Exploring

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Hello! Welcome to wonky lens land. I really do need to get on this camera situation, and pronto. Ugh. I am really torn, as I like my camera and know it so well, but it would also be nice, maybe, to try something new?

In that new department, how’s about the paint? It only took three weeks to finish, but goll-ee, is it ever an improvement. I failed to take before photos, so use your beautiful brain to summon an image of a dark chocolate brown with crayon green accents, and you’ve got the main section. Then, for the now black plinth area, change the dial to maroon, with a huge chunk of brick missing (which Greg repaired) from some previous owner calamity. The painted panel was the color of the east wall. All in all, dark and gloomy and not terribly well matched to one another.

But, oh, how I like it now. Juniper is going to have to share her couch with me more frequently, as the space is so much more inviting!

Turn your back on the new beauty of the fireplace, and you’ve got the workout and sauna area. We replaced the floor when we moved in, and painted the beams this time round, but, as with the bathroom below, had never shared before, and are a a five-day-a-week when not painting part of our vida loca. I am particularly fond of lifting five pound weights while dancing on the rebounder. Just in case you were wondering.

The bathroom is awfully bright for a basement, which makes up for being rather diminutive. Gotta love the light of the high desert!

The guest room, also in the basement, and kind of like a suite with the neighboring bathroom, is super cozy without feeling cramped. I had wanted to paint the panel and closet doors for ages, basically since moving in, but the thought of sanding in all of those nooks and crannies was so daunting, I put it off. Then, while watching some home improvement show, heard about Liquid Sandpaper/Deglosser (we used Klean Strip), where you take a damp cloth, saturate it with this liquid, rub in a circular motion on the varnished surface, and wait for it to dry before applying paint. I mean, seriously, it was so, so easy.

Now I have a lovely color on what was once a very maple syrup hued and not so buena vista. Um, yes!

Damn lens again, wah! It only regularly focuses properly at the bottom of the frame, so you are missing out on some super crisp stair imagery I cropped out. But we were together in Manitou Springs, with my parents and Uncle Chris, and it was such a fun day, I had to share.

More Manitou Springs! At least these are clear.

Happy Monday…

Mt. Herard

Lenticular

Our ascent begins…

Unknown Pleasures

Our high point, with Cleveland Peak most distant

South towards Zapata Ridge

A long way to Medano Creek

STEEP

Descent

Greg and Juniper hoofed it. I was far less glamorous and a tad more fun, sliding on my rear.

An excursion to Great Sand Dunes National Park was the second reason for heading south this past weekend. Neither of us had ever been, so it was decided a month or so ago. We stayed in Fort Garland, at The Lodge, which we highly recommend for pet and people friendliness!

Though the cold was was bracing, we made the right choice starting our hike at dawn – no crowds! We also took it as a good sign that the bugle of elk marked our beginning. The light enchanted, and hardly a sound could be heard for much of our hike. Only in the instances when we laid still on the sand, fingers sifting, sun warming, did we hear animals, finally on their level, a wire on the kangaroo rat telegraph. There were other signs of life, mostly tracks: of birds, coyote, fox, moth wings, the skitter of seed pods and leaves, too.

In a search for the ultimate view, we ascended for nearly three hours, hoping the next highest dune would bring the glory. We were rewarded handsomely, but oh, how the muscles in my legs complained in the final moments! The most notable aspect about hiking on sand is there is nothing to grasp, the feet slide, the body groans, but somehow makes it, inch by inch.

Afterward, we rewarded ourselves with lattes and a lovely oil painting at our favorite Valley coffee stop, the Mirage Trading Company, knowing there was delicious pizza and equally wonderful service just a hop, skip, and an hour’s jump away at Moonlight Pizza in Salida. How lucky we three souls are!

High Country

MarĂșaweeka, and Happy Indigenous People’s Day! The first word is how to greet a group in Comanche, one small, yet significant, branch of my Ancestral Tree. I am proud to be all that I am, which is partially what brought our family unit out on our latest adventure in Southern Colorado.

After ambling by more times than we can recall, we decided it was about time to visit Fort Garland. It is a marvelous example of adobe construction and steeped in important local history. Union Soldiers stationed here helped defeat Confederates at the Battle of Glorieta Pass, while the 9th Cavalry of Buffalo Soldiers stationed here helped keep the peace between the Native Utes and white people in the 1870s.

