Friday, May 3, 2013

The Bullshit Free Motel in Paradise

Here we're are in Whitefish. Adam arrived safely home from Midway, and not 12 hours later we loaded into the Jetta along with Gaia and Chance and drove 8 hours to Zana's. Gaia housed a bag of crunchy curls and about two cups of cashew pieces on the drive, but stayed fairly calm. Chance insisted on stopping at a god awful burger joint to keep his daily French fry streak alive.

This morning we lounged about, got crêpes and coffee, picked up mountain bikes for the boys and are now waiting on Duie to finish my custom ski boot foot beds. The rest of the weekend promises many miles of single track, lots of coffee beforehand and good food an drink afterwords.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Midway II, Day 24

Another plane ride, another post. Leaving Bridget and Dylan was hard, but there's hope that more management nonsense will take me back to SoCal again soon. For now, lets recap:

Got in late Monday night. Trader Joe's run was a success and I am totally jealous of the wine selection in SoCal as compared to Seattle. Picked up more goodies than I ended up needing, but I like being prepared. Tuesday's wake up call came early and I met the boys in the lobby to carpool to the first day of fun. Four of us from Seattle, two from St. Louis, and a crap ton of folks that were local. Kelli, the main meeting organizer had hooked us up with a continental breakfast that included coffee, and more importantly -- a giant pile of bacon every morning. Between that and the sunshine, I decided the management thing wasn't going to be all bad.

The meeting was mostly learning to play nice together and with finance. The business ops guy somehow got the floor and talked about processes and procedures for infinitely longer than anyone was interested in listening. We went through the Meyer Briggs stuff; I am an ISTP, which surprised me a little. Not the ST data loving part, but the introvert and go with the flow personality part. Bridget assures me that those are correct and that I've grown into my "P" since Tom. The last day we did a C-17 factory tour which was kind of disappointing after working up in the commercial factories, since we didn't even get to touch the airplanes, let alone operate the ramp door.

Evenings were a bit more exciting. I missed whatever good times were had Monday night. Tuesday was the Huntington Beach street fair and margaritas with fish tacos. One too many margaritas, I'd say. The evening ended with me trying on a kids' hoodie that zipped all the way to the tip of the hood and gave me an alien head. Photo forthcoming. Wednesday dinner was at this posh restaurant within a restaurant which I was excited about until I realized they didn't know the difference between gluten free and cross contamination. Halfway through my fish I couldn't see straight and was headed for a full body meltdown. I guess that's about the time I accepted my introvertedness because all I really wanted to do was crawl into a bathroom stall until I could snag a ride back to the hotel. Mostly recovered by Thursday morning although I opted for a stroll on the beach instead of any kind of workout Thursday afternoon.

The Marketa Tornado rolled through Thursday evening, starting with a bottle of wine and no corkscrew. She attempted to pop it open using my black heel, but eventually took my suggestion to just open the screw top bottle in the fridge. Two pink solo cups and an hour in the jacuzzi and we were sufficiently dehydrated and ready to rock. Then she insisted we finish the other screw top bottle I had in the room on our way to Fred's for more margaritas and more fish tacos. The conversation was everything I hoped it would me and more. We rolled over to a high class establishment called Sharkeez (I think) for a Jell-O shot out of a giant plastic syringe and another round of booze while we watched the 20 something's do the dance club mating ritual. We stumbled our way back to the room where Marketa regrouped and headed home.

Friday morning wasn't pretty, but all I had to do was listen in on the communications meeting and complete couple of management clean up tasks for the week. A quick lifting session to try to sweat out the previous night and I was on the road bound for San Diego and best friend hugs!

The weekend was mostly just wonderful. Hung out on Friday and admired the enormous toddler that Dylan has become. He's walking and almost running. He never stops making noise or trying to climb things. The world is fascinating and sometimes scary at the same time. All food is good and he can't get enough of any of it. He prefers a bare bottom at all times which means some floor puddles, but apparently cleaning that up is easier than trying to change his diaper. I got to experience Mona training, which I think has been great for all of them -- the 110 pound Love Dragon is much more calm than she was a year ago. We spent the majority of Saturday at the future home of Dylan, et al -- just after Mama Webb and Matt move on to their sailboat. Lauren was there and recovering after her nearly 24 hours of Ragnar relay the night before. Ben was master of the BBQ and we ended up with way more food than we knew what to do with. Matt and Dylan had a noise making contest and Matt's snoring won over Dylan's pot banging -- at least in consistency. This morning Bridget and I attempted a TRX workout, but Dylan wasn't overly pleased so it didn't last long. We did replenish with a giant pile of gluten and dairy free biscuits and gravy. I spent some time rubbing Mona's belly before saying the goodbyes and heading back up to catch my airplane home.

Carla gave me some good insight on managing people and some reading material to check out. I think the most difficult part of this new gig will be to redefine the relationships I've known for the last 8 years. George is now my peer. The guys are now my minions... Officially anyway. I have some kind of authority. Stirring the pot may just be a bit more fun now!

Nearly to Seattle. I'm sitting next to a woman from Boeing procurement who might actually call ethics on me for putting six bucks on my corporate card for an airplane snack. But I did get EIGHT olives as part of my GF snack pack instead of five -- and they didn't taste like toothpaste -- so I think I'd still come out on top.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Midway II, Day 18

Ok, en route to Orange County for a week of management fun. This is the loudest, most boisterous group of airplane passengers since taking the Everett girls to Nationals six years ago. Upon arrival at SNA, I will need to high-tail it out to catch Trader Joe's before they close so I can have snacks for the next few days. I doubt the "continental breakfast" provided at this workshop includes my usual bacon, kale and fried eggs.

