Sunday, January 27, 2008

Pig In a Poke

Well, I'm not a "blogger", but I'll do my best...Last week I went up to Flagstaff to go Javelina hunting with Chris, my cousin Heather's husband. Javelina are wild high desert pigs and they weigh about 40-70 pounds. Chris is a Flagstaff fireman and an accomplished hunter and guide and he volunteered last year to take me Javelina hunting. Little did he know, I was going to make him eat those words... We were hunting near Sedona, AZ - known for its beautiful red-rock scenery. Before we left for our first day of hunting, he told me he had been out twice already and had seen pigs both days and seeing pigs everyday was the norm. Once again, I would make him eat those words... We hunted using a "spot and stalk" method, meaning we looked through binoculars until we found the pigs and then we would stalk them until within bow range (less than 60 yards) and try to get a shot. We spent the first day "glassing" (looking through binoculars) for about 6-8 hours. The glassing consisted of sitting on a hilltop and picking out the terrain below us, one bush at a time until we were sure there weren't any pigs, then we would shift the binoculars and start on a new area. We would spend 2-3 hours on a hilltop before we move onto the next hilltop. Glassing is very tedious and difficult, but I learned that it can be rewarding when you find animals. To make it even better, the temperature was cool (in the 50-60s), but there was a strong wind which made it difficult to stay warm and concentrate. Between the two of us on the first day, we spent about 12-16 hours glassing and didn't see a single animal. Pigs 1, Us 0. Day Two: More Glassing, more animals, and less wind. We spotted several feeding and bedded deer. Chris also found a couple of coyotes bedded down near some scrub brush and I decided to try and stalk them. I grabbed my bow and suited up and spent 45 minutes moving about 50 yards and inch at a time. I knew I was close (I thought I was about 60 yards away) and so I got into position for a shot even though I couldn't see the coyotes. I kept looking but I couldn't find then and I got impatient and stood up and waited for them to get up so I could shoot. As it turns out, while I was looking farther away the entire pack of coyotes (about 5-6) stood up thirty yards away! I think we were both surprised that I had managed to sneak within 30 yards! I didn't get a coyote, but I did manage to make a good stalk. While we were driving out at dusk after another unsuccessful day we saw some pigs feeding by the road. We stalked them as quickly as we could but with the rapidly fading light only Chris got a shot and he missed by a couple of inches below the pig. Pigs 2, Us 0. Day Three: Started off with the quote "I've never gone a day without seeing a pig, let alone two! Today is the day!" Sounds good, but I had heard the same quote on the start of day two as well... The weather was colder and windier than the first two and we were miserable! Luckily after a few hours of glassing Chris spotted what looked like 5-6 pigs feeding and sheltered up under a tree to get out of the wind. The pigs were on the side of a hill a few hundred yards away. Unfortunately, the wind was blowing in an awkward direction and the hillside was covered in some really NASTY stuff called "Cat's Claw". I could go on for a day about how much this stuff sucks, but the name says it all - this bush is like being attacked by a hundred pissed-off cats on steroids. We stalked in together and made the most of the wind - although it was difficult stalking wind, it covered the sounds of our approach through the cat claw. We stalked to within 30 yards of them before we saw them milling around at the base of the tree. As we worked our way for a shot, the pigs finally figured out something was up and started to investigate. I took a shot at a pig that I saw and Chris was seconds behind and he shot at a pig under the tree. Boy, when we shot, those pigs freaked out and scattered. There must have been a dozen under the tree that bolted for cover. After a few minutes of pandemonium the place calmed down and we surveyed our work. We had both killed pigs and they died a few feet away from where they were shot. It took 2 1/2 days of hard glassing to find the pigs and we had successfully tagged-out in just over an hour after we found the pigs! Well that is it for my blog entry. Next blog entry should be after deer season!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Wow! What a Miracle!

