Sunday, January 31, 2016

fresh air, sunshine, and meat

There's a predicted big storm headed our way.  It's just teasing now with pretty fluffy snow outside. The ugly mean snow is expected to arrive later on and the meanness will last until mid-week.  So, in preparation, we went out yesterday and stocked up.

Not on food and other provisions, which might have been the more practical thing, but we stocked up on fun outdoor time.  After managing to rouse the teenager, we headed for the hills.

If lost in the wilderness, it can be helpful to have fuschia shoes

Despite the weather forecast doom, yesterday was a warm day for January.  The trails were quite muddy slushy snowy, but manageable.

And it was nice to see quite a few others of all ages out enjoying the area as well.  But not so many as to not give a sense of being in the boonies.

We were at Spruce Mountain Open Space, which I highly recommend.  It's easy to get to and has great views.

Sacrificing safety for the all important photo
(disclaimer:  Meego made me do it)

We even managed to log a geocache during our indulgent adventure.  The clue said it was "in plain sight".

Well, I guess it would be in plain sight if you live inside the old dead tree stump.
Thus satisfied, I can now accept my outdoor time being spent with a snow shovel.  For a while.

Speaking of outdoors and provisions, our neighbor apparently went out, hunted down, killed, and processed an antelope.  This because he gave us a couple of pounds of freshly processed antelope meat.

I've never eaten antelope and just keep picturing this------->

which is why I'm not much of a meat eater and would really suck as a hunter.  But since the deed is done, I'm thinking I'll slow cook it into a stew and let the carnivores have at it.

The neighbor is a nice guy, and now I see that he could also come in handy for the apocalypse.  

So as I'm probably settling into a few days of cabin fever spent with cooking dead animal, I'm plotting a course to help me through... other than just hoping for a good outcome from that groundhog on Tuesday.

Feel free to take pity on me with updates on your blogs for me to read.  My note to self to "don't look down" only carries me so far.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

my name is not Normal

"Hello Ms. Barker,

Thanks so much for letting us know about the issue you have raised. I immediately closed the listings and will send all the books back to our warehouse for inspection. We deeply appreciate the way you have handled this - it really means a lot to us!

Best of luck with your studies and may 2016 be an outstanding year for you and your family!

Sincerely yours,


Yeah, blah blah blah blah....

Okay so this thing happened.  I'm a typically pretty organized person, relative to our offspring anyway, which upon writing that, I realize isn't necessarily that organized.  Anyway, I'm usually  organized enough.  AS SUCH, I ordered a textbook for a class I'm taking this semester a little over a week in advance of the start of class.  Obviously, I ordered a "used-in-good-condition" book because who in the heck buys textbooks new??

I ordered it through amazon from a "top seller", with high customer satisfaction and all that.  I also have a prime account, so I happily received the book in two business days.  It was nicely packaged and lived up to its "used-in-good-condition" description.  I leafed through it for about 10 seconds, then put it on my tidy shelf where it would be all set to go for the start of class.

The day before the first day of class, the professor posted the syllabus, which I perused a bit.  In my perusement, I realized the book that was sitting on my tidy shelf was not the book she was referencing in the syllabus.  What the...?

Scenarios flashed through my mind:

  • I ordered the wrong book (no way)
  • The mean professor changed the book at the last minute! (how dare she!)
  • The lame university bookstore doesn't have the right information! (oh for chrissake!)

Either way, I knew I needed the correct book, so I flashed over to amazon to order the different book, then set about returning the wrong one.  Lo and behold! I discovered that I'd ordered the right book in the first place.  The dang "top seller" sent me the wrong one!

To add to the confusion, the book they sent me was similar to the one I'd ordered - same subject matter, similar title - but different authors and, obviously, different ISBN.  So when it arrived, I didn't even think to check if it was the right one.  If they would've sent me something like "Goodnight, Moon", for instance, I mighta noticed!

The right book (from a different top seller) arrived just a couple of days after class started, so no biggie, and amazon promptly processed my return.  I was still pretty disappointed in that original seller, so I wrote a little review.  I did mention that I doubted this was a common problem, and that the book arrived promptly and nicely packaged, but still... I gave them a 2-star "poor" overall rating.

Not ten minutes after my review went live, I got a phone call.  Joe.  Wanting to know what happened. Explaining that he was so very sorry.  That theirs was just a small family business.  That he was worried about the negative effects...

