28 Oct 2008 1 Comment
in Field trips
So, I decided that we were taking a field trip today to satiate our wanderlust desire. I wanted to make it to Bishop’s castle before it snowed, and since it hasn’t snowed (yet!) today was the day.
We drove past the Springs and took a little highway to cut through the mountains and then took a series of county roads before arriving here.
This castle was stared in 1969 by Jim Bishop. Except for a set of spiral stairs made by his father, Jim has created this gorgeous building with his own hands.
He has carried the rocks, cemented them, created spiral stair cases and gothic arches, metal scroll work and put in stained glass windows.
There are turrets and onion domes and passages to explore.
You may climb up a set of stairs and end up in a doorway with nothing underneath you (it’s a work in progress.)
You may be outside on the balcony and come upon a set of stairs that leads to a ‘bridge to nowhere’ (literally!)
Mr. Bishop isn’t finished with this dome as you can see Joel up there in the open.
We climbed up 3 sets of spiral staircases in different parts of the building; here is the tippy-top of the front turret.
Look at the scroll work on the arches in the cathedral!
He’s also working on what looked like a moat and bridge at the entrance.
Don’t worry about the signs, the state and local government gave him a hard time when he started building this…..art in ’69, so he posts signs to make sure that you know he’s not responsible for injuries and that if you’re in law enforcement he has constitutional rights and you’d better not trample them.
He got around some of the building laws (technically this isn’t a building, it’s art) by incorporating as a 501c3, so you can make tax deductible donations to his project.
Why would a man build a castle and then not live in it? Obviously he just wants to make us happy and let us have a good time, and we did!
Thanks Mr. Bishop!
Oh, and if you have small children, watch out, you can climb over the entire thing, but there are some kid sized holes and no guard rails on the turrets. We stayed there for 2 hours exploring and marveling at the sights. While we ate lunch we fed a crested jay that hopped out of the tree by our table, it was very nice indeed.
After a few more climbs we got in the car and headed to Pueblo.
Of course I wouldn’t make a trip and be so close to Pueblo and not go!
We went by the river walk, which probably looks much nicer when they don’t drain the river. It’s almost like the one in San Antonio (except they have more shops clustered around the water.) Then we had to decide between the children’s museum or the air museum, we chose the Buell (my maiden name, no relation though, darn it!) Children’s museum since we were a few blocks away. That is a cool museum! Their theme was Western/Indian.
There was a teepee, dress up clothes, costumes, weave a basket, paint a pony, make a handkerchief, make an old photo wanted poster, tool leather, and more.
Grace was fascinated by this kinetic sculpture, she stood there watching the balls clink around the whole thing (Joel thought it would be easy to make that.) The leather tooling craft was a hit with all the kids.
They got to braid a leather bracelet and then stamp some pieces of leather. James’s mom was a leather tooler so that was a good connection since Joel doesn’t remember her and the girls never knew her. When we got home I showed them the leather bag and wallet that she tooled. My friend Kathy was right; this museum is great (unlike the Denver children’s museum.) There was something for the kids to do from Hannah to Joel, that’s quite an accomplishment. We stayed until closing and I promised to come back when they change out the western theme for the next one. Next time we’re down we’ll stop by here and the air museum. I thought it was a lot further to get home, but my GPS told me that from Pueblo it was 1 hour 40 min, not bad.
I love Colorado!
22 Oct 2008 Leave a Comment
Well, the last phonics class was today. We did the last 8 letters, I had trouble over at US toy finding a goat for the letter ‘g’. My song was ‘goats gobble garbage’ and I really wanted a goat, but I had to settle for a gecko. We glued tissue paper leaves onto a sheet for ‘l’, colored some notes for ‘n’ and looked at an x-ray for ‘x’. I gave the kids a whistle for ‘w’, probably should have waited until the class was over for that. The library admin. offices are right across from the meeting room and the librarian walked by and gave me the evil eye because of the noise. We were trying to do thumbprint whales too, but mostly the kids just got ink all over their hands. It said washable on the stamp pads (well, they are, it just takes more than one washing!) We passed around a zipper for ‘z’ and did ‘u’ and then attached it to its friend ‘q’ (they always travel together in the front a word.) Then we had free play. I brought both water pads this time and our fishing letter game. Hannah actually said her hard ‘c’ the other day. If she thinks about it she can say her name is ‘carberry’ instead of ‘tarberry’ (which is a real improvement!)
After we dropped off our stuff at home and ate lunch we got Joel and headed over to the natural science museum AKA the dinosaur musuem (yes, because it was free day.)
They rearranged the kid discovery room, but before we went in there we saw the dissection room. I guess that’s why they’ve been doing the dissections at the library, to show off their new area at the museum. They had just done a brain dissection, they had a heart and lung out too.
Here’s the skeleton with the insides vest on.
They had a few slices of the visible human project in the area too (don’t click on that link if you get grossed out, it’s sections of the human body that have been sliced thinly.)
So we looked around and felt the brain again, put together a brain puzzle and smelled tubes of stuff and matched them to the pictures.
The discovery area was revamped; one item missing is the dinosaur dig box. Guess they got tired of picking up all that sand. Hannah had fun with the bubbles – that would make a good co-op, playing with bubbles.
Bethany stayed around the digital microscope, I really need to get one of those, they are so cool. We like shoving it in our nose and ears (but you can’t do that at the museum.)
Down in the gem and mineral area we saw the Molybdates, rocks (such as wulfenite) that have molybdenum in them.
We know all about molly because James took a mine trip with SME where they got to see a mine at the continental divide where they pull molybdenum out of rocks. It takes a lot of rock to make a little molly, which is used in stuff like missiles, rifles, aircraft, diet drinks and food that grows above the ground (which has more molly in it than food that grows under the ground.) Mmmmm……would you like some more molybdenum on your peas?
