Monday, August 31, 2009

Of Superglue, An Evening in the ER, Fundraising, Being Clipped in Under Water, and Riding 70 Miles or How Our Weekend Was

Wow, does time fly when we are busy. Since last we met a lot has happened.

After returning home from a 14 hour day at school because of Back to School Night, I found Larr trying to bandage Ethan's finger. He cut it while trying to open a can of chili. We could not get the bleeding to stop and the cut looked huge. We ended up taking him to the ER where, after waiting several hours and having the bleeding finally stop, it was superglued shut with Dermabond. Ethan thought that was pretty cool stuff. It made a flexible cap over his finger. He was happy not to have to hold his finger over his head anymore. Holding it there for so many hours was taxing. He said it did not hurt too much, but sometimes he got dizzy when he stood up. Ethan was relieved when he got the okay to race on Saturday.

Saturday we went several directions. Ellie and the other girls from our team did a fundraiser in front of Wheat Ridge Cyclery. They are great about supporting the junior riders! They were asking for donations. In return people have a chance to win a $3,000 custom frame. A pretty good deal if you ask me. They did pretty well. You can see how cute they all are in the photo above. Larr, Ethan and I went up for the final race in the Epic Singletrack race series. This was the King of the Rockies race. A hard cross country race that is nearly 29 miles long. It took him nearly 3 hours to complete the course. He had fun, but it was a serious challenge. For more than half of the race he was in first place in his category. His road experience and endurance was paying off. However, during one of the places where the riders had to cross the river Ethan crashed and ended up fully submerged in rushing water while still clipped into his pedals. But, he popped up quickly and was on his way. Later he got a flat tire. That slowed him down, too. In the end he finished wet, cold and happy. He said that if he had not had the flat and the fall in the river that it would have been his favorite race of the series. As he warmed up he decided that it was most likely his favorite anyway. He placed second in the race and second overall. He is already looking forward to doing the series again next year.

On the way home we stopped at the Suter's house to pick up Ellie and Anna. We had a lovely dinner of fruit and homemade chicken noodle soup. I got to spend a bit of time with the lovely newly born puppies. They are so tiny that they are only about as long as my hand. I wish I had taken a photo or two to share with you.

The next day we were up, bright eyed and bushy tailed by 4:45 a.m. We needed to be in Longmont by 6 a.m. for the Venus De Miles. The girls were meeting their coach and others from the team to take part in a 70 mile women only benefit ride. (Actually there were a few dads brave enough to ride in drag so that they could support their daughters and wives. A few were bike mechanics who helped those who had a technical issue). There were three waves of riders, 70 miles, 50 miles and 35 miles. In total they had nearly 1,500 riders take part. A few of our guys, including both of mine, worked an aid station. The girls were happy when they returned. I was amazed at the energy they had to spare. After the festival was over we went home for a quiet evening.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Small Dinner Party, Two Recipes and a Few Fixie Videos

This evening we had some friends over for dinner. Larr worked with Jenn last summer. She and her husband are training to be doctors. Her husband gifted us a banjo. Ethan and Larr have wanted to learn to play one for some time. They are super excited to give it a try. Since I worked today the dinner was pretty straight forwards. I made an appetizer modeled after one we had at a restaurant on Sunday. I also made Chicken Dijon from the Colorado Cache Cookbook. It is a Junior League of Denver book and one of my favorite cookbooks. It was a nice, simple meal:

Artichoke, Olive and Pesto Appetizers

Nice Chips or Crackers (I used Olive Oil crackers from the health food store)
Marinated Artichoke Hearts
Black Olives, whole
Parmesan Cheese, finely shredded

Prepare the oven to broil on high. On cookie sheets lay out crackers in one layer. Spread a small amount of pesto on each cracker/chip. Top with a smallish bit of artichoke heart. Top with a few slices of black olive. Top with finely shredded Parmesan cheese. Place under broiler to melt cheese. Watch closely to make sure the cracker/chip does not burn.

