Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dare to dream.

As I age, my purpose on this planet becomes more and more clear. As I discover who I really am, what makes me happy, what I love to do, what I feel passionate about, what makes me tick - I start to realize those dreams I had as a little kid are coming true.

It can be hard to admit what those dreams are.

(Cue Monster music....) What if someone thinks they're silly? Who cares! What if I can't make them come true? Won't you always wonder if you don't at least try? Am I afraid of failure or success for that matter? Wouldn't you rather risk happiness then be stuck unhappy for the rest of your life?

I'm about to do something crazy. 

I'm going to share with all of you my childhood dreams.

Drum roll, please........

I dream of being a professional athlete.
I dream of being a motivational speaker.
I dream of being a writer.
I dream of helping others admit their dreams and go for them with gusto.

There. I said it.

If you don't admit your dreams, if you don't take a risk and go for it - then you'll never know if they can become a reality. So, what are your dreams?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tsunami Flash Flood.

I couldn't walk down the street fast enough. Tears were coming, and they were building quickly. I didn't want to run into anyone, didn't want anyone to see me. I tried thinking of things that would make me immediately happy - riding, sunshine, Colorado.... anything to not feel the depths of grief coming at me in tsunami proportions.

But they still hit.

I haven't been in my old house in three months. Not since I packed up the uHaul and headed east. I thought I had said goodbye to my old attachments. Thought that the furniture I left in the house wouldn't weigh me down. Thought that having my sister live there with her things inside the house would make everything okay. Thought that dealing with Ryan's clothing in August and separating myself from constant daily reminders would make things easier.

But it didn't.

I walked right into this one. On a whim last night a friend mentioned she's building a massive climbing wall for her husband and children to enjoy. Thinking of the thousands of holds that fill my basement where Ryan poured hours of blood sweet and tears into his passion, I wanted someone else to use what he had left behind. She showed up this morning and as we took down two dozen jugs and wooden holds, my protective wall started coming down.

I've dealt with a lot of shit since he passed. A lot of shit. But that doesn't mean that you're over dealing with stuff. It doesn't mean that feelings and emotions won't resurface. It doesn't mean that your immune to tears, immune to feeling loss. It is always there. It just visits with less frequency.

After she left, I couldn't get out of the house fast enough. I know I'll need to come back. I know I need to deal with what remnants I left behind. I know that if I really want to close that chapter in my life, then I'll need to get rid of as much as possible. And it's not going to be easy.


And to think, this morning as I was driving back to my mom's from the gym I felt so incredible. So happy that I did the right thing by moving. So excited about what's to come and the possibilities that lie before me. And I still am - I just got sucked into a flash flood of emotions.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I spun down Gap Road,  heading south on wet pavement. The horses and cows  sometimes jump in fright as the sounds of my bike were carried down wind. I assume that not many cyclist roam these parts, or at least not lately. I play a game with each one, hoping I'd spook them and then regret that I had, pedaling toward the next innocent bystander. One time I scared a flock of 50 sheep and watched as they moved like the wind away from me. When I ran out of livestock, I started counting electrical poles. I neglected to bring music today and found my mind wandering.

Winter  is well on her way, despite some trees having most of their leaves still attached and just now starting to change colors. Oregon sure is green. And wet. It's been a while since I've brought a bike down to these parts and roaming the quiet country roads is the therapy I was hoping for.

Three plus hour rides whirl by and not a single route repeated and only a handful of trucks zooming by. I roll through the hills and bank right, heading toward the wide open and often windy Willamette valley. These were my stomping grounds as a kid. Except my road rides were from our house in south Eugene to the river and back. A far cry from the open country roads I play on today. The land is so fertile here. It is no wonder my brother calls it home, its natural beauty easy on the eyes and sweet on the soul.

I look down valley toward Eugene and see Spencer Butte, the biggest mountain we had around growing up. Its summit is probably 700 feet. I smile, knowing I require bigger mountains and now I have them. In fact, my new Spencer Butte has been super sized with Pikes Peak measuring in around 14,400 feet. I also realize this mountain fixation has been with me since I was a child.

Today we head back up to Seattle, where i'll spend my last couple of days here hanging with friends and figuring out what loose ends to attack on another trip. My sister loves living in my old house and I am happy for her. But it's time for me to deal with things since I left in such haste, such a whirlwind of packing and sorting. It was so worth it. I love where I call home now and I love who I can call home with.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


We walked into a spotless house. George and Jaimie had put everything away, vacuumed, and thought of every detail - not a small task with two kids and an army of toys. I have a hard time keeping my own house clean when it's just me so I can only imagine what it is like for them. Even with toys scattered about and things out of place, their house is so welcoming, so warm. I love it. I love them. Family.