Good news from the last week is that my mom survived her surgery. They pulled out a mass and the right kidney to go with it. Then they told her she was cured since the mass showed no signs of cancerous growth. I guess that's a nicer way to put it instead of: sorry about that unnecessary major surgery, let us know how you heal up. Needless to say, I'm still pretty miffed with the whole slice and dice situation.

Round 5 of Singletrack Racing yesterday and a "recovery" ride on the Worm today. Yesterday's race was long. Two 5.5 mile loops with about 800 feet of climbing on each. After nearly 40 minutes of racing I decided I was ready for the lap to be over so I could start it again and get on with it. Then came the massive hill just before the finish. The course wasn't 80% deep mud like last week, which made it deceivingly difficult. There was enough hard dirt that you could really get some speed and just as you did, you'd hit a deep muddy section... Lots of crashes. A woman went down right in front of me and was discombobulated enough that I considered stopping. But she got her bike out of the way, which I took to mean she at least wasn't in shock. A while later, she and her teammates were spotted walking up the fire road back towards the parking lot. I passed a bunch of dudes, which seems to be the norm (suckers!). At the last section of single track, I caught up to a woman who gave me some lip before moving over. Her kind appears to be the minority, but it's still frustrating. Don't wanna get passed? Pedal harder. I made a new friend, who beat me the last two weeks, but I think I'll get a riding (and maybe beer) buddy out of the deal. And I had fun jockeying with another gal throughout the course. These unaffiliated rides are pretty cool. Today I got all five trails in at the Worm, in time trial order. Goal is to get that under an hour -- just a few minutes to go. I feel like I've plateaued with the riding, and I either need another big breakthrough or I just need to ride more. One will probably lead to the other. I do need to figure out how to get hydration while I'm racing and probably a gu or something too. I definitely hit the wall before the end of the race yesterday.

I'm trying to figure out what all I did last week that kept me from writing these love letters to the interwebs every night. I pulled an 8k on the erg with "Big Lebowski Joe" Tuesday after practice, which was painful but not so bad since I had company. It's Joe's plan to get back not erging and back into shape by doing 10k's at least once a week. Thursday I convinced him to go out in the sun and do 4 x 500 in the double with me. Good times all around. Wednesday I met up with Charming Chance for a quick drink and a plate of fries at the German place near REI. It's never THAT quick, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Friday night was happy hour with the work guys, then dinner with Mary. Way too much Jameson at happy hour; I will officially be switching to whatever cider the 9# carries to keep my level of drunkenness in check. Saturday I refereed up at the Lake Stevens regatta and saved a kid's life after he dumped his single into the drink. Nothing cures a hangover like a shot of adrenalin.

Friday night in my inebriated state, I dropped the remote for the loft's lights and thought I had completely broken it. Didn't matter much at that point if I slept with the lights on, so I just rolled over. Saturday night though, I was on a mission for darkness and momentarily thought about getting out the pellet gun to take out the one light I couldn't reach to unscrew. But then as I was plugging my phone in near the bed, I located the battery that fell out of the remote and all was right again. So I repeat: no more Jameson at happy hour.

Based on some poor iPhone photos, Adam says the crushed pinky toe is broken, so it's been buddy taped for now. I'm probably off the running regime for a few more weeks and should probably be back ON the icing regime. It felt ok most of last week until flyer yesterday's race. The Worm didn't do it any favors either. Maybe the dansko heels will cure it this week!

After my three days of management fun, I'll connect with Marketa for an evening of debauchery, then Friday morning drive down to San Diego to see Bridget and family for the weekend. I'm looking forward to both -- I haven't seen Marketa in ages. And hoping for some Mama Webb time in SD too. Sometimes you just need to be with the people that love you most.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Midway II, Day 10

Singletrack race today -- 5th in the series, 4th for me.  It was everything a mountain bike race should be: muddy, wet, wicked fun.  The course was out in Maple Valley, and I like these trails the best so far.  But I think I'll wait until about August to ride them again.

It dumped rain from the time I woke up until about 4p today.  DUMPED RAIN.  Buckets of it.  Per usual, the Cat 2's were the 3rd group to race.  So by the time we got ready to rumble, they had altered the course because one of the loops was in such bad shape (i.e. under water) -- we even had to wait 30 minutes extra before we rumbled because the Cat 1's were taking much longer than anticipated.  The rest of the course was so muddy that there wasn't ever much speed.  So muddy that the rear tire didn't do much other than spin half the time.  But it didn't matter much because when you fell over and landed in 6-8 inches of mud, it didn't really hurt.  Forty degrees isn't really optimal rain & mud riding temperature, but once I got moving it was ok.  I got out near the front, and jockeyed with two other girls for position through the first lap, but fell behind on the second.  Chicked a handful of dudes, one of whom gave me a lot of lip about his suffer hole before finally getting out of the way.  I think I came in 5th for the women, which is much better than I've done before, and that's exciting.  I ran into one of the women I used to race with on Thumbprint a few years ago, so I actually had fun chatting before and after the race.  Cathy also loaned me her plastic jacket that she thought would be too warm for the ride, and for that I am grateful.  Without it, the phone and the car keys in my back jersey pocket would have surely drowned.  Today would have been a great day for photos, but I don't think the usual photographer braved the weather.  The guys coming off the Cat 1 race were FULLY caked in mud.  We did a little better since we skipped the worst section of the course, but it still took me 20 minutes to peel off my soaked spandex back at the car and get into some sorta dry sweats.  Heated seats were Heaven-sent, as was a hot shower back home.  And then pan-fried chicken, and leftover chocolate cake.  I'm instituting Chance's One-Beer-A-Day rule, and after one IPA I was pretty well done anyway.

