Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I haven't posted anything in a long time but tonight I am moved to post. Tonight hope takes over in my heart. Pride has a place in my thoughts. My beloved country had elected our first African American President. But more than that, we have elected a man that I truly believe will work hard to make our country what it can be. Tonight, I am proud to be an American. I leave you with the lyrics to America the Beautiful. It was a favorite song of my Granny and I think it's very fitting here.

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!

O beautiful for pilgrims feet,
Whose stem impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through
wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!

O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife
When once and twice,
for man's avail
Men lavished precious life!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Back on April 14th I started concentrating on my body and what I could do to make myself healthier, stronger, more At that time I started running and getting back on my bike. I was doing well and then, on May 30th, I got an email from Subaru (they sent them to local Subie owners I believe) offering to pay the first $50 of the registration fee for the 2008 Fat Tire Classic. Needing to act fast I quickly looked at the info and registered. Ahead of me sat $145 of fund raising to fulfill the obligation and two days of mountain biking. I'd been on my bike but I'd been road riding on the mountain bike with slick tires and had nearly no true mountain biking experience. And, I only had 1 month to prepare!

Over the last month of I've ridden harder than I've ever ridden before, gaining lovely bruises, lots of muscle and confidence. Loosing 15lbs along the way (well combined with earlier efforts there). Last week I was scared. I didn't feel ready after a mountain bike trek last weekend that required way too much technical and ended up with me pushing my bike up and down a number of areas.

But I had no choice now, my family had donated $345 in support of my efforts and friends and family were all cheering me on. On Friday I drove up to Winter Park and checked in at the race. Number 295. I walked away with maps of the routes in hand and my precious event t-shirt. I got checked in at the hostel I was staying at (which, btw, is really a great place, if you're looking for a cheap place to stay in Grand County, I highly recommend!) and relaxed for a bit before deciding that I'd see how much of the route I could drive since according to the maps at least some of it followed County Hwy 72 which was right where my hostel was. I turned onto the highway and just a couple hundred feet ahead it was dirt, kind of fire road style. Next thing I knew I picked up the arrows for the ride and started following. I was delighted to find that the majority of the Saturday ride would be dirt fire road with "challenge" options heading into more technical stuff. There were two main routes to choose from, one listed at 17 miles and one at 21. After driving the route I still wasn't sure which I would choose and I didn't need to decide until Saturday morning at the split but I was feeling much more confident as I headed to dinner.

Saturday morning I was up early to get ready and head to the resort for the catered breakfast and to get started. The ride opened the starting line at 7am and you could start at any time up to 10am. After breakfast I started off, crossing the starting line at 8:19am. I sent a text message off to a few dear friends and family and their messages back to me along the route were treasured.

The beginning of the ride headed down the Fraser Valley Trail, a paved path along the river which was COLD! My fingers were numb by the time we finally hit sun. At the end of the trail was the first aid station, oddly right across the street from my hostel. I snacked on a few grapes and an orange section and topped off my water bottle with some gatorade. And off I went. I didn't want to stay long at this aid station, I really needed to into the tough parts of the ride. At the moment of the split for the routes I had a tough time. I was feeling good so part of me wanted to head down the harder route but fear of getting a few miles from the end and not being able to finish made me decide to head for the easier option. Of course, it felt harder at the very moment since the Cruiser option headed up a steep hill at that moment while the Classic option wandered off into a flatter area.

As I started to climb, and climb and climb I had to stop, walk my bike a few times or just take a moment to catch my breath but all the while I knew I was doing something I wouldn't have tried just a few years prior. The total climb was around 1200 feet of vertical topping out at about 9600 ft. At 8.9 miles I was feeling pretty good after finally catching and passing a couple of other women (hey, I needed an ego boost!) and stopped to snap this photo with my phone.

Coming upon the second aid station was good timing for sure. I needed to take a break and snacked again on more grapes and topped of the water bottle with more gatorade (I had plain water in the camelback and was alternating). The women I passed rolled in right as I was headed out. Finally, I came to a nice descent and got to sit back and enjoy a bit as I rolled down only to get to the bottom and have to go back up another steep one. I had to stop and walk for a bit here and this is where the only casualty occurred, I busted the arm on my sunglasses. I need shades due to dirt in the eyes and such so I was wondering what I was going to do when a lovely SAG vehicle approached. I snagged some medical tape from them and did a temporary fix and off I went.

