Sunday, December 27, 2009

Colorado Christmas Tales part 5

This is the last of the Colorado Christmas Tales for this year.

In 1989 we were going to El Paso for Christmas. We were going to go skiing at Taos first. So early one morning before Christmas, we got the kids up at 4 a.m. and bundled them into the van. And I do mean 'bundled'. For the entire week before we left, the temperature in Colorado Springs had been below zero. All day, 24 hours a day. So the kids were dressed in their ski clothes, long underwear and bibs and wool socks, and jackets, hats and gloves, and snow boots. Then they were enclosed in sleeping bags, belted in, and they tried to make themselves comfortable with all that extra padding surrounding them. Their heads promptly disappeared into the sleeping bags! The dog wasn't so lucky, she curled up on a seat and tried to stay warm.

The van was running long before we left, the heat was turned up on high. It would have been better if the heat could of been higher. Clyde and I climbed into the front seats, wearing all of our ski clothes, I had a sleeping bag wrapped around me too. We set off south to New Mexico.

It soon became clear that the heater wasn't putting out any warm air. It felt more like an airconditioner. The inside of the windows kept frosting over. We had to keep stopping and use a credit card to scrape off the ice on the inside of the van windows so that we could see where we were going. Luckily for us, the van didn't have a thermometer to tell us how cold it was, or we probably would have gone home and back to bed in a warm house.

By the time we reached Raton Pass, we were wondering if this was a good idea. The heater had been blasting for over 3 hours, and our breaths were still freezing on the inside of the windshield.
But the top of Raton Pass was the changing point. As we dropped down out of the mountains into Raton, New Mexico we quickly shed all of the outer layers, and were soon sweating because of all the heat eminating from the heater. We went from below zero to about 40 in 15 minutes!

What a change!

We went on to Taos for skiing, and then on to El Paso for Christmas. And when we came home, it was much warmer than when we left!.

On another note, Christmas is officially over here. All the presents are unwrapped, the kids have gone home, and it's just me and Clyde again. Quiet is so nice after all the commotion. But I wouldn't have missed all the commotion for anything. The little ones were SO excited! And we had a great gathering with friends and family on Saturday, even though I was ready for bed at 11 p.m. and so was everyone else!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Colorado Christmas Tales part 4

Continuing the Christmas sagas, this is what we started doing in 1986.

I had an artificial tree, I would just get it out of the garage and set it up in the living room, and decorate it. Easy as pie (unless I'm the one cooking, that is).

But not Clyde. Christmas is NOT Christmas if the tree isn't real. But they cost a lot of money...... Well, not so much if you can get a permit from the forest service, and then get to the cutting area in the mountains. So that's what we did.

On the Saturday morning we were going to get the tree, we got all the kids up, fixed a thermos of hot chocolate, loaded up the ax and the saw into the car, and took off.

Luckily for us, it was a nice day, the sun was shining, and I don't remember the temperature, but not too bad. After we got there we had to find a tree. We didn't want to cut one that was too big, so we were looking for one that was about 7-8 feet tall. Gotta tell you that they look a lot shorter out in the open, but we found one.

Everyone got a chance to saw at the trunk. I think the general opinion was that cutting down a tree wasn't as easy as it looks. Here's Eddie taking his turn at sawing.

And here's Clyde hiking in. I know he's hiking in, because he wasn't hauling a tree out. That was another thing, those trees aren't light.

We got the tree tied to the top of the car and took it home. Then we tried to set it up. Remember what I said before about them looking shorter out in the open. We had to cut about 4 feet off the bottom of the tree to get it into the house.

And when we did, we discovered that we had to tie it to the wall. We had adopted these three kittens, shown here playing with the running water in the kitchen sink.

And when we got the tree up, they just loved the jungle gym that we had brought home especially for them!

Needless to say, we had to leave the tree undecorated for several days, until the cats were finished with it. Then we decorated it, and redecorated it, and redecorated it,.......

