Friday, January 30, 2009

The Good Life

I read in an article on Yahoo today that Denver topped the list of preferred American cities to live

Yeah, who wouldn't want to live in a city where this was your backdrop.

and you get to go play in this every weekend....

I'm going skiing this weekend, so I'll be sure to take some more photos.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Time to quit talking and just do it.....if I'm gonna do it.

The time has come to decide on which marathon I want to sign up for next fall. Now, I’ve actually signed up for one in the past, but never actually ran in it. Every time I sign up or the thought even crosses my mind to sign up, something happens that prevents me from actually doing the marathon. So I’m a little wary about this decision to sign up for another one! Two years ago, I signed up for one in Kansas City, but a couple of things came up and I wasn’t able to run in that one. First there was the whole allergy thing...well, let me explain. I was out on a run on the MKT night and was just finishing up a 6 and a half mile run and I started having an intense itch in one of my legs and my lower back. No matter how many times I scratched, I could not relieve this feeling; I honestly thought that I would scratch my skin off of my body. I soon broke out in hives to go along with the itch and my face and lips started to swell. By this time, I had reached the house and I hopped in the shower. Probably not the brightest thing in the world, but I never said that I was very smart. Rick brought me some Benadryl and I took those, but started to feel extremely nauseous and light headed. Rick called up our friend Paula, who is a doctor, and she said not to worry unless I couldn’t breathe. Well, right around this time, my throat started closing up and I was having a hard time taking a breath. Rick very calmly told Paula that he was getting off of the phone and calling 911. By this time, I’m lying in my closet floor gasping for air and the thought crossed my mind that I was dying. Panic set in, which probably made the situation worse. I was in and out of consciousness by the time the paramedics arrived and Rick said that I was blue and glassy eyed. Anyway, to make a very long story short, I was diagnosed with having an exercise induced anaphylaxis attack and it took several months worth of visits to the allergist, etc to figure out what caused the attack. I’ve only had one other episode, but it wasn’t nearly has intense and I now carry an Epipen with me whenever I exercise. The second thing that happened to prevent me from running in Kansas City was that I found out that I was moving to Denver and the only weekend that I could go out and look for houses was the same weekend as the marathon. Last year, the thought crossed my mind to sign up, but I was working so much, I hardly had any time to run, much less train for 26 miles. So anyway, here we are, back to my decision of which one to sign up for. I thought that perhaps I would do a half marathon this spring just to see if I can stand running with all of those people around me. The first half marathon I did, I hated being surrounded by so many people; so I never signed up for another one. I'm kind of a lone in my own little world. I’m willing to give it another shot though, and if I don’t like it, well…maybe I’ll sign up for a marathon trail run instead! I know that Missouri has one. Anyone have any suggestions for a half or full?? I'll do a half in the spring and then the full in the fall. Summer time will be devoted to mountain and road biking, since we plan on signing up for the Copper Triangle in August again.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Finalizing some Plans

Now, don't freak out, but yes, this is Madison vacuuming! She's trying to earn some concert money.

As you can see, she's actually multitasking. Vacuuming AND texting.

We had a great weekend and accomplished a ton of things on our “wedding to do list” that we can now check off.

Friday night, I got home from work and immediately jumped on the treadmill. The weather had been in the 60’s and 70’s all week and I had planed on doing a run outside, but on Friday, the temperature plummeted into the 20’s and it was snowing. I got myself on the treadmill before I could change my mind and put in a good ten miles before heading back upstairs for dinner. I had left Madison and Rick in charge of dinner and the smell of pizza rolls filled the air. They had whipped up a quick dinner of pizza rolls, frozen chicken strips, and fries. Mmmmmm….nothing like greasy frozen food concoctions after putting in 10 miles. Oh well, I was too hungry to protest. Friday night, we just hung out and listened to Rick play his guitar.

