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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

kay's reading...7.10.19



Hello book friends!  Hope all of you have a had good couple of weeks.  I think that for now I'll update by relating what I've been reading every now and then.  We had a quiet but nice holiday weekend - we've felt like our summer has been busy and so it was just about perfect to do nothing much.  My husband played golf - his usual - and I made my way through book after book, while also keeping up my walking and yoga routines.  Last year, we were in the beautiful Pacific Northwest (pictured above).  This year - hot and humid Central Texas - ah, home...ha!  I'll not share another 'bug' picture with you, but let me tell you, the scorpions are out and around - just saying...

I've continued to make my way through Betty Webb's Lena Jones series.  This author, who was once an investigative reporter, shares some tough storylines in these books - very grim.  I've loved the books, but they might be a little rough for some.  Anyway, I've finished Desert Cut, Desert Lost, Desert Wind, and Desert Rage.  You can always click on the covers to the right to learn more about any of the books I've read.  There are 10 books in the series and I'm reading #9 right now, Desert Vengeance.  As I said, I've really liked this series and I'm considering doing the same thing with another series - reading all the books - I just have to think about what series I might pick.  Maybe somewhere cold.



I've also been doing some great audiobook listening.  I read the second book in Dervla McTiernan's Cormac Reilly series.  It's called The Scholar and through the book, the reader gets to know not only more about Cormac and his detective colleagues, we get to get better acquainted with Dr. Emma Sweeney, Cormac's girlfriend.  I can recommend both The Scholar and the previous book, The Ruin.  They are both narrated by Aoife McMahon.



After spending time in Ireland, I shifted over to Asia and began listening to The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See.  It is narrated by a number of people and all were quite good.  I'll be leading a book group discussion of this book next week and so I was very happy that I liked it so much.  With various themes of tea production, harvesting, and a mountain culture steeped in tradition, there were also modern aspects that were most interesting.  One storyline concerned adoptions of Chinese girls and that one was most relevant to my life as we have two nieces who were adopted from China.  I appreciated many of the issues brought up and look forward to talking with the group about their experience with the book.



Another book group member related to me that she had just finished reading Lisa See's new book - The Island of Sea Women.  She said I should try that one too and so I did.  Wow.  Location shift to Korea and the female divers of Jeju Island, off the coast of Korea.  This way of life is something I can't even imagine, but I was quite, quite enthralled.  Another book that I highly recommend.  Based on life in that region and the changes that have come, the timeline runs from the 1930's to the present.  It was narrated by Jennifer Lim.

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I think that's about it for the last couple of weeks.  I hope you are all enjoying your summertime reading.  Take care and I'll try to get back around in a bit to share more.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

What I've been reading...

I thought I would just do a short update about what I've been reading and listening to in the last few days.  Some really good books in my opinion.

First of all, I've gone down the rabbit hole with Betty Webb's Lena Jones series.  I mentioned the first book, Desert Noir, a couple of weeks ago and said that I was thinking of reading all 10 books in the series soon.  I've definitely made a start in that direction.



Desert Wives is the second book in the series.  In this tale, Lena goes undercover at a community in northern Arizona that practices polygamy.  Lena had been hired to help a young teen escape from the community by the mother of the girl.  However, the leader has been murdered and the mother has been arrested.  Lena and Jimmy, her partner, step in to help.



The third book in the series, Desert Shadows, was quickly in my hand and I became absorbed in learning about the independent publishing industry and helping Lena solve the murder of a very unpleasant woman who headed up Patriot's Blood Press.  Jimmy's cousin, Owen Sisiwan, has been accused of murdering the woman, who was his employer.  The author said that her own publisher, Poisoned Pen Press, was helpful in letting her see behind the scenes of a small independent.
 


Did I go right on to #4?  Yes I did and enjoyed it thoroughly.  Desert Run concerns an independent movie being made about a German POW camp in the area and an escape of prisoners on Christmas Eve, 1944.  This is based on a true story, which Betty Webb relates in the author's notes.  One of the escapees, a German U-boat captain who settled in the US after the war, is the victim this time.  Not that anyone is mourning him.  He was assisting in the documentary production and is, of course, quite old.  His Ethiopian caretaker is the person accused of the crime.  Lena, always ready to help right what she perceives as a wrong, investigates.  She's in a tough place in her life because it seems that everyone is leaving her - her old boss in the police is moving back to Brooklyn and Jimmy, her partner, has taken a job with a tech firm (maybe).  We also continue to learn a bit about Lena's history.



