Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Welcoming Autumn

The house is quiet. The dogs are in their respective beds, shaking slightly from the booming thunder outside. The lights flickered off for a moment earlier. Fall is here.

The leaves are golden shades of yellow and the weather changed overnight. Gone are the 80+ degree days. They are replaced by chilly evenings and either a sweater thrown on or turning on the heat. I now bundle up when I ride Penny home from the Market when I get off work, sometime after 7. It's dark too.

Pikes Peak has been shouldered in clouds the past two days. A quick glimpse here and there reveals snow. Everyone has a smile on their face. Snow, moisture, the cycle of life. These mountains, these huge 14,000 feet plus giants are collecting their winter coats. They're trying them on for size and the kiddos are getting excited to play in its bounty. And by play I mean screaming YAHOO!!! down the mountain with planks under feet. Winter is on its way.

Butternut squash, pumpkins, gourds, apples, fattening up for the holidays. Yes, please. Dark stouts, wool socks, scarfs, gloves, puffy coats. And being the second person into bed on those cold nights to spoon with my sweetie. And no, I'm not talking about Moonli (or Makiah)!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Soul Meets Body

A friend asked - are they out there? Yeah, they are. Just not in the form they used to be. But he visits me in his own way. And when he does, I smile in remembrance. What an honor.

And when those reinforcements come, they affirm living each day to the fullest. They affirm loving with all my being - this life, loved ones, friends, family, dogs, sun, bikes, laughter, happiness. I am fulfilled beyond belief. And I know he's smiling right back at me, with me and for me.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Really Listening

When's the last time you listened, really listened to someone?

When was the last time you shushed the millions of things that pull at you in every direction during the day, and fully engrossed yourself in what someone else was saying? When you listened not only to the words out of their mouths, but the expression on their faces and the body language they used to tell a story?

Did you find yourself leaning in? Did time and space stop? Did the world stop spinning madly on and you had a connection, an undeniable connection with people?

I work in a gourmet market and our customers are foodies, beyond a doubt. Or at least the regulars are. Every shift I hear amazing stories about their lives. The mother who is worried about her college daughters attachment to a boy who is only looking out for himself. (She likes Lemon Blueberry cookies.) The couple who helped their 90 year old neighbor retrieve his clothing after 2 months of quarantine since the Waldo Canyon Fire. (HUGE fans of the fish and chips.) The woman who pedaled to the summit of Pikes Peak, still in chamois 12 hours later, with her sweet boyfriend (turns out he's THE Andrew Hampsten). Seriously. I waited on Mr. Hampsten. And his lovely girlfriend who tackled some demons on that hardcore climb. (She ate a muffin with a pint of vanilla bean ice cream. Well deserved!)
People have amazing stories to share. Ones that take you outside of yourself. Ones that make you realize just how its the people in your life, the fulfillment from relationships and your ability to listen to others, that make you rich beyond belief. People provide a connection to this enormous Universe.

Yes, my feet are screaming. I walked 20 miles inside of the store on concrete. But I had a constant smile and enough tips to buy myself a six pack. I also had a connection to a small little slice of the Universe with its purple mountains and crisp fall air. I love it here. And by here, I mean living in the here and now. There's no place I'd rather be.

I challenge you to try listening, really listening to someone other than yourself. Lean in and get close. You never know what you might learn.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Courage via encouragement.

All I needed was a little encouragement, really.

And today, I got a HUGE serving of encouragement.

Week two of 6 months worth of Toastmaster meetings. Remember last week? How I told you about Table Topics and was put on the spot to give a pitch to a publisher on a new cook book I was writing? My words failed me. I said um, a lot. Plus I'm pretty sure the audience could hear my pounding heart. It was awkward and once I sat back down in my seat I was completely embarrassed for my speech lasted maybe 30 seconds. But the first time was out of the way and that's all that mattered.

Today I woke up, took a shower and put some nice clothes on. I wasn't scheduled for a speech but just in case, I wanted to come prepared. Prepared for another topic or even my icebreaker speech if need be. And guess what? They called on me again. But this time they did ask me before the meeting if I would like to participate. Sure! Why not? I'm only going to get better by being thrown to the wolves.

