Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hero

"History provides abundant examples of people whose greatest gifts was in redeeming, inspiring, liberating and nurturing the gifts of others."

- Sonya Rudikoff

Monday, December 29, 2008

Getting closer...

My friends skied with a lunatic today. Call it pent up feelings from the holidays, stress relief or whatever - but the knee deep powder with steep terrain, constant blowing snow, and grin factor was HUGE this morning.

And I felt like Ryan was there - with me on every powder turn, every face plant and hoop and holler.

Oh what a day!

I hope you get to enjoy something as much as I enjoy skiing...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Living it

If you knew something you did would help you pass time, make you forget your worries, allow you to feel like a kid again - what would stop you from doing it? Sometimes living your passion is the only way to live and if the planets align just right - sometimes you are fortunate enough to do so.

Skiing does it for me. There's something about cresting a hill on the lift, sliding down the ramp, strapping my poles onto my gloved hands and ripping it up down the hill at fast and nearly out of control speeds. Where either the lactic acid pump prevents me from lift to lift bombers or a powder bump turns out to be too big and sends me promptly into a face plant. Fortunately I got to ski the three days leading up to Christmas - and it really did help pass time when I really needed it.

Being in Colorado without you was a first. And it stung. Enjoying the runs we used to go down - this time without you there. I sobbed when I stepped into the condo where we spent such wonderful times. Your absence so loud.

Thankfully I planned on skiing today with my sister and her boyfriend Erik. We created some new memories. And I faced some old ones.

Today I saw someone who skied like you. Knees tucked, chopping into the hill and getting after it. I watched and thought to myself, you could totally smoke that dude on the hill! You certainly had your own style. I was always so proud of what a bad ass skier you were.

I also ran into Andre, an old neighbor who hadn't heard the news. He couldn't believe it. And neither could I. Suddenly transported back to the day I first found out - telling him what happened. Some things don't get easier.

But for a fleeting moment, while skiing between the trees in hip-deep powder, following my sister down the hill - my mind quieted and I lived in the moment. My tele turns are starting to link quicker than before, my boldness growing and my thighs strengthening as I lunge downhill. Taking jumps, throwing myself down steep hills, skiing over mini-cliffs. I know I could never beat you down the hill - but I would certainly always try to give you a run for your money.

As we rode up to the pass today, Makiah laid next to me in the back seat. She put her paw and head on my arm, a small fury comfort. Letting me know that this time I'm not facing a first alone - she's there. I am so thankful for my friends, family and little dog to help me through all my firsts.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The snow is melting. :(
No worries though - Marcy, Erik and I head to Steven's tomorrow for some powder fun!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My loud sobs made even Makiah retreat into the living room. The waves are coming hard now.

I read that the feeling of grief is the realization of how much you loved. Oh man did I love him so much. This is debilitating.

I hate to say it - but I wish the holidays would disappear this year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Chapped hands, cracked lips, dry flaky skin. Yep. It's winter again.

But with winter come naughty sugar plum fairies, rascally rat kings and twirling pasties. I witnessed the adult version of the Nutcracker tonight at the Triple Door with Pat, Christi and Cassie. Our senses were indulged in taste and sight as we watched ladies and a few gents discard all but a few items of coverage. The audience took a while to get into the show, but as the booze flowed and the numbers got hotter by the end of the show everyone was hooting and hollering. Definitely a nice night out on the town and a great way to get into the holiday spirit.

Actually I bought the tickets last July as a present for Pat. We toyed with going to a Mariners game at the time - but Ryan and I were unable to pin down a night thanks to our crazy schedules. So burlesque show it was! And low and behold, who should we notice swinging from the hanging hoops in the ceiling? TH's wife! And wow what a number!

There's a couple shows left for this weekend - so if you're looking for something to do and are stuck being at home thanks to the weather - head out and get your Nut Cracked! I mean, go crack some nuts! Um, I meant to say, well, just go check it out.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I remember when Ryan, in anger, used to ask, "WHY ME?!" He would get super frustrated and feel like the whole world was caving in on him. Then things would start battling against him - something would break, he'd get a speeding ticket, something on his jacket would tear - infuriating him more. And to help matters, I would often laugh.

The frequency of his outbursts diminished over time - but it took a while for him to accept that some things were the way they were. I'm no saint either. Our front hall closet bi-fold doors were broken for years when I tried to re-install them after we first painted the interior 7 years ago. They wouldn't fit in perfectly and as a result I grew more and more frustrated with them, eventually banging them on the floor and breaking the hardware. They remained propped up in the front hall until only just recently when Bill the handyman came over after Ryan passed to help me with my honey-dos.

I could easily ask "WHY ME?!" and grow into a fit of despair. But I won't. Instead I look at Ryan's passing as a way to grow. We taught each other so many lessons over the years. To harden up and bottle my emotions inside at this point would be a complete loss. Eventually they would come out - either manifested in some sort of sickness or addictive habit.

Sometimes it's hard to remember that Ryan's death is a gift. Some days are simply easier than others. And some days hit you up side the head. But the world does go spinning on. Tomorrow is a new day with a promise of being a little better than the day before. Life is not perfect. Far from it. The journey we must all take is making the most out of each moment and recognizing the beauty in it.

The First Winter!

Like a well timed gift, I woke up this morning to loud thunder clapping over head at 5:30am. I slept a little longer until my alarm sounded and then rolled out of bed. A quick glance outside and I was doing the Risky Business dance! Snow Day! Snow Day!!! Thank you snow gods, you answered my prayers. :)

A quick text to DR confirming HSP was open and then I threw on my snow clothes, big boots and hiked out the door to lower Queen Anne. It's about a 20 minute walk. And today it was completely silent. I had fresh tracks on the sidewalk. My whistle carried for blocks - the excitement of a new white day such a gift.

My little sister graduates from the Art Institute of Seattle today - with honors! Classes are canceled but graduation is on. In Hawaiian tradition my mom ordered a ton of lei's to adorn her with.

I just took Makiah down to Gasworks and she had a complete blast. She's a snow dog for sure! Maybe the first winter won't be so bad after all...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The First Winter.

Two candles illuminate my dinner for one. Across the table sits your photograph. The one where you can peer directly into your joyful soul. I try to remain upbeat, to put a smile in my heart and only tears come out. A couple of deep, loud sobs are followed by laughter in thinking of you standing in the threshold naked shaking your willy at me. (Sorry Moms!) Some days I really feel like I'm losing it. Moments of deep loss, shortly followed by loud laughter.

They said the holidays would be tough - but I think it's the winter that is the roughest. Where the nights are way longer than the daylight hours. Your absence echos in the house. I thought today of leaving this house - and immediately welled with more heart felt loss.

Now I look at your picture and it feels like a mirror. I know that smirk more than my own. That little dimple on the side of your mouth, facial hair stubble, self pierced ear. And your hands. I really miss your hands. They're not in the picture - but I can envision them as if they were right in front of me. Those gnawed off fingernails - callused and battered from climbing. Constantly in your mouth as you chewed on excess skin. "Who are you to talk?" As I look down at tattered nails. We definitely had that in common.

It was easier packing my ski bag for the upcoming weekend. I think first times are going to always evoke a lot of emotion. Understandable. Picking up the pieces of our lives together and forging ahead to make my own way is the toughest thing I have ever done. But it's a process I must go through to learn and grow. I'll take the highs and lows knowing that eventually it'll get a little easier. But oh, the first winter is tough.
Wow. The city of Seattle shut down with just the threat of snow. Yet it's 35 in Wallingford and nothing is sticking to the ground. Good thing they canceled school today. Ha!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it."
I keep thinking about writing something about Ryan and then when I sit down and try to do it - I can't formulate my thoughts into anything.

I am still numb.

Even after 3 months. Each day feels a little like the last. I wake up with an ache in my heart - still used to the normal morning rituals we used to go through. But now they're just my morning rituals.

