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By Special to the Sentinel
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Post by: Randee Bergen
I came home the other day and Addy had the t.v. on. "Hey, mama, wanna watch this with me?"
"What is it?" I rarely watch t.v. and when I do, I have to do something else simultaneously.
"It's called 'My Strange Addiction.' This one is about this guy who eats glass."
When your teenage daughter asks you if you want to watch a show with her, or do anything with her for that matter, you do it, even if the activity is number 192 on your priority list. So, I grabbed my laptop and plopped down on the couch. The strange addictions we saw were the glass eating guy (who has also recently started eating bullets), someone who takes 150 laxatives a day, a lady who is fascinated with death and is living for the day she dies, a woman who can't stop applying make-up, and a mother who is obsessed with collecting rocks. Her entire yard is covered with rocks that she has brought home one by one and there are bowls upon bowls of them in every room of her house. Every time she goes somewhere, she's focused on the ground and which rocks she should pick up and take home.
This last one--the rock lady--had me chuckling a bit at something I am now, since seeing the show, thinking of as my strange addiction - the sky. Living in the Rocky Mountain West, there is always a show going on up above with no repeated episodes whatsoever. A couple of summers ago I started photographing sunrises and sunsets and the amazing colors and cloud patterns that we get before and after the late afternoon rain and thunderstorms. There was plenty of moaning and eye rolling from the teenage daughters as I was constantly pulling over and getting out of the car to take pictures. You know, you can't just get the shot and then be on your merry way because 30 seconds later things have morphed and are even more stunning.
The sky was really flaunting its capabilities one day when we were on what should have been a seven-hour road trip. My strange addiction made it longer. I reminded the girls that at least I wasn't hanging out the window and snapping shots while going 75 mph. This is what I did before I learned some strategies for managing my addiction. Soon, the daughters acquiesced and started searching the skies with me and I know for a fact that they've got some beauties accumulating in their smart phone camera rolls.
The best of my sky photos ended up in an ongoing Facebook album. The album had a lot of faithful followers until one sad day when the Facebook powers that be informed me that I had reached the limit on number of photos that could be uploaded. This occurred in the springtime, a particularly rainy spring, and the wild flowers in the surrounding desert terrain were going crazy. Well, you can probably guess what I replaced my sky obsession with.
Actually, I haven't fully recovered from the sky. I still chase sunrises and sunsets. I am still hoping that the city will build a giant photography tower in the middle of town, with an East Deck that faces Mt. Garfield and the Grand Mesa and a West Deck that looks out toward the Colorado National Monument. Until then, I am always on the lookout for the best spots in town to catch the colors.
The other day, Amy needed something from Walmart. As we were driving there, the sky was concocting an incredible mélange. "I'm going to drop you off and let you run in on your own. I'll be right back. Just wait for me out front."
She nodded, knowing without even asking what I needed to go and do. I didn't have much time, so I took a little road that went behind Walmart and the Dollar Tree and Lowe's. And guess what? Score! First of all, it's quite lovely back there; I mean, in comparison with the front-of-the-store parking lots. And the Riverside Parkway overpass to Highway 6&50 was showcasing the sunset all too well. There was no question about it--this location would suffice as a fix for my strange addiction.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Monday, July 29, 2013
Do you know what Minecraft is?
If you don't, Soren and Jonas would happy to to tell you, for hours and hours and hours if you'd like.
It's the latest and greatest thing ever invented, even better than Pac-Man circa 1984, and it's consuming every free thought that are in my boys' head.
We don't even have and XBox or similiar gaming device but no matter, the Minecraft obsession has taken over their brains.
From what I can gather, people play Minecraft by building stuff with blocks, houses and walls and stuff, in order to keep things called creepers and zombies out. Apparently, the difference is that creepers blow up and zombies just kill you. Or something like that was told to me at 6 a.m. as Soren rolled over with bleary eyes and started his daily 10 hours of blabber about a video game he doesn't have.
And since he doesn't have it, he and Jonas spend their computer time searching YouTube for videos that show other people playing Minecraft or researching the history and nuances of the game.
For example, did you know that Soren is older than the invention of Minecraft but Jonas is the same age.
