Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Active.com – not just a website to sign up for events

I discovered activetrainer.com a few months ago and have been recording every workout on it ever since. I already have an active.com ID from all the races I’ve signed up for, so it is easy to go out to the site and create a workout log. Now, I log all my training workouts (including weight training and cross training) on this site (for free).

It not only gives me a sense of accomplishment that I’ve finished workouts (did I mention it is free) but it also allows me to log such esoteric data such as stress level (1-10), sleep quality (1-10), and my personal favorite, Well Being (1-10).

This is the daily option

but there is also a weekly and monthly view. I like the weekly summary to show total hours.

Plus, I can choose an avatar (the graphical representation of a user). This is what I like to think I’m like; even if I’m not.

I’m on a 36 week training plan for Ironman Lake Placid and it’s fun to track my progress; even my weight. There are free training plans and training logs out on the world wide web, and here are my favorites:

Training Plan: SuperCoach

Training Logs: Active Trainer

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Column: The Seasons Always Surprise Me

Last week I wrote my Outdoor Column about a poem my sister wrote and how I thought of the words of her poem while skiing on the Fraser River Trail.

It's amazing the thoughts and pictures your mind remembers while doing an activity outside. Skiing, hiking, and just walking dogs, clears my mind. I think of so many things, remember so many events and people. I'm consider myself lucky when I remember enough of them to write the thoughts down when I get back home.

My sister's poem is amazing. Here is a link to the story: http://www.skyhidailynews.com/article/20101211/NEWS/101219988&parentprofile=search 

One of the important aspects of writing, writing anything: poems, stories, non-fiction - revision. My sister revised her final poem from the original one she sent me and the one line that was edited out, much to my dismay, is this line:

And I believe in the power of the earth
And the power of people to be strong and generous and good.

I just love this line and I think it means so much; I believe, too. I believe in the power of people to be strong, generous, good. The best line, the best thoughts, ever.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Bicycle Dreams

I found this by clicking on a Facebook Ad that said:
TOUGHER THAN IRONMAN?bicycledreamsmovie.com

"Bicycle Dreams" the celebrated movie about the world's toughest race. Do triathletes have what it takes to finish this cyclist beast?

Nice Target Marketing to me.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ironman Arizona - Done

So I finished Ironman Arizona. Just about a year ago I signed up and was hoping for an amazing day; I did have an amazing day.

Sign ups for next year sold out quickly and I'm reminded of the column I wrote about a year ago regarding winning the Ironman lottery.

As I re-read the story, I am reminded about what Ironman is, what it really means, and that Ironman is anyone who sets out to find out what they are truly capable of doing.

“Ironman is Not a Superhero: Ironman is anybody who's ever dreamed of becoming more, who's ever wanted to become better than what they are now, who's ever desired to find out the kind of person they were meant to be.
“Ironman is anybody who's then decided to act, and picked themselves up, and opened the door, and gone outside, and taken the first step of many steps ... towards the number of 140.6 as marked in miles, on a journey that will ultimately last a lifetime. Ironman is anybody. Ironman is you.”
From: http://www.jonathaninthedistance.blogspot.com/

Here's the start of the original column from:
Anything is possible, Outdoor Adventures
"I won the lottery.
Not the lottery where you get a pile of money; the one where a triathlete sits online trying to gain entry into the big race: Ironman Arizona. The athlete pays active.com $550; I am lucky - I get into Ironman Arizona Nov. 21, 2010. Entry for all Ironman races is the day after race day, for the following year. Most races typically sell out on the Internet in the first few hours; Ironman Arizona sold out in 25 minutes."
Read the rest of the Story in Outdoor Adventures

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cross Country Skiing Adventure in the Fraser Valley

I've started cross country skiing again this week as active recovery from Ironman Arizona. I’ve been skiing at lunch on the Fraser River Trail increasing time each trip. It is such a beautiful trail with Winter Park Resort’s slopes in the distance and then coming back to the Fraser Visitor Center, I see Byers. The first day out was a sunny, bluebird day, then yesterday I missed the sunshine window and when I got out on the trail, in came the clouds and impending storm. However, I took some good pictures of the Fraser River and the dark foreboding clouds.

