Monday, December 31, 2007

Catching Up!

Sorry friends, I am just not myself right now during this first trimester. We're almost through the worst of it and I think I am starting to feel better. There hasn't been anything to post about because I'm not doing anything interesting to write about unless you consider laying on the couch with the dog and reading a book interesting. Likely not! I'm supposed to start feeling better in the next few weeks and I'm really looking forward to that time. Here are some photos from the past few weeks...

My parents drove over from Spokane with my sister for Christmas. This was a great relief to me because it meant we didn't have to travel to see family and that my mom would take over the kitchen and take care of me for a few days. There is nothing like a mother's care when you don't feel good. I felt a little bad that I had to nap so much but everyone seemed content to hang around the house watching football and goofy movies on the big TV. For Christmas I got Bill a wool jacket and a set of "professional" poker chips which meant we got to play poker until midnight (why did I do that?) My parents got him the required sweater and one of those electronic weather units, you put a small unit outside and the display inside and it tells you the temp outside and the temp inside. Neato! Of course I read the manual and set it up for him which leads me to Bill's gift to me...

Bill got me a wool coat (I know, we're matching and that is disgusting) and a heart rate monitor. I didn't help him pick out the HR monitor (I'm the tech geek in the family) and this is where he and I are hilariously different. After I read the HR monitor instruction guide I said, "Um, honey, it doesn't take splits." To which he said, "Why do you need splits?" This coming from a competitive triathlete (!?!) so I explained to my husband, who has qualified for the Hawaii Ironman twice, how you can record your HR and your interval time during your workouts. I don't think he cared about this "feature" but I think we'll take it back and wait for the new Garmin to come out. The Garmin connects to a satellite tells you your pace, time, distance, heart rate, and your splits should you care. What do I know though?

This past Saturday we finally made it out into our local forest, I felt like I hadn't left the house in months. We found some snow for our little friend to play with and it gave the dogs a fun place to romp.

Sunday we got out for a walk in the park with the dog and that was it for me. I'm still so dang tired, I spent the rest of the day reading "Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follett. It's an Oprah book club selection which I typically avoid, her choices are usually overly dramatic for me, but this book intrigued me. Here is a little summary from Amazon:

"Set in 12th-century England, the narrative concerns the building of a cathedral in the fictional town of Kingsbridge. The ambitions of three men merge, conflict and collide through 40 years of social and political upheaval as internal church politics affect the progress of the cathedral and the fortunes of the protagonists."
Doesn't sound very interesting but it is, the writing is good, occasionally long winded (the book is over 900 pages) but I haven't put it down since Bill got it for me. I enjoy reading historical books and it's fun to imagine what living during this time in history must have been like.

One exciting thing from Sunday: the Patriots vs. Giants game! This past summer we went to a going away party for one of Bill's friends. He had been drafted by the Giants, he's from small town Oregon and was headed off to NY to see if he could make the team. Well he made it and the starter in his position got injured a few weeks ago and he played on Sunday and scored a touchdown for the Giants! It was a great game made all the better by watching this kid turn into a hero. It was really fun to watch and we're hoping the best for his future career. It couldn't happen to a nicer (or larger) kid.

I'll try to post more but to be frank, I don't feel like myself and I am prone to whining so it might be best for me to just kept to myself. Pregnancy does not become me, at least not yet.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Swimming and Early Pregnancy

Photos of maternity swimsuits available at There isn't a single suit in their maternity section could be used for actual swimming.

Almost as soon as the Dr. confirmed my pregnancy she began to discuss exercise and pregnancy. I think that with the obesity problem in this country there are good doctors who feel inclined to impress upon pregnant women that this is not a free pass to Fat Land. I'm pretty sure that my Dr. does not know I am a triathlete, she is an OB/GYN and I had no reason to tell her this fascinating tidbit about myself so when she said, "Swimming is great for pregnant women!" I said, "Great! I already swim with my husband in master's swim 3 times a week." She paused and said, "Wait a minute, do you race swim in this class?" to which I replied, "Yes, it is a competitive class." She pointed her finger at me and said, "No racing. You should not get out of breath or overheat while swimming."

I was relieved we had this conversation because I think the majority of doctors who tell pregnant women to swim are envisioning a slow front crawl with some side stroking or easy back stroke mixed in. I would bet 98% of these doctors have never seen a master's swim class let alone participated in one so their advice on swimming has to be taken with a big dose of caution for competitive swimmers. Good swimmers swim hard, that's how they got good, and it is nothing for a competitive swimmer to hold a hard pace for an hour or more with little rest and intense intervals throughout the workout. I am a wanna-be competitive swimmer and I do know how to hold a slow pace but I also enjoy pushing myself and doing a mix of easy and interval training. In a class of competitive swimmers it is difficult for me to watch my peers swim away from me when on a good day I would give them a reason to push the pace to stay ahead of me.

Since I am still in early pregnancy (the first 3 months) it has not been easy for me to pace myself or even get to the pool as much as I used to. I'm tired (I took 3 naps yesterday), I feel like I have the flu, some days I have cramps (hooray uterus expansion!) and my core muscles aren't as available for flip turns and kicking. I have had a few days where I felt good and swam a strong set only to find myself exhausted and feeling sick afterward.

Soon I will be in the 2nd trimester where it is rumored that I will feel better and have incredible amounts of energy. The temptation will be there again to swim hard so I will have to continue with self discipline and enjoy the journey of pregnancy. The journey will not be an easy one, look at these hideous swim suits, there isn't one you can lap swim in. The ladies in my master's swim class have offered their old suits so I can look forward to wearing see-through, baggy suits very soon. Some other joyful things about swimming and pregnancy:

-People stare at you. At first they are looking to see if you are getting fat and then they appear to be fascinated by any change in your body. If you see a pregnant woman or someone you think might be pregnant, please, do not stare at her in a swimsuit or coming out of the shower. I don't mind my friends looking at me but men especially, mind your own business, this isn't a biology tutorial. You want to see a pregnant woman, get someone pregnant and see if she'll let you look (I doubt it!)
-Hair grows faster when you are pregnant so you get to shave and then shave again.
-Hot showers make me nauseating so the treat I used to enjoy after the swim is not a treat anymore.
-Your tendons are more pliable to prepare for birth so there is increased risk for injury from overdoing it.