Saturday, we got up and drove to Colorado Springs to meet with our wedding officiant. I really liked the lady, she was very outgoing and flamboyant and I think that she will be a perfect person to conduct the wedding. We had a meet and great, so that she could get to know us and we showed her some of the wording that we had chosen for the vows, opening words, etc. I’m confident that she will write something that employs the message that we want to get across and that suits Rick and my personalities. She is supposed to e-mail us a first draft sometime this week. She also suggested someone for our cake, as well as someone to perform the background music during the ceremony. We drove over to check out the cake lady and to sample different kinds of cakes. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on cake samples and let me tell you, they were marvelous. Yum. After we got the cake ordered, we drove over to the lodge to let Madison check it out and have some of our questions answered by the inn keeper.

So let’s see, we met with our officiant, ordered the cake, hired someone to do the background music, and saw the lodge again, what am I missing? Oh yeah, we also picked out our wedding rings on Saturday. Rick kept joking that he wanted a full carbon ring (like our bikes) and low and behold, he managed to pick out a ring that had a carbon center! It looks pretty cool. I picked out a very simple platinum band that would go with my engagement ring.

On Sunday, it was snowing again, so it seemed like a great time to get out and do a little wedding dress shopping. Madison and I had done a little snooping around online about a month ago, and I had pretty much chosen the dress that I wanted, but I knew it wouldn’t hurt to look around. Rick and I hit several boutiques, David’s Bridal, etc and I just couldn’t stomach all of the fufu and fancy dresses that I saw. Yuck! Been there, done that, and not going THERE again! They also seemed to have an expansive selection of larger women dresses, but not much for smaller people, so I decided to just order the dress that Madison and I had picked out. The dress is an informal, yet elegant, dress from Nordstrom’s bridal boutique and I think that it will be perfect for the type of ceremony (low key, small, and informal) that we will be having.

Sunday afternoon was geared towards chores and of course, a short run.

On a side note. It's been exactly two years today since I had to put my dog Champ down due to a fatal cancer. He was my first dog and he will always be my favorite. He absolutely loved life and lived it to the fullest. RIP Champ. I will always miss you buddy.

Champ in our yard in Columbia

Champ after taking a swim in the pool. You can tell that he sure did love to eat!

Friday, January 23, 2009


Our wedding is now officially two months away and there is still so much to do. We still have to find a caterer, buy rings, and I still have to buy some sort of dress (ugh). Rick and I are meeting with our wedding officiant tomorrow morning in Colorado Springs to write our wedding ceremony, so we finally sat down last night and looked over all of the samples that she had e-mailed to us. I could not believe how cheesy and gloomy some of them sounded. Who writes these things? How about something that sounds simple, to the point, and sounds like the wedding is a celebration? We highlighted a few of the paragraphs that sounded decent and will take them along with us tomorrow to have written into the ceremony. We also scanned through a list of caterers and found some that we are going to check out while we are in the Springs tomorrow. I hope that we can finalize something with the caterer, I really want to check that off of our list too. Madison is going to go with us tomorrow as well. We are trying to make her a part of the ceremony and she wants to check out the little bed and breakfast where we are having the wedding. I’m excited for her to see it! She had her heart set on another venue, but I think that she will like this one better. It’s very rustic and quaint; just what we were looking for.

Here are a few pictures of the Lodge where we will hold the ceremony. We rented out the entire lodge, as well as a cottage and cabin. Rick and I are hoping for good weather, so that we can have the wedding outside with the Rocky Mountains as the backdrop. It’s a gorgeous view.

A room at one of the Cabins

The front room at The Lodge.

Bride/Groom Room

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What is this????

