It’s Not too Late for a Weekend Getaway Like This One!

It's not too late for an end of summer getawayThink summer is slipping away? It is. Mental lists of activities planned for the summer will fade as days shorten and cooler air rolls in. It can be stressful to think about fall if you haven’t enjoyed your summer. You might think it’s too late for a weekend getaway.

I stressed out about two weeks ago. I had made a list of everything I wanted to do this summer and then conquered less than half of it. The list was written on a note. It must have gotten tossed out with the morning paper. Been there?

One activity stuck in my mind. I wondered if it could recapture summer. There was only one way to find out. Continue reading

Summer’s Race for Stillness

three daisies

Summer fun includes a wide range of activities. Some can be enjoyed at breakneck speeds while others require taking a moment to be still and take in the surrounding beauty.

It’s wildflower season in the high country. Summer is so fleeting at high altitudes, it’s hard to find them at their peak. I went on a quest.

While hiking Baker’s Tank in Breckenridge, Colorado, I shared the trail with others on a different sort of quest. It was part of a race course for mountain bikers. I was surprised they took the time to say hello, smiling and chatting as they passed. Later, I found out the race was 100 miles long! I don’t know if you’ve ever biked in the mountains, but sometimes you can walk faster than you can bike when trails become treacherous.

On the way back home, I found this amazing field of flowers. They were backlit by afternoon sun. Time stood still while I stopped to take in this magnificent sight.

In stillness we find beauty.

Continue reading

Solid Gold Summer Sunsets and What Lies Beneath

Solid gold summer sunset at Malibu Beach

There is nothing more breathtaking than a solid gold summer sunset. Malibu Beach provided an amazing foreground for an unforgettable night. As the sun dipped lower on the horizon, I left my seat in The Sunset Restaurant, kicked off my shoes and snapped a few photos.

Solid gold summer sunset in Malibu

It was one of those magical nights when the color glinted off the waves. That’s when I noticed a few heads bobbing in the ocean. Wasn’t it feeding time? Continue reading

Dissolving Bone, Wimping Out and Shaping Up

Hey, Wild Riders! How was your weekend?

Would you take a pill that dissolved bone?

dissolving bone

You’ve seen the commercials. Almost every drug has side-effects. My oncologist switched me from Tamoxifen, which can cause uterine cancer to Anastrozole, which breaks down bone. You can imagine I’ve been more than a little concerned. I picture a vinegar-like substance hitting my bloodstream. It rushes through my veins and arteries. When it comes in contact with my bone, Tsssssss, it dissolves it like acid. Not good, right?

I’ve become obsessed with everything that strengthens bone. I’m 5’4” and don’t want to lose any height. As it is, I have a hard time reaching the top shelf on tippy toe.

With all the calcification they saw in my breast tissue before my double boobectomies, (the radiologist said my boob x-rays lit up), I was reluctant to go back to taking calcium supplements. Instead, I’ve been on a calcium-rich diet. My oncologist also mentioned, weight-bearing exercise.

You might remember how I broke my wrist the first week in January. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? The fall could have broken anyone’s wrist, according to my doctor, but you never know. After being relegated to sitting inside my house for eight weeks, I hit the gym way too hard. My knee ballooned up like a basketball. I overdid it, so I cut back. Waaaaay back. Continue reading

Just Messing Around

We’re all in contact with digital technology. It can be more than difficult to learn the full capabilities of the tools we use every day. I bought a Sony 3N Digital SLR camera almost three years ago. I have taken thousands of pictures, not knowing how to use it. Every once in a while, I got lucky. I have a zillion excuses for not taking a class, but I’ll spare you my long list.

With so many disappointing results, I turned to my iPhone for picture-taking.

Something wasn’t right.

I stopped by Mike’s Camera in Boulder. The man behind the counter shrugged. “It’s a great camera,” he said.

I signed up for a class.

*mind blown*

I messed around with the settings and took some pictures in my yard. Here are some of the results:

juniper berries taken with macro lens

 

close up of snow crab next to pond

 

Crabtree blossoms with macro lens

I cropped the last photo which was already in zoom. Suck it, iPhone!

