Friday, May 30, 2008

One Word


I found this trivia on Toni's blog. It's not as easy as you might think. Change the answers to suit you and pass it on. It's really hard to only use one word answers!

1. Where is your cell phone? Kitchen
2. Your significant other? Bowling
3. Your hair? Short
4. Your mother? Dead
5. Your father? Chicago
6. Your favorite thing? Mountains
7. Your dream last night? None
8. Your favorite drink? Water
9. Your dream/goal? Retirement
10. The room you're in? Office
11. Your hobby? Papercrafting
12. Your fear? Death
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Traveling
14. Where were you last night? Home
15. What you're not? Shy
16. Muffins? Sure
17. One of your wish list items? Couches
18. Where you grew up? Chicago
19. The last thing you did? Ate
20. What are you wearing? pants
21. Your TV? Off
22. Your pets? None
23. Your computer? quiet
24. Your life? Great!
25. Your mood? Exhausted
27. Your car? Expedition
28. Something you're not wearing? Earrings
29. Favorite store? Scrapbooking
30. Your summer? Busy
31. Like someone? Hubby
32. Your favorite color? Purple
33. When is the last time you laughed? Yesterday
34. Last time you cried? Friday
35. Who will do this? Kathy

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Memorial Weekend in Review

OK, so I did it in reverse... scroll down and find the one called "Utah or Bust" and you can readhow my Memorial Weekend went!

TGIF tomorrow!!!

Going home and Hanging Lake

And on Tuesday our trip was just about over. We packed up the trailer and headed out of Utah for the long ride back home!

On the way though, we decided to stop first in Glenwood Springs for gas and then lunch! Can you believe gas was $4.19 a gallon?! What a crime! Talk about gouging! After a nice lunch at DQ we headed up the road for one last hurrah! We decided to climb up to Hanging Lake!

The path started out paved and flat but quickly turned uphill and I mean UPHILL! It was 1.2 miles and 1000 feet uphill! The up isn’t bad, but I was dreading the down! The trail is absolutely beautiful with the rushing water following the path all the way! It was fairly hot and I took a butt kicking on this one! (Me and heat do not like each other!) When we finally reached the top, I was stunned! This was the most beautiful waterfall I’ve ever seen in Colorado! My all time favorite! It was so worth the climb! I would have liked to stay up there all day, but we still had 3 hours to drive, so down I went! That was the tough part. I made it fine, but the knee was begging for mercy at the bottom!!!

We arrived home about 7:15 on Tuesday! It was nice to be home but we are so glad we went away this weekend! Moab is a wonderful place – I highly recommend it to everyone!!!

So there you have it, my weekend in review!!! Want to come with us next time??

Canyonlands, the White Rim, Mesa Arch and Upheavel Rock

On Monday we got up early and made a wonderful breakfast to share with everyone before we headed off to Canyonlands for the day!

We drove to the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands where you get an awesome view of the White Rim! The pictures do not do this place justice as it is virtually impossible to capture the beauty of this desolate place! We took a short hike to Mesa Arch which outlines the canyon so well! It is yet an another amazing feature in this land! I would have waked across it but everyone was worried that the drop off on the other side was too dangerous! Since it was windy, I let them win! But how spectacular that was!

We drove to many look outs and admired the vastness of this district. Then we pulled into a nice parking area by Upheavel rock and had a nice picnic lunch! Tammi and Nestor headed home from here, but we decided to hike the path and see what the Upheaval dome was all about! It was very cool and best of all – the trail was empty! We took a nice rest before heading back down to the car and off to Whale Rock. At Whale Rock everyone pooped out! Too many miles on our boots apparently! (My knee was beginning to tire, so I was done too!) We just admired and headed back to Moab!We found a great ice cream shop and rewarded ourselves for a great hiking weekend vacation! From here we headed back to our (finally) quiet campground for a nice relaxing evening! Thankfully the place had cleared out and we were going to sleep well that night! Probably the coldest night yet, but definitely warmer than in the mountains!!!

