Scotland’s Culloden House, Loch Ness and Barb Taub’s Arran Island: Photo Essay

We drove from Perth, Scotland to the Culloden House right outside Inverness.

This is where Bonnie Prince Charlie Edward Stuart hatched his plans for the last Jacobite battle against the English. Inside the stately manor, filled with antiques, I could imagine heads of state colluding over tea in the day room while others took their Scottish breakfast across the way.

Culloden House Entrance

The Outlander Connection:

My husband, Danny, brought Outlander to read during our monthlong vacation. We watched two seasons of the show on Starz and can’t wait for the third this fall. The castles, lush and verdant landscapes, and history presented in the show were a big part of why we traveled to Scotland. We learned through meeting Fergus and Sarah Jane, Diana Gabaldon, writer of the popular series, had stayed at Cullodun House two weeks earlier. Dang! Just missed her. I plan to meet her at a writers conference in the fall.Fergus from Culloden House and the LindausIf you ever get a chance to visit, make sure to stroll through Culloden’s walled gardens. Simply breathtaking.

Culloden Gardens

Loch Ness was only minutes away from Inverness by car.

A long finger of a waterway, the waves rippled in greeting. I half expected a dragon-like head to appear on its choppy surface. Continue reading

Notorious Colorado Weather – A Photo Essay

Colorado weather is notorious for its unpredictability, but I’ve never seen anything like the superstorm that arrived this week. 2017 has been a year of the unpredictable, with the death of my brother and ceiling cave-in. I keep looking for that silver lining. It’s in my nature.

A week ago, I worried about how I would get “everything” done before floor refinishers and painters take over the house for the month of June. Part of my long list included planting annuals. Not only a couple of pots placed on tables, but at least eleven urns and four window boxes. That’s a lot of plant material.

radient flower box

Usually, I check out all of the garden centers before buying in order to save money. This year, I’m under a time crunch, so I was tempted to buy everything at one place. I vibed out and couldn’t motivate. After fighting the crowds over the warm Mother’s Day weekend, I only bought geraniums on Monday. Then I looked at the five day forecast and couldn’t believe my eyes. Tiny flakes of snow were predicted to arrive on Thursday night. I figured the snow would melt before waking.

The beginning of the storm rolled in several days early with huge hail in the form of golf ball-sized snowballs on Monday. It reminded me of a scene from The Day After Tomorrow. I’d never seen anything like it. You’ll have to trust me since they melted before I could take a picture. Thunderstorms rolled through the next two days.

Thursday, 8:30 AM:

After I blogged my Twin Peaks post, I looked up from my computer to the kitchen window. “It’s snowing!” I sprang from my chair and stared at the giant quarter-sized flakes. I figured it was a fluke and it would soon turn to rain.

9:00 AM:

It’s still snowing. Large puddles are forming on my lawn. A great day for ducks. Maybe you can see the duck in this video. Continue reading

First Snow, Finally – Friday Photos

sprinkler snow sculpture

It snowed for the first time yesterday, November 17th, the latest snow on record. I’ve been waiting through dry months more similar to August and September. It was 82 degrees the day before. Yep. We didn’t turn off our sprinklers before the storm. Oopsy. But it made a pretty cool sculpture.

All of these photos taken on my iPhone this morning are unedited. The colors are amazing!

november-snow-2016

I think we can finally take down our wasp traps. In my defense, they were flying around on Thursday and I’m allergic.

first-snow-niwot-2016

The pond has been my muse for years, but I never get tired of this view.

November first snow on the pond

The temperatures are going to bounce back to the 60’s tomorrow. You gotta love Colorado.

I’m so grateful for the change in seasons and my life in Colorado!

Stop back next week for a chance to participate in a fun Thanksgiving party. I’ll give you a hint – Make a list of simple pleasures you are grateful for and I’ll give you a chance to link up.

Have a Wild Weekend!

Is this storm headed your way?

Click for more of my wild adventures.

I Survived the Halloween Circus

When I read about Apex Movement’s SpookArray: A Halloween Circus Night, in the newspaper under adult themed Halloween activities, I had no idea what kind of entertainment they would provide. Hosted by the Fractal Tribe, they advertised movement play in an interactive gym. I wasn’t sure what the heck that was, but they had a haunted house and suggested wearing a costume. It sounded like my kind of party.

Deciding to go at the last-minute my husband, Danny, and I reached for the easiest of costumes: Morticia and Gomez. We have getting into character down to five minutes, tops.

We arrived at a Boulder warehouse and walked up to the entry with several other costumed partygoers to the bouncer dressed as a butler outside the door. He held a sign-in sheet of some kind. Maybe we were supposed to call for a reservation.

Nope.

It was a waiver. The butler explained they didn’t want to be held accountable for any accidents while inside the gym.

What????

Of course we signed our lives away and stepped inside. A very fit and gorgeous woman DJ sat behind a booth, rocking a ten-inch mini skirt and bra top. She swayed in rhythmic motion like a belly dancer with her rock hard abs. I would rock my bare midriff too if mine looked like hers. We paid a zombie with a black hat $25 each and stepped inside.

We met very charming Jessica, AKA, Wednesday Addams, at the party.

Halloween Circus with the Addams Family

Jugglers performed in greeting as I scanned the strange interior. It was a parkour gym complete with an interior building-like structure on one side of the room and monkey-bars throughout. I imagined someone leaping from one raised structure to the railings, then landing on the soft cushioned ground below. Zombies stood on top and performed with glowing hula-hoops. While we made our way to the back of the room, we passed a table full of drinks and snacks. Several people stretched out in the lounge on sumptuous chairs and couches. Another area was set up for a band.

