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

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Another phrase I never thought I'd have to say...

"Butts are not used to turn off lights"

Yep. Came out of my mouth. Teaching has to be the most hillarious profession in the world. Despite all of the stress swirling around my room right now, they are, in fact, still five and six year olds. Thank goodness for that.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Season Wrap-Up

Race miles in 2006: 5
Podiums: None. Actually, in that race, I got last in my class -- an anti-podium.

Race miles in 2007 (April 1 - August 31): 147.3
Podiums: 3. Two race podiums and an overall series podium.

Mmm, yeah.

I've say I've kicked it up a notch.

Yesterday I finished the Winter Park series. I raced a race that, apparently, has been ranked in the top 5 mountain bike races in the world. Armstrong even did this race in '99 (A LOT faster than me). King of the Rockies proved to be a challenge, but rather than stressing about this race, I just went out and had a good time. At one point in the race, I had a song stuck in my head and actually broke out a little dance while riding. In retrospect, I should've raced a little harder. I should've had more of a killer instinct and tried to podium one last time for the season (afterall, Chris will be making me move to Sport instead of Beginner next year, so it'll probably be a while before I have another legitimate chance at placing in the top 3). I knew I had 2nd place for the series pretty locked up (although 3rd made a heck of a showing and ended up tying me for 2nd -- good for her, but I'm still not convinced she didn't cheat). Instead of rushing, I enjoyed the ride -- all 25ish miles of it. Honestly, with more and different food, and more water, I feel like I could've ridden even more (I can say that because I didn't have to).

The first part of the race was fine -- a downhillish section on dirt road -- I let most of the pack go and then would ride up to one girl, draft for a second, then slingshot up to the next. I was having fun playing with some tactics Chris has been teaching me on the road. Could I have hammered and gone a little faster? Probably. I played a little with gearing -- what would happen if I shifted up to the big ring? What would happen if I spun faster/slower? It was fun. I smiled and tried to talk to girls as I passed them and then get a big kick out of the nasty look they'd give me for sounding so chipper. I played that game through the whole race and it was, at least, very entertaining to me. Most girls get bitter when they sit on a bike seat. I'm not sure what that's all about.

The first climb was nice -- steady but not technical, long but not steep. I got into a rhythm and hung on to the wheel of the girl who ultimately got 2nd for the race. I should've stuck with her, or passed her when I knew I could climb faster than the pace she was setting. When the hill flattened out, she was gone. It probably would've been an interesting race had I passed her at the base of the climb like I wanted to. Oh well. Lesson learned for another year.

The first downhill was fun -- I had warned Jeanie that it could be "dangerously fast", and her husband ultimately ended up eating it on that descent and breaking his collarbone into pieces. Poor guy. I guess I read that hill right.

The rest of the race sorta blends together only with snipets sticking out in my mind. I got growled at something from the trees in the middle of nowhere at some point. That was a little unnerving. I made it through the big water crossing for the first time. In the pre-ride I ate it onto my knee, the next race I got off and ran it, last race I made it 3/4 of the way through then realized I was in too hard of a gear to keep pedaling and had to get off, and this time I made it. Thanks to Michelle for her cheers and support... I think that was the best part of the race. I cleaned the nasty climb up Chainsaw as everyone around me walked it. I disliked the Serenity trail a lot. I spent the entire trail trying to think of the word that "serenity" comes from and could only come up with serentatious -- only to realize at 2am last night that it's simply "serene". It was not serentatious -- or serene -- at all. I hate that trail. I liked the rest.

And so it ended. I came off of Serenity to the trial that leads to the end and saw another racer pop off a different trail and thought I recognized our friend Scott. When I saw Chris I yelled "Is that Scott?" and when he said yes, I put it in the big ring and cranked as hard as possible to catch him before the finish line. Unfortunately, he heard I was in front of him and he put on the gas to catch me. That last push smoked me for good. But it was fun to try.

Turns out I didn't do so hot in comparison to the rest of my group in this particular race -- but knowing that leaves me very hungry for next year. I guess that's a good thing. I did get second overall for the series. Pretty impressive for not wanting to do any of the races. In the middle of this series I found a love for mountain biking. I'm no longer only in it for the delicious food afterwards. I truly love the challenge and the peace that comes with being out on the trail. I am so lucky to have such an amazing husband and great group of friends to ride with on a regular basis.

And now to the obligatory post-season thank yous:

Thank you to Chris for all of your free coaching and never ending support and bicycle maintenance. You've taught me to believe in myself, the bike, and the unknowns that make up the sport.

Thanks to Eric, Scott, Bill, Dave and Mike for always putting up with my slow-butt at the Wednesday night rides. Your encouragement, support, and sense of humor has kept me from quitting this sport on many-a-wednesday. You guys are the best people to ride with in the whole world and I'm lucky to get to tag along.

Thanks to Melissa, Michelle, and Jeanie who have made the Wednesday night rides more fun and social than simply "going for a ride." It's been nice to have girls to ride with for a change -- girls that understand that riding shouldn't just be about the length or intensity of the ride, but the fun factor plays a big role as well.