While I enjoyed the climate in Arizona last week (it was like a Grand County summer in Tempe), I’m glad to be home and getting out on the trails filled with snow. Since I’m still in recovery mode, no running and don’t have any desire to get back on my bike for indoor riding. I think I’ll stick to skiing (downhill and cross country) and hiking with the dogs.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Indoor Spinning with a Lake View

I am indoor spinning (http://www.neversummerfitness.com/) in preparation for Ironman, 10 days away. The class is hard but it’s better than biking outdoors in 30 degree temps. I like biking with my friend George, who I met in spin class over a year ago who has been such an awesome friend and biking partner.

Ironman is just around the corner. I am so excited to go to Arizona and compete in my second Ironman. I know it’s going to be a great week. I’m going to love Arizona and 80 degree temps after it not getting above 50 the last few days.

I know it’s going to be the best time in my life; I just know it. Ironman - where anything is possible.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Thoughts from a Former Peak Bagger

There are so many times during the year that I think of all the things I want to do some day. I like making lists of all the things I want to do. I haven't been getting to many of them since I'm still working on the list from last year or a decade ago. I keep thinking of all the peaks around Grand County that I still haven't done like Byers and Vasquez. Or even the 14,000 footers that I'd like to do. I've lived in Colorado for almost seven years and haven't done one.

It's about time that I get one done and that is my top goal from next summer: To hike a 14,000 footer. Over the winter I will start planning and reading and learning about hiking them. There's a story in there some where.

Vasquez Wilderness

Here's the story I wrote this year about peak bagging and why I suddenly stopped climbing the big mountains.

I haven't hiked Byers Peak, yet. As an avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast living in Grand County for over three years, I'm embarrassed to admit it. The craggy peak taunts me every morning while I drive to work: Hike me, hike me.
Read the rest of the story here:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Preserving Wilderness and What We Love

“we are the most dangerous of species of life on this planet, and every other species, even the earth itself, has cause to fear our power to exterminate. But we are also the only species which, when it chooses to do so, will go to great effort to save what it might destroy.”
Wallace Stegner This is Dinosaur

I'm writing a future column about wilderness and I am reminded of the Ken Burns film about the National Parks that came out last year.

Thought I would re-post my column about my thoughts on preserving public land and what the Ken Burns film meant to me.

It is not enough to understand the natural world. The point is to defend and preserve it. - Edward Abbey

Three events created the perfect storm in my life this month: I watched Ken Burns' documentary, “The National Parks America's Best Idea,” my family visited and with a swift kick in the butt, I realized there are so many awesome places in my “backyard”, I need to play in them, and I read in a letter to the editor that Cozens Ranch may close permanently.

This perfect storm makes me realize I need to take action; protect these things I care about before they are gone.

Two hours each night and six nights — 12 hours total — I watched the Ken Burns special; I was entranced.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Colorado in October - it's a good place to be

Ironman Arizona is just five weeks away. It seems like only yesterday I signed up. Well, now it's very close. This week is a 21 hour training week (a part time job). I actually feel good; not too tired. My body seems to be adapting to the longer training runs and bike rides.
Tomorrow is a 6 hour bike ride; still don't know what route I'll take but the weather is looking good so far, highs of 55.

There is still only snow at 10,000 feet so I'm feeling fortunate that there is none at 8,000 feet where I live so I can still ride outside.

Life is good and this is a great place to be.

Life seems to be handing me so many great things right now. I will be writing about Snow Sports in the Rocky Mountain West for newwest.net this winter and my writing class in Denver is amazing. There are others things, too, but I won't gush here.

For now, riding and running outside, listening to the crunching of leaves and the cool mountain air, all remind me to be thankful for a good life.

Tonight, I look back at where I was a year ago, writing the story about Ironman and training outside in wind, snow, rain, cold. Here is the column from last year:
Anything is Possible.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

No Snow Yet

Snow is still not in the forecast and I like everything about it. This year I have been blessed with perfect autumn weather for Ironman training. While it snowed a few days ago in Winter Park, there was no snow in Granby. I can still ride my bike and run outside.

