Monday, February 28, 2011

F is for Fear

On October 30th, last year Comedy Central's Daily Show put on a rally in D.C. It was a Rally to Restore Sanity. The Colbert Report put on it's own corresponding rally - The Rally to Restore Fear. It was held on the same day at the same venue and was mostly all in fun. People across the nation thought it was a good idea and corresponding rallies were scheduled at many major cities. We went to the Denver one.

There were about 200 people there and we took quite a few pics...

Here's T surveying the crowd...

Another crowd shot...

They invited all the political candidates to speak but none of the Dem's or Repub's showed up. This guy was a Libertarian candidate. He took off the mask and laid the scythe down before he spoke.
He had some good ideas but lost me when he said we had to abolish the CIA. Yea. Good luck with that one!

They had skits, too. This man was in a skit and the kids wanted a pic with him so we went "backstage" of the amphitheater to get one. He is apparently very serious about his Star Wars fanship. This is his "B costume"....

There was an adorable cupcake truck...

As it should be, the kids could've cared less about the political rally. They were much more interested in what T appropriately calls "public art".

D2 kept holding his hands up to make it seem like he was holding up the sculptures but he's a bit small yet to pull it off...

Here they are in front of one of the capitol buildings (D2 trying to hold it up)...

And the other capitol building opposite (D2 striking his "adorable" pose)...

We had a great time - the weather was amazing, everyone at the rally was mellow and calm. The political speakers were polite and the skits were funny. The signs were the best part. They encouraged people to bring signs and some of my favorites were:

"George W. Bush is NOT Hitler (pic of W); Obama is NOT Hitler (pic of Obama); HITLER is Hitler (pic of Hitler)"

"I fear my cat is Hitler (pic of white cat w/black spot on upper lip)"

"I'M MAD AS HELL and I want to discuss it rationally."

"Make awkward sexual advances, not war."

We dvr'd the actual rally with John Stewart and Stephen Colbert. It took a couple of weeks but when I watched it, I was really impressed! They had a lot of great music and some real heroes and, like the Denver rally, there was no drama and everyone seemed really happy to be there.

I was very excited this rally even existed; I still am! I know "if it bleeds it leads" is nothing new, I think that phrase was coined somewhere in the 60's or 70's (maybe before) but things have gotten SO out of hand that it makes me very sad.

Just recently, the headlines screamed "Christina Aguillera RUINS the National Anthem". Really? Ruined? I think she got a line or two wrong, I think that the song is actually still intact and well-loved.

Everything the President or the Senators/Congresspeople do is punished and rehashed ad nauseum until none of it means anything. Every little thing is blown to such large proportions that we have become desensitized to anything less then what is screamed into our faces. None of it means anything anymore; that is what makes me sad. Things that actually deserve attention, important things that could really change lives in this country (or others) are ignored. Things that don't mean a damn thing (DID Obama dye his hair? Who the fuck cares!!) are trotted out and dissected like they are important.

There's people on both sides of the political line (looking at YOU Glenn Beck and Keith Olberman (I used to love Olberman!)) that talk and talk and talk and people are actually drinking their poisonous Kool-Aid. I wish people would stop listening and start thinking. Do their own research and come up with their own opinions. Even if those opinions are completely insane or backwards at least they would be their own.

In this country, we are heading for certain disaster. When people are losing their homes because they can't pay their medical bills, when war widows are being forced to marry (or not marry) at a certain age to retain the benefits their spouses paid for, when [insert current issue that pisses you off here] is happening and the talking heads on TV are saying that since the Prez dyed his hair it means he's a deceiver and people are buying into that nonsense.... something is seriously wrong.

When that Congresswoman (Senator?) got shot in the head in Tucson, the first thing I thought of was, 'Good thing she has all that FREE health care. Good thing her family will never have to worry about losing their home to medical bills.' (The second thing I thought was, 'Damn, Ruth, that's fucked up!'.)

I saw a news article about the State of the Union Address - they were making this huge deal about the fact that the Dem's and Repub's were sitting together. It took awhile for that to sink in for me. Sitting. Together. SITTING TOGETHER??!! Apparently, they never do that. They are so at war with one another, they can't even stand to sit with the opposing party? They are so at war with one another that even if one wanted to sit with an opposing party member they would be shunned by their own party if they did.

One of the Republicans said, "I sat with Dem A, Dem B, and Dem C. They were nice to me and I hope they thought I was nice to them." That, sadly, is almost verbatim what T said when he came home from his first day of kindergarten.

The article made a big deal out of the Senator who came up with the idea for them to sit in "mixed company". Apparently, there was quite a bit of pushback until a reporter got ahold of it and then everyone decided to "play nice". I don't understand. I don't get why that Senator is such a hero for bringing up a what should be a non-issue. I don't get how they can expect to run a country together when they can't even sit together. It really gives me pause.

And WE are the ones hiring these yay-hoos! It makes me laugh when people bag on the President - ANY president in our countries history - like they actually have any authority. They can't do much of anything without years of bureaucracy and things going through Senate and Congress, etc.

I don't have the answers (at least not all of them), I only ask that you do your own research, think for yourselves, and act accordingly.

At the end of the Rally, John Stewart made a little speech. They showed a video of a turnpike somewhere on the East Coast. Apparently, there's 5 or 6 lanes that narrow down to one lane to go through a tunnel. The video showed cars letting each other in and Stewart compared it to how government should be. Give and Take; you go, then I go, then you go, then I go. This is one of the busiest roads in America, people are going to work or coming home and they all need to get where they are going. They all work together to make it happen. All different types of people, all strangers to each other. He said that, yes, occasionally some asshole cuts in but people flip them off then forget them and continue to work together. If they can do it, why can't the government?