Today's topic - travel. Perfect! Except I had to mention a place I would never visit again. To be honest, I can't think of a single place I've traveled that I wouldn't go again. So I turned the topic into traveling to London for the Olympics. I told my story about surprising Benjamin and they laughed at the escalator encounter. I made eye contact, noticed my heart was still in my chest and felt WAY more comfortable in front of the group than anyone. Not to mention I noticed the timer when I had been speaking for over two minutes! And they were laughing with me, not at me. Benjamin did have two options really on how he could have reacted to my surprise.... thankfully he was stoked.

That round was way, way, way easier. Phew!

As with every meeting, they hand out awards at the end of the program to recognize and encourage participants. And guess what? I received best Table Topic speech and Most Timely!


So yeah, you could say I'm slightly encouraged. And I signed up for my first speech - an Icebreaker for October 4. I was going to talk about being an athlete, but I think I'm going to go out on a limb here and really share my story. Why not start where I want to take public speaking? I can already picture myself in front of a stadium audience. Oh boy!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday: Let the countdown to the weekend begin!

Yep, another weekend packed full of good times.

The weather in Colorado has been amazing. Cooler mornings, heat mid day and then warm evenings. That pinch me, I must be dreaming sensation continues.

Last week was interesting. With the new merger of Garden of the Gods' Gourmet and The Pinery, people have shifted positions, been asked to leave and left right where they are. My attempts to resign over a month ago from the wedding planning division were responded with a request to hang in there were finally answered on Friday, when I got to work a shift back in the Market. The energy is undeniable, the people friendly, the smiles and jokes - I like it. I like it a lot. And my hours are pretty sweet - 2pm - 7:30ish. I'll tell you though, prior to the shift back I was ready to walk again. Everyday I willed myself to put a smile on, grin and bare it. Sometimes you have to. And sometimes it pays, sometimes it leaves you wondering why you put up with things as long as you did.

Long story short - if something is making you uncomfortable and unhappy - CHANGE IT! We all have the power to do so.

Energized, I looked forward to the weekend full of bikes, friends, cross and fun. Saturdays group ride was awesome until I hit a massive pot hole and pinch flatted 1/4 mile later. The group still compact, everyone continued on. Brian's question, "Do you have everything?" Yep!

Except my spare tube had a hole. And I was out in Kansas. Sweet. Time to dial a cab for the first time ever. No worries though, the day still young, my legs still fresh I opted to head up to Woodland Park and climb 2,000 feet. I love riding up there. The Aspens are changing bright hues of yellow and Pikes Peak has snow on its flanks.

Fall is such a beautiful time of year, pretty much everywhere. I love soaking in the days warmth, knowing cold weather is on its way. The sweet part about living in Colorado? The sunny days don't end when the seasons change. We had two cloudy days last week, for the first time in two months. I feel so lucky.

Sunday, I drove up to Denver early to meet up with my friend Shawn. He's doing awesome. Got a new promotion and is taking a road trip before he starts October 1 in sunny San Diego. He's super excited for the opportunity. We talked about dreams and aspirations and he's making his come true. It is so freaking cool to hear a friend doing so well, creating opportunities for himself and gaining such personal growth. Our two hours together flew by and regrettably I had to head to Boulder for some racing action. But I know we'll visit again soon. Some people you just know will be in your life for the rest of your life. Good friends are awesome and I'm so grateful for those in my life.

I arrived in Boulder amongst the heat. 87 degrees and lots of dust but on the coolest cross course I've been on. Yes, I've only been on 5 now. But this one was awesome. Lots of single track, well timed run ups, flat power sections. I started back row due to registration timing and started picking people off.  My remounts still need lots of practice but I'm getting there. 45 minutes whizzed by. I'm really, really, really loving this cross stuff. Who ever thought to combine road and mountain is GENIUS.

I hope cross falls near Halloween so I can wear a fish head. Don't worry Benjamin, I won't pretend I know you. ;)

After the race, I met up with Therese and we ate a ton of sushi downtown. More kick ass conversation - great company and good food. A perfect way to end the day, and weekend. 
Moonli agrees.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

One Step Closer to Motivational Speaking

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of one day becoming a motivational speaker. I never had a specific topic in mind, but I envisioned myself standing in front of a 300+ people giving a speech from the heart and my speech having a serious impact on the audience. I have countless journals that speak to this dream and every time I put down a life goal or something I really want to do - public speaking is usually number one.