Fiery Furnace and Delicate Arch

Sunday got us up early again and in the park by 8:15 for a hike into the Fiery Furnace! (Don’t you just love the names!) Tammi and Nestor joined us for this hike. It takes you into a huge area of great rock formations that you can only go into with a guide or by permit! It is easy to get lost in there and the guide is great in showing you some of the hidden arches! There were lots of tight places to squeeze through and the kids had a ball climbing through a little arch! Even CJ went along on this hike with us!! The guide kept telling us we were holding him up, but we were just taking pictures! Besides, there were plenty of others who were slow on the trail! After 3 hours, we were happy to leave the group but wished we could stay inside the furnace and explore more!!

After a wonderful picnic lunch, we moved on to the hike up Delicate Arch! Now most people will recognize this photo – it is a national symbol for Utah! The 3 mile roundtrip hike gets easier every time we go! Even with my brace, I surged onward and upward and made it with only one short stop on the slick rock! You don’t see the arch until you reach it, which makes the hike even more spectacular! The arch is absolutely amazing! We were disheartened by all the people on the trail but had to understand that it was a holiday weekend! There was a line just to take a picture with the arch! At least people were orderly! We spent a long time up there basking in the awe of this monument! What a wonderful creation God has given us! There was no topping that that day!

So back to the camper we went… all 8 of us! We had another wonderful BBQ dinner and lots of s’mores! The campfire is always fun when we have lots of friends around it! Unfortunately as Nestor and Tammi left again for the night, the volume in the campground went UP, UP, UP! They were even playing Frisbee in the dark and hitting our car. Damn rednecks! I was not a happy sleeper!

Double Arch, Skyline Arch and Landscape Arch

We woke up fairly early on Saturday morning and drove off to the closest gas station to get some laundry detergent ($7 for a tiny box!) I used that and more bleach and got all of the red out of Melanie (and some of Dan’s) clothes. Unfortunately this time the bleach also got onto the jeans and faded some clothes, but they weren’t RED anymore! Too bad I can’t say the same for the back seat of the car! Dan is not happy with me for that! Hopefully a good detail job will do the trick for that one! (Or else I’m on his sh** list forever!)

After everyone was dressed and fed, we packed up our hiking boots and headed off to Arch’s NP! Moira and the girls were so impressed with the beauty of the red rocks in the desert! Our first stop was Balanced Rock (picture from first post)! We took the short walk around the rock and got some great views of the landscape surrounding it. Then it was off to The Windows section.

At the Windows, we first climbed up to Double Arch (shown here). This arch was featured in one of the Indian Jones movies years ago! We had never hiked up to it and was thrilled we could climb right up into it! Yes, I said I climbed right up into it – brace and all! The view to the backside was awesome and we all loved the rock scrambling!!! Then we moved on to Turret Arch and then the Window’s. The primitive trail behind the Windows was very empty, which was wonderful for such a busy holiday weekend! We got to see a few lizards along the path and admire the formations in a distance!

Out next stop was to show Moira the campground (and cry we didn’t get in there) and the Skyline Arch (2nd photo). This arch is the backdrop to their outdoor theater where they do campfire programs – it is absolutely beautiful! The kids had a lot of fun climbing around on that arch too!

Our last stop for the day was to hike around Devils’ Garden (nice name, huh) near the campground! On this hike, we saw several more impressive arches as well as the very famous Landscape Arch (last photo)! They say an engineer wouldn’t be able to duplicate this arch if they had all the right tools!!! It is so cool! We could have gone further, but everyone was tired, including me who had logged about 6 miles on my knee that day! So we headed back to camp.

Friends of Dan’s from work were also in Moab and they joined us for dinner and s’mores! It was a ton of fun having Tammi and Nestor with us! The kids really liked them too, which was great! After they left around 10, the campground continued to buzz with noise! No respect in these commercial campgrounds is there?

Utah or Bust?

This past weekend is already a blur, but here goes...

Friday was a somewhat typical Friday before a holiday at our office - 1/2 the people gone and very quiet! I had a few interviews scheduled and ended up batting 50-50 on people who actually showed up! I skipped out of the office an hour before it closed (well I did arrive a good hour before everyone else) and I headed clear across town to Dan’s office in Lakewood! First I took the bus to the light rail (train) and then grabbed another bus. That bus was suppose to get me all the way there but ended somewhere in Lakewood… I had no clue where I was! Thankfully the area was fairly safe – at least I was told the police station was across the street. Finally I got a bus within 4 blocks of his office! Whew!! Then I hoofed it down there, said my hello’s to his co-workers and pushed him out the door about 3:30! We were on our way to Utah!!!

