Me, Filtered Though the Latest Facebook Meme

Feb 202012

As my FaceBook friends saw yesterday, Trey Givens made an awesome version of that painfully common Facebook meme:

It’s missing the standard heading of “What she thinks she does.” For that, I’m not sure whether I’d need a picture of Jean Grey as Phoenix from the X-Men or a Jean-Luc Picard facepalm. Maybe… Jean Grey doing a facepalm!

Doggie Mae Plus Kong = Cute Overload

Jan 262012

When Paul and I travel, our dogs stay at Mile High Mutts, a fabulous doggie day care and boarding facility in Denver. They don’t miss us one bit!

Yesterday, they sent me this picture of Mae, so happy with a Kong:

As I write this, Mae is just outside… but I miss her!

Snowboard Girl, Powered by Bacon

Jan 212012

Last week, I had a great four days of snowboarding in Beaver Creek, then one final day of skiing. Much to my delight, the third day offered six inches of glorious powder — and that much powder transforms snowboarding from “yay fun!” to “OMG OMG OMG THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER!”

My snowboarding skills are definitely improving with every day on the slopes. (These were days five through eight on a snowboard.) My turns are much better: I can do pretty flat s-curves down the milder slopes, and I can do turns on steeper slopes now too. I’m able to get off the lifts reliably, thank goodness. I’m only falling on occasion now too.

Interestingly, I’m pretty much ambidextrous on the snowboard. I’m goofy-footed, mostly because the inflamed nerve (morton’s neuroma) in the ball of my right foot is happier when strapped in full-time. However, I’m happy to go down the slope with left or right foot forward, and my turns are equally good (or bad) on either side. That flexibility is good: I can face whichever way makes the most sense given the terrain, not based on my own body’s preferences.

I snowboarded or skied for four to five hours every day. I was tired by that, but not wildly exhausted. (The only exception was the first day, but that involved waking up early and driving three hours to Beaver Creek, then snowboarding.) Also, I was sore after the first day or two in my quads, but that faded. That tells me that my 20 minute SuperSlow workouts once per week are keeping me in as good shape as CrossFit did.

By the time we went home, the only thing that hurt was the backs of my knees. I couldn’t figure out why… until I realized that the problem was likely my construction-style knee pads, because the main strap wrapped around the backs of my knees. I’ve ordered knew knee pads, so hopefully those will work without causing strain.

Finally, due to my still-super-strict elimination diet, I cooked all of our meals in the kitchen of the condo. We usually had bacon and grapefruit for breakfast. (Hence, the caption on on the picture!) Paul had coffee, and I had my cinnamon hot cocoa. I packed some meat (ham or leftovers), plus sweet potato for lunch. Then we had yummy dinners: slow-cooked pork ribs, roast chicken, pork roast, and so on. That worked really well: I kept strictly to my diet, and I enjoyed what we ate. Also, we probably saved a few hundred dollars, since eating out anywhere neat Beaver Creek is ridiculously expensive.

Overall, I’m really happy that I took up snowboarding this season. I’m enjoying the challenge of learning a new snow sport, particularly that difficult process of forcing myself by sheer will to overcome my fears. (I hope to write more about that later.) Mostly…


Merry Christmas!

Dec 252011

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

it's Christmas time again

Hugs and Kisses,

Paul and Diana
Conrad and Mae
Oliver and Elliot
Elsie and Lila

Snow Doggies

Dec 232011

We got a foot of snow yesterday… and the doggies had extra extra extra fun wrestling in the snow.

Learning to Snowboard at the Ripe Old Age of 37

Dec 172011

Last Sunday afternoon, Paul and I headed out to Breckenridge for a few days of much-needed vacation. I decided to try to learn to snowboard on this trip. (I’m a pretty good skier, but I’ve not yet skied this season.) I wanted the challenge of learning a new sport, and snowboarding seemed like a good fit for me. Plus, I suspect that snowboarding might be easier on my increasingly painful Morton’s neuroma. (That’s an inflamed nerve in the ball of my right foot, acquired by wearing bicycle clip shoes.) So with three full days to play in the snow, I decided to take the plunge into snowboarding!

The first two days were pretty darn miserable. I’m not exaggerating. On the first day, I took a full-day lesson to learn the basics, and that was essential. (We had one instructor, plus an instructor-in-training, for four people. That was awesome.) The class worked on the bunny hill of Peak 9 for most of the day, but our final run was on a green slope. While I improved over the course of the day, I struggled to learn how to shift my weight properly in order to steer. Still, the green run was good… including the bit of real hill toward the bottom.

