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Thursday, June 21, 2007
“So Mom, I was thinking about maybe getting a job this summer,” Alex says to me a couple weeks ago.
What?! My heart be still! A real job? A worthwhile way to pass the time and save money for college, a car, groceries?
“Dude, that would be great! But at age 15 it might be a little harder since most employers like you to be 16. Let me know when you want to go fill out applications.”
Somehow that conversation got tossed back to me as “Well, you’re
the one making
me get a full-time job this summer and I’m not going to have any time to hang out with my friends!”
Let me borrow a phrase from the teenage hand book: “whatever.”
Be that as it may, Alex has his first “real” job. “Real” as in THE MAN
will be dipping into his paycheck to help himself to a little of his hard-earned money! Welcome to the world of taxation without any real representation, my son.
Alex’s new status as a member of the working class really has me tickled. He is working in the restaurant at one of Colorado’s finest golf clubs. So far, he has worked three days in a row and the best part - for me - is that he can ride his bike to and from “the office.” The best part for him is that he eats for free. And he got a fifty-cent an hour raise after his first day! That’s my boy!
It has really changed the dynamic at home. He works the afternoon-to-closing shift so when I get home from work he’s gone and when he gets home I’m about ready for bed. I love calling him before he leaves and saying, “See you after work, honey” and it refers to his
He’s got big plans for his first paycheck and amazingly they don’t include college, a car or groceries. Hey, I’m fine with that right now. But I confess I’m gonna love saying, “You want what? What happened to your paycheck?”
Congratulations Alex - ya done good and I’m proud of you!
By the way, you owe me thirty bucks for the headlight and taillight I bought for your bike.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
I'm not usually a prude but my pysche is deeply rooted in traditional American Victorian values as well it should be. Sometimes things embarrass me...those things that are best kept private and talked about behind closed doors...being blurted out in a certain mix of company will make me blush.
Case in point:
I'm watching a John Wayne movie with my 84-year-old grandmother last weekend. She's telling me how they just don't make good television shows anymore. She longs for the days of Bonanza and Rawhide, among a whole list of shows that I've never even heard of. This particular movie had something to do with John Wayne dressed as Davey Crockett and some people were shooting at the Alamo with a big cannon and of course there's a buxomy but fully dressed woman of virtuous flirtation in the background. I wasn't really following the plot because I'll admit that like most Gen-Xers my eyes glaze over when focusing on anything involving TechniColor.
The big shoot-out was interrupted by commercials and just as I'm dozing I hear the word "erection." My eyes popped open.
"Cialis...for those suffering from erectile dysfunction," blah blah....to give you an erection when YOU need it...blah blah.
I see my grandma looking at her feet. I look at the ceiling or the floor or my fingernail...anything to not look interested in this product. I pretend I don't see the white haired woman giving her husband the come hither look with her wrinkled eye or to even look like I know what this product is for or what that word even means. Disregard the fact I'm pregnant...I do not know anything about that sort of stuff.
"For erections lasting more than four hours....." OH MY GOD...I think...DO NOT SAY THAT WORD AGAIN!!! I"M SITTING BY MY GRANDMA....HELLO...MY GRANDMA!!!!! SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UUUUUPPPP!!!!!
Phew....that was 30 seconds too long if you ask me.
Then the next commercial is that annoying Kotex commercial with the floating pad and the weird hovering red dot. I had to go get a very long drink of water in the kitchen.
Is it really necessary to advertise these kinds of products on T.V.? Do we really need to know the fine print on a bottle of Viagra? Should a word like dryweave be in my vocabulary? It's like I was just confronted by SPAM in my very own living room.
And what am I going to tell my kids when they ask me what that commercial means? Well honey, some men...um...well you see there's these birds and these bees...um...what do you think it means?
I'm just saying....these commercials are more embarrassing than necessary for most everyone. Let's leave these discussions to people and their doctors.
By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Here's a statistic for you:
Two out of three Haute Mamas have been diagnosed and suffered through surgeries and multiple treatments for skin cancer.
Richie and I both have had basal cell carcinoma
. And just for the record, I'd like to say it sucks.
Basal cell carcinoma won't kill you but if left untreated can cause all kinds of problems. The longer it's left to sit, the deeper and wider is grows.
I've had to take time off work for doctor's appointments and for the surgery. Then I had to deal with having sutures on my face and having people ask me all kinds of questions about what was wrong with me. I'll have to live the rest of my life with scars on my face from cancer.