Chicken Dijon (adapted from from Colorado Cache by the Junior League of Denver, 1978)

3 TBL Butter
4 Chicken Breast, skinless and cut into large chunks
2 TBL Flour
1 c. Chicken Broth
1/2 c. Light Cream or Half and Half
2-3 TBL Dijon Mustard
2 TBL Basil, finely chopped, fresh or dried
2 Tomatoes, cut into wedges

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the chicken and cook until nicely brown. Remove the chicken and place it in a warming dish. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and cream, stirring to combine. Cook until this thickens. Once it is bubbly, add the mustard and the basil. Return the chicken to the skillet and hear for 10 minutes. Garnish with tomatoes if you wish.

Ethan is hot for getting a Fixie. It is a simple bike without brakes or gears. You pedal the entire time you ride. You stop by pedaling and you can go backwards by, you guessed it, pedaling backwards. Here's a totally inspiring video of Chris Akrigg with a little fixie action in England:

One gear No idea from chris akrigg on Vimeo.

Here are two others that I found by accident. I didn't even know this sport existed. It is very cool:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lovely Cooking Movies and a Wonderful Chicken Salad

I've been waiting since last spring to see the "Julie and Julia" movie. I was too busy to see it the week it came out. At our cooking class people raved about it. I thought it was lovely and inspiring. I read Julia's autobiography when it came out many years ago, but may have to read it again. The movies was about cooking, but it was also about the strength of love and relationships. I will have to see it again. I have also started reading the cook book. I have Eleanor's copy with all of her notes. Just holding it makes me think of her, makes me miss her, and makes me feel like making some of those recipes could make me feel connected to her.

This weekend I followed it up with a rental movie that came out this summer. "Ramen Girl" was also a lot of fun. It was partially about how the love for your process come through in your cooking. Parts of the ideas presented were really moving. I will have to see if there is a Ramen restaurant somewhere in Metro Denver. It is not an award winning movie, but it is a fun one. If you rent it, be sure to watch the deleted and unused scenes. They create a very different tone and story line, one I think that would have been worth doing.

And I have a recipe, of course. How could I not have one for a post about cooking? It is one I found via reading the comments on the "Posie Gets Cozy" blog. She asked for suggestions on what to make for a potluck. It comes by way of the Sassafras Cafe Blog. This one was a winner. I think it might be gluten free, too.


Big Sky Chicken-Salad Sanwiches
from Taste of South magazine, June/July 2009 issue
1/2 c slivered almonds
1/2 c chopped pecans
1/2 c pineapple tidbits, drained
1/2 c cranberries
1/2 c mandarin orange segments, drained
1/2 c mayonnaise
1/2 c honey mustard
1/4 c apricot preserves
2 c chopped cooked chicken

Combine nuts and fruit in a large bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, and preserves, whisking until combined. Add sauce mixture to fruit mixture, along with chopped chicken, tossing gently until combined. Spread mixture onto bread slices to make sandwiches. Serves 6.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Salida Weekend Scrapbook Pages

I spent some of my free time, actually time when I should have been doing laundry, chores and shopping for groceries, scrapbooking. I had a great time once I figured out a theme to help the pages have a cohesive look.

I made these pages while Ethan and Ellie had a bunch of friends over to celebrate summer. We visited Salvengetti where Ethan tested a few more fixies. The Red Bull girls were handing out samples so they tried every flavor. They rode down and played in the Platte river. They ate lots of food, drank a lot of soda, played around a bit, listened to music and chatted a lot. It is fun having so much action buzzing around.

Monday, August 17, 2009

SuperSpeed Time or On Getting Ready For School to Begin

It is both funny and frustrating how I use my time in the summer. Towards the end of the school year I start to plan all kinds of projects I want to get done over the summer. Summer arrives. I am deadbeat tired for the first few days. Teaching really takes an emotional and sometimes physical toll on the teacher. Many, or perhaps even most, teachers get sick right after school gets out. It is like out bodies held out until we had the time to be truly sick. Then I try to put myself on a schedule of some kind, but having olderish kids throws that out as their calendars often trump my schedule. Flexibility is key here. Summer goes on and I never get as much done as I expected. During the last week or two before school is in session I go into super speed mode getting lots of stuff done. The pages below are an example of that. Now, if I could just keep on top of it.