Okay fine.  I told him I'd remove my review.  I mainly just wanted them to be aware of their mistake and  hopefully be more thorough in the future, not so much to deter other customers from purchasing from them.  Obviously, he was now aware.  He thanked me profusely, and after the deed was undone, I received the above e-mail.

Interestingly, as I was removing the review, there was a pop-up window from amazon asking my reason for deleting it.  It mentioned "Don't do it just because the seller asked you to".  Well, yeah, that was kinda my reason, but I deleted in anyway.

I did take note that in the e-mail he sent, Joe spelled my last name, Barker, correctly.  More often than not, those who don't know us personally, spell or pronounce our name "Baker" upon seeing it in print.

Which did you see?  Go ahead, be honest.

I'm no baker, by any definition of the word.  So I give Joe credit for getting that right.  Now, if only he could read ISBNs.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

The east sucked all our snow. Thanks!

While the eastern part of the country is digging out, I feel almost guilty - but not really, not at all - with the last couple of days when we've had spring paying a visit.  Don't worry, it won't last.

Apparently, Friday was "Orange Friday" around here.  About a football game or something later.  I stopped on the "Popcycle Bridge" - an old rundown bridge that was recently revamped along the trail system.  It includes painted lines and decals, cute benches, and traffic signs, as a place for young kids to learn the ways of the road.  We old kids like it too.

I don't own any Bronco gear, but Bella was up for the fashion challenge.

Speaking of rules of the road, I got Meego signed up fro Driver's Ed this week.  I called the place and the guy says, "Got number three set to go, eh?"

He remembered us?

He probably had all our information at the ready from my phone number, but I do appreciate the familiarity... and the family discount.

We haven't figured out a car for Meego yet, which he is very happy about.  We want him to learn to drive a stick, but our current fleet is all automatics.  Chaco bought the Civic off us, and I doubt he'll loan it to Meego for the cause.

We're not trading Ellie Mae, she's so lovably functional.  We inherited my mom's 2000 Toyota Echo, which would be great if it were a stick, but it's not.  No way we're trading that either, because... Mom.

So Meego's grinning like the Cheshire cat, and offering to help pay for "his" car.  Since he started making decent money last summer, he's considered possible cars.  He was googling images one day, and I mentioned that I remembered wanting a Honda CRX back in the 80s

So he did a quick image search and replied,

"You wanted one of those??", rather incredulously.

"Yeah.  So??  Whassamatter with that?", I replied.

No answer, just a strange look.

So I'm totally in the market for one now.  Because every boy should learn to drive in his mom's teen dream car.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Wake up!

I was at work, and the group I worked for had just moved to a beautiful new building. I was walking around the building with some co-workers, checking out the new digs.  There were large areas, each for different work functions - administrative, HR, IT, finance, engineering, facilities, etc - and so each area had its own "personality".

Since the building was new and we were in the process of moving in, most of the areas weren't yet occupied. But there were paper layouts/maps that showed the different workspaces with people's names written in marker at their assigned spots.

I kept walking around, noting how nice the building environment was with its large open areas, high ceilings, large windows, and pleasant modern furnishings.  But I couldn't find my name on any of the maps.  I knew I was in the right place as I recognized other people and saw their names, but where was I supposed to go?  I was getting frustrated.

Then I woke up.

I woke up, but I remained frustrated for a while as the dream cobwebs slowly ebbed away.

And then Shia Labeouf was with me... "Don't let your dreams be dreams!"

Yeah, preach it!  Well... maybe just not the part about not "finding myself".  On that note, back-to-school this week.  I don't typically remember my dreams, but that one seemed to mirror my wanting to be finished with school and actually working.  Somewhere.

Also this week was our P.E.O. "Christmas in January!" party after our real party was called on account of a snowstorm.  It was a good time.  Our hostess had even left all her decorations up, so it actually felt like Christmas - just when I thought it was all done.  Some ladies even wore their ugly Christmas sweaters for the occasion.  At least I think they were purposely ugly...

Then yesterday, I attended the first meeting of the high school site improvement committee.  Remember?  I volunteered to identify capital project(s) to make the high school more sparkly?  So our meeting mainly consisted of taking a tour of the school.  And here I was worried that I wouldn't find anything to agree to spend money on.  NOT a problem!