Thanks to the Feedback team for letting wear your jersey and be an honorary member of your team for the race series.

Well, that's all folks. My bike season is over. I'll still be riding, but no more racing for me until next year unless an opportunity presents itself that I just can't resist.

My goals for 2008?

Let's just say I'm going to be spending some serious time on the trainer this winter -- pregnant or not. I hope to pull out some secret weapons for both Cherry Creek and Winter Park next year. Chris and I want to do a team assault on a 12 or 24 hour at some point -- Plesko family assault involving Dad Plesko as well? I hope so! Talks have been swirling around this house of a Marni-Pugsley possibly in the future. I'm a little nervous of the whole snow-biking idea but, like everything else, I'm sure Chris will find a way to make me like it. There's also talks of a single speed in the future. Also nervous about that, but also think it will be a fun challenge. Overall, lots of great things to look forward to if the pregnant thing doesn't work out. Life right now is good, and I'm taking advantage of it.

Did I mention my kickball league starts on Monday? There should be a whole new crop of funny sports-related stories to share once that gets started... my first attempt at a team 'sport' -- Go Ovulators!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


My life right now is very much similar to my car. My car has a rear tire with a nail in it -- not reparable except by full replacement of all four tires. It's had a nail in it for a while. Every morning, Chris and I wake up and he very sweetly pulls out the compressor and airs it up. Every evening after work, the air has slowly slipped out and needs just a little more air the next morning. The cycle repeats and will continue to repeat until the decision is made to spend a lot of money to get new tires. It's only a nagging problem, not quite big enough to warrant immediate attention but too big to simply ignore.

School started yesterday. As much as I'd like to write about how wonderful it is, how perfect the job is, how perfect my kids are, and how perfect I am for teaching them, I can't. I have to be honest because as I tried to think back to last year's first day and couldn't quite remember how it went, if it was this hard, I looked back in my blog and couldn't find much. I'm doing a favor to myself, one year from now, as I look for some comfort that things get better. Cheers to you, me+one year, you survived.

I'll start with the good.

I've got a job. I've got a great classroom. I've got a great school. I'm really liking my principal and vice principal and feel like I could go talk to them about anything at any time, which I seriously lacked the last two years. The staff seems nice -- although the crazy hugeness creates an incredible feeling of total isolation. I've got a great teammate (while there's FIVE first grades, only one other that teaches in English so I really consider her my sole teammate)-- she's really fun, easy to talk to, and an overall great and hillarious person. I've got 22 (and growing) really cute first graders. I'm sure once I have a second to get to know them and love them for their quirks, they'll be a fun class. I'll have funny stories eventually. I'm sure I will.

I'll end with the... well... nail in the tire part.

I have an incredibly challenging student. A student that has, in two short days, thrown me in to a deep pool of professional insecurity. The first day was the worst day I've had as a teacher. I didn't know what to do with this kid. There wasn't much background information given to me, and I felt totally lost and frustrated. This student was EVERYWHERE doing EVERYTHING. Halfway through the afternoon, in the middle of class, I almost cried. But didn't. Until I got home at least. As soon as school got out I ran to the special ed teachers and absorbed any piece of advise they could throw my way. I spent the morning taping off areas of the floor, moving tables, doing anything I could to make myself feel a little more prepared. A lot of it worked this morning. I actually got to teach a bit. The afternoon wasn't the best. I guess I should take what I can get. A morning is better than nothing.

Things will be okay eventually. I hope. I've had several staff members in and out of my classroom for various reasons and they all sing the same song: the "How do you not scream and go crazy?" song. Luckily I'm a relatively calm person. I've learned through having some other emotionally disabled kids in my room how to block out the screaming fits. I don't fall for the crocodile tears. I have sympathy for the mental, social, and emotional things that are swirling around this little person... but I've also seen how I can't be a friend to these kids. I have to be strong and stern and not fun. But I feel like I'm depriving the other 21 kids of the teacher I know I can be. A silver lining is going to shine through because of this. One day I'll say that this student taught me more than anyone else in my life. One day I'll be a better person and a better teacher because of this student.

Unfortunately though, One Day is far off, and right now all I have is Tomorrow. Just like our tire, Chris will tirelessly pump me up each morning, give me some hope, wipe my tears, force feed me giant M&Ms between sobs in the kitchen, and love me despite my deflated air at the end of the day. What would I do without him?

One more time: Cheers, me+one year, you survived.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

"You tiger now"

A few quick updates...

I'm tiger now.

This was caused by a cleat/pedal full of a mudish substance, giving me a false sense of being clipped in, going down a little technical section standing with weight back, subsequently being bounced off to the right of my bike when said cleat was not actually clipped in to said pedal, and thus... tiger. All I remember is working really hard not to fall down and then dragging my right leg along my front tire somehow. Lovely. Later I fell into a rock and got another lovely case of rock-rash on the front of the same leg. Ouch. There's a nasty little hiding under my red stripes. Rarrrrr.

I'm teacher now. Almost. Kids come monday. My class is now at 24 and still growing. Eek. Here's a picture of my classroom as of yesterday -- although it's already changed slightly.

