Thursday, September 29, 2011


We certainly don't see as much live music these days as we did when we first met. Back then, I was working at the radio station and getting lots of free tickets to see bands we loved. We were young, didn't have many expenses, lived right in Denver, and most importantly, could function on much less sleep.

Sometimes I miss those days. But mostly I like being home on weeknights and hitting the sack around 10 p.m. after a quiet night on the couch with a book or some TV time.

But every once in a while we have a time period where we happen to see lots of live music in a short period of time, and it reminds me of those days. We've just been through one of those periods and it's been so much fun.

A few weeks ago, we rounded up the neighbors and headed to the Arvada Center to see two of my very favorite musicians in the whole wide world, Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings. We sat in the middle of the second row and I didn't take my eyes off them for the whole night. A GREAT show as always. That weekend we went to a small music festival in Denver where our friend's band, Dr. Harlan's Amazing Bluegrass Tonic, was playing. We saw their great set and enjoyed being out in the sunshine with a lot of other families with kids. This is the only picture I have from the day...since the playground is where we spent a lot of the time.
The next Saturday night was our house concert with Ryan Spearman (see post below). No sooner had we recovered from that, and we were attending another house concert at a friend's house the following Monday night. Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen were on fire! What a fun treat on a Monday night!
We hadn't gotten enough of Ryan Spearman's music, so that Wednesday, we headed to Colorado Springs after work, had dinner with my in-laws, and headed out to Front Range BBQ to see Ryan play again. We grabbed a table right up front and drank some great beer while listening to Ryan play.
Phew...that's a lot of live music! Oh, and how good it is for the soul. If we could afford it, if Sadie stayed up later than she does, and we didn't need to sleep, we'd surely be enjoying live music most nights of the week. Alas, we just have to treasure these times when our ears are ringing from all the music we've been seeing.

And then there's the live music happening right in our home. Between Brian's banjo playing, my singing whatever song is stuck in my head, and Sadie's rock star moves on her self-proclaimed "stage", we are surely living a musical life.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ryan Spearman house concert

It's house concert season once again! Really nothing makes me much happier as the nights are getting cooler than to fill my home up with like-minded music lovers. I cherish these opportunities to enjoy eachother's company and delicious homemade food. Friends that we haven't seen all summer are once again found knocking on our door, with their hands full of drinks, food, and instruments.

And I cannot imagine a better way to kick off the season than with our new friend, Ryan Spearman. Brian and I have been so excited about this show from what we have heard of Ryan's music. And he did not disappoint.

The best word I can think of to describe Ryan and his music is authentic. Every note from his many instruments and his beautiful voice rings so true, and he is a truly talented songwriter. I was absolutely mesmerized during his performance and I think mostly everyone in the house was too. I get chills remembering how wonderfully, perfectly silent it was as Ryan played, and then how loud and appreciative the applause was as soon as each song was done.

And what a treat it was to have Ryan's wife Kelly join him for a few songs...

An awesome old-timey jam started up shortly after the house cleared out...

Complete with my adorable brother and sister-in-law dancing in the corner and gazing lovingly into eachother's eyes (as newlyweds are known to do).

Visit our youtube channel to see all the videos from the show, but here's my favorite....

It was an absolute joy to meet Ryan and Kelly and to welcome them into our home. My heart is full from all the fun and inspiration of the night.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Random Friday

