Saturday, December 31, 2016

Go Up and Down the Mountain

We took a trip to Colorado this week.  
We made plans to meet Anthony's family in Leadville to ski.
There is a smaller sized ski area not far from there called Ski Cooper.  
We had good roads all the way including the winding interstate until we turned south to Leadville.  
We drove on snow-packed roads up and down again with great vistas of snow covered valleys and peaks dotted with evergreens.

Leadville, at 10,200 ft, is a mining town, making it's debut in the 1860s with gold and silver mines and in the nearer past with molybdenum. 
I elected to stay in our nice little house instead of heading to the ski slopes, I don't ski anymore since I don't want to risk any face or head injury due to past events.  I was just getting good, well fairly comfortable with skiing, when circumstances decreed that our skiing adventures would be put on hold for a time. We arrived on Monday and I was played out.  Either too much travelling, too many people on one house or the altitude made me so tired that I was in bed before 8 pm and not out of it again, (except for occasional trips to the little girl's room) until 6 am. 
Tuesday, the effects of an earlier time zone prodded everyone out of bed on the road earlier than expected and I spent the morning making cards and starting a new crocheting project. In the afternoon I walked up hill two blocks, (puff, puff) and wandered in and out of the shops on the main street. There are about two bars for every specialty shop.  Since this used to be a mining town, maybe that's no surprise. The people that run those shops must think that since their town was founded with gold and silver, that their goods should be worth their weight of it.  I bought some candy and rocks for the boys and brought some ice cream home, which was rather difficult since I kept stopping to snap photos of the other cute little Victorian houses along our street.

People are very kind here.  There aren't many traffic lights and when I was ready to cross the main street and had to wait for several cars to go by, twice someone stopped where there were no lights or stop signs to let me cross.
Wednesday there was fresh snow so it was pleasant to stay inside and watch the snow falling gently down.  When we got here there was 24" of snow on our front 'lawn', and piles on the edges of the streets, so it was extremely difficult to park the 3 four-wheel drive pickups belonging to our party.
We got 3 more inches that day and all along the street, signs were posted saying, "no parking tonight, snow removal".  So, we had to park further down where there were no signs, and by morning all those piles of snow were in the middle of the street!  Soon, however, two loaders and a truck removed the snow and we have a nice clean snow-packed street.

It's been interesting living in all this snow.  We just don't have lasting snow as a rule.  As I walked today to the visitor's center and later to the museum about mines, I noticed those big piles were still on other streets and no effort was being made to dig them out.  I plan differently when I'm going to walk in the cold.  It was sunny again today, with no wind and just at 32 degrees, but I put on socks and leggings under my long skirt with snow boots, mittens, scarf and hat along with my new winter coat.  I'm not cold then, walking the several blocks around the town and home again.  
I hoped when going to the visitor's center that I would find some history about this town and the kind clerk directed me to the Museum of Mines, a block down and a block over from there.  So, I went.  I paid my $10, and proceeded to look over three of the four floors in the building.  I was especially interested in the molybdenum mine which was been around since the early 1900s, closing down in 1984 when international competition reduced their profits to the extent that closing was necessary.
The company started up again in 2012 and the mining area is north of Leadville. Molybdenum is used in hardening steel, a very useful thing in war time and for use in engines.  It is also used in lubricants and multivitamins.

Climax Mine


Molybdenum Ore
Climax Mine, Colorado
This sample of molybdenum ore is from the Phillipson Level of the Climax Mine located in centraol Colorado.  The ore consists of a stackwork of quartz-molybdenum veins in a host rock that has been repeatedly fractured and mineralized. In this specimen the host rocks are Precambrian granite (white) and biotite schist (brown).
This ore is 0.8 percent molybdenite (MoS2), the bluish-gray mineral which occures as very fine-grained, hexagonal platelets in quartz veins.  The brass colored mineral is pyrite (FeS2).  The brown to black mineral in the one centimeter thick vein (lower right to upper left) is the tungsten mineral huebnerite MnWO4. Tungsten is the by-product of the molybdenum ore at Climax.