Now the pinky toe that I crushed on last week's ride is all tucked into an ice pack because apparently racing on it wasn't a good idea.  Even racing in icy muddy water, which is kind of like rest and ice.  And I've somehow been sucked into the Country Music Awards.  Lots of poofy dresses, lots of platform heels... and who puts a pregnant woman in spandex?  Lots of killer legs on the ladies though -- glad to see muscle in en vogue, not this skinny starving supermodel crap.

Friday was Tom's birthday, and I made Mom Potter's chocolate chip zucchini cake to take over to the Brown Turtles.  I had started the evening with a shot of Jameson on the rocks with my new management friends, then plenty of wine with Scott, Mary, Richard, "Yooody" and Harold.  Needless to say, Saturday morning was not pretty.  But I always feel better about life after seeing that crowd -- just really truly loved, and that is worth a hangover any day.

Saturday was relatively uneventful, rain on and off all day.  I slept in which was much needed since I felt like the walking dead all week.  Brunch with Regan and a mimosa, then Gaia met NGP who will take care of her for the week that I'm in Huntington Beach.  I went up to Dana's for dinner -- risotto (no surprise), spinach salad, wine (also no surprise) and leftover cake with frozen yogurt and strawberries.  She sent me home before a second bottle was opened, which I think was her way of keeping me hydrated for race day.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Midway II, Day 6

Let's talk about how exhausted Gaia is.  A weekend of fun, as discussed in the last post, then a walk down to Georgetown Monday for a bath.  Tuesday, she had it easy while I went up for a workout with Rachel and then a massage.  Today I took her over to the Worm and she ran Silkworm & Parasite with me before I brought her back to the car.  She insisted she wasn't tired and that she could totally go for another hour, but I told her it was for her own good, gave her a Greenie and went back out.  She was pretty ok until an hour ago when she pretty much crashed.  She ate a bowl of kibble (only after the broccoli was delivered) and that was the end.  We'll go out for pee time in a few minutes, and then bed time for both of us.

Otherwise, not much to report.  Email banter with Zana, Chance and Adam today -- mostly while listening in to a two hour capital meeting.  It's amazing how many levels you have to justify spending money to, but then someone in a completely non-value-added function decides they're going to build a multi-million dollar delivery center, when no customer (to my knowledge) has threatened to stop buying airplanes without it.  Yet, I'll have to convince 18 levels of management that I can spend $150k on a new equipment to actually prevent test stoppages.  Sometimes big CEO's just need a swift kick to the ass.

Um, not sure how that got out, but rant over.  To make up for it, here are some photos!

Gaia on the way to meet Emily Saturday.
Just after she turned off the traction control.

Hanging the tent to dry in the loft.
Making use of space!

A very tired Worm buddy.

Wouldn't be complete without a dinner photo.
Shrimp, Bifun noodles, Bell peppers, Yum.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Midway II, Day 3

Two posts in one day -- clearly I am avoiding doing my taxes.  And of course the internet needs to know what's going on in my life, so it's actually quite serendipitous.  In the ever-changing game plan of the weekend, it currently stands as blogging, doing the dishes, pulling the laundry out and going to bed.

Adam is sending Midway photos again.  Sign up for the jealousy club here.

Leaving on a G2 plane...

Dolphins off the cargo pier.

Cribbage with Tim!

In reverse order... Note that it's been 65-70 degrees and cloudless-skies this weekend.  The first well-earned good weather since November.

Dana came down tonight for dinner and sunset viewing on the roof.  I was more wiped from today's ride than I thought I would be, so I don't think I was really great company.  But dinner with Dana is always lovely, and it was nice (although I actually felt a bit out of place) to do it here instead of in Fremont.  I think she gave Gaia a dose of speed in the squeaky donut, because the dog had a renewed sense of energy, but has since PTFO'd.

The rest of today was relaxing and near perfect.  I slept in (much needed) and made it a point to not have plans in the morning.  I had intended on walking Gaia down to Georgetown for a doggie wash, but she was so pooped still that we didn't even make it around the block until this evening.  So I made french toast waffles and coffee, got my belated blog post up, and generally cleaned up around the loft.  Then I loaded Lexi on the Jetta and went in search of a semi-epic ride.  I have yet to remember that when adding three trails at Duthie to the middle of the Grand Ridge out and back that I need snacks.  Lots of them.  I only had a gu today, and even after five pieces of french toast waffles, I was wiped well before reaching the car.  I also crushed my pinky toe between the pedal and some tree roots, and I'm walking a bit like Igor.  To the ibuprofen!  And possibly to the athletic tape!

Yesterday I had a nice row with Lisa in the morning (aren't they always nice?) -- we got out on the lake for the first time in a long time and nearly completely avoided the intraclub race that had started earlier in the morning.  (Except for the part where we banged the boat on the ramp because we were distracted by the beautiful gay man on the dock.  No one can blame us though -- not once they've met Andy.)  Then I swung home to pick up Gaia and some calories and met Emily and her pup for a walk over at Seward park.  These two miles were too much for Danger Mutt and she's barely moved since we got home.  Emily and I went by the latest installment of the Patagonia sample sale where I convinced Mike to hand over the Fall '13 sweater dress that I've been oogling for a few weeks.  Regan and I connected there and she decided to join me over at the Worm a few hours later to get a taste of some Renton riding.  I had a great ride -- twice through Tapeworm and feeling strong the whole time; turns out chasing Adam around for a week was really good for my overall athleticism.  Regan did great for her first time out too; the Worm is not beginner-friendly.  But I think she's got a lot of non-NW riding under her belt, so she had a better base than I did starting out there.  I got home, got cleaned up, got the wi-fi to reach the roof and sat outside with a beer and the iPad.  Exactly what I had been wanting for a few days.  About the time I got chilly, Martina called and asked if I was busy or if she could come over with a bottle of wine.  Duh.  We threw some food together and enjoyed the Pure Grace she brought, and just generally had a wonderful time catching up.  More of that is in order.