Moira and the girls were joining us and she so graciously picked up Melanie from school on her last day. We were just a few minutes behind her on the highway and eventually rendezvoused in Frisco where we took on some gas and our kiddo! In Grand Junction we found a Burger King and had a quite bite to eat before getting back on the road. But before we could get on the road, we discovered that the 2 gallon jug of RED Crystal Light had tipped over and emptied all over the back of the car. Boy was I in for a beating… Yes, it is a LONG ride to Moab.

When we finally arrived, it was almost 10 p.m. We found our campground fairly easy, although it was a bit father out of town than we had hoped. Once we got into the campground, we could not find the host or our sites. They were so badly marked. No one seemed to be able to help us either. We were tired from driving and irritated. Finally Moira and Dan found the host and we discovered that first they changed out sites without telling us and then someone else took the site they had assigned to us! They squeezed us in to an area that was not a site and graciously refunded our WHOLE weekend camping fees! Wow, camping for free – you can’t beat that! Especially with electric hook-ups and showers! Of course, a commercial campground sucks and we were in for some fun days there!!!

When we set up, unpacked and checked out the back seat of the car it was well after 11:30 p.m. Almost all of Melanie’s clothes were now red. And in fact, she had no shorts or tops that weren’t red and wet. Oh great – imagine how angry she was! Most of them were brand new! Thankfully the laundry room was open. I grabbed everything and headed in there, collapsing on the washing machine as I cried. There was no laundry soap, only color bleach. I bought a box of that and hoped for the best. At almost 12:30 a.m. the washer was completed and much to my surprise almost everything looked clean! It was not red! Wow, did that make Melanie happier! I left them wet and waited for later that morning….

Utah or bust?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I'm packed with camera and Miss CJ!

We are ready to roll on our first camping trip of the season! Moab here we come! We will leave tomorrow afternoon straight from work and head out across the mountains! Wish us luck that we don't get kicked in the butt by a snowstorm! There is a chance!

This time I have my camera and Miss CJ packed! Miss CJ is joining us on this adventure and I do believe that she will really enjoy the travel! She has already been to some great places and done some interesting things! The journal of her travels is looking FABULOUS! I need to bring my A+ game out for this one!!

My knee is bothering me a bit today - too much walking without the brace maybe? I was told to take it off and do as much as I can without it so I was just following orders! I'm going to ice it down and take it easy on that long car ride to Utah tomorrow, so hopefully by Saturday I will be ready to go! This is a picture from 4 years ago of Melanie in the "Fiery Furnace" at Arches NP. We really hope that we can take this hike again this time! It is ranger lead and you have to pay, but it is well worth it if you can get on the tour!
Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Thanks ladies for all your bravos! It definitely helps motivate me to keep going! Today the PT was surprised to hear that I had gone hiking but encouraged me to continue! The knee continues to improve every day. It was a bit stiff today, but I'm coming down with a cold and they say that you can feel that in places that are weak. Tomorrow will be 3 weeks since the operation! Boy how time flies! Finally halfway done with wearing the brace! Actually, I only wear it when I'm outside now on uneven ground. When I'm at home or work, I take it off and walk just like normal! No limping!!!

I'm really getting excited now! Our first camping trip of the season is just 3 days away! The weather will be warm in Utah - yippee!!! Let the season begin!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Devil's Head Fire Tower

(Geez, two days in a row I forgot the camera! Thankfully this is a great shot I found!!)

This is Devil's Head (Fire) Tower! Dan is my witness that I climbed all the way to the top! Yes, that is all the way, including 143 steps that lead from the bottom of these rocks up to the tower!!