There's just one problem.

Public speaking scares the crap out of me.

Whenever I get in front of a group of people and am put on the spot, I clam up. Those carefully practiced words, the fact that I see myself in front of hundreds of people in my dreams, does nothing to calm my nerves. But I know it's my destiny. Public speaking is my calling.

So today I took action. Today I woke up early and attended a local Toastmasters meeting. I heard about Toastmasters via word of mouth and found a local chapter just up the street near Garden of the Gods' park. And when I couldn't fall asleep til nearly midnight, I told myself I'd still get up. I'd still go. And I did.

The group was welcoming, friendly and well organized. An agenda was handed out and about 12 different people hosted the meeting with ice breaker speeches, meeting organizers, jesters, evaluators, etc. Each person had a role. And for those that didn't, we were called on to be part of the table topic.

Yep, I was called to action at the first meeting. My topic: I'm giving a sales pitch to a publisher about my new cookbook. Gulp. That should be easy, right? Wrong. I fumbled, I stuttered. I couldn't find the words I was looking for. But I did it. And they clapped. Phew! The first speech is over on the first meeting! And you know what that means? It can only get better.

It better get better.  :) It will get better.

So today I challenge you. Put into action something you've been meaning to do for a long time. Taking those first steps is always challenging but oh so rewarding. And I'm sure one day I'll give a speech about it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

First Cross race of the season: complete!

I'm super green to cyclocross. Prior to Saturday's race, I've completed only two other races and both were roughly 3 years ago. Needless to say, the whole dismount and remount, along with obstacles is completely foreign to me. I'm usually in the thralls of last minute preparation for track nationals with one gear, no brakes and left hand banked turns. But this year, I decided to give cross a try.

What is cross? It's where you take a road bike with knobby tires and ride it through, over and around obstacles. Courses are a mixture of mountain biking, road riding and barrier hopping. Sound strange? It is. And thousands of people love it. It has become one of the fastest growing cycling disciplines as of late.

A few weeks ago I begged Benjamin to show me some basics. We went to a grassy park up the street and I began committing those awkward motions to muscle memory.

"Don't bobble. Make it one fluid motion to maintain your momentum. Like this."

I watched as he gracefully leaped off his bike at speed and jumped right back on. Right.

So what did I do? I bobbled. I looked down. I hesitated and looked like a moron. But slowly it started to click. I'm slow. Painfully slow. But teaching yourself proper technique and getting it right means going slow sometimes to reinforce good habits. And every now and then, I still eat shit. Part of the learning process, right?

What better way to test my new found skills than to take it to a race? Luckily cross season kicked off locally here in Colorado Springs, at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs campus. The flier boasted a 2 mile course with it all: sand, run ups, barriers, single track and sidewalks. Game on.

I registered for the 35+ women's category (how did I get so old all of a sudden!?!) and we had 6 women show. The women's open field had 6 as well, but with two big guns: Katie Compton and Amy Dombrowski. GULP. Such is the talent in Colorado - world champions and multi-national title holders. No big deal. Thankfully my group was less intimidating and Katie and Amy only lapped me with less than a lap to go. As I rolled over bumpy single track when Katie zoomed by, all I could muster was: "Get it girl." Who am I to stand in their way?! We all start somewhere.

The race itself was a blast. Well, as fun as going at 95% can be for 45 minutes. The sand pits proved frustrating but in great proximity to the run up. The male hecklers at the top of the hill cheered and sneered, adding to the fun. I kept imaging my brother chasing me so I'd push harder when it hurt and put some distance between myself and 2nd place. But I'm sure she would have caught up had there been more barriers. My slow remounts cost me at least 3 seconds, every time.

"Go Baby!!! Faster!" Benjamin would cheer as I'd come into view. I just smile in response, putting a mental note on the line I should take next time. Time to work on those remounts, at speed.

One thing is certain - with cross everything is new and I'm improving leaps and bounds each time I ride. I look forward to improving my skills in terms of speed, summed up with one word: PRACTICE.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Intro Revision

Working on this book can be like pulling a fresh wound, not quite healed. But if I don't keep at it, keep polishing it, keep reworking things to make it work then it'll never get done.

With that said, here is another version of the intro. Have that hanky handy.

