Friday, August 28, 2009

Advertising Campaigns

This classic Battleship game has been kept in mint condition at camp in Pagosa for... it looks to be a LOT of years. I've been meaning to take a picture for a post and each year I forget. But finally, I remembered.

I love happy mom and daughter who are thrilled to be washing the dishes with the added enjoyment of watching Dad and son play Battleship.

In advertising you advertise to your target market. Does this mean the dads are the ones who bought the board games in a typical 50's family? Or were moms so desperate to have husbands spend time with their sons that doing dishes while the men and boys played games seemed like a wonderful idea? And how does daughter feel about all this? Were girls unwelcome to play Battleship? Was it considered a violent war game only for boys and big-boys -- like Halo of today? What year did they change the box design and decide it was a bad idea? So many questions...I think I need to do some internet research...

In other marketing news...

Just today I pulled this pencil from a basket in the library at my children's elementary school. I've had several stints of vegetarianism over the years but have ultimately decided if I buy it organic most of the time and don't think about how ill-treated the cows and animals are the other times, I'm okay with eating meat. I do take issue with the marketing practices of the meat (and milk) industry and the desperate advertising tactics of promoting the "need" to eat meat and drink milk by sending propaganda to the schools and trying to teach kids there's a "meat" food group and a "dairy" food group, blah, blah, blah... Mention they're learning about the food pyramid in 2nd grade and my kids get a big lecture on the advertising evils of the meat and dairy industry and how they try to trick people and ACTUALLY it's a "protein" group with a lot of choices for getting protein and there are a lot of ways to get calcium -- not just from milk. I can go on and on...

But this pencil just cracked me up and you know I want to make little "Beef Gives Me Zip!" flags for toothpicks to poke into each individual steak next time we serve it.


Perhaps it was the seductive beef marketing campaign tool I was using to write with today, but when I came home, I gave in to the temptation to try Vienna Sausages. They've been sitting in the cupboard since Marty's scout camp when I had to buy a sampling of every canned meat and fish product to see which ones he wanted to take on his hike.

When I was a teen, my mom babysat 1-year-old Mason. Mason's mom always packed him vienna sausages in a babyfood jar. Since my mom wears a shield of skepticism when it comes to advertising (and also majored in child development AND nutrition), she was never sucked into the health claims of the 1970's meat industry and never bought us processed meat. Never did we open the fridge or cupboard to find vienna sausages, bologna, hot dogs, or shelf-life spam. Never did she pack our lunches with a ring of Oscar Meyer Bologna with it's cool pull-off red tape and a slice of Kraft Cheese Singles, self-contained in their own saran wrap with a couple of pieces of Wonder White Bread to go with it. It was always 100% whole wheat (ground in our own kitchen) with natural peanut butter or dye-free monterey jack cheese sandwiches for us.

Needless to say, I was always oh so tempted by Mason's jar of vienna sausages and when no one was looking I'd quickly and carefully take the lid off the jar, snatch the middle sausage, tuck it in my hand and dash to some uninhabited corner of the house to devour my processed sausage in secret.

So now, after a month of the vienna sausages sitting in my pantry and knowing I really have to be too old to actually like them, I decided to break open the can anyway and find out. Yikes! One soft bite (what I recall to be the texture of liver) and I'm officially cured from the desire to ever eat a vienna sausage again.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First Day of School

As much as I have dreaded the end of summer and the beginning of an early-morning schedule again, these last two days have been BLISS! I definitely love some PEACE and QUIET each day! Aaahhhh...

We were all home for dinner last night and went on a family bike ride for Family Home Evening which was the perfect ending to a great first day of school. Everyone is still excited to get to bed on time -- lets hope that lasts! Courtney has soccer tryouts today and soon soccer season will start and Marty starts evening orchestra in two weeks and Marty and Chris both start flag football in a couple of weeks as well. Evenings will soon become very busy.

Finally, this is how I found Nick when arriving home from Jr. High carpool today. He's been yawning for two days straight despite getting to bed on time. I think the house finally becoming quiet without the fun distractions of bigger kids and a non-stop fun summer with LOTS of late nights has finally caught up to him!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Pagosa 2009

It must be the "Back-to-School" excitement because I woke up this morning and wanted to jump out of bed instead of sleep in--and it's Sunday.

Pagosa was a blast, as always, and this year we were joined by some of our closest friends -- the Wickhams and Andersons.

We arrived just in time to unpack the car before it started to downpour. We actually love everything about the afternoon rainstorms in Pagosa--the sound of the rain on the metal roofs, the fresh smell and everyone taking a break from outdoors to come inside and play games together. But this was our only storm of the week.

Our first day we set up a zipline. The kids had worked all day the week before to get one in our yard at home, but the rope had too much stretch and not even Nicholas could get his feet off the ground. We bought metal cable to try in Pagosa as well as rope. I wanted the kids to have the fun of building one themselves with rope and then if that didn't work, the dads could get the cable set up. Again the rope was difficult to get tight enough so Dan and Kurt got out the ATVs so they could pull the cable REALLY tight. It lasted about a day before the cable ate through the pulley and broke. A new pulley at the end of the week started doing the same thing, so they went back to rope. With the help of the ATVs, they were able to get the rope pretty tight.

