Tuesday, December 30, 2008


"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


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!


"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


"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....


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 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.