Saturday, January 30, 2010

I Am Not a Snowboarder

I am not a snowboarder, but I gave it a valiant effort. Despite 1) being quite sick and taking Dayquils every two hours, 2) having a board set up regular when I am goofy-footed and then thinking it was worse after I had the fix-it guy switch it, 3) being rather uncoordinated to begin with and 4) being terrified of breaking my bones...I think I did rather well. Meaning that I didn't break any bones!

I was really talented at sitting my ass down as soon as I picked any speed, in order to prevent an unpredicted fall.
And I was also pretty talented at laying down to rest.
Christy also was pretty good at the not-going thing.

We did eventually learn to go, too.

And on our last run of the day, we both made it down a blue hill without falling! Mostly though, I refused to fall because my shoulder was hurting really bad from the 18 million times I had caught myself landing backwards all day long. Ouch.

I am not a snowboarder.

(Somehow I've got no pictures of Karissa and Kristen. Kristen was nice enough to teach us some skills and then they went on to spend the day skiing the big hills while we spent the day being thankful for waterproof pants.)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Ex-Boyfriend Was a Snowboarder

This is Mikey. I met him when I lived in Grand Rapids. Mikey's big love (before me, of course) was snowboarding. Snowboarding and monkeys. His friends all called him G-Monkey. I called him Mikey.

Mikey never took me snowboarding. I asked him once to teach me and he said that snowboarding isn't really something you can teach someone, it's something you have to figure out on your own. Ok, maybe that's true...but don't you think he could have taken me and showed me how to go about putting on the board and whatever else you need to know before you "figure it out on your own"? Of course, at that point we lived in Champaign, Illinois, in the middle of flat prairie, so ski hills were hard to come by.

In the 15 years since this picture was taken, I have still never tried snowboarding.

Well, guess what, Mikey?? I'm going on Saturday and I'm gonna figure it out on my own! And my friend Kristen is going to be the one who shows me how to put on the board and whatever else I need to know. You missed your chance!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Another Foster Makes Good

The Humane Society sends out an e-newsletter to all the volunteers. This was yesterday's email:

AHS Pet Partners!
Hi there, AHS Volunteers!

Many of you will remember that we have recently begun an animal assisted activities program, whereby we have AHS volunteers become certified with their own pets to visit folks in need! It is proving to be very rewarding. So, if you have a dog, kitty, bunny, or bird at home who is a social butterfly and just can't help spreading sunshine, we would love for you to become a Pet Partner for the Arizona Humane Society!

Visiting senior citizens in Peoria - Holidays 2009:
Great Dane Mia, letting the light in her heart shine on others, with her mom, AHS volunteer Michele!

Hey! I know that dog! She used to drool in my cereal every morning. Woo hooooo!! Another foster dog makes good! I am so proud. Not only has she become a therapy dog, but her adopter has become a volunteer for the AHS!! Awww....

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I like to be busy. I like a full schedule. Good thing - since all of my weekends through April 24th are already booked!

Let's start with February... It seems like all of the urban adventure race planners chose February for their Phoenix races. Christy and I will be competing in them all. (Duh.) The one weekend in February that has no scheduled race happens to be an agility trial weekend. I couldn't have planned it better myself!

If you are in Arizona and you haven't tried an urban adventure race yet, you should do one (or all) of these February races! You don't have to be a good runner, you don't even have to be smart. All you need is a smart friend (which is why the most important members of the Jill/Christy team are actually Kiri and NFBF!!) and the willingness to have some fun. I have included the links to the Phoenix races for you. Find a partner, find a smart friend and DO IT!

The February Schedule:
Saturday, February 6th is the Scavenger Dash:

Saturday, February 13th is the Great Urban Race:

No race scheduled for Saturday, February 20th. I'll be taking Frankie to the DOCNA agility trial. Go, go, go, my little crackhead!
Sunday, February 21 is the PetSmart Charities PetWalk. I'll be walking for the Arizona Humane Society. If you want to donate, you can do so here.

Saturday, February 27th is the CitySolve Urban Race: We'd better race this one fast. At 5:00 pm, we have to be dressed up and looking pretty at a wedding in Scottsdale!

