Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Me - on a Bike

Before Ethan was born, nearly 14 years ago, I used to volunteer at an animal rescue agency. As part of my volunteering I would ride my bike up and down the bicycle paths that followed a main river through town. In my paneirs I had animal food. I would find the feral animals and feed them. From time to time we would capture the animals to spay/neuter them and give them their shots. It was fun. Once the kids were born, I did not have time for that any longer. Thus, I have not been on a bike for 12 years, until this last weekend. I was both excited and scared. Right now I have to find one of my biking friends to go with my kids when they want to go on a non-team ride. They have been great about it. For a while I was content with that. Now that I see what fun they are having and how often they want to go, I want to go, too. For a while I was afraid. I thought I might not remember how to do it well enough to be safe. For a while I thought that maybe I was too big (that would be round) to be on a bike. I decided that my vanity would not stop me. It was like it was with swimming. When the kids were little I spent some time feeling too embarrassed to go swimming. Then I decided that my kids should not miss out on swimming because of it, and people were not actually there to watch me, anyway. So, I borrowed a bike and went for a few rides this past weekend. And I had a BLAST! Now I am on the hunt to figure out how to get a good bike for myself. I still have my old bike, but it has a metal frame and weights more than my daughter!

The first ride was with a friend and a team mother. We took the kids on the bike path. We had a little race. The first place winner got a double scoop ice cream cone. The second got a single scoop and the last one received a kid size cone. We went out. I learned to do the gears. The kids were very encouraging. They would backtrack and offer encouragement. They told me they were proud of me for riding. They would tell me little things to keep me going. It was very endearing. You could see that they were modeling all the encouraging we do for them. We were out for nearly two hours. I thought I might be sore the next day, but only my butt had any soreness. So, we went out for a family ride on Sunday. It was a picture perfect day. The sun was shining, but it was not as hot as the day before. The birds were singing. Frogs and toads were caroling in the ponds and rivers we past. It was wonderful. We rode to the cemetery to visit loved ones and friends who have passed on. Then we rode to the park. Again, the kids were so encouraging and watchful. They stationed themselves between me so that they could make sure that I did not fall, that I knew where the potholes were, etc. It was wonderful to be on the receiving end. My kids are such wonderful people. :) I am thankful that I go to borrow the bike. I wish I did not have to give it back. But, alas, that is how it goes. Now I will be trolling for a good, used, inexpensive bike. Surely there has to be someone out there that has a bike my size that is no longer using it for racing and would be happy to be rid of it. I just have to find them. I know Craig's List exists, but I don't know enough about bikes to know the difference between a good bike with some miles left on it from a POS that has a nice paint job and crappy gears. So, I'll learn.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Crazy Busy Almost Ending - a Bit BItter Sweet

This is a super busy, albeit fun, time of year. I have nearly finished testing, but have yet to do the accompanying paperwork for the student folders. (uugg! :( ) My seniors are done. That is the bittersweet part. I will miss them. I made each of them special folders to keep the nice letters and notes people send to them. This is the time of year when everyone seems to start freaking out. Parents, many of whom are actually sad and feel no longer needed, get uptight and upset with their seniors. So many kids come, cry on my shoulder - they don't understand why their parents think the are such rotten people - I set them straight, try to get them to be a bit more understanding and patient with those who actually love them tons. Last Friday I cried during class so much that my eyes were puffy by the end of the day. "Oh, Mrs. Welshon - We'll come see you!" Actually, most of them won't, but that will be okay - it will mean that we've given them what they need to move on. I have posted just a few of the group photos here. These are from my ESL sheltered English classes. I have "regular" English classes, too, but those kids are in smaller groups which did not post as well.
We also spent another weekend at Snow Mountain Ranch.This time it was an all school all families weekend. It was a lot of fun. I made some cool tie dye stuff (an apron and a tool roll) and a leather wallet for Ethan. I also helped others finish pieces that they started but ran out of time to finish. Maybe I can show photos of those items later.
The box is one I made for a benefit dinner and silent auction. A good friend of mine had a baby in October. Little Sean was due in mid-December, but was born early October. He is a fighter who has already had at least ten operations. It seems that he has a ton of really rare birth defects. The little guys needs a set of custom hearing aids, and they are not covered by insurance. Our benefit raised over $8,000. I was so pleased!
Okay, I am hoping to craft some time soon, but my body is thinking, "NO!!!" as it sends in the stuffy nose, the achey joints, etc.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Resurfacing - Tales from the Broom Wagon