Anyway in the space exhibit we sat and watched some cool experiments. The scientist said to imagine that we were trying to land a rover and explore the moon Triton. It’s a moon of Neptune and it’s the farthest moon from the sun, so it’s really cold there. The atmosphere is liquid nitrogen and the temp. is about -340 degrees.
So he started the experiment with a balloon and dipped it in the nitrogen. The air inside the balloon liquefied and we could see it sloshing around the inside of the balloon. When he took it out and the air warmed up it refilled the balloon. Pretty neat. Next he dropped a rubber ball in the nitrogen and then dropped it on the ground, of course it shattered. The rubber hose he dropped in became rigid and brittle, but the nylon he dropped in stayed flexible. Next he tried to see what would happen to ball bearings and magnets when exposed to the nitrogen. The ball bearings froze up, but the magnetic arm worked fine because no matter how small the magnets became they still had a magnetic field around them. The last thing he did was to create a liquid nitrogen geyser and make nitrogen snow.
When he was done he gave the kids the pieces of rubber ball that had broken. Hannah ate hers, but I guess a bit of rubber than has been frozen in liquid nitrogen doesn’t do much to you (in other words, she’s fine and it’ll be on the way out tomorrow.) Joel asked the guy where one might procure some liquid nitrogen – smart guy, he said he didn’t know (Joel pressed him on it and he admitted he might know where to get some, but it would be industrial grade and they wouldn’t sell it to Joel.) So that was really fun, maybe next time we can see the lung dissection.
11 Oct 2008 Leave a Comment
in Field trips
Today the girls and I went to see the Colorado ballet do Swan Lake. We were all dressed up, met some friends and sat down for 3 hours of ballet. I thought it was the short version, but it was still good. Now I see why my dance teacher wants us to do ‘pretty hands’. Wow, they are pretty when you flick them around like that. After 3 hours of ballet we went with a friend to subway and then to the library. James and I went out for dinner while Joel baby-sat to earn a new air soft gun (actually it was cheaper than paying him $$.)
Tomorrow we’re off to WOTR for our volunteer training and to see the planes (it’s open cockpit day.) Oh, and no James wasn’t kidding, there’s still a dead frog in my car somewhere (wonder if he’s still good for dissecting?)
01 Oct 2008 Leave a Comment
Tuesday after school we went ice skating and used up the last of our free passes. I had 2 left over so a friend came with her 2 boys and met us there. I must have had better skates this time because although I still used the walker to hold onto, I could let go and not fall down immediately (but, I presume, I would have eventually fallen down so it never left me for too long.) Hannah had fun just waltzing around the ice with her walker, Joel was eavesdropping behind a boy who was being taught Hockey moves and picked up some new foot work. Bethany was whizzing around the ice too. I heard a rumor that we are supposed to be getting an outdoor ice rink by us when they build the new Target, which would be nice. What would be even nicer is if they let us use our HOA fees like they do with the rec centers and we could skate for free.
After we skated we packed up and headed over to see ‘Get Smart’ at the 50 cent movie. It had a lot of potty humor in it, but Ann Hathaway had the old agent 99 down pat. There were some pretty funny gag scenes in it too. Some words they could have just switched and it would have been just as funny, I don’t know why they think they need to put bad words in when others will do. Take it from my kids; they could just say ‘pudding’ and we would have cracked up.
Wednesday was the ‘official October count window’ for schools in CO. Since we use a virtual school (which is part of the public school district) we have been told to make sure lessons are done and attendance taken on this particular day. So, we woke up early and did a few lessons, logged it in and headed over to Fat city to play the rest of the day. Yes, I know it was bought out and is now called something else, but I hate that name so we still call it Fat city. Although, come to think of it, that’s a stupid name too. A mom in our HS group got coupons from her mom who works there. They were having investors come by and wanted the place to look full. So we walked in with 5 coupons for all day passes and $10 of arcade games. We rode the twister, race cars, played bowling, golf, battle tech, played in the foam factory, the kids area and my personal favorite played laser tag. Joel and I kicked butt in there. The first time we went in we had Hannah with us and the jacket barely fit her, the other time we went in by ourselves. The new laser tag has 4,000 sq.ft. of space to hide, run, and sniper people. I was up against 2 guys this one time and was trying to perfect my skills. You don’t have to run around in laser tag, you just need to sneak up on people, shoot them and sneak away. These 2 guys had it in for me, but I kept moving around and at one point I came up right behind them, shot both of their back packs and was gone before they could say, ‘man!’ It was fun!
We stayed there for about 5 hours. We used up the $10 of arcade games in the first 30 minutes, then later I wished we had saved a few points so we could have played the drum game again. The only problem I have with Fat city is that when they switched owners they stopped putting the free activity coupons in the kid’s pages. What is up with that? Of course I can’t afford to bring 5 people there to play without the free coupons. Maybe if they get new people running it they’ll add that incentive back. We went home and watched the first few episodes of season 2 of Lost. Interesting……
12 Sep 2008 Leave a Comment
It’s time for the rock show again, but this year we went with our GS troop. All the adults got in free as leaders and the girls were free, I’ll have to remember that for next time. First stop, as always, the table where we buy the $1 bag of rocks. This way the girls have something to put all their other rocks in as we travel around the show. We picked up some posters about crystals and minerals and then stopped at this booth.
Here we learned about density, cleavage and we burned some mica till it blew up. We leaned about earthquakes, thank goodness for the one that made the Rocky Mountains! We picked up rocks and decided which bucket they belonged in.
Hannah got a few of those right.
Over to the panning tables. I think next year we’ll do this last.
That way we get soaking wet as we leave the show and not during it.
Hannah had fun just globbing sand in her pie tin. Bethany found a shark tooth and Grace found some garnet and turquoise.
