Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Back on a plan

I've decided that I really don't want to run outside in the dark and cold.  I've also decided that I have no interest in running on the treadmill.  This means, no running during the week. I may occasionally run on the weekends - but only if the weather is good and I'm not up skiing.  Skiing is my winter weekend focus this year.

My 1.5 month break has been amazing.  Luxuious. Restful.  However, not doing much of anything has lead to weight gain - probably 10 lbs.  Not cool.  Also not surprising. 

I've discovered this late summer and fall that if I do not have a plan, I simply won't follow through.  I'm generally self-motivated and accountable, but if I don't have a specific something planned on a daily basis, then its way too easy for me to sleep in or bum around on the couch.  As much as Will and the cats love me blowing off workouts, my waistline can't take it anymore.  So, I'm playing "coach" for myself.   Monday, I sat down with a calendar and created my own version of TrainingPeaks (in Word) which lays out a daily plan for the whole month.  With specific exercises.  A plan.

My focus for this off-season is to gain strength on the bike, so I'm better able to ride up hills, canyons, and maybe even a mountain.  I started (and then stopped - but I was sick) lifting weights, earlier in the month with an emphasis on leg strength.  Knowing that I needed some sort of cardio to build strength, I found a 16 week free cycling program - "Winter Cycling", which is designed to build critical power.  Cool.  Most of the workouts are short - usually 45 to 60 min long.  I can get by on 2 workouts a week, I could do the 3 short rides, or I could do 4 rides a week (3 short and 1 long).  I highly doubt I'll get in the long weekend ride (hello, skiing!) but 2-3 short rides on the trainer are achievable.

I've also joined a new swim team, my 3rd this year.  Hopefully this one will stick.  I know that the workouts won't completely meet my swim-snobbery standards, but for the time being, just getting in the pool and having friends there with me will be enough.  I can always show up early if I want to get more yards in (which I will probably do this spring).

Finally, I registered for the Chilly Cheeks Duathalon series.  I have no plans of really racing these.  Its more like an excuse to get out there, run at least once a month, and keep my skills sharp.  The first one is this Saturday.  And we're expected to get 5 inches of snow tonight, and the high temp for the day is 22 degrees. (!!) (the low is 10 degrees and the race is at 10 AM.).  My lovely husband, upon hearing that I signed up for the race AND upon hearing the weather report laughed out loud.  I told him, just for that reaction, I should make him go to the race and spectate.  So, yeah.  Snow and cold.  Looks like I will be racing with my ski gear.  All this so I could get a pair of sweat pants that say "Chilly Cheeks".....

So, my plan, is roughly like this:
Monday - weights at lunch, bike after work
Tuesday - swim team before work
Wednesday - bike after work (or before work if something fun is going on after)
Thursday - weights at lunch, bike after work (depending on how things feel)
Friday - swim team before work
Weekend - ski and maybe run.  Tri club has a Sunday run group, so I may join in.

This is my third day on the plan, and my legs are sore.  Not dying sore, but more like "hey, what is going on?!?!".  Was I sore like this every day during my IM training?  I don't remember being sore all the time.  Hopefully this is just an effect of being a couch potato.  Either way, it feels good to be back and doing something.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Post Thanksgiving Ramblings

Things are still kind of blah.  Here's a recap of the past week and other random thoughts...

I love to cook for Thanksgiving.  For the first time this year, I got to cook for my mom (pretty much all of my "family").  Normally we'd fly to Denver for Thanksgiving for the week, but now we live here.  Yay!  Also, last year was a bit depressing as we were selling our house and moving, and cooking a big meal would mean making a mess.  And we needed to keep our house clean.  So no turkey at our house last year.  So, this year, I went with tradition and made: apple cider brined turkey (really, the BEST turkey recipe ever), homemade rolls, traditional stuffing (which for the first time, turned out near perfect - I have a hard time seasoning it properly), roasted and mashed squash (I used the Chirimen squash I got from the farm... it was just ok), and homemade cherry pie, including the crust.  Mmmm

My mom came over (her second visit since we bought the house).  She arrived 15 min before food was served and stayed a whopping 1.5 hours.  And she asked for her pie to-go.  No idea.  And also, kind-of weird.

