Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chief ride

I realize this ride was a month ago but I never blogged about it. How could I have forgotten to do that? That was part of the reason I started this have somewhere to collect all the info and pictures about my rides. Oh well, I am correcting my mistake now.

from left to right: Matt Whetten, me, Curtis Whetten, Tim Brady, Ben Peoples, and Matt's friend (don't remember his name now)

We biked a 1/2mile before me made it to the end of the Silver Comet trail and the beginning of the Chief Ladiga trail. Silver Comet is in Georgia and the Chief Ladiga is in Alabama.

Matt, Tim & Ben

Matt was the ring leader of the ride. He had organized the ride on the Silver Comet in the spring before I had moved back. It was an overnight thing. He wanted to ride the rest of the trail so he was in charge of it again.

Ben has been a biker for only 2 years but he is an avid mountain bike racer/winner in his 60's. He has macular degeneration though so he is now leaning more toward non competitive cycling.

Tim hasn't really ever biked since he was a kid. This seems a rather rough ride to start on seeing as it was almost 70 miles. But he's in shape. He ran a marathon two weeks before this and he did fine.

Curtis is not a biker, though he does occassionally bike the few miles to work and back home. He did the ride to support his son when all the other young men dropped out of the ride at the last minute. In one of our ward 4th of July parties, there was a jump roping competition. It started out with a bunch of kids and me and Curtis. We were the final two and I won. It was a lot of fun.

Matt's friend doesn't bike either and I doubted him making it but he did too. He actually took the time to take the long way around one of the towns so he could see more of it.

Matt riding out front with a non functioning derailleur

The three house pictures are of the Piedmont Welcome Center. The people inside were veryf riendly.
They sell some bike things like tires. They also sell t-shirts. I got a map of the trail from here.

Here we are again at the end of the trail. We all sat in the parking lot and ate the lunches we brought. This is where Matt decided he had had enough. Curtis and Matt's friend headed back to Jacksonville, 8 miles back up the trail, before also getting into the car.

The first cotton field I've ever seen. It was so a field dusted with snow. There was some cotton balls on the side of the road so I picked them up...except for the seeds still in them, they look like a commercial cotton ball.

We made it back to the parking lot. I had pushed myself for the last 10 miles and was already feeling it in my knees but nothing like what I would be feeling for the next week. It was ALOT of fun! We found out about another bike trail in South Carolina. There are no plans on when we'll go do it but everyone expressed a desire to go ride it. Maybe I'll have to roganize that one.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tucker's first playdate

When Adam and I went to deliver Christmas candy, we gave some to Matt's mom, Ronita. Matt is Maria's finacee. She just happens to live in the same subdivision as us now. She has two small dogs of her own and is dogsitting 2 golden retrievers. I happened to mention that Tucker barked at Desi on our walk and Adam piped in with the fact that he wasn't used to be around other dogs. So Ronita graciously invited Tucker to come over and play with the four dogs...or at least the 2 more lively ones. Tomorrow Maria and Matt are cooking dinner for both sides and it is at Ronita's. So I will be showing up early with Tucker while Matt & Maria work and Tucker will have his first playdate. I think once he gets over the inital fear and shock he will LOVE playing with dogs more playful than the built-in playmates he's used to here. I'll let you all kow how it goes. I'm really excited to get to socialize Tucker! I certainly don't need another Bear or Jack on my hands.

Monday, December 28, 2009

My Parable

I am certainly not as good at telling parables as Jesus was but here is one that perhaps you'll enjoy reading, even if it doesn't have the profound meaning that His have. There still is meaning in there that has nothing to do with me or my dogs but parables are not will have to come to your own conclusion on what it means. :o)