My sister and I made the five hour car trek south early this morning from Seattle to Brownsville, Oregon. A stop here and there, three naps later and only one ten mile stretch of bumper to bumper traffic in the pouring rain saw us entering Linn County, the grass seed capital of the world.

Oh, Brownsville. A town of 1,500, where the movie, "Stand By Me" was filmed and where the town mayor was once arrested for her husband growing pot, employing the local high school students to distribute and within 1/4 mile of school grounds. Dave Letterman caught wind of that story, aired it on national television and this sleepy little town added a little more to its claim to fame. My big brother was one of the arresting officers and has his own stories to share.

But normally it's so quiet here you can hear the crickets chirp and count a sky full of billions of stars.

Tonight I sleep in Coleman's room, with a ceiling decorated with model airplanes and gadgets and gizmos covering the floor. He's nine now and growing so fast, as kids always do. We giggle and laugh as I tell him stories about bears and raccoons in Colorado and his eyes widen and a smirk spreads from check to check when I tell him my only weapon to fight them off is a plunger.

"Oh, Jenny!"

It's good to be here. There's so much to be thankful for. I'm savoring each moment, each story shared and getting soaked in the rain. I knew a month of no rain would eventually catch up...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bona fide bad ass.

I reconnected with a friend from another lifetime last night. A world filled with jabs and upper cuts, of pink gloves and sparring matches. Fancy footwork, jumping rope, and exhaling with each punch. Two minute rounds and broken noses. Titles, national championships, world's.

It was so good to see her. We talked non-stop for three hours. Ten years of catching up.

Oh boxing, my first serious athlete pursuit. I miss parts of it, that goes without question. I don't miss the head trauma and injuries. But being that kind of all body fit definitely has its allure. And a lot of the mental fortitude crosses over into competitive cycling.

Ten years.

My head is still spinning from all of the stories we shared. Of all the things we've experienced that shape us into the strong women we are today. She's still heavily involved in the boxing scene. In fact, getting female boxers into the 2012 Olympics is in large part due to her unrelenting efforts. Talk about a bad ass.

The night flew by.

She moved to the Springs at the end of August and I am stoked to have an old friend in the area. Someone who shares an old love and understands the boxing world. Think track cycling is a small niche? Try women's boxing.

And yes, I'm grabbing my wraps and gloves when I come home this week for Thanksgiving....

Thursday, November 17, 2011


They lie hidden beneath the bed.
They lurk behind a closed cabinet, waiting.
They spring up on you when you least expect it and grab hold so tight it feels like they may never release their grip.

We all have them. The little monsters of self doubt. The demons of self destruction. The wizards that freeze you to inaction.

Why do they hold such power over us?

And why is it the closer you get to a goal, especially big ones, the monsters rear up louder than before? Testing your strength and will to accomplish what you set out to do. Do you listen to them? Do you heed what they say? Or do you take what they say and make it work for you? Do you go somewhere that summons more strength so you can stare those monsters straight in the eye and let them know they hold no power over you?

My personal monsters flared up the other day. The one's that insist I get a serious job. That insist I stop doing what I love and am passionate about all in the name of conventional "happiness." And in the moment when those voices are loudest, they're hard to ignore. But after the simple passage of time, they die down. I regain my strength. I visit powerful places in my head and exorcise what ever may be left.

I am doing what I love. I am living in this moment and I am happy deep down in my bones.

What are your monsters? And how do you fight them?


I don't mean to rub this in but it hasn't rained here in over a month. Unless you count the snow. Each morning I wake up to brilliant blue skies and a UV level no lower than 3. Yep, that big old dose of Vitamin D does make a difference. Usually I'm singing the blues this time of year - praying for an escape to sunnier locales. Not the case this year.

Granted it is COLD in the mornings. Last night temps dipped to 11 degrees. Moonli crawled between the sheets and refused to get out. It was like waking a dinosaur. He was so sound asleep, snoring up a storm and I couldn't stand it any more. The puppy is LOUD! This morning he gave me a look of "why'd you kick me out? I thought we had something special?"

The sheets went straight into the washing machine.

Makiah is stoked on her long fur coat. It's stained with red rock but she's warm and happy.