Then there were the bills.
I consider myself very lucky to have a really good insurance plan, but there are still deductibles and co-pays. Needless to say, it wasn't cheap.
But for now I'm skin cancer free ... and I'm on a mission.
My mission is to inform people on how to avoid getting skin cancer in the first place.
First, let's go over the basics.
The sun's UVA rays cause skin cancer. Whenever you are in the sun, cancer-causing agents are raining down on you. Not only that but it's the UVA rays that cause the skin to age, wrinkle and turn blicky.
When you are in a tanning bed, you are focusing the attention of potent UVA rays directly onto your skin in a most intimate way. Meaning that you are actively choosing to beam aging, cancer-causing radiation directly onto your skin all for allure of a tan.
So really with a tanning bed, you are just turning the clock forward by aging your skin and promoting the growth of skin cancer all at the same time — man, now there's a product that sells itself, eh?
If you think it's worth the chance, do keep in mind that melanoma skin cancer can kill you. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2007, there will be 8,110 fatalities, 5,220 in men and 2,800 in women in the United States according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
And according to the governor of Colorado's office
, incidence rates for melanoma, the most serious and potentially deadly form of skin cancer, are significantly higher in Colorado than in the United States as a whole. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported that the melanoma incidence rate among Colorado men was 38 percent higher than the national rate, and for Colorado women, 46 percent higher.
The reason being, of course, we get 300 days of sunshine a year and we're at a relatively high altitude.
So what are we to do?
Here's what the American Cancer Society suggests:
- Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Seek shade: Look for shade, especially in the middle of the day when the sun's rays are strongest. Practice the shadow rule and teach it to children. If your shadow is shorter than you, the sun’s rays are at their strongest.
- Slip on a shirt: Cover up with protective clothing to guard as much skin as possible when you are out in the sun. Choose comfortable clothes made of tightly woven fabrics that you cannot see through when held up to a light.
- Slap on a hat: Cover your head with a wide-brimmed hat, shading your face, ears, and neck. If you choose a baseball cap, remember to protect your ears and neck with sunscreen.
- Wear sunglasses with 99 to 100 percent UV absorption to provide optimal protection for the eyes and the surrounding skin.
- Follow these practices to protect your skin even on cloudy or overcast days. UV rays travel through clouds.
- Slop on sunscreen: Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Apply a generous amount (about a palmful) and reapply after swimming, toweling dry, or perspiring. Use sunscreen even on hazy or overcast days.
Yes, our dear friend, sunscreen.
It used to be that sunscreen protected against UVB rays — which are the ones that cause burns, not the UVA rays which cause cancer. People could stay out in the sun longer without getting burnt which is good, but they were increasing their time with those nasty UVA rays, so that was bad.
But now you can get sunscreens that protect against both the UVB and UVA rays. Make sure when you buy sunscreen to the get the kind that protects against both and remember to slather yourself and especially your children in protection again and again.
Monday, June 18, 2007
It was going to be an early morning start but the three 15-year-old boys had little problem rising to meet the sun since it meant they would soon be soaking wet on the river.
Dan had somehow convinced me again that it would be a great time to spend the day in the hot sun for hours where the only means of escape was jumping into freezing cold water and risking a terrible, watery death. But that’s my paranoia at work and really this is about how much fun the boys - young and older - had, and how much fun I had watching them have fun.
We arrived at Westwater ranger station just before 8:00 a.m., hauled the gear off the trailer, did the car shuttle thing and got back to the put in point about 10:00 a.m. There were three rafts and enough experienced oarsmen to go around.
After about an hour and a half of leisurely floating we pulled over and Greg gave us a little preview of the class 3 and 4 rapids that lie ahead. The boys were excited as heck and I was fighting the urge to walk back to the car. My mood wasn’t helped when Dan insisted on giving me a blow-by-blow of what was coming.
“OK, first we go through Skull
, and there’s a huge rock on the side that we need to miss or we’re dead. Then we go through Sock-it-to-Me
and if we don’t hit it right we go into the Room of Doom
and we’re dead. After that there's the Rock of Shock,
which is always the worst of all. Then we go through Last Chance
and this is where the raft can “taco” and if it does that we’re dead. If we make it through all that we could still be dead.”
He didn’t say it exactly like that, but that’s what I heard. I asked him in a voice way past the edge of hysteria, “Where’s the safest place to be?” and his reply of “On the shore watching,” earned him a look that made the Room of Doom
seem like a welcoming place.