Sweat dripped off his brow from hiking up to the base of Goat Wall in Mazama, Washington. His canine companion struggled to keep up. His big steps during the scramble were enormous leaps for her.  Panting, she found a shady spot next to the towering rock wall while he shrugged off his backpack.

He squinted, looking up at the rock, his eyes following the natural climbing line as it meandered up and out of sight. He spoke with Bryan that morning about the nuances of the climb and felt confident in his choice of route. So confident in fact, he left his climbing guidebook back at the cabin. He also came here alone.

Prime Rib, a moderate 12-pitch 5.9, gains a total of 1500 feet of metamorphosed sedimentary rock. An easy rock-climbing route for someone as accomplished as Ryan, rope or no rope.

He took a swig of water, pet his panting dog and bent over, removing the contents from his pack: shoes, harness, rope, carabiners, chalk bag and a small sack lunch containing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, blue Poweraide drink and a Kit Kat candy bar he intended to eat later.  He whistled a Wilco tune he heard while driving down valley from the Lost River Airport community to the parking area for Goat Wall and made sure he had everything he’d need.

The upper Methow Valley is beautiful in early September. Clean mountain air, summer warmth during the day and cooler temperatures at night. The pine beetles sang and he heard the steady movement of Lost River below.  A light wind kissed his arms so he slipped on a windbreaker.

Carefully, he balanced on one leg while putting on one climbing shoe at a time.  He put water in a plastic container for his dog and slipped on his climbing harness. He crisscrossed the rope around his shoulders, tied it around his waist and closed his backpack, stashing it behind a tree. He let out an audible exhale.

“You stay here, Makiah.”

He didn’t bother to tie her up. He didn’t need to. He figured he would be back down in a few hours and Makiah rarely wandered and usually obeyed. He eyed the route again, dipped his hands in a chalk bag and started climbing.

Makiah dug herself a comfortable place to wait in the shade, close to Ryan’s backpack. She glanced up and watched as he climbed out of sight, letting out her own audible exhale.

She was the last being to see him alive.

Cross Roads

That last post was heavy. But from the heart. I've probably reread it about a dozen times since I put it up and it still brings a tear to my eye, every time. What becomes so obvious to me, is how important I feel it is to get my story out there.  To let other people know that tragedy can strike at any time and it is up to you how you choose to deal with it. It is up to you to learn as much as possible and take the positives from it that you can and move forward.

I'm actually in the process of aligning my life with helping others achieve that realization. To provide careful listening and coaching in achieving the life of your dreams. By no means does that mean you have to experience tragedy before you can live that life you've always imagined. But it does require that you are completely and 100% open to awesomeness.

If you or someone you know is interested in working with me, please feel free to reach out. I'd love to share my insight and wisdom and assist you in finding that ultimate life balance. As I've found, the more people you can have in your corner, the better. Don't wait another minute - life is too long.

Friday, September 07, 2012


I keep a separate, private blog, where I put my musings for my upcoming book. But since it's acting up, and well, this blog will become a platform for advertising what's to come - I figured this is an appropriate spot to put down some of my thoughts.

For those who don't really know me or my story - I am 34 years old. My childhood was spent in Eugene, Oregon, teenage years in Seattle, university in Bellingham and then back to Seattle until about a year ago when I moved to Colorado. I had a great life - and adoring husband. We married young at 22 and lived an amazing and fulfilling life. Life was going according to plan until four years ago, to the day Ryan took his last breath.

The following is an excerpt from what may be in the book:

The hike up to the base of Goat Wall left him wiping his brow. The load in his backpack was much lighter this time since he wasn’t burdened with the weight of climbing hardware. He had only brought his climbing harness, shoes, rope and a few carabiners for the rappel descent. Still, the 20-minute steep approach was not for the faint of heart nor out of shape.

Makiah, their 25 pound miniature Australian Shepherd, was panting too.  The big steps he had to take during the scramble up in the talus field were enormous leaps for her. Yet he didn’t need to assist her, she had made it up on her own. He contemplating shaving her – especially since she was miserable in the late season summer heat. But fall was just around the corner and she’d be more than a little humiliated without her signature shaggy coat.

