally got moving. He was ugly all morning. I reminded him of yesterday and that we did not want another bad morning.

He responed with "Yeah, so you better fix YOUR attitude!"

I promptly sent him to his room and spanked his little butt. (Am I going to be flagged for that? *sigh*) Then we sat together on his bed and I held him in my lap while he cried a bit.

"I'm sorry I said that mom!"

"I forgive you."

"I just don't want to go to school! I don't get home until the evening time! Can I stay home?"

"Not today."

"Can I stay home on my birthday?"

"No because we are going to bring treats and celebrate with your class that day."

I have decided to have lunch with him tomorrow. I let him know that I will be picking him up from school on Thrusday for a cub scout meeting and he liked that. I told him that I would take him out of school early on his birthday too. (My sister will be here and that way they can take her to the airport with me.)

We finally got off to school and he even held my hand down to the bus stop.

Monday, September 13, 2010

What are your suggestions to turning a spoiled brat into a greatful child?

I have about had it with my youngest sons whinning and ungrateful attitude! I am beside myself. I have one child who is in a constant state of appreciation for his life and for others and another child who is only interested in himself and what he gets and how. You would never believe they were being raised under the same roof!

This morning started well. We started earlier then usual because Gabriel and I needed to see the chiropractor before school. We all had breakfast, got ready in time and headed out.

Maybe what triggered it all was that Drew was not getting an adjustment. This was Gabe's first. He injured himself a week ago on a trampoline and was still having trouble from it. Drew kept asking for a turn. I told him that if he has back trouble we will get him on the table but this time it's brother who needs adjusting and lets be glad that Drew's back feels good! The chiropractor gave them each a sucker for doing so well and we headed out to school.

After the appointment I found that we would have plenty of time to swing through Starbucks before heading to the school. I let the boys know that I was going to get some coffee but that was all. Drew wanted a whole breakfast and some hot cocoa.

"No. I told you that Starbucks is for Mommy's and Daddy's. It's not really for children. I am just getting some coffee and then you are going to school."

"But I'm hungry!" Drew continued his life's mantra.

"No you're not. You had breakfast at home and the chiropractor gave you a lollipop. You are lucky to have that. Not everyone gets to have a piece of candy at 7:30 in the morning." (Unless you are getting the new Toffe Mocha from Starbucks.)

After I made my purchase I turned to head for the door, when I hear "Excuse me sir..."

There is Drew at the counter placing his order. (Why did this place not have a drive-thru?!)

"Excuse me sir, may I please have an egg and sausage biscuit?"

I grabbed Drew's hand and told him it was time to get to school.

"Mm mm. No. I'm staying right here until I get my breakfast."

The hell you are! I thought.

I removed Drew from the store and got my sons in the car. We still were way ahead of schedule so I let the boys know that instead of being dropped off at school we were just going to go to the bus stop. This started a new drip of whines from Drew's faucet.

"I don't like school. It's boring."

"It's not to entertain you. It's to teach you."

"Well, it doesn't. It's not entertaining and it doesn't teach me anything. They say I have to do whatever they tell me to do."

"Yep. They are right. And when you get a job one day you will do what your boss tells you to do so see, they are already teaching you something important, 'How to Follow Directions.'"

"I hate the bus. It goes all over the road."

"Well, maybe you should try walking to school."

"It's too far!"


This goes on and on the whole way to the bus stop. At the bus stop Drew continued.

"I don't like it here. I'm going back to Texas."

At this point I am fed up.

"Ok. Go."


"Go on back to Texas. Call me when you make it."

"Good! Now buy me a plane ticket so I can go back."

"Nope. If you want to go back you will not go back in the luxury of a plane. Start walking buddy."

"That's crazy!"

"No. What's crazy is that you have EVERYTHING! You have a beautiful home in the freakin' mountains of CO. You go to one of the top 10 schools in the state. You have more toys then any kid could ever need. You have parents who love you and never beat you or lock you in a closet. You are well fed and you are warm and yet you are still ungrateful! THAT, my son, is CRAZY!"

He STILL found something to bitch about. I reminded him of a video I showed him of a man who had no arms and legs but he was still capable of doing all kinds of things. The real amazing thing about this man was not how he found ways to overcome his HUGE adversity but that despite being limbless he was still happy and grateful for his life. He loved life and was living it well!

"Don't remind me of that! It freaks me out." Drew said.

