Perhaps Spring is Here

Freaky Spring Weather


purple spring  iris

In the last few days,we've had hail, thunderstorms, tornado watches, severe weather warnings, temperatures down to freezing then shooting up to the 80s!

Schizophrenic weather in Colorado for sure.

Yellow Iris in spring

And now... looks like spring. First the daffodils came but got nailed by the snow before I could take a picture! Then the tulips popped up and are rather beaten up from the hail. The lilac is out lining the roads with hues from pure white to deep purple. Just gorgeous. And now the iris are out in full bloom.

purple lilac in spring

It's a very short growing season here in Eaton, CO despite the fact that it is Colorado's bread basket. So everything is trying to get its growing in before the time runs out. The vast plowed and furrowed fields have plants popping up and I have to go to investigate what it is, along those endless rows!

GHL is Almost Nine Years Old


Wow, I have been writing this Gray Haired Lady ( GHL ) blog for almost nine years! The first post, back in September of 2005 is about planning a trip to Nicaragua and how excited I was about it. Unfortunately, it was just after that, that I became ill so the trip was abandoned!

What a shame. And I have been trying to go south ever since then.

port ludlow house

A lot has changed since that early beginning; it started on blogger and I progressed to wordpress when it was pretty basic and now... this new site is pretty spiffy - at least I think it is.

Of course, my life was totally different then. I was married, we had just bought the cute house on the water in Bridgehaven, we were both working in real estate in Port Ludlow, WA. Now, I am single (again) my house in Bridgehaven is rented out, I am ungainfully unemployed (does that double negative create a job for me?) and staying with Susan and Dan in Colorado, a place I never expected to be spending any time.

So life throws us curveballs. And my life just keeps lobbing them at me!

I'm Ba-a-a-c-k!

Sunset from across the street from Susan and Dan's house in Eaton, CO  

It's been a while and a lot has happened in the last 3-4 months since I got back from New Zealand. But now I am ba-a-a-c-k!

I haven't been posting because the person I used to be married to (I can't call him what I would like to) has taken comments out of context from this blog and used them against me. But I decided that f**k him, this is how I keep family and friends informed about where I am and what I am doing, so will post regardless of what he does. He can go take a flying leap - hopefully off a very high cliff!

Currently, I am in Colorado in a tiny town called Eaton, staying with Susan and Dan. And we are in the supposed middle of spring but it snowed yesterday and the day before, plus we have a freeze warning and a lot of farmers and locals lost crops.

But to go back to the end of January...

After spending almost 10 weeks in New Zealand with Zoze, I spent time with Ryan in LA, then went to Long Beach with Betsy, where we had the use of a condo for a few weeks.

-19F in Missoula, Montana

But I didn't settle in right away but headed up to Montana to see Cody, Mel and the little boys. It was the dead of winter and when I got off the plane in Missoula it was -19F! It was a wonderful visit and they seemed to be getting used to the new lifestyle. Oliver and Everett (especially Oliver) love the snow and he was able to snowboard on a ramp Cody built for him. It's a very dry cold, so even I spent time outside! From there, I went to Port Townsend and stayed with Mardelle and Jim for 10 days at the B&B (bed and booze) which as usual is a lot of fun! Dinner at the Ajax, dinner at The Fountain Cafe and one night a sleepover as Susan was also in town and Pam came over as well. Too bad, Janet was there, but she was still in Mexico, lucky girl.

I also went down to the house and saw 'the boys' who were so happy to see me. I miss those guys so much and can't wait until I can retrieve them - and have a fixed base for myself.

Being in the condo in Long Beach was fun. It was really easy living there. Betsy is an easy roomie and we had a good time, with a couple of side trips and lots of beach walks. Well, not really 'on the beach' walks, but the sidewalks in Seal Beach, Redondo Beach and Long Beach. Seal Beach and Redondo are both places I would be happy to call home. (At this point in my life, I would be happy to call anywhere home!)

