Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring Break at Museo de las Americas...

Today we had planned on a wonderful day the mountains skiing - but alas not to be. Yes, in Denver we are also experiencing crazy weather conditions, March so far has been the hottest and driest on record - hello slushy snow. The snow is sooo bad that Garry will not even venture to the mountains!

We have decided instead to take advantage of our time together and explore some of the great attractions in Denver. We went to Museo de las Americas today which is downtown. The small museum featured an exhibition by local artist Daniel Luna. It was fabulous, the colours and humour had us all entranced.

The image above is titled "Very Strong Coffee"and was one of my favourite paintings at the exhibition.

 When asked about the intent behind his work, he says, "what I want is for a moment to share the beautiful magic of dreaming while awake." All of his paintings have a story behind them, and capture a moment in time, an experience. Daniel  Luna presents his visions to us in a way that juxtaposes the everyday with imagination, and forces the viewer to accept the possibility of existence.

His artwork reminded me very much of Australian artist Reg Mombasa's artwork, (see right).

"The Horror of Breakfast" is a painting of chickens crying over a frying pan full of eggs. In this painting Daniel Luna attempts to remind us of a magic that reality holds within our dreams. We had a great time experiencing some great artwork by a local artist.

I want more days like this......

Read more: Artist Dan Luna's surreal life, surreal art - The Denver Post
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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Yasemin writes about Frida Kahlo...

Spring break has arrived! So Yasemin has some extra time on her hands and we have decided to embark on a new project. She is creating her own book about Frida!

I stumbled on a great project called Student Treasures. It is a process of creating, writing and illustrating a book. As a teacher I can elect to complete this project with a class or individuals. A kit is sent to me at school, with instructions and special paper on which we create the book. The book is then published as a hard cover, professional book. FREE! Of course all students have the opportunity to purchase their own copy of the book, but the general idea is to motivate students to want to write and read.

I am currently undertaking this project with multiple classes at both of the Elementary Schools I am working at - hopefully with great results. But I had an extra kit, so it is a great opportunity to challenge Yasemin and help her improve her writing skills.

She is very excited and this morning wrote two pages, coloured one and also dressed up as Frida.

I love Yasemin's enthusiasm for this project - she is really loving her art! Don't worry Grandma, we will buy you a copy of the book ! Aunty Cherilyn and Judy you need to let me know if you would like a copy...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy 8th Birthday Beautiful Girl....

I don't know where the years have gone? Today Yasemin turned 8!

Unfortunately it was a school day, but lucky for Yas, Aunty Susan came to the party. She cooked red velvet cupcakes and had them at school in her staffroom for Yas and Max to ice and decorate. Susan also provided Yas with a purple Happy Birthday Tiara to wear and a birthday girl ribbon for her shirt.

Yasemin finally had her dreams come true - we gave her a Guinea Pig. When she first saw it, she hugged me very tight and started to cry and sob with joy. Hammy Sandwich, the new addition to our family lives in an enormous cage in her bedroom. The pet shop assured me they don't smell - we will wait and see.....

After school, we went to the local pub, to celebrate her special day. Lunden, Pat, Murphy, Maeve, Declan and Susan joined us. The Vine Street Pub is a great place that rivals any local Aussie pub. We all had a fantastic evening, and they even provided Yasemin with an enormous slice of Birthday Cake with a candle on the house!

We retreated back to our house for desert and some red wine. As you can tell from our photographs, a great time was had by all. Yasemin was  completely spoilt and had a lovely day.

Happy Birthday my darling girl - I can't believe what a beautiful, compassionate person you are! We love you so very much xxxxx

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St Patricks Day in Denver

We were planning on going away for the weekend to celebrate Yasemin's birthday - but Lunden our neighbour made me promise to change our plan so that we could join in the celebrations, and also take the opportunity to watch her daughter Maeve, perform with her Irish dancing troupe.

Unfortunately, Max had to be collected from school on Friday because he had a serious fever - which continued into the early hours of Saturday morning - 103.8 is extreme, although the paediatric nurse at the children's hospital told me not to bring him into the ER until his temperature reached 104! It wasn't looking good for Max in terms of making the parade.

We all love the way Americans celebrate big events. St Patricks day is no exception, Denver has the second largest parade in the United States - and wow, what a parade! Yasemin and I joined  the estimated 250,000 people including kids with hair dyed green and loud beer-swilling St. Patrick's Day revelers for the 50th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade  on Saturday morning.

The footpaths were lined with men wearing lime-green knickers or kilts, teenagers with their faces painted green and children holding green helium-filled balloons.

