Friday, February 25, 2011

Experiment in progress....

In talking with my housemate Jake, we joked about how much of a time suck facebook and twitter is. As a result, my novel reading, project upkeep, dog walking, and most importantly: blog updating time has suffered. Sheesh!

So I vowed to stay off those sites from Wednesday through March 1. That's right folks, nearly a week. So far so good, despite a serious test of not one, not two but three direct messages! Talk about having some will power.

So, I challenge you to try it too. I swear it won't be as bad as giving up all sugar. Or finally quit biting your fingernails after thirty plus years. But altering your behavior and habits does take determination and will power. And quitting cold turkey is the only way to do it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

On track.

The sun is shining today and I'm feeling good.

I went out to happy hour last night with a good friend and as we sat there, catching up on life, she drinking a cranberry juice and I a pallegringo (big boozers, aren't we!), I realized that balance has settled back into my life. Thank God!

Going from constant travel in October and high excitement of the world cups to being quietly back at home in the middle of winter was a big shift in paradigm. And as I've mentioned, my off season started right after the holidays. Suddenly I found myself going from fit, fit, fit to bored, bored, bored. What do you mean I have all this spare time? And why do I suddenly have all this energy and have a burning desire to do a million house projects?

Hi, my name is Jennifer and I am a recovering exercise-aholic.

About the time I was ready to pull my eyeballs out, move cities, become a monk, paint the entire interior of my house, write a book, join a cult and various other odd jobs, my month of rest was over and it was time to get back in the saddle and get my heart rate up on a regular basis.

What a relief.

But oddly, the relief didn't come right away.

Wait, what?!?

Yep. Although I could start riding again and pumping some serious iron at the gym, now I was faced with the harsh reality of being out of shape. Or as one nice teammate put it, "out of form." Gotta love that positive spin on things.

And getting back into some sort of routine of punishing your body is difficult. Reestablishing patterns and body movements, especially when first starting out, takes will power and at times just plain sucks.

Is this startling? You mean, an exercise-aholic even has trouble getting back in the groove? Yes, but don't worry, that feeling didn't last long. Two weeks, tops.

A meager two weeks is all it took before I was ready to tackle bigger rides, higher heart rates and let's face it, a big reason why I pedal my heart out - more food. Not to mention I am fueled by watching the Manchester World Cup coverage happening as we speak. The OUCH Pro Cycling women's team pursuit just raced and won the bronze medal ride. And Great Britain rode well for gold, falling short of the world record by two tenths of a second. Riveting!

I also had a well timed conversation with my friend Jo. Actually, we made a pact. She's itching to move back to her native homeland this year and I am narrowing my athletic focus. We shook on it and everything, so you know we mean business.

All of that to say, things are on track for me. When there's balance, good things happen, planets align, immortal superhero powers recharge and that tailwind at your back feeling remains constant. Yesssssss!!!!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Well, yesterday was the day of lovers. And if you were lucky, your significant other took you out to dinner, wined and dined you and let you know that you are theirs and they are yours. It's not a huge holiday like Christmas or New Years by any means, but it is a day when you consciously tell those you love that you love them. Or you're painfully reminded that you are alone.

So rather then dwell on this "I'm all alone" blah, blah feeling, my old neighbor Jo and I headed to the Olympys spa to soak in some tubs and eat some Korean food. And I can honestly say it was one of the better Valentine day's that I've had. When you take the time for yourself and do something because you want to do it and it makes you feel good.

Funny though, the thought of missing Ryan didn't cross my mind until Jo brought it up that night. She had come across some old photos and there he was - bigger then life. It didn't sink in, the reminder of an empty place in my heart, until today. Thankfully it wasn't until after I had woken up, drank my morning coffee, and completed the morning rituals. No, it was much later. When I was listening to Pandora and then again in the gym - when a steady stream of old songs we used to listen to together came on. I was transported to Yosemite Valley - jamming to Weazer full blast on my Subaru speakers and feeling summer's warmth on our skin with the windows rolled down. It was one of those moments that you savor - knowing that the memory will be locked into the vault for years to come. And just by listening to that song, you're suddenly transported back to 2001, roaming a wide open space with huge monoliths of granite, the high sierras and feeling perfectly content.


