Breckenridge’s Short-Lived Masterpieces – Photo Essay

breck snow sculpture

Last weekend the International Snow Sculpture Championship began in Breckenridge, Colorado. Sculptors from around the world came to compete. They all started with the same block of snow.

These were my favorites. Continue reading

Want to change your luck?

How lucky are you? Lightning has struck my pointy head several times in my life. I’m that person, but believe you have to play in order to win. So when I drove to pick up Danny after skiing late Saturday afternoon, I made a pitstop at City Market to buy a Powerball ticket. I assumed there would be a long line and was glad he waited inside the Grand Lodge at Peak 7. The sun had set behind the Ten Mile Range and the temperature dove.

primark line

I thought the line would be as long as this one.

Across the country, hopeful winners waited in long lines to purchase their winning tickets. Not at this Breckenridge grocery store. No line existed.

I haven’t played in over a year and messed up the first two tickets. Luckily, no one waited behind me. When I finally filled in the little empty squares properly, the clerk asked, “So if you win, will you take the lump sum or a yearly payout? They take about sixty percent in taxes.”

The sound of a needle scratching a record drowned out the hum of bustling shoppers and Muzak playing from overhead speakers.

Whoa. That’s a lot of money for Uncle Sam. It doesn’t really seem fair since he doesn’t buy a ticket and then sweat while looking up the winning numbers.

“I don’t know. Probably a yearly payout.”

Chances were 1 out of 292,000,000 and nobody won. If you lived in an unplugged world for the last few days, you probably don’t know the jackpot grew to 1.3 BILLION!

I Googled the tax. They take 40% of the one-time payout. You would pay 4% in taxes if you live in Colorado and choose the thirty-year payout. Would I want Sammy boy to hang on to my money? I’m not sure. I would LOVE to have that problem.

There is quite a range of taxes. It depends on where you live. I got this from the USA Mega Millions Site: Continue reading

When Best Laid Plans Go Wrong

While waiting for my name to be called in urgent care, I thought about the last two days. No matter how much you plan, life has its own ideas. And why do they call it urgent care? There never seems to be any urgency at all.

me

It all started on Monday. Taking my own advice from A Tiny Tale of Terror, I purchased a planner and jotted down to-do lists for the week. It felt satisfying to cross off small steps toward my 2016 goals, but I was up in the air about Wednesday. Our mountain house is in the midst of a remodel and my husband, Danny, planned to drive up to check it out.

Angst formed in my gut. I considered going, but the round-trip drive would take four hours out of my day. “Why are you going?” I asked. “We’re paying a contractor to handle all of this for us.”

He shrugged and said, “You don’t have to go.” Unhindered by my concerns, he drove up. I decided to work at home. The angst in my gut twisted into a tight knot.

After working all morning, the Colorado warm before the storm drew me outside to take down Christmas decorations. It was another chore on my list and forecasters predicted snow to roll in late Thursday.

Angst evaporated in the afternoon sun. I made progress.

As I turned a corner to continue stuffing artificial garlands into a container, I slipped.

My brain went into s l o w  m o t i o n. That has never happened to me before. It’s always in hyperdrive. Talk about a crazy feeling.

One second slowed down to thirty.

THOUGHT PROCESS: Continue reading

My 50 Faves and How to Join!

After losing my dad in October, my poor mother had looked forward to coming to our home for the holidays. She hadn’t traveled since his heart attack in 2009 and thoroughly enjoyed her trip to our house over Thanksgiving.

She wasn’t feeling well last week, but packed her bags. My family had driven to ski Breckenridge when I got the call. She was diagnosed with shingles. GAH!

I had to go into hyperdrive to gather and send her gifts.

While preparing for a Wild day, I caught up on blog posts. Darla from She’s A Maineiac posted 50 Things to Be Grateful For. I told her that if there was a Christmas miracle and there was no line at the Post Office, I would post one too. What were the chances?

I scrambled to put together a package for her and my brother and then drove to the Post Office. As expected, cars lined both sides of the street. There would be a long wait. I sighed and grabbed my box.

When I entered, my eyes widened. A line did NOT exist! It was a Christmas miracle.

$28 later, I am praying for another one: That my package is delivered by Christmas Eve and my mom recovers quickly.

