Summer Vacation 2012

Sunday, July 29, 2012

In the Aspen Gondolas...I was totally scared at first...it
goes up over 2,500 feet...yikes!  But breathtaking views...
Chloe's working on her Ipad Movie....

After our nature tour of Ajax Mountain, Chloe was looking
for a bear or porcupine....

This little fella was adorable, Chloe loved watching him...

After lunch at the Sun Deck on Aspen Mountain,
Chloe wanted to bungee jump....she said it was
scary but she had a good time!

After the gondola ride up the mountain,
Chloe noticed this sign, it looks very much
like our Whit

Chloe and I at the overlook at Ajax Mountain
Here's Jackie and Chloe just a couple miles
from Aspen, the Rio Grande was getting busy
later in the day and very few people were going
up like us from Glenwood Springs, most everyone
was heading down with the river! :)

A view from the gondola ride up Aspen (Ajax) Mountain
(I have no idea why blogger is uploading these pictures like this...)
Frisco, Colorado...a neat small town, elevation 9,000 ft plus
Afternoon thunderstorms were a daily occurrence last week

The first hill just outside of Glenwood Springs, Co

This lady was pulling that dog, the dog had goggles on even
though he was inside a zipped up human baby carrier.  This
was quite a sight...we were breaking at the picnic table across
from the road outside of Basalt, CO

We crashed the Spidell's 13th anniversary so we took them
out to eat at Florindo's in Glenwood Springs, it was
delicious and we had a fun time celebrating!

You knew I had to take a photo of Jackie
and his pannier bags...he hauled our bags for
the 3 day trip by bike

Taking lots of breaks was key for Chloe, here we are just
outside of Glenwood Springs

A lot of the Rio Grande Trail is right on the Roaring Fork River

The first day of the trip we all went down the Colorado
River....Sol was our guide in the back.  He gave us lots
 of history of the area and had tons of recommendations
to go out to eat in Glenwood Springs

Chloe's down front and took many a "hit" from the river...we
had a ton of laughs and were very appreciative of Sol having
a sweatshirt in the back that she could dry off with and cover up
during the shady parts of the trip
Sunday, July 29, 2012

I came up with the idea to ride bikes in Colorado after Chloe asked her dad if she could float the Colorado River this summer.  Chloe watches a ton of National Geographic Channel and PBS that take viewers all over the country and world hiking, floating and seeing how animals survive in the wild.  So Jackie planned our 10 day vacation even though we only made it 8 days because Chloe was ready to get back and see her dogs Biscuit and Gumball!

Here's a run down of our trip, I'll blog about the restaurants and places you need to see later this week.  We left Birdeye last Sunday and spent the night in Oklahoma City with mom to take 6 hours off the 18 hour trip. We left Monday, July 23, at 6 am for the 12 hour trip to Glennwood Springs, Colorado.  Martin's college roommate from Oklahoma State lives there and I asked he and Michelle if we could stay with them a day or two and leave our car there so we could ride our bikes down the Rio Grande Trail to Aspen, Colorado and they graciously said yes. Matt and Michelle are super sweet and have a wonderful house that has two rentals on the property that are constantly booked.

On our agenda while in Glenwood, which boasts a wonderful canyon on either side of I-70 on the outskirts of Denver to Glenwood Springs, was to float down the river.  We shared a raft with Matt and Michelle from Whitewater Rafting.  Our guide was Sol, a native, who was a ton of fun to be with and gave us an extra wet ride!

On the last day of our trip, we went swimming in the hot springs pool in Glenwood Springs.  Matt said the pool is naturally filled 7 times a day from the springs, then it empties back into the Colorado River.  It was a warm, salty pool that was totally packed.  They also had lanes for lap swimmers.  I took advantage of the lanes for about 20 minutes still practicing my total immersion swimming technique.  (I've been taking lessons this summer to help me with the Mighty Mite swim leg of the triathlon and it really paid off.)

In between our time in Glenwood Springs, we rode our bikes 48 miles one way to Aspen, staying over in Basalt, Co.  The first day we rode 27 miles and stopping half way between Glenwood and Basalt in Carbondale at a bike shop to get Chloe some padded shorts and a better fitting helmet.  The shorts made a big difference to Chloe and I had my own pair on that helped out but we both were still worn plum out by the time we got to Basalt.  Jackie had no trouble at all on his fitted Specialized Cross Tour bike with 2 panniers weighing around 20 lbs. each.  So a note to self here, when you get a bike, get one from a bike shop that's fitted for your body.  I had David Reagler's Pro Flex updated and fitted to me but I still had the burn mainly because the bike is a mans bike after all.  I did have a ladies seat put on her but it still gave me a good challenge on the trip.