November 21, will signal the last day of 2010 triathlon training and racing. Then I can look forward to skiing. Winter is one of my favorite seasons. I love skiing: downhill and backcountry skiing. And, like I wrote in last year’s column, In November, we wait for snow.

In November, we wait for snow. We wait for weather reports and clouds coming from the northwest. After ten years of living in ski towns, I still get excited for the first big snow and the ritual of getting all the ski gear out of storage: sweaters, hats, gloves, and ski jackets. Each morning as I walk to the door to open the blinds I hold my breath in anticipation for what poet Billy Collins writes in the first line of Snow Day: “Today we woke up to a revolution of snow” and hope for snow on the ground.

Click here to read, A Revolution of Snow.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Living in Vacation Land has its rewards

Just about a year ago, my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Tim came to Colorado to visit me. One of the most fun things we did was go to Rocky Mountain National Park to see the elk bugling. I had never heard the elk bugle, or even know what it meant, until they visited and we went to the park.

I didn’t go this year to see the elk, Nancy and Tim didn’t come to see me this year.

Here is the column I wrote last year about their visit.

One of the benefits of living in vacation land is being a tourist in your own town when family visits and exploring the place you call home. Last week Nancy and Tim came to Grand County to visit me. I wanted to show off my town and give them a Rocky Mountain vacation they would remember.

They were on their own for the first two days while I worked. Trail Ridge Road stayed closed due to snow so they spent their afternoons in the Kawuneeche Valley watching the elk and searched for moose. I joined them after work. When I arrived, they knew exactly where to take me; we stood at the edge of Harbison Meadow and watched the elk through binoculars until dark. I became amazed at the elk as I stood next to the family from Oklahoma transfixed, as they were, at these majestic animals.
View the rest of the story here:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hunting in Grand County, Colorado

It’s that time of year, again – Hunting Season. I never used to be a big fan of hunting. But now, since I choose to live where I do, it’s part of life. Last year I wrote a column about hunting, this year, I have too many other topics to write about so unfortunately there is no time for writing about hunting.
I had a great time writing (and learning) about hunting last year so I thought I would post a link to the story.

Here is the beginning (click on the link after the introduction to read the remaining column):

I've lived in ski towns for the last 10 years. I've known many hunters but have never hunted; and I have never held a gun.
When I lived in Maine there was no hunting on Sunday so I knew I could hike on the trails behind my house and not worry about hunters. Since I moved to Granby, in the fall I hike with my dogs on the trails of SolVista and never even think about hunters since it is private land.

Link to Outdoor enthusiasts should learn about hunting

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Writer's Almanac Thursday Oct 7

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Today's Writer's Almanac

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

RMNP - Continental Divide Trail Sign

I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards.- Abbey

He was one tough bird. Saw this quote and had to post it:

It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it's still there. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in the head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards.

Ed Abbey

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Directive - Part 1 of 6

My friend Suzie gave me a skeleton of a book. She told me that I have to write about each image that is tucked into the six sections. I've named the book Directive because she gave me the directive to write it.

When she used the word “directive” I instantly thought of the Robert Frost poem, Directive. A poem that is said to be “ornery and ironic, heartbroken and lyrical”.

Sounds familiar.

Like many of Frost’s poems, it takes place in a wood, close to water and speaks to readers about our destination.

Part 1: A bird cage.

Suzie liked this image of a bird cage because of a story I read at Express Yourself called, Confessions of a Bibliophile where I write about the poet, Paul Lawrence Dunbar. His poem is the title of Maya Angelou’s first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,

When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore, -

When he beats his bars and he would be free;

It is not a carol of joy or glee,

But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core ,

But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings-

I know why the caged bird sings!

Back to Frost and Directive.
The poem talks about when we are completely lost may we come to our true selves. Sometimes a walk in the woods is all we need to rejuvenate.