Friday evening I went to the Paramount with Mike to see Phoenix in concert.  Their opening band was just bad.  Like a bunch of middle school kids rocking out in their parents' garage.  And maybe I'm getting old, but the bass thumping my chest and the standing and the crowds and the strobe light show were just too much.  I just flat out don't really like big concerts anymore.  Give me a night at the Triple Door any time, but Friday night I was really wishing I had ear plugs.  I'd still say Phoenix put on a damn good show, but it's just not my thing anymore.  (And yes, you damn kids need to get off my lawn.)

And to the dishes...

Six Days in Seattle

Adam has come and gone again.  Home from OH/PA and off to Midway.  I can only imagine the exhilarating reports we'll get from our hero on the tiny island this month.

He got in Wednesday mid-day and I had some flight test fights before I could escape work for the weekend.  But then we wasted no time and jumped on the motorcycle for a joy ride up to Ballard (after jump starting the bike... after I put a new battery in the truck a few days earlier...).  We met Dana for dinner at the Walrus, and experienced our first night of poor service in over two years.  It was a little surreal and I don't think anyone knew what to think of it.  But Mustache fixed the bill and we left happy, per usual.

Thursday, Adam's stuff sufficiently exploded all over the apartment before I could get him out the door.  Up to Hyak we went for Day 1 of NW Action Hero Fun: Skate Skiing.  The snow was slow and sluggish, but Adam made it to the dam before turning around to find me.  A few kilometers in to the trek back and we found ourselves fighting a 20kt headwind.  Brutal.  I found a groove and kept my tortoise pace going.  Adam (the hare) kept starting and stopping and whining.  But we made it, and I got up to the boathouse in time to coach the rug rats.  Dinner and a movie, then off to bed.

We're just pretending to be happy and not-miserable here.

Friday we got our tails up to Stevens Pass for what was probably the last day of lift-op skiing for the year.  I upgraded to 150cm skis and Adam drug me all over the backside.  I did complete a black diamond, although it was more on my butt than on my feet.  There was a foot or so of fresh snow, and the ungroomed stuff was so deep and thick that I mostly did a lot of falling over.  But it was great fun -- much like being a kid on the sledding hill during a snowstorm.  We called it a day around 4:00 before our auto-lift passes charged us for the evening ski time.  Back to Seattle for a quick dog walk, a quick shower and a quick ride into Georgetown.  Regan and Mike were holding a Patagucci sample sale and then we had plans to drag them to dinner.  I picked up the Primo down ski jacket and pants for a ridiculous discount, but also for more than I needed to spend that evening.  The new mexican joint across the street from the showroom was an hour wait, so we waltzed down to the Neapolitan pizza place instead.  Regan insisted that she and her other gluten-intolerant people could eat there because the flour came from Europe and was non-GMO.  That wasn't enough to convince me to risk it, so I stuck to the soup and crouton-less salad.

Saturday was going to be a day of pampering, but first we motivated ourselves to get out and ride Grand Ridge.  I think we both felt the two days of skiing in the form of very tired legs.  After an out and back, we were both ready for the pampering to begin.  I dropped Adam off at the deep tissue sports masseuse, and an hour later he emerged as jello.  Then up to Queen Anne for pedicures and snacks from Trader Joe's.  I think we swung by Evo to check on my bindings (which hadn't arrived yet) and then came back for cocktails on the roof with the sunset.  Adam decided he needed bitters for whatever he was going to make, and ended up on an hour long mission to acquire it.  So we missed the sun on the roof.  But I got the kitchen cleaned!  Charming Chance checked in and ended up coming over for dinner and Ohio stories, which Adam and I were both thrilled about.  It's not often that we get spur of the moment dinner guests, but I think it might be our favorite thing.

Manly men care about their feet.

Sunday morning we actually set an alarm, put on all our non-cotton clothing, dug out the camping gear and took off for somewhere west of Yakima -- all three of us.  Gaia was not thrilled about the two+ hour car ride or the suspension bridge, but definitely had a good time at the base of the rock barking at squirrels, eating grass and sniffing everything.  Adam scurried up a climb, then belayed me from above.  I did fine for the first third or so until I got to the crack climbing part, at which point I stopped and cried about it because I had no idea how to go forward.  Eventually I figured it out, and made it to the top, but avoided climbing the crack as much as possible -- so I probably turned a 5.8 crack climb into a 5.10 face climb.  At least that's what makes me feel better about myself.  We tried one more route, this one with a three-tiered roof.  Adam left some gear in for me to go get, which he definitely put past my comfort zone, but I think I made some good moves, got it all and even tried to get around the first roof.  Gaia led the way back to the car, with a little help across the bridge again, then we went looking for some place to camp.  We found a great riverside spot with a fire pit, mentally logged it and went back in to Yakima for provisions.

Where you guys going?

I only finished the crack climb because I had to.


Adam may have been distracted too.

It must have gotten down to 20 degrees Sunday night, and Gaia was not pleased about sleeping in the tent.  She was all around not pleased about being cold or being around the campfire either.  But we all survived and Monday morning packed up and went out searching for the next crag.


What part about this is suppose to be fun, you guys?

After getting the car stuck in the snow going up FS344, we hiked in (and Gaia was excited about life again) and did some sport climbing on a south facing wall.  By mid-afternoon we were down to t-shirts and had our pants rolled up.  I got up two routes -- a 5.9 and possibly a 5.10c, but Adam insists that I went around the 10c part of the wall, so I'm not sure it counts.  Either way, I definitely had more fun than I did Sunday.  Back at the car, we re-packed for the drive home, had a beer (or gin & juice), and decided to take US-12 back across to Seattle.  As we rolled back down mushy snow, I lost momentum and got us stuck in nearly the same place as when we came in.  The tires spun for a half hour or so before Adam got out the slack line and the tow hook and ratcheted us out inch by inch.

