Torchlight Parade

I didn’t travel for Christmas this year.  So I searched for things to do in Grand County for Christmas.  I found that Winter Park does a torchlight parade on Christmas eve.  “What is a torchlight parade?”, you ask.  Well you are in luck because that is my Beautiful Things story today.

I drove to the ski resort in the early evening.  I got a little lost finding parking because I’m not familiar with Winter Park.  I ended up parking at the sledding hill not realizing that wasn’t the base village and I needed to be at the base village.  I almost stayed because sledding sounded fun.  But, that’s not what I came for.  So I asked for directions, got back in my car and headed toward the parking garage at the base village.  I got close and it was a giant confusing mess of small roads, cars, people and not very good signage.  A guy was stopping traffic telling people the garage was full and the parking lots were full.  Right as I pulled up to him another guy came out of the parking lot and said there was one more space in there.  Score – I’ll take it!

I parked and walked down to the village.  It was covered in people.  It was also covered in snow and pretty lights.  By now the snowflakes were huge and and if ever there was a picture of Christmas, this was it.  There was an ice skating rink with parents pushing kids around in funny looking carts – I’ve never seen this before.  The stores and restaurants were all warmly lit up (and packed).  There were carolers in the streets, people gathered around fire pits and little happy kids running arond.  The line out the door of Starbucks was insane.  A warm drink sounded great, but I don’t know if I’d miss the show waiting for a decaf latte.  I found my way to the base of the ski run.  There was Christmas music blaring on a giant sound system.  The base was wall to wall people, some still in their ski gear, some wearing their fancy winter gear that announces they are tourists and some locals too.  Excitement and holiday joy filled the air.  There were random fire pits around to keep people warm, although the shear amount of people made it warm.

At some point you could see a couple of lights up on the ski hill and everyone started ramping up the excitement.  An announcer told us the parade was about to start and further ramped up the crowd.  Eventually, skiers and snowboarders carrying red lights started coming down the ski hill.  They took a wide turning path back and forth across the hill.  By the time the first ones were getting near the bottom, the path created the look of a giant red glowing, moving Christmas tree shape on the slope.  Then the fireworks start.  The whole time huge snowflakes are coming down, Christmas music is playing, the crowd is cheering and I am crying my eyes out.  This is my new home.  I actually live in a place that thinks this is the thing to do for Christmas.  Here, winter is celebrated, not cursed.    Everything is sparkly and shiny – a true winter wonderland.

Then the song “Do you hear what I hear” came on and the snowcats drove up behind the skiers.  The song has such a power to it and these giant powerful machines drive part way down the slope and park.  They each have colorful Christmas lights on them.  I imagine each driver decorated their own cat.  Their headlights are so strong they light up the whole hill.  They park and you can’t keep your eyes off them even though there are still skiers.  They command your attention.  The crowd goes wild.  I even had trouble watching the fireworks at this point.  These drivers work all night grooming runs for the next day., unseen by most and probably never cheered like famous rock stars.  But tonight, they steal the show.

Finally Santa and Mrs Clause come skiing down.  This delights all the kids.  Santa is a couple turns from the bottom and falls.   Everyone loves it and you hear laughter all over the mountain.  I think he should fall on purpose every year.

Then the mad rush back to the cars, the condos, the bars and the restaurants.  That’s a brief look at Christmas Eve in a ski town, my ski town.  Merry Christmas!

https://www.winterparkresort.com/things-to-do/events/torchlight-parade

 

Ice Castles

I went to Frisco to see my friend, Bethany, who was in town.  We were going to go snowshoeing.  I wasn’t looking forward to snowshoeing since I bit off more than I could chew the day before and I was feeling a bit beat up.  Who knew snowshoeing could be so brutal?  I got to Frisco and it was snowing sideways.  It was bitter cold, you couldn’t see very far and the wind was just mean.  After we caught up a little, I suggested we forget the original plan and go to the ice castles instead.  She loved the idea.  I had been to the ice castles 5 or 6 years ago and thought they were fun so I was excited to see them again.  Each year they build a structure out of ice in a park.  It has small passageways, tunnels and big rooms.  Now they have slides too!  When we paid for our tickets, the guy told us we were in luck because the alpine slide was open.  We got in the castle, wandered around, crawled through some tunnels and took a ton of pictures.  At the back of the castle we saw a bunch of people working, wearing hard hats.  Should we be wearing hard hats?  They were working on the big slide.  Apparently they had to close it down because it was launching people quite a distance.  They might have it open in an hour.  We were disappointed because we didn’t want to wait around an hour.  So we decided to do one last loop through the castle and take a few more photos.  Right as we were leaving, we saw a large crowd near the slide.  They got it open!  We rushed up and stood in line with a few adults and mostly kids.  The sun came out as if to bless our slide runs!  All in all, quite a beautiful day.