And if you're lost enough to find yourself

By now, pull in your ladder road behind you

And put a sign up CLOSED to all but me.
Rober Frost, Directive

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Sphinx of Sand

The Sphinx of Sand by Gracie Lodge-McIntire & Kristen Lodge

We saw a Sphinx in the sand
Today at York Beachin Maine
and I said to Gracie,
“Let’s write a poem about it”

Why not?
I answered
with ideas sprouting

The rocks banged against our feet
The sun burned our backs
and the tide came high
and covered the sand

How can I compete
with those rocks that crash to our feet
or the Sphinx of sand
standing so grand?

And now we are home
with sand still on our feet
thinking of the sand and the Sphinx
and will always remember the day at the beach

There is one detail
that can never fail
the Sphinx of sandstanding so grand.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

June 26 2010 Vasquez Pass Trail Winter Park Colorado

Tree 1 Tree 2Tree Down right before trailheadTree 3 No Bikes in the Wilderness, ever.My favorite View, about 1/2 mile in

Tree 4

Road Damage on Vasquez Creek Rd, about 1 mile before Vasquez Pass Trail

This is the crossing at the beginning of the trail, the bridge is damage and will need replacing.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

North Inlet Photos

It's very hard to see but at the top of the rock hill there is a ginormous marmot. Never saw one so big. I thought they were smaller. He is eating well this spring.

Beautiful horses grazing on land near the North Inlet Trail. I would've taken some photos of the birds I was there to see, but couldn't zoom in enough. I need a better camera.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


My Monday's Writer's Group is always filled with surprises. Sometimes Fran Cassidy makes us write on a subject. Somedays Barbara Belnap comes up with an idea that we should all write about. I haven't adhered to any of their grand schemes, yet. I missed a few Mondays, so when I arrived this week and everyone has written about tumbleweeds, I'm interested to hear where this goes.
I guess it shouldn't surprise me, but it did, when Joan Shaw, author of Mountain I Dos and professional muscian, breaks out a piano in writer's group.
She writes about a song about tumbleweed and we sing the song about tumbleweek to her magical piano. I can't remember the song, but we all sang it. Here's Joan and her "take out" piano.
If you are reading this, you should come to Monday Morning Writer's Group. These writers write the most amazing stories.
And it just wouldn't be a writer's group without Jean Miller's amazing outdoor stories with her ending statement (on EVERY story): it's almost true.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Upper Colorado River Trip

Here are some photos I took driving out to Radium for the River Trip.

I didn't even feel like I was in Grand County.

Video of the Trip - Thanks Joe.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sea, Sand, and Sand Pipers

My last post was about the sound of mountain water, then a few days later I flew to Florida to visit my aunt and uncle.
As soon as I arrived in Florida I was in awe of green. The first day we spent 6 hours at the ocean. I watched the birds and asked Tim what each one was. After the first hour, he stopped answering me.
I wanted to know every bird.
Then as we drove to dinner each night I wanted to know about the trees. What kind of tree is that, Tim?
I loved the flora and fauna of Florida.
I loved the hawks that glided above the house, and the sand pipers that pecked in the sand, the unnamed birds that chirped in the distance. I wanted to know all their names.
I loved the palm trees.
But most of all I love the time I spent with Tim and Nancy and talking about family stories.
These family stories are about the ocean, and distance, and love.

Here, my other favorite sound: The ocean. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The sound of mountain water

This is the fraser river just as is flows south into downtown Fraser. I love the sound of mountain water.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Yes, it's really spring in the Rocky Mountains

An overnight Spring Snow Storm has blanketed the valley. It’s really beautiful now that the sun has come out. There is about four inches around my house. On this morning’s walk with the dogs I realized that it’s okay there is snow; we need the moisture.

Yesterday I ordered new bike clothes: Jerseys and Bike Shorts, and am eager to get out on road and mountain bike. Yesterday I rode around Pole Creek Golf Club for this week’s column. It’s a gorgeous course and although I don’t golf, I enjoyed riding around the meadows, and seeing a part of the county I’ve never seen. The willows were beautiful around Pole Creek. It reminded me of a Marjorie Cranston painting of willows and how dramatically colorful they can be. I never noticed all the different shades of orange and red they really were until after I saw her painting.

