Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bring your A game, because only the best will do!!

Shrimp Ceviche by Team Fashionista

Wow!! i'm so impressed with the results of this year's Fall Harvest Smackdown. The theme for this year's competition has to be redemption with Team Fashionista making up for their first year tupperware faux pas with some excellent presentations and Team Mo-Rizzle taking away not one, but two trophies after last year's disappointing fizzle!

Team Fashionista's entries (can you tell who's been watching food network)!

I think L-Ro actually wanted to drop the pointer finger and just give the artist the one-fingered salute!

Despite the almost no-show of one of the judges (who will remain anonymous, but is also known to have a huge fear of bugs flying in her ear) who almost slept through the meal and arrived after everyone had finished eating and the votes have been tallied ("what, i'm too late to judge?"), we pulled off a great event, thanks to all the participating teams, Luke who hosted this year, and T-dub, Camstar, and Sher "middle finger" Mo-Rizzle who reorganized the judging and tallied all the votes. Despite some grumblings that the judging had been fixed this year to throw the victories to the Swenson/Romero participants, we had a great time, ate amazing food, and had a fair amount of sweating as a result of the spicy dishes: three different flavors of habanero ice cream, waffles with a habanero steeped maple syrup and whipped cream, fondue, peach habanero triffle, two different version of ceviche, two different versions of sweet potato fries with a habanero dip, chocolate raspberry habanero cookies, mango habanero salmon, and the list goes on and on. Great creativity and great food and some good laughs with the premier of the artist's film JellyMeloned (available soon through a fine video distributor near you).

But most importantly, here are this year's winners:

Best Appetizer:
Team Dink (they chose the name, not me) for the habanero-raspberry jelly spread on toasted baguettes.

Best Drink and Hottest Dish:
Team Vero and Lu for, well the only drink entry, and Lu's amazing chili.

Best Salad:
Team Fashionista for the habanero shrimp ceviche

Best Main Course:
The artist and the flogger for the Waffles served with Habanero steeped cinnamon syrup and whipped cream.

And best side dish and best dessert:
Team Mo-Rizzle for the Habanero-spiced corn and the Peach-Habanero Triffle (which i have to admit was pretty much to die for; spicy, sweet, and creamy all at once).

I'm not sure what T-dub is doing in this photo!

See you all next year!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Capsicum Chinense

AKA the Habanero Chile Pepper

Yes, this is your secret ingredient. Spicy as hell, but with a nice fruity citrus flavor this chile adapts well to a variety of dishes. Let's see what you can do.

I have a variety of habaneros for you to choose from including: (from top left) Fatali (not reallly a habanero, but close enough and not quite as hot), Chocolate Habaneros, Peach Habaneros; (from bottom left) Orange Habaneros, Red Scotch Bonnets, 10x Hot Orange Habaneros, and Red Habaneros. Habaneros are ready for pick up now, as well as anything else you want from the garden.

And an important announcement, the venue for this years Fall Harvest Smackdown has been changed for two reasons 1) we have outgrown our house and 2) the artist has finally finished his much anticipated new documentary and it would be awkward for all of us to try to cram into our bedroom to watch it on the only TV we have.

So, this years Fall Harvest Smackdown will be at the Capitalist's house because as you might imagine of a capitalist 1) his house is large and has ample space for all of us and 2) his house has a super fancy home theater where we can watch the world premiere of the artist's new film. If you don't know how to get to the Capitalist's house, let me know and i'll get you his address and directions.

Remember, all dishes must be plated and ready for judging (eating) by 6:30. The rest of the rules can be found at this previous post.

And the secret ingredient is . . .

Just kidding, I don't have enough turkeys for everyone and do you really think I would reveal the secret ingredient before 5:00 PM?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Two more days!!

That's right, just two more days till the 3rd annual Fall Harvest Smackdown and only just over 24 hours until the secret ingredient is revealed!! The competition is getting hotter with new teams registering everyday.

So far in contention we have:

Team Fatguyonalittlebike (aka the artist) and the Flogger

Team Vero and Lu

Team Sepy


Team Pneumonia (aka C-Ro and L-Ro)

I've also heard rumors that the suburban cowboy is going to throw his hat in the ring (as long as it doesn't get dusty cuz you know, suburban cowboys really like to keep their ostrich skin boots and beaver fur hats clean), and Dr. A might be participating if she can get over her cold. No word yet from Team Fashionsta. They'll probably be too busy shopping for new clothes. And what about Luke, who will he recruit to help him with cooking, cuz as much as i love him, i'm not sure he can do much better than a grilled cheese sandwich.

It's not too late to register to compete. Just use the comment boards below this post to add your team name and team participants. Details and rules (as well as a good amount of smack talk) can be found at this previous post.

Check in tomorrow at 5:00 for the secret ingredient, which will also be available for pick up at that time (no suburban cowboy, i'm not going to deliver it to your house).

