Saturday, February 21, 2009

Doctors, doctors and more doctors

In the past two weeks Karyn (me!) has been to two doctors... the internal medicine doc - i.e. annual checkup - and the endicrinologist - diabetes doc. The internal medicine doc went something like this....

"um, my chest hurts"
"how long has it been hurting?"
"3 weeks - i think I strained a muscle"
"why do you think that?"
"I don't remember hitting anything or anything hitting me...."
"let's take xrays - not that they will show anything."

Wednesday afternoon - phone message "Just like I figured the xrays don't show a break but with your bones and the way you described the pain let's treat it like that. If it's not better in 4 weeks come see me again"

*yeah* (BTW, that was TWO weeks ago and yes, it still hurts)

the following week, the diabetes doc! I was so excited....! I started working out 3 days a week with a personal trainer the first week of November and see the endicrinologist every 3 months so was expecting to see some medical results.... here are the results....
last time, weight = 185 lbs
this time, weight = 184 lbs
last time, A1C = 7.1
this time, A1C = 7.7
....... REALLY?!?!?!?!??! so frustrated.
For those that don't know an A1C is basically the 'average' of your blood sugar over about a 3 month span... . my goal is less than 7.0. Feb 2008 it was 6.4..... do you see the problem? I work hard and it goes UP?

so, i've been exercising more, maybe a bit more stress at work but come on.... really?

i talk to the nurse about a CGMS (Continuous Glucose Monitoring System) to try and figure out where the problems are. This thing has a sensor that is stuck in you 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, monitoring your blood sugar. I'm a geek so technology gets the best of me but I also have a great motivation to use it!

The nurse calmly tells me that the insurance will refuse to pay and it will take 6 months or more of appeals to get them to pay for it. or I can 'borrow' the receiver from the doc's office and just pay for the sensor ($120) that lasts 7 days. hmmmm.... time will tell. I hope the insurance doesn't argue too much or that having 2 insurance policies will help! I'll keep ya posted.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Epic.... View?

JackAl hut. Our last hut trip...

After the last hut trip, we took a bit more time to discuss the ins and outs of travel plans. We discussed departure time, gear, clothing, I even posted a bring/don't bring list. We did have a couple people who had never been into a hut before, but you better consider the rest of the Browns... They tend to over pack...

I'll have to toss up a post about efficiency and fatigue, but for now? The hut trip story.

It was a crisp cool morning. Well the whole thing started a little earlier than that. I gave Sperry the 2.5 degree guilt trip about practicing the beacon exercises. Knowing how to operate a transceiver is a handy thing. You have to admit, it might not be the handiest thing for you, but you do have to admit, it's nice to know everyone else you are with is pretty efficient with one of those devices. After all, if you are the one under the snow, you want those other people to be REALLY efficient.

The weekend prior to the hut trip I left my transceiver with Sperry to put a few more hours under his belt. I was pretty impressed when I learned of the work Dad and he put in. They spent a couple hours up at the A-basin transceiver practice area, just below the east wall. This spot is slightly clear of where one of the avalanches would have stopped anyway, so it's a good location. The resort has placed a few permanent transmitters under the snow. Dad and Sperry told me there were a few options for switching them on and off from a central location, but the switch description was lacking some pertinent detail, as in, which switch associated with which transceiver. I expected a 20 minute exercise, and they call it good. Thanks for putting in the work. It was worth it...

Thursday night we arrive up at the condo, preparing for the trip the next day. I spent a little time finishing up my bindings on the new El Hombres... I'd tapped, but not yet glued in the screws. I was thinking this would be a good thing to have done before the trip. I was only able to find 24 hour epoxy... It'll due.

Sometime during the night Karyn woke deciding to run home to pick up a few base layers. I think we had enough, but better safe than sorry. She departed at 3:45am for the house. with a 6:30 departure plan, and McDs on the menu for breakfast, she should have plenty of time...

Morning comes around, and we all get up and moving. Not real fast, but fast enough... We think... The plan was to hit the road at 6:30, get to the trailhead just before 8, and be on the trail moving about 8. Karyn wanted to get an early start, and nobody complained. Karyn arrived back to pick me up, and we headed out.

As we're headed down to the McD's gourmet breakfast... I get a call from the other car. It sounded like Dad and Sperry were reviewing Dad's list of required items for the travel. At some point they came upon the topic of transceivers. I had borrowed a couple, and had the typical 'Can you pick those up from them... then I'll meet up with you to get those?' conversation. But those items were in the car with Crew 2, David, Becky, Russ and Ed. A quick phone call to sort that out, and Sperry asks, "you got yours from the condo right?" "No, you didn't give it to me, is it at the condo?" "Yeah" {Pause} "No, you didn't give it to me, is it at the condo?" {Pause} "Yeah" {I'm turning my car around} "Where is it?" So a quick trip back, we were only 10 minutes out at this point, so it wasn't a big deal. I returned, to say hi to Mom, and picked up the transceiver. Well I guess the other Browns missed, me on my way back to the condo, we passed them going the return direction about 1/2 back to the gourmet breakfast. Another call... They were headed back for the same thing, but stopped for breakfast on their way. They must have been hungry...

