hosted!

I don’t know why it’s taken me forever to figure this out.  Installing WordPress on my computer so that I can do all sorts of wondrous things has been nearly as painful as contemplating chewing off my own arm, like that guy in 127 Hours, a movie which did not hold my attention.  Or else I was knitting or cooking and only marginally paying attention to a movie which probably required a lot of visual processing, so it was all just lost on me.  My point being that WP is hopefully installing as we speak.  Maybe.  And then, perhaps, I can figure out how to use it and not funk everything up!  Woo-hoo!

Did I mention I’m wanderlusting?  Whereas the Daily Show will give you a moment of Zen, I am giving myself a daily dose of torture, or inspiration, depending upon how you view it.  I’m somewhere in between, myself.  The image du jour:

I’m practically salivating over anything Montana-related at this point.  Except for fires and the like.  Except if I were salivating over wildfires, I would be, theoretically, helping the cause.  Anyway.

I’m not just fantasizing about any old place in MT, it’s one area in particular.  It starts in Red Lodge, stretches north by way of U.S. Route 212Beartooth Highway, which, according to Wikipedia, passes through portions of Custer National Forest, and Shoshone National Forest and near the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness.  U.S. 212 winds in and out of Montana and Wyoming, with a layover in Cooke City, until it finally ends just a bit further along, at the northeast entrance of Yellowstone.

We camped along this route a million times when I was a kid.  An oft-repeated story of Ang-as-toddler occurred while staying at Island Lake Campground, elevation 9,600 ft.  Not ever a graceful child, I fell into the very-very cold water one night and, because I was pretty short, drenched all of my little jeans.  The jeans were hung outside overnight to dry, but the temps dipped that night, and we awoke to frozen pants, and I started to cry.  This is where opinions differ.  I’m quite certain that I was crying because I saw snow on the ground.  The three other members of my family insist it was because the jeans were frozen.  I have always disagreed with this premise, but no longer dispute it when told around the campfire.  There are other stories they don’t tell, like the time when, raising it too quickly, a flaming marshmallow launched from the stick, landing squarely on my cheek.  Or how, as a teenager, I insisted upon wearing makeup throughout our annual westward trek, secretly convinced I would pass some hunky guy on trail.

So, while we’re at it, let’s take a moment to ruminate on how much we love the National Parks and Forests, shall we?  What is your fave Park or Forest?  Share your memories in the comments!

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wanderlusting (with links to CO donation sites).

I have a nearly-unbearable case of itchy feet.  I have some vacay planned mid-July, driving to KC for a conference, and then on to Colorado to visit friends, so there’s a goal in sight!  And that helps alleviate (somewhat, very mildly) the urge to pack up and drive away.  For now, I won’t do that.

In my mind, summer is for road trips to the mountains, and it’s been several years since I’ve stared at a high-altitude sky and counted falling stars and satellites.  It doesn’t help that I have an ever-growing playlist (found here) dedicated specifically to road trips, and here’s a little sip of the cheesiness (you expected nothing less, correct?):

Since our camping trips began when I was still in diapers (perhaps before, as my mother once hinted I was conceived in a camper.  We have never revisited this line of discussion.), many of the songs are old.  Most share the bluesy-country-alt country vibe: my mom has always been a lover of country music, my dad leaned more to rock and blues, while my brother, at one point, would listen to nothing but Led Zeppelin and the Guess Who.  Indeed, I cannot listen to any song from the American Woman album without being immediately transported to a rocky, secluded campsite in the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming, somewhere betwixt Red Lodge, Montana, and the northeast entrance to Yellowstone.  We owned American Woman on cassette, and when we weren’t driving, would listen to the tape on a clunky old battery-powered tape player.  A little of this, anyone?

I experience strange satisfaction and joy in having reached an age when something so commonplace in childhood has now become an ungainly dinosaur, even to my eyes.

What are you summer songs?  Best road trip memories and locations?  Leave your comments below!

And quickly, since mountains are to Colorado what pretty toenails are to Essie polish, donation and volunteer info from the Summit Daily News follows:

• El Paso County Sheriff’s office: Large animal shelter at Norris-Penrose Equestrian Center needs volunteers: 719-520-7773.

• The Red Cross in Colorado Springs is at 719-632-3563. Those wanting to donate money to the Red Cross can go here.

• Help Colorado Now, a partnership of Colorado Division of Emergency Management (CDEM) and Colorado Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (COVAD), has a list of donations needed and Fort Collins location for drop-off.

• The Salvation Army can take monetary donations; specify ‘Northern Colorado Chapter – High Park Fire’ or ‘Northern Colorado Chapter – Waldo Fire:’ 303-866-9216, The Salvation Army, 1370 Pennsylvania Ave., Denver, CO 80132.

