Lake Living

Memorial Day weekend = Open the lake place!  My parents have usually gotten most of the menial tasks out of the way by the time I arrive to the lake, but this year it was my turn to get dirty and help out.  Usually my brother and I would help with the boat, the jet skis… you know, the fun stuff!  This year, I arrived early Saturday to even help get the water turned on.  That task seemed to take a few hours, but I learned how to soder pipes with water in them!  It’s always a learning experience when working with my father.  It’s amazing what a piece of bread will do!

After we got the water issue settled, we vaccummed, cleaned floors, cleaned fridgerators… we did it all.  But Mom and I did manage to get some water and sun time in between.  Sunday, we got the ladders on, pier posts in, lauched the SS Carole Jean and took her on her maiden voyage, got the Fuller Formula running and in the water… it was a full day.  But again, Mom and I found time for water and sun.  Today, we got up at the crack of dawn to beat all of Elkhart to the flea market capital of the north.  AKA Shipshewana.  It’s fun, but every 10th booth is the same.  If you need a trunk full of tube socks, embroidered bluebird sweatshirts, novelity t-s that read “I’m a multi tasker, I can talk and piss you off at the same time”, head up HWY5 and follow the horse and buggies.  We did pick up a few items but headed back to the house so we could all get on the road and home in decent time. 

Here’s some pics of the place.  The first is the front of the house, next is the view from the yard, the next is the view from the pier.  My little oasis in the midwest!

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Kids After My Own Heart

Anyone that knows me, knows I’ve never been one to declare at the top of my lungs that I want children.  Just never felt like it was in my genes.  I did have one, yes one, occasion last year that made the littlest tiniest part of my heart say hmm.  Not hmmmm.  Just hmm.  I was running the Jingle Bell run and this little boy was with his Dad on the sidelines and saw his Mom finishing the race and it was like he saw Santa Claus.  The kid got so damn excited and happy, even I will admit, it was cute.  

I read and watched something today that made my hmm go to hmmmmmmm.  My beautiful nieces competed in their first race together.  I present to you, Sydney and Reagan.  It took Brandon and I 30 years to do our first race together, so seems like they are on a good track to kicking our asses!!  Girls, I’m so proud of you!  And Brandon, I am so proud of you!  Way to support your girls in finishing the race.  Sorry Dad, but I have video footage and volume of you turning the camera sideways because I was so slow you couldn’t stand it.  Oh, and there was that time we didn’t speak for 2 weeks because you thought my ankle injury was in my head.  Oh well, I was never meant to be an Olympic runner anyway.

Ft. Wayne Invades

My Mom and I attend the Broadripple Art Fair each year.  We decided to spice things up this year and invited some of her friends from Ft. Wayne to join us.  She’s involved with all kinds of clubs and activities (sound familiar??) so she was able to round up 4 of her friends from Rotary and the Art League to join her.  I’ve met a few of these women before when I’ve traveled home to help my Mom with her fundraising events, so it was nice to get to see them outside of the those and just hang out.  They even came up with some additional places here they wanted to visit so it was going to be a full day.  They arrived at my condo where I had a breakfast casserole, all kinds of fruit, and most importantly, Mimosas!  We ate and chatted for a bit, then piled into 2 cars and headed to the fair. 

Everyone traded cell phone numbers to make sure we didn’t lose anyone in the group, and headed out to find our artist treasures.  The weather wasn’t the greatest, so we hit the Student artist sale first.  You can find really nice pieces for very cheap here since these artists are just starting out.  The group, in total, got quite a few things throughout the day and met back at the cars to hit our next spot, a boutique and a bistro.   Earlier in the day, I overheard Sandy say the Bistro was right next to the boutique.  I knew the boutique was on Illinois.  My google search had shown the Canal Bistro off Guilford and that’s where our reservations were.  I figured we might as well hit the boutique and we’ll see if there is a bistro nearby.  If not, we’ll use Plan B with the reservations.  Good news bad news.  The OH YUMM bistro was next door, but not open.  So we spent some time shopping then everyone was definitely ready for some food!  Canal Bistro has a Mediterrian flare to the menu so I was a bit worried, but these women loved every bit of it.  Here’s our crew. 

