Colorado, Family, Florrisant Fossil Beds National Monument, National Parks and Monuments

Colorado, Part III: Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, etc.

That morning we went to Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument and saw the petrified stumps of ancient redwood trees. We walked the trails a little. They were gentle. It was a gorgeous day. We were disappointed that we couldn’t pick up fossils, but I guess that’s why it is protected with national monument status. There are many great examples of insect and plant fossils in the visitors’ center.

Stopped for scenic photo shoots along the road, including an old mine site. There is still plenty of gold being mined up on those hilltops.

This looks like an oil painting to me:

Those vistas. Those skies.


On the way back we stopped at Manitou Springs again and had coffee and walked through several shops and galleries. A beautiful little town, although the parking situation is extremely frustrating there.

The next morning our flight was delayed and so we went back to Boulder and had brunch at an excellent farm-to-table vegetarian restaurant, Leaf. After we got to the airport, our flight was delayed two more times, and we didn’t get home until 1 a.m. I don’t think that we are going to fly on Frontier any more, although they did give us each a food voucher for $10 at the airport and a $50 credit for flying with them again. Maybe, I don’t know.

Now I’m back home thinking about views like this. But home is good. I like home, too.

Colorado, critters, Family

Colorado, Part II: Cripple Creek

Early afternoon saw us on the road to Cripple Creek, Colorado with a stop for Mediterranean food in Manitou Springs. We fed a friendly little squirrel pumpkin seeds and saw an elk doe and two fawns on the way.

Once we got there we checked into Cripple Creek Hospitality House, which turned out not only to be inexpensive and historic but fascinating and beautifully decorated as well. It was the former Teller County Hospital, built in 1901. All the rooms had names of the former use of the room. For example, the room on the left in the photo below had “Quarantine” on the door. Guess I’m glad I didn’t have that room!

Cherie and I drove and walked around Cripple Creek later that evening, but not much was open other than the casinos, and we don’t gamble. We had a light dinner at an Irish pub that had no stout (!!!) and my food was awful so I won’t mention its name. We did go into the Brass Ass Casino, where they had actual human interaction with roulette and blackjack and craps and that was fun to watch. The other casinos seemed to be only machines, which I find very sad. We saw a skunk run into an abandoned building. We loved the colors and styles of the small turn-of-the-century houses.

The big animal highlight was the herd of donkeys wandering around town. They are descendants of the old mine donkeys, and they are very well taken care of. They could be a little aggressive if you had something that they liked to eat.

We ate lunch at the Red Rooster bar in the Imperial Hotel, which is haunted. That is the ghost of Sandy photobombing Aunt Delaine and me. The other ghost, George, was not around. Which was just fine with me.

Family, Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina

Lake Waccamaw Easter 2017

Easter at Lake Waccamaw seems to be on its way to tradition status.

We rolled in around 8 p.m. on Friday night and went straight to Dale’s for fried oysters and shrimp. When we walked out around 9 p.m., the mayflies were swarming. They calmed down during the day on Saturday and Sunday, but at night they were attracted to light colors and you could hear the cars running over them on the pavement. It sounded like bubble wrap popping. They are a nuisance, but they are a sign of nature in balance, and they don’t last long. A mayfly is quite graceful looking.

We stayed at Weezer’s cottage (Fred’s house) down the road from my sister’s house and walked back and forth. The temperature was mild and it was breezy enough for whitecaps even during the day.

On Saturday morning we went to the local old time music jam at the Lake Waccamaw Depot Museum. There were 2 or 3 pickers who were extremely talented. I’ll go back to hear them again.


As usual, Lisa had fabulous food prepared for us. We took a boat ride on Sunday morning, then returned to Greensboro after lunch.

Colorado, critters, Family

Visiting family in Colorado

^^^My cousin volunteers at a bird of prey rescue and rehabilitation center. It is not open to the public but we were allowed to quietly visit some of the areas and see eagles, hawks, owls, falcons, and one turkey vulture. Adam, the bald eagle in the top photo, is an education bird and whistles and chirps adorably when humans call his name. He wouldn’t pose for me, though! The birds have long enclosures where they can practice flying and hunting safely before they are released to the wild again.

^^^On Friday, my aunt, cousin, and I went to the Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings Museum, where Anasazi cliff dwellings were removed from McElmo Canyon and relocated by train and rebuilt brick by brick between 1904 and 1907. This was just before the 1906 Antiquities Act was passed by Congress and Mesa Verde was protected as a national park. The purpose was to preserve them from destruction.

Before that we ate some of the best Middle Eastern food I’ve ever eaten on Manitou Avenue at the Heart of Jerusalem Cafe.

My cousin drove us home through the mountains near Pike’s Peak which was a beautiful drive. We got to see the incredible destruction of the huge Medano fire in this area which began when Sandy and I visited the Great Sand Dunes National Park on the other side of the range in 2010. I should have taken photos but I didn’t.


^^^On Saturday, Sept. 17 we went to Longmont, Colorado where we ate lunch at this incredible French bistro and shopped at the adjoining shop. They are located in a former power station built in 1931. Beautiful renovation! We enjoyed walking through downtown for a bit and I looked at the different Craftsman style houses in a couple of neighborhoods to get ideas for painting our house.


^^^Saturday night my cousin and I went to hear her husband Kenny Perkins and band play at the 20 Mile Tap House in Parker. This couple got up close and personal – they seriously dug the guitar solo. We danced and had a great time.