• Donate online to Larimer Humane Society 15or mail checks to 5137 S. College Ave., Fort Collins, CO 80525. Society currently coordinating rescue of all animals in High Park Fire area, providing water to animals that have not been evacuated, reuniting owners and pets and sheltering evacuated animals: 970-226-3647, ext. 7.

• Text HIGHPARK to 80108 to donate $10 for fire relief in northern Colorado through The mGive Foundation: mgivefoundation.org

• Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department 17Donations can be mailed to: RCVFD-Treasurer, PO Box 2, Bellvue, CO 80521.

Or visit Help Colorado Now’s site, for more specs.

marathon photo (not foto).

Finally done! Unfortunately, iPhoto decided to be uncooperative this week, so it’s taken me a minute to get this all compiled, but here’s a recap of the race.  So fun to go back and look through them, even though it’s just a week past!

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…and returned, a marathon finisher.

After 18 weeks of training, it’s all over, and I crossed the finish line!  Not that I really doubted I would, I was more uncertain in what condition I’d cross it.  I want to do a whole recap, because I feel like this training, this process of the 18-week marathon training, has had a profound effect, but it’s more than I want to go into tonight.  I have yet to experience the 2nd day post-marathon, and as most would agree, that’s the day the toll of exertion is exacted, so sleep must be imminent.

of a holiday-weekend Sunday

I can’t sleep, which is always a bummer. Instead, I’m laying on the daybed, in the screened-in porch at the cabin, hiding under the blankets, playing with my phone. And figuring out how to use Siri. Which is awesome because now I don’t even have to write out what I want to say. And I can keep telling her things to write.

Here are some pics from my uber-relaxing, highly lazy, mostly solo weekend:

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Where I’ve been stationed for the majority of the past 2 days.

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Lake Superior Lake Trout

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Trying to impress with the screen-side camera lens, which Dad pointed out they already had on their iPads.

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My contribution to the meal: home-brewed kombucha (Dad isn’t a fan; hence, a mere sip in his glass).

wagon wheel, 1st ed.

Happy Friday, friends!  Here are some nuggets (or nougat, if your taste buds swing that way), that I’ve happened upon during this week’s frolicks amidst the interwebs. 

The 5 Creepiest Urban Legends (That Happen to be True)

Cracked is one of those horribly wonderful sites that ropes you in with some random Facebook post (in this case 6 Great Old-Timey Comics for [Traumatizing] Kids) and then keep you sucked in by peppering each and every page with lists of stupidly innocuous things that for some reason you MUST find out about right this very second.  I found 5 Creepiest when I navigated over to their Horror section, seems like it might actually be worth a read.

Radiolab : Crossroads short

I love me some radiolab.  Topics are usually pretty obscure but well researched, and the production is kind of campy and odd, so it makes for a fun and experiential listening experience.  Perusing podcasts this week to facilitate my morning toilette (which, in French, means getting ready, and not anything gross or poop-related), I came across this short which piqued my interest ginormously.  The subject is Robert Johnson, a 1920s Blues musician who, initially, was really, really bad.  Until, that is, he sold his soul to the devil.  He is still considered today to be one of the best Blues guitarists who’s ever lived.

Outside Mag + Gluten-free feature

And, heading back into the known world… I’m pretty sure pre- and post-race festivities (read pasta feed and beer gardens) are not nearly as fun for gluten-free runners they appear to be for the non-allergic counterparts.  It’s been an interesting challenge to find advice suitable to my needs, to the extent that I basically stopped trying, and just rely on my Clif and Luna bars to get me through.  This article (Are You Too Sensitive? The gluten-free movement isn’t just a fad. It could be the performance boost you’ve been missing.) popped up in an email and, while it’s a bummer that more and more peeps are becoming sensitive/allergic to gluten, it does make me happy that there’s more exposure and thereby more info available.

Pre-run eating, quelle PITA.

In case you’re wondering, I’m basing the quelle above on my belief that pain, in French, is douleur (and I’m totally not even bothering to look this up right hyeh), which would make PITA (aka pain-in-the-arse) feminine, necessitating an appropriate, um… ah, I don’t have any idea what form of speech or whatevs that would be.  Rejoinder?  Nope.  It’s quantifying something.  Again, not looking it up, yo.

Back to the original point: trying to figure out when and what to eat before runs makes me want to stab myself in the groin with an icepick.  It really doesn’t, but it’s fun to think about, isn’t it?  Yes, yes it is.  Anyhoo, this is a good post to check out if you want some suggestions about how long in advance to eat stuff if you’re doing a long run, or a shorter run, or what-have-you. Basically, I think it all comes back to this: eat a Clif bar.