And the next two years we went back up to the forest to cut down a Christmas tree.
So our kids know where the trees come from and we are looking for one on our property to cut down so G, and M, and CJ and experience the fun of cutting down their Christmas tree!

Stay tuned for part 5.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Colorado Christmas Tales part 3

Before I get started, here's the front of my Christmas card this year. I even got it done before Christmas this year! So, everyone have a Merry Christmas! And hopefully it will warm up a little by then since we have been so cold already this year.

I put this out here because I couldn't find any pictures for Christmas 1984 or 1985.
I don't even remember Christmas 1984, except that I know we were in Colorado. We went to El Paso for Thanksgiving, and the following week my father died, and we went back down to El Paso. So, I don't remember Christmas. It must not have been very memorable!

However, Christmas 1985 was memorable. Clyde and I had gotten together in September, and this was our first Christmas together. I sent the Ed and Becca to Phoenix, and James went to his mother's. We had the time to ourselves, and we had reservations in Breckenridge. We were going skiing! By ourselves! And we weren't coming back until after Christmas, so we were staying at least 4 days. If only I'd known....

We got up there on the 23rd, got our lift tickets and took off on a ski lift. First run, on a simple blue slope, at the top of the mountain, I took a twisting fall. And SNAP! I tore the acl in my knee. Oh bummer. If you have never been pulled off a mountain strapped into one of their sleds heading downhill headfirst, you really haven't lived! All you can see is the sky, and the tops of some of the trees!
And there's only the one ski patrol guy in front to keep you from going all the way down headfirst.

Got to the clinic, they checked out the knee and said the acl was torn. I couldn't walk on it like it was, so I got a splint, from thigh to ankle, to keep the leg straight. And some crutches! Boy was I upset. I started crying because I had messed up our vacation, and on the very first day!

We got to the hotel, and stayed overnight. The next day, the 24th, we headed home, getting there in the evening. The next day was Christmas, and I didn't even have anything in the house to fix a nice dinner. The only place we could find open was Eidelweiss, and they did have an opening for lunch/dinner. So we ate Christmas dinner out. Now I knew that we were going to eat Christmas dinner out that year, but I had been expecting to ski before and after.

When I got to the doctor the next week, he casted the leg from thigh to ankle, and that's how I walked for the next month. When he took it off, I had to go to Physical Therapy to get the knee working. (But I did get a new mountain bike out of this, and a wind trainer to put it on so I could ride stationary, it was good exercise for the knee.)

And, as soon as the doctor said I could ski again, I was back on skis. But that year my ski season was kinda short, since I missed 3 months of it.

Stay tuned for part 4.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Colorado Christmas Tales part 2

Two posts down, I wrote about the 1982 Christmas weather disaster, when I couldn't get the kids to the airport to fly them down to Phoenix. So the following year, 1983, I decided to drive. After all, the snow was in Denver the year before, why shouldn't it be there again?

So, a couple of days before Christmas, I got the kids up bright and early (actually it wasn't bright, it was dark like it usually is at 4:30 am in December in Colorado.)

Packed the car and took off to the south. Shortly after leaving Colorado Springs, it started to snow, lightly. I followed a big truck, and it was easy. Well, it was easy for a short while. The snow kept getting thicker, deeper, and heavier.

By the time I got to Pueblo, it was coming down really good. Appears the storm decided to take a southerly path this time. Since it was still dark when I got thru Pueblo, and I didn't want to travel thru the ever thickening snow in the dark, I turned around, went north back into Pueblo, and stopped at the Village Inn. We had breakfast while I waited for the sun to come up.

The sun came up, but unfortunately, I couldn't see it. It was lighter out, but disorienting since the ground, road and sky were all the same color. Let me tell you, there weren't very many people on the road! It was all I could do to keep the car on the road, I could barely see past the front end of the car, and there were very faint tire tracks, if any. I mostly watched for the posts on the edge of the road so I could see where the middle was.