The Parable of the Traveling Woman

A woman from the top of the mountains traveled southward to a strange land. In this strange land, it rained greatly, yea, insomuch that there was flooding in all the land. The ground was squishy and unstable but there was a firm path which allowed travelers a safe passage. It was favored above all others. This woman traveled with 4 strong beasts. These beasts listened to her commands insomuch that other travelers were astonished of her control over the wild beasts. Some of her beasts hated other beasts and would wail and gnash their teeth at the sight of them. And it came to pass that the day came when her beasts crossed another beast and they did walk uprightly as though they didn’t care. The woman was puffed up with pride for she thought she had tamed the wild beasts at last. And it came to pass that the woman from the tops of the mountains traveled again with her beasts. The beasts were behaving exceedingly well. But the woman spotted another beast ahead of them on their path, yea directly ahead of them. She thought it wise to cross over to a grassy slope to keep peace in the land. Verily, she misjudged the difficulty of safely navigating the grassy slope insomuch that she slipped on the mud caused by the great flooding. Yea, neither beast nor man could know which footholds were solid for there was no way to see. The beasts felt her fall and knew she was weaker than they. They wailed and gnashed their teeth and pulled insomuch that the woman did slip again in the mud. The beasts, seeing she had no control over them any longer, returned to their wild state, and with a firm conviction of heart and spirit, attempted to charge the beast across the way insomuch that they were nearly trampled by the migrating metal creatures until the creatures became too afraid to move past them and their herds stopped to watch in horror of the scene before their eyes. The beasts became enraged that they could not get to the other beast and entangled the woman about a tree with their flaxen cords and fought one with another with a tumultuous noise. The woman was alarmed at the suddenness of the change in her beasts and in how quickly she lost control. As she was bound with flaxen cords and feeling hopeless, she realized that she could use this to her advantage, for she was no longer being pulled across that slippery slope. She grabbed onto the fighting beasts and calmed them insomuch that she was able to unravel the flaxen cords and release herself from their encompassing grip. The woman quickly left the slippery slope for the stable, sure-footed path she had previously been traveling and the beasts were once again under her control. And it came to pass that she traveled in humbleness.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Mery Christmas everyone. I hope you were able to keep peace in your hearts as you remembered what was Christmas is all about this busy holiday season. I pray that you will keep that feeling all year long.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Jasmine's day at the office

Jasmine's vet apopintment was for early Tuesday morning. She was walking with only a slight limp. The vet took a look at her paw and thought he could get it out easily so he would try first, then numb it if he had to do more work to get it out. It turned out to be a very easy pull and he inspected and felt around. He felt satisfied that he got it all. She got her rabies shot while she was there.

I asked him to do a quick once over on her to make sure she was still in good enough shape to be running with my bike. He listened to her heart and lungs and said they sounded great. He felt her body and was impressed by the fact that she is the perfect weight. Somehow, all our dogs have the ability to stop eating when they are full. So many dogs never learn self control when it comes to food. Recon, the police dog in Wanship, ate about 4 cups of food twice a day and he acted like he was starving every time he got food. So besides the fact that we run almost every day, Jasmine only eats what she needs so she really is the one responsible for her girlish figure. I could learn something from her...but I don't think I ever will!

The fog and sunrise made for some pretty driving to the vet's office. I love atmospheric perspective.

I didn't want Jasmine hurting her foot by jumping and running with the dogs so I took her to work with me. She laid on some blankets under my desk for a while but soon, she was bored and wanted nothing more than to go outside. She wandered into the main hall, in front of my office, and laid in front of the door for most of the rest of the day. She did get to go outside a few times for short walks and had lunch with me.
This morning, I was getting ready to leave and she actually ran upstairs, afraid she was going to have to come with me again today for another ultra boring day. I let her and Tucker outside to play and enjoy the warm morning weather.

Cookbook challenge: Kidney Bean Salad

I know, I'm about a week late with this one. Oh well. We are having a potluck lunch at work today and I decided to bring a bean salad. I would say the one I made is every bit as good as Grandma's. I was lucky to be able to leave any for the lunch today. :o)

I love Amish cooking so I was super excited when I found this book at a thrift store. I have only made a few recipes from this book but all have been very good.

Creamy Kidney Bean Salad

2 1-pound cans red kidney beans, drained
4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and coarsley chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
1/3 cup mayonnaise, or more to taste
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon celery seeds

1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well. Cover and chill for several hours before serving.