A view from the top.

A view of the Halloween Circus

The haunted house opened and we stood in line. Nervous with tentacles around my feet and a partial knee replacement, I climbed to the top of the structure and then stepped down the ladder to the foggy darkness below. After being frightened by ghouls and zombies and creeping through a maze of small rooms, I came upon two dead ballerinas.

i-survived-the-halloween-circus

Too much fun!

Every twenty minutes throughout the night, the emcee interrupted the music with an announcement for a performance. One of the first was an acrobatic couple’s dance smoothly executed by a muscular bare-chested fox and a young maiden. Their intricate and gravity-defying fluid motion made Dancing with the Stars look like the Hokey Pokey.

A couple practiced acroyoga inside a spiderweb.

halloween-circus-acroyoga

Acrobatics flowed to music in a new kind of dance. In solos and duets, performers used ropes, silks, and trapeze demonstrating incredible feats. Danny and I had a front row seat, except for one. The DJ played keyboard and a violinist accompanied her in the theme from Game of Thrones for a floor dance of some kind. Did I mention there were a ton of tall guys in attendance?

I was in the front row for Thriller.

thriller

Performances moved to the back of the room where acroyoga was performed in fluid display of body stacking and core strength. Yep. I’m a rank beginner. By then there were a couple hundred people and this was my view.

best-seats-in-the-house

All of the acts were brilliantly executed. I didn’t notice any slip ups and most performed above the ground. Whoa. I think twice before climbing my apple trees.

My favorite?

A woman in army fatigues ran onto the stage screaming, “Help! Help me! Don’t take me, please!” She stepped inside silks draped from a circular trapeze. Wrapped up inside, she twisted and writhed to the top of the mother ship. She crawled and struggled against the invisible aliens and at one point fell halfway down the silks then clawed her way back up. In the end, she stopped fighting and slid back down inside the silks to the ground. She emerged in a skin-colored bodysuit and stared with blank dull eyes. She had transformed into an alien. Cool or what?

halloween-circus-2

Everyone was super friendly and approachable. Most knew each other from classes. Many of them practiced with instructors during the party. I was tempted to try acroyoga, but at the risk of ripping a tentacle, I watched instead. Most everyone was in costume and no one was drunk or out of control. This event resembled a recital without the stuffy formality. There was no sense of competition, instead everyone cheered for their friends.

One tall Elvis impersonator told us he had worked at Apex for two years, but had never attended a performance. He couldn’t believe the level of talent. Neither could we.

What are we doing next weekend?

It’s a toss-up. Halloweird is a costumed dance party at the Dairy Center of the Arts. It starts with a showing of John Carpenter’s film Halloween for $5.oo. Or we can learn to tango at the UMC Glen Miller Ballroom at their Masquerade Ball. Comfortable costumes are recommended and it’s free. Saturday night there are too many choices including a Halloween Masquerade Party at the Stanley Hotel at a steep $110 each.

All I know is I have a basement full of costumes with somewhere to go.

Apex Movement has performances every few months. Next time, I’ll leave my tentacles at home. Maybe I’ll join the Circus…

 

Do you like dressing up in costume?

Cher Abstracted

Cher on a tall column

There is something about theatrical lighting that transforms a performance. Geometric patterns create new spaces. They embrace the stage projecting structure in a facade. They appear in dramatic form and texture and then transform like a vaporous ghost into something quite different. Imagination is the only limitation.

Sonny and Cher reunited

To say that I pounced on free tickets to Cher would be an understatement. Her Las Vegas show on tour in Denver entertained and amazed. Nothing stopped her.

galaxy created with lighting at cher concert

From being elevated above the stage on top of a small column to playing Madonna and hovering across the audience on a wire, she transcended performance.

Cher as madonna hovers above audience

This is a response to the Weekly Photo Challenge – Abstract.

For more Wild Fun, click HERE…

A Twenty-Eight Year Adventure – Photo Essay

mordor

Every young couple starts out with the basics: a map to where you think you want to go and a compass that always leads you back home.

Beaver pond aspens

We started off like many naive newlyweds, sinking our toes into the grasses of verdant valleys not realizing what lay ahead. Our journey has led us to wicked wintry peaks where we slipped from our foothold, but we bundled up and braved the biting wind together.

Sometimes we struck out on a new path and bushwhacked our way through avalanche areas filled with fallen trees as the sun set over the next horizon. When one of us tumbled from the mountain, the other was there to lend a hand. The worst days were spent heading in the wrong direction while scrambling over fields of boulders and taking leaps over deadly crevasses and yet we never traveled alone.

And that was just last weekend. Continue reading

Wild Rider Fitness Challenge – A Guest Post by Maggie C

I would like you to meet Maggie C from, What Rhymes with Stanza? She has taken the 90 day Wild Rider Fitness Challenge. Maggie has written a wonderful outdoor photo essay about the pet-ometer and how it keeps her going. I can see where it is an excellent motivator. I think you’ll really enjoy this. It may motivate you too.

Take it away Maggie C!

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Thank you, Susie, for hosting the Wild Rider Fitness Challenge!

I’ve actually been taking daily walks for about a year now, but the Challenge is motivating me to “step up” my game. I have difficulty sticking with any kind of healthy endeavor, it seems, so having kept at it this long is pretty amazing (or perhaps I’m just easily amazed).

The secret to maintaining my exercise regimen this past year has been my Pet-ometer. He doesn’t measure how many steps I’ve taken in a day, but he lets me know when it’s time to walk,

1ready

and — if I don’t get my rear off the couch soon enough — he lets me know it’s REALLY time for a walk. Continue reading