Friday, March 27, 2009

Quick Takes

1. Colorado weather It's true what they say: If you don't like it, wait a while or walk a mile.

Here are the kids on Sunday climbing the rocks near Estes Park, Colorado.
Beautiful, short-sleeves weather...
But look at our backyard today.

You'll notice Cathy's still in her shirtsleeves (that's a problem around here....), but check out the snow...

2. Places We Visited on Laetare Sunday See, below, a shot we took last weekend of the famous Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. It really is a gorgeous place, set in the most beautiful panorama of views you can imagine. But, is it really haunted? My parents stayed in Steven King's room at the hotel a few years ago and slept through the night with no troubles. They didn't even know who Steven King was at the time, and couldn't figure out why everyone at the hotel was so curious to know how they slept. According to them, if there are ghosts, none came to visit them.

The Hotel:
The Views from the Hotel:
Some of the elk that wander the streets of Estes ~ taking an afternoon siesta:

3. Work day Saturday Saturday is always reserved for projects and right now, when the weather cooperates, we're concentrating on the garden and the rest of the grounds. Here's Michelle last Saturday painting the new posts to make up a better fence to keep Bella out of the garden. She (Bella, not Michelle) likes to wallow all over the raised beds and we can't have that, of course.

Here we are carrying out the old picnic table. It was already here when we moved into this house twelve years ago, but it's finally reached retirement age. After more than a decade of barbecues and being used as a sawhorse, it's next duty will be to warm the house next winter in the wood stove. We're taking it to the staging area for wood chopping.

4. Here's the little boy who, from day one, has never been afraid of the slide. Or of anything tangible. Big dogs don't scare him; climbing to the tops of trees doesn't bother him; he loves it when his big brothers "whoop up" on him; one year he tried to get into the pen of a charging bull at an autumn festival. But... if you ask him he'll tel lyou that he is afraid of monsters. Big monsters. Monsters in the dark.

I wonder what it is that makes some children afraid of the dark. Most of our children have no trouble with a dark room at night. In fact, two of our girls are obsessive about there not being the least sliver of light in their room in order to sleep. But, William (3), given his choice, would sleep with the overhead light and all the lamps on. We respect his fear and have compromised with him, leaving on the landing light at bedtime, regardless of his sisters' protests. But what started this fear, I wonder? Did something happened in the dark when he was smaller that frightened him? Or did he overhear the girls telling ghost stories after lights-out? With so many older brothers and sisters, it's hard to shield him from potentially scary things like tales of monsters, or Big Foot, or dust mice that come to life. I'm certain Yuyum will outgrow his fear of the dark (at least, I certainly hope he does!), but it's such a funny thing, considering this child is positively fearless in daylight.

5. Along with other things, we've been redoing our kitchen floor over the last couple of weeks, rebuilding the subfloor, in fact, before we can re-tile it. So, since we really don't have anywhere else to stage our kitchen appliances, we've just been moving them all over the kitchen and into dining room. And, since it was blizzarding here yesterday and snow still covers the patio where Dan usually cuts wood, all the wood cutting is being done in the house. It's certainly nice to see things taking shape, but, boy, it can be trying...

So, here are two Chesterton quotes I found to cheer myself up:

"An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered." - On Running After Ones Hat, All Things Considered, 1908

"The comedy of man survives the tragedy of man." - ILN 2-10-06

6. On My Lent So Far It's been hit and miss. Some of my planned sacrifices and offerings have worked well, some haven't. So, I've been tweaking my Lent as I've gone along. Is that a cop out, you think? It's a funny thing, but, honest-to-goodness, I can count on one hand the number of Lents in my grown up life, where I've been subject to the entire Lenten fasting rules. I've always been either pregnant or nursing. So, now that I have no restrictions, I think I've been inclined to bite off more than I can chew. The whole Lenten fast requirement takes more out of me than I realized and I started out adding too much on top of it. I admit it. I've been somewhat a failure so far this Lent. But, I'm learning about my limits, and making rules for myself. Next year I'll know better, I hope, how to choose sacrifices that will last through to Easter.

Here are a couple of things I've found out...
New Lenten rule for myself #1: If a Lenten sacrifice negatively impacts others, drop or amend it. (Not checking my e-mail often caused me to miss important notes from others, and incline my loved ones to think I didn't love them any more...)
New rule for myself #2: If a sacrifice causes you to be a cross to everyone around you, delete or change it. (Cutting out the caffeine, especially while battling insomnia, was making me a bear, so I thought it was better for everybody if I added some back in...)
New Lenten rule for myself #3: If a sacrifice actually prevents an opportunity for your or anyone else's spiritual progress in some way, it's necessary to cut it or alter it. (I found that I couldn't resist posting on special feast days throughout the week, even though I'd originally planned to limit my blog-work to twice a week. But, then, what purpose was better served by not posting about the lives of the saints? And how could I not celebrate my sons' birthdays with a post?)

Along with the prescribed sacrifices, I think the trick is to pick one or two irksome little sacrifices at the beginning of Lent, then add on, as I feel I can. It's better, I think to add on, than to take away the closer we get to Holy Week.
See? Forty-four years old and still learning. I hope. We'll see how the rest of the season goes.


MightyMom said...

great post! I love your new Lent rules! RIGHT ON!!

kids are fascinating creatures no?

MightyMom said...

oh and about that hotel. I believe it wasn't that Stephen King said it was haunted...just that he got snowed in there and then his imagination went wild from is a beautiful hotel and I'd like to visit it sometime....

ps, ---B.I.G. SK fan here----

Kaycee said...

Hi, just stopping by from conversion Diary.

Great Pictures! Is that the hotel where he wrote The Shining?

Utah weather is the same way, you never know what each day will bring through March and April.

GrandmaK said...

Heard about the storm on the news this morning...WOW! S'posed to warm up this weekend? There ya go! It's Colorado! LOVE IT!!! Cathy

Laura said...

You are SOOOOOOOO right.
I picked way too many Lenten goals and became overwhelmed only to fail fail fail.
The movie, the Shining is based on that hotel right?
I couldnt' sleep there.
No way.

SQUELLY said...

I am so glad you kept on posting! Those mountains are beautiful!

Heather Jaracz said...

What beautiful scenery in Colorado! The highest "mountain" in MA, Mt. Greylock, is only 3491 ft. My dream family vacation someday is to pack up everyone in an RV and drive all the way to the Pacific. Wow, Colorado truly has to be an important stop! I'm sure you're doing fine on the lenten sacrifices. I'm pregnant, so mine pretty much went out the window.