The school kids had been through the area in the morning and I think they picked out most of the shark’s teeth. We wandered up the aisle and each girl received a special box with a rock in it. Bethany got an agate, polished nice and smooth. Grace and Hannah each got a piece of an amethyst, very nice. The girl’s got to use a drill to scrape away bits of rock from fossils at this booth.
We played a rock identification game and went up getting more and more rocks. Hannah’s bag was getting heavier, but she refused to let me hold it. We bought calcite cores for each girl and picked up geode dust from the place where they cracked open the geodes.
We saw lots of really cool looking rocks and minerals on the way to the black light room. Here we saw minerals fluoresce on the rocks in colors of green, orange, yellow and purple. We always think this room is the coolest. We headed over to the fossil exhibit and stood next to a huge leg bone.
The girls got some free shark teeth from one booth, which was very nice of them to do. Then we looked around at dino bones and fish fossils. We saw Mr. Bones walking around with his dinosaur puppet and he freaked Hannah out.
Once again a good time spent looking at lapidary wonders, mineral mammoths and giant gems.
Note for next year, bring more money!
10 Sep 2008 Leave a Comment
in Field trips
Yes, I had to pay to get into it. But, I thought, we get to see 40 Picasso etchings and engravings from the latter part of his life and you can’t find those in most books about him. The guide at the front desk looked at the kids and me and said,’ You know, there is some nudity in the exhibit’. Well, yes, I figured that. Picasso (like most artists) painted or drew naked people. Ya’ know, God thought of that first, he made naked people and come closer and I’ll whisper a secret to you…..under their clothes, everybody is naked! Shocker isn’t it? I’m not ok with everyone just waking up one morning and going to work naked, but if Michelangelo’s David is a piece of art, then I guess every artist who sculpts or paints or draw or etches a naked figure is creating a piece of art too.
So, I said yes, I figured that and yes, we still want to go.
Kudos to Joel for not running out of the room. The first room was pictures of the circus and mythical beasts, knights and horsemen; the other room was….well let’s just say Joel left and said he’d be outside the gallery. It would have been fine if they hadn’t taken some of the pictures and then made giant replicas of them on the walls. Women with mismatched breasts were everywhere. They could have just displayed the pictures, but no they had to pick elements from a few and draw them on the wall. Grace walked up to one and asked if it was an animal (no, it was his love Celeste.)
So we went back out to the better room and looked at how the engravings were made. (No pics allowed, but you’ll see some of my kid’s etchings when they are done with them.) By etching out certain places and then inking them he created dark and light, black and white. He wrote the dates left tot right so when he printed out the copies the dates came out backwards. We talked about how at the end of his life he was reliving good memories and thinking about what he had painted in his youth. He obviously remembered the circus and his paintings about bullfights and knights in armor. Of course he remembered his lovers….a lot (apparently) So, I don’t think it was wrong to go see the exhibit and I don’t think my kids are scarred for life, but I wish they had displayed the pics in a better way (like maybe not painting giant naked figures on the wall. Why didn’t they paint the horses or the circus themes??)
We wandered around the rest of the museum and saw these cool glass sculptures.
I took a bunch of pics so we could use them as models for painting later.
I love the colors and the wave of the glass. Bethany thought this red glass chandelier was cool.
In the Blessing gallery we saw crucifixes and crosses from different areas.
We passed through the Latin America exhibit; Hannah said she liked the painting that looked like rain.
We had our clipboards with us in the gallery and the kids drew copies of some Picasso etchings and a few other things, but the real treat came at the end in the tactile gallery. I think this is the only tactile gallery of it’s kind in Colorado, the DAM has 1 sculpture you can touch, but not this many! Grace screamed when she saw this:
She touched the humpbacks and then got to drawing.
Bethany was fascinated by this jaguar.
Hannah was drawing…well, I’m not sure because all of her drawings are circles with smiley faces in them.
I think she was looking at the bunny. After we touched everything in the gallery we went outside and walked to the next museum.
I may have a goal in coming to Colorado Springs, but I can’t just visit 1 place. The Numismatic museum was right next door to the Fine arts center, so we headed there. They had a new exhibit ‘hand held sculpture’, it was pretty interesting. Artists from all over the world made a small sculpture, which may or may not have anything to do with money. Some were metal, others wood, glass, rock; some were flat, others pointy, and some looked like they belonged in a movie (like National Treasure.) We saw the Harry Bass collection and found coins with a rarity of 8 (which means there are 1-3 known coins of that kind, one of them is in front of you.)
Then we went downstairs to the good, bad and ugly exhibit. They have persona from history and coins to go along with it, you can buy tokens to vote on whether the person is good or bad. Hitler is still bad (and the baddest) along with Caligula, Stalin and a few others. Columbus was voted good along with Mother Teresa, MLK Jr. and others. Joel is standing by the Oliver Cromwell exhibit, off with his head (or it’s good to be the king!)
This would be a neat place to do a scavenger hunt – find a coin with a rarity of 7, find a coin with a picture of (insert name here) on it, I might have to do that next time. In a month they are having an exhibit of Civil war money. The museum is free year round.
Because Joel was so good in the museum (i.e. he didn’t run out screaming when he saw breasts) I rewarded him by going to eat at Solo’s restaurant. We got to sit in the airplane part again and the kids had fun flying in the cockpit.
Next time I must remember to order 1 burger for all 3 girls though.
After an obligatory picture from the outside we got in the car and headed over to the next museum.
We went to the Old Colorado City historical museum. Free admission, open year round. It lies in the heart of old Colorado City, which was annexed by Colorado Springs in 1917.
The museum was the First Baptist church and then the Bethany Baptist church (a fact not lost on my Bethany.)
Inside we did a scavenger hunt to find an Indian buffalo headdress, JFK salt and peppershakers, a picture with burros, a fishing game, chemistry set and more. We needed a little help finding the pictures, but we found everything else, the kids got candy as their prize. We saw this picture of an employee who worked on the cog railway finding a faster way down than the cog itself.