He quickly found his route, Prime Rib a moderate 11 pitch 5.9. He knew exactly where it started since he had researched the climb quite a bit. That morning he had spoken with Brian, the routes originator, and gotten more than enough information on the climb. He was so confident in his choice of climb that day, he left the climbing guide book back at the cabin. He was, after all, an accomplished 5.13 grade climber and a 5.9 was well within his ability, rope or no rope.

He set his backpack down, pulled out his climbing harness, shoes, rope, chalk bag and took a big swig of water. Sitting down on a flat rock, he took off his approach shoes and carefully slipped on his tight climbing shoes.

“You stay here, Makiah.”

He didn’t even bother to tie her up. He didn’t need to. Makiah was well trained and did as she was told. Plus she rarely wandered and always stayed within earshot. He stashed his backpack near the base of the climb and left Makiah with some water. He slung a 70-meter rope over his shoulder, crisscrossing it around his chest and securing it with a series of climber knots so it wouldn’t impede his ascent. He chalked up his hands and with that, he started to climb up the loose adventure route. This was it, one last climb before heading home to Seattle after spending a week in Mazama. One final climb to top a fun filled week full of recreation in the Pacific Northwest.

Makiah watched as her owner started the ascent up Goat Wall and once he was out of sight she dug herself a comfortable spot to wait and keep careful guard over her owners backpack.

She was the last being to see him alive.


She had just completed a successful week of track racing down in San Jose. She was weighed down by her own hardware – two golds and one silver and a best all around rider jersey and trophy. Her successes made her happy and she couldn’t wait to share it in boring detail with her husband.

They had talked the day before for over an hour, enthusiastically sharing with one another their weekly adventures. His involved the wonders of the Pacific Northwest and deciding how best to spend his last day in Mazama. Hers’ involved going in circles at the velodrome as fast as humanly possible.

Both were excited to see one another. Both were missing one another and making plans for the following weekend when they would reunite to finally celebrate their 7th wedding anniversary. They talked of biking in the San Juan’s and ferry schedules were checked.

Before calling it a day, she had one last race, the team sprint with Jane, a friend from Seattle. They placed 4th overall and quickly packed to start the long 16 hour trek back to Seattle.

She felt part excitement, part fear. So much lay ahead of her and she had a strong sense that things after Nationals wouldn’t be the same. But she had no idea to what extent that would be true.

The drive from San Jose to Seattle was long. Certainly doable in one long stretch but since Guy was unwilling to share the drive burden, she insisted they stop and stay the night with her brother and family in Brownsville, Oregon.

They left San Jose around noon and it was around 100 degrees. A quick stop for a burrito along the drive had them speeding along the highway and passing through Redding, California around sunset. They passed by a large forest fire, washing the sky in pinks, reds and greys. She had a strange feeling but ignored it. She had lots of excitement from the previous week to recall and quickly put that funny feeling to rest.

The stop at her brother’s house was full of commotion. Coleman, her nephew, demands full attention and consumed her thoughts of worry. By bedtime, she was tired from the day’s event and was concerned she hadn’t heard from Ryan. He always called.


The next morning, the whole family and Guy headed to the local breakfast spot and ate together before she and Guy departed for the final 5 hours to Seattle. Once on the Interstate, she started to panic and called the office to find out if Ryan had showed up. No one had seen or heard from him.

Panic set in.

Oddly, exactly a month prior, Ryan told Jennifer what to do in the unlikely event of an emergency. He was climbing with his friend Fitz and told her if she didn’t hear from them by a certain time to call the sheriff’s department and search and rescue.

She called the Okonogan County Sheriff department and reported Ryan missing. She reported his last known where about was in the cabin in Mazama, potentially headed out on a mountain bike ride. By strange coincidence she had the VW Golf license registration paperwork with her so she was able to describe the vehicle with 100% accuracy.

The drive between Brownsville and Seattle took about 5 hours. Time came to a standstill. For once she and Guy didn’t have anything to say to one another.

They arrived in Seattle around noon. She had already called her mother and told her something bad might be happening. There were so many unanswered questions in those first few hours, such a whirlwind of emotion, of hope, of loss, of trying to make sense of a senseless world.

Recalling her conversation with Ryan two days before, he had mentioned going on a mountain bike ride of some sort. She hoped and prayed she’d be able to find him with a broken leg or something on a trail out in the middle of the national forest.