I’m setting my timer. Here goes nothing, Darla…

I Am Grateful for These 50 Things:

  1. My family. I know. It’s so cliché and yet I would be nowhere without them and that’s not because I’m directionally challenged.
  2. My husband. I held on tight through my health setbacks. (Sorry about those bruises, Danny!) He is my super fan and my rock. Mostly he rocks. Not literally. That would be weird.gapers cheat summer
  3. My dog Roxy because COMIC RELIEF and she is fearless.
  4. My friends. They have been there for me and continue to inspire.
  5. My blogging friends. I have been so lucky to meet some in real life. One of my dreams is meet many more of you! They lifted me up and saved me. I will always believe that.
  6. Coffee. Without it I wood meek alot more erors in comments then I alredy do.
  7. Chocolate because chocolate.
  8. Colorado because there are unlimited adventures right outside my door. I think Roxy read my mind.Roxy wants to go outside
  9. My health. For those of you who read my blog, I’ve had a few surgeries in the last few years. Yes. My boobs are bionic, but after two years, I am cancer-free. *happy dances around kitchen*
  10. My new knee parts. Yep. The cartilage in my left knee is metal and a plastic disk resides behind my kneecap. It’s all good. I went skiing yesterday.
  11. Our mountain house. We bought it during a fire sale. No. It wasn’t on fire, but they sold it like it was.
  12. Our remodel. After owning aforementioned mountain house for nearly twenty years, the first floor is gutted. It’s another big art project. Right now it’s riddled with landmines of nail heads. You have to keep your head down or YOUCH!
  13. Snow! Nothing gets my heart beating faster. Well that’s not true, but where there’s snow out here in the West, there is…
  14. Skiing! I found out yesterday, I started skiing earlier than Danny. Ha! Wait. How come I’m not as good as him? *scratches head* skiing breckenridge
  15. Hiking, biking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sledding, tobogganing because more adventure.
  16. My Christmas cards, because they are done.
  17. Fleece jammies. Santa brought them last year and they are snuggly soft.
  18. My laptop. It is so much easier to carry around.
  19. Cell phone. No explanation needed.
  20. My home in Boulder County. I can look out any window and enjoy the views.
  21. Traveling. I really have enjoyed our trips around the US and hope to make it back to Europe one day.
  22. My friend, Wendi’s, cookie exchange because it wouldn’t be Christmas without it and I don’t have to spend a week in the kitchen baking. BONUS!
  23. Discovering my passion. I always thought of myself as an artist. Now I tell people I’m a writer. My happy place is sitting anywhere while typing.
  24. MUS – Making Up Shit, a term coined by my husband who indulges in MUS too.
  25. My Highlander. It is a beast in the snow.
  26. Driving in the snow. Yep. Love it!
  27. My lookout tower office. I had to move my desk to face the wall in timeout or I’d get nothing done but daydream out the window because it’s so beautiful and I can see the mountains and little rabbits hopping around and an occasional coyote and neighbors and dogs walk by and…. look at the time!
  28. My bed. There is nothing softer.
  29. A good book. I love being swept away into another world especially one with tons of suspense!
  30. Parties. Being a party girl, I always look forward to them. NOTE TO SELF: host a few in 2016.photo (49)
  31. The New Year. I love the do-over, starting fresh kinda feeling at the beginning of the year. I’m already pretty much over the top optimistic, but the first few weeks put me at a whole new manic level.
  32. Being spiritual. I was raised Catholic, but am open-minded about all religions. Hey, I could swear I was a ballerina in Paris in one of my past lives.
  33. My blog. I love my Wild Ride and having a place to spew my thoughts.
  34. CARBS! Should have been higher on my list. WHAT WAS I THINKING?
  35. Speaking of higher on my list – DANCING!
  36. My camera! Whether on my phone or my digital SLR, I love taking pictures.

     

  37. The Force Awakens! I was super pumped after that movie.
  38. Homeland. Carrie is the bad-ass I want to be without terrorism, guns, explosives or bi-polar disorder.
  39. Music from alternative to pop to classical to house.
  40. My imagination. My brain holds a pretty crazy environment, but it is so entertaining. Danny often hears me laughing and asks, “What are you laughing at, now?”
  41. My imaginary friends. I wrote half of Funeral Beenes then death happened. (That sounds very ironic.) I needed to quit for a few weeks. I was putting books away two weeks ago and BAM! An idea for a new novel popped into my head. I wrote the first chapter on my phone while waiting for a hair appointment. The main character doesn’t play well with others, but is hugely fun to hang out with.
  42. Drawing. Sometimes an illustration is the only way to convey the voices in my head. boy and girl fighting
  43. Challenges. I’m always up for them like trying to find an agent. Know anyone who wants to represent a Wild Rider?
  44. Going out for breakfast. That is my favorite! Bring on the tators, fruit and eggs Benedict and I am one happy girl.
  45. Sparkly things. Wait. What was I saying? See! There it is again!!!
  46. My out-going personality. I’ve tried to fit in as a writer and be an introvert. Wait. I can hear you laughing. I know. I only lasted 45 seconds. Okay. 15. OKAY. 5 SECONDS!mustachemarch
  47. My own or anyone else’s sense of humor. I hate cracking jokes and only hearing the sound of crickets. Lighten up people.
  48. Slang. Even if I have to use the totes adorbs Urban Dictionary to understand it. Slang is my bae. I even make some up every January. (see #24. MUS)
  49. Talking to strangers. I HAD to approach the costumed families eating dinner together before The Force Awakens. We made new friends in NOLA too! Why is my mouth always open in pictures?selfie on Bourbon Street
  50. My Wild Life. It keeps surprising me and gets WILDER every year!

