Saturday, October 01, 2011

One last Alpaca Roadtrip

As I write this we are on our last leg of our final 4000+ mile road trip to deliver 14 alpacas to the east.  We started our 9 days ago and spent the first two days driving across Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, and into Kentucky where we made our first Alpaca delivery before heading onto Columbus, Ohio, where we delivered 9 rabbits for our neighbor. The next day poured rain on us all day while we drove to Martinsburg, West Virginia (spitting distance from DC) for the next alpaca delivery.  Those folks entertained us and put us up for the evening, and the next day headed on toward our delivery in Georgia, in the Smokey Mountains (about 5 miles from the North Carolina border).

This day we had planned to slow down a bit and hoped to drive the full length of the Blue Ridge Parkway, but within about 5 miles we recognized that was a very impractical idea.  For one thing the fog was so thick that we could not see 15 feet in front of the truck.. So we stopped at the first visitor center, and picked up literature then headed back to the main highway.  I suppose this was best because as it was we didn't make it to that Georgia delivery point until 7pm.

With plans to get back to Asheville that evening, our day was just too long and we stayed the night in Franklin, NC, in the Smokies.  But we were still in Asheville, to my Uncle Charlie, and Aunt Cordie's house, by breakfast.   Nice because A) we got to arrive refreshed, and B) we got to drive up the steep hill to my uncle's house and park the truck and trailer in the daylight.

We spent 2-1/2 very relaxing days in Asheville; visiting waterfalls and other local sights, getting in a few hands of Mah-jongg, and eating wonderful meals!  We thoroughly enjoyed the pampering that always is showered on us at Charlie and Cordie's, and yet after contemplating the 2-16 hours days of driving ahead, we decided that it might be nicer to meander and see a few sights along the road on the way home with our empty trailer (ie. no animals to take care of), and we chose to leave 1/2 a day ahead of our original schedule.

So leaving at noon, heading toward Tennessee,  our first top of interest was to be the botanical gardens and model train exhibit in Nashville.  But then we realized we would be getting there at 5:20 pm, and they close at 5pm.  So while Mike drove I kept seeking out sights of interest along our route using the GPS and internet on my smart phone.  I hit on a stop that fit the bill perfectly.  A treehouse that some crazy guy built and built and built.  It was free, 5 miles off the highway and would be good to stretch our legs and imaginations.  I looked up the exit and announced my plans just as we passed the exit.  With the next exit 9 miles away we decided to save that for the next trip...  (
We did get off the highway in Nashville and drove by a few sights.  The most noteworthy was the Parthenon, an art museum that is a full scale replica of the parthenon in Greece.  But at rush hour, driving around in downtown Nashville traffic was not too fun and so we went on.  We stopped at a hotel about an hour later in time for Mike to catch his online class.

Day 2 of the return trip we drove across Kentucky and Illinois.  We got to Saint Louis around noon and planned to stop at Union Station, an old train station in downtown renovated to house shops and restaurants.  Thought that would be an interesting place for lunch and stretch the legs a bit.  But there was no where that we could park the truck and trailer in or around the spot...   So we went on.  We did stop for lunch a few miles later (at a Steak n Shake) and took a walk around the strip mall before continuing down the road, and somewhere along the way we stopped for a restroom stop at a Harley Davidson dealership.  That's always fun!

The one spot that we noticed on our way east, but didn't stop because we had a trailer full of alpacas, and may in fact be the reason we decided to take the slow road home, was a marble factory (yes, small round glass things) outside of Kansas City.  So when all else failed we plugged that into the GPS and it said that we were going to got there at... you guessed it... 5:20, when it closed at 5:00.  AND it didn't open until 10am, so we wouldn't be waiting for that.  We did pull off the road and drive by to make sure it should stay on our list for "next time" also, and indeed it will.

After another nights good rest we started out on our final day and mid-morning stopped at the "Cathedral on the Plains" a beautiful Catholic Cathedral in the middle of Kansas.  That turned out to be a wonderful stop, and we took a few photos below.

