Tuesday, December 22, 2009

holiday season

Happy Longer Days to all you Divas!

somewhere in Bicentennial Park

It won't be long before we're pedaling on pavement and our wonderful dirt trails.
But for now, it's time to pull out the skis, snowshoes, snowboards, ice skates and snow bikes. What a great way to beat the darkness and embrace the cold!

Here's wishing you and your loved ones a safe and active 2010. Cheers!

posted by Rose

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Blustery Hiking

Blizzard on the East Side.

What do the Divas do in the off-season? Some of us continue to bike, but sometimes it's fun to leave the bike at home and get the boots onto the ground for a little hiking. Maybe snow-hiking. Maybe blizzard-condition hiking.

Gloria, Bev, Rose

Early Wednesday afternoon Gloria, Bev and I headed to the state park trailhead that's about 2-1/2 miles up Campbell Airstrip Road to do a little hike along the north side of the Campbell Creek gorge, connecting to the Wolverine Bowl Trail.

The wind was blowing sideways with a Chinook that increased the temperature to 39 degrees by the time we began to hike. The soft snow packed down under our feet giving good traction. Blowing snow flew into our faces and it sometimes felt like being jabbed with 100 pine needles all at one time. Luckily, I had my gaitor. Luckily, it wasn't always gusting at 70 miles per hour. Sometimes it was just windy.

And luckily none of us wanted to change plans, because despite the winds, or maybe because of the winds, it was a beautiful day to hike. The creek is starting to freeze over. The trees bent under the winds that howled through the spruce. Ravens played on the currents. Golden grass swayed alongside the trail.
Overflow on the Campbell Creek.

berries & thorns

On the return trip to the trailhead, not even two hours after we started, our tracks had been covered with blown snow. Later in the day, the sun began peaking through the clouds leaving a golden light in the southwestern sky. Winter in Alaska.

posted by Rose

Monday, October 5, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009

good-bye to september

We started pedaling a little after six
the light low in the sky
Among the golden leaves
kicked up by tires
Would anyone think it strange
if I hopped off and lay on the carpet
of grass, leaves and soil,
breathed in the scent of fall?

Someone says, "no moose."
Shhh, don't say anything.
Another says, "can't believe we haven't seen any."
Hush, don't say that
afraid that if they hear their names
they will emerge en masse
trot like dogs to a master
onto, blocking the trail
sending us skidding, double-back
u-turn on the wide trail

Birch and cottonwood
spruce and alders
berry bushes and devil's club
all surround us as we race along
Warming on the climbs
cooling our faces, hands and toes
as we descend.

Soon, snow will arrive
we see it across town on the mountains
but now we merge into the scenery
Ten riders become part of the park
We become the moose
Block the trail
swing our heads from side to side
Snort our noses
exhales of steam.

I start down another hill
let out a whoop
hang my butt back
follow the leader into the chill.

posted by rose

Monday, September 21, 2009

still life with divas

Divas enjoying a warm fall day on the trail to the elusive Telchina Falls

p.s. more photos and stories soon from our great trip to Eklutna

Thursday, September 17, 2009

may it always be fall

Earlier this summer I professed Powerline to be my favorite Divas ride of the summer. Now I must profess that fall may be my favorite time to ride in the parks of our fair city. Last September the woods seemed to glow. Maybe it just seemed that way after the gloomy summer we had, but I think the up-side to all that rain were very healthy, happy trees that were ready to end the season with a golden bang.

I don't know if the colors are as vibrant this year and it's hard to tell with a bright, sunny, glorious evening like we enjoyed on the STA trails on Wednesday evening. Ten of us pedaled 'backwards' up the Queen Bee and the Hive (okay -- there is no specified direction but we've always gone the other way). Four of us descended on the red trails. For the second time this summer, I've heard this singletrack network referred to as Disneyworld for mountain bikers. Amen!
Gloria, always smiling, especially on some lovely singletrack

A line of Divas pedaling up to Prospect Heights

Saturday, September 12, 2009

daylight goes

With the dwindling daylight, 10 divas left the Airstrip Trailhead parking lot last week for a little adventure in Far North Bicentennial Park. Though rain threatened, we made it through the ride without feeling any sprinkles. I don't recall many dry September rides; we certainly didn't have any last year, did we?

