Sunday, June 29, 2014

49 but who's counting...

Celebrated the big "49" in a unique way. Rheid took the day off to accompany me to the birthday destination of my choice. I chose the zoo. So just before heading off, I went online to the Denver Zoo site to see if there were any special programs or discounts for the day. To my dismay there was nothing exciting going on that day because it was CLOSED. What??!! The zoo unavailable on the best day of the summer--unthinkable! I was so disappointed since I'd looked forward to it all week. Time to think of a Plan B.

Well B in this case turned out to be for butterfly. I had heard of the Butterfly Pavilion before but really didn't know what it was all about or what to expect. I checked its website and saw they charged only $1.00 admission if it is your birthday. SCORE! I took that as a sign so off we went to Westminster, a suburb of Denver, instead.

Turns out besides butterflies, they house lots of different invertebrate creatures (animals without backbones) which make up 97% of all animal species on the planet. Who knew? We saw giant millipedes, scorpions, huge cockroaches,walking sticks, jellyfish, starfish, horseshoe crabs, sea anemones, etc. But the biggest non-butterfly hit housed in the "Crawl-a-See-Em"  was Rosie the tarantula.
Earning my "I Held Rosie" sticker which I wore with pride!

Rosie felt amazingly light and soft.
First time ever holding a tarantula.

Told Rheid he had to try this too.
Then it was on to the main attraction, the butterflies. They were housed in a large rain forest-type pavilion (interpretation: hot and humid) which was full of all kinds of flowering plants. Gorgeous. Oh and the butterflies! They are flying all around you. At any one time, there are about 1,600 butterflies of various species living there. 

A variety of swallowtail.

This one isn't specifically identified in the brochure but he was willing
to hold still so I liked him a lot!
It was so amazing and they were all so beautiful I wanted to capture them all digitally. Unfortunately, being a bad shaker combined with technical difficulties trying to work my phone (wish I had taken my camera instead) and the constant moving of the butterflies, not many of my photos turned out well. There were also large window displays of the "nursery" which featured many kinds of chrysalis's waiting to hatch. My favorite looked like they had been dipped in solid gold, which is supposed to scream "bitter" to any potential ingest-er.

There were butterflies large and small with lots of different colors and markings.  My favorite were the large blues, owls, and the Paper Kites. The Paper Kites were a very large white and black species that has a slow, gentle flight behavior like paper floating in air. A maze ing! They stayed up higher so they were hard to photograph.
A closed Tawny Owl Butterfly.
Blue Morpho Butterfly
We stayed in the pavilion a couple hours and were able to see a release of the newly hatched butterflies taking their first flight. Super neat. 

Resting and waiting for the release.
We ended my birthday with a family dinner at The Hibachi Grill. Our chef had us all cracking up with his corny jokes and watching his cooking antics. Great food and even better company.

I am so blessed to celebrate yet another birthday and now its 50 or bust! 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Check it out...

Thought I would share a checklist of happenings since I last checked in on my blog.

1.  Biggest accomplishment--finishing 75 days of IV antibiotics!  Whew, what a marathon but so far it has been worth it. At clinic on 2 June I blew a 31%!!!  Woot woot!!! (Yes, excessive exclamation points are needed here!)  Finished my last one that night and now am only on the oral Cipro.

2.  Best visitors--my parents. They came all the way from Idaho to visit the last week of April. Mom and I worked on genealogy while Dad helped Rheid create a home-made teleprompter.  It's scary what two "engineering-type" minds can come up with.  It turned out amazing.  We sampled local cuisine, watched Josh play some soccer, looked for antique car parts for Dad, cheered on the Avalanche in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and  hung out.  I loved having them just wish the dang wind would have cooperated a bit better--it blew like crazy the entire time they were here.

Lunch at Doug's Diner
3.  First game--the Colorado Rapids. Josh decided to become a season ticket holder this year so he treated us to a night out at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. We squeaked in a night of good weather for early May; it had been cold and rainy that week. Then last Thursday we used our free Rockies tickets. Josh brought along his friend, Mindy, and the four of us got there early enough to grab hamburgers at the new Rooftop patio deck. It was a beautiful night for baseball even though the Rocks got pummeled in the ninth inning. A seventh inning rally, where we witnessed our first in-the-park home run, gave us hope but it was not to be.

4.  Dirtiest deed--my garden.  I planted the garden late this year because of the cold rainy/windy weather. The little plants are popping right up now.  However, we are experiencing a bunny population explosion this spring and I have seen evidence they are finding my plants tasty. Where are the foxes when you need them? I love seeing the bunnies in the yard--just not in my garden!

5.  Worst news--Christina's car accident.  She was hit from behind late at night while out with friends.  Luckily she was fine but her poor car isn't. Haggling with a non-helpful Progressive insurance agent (Help Flo!) and paying her five hundred dollar deductible for the $5,000 worth of damage to her Mazda has made her very frustrated. The other insurance company refuses to be liable--State Farm, that is not very neighborly!

6.  Most anticipated--starting of construction. Finally tractors, graters, and cement trucks have invaded the field where the Fort Collins LDS Temple will be built. I have waited impatiently for two years since the announcement was made for work to begin.  After the groundbreaking in the Fall, I assumed things would start moving along but alas, my hopes were dashed and more waiting was required. It will be fun to watch the progress now.