As the weeks pass and disbelief lifts (maybe the pee stick really did tell the truth) my wonder and awe of creating a baby- a human life- grow. I'm sure that every mommy-to-be that is eagerly anticipating the birth of a child ponders the miracle occurring within. With this new future addition to our family growing so incredibly fast (just look at the lil baby one short month ago), it really becomes apparent to me God's craftsmanship. I'm essentially doing nothing. Well, I am providing my womb to harbor God's handiwork but I am ultimately powerless (aside from my contribution of genes, nutrition, etc.) as far as "putting it together". I can not grab my needle and thread and get to work to enhance the outcome of the the finished product. All the details are precisely and carefully taken care of (God must know of my indecision) and beyond my control a baby continues to grow "like a weed" (as Grandma commented)- doubling, tripling and more in size every couple of weeks. The speed of the entire process is astounding to me. In 9 months (I've learned it's really 10, but I like to continue to think 9) an egg is fertilized, developes from embryo to fetus with all the gross system development taking place pretty much in the first trimester. The second and third trimesters fine-tune all the previous development and prepares baby by fattening him/her up for the world to come. In 9 months a living, breathing, thinking life is exposed to the world we know for the first time. From nothing to a VERY SPECIAL, complex and intricate something in less than a year!! Amazing! Sometimes I become disenchanted with the race in which I belong- the human race. You know what I am talking about- just go to any mall or fairground and observe for 10 minutes. At times it's hard for me to see how some people are even human, but God said he made each of us in His likeness. This thought restores and refreshes my outlook of the human race. We all began from the same humble starting line, from C.S. Lewis to Britney Spears. I look forward to nurturing and caring for this amazing blessing John and I have been entrusted with, and though it can be a very serious and even daunting task, I roll my sleeves up and do all I know how at this point. I dive into books of strong Christian soldiers who have accepted and embraced God's challenge, vowed to do it His way, and lived to write about it!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Aspire 13.1

With not much sleep last night, anxious of what was to come, I woke this morning ready. I knew what I had to do, I had accepted the challenge and I quietly got dressed in the stillness of the early morning (I should just specify since my father still thinks I have the teenage morning mentality- I got up at 5am). I looked for a familiar face to run with but was quickly discouraged because of the amount of faces in the crowd. I ran alone... well as alone as you can be in a crowd. As I mentioned before, I didn't set myself a lofty time goal, but just enjoyed being a part of the race and feeling it out for perhaps a future showing. I was able to keep just over a 9 minute mile pace the entire 13.1 miles and I am proud to say that I didn't stop or walk once. I had a few instances, especially in the water troughs, where everyone was walking around me and it would have been easier to drink from the cup had I been walking, but it was a matter of principle to me so I nimbly dodged the drink-walkers and kept on kickin' the pavement! Around the 10 mile mark, my short training became apparent as every joint of my lower extremities writhed in pain and I struggled to continue on, but the thought of just a few more miles kept me chugging along. By mile marker 12, as I passed the last water station I felt energized where the end was almost in view! The finish line, though not as grandiose as I expected (you always see people take a huge sigh of relief and throw their hands in the air) , a warmness covered me as I went under the Finishing archway! I met up with John and some other friends that were running as well. From there we went over to the Biltmore Resort in downtown Phoenix where our friend, Notch knew some people staying there who offered to get us into the pool/hot tub area for a race unwind! Our afternoon was spent in a gorgeously manicured courtyard full of palm trees and fountains and of course the beautiful pools and jacuzzi tubs, sipping on a virgin strawberry daiquiri. As I sit here now, knees and hips aching from the long road behind me, I smile at my accomplishment. My goal of completing a half marathon before I have kids has barley been fulfilled and I jubilantly cross off that box!

