4th of July in Durango, Colorado

Bailey here again –

I had the best 4th of July with Jasmine! In the morning, we went on a gorgeous hike in the mountains. We took Bear Scat Trail and encountered three bear scat piles that were left right on the trail. A bit unnerving, but we didn’t see any bears – but I wondered how many bears saw us. Anyway, the trail sure lived up to its name. We hiked at least 500 feet vertical and ended up right beside one of our red rock mesas. It was way cool. If you look close in the picture, you can actually see the lake way down through the trees

Then we went to the lake for a swim. Two cute little girls were playing on the kayaks so I had to take their picture. The water was cold – really cold – but Jazz and I braved it and dove in. Once I got over the initial shock, it felt great after our long hike. Later a thunderstorm threatened to shorten our lake time, but it ended up going the other way. Which was good because we didn’t want it to rain out the parade or the fireworks.

After we showered and got our red, white and blue on, we headed to Main Avenue for the annual 4th of July Parade. Durango is very festive on the 4th of July with almost eveyone in patriotic clothes. Everyone lines the street to watch the hometown parade. Some of the entrants throw out candy, sending the little kids scurrying around in the street. Others spray the crowd with water, sending some spectators running away, while others raise their hands in the air and to encourage a good drenching. As you can see in the picture, someone drove a beautiful orange Mustang Fastback in the parade. Of course I screamed and gave him a thumbs up. I asked how much he wanted to sell it for, but he said he wasn’t selling. Darn.

Then we went over to The Palace for an awesome pasta dinner. The Palace is one of my favorite places to eat. They’re famous for their chicken and dumplings, but the pasta with tomatoes, olive oil and parmesan cheese is my absolute favorite. Yum!

 

We rounded out the night by sprinting over to the Albertsons parking lot before the fireworks started. They shoot the fireworks from the mesa just up the way, so its a perfect place for viewing. Everyone brings snacks and lawn chairs to enjoy the show. It was a perfect day!

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Mockingjay – The Boy with the Bread

Spoiler Alert –

“You’re not very big, are you? Or particularly pretty?” – Peeta

“Later, there’s a lot of kissing. Didn’t seem very genuine on your part. Did you like kissing me?” – Peeta

Peeta laughs again, coldly, dismissively. “Well, you’re a piece of work, aren’t you?”

I couldn’t believe the boy with the bread talked that way to Katniss. Rocked my world. It was horrible. The old Peeta was gone and I didn’t like the new one. At all. Although it was strangely satisfying how he told Katniss the truth as he saw it. I figured she kind of had it coming. At least from him.

I didn’t like the deal with Finnick. I’d rather it’d been someone closer to Katniss. I wanted more for Annie and the baby. I worried the whole time that Katniss would have to watch Gale or Peeta be killed and then she’d finally figure out who she loved.

As it was, Katniss never had to make that decision.

I don’t know about you, but the assassination was very satisfying. To even suggest a new hunger games was despicable and evil. Even more so than the predecessors because it didn’t have to be that way. They should’ve learned.

I liked how hope bubbled up at the end. I can’t live without hope, but Katniss didn’t have much of it in her life. The ‘book of goodness’ she started was wonderful.

One thing is for sure, you can’t read the Hunger Games trilogy without feeling something.

Reading Catching Fire

Spoiler Alert –

Bailey here –

I’m reading Catching Fire, and I have to admit I’m kind of depressed. I’m not all the way through, but I can’t believe Katniss and Peeta have to go back into the arena, just one year after they escaped it. I can’t believe all the victors have to go back in and fight each other. It’s sick. Of course it all had to be orchestrated by President Snow.

I can’t wait for the uprising. I can’t wait for someone to off President Snow. Hopefully Katniss. And I hope Cinna lived through his beating. Not Cinna! Please not Cinna. I love him. And I can’t believe the victors are actually killing each other. I thought they’d band together and refuse to fight. I’m very disappointed. Very. If anyone could start – and help – a rebellion, it’s those people.

Another thing – why don’t I know who Katniss likes better, Gale or Peeta? Shouldn’t she have some idea of who she loves/likes? I know she lives an entirely different life than I do, but come on. Here are two hunky guys who are desperately in love with her. Does she feel nothing? I don’t care what the life circumstances are – love always bubbles up. So what’s up with Katniss?

Haymitch said it best. “You could live a thousand lifetimes and not deserve him.” – Catching Fire

Just Eat Healthy – To Fuel Your Body

Bailey here again –

Many girls at my school worry about every little thing they eat and count every single calorie – even gum. Please. I couldn’t be bothered with all that, and neither could Jazz (my best friend). Yuk. Boring. But I guess Jazz’s mom – Mrs. Creek – didn’t know where we were with it, so she sat us down today.

She told us that we have amazing, beautiful bodies, and that we should always treat them well by giving them good food and exercising. She knows Jazz and I run a few times a week to keep in shape for basketball and track. We also ride our horses all the time, and go river rafting, and skiing in the winter. We’re active and never worry about counting this or that.

We told Mrs. Creek we don’t want to be skinny. Yuk. We want to be strong, so we can kick butt in basketball and track. Who wants to be so skinny that all you can do is sit around all day trying not to eat? Boring.

What we do think about is giving our bodies good fuel so we have plenty of energy to do all the fun things we want to do. That means eating lean proteins, whole grains, milk, fresh fruits and veggies. Don’t get me wrong – we’re normal teenagers and like junk food, too. But we try to keep it to a minimum. Not because we’re worried about getting fat, but because that stuff doesn’t build your body up, it tears it down. We can’t afford to tear down our bodies. There’s way too much fun to be had.