Also, I’d like to promote Bethany’s blog if you are interested.  She is hiking (as well as other means of non-motorized travel) the length of the Americas while connecting with the history and people of the land.

https://her-odyssey.org/

Songs About Rain

Tonight I went to the local bar.  They have live music on Fridays and pretty good food.  I was only going to go for some food and then head home.  They sat me right in front of the stage.  The singer joked with me about how much I must have paid for front row tickets.  Part way through dinner, he announced that next he was going to sing Songs About Rain.  I told him my name was Rraine.  Yes, I’m sitting that close that I could just tell him.  He was floored.  He thought that was so cool and you could tell it made his night.  He announced to the bar that my name was Rraine and he was singing the next song for me.  He was so tickled by the whole thing that he tried to remember other songs that had rain in them.  I went for dinner and got a serenade – not too bad for a Friday night.

I think his version was better:

Breathing Trees

I decided to go snowboarding this morning.  I got to the mountain before the lifts opened.  I wanted to be there early to get some decent time on the mountain before heading back home to work.  Being early, it was also very cold.  But the sky was blue and there was fresh snow on the ground.  I got on the lift and braced myself for the cold ride.  The ground sparkled like someone had thrown out millions of tiny diamonds.  I held on tight to the lift as I felt myself drawn toward the sparkles unable to take my eyes off the ground.  I noticed that I wasn’t cold even though the temperature had to be close to 0 degrees.  The air just felt crisp and clear and you felt you could see forever.  Then when the sun hit the air just right, I noticed that the air wasn’t clear at all.  The air between the trees was sparkling.  There was no wind.  The sparkles were not falling or blowing.  The sparkles were just hanging in mid air.  Tiny ice crystals suspended in air as if the trees were slowly exhaling and you could see their breath.  There was nothing else in the world but me, quiet stillness, and these magical trees sending out sparkles.  I imagined that even though I could not see sparkles above the trees where I was, that they were still there covering me as I moved through them.  This lasted for the rest of the lift ride and the next and then was gone.

Sorry, the sparkles were magic and cannot be captured in a photo.  You will have to close your eyes to see them.

 

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Beautiful Things

I’ve been wondering what I should write about next for my blog.  My Thailand adventures seemed like a logical thing to write about.  The daily accounting of what it was like to do a fast seemed like an interesting thing to share.  But now what?  Do you want to hear about the day to day joys of being an engineer?  Probably not.  Do you want to hear about what it’s like to buy a house in the ridiculous Colorado economy and then the mundane “I unpacked another 4 boxes today and painted a wall”.  Not really.

Right now, our country is in turmoil.  The news is painful to watch.  There is so much drama everywhere.  I’ve decided to write about the beautiful things I encounter each week (maybe more often, maybe less).  I want to experience more beautiful things.  I want to enjoy life more.  I want to have better connection.  Maybe you do too.  Maybe by sharing the beautiful things, it will strengthen their memory and bring more my way.  Maybe by reading about them, it will bring a little light into your day and help you look for them in your life. 20181209_163005_Burst01

 

Success

I had my bloodwork for A1C done again this week – 3 months after the fast.  It was normal – no diabetes – no pre-diabetes!

My allergies are not gone, but better.

I won’t know about the fibroids until next year when I hopefully have health insurance that will pay for imaging.  But, I have had less problems every month so I think something changed.

The fast definately did a reset on the autonomic nervous system.  I feel more relaxed, less on alert all the time and just more balanced.  This has been the most noticeable change and one I’m not sure could have happen any other way.

Food Changes

A couple of nights after leaving the retreat center, I ordered the steak tacos I had been craving.  They were delicious.  They also kept me up all night as my body refused to digest them.  I only got a few hours of sleep and spent most of the rest of day miserable.  I have had steak a couple times since, including steak at a real nice restaurant where I knew the meat was good.  None of the other times I had steak were as bad as those tacos, but the red meat still made me feel horrible afterward.  So, I may very well be done with cow for good.  This is funny as I’m the girl that use to have steak 2 or 3 times a week in my 20s and 30s.

