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.