I know there are women out there who stay very active throughout their pregnancies and have no trouble at all. The risk for miscarriage is low once you get past those first vulnerable months so I think some active women push through the early sick time and keep up the pace as much as possible throughout their pregnancies. I admire their tenacity and resolve but this is not the path for me. Moderation is my key, I would never forgive myself for doing too much and having the Dr. prescribe bed rest or even worse, harming our baby. Hopefully, I will have many years to lead an active lifestyle, now is not the time to be superwoman. Hopefully it will feel good to let my competitive edge go now soon.

My plan to is continue to swim, walk, do yoga (at home), aqua jog, and snow shoe on occasion. That's enough for me. No two workouts per day or bike riding and running for me. For me, that's about right and sadly, it's probably way more than the huge majority of pregnant women out there. Who can blame them though, have you seen these swimsuits?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Cute or disturbing?

FYI, if you don't hear from me, I'm just trying to get through the day and don't have the energy for socializing or blogging. Things should be getting better for me in about a month, until then, I don't think anyone wants to read about my thoughts, they are almost completely focused on not getting sick and staying awake.

Last night Bill and I watched the movie "Four Minutes" about Bannister's attempt on the 4 minute mile. It was a decent movie and we enjoyed the DVD extras that showed the actual coverage of key races. I would recommend this movie if you are a fan of running or like to be inspired by stories of athletic achievement.

I woke up early this morning and turned on the light to find the cat and dog in bed with me. The cat and dog appeared to have been cuddling and they both kind of jumped up like I busted them. The cat was purring and they both looked a bit disheveled. It was kind of disturbing really.

I'm planning to write an entry about early pregnancy and exercise which will likely be the most useful thing I write in the next month or so. In the meantime...

Marshall helping me wrap gifts by warming his bum on the fire

Cassie in major chill mode onher favorite blanket

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

This is Looking Pretty Real Now Friends

We went in to the Dr. today for an 8 week pregnancy exam and everything looked good! Yeah! She did a quick ultrasound and measured the baby to be 8 weeks and 5 days and projected the due date to be July 25th. In the photo you can see the baby's bum at the upper left (inside the smaller dark section--the larger dark section is my full bladder which is a whole other story) and in the lower right part is the baby's head, if you look really closely you can see two plus marks where she measured, that is the baby. Bill saw the heart beat again today and he looked very excited about it, it's so nice to have him with me, normally we gals handle these things on our own but Bill is dealing with the women's section of the hospital just fine.

So I think I might actually be pregnant. For real. Because I am 35 they are recommending an "ultra screen" so next week I get to go in an provide 8 vials of blood for them to run tests on. I seriously think this could be a major catastrophe in my little world. I have passed out 3 times that I can remember from seeing my own blood and one time I cut my finger (just barely) and my mom had to rush me to the ER because I passed out and convulsed. I also peed my pants. I'm not kidding around. Of course I was a teenager then and likely anemic but 8 vials!!! I thought they were going to take it today so I drank a bunch of fluid so I wouldn't be dehydrated and make it even worse.

Once they do the blood work I go in for a more in depth ultra sound and they will use the blood work and the ultra sound to determine the likelihood of genetic disorders. Some disorders are terminal so we are not out of danger yet but we are looking good for everything we know now.

I am not feeling so good and really struggled to swim yesterday (nausea) and aqua jog today (more nausea) so I haven't yet found a type of exercise that doesn't make me feel sick. I'm going to keep trying. Well I'm off to go drink a banana smoothie, I couldn't eat the dinner Bill prepared for me so it's back to the bananas. :)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Holiday Madness

Just checking in so that no one is worried, we've been busy this weekend and I haven't had a lot of time for blogging. Friday and Saturday nights we had holiday parties and we have been Xmas shopping, wrapping, and baking and getting everything ready to be shipped on Monday (yikes!) I've been yawning my way through the weekend and might even be relieved to go back to work tomorrow. I hope your holiday preparations are going smoothly. I'll load some photos from the weekend tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sauerkraut and tater tots

Yesterday I had an intense craving for a Reuben sandwich and tater tots. I hate sauerkraut and I haven't had tater tots since I was 12 so that can only mean one thing: I really am pregnant. Profound isn't it?

We started a book called "The Perfect Mile" by Neal Bascomb and have enjoyed the first chapters. It's a recounting of three men (including Roger Bannister) trying to break the 4 minute mile record (for running). Back in the 1950s, around 50,000 people would attend running events. Can you imagine that? Awesome. The book also touches on Emil Zatopek who won gold medals in the 5,000, the 10,000 and the marathon at the same Olympics! They described him out doing a 20 mile recovery run after his 5,000 gold medal race. Here's a little profile on him:

Emil Zátopek

One of the greatest runners of the 20th Century, Emil Zátopek achieved legendary status when he won the 5,000, the 10,000 and the marathon at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki.

"The Locomotive" or the "Bouncing Czech" as he came to be known, dominated long distance running from 1948 until 1954 when he won a remarkable 38 consecutive 10,000 meter races, including 11 in 1949 alone. He set 18 world records over various distances including every record from 5K to 30K, and won four Olympic gold medals and one silver.

He was the first to run a 10K under 29 minutes and the first to run 20K in one hour.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fun Things

Photo of my friend Cathy wearing a fleece skirt I made her at a cyclocross race near SF. Cathy is one of the women that is forming Team Xantusia, the women's triathlon racing team. Soon I will have more updates on that, we are finishing up developing the web site and our mission. I've been pretty busy with work and so I think part of the reason I get so tired on the weekends is my brain is always running.

