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


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 - 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.


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


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.