Words to live by...

"A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others." ~Author Unknown

"A good wife is her husband's biggest fan -- no matter how crazy he is." ~Me

"May God give you.. For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer." ~ Irish Blessing

Friday, February 23, 2007

There's no place like home, there's no place like home...

Two quick pictures from the car ride to Tucson. We were getting a little loopy.

Anyway, we made it through the week! This has to have been the world's longest 4 day week. I don't know why it seemed to go so slowly, but perhaps it was looking forward to sleeping in for the first time in 3 weeks. Chris and I have had a busy few weeks (so much so that the poor little girl scout who was trying to deliver our cookies started to worry about us) and I'm really looking forward to a weekend with nothing major planned. Tonight is a little surprise evening for Chris's birthday, and after that I plan to sleep, knit, ride the trainer, and enjoy watching it snow with my car warmly in the garage. I'm tired, I need sleep, I need a weekend. There must be 2 feet of dog fur piled up on the wood floor waiting for me to have a spare moment to swiffer vac it. I'm actually looking forward to doing that.

Funny kid moment of the week: Last week was the 100th day of school. As part of the 100 days activities, the kids had to fill in a paper that said something like "I want 100 ______ but I don't want 100 _______" and "I can hold 100 ________ but not 100 _______." Keep in mind I teach pretty much all native spanish speakers. In spanish, the 'i' makes the 'e' sound and in kinder and 1st grade they pretty much only write sounds they hear in words. One kid intended to write "I can hold 100 pennies". Now think about it for a second. He knew it started with pen... he doesn't know to double the n, and he thinks the "ie" is just an "i" -- add the s and what do you get? Haha. "I can hold 100 penis" haha. That one is a classic and I'm sure it's not the last time I will see "pennies" spelled that way in my career.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Many Hats

Being a crew member/wife of an endurance racer is an interesting job. I realized that during one race, while Chris just gets to ride his bike, I have to perfect the following occupations for him to succeed: mechanic, emotional therapist, massage therapist, nutritionist, water specialist, mathematician, doctor, secretary, mother, wife, dictator, lawyer, pharmacist, chauffer...

I get to celebrate the highest of highs and suffer through the lowest of lows along with Chris, without the glory of actually competing in the race, standing on the podium, or getting a complementary t-shirt.

I originally started this blog to open the eyes of mountain bike racers to what their crew and family goes through -- both good and bad.

I've shared my experiences at races where Chris has excelled and achieved more than he ever thought he could. I cheered the loudest for him as he stood on the podium in Park City and cried with relief when he finished Leadville with a great time. I watched him, cheered for him, and worried about him as he plowed through the Winter Park series. I hated not being able to be there when he got his award at the end.

On the other hand, I've been there for the lows. I saw him totally defeated the first year at Leadville, hating life after the Firecracker, completely disappointed after Moab got cancelled, and now this.

This weekend we were in Tucson for the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. I think he did great. He worked really hard and was in 7th place after 12 hours and then his body decided to stop cooperating and he shut down. I pushed and pushed to get him to go out for one more lap at 1 am but he knows his body more than I do, and he decided the best thing was to stop. He didn't want to get stuck on the back side of the course and have something bad happen. I think he made a good decision. I've seen his mind want to stop, I've seen his body want to stop, and this wasn't either of those. He physically wasn't in good shape and it was best not to risk it.

As we heard that Lynda W had broken her collar bone, Chris turned to me and said "well, at least I didn't break something." However, over the past 24 hours I've struggled in my mind about what would be worse: broken body or broken spirit. I know that if Chris broke a bone, it would be a LONG road to recovery for both of us. He's not good being cooped up in the house or being told he can't do something. At least I could take him to the doctor or give him pain medication or help him work out one part of his body while the other is healing. This time his spirit is broken and I don't know how to fix it. The 14 hour ride home was good minus the last few after we hit the Colorado border. I'm not sure if it was being back in the state or what, but the spirit broke and there's nothing I can do but wait for it to get better. I can only imagine that this is what is like for a husband to watch his wife in labor. I want so badly to help, but there's nothing I can say or do to make it feel better. If only they had emotional epidurals... I could use one myself.

Ah the interesting job of being the wife and crew of a racer. Would I do it for just anyone? Absolutely not. Would I do it for my wonderful husband who I am always proud of no matter what happens in any piddly race? Any hour of the day.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Red Sox, White Sox, and... Black Sox?

Due to the freaking cold temperatures in Michigan for my cousin's wedding, I sported this sexy look:

Yep, black wool socks and heels. Ooooh baby! Luckily they weren't visible most of the time (Jessie -- just ignore that I publically admitted to this).
Luckily, the top looked ok (minus the REALLY tired looking eyes):

We had a great time and the wedding was beautiful. Got to see some family members I haven't seen in 5+ years and meet some new ones. I even got to borrow my cousin's BEAUTIFUl blonde-blue eyed baby for a few hours and play mommy for a little while. Let's just say that little Sidney didn't make me want to rethink the upcoming baby plan. Such a cutie!

Anyway, back from a nice trip, 4 days of work (including Valentine's Day -- like my little ones need any more sugar in their blood right now), then off to Arizona with Chris and Turbo. I'm looking forward to seeing Chris kill the Old Pueblo course and finally get his first 24 hour race under his belt. Another whirlwind weekend but it will be fun and hopefully warmish. And no, I'm not packing the heels.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Roll the windows down, turn the radio up...

Today was a day when I breathed in air and my lungs felt fresh and new instead of frozen and sick. I saw only a handfull of cars on the way home who did not at least have one window cracked. Tomorrow is supposed to be 60 degrees. Life is good and happy. Now I just need to think of some good "educational" reason to take the kids outside so we're not cooped up in the classroom all day. Hmmm...