For better or worse we set off to meet our fate. The three stooges were on the bow of the raft sitting as close to the action as possible. As we dropped into Skull
their screams and whoops of absolute flat-out delight could be heard for miles. We got drenched and the raft was almost swamped which of course added to their enjoyment. They bailed and pumped as fast as they could before the next rapid, which of course swamped us again which led to more bailing and whooping. They were shouting with so much delight it made me forget I was panicked and I just started laughing at them having fun. Nick kept encouraging Dan, “Keep rowing! I know how this is done. I’ve seen it on TV!”
I must say here absolutely that Dan is an excellent oarsman. He got us through those rapids with impeccable timing and skill, with minimum risk and maximum fun!
Eventually we were back in calm water, and the boys asked if we could circle back and do it again! If only! The rest of the trip was in mostly flat water and the three boys were joined by another kid for the rest of the trip in an inflatable, supposed-to-be-two-person rubber-duckie. As you can see, Alex had the King Tut position on the front of the boat while the other kids worked the paddles. They had a great time and all of them are now bona-fide river rats, talking about getting their own rig and spending the rest of the summer on the water.
All in all, it was a fun day with a wonderful bunch of people. And other than a few gnat bites, and sun burned foot-tops, nobody was worse for the wear!
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Friday, June 15, 2007
I think Soren would shake his head emphatically up and down if I asked him if this guy was his best friend.
And I'd have to agree because he's mine too.
A very Happy Father's Day to all dads this weekend!
By Robin Dearing
Thursday, June 14, 2007
I was on vacation ... did you miss me?
Our big family vacation this year was to visit Bill's family in and around Buffalo, New York. Bill and the kids are staying for two weeks, I was there for one.
I'd only been to the Buffalo area one time previous when Margaret was 6 months old and Buffalo had just been hammered with a monumental snowstorm which virtually crippled the city. Needless to say, we mostly stayed indoors.
The beginning of June is a much better time to visit Buffalo. I guess I should clarify that for the most of my stay I wasn't really anywhere near Buffalo but was way, way out in the middle of farmland that abuts Lake Ontario in Barker.
But we did a fair amount of traveling around to see the sights, including Niagara Falls.
These falls are amazing. The amount of water pouring over the edge is truly remarkable. The mist will soak you in about three seconds.
We did the touristy thing and took the Maid of the Mist
out into Niagara River, along the American and Bridal Veil Falls and up to the base of the Horseshoe Falls.
And as part of the admission price on to the boat we got these lovely rain ponchos.
Even though we diligently wore our ponchos (and took a little too much enjoyment in wearing them), we got soaked. But we had so much fun enjoying the falls that wet shoes didn't seem to matter so much.
if you're interested in seeing more photos of the falls.
Visiting Niagara Falls: A
Eating awesome Greek food at Granny's Family Restaurant
in North Tonawanda after visiting the falls: A+ (I'm still having dreams about their labni!)
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Well, as promised, here’s my Top Ten list of things I don’t like about living in Western Colorado. Please don’t criticize my
list - be honest and write your own.
Again in no particular order:
1. For every one Mexican restaurant in town, there are at least two others. Come on, I have nothing against Mexican food, but how many do we need?
2. Sometimes, the Bookcliffs and the Grand Mesa are just in the way. Yes, they’re beautiful, but don’t you get a little claustrophobic now and then?
3. It’s becoming mostly a small town with big city problems.
4. The parking lot in the only mall in town is choked off by miles of concrete pipe being laid to prevent a hundred year flood in the desert. When was the last flood? Are we gonna be here to care about the next one?
5. You constantly have to decide whether or not driving to Denver to save $200 or more on a flight anywhere is worth it. Then you miss the good ticket prices anyway because you took too long to decide.
6. Your claim to fame is that you are the largest retail trade center between Denver and Salt Lake City. Except for illegal drugs.
7. Wages are much lower here than for the same work elsewhere. The flip side of that is there’s not much to spend the money on anyway.
8. Kids still whine about having nothing to do. Especially over the summer.
9. We build 10,000 square foot homes for people who got tired of breathing bad air in whatever city they moved from.
10. Most of the real cowboys have left the building.
OK - I'm done.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
A few nights ago my hubby came around the corner to find his pregnant wife devouring a quarter pan of warm brownies swimming in whole milk. I wasn't hiding out of embarrassment but I was hiding from the toddler who didn't eat his dinner. I tell ya, food never tastes better than when you're eight months pregnant. Go ahead...bring on the summer barbecue and June wedding cakes because I'm ready!
