Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Ink

Last week, I finally got in to get my new tattoos.  As I've said in the past, my tattoos all mean something to me and these are no different.  And, as I've said in the past, these will probably be my last tattoos.  After all, I've got pretty much everyone/everything who means anything to me covered.
Okay, I can handle this...
just breathe

Ouch, ouch, ouch

Love this picture...
It looks like I've actually been branded

Estes' brand on the left,
the kids' on the right.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Job Offer

Opened my email today and found this job offer...thought I'd share it with you.  Maybe you'll get as big a kick out of it as I did.  I think I'll pass on this big opportunity, though.

GunDiva, I have reviewed your resume today. (A resume I never submitted!) Well done, I must say! (Freaking magical. You know, since I never submitted one!) We have an opening for a gift wrapper associate (full-time and part-time). (Yep folks, that's what my $82K degree in Biology will get me. A job as a professional gift wrapper.) I would like to offer you this position. Please let me know if you're interested. * Offer valid 5/28/2012 thru 6/8/2012. (Apparently, the job has an expiration date.) Mr. DimWitt, HR Manager JCPenney Department Store  

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Holy Cow!

We did it!

We actually finished a 10k.  My feet and legs are telling me all about it, too, with every step I take.

I've never seen anything like it - 50,000 people at one race.  Apparently, the BolderBoulder (or the organizers) invented the wave start; a new wave is started approximately every minute, with the fastest waves going first and walkers bringing up the end.

Waiting on our wave line-up

RCC, me, Kyzzer, Nebalee, Autobot, Mr Nebalee
It was easy to get caught up in the pre-race excitement.  Even as much as I hate crowds and easily become claustrophobic, it wasn't an issue.  Probably because it was outside and there was so much to see.  I had no idea runners were so crazy.  We saw the X-Men, The Avengers, The Lego Men, a whole gaggle of Waldos, a ballet-company's worth of tutus, and costumes we just couldn't figure out.  The worst dressed award goes - easily - to the group of three males running in nothing but their boxer briefs.  Of course, I didn't get pictures of any of the costumes because I was just in awe of everything going on.

The show didn't end with the runners. Oh, no. The show - circus might be a better term - continued along the route.  They had thirty bands stationed around the route and in-between, neighbors made a party of the race.  There were keg stands for runners, free shots, a slip-n-slide, lots of free hugs, and my favorite...people with garden hoses soaking all of the runners down as they went by.

Our goal (by our, I mean mine that I was holding us to) was to finish in 1:47:00, so I estimated that we'd have to keep about a 17:00/mile pace.  I didn't figure that would be too hard, as it's just slightly faster than a walking pace and I've been doing Ease into 5K for the past five weeks.  Turns out, we were able to do better than what I had hoped.  We didn't do nearly as well as Nebalee's family, who ran it the entire way, but we didn't embarrass ourselves either.

Because we were slightly ahead of schedule, I didn't feel too badly about stepping off the course at the summit to take this picture...
Summit: 5,391 feet above sea level
As they say, "Sea Level is for Sissies" :)
Believe it or not, the first half of the race wasn't bad at all.  All of that work with Ease into 5K definitely helped.  RCC and I alternated walking and running, only I got sick and tired of getting my ass kicked every time we did a run interval.  His strides are so much longer than mine that he was finishing our intervals a few seconds ahead of me.  It pretty much pissed me off, so about halfway through the race, I said to myself, "Self, I'm tired of getting my ass kicked.  Eff this shit, he's not beating us again."  And myself said, "Damn straight chickadee.  Kick it into high gear and kick some RCC arse!"

It took full-on sprints to keep up with his longer legs, but I managed to tie or beat him on every interval we ran in the second half.  That made me very happy.  Things started getting tough after the fourth mile, but that's when my conditioning really started to pay off.  It was still going fairly well, right up until the 9th kilometer.  That's when RCC pulled his hip flexor and I started losing some steam, but after completing 9K, what's one more?

We shuffled along, forgoing running intervals, during the last kilometer and then the stadium came into sight.  Whoever dreamed up the notion of running into a full stadium was a genius, even if the last bit into the stadium is uphill.  I told RCC that it reminded me of traveling in Italy - uphill and lots of people.

