Thursday, April 29, 2010

But You Live in Colorado!

Yes, it's true. We live in Colorado with mountains and lots of snow. However, we live at 6,600 feet, and we're considered the region's "banana belt." When the ski resorts get a foot of snow, we might only get 3 inches. Or maybe nothing at all.

Yesterday a friend told me we were due to get 6 - 10" of snow last night and today. I poo-poo'd his claim.

Maybe in Vail. We'd never get that at our elevation, especially at this time of year.

6:00am this morning:

I wish I had a picture of my face when I peeked out the blinds this morning. First, it wasn't even snowing when I went to bed last night. But when I woke up, I could tell there was that kind of hushed sound that comes with snow--you know, when it sounds like the world is muffled. So I peered out between the slats of the blinds. Let them close. Blinked my eyes a few times. Opened the slats again. And could not believe it.

Because even though we live in Colorado, this is extremely uncommon at our elevation. Extremely.

So uncommon that last week I washed and put away heavy gloves, ski pants, snow boots, etc.

Me: "Are you awake?"

Eamonn: "I am now."

Me: "Good, because I need you to get the big box of winter clothes back down out of Finn's closet. We got six inches of snow last night."

Then I went downstairs to exercise, and snapped the above photo (which something happened and it's all weird looking--sorry.)

Out of curiosity, I stepped outside to measure how much snow we had.

A little more than I realized. 9" at 6:00a.m.

An hour later. . .

Guess I won't be grilling for dinner.

The boys were unamused. They had hoped for a giant snow like this while the resorts were still open because I'd told them we'd let them stay home to ski, but we never had a big storm on a weekday when no one was sick. Anyway, the snowplow did finally hit the streets, but the sidewalks hadn't been cleared yet. We had to break trail. Wish I'd worn my snowshoes.

I hope no one planned to ride their bike today.

8:20am. 13".

12:24pm. Still snowing. All afterschool activities have been cancelled. Very, very rare.

Please send a St. Bernard. And make sure he's carrying chocolate in that little barrel thingy.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I'm so unmotivated. I don't know what my problem is. I can't think of anything to blog about. Got any burning questions you'd like to ask?

Here's some random junk. . .

I'm thinking it's time to cut my hair. I'm kind of over it. It was great during ski season--a great big ponytail flopping out the back of my helmet--but I feel like the long hair makes me look even more tired than I really am. I know if I left it, it would be pretty curly and cool-looking in Ohio this summer, but it will also be hot. Eamonn's cousin is getting married this summer, in Virginia. My hair immediately frizzed upon hearing this news. So I'm wondering if I should just chop it off and be done with it.

But then I'll have to pay exorbitant amounts to keep it short again.

What to do, what to do.

It's supposed to snow here for the next 24 hours. Today we had gale force winds. And when I say gale force winds, I mean when I took a walk into town to pick up Finn's prescription, the wind nearly knocked me down. And I am not a featherweight.

The school talent show is in two weeks. Tryouts are tomorrow and Friday. I loathe the talent show. Loathe it. Naturally, the boys want to take part. Last year, there was some actual talent at the talent show. Not really by Declan and his friends though. I know that sounds mean, but they wanted to lip sync and do this hip hop dance to Flo Rida's "Right Round." And their routine was actually pretty decent. But the song got nixed because of some language (frankly, I couldn't even understand the lyrics) and they had to pick a new song. The new song wasn't as good, they didn't really do a routine because every time we got them together to practice, they just messed around, so in the end, it wasn't that great. I think they pretty much felt like rock stars though, which is the important part.

So this year, Declan and his friend, Jack, decided to ask their little brothers, Finn and Reed (Reed is in kindergarten), to join them. They are doing a routine to "Ice Ice Baby." How hilarious is that? But again with the not wanting to do an actual routine and not really wanting to practice. Doing it once isn't practice in my book. So today, the mothers intervened. We brought in a third party, my friend's friend with some junior high cheerleading experience, to teach the four boys some moves.

Finn tried the routine once or twice and then dropped out because he didn't realize that practice actually meant working hard at something. You know--like doing it over and over.

Declan got ticked off when I tried to show him a step ball change. "I KNOW how to do it!" Trust me, he didn't.

And it is painfully apparent that my offspring really don't have any sense of rhythm.

In the end, our former cheerleader really got the boys going on a pretty decent routine, so I do not feel as if I will be sitting in the audience cringing this year.

But it did make me wonder. Should we just have let them stand up there and not really do anything? Or is it a good thing we intervened? What will their memories be? "Remember that year our moms wouldn't leave us alone about the talent show and we had to practice like 5 million times and they were so annoying?"

