Saturday, December 19, 2009

Expanding My Lungs

Man, what a week it has been! Actually, the last two weeks have been a little crazy. The past week at work was the worst I've had in quite a while. We had to change the bearings on a large piece of equipment, which is not a lot of fun. To try and put it into perspective, the bearings are 55" x 27", weigh 4500 lbs each and support a mill that weighs approximately 400 tons. So that being said, the repair on something that large is a stressful task. There are so many details you have to consider, so many variables, so many things that can go wrong, your brain is working overtime. The days were long, as our goal was to complete the project by week end.

Needless to say, I didn't get a lot of time to exercise this week. I've found that my body just doesn't function the way I'm used to when it's not in some type of rapid motion. My most recent exercising passion has been trail running. I started running in the mountains around the Front Range of Colorado a few years ago, but without consistency, mostly due to an overlapping passion of riding a mountain bike. This summer though, my trail running took on a different look and I began to enjoy running up a mountain more and more. I found myself itching to leave work and head for one of a few favorite trails around the area. There's just something about being in the mountains and slowing things down. There's a simplicity in trail running that I've seldom experienced in other activities. Recently, Christine has developed a love for trail running and we've almost made a habit out of running the Shanahan Trail in Boulder following church on Sunday's.

Christine running at Heil Valley Ranch

So, after a long and hectic week of work, I was pumped to expand my lungs on a local trail in Boulder today. I did a little Christmas shopping, threw on the Brooks, and headed up the mountain. One of my favorite trail runners, Anton Krupicka ( stated that Sanitas looks so benign. Well, I must say, it was a welcome site. Here are a few pictures from the popular Boulder trail.

Looking West towards the Indian Peaks

Looking East. You can see Longmont if you look really hard!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Salzburg, Austria

After a few days in Switzerland, we jumped on a train and headed for Austria. We basically spent the entire day on one train or another, as we made our way to Salzburg. We didn't have a plan (sorry Christine) nor did we have a place to stay. We enjoyed making conversation with people on our trip, especially a nice Austrian woman who was a psychiatrist. She gave us a lot to think about as she talked about languages, politics, and health care reform.

After studying our Rick Steve's book on the train, we decided on a place to try and stay. A women's university dorm, turned partial hostile. After struggling to find the place, it was far from the best night of sleep. We opted to move locations and ended up in a great place our second night in Salzburg.

The city of Salzburg was beautiful. All of the building's had tons of character and the old castle, high above on the hill, always made the landscape look more dramatic. We spent a day touring the city, taking tons of pictures, visiting churches and castles, seeing where Mozart was born, having coffee (which was way too small) and trying to stay warm.

Here are a few pictures of the beauty Salzburg showed us.

Although Salzburg was beautiful and we logged many miles just seeing all the history, the highlight of the trip was a dinner at a small pub that was recommended by someone at our hotel. When we arrived at the restaurant, the only seats available were at a community table. We sat down, while another group of 3 were enjoying dinner and drinks. Another couple sat down shortly after we did and each of us basically kept to ourselves. After we had finished our meal, we saw the group of 3 taking pictures of each other with an iPhone, which of course prompted a comment, as well as making a great ice-breaker! We ended up chatting away, talking about anything from their profession (German doctors in Austria for a conference) to what we thought of our new President Obama. As we talked and laughed, I noticed that the gentlemen asked for their bill, as well as ours. He wanted to do a little something for us, as we were traveling through Europe. They all encouraged us to continue traveling and experiencing different cultures, as they had encouraged their own children to do. Wow, what a great experience. I'm truly thankful for their generosity and kindness.

After we parted ways, I couldn't help but wonder what people think when they come to my home country. Are we welcoming and friendly, warm and inviting or are we appalled that people come here and can't speak our language? I hope that I will be as welcoming as these folks were to others traveling....whether it's through my country or just through my town, people are the ones that make the impact and can drastically alter the lens they look through.

So, cheers to our German friends and lessons learned!!

Friday, October 30, 2009


Christine and I awoke to snow the morning we were leaving for Europe. Our friend Keith dropped us at the airport and we headed to Charlotte NC, our first connection. On the flight over, we met Terry who was seated beside us. He and his wife were from Colorado Springs and were headed for Turkey. The flight went by fast as we all chatted about church, running, and starting your own business. We arrived in Charlotte to find that our flight was delayed. After being delayed an hour at a time for around 5 hours, we were finally notified our flight was canceled. Everyone made a dash for the ticket counters and luckily we were the speediest. We scheduled a flight through Munich the following afternoon with Lufthansa. A Holiday Inn, a treadmill, and a trip to Rite-aid and we're headed to Munich Germany.

