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 27, 2009

"I never knew infertility could be so much fun!"

Today was our appointment with the "lack-o-baby doctor" -- at least that's what he shall now be referred to, as "reproductive endocrinologist" is far too many letters to type.

I'm proud of us.  

We finally got the ball rolling.

While today was mostly just a general consult, the doctor was very nice and very positive.  We met with the RN who got background info, family history, etc.  Then she left us alone in the office with a large pamphlet about infertility.  Seeing as Chris and I have a combined mental age of 10, we had a few good nervous laughs waiting for the doctor.  When he came in, he explained the basic steps for us to go through to find out more about why we still don't have a little one after two years of trying.  He talked to us for a little while and then left us alone in the office again while we waited for the rn to come back in for more talking.  We were laughing about silly stuff when the rn came back in.  Her comment went something like this...

"wow, you guys sound like you're having a good time.  We could even hear you out there.  I never knew infertility could be so much fun!"

Haha.  We explained that we have an uncanny ability to make any situation fun together and that's partially why we're so dang awesome... :)

Anyway, I went down and had some blood work done.  Next step involves Chris, then I'll go back for more blood work on FRIDAY THE 13th -- dun dun dunnnnnn -- and then an uncomfortable looking procedure at the end of March.  Between those three tests, hopefully we'll get more information and find a way to make a baby!  

I'm optimistic, but trying not to be too optimistic so as not to be too disappointed.

That's just how I roll.

After the doctor, we hung out at the bookstore, then to Noodles for some delicious lunch.  Our original plan of climbing this lovely day-off-afternoon was thwarted by my lingering flu symptoms, so instead I took a nap while Chris suffers on the trainer (fair warning to anyone racing against him this year -- he's got some serious dedication flowing).

A good Friday on the books, now on to a weekend of healing and hopefully some fun!  

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Fever?  Check

Chills?  Check

Worst headache of my life?  Check

Cough/sniffling/sneezing?  Check

Aches?  Check

Softest of fabrics feel like sandpaper against my skin?  Check!  Yes, even synchilla.

Loss of will to live (at least for today...)?  CHECK

If this isn't the season's flu, I'm not sure what is.  


Thanks to hubby for taking super good care of me and even sitting through hours of I Love Lucy and all of my complaining.  

Yes, I even complain more than little Peggy Ann McKay.  I hope hope hope I can go play on Saturday...

I Cannot Go to School Today!  
By Shel Silverstein

"I cannot go to school today"
Said little Peggy Ann McKay
"I have the measles and the mumps, 
A gash, a rash, and puruple bumps.

My mouth is west, my throat is dry.
I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I've counted sixteen chicken pox.

And there's one more - that's seventeen, 
And don't you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut, my eyes are blue,
It might be the instamatic flu.

I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I'm sure that my left leg is broke.
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button's caving in.

My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained,
My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
My toes are cold, my toes are numb, 

I have a sliver in my thumb.

My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,

I think my hair is falling out.

My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight,
My temperature is one-oh-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,

There's a hole inside my ear.

I have a hangnail, and my heart is...
What?  What's that?  What's that you say?
You say today is... saturday?

G'bye, I'm going out to play!"

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Relay Fun

Yesterday was the 3rd Leadville Winter MTB race of the year.  

The relay format of the race ended up being an unbelievably good time.

Since Chris is in position to win the series, he teamed up with our old teammate Shawn for a speedy team, Brett and Erik teamed up for a single speed assault of the course, and Michelle and I rocked it for an all girls team -- me single and rigid, her geared and squishy.  

There's not much of a race report for this one.  It was a great ride on and around the Mt. Massive Golf Course, with spectacular views.  Four laps -- one person doing a 2 mile lap through the golf course in the snow, the other person doing the same lap, one person doing a 6 mile road loop around the golf course, the other person doing the same lap... then... EAT! Michelle took the 'rider 1' position for our team in an attempt to let her ride the less chopped up and thus easier to ride snow lap.  I had a great time hanging around and watching other people come and go, standing by the propane heater and enjoying some good laughs with total strangers.  