I think I would probably make one of those hideous stage mothers. I should stick to being a hockey mom. It gives me gray hair, but at least I keep my opinions to myself.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mountain Footwear

Good grief. I haven't blogged in a week? I swear I wrote a post. Where is it???

I do have one up at Rocky Mountain Moms. Read that until I figure out what happened to my other one. . .

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Greetings from Sick Bay

Tissue, anyone? Day 7 of Declan's mono diagnosis and all's well. Well, not totally well, but better. His symptoms last week were mostly like a very severe cold--lots of coughing and blowing out gunky stuff. Ick.

The thing that's troubling to me is that there is no conventional treatment for mono. What to do? What to do? I tried various and sundry homeopathic remedies to ease him symptoms, but to no avail. He was pretty miserable.

And then I called a friend who is a naturopathic doctor and asked what she thought. We went in to see her and she provided us with some supplements and herbal remedies, AND she did acupuncture on him! It was so cool. I've always wanted to try it. Declan thought it was slightly less amusing to be a human pincushion, but he was pretty cooperative.

That night was a really tough one--this is apparently common when the symptoms are coming out from the acupuncture. And the next day, there was marked improvement. By Friday, I was wishing I'd sent him to school. He was well enough to be squirrely and annoying after a week at home. I'm happy to report we both survived the day. We went back for one more acupuncture treatment, during which he cried and then laughed hysterically--again, something you sometimes see as a reaction. But the bottom line is that boy is ready to go back to school.

At least he'd better be. I have lunch plans with a friend tomorrow.

Anyway, I've been interested in naturopathy and homeopathy for quite awhile. We did some of both with Finn during treatment and I tried to learn more about it so that when anyone is getting sick, I treat it homeopathically instead of with over the counter drugs, which scare me to death especially since the FDA has decided, "Hey! That stuff companies make for your kids? It doesn't work and it's not all that safe anyway!"


Homeopathy is hard. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I don't. The beauty of homeopathy is that when you get it wrong, nothing happens. You don't cause any further problems. You just wait a bit and try a different remedy. And it's like hitting the sweet spot on a golf ball when you get it right. Or so I hear. I don't play golf.

I'm a bit of a compulsive nut. It's true. When I hear about something, I like to go learn more about it and see if it's something I want to jump into willy nilly or run from screaming.

Mostly I like to jump in willy nilly on health and nutrition things. My latest kick, as I mentioned a few posts ago, was two weeks of eating as a gluten-free vegan.

It was a challenge through an online fitness forum I take part in and it sounded hard at first. What, exactly, was I going to eat? Yes, I knew I could do a lot of raw eating, which I did several years ago and have strayed violently from, but even when I did a three week raw challenge in the past, I could set my own goals. Then I chose to eat raw all day and have a small piece of meat at dinner. No meat at all? Could I do it? Dairy? Wheat? Cheese? You should know that I love cheese.

It loves my thighs right back, incidentally.

Anyway, I got a bit of a slow start. I didn't prepare any wheat free stuff prior to the challenge and I was hurting those first few days. I consumed a lot of raw vegetables.

But then I got my footing, dehydrated some buckwheat groats for cereal and some seed bread, got some beans on the shelves and I was off and running. I had a few stumbles here and there. I was in Boulder 10 days ago (oh my word--did I write about our trip to Boulder to meet Chef Ann Cooper? The woman who has reformed school lunches in Berkley, in school districts in Texas? She's the U.S.'s Jamie Oliver! And are you watching his Food Revolution? We'll talk about that during the next post. Whenever it happens.) Where was I? Boulder. I was in Boulder. A city that has a college campus and many wonderful restaurants INCLUDING Indian restaurants, possibly my favorite ethic food. I was chowing down on a thigh of Tandoori chicken and dipping it in Raita before I remembered I was a vegan.

I confessed all on my forum's thread and then moved on.

Overall, the challenge was a great learning experience and what I'm taking away from it is that I will not be going back to gluten/wheat. I cannot believe the changes in my sinuses. I thought they were in generally good shape after my sinus surgery four years ago, but now, after two weeks of no wheat/gluten, I can't believe it. My nasal passages work ALL the time. Not just sometimes. I wake up in the morning and I can breathe. It's very lovely, really!

I think the thing that surprised me most about the challenge is that I don't miss wheat products at all. I'm trying to figure out now what I should do with all of the wheat-based cereals and crackers around here. Do I/we eat them and then go through the detox process again? That wasn't a fun few days.