Her neighbor, Jo, saw the commotion going on next door and popped over to say hello. She told Jo that Ryan was missing and last seen in the Methow Valley. Jo reassured her everything would be all right. They’d gather some survival items to create a real search party for him: flashlights, First Aid Kit, a climbing rope and an emergency blanket – all hopeful items for a rescue.

Mazama is a three and a half hour drive from Seattle. Her mother Caprice, Guy and Jo all headed to the grocery store together to pick up some food to go. That’s when she got the call.

The Okanogan County Sheriff’s deputy told her to go the local precinct. Unsure of what was happening, but letting that initial lump in the back of her throat build, she went. It all seemed like a dream.

The precinct was by North Seattle Community College, a 15 minute drive away.  No sort of assuring could deny the feeling of utter despair building in her gut. Time was starting to disappear. Moments between actions were completely lost.

They walked in together, Guy, Jennifer, Caprice and Jo and explained to the police officer sitting at the front desk that he needed to call the Okanogan sheriff’s office. He did so, and while he was talking with the deputy over the phone, his tone grew somber. Those moments didn’t disappear. Those seconds between what the officer was being told and what he was about to say came to a stand still. She wanted that moment to freeze, didn’t want to hear what she already knew was going to be told to her.

“I’m sorry, miss. Your husband is dead.”


My knees gave out from underneath me. I sank to the floor, unable to breath, unable to register what devastating news was just relayed but also known. The room started spinning. The officer came out from behind his desk enclosure and offered a hug, giving his condolences, passing along bad news, something that he has to do on a daily basis, part of his job description. I wondered how many other new widows he had to relay this kind of news to. I knew exactly how Emily felt. How the world was ripped out from under her, how everything she knew was gone in an instant. It didn’t make what I was experiencing any easier, but at the same time I felt like I had been here before. That I was in some way prepared for what was happening.

Guy said he was willing to drive us onto the Methow, as that seemed the next logical step. I felt a strong urge to be there – to feel his presence, to find my dog. I remember my mom and Guy talking on the way there but I have no idea what they said. I just stared, numbly, out the window as the trees zoomed by.
The views of the Liberty Bell group took my breath away, but this time for a different reason. I could feel Ryan everywhere. His presence was certainly with me – angry and whirling about. Similar to our living relationship, I was always the calm one. I could take whatever life would throw at us and make sense of it. Ryan, on the other hand, would get upset at things. I felt his anger then, and I knew his accident was an accident, not something he would do intentionally.

We spent that first night at the Methow Country Inn. Normally they don’t allow dogs, but we were able to get Makiah to stay given the emergency circumstances. When I first saw her, she was scared. I don’t think it registered that she was with me, only that she was finally safe. My mom booked us a room with a queen bed, the only one available and we tried to sleep that first night. My mind wouldn’t shut off, I was in complete and utter shock. I cried and cried and cried, asking Makiah what had happened. What she had seen. I had so many unanswered questions.

Over the next couple of days, the puzzle pieces became clearer. On Sunday, September 7, Ryan had gone free solo climbing up a route called Prime Rib. He had left Makiah at the base, unleashed and started up the route. Sometime during the day, another climbing party had set out to do the same route and noticed a backpack and little dog, unleashed, but no sign of a hiker or climber. They started the climb and noticed a plate sized bloodstain on the rock about 4 pitches up. During the ascent and descent they didn’t see anyone else there and thought it was odd.  That night they headed back to their lodging 40 miles down valley. They both felt uneasy about the situation and decided the following day to head back up valley to see if the little dog, back pack and red Golf were still parked at Goat Wall.

At the same time, our neighbor Anne had a house sitter named Kevin that we had befriended on previous trips to the Methow. He was of similar age to Ryan and I and easy going. He had noticed the red Golf parked on the side of the road overnight and thought it odd. He got off his morning shift and stopped at the same time the climbing party convened.

That’s about the same time the deputy rolled up on the scene. She asked the three men what they were doing there and noticed a little dog, unleashed, wandering back and forth between the road and the trail head. Makiah was frantic.

When the deputy mentioned to the climbing party and Kevin that a person was reported missing and she was waiting for Search and Rescue to show up to begin their search, the three men asked if they could start the search. She advised them that the area was on public land and she could not advise them to search but they could look on their own accord.

