Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Day I Felt My Age

Or My Adventures in Skijouring

I would like you to think back on your past.... remember tobogganing as a child?
The thrill of speeding down that hill, the wind in your face, snow being whipped up stinging your cheeks.
Those moments of hitting bumps and the sled tipping you face first into the soft frosty snow.
Do you remember the heart in the mouth moments when you hit speeds that you were sure were Mac 1?

Now imagine if you will, cutting two thin strips from that toboggan and strapping them to your feet.
You have to go down that hill staying in an upright position balancing yourself with two poles that you cannot lose... so don't let go!
Oh... I've forgotten something in this moment.  That you have two wild dogs strapped to your waist tearing down that same hill. AND that you are about 30 years older than that child you used to be!

Yup.. that was me as we started off on our skijouring adventure yesterday.
We had to go down a hill to get to the lake..... I ended up sitting on my butt the entire way down.
Now you have to picture this..... with me laughing the whole time... what a hoot.

Those of you who do not know what skijouring is, let me explain the craziness of this sport.
There is a belt that you wear around your waist.... attached to this belt is a rope that is then clipped to a dogs harness.  Hopefully the said dog(s) will then pull you along at a nice even speed while you help them wearing cross country skis.

This picture is of a facebook friend of mine and a young lady whom I've met many times at various races...  will demonstrate what it looks like as you ski across the finish line.

There are no pictures of me this year skijouring as no one has been around with a camera when I've gone... and yesterday although I brought a camera no pictures were taken... and I will now explain why.

Our dog sledding friend took us to the most beautiful spot in the Kananaskis area... well close to it anyway... the scenery was breath taking.  I love going to the mountains and always wonder why we don't go more often every time I'm there.

So after he left with his team of 7 pups and sled on the trail we would be taking, we proceeded to put our on our belts, ski boots and harness the dogs....

(The pups waiting for us to get ready)

I walked to the top of the hill, which at the moment didn't look too bad to me.
Then proceeded to put the skis on my feet while holding back two frantic dogs wanting to take off down the obvious trail.  While holding them back they decided to get all tangled up in their line... so standing on my skis I now attempted to untangle the two crazy dogs.... Penny and Hubba... my two fastest pups.

So now untangled and pointed in the right direction off we go and I immediately lose balance and end up on my butt sitting on the back of the skis... flying down the hill at what I'm assuming could only be the closest thing to a land speed record.
What else is there to do but enjoy... and that I did... laughing the entire way down.  It was so much fun.

At the bottom of the hill it was time to get into an upright position which I did quite quickly to only fall down as soon as the dogs took off again.  The second time getting up wasn't as quick as the dogs were now tugging at the line wanting to get going.  As soon as I was standing again the dogs took off to only have me fall flat on my ass once again... this time both dogs looked back at me as if to say "seriously?? Is this what we're going to have to do the entire time??"

(not exactly as it happened.. but it feels that way the next day!)

However... the fourth time was a charm and I didn't fall again... I spent the first few moments concentrating very hard on staying in an upright position that I wasn't aware of how fast we were actually going.

Now when I say upright I mean it was more of a bent over position.... like in a squat that you would do at the gym.  Holding on to the line pulled tight in front of me, poles tucked under my arms...... I would love to know the speed we hit.
Ray had the GPS which said his speed was about 14k's at some point.. but we were most definately faster than they were... so  one can only guess.

I became aware of the wind with the speed and at times had to grab my hat.  The snow from the lake was pulled up in mini blizzards around us as we lost sight of the trail from time to time... it was an amazing feeling. Very cool.
I also realized that I had yet to actually ski.  If I moved my feet I'm sure I would have fallen anyway.... but these two crazy dogs were pulling me at top speed not needing any help from me at all.  It helped that we were on a flat surface with no hills of any kind.  A perfect run.

It was at the half way point that Ray and I met up on the trail.  Now remember, our two girls cannot get within touching distance of each other or we would have a fight on our hands.  So the only way to stop is to fall.
Somehow in all of this Ray, Molly and Rocky ended up being ahead of us.... a big mistake.
Due to Hubba we were a speed machine, much, much faster than the pretty pups ahead of us.  So I had to keep falling to keep us from running over top of them.
At one point Ray had to pick up a poop.. put a ski back on.. untangle dogs... find his gloves... etc. etc. etc. 
I was laying on the trail trying to keep the dogs from heading in their direction... they were crazy... pulling the line by jumping.  Then somehow they turned me in the snow and ended up pulling me backwards.

Backwards being pulled on the snow. Picture it. Think about it.
How does a snowplow work?
Where does snow go?
Anywhere it gets pulled into.
In this case... my shirt.   I looked pregnant with the amount of snow that was stuffed up under my fleece jacket and shirt.
And let me tell you... it was cold!