And, that since there was only one Minecraft T-shirt left at Target, the boys have finally found something they are happily sharing. I think they have an every other day thing worked out except for when it disappears into the wash. And, Marek is not allowed to wear it ever.
Marty and I tried to go along with it, listening to the babble, and I once tried to build something on the mobile version that Soren begged his dad for until he relented out of pure torture. ("Dad, did you know that I will work all summer if you buy the full-length version for only $7 and I already cleaned my room and I swear I'll let Jonas play and did you know there are special creepers that blow up but then MORE come on the full-version and you can play whenever you want dad and did you know that ......") Of course, I didn't really get it, which makes me laugh because I know that means I've become a true parent. I've even played along and watched an assortment of Minecraft videos.
Here's my favorite:
It's obsession really what these kids have for Minecraft. They eat, sleep, and think about it all day long. And, I'm told, my kids aren't the only ones. Anybody under 25 is playing it.
So there ya go. Parents, you'd do well to at least know a teensy tinsy bit of Minecraft knowledge, because otherwise kids these days, will have nothing to say to you at all.
By Special to the Sentinel
Friday, July 26, 2013
Post by Randee Bergen
Being a teacher, I am free, on these summer days, to go and be and do (practically) whatever I want and I often find myself at the outdoor pool at Lincoln Park.
(Caption: Amy roves in the shallow end on a busy summer afternoon.)
I have my routine down. I wear my flip-flops and a trisuit and pack a small bag: towel, cap, goggles, water bottle, hat, book, phone, five bucks. The bike ride there, despite the 100 degree heat, is refreshing, the wind chill actually cooling me a bit as I pedal.
My swimming workout is routine, too, which isn’t good. I need to break out of it, surprise my muscles a bit. Egh, maybe I’ll change it up after the lazy days of summer are over.
As I get in, I notice a woman in the lane next to me, speaking with her two children as they dance on the hot cement at the edge of the pool. They look to be about five and seven. The older one says that they’re headed over to the diving board. I’m guessing they’ve jumped off it before; they appear confident and mom seems nonchalant. My knowing eye, however, detects her delight in the announcement.
I am reminded of the different stages of my own children’s evolution with swimming. Being dunked as babies. The day they first jumped off the edge and got back to the side on their own, my fingers just inches away, ready to give a nudge at the first sign of struggle.
(Caption: The day Amy learned that she could jump in and get back to the edge on her own.)
Participating on their first swim team, while I ran laps on the elevated track above, catching glimpses of them when possible. Doing what this mom is doing–remaining in the vicinity, watching, being available. Then it got to the point where I could drop them off at swim practice and return later or allow them to ride their bikes to the pool with their friends.
And now? Well, I’m not just here to get out of my muggy house and burn a few calories. I’m here because my girls–now 15 and 16 years old–are here, too. They’re lifeguards.
(Caption: Addy patrols the deep end.)
And like the mom next to me, I want to be in the vicinity. I, too, sometimes just stop my laps or put my book down and observe as they do their thing, thinking back, with satisfaction, on all the phases they’ve gone through to get to where they are now.
In the vicinity. It’s a good place to be on a hot summer afternoon.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Thursday, July 25, 2013
On occasion throughout the years, the Haute Mamas have hosted a short variety of guest bloggers who have kept our blog filled with fresh new voices and subject matter. We're excited to introduce our newest guest, Randee Bergen.
Randee lives and teaches in Grand Junction. She's the mother of two teens, ages 15-16. In her original email, she said she'd like to inspire people to enrich their lives and the lives of their children and build an appreciation for our community. She's the author of two books about education. She also authors her own url called A String of Pearls at randeebergen.wordpress.com. She plans on writing about things to do in the Grand Valley, from the planned to the spontaneous.
"My column’s personality will always be positive and inspirational, much like my own. It will never bash or disparage—but always uphold and endorse—our grand community and the people who make their lives here. My goal is to create appreciation through participation, to get others out there living."
And, her name is Randee. She seems to fit in perfectly with Robin and Richie.
Looking forward to her help with spreading the Hauteness.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
By Robin Dearing
Monday, July 22, 2013
Last week, Richie handed me a box saying we got a product to review that Margaret, my 13-year-old daughter, might like. I opened the box, took one look at the Sprigs' Banjees Wrist Wallet and said, "I already thought of this!" While I may have "thought" of it, it was the fine folks at Sprigs who created this super-cool product. Needless to say, Margaret may have wanted to try out the wallet, but this Banjees was mine!
