Sunday, June 24, 2007

My birthday weekend!! :)

Thank you for all the wonderful wishes! Many of you asked what I did for my 1st Indian birthday as well as my 1st annual 39th:) It was PERFECT!!!

I took the day off so I was not a Target team member for the day:)
But... I did get 6 ouquets of flowers from work. My house looks like a florists. Its beautiful!

I got up, went for a run, took Billy to the airplant museum (Billy "Wow, Holy Cow, Look at dat airpane! Wow! A Helicoper, Wow, Holy Smokes, Wow !! ) then I picked Kay up from school and we went shopping (bought a new pair of jeans, shoes and a tshirt) had lunch and got our nails done. Then after a hour rest I took Jimmy to Shrek 3 where he proceeded to eat a foot long hot dog a box of popcorn a chocolate milkshake and an orange pop. Then he said, "can I have another hot dog, I'm still hungry". It was his 1st real movie theather experience and he was very very good. Then, I came home to LOTS of home made cards and presents, cake and champange. Tom gave me 4 photo albums - 1 from the last year here, and then 1 for each of the kids, PLUS he printed out our entire blog and put it in a nice hard cover folder. Plus... I got a spa certificate, 2 books and money from my parents (which will promptly go toward the new clothes I bought). But, the best part was the really really nice card and letter my Mom and Dad wrote. Then a friend stopped by for a drink and ended up staying for dinner. ALL and ALL a PERFECT day.

Saturday I got my hair cut and colored as there is NO way I was going to be 39 and have a boring hair cut. I had the style and color all picked out and had many many pictures of what wanted. 4 hours later .... my hair looked NOTHING like what I requested. But... it also wasnt boring or conventional. The stylist was convinced it looked exactly the way it should ..."Ma'am you look 10 years younger" "See its the same" Needless to say, it is cute (I think....) but its very red and sometimes orange depending on the light. She kept saying "no...its copper". Really, its not Ronald McDonald red, but a cute dark Jan Reagan red. The fact that I asked for blond hightlights didnt seem to phase her. Billy told me Saturday he "didnt like it" but then changed his mind on Sunday and said "I like your hair mommy". I dont recognize myself in the mirror and Tom thinks they did a Wife swap on him... I'll try to get a cute picture to post.

That night we had an Indian Catholic wedding reception and a party. The wedding reception was like a Wisconsin VFW, explosion in pink affair. They even played Roll out the Barrel. Good fun:) The party was also a great time with terrific food and music I hadnt heard in ages (actually new cutting edge stuff, not 80's)

Sunday was happy/sad as the 1st 2 families we met when we moved here (met them both the 1st day we arrived) are moving this week (Debbie, Simon, Freddie and Hope to Conneticut and Carol back to Canada) so ... we had brunch at the Taj West End with them...all you can drink
champagne brunch with shrimp, scallops, cavier,oysters on the 1/2 shell and filet mignon. But.. everyone kept eating hot dogs. It was hysterical. It turns out they had German sausages and mustard flown in for the weekend and you can tell that's a big luxury and that was what everyone had on their plates while the seafood went ignored:) It was WAY fun and WAY spendy. But... it was our last chance to spend such a high rent Sunday with people we love:)
It took forever to say goodbye. There were hugs, more hugs, kisses, goodbyes, pictures, more hugs, promises to text message, email, etc... Finally, in the car on the way home, Jimmy said "wow, I'm really going to miss Freddie. This is hard." Yep, it is hard. We finished off the busy and outstanding weekend with a Taco Salad and a 9:00pm bedtime.

Very very nice.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fathers Day!!!

We Murphy children are feeling quite literary these days. We had so much funny writing our Mothers Day blog that we decided to write the sequel, our Father’s Day blog.

Our Daddy is the BEST!! He is Dedicated to our every whim and need (ie. Chocolate) , he is Attentive to our friends (ie parties), he is Determined that we grow up nicely (ie. No fighting), he is Dashing (ie particularly in his new kurta’s) and he is Young at heart (ie. Swimming, biking and playing with us).

Here is what we wrote in his Father’s Day cards:

Jimmy – I love my Daddy, he makes me good food for dinner. He rents me movies and let’s me eat popcorn in the living room.

Kay – I yove you Daddy, now…. OPEN your presents!!

Billy – I love you too Daddy, especially when you let me sleep in between you and Mommy.

We also wanted to tell you about all the great things Daddy does….

For our family – he never forgets anyone’s birthday and is great at calling to talk and wish people all the love they can handle in the next year.

