Tuesday, December 26, 2006

364 Days Until Christmas

Well it is the day after Christmas and I am home alone. I took the day off work to spend with my girls. At about noon Shayna went shopping with my sister and all her cousins and Madison just left about an hour ago to spend the evening with her dad. It is nice and quiet...

Christmas is a magical time of year that makes you crazy from stress up until the day it actually arrives then it is just so wonderful it is all worth it.

People often talk about the true meaning of Christmas and I think it is a bit different for everyone.

For me it is a time to spend quality time with your family and friends and show them how much you appreciate them. I also got lots of great gifts which I plan to enjoy in the next year.

C is for Chili Dog

Our Chili dog loves Christmas.

Here he is on Christmas Morning opening his present from us...a box of organic peanut butter cookies for dogs. Santa also left him a nice jingle bell collar which he loves. In fact, Brent took the collar off - cos it was annoying - and set it on the table and he barked at it until Brent put it back on him.

Twas the Night before Christmas...

This year for Christmas Eve we had our friend Kevin and my dad over for dinner. We did our usual Mexican feast. Brent made Al Bondigas (meatball) soup with a cilantro lime pesto and I made chicken enchiladas with green sauce. Costco provided the Tamales. We also had blue corn chips, home-made salsa, and guacamole.

My dad brought a nice bottle of Syrah wine to share that he was given by a millionare that he worked on the house of at Tahoe. He left after dinner to attend another party with his sister and her friends.

After dinner we baked some cookies for Kevin, I mean Santa. Kevin showered us with great gifts and then we then settled down to watch a Christmas Story on our new TV. Madison lost her patience more than once cos we were chatting while she was trying to watch the movie.

After Kevin left, and Shayna got home from her mom's we let the girls open their Christmas eve present, new pajamas and then watched It's a Wonderful Life...

It was a nice evening at home with a good friend and family. It doesn't get any better than that.

A Christmas Quilt

My great aunt Linda had everyone in the family that quilts make a block. Then they were all put together to make a quilt. then she put all the names in a hat and drew out the person to win the quilt! And the winner was my cousin Daniel. I was pretty bummed out that I didn't win that quilt!

This one above is my christmas block. My aunt Trish came over and helped me get all the material and a cutter that I could keep!

This block is the one my Aunt Trish made for the quilt.

This one is my cousin Anjeanette's

This one to the right is the one my grandma made. She is my great aunt Linda's sister.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Dogs Love Snow

This past weekend we had our first snowfall of the season. We think we got about 4 inches down here in the valley. Our Chili Dog loves the snow he gets so excited when he goes out for the first time and just does circles around the yard. He is a mut so we are not sure what breed he is but he has some sort of snow dog in him by the looks of his tail.

We are hopeful for a white Christmas but not holding our breath.

Santa's Surprise

Last night we had the special treat of attending the 4th grade play at Madison's school.

She had tried out for the role of Lucky the elf which she did not get. She knew her lines but has stage fright. The girl who did get the role was taller than me - she was huge!

Those who did not get acting parts were the chorus on the sides of the stage.

Madison has two best friends and a "boyfriend" that she got to sing with for the play. In the photo above from the left they are: Paige, Alysha, Madison, and Josiah.

Madison and Josiah first met in the 2nd grade. At the beginning of the 4th grade, Josiah asked Madison to be his girlfriend. Madison is not really "allowed" to have a boyfriend and she is especially not allowed to hold hands with a boy or anything of that nature. We had the pleasure of meeting Josiah last night and he seems to be a real sweet kid. He was super scared of us which was adorable.

Madison, Paige, and Alysha have been friends since the 3rd grade.

There is lots of drama surrounding their friendship it is like our very own reality show. Every day someone is not friends but they manage to make up the next day and all is well again. They are both sweet little girls and we like them a lot.

Hello Aircast

Whilst (new favorite word) I was Christmas shopping last night I came across these things called "bling". They are intended for cell phones or MP3 players but I saw this design and it screamed Aircast! I thought it was a nice way to dress up the cast for the holidays.