I’m not sure I’d get on that thing and ride it down (yeah I know, but I’ll ride the wild chipmunk!) We walked around and looked at all the old things and then went to the gift shop where the kids bought rocks. It’s a very small museum, but if you’re going to be in the Springs anyway you can go there and then park across the street and walk up old town’s main street.
We got back in the car and drove to Cave of the winds, but we were a little late for the tour, so we just enjoyed the views and then went to Red rock canyon open space.
Climbing up the rocks it’s funny that they look just like the rocks at Garden of the Gods or Red rocks, well that’s because they are the same part of the formation that runs across the hogback and down the Front Range.
Sometimes they are hidden under the ground and sometimes they pop up above to delight us with their shapes and colors.
Anyway we had fun climbing up a few, Joel used his belt as a rope to grab the carabineer holder on this one.
I only saw the one holder though, what happens when you get to the next point? Maybe they took it out.
We hiked back down the trail and enjoyed the ride home to pick up James and go to dinner. I also found about 4 more free admission museums that we haven’t been to – for next time.
13 Jul 2008 1 Comment
Today after church we went to the Aurora history museum to hear FDR. Well, ok, not the real FDR, a guy that takes on the persona of FDR. We saw Mr. Lincoln a couple of years ago and he was pretty good, but this guy was great. The director of the museum talked about the campaign exhibit that was going on and gave a few facts about Franklin Roosevelt and then said, ‘Please welcome President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.’ He wheeled into the room in a handmade wheelchair made to 1920’s style. He started to talk about his early life, his marriage, his conventions, polio and the health spas he visited, his Presidential campaigns and WWII. He was asked to focus on conventions that he had attended (to correspond with the exhibit.) So he told of the 1928 convention in Houston, TX. ‘Why they decided to hold it there in the middle of summer I have no idea.’ He talked about a time when the Democrats went 17 days and 103 ballots of voting to get their candidate. Remarking about his polio he said that he did not try to hide the fact that he couldn’t walk, but thought that flaunting it would concern people. His friend Al Smith said (after the Republicans kept asking why people would want a cripple in the White House) that no where in the constitution does it say that a President needs to be an acrobat.
He talked about his run for the White House and how in the first 100 days as President he got congress to pass 15 of his laws. He started FDR’s alphabet soup of economic reforms and job opportunities. Here in Colorado the Mt. Evans road, Red rock amphitheater and more were built by young men involved in the CCC. It was one of FDR’s programs that gave a man a job, food, shelter and $1 a day (75 cents of which was sent home to his family.) FDR said that $1 a day doesn’t sound like much, but it was the essence of survival then. He talked about how the 1920 election was the first time that many people in the room in front of him got to vote, because that was the year women gained the right to vote (although Colorado was a progressive state, women here had that ability since 1893.) He talked about his cousin Teddy and how at the wedding of Eleanor and himself, Theodore gave the bride away. FDR said that most people came to the wedding just to see the President. He told some stories of Teddy that showed what a vigorous bull-headed man he was. He talked about WWII and insisted that he was in talks with the Emperor of Japan trying to work out a peace treaty when Pearl Harbor happened. He talked about the Japanese internment camps in the US and how fear had made the government tighten the civil liberties of people. When he was done he gave time for questions and the real fun began.
Bethany’s question was: What did he admire most about his cousin Teddy? FDR replied that he admired Theodore, Franklin and Jefferson for these qualities: They read voraciously, they absorbed books and read with understanding and to gain knowledge. Secondly, they were great writers; Jefferson of course wrote the Declaration of Independence, Franklin was a printer, newspaperman, and writer, and Teddy wrote more books as President than any other president. Joel asked: How did it feel to be the first President to use television, was it any different than radio? FDR replied that he was in a room much like the one we were in and they taped him in the room next door. He said it wasn’t a big deal and really the fireside chats drew 75% of Americans to listen to him. After all most Americans didn’t have a TV in their home until much later, so it wasn’t like the whole nation could get the signal. Grace asked: What was his worst day as President? He said his worst year was 1941. In September of that year his mother died and in December Pearl Harbor was attacked.
There were lots of interesting questions like: Do you feel bad about the internment camps? Did you know about Pearl Harbor before it happened? How did you get along with Churchill? What was it like to live in the White House? How much money did you make? ($75K a year.) Why didn’t you stop the trains in Europe from going into the death camps? Why did you start the Manhattan project? Why did you change vice presidents if you were going to keep running for office? Why did you stay 4 terms? One comment that I loved was from a woman who was probably in her late 80’s. She said, “I met your wife in San Diego, CA during a lecture (or maybe one of Eleanor’s pet projects) and I must tell you she was the best speaker I ever heard. I loved her right there, she was just wonderful.” At this point I must say that other than my 4 children there were only 2 other children there, everyone else was over 70 (about 60 people or so total.) I’m not sure why more kids didn’t show up, this was a great living history opportunity. It was very cool to hear this lady say that she met the real Eleanor Roosevelt. Anyway, more questions followed and then the man behind the President stood up and took questions about himself.
He’s been doing this for 6 years and he travels all over impersonating FDR. He can give lectures about his life, campaigns, presidency, Eleanor and more. He has an amazing memory and no question was too hard, although some questions were out of his time frame (like how did you feel about the red scare and blacklisting of movie actors. He said, ‘That’s a question for Mr. Truman or later.’) I give Mr. Richard Marold a 5 star rating (and we asked that next time they do Washington or Jefferson.) Here is a pic of him and the kids.
Here he is alone and here is a pic of the real FDR.
And HAH! to you people who took my free tix to see ‘The Maltese Falcon’, we got it from the library and watched it tonight.
Brigid O’Shaughnessy: Help me.