Thankfully those first few weeks have been put to rest. Talk about having open heart surgery when you're still awake. But maybe this numbness is my brain trying to protect me from trauma. I know in time it will get better - everyone tells me that - but...

I felt Ryan when we drove to Whistler this weekend. When we passed the Chief in Squammish - I got a deep notion that he would want to be there. He spent a lot of time with Jesse on those walls. Then I was saddened while riding the lift up to the snow - sensing how much I loss. Surrounded by people, giddy to head to the mountain. Yet Ryan wasn't there. Ryan lived for powder days. He lived just to live. It made me cry - and yet when I was ripping it up on taking the line I wanted to take, being aggressive and getting after it - I could hear him cheering for me in my head. And that was such a good feeling. The numbness was gone, if only for a split second, and acceptance came into my consciousness.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Whistling in Whistler

My dear friend Roanne turned 30 on Friday and invited me to celebrate with her and some friends up in Whistler for the weekend. We couldn't have timed it better - with a snow storm blowing in some flurries on Friday night and fresh powder on Saturday! She and Cam rented a condo within walking distance of the gondolas so we crammed 10 people into a space comfortable for 4. Reminded me of my college days!

We were all smiles at the base near the ticket booth on our way up Whistler mountain.



We did a couple of groomed green runs on Whistler, before quickly discovering that everyone else on the mountain was doing the same runs we were. So we headed out on the Peak to Peak gondola to Blackcomb. It was cool riding it - especially since it just opened the day before. At one point the gondola spans 3km of cable without any support - 1,200 feet above the valley floor!

Here's a shot of Emily - as we are just approaching the the last tower before the big span...



Apparently the gondola can still run in winds up to 60mph. But just think how scary it would get after that....



Ben and I were happy to be in the middle of the Gondola - where it felt a little safer? Check out the new jacket! It's a honing device for people to find me on the mountain and it works really, really well!



We skied the rest of the day on Blackcomb on some off piste sections - with enough coverage to make it pleasant - though we were still destroying some exposed bushes on the way down. A couple of front face dives (or as Mike deemed them - torpedoes!) and several hundred lunges later - I was more than ready for the hot tub! There's nothing like that after skiing exhaustion that puts you to bed by 9:30. I know - party animals, eh?

The next morning we opted to do some skate skiing at Callaghan. This facility is going to be used for the Nordic portion of the 2010 Olympics - so it was super cool to check it out. The luge was really cool - who knows, maybe some day I'll give that a go?



It was a beautiful bluebird day - but COLD! Temps were in the -15 Celcius - without the windchill factor. But our skate skiing adventures kept us nice and warm. Here's a shot of Fras, Cam's brother hamming it up while we watched a decathlon race finish up.



Then a group shot - Emily, myself, Fras and Kyle.



Fras, Cam and Kyle stopped for a second to let me capture them on film. Kyle sported the old school long socks and pant tuck method - and rocked the house on skate skis for the first time ever! Pretty impressive.



Roanne and I were separated from the rest of the group at one point as she was trying to teach me some techniques that might actually make me faster..... and as she tucked down a hill to swoosh down to the bottom, I heard her squeal and came around the corner to discover a complete wipe out!



We laughed for a solid 5 minutes. And just when I was thinking to myself, that's usually me who does something like that, I lost all of my balance and took a dig into the nicely groomed snow. We howled for another 5 minutes. Cam came around the corner, wondering where we were and when he asked what we were up to - we both just started giggling again. "Nothing." Ha!

To top it off - the race course finish was still fairly untouched so Cam, Ben, Fras and Emily decided to do some sprint finishes to the line. Fras smoked Ben with his double poling and enthusiasm technique.



And then Cam followed suite to throw his poles up in victory as he crossed the line before Emily. Those Charles brothers are quite a pair! (They kept calling each other Max all weekend from "Where the Wild Things Are.") "Nice work MAX!!!"



We left the park shortly thereafter and headed back to Vancouver to drop Ben off at the airport, after eating at the Swiss Chalet, everyone's favorite spot restaurant in Canada. I was introduced to the 1/4 chicken with fries, multi-grain roll and special sauce. And I have to admit, at first I was skeptical. But then after a while, it starts to grow on you. We made a mad dash to the airport, only to find out Ben's flight had been canceled due to the weather.

On we continued to Bellingham to pick up Makiah - boy was she happy to see us! And we watched the temps dip into the teens on our way home. Burr!!! The cold weather is supposed to stick around all week - making for some cold riding conditions or ideal skiing. On Saturday I head up to the Colorado Rockies for some more snow play and adventures - so looking forward to it!

Friday, December 12, 2008

I may not have found the keys in Ryan's blue puffy coat - but I did find mountain money! It made me laugh and cry all at once.

And now like the constant rain, I'm constantly crying.

It's beginning to look a lot like SNOW!



Ahhhhhh jjjjjjjeeeeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

Snow level near Bellingham is 1,000 feet - more dumpage predicted for the weekend. Headed up to Whistler - perfect timing to celebrate Roanne's birthday and get some skiing in. SUPER STOKED!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Misplaced

I was warned Ryan would hide things from me. And at first I didn't believe it. But now - now I can't find the keys to the garage and his motorcycle key. I've searched through pockets of all my coats hanging in the front hall closet, through all of my jeans, looked in the washer and dryer. Gone.

Time to buy some bolt cutters I suppose. And call Honda to re-cut a moto key for the Honda. Plus I should get the van started - it's been sitting for weeks with a dead battery. Man chores. Blah!

I've gotten used to mowing the lawn - that was my chore in high school when we lived on Sandpoint. And gutter cleaning was a newly acquired skill last November when our basement flooded due to malfunctioning gutters. (Once again - thanks Jo for helping me save the homestead!) But being the keeper of everything? It's a full time job. I miss being able to bitch to Ryan about having to do it all... he would just tease me about it and tell me how it was a good thing I had time to do all of it.

Who let the dogs out?

Click here to watch a hilarious video...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"The Power of Now"

"The reason why some people love to engage in dangerous activities, such as mountain climbing, car racing, and so on, although they may not be aware of it, is that it forces them into the Now- that intensely alive state that is free of time, free of problems, free of thinking, free of the burden of the personality. Slipping away from the present moment even for a second may mean death. Unfortunately, they come to depend on a particular activity to be in that state. But you don't need to climb the north face of the Eiger. You can enter that state now."

All Night Long....



Thought you might need to get some happy tunes stuck in your head. This is courtesy of Renee Eastman who apparently forgot her iPod when headed to the gym....

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Drifting through

I've been waking up the past couple of weeks to dozens of thoughts drifting through my head. Unable to focus on one subject to make some sense of it, my mind bounces to the next. Little highlights of my life - current issues as well as past. Doing the dirty dishes, when I'm going to schedule in some stair running, paying this or that bill - the usual stuff that can bog down a day.

And often I wonder why I can't focus - why it's so hard to come to clarity when I have so much time to think. Reading certain books is a joke - I simply can't focus on them. My brain running a million miles a hour. I've reread the same paragraph probably 8 times.

Yet if I could focus, I wonder if I would just become a big puddle of tears. Maybe it's my brains way of coping - not allowing me to think too much on one subject but disperses its energy to avoid hurting my heart.

I am looking forward to having some fun. Getting out of the house - if only for a little while - to rejuvenate my spirit once again. I can't wait to howl down the slopes of Beaver Creek and eating shit in a big powder bowl. Good times, good times.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Following a hunch...

Mountains? You need some mountains? How about some Rocky mountains? Done. Headed to the Creek in a few weeks. So looking forward to it!

Abundance

"For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it."

Ivan Panin

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Comfort

"Every now and again take a good look at something not made with hands - a mountain, a star, the turn of a stream. There will come to you wisdom and patience and solace and, above all, the assurance that you are not alone in the world."

-- Sidney Lovett

I'm feeling the travel bug strike again. This time in the form of visiting the mountains.