I love making Thanksgiving because that means I get all the leftovers!  Sadly, a 15 lb turkey didn't last very long.  We had leftovers for dinner on Friday and that was it.  I think that Will had a bit more than he should have for lunch, though.  I was really hoping on 3 meals total from the spread.  *sigh*

Friday I went skiing with my friend D.  My first day of the year.  My first ever trip on a season pass.  We went to Winter Park because the weather said we'd get 2-4 inches of snow during the day.  Copper had more runs open, but we wanted SNOW.  Sadly, the weather report lied.  It was a good test though - we had pretty much every kind of weather: sun, clouds, wind, snow, sideways snow.  It was a good test of my gear and helped me figure out what I was lacking.  I then bought a new ski bag (which holds my boots and gear), baclava (protects your face from the wind/cold), some light weight fleeces, and some before and after winter boots.  Wooo.  Skiing was fun but with the limited runs, it was fairly crowded.  I think we hit the slopes at 10, had a short lunch break at 2, took 2 more runs and was done by 3.

Sadly (or maybe this is a good thing?), my winter running gear = ski gear.  I used my heavy running tights (which are fleecy on the inside) as long undies.  And I used various run shirts as layering for my top.

And speaking of winter running, I ran for the first time since the Denver RnR Half Marathon (Oct 9th).  I was supposed to start back up 2 weeks earlier but I got this annoying cold that just wouldn't go away.  I did the local Turkey Trot 5k.  It cost $15 and I got a fleecy hat.  The race was at the local rec center (a whopping 4 miles from my house) and we ran on the hike and bike trail.  The race wasn't timed, so it truly was just a fun run.  Suprisingly, there were 750 people at the 5k.  That's a ton of people for a hike and bike trail.  I met up with some of my tri club buddies and fortunately, we all run at about the same pace.  We stuck together for the first 2 miles and then I just had to walk.  So did one other person, so I didn't feel so bad.  And we were both sick.  Still - I can't even make it 3 miles?  Full disclosure: I actually had to walk 3 times in that last mile.  At 2 miles, 2.5 miles, and somewhere way too close to the finish.  The last 0.2 miles is uphill (very mean) and I was trying to push, but that made me feel pukey to the point where my stomach was starting to roll.  And some chick right in front of me lost her breakfast (over a 5k - REALLY?) so I stopped to regain my composure.  My time wasn't awful - 33:03, a 10:36 pace.  Not bad considering I walked 3 times.  Ugh.

I have a lot of squash, spinach, and apples from my CSA.  Its crazy.  So yesterday was "processing day", where I basically get things prepped (or processed) to sleep in the freezer.  I roasted 3 different pumpkins - a pie pumpkin, a cinderella pumpkin, and a long island cheesecake pumpkin.  The pie one only yielded 2 cups.  The long island one yielded probably ~6-8 cups and then became pumpkin-lime-coconut soup (with turkey added in).  The cinderella pumpkin was so huge I had to cook it up in 2 batches.  It yielded 17 cups (!!!) of pureed pumpkin.  Crazy.  Four large bunches of spinach shrank down to fill a large bowl.  And I had 3 medium and 1 large bag of apples.  I bought one of those apple peeler-slicer-corer devices a month ago.  I always thought those were kind of a worthless kitchen item.  That is, until I had a mountain of apples to peel.  This device is the shizzle.  I went to work prepping apples, intending to just chuck them in the freezer.  But then I decided to make a batch of crockpot applesauce.  Holy crap, was it the best applesauce ever.  And it smelled amazing.  And really very heathy for you.  I just took apples (enough to fill the crockpot up 3/4 of the way), 1/2 cup of apple cider, 1/2 cup of agave nectar (although you could use sugar), and a few dashes of cinnamon.  Then put it on high for 8 hours.  Amazingness.