^^^Views of the Front Range to help with future artwork. The moon was huge on Saturday night, and hung over the mountains every morning.

book arts, Family, fiber art, National Parks and Monuments, tapestry, yearly wrap-ups

Goodbye to 2015

2015 was a very full year. Although I feel like I didn’t blog that much, I realize that I did write about the big events, and as usual, found that there were more of those than I realized. We traveled a LOT.

From January to March, I wrestled with my new-to-me Shannock tapestry loom until I finally got a warp on it, although I would struggle with it and rewarp it several times. I began weaving a tapestry based on a photograph I took in 2006 while lying in a hammock under one of my very favorite trees, a large bald cypress at Lake Waccamaw that I played under when I was a baby. This tree carries a lot of memories and meaning for me. When the sun shone through its large Spanish moss laden canopy and reflected off the lake that day, I knew that it was going to be the subject of a special artwork for me one day. I reworked the photo repeatedly in Photoshop, cut it up and pieced it back together in different ways, and thought about interpreting it in fabric collage or in acrylics or oils. It was taped to my closet door for years as I considered it.

Finally I began weaving it, deciding to interpret it through the blending of different colors of wool singles. It felt good, it felt right. The warp tension is god-awful, but I finally had to begin weaving or go crazy. I’ve made adjustments along the way and I think that it will be fine in the end. I know what not to do next time. Part of the problem was that I enjoyed weaving on my front porch in nice weather, and carrying the loom back and forth made the tension problems worse. Now I have it set up in my studio, which is what half of the front room became this year. The cats don’t bother it because I booby-trapped it with things that fell down and made a clatter in the beginning, but they will steal my yarn if I am not careful.



April brought an unexpected and amazing opportunity to study with Archie Brennan and Susan Maffei at Pam’s cabin near Cannon Beach, Oregon.

In May Sandy and I took that trip to Cahokia Mounds and St. Louis that we canceled last year when Mama was sick. We had loads of fun exploring St. Louis, including the zoo and the City Museum. There are not enough photos in the world to represent the City Museum. Funhouse and art. Ten story indoor slide. Cave tunnels. Ferris wheel and more slides on the rooftop.


Then, because this was the trip we planned and paid for first, Susanne Martin and I went back to Oregon in June for ten days to study with Pam Patrie at her cabin, explore the area, and attend Focus on Book Arts in Forest Grove, Oregon where the three of us took a great map and bookmaking workshop with Jill Berry. It was one of the most enjoyable workshops I’ve ever had, and I made some new friends on both trips. I was able to explore a little more this time, since Susanne and I rented a car. We went to Ecola State Park, Lewis and Clark National Park in Astoria, and drove down Hwy 101 to Manzanita.


In between all this traveling, I was trying my best not to think about the gargantuan task in Marietta of cleaning out my mother’s home. At the time it seemed that we would be lucky if we ever sold it and so had all the time in the world, and my sister and her husband had just bought a house at Lake Waccamaw, so she was retired and was close to Marietta and took on the bulk of the work, driving down there to make repairs and improvements and take loads to the charity store and the dumpster each time. Then we got an offer on the house. An extremely low offer, but as is. Our friends from down there advised us to take it, and we did. But I still had a lot of traveling scheduled, including a weeklong class at Arrowmont that they were kind enough to issue me a gift certificate from 2014 when my mother died when I was there.

The class was Site Specific Weaving, and it was a hot muggy week in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and I chose that Monday to fall apart. However, later I did get it together enough, despite a lot of pain, to get some good work done. My installation was simple, but considering I came up with it and did it in about 24 hours, I was pleased. I started a tapestry, “Migraine Day,” that I hope will become a part of something bigger in 2016. I also came home with TMJ and neck and shoulder problems that I am still not quite done with, but I’m much much much better than I was.

DSC_8502


In September, we went to Colorado for a week to celebrate my cousin’s birthday and do some more exploring. We went ziplining (or rather, my husband, my cousin, and my 87 year old aunt did, I wimped out), drove through Rocky Mountain National Park on our way to Dinosaur National Monument, then came back to visit the Denver Art Museum with my aunt, where we were able to see the new textile gallery with an impressive tapestry exhibition.

Then I had to concentrate on getting the house ready for closing with my sister. The whole family and my good friend JQ helped pack boxes, load trucks with furniture, make runs to the dumpster, and clean. In the end we left a lot behind, simply because no one had any more room and the new owner told us that she didn’t mind. I don’t even want to know what she got rid of and replaced. It broke my heart, even though I absolutely know that it was the right decision on a practical level. The sale was, and still is, incredibly screwed up. Hopefully it will all be over soon. I’m starting to heal just by being able to put it behind me.

Sandy and I went to Asheville for a weekend in October where I made books with Karen Hardy and some very fine bookbinders at Asheville Bookworks, in a workshop exploring the binding techniques of Hedi Kyle. We found a cheap place to stay through AirBNB, which I hope will make it easier for us to make more trips to that area.

We said a sad goodbye to Miss Lucy just before Christmas. She was twelve years old. I’ll never chop broccoli again without expecting her to come around the corner asking for a handout.

Throughout much of this, I was able to spend precious time with my sister Lisa, who is enjoying retirement at Lake Waccamaw in a lovely small house in easy walking (or swimming) distance from the bald cypress tree at my cousin’s house in the photo at the beginning of this 2015 wrap-up. I don’t know how I would have gotten through this year without my sister. I love her so much.

It was a much better and busier year that I had realized. No wonder I was so exhausted! Tomorrow, I look ahead.