The holidays are a busy time for everyone and we are so fortunate to have family and friends to think of during this time but wow is it work! I've actually purchased gifts for about half of the people on my list, we don't have a ton of money so we're trying to be thoughtful on a budget and it has not been easy. I tend to take these things on to do all on my own but I realized today that my husband can do some of this stuff too so yeah! He has officially been recruited. If someone out there gets a funky present from us, don't blame me, it was probably you know who ;) Friday is the holiday party for my office and Saturday a friend is having a party. I think I will get some rest some time in 2008. Is January too late to send out holiday cards?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer

"Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer" by Lynne Cox is an inspiring account of a chubby girl who found her calling in life and didn't back down from it, even though her calling is swimming long distances in brutal conditions. I read this book over the weekend, it's a quick read with a casual tone and I guarantee you will be amazed at what this woman has accomplished. Loved this book, I hope you read it if you haven't already, it will inspire you to think differently about challenges and about people who pursue them. I can't think of many people more athletically accomplished than Lynne and will think of her often when I'm in an uncomfortable situation in nature. Read this, it is excellent!

Prior to this I read "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson and I apologize now to all Bryson fans but I thought it was a bit weak. He sets out to walk the Appalachian Trail and let's just say there are more descriptions of the towns than trails and he doesn't stay true to his goals. He has a great sense of humor but this wasn't what I was looking for when I picked up a book about walking the trail. I should have realized that the size (small) of the book would indicate how far along on his journey he got. Sorry Bryson fans.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

It Snowed Today

I didn't blog Saturday because the entire day sucked, I had to push myself out the door to walk the dog and my stomach complained most of the way, I spent the rest of the day laying on the couch reading "Swimming to Antarctica" by Lynn Cox (love it!). I was determined that Sunday would be better and it was thank goodness. We slept in and got out around 10:30 am to get a Christmas tree. Since this is Christmas tree farm country, we were able to get one for $5 from a local youth group. Out of nowhere, it started snowing so the day became more fun and festive and I was able to keep my energy level up. I thought we need more ornaments so we drove over to Albany (there are literally no stores in Corvallis except Kmart that would sell a box of ornaments) and did a bit of holiday shopping.

Our friends are remodeling their daughter's room so we offered to babysit Samara while they wrapped up their work so our little buddy came over and decorated our tree for us. I told Samara she was pretty cool to be only 4 1/2 years old and decorating such a big tree. We had a blast with her, it was much more fun hanging ornaments with her. We fed her dinner and ice cream (shhh) and we played with the dog until her parent's came to get her, she didn't seem to want to leave and that made it even better for me. I think we're ready for kids. I've been doing a lot of complaining about how I feel so I hope people don't think I'm not excited or grateful to be pregnant, I am, it's just a rough road so far. I actually looked at baby and maternity stuff for the first time today and I am looking forward to a lot of things but I can say for sure that I am not looking forward to maternity pants. Yikes!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Joy to the World

Bill swam the 200 IM in 2:28 and I'm so nauseated I can't eat vanilla ice cream. Sounds about right doesn't it! I was happy this morning to hear some women from the OSU swim team were going to drop in on our swim workout today and put the hurt on Bill. In the end I think they all kept each other honest, he held their pace for the 50 fly (which surprised them) but they dropped him by the end of the first 25 back. Accomplished swimmers are so amazing to watch, their flip turns and push offs are incredible. You can tell many hours of practice and hard work have gone into each part of their stroke, to me it's like watching a dancer. Even though Bill met his goal for the 200 IM he must have felt slightly dissatisfied because he challenged the girls again for another go around on the last heat (which they declined) so he swam it alone in 2:29. I watched from the bench and then one of the curvy women in class offered me her old swim suits for when I get bigger. Great day for me. I need to go brush my teeth since I have the taste of stale Saltines in my mouth. :)

Thursday, December 06, 2007


I got home today and noticed our older kitty had a clump of white hair hanging out of her mouth, the same color and texture of hair from the younger kitty as a matter fact, apparently there was a bit of a brawl. Before you feel bad for the little one, yesterday I found her biting the older cat's head while the older kitty yelled, something the little one was able to do since she was laying on top of her and had her in a head lock. I think they are playing with each other but it's getting kind of crazy around here.

Today was good: Bill sold his Subaru Forester to a 16 year old young man who was very excited to be driving his first car. Bill told him to take good care of it and was happy to sell it to someone who would appreciate it but we are both sad it is no longer in our driveway. Bill had a lot of memories in the car before he met me and together we have very sweet memories, our first camping trip together, taking Marshall home from the shelter, moving all of our crap around to the many places we lived together. It's sad to say goodbye but we have new beginnings to be grateful for and a check that will help with the debt we've accrued while Bill was in school. So we can breath a little easier today, I'm going to do a big exhale now. ahhhhhh well I better go see what those cats are doing...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

PR! for Bill

Today was a great day for Bill, he PR'd his 100 free time by 1 second and is leading our swim class in our meet. His times so far:

100 Fly 1:06.9 (Monday)
100 Back 1:09.1 (Monday)
100 Breast 1:23.2 (Wednesday)
100 Free 0:58.7 (Wednesday)
Friday: 200 IM his goal is sub 2:30

I'm very proud of him, of course he is the biggest slacker in class, shows up late and takes a while to "warm up" but he always seems to pull great times. Very neat! Coach tried to get me to swim 100 free for time so I hid in the corner of the pool and was able to get out of it. The Dr. forbid me from racing so what would be the point of swimming for time? I swam 100s and 50s while everyone raced and had a fine time swimming by myself. I did miss it though, I have a bit of fitness lurking inside that would like to come out. I'll wait until I'm hugely pregnant and then show up for the last meet and try to swim fly. In a bikini. HA HA!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Stormy Weather

