Santa, India Style

My aunt Gayle and uncle Don are in Chennai, India. My uncle is there for a six month work project.

They started a blog to chronicle the experience. Plenty of funny moments as these middle-aged Americans experience a place so very different from home. Gayle was thrilled to finally find diet pepsi. The traffic is crazy, bugs get in everything, there are wet and dry toilets, the power goes out a lot, they haven't yet grown an appreciation for the local food, etc. But they are managing, and even enjoying some sight-seeing.

There is a small Mormon congregation there and they had a Christmas party. The highlight was this Indian take on Santa Claus:

I have a new nightmare.

Rider Of The Year

MTB Action is doing a make your own rider of the year cover thing and it got me thinking, what was the most outstanding ride this year? It's been a good year, but my dear wife breaking her leg up on the Ridge trail was certainly the most memorable, just not in a good way. So I grabbed the template and did a little image editing to make the image above.

She dealt with it well, however you can see the look of resignation in the photo. That was a sad day.

The visit to the doctor last week wasn't the good news. She was hoping to start walking, but the bone growth / fusion isn't far enough along so more crutches. She was bummed. Hopefully the next check up will be better news.

And now for something completely different, a mash-up of Lionel Richie, A-ha and The Cure.

Favorite Books Of 2010

I read a fair number of books this year, here are the ones I most enjoyed (in no particular order).

Brave New World - An engaging story set in a possible future. Well written, engaging and thoughtful.

A Confederacy of Dunces - A most odd protagonist bumbles along causing chaos in his wake, yet somehow it makes sense.

Ghostopolis - Written for pre-teens but the story is so imaginative it's appealing to all. A few plot problems, but forgivable. The illustrations of this graphic novel are excellent - dramatic, expressive, art.

More Information Than You Require - Hodgman's humor doesn't work for everyone, but if it does this book is a treat. The audiobook is read by Hodgman and includes many guests, which elevates the material and makes it a fantastic performance piece.

Snowcrash - A full story with action, intrigue, inventive technology and strong characters. My first cyberpunk book and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Neuromancer - The grand daddy of cyberpunk and rightfully so. Fast-moving story, sparce and precise writing, intriguing characters, novel concepts and depth. Not a breezy read, Gibson expects you to pay attention and rewards you for doing so.

Peace Like a River - Take the expressiveness of poetry and tell a big story. Just delicious to read.

Straight Man - If I told you the plot it would sound dull. Kind of like if I summarized the movie "As Good As It Gets". Russo takes a mundane story and makes it fun and funny; I laughed a lot.

The Corrections - I almost aborted this book. Franzen aptly and deeply paints his characters, with all their destructive quirks. Enid's relentless, guilt-inducing nagging repulsed me. Yet the writing is brilliant and reveals real humanity, even if it's often ugly. There is a lot of truth in this book, about how we live in this age and what we care about.

Heart of Darkness - Not the most accessible story, but it serves as a canvas to explore what drives people and where it takes them. It's hard for me to stay tuned into these older styles of writing, yet Conrad several times nails an expression so perfectly that I was in awe.

Les Miserables - I listened to the abridged version and was enthralled. Stripped down to the main story it's amazing how strong and exciting it is. This is a classic that anyone can, and everyone should, read. You'll be entertained and it will stick with you a long time.

A Briefer History of Time - An excellent introduction to modern physics. The explanations are clear, and many are the best I've read. "A Brief History of Time" was good, this update is better. The concepts are often strange, counter-intuitive and difficult to grasp. But even if you understand only a little you'll have new wonder for the tiny subatomic world and the enormous sprawl of the universe. And it's only 176 pages.

A Walk in the Woods - Bryson tells his tale of hiking the Appalachian trail so well, you'll feel like you were there. And plenty of humor, thanks to his buddy Katz.

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid - Another Bryson. This time it's his childhood recollections of growing up in 1950s. Magical and entertaining.

I enjoyed putting this list together and being reminded of how much I enjoyed reading these books. I've got a pretty long list of books I want to read but feel free to make suggestions or comment on the books above.

Polyoutdoor Utah

Alex and I have been bouncing trip ideas around for a while. Tuesday schedules coincided.

Alex picked me up before dawn and we drove to Castle Dale then 20 miles on an excellent dirt road to The Wedge to ride the Good Water Rim trail. The view into Little Grand Canyon is spectacular.