This was the point I started screaming into the wind at Ray to let me take trail and go ahead of him.
However the wind was blowing my words away and he had no idea what I was trying to communicate.
So off his slower team finally went.  I waited a moment to give them distance before getting up.  It only took a split second to catch up at which time I had to fall  yet again to stop my locomotive of a team.
This time my screaming which was intermingled with some not so nice words made it's way to Ray... I'm not sure if it was my arm movements of trying to convey "move over" or the not so nice words that finally had Ray move off the trail.

We were finally able to fly by at break neck speed.

So now do you understand why a camera wasn't used?... thought of very briefly... but not used.

 This morning my poor OLD body is telling me that I am not a 20 year old anymore and every muscle below the waist is screaming at me.
Oh.. and I've also hurt my knee.. probably from one of the falls that happened out there.

Will I do it again?...... oh yes ... you bet!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Breakfast at Tiffany's

This morning was one of glory prompting me to grab my camera.  Breakfast time with the dogs.... slow it down and grasp the morning sun rise.

The frosted trees against a morning sky


                                                     A closer look

                                                           Brrrr...a crisp start to our day

                                   Hey Mom... didn't I hear something said about breakfast???

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Morning Thoughts

Why our memories come flooding back in one particular moment is a mystery.

Sitting in my house on a quiet Sunday morning.  Hubby out doing dog chores allowing me to laze around in my jammies, un-rushed, the promise of a fun run with pups on the trail hovering around me.  A perfect beginning to my day.

When suddenly I'm surrounded in visions from the past.  Most make me smile, some leave me feeling melancholic.  Why must life fly by so fast?

Trying to flush the mood that surrounds me I attempt to get some work done.  Paper work that still looms from the days of Mugs, paper work that once done will finish off a time in my life that was not only stressful but full of happiness and great friends.

As I sort through papers my hand comes to rest on an envelope.
"Do NOT open it!!" I tell myself.

I open it

Cards of well wishes from staff, customers and friends.  Notes written on my last few days at Mugs.

Unable to stop myself I read every letter, which brings forth a sadness that I carry within my heart.
I miss so many people.

My children who both live away from home make my heart ache with their distance.  I do not begrudge them their choices of living where they have settled for now.  In fact the ache in my heart is mixed with pride in their ability to be so independent.
I also miss family and friends who all live so far away.

More recently I miss my Mugs family.. the staff and customers who made up such a huge part of my life for 6 years.  

The sun shines in through my window as I sit comfortably relaxing on this wonderful morning, my thoughts drifting to the many joyful days of hanging out with my staff and customers.. the laughter that they brought to my days. 
It was my privilege to have been introduced to so many wonderful characters in my life.
I was most definitely the lucky one.

Time brings forth changes as people move on and places change their look or crumble in decay.  And this is what saddens me.  I am grateful for the memories, but wish that just for a second in this quick paced life we could jump back and be within the space that made us happy.

Looking forward to many new happy adventures I will still look back embracing the moments that made me smile..... and there are many.

I love you all... I miss you all.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Staying Warm

I received an e-mail from a friend this morning... and I quote....

"your nuts! You STAY outside with your dogs on a cold day like today??  How do you keep warm?"

So for everyone (and that is probably 99% of my friends) who think I'm nuts to hang outside for about 4 hours a day playing with dogs... this is how I stay warm.

And yes.. today was cold.. and this is without the windchill.. which at 6:30 this morning was approx -29
It is important to dress warm.. obviously... and this is what I wear..... keep in mind this is just my hanging out in the backyard gear.. when I'm sledding and especially skijouring there isn't this much.. although when sledding for long periods this and more come along for good measure.

 One of my favorite purchases was this pink (very fashionable) undershirt from my all time favorite store MEC
I love this shirt for skijouring.. it is perfect.. and works excellent for just keeping me warm under whatever sweatshirt or sweater I'm wearing that day... today... my Yukon hoodie


 I have a couple underclothing pants... 'long johns' that I wear.  When I'm just doing allot of standing around I pull out my MEC fleece pants under my sweats.

My outer clothes consist of my snow pants.. fleece lined of course... the absolute BEST purchase I've ever made.. my Cabella coat.. so light weight and SO warm.  If it is super cold I'll throw a light weight fleece jacket on under that.

 Mitts... hat...(both fleece lined wool) and a fuzzy fleece neck toque.
and SOCKS.. this is a very important piece of gear to me.. since freezing my toes last year I need to make sure I have warm foot gear.. and these are the most amazing socks I have ever owned.
Then the boots... these are 'okay' and I am in the process of replacing them for some heavy duty -50 ones in the near future.

So there you have it.... I dress warm so that the only part of me capable of getting cold is my eyeballs.

Of course while outside just hanging I will sometimes take a warm drink with me.. however it can be difficult to actually consume it.