Sam Spade: You won’t need much of anybody’s help. You’re good. Chiefly your eyes, I think, and that throb you get in your voice when you say things like ‘Be generous, Mr. Spade.’
Kasper Gutman: I couldn’t be fonder of you if you were my own son. But, well, if you lose a son, its possible to get another. There’s only one Maltese Falcon.
Sam Spade: I hope they don’t hang you, precious, by that sweet neck. Yes, angel, I’m gonna send you over. The chances are you’ll get off with life. That means if you’re a good girl, you’ll be out in 20 years. I’ll be waiting for you. If they hang you, I’ll always remember you.
Detective Tom Polhaus: [picks up the falcon] Heavy. What is it?
Sam Spade: The, uh, stuff that dreams are made of.
04 Jun 2008 Leave a Comment
After canceling our ice cream social for park day twice, we finally had it. Of course the weather was cloudy and cool with a sprinkle here and there, but it was fine.
Next time we said we should call it a hot fudge sundae social and maybe the weather would take a hint and be hot instead if icy. Hannah wasn’t too happy with her ‘rice’ cream. I can’t find it in chocolate, so she had strawberry and vanilla.
I guess it doesn’t taste like her rice milk, ‘cuz all she ate was the whip cream and she threw away the rest.
After the park we headed over to Centennial airport to see…The B-17(G) Aluminum Overcast Flying Fortress. Awesome isn’t it?
This plane is 1 of 14 that are still in flying order.
It’s in Denver for 4 days and is flying 4-5 flights each day (you too can fly for only $400!) But we had enough kids to get in for $1 per kid and $2 per adult.
It’s only $15 for a family and I would have paid that, this plane rocks!
It was perfect weather, cloudy and overcast so it was nice and cool. We were practically the only kids there, so that was nice. The kids kept climbing in the front and running out the back, repeat 20 times.
As for this bomber – there were once 14,000 bombers in WWII flying missions that tuned the tide of war.
Each plane could hold 10 men: a pilot, co-pilot, bombardier, radio man and 6 gunners. This plane wasn’t equipped to haul men; it was equipped to haul these.
To get in we climbed up the ladder into the belly of the cockpit.
Then we had to (well some of us more than others) squeeze through the catwalk over the bomb doors to get to the radio room.
After that you went through another door to reach the back guns and the turret gun (Joel thinks that’s where Star Wars got the idea, look at that.)
Gunners in the turret might have to be in there 3-10 hours depending on the mission.
They could get out in flight though, the ball rotates into the plane and then the hatch opens up inside.
Joel must have looked like he wanted to get in because this veteran pilot and volunteer helped him into the turret.
(No, he was not supposed to be there and the flight crew chief was mad, but it wasn’t Joel’s fault.) The hard part was getting out.
This man was also a pilot of the B-17 and was giving the kids copies of his pilot license (with the word ‘void’ on them, don’t get any ideas.)
Wings over the Rockies hosted the event so they had some planes from their museum there. Also they had flight simulators set up on the computers so the kids could try to fly their plane.
They brought 2 of their airplane pedal cars and the little one was almost small enough for Hannah.
There was an Army jeep there too that had a really old first aid kit.
We assume this isn’t sterile anymore.
This is ‘Mountain Dew with Cannon.’
I walked around the plane just taking pics of the awesome design and power of this great machine.
At the end of the war most of these were sold for scrap or destroyed, this plane in particular was sold for $750 and cost about $1 million to restore and keep up. But as you can see, it’s well worth it. It’s part plane and part museum.
The radios are defunct, the old wiring is still visible and of course the guns and bombs are on board (the guns were loaded but on safety, the bombs, I’m not sure about them.)
A volunteer told us about one mission where 60 bombers were lost, that’s 600 men. Of course we lost more than that; freedom has a very high price.
What an awesome opportunity to see a piece of history. Joel wants to save up for a flight and see if they come back next year. If he books early and becomes and EAA member it will only cost him $325! Here is a look into the radio room and the back of the plane (the ball thing is the top of the turret.) We bought an autographed pic of the bomber signed by the pilots who are flying it around the country right now and a poster of Bomber planes. It was an awesome field trip.
B-17G-1-VE, 43-39163, “Happy Warrior” of the 835th Bombardment Squadron 486th Bombardment Group. Lost over Parchim, Germany 7 April 1945 when struck by bombs from overhead. Crew: 4 KIA, 6 POW.
Data from The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft
• Crew: 10: Pilot, co-pilot, navigator, bombardier/nose gunner, flight engineer-top turret gunner, radio operator, waist gunners (2), ball turret gunner, tail gunner
• Length: 74 ft 4 in (22.66 m)
• Wingspan: 103 ft 9 in (31.62 m)
• Height: 19 ft 1 in (5.82 m)
• Wing area: 1,420 ft² (131.92 m²)
• Airfoil: NACA 0018 / NACA 0010
• Empty weight: 36,135 lb (16,391 kg)
• Loaded weight: 54,000 lb (24,495 kg)
• Max takeoff weight: 65,500 lb (29710 kg)
• Powerplant: 4× Wright R-1820-97 “Cyclone” turbosupercharged radial engines, 1,200 hp (895 kW) each
• Maximum speed: 287 mph (249 knots, 462 km/h)
• Cruise speed: 182 mph (158 knots, 293 km/h)
• Range: 1,738 nmi (2,000 mi, 3,219 km) with 2,722 kg (6,000 lb) bombload
• Service ceiling 35,600 ft (10,850 m)
• Rate of climb: 900 ft/min (4.6 m/s)
• Wing loading: 38.0 lb/ft² (185.7 kg/m²)
• Power/mass: 0.089 hp/lb (150 W/kg)
• Guns: 13× M2 Browning .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine guns in twin turrets, plus single dorsal, fore and aft beam positions (with optional extra nose armament fitted in glazed nose).