Our favorite picnic spot past the old school house was taken so instead we headed up an old, rough jeep trail and made our way through herds of cows. We found a great shady spot but laid our blanket on top of an anthill. Short picnic, exciting drive.

The Falls were low this time of year but all of Colorado was green, green, green. The kids scrambled up the steep cliff and Marty fell down part of the way. He caught air and scared us all but stopped sliding after a couple of bounces. Sigh of relief...

The three dads and Marty and Colin hiked to Pagosa peak after lunch on Monday. It was an hour jeep ride and a 5 hour steep hike to the peak. Everyone came home tired but exhilarated! It was a great accomplishment!

Christopher and Lily spent the day fishing at the pond. They headed out on their own and spent hours quietly standing on a rock at the edge of the pond casting and reeling. We went to visit a couple of times but they were frustrated about the dogs barking and the little kids talking. "You have to be quiet if you want to catch a fish!" They were very diligent.

Orman also taught everyone how to gut a fish and clean it. So glad my kids know how so I don't need to learn. Ugh.

Everyone took the ATVs on lots of rides around camp and to the general store.
At one point the big girls got stranded up on the road when the ATV wouldn't start. We watched as Lexie rode back to camp to get Marty for help. When he couldn't start it they came back and found a chain and towed the ATV back to camp. All this without even asking an adult for help. We were pretty impressed at their resourcefulness.

Tuesday morning Dan and Kurt rode mountain bikes on the Box Canyon trail--A VERY narrow trail with lots of rocks and a cliff on one side. Both crashed over the edge down the hill and were "saved" by raspberry bushes. Lots of thorns.

That afternoon all of us headed to Box Canyon and to swim in the river. While the river was freezing up by the Falls, it was comfortable in the Box.

Christopher, Courtney A., Madi, and Lily all got really good at building campfires each night.

They'd often start first thing in the morning adding wood and cardboard boxes--arranging them in specific ways and then creating fuses with paper towels.

Their fires got big fast and one night Christopher's hair got singed.

Wednesday was another all day hike to the top of Cimarrona Peak. Dan and Orman, Marty, Colin, Courtney and Lexie headed out at 6:30 am so they could be home from this 8 mile hike by 3:00. Unfortunately they'd miscalculated the mileage and ended up hiking 15 miles that day--hiked from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm! Again they report the views were amazing. It was hard but the kids did great -- no complaining, just forging ahead even though they were exhausted. Dan and Orman helped them along by fibbing on the mileage until they finished -- good thinking. Again everyone felt so proud of themselves and learned they can do hard things!!

Thursday the guys cut up a tree for firewood -- lots of GUY stuff at Pagosa. That night Chris rode to the top of the hill on the ATV. I heard crying and when I ran out of the barn saw the ATV upturned at the bottom of the cliff and Chris fortunately only part-way down -- cut and bruised and VERY scared but unhurt. He lost a shoe and cracked the bike helmet he was wearing. He's still reliving it and likes to talk about it a lot and I think I'm still in shock as well -- tears not very far from the surface. So glad he was wearing a helmet and that the ATV didn't fall on him!!

It was a GREAT trip -- good food, games, ATVs, bb guns, bottle rockets, zipline, crafts, campfires, fishing, reading, hikes, walks, driving lessons, bike rides, candy & lighters from the General Store and a nice Forest Service guy who didn't give us a ticket for unlicensed ATV's with 10-year-old drivers. Best of all GREAT FRIENDS!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Marty's Summer Fiddle Fest

Christopher was just rifling through the dirty clothes trying to find his pajamas from Pagosa. He knows they're dirty and that's the point...he wants the smell of campfire tonight when he sleeps. So sweet--such happy memories. I said no.

I just had my first experience of listening to music on an ipod. It's true--my very first time listening to an ipod and it's 2009. Christopher wanted me to listen to one of the songs he just downloaded (Weird Al -- how old is that guy?!). I put the headphones in my ears and tucked the nano into my pocket and realized it was MY FIRST TIME! I've watched a movie once on my Blackberry with one earpiece in and the other in Dan's ear. But that's it. SERIOUSLY!! I find it a little hard to believe myself. Gotta love those Skull Candy headphones -- SOOOOOO much better than anything else -- I think that's half the reason I've never listened to an ipod -- the headphones stretch my ears and it hurts!

Finally a clip from Marty's Summer Fiddle Fest. (Mom and EC, I think you'll actually have to go to my blog and click on the video to view it -- See Marty finishing Book 3 a couple of years ago, click here.

Friday, August 21, 2009


We're home from Pagosa where we've been off the grid for a week -- no TV's, no computers, no internet, not even cell phone reception -- it was refreshing. We've plunged, fully clothed, back into real life getting back just in time to drop Marty off at his violin rehearsal, coming home to a TP'd yard (although it looks like some VERY kind neighbor cleaned a lot of it up), broken air conditioning, and a temperamental washer machine.

We're all missing the fresh air and beautiful mountains of Pagosa, but we're also happy to be home. Christopher's sunflower plant is heavy with seeds; tomatoes, zuchhini and cucumbers are ripe in the garden; our friends have missed us; our familiar rooms and beds welcome us and Dad is picking up Cafe Rio for dinner.