Since it was dry, we charted a course that included rooty singletracks just north of Campbell Airstrip Road, some wider trails, a little jaunt up & down the STA trails and finished by racing the sunset down Black Bear Trail, to Moose Track and the Tour trail. Whew!

No mud holes to slip through (much); no puddles muddying our backsides. The fall colors are turning and the park smells wonderfully rich right now.

The tough part about our rides this time of year is that there's very little time for chit-chat on the trail. It's down to the fun of riding or get caught in the dark. (Also, you'll notice, no stops for photo taking). I guess that's why Jo-Ann has requested that we change the ride location for next week to the Hillside Trailhead. I think she wants to lead everyone back up the STA trails. Can't blame her - they are addicting.

Okay, well, I had a great time leading last week - thanks for following and thanks Karen for the tips on that one corner... I think I need to use a higher gear... carry on!

posted by Rose

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Singletrack Diva

We may have to dub Lori the Singletrack Diva. Two weeks in a row she volunteered to lead a singletrack ride on the Hillside. Last night's ride was not as long or as adventurous or as calamitous as the previous Wednesday ride. No one's bike broke, no body parts broke, no accessories broke as we pedaled around the STA trails again. The rain did start falling in the latter half of the ride.

We were treated to that phenomena that so many of us on the east side are familiar with - rain drops falling as the sun breaks through under the clouds from the west. We made it back to the parking lot in a down pour at 9:00.

Friday, August 21, 2009

singletrack & bad derailleurs on the hillside (w/ pix)

see the derailleur at the bottom of the wheel,
instead of the center?

Lori and Gloria had an aggressive singletrack route mapped out for our Wednesday ride. From Campbell Airstrip trailhead, they led us up Black Bear. Lori claimed this was the shortest route (other than the closed Rover's Run) to reach the STA trails by Hilltop. The first derailleur literally bit the dust on the lower portion of Black Bear when Bev's popped off. We helped her loop her chain around her pump to hold everything up for the long walk back to the trailhead. (Thanks, Anne and Wendy, for assisting her out).

Bev is still smiling, even though we've wrapped her chain
around her pump to keep the deraileur from dragging
as she walks back to the trailhead.

Maggi already knew that her derailleur had been bent but hoped to make it through the ride. Somewhere on the Queen Bee Loop, with a slipping seat and grinding gears, she realized the bike wasn't going to make it easy. The rest of us pushed on; and that did mean pushing the bike up and over some rooty and/or steep sections on the climb toward Prospect Heights.

With the various delays, the evening was getting late and the sun low. Lori and Gloria conceded a little bit of their plan and when we reached the Gasline, we headed down the Red trail instead of continuing up and around on the Blue. Jo-Ann said she did all the rock obstacles (but not the half log bridge). We reached the Hilltop parking lot at 9:30. Jo-Ann and I headed home on the street and the other five Divas pedaled back to Black Bear to descend to Campbell Airstrip.

Thanks, Lori and Gloria, for a challenging and fun ride!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

will climb for brownies

Maggi serves Wendy's special brownies to Junior Diva Graylin

If the ride starts at Jodhpur trailhead, you have to expect to ride some hills. And we did. Without touching the Lekisch trails, we hit all the Kincaid Hills* on the Wednesday ride. The only thing that kept some of us going were two plates of fudgy brownies that Wendy made that were sitting back in my car. The siren call of those brownies, however, tempted us to drop Horseshoe Loop as a cool down and we finished off the Jodhpur Loop and hit the tailgate.

A few pedaled all the way to the top of Stairway to Heaven - here's Maggi doing it

and Bonnie worked it out, too

Katherine on the Hairpin

Thanks for the brownies, Wendy!

* so dubbed in Mountain Bike Anchorage, the best bike guide to the big city

Saturday, August 8, 2009

shout out to Singletrack Advocates

Another happy face on the STA singletrack trails on Hillside.

Every time I ride the trails that Singletrack Advocates (STA) built near Hilltop, I can't believe I'm riding such quality singletrack less than 2 miles from my house.

A few Divas met on Friday morning to ride the STA trails. Lori said "Wow, was that ever a fun ride! Thanks Glo and Bev for showing Dawn and me the way. What a treasure to have this group of trails right in our own backyard, I feel so proud that we were able to contribute to it being built!"

