Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday

As I drove Isabel to school this morning, an unexpected wave of sadness engulfed me. The song I was listening to must have triggered it, the reference point was something real, but the train of thought went off in a fictional direction. I started thinking of harnessing the sadness and writing a story about people who would be considered ordinary, living what would most of us consider ordinary lives, who actually aren't all quite there. I thought of the main plot points, I even pictured specific scenes. But I struggle to come up with the actual words. I fear I am flat and laconic in my expression nowadays, and that I will struggle to convey the complexity of these characters.

Maybe I just need to stop whining and get cracking on the story. I have been dreaming up variations of this for some time now, and always stop short of actually writing the thing. I wish I could have some time off to write. Maybe I need to take a weekend off from house and family, or a couple of vacation days from work. Sort of like an accelerated writer's retreat, where instead of a long sabbatical to write a novel, you get two days off to crank out a short story. Could be a good idea, if I get my husband to agree to keep the girls. I would have to go away, though. If I stay in the familiar space of my home nothing will get done.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Silverton, Colorado

Silverton was our last stop in Colorado, on our way back from Ouray on the Million Dollar Highway. We were in a hurry to leave Colorado and make it to Rio Rancho, where my uncle Rene was waiting for us. However, we could not leave the San Juan Mountains without a visit to Silverton. We stopped long enough to have lunch, take a short walk and snap a few pictures. It was quite a photogenic small town, with an interesting, colorful history.

We ate lunch at a restaurant called The Pickle Barrel, where we had a yummy Pork and Posole soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. The soup was truly delicious, one of the best cups of soup I have ever had, and since then I have been obsessed with making my own version of it.

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Ouray, Colorado

After driving from Texas through New Mexico and getting to Colorado, we spent the first part of our vacation in Durango. We arrived Saturday night and Sunday morning we were on the Winter train ride from Durango to Cascade.

We spent Monday looking around Historical Durango and making arrangements to go skiing on Tuesday. On Tuesday, after a day of skiing, we drove from Purgatory to Ouray on the portion of US550 known as the Million Dollar Highway. It was amazingly beautiful, but scary for me as it had been a while since I had driven on a curvy mountain road, and I am not really experienced driving in icy roads. It was near dusk, and we were dying to arrive at our hotel in Ouray, so we passed Silverton without stopping (we made sure to visit the town on our drive back from Ouray).

Ouray is a fantastic small town, nestled between mountains at 7,792 feet. It is nicknamed the Switzerland of America and I think it is quite fitting. We enjoyed our hotel very much. The place was clean and comfortable, we got a great rate and the manager (who is also named Ingrid) was incredibly friendly and helpful. The hotel has hot springs tubs (quite enjoyable) and also uses the hot springs water in its heating system. We loved it and would definitely stay there again. We visited the public hot springs pool. This is actually what drew me to plan a trip to Ouray, and it was well worth it to soak in the hot springs pool while two mountain sheep looked at the bathers from the safety of a high cliff.

We also did some shopping, buying souvenir t-shirts, beautiful prints and posters, and a couple of books on the history and lore of Ouray and the San Juan Mountains. Although several stores were closed because it was Wednesday, and others would not open again until May, we managed to find some nice places, including a very good coffee house/chocolatier called Mouse's Chocolates. Their chocolates are of amazingly good quality and flavor, and their caramels are to die for. Of course, I had to eat everything in small amounts so as not to send my blood sugar through the roof. They ship, so I will likely purchase again from them in the future.

Since it was St. Patrick's Day, we had lunch at an Irish pub called O'Brien's Pub. They had really good fish and chips and Shepperd's pie.

We would love to visit Ouray again in the future. For now, the pictures we took will have to do.

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Durango Mountain Resort

We went skiing last Tuesday. It was a perfect day for it, quite lovely. Isabel went to ski school all day with other 4-5 year-olds(they even gave her lunch) while Gabriel and I took lessons with other beginner adults. It was loads of fun, although I fell a few times and was run over by an out of control snowboarder (and I have the bruise to prove it). Gabe is hooked and wants to make the ski trip an annual tradition.

I have no actual pictures of us in skis, because I could not carry my camera with me on lessons. But I snapped a few pics of the resort after we were done. Isabel was so tired she fell asleep in the car immediately.

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Isabel after spending all day at Ski School

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Wednesday Evening

I have had a great evening so far. We ate leftover spaghetti and meatballs and now I am listening to music while Isa plays with her stuffed animals. Lola, as always, is napping on the bed, spoiled little kitty.

Earlier I took these pics.

Isa drawing

Hmph

Yeah!

Yes, I have spaghetti sauce on my shirt.  Arg!

Graceful Lola

Leave me alone

Lola

Lola flash

Monday, March 01, 2010

New Life

I used to smoke. I had an addiction that lasted almost twenty years. I kept on smoking even when it triggered asthma attacks. Still, I managed to stop smoking during my two pregnancies and while I breastfed my daughters. I briefly picked up the habit again after weaning my youngest. By then my breathing problems had escalated and after a couple of months back in the habit, I kicked it for good.

It's been several years now and I am grateful I had the willpower to walk away from smoking. I hope I have the same strength to tackle this new challenge. I am a diabetic. I struggle with the label. But it is true. I also struggle with overeating, I have no impulse control with foods like candies and chips, and drinks such as sodas. People say moderation is key. I agree. But I know that for me, right now, it is a matter of completely cutting off certain foods and drinks if I want to be successful.

I have my reasons for taking this route. My dad was a diabetic and an alcoholic. When he was first diagnosed he was on pills and on a diet, he stopped drinking even. One day, his doctor told him he could have a drink now and then. Big mistake. My mom says he started drinking again and stopped taking care of himself. Ultimately he had to use insulin, and died of complications from diabetes. Ironically, he had stopped drinking a month before his death.

I am not a drinker, but I eat junk food compulsively. If there are chips and candies at home, I will eat and eat and eat. I know I can't control how much I eat of these things, so it is best to avoid them altogether if I want a clear shot at managing my blood sugar levels.