Sunday, October 31, 2010

Stanley Hotel Ghost Tour

A ghost hunt is a must do if you are staying at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. I was lucky enough to meet a rowdy group of people who came up in hopes of seeing some paranormal activity. I was in.

We started at the tunnels underneath the hotel. My first thought was ohhh noo! There must be some shady business that went down here…but really the tunnels were used so staff could get back and forth from the hotel and the manor house without freezing their toes and nose. The man who built and owned the hotel in 1909, F.O. Stanley, really seems like a great guy to work for.

After we were free to roam the hotel, more excited than kids ready to go trick-or-treating.

We had our eyes opened wide in the Manor house, explored the different floors but no luck on the paranormal side. Then we had our ears opened wide in the music room. The rumor is that if you shut the door, you can hear F.O.’s wife, Flora, playing the grand piano that still sits in the room today…and we thought we might hear it, sitting on the wooden floors in complete silence.

We waited patiently for F.O. Stanley in the billiards room, but he forgot to come! Some guests and visitors have said they have spotted F.O. here. A room that once only allowed men to play pool.

We strolled around the fourth floor. Numerous reports have come in that guests hear children playing , but see nothing. Our friendly guard told us that he was making his rounds on the floor one night when he saw a pack of smarties. He made a comment that he was going to take them and felt a shock in his wrist, while standing in the middle of the floor!

There is an attic on the fourth floor, my anxiousness kicked in and I crawled up the stairs. I saw a grape jolly rancher, but no ghosts! The next ghost hunter climbed up and said he saw something red…a red jolly rancher. I hollered back to look for the grape one, but he didn’t see it. As soon as he was on the ground I bolted back up, and would you look at that, a cherry jolly rancher! I will always wonder if someone was playing a trick on me.

And of course we stopped by room 217, where Stephen King wrote “The Shining.” Jim Carey stayed in this room during the filming of “Dumb and Dumber,” and left after three hours. No one knows what exactly happened behind the doors.

No ghost sightings that night…except maybe the swapped jolly rancher. Sitting in the McGregor Room of the haunted hotel, we laughed about our night, recounted how lucky we were to get a special tour and fortunate to have made some new friends. Ghost sightings or not…except maybe that swapped out jolly rancher. Adventure can be made at all hours of the night, and can be the best way to go.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Denvers turn to Rock 'N Roll

Would you look at that, the Denver Rock ‘N Roll Marathon hadn’t even started yet and I was already running (behind). Traffic and the snooze button wouldn’t get me down! Hot pink IPod secure, laces tight at each loophole, race bib pinned…although incredibly crooked. Lucky for me I didn’t run by anyone with OCD. They probably would have been seriously disturbed by my lack of 90 degree angles.
From 14th and Bannock, through the streets of Denver, onto City Park, Cheesman Park and onto finish at Civic Center Park we were in the Denver scene. And those daring enough to do the full marathon got to run along to Wash Park.
How could you not instantly feel like you took a triple shot of espresso with a course lined with crazy costumes, cheerleaders, and bands jamming, and there’s always those funny sings. “Don’t look behind you, but there is an elephant following you.” We were close to the Denver Zoo, and I did sneak a quick peak after I passed the sign holder. Liar.
And for the first time I was given a high five by a cop instead of a ticket. Too bad we couldn’t request who pulled us over, because I would request Jim and swap out a high five for a fine and tickets any day. There is something in the Denver air that lets friendless exuberate. When running past runners, they cheer you on. That’s something I never encountered in high school cross country.
Another half marathon on the feet. There is something special about the energy that is flowing from one person to the next to the next. A good kind of contagious. Like the energy of the announcer at the end. How could you not pick up to a sprint when there are cowbells ringing through the frosty air. These races will never get old, even when I am more than 7 times the amount of the miles in a half marathon…that would be 91.7 years old, I mean young.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Grease Lightning!

Grease is still the word. As soon as the familiar poodle skirts, letter jackets and tight fitting blue jeans for the guys appeared, I felt like I was home. I have only seen a handful of movies more than once and I have seen Grease upwards of twenty +… ok well 29 ☺.

I could tell you the exact moment Sandra Dee stomps out that cigarette and says “Tell me about it stud,” and cue you when Danny Zuko trips over the hurdle at track practice, trying to win Sandy back. Ohhh every scene and every moment gets me every time. (But I am glad in today’s world, track outfits have been updated…) The cover of my VHS tape is coming undone, and the filmstrip came loose, which did stop my heart but didn’t stop be from pouring out my piggy bank and updating to a DVD.

I often sing along to songs like I know the words, and too often get called out for making up my own. But when it comes to these lyrics, I really do know the words, and they will always remain as some of the songs on my most played on I Tunes. And compared to some of todays music, you can understand the words! Which means you don’t have to make up your own. This musical will never loose its style.

My eyes danced the whole time. I wanted to soup up my own Grease Lightning, take a trip to the drive in, have a soda pop at a diner (for 15 cents) and win a dance contest judged by Vince Fontaine. And who wouldn’t want to pull off leather pants like miss Sandra Dee. Such a simple life.

How quick the times change. Poodle skirts are now Halloween costumes, letter jackets are often seen as unfashionable, and jeans sometimes sag off the waists of those boys. At least leather jackets are still in! The world is running at a fast pace. Something newer and better is always coming out, topping off the competition. But something as familiar as Grease took me back front seat of the house I grew up in. Reminding me to take everything one day at a time, to slow down and sip that 15 cent soda, get a little funky in a dance contest and cruise in your own Grease Lighting with no worries… because

“Chang chang chang-it-ty chang
That's the way it should be
Wha oooh yeah!”