Sadly, I have less than 2 weeks to go in the cast and wish I had discovered these gems sooner...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Shopping

We have a very large family.

Traditionally, Brent and I would buy one gift from he and I and one from the girls for each adult and kid in the family.

Madison is now 9 and Shayna is 15 so we decided that they could buy the gifts for their 8 cousins and each other with their own money. We explained to them that the cost of the gift did not matter but we felt it was important for them to learn the art of gift giving.

Last night after work and school respectively we headed to the bank to get their money out of their savings accounts. On the way we discussed how much money to withdraw and Madison said that if she only took out $40 then that would only be $5 each person so she wanted $80 to which Shayna said she wanted $100 just to be safe.

Off we go to the shopping center to Claire's since you can find lots of fun stuff for kids there for not a lot of money. Madison was very good about finding the perfect thing for each person and keeping it within her budget. She took all her purchases up to the counter and got rung up and her total was $94 and some change. She very carefully opened the envelope with all her hard earned money inside and pulled out a crisp $20 and placed it proudly on the counter. The salesgirl looked at me so I had to explain to Madison that she needed to hand over ALL of her money. She got $5 and some change back which she quickly spent on some reindeer slippers at Old Navy for herself.

After all the shopping we had a nice meal at the Taqueria La Salsa and then headed to Starbucks for an after dinner coffee or peppermint hot cocoa. It was a great night, even for me who hates to shop. I was very proud of our girls they did a great job and really seemed to enjoy shopping for others. They were also proud of themselves which is the best gift of all.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Competition 1.0 - No Slackers Allowed!!

My friend Barbara loaned me this Spinervals VHS tape to use on the trainer in the garage whilst I am convalescing.

When she loaned is she said "it is hard". In fact, the box has a difficulty level rating of 9 out of 10. Friday night I decided to try it out and I must admit I was scared...

Read the full post at The Facility Bike Club Blog

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Happy Dance - 3 More Weeks

(Click on picture to make it dance) I just got back from my follow up appointment with the orthopedic doctor and had an x-ray. He says I am healing nicely and no longer have to sleep with the aircast on because my fracture is so stable. He recommended that I start some range of motion exercises. The best part is that he said only 3 weeks to go! I will then be out of the aircast and put in a lace up support that will fit inside my regular shoe. I can then ride my bike and drive a car.

My new return to independence date is:

January 2, 2007

Happy New Year Everyone

Monday, December 11, 2006

Live from Kennedy Space Center in HD

Since I am laid up with the broke-ass-ankle Brent and I decided that we would forgo us exchanging gifts and just decide on one thing that we both want and buy that for ourselves for Christmas. Madison had a Christmas party to attend on Friday night with her soccer team so that allowed us to spend some time shopping for this one thing that we both wanted.

We ended up at the Best Buy drooling over the big flat screen TV's. We love our LG washer and dryer so much we were checking out the LG 42" LCD with built in DVR and HDTV. Turns out that the DVR does not work with our cable company's system so it was basically useless. This made us turn our sights to the LG 42" Plasma HDTV it was about $350 cheaper than the LCD and the picture was just as good if not better quality. They had one in stock so we made the deal and agreed to the 4 year service plan for an additional $250.

Well of course it is not ever that simple with electronics. In order to connect the TV to our Moxi DVR box from Charter and achieve the best possible picture quality we also needed a special HDMI cable that cost $99.00 We want the best possible picture quality after all that is why we are spending so much on the TV in the first place right?

So we are ready to check out and the salesman says there is one last thing we need to consider - the condition of our power to the TV. WHAT? I have a surge protector. That is not good enough - you need a power conditioner to handle the peaks and valleys of the power to the device. How much I say? A mere $249.00 to protect our investment. Actually it has 10 outlets so we can plug the surround system that we can no longer afford since we just bought a mini power plant for our TV. But if something should happen to any of our devices plugged into our power conditioner, it is insured up to $100,000.00! Luckily Brent had received a Best Buy gift card for his birthday worth $15.00 so he handed it to the salesman and said "this should take care of it". We are finally out the door and spent $2,200.00, after the gift card (thanks Sean and Alycia). In all fairness our Best Buy salesman was a straight shooter and wonderful to work with.