The few days preceding the trip, summit county picked up almost a foot of fresh pow. I'm sure the skiing was good, while I was sitting at work on my computer... We had a bluebird day to hike in. And by the looks of the roads on the way over, the day before had been pretty warm. I began to think the hike in was going to be pretty easy...

With a quick stop for the gourmet breakfast, Karyn and I headed up the road, and lined up right behind Dad and Sperry headed over Fremont pass. We followed them all the way to the Camp Hale trailhead. Just seconds after we pull in the rest of the group arrives. Now that is timing... They had been 2 minutes ahead, and had to make a turn around up the road. Who says this group isn't compatible?

With a few item exchanges, and pack checks, Ed and Sperry picked up the loaner transceivers and shovel, I grabbed the liter of wine from Sperry, and we headed out. Russ first, Becky, Karyn, then the rest of us. Ed had a plan to drag his monoski behind him. I suggested we take the brakes off for an easier slide. He refused. I figured I'd sort that out with him in a little while...

We regrouped at the far side of Camp Hale, some people put on skins, and a few other quick configuration changes. We headed up the trail to see the leftover carcass of somebody's dinner from the night before. We identified this thing as an elk, but there wasn't much there to use for identification.

Heading up the trail, Ed was lagging. I stopped him just around the first hairpin. I didn't give him a chance to say anything, I had my leatherman out, and when the ski arrived, I pulled the brakes off. He immediately said, is that still back there?

David and I had some great chats as we headed up the trail in sweep. We were separated by a few hundred meters in two groups. Becky Russ and Karyn leading, Dad, Sperry, David, Ed and I last. When we stopped for a snack, we radioed up, and made contact. Sperry kept pulling out this trail mix. Kind of heavy, but the raisins and M&Ms hit the spot.

We passed the small cabin along the way, David and I attempted to straighten the trail. At this point there were a few missing trail indicators.

Later one more stop for a real lunch, and don't forget the yellow mustard... Dad and Sperry had made an assembly line for making mini sandwiches. Two a day... While we were sitting around reminiscing the yellow mustard, the group staying in the hut the night before tromped past. Some on snow shoes, some just walking. And one having a hell of a time with her flatlander cross country skis. After a fall just up the hill, she dismounted, and carried them the rest of the way. Being able to hike on the trail shows snow on the trail was pretty firm. Having taken a few detours off the trail, the snow was looking pretty good for skiing.

The last two passing had a single sled, and a couple guitars. That would have been a fun group to hang with up at the hut.

We managed our way to the top of the trail, and as we crested the summit of the trail the wind started whipping. I was a little chilly, but knew we were only yards from the hut. We pulled in, reunited the group, and had some snacks. We were the first 8 of the hut for the evening. Being first is always important when staking your claim on the 'good beds'.

After a short break, all but Dad headed out for a run. We just had to find the right place to take a few turns. Cresting the summit of the trail again, we found the leaders heading in from the next group. We said good afternoon, and one of them just had this longing look. I responded to that with "The hut is 100 feet over that hill." "That's all I wanted to hear!"

We headed a few paces off the trail, and decided to skin down. Sperry still has a few things to practice for this back country ski stuff. He's still learning how to skin down.

We found a nice patch off to the North West of the hut. Open enough to ski, but still safe in the trees. We skied until the trees were too thick to continue. We skinned up, and headed back to the hut. I set a path in a different direction to allow us to do some more scoping for the following day laps. Everything out of the trees was either skied off, or sun baked. So it was going to be trees or bust...

Dinner that night Dad had dehydrated something like 15 lbs of ground beef and spaghetti sauce. We even had some fresh bread to go along. The meal was great, and the leftovers were going to be great sloppy joes for lunch.

The next day we all arose, and Russ was already making breakfast. Nobody was very motivated when thinking of the snow conditions. We pulled out the hut puzzle. Two choices this time. 500 or 1000 pieces. I'm the 500 kind of puzzle guy. We stuck around and built the puzzle start to finish. The other clan had some serious skiers. They headed out right after breakfast. The rest of them were pretty into building igloos.

The hut choice this year was JackAl. This hut is pretty hard to get a weekend day, so we put it on Dad's lottery form. From the hut you can view the Holy Cross Wilderness all the way down to the collegiate range. This is quite a spectacular view. We all took those pictures with your camera, you know, where you stitch them together to capture the view? But nobody ever actually stitches them.

The igloo was coming along nicely, no help from us. We broke for lunch. Sloppy Joes... Those hit the spot. We had started into playing spades by the time the ski crew got back. The going consensus was: It took longer to ski down than to skin back up. They were in some tight trees if that's the case...

We finally picked up and headed out side. We decided to do a bit of transceiver practice. You can never be over practiced in this. Remember, you only have 45 minutes to dig them out, saving 5 minutes during the search might be all you need.

Ed and David had some serious Spades experience. Both former Marines, turns out both of them were on the same boat in the gulf waiting for Desert Shield to start. Never knew each other, but they had lots to talk about. Spades was the ticket to passing time on that boat...

