Monday, June 29, 2009

Something to think about

A human being is a part of the whole called by us "the universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest-a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening the circle of understanding and compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Albert Einstein

How do I break free of this prison? Who do I trust? Where do I go? The ego of my universe continues to contract because of fear of the unknown, as well as fear of the absolute. It has not brought contentment, but bred restlessness, yet I am struggling for the courage to break down the walls I have built around me and allow myself to fly.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Farrah Fawcett loses her battle with Cancer at 62

There were several thoughts and reflections that passed through my mind as I read this headline. I remember I was in elementary school when Charlie's Angels was a big hit. My friends and I pretended we were Angels all the time. I had to play Kelly because I have dark hair. I always wanted to be Jill, but that role went to my cousin, ironically named Jill, because she was blond. I remember carrying my badge and toy gun to school (that was when you still could) and Norman went through my purse that I especially bought for the role. He teased me incessantly! He also got into a lot of trouble for snooping through my things! We dated for a short time in high school. He really was a sweetheart, just a boy, though. And I was just a girl wanting to be more than I was.

I also thought about a dear friend of the family, Katie, who lived on the boat with us. She lost her battle with breast cancer in 1992, she was not as old as Farrah when she died. Katie was in her early 40's. When her cancer was discovered it was too late to do much, and at the time there was not much known about how to treat breast cancer. As an RN and scientist, she gave herself to research at Bethesda and they learned some things through her time there. I like to think that treatment options are better today because of the small piece Katie played in research work.

The most important thing that came to mind in reading Farrah's story and looking at pictures and hearing other peoples thoughts was, we need to make sure our priorities in this life are straight. We really never know how much time we have on this planet and I hope we all live to the best of our ability. There is a certain amount of survival instinct necessary because we are animals, but also as thinking humans we must add a component of quality. Tell those we love that we love them, give them our time when we have none to give, share, explore, participate and live. As a recovering alcoholic, I like to think that I have a greater appreciation of what life has to offer from a quality standpoint because I missed so much of it in the selfishness of my addiction, and I have a lot of making up to do. Even though I didn't know her personally, my perception of Farrah Fawcett was that she lived life well and loved well and did something to change the world around her.

Bad deal for everyone

Denver - Safeway workers across the state have overwhelmingly rejected the grocery chain's counter-offer and re-authorized a strike first approved on May 8.

According to a statement late Wednesday from United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local No. 7, employees voted unanimously in most locations to reject Safeway's latest bid, because it did not provide "livable wages and a secure retirement," according to the statement.

No date has been set for a strike.

This is a bad deal for everyone involved. If Safeway strikes, Kroger employees are looking at the possibility of a lock out. It makes sense that the company has to protect itself. Safeway employees in the grand valley have been extremely disgruntled for a very long time, they have poor management and have been treated very badly by Safeway. The decision that Safeway made years ago to cater to the upper income public was a failure. That decision was made and then the economy changed. Kroger, on the other hand, made a decision to get as competitive as possible with Wal-Mart. Not an easy task given the union and requirements of the company. Kroger doesn't do the volume that Wal-Mart does, and this is a low margin, high volume business. But Kroger has made incredible strides, they have worked at it for five years.

I'm told this could have all been settled in February. A vote was called for raises, benefits and one showed up. So here we are. This is a scary proposition. In the store I work at, there is almost no one who wants to strike. Many of the workers in that store are single and some are single parents who can't afford this and are scared shitless now. Now we are in a no win situation with a horrible economy and no public support. It is a shame no one showed up to vote in February, we could have saved ourselves a lot of grief. If the company locks us out, I'm out along with everyone else even though I'm management. I'm not happy about any of it. I've been working hard to rebuild a life and am dependent on that paycheck to move forward. Sadly, the area that I live has few jobs to begin with, and if we are locked out, there will be even less. While I have more tangible skills than many of the people who work in these stores, I will be hard pressed to compete in an already tight job market, just like everyone else.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Book Cliff