I am back at school. I've been mostly in meetings for about three full days. While they are useful and it is great to see everyone again, it is also hard. I am not used to sitting for long. When I teach I move around a lot. At first most of us resist coming back. We don't want to give up our summers. Then we begin to plan and anticipate what the new year will be like. Today I embraced the new year. There were several joyful moments as I moved around the building getting ready for the kids. When I was on my way to the copy room I was stopped in my tracks listening to the drum line practice. The kids on the xylophones were practicing in the hallway. They were just doing scales and silly stuff, but I was still spellbound. I used to have fantasies that I would one day get to play them. My band (I played the clarinet from second grade until my junior year in college)needed me to play the clarinet, the flute and sometime a saxophone. One time I even played an oboe for a short while. Still, I trained my ears to drown out the other sounds and listen for that sweet, sometimes soulful instrument. That music set my foot tapping and a hum going on in my head. I was singing songs from "Annie" in my head. Back in my classroom I watch as anxious and excited families walk around the building helping their soon to be Bulldog student find their way around our three story, sprawling school. I great them and check to see if they need any help. They rarely take me up on it. I just want them to go away with an idea that there are friendly people here. I talk with my friends about how they will use their first day. I never do the who "here's your syllabus" thing - too boring. I change up what I am doing every year. If I am not excited, why should they be? Finally, I begin to retrain myself to the bells. Eat at a specific time, go to the bathroom between bells and getting out of the house early, usually at about 6:40 a.m. Oh, that's the tough one. I'll get it down and I will be happy when the kids are finally here. I'd rather be with them than in a meeting any day.

Yeah, Cool, I Get to Take My Bike on the Ski Lift or A Day at the Winter Park Singletrack Races

I wish there had been mountain biking (like the kind my kids do) when I was a teen. I think I would have loved it. I know Ethan does. And that is a little bit of a surprise. He was a really cautious little boy. I think he didn't even need his first band aide until he was almost four years old. Our friend Greg does the Epic Singletrack Race Series in WinterPark every year. This year he invited Ethan to join him, sponsoring his membership in the race series. They got to go to one race together.

They both missed one or two races, then Greg got hit by a car one day when he was riding his bike to work. He will be okay, but he is off of the bike for some time. Ethan has done most of the races and loves it more each time. This week it was the Mary Jane Circuit race. After checking in you take your bike up the Zephyr Chair Lift to the top of Mary Jane. There you begin your trek. If you are a beginner, like Ethan, you do 9.1 miles. The expert and pro classes did 17.1 miles of trails.

Its called single track because the trail is often very narrow. In some places you may only have a foot of less of space between your handlebars and the trees. Some people get off track and hit the trees. At the awards ceremony at the end of the day they have a special road rash/injury contest. The winner gets a $100 certificate to a local chiropractor or medical specialist of some kind. Everyone laughs and cheers when these awards are given. It must be a biker thing, being happy to be hurt. It all cool, man.

Ethan did pretty well. His road biking skills help him motor up the hill while others are walking their bikes. He was in the lead for his group until he crashed and then he had a technical. By the time he was back on track the others had passed him. He landed in third place. There was less than two minutes difference between Ethan and the first place finisher. Not bad for a course that took about a hour and ten minutes to complete. He was happy with that. He had a lot of fun. He says that this was his favorite race in the series so far. Greg says the next one is the best one. Ethan is jazzed for that one, too.

A beer, wine and food festival was happening at the same time. While we waited around for the results I found some friends who were working that event and chatted with them. I got to try a wonderful smoked salmon pizza. It had an Alfredo base with smoked salmon and ricotta bits topped with a melted smoked Gouda cheese - yum!
While I visited the tents, Ethan took the time to play around on some fun dirt hills that were placed by the tents. Lots of the younger riders could be found there.

On the way out Larr let Ethan and I ride the lift from the lower parking lot to the upper one. We were not parked there, but it was still fun.

On the way home we stopped by the Big Bend river on the other side of the divide. Larr and Ethan explored the lovely waterfall. I did not want to attempt it in my skirt and Crocs.

