Saturday, March 19, 2016

Back to the 80s!

I don't know if I miss the 80s themselves, or I just miss being young...

Last week (I wrote this at the end of January - oops!) was Snowdown, Durango's annual week-long winter festival and the theme this year was "Back to the 80s." I had no idea how much fun I was going to have, how much I missed dancing to great danceable music, and how much I'd love to go back, minus the shoulder pads.

The fun actually started at 6am January 16th, when hundreds of people were downtown Durango sitting in their cars, in the dark, listening to the local radio station—waiting for the clues...
Petra and I were at the north end of town and two more friends were at the southern end. Five clues were read on the radio and everyone went nuts! People running in all directions, hoping they had understood a clue—or were following someone who did. A line formed at each of the five designated spots, where each person was given a letter... A-Z. If you were the 27th person in line, you'd better start running again. I was in a line but was sure I was past Z, so I ran to another one and was given an "X." Phew!


That meant I got a spot on the trolley where I received a number, and then I ran to the Elk's Lodge with my number to get precious tickets to The Follies show, a ridiculous, rude, crude and socially unacceptable take on the 80s theme, local and national politics, and general buffoonery. Snowdown isn't the same if you don't score Follies tickets, and I was the only one of the four of us to get them that freezing morning. Luckily, you're allowed to buy four, so we all got one and woohoo!!

The festivities always start on a Wednesday with the Dos & Don'ts Fashion Show, an untasty luncheon with hilarious runway show where you'd be forgiven for thinking no one in Durango works.

Next up was the Kids' Follies, a far gentler version of the adult Follies. 

Even Madonna needs to eat...

My siblings might recognize this original 80s shiny jogging suit jacket. ♥

 On Friday night is The Parade, a spectacle nearly the whole town comes out for. The evening was mild and the music rocking. 

 And people got creative with their interpretations of the 80s theme. Here is our friend John Ford as Betelgeuse.  Ha! Awesome.

The Follies themselves were excellent this year; in this act the invisible robots lit up to the beat of "Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto." ♫

Here's Sue during intermission interviewing fellow audience members with a fake microphone. It's never dull with Sue. Ever! She's such a hoot.

There were hundreds of events over the five days and while I couldn't go to even a small fraction of them, it was enough to feel as though I'd been transported back to Portugal in Marty McFly's time machine and I was gutted when it was over. It took a couple of days to recover from the realization that I'm not young anymore—when did that even happen??—and that I still have clothes from the 80s in my closet, and that I will never, ever have a good hair day like this again:

But that might not be a bad thing.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2016... WHAT?! *sigh* Time sucks

Sunday, Jan 3rd:

Thanksgiving in Tubac and Christmas in Durango and New Year's Eve in Ridgway and New Year's Day in Telluride and it was all wonderful, but now it's time to face the music. On the clock radio. Tomorrow at 6:15AM.


Tubac, you ask? Yep. South of Tucson, near Arizona's border with Mexico, is Ilona & Michel's new hometown. A colourful, artsy, golfy village, it was Arizona's first European settlement, in 1752. I took this shot on a crisp morning run.

And this is why I run. Non-stop culinary awesomeness!

Not everyone is as excited to go running as Mom
(which is not very excited to begin with), but the girls were good sports and ran the Thanksgiving Day Tubac Turkey Trot (5km) with me. 
(Am I the only one who can't say Turkey Trot 
without thinking of holiday fowl with gastrointestinal issues?)

As soon as we got home it was time for the next holiday.

We hung the stockings and decorated the tree...

...went bough hunting with Jeanette (and Molly), got all the lights hung outside while it was still warmish, and then... poof!


 I love fairy lights.

And then look who came back for a visit: Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater.
Only this time he dined on the pyracantha.

Ilona & Michel visited as well and got sucked right into the festivities as quickly and surely as our newspaper into our snowblower...

 'Twas the night before Christmas...

Check out this stunning platter/bowl from Sophie!

For New Year's we drove one of my favourite circles in the world:

From Durango...

... to Molas Pass...

... to Silverton...

... to Red Mountain Pass...

... to Ouray...

and then Ridgway where we celebrated the Eve with Shane & Friends.

We continued the circle on New Year's Day to Telluride, where we spent most of the daylight hours on the slopes...

... and then back to Durango. Awesome!!

But now it's Jan 3rd and the alarm is going to ring at 6:15AM. 


Saturday, December 19, 2015

What it's all about

My Mom loves Christmas and she always made it truly the most wonderful time of the year - not through over-the-top presents under the tree because, for the most part, our gifts were of the crayons, glue and socks variety. It was the candles burning and branches perched over the paintings, the smell of baking, all the treats, traditions and lights in the windows that made my bedroom glow at night. 

It was so cozy we didn't want to be anywhere else in the world.

It was only as an adult that I truly understood how much work was involved in making that happen for us because she always had as much fun as we did. 

I've been working a lot—I sold 26 houses this year (31 sides)—and it would've been soooo easy to skimp on the decorations...

... but that would be missing the whole point.

Because what am I working for?


I'm working so we can continue providing the kind of life for our girls that Nicolas and I were so fortunate to have had growing up. And only working, all the time, is not the memories I want to create for our squids. 

(Isn't this pretty?)

So even if it means spending days decorating and working at my job until midnight after the girls go to bed so we can play games by the fire, it's worth it—because they're not just decorations, they're memories.

And that's what it's all about.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Utah Slot Canyons

November 18, 2015. - Seventeen years ago today I made a commitment to an adventure that was guaranteed to be a whole lot awesome, and a little bit crazy—and my Nicolas has not disappointed!

A week ago we went what I believe they call canyoneering (we just called it fun), and as usual, it was a whole lot awesome and a little bit crazy.

Day 1: Leprechaun Canyon 

Definitely awesome.

We loved Day 1 so much, we decided to stay and  have a 
Day 2: Monkey Business Canyon

Absolutely stunning.

Heading into the canyon.


And then the guaranteed awesome met the guaranteed crazy, because nothing with Nicolas is ever, how shall we say, unchallenging:

See Nick's foot? Now look way down to the bottom. That's Acacia who just shimmied down 30ft with her hands and feet.

Cayenne is on a ledge part way down, and still not sure she's digging this section. (She loved it once we were at the bottom of the slot.) And here's me, wondering if I'm going to get stuck partway down...

And it was amazing! I'm still 10 feet above Acacia here, and it's so narrow, my shoe is stuck. You can see it all bendy. Thank goodness it wasn't my butt stuck. That would've been embarrassing.

Descending the 500ft to the canyon floor required some ropes and wading through waist deep 40 degree water. So yeah, the "little bit crazy" part lasted a few hours.

We didn't get any photos of the deep pools we had to stand on each others' shoulders to get out of, because we were too busy trying to climb silky mud walls and sliding back into the water.

One more super fun rappel into a beautiful glade at the canyon's bottom.

Cayenne coming down the second half of the last rappel.

Hi Daddy!

And then we hiked along the canyon floor for a while, climbed the 500ft back out, and walked a few miles back to the car. It took us 6.5 hours round trip.

I was sore, bruised and scraped, but felt so alive—as I always do with my Nicolas.

Happy Anniversary my Awesome Crazy Husband!