Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Revisiting a Tradition: 4th of July

Over the years we (the Caster's) have spent many of our 4th of July celebrations with Allsion.  Most of which have occurred in the mountains just East of us at a family cabin, where we would roast marshmallows, delight in how amazing beer tastes while camping, and honestly not care that our children were covered in the black earth for the duration of the trip. Before the sun got too low in the sky, we would load both families up in the truck and trek down the hill to enjoy "the bombs bursting in air". We had the perfect perch on the hill just outside Collbran, all of us in awe of the spectacular show that always exceeded our expectations.

It's been a few years since we have celebrated our country's independence, so this year we planned a grand return to the once vibrant tradition. A multi-day camping trip just outside of Gunnison.  As will all grandiose plans, the seem great at the time but when reality sets in, you begin to see the flaws:  First- the fire ban across Colorado (this year nearly the entire state was burning up- from Ft. Collins to Colorado Springs and even in our own back yard of Debeque.)  And what fun is camping with no camp fire to enchant the evenings and warm the mornings?  Second: required portable toilette - no more outhouse on the property, instead the new covenants state we have to have a septic or transport our poo out.  Third: the remembrance of Allsion and I attempting a week long camping trip with the kids that ended MUCH sooner than anticipated. We had expected a week of non-stop friend time knitting, relaxing, chatting, and perfectly behaved children.  What we got was quite the opposite, and just remembering was enough to scare me out of committing to what possibly could be a repeat of that.

The Revised Plan: Collbran pancake breakfast, parade, and a trip up to a quiet little stream to splash the afternoon heat away.  This was actually a perfect replacement.  Besides the long line for the pancake breakfast, the whole days was a nice little escape.  The parade is one of the best I have ever been to, not for the amazing creativity level of the floats, but for the uniqueness and plethora of treats that are thrown to the children lining the sidewalk- can you say OTTER POPS.  Yes we were abundantly supplied with frozen otter pop popsicles and the kids loved it.  After the parade we made our way up and around my favorite lake, Atkinson, to the inlet stream.  The kids, even though it was cool and cloudy, spent the rest of the afternoon splashing in the creek and exploring, while we adults sat and enjoyed the scenery and company.  Our afternoon came to a beautiful close when rain clouds rolled in and had mercy on our dry parched state. 

I have never in my life been more happy for a downpour.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

My Next Half

I have officially registered! I've been walking the line of non commitment for a while now, and it is really only hurting my miles.  So in an effort to take running a bit more seriously (and get my booty out of bed every morning) I crossed the line to committed and will be running my next 13.1 miles from Georgetown to Idaho Springs on August 11, 2012!

I'm actually really excited for this race.  I am feeling really good, no major ailment  - well maybe a inkling of a twinge in my hip flexor - but the stronger I get the less its bugging me.  My last half was my pr  of 2:00:56, so my goal for this half is to run it in 2:05:00 or less. (Secretly I would love to see a 1 as the first number there, but if I told anybody else that, and then didn't accomplish it, I would feel like a failure)  Plus, I think a 2:05 is a great time and completely reasonable.  There are just too many factors and variables that play into my race day success, and I just don't have it down to a science, yet - or maybe even never - and I am completely ok with that.

Training is currently on track, but man is it difficult to squeeze in considering my running buddy is gone on vacation, followed by my trip to Idaho later this month.  This leaves us to run alone for most of the week, and somehow find time to run our long runs in the overlaps of our schedule. Anne hasn't registered, though she is leaving the possibility open. 

Christie is also running, and we have a really great girls weekend in store OR a nice couples retreat in store depending on how things shape up as we approach the date.

So here's to another great half!

The Bronz Horseman

The Bronze Horseman (Tatiana and Alexander, #1)

I am breathless, having just read 637 pages of adventure, love, secrets, betrayal, heartache, and sacrifice. I must admit that there were times I wanted to give up on the book. Like when I first picked it up from the library and it was so huge! Not that I don't like reading, or couldn't finish that many pages, but it seemed like a really big commitment to make to a book! Then again during frustrating - no maddening- arguments between Tatiana and Alexander! I could hardly bare the intensity and insanity of it. And again during such deep heartache and loss; if I could barely make it through another page, I couldn't see how the characters would manage another breath. But isn't this what great books do to us, don’t they evoke such intense feelings and create vivid images that we feel as though we are living along side it? At one point, during the blockade, when food was scarce and rations were dwindling, I was called away from the book to have lunch with my family. It was the strangest feeling eating, I felt as though I needed to save part of my meal for later, not knowing where or when the next bite of food would come. That’s how immersed I became.

The second World War has always fascinated me, and I have read many historical fiction books from this time period, though none have been from the perspective from the Communist Russia. I found this love story set during WWII Soviet Union, spellbinding. Reading about communism from the perspective of someone who never knew any different. The living conditions, shared kitchens and bathrooms, multiple generations sharing two rooms, bread lines, and ration cards are so foreign to me.

It was intriguing to see how the ideals of communism broke down during the time of war, and in its place self enterprise was rewarded with food and money. How some Soviets viewed Hitler and Stalin as two sides of the same coin. . .

It was, again, appalling to see just how fierce and strong the Germans were, and just how close they came to reaching their goal. This book is a brutal reminder that many suffered, many starved, and many died at the hands of one man's ideals.

But this is not the heart of this story, just the intricate weaving of place and time. This story is much, much, more. It is a story of love, and the sacrifices one will make for that love. Whether that love be for family, for country, for self, or for a lover - a soul mate, love demands sacrifice. That is what this story is, it is a story of sacrifice.