I rode the trails with my husband today. He said it was like being on a ride at Disneyland, with the banked switchbacks and the short steep downhills that provide almost enough momentum to get up the next little hill.

If you haven't ridden the STA trails yet, what are you waiting for? Divas' next Wednesday ride will be there on August 26th, and watch the email list for other pick-up rides there. But don't wait -- go ride them and see for yourself what great singletrack is.

If you want more singletrack like these trails, there are 3 ways to get it:
1. Pay your Divas dues so we can make a club contribution to STA. Alaska Dirt Divas did contribute to STA to help build these great trails last year.

3. Go to a Parks and Rec Commission meeting this Thursday, August 13th, at 6:00 at the Spenard Rec Center (2020 W. 48th Avenue) to say that you support the construction of more singletrack trails on the Hillside. These trails are not only great fun for biking but also for hiking and snowshoeing.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Powerline Nirvana

One of my favorite rides in the Anchorage area is Powerline Pass, so I was excited that a few Divas wanted to ride it the Friday before our scheduled Wednesday night Divas ride.

Six of us met at Glen Alps on Friday morning. The wind was sharper here than at our homes down below. We pulled on bright wind breakers and pedaled out of the parking lot before a dozen cars had shown up.

Stacey & Wendy take a break on the way up the pass.

Lori provides some color to a grayish day.

We paused for photos at the lake.

Lori conquers the big rock.

On Wednesday, eighteen Divas pedaled up the trail. A few rode all the way back down to Hillside at the end.

on the trail by the lake

Another group photo at the lake.

Another man wants to be photographed with Divas!

Jamie on the rock with the most fabulous lighting

Friday, July 3, 2009

fun and rooty

Veronica descends through the birch on Speedway

Lori and Jo-Ann co-led the first ride of July and decided to split the large group into two and to lead very different rides. In the introduction to the ride, Lori described the ride she was going to lead as fun and the one that Jo-Ann would lead as rooty. I think that both rides lived up to the adjectives, and I'd say that some of us even thought that Jo-Ann's course was rooty and fun.

When Jo-Ann outlined the route she was intending to take -- the dog mushing trails between the Campbell Airstrip and the road -- she happened to mention Speedway. A couple of us were curious and asked her to take us on that first. She warned us of the extreme rootiness of it, but we said we could always walk if it was that bad. Yeah, we did some walking. But the riding parts were great fun and the dog-mushing trails didn't seem very rooty after Speedway.

a train of Divas at the firebreak on Speedway

Friday, June 19, 2009

riding out of town

Bev on Resurrection Trail, August 2007

Divas escaped the big city this last week and pedaled beyond the city proper ...

Six of us started the week with a ride on Crescent Lake trail on the Kenai. Despite a few sprinkles here in Anchorage and over Turnagain Pass, we were dry on the trail. A little wipe with mosquito dope kept the bugs at bay as we pedaled through forests, along a canyon, and through mountain meadows.

Jo-Ann suggested a few years ago that Russian Lakes is the easiest of the Kenai rides, but I'd vote for Crescent Lake trail. For those wanting to get some backcountry singletrack on their odometers, I'd recommend this trail. It's only 6.5 miles to the end and it's an out-and-back, so it can be scaled to individual rider's ability and comfort level. Most of the trail is a smooth riding surface of dirt and spruce needles at a steady, manageable grade. Short portions are rooty and rocky and/or steep, and the canyon section can seem precipitous to those of us fearing heights. But overall, this is as easy as riding the Hillside singletrack trails. Our total riding time was just over 2 hours for 13 miles.

Despite the short distance and time, this ride was a good reminder to have tools and first aid along on any ride (cue Jamie to jump in now with some commentary!). Bonnie's chain broke about 4 miles up the trail. She and Jena installed a QuickLinks and she was able to finish the ride. Terrie isn't sure what happened, but near the end of the ride she did an end-oh over a large rock buried in the trail. Gloria had baby wipes for clean up and antibiotic cream for immediate healing. Terrie reports no major damage and she's done a great job covering up her black eye with makeup. She will be buying a new helmet ASAP, right, Terrie?

