Sunday, April 27, 2014

Fairplay, Colorado

We rented a house this week in Fairplay, Colorado where we will move to and live for the next year.  But let me back up.
Click on photo for more information on Fairplay
As you all know we sold the last of our alpacas in December 2011.  Since then we have done a lot of soul searching and decided that we really did not need the 36 acre property anymore, nor the 4 barns, nor most importantly the big mortgage.  We are pretty simple folks, give us a small house in a somewhat remote, and beautiful location, with good internet and good water, and we can be happy.

We tried for the next couple years to sell the house, on our own, and with multiple realtors.  In this economy we were having difficulty getting any showings even at the break even price for us.  It's a long story but in the end the best option for us was to give the house back to the bank.  Two weeks ago, the call finally came.  The bank offered us a great deal, we sign the deed back to them in lieu of foreclosure.  Nothing hits our credit rating, they will even offer some cash compensation, and in return we agree to move out and turn the house back to them within 30 days.

Originally we had planned to move to Montana, still our ultimate goal.  But this part of the story started back in March when we had a fabulous 3 day vacation with a couple of Mike's kids/spouses/Spouses siblings, and our granddaughter skiing in Durango.

We had such a good time, that I looked at Mike and asked why, when we live in Colorado, are we not skiing a LOT more than we do.  We both enjoy it.  It's good exercise.  He and I are very compatible skiers... Seems like something we should take advantage of while we are here.  He agreed.  And so, although the ski season for us started this year on March 17 with two days at Durango, we have since had one day at Crested Butte and two days at Breckenridge.  We ended up with seasons passes next year for Breck.... which we bought 4 days before we got the notice that we needed to move.

So our initiative became to try to stay no further from Breckenridge than we now are, which is 90 miles.  This is actually easier than moving to Montana within 30 days, and will give us a year to scope out Bozeman, while renting for a year near by to here, and of course skiing at Breckenridge.

We first looked at Salida and Buena Vista, two towns we had previously considered moving permanently to. But it seems rentals there, as reportedly everywhere, are pretty tough to come by.  Magnified by the fact that rafting season is shortly upon us, so the summer influx of seasonal people are snatching up anything available in quick time.  We became concerned that we would find an appropriate house for us in the time frame.

But alas, things always seem to work out, and this
week we signed a lease on a cute house in Fairplay, CO.  Fairplay is a TINY town about an hour north of us, and 1/2 hour south of Breckenridge (679 residents).  At 47 feet below 10,000 feet it is the fifth highest town in Colorado.  We are almost to the tree line and have gorgeous views in every direction.

The house is small at 1200sf, but has 3 bedrooms, a two car garage (also rare in rentals in the area) and aside from the initial shock of having to resize from our 3000 sf with 4 barns, we should actually be quite comfortable there.  We have huge relief to have a place to go, and great excitement at having a new neighborhood to get familiar with, being that close to the ski area next year, and still not too far from Canon City, Colorado Springs, Albuquerque, Denver International airport, Monica's house, etc.  Costco will still be about an hour to 1.5 hours away.  They are opening a Whole Foods in Frisco (about 45 minute) on May 1.  We will move sometime between May 1 and May 20 (I guess that really depends on when the T-1 line moves).

Mike this coming season : Fishing near Fairplay
We do not have mail service at the house, so we will have to get a PO Box.  I'll let you all know when we have that available.  In the meantime... I'm going to be in Albuquerque for a week long visit with the kids and parents.  Life is an adventure, that is for sure.  But life is also sure good to us, perhaps better than we deserve!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

10,000 Steps to Health

So for a few years now on our health journey, we have come across many who have suggested that we might give up wheat.  Neither Mike nor I found the idea very interesting, on the consideration of giving up burgers and pizza alone!  But last fall, while coming home from our trip to Salt Lake, we visited a friend who recently moved to western Colorado (a little community called Cedar Edge, now one of our top 3 for consideration to moving there).  These friends have a son who works at Natural Grocer (aka Vitamin Cottage) in Grand Junction and used to be a personal trainer, and whom Mike worked with on our friends (whom I shall begin to call Gloria and Gary) barn for a summer in Jackson.... So we know, like, and trust him.  Through encouragement of the son, Gloria and Gary, have taken on a healthier lifestyle.  They love living in Cedar Edge, primarily for the great produce in the area.  We were justly inspired.  Gloria cooked many wonderful things that were gluten free, whole food based during our visit, and we were encouraged.  She was looking and feeling great.... (Gary too).