Our Moxi box has a remote that you can program to also turn your TV on and off. Well we did not have the instructions or the code for the LG TV so Saturday Brent calls Charter and gets that all handled and then asks the nice man on the phone about subscribing to HDTV. They tell him that our Moxi box is HD ready and they can remotely activate that service and it is only $7.99 per month. We now get HDTV, 10 more channels added to the 500 billion we already get.

The first thing we watched on HDTV was the space shuttle launch live - it was incredible. The picture quality is absolutely amazing we were mesmerized. I also got to watch my Chargers spank the Broncos in HD. The picture is so good that we now find ourselves being HD snobs. We can't stand to watch anything that is not in HD it looks so horribly bad like you were using rabbit ears or something archaic like that.

Now all we need is a surround sound system and we will be set for the winter, I already have it picked out we just need to save some more money.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Big Four-Oh

Well, I turned 40 on Monday December 4, 2006. My wonderful wife and friends had a great party for me at our friends Mike and Kathy's house on Saturday. It was great to see some people I haven't seen in a long while and some that I see quite often, some that ride bikes and some that don't... all in the same room and finding enough in common to keep conversation and good times at a high level. I truely enjoyed just moving through the party and jumping into conversations about bikes, movies, music, kids, family, soccer... and so on. The last real party I had to celebrate the day of my birth was when I was 22! So it was long overdue and it made it that much better.

On Sunday I was laying in bed watching the pre game show and talking to Sandie when Jeff called and said, "I just called to make sure you're loading your bike because we changed the time of our ride so you could come." I jumped out of bed, grabbed all of my (dirty-smelly-not-yet-washed) gear and tossed the bike in the Pilot and headed down to Carson Valley for a nice 14 mile trip through the Pinenuts. "Riding the Night Train" used to mean buying a bottle of wine (Night Train) that costs $1.99 and drinking till I couldn't walk. Now it means SINGLETRACK! What a beautiful way to close out my 30's.

After that, Sandie, the girls, Chili and I headed up to Tracy's house for a family party. It was very nice and I truely enjoyed myself. My mom made my fave Lasagne and Tracy made my other fave Dutch Apple Pie! I had to share, but I guess that's okay.

My girls and I all went out to dinner on Monday (my actual birthday) and had a nice quiet evening watching TV.

I hear all of these war stories about people turning 40 and going insane and having midlife whatevers... I am very proud that I made it this far. Turning 30 was tough, but I wasn't in a very good place at the time (and I was 20lbs heavier!). Today I have a hot young wife, two beautiful daughters and the coolest dog on the planet. What more could a guy want? Oh yeah... a new bike. I got some bike money and bike related gifts. The bike I ordered today is a Masi Gran Criterium. Looking forward to riding the road.

It has been a wonderful year with all of the ups and downs and ins and outs that come with being a Ruybalid. I love my family and friends and want to thank you all for being you and special thanks to Mike and Kathy and the kids for letting us invade your home to enjoy a great evening.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I Can Walk!

Yesterday, like everyday since getting the aircast, I tried to put weight on my broken ankle and for the first time it did not hurt too bad. I then decided to take a step and was able to. Then I walked all the way upstairs. The only pain was the cramping in my calf but that seemed to stop with more use and some stretching.

I am free, free from the shackels of the crutches!

To celebrate Brent and I went Christmas shopping at Costco. I walked through the entire store without the crutches and it felt great. I did have two different people actually step on my aircast but other than that, it was wonderful.

The doctor said this past Tuesday that I would be walking without crutches in 3 weeks, I am ahead of schedule and optimistic about my recovery.

Stay tuned!