What an awesome day we had for a hike! The temperatures were already in the low 70's when we drove about 45 minutes west of home along winding roads to reach the road that leads to the Devil's Head campground. At this time of year, the last 1/2 mile to the campground and trail are closed to cars, so you have to hike it in! No big deal - at least the road surface was smooth! There were still several patches of snow with the first one at the very beginning of the trail! I strapped on my trekking poles and away we went!! I am surprised at how much the uphill trek kicked my butt! I was pretty winded from the beginning but I kept on going! I was also sweating like crazy! The black brace and black wristbands of the trekking poles didn't help with the hot Colorado sun! We only stopped a few short times before we reached the Fire Tower cabin just below the stairs. This is where I stopped to fuel up on water and snacks!

The fire tower is the last manned tower in the state and has someone living on premises from May-October. From this tower is where they spotted the Haymen Fire that destroyed over 138,000 acres on Colorado's Front Range. This was the biggest fire ever in the state and started just a few weeks after we took possession of our house here in Castle Rock 6 years ago. At one point it was headed straight for us, but thankfully for us (and Denver in general), it turned around and went the other way.

Once rested, I started up the stairs to the top where the building stands. Up wasn't bad at all - 143 steps gets you there! The views at the top were awesome today! We could very clearly see Pike's Peak, about 30 miles to the South still covered with lots of snow. Then off to the North West was Mt. Evans and Mt. Bierstadt! All around us were more hills, rocks and lots of trees! Too bad there were pesky bugs too! So down we went... 143 stairs! The down was a bit harder on my knee, but I took it like a brave heart and used both legs all the way!! Then down the trail to the bottom! Again, tougher than up, but not unbearable. I just took my time, put one foot in front of the other and made it safely!!! What an awesome feeling to conquer 4 more miles!!

As expected, I crashed when I got home! It is exhausting and all that fresh air!!! But I had a great nap and now I feel like I can conquer the world! OK, maybe just Arches and Canyonlands in Utah now, but that's all I'm interested in right now! I promise, I will remember the camera for that trip!!!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I hiked it!!!

This is Castle Rock.... picture taken many moons ago long before the highway! Today, the railroad is still there, but there are churches, houses, roads and a highway running alongside of it. And there is even a park and established hiking trail up the hill to the rock! Since 1936, from November - February there is a giant star on top that is lit every night guiding the traveler to our little hamlet between Denver and Colorado Springs! You are not allowed to climb up on the rock itself, as a few who have did not return. It is a wonderful symbol for this great little town that we live in!

Today I conquered "The Rock" as my first hike after my surgery!! It's a little bit over 1/2 mile to the top of the hill with about 500 feet of elevation gain. It is a good thing they do not allow you to climb the actual rock - I don't think I could have handled that quite yet! But I did handle the hike fairly easily. The only stops we made were to let downhill people pass us and when I got to the top, my knee felt great! The downhill, which I suspected to be harder, was fairly easy. I felt great when I got to the bottom! I'm still trying to master those trekking poles, but I'm sure I'll get there soon!

So challenge one complete, tomorrow we're going to try Devil's Head (Fire) Tower! This hike is about 1.5 miles one way, but I think I can make it easily as far as the stairs to the actual fire tower! I'm not so sure I want to try those! There are well over 100 of them! I'll check in tomorrow with my results!!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Great News!

What a fun week this has been! I went to the doctor and got my stitches out on Monday. The doctor was very impressed with the progress and said that I looked great! He told me to keep moving, wear the brace for 4 more weeks and come back to see him. That was encouraging. The best part was that I could FINALLY take the compression socks off! They said Tuesday, but I peeled them off on Monday night when I got home!!

Then on Tuesday I went to the Physical Therapist (PT). He too thought the knee looked great and started me out on the bike pedaling away! Then he taught me more difficult exercises to add into my routine. I suppose that is the only way it’s going to get better! At least he said I could do them just 2x a day, since they'll now take me about 30 minutes each time. That's a long time in the morning when I have to leave at 6:30 a.m. and I'm NOT a morning person! He also told me to stop limping and to wean myself off the brace by taking it off at home and work! I'm happy with that! The brace can be a real pain!!! I should still wear it when I go outside though - it is really their to stabilize my knee on uneven surfaces. When I asked him if it was OK to hike around Moab over Memorial Day, he said sure! Wow, really? That was really encouraging! Then I pushed my luck even further and asked if I could climb Mt. Sherman on June 7th and he said ABSOLUTELY since I’m the proud new owner of trekking poles!!! Wow, I really like him now! I stopped there and didn't bother to ask about Mt. Huron on May 31st!!! Figure I'll see how well I do in Moab and maybe just use Mt. Huron as a warm up, with little expectation of making it to the top, but at least getting some trail under my boots! So see Ed, I am well on my way to the 14er in August!!!