Then, came the scary event. I was on a fairly steep descent when I squeezed my rear brake and found I had NOTHING. None, nada, zip. Fortunately, I had front brake so I sat WAY back on the bike and eased on the front brake until it flattened out and I was able to get stopped. Got off the bike and looked to find that the rear brake had loosened enough to slide down the slot thingy (yeah, I know, technical terms here). Thankfully, I've done some brake adjustments in the past and had my multi tool with me so I got myself fixed up and off I went.

At 12.77 miles I stopped at this creek and took a few more photos.

I finally reached the third and final aid station decorated with a tropical theme. Here I decided I could eat a bit more and had some cookies and bandaged a developing blister. Oh, and snapped one more photo of me with my bike.

As I left the people at the aid station said "It's mostly downhill from here!" Yeah, I'm never believing another aid station worker again! I started off and next thing I know I'm climbing again. Unfortunately I had an asthma attack here but got it under control with the inhaler and walked for a bit but then got riding again. This area had lots of really pretty yellow wildflowers to look at as I rode. And then, finally, I started down for good. I was pretty emotional at this point, I'd done it. I crossed the finish line having ridden (or walked the bike) for 2 hours 12 minutes taking a total of around 3 hours with stops. 17.66 miles. It's both the longest distance and longest time on my bike ever, either riding on roads or trails.

A friend met me at the finish and having someone there to relax with and enjoy the festivities was wonderful. And the swag we got was great!

Alright, day two! On day 1 I bought myself a Fat Tire Classic Jersey so I dressed in it which gave me pockets and enough room to bring my real camera. Today was scheduled to be shorter, just over 10 miles for the Cruiser option. Again, I was up early and headed for breakfast. I took off for the route which went up the mountains on the other side of the valley. I met up with a group early on and did most of the uphill (it was an out and back route) with 2 guys from the group. This was a long slow uphill burn gaining around 700 ft in elevation over 3.5 miles. I'm not sure which is worse the long slow uphill or the steep climbs although the long slow was easier on my asthma. Something moved me though and I motored up, taking only one rest, when the guys I had met stopped in front of me. This road was a bit more technical and torn up and at one point I said to the guys "Enough with the potholes already!" Oy!

We reached to top of the climb and were greeted by today's one and only aid station. I had planned on turning around here but was convinced that one challenge option was flat and went out to some beautiful views so I decided I'd give it a try. It was only another mile out. Off I went to a really rocky road, keeping me on my toes watching for rocks and tire placement but I was significantly rewarded with a beautiful rushing stream and pond at the turn around.

Riding down was interesting. A bone rattler for sure with washboard galore and dodging those d*mn potholes again. I stopped and took a couple of pictures of views along the way.

I finished the day with 12.75 miles in about 90 minutes. Afterwards I was treated to a free Thai massage which helped loosen me up and then I headed to the car and to drive home.

The emotion I feel this evening is almost overwhelming. It's pure pride in myself, excitement at who I've become and anticipation of the person I'm still becoming. Friday, I'm scheduled for a near half century ride. Most of my friends would never have guessed this for me 4 years ago but today, it is me. And I am proud of me.

Thank you all for reading this far. Please know that each of you, in your own way, whether I've told you so individually or not has been an inspiration to me. I heard your "voices" along the way describing your adventures, giving encouragement and support and at the times when I was getting discouraged those helped me fight through it. And to those who gave me those last minute cheers and notes of encouragement, my gratitude cannot be measured. Thank you.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The twists life takes...

Post deleted. Please see www.wiredsafety.org for any questions regarding online safety.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A season comes to a end...

Okay, so it's been far too long since I posted something substantive. Below is a post I made to the Cooking Light Bulletin board about my coaching season.

On Saturday we ended another season of ski racing for Team Summit. This year was a challenging year on many, many levels. I had fewer athletes but each of these athletes needed more individual attention so I was glad to have less. We had challenges such as FREEZING cold temperatures for the first 8 weeks, a child with issues with textures so getting dressed was a challenge, we had a visual disability that made running gates very tough, we had discipline problems and we had tragedy in the death of a beloved mother. But, through it all there have been some bright lights and I thought I'd share them with you guys just as I did last year. Remember, these kids are 5 and 6 years old!

*First day, a little boy is being too rambunctious in the lodge at lunch time, beating up on kids and coaches/parents. I called him over asked him if he knew what respect is. His response "The Queen of Soul". I said "What?" and he responds "The Queen of Soul, she sings a song about respect."