It almost couldn't be more simple and tastes so good!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The awful, unexpected, horrible, terrible surprise

I got home from work and let the dogs inside. We were getting ready for a walk when I noticed Jasmine wouldn't stop gnawing at her foot. I watched har walk and she seemed ok. I glanced at her foot and I didn't noticeanything off hand. So I went ahead and got everyone's harnesses on. We stepped oiutside and just a few steps into the walk ,Jasmine lifted her foot and didn't want to put any weight on it. That is no good! I lifted her paw and looked at it again. Something brown and lumpy. I thought it looked like a splinter ut I could't tll for sure. Adam came home and checked it out. Yes, a giant splinter going from one end of her big pad to the other. You could see its form under the skin of her pad. He pulled out a piece of it but it broke. The piece he got was only half of it and it was so big...way bigger than any other splinter I've ever had. Unfortunately, the vet is colsed. I put neosporin on it and wrapped it up so she can't gnaw at it and make it worse. The vet had better numb her because I was almost crying with how much pain she seemed to be in when Adam pulled the one piece out.

I took off everyone's harnesses and put them away. All the dogs are very upset that we only went to the edge of the yard and back in. They don't understand at all. Poor dogs. I wish I could take the other dogs out but I don't want Jasmine to be running around like crazy, upset she didn't get to go too....which is what happens with any of the dogs when they get left behind. No, tonight is R&R for Jasmine, and by default, the rest of them.

Weirdness is my gift

Forgive my ramblings here. I have always had a hard time getting my feelings out but I had a thought today that I felt I needed to write down. There's a reason why i don't include personal thoughts in my blog too often...

As long as I can remember, I’ve heard these words said to me, “You’re so weird!”. When I was younger, it made me feel a little bad that I wasn’t like other people but it was soon forgotten as I got back on with my life. Still, sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be “normal”.

I’ve always felt like I’m stuck between “worlds”…that I don’t fit in in any situation/environment. Maybe it’s a lack of confidence or experience or maybe it IS just that I’m weird, or different. Even among my families, I am a bit of an oddity. It’s hard, sometimes, to see that look so often …the one that says they think I’m crazy, different, that I don’t quite belong. I do want to fit in SOMEWHERE.

If I were normal, I wouldn’t have such a variety of hobbies (though most only done intermittently) like reading, writing, drawing, cross stitch, quilting, crocheting, scrapbooking, photography, hiking, camping, ice skating, sign language, to name some, sucking up free time.

If I were normal, I wouldn’t have this overwhelming urge to make/do things myself like gardening, sewing things, redoing the bathroom (and other house projects) even though the results are not always as I envisioned them.

If I were normal, I wouldn’t worry so much about the quality of my food. I wouldn’t have to cook from scratch so often. I wouldn’t ever have to take time to make bread.

If I were normal, I wouldn’t have such a strong bond with my dogs. I wouldn’t have to walk them everyday and I wouldn’t feel guilty that I wasn’t giving them what they needed. I wouldn’t want to include them in other parts of my life, like biking.

If I were normal, I wouldn’t want to live on a homestead or farm and be surrounded by stinky animals and lots of nothing.

If I were normal, I wouldn’t make an effort to go to church every Sunday and try my best to follow what I learn there.

If I were normal, I wouldn’t give a second thought to my carbon footprint and the impact of the things I do on the earth. I wouldn’t keep my house at 68 in the winter (even though hot air rises and that means the lower part of the living room, the only part we can be in, feels more like 64).

If I were normal, I wouldn’t be dreaming of biking adventures (with or without dogs). I also wouldn’t have spent a week biking and camping in the middle of nowhere of loved every minute of it.

Life might be easier if I fit into a certain “world” just right. Maybe. But it might also be more boring. I have always thought that Heavenly Father only gave me one gift. Perseverance. I have never mastered a thing in my life…never been that good at anything but that has never deterred me from keeping at it. I kind of love that I have to work at everything I try. But more recently, I realized that He also gave me another gift. He gave me the ability to love who I am, weirdness and all, good and bad, and not worry about what others think of me…to make my own path in life without being easily swayed by what others around me are doing or saying. I am not perfect, of course, but I feel very blessed to be me.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Can different species be related?

I pose this question because I came across some old pictures of Gracie.

For those who don't remember Gracie, she was a kitten we got from American West Heritage Center. She was on death's doorstep when we got her. She was skin and bones and didn't move much. Adam was getting ready to move to Boise and he thought she would make good company. In return, he would nurse her back to health then find her a good home before me and the dogs woved out there. No cat would live long living in the same house as Bear. So that's exactly what happened. (Adam got a text message with a pic of Gracie that said she was doing really well and she loved the other cat in the house.)

