Snow Day

With the 2017 MLB season beginning, it is very appropriate to have challenging springtime weather. (The Rockies’ home opener is Friday, April 7.)

snow-covered: in the neighborhood (Tue, Apr 04 2017)

tree-bending snow: winter white (Tue, Apr 04 2017)

measuring the snow: 6+ inches (Tue, Apr 04 2017)

The snow ended in the late morning, followed by partial clearing in the early afternoon. With temperatures climbing into the mid-40s, the melt off began in earnest.

snow free feeder, nearly dry street (Tue, Apr 04 2017)

In the forecast, sunny and warmer (nearly 70) by Friday.

Happy Birthday Susie and Pinky!

It seems not long ago Miss Susie and Miss Pinky, and their littermates were born. They began their lives in rather humble and difficult surroundings. Through kindness, and a little good fortune, they made their way into feline rescue. “The rest,” it is said, “is history.”

Becoming six, Susie and Pinky, are lots of fun. They are loving and loyal.

favorite chair and perch: Miss Pinky

baby quilt time: Miss Susie

the sunny side: Miss Susie

watching for cats: Miss Pinky

suncatching: Miss Pinky

suncatching: Miss Susie

 

Happy Birthday Susie and Pinky!

xoxo

Blizzard Friday

After 2-3 weeks of spring weather, today was a reminder that winter is not quite over yet. Though we had wind-driven rain at the house and a dusting of snow, points northward to Denver and eastward into the plains were having a blizzard this morning. A certain project appointment, however, had to be kept regardless of the weather conditions.

heading into the plains: an icy SH 94 east of Colorado Springs, which closed 15 minutes later

While Deborah and Tara did some homework, Elizabeth made two chocolate pies. She had to make a pressing call, first, to Laurie at work, “where is the baking chocolate?” Of course, Elizabeth had first taste of her chocolate temptation.

Elizabeth’s first word: “tasty”

Not a bad afternoon treat.

“Thank you, princess.”

Ten Days Of Perfection

During the last week of March, the attention of the horse world will be focused on the FEI World Cup in Omaha. It is the pinnacle of equestrian sports.

Instead, my daughters will be focused on their preparations for their 2017 riding season. Who wins, or does not win, in Omaha does not matter. Who rides well, or who didn’t, does not matter. With their season beginning a scant, six weeks later, in mid-May, it is ten days of everyday riding. It is ten days of requiring their best, and more.

Trish and Cameron visiting: “How are you today?”  (RRC, Mar 11 2017)

They prepare like elite professionals. The practice day is very structured, from beginning to end. Attention to detail is an imperative. Critical analysis is essential. While Trish can leave my girls to practice without much supervision, she watches from the sidelines. Like them, Trish, too, has her notepad in which she jots down her observations. After a segment is completed, the four will compare notes. This kind of off-saddle instruction allows them to have additional insight and analysis of their riding technique. The continual learning, including for a rider competing at the highest level, is a must.

warming up: Tara having a hot drink during a break at practice (RRC, Mar 11 2017)

While the practice sessions seem to be intense, they are fairly relaxed. If any mistakes are made, it is better to have them during practice. The repetitive nature of practice is also a good exercise in building patience and composure, and learning more about their equine partners. It is in championship moments when the hard work and staying disciplined make a difference.

If practice is any indicator, my girls are continuing to ride very well. They are riding fast, crisply and with precision, and have said, “better than last season.” They will know how well when they open their season.

Borrowing a line from their favorite rider, Kent Farrington, “Enjoy the process, not just the end result.” And, that is how they ride.

Elizabeth and SAM: kisses before practice (RRC, Mar 11 2017)

Blackhawks

Earlier today, my dad and I ran a couple of errands at Ft. Carson. At the time, two Blackhawks were coming in for a landing on the parade field in front of the headquarters building. It is one of those sights I do not grow tired of seeing – military aviation in motion.

When Laurie worked as a DoD contract MD a few years ago at Ft. Carson, she had an opportunity to make two medevac missions into the training range. On the second mission, she was able to take a photo of two dust-offs coming in to take her and an injured soldier to the hospital on post.

coming in for a landing: a pair of UH-60 Blackhawk dust-offs
photo credit: Laurie Westin

In Vietnam, my dad flew with the surgeon when it was their turn to survey the aid stations, or there were heavy casualties in the field. (The latter rarely happened.) They were always accompanied by a UH-1 Huey or AH-1 Cobra gunship that provided overwatch. This is one tactic that has not changed through the years.

Both Laurie and Andrea rarely make these type of missions, but when they do, the situation must require their presence. The last time they did, two years ago, they talked about the experience for the better part of a week.

One

While much has changed in a year, much has remained the same. The everydayness of life has continued on – working hard, relaxing, a little playing, laughing. She, herself, would admit 2016 was a difficult year. “Yet, you cannot let these instances govern your life,” she would undoubtedly say.

It is exactly one year since my mom passed away. The last few days of her life were long and hard. Simply, you knew her time was very, very short. Only she knew when was when. Both Laurie and Andrea, after long hours at work, would stop by for nearly 30-45 minutes to visit with her and dad.  A little worry had crept into their voices. It was expected since we were talking family.

With her concerns increasing, Laurie consulted with her geriatrics professor from medical school. His advice was sound, “you’re doing well by keeping her comfortable much as possible.” Laurie wished she could do more. When her and Andrea asked if she was okay, mom would always reply, “Yes, I’m okay. I feel fine.” We were pretty sure she was trying to allay our worries and concerns.

In the year since, it has taken some time to adjust. We’ve had our moments when we said, “make a mental note and tell mom later.” Or, the girls saying, “we need to call grandma and tell her what happened.” Then, in a flash, we remember. Moreover, we are glad mom’s passing seems not to have affected dad a great deal. If it has, he’s not telling but we know he misses her much.

While our counting of days phase is largely behind us, mom would be very glad that we have remembered her. Hopefully, she won’t ask if we learned anything from the counting.

Love you, miss you.
xo