And before I forget - I finally had another dream with Ryan in it last night. He came to the front door dressed in his red ski jacket with the hood pulled over his face so I couldn't tell it was him - yet I knew it was him. We didn't say anything - he just let me know that he was there.

Maybe it's a sign that the snow is coming? We can only hope.
It's good to know I inspire drunk karaoke singing - thanks Jaimie! The louder and more obnoxious the better!
I'm sure the song was beautiful. :)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Wow - what a day. Woke up fairly early after spending a late night out with CQ and L. Clarke Experience, Millers and Brett at Serafina. Hopped on the bike, clocked hour tempo intervals and then quickly drove downtown to meet up with Heather a psychic.

And wow - what an experience. So many things were right on - it was uncanny. I'd share them - but you're going to have to ask me about them in person. But basically I'm going to be all right. Actually, I'm going to be more than alright. Ryan's watching over me everyday and puts a smile on my face every time I think of him.

Since I paid for two hours of parking, I headed down to the Market and did some Christmas shopping. It is so fun being down there - I swear it's when all the locals come out and shop. The gobs of tourists are gone - leaving only the Pacific Northwest's Finest. Yeah I'm talking about you Mr. Flip Flop man in the middle of December. And don't think I didn't notice you Mr. Socks and Sandles Man. And you too Mrs. Pregnant woman in brown dress with big puffy coat to conceal your big old baby belly. Call me a hippie or whatever - but when I heard some honky tonk music on the corner, I had to stop, soak in the sounds and then bought a CD. And ran into Senior Miller - random!

All in all - an excellent day that made my soul shine a little brighter. I'm thinking of you Ryan as I listen to this music and can just picture us square dancing in our living room....

http://www.thetallboys.com

Friday, December 05, 2008

Words to live by

Challenge yourself. Don't settle for the ordinary. Make yourself happy by doing what you love. Don't compromise anything.

Know that each day you live, your life is fulfilling, meaningful and fun.

Make it happen. You are the master of your destiny.

Oh - and don't forget to appreciate the beauty in life.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Weepies have always been a comfort to me. In times of happiness, in times of sadness - I can always turn on their music and feel like I'm in the comfort of a dear friend. It allows me to turn off my brain and just be.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Dang it.

I did it again. I just ordered Pizza from Pagliacci's and was on auto pilot. Two smalls, one verde primo, one Canadian bacon and pineapple with a small pagliaccio salad. I now have pizza left overs coming out of my ears. Good thing I love pizza! But you think I would have learned my lesson from last time...

Maybe I should feed the squirrels?



And I just stumbled upon this beauty of a zapper (that's for you L. Clarke!) - Thanksgiving pizza. I'll take the slice with pumpkin pie on it please!

Being

"Being is the eternal, ever-present One Life beyond the myriad forms of life that are subject to birth and death. However, Being is not only beyond but also deep within every form as its innermost invisible and indestructible essence. This means that it is accessible to you now as your own deepest self, your true nature. But don't seek to grasp it with your mind. Don't try to understand it. You can know it only when the mind is still. When you are present, when your attention is fully and intensely in the Now, Being can be felt, but it can never be understood mentally. To regain awareness of Being and to abide in that state of "feeling-realization" is enlightenment."

Taken from "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle.

Seeking Professional Help

When I first decided I wanted to race, I immediately went out and found a coach. The first one happily took my money, over charged me for a service, and then I dumped him. The second coach I found was great - and we established a great relationship over the 3 years we worked together. At one point I decided to try a new approach to cycling and switched again, finding that the new coach and I had some barriers to overcome. When we didn't overcome those barriers quickly, I changed it up again. I happened upon my current coach unexpectedly and it's been smooth sailing ever since.

I decided to approach finding a grief therapist in this same form. Why struggle more than you have to? Why not dive right in and see what you can do to immediately improve your well being? So I met with a woman yesterday and already feel better. The only bummer though is my insurance doesn't cover it... so back to the drawing board to find someone who does. Anybody know anyone?

Monday, December 01, 2008

I just read a journal entry from July 5th - the day after Ryan and I climbed a 3,000 foot spire in the North Cascades. I marveled at Ryan's endless energy for the very next day we rode up Washington Pass on our bikes. I could barely walk down the cabin steps - each step sending a sharp pain into my quads.

And here I am - nearly 5 months later with similar pain in my legs. And the realization how quickly your life can change.

I dreamt of seeing a psychic last night. Except I had all of these random people join me for it. Eventually it made sense to kick them out and get some one on one time with her - but it took me a while to realize all of these other spirits were just hanging on because they thought I could provide them answers. Unfortunately once I was alone with the psychic I can't remember anything we talked about. I woke up thinking I should take Makiah with me when I go see one this weekend to see if she sparks anything.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I miss Ryan. As we hiked down the Si trail head today I couldn't help but think about how compatible we were. How much I simply enjoyed his company. Our happy demeanor - our love for the outdoors and getting our hearts moving. The fact we could and did share everything with one another. I really really miss him.

We shared so many amazing adventures. We never sat still. Every weekend we were doing something - and it's been a huge transition the past several months in adapting to that. He was my soul mate.

And I really missed him when I had to wash off my dirty little dog in the tub solo. It's much easier to do that with two people. I'm figuring out a lot of things are easier to do with two people.

Switching it up


Last night I had a slumber party at Pat and Christi's with the intention of going on the Rocket ride this morning. I slept super good - in until 7! A record! But we quickly discovered the wet mist and immediately changed our plans to go hike Mt. Si instead. Wise decision.

Si is a 8 mile round trip hike that gains roughly 3500 feet. It's a steady constant grind to the top and today it was super duper muddy! Luckily we were prepared with our hiking boots, pants and rain jackets. But poor Makiah was dirty from head to toe.

Christi snapped some awesome shots that were an instant reminder of why I love living in the Pacific Northwest.



But I was also reminded just how dirty Makiah can get. Low clearance does not bode well for muddy trails. She was so tuckered out by the time we got back to the car that she didn't fuss at all when I picked her up in a towel to try and do a little damage control before throwing her into the car.



Check her out! What do you think she was thinking here?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Last night I sat on the couch, loving Makiah up, thinking about multiple blog entries I could write and that are long over due. Funny when they strike you, you have the best of intentions - and if not acted on fade into oblivion.... but today's, well today's must be written.

Ryan and I have hosted Thanksgiving for the past several years at our house. The family is of course always invited but we usually invite a couple of dear friends into the mix. The house gets cleaned, the tables set three days in advance, the china brought out, the silverware polished, place cards set, no detail over looked. And that's just the table! Cooking the food is a three day ordeal as well - turkey brine prepared Tuesday then soaked Wednesday, pies baked, rolls made, ovens kicking out some serious heat, the aromas associated with cooking such a feast spread throughout the house. (Not to mention the hours put in prior collecting food, trinkets and such the week before.) Ryan's duty was to pick up the beverages and listen to me get neurotic as the dinner hour approached. And as we sat down and consumed three days worth of prep - in a matter of minutes, and then sat for hours around the table laughing and having a great time with our loved ones - we both would look at each other with a huge sense of contentment and commit to hosting it the next year.

But life throws curve balls.

My mom happily picked up and carried the torch - this time moving the celebration up to Chuck's house in Mill Creek. Turns out Chuck's never had a dinner party at his new house since he moved in three years ago. My mom has been carting her entire kitchen north - making multiple trips to ensure Thursday can be as good as it gets. Funny - it's only the two of us from our family. Everyone else is doing their own thing this year with their loved ones. I did invite Pat, Christi and Guy - they'll be joining us for the over eating. And I'm sure Ryan will be there - in all of our hearts. And Chuck's entire family will be there too.