The March Schedule:
Saturday, March 6 - Book Club Reunion Slumber Party!! YAY!!
Saturday, March 13 - DOCNA Agility Trial
Saturday, March 20 - Melillo March Madness Annual Birthday Party
Saturday, March 27 - Desert Rage Camp Verde Adventure Race (this is also the date of the Urban Dare,, but I've chosen to do the adventure race instead. Irene and I are going to try a fifth variety of boat to see if maybe the double plastic kayak will be the magic solution to my water-travel suckiness.)

The April Schedule:
Saturday, April 3 - DOCNA Agility Trial
Saturday, April 10 -Rafting Trip
Saturday, April 17 - DOCNA Agility Trial
Saturday, April 24 - um...nothing. Yet. Anyone want to fill this for me? :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

2010 So Far

It's only January 19th and my New Year's Resolution has already been broken. Oops.

So...let's talk about something else. Like, what I've been doing all year.

2010 started out with world domination, as usual. The New Year's Day All-Day Game Day tradition endures! This year, no king of strategy was named. David and Brad lost, and things were pretty even between my alliance with NFBF and Steven's alliance with Irene. After 6+ hours of Diplomacy, we called it a stalemate, a tie, then a truce. No 2010 winner. :(
After Diplomacy, we played Betrayal at the House on the Hill and I won perhaps I will name myself the winner for 2010! Okay - I am the winner of 2010. Thus declared. (Yes, I hear you reminding me that I've already broken my NYR, so I'm probably not such a winner, after all. Thanks. Duly noted.)

The next weekend I took Frankie to an agility trial. Crackhead. But unlike last year at this time, I am not considering dropping out. I am instead happy for the one Q we got in jumpers and for the fun we had hanging out with our agility friends. Next trial with Crackhead is February 20!

Ever since our big Thanksgiving weekend of bowling, Pat's been a gung-ho bowler. We've been a couple times already this year. Pat bought a new bowling ball so he's even more excited than before. He hasn't figured out how to effectively use it yet, but he did beat me one game out of 9 this year! And in one game out of 5, Jamie beat me. Not surprisingly, it was the same game...since I did so terribly. Will you believe me if I tell you that I LET them win that game? No? I didn't think so. In the interest of honesty, I will let you know that NFBF has also beat me one out of 3.

This weekend was the PF Chang's marathon and half-marathon. The best news of this year is that I did NOT run in it. I will never beat last year's fluke time of 2:05, so I think it best that I never try. And besides, running sucks! But cheering for running is super-duper fun!!! We went out to cheer Cookie on in the marathon and then drove to another location to cheer on Aimee and Pat's sister, Liz, in the half. I brought all the important cheerleader-y things...a goofy hat, a loud voice, a dog and a duck call.We (and by "we", I mean "I") cheered for the halfers for about 20 minutes before we saw Aimee go by. She loved my really loud cheering of AIMEE BUTLER! AIMEE BUTLER! (and by "loved", I mean "was totally embarrassed by"). A few minutes later we saw Liz go by. She legitimately loved our cheering. We stayed another 20 minutes or so to continue cheering on some more random strangers. I pretty much lost my voice with all the screaming.

We didn't have soccer because so many people were running the marathon or competing in a big soccer tournament. The losers who didn't get invited to play in the tournament got together for a game of flag football instead.

The Yellow Team:
The Red Team: The action!
I have no idea what the final score was...probably something around 70-70...and that was scoring by 1's.

I can balance a pepper shaker on its edge.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Lazy Dogs

I was almost late for work on Wednesday because I was taking about a zillion version of this picture:
I couldn't help it. They looked so cute. They never moved once. Lazy, lazy dogs. Well, Mo was truly being lazy. Frankie actually had it all figured out that the longer he stayed still and let me take pictures, the longer I'd stay home, and thus the longer it would be before I put him in his room for a yet another day of No Fun.

Georgie took off as soon as I took one picture of her. The camera makes her nervous.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

General Lee, Generally Speaking

Generally, General Lee is all better. His broken ribs are healed and his once-holey lung is now functioning at normal capacity.