1 space after a period. It’s a real thing (and yet it feels so wrong).

This is a real thing.  It’s not just laziness.  And yet… I simply DO NOT WANT to do it.  It’s in my make up to double-space after the full stop!  Yes!  I did learn to type on a typewriter!  It was in a dingy old classroom at Harding High — on green typewriters, I’m almost certain of it!  Alas, I must move with the times.

And finally, in honor of 2 beautiful babies born to friends this week, a bit of Monty Python irreverence:

FOOD! (ok- drink, actually) Kombucha

I’m thinking of starting an experiment:

batch of kombucha, mature.

I was at Whole Foods last night, stocking up on vites, as ya do, and wanted to get a little treat, also as ya do, since it was dinner time, and a beautiful day, and I simply wanted something fun to consume.  I grabbed for a bottle of kombucha, of which I don’t think I have ever, not once, drank more than a thimbleful another time I was at Whole Foods and a sampler was schlepping his fermented-tea wares.  Original flavor, GT’s Organic Raw Kombucha.  I was hesitant upon first sip, but it was quite delicious and I drank the whole bottle whilst (finally!) watching the Season 2 Finale of Downton Abbey.  Sixteen ounces may have been a bit much for one sitting, but I do feel pretty damn good today for no apparent reason, so I’ll attribute it to the tea.

It’s funny, once you start looking into it, everyone absolutely raves about this tea; it’s a cure-all from everything to arthritis to lactose intolerance.  In any case, it’s a tinkerly-type thing, so I can’t resist.  It’s a little like brewing your own wine (which I convinced mummy-kins to do), or concocting limoncello (pops and stepmum still do this on occasion, on my suggestion), or tapping the maple trees for syrup (next year- right, dad?).  I can’t take all the credit since my parents were, and still are, the ultimate source of my tinkerlyhood: mom with the giant garden in the summers and her devotion to sourdough bread; dad with the vast and sweeping building projects throughout my lifetime, including building a cabin, and swapping out vehicle engines.

The experiment will begin as soon as I can make my way to a store that carries kombucha, so I’ll have fodder to grow the scoby, or mushroom.  I already have a fantastic old-school sun-tea container that will work perfectly.  Can’t wait!  More to come.

In the meanwhile, what are your favorite tinkerly-type projects and hobbies?

the afterlife.

I wanted to bring it full circle, after my post re: my uncle’s death.  Yesterday, the first song I heard on my way to work was Stevie Wonder‘s “Isn’t She Lovely,” which is a beautiful song in its own right, but more poignant in light of events.

What do you believe happens when we die?  I do think we’re reborn, or set free.  Not in an evangelical Christian way, but just set free of the burden of our physical bodies.  I don’t know how to accurately describe, I guess, but I don’t believe in heaven or hell.  I don’t think that there’s a god, or God, up there racking points for or against us based on petty indiscretions like using the swears, or not going to church.

So, that’s all I’ve got to say at the moment.

31.

Ugh.  There’s really no good, or witty, or original way to start a post like this, and I wouldn’t even share but for the interesting peripherals.  My uncle passed today.  He’s been suffering from cancer for several months and opted out of continuing chemo.  He slipped into a coma after receiving the last rites yesterday, and died peacefully, surrounded by friends and family.  My mom has been with the family in Iowa for the past few days and has kept me updated.  When I talked with her yesterday, she told me he would go within the next day or two; when I talked to her today, he was holding.  With the arrival of his oldest son, he was surrounded by his family and the unspoken understanding was that this was what he’d been holding out for.  Tonight was my first class in a beginner’s series at the Shambhala Center of Minneapolis. Walking in, I turned off my phone, knowing that Chris would be gone by the time I left the building.

I was mostly fine in class, if a little distant.  During the second hour, I started feeling really agitated and even cried a bit.  At one point, Chris’s face entered my mind, the way I remember him looking: jovial, kind, smiling and laughing.  I wouldn’t claim to be psychic or similar, but I have had a few of these experiences before, I suppose they’re so powerful, especially when it’s a family member, that you can’t help but feel the vibe even many miles away.  The distraught faces of my aunt and my mom co-habitated with this peaceful image of Chris for a while, and then it was gone, then I carried on my meditation.  When I left and turned on my phone, there were two messages from my mom, and one from my aunt that Chris was gone.

I called and spoke briefly with my mom and aunt, shared my vision with them and gave them my love.  When I hung up, I turned on the Radio K-tuned radio, smack-dab in the middle of this:

Stylistically, it’s not at all appropriate for Chris, but the message is.  Rest in peace, big man.  May you be pain-free and joyful once more!