Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Late night visitors

Three nights ago, I had a dream my car was stolen. I woke up in the middle of the night, looked out the bedroom window and after seeing my car where I left it, fell back to sleep. In retrospect, something must have woke me up - and in the morning we discovered the garbage can was over turned and its contents picked through by some sort of animal.


Then two nights ago, a LOUD bang! and there was an enormous bear (the size of a PT Cruiser!) riffling through our stinky garbage. After yelling and screaming, it sauntered up the street, garbage bag in its mouth, ready to dine on a picnic basket. Apparently Yogi hit several dining establishments in Manitou that same night.

Then last night? I hear something fall off the pantry shelf at 2:30am. I go downstairs, a little spooked about the whole bear incident, only to see a bag of corn kernels had fallen from the shelf and busted open on the floor. I used the bathroom, and went back upstairs to try and fall asleep. A few minutes later, another crash sounded.

What was that?

Makiah, here girl! And she comes groggily out from the closet. Some watchdog she is!

Looking around for a weapon of some sort to confront what ever is downstairs.... and the best thing I could come up with is a toilet plunger. We turned on the lights - hollering and making as much noise as possible. And whatever had climbed into the house through the dog doors, climbed back out them. Time to close that point of entry!

Although we didn't see it - my guess is that we had a late night visit from some coons, of the raccoon variety. They left a distinct red-rock paw print on the bathroom sill downstairs.

And poor Makiah was blamed for their visit last week. I knew something was up when they got into the cranberries. Makiah's a chicken skin lover, all the way! Cranberries? Only if she was starving. Poor little dog took the rap for some pesky critters!

Monday, August 29, 2011


I love affirmations.

Sometimes they are blatant and super obvious.

Other times they are subtle and easy to miss.

And every once in a while they are so perfect and meaningful, they fill your heart with joy.

I wish I knew how to bottle this feeling up, this joy. But I know that to fully savor it, I have to live in the moment - in the here and now.

And just like that - an old Built to Spill song comes on my playlist, the sun peaks out of the clouds and brightens the day. We'll see if I'm this stoked tomorrow during a field test on the bike. :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pinch me.


Lots and lots of sun.

I've doubled my cycling tan lines in the short week I've been here. I can't wipe this shit eating grin off my face either. Every time I ride up to Manitou, a little mountain town 20 minutes from downtown toward Pike's Peak, I have to pinch myself. Even today, after a brutal group ride where we covered 50 miles in just over two hours, both water bottles completely empty, body suffering in the altitude (Colorado Springs is at 6200 feet, Manitou at 6400), an unmistakable smile spreads from ear to ear.

My backyard is Pike's Peak. Down the street sits the Garden of the Gods. Across the street, literally, is a park where they teach outdoor yoga, every day. And everyday at 2pm like clockwork a thunder head rolls in, dumps a little bit of rain and then gets sunny again.

Someone on the group ride today told me this area gets more sun than Florida. YES!!!!

It is perfect and exceeding my expectations. Come check it out for yourselves.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Taking the leap....

Thirty plus hours of driving and well over 1500 miles in three days and we're here. It's the first morning in the house and the sun is shining, the sky a brilliant shade of blue and birds happily chirping outside.

This place is cooler than I thought it would be.

The house is funky and built into a hillside. it is perfect.

Directly across the street is a park with a fountain and community garden plot. To the south and out a bedroom window I have a view of Pike's peak. Out the other bedroom window I watched the sunrise this morning. A perfect spot to write my book.

A lump builds in my throat, tears flood my eyes at the realization of how far I've come and rebuilt my life. I am astonished and am embracing this moment. To say I am joyful and happy is an understatement.



Monday, August 15, 2011

Jiggidy Jo Jammin....

I made five batches of jam yesterday. Blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, boysenberry and mixed berry.

Yum, yum, yum, yum and YUM!!!

I had one last bonding session with my kitchen before I seriously pack things up and get ready for the wagon roll out on Friday. The past few weeks have flown by and the last few days before my departure date are zooming.

I will savor the fruits of my labor come winter. I'll be that much more thankful for taking the time, standing over the stove in the cool Seattle days of August, and putting a lot of love into that jam. Anything worthwhile take time and a whole lot of love.

Leaping Leprechauns!

My living room has an odd assortment of boxes. I'm cheap and don't want to pay for boxes that will just get recycled. I've been sorting through the objects in my house that have been collecting all my life. I'm being brutal about getting rid of things that clutter up space. I marvel at how much money I've spent on such random stuff over the years - rain sticks, drums, kitchen gadgets, bikes, etc. And I vow to never buy anything new again... until I do.

