Tuesday, January 22

Wheat or Sheep?

Three more converts to the Settlers of Catan!

Klaus Teuber and the Mayfair games company should be paying me to market this fine game.

Monday, January 21

Westward Ho

Nothing quite like taking to the road again. Winter driving can be a bit intimidating, but I've safely made my way from Colorado Springs to Bozeman (750 miles). I'm sitting out a few days to rest and wait out the snow before making a move to conquer the mountain passes between western Washington and here.

Sunday, January 13

Visiting a Familiar Place

I don't know what it is about familiar places. They are so fun to share with others. While Lana and I visited friends and gathered up the rest of my earthly belongings in North Carolina we had a few precious moments to visit Crowders Mountain, one of my favorite local hikes. It was good to be reminded of the distinctive smells of the deciduous forest, to feel the cold wind whip through the trees, and to see the raptors soaring on the updrafts.

I have had lots of memories on Crowders Mountain, and hiking the trail brought all of those hidden moments back to the present.
  • first intro to Crowders was on a first date
  • hiking up and down and back up with a loaded pack to train for the Appalachian Trail
  • running, jumping, slipping, sliding through a thunderstorm trying to get off of the mountain as lightning struck all around
  • running into Dr. Winkler, superintendent of my school system
  • hiking with one of my students who presumptuously asked if she could go hiking with me in front of the entire class
  • nearly being sited a ticket for staying on the mountain past sunset

And now I can add one more: Hiking Crowders with Lana, my sister who for years has admittedly "hated the outdoors". But on our way down I hear her say, "You know, I do like doing outdoor activities. I'll never plan them, of course, but if someone else initiates them, I'd go along."

Wow! That is a breakthrough! Go Lana!

Wednesday, January 9

A Trip to Breckenridge

My first successful snowboarding experience began on Sunday at Breckenridge, Colorado. Ricci, my friend from IWU, super passionate about snowboarding, graciously volunteered to spend a few days teaching me the basics of the sport. She's been so excited about our trip that over the past month she's had my board waxed and edged, and even taken it out one weekend to test it out. I guess it passed the test, because it was sitting by the door when I walked in on Saturday.

Ricci took a week vacation to snowboard at Breckenridge with some friends, and was adamant that I tag-a-long for a few days. I accepted the offer with out much of a thought and was graced with a place to stay and personalized snowboarding lessons for free.

Sunday, Ricci spent most of the day teaching me the basics, then cutting down the slope a ways, stopping, and looking up to where I was so ungracefully making my way down at a snail's speed. I took some tumbles, but managed to avoid people and trees, which was an answer to prayer. By day two I was making my way down the slopes on my own, turning (though every so slowly), but managing to appear somewhat like a snowboarder.

Ricci and I worked out a deal upon my departure from Breckenridge. For all of her help and use of her buddy pass, I gave her my new bindings, and to encourage me to continue boarding, she gave me her old bindings and boots. I feel blessed to have a friend who would slow down and take the time to patiently teach me a skill of snowboarding, when I know she would've rather been carving her way down the slopes at break-neck speed. Thank you Ricci!

Saturday, January 5

Twisting Temperatures

I left Chicago yesterday at 6:00pm, it was 17 degrees. I arrived in Denver at 8:00pm and I walked out of the airport to discover a balmy 43 degrees. What in the world is that about?