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I’m so happy my Mom has the women to run around with up north, when she’s not running around down here with me!  Thank you Ruth, Betty, Sandy and Rodey for a great day!  I hope I have the same gusto for life like you all do at your age!  Mom, thanks for sharing me with your friends!  I might be calling in your group’s brain power on my next fundraiser!  Might as well use these smart women’s brains as a resource!

Vagina, Vagina, Vagina

Varsity Blues said it best.  “Penis Penis Penis, Vagina Vagina Vagina”  Except in this case, it’s 0 penis and 3 va-jj’s.  My brother and his wife are expecting their 3rd child this summer.  Yesterday they got to find out the sex of kid #3.  Here’s his blog post quote “GIRL. Apparently, having a penis doesn’t automatically qualify you to make a penis.”  I told him to name her Mark and see if “something” starts growing.

I’m in denial over another niece.  I’m going to buy Kim all sorts of blue baby gifts and penis shaped objects and see if I can’t increase this 10% window of a boy to 50%.

Longs Peak Hike Reminder

Almost 8 years ago?!  Really?!  The first time I visited my brother in Colorado I told him I wanted to do something fun and adventurous.  I wanted to sky dive, but he picked mountain climbing.  Little did I know how much I would end up loving his choice and still be doing it nearly 10 years later. 

My brother sent me a story today.  His friend took a guy up the same mountain that was my very first mountain climb.  Only they did it when there is lots of snow.  We went in the Fall.  I think we made the better choice.  Here’s the guy’s account of his trip if you want to read it.  http://footfeathers.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/raw-truth-of-nature/ His picture of the final ascent, a.k.a. Homestretch, says it all.  It’s like climbing up a ladder, but there no ladder, just a rock wall in front of your face with cracks in it to wedge your feet and hands in.  No rope either.

Reminiscing, here’s a list of my climbs and stories to match.  As you can tell by the dates, this is my Labor Day trip each year.  Kind of funny.. something about 8/31 and 9/2 must make us want to climb!  If you have some time, at least look at the pictures.  They are still breath taking to me each time I look at them.  If you have extra time, read the stories.  The first one is my account of our trip, the rest are from my brother’s perspective.  He’s a great story-teller so you kind of feel like you are there with us without the physical exhaustion part.

08/31/2001 – Longs Peak
09/02/2006 – La Plata
09/02/2008 – Yale
 
When there’s a website dedicated to the torrid history of deaths on this mountain, I think that suggests I will never climb this mountain again.  http://listsofjohn.com/Accidents/Longs.html

Colorado Adventure Day 4 – Are we done yet?!

No time to rest!!!  Last day in Colorado… what haven’t we done yet?  Oh yea, hiking!  Since I’d stolen my brother away from his family for a few days, we did a family event today.  We drove through Boulder and hit Flagstaff trail.  We had a crew!  4 adults, 2 kids, 1 soon-to-be-kid (Kim’s not mine), and 2 dogs.  We headed up a trail until we got to a part that had some really large rocks to climb on.  We played with the kids and the dogs for a bit and enjoyed some scenery. 

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I used to say “Rocks and trees… they all look the same”.  That was back in my prissy years when I thought this stuff was stupid.  Now I can’t get enough!  We stopped for a group photo op, then headed back to the car. 

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Many many many thanks to the Fuller’s of Colorado!  Brandon, thanks for hauling us around and planning such a great trip!  Kim, thanks for letting us into your home (for the last time) and taking Brandon away for a few days!  Syd & Reagan, thanks for getting my room ready and playing games with me!  Time to start planning my fall trip… what mountain(s) should we climb this time?

Check out my brother’s story.

Colorado Adventure Day 3

Today, we took Miss Sydney on our skiing adventure.  We arrived at Eldora Ski Resort a little before noon.  Just in time for the half day skiing prices.  I started skiing in 1997 at Boyne Highlands up in Michigan and have since racked up skiing in Indiana, Nevada, California and Colorado.  I counted how many times I’d been skiing in my life and decided it was time to try snowboarding.  15 times… yep, ready for something new.  Here’s Eldora.

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Brandon and Syd went off to the greens while Kyle waited with me to get suited up with a snowboard.  I got my boots and went to get the board.  The guy just hands it to me and says “have fun”.  I go…. ahhhh…. can I ask you a question.  Since I had never been snowboarding I needed to know what foot was most likely to always stay strapped in.  I’ve been told I wakeboard goofy foot, but to me it feels right.  Turns out, the way I wakeboard is the way I should snowboard.  We walked over to the easiest green lift and I strapped a foot in.  I about fell right there.  This damn board was slippery!  It took quite a while to get used to dragging a 5 foot long board around while the other foot is trying to keep traction on snow.