I applied this week for an internal Payroll Manager position at Peliton, but didn't get the position. That is OK though as they have given me an opportunity to work as a Project Manager in HR and supervise our consultants through the HR projects. This will give me some more exposure to HR areas that I have drifted away from during my stint as Benefits Manager. Anything to get well rounded in HR again! Now if I could just get some more $$!!

Dan has been in Atlanta since Sunday morning. Melanie and I really miss him and look forward to his return tomorrow! I think he'll be around for a few weeks before he goes off again. And since our summer is about to start with camping, this is a good thing! Just 10 days or so until we go to Moab! That will be really fun to see Arches and Canyonlands again! It's too bad that we can't stay inside the parks - they were booked. We have a family campground booked just outside of town. That shall be interesting to say the least! They are usually very small sites and with all these kids, shall be cramped! Oh well, at least we'll be in the great outdoors (and with a shower right there!)

Off to finish up a CJ! Have a great night!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Finally Friday!

I'm glad that this week is finally over - it was a long one! My first full week back working! For the most part it was good except for yesterday when I was just tired and sore and overwhelmed! I left work early and rested, just what I needed! Today I was ready to go again!

I an working hard on my exercises every day and walking around more and more! No more crutches either! Good riddens!!! (Next thing that needs to go is these stupid compression socks!) I see the doctor on Monday for my first visit since the operation and to have my stitches removed! I think I will get good news - at least that is what I expect! Then on Tuesday it's back to the therapist for more exercises! I feel very confident that I will be able to accomplish some light hiking in 2 weeks when we go to Moab! It may take me a long time, but I think I can do it!!! Let's see what they say! Besides, I'm getting Trekking poles for Mother's Day!!! How lucky can I be??!!

Here is a card I made for my sweet niece who turns 21 next week! When I stayed at her house last February, I spent the night in her room. There were Disney Princesses everywhere! I wanted to use one on my card, but never found one that I liked. The paper is at least Disney! I think the 21 turned out great and that she will love it anyway!! She better or else!!

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I went back to the office on Monday and boy was I exhausted when I got home!!! I felt really good all day while I was there and I took the therapists advice of walking around a lot... oops, probably too much!! Anyway, I really mastered the crutches while roaming the office floor, including how to carry things! Then when I left, I ventured off on the bus to Moira's office! Yep, I was able to climb up and ride the bus!!! I told you, I AM STRONG!!! When I got home though, I was exhausted and my leg was quite swollen! I spent just enough time in my home office to read my email and then up to the couch to relax! I was in bed before 10 p.m. - that's a crime in my eyes, but it was a necessity!!!

As has been the norm, I did not sleep very well. I don't like sleeping on my back and it's getting old having the legs elevated. And these compression socks SUCK! I can't wait to shed those!!! When I awoke today, I was tired and bummed but I went into the office again. At least I had therapy to look forward too. Therapy lasted about 2 hours today. They did an evaluation first, then stuck me on the bike! Yep, I can already pedal the bike! Then they added some additional exercises to my routine before hooking my leg up to this Popsicle maker! When I asked the therapist if I'd be able to climb mountains this summer, he said as long as I have hiking poles... I said, if you say yes, I'll BUY hiking poles!!! So maybe my Summer isn't shot after all!!! Just the first few weeks!!!

Last night I tried the saran wrap trick on my leg to protect it in the shower. It failed miserably, although the stitches didn't get wet thankfully! Tonight I thought I'd give it one more try! (The garbage bag is just too awkward!) Anyway, lots of saran wrap, lots of duc tape and I was DRY!!! What a relief! I can't wait to get these stitches out and have a proper shower!!!

