Thursday, March 31, 2011

Feeling loved

I woke up early this morning for no particular reason. Last nights
delicious dinner at zoe's with my family still lingers on my breath.
We tasted it all and then enjoyed Marcy's legendary homemade apple
pie, baked especially for yours truly. There's no doubt what I'll be
having for breakfast.

I personally love birthdays, always have. I like having mine and I
love celebrating friends and family's. What better way to celebrate
one of the true gifts we are given - life - then by eating cake,
opening thoughtful gifts and cards and taking the time to let that
person know they are in your heart? Baking with love certainly
enhances the process.

Last year I decided to share my love of birthdays with 100 of my
friends. Keg stands, bourbon sips (or chugs!), lots of tasty food
(thanks Danielle!), and a band, the Tall Boys played in my living
room. It was a blast. my floors were dirty! (a perfect hangover remedy
though - the elbow grease manual labor burnt off most of the ipa and

This year is a little more low key but the spirit of celebration is
still there. Even at 5am, a big smile spreads across my face because i
know more then anything, I feel loved. Thank you to all who are in my
life and love to share laughs, snorts, belly aches and silliness. I am
forever grateful for your priceless relationships and look forward to
baking many more three-layered-chocolate-
cakes for you.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I think it's a requirement to live in Seattle that one of your favorite colors be gray.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"All of the smaller (but often more taxing) hassles of life resolve the
same way. You are having a family disagreement that goes on for
months. You torture yourself looking for a way out of a problem. You
try things to resolve the issue even though your heart tells you it
wouldn't be happy with such a solution. You don't listen to yourself
and make yourself more miserable. Then one day you're in the shower.
You're not thinking about anything, not even washing. You are in what
we all refer to as auto pilot. And suddenly, out of nowhere, the
answer flashes at you - "big as a billboard." Every cell of you knows
it's the right answer, too. You use it. It works.

Accept this pattern. Learn from it. You will save yourself all kinds
of time and heartache. You will waste fewer days beating yourself up
looking for solutions to problems before the answer are about to give
themselves to you. And perhaps there is a reason for the wait. For in
waiting, we learn.

Life is constantly demanding solutions to one thing or another.
Nevertheless, stay calm, control your urges, and actively wait: Go for
a jog, take a drive, chop wood, listen to music, wash and put away
dishes, sweet a floor - anything you can do to slowly get your mind
off the urgency. If you have to, act as though you have already taken
care of the problem, until you actually do - just to get your mind off

Be attentive. You will be amazed at how easily solutions come.

Waiting isn't easy, but acting when the time isn't right can make us
vulnerable and further our distance from what we are trying to
achieve. We don't have to judge or justify. We can make a conscious
decision to simply act as if all will be fine as we wait for life's
openings to manifest. Our job is to control the urge to strike - until
the target is right, to live attentively, enjoy our lives, and wait
for the right moment. Truth will come."

Taken from "Be Like Water" by Joseph Cardillo.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Wow. It's Monday, again.

And I feel like a weekend warrior, once again. Free time well spent, I think! From kart racing, to the MVA Auction to a long epic group ride to Snohomish and a fun dinner party last night with good friends - this morning's alarm came earlier then expected. I'm not complaining either - it's nice to be this busy!

I had a hard ride on Friday and couldn't muster up enough energy to do much else other than sit on the couch the rest of the evening. Earlier in the week I got an email with a coupon for a free birthday rental at PGP Motorsports so I decided to ping a few people to see if they'd be up for karting the following morning. No body was biting, so I ventured out on my own to PGP Motorsports down at Pacific Raceways for a rental kart racing series. One word: RAD.

3/4 mile track with 14 turns and karts that go up to 40mph? Yes, please. I was the lone lady amongst 8 dudes but had the most fun, I'm sure. $95 for 2.5 hours of racing and grins from ear to ear. And I got third in the novice class! With a trophy to prove it. I can't wait to go back. The ground was wet so we were power sliding and drifting all over the place - I might have spun out a few times and hit a barrier.... but no whip lash like I had from the last time I wet karting. Yehaw!!!

I got home around 12:30 and stunk like lawn mower exhaust so I took a quick shower before heading out to carpool with Mark and Linda Coppa to drive over to the Mercer Island Community Center for the Marymoor Velodrome Association Annual Auction. The night was a huge success and we netted over $23,000 from the amazing generosity of the attendees. One of the best items there, in my opinion, was a Phil "Bilko" Stephens bobble head - complete with audio announcement and all. And I'm happy to say I bid and won that priceless item, which now sits on my mantle next to my third place trophy. The night ran late as I helped mop up the facility and making sure things were tidied up before taking off. I dropped the Coppa's off around 11 or so and then headed home to bed before an early morning group ride with the HB ladies.