Shawn and Chris took an early race lead and it was fun to watch both of them come in totally cooked after a 10-11 minute first lap.  Soon Michelle came in and I got to take my turn on the snow lap.  The anticipation of standing around and watching other people come in exhausted really got me fired up for the lap.  The snow was surprisingly rideable, despite the reports from other riders that it was really chopped up.  I managed to find some good lines parallel to other tracks, and I was able to ride through all but one or two small sections.  I'm pretty sure my smile never left my face on that lap.   My tire pressure and gearing was absolutely perfect for this course and I found myself completely alone for the entire two miles, minus one giggly conversation with a cross-country skier on the course.  I think I did my first lap in 17 minutes -- pretty good I think.  Chris's hot lap was around 11 minutes for comparison.  Not bad, at least he wouldn't have been able to lap me if given the chance :)

I came back through the timing area and Michelle took off for her road lap.  My hands were freezing, so as I stood warming them in front of the propane heater, Erik was nice enough to up my tire pressure a bunch for the road.  I took a few pictures of the boys coming through with Erik's camera and soon got to watch Chris come in from his own road lap for the winning time! I'm glad I got to be there as he finished, getting to talk with him for a few minutes before heading out for my own final lap.  He had crashed on the ice, but was okay, thankfully.  He ran in and got me an extra jacket, expecting me to probably get cold on the fast parts of the lap.  

Pretty soon Michelle came in, looking pleased to be done, and I headed out on the road.  I was spun out... a lot... on most of this lap.  Unfortunately I'd gotten enough time off the bike to seize up the legs, so the few small hills proved to be a bit painful.  

Overall the road lap was easy, fast, and unfathomably beautiful.  The views of Mt. Massive and Mt. Elbert were breathtaking.  It was fun to look up at them looming above me, remembering our fun trip this summer where we climbed the two of them over a weekend.  I thought about how we fought off the mosquitos to make burritos on the camp stove in the parking lot.  I remembered how we ran to tag Massive's summit and then ran off, narrowly avoiding a huge downpour and lightning.  We laid in the back of the Element watching a documentary about Antarctica on the laptop as Turbo snored beside us.  I thought about wearing a hole in my sock on the way up Elbert, then sitting on the summit for nearly an hour in the beautiful sunshine...  

As I rode on the snowy/icy road, I realized that I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.  There is something about have the ability and opportunity to ride my bike at 11,000 ft in the winter.  The views actually brought tears to my eyes.  I whooped and hollered at my own good fortune of getting to be here, having fun, feeling good.   Before I knew it I was coming down the final stretch, thinking about the cookies that I'd heard rumors of before the start.  What kind would there be?  How big would they be?  Mmmm, cooooookies...

When the race was finished, we enjoyed some good food, and yes, delicious cookies (peanut butter and HUGE if you want to know -- yes... yes... well worth the ride just for those).  We hung out and enjoyed some time with good friends.  Chris and Shawn won the race by a minute or two, Erik and Brett turned out to be the only team to both brave singles, and Michelle and I got second in the girls division -- out of two, but either way, we got second!  Ha!  Michelle was a real trooper for doing a snow race after more than a year off the bike, and only having put in one or two rides on her mountain bike ever.  She did awesome and hopefully had a little bit of fun along the way here and there!  

When we were done, we drove into town and exchanged some good schwag for new sizes (LOVE my new Melanzana hoody that Chris gifted me!), and purchased some cookies with a few gift certificates (AWESOME cookies from "Ugly Cookie Company" in Leadville -- yum!) and drove home.  

Yummmmmm cooooooookies...
The next race will be March 8.  I did this course last year, and while it had its miserable parts, it was definitely a course I am looking forward to going back to.  Since it will be an early start on a Sunday morning, we are hoping to make a weekend of it, taking advantage of a five-course gourmet, snowshoe-in-dinner in Leadville that we won last year.  I'm already giddy about that weekend.  An awesome way to celebrate our 8th meet-aversary :)   

(pictures taken through the dirty car windows.  More hopefully tomorrow from Michelle's camera) 

Monday, February 16, 2009

A great weekend

Nothing beats a three-day weekend.

Wonderful Valentine's Day... great food, better company.  I love my hubby.

Sunday was a big ride, homework, then a spontaneous dinner/movie/celebration on finishing homework date.  We FINALLY saw Slumdog Millionaire.  Yes, we are probably the last people in the planet to see it, but it was great.  Well worth the hype.

Today?  Chris's early birthday day.  Since his actual birthday will be spent with me at work and then class until 9 pm, we took advantage of this beautiful day off and enjoyed every second. Sleeping in, leisurely breakfast, ice climbing (Chris actually climbing, me belaying), cooking and eating gourmet dinner with wine together.  Can't beat a day like today.  So often I feel like our life together is one big, never-ending adventure and today was no exception.  I wouldn't want it any other way.

Here are a few of my favorite pics from the day:

Happy early birthday darling.

Now for chocolate puddin' with strawberries and whipped cream.  

Ahhhh, the good times.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Kindergarten teacher by day...

...bike racer by night!

In the snow.