Zurich Switzerland welcomed us with a cool and crisp morning. We got our Eurail Pass validated and jumped on our first train, headed for the Lauterbrunnen Valley, via Bern and Interlaken.

We were pretty exhausted after having traveled through the night without sleeping very well on the plane. We checked into the Hotel Staubbach and rested our eyes for a few. We treated ourselves to Fondue that night in Lauterbrunnen.

The following morning after a breakfast at the hotel, we took a quick tram ride up the cliff face directly east of our hotel. We then hiked the 20+ km loop back. We were in the midst of some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever experienced. 1000 meter cliff faces, with towering snow-capped mountains in the background. The shear magnitude of the mountains was capturing, even though their height wasn't any higher than 14ers in Colorado.

After our long hike, we stopped in a cheese shop and bought some local cheeses then headed to the local CO-OP and bought bread and chocolate. We "dined on the dime" that night at the hotel. We ate, talked about the day, and played checkers in the common room. A great end to a great day.

The following day, we hiked to the town of Wengen (one of my favorites of the trip) then took the easy way out and took trains to various towns and villages in the valley. Words can't begin to describe the beauty that surrounded can only attempt.

The landscapes were so layered with color, it was difficult to capture it all.

This picture shows the immensity of the area. You can see the town of Grindelwald in the valley below. The picture was taken at the base of the peak called the Jungfrau (Young Woman)....4158 meters.....and very close to the famous mountain The Eiger!

The houses, hotels and cabins were all very similarly built. Pictures like this just deepen my desire for a cabin in the mountains someday.

Looking back on our Europe trip as a whole, it was hard for either of us to say what our favorite was.....well, harder for Christine than me. It's no secret that I love the peace I get from being in the mountains. We both commented on how differently we would have viewed Switzerland, if we had visited it last rather than first. The train system was amazing. Everything thing was extremely clean. The people were friendly and welcoming. And the scenery topped it off. This is the place I desire most to visit again....maybe a little closer to summer when you can explore higher in the peaks....or in deep winter when the descents are that much more fun. Until that day, I've got plenty of pictures to keep me company.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Taste of our Europe Trip

We will post more photos and stories about our Europe trip soon, but here are a few pictures to give you a taste of Europe from our point of view.

Shane and Christine

Swiss Alps

Overlooking Salzburg Austira

Venice Italy

One of the peaks in the Dolomites....Falcade Italy

The Dolomites

Vernazza Italy in the Cinque Terre Region

My attempt at being an artistic photographer....keep trying aye!


Christine on the train....a place we spent quite a few hours.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Europe Part Vier

Another travel day in the books for Christine and Shanes Europe trip. We took a train from Venice to Belluno, which is where we met Mr. DeMartin. The father of a friend and coworker, Mr. DeMartin showed us all the ropes of the Italian Alps. We were able to get a nice hike in, then he showed us where Lance Armstrong rode in the last Giro d'talia (sp?), then made us an authenic Tirolean dinner. If money was not an object, I think we would keep traveling for a while. But alas, all good things have to come to an end.

We are planning a nice hike tomorrow and an overall chill day, before taking yet another train ride. We will head to Venazza and the Cinque Terre region for the last destination of our journey. We will be there for 2 nights, before heading back to Zurich and back to the good ol US of A. The rest of the trip is set, so there should not be any more changes from here on out. We should have internet access in Vernazza if anyone needs to contact us.

I think we are getting close to the 500 mark on the number of pictures we have taken so everyone get ready for a bunch of pictures. Actually, I have taken the approach that the more pictures I take, the better the chances of having a good one! Besides all the ones that I have taken of Christine (which are all good), hopefully there are a couple others that are worth seeing. Look for picture posts in the near future. Until then, take care and we look forward to talking to everyone soon.

Shane and Christine

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Europe Part Drei

Yo....We made it to Wein (Vienna Austria) safe and sound this afternoon. This place is a zoo. There are a couple of streets that have no cars, but there are definitely people traffic jams. There are street performers, sightseers, and craziness everywhere. It is pretty much the Boulder Pearl Street amplified 1000 times. We hit an internet cafe to check on a possible hotel in Venice as well as research other portions of our trip. The game plan may be changing again, as I emailed my work buddy Stefano who has a cabin in Falcade Italy, just north of Venice. We are going to try to stay there on the 19th and 20th.

As for now, we are about to have some food and contend with all the tourists, then we will be on the night train for Venice tonight at 2040 hrs. We will be spending the following night in Venice (18th). We will continue to keep you all posted as much as we can.

Shane and Christine

Friday, October 16, 2009

Europe Part Zwei

After almost 10 hours on various trains, we made it from Lauterbrunnen Switzerland to Salzburg Austria last night. Our first night stay was not the best choice. We stayed in a womens university dorm that rented rooms like a hostel. So, we left this morning and found a much nicer place just down the cobblestone streets.