There have been so many times when I'm riding on the back of my husband's motorcycle, skiing, watching live music, hiking, etc. when I wished I had some place to put my I.D., cash, car key and phone. Carrying a purse isn't always functional, but I still need my important things. The smart Sprigs people came up with a great solution with their functional and cute wrist wallet.
Check it out:
That pink stripe is the opening to the fold-over phone pocket. On the back is a zipper pocket that can hold my I.D., money, etc. When I walk my dog, I can put my iPhone with the headphones connected into the zipper pocket instead of putting it into my sports bra (yeah, I used to do that). Here's a quick video that shows how easy it is to use.
Look at how many designs they come in. It's easy to use, cute and comfortable. I love this Banjees wallet. And it costs less than 20 bucks at $16.50.
Looking through Sprigs' marketing material and web site, I want to own so many of their products. They have a Touch Mesh Banjees that allows you to use your touch smartphone while you are still wearing it. I want that. They have super cute gloves. I want a pair of their texting gloves. And for the winter, I most definitely want a Hot Collar.
I love smart products made by smart people, especially when they are not just functional, but cute and wearable at the same time. Thank you Sprigs!
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Thursday, July 18, 2013
This year we took Marek on vacation to celebrate his golden 4th birthday, but we tried to make the actual day a grand celebration just for him.
"It's my birfday? Today? Yay, " he screamed when I woke him up and announced the big news. Then, I made him hash and eggs, his favorite breakfast in the whole world.
Then came a parade in Longview, Wa. I have to hand it to Long View — they know how to throw a parade. There were floats, bands, dancers, cars, tractors, and much, much to Marek's excitement, horses.
"It's this my purrade?"
"Yes, it is. All of these people are here for your parade because it's your birthday." Yeah, that's what I said. What? Why not let him think the whole nation is partying for him.
"Yay, I love my birfday!"
I don't think I've ever seen more candy than what was being thrown out at this parade. We ended up with a HUGE bag, plus toothbrushes, pins, hats from Liberty tax, flags, even a Squirrel Fest t-shirt that Soren caught out as it shot out of a cannon. It fit me — Score.
Best. Parade. Ever. Seriously. Thanks City of Longview!
Then it was a trip to Target's toy aisles. I let him pick whatever he wanted, thinking he'd want everything and I'd have to widdle down the selection. He picked a big castle and a HULK figure and some sidewalk chalk. That's all he wanted, which is weird, but awesome.
Then it was off make a red, white, and blue Power Ranger cake. Yes, I packed a cake pan and hauled it 1,500 miles so I could bake him his special birthday cake.
Okay, yeah, I get it. It doesn't look like a Power Ranger so much as a bearded king guy but whatever, I was on vacation.
Plus, he liked it.
After that, we headed back into Longview to see their fireworks display. Because of varying firebans the past couple of years in Mesa Count, Marek had never seen big fireworks before. The show is free and the fireworks are lit over Lake Sacajawea which is the dominant feature of their city park.
(Pic by omoriginals.com)
It was a great show. And seeing Marek's litte face light up with every bang made it the best 4th of July I've ever had. We were all sad to see the day end.
By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Before I was diagnosed with Addison's and sick for weeks on end, I decided I needed a kitten to entertain me. After I was diagnosed and started feeling better, I decided I still needed a kitten because life is too short not to get a kitten.
I wanted a short-haired calico kitten. I figured there was no reason not to be picky. But then going to look at kittens and not taking them all home is so very hard ... almost impossible. Have you held a kitten lately or played with one, or had one lick your finger. Kittens make everything better.
After searching the shelters, humane societies, pet stores, etc., Bill finally found a nice lady with a litter of kittens that were ready for homes, three of which were long-hair tortoiseshell kittens. Despite not wanting a long-haired kitten, once the kitten was in my hand, there was no going back.
Plus, look at this face:
Those little doll eyes get me every time. Also, her tiny, puffy self is too much! That's a shoe-box lid she's playing in. So little!
We named her Dali and to her, every waking moment is a party.