And stay tuned for a possible venue change. It's possible that given the success of this annual event we may have outgrown our small abode.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Clarks TT


8 1/2 weeks after amputation.
10 days after getting first prosthesis.

Felt good the first 10 min., then cracked for last half, but a good benchmark for me to measure improvement.

Of course when my HR was at 177, the artist was just cruising along behind me chattin it up.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Love in Action

Although this summer has been marked by a number of tragedies and challenges, i am always inspired and amazed by the ways in which our communities step up in meaningful and beautiful ways to support each other. This weekend i was privileged to be apart of and witness this more than once. First off, friday evening and early saturday morning was the Run for Bun silent auction/dinner and 5k run. It was great to see so many people come out to the dinner and run to remember Bunny and celebrate her life and all that it represented.

Clare did not win the bike ride, but gets props for being brave and riding her bike and continuing where her mom left off.

First off was the kids' 1 k bike ride. All i gotta say is do not get in the way of Bryson and Summer's kids, cuz they have a competitive streak from here to the far side of Timbuktu, and as cute as they are, they will not hesitate to run you over if you get in their way. They even competed in both the bike ride and the 5k. Check them out in the pic below (in the matching jerseys) leading out the 5k run.

A bunch of the girls from Luke's office donned bunny ears and tails and matching pink socks for the run.

T-dub and Dr. A with Ridley at the beginning of the 5k.

Vero, T-dub, Ridley, Me, Bunny, and Dr. A.

My goal was to walk the 5k, even though i've only had my prosthetic leg for a week. Earlier in the week KSL came out and did this story about the Run for Bun and my goal to complete it.

Video Courtesy of

With some great company (thanks Vero, T-dub, Dr. A, and Lu who finished then came and found us), we took a slow pace and i managed to finish in about an hour and 15 minutes. I know that's about an hour slower than the guys who came in first, but turns out i won the "one legged category."

Crossing the "finish line."

Of course, this all couldn't have happened without the incredible energy, time, and efforts of many of Bunny's friends, family, and supporters. I don't know everyone who was involved, so i apologize for not thanking everyone, but i do know that both the dinner and run happened largely due to the efforts of Jenna and the bake-a-holic who put the race together. All the more amazing considering how quickly they pulled everything together and that Jenna just had a baby three weeks ago. Well done ladies!!

No. 4 loves her dad, but she's still not too sure about R3.

After the Run for Bun, i had the opportunity to go to a little league football game for my compadre Daniel. This wasn't just any little league game, however, this was again, a wonderful demonstration of community support and love for Daniel and his wife Katy who is fighting her second bout with breast cancer. When i got to the park at first i was a little unsure how i was going to find Daniel as there were four or five games going on simultaneously. It didn't take long, however, all i had to do was look for the pink.

In a beautiful act of support and solidarity with the Argueta family, the whole team wore pink socks and custom jerseys with pink highlights and the name Argueta on the back of the jerseys (i have to admit i'm a little slow on the uptake and at first thought, "dang, all of Daniel's kids, cousins, and relatives must play on this team, look how many Arguetas there are"). The fans and coaches wore pink t-shirts, the yard markers on the field were painted pink, and pink ribbons and balloons were tied around the park. Again, this all happened because of the love, time, energy, and concern of those who are a part of Daniel and Katy's community, and as Daniel told me, sometimes it's easy to feel alone when confronted with these types of challenges, but acts such as these certainly show us that there are many people around us who do care for and support us.

Despite the challenges Daniel's own family is going through with Katy's condition and the cancer's spread throughout her body, Daniel has always offered his love and support for me through my own little bout with cancer, and to him I am grateful and extend my love. As i've said before, although cancer took my foot, i feel like a "cancer survivor" poser when compared to the trials that others face and the toll cancer takes on their lives and families. Most importantly however, this weekend really illustrated for me how much the little thoughts and actions matter. This is of course something that has been on my mind a lot since Bunny's death and my diagnosis with cancer (because i appreciate all the little things people do for me), but was really highlighted when i had the opportunity to go and support Daniel. Sometimes it seems like a hassle or bother to go and do something like this, but i know it meant a lot for Daniel and for me it was equally fulfilling to have him put his arms around me, thank me for coming and tell me he loved me. Daniel's actions inspired me to tell my own brother Luke that i love him, something i don't think i've ever done.

This weekend also marked two months since my amputation and one week since i've had R3 to help me get around. After the football game i celebrated by going mountain biking with the artist and a few other friends.

I was pretty slow both going up and down. Going up because i just don't have the muscles in my right leg right now and going down because i don't have full weight bearing on my right leg, so i cant' stand over both pedals to get a good center of balance (though i've always been a lousy descender, so now i'm all that much worse). It was great to ride, however, and thanks to everyone who didn't mind riding at a gimp's pace. Even though i'm slow, it helps me to feel some sense of normality to be able to do the things i love.

Friday, October 8, 2010

R3 gets dirty!