Photo from The Oregonian newspaper. I think we're through the worst of a winter storm that hit the NW this past weekend. There were hurricane force winds, flooding, and high surf on the coast and there were some power outages. Here in the valley we had non-stop rain for 2 days and high winds but the only effects we saw was a severe case of cabin fever in our animals. I walked a block to the post office yesterday and got soaked despite having an umbrella. I feel sorry for our new neighbor that just moved here from the east side, I told them that even though it rains here it often clears up at some point during the day so you can get outside. (Yeah right)
Tuesday is President's coffee at the university, it's a holiday open house and they serve lots of yummy treats and good coffee. I might have to skip it, I can't drink my beloved coffee anymore. I tried this weekend and despite a good effort it wouldn't go down. I also skipped the first part of our swim meet yesterday, I did the warm up and then swam in the cool down lane while everyone else did a 100 fly and 100 back for time. Just a little depressing, not bad though. I think the weather is about to clear so no worries, we'll get out for some good exercise with the dog soon. Hmmm, what's that dark cloud doing?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

How Low Can I Get?

I woke up this morning, ate cereal, and talked Bill into making cinnamon rolls while I watched "Project Runway" on the couch. Shortly after eating the deliciously warm cinnamon roll, I passed out on the couch and woke up an hour later with a fork jabbing me in my side. Yes, I napped with a fork and it didn't bother me one bit, I'm sure it will get lower than this. I'm so tired, when I let myself rest I'm done. I'm still able to eat so I can't really complain but I did have to go buy some scent free lotion today because anything with a perfume scent makes me sick. Perfume is wretched to me right now. blah!

Another thing that makes me queasy: the Oregon Duck's football helmets. I don't think it's pregnancy that's causing the ill feelings here, those helmets are just ugly. At least the Beavers beat them in double over time this weekend. That made me feel better. Not much else to report, we did a lot of hanging out and sleeping this weekend. Very wonderful and not exciting!

p.s. I thought the Ironman Hawaii coverage on NBC was great although it would have been cool for them to feature the female swimmer who led most of the swim only to be overtaken by a drafting male at the end.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Small celebration

Bill and I went to the Dr. today for the first ultrasound and the Dr. asked if she could be straight forward with what she needed to say and we assured her that we would prefer that. She cautioned us about the chances of miscarriage and we confirmed that we understood and she quickly started on the ultrasound and right away we could see, there is something there! I didn't just imagine the symptoms, there is the start of a baby growing inside of me! Bill and the Dr. thought they could see the heart beat, I was lying down and couldn't see much but they both thought it was a heart beat. She measured the sack (?) and put me around six weeks instead of eight.

She told us this is a small celebration and that we will know more at 9 weeks when they can do a better measurement and confirm growth is occurring. She counseled me on nutrition and exercise, skiing is out this year and I need to be cautious with running, keeping my heart rate below 130 and all exercise has to be done at conversation level. I was glad Bill was there with me, I'm still a little overwhelmed and scared but today we have something small to celebrate. Cheers friends!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Boys of Everest

I picked up The Boys of Everest before our road trip down to AZ and read it to Bill during our long daylight hours in the car. We're almost half way through the book and Bill likes it and I am not so thrilled with it. I love the stories about the climbers but the writer tries to imagine what they were thinking during climbs and that doesn't sit well with me. He could have written 100 less pages and made it a good book. Will not read Clint Willis again. boooo from me.

I'm reading "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson on my own, it's a comedic tale about a writer who walks the Appalachian Trail with very little hiking experience. Love it so far.

Tomorrow is an important day, we go for our first ultrasound and I am anxious to hear a heart beat. I can't really think beyond that except I will talk to the Dr. about an additional test to screen for any genetic problems since I'm 35. My friend had a screening test that combines blood work with an ultrasound and determines the likely hood of problems. If it's one in a million then I wouldn't worry. If it's one in one hundred then I might have another test done.

We're having friends over on Saturday to watch the Hawaii Ironman broadcast on NBC and we'll watch the Civil War football game Ducks vs. Beavers. Go Beavs! We have a shot since the Ducks qb is hurt, poor guy.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

That Woman Who Won the Marathon Right After She Gave Birth

I got to yoga class right before start time and the room was crammed full of people so we squeezed into a spot and immediately I'm uncomfortable. It's warm, people are breathing heavy and if I spread my arms beyond my narrow yoga mat I will touch my too close neighbor. That's it! I almost walked about before class started but Bill urged me to stay longer, which in the long run... didn't help. BYE BYE strange denizens of yoga class, I will do my yoga at home with the company of my kitty cats.

Now that that is over with, I'll probably replace that time slot with aqua jogging or walking on the indoor track, maybe some light weight lifting. Who knows what I will be able to do as I get bigger. Speaking of that, I can't tell you how annoying it is when people say something about "that marathon woman who had her baby and then won the NY marathon a month later." OK people, the woman is a genetic freak, she is one of the few women on the entire planet that could do that, she is not any woman. I ran into one of our hard core Ironman friends who recently had a baby and asked her for workout advice while being pregnant and she said she couldn't run her entire pregnancy because it hurt. This same woman lead off the bike at Ironman Florida not so long ago. I think I'll just see what happens. Paula Radcliffe is an out lier on the charts people. I think if one more person says that to me I'll say something about Bill Gates and how he made millions without a getting a college degree and how we should all try that. MEOW!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It Must be the Twinkies

I told our swim coach that I was pregnant since we have a swim meet next week that I won't be participating in after having trained for it the past few months. We dive start off the blocks and part of the meet is 100 fly and I am making the decision to participate in swimming class for fitness and not for racing while I'm pregnant. I had built up some fitness for the meet so it has been difficult in class to back off suddenly. I could do the swim meet by starting off the wall and just cruising but that would likely cause attention to me and distract people. I think I'll just sit on the bench during the meet and eat Twinkies.