View from the crag.

View looking the other way.

Adam saving us from the snow.

Tuesday we met for lunch at the Georgetown mexican place with Mike and Regan.  The food is great, but the service is slow.  So two hours later when I got back to the lab and saw a note from my boss to come see him, I figured I was pretty well busted for calling in sick to go climbing and then taking an excessively long lunch the next day.  Nope -- apparently he approves of that decision making.  Turns out he's taking a new job and I'm at the top of the list to take over, at least temporarily until I figure out if I want to give up the engineering gig and go in to management.  So that was pretty awesome and I am excited and terrified about it.  But it should be fun!

We finished out the week with beers on the roof after sunset Tuesday night, and dinner with a great bottle of Honig.  Adam got on a plane for Honolulu Wendesday, was able to have dinner with Mikey Brown out there and then made it to Midway late Thursday night.  I think he's already counting down the days until he gets to come home again.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Ohio, Day 31

St. Patrick's Eve.  Gaia and I are having some roasted green beans and Cava.  We were working on our super cute tote bag project until we realized that we likely purchased the wrong type of interfacing and are unable to continue.  So blog update it is.  It is highly likely I will drink the entire bottle of Cava tonight -- good thing my plans for tomorrow morning mostly entail lazing about.  I have discovered Pandora radio, and tonight is an XX kind of a night.

Things of note this week:
-- My stinky little brother has scored himself a trip to Italy for the week to "chaperone" the band on their trip.  I think this is highly related to the fact that his good buddy is the marching band's director and has very little to do with whether or not my brother is an appropriate person for this job.  Clearly, I would have been a better choice.

-- Pat, Fred and I have declared war on Stairwell Safety.  Or on the overzealous new building safety focal because s/he felt the need to print out FIFTY (Five. Zero.) copies of the "avoid a fall; use handrails" sign to distribute over FOUR one-floor stairwells.  Fred and I came up with a "Stair Use Checklist" and I posted that Wednesday afternoon.  Surprisingly, no one pegged me as the culprit.  Thursday, Pat was back in the lab and nonchalantly said "I have a sleeping bag in the truck -- we could illustrate using the ten essentials."  So we did.  I posted the photo of Pat bivvying on the landing Thursday afternoon.  When I got to work Friday morning, all three pieces had been taken down, which indicates that our building safety focal does not have a sense of humor, unlike the people in the building that I actually associate with, because they all thought this was hysterical.  We talked about going all Blogess on their asses and putting up a missing sign for the sign, but then thought we probably pushed it as far as we could.  Luckily, there are 49 more signs that are just screaming for something to be done, so we have options.  And not a lot of direct work.  (Actually only 47 more signs -- one has been turned upside down and another has a photo of Grumpy Cat blatantly disobeying the order.)

Missing:  Have you seen these signs?

-- Injuries sustained from last week's tumble off the mountain bike have left me sore and stiff.  I think I have the O.L.D.  I was unable to do much but go for piddly little runs early in the week, which I don't think actually did me any favors.  I rowed this morning with Lisa, which was the best I've physically felt since Sunday.  The original elbow scab has already come off and the second round is forming nicely.  And we're out of hydrogen peroxide.

Meet the Ice Station Zebra.

-- Jo and Arthur showed up in NW Pennsylvania to take Adam to dinner and hassle him tonight.  I originally thought that they had drove 8 hours, surprised him, and intended on driving back Sunday.  Apparently they flew and it was planned... I like the former version better.

Like I said, adorable.

-- Three hours with Mary Turtle over tequila/wine and butternut squash quesadillas.  Good healing, restorative, renaissance girl time.

-- Wine and small plates with Adam's Patagucci friends, Mike & Regan.  Regan called me somewhat out of the blue and drug me out of hibernation Friday evening.  It was wonderful.

-- French toast waffles this morning between rowing with Lisa and refereeing in the freezing hurricane at Green Lake. Definitely a new favorite. 

As inspired by Jennifer Perillo

-- That time I really wanted a bourbon/lemon/maple syrup cocktail, but I got the glass stuck in the shaker and had to call Kevin to explain how to get it out.  Also discovered a legitimate reason to keep the hair dryer around: warming the shaker to extract the pint glass. 


-- Three AM Wednesday morning when the old Ballard smoke detector's battery died.  Fifteen minutes later I found it buried on the toolbox shelf.  Gaia was not pleased.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ohio, Day 25

Painfully ridiculous single track race today. I'm not sure I'll be moving off this couch anytime soon. I think I'm officially over the idea of bike racing. There's a few more races in this series is like to do -- mostly to keep exploring trails other than the Worm or Grand Ridge. But I just don't like about 90% of the women in the cycling community. Or maybe it's that they all have their teams and their cliques and I feel like an unwelcome outsider and just not interested in putting in the effort to get "in" with any of them. I feel like I played that game with the rowing team, and I'm kinda over it.

Anyway, overcast and cool, but the rain held off. The trail was just built so it was a little soft in spots. One of the faster girls went down as soon as we turned off the fire road and I don't think she finished. I started mid to back of the pack, per usual. A lot of these women who have road racing experience just dominate me on the fire roads and straightaways, so I'm getting used to needing to pick them off one by one on the trail.

I was moving all right the first half, and then when the trail actually turned to twisty, climby, serious single track, I was able to pick up relative speed. Or I should have been able too, but spent the whole first lap buzzing the wheel of the woman in front of me who refused to let me pass. When I had given her the heads up that I was behind her and ready to go around she says "you can go around to the left" which was actually a statement false in the world of physics based on the amount of thick brush lining both sides of the trail. So that was enormously frustrating.