Now to the books that I listened to on audio.  I've been very pleased to find that Mary Stewart's books (she's one of my favorite authors from the past) have recently been recorded with new narrators.  Some are already available now and some will be coming.  Not sure if they were previously recorded as books on tape long ago, but I know I never listened to any of them.  I picked up a couple of my favorites and began a delightful reread of Touch Not the Cat.  It was narrated by Zoe Mills and I loved everything about it.  It had been a long time since I visited this book, originally published in 1976.  That was probably the year that I originally read it - I would have been in early college days.  Gothic-type romantic suspense.  Lovely!



The last book I'll talk about is another that I loved (and have quickly moved on to the second in the series).  It's The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan.  Narrated by Aoife McMahon (pronounced 'eef-a'), I was thinking up reasons to keep listening.  This is the first book in a crime series set in Ireland featuring DS Cormac Reilly.  It concerns a crime that is connected to a case Cormac had very early in his career - his first week in fact.  Cormac has returned to Galway from being with a special squad in Dublin and has not found his welcome warm at all.  If you like the books that Tana French writes, the ones about the Dublin Murder Squad, you might like this one.  The second book has recently been published, The Scholar.  I'm listening to that one now.

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That's it for now.  Hope everyone has a nice weekend!   

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Broadmoor in Colorado - Part 2

This is the second part of my tale about our trip to Colorado in May and today I'll show some interior shots of The Broadmoor and also share a little about the historical tour I took there.  As I said on Monday, The Broadmoor was built by Spencer Penrose in 1918.  At that time, the hotel was located outside of Colorado Springs.  Mr. Penrose was a bit of a rebel (or more than a bit) and he disagreed with a lot of restrictions on behavior of individuals - things like Prohibition.  One of the concierge staff led our historical tour and so I'll mention a few tidbits that we saw and heard about.

I don't have a picture of 'Bottle Alley' near one of the restaurants accessed through the lobby, but there are display cases high up in the walls that are filled with old liquor bottles.  Penrose served his guests and friends alcohol during the Prohibition time (1920-1933) and then hid the bottles in various places on his land.  When a renovation was done many years later, over 1,200 bottles were found - intact and empty.  Hence - 'Bottle Alley'. 



All the lobbies and open rooms of The Broadmoor are very ornate and formal in decor.  This is the lobby of the part of the hotel that was across the lake from where we stayed.



Look at this fountain in more detail (just click on it).  Bears!  I was wandering on my own when I took this and there was a meeting going on in one part of this area.  I couldn't stay long, but this gives you a peep.  There was art everywhere as well.



This was a fountain that was just outside of the restaurant where I had breakfast that first morning.  And it was the gathering place for the historical tour.  



I discovered this library the first day after breakfast, but there was a group having a meeting inside.  I had to come back later when I could take a look at the shelves in the room itself.  Our tour guide showed us this room and said someone had asked whether it was modeled after the library in Disney's Beauty and the Beast!  (It was not.)  



Yes, I was tempted to climb the ladder and check out all the books on the upper shelves.  Guests could borrow the books and (I suppose) actually take them if they wished.  This library has not been in existence for the whole 100 years.  It was a storage room a few years ago.



Spencer Penrose also was a founder of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, a race that started in 1916.  This year's race will actually take place this coming Sunday, June 30th.  Many famous race car drivers have participated and the vehicle above was actually driven by Penrose himself very early on (not sure what year).  It's found in the Penrose Heritage Museum, which is located on the grounds of The Broadmoor.  I spent a couple of hours there taking a look at things and chatting with the curator.



There were a lot of carriages, cars, and artifacts at the museum.  Here's a stagecoach that one could get close to and check out just how small the inside compartment was.  I can't imagine bumping over the prairie in one of those.  



I was fascinated and sort of creeped out by this 'carriage' - a 'Bath Car' - like from Bath, England.  I knew that people went to Bath to bathe in the hot springs - for their health and to help with ailments.  Many of these people were unable to walk to the springs on their own and so were carried.  Eventually, this little carriage/cart was invented and a person could sit inside and be transported to the hot springs.  I could get up close and look and found myself getting claustrophobic just looking.  This kind of reminded me of an upright coffin.  However, I guess they served their purpose.  



