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!

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

Fairing the storm

It's been an emotional and draining past couple of days. Yesterday was the second celebration for Ryan and then today I had a hard but necessary meeting with Ryan's employer.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Kicked ass today in my first cross race by placing 7th out of 80 women. Not too shabby for the second time on a cross bike and in the rain! One thing's for sure - I can suffer. :)

Thanks Sharon - you've inducted me into a counter culture that is AMAZING. Mud, cornering, jumping over barriers? Loving it!!!

Was bummed I couldn't share it with Ryan though...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Do you think you can change?

Listening to Pink Floyd this morning brought back a good memory.

In 2002, Ryan and I went to Europe on a climbing car camping trip for 35 days. We started in Amsterdam, drove south to Paris and onward to Fontainblue, south to Chamnoix, down to Nice, and hoped on a ferry to the island of Sardinia (continued on through the Dolomites, up to the Black Forest in Germany and then back to Amsterdam). We stayed 5 days on the island of Sardinia and decided to meet up with friends at this villa they were renting in Tuscany for their wedding.

As it turned out, the day we decided to take a ferry from Sardinia back to the mainland was our 1st year anniversary. Neither of us spoke Italian so we fumbled through the country via a handbook language guide that we seriously mispronounced. But it seemed to do the job. (One time Ryan asked a French ferry ticket attendant if he spoke French, in French. The guy responded by saying, YES, in English.)

So on September 2, 2002 we drove south on the island to buy a returning ferry ticket. Good thing it wasn't heavy tourist season - because we didn't have reservations. But the ferry wasn't going to leave until 1am. Since we arrived in the morning we had some serious time to kill.

We spent time on a beach, soaking in the weather. Then we headed near the ferry terminal and caught a marathon of Pink Floyd (the entire Wall album) on the radio and just hung out, laughing at ourselves for spending our anniversary so lamely. At 11:30, people started showing up and getting into line for the ferry. As soon as the ferry came, it was a mad dash to the line. There was no order - no reasoning behind it. First come, first serve. I remember telling Ryan to get on it - don't let that jerkface in! But as fate would have it, we were lucky to get on when we did.

The ferry system in Italy is crazy. They pack you in like sardines. We were on the second level, near the front of the ship. The ceiling is maybe 6'5", no over sized vehicles are allowed. We spent the night in the upper decks, surrounded by hundreds of other people (and come to think of it - we probably stunk from camping). Sleep was non-existent.

When we arrived in Rome, we hoped back in the car, waiting to start it until it was our turn and discovered a dead battery. The ferry attendant was screaming and waving his arms at us in Italian. I gave him the international, Oh shit! It's not working! look and he got behind us, pushed us down the ferry ramp, we jumped started it and off we were into Rome. We did our sight seeing of Rome via car in fear that if we turned it off we'd have bigger issues to deal with.

So when I hear Pink Floyd, I can only smile to myself about how life will throw you unexpected curve balls - but in the end, it always works out.
Heavy night last night - obviously. It's sort of lingering today...

I can't help but think the weather has a direct affect on me. But that just means I need to get out into it and make the most of it. This time of year has always been difficult for me some reason. Between summer and winter - the purgatory of seasons. I wish I would go directly from sunny warm weather to snow capped mountains in a blink of an eye.

You should see my curbside of recycling. It's out of control! Lots of beer and food consumed this past week. And I'm sure that's just the tip of the iceberg downed in the past week... Patrick said he went hung over to work every day last week. Good on you, man!

Another busy day planned today - coffee with Tela, riding with Melinda, baby Dana time with Marika at the playground, and party tonight at Christine's, and I coaxed Jesse into having a slumber party at my house.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Had an okay day today. Managed to stay super busy which has it's plus and minuses. On the plus side - I got a ton of stuff done. But on the con side - I haven't had a minute to relax and think.

Met up with some climbing friends for beers tonight and had some interesting conversations. One of which asked why wasn't I throwing myself back into cycling yet? "It was your thing - so why aren't you doing it yet?!"

And why aren't I?

Several people have asked about Nationals - are you going? And now my original decision which was made to have some down time and letting my mind and body take a break from rigorous training is starting to be questioned. But do I doubt it? Not for one fucking second.

Pardon the french - but sometimes that word is appropriate.

Excuse me, but you try dealing with losing your soul mate and then acting as if everything is normal. It's not. And if you do pretend to be it's only going to make it worse, I guarantee it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Slide Show

The following is a link to the slide show from Ryan's memorial this past weekend. It's a large file 45 MB - so make sure you have a fast connection. And don't forget to turn your sound on!

Thanks Cam for hosting it!

I love my mom!

I couldn't possibly stay in my house another night last night so Makiah and I walked down the street to my mom's - beer in hand - to be enveloped in her love. After going to Gasworks park and attempting to do some drawing, I found myself in a puddle of grief. One thing was for sure - I needed a relief from the constant reminder I am without Ryan.

