Wednesday, June 30, 2010

ISTE 2010

I spent the last four days attending the ISTE Conference in Denver (International Society for Technology in Education)! It's a huge event about all things tech and how to use them in education. It's been a fun time, but I'm also very tired. I have a new appreciation for those people who commute to the city every day for work. I wouldn't last a week!

I learned some great ideas for my classroom and saw some amazing technology. I also got the chance to do some more training with SMART and met some other SMART Exemplary Educators (SEEs), which is a program I spent last year working toward and am now a member of.

These pictures are of the Blue Bear, a famous statue called "I Can See You," which is outside the convention center peering in the windows. It's such a fun, whimsical art piece.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Camping at Big Creek Lakes

We headed up to Big Creek Lake (lower) on Thursday afternoon. We saw some great scenery on the way, and stopped to view a gorgeous valley where even Aspen liked the view.


After a detour caused by a GPS that directed us to a dead end in a cow pasture, we found a better route and arrived at our campsite. Big Creek Lake is very isolated. It's about 30 minutes outside the tiny town of Cowdery, CO and not far from the Wyoming border.



The lake is very pretty, but the area has been hit hard by the Pine Beetle so there are dead trees everywhere, and the forest service is currently cutting them all down because they pose a threat. There are signs everywhere warning of the dangers of falling trees. Thursday night, we had just enough time to set up camp, have dinner, and take Aspen for a walk.


Friday morning, we started out fishing and canoeing. Mike caught one fish (a small one about 7 inches) before breaking his pole accidentally, and since we didn't have an extra, that was the end of that.

Then, around 10:30 we heading out to hike the trail to get to Big Creek Lake (upper), which can't be reached by car. We hiked for about an hour to get to this lake. From there, we saw a sign to Big Creek Falls, so we kept going and hiked up into the mountain canyon to see the falls.

We hadn't seen any other people for a couple of hours, so we let Aspen off her leash and she enjoyed running around. She also had to walk through every creek and patch of water that we came across and there was no shortage of water.
We didn't see much in the way of wildlife, but we did see some moose tracks crossing our hiking trail. We finally made it to the waterfall, which was pretty neat. We paused for Mike and Aspen to wade in the water and for some pictures, and then we had to hike all the way back.
In total, our trip ended up taking 5 hours, so we were all tired when we got back! Mike and I spent our afternoon in lawn chairs, and Aspen was so tired she decided a rock would make a good pillow and went straight to sleep.

We had a good time, but the nights were very cold (near freezing) so it wasn't very pleasant in the tent. And, the day after our hike Mike's back was hurting, so we ended up coming home Saturday evening instead of Sunday. Still, it was a good escape and a way to relax after the news of our latest doctor appointment, which we had Thursday morning before we left.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Raccoon Update!

Either there are two of them or he/she snuck back in! I went to leave for work at 8:00am, opened the door between the house and the garage and was startled to be staring at a raccoon. I'm sure he was as startled by me! I slammed the door shut and then went around and outside through the front door and then opened the garage with my remote. However, the raccoon did not want to leave! I don't know how to get him out, so he's still in there, sleeping behind the shelves. I'm hoping if I open the door this evening, he will leave on his own because otherwise I'm not sure what to do!

A Busy Weekend!

We had a yard work marathon this weekend. We started with hedge trimming, raking, weed pulling, and mowing the lawns. Then, we moved on to the backyard where we did some cleaning out in the jungle and several other projects. There were several old flower beds near the back walls of our house that had been overgrown with grass and vines and had these old, rusty metal borders. So, we dug out all the grass and vines and removed the borders and added brick borders instead, and then I planted flowers and herbs in them. I also planted the rest of my front flowerbeds and vegetable garden too. They took more work than they look like. The dirt hadn't been worked in a while and was rather hard to break up, plus digging out the metal and then putting in the new trench for the bricks took more time than I hoped. Still, I think they turned out pretty well.

Then, we also stained the deck yesterday, which is never a fun task, but it looks so much better afterward. All this, and we also made time to do a little nature hike in the foothills with Aspen yesterday. She enjoyed it, but Mike had sore muscles so I'm not sure he did. We ran into 3 deer both on the way up and on the way back, and it was a struggle to hang on to Aspen, who desperately wanted to go "play" with them.

Then last night, we were again visited by our friendly neighborhood raccoon. Somehow or other, he got into the open garage in the afternoon. I was talking on the phone with my sister about 6:30pm and all of a sudden there was a terrible racket in the garage. Apparently, Mr. Raccoon had just discovered he was locked in and didn't like that one bit! For lack of anything better, we just opened the garage door for an hour or so until he decided to wander out on his own. Then, about 9:3opm, we again heard noise outside and the little monster was in or garbage. We opened the window and yelled down at him, but the little bugger just ignored us and continued to scavenge his dinner from our trashcans. I guess we are going to have to move our trash cans into the garage for the time being. Mike snapped this picture of his from the upstairs window. I never had to deal with this when I lived in Nevada!