You go, then I go, Ruth!

Monday, February 7, 2011

E is for Evans

Last August, our buddy Ty came from Tucson for a visit. We took him to Mt. Evans. We ended up going 2 days in a row. The first day the weather was... less then optimal...

That first day, we drove to the top and as the sign indicates, it's the highest road made for automobiles in North America; I was terrified most of the way. The visibility was so bad, because of the low rain clouds and the height of the mountain, that we could not see the car in front of the truck that was in front of us! Dave is swivel-heading to see all the cloudy sights that were available and it was freaking me out. The road to the top of the mountain is precarious to say the least. It's barely wide enough for two vehicles to pass each other and the drop off is... impressive (read: terrifying).

We did see a couple of real life, wooly Mountain Goats! When we got to the top, we got out of the van and ran to the bathrooms. Not that anyone really had to go but with the torrential rain, the clapping thunder and the lightning that looked close enough to lick, none of us really wanted to stand in the open!

The amazing view from the top of the mountain was obscured by cloud cover so we didn't stay long and trundled back into the minivan most immediately.

Our park pass was good for two days so we went back up the next day and the weather was much more friendly.

We had a picnic of Subway sandwiches, chips, and soda...

Old friendships were renewed
Small boulders were climbed upon

Stumps were conquered

and leaped off of

tiny bridges were crossed....

and a great time was had by all!

We drove to the top once again and although the drive was just as precarious as the day before, it wasn't nearly as frightening when you could actually see more then a few feet in front of you. It was really amazing to see the end of the tree line. It was like someone had literally drawn a line in the ground and the trees refused to pass that line.
When we parked at the top again, Dave, T and I took the trail to the top of the mountain. There was still an icy drizzle so Ty and D2 opted out and went back to the warm minivan. The climb up was really easy but the the icy rain made it a bit miserable. Evans is a "14'er" which means the top is 14,000 feet above sea level. At the very top, there's a brass circle embedded into the rock establishing it's height. I would've taken a pic of it but the weather was so bad, we ducked on down. On the way back, my husband, Magellan, took a wrong turn and we ended up going the shorter way which is straight down over some nasty looking big rocks. T loved it! I thought it was kind of cool too but was scared T might fall.

More recently (as in a couple of weeks ago), we took a minivacation to Keystone. We stayed in a lovely "condo" (read: 2 story apartment on the third floor).

The kids both got new snow jackets and they were all bundled up to go out and play in the snow...
(D2 looks like Kenny!)

Apparently, there's a culinary school nearby and the students did all these really cool ice sculptures...

We went up a gondola to the top of Keystone. We shared our 20 minute ride with a lovely older couple from PA who have EIGHT kids back home! The oldest (a set of female twins) just graduated college so they are taking a 3 week vacation to celebrate!
D2 asked, "If we fall, will we die?". He is SO morbid! The other couple laughed and said that in their previous ride up the mountain, there was a 4 year old boy who asked, "If we fall, how would we get out?" The man said he told the boy if they fell, getting out would be the least of their worries! Then we started talking about the gondola that fell in Maine and how it took three hours to get to the people to rescue them. I said, "I'd be set, I've got my knitting in my pocket!" Then the lady and I started talking crafts (she quilts) and the men talked sports and it was a lovely encounter!
At the top, they had a big snow fort for the kids to play in....

But our main goal at the top was to go tubing! It was So. Much FUN!!! There's 4 groomed runs and attendants at the top and bottom to help you. They help you into your tube and give you a push and, if you like, they will whip you in a circle first so when you go down the run you are spinning like a top! I'd get to the bottom and as soon as those attendants let me, I'd RUN across the lanes to the covered conveyor belt that takes you back to the top to go again! You rent your tube by the hour and it's worth EVERY penny.
We had a guy take our pic and if you look closely, you can see a couple of the attendants in the background waving "hi" to you....

Every body that works at Keystone was SO nice! I mean, genuinely happy to be there and really going out of their way to engage and help you. I realized that, hell yeah! it would be so awesome to work there that, of course, they're all going to be nice!
After our tubing adventure, we went to the lodge at the top for some snacks. It was packed with nowhere to sit really - at least not a table to ourselves - so I walked up to 2 guys sitting at the end of along table and asked if the seats next to them were open and they said yes. After we ate, Dave took the boys to the bathroom and I took out my knitting. As usual, it starts a conversation with strangers. The 2 men were from the Czech Republic but live in Boston now and were in CO on vacation. I said, "So you went from the cold to the cold to the cold!" They were funny and sweet and very sleepy from a day on the slopes.
When we got back to our condo, we got the everyone into their swimsuits and their "fancy pants" (that's what we call our fleecy pj pants) and went to the indoor/outdoor pool. There's also a hot tub, a dry sauna, and a steam room. The boys had never been in a sauna or steam room and they didn't really care for either. I prefer the dry sauna since the wetness of the steam room just makes me think it's got to be all mildewy and gross (even though I know it's not!).
The pool was mostly outside with a small leg inside to break you in. The boys would get out of the water (which was a bit heated but not as warm as you might think) and they were little steam monsters standing on the edge of the pool, counting slowly to see who could last the longest! Then we'd go inside for the hot tub and warm back up.
We were only there for two very expensive nights but it was much needed break from the stress of our lives down the hill and I wish we could've stayed for a week! We ate at great restaurants, had fun snow adventures and relaxing evenings by a fireplace.
Heaven for a price, Ruth!