For charities – he works on the Charity Committee and supports anywhere from 3-5 charities at any given time. Helping them get money, supplies and resources they need for the kids in India that cant help themselves.

For our friends – he is GREAT at helping people adapt to India. He throws “welcome to India” parties, takes them shopping, finds them drivers/maids/cooks, gives them tours of Bangalore, helps them make friends.

For school – he got us all our books, supplies and uniforms. He did this not just for us, but for all our friends in Palm Meadows too since the line was so d_mn long (he waited in line for 3 hours!!)

For fun – he is always the 1st to help organize a party, plan the food, decide on a theme and insure everyone is having fun.

For our Mommy – he makes sure that she feels loved

For us – see all of the above!!

On Fathers Day we tried to treat him very nicely. Here was his day…
Sleep until 9:30am (after he slept with Billy from 3-5am due to Billy wanting to cuddle)
Presents, cards and a big omelet breakfast
Swimming at the pool
Tasty lunch of grilled cheese and tomato soup
A head massage
Steak dinner complete with champagne, red wine, ice cream sundaes and our favorite neighbors
A nice phone call with each and every one of my brothers, sisters and parents.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Saravana weds Sunita

The much anticipated wedding of our driver Saravana to Sunita has finally arrived and what a production it was.

The Friday before the wedding had us at the home of Sarvana to witness the Puja ( blessing/prayer) of the groom. The entire family is present and they apply a colorful mixture of different herbs to his face,arms,head and feet. The groom to be dressed all in white, was escorted to the puja spot by his Uncle and then each of the family, including Tracy, applied the mud like substance until he was completely covered. The we all were then painted on our faces and then we washed up and left. Quite interesting.

The following day was the reception ceremony. The Hindus have the reception before the marriage as not everyone is invited to the actual wedding ceremony.

We arrived at the reception hall around 5:00 in the afternoon admits a great deal of fanfare.

The Loudamericans 3/5th dressed in Korean Hanbok"s and Tracy in a Saree and Tom in a navy blue wool suit (the groom demanded it) and was only about 95 degrees!

The waiting had begun as this event goes on and on and on and we never really know what is happening. All of a sudden the "orchestra" starts to play as loud as they possibly can the singer begins to sing off key and loud while moving around the throng of people in some bizarre Vegas nightclub/lounge lizard dance while everyone there pays them no mind. This will happen two or three times until the singer either has performed all the songs required or someone just asks then to leave because they can not take it anymore! I am not sure which.

At this point the crowd rises and gets into line to give their congratulations to the "couple" and their family. The people parade past them and get their picture taken and hand over any gifts they may have.

I am unsure how many of the people in our picture were actual members of Saravana or Sunita's family however there were several.

The kids at this point have gone beyond meltdown stage as well as haven eaten all the "western snacks" we brought. Their colorful hanbok's were dull and dirt cover their faces sweat covered and their hunger overwhelming as we headed down stairs for the dinner.

The traditional Hindu meal served at these events is veg only, rice,some curd,chutney,roti,you get the idea all the food is runny and served on a banana leaf with no silverware it was a mess.

The kids ate only rice but we managed to fill them and us up as the food was very good.

We then bid everyone good bye as we sadly took Julie to the airport.

Billy was very cute as all the way to the airport he kept saying to Julie, "take me with you Julie, take me with you"!

He was telling her Julie I love you Julie as she was standing in the two block long line for the terminal..We will miss her and if you have not read her blog it is a couple of entries back.

Sunday we got up early and headed back to the wedding hall for the actual ceremony itself. The event is not unlike the event the night before however we were all decked out in our formal Indian wear. There were many of the same people wondering around the groom in a traditional headpiece and white outfit the bride in one of the 75 Saree's purchased for the event.The photographers as usual set up right in front of the wedding alter and not allowing anyone to see, not that people were watching.They were all just milling about as before talking and every so often something would happen and people would rush to the couple to see. There are many rituals that occur at the wedding, the couple receives 7 wreathes of flowers and walks 7 times around the alter,7x7, interesting. There is a fire that is there throughout the ceremony into which oils and flowers and prayers are placed, not unlike a burning bowl, the couple eats only veg food to help cleanse their bodies and make room for the new life and experiences that are ahead.