That's the San Rafael River down there.

The trail hugs the rim of Good Water Canyon and it's several forks. It's 15 miles of mostly flat with lots of turns (think slaloming). It's a nice middle ring cruise. Some rocks to bump over, but nothing technical.

It was cold-ish but with layers we were comfortable.

We went from the south trail head to the north end and back for a 30 mile ride. The views are always changing and often dramatic, and it's nice to stretch the legs, but I wish it had more technical stuff to spice it up. Riding a new trail is always fun, but I doubt I'll return to this one since it's off the main travel routes and there isn't much else to ride in the area.

After the ride we drove down Buckhorn Wash to check out the rock art. It was impressive and well worth the short 10 mile drive.

Then we drove to Price to ride Luke's trail. We had just enough daylight for an out-n-back ride. Neither of us had done any of the Price trails and we were both impressed with Luke's. It also winds along a rim, but has more technical features which made the trail more fun to ride.

I'd like to go back to Price and ride more of the trails in the area. The word is, if a storm comes from the north it usually doesn't snow in Price, so it's like a mini St. George with half the drive.

(This is the top of Luke's and isn't a good representation of the trail. It's much more interesting.)

Today I went skiing at Brighton with Mark. The $20 lift ticket (if you bring a donation for the food bank) is irresistible. And 8 inches of fresh powder made it a no-brainer.

We got first tracks over on the south boundary. Delightfully fluffy powder. Like skiing on a cloud.

And it was my first time with my Salomon Foil skis and new boots. The boots were comfortable all day and the right amount of flex. The Foils were fun, fun, fun. The moderately wide skis floated in the powder, the short length made turning easier and quicker, and they carve through chop way better than any skis I've ever had (which is nice because I struggle skiing chop).

The Foils are twin tips and I thought about trying to ski backwards, but we were too busy skiing the fresh snow. Maybe next time.

With 40 miles of mountain biking the day before I was concerned my legs would die fast. But skiing must use different muscles because my legs did OK.

We skied all over the resort and I had a great time.

So many places have a more limited climate, terrain, etc. But Utah has lots of desert for dirt sports, a fair amount of lakes and rivers for water sports, and good mountains for snow sports. And it's all close enough to do what I did: mountain bike one day, ski the next. (It would even be possible to do both, or even all three, in the same day.) What a pretty, great state! I love living here. Forget polygamy, the many outdoor sports and recreation is the real poly in Utah.

Review: Bacon Cheddar

I try to keep the sandwiches I make for lunch interesting, so when I saw bacon flavored cheddar cheese in the grocery store, I had to try it. I like cheese + I like bacon = buy.

And the package looks inviting enough:

When I opened the first slice, the appearance was, well, not what I'd call appetizing:

The smooth texture of processed cheese with pinkish red splotches, which are the bacon flavor, I guess. I paused, hesitated, but pressed on.

The smell is pretty good - smells like cheese and bacon, but on the artificial side.

I broke off a corner and tasted it. Pretty yummy, for processed cheese. Nice cheddar flavor. And the bacon is there, but definitely on the artificial side - like Hickory Farms.

Tangent - Where did all the Hickory Farms stores go? There use to be one in the University Mall for like, forever. As a kid I'd graze on the samples. The store always had that smoked cheese smell that was inviting yet vaguely fake. We had several variety packs over the years at home - either ones we bought or were given to us. It was fun to unwrap those tiny rounds of cheese and try each one. Spread some on crackers. Then add a slice of sausage to the cracker. It seemed exotic as a kid, but now there's the cheese counter at Super Harmons.

It tasted OK on my basic sandwich. The cheddar and bacon flavors came through.

But really, is there any substitute for real bacon? OK, those bac-o-bits are kinda tasty. But now you can buy pre-cooked bacon that you just warm up in the microwave, there's no excuse not to have the real thing - which I will be doing from time to time for my sandwiches.

Sorry, Cache Valley, this is my one and only pack of bacon cheddar cheese.

Thus ends the great bacon flavored cheese experiment.

Kade Is Eight

Our youngest turned eight today. One of his presents was a(nother) Nerf gun. He likes it. We're glad he's keeping frags to a minimum.

