Saturday, September 9, 2017

Today we high-tailed it out of Utah on our next adventure.  This was the kind of adventure where the pups get to stay with grandma and grandpa while we’re gone.  They just hate being spoiled the way only grandparents can spoil.  I wish I could pretend that we won’t miss them.  We will certainly be having our own fun and “spoiling” with good beer and majestic views as far as the eye can see but I would be crazy to pretend I won’t miss those furries and their drool and their incessant barking and their hyperactivity and…..well, you get the picture.  We dropped the four-legs at grandma and grandpa’s this morning and hitched a ride to the airport.  Here we are at 4pm mountain time, flying over British Columbia on our way to Ketchikan via our connection at Sea-Tac. 

This flight has invoked some emotion (the good kind) and thoughts for this old girl (probably because Chris is taking advantage of air travel and sleeping which forces me to shut my mouth long enough to think about something…).  Thinking is good.  I realized recently that I haven’t done enough thinking and reflecting in the last year.  It’s been a whirlwind, to say the least but I’m happy that I accomplished so much.  As we fly to Alaska and I’m forced to think, due to these silent conditions, I remember how excited I was last year to see Alaska for the first time.  Now that I have last year’s experience and memories, I’m equally excited because I know what I’m in for.  So much beauty.  Lots of nature.  Time with great friends. Fish. Fishing.  Plenty of laughing and more fun than I could ever fill the interwebs with stories of.  Just the way we like it.

For now I’ll sip this Alaskan Icy Bay IPA, keep looking out the window of this airplane, and remember how small we are in the grand scheme of things.  But in about an hour, the adventure begins!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

chris and i are lucky enough to get some hang time with zade for the next two weeks while most of the rest of our crew is in greece.  on thursday, day one with zade, i learned a lot.

i learned that sometimes waking up two hours earlier than necessary is ok because then there's time for wearing swim shorts on your head in between all of the important stuff you have to do for the day.
i learned that any good thursday will include hours of couch-jumping.

i learned that if you become tired from all of your extreme couch-jumping, some goat simulator and puppy cuddles are the best form of rest.

i learned that sometimes it's just simply necessary to clock out at 1pm and go to the pool!

i learned that doritos are the perfect fuel for a day of swimming and water slides.

lastly, i learned that if you really want to get a six year old to give the giant water slide a try you should just point out the toddler who is going down the slide with his parents....the six year old will not be out done by a baby.

i'm glad we get this time with Z.  he's a great kid and we don't often get one on one time with him so we are truly cherishing these days with him.

on friday chris left work early to hang with the kiddo.  when he made it home from SLC he and zade loaded up their bikes in the back of the truck and went to the bike path for a man-venture.  they had all sorts of fun and laughed a lot.  they came home with stories of raccoon tracks, biking fun, and dinosaur sightings.

saturday, zade and i got another full day of fun together while chris had to work.  after eating lucky charms for breakfast and watching phineas and ferb we decided that it was time for us to get dressed and hit the town in search of fun.

first we headed to big o tires for an oil change.  a little goat simulator while we waited made the wait seem short.  after we got the car some fresh oil we headed straight to the "jet museum" (zade's name for the Hill Aerospace Museum).

 he'd been seeing the planes that are outside the museum each time we drove by on the freeway all weekend.  he was really excited to check them all out for himself.  we spent the next couple of hours talking about missles, machine guns, army guys, bombs, and candy while we explored the museum.

after the jet museum we made our way to jaymee's house to play with our buddy mason.  zade was looking forward to meeting mason and going to the park with him.  we made our lunch of mac and cheese and chicken nuggets while we waited for mason to wake up from his nap.  once he woke up and we were all fueled for fun with nuggets and mac, we headed for the park.  man, we couldn't thank jaymee enough for taking us to this incredible park.  it was fancy, new, and had all the very coolest toys to play on!

including a zip line!!!!  kids and grown-ups alike had a great time at the park.  zade and mason had fun together as well.  mason definitely looked up to zade since he was the older dude.  anything zade did, mason did....or tried to do.  we had a great time playing with jaymee and mason.