Now I’m no rail, but I’m not heavy either. Will I make the cover of a magazine? Probably not. Do I care? Not. I’m strong and healthy and love all the activities I can do. I don’t have as many curves as I’d like – my chest is on the small side – but I figure you get what you get. Besides, it makes it easier to run without all that extra weight on my chest. Ha ha!

Mrs. Creek said we should always focus on the positives – all the amazing things our bodies can do, as well as what we like about our bodies. She said if we’re so busy being thankful for what we have, we won’t have time to be unhappy about what we don’t.

I thought it was pretty good advice, even though I figure Jazz and I are already there.

But what do you think? Are you one of those calorie counters? Do you eat healthy, or do you struggle with choosing good things to eat? Let me know.

I Finished It – The Hunger Games!

SPOILER ALERT – SPOILER ALERT – SPOILER ALERT

Bailey here –

Wow, I’ve never read a book quite like The Hunger Games before. Now I have to read Chasing Fire and Mockingjay. I was addicted to Hunger Games even while I was appalled at the way human beings were treated. The hunger, pain and desolation most of the people lived with day in and day out was staggering. It made me very thankful for my family, my home and my life. It also made me realize I have no real problems.

I loved Katniss from the beginning, but fell all the more in love with her as she showed her courage, cleverness and will to survive – in addition to the compassion she showed to Peeta and Rue. Rue has a special place in my heart, and I loved how Katniss stayed with her, sang to her, and decorated her with flowers.

I absolutely loved Cinna and I want to know his story. Why did he pick District 12, why is he so different from everyone else in the Capital, and how did he develop such compassion?

The most horrific part of the story for me was the mutations. Not only did these Tributes have to die again, but their families and friends had to watch them die again, too. How utterly disgusting and wicked of the Capital.

But now The Hunger Games is going to be made into a movie! Jennifer Lawrence has been chosen to play Katniss. I think she looks like a good Katniss in the picture above. Lenny Kravitz has been chosen to play Cinna, and I can’t wait to see what he does with the part.

Liam Hemsworth is going to play Gale – WOW. Josh Hutcherson is going to play Peeta – NICE. And oh my gosh, Woody Harrelson is going to play Haymitch – did not picture him this way. But he’ll be good. Alexander Ludwig will play Cato – WAY too cute to play Cato. I don’t want to see him go the way he did. Ugh.

Check out the rest of the cast, as it stands, at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1392170/

I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE MOVIE!!!

Native American Vision Quest – Black Elk

Bailey here again –  

I’ve been trying to convince my mom (yeah, right) to let me go on a vision quest ever since I was 10-years old.  A vision quest is a Native American ritual where you go into the wilderness and connect with the Creator to seek your mission on earth – or to seek healing or solutions to problems.  I want to know what my mission is.  I think I want to be a detective, but how do I know for sure that’s what I’m supposed to do?

I’ve done my research and I know a vision quest isn’t something to mess around with.  Not something to enter into lightly.  It’s serious.  But I know I’m strong enough to do it.  You have to be able to fast for a couple days, camp outside (no problem), be open to the spirit world, and able to be alone.  So, no problem.  BUT, my mom won’t let me.  Ugh.  Someday.

Black Elk, a famous Lakota holy man, had many visions – sometimes when he wasn’t even on a vision quest.  Black Elk lived from 1863 to 1950.  He was in the Battle of Little Big Horn and was wounded at the Wounded Knee Massacre.  Black Elk saw a lot of pain during his life, but he also saw hope.

One of my favorite visions Black Elk tells of was when he journeyed to the top of a sacred mountain and found a circle of stones with a cross in the center.  Black Elk looked around and saw that every created thing had a thread of smoke or light going from it.  A voice told him that the thread connects every created thing to the Creator.  Without the thread, it wouldn’t exist.  Black Elk saw that all the threads connected at the center of the cross, representing the Center of the Universe.  That’s when Black Elk understood that everything is related, all the seen and the unseen of creation. 

I love this vision because it makes me feel safe and connected.  Like everything has a place and a reason.  I want to make sure I’m doing – or will do – what I was put here to do.  Do you ever wonder what your mission is?

My Horse, Dakota

Bailey here –

I love my horse, Dakota.  He’s the best!  Well, I mean, he’s skittish, doesn’t like other people, and spooks easily – but I think he’s perfect.  He’s a brown and white Paint Horse, and he always takes my breath away.  Sometimes I can’t believe he’s actually mine. 

Two years ago, Dad and I went to the Spring Creek Horse Rescue over in Bayfield, and I fell in love with a skinny Paint gelding huddled in the back of his stall.  He had whip marks on his flank and an outgrown halter on his face.  The manager said the gelding kicked and reared – nobody could get near him. 

But then Dakota’s eyes and mine locked, and I knew he was meant to be mine.  Dad was dead set against him and left the barn to look at the other horses.  But I stayed and talked softly to Dakota.  After a long time, he inched his way over and let me pet his nose.  Then I slowly removed the halter from his sore face.  And the rest is history.  Dakota’s now strong and muscular, and he’s my closest friend and confidant.  I never have to worry about anything I tell him.

I’ve heard some people have the gift of ‘animal whispering’ – communicating with animals through telepathic energy.  It’s really a trip if you think about it too long.  I mean, communicating brain to brain, without talking out loud, human to animal and back again?  Of course Jazz thinks it’s all nuts.  But I don’t.  I don’t discount anything.  There are too many mysteries in the world. 

I’m no animal whisperer.  It’s just that Dakota and I connected.  Maybe because I was patient and let him come to me.  I think animals can tell if you’re going to hurt them or not.  Maybe they can even feel your intentions.  I don’t know.  But I do know I don’t like being forced to do things – by my parents or anyone else.  I’d rather think about things for a while and make up my own mind.  And if I end up doing what they wanted me to do in the first place, fine.  But it was my decision.

Don’t you like to make your own decisions?

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