By the time Grand Junction was three years old it had become apparent to its citizens that they needed a good coal supply if the town was to grow and prosper. Early in 1884 an experienced coal miner by the name of George W. Smith set out to locate a mine that would adequately supply the city’s needs. In a remote and unexplored canyon of the Book Cliffs twelve miles from town he found a huge body of coal. Smith and several other men developed the discovery into what became known as the Book Cliff Mine. Two years later another coal mine was opened a half a mile north of the Book Cliff coal mine; it was called the Grand Valley Mine. Both mines were purchased by William Thomas Carpenter in the summer of 1888 and under his Grand Valley Fuel Company they were improved and further developed. He built the Little Book Cliff Railway to serve the mines. A small community of miners took root near the mines and the U.S. post office established a branch there during June 1890--officially dubbing the settlement Carpenter, Colorado.

This is where a friend and very experienced hiker took Dana, Michael and me to visit today. It was quite a grueling hike. We walked up to the very top of the mine (I wasn't sure they would get me back down) and it was breathtaking. Carpenter is now a ghost town and shows little evidence of humanity trampling there except for the hiking trails. The trail follows directly the path of the Little Book Cliff Railway straight to the mine shaft and beyond. The town population at its peak was about 100 people and was a company town. I could see that living there was likely a tough experience, but today we got to enjoy the beauty of the landscape. I didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked, my camera batteries died. But I think some of the pictures show the area pretty well.

The view from the bottom. Not bad at all!

The view from the top. We had to climb back down that! Yikes!

A culvert that was built to move water from a natural spring into the town. All the rocks were cut to make the bowed shape.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bangs Canyon

Callie and I have been exploring the hiking in Bangs Canyon pretty intently of late. We have had a nice cool spring/summer so far and have taken serious advantage of the weather. Today we explored the Tabegauche trail, a few days ago we hit the Little Park trail. Before that the Mica Mine and The Ribbon. From looking around the canyon and studying the map, I think we could explore for months and not cover all of the trails. I like it because Callie can go off leash and I get some exercise while being a lazy dog walker at the same time. The drive is at the most twenty minutes to the top. The hike we did today was ten minutes from the house and we hiked for 45 minutes. It was uphill all the way, so I feel good about the cardio benefit I received. I feel like one of the luckiest people on earth. We live in a beautiful area, with fantastic places to go and be and enjoy nature so close at hand, and I feel so grateful to have the ability and capacity to be able to take full advantage of what I have. This feels like the best time in my life, even though I really have no material possessions or monetary security, I have discovered they never brought me happiness (for one brief time, I had it all). What I have is my sobriety, and because of that I have a life worth living. I have the ability to earn a living that supports a life I treasure, and I love that I appreciate it and am able to enjoy what the world has given me as a result.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Nicholas the House Monkey

Grandma has gotten pretty sick of late. It's been coming for a long time, but dementia has set in and we moved her to a nursing home yesterday. I now have Nicholas, her cat. She adopted him when he was three weeks old and his mom was chased off by the neighbors dog. Their attachment has been strong and this has been incredibly hard on him. There was a pretty horrific event that lead up to Grandma having to go to nursing care, and my Mom tells me that Nicholas knew that day something was very wrong. Now his whole life is upended and he's back to living with Abbie and now he deals with Callie on a daily basis. She's terrified of him (she doesn't know Grandma had him de-clawed). He's warming up slowly...very slowly. He makes me crazy because he is into everything. Especially anything on the kitchen counter, and I can't keep him off. Above anything else, pets on the counter make me nuts! We've had it out more than once, and all I can say is I'm grateful he doesn't have claws, he would have taken me out! I haven't decided if this is going to work over the long term, but I do know that even in Grandma's dementia she remembers him and asks about him, so the least I can do since she saved my life is try to save his, and if I can't make it work, maybe I can find a safe place for him, as she found for me.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dontcha just love rednecks

A Greeley family who allegedly pounced on the former girlfriend of their eldest son during a fist-swinging, hair-pulling tussle was rounded up early Monday after a 10-hour standoff and marijuana investigation at the family home, according to Greeley police.

The alleged victim, Christina Vanderclip, had driven by the home of the man variously described as her common-law husband or former boyfriend, Travis Schneller.