Dinner came around, I had brought some cheesy chicken Lipton packets, supplemented chicken and cheese. It tasted pretty good, but reminded me of a gooey mess. (not to be confused with gooey ducks) As darkness set in, and the other crew was well into their bottle of vodka, Karyn was chatting with one of them, who turned out to have lived in the dorms with her in college. What a small world.

After everyone started winding down, I was poking outside. The moon was out, not quite full. The snow looked just so inviting. I couldn't rally anyone to join me, I headed out for a run. Sperry captured a pic of me hitting the kicker built by the last folks, and I headed down the open field in front of the hut. One run turned into two, and I headed back in to rally... No go, so I took a couple more runs. Have you ever headed out for a moonlight ski? It's truly wonderful. Ever so quite, you can hear the snow brushing off the skis. Hiking up in the brisk cold air is a great calming experience.

Sperry had been reading a great book I had already read called Deep Survival. This book is discussion on accidents typically in the wilderness. Of course the basis of the book is Survival. It contains many interviews and recounts of events which people made it back from alive. Apparently this kept Sperry from heading to bed as I was out making laps having a wonderful time...

The next morning we all awoke to Russ again, making breakfast. A quick clean up, pack up, all captured on 1 minute interval pictures with Russ' camera. During this process it became a bit of an attraction to time a funny pose for the pic. I haven't seen the results of those yet, but it's going to be funny...

We headed out in 1 group of 8, and managed to split up immediately into 3. I had in mind some good turns on the way out, after scoping some cool snow on the way in, I knew where I wanted to go. I held left of the trail, leap frogging with Russ, and Karyn following up. At some point I saw the terrain getting pretty steep, so I stopped, and decided to back track a bit for the trail. Just this time Russ and Karyn caught me. So I cut a trail slightly below contour in the direction I wanted to go. I was south of a drainage I wanted to be North of. As we worked our way back, we exited the trees into some pretty poor snow conditions. We pulled back on to the trail, and it was even harder than when we left it two days prior. The three of us struggled our way down to camp hale. Passing the carcass again, we regrouped. I pushed hard across the flats, in an attempt to drop my pack to return for Karyn's. I managed to catch her 2/3 of the way back, and carry hers out. The rest of the group had been waiting almost 30 minutes. The skiing we had was well worth the extra time!

As we all exchanged equipment and packed the cars, we reminisced the good ski down the hill. The group diverted, 3 cars. 2 directions. Another end to another great hut trip. And just to think, I haven't mentioned my new skis here at all yet!

Another Hut - Jackal!

Well, where to start? It was a warm week in the high country of Colorado = icy top layer, a.k.a. crusty. Not great snow but still a great weekend to get away with family and friends.

There was a bit of carnage on the way up. It appeared to be an elk that had, um, had been totally devoured - on our way down there was even less left.....

The players in this hut were - Becky, Russ, Tucker, Karyn, Bill, Sperry, David and Ed (remember him from the Jackson Hole trip?)

We had sun... and fun.... and beacon practice... and probe practice.... and fun... and more not working, and more not working. Wait! Was that the point? No working??? It was for me! For Russ it was, as alway, not about being god but rather just cooking - inside joke but trust me, it's funny!!!!! We definitely ate better than I do at home!

\Plus, I ran into a friend from college - our sophmore year our dorm doors opened to each other. It was awesome to see Zach!

We certainly enjoyed the warm days and beautiful views...... and some of us enjoyed the powder in the trees on the way out - although it 'cost' us about 25 minutes as we had to hike a bit to get out of what we got into!!!!

More of our pics can be seen here!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Thanks for visiting us Troy

Troy is in from Spain for a short visit. He is a Volkswagen mechanic, but maybe he should have been an plane mechanic. His flight from Spain to the states, was delayed 3 days due to mechanical issues. (military transport) But he finally made it to town, and got several days of skiing in. Troy had signed up for the Talons Challenge last week, but with the flight difficulties, he missed the challenge.

We took Troy to Beaver Creek the week after to introduce him to some of the runs we skied in the challenge. We had gotten some snow during the week, so the terrain was completely different than the day of the challenge.

A few pix on Peregrine of Troy




Of course I missed Alex, he skies to fast to take pictures of...

It was a great day, we managed to get the 23k feet that the challenge consists of, but we didn't drag Troy down all the runs...

Karyn took out some Alpines, I'm not sure why she hasn't aplined before, she's really good at it.

Sunday we finished up Troy at Copper, hanging with Scott. Sperry joined us late in the morning, we still managed to drag him down Little Burn, despite him getting lost in the trees above it. Denver seemed to leave the slopes at noon. As you would have expected.

We followed up with a Super Bowl party at Scott's house. Driving home during the second half of the game was great. They should have a Super Bowl every Sunday!!!!

The last two days Troy was a little tired, but he still has been working on junk at the house. Thanks for replacing the glo plugs on the golf, and fixing the speedo in the jeep!

Anyone with drywall skills want to crash over for a few nights to work on the house?