Chris and I had a great weekend. Despite the sadness of not going to Moab, we were extremely productive and had a great weekend of being a happily married young couple. We went out to eat for a few meals, watched a movie or two, cleaned and organized the house (4 bags of old clothes are being picked up by the Vietnam Vets on Wednesday), and *GASP* washed the car! I know, I know, it's some kind of Groundhog's Day miracle. 7 snowstorms, a trip to Moab, a frozen hose and a garden sprayer made for a long car washing experience. I decided that there are two things that are deeply imbedded in the core of our not-even-1-year-old-Element: dog hair and Moab sand. If only we could figure out a way to make some sort of alternative fuel source out of those two. Hmmm...

Only a 4 day week this week! Chris and I are heading out in the weeeeee early hours of Friday morning for a flight to Chicago with my parents, then a bit of a jaunt to snowy Michigan for a whirlwind wedding weekend. We'll be back Sunday night. Good thing we love Becky a lot -- we are leaving the first potentially nice weekend in 8 weeks for bitterly chilly weather for her wedding. She and Ryan are worth it though and we're really looking forward to the trip!

In other news, I got a sweet new blue SLR for blooby courtesy of Ramin (WOOHOOO!!! I'm such a matchy matchy bike person, it makes me soooooo excited!) and Turb got some new tennis ballies!

Smile, breathe in the air and refresh your lungs -- well, unless you are walking behind an old Chevy, then you feel like you might die -- take it from personal experience.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Shiver me timbers

I am not a fashiony girl. I like nice, fun, stylish clothes but I refuse to wear them unless they are comfortable and cheapish. Today I went to the mall to look for a sweater or nice looking jacket to wear over my new clothes for my cousins's wedding next weekend. First of all, I didn't find anything that met my two requirements so came away empty handed; however, I did get a good dose of American culture. What is with "fashion" these days? The clothes are good, it's who chooses to wear them that baffles me. I don't understand the giant sunglasses fad to start with -- really don't understand feeling the need to wear them inside. Also, I saw at least 10 girls that were, well, more than slightly overweight, wearing cropped shirts with a solid roll of fat hanging out underneath. Now I'm glad they are comfortable with their bodies, but do we all have to see it? It's 10 degrees outside, is the fat roll immune to the elements? I don't get it. Hmmm...

On another note, we are home for the weekend instead of in Moab. I-70 looked nasty and Chris made the decision to not risk the roads. The decision lead to a VERY interesting couple of hours in our house but as we did a nice ABS slide down the hill to get some dinner, I think he realized he made a good decision. He's out riding now in wind that takes your breath away. I hope the skinny guy doesn't blow away.

Knitting time! Woohoo!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Is the class half full or half empty?

For the last two days I have had 15 kids in my class. I haven't decided whether I LOVE it or if it just depresses me more. 15 is the perfect size for 5,6, and 7 year olds. I can actually work with them one-on-one with their reading and writing, the overall stress level of the class goes WAY down, we have more fun, act a little goofier, and the enviroment is so happy. On the other hand, I know they'll all get un-sick and come back and I'll be a little wiser as to what it "could be" in the perfect world. Either way, I'm enjoying it right now while it's here. Today we made Valentine's/Thank You cards for a soldier in Iraq. They kids got so excited and worked their little hearts out. I took a picture of each of them to put on the envelopes and every single one thought it appropriate to solute the camera. Too cute. They, of course, all want to grow up to be soldiers now -- ah the innocence of youth.

It's snowing again. I know, I know, shocking. 7th snow storm (and this was a two-parter, some yesterday, stop, some today, still going) in 7 weeks. Blah. I like snow, but this is a little much. I was trying to be super optimistic on the way to work today and admired the beauty of all of the white. It was gorgeous with the orange and red sunrise behind a sea of white. It snowed a little yesterday but melted off enough on the plowed/shoveled spots that it was just wet this morning. Enter part deux of the storm and now there is a lovely sheet of solid ice under the newly falling snow. Roads were sketchy on the way home at 3 -- had to get Turbo to the vet for his routine shots -- roads were even sketchier at 4:30. Most cars/trucks (I love laughing at the "big bad" trucks in the snow -- haha, you can't go anywhere) were sliding and losing traction all over the place. The Element plowed through in its usual graceful 4WD style and we made it safely home. I'm absolutely not looking forward to the commute in the morning and Chris and I are both hoping it magically melts off before 3 pm tomorrow so we can go on our little weekend trip together (CHRIS: It will, magically, don't stress). We'll see. It could go either way.

On the subject of optimism and snow, I've been trying to decide what the up-side is to these incredible 7 straight snow storm weekends. Well. Hmmm... There has to be one or two out there. Here's what I've come up with:

1) Our (as in mostly Chris's) shoveling muscles are AWESOME this year.
2) Next year, we will be able to look back and say "well, at least it's not as crappy as last year"
3) I've gotten a lot more comfortable driving in the snow. I no longer think I'm going to flip over and die every time there is a flake on the ground -- that's a paranoia that started in 2000 -- only took 6 years to start to get over.
4) We got a heated blanket for our bed, Chris got a snow bike, and we got a 4WD vehicle -- all of which have definetly earned their keep this season.
5) Netflix has earned its keep this season too -- we've watched a lot of movies.
6) Driving down our street has been like some sweet off road expedition -- if you concentrate really hard you can imagine yourself driving somewhere else, up a rock in Moab, up a glacier in Antarctica, or in a fun world where cars' paths are controlled by bumpers like in bowling...

Anyone got anything else? If this snow sidelines our weekend, Chris and I are going to need some serious pick me up comments to read (CHRIS: Which it won't, don't worry). Let's think of more fun reasons why it is AWESOME that we have a crap load of snow and the high tomorrow is supposed to be 10. Hmmm?