Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Parade

The day of Halloween all of the school kids get to cut class to be in a parade. Well, grades 1 through 6 skipped class for it. Sad that grades 7 to 12 have to miss out on the fun. It's a good excuse for the usual freaks to come out into the streets as well as people that want to dress like freaks!! The 6th grade was at the beginning of the parade. Here is Savanna, the skater vampire.
Maralee the dog and her friend the Whoopie Cushion.
This is our pastor's wife, and kindergarten teacher, the pregnant nun with Pastor Tree right behind her as the priest. HAHAHA!!
Scary!
This is so gross and not appropriate for a children's parade, but too funny!
Jay is not one that enjoys parades, and he definitely doesn't get to enjoy them here because he's usually blocking off the street or driving at the end of the parades. Poor Jay :(

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Autumn Pictures

Our autumn colors may be gone now, but you can still enjoy the photos. Steve Garufi has some awesome photos at Autumn-Pictures.com and has included a few of mine!! I really like the colors he captured in Wisconsin, too. If you ever wondered what fall at St. Elmo, near Buena Vista looks like, he has pictures there, also! Would you believe Christmas is two months from today? I haven't bought a single thing yet. Maybe it's because I haven't been to Montrose, Target or Wal-Mart (gasp!) since early September. I would love it if I could decorate my Christmas tree with gold aspen leaves like the ones decorating the trees below along Owl Creek Pass a few weeks ago.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Credit Card Debt Free

I just did something that I've looked forward to for a long, long time. I paid off our last credit card. You can easily notice from my blog entries that I have never written about finances, especially from my personal experience, but I thought maybe I should tell some of our story in case it helps someone else that stumbles across this post, or at least make them know they are not alone. The beginning of our credit card debt was somewhere around 1996. It was a time that our son was still very young and I was getting ready to have our first daughter. I didn't want to wait until I could afford certain things and I fell right into the trap of our spend, spend, spend society. I spent a lot of time at the mall and going out to eat, and sadly I don't even remember most of the things we charged. The trap of the credit card is that once the balances were high and we were making payments, when an emergency came up we didn't have the money to pay for it. For instance, we literally had 2 cars at once that needed repair, so we charged it. The kids had pretty nice wardrobes that I always felt justified charging since it wasn't something I was spending on myself. I thought the kids deserved it. Of course, there had to have been some purchases just for me or Jay because I thought we deserved it. I guess I thought we deserved paying for the interest that built up for years, too. Currently most of the information I hear and read says not to go to a credit counselor because it can be just as damaging as filing bankruptcy. This is not true of the company that we used, which was Auriton Solutions. They were able to get all of our interest rates lowered and the program did not harm our credit at all. As a matter of fact, we bought our house in Oklahoma and two cars during the time we were on the program with decent interest rates. Auriton did not reduce the amount of debt we had and we didn't try to get out of how much we owed. We spent that money and we wanted to pay for it. I don't like hearing about companies and lawyers that help people get out of what they owe (especially rich people who owe taxes on those Fox News commercials). We took responsibility for what we did, stopped charging, and paid for our debt. I don't have any special tips or secrets about getting out of debt. It wasn't a fast or easy process. There are a couple of books that I read and liked, The Average Family's Guide to Financial Freedom by Bill and Mary Toohey, and You're Broke Because You Want To Be by Larry Winget. Honestly, I didn't follow all of the guidelines in these books, it's just that occasionlly I need to read something that motivates me not to blow money on clothes, food, etc., etc. I also don't hate credit card companies. It was a genius idea for whoever created it. I still make purchases on one credit card occasionally and then pay it right back off because it is good for your credit score, or so I've read. As for the plan now and for the future, we are never, ever going to buy anything on credit again (excluding vehicles and houses) unless absolutely necessary!! I would rather sit in camping chairs than buy furniture on credit. By the way, we did exactly that the first 6 months we lived here. We waited until we had the money to buy a couple of recliners. Now we need to get the motorcycle and Jeep paid off and save up for a house. We don't want to buy a house with no money down like we did in Oklahoma. The town is building a couple of different neighborhoods of deed-restricted housing, and the location we are interested in won't be completed until at least 2010.

We have a fun financial plan right now toward our Torrance, CA/Disneyland trip in April 2009. We decided on an amount of money that we needed to save for the trip, divided by the number of months until then, and started saving for it.

I wouldn't say we are frugal, but finally living within our means. It is a good feeling.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pumpkin Cake!!