I went for a road ride Saturday. Overcast, hazy and cold. I went up Provo Canyon on the paved trail - hardly anyone on it so I could go fast. Went up South Fork and saw at least 40 wild turkeys near the end of the road.


Saturday I decided to go for a mountain bike ride. At 2 pm. I think locals will spot the problem. Not sure why I didn't. My defense: I really wanted to ride my mountain bike. The water tank road was fine at first, then I hit mud at the last pitch of the climb. The tires balled up and the drive train was gravy. I bailed down the Cliff trail and I was relieved it only had a few spots of mud. When I got down I dunked the bike in the Provo River to wash off the mud - I was there 10 minutes and plenty of mud remained, but the drive train was clean. Yeah, bad call, a road ride would have been the way to go.

On the way back I saw a hawk dive on a mouse not 20 feet from me. The hawk dropped off the top of a telephone pole, tucked back it's wings and dropped swift and silent right on the poor rodent. Not as cool as a Golden Eagle taking a snake, but I got a kick out of it.

I went for a road ride Tuesday at lunch. It was sunny and 45. I enjoyed the ride even though the decline in my fitness is significant and disappointing.

I also rode today at lunch. Not as nice. Overcast, hazy and 42. But the forecast looks like rain the next 3 days so I figured I better take it. As always it felt good to pedal and move on down the road, but I sure don't have much kick. Oh well, still plenty to like about riding.

One of the kids got Ghostopolis (a graphic novel) at the library. I picked it up on a whim and couldn't put it down. The story is unusually imaginative and fun (although it does have some problems). The illustrations are fantastic and excellent. I finished it in under an hour. Everyone in our family read it and liked it. The 8 year-old loved it (he skipped the big words, the pictures helped). A fun story with cool pictures. A movie version is in the works starring Hugh Jackman - the story would work for a movie, hopefully they do a good job with it.

I'm having some gadget lust for the NookColor. I fondled, er, evaluated one at Best Buy. Very portable, screen looks good, web browsing, and of course ebooks. I like the idea of ebooks, but at the current prices I doubt I'll buy many. The library has 2,300 titles available, but not many best sellers on the list. There are plenty of free classics available. The kicker is it can now be rooted so you can run any Android app on it. That makes it the cheapest tablet available. So tempting.

Jolene's broken leg still hurts. She's getting around on the crutches pretty good, but when she's up for a few hours her foot and ankle swell up and turn purple. This doesn't sound right. We see the doctor next week so we'll see what he says.

Friday Frisking

A week ago Friday I tried to fix the alarm system at work. It indicated it couldn't call out so I figured I'd clear the error. I found some info on the internet and decided to give it a go.

I set off the alarm but figured since it couldn't call out so it wasn't a problem. I tried several things but couldn't clear the error. I was about to give up when I heard a tap at the front door.

I couldn't see through the tinted glass but unlocked the door anyway. It was a Bluffdale policeman. He asked me to step outside, face away from him and take a wide stance. Then he frisked me.

I was flummoxed but eventually gathered my wits and asked him if it was about the alarm. After he seemed sure I wasn't a criminal he told me they got an alarm code indicating people at our office were being held by armed assailants. Well, that explains his wariness.

He had me sit in the squad car (locked in the back seat cage) while he checked the building. He asked if anyone else was in the building, I told him there was one other guy, the CEO.

This is what the CEO told me: the officer called up the stairs identifying himself as a police officer and telling him to come down. He thought it was me joking around so he blew it off. The officer called up again and as the CEO came down the stairs and turned the corner he sees the policeman with his drawn gun pointed at the ground. The CEO raises his hands and says "Whoooa!". Then the officer frisks him and they walk through the building so the officer can see there is no one else there and everything is OK.

So, me screwing around with the alarm gets me frisked and put in squad car and the CEO facing a drawn gun and then frisked. I'm not sure why I still have a job.

When Life Gives Me Lemons

After I'd run some errands Saturday I had a few hours before dark (5 pm, ug) and it was 40 degrees - ride time. Both tires were flat from my last ride on my mountain bike so I brought them into the house to fix.

Rear tube had 3 punctures so I chucked it. I have this rule about patching tubes - 1 or 2 patches then chuck the tube. So I removed the thorns (evil goat heads) and put in a new tube.