Good thing my mom lives 2 blocks away. She had dinner cooking on the stove, warm hugs and kisses to help pick me back up and next thing I know, I'm actually ready to go to bed early and slept from 10pm to 5am! A short wake up, and I was back asleep in no-time. I just started re-reading the Chronicles of Narnia and oh what a treat.

Thank you again for the nice sweet notes from everyone - it is comforting to know so many people are sending me well wishes, across the US.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Slept in my house alone last night for the first time in a week and honestly, it felt good. Makiah was faithfully lying by my side and doggy dreaming away. She started breathing heavy, legs twitching and then suddenly woke up, eyes alert and looking right at me to make sure I was okay. I can't help but think that that's maybe how she was awakened last Sunday. We are glued at the hip now - and I think I'm going to get therapy dog papers so she can go with me any where I go. What an amazing little dog.

It's nice to have the quiet right now - some time to really think about my Bubba and adjusting to life without him. I stopped taking sleeping pills so I can remember my dreams and had a good one the other night.

I opened more cards from Sunday - thank you to everyone who came, again. It means so much to me to be surrounded by people with so much love. It will help me get through.

Monday, September 15, 2008

remembering a boy...

Another 3am wake up call. My brain just doesn't want to shut off. At least this time I didn't wake up weeping but instead woke up thinking about Ryan in that photo standing outside of a 50's dinner in Bellingham. I remember that day like it just happened - we had met with my mom for lunch and I hadn't seen him for oh, 12 hours? (He usually stayed overnight but when my mom visited - he had to go sleep at this own pad.) He wore this green Columbia ski coat that made his eyes sparkle and his kisses were magical. He smooched me despite my horrible green stripped shirt, khakis, and hot pink scrunchy with the same passion he always displayed. And my mom, bless her soul, just laughed and giggled with us, celebrating the incredible union we had.

Thank you for sharing yesterday with me for those that came out. I know quite a few people who were unable to go - and I could feel your love from afar. And thank you to everyone who pitched in to remember Ryan. Trish is having another memorial next Sunday, the 21st, at 5pm at her studio ( in Bellingham in case you didn't get to attend or would like to spend more time.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The shock is starting to wear off and the numbness is starting to settle in. My mom helped me clean my room yesterday - with seven years worth of dust kiddies eliminated from the nooks and crannies of my closet. My amazing family and friends surround me - I can't get enough hugs. And not those sissy, ew don't touch me hugs - we're talking deep bear hugs with back cracking potential.

Today is going to be tough. But it's necessary and the next step with many, many more steps to come.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cheer leading

Last night I went to corner two and a sweet memorial was set up for Ryan. Thank you all who pieced that together - the hanging beaners were a great touch. And thank you for the donation and moment of silence.

But more satisfying than anything was heckling Kenny. Ryan would have been proud when I dropped my pants and mooned him. I just couldn't resist - it felt too good. Add an IPA of liquid courage, some serious pent up feelings and my inner child came out. Poor Woody rolled up just as I was dropping my drawers next to Pat - but oh we laughed.

I got to cheer from the outside - and know why Ryan had such a good time watching. Makiah was there too - faithfully at my side. We went out for beers in Ballard afterward with Miller, Molly, Randy, RT, Izette, Pat and Christie- and had a Left Hand IPA - the same brew that his favorite jersey was of.

But oh I'm paying for it a little today... it was SOOOOO worth it!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Remembering Ryan

Last night we talked about Ryan's service that will be held Sunday at 4pm in Volunteer Park amphitheater on Capital Hill. Rather than be gloomy and super sad - we sat around the table laughing about Ryan's funny quirks about showing up to formal events in a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops. So we decided - that's the required attire. Points go to those who have the most original t-shirt. Feel free to come in leprechaun attire too - Ryan would be so proud.

There will be a slide show with photos, videos, etc set up at the park. If you are interested in speaking - please send Marcy a note at (holla(at) There will be an open mike time as well.

Our intent is to really celebrate Ryan - in his style. We'll be headed to a pub a short walking distance from there where everyone is obligated to buy a pint of IPA in his memory.

Hope you can make it - and please spread the word.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The service will be Sunday at 4pm at the amphitheater in Volunteer Park. Everyone is welcome.

My Darling Jennifer

First of all, I love you and I love Ryan. We will always have Ryan in our hearts and memories. Don't worry we, your friends and loved ones, will buoy you up. You are a wonderful woman, not just due to your accomplishments though they are many, but because you have a wonderful kind spirit. Yes, Ryan touched many hearts but you are a 'matched set' and yes, you have many, many friends in your quiver as well.

Yes, you will miss him. I will miss him. Many will miss him.

You are my angel darling and you will recover from this tragedy and thrive. I know you will.

I love you,


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Thank you.