Gloria also mentioned that Natural Grocers everywhere have free nutritional training that is sorely underused.  I decided the next chance I got I would go get some "training".  It is, in fact, a GREAT resource.  Although come to think of it, I haven't gone back, perhaps I should.  Anyhow the gem I got from the trainer was that most people don't go gluten free (wheat free) forever, they do it for 6 months or so, until their body has had a chance to heal itself from the effects of eating wheat (which is in most every processed food, along with sugar).  Then you add back wheat, on a limited basis, and see how it makes you feel.  If it doesn't feel bad, then you can eat it.. If it does, then you won't WANT to eat it.  I was very inspired.  I thought I could really do this for a year.  So November 1, I went Gluten free.  Survived the holidays with no wheat, barley, or rye.  I actually was fairly surprised how easy it was.  2013 was the first year ever that I didn't even THINK about baking Christmas cookies, and I didn't miss it.. I didn't even realize that until the holiday was almost over.

Next I read Wheat Belly.  I had a friend give me that book probably 2 years earlier, and I finally picked it up.  Oh my goodness!  It is a very interesting read and has some very compelling arguments against eating wheat.  Wheat destroys the lining of your gut and causes (amongst many other things) deterioration of the intestinal lining and results in Leaky Gut Syndrome, which Mike has been diagnosed with, and is suspected to be blamed for many of his food allergies... which, by the way, is why we started this journey anyway, to heal Mike's allergies.  He agreed he ought to try it too.  He was already not eating non-natural Pork or any processed meats, peanuts, bananas, any dairy of any kind.... Before he thought he didn't want to give up wheat, because what would he have left... Now he thinks if he can give up wheat for a year, perhaps the other allergies would get better... And besides that, even with as restricted as his diet was, he would get much better for a while, and then start to develop a new allergy.... all symptoms of Leaky Gut.

We have a friend that is a acupuncturist that has gone Paleo, and encourages us to try it every chance she gets.  Over November when I'd mention to any friends that we had gone Gluten Free, shockingly many of them announced that they had gone Paleo, and were feeling great.  Mike and I decided that would only be one more step on our journey, to go Paleo.  A bigger step for me, however, because I was eating dairy, unlike Mike, and I LOVE sugar... and have a harder time with sugar than Mike.  Paleo, if you don't know, is eating like humans ate forever, until the fairly recent development of agriculture... SO to eat Paleo you are avoiding all grains, all legumes, and all dairy, instead you eat lots of grass fed meats, and vegetables, seeds and nuts.  That's it in a nutshell.

SO with all that in mind, we decided to clear out our pantry of all of those foods before New Years and try to be very strict Paleo in 2014, then see where that take us.  We signed up for a 2 week detox through our Chiropractor, which started January 27.  I was chomping at the bit to get going, so I gave up dairy January 1, but alas didn't give up sugar until January 27.... So the good news was that I was able to break myself in easy, over the 3 month period.  The better news, is that this is going GREAT!  I am shocked at my lack of cravings for anything, I am not hungry, I am satisfied with less food, and I'm beginning to feel like I want to get more active... All supposedly side effects of the Paleo diet.  I gave Mike a Paleo cookbook for Christmas and he has been very creative coming up with all sorts of fabulous dishes.  It's a big change for him, but his culinary skills are really growing.