Funny that Meego didn't mention the run down locker rooms or dated classrooms when I asked him for input.  But then, judging by his bedroom, that state is probably normal to him.

So while I still haven't found my name in marker in the pretty new building, I've got school and working for free to keep me out of trouble.



Sunday, January 17, 2016

tidiness and blurry vision

I spent much of this week tidying and organizing and not winning the lottery.  It's been helpful that there's a lot of sloppy snow and ice around, so I was a bit stranded anyway.  Of course, once I'd get one area tidied up, it only served to highlight how cluttered other parts were, but it's coming along.

Also, Chaco turned 22 this week.  He's been busy with a "winterim" class, so we're planning to get together later today for a little hoopla, nothing major.

As Chaco says, "After 21, birthdays aren't such a big deal".  I don't have any memory of my own 22nd birthday.

Chaco in the tent on Christmas Eve ----->
Looks like some sort of survival inquisition.

Speaking of aging, my 91-year-old dad fell and cut his head this week.  He lives in a nursing home, and was tended to in a timely fashion.  He's got a ton of stitches on his forehead, though.

I really do wish he lived closer to us, and I was about to, again, encourage him to move.  But as I talked to him, he reiterated how much he appreciates his caregivers and living in our slow little hometown, all things considered.

So I'm glad he's feeling okay.  I asked if they'd given him painkillers for his head wound, and he said "No, it doesn't even hurt", and I'm thinking they probably gave him something without mentioning it.

Also this week, I took Meego to the eye doctor.  He was overdue.  Of course, he doesn't tell me he's overdue, I'm just left to figure it out.   Like when we're at a fast food place and he doesn't know what to order because he can't see the menu in back of the counter.

So I ask him, "Do you wear your glasses in school?"

"No, they're too small".  News to ME.

So I took him into this new practice that Magnum found after our vision insurance changed.  It's a nice place, and I waited as Meego was put through the paces.  He later emerged with the new eye doctor - a rather small, fit looking man.  He handed me the paperwork to take to the optician, and I noticed the doctor's name looked familiar in an uncommon-name-that-I've-seen-somewhere kind of way.

It was familiar because it's the same last name of a local female runner who wins a lot of races.  And it was also familiar because I remember running in a local 10K race a couple of years ago where two other runners - one man, one woman - and I spent the last couple miles vying for position in our own little mini race of the old folks.

We ended up with the man crossing first, with me behind, and the other woman close after me.  Afterward, we all thanked each other for a fun finish to the race and that was that.  I learned that the man was the father of that young woman who takes overall wins almost all the time.

And it was him - the eye doctor - I realized after the appointment.  I felt he was kinda looking at me like, "Do I know you??" as he was talking to me about Meego's exam

This photo is from the race gallery from a stretch where I was leading the good doctor, with some fun loving 5k'ers in the background.  I was having to frequently push my glasses up the bridge of my nose.  His shades are probably super custom fit!

Anyway, since we kind of bonded during that race, Dr. G is giving Meego free eyecare.
No he's not, but it would've been a fun twist to the digressive story.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

er mer gerd - snow!

My walk passed the duck pond last week
We've lived here for 12 years now.  The first day our kids got a snow day from school, I gave them the news as they lay in lumps in their beds.

"School's closed.  Snow day".

They thought I was messing with them.  They looked at me like, "Why would you tease us like that, you Meanie".

And they grouchily started to stir so as to get ready for school.  I  had to convince them.

"No really.  There's a bunch of snow outside.  There's NO school today. Guy on the radio just said."

Still, they just looked at me.  Maybe starting to get a little scared.  Maybe they needed to call 911 about their mom talking gibberish?

It's not that snow was a new thing, but just the opposite. We'd just moved here from Ogden Valley, Utah where we'd gotten HEAPS of snow.  But all that snow meant that we lived very near three ski resorts where the whole point was to get there and play.  The roads were always kept impeccably clear, and there wasn't a whole lot of "city" traffic anyway.  Snow day?  What's that?

Eventually I managed to convince them, and then had to deal with the day-long joyous aftermath...

...which I could understand because of my own memories of snow days while in elementary and middle school.

Some days, I just knew we'd get a snow day, and my prediction would be confirmed as we listened intently as the radio announcer said the magic words.  This was back in Ye Olde Days before internet, e-mails, texts...