This is the week I will get on the ball and start working out.  I finally registered for the new swim team.  If I pay for it, I will actually show up.  The problem this past month is that I didn't pay for it... which meant I had no motivation to go.  Its going to hurt.  I haven't swam in 2.5 months.  I will also ride my bike on the trainer at least once this week.  And resume lifting weights.  Being sick really put a kink in my "back on the wagon" attempt from 2 weeks ago.

I'm doing a duathlon series - Chilly Cheeks.  First one is this Sunday and go figure, I haven't trained.  The first one is a 4 mile trail run and a 10 mile bike.  Hopefully I can fake my way through.  The second race (in January) consists of a 1.5 mile run,  3.6-mile bike, a 2.5 mile run, 7.2 mile run, and a 50 meter run to the finish line.  Mkay!  The final race (February) is a 10 mile bike and a 4 mile run.  The distances are so very random and conditions could be snowy (they don't cancel due to snow - you just ride your mountain bike) that I really can't justify taking this series very seriously.  So I'm doing it for fun and to ensure that I touch my bike once a month this winter.

I had a really bad dream experience on Sunday morning.  I dreamt that I was on the couch and Ernie was next to me, lounging, purring loudly, letting me love on him and rub his belly.  Then Swift popped up and was on my lap, loving on me.  I was so happy to have both of them - acting just as they used to.  (Ok, maybe Ernie wasn't quite so friendly - but he could be when he wanted to).  Then I rolled over and *poof* the dream was gone.  I was still half asleep and found myself sobbing - ragged painful sobbing.  It was awful.  They were so real and then they were gone.  It was like I lost them all over again. :(

New kitties are adjusting (although, awkward - they were snuggled next to me when I woke up sobbing over my other kitties).  Zipper has run off with Will's heart.  He liked Ernie and Swift, but they were always mine (I had them before we got married).  Zipper has claimed Will and they really love eachother.  She'll jump up on his lap while he works, just to say hi, stays out a few minutes and zooms off to do something else.  They'll play fetch in the mornings for 30 minutes.  She'll sit with him at night while we watch tv. She's very playful but in an innocent and nice sort of way.  She just likes to be where ever the humans are and wants to play all the time.  Gunny is doing better.  He's over his bladder issues that was making him want to pee on anything.  My hope is that the issue was stress related.  He's still really shy but will spend most of his time snoozing on the couch.  He will jump out of his hidey hole (under the coffee table) when I'm around and want me to pet him.  And he'll cuddle on my lap at night.  He's still a scaredy cat, though.  Any new visitors, no matter how friendly, and *poof* he's off hiding under the laundry rack in the laundry room.  Poor guy - hopefully in time he'll mellow out and let our visitors get to know him.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Scalloped potatoes with ham and leeks

I have an overabundance of winter veggies from the CSA.  In particular, squash, potatoes, onions, and leeks.  The squash and potatoes are happily sleeping in my basement until I feel like using them.  The leeks were massive and taking up space in my veggie drawer.  Seriously, these things were as big as my arm.

one of two ginormous leeks.  and to think, last month I got a
small leek and I was actually whining about how small it was.
 One of the cooking blogs I read is Three Many Cooks, and I found this recipe for Creamy Leek Gratin with Garlic Breadcrumbs and Bacon.  I had some ham steaks from the farm and decided that this would make a nice main course for the week.  However, upon slicing up the two massive leeks, I realized that while massive, they were only about half of what I needed for the recipe.  And then I went off-recipe and created something which I consider was WAY tastier.  This was done on the fly and measurements are approximate.  Really, I just used whatever I had lying around.

I'm guessing this makes 6 servings.