I decided not to give up dairy, especially cheese, but to only  have it once a week.  I thought having cheese day once a week would work.  There is a place near where I live that only has mac and cheese on the menu – 40 +/- different mac and cheese recipes.  So, my first week back I decided to get some mac and cheese  for lunch for cheese day.  This was one of the most interesting food experiments I’ve had.  I decided to eat half the mac and cheese and see how it went.  I ate all of the mac and cheese – I couldn’t stop.  Then an exhaustion hit me so hard I barely made it from my desk, through the living room to the bedroom before passing out.  In the minute it took me to get to the bedroom, I went from feeling pretty good to being completely depressed.  I slept for 4 hours and woke up feeling sad and groggy.  I’ve heard of the grain brain concept, but never read the book.  Now I don’t need to.  This is what pasta does.  I’ve had this happen another time with pizza and a milder version a few times with bread.  I also ate a pancake that ruined a whole Sunday.  I haven’t had an issue with just cheese.  So, I’m done with pasta, scared of pizza, and if I want to have bread, it better be real good bread in small amounts.

My first attempt at coffee, it tasted horrible.  Unfortunately, I gave it another try.  I should have just left it alone.  Now I’m addicted to it again, but I usually only have one a day.

Now I’m mostly vegetarian with meat only when it sounds good – once a week or so.  The sugar cravings still come and go, but after the pancake, it’s been easy to walk away from any sugar that crosses my path.  I still eat fruit so that’s some consolation.  I feel pretty good.

Water Water Water

I leave to go home tomorrow.  I’m going to spend the day with my friend Bonnie in Sedona before heading out.  I’m very excited to spend some time with her.  Overall, I am so ready to go home.  I’m ready to stop having conversations about cancer, healthcare and healing.  However, I’ve made some friends and am sad to say goodbye.

I have had so much energy the last couple days.  I feel good.  I’m happy.  I feel healthy.  It’s been easy to get up in the morning.  I want to do everything.  Before I came here, I was doing a lot of work to regulate my autonomic nervous system and to work on ptsd.  I wondered what fasting might do for the nervous system.  I had never read anything on that.  I’m thinking this is big.  I’m thinking there was a reset and a balancing of the nervous system.

My dreams haven’t been as intense.  I’m very hungry and feel like I can’t quite get enough food.  I’m not sure if that is just because I’m refueling or if it’s a bit of food addiction.  I really want to start snacking.  I miss popcorn.  I miss cheese.  I want tacos.  I’m still sniffly so my allergies aren’t gone, but they may be better.  I will re-test in a few months to see if diabetes is still not a problem – I feel very confident that will be the last I see of it.  It might be a couple of months before we have a better idea what happened to the fibroids too.  So, I’ll post about that when I know.

Yesterday we did some driving up Oak Creek Canyon and stopping at interesting spots on the way.  Today we decided to go back up and go to Slide Rock park since we didn’t have enough time yesterday.  It was a fun three days of playing in the water!

(c) All Rights Reserved Kimberly Fiore

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Sedona

A couple days ago, I felt like I was getting a cold so the doctors mixed up an herbal tincture for me.  I feel a lot better.  I’m now on full meals here.  I probably could have gone home by now, but I extended my stay thinking I could do 18 days of fasting.  I didn’t fast that long, but now I’ve already paid to stay longer so I’m just taking it easy and hoping the good food continues to help me heal.

I’ve been having a little trouble with digestion, but not too much.  The bowels get a little irritated.  But, overall, I think it’s going well.  My appetite is definately back.  I feel like I could eat more often than the meals allow.  I’m very hungry and ready to eat when it’s meal time.  My eczema is back.  So, is my face soap or lotion doing it or is it something I’m eating?  The soap and lotion is what was recommended by a dermatologist, but I’m thinking that is the culprit.  I tried deodorant one day and had body odor by the end of the day.  I decided to go without for a few days and have had no body odor since.  Interesting…….

I’ve been working a few hours a day, resting, and reading.  I’ve been able to get out and do some very easy hikes also.  So, this blog is less about fasting and more about pretty pictures:

(c) All Rights Reserved Kimberly Fiore

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Nothing Exciting to Report (Days 6 and 7 Refeeding)

Little by little, food is getting added back in to my system.  I seem to be tolerating it all well.  Yesterday they added potatoes and today I could have grains.  It was nice to have oatmeal for breakfast instead of a salad.  I think tomorrow I can start having salad dressing.  The salad dressings are made from scratch here so I’m not sure why that is the last thing to be added back in.

I went to the movies last night which was fun except the popcorn smelled so good and I’m sure that’s not a good idea.  So I tried to just enjoy the smell.  I did the labyrinth this morning.  I felt a little tired when I was done, but it wasn’t too much.  I might try some easy hikes after the holiday weekend.

Overall I’m feeling pretty good.  I’m quite bored and ready to go home, but since I extended my stay and it’s not refundable, I might as well stay and eat clean food for another week.  I’ve been working about 4 hours a day which helps with the boredom and the finances.  I spend the rest of the time reading, coloring or just sitting outside enjoying the nice weather.

(c) All Rights Reserved Kimberly Fiore