We hit the fire road again and I immediately went around her -- if nothing else, I was tired of her saying hi to every spectator; this is clearly a sign of not working hard enough. I got around a couple of other women before the soft section of single track again. I was pushing hard and on the edge of some full blown asthma, but it was race day. I crested the hIll and sped down, trying to maintain my small lead I gained in the open space.

And then I bit it.

I don't know what happened, but I went down pretty hard all along my right side. And I don't know how far back the next two girls were or if they saw my aerobatics, but they both stopped to help me up and make sure I was ok. I thought I was, so I got back on the bike and started riding again. A some point around that time, Trail Hog got by me, and that about ended my race. I was hurting all over and she was opening space between us. But somehow I got myself calmed down and convinced that I'd catch her pretty quick once we hit the technical single track again. Then all I had to do was sneak around her on the fire road before the finish line.

Sure enough, I made up the space of about fifty meters in about 30 seconds. Then Trail Hog asks if I'm the lead group lapping her. Considering we were the last group to start and on lap 2 of 2 I don't know who she thought was actually going to lap her. I probably should have just said yes and maybe she would have let me by, but apparently I still need to work on my ruthlessness. So I stayed on her wheel until the first steep switchback, and when she got off her bike and ran I did too. And I took two steps off the trail to cut inside of her line. And then she says, "woah, not cool -- you have to at least pretend to stay on the trail." But really, by the time she had finished talking I was already on my bike again and bombing down the backside. I quickly caught up to one of the women that stopped to help me after the crash and she yelled some words of encouragement as she let me by. The woman in front of her also pulled over when she heard me coming, although I'm not sure I clocked who it was. I had some work to do before I caught the other woman that stopped to help; I think I got her we as we hit the fire road. Then it was head down and push like hell until the timing chip beeped.

Second in my age group and eighth in the women's field. Not bad considering the crash nearly destroyed my juju and sent me to DFL. I was pretty happy with the way I rode the last bit of single track and DEFINITELY happy about getting around Trail Hog and kicking her ass.

I dumped hydrogen peroxide on my arm when I finally made it home and it bubbled up with great satisfaction. Then I ate a whole box of Mac and Cheese with a couple of chopped up sausages thrown in. I ibuprofenized my crash injuries, but sitting is still pretty painful and sleeping might be dodgy. Will post some photos if these cuts and bruises turn out to be impressive.

The race was a good distraction from the emotional train I'm still riding. I talked to Adam a few times and I think was able to get him to chuckle here and there. He's hurting and it's difficult to watch those you love suffer.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Ohio, Day 24

Today Adam wrote his first blog post in nearly eight months.  And it was one that caught me by surprise and has sent me on an emotional roller-coaster ride all day.  The title, "Holly" was nondescript, and before I was able to finish reading, and well before I was able to absorb, Adam called to talk.  Holly had been a climbing friend from the east coast.  And Holly had passed nearly a year ago, just after she and Adam had last checked in with each other.

I finished reading the post and started to digest.  I wanted the unpleasant feeling in my gut to only be the empathy that I felt for Adam.  The news of the loss has hit him hard, and understandably so.  There are people who touch our lives and it matters not how recently or for how long.  He described her to me later in the day and it was undeniable that she had made an impression and they had formed a connection.

Unfortunately, the unpleasant feeling wasn't just empathy.  It was an ugly bit of jealousy surfacing.  Jealousy of the admiration he had for her; jealousy of the words he wrote about her.  An uneasiness surrounding how he's described the last year of his life, and anger stemming from feeling like I'm putting in a lot of effort for nothing.  They're feelings that I'm not proud were part of my first reaction to the situation and feelings I wish I could reverse. I would liked to have been nothing but supportive and empathetic, but I just wasn't.

Tonight I did some googling on Holly and instantly liked her.  Adam said she was pain in the ass and far too upbeat and chipper for him.  And that she was the only other person who encouraged him to bring Gaia along and could laugh at the non-stop-whining the in the car.  Holly had given up her high-paying job in NYC banking and began living out of her car to embrace her passion for rock and ice climbing.  She exemplified what Adam is striving for.  And in his eyes the loss of someone so pure in the sport, so full of promise and "zest" as many internet mourners have described represents a loss of all hope that things will turn out right in this world.

From Holly's FB page on April 4, 2012:

Holly has left us and the world as we know it, in the beautiful park she loved – Yosemite.
She lived more in her 32 years than most could dream to do in multiple lifetimes.
Please celebrate her life by remembering her and choosing in your own lives to love and live your passion. 
December 26, 1979 – March 27, 2012

She shares a passing day with Tom, albeit two years later, which is an odd coincidence, if it is one at all.  There is little information on what (I have gathered) was a climbing accident on March 27, but it appears that she was hospitalized and possibly on some kind of life support until April 3.  I can't imagine how difficult that was for those close to her.  Indeed, collecting everything I read tonight about Holly, then one could easily argue that life is wholly unfair and that she never met her full potential.  However, she touched many -- including Adam -- in such a positive way that makes the loss much harder to swallow.  I find myself in tears tonight for a woman that I never knew, but who clearly made the world a brighter place.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Ohio, Day 19

Pretty productive evening, just waiting for laundry to finish before snooze time. What was not productive, nor helpful in any way is how signing in to Facebook on the iPad imported all my FB contacts (to keep them up to date for me), because now I have 400 totally random people on my iPad. Guess that's motivation to start defriending folks.