On to the front tire. A pinch flat. I patched it. When I inflated the tube it had two more punctures so I chucked it. Last tube, no spare.

Put the wheels on the bike and rolled down the driveway. I pumped the brakes to make sure they were good and heard a horrible screeching sound from the front. Turned around and back to the garage. The spring that holds the pads apart had been sucked into the pads and were mangled.

I found another spring in my junk box and eventually got it installed. It made a clicking noise but seemed to be working. I didn't want to risk it. I guess the pads are worn out. I didn't have a spare so I was done with the mountain bike.

I pulled out the road bike. The tires were flat. I pumped up the front. I started pumping up the back and heard a hissing sound. Took the wheel inside and patched the tube. Pumped it up and it held.

A half hour past when I had expected to leave, I headed out for a road bike ride instead of a mountain bike ride. Even though I was a bit grumpy from the string of mechanical problems, once I was riding my mood improved and I had a good time.

I rode down University Avenue and roamed around the BYU campus. It was dead, due to Christmas break and the BYU-Utah game. There was a new building there I'd never seen before. I rode through Timpview then back to Orem.

I stayed warm and enjoyed the fresh air and moving under my own power. I like lemonade.

(And I'll be going to the bike shop to stock up on parts tomorrow.)

127 Hours

I saw the movie 127 Hours last night with some friends. I liked it. Scenic cinematography, creative editing, keeps moving, excellent acting by James Franco, and a gripping story. I give it a B+.

I do have some bias. The film was shot in the canyon country of Utah, a place I've visited many times. The film also features canyoneering, something I was heavily into for 3 years and very much enjoy. In fact, I've hiked parts of Bluejohn Canyon 3 times. I also read Aron Ralston's book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

Spoiler Alert - I'm going to comment on the film below.

Aron did ride his mountain bike to where he dropped into the canyon, and he did crash once, but pretty sure he stayed on the road. I don't think there are any big stretches of slickrock to ride out there. Still, it was fun to see a good stand-in rider ripping it up a bit on a bike.

"The Dome" doesn't exist. There are many slot canyons where you have to stem up off the ground, but very few have water underneath and none have pools of clear water. The water in canyons is muddy at best and usually scummy, sometimes with a floating rotting carcass. Canyoneering is not for germaphobes. The pool in the film is actually the crater pool at the Homestead in Midway. Some have complained about the film taking this fictitious detour to "The Dome", but I was OK with it because there are some magical hidden places out in canyon country and they are worth the effort to see.

The book kept me engaged during Aron's 6 days stuck in the canyon, but I wondered how the film would keep it interesting. I thought Danny Boyle (also directed Slumdog Millionaire) and James Franco did an excellent job showing Aron's attempts to free himself, his video-tapped messages to family, his daydreams / hallucinations / memories. Some scenes may have gone a bit long, but I was never bored.

There is no narration conveying Aron's thoughts, just acting. Cody Clark (review here), the critic for the Daily Herald felt this was a mistake. In general I like Boyle's call here because with no voice-over you are more fully aware of the silence and emptiness of the canyon. However it does mean the viewer doesn't know exactly what Aron was thinking.

Narration is most missed when Aron finally figures out how he can break the bones in his arm to get free. This was a high point in the book - Aron reported that it filled him with hope. In the movie the impact of this moment is lost.

The amputation scene was hard to watch. It was graphic. I've seen worse gore, but it's more distant - in this film you can't help put yourself in Aron's place and wonder if you could cut off your own arm. It's more personal. I was determined to watch it, but it was uncomfortable. I had to tell myself it was just surgery. Watching the amputation impacted me more than reading it - seeing left little doubt what amputation entailed.

Back in 2003 when this happened to Aron and I heard the story, I thought about what I'd do in that situation. To be honest, I'm not sure I could have cut off my arm. It would be so easy to keep telling yourself that someone would come along and you'd be saved from having to cut off your arm.

The high point of the movie for me was when Aron made the last cut and staggered back from place he had been stuck for 6 days. The feeling of freedom was strong and poignant.

This wasn't the end, Aron still had to scramble down the rest of the canyon, rig his rope and rappel over 100 feet down into Horseshoe Canyon - one handed. The film handled this well.

At the end of the rappel was a pool of turbid water which he immediately drank from since he ran out of water days ago. I heard some audiences had almost as much difficulty with this scene as with the amputation. Really? If you've ever been truly thirsty you know you'd drink any water in this situation.