"Just popping into this picture to say hello!"
I am taking him back to the Humane Society tomorrow.

"Oy. That is depressing."

I will miss the little apple-head. He is a hilarious, snuggly, wide-eyed, right-angle nosed, little wawa. He's been super fun to have around. He loves to be held and carried around, especially by me.He'll snuggle up with Pat when I'm not at home, but as soon as I walk in the door, Poor Pat is forgotten completely. He follows me all over the house. He sits in my lap when I'm on the computer. He curls up around my neck when I take a nap. He's such a little love-bug.

His claim to foster fame is that he's the only one I've fed on the table.
He eats really slowly and for the first few weeks I had to keep him separated from the other dogs, so this was the easiest way to keep them away while he ate. For the past two months we've eaten breakfast together every day. One day I walked away from my breakfast while he was eating his...and came back to find him happily lapping away at my bowl of Cheerios. :)

Funny apple-head pictures:The doorbell rang right as I was taking this one. I'm telling you...this dog is hilarious! This face sums it up!

Find a good home, General Lee! I will miss you lots and lots!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Agility in Slo-Mo

I have started Mo in a beginner agility class. She hates it. Class, that is...she hates class, not agility. The first week freaked her out because the instructor would hold her leash while I walked away. And the instructor, the really nice lady who loves dogs? Is. Very. BAAADDDD. At this point Mo just checked right out. She wouldn't look at the instructor. She wouldn't look at me. She put on her invisibility cloak (i.e. she looked away from everyone and stood stock still) until I came to get her leash. There was no way she was going through that tunnel. (Mo: what tunnel? I see no tunnel. I see nothing. I am not here.)

So, we are learning a little bit differently than the other dogs. While the instructor holds the leashes and the owners get their pups all riled up before going in the tunnel, I am putting Mo in a stay at the tunnel's edge and then crawling halfway through the other end til I can grab her leash and pull her through. This is how we are working all obstacles. But, she's slowly figuring it out. What she hates the first week, she'll do without complaint the next week. She's just got to take a week to think through it wasn't really all that bad.

I take her to Jim's when I take Frankie to practice. And there, with no pressure of class, she LOVES agility. Look at this happy dog:She loves the tunnels now. She'll happily follow me all over the course.One day after we practiced, I let her and Frankie run loose for a while, just to see what would happen. And...I couldn't believe it....MO PLAYED! Frankie wanted to play so badly, he kept play-bowing to her and than taking off running. Eventually she play-bowed back and chased him. So cute!! She even chased him through the tunnels! I have to admit, cuz I'm a softie, that it made me tear up a little bit.

7 weeks later, she still hates class. When we get there, she sits as far away from the car door as possible and I have to literally drag her out of the car. (Mo: I'm not going. You can't make me.) But once we get started, she enjoys all the treats. Occasionally she still becomes invisible, but not as often.

Next week, we start taking classes with Jim. Hopefully she'll take to that better since she is already familiar with his yard and equipment. Wish us luck!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

All Mine

The final payment has been made! My car is now, truly, MINE.I heart my Elephant!

How long do you think it'll be until I have to start making repairs? One week or two?

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Bunch of Christmas Posts

I am catching up on my Christmas blogging today. I'm going to have 3 posts in one day! Unprecedented productivity.

Christmas is all about tradition and one of my favorites is breakfast with my high school friends on Christmas Eve. Elizabeth comes from Portland, Laura comes from Chicago and Maysoun comes from New York City.
Boys are allowed at breakfast, too. (Eliz's husband, John, is absent. He was flying in that later that day):Last year's Christmas Eve breakfast discussions about my adventure racing led to Maysoun and Laura coming out to Phoenix to do the Women's Adventure Race with me in April. (Blog post here.) Discussions at this year's breakfast led to an activity plan for 2010. Last year we did my thing, next year we are going to do Laura's thing...biking! Actually it's more her husband Chris' thing, but we're going with it. In September, Maysoun and I are going to Chicago to ride in the Apple Cider Century with Laura and Chris. (Website here.) Chris even convinced Pat to do it! I'm not sure if we're going to do the full 100 miles. It seems to me that there would not be enough daylight for me to finish 100 miles...perhaps the 50, 65 or 72 mile options might be better choices. We'll see as the ride gets closer. I'm already looking forward to seeing them again!