But, I'm at that point when the scale creeps up and it gets a little scary. My stomach is beyond the "cute" point and into the "Wow" category.
And I'm at the point where thoughts of another six months without sleep, the pumping, the diapers, the crying, the bills and trying to make it all as smooth of an adjustment as possible for my family is a lot scary too. Despite being an expert baby mom, I'm smart enough to know that there will be a whole new set of challenges to face with a toddler and a new baby.
I can't imagine what it must have felt like to carry six babies like the ones that were delivered in Phoenix yesterday. I didn't even know that a stomach could stretch that big! Mine looks tiny in comparison. Take a minute and check it out
Photos courtesy of MSNBC
I think the father, Brian Masche, said it best in that video when he said that there was no way to prepare for six babies, no way to worry about that kind of hospital bill, or no way to worry far into the future.
It's the same feeling whether you are having your first or your second or six all at once. There's just too much to contemplate so all you can do is worry about having healthy children and the rest will work itself out.
Jenny Masche delivered at 30 weeks which is exactly where I am at right now. She is still in the ICU after acute heart failure but her babies are breathing on their own. All I can think of is what a great mom she is, how lucky she is to have a husband like Brian, and if I could I'd hug her right now and I'd whisper in her ear that it's all going to be okay.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Monday, June 11, 2007
Watch out Rimrock Rodeo...SoJo's a coming!
Like every good parent in Grand Junction I spent part of the weekend at the Shrine Circus. (Watch Video
) We opted for the Saturday morning matinee. The place was packed, the sweet smell of cotton candy was in the air masking the pungent scent of elephant poo, clowns were clowning, and kids OF ALL AGES were jumping up and down in excitement.
My father-in-law loves loves LOVES the circus. To have a new wave of grandchildren to spoil there is just a piece of heaven to him. He always knows everyone including the circus owners and likes to show off the kids. I certainly don't mind letting him spoil Soren and enjoyed the time we got to spend with him.
We started with pony rides. At not-yet-but-nearly 1 and 1/2 I was wondering if grandpa was wasting his six bucks on letting my kid ride. I mean...6 BUCKS...good golly!
I plunked the cowboy kid down on a sturdy steed fully expecting a panic stricken terrifying scream to follow. He wobbled a bit, unsure how to balance until I guided his little hand down to the saddlehorn. He let go of the other hand, placed it on the saddlehorn, scooted his butt back for better balance and then shook his head up and down in a get-ee-up. He flashed his two front teeth at grandpa as we loped by who tried his best to operate the new-fangled digital camera. I kept a hand hovering in case of overconfidence. Then he chanted "Doggeee Dooggeee" over and over again.
He was a natural cowboy. Who woulda known? I sure didn't teach him how to ride a pony like a pro roper! I think mutton-busting is in his future. Is there a nice purse involved in that? I guess we'd better get him some cowboy boots for Christmas.
I have pictures to add to this post but I forgot them this morning. Cut me some slack. It is Monday after all. Come on back for pics this afternoon—ya'll.
Oops....forgot them again! Check back tomorrow to see a picture of an elephant, I promise....I think.
Friday, June 8, 2007
Today I’m sharing my “Top Ten” list of things in Western Colorado that I like. I know you’re saying to yourself, “Thank God! What took her so long?”
(Next entry I’ll give you my “Top Ten” things I don’t like. Stay tuned . . . .)
These are not necessarily in order of preference:
1. The Pinon Grill patio at Tiara Rado golf course for drinks, dinner or Sunday breakfast.
2. A twenty-degree temperature drop is only 30 minutes away.
3. Gorgeous hiking trails right outside my back door the likes of which most people travel hundreds of miles to get to.
4. Snow melts before you have to shovel.
5. You can run into the mayor at some function or other and express your pleasure/displeasure about whatever while having a cocktail.
6. Las Vegas is within driving distance.
7. There is a festival for corn, peaches, wine, mountain bikes, Ska, blues, chamber and classical music, art, bluegrass, apples, rocks, baseball, jazz, independent films, the Renaissance, and chickens with no heads.
8. Double punch Tuesday at Enstrom’s with a side of toffee sample.
9. It’s still (barely) Republican.
10. You can attend an outdoor concert and not know, or care, who the band is.
What’s on your