On Wednesday, 23 of us met in Chugiak/Birchwood to ride the Beach Lake Trails. Thanks to Terrie and Mary for taking two groups around the various loops (all hilly!). A little rain hardened all those sandy, loamy spots that usually suck the power out of a hill climb. As Terrie said, the "bugs were hungry" on the trails but almost absent from the parking lot where we enjoyed hot & cold tea, homemade cereal bars, cookies, and strawberries after the ride.

If anyone has pictures from either of these rides, please send to me and/or upload to the yahoo site so I can put a current photo with this post. Thanks!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

on singletrack and delicate subjects

We've just had our third dirt ride of the season. Now's the time we discover what is or isn't working for us. Last night Lori took half the riders on a tour of the hilly Hillside trail system while I led the other half up the new STA trails. Everyone tackled the blue (intermediate) loop with power and positive energy. Probably fueled by the sunshiny upper-70-degree temperatures.

Things got broke & Gina had to bail - bummer because she had just been telling me how much she had been looking forward to riding these wonderful new trails. Come back next time, Gina! Brakes were challenged as were butts, not to mention quads & calves. (After a season of climbing, won't our legs be gorgeous!?)

I was talking with another rider about saddles and butts and would like to share a few things about that subject. Choose your saddle well. Saddles come in many shapes and sizes and should be selected based on the width of one's sit bones. For mountain biking, I like the Terry Butterfly

my butterfly
because it's wide enough, but not so wide that I can't slide off the back of it on a steep descent. Each one of us is built differently, so find a saddle that fits you. If you're having a shop install the saddle, ask if you can take a spin around the parking lot to make sure it's the right shape and positioned at the correct angle. It might take a few tries to get the angle just right, but patience will pay off in more miles of riding happiness.

another kind of butterfly

Now, what goes with the saddle? The cycling shorts or pants. If you didn't already know this, the secret is: the pants have padding in them - that's why they make the riding much more comfortable. Be sure to wear them with nothing underneath (no panties). Cycling shorts and pants are designed to eliminate chafing and hotspots and their fabric is thick enough to not be too revealing... if this seems weird, imagine wearing panties under your swimwear. Get the picture? They should fit snugly, but not be so tight that you feel you can't breathe or swallow a gulp of water!

When you're comfortable in the saddle, there's one less thing on your mind so you can focus on the trail and enjoy the experience more fully. Your bike will feel like an extension of your body. That's when you will make leaps in becoming a better rider.

(Corinne was taking photos last night but said she wouldn't post anything until it rains. I'd like to see those pictures, on the other hand...)

posted by rose

From corinne:
Today was cloudy and cool, and I was curious about those photos, too, so here are a few from the singletrack riders.

Gloria with her new bike frame - can she crack this one on the first ride?

Are they going to make it up that hill before the mosquitos carry us away?

Terry escapes the Hive .. or was that the Jive?

The Dusty Boys Bike Club met the Alaska Dirt Divas at the Gasline.
They came from Anchorage, Mexico, Philipines, and Dominican Republic.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

June? Really?

Today someone told me the June schedule wasn't here on the blog... oops. Sorry about that! I know we've all been looking forward to summer and the dirt trail riding, but with everything we try to fit into the days - work, planting gardens and being out on the bike, somehow updating the schedule just slipped our minds. S0...

June is now posted and maybe we'll get July and August up there more promptly. Just let me know when the next rainy day comes along...

Besides riding on the dirt trails, we have an opportunity to give back to the trails we love --and will ride this summer -- by volunteering on June 6th to do a little finish work on the Singletrack Advocates (STA) trails. I rode one of the loops this evening after work with my husband. Just a short ride on the outermost loop. After catching my breath at the top of the climb, we enjoyed the twisting, rolling descent. This is one of those perma-grin trails you'll love riding. If you can lend a hand on Saturday, you'll appreciate the trails even more. I hope lots of Divas & friends can make it. Thanks.

posted by Rose

Monday, May 18, 2009

Spring Formal

Wednesday May 6th may have been the only rainy day in the first two weeks of May, but you wouldn't know it from the bright festive outfits that Divas wore to the annual Spring Formal. We gathered at Elderberry Park in a light drizzle and rain, took pictures, and then pedaled down the Coastal Trail. As happens every year, we turned a few heads and caused a few smiles. Most of the group begged to continue past Earthquake Park but we had to turn around to fulfill dinner plans.