Continue reading

The Hunt Continues

In a recent post, Roxy, my fearless Bichon, attacked a hapless and humongous coyote and lived to perch on the back of my couch another day. How she got away with only four puncture wounds, we’ll never know. She is all healed up and has become a house dog for the winter. This is not a big sacrifice since she prefers to stay inside while sleeping on a fluffy blanket and pillow.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, my son brought two of his furry friends for a visit. When Danny and I took them for a walk, we spotted a more normal-sized coyote hunting in the open space near our home.

We see you

The coyote looks much farther away than it was.

We stopped and stared at it. Would it stalk us? Would it ignore us? Would it howl? While we thought about whether to continue our walk along the trail, it sat down and stared at us.

Luckily, a fat rabbit struck out of its hiding place. They began a new staring contest.

Jack Rabbit: You can’t see me because I’m playing statue.

Milly Coyote: Ha! A much better feast option.

Jack Rabbit: Ha! You are looking right through me. I am so good at this.

Milly Coyote: How stupid can rabbits be?

Milly Coyote: Ha! I scared off that couple with their tiny appetizers. I am so powerful. Where did that rabbit go?

We let the animals play their game and walked up the hill instead. I glanced over my shoulder several times to be sure the coyote wasn’t following us. When we arrived home, the three fury friends piled into bed, thankful to be alive another day.

Three friends are we

I haven’t seen Adolf, the gargantuan coyote, but I ran into a couple who had. They were surprised to see one that huge. After a comment from List of X, I looked it up. A hybrid of coyote, wolf, and dog, called a coywolf, is taking over parts of the country. According to Field and Stream, it is a “super-predator.” That makes Roxy even more lucky.

Why did Roxy go after it in the first place? Vanessa-Jane Chapman said it best – “I often think domestic animals behave oddly because they retain part of their wild instincts, but they’re generally protected by us, so aren’t always as streetwise as they think they are, and hence don’t always make the best decisions!”

How did Roxy get away? Pegoleg and TedBook suggested Adolf laughed hysterically when he saw my ferocious pipsqueak. Maybe he couldn’t get a good grip.

Would you rather sleep inside or look for an outdoor adventure? Do you have predators in your neighborhood? Do you hibernate for the winter?

Looking for the first post about Adolf the Coywolf? Click here.

 

 

Unlock Your Imagination – Photo Essay

Bound by commitments of time, what we know, the physical, and the social, we bump into invisible barricades, most of them created by our imagination. Traveling unlocks these shackles and we leave them hanging on the concrete walls of our lives. We experience a new kind of freedom. Our boundaries expand.

Towering Boundaries

Overwhelmed by choices, we fill our time with adventure. Our senses soak up the vibrant colors and patterns while we inhale the delicate and sweet, the acrid and the pungent. Days blend with the sounds of busy city life to seagulls calling from above the crashing ocean. This new place responds to our touch and we rush to what it has to offer. Continue reading

Played by Inspiration

Nantucket Pier

Inspiration is an ephemeral ghost shimmering over shadows, cloaking deep and empty crevices of my mind. She appears from dark recesses and cobwebbed chambers in a momentary flash only to hide once again. I have tried to seek her out, but I do not know the rules of this game for she keeps changing them.

Sometimes she floats into common conversation forcing me to shift my view to see the world in a different slant of light.

Other times she appears in Technicolor dreams where she becomes my muse and skips through fantastic Continue reading

How to Add Excitement to Your Life

Remember when you were a kid and you went out exploring, wide-eyed and full of enthusiasm? What happened to that childlike wonder? Are you so bored, you find yourself watching Bachelor in Paradise and realize you’ve hit a new low? Here are a few ideas to keep summer from becoming a yawnfest.

Take a stay-cation. Become a tourist in your own town. Check out new shops, restaurants, food, festivals, music, museums and events.

Pearl Street Mall

Check your city’s calendar. Many have summer events like outdoor movie night. Google: calendar of events for your city. Your local newspaper or Chamber of Commerce should have a website with a list.  Continue reading

Don’t Tell Mom

When I’m scolded by a young woman in her twenties for being reckless, I know it’s been a real adventure.