Yesterday, the weather got up to 70 degrees here in the city. I came home for lunch with the intention of getting in a nice quick run. I had thought about it all morning. Ahhh, the sun was shining and I couldn't wait to be out enjoying the warmth! I got home and quickly changed into the running clothes that I had set out that morning. It felt so amazing to put on shorts instead of running pants! I ran downstairs to let the dog in, so that she could go with me. Ah oh. Right away, I knew something was wrong. The dog wasn't making eye contact with me. Normally, if I leave her outside, she is usually happily wagging her tail and looking in our patio doors at me. Today, she was standing back a bit and giving me a snarl. She had done something wrong and she knew it! Oh crap, I thought, what did you do now. I looked out the doors and yep, she had been busy, the yard looked like a dump. The dog has a dog door that leads into the garage (she has a bed in there in case it rains), however, this is also where we keep our recycling stuff. There were papers strewn everywhere, my trail running shoes were out there, and then I looked in the corner of the yard and noticed a bag that looked pretty familiar. It was the plastic bag that I had loaded our leftover roasted chicken carcass in. All that dumpster diving had made her hungry, she had eaten everything, bones and all. The only thing that she had left from the bag were some paper towels (she likes to eat toilet paper, so this surprised me that she left them).

Looking guilty and not making eye contact

Paper towels from the chicken carcass

My trail running shoe!

Damn dog had papers everywhere!

Anyway, needless to say, I spent the better part of my lunch break picking up the papers in the backyard, scolding the dog, and straigtening up the garage. I also closed the dog door. I didn't get my run in. I had to settle for the dreadmill that evening after I got home from work. I only got in 4 miles, since I was so tired and it was after seven o'clock. Oh well, I'm sure there will be other nice days. I can't wait for spring!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Wonderful Weekend

Ahhh, what a great weekend. Too bad it's Monday again. Friday, Madison spent the night at a friend's house. I know...the child just can't stay home. Rick and I both worked kind of late and were starving when we got home. I had planned on putting in a few miles on my treadmill, but I decided that my growling stomach overtook any kind of workout thoughts. I made cheeseburgers with pepper jack cheese, roasted potatoes, and then threw together a salad. Mmmmm, my stomach felt much better, but I was too full and tired for a workout by then. Rick and I just lounged around the rest of the night, being very lazy, which is odd for us. Normally, neither one of us can sit still. It’s kind of nice just to relax every now and then.

I got up on Saturday and vacuumed the whole house, mopped the kitchen floors, and dusted before I went to get my hair cut and colored at nine. My stylist, Christina, had moved places again and her new place was only 5 minutes away. This will be so handy when I have to take Madison to get her hair done on the weekdays. It used to take us 40 minutes to get to her old place because traffic was always so bad.

When I got home, the weather had warmed up considerably and the sun was streaming through the windows. We have floor to ceiling windows in our great room and I absolutely love to sit in this room and feel the sunshine.

Our great room

My new, shorter hair cut. I love short hair; it's so easy!

Rick and I debated on doing a road bike ride or just get out for a run. The high on Saturday was supposed to get up to near sixty, so it wouldn’t have been too cold for a bike ride and there where tons of bikers out on the street as I was coming home from my haircut. We decided that Sunday would be the better day for a ride though. The high on Sunday was going to be 65! Rick decided that he was going to add more memory to our slow as hell computer and would run later on in the day. I got my runner gear together and was out the door. On a whim, I decided that I would take the dog. She was standing there looking at me with those soulful eyes as I was leaving, how could I resist? I got in an eight mile run, but the last two were spent letting the dog rest, letting the dog roll in the snow, petting the dog and coaxing her along. The longest run that I have taken her on is a six and a half miler, so she definitely wasn’t used to this. It took me an hour and fifteen minutes to do eight miles. Oh well, it was good for the dog. She lounged on her couch the rest of the evening, dead to the world. Rick and Madison agreed that I broke the dog and that she was getting two old to go running that many miles. Whatever! She is only six (or will be next week)!

We talked it over on Saturday evening and decided that Sunday would be a great day to get up in the mountains and ski! Madison has been eager to go with us to check out the little town of Breckenridge and its shops (she doesn’t ski; too much work), so we went and picked up one of her friends to spend the night and then accompany her on her shopping expedition.

Sunday morning, we were up by five and were out the door by six. We had planned on driving up, skiing/shopping for a few hours, and then leaving by noon in order to beat traffic and enjoy the nice weather back in Denver, which is exactly what we did.

The girls sporting their cool shades. Dorks!