Outside the museum, there was this old engine from the Manitou & Pikes Peak Railway.  The Broadmoor also owns the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, though it is closed right now for repairs.  They hope to reopen in 2021.  My husband and daughter and I rode this railway to the top of Pikes Peak in the late 1980's.  

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I had a good time hearing all the history and wandering around The Broadmoor checking out various things.  There was a long hallway with lots of photos of famous people who had stayed at the hotel - presidents, world leaders, famous Hollywood people and famous singers and rock stars.  There was a lot more about the Penrose family and display cases filled with all sorts of memorabilia.  Probably the oddest thing was Spencer Penrose's glass eye.  Kind of creepy, but interesting.  Also a picture of him in his llama cart.  Another of Penrose's gifts to Colorado was the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.  He had a lot of wild creature pets, one of them a llama, and he would drive his llama cart into Colorado Springs to protest Prohibition.  See, you just never know what you might learn.

Thanks for sharing my trip with me!  There is a lot to see in Colorado Springs if you ever get there.  Hope you can visit at some point.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

First Chapter First Paragraph - Old World Murder



I am linking up with Vicki @ I’d Rather Be At The Beach who hosts a meme every Tuesday to share the First Chapter First Paragraph or two of the book you are currently reading or plan to read soon.

I've had a signed copy of the book I'm featuring today for several years.  It's been on my shelf, unread as yet, while the author has continued the series and will be coming out with the 10th book in early fall.  I've also been doing another round of 'weeding my shelves' and will be showing up at our mystery group meeting next week with several books to pass along.  As I was considering which ones could go, I pick up this one and began reading:



by Kathleen Ernst

First Paragraph(s):

As Chloe Ellefson walked from 1982 into 1870s Wisconsin, a white frame church emerged from the trees, prettily framed against a cloud-studded blue sky.  The view alone was enough to make most visitors pause, appreciate the simple elegance of the restored church, perhaps even wonder about the lives of those women and men and children who had first worshiped within its walls.
     For Chloe, the historic site's newest employee, the scene represented a fresh start.
     A cadence in her mind kept time with her steps:  Must - make - this - work.  Must - make - this - work.  Dr. Eberhardt could no doubt have written a thesis about that obsessive little drone...but Dr. Eberhardt was still in North Dakota with his white pills and his spiral notebook and his guttural grunts that had reminded her all too often of Markus' father.  Visiting a psychiatrist who reminded her of the people she was trying to escape seemed counter-productive, but Solomon, North Dakota--population 793 on a good day--hadn't offered many options in low-cost mental health care.
     Anyway, Chloe had come to Wisconsin to stand on her own two feet.  Although, she thought as she reached the church gate, it would be more accurate to say she'd come home to Wisconsin.  The last thing she'd ever expected to do.  But she was here now.  A new job.  A new life.  And she was determined to make it work.  
     After all, her chosen field was all about facades.  Curators at living history sites presented impressions of the past.  The bustles and bonnets (or braces and boots) that interpreters wore hid more than modern clothes and hairstyles.  Well, she thought, nothing wrong with a good facade.  In fact, a huge historic site intended to create and present illusions wasn't a bad choice for someone wanting to rewrite her own history. 

Blurb:

Trying to leave painful memories behind her, Chloe Ellefson is making a fresh start. She's the new collections curator at Old World Wisconsin, an outdoor ethnic museum showcasing 1870s settlement life. On her first day, Chloe meets with an elderly woman who begs her to find a priceless eighteenth-century Norwegian ale bowl that had been donated to the museum years ago. But before Chloe can find the heirloom and return it to her, the woman dies in a suspicious car crash.

Digging up the history and whereabouts of the rare artifact quickly turns dangerous. Chloe discovers that someone is desperately trying to cover up all traces of the bowl's existence—by any means necessary. Assisting Chloe is police officer Roelke McKenna, whose own haunting past compels him to protect her. To catch the covetous killer, Chloe must solve a decades-old puzzle . . . before she becomes a part of history herself.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  Our area has a living history museum that many of the local schools visit for field trips.  There are also classes and demonstrations and festivals.  I haven't been for long time, since our daughter was in elementary school, but I remember it was a lot of fun.  The author, Kathleen Ernst, has an advanced degree in historical education and has been a curator for a living history museum in Wisconsin.  I'm sure that has provided great material for her books.  