The end of the film was moving. Seeing the real Aron Ralston with his wife and young son the message is unmistakable - you are only seeing this scene because Aron did something very difficult and he very well could have died. Life is precious.


Defenestration - the act of throwing a thing or especially a person out of a window.

This montage of movie and TV defenestration scenes is art. And very entertaining.

Grouping the scenes into categories was brilliant. People crashing out windows, in windows, diving, blown backwards, thrown, kicked, through windshields, animals (horses?!), motorcycles, cars, people on fire - even one mountain bike.

That's a lot of candy glass. I'll probably be hearing the sound of breaking glass all day, but it's worth it.

I recognized maybe 10 scenes.

Boat Loads Of Shame

In a recent post, Watcher mentioned being introduced to and liking the Avett Brothers. I'm always interested in good music so I investigated. Watcher said he likes Talks on Indolence, it's fun but frantic.

I found their song Shame for free on Amazon and really like it. It's mopey and morose. Perhaps they meant it as a serious song, but I find it amusing and, well, funny.

Have a good weekend.

Ding Dong The Cast Is Gone

Today Jolene got her cast off. She's happy about that. It was a long seven weeks for her.

The leg looked gross. Mottled red skin, some nice scars, swollen. I wanted to take a picture but was forbidden. So how about pictures of the cast, as decorated by the family last night in hopes it would be off today (so that totally worked).

From the x-rays the doctor says it's healing nicely. Now the leg feels unprotected without that cast and she's concerned about bumping it. But she's looking forward to sleeping better tonight without the bulk cast.

Today I had an, epiphany? No. Revelation? No. How about a realization.

I've been doing some household stuff Jolene usually does. I drove carpool this morning. Helped Kade get dressed, fed and off to school. Microwaved some leftovers for Jolene. And made a run to the grocery store - that's where the realization occurred.

I parked the van, snagged a cart outside and as I head in I noticed the Stovetop stuffing right inside the door and remembered it was on the list so I snagged it right there. Usually I hardly notice the specials by the door. But this was just a small realization.

The bigger realization came a few steps further when I saw our preferred brand of corn chips on sale. I instantly recalled they usually cost $2 per bag so when I saw the 2 for $3 sale I knew it was a good deal and bought two. Then it hit me, I never noticed grocery prices before but now I do. I guess I'm learning grocery shopping by repetition and exposure. Didn't expect that.

Bathroom Surprise

I had an odd bathroom experience last weekend.

I stopped for breakfast at the McDonalds in Cedar City. As I opened the bathroom door I hear two men having an intense discussion. As I entered I noticed they weren't at the sink to my left, nor at the urinal to my right. Could they be in the stall?

I sensed awkwardness. Not hair standing up, but suspicion and a touch of creepiness. And not enough to make me retreat, although I wasn't discarding that option.

I took a step or two toward the stall and was becoming aware that the voices didn't sound right, even with the echo-y acoustics of the tiled bathroom. One more step and I figured it out.

The video below attempts to recreate the event.

Yes, there's a flat panel television above the urinal. And it was tuned to a sports show with two guys energetically recapping the recent college football games. It startled me to hear this in a bathroom, and that's not a place for startling. Imagine if it had been females talking on the TV.

I'm all for nice bathrooms, and I was impressed that a McDonalds would have such a well-appointed facility, but the TV is too much. There are no TVs blaring at the library, the same should be for bathrooms. A little music to distract from any unfortunate noises, but no TV.

G & G Weekend

It was a Guacamole & Gooseberry Mesa weekend.

The weather was perfect - it was hard to believe it's November.

Here's the view from Guacamole:

Alex on Guacamole.

We found a new (to us) trail marked with spray-painted dashes. It was a playground of small but fun and interesting technical moves.

After the ride we camped on Gooseberry Mesa by the windmill. The view of Zion bathed in evening light was spectacular.

I forgot my camera for the Gooseberry ride. We did a figure 8 route starting on Windmill then the Practice Loop, Cattle Grate, God's Skatepark, Hidden Canyon, Yellow, The Point, Rattlesnake Rim, Hidden Canyon again, Bowls and Ledges, then Windmill back to camp.