As tough as they can be, the reminders are good. It is important to make sure you're not taking where you are in life for granted. That you're enjoying the moment, taking it all in; making the most of the little things, and locking those extra special moments of time in the memory banks for some other time when you might need them.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Heeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyy Macarena!

Last night I went out to a show with my sister Marcy, her boyfriend Sam and Marcy's grade school buddy Monica. We went to see Mark Farina at Neumos. The doors opened at 9pm, which meant the headline act wasn't going to be on stage until at least 11pm. We had some time to kill so we met up around a quarter to ten at Moe's - the bar adjacent to Neumos and hung out.

Farina is a San Franciso dj who breaks out mushroom jazz with straight up house beats, sure to make you shake your hiney. Against my better dancing judgement, I doned my knee high heeled boots, jeans and a black short sleeve button up shirt. Farina took to the stage and we started to boogie down. It was loud. And I forgot my "I'm over thirty" ear plugs. So as the night wore on, my hearing was done for.

Monica and I at one point took a water break. As we were hovering near the watering can, a guy comes up behind me and asks me if I want to dance. I say no, but apparently wasn't convincing in my rejection; he persists. I tell him no again and he decides to start having a conversation.

"How do you know Mark Farina?"

"WHAT?" (Mind you it is loud and we've been listening to break beats, drum and bass and house shrieks full throttle for nearly three hours now.)

"How do you know Mark Farina?"


"Are you his sister or something?"


Friday, February 11, 2011

What's in a name?

I went to high school with a girl named Sarah Baals. Rumor had it her dad's name was Harry. Turns out she may be related to this guy....

Hope your Friday is going well!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

On repeat....

Reminiscent of a hockey warm up song, found blaring on my stereo (on repeat), and one of those songs you just can't get out of your head (as evident by me whistling the tune on a recent visit to Fred Meyer)...

And I love, love, love that someone matched it up with a 1980 jazzercise video. I'm going to dance like that on Friday.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

And just when you think you've got it together...

I was working away yesterday, syncing up my calendars, making sure the queen of double booking doesn't double book, when I noticed some birthdays coming up. I saw Lincoln's birthday marked on the calendar on 2/12 and thought, ah ha! I'll be a good friend and send my buddy Lincoln birthday wishes before the day.

I am on it!

I send him an email, let him know I was thinking of him; something about another year older, blah blah blah, birthday cake, etc. Bottom line - it was super well intentioned.

A few hours later I get this response: "Sorry to bust you, but Feb 12 is Abe Lincoln's Bday. Mine is June 12. In grade school, kids would give me cards on 2/12 & I'd get pissed & chase em around the playground."

Hahahahaha. Whoops! Sorry Linc! And happy birthday Abe.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

This morning I woke up on the right side of the bed and saw a double rainbow.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

No rain on my parade.

I woke up an hour before my alarm went off. Even though I had a late night at the Tractor Tavern listening to the Irish sounds of the Paperboys and stomping my feet to their celtic rhythmic beats and getting into bed way past my bedtime.

I couldn't help it. This morning marked the first team ride I could attend since our meet the team ride last October. Never mind that it was misting so heavily outside that visibility was poor. Never mind it was only in the low forties with a 80% chance of rain the rest of the day. Living in the Northwest requires a hearty attitude and an indifference to the weather.

Today was my first team group ride of the 2011 season and I was estactic.

I slapped on my fender (and truth be told my makeshift duct tape buddy flap didn't do the job as everyone who sat behind me had a mouth full of grit), put on my thick wool socks, bomber booties, 5mm diving gloves (thank you Jimmy for the best tip EVER!) and bright orange shower pass jacket. Cycling through the winters in the northwest demands dialing in your aquatic gear.