Also interesting was the story of the beginnings of the gold and silver mining in the area.  According to the lady taking the admission money, silver is what made the town back in the day.
I asked her, "Why then, is the town 'Leadville'?"  Why not Silver City or some such.  I think there is a Silver City somewhere.  I'm not sure if there is one in Colorado.  She answered that prospectors looking for gold found this black mineral that they assumed was lead.  It turned out to be lead with silver with it by some chemical process done eons ago and by which I am not able to explain any more about it except when I just looked it up, it is common for ores with similar characteristics to be found together.  Scanning a couple of histories of Leadville, I found no explanation of how the town got its name except for the incident of naming the post office and Leadville rather than Slabtown was voted in.  
Friday we drive home.  This is a very interesting town, I'd like to come back again and explore it's museums, landscape, activities and old mines.

I didn't do very much in the evenings except wish I was in bed for the first couple of nights, even though game playing was going on.  
The last night, per Lynette's wishes, we made an enormous mess turning graham crackers into 'gingerbread' houses.  
Mine is simple, and not very well done, but it was fun.  The other 'kids' took their time about it and turned out some rather fantastic specimens.

The humorous part of this event was the great fall of the 'sniper cave', (middle photo).  It was all done when the great pile of frosting caved in.  I think the rest of us would have given up, but Anthony gallantly salvaged all the icing and re-roofed.


Looking up and down the street.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Family Fun

After last week's very cold weekend, today we had a very pleasant 40ish afternoon after a rather icy morning.  It started to rain sometime in the night and when I looked out at 7 the rain was pattering down.  At 7:30 the rain had stopped pattering and the driveway was ice.  The temperature outdoors was 32 F, so that isn't too surprising.  What was surprising was the slushy rain that came down for the rest of the morning.  It is rather disconcerting to stick one's head out to get a picture of the icicles on the deck and feel mushy plops on it.  My oldest daughter (and kids) was coming to lunch and we were a bit worried about road conditions so I called her just before she should be leaving and told her to be careful.  She replied, "The roads aren't bad and I'm already in town." 
So much for being a concerned mother.  
Soon after noon the sun peeked out and the ice started to rain down from the trees.  That was a pretty sight, a steady fall illuminated with the sun.  Soon the pavement was dry and I saw a neighbor out walking her dog.  I felt a bit guilty for not getting my walk in that day, so I put on my shoes and leggings and went out to enjoy the late sun with no wind. 

Ice in the blue of the morning. 

I don't know what got into my camera.  Here is a faithful rendition of the sunrise and sunset on December 20, 2016.  It usually ends up to be some other color than what it actually is.

We've had some special company this week.  Jim's sister has been with us so of course, she needed to see Paislee so they came over and we had the best time.  She was happy with all who wanted to hold her and I was able to carry her around for a long time so her mama could eat her lunch.  
She's still small, but right on target or above at all her 4 month milestones.  She loves to grab and play with her toys, especially those crinkly ones.  She also likes to stand on her feet, and she has great head control and spends a lot of time just looking around. 

I ran up to get Zane from school one day because Lorene's work meeting ran over getting out time.  He came to spend the intervening time with me.  I had gingerbread cookie dough in the freezer so we got it out and made gingerbread men and women, and lions and horses and dinosaurs and who knows what all.  

I just love Lynette's smile.  

When the boys were here for lunch today, they had a wonderful time.  Papa took them outside and they slid on the ice and played on the wood pile.  Barry got cold sooner than Zane and came in while Zane pounded the ice on the pond.  They both needed second sets of mittens and I was glad I never threw all those little kid mittens away.  I've kept them 'just in case' for almost 20 years.  
Inside they played with playdough, and rolled marbles down the stairs in the marble tube.  
I make my own playdough. It stays soft and I always make a double batch so I have a lot of it so there will be no fighting.  I keep it in the fridge and eventually it gets dry and yucky and I make some more.  This batch is yellow because when I went to get the food color, I found I bought colored 'writing icing' tubes instead of food color tubes.  Obviously I couldn't read that day.  

Random shots of the week.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Arctic Blast

It's cold out there today.  
Really cold.  
And the wind is blowing.  
AND, there's a little snow out there, too.

This is 8:27 am, because at 8:27 pm it is -4.
That's 36 degrees below freezing. 
We won't even talk about the wind chill.

I stayed inside all day except for opening the door for company to come in this afternoon. 
I don't mind zero weather if I don't have to get out in it.  
I don't mind it too much if the wind isn't blowing, and I have on a heavy skirt, leggings, socks, gloves, a scarf and a tie down hat.  
Or snow pants, with all the above except the skirt. 
And boots, I forgot the boots.
I will wear all that to the grocery store (not snow pants), because I refuse to be cold anymore. 