To shift gears a little, a couple of girlfriends (two of which had gone Paleo themselves) came for movie night to my house in early January.  Somehow we happened upon my vision board from 2013.  I have intended to do a vision board each year, but realistically I have done them every 2 years for the last while.  So I really wasn't on a path to do a vision board this year, but the girls talked me into it, and wanted me to organized a "spa" day with massages, hot tubbing, warm fuzzies, atmosphere to create your dreams and we would all create visions boards.  So we did that... had a great relaxing fun day, got a massage, and produced this.

The week before this weekend there was a "New Year, New You" seminar that Mike and I listened to on line.  One of the speakers hit home with the idea of a treadmill desk.  I had never heard of that before, but I googled it and found the one below (which is on my vision board) and found out that while expensive, many people kluge together their own.  I do have a treadmill, the wheels started turning.  The concept is not that you walk hard and try to get your heart rate up, but that you walk for a few hours a day at a leisurely 1-2 mph so that you can work, but still move.  Currently when I work, I tend to hunker down in my comfy IKEA chairs in my living room, cozy up with a blanket, put a computer on my lap and hibernate for HOURS.... Not good either.  Some changes needed to happen.

Oh also that lecture I heard touted the virtues of wearing a pedometer and walking 10,000 steps a day, a goal which I have embraced a number of times over the last few years, but not so much lately.  I immediately pulled out the pedometer, got a new battery, and was dismayed by the fact that my regular routine was only producing about 2000 steps a day.  I NEED a treadmill desk.  I mentioned earlier that I am feeling more like moving a bit, so all is aligned.

I had also heard a few years ago that it is healthier to have a standing height desk, that people live longer, merely by being encouraged to stand most of the day. humm, that ties into the treadmill desk.  My brother has had a standing height desk in his office for the past few years, and I happened to see him the first of February so I could discuss his successes.

I also had on my New Year resolution goals to work on having a paper-free desk.  IN other words to abandon my habit of piling paper onto my desk with the intent to read it someday.... Really!  Who am I kidding!  Never gets read.  Just piles up, really no reason to keep it there, cluttering my space... and therefore my mind.

All this in mind, and the vision board to remind me daily, last weekend I swapped desks with Mike, for a table that adjusts to standing height.  I cleaned up all the paper off of my desk, and moved my trading computer up there.  I left the other desk low for now, so that I can have options and don't have to work at the high desk all day, but it would be easy enough to put that desk on blocks if I want them both high.

I found a board and some clamps in the garage, sanded the board and clamped it only my treadmill and Voila!! it works great... (I am typing on it now).  My made over office gives me a reason to want to be in that room.... so I've abandoned the IKEA chairs in the living room for evening relaxing activity.  Which in itself will be healthier for me.  I'm pretty excited for all the changes we are implementing fairly rapidly.
In the three days since I have put this together I have walked 90 minutes a day and got off merely because I don't want to overdo.  And, BTW I walked over 13,000 steps each of the days since I put it in.... Yeah!

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Happy New Year!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday.  We started with 15 at the table for Thanksgiving.  I think Thanksgiving is our favorite day of the year and we love to invite anyone looking for a group to share Thanksgiving with.  This year we thought we had 20, so I made the table 18 feet long, then with 5 cancellations we ended up the same size as last year with a 14' table... SO we had a little extra room.... No harm done.  We killed and ate two turkeys raise by one of our Co-op members.  My first time to de-feather and gut a turkey.  That was interesting.  The turkey turned out great and supported our philosophy to get our food as fresh and clean as possible.  Turns out those lovely big breasts are not natural, so we had a little less white meat than we might like, but thinking of the alternative (eating the hormones that make the turkey breasts grow) I am happy with our choice.