Here’s what this morning looks like:

Hopefully it will all melt by the end of the day and create some good flowing creeks and streams for the dogs to play in and get all muddy.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Hiking with Views of the Continental Divide

I wrote in one of my outdoor columns this month that I'm inspired by the Continental Divide. The last two mornings I've been hiking straight up the mountain behind my house to a spot where I can look down into the Fraser Canyon and up to the Continental Divide.

Here is Abbey looking down at the train coming through at the exact time we arrived at the spot. If she was a few years younger I bet she would've run straight down to it.
It was a beautiful morning and I sat at watch the Fraser River flow; I could hear it too.

Daisy loves running around up here; all the wonderful scents of critters. This early there is no one around and Daisy just runs and runs. I love watching her.

She is such a good looking dog.

I also love just watching the sun rise over the mountains in the morning; and that this is in my backyard.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Bernard DeVoto

Bernard DeVoto writes in his essay Footnotes on the West that art, literature, and life are all bound to the seasons. True. True.

DeVoto is not as well known as other writers who write passionately about conservation, The West, and public lands. I read Stegner’s biography, The UnEasy Chair fifteen years ago when I was reading everything Stegner wrote, but didn’t really remember much of it.

I read an old article in the August 08, 1994 issue of High Country News about DeVoto and how the FBI investigated him most of his adult life because he was so outspoken in the 30s and 40s; specifically writing an essay about “government spying, Red-baiting, blacklisting and Communist witch hunts that swept across America after World War II.”

So now I’m reading DeVoto’s West – History, Conservation, and the Public Good which is a compilation of some of his essays edited by Edward K. Muller. This is a good book. It’s interesting to think about how his writings in mainstream newspapers and magazine in the east really changed public opinion about how to manage western lands. He convinced many politians that western public lands need to be managed by the federal government to ensure the they were not sold to public interests. We would, for sure, have a different west, if not for his voice.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Snow still in April

We walk through the woods and trails; the fresh, late spring storm has blanketed the trails again. Suddenly Abbey, the nine year old dog, is acting like a two year old puppy. She follows a smell back and forth, then I see the grey-white hare, jumping along; it must be old, too, because Daisy would’ve caught it for the speed.

I call Abbey back and her hind legs are shaking. She has that sad puppy-dog look that Labradors have and then sits. She never sits on a walk. She starts licking her front leg over and over. After nine years with this dog, I know what this means – she going to puke.

And she does.

I don’t mind this snow at the end of April. I wish it was warmer so I could bike but I don’t have any upcoming triathlons or bike races so I’m okay with it all. It’s actually quite beautiful out.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thoughts on attending the AWP Writers Conference in Denver – April 2010

I attended the three day conference, going to every panel that had anything to do with landscape, place, western writing.
landscape, place, western writing – These words mean everything to me. As an easterner, wanting to write about the west that I love, I need to know and understand what it means to live and be western. I learned so much about things I needed to know.

I wonder when this need, this desire, to know about the west started.

I awake in the middle of the night: It started in 8th grade social studies class. The class was assigned Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: Mr. Stevens social studies class at Rye Junior High. It was 1984, the year I moved from Plattsburgh, New York to Rye, New Hampshire.

In New York I was not a good student. I cared more about my friends and boys. I didn’t do homework and didn’t care about school. Months before leaving, I brought home a kitten and thought I could hide it from my parents. The first night I had the kitten, it was more important to go to a high school football game with my friends than to try to keep the kitten hidden in my closet.

That night is now in the family story archive and still makes me cringe when family members bring it up. I got all C’s on my report card and a C- in Mr. Burdeau’s social studies class.

Moving was a chance to start over. I decided that I wanted to be smart, and learn, and go to college. I got to prove myself when I got the first reading assignment - Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.

I was completely enthralled by Mr. Stevens and history; western history, Native American History. I got an A-. I couldn’t stop reading about the Native Americans, about mountain men, and the pioneers. That is how it started.