They saw a fish, or several fish, maybe, who seemed to be intent in jumping up the waterfall. He caught it in midjump. I thought that was pretty cool, but a bit sad. I just don't think that little fish is going to make it to the top. Good luck with that, little fish dude.

We are already looking forward to the next and final race, the King of the Rockies race. That will wrap up this biking season and be a lovely way to begin the Cyclocross season.

(a few photos still need to be added.)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

How To Entertain Tween and Teen Age Girls, or Having Fun at Our CycloGirl Party

On Monday we had a large gaggle of girls over for a party. It wasn't anyone's birthday, or any official holiday. It was our wanting to celebrate and enrich the relationships of the girls who compete together most weekends of the year. We could not invite every girl who races in Colorado. Rather, we invited Ellie's team mates and the girls who seem to be at nearly every race each weekend.

They began showing up at lunchtime. Laurel's mom sent sandwiches on a stick, which was a hit. It had chunks of bread, grape tomatoes, ham, cheese, and turkey. The girls played a few games of sardines. It is sort of like hide and seek, where the one person hides. As each person finds them, they hide together. It does not sound like much, but it was great fun. Next up was the root beer tasting. I got this idea from my friend, Natalie. We rated 7 root beers on color, aroma, taste and overall appeal. My personal favorite was Bulldog Root beer which comes from the World Market store. Lots of the girls like the Barg's best. They could spot it right off just from the smell. They found that one had a buttery taste while several had a light kiss of mint in the aftertaste. They played games a bit more and took the dog to the park. Reisha delighted them when she acted like a playful pup. She had fun but was soon snoring away once they got back home. Maddy had to leave for softball practice and Morgan shjavascript:void(0)owed up. The next activity was decorating flip flops (I've included some notes below on how to organize it.) They were a hit with everyone but Morgan. She gave it a go, but it is really a bit too girly girl for her. Then we were back to more games of sardines. We had a taco bar for dinner and then headed to Blockbuster to rent a movie. I was proud of how the girl's worked out picking a movie. They had lots of limits, likes and dislikes. They finally settled on "Pink Panther II." Ellie and I put together fun snack trays ahead of time. We picked out six different snacks and filled small muffin tins with the treats. Each girl got her own treat tray. After the movie was over the girls moved their playing to the back yard and the basement. Laurel and Kirsten had to go home at around midnight so I stayed up working on digital scrapbooking pages. I asked the girls to go to bed at a reasonable hour. Some did as I asked, others, like Ellie, stayed up all night.

Tuesday we had a nice breakfast. Many of the girls were a bit grumpy and punchy from being so tired. We pulled out the crafts and began to make decorated journals. Laurel's mom, Mike, sent those along,too. Some of the girls got a book done. Most simply got them started and some never got organized. Mike was generous and did not mind letting the girls take stuff home to finish their book later. I made a book for Mike. It was a perfect craft for me that day.

The party was a whirl wind. We had fun. The girls are already thinking about planning another get together. I'm onto helping Ethan figure out what he wants to do for his upcoming 16th birthday party.

Tips on Decorating Flip Flops:

You need flip flops and strips of material to decorate them in the way we did. I found that strips of cloth that are 6' or 7" by about 1" wide work well. I cut them on a slight angle on the fabric so that they do not get the long strings and frays that you would get if you cut them straight. We had 8 girls decorating shoes. I bought 1/2 yard each of around 7 colors. It is fine to use really cheap cloth. Mine came from Walmart at $1.50 per yard. After I cut the strips I placed them in plastic dishes (Gladware, Ziplock, etc.) so that they were organized and easy to get to. The best way to do them is to start at the back of the plastic strap on the flip flop and tie the strip on using two knots. This keeps them from falling off. Continue in this way until they are fully decorated. Use sharp scissors to trim off the extra long pieces, paying special attention to the parts that would get stepped on. It was a fun, inexpensive craft that most of the girls enjoyed.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Of Rafts, Camping and a Bit of Family Time

Ethan won a day long rafting trip at one of the Epic Single Track races. Rafting is something I've always wanted to do, but never tried. We also had not been camping as a family all season, usually just it had been just the kids and I, so we took the opportunity to do a small family vacation and I am sure glad we did. We had a blast.