*Little M's smile. That boy could melt a glacier with that smile.

*Watching the other little M come around from fighting coming to training to loving every minute of it. Oh, and when she almost lost her pants getting on the lift it was very hard not to laugh out loud.

*The littlest H. She was always agreeable to anything I asked of her, from her first black diamond powder run when the powder was up to her knees, to long race days.

*My little angel, the other H. I cry when I think of her growing up without her mother but she taught me so much about love and and living life in the face of much sadness. Her face will always be etched in my mind and I hope that one day many, many years from now she'll remember her coach who loves her very much. I can only hope that I can continue to be a part of this little girl's life.

*Spaulding Bowl. On March 15th I took 5 of my kiddos (the other two were competing at Nastar Nationals) into Spaulding Bowl, a double black diamond which they had to ride their first Poma lift to get too. On top of that, my dad who was my head coach during racing joined us to assist. Watching those kids make it through that run, and have fun doing it was very rewarding.

*Watching my kids from last year clean up in races this year and show off the technique they started learning last year.

At the end of the season, I don't know that I'll coach full time next year. As health issues have plagued and life gets busier I may decide to sub so that I have more flexibility. But, in the end, I'll be back one way or another. The smiles and hugs are addictive for sure. For now, I'll head to the slopes to ski with friends until the last of the snow is gone and then, I'll start dreaming of the turns I'll be making in just 6 long months from now.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A quick note!

Yes, it's been a busy few months with at least a bit more to come. I wanted to post the following link for you all to read a report, partially funded by an organization that my uncle runs. It is progressive but it deals with the financial stability and future of me and my contemporaries. I would love it if you take some time to read, I will be digesting more this evening. If you feel like it, please feel free to spread the link to friends and family.


I'll be back soon with food, ski season, and life reports.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Childhood Favorite

So, I had planned to ski today and take advantage of the free ticket I had for Loveland but I awoke with a sore body and throat and to a snowstorm. I decided not to fight the roads for what would be fairly short day anyhow and thankfully so as I am now hearing reports of it taking 3 hours to go 4 miles!

So, I decided to pull out the recipe for a childhood favorite that my dad makes. We ALWAYS had some of this in the freezer, ready for a quick meal on busy nights. So, I made a double recipe (below is the single recipe) so I'll have plenty in my own freezer. I hope you enjoy just as much as I do!

Papa's Ragu

3 tablespoons yellow onion -- chopped
4 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 1/2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons celery -- chopped
3 tablespoons carrot -- chopped
1 1/2 cups white wine -- dry
3/4 cup milk, skim
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg -- ground
3 cups canned tomatoes -- diced, italian, with juice
1 1/8 pounds ground sirloin

An earthenware pot should be your first choice for making ragu. If you don't have one available, use a heavy, enameled cast-iron casserole, the deepest one you have ( to keep the ragu from reducing too quickly). Put in the chopped onion, with all the oil and butter, and sauté briefly over medium heat until just translucent. Add the celery and carrot and cook gently for 2 minutes.

Add the ground beef, crumbling it in the pot with a fork. Add 1 teaspoon salt, stir and cook only until the meat has lost its raw, red color. Add the wine, turn the heat up to medium high , and cook stirring occasionally, until all the wine has evaporated.

Turn the heat down to medium, add the milk and the nutmeg, and cook until the milk has evaporated. Stir frequently.

When the milk has evaporated, add the tomatoes and stir thoroughly. When the tomatoes have started to bubble, turn the heat down until the sauce cooks at the laziest simmer, just an occasional bubble. Cook, uncovered, for a minimum of 3 ½ to 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste and correct for salt . If you cannot watch the sauce for such a long stretch, you can turn off the heat and resume cooking it later on. But do finish cooking it in one day.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Hi everyone!

Thanks RecipeGirl for touching base over here and reminding me to get something up here.

It's been a challenging and busy month for me making it difficult to have much to post about here. Ski racing has been time consuming and somewhat emotional this year. Between challenging athletes and freezing cold conditions we've not gotten as much done this year as I would like. This week has been especially difficult. On Thursday February 14th tragedy hit the Team Summit family when the mother of one of my athletes died suddenly. Tomorrow is her funeral which I will attend. This is the second funeral I've had to attend related to some sort of teaching I do. Over 7 years ago I attended the funeral of a young boy that had been in my religious education class. He had fought and won the battle against brain cancer but succumbed a week after being declared cancer free to an infect from the shunt he had. The memories of Peter and his funeral have been raw this week as well.