• Bombs: Although it theoretically could carry 17,417 lb (7900 kg) of bombs, the B-17 rarely flew combat missions with more than 5,071 lb (2300 kg).
05 May 2008 Leave a Comment
in Field trips
We went to the theater today for a Cinco de Mayo show.
There was one Aztec dancer and a guy from CA who played traditional Indo/Mexika music. So they played on drums, flutes, turtle shells, sea shells, bows and bowls! Here is a picture of their water drum.
It’s half a gourd floating in a bigger bowl full of water, it sounded really neat. Here they are playing on the bow and bowls. Here they are asking for some audience interaction. Here are the sounds of the jungle (the frog sounds were 2 sea shells rubbed together.) Here is a pic of one of the turtle shells with a bone for a drum stick.
The kids had fun repeating the words after the singer and weren’t even mad when they didn’t get picked to help.
After lunch we stopped by the firefighter museum and apparently I had bad info. There was no free day today. I don’t know why that is my fault, but we didn’t get to see it – we’ll have to wait until the next ‘real’ free day.
Tonight Joel is off to CAP and we get to stay home, yeah! He has a friend sleeping over, so he did extra school work today to make up for tomorrow.
I added the pics to the girls room on the post below, check it out (the dollar store had the raffia fringe, I almost bought enough!)
24 Apr 2008 1 Comment
Well, it’s that day again. Since I am a SAHHSM, my kids spent the day with me! Since I tend to do cool things, they not only spent it with me, they spent it at the ballpark! (Not that I think I’m cool, but my kids like the neat stuff we do, so that makes me kind of cool to them.)
So, we headed out to Coors field to sit in the rock pile. I’m not sure why they call it the rock pile, maybe because it’s on top of this?
I have to say that the guy behind me was so rude. The National Anthem was playing and he was on his cell phone, my gosh! Get off the phone and sing or just shut up and listen.
Anyway it’s the cheap seats and we were 1 bleacher from the top, which made it easy to squish the Cubs with my fingers, see?
(Ok I couldn’t really see the pic I was taking so the guy isn’t actually getting squished in this shot.)
Hannah got a chance to hit some home runs in the kiddy bat area and Grace was a hit with her hot dog hat.
The fan photographer lady came over and took our pic because of that hat.
Also fans got a Rockies 2007 championship ring from Shane co. I hate their commercials, but these rings are too cool. Wonder twins activate!
At the start of the game I felt like we were in Chicago with all the yelling for the OTHER team. Hello? We’re in Denver, so you’re supposed to root for the Rockies. And yes, I know green isn’t a Rockies color, it’s so they don’t get lost.
So, we ate snow cones and cotton candy to while away the innings.
We had a 1-0 lead, then it was 1-1, then 2-1, then 2-2, then at the bottom of the 7th we hit a homerun. In the 8th we shut out the cubs and got two more runs to lead 4-2.
The top of the 9th we were all standing as the pitcher struck out cub after cub. Boom-ba-da-bing, WIN!
A few parting shots….
03 Apr 2008 Leave a Comment
We went with some of the DDC’ers (double-digit club) from our HS group to the Art Deco exhibit at the Aurora history museum. There were dishes and lamps, refrigerator and posters, beds and art all in the art deco style.
There was leaded fiesta ware from the 1930’s (caution don’t eat on it!) They had posters with pictures of Denver buildings built in the art deco style (not the Paramount theater though.) All of my kids had paper and pencil and chose an object and started drawing it.
Hannah threw her paper into the exhibit and I had to retrieve it (last time she threw her baby in one of the exhibits and I never did find it.) Grace drew these orange plates and so did Joel.
Bethany drew this lamp and a TV.
Hannah drew circles! My kids are familiar with art deco in that we watch a lot of Poirot with David Suchet as Poirot (He is to Poirot what Basil Rathbone is to Sherlock Holmes.) The sets are all 1930ish art deco in the movies. Even the opening credits have an art deco flair, so it was neat to see this kind of art form up close. Now when we drive around town I’ll point out a building and ask if it looks like it was inspired by art deco. My friend Jen who came along has a quiz on her site entitled: Art deco, Art Nouveau or cheese (I’m not sure why cheese is coming up so much lately!) To end I give you an ad from the history of Aurora exhibit, ahh the days of $55 mortgage payments.
After the museum we went to Mcd’s with a friend and played. Mcd’s thought they would keep me from ever getting a caramel sundae again (have you tried to get one there? They haven’t had caramel as a topping in a year or two.) But, I got the better of them! You know how they have that caramel dipping sauce for the apples? Well, I ordered a plain sundae and got 3 of those caramel packets, perfect! Never again will I have to choose fudge if I don’t want it. I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner though, they’ve had those apple dipper things for like 3 years now……
It’s almost time on our group again for co-op sign-ups. Right now I have 3 or 4 in mind. One is, of course, a trip to the Longmont cultural museum. It’s free and fun! Joel got an idea last night when listening to the radio to do a competition of this. He’s also hosting a duct tape wallet making class, because he can make one in record time now (thank you library for making me invest in duct tape stock.) Tomorrow it’s GS and we have the canines of the rockies coming in, I can’t wait to see their puppy (or dog, I don’t know which they’re bringing.)
02 Apr 2008 Leave a Comment
What do all of these things have in common? We did something with them all yesterday. First we had a co-op at the Celestial seasonings tea factory. Yes, I know we went there a few months back, but it’s tea! The girls think putting on hair nets is so much fun.
Hannah couldn’t go on the tour (she’s under 5, don’t tell her though.)