Snow days typically started out with the shoveling of our sidewalks and driveway - which was relatively long.  About 5 miles uphill both ways as I recall.   Brother Guano and I had that task and didn't necessarily mind.  It was a snow day!

Then Guano usually went around with some other neighborhood boys and cashed in on the business opportunity the snow provided, cleaning up sidewalks and driveways.  I didn't partake.  That was boy work.

The remainder of the day usually included sledding or tubing with our neighbor friends, as we had our pick of choice hills nearby.  We'd come back home all damp and rosey cheeked, and totally trash the house near the back door with our wet snow clothes and boots.  Mom usually served up something warm and hearty, like grilled cheese and soup and bonus hot chocolate.  I don't remember her nagging us about how we'd totally trashed a portion of the house.  Maybe she was just glad we spent so much time outside.

Dang, now it seems like something from a Norman Rockwell painting.  Believe me, it wasn't nearly that wholesome.

If we weren't outside shredding hills on our sleds or slaving on the driveway, inside usually meant
Legos.  We had this huge set that my grandmother had bought one Christmas.  This was back in the days when Legos were just assorted bricks, not specific sets like they are now.  Our huge set included bricks of all sizes and colors along with some windows, doors, wheels, fences, trees and some Giant Lego people compared to the minis of today.

In fact, we still have most of that set here today.  Anyone want 'em?  I'm life-changing tidying up, remember?

I mainly built things like houses and stores and gas stations - places for the giant people to hang out - while Guano made race cars and race cars and race cars and maybe a truck or two (hence the gas stations).

Nowadays, I hear anxious statements about trying to attract young girls to "building toys" by utilizing pink marketing or incorporating fashion and such.  Unnecessary tactics IMHO, but maybe that's a whole 'nother blog post...

Anyway, eventually another snow day would be in the books.  I appreciated them very much.  Getting a snow day was like finding a five-dollar bill on the street.  Maybe not as poweful as winning the lottery - not that I know ANYTHING about that - but a nice little gift.

Linking up again this week with Mama Kat

4. Describe what snow days were like when you were a child. What made them memorable?


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

joy and sparkle

With the start of the new year, I've once again declared myself smoke free, and I'm back to strapping on the pedometer and getting my healthy money.  Another quarter, another round of health incentives.

In addition to giving us credit for the number of steps we take each day, the program sometimes offers supplemental "challenges" for bonus points.  This week, we have the "Aim High Challenge" where we set our "number-1 priority" each day.  I don't even have to meet the goal, just have to set it.  Heck, in reality, I don't even really have to set it.  Just say that I did, and *BAM*, points.

But it wouldn't feel right to cheat.  And I've actually been trying to do this anyway.  Spring semester doesn't start until next week.  We get a long winter break because the university does this "winterim" session where they offer a few one-week long concentrated classes.  That's going on now.

So, in the meantime, I'm taking care of a few necessary mundane things while also continuing to call upon my "fresh eyes" to make a few simple home improvements.  This has mainly involved getting rid of crap, and I'm enjoying that immensely.

I've heard of this popular book, but haven't yet read it.  I do get a kick out of reading some of the reviews.  From them, I get a feel of how this book is written and why it may cause a few snickers.

In short, the author apparently advises to get rid of anything that doesn't "spark joy".   My fresh eyes are finding a lot of non-sparking things.

I thought I would get into the spirit of the Aim High Challenge along with this life-changing tidying magic and set a few number-1 priorities to outline my week.

  • Monday: Go through dresser drawers - (got rid of two joyless pairs of pants, yay)
  • Tuesday:  Go through the food storage.  I've got a feeling there are some joylessly expired items in there.
  • Wednesday:  Win the Powerball Jackpot
  • Thursday: Research joyously sparkling islands for purchase
  • Friday:  Make a list of things to do with the rest of 500+ million dollars (after taxes)

Okay then.  All pretty doable, I'd say.  Should be a productive week.