Here's the group shot on the point:

I did pretty good in Hidden Canyon. Some stunts I finessed smoothly, others I just mashed through, flubbed some. At times I was smooth on the technical stuff, other times not. But I had fun the whole time. I made it down the Rattlesnake, one dumb dab on the way up, then down again - such a fun feature.

The pace was brisk yet relaxed. No bad crashes or mechanicals. Just a good, good ride.

We made it back to camp around 3 pm and rested a bit. Some of us wanted more so we headed east on the north rim trail (Rim Job) and roamed around for a while.

Vicente cooked shrimp and steak paella for dinner. It was delicious. He's from Spain and knows how to cook it right. Check out the gas-fired paella skillet he brought:

Two days of biking, eating, camping, sitting around the fire, talking, laughing, sunshine and starry skies. Good living.

Burning Down The Car

With the Hell-O-Ween ride in my backyard I decided I should be a good host. So I put up a sign (because that turn by the Orem Cemetery is hard to see in the dark) and bring a fire.

The fire was a roll of quality toilet paper soaked in kerosene in a metal bucket. As people arrived I lit it up. Everybody likes a fire, right? Provides light and heat. Riders gathered 'round. A nice touch.

When we left it was still burning a bit so I tipped it over and it went out.

After the ride I put the bucket in the back of my car. I thought about dumping out the charred TP, but Rick reminded me that I was a Life Scout too so I packed it out. When I got in it was a little smoky so I rolled down the windows - don't want smoke smell in the car.

As I went a bit faster the wind fanned the smoldering TP and next thing I know I've got flames in the bucket. Not good.

I quickly pulled over, opened the hatchback, and dumped out the flaming bucket and spent the next 5 minutes stomping on it until no more embers remained.

When I told my wife the story she laughed and laughed.

The car smelled like smoke for 2 days. At least I didn't burn it up.

No one can question my commitment to Hell-O-Ween (but questioning my intelligence is fair).

Halloween 2010

For the Hell-O-Ween night ride I was Ron Burgundy.

We carved pumpkins Saturday. Tried some patterns this year.

I went with the flaming pumpkin again. Using better toilet paper the flames lasted 45 minutes. That's Kade as the Grim Reaper.

Kara was a rapper.

I went as Neo.

Since Jolene is still down with a broken leg, Rachel handed out the candy - and entertained herself by making a sphere from glowsticks.

Jamie was Pocahontas.

Kade and Kara scored a pretty good haul, even with the rain shortening the trick-or-treating.

A lot to like about Halloween. Watch out, Christmas.

Shaving Seinfeld

The Muffin Tops episode of Seinfeld was on last night. It's a good one.

George: All right, let me ask you something: When do you start to worry about ear hair?

Jerry: When you hear like a soft russeling.

George: It's like puberty that never stops. Ear puberty, nose puberty, knuckle puberty, you gotta be vigilant ...
Jerry: I did something stupid.

Kramer: What did you do?

Jerry: Well I was shaving. And I noticed an asymmetry in my chest hair and I was trying to even it out. Next thing I knew, (high pitched voice) Gone.

Kramer: Don't you know you're not supposed to poke around down there.

Jerry: Well women do it.

Kramer: (high pitched voice) "Well women do it." I'll tell you what. I'll pick you up a sundress and a parasol and you can just (high pitched voice) sashay your pretty little self around the town square.
(Watch it)

Jerry: I can't stop. Alex thinks I'm naturally hairless.

Kramer: You can't keep this up. Don't you know what's going to happen? Everytime you shave it, it's going to come in thicker and fuller and darker.

Jerry: Oh that's an old wives tale.

Kramer: Is it? Look at this.

Kramer walks off-screen and opens his shirt. On-screen Jerry reels from the sight.

Kramer: (high pitched voice) Look at it! Look at it! And it's all me. I shaved there when I was a lifeguard.

Jerry: Oh come on. That's genetics. That's not going to happen to me.

Kramer: Won't it? Or is it already starting to happen?

Quad Chin

In my last post I noticed something disturbing. No, it wasn't the photos of Jolene's stitched up leg (although they are attention-getters), it was this photo:

You see it, right? It sure jumped out at me. Evidently I have FOUR chins.

Or are they gills? I'd be happier if they were gills.

But they aren't gills, they're rolls of skin. Like a Shar Pei.