So my adventure in therapy has begun and I just will keep reminding myself, I AM STRONG! Hey Ed, you won't be carrying ME up any mountain!!!

Sunday, May 4, 2008


This is the image of me and my BRACE that you will see for the next 6 weeks! But it's OK because I AM STRONG!!

Friday was a pretty good day. I worked for several hours despite not being able to get my leg under the desk! It was an awkward position, and after awhile my back hurt! I took a quick afternoon nap and was refreshed by the time Mel got home from school! Friday night went from good to tough though. We did our usual Friday night date with dinner and Wal-mart! I was strong and opted to walk Wal-mart instead of taking the motorized wheelchair! I am not that crippled!!! Anyway, after awhile, I just stood at the front of the aisle and told the family what to buy! When we got out of there, my leg hurt a bit (but still tolerable) and I was tired! Earlier in the day I had emailed my therapist asking if I could bend my leg at all and he never responded. I was so sad, I still could not bend it even slightly. The "kids" were making fun of my immobility and it got on my nerves. I ended up crying myself to sleep. I was happy to get into la-la land!

Saturday I awoke, did my exercises and headed to read email! Surprise, the therapist had written me back on Friday night - I just didn't see it. He said that as long as I could bend my leg 90 degrees and could keep it straight when I was laying down, I could add some bend to the brace!!! My life suddenly got a whole lot better!!! Now I could finally get into the front seat of the car, could sit with my legs under my desk and reach the bottom Velcro strip on the brace without straining! Wow, I AM STRONG!!

I spent the rest of Saturday putzing around the house! You know me, I cannot sit still!! I did some laundry, watered the plants and worked on an ATC swap! It felt so good to be closer to normal!! I am religiously doing my exercises 5x per day and cannot wait to get into the therapist again on Tuesday!

Today I plan to enjoy a little bit of the outdoors because it will be in the 70's! Don't worry Ed, my training for the 14er has just begun!!! You will NOT carry your little sister up there - she is STRONG and will do it all by herself!!! Happy Sunday everyone!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

And the results are...

The ACL won!

My surgery was scheduled for 2:15 and we arrived at the surgical center 2 hours early. They went through all my prep and the doctors came in to discuss the procedures. We all agreed that if the ACL was bad enough, that they had permission to take care of that. Now I was scared. If it was the ACL my summer would pretty much be in rehab - not what I wanted. I just kept praying it would just be the meniscus. After they left, we waited and waited... And finally around 3:45 they wheeled me away! I remember moving to the surgical bed and then I was out..

When I finally woke up in recovery, the nurse explained that they did the ACL after all. The meniscus was torn in such a way that they just removed that portion, they did not repair it. Then they found the ACL was worse than they thought, so they repaired that as well! They took my hamstring to replace whatever they needed - lucky me!!! I did great in recovery, moving from the bed to the chair fairly quickly. Had some juice and crackers (I was starving) and then finally was allowed to go home about 8:30. It was a really long, long day!

When we got home, I had something to eat finally! (I could never be in a religion that fasts, I'd never make it!) Then I worked my way upstairs and into bed! The bathroom was the trickiest! When I woke up at 1 a.m., Dan was on the couch. I managed to get to the bathroom on my own, but felt like passing out once I was there. I laid down on the floor. Then when I felt better again, I slid across the floor into my closet where I found my step stool! I used this in the bathroom to prop up my leg so I could do my business! So much easier!!! Then I had to wake Dan to fix my dressing. Poor guy, he was pooped!!! We woke up this morning to SNOW!!!

Went to the doctor for my follow up. She changed my dressing and showed me what to do. Then it was off to rehab! I got my first exercised to do along with lots of other instructions. Then I learned my insurance wasn't going to cover therapy there, so I would have to find another place to go. Ugh - what a pain! The rest of the afternoon has been spent with cat-naps, short stints on the computer and my exercises! As you can guess, I'm not very good at sitting still!!!

So what does this mean for my summer hiking season.... well it's pretty much shot! Maybe by late summer I'll be able to get on some tougher hikes - only my therapist can tell me! I'm still going to get outside and enjoy the sunshine - I mean come on, you just can't stop me!!!

Ta ta for now!