Monday, May 28, 2012

Beaten by the Train...

Holy smokes! That was my nuttiest Iron Horse yet. It kicked off with a major pile-up near Michel and Ilona's house - at least a dozen bikes went crashing to the ground sending five people to the hospital.

Then just before Needles, a huge bear came bounding out of the woods, lumbered across the road right through the race and into the forest on the other side. If I hadn't stopped to fix my fallen-off chain, I would've missed the bear, so thank you crappy chain! Good thing I wasn't really racing or I would've been bummed about the lost couple of minutes I spent chasing my water bottle. I'd had a sip at the top of a hill and went to replace the bottle before speeding downhill and missed the holder. It went rolling off, but stopped before I did and I had to run uphill to get it. So much for gravity.

I suppose it allowed the blood to re-inhabit my legs for a few minutes. By the time I got to Coal Bank Pass (10,640ft) my lower extremities were so starved for circulation, I nearly fell over from light-headedness after getting off my bike.

Then things got exciting again. See that little dip in between Coal Bank and Molas Passes? There's a hairpin turn right before it starts going up and the wind loves that corner, but last Saturday was especially windy and I saw a couple of people get knocked over. Tourists! Actually, it was all I could do to keep my bike going too - thought I was rolling backwards at one point. But at least I was prepared for the blast when it came. Local knowledge helps occasionally.

Doesn't it all sound fun?

And then coming off Molas Pass, where my friends Julie and Tim called in our drink orders to the local rum distillery, two cops on motorcycles collided head on. More ambulances. That happened just behind me which was lucky because they closed the race for a half hour.

Rolled into Silverton to thousands of cheering people. Felt like Moses parting the Red Sea.

Cardamom-infused cocktails were waiting, I ran into friends at every turn, and the chili and company at the annual bike party at my friends Kim & Mike's house hit the spot.

But I'm thinking the best part still had to be the bear...

Friday, May 25, 2012


So when I want to know if Nick is going to be home for dinner, for example, I go to which tells you what's going on with all flights in the nation. It's pretty cool, actually. It'll either say how many minutes until landing or "landed." But today when I went to check, it said "tentatively landed." Huh? FlightAware needs to know that in this family, that is not okay!!

But all's well that lands well, and we thought we might get a quiet few hours this evening, as the girls were heading to a boys-against-girls Capture the Flag event. Thing is the boys got there first and by the time the girls started arriving, one of the lads had climbed to the roof of an under-construction part of the house and fallen through a sky light (no glass). His landing was not tentative. Ruptured his spleen.

Instead, I've been gathering my gear: helmet, warm gloves, summer gloves, toe warmers, bike shoes, windbreaker... Because tomorrow morning is the Iron Horse Classic. WooHoo!

Not looking forward to riding over the passes, but love the feeling of flying down them!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Fun Weekend!

I opened my eyes this morning and my very first vision was a sunrise throwing pink onto the clouds above the mountains, and pouring gold over the silken skin and glistening hair of the sleeping beauty next to me. It was, of course, Acacia lying beside me not Nick, but this is a good thing: He was awaking in California where he's been the past few days flying, after a week in New Jersey and another one in CA before that. Life almost seems normal!

Both Acacia and Cayenne slept in today after getting up at the crack-o-dawn on Saturday for a swim meet in Farmington, NM, which as it turns out, was an eye opener. Not just the crack-o-dawn part, but the meet itself. The girls do gymnastics because they love it; they swim because we tell them to. It's a life skill; a good thing to be good at. Acacia is all muscle, has a competitive drive and has done well from the starting gun. But Cayenne is, how shall we say, not a natural athlete in the traditional sense. When they played soccer she used to skip down the field. And if she ever had control of the ball and the other team came to get it, she be like, "Oh, I'm sorry. Would you like the ball?" So sweet.

But get her on a road bike or hiking and that girl goes. And goes. So it really shouldn't have been a surprise that after all these meets in which she's swum and gotten beaten in 25m and 50m races, that she'd smoke the competition in the 100m. In her heat she swam against three (older) kids and she finished at least a full body length ahead of them all. Go Cay!! I went as loopy as an official timer is allowed. ha! They all started out well, but as the others petered Cayenne kept the same steady pace she started with. I was so proud. I almost missed starting the timer for the next heat. She's not going to be competing in the Olympics or anything, but it was a huge confidence booster.

We spent the evening at a hockey league end-of-season party and literally passed out when we got home. The girls slept 10 hours, getting up in time to head to the Taste of Durango, a Kick-Off-Summer Food Festival downtown. So fun!

 Nick got home in time to relax with a drink before we gathered all the sunglasses in the house to watch the solar eclipse.