on sunday, lucky man z got to go to work with uncle chris.  based on the photos and videos of the kiddo riding his bike in the warehouse and doing every fun thing their imaginations could think up, i'd say zade had the best day ever at work with uncle chris.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

colorado is the real promised land

i did it.  it was fun.  i want to do it again.

my inaugural cycling tour is in the books.  on thursday of last week i worked my part time job getting my favorite 14 teenage dudes ready for school.  when they headed off to school instead of coming home and beginning my other job for the day as i usually do, i jumped into my loaded up lucy (the soob) was en route to fruita, colorado.

the plan: thursday, drink lots of beer and eat lots of pizza at the hot tomato and camp at james robb state park.  friday, pedal our loaded touring bikes (that's bicycle, not a motor bike) from our campsite in fruita to and through the colorado national monument and into grand junction to camp the second night.  saturday, ride bikes from grand junction to palisade via a magical route through the rural countryside with only the cows, orchards, and winery's to keep us company.  needless to say, we were not lonely.

So excited for dinner at the Hot Tomato!
on thursday we converged on the james robb state park campground in the evening and immediately got down to business with pizza and beer at the hot tomato.  we told a lot of stories and laughed a lot.  after dinner we all hunkered down in our tents as rain was on the way.  "rain" ended up bing hail, snow, rain, wind, and very cold temperatures.  we all survived.  i even slept through most of it...until i had to pee really badly smack in the middle of the hail storm.  i waited until the hail stopped and peed in the rain, i survived.

friday morning we woke to the sun and a majestic bald eagle circling the river next to the campground with the sun drenched national monument in the background.  it was picturesque and an inspiring way to begin the day.  inspiration was good, i needed all of that i could get in order to muster the motivation to pedal myself and all my gear up the steep, 15 mile climb through the monument.  we set out from the campground.
So it begins...the climb.

we entered the monument in the first 3 miles of our ride and thank goodness we did.  the beauty was on every side of me was so great that i ALMOST didn't notice the steep, never-ending climb.  and if i'm being honest, the climb wasn't as bad as i had hyped it up to be, thankfully.  alas, i summited.  it was a fantastic feeling.  i had pedaled every inch of the climb and i had an incredible feeling of victory.
I summited!

 at the summit we stopped to layer up in warm clothes as the next 12 miles were a fast, steep descent.  the descent was fun, the nerve-wracking kind of fun.  once at the bottom we stopped at the lunch loops to use the potty, rest, and make a plan for dinner in grand junction.  at the suggestion of a trustworthy local we decided on the alehouse brewery.  i was willing to pedal for good food but that was the longest 6 miles of the day!  that being said, it was worth every pedal stroke.  the food was great and just what i needed.  after dinner though, i was beat and ready for bed.  we still had to pedal 6 more miles to the campground.  ugh.  we made it.  and by now i was a pro at setting up my gear so i got my tent up and gear unloaded in no time flat.  next was a nice, hot shower.  after a snack and some discussion of the next day's agenda i crawled into my sleeping bag, got really cozy, and was out in no time flat.

saturday morning i woke up freezing and cite that as the reason i was last to leave my tent that morning.  not only was i last out of my tent but cyndy was pretty much packed up and ready to roll by the time i left my tent.  she's an animal.  we all eventually got our shit together and rolled out of camp earlier than we had the day before...there was wine in our future, that helped.  we followed the colorado fruit and wine tour map from grand junction to palisade.

We rode the southern route on this map.
 it was truly something out of a movie.  we rode over 20 miles of (mostly) flat rural colorado roads through orchards, cow pastures, fields of grapes, wineries, lavender fields, and very little traffic.  if those wineries had been breweries i could have ridden out there all day.

