Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Adventure #40, the grand po-ba: Paragliding

Drum roll, please...
Here it is, the grand finale, number 40, a lifelong dream... on July 7, 2011 I flew off the side of the point of the mountain solo with a bright yellow paragliding chute over my head and nothing but air under my feet! It was incredible, better than I imagined!!!

This is something I've wanted to do for as long as I can remember. Every time we drove from our home in Layton to visit Grandma Harkins in Pleasant Grove, I eagerly looked out the window as we approached the point of the mountain. Watching all the colorful hang gliders sailing overhead stirred something inside me and cemented a desire to join them. Each time, I thought, "I'm going to do that!"

My surety diminished briefly when I was between the ages of six and eight and I shared my dream with my parents. After driving by, I blurted out, "I'm going to learn how to do that!" My Mom wisely and calmly responded, "Not as long as you live with me:)." Then when I had moved out and mentioned it to Todd he said, "Not as long as you're on my insurance:)"

Well, I no longer live with my parents and I found out that it doesn't matter whose insurance I'm on because paragliding, scuba diving, and sky diving are excluded anyway :) so it is game on.

We are sooo excited we just can't stand it! Aimie, Margie, Tonya, Tracy, Doug, John, Liberty

First Ken from Two-Can Fly (801) 572-3414) suited us up.
This is a funny video of me trying to figure out my pack the first time. I know, it is amazing I made it through without killing myself.

After our introductory instructions, they took us up on the hill just far enough for us to do the chicken run down. We looked like a flock of geese trying to take off.

Each time, we had to gather our chutes at the bottom of the hill and hike a little higher up the mountain side.

Aimie and her lovely new square dancing skirt
Tracy, laying out his shoot for the next run

Me, trying to keep all my chords untangled

By the third run down we caught our first air. I was so giddy with excitement that I forgot to quit running until the instructor came over the radio, "Uhm, you can quit running now."

Those first moments are magical when you realize you are actually soaring through the air. There is no way of explaining the elation. There is no engine, no significant structure, no other person at the controls; it is just you, a chute, and the air. I'm addicted!
After that there was no stopping us, we climbed higher and higher up the hill each time until by end of the morning we were 2/3 the way up and would have continued even higher if the winds hadn't picked up and the clock hadn't ticked so fast.

Wow, what a perfect morning, what a great way to celebrate my birthday. I would highly, highly, highly recommend anyone try paragliding who has ever wanted to and Ken with the company Two-can Fly is great. Skip the tandem, I think that would have been boring now, and go for the introductory lesson that lets you feel the air beneath your own wings.
When are we going again?!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Adventure #39: Rock Climbing

In college, I had a fun group of friends that I would go rock climbing with on Saturday mornings. I thought we were so cool as we scaled rock canyon, which I'm sure is probably one of the easiest rated climbs -- but we thought we were tough at the time.

There is such a thrill and sense of accomplishments when you are hanging from a ledge by your fingertips and finally make it to the top. Yeah baby!

Although it has been 19 years since those grand adventures with Cortney, John, Chris, Joanne, and Teresa, I had to see if I could still haul my 40 year old (almost) body up the side of a rock. So, I called upon the experts, my brother Curtis and his wife Liz, to come hang at the Quarry in Provo with me.

Even though Curt is pretty awesome and Liz is, well, spiderwoman, I think Elli and Eddie pretty much kicked our trash.

It was a fun night, but I have to admit, my arms were pretty much rubber by the end. I know you are supposed to push yourself up with your legs rather than pull with your arms, but I guess I have to learn the hard way by killing myself. Thanks Curt and Liz for a fab adventure; it was great because you shared it with me!

Before watching this video, please note I am not a complete whimp! Even if I look like it, hold your judgement because it is important to know that you can't just pick any hand/foot hold. No, each one is marked with a color and you have to stay on the color you chose at the beginning to follow a course based on level of challenge.

I wish I could say this one was me, but no, it is Liz that rocks the wall.

Curt showed us all up by scaling this wall in just barely over a minute. Show off!

Adventure #38: Ride in a Glider Plane

Todd is the best! He wanted to share his passion for flying with me for one of my adventures so he scheduled me a flight in a glider plane in Heber.

I loved the experience! I sat in the front cockpit so I could see everywhere. As gliders don't have an engine, we were towed up into the air by another aircraft and then cut the rope to glide up high over the whole valley. We started out at 6,000 feet and climbed up to 10,000 riding in a circular fashion around a thermal. Once we were that high and gliding over the valley, the pilot, Tom, let me take hold of the controls and stear us a bit. It kind of reminded me of drivers ed with the instructor anxiously waiting for the moment he needed to take back over the controls.
I'm flying!
Wow, the view from up there was incredible. Everything is so green this year. We could see the lake, the mountain ridges in layers, the snow, the fields -- everything. What I loved was getting a new perspective, I get so used to looking at the world in a linear fashion that it is refreshing to see it so multidimensional. The birds have got it good.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Today is my Birthday!