Long Beach, or that area we were in, is what I would call 'iffy' but the best part, there is a Trader Joe's just around the corner, although I wouldn't walk there at night! There is also a small wine bar where Betsy took me for my birthday as I really didn't want to celebrate medicare! She also organized a St. Patrick's Day dinner which ended up being a birthday party, much to my chagrin.

And Ryan took me to see The Book of Mormon at the spectacular Pantages theatre, with dinner first. The whole evening was fun as we took the tube from right close to his house! Yes, LA has underground trains which are wonderful - and inexpensive.

Steve and Cathy invited me down to stay with them for a couple of day in Encinitas. I always so enjoy spending time with them! And we spent time with Brynn and her three little ones - no wonder she is so slim! With a four year old and one year old twins. she is constantly on the move! I was exhausted just watching her! But it was good times and great to have such steadfast friends in my life.

The Pantages where we went to see Book of Mormon

When our time ran out at the condo, my next stop was back at Ryan's for a couple of days. He had his two-year check up (It's hard to believe it was two years ago that I made that frantic around the world dash to be with him in hospital!) I hung out at the hospital while they did the checks and he is just fine!

Then it was the long drive to Colorado. I was lucky and got there without any serious weather hazards. The day after I got there, a big winter storm rolled in and I would have been stranded somewhere in the Rockies as I don't have all weather tires and was not carrying chains! My car was loaded up with everything I own, just about! I saw the most spectacular scenery along the way and shot most images with my amazing little iPhone!

I tool a quick trip - well, not really quick as it was two days of driving to get there - to Montana to see Cody et al, but the trip was disastrous so won't go into details, a sad state of affairs. Headed back to Colorado after one day, doing the return in a day. But I did get some great photos on the way there, driving through Wyoming to the Grand Tetons near Yellowstone, across part of Idaho into Montana.

Weld County where Eaton is, is a very agricultural area as well as being the center of all fracking (oil and gas) in Colorado. Not a pretty picture and I worry about the air quality, especially with summer coming. The one really hot day we had a couple of weeks ago, the air was thick! I haven't seen smog like that since the 70s in Los Angeles! Fortunately, the wind picked up the next day and blew the sh*t away to some other poor people! It seems that people don't seem to care what is happening to the earth and air around here. There is just too much money at stake. Crops are sown up to and around the wells which might just as well be pumping out $100 bills.

Susan and I have done a few day trips - coffee shops, antique stores but she has started back into real estate so doesn't have a lot of free time any more. But it's ok because now I get to catch up on blogs, photos, emails etc. They have two dogs and two cats, which is great. I really have missed having animals around. Pepper, one of the kitties is my pal and sleeps with me at night! Very cute girl!

The dreaded age

Nothing much going on with ecology - we keep the site relatively fresh when we can and there is supposed to be funding coming in... but...

So I keep looking for something to do/a job/anything but without a lot of luck. I a very grateful for the place to stay here or heaven knows where I would be. Of course, I know I can always go back and stay at Mick's in South Africa and now that being close to the little boys is no as imperative, it is an option. Especially with the exchange rate the way it is! Makes living on my Social Security pretty close to doable.

That's a quick snapshot and catchup of my life over the last few months. Granny Travels has more but that is not really a "what I am doing" blog but there are some cool pix on it and more about places I've been.

Oh, and p.s. the new header will change - as you might have noticed, I've update the site but the header sucks!


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Practicing being a granny

When we were young parents, we thought we knew everything. How to breast feed, how to hold and burp the baby. And all the accoutrements - diapers that change color to show a pee/poop? Wow!

Add 30+ years and things have changed - or have they? Or are we just out of practice?