Riding up in the gondola

Rick doesn't want to be on my blog or facebook

Tara-Breckenridge 2009. Peak 10. Getting ready to do Centennial run

Tara-Breckenridge 2009. Peak 10. Getting ready to do Centennial run

Sunday night, Rick and I got out for a short run, which completed a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Typical Night

It's a typical night at the Fuqua/McLain residence.

Here's Madison in "her" chair with her laptop. When she is not at the mall, movies, or a friend's house, this is her favorite place to be. She comes home and plops herself down in her chair every night to do homework and check out friends on the web. I swear the chair has an imprint of her butt. She is very happy in this photo because she just purchased a new sidekick phone off of e-bay.

Here's the dog laying on the landing of the steps to the basement. She is pooped out from a day of sniffing, pooping, sleeping, eating, dragging trash out of the recycle bins, and sleeping some more.

Here's Rick working at the bar downstairs. He has been working a lot lately with year end and all. Reminds me of last year when I was averaging about 80 hours a week working. Yes, when I first moved out last year, I landed a job that required me to put in a LOT of hours, which included weekends, holidays, and work from home. I had my laptop strapped to my hip at all times. This was the type of job where people bragged about how many hours they put in in a week. If you put in less then 50, that meant you were a peon. It took me about 10 months, but I finally came to my senses and got out of there!

Here I am (yes sans makeup and looking hot) after my nice hot, long bath. I am curled up on the couch and ready to go to bed. Yes, it is only nine o'clock, but a girl needs her rest.

Here's Maddie choking, I mean loving on the dog.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


The new look! A couple of weeks ago my uncle, Mark Copas, told me that I should let him redesign my blog to make it more unique. Now, if you know me, and I'm sure you do if you're on this blog (if you don't; get OFF, just kidding), you know that I'm about as creative as a rock. I'm so uncreative, that I can't think of a creative way to describe how uncreative I am. I have to compare myself to a rock. Anyway, thank you Mark, I really like the new look. Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to go put in 6 miles on my dreadmill. I mean my treadmill. Take care. Tara Fuqua

Monday, January 12, 2009


Well, it’s Monday and it’s snowing here in Denver, which sure does make for a messy commute for people. It is taking some people 2 to 2.5 hours to get in, when it usually only takes 45-1 hour. I only live a couple of miles from my office. The snow only added about 5 more minutes to my commute and we live right by a train station, so Rick can take the train to work. We picked a great spot to buy a house!

The weekend had a very low key feel to it. Saturday I got up and attended to my chores and waited for the world to warm up. Rick had to go into the office because they were behind on month end stuff and Madison had spent the night with a friend, so I was on my own for the better part of the day. Fine by me, I got the house vacuumed, laundry done, and the kitchen cleaned up by 11:00 and then decided that it was time for a little run. It was sunny and in the upper 40’s, so it was perfect running weather. I threw on my running clothes and was out the door. There were tons of people out running, road biking, and walking their dogs. That’s the great thing about living in Colorado, no matter what the weather; people are always out doing something. It can be five degrees and a blizzard outside and you’ll still see people bundled up and sliding around trying to run or walk a dog. No wonder Colorado has one of the lowest percentages of obese adults in the nation. People here value a healthy lifestyle and we definitely have an environment that is conducive to that. Even in downtown Denver, there are tons of parks and running/biking/walking trails. I never thought much about it until I was moving out here last year. On one plane ride out to visit Rick (he was living and working out here a good 6 months before I moved out), a larger gentlemen in a business suit got off the plane in front of me and commented to his traveling companion “Well, I’m the fat guy again, in Kansas City, I was the skinny guy, but now I’m back in Denver and I’m the fat guy!” Being from Missouri, the comment initially offended me and I told Rick about it. He said that he had noticed in the time that he was out here that you just don’t see a lot of obese people around.

I digress though; I’m not sure what my point to all of that was, just noting my observations about Colorado and what a GREAT place to live it is! Now, back to my run. I completed a good solid 6.5 mile run at a decent pace. I felt really good and I should have taken advantage of that fact (I don’t always feel good when running), but I had to pick up Madison.