Wondering where I have been? So busy with work and kid stuff that I have hardly had time to breathe, but its on the downhill slide of business now, thank goodness. We have been having fun through much of it. Last weekend my kids and I went to the Junior Road Racing Camp at Snow Mountain Ranch (near Winter Park) for an amazing weekend. The kids had races, informational clinics and team rides. I helped make it run smoothly. I had a lot more fun than I expected. The kids did a time trial race to determine skill, strategy and speed. Then they were put into compatible groups for temporary teams. Each team had 2-3 coaches and a person who drove a support vehicle - the broom wagon. That was me. My job was to follow my group of 11 junior riders and their coaches in my van. I replenished their water and accelerade drinks, gave them food, helped them with altitude sickness and helped many get started when they could not clip into their peddles. The kids were champs. Some riders were well equipped and knew what they were doing, others were newbies and had equipment that they didn't understand. But they also had heart, power and determination. One young rider had a mountain bike that might have weighted nearly as much as he did, but he kept going, even though he could have gotten in my van. Other times another cyclist became so tire that he had to push his leg with his hand to keep it going, then the coach came and pushed him for a spell up a hill. "Hold on tight, I'm going to lend you some of my strength for a while." It was touching to see the tenderness in the coaches and the growth the kids experienced. Everyone of them was a champ. All and all the kids in my younger group (which included Ellie) road about 50 miles in the mountains. Ethan's group did closer to 65 between the various rides. At the end each team gave out select awards. An eagle for leadership, an antelope for speed, a bighorn sheep for hill climbing, a buffalo for heart and strength, a fox for thinking ahead and developing a good strategy. Ellie was thrilled when she got a fox. Cyclocross camp will happen in October, and we already can't wait.
On a more scary note, Sunday evening Ellie was going to show her grandma how well she rides. She had not gone more than 15 feel when she crashed. At first we did not think much of it, then, upon closer inspection, we saw that she was really hurt. She had a bad case o road rash, a set of wicked bruises and a broken helmet. We spent most of the evening in the ER. The doctor was a cyclist and said the if Ellie had not been wearing her excellent Rudy Project helmet, that she would have been seriously injured, she might have even sustained permanent damage. She had fall so hard that a curved part of the helmet was flattened. You can see the imprint of the gravel in the foam and the plastic parts on the outside. On the inside the foam is broken clean through. Only glue is holding it in place. The helmet did just what is was designed to do - absorb the brunt of the impact. Ellie is fine now. She is stiff, her bruises are a variety of ugly colors and her scabs are itchy, her head hurts, but she is okay - she even plans to race tonight. You can bet she will be wearing a new helmet. There were times when I would let my kids ride their bikes on our street without a helmet. The irony here was that this accident happened right in front of the grandparent's home, within feet of where I was. She was going slow enough for me to run ahead of her, and yet she had a terrible crash. My kids will never set foot on a bike without their helmets on first - their lives depend on it, Ellie's did on Sunday.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Quilting Class with Melody Johnson - WIPs

While it rained, hailed and thundered outside, I sat happily in my class with Melody Johnson. Okay, actually, I was a little late as I had to help get the kids off to a hill climb bike race, and I wondered how they were doing while I watched and listened to the Powerpoint slide show part of the class. I had a blast in the class. The little items you see here are what I got done during the class. They are WIPs since they still need the quilting added. It is all fused, so I could go fast. I think three of the four here lend themselves to a small series. I bought extra fabric from her so that I could work more with the exact palette and add to my series, should I want to.
Melody was a lot of fun. She was pooped at the end of it, having taught for three days straight while she was already sick. Still, she had more energy and enthusiasm than many people. I will most definitely take her classes again, if I can.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Becca's Box and the Denver Quilt Show Teaser

I finally got a small bit of time to craft and decided to make a box for Becca. She is the girlfriend of Ryan, our head cycling team coach. Becca is wonderful about riding with the kids who are not exactly speed demons and she is a wonderful hostess. She collects lunch boxes, so I simply had to make one for her. Becca's favorite color is green. Getting shades of green to agree to play together is a challenge, but I am happy with how it came out. The blue part of her name is done with the new glitter offered in the Martha Stewart line that is being offered at Michael's. I cut the letters out with my Cricut.

Next up is a small preview, a teaser of sorts, from the Denver Quilt Show. I took tons of photos but will not upload them until next week when I have access to a faster internet connection. I choose these because they are a few of my favorites. They are all AMAZING in person. The background of the crane quilt is Thia silk. The black sections of the feathers are done with a selection of 8 subtle blacks. The poppy quilt is breath taking. I might have to make one inspired by it. The color blocks are just wonderful - that woman has a talent and an amazing sense of color. Tomorrow I am taking a quilting class with Melody Johnson, one of my favorite quilter's and bloggers. I feel a little like a small girl on the night before school starts, fretting over what I should wear.