Thursday, January 7, 2016


"If the way you spent your New Year’s Eve is any indication of how the rest of the year will go, how would you say your future is looking right about now?"
  • After arriving at our rental cabin, Magnum, Chaco, and Wolfgang went for groceries, and then Chaco made a nice dinner for everyone
  • Wolfgang had brought a very fun game - Wizard - so we all learned to play while playing several rounds.  
  • When we'd finished the game, midnight was approaching, and we began to discuss our midnight mile strategy.
*Pause for some background info...
About eight or so years ago, I was with the family at the bowling alley on New Year's Eve.  The kids were making plans for their evening when I noted that I planned to be snug in bed, probably by 10:30 or so.  They urged me to stay up, but I held fast.  Finally, I told them that the only way I'd stay up was if someone ran a mile outside with me at  midnight - a "midnight mile" for the new year.  I thought that would be the end of it, but much to my surprise, they all wanted to do it.  We've managed to do it every year since in some form or another.

  • We tried to determine just  how cold it was outside.  We all had different weather apps on our phones, which were giving varying results.  We took the average and decided it was about one degree above zero Fahrenheit.
  • We had a crude map of the area, so mapped out an even more crude route.  
  • Thus crudely planned, we began to dress for the occasion
  • Meego and I put on warm running clothes while the rest of the crew geared up as for Robert Scott's final expedition
  • All that compression gear made me feel rather super-heroish, while truthfully only giving me the appearance of your garden variety weirdo.

  • As the witching hour hit, we were outside.  Meego and I immediately took off running as it seemed the natural way to keep warm
  • We followed what we felt was our crudely planned route as the area lights fell further behind us
  • Thankfully, the path eventually looped back around, and all the while, we kept the area lights in sight.
  • We had no idea where the others were by then, and we stopped to enjoy the holiday lights in the quiet cold of the first minutes of the new year.  

  • Since we'd stopped running, I began to feel the coldness.  Meego seemed strangely immune.
  • I pulled my balaclava up to protect my face from freezing off as we made our way toward the cabin.
  • Doing so had the effect of completely fogging up my glasses.
  • I was "faced" with a choice.  I could (a) sacrifice my face in order to see, (b) save my face and be essentially blind, or (c) stop breathing.
  • I ended up choosing a strange combination of all three, and we managed to make it back to the cozy cabin where we met up with the expedition team.

Interpretation for 2016:
  • If I don't shop or cook, we still won't starve 
  • I'll learn new stuff and have to pay good attention to the lessons, or I'll lose
  • Educated guesses will probably be good enough
  • Power clothes will be a factor, but image isn't everything
  • I won't get eaten by the wolves as long as I plan ahead, don't stray too far from the path, and keep my attention on the bright things
  • I  might have some tough decisions to make, but I'll manage to keep the vision and save face.
  • Don't forget to breathe

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
3. If the way you spent your New Year’s Eve is any indication of how the rest of the year will go, how would you say your future is looking right about now?

And you??

I was curious and looked it up.  The first midnight mile was seven years ago - [here].
There's video.  Meego was so tiny!


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Years with a throwback and some ghosts

"I've been there once, many years ago when I lived in Boulder.  And it was just for a day hike.  I'm not even sure of where we were"

Such was my answer when Magnum asked if I'd ever been to Estes Park, Colorado.  He'd been there once even longer ago than me, as a kid with his family.  So we said, "Yeah, Estes Park!  Let's go!"

 He found us a 2 BR 1BA cabin, with kitchen facilities, gas fire place, and the all important wi-fi.

Cross-country skiing was the activity of choice, and there was a shop in town where we could rent just about ANYthing:  skis, snowboards, snowshoes, skates.  They even rented hiking boots, jackets, snowpants, gloves, goggles... Seriously, with them around, there is no excuse to not get outside!

All we needed, however, were skis, boots, and poles, and we were readily taken care of by a typical ski house dude.  He did disappear for a few minutes, but was back with an explanation

"Oh, sorry, I got sidetracked with some other stuff, plus I'm really hungover..."

Oh yeah, New Years.

Anyway, the skiing was great, so we spent two days frolicking about.  Ski House Dude gave us a couple of location recommendations, and we ended up going to one the first day, and the other the second.

Trail Ridge Road is just a road that is closed every winter, so it's a nice wide open area to ski.  Most of it was nicely snow packed, with just this one area of asphalt showing.

Next up was Wild Basin Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park.  A lovely area near the foot of Longs Peak.
We skied to the Upper Falls where we stopped for a bit before making the return trip to the trailhead before dark.

Despite the hangover, Ski House Dude did us right!