I keep coming across hidden gems, ones long since forgotten. Ryan's leprechaun outfit... the one he wore for Halloween when we were 20 and got so pissed drunk off a spody that he blacked out. Don't be fooled - I was hammered too and dressed up as a 350 pound lumberjack. Picture us, if you will. Ryan, in green tights, knickers, plaid sport jacket, red beard, green felt hat, elf shoes and a crooked cane. And me, plaid shirt stuffed with a pillow, size 48 pants with rainbow suspenders, black beard, lumberjack hat, doc Martin boots and quadruple Ryan's size. At some point in the evening, some friends and I thought we should add wood chips to enhance my fake black beard and used bread crumbs. Nasty. I have pictures.

We were smart enough to walk home night in the cool fall air of Bellingham. The leaves had mostly fallen from the trees, blanketing the streets in a slick leaf carpet. Ryan wanted to make out - despite my large stature and bread crumbed beard. Feeling far from sexy, I insisted he walk on the other side of the street. And then I watched as he swung his crooked staff to knock a low hanging branch and somersaulted in the air, landing flat on his back in the middle of a pile of leaf sludge.


I peed my pants.

We got back to the house, and I was still hysterically laughing. I made him strip off his wee outfit in the mudroom since he was filthy. It was then thrown in a plastic bag, where it's remained ever since. And that's what I discovered this morning.

I didn't pee my pants this time. But I sure did get a kick out of recalling that night.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


There's something about acoustic music that makes me want to write. Maybe it's because it puts me in a relaxed state of mind and I can let my thoughts wander from between my ears to paper.....

I'm between raspberry jam batches as we speak. This is the first year I haven't gone out to Remlinger farms to pick the berries myself, but to say I'm slightly pressed for time is an understatement. Luckily I'll have two dozen of jars to make the journey with me to Colorado. They'll serve as a midwinter reminder of the northwests summer bounty.

It's crazy to think I've never lived outside of washington or Oregon. But I must explore. I must see what's out there. I want to dry out my skin, hair and soul in the southwest. I want to surround myself with dozens of fourteeners, endless single track and less oxygen. It feels so right, this exploration, this grand adventure.

Life is short, and I'm making the most of it.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

We interrupt this broadcast with the following message: connecting with a friend who has been in your shoes is priceless. I repeat, priceless.

Thank you, Emily, for meeting with me tonight. The sushi at Shiro's was perfect and the company fantastic.

And for the record, we shut that place down.


Monday, August 08, 2011


I probably would have stayed in my pj's until 1pm yesterday had Heidi not shown up. I needed a lazy Sunday morning and can't remember the last time I shuffled around the house and watched a marathon of True Blood episodes. Legs propped up and blinders on to the dozens of boxes filling my living room. I recharged my batteries and it felt really good.

I chatted with a woman this morning on the phone who said if she ever had to move again she would just take a match to everything she owned. Amen, sister. Amen.

My garage sale was a small success but I wish everything would have sold. Instead random objects are gone - and a lot of goods remain. But rather than bring them back into the house to deal with, they're in my garage waiting for Salvation army to stop by and pick them up.

I'm getting rid of all the stuff that has some how accumulated in my house. A match does sound easier.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Another sign of bravery.

Oh yeah, that's me. On my Novara Big Buzz, circa 2003. Seattle to Portland. Rocking the camel back, squeaky baby doll head on the handle bars, and braking for no apparent reason while sporting Smith Slider sunglasses.

We all start somewhere.

The only thing that hasn't been swapped out by team gear, a road bike and streamlined clothing is that big whopper doozy of a smile. That's remained constant. :)

In 2004 I got myself a new Pink Kona that loved to pass men and bought the commemorative postcard photo of myself. And to think - I thought I was hot shit!

If you send me your address I'll send you one.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

I am brave.

Bravery. What does that mean to you?

Courageousness, daring deeds, acts of heroism, audaciousness, a quality of spirit that enables you to face danger or pain without showing fear.

In the past three years, I've gained a new perspective on what it means. I've been overwhelmed this past week with physically dealing with inner demons and ghosts. I'm stirring up the dust that has settled in my basement and not backing down.

It is easy to forget when things are out of sight and out of mind. Yet for some reason, when you're faced with dealing with something or not - it seems perfectly reasonable to put its judgment off until later, to delay sorting through messy emotions and feelings. We suppress things because they evoke an emotional charge - and it's much harder to deal with something that isn't positive. So naturally, we put it off. Or at least, I do.

Trophies from childhood, rock climbing gear, hockey gear, a ten year old wedding dress. Things that remind me of my past but now mean something different. Like what it's like to live life beyond losing your spouse. Like how you have a choice on how to pick up the pieces and move on.

I have been given a fresh start, a new beginning. The gaping hole in my heart has been filled and expanded in other ways - ones that I wasn't expecting. And in ways that have my heart signing again. As I sort through the things in my basement, I know that I am making room for the new adventures and love in my life.