We were feed another fabulous meal and bid or farewells. All in all quite the experience. Our driver is now on holiday until the 25th of June at which time we are sure to hear about all the behind the scene issues and family drama that always surrounds events such as these!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Ooty = Damn Cold, Fast Rides & Cow Trees

In an effort to show my sister more of India than Bangalore, we debated and debated where to spend the weekend. Tom and I threw out ideas - Cauvery, Cochin, Pondicherry? Each and every one was met with the same remark from our driver - How about Ooty? How about Ooty? How about Ooty? It didnt take us long to realize that he really wanted to go to Ooty AND since he was going to be driving us, should he have a major vote in the decision? So, off we go to Ooty our resident "hill station".

A hill station is a town in the mountians, which usually house all the tea and coffee plantations you can handle. The weather is famous for being cool, the atmosphere peaceful, the flowers beautiful and the food fabulous. Why wouldnt you want to go?!

On the way, you pass through a national forest and elephant camp. Its really quite pretty and Billy coined a new phrase "Mommy - Look, the cow trees" Please see the photo. It tells the whole story....

After a 7 hour journey what we didnt realize about Ooty is ...


~ It is "fast ride" heaven

Of course, being Minnesotans, when people told us to pack our warm clothes, did we listen? What would they know, we thought. They think 70 degrees is cold. When it hits 75 degrees we see all the locals wearing stocking caps and scarfs. So... did we heed the warnings? No. Off we go with shorts, tshirts and our crocs. We werent there 10 min's and we realized we were in trouble. Not only could we see our breathe, but our room had a fireplace in it and it promptly started raining. While I'll admit that it was a nice break from our 110 degree heat, I'll also admit that I havent been this cold sleeping since I slept in the back of a pick up in Duluth 2 years ago. (The sad part was that this time I was INSIDE a house!! Yes Wendy, I had on my stocking cap). Adding to the cold was the fact that we stayed in this very regal, old, English country house. It dated back to 1850 and I sure feel for those people. While regal and grand, it was also drafty and damp. At least the beds were nice and big as all 3 kids ended up in our bed both nights. I think they were afraid of hypothermia!

Speaking of the kids, they loved Ooty. I am calling it our "ride" weekend. We went on bumper cars, go carts, merry go rounds, a motorcycle ride, 2 train rides, tons of car time AND a 2 hour horseback ride into the mountains. Each of us had our "own" horse. (of course Billy and Kay were nice enough to share their horses with Tom and I). This is not your trail rides of days gone by (you know, the ones where the horses knew the path so well they did it in their sleep and couldnt be turned or stopped by a 200 lb guy...) Nope, this is India and these were real trail rides, up the mountain, through the mud, into the thickets, under trees, over logs and finally ending in a downpour. Julie's horse was "fast", so the guides kept a hand on the reigns. When she remarked she might want a slower horse, they proceeded to switch her horse with Jimmys. Of course, let's give the 5 year old the fast horse. That makes perfect sense. Jimmy loved it and was galloping before we knew it. I do have to say, it was one of my highlights of India!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Guest Blogger - My sister Julie

The following blog is being written by Julie. The thoughts and comments here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the blog 'owners' (just kidding Julie, go for it)my trip to india.

Where should I start? The wonderful smells, the traffic or the wonderful bathrooms (please refert back to wonderful smells). I guess I should start at the begining of my trip. I flew in from Thailand with Tracy Tom and the kids. After spending five weeks in Thailand where the cities are very clean, easy to get around and relatively little trafiic, I felt like I had landed on another planet. The highlights of my trip was first spending time with Jimmy Kay and Billy. They are so unique and individual and funny and too smart and way too cute. Jimmy is speaking with a Indian accent and both Kay and Jimmy are speaking tamil. The second thing is the food. Tracy and Tom are truly blessed because they have an amazing cook. I think I am the only person in the world who goes to India and gains weight. Raj and Flor would make 6 or 7 different dishes for lunch and dinner and all of them were amazing.

Tracy set me up with her auruyvedic doctor to study with and if anybody out there needs to be healed this IS the guy. He would see maybe 20 people in one hour. People who had everything from cancer to paralysis, high blood pressure, obesity, sliped discs, ALS... anything he would cure. After a 10 minute session he would relieve peoples symptoms by 90 percent to 100 percent. These people would be fighting their diseases for years or in pain for 10 15 20 years and in 10 minutes they were almost cured. It is truly amazing . His therapy at first seems very simple, almost like a plasibo. But after learning what he was actually doing, it was extremely detailed and complex but at the same time very simple. He starts out by feeling your hand and feeling what element is in exceess. Then he balances it by doing reflexogy, accupresure, homeopathy and then he ends with taping seeds on your fingers.