But she had a good time sampling teas while we waited. I scrounged around in the discount bin and found: red zinger, blueberry, green, mint and vanilla apple teas. Now we have a good supply for Tea Tuesday. We looked around the gift shop, which makes me nervous because there is lots of breakable stuff in there. Then we went back to the tour center to drink yet more tea. I tried hot apple plum something, it was pretty good. We had cold strawberry tea (which I have at home, but we’ve never had it cold.) After giving some stuff to those who missed my African safari co-op and who are participating in Joel’s project we headed to Longmont for lunch.
The whole reason I wanted to stay in Longmont was for the marine biology class at 4pm. If you don’t think I can kill 4 hours, you’re dead wrong. After eating at Mcd’s we went to the museum. I told the lady there that I was 4th on the list, but that I would come by at 4 to see if anyone hadn’t show up. We went through the new gallery exhibit entitled contemporary quilts. These aren’t your grandmother’s quilts.
(Prairie flowers by Judith Trager, Autumn in the Rockies by Gretchen Hill, Don’t fence me out by Anne Theobald.)
They are smaller and are meant more as a piece of art or a way to make a statement. They are very pretty though. They had a set up where the kids could make their own quilts out of flannel.
Then we went around to the permanent gallery and sat next to the old radio listening to the great depression news and music. Hannah wandered around with the accordion; I don’t think I want her to take it up.
I was reading an old magazine about the field workers who were shipped into Longmont to help with the pea harvest. I couldn’t believe my eyes and had to read the sentence twice, they were spraying the workers down with DDT before they let them onto the fields! I also read that in WWII German and Japanese POW’s were housed in the defunct sugar building and bussed out to the fields to work (that sentence comes into play later in this story.) I pried the kids out of the museum and we went to Kanemoto Park.
The attraction at this park is the 5 level pagoda given to the city of Longmont by a Japanese resident.
He was treated very nicely in Longmont when America was rounding up Japanese who lived in this country and sending then to camps during the war. He and his family fought in the war in a Japanese unit for us and had a farm in Longmont.
The five levels represent: Love, Empathy, Understanding, Gratitude of all things and Giving selflessly of oneself for the happiness of others. Longmont has ‘The city of compassion’ as their motto. Bethany said they weren’t very compassionate to those prisoners, making them work in the beet fields (told you it would come up.) But, Bethany knows nothing of the atrocities of war, I think that letting the prisoners work in the beet fields was just something for them to do, better than staying in the prison and doing nothing (or maybe I am wrong.) The girls found a creek flowing by the path and went to investigate.
My kids are attracted to water like flies to a jelly biscuit. They can find it anywhere. I warned them not to get wet, and they didn’t! I don’t know what plant this is, but I think it looks cool stripped down to it bare thistles.
Grace found a little stick and made this cross (which she lost right after I took the pic.)
We played on the slides and then went to Hannah’s favorite place.
The cheese factory! Well, it’s not so much a factory as it is a warehouse and café. They have coats by the door for you if you think 40 degrees in the cooler is too cold (obviously the girls thought it was too cold.)
We looked at cheeses from all over the world, here is one from France.
Hannah thought the cheese wheel would be delicious, but I couldn’t afford it.
Judging by the prices I think that wheel would cost about $500!!! So, we sampled some cheese, Bethany said the room stank (it didn’t), bought some chocolate and a postcard with French cheese on it and sat outside.
Then it was back to the museum to wait and see if Grace could get into the marine biology class. Yes, they had 2 openings and the first 2 people on the list said no, so she got in! While she was in class we went upstairs and played with the magnet boards.
I was reading the Longmont scrapbook again. The first time I read it I was surprised to find out that you could make sugar out of beets. I mean I guess you could make sugar out of almost anything if you squeezed it enough, but it would have to be something that grew well here, so sugar beets it is. I saw this ad from Great Western Sugar Company, funny isn’t it?
(If you can’t read it, it basically says that Sally gets her energy from the 18 calories per tbsp. of sugar that she eats. She doesn’t need artificial sweetener because they don’t give energy and they don’t make you thin. Play it safe and make sure you get sugar every day!)
Here is a picture of the sugar factory in the 1930’s.
Now look out the window and what do I see?
Pretty cool. Also this was on one of the pages about canning peas, an article about the loss of life in WWII.
I don’t know the exact date of the article, but to those who think 4,000 Americans is a heavy toll (and I am not saying that those are 4,000 lives that don’t count) look at this: 63,958. I know this is a different kind of war than back then, but pause for a moment and let it sink in, 63, 958.
After waiting on Grace for an hour we went in to get her. Guess whose hand shot up in the air when they asked, ‘What is this?’
Yep, Grace’s hand. Notice her shirt; it’s a whale saying, ‘save the humans.’ She disagreed with the lecturer on the statement that the octopus is the smartest ocean creature; she thinks it’s the whale (any of them!) The lady pulled me aside and said that Grace really knew a lot about whales, yeah because she’s been studying them for 4 months. We went home from this and chilled out the rest of the evening.
I still need to go back to Longmont for the following: the farm open space that we didn’t see, the train museum in Niwot (close to there), the rose garden and some old houses. A very cool day indeed.
01 Apr 2008 Leave a Comment
It was the first day for Joel and Bethany ‘cuz they started earlier than Grace. Does that make sense? We school year-round, which makes COVA uneasy in July. It’s the end of the school-year for them and they have to take extra precautions not to wipe our on-line work. But that’s what they are there for, to bend to my will. Anyway our reading cozy corner is enjoyed by more than the humans in the family.
Hannah now has 2 aqua-doodles at her disposal.
Joel was reading Martian Chronicles, I might have to re-read that along side him.
Grace was reading 36 pages of her phonics booklet (and doing very well for having 2 weeks off.)
Bethany was supposed to be doing science, but she was eating pistachios.
I don’t like taking more than 2 weeks off at a time. We get to do cool stuff almost everyday, so it’s not like we’re in front of a workbook or computer for 8 hours a day. Plus, I find that my children lose a lot when they spend too much time away from learning. I know that everything can be learning, but if you have someone who doesn’t like math, they aren’t just going to get up everyday and figure out 35% discounts on shoes just to keep up on math.