(This is usually where my entry abruptly ends)

I'm so thankful this year for the past 12 years of my life that were lived to the fullest and without regret. And thankful that I get to continue living with my memories and create new ones. I hope your Thanksgiving is spent with those you hold dear to your heart and you're at a time in your life where you are truly happy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A boat glides through the glassy water of the canal on its way through Lake Union and potentially headed to Lake Washington. It putters by my window - easily visible through the tree branches that have shed nearly all their leaves. The sky is dark - the clouds a solid light gray sputtering rain and creating little ripples in the water.

Makiah rests beneath my desk, under foot, sleeping quietly and happy to be near. My iTunes spins perfect November music - that both warm the heart and recognize the cooler months ahead. My mind starts to ease a little - a much needed break from having a hard couple of days.

And the anticipation of winter sports continues to resurface. I pick up a new pair of sleds today - and my eagerness to get some white powdery terrain beneath my legs increases...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Something to look forward to!



The base at Mt. Baker is slowly building. Ski season is surely on its way!

I needed that boost after sleeping like poo last night and then having Makiah puke in the car for the 2nd time in 72 hours. Blah!

wake up call

Haven't had a 2am wake up in a LONG time.

And here it is - 2 am and I'm awake.

I went to Bellingham for the weekend and a had a good time. Christi accompanied me and we visited a lot with Tom and Trish and saw a little bit of Molly between her work schedule. We did some great riding - on Saturday in the pouring 45 degree rain along Lake Padden, parallel to Lake Sammish, out Alger, along Lake Whatcom, stopping at the train trestles and then looping back to Lynn Street. As it rained from the ground up, I couldn't help but smile at our insanity to ride in the nasty weather - Ryan would have thought I was nuts but would have also been so proud. It was the last route we took together when we rode in Bellingham in August, except for the final Northshore loop. Which we ended up doing yesterday during the beautiful, cold crisp fall day. I got to see and visit a lot of our old haunts - and it made me sad but also happy to have those memories. There are so many more littered all over the ham.

Grieving is hard. So hard.

One minute you're ok with things and you think, wow - I'm doing ok. And then the next you're slammed to the ground, unable to move and barely able to breath. Paralyzed by tears, burdened by sadness. Waking up at 2 am with an ache in your heart that feels like a black hole. You long for his touch, the feel of his skin in clean sheets. I so miss my Ryan.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Phobias

Have you ever had something that terrifies you? The mere mention or thought of that particular thing would send shivers up and down your spine or cause you to feel light headed? The more you try to pinpoint that phobia, the worse it would get?

Well that's how I feel about the dentist. Maybe it was from watching too much of the Little Shop of Horrors as a kid. Or maybe I had a bad experience - though in recent memory I have no recollection of something traumatic happening.

But about 10 years ago, when Ryan and I first started dating, he accompanied me to my dentist in Lynnwood. They did a routine cleaning and then a casual check up, upon which they discovered a cavity. Rather than schedule another appointment, they had time to address the issue then. And that's when I found out. That's when I knew I had issues. That's when after being numbed up in the mouth, ear phones on while watching tv, one sound of the drill and I bolted from the chair. I left the office - not waiting for Ryan - unable to contain my anxiety. He couldn't help but laugh as he drove me home, mouth numbed and droll spilling down my face with my tears. They didn't even touch me!

So my next trip, a few weeks later, they prescribed me Valium. I know what you're thinking. Ms. Washington State Boxing Champ has a little weak spot. All you have to do is mention the word drill and I cower in the corner. My mommy drove me north, stopping at a park an hour before so I could take my special pill and we waited until the effects hit before heading to the office. The filling was fixed and I laughed at myself at how irrational my fear was.

Then 5 years passed. I went to another dentist who told me I should have all of my fillings replaced. Guess what? I never went back.

Five more years passed. Here I'm having a great time in the islands and my uncle gives me this Hawaiian candy and I crack a tooth on it. I thought it was maybe just a filling that had fallen out. I went to show my uncle, who is not a dentist, my mouth and totally felt faint. Head between the legs, deep breathing and everything. Upon my return to the mainland I made an appointment, picked up my Valium from the pharmacy this morning, had my mommy drive me again up to Lynnwood and bravely sat in the chair.

And that's when I found out I have a cavity that rotted my tooth and cracked it. DAMN! Guess what that means? Drill time. But at this point the drugs started working and with a little bit of laughing gas, I was floating on cloud nine without a care of what they were doing to my mouth. But I still could smell the burning tooth. A few moments later, and I was done. Why am I such a wimp?

All I can say is that phobias are so irrational and pretty funny... and I can't stop laughing at myself. You can bet your ass I'll be taking more Valium for my next check up in a few weeks!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My bro's attempt at cheering me up did the trick....




Tuesday, November 18, 2008

World Spins Madly On...



I just stole this image from Cascadeclimbers.com - simply because the benefits of this festival go to Ryan's Memorial Fund. How cool is that? Does that mean I have to try ice climbing? Yikes!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A fog dampens and quiets the city. Yet my restless body woke this morning at 5:30am. Each morning the clock turns back a little more. Why can't I sleep in? What's urging me to get up in the wee hours of the morning? Is there something in my house that seeks my attention - some project that if I complete will let me rest?

It's cold in my house at that time of the morning. Shuffling to the back door, letting Makiah out sent a shiver up my spine. Thoughts of making sure I disconnect the hose before a big freeze comes run through my head. A drink of water, washes down my throat. I let Makiah back in, she glances at me as if to say, "go back to bed." Then she climbs onto her couch - perched like a cat and falls right to sleep.

Funny - when there's a ton of commotion going on I can sleep like a baby. But when it's just me - the sleep evades me.

All those 10+ hours of sleep a night I took for granted. Ryan was always amazed at how much I slept. I was always amazed at how little he would have to sleep.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I must have looked like a lunatic today while riding my bike. I couldn't stop crying during certain sections. It even brings tears to my face right now thinking about it. But then again, I haven't had a cry in a while.

Connected

I truly believe you can gain something through every relationship and friendship that you have with people. Each encounter has something valuable to teach you - and recognizing what that is can often be an art. It can also be very obvious.

Take my step-sisters for instance. When my dad remarried when I was 12, we had an instant family of 7 kids. I was lucky to grow up with not just one sister, but five. We all had a great relationship growing up - but once our parents divorced, we all went our separate ways. We recently reunited - and Aimee and Sarah came up to hang out in Seattle this weekend. Every where we went we came across people who were drawn to us - our happy and fun demeanor breaking down any walls that people would normally have. So my obvious gain from my relationship with them is actually that we will continue to live and grow together throughout the years. It is so special reconnecting with them and seeing how special each and every one of them are. I feel so fortunate in having 7 sisters. (Jennie, Sarah, Aimee, Betsy, Marcy and Jaimie)

Funny - when I was a teenager I always thought I preferred to hang out with the guys since I was more athletic and couldn't stand drama. But as I've grown, I've discovered how special and meaningful all the ladies in my life are.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Feeling lost....

This could be a direct affect from being foot loose and fancy free for the past 11 days on a tropical island - but I came home and feel more lost than ever. Torn between wanting to spend more time in a warm, sunny destination, but also bound to my home in Seattle - I feel uncertain of where my life is taking me next.

The holidays are coming - quickly. For the past two years Ryan and I have gone to far away destinations - and in my head I've already thought I should be gone again. So I've started looking into tickets to Australia, Thailand, Hawai'i and California. There was an invite to Sun Valley - a thought of going to the cabin and spending some winter time there... and yet my heart isn't pulling for one way or the other.

My mom's response today when I asked her what she thought of me going back to O'ahu was, "Jennifer you're 30 years old! You get to do whatever you want now!" Oh, that's right. I don't have to do what someone else would like or alter what I'd like to do to fit someone's time frame - it's all about me. And it's weird.

So when given a million options - with the opportunity to go any where in the world - where would you go?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Aloha!