We spent the day touring the city of Salzburg. It is bitterly cold, which has Christine itching to head for the warmer climate of Italy. Not just yet though. We are planning to catch an early train to Vienna tomorrow morning and spend half the day there. Then we are heading on the night train to Venice.

The tenative plan is to stay a night in Venice then head to Zermatt Switzerland for a relaxing couple of days, then to Vernazza Italy to end our trip. As you can see, the trip is somewhat dynamic, as we are changing plans daily. One thing is for sure and that is ending our trip in the cinque terre region on Italy, as we have reservations.

Europe as a whole is quite different from the states. We are also quite jealous, as it seems that most all people we encounter speak a number of languages, including English. There is little reason to try speaking German, but we are giving it our best shot anyway. We have a lot of catching up to do, as far as learning new languages.

Well, that is about it for now. I am currently on an ancient computer (maybe the first laptop ever made) and the Y and Z keys are reversed. It is absolutely driving me crazy.

Peace to everyone that reads this. We cannot wait to share more pictures and stories soon. Until then, take care.

Shane and Christine

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Europe: Part Ein

Just wanted to throw a quick update to everyone that's checking our blog to ensure we're doing well in Europe. After an unexpected 24 hour delay in Charlotte, NC we made it to Switzerland. We took a quick train from Zurich to Lauterbrunnen and things have been awesome (with the exception of my wife just correcting my grammar as I'm typing this). It's a little harder than I expected adjusting to the time change. We spent our first day hiking about 20 km. The mountains here are even more dramatic than I expected. We're staying at approximately 800 km above sea level and the highest peak is over 4000 km. We're hitting the mountains again today and probably heading to Zermatt, Switzerland tomorrow. I'll continue posting as we get an opportunity, but we're not sure when that will be. After Zermatt, the plan is to head to Salzburg, Austria.

Peace to everyone that reads this.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Puerto Rico - Rich Port

My life has been a bit crazy over the past couple of months. It started with training for a new computer system we were installing at work, which had me traveling to Tampa and Houston, as well as spending some time in Denver. While I was on a break in Denver, my boss called and asked if I was interested in a PMI (post merger integration) opportunity coming up. All he knew was that it would be somewhere in the Caribbean, it would start soon, last about 2 weeks, and he needed to know that day. Christine and I decided it was too cool to pass up so I gladly agreed. Little did I know that would be the beginning of uncertainty.

I received an email the next week from our Exec. VP informing me that I had been chosen as a member of a 3 person team heading to Puerto Rico and I would be leaving the following week. I decided to head down for the first week, get work stuff figured out and Christine would come the following week. We would have a couple days to tour the island afterwards.

The coming days brought more uncertainty than I could have imagined. I started seeing estimated project timelines ranging anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months. It seemed that people weren't very interested in small details like time away from home. The task at hand was to identify cost saving opportunities that required little capital and could be implemented quickly.

My team and I dove into the project and soon found how different work could be away from the USA...yes, I know PR is a US territory. We began to see disconnects between management and the other employees and an array of possible projects. Good progress was made and we put together a nice report within the allotted time. We also soon learned that, other than extending our stay by a week, we would be back home after a total of 3 weeks.....not too bad after all.

The worst thing was that I had little time to spend with Christine, as I worked long hours and her flight left early on Sunday morning. That left only Saturday to really explore and enjoy. We made the most of it by heading to Rincon....a small surf town on the Northwest coast. We had coffee and bagels at a great place called Banana Dang. Owned by a coffee lover from California, this place served some of the best coffee I've tasted and could have been dropped easily in the middle of Boulder. With no surf in sight, we enjoyed swimming in the ocean and taking pictures of the scenery. Christine left bright and early the next morning from San Juan, after enjoying a nice dinner and room service of ice cream (we couldn't resist)!

I ended the trip with another week of work, a crazy taxi ride back to San Juan and some of the best paella you can imagine. Here are a few pictures that document the trip.

A view from the hotel - the weather was a mix of
sunny days and overcast skies. Not what I expected.

The town of Ponce in the background ,
which is where I spent most of my time.
Ponce is a city of 500,000 on the southern
coast of PR, full of industry.

Christine at Banana Dang on Sunday morning. My
hectic life of work and hotel living eased by miles
just having her around. I hated to see her leave.

What a mean latte. Did I just say latte? I meant!!

I went a little too far with iPhoto!

The coast of Rincon. The surf break below is called
steps, because an old set of concrete steps were left
on the beach. Who knows how long they have been
there...or why. The water was so calm, but we saw
pictures of 40 ft waves.

This was the craziest thing. As Christine and I were
driving, we saw this guy hop out of a car with a
longboard. We pulled over to watch him fly down
the hill. The picture doesn't do the steepness justice.

