Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Devil's Playground

I watched an interesting movie this weekend, Devil’s Playground.

It is a documentary about the Amish youth during their ‘Rumspringa’. This is the time from the age of 16 to about 22 that the Amish youth are basically forgiven anything and allowed to experience the outside world. The purpose of this time is for the youth to decide whether they want to stay within the bounds of the Amish faith and culture or integrate into western or ‘English’ as they refer to the outside world.

First of all, it is really amazing that these kids can do anything and I mean anything, then choose the Amish way of life, dedicate themselves to Christ and the entire culture accepts them and forgives completely.

However, these kids are so ill equipped to deal with the outside world. They have all quit school after the 8th grade, every technological thing save the cell phone is new and having led such a regimented life, their naiveté is overwhelming. They are hobbled before they even try.

And if they choose to leave the Amish ways, they must embark on a totally new way of life.

I felt both sorry for them and strangely curious about their lives.

One of the interviewees discussed how choosing the Amish ways basically involved putting one’s self second and the community first. A great deal of self sacrifice. It was obvious this was of great comfort to many of the youth. Accepting the ways of the culture meant you would always have help, regardless of where you were. Your duties and place in society would be spelled out and generally there was always a family business or family trade you would be taught and thus have a way of living. Both genders have distinct roles and expectations. A great deal of confusion and discord are eliminated with such definition to one’s life.

Other youth were simply not able to see themselves in this way of life. So they chose do go it on their own. It was difficult; an eighth grade education, totally different schooling, a social structure completely different from the rest of the world, these issues made this choice challenging to say the least.
But the ones that chose this were happy, none the less.

It was really an interesting documentary. Many facets of the Amish way of life, its choices and the advantages and disadvantages were shown.

I recommend it.

Monday, January 23, 2006

So, how does this help me??

I ask, what possible biological and evolutionary benefit did PMS hold for evolving woman-kind? As a scientist, I believe the majority of our biology evolved because of a benefit it gave us or our offspring.

How would being moody and irritable at one particular time of the month and then affectionate and happy the next only to transition into “please, can I kill something that fights back?” and then weeping about the whole thing later possibly have been of evolutionary benefit? Or, were pre-Homo sapien females not troubled by these crazy hormonally driven behaviors? Surely they were…

We are exactly what our hormones dictate us to be. And, to be really honest, it is a pain in the posterior being female at times. Your logical brain knows what is causing your particular behaviors at the time, but that primal, emotional part of you just seems to tell that logical part where to go and exactly what it can do to itself.


Miss Whiskers Invades...

Miss Whiskers Invades...
Originally uploaded by lgmontgomery2005.
Well, as you can see, great progress has been make with my kitty-friend. She was happily melted into the sofa Sun AM. Very content. She is still an outdoor kitty, but she enjoys her inside visits.


Originally uploaded by lgmontgomery2005.
I must admit, I have been staggered by the growth-rate of this bulb! It was just a boring bulb on Dec 15th. Now it is about 2 ft tall and still has a second set of buds coming. And so RED!


Originally uploaded by lgmontgomery2005.
This is one of my Christmas gifts from a co-worker. We were supposed to give each other things that we truly love. This particular gift was from our office's talented gardener!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Day Three!

Today was a day of Blue Runs!!

I felt much better about turning and stopping. Everything is falling into place for the sport of skiing! The Blue Runs were challenging enough to warrant thought, but I did not have that “Oh my god…!” feeling that I encountered the day before. Skiing is great!

The scenery, the snow, the crispness of the air; it’s all so amazing. Everything looks so pristine and beautiful. I love the snow and the season. The quietude is fabulous. The silence is wonderful.

Enjoy the pictures!

Super Chair lift view

Super Chair lift view
Originally uploaded by lgmontgomery2005.
Here you can see the town of Breckinridge at the base of the mountain.

From Super Chair 4

From Super Chair 4
Originally uploaded by lgmontgomery2005.
Yet another spectacular view...

From Bonaza-1

From Bonaza-1
Originally uploaded by lgmontgomery2005.
This is some of the view from the lift. Gorgeous!

From Bonaza-2-lift

From Bonaza-2-lift
Originally uploaded by lgmontgomery2005.
This is one of the lifts that I rode today to access the blue slopes. If you look, you can just see where the lift ends at the top!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Breckinridge Day Two

Breckinridge, Day Two

Well, I survived the all day lesson! I got the boots refitted and now my ankles are free to ski pain-free! Yippee!

Day Two was also the day of the super, ridiculous hat, so go to Jen’s blog and see it. It will be worth the click of your mouse!

For the second day I warmed up with a Green slope and then did my first two Blue Slopes. A little intimidating, as I am now past the teenage years of immortality. However, Jen was the absolute picture of patience. Instead of skiing over and saying in annoyed fashion, “Get up and put your ski back on!!” She would ski over, stop elegantly and ask, “Are you Ok? That was a spectacular fall!”
So I fell a lot, but I didn't know that you can have such incredible fun falling in the snow!