Every weekend a select group of ladies head up North to Snohomish and try to shell one another on the ride. Since my fitness is lagging behind these road warriors, I've often turned around 2/3 of the way at the "Church." Every week they give me LOADS of crap for turning around. In fact, they had taken bets on me this week for bailing. And much to their amazement (and to be honest - mine too!) I went the full distance. And found out why I'm never bailing again. The cookies at the Snohomish bakery are SO WORTH every minute of suffering. Since I was new to the scene, no one mentioned that I should only eat half - especially because within 10 minutes of us starting back up again, we'd be climbing out of the valley. That's what I get for bailing out earlier in the year, I suppose! Thankfully the chocolate almond cranberry cookie and coffee powered me the 30 miles back home and stayed down.

I got home and Makiah was begging and pleading for a long walk. I promised her a short one after I got a bite to eat and took a short nap. She sighed, but agreed. I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. And when I woke up 30 minutes later, my legs had seized up. Well done ladies! Thanks for the beating. I got up, walked Makiah around the block and then headed out for the last venture for the weekend - a cooking night with my chef friend Danielle.

Another friend, Stephanie, offered to host at her apartment downtown in the Diller building on 1st and University, adjacent to the Seattle Art Museum. The building was super old - with the winding stair cases leaning this way and that and the hallways adorned with Steph's roommates ecliptic art. She lead us into her place and I marveled at the art - all from recycled materials. Her roommate, Sam, as it turns out is way into reshaping plastic things. From straws, to keg cups to army soldiers and plastic forks... hundreds, if not thousands of them had heat applied to them and then formed into modern art. Seven of us gathered around Danielle as she showed us Vietnamese dishes, from fresh spring rolls to candy coated coconut pork infusion dishes. She had all of us helping out to learn something new.

And as I took a tour around Steph's apartment, I saw a pair of boxing gloves. Turns out she's been training for her first fight at a down and dirty gym on Capital Hill. I got to relive the glory days for a few minutes and share with her my experiences as a pugilist. That's two ladies I've met within the past two weeks that are into boxing.... is somebody trying to tell me something? Maybe I should get back into that sport?!? Tacoma seemed too daunting of a drive to train... but if there's one in the immediate area.......

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Today I pushed myself, multiple times. It was 105 in the stifling yoga room, stinky and sweat was dripping steadily off every limb of my body. The instructor verbally walked us through the poses, encouraging, no demanding, that we go beyond our comfort zones, to take a risk. What's the worse thing that could happen? she asked.

And as I held my foot behind me, cocked like a bow and arrow, left knee locked out, left arm reaching toward the mirror in front of me and all my muscles engaged, gaze focused but on nothing in particular, people around me losing their balance and falling out of the pose, yet I kicked, higher and squared my hips, abs as close to parallel to the floor- one more kick up and I did it. I went further than I have ever gone before. But there was no time to focus on that success. For we had several dozen poses left to complete. Plus the sweat stung my eyes making it impossible to pick out my smile from the back of the room.

A smile did spread across my face later, when I was laying down, soaking in the completion of my practice. And then I sat in the locker room, sweating my eye balls out and marveled at how good it feels to know you pushed yourself harder than before. That you gave it everything you could that day, that practice. And that you can do it again, and again.

In a way it reminds me of team pursuit. Your body is screaming at you to stop, yet your mind wills you on to hold on just a little bit longer. Giving up is not an option. If it were easy, everyone would do it. I love pushing my body - it makes me feel alive and am thankful for the opportunity to push those boundaries. And I'll do it again and again until the day I die.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thirty three?!? What! What?!?

Oh boy, oh boy. Another birthday coming up, another milestone.

I'm feeling old tonight - as I didn't get carded at PCC when I bought a 22 oz. IPA. The big day is next week and as with holidays and special events, I am reminded of the circle of life.

Luckily, in my 32 years on this planet, I know how to make myself happy. Retail therapy happy. It was one of those, don't tell me the total, kind of nights. The pooch and I strolled into Fremont after an emotional day and I earned some miles. Not that I can get a round trip ticket around the world - but I can at least travel in the continental US. Yikes!

Last year I threw myself a huge party - 100 people showed up at my house on a Wednesday night, dressed in hill-billy attire and boogied down to the Tall Boys playing in my living room. Keg stand challenges ensued, yummy BBQ food consumed, bourbone drank and memories made. This year things are going to be more low key. But I am still coming up with a birthday challenge... I'm still formulating the perfect quest. All suggestions will be seriously considered.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

MVA Auction!!!