Every morning and afternoon I walked one mile to the conference in downtown Denver. The first morning I walked defensively, the way a woman, alone, is taught to walk in a city. Be aware of people. Be aware of your surroundings. Be on guard. After nine hours of listening to writers talk about writing, I walked back to my hotel differently. I thought about the writers, academia, of publishing books. I dreamed of being a presenter and encouraging other writers, like the writers did for me today.

I walked past the South Platte River, past the rail yards, and noticed a bird flying down from the bridge to the river. I couldn’t identify the bird and wished that I could. I fell asleep that night as the trains rumbled in the distance thinking about the writing life.

The next morning I walked the same path, past the sun blaring through iron fencing, and Coors Field. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe trains causing the bridge to vibrate. I thought about everything. I wondered what will happen when I’m away from this landscape, and the west. I wondered what my life would be like without the aridity, mountains, and trains. I realized, that morning, in the city, I am in love with this land and with the stories from this place.

I am drawn to people who live in hard-to-live places. I want to know the stories of their failures and successes. I want to write the stories of survival and loss and these stories will take place in a landscape of sagebrush and tumbleweed.

That day, I also learned that who I am and where I live means everything.
In a panel celebrating the writing contributions of William Kittredge, Rick Bass said to us, and him:
“You’ve never forgotten where you come from”
“You’ve make a generation think harder, deeper of what it means to be a westerner.”

I learned to write authentic stuff of where you are.
It was three great days.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Way It Is - William Stafford

Kim Stafford talked about his father and writing his father's biography, Early Morning: Remembering My Father, William Stafford. He mentions his father's Poem, The Way It Is. This is the poem that helped him, as he constantly revised the structure (and table of contents) of the book.

The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

~ William Stafford ~

Kim Stafford told us during the panel "writing biography" at the AWP conference, about his father's advice about writing: "Do the thing that is most alive." I take this to mean this is what we as writers, should write about. I will do this.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Dirt Roads and Fame

I’ve been watching the TV show Fame the last few nights. I remember watching it as a kid every week. I just loved watching the dancing and acting but I don’t remember ever wanting to be a dancer or an actor; but loved the show.

When I think back to being a kid, I never had a clear picture of what I wanted to do with my life. I watched a lot of TV and I read a lot of books. I’m jealous of the people who knew in high school exactly what they wanted to be. In high school I like sports, played some and watched basketball, football and hockey on TV. I think I wanted to be an athletic trainer at some point but I didn’t have the passion that the characters in Fame had.

Watching it now, I feel the desire to be someone and do something, like they had to be dancers and actors. I’m almost 40 and I finally have a feeling of what I want to be and how I see myself in the future.

My aunt Nancy told me on her visit last year that I’m more assertive than I’ve ever been. I don’t think I ever saw a path for myself until now. Now that I have my direction, I ask for what I want and do what I want more than ever.

I’m finally taking the advice I’ve shelled out for years: no one is going to take care of you other than you.

I want to write. I want to tell stories.

Today in writer’s group I read my story, Dirt Roads, about living on the dirt roads in Killington Vermont and all the people I met; and about runaway dogs. My fellow writers told me they loved the description of dirt on the dashboard and the characters on the dirt road. I love telling stories about Vermont. It’s was such a difficult time but I have two lifelong friends; this is my story of how they became my friends.

I hope a literary magazine will say yes to it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The (outdoor) Writing Life

I love this writing life. The best part of writing stories; fiction and creative nonfiction, I get to live my life twice. When I wrote last week’s column about fishing I spent hours thinking and writing about my family summer vacations as a kid. Much of what I thought about and wrote didn’t make it into the final version, however, I called my sister and brother to ask what they remembered about summer vacations and lack of fishing on these vacations.

The story I’ve been working on for the last few weeks and sending to a few magazines is Steamboat Stories. I read it in Writer’s Group today and love remembering these stories from one of the years I lived in Steamboat Springs: skiing with friends and Olympians, closing day at the mountain and getting silly (skiing with a backpack filled with beer, who does this?). I only remember the good times.