Righty's Robot Replacement (R3) got dirty today. Well, not really, cuz it wasn't that muddy, but we did take the CX bike out for a little spin at Wheeler Farm. My right leg still isn't ready for complete weight bearing so i can't really stand to power up any short, steep inclines, and i still can't unclip, so barriers are out of the question right now, but it was great to ride in the dirt a little. I love riding Wheeler this time of year because all the little single track sections get carpeted in fall leaves.

Of course, you can't really see the nice fall leaves lining the trail in the video on account of the shakiness, but that's what you get when you try to hold your iphone on the handlebars while riding.

Remember, tomorrow is the Run for Bun. If you haven't registered, you can still register in the morning. :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Righty (or at least Righty's Robot Replacement) rides again!

So wednesday I saw Doc Jones who, after checking the CT scan to make sure that the bone bridge in my residual leg was healing up well, gave the green light to get fit for my first prosthetic leg. Thursday i went and saw Joe at Peak Prosthetics who cast a mold of my leg so friday i could go back and get fit. Friday between classes T-dub and I went back and Joe set me up with my very first robot leg.

It felt great to be able to walk again, though it will definitely take a little bit of time to get used to. The sensation is a little weird since the weight bearing for the leg now is on what's left of my calf, or more accurately the sides of my calf, as it sits in the socket. That, combined with the flex in the carbon fiber prosthetic foot, kind of make it feel like i'm walking on a trampoline (just not quite as bouncy). Well, walking on a trampoline with one foot, while walking on solid ground with the other, but it's great to be transitioning back to walking and functioning on that level again.

The other simple pleasures that i enjoyed being able to do again are standing and balancing on both legs, and being able to cross my legs. Sounds crazy, but i haven't crossed my left leg over my right for months and to do so was surprisingly satisfying.

First Steps!!

My stump (which T-dub has nicknamed "wade" because she hates calling it a stump) is still a bit tender and sensitive and not accustomed to the pressure of the prosthesis, so it will take a little time to work into being able to walk with a regular gait. For the time being i'm still using one crutch to take off some of the pressure, but it feels great to be walking, and cycling with both legs is even better.

First Ride!!

As soon as we got home friday afternoon we grabbed the bikes and went out for a spin. We're going to have to make a few adjustments to the prosthesis, mainly cutting the back of the socket down behind the knee so it doesn't rub, but overall, pedaling with both legs was great. Again, it's going to take some getting used to, it feels kind of big and clunky and i have a heck of a time unclipping with my right foot (had to take my leg off on one occasion to unclip), but i rode friday, saturday, and sunday, and with each day it felt a little better. Once i get my permanent prosthesis that will hopefully be a little lighter and smaller (around the calf) i think that will help as well. Sunday i got in a little over two hours and 40+ miles with T-dub, my anonymous friend, DDB, and SLC's greatest muralist, and i only tipped over once. Fortunately it was in the grass as we were taking a short cut to get back to a road from the Legacy Parkway and my chain came off. With no tension or momentum i just kind of fell over since i couldn't unclip the right side. Got to work on that!

T-dub, Dr. A., and DDB out for a spin.

This weekend also marked the first race of the Utah Cyclocross series. I rode down to the Draper Equestrian Center Saturday morning with T-dub, then spent most of the rest of the day announcing the races with Bruce B. Although it was weird and a saddened me a bit to ride up to the race knowing that i wasn't racing, especially when i got there and saw everyone warming up, it was still great to be involved and announce the races with Bruce and be on the action a little.

Mark "marlboro" P-Nacky has a new secret training supplement that he's kept on the DL, but i caught this pic of him trying to get a hand up mid-race. Judging by the results, i'm not going to recommend this particular supplement.

The artist came into this race with the lofty goal of not finishing last in his division (men's 35+A). He managed to achieve that castle in the sky ambition by coming in a whole six places from last and only three places down from the notorious MIB (aka the Law Firm of Glenn and Glenn). But lest some think i'm making fun of the artist for setting his goals so high his smallest daughter could step over them without much trouble, i can assure you i'm not because i did, in fact, come in last place in the men's 35+A division last year on a number of occassions when i still had two legs.

My goal for this CX season is simply to race. I don't really have any goals as far as results, hell, i don't even know which category i'm going to race yet. And given the trouble i've had just trying to unclip from my pedal and my total lack of significant training (my right leg looks like a skinny chicken leg right now), this is going to take a bit of work and creative adjustment, but i am determined to race before the season ends. This is true from my brother, the fashionista, as well, who was feeling rather bad this week after he and the artist went out for some CX training and the artist told him he wasn't ready yet, and maybe should keep practicing for a few weeks before he raced.

Skinny, little, chicken leg!

My other more immediate goal is to complete the Run for Bun 5k this upcoming saturday. I imagine i'll have to do it with crutches, but 5k seems pretty manageable. And if you haven't registered for the Run for Bun Dinner & Silent Auction this coming friday night (Oct. 8), or the Family 5k Run/Walk this coming Saturday (Oct. 9), you still have time to do so, but get on it now. Click the link below to register and bring the whole family.