Coach was happy for our news and I told him I might be getting bigger over the next several months. He said, "People are going to think you've been eating a lot of Twinkies ha ha." I liked that so much I've decided that if anyone asks me if I'm pregnant I'm going to shake my head and tell them I am addicted to Twinkies and I can't stop eating.

Today is yoga class, I've missed the past two weeks while we were out of town and last week I was at the Dr. during class. I'm not sure how yoga class will go now that I'm nauseated, I really hope I don't fall over or pass out. I think I'll be doing a lot of "Child's Pose" during class while everyone else is doing head stands.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'm Pregnant!

Shocker isn't it!?! We decided to take a break for the rest of the year from fertility drugs and wait for January so the short term disability I just signed up for could kick in and OF COURSE the instant we stopped trying I got pregnant! I'm seven weeks pregnant right now and will go to the Dr. for the first appt. on Friday. I found out last Saturday, I went to a friend's house to grab her dogs for a run and she asked me to take it easy on them and I started whining about how I still wasn't feeling good even though I was off fertility drugs. I told her I could hardly run because my breasts hurt and I had cramps but my period just wouldn't come. Her eyes got huge and she said, "well that's probably because you're pregnant!" to which I denied profusely.

She freaked me out enough that I asked Bill to go to the store and buy a home pregnancy test (poor guy) and BAM! It was positive. I quickly got panicky because in the past my progesterone tested too low to sustain a pregnancy and I had to wait until Monday to get blood work done. My progesterone came back normal (for a pregnant person) and they told me I was six weeks pregnant.

It has taken me this long to be able to write about it, I needed a little bit of time to process this, everyone wants me to be excited but right now I'm scared. And nauseated. And really, really tired. I'm worried that I could miscarry, so getting past a few milestones like the first ultrasound will make me feel better. We've told our immediate family and friends and I'm writing about it here since I've already been so open about it, I would like to share this part too. And I'll be honest about it, I'm happy but it's mixed with caution. I'm not ready to pick out names or talk about the future. We're dealing with this one day at a time and mostly I'm dealing with it by sleeping. The animals are very helpful with naps and Bill has been cooking whatever random things I think I can eat. Last night it was bananas and peanut butter. I can eat, but I have no appetite and the smallest thing turns my stomach so I'm trying to stay away from the kitchen.

I won't let my blog become a detail of pregnancy woes and I hope my regular readers will forgive me for staying away for a while, I needed some quiet time to take in this blessing and be with Bill. It's a little overwhelming to be pregnant after months of trying and then giving up but it feels great. When I'm not sick! Thanks to all of my readers for sharing in my life, I know there are women out there reading who are trying to get pregnant and I wish the best for you. Enjoy drinking martinis and eating great food while you can! I can barely drink tea anymore let alone my beloved coffee. Yuck! Don't think about it!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Team Xantusia update

Sneak peak of our new uniform

We've made some great progress on getting our women's triathlon racing team off the ground so far and I think we'll make even more progress with the long holiday weekend coming up. One of our members, Michelle from Portland is in graphic design school and designed a uniform for us that I think will be adorable! We also had several people volunteer to be club officers and we've outlined those assignments. One person has drafted a sponsorship letter and we're working on defining a team mission so we can communicate it clearly to recruit new members. We are going to have so much fun with this next year, the women I've met through this are just great and I'm so fortunate to have friends abroad. Another positive note: my friend Lesley from our 1st camp is about to give birth! Don't worry girlfriend, I won't post your pregnancy picture! You'll have your flat abs again soon!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Taking Care of Me

My puppy and kitty like to make sure I take good naps. We did something kind of bad on Sunday, we put the dining room table in the garage and added some reclining chairs we got from Bill's parents and moved our large couch to the dining room so now we have one big living room and no dining room. There has to be something wrong with that but we're going to have fun with it for now. The new big screen tv is a monster and made our house seem even smaller but it's fun to watch so I think it will stay. The rain that plagued us all weekend has left though so I think the animals will be happy to go outside again. Or they can stay inside and take care of me some more.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Redundant shower

The dog was feeling a little lonely coming home after his week long adventure so we went to a friend's this morning and borrowed their dogs for a fun walk/run in the park with Marshall. It was raining pretty good this morning but it was also warm (mid 50s) so even though we got wet we all had a great time. When we got home I took my wet clothes off and got in the shower and thought, "that was redundant!" since I was soaking wet from being outside.

I just had the laziest day ever. Bill got the hand-me-down big screen set up with a friend's help last night so I basically spent the day on the couch enthralled with the huge picture. We're about to go over to a friend's house for dinner and I have a baby shower to attend tomorrow. I probably won't do more than that this weekend but I will post some photos tomorrow. I'm too lazy right now.

Friday, November 16, 2007

How to win at gambling

Our trip home went well, we left Phoenix around noon on Tuesday and drove north through Nevada stopping at Hoover Dam and looked at the nearby Silverman triathlon course. We went drove into Las Vegas just as the sun set and came upon the city of lights from out of the mountains, Las Vegas is a beautiful place, from afar, and at night. We drove part of the strip for Bill but didn't stop since we had a van full of furniture and a big screen tv that Bill wasn't willing to risk with a valet. We spent the night north of LV in Beatty in a little road side hotel that gave us some coupons for a nearby casino. We used the free beer coupon and cashed in the other coupon for a $1 worth of nickels. Since neither of us know how to play slots we picked the easiest 5 cent machines and played for about 20 minutes. I won $5 at one point so we cashed out and got out of there before we blew our winnings! ;)

We woke up the next day to the reality that we hadn't made enough time on Tuesday and that we had a monster drive ahead of us to get home Wednesday night. Our next stop was Reno for lunch and we were surprised to find that we really liked Reno. It is surrounded by mountains, has many nearby lakes (including Lake Tahoe) and is on the border with northern California. We saw signs for a Sierra Trading Post Outlet so we pulled off the freeway and did some quick shopping and refueled on gas. We noticed a Whole Foods, a division of Microsoft and some other high tech companies and some other great shops. Reno is now on our radar as a potential place to live, it's the right size, has an airport, and is surrounding by outdoor rec possibilities. A total surprise to us!