A view from half way up El Yunque (sounds like
yun-k) in the Yunque Rainforest. The mountains
were actually over 3000 ft asl. I went for a run up
the mountain and the locals thought I was crazy. I
got cheers, laughs, and downright dirty looks. What
a loco gringo!!

The view out of the window of the plane prior to
landing in home-sweet-home Colorado. We were
just above the cloud cover and it looked as though
I could step out of the plane onto this sea of white.
It gave me a strange peace after the storm of the earlier
weeks. As I always say, it's truly the small things
that make the biggest difference.

Con todo, estoy agradecido por el viaje. Aprendí mucho sobre mí misma y orar para que Dios me sigue con la aventura.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


As I sit here in the Houston airport I am approaching my 6th hour of waiting. I am on my way to Puerto Rico to see my hubby! I flew out of Denver at 6am this morning only to sit in the Houston airport for hours before I'll arrive in San Juan tonight at 9:30pm. I can't wait to see Shane! This is turning out to be quite a work trip....lots of unknowns and things that are out of our control. It is definitely challenging my patience, as well as reminding me to appreciate the simple things. I'm going to soak up the next few days with him and enjoy being in the same place. I think we'll have to take a little drive to Rincon, a popular surf spot on Saturday, the one day he'll have free when I am there! I'm looking forward to finding adventure. In the meantime, as I wait, here are a few pics from the past couple months.

My parents visited Colorado in May with their friends Tammy and Tim. They stayed down in Denver and spent a lot of time serving at the Denver Rescue Mission.

Flowers my sweet husband sent me the day he left for Puerto Rico.

The picture doesn't do this rainbow justice! We have had so many thunder and hail storms in the afternoons this summer. I love all of the green vegetation, picturesque skies, and colorful rainbows.

Shane's nephew Sam and his new little sister Sarah Kate from our trip to Alabama in May.

Pretty flowers on Pearl Street.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Family Month

Last month we got to spend a lot of time with our families, considering they all live out of state except for my sister Kim. The first weekend in May Kim and I flew to Dallas visit our sister Lisa. Lisa and her husband Nick moved to Dallas last fall so we decided it was time to check out Dallas and have a sister weekend. We had a blast just being seems so rare these days. The weather was hot and rainy, but we still got out and did a lot of walking on some local paths. I think the highlight of the trip was trying to learn the dance to Beyonce's "Single Ladies" song. We played it over and over on youtube! I love being with my sisters because we are silly and laugh a lot. Our Dallas trip was followed by a visit from my parents and then a trip to Alabama to see Shane's family. I'll have to do another post for those trips but here are a few Dallas pics.....

Shopping...way more fun with sisters!!

Kim, me, and Lisa.

It's the little things like making dinner together that I miss doing with my sisters.

Headed out for a walk...we grew up taking walks to the beach, out on the pier, and around our little town!


It seems that the last few months have been especially busy for us and I have neglected to update our blog!! I'll start with my trip to Guatemala in March where I spent 9 days with my parents, my sister Kim, my parents friends, Tammy and Tim, and their daughter Emma. Shane was a trooper, letting me go while he stayed home to work. With limited contact through email, it challenged us to completely trust the Lord and pray for each other a lot. My dad and his "dental team" did dentistry in two villages. 41 patients were treated and 85 teeth pulled! We also spent a lot of time painting. Our handy man, Tim, built shelves and put in a gutter system at our friends home in Huehuetenango. At the end of our trip we rested at Lake Atitlan, where volcanoes surrounded a beautiful lake. From the hundreds of pics we have from the trip, here are a few highlights....

Driving in Guatemala was insane. We saw buses like this one flying around corners with men standing on top, driving on the wrong side of the road to pass a construction zone, and passing on blind curves.

The fruit at the market in Huehuetenango looked amazing, to0 bad we couldn't eat it!

One of my projects was painting the doghouse red.

The beginning of our painting job...painting the perimeter wall that enclosed the Cerminaro's home for protection.

My mom, putting the final touches on the entrance.

The kids in the village where we did dentistry were very curious about what was going on in the "dental clinic." They would peak their heads in the door to see what we were doing.

Smile, one of our first patients was a little boy. It was mostly women and children that came to get their teeth pulled.

I got to assist my dad on the first day. We set up the dental chair and supplies in a small room in a church. The room next door was the "waiting room" which was filled all day with people waiting to get their teeth pulled. It was very different...who lines up to get their teeth pulled here in the States??!

Mom, Dad, Kim, and Jeffrey (our Guatemalan friend) at Lake Atitlan.

It was very hazy while we were at Lake Atitlan so the views of the volcanoes were not clear.

Sunset over the lake.