Hello again, friends. I didn't exactly mean to take a week off from blogging, but I was blindsided by the month of May, which is busier than even December. Baseball games, track meets, music performances, field trips, tests, projects...whew. Of course, my sons are the ones doing all that stuff--I get to watch--so what am I complaining about, anyway? On Saturday, we did something as a family that we haven't done in over ten years: have a professional portrait taken. Considering that everyone in my home has access to at least three cameras at any given moment, this ritual seems outdated and unnecessary to me. But this was my mother's request, and it's hard to say no to a mom when she wants to have a family portrait taken the day before Mother's Day. (Coincidence? Yes, I think so, but it certainly worked in her favor.) The photographer was a nice guy, and enthusiastic (a little too much, perhaps) about his job. He spent twenty minutes arranging the five of us in various poses and combinations. My husband, who is a foot taller than the the rest of us, was immediately singled out and asked to lower his stool as far as possible, apparently to avoid having him stand out like Gandalf among the Hobbits. "Snuggle in," the photographer would say. (Fun fact: 14- and 12-year-old boys do not love being told by a complete stranger to snuggle up to their parents.) "You're the man," he told my sons as they posed in turn with elbow on knee and tilted their chins as instructed. (Fun fact #2: 14- and 12-year-old boys do not love being told they're 'the man,' when, clearly, that title belongs to Gandalf.) Now, I have a history of bursting into laughing fits at inopportune times such as funerals and concerts. (Anyone remember Elaine and the Pez dispenser from Seinfeld? That's me.) And I was close to it on Saturday. Very, very close. I'm sure the portraits will show the maniacal gleam of repressed hysteria in my eyes--especially the shot where I had to "snuggle" directly back into my husband's crotch as he sat on his lowered stool. As we left, my older son said to me, "I used to wonder how all those Awkward Family Photos got taken. Now I know." Now for two of my favorite family photos:
My family, circa 1973. That's me on the right.
My husband (also on the right), his parents, and one of his brothers, taken in Holland, 1971, when his dad was working there. And if you've not seen the real Awkward Family Photos, you can find them here.
Not an annoying rash or a marauding zombie weasel, but winter! We had a foot of wet snow on Wednesday. My younger son took one look out the window and told me, "I'm so done with this." But he did enjoy having the day off from school. I'm beginning to wonder if my garden bench will ever have a garden around it.
The temperatures are warming steadily, though, and the snow will be gone soon. I hope you enjoy the weather wherever you are this weekend!
Congratulations to everyone who jumped in for the A to Z Challenge this year! Was is just me, or was this a crazy month? I started out strong and faded big time, but I did manage to post for every letter. Thanks to everyone who visited, commented on, and followed my blog. I'm sure I lost track of some of you, but I'm going to hopefully get caught up one of these days. And thanks as always to the organizers of this great challenge. It gives me a blogging boost that lasts for months, and for that, I am grateful. I had a blast reading your posts! Gosh, you're a bunch of clever bloggers. And after a little down time, I'm going to keep working through the list and finding great new voices out there in the blogging world. Best wishes for a happy May, everyone!
Do April snow showers bring May flowers? I certainly hope so!
Sorry, metal fans. This post is not about Zebulon Pike, the rock band. Not being a metalhead myself, I didn't know the band existed until very recently, and frankly, I'm none the better for it. But if metal is your thing, Z day might be the perfect time to bang your head a little. (Who knows, maybe we all feel like doing that at the end of the challenge!) No, this post is about the man Zebulon Pike, 19th century soldier and explorer of the American West. His second expedition, known as the Pike Expedition, brought him from St. Louis through Kansas into Colorado. As Pike and his men traveled west in search of the source of the Arkansas River, they faced significant challenges and hardships, including inhospitable terrain and weather, and Native Americans who weren't exactly thrilled to meet them. They got lost, they were captured by the Spanish, and when Pike finally returned from his grueling journey, he had to defend his character against accusations that he was a spy. He did so successfully and went on to serve honorably in the war of 1812. He died in battle in 1813. Pike's most enduring connection to Colorado is the mountain which bears his name. Located ten miles west of Colorado Springs, it rises to an elevation of 14,114 feet. Though Pike and his men were forced to turn back before reaching the top, he is credited with documenting the first "American" sighting of this majestic peak. According to its website, Pike's Peak is the most visited mountain in North America and the second most visited in the world, after Mount Fuji. It is known as America's Mountain. The Pike Expedition did not venture as far north as Fort Collins, but we can--from certain locations and on a very clear day--see his "grand peak" more than 130 miles to the south. And it does, as he wrote, rather resemble a "small blue cloud." Congratulations fellow A to Z'ers! The challenge we faced this month doesn't quite compare to Zeb's, but reaching the end is still worth celebrating. Enjoy! I know I will.
Yogurt...it has been eaten all over the world for hundreds of years and has many health benefits, but you either like it or you don't. I happen to like it very much. But you can keep the artificially-sweetened, corn-starch-thickened, 'lite' varieties. Instead, I'll go for the plain Greek variety and drizzle a little real maple syrup on top. When I want more of a treat (and here comes the local spin), I'll indulge in the Noosa Yoghurt, made Aussie Style at the dairy that delivers my milk--the one I blogged about two Mondays ago in M: Milkman. It's very creamy and rich and delicious.
And how about that frozen yogurt? It was popular years ago and has made a big comeback, with one important difference: it's now self-serve. Fro-yo sounds like it should be much healthier than ice cream, but fill up a bowl the size of a batting helmet and cover it with candy, and...not so much. (I always think of the Seinfeld episode where everyone starts gaining weight eating what they think is fat-free frozen yogurt.) I still love it but have to be careful not to love it too much.
Sorry this is late! I left it as a draft instead of publishing...
On March 31, as I was anticipating the next day's start of the A to Z Challenge, I stepped outside and saw these crossed jet contrails overhead:
I took a picture, just in case I didn't come up with a better post by the time X day rolled around.
Obviously, I didn't.
I feel a little better knowing that a picture is worth a thousand words. But seeing as how there are fewer than three hundred English words that start with X, I'd have to get pretty creative to make it all the way to a thousand.
Enjoy your day off tomorrow. Two more letters to go!