Long story short: we slogged through the rest of the drive and got home around 11:30 p.m. and had to unload the van so we didn't get to bed until after 1am. I had to work the next day and had meetings straight until 2pm. I thought I was going to fall asleep but I made it and got home for some serious couch time with the dog. I'll post some photos this weekend of the new TV and some more shots from inside our house and the finished painting we did. I have no plans this weekend. Yes!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pitstop: Phoenix

We drove the cargo van to Phoenix on Sunday, marking the turnaround point for our journey. Bill's parents are giving us some furniture and my sister-in-law has given me a truckload of baby stuff so the van is now packed. Marshall is having the time of his life, Sunday night he accidently jumped in the back yard pool, I don't think he knew what it was but he does now! Monday the kids were off from school so Marshall got to spend all day playing catch and swimming in the pool. I think he's having fun. The visit is way too short, but it is always good to see family. I'll post more pics when I get home, for now, we're headed north via Las Vegas so wish us a good desert journey...

The Beginnings of Team Xantusia

Photo taken from the road just north of Mt Shasta. We left Oregon on Thursday around 1:30 pm and drove almost non-stop through northern California, stopping once for mexican food dinner (delish) and finally we pulled over and slept in the cargo van somewhere south of Modesto. We finished the trip to our first destination around 11 am on Friday, arriving at Xantusia (Dan and Monty's compound at the foot of the San Gabriel mtns). Since Marshall dog was with us we had to spend some time integrating him into their 7 dog pack, he handled it great and went on to have a great weekend with the dogs.

Friday night I had some wine with Cathy and we started working on the foundation for our women's triathlon racing team. It will initially be comprised of women who have attended past training camps at Xantusia and we will be called "Team Xantusia Slowtwitch Women's Racing" and our slogan is "Work Your Tail Off" which is straight off the sign at the entrance of Dan and Monty's place. FYI, a xantusia is a lizard (like a gecko but not one). Bill was tired on Friday night, he made an assault on the local mtn for an 11 mile time trial and ended up just short of breaking the women's record. Oops, I probably wasn't supposed to tell anyone that.

On Saturday we went for a run with Dan whose idea of a run is to just run straight up a mountain and then back down again. No problem. I walked with Cathy and Dan's wife Toni while Bill kept pace with Dan. He looked a little sweaty when he was done. After lunch we went on a short bike ride and ended the day drinking margaritas on Monty's new patio and watching the sun set. We are going to help Monty have some great parties on his new patio and there's even some rumblings about him getting a bigger hot tub which we'll help him use too!

We had a great meeting Saturday night about Team Xantusia, we set out some goals and needs for the team and made a lot of headway on figuring out what we want. We would like to inspire women to think big, work hard, and achieve new levels of success while having fun and networking with women with like-minded interests. We will have an element of volunteerism and we will hopefully inspire more women to join us at our future camps. The camps are going to kick butt, we've got some great plans! The idea for the team came to me over the past year as I made some excellent friends at past camps and have stayed in touch and cheered for all of the women I've met. Pulling everything together for an official team will be a major feat but the rest of the ladies have taken this one with enthusiasm and we have a great start and some good connections. I am really excited about this project and having another outlet for my energy and!
When we left Xantusia on Sunday, one of Marshall's new buddies (Nelson) tried to jump in the van with us and almost refused to let Marshall go. Goodbyes are always bittersweet, even for dogs.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Greetings from Xantusia

Bill and I drove ~10 hours on Thursday and slept in the rented cargo van with the dog outside of a hotel off of I-5.  You might think that's not very accommodating but Bill did manage to stop in one of the few roadside places in central CA that had a Starbuck's so I was happy with it.  We finished the remainder of the drive, ~4 hours to Dan and Monty's and arrived around 11am on Friday.  Marshall got to meet some of the dogs of Xantusia and we had some lunch before gearing up for a bike ride.  

The weather here is great! Mid 70s and sunny so perfect riding weather.  Bill made an assault on the mtn where Dan and Monty have a 11 mile time trial. He didn't quite make the women's record so I think he'll be at it again today.  I'll post pics when I get to AZ on Sunday.  Today we are watching the 70.3 championships online and we'll head out for another bike ride and a run later.  

We drank some wine last night and tried to come up with a list of names for a women's racing team. Dan is letting us use "slowtwitch" as part of our team name so we just need to come up with the rest of the name.  We're planning our next training camp in April and will hopefully have uniforms and other gear by then.  Either way, we'll have fun training and partying on Monty's new patio.  Can't wait for training camp and to see the rest of the ladies. 

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I've Outdone Myself with a Crazy New Idea!

I apologize for not getting a post up yesterday, I had a dinner party for the local tribabes Tuesday night after work and didn't sit down until 10 pm. Tonight I've been packing for a major road trip. Bill and I "planned" a last minute road trip that will have us gone for a week, we've rented a cargo van and we're headed toward Phoenix to pick up some furniture. Here's our trip:

-Thursday drive to San Francisco and staying with Katy (approx 9 hour drive)
-Friday drive with Katy down to Xantusia, Dan and Monty's place north of LA. We'll hang out there for a few days, ride bikes, hot tub, socialize with some of the ladies of slowtwitch (Cathy, Erin, Amy, Katy, and more will be there) and work on our goal to start a women's racing team (more on that later).
-Sunday drive to Phoenix and stay with the parents for a few days. Load up the van with a big screen tv and some other great furniture and hit the road again
-Tuesday drive north 1/2 way, I don't know how far we'll get but we're planning to drive up through Nevada
-Wednesday drive home

The dog is coming with us (yeah!) and the cats will enjoy our house sitter who won't be distracted by the dog. I will post pics from Xantusia and Phoenix, we'll try to see some good sights and have a great time. Nothing like a quickie 2600 mile trip to shake up our week. Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Ha! I almost got it together!