Thursday the kids and I had a lot of fun with our friends, Mike, Laurel and Rhys, in Monument. We headed home, packed the car and headed for the hills. It had rained a lot during the day in Denver and Winter Park so we decided to spend the first night in a hotel. On the way up we listened to music by John Denver. Just as he was singing about fire in the sky the orange, pink sunset bloomed into its full glory straight ahead of us. The music, the road and the mountians made me think of Natalie. I always think of her when I listen to John Denver since I got the music from her. We were all jazzed to spend a weekend away.

We spent the night in the Inn at Silver Creek. The outside was lovely and looked lush. The actual room was cramped and dated. The beds made loud, creaking complaints every time one of us moved. We were fine with checking out in the morning. We left early to make sure that we would get to Kremling on time.

Ethan and I had our fun with the Adventures in Whitewater crew for the day. The trip ended up being very leisurely. Our guide was a guy called "Mouse." He's been rafting for almost 20 years. He told lots of silly jokes and great stories about rafting trips he had taken. There were three other boats. All of the guides were great. We drove from Kremling to the Pumphouse recreation spot. From there we rafted down the Colorado river through the lower Gore Canyon. We worked our way through two rapids, the Wake Up and Thread the Needle. After each successful pass we did a high five with the paddles. Partway through we stopped at a spot with a natural sulphar hot spring for a bit of a dip. The next stop was a Jump Rock, a thirty five foot jumping spot. Ethan was the first one off. He even went a second time. A few others jumped, too. Some chickened out at the end. I imagine it looks quite high from the top of the rock. Later we stopped for a long lunch of plentiful sandwiches, cookies, cheese, chips and lemonade. Lemonade never tasted so go. We pulled in at Radium, but Ethan and I would have been happy to keep going. We'd like to do a more aggressive trip. This had class 2 and 3 rapids. We'd like to go for the class 5 rapids.

While Ethan and I were rafting, Ellie and Larr set up camp, explored, had ice cream and generally enjoyed eachother's company. It is not often that the girl gets her dad all to herself.

As we were driving back towards Kremling I spied a lovely camping spot by a small river. I had wished that I could show it to Larr as it looked like the perfect camping spot. Imagine my surprise when Larr and Ellie took up to our campsite and it was the very one I thought was perfect. I had been looking at my own tents and had not known it. The camp was in a Radium State Wildlife Area O.C. Mugrage Campground. The sites were large and the bathroom was clean enough. We had a leisurely dinner. Then we chatted. Ellie was engrossed in reading her favorite book, Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie. Ethan and Larr took time exposure photos of the moon rising.

The next morning Ethan and Larr went exploring. The local bit of railroad was being worked on. They are replacing the wooden ties with concrete ones. The cool machinery beckoned the boys to come for a closer look. Ellie and I stayed at camp relaxing. We had a nice chat with people who were in the next campsite. I would have liked to stay another day, but we had things to get done, a party to prep for and a friend to meet. Still, I was thankful for the time we had together. I just wish we had more free weekends. I plan on returning to that campground another day.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Little Fun to Tide You Over Until I Have More Time to Write

We've been on a wild ride the last few days. I guess I feel the need to squeeze as much summer out of my days before returning to work as possible. I will write soon about our whitewater rafting and camping trip. We're getting ready for a Cyclogirl Party, so my time is tight. I never seem to get everything done the day before. Alas, such is life. Anyhow, here's a bit of fun for you in the meantime...

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Soapy Fun with Friends and Salisbury Steak

Today we are hanging with our friends,Mike, Laurel and Rhys. We are making fun handmade soap for gifts this Christmas.(I'll post pictures sometime soon.)