Anyway, I did get a cake baked for Fred's birthday tomorrow. I'm digging this make my own powdered sugar thing. Bernie can't have cane sugar, so I've been pulverizing beet sugar in the blender with some starch to use in the frosting. And I tell ya, I sampled tonight's chocolate cream cheese frosting until I had a belly ache. Also made some salmon cakes for dinner and lunch tomorrow, which just didn't turn out as well as when Adam makes them. Got some kale ready to go for breakfast, got a couple of care packages ready to send to Wisconsin (no kale), and took some kick ass sunset pictures... Which may or may not get included in this post, TBD what the iPad decides.

In sucky news, Frank Cunningham has died. The legend. The only coach who could tell you that you were wasting your time in this sport and have you coming back for more. The man who's face would light up when you asked him to explain something or demonstrate a technique. The rowing world has lost a great man, kick ass (albeit unconventional) coach, and kindred spirit, and it's a bit more dull and unforgiving than it was yesterday.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Ohio, Day 17

Today's post brought to you by my new iPad. Woot!!

Although I'm already convinced blogging or anything else that requires lots of typing will be saved for the laptop and its big keyboard.

Gaia is currently laying on my feet, which is a welcome weight after standing in the chilly rain at the Sounders game for the last two hours. I sorely underestimated the amount of warm clothes I would need. Especially given that the rest of today had been 60 and nearly sunny. I started the day with a lovely row with Lisa, just up to the Ballard bridge and back. The water wasn't great, but we both commented on how nice the headwind was on the way back, partially because we're a little sick and partially because a solid catch in a headwind feels pretty awesome. Then errands about Ballard and the U District, including coffee with the Harshman girls. Lana and Natalie have turned into strong, confident, brilliant young women and I'm always amazed and humbled to think that I had even the tiniest part in their development.

Spent a good amount of time just hanging out at home this afternoon, including a nap with dog snuggles. I had Gaia in at the doggie acupuncturist a few weeks ago and she recommended switching up the dog food to help with the non-stop itching. Adam also recommended fish oil, so Gaia's diet just went hippie. Salmon oil on the kibble for breakfast and a new grain-free kibble to see if the overall skin condition improves. So far, no complaints from the doggie department.

This week I made some progress on the home improvement list. Picked up a new salad spinner while I was torturing myself at U Village. Finally got another light connected in the bathroom after many failed attempts and Home Depot visits. Hung some super cute Japanese paper lanterns over what were bare light bulbs slung over the non-functional lighting wiring in the main space. Got the cave mostly cleaned up and usable. Laid down the diatomaceous earth to in part of February Fleamageddon... That was kind of a disaster; now it just looks like someone had a very messy cocaine party on all the carpets. So pretty good.

Tomorrow is single track race #2 in the series. It's down in Tacoma again, but I think further south than the last time. I upgraded to Cat 2 -- partially to get a longer ride (2 laps instead of 1), partially to race 3 hours later and not have to set an alarm, but mostly because I think I can hang with the Cat 2 women. And the main thing I need to remind myself of during this series is that I am riding because it is FUN. I've already caught myself a few times freaking out because I missed a training ride opportunity. That's only going to lead me down the path of crazy, so I need to proceed carefully. Sleeping in then having post race food and drink at the Walrus with Dana should help to keep me in check.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ohio, Day 7

Adam continues to whoop it up in OH/PA.  Now with fresh truck tires so he's only slightly less likely to get stuck in the snow.

I am on the third and final day of the juice cleanse.  Long story short: I. Am. Starving.  In the plus category: using the juicer is wicked fun (pulverizing unsuspecting vegetables is a bit of a high), I have lots of cashew meats to make cashew butter, and if I were to need an emergency colonoscopy, I'd be ready.  Minus category: I'm hungry, I keep feeling like I might pass out, and I've been snapping at my coworkers all day.  The website of the cleanse I followed insisted that I would have extraordinary amounts of energy since I wasn't using it on digestion.  LIES.  They also said I could exercise, but they must have been meaning those little girls on ellipticals, because running today was slow, and the aftermath (i.e. no substance) was painful.  But like I said, shoving stuff through the juicer was awesome.  Except lemons.  They produce about an ounce of juice each, and must be peeled.  I think I get more out of the squeezy contraption that does not require peeling, so that will be the way forward.  And mixing said lemon juice with bourbon and maple syrup.  But I digress.  I'm actually a little nervous about adding foods back in tomorrow.  Kale & a poached egg is on the menu for breakfast, since I'm suppose to start slow (which apparently means no bacon).  Sushi tomorrow night for Dana's return from Down Under / birthday dinner.  New Guy Pat (NGP) and I figure raw fish will be like defibrillation for my digestive system, which could be fun, but I might stick to miso soup and eggplant.  I'm already planning dinner Saturday evening with Martina: pork tenderloin, cherry tomato pie, whatever veggie dish she thinks of, wine and coconut ice cream.

Ok, before this turns into a food blog...

I'm forcing myself to take a break from Grey's Anatomy.  I've made good progress on the series since Adam has been gone, but I'm not sure I can do a marathon session every night.  Wait, no.  I'm not sure I *should* do a marathon session every night.  Not without the coconut ice cream -- which, for the record, I am attempting to perfect in the next three weeks so that it's perfect when Adam comes home.  Just for the record.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ohio, Day 4

I'm just going to jump into the singletrack race report.

This morning I went down to Tacoma for the first race in the singletrack spring series.  I was nervous that I was completely out of my league when a saw a car full of dudes with cross bikes roll up.  And then I got yelled at by a power hungry, rule obeying, rule ENFORCING, cookie selling, single digit aged girl scout for not wearing a helmet while rolling down the hill on my bike.

