Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Day 4: The End of Tri Camp

Sunday morning we woke up early so we could say our goodbyes. Amy was gone before we got up, she had packed her bike herself and left for Colorado while we were asleep, just like when she came. Amy appeared to me to be the type that tests her limits, a little bit at a time. I could literally see her getting out of her comfort zone each day with a mixture of discomfort and drive.

Sophie left next, we were sad to see our little go-getter getting along with the business of being Sophie. My favorite Sophie moment was when Dan had her on his fit bike (for like 3 hours straight) and he was getting exasperated with her "girl type fit" and she just sat there, waiting for him to figure it out. The guy is the maestro of bike fittings and Sophie was not going to let him frazzle her. Meanwhile, we were trying to sneak out the door before Dan tested us on math equations.

I was fortunate to go on a morning dog walk with Dan and fiance Toni on Sunday morning. We walked to the neighbor's house who is a fellow dog lover and got to see that quirkiness and quick smiles are a trademark of living in the area. I felt like I stepped onto a movie set when this older gentleman brought us around the back of his house to see his Zen garden. I think this is the same guy that Monty says is a conservative Republican who lives only to fight with Dan and Monty.

I got my bags ready and Dawn loaded me into the minivan for a trip to the airport. The rest of the girls were just coming in from a morning bike ride so I got to blow kisses and try to hold back tears as I said goodbye. Over the weekend we raised our glasses, said cheers, and smiled freely. I am grateful for the opportunity to have met each of you and will think of you when life isn't as good as it was at Xantusia.

I left tri camp completely revitalized, with priorities shifted and energy directed. Here are the other things I learned at tri camp:
  • triathletes are freaking cool man
  • Aquaphor moisturizer can be used on the butt and lips (both sets of lips if you are a girl)
  • Coke is the legal crack for long distance athletes, use freely
  • not all triathletes are the same but they are all worth getting to know
  • slow down, you move too fast, got to make the moment last
  • Chicks look hot in pink
  • I like the life I have chosen for myself, it has brought me to the good people I want to know
Things I learned not to do at tricamp:
  • Do not constantly refer to Erin's chest as her "rack"
  • Do not go on rides with Monty, he rides like bull looking for a cow in heat
  • Do not expect athletic women to be bitchy or geeky
  • Do not let Dan Empfield corner you when he has a calculator and a white board
  • Do not drink the green juice from Monty's fridge, it's not margaritas, it's lime juice
  • Do not underestimate the power of a girl who wants to have fun, because she WILL HAVE IT!
Hey Lesley, WOOOOOOO HOOOOO! Next time we ARE having a dance party.

In case you missed all of the photos, they are here:

Day 3: Ladies of Slowtwitch Triathlon Camp

Saturday morning I woke up with a mild hangover and DRY MOUTH. The combination of beer, training, and high desert climate had me on the ropes. It was alright though because we weren't leaving for swimming until 9:30am so I had plenty of time to turn the ship around and Monty's coffee was setting me straight. The house was getting full with the new arrivals and Punkin was reaping all the beneficial loving.

We left for the pool on time, Monty tries to be a good drill sargent but it's hard to take him seriously because he kind of smiles when he yells. We drove about 1 hour in the car to get to the pool, I don't know where we went but there we were and the pool was great! I think it was at least ten lanes across and outdoor so white girl was going to get some sun. YEAH! I was not at all motivated to crank out the yards, I felt like a barge, so I got in a lane with my girl Cathy and we tried to make a fun time of it. I recommended she watch Jonas underwater because his stroke was amazing. We also watched him at the outdoor shower.

Everyone else swam over 4000 yards, I think we swam about 1/2 of that and Amy did all of her yards at once, without a break. She's a blond energizer bunny fueled on chocolate covered raisins (don't ask don't tell... OK I'll tell, but later). I felt about 500 times better after my "swim" and a big breakfast was on the schedule next. YEAH! Jonas sat by me at breakfast and we had an intelligent discussion about oil, obesity, and slow living. OK so Jonas had an intelligent discussion while I listened. I told him I was high strung and he said I needed to slow down my pace, remember this is from a guy who works out 8 hours a day so whatever. No, I'm contemplating what he said, he's pretty cool.