She stopped to talk to Schneller when she saw him at the house, according to Sgt. Joe Tymkowych, spokesman for the Greeley Police Department.

According to police reports, the 24-year-old Schneller struck Vanderclip and pulled her hair. He was soon joined by his mother, Kimberly Schneller, 47, who allegedly jumped on Vanderclip's back and also joined in the hair-pulling, said Tymkowych.

At that point, Travis' younger brother, Michael Schneller, 18, and father, Robert Schneller, 47, joined the melee. Michael allegedly struck Vanderclip and Robert allegedly choked her. Robert also allegedly tried to use a type of stunning device — which emits a blue arc — on Vanderclip but was unsuccessful, according to police.

A Vanderclip friend, who had been watching from the car, helped rescue Vanderclip, and they drove away and called police.

It was then, said Tymkowych, that the standoff at the house in the 2400 block of Sixth Street, began.

The Schnellers "would not open the door," said Tymkowych. "We knew they were in there."

At that point, Greeley police had to find a Weld County District judge to sign an arrest warrant. Using the warrant, police entered the home at 4 a.m. Monday — six hours after the incident began — and arrested the Schneller family.

While in the home, officers spotted a marijuana plant and related paraphernalia, said Tymkowych. They had to get a second warrant so they could seize the plant and paraphernalia.

Authorities completed their investigation at the home about 8 a.m. Monday, said Tymkowych.

Tymkowych said that Travis, Kimberly, Robert and Michael Schneller were all arrested for investigation of third-degree assault. Travis also was arrested for investigation of domestic violence.

"They had had an ongoing intimate relationship," said the police spokesman explaining the domestic-violence allegation. "She had lived at the residence with him."

Robert, the father, also was arrested for investigation of the attempted use of a stun device.

Friday, June 5, 2009


I went to Gunnison today for a writing seminar. It was a good, solid and productive day. I even had a minute to walk around Western State campus and take a couple of pictures.

Outside the conference hall where we had our classes.

Blue Mesa lake. The wind was blowing and I liked the view of the mountain with the white caps in the foreground.

I was gone for an extraordinarily long time today. I haven't been away from Callie for that long. Mom came and checked on her for me and let her out. I'm guessing that my mother is no longer talking to me. Here is the reason why:

This is a rug that Mom and Dad got me for my birthday. It's really pretty, don't you think? I know it was very expensive because mom and I had looked at it together. I distinctly said, "I have a dog, and an expensive rug is not a good idea."

This is why...I don't even know what to say. I gasped loudly, said Callie's name about a million times, she disappeared into her kennel. I laughed, and then I cried.

The guilty party. She knows her mug is getting posted to the world so everyone can see this is the number one contender for the Marley award!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mica Mine

I went with a friend on a hike to the Mica Mine in Bangs Canyon. It was the best hike I've been on. Even better than Devil's Canyon. There is plenty of water and shade and incredible canyon views. These are some pictures I took. I took a lot more than this, but am limited on posting options.

Balancing Rock

Mica on the trail. It was like walking on snow.

The view from the trailhead. The trail drops down into an amazing canyon full of lush trees and folige. There were seemingly millions of wild roses everywhere. This is a hike worth doing over and over.

Monday, June 1, 2009


These were given to me by my mom and dad for my birthday. In my card, my mom wrote: "On June 1 the angels say flowers are the closest thing to heaven, except perhaps a newborn child. Each flower has a unique quality, some restore an energy balance, each is different and carries its own beauty. Flowers strike a sense of gratitude in our hearts and speak to our soul."

May we each be grateful and find renewed energy and balance this summer surrounded by the beauty of nature and people in our lives, and become more aware of our souls, and let others touch our hearts.

Maybe I will go to Hawaii...

Want to fly from Grand Junction to Hawaii? That’ll be $560 round trip.

Prefer London? Prices are only $710 if you book now for July.

Prices are the lowest they’ve been in years for some prime vacation destinations, thanks to fewer people opting to take summer vacations in a bumpy economy and more people choosing to drive if they venture out.

I haven't been to Hawaii in ten years. I think with the airfare, it may be time...