Getting off the chair was fine, but maintaining my balance on one foot was not.  I think all day I successfully got off the chair lift without falling 5 times, but luckily you have to sit down to strap in your other foot so you can kind of play off the fall if it’s graceful enough.  After a few falls on my first two runs, I was ready for some bigger greens and blues.  I think I did pretty good for my first time out.  My only falls later in the day were because there was a 15 kid pile up for ski school and I didn’t want to make snowballs out of any of them.  Kyle stayed with me for some runs until he was bored and ready for more challenges himself.  I went back to find Syd and B.  When they were done, I went back to the blues to find Kyle.  I could have stayed up there all day, but everyone in my party was ready to leave.  I think I found my new winter hobby.  If anyone is looking to buy me a gift, I’m a size 9 boot and about a 150 board!

Check out my brother’s story.

Colorado Adventure Day 2

Today’s adventure… 4 wheeling.  We took the Hummer over to my brother’s “shop” (storage shed) to pick up the ATVs.  We headed up to a trail in Roosevelt National Forest.  Usually, when my brother has company, he takes one person at a time and leaves the other person to sit waiting for their turn to ride.  He was bored with that, so he brought his other kids, Dakota and Wyatt, along.  He was going to run them around the trails while Kyle and i went off adventuring.  Here’s where we started.  The trailhead is just in front of the truck.

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There used to be a shooting range on this trail too.  I got the pleasure of driving right through it one time without knowing what the hell was going on.  My brother forgot to tell me about that part.  This time, it’s been closed down.  Smart move I think.  Kyle and I got moving pretty well up the trails and got to a steep part.  My ATV didn’t seem to want to gas it up there.  It was stalling on me.  I gave it a third try and off we went.  I got out the video camera to take some shots and when I slowed to put it away, my ATV stalled again.  We couldn’t get it started.  We got into the packs on the ATVs and fashioned a pretty good tow system to get mine down.  On our way, we ran into my brother.  With one pull of the manual start cord, my ATV was running again.  Kyle and I felt pretty stupid but we’re pretty proud of our towing skills.  Kyle and I wound our way up the mountain and took some stops to check out the scenery.

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Day 3… here we come!

Check out my brother’s story.

Colorado Adventure Day 1

I have the luxury of my brother living in Longmont Colorado.  Easy access to a ton of adventures.  My winter trip was approaching, so Kyle agreed to come with me to see what Colorado was all about.  We arrived Wednesday night and went straight to rent Kyle’s skis and get our lift tickets for first day of adventures — Skiing at Breckenridge.  

The alarm clock (a.k.a. Sydney and Reagan) went off early Thursday morning so we all got ready to go our separate ways.  Kim took the kids to their daily routine, while Brandon took us to the mountain.  Since we all had our gear, we went straight to the gondola and up to the slopes.  Kyle got his “ski” legs last week in Indiana, but this doesn’t even compare.  He and I went to hit the bunny slope so he could practice, and B left to grab some food.  

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The bunny slope sucked, so we decided to head for the greens and work on some fundamentals.  Kyle excused me to go on my own way then check back.  I went to look for B at the lodge, but couldn’t find him.  I was itchin’ to ski, so off I went.  I hit some blues and blacks then managed to find B again.  I’d been eyeing the bowls at the top of the peak, so he agreed to go up with me… up to 12,830 feet!

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You could go up a little further but you had to walk with all your gear… no thanks.  We both got down the double black diamond and decided while we were up there, to do another one then we’d meet up at the end to find Kyle.  Well, I had a little trouble the second time.  I hit a rock, gained control, but then hit another one.  Apparently even though you are so high, there isn’t enough snow cover for everything.  I slid about 30 yards and lost my skis.  The nice skiers around me collected my belongings.  It took me about 10 minutes to figure out how to get 2 skis on while not sliding down any farther and maintaining my balance on a 70 degree slope.  I made it, lost Brandon, but headed down to find Kyle.

He was still mastering the greens and working on his “S” skills.  He was doing really well, but was ready to call it a day.  We caught back up with B and headed to the car.  It was a great sunny, clear sky day full of skiing.  Just what I ordered!

Check out my brother’s story.