Just finished a 3.5 hour ride up and down the ridge line near Kohola Ranch on the Big Island and am headed out in a few to go surfing with my uncle Keoki. STOKED! This trip has been a blast.... headed home on Wednesday though. :(

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Epic riding around Mauna Kea

My uncle Keoki has been meaning to do the Mauna Road around Mauna Kea for years. After calling around to a couple of his friends, we found a bike I could borrow for the day and 6 of us headed up to the mountain. Mauna Kea is the largest shield volcano on the island and boasts many micro-climates depending on which side you're on. We started at 6,500 feet and pedaled 30 miles down to as far as we could make it before the sun disappeared on us. Carson and I were pretty evenly matched - the last time I saw him and Alex was at our wedding in 2001 when they were 8 and 6. Carson's now 15 and such a nice kid! We had a great time riding together.

When asked how long I'd be staying for - we all said, maybe a year? Jokingly, but not really. Who wants to go home to the rain and cold?

2 months have elapsed - quickly but yet not at all. I still find myself waking up in the wee hours of the morning thinking of him. Today I remembered Ryan on our wedding day - one of the very rare instances of him sporting a suit. He was so handsome.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Island Fever

Call me crazy - but yesterday after doing the Waihe'e Ridge Trail hike and soaking in the island beauty, feeling a serious connection to my Hawaiian roots and heritage, and after speaking with my mom saying how terrible the weather is back in Seattle and that I should stay... plus a well timed call from my uncle Keoki saying we'd take a trip to Mahaiula and do some canoe surfing this weekend and BBQ.. well, I just found myself placing that call to the Hawaiian Airlines travel desk, postponing my ticket home and not naming a date... and booking a one way ticket from Kahului to Kona for only $69. Done deal. Today instead of coming home, I'm sticking around and getting some surf, sun and family time. Plus the really cool part - I'll get to stop in Oahu and visit with my grandmother on the way back to the mainland.

I don't think I've ever taken a spontaneous trip like this where I cancel my original plans and just be a beach bum. But why not? I'm blaming it on island fever...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

You know you're in paradise when...

Drinks like Rum Runner sound good and go down far too easily.

And discovering after taking a shower that all of that sand that blew into your hair is still there and looks like lice. Ha!

And you call home to check in and the snow level is down to 2,500 feet and your house is about to wash away from all of the rain.

Maui is wonderful. Need I say more?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Daylight savings...

Eager to start my day, I woke up long before my alarm clock was set to go off. I went to the kitchen, turned on the light and then glanced at my phone as I rubbed my eyes awake. And that's when I realized, it's not 6:45 - it's 5:45 am on a Sunday! I crawled back in bed and am listening to the steady fall of rain outside my window and hoping to get a little more shut eye before taking off this morning for Maui.

Had a fantastic ride yesterday with Liz and Cammie. We headed east to May Valley and were treated with the most brilliant fall colors - blanketing the roads and trail. Cammie happened to flat right next to a mini pony farm and I got to befriend some of the cutest mini's ever. I remember wanting one as a little girl to roam around my house - my mom would have NONE of that! She couldn't stand cats - what would she do with all that horse shit?!

Spent the evening hanging with my amazing little sister. She is a month away from graduating from the Art Institute and although stressed, she's super excited. It'll be interesting to see what career path she follows from this point on. I'm so proud of her!

Also started reading some books about being a widow. "Each year more than a million widows will join the 13.8 million widows and widowers in the United States." That's a HUGE number. Yet despite the overwhelming statistics, everyone has their own unique story to share - and are not alone. I found multiple widow websites and forums out on the web - and feel like I've come upon this secret society that bans together and understands what I'm going through. The average age of a widow is 50. Wild to think about.

And yesterday, as I laid on the couch, recovering from our long ride, I dozed off and was dreaming of him. I remembered vividly the last time we climbed together and his amazing smile - the way his hands felt on my skin, his inner peace when we reached the summit. It actually gave me a lot of comfort to think of him in that way.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Holiday #1 - DONE.

Halloween always kicks off the holiday season in true style. It's all a down hill slide from here. It's the one night where people are finally comfortable to let their guard down, show a little skin, go out on the town and drink too much. Myself included. Ryan and I have always celebrated Halloween - from leprechauns to Hunter S. Thompson outfits to genies, tweedle dees and dums, to fish heads. It's just too fun of a holiday not to participate in - and usually results in some good stories.

Like last night for instance - I broke out my stinky boxing gear from a past life and donned it to Tricia's house. Morgan drew a black eye on my face, trying to make it look realistic. And then later that night at Christine's party nobody messed with me. Not a single soul. I could have been a contender! So what I was dancing with a cow boy? Too funny. And if I didn't have a crazy enough night - Dan and Adrian branded themselves last night. Crazy boys!

I came home, safe and sound, crawled in bed, thankful to have survived another Halloween, but this time without Ryan. I wonder what he would have been this year.

Friday, October 31, 2008

And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly.

Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us.

They existed. They existed.

We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.

- Maya Angelo

Thursday, October 30, 2008

When someone touches you, how do you let them know it meant something to you? How do you thank them for the invaluable impression it left on you, the lasting love that you suddenly can cling to that wasn't there before? The little light that illuminates the end of a dark tunnel and make you feel a little more human again?

Sometimes words cannot do the job; actions speak louder. So I will make sure those who touch me know they did in one way or another as a way to reciprocate the love.

The rain started and now the leaves are coming down in droves. Heavy with precipitation, they can no longer cling to their branches. Down they drift, in random air patterns, before laying on the ground and displaying their last bits of color before grinding back into the earth.
This song was played every 15 minutes while we were in Italy. And it is so fitting. It's on repeat in my head...

One More...

This is just too good not to include...

The Haps...

So I suppose I should have prefaced that last post a little bit more - if you went the extra mile and watched the entire thing then the least I could do is fill you in. So in February Pat, Christi, Guy, Lisa and I are headed for Mallorca, Spain for the entire month. We're all getting so excited - and Pat has found us mopeds to drive while we're there and a bunch of activities.

I wore my bright orange coat today. And it is bright! It puts those fall colors to shame. I think I'll get used to it the more I sport it - but it sure is bright!

Miller and I hoped on our motos yesterday and ventured to Renton to do our early voting since we'll both be gone to Maui next Tuesday. We waited over an hour to get absentee ballots - and were amazed while people watching at a cross section of King County's finest. Don't forget to vote this Tuesday!

On Monday, I went to a risotto cooking class with Christi in West Seattle and then we met up with Marcy, Erik, Pat and Candace for Fugiya & Miyagi at Chop Suey. They rocked the house and we boogied all night long...



The rain's haven't set in yet - making for excellent fall riding and getting out and enjoying the cooler temps. I'm so looking forward to getting out in the snow capped mountains soon!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mallorca!

Originally I thought about posting a new Cold Play song here... that is until Pat forwarded me our Mallorca theme song. Hilarious!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


All I've been wanting the past couple of days is the house to myself. And now that I have it, I feel empty and lonely.

These waves of going from feeling what I think is happiness to extreme sadness are rough. In a blink of an eye I can go from feeling ok to so empty. I miss him so much.
I think I could one up the story line of Sleepless in Seattle.

Having a better day

it's amazing how 8 hours of sleep will do wonders for your emotions! And not to mention new shoes. I just realized I tend to blog my downer moments lately - and not mention the good ones. So FYI - today is a good day! The sun is shining, I worked out hard this morning and am hanging with good friends this evening. Every day is a new present and today I got just what I wanted....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Processing baby steps

I've never had an issue with sleeping before. As a baby my mom would have to wake me up to feed me. As a teenager I would sleep 12+ hours a night and still feel like I could sleep a dozen more. In my twenties I took naps every day. And now, now I can't sleep through the night. Four a.m. wake up calls are becoming the norm. Every night I try something new. Sleeping shades, chamomile oils, lavender, reading, writing, and tonight's trick - eating something. Could it be that simple? Am I just hungry in the middle of the night?