It's a duck on a pond

I regret not taking the class sooner, but I’m a coffee cup half-full kinda girl.

It made me wonder what else I don’t know. Probably more than I think. Ask anyone. And yes, you will see more photos on the Wild Ride.

Do you like to take classes? Are you into photography? Do you like ducks or would you like to creep up behind that drake and give him a little scare?

A “Tail” of a Whale Adventure in Three Acts

ACT I

Last Friday, a monstrous spring snowstorm promised downed powerlines and trashed landscaping in Colorado. My husband, Danny, and I shrugged and headed up to the mountains. We looked forward to tremendous ski conditions and assumed we would share the highway with many others. Forecasters predicted snow in feet.

Funny thing. As we merged onto I-70 in Golden, our daughter, Courtney, called on her way home from work. She had to pack and pick up a friend before driving up to meet us in Breckenridge.

As expected, we got stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. One mere mile outside of Georgetown, we came to a dead halt. CDOT had closed the highway hours earlier because of “hazardous driving conditions,” but we had ignored all the warning signs.

I-70 in snowstorm

Then Courtney called. She had just started on I-70. I suggested taking the frontage road to Georgetown instead of the crowded highway.

An hour later, we started to inch forward. As we passed Georgetown, Danny said, “I think we just passed Courtney’s car.

They ended up right behind us. No lie.

ACT II

It’s been over a year since my partial knee replacement. Before going under the crazy laser scalpel, that is Makoplasty, to replace messed up bone and cartilage, I could only ski two, maybe three runs before calling it a day. Since surgery, I’ve been careful.

Peak 7

 

The dump of snow proved to be heavenly for skiers and snowboarders. Saturday, I sailed through fifteen inches of ice cream snow in Breckenridge and took NINE runs. Courtney and I quit before exhaustion caused a crash and burn scenario. She had a business trip in Utah the next day.

snowboarder Courtney Lindau at Peak 7

On our way down the gondola, we met three people in the medical field from California. They all looked twenty-five because California. One was an orthopedic surgeon. Whoa! I asked him about my squeaking, squawking knee after replacement. He said that was normal for some people. YAY! Then he added the technology was so new, they don’t know how much time we have before wearing it out. Bummer. I did point out that I was pretty small and wouldn’t stress out my joints as much as a linebacker.

That boosted my confidence. It concurred with some on my online research for mule-kicking, hee-hawing knees. I tuned out the part about not knowing how much time I have on these manufactured parts.

Forecasters predicted more snow, so I planned to ski again on Sunday.

ACT III

Sunday night seven more inches dropped. A little stiff and sore from the day before, I headed out with the intention to ski a couple of runs and quit early. My son, Kelly, and I, took three chairlifts to meet his girlfriend and Danny on the top of Imperial. As we ascended into a cloud and white-out conditions, I assumed we would ski down the face.

Nope.

Danny led us to Whale’s Tail.

Whale's Tail

After dropping in it was still hard to see where to go.

My favorite bowl, in the shape of its name, had just opened for the first time that weekend. Danny said it would be filled with feet of deep powder, meaning sweet, easy skiing for me.

I followed my group by sidestepping up the mountain to the steep catwalk. Yes. This was farther into the deceptive angelic clouds masking a sheer head wall on the edge of the bowl forming the tail fin.

Then it hit me.

They hadn’t skied it.

We had no idea what conditions existed. I wasn’t sure if my knee could handle heavy, deep snow.

It had been painful to ski Whale’s Tail before surgery and I hadn’t skied it since. My shoulders tightened as we hugged the mountain. Then we skied down to the edge.

I would be dropping into my favorite run from a cornice, but we were still in thick clouds and it snowed hard. We had very low visibility. I wouldn’t be able to see where I was going.

I wanted to ski down to the middle of the tail and drop into my usual spot. Everyone else wanted to drop in from the tip of the fin. I lost.

looking down whales tail

Whale’s Tail on a clear day.

I had always had skied this after several warm up runs.

This was my first run of the day.

I stood on the edge of the mountain and looked down. As everyone dropped in, they disappeared into the cloud.

FullSizeRender (7)

In the cloud.