So, back to the question...

They would have made such cute house mates!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tired Jack

Jack's dalmation coat. Pic taken in Wanship early 2008 ona walk.

Within the last couple of months, while we were on a walk, I noticed these lines in Jack's fur. His harness makes his fur sit funny sometimes and you can just smooth them out. So I reached down to smooth the lines out. What I felt surprised me...ribs! I haven't felt Jack's ribs since shortly after I found him (before he finally ate enough to fill out again). Don't worry guys, you're supposed to be able to feel their ribs, If you can't, they're overweight. You can feel all my dogs' ribs now. Jack was always the only one that had some extra meat on him. I'm guessing it's all the running we do on our walks these days (since Boise). Now why can't I lose weight from running?

On our walks alone, just Jack and me, he wants to run just a little which is huge for him. He always refused it before. He would sit down and refuse to move another inch. I would have to pick him up or coax him onward at a slower pace. He still does it at times but not because he's tired, because he wants to go in a different direction than I'm leading them. In fact, Jack is in better shape than me these days. He continues to run past the point when I am gasping for breath. It used to be that I could take him for a walk and never have to even think about walking fast. Those days are gone.

On Wednesday night, I took all the dogs out. I was going to do a regular length walk then take Jack back home and let the other dogs do some more running. But we meandered onto the golf course (after hours) and it was much bigger than I realized. We came out at the library which means that this was longer than our usual walk. So much for taking Jack home then going back out with the dogs.

Not only was our walk 30 minutes longer than usual, there was also a lot more running than usual. I was proud of Jack. He really kept up well and didn't complain once.

But last night when I got home, all the dogs got excited except Jack. He's usually right in the throng barking and getting all excited to get out on our walk. He layed calmly on the couch while I hooked up their harnesses. I put one on Jack in case he wanted to come but it wasn't looking like that would be the case. I put the key in the lock and he decided he wanted to come anyway. So he rushed over to the door. I know how he felt though. I was tired and sore from all that running too and not exactly looking forward to it but I need to do it for the dogs. We only went out for 45 minutes instead of the usual hour.

Today it's raining and VERY cold and windy so we won't be walking tonight anyway. Jack and I will enjoy the break but the other dogs will be begging to go out.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Happy birthmonth, Tucker

Sometime this month, Tucker will be 1 year old. It doesn't sem like it's been 6 months since I've had him already. He is such a fun and sweet dog and despite the amount of work he's created for me (and occassionally stress), I wouldn't trade him.

Tucker thought this might make him look older. You know kids, they always want to be older until they are. ;o)

I'm so glad Adam introduced me to the wonderful world of dogs. They are so amazing! They've been very good motivation to get outside everyday too. I love my puppies!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Birthday money runs amuck at an REI sale

Today was REI's scratch & dent sale in Buford. The doors opened at 10. I got there at 8:30 with hot chocolate, 3 layers on bottom, 4 on top, hat, gloves & my hiking boots. It was 34 degrees. They started passing out numbers to ge into the room where the sale was. I was #97. Some people had slept there in their sleeping bags to get a good place in line. The deals are worth it.

The woman in line in front of me and I got to talking. She only had one leg. She told me that she had had bone cancer 10 years ago and they removed it. I asked her if it was hard to get used to not having one. Her answer surprised me. She said that the only thing that was really hard to get over was the fear. I was thinking fear of how other people would treat her or how she would be able to do the things she always liked to do (she was very adventurous and athletic). But it was the fear of getting down the stairs. She just recently got a prostetic leg but because she doesn't have a stump to control it, she has to throw it around with her weight and momentum so she doesn't really use it much. She still goes hiking and camping all the time. She seemed so upbeat and never seemed upset about her leg at all when we were talking about it. I hope that I can have her positive attitude in the face of my hardships!

I looked through the items they had waiting outside the sale room and didn't find anything. They finally called my number so I went into the room that was so thick with people that I almost couldn't see the things I was holding. But in the end, I managed to find some cool items. Other than the things shown below, I also got a stuff sack with a repair kit for an air mattress.

The best part is that I used my birthday money and only had to pay 66 cents out of my own pocket. :o) Thanks Mom, Dad, Sheri and Mendozas!