Yasemin started the morning eating green fairy floss as cheers echoed down Blake street as the McTeggart Irish Dancers tap-danced in the middle of the street. We watched Flat-bed trucks, floats with pots of gold and musicians playing violins.

Tiffany is the Denver St Patricks Day Parade Queen Colleen and plays for the Michael Collins Pipe and Drum Corps - she is featured in the following video. (This is for you Mum!)

The highlight for Mummy was being dragged into the centre of the parade and being branded on her butt by a wild cowboy as he hooted and the crowd cheered!

The following YouTube video gives you an idea of what the crowd was like....

But the highlight of the parade was definitely the quick glimpse of Maeve dancing with her troupe!

After the parade, Yasemin and I headed home to check on Max, who was waiting to see the photos from the parade.

After a short break before Auntie Susan picked us up for the first stop of the afternoon - Shorties Sports Bar. We arrived to a packed bar where the most amazing Irish Stew, Corned-Beef Burgers and Green Pitchers of beer were on offer for free. I decided to sample the Margarita's while we watched the amazing Irish Dancing.

We moved on and went to another pub to watch the Maeve and her fellow Irish Dancers and have some dinner. Maeve is an amazing dancer and it was a treat to share the day with her. This was definately the best St Patricks day ever!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Driving home through a Hurricane......

Yes we had been warned - the weather at this time of year in Wyoming is very unpredictable and expect some winds. We were given phone numbers from friends to call in an emergency and others just assumed that we would fly instead of drive.

We left West Yellowstone at 10.15 am in the snow and headed for home. Although their was plenty of snow about,  we seemed to be travelling well on our way back to Jackson Hole.

Out of the blue we were pulled over by a police car. Poor Garry had been clocked speeding 10 miles per hour above the speed limit. The officer was fascinated with our accents and gave Garry a warning. We were warned that we needed to carry our passports at all times if driving with an Australian drivers licence and also informed that our car registration information was for another car - a Ford. Garry was told to go to the equivalent of the RTA asap and have this rectified, because if we were stopped by police we could expect to be pulled from the car at gunpoint as we would be suspects in a stolen car. Just when things were getting a little boring on a long drive....

The pass on the final leg to Jackson was a little tricky - but with those great views.

After a super fast stop to buy some lunch to eat on the way we continued, hoping to make it back to the lovely Ferris Mansion in Rawlins later in the evening. But even best laid plans....

The weather started to deteriorate and driving through Idaho would have been a complete white out except for the road.

Back into Wyoming and the real fun began - high winds and lots of icy road.

Eventually we arrived in the town of Rock Springs - famous for outlaws and its gaol. As it was almost 7.00pm and we were still at least two hours from our destination of Rawlins we decided to stop for the night. We pulled into the Great Western or its alias - The Outlaw Inn and booked a room next to the pool. Next to the pool I thought - how can this be? In this weather? We were very surprised to find that all the rooms were spaced around an indoor heated pool. Very strange, but great as we could sit in our room and watch the kids swim.

While the kids were swimming we met all kinds of interesting characters who informed us that it was lucky that we stopped because we would have been turned back anyway because of the extremely dangerous conditions that were approaching Hurricane force. We were warned to be prepared to stay for possibly two days until the highway reopened.

The hotel contained all kinds of information about various outlaws. I really liked the informative place mats in the restaurant. I was shocked at the real image of Calamity Jane - most unlike Dorris Day!

We were informed at 1.45pm the following day that the highway was open again. We were packed and in the car in 20 minutes. Good bye Rock Springs.

Our joy was short lived as we arrived in Rawlins 2 and 1/2 hours later to find the highway closed again, preventing us from going any further. Winds of more than 100 miles per hour were causing Hurricane conditions. We stoped at McDonald's so the kids could play in the indoor park and we could search the net for accommodation. This was not an original idea as we discovered McDonald's full of others also looking to secure accommodation for the night. We could not find any accommodation available on the Internet and decided to go door knocking in search of beds. We were in luck - the third hotel we stopped at, had a room still available, so we bunked down again for another night, waiting for the highway to reopen.

The next morning we were relieved to find we could continue our journey home. But what a scary trip it was. We have never seen so many trucks on the road. The conditions were still extreme, very high winds and lots of snow and ice on the roads.

But this didn't stop the trucks from racing past us. We saw many accidents, as trucks and cars lost control in the very difficult conditions.

Finally, late afternoon we arrived home to Gaylord Street, feeling like true adventurers! We had a wonderful trip, filled with many special memories!