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Broadmoor in Colorado - Part 1

I'm finally getting around to talking about The Broadmoor, the destination hotel that my husband and I visited in early May.  He was attending a work conference and I was tagging along for fun.  When I was a little girl, my maternal grandparents lived in Colorado Springs for a few years.  My grandfather worked at the Air Force Academy.  They returned to Texas when I was about 6, but I do have memories of visiting them there and some of the local attractions.  We didn't ever go to The Broadmoor, but they talked about it.  

A little history of this pretty famous hotel - the centennial of The Broadmoor was in 2018, so it was built in 1918.  Colorado Springs was a small town at the time and my understanding is that the man who built The Broadmoor, Spencer Penrose, was quite a character.  Lots of history here.  Last year, the resort prepared for a big centennial celebration and so the whole place was spiffed up.  There were exhibits and displays, a Spencer Penrose Museum on site, and history tours are offered.  I took advantage of one of the tours and took a look at the museum.  Pictures of interior things on Wednesday.  Today, I'll show you a few outside shots from my walking.



I took this picture during my first morning breakfast.  I had a lovely window table and that's a glimpse of the outside.



It had snowed and then rained the day before and it was still a bit damp outside.  The Broadmoor has part of the hotel on one side of this small lake and the other section on the other side.  It's a really big property.  There is a walking trail around the lake that was about 3/4 of a mile long.  I walked round and round, though it was a little cold for this Texas girl.



There was a sidewalk/bridge that spanned between the two sides, so that people didn't have to go all the way around.  



Lots of these birds were seen.  My husband said someone told him it was a kind of magpie.  I told him that was perfect because magpies were used in crime fiction all the time.



There were swans and ducks.  It was cold enough on my walk that my hands got very chilled and so I stopped in at a coffee bar in one of the lobbies and picked up a latte.  That helped my hands stay warm, but I had to find somewhere to 'park it' while I took a picture.  



This picture was from the next day and the clouds were breaking up.  You can see some mountains through them.  It was just beautiful and I passed lots of walkers on my trek round and round the lake.  The Broadmoor also had shuttles to nearby local sites, but I stuck to their property.  Lots to see.



Last picture for today.  I took this picture for my 'cupcake baking' daughter to see, but it makes a more fun picture than one of the coffee bar.  Ha!  I didn't try any of these, but don't they look good?  There were more tasty treats in the display cases.  And also more shops.  I did have a most delicious mixed berry muffin from this shop.  Yum!

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I'll be back on Wednesday with some info about my 'history tour' and a couple of pictures from the museum.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Save Me From Dangerous Men - S. A. Lelchuk

Save Me From Dangerous Men by S. A. Lelchuk

First Paragraph(s):

The bar was over in West Oakland.  Just a squat block of concrete sitting in a parking lot.  Neon Bud Light signs threw blue light over a dozen beat-up cars and trucks parked in front.  I'd never been.  Probably never go again.  I pulled up at the edge of the lot, on the outskirts of the lights.  Cut the engine of the red Aprilia motorcycle I was on.  I walked in.  Early side of a Friday night, just past nine.  A half-dozen rough-looking men sat at the bar, another few at tables, and two shooting pool.  Only one other girl.  She was half a couple wedged into a dark corner booth, a pitcher of beer in between them.  She had a nose ring.  I'd always wondered if nose rings were as painful as they looked.
     I stood at the bar.  'Heineken.'
     'That's five dollars.'  The bartender was a big, paunchy guy, better side of fifty, graying hair.  He eyed me without bothering to hide it.  So did the rest of the bar.  So what.
     I took the beer, took a swig, headed into the ladies'.  The smell of Lysol and floor polisher.  Stared into the chipped mirror and took a careful look at myself.  I was tall, five foot eight.  Taller with the heavy motorcycle boots I wore.  I smoothed out my auburn hair from the helmet.  A touch of shadow around my green eyes.  A touch of red lipstick I'd never ordinarily wear.  I looked okay.
     I could start.

My Thoughts:

Save Me From Dangerous Men is a debut book.  Supposedly the first in a new series with a protagonist by the name of Nikki Griffin.  I listened to this book on audio and it was very ably narrated by January LaVoy.  Nikki has been described by the publicists as a mix of Jack Reacher and Lisbeth Salander.  I would agree partly.  She's a private investigator who also happens to own a bookstore.  Lots of book titles and references here and I definitely loved that part.  Her bookstore also has some interesting patrons and customers - one group known as the Zebras.  Nikki also does some volunteer work with women who have been abused and she has a sideline where she 'talks' with the abusers and shows them the error of their ways.  Or maybe I should just say she points out consequences and fairness.  Anyway, I liked the book very much, though there is certainly violence.  I'll be reading the next in the series and here's hoping there is one.  My friend Cathy had a review of the book on her blog yesterday here - check it out!