Wine tasting and cycling to together like bacon and eggs.
we made it to our finish point, rapid creek cycles, in palisade in the early afternoon on saturday.  i felt victorious.  i pedaled the entire way and had a total blast!!!  as we stepped into rapid creek i flippantly commented on a the shirt of a man who was on his way out the front door of the shop, "nice shirt".  it was a "Floyd's of Leadville" shirt.  chris and i are big fans.  his response, "thanks, don't go anywhere.  i've got more in the car and i'll bring you one."  as he walked out the door someone in the shop looked at me and said, "you know that's floyd, right?"  i didn't have words.  i know, this never happens to me.  well, it really was floyd and he really did come back with swag, as promised.  as he handed me an armful of good branded with his name floyd asked about our tour.  then i asked him about his ventures.  things are going great and he's got something big in the works in palisade.  cool.  my natural next step was to ask for a photo.  floyd graciously agreed and asked dave zabriskie to be in the photo as well.
One of my coolest moments.
man, i sure was giddy between those two bookends.  they really were so humble and a blast to chat with. after all that excitement i needed to chill out with a beer for a minute while the rest of my group finished shopping at rapid creek.  while lisa and i shared the only brew that was left in the back of my car when we dropped it off on thursday who came spinning through the parking lot but dave z while floyd was finishing his riding prep.  they were headed out on a mountain bike ride.  after 3 days on a road bike i was jealous of their mountain adventure.  eventually they headed out on their ride and our group headed to palisade brewery for a mid-afternoon lunch.  boy was this place a little slice of my own heaven.  dogs were everywhere on the patio.  we had a couple of beers and i made my way around the patio visiting every pup i could get my hands on while we waited for our food.  the food was great.  after we ate we made a quick stop

at the grocery store for the last few provisions we'd need for our last night of camping.  after loading the groceries in my car the other three got on their bikes and headed from palisade out to the campground just east of town.  i made one quick stop at the liquor store for some good beer and met them at the campground.  once there, we each performed our daily ritual of setting up our tents and getting cleaned up.  we enjoyed the rest of the evening over food, a fire, good brews, and great stories from the trip.

this was the perfect first tour for me.  i had a great time and there was plenty of fun and laughter to go along with the plentiful food and libations.  thank you diane!!!

Monday, February 27, 2017

there's a new wild feeling dancing in the air. there's a new wild everywhere.

i got to facetime my two favorite iowa littles last night.  they talked to me for two whole hours.  i love and miss them.  my g-man is growing up so fast.  he told me all about school, hanging out with nanny, his trip to kentucky, and all his sleepovers with his friends lately.
i caught them fresh out of the shower for the night.  they were cleaning their ears and being aliens.  we all laughed really hard and had so much fun together.
remi was really into her cowgirl hat after her shower.  she wanted everyone to wear it and made her mom wear it for part of our facetime call.  

i love my kiddos.  sometimes when i see gavin and he appears to have grown up 5 years since the last time i saw him i get a little teary.  i miss him like crazy.  he's a good buddy, one of my very best.  i will always love him and I look forward to him growing up...i just hope he always thinks that aunt b is cool.

oh, and remi calls me "b" now.  not aunt b yet, just b.  i'll take it for now.

Monday, February 20, 2017

there are times when you might feel aimless and can't see the places where you belong

and when that happens to me, a road trip is in order.  so this summer, at the end of may, i set sail on what a friend and co-worker dubbed my vision quest.  i left with a car full of adventure gear and my sweet adventure pup.  kenai and i said goodbye to chris early on a thurdsay morning.  we cruised from ogden all the way to denver that day.  the ride was pretty relaxed and enjoyable...until we got to the pass in colorado on i-70.  we drove through some of the hardest rain i've ever experienced.  we had to pull over at one point because the rain was falling so hard that i couldn't see.  we got through it.  we are skilled and experienced road trippers.  although this was probably kenai's most stressed moment of the entire two week adventure.  poor guy.