  • It's been a bit of a rough week. Bad news at work about a huge contract we were counting on getting on Monday. Spent my birthday (after getting up at 4 a.m.) working a 12+ hour day (instead of taking the day off to spend with my mom and daughter like I'd planned). Got a speeding ticket on my birthday, driving 15 mph over the speed limit while driving my boss's car, while he was in the backseat. Just sort of a crappy week. That happens. It's o.k.
  • I got an iPhone for my birthday! Yaaaayyy!! I've wanted one forever. I've been very patient. I LOVE it.
  • I clearly love the Instagram application. It's lots of fun to play with all the filters and such.
  • It's Friday! Thank goodness! And what a fun weekend we have planned. Brian and I are celebrating our anniversary a few weeks late with a nice dinner out in Castle Rock tonight at the Augustine Grill. We've been feeling the need to take some "just us" time. When we get a babysitter for Sadie, it's always for a house concert, or some other event that never involves just the two of us. But we've been feeling the need to reconnect a bit, so tonight will be lovely.
  • I made a new banner for our living room. Good words to live by and remember. I see it first thing when I come downstairs and it helps me to remember to go through my day with more love (and understanding and patience). It's one of our favorite songs. Check it out. "If there's ever an answer, it's more love". Amen! On the day that Brian proposed to me, I was working at the radio station that morning and he called to request this song. I played it for him. Aw.....
  • Our first house concert of the season, with Ryan Spearman, is tomorrow night and we're so excited! I'm looking forward to being back in the swing of house concerts and can't wait to have our house full of friends and family and beautiful music.
  • It seems to be fall! Labor day weekend, the VERY hot August temperatures we were having dropped, and have stayed down. Ah, I love fall! I'm dreaming about crockpots, baking bread, knitting, pumpkin patches, and sweaters.....
  • My dog is a pain in the ass sometimes. But she's really cute though, even in her old age.
  • I spent some time in the garden last weekend "cleaning house". I trimmed my tomato plants way back so they can put all their remaining energy into ripening their many green tomatoes. I thinned the moldy squash leaves. I pulled all but two of the Brussels sprout plants (won't plant them again..I don't think our grow season is long enough). I harvested the rest of our beets and remaining lettuce and chard. And I planted spinach and radishes! I figure that if we have a long/late summer and fall, it'll be great to have a few more fast-growing and cool weather loving plants come in.
  • Babies on the brain....I have so many people in my life who are expecting babies and I'm going wild with imaging all the tiny knitted items I'd like to gift to these expectant mamas....
  • Mom and I made pickles a few weekends ago. I'll probably post more about it..but it was mayhem. And the batch that I did by myself didn't seal (I think it's a two person job). Needless to say, an entire shelf in my fridge is full of the non-sealed jars. BUT! I opened one last night and tasted them for the first time...and they're really pickles! yeah!
  • Sadie has taken to wearing pig ears and a tutu at all times (and even sleeping in them). It's the best thing in the whole world. I hope it lasts. Seriously the cutest thing ever.....
  • Actually, now that I'm watching the More Love video while I type...I'm going to leave you with the full lyrics. Damn that's good.

I'm so close to you baby, but I'm so far away
There's a silence between us and there's so much to say
You're my strength, you're my weakness
You're my faith, you're my doubt
We gotta meet in the middle
To work this thing out

More love...I can hear our hearts cryin'
More love...I know that's all we need
More flow in between us
To take us and hold us, and lift us above
If there's ever an answer, it's more love

We're afraid to be idle, so we fill up the days
We run on a treadmill, keep slaving away
Until there's no time for talkin'
About troubles in mind
And the doors are all closed
Between your heart and mine

More love...I can hear our hearts cryin'
More love...I know that's all we need
More flow in between us
To take us and hold us, and lift us above
If there's ever an answer, it's more love

Just look out around you , people fightin their wars
They think they'll be happy, when they settle their scores
Let's lay down the weapons
That hold us apart
Be still for just a minute
Try to open our hearts

More love...I can hear our hearts cryin'
More love...I know that's all we need
More flow in between us
To take us and hold us, and lift us above
If there's ever an answer, it's more love

Friday, September 9, 2011

Every Accomplishment Starts With the Decision to Try

I did it! I ran an entire half-marathon! And I feel SO SO good about it. What a journey this has been.

I got a good night of sleep on Sunday night, and woke up at 4:45 a.m. on race day feeling excited and nervous. I ate two pieces of toast with peanut butter and jelly, and a banana. I drank a little bit of water, but was SO hydrated from the few days leading up to the race that I didn't feel the need to drink too much.

I got dressed, stretched a bit, said goodbye to a sleepy Brian, and headed out into a VERY COLD, quiet, dark Colorado Springs morning.

I walked briskly from my parking spot to the race start, and hung out by the bag check until the very last second because I was scared to take my long-sleeved shirt off in the cold. I could see my breath as I stretched. I kept thinking I had to pee, but it was really just nerves.