All in all the trip went smoothly.  Our only snafu was that the people picking up the rabbits from us in Ohio had a car breakdown and we ended up driving an extra 4 hours to deliver the rabbits.  After trying the Blue Ridge with no success we decided that we would have to return in the next year or two and drive the full length by motorcycle, maybe camping along the way.  That sounds like more fun anyway, and will give us an excuse to get back to the neighborhood!  Love it!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Juice Fasting

Early in the year (January I think) we watched a documentary called "Simply Raw" about a study of 6 people with diabetes (one or two type I the rest type II) who they put on a raw diet for 30 days.  It effectively eliminated their diabetes (I don't have any information about the follow so don't ask ;-).  I do believe, from our past personal experience and from our studies, that if you give the body what it need it can do miraculous things.  The body wants to be healthy, only trouble is... what is it the body wants?  A lot of fruits and vegetables in the raw form sounds like a good answer to me...  I also think a good cleanse ever year or so is a good idea for the body.  I decided this summer to try to eat raw for 30 days.  So summer has nearly come and gone.. trouble is.  I don't really know how to go about eating raw.  I don't want to bore myself with salads continually (and I don't think salad dressing is raw anyway) and how do you get the protein etc.

Last month we saw another documentary "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead".  It is downloadable at Netflix, and very interesting.  It's about a guy from Australia who had Urticarial vasculitis, a form of hives that attacks you a few times a week for no apparent reason, very painful, and incurable.  His only recourse is to take massive amounts of steroids, which of course are killing him in other ways.  So he went on a 60 day juice fast, flew to America, drove coast to coast meeting people and telling his story.  He is now 80 pounds lighter, living a raw lifestyle and completely off the steroids and no more urticaria.  I decided this would be a good cleanse for my body and meet the goal of 30 days raw, so last Monday I started a juice fast.

My neighbors lent us a juicer, and then actually we got one in an alpaca sale, so suddenly we have two champion juicers at our disposal.  We would like to purchase a Breville, but we can decide that at a later date.  My Sister, Nancy, actually discovered the movie, and has started juicing also juicing on Friday.  She bought the Breville so Ill have a chance to try hers.  Of course with our crazy schedule, it was tough to find 30 days that I could juice in the middle of conventions, cruises, work travel etc.  But we're going for it.  So far so good at day 8.  I haven't gotten too hungry.  The goal is not to get hungry at all, just drink more if you need to.  You are giving your digestive system a break by juicing and yet you still have all the calories and nutrition you need because you are eating a huge pile of veggies and fruit.

Here is what I eat in one day.

Next step is to cut it up :

And finally, 8 cups of juice should last me the day.  Bon Appetit!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Salt Lake on a bus.

On May 15th Send Out Cards chartered 3 busses to go from Denver to the Salt Lake Treat-em-right Seminar (Send Out Cards 1 day motivational seminar).  My Mom and I thought that would be a fun adventure, so she came up from Albuquerque, picked me up from the airport (coming from Chicago of course) and we spent the night at Rose's house and got on the bus at 6:30 the next morning.  Well we were right about adventure.  Only two hours into it, the highway was closed due to SNOW in Wyoming.  Thought about rerouting to I-70, but chains were required there!  So after a little resourcefulness the Bus driver found a way around the road closure and we were back on track again.  However the re-route shortcut took us over about 5 miles of dirt road, which after the 24 hours of POURING rain, was kind of a Mud-slide road.  After ward the bus driver informed us that although he was sliding all over, his main concern was not stopping, lest he get stuck n the MUD.. Luckily the adventure ended there.  And as much fun as it was going, it had lost it's enamour by the bus ride home, which was from 7pm until 4am, and then a 3 hour drive back to my house where we both CRASHED!  I think we've done that, and don't feel the need to do that again.

Because we rode the Thursday bus, we had a full day on Friday to ourselves.  An absolute on the adjenda was to visit the Send Out Cards plant.  The bus was going to take all that wanted a ride over at 10 am, but I thought "Gee, I really don't want to arrive with 52 other people for a tour" so we grabbed a cab, got there at 9am and had a private tour.  SO glad we did that!  It is wonderful to be able to walk right up to the machines and ask all the questions you can think of.  I had been 2 times before but this was Mom's first time, so the personal attention was fantastic.

Our tour ended just as the bus showed up with the other 52 people, so we thought we would hang out a bit and catch a ride back to the hotel with them... However sometime within that waiting period I had the bright idea to give Mike's brother-in-law, Keith Caraway, a call.  I knew the building he worked in was within sight of Send Out Cards, but wasn't sure which one it was.  So when I called him, he was delighted and popped over to say hi.  He got there just as the bus was leaving so we abandoned the ride back to town idea and went to lunch with him.  He then put us on a city bus that took us back to town and actually dropped us right at the Gateway Mall in Salt Lake where we had decided to go see the IMAX movie.  Perfect!  Then the free trolley in Salt Lake took us back to the hotel just in time for the evening's Send Out Cards event so we could get all motivated in our busines again.