Tunnel Drive in Canon City
Mom and Dad came up for Thanksgiving and we walked Tunnel Drive here in Canon City and went up the Cog Railway up Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, and of course had to stop at the Olive Oil and Vinegar tasting room.... My favorite place in Manitou Springs.
The river and Royal gorge train
from Tunnel Drive

On the Cog Railway

On Top of Colorado

 December was a whirlwind as usual.  I had a lot of database work and we had a couple Christmas parties etc... the usual.  The weekend before Christmas we headed down to Albuquerque, and spent the weekend celebrating with Kelsey and Sara.  My parents, of course, got in on the fun as they are back from Japan. Josh (Mike's eldest) and Carla just happened to be in Albuquerque that weekend too so we got to go have a visit with Carla's Mom and Step-dad at their spectacular house in the foothills of the Sandias!  If I can find some photos I'll share.

Since Monday Josh and Carla were flying back to Phoenix, and we were driving down the same day, we stole the baby Kaylee for the drive.  They were worried that she would be ornery in the car for that long, but I guess it's true, children act differently for their parents than for other people... She didn't squirm once and was perfect the whole way... And I had to take a moment to thank whoever invented those baby foods that you just squirt into the baby's mouth, no spoon, nothing.... Wonderful especially when you are in the car.

We spent Christmas week in Phoenix.  Carla (a blood tech at the hospital) works nights and had to work both Christmas eve and Christmas day night, so since it was all us adults and a 1 year old we decided it would harm anything to move Christmas Eve and Day to Thursday/Friday rather than have Carla be struggling to enjoy the holiday.  So Christmas Day after Carla slept and got up (1pm or so) we decided to take the boat out for a bit.  Gorgeous Day, half an hour from their house, about 2 other boats on the lake.  Carla even decided to don the wetsuit and go for a ski.. How many times can you say you went water skiing on Christmas Day!  Unfortunately after a long shift and little sleep her strength didn't allow her up and shortly she became nauseous.... Still proud of her for being the only one to give it a try!

Our Christmas Day (Friday) found Mike and Josh tackling a broken waterline problem in the yard.  Turned out it was the neighbors line, just leaking on Josh's property.. Oh well, we keep saying when the Mosers get together we should have a project.  I was amused as the weekend before when my Mom invited us over for breakfast, I snagged this photo!

Unfortunately, we had hoped to do some hunting or even shooting on the weekend, but Josh got a headache and so we stuck around close to home.  Still a great visit for us!  Late Sunday, we headed back to Albuquerque for the night and Monday Convoyed to our ranch with my parents, and Monica (my sister) and David drove down from Northern Colorado to spend New Years together.  We played games starting Monday night and didn't stop until Monica left late New Years Day.  Aside from Monica coming down with a stomach flu on New Years Day, that was a fun visit too.  After my parents left on the 2nd, and I had to get back to work.... that was a hard transition.  I still wanted to play.

But now 2014 has started and we have BIG plans.  We have been converting our kitchen to gluten free for the past few months, and that has gone well so we have decided to go all out Paleo.  For those who don't know, Paleo eating is eating like a neanderthal man.  The theory is that many things we are eating today are not native to humans and our bodies really are not well suited and have not evolved to eating them.  In a nutshell if you are eating Paleo you are not eating gluten, or any grains, no dairy, no legumes, no white potatoes, and no sugar.  What you do eat is meat and vegetables, fruit (esp berries), seeds and nuts, including eggs and quality fats.  We are starting with a 2 week cleanse and ready to go.  We want to be strict for at least 9 months or a year and allow our guts to heal.  Then most people relax a little and you just listen to your body to see what you can add back.  So that is one big effort for our focus.

Our second big effort currently is that we are starting a new stock trading class with Revolutionary Trading.  I've loved their style for the past couple of years since we have discovered them.  We decided to be part of their elite trading class for the first quarter of 2014.  After we decided that the time was right for us now, they announced that this will be his last year, and perhaps his last quarter teaching, so I'l doubly excited.  This starts at the end of the month and I am trying not to commit to anything, so we can stay dedicated to these to ventures... Yep, pretty difficult for me.

So all told if we can focus on Trading classes, eating Paleo and keeping up with my work, that is enough for the next few months!  Hope you all are having as much fun!