The second day — my 37th birthday — was the worst. I still struggled to steer, even just on my heel edge, and often I was sucked into the edges of the run by seemingly insignificant fall lines. Also, I had serious troubles “skating,” i.e. moving with one foot detached. That’s tricky to learn, and because I switched from regular-footed to goofy-footed after the first day, I had to relearn it. (I’m pretty sure that I could go either way in my stance, but my bad foot is always strapped in with a goofy stance, and that puts far less stress on my neuroma. So goofy I am!) Alas, I had lots of skating to do on this day because I was stupid enough to return to Peak 9, with its long stretch of flat with that strong fall line to the right. (I’d never even notice that skiing!) That was a mistake. However, the absolute worst was the platter-pull lift on the bunny slope: it was not merely ridiculously difficult to skate on a snowboard while being dragged uphill, but also extremely tiring. I was always more winded at the top of the slope than I was at the bottom. After switching to the green run later in the day, I got better at controlling my direction and speed, but I’d not even been able to think about turns yet.

On the third day, I dreaded returning to the slopes. Every muscle in my body ached, and after my first two days, I didn’t see much hope for fun. However, I was determined not to permit all of my pain of the first two days go to waste by my giving up, so off to the slopes I went.

Happily, I had a blast! I went to Peak 8, and I stuck with an easy green run and an easy two-person lift. (I could only stay for three hours.) That was perfect. The hill posed enough of a challenge that I never got bored. I worked on my heed-side traversing, then my toe-side traversing, then my j-turns, then c-turns, then s-turns. If I tried to turn on a steeper portion of the hill, I’d crash in a most spectacular way, but I was able to do the turns pretty well on the flatter sections. Control over my speed and direction began to come naturally to me, meaning that I didn’t have to think through every body motion. Also, I was able to practice my skating to get on and off the lift. I even managed to skate off the lift perfectly a few times. (Really, that was a feat!) Oh, and it was awesome to have an inch of powder on the slopes that day too!

I’m now eager to return to the slopes to continue learning the basic skills of snowboarding. Obviously, I have much to learn yet, but I think I’ve gotten over the painfully frustrating portion of the learning curve.

I’ve never fallen much in skiing, even while learning. I fell over and over again in my three days of snowboarding, often suddenly and hard. However, I didn’t suffer any other aches or pains or bruises from that, apart from muscle soreness. (The only exception is a dark circular bruise, two inches wide, on the side of my thigh. I have no idea how I got that!) I stayed out of trouble because I wore a slew of protective equipment, including:

  • A helmet. I bonked my head slightly a few times, so I was very glad to have protected my beloved noggin. I plan to wear a helmet whenever I ski or snowboard from here on out.
  • Wrist guards. They weren’t just useful for when I’d catch an edge, but also for helping to prop myself up when attempting to stand up. My instructor cautioned against relying on them for too long: to prevent broken bones, you want to learn to break your forward falls with your shoulder, rather than your arms.
  • Knee pads. I used some knee pads that we’d bought at Home Depot years ago, strapping them on over my ski pants. They definitely cushioned me on some very hard forward falls. I’ll likely wear these heavy-duty knee pads for a few more outings, then look for some snowpants with built-in knee pads.
  • Butt pad. This was sheer brilliance on my part, even if the ideas were borrowed from others. I secured the perfect pad to my rear by taking an inch-thick “kneeling pad” for gardening, again from Home Depot, and securing it in the proper place with spandex shorts. (It worked best to put it on over my long underwear.) It was sheer brilliance, I tell you! It really worked: despite some bone-jarring falls, my butt was never sore. The set-up did require large ski pants, however.

My only equipment failure was my mittens. My usual skiing mittens, which are lovely and warm, weren’t large enough to fit over my wrist guards, and the wrist guards weren’t large enough to fit over my mittens. Doh! Since the wrist guards needed a layer of cushion underneath, I decided to wear my warmer-weather gloves. It wasn’t too cold for that, but wowee, they got soaked. As a skier, my hands just aren’t in the snow. As a snowboarder, my hands were digging into the snow every time I’d fall, sit down to rest, or get up — meaning about once every three minutes. That meant soaking wet gloves. I was too cheap to buy new gloves in Breckenridge, but I found an excellent pair of large waterproof gloves and a pair of large mittens at Costco in Denver.