As we were at Wild Basin, I was thinking the place looked a bit familiar, maybe?  Was that where I was nearly 30 years prior?  With What's-His-Face?

After we got home, I went through my prodigious archives (some old ratty photo albums), and lo and behold, there I was as a young 80's hippie chick. At Wild Basin.  Yay, I'm not senile! (yet)

As alluded to in my earlier post, we also visited the Stanley Hotel *ooooooo WEEEEEE ooooooo* of The Shining fame.  The hotel is beautiful as it sits on a hill overlooking Estes Park.  No, we didn't $$tay there, but were glad to find out they offer guided tours for guests and non-guests alike.

I remember reading The Shining back in high school, and subsequently seeing the movie.  There are differences between the two, but I enjoyed being scared by both!

Our tour was about an hour and a half and very entertaining as well as educational.  Scary Mary was our guide and did a great job.  

We were allowed to take pictures, so...

This is a hallway on the 4th floor where much paranormal activity has allegedly taken place. The 4th floor was originally wide open space where nannies and kids stayed while the adults were down whooping it  up in the ballroom and such.

When Stephen King stayed at The Stanley and got inspired all those years ago, this floor was still mostly open, and he pictured the scenes with the kid riding his Big Wheel.

Apparently, most of that paranormal activity on this floor has involved ghost/kids, which I find very creepy!

In fact, Chaco shot the above while I took one with my cell phone, and look!  Creepy ghost kid images!

.... Okay, so  maybe they were just a couple of kids on the tour with us that I blurred up a bit.  Had ya going there, didn't I!  Or not...

The hotel didn't have heat until some time in the 80s, so it used to be closed during the winter months - Remember?  The Shining?  Remember?!

We went on the general tour, but there are others that get more in depth into the history of the hotel, or into the paranormal investigative stuff.  They also offer "night ghost tours" where you can go a-hunting for several hours overnight.  We all enjoyed the tour, and I highly recommend going on one if you're ever in the area.

EEK!  A ghost!

Well, no... that's just Scary Mary in motion...

But it coulda been!


Sunday, January 3, 2016

down from the mou'ains

We're back down from our mountain adventure.  Fun was had by all.  And to think, I was originally worried that we might run out of things to do.  Oh pshaw!

In addition to the New Year's Eve midnight activities, we got in plenty of cross-country skiing..

I think Chaco was just being weird here.  Typical

Yes, I realize we're not actually
skiing in this pic

and more cross-country skiing...

along with a fair amount of this...

and some rowdy late-night gaming.  All in all, a good little weekend getaway.  Earlier in the week, I'd been dreaming of a more tropical escape since it's been so cold and snowy lately, but we really had a good time taking advantage of what winter in Colorado has to offer.

We were thinking we might have to skip it when China's medical issues came up.  But her tooth abscess is under control for the moment.  Still, we were reluctant to take her to the kennel even though they take good care of her there and give her a good bath and all.  I knew that if she was given a choice, she'd prefer to be home.

So, a shout out goes to Wolfgang's girlfriend who graciously stepped into the role of pet sitter.  She may have done too good of a job, though, because when we arrived back home this afternoon, China and Napolion looked over at us as we hauled in our baggage all, "Oh, were you guys gone?"

I will bore you with share more of our adventure soon, but as I'm such an important person, I need to tend to other things at the moment (laundry 'n' stuff...)

As to where we were, specifically, I'll leave these hints from a bit of interesting culture we took in.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!


Friday, January 1, 2016

ringing it in

Happy New Year!  Today is a day... much like yesterday actually.

But we went on a little New Year's Eve mountain adventure and succeeded in (nearly) freezing our butts off at midnight.  Wouldn't feel like new years without that component!

Meego and I broke off from the pack for 'Midnight Mile 2016', as the others were dressed more for arctic exploration rather than even slow running.  Luckily, he had a headlight because this was unfamiliar territory, and we didn't want to end up on the news as "Frozen Guests Found..."

The exertion kept us warm in the subzero cold at about 8,000 feet but eventually we slowed so as not to absolutely bite it on the ice.  And it was very pretty out, so photo ops

All managed to make it back to the cabin with appendages still attached.  No cannibalism was necessary.

Thanks for visiting in 2015.  Welcome to 2016.  Bring on spring!