Blurb:

Nikki Griffin isn't your typical private investigator. In her office above her bookstore’s shelves and stacks, where she luxuriates in books and the comfort they provide, she also tracks certain men. Dangerous men. Men who have hurt the women they claim to love. And Nikki likes to teach those men a lesson, to teach them what it feels like to be hurt and helpless, so she can be sure that their victims are safe from them forever.

When a regular PI job tailing Karen, a tech company's disgruntled employee who might be selling secrets, turns ugly and Karen's life is threatened, Nikki has to break cover and intervene. Karen tells Nikki that there are people after her. Dangerous men. She says she'll tell Nikki what's really going on. But then something goes wrong, and suddenly Nikki is no longer just solving a case—she's trying hard to stay alive.

Part Lisbeth Salander, part Jack Reacher, part Jessica Jones, Nikki Griffin is a kickass character who readers will root for as she seeks to right the world's wrongs.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Those Other Women - Nicola Moriarty

Those Other Women by Nicola Moriarty

First Paragraph(s):

'Mum!  MUM!'  The two children screamed at her as she stole five minutes to creep into the bathroom and lock the door.  Her kids had been arguing all morning and this was the one place she could demand privacy.  Although she knew some mothers couldn't even find peace in there.  Recently she'd seen a photo on Facebook of a toddler's fingers wriggling under the bathroom door, vying for its mother's attention.
     But she'd laid down the law from day one with her kids.  You don't need to watch me poop.  I don't care how lonely you are.  I don't care if you want a Vegemite sandwich right this second.  I don't care if you're desperate for me to see the exact scene of The Trolls movie that's on at the moment--one I've seen fifteen times before.  Right now, in here, it's Mummy's time.

My Thoughts:

I read another book by Nicola Moriarty (sister of two other writers, Liane Moriarty and Jaclyn Moriarty) last year, The Fifth Letter, and liked it well enough.  This one was a contemporary look at women of all kinds and social media.  A Facebook group for women with no children (who don't want children) and a group for mothers - these groups get into a bit of conflict as there are 'mean' girls on each side and each is exasperated with other women.  No big giant secrets here, but some smaller ones.  The final epiphany was that women feel pressure and stress no matter what stage of life they are at and what their particular role is.  In the end, why can't we just all get along and focus more attention on women who need support because they are in genuinely rough conditions?  I enjoyed this one too and agreed with the 'let's just get along' idea. 

Blurb:

Overwhelmed at the office and reeling from betrayals involving the people she loves, Poppy feels as if her world has tipped sideways. Maybe her colleague, Annalise, is right—Poppy needs to let loose and blow off some steam. What better way to vent than social media?

With Annalise, she creates an invitation-only Facebook group that quickly takes off. Suddenly, Poppy feels like she’s back in control—until someone begins leaking the group’s private posts and stirring up a nasty backlash, shattering her confidence.

Feeling judged by disapproving female colleagues and her own disappointed children, Frankie, too, is careening towards the breaking point. She also knows something shocking about her boss—sensitive knowledge that is tearing her apart.

As things begin to slide disastrously, dangerously out of control, carefully concealed secrets and lies are exposed with devastating consequences—forcing these women to face painful truths about their lives and the things they do to survive.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

First Chapter, First Paragraph - Keep You Close



I am linking up with Vicki @ I’d Rather Be At The Beach who hosts a meme every Tuesday to share the First Chapter First Paragraph or two of the book you are currently reading or plan to read soon.