  • ~1 lb leeks, sliced
  • ~1/2 cup onion, diced
  • garlic
  • spinach (I used one bunch - next time, I will use 2 bunches)
  • 5 fist sized potatoes (they may have been smaller).  Maybe a pound?  Type doesn't matter - I used both russet and red.  Slice thin, no need to peel them.
  • ~2 lbs ham, fat removed and cubed
  • panko breadcrumbs
Bechamel Sauce
(I think this is a bechamel sauce.... its my version of it anyways)
  • 2 T butter
  • 2-3 T flour
  • milk (really no idea.... 2 cups maybe?)
  • half and half (same amount as milk, but really no idea on the quantity.  Also, you could probably just use milk here)
  • 8 oz shredded smoked grueyre cheese
  • pepper
  • 6 oz plain greek yogurt
  1. Preheat over to 425.
  2. Quarter and slice leeks and let soak in 2 water baths to remove dirt and grit.
  3. Get a big mixing bowl.  You can layer everything in a casserole dish, but I just dumped everything in a huge bowl, added the sauce, mixed it up well, and dumped it in a pan.
  4. Slice potatoes, dice ham and put in mixing bowl.
  5. Sautee leeks, garlic, and onion until translucent, about 10 min on medium heat.
  6. When done, transfer to bowl, keeping about 1 cup of leeks separate.
  7. Sautee spinach.  Honestly, the spinach could be cooked with the leeks.... I just didn't think of adding them until the leeks were almost done.  Add to bowl.
  8. Make sauce
    • prepare a roux.  Add butter and melt it, then add flour.  Then slowly add the milk, stirring with a whisk to avoid lumps.  Really, you want to add the milk slow.  Once that's combined, add the half and half.
    • Bring it up to a warm temperature - you don't want it to boil.  You just need it hot enough to melt the cheese.
    • Add ground pepper to taste.
    • Add cheesy goodness.  And stir a lot to melt.
    • Once the cheese is melted, remove from the heat and add leeks and greek yogurt.  Whisk to incorporate/mix yogurt.  Then I blended it a bit with an immersion blender - although you could totally skip this step. (also, if you don't blend it, you can skip adding leeks to the sauce).  I thought the yogurt was a bit odd, but it added a nice creamy-ness to it and you couldn't tell it was in there.
  9. Add sauce to bowl with the rest ingredients and mix to ensure everything is coated.  You want this pretty soupy.
  10. Add to casserole dish (I used a 13 x 9 glass dish), coat generously with breadcrumbs
  11. Bake in oven for ~45 - 60 min.  It was probably done at 45 minutes, I just wanted to make sure.  Also, after 30 min, check every 15 min or so to ensure your breadcrumbs don't burn.  I had to cover with foil after 45 minutes.
  12. Remove from oven and let it sit for ~10 min. 
  13. Try not to eat the whole pan.

Monday, November 07, 2011


Sad looking front yard. Ok, maybe it just looks sad to me.
I don't know why, but each time we buy a house (you know, all of two times) the yard sucks.  All the plants still have their nursery tags on them, the plants are mostly kinda junky, and we have tons of empty bedding space.  Also, these houses don't have any mature trees. 

Our current house had only 5 trees - 2 mystery trees that could possibly be cherry trees, one which I was hoping was an apple tree but sadly, its a crappy crab apple tree where the fruit is a good 2" in diameter and makes good throwing weapons for the neighborhood urchins, and 2 austrian pine trees. 
Really pretty crab apple blossoms in mid-May.  Not sure
2 weeks of pretty blossoms is worth 3 months of picking
mini-apples up from your lawn.
NOTHING that would considered be a shade tree. 

The front yard is really horrible.  Ok, I'm exaggerating.  We have a very cute porch and in front of it are very ugly and mis-matched bushes.  There are some sort of juniper/evergreen shrubs combined with these weird pale green leafy bushes (which did turn a very pretty shade of red this fall).  This is completed by generic river rock underlain with weed fabric.  BLAH.  The back yard is slightly better.  We have 2 types of lilacs (I love lilacs), some really fugly ornamental plum bushes (they're very scraggly and we have a TON of them.  And we have some creeping blue juniper (which is ok) in the beds under the plums.  And a stand of aspen - which really are just big weeds.  The weird thing is that there were NO FLOWERS at all in our yard.  How sad is that?
veggie bed.  Strangely, this HUGE space was completely
devoid of plants.  Also see aspens behind it.