I may or may not have heard on more then one occassion that I look like I'm going underwater diving sporting my cycling cleats, helmet and bike.

But you won't see me turn back. You won't see me pick the trainer over the outdoors unless there's snow and ice or some specifically perscribed workout. I'd rather battle it out. I've only called for a rescue once - early in my winter gear testing and racing career. And that was more because I was hypothermic then wet - it was 36 degrees and pouring rain. I had yet to discover my wool sock/bootie combination. Yet to discover the wonders of stinky diving gloves and ridiculously visible ShowerPass jacket. That day I was shivering so badly I couldn't control my bike so I dialed my brother to come to my rescue. As they say - it takes a village.

Turns out the ladies are fit this time of year. The local road racing season starts in a month. Their zone two is my zone four. But did that keep me from gravitating to the front, taking a monster pull, faking it like it didn't hurt? Ha! I wish. I opted to turn around at the "church," about 20 miles north of the city. They were going a full 70 - and I knew with my early season fitness I'd have to pull the dial a ride card at some point. And that's not a card I want to go into a ride knowing I'd have to play.

No, no - turning around the church was a brilliant idea. It was even confirmed later by a text from a teammate who went the distance. "Snohomish was epic, long and cold. Smart move."

And guess what? By the time I got home it stopped raining. And I collapsed in a heap on my bed for at least an hour, enjoying the throb in my legs, the full body exhaustion and the reality that there's a lot of work to be done.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

No way!

Thanks Jake for pointing this one out. I'm still giggling.

One thing for sure - that dude was STOKED! about a double rainbow.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year!

The Chinese New Year was yesterday. Sadly, I wouldn't have known had my sister in law not posted that my nephew got a random gift from a woman stating that it was the Chinese New Year and it's considered good luck to give a child a gift. Coleman opened the envelop to find $8 inside. My mom in response posted: Kung Hei Fat Choi! Greetings from and to our Chinese ancestors! Happy Chinese New Year!

Random fact about me: I'm a smidgen part Hawaiian and Chinese. Yep. Totally random. You can see it now, can't you? I know, my scooped incisors give it away, every time.

So, in keeping with rediscovering my Chinese ancestry, I took to the inter-webs and did some scientific Google research. This is the year of the rabbit. And I was born in the year of the horse. If you read my zodiac, many of the traits hold true. A sense of adventure, quick to shift with the winds, a lover of exercise both physically and mentally, and extreme multi-tasker.

Check out this quote, "The Horse's inconsistency stems from his varying moods. He senses nuances that may go unnoticed by everyone else and he modifies his assessments accordingly. In other words, he goes by the feel of things. Don't ask him to explain his hunches and uncanny deductions. He can't. His is the amazing ability to improvise while the game is in progress. Frequently, he will be playing several games at the same time and be more than able to hold his own. Once he makes his swift decision, he does not hesitate on his course of action. You find him either dashing about doing 101 things or flat on his back from sheer exhaustion. More often than most signs, the Horse finds it difficult to unwind and may suffer from insomnia."

But then again, the horse attributes apply to anyone born in 1978. Neigh.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Back at it.

I've missed this weariness.

You know, where you wake up in the morning and your body aches from the physical punishment you gave it yeterday. The legs feel like they just need a good stretch and about eighteen gallons of water. My triceps and lats, which haven't been used in a long, long time are reminding me they are still attached to my body. And still have the ability to scream at me.

And that burning inferno? The one that demands constant fueling? The monster has been awakened from its deep slumber.

My seemingly endless energy from before - the one where I decide that no project is too big, where painting my bedroom is completed in less then a week - yeah, that's gone. And I'm pretty tickled about it. As it turns out, I love being a bike racer. And although getting those pesky house projects done is beyond rewarding, I'd much rather let the daily routine of 3+ hours of training consume my free time and demand that I rest from it.