 Playing with the dogs and doing the chores helps keep me warm.... a 'special' fun chore is the poop pick up... and here is a picture of Hubba's and Mollys all you can eat buffet buckets.
But seriously... I would rather be sledding... and with a sick hubby at home.. it has been hard to get out.  My poor sprint sled looks rather lonesome and sad as it sits waiting for someone to put it to use.... maybe tonight my dear friend... maybe tonight.

                                          Happy trails everyone.... dress warm and it's all fun!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Spectacular Graingranular

Or the Tale of the Rolling Stone

A grain of.. sand? Calcium?
A grain, granular grain.
A speck of a grain
A spectacular of a grain
A spectacular granular grain

Silently it grew, and grew some more until it was not so silent anymore
It found it's voice in dear hubby.
Becoming the not so subtle nor so silent spectacular granular of a grain of a speck of a stone.

A very wicked little stone, rolling this way and that like on one of those labyrinth toys that a ball rolls along until you reach the right hole or indent to rest upon.
In hubby's case it was the opening of the kidney... wicked evil little stone.

Off to the Misericordia Comm Hospital in Edmonton, a day trip that was not all that romantic.
Unless you think seeing your spouse dressed in nothing but a back opened dressing gown to the knees with black socks and dress shoes is a huge turn on, then no, there was nothing romantic about it at all.
Nor was the fact that I was left in a waiting room while the hubster was put out while laying on a huge ass table that made some rather loud, yet rather rhythmic, snap/banging sounds.

After waking up there was considerable pain that needed the help from some morphine.... a good sign we were told... to be in pain means the wicked stone is now many pieces of evil little stones that are now on the move.

So now we wait.... for the birth of the many small pieces of the spectacular granular grains.... and all I can say is... "glad it's not me"

Funny thing about whats happened around here is we just watched season two of Deadwood (our new favorite show to watch) and the attached scene below was one we saw less than a week ago... strange coincidence?
For the faint of heart I recommend not watching..... for those who know me well will understand why we love the show.. for those who know me a little.. you may be surprised.  (the language is rough)

here is the link (above) as I couldn't attach the video today.. I'll try again later

Friday, February 4, 2011

Molly's Muse - The Rosebud Run

So I wait for Musher Lady to report on her race weekend... and I wait, and wait some more.
Something has had her quite upset this week.  I know she's upset as she keeps hugging me and wont leave me alone!  Although I will admit I've loved all the butt and neck scratching I've been getting, however someones gotta report on the weekend.

Guess it will be me.

I didn't get to race, so you would think I'd be harbouring bad feelings and all, but musher lady knew best as my foot was really bugging me last weekend and it probably wouldn't have been good to have run in the deep snow that we had on the trail.

Yes snow!!! 
The weather had been warm and all the snow was quickly leaving the yard and fields.  I know the humans were really worried about the upcoming race trail conditions.  But while all the mushers were doing something called registering the night before the snow fell from the sky... and LOTS of it fell.
I heard the trails were a little slow but awesome!  I'm a little sad I didn't get to see them.

The weekend was a fun one for everyone.  Lots of other dogs were there making all sorts of noise.. something like over 200 pups hanging out at our trail.

This kinda pissed off Rocky and Penny.  They said they didn't like sharing the trail with all these other dogs and did their best to let it be known.
Musher lady was upset with them though as they gave all the dogs a whatfor as they passed on the trail.

You know I would have been the object of  pure angelic perfectness if she had taken me..... really! I would have.

On Saturday the 'team' was 4th out of the chute of 11 teams which gave Penny and Rocky plenty of opportunity to teach 5 teams a lesson as they passed. 

All that fooling around put them in last place, but then again because I was missing they were at a huge disadvantage... only 3 dogs instead of 4.
Musher lady said that us purebred dogs are slower than the dogs like Hubba Bubba and I take great offence to that remark excepting that when looking at the times compared to the Pure class my team did pretty good and falling in the third place category.

Everyone had a lot of fun... well except me who got stuck in a crate in some strange van that wasn't ours.. don't know why we didn't take our truck, something about it being in pieces at shop.. whatever that means.

I heard there is another race this weekend... but we've had to miss that one 'cause the man human has to go to something called a hospital.. something like a vet place for people I think.... I hope he is okay for the next race cause I heard rumour that he was going to race us dawgs!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

No Understanding

Words just cannot express the turmoil of my emotions.

I just don't understand.

I've removed myself from any form of media.
Just cannot bear to think of it anymore....yet when I sit alone here at the computer or close my eyes at night it is all I can think of.

I will not express my opinions on either side for fear of putting myself in a position of non-explanation.
Instead I go out and hug my pups tight.... and seeing the trust in their eyes as they know I will be there for them makes me wonder, again....

I just don't understand.