The most recent exhibit, which I am not certain will be permanent, highlights the enslavement of Native People in the area. I sure hate how humans have made use of this wicked practice for time immemorial. It’s a heart breaking fact, to be sure.

Now we have the road to Conejos and Antonito, the skies a most gorgeous welcome. The first church in Conejos, Our Lady of Guadalupe, is considered the first permanent church in the state of Colorado, on land chosen in 1858. This, the most recent incarnation, was built after fire destroyed the previous building in 1926 and expanded in 1948.

The second church, Saint Augustine, in neighboring Antonito, is especially important to me, because my Great Aunt Cirilia (Casias-Atencio) was baptised here in 1862. The roots run deep.

The final photo is Cano’s Castle in Antonito. I’m not certain if it is made from beer cans or simply covered in them, along with hubcaps and other bits and bobs of the lost and found, but it sure is a sight to behold. Oh, the light!

East to San Luis, Colorado’s oldest town.

Rio Grande

What a gorgeous day of exploration!

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Hello from my first Low Rider show. Holy Guacamole, peeps! If you know me at all, then you well know I was a hot mess of thrills and wonder. I was the gringo lady asking all the questions, excitedly taking photos, and getting all sweaty with overwhelming emotions. So many beautiful cars! Next level artistry! My vocabulary is wholly inadequate for what these magician mechanics and painters have done. Truly extraordinary.

We went with our nephew Jett and his friend David – that’s them admiring the El Camino, and I do believe we all left impressed beyond measure.

Oh, and bikes, too. A Smurf bike! My little girl self squeed with delight!

No shortage of these cool cars, either! Maybe you have to make some magic on this scale before moving into the truly mind blowing actual car work. Literal baby steps…

1958 Chevrolet Impala – Not sure why, exactly, but the Impala was THE car of choice. Such representation! And to show how next level the dedication is, people have mirrors on the floor to highlight the undercarriage work. What?!!

Another Impala, maybe a 1965? The photos do it no justice. The bumpers and various and sundry metalwork were akin to tooled leather, which was entirely hand done. Each car must have thousands upon thousands of hours to achieve the look.

Oldsmobile – the first Low Rider I ever saw looked similar to this.

This bad boy pays homage to Breaking Bad and WAR. Never seen the show (drugs and violence are so not my jam) but LOVE the song.

1965 Chevy Station Wagon. Coolest E V E R.

This 1955 Chevy was my favorite from the show. All the things. A L L of them…

Truck of a million angles, with matching mini car and bike. Mechanical wizardry!

1950 Cadillac – my Grandpa Herbie drove one of these beauties!

1952 Chevrolet – My Dad’s first car was a 1951 in light green, so cool!

Note the round tubes on the passenger side windows. These were some sort of early air conditioners, aptly named Car Coolers. I learned a lot, my friends.

An LTD like Grandpa’s! I wanted to stick my nose in the window and check for his scent: cologne and pipe tobacco. The owners were right there, and I was already the nutty lady squealing at the sight of it, so, yeah, it didn’t happen.

And nearly best for last, the Monte Carlos! The middle one looked most like the style of our family car growing up (only in sky blue), but the stunning green was my favorite of the three. That lavender though…

Always excited to see each other, even just to share our morning coffee. Truth.

That time I bought a hammock-y bed for Juniper, so she didn’t have to be so hot and bothered on the cement of the porch, and she trembled in fear when sitting on it. No Mommy, you cannot make me like it or use it!

Latest jewelry creations. I am pleased as punch with how they turned out. That being said, the turquoise at left and silver & brass at right are examples of multiple failures finally gotten right. Each is probably the fourth iteration of the same or similar combination of beads not looking right for literally years. I’d string them, think they looked good, bring them home and decide otherwise. The message is to keep at it. Edit, edit, edit. Try, try, try.

The garden is off to the races, ladies and gents!

These are two of about one hundred nectarines! If they aren’t ravaged by birds, squirrels, raccoons, or hail by the time they ripen, it’s going to be one heck of a harvest!

Jeff came for a visit! We celebrated my birthday with a nice morning hike; pizza in our wood fired oven – that’s a Thai style, with my peanut sauce, chicken, peanuts and green onion up yonder; homemade ice cream – peanut butter with Reese’s cups and banana cheesecake with walnut polvorones, both STELLAR; AND, last but not least, a very fun evening of Terraforming Mars. Always the best of times. ALWAYS.

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