Okay, so today is it, the big 40 and I did it, I completed all 40 adventures in celebration of my 40 years! I know, I know, I still need to blog adventure #38 and #39 (soon!).

I saved an awesome adventure for today -- for the grand finale.

Here is a little hint as to what I did this morning;) It was soooo much fun!!!
I can't wait to tell you all about it, but the suspense will just have to build as I have a cake to eat!

Side note after the end of the day: Can I just say, I love all the fabulous people in my life -- you are truely what makes it great! Thanks for all the messages, Birthday wishes, prizes, surprises, treats, songs, hugs, and fun. I love ya!

Adventure #37: Paint My Childhood Rocker

Mike Swenson aka, the Clever Craftsman, paints furniture in these amazing colors that cry out my name every time I drive by his house and the door to his workshop is open. The sight of torquoise, lime green, orange, yellow and red make me start to salivate. I have added several pieces to my house like the lime green telephone chair that I LOVE and now sits in my entry way.

So, when I wanted the adventure of painting the little rocking chair from my childhood turquoise, he was the natural go-to guy. Mike was great to show me the way.

This chair was special to me because my parents gave it to me for Christmas back when I was little enough that my bum actually fit in it. I have spent hours of my life rocking and playing with this chair. When I wasn't rocking in it, I would carefully place my Raggedy Anne doll that Grandma Harkins made for me by hand.

Now that many years have passed, it is time to give it a fresh look and of course I have to paint it my life-long favorite color: turquoise.

This color is delicious!
First we got out the sandpaper and broke through a little so the paint would stick.

Then I lathered on the delicious blue. I decided to only do one coat since I liked how some of the dark stain was coming through.

We let it dry for a day or two and then it was back to the sandpaper until we had a finished product.

I can't wait to share the chair with my little girls now.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Adventure #36: laser tagging

back row: John, Mike, Stacie, Tonya, Sofia, Liberty, Angelina, Tracy; front row: Amelia, Alton, Sicily 
A few years ago my friend Kathy and I hopped into a laser tag place with our kids for a quick 15 minute session. We both had little ones hanging on our legs at the time that we were going in to help. However, as soon as the music began, our blood started pumping and the competitive vibe bit us. By the end we were running around flinging our crying kids on one hip while dragging another kid from our belt loops, laughing as we shot the competition. Once the music stopped, we realized that we were probably caught up in the moment a little too much; so, we lifted the hanging kid off the ground and wiped the tears off the littlest faces, smoothed down our ruffled feathers and calmly walked out as though we were responsible parents.

Since that experience, I have to admit I've been a little jealous every time I've dropped my older kids off to laser tag. I secretly have wanted to invite myself in to play too, but figure I embarrass them enough as it is. I'm sure they are thankful for my discretion.

Using my 40 adventures as an excuse I have finally made it back into the ring. And, I'm happy to report that I was ranked number 1 after the first round:), but fell to number 8 in the second round.Which just means I need to do it again and get that second ranking back up there.

Adventure #35: Serving Food to the Homeless

I have always admired Margie and Andrea as both women are amazing in so many ways; but then, when I found out they both go to the Food and Care Coalition to serve lunch to the homeless each week, well let's just say they are superstars in my eyes. So, it was an honor to go as Margie's double the week she was out of town. Andrea showed me the ropes and got me set up with an apron and gloves.

We served sloppy joes, cheesy mac, apple sauce, and such. I was the one taking the trays out to everyone in the dining room -- ladies and children first :) I was impressed by how polite and grateful the patrons were. I loved the little kids who patiently waited for their food with big smiles.

The chefs who work there everyday are amazing. They make up each meal by what is donated (they can always use more donations!) so they have to be very creative. In the summer, they have an outdoor garden they utilize for fresh produce. Ken is known for doctoring up a donated cheese pizza with fresh tomatoes and basil. Sounds good right now.

It was a great adventure and one I hope to repeat with my family soon! Thanks to Ken and Dave for all your dedicated hours to make a difference in people's lives. Thanks Andrea for always being the great friend you are -- you make me laugh so hard it hurts every time I talk to you. Thanks Margie for helping me get it set up and letting me step in your shoes for a day (they are mighty big ones!). Thanks to all those who came for lunch, you made it a grand adventure.