when we got to denver we landed at the home of my dear friend natalie and her husband, mark.  they are the absolute best and it was so great to spend the evening with them.  first, we went to dinner.  boy was i ready for food and a beer after that rain storm.  they delivered.  after dinner, we took kenai on a walk to a great park where he and mark bonded over a game of frisbee.
natalie told us about the pond at the park and how she mapped a run around the pond once.
then we headed back to their place, snuck kenai in (their apartment isn't pup friendly), watched a few episodes of broad city, and of course i crashed pretty quickly.  i recall my alarm going off at an ungodly hour the next morning.  i think it was 4am because i'm pretty sure the goal was to be on the road by 5am.  ugh.  it was painful.  nat and mark woke up to see us off and even helped carry bikes back out to the car for me.  i told you that they are the absolute best, i don't lie.

after saying farewell to natalie and mark we began the second portion of the journey to iowa, the boring part across the plains of nebraska and iowa.  after many rest stops and endless games of frisbee, we finally made it to iowa city around 8pm friday night.

i made the necessary stop at the coralville hy vee for sterzings, dip, and beer.  with the necessary provisions  acquired we made the final sprint to winfield where three of my greatest life friends were waiting up for my arrival and some backyard beers.  man, what a night.  there couldn't have been a better committee and setting to welcome me "home" for a visit.  abby, leslie, and kendra had been waiting up for me to get to town.  remarkable because they are all moms with kiddos who need them yet they all made time for me.  i can't express what that meant to me and how much i loved it.  kenai came to the party too.  he tried to kill baby bunnies.  you see, it turns out that late may is baby bunny season in the midwest.  so the tiny little critters were just being born and
they were literally everywhere.  i stepped on one for crying out loud.  that was traumatizing.  kenai was chasing baby bunnies and grown-up bunnies alike.  it was making me crazy.  after a few hours of catching up, reminiscing, and laughing until our guts hurt and our eyes were crying it was well after midnight and we all decided we should turn in for the night.

saturday was a pretty special day.  my sister and i threw a surprise 60th birthday party for my mom at the twin lakes country club.

 it was a total blast!  we met at the club early to set up and decorate...i think i might have spent more time hanging with my gav man though.  i had missed him and this was my first chance to see him since i'd returned to iowa.

he was a big help getting the party ready though.

the party was a hit and  my mom felt so loved.  success.  it was great to see family and friends in such a fun celebratory setting.  and it was great to see my mom smile and laugh so much.

sunday i headed north to minnesota to work for the week.  as always, i drank a lot of good beer and spent time with all the best folks minnesota has to offer.

i got to shack up at the ommen house again.  they are the absolute best.  this time i brought gifts to thank them for the last time they let me stay.  e got a sweet new unicorn pillowcase.
 kenai loved the girly stuff in e's bedroom when it was time for stories before bed.  he shoulda been a lady.

he was also super duper excited to hang with his pal otis for the week.  they always have so much fun.

 Marian took me to this crazy place on prior lake called Charlie's.  best gouda hashbrowns ever to exist.  you should definitely get some.

AND they allow dogs on the deck!  needless to say i was an instant fan.

 after a week in minnie my adventure pup and i headed south again to iowa.  there was more fun to be had.  on our way back we stopped in cedar falls to have dinner with al and jake.  man are those two the cream of the crop.  i'm so excited for them to get married soon.

i got to spend the next few days in iowa just enjoying the country.  that right there is therapy enough for me.  

i took my favorite dude camping at lake darling.  i had never been, at least not that i remember.  we had so much fun!
the kiddos got to meet a milk snake that the DNR ranger brought by our campsite.  brantley was way more into the snake than gavin at first.  even remi gave it a shot. 

kenai got to chase some toads.  that was fun for him...and very stressful/gross for me. 

saturday morning before i took the kiddos home we went for a hike by the lake.  it was no hike in the mountains but we had just as much fun.  i wouldn't have traded that night of camping with the boys and my niece terra for anything.  we all had so. much. fun.

saturday night was my 15 year high school reunion.  yes, i said fifteen year.  that's real.  doesn't matter how old we are.  i was still a complete nerd and had the time of my life.  some things NEVER change.

the trip was a total blast.  i want to do it again this year.  it's good to go home and take the time to smell the roses and love my people.  see you all in 2017.