Bill found the camera cable and I think I fixed the ads. Drama over. We had a busy weekend, Friday I had cocktails with the girls downtown in Corvallis. We ended up at a wine bar for wine and chocolate fondue so of course it was a wonderful time. Saturday we were up early for a walk/run then drove up to Salem for Bill to play disc golf while I shopped (quickly) at Nordstom. Then we went to Casey and Bridgette's famed wine tasting party. Everyone brings a bottle of wine which is put in a cover and set out for people to blindly taste. You guess which type of wine it is from a provided list. We tasted 7 reds and one white. You also vote for your favorite wine. In the end, the cheapest bottle of wine $2.50 won for best tasting and the host won for the most correct guesses. I got 4 (lucky) and Bill got 3 (really lucky). Fun times!

Sunday we went to church for the 1st time as a couple (I'll get into this later) and then I made a quicky turkey dinner while Bill and another couple watched football. I didn't sit down to relax all weekend until 7pm on Sunday. Now you know why there haven't been any posts!

I must be cursed

I can't find the camera cable so I haven't been able to post photos from this weekend :( and I signed up for google ads (triathlon related) because my friend's husband told my husband that I was missing out on big $$ by not advertising on my blog and now I have gay auto ads showing up that I haven't been able to get rid of. I think I'll call it a day.

We're trying to plan next weekend and we're slightly freaking out. I am supposed to head down to CA to meet some friends to start a women's racing team (triathlon). I didn't book airline tickets in time so I was planning to drive down and then realized how close it was to Phoenix and thought we could make a side trip over and pick up some furniture from Bill's parents. So now we're trying to plan a ~ 2,600 mile road trip in the next two days. And I'm hosting a party tomorrow night.

I gotta go, I'll get it together and post photos as soon as possible.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Get a spatula, I need help getting off the swim deck

(Photo of an Australian Olympic swimmer i.e. not me by a landslide). Coach wanted to end swim class for the week with a bang so after 1000 yard warm-up he told us to put on fins and gave us a set of 6 x 50 fly. Then he said, "Take off your fins and get out of the pool!" which means race time. We did 2 x 50 fly for time with the instruction to stop if we lost our rhythm. I was able to crank out both 50s in 0:00:40:0X. That's 40 seconds and change for you non-obsessives. The good news: I did both at a consistent pace. Yeah baby! Even if it is slow, I paced myself well to get it done. I have to celebrate the small things.

Hopefully I will improve that and work up to swimming 100 fly in the next 5 weeks because that will be part of the swim meet at the end of the term. I was able to swim a 200 fly two years ago and I recall feeling like someone should get a spatula and peel me off the deck. I felt a little bit that way today too. I have some work to do.

Meeting the ladies downtown for martinis tonight! Cheers!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Testing Sappy Photo Program

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Trouble Will Find You

This weekend looks like it will be the opposite of last weekend. Friday night I'm meeting the south town homies for happy hour (ladies only) and Saturday we're going up to Salem for a wine tasting party. Basically everyone brings a bottle of wine and you have a blind tasting of various wines and whoever guesses the most wins more wine. Obviously Bill and I will not be contenders, he barely drinks and I haven't had much wine since I met him. It should be fun to watch other people get lit up.

We had 1 trick or treater last night. I didn't put up any decorations this year so maybe that's why we didn't get as much traffic. I had an eye exam Wednesday afternoon in downtown Corvallis and there were trick or treaters everywhere. The downtown businesses provide treats which I guess is a safer environment for the kids. All I know is we have a Costco size bag of candy which will be serious trouble for us. This will lead us into overeating at Thanksgiving and Christmas and spending early 2008 working off the fat. The mini Butterfingers are worth it though!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sprint finish

Saw this on Slowtwitch today and had to post for anyone who missed it, this is awesome! I'm going to recall this the next time I'm in a sprint finish since I keep getting the beat down in the shoot.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Fall Weekend

I overdid it just a bit this weekend, just a bit though. Saturday I took the dog on a hike with a friend and the weather was so spectacular that I decided to get on my neglected triathlon bike and set out on a ride with Bill. He was headed up Mary's Peak so I rode about 15 miles out with him and then came home by myself. By the time I got home I had spent about 3.5 hours exercising.

I have missed riding and the familiar sites I love like Christmas tree farms...

and fields of green grass...

and the trails and trees of the coastal mountain range...

It's easy to overdo it on a lovely fall day. On Sunday we took the dog to the local forest and spectated a 15k trail run. Typically Bill races this event but his ankle injury has prevented him from trail running recently. After the race we dropped the dog off and went to Costco for much need nourishment and then did a mini marathon house cleaning session and I made some hats for

This is what I looked like by Sunday night...

Friday, October 26, 2007

A legacy

Last night we went to a dinner to celebrate our swim coach and his 50 years of service to OSU. 50 years is an amazing amount of time to spend doing anything and our coach took the faculty staff fitness program from nothing to over 800 participants and 40 classes. He was also the men's swim coach back in the days when they had separate gym's for men and women and the men swam in the nude. There was lots of joking last night about coach wearing shorts no matter what the weather and how could his legs be pasty white despite the exposure but most of the evening was spent appreciating his influence on so many people and their fitness.

When the Dean of Health and Human Sciences started at OSU coach asked her to describe her exercise routine and she said, "Well I used to run!" and coach said, "But what do you do now?" and within the week he emailed her to let her know that she could meet him to walk at 5:30 am everyday. Bravely she met him for the first walk and stuck with it for the past several years.