The knee braces were excellent for the one most spectacular fall (STILL not a yard-sale!!) I felt my left knee wanting to go in a direction it was not intended to go. But no worries, all was well!

By the second blue run, I fell a lot less. One of my falls was so boring the ski instructors rated it a 3. One of the issues was the ill fitting boots I skied in yesterday. My right leg was so tired because it did most of the work yesterday that it started to give out half way through the second run. I had used it so much the day before because my left ankle hurt so badly.

Live and learn. Skiing is work, but it should not be painful. Well, unless you go visit trees or something. I only did that once, very gracefully, and just ended up under the tree, not wrapped around it! Of course there was the, “Oh, this can’t be good!” I yelled as I slowly but certainly entered the tree line. Much laughter ensued.

So, what's the verdict? I have to do this again. Next time, I will most definitely snowboard. The appeal it holds has only intensified as I’ve watched all the snowboarders. I really, really, want to snow board.

One thing at a time. I will rest my weary quads for the rest of the day, prep for dinner as I am on Team Two for cooking duty tonight and visit town.

Check below for pictures from some of the Blue slopes!!


Originally uploaded by lgmontgomery2005.
A final look from the blue slope 4 o'clock. Gorgeous!!


Originally uploaded by lgmontgomery2005.
A view downhill of 4 o'clock Blue slope

View From Blue Slope 4 O'clock

Originally uploaded by lgmontgomery2005.
Here is one of the vista from the slopes...

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Breckinridge, Day One

Colorado is beautiful! Snow and mountains and wow an altitude headache!! The arrival to Breckinridge was uneventful. It is really beautiful here.

There are 16 of us who have banded together in renting this 4000 sqft house we are staying in. The floors are heated! Such a cool thing. I will keep you posted on how the ski lessons go tomorrow. I have never skied before and am a little apprehensive what with the previous knee surgeries. Yep, both knees have already had surgery. It has been made clear to me that my getting hurt is not an option. I’ll be careful, it should be really fun!

Below are the pictures so far…

buried swing

buried swing
Originally uploaded by lgmontgomery2005.
This is the porch swing....I guess it is more useful in summer.

Puffy Dove

Puffy Dove
Originally uploaded by lgmontgomery2005.
Everything we brought from Dallas is "puffy" considering we are at about 9000 ft.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Miss Whiskers gets closer...

Originally uploaded by lgmontgomery2005.
These are pictures of my new found furry friend...Miss Whiskers. I heard very faint meowing late this past Friday night. Considering my inability to sleep like normal people, I heard this little kitty voice and went down to investigate.

I went outside and called with the universal kitty cat call:
“Here…..Kitty, Kitty, Kitty…”
Why do all cats answer to that???

And sure enough, this little, rag-a-muffin calico cat came trotting across the parking lot. One look told me she was half starved, and goodness knows nothing starves if I can have anything to do with it, whether it is man or beast.

So since I don’t have any pets other than fish, and fish are friends, not food, I went and opened a can of tuna. Already killed fish can be food. The irony was not lost on me.

After putting down food and water, I waited. And I called.
She got pretty close, but it was obvious that my porch was just not safe enough yet. So I placed the food across the street, left the water on my porch and went to bed.

Then next night, she was back. I have left food out always and it has worked. She will go into my house but not yet stay. She’s got to come of her own free will, and want to be there, I see no point in keeping her if she doesn’t want to be there. I figure in time, she’ll calm down and come on in.

I don’t know if I can keep her. I am not at all prepared for anything more demanding than fish, so it may be I get her fat and friendly (the fat part is all that’s left to do) and find her a nice home. She is so very sweet!

I’ll keep you posted.

Miss Whiskers relaxing...

Originally uploaded by lgmontgomery2005.

Miss Whiskers

Originally uploaded by lgmontgomery2005.

A New Taste in My Life

I am so excited! I have been someone who has been denied the finger-licking yumminess of nuts my whole life. I’m not allergic; they just all taste like chalk. Yes, all of them, regardless of type or roasted or salted. The chalk taste is overwhelming, even ground to fine bits of nuts that are in cakes and cookies. All I would taste was sweet chalk or chocolate chalk. It says a great deal when the taste and desire for chocolate can be completely shut down by a few pesky nuts.

I assumed I was missing the taste receptors for nuts. Or a worse thought, those taste receptors were wired into the “chalky goodness” center. Yuck.

But about 3-4 years ago, I began to enjoy peanut butter. Although a staple in our home growing up, it was, well, nasty. It had the endearing flavor of buttery chalk. Yeah.
However, as some of you know, I am not one to give up on things easily. A dog with a bone shall we say. So I continued to try peanut butter, and lo and behold, one day it was really yummy! Just like that.

So I have never given up on nuts. Why should I be denied a perfectly healthy, portable snack? So I kept trying.
Then I discovered that I can taste pistachios!! So hearty, so crunchy and with such non-chalky goodness!!

I am so excited!! There is hope for my ill-wired taste buds after all.
Now if I can just learn to drink coffee without the Baileys….