We bought the house in May but then had IMTX to contend with.  Which meant no time for the new house until June.  Which was too late to do anything substantial to the yard.  We did install a 5 x 8 ft raised vegetable bed.  Planted a ton of herbs (peppermint, 3 types of basil, oregano, thyme, cilantro), eggplant, zucchini, japanese cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, green peppers, butternut squash, mini-canteloupe, strawberries, and spaghetti squash.  I think it was just too late to plant anything, because for the most part, the garden was a collossal flop.  We managed to have nice herbs (although the cilantro died nearly right away - I never have luck with that stuff).  We got 3 lemon cucumbers, 2 japanese cucumbers, and a whoppiong 2 zucchini.  So weird.  I did get one decent sized spaghetti squash but when I picked it, it was fairly green and watery on the inside.  Ick.  And we did get a few tiny strawberries.  
Sad little cukes....
They were small, but actually SUPER tasty.  All I can say is THANK GOODNESS for my CSA and the weekly veggie deliveries.  Otherwise, it would have been a sad, veggie-free summer.

I also ordered a ton of plants from Spring Hill Nursery.  Huge disappointment.  They arrived as little plants, and I think by the time they got in the ground (mid-June) was was too hot and we were too far into the growing season for them to do anything.  Also: Will decided to "weed" some areas with a shovel and killed several of them.  Boo.

After about a month of being in the house, we knew that we needed some real trees.  Our living room / kitchen / bedroom face west with big windows.  Western sun + nothing to block the sun = HOT rooms.  Seriously, in the past 15 years, WHY did no one plant a real tree for shade?!?!?!?  Also, our house in situated on a corner and our back yard faces the front door and driveway of our perpendicular neighbor.  Fortunately, they don't have windows on that side of the house so its not like we're starring at each other.  Still, I really don't want to be aware of their house features.  So in late June, we ordered a HUGE (probably 20 ft tall) autumn blaze maple.  This thing will get
Maple tree. Small green shrubs were the existing lilacs.
to ~50 feet tall and should provide awesome summer shade.  We also got a baby blue eyes spruce and a vanderwolf pine.  Picking pine trees for this area was a bit tricky, because we didn't want the trees to be wide but we wanted them to be fairly tall.  Hopefully these trees will do what we need them to do.

Summer went by and we didn't really do anything with the yard.  In August, we came back from Idaho with some irises from grandma's yard. I also got some seeds from some ornamental poppies and hollyhocks that went to seed in the yard.  (I totally forgot about these until now... hmmmm).  Then my mom found some random guy who had "award winning" irises that he had split up and was giving away.  Apparently these things are expensive and lovely.  So we planted a TON of irises in the outskirts of the yard.
right to left - vanderwolf pine, baby blue eyes spruce,
austrian pine.  With icky scraggly plums in between.
  And hopefully in a few years, we'll have iris flowers.  Oh, and we got some hops from Will's grandparent's mountain cabin.  They were growing, but the bunnies ate the leaves off.  They now are surrounded by chicken wire.  Maybe next year we'll have hops for beer?