I probably cook and bake more from scratch in the months of October, November and December than any other time of year. I've been craving a pumpkin pie, but it just doesn't seem the right time yet, so I tried a recipe in my Pie in the Sky cookbook. The recipe is on someone's website, also, and it's called Porterfield Pumpkin Bundt with Snow White Glaze. I don't have a bundt pain, so I created my own tube pan to bake it in. It turned out perfectly! You don't have to be at a high altitude to try this recipe out because the author has directions listed for altitudes from sea level to high in the mountains. Savanna helped me with it and enjoyed cracking all 6 of the eggs. I think this was the first cake I ever made entirely from scratch. Since the cake cooled and the glaze set before I started dinner, we had our dessert before dinner today. None of us could resist. The cake came out very moist which is amazing at this altitude. For dinner I went on to make Zio’s Tomato Florentine Soup. This was my first time to make this soup. Jay's sister, Kelli, made it for us the last time we were at her house, and I had to have the recipe!! It took me about 2 hours to make it, but now that I know how to go about it, I think I could cut down that amount of time. I also made guacamole, bacon and swiss cheese sandwiches. We definitely did not have a healthy food day here, but it sure was delicious. There is a really messy kitchen waiting for me right now, so procrastinating by doing a blog entry seemed like the perfect thing to do.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Garrett's Job

This is the photo I chose today for my Telluride Daily Photo. What I didn't mention on that blog is that this is where Garrett works on the weekends. There is talk of renovating the theater to possibly have more than one screen, but it hasn't started yet and could be years until that is ever completed. We are usually about a month or more behind in what movies we have showing, but it is nice that Garrett can see them for free and can get one guest in to watch a movie for free.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

All the Leaves Are Brown.....Or Gone

I knew last week was the peak of the fall folliage colors, but I am surprised that we lost the leaves so quickly. Saturday night's storm was so windy that most of the leaves were blown off of the aspens in one night. The remaining leaves are just brown, as you can see above. It's time for another off-season here. The gondola will be closing Sunday and won't re-open until the Saturday before Thanksgiving and ski season. The Jeep trails officially closed on Wednesday, and many of the high elevation hiking trails are covered with snow now. Finding something outdoors to do this time of year can be a challenge. We did have some snow in town on Tuesday, but it melted away pretty quickly. This is what we woke up to Tuesday morning.

Tuesday evening was actually the night before the full moon, but I got a better picture of it this night than Wednesday's view would have allowed. I took this through my office window and the only photoshopping I did was to sharpen it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Maralee in the News

Maralee's class was on the front page of the local newspaper here yesterday. The photo was taken of them stretching in PE class. If you want to see it, the story, click on Telluride Daily Planet. She was pretty excited!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday Blog!!!

One year ago today I started this blog, really with no idea if I would be able to keep it going and I wasn't sure if I would have anything interesting to say. Now I've made well over 100 posts and have had people visit my blog from all over the world! I have really enjoyed sharing photos and stories and silly stuff along the way. My blog also shares a birthday with Carol, my cousin Adam, and my friend Adrienne. Happy birthday to them, too!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

West Dallas Creek Road

Ouray County Road 9, otherwise known as West Dallas Creek Road, is a must see!! The road is only 8 miles long off of the Dallas Divide, highway 62. There are some seriously jaw dropping views along here. Much of the road passes through Ralph Lauren's ranch, the Double RL. The national forest access is beyond this private property. The only requirement that I have read is that when you drive through the gate, leave it the way you found it, whether it was open or closed. Tuesday the gate was open. Much of the road can be driven in any car. It is easy to tell when the private property part of the road ends because it becomes much more rocky and bumpy, and there is a water crossing at the Dallas Creek. If you want to drive to the end of the road, a four-wheel drive is probably required. In the spring and early summer I'm sure the water crossing is high and the road becomes more muddy the farther you go.
This house has such a great view!! I would love to own this ranch. That's Mt. Sneffels on the right.
Dallas Peak straight ahead! Dallas is the most difficult 13er to climb, with a difficulty rating at 5.3. I'm okay with looking at it from here.

We interrupted a cattle drive. It looked like the cattle had all been moved to the back part of the property instead of along the highway where you usually see them. You can order a Ralph Lauren steak at the restaurant La Piazza in Mountain Village. I've looked up the price on the menu and I just have to say, that steak had better come with a little gold Polo symbol on the top if I ever order one. Ralph Lauren cattle drive video.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Owl Creek Pass

After driving over Last Dollar Road last week, next I wanted to get up Owl Creek Pass at least to the Silver Jack Reservoir. Owl Creek Pass can be driven in a passenger car if you don't mind a dirt road with some bumpy areas. In this first picture, Chimney Peak and Courthouse Mountain are in the center with changing colors all around.
When the aspens are this bright, the Yellow Brick Road always comes to my mind for some reason, especially this year because I'm currently reading the book Wicked by Gregory Maguire. This book is freaking me out. I never thought of the Wicked Witch of the West as a person before, and I certainly never felt sorry for her. I have about 100 pages of the book left, and so far I'm thinking those ruby slippers really should have been given to her!
If you are a John Wayne fan, you may recognize Chimney Peak from the shootout in True Grit. This is the area where John Wayne shot and killed Robert Duvall. Parts of How the West Was Won was also filmed on Owl Creek Pass.

The summit still had snow from Sunday night's storm.

The dry part of the Silver Jack Reservoir.

The Silver Jack Reservoir with Chimney Peak and Courthouse Mountain in the center in the distance.