Anyway, semi-mass start (in that there were 14 women) in the beginner's category.  I hit the trail in 4th position, and really felt pretty good about how I was riding.  I was being bold and rolling over stuff that may have even surprised Adam.  Lots of staying in the saddle while climbing.  We lost one of the women about a third of the way in and for the rest of the race, the remaining three jockeyed for position.  I think I was the strongest climber, and possibly the most comfortable bombing downhill, but the girl on the 29'er ultimately got around me on a climb and I couldn't get around the other woman with enough course left to catch up.  We did pass a handful of dudes who had started in the group before us, which was unfortunate for them and their egos, but also because it always seemed that one of them was in my line on a hard climb.  So, all in all, I came in 16th of 45 overall in the beginners, 2nd in the women beginners and 1st in my age category.  I have never won anything on the bike, so even though damn near everyone who showed up got a medal, mine will be hanging on the rear view mirror of the Jetta for a while.

In other news, Adam was adorable today when he a) got excited for my win and b) when he told me he went to a brewery for dinner and had a burger on a GF bun.  He also got to see a movie in an old theater with dollar popcorn, and didn't get the bald-tire truck stuck anywhere in the snow.  What a guy.

I finally opened up the juicer Jo sent, and am nearly prepared to start Juice Cleanse Day 1 tomorrow.  I'm trying to copy the Blue Print Cleanse model, so I've picked up lots of stuff that's listed on their labels.  The cashews are still soaking, but I may not need them before after work anyway.  I'm just going to go pick up the spicy lemonade juice at PCC tomorrow at lunch because peeling and de-seeding enough lemons to make 16oz of juice is so not worth it.  But the juicer is really cool.  And totally fun.  So it was kind of easy to put enough greens through there to make over two liters of goodness.  That also was the end of my veggie stockpile in the fridge, so a TJ's run for more inexpensive veggies is on the list for tomorrow too.

Ohio, Day 3 was jam packed with fun too.  I actually got up to row with Katie & Lisa, and as I was driving up to the boathouse, I was cursing the early hour and claiming it just wasn't worth the alarm wake up call.  But then I got to see the girls, and be in the boathouse, and get out on the water, and just feel the motion of each stroke and it was completely worth it.  Them's my roots and they're just not gonna go away.  Then Gaia and I went back up to Fremont after some coffee back home for a walk in a non-industrial area.  She hung out in the car while I got my hair cut, then we saw the doggie acupuncturist.  And while Gaia was completely not pleased about the experience, she did enjoy all the treats the vet sent home (i.e. glucosamine) AND the sweet potato fries I shared on the way home from Uneeda Burger.  Good day.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Ohio, Day 2

Adam is off playing EMT somewhere between Ohio & Pennsylvania.  He must be feeling adventurous out there because he's eaten sushi twice already.  Bold.  But that's one of the things that makes him so lovable.  So Gaia and I are having a month of girl time here in Seattle.  And cleaning.  Anyway, let's get to the things that require Constant Supervision, shall we?

Alternate post title:  Lexi, will you be my Valentine?

I was hoping this would look like a flower,
but it doesn't really at all.

Between the nice weather and the 27 hours of OT I put in last week, I blew out of work early to ride Grand Ridge.  My focus was threefold:
a) Stay in the saddle while climbing.
b) Enjoy the sun and the fact that I didn't even need knee warmers or tall socks.
c) Avoid getting run down by the weekday trail hogs.

How did I do?
a) Not bad.  I still instinctively stand up when the hills get hard, but maybe that's the road rider in me that refuses to be stifled.  The big breakthrough here was to throw Lexi into the granny gear so I  could actually spin.  The difference was amazing.  So much so that the third and final climb over the ridge on the way out was not only doable, but I dare say bearable.  I kept waiting for it to get really hard, but then I was bombing back downhill again.  Now this makes the second climb out the really tough one.  Better get un-lazy.
b) This was the easiest of my three goals.  I nearly failed when the tuna salad I had for lunch threatened to revisit on the first climb.  And after the second trail I rode out at Duthie, my toes started to get cold.... and continued to get more cold until I put them under the blasting heater back at the car over an hour later.
c) Even with all the things that made (b) a point on this list and the fact that it was already Friday afternoon, there were still a handful of riders that I crossed paths with during my first climb in who were CLEARLY not interested in yielding to us weekend trail riding working stiffs. I nearly got run off the side of the mountain only once, so I think we can call this a success.

So a pretty good ride overall.  Maybe next time I'll make my focus be to not ride the brakes down all the hills.  Or at least not both of them.  Baby steps.  This was the longest solo ride I think I've ever done.  Granted, this may only be the second or third solo ride I've ever done, so the bar was not too high.

I don't understand why the climb & downhill stats don't match,
considering I started and stopped the app in the same place

Friday, January 11, 2013

There is nothing beginner friendly about skiing.

Five days of skiing in Montana.  One on the skate skis, three down Big Mountain, another on the skate skis. And it's HARD.  Adam said it was fun to watch me go from totally panicked to relatively confident in three days, but I think that just means he saw less panic face.  He definitely bailed out to swap his skis the morning of Day 2 when the mental breakdown hit.

But Whitefish delivered, and everything was awesome.  Daily operation: sleep in, eat lots of meat + eggs + starch breakfast, ski for 5 hours, have post ski beers, make dinner, drink wine, go to bed.  I now understand the appeal of a ski vacation.

For those playing along at home... I'm apparently going to have to find a new method for rotating photos because what I thought worked clearly does not!

Adam being nommed by a Snow Ghost.

That's right - a LONG AND COLD wait.

It's not New Year's Eve if glasses aren't breaking.

Pete trying to buy Gaia's love.

Hi Sile!

Day 3 on the mountain and the sun came out.

Groomer Ninja!

Day 3 on Big Mountain - views of Glacier National Park.

Me, Zana, Snow Ghosts

Being inappropriate in front of Jesus.

Our mess taking over Zana's apartment.

Pete in Zana's jacket.  I will say no more.

Sun beams over Double Black Diamonds.

Bag of Skittles on Chair Two.