Once we got back to the house, we were all too stuffed from breakfast (we didn't get home until 2pm) to work out right away so we all kind of sat around trying not to moan. Eventually, we split into two groups: a long run group (Leslie, Sophie, Amy, and Aimee) and a short ride group (Monty, Lauren, Michael, Cathy, Erin, Dawn and myself). I don't know the details of the run except Amy really regretted eating the chocolate covered raisins Michael brought.

Here's how Monty described the ride: it takes about 1 hour and you climb up for 6 miles. I think I only heard the 1 hour part so I was totally unprepared for the moment, ONLY 7 MILES INTO THE RIDE WHEN I WANTED TO TURN BACK. Our group had split with Monty and Lauren cranking up the hill with Michael on their wheel. I dropped off their pace and the rest of the girls turned around to take a different route.

The hill was carved into the base of the mountains and it felt like a wind tunnel. Debris from the road was hitting me in the face and I thought the wind might blow me over. I was gasping for air (oh yeah elevation) and with every turn in the road the hope that the road might level out was crushed. Actually, once I warmed up things felt better but the maximum effort in the beginning of the ride had me near bonk, only 30 minutes into the ride.

I was soul searching to get to the top of the hill when Monty and Lauren came bombing down the hill (in aerobars) and Lauren yelled, "You're almost to the top!" Thank you sweet woman! Once I got to the top I took this blurry photo which perfectly describes the conditions and how I felt. Michael waited for me near the bottom of the hill and we did what all exhausted people do when descending: we missed the turn off and kept going down. Long story short: we added some extra climbing to the ride and eventually made it home. Time for some celebratory drinks!

So the coolest chick ever, Ms. Shelby (Leslie) brought a box a pink tshirts for the girls. We all stripped as soon as we saw them so we could wear them for our final dinner. There was no hot tub to distract us this time so we did out best to finish off all the beer, wine, and margaritas Monty had in stock. Basically, everyone started getting lit and much giggling and hilarity ensued. I don't know that I've ever been in a room with such positive energy and mutual admiration.

Monty, being the man that he is, passed on a wonderful compliment to all of the ladies present. He said, "You are the type of people that say you are going to do something and then you go out and do it. I like that and that's why we all get along so well." Absolutely. We were a group of people who met over the internet but took the opportunity to meet in person and SHOWED UP TO HAVE A REALLY GOOD TIME. We couldn't have done it better. It was amazing.

The guys were a little jealous of the pink tshirts so Leslie broke out their tshirts, which were not pink but said the same thing as our shirts: "SLOWTWITCH Tri-Babes Training Weekend March 23-26, 2006" We all got together for a group photo with new addition Margaret joining the group. Her husband, English Muffin (I don't know his real name) took photos with Michael. Some people were wondering why guys were allowed to come at all and what they are missing is that we don't hate men, we just don't want them running the damn show all the time because we do a pretty good job of having fun without you all. If you can hang with the ladies without harassing, acting like a fool, or showing how much more athletic you are then you will enjoy what all women know: GIRLS RULE, BOYS DROOL.

We asked Monty to break out his old triathlon videos so we could see him in action back in the day. Everytime they showed Monty the girls hooted and yelled (the wine bottles were almost on empty) and we laughed our asses off about the announcers and goofy outfits people were wearing. Monty is a total stud, we loved his stories.

The crowd thinned out and I told all the ladies that we couldn't go to bed before we gave each other gifts. I brought a bunch of items from my web store and wrapped them in tissue paper for the ladies to give to each other. We went around the room and said something nice about each person which caused a lot of laughter and smiles. It was the perfect ending to the perfect evening. Dawn, Leslie and I stayed up late and Dawn admitted that she wouldn't get up earlier because she thought she might fall over in front over everyone. AMEN SISTER. AMEN.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Day 2: Ladies of Slowtwitch Triathlon Camp

Amy from Colorado showed up in the middle of the night, how she navigated the dark roads of Valyermo I'll never know! Everyone seemed to wake up early and gathered around the kitchen table to drink Monty's strong (and good) coffee while trying to shake off the sleepies. The house is somewhere around 4000 ft which is about the elevation where I start to breath hard just sitting around. Exercise was going to be challenging.

Everyone agreed to go on a short trail run so we put on our fanciest running gear and loaded up to drive over to Devil's Punchbowl park. Dan joined us at the trail head with his dog Spike who was recently shot by a neighbor during a dog fight. Poor Spike can barely chew but he can still run with some seriously fast triathletes (Dan, Monty and Jonas). The guys were going to run a hard out and back for 1 hour and the ladies decided to make an easier go of it but we were breathing hard none the less.