Epic Eric's pogies make me glow!
Eric, I do want PINK pogies... and while I was riding, I thought you should also design Toe-gies :)

Saturday night was the second race in the winter series up in Leadville.

I looked forward to this race since the moment the last race ended.

It was everything I hoped it could be... and more.

We woke up Saturday morning with a routine visit to the vet and then a leisurely breakfast at one of our favorite breakfast spots. We lazied around, slowly packed up the car and our bike gear, and got to head out for the race around 2:00. This lack of scrambling around early in the morning? I could get used that. It suits me quite well to get to sleep in.

After meeting up with our friends at the park-n-ride, we had a pleasantly uneventful drive up to Leadville. We even got there early, resulting in an outstanding pre-race snack of cheese/jalapeno stuffed soft pretzel and hot chocolate in town. We got to hang out with our friend Michelle, who we haven't seen in a while. It's always a welcome change to have another girl around to buffer the testosterone that comes from the boys! Eventually we headed over to the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center where the race was being held. We saw a surprising number of people in the parking lot compared to the last race. Turns out, 65 riders started this race. 65! Amazing, considering the previous race in the series, during the day, in nearly perfect weather, saw only 25 or 30 at the start line. There also appeared to be a decent number of girls -- 10 or 11 as it turns out -- and I was told by Sterling, our friendly race director, that I had some competition in the form of one other single speed girl.

Lounging around a fire with good friends is always high on my like list and we did plenty of this before and after the race. There were even super cute puppies walking around the center, making the experience even more wonderful!

Eventually the pre-race preparations took priority over socializing, and I got my many layers of clothes on and headed out for a quick warmup with Chris. We rode up part of the first climb, and I quickly realized that the gearing on my single speed would most likely cause me to be walking up a lot of that hill. Epic Eric's pogies were going to make my hands deliciously warm though! We spun back to the starting line and waited with our friends as the 7:00 start time quickly approached.
Erik and I waiting for the race to start.

Go! Courtesy of the Vail Daily

Before I knew it we were starting and, as expected, I eventually had to get off and walk. I had the other single speed girl in my sights, and my plan was mostly just to not let her out of my sight. I saw she was walking too, so for a few steps that made me feel better. My competitive side, that has been sleeping peacefully since our racing last summer, quickly awoke and I realized I should get my butt on the bike and pedal past her. I also thought that if I rode past her fast enough, she may not realize that I was also on a single speed, and thus she would not get on and chase :) haha. I'm not sure it worked, but it at least made me laugh at myself. I slowly turned over the pedals up the rest of the hill, passing a few guys that were walking and encouraging me for being on the bike "even on a single!"

This part was okay, although I got pretty hot in my typically-over-dressed-state. We got to do a nice, fast flatish/downhill part and that at least gave the legs and core temperature a little bit of relief. The other single speed girl was still within sight, although behind me luckily. Eventually we got to the WORST part of the course (and if this part was the worst, that is pretty darn good). It was a big, long downhill, but the snow was soft thus making the decent virtually unrideable for us mortals (Chris rode the whole thing...). I tried to ride it some of the time, sometimes doing a one-legged push, sometimes getting brave enough to put both feet on the pedals. This is when the other single speed girl caught me and quickly passed me. She decided to run her bike down this entire decent. A great idea if you have any sort of running stamina whatsoever... which I don't. I tried, but she pulled away pretty quick.

The course wound around for a while, with some rideable ups, some steep enough to cause me to walk, and more rideable flat/downs. The other single speeder and I yo-yo'd basically the entire race. She pushed me pretty hard, and if she hadn't been there, I wouldn't have gone nearly as hard as I did. Eventually we got to a big, open area where the views were outstanding. Being near the back of the 65 person pack, I could see bike lights stretching as far as I could see. The nearly full moon lit up the surrounding mountains and made the snow glow a beautiful white.

It was blissful.

At this point I was pretty sure I was last.

As in... well... very last.

I couldn't see any lights behind me, and it was as really open stretch, so my best guess is that I was, in fact, last.

I tried to make peace with that. The single speed girl had gone past me at some point and I didn't know where she was by now. It's funny, I thought "she's a girl, riding a single speed, at a night snow race, she must be really hard core and fast, there's no way I'll catch her" -- never did it enter into my mind that I, too, was doing that same unthinkable thing. It's like my mind still doesn't believe I actually participate in this stuff.

I rode behind two other guys, and eventually passed them. Chris always joked that with a single speed, you either go fast or you go home. I don't think I ever really got it until this race. It's so true. You ride the gear you have, you don't really have any other option. It seemed the gearies were taking it easy on this beautiful flatish section and I passed probably 8 of them on this section alone. Not really even passed them, but blew past them. Their lights quickly disappeared behind me and I couldn't believe it. In this pack, I also caught back up and passed the other single speed girl. I think she hung on for a while, but then she wasn't there any more. Not sure what happened. Perhaps she chose to ride with one of the groups that I passed.

