Tuesday, May 31, 2011

5-31-11 Historic Aerials

The areas available are really limited, but it turns out that Houston is one of the available geographic selections. This is pretty cool to play around with.

The area I would grow up in has nothing but pasture land in 1957 .

Below is my childhood home in 1964 (with the red asterisk on top) before trees or much of anything else. We wouldn't move there for another 8 years. These were the first homes built in all of Sagemont:

And in 2002, now in the shade of the beltway:

Interstate 45 when it was brand new, in 1957:

Where Almeda Mall would be built in 1968:

Sagemont Baptist Church as it appeared in 1973 with Stuchberry Elementary and Thompson Intermediate across the street:

And the massive complex it became by 2004

Dobie High School before it was built in 1964

In 1973, with Kirkdale at the very bottom, where I would have been living in our first house in the neighborhood, before moving to the Sageville home pictured above.

And then in 2002


We've got three more weeks of "official" spring before the summer solstice of June 21st, but Memorial Day weekend pretty much does it for me. It's summer.

The kids are out of school, and the house, in the small space of time since the kids have been out of school, is becoming an increasing mess.  The grocery bill seems to immediately go up, the laundry multiplies exponentially even though summer clothes take up a lot less washer space, and the internal clocks somehow magically reset themselves so that getting up "early" means any time before 10:00 a.m.

Ah, to have one more summer like that, those long lazy days stretching out in front of one another.

I will admit that yesterday I was not aware that I had the day off. Somewhere in between the last two months of being off kilter, coupled with the knowledge that most holidays are not holidays for service departments. meant I got up yesterday morning, logged in, and started doing my morning printing. It wasn't until about 10:00 that my manager kindly pointed out via IM (after I'd asked her a work related question) that, um, you know, you do actually have the day off.

The time it took me to get off the computer and into the mountains was under an hour.

Between Saturday and yesterday, I've gotten enough of a taste of that Colorado sunshine after an interminable winter of anxiety and recovery, that I'm thinking something epic needs to happen over the next three months.

I've played with the idea of beginning to bag the Colorado 14ers, but in all honesty, this doesn't thrill my soul and I think I've finally gotten to the place where I can admit why:

There aren't any trees and streams up there.

from the top of Mt. Evans (which you can drive!)

You set out very early so you can reach the summit before the afternoon so you can make your descent ahead of those infamous Colorado summer mountain storms that sweep in many afternoons. And it's all to make vertical ascents of half a mile to a mile or more up on foot above the tree line. Have you seen pictures of the 14er peaks? The entire point of them is to see off into forever with your head in the clouds. I get it. But I'm always distracted at the expanse of the color gray. There is no vegetation, no sweet spot to rest in the shade of a tree, just you and the rocks and a great view of the sky stretching out across more gray rocks.

Yes, yes, I get the whole man against nature thing of getting your body to the top of the highest peaks in the thin air and screaming out "I'm king of the world!" like every other hiker before you (and beside you) does. I get it. It just doesn't particularly appeal to me. The goats are cool, though.

I would much rather spend the day hiking down below the tree line, discovering the leaves and flowers and logs and streams that make the world so . . .  hospitable.

I feel a camping trip calling me. And a whole lot of river hikes. Between this surgery with all of its worry about whether I'd be spending the summer in chemotherapy, and the belief that I would be moving back to the hellacious summer heat of Texas about now instead of spending it in my beloved Colorado, I have decided this summer is a gift that I am not about to squander.

I am plotting out the weekends of my epic summer.

And summer starts now.

Monday, May 30, 2011

5-30-11 Memorial Day Hike

In what's becoming our annual ritual, we were off with the dogs again this Memorial Day to hike along Bear Creek for a bit. 

Sammi shows off our new camel pack that should come in very handy for longer hikes with 2 liters on board.

Mostly fisher-people were along the banks angling.


The river was running really high today -- most of the stones we balance on were well under water. I think Evan would be just as happy floating downstream rather than hiking.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

5-29-11 Shopping with Sammi

This afternoon Sammi and I went summer shopping for her, just the two of us.

When did the 60s come back with such a vengeance? I noticed the stuffed owls at the toy store, but those giant-eyed owls are everywhere, on pendants and earrings and shirts. Sammi loves the owls. She also loves the peasant shirts and hippie trappings.

We are a lot alike, she and I. But when it comes to fashion . . . not so much.

Sammi gravitates towards everything I avoid: ruffles, lace, florals, puffy sleeves, girlie accents. We have interesting conversations in the dressing room.

I love that she has her own style and moxie. It just makes it really hard to answer her, "what do you think?" questions when I think it reminds me of all the fashions I avoided my entire life.

But the reality is that she's 4'10 and probably is done growing. She's got the curves and the attitude of a young woman, but it sure does make shopping for pants a pain in the  . . . well, you know.

She wears a size TWO in shoes. Do you know how impossible it is to shop for heels?

The real answer is eventually going to be that she find a fantastic tailor and cobbler and gets everything made from scratch. When she's the next J.K. Rowling this will not be an issue.

For now, it's afternoons of frustration at the mall, trying on 20 things to find one that fits right. And a mom who doesn't wrinkle her nose (too much) when it turns out to be ruffly.
Saturday, May 28, 2011

5-28-11 Sunshine at last: a photoblog

Headed for the Springs this morning to meet up with Mom and Dad at the Trading Post and then get out in the glorious sunshine for the day at Garden of the Gods.

 baby pinion cones

 Pike's Peak with some great fluffy clouds and shadows

 Looking south

 Bob's first action shot was kind of wimpy. . . . 

 So this was "take 2"

 Missed getting an action shot of my fall (me? fall? never!) But here's the damage.

 Bob taking random car photos

 By lunch time people were everywhere enjoying the park.

 Back at the house, waiting on burgers to grill, it's time for the pickled garlic and smoked cheddar appetizers!

 After naps (also no pictures there), Mom, Dad, and I drove up to Gold Camp road.

 The tulips at the Broadmoor

 First stop: creekside. Time to numb the feet in that snow-melted water!

 Two blue butterflies were playing along the water's edge, but dang if they weren't impossible to catch a good picture of.

 This is me hanging out the window, dog-like, in the cool mountain air.

 Taking the "High" Road

 A Civil Works Administration project during the depression, the High Drive is  a one-way road far above the city.

The baby aspen leaves were light green and trembling in the wind. 

 After the drive we stopped in at Patsy's Candy Kitchen, a Colorado Spring staple for more than 100 years.

 My favorites!

 Dinner was at Culpepper's Cajun Kitchen -- first up, gumbo (REALLY good!)

 Bob's Shrimp Creole

 Dad's Sampler

 Nick and I shared the Seafood Platter, crawfish balls, friend shrimp, fried alligator, and fried catfish. 
The book I'm holding was brought out by the owner for us to look through. 

 Nick with the Slap Yo Mama seasoning.

 And then? DESSERT! Beignets, Peach Cobbler, and Bread Pudding in Pecan Bourbon sauce. 

We drove home in a food-induced coma, in case you were wondering. . . .