Here's a recipe that Mike and her kid's loved:

French Onion Salisbury Steak

Makes 4

1 1/4 # Ground Chuck
1/4 cup Fresh Minced Parsley
2 TBL Scallion
1 tea Kosher Salt
1/2 tea Black Pepper
2 TBL Flour
1 TBL Olive Oil
2 cups Onions, sliced
1 tea Sugar
1 TBL Garlic
1 TBL Tomato Paste
2 cups Beef Broth
1/4 cups Dry Red Wine
3/4 tea Kosher Salt
1/2 tea Thyme Leaves, dry

Cheese Toasts

4 tea Parsley, Fresh, Minced
4 tea Parmesan Cheese Shredded

Combine the chuck, parsley, scallion, salt and pepper. Divide evenly into 4 portions and shape into patties. Place 2 TBL of flour in a shallow dish. dredge each patty in the flour. Reserve 1 tea. flour.

Heat 1 tea. of oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add patties and saute 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove them from the pan.

Add the onions and sugar to the pan. Saute for 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and tomato sauce. Saute 1 minute or until the paste begins to brown. Sprinkle the onions with the reserved flour; cook 1 minute. Stir in broth and wine, then add the salt and thyme.

Return meat to the pan and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low heat, cover and simmer.

Serve steaks on the cheese toasts with onion soup ladled over. Garnish with parsley and cheese.

Cheese Toasts

4 slices French Bread or a baguette (1/2" slices)
2 TBL Unsalted Butter, softened
1/2 tea Garlic, minced
Paprika Pinch
1/4 cup Swiss Cheese, Grated
1 TBL Parmesan Cheese, Grated

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place the bread on a baking sheet.
Combine the butter, garlic and paprika. Spread on one side of slice of bread. Combine cheeses and sprinkle evenly over butter. Bake the bread until crisp and cheese is bubbly. 10-15 minutes.

Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.

We're going to spend a few days in the mountains so I thought I'd offer you something to set your mind thinking. I love both the poem and the typography of this piece. I found it via Sprague Labs blog.

Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Skin Tag Queen, Not Quite Dethroned, as I had hoped

Okay, so I am something like 44, I think. I can never seem to keep track of my age without having to do the math. It is like the way I still can't remember which is my right hand without remembering which arm I broke, or looking down for the "L" and "R" marks my mom made on my shoes when I was a little girl. My mind thinks in images, pictures, concepts. I see things in 3D in my head. The small specifics like that are not in the front ground. Anyway, I digress. I started getting skin tags when I was in my thirties, I think. They began in places you could not really see, like my arm pits, but in the last year or so they started showing up in places you could notice them. For example, I had one on my eyelid. It drove me absolutely bonkers. Now, we are all way more self conscious about ourselves and notice things that others do not see. An example of this for me is how I notice that in many photos one of my eyes opens more than the other. I find that it has a sort of Bill the Cat effect for me, though I know that it is not so extreme. My kids even look at me quizzically, tilt their heads and say, "What?" when I mention it.

Once I developed a skin tag there, well, you can imagine how I added that into my lovely vision of myself. I have them on my neck, my shoulders, you get the idea. So I decided that I would get them removed. I made an appointment with the dermatologist and tried not to worry about it. I had visions of how it might feel as they removed them or they dried up and fell off. I had visions of sweat invading the skin tag removal areas and hurting, but I am getting ahead of myself. Let's start from the beginning.

On Monday I went to the dermatologist to get my skin tags removed. I knew we would not do all of them at one time so I made a prioritized list in my head. The doctor came in, greeted me and asked which ones bothered me. I told her about the ones that caught on things like the seat belt, my bra. She said she could make a case to remove any of the ones that bothered me today, but that the remaining ones would have to be done at another time at a fee of 10 for $90 or 15 for $120. I am assuming that this is in addition to my $40 copay. I thought that was a bit odd. Anyway, I thought it would hurt, but it didn't. Most of them were zapped with a blast of nitroglycerin from something that looked like a tiny blow torch. It was uncomfortable, but not exactly painful. A few had to be cut off with and extremely sharp scalp. They put a bit of numbing agent on my skin and cut them off. I am not even sure that I felt those come off. We sent in some to be biopsied just to make sure they are harmless. Then I was off to home. That afternoon they swelled up and filled with water. Ellie said it looked like I had tiny, ugly balloons on my neck. Then many of them popped. The area around them is red. On Tuesday they started to discolor and were no longer puff. Today they are simply ugly and quite itchy. I am looking forward to when they fall off. I am especially happy to be rid of the one on my eyelid. I had gone in hoping to remove more of them, thus dethroning me as the Skin Tag Queen. However, at least it is a start.