Walking into the stadium, and around the track to the finish was indescribable.  Touchy-feely alert: RCC and I crossed the finish line holding hands.  Seemed like a good idea at the time, now seems a little mushy.  Damn it.  Don't tell anyone.

I'm pretty soon the smiling was due to relief of
still being alive.
Or hypoxia.
The only drawback to the race is that some idiot, who we all know and love, forgot to put sunscreen on and now her skin is the same color as the shirt she ran in.  And, the shirt she chose to wear didn't completely cover her new tattoo. 

I don't know for a fact, but I'm pretty sure that my tattoo guy wouldn't have told me to be careful about putting sunscreen on it if sun was good for a brand-new tattoo.

Sorry for the bluriness of this picture...
I kind of ran with my phone tucked into my bra
and this is what dried boob sweat does to the camera lens.
Because I'm so thrilled with finishing - and beating our goal - I'm going to leave you with our splits.  They make me happy.

GunDiva's splits:
  • Mile 1 = 0:16:11
  • Mile 2 = 0:15:34
  • Mile 3 = 0:16:35
  • Mile 4 = 0:16:41
  • Mile 5 = 0:15:23
  • Mile 6 = 0:17:09 (<-- actually 1.2 miles, so we did come in sub-17s for each mile)
  • Total time = 1:41:28
RCC's splits:
  • Mile 1 = 0:16:10
  • Mile 2 = 0:15:28
  • Mile 3 = 0:16:41
  • Mile 4 = 0:16:40
  • Mile 5 = 0:15:23
  • Mile 6 = 0:17:09
  • Total time = 1:41:27
Yep, we'll be doing it again next year.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Big Day Tomorrow

Our first 10k.  (Oh shit, by saying "our first", I've implied we'll be doing more than one.  Let's not get crazy here.)

Now, don't go getting all impressed.  RCC and I are walking it.  But Nebalee and her crew are running it because they're the insane branch of the family tree.  Running the BolderBoulder has always been Nebalee's birthday thing.  I have no idea where it came from, but she's been doing it for a while.  For some reason, RCC thought it would be a good thing to do this year.  Yep, he's got some crazy running in his family, too.

The BolderBoulder is a Big Deal.  I knew that.  But I didn't really know it until we went to pick up our race packets today.  There will be something like 50,000 people participating.  I don't like crowds of people.  Certainly not enough to want to be with 50,000 of them in a town I despise.  However, it's Nebalee's birthday thing and she promised she'd do my Zombie run for my birthday if I did her birthday run.  Aw crap, if I live through this thing tomorrow, I'll probably do it again next year for her birthday.  Do you see the sacrifices I make for my crazy sister?

If we live through the race tomorrow, we'll head up the hill to bring Queen Estes home!  I miss my girl something fierce and can't wait for her to come home.

Lots of pictures forthcoming, I'm sure!

Everyone have a safe Memorial Day and don't forget why we celebrate it.

Thank you to everyone who has, and is continuing to, serve our country.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Betty Crocker and Her .45

A couple of weeks ago, RCC and I ran to Wally World to pick up a couple of things.  It dawned on me that some people might think it odd that a forty year-old, fun-sized woman would be walking out of the store with a baking sheet in one hand and two hundred rounds of .45 ACP in the other.  However, it is totally and completely me.

Ever since I posted about the coolest cupcakes I've ever seen, a certain blog friend who also happens to be a Facebook fried has developed a nasty habit of posting more cupcake recipes on my wall.  And, sucker that I am, I keep trying them.  So when she-who-won't-be-named posted a link to Ice Cream Cupcakes, I had to try them.  The picture that really reeled me in was this one...