I already have a hard time remembering to suck in my gut for photos, now it seems I need to not scrunch up my neck. Perhaps turtle necks are the answer.

Dug, may I borrow a phrase? I hate myself.

The Cast

Uh, yeah, blog posts have slowed down. This care-giver stuff takes time.

The kids were out of school so we went to Lagoon Thursday. Rachel didn't feel good so she stayed in the car until noon when she felt better and joined us in the park.

Kade loves bumper cars and Flying Aces - must have done each more than 6 times.

Having fun on the rides. It was a beautiful day.

The park was deck out Halloween style. This dance number was fun to watch. Before the show the wolfman sneaked up behind Jamie and growled in her ear - yeah, she was startled.

Friday was Jolene's appointment with the doctor. When they took off the splint Jolene didn't like the look of her leg, all swollen and lumpy with incisions closed with staples. (The squeamish may not want to look at these photos.)

She got a pretty blue cast. It fits snugly and supports her leg better. It feels OK propped up, but hurts when it hangs down, like when she is up on crutches.

We've figured out and settled into a routine now so most days go fairly smooth. The kids and I are getting better at meals, shopping, laundry, school, etc. Sure makes us appreciate all Jolene does for us.

I had another nasty cold last week but felt good enough to go for a ride Saturday. Wow, I had no zip. Hopefully that blew out the crud so my next ride will be better.

The Hardware

Yesterday we got some x-rays of the hardware in Jolene's leg.

I winced when I saw it. That's more hardware than I expected - two plates and eighteen screws, by my count.

The good news is, it looks like the breaks are closed up nicely. That pointy sliver on the Fibula doesn't look good, but I suspect it will grow back into the main bone.

She has less pain now and it doesn't throb so bad when she stands up. She's getting around on crutches OK. Still, she spends most of the day riding the couch and it got old 3 days ago. She has read all the comments here, on Facebook and e-mails - thank you all for the sympathy and words of kindness and encouragement.

I was determined to fill in and be Mr. Helpful. I did not expect it to be so tiring. I've been a zombie this week. Double my coke intake for the next seven weeks? Those energy drinks seem like a really good idea now.

Jolene will see the doctor next week to get a cast. We'll know more about her mobility options then.

Maybe she'll be bionic.

On The Mend

Jolene left the hospital Saturday. She is comfortable and happy to be home. She has much less pain and is managing OK with pain pills.

She will see the doctor this week or next to have the splint removed and some sort of cast put on.

She's doing OK, but gets down when she thinks about being disabled for 8 weeks. I had to cancel our up-coming family trip to St. George / Grand Canyon, that was sad. I'm just glad her injury wasn't worse.

This photo was taken in the emergency room and is the best (worst) one I have of the break. Not startling, but there is something eerily wrong.

This is her splint. Are moon boots back in style?

She also hit her arm and has a bruise-of-many-colors.

I'm intrigued by this picture hanging on the hospital (Utah Valley Regional Medical Center) lobby wall. Anyone know about "The Pride of Provo"? Nice track stand for the photo.

We're establishing a new routine with Mom out of commission. The kids are stepping up and I figured out how to cook dinner. Tomorrow will be my first day getting the kids off to school.

Broken Leg Photos And Thanks

Jolene will be staying at the hospital overnight. She may come home tomorrow. The pain is still pretty high, but with morphine she can rest. We haven't seen the doctor again, but the word is she can't put her weight on it for 2 months (she'll be on crutches).

Here she is after I moved her off the trail and we got her comfortable (and gave up trying to splint the leg).

The Search and Rescue team goes to work. Get an I.V. and morphine in, sweet pain relief.

Strapped in the stokes and ready to roll down the trail.

If you look really hard you can see the breaks.

Thank You!

I'm sad Jolene broke her leg, but I was deeply grateful for all the help we received from friends and complete strangers.

- Within minutes of the crash, four guys on motorcycles stopped and stayed with us for 2-3 hours, instead of enjoying the ride they had planned. One of the guys was able to make the cell call that got help coming right away. Two guys rode down Tibble and brought back a jacket and blanket for Jolene. They got the fire going. They offered to give whatever they had to make a splint. They didn't know us, yet they treated us like friends. Wow.

