For my readers who are unfamiliar with the stunning marvel of early 80's Disney moviemaking found in Condorman, here is a quick synopsis:
Accomplished comic book writer, with grandiose dreams of saving the world from evil through gadgets and heroism, is recruited by the CIA to help a beautiful KGB spy defect to the US. The comic book character is Condorman, whom the writer brings to life in himself with fancy gadgets and costumes with wings. You really have to see it for yourself, it's so cheesy it's great!

The previous blurb was to bring into perspective my 4year old frame of mind. I wanted to be a superhero. I wanted to fly like Condorman and save the world from evil. Who doesn't? I acquired some yellow sunglasses to which my mother attached a yellow construction paper beak. I grabbed a yellow towel/cape and would fly around the house, singing "Condorman, da da da da da CONDORMAN!!"

Living in Idaho was quite a drive from Southern California where my maternal grandparents lived. I-15 runs from the sandy So Cal beaches, through cities, across deserts, over mountains, around high plains and low valleys. Heading north after acres and acres of lush farmland you reach St. Anthony, Idaho. A small town built around an even smaller sawmill.

My Grandparents had just driven up from San Diego to see their daughter (my mom) and their Grandkids (me included). As my Grandfather told us of their drive in great detail, I was busy entertaining my 4year old self by playing my favorite game of Condorman. I was 'flying' from the couch onto our old green velour bean bag. Launching myself off the couch at full tilt, flying through the air with the greatest of ease, and landing with a soft thump on the ever flattening styrofoam beaded bean bag, this was the pinnacle of good times.

As the story goes, which I have to include because I don't actually recall any of this happening, the story goes that my ever worrying mother told me to stop jumping, that I would hurt myself. Why do mothers say such things? The never ending stream of "Be careful, Don't run, Stop that, Don't put that in your mouth" which seem to flow from them as the mighty Mississippi. Do they truly believe that we will listen to and heed their warnings? Did you? I thought not. Moving on...

After this dire warning of Stop-or-Else bounced off me as a rubber ball would off hard concrete, I knew I had to make the ultimate in Condorman stunt moves. Moving as far back as I could, half the couch laid out in front of me as my runway, I spoke the words heard round the world..."Grandma watch!" I ran. As fast as my little legs would carry me, across the couch and launched myself into the air, arms spread in wonder and glory. I flew.

I flew with magnificence and grace. The air rushing through my hair, my house falling away below me, I flew up higher and higher into the upper levels of the atmosphere. Time did not touch me here, I was free. I was Condorman!

A large green velour mountain passed far below me, I paid it no mind. I was a superhero. I had wings and could choose my path in life. I could overcome all obstacles and bypass those things that stood in my way. Enemies, KGB double agents, oak roll top desks, super villains; all where mere playthings to me. Though danger may loom ahead, dark and impending, seemingly immovable, I did not deviate from my present course. I had a mission to accomplish, a world to save, I would overcome.

There are many different types and weights of wood. Balsa is one of the softest woods. Pine is another soft wood, able to be marked with a fingernail. Oak is considered a hardwood, as is Cherry and Maple. Just how hard is a hardwood? Hard enough to be used as flooring and all the punishment it will endure after being walked on for decades. Hard enough to hold the weight of building or smash a skull in. The latter is not something that most Grandmothers, worrisome mothers or 4 year old super heroes think much about. Can this oak desk really smash my skull in? Not a thought you have everyday, now is it? Not so much.

Here I am in St. Anthony, Idaho, my family catching up with each other after years of separation. I am, of course, still flying through the air. Evil stands before me, dark, oak and impenetrable. Using my superhero powers I will surely smash through this evil force and conquer my foes. With wings spread wide, I stare down my enemy and focus all my mind on the task speeding toward me. The moment arrives, it's do or die!

With a resounding THWACK! I bring down my enemy with a headbutt that his children will surely feel. In the shadows of consciousness I hear my mother and Grandmother cheering me on, screaming for my victory. My Grandfather wants to take me out to celebrate with a stalwart "Get the car." Bright lights and many people surround me as they revel in my conquering of the oak enemy. Victory is sweet.

17 stitches and much cleaning up of pooling blood later, I am brought home from the Emergency Room for the third time that year. The doctors must have suspected that my parents regularly threw oak roll top desks at me, but that was not that case. I was just a daredevil, and nothing stood in my way.

Now here's what really happened, I ran across the couch, dove for the bean bag, missed and hit the corner of the desk directly above my left eyebrow. One inch lower and I would have lost my left eye. I wonder if people would have called me One-Eyed Emily? That would be be a little bit awesome, actually. You know I would have worn a leopard print eye patch and told stories of how the pirates put out my eye with a hot poker, but I never told them where the buried treasure was!!...story for another day....