"Son, I know that was disturbing to see but it is not nearly as disturbing and ugly as a person who has everything in life and is still unhappy. Get your butt on that bus and have an awesome day or you will find yourself in a world of trouble when you get home."

The whole time Gabriel was there shaking his head. Everytime Drew mentioned another complaint Gabriel would smack his forhead in exasperation and disbelief! If Drew can't find anything to be thankful for he could at least have the brains to shut his mouth!

I am ready to do something drastic. But what? Pack up his toys? Give him one thing to wear for a week? Bread and water for meals? All of it? I wish there was somewhere I could take him where he could see how other children live. Any suggestions people? I am in to creative parenting so I'm very open to your advice and suggestions.

I make it a point to always point out the beauty around us and to give credit to our Father God for his artistry. I thank God out loud all the time for our life, our things, our food, our loving family. It's not hard becuase I am truly, truly thankful and I also add to my thanks that we are so undeserving of all of these blessings. Gabriel gets it. How is Drew missing it?

So, in hind sight, I should've skipped Starbucks. It was an extravagance I could certainly have done with out. On the other hand, I am not going to let my son dictate where I can and can't go.

I've tried to explain to him how I want to give him things just as Jesus wants to give us the desires of our hearts, but it has to be in the right time and place. There would not have been time to have a full on breakfast at Starbucks this morning. Maybe on the weekend we could do something like that. In the same way it will seem that God is telling us "No" to a request when really He is saying "not now."

P.S. For some reason I have lost spell check on my blogs so...forgive.

Also, I would never actually give my child only bread and water for meals. It's tongue in cheek and I hope my humorous tone translates...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mountain Lion Time

Every evening, at dusk, Drew starts closing all of the doors and windows because its "mountain lion time." It is a good rule here to have pets and children in during dusk and dawn because bears and panthers are out at that time but a Lock Down is probably not necessary.

If we are at someone's house for a party or something Drew wants to get home by dusk. He does not want to walk home during MLT. I'm not 100% but I think the mountain lions are looking for some easier pickens. Usually, a solo jogger or small pet. A large group of people are probably a little bit safer. Not completely (look out stragglers) but definately better then walking around alone.

The other night Aaron and I tried out our hot tub for the first time. He's spent the last two weekends cleaning and repairing it. So we finally decided to give it a go Saturday night.

It was dark.

Very dark.

After awhile we decided it would behoove us to have a lantern of some sort out there. Maybe light up the fire pit. Then Aaron decided the real wise thing to do would be to have his pistol with in reach. So he goes back in the house to get it while I sit there. Alone. In the hot tub. Essentially I am Michal Stew.

"How you doin' in there babe?!" I hollered out to him.

So...yeah. Nice relaxing time in the hot tub. Hm.

My neighbor, Caren, and I walk every morning with her dogs. It's a 3 1/2 mile "hike" up the road and around the loop here in our hood. So one morning we head out and a very territorial Golden Lab starts coming down the hill. His teeth are barred and his head is dropped below his shoulders. He has a Collie with him but the Collie is dumb and giddy as they usually are.

Caren's dog, Rascal, starts to strike the same pose as the lab. I tighten my hold on Rascal's leash and Caren takes another look at the approaching lab. With the snarling teeth and agressive posture he looked distorted. The coloring and size....

"Wait a minute." Caren says, "Are you sure that's a dog?"

For a brief moment fear grips us. Our mind plays tricks on us and we see a mountain lion heading towards us. Just as quickly, I reason that a mountain lion is not going to be running the streets with a lick-happy Collie. Still we both decided it best to head the other direction.

Today on my way to the grocery store, I am driving down the same street. There in the middle of the road is a golden beast. His gate is unusual. Not like a dogs at all, and he's walking right down the middle of the road. As my car approaches I see that it is a dog though. Another golden lab-mix. His walk is strange and his body looked so big because he had a tumor coming out the side of his body that is the size of his head! I kid you not people! It was so gross and heart wrenching! Poor baby. I immediatley called Caren.

"Call animal control. There is a two headed dog heading towards our house that needs to be picked up pronto."

So we all are careful of the moutnain lions. We know they are there and they know we are here. The likely-hood of seeing one is very slim. I believe it is a less then 10% chance of seeing one. There are folks who have been here for their whole lives and have not caught a glimpse. But I also hear that if you do have the chance to see one, its too late. You're a gonner.

The first night we were here my neighbor's husband, Kevin, told us that mountain lions pin you down with their front paws and rip open your guts with their hind claws. You are eaten alive. Yea!

Please come visit!