About 5-10 minutes before race time, I peeled off my last warm layer and headed to the start line. I worked my way about 2/3 of the way back in line so I wasn't feeling pressure to start too fast. I made small talk with a couple people standing around me and stretched a bit more. Before I knew it, they were counting down the last 15 seconds and then the starting gun went off! I immediately teared up...I couldn't believe that this day and this moment were finally here after all these long months of emotional and physical commitment!

As I had planned (and especially since it was so cold), I started out very slowly. The course was crowded at first and I just focused on staying loose, and slowly working my way up to a comfortable pace. I looked around and enjoyed the view of a colorful sea of runners. After a couple miles, the crowd spread out and I was really able to get into my rhythm. I started thinking forward to Mile 4, where I knew my family and friends would be waiting to cheer me on.

At around 3.5 miles, my knee started hurting, pretty badly. I immediately started worrying. I felt like there was no way it would get any better if I kept running; it was bound to only get worse! And I still had 9 miles to go! I also decided in that moment that I would keep going until my knees gave out on matter how badly it hurt. I wondered if it would be helpful to take the Advil I had stashed in my shorts at some point.

Before I knew it, I could see my mom in the distance, right off the trail, watching for me. I waved my arms so she'd know it was me. And I started getting really emotional when I saw my family there cheering for me...which in turn led me to start hyperventilating. This picture was taken while I was trying to keep myself from completely sobbing. Sobbing and running don't work so well with each other...

I was worried the most about the middle 5 miles of the run. I figured the first 4 miles would be easy, and even if the last 4 miles were really tough, they'd be the last 4 miles, and I'd have Brian with me to help me through it. But I felt like those middle 5 miles would make or break the race for me, and I was continuing to worry about my knee.

I ended up introducing myself to another runner who I'd been running near since the start of the race. And we ended up chatting away for the next 3-4 miles. Very strange. I am SO anti-talking-while-running, and always have been. Normally I refuse to talk while exercising, I can't do it, and I think others who do it must be crazy (or in really great shape). But for some odd reason, this woman and I talked and talked and talked through those miles....and they just flew by. I wasn't focused on my knee, and it ended up changing from a sharp, shooting pain to a dull pain. I definitely got a bit of an energy boost from hitting the 6.5-mile turnaround point. I loved seeing the half-marathon front runners coming past us in the other direction (man, they were going fast!!!). And I started looking forward to getting back to Mile 9, seeing my cheering section again, and having Brian join me for the last leg of the race. This picture was taken at Mile 9. I'm still looking relatively happy!

When Brian first joined me, I was thinking to myself that I didn't need him..I was feeling fine..I was all over this race. And then at about Mile 11, I started feeling like, "oh my god, this just got really hard", and I told him so. Brian was SO great about encouraging me, telling me what a great job I was doing, and how proud of me he was. His presence and encouraging words were SO crucial to keeping my mind on that finish line. At the appointed place, Brian jumped off the course and I finished the last 0.10 mile by myself. As I wrapped my way around the park towards the finish chutes, I picked up my pace to the very fastest my legs could carry me. I wouldn't call it a sprint, but it was fast, and it felt good to finish strong. As I crossed the finish line, they announced my name and and where I'm from.

Again, my emotions started overwhelming me the minute I crossed the finish line....and I sounded like I was having an asthma attack or something. I turned down the offer of medical attention (no thank you, I'm just a sobbing mess...), and let a volunteer place a finish medal around my neck. I grabbed a water and joined my family who had found their way to the finish line. I finished the race in 2 hours, 22 minutes, and 33 seconds. I was 33rd out of 46 in my age group, I finished 143rd out of 236 female finishers, and 324th out of 456 finishers.

I won't get into the 2 bathroom stops I made during the last 4 miles of the race, but Brian thinks those took up at least 10 minutes (I think maybe a little less). But nonetheless, I averaged just over a 10-minute mile, which is what I was aiming for.

I felt fine after the race, and great after taking a shower. I ate some breakfast with my family and friends, and then I started going downhill pretty quickly. I was cold, my stomach was VERY upset, and I just overall felt horrible. I spent much of the rest of the day in bed or on the couch and went to bed very early.