Now I just need to buy myself a used snowboard and boots… and get back out on the slopes!

So what are the lessons here for learning a new sport? I’d say (1) don’t give up too soon, (2) pad yourself like crazy, and (3) keep working toward the fun!

Winter Dogs Will Wrestle

Dec 052011

We’ve had a lot lot lot of snow and cold over the past few days here, and snow is always a great opportunity for pictures and video of my wild and crazy doggies. First, the pictures:

And now the video of wrestling doggies:

Thanksgiving Dishes

Dec 032011

Last week on Modern Paleo’s new PaleoCooks list, I asked, “What did you make for Thanksgiving that you particularly enjoyed?” Here’s my answer:

We did a pot luck with friends who mostly eat paleo. I made the sweet potatoes and an appetizer.

The sweet potatoes were just roasted in their skins, then skinned and mashed with a fork — one batch with butter and salt, and the other batch with coconut oil and the zest and juice from one orange. They were super-easy and got rave reviews!

For an appetizer, I made olive tampenade, loosely following this recipe. I used 3 cans of black olives (drained and rinsed), about a half a head of garlic (which was too much, but still yummy), about 1/3 cup of sun dried tomatoes, about 2 tbsp olive oil, and the juice from one lemon. (I didn’t have anchovies on hand… or rather, I forgot to check.) Everything got processed in the food processor. (I did the garlic first, because I wanted to make sure that it was chopped fine.) I served it with sliced red, yellow, and orange peppers as delivery devices. It was very much enjoyed, and not too heavy. Plus, it only took about 15 minutes to assemble and make… and leftover olive tampenade is great to add to sautéed vegetables or fried eggs!

Oh, and I also made brussels sprouts cooked on the stovetop in a cup of cream. (That’s not for those who don’t do dairy, obviously!) They only take about 15 minutes to cook, and you want to reduce the cream so that it’s actually just gooey (not liquid) and a bit brown. Add some nutmeg, and you’re all good!

The whole dinner was excellent, I was particularly glad to be able to take a much-needed post-dinner nap:

Here’s the whole crew, before dinner:

New Horse: Elsie

Dec 022011

As you know, my ancient horse Tara died on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Lila seemed to adjust to being alone well enough, but horses never like to live alone. So I wanted to find a companion for her sooner rather than later.

Happily, I was able to do just that in just a few days, on Saturday. One of my neighbors told me that another neighbor was looking to find a home for an extra horse. Our neighborhood has a stupid three-horse limit, and this horse put her owner one over the limit. So she had to find this horse a new home.

This horse, originally named Espy but now renamed Elsie, is a 14.2 hand mare and 22 years old. (Like dogs, smaller horses live longer than older horses.) She’s friendly and quiet, although with a touch of that bitchy mare-ish streak. (Lila doesn’t have that, but Tara did.) She’s healthy, sound, and even rideable, so she’ll likely make herself useful in more ways than just as a companion for Lila.

Like Lila, Elsie is an easy keeper, needing just hay, and she’s very food-oriented. That’s highly useful, because I don’t need to separate them for feeding. I had to do that with Tara since getting Lila last year, and that required four to six trips down to the barn every day. And she and Lila seem to like each other well enough.

So… welcome to the family, Elsie!

Happy Thanksgiving

Nov 242011

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year, I’m grateful that…

  • Paul’s hip healed so well after his dislocation and fracture.
  • my horse Tara gave me eleven good years.
  • so many people enjoy and support the super-fun work that I do every week with the Philosophy in Action webcast.
  • my new horse Lila has been a pleasure to ride and train over the past year.
  • I can do so much good work with my friend and fellow activist Ari Armstrong.
  • our doggies Conrad and Mae are happy, healthy, and ridiculously entertaining as they chase and wrestle and wrestle and chase.
  • we know so many awesome people in Colorado, particularly in Front Range Objectivism.
  • our kitties Elliot and Oliver are warm and fuzzy and mostly friendly.
  • I’m pretty darn healthy after my crash and then struggle with hypothyroidism and adrenal insufficiency.
  • I can interact with friends from afar on a daily basis thanks to social media.
  • my and Paul’s family are awesome people that we can truly enjoy spending time with.
  • Paul and I can enjoy the fruits of a semi-free capitalist economy.
  • I’m such a darn good cook, since I like to eat so much.
  • and so much more!

What are you grateful for this year?

Oh, and be sure to give your furry beasts an extra hug today.

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