Saturday, November 29, 2008

Slow and steady wins the race

While I didn't technically win the race, I did finish my first official 5k -- and I ran the entire thing. My finishing time was 32.24, which was two minutes behind the fastest woman runner. I'm pretty proud of myself for reaching this goal.
The day started out overcast and chilly, with the temperatures in the high 20s when we began the race at the Fountain Creek Nature Center. The sun peeked out for a few minutes, and once I was moving, the chill disappeared.

A group of about two dozen people gathered to run and walk to benefit our local nature centers. A recently failed tax hike means the nature centers won't get funding from the county, so they can use all the monetary help they can get. The nature centers offer great programs for kids and adults alike, teaching us about our local flora and fauna and providing a beautiful natural setting for picnics, hikes and runs.

I started out at the very back of the runners but well ahead of the walkers. I managed to pass a man and his son and a couple so I wasn't the last runner to finish. I came away with a nature center T-shirt and a pair of running socks, not to mention the sense of accomplishment I feel right now.All in all, it was a very good day.

Friday, November 28, 2008

White Friday

The day after Thanksgiving has come to be known as "Black Friday." I've never been one to get up and chase the sales. I've either had to work or if I had the day off, slept in. Some of those sales start as early as 5 a.m. There isn't much that will get me up that early, especially on a cold, dreary day. This part of Colorado doesn't normally have white Christmases, but this year we got a white Thanksgiving -- sort of. It started snowing yesterday evening, and this morning, we have a nice little mantel of white.
Of course, not everyone thinks the snow is great.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

10 things I'm thankful for today

I am thankful:
For a roof over my head
For my family and their health
For space heaters and warm pajamas
For friends who read blogs (and those who don't)
For good coffee and sweet potato pie
That I don't have to drive anywhere today

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I missed out on the beginning of National Blog Posting Month for November but have posted every day since I found out about it. Today, I'm having a hard time coming up with something to write about.

So, instead of writing something less than profound, I'll share a picture. Because who doesn't love a picture of a cat drinking from the bathroom faucet?Ok, probably lots of people. But I know there are plenty who do love it, as evidenced by sites like this and all the cat-drinking-from-the-sink-related videos on YouTube.

Monday, November 24, 2008

What I read: "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck

I know I had to have read "The Grapes of Wrath" at some point in high school, but all I could remember about it was the daughter named Rose of Sharon and the fact that the Joads had to leave Oklahoma. I must have read the book at a point in my life when I thought times would never be tough, or perhaps I really just disliked my teacher at the time and projected that onto this book. Whatever the reason, I didn't remember much about this book, and that's a shame.

I can't believe I didn't remember Steinbeck's poetic prose:
In the middle of that night the wind passed on and left the land quiet. The dust-filled air muffled sound more completely than fog does. The people, lying in their beds, heard the wind stop. They awakened when the rushing wind was gone. They lay quietly and listened deep into the stillness. Then the roosters crowed, and their voices were muffled, and the people stirred restlessly in their beds and wanted the morning. They knew it would take a long time for the dust to settle out of the air. In the morning the dust hung like fog, and the sun was as red as ripe new blood. All day the dust sifted down from the sky, and the next day it sifted down. An even blanket covered the earth. It settled on the corn, piled up on the tops of the fence posts, piled up on the wires; it settled on roofs, blanketed the weeds and trees.
Or the strength and courage of a family plagued by misfortune and tragedy:
Ma looked down at her hands, lying together like tired lovers in her lap. "I wisht i could wait an' not tell you. I wisht it could be all--nice."
Pa said, "Then Granma's bad."
Ma raised her eyes and looked over the valley. "Granma's dead."
They looked at her, all of them, and Pa asked, "When?"
"Before they stopped us las' night."
"So that's why you didn' want 'em to look."
"I was afraid we wouldn' get acrost," she said. "I tol' Granma we couldn' he'p her. The fambly had ta get acrost. I tol' her, tol' her when she was a-dyin'. We couldn' stop in the desert. there was the young ones--an' Rosasharn's baby. I tol' her." She put up her hands and covered her face for a moment. "She can get buried in a nice green place," Ma said softly. "Trees aroun' an' a nice place. She got to lay her head down in California."
The family looked at Ma with a little terror at her strength.
I feel like I just read this book for the first time. It got under my skin. I dreamed about it. I thought about how we would handle such desperate times. Despite today's economic climate, it's hard to imagine having to live the way the Joads did -- 14 people traveling in a truck made by cutting away the back of a sedan, sleeping under a tarp, eating little more than fried bread and black coffee. It often occurred to me the reason this book was so sharply opposed when it was first published.
A kind of insurance developed in these nights. A man with food fed a hungry man, and thus insured himself against hunger. And when a baby died a pile of silver coins grew at a door flap, for a baby must be well buried, since it has had nothing else of life.
Talk of unions and strikes and even a kind of socialism, disguised as helping those less fortunate must have scared the haves and stirred the have-nots.
The great companies did not know that the line between hunder and anger is a thin line. and money that might have gone to wages went for gas, for guns, for agents and spies, for blacklists, for drilling. On the highways the people moved like ants and searched for work, for food. and the anger began to forment.
Above all "The Grapes of Wrath" is beautifully written and worth reading or re-reading.

It was featured in this year's All Pikes Peak Reads, but I was late in reading it and getting in on discussions. I see it as a timely selection.

More photos

Views from the Piedra River Trail near Pagosa Springs


We hiked in Great Sand Dunes National Park. My photographs don't do it justice. It's incredibly stark and beautiful. We'd like to go back in the spring when the water is flowing and the plants are lush. Hiking up sand is hard work but a lot of fun. A great ending to a great weekend.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


This is the Springs Resort in Pagosa Springs. The hot mineral springs are toasty and the rooms are comfy and quiet. My significant other gets brownie points for creating this romantic weekend getaway.

I plan to put up more pictures from the weekend in the next few days.