I had been road biking to a small town about ten miles from my house and back to build strength in my leg after knee surgery. After several bike rides, I itched for something different. Something new. Something…adventurous.

I decided to mountain bike around the Boulder Reservoir instead. I used to belong to a mountain biking group that explored Boulder County. It had been a while, but I thought it would be fun to hit the trail again.

Looking back, I should have recognized the turkey vulture as a bad omen.

turkey vulture

On the way to the res, I rode by Coot Lake.

Coot Lake

I entered the Eagle Trailhead. A new little friend hopped along the path and pleaded with me to turn around. Of course, I didn’t listen. Continue reading

Is it safe to go back in the water?

When I read in the newspaper that Jaws would be shown at a local pool, I had to go. The last time I saw it in its entirety was in a Madison, Wisconsin theater in 1975. When a bloated dead guy floated out of a capsized boat’s window, I kicked the seat ahead of me so hard, I bruised my leg. I didn’t want to take a bath for a week.

The idea of allowing people to swim while watching a film that terrified me forty years ago was too much. This was an adventure I didn’t want to miss.

When we arrived, we staked out our turf across the pool from the big screen. The showing was free so I expected a mob. A surfing music band played poolside to get us in the mood.

photo 2 (5)

There were about as many people in the water as out of the water.

Continue reading

Are You Adventurous? Take the Quiz!

According to Wikipedia, adventure is an exciting or unusual experience. It may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking with an uncertain outcome.

DSCN1731

Although I have a reasonable amount of fear which prevents me from doing anything super crazy and life threatening, I get bored doing the same old thing. I tend to seek out new experiences in almost every aspect of my life.

soap tastes yucky

Soap on a rope tastes yucky, but at least I tried it.

When we were children, we approached new experiences with wonder. My family went on Sunday drives to explore Southern Wisconsin. I have memories of hiking, camping, canoeing and making new friends.

Girl Scout Camp

When was the last time you made a fun weekend plan that didn’t include mundane tasks or a trip to Home Depot? Continue reading

Feel Like Summer is Slipping Away?

Once the 4th of July has been celebrated, the lazy days of summer accelerate at warp speed. Soon, our shadows will stretch, the leaves will begin to change and the kids will head back to school.

I’ve learned how to slow down this special time of year while the days are long and warm. Want to know my secret? Make time for yourself and get outside!

These are a few of the hikes I’ve taken in Colorado this summer.

Fitness challenge hikes

Join the Wild Rider Fitness Challenge. Create some memories while exercising your body and I’ll link you up. Take a couple of pictures while walking, running, biking, swimming, cliff diving, or dancing (the very best exercise), and post a picture or two on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #WRFChallenge. I’ll include it here on the Wild Ride. Continue reading

Friday Photo and an Invitation!

Happy TGIF Wild Riders!

Want to have fun and get one of your Instagram or Twitter posts featured? Tweet or Instagram your photos while walking, running, hiking or having any kind of outdoor adventure. Include the hashtag #WRFChallenge. I’ll pick a few to post here on the Wild Ride.

It’s summer. Time to enjoy the longer days and explore the great outdoors. It’s easy to let it slip away.

ChautauquaIf you haven’t already joined, it’s not too late to be a part of the Wild Rider Fitness Challenge. Exercise two or more times a week. Once a week, go outside to exercise your body.

There are many ways to share your adventure. Post about it on your blog and link me up, email me to guest post, or meet me and the other Wild Riders on Twitter or Instagram at #WRFChallenge.

On September 8th, I’ll host a party! You know me. I’m all about parties. We’ll have a Wild Rider Fitness Challenge Day where we can look back on our summer of fitness fun.

Adventure awaits, right outside your door!

Have you been enjoying summer? Do you have plans to get outside this weekend?

Join The Wild Rider Fitness Challenge

Hey Wild Riders! Are you ready to be challenged?

I’m back to my wild adventures and thought we could have a little fun this summer. Many of you already exercise, but some of you are only well-intentioned. I know. I’ve been there too. Here’s how you can become fit while receiving exposure for your blog or website.

The challenge.

Commit to exercising in some way 2-3 times a week. Make at least ONE of those an OUTDOOR ADVENTURE. Take a walk or run through your city. Go on a bike ride, hike, swim or play tennis. So the weather is nasty or it’s winter where you live. Dress for the weather. Go skiing or become a mall walker, anything to get you moving. I’m sure you can come up with all kinds of exciting adventures!

This is a 90 day challenge. By September, we should all have hard bodies! That might be an unrealistic expectation, but I know we’ll be in better shape. We may feel and look better too!

Outdoor adventure fitness challenge

Want blog exposure? Continue reading