The traffic is crazy here. Its amazing, a five kilometer trip may take two hours. You have cows just hanging out in the middle of the street. Everybody is constantly honking at each other. People are just squating off on the sidewalk going pee or poop. Every five feet tere is a huge pile of garbage and people are just throwing there garabage out their windows. When we were on our way to Ooty we awere driving down the highway and on the median right in the center of the very busy highway a guy is taking a nap.

A very different planet:)

Reflections on the 9th year of marriage

Each year, Tom and I have a ritual. On our anniversary and the kids birthdays, we write in a journal reflecting on the year.

The ritual started in the weeks before we were to get married. Everyone kept telling us "remember this time". Since we have shoddy memories, the best way we could think to do it was to write it down. What a gift! We now have 2 books filled with memories of our married life... Day by day leading up to our wedding, the wedding weekend itself and the honeymoon afterwards. We re-read it each year and always get a good laugh. This proved to be so much fun and such a great way to appreciate all our blessings, that we kept it up. Each year we write in this journal.

When we were adopting the kids, again, we wanted to remember each tiny detail. So, they each have their own book detailing the wait for them to "come home", the trip to meet them and their 1st few weeks at home. We also then have yearly updates on their accomplishments (Plus this is way easier than trying to scrapbook a baby book after each "milestone". Call me lazy and uncreative, its OK. Its true!)

Since these books are so incredible and important to us, we left them in Minnesota. Naturally. Now, what to do...

You, lucky readers, will, for the next year, be "previe" to our deepest thoughts, secrets and remembrances from the last year. Consider it a love note to ourselves and our family:)

Hence "Reflections on the 9th year of marriage"

Holy Cow - 9 years. Each year has gotten progressively more busy, high speed, fun and comfortable (in the best possible way). But, I'd have to say, this year takes the cake. Not only did we make it, we made it through moving to India, countless trips, kid milestones like school, potty training, talking and .... we are still together. How lucky am I?!! How lucky are we!


Travel -

We started the year with a great adults only retreat to Bayfield WI. It was GORGEOUS. We saw bears, went mountain biking, drank wine, ate fish, and basically enjoyed our only alone time for the next year.

We snuck in our annual trip to Glen Lake to be with the Hickey side of the family for 10 glorious days of grandmas/grandpas, moms/dads, sisters/brothers in law, cousins, aunties/Dadu, swimming, sand dunes and ice cream.

We had a fabulous weekend in Victoria Minnesota at Grandpa and Grandma Murphy's cabin where we took photos of the whole family and had a great time just being together.

Next, the BIG trip to Bangalore India. Zoinks, 30+ hours on a plane with 3 kids followed by 2 weeks in a hotel. I am not sure that I would recommend this for everyone but it was a great learning experience for our family. I guess that's what this blog is all about:)

India trips included; Mysore, Cochin, Munnar, Cauvery fishing camp, Delhi, Agra, Hampi, Kabini, Maldives and Ooty. Whew... I am getting tired just thinking about it again.

We also had a fabulous 2 weeks in Australia. We saw almost all of south east Australian. Again a once in a lifetime experience. How lucky are we?!


Welcome to the world this year !! - Baby Herbie Basil (my sister Tammy) . Marley Cady (good friends Pat and Mary). Baby Girl Loignon (college roomie Lynn, sorry I cant remember her name right now:) ) Jordan Berkner (wonderful house sitter Heidi)


Besides ours - The Cady's moved to Arkansas. The Milbrath's to Seattle. The Miller's, Herkelmans and Webb's to India:) Claude to Canada. Damien to France. The Wilson's to Ireland. The Agostini's to NJ. Lindy and Chris to Singapore, The VanMeters to Dayton. Spirit in Action to their NEW home! The Petersons to a small cottage on lake Minnetonka.


To India:) Besides all the wonderful work friends and coworkers that brought us fruit snacks, tortillas, People/US magazines and red wine we had wonderful friends and family visit, helping us stave off homesickness for just a little while .... Jeff Van Meter and Mike Swenson, Mom and Dad Hickey, Mom and Dad Murphy, Aunt Sue Hickey, Julie Hickey, Jessica Stoll, Beth Rozga and Manda Murray.