Yesterday, Granny Janet had one-month old Liam for a few hours and I found her resting on the couch at home, the little munchkin snoozing in her arms. But that didn't last long - soon the "hungry" cries were sounding and Mom Ellie was off having a 90-minute massage! "Susan, in the fridge

there's a bottle. Ellie said to heat it for a few minutes in hot water and then it will be good." None of the micro wave nonsense that releases all the nasties. So with Liam yelling his head off, I hustled and we got the pumped breast milk warm and soon he was

snoozing again.

It takes a village - or at least two grannies!

But oh my goodness, how we get out of practice! We used to do that without even thinking!

What a treat it was, and when grandpa Bill showed up, all thumbs, but proud as can be, showing off the first grandbaby, it is hard to describe. Impossible to describe is more like it. I can't wait to be down in SoCal to see my nine-month old Oliver in three weeks.

It is interesting, though. We make jokes about handing them back when they yell, and it's true. That frantic baby yelling doesn't affect me like it did when it came from my primary flesh and blood. Maybe grandparents should raise the little ones - think more logically and unemotionally! Nah... you have to have those heart-wrenching experiences to get to be older and wiser.

So youngsters, enjoy those sleepless nights - they are character builders, and one day, you too will be a grandparent.

A Wonderful Interlude


welcome - With less than a week to go before heading back to California, we lucked out and were able to go to a bach (holiday cottage) at Pukehina Beach. The weather had been  very blowy and not very pleasant but we certainly won't going to give up the interlude opportunity presented to us. So on Saturday, after going to a disappointing Avocado, Food and Wine Festival, we packed out bags, food, books and odds and ends and headed to the beach.

The weather calmed down and we had two-and-a-half wonderful days. The cottage is literally on the beach. Just a few steps across the grass, down a couple of steps and you're on the sand. The beach stretches for miles, is fairly flat and perfect for walking. And the first thing we did, well, actually second as we unpacked the car, was to go for a walk.

The beach

The water is not warm! In fact, it is downright chilly, but perfect for cooling the toes. Cottages line the beach, but with it being almost out of season, there were hardly any people on the beach. The ones that were there were mostly fishing, throwing sticks for their dogs, or just walking like we did.

Cocktail hour on the deck was perfect and later, after a nap, we watched the almost-full moon rise over the water. It was magic! The air is so clear and clean, the night sky sparkled with all the stars.

From the deck

Although the bach has two bedrooms and a sleepout (extra sleeping quarters unattached to the house) I decided to sleep on the couch on the deck so I could be lulled to sleep by the sounds of the surf. The moon was so bright that I had to make a cocoon out of the duvet so it covered my eyes and there was just a small breathing hole!

Nesting area

Next morning, as usual I was the first one up and woke to a brilliantly clear, calm day and went for a long walk to where the estuary pours into the lagoon. On the tip of land we were on, the area was roped off as it is a native bird nesting area. It's amazing how the birds know they are safe in there and completely ignore humans! The variable oystercatchers were in fine form and very visible, but the Adriatic tern and New Zealand dotterel are masters of disguise, blending into the dunes.

Zoze and me

The rest of the day was spent lounging around reading and generally doing nothing - and it felt wonderful. By the end of the day, I was exhausted and once again slept on the couch on the deck, loving the surf sounds.

Monday morning was another lazy day but the weather had changed and we were getting the beginnings of the huge front moving in from the north. By the time we were ready to leave mid-afternoon, it was beginning to rain.

So we got the absolute best weather for the time we were there - it was perfect!

Variable oystercatchers

Now I am sorting through all my "stuff" and deciding what I will leave behind as I have gathered "things" that I need to take back with me. Tomorrow I will do the final packing and then Thursday we head to Auckland for my 3:50 flight. I arrive at LAX on Thursday before I left Auckland, picking up the day I lost at the International Date Line on my flight over.

It's sad to be leaving and I had considered staying longer or going back via South Africa but with the damn lawsuit that has to be handled, I have to head back.

And of course I wouldn't even be here, or had such a wonderful time these last couple of months if it wasn't for Jenni giving Zoze a present for her 70th birthday - my ticket!