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How do you make a trip to Costco Fun? Go with Rick. This guy is a true character, who says you either like me or you don’t. But I have a feeling you would like him just fine. I mean anyone who can make you laugh this much will make sure your day starts turning around, or if didn’t need it to be turned around, it stays on a course. Well…for the most part…sometimes you might fall off course because you are laughing to the point of exhaustion…and you will love it.

Checking out at Costco I noticed his big blue eyes were wide and his head was following the baggers hands from the counter to the cart, from the counter to the cart, again and again. I too noticed that this bagger must be the employee of the month…every month. She didn’t miss a beat; everything packed snug, in order and in a record time! Unlike my packing skills, when the soup cans always smash the bread.

So Rick was up for a challenge…to see if he could pack the car in the same 1:08 seconds it took the talented bagger, to pack the cart
His ears perked up, he stood up and took off out the door. I thought he might blow right past the receipt checker with enthusiasm like that. And without loosing focus he was off, throwing all the groceries in the car. Not a beat missed, and he was in competition with the bagger, only he felt the need to be a bragger too ☺ All in good fun.
Little routines don’t have to be a chore. Wouldn’t it be nice if we never had to clean our car, room or grocery shop for staple items again? At least if you have the willingness to add some spice to it, it will be fun. Attitude really is everything. Don’t be afraid to say ready, go, time for some fun. And don’t be afraid to ask this guy to start packing your groceries, cleaning your car, or checking your emails, I bet he does it in record time.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Cog Railway

If you could go from 6,571 feet to 14,100 feet in about an hour and a half, would you? I said “Get me to the top of the mountain!” Sometimes you just can’t wait for those majestic views, and the Cog Railway speeds up the waiting factor. This is the worlds highest Cog Train, and lucky for us Coloradoans, it’s just a quick drive to Colorado Springs, and you can be amongst the clouds on America’s Mountain.

Now I am hopefully assuming we have all heard the some “America the Beautiful.”
If you are having a short-term memory lapse, this should help.

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain

If you want the whole song, Wikipedia is at your fingertips! But, those four lines are important because Katherine Lee Bates wrote them after being inspired by the beauty of Pikes Peak. I too tried to write a song after seeing Pikes Peak, but I will spare you!

But I won’t spare you some quick info. about this mountain. Hike, ride, horseback up, or bike…you will find a moment when you are in awe of the beauty of nature. Spruce, Pines, Elk, Deer, Bighorn Sheep, Sweeping panoramic views of KS, CO, New Mexico, the Continental Divide…you can’t look a wrong direction. You can’t take a bad picture either. The top is clear…timberline is reached at the top, which means trees stop growing, because there is not enough moisture. Open land. I needed more time up top. But luckily now, I can look at pictures, even though I still wonder if that’s real.

After seeing a view over 14,000 feet above the ground you too might just bust out in a song. And I would love to hear what you come up with!

Elk Bugling

Have you ever heard an elk bugle? Well, I haven’t either. I thought I might have my chance in Estes Park. Turns out September and October are the mating season for elk. And some of these bull elks even head into town. Surprising considering there is seemingly less privacy when herds of humans are gathering around the elk. Its wildlife watching at its easiest! No binoculars needed, the elk gather in easy viewing places …like the golf course.
So back to the bugle. From what I hear, it starts out as a deep sound that turns to a high pitch and ends in grunts. Sound familiar? Reminds me of Tim The Tool Man Taylor. Some people have heard many elks bugling and the sounds bouncing off each other. Could be an award winning soundtrack.
In the herd of elk that I saw there was a variety. You see a “stud” or maybe more than one. Right away you notice which elk is in control, and his dominating antlers are proof enough. And there was more excitement to add to the day. I learned Bighorn sheep stage their head-butting contests in October and November. I might have to make another trip up by the end of the month.
So you may wonder…really, a drive up to Estes to maybe hear an elk bugle? But here’s the really cool part for me. As much as you think you know your family, there is always more and more to uncover. I later found out my Grandpa, and Uncle, started the hype around elk bugling as a way to promote Estes Park. Could be a fun idea to try and find something new about your family. Ill bugle to that.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Working it out with a Dyno World Record Holder...Skyler Weekes

Variety is the spice of life, for workouts too. Heart rate pounding, short on breath as I was coached into a new type of workout. Sweating to prove it and make it all worth it. New workouts are always a kick. And in this case it can be a roundhouse, front, or sidekick. Skyler Weekes, his last name does not imply anything related to him or his workouts will make sure you dive into it all. I mean why just do a regular mountain climber, when you can do jumping mountain climbers, and really add that extra impact.

I have not had a one on one personal training session in quite sometime. I suppose putting P90X’s Tony Horton on the big screen could count, he pushes you, wants you to max out and encourages you along the way. But someone right there boxing, pushing and doing burpees (excuse me) right there with you, is what it takes. I tested my limits and am living on energy as a result. Skyler didn’t let me quit. Even when my body was quivering and my mind was (almost) made up that I needed to go into a savasana, Namaste. There are times that you will catch your breath sure, but then you are right back into a boxing combo, lunging, working on your core and everything else Skyler has insider tips on.

Here’s a little bit of info on this guy. He holds four Guinness World Records for the Dyno Competition. That would be 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010. Drum Roll coming for 2011! But lets back up…Dyno…what? I had to look into it too…today I just smiled and was so caught up with that whole “Guinness Book of World Record Part,” it didn’t matter what dyno was. But for you curious people, it’s a tricky move for experts only! When climbing, and the next move is out of reach, a climber has to leap on the rock face to the next target and catch it. Dynomite. So that’s pretty risky business. Looks like the sky really is the limit for this climber.