Elizabeth hosted us again at Cafe 817 for an after hours potluck (Thanks, Mark!). We got cozy with lots of delicious food. The only thing missing was chocolate! Terrie's grape wonder dessert almost made us forget about it.

It's hard to believe that another Spring Formal has come and gone ... must mean that the trails will be opening soon for some mountain biking!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Bike for Women

What a beautiful weekend! I'm sure many of you got out on the paved trails or roads. Several Divas raced in the Bike for Women today.

a few Divas & Jr. Divas

The road was in great condition. Of course we were talking about the upcoming Spring Formal and hoping the weather holds. There was a little bit of talk about what to wear... I still don't know! No matter what you wear, we're looking forward to Wednesday!

posted by Rose

Thursday, April 30, 2009

spring sunshine

A group of happy riders climbs the final hill.

Twenty riders gathered for last night's ride on the Bike For Women course in Chugiak. The shoulder was recently swept, making for a ride that was fun, safe and flat-free! Thanks, Bonnie for leading the ride and to everyone who brought treats & tea for after the ride. It was good to feel the warmth of the sun. Even the wind was warm. Good luck at Sunday's event!
Gloria and Bonnie on the final hill.

Now, about that ride next week we call the "Spring Formal." The first ride in May is always a party ride. (Please make note of the 6:00 start time.) I'll try to answer your questions about the Spring Formal, AKA Prom:

What do I wear? Whatever you like! If that means you visit your favorite thrift shop to find a used prom dress or pull a bridesmaid dress from the back of your closet, go for it! Something shiny, sequins, feather boas? We've seen these too. There is no such thing as overdressed for the Formal. But if you feel too self-conscious or it's a little chilly, a pretty sweater and pearls with capris are always in style. Some people even dress up their bikes with flowers. You can't be too over-the-top for us. A word of caution: be sure your outfit is bike friendly (wouldn't want anything frilly tangled in your chain). And, of course, don't forget your helmet!

The ride: Meet at Elderberry Park, downtown, to ride the Coastal Trail to Earthquake Park and back. This ride looks like a parade to other trail users. Expect smiles and waves as you ride by in your finery. (Be sure to air up your tires and lube that squeaky chain before the ride.)

The potluck: You can drop things off before the ride between 5:30 and 5:45 at Muffin Man Cafe 817. Elizabeth, our gracious host, will meet you at the front door. Or, just show up there after the ride with your potluck dish. What should you bring? That's up to you. A favorite dish you like to share... Your pick.

Leave a comment here if I'm leaving anything out or if you have questions. We're looking forward to seeing everyone at the formal!

posted by Rose

Friday, April 10, 2009

sisterhood of the pedaling pants

What a great turnout this Wednesday for the Meet & Greet! It's nice to get together with all you Divas after what felt like a very long winter. I'm excited that more of you are interested in joining our weekly rides and getting in touch with your inner dirt-loving selves.

For those who didn't make it, we talked about helmet fit, about some rules of the trail & riding etiquette and gave a little information about the history of the group. People also shared their personal stories of how they came to join the Divas.

I didn't realize how many of our current members had thought about joining us but were nervous because they didn't think they could handle our rides. Some admitted they had even thought about it for a year before finally getting up the courage to join us on an outing. But they rode, they learned, they challenged themselves, they even suffered. Then, when the ride was done, they celebrated with cookies & tea. The next week, they came back for more.

For me, there's nothing like the sisterhood that develops when mountain biking with a group of positive women. We've all helped make each other better riders. Over the years, I've seen people tackle climbs they didn't know they could make, ride over roots that scared them and I've certainly become a much more confident descender, because of the members of this group. So thanks for your commitment, your support and encouragement. You've made a difference!

This is what dry singletrack looks like... remember?

Next week's ride will be on the road since the Coastal Trail (as of Wednesday) is still slushy and soft. You can still use your mountain bike, or you can use a road bike. Be sure to inflate your tires and please wear something that is high visibility. Show up early so that the ride can start on time (ahem, you know, relatively). Remember to not leave anything of value in your car at the trailhead. And, as always, don't forget your helmet!

posted by rose austin

Friday, April 3, 2009

Welcome to April

Here we are Divas and aspiring Divas, early April and still lots of snow on the ground and ice in the streets, mixed in with a little ash for traction, I suppose. For all you procrastinators who have yet to get your bikes tuned up for spring, may I suggest: take it in now before things really get melting. OK, you've been warned. For those whose bikes are tuned and you're wondering what to do before the season kicks off, here is a checklist. (This first one is a good one for before you take your bike in to a shop.)