There have been so many changes in my life, both big and small. Big things are obvious, but the little things sneak up on you and take you by surprise. Emotional triggers can be looming on every corner - a photograph, a song, a view of the mountains, doing simple everyday tasks has taken on new meaning.

After staying with me this weekend, my friend Kerry suggested I try moving some of the photos. Not to get rid of them but to see if that will help the healing. So yesterday I removed the photos from my bedroom of us dancing, laughing and one of his irresistible smirk. In the dinning room I moved the up close and personal one where you can look straight into his eyes and partially see his soul. Our beautiful wedding photo that greets you upon entry to our house, which has been hanging since we moved in 7 years ago, came down.

Obviously there's no manual of when one should do these things. On day 78, you should move one photograph that is in your entry hall and replace it with something else. How convenient would that be? Somebody telling you how to redirect your life and manage grief. Take this pill and your troubles will melt away. Sip this potion and that deep chasm in your chest will fill up. Unfortunately that's not the case and these emotions have to be dealt with up close and personal. And I'm sorry Lance, but pain in this instance is not just temporary. Maybe you should reverse that saying - pain is temporary, quitting is forever to quitting is temporary, pain is forever.

In reality, the photographs are a poor substitute for him. They focus on the immediate fact that he's gone. This wonderful man who I intended on spending the rest of my life with, having children with, growing old with, is gone. No matter how much I hope, pray, dream, cry, scream and yell - he's gone forever. I must rebuild my life. Pick up the pieces and see if I can find some happiness again. Long term acceptance comes to the forefront of having known such a wonderful man who was taken away long before I ever wanted to let him go. And taking down some photos symbolizes just one step of an endless staircase in making that happen.

Tonight's the first night without them in my room - and I'm ultra aware of their missing presence. My room feels empty despite the piles of laundry Makiah has made into her personal mattress. It's quiet. The city is super still at this time of the morning. Makiah's sighs are amplified. It's sad, but will hopefully get easier. Ugh, it's nearing 4:30 and no sign of sleep is in sight.

Baby steps, baby step.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Half and Half

I've been sleeping like crap lately. Waking up in the middle of the night and then unable to fall back asleep. Not wanting to nap during the day so I can fully rest at night and then not being able to. So yesterday when a big HUGE wave of grief washed over for me, it hit like a tsunami on my emotions from already being sleep deprived.

Makiah was out in the yard hanging out while I was doing some much needed yard work. Marcy stopped by on her way home and we chatted for a little bit. As she was walking down the street, Makiah followed her and then the dog from across the street attacked her. I came running, feeling like a panicked mother ready to lift a car off my child, and found her limping and scared shitless. My neighbor felt awful - but Makiah was fine. That triggered a serious wave of emotion as I thought that losing her right now would send me completely over the edge!

I must have looked funny - as I was mowing the lawn I started sobbing. But did I stop mowing to go inside and cry? No. I kept doing the yard work. I couldn't stop thinking of Ryan coming home from work, criticizing my mow job (we have a hilly section that I refuse to do) and then commending me on getting out and getting it done. I became hysterical. I laid down on the couch and couldn't move. I gave Guy a text - saying I was in level 8-9 zone and he came over quickly to turn some lights on in the house and help my soul start to see some light again.

I then drove to the airport to pick up my dear friend from Kerry from San Fran and she cheered me up. We headed to the Santa Fe cafe on Phinney ridge, ordered some margaritas and tasty cuisine and talked and talked. She's such an amazing person. One of those friends that you don't have to see every day, but when you do see them, even if a long time has passed, you're instantly back to where you were without skipping a heart beat. She's married now and attending art school - and as we found out last night have roots in the interior of Canada - Winnipeg to be exact! How bizarre is that? And why hadn't we made that connection before? So she helped me picked myself back up, wipe those tears away and we're in for some big adventures today.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Making and taking the time

Seattle is absolutely gorgeous right now. It's chilly in the mornings, nearing freezing temps, and then as the day wears on it gets a little warmer and the blue sky pokes out - making the already brilliant fall reds, yellows and browns pop with more clarity. The cold mornings are just a reminder to soak in the last bit of color before the long dark winter moves in for a couple of months.

And in honor of those dark months, I bought a BRIGHT orange wool coat while in Poppi. Sure it's bright, sure it's obnoxious, but it's super stylish and in two years everyone in the states will have one. I'm just a little before my time, I suppose...



So if you see someone sporting a nice BRIGHT orange jacket in the middle of drab winter in Seattle - make sure you say hello!

I'm still soaking in the benefits of my trip and have been procrastinating doing a trip report until I need a big reminder of how fun it was.... so don't worry, it's still coming. I suppose I'm waiting for the rains to hit.

In the meantime I've been staying super busy, which is good. I miraculously made it through our closet the other day. I kept my favorite pieces that remind me of Ryan and still smell of him - and although it was hard, I laughed my ass off when I came across his leprechaun shoes. Maybe I'll be a leprechaun in his honor for Halloween... green tights and all! So many choices! I also moved all of the bikes downstairs because our basement is DONE! It looks amazing! I rearranged the spare bedroom so it's actually functional.

And I'm still sleep deprived. I hope to be back on PST time soon. Running on both zones is exhausting, but as I said before and will continue to say - it's sooooo worth it!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My grandmother is the best. I just got off the phone with her and she asked how our trip was. I told her about the food, the biking and wine. To which she responded, "how about your mother? Did she drink some wine?"

"Acutally I think she's becoming a wino."

"GREAT! Next time she comes and visits I'm going to lock her in the bedroom with a bottle."

And then, as all coversations with Gam go - she asked, "how about the men?!"

"Too short."

"Oh poor Jennifer!" And then we giggled.


Fall in Tuscany.


The pool at the villa in Torre del Tartufo. Simply stunning.


The Arno River in Florence, Italy.
Tuscan life is simple. It is an artisan dominate culture - rich in many traditions that show up in their amazing food flavors, art, the love for the land, the beautiful language and the way families spend time together. We witnessed multiple generational crafts - from cheese making to restoring a castle - that showed how passions can be transferred through from father and mother to son and daughter.

Being there this past week made me realize several things. First - I am very fortunate to be super close to my family. I get to work with my mom - something that in our culture doesn't happen too often. And I get to spend time together with immediate family on the holidays, birthdays, weekends, etc. Although the Tuscan's typically spend every Sunday together as a family, I feel pretty fortunate to be close enough to my family to see them quite often. They are the glue of my existence.

The way Tuscan's care for their land and surroundings is inspiring. Things are minimal. The roads are small, preventing enormous SUV's; the gas expensive, making cars more efficient; the land is finite and the people love their land, as evidenced in the lack of litter in the country side.

The most beautiful gift I received was realizing it's okay to be happy again. It's okay to laugh and smile, and joke with friends. Feeling genuinely happy and living in the moment is such a gift - and sometimes it can take a life altering experience to make you realize just how important this is.

Feeling the sun on my face, eating lovingly prepared food by my own hands and new friends, laughing at dinner, drinking wine and riding through the hilly region has helped heal my soul. The timing of that trip was perfect. Thank you mom.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

8/28/08 - Receipt for 10 Cool Mint Chocolate Clif Bars bought at Trader Joe's.

10/21/08 - Ryan had 54 t-shirts in his closet, ranging from pit stained to never worn. I kept my favorites and they instantly brought tears.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Jet LAG

I've been up well over 24 hours - and am starting to get a second wind. Hopefully once the little bit of food I just ate hits bottom, I'll be able to sleep the night away. Trip report to follow!

Ciao!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Food Baby

I feel like I'm 5 months pregnant despite the 3 hour climbing ride I went on today. Could it be all the pasta? The wine? The non-stop laughter and enjoyment? Yes, I think so.

Oh Italia. A special place in my heart burns for you!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pasta from scratch, hand rolled and turned into raviolli and noddles.

Wood fired pizza from the dough we made last night.

Tiramisu.

Biscotti.