My summer is nearly to an end since I go back to school next week. I haven't gotten as much done as I had hoped, especially scapbooking related activities. I am happy to report that I did finish working through the "Bling Out Your Blog" class stuff, or rather, I did most of it. I could still play a bit more, but I am happy with where my blog is. I've started work on the Jamaica album. I totally enjoyed the miniphoto editing class I took through I find that if I am taking a class like that I make sure to carve out time for myself. Otherwise, I tend to push that time for myself to the end of my list, often not getting to it. So I am considering taking another class. I am looking at Me: The Abridged Version. You should follow my link and watch the cool little teaser video she has posted. It would get me working on stuff each day and I would document stuff about myself. It is both exciting and scary. I am also considering another class since I loved the one I took. I just don't know which one it will be. It seems a little silly to have to set this up to make myself do it, but at the same time I am thankful that I have that bit of self awareness that will get me to make making time for myself a priority.

Cool links and posting I discovered today -

A fun, free, new photoaction called Poladriod. You can get it at

I found it through Molly Irwin's blog where she has some interesting thoughts on album sizes. I loved the straightforward nature of her pages. Nothing to distract from the photos. You can read the entry here.

Monday, August 03, 2009

A Tale of Racing, a Mountain Bike, A Few Medals, and a Lost Wallet or Having Fun in Salida

We love going to Salida. In May Ellie and sat down to chat about whether she wanted to go to Bend, Oregon for Road Nationals or Salida for the State Games of America races. I figured either one would be fun. We go to Salida a few times each year and have an absolute blast. After some consideration she decided that Salida would be the place to go. We made it a fun family vacation. Last year Larr could not join us because of his work schedule. This year we all went together. What a difference that made. We've driven the same way so many times that the kids anticipate and reminisce about past trips.

We got out of the house early. The day was lovely and bright. The kids made drawings that they photographed to make a stop motion movie. They cracked me up. Ellie has a tiny rubber gecko and fly. She had the fly on an island. The gecko swam over to the island and ate the fly. I was surprised that she ended it with a death. Another one features a person who looks around and finds a fly on his head. The fly goes down to the person's nose. He reaches up. grabs the fly and eats it. Ethan did a take on a guy flying around like Superman. She also made several macrame necklaces. It took us a while to remember how to do the weaving, but it was fun once she got the hang of it.

We got settled in quickly, checked in with the race promoter and headed off to the Time Trial. The course is lovely, smooth and free of cars. Last year there was a huge storm, so we were prepared even though we had a rocky start. It is my habit to say to the kids "Have you got your helmet, shoes, gloves and your glasses." This prompts them to check for all of their gear. They are usually wearing their team kit so I don't ask about it. This time I did not do the regular drill and Ellie went to pieces once she realized that her jersey was in the washer at home, four hours away. This forced her to race in her cold weather jacket. We called Anna, who was already planning to come to the race on Sunday, to see if she could lend Ellie a jersey. Crisis avoided, we were back on track. Ellie was anxious about who would be there. They had the kids race in age groups that were arranged alphabetically so Ellie was last. She sped past all but one girl, one who started three minutes ahead of her. She returned quickly, clearly winning first place. She joined a group of us cheering Jessica on. We've watched Jess go from finishing last every time to really having a shot at getting on the podium. It makes us happy when she has a good race. Ethan had an awesome race, too. He returned much faster than I expected. His form was great. He came in 6th place. He has happy with that. After the race was over we putzed around town and had a fun time. We had a lovely dinner at Moonlight Pizza. Some friend won a gift card in the race last year. They could not go this year so they gave the card to us. The pizza was some of the best we've ever had. One of the ones we tried was the Cosmic Hawaiian which had BBQ sauce in place of the red sauce. It also featured small bits of Cream Cheese, Pineapple and Canadian Bacon - Yum! That evening we sat on the porch. We are pretty sure we saw Mars. (This month it will be very close to Earth. You can see it by looking for the second brightest thing in the sky past the Moon. It has a slight red tint to the glow.)

