Friday, October 28, 2016


It was my birthday!

I made a list of things I thought would be fun that weren't too taxing,
and the first thing on my list was an early morning hike with Greg.

So we did it!

It was a cool-ish sunny morning.

Here we are on the John Denver Memorial Highway.

There were some weird spider webs on the ground that looked like tissues
from far away, but when we got up close, they were barely visible except from certain angles.
They're very intricate. 

Here's how it looks from the "invisible" angle.

The scenery on this particular hike is especially beautiful.
For a desert, it's quite lush and green.

 This cholla had LOTS of fruit!
The fruit is the little spheres hanging from the ends of the branches.

Here's a cholla branch after it has died.
Its bones are beautiful.

Can you see Christie in the wilderness? 

There she is!

 The trails on this hike are not especially well-marked, but every once in a while,
we saw a cairn (a stack of rocks) to tell us we were going the right way.

Greg saw a tiny little lizard dart under a bush.
Can you see him?

Horses had been on the trail before we got there.

And there was mistletoe growing in this tree! 

The sky was a gorgeous clear blue
(the summer dust is almost completely gone - finally!) 

 The spikes on this cholla looked pretty in the sunlight.
But don't touch!

Very sharp! 

Little pieces of cholla ("jumping cactus") break off and roll around, hiding.
When a person or an animal walks by, the spines cause the little cactus ball to leap into the air and stick on the person or the animal's fur.  This carries the cactus far away from its mother cactus and enables it to reproduce in a new spot.
Interesting and clever, but painful for the creature transporting it!

Sneaky cholla! 

Hiding to pounce upon unsuspecting hikers!

There were lots of jojoba plants along this trail. 

Another cairn! 

We decided to walk one mile in and then walk back.
By that time it was getting pretty warm.

 Look at these cute little babies!

And this tree? cactus? was amazing.

Look at the decorative insides!

Then we drove home and Greg went in to work.
I started cooking and cleaning and enjoying some birthday nesting.

My friends Cindy and Sara and Jen came over for dinner and a movie.

I made lots of yummy food and Sara and Cindy brought some more.

They also brought a jar full of chocolate cookies. 

And some gifts.

One was a jar full of hearts with things written on them they love about me!
What a clever and important gift!!!

Cindy also made me some body scrub in my favorite scent (almond)
to exfoliate.  It's wonderful and I think I might not be able to do without it now. 

I had made some little gifts for them, too:
fancy chocolate in pretty gold foil bags!


I am inserting some cute cat photos here before the birthday presents portion of this blog post.

Stephen with folded-down ear
(he did that to himself while washing his head!):

Cuddled-in Allistiar:

Three feet over the edge Stephen:

Two babies in Mommy's office, waiting for her to STOP work and snuggle them!

THREE babies waiting for snuggles!

Princess Claude: 



Now on to some other gifts!

My Dad drew this great illustration of me blowing out candles on a HUGE cake!

 A book by an author whose work I enjoy, from Greg:

A hilarious book of poetry ("by cats") from my brother and his family:

A cute chipmunk card, full of stickers from my nieces, Esme & Cora!

An immersion blender from my brother and his family -
hooray!  This makes it much easier to make nice thick soups and stews!

A big fuzzy throw from my parents:

A wonderful plush sweater from my parents!
(For your information, it runs really small, so give yourself some size buffer if you order it!)

Here's how it looks on me!

What a wonderful birthday;
That is quite a pile of gifts from very generous people!

Thanks for sharing my birthday with me!


And this photo is too funny not to share as a little bonus . . . 
Greg kept taking photo after photo and I felt weird, but he kept smirking and taking more photos.
Here is my uncomfortable face:

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