There is one scene in True Grit filmed in this area with the Sneffels range in the background. It makes me laugh since the movie is supposedly in Arkansas. I've been to Arkansas many times and I never saw mountains like this!

Out and About

Monday started out very cool, but we didn't get any snow from Sunday's winter storm warning in town. The peaks had snow and there was some around Mt. Village. Jay and I were beginning to hike up Boomerang trail to Mt. Village and after taking this photo, my camera just died. @#$!? I was so upset. I missed taking some great photos on this hike. I'm not sure what happened!! It was good to get out of the house, though. Garrett is gone this week on a school trip to do archaeological digs and make pottery in Crow Canyon and Canyonlands National Park, and I'm wishing I could have gone!! It's part of his ISP (Intensive Study Period) class and his group is camping Monday through Friday. What an awesome high school!! I started the camera charging in the car for our drive. Here is snow and firey gold aspens at Bridal Veil Falls.
Mt. Village.
This is the view of Wilson Peak at the top of Boomerang Trail. Since my camera wasn't working at the end of our hike, we drove up in the afternoon so I could take some pictures.
Palmyra Peak is in the middle here. Jay is really wanting to hike and ski it this winter. Also you can see one of the many cranes in Mt. Village that are used for construction. There are a lot of private residences that require a crane when they are built. Can you imagine? This crane is being used to build the new hotel Capella.
It is hard to believe I used to be scared of this ski run, the Meadows.
Next up was a drive to the summit of Lizard Head Pass.
Sushine and Wilson Peaks.
Cross Mountain and Lizard Head Peak.
Cross Mountain trailhead.
Trout Lake.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

First Winter Storm Warning of the Season

A STRONG PACIFIC STORM WILL CONTINUE TO BRING SNOW TO MUCH OF THE HIGHER MOUNTAINS THROUGH TONIGHT... .A STRONG PACIFIC STORM WILL CONTINUE MOVING THROUGH THE AREA THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING AND WILL PRODUCE HEAVY SNOW ACROSS PORTIONS OF THE MOUNTAINS OF EASTERN UTAH AND WESTERN COLORADO... GENERALLY ABOVE 9000 FEET. IN ADDITION TO THE SNOWFALL... GUSTY WINDS IN THE MOUNTAINS WILL CAUSE BLOWING AND DRIFTING OF SNOW. THE STORM WILL BEGIN MOVING EAST OF THE AREA TONIGHT WITH SNOW ENDING OVER THE MOUNTAINS OF EASTERN UTAH... BUT CONTINUING FOR MUCH OF THE MOUNTAINS ACROSS WESTERN COLORADO.THIS IS THE FIRST SIGNIFICANT WINTER SNOW EVENT OF THE SEASON AND IT WILL CAUSE HAZARDOUS DRIVING CONDITIONS ON ALL HIGH MOUNTAIN PASSES. BE PREPARED FOR SNOWPACKED... ICY AND SLUSHY MOUNTAIN ROADS OVER THE WEEKEND. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS THROUGH LOCAL MEDIA OR VISIT THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE... GRAND JUNCTION... WEB SITE AT WWW.WEATHER.GOV/GJT.COZ018-019-060415- /O.CON.KGJT.WS.W.0015.000000T0000Z-081006T0600Z/ NORTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS-SOUTHWEST SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS- INCLUDING THE CITIES OF... OURAY... TELLURIDE... LAKE CITY... SILVERTON... RICO... HESPERUS 204 PM MDT SUN OCT 5 2008 ... WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT MDT TONIGHT... A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT MDT TONIGHT. WIDESPREAD SNOW WILL CONTINUE ABOVE 9000 FEET THROUGH THIS EVENING. SNOWFALL AMOUNTS OF 8 TO 18 INCHES ARE EXPECTED ABOVE 9000 FEET BY MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. SOUTHWEST WINDS OF 20 TO 30 MPH WILL SHIFT TO THE NORTHWEST TODAY AND WILL CAUSE BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW. A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW... SLEET... AND ICE ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. STRONG WINDS ARE ALSO POSSIBLE. THIS WILL MAKE TRAVEL VERY HAZARDOUS OR IMPOSSIBLE.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Last Dollar Road Fall Foliage Tour

Is it really October already? I do love the fall. Even though our temperatures have still been reaching the upper 60's everyday, it has still felt like fall around here. In the past couple of days I have baked chocolate chip cookies with the girls and made chili. I'm not sure what it is about this time of year that makes me want to bake and cook things from scratch. Yesterday, the last day of September, Jay and I drove over Last Dollar Road to check out the fall colors. There is still quite a bit of green everywhere, but we managed to get some great pictures of the golden aspens. These pictures don't really require any narration, just enjoy!
Last Dollar Road reaches an elevation of almost 10,600, somewhere along here where I took this picture.
In the next two pictures, I did do some little saturation photoshopping, but I liked the way they turned out.
Me and Wilson Peak.