Considering that my forehead had been pretty well turned to mush by hardwood and inertia, the surgical attendant in our very small hospital did a spic-n-span job of sewing me up. You would not be able to see the scar above my eyebrow unless I pointed it out. Not too shabby for a doc stuck in north eastern Idaho. I am grateful for that doc's skill at putting me back together, could have been much worse. I'm grateful for the scar as well, a constant reminder of the price we all pay to fight evil and overcome that which stands in our way.

Moral of the story: Enemies come in many forms, and we all have to smash through our own. What's a few stitches among friends?


T-Shirt of the Day

I wish I was an egg laying, duck billed, beaver tailed,
water-dwelling, super-hero mammal!
That's hot!

How to tell when you've ticked off a rocket scientist

A check sent to Verizon from an upset customer.
The amount is believed to be $533.82,
not that I could figure out this math, but whatever.


Stand Back Up

Words stolen from Sugarland

Go ahead and take your best shot,
Let 'er rip, give it all you've got
I'm laid out on the floor
But I've been here before

I may stumble, yeah I might fall
Only human aren't we all?
I might lose my way
But hear me when I say

I will stand back up
You'll know just the moment when I've had enough
Sometimes I'm afraid
And I don't feel that tough
But I'll stand back up

I've been beaten up and bruised
I've been kicked right off my shoes
Been down on my knees
More times than you'd believe

When the darkness tries to get me
There's a light that just won't let me
It might take my pride
And my tears may fill my eyes
But I'll stand back up

I've weathered all these storms
But I just turn them into wind, so I can fly
What don't kill you makes you stronger
When I take my last breath
That's when I'll just give up

So go ahead to take your best shot
Let 'er rip, give it all you've got
You might win this round
But you can't keep me down

'Cause I'll stand back up
And you'll know just the moment when I've had enough
Sometimes I'm afraid and I don't feel that tough

But I'll stand back up.


Today Was a Good Day

...If you read this blog title and heard the rest of a rap song play out in your mind, alluding to an AK, you and I have something in common. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, good for you . You've probably never listened to gangster rap and therefore don't get it stuck in your head. Now back to our regularly scheduled broadcast...

Sundays always turn out to be good days. The reasons are obvious enough to those with eyes to see. Even in my past life, I noticed that Sundays had the calming effect of smoothing the edges off a grating week. The sun shines a bit warmer, the breeze a bit softer, the air a tad sweeter. Cotton candy clouds hang in the clear blue sky.

Sunday is a day of rest. I say this means a day of naps and reading, sharing a meal and not worrying about the dishes. Enjoying the cooling evening in my backyard, watching the kitties explore their world.

Sunday is church day. Refill our spent fuel tanks and share in the Spirit with those who are willing to understand. let go of the week and it's worries, ask for help in a new start.

Sunday is what we make of it. It is a day for us to set aside, to give back and receive in turn. I've always enjoyed Sundays, and pray I always will.


...As Powerful as the Sun

Few things exist in life as powerful as the sun. Though I feel its strength only after unthinkable distances and layers of filter, it stops my thoughts and takes my breath away.

Everyday a new masterpiece is painted across the sky for all to see.
Each evening brings its own majesty.

From endless sea to small pond, the sun shares its light with all.

The first sweet rays after a storm remind me

that peace is on the horizon, waiting.

Daybreak and all its opportunies.


Is it Friday Yet?

Sitting in my cube
Pondering daily quotes and secret posts
Listening to nonsensical babble over cube walls
Mind wandering to wide open spaces

Unknown questions with questionable answers
Rants and raves assault my senses
Too much information, not enough fact
Wishing for the silence of rushing wind

Discovering that hard work has more meaningful definitions
Endless landscapes lead to ever expanding horizons
Quick trots and slow walks
Time stands still

Vacationing Wildlife

During my two very diverse and rather opposite vacations, I came across animals of every size, shape, color, species and scent imaginable. Here are a few of the closer encounters. I'll let you guess where each one calls home. "Come here, let me smell that camera"

Little lost calf.

Tree lizards came by for regular visits,

while the tree frogs sang us to sleep at night.

Ride, Sally, Ride!

This little crab tried so hard to hide behind that leaf.

Guess he was camera shy.


Sleepy girl.

Iguana's can live to be 100 years old. You can see the age in his skin and spikes,

but mostly in his "I'm too old for this" attitude.

"Just going for a little swim, mom. Geez..."

His name was Tiny.

I thought this bird was a statue, it kept so still and silent.

Always watching me.

The cat has better things to do than work.

$10,000 Reward for any Tourist who finds a Jackelope!

