Vegas, part 4

 

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The day we visited Red Rocks Canyon was my favorite day in Nevada. It was strange going from the big city to out in the middle of nowhere within 20 minutes.

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It wasn’t the easiest vacation since receiving the news that the daughter of a best friend passed away in a car accident while we were there. But here I was with my daughter in a beautiful place and I refused to worry the whole time about something I had no control over. I wanted to have some great memories of our mother-daughter trip. If anything, I learned that life is too precious to take any moment for granted.

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I tried my hardest to convince my daughter and her friends to go hiking with me. With temps over 100 degrees and full sun, I couldn’t convince anyone to walk far anywhere. They thought I was crazy! Not being used to the heat, we didn’t even think about packing drinks. We must have looked pathetic because a guide from a tour bus offered us drinks, which we gladly accepted. We chugged our drinks quickly, because after about 10 minutes our drinks would be too hot. I drank hot water, hot beer, and a hot bloody Mary on this trip and it was pretty gross.

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It was fun hanging out with music majors. Every conversation turned into a song…we would say something that reminds us of song lyrics and next thing you know everyone is singing. I have to say that I was really impressed with Angel and her friends. They were all very supportive and encouraging towards their competitors in the singing competition. It was refreshing and unexpected.

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The trip to Red Rocks Canyon was very peaceful and calming. I would recommend it to anyone that wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Biking the rat race

This morning I thought I would go for a bike ride at first light. My kids already left for school and I thought that maybe for once working out wouldn’t conflict with work.

It wasn’t my best idea. I got caught up in the rat race of people rushing to get to work and school.

I had to slow down for the neighboring school’s buses. I counted 4 buses on my(?) route. Several passed me before stopping in front of me to pick up kids.

What would I do if I can’t unhook my shoes from the pedals?

I slowed down for a bus stop, then had to speed up because there were dogs out.

Interval training at its best.

Everyone that wasn’t on the road seemed to be letting their dogs out for the morning. Will they chase me??

I learned several things…First, the neighboring school district has nicer buses than ours. Second, I now know the garbage pick up schedule.

If I did fall off my bike surely everyone and their neighbor would see me….school children, moms holding hands of children waiting for the bus, and people taking out the trash. Maybe I would fall in a dumpster. Maybe I would get hit by a car, garbage truck, or bus.

There were wild turkeys grazing on the side of the road. I couldn’t hug the shoulder. I couldn’t hug the middle of my lane as the cars whizzed past..

Biking kind of makes me feel stressed out..

Why do I even do this anymore?

That’s right, I spent a lot of money on the bike.

It was a cool and windy day…soon it will come to an end and my bike will be put away for the winter…then next spring I will start all over again…but I probably won’t be biking the rat race anymore… I mean, I didn’t even get a participation award..

Carefree moments..

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Don’t I look like the cat that ate the canary??

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This past weekend we sailed somewhere new for our friend Ted’s birthday.

It was a warm and windy day. This time the winds were in our favor to get to the park and back quickly. The minute Ted, Cindy, and I stepped on the boat we all curled up and fell asleep. That just shows how much we trusted Paul to get us through the wind and waves.

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Sometimes I take for granted the beauty of my home state. I could’ve stayed in one spot and took pictures for hours.

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But my friends would’ve left without me!

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Paul keeps an eye on his sailboat from the scenic overlook above.

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Then I had a carefree moment on the ledge disregarding the large drop off behind me.

Lilacs, mushrooms, roadkill, and dandelion wine 

Every year when the lilacs bloom, I think of Darryl.

Darryl is my husband’s step-dad. He is a rugged outdoors man of the wild north woods. He doesn’t even have (gasp) internet. Except for being a non smoker, he is reminiscent of the Marlboro man of old. He is tall, lean, and ruggedly handsome for a man in his early 60’s. He has a head full of thick wavy hair. He works full-time as a forklift driver. He is a hard worker and has many other side jobs such as janitor, chimney sweep, and lumberjack. In the winter, he hooks up a plow to his pick up truck to earn some extra money. In the summer, he works in his massive garden.

Darryl lives off the land. In the fall, he is a deer hunter. He even goes black powder hunting. He processes his own venison. He takes the hides from the deer and sews his own clothing. In the winter, he goes ice fishing. In summer, he fishes from his boat. Life for Darryl is simple yet satisfying.

Darryl also picks up roadkill. One time he picked up a dead raccoon off the side of the road. He threw it into a crock pot and served it to my kids telling them it was chicken. They loved it.

I have learned over the years not to eat any of Darryl’s food. He has been known to leave brats in the fridge for months then serve them. Sometimes his food has a funny taste to it. He seems to have a strong constitution though.

Darryl also makes his own wine. He never follows a recipe when he makes his wine out of unusual ingredients such as potatoes or dandelions. It doesn’t always taste the greatest and sometimes has a high alcohol content. People have been known to spend the evening sick after a few glasses. In fact, a couple of weeks ago Paul and Darryl shared a bottle of wine while out fishing. Darryl lost his balance and fell out of the boat. Then he fell several more times on his walk back home. If Darryl offers me his wine, I tell him that I am strictly a beer drinker which isn’t entirely true.

Darryl says that every year when the lilacs bloom, the morel mushrooms are ready. Morel mushrooms are a very expensive delicacy in these parts. One year, he asked us if we wanted to go mushroom hunting with him. It sounded like an adventure, so we went. We combed the woods and found a few. On the car ride home, my skin was crawling with ticks. Darryl and Paul decided to fry up their mushrooms for supper that night. I don’t like mushrooms and was a tad bit worried when they wanted to eat their find since there is a false morel mushroom which is similar but poisonous. Darryl was fixated on mushrooms for awhile and even started carving a large intricate mushroom out of wood.

By far the most interesting story I heard about Darryl happened the time that he cut his leg open with a chain saw. Now Darryl is the cheapest guy that I know. He has been known to dumpster dive or collect items that others don’t want. In fact, he is a bit of a hoarder. His house is decorated in vintage 1970’s mismatched furniture. He has two refrigerators in his kitchen, one works and the other he uses for storage. After he cut his leg with a chain saw, he was too cheap to go to the doctor to get his leg stitched up. So he did it himself. He took a needle and some fish line and sewed it right up. He could win a survival competition hands down (or even tied behind his back)!

Darryl sure is an eccentric fellow.