Cheesecake.

Foccacia.

Not crying when they play Coldplay and Sade - priceless.

Gaining 3 pounds in 24 hours - and losing it in 2 hours in a ride near where the Cricket resides?

Wow.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pinch me please!!

Bonjourno from Tuscany!
The connedtion here is SUPER SLOW and old school - so this is going to be short and sweet.

Tuscany rules. The land is golden - the food amazing - the views breath taking. I want to move.

Went for an amazing ride this morning to Angrahi, Caprese Michaelanglo (where Michaelanglo was born!) and then to Chiuso. Unreal scenery - and I felt really happy and lucky to be here, despite not sleeping a wink last night thanks to the time change.

This part of the world is unreal. It should be on everyone's bucket list.

Don't worry - I'm taking tons of photos and will share them when I can get a fast connection....

And I already learned how to properly make gnocchi, pizza dough, etc - who's ever idea this was RULES!!!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Thinking

I had one of those leg buckling, heart felt sobs today. The type that over comes what ever you're doing at the moment and settles in for a while. I have no idea how much time passed. I bent at the waist over a laundry basket I had just filled from the clothes he wore on his week long trip in Mazama and let my tears fall. Touching clothes he wore - that still smelled of him. It makes me whimper just thinking about it. Everything I do today reminds me of him and how much I've lost.

And then as quickly as it came in - it went back out. But then I have after shocks - and still feel tremors that want to come out.

In a way I start to dread when things are going well and I stay too busy to let my tears out - because when I slow down, the sorrow comes with a vengeance. I know it's normal - but that doesn't take away from how difficult it is.

I packed my bags today for our trip to Italy in the morning. I'm taking his brand new Jamis bike with me - so he can in a way join me on the trip. We'll be exploring the Tuscan roads near Arezzo. It was actually really difficult packing - I'd often ask him what to bring or not. We got really good at minimizing how much we'd travel with. I so wish I could share this with him. And yes, I'm probably bringing too many pairs of shoes.

Damn. Another tremor.

And another.

My heart feels so broken. It's hard not to wish time would fast forward when you go through something this difficult.

Coleman's Kegerator



The body language says so much. Notice the crossed feet, the hand leaning on the fridge, the glass tipped just right and the no rushing it attitude Coleman's showing.

Often the first question out of Coleman's mouth in the morning, "Wanna beer?"

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

One Month

Today marks one month since Ryan passed. And it was the toughest month of my life.

It seems kind of fitting that the seasons are changing - as is my life. It's just a reminder of how short our time is on this Earth and you hope that you live life to the fullest. It gives new meaning to living life with passion.

"I don't need a passport to walk on this Earth. Anywhere I go cause I was made from this Earth. I'm born of this earth, I breath of this earth and even with this pain I believe in this earth. So I wake up every morning and I'm stepping on the floor. I wake up every morning and I;m stepping out the door. I got faith in the sky, faith in the one, I got faith in the people walking underneath the sun. Cause every bit of land is a holy land and every drop of water is a holy water, and every single child is the son or daughter of the one earth mama or the one earth papa. So don't tell a man that he can't come here, cause he got brown eyes and a wavy kind of hair...."

(Taken from Spearhead.)

Thinking about you Ryan - constantly throughout the day and realizing how many gifts you bestowed on me.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Manic Monday

Just finished picking up the leaves in the back yard that were blown around this weekend. I poked my head in the greenhouse to put on my green gardening gloves to pick up the leaves and a strong sense of missing you washed over me. I sobbed, let it out - and then continued picking up the debris.

I think one of the hardest parts about your death is thinking that you experienced any pain. It pains me to think you suffered in any way at all - looking at your clothing is a vivid reminder of how suddenly you were gone. Your harness - the bits of rope you had on you - your lunch, which I can't seem to throw away yet. These waves are tough but I know it's part of healing.

Thank you for the warm moment this morning. After waking up early, I decided to do some living room Yoga and during the breathing and meditation exercises I felt you enter the room, put your arms around me and let me feel you. I thought of you - and felt you touch me - similar to the movie Ghost. Thank you for that.

I tried getting back there - but wasn't able to. That's it - I'm becoming a yoga fanatic.
STOKED!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

I've been dreaming lately...


Of visiting Yosemite and doing some climbing....



Taken in 2005 on a 10 day vacation to heaven on Earth....



Yosemite Falls going off in late spring... it beckons.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Colemanator

We headed down South to Brownsville this weekend to celebrate Coleman's 5th birthday. It's been a weekend filled with laughter, tears and lots of joy. Coleman is the most loving little boy and it is always a blast hanging out with his sweet little soul. Then there's LadyBug who as I type this is saying "Deenny, denny denny denny" and swinging back and forth on the bed next to the computer. Children are so healing on the soul.

After Coleman's birthday at the Rolling Rapids we headed to the 5th street Market in Eugene to meet up with 3 out of 4 step sisters - some of whom I haven't seen in 10 years! (A previous marriage my dad had with an wonderful and kind woman Kathleen.) It was so amazing to see what beautiful women they have all become and reconnect with them a decade later. We had some laughs, tears, and most importantly set a date to meet up with them in the near future in Seattle. (Without the kids - most of them have 2 a piece!) It's going to get rowdy!

Then Marcy and I headed back to Brownsville for some amazing home cooking and are chilling with more family. We head back North to Seattle in the morning - but in the meantime are enjoying laughing and being with one another. I'm usually in LA at Track Nats this time of year - and it's nice to take it off - though I can't wait to be back at the same time.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Empowerment

Today was one of those days where I was tired from lack of sleep the past couple of nights - and debated like a VP nomination on whether or not to get out for a ride. Sometimes you just need to buck up. And buck up I did. On the schedule - 10 x 3-5 minute tempo hill climbs. Something mellow, not a power climb, but a nice steady grinder. I headed into Ballard to 28th after a quick hot lap by Golden Gardens - and then started the insanity. The first 5 were easy - but then the little voice of doubt and reason came into my head. "Why continue? What are you doing this for? No one would know - your powertap isn't working..." Blah. Blah blah.

But as I listened to the music on Ryan's shuffle (an eclectic mix of Spearhead, Blue Scholars, Death Cab, Built to Spill etc), I got motivated. I thought of him - the way he would get into a rhythm and grind up a hill. The next thing I know I'm getting after it with a fire and intensity I haven't felt in a while. And it felt good, real good. On the tenth interval a smile of satisfaction came across my face - and knowing that the suffering I put in now will pay dividends in the season to come... so look out!

But oh - you don't even know half the suffering I'm storing up for this next season.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Coping

Monday seems like just yesterday even though it's Thursday today. Wild.

Had a good day yesterday with Guy. We headed up to Bellingham early in the morning from Seattle so he could meet with some contractors for his new castle. As they were chatting I headed to Broadway park with Makiah and Buckley in tow to play fetch for a couple hours. We then headed downtown to 5th Ave Bread, ate some delicious sandwiches and visited with Trish. Makiah stayed with her while Guy and I then headed North across the border to Burnaby for some track training. It felt really good to get my heart pounding and be on a track bike. During the drive I told Guy I wasn't sure if I had the same desire to race on a top level as I once did - at the time it sounded so exhausting. All it took were a few laps on the track to make me wonder where that thought came from - I love this sport!

But now the thought of doing hill repeats in the rain... well, you know how hard it is to transition from easy summer riding to rainy fall and winter rides. But the sooner I get my ass in gear, the sooner I can lounge!

Thanks to everyone who has reached out recently - I appreciate all the kind words of encouragement and trying to get me out of my thoughts. I do try to call or respond as much as I can - and if you haven't heard from me please know that you're in my thoughts as well.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Every night

It's only been three weeks. And yet that Monday seems like yesterday.

I miss his touch.
I miss his heart beat.
I miss hearing his voice and telling me how beautiful I am.
I miss not being able to fall asleep right away because of his snoring.
And I miss him waking me up in the morning telling me to have a wonderful day.
I miss his callused and rough hands - rubbing my skin.