Its fall now and has snowed 3 times.  Fall is the time to plant bulbs, so you have a pretty spring. And once they're planted, you typically don't have to do anything with them for years to come.  They just do their own thing and come back every year.  When I lived in Houston, the first year we had a house I planted something like 150 bulbs. Most of them came up.  But over the following years, I'd say that maybe half came back, then half of that half, then soon, nothing.  Something to do with a lack of a hard freeze, bulbs rotting, crappy soil. Simply not worth the effort. But in Colorado, bulbs do great!  So I ordered some daffodills, tulips. hyacinths, grape hyacinths, and alliums.  And for the garden I got garlic.  We got some garlic in August from the CSA and it was some of the BEST garlic I'd ever had.  Small bulbs but they packed a punch.  A coworker told me about this garlic internet "farm" where you could order seed bulbs, so I got a small garden pack, containing 0.25 lb amounts of four different types of garlic.  I've never planted garlic before, so this whole thing will be an experience.  Apparently, you have to break up the garlic into individual cloves and plant each clove separately.  You want the big cloves, as they determine the size that your garlic will be at maturity.  So I got to work splitting up the cloves.  It was weird because it just looked like a bulb of garlic that you buy at the store.  Still not sure why these were special "seed" garlics, but whatever.  So after they were split up, I counted the cloves and we had over 60.  Which means I could have 60 heads of garlic next summer.  Good thing we're not vampires or we'd be in trouble.  Also: holy crap, that's a lot of garlic.  I didn't want to take up space in the raised garden bed, but the soil surrounding the bed is pretty good.  So I picked 4 distinct areas for each variety and planted those.  I probably should have planted them a month ago, but I didn't.  Hopefully they'll survive.  We shall see.

This spring, I would like to re-do the area in front of the front porch.  That means getting rid of those crappy ugly bushes that don't do anything and replacing them with other things.  I'm thinking miniature pines or spruces with maybe a flowering shrub.  This area faces to the north, so it could be tricky.  And I'd also like to get some potted flowers for the front porch - to make things cheery.  I also want to get into this area by our dining room.  Its a deep corner of the yard and it has 3 VERY scraggly plum bushes.  (can you tell I hate those things?)  We have at least 7 of those damn things and they really don't do anything at all.  Instead, I would love to do a cute xeriscaped area or maybe a rock garden.  Of course, this will depend on my training for the Boise HIM and how much time I feel like spending on a part of the yard that I don't see very often.  And we're going to start veggies inside and move them into the yard in ~April.  Two months earlier than this year.  Not certain what I want to plant, but I do know I want more basil, would like to try cukes and squash again, and I definitely want to grow romanesco squash (its like zucchini but so much tastier!).  We are thinking that we planted too late and our plants just couldn't get a good start in life, thus the very poor production.  I may also do some spring crops like lettuce and things. 
So that's the plan for next year.  We're still at least a good couple of summers away from things looking really nice, but its a good start.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Oh hai there

Wow, October kind of went and knocked me on my ass.  In the past month, all this happened:

Adjusting to life with two new cats, Zipper (~6 months) and Gunnison (Gunny, ~4 years).  Zipper is crazy, in a sweet kitten sort of way.  She rarely sits still.  She runs in all 3 dimensions, ala The Matrix, banking off of furniture and walls.  Gunny is really shy still and has a chronic bladder inflamation issue. Soooo, we've been working through that.  I think he's been feeling better, though, as he's been more social and cuddly.  Also: now that its cold, they both sleep with us at night.  Yay.

They were not cage-mates at the shelter.  Oddly enough, they really like each other.
Half marathon was fun.  Somehow, I was only 3 minutes slower than my PR, with about half as much training.  Goooo IM training base!  I ended up running with my tri-club friend Steph.  We were chatting and some girl behind us said she was listening in and figured we were tri-dorks (my words, not hers).  Turns out she's training for IMTX 2012, so we had many miles of conversation.  Sadly, though, at mile 10, my legs/body definitely felt the lack of training.  I ran 10 miles 6 weeks earlier, and that was my longest run since May.  Also: consuming less than 1 full gel (because of stomach issues) was probably a problem.  At mile 10 I tried to push and just couldn't.  The really sad part was that the last mile was all downhill.  Again, I tried to push and nope, there was nothing in the tank.  Afterwards, we (as a club) went to two bars.  Steph celebrated by doing a tequilla shot and push-up.  Some of our club people did the full marathon, and at mile 14, they did a keg stand.  Impressive.  And also a tiny bit scary.
So we saw the photographer and tried to run and take a group photo.  This is what that looked like.  Cracks me up everytime I look it.  Its like Steph is trying to kill me or something.
Our 12th wedding anniversary was on the 16th.  We went up to Steamboat for a long weekend. Did some hiking and some beer drinking.  Had a nice dinner out.  The fall colors were amazing.  The weekend was a bit low-key though, as Will's grandmother died on the 14th.
Fish Creek Falls.  Will is convinved that I try to kill him on our anniversaries, because we always go hiking.  Hiking = sweating a ton for Will.  Its kinda funny.