Jeanette came up the hill for a better view.

Our point-n-shoot camera was no match for the eclipse and couldn't capture what we saw, but this shot shows that there was something adrift with that there sun!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day! ♥

A moment after my tummy's first rumble Cayenne called out, "Breakfast is ready!" An auspicious beginning to the day. 

My stomach now lies laden. Unable to move. The yummy banana and mango pancakes were drowning in chocolate, but I'm happy to report the pile in the photo was meant for all four of us! And the ginger cinnamon tea helped... Bless her cotton socks. 

Acacia came holding her offering with big tears streaming down her face. She'd decorated a pretty piece of flagstone with a pine cone and a story of love written on it, but the sprinklers this morning erased all her words. She was crushed. We found her a Sharpie, and she'll redo it today. :)

♥ Happy Mother's Day to my awesome Mother and my wonderful Mother-in-law!! ♥

I hope all you mothers out there are enjoying a day that somehow feels more special than usual, but wish for you many, many special days this year.

And for those of you who aren't sure what to give your mother this year, just remember:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Rest of the Story... Part B

Okay, so the part I didn't get to the other night, because I was falling asleep on the keyboard, is that you can help my effort and it won't cost you a penny / peso / ore. Much better kind of fundraiser, n'est-ce pas? If you know anyone, anywhere, in any country, who wants to buy or sell a home or business, and who doesn't already have an agent - I can research and set them up with a great one. I will get a small cut and it doesn't cost you or your friend anything extra. Ta da!

But enough of that. Check this out: Remember a while ago I was talking about appropriate names, and how it's funny how our Cayenne likes to cook and Acacia is our tree climber? I had to laugh the other day when I left Cayenne in the kitchen and saw Acacia way up in the white fir tree.

Acacia eventually came down (she's the little speck near the top of the tree) to help Cayenne make spaghetti with meatballs. I'm not sure if it was the actual meal or the fact that our 9 and 10 year olds made it without one bit of help, but they were the best ever!

There are millions of things kids can be passionate about, but somehow we ended up with one who loves to cook. WooHoo!!!!!!!!!!

So psyched...


PS: My father-in-law just emailed this photo after reading this post:

With the caption: Like mother like daughter


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Feeling Pretty Good... Part A

How is it the United States can spend more per person for healthcare than countries that actually provide healthcare for their citizens? And for that money the government spends, we get the privilege of having to pay for expensive insurance policies, the possibility of going bankrupt (if you get really sick and go over the insurance cap) and no peace of mind (see: going bankrupt).

We are definitely not getting our money's worth.

Medical bankruptcy is a U.S. specialty and has led to this American invention: The Medical Fundraiser. For those of you reading overseas, this is where your friends and family get together and work their butts off planning Spaghetti Dinners and Silent Auctions to raise money for your medical bills. While I imagine it could be a moving experience, seeing all these people gathering for your benefit, it's probably also humiliating, like walking around the neighbourhood with a basket begging for coins to help keep your house. I feel terrible for families going through this and have donated at least fifty tiles to silent auctions, many for people I didn't know.

But when our sky came crashing down, so to speak, the thought of a fundraiser made the hair on my neck stand up. So instead I started studying for a license in real estate while working as an assistant to one of the best Realtors in our county. I have to say, the moment I received the study material and saw the amount I had to memorize, I realised I'd underestimated the exams for sure...

...and probably real estate agents themselves as well. Spending the last year on the inside has allowed me to see how hard a good Realtor works. They don't deserve the flack they get for sure.

So I studied, freaked myself out hearing about the percentage of people who don't pass the first time, delayed taking the test because I didn't want to face the fact I may have become stupider in the twenty years it's been since I took a big (4 hour) exam - and then I did great on them. PHEW!

Warning: I'm about to brag a little. Okay, so I was the last one to come out of the testing centre and the proctor told me I was the only one to pass both exams, let alone score well, and that two of the people were there taking it for the second time. Yay me!

That meant I could exhale, and start looking for an employer. I spent last week interviewing / being interviewed, and then was shocked to experience the feeling of being wooed. Probably the last time that's ever going to happen! Enjoyed it immensely, and then chose Keller-Williams Realty, where I'm starting tomorrow.

But on a sadder note, tonight while eating dinner outside the girls challenged us parents to show off our cartwheels... and in an attempt to make mine better than Nick's comical offering, I think I pulled a groin muscle. Just when I was feeling like I'd gotten slightly ahead of my years for a bit...


Note from Nick: "Let it be known I did three cartwheels, and never pulled a muscle!"

Note from Kim: "You need to straighten your legs to pull a muscle." :)