Had a *fun* adventure to the ER with hubby yesterday to make sure he wasn't going to die of a blood clot. Gee, that was fun. Luckily he's good -- no clot, no dying, no winter full of only riding indoors (that would've made for a LONG winter). I'm glad he's ok. Turbo is too.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Unusual Fun

Sometimes the beauty of fun lies in the least fun part of an activity.

Summer is quickly fading and fall is sneakily peeking around the corner.

Add those two statements together and you have our Wednesday night ride up White Ranch.

I've been hearing, for a few years now, stories of White Ranch but I hadn't actually seen it for myself until Wednesday. I had worked it up in my head to be an incredibly steep, loose, single track trail straight up the side of a hill -- going on for miles, surrounded by hissing rattlers, people stopped every few feet gasping for air, grown men crying on the side of the trail with a clif bar in hand and a stick to beat off the snakes in the other.

Somehow, with that picture in my mind, I was psyched to get to finally do it.

I feel like Belcher is a right of passage into the front range mountain biking scene. If you haven't climbed Belcher, you can't call yourself a well-rounded two-wheeler in Denver.

I expected to walk almost the whole thing -- passing those crying men with my own teary eyes. I expected to vow never to return.

When you build something up in your mind to be so terrible, life rarely lives up to those expectations. Good thing. Turns out that while White Ranch had its bad parts -- some loose sections, some steep sections, a not-so-awesome single track loop at the top, a sketchy descent when it's DARK and you have no lights or mysteriously awesome night-vision goggle eyes like Chris -- it was fun. It was challenging. I fell. A lot. I saw my life flash before my eyes as I almost ate it seriously hard core coming down a steep, rocky part in the dark.

But I liked it.

I want to go back.

Maybe not any time in the super near future.

But I'll be back.

Perhaps with lights next time. Or maybe not. It is, after all, the least fun part of a ride that makes a ride beautiful.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Something old and something new

Three years ago yesterday (8/6/04), this is what Chris and I looked like:

Yesterday (8/6/07), this is what Chris and I looked like:

So much has changed in three years, but at the same time, so much is the same.

Three years ago I wanted to make sure I had the right hair, the right dress, the right cake. Yesterday I wanted to make sure I didn't get blown off a mountain by a storm, I wore 5 layers of tops including three different jackets, and I forgot about the smushed up hostess cupcakes in the bottom of my pack.

Three years ago we got ready for our big event as we watched a storm blow in bringing rain, lightning, thunder, and very dark clouds... the weather threatened our plans to take pictures out in Red Rocks park after the wedding. The weather cleared just in time and we were able to carry out our plans. Yesterday we got ready for our big event and we watched a storm blow in bringing rain and puffy darkish clouds... the weather threatened our plans to climb four 14ers. The weather cleared just in time and we were able to carry out our plans.

Three years ago we stood in front of all of our friends and family and promised to love each other and take care of each other no matter what, for the rest of our lives. Yesterday we stood by ourselves at 14,286 feet and kept that promise.

Happy anniversary Christopher! Life has been an adventure since meeting you six and a half years ago, and I suspect it always will be. Thank you for joining me on the ride.

Notice the "nice" weather on the left of my head and the cloud roaring in to the right of my head. I didn't see this cloud coming on the top of Mt. Democrat, I looked down to get Turbo's treat out, looked up, and POOF, we were surrounded.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


Today was Winter Park race #5 out of 6. I'll type up a better race report with a few pictures tomorrow, but for now I can tell you I got 3rd! Last time I got 3rd I was gunning for it and thought I might have it -- today I was SHOCKED. Exciting either way. Another night of sleeping with a medal :)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

When it rains, it pours

I can finally breathe.

Tuesday ended up being an incredibly productive day. I interviewed for a job and got it.

Later on Tuesday, I had my appeal hearing for my unemployment claim. They initially denied me based on the fact that I officially "resigned." In the appeal I explained WHY I resigned and made sure to emphasize the fact that I wouldn't have resigned had they not given me my "non-renewal" notice.

Today I found out that I won.

Today Chris and I let out a sigh of relief.


Last night our group rode Chimney Gulch -- a trail that goes up Lookout Mountain on mountain bikes. It was hard, for sure. One huge climb up a mountain and then one huge descent back down. Starting the ride with a headache didn't help the cause. My body wasn't feeling the ride, but I managed to make it up without too much complaining. Coming back down, the clouds had rolled in to darken the trail and I'm still sans contacts so I was also riding virtually blind. It was a little sketchy and there was a lot more complaining. I also crashed thinking a rock was a shadow and fell over (slowly) flat on my elbow and knee onto a huge rock. Today the knee is bruised and my shoulder is killing me. Other than that, no major damage. I'm mostly happy that I didn't damage my favorite Marmot wind shirt. That would've been very sad.

So things are good.

Life is coming together very quickly.

p.s -- thanks to Mr. Nice for the picture (only a slightly tipped helmet!). Happy almost-birthday! It was good to see you back on a ride!

p.p.s -- did I mention yet that I'm on a kickball team for the fall with a bunch of friends? It's going to be hillarious. Last night they figured out the team name -- The Ovulators. Hahahahahaha...