Today Joel got all of his papers ready for his science experiment. He has 10 kids from our group (9 plus Grace) who are going to write words on different pieces of paper to see if one particular piece works better than others. He prepared 10 sheets of each paper (there are 7 total papers.) He glued blue sand to the bottom lines of 1 paper, marked over the bottom line in yellow and black on 2 others, 1 paper has raised lines, one has green lines on the bottom, etc. The kids will write his 18 words (like Dakota, Got, Sandbox) onto the different papers and then return them to him later this month. Then with his collected data he can graph how the different papers did. We started this back in November when we were looking for a paper that Grace could write on with her lacking motor skills and farsightedness. Joel thought it would be neat to see if others came to the same paper we used, or if different kids just need different writing paper.
Today is also Tea Tuesday and tomorrow we’re in Boulder for a co-op at the tea factory. This will give me a chance to buy some more tea, we’re almost out! I have Grace on the wait list for the marine biology class in Longmont tomorrow too, so hope that 4 people don’t show up! Thursday we’re going to the Aurora history museum for the art deco exhibit and Friday at GS we’re having a presentation by Canines of the Rockies. We’re going to see how a puppy gets trained to be a helper dog and make vests for our stuffed animal friends. Should be a good meeting. So, that’s my week. Yeah, I thought we didn’t have much, but it turns out I just hadn’t put it on the calendar yet!
20 Mar 2008 1 Comment
Joel, Grace and Hannah made some stop-motion movies at the library today.
This was too cool, we have a web camera and we have windows….I think we’ll be making more of these.
Wow, we have never been on a tour of a television station before, and it was pretty boring. Apparently with March madness going on, news has stopped. But before I get into that here is our tour.
We first stopped at the wall of employees.
They go from oldest to newest hire; the guy on the upper left has been at channel four since 1971! Onto the weather center, and since it was such a pretty day I guess there was no weather to report.
We saw all of the computers and the weather desk and the green chromo-key background.
After this we went into the main reporter area. There were a lot of empty desks, which brought us to the assignment editor. He explained that usually the place would be hopping, but since they are in the middle of March basketball madness and they don’t have to show the news until 10pm, everyone was covering basketball or on vacation.
Good thing no important news happens during basketball season……anyway the assignment editor talked to us about how the news gets to them. No, they don’t usually go out and get it the old-fashioned way, it comes to them. They listen to the police channel, emergency channels, they get feedback from the east coast affiliates, phone calls and e-mails. In fact the recent outbreak of salmonella in Alamosa’s drinking water supply was e-mailed to them by a concerned individual and then they checked up on it and got the confirmation from the water district. Good thing there are concerned citizens out there!
He showed us the cameras around town where they can look for weather, accidents or such. Then he asked two awful questions: 1. Who here watches channel 4? (We watch channel 7 and a lot of us don’t watch news anyway, they are children he’s talking to.) and 2. Who wants to be a journalist? (I could see their minds whirring; they were asking themselves ‘Doesn’t that involve writing?’) Nobody raised their hand.
Next stop was the station of the guy who puts all the video feeds together on the station to look nice. He was pretty cool. He showed them how to add layers of video and then sound and transitions. His board looked like the board at the radio station James used to work at, but the monitors…I was jealous (more jealous than with the morgue monitor.) They have 4 huge plasma screens with different video feeds on them.
Next we went into the room that you see on TV. There were really big, expensive looking cameras.
Our guide told us that it only takes 1 person to operate those because they use a joystick, neat. Notice (besides the red eyes of the children) that in the news desk they have a screen and keyboard.
We didn’t get the 411 on the keyboard, but the screen scrolls their script, so does the mirror under the camera, so they have another place to look for their words if that one goes down. Then Jim Benemann came in to do a spot and we had to leave.
I guess the kids would have been more impressed to meet a ‘TV celebrity’ if they had known who he was.
Last stop was the sports center where they have a mini-studio to do the sports.
Then it was time to leave, but not before Hannah and her co-hort pushed a chair off the stage. Luckily the guide was already down the stairs, she never heard a thing.
I think it would be nice to go back when the place is crawling with people and see them doing their jobs.
Maisy says Happy Spring!
12 Mar 2008 1 Comment
in Field trips
Today we went to the Fox Theater for their cultural concert on Japan. Here is a detail from one of the old theater seats.
In one story about an old man who gives away his rice and wood to a stranger and gets a magic box in return, we had to help with the story line by doing origami. When we finished we had a box (although it’s not magic.)
Make a box like ours by going here. This is our progression from ‘making it in our seat in the dark with nothing to fold it on’ to ‘making it on the stage in light with the stage to fold it on’.
That made all the difference. In another story we heard about a tsunami that threatened a village, but they were saved by and old man and his grandson (who listened to his grandfather and did what he told him to do.) The kids had fun there (again.) Anyway here is a poster for Hina Matsuri and a 1,000 paper crane project from Mr. Origami.
When the storyteller asked the kids if they had a boys or girls day here they all replied no (except for my kids, because we have a kids day in July.) They thought ‘what a neat idea to have a day for yourself!’ I wonder what our kids are going to plan for kids day this year….
Back home Bethany started on her tape project. I got the idea from here. She’s not doing a full body one though.
Here are her ballerina legs in some old pointe shoes, pretty cool huh?!
If you’re wondering it took almost one roll of packing tape to do both legs and feet. You start by wrapping the first layer sticky side out. Then you go back around 3 or 4 times with sticky side down. You cut a seam to get off the piece and then tape the seam. I did the feet as a separate piece and then taped them on. She might end up painting them or maybe leave them clear. How come I never got to do this in school?
Maisy getting a hug. Maisy going down the slide.