Being a widow is tough. Whereas everyone else who knew Ryan can go back into their normal routines, wake up next to their loved ones, go back to work, resume life for the most part but a little less empty ... my entire world has changed. There are times when it feels manageable and other times when its simply too overwhelming and tears well up and spill over the side.

Take tonight for example. I went with Guy to Ryan and my favorite sushi joint in Fremont. A place we frequented so much that we were going every week. Love being a DINK. Luckily we were served by a new waitress - so I could avoid the awkward glances or looks from everyone who worked there that knew us. Eventually I built up enough courage to tell Steve about it - and he gave me a big hug. What do you do in those situations? What do you not do in those situations?

That's when it feels like Monday was just yesterday.
Got to see Seattle through a different perspective yesterday, thanks to Guy. I was yearning to head East to the mountains via motorcycle - but he twisted my arm to go flying. And we picked the perfect September day for it.



Small planes are a trip to take off in. We quickly climbed to about 5,000 feet as we soared over the city on our way up to San Juan island.



The dogs were nestled in the back seat - can you tell how stoked they are? Makiah is definitely giving me the "look."



Originally we were headed straight to the San Juan's but Guy proposed flying closer to the mountains so we headed East and flew near the Sister's of Mt. Baker. Check out the alpine lake we discovered.



We buzzed by the ridge line, which brought back fond memories of summitting that area with Ryan and Greg back in '98/99. I remember scrambling on the ridge line, at one point frozen in place from fear of falling one way or another. Ryan talked me out of my hysteria.



We then headed to Friday Harbor and had a seafood feed - which included Oysters. The restaurant over looked the harbor - it was so relaxing. We headed out at sunset and I couldn't get enough of the view...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mountain journey photos to come. But travel there was a little unexpected. Instead of motoring out, we traveled by plane. And oh what a view. Pictures and story to follow...

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Soaking it in

As I sat at Gasworks on our daily walk, Makiah and I both laid next to each other and took a brief cat nap. And something struck me - I want to go to the mountains. Ryan would not have spent such a beautiful day in the city - he would be out making the most of the weekend. So my plan - ride in the morning and then head out for a day trip to the mountains.

I decided against going east to Spokane. I think it was the right decision - my heart feels so tender and I know that would evoke some serious emotion - it always did even when Ryan was right by my side. I tossed a coin and decided if I was relieved on its outcome then that was what I should do. And when I tossed a tails - I was relieved. I hope Carrie and Josh will understand.

Headed out to a spa tonight with my neighbor Jo and her sister Lucy for an evening of scrubs, soaks and relaxation.

Also went to the best toy store in Seattle - Top Ten Toys in Ballard and spent a solid hour playing with toys and came up with part of my Halloween costume. I'm abandoning the Wonder Woman idea in exchange for something creepier and more ghoulish. Mmooowwwaaahaaaahaaaa.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The serious countdown has begun for our trip to Italy in October. Boy, am I excited!!! My mom and I signed up for this cooking school months ago and it's just around the corner. I am ready for a change of scenery, great eats, wines, riding and hanging out in Italia.

Went to a friend's house down at Salmon Beach in Tacoma last night and had a crab feast. Earlier in the day Chris dropped his pots in this crab hole that resulted in too much crab for the 9 of us to eat! It was a blast cruising with Chris and Andrew in a little boat, kicking back the Steel Reserve (NASTY!!) beer and having a laugh as we pulled 100' lines to retrieve the pots. Our reward - two enormous dungies. And lots of little rock crab that were the sweetest I've ever had. And we also got to tease Chris about his dating exploits and he took it like a champ.

Chris's shack house is coming along too! He finally has sub flooring installed through the entire house, the kitchen's installed and functional, bathroom is working upstairs (even though everyone can hear you peeing), and he's working on finishing the house by November 1. He certainly had a BIG vision and it's great to see how far he's come and how close he's getting to finishing.

Headed to Spo-compton this weekend for Carrie and Josh's wedding with Liz and Jeff. Should be fun little road trip! Those two are always a riot too.
Wow - it's Thursday already since I went through Ryan's pack and it feels like it was just yesterday. My head has been in a fog - drifting in and out of awareness that I can't seem to shake. I'm probably still exhausted and needing to catch up on some sleep from the last couple of weeks, yet can't seem to find myself getting to bed earlier than midnight and sleeping at the latest until 7.

Today was another difficult day - it seems like each time I open a pack or empty a bag from that week, it pulls off a deep scab that likes to bleed pretty heavily before a new scab forms. Today's scab was probably the hardest - luckily my mom was around to keep me from fainting from pain and grief. Several times my legs felt like they would give out from under me. I might actually have nightmares tonight from what we did - but in the long term it should help me heal. I hope. At least now I know that without a doubt he went quickly. My poor Bubba.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Pack

Last night I built up enough courage to go through Ryan's pack he left at the base of the climb. And although it was super tearful and I sobbed uncontrollably - it was also healing. I bought him a Dueter pack a few years ago when he was wearing through his Brenthaven, which was too small for all of his gear. He loved it and wore it every where.

In the top of the pack were some drill bits for his ongoing projects that he would put up throughout the Methow Valley and New Halem. He would spend hours up on a wall drilling, scouring the rock for the best lines, cleaning big chunks of chossy rock from the wall and enhancing his play ground.

There was also a sandwich baggie full of block chalk. And a wrench on a piece of cordlet that he would use to install 3/4" bolts into the rock.

For lunch that day he packed a peanut butter and honey sandwich - he wasn't a big fan of jelly for some reason. An apple, Cool Mint Cliff bar and pieces of foil, which I suspect was from Makiah scavenging from the night.

His approach shoes had the shoe laces removed and at first, I thought what the??? And then realized he probably forgot a leash and made one to secure Makiah. Tucked into the toes of his shoes were my Cane Creek socks. He also brought some blue Poweraid, another poweraid bottle full of water with a cordlet attached to the top with a beaner attached. Only a few sips were gone from each one. And next to his pack was a makeshift water dish for Makiah.

I think the hardest thing to look at was his lunch. Carefully packed and to be enjoyed later...

The pack has been sitting in my closet for two weeks now - calling to me every few days. Ryan's small stop watch has an alarm that goes off around midnight or something - and I only hear it every now and then. Last night after going through the pack, I swear it stopped beeping. Almost as if that alarm was calling for me to go through the pack and in order to start the healing portion of my grief.

And enjoying the tropical weather while I'm at it...

So after a pretty shitty morning of dealing with some stuff, I turned that frown upside down and made the most of it. A huge thanks to Guy who helped me hit the reset button by accompanying Makiah, Buckley (his dog) and I down to Gasworks for some dog playing fun. The weather was sunny and nice - and I was able to vent some of my morning to him.

I also baked an apple pie with all of the granny smith apples I got from a gift basket.

Every Monday a great group of people get together at Jamie, Riain, and Ella's house (aka the Clubhouse) for flow yoga followed by a dinner feast. The wine and conversations were flowing - and after pie and Molly Moon's ice cream the dancing began! At one point the neighbor came over and told us to quiet it down - so we turned it down a couple decibels and continued to get our groove on. It felt so good to dance around and have some fun with friends. Adrian and Dan were both sporting their undies and cow boy boots - and I'm sure there are pictures to share...

And someone totally captured me laughing at myself after crashing right in front of the barriers at Starcrossed. Funny, at the time I was thinking, "I hope no one saw it - what a dumb ass! Ha ha ha!" Ryan used to crack up when we'd go skiing because I would often crash out and howl at myself. He'd come check on me only to discover me unable to get back up because I would be laughing so hard. On Saturday it was the same howl - just a different sport. I don't think I had laughed that hard for a couple weeks!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/brujo/2878423168/in/set-72157607425461743/

It was really nice to end the day on such a high note.