Just a reminder that the Annual MVA Auction is this Saturday, March 26, 2011. Registration will close tomorrow - click here - to reserve your seat!

Funds collected from the auction directly benefit the racing programs, development clinics and junior programs held at Marymoor Park. The MVA is a non-profit, volunteer run organization and needs your help! Bring a friend, family member, trackie enthusiast, non-cyclist, cyclist - ANYONE - who is looking for a good time and can feel good about their contributions going directly into the community.

See you on Saturday!

Rest week

Ah, a rest week. There's no better time then the present to catch up on those neglected home owner obligations. And Spring in the Pacific Northwest demands attention with rapidly growing grass, green moss on my back porch (making it slicker than snot to walk on with cleats!), trees that need some delimbing - just to name a few. If you hear some swearing and muttering coming from Wallingford don't look at me.

And what better way to pay my respects...

An ode to the power washer:

Hooked up to a water supply
Engine primed and gassed up
Relentless pulls on the starter cord
Result in obscene mutterings.

Dressed in overalls, muck boots, gloves and glasses
I'm prepared to go to battle
In the war against moss, pine needles, slug trails and lichen
Maybe I'll win, if just for an afternoon.

The loud drone of a two stroke
And spray from dislodged dirt
Makes me very thankful
I don't do this for work!

Next up? Ode to the curly willow: the messiest tree in the world. Oh the excitement!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Weekend Warrior

It's been a while since I did the weekend warrior thing. You know, when you wake up Monday morning and feel like you need another weekend to recover from your weekend. Time well spent, I think.

On Friday I got a raspy phone call from Liz saying she was on the fence about skiing the next day. She said she would call me in the morning and if I didn't hear from her, then could assume her Subaratti would pick me up at 7am. Saturday morning I awoke to blue skies and had the "I'm going skiing!" jitters. Plus I checked the snow report for Crystal and they got 8" since they closed the lifts the night before. Blue bird in Washington? Totally rare.

We were on the lifts by 9:30, heading straight for the back side and deep powder bowls. The terrain back there is double black diamond, for the most part - so it keeps out the hordes of people. We were two girls telemark skiing - and grinning from ear to ear. I couldn't hear the hoots and hollers from the lift over my giggles - Liz told me about it the next day. She also took some sweet video and all you can hear is me laughing. The more I laugh, the more I tend to crash. It's a vicious cycle. Thankfully she didn't catch my yard sale on camera. Why do you have snow all down your jacket, Jen? I dunno. Somebody was throwing snow balls at me from the lift!

The views from the top of the lifts, at 7,000 feet are stunning. Mt. Rainer, Washington states tallest peak looms in the distance, with only a valley separating us. Days like this only come once in a blue super moon.

We skied for four hours straight. And as the day wore on, the temps rose and created Washington concrete snow. Even my quads of steel were screaming by 1pm. Plus the Snorting Elk was calling our names for lunch.

The next day a long hard ride was on tap. 4.5 hours total - covering May Valley and the quiet farm roads in the area. It was a little windy and provided a great chance to work on my mental strength. Headwinds are good for that. Tailwinds make you feel fast and strong, whereas the opposite make you feel puny and weak. :) I got home around 3:30 and took Makiah on a nice long walk into Fremont to get something for dinner. A perfect way to cap a great weekend.

Dream about Flying

I must be hiding under a rock. I just heard Alexi Murdoch last week and now I'm infatuated with his music.

Those who know me well know about my dreams. And this song just hits home.

Friday, March 18, 2011

March maddness

My mom and I arrived in Bellingham, just in the nick of time. The party started at 7pm, with food being served right at 7:45: Trish's amazing, hearty home cooked Corned Beef and Cabbage, RRRRRrrrrrrrutabagas, carrots, treacle farl bread, onions, and potatoes. I definitely overate. So did Makiah. She was the lone dog at the party, licking plates, begging for scraps, smiling for nuggets of treats. We both had a corned beef hangover this morning.

And the dreams I had? Wacky, wild and weird. And judging by the noises Makiah was just making while she sleeps on my office floor - she's having them too.

There were so many highlights from last night - the food, the company, the pregnant ladies (especially Camille who has an amazing party trick - she can balance a cup on her protruding belly!), the music, singing Big Strong Man, Boundary Bay's IPA on tap poured by head brew master and old friend, Anthony Stone, the gathering of a community. And the moment of silence we took for the people in Japan before the festivities began. Powerful. Meaningful.