And I'm determined to get the boys and Eamonn eating gluten free as well. I think that will help everyone's sinus issues and the, um, digestive issues as well.

As an aside, Tara and Erin are both doing gluten free, too. Erin is hardcore and went all the way--no gluten. In fact, her results inspired me to do the challenge. Tara has done experimenting.

So what did I eat? Breakfasts were things like dehydrated buckwheat groats. It's like Grape Nuts, which I love. I'd top them with a banana, raw agave syrup, and either soy or hemp milk. I have to say, I love hemp milk. That sounds very hippie-ish. Or I might have gluten-free vegan waffles. Yes, they do exist. Van's makes them or I also made them myself. I liked to top them with pureed fruit and flax seeds. I also like to soak oat groats over night and top those with almonds, raisins and soy or hemp milk. I know it's strange, but I love millet porridge. I figure if times get really hard, I can dine at the neighbor's bird feeder now and be just fine.

Did I mention I'm very regular when I eat like this? TMI? Thought so.

Lunch could be a salad with all sorts of toppings. Or veggies like grilled eggplant on my seed bread. I made tacos and used corn tortillas and filled them with beans and olives and avocado and salsa. I am also a tortilla chip addict. That should be known. I can't keep my head out of the bag of Kirkland Organic Tortilla Chips. One day I made a veggie roll up in romaine lettuce leaves. In addition to veggies, there was a seed "cheese" in there, which I didn't like (see below). And I was supposed to roll them veggies in a collard leaf, which I didn't have. The romaine wasn't the greatest substitute. Now I have collards so I guess I should try it again.

Dinners. I made a black bean stew that lasted for days and got spicer by the minute in the fridge. Eventually I had to throw it out because I was literally burning my lips off. I also made a kale and bean soup that was delish. I like soup. My family does not. I ate a lot of soup on my own. For many, many meals in a row. The other night I made spaghetti sauce and ate it with quinoa pasta, which tastes exactly like regular pasta. I was shocked. I also bought a few frozen Indian dinners that were gluten free and vegan. I love them. They stink while they're cooking. But I'm OK with it.

I had a few misses. One raw recipe calls for using jicama slices very thinly on a mandoline, which I actually bought for $10 several years ago at Marshalls, of all places. So you have these thin jicama slices and use it like a ravioli wrapper. You put a "cheese" made of ground sunflower seeds, pine nuts, lemon juice and Nama Shoyu. Unfortunately, I didn't like the flavor the Nama Shoyu gave the "cheese" so the whole thing flopped. I want to make it again and just leave out the Nama Shoyu. I'll get right on that.

For sweets, which I cannot do without, I ate dates. Medjool dates. I just bought a new container and they crappy Medjool dates and I'm tres unhappy about it. Snacks were things like raw walnuts and raisins, apples with peanut butter, rice crackers--don't get me started on how good Nut-Thins are. And, of course, popcorn. If being a gluten free vegan required forgoing popcorn, all would be lost.

So that's it. My latest freaky thing that I'm doing. I know. I'm a whack job.

I'm OK with it. But I'm not OK with the dates. Definitely not OK about that.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Ups and Downs of Life as a 10-Year Old Boy

Pardon the lack of updates this week (I should probably say that every week). I've had a little friend home with me every day this week so far, with little end in sight.

As an aside, I had someone home with me for two days last week, as well. Actually, Eamonn was home with a sick kid one of those days while I went to work at the ski school.

Anyway, last week it was Finn; this week it's Declan.

A few weeks ago, the world was Declan's oyster. He had just turned 10 (OK, he was sick on his birthday, but he did finally have his party). He received a much longed for Nintendo DSi for his birthday (I'm totally addicted to doing sudoku on it--in fact, I'm taking a short break from writing this RIGHT NOW to play a game. Back in a sec.)

OK, I'm back. FYI, I'm frickin' slow at sudoku. I'd like to know how to pronounce that, incidentally. My Mom say SA-DUE-KO. How can that be right? Any experts in Japanese feel free to weigh in now. Anyway, I'm hoping that sudoku will keep me from getting Alzheimers anytime soon. I'm totally serious.

So, back to Declan.

His birthday. Great gift. Sleepover party once he wasn't sick. Etc.

And then, I don't think I ever wrote about this, he tried out for and made a statewide travel hockey team. Pretty exciting. It required travel to Denver for practice one weeknight a week and on Saturday/Sunday for six weeks. Then we were all heading to Vancouver for a week in late May for a big tournament.

We were all very excited. Practices were to start today.