So yeah, Will's grandmother passed and we flew up on the 21st for her funeral.  Grandpa (her husband) passed in February and she was actually more worn down more than he was.  In July, she asked to be placed in assisted living.  In August, we spent a week in Idaho, mainly to say goodbye for her.  In the week leading up to her funeral, I barely even cried.  I think its because we already said our goodbye.  But then the day of the funeral, wow.  Major tears.  I was ok during the funeral (it was fairly heavy on religion* and I spent most of the time thinking just how very strange religion is.  One of the sermons likened a wife to a supply ship.  For reals.)  Then afterwards, I went to look at a quilt they had out on display - one of her best ones.  Then I lost it.  People kept trying to talk to me and I was trying (and failing) to not cry, so I just bolted out the church and down the street a few blocks.  If I had my running shoes, I honestly would have ran for a few miles just to clear my head.  UGH.
Grandparents on their wedding day - some 66 years ago.
After the funeral, the cousins went to a local (awful) winery for wine and shuffleboard.  Wine was bad but it was nice to have some fun.  After the winery, we gathered back at the ranch to scatter grandpa's ashes in the meadow across from him home.  So sad.  But really nice too.  We probably spent 2 hours in that meadow, drinking Squirt and Crown Royal (grandpa's drink of choice), sharing memories and stories of them.  After that, the Aunts had taken what remained in the grandparent's house and set it up, sort-of like a garage sale.  They invited us all over, asking us to take what we wanted, and said that anything that was left would go to Goodwill.  I was really weirded out by everyone looking over their trinkets and things.  That, and I'm generally not good with crowds.  So I went upstairs and found grandma's fabric room.  I started looking through her things and found what I consider the lottery.  Grandma was a master quilter.  I *covet* her quilts.  Will's mom pointed out a box, which contained the last quilt that grandma made.  Its not complete - but all it needs is the back sewn on and for it to be quilted.  Its cream and purple and beautiful.  I also found a hand-quilted unfinished one (needs a border, backing, and quilting) with grandma's notes on how to finish it, saying it was for charity.  Um no, this one will not be going to charity.  I also found a zip-lock bag full of random finished squares - without instructions.  My mom is an amazing sewer, and I figured if anyone could help me with this, its her.  Also, suprisingly, no one wanted grandma's sewing machine.  Its one of those old metal ones (electric) that folds down inside a wooden cabinet.  I think I'll have to learn how to sew....  Will got one of grandpa's tool boxes, since he spent quite a bit of his childhood and teen years working with grandpa on the ranch.  It was a really sad day, but also a really good day.

Grandpa's favorite tractor - June 2010
Also while up in Idaho, I got to ride a horse (yay!) and moved cattle around on 4-wheeler.  The terrain for the 4-wheeler was really hilly with dry streambeds (and steep drop-offs) and really thick sagebrush.  I was kicking ass dodging sagebrush and going up and down hills, until I got to a mini-ravine, and freaked out.  I couldn't figure a good way down, then the 4-wheeler started sliding sideways (breaks didn't really work).  It felt like it was going to roll sideways (on me), so I chucked myself off of it.  Somehow I landed flat on my back in the streambed, missing all rocks and bushes.  LUCKY.  I did get a minor case of whiplash (my neck HURT) and my back was sore.  And I freaked Will out - he was on the hill watching all of this.  And I freaked myself out.  Riding back on dirt rutted roads, I would spaz at the tiniest bump that sent the 4-wheeler off course.  *sigh*

We've also had 3 snowstorms. And I've lifted weights twice.  Still haven't been swimming, biking, or running.  hmmm.

* I am not religious in the slightest, so religion in general is really awkward and weird for me.