Clean your bike!
If you put away your bike when it was still covered with mud (tsk, tsk!) use a dry cloth to slough off the dirt, then give your bike a wipe down with a wet cloth. Next, take a look at your chain. What color is it? Black, silver, orange? Use a repair stand or lean the bike so you can spin the cranks (where the pedals attach) all the way around. Now, take a cloth and grasp the chain, applying pressure with the rag as you pedal backward wiping off the black gunk. If the chain is orange, first drip some bike chain lubricant (fig#1) on the entire length of the chain and let it sit. Then run your chain through a cloth to wipe off the rust before applying a tiny bit more lube to the chain.
fig #1: choose your weapon!

Inflation isn't always bad!
Your tires have been losing air all winter. Before the first ride, pump them up to the recommended inflation - it's shown on the sidewall of your tires, as seen in fig#2. Use the higher number for pavement, so you'll go faster; and the lower number for off-road so you'll have more control and a less-jarring ride.
Road bikes have a much higher recommended inflation, up to 120 psi! Always check your pressure *with a gauge* before you show up for a ride. It will save lots of time as we prepare to ride and you'll be much happier to not be working too hard!
fig #2: 40-60 psi, but your results may vary...

It's in the bag!
Do an inventory of your repair kit. Do you remember how your pump works? Is it set up for the correct valve stem? Test it out to be sure. How about your spare inner tube... did you have a flat at the end of last season and leave the punctured tube tucked away in your seat bag all winter? Now is the time to make sure the tube is still good or to put on a patch so you can reuse it. Also be sure you have your folding multi-tool, tire levers, rag and patches in your repair kit: fig #3.
fig #3: what's missing from my repair kit?
We'll have a random drawing for a special
prize if you post the answer(s) here!

Saddle up!
Now think back to last summer. Was everything comfortable on your bike? Were you suffering with a bad saddle? Were your grips getting shredded from all the shifting and climbing and general fun you were having? Now's a good time to get those replaced so you can have a more comfortable riding season.

Use your head!
How old is your helmet? More than four years? Did you crash on it and not replace it? Helmets can take one impact. After that, the foam has been compacted and it doesn't offer the same protection as it did the moment before impact. Replace it and be sure to throw it away. It is not a good loaner for when you have company. Period.

What else?
Remember your gloves? Your snot-and-mud-covered gloves? If you forgot all about them after August, find them. Put them in a lingerie bag (assuming they have velcro closures) and wash them with your next load of laundry. You will be so happy you did the first time the cold nips your nose and you reach up to wipe!

Phew! So, who's coming to the Meet & Greet on the 8th @ Paramount? Bring your helmet so we can make sure it fits properly, bring a mug/cup for beverages, and bring a friend who is wondering what this Diva mountain biking group is all about.

posted by rose

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Biking by the numbers

August ride on the Hillside

The 2009 ride calendar has been posted and we've got over 24 rides plus clinics set for the spring, summer, and fall. As the Tally Diva, I record who comes to rides and try to summarize it for the end-of-season potluck. Last year we averaged 11 riders per event, which means a few on the rainy evenings and a veritable bevy on sunny days. Over 85 women rode with us from April to September; only 28 came just once.

The award for most rides went to Bonnie Wanat. She embraced her inner Diva on 23 evenings! Other Divas often seen were Karen Lee (21), Rose Austin (20), Kass Friend (18), Katherine Coons (18), and Sandy Nichols (18).

It's time to start thinking about a spring tune-up for your bike and locking in your Wednesday evenings for Diva rides.

tally ho!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Inaugural Gala

About 50 patriotic Divas, significant others, and friends gathered at the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum to celebrate President Obama's inauguration. A fabulous potluck brought the usual delicious treats. Despite the last minute panic that no one had signed up to bring a main dish, we had more than we could eat or drink, and more celebrating than could be crammed into a Tuesday evening.

Special thanks to Jamie, the Etiquette Diva, for donating the time at the museum. And big thanks to her husband Tom for figuring out how to record the inaugural festivities in Washington and broadcast them at the museum.

We may have a new regular event for the Diva calendar ...