The directions looked GunDiva-proof so I gave it a go.  I bought some Devil's Food Chocolate Cake and some Blue Bell mint chocolate chip ice cream.  The problem is, though, that it's very difficult to just barely fill the cupcake pans - it just doesn't look like enough.  So instead of having a nice, thin cupcake to top with ice cream, we had cupcakes.
Oops...not quite like I'd anticipated

RCC came up with a solution...mash the hell out of them...
If only they had fallen on their own
After they cooled, we scooped the softened ice cream on top.  Maybe if we'd let the ice cream soften a bit more it would have spread out and we would have gotten the pretty ridges that A Pumpkin and A Princess got on hers.  But we didn't, so ours just looks like a mushed cupcake with a scoop of ice cream on top.
Not quite as pretty, but still look yummy.
I used Wilton's Stabilized Whipped Cream recipe to make the whipped cream, and that was by far the most difficult part of the whole thing.  I added some green gel food coloring and a bit of vanilla to the whipped cream, so at least it was pretty.  After the fact, RCC suggested that next time we use Creme de Menthe for the flavoring.  Doesn't that sound amazing?  Also, one batch of whipped cream didn't go nearly far enough; it'll take a quadruple batch to cover all the cupcakes.

Starting to look really, really yummy
Since it's a waste to make something like this and not feed it to people, I used Momma Fargo's visit as an excuse to make them and then held her down and force fed her several.
Forcing Momma Fargo to eat the cupcakes.
I had her in a wrist lock.

Kidding, I'm not nearly bad-ass enough to hold down Momma Fargo.

OS - just for you and she-who-won't-be-named - they were fantabulous. Mint-chocolate orgasm in my mouth.  I had two.  Or three.

Momma Fargo and I were multi-mint-chocolate orgasmic that night.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Burn, Baby, Burn!

The fire's now up to more than 7,500 acres, but doesn't seem to be threatening any structures.

With that in mind, let me tell you what I think...

Let 'er burn.  Backfire a perimeter a ways out, monitor it, and let it go.  At this point, we're using up valuable resources and putting more than 500 firefighters, helicopters and an air tanker at risk trying to get it under control.  After four days of burning, they still have less than 5% containment.  I feel like backburning a perimeter is more of a proactive than reactive approach and in the long-run will cost less.  And you can't tell me that the flame retardant they're dropping isn't bad for our lungs (I know I totally sounded like a tree-hugger right there, you'll have to forgive me).

We know that fires can be good, otherwise we would not use controlled or prescribed burns.  We regularly ride in areas that were "devastated" by fire and the regeneration is astounding.  And...other than a long, cold, deep freeze, it's the only way to control the damn beetles that are killing our trees right and left.  The beetle kill, along with the dry winter, has set up some prime fire areas.

Letting the fire burn isn't all moonlight and roses though, the downside is the air quality pretty much sucks right now.  I feel for people with respiratory issues or allergies.

What do you think?  Let 'er burn or douse her?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sleeping by the Camp Fire

It's finally warm enough to leave the bedroom window open at night to bring in the fresh, cool air.  But for the last few nights, my sleep has been disturbed each time the wind shifted. Each shift of the wind brings in a few lungfuls of campfire smoke, normally a very relaxing smell.  When you're camping.

When you're asleep in your own bed and you get a whiff of campfire, it tends to jolt you.  So for the last few nights, I've breathed in the campfire smoke, come partially awake and then gone back to sleep when I remember that there's a fire raging out of control in the foothills northwest of me.

It started Monday afternoon and grew steadily.  No structures have been threatened and the wildlands firefighters were working their butts off.

On Tuesday one of the firefighters was taken to the hospital for second degree burns caused by radiant heat.  Not burned by the fire, but burned by the hot air caused by the fire.  It had grown to 1,000 acres, but still no structures were threatened; residents were put on pre-evacuation alert in case the wind shifted.

Wednesday, the fire continued to grow.  The wind shifted and I saw ash falling from the sky.  A friend in Cheyenne wondered why it smelled like a campfire up north.  Cheyenne is a good fifty miles from the fire and they're noticing smoke.  The fire grew to 3,000 acres.  More firefighters and air support were called in.

Today, the fire is over 5,000 acres and we've got over 400 firefighters doing their best to make some headway.  My side of town is covered in what looks like fog, but is, in fact, smoke.  I'm forty miles away from the fire; I can't imagine what the poor folks in Poudre Park, one mile from the fire, are feeling like.

My eyes are on fire, my sinuses are full of snot trying to fight off all the debris in the air - and I'm a healthy person. I can only imagine the misery that people living closer to the fire or who have respiratory issues or allergies are feeling.