Skiing on my own, however, has been fantastic! I had a great day with a bunch of people from skiing bulletin boards at Copper Mountain and explored areas I never get to see with the kids. I've skied with other friends and am really loving this season.

Food! I've honestly not done a whole lot special. Cooking has been only enough to survive and surely not inspired. Oh, I did visit Larkburger in Edwards (near Dish) and had the best burger of my life. A wonderful burger with Tillamook cheddar cheese and truffle aioli and truffle parmesan french fries. I think I'm spoiled for anything else!

I hope to post more in the near future but if I can't, I will be back when the season calms for me a bit.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Dish, again.

I know, you're all thinking I must be crazy for heading to Dish, yet again. I don't care! Incredible food, incredible service for an incredibly low price means you can't keep me away. Saturday I remembered to bring my camera with me and photographed not only my food but a few dishes leaving the kitchen and some of the kitchen as well. So I'll start with dinner descriptions and end with the photos! By the way, this may be out of order but at least all the dishes are describe and I always seem to be so excited to eat the dishes so pictures come after a couple of bites. Oops.

The Original - The same as below, serrano ham, manchego and sherry.

Tomato Bisque - Wow, this had a bite I didn't expect but it sure was welcomed!

Hawaiian Marlin - This marlin is sliced thin and smoke cured bacon style. Served with house made kim chi to balance the smoky fish. Wow.

White Truffled Pasta - Housemade pasta is served with a simple buttery sauce then white truffles are shaved generously on top and are perfectly showcased against the mellow pasta. Divine, absolutely divine.

Diver Sea Scallops - Seared and served with a lemon buerre blanc, pink grapefruit and fume de sel which is stored in oak chardonnay barrels so it takes on a bit of those flavors. I will definitely be making a dish with scallops and grapefruit at home as it was a wonderful contrast in the buttery scallop and the sweet-tart flavor of the grapefruit.

Roasted Chicken - Served in an open face saffron ravioli and an herbed cream broth. As I moved the sheet of pasta off the chicken and broth the aroma of the herbs hit me. And all I could do was inhale the beautiful smell and anticipate the first bite of pure comfort food.

Baby Iceburg Lettuce Wedge - Served with avocado, red onion and a creamy bacon dressing (with a bite of it's own). A nice refreshing break between rich dishes!

Beef Short Ribs - These had been braised for nearly 12 hours and literally fell apart as my fork touched them in the slightest. They were served with organic roasted carrots and a light coffee glaze with microgreens.

Churros - Yes, you read that right, churros. I wasn't excited about these until I started seeing them pass by me through the night (I was sitting right next to where the servers pick up food to take to other tables) and kept watching that little dish of dark chocolate ganache dipping sauce pass by. These were crispy on the outside and coated with cinnamon and sugar then warm and doughy and tender on the inside. Dipped in chocolate, they were pure heaven.

Buttermilk Cake - Kevin (the sous chef) couldn't decide which dessert was better so he served me both. This lemon buttermilk cake served with raspberry coulis is quite possibly the best non-chocolate dessert I've ever had the pleasure of enjoying.

Basically, this restaurant is bound for greatness. I see this being a destination spot, a place vacations are planned around. I only hope they'll still find a spot for me at their kitchen bar when they are booked to capacity months in advance. And I don't think it will be very long before that happens. In fact, I've already got my reservation for 7 people 2 months from today.

First ski race of the season!

For those of you who don't know I coach ski racing for Team Summit at Copper Mountain. The last two seasons I've had our 5 and 6 year olds which has been so much fun. On Saturday we had our first race of the season at Breckenridge. Race days are chaotic and stressful for all involved but most especially the coaches and parents. At this age the kids just do what we tell them too! Today I took leadership of all of our Y7 (5 & 6 year old) girls, all 14 of them and made sure they did their 2 course inspections, got to the start and down to their speedsuits, did their 2 races and got lunch in there as well. I also had 2 other coaches and 2 parents assisting me. I am so very proud of all of these girls as well and their boy teammates who were being looked over by other coaches for the day. They all tried hard and as they know is my first rule, had fun. Ask any of them. The first rule on my team is to have fun. Below is a photo of some of the girls hanging out in the lodge after the second race.