I freaked.

Then I had a flashback to my heli-ski trip. After being dropped off on a mountaintop by helicopter the first time, I followed the group and carved fresh tracks alongside the rest. Sounds wonderful, right? My new boots dug into my calves. The skis they provided seemed way too long for me. They chattered while I carved turns in the wet, deep snow. It put tremendous stress on my knees. I didn’t know how to up-weight through the turns and fought through every one of them. I lagged behind and then watched in horror as our guide headed into the trees. I had never been a tree skier. I couldn’t control my crazy equipment.

Hail Mary’s became my mantra.

I made it through the trip and learned a lot about skiing and myself. Sometimes I had to dig deep.

This time, I took a deep breath and dropped in.

My pole sunk into the soft fin, never reaching bottom, unbalancing and thrashing me about. Unsupported and unsure, I kept my weight over my skis instead of my more aggressive stance on a steep incline.

When I turned to the left, I said, “This is your good knee.” When I turned to the right, I said, “Right turns have always been your strongest.” I said this every time, back and forth and back and forth until I reached the bottom.

As I caught my breath, I looked back up the mountain. It had cleared and the word was out. Tons of skiers learned there were fresh tracks to be made on Whale’s Tail.

skiers and boarders on Whale's Tail Breckenridge

Those dots are people along the ridge to give you scale. Scale on the fin of Whale’s Tail. Ha!

 

They hooted and hollered as they made their way down the fresh snow. Some tumbled. Others face-planted, but they all had fun in the deep snow.

My knee felt strained as if I had taken twenty runs already. Pain from tendons and muscles made me wonder if I would make it down the rest of the mountain. I wasn’t even halfway.

Danny caught up with me.

Danny skiing Whale's Tail

I was furious. “I can’t believe you took me down this. It was my first run.”

“You did great!” he said and then reminded me of rule #1: “A skier never trusts their friends. Not when there’s fresh powder.”

As I iced my knee at Vista Lodge, I swore I would never ski anything that difficult again. The orthopod’s warning rushed back and I felt like I was on borrowed time. I had to face facts.

More snow dumped in Breckenridge as we drove back to Boulder. I woke up and expected to be gimped out and limping, but my muscles only felt the usual strain after exercise. We only lost one branch in the wet snow over the weekend.

Both the trees and I survived.

If we had skied another day, would I have played it safe? Would I stick to easy runs? Keep my knee functioning as long as possible?

Nah. I’m going to wear a full-on knee brace next time.

I am kind of a Wild Child.

Do you take chances to live your life? Has fear gotten the best of you? What is holding you back?

There’s No Way to Know…

flowering apple tree

As I watch clouds gather and raindrops ripple in concentric rings on the pond, maternal instincts kick into high gear. A storm is coming.

I find it hard to suppress the urge to cover the fragile, tender buds in warm blankets to prevent them from freezing, but snow could accumulate to a couple of feet and sopping wet blankets would crush them. One mature tree would need twenty or more. I would need hundreds of blankets and a cherrypicker to cover them. I shrug my shoulders and sigh.

Just as roses and bushes have leafed out, flowering trees are at their peak and fruit trees in bud are about to emerge, a huge snowstorm was predicted to slam into Colorado. Yesterday, I rushed through the yard to take pictures while inhaling the heady fragrance of flowering trees. High clouds whispered the same news. 

Last year it snowed every Wednesday for eight weeks and froze all those fragile buds. We had nary an apple or raspberry and our springtime consisted of monotonous shades of green. 

Maybe forecasters are wrong, but it’s quiet. Too quiet. Not one leaf ruffles nor bird sings as nature stores its kinetic energy for what is to come. I can feel it deep in my vertebrate.

flowering crab

Will I hunker down and wait for Mother Nature’s fury? No way. The same forecasters are predicting two to four feet of snow in the mountains. I plan to hit I-70 before the rush and the snow becomes too deep to travel. 

I will keep my fingers crossed and hope temperatures hover above freezing down here in Boulder. They’ve been wrong before. 

I’ll keep you posted…

Do you worry about the weather or do you sing Que Sera, Sera?