Jimmy - Learned to ride his bike WITHOUT training wheels, went to Kindergarten, rides the bus to school, knows how to use the computer (and the cell phone), can write, sound out words and actually READ, is learning Hindi, speaks in an Indian English accent (but only with Indian people) and can understand our cook/maid/driver when they speak Tamil. The top of his head is at my arm pit and he weighs over 65 lbs. Yikes! (Plus he can eat a whole chicken!)

Kay - Was potty trained!! Learned to ride a bike with training wheels, picks out her own clothes and gets herself dressed, started "school", started riding the bus to school, speaks Tamil with our maid/cook, had her fingernails/toenails "done", "writes" us notes, is a damn good painter. She comes right to my hip and weighs 28lbs. (yep still in 2-3T clothes - thanks Shinbee:) )

Billy - Stopped using a NUK, started talking (non stop), understands Hindi and Tamil, feeds himself (both with a spoon and fork AND the Indian way with chapati), imitates Power Ranger moves, sleeps in a big boy bed - not a crib:) He can easily still stand between my legs and weighs 30 lbs (yes, he weighs more than Kay and his head is 50% bigger too! They still share shoes, tshirts and shorts...)

Mom and Dad Hickey - They BOTH turned 65!!!

Mom and Dad Murphy-They turned 72 and Grandpa Murphy celebrated 50 years since he graduated college.

Tracy's girlfriends - 1st annual 39th birthday parties are the "theme" of the year:)

Tom's friends- They will have to stop at the store this year on the way home from the annual fishing trips to purchase some fish since I will not be their to catch the fish for them.

New Jobs - Jim Fellows (MAJOR marketing genius:)), Treena Shosten (left Sonia Kosik and found a new love), Ann Wohlforth (movin' on up!), Scott Brill (VP :) ), Peterson's & Mary Foster (their new job is to ENJOY life), Ben Milbrath (continuing to turn air into gold), Alexis Seiler (great new boss and location), Wendy Reed (seriously well deserved), Michelle Manderfeld (big wig), Des Kamman (self employed creative genius), Brian Murphy coming into his dream job!! and Carl landing a new Sales Manager job will he will not have top travel anymore.

So, I think I need to go to bed. This has been an exhausting year.

But... I'll sleep well knowing that we and ALL our loved ones (family and friends) were immensely blessed this year.

How lucky are we to have each other and all of you to share these joys, pains, and milestones!?!

You make it all worthwhile. Can't wait to see what's in store for ALL of us in year 10:)

MS 150 - Then and Now

Hi there
As many of you know, I am an avid bike rider and supporter of trying to “solve” the mystery of MS. I thought I’d share my fundraising/training experiences over the last few months in prep for the ride.
Read on!!! J

Sent: Monday, April 02, 2007 12:33 PM

Yep, its that time of year again. The sun is out (as it always is here) but I am unable to get on my bike (fear of death by auto rickshaw).

BUT... I AM getting ready for the annual MS 150 trek with my friend Wendy ANYWAY. How you say? The trip this year is 6/8-6/10 and I will be riding "virtually". I will be dedicating "butt" time on a stationary bike at our gym Saturday and Sunday evenings 6/9 & 6/10, riding the required 150 miles (234 kilometers here). I will be touching base at rest stops with Wendy on the hour via cell phone. - She is always 20 min's ahead of me anyway, so the only time I ever saw her on the ride anyway was at rest stops and as her behind pulled away from me after rest stops:)

This is the 28th anniversary of this ride (Duluth to Minneapolis) and the 14th year I have ridden. Wendy I have ridden through, marriage, divorce, kids, health concerns and now geographic challenges. I am really proud to be able to do this with her year after year.

Last year the ride raised over $1.5 million for MS research, support and awareness. I am proud to say, that thanks to all of you, I maintained my $1,000 club member status. That means I raised over $1,000 myself ($1,250 to be exact). Thank you!!

To give you a little background on why this is so important to me, my Uncle Alan had MS. He was diagnosed shortly after I was born and to be honest, MS is an integral part of my family memories with him and my cousins. Alan's illness had a profound affect on his work, friends and family. He had an incredible spirit and was able to make all of us laugh, even in the worst of situations.

So, I ride in honor and in memory of Alan. (Now is where I ask for money ...)

If you feel compelled to give to this amazing movement (literally), I'd really appreciate it. I'd love to be able to brag that I was a $1,000 club member 4 years in a row!!

How do you do that? Go on line to and choose the ePledge option on the left hand side of the page.
(Please let me know if this doesn’t work and we'll figure something else out as sending me a check isnt really an option this year:) But... If push comes to shove, I could have you send your check to Wendy and she could "deposit" it with the MS Society for me.