I can't forget to mention Tom and Craig jamming out to an audience, not missing a beat as we departed yet acknowledging us as we said goodbye as they continued with their epic guitar riffs. It was definitely worth getting home super late, stuffed to the gills, and then walking to work today.

This morning I noticed the curly willow in my backyard is sprouting bright green leaves. YES! There's no stopping it now.... spring is coming!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I go the the gym three days a week, two hours a session. My routine varies from legs to upper body, and back to legs. Three days: three ways to get stronger. I don't mind putting time in at the gym, I actually look forward to time spent there. I enjoy it even more now that I have a Nano to listen to and hip beats of Girl Talk, Bear Hands, The Black Keys, and various pod casts with trip hop late night beats. It keeps me company as I do the repetitive movements and work.

Today, as I sat on the exercise bike doing my obligatory cool down, I watched a boat push a wake through the water of the canal that connects Lake Union to the sea. As I watched the bubbles of water settle down behind it, I had one of those realizations that I'm enjoying what I'm doing, right here, right now. And that the more time that passes between life's major events, the more I'm getting comfortable in my own skin.

Time is the ultimate healer.

Happy St. Patrick's day to all you Irish folk out there. I'm heading up to Bellingham to go to Trish's annual shindig and sooooo looking forward to her legendary corned beef and cabbage and soda bread. YUM!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

August 2012

Do you ever do something just because? You take a step out of the ordinary; leap into oncoming traffic; divert from the norm; push a button that feels like a pivotal point. A moment, that once it passes, has long lasting implications. That instead of talking or thinking about something, you just take action?

Call it impulse. Call it a sense of adventure. Call it crazy.

I just hit the send button, requesting tickets for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Like life, there are no guarantees. Yet I couldn't resist punching in my credit card information in hopes that I can see history in the making. My thinking? I get to see my friends compete and incorporate a bike tour. And if by some wild card chance I'll be there on different terms - at least my mom will get to watch.

Only 500 or so days to go....

Monday, March 14, 2011


Hooo- wee! Things certainly got busy all of a sudden. I'm sneaking a quick break between responsibilities to indulge myself with my favorite blogging past time.

It's funny how life goes in circles. Today I stumbled upon Ryan's friend Fitz Cahall's where about on the Dirtbag Diaries and a big sense of longing to be in the mountains, surrounding myself with the company of old growth trees, big craggy monoliths, calloused hands and simple pleasures. The non-stop rain has put me in a little bit of a frenzy to get out into the nicer weather, out of the city and out of the confines of buildings. Me thinks everybody might be feeling it..... hurry up spring!

The moto is up and running - time to fill my saddle bags and hit the road if only for a day hike. Why are mountain vistas and standing atop the peaks of the earth so attractive? A sign I've been at sea level for too long.....

Funny, I had no intention of starting this entry that way. I meant to touch on how RAD it felt to be racing again. How I love being an aggressor in a race, easily shuffling through the ebbs and flow of the pack, seeing friends, sensing and knowing when someone will attack and easily responding. How sprinting at the end, nearly blacking out from the lack of oxygen to my brain and knowing that I physically gave it everything I had, made me feel so alive, so powerful and so mortal all at the same time. My poor teammates got to hear me spout out how much I LOVE RACING!!!!! How addicting it is, how good it feels to move my body and sprint. It has only been three months since I last raced, think how they must feel?

Well, back to work for me. Just thought I would say hi. HI!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It would be easy.... skip that last late night workout. The clock neared 9 pm, and thoughts of just heading to bed did cross my mind. But champions are made a day at a time. And I suited up to hit the rollers for the third and final push of the day.

It's crazy the cycles you put your body through to achieve optimal performance. At some point or another, the realization that most people would never workout for 4+ hours a day, ride their bike in the morning, lift weights in the afternoon and then follow it with another ride is mind boggling. And I suppose by most standards, we competitive cyclists are an insane lot. It's almost as if those triple day workouts are completed just so we can say we did them. And judging by the amount of daily commuters I see dressed in Shower Pass jackets, riding to work through the downpour with swaying buddy flats hanging from their permanent rain fenders - they know the addiction too. Or at least they can appreciate as well as wear the badge of honor affixed to their soggy chests from doing something most people wouldn't dream of.

This weekend is all about bikes. A race in Sequim on Saturday, followed by Tricia's Pros and Hoes start of the season kick off dance party and then by Bike Expo on Sunday. It's all about two wheeled adventures and celebrating the people who battle the rain, the wind, the sometimes snow - all in eager anticipation of the warmer days of spring and summer. It can't come soon enough, as far as I'm concerned!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Art of Riding in the Dark.