This has been a busy week.  Besides all the normal things that need doing to keep home and business running as smoothly as possible, I had extra forms to fill out and send, company meals to plan and buy for, the basement to tidy up since some of our company was going to sleep down there and that never gets done until the eleventh hour.  
(Sure looks nice down there.)
All this had to be done in four days since UNK graduation was Friday morning and company came in the afternoon. 

On another note, Paislee was 4 months old on December 10th.

I made this vest out of some very thin, at least part mohair, yarn.  I love it. 

And see this cool thing?

  I was looking for something like this to dry my heavy dish cloths several months ago.  The spikes are on both sides and lift the cloth away from the sink so air can get under it and it dries so much faster,  I bought a metal napkin holder and draped my dish cloths over it and that worked pretty well until I found this.  
I love it.  It cost me $10, which my tightwadish, frugal self cringed at the very thought, but it has been worth it.  Things that do the job are worth spending a little extra for. 

Just like people, there are those that are worth spending a little extra time for.  

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Binge Cooking

After all that exciting news of last week. The more exciting news of this week is that on Thursday, when I was all geared up, prepped and prepared for this biopsy, the doctor looked at the live ultrasound, and after spending lots of time looking it over, decided that the lump (5 mm) is a cyst and no biopsy is needed.  I will have to go back in 6 months for another mammogram and ultrasound.  If there are changes then something else will be done.  

I wonder if anyone wonders about things like my walking, (I'm having trouble with it on these cold days) or how my win/fail program is going, (not bad really, I can pour a glass of milk without splashing out almost 100%).
Actually, I really am starting...stopping? to think before I do things.  It would have been a good idea to pay attention before I dumped an entire glass of milk on the carpet.  That has been my most spectacular fail so far.  Last night I managed to wash my enormous cutting board and the cookie sheets without getting ANY water on the floor.  Sometimes, I make a little mess and wonder what I could have done to prevent it.  I suppose there are a few that can't be prevented.  

I don't like to work very quickly.  I know that just getting after a task means a lot of work can get done in a small amount of time. I just don't like to do it.  Thursday morning with the specter of biopsy hanging over my head I was inspired and I was really impressed with the amount of things I got done in 20 minutes.  
I put fresh sheets on two beds, picked up the out of place things in both rooms, put a load of laundry in the washer and put a load away.  Just think how much I could get done if I worked like that all the time!!
If I worked like that very often, pretty soon the only thing I would be getting done is my knitting.  

Today I went on a cookie marathon.  I want a selection of desserts and cookies for company coming at the end of the week.  Yesterday, I made ginger cookies and fruit cake as a warm-up.  Today I made Mounds Cake in muffin cups, oatmeal peanut butter cookies, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with nuts, and oatmeal raisin cookies. Sadly, I miscalculated and used all the raisins in the fruit cake so I had to make a quick trip to town for more raisins.  There were about 42,000 people waiting in line at Walmart so I went through the self-checkout.  That line was moving quickly, and I was moving right along with my three items, when it hit me just as I was swiping the spray paint....
"oh, no this will flag the checker".  And it did.  The only problem was that the checker lady was going  through every bag of someone else, and pretty soon there were two others waiting for her assistance.  The guy next to me was buying cough syrup.  Like me, he didn't think about what would happen. 
After what seemed like an age, it was my turn and I was on my way.  
I must say that even though the lines were long and there were problems, everyone was waiting patiently.  
This was NOT 5:30, it was 3:00.  I was reminded again why I don't like to go to Walmart until after the first of the year.  

I took a picture of the fruit cake, but I didn't take any photos of the approximately 15 dozen cookies I made.  I made them small so it took forever.  

Earlier this month I received an invitation to a bridal shower that would take place on December 8th.  When I received it, I told Jim, "Now, I know when the boys Holiday Concert will be."  Sure enough, in a few days we got word that the day of the concert would be the 8th, so I gave my gift early.  

Taking photographs from the top of the bleachers in an enormous gym doesn't work very well, at least not with my lame cameras.  
These at least prove we were there, and so were the boys.  
I tried to mark the boys, but the text didn't transfer correctly from picasa to blogger so Barry is on the top row with a white shirt

and Zane is in blue on the end of the 3rd row.

The only other remarkable thing that happened this week, is that it got cold.
Really cold.

I forgot, I made cinnamon rolls today, too.