Thank you so much for you support, it really is an amazing experience !

Sent: Monday, May 14, 2007 11:53 AM

Wanted to give an update on my training and fundraising progress - Over all - fair and good, in that order:)

Training - It is MUCH harder to train on a stationary bike, I am finding. First of all, its boring as h_ll and secondly, you cant COAST! Uggh.... But... I do loose about 2-5 pounds in sweat each time I go to the gym, so that's always nice:) I'll get there. I think the biggest struggle will be not dying of boredom. I am hoarding good books and am thinking I'll put together a schedule for my friends of when they can come "visit" me and work out with me on the bike next to mine...

Fundraising - I am 1/2 way to my goal. Not bad for 4 weeks away. BUT... So... Good news, I have raised almost $500. Bad news, I still have $500 to go. For those of you that were early contributors, THANK YOU! For those of you still interested in contributing, there is still time:) (hint hint)

Other news - Wendy has formed a team for us for this ride. I'll be a virtual member of the Red Ribbon Ride Team. We are a team of 4 (hopefully growing) and are trying to raise awareness not only for MS, but for AIDS. Wendy is using the MS150, in addition to a great fundraiser for MS, but also as a training ride for her longer and much harder AIDS ride in July. Once again, I am amazed by her strength in body and in character:)

So...Keep me in your thoughts, wish me entertainment and happy cycling. AND... Don’t forget to send in a donation.


Sent: Monday May 28th

A special THANK YOU! I have exceeded my fundraising goal - YIPPEE.

A very heartfelt thank you to a couple of "Big" contributors - Aunty Lynn, Mom and Dad and Leona. You guys are the BEST!!

For the rest of you, if you have made a donation, thank you so much. Everything counts and because of your combine efforts, I am at $1,200!!!

If you are still interested in pledging, I'd like to suggest an alternate. My friend of 16 years, Wendy Reed, will be riding the REAL ride in MN. She could use some fundraising help, so if you planning on pledging me, please pledge her instead. The money goes to the same place and we are a team:) You can go to the same site and just look for Wendy's name next to the 6/8-6/10 ride.

On other fronts, while fundraising is terrific, I think I need all your support for the physical part. I know that I get nervous each year, but this year is a bit different. I have plenty of books, People magazines, etc, but I really need your support during that long long weekend on the stationary bike. Be sending thoughts of energy and fitness to me:)

LOVE to all of you!! And THANK YOU!!!

Sent: Sunday June 10th

Ok all! I'm done, finished, over for another year! Yippee! I will be very happy if I dont need to see another stationary bike for another 10 months (until I decide to punish myself and do this again).


Fundraising - The BEST year ever! Way to go and a hearty thank you to all my friends and family that have faith in me, my abilities and hope that we'll figure out how to stop MS together!! Grand Total: $1,440:)

Ride itself: I decided to split the ride into 3 segments, 4 hour each Fri, Sat and Sun. The good news is, I had the LATEST People and US magazine along with the latest book from Tom and my favorite author. Lee Child. You can almost forget you are riding on a stationary bike for hours when Jack Reacher is kicking butt. I managed to talk to Wendy a number of times on the ride and they had hot weather and head winds the 1st day and beautifully HOT day the 2nd day. I can relate. Our club doesnt have air conditioning, just big fans. Even though I wasnt moving, I felt like I was in 90 degree heat with hot wind blowing on me:) I feel great, the 1 1/2 hour Thai massage from Julie on Saturday did the trick. I was a little tired, but not sore on Sunday morning and that makes all the difference. I almost got used to being at the club for 4 hours at a shot, scary in itself.

Overall, how do I compare riding here and in MN? Well, I really really missed Little Angies for BIG margaritas and fantastic mexican food. On the end of the 2nd day, I could almost see, taste and feel that I was standing in line for a massage with an ice cold beer in my head. (Julie's massage and a vodka lime soda saved me). I actually really did miss camping and all the snack finger food that we used to consume. I particularly missed Wendy and our time together. I didnt miss waking up to a cold/wet tent or peddling up hill or into a wind. (I hate that!) But... I have to admit, sleeping in your own bed has it merits and coming home to a chilled glass of champange and a love note that says "go mommy go" from your fabulous husband and 3 kids has its mertis. PLUS, Tom made me fahita's for dinner so... I should go:)

Overall, its do-able. Would I do it again? YES! Be warned, I'll be hitting you up for donatioins next year, no matter WHERE I am:)