Dawn, Leslie, and Amy ran ahead up the trail while Sophie, Cathy and I socialized about our local triathlon circles while doing a walk/run. It seemed like most of us are having a hard time finding quality training partners at home. We were all appreciating our new female friends and the stunning views of the park.

On the way down, Cathy led with a blistering pace, the woman can run down a hill like you would not believe. Sophie and I trailed behind her, huffing and puffing which was my first indication that Cathy is a strong athlete. I appreciated the pace she set and found her to be a natural leader which is a relief, I enjoy letting competent people take over. People mistake me for a control freak because I get things done which is a silly assesment on their part. I am into other people taking charge when I see that they CAN take charge.

After the trail run we headed back to Monty's where our fabulously tan and terrifically handsome Cabana Boy (he titled himself "Cabana Boy") cooked up some eggs for breakfast part 2. Monty is the type of man your mother warns you about: he's smart, handsome, athletic, and charming. He also enjoys the company of women and is comfortable taking care of several women at one time. It's important for women to meet men like him, as they are rare and wonderful but you best stay the heck away. Plus he has a fabulous girlfriend.

Anyway, Monty helped us assemble our bikes and we geared up for a 40 mile ride. Cathy led us down the hill from Xantusia and onto this loop she had done earlier in the week with Jonas. She was excited to be able to draft off of him during that ride and when she commented to him about how he dropped her on the hill he said with a slight Swedish accent, "Yes, I am the male pro and you are the female age grouper." We laughed our asses off when Cathy told us this story because Jonas is an enlightened male but he's still a male. We spent the weekend saying, "WE ARE THE FEMALE AGE GROUPERS" and when referring to Jonas, "I AM THE MALE PRO." He also told Sophie that the hills where they were trailing running weren't "Disneyland forest" when she freaked about seeing bear tracks on the trail. Jonas was good for several smart ass comments a day. It was great.

Once out on the ride I tucked in behind Cathy who was cranking on the flats going about 22 mph. I decided that pace was not one I could manage on my own so I better suck her wheel until she slowed the heck down. She didn't really slow down until we were back the at the base of the hill which is a 3 mile climb to get back home. The woman is strong, did I say that before? I'm looking forward to riding with her in the future and already thinking about getting down to SF to hang out with her.

Sophie is prepping for Ironman Arizona and needed to do some race pace riding so she pulled away from us and waited a few times. Sophie is a great athlete, an amazing person and a super cute woman who also has her ducks in a row. She is the sweetheart of the slowtwitch forum and rightly so, she's every sporty guy's dream. Plus she's single. Not sure how that happens, it kind of pisses me off that guys are so dumb they aren't lined up for a chick this hot. She has a great body too, heck, I am going to date her if someone else doesn't get on it. Anyway, I like her a lot. She's a girly girl who trains like a hard core dude.

Cathy showed us some movie sets out in the middle of nowhere while we were riding. Apparently Monty likes to tell new people to go on in to this store and get some cold drinks. People fall for it all the time. Too bad there aren't any dead body dummies around to scare the crap out of them. Eventually we all made it back from the ride. We weren't expecting such warm/dry weather so we were cooked by the time we got back.

I told Leslie that I was holding back the entire day so that I would have enough energy to drink beer. She said she was planning on taking a beer in the shower with her. What a stud! By the time we were all done showering, there was a problem with the plumbing. Water was not going down. Monty advised us to pee outside and plan to take showers at Dan's until the plumber got there. OOOPS!

Erin had arrived by then so we assimilated her into the group by making sure she had a full glass of wine. It worked well, she was giggling and getting ready for the hot tub before we knew it. The ladies loaded up with some beer and hit the hot tub, minus the cabana boy and the male pro. This caused us to think we should pose for some pics without our suits. Risque baby. I don't know who came up with that idea but it didn't matter cause we were doing it with virtually no coercion. Proof that girls just want to have fun. YEAH!

By this time the girl power was on full strength so when Monty called us in for dinner we were ready to refill on beer and wine. I don't remember too much about dinner except we were back in the hot tub after Leslie got done sniffing the cake. She loves cake. As I mentioned before I was checking in on Leslie a lot to make sure her drink was full. She's one of those rock climber/punk rocker/cool types... She wore a skull print bikini to master's swim. So cool (unlike myself).