The second day we only rode about 19 miles from Basalt to Aspen.  We started earlier in the day and  enjoyed the cooler weather and lunch at the famous Woody Creek Tavern.  We had a wonderful hotel in Aspen called the Annabelle Inn.  It was cozy and clean and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.  It's just blocks from downtown Aspen and we chained up our bikes there while we spent two days in Aspen.

In Aspen, we rode the Gondolas up the Aspen Mountain, or Ajax Mountain to have lunch and go on a nature hike.  We also got to see their famous farmer's market and the Aspen Arts Festival.  We rode the bus back to Glenwood Springs under the request of Chloe, who said she didn't want to ride her bike for a while...I wonder why?  I did have to wrecks on David's bike and I'm blessed with 2 large blackberries on both sides of my back side as well as an elbow scrape and sore arms.

So that's about it on our 7 day trip that took us a day and a half to get there and back.  We had fun, got to really see Colorado from a bicycle, and there were dogs and bikes everywhere, I mean everywhere, and enjoyed the company of Matt and Michelle.  It was a great trip!

Here's our trivia that we enjoyed talking about last night while rehashing our trip with Matt and Michelle:

Elevation of Glenwood Springs: 5,761 ft. (I had the most trouble in Frisco when we got to Colorado at  9,075 where we had dinner on the way to Matt and Michelle's but we drank a ton of water and went to bed early so the rest of the trip was a-okay)
Elevation of Basalt (after riding 27 miles uphill): 6,611
Elevation of Aspen (18 miles later): 7,890
Elevation of Aspen Mountain (where we hiked): 11,211
Elevation of Birdeye, Ark (home): 249 ft.

Number of wrecks I had clipped in: 2 (with two large blackberries to prove it and a skinned elbow)

Number of wrecks for Chloe and Jackie: none but Chloe had a few close calls with a pole and Jackie's bike

Number of bloody noses: Jackie none, Chloe none, me 2 big ones

Number of days Jackie wore the same shorts and socks: 7 (and that's without washing them just in case you didn't know this)

Aspen Farmer's Market had two Alpacas that
I couldn't get Chloe away from...how is she going
to take care of an animal like this when I end up
doing all the foster dogs and Jackie does the
chickens???  Those two are talking under the table
about getting an animal like this but hands down
it's the worst decision and would only be cruel
to put an animal like this in 108 degree summers
in Birdeye....I'll stop there but my list is long of cons
Favorite restaurants on the trip: Chloe, White House Pizza in Carbondale, Co; Jackie, Woody Creek Tavern in Aspen, Co, me, Juicy Lucy's Steakhouse in Glenwood Springs, Co

Chances of Chloe having (and even taking care of) an Alpaca: ZERO

Number of desserts Chloe had during the trip of 11 meals: 6 desserts that she is very proud of...

Number of Redbox rentals and states:  11 in 4 states:
Wynne, Ark.;2 rentals returned in
Edmond, Ok.; 3 rentals returned in
Hays, KS; 2 rentals returned in
Frisco, CO; 4 rentals and returned in
Edmond, OK
(Thank God for portable DVD players!)

Many thanks Matt and Michelle for being such wonderful hosts in your fabulous town!  And go Jimmy John's that they are opening this fall, I cannot wait, I love some Jimmy John's! :)

Brown Recluse Spider Bite, Birdeye

Brown Recluse Spider...I hate spiders

1 hour after the bite, what I texted
to our doctors

12 hours after, you can see her
whole body in a rash and that
venom pocket

36 hours later

Day 3

Day 4

Can you tell how happy we are
that it looks that small? Day 5

The reason we are on the way home now from summer
vacation...Biscuit loves to have his head hanging out the car
door....Chloe's missed her babies Biscuit and Gumball!

Chloe at Ajax Bike and Sports in Carbondale,
Colorado...we bought her padded shorts and a
helmet that fit....she rode a total of 48 miles from
Glennwood Springs to Aspen with us
Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I saw recently that someone googled "brown recluse spider bites on butt" and "brown recluse spider bites day 4" and was sent to my blog.  I thought I'd take a moment and give you my day-by-day experience with this nasty spider that got Chloe after a bath.  She was bitten right out of the shower when she grabbed her hanging bath towel.  She felt it, saw it run to the corner and came screaming down the hall.  Chloe is extremely allergic to anything that bites her.  So you'll be able to see how our 11 year old's body reacted.  A ginormous shout out to Stan and Beth, Jackie's cousin Stan is my doctor and Beth, from Lepanto and fellow Kappa, is her pediatrician.  Chloe was freaking out so bad about dying from the bite that I had more trouble just trying to calm her down than anything at first.  I took her on over to Beth and Stan, who also wanted to see the actual spider. I had already had given her benadryl because of the reaction.  They called in some Dapsone, which is a medicine to treat leprosy in hopes the venom wouldn't spread but I got to the pharmacy after they closed.  And they wanted her to be on an antibiotic just in case of infection.