Oh jeez. Third and final workout of the day had to be completed in the dark. And let me tell you, with just a grinning Cheshire cat splice of a moon tonight, visibility on the dark, deserted trail was challenging during those over geared power drills. Thankfully, I did them on the Burke, which I have probably ridden 500 or so times. No joke. But the thing that threw me for a loop? The way rascal eyes glow in the dark and how shining my helmet light directly at them makes them stop dead in their tracks - paralyzed by the sudden illumination ridding them of their stealth cloak of darkness. One cat and I locked eyes as I passed, and I had to remind myself that other obstacles could leap out in the dark as well.... yet I couldn't tear my eyes away. It was hypnotic.

I almost finished my book on tape - "The Art of Racing in the Rain" - a sometimes sad and somber novel, based in Seattle. It's written through the eyes of a dog about the cycles of life, and I found myself cheering and tisking my tongue at its passages as the miles speed beneath my tires. Some of the writing is truly beautiful and larger than life messages are revealed via a four legged friend. It was nice to have someone talk me through my late night jaunt, and after a full belly and shower - I'm ready to saw some logs.

This training is starting to take its toll - as I don't have much time, nor energy, to do much else. Thank goodness I painted a bedroom when I had the motivation! Those projects will just have to wait another season. :) And I'm tempted to measure the quads - the pants feel like they're starting to fit a little tighter.....
A good listen....

Monday, March 07, 2011

Coming out of the wood work....

The early spring bulbs emerging out of the ground are a reminder that it's time to start waking up from hibernation. It's time to start making a bigger effort to connect with friends and to strip down to one layer of leggings instead of three on the bike. Next weekend is day light savings - which means longer and longer after work outdoor adventures in the natural sunlight. I'm already concocting an epic summer solstice adventure...

Regretfully, I missed Mason Lake's annual World Championship kick off on Sunday - as the temperatures were comfortable AND dry. But judging by how long of a nap I took after our shortened group ride yesterday, I think I made the right decision. I foresee some pain and suffering in my very near future. Like next weekend.

Up next? Le Tour de Dungeness in Sequim, WA. Why funny you should ask about my early season fitness... it's coming. Slowly. My beach muscles are starting to show off my "There's nothing like a Sausage Party shirt" - which just translates to looking good on the bike, not immediate performance. Oh boy.

So - who has been doing their homework? Who battled out the training through the cold, wet winter months in pursuit of spring glory? Who stayed disciplined and true to the rotation of the pedals while the sane people took to the mountains and went skiing? We shall see, we shall see!

Reports to come!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Chin scratches.

Today was very beautiful. A lazy morning coupled with a nice 2.5 hour ride with friends out to West Seattle in the sunshine and warmer temperatures was just what the doctor ordered. A little bike love and no fenders kept a smile on my face the whole time, despite a rear tire sidewall blow out while screaming down a hill. My mechanic slacked on my rear brake placement and it in turn put a nice little slice in my 4-season, usually bomb proof continentals. Next time I talk to my mechanic I think I'm going to make a point of letting them know that my life and livlihood is in their hands and to be really careful! Oh wait, that's me. Doh!

Luckily a bike shop was just a short click-iti-clack cleat walk downhill. And low and behold we (being Wes, Heidi, Liz and I) discovered one of the cooler bike shops in the area - Aaron's on California. Lots of retro bikes, super nice mechanics and two cats - Presta and Schrader who make the shop very welcoming. I picked up my very own copy of the 2011 Northwest Race Guide, boasting teammate Jennifer Wheeler on the front cover and a nice little write up of yours truly. Thanks Bicycle Paper!

Now I sit, with throbbing legs and a hungry belly waiting for my dinner to finish baking before heading up the hill and catching up with Christine Chang who is in town. Yep, today was a pretty good day. Despite potentially scratching my chinny chin chin on the pavement. :)

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Whoa! It's March already! And winter is back? What's up with that?

Believe it or not - things have been busy around the office! With floods, property taxes, year end reports, new tenants, taxes, taxes, and more taxes (have I mentioned how much I love the IRS lately?).... the balance of work to web surfing ratio has been way off. And to be honest, the break from Facebook and other social medias suddenly freed up more time and increased my productivity. I'm thinking I may extend it through the end of the month? That's crazy talk!!!!

I'm totally doing it.

Lots of good stuff in the works for the Marymoor Velodrome Association with our upcoming auction (March 26 - link here), bike expo, biweekly preseason training programs, and delegate meetings. Getting involved behind the scenes to promote other people in enjoying my passion is beyond rewarding. Gotta do something to keep your mind off the weather.

Um, can somebody please turn off the rain faucet, please?