More people showed up including Monty's girlfriend Lauren (super stud sporty girl) and Michael (coach) and Aimee (runner and newbie triathlete) from Sacramento. Lauren entertained us in the hot tub with funny stories about Monty and we were yukking it up until he showed up and asked us if we could top off the water in the tub from the hose. We all stared blankly at him. He tried to explain it again... we kept staring at him. He finally said, "I'll be back later to do it myself!" which caused all of us to get out of the tub before he made us do any real work. Poor guy. Sadly, he left the hose in the tub and it reverse drained half the water out so no hot tub the rest of the weekend. Big time bummer.

Click on this pic of Jonas to see the salt crusted onto his face. I think he rode well over 100 miles every other day. I AM THE MALE PRO.

Day 1: Ladies of Slowtwitch Triathlon Camp

Thursday, 03/23/06 I flew out of PDX via el cheapo Southwest and suffered the repercussions: I was last one on the plane and the only seat left was with a young couple and their baby. The precious baby reguritated breakfast everywhere and the smell of infant spit up filled our aisle. MMMM. I love babies but...

After transferring in San Jose, I arrived in Ontario, CA around 3pm and Dawn from Canada picked me up almost immediately. Dawn has short blond hair and is a cute mother of two from Canada and was attending the Ladies of Slowtwitch Triathlon Training Camp on her husband's encouragement. I hugged Dawn as soon as I saw her #1 because she looked friendly and #2 so that she would be more tolerant of me. It's not clear to me if I am a difficult personality or not so I try to endear myself to people just in case.

Anyway, Dawn had the directions to Xantusia ( home of Dan Empfield--founder of Quintana Roo bicycle and wetsuits and Mark "Monty" Montgomery--former pro triathlete and triathlon innovator) practically memorized so I revved up my motor mouth and told her my life story which includes: divorce, mistakes, new boyfriend, bulging disc, puppy + kitty, and desire to get on with my life. Probably not that exciting.

Dawn is one of those strong, totally together types of women and thankfully she was driving the car and was to be my roommate for the weekend because I was too excited to be in charge of anything besides planning my next outfit.

We walked in the door of Monty's lovely house to find a room full of sported out looking people sitting around with laptops. OK. Kind of strange. Monty gave us a brief tour and we went off for a walk around the property with the ladies (Cathy, Sophie, and Leslie were already there). The jibber jabber started immediately and I could tell that we were going to have a good vibe and a friendly weekend.

After the walk, our fabulous host offered us some wine and steered us toward the hot tub while he finished dinner. He didn't have to ask us twice! Jonas showed up at the hot tub in a little speedo type suit and apparently my face turned a whole new shade of red. I have never seen a Swedish professional triathlete in person let alone shared a hot tub with one so I tried not to say anything stupid.

Monty joined us in the tub too and the water started flowing over the sides. I don't know what it is about warm water and near nudity but friendships were instantly formed and the start of a great weekend was underway. Monty cooked up some chicken and vegetables and served us cake and all of the stress I have been exposing myself to lately just melted away.

Leslie from Utah became my new dinner partner, she brought a case of Sierra Nevada and I made sure she drank plenty of it because it made her laugh at my jokes. She's lucky she doesn't live closer to me because I could get used to having a friend like that. After much good conversation (Jonas and Monty held their end up with the ladies quite well) we all went off to bed. Photo of the ladies from night #1: Cathy, Leslie, Sophie, Erika and Dawn. More on Cathy and Sophie and the rest of the camp later...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Dude I'm tripping out

I was pretty tired yesterday so I swam, ran and went to the ART guy and got worked over. Now I'm really tired which is great since we're helping friends move tonight after work...

I need to pack for triathlon camp and I'm trying to figure out if I should bring a case of Mirror Pond (my favorite brew) or if a six pack will do. Also want to bring something from Oregon for our host Monty. And I need a house warming gift for our friend's new house. I should get my eye brows waxed and I never did go tanning... AHHHHHH!

Can you carry a case of beer onto a plane?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Devil with a pink skirt on

Thank goodness the weekend is over, I'm too worn out to keep up with myself! Saturday we drove up to Mary's Peak (about 30 miles from town) to X ski with the dog and friends. The Peak is one of our favorite spots, both summer (to bike up) and winter (snow shoe and ski) and it's so close there's no excuse to not get up there. I'm looking forward to summer and attempting the 9 mile time trial (TT) to the top to see if I can beat my previous record. Lavs holds the double TT record as he is the only guy to TT up it twice. More on Lavs later...