This Conch was still alive and crawled back inside

just before I snapped the picture. Camera shy.

This kitty cat was going after the dogs.

New style of Boot Scraper, on sale now at Sears!

Indiana Jones says the smaller the scorpion the more dangerous.

Wish I knew that before I got this close.

Little burro was best friends with the huge draft horse.

I always saw them hanging out together.

Odd couple.

I got to name this horse, Cheeks ;o)

And some believe there is no God.

This cow looks just like it's wearing a halter.

"If I could just get around this tree..."

Mama and a woolly baby
Horny toads sure do fit their name, don't they?



Git Along Lil' Doggy!

Northeast of Denver and outside the little town of New Raymer, Colorado lay 10,000 acres of picturesque ranch land where over a 1000+ head of cattle and 120+ horses roam. Colorado Cattle Company and Guest Ranch lets you learn to rope and ride and feel like part of the family. It feels just like home.

I came to this place as a city slicker, I left with my heart belonging to the land. Turn to the left or right and you can see for the next two weeks. Listen to the mooing of the mama cows calling to their wayward newborn calves. Soft breezes and cool mist greet the morning sun. You could get lost out here, and find yourself without even looking.

Teamwork is essential in driving a herd. Not one beast is left behind. Strangers became partners, following and giving direction and guidance to the cattle and each other. Our days began at 6am to feed and sort the horses. Off to the tack room to saddle up and prepare for the day. Working until dusk driving herds, riding the range and working the land. No better way to spend a day.

The hard days work shows on your boots and your face, while the joy in your heart shines through the rough. By the sweat of my brow shall I eat my bread, all the days of my life. Never before have I paid to work so hard and gained so much in return. The lessons you learn with just you, the wind, the land and your horse are invaluable. Priceless and timeless. Humbling and glorious.

There was always time for laughter, joking and nicknames. Cowboy School taught me how to rope a calf, called heeling. Barrel racing and obstacle courses taught me horsemanship and control. Do you know how to change direction midstep while trotting? I do. Lessons on cutting out a single cow from the herd proved a requirement when it came time to tag the newborns with their signature eartag and doctor them with vaccinations and penicillin.

Mama cow did not like her newborn babe being roped by cowboys and tagged. Riders held off the mama while the men on foot took care of the calf and made sure it stays healthy and safe. Eartags link calf to mama and designate which herd each cow belongs to. Cows are bought and sold and can have more than one brand. This ranch leases its land to a handful of cattle owners. Separating the herds is essential for success and healthy cows.

Some pictures are worth a thousand words, and a couple hundred rounds. Shooting lessons and marksmanship tourneys got my attention and request early on. It's not everyday I get to wear boots and hold a rifle. Girls with Guns. Smokin' Hot!

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but it is not hard to find here. The dark, sweet eyes of my horse, Sally, show me her understanding and wisdom in perfect clarity. There is much that she can teach me about ranch life and life in general. If only I knew what her eyes had seen. If only I could feel what she has felt and done what she has done, I would be much wiser and more aware of the gift that life is.

We were well taken care of with lunch brought out to us on the trail and buffet's for every meal. Everyone is treated like family and the house and ranch are open 24 hours. Saddles are checked and double checked for safety, while the wranglers made sure we were all comfortable and getting along with our mounts. It was all very safe and well organized. Even a high maintenance city girl like me felt safe and well taken care of.

A Farrier is one who shoes horses, taking great care to clean, trim and treat each foot with special attention. A horse can be made lame with one wrong nail, so a steady hand and immense knowledge of horses is required. Watching a beautiful red Bay horse get her manicure and pedicure was quite a treat. The Farrier served in the United States Marine Corps and had spent time in my hometown. Even out here, at the edge of industrialization, the world is still small and vast at the same time.

Good friends can be made in an instant and last a lifetime. Sometime you just click with people, then find out how much you have in common. From two different sides of the Atlantic, Miss Lindsay and I found each other and hit it off. My partner in crime, my shooting buddy, my photographer, my commiserator, my enabler, my lifeguard, cheerleader and inside joke getter. Shaky hand thing (doesn't quite come across the same in print, but she knows what I mean!)

New horses were bought on Thursday and we tried them out on Friday. We each got to name our horse. This gorgeous sandy blonde Palomino will forever be known as Cheeks, after me. It is quite an honor to name a horse and know that wranglers will introduce future guests to my girl. I know they will find her sweet spirit endearing and she will show them the beauty of the land.

A Swede, a Valley Girl, A Brit and a Redneck, cracking jokes and taking names. Some people are in your life for a minute, or just a few days and those memories last a lifetime. With all that I learned, I realize how little I know. Time to open my horizons and drink in the world around me. Same time next year. See you there!