She's the sweetest looking kitten that every was. She'll come cuddle my arm and just when my heart melts, she pokes me in the armpit with her baby kitty claws. Then she licks my fingers and prances off to attack my shoe. Watching her play with ... well, everything ... has become one of our favorite pastimes.
She uses the litterbox and eats her little, baby-kitty crunchy food and she attacks everything in the most delightful, kitten way. Even when she's biting my toes, she's the little ray of sunshine we needed this summer.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
I've been on vacation the past couple of weeks. I need a break, from everything and everybody, including Facebook, texts and news. I put my phone in the glove box and left it there, then resisted every urge that happened in moments of boredom to check in on the world
It's not that easy really, but with a job as a news web editor, I spend ginormous amounts time online. I know everything that happening anywhere in the whole world at any given moment. It's my job to make sure that you also know everything happening anywhere in the world at any given moment. But, it's a job that follows me from work to home to play, from sun-up to sun-down. So on vacation, I vowed to take a break from it all.
At one point, I plopped myself into a lawn chair in the elusive Washington sun and sat. I was thinking that I should get a book, maybe grab my phone (?), because this feeling of boredom is very uncomfortable. Isn't it? Do people ever really get bored anymore? I know that for me, boredom often leads to great ideas, big projects, self-reflection. Or at least it used to. By grabbing a device all the time, I'm sort of robbing myself of valueable time, right? And, the word boredom could easily be substituted with relaxation. So, I pushed through the uncomfortable feeling caused by cutting myself off from constant entertainment. It felt weird. I listened to the stream running nearby. I thought about what the moles must look like under the piles of dirt scattered across the lawn. I looked at the boys playing and wondered if this vacation would stay in their memories. I wondered what I could do to make their childhood better.
Marty walked by and said: "What are you doing?"
I kind of laughed and said "nothing" because at times explaining it all is neither possible or necessary.
I did nothing. I haven't done that for a really, really long time. It felt so good.
By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Hey, you guys, remember when I kept saying I was sick? Turns out I was a little more than just sick.
After three months of many visits to my doctor, specialists and having so many tests the list goes on for three pages, my illness remained an enigma. My blood pressure was super low (it was often 84/50 or lower), I threw up every time I looked at/smelled/even thought too hard about food, I couldn’t walk or even sit up and my knees would ache so badly at night I’d writhe a sad St. Vitus dance.
I had been to the emergency room and to the infusion center four times for fluids in less than two months. My bathroom counter was full of nausea meds. I lost over 20 points, my skin started to hang off my arms.
Not a single doctor had any idea what was wrong with me.
My dear husband, Bill, was losing his patience with the lack of a diagnosis while I was losing hope I’d ever recover.
I was finally admitted to the hospital. Yet again, I told my story of extreme fatigue, weakness, nausea, vomiting, aches, on and on. The admitting doctor listened with narrowed eyes to my vague symptoms. Then my vigilant husband added one weird fact: I was tan.
That one fact helped save my life.
I have Addison’s Disease.
It’s a super rare condition where my adrenal gland no longer makes adrenaline. This is pretty much a huge deal because adrenaline does a whole bunch of important things like regulate blood pressure, sodium levels, potassium levels, it maintains body fat, among other things.
I will never have another adrenaline rush. I’m going to have to really work on my upper body strength, just in case my family is trapped under a car.
The treatment for Addison’s is oral steroids.
And right now, I feel really, super, awesomely good. Better than I have in a long time.
As for the tan, it’s a side effect of the adrenal gland not working. It’s supposed to go away. But when I look at my weird, thin, tan self in the mirror, I see a different version of myself. Bill called me Hospital Barbie.
Now that I’m home, everything looks, feels, tastes, sounds amazing. I get up in the morning and am ready to go … do … stuff, whatever, everything. I’m trying to avoid writing that I have “a new lease on life,” but it really sort of feels like that.
I’m so happy that I can drive my kid to singing lesson and fold laundry. I’m so happy I get to go on summer adventures with my dear friend, Pam. I’m happy I’m able to play guitar again with the girls in my band. I’m so happy I get to ride on the back of my husband’s motorcycle and camp in my mom’s RV. I’m happy to be useful, helpful and self-sufficient.
I’m so happy which is the strangest symptom of Addison’s I have.