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


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


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!


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.





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?


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


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.

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


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


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.