OK, I'm not sure if this is embarrassing or not, but what the hay. My final results in the race:

I finished 4330 out of 20276 (at least I was in the top quarter)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Carb Loading

With my first Half Marathon tomorrow morning, I've been soaking in the Carbs (pastas, potatoes, whole grains, fruit and veggies), not so much to improve my performance (since I'm not really going for a stellar performance... I know it's going to challenge and hurt!) but more so I don't kill myself during the run! After all, this surpasses my longest run by 3 miles and I hear the last 3 can be a doozie. Well, I decided to make my OWN pasta for my "night before D-day" dinner! Yes- I mean that I made the pasta from scratch... It sounds quite impressive but after completing the process, I have to let out a little secret... It's quite easy. It's really nothing compared to making home-made bread... I'm talking touchy and temperamental home-made, not bread machine, bread. Only made of 3 ingredients- Flour, eggs and water, pasta's just a matter of creating a mixture not too firm but not too sticky and soft. I broke out the pasta machine, bought by my mom as a Christmas present, which by the way is probably the most challenging (still not hard though) and fed my flattened ball of pasta dough through the machine. After a few cranks through the machine with adjusting the rollers thinner, it created perfect whole-grain fettuccine ready to be boiled. I've learned, in reading "The Complete Book of Pasta and Noodles" that fresh egg noodles typically go better with butter or creme sauces as opposed to dry pasta which lends better to vegetable sauce. However, I still chose a home-made tomato and balsamic vinegar herb sauce since fresh egg pasta made from whole wheat flour is a hardier and thinker flour and is not overwhelmed by the tomato sauce! So Bon Appetite! Thanks, Mom for the Pasta know how and supplies! Now that I know it's not rocket science to make fresh pasta, I may go home-made more often! Here's to my long run tomorrow! Hopefully it helps!

Friday, January 4, 2008

A Month Stuffed FULL

It's off and running and we'll be running all month. This January is packed full and there is not much wiggle room! We just had the party (below), the 2nd of January got cheap tickets to the Fiesta Bowl (OU v. WV) after hiking Camelback Mountain in downtown Phoenix. John was so excited about one of his Christmas gifts, (a backpack) that he loaded up the backpack with about 50 lbs of ammo and other dense objects and strapped it on for the hike.

More is to come. John volunteered our house as the game house on the 6th for the BCS National Championship game since I'm an Ohio State fan and he's with LSU all the way! Let's see.. Then I have my first half marathon on the 13th in the PF Chang's Rock and Roll Marathon in downtown Phoenix. Being my first, and the fact that I'm preggo, I'm not too concerned about time. I'm happy to be in it and to finish without walking! From the 14th through the 17th, John goes up to Flagstaff to do some Javelina hunting with his cousin- which he is thrilled about. If anyone has a good Javelina recipe, I'd be up for suggestions. That next weekend, we've got friend's coming in from LA to visit and go to a hockey game. And finally, my parents are heading up for the Super Bowl, not that we've got tickets to go but it's a quick drive to some pretty front-line tailgating. So the 'rents will arrive for the last weekend in January! Few! A lot going on and it's going to be a blast!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Epic Ending

It's official. The new 2008 year is here. The year that I knock on the door of 30. The year of my 10 year reunion from High School. The year of parenthood. To kick off this glorious year, John and I have had a few recent visitors and a HUGE party! Our good friends from our church in Utah, Jesse and Kate were in the area visiting family and made it our way! We treated them to In-N-Out Burger (John's favorite) and spent the night doing what Kate does best, being goofy. Then the following day, December 30th, my cousin Chrys arrived to stay a few days through New Years. We were preparing a party inspired by John's time in Kunsan, an Around the World Block Party. Our neighborhood has 4 other pilots from Luke within a few doors so each house chose a country and we herded the large group of party-goers from country to country with each house being showcased no more than an hour and 15 minutes. Columbia, hosted by Scout kicked it off as people were getting warmed up for the rest of the night. Mexico (our house) followed along with the beer bong which reared it's playful head in our kitchen. Next off to Italy, where Moses set up the vespa and Colossium photo op. And a perfect ending in Germany, where I'm told my cousin stayed until 4am taking a dip in the hot tub! As now it's the morning after, and we clean the house of all the spills (beer bong gone bad) I'm happy to say there are no casualties found and the party seemed to go off without a hitch. I'd say total, there were about 85-100 that showed up... Certainly the largest party we've thrown (unless a wedding counts)! Well, the rest of our day will be cleaning and resting, but it was worth it. We hope you and yours had a wonderful New Years Eve as well and we hope that 2008 is a bountiful year for all!