Night one (she got bit at 8 pm): she had benadyrl and was up 2-6 am with pain because she couldn't sleep, she had no fever so I gave her tylenol for the pain

Day 1, 12 hours after the bite: Stan wanted to see it and measure it, it was about a quarter in size and darkened in the middle and her entire body broke out in a rash.  Day 1 of 5 of Dapsone and Cephalexin three times a day and benadryl for the body rash.  Memaw built a sling to keep her arm off the bite area, it was extremely tender.  Her swimming and riding lessons were all canceled that week too.

Day 2-5: more of the same; you can see on the last photo what it looked like.  Today she still has a scar under there but it's not longer tender.

What an experience.  And by the way, I had our house sprayed for ants and spiders over Mother's Day weekend when we were outta town.  I'll have it sprayed again just to be sure.  I hope this reassures others about what to expect.  Just get to the doctor and do what they say, that's what we did.

Ravinia, Chicago



A view of the park

Wendy's awesome Carrot Cake

The ingredients for David's dirty nail drink, and no, I
don't have a clue what all that is....

Me and Wendy...BFF's for 31 years, my calculation since
we have been friends since 4th grade...you can guess our
age but I won't be putting it on here....:)
Wonderful Ravinia...
Sunday, July 15, 2012

In my quest to replace my wedding bands that were stolen from my house around Memorial Day, I made a visit to see Wendy in fabulous Chicago.  I spent a few days with her, one of which was at Ravinia in Highland Park, Illinois where she was playing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  I just love the park and its lush landscaping.  The next night, she hosted a dinner party with fellow Northeast High School graduate David Shepherd and his lovely wife Lisa.  Eran cooked ribeyes in blackened seasoning with grilled vegetables and Wendy made a delicious carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  It was all really good.  David and Lisa brought the after dinner cocktail, which I believe, was called a dirty nail.  It was interesting with its lemon.  I am not a cocktail drinker but I enjoyed this one.  A shout out to Wendy for inviting me to the symphony and treating me to a 5 star meal.  It was a great time!

Pickles

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Julia and Chloe picking the blooms off the pickles...they had
a great time...they're so sweet together....















I'm just thrilled that Joy invited CoCo and I over to make pickles this past Wednesday. I was't sure we'd make it cause Chloe got bit by a brown recluse spider the night before and didn't sleep a wink that night so traumatized and in a ton of pain.  But we made it because CoCo loves some dill pickles and for the experience for her to make them was priceless.  This recipe is from Afton Bradshaw, grandfather of Chloe's pediatrician and doctor.   We're glad that spider bite is almost over.  Here's how the recipe goes and a HUGE thanks to Ken Johnson who is our local pickle maker and friend:


Pickles

Pick about 6 quarts of pickles: (Joy and I did 30 lbs and we doubled this recipe for that amount of cucumbers)
2 1/2 quarts of water
1 quart of 5% acidity vinegar (use Cider Vinegar)
3/4 cup of plain salt (pickling salt)
6 to 7 whole peppercorns
Dill-at least one big head in each jar
Cayenne peppers-or Jalopenos or Seranos; about 2 for regular pickles, 5 for excitingly hot pickles
6 peppercorns per jar
Garlic-I put between 4-5 cloves this year 2013; when we did this last year, I put about 2 per jar.  We'll see if 2013 pickles are too garlic-y :)

Heat to a vigorous boil, in the mean time stuff jars with dill, peppers and garlic to suit your taste, and raw cucumbers. (WE DIDN'T DO THAT...WE STUFFED THEM TOTALLY FULL SO THEY DIDN'T SPILL OUT BEFORE THE LIQUID)
Fill the stuffed jars with the boiling liquid and let them set about 3 minutes. Drain off the liquid and reheat it. (YOU DON'T NEED TO IF YOU DOUBLE THE LIQUID LIKE WE DID)
Add a small amount of alum to the preheated jar of pickles.
Refill the jar with boiling liquid and seal immediately. Set the lids firmly. Turn the jars upside down on a draining towel.  After 12 to 16 hours the pickles are ready for storage. Wait 30 days or more for the favors to filter through before serving.
Note: check each jar to be sure they are sealed - if not pour off the liquid and heat again and seal.
Keeli, I got this recipe from Mr. Bradshaw and he got it from a Mr. Priest (I assume that is how you spell his name). The peppercorns are what Maurice Smith and I added. The type peppers that I use are cayenne peppers. -Ken Johnson


Cross County Garlic Cloves have to be the BIGGEST EVER!