- Josh and Nate stayed at least 2 hours to make sure we were OK. We had to badger them to leave with darkness fast approaching. And Josh has continued to check in us. Other mountain bikers also stopped and offered to help in any way.

- The Utah County Sheriff Search and Rescue Volunteer Team was amazing. The first two arrived on motorcycles, saw to Jolene then gave updates to the rest of the team. Next four guys arrived carrying the pieces of the stokes. Then the rest of the team arrived with the medical personel who jumped right in and got Jolene ready to travel. These folks buy their own equipment and spend personal time for training. When they get the call, they come running - dropping plans to see a movie, leaving a son's soccer game, etc. I am deeply grateful for what these people did for us.

- Every medical professional did a fantastic job - from the ambulance staff to the hospital doctors, nurses and staff. I was very thankful for their skill and service.

- Family and friends have been incredibly supportive. Jolene's brother works for the Orem Fire Department and he came to the ER on his day off - his medical knowledge and familiarity with emergency situations was very comforting to us. Jolene's Mom and Dad came immediately to the ER. I got calls, texts, facebook updates, etc. from her and my brothers and sisters. Friends, coworkers and neighbors expressed concern and offered help. And the people we know from biking and through the internet have wished Jolene well with kind words.

This flood of people rallying to our aid has deeply impressed me and filled me with gratitude. It seems there's a lot of bad news these days, but this outpouring of compassion reminded me how much goodness and kindness is out there. There's no way I can repay what all these people have given - all I can do is offer a heart-felt thank you!

Breaking News, Literally

Update 2: Surgery is done. The doctor said the tibia was pretty easy, but the fibula was tricky. She is in recovery now.

Update 1
: Jolene is in surgery now. The doctor said it should go fine. She'll be home later today.

Jolene broke her leg mountain biking yesterday.

Riding along the ridge (157) trail just before the 4-way. I about went down on a downhill slight left-hand turn where the edge of the trail has sloughed away. Sadly, Jolene crashed.

She endoed and landed on her right leg hard. I was just ahead and heard her yelp then say "I broke my leg!" Sure enough her ankle didn't look right. When I tried to move her it hurt badly. I finally got her off the trail but by the way her foot was dangling it was clear both bones above the ankle were broken (tibia, fibula).

Not 5 minutes later four guys on motorcycles came by and stopped. One guy had an AT&T cell phone that got signal so he called and got Search and Rescue (S&R) on the way.

Mountain bikers also stopped including Josh (the photos are his) and the Bike Peddler group ride. We fiddle with some splinting ideas, but any little movement of her foot was incredibly painful so we decided to wait for S&R. But we all built a little fire to keep busy as the sun was setting.

As it was getting dark two S&R guys arrived on motorcycles. They helped and made radio contact with the S&R team. About half hour later the medical guys arrived - gave her morphine and put a vacuum splint on her leg. They loaded her in a stokes (a litter with handles at each and and a wheel under the middle) and wheeled her down the Deer Creek South Fork trail to a waiting ambulance.

This was the S&R response that arrived at the summit parking lot (photo by Josh).

At the hospital (UVRMC) they got her comfortable, took x-rays then got her in a room. She will have surgery today to install screws, plates whatever fix it up.

She wasn't happy about breaking her leg, but thanks to so many kind and helpful people she got off the mountain and taken care off. I'll have more later.


Since my last post (2 weeks ago) I rode in Park City with Watcher and the crew Thursday the 16th. It was a good ride - half or more in the daylight, the rest at night with lights.

We started at Park City Mountain Resort and went up Sweeney Switchbacks and part way up Johns then down 4:20 then up the dirt road to take Empire Link and Ontario Bypass up to MidMountain then across and down Spiro (pretty fun in the dark).

The Maples were starting to turn colors.

Then Saturday (the 18th) Jolene and I rode Big Springs to check out the autumn colors. We had a nice ride. The photos tell the story.

Jolene drove home and I biked by going up Dragons Back then up Betty and over on 051 then down Dry Canyon.

And that was my last ride. I got the nasty cold Jolene had and it hit me for a full week. I now have more sympathy for Rick being laid up for 6 weeks (how did you survive?). I think I'm over it and hope to be out riding soon. It's clear I'm a cycling addict, I've been having withdrawals and miss the mood boost I get from riding. Get out for some Fall riding before it's gone!