All the Diamonds...Little and Big

Here is our annual Christmas photo for 2009.
Bottom Row: Kyle (Brett's kid), Aden (Amy's kid), Matt (Brett's kid), Micaela (Brett's kid), Cerys (Amy's kid), Rachel (Anne's step-kid), Sydney (Brett's kid)
Middle Row: Amy, Lane (Amy's husband), me, Pat, Kevin (Anne's husband), Mom
Back Row: Dad, Chris (Brett's wife), Brett, Anne

Christmas at the Diamond house is always a huge commotion. Too much going on at once. Pat took about 50 of these pictures and there are only two static images throughout all the photos... the Christmas tree and me. All of the activity and noise is overwhelming, so I do my best not to add to it. I'm sure when I was a kid, I was the cause of most of the noise and commotion, so I'm trying to atone now. :)

It wouldn't be Christmas without the annual silly Diamond photo (Brett, Chris and Dad being uncharacteristically dull):

Inaugural Male Diamond Christmas Cookie Making Contest

This year marked the start of what will hopefully become an annual tradition for the Diamond family Christmas: The Male Diamond Christmas Cookie Making Contest. Wow, this event might need a new title. That one is a little unwieldy, I'd say. But it explains the event exactly: all the males in the Diamond family made cookies for a Christmas evening taste-off. My mother took pity on poor Pat and didn't want to make him schlep cookies all the way across the country, so Pat was named the judge.

Personally, I think, that as a connoisseur of cookies (mmmm.... cookies!!), I should be the judge (duh!) and Pat should have to bake like everybody else. How difficult would it be for him to put a ziploc baggie of cookies in his luggage? It might be hard for him ( to make it all the way to Springfield without eating all the cookies before arrival, but the schlepping would not be a problem. Besides, once you give Pat such power like a judgeship, it goes right to his head. He made everyone address him as "Your Honor" for the rest of the vacation. (I actually made that part up, but it is something he would do if he had thought of it.)

Anyway...Pat was the judge and the other men made the cookies.

Judge Pat:
The entrants:
Starting at center top: 1. Sugar, submitted by Kevin. 2. White Chocolate Chip Something-or-Other that was supposed to be more Other than Something, submitted by my dad. 3. Chocolate Mint Brownie Sandwich Cookie, submitted by Lane. 4. Ginger Snap, submitted by my dad. 5. Chocolate Chip, submitted by Kevin.

Yes, Kevin had two entries. It's not too hard to make two kinds of cookie when all you do is buy the rolls of pre-made dough and put them in the oven. Or, maybe it is that hard when you ruin two of Anne's air-bake baking sheets by putting them in water after baking. Oops.

Yes, my dad also had two entries. After spending over $37.00 (!) on supplies, you'd better hope he made more than one kind of cookie. Too bad neither of them were very edible.

Brett almost had an entry, but it would have been cheating anyway, as he was going to let Chris make the dough and he was just going to bake them. Slacker!

Pat was a very diplomatic judge. He discussed the merits of taste and form of each of the cookies. He awarded first place in the chocolate chip division to Kevin, second place to my dad. First place in the ginger snap division went to my dad. First place in the sandwich cookie division (do you see where this is going?) went to Lane. First place in the sugar cookie division went to Kevin. Pat did lose some credibility when he picked up the sugar cookie and asked us, "This is a sugar cookie, right?"

After awarding all the Best of Breeds, it was time to award Best In Show. After some deliberation, he announced the winner:

Lane and his Chocolate Mint Brownie Sandwich Cookie took the prize!

Congratulations, Lane!

Next year I hope that Brett enters and that my dad stays away from the ginger snap recipes!

And that wraps up all the Christmas posts. Hopefully now I will continue the unprecedented productivity and move onto some 2010 stuff! I know you're dying to hear about my New Year's Resolutions!