It took about twenty minutes before they found him. Makiah helped lead the way, running ahead on the path, herding them toward Ryan’s last resting spot.

Once Search and Rescue showed up, the deputy informed them it was a recovery. Ryan had sustained massive internal injuries from his fall, which appeared to be from 600 feet off the ground. It remains unknown if he died on impact or sometime during his fall. It also remains a mystery the cause of his fall – if loose rock was the culprit, a swooping bird or if he simply got off route. The fatal scene was recorded, photographed, described and several hours later, the deputy got back into cell reception range. That’s when I got the call and when my life changed, forever.

Book Signing

People, even strangers, are in your life for a reason.

Today's encounter was no exception. I received a phone call from a guy at work who said he was ready to book our venue. He had a date in mind, which was already booked, so he did a Thursday instead. He said he would stop by within an hour to meet with me and do this.

I admired his resolve, but thought to myself - let's see if he shows up. A lot of people talk the talk...

He showed up within the hour. We discussed his event. He expects 100 people and is doing an e-book signing. After 20+ years of living with severe health problems, he's figured out how to heal himself internally by action and through faith. (Remember? This IS Colorado Springs, aka Focus on the Family, etc.)

His enthusaism was infectious. I told him I was writing a book as well. He asked how many hours I have put into m it - and I commented - all my life. Well, I've put in about 500 hours, he said. And now it's becoming a reality. He's having a signing and invited about 100 people to celebrate his success.

I am stoked for the guy, really. Seeing someone pursue their passion with gusto, leaving their day time corporate job to do something he really enjoys is just testament that I'm doing the right thing myself. And that I am confident I can do the same thing!

Just watch - I'm going to have a book signing as well to celebrate and commemorate a big achievement. 

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

A little stage race and a BIG ALPINE SLIDE.

My mind has been conscious of approaching anniversary dates. In fact, I'm pretty sure my recent blue lens color was due to that very reason. Couple that with my decision to take action and put the cabin on the market, and well if tears didn't wet my pillow, I'd start questioning if I was human.

Interestingly, the last portion of August seemed the hardest this year. My year of firsts has long come and gone - and now I'm dealing with memories. The last time I saw him, the last time we talked, the last time I told him I loved him, and he in turn told me. The dark cloud of grief is impossible at times to ward off. But I know time will take care of that. Time will ease me back into sunshine.

Early September brings up lots of transition, lots of memories and recognition of my past life. It signals the end of the summer and the transition into fall and winter. Escaping to Steamboat Springs to compete in a stage race helped. It kept my mind off of the memories and instead demanded my attention in the here and now. A place that I'd honestly much rather be. A place that I appreciate everyday. A place that I've found to be where doors open up, both inward and outwardly.

So when the opportunity came to ride a rickety alpine slide - I jumped at the chance. I got excited like a little kid. And Cari thankfully obliged my desire. There's something thrilling about zooming downhill, bordering being out of control, while doing something new and different. I talked about it all day. Even before our 7:47 am road race start. And after our finish. And after we did a little sidewalk sale shopping... "want to hang out in a coffee shop?"

No. I want to go on the ALPINE SLIDE!!!!

Two grown women, no kids and an alpine slide.

We rode the super slow chair lift up 2,500 feet to the start of the slide. Its slow procession calmed my excitement. "Why aren't these people screaming and having fun?"

I started to absorb the sliders somber attitude toward going downhill. That is until we got to the top. We had to wait in line for about 10 minutes as families with small children slowly went down the mountain. My excitement was building as well as my strategy of no brakes. I wanted to give the little girl in front of me ample time to go down - because I knew I would catch her. She was maybe 8 and said she had done the slide before.

The slide monitor told us: "You can go."

I pretty much screamed to whole way down. No brakes, lots of turns and the risk of flying off the track. It was so much fun! And as I came screaming around one of the last corners - there was the little girl. Stopped in mid-track. I had plenty of time to brake and avoided her but as it turns out, I scared the piss out of her. Literally. Her mom waited down at the bottom said, "why is your sled wet?" Yep, the poor little girl wet her pants.

I'm not sure if I caused the release - but I'm pretty sure my screaming didn't help the situation. It just goes to show, I suppose, that sometimes I scare the piss out of people.