Sunday, I got in a 7.5 mile run. My goal was to do a 9 or 10 miler, but this was one of those times that I didn’t feel too good while running. The wind was raging and I was tired and felt like crap, so I cut it short. Rick, Madison, and I ran to the mall Sunday afternoon to pick up a picture that I had ordered and Madison did a little clothes shopping while we were there. She picked out a new coat from Pac Sun that she “just couldn’t live without” and a couple of new t-shirts. Rick looked extremely bored by this time (as was I), so I suggested that we hit a local brewery for dinner and we were out the door. It was good timing on our part because the pub was pretty dead with the exception of a few people in the bar area watching the Steelers vs. Charger game.

And now it is Monday and back to work.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Thinking back...

I have recently joined the networking sensation Facebook (you know, the "myspace" for us old folks) and have been reconnecting with many, MANY, old and dear friends of mine. Some from high school, some from college, and some into adulthood. Some bring back good memories, and some bring back bad, but all and all, I am thinking back, and I am thankful for each and every one of these old friends and the experiences that they have brought into my life. We wouldn't be the people that we are today without these friendships. These relationships have helped shape us into the person that we are today (whether we want to admit it or not) and each one of these people that have touched our lives; hopefully, we have touched them back somehow and have helped create memorable experiences for them as well. I look forward to many more friendships, whether old or new, and many more experiences in the coming year....

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Merry Christmas to Rick and Tara. Rick and I decided not to get each other anything for Christmas, but instead buy something for our house. Here are a few before and after picks.

This light must die. I still haven't found any lighting that I like for under $600 yet, but as soon as I do, this lamp is going to light heaven.

We've already taken the old table out (Rick has had the table since his first marriage), but here's the old baker's rack with all of the crap stacked on it. It's going to furniture heaven as well (actually to the Salvation Army)

Here's the new picture we got for our living room. I have this thing with tree pictures these days.

The new table....finally.

Here's the new server. I still need to find some stuff to decorate the top, but at least it's here.

We have a few more rooms that I would like to find pictures and accessories (such as drapes, etc)for, but for the most part, I think that we are finally done. I am still looking for a giant clock to go over our fireplace and I have also have a picture for the great room that I still need to pick up at Z Galleries (no, it's not a tree picture).

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I can't believe 2009 is already here. It seems the older you get, the faster time goes by. I have also noticed how much more I appreciate the simple things in life now that I am in my thirties. I take more time to just live in the present and concentrate on what is happening now and look at situations as they are, without coloring them with my past experiences. I am learning to accept myself and not to judge and to just "be" (I sound like a yoga commercial). I look forward to getting older and I look forward to the years ahead.

Rick and I had a very low key New Year's Eve. Madison was still in Missouri visiting her grandparents, so we just hung out at home and grilled steaks and drank a little wine. Yes, I was in bed by 10:30 and didn't get to actually see the new year come in. I actually don't remember the last time that I stayed up until midnight to bring in a new year.

We got up New Years Day and went out to Apex Park with the dog to do a little hike. The weather was nice and there were several joggers and even a few mountain bikers out there. This surprised me because the trail was covered in snow and ice. Oh well...we do what we love right? This trail system has a wonderful trail that winds through the woods called The Enchanted Forest. It is my favorite. Rick and I hiked and talked until we came to this trail and then walked in companionable silence through the woods listening to the snow fall softly from the trees. Snow and icycles clung to the branches of each of the trees and it was silent and tiny chills of wonder and peace flowed through my body. I love being in the woods. Aparently, so did Piper, she sniffed and ran circles among the trees for what seemed like hours.

We spent the rest of the day picking up Maddie from the airport and shopping for new furniture. We are trying to remodel the dining room and have spent many hours trying to find new lighting and a new table. I'll keep you posted on the progress. Friday was back to work for one day and then Saturday I managed to get in a nine mile run and clean house and get some of my filing organized. It snowed most of the day, so I didn't mind staying warm in the house.

Tara Fuqua