I've been going to 24 Hour Fitness twice a week for several weeks now. And every time I'm in there, no matter what time - it is packed. This is one fit city! I got spoiled at Sound Mind and Body when I was one of twelve people in the entire facility. Now I'm one of 50-75. And surrounded by muscles upon muscles. It's inspiring.

I don't wear nearly as much dark clothing as I used to. When I throw on dark jeans, a black shirt and dark sweater I feel out of place. Bring on the color!

My cycling clothing has to be modified. Instead of being dialed for the wet and cold, now I need to dial in clothing for the seriously sub-Arctic temps experienced here on the front range. I can tell you this right now - riding outside after dark is not really an option. I prefer to keep my fingers and toes attached to my body. But I have a secret weapon.

But there are days, several of them, where the daytime temps reach the upper 50's. Combine that with sun and well you've got one happy girl.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Teenagers occupy the couches next to me while two women chat it up in the window booth at Marika's coffee house in Manitou. Pearl Jam plays over the stereo and if it were raining outside, I'd swear I was in Seattle. Except I'm not. The air is brisk and smells of wood burning stoves. The wind cuts through my wool layers and I've been stoking the pellet stove every night for the past two weeks.

I picked this seat so I could observe what's going on around me- to soak in the happenings of this little community. I should have gone with the caffeinated version of my drink as I can barely keep up with the whirl of conversations going on around me. It's giving me energy though and for that I'm thankful.

The sun set over the mountains as I walked here - it's 3:15 and already starting to get dark. Being at the base of a fourteener provides multiple reminders a day of who's boss. Yet I couldn't shake this undeniable feeling - the pinch me, I must be dreaming feeling. I've written about living in Colorado for ten years and to have it become a reality still seems like a fantasy.

Now, if I can just figure out some sort of work situation, I think I'll be in business.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Jiggidy jo jammin- JIVES!

I promised myself that I'd get out in the community more - and Jives is the perfect spot to start. It's located in the new neighborhood we'll be moving to next month and right across the street from the library. They have an open mic night every Wednesday and as soon as I polish one of my short stories, I might find enough courage to tell it in front of an audience.

Big, comfy winged back chairs, the kind you'd find in a study, the Carpenters playing over the stereo, soon to be new neighbors going about their lives.

Wait, hold the phone, you're moving next month?

Yep, you heard that right. Less than a week ago I was on an innocent recovery ride, cruising through Garden of the Gods, down Pikes Peak and saw it - a perfect house for sale. Tons of curb appeal, a fenced back yard, garage (let's be honest - read: bike corral)... it peaked my curiosity. I grabbed a flier, stuffed it in my jersey pocket and forgot about it for a couple of hours. Later that night I showed it to Benjamin.

"That's nice."

The following day I called the relator, scheduled a 11:15 appointment to see it. On a whim, Benjamin decided to join me. Things just fell into place. The interior matches the exterior. Built in 1904, the house retained a lot of its original character - crown moldings, hardwood floors, funky door knobs and thresholds. Except it's been completely updated. Gas stove, stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, honey-comb tiled bathroom with Kohler fixtures, breakfast nook, lots of storage, more storage, a full basement.

We. Fell. In. Love.

Less than a hour later, I called the relator back and started to get mortgage broker numbers. Two hours later after a pre approval, we put an offer down on the house. Later that night the seller had another offer. Because of our timing, we were given priority and the following morning we found out the seller accepted it! And we've been over the moon ever since.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Catch up

The book is coming along. I've been busy working on it for the past few weeks along with training and with the change of daylight savings it feels like the days are whizzing by. I suppose they always do, especially once Halloween has come and gone and the holidays on its tail.

The intro came to me today like a light bulb being illuminated. It is so powerful.

More to come - life is whirling right now!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Back in the swing

Oh, October. I miss you already. Your non-commitment, your lack of discipline, your easy demeanor. But it's November now and it's time to regularly move my body and get it ready for a long season ahead. Hello prescribed workouts!

Suddenly my laundry and appetite has doubled. My free time is spent recovering. My meals are planned around my workouts and I am back into the swing of hydration and walking as little as possible.

It feels good to be back on the straight and aero. I mean narrow.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Left field.

I had a rough night last night.

It sneaked up on me without warning.

But in retrospect, I know why it came. Why it still makes me tear up this morning. Why it paralyzes me. Why I have puffy eyes that aren’t suitable in public.

When you miss someone so much and you don’t give it time and space it will force you to recognize it. Some turn to booze, some turn to drugs, some turn to self inflicted pain. Some just cry.

I just cried.

It’s a new day today. And I’m summoning all my strength to find the beauty in it and not be sad.