I must admit I've been to 4 treat-em-rights now, and you would think I know what they want me to know, but these are self improvement seminars, and it amazes me every time what more I learn about myself!  Can't wait for the next one.

The next event I was excited to participate in was the first Saturday in June in Chicago.. My last day in Chicago.  I was excited to still be there and be able to attend their local "Super Saturday"  (another training event popping up around the country).  We have Super Saturdays in Colorado about once a month (unless something else is going on, like bus trips to Salt Lake) and I find them every inspirational.  The one in Chicago was much smaller and very intimate, which was great.  And it just so happened that the speaker/trainer for the day was none other than Jordan Adler, the number one month earner in Send Out Cards.  He recently bought a 4th home in Chicago, and so likes to hang out there!  Anyway, what a great opportunity to get to take part in.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Big changes previously alluded to...

So on to the big changes.. In January we decided we would like to get out of the alpaca business in 2011.  We have nothing bad to say about the business model, but due to the economy, our business plan just is not working like we had hoped, and rather than keeping ourselves tied down to a business that is costing us in feed and vet care instead of making a profit by now, we would rather turn our attentions to other pursuits.  We still fully believe the alpaca business will bounce back when the economy bounces back for those who will wait, but A) we are tired of waiting, and B) We are losing our faith in WHEN the economy is turning around.

SO, we are liquidating our herd and have been selling alpacas fairly rapidly.  We are down to 24 now, which is far from the 100+ we had here only 2 years ago.  We have some unbelievable deals for super quality animals, and some have taken notice.  We have no regrets on the path we have taken.. especially as that journey has led us to the direction we are now moving in.  In the meantime we had 3 babies last week and have 5 more due before the end of the month.  So it's hard to know haw many alpacas we own on a given day.

The Cria at play!

Last September we took a Rich Dad (Robert Kyosaki) weekend course on Options trading and got very turned on by that.  So Mike has been educating himself to be able to contribute to our household via that vehicle.  And I, as most of you know am TOTALLY immersed in Send Out Cards.  The company just gets better and better (and the checks just keep getting better and better).  I believe in the product, in the heart of the company, in the law of attraction, and the good things that come with appreciating others.  It has been truly transforming in my life, and I am so excited about the prospects this company has to help others lives as well.  The income opportunity is something that so many people in our country these days are begging for, and even if the opportunity is not for you the product is something that is changing the world for the better every day.  Send Out Cards has just removed all membership fees for retail customers (unbelievable value for FREE!) and they are going to open up globally in the next few months.  I truly believe Send Out Cards is going to make a lot of billionaires in the next 5 years....  But I'm gushing and saying too much.... I just can't help myself!

But as mentioned in the earlier post.. It's too easy to get distracted and let the Send Out Cards business stagnate.  So to help me to stay focused, 4 weeks ago I joined a mentoring program that runs for 1 year, in which you must dedicate 15-20 hours a week to Send Out Cards to complete.  This is going to be a serious commitment, to keep up all the other things I have going, but I want my Send Out Cards business to flourish, and this is going to be what it takes!  SO.. my friends, you may not see another post for another year!!!  ;-)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mike's Busy Schedule and Allergies

Two things happened with Mike the same week I left for Chicago, 1) his Dad called and asked him to do some work at his house, and 2) He was diagnosed as allergic to all Milk products and Eggs in any form.  The latter has been a huge challenge for him, and now that I'm back home full time I'm in for a shock on how careful we are going to have to be with our diet.  He is being treated for the allergies now, so hopefully this isn't a life long issue, but we will have to see.  Just this week he was told he could start eating dairy again, so we are keeping our fingers crossed!

When his Dad called for the work, we thought I was only going to be in Chicago for a week.  So he was going to wait until I got home to take care of the animals.  But every week my appointment got extended further.  So we finally decided he had better just go do it.  So the two weeks encompassing Easter he went to Salt Lake and installed wood flooring at his parents house.  Instead of going home, I flew to Salt Lake for the weekend and for the holiday.   That worked out well.