After 'white knuckling' it all the way to Walsenberg (normally a two hour drive at most), I saw a Best Western sign alongside the road--barely. Being the efficient, decisive person that I was, I decided we were going to have a second breakfast and turned off the freeway. It had only taken over 4 hours for a less than two hour drive.

First question as I walked into the Best Western was "Do you have any rooms available? I think I'm done for the day."

Well, of course, that early in the day, they were full. I had to wait for someone with better nerves than me to check out and be on their way. That's what they told me. I just replied, "I'll be in the restaurant. Let me know when you have a room."
At least I was at the top of the waiting list!

After another breakfast, the kids were confused since I didn't usually feed them breakfast two times in one day, and never twice before 8:30 am, we got a room!!

Yea! I didn't have to drive over Raton Pass, at least not today.

Of course, have you ever spent 24 hours with two kids (ages 10 and 5) in a hotel room with nowhere for them to go run and work off their energy? We watched movies, we jumped on the beds, we bounced off the walls. We did get lunch and dinner, and I called everyone and told them not to expect me, I was snowed in again! All of my southern family (Arizona and Texas) were probably wondering what I had gotten myself into when I moved to Colorado. After all, until last year I had never had a white Christmas in all of my 34 years.

I finally got them settled down and asleep and was relaxing finally. Bekka sat up in bed (the one she was sharing with me of course) and threw up. All over!!
I guess she had too much excitement that day. After we got that cleaned up, we tried again to go to sleep.

The next morning dawned bright and sunny. Really. There was over a foot of snow on the car's roof, but I could see where I was going! Apparently, Raton Pass was a real mess the day before, and there were ground blizzards all the way to Santa Fe that were causing whiteouts on the roads.

We got in the car, and after a very slow, and careful, trip over the pass, we continued on our way. We made it to Phoenix, and then to El Paso. I seem to remember on the way back, on New Years Day no less, I had to find a place to fix something that was going wrong with the car, because it wouldn't go.

That was not an easy trip!!

This is a picture of Ed and Bekka at Royal Gorge that fall, so you can see that they have grown a year's worth. Don't know what happened to the Christmas pictures.

Stay tuned for the next installment in the Colorado Christmas Tales.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Rudolph the Red Deer Rain Nose
by Miss M

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Colorado Christmas Tales

It occurred to me that I should save some of my memories of Colorado. We moved here in 1982. Totally unprepared for the weather. The kids never had snow fall in their yard before. Ed wasn't used to playing in the snow, and kept freezing the tips of his fingers and having to come inside to warm them up. But he always went back outside to play in this stuff.

Christmases became really exciting!

Our first Christmas here, it snowed. (Actually it was a blizzard on Christmas Eve Day.)

We had a white Christmas! My first ever (and I was so old then). The snow covered the front steps.

When we got up in the morning, Bekka discovered a new bicycle under the tree for her.
(Bekka always had 'bedhead' when she got up. The hair was like cotton.)

Ed had new tires for his bike, and one of those big Star Wars war machines (I can't remember what they were called, but it added to his collection of Star Wars toys.).
See all that red hair and freckles that he had?

Anyway, Ed and Bekka were supposed to fly down to Phoenix that day to spend the rest of Christmas with their dad. Unfortunately, the couple of feet of snow we got, wasn't the worst in the state. Denver got over 3 feet of blowing snow, they had huge drifts, and the roads weren't plowed. There was no way to get to the old Denver airport to put the kids on the plane. (I had them flying from there because it was a point to point flight-no changing planes or anything.)

So, we flew down for President's Day in February instead. Figured that wouldn't happen again.

Stay tuned for Christmas 1983!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Today will be MUCH warmer than yesterday......

You know you are in Colorado when the weather man proclaims

"Today will be MUCH warmer than yesterday." And then proceeds to let you know that the expected high will be 28 degrees. But it will be sunny!

(Yesterday the high was 4 so I guess he was right.)