But all winter, Declan hasn't really been 100%. Fatigue, one cold/upper respiratory infection after another, general grumpiness--he's a kid who needs more sleep than your average bear--he just wasn't quite right.

Ten days ago, as much as I hated to do it, we put him on antibiotics for what we thought was a sinus infection. He showed some improvement, but on the last day of the antibiotics, he started getting sick again. WTF? I barked at him that he clearly wasn't washing his hands well enough at school and then touching his T-zone. Duh! Why do you do that? Blah, blah, blah.

Sunday night brought on a low grade fever, raging sore throat, and spots on his tonsils.

Monday morning we went to the doctor and they tested for strep. But I had this nagging feeling. I asked how likely it could be that he had mono. The doctor said unlikely, but that they'd test.

Positive for mono.


Even though the doctor said he could play hockey--his age level doesn't check yet, and he's the goalie anyway--we decided to pull him out and forgo our trip to Vancouver. Great disappointment all around--Declan for not playing hockey with this great team, Finn for not going to Vancouver (specifically with his friend whose brother also made the team), and us for. . .let's face it, missing Vancouver. I was psyched to go there.

Another time.

So now we're waiting for Declan to stop hacking and sneezing so he can go back to school and not infect the entire student population. Will it be tomorrow? Friday? I don't know.

But I do know that a Nintendo DSi apparently makes one feel a lot better in the face of disappointment.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

End of the Season

Today was the last day of the ski season at the resort where I worked again this year. It was time. I found myself grouchy and impatient with guests, even on my last day last week.

I know they're on vacation. I'm grateful they come here and spend their dollars when they have many other choices. Working in a resort does make me think about my own behavior on vacation. Am I late places? Maybe sometimes. But I do find it strange that people show up for a ski lesson at 10:30am or so and expect to be accomodated when the lesson started at 9:00am. Do I obey the traffic laws? I try to. But if I got somewhere and an area used roundabouts instead of 4-way stop signs and I was unfamiliar with said roundabouts, I might ask someone how to drive on them instead of doing crazy things like stopping on them or driving all the way around in the outside lane.

There are countless other things, but the season is over and I can refrain from complaining. Until the summer visitors get here.

I had planned to take a zillion pictures of the boys and their friends skiing today and I didn't get my camera out once. It was hot. The snow conditions ranged from great to horrible. I was concentrating on not blowing out a knee on the last day.

But Tara and I skiied last Friday in incredibly great conditions. I thought the view into this tree run was pretty.

Then we skiied in and I crashed and burned the whole way through it.

This is the view from the top of one of my favorite runs--Rose Bowl. Tara is a little dot down at the bottom of the picture.

Now I'm ready to put the ski gear away and look forward to summer. This week I will be washing all of our ski garb which will likely trigger a snowstorm.

Just wanted to warn you.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Six Years Ago. . .

I worked on the mountain all day today and it wasn't until about 4:15pm when I was signing and dating my end-of-season paperwork that I realized.

April 7

Diagnosis day. 2004.

When we went from this:

To this:

One second life was good. The next? Not so much.

That was then. This is now.

And now is good. In fact, it's great.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Beer. It's What's for Easter.

The boys and some friends enjoying a little apres ski on Easter Sunday.

I'm kidding, of course. They didn't drink beer. They did shots.

Kidding again. We would never let them do shots on Easter.

We woke up to this:

But later it cleared and we headed to the mountain, met up with some friends, and spent the day skiing.

Finn was crabby. Found out later he was getting sick. We made him keep skiing because we want our kids to be tough mountain kids. And we're clueless. And we wanted to stay until it was s'more making time at the fire pit.

We made it to the fire pit. The kids made s'mores. I ate 4 homemade gourmet marshmellows (toffee x2, vanilla bean, kahlua). I didn't drink any beer because I didn't want to ruin my preparation for my detox food plan I was starting on Monday. Apparently I didn't feel the marshmellows would be a problem.

Preparing for Easter, the day before.

We're now busy eating a lot of hardboiled eggs. Well, not me, because I'm trying to be a gluten-free vegan for the next two weeks. I'll report back on how that goes. I've discovered it's really hard to be a gluten-free vegan when you decide to make brownies for teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week. Let alone the week after Easter.

Hunting for eggs. Note the hockey bag in the background. It's usually packed away by this time of year. This year's a little different. More on that later. . .

Here's the view out the back door this morning.

At least it didn't happen on April Fool's Day.

Monday, April 5, 2010

I'm Alive, I Swear

And I'll be back later with our latest doings and some pictures (of my children drinking beer). The leprosy, deadlines and sheer laziness have conspired to keep me from you. But I'll be back tonight. . .