I read Karen Cleveland's first book, Need To Know, last year.  Had a few annoyances with it, but finished it and decided that if she wrote another, I'd try it.  Need To Know is the July selection for our mystery book group and I reread it recently.  Many bloggers liked it better than I did and wished for a sequel.  So far, Keep You Close is not a sequel, but it does have some references to characters from Need To Know.  This week I'm highlighting:



by Karen Cleveland

First Paragraph(s):

The woman jolts awake, gasping, heart pounding.  Gunshots echo in her head, ones conjured in sleep.  She reaches for the other side of the bed, finds it empty.  Only an indentation in the sheets, now cold.
     She slips out of bed and shrugs on a robe.  Pads quietly into the darkened hall, bare feet cold on the wood floor.  She peers through the first open door.  A boy sleeps soundly, his features barely visible by the light of the moon.  On to the next door.  A little girl asleep in a rainbow-colored room, a night-light casting a muted glow on her innocent face.  Third door now.  Twin boys, asleep in twin beds.  One has a thumb in his mouth.  The other is snuggled up with a tattered stuffed bear.
     Faint sound from downstairs draws her onward.  Television, the volume low.  She glimpses the screen when she's halfway down the stairs.  News, the twenty-four-hour kind.  Russia.  Election interference.  The sort of story her husband can't stand, always shuts off.


Blurb:

Stephanie Maddox works her dream job policing power and exposing corruption within the FBI. Getting here has taken her nearly two decades of hard work, laser focus, and personal sacrifices—the most important, she fears, being a close relationship with her teenage son, Zachary. A single parent, Steph’s missed a lot of school events, birthdays, and vacations with her boy—but the truth is, she would move heaven and earth for him, including protecting him from an explosive secret in her past. It just never occurred to her that Zachary would keep secrets of his own.

One day while straightening her son’s room, Steph is shaken to discover a gun hidden in his closet. A loaded gun. Then comes a knock at her front door—a colleague on the domestic terrorism squad, who utters three devastating words: “It’s about Zachary.”

So begins a compulsively readable thriller of deception and betrayal, as Stephanie fights to clear her son’s name, only to expose a shadowy conspiracy that threatens to destroy them both—and bring a country to its knees. Packed with shocking twists and intense family drama, Keep You Close is an electrifying exploration of the shattering consequences of the love that binds—and sometimes blinds—a mother and her child.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  Karen Cleveland is a former CIA analyst.  Some of the situations in both of her books are pretty scary...and probably entirely possible. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

Hiking at the Garden of the Gods - Colorado Springs, Colorado

One of the activities I tried when we were in Colorado last month was a 'Guided Walk' through the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.  Earlier on our trip, we stayed at the Broadmoor Hotel where my husband attended a work conference.  Later in the trip, we moved over to a resort that was closer to the Garden of the Gods.  My husband played golf and I signed up for the 'Guided Walk'.  Turned out that I was the only resort guest that signed up, so I had the attention of both the 'wellness' coaches and also one of the valets went with us on the walk.  I had told them that I was on a health journey personally and so we hiked a bit higher and longer (with breaks to drink water and breathe - ha!).  Here's some great shots that I took.


From the balcony of our room looking toward the Garden of the Gods and Pike's Peak.



The 'Guided Walk' began on some easy sidewalks.  It got tougher.  



Here's a picture of me that the nice valet took with the two 'coaches' off to the side.  



This is called the 'Kissing Camels', I think.



If you make this picture larger, you might be able to see the bird that's on top of the rock.  Not sure what kind.  Maybe a goose?



The trails were well maintained, but definitely got a bit more challenging.  And we went up and up and up.



Here you can see how far up - we came from way below.



Another shot of how far up we climbed.  Yes, I had to stop and breathe, though I told them that I was 'taking a picture'.  Ha!



This shot (click to make it bigger) shows climbers on top of the rocks.  Our valet companion told us that he had climbed all over this park.  He grew up in Colorado Springs.



You can see another climber on the side of these rocks.  It turned out that our valet companion recognized the climber and told us a bit about how the leader goes first and attaches the ropes so that other climbers can follow along.  The first guy has no ropes.  Scary.



Here we are at the bottom on the regular walking trails.  Both these ladies were very good and encouraging.  I was so glad that I was brave and took the 'Guided Walk'.  It was a fun time!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

On my morning walk...



So, this was the creature that crossed my path this morning on my walk around the neighborhood.  Just happily scuttling along.  Want to come with me tomorrow?  Ha!  Ha!  I know you all love it when I document the animals that share our space here in Central Texas.  Got any fun spiders in your life?  These actually don't bother me - not that I want one to crawl up my arm or anything.  However, they feed on cicadas, camel crickets and grasshoppers and those guys annoy me to death.  And they 'sing' all night (the cicadas) - loudly!  I say 'go for it, Mr. Tarantula or Ms. Tarantula'!