Picture of the fire from Tuesday
We've got helicopters and planes flying overhead, making it a surreal experience.  With all of the smoke and debris and air support, it gives me the chills.  Gives me a very small inkling of what it would be like to live in/near a war zone.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

It Might Seem A Little Odd

Especially if you're not a fan of tattoos (don't worry, Shepherd K, I still love you), but I'm super excited about my new tattoos.  I had an appointment set for them way back in March, but "my" guy had a family emergency and had to reschedule.  The problem is, it takes six weeks to get in with him to begin with.  Yes, he's that good.

I finally was able to reschedule for the 23rd, which happens to be Monster's 17th birthday, but I don't think I'll tell him that I've booked my new tats for that day. Shhh...

Before my first tattoo, I would have sworn I'd never get one.  Ever.  Not even on a dare.  And then we went to Las Vegas for Staci's bachelorette party.  Robs and Nebalee went to a tattoo shop; Robs came out with the cutest little tattoo on her skinny little ankle that means "dream" (we think anyway, it's a Chinese character, who knows what it actually means) and Nebalee came out with her nose pierced.  I was too chicken-shit to even step foot inside the tattoo shop.

A year later, I hit a gawdawful depression.  I couldn't see my way out.  Everything just seemed hopeless.  Breathing hurt, it was only by sheer willpower that I was able to get out of bed to take care of the kids and go to work.  Even that was iffy.  I knew I needed to do something to remind myself that even though things appeared to be bad, there was always hope and I had to hold onto it.

I decided I needed a permanent reminder that there's always hope, so I talked my dad into paying for a small tattoo - the Chinese character for hope (again, I think that's what it means, but since I don't read Chinese, it could say anything).  I was terrified of the pain and the needles, but I really felt that I had to do something permanent.  So I sucked it up and went.  I was in and out of the chair in less than fifteen minutes.  The tattoo itself took about eight minutes.  It was a smart move, getting that "hope" tattoo; it's carried me through some tough times.  But I never thought I'd get another one.

Fast forward five or six years and I met RCC.  I really admired his tattoo.  Okay, maybe admired isn't the right word.  He appeared so straight-laced and even-keeled that when I first saw the hint of a tattoo coming up over his shoulder it was so freaking HOT!  I still get butterflies when I think about the first time I realized he had a tattoo.

I'd seen some of his artwork and knew that he was "the one", so I asked him to design me a tattoo.  I left him total creative freedom.  I was astounded when he came up with my GunDiva tattoo and immediately fell in love with it.

I swore it was going to be my last tattoo.

But then Estes got so sick and almost died last year and I started thinking about a tattoo to remember her by.  I personally hate portrait tattoos, so that was out of the question.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do and then I came up with the idea of having her brand tattooed on my shoulder.  And then I realized I couldn't put my four-legged child's brand on me without doing the two-legged kids' brand. week I'll be getting branded, in a manner of speaking.  Not at all like what Digger and Monster did last year.*

*Disclaimer: I found out about Monster's dumbassery long after it was healed.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

3rd Anniversary

I can't believe it's been three years!  Some days, I feel like we've been married our whole lives and some days, I feel like we're still newlyweds. I thought maybe a re-post of our wedding recap was in order.

Happy anniversary, RCC.  I'm pretty much the luckiest wife in the world.

I can't think of a more perfect Wedding Day than ours! The sun came out and stayed out all day, which made it perfect for our "play day". Monster flew up from Arizona (God, I miss that kid) and we spent the morning at Fort Fun racing Go-karts and playing arcade games. I had a blast watching RockCrawlinChef and the kids race around the track - seems like all I got to do was watch because I always managed to get the "Sunday driver" P.O.S. car. I'm pretty sure I got lapped in every race despite the fact that I had the pedal floored! We could have stayed and raced all day, but our rumbling tummies finally won and we headed off to SmashBurger for lunch before heading up to Mom's for the actual wedding.

Spending the morning playing around certainly helped lower the stress level for all involved in the wedding. RCC had picked up his friend, Scott, on Wednesday and had given Scott the menu for dinner, so we knew that would be taken care of. My friend just happens to be a Reverend, and had agreed to do the Ceremony, which also decreased a lot of stress. Really, the only thing we had to worry about was getting our butts up to the Lodge and getting ready. Not so bad.