Julia adding the dill,peppercorns and garlic

Chloe (with a 24 hour brown recluse spider bite..it was so tender,
and she had her retainer in) with Julia and Joy packing each jar FULL

John B....Priceless....

Joy tightening the lids

Holy Smokes...did we make all these????

This is the one Joy made for me...it has 5 cayenne
peppers in hopes it will knock my socks off...:)
Chloe took this of me adding the vinegar, salt and water at high heat...
Since I haven't given you all the report from Chloe's summer
camp this is how it goes...I called Brookhill to check on Chloe
Tuesday morning..."no news is good news" is the answer I got,
Wednesday I email and get "no news is good news"....so on
Friday I check the mail and I get 3 letters of tears like this one
pictured....then I call to come pick her up and Chloe
calls and says she's having a GREAT time and to not come and
pick her up...Jackie lays me low for calling camp the night before
I'm to pick her up...then we hear all weekend about how much fun
she had...THEN on Monday night I get two more letters that say
"please come get me, I can't take it" and Jackie reminds
Chloe that if she mails me these type letters that her momma
will come and get her in a helicopter...he's right because I
would do anything for Coco....meanwhile back at the ranch..
Chloe will be going to camp from now until college so she'll
stay at college and experience life....comments please...:)

Birdeye Update

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Memaw and Grandad gave Chloe a zipline for Christmas....it just
got installed and CoCo loves it!  It does take guts to get on it but it's a blast!

Chloe had Maggie Miller out to spend the night this week,
they are hilarious.  Maggie is such an athlete, she's been
doing swim team and softball!  I hope she'll do the kids
triathlon again this year, we'll see.  It took her a while to
actually ride the zipline!  They're standing on a platform
in Winnie Bob's giant Magnolia tree...it's huge!

I wish I knew the length of that thing

We had a great time at 4th of July.  Kara hates fireworks because she had
one explode in her face as a child....that's so scary!  But she loves
Halloween which is a holiday I cannot stand so I guess it's a trade in the
family!  August loved the sparklers!

Robert and Micah getting the celebration started....
Jackie bought a kit with all kinds of fireworks

Of course I had to get a group photo!  Robert, Micah, Chloe,
August, Stella and Whit

Look at the smoke!

The mosquitoes were just gettin ready to carry us all away

Looks like the end of the show...notice Chloe set up chairs
 in the driveway for everyone...she loves having company!

Happy 4th from Birdeye!

We had a 4th of July hot bike ride...I tell you the
truth that my camera had no memory on it and
I had to delete photos from on my bike to get
this one shot!  It was not the smartest thing
to do but I had to shoot the Birdeye hill which
is 2nd in Cross County in elevation (unless any one's driven 
down Wynnewood in Wynne, that probably is a hill
we should all try sometime! :)  We had a great
bike ride and Kara and Martin had a great cookout!
Saturday, July 7, 2012

I don't know about ya'll, but it's been a busy summer!  We've had Chloe's friends over, done lots of swimming, and over the past 3 weeks, I've been busy in the garden and yard.  Cross County has not had a rain since Monday, June 18.  No, that's not a typo.  It'll be a month come Monday without a rain.  I've been watering the 75 year old trees in Winnie Bob's yard overnight must to Jackie's dismay of a $1,000 water bill but I think it's cheaper in the long run to keep the 20 or so mature trees alive then have them cut down when they die.  I'll report back on the water bill.  Voila!  The forecast has Sunday with a 50% chance of rain.  I'll be praying daily for this.

Jackie's cousin Bettie Johnston Cooper is home this summer and her niece Elizabeth Tyrell came to Birdeye for the 4th of July with her son Robert and his friend Micah (all from Oklahoma City, strange I know since that's my hometown).  We had them handle the fireworks Wednesday.  Oklahoma doesn't sell pop bottle rockets so they were a hit with the boys.

Chloe had her BFF Maggie Miller over the other night for a sleep over. She loves having people out.  They were busy with the zip line and making movies on her Ipad.  Technology amazes me!  I'll have to get the Ipad to wi-fi so I can upload them on YouTube.  They had a great time!  I've added lots of random photos.  I'm looking forward to blogging the Colorado trip!  Happy Summer Ya'll (and come on rain!!!)!