Marshall had fun in the snow but the poor guy was exhausted when we got home! (yes that's me in the pink fleece skirt) I had to run out to go shopping almost as soon as we got home and then we were off to dinner at Lonnie and Cindy's where Marshall got to play with Sequoia (big Lab) and Samara (little girl) so who says he was tired? I was tired! I brought over some chocolate easter eggs which is part of my way of teasing Lonnie, he's a vegetarian and doesn't buy sweets so I like to bring sweets to his house and watch him chow down. Yes, my middle name is Evil.

Sunday morning we took the dog downtown for a walk on the waterfront (in other words, to get Erika a latte) and got ready for a bike ride. The Doggs (our local Ironman addicts) were doing Decker loops and we were joining them at the end of their workout. The Decker loop is a hilly 20 mile ride that is done regularly for training and as a time trial loop. The start is in front of Lavs house and there is always a lot of discussion as to which way the wind is blowing. Loop times are carefully noted and records are kept as to who has the fastest times. Lavs is the record holder on the Decker loop and there are occasional attempts to dethrone him, I think Bill has come the closest to it but it has stood for a few years now.

Griz was doing 5 loops on Sunday and everyone else was doing 1-3 loops. I decided to show up near the end when the old man was a little worn out to see if I could keep up. I took off early and played the rabbit for everyone to catch. I used it as motivation to ride hard, about 85% of max which I am really not fit enough to be attempting but I held it together well and even made it through the hilly parts without falling over. Taz caught me about 16 miles into it with Lavs and Bill not far behind. Grizwald was suffering and rode the same pace as me but never caught me due to the head start advantage. My pace was 3 minutes off of my fastest time but I think that record is very soft for me. Not bad though, I am happy. Bill and I tried to ride with Griz on his last loop but he dropped us like we were suckers. Having a chick on the course is highly motivating for the old guy. Fun times!

Afterward, we ate lunch and made about 30 hats. And I walked the dog again. I'm tired.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The triathlon season is starting

Pic of me letting the air out of Griz's tires before a race. No denying it now, the race season is starting! Our local race, the Beaver Freezer sprint triathlon is in a few weeks. Typically it's a decent shoot out with the local studs battling it out but this year the stud list is shorter (no Bill) but the race is sold out so it will still be fun. Everytime I have done the Freezer I have had a bad experience. It was my first triathlon and I got lost twice on the course, then the next year I got a flat tire and almost froze to death and the year after that I was cranking for an awesome run when I got a delibilitating cramp and had to walk.
Our friend Even (old Griz) challenged me to do the race again this year but I had to pass since I'm trying to get my neck well. I only beat him by 30 seconds last time and that was just over a year after he was hit by a car and almost killed at IMFL. He now has titanium rods in his back and limited range of motion but he would totally kick my butt, I know it and he knows it. He's getting really strong and is doing IMCDA this year. If his back lets him, he will try to qualify for Hawaii.

We put on our own sprint triathlon last October and Griz beat me then. I love that guy, he's totally crazy.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Hair People

Dammit I'm sick again! Started with a sore throat yesterday and woke up this morning with all the usual symptoms. GAWD that doesn't help with the last minute training I'm trying to get in before triathlon camp. It's seven days away (dope!) so I guess I'll resign myself to suffering through the workouts. lame.

I got my hair done last night so I'm bigger, badder and blonder. I love hair people, they act like hair is the most important thing in the world. I told the nice lady not to bother styling my hair all fancy because I was just going home and going to bed but she insisted on giving me big hair. She told me big hair is coming back as are headbands and wearing a flower on one ear. I told her I spend all day in front of a computer and that the monitor wouldn't care how I looked but she wasn't listening. I can't believe how much hair color costs...!

I might have to go tan a few times before next Thursday since I am Oregon white (see pic below of my nasty looking legs YIKES!) This weekend I'll have to ride my bike, do a long run, and plan my wardrobe for the training camp. I also have to make hats for all the campers so things might be busy this weekend. Coffee will be my best friend.