We had decided to have a small, family-only wedding, but our families are fair-sized, so we ended up with twenty people, all of whom were immediate family. RCC and I wrote our own vows and managed to stumble through them without too many tears. The only complaint that we heard later was that we'd "whispered" our vows and that no one else could hear them. Oops. Guess I forgot to project from the diaphragm. But RCC heard them and that's all that mattered.

The Ceremony was short, sweet, and to the point. All of the pictures that followed took much longer than the Ceremony itself. Yes, I did wear boots with my dress, but not my obnoxious blue boots, instead, I wore my very old boots that fit like a glove. Heck, I would have killed myself in heels and I at least wore a dress.

After all was said and done, I did have to go get a picture with the other love of my life, Estes. And, of course, the best way into the pen was to climb the fence rather than go under in my white dress, so up and over this cowgirl went. Estes deigned to have her picture taken with me, but literally turned her nose up at RCC when we tried to get a picture of the three of us. She posed with us for about three seconds and Ashee-butt wasn't quick enough with the camera, so Estes was done. Brat. But I love her anyway.
Scott (and RCC - couldn't keep him out of the kitchen) prepared an amazing dinner to finish off our perfect day. As with most brides, I'm pretty sure my wedding was the best one of all!

Happy Mother's Day

I hope all my mommy friends get to:
  • pee in peace, with the door shut, and not feel rushed.
  • take a shower all by themselves, and not feel rushed.
  • have five minutes without hearing, "Mom? Mom?  Mommyyyyyy?"
  • give their mini-mes lots of hugs and kisses.
And, Bionic Cowgirl?  Happy Mother's Day, you're a pretty okay mom.  :)

Friday, May 11, 2012

If You Can't Say Something Nice...

...don't say anything at all.

Which is why I've been so quiet lately and why you've been inundated with Ripley stuff.

What do you write about when you can't write about what's going on in your life?  My job description has changed and I'm having a hard time adjusting.  Can't really write about it - though I'd love to - because I don't know who (if anybody) from work reads my blog.

My kids (well, two of them) are adults and dealing with adult things.  Can't write about what they're going through because it's their "stuff" to deal with.

That leaves me with Ripley and pseudo-running.  So, because y'all are riveted by RCC's beautification of Rip, here are a couple of pictures of her newest additions.
Black is the new chrome apparently,
so the chrome had to go.

A couple layers of Plasti-Dip,
let it dry and... more chrome.
(Sorry for the lousy pic, the phone washed out the green)
 A long time ago, before RCC and I met, the kids and I dreamed about owning a ranch (still do) and I told them I'd name it after them - The 3 Heathens. We even drew up a "brand". RCC had the brand made as a badge, painted it alien green and added it to Ripley.

The kids' 3 Heathens brand

Digger has the brand tattooed on his forearm and I'm fixing to have it tattooed on my shoulder blade.  Ashinator is trying to figure out how to incorporate the brand into her family tree tattoo on her forearm.  Some families have family shields, apparently, we have a family tattoo.

The running thing is still going.  I started week four of Ease into 5K, which called for a four minute run and a six minute run.  I managed the four minute, but the six minute was too much mentally.  I have no doubt that my body can run for six minutes straight, but - wow - I'm having a hard time being mentally tough enough to gut it through.  I've got to get through it or I'll never progress.  The Bolder Boulder is coming up, which RCC and I will be doing, but we'll be walking it.  I do want to be able to do the Run For Your Lives Zombie obstacle course in July for my birthday, so I really have to get through this training program.  I'm open to suggestions if anyone has any...

The Bionic Cowgirl and I are going to see a Julie Goodnight clinic tomorrow as a fundraiser for the Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center; it's Mom's combo birthday/Mother's Day gift and of course the weather's supposed to be crappy, but we need the moisture, so I'll keep the whining to a minimum.  It'll be good to watch Julie at a clinic.  Though I'm part of her Colorado crew, the focus is on making the TV show work when we're filming.  I learn a ton at each shoot, but everyone is always multi-tasking, so it's not focused learning.  I've sat in on several of her lectures at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo and loved every second, so I'm anticipating an amazing day with Mom tomorrow. One of these days, I'm going to participate in one of Julie's riding clinics, I swear.  It's one thing to learn from the ground, but I'd love to ride in one of her clinics.