Thank you to everyone who is helping me through this. Cam wrote a very dear piece on Ryan that has me sobbing tears. I miss my Ryan.
I want to wake up from this nightmare.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Avoiding the melt in San Jose

As mentioned before, it is HOT here in San Jose. Record temps have hit the area for several days in a row now - with no sign of it cooling down while we're here. To be honest though I'm LOVING it!

Thursday was a little let down - after losing two straight sprint rounds with Jen. The first one she had quite a jump on me and although I battled with her all the way to the line - she just had more umph in her sprint. I spoke with Stan Gregg afterward and we came up with a game plan for me to take her long. I think she anticipated it - for our first two laps were super fast and then I just didn't have enough in me to come around her. But at least I made her work! I hope I was able to at least help her prepare for Elite Track Nats in early October.

Yesterday we had a day off and headed West to Santa Cruz. As soon as we dropped over the mountains, the temp dropped down to 64 and fog. We strolled around down town and ended up in a hat shop where we both bought 3 hats each. And of course Mr. Tucker had me laughing my eye balls back on our way back as he attempted to wear one of my hats on his over sized noggin. Part Simpson character, Sloth from Goonies and goofy - I was rolling!

I don't race until late tonight in a combined field points race. So I met up with Jason and he took me to this great wood fired pizza joint in Santana Row. Best meal I've had all week - hands down! Thanks again my friend!

It was great chatting with him and talking about our passions. Funny how life can be strained until you decide to make the change and do what you love in life. Things just sort of fall into place after that.

Also spoke with Ryan - he's been at our cabin in Mazama having a blast. I miss him though! Absence makes the heart grow fonder...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Bikram Web Surfing

It's HOT down here. And about 85 in the room I'm surfing the Internet on. Guy deemed it Bikram Web surfing.

Relaxing before my face off against Jen Featheringill tonight in our sprint finals. Should be good! Best two out of three. Wish me speedy legs!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Containing my excitement!

Before the memory fades into oblivion - I thought I'd recapture the days events. It's not every day you win a National title - let a lone your first USA Cycling Masters title as a first year master - so here goes.

Woke up very early this morning to head to the track in time for Guy's 3k pursuit. He's racing in the 35-39 category and has a pretty competitive field! It was his first pursuit EVER - so he set a PR. Then we sat around and waited. And waited some more - then more. And as we waited, the temps rose. And rose and rose. And the humidity lowered to 14%. Ouch. This Washingtonian is definitely not used to that type of dry heat!

I was dead last to go in the morning session -- which turned into an afternoon session (kick off time right around 2:30pm). There were only three of us ladies in the 30-34 category and Jennifer set a fast time of 2:39. Next thing I know, I'm lined up and zooming out the gates. I roll on top of the gear pretty quickly and try to settle into a pace. Guy was yelling splits - and Earl was telling me if I was winning or not. It was great! And then with one lap to go I felt like my lungs were on fire and couldn't breath at all. I rode a 2:37.00 - not bad considering it was my first 2k! But I so badly wanted to drop the national record to below 2:32. Oh well! Maybe next year. ;)

Afterward I laid right down. I couldn't talk. I couldn't drink. I felt dizzy and ready to hurl. After ten minutes of wanting a lung transplant, I started to regain consciousness - though it took me a while before I felt like I wouldn't throw up each time I sat up. If that's what a National title will take - then I'm so hooked! But I swear it felt like I took minutes off my life today.

We're killing some time back at Leo's house before the evening session where Woody will compete in the 2k, and Eric Waterman, Aaron Levin, Matt Holdstrom (sorry if I botched that one!) will give a go in their points races. Guy and I are brown bagging it from the stands... It should be entertaining!

Tomorrow is the sprint tournament and then my points race was moved to Saturday...


National Champ!

My track hack has finally calmed down after a big power output from this afternoon. I'm proud to say I just earned my first Master Nationals title in the 2k pursuit with a time of 2:37.00. Yahoo!

It's HOT here - with really low humidity (14%!). But I managed to dig deep and lay down a stellar time. Thanks to all the friends and family who have supported me in my endeavors and allowed me to live my passion! Today I got to demonstrate what happens when you lay it down on the line and go for it!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Checking In

Greetings from sunny Hellyer Park in California! We arrived on Sunday evening after a nice drive down from Seattle. Splitting the drive up into two days is DEFINITELY the way to go - we had no stress on the way down and weren't stuck in the car for 14 hours straight.

The velodrome is abuzz with the various age groups preparing for the first session of the week - first up, the men's 35-19 kilo. Guy is in the third heat - and luckily the wind is non-existant and it's warm. Who knows - maybe a couple of records will be set this morning?

It's fun watching people reconnect with their friends from across the Nation - many use this event as a way to catch up with their competitors.

Unfortunately my competition isn't as strong as a lot of categories - the youngsters have lower numbers for some reason. Maybe it's because they don't want to except the fact that they're getting older? I had to jump out of an airplane to accept mine - so I completely understand. But now I'm embrassing it. :)

More to come...