He now has a contract to finish up a friends basement in Loveland (3 hours north) so now that I am am home he will be spending much of the next 2 months up there working on that.  This is the woman he helped finish her house up in Eagle's Nest, New Mexico, back in 2003 or so.  It should be a good job.  I also have some prospect of new contracts on the horizon... So everything is looking fine on the home front.

Monday, June 06, 2011

1/4 year in Chicago

OK, My sister Monica just got back from 2 weeks in Italy and posted a few posts to her blog... She has inspired me to catch you all up on what has been going on around here... Huge changes in the works, slowly changing our lives... That's in a nutshell.  Here's the detail.

Rose, Mom, Kris, & I 
February 11 two of my Mastermind team members, one from Denver (Rose) and one from Boulder (Kris), headed down to Albuquerque to pick up my mom, and then on to Phoenix for a Send Out Cards "Treat-em-right" motivational and training seminar.  On the way down I got a call from Gilbane, my primary client, saying that they had 4-6 weeks of work for me.  It would involve one week in Chicago, getting facetime with the client, and then the rest of the work could be from home on the ranch.... Just my style of contract.  They wanted me on site on Monday Feb 14... the day I was planning on returning home from the Phoenix trip.

Well, anyone who has been following our life for long knows that we are in no position to turn up our noses at any billable work, so I got down to my best talent... problem solving, and got it all worked out.  When we passed back through Albuquerque to drop my Mom back off at home after the Phoenix trip, Kris and Rose would drop me off too, and I could fly to Chicago from Albuquerque.  Kris and Rose needed to get home of course, so they would take my car to my house for me where they had left their car.  Then Monica (my sister), who happened to be planning a trip to Pheonix herself, passing through Albuquerque on the day we were returning to Albuquerque from Phoenix, would meet up with Mike in Pueblo, who would hand off a packed bag with my dress clothes, and work computer, and I could fly off to Chicago.  Then at the end of the week I'd fly back to Albuquerque, just in time to be picked up by Monica, heading back home, who could give me a ride on home to Colorado...

Worked out great!  Anyway, they loved me in Chicago.. I fit right in with the team, each of us filling a needed role.  So as soon as I got home, they called to say, "You need to come back, we need the who team here at the table until this job is done."  Well, I've lost count of the weeks, but humm... some 16 weeks later was still in Chicago.  Going home Friday evenings and returning on Monday mornings.  Bright side is I've never spent any time in Chicago before, so now I've seen the sights, down side is, by now I could care less, and I go to work in the AM, and back to the hotel in the evening........ Not an inspiring lifestyle.

I only stayed over two weekends in Chicago.  Those weekends I got out to see
  • Navy Pier
  • Frank Lloyd Wrights House
  • Unity Temple
  • Lakeshore Drive
  • Willis (Sears) Tower and the Ledge (4' deep glass boxes that extend out of the building on the 105th floor!  What a trip!)
  • Magnificent Mile Shopping
  • Second City Comedy Club
  • Pizza at Ginos
  • Hershey Shop
  • Millenium Park
  • Historic Water Tower
  • Garrett Popcorn
  • Northwesten University
  • Frank Lloyd Wrights Robie house
  • O'Bama's house,
  • and went to a German Beer and Brat Fest..
So I did see a few things.

Frank Lloyd Wrights Unity Temple
Too cloudy for the Sears tower today!
A VERY COOL model of the city, made by a 3-D Printer.
(Go see it in the Santa Fe Building if you get a chance.)

Millineum Park


 The view from the Sear's Tower

(I stayed to watch the sunset)

Pizza with my Cousin Hillary, whom I haven't seen in 20 years!

I've also learned a new appreciation for those that try to do Send Out Cards part time while working full time, because by the evening, back in my hotel room, I have to really push myself to pick up that phone and do some Send Out Cards... If I didn't totally believe that Send Out Cards has the potential to support me and allow me to retire in comfort, I wouldn't give Send Out Cards another moment.  My business was stagnant for 3 months before I decided to do something about that.. More on that later.

My calorie intake and exercise routine has also given me somewhat of a challenge, but by the end of April I'd been there long enough that I was able to start disciplining myself on those issues too.  So tough though to stick with it!  Aargh. 

I came home from Chicago yesterday and at this moment have no plans to return, my bank account is breathing a sigh of relief, so I am careful not to complain.

After I wrote ALL the detail... I decided to take pity on you all and break it into 4 blog posts... Guess I really should post more often, so they don't have to be so long!  Watch for the other posts in the next few days.