We had lots of ideas about what we wanted to do with Saturday, a race free day. Larr thought about going to the Royal Gorge. In the end we rode around town some. We hung out at the Farmer's Market.

Ellie and I spent time in Bead Song and came away with stuff to make many pairs of earrings.

The guys rode bikes over to an old mill and took lots of photos. After lunch we all went to the river so the kids could play in the water.

There were lots of bikers there who had just finished the road race. It was a brutal one. I was kind of glad that it did not have a junior component. I was amazed at the number of adults who could not finish the course. Ethan met some U23 guys from another team and hung out with them a bit. He also enjoyed riding some of the bikes in the shallow part of the water.
I spent my day on Ethan's mountain bike since my bike is broken. I was a bit afraid to ride it, but soon found it to be a lot more fun than I expected. I kind of wish I had a modern mountain bike. I have one that I bought the year I graduated from college. It is okay, but the Trek, with its shocks, is a lot more fun. We also went to the Absolute Bike shop several times. We love visiting different bike shops just to see what they have. This has a print from a cover of Dirt Rag Mag. that Ethan is drawn to. Ethan decided that he would take the borrowed Yeti and do a photo shoot over by the mill. He wanted to make his own version of the poster.

we rode around town a bit more and spent the evening enjoying each other's company. Once we arrived back home I realized that I was missing my wallet. Ethan and I retraced our ride, but did not find it. We called the credit card company and cancelled our cards. I talked with a police officer who said nothing had been found. However, he strongly encouraged me to make a report so as to protect myself from identity theif. When I called I discovered that a woman had turned in my wallet. Everything was still as it should be. I wished that I could have thanked her for her honesty. I had to be happy with the fact that I did not have to replace my driver's license, a long and bothersome process.

Sunday was a busy race day. Ellie raced her criterium at 8:30 a.m. She was the second JR 10-12 and first girl over the finish line. We were excited to find that Jessica came in second place. It was the best we had ever seen Jessica race. Anna had a great race, too. Once that was done the girls went off to play in the river and cooled down. Ellie won two really lovely medals, two passes to the Mount Princeton Hot Springs and a girl's helmet.

Ethan did not race until 11:15 so Larr and I did a bit of casual reading in the park. Ethan hung out with Max, another Black Sheep rider. Ethan's race was an intense one. There were over 30 kids at the start, about 15 of whom were in Ethan's category. A front peloton was off straight away. Ethan was just behind the second group, battling it out with another rider. It was exciting to watch during each lap that he rode during the 25 minute race he got closer and closer to the next group. By the end he was firmly with them. As they turned the last corner he put all he had and won the sprint in his group. It was a great thing to see. He ended up placing fourth in the crit. and fifth in the Omnium. I always love watching my kids race, but this weekend it was much more fun than usual. After a bit more water play and photoshoots, we were on our way home.

We stopped in Breckenridge to see Mark, Lilia, Cousin Jeane, Greg, Claire and Ingrid. We had not seen Jeane and her family since Eleanor's funeral. We had dinner and a nice visit. The girls swam in the pool while Ethan told stories of his trip to Jamaica. We also listened, spellbound, to Greg's tales of his ride of the Paris Brest Paris, a 750+ mile ride that must be completed in something less than 90 hours.

We pulled into our garage at something close to 11:00. The weekend went both quickly and seemed to last for a long time. It was so great to have such a simple and wonderful vacation.


Here's today's recipe. It is a simple, but yummy one that I found via It is fast to make.

Hamburger Salad Sandwiches

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup chopped dill pickle
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 cup Cheddar, shredded, optional
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
6 hamburger buns, split or toast
Lettuce Leaves


1. In a skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic until meat is browned; drain. Cool. Add the next six ingredients. Spoon about 1/2 cup onto each bun; top with lettuce.