On Tuesday, I woke up feeling fine energy wise, but my entire body was sore, even my upper body. My knee was quite painful and I limped my around work that day. But by Wednesday, I was back to feeling good. I've had a couple nights of lots of ice for my knee, plenty of rehydration, and long, deep nights of sleep and am feeling pretty much normal.

Now I'm taking some time to reflect on this experience and what it means to me. This was so much more than a running race to me. This is the final step in what has been an amazing 9 months for me.

Nine months ago, I was coming off a particularly gluttonous and unhealthy fall and holiday season. I had gained a lot of weight and had no energy. I was heading down a slippery slope of bad habits that I've gone down more times than I can count.

Then some girlfriends and I talked each other and our husbands into a couples weight loss-challenge. You can read about it here. Brian and I joined the rec center, and we both started running. I refocused my nutrition plan and started making better food choices on a more consistent basis. In the past year, Brian and I have lost over 110 pounds!, and we've lost over 80 since the beginning of the year. The visual proof of our changes is pretty startling and exciting!

A friend and I completed the Boulder Bolder in May 2011. I realized that the goal of that race was the thing that got me out of bed most mornings, and quickly decided that I needed to set another goal for myself if I wanted to stay on track with my healthy changes. With the encouragement of several friends, including Selena and Michelle, I decided I wanted to start training for my first half marathon...and I started documenting my progress and struggles here on this blog on Friday, June 15, 2011!

I've learned so much during this process....
  • I must exercise in the morning, or it won't happen
  • The early morning wake-up only hurts for the first few minutes.
  • I feel so much better during the day after exercising in the morning, and I sleep better at night. For someone who has struggled with insomnia for much of my life, it is a beautiful thing to fall into bed every night, exhausted, and sleep soundly until the alarm goes off the next morning.
  • Running is a great way to have some ME time...something I don't get quite as much of as I'd like.
  • Training with others (virtually and otherwise) is so inspiring and makes it harder to give up.
  • Music makes me move. Thank goodness for music.
  • The human body is an amazing thing. Six months ago, 13 miles seemed nearly impossible.
  • I will never be able to express to my friends and family how much their support and encouragement from afar, on Facebook, on the phone, through the mail and email, and on the morning of the race (they got up earlier than I did to be there for me!) means to me.
  • Things get weird after 10 miles. Your body can't be trusted.
  • Now I feel like I'm capable of just about anything.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Boys and Girls

Most of the guilty pleasures in my life involve reality television. And probably the most despicable and embarrassing one is Dancing With the Stars. I love it! I can't wait for each new season to start. I love the bright lights, cheesy pop music, sparkly costumes, tanned and toned bodies, and over-the-top superficiality of the whole thing. Really I do. You know, we all need an escape sometimes from trying so hard to live an authentic life, and this certainly works for me....

The DWTS folks try to create drama whenever they can...but one of the new contestants for the upcoming season is creating quite a stir, just by being himself. I'm interested in (and sometimes appalled by the narrowmindedness) of the discussions happening around Chaz Bono's inclusion in the show. I LOVE Christine's post about the issue....she rocks. You should read it and check out some of the links she includes.

Gender issues are also on my mind a lot lately because Sadie is starting to distinguish between who in her life is a "boy" and who is a "girl". She gets it right every time. When we asked her how she knows if someone is a boy or a girl, she said because she feels good in her heart. That's a phrase we use to encourage her to share and help, it was interesting to hear her use it in this context.

Anyway, I think these discussions are fine. I don't feel too militant or hardcore (yet) about how to approach these discussions with her and how to make sure we're not just reinforcing society's stereotypes about gender norms. But the other night during a discussion along these lines, I did make sure to tell Sadie that sometimes people who look like "girls" are actually "boys", and vice versa. I know she doesn't understand what that means, and she doesn't need to. But she hears what I say, and I just want her to know it's not always straightforward.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Not blogging much here because I'm busy blogging daily over here. Check out my recent posts as I count down the days until I run my first half marathon this coming Monday.