Results from ART=too early to tell. I swam yesterday and felt a little more flexible in the pool but also sore and tired. I will probably go again next week and keep at it for a little while to see if he can get some response. I hope I can go back to the pool again tomorrow but it will depend on this freaking cold. lame. Buddy (aka Marshall aka Bubba aka Puppis) cuddled me this morning which made it extra difficult to get out of bed. I wish I was back there now.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


I've been told my blog needs more drama. I live in a small town in Oregon so drama is in limited supply so here's what I have for drama:

Bill and I drove 45 minutes to Eugene last night for my first ART (active release therapy) session and the session took about 1/2 an hour longer than I planned. Bill took the dog for a walk while I was getting worked on and then sat in the car waiting for me. He looked pretty peeved when I came out so I apologized and asked if he was worried about me to which he said NO.

He wanted to know why I got the extra time with the therapist and all I have to say is if being 5'9" and blond gets me an extra 20 minutes on the massage table then sign me up for highlites at the salon because I need the extra work! Yeah!

My legs are still bruised and nasty five days after crashing while trail running in AZ. Bill says the trail wasn't that steep but it doesn't take much for me to go down, I'm an accident waiting to happen. Just wait until I start mountain biking again, I'll have new bruises every week!

I'll try to find more drama to report on but it might take a while.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Kiss the kitty

We've settled back into our routine and it's obvious to me that Marshall missed Ms Kitty while he was away last weekend. I missed her too. She has taken to walking to the mailbox with Bill each night, it's about 1 block away. She likes to straggle behind and if you get too far ahead she yells "MEOW! MEEEEOOOOW!

Last night Marshall laid down on Ms Kitty's bed and cuddled her for a while before instigating a tussle. K-UTE!

We're planning a short trail run at noon today and then tonight after work we're driving to Eugene so I can see an ART (active release therapy) guy for my neck and shoulder problems. If I don't have any progress with him then I will be back at the Dr's office to explore options for surgery.

I was very happy to make it through most of the yardage in the swim class yesterday but I am a little stiff today. It's probably the swimming and travel combined. Tomorrow night I get my hair done and I'll start making lists for things to bring to California as the triathlon training camp is next week! One more pic of Marshall and Ms Kitty:

Monday, March 13, 2006

Big Butt is Back from Phx

We got back from Phoenix late last night and I am a walking zombie with a wide load where my rear end used to be. We ate out several times over the weekend (click on pic of cute Courtney with ice cream all over her face) and I ate more dessert in four days than I would in one month so I am feeling particularly FAT which will help with the upcoming triathlon training camp (cripes!). At least Bill out-ate me so I have something to be thankful for. Thank you B!

We visited Bill's parent's in Phoenix to celebrate their 70th bday and got to visit with all three of Bill's brothers and most of their families. Bill and I don't eat out much since we are on a partial student budget so we were fine and dandy with ordering off a menu for once. We didn't get out much in Phoenix except for a hike and a short run but that was fine with me, I don't enjoy five lane freeways and shopping malls much anyway.

Bill's parents put us up in their Casita (pool house) and I enjoyed joking with Bill about it being his Kato Kailen (sp?) house. They moved to in Chandler (a suburb of Phoenix) last year after spending 10 years in Maui. I miss Maui. Let's not think about that now.

Friday I went on a hike with the brothers at Picacho Peak (the point on the pic) and had some thrills trying to get up several steep rocky sections. The view from the top was incredible and we did some trail running at the base of the hill where I crashed big time so I can now show off my scratched up and bruised thighs and knees at swim class today. The old guys in my swim lane will be impressed I'm sure. At least I shaved.

We had to use cables to get up steep sections of the trail. It was a little windy so that didn't help on the sheer rock sections. This was one of the more adventurous hikes I have done and I could see the guys were nervous. I have a bizarre outlook on life now that I have trained and completed an Ironman. I just think: at least this won't take more than 10 hours. Anything under 10 hours seems reasonable to me now.

Fabulous Views of the desert. It rained all day on Saturday after a long drought. The rain canceled the baseball game we were supposed to attend (I was sooo sad about that).

(Click on images to enlarge)
Gorgeous Desert: there are flowers on that sad looking bush beneath the cactus. I have no idea where this is, I get lost in Phoenix as soon as I step off the plane.

And finally: home sweet home. Sunrise over the Willamette River Monday morning. Marshall slept with us last night and kept me warm and Ms Kitty let me kiss her 100 times while she purred so some of my guilt about leaving was relieved. Back to life.

I really do love my life, even the woman who honked at me five times this morning while I parallel parked didn't get to me. (b*tch) I am excited to see snow still in the hills but not on the ground at our house. Snow shoeing may be in our immediate future.