The trail wound around some more, eventually climbing up a big annoying road that we got to go down at the start of the pretty section. I walked a bunch. I was bonked pretty hard at that point. I had really cranked on the flater section, and that caught up with me on the uphill. The other single speed girl caught up closer behind me, although she and a few other guys seemed to be walking that last part of the hill too. From here on out, she'd get close and then drop off behind. Eventually I didn't ever see her again.

I climbed up the dryish road to pass by the finish line for the start of my last little loop. I passed my cheering friends, wishing more than anything that I was finished instead. My legs were killing me and I was really thirsty. Chris, in his big puffy coat, tagged along the last little loop, following behind me and telling me not to give up. I think he could see that I was nearly toast. Ready to just get off the bike and crawl into a little hole.
Apparently at night part of my head disappears. Courtesy of the Vail Daily.

Eventually I finished and it felt good.
I do believe I'm high-fiving Erik because he had unfrozen liquid.

In the end I got beat by several Leadville local girls... although they do have that whole altitude advantage -- haha. I won the female single speed class -- #1 out of 2. It was a hard battle between the two of us though, so I feel like in the end, that makes up for the lack of numbers. When all was said and done, I put 10 minutes into her. I'm not sure how. Maybe she stopped to pee or something :)

Erik, Brett, and Bill put up outstanding times -- Erik and Brett both pushing single speeds as well.
Chris and Brett (yes, ladies, Brett is s-i-n-g-l-e AND talented)

Erik and Bill (neither are single, but both are talented!)

Chris finished 2nd out of 65 people, competing against some really fast guys. Coming off a rest week and hauling around a 35 pound bike on a fast course makes my legs just hurt thinking about it. He's a monster. And I love him.

After the race we got to hang around in our post-race bliss, eating, talking, and soaking up the heat from the fire. I even got to talk with a few great people who I had never officially met, but know of through this crazy bike world and these fun Leadville races.

After Chris drove us back to Denver, I eventually made it to bed around 2 am.

Sleepy, but full of smiles.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


I've slacked with the blog.

I know.

What's new in Marni-world?

*Got a new TV -- well, a hand-me-down from the parents, but new to us!  It's HUGE and awesome! We now also have a DVD player that actually works.  It's like we have been catapulted into the 21st century!

*I finally made an appointment with the fertility specialist doctor person.  That'll be on the 20th. I'm nervous, but excited too somewhere deep down inside.  Hopefully they can tell us something productive.

*My Kindergarteners are nuts.  Plain nuts.  Mixed nuts perhaps.

*Grad school has been good.  I'm enjoying sitting and being taught TO for the first time in a long time.  I find I actually pay more attention and actually care about my homework.  I must've matured somewhere, somehow in the last five years.

*Chris got my Fuel all cleaned up and spiffy to sell.  Anyone want or need a 14" full suspension WSD Fuel?  It's a great bike, too bad it's a tad too small and I'm now addicted to the big wheels. I'm shopping around for its replacement.  There are far too many good hardtail 29er choices out there.  Luckily the whole "cheap" thing narrows it down a bit.

*I am SUPER excited for this week's night snow race on Saturday night in Leadville.  After having to miss this classic last year from being sick, I'm half tempted to just wear a hospital mask to work the next few days.  Today a girl literally coughed into my mouth as she read me her writing.  Ewwww, gross.  Where's the disinfectant?  

*I rode 50 miles on the road bike last weekend, intended to blog about it, but was far too wiped from the whole experience to get it down on the computer.  Let's just say the wind was horrendous that day.  I wanted to ride the whole century with Chris and some friends, but had to turn back because of 1) slowness and 2) homework and wifely duties at home.

*Chris and I had a climbing date on Monday night.  We had a great time, however, it is wednesday and I'm still sore.  I climbed a lot of overhanging/roof-y stuff and apparently that worked the muscles around my ribs... a lot.  I'm getting pretty solid on the 5.9s and stepping up into the 5.10s.  

*Today was in the upper 60s and tomorrow is supposed to be even nicer.  While it is not Spring -- far from it in fact -- it is starting to feel like it, at least for a few days.  I wanted to ride after work, but need that pesky sun to stay out a little later to motivate me to get out.  

I think that's about it.  Between work, school, climbing, biking now and then, and eating my fair share of whipped cream, the blog has been abandoned.  I need to get back to it.  

Hopefully this will help me start.