My hiking boots have been too small since I bought them 10 years ago (and my feet have grown multiple times since then) but recently, the waterproofing has worn away. I finally have a pair of hiking boots that fit! It sure is nice to have toe room in ONE pair of shoes. These are a size 11 men's shoe...will my feet ever stop growing??

Tucker is modeling his new dog pack (back pack for dogs) and 2 of his new boots. The bag is in perfect shape. We tried it out today. He never had a problem with it. He carried 2 water bottles, 2 tennis balls, a few milk bones and my wallet. He was running around like it wasn't even on. The boots were an incomplete set of 3. You can buy individual ones from Ruff Wear. I got both items for less than either one would cost new (even when you add in the price of one new boot).

This is my new dog walking belt. I bought one at the last of these sales I went to. It got lost during the move somehow. I spotted this at the sale and swiped it. I have no idea what the belt is actually meant for but that's what I use it for. It feels really good. Now I won't be worrying about my organs getting bruised when the dogs give me an unexpected tug.

Friday, December 11, 2009

First timed run

On Wednesday, I took the dogs for a bike ride each before our group walk. The bike rides weren't long...a little over a mile each. But I was expecting it to take the edge off their energy. Guess what, it didn't! But I timed Bear. We got off to a good start, we rounded the corner a little slowly since a car was parked in the way and then got going up to speed again. We were doing fine as we climbed the hill (a little slower than the pace we needed to be doing) when a car drove by us and we had to move too close to a yard with a barking dog on a line in it. Bear stopped to check it out. He didn't charge it or anything, he justs stopped. But I got his attention pretty quickly. The car passed and I had to try to get going again while on an uphill. We finally got back up to speed. When all was said and done, we hit 1/4 mile at 1:16. We did another practice run on that ride but Bear was already tired so he wasn't really sprinting and we ended with a time of 1:19. 16+ seconds seems like a lot of time to shave off but given the right circumstances (flat course with no cars or dogs) we can kill that old record, I know it. I'm hoping I can take Bear somewhere flat this weekend to time him.

Monday, December 7, 2009

We're going to break a world record

I came across a post on a blog I check occassionally. It's They have some good information from time to time. I saw a post about the fastest 1/4 mile biking with a dog. That pairs time was 1:00:03 for the 1/4 mile. I watched the video and I know Bear has a much faster pace than that dog's. I know we can beat this world record. So, I will have to find a good place for a 1/4 mile course. The rules are that he has to be in a safety restraint harness (his biking harness is the same one this guy uses), he has to be attached to the bike using a steel rod (they're talking about a walky dog contraption but I will have to see what I can make), and it has to be in cool temperature for the dog's safety and somewhere with little to no traffic. It has to be taped by a witness. I'm sure I can find a witness easily enough. :o) So soon, we will be world record holders. :o)
This is Bear on one of his first rides...I thought I was going to die because he was going so fast. He's only gotten faster from there.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cookbook challenge

Eggs Flemenco

I got this recipe from this book. I've never used this book before.

Serves 4
2 red bell peppers, seeded
1 green bell pepper, seeded
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
5-6 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup purreed canned tomatoes or tomato juice
good pinch dried basil
4 eggs
8 teaspoons light cream
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thinly slice the red and green peppers. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Fry the onion and garlic gently for about 5 minues, until softened.
2. Add the peppersto the onions and fry for 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and puree, the basil and seasoning. Cook gently for a further 10 minutes until the peppers are soft.
3. Sppon the mixture into four ovenproof dishes, preferably earthenaware. Make a hole in the center and break an egg into each. Sppon 2 tsp cream over the yolk of each egg and sprinkle with a little pepper.
4. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes until the white of the egg is lightly set. Serve at once with crusty bread.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sims Lake Park

There's a new park by my church building, Sims Lake Park. Every Sunday, I remember that I want to check it out. So I finally did. It's a very short trail and way too crowded so I only looped twice before leaving for surface roads. It's a nice little park but it's just not right for me.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Catching autumn

Autumn is one of my 4 favorite seasons. ;o) It's is much more vibrant and colorful here than in UT and ID so I was especially grateful for autumn this year. I missed getting pictures of it at its peak because it rained for about 2 weeks straight during that time period, unfortunately.

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