I vaguely remember the bad or difficult times for these stories. Maybe I’ll use them in a fiction novel when I’m old and bitter; not there yet.

Writing is hard and it doesn’t pay the mortgage. It’s okay. Tomorrow I’ll be at it again, writing as much as I can squeeze in, submitting stories to literary magazines with the hope they will say YES!, and trying to get to work on time.

“Do you know how lucky you are? You're a writer. You get to live life twice. Who else can do that?” Dawson’s Creek (Love this Show)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Steamboat Stories

An excerpt from Steamboat Stories (a chapter in my book):


I meet Steve in the lift line at Burgess Creek on a sunny January late morning. I don’t hear his question at first but a man with a hat and goggles is looking my direction with the body language of someone asking me something, I just can’t hear what he is saying with my helmet on.



I laugh because, yes, indeed, I am single, but what he is really asking is if I want to ride the chairlift with him. There isn't a line of people; in fact, there are no other people around except for the lift attendant.

“Yes, wanna go up together?”

And we do.

The two things I notice about Steve right away: he has an amazing smile and he is not wearing a helmet.

We start typical chairlift talk.

Phase 1: We talk about how our day was going, what trails are good.

Phase 2: We ask each, "Where do you live?"

Phase 3: He lives in Steamboat - I ask how long he has lived here and what he does for work? We try to figure out if we might know each other through mutual friends.

Phase 4: We don't know any of the same people so when he asks my name my first instinct is to make up one. But he is cute and makes me laugh by quoting 80s movies, so I tell the truth.

Monday, March 22, 2010

"I love your work" and Editors

I’ve read so many books in my day and as someone who hopes to one day publish a book of stories (aka Memoirs) I always pay special attention to the dedication page and the forward and prologue of any book I read.

I always wondered about the over thankfulness to editors. I thought it was over done; over thanked. But now I understand.

I’m getting a story published in an online publication: Whistling Fire. The original story I sent to them called, Making a Home Out West detailing my story from the beginning: moving to a ski town, then another, and another. The editor told me to cut to the chase, don’t tell everything. I started, again, at the end of the beginning.

About editors, I’m thankful to the ones who edit my outdoor column each week at the Sky Hi Daily News. We writers, we think our stories are so interesting, so perfect; but the truth, they always need editing.

So today, I’m thankful for editors. And hopefully one day, an editor in some publishing house will read my query: Continental Quotient, my book of stories about living in mountain towns, and maybe, perhaps, some day, say, we want your book. For all my commas, semicolons, and misplace modifiers, they will still like my work and say that word, all us writers want to hear: Yes.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fishing Story

This week I'm writing a story on fishing. I dated a man who fished. I would row or paddle us out to the center of Mount Blue Pond in Maine and he would fish. I liked the exercise of rowing and paddling, however, I didn't like being quiet and burning to a crisp in the sun while said boyfriend, fished.

There wasn't anything really fun about it. But after talking to the Dale and Tami Casteel at Beacon's Landing on Lake Granby, I might try fishing this year.

The fun part about writing this week's column is the research. It also makes me want to know why I didn't grow up fishing. I talked to my brother and aunt about fishing when we were kids. I never did it and I don't know why. I'm going to keep digging and hopefully a story will emerge.

I love remembering. I love talking about family vacations and what I did as a kid. My brother told me a story today about how he and his friend Justin would fish from the concrete pier on Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh where we lived until I was 13. Just by his quick mention of that pier reminds me of so many family stories, memories of that lake where we swam; and it was just a mile down the road from our house. How lucky we were to live on a lake. I remember a life guard carrying a girl out of the water when she cut her foot on ice. Oh, the drama of that day.
Jason isn't a fisherman despite a few days fishing with our grandfather and some fishing trips with friends when he lived in Maryland. He's a beach person. So is my sister.

I never fished. I don't think I ever held a fishing pole in my hand.

But now I want to try it. When I lived in Steamboat and would tube down the Yampa River with friends, I was always amazed at the women flyfishermen we would float past. I could be a flyfisher-woman. I might just get my fishing license this year.