The Dean described at the dinner that coach had led a frugal life and had saved up $20,000 and started the Bill and Judy Winkler fund to help with research projects on healthy aging. I don't know too many underpaid people that save up their money and then donate it back to their place of business. He is quite an inspiration and will leave a lasting legacy at OSU. I'm very proud to have met him and I am inspired by his generosity.

Here is a link to a brief summary of his story.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Falafal Mess

I went to the pool this evening to do my first swim test in quite a while. The goal was to do 5 x 100 all out and see what kind of times I could put down with minimal training. I made the unfortunate decision earlier in the day to dine at the local Mediterranean style restaurant near campus and indulged in hummus and falafel. Later in the day I stopped in at an open house in the bldg where I work and had a piece of pepperoni pizza and some chocolate treats so by the end of the day there was quite a chum of food mixing in my stomach.

Given my "no excuses" frame of mind I drug myself to the pool and got in even though Bill had to bail on me to do a mock interview with his career counselor. As I warmed up I felt my quads and calves burning from the previous day's run, I believe that yesterday I was all happy with that feeling but today it just hurt. It took about 1000 yards to shake off the soreness so before I bonked I started in on the 100s. The goal was to swim the last 100 faster than the first so I took it out at a moderate pace. Coming back to the wall I was disappointed to see 1:32 had passed. That was kind of slow. I decided to focus on body rotation for the next 100 and came in at 1:34 and realized I wasn't getting any faster. After the 3rd 100 my stomach started barking and I just finished the next 100 at the same pace since there would be no afterburners today. I did force myself to kick harder (imagining my feet as flippers) on the last 100 and came in again at 1:32 so victory was not mine.

The swim is my nemesis but I still love it. Next week... I'm laying down some faster times and there will be no falafel on the menu. I forgot how I used to eat bland oatmeal all the time when training hard. I want to improve my 500 free time and this is where I'm starting.

I had a great work day, we toured a facility where they are doing a bunch of collaborative research with nanotechnology and microreactors. The research is done with faculty from various Oregon universities and local businesses and is funded by state lottery money. Smart people are cool, most of what they said was over my head but it was incredibly inspiring to see the amazing things they are doing. One Oregon business is using the technology to make portable kidney dialysis units and they are really close to launching. This is great news for Bill's mom who spends a lot of time in dialysis facilities now. I hope this works for people like her soon!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Watch it wiggle

We had a great walk/run tonight, typically I pressure myself so much to run farther and faster, it's nice to take it slow. I'm starting to feel that great tired feeling you get when you TRAIN! Tomorrow I'm skipping swim class and doing a workout with Bill, I'm swimming 5 x 100 for time with the goal to make the last 100 the fastest and he'll swim 1.2 miles for time. I've never negative split 100s before, we'll see how that goes, I will post my times here to keep myself motivated. Bill wants to get in peak swim shape for next season so I'm scheduling swims for myself to get him to the pool.

We've got some fun things coming up, the university is having a special dinner on Thursday for our swim coach who has been at the university for 50 years! I think we'll even dress up a bit for the dinner. Friday we'll be attending a party for friends to say good luck at Ironman Florida.

Wonderful thing today: the weather was in the 60s and I got to run after work in shorts. The leaves on the trees have all turned and I'm wore shorts! I kind of missed my tights though, they tend to keep the jiggle under control better.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Never In a Hurry

I'm always in a hurry, always busy, always planning. We had an event on Sunday so I decided to slow down and take my time on Saturday. I spent almost all day working but at a slow pace and without pressuring myself. I took about 60 photos of items and prepared inventory for the Beaver Fever on Sunday. Saturday I spent most of the day in the living room working and alternated between watching the Dallas Cowboys cheerleader reality show and football. I actually learned something from the cheerleader show, the first thing: those ladies are very focused on being a cheerleader. They aren't joking around. Most of them said it was a goal since they were a child. I think where some of them fall short is they set their goal to be a cheerleader but they don't think beyond that. Example, they have them run 2 miles for fitness and one of the girl's was upset because she's used to running 1 mile. Given that this woman had probably made so many sacrifices to get where she was why would she let 1 extra mile of running get in the way of her goal? Why not aim for 3 miles of running or even 6 miles of running? She probably hasn't eat bread in 6 years and I know she got up at the crack of dawn to primp herself to workout, why not throw down the hammer and leave the other chicks in the dust!

I guess there's a reason why I'm not trying to be a DC cheerleader (other than my bra size!) Seriously though, if you're going to set goals, set some of them beyond what you think you are capable of and see how you do. challenges me and I have to be careful to not let that get in the way of focusing on my husband or my day job. There is such a thing as being too challenged and I like to walk that razor's edge for too long sometimes. I need to slow it down a bit.

After working most of the day on Saturday I talked Bill into another walk/run, we went out in the rain for close to an hour. We're doing good though, we warm up by walking 10 minutes, then run 1 minute and walk 4 minutes, repeat 1 & 4 a few times and then do 2 minutes running with 3 minutes walking and then 3 minutes running and 2 minutes walking. It feels good to run for the short bouts. Hopefully Bill's ankle will get strong and I will get back into shape in the next few weeks and we'll be doing 10 minutes of running and 2 minutes walking. But we won't rush into that. We're not in a hurry here, just taking it slow. Yeah right... After our workout I hit the wall and passed out on the couch. We had to get up at 5am on Sunday to go the the race and Bill was whining about getting up early so I tried to inspire him by telling him that if he wanted to be a DC cheerleader then he was going to have to get up early and plan his outfit. I don't think he was inspired by my speech.

We had a great time at the race, you should do this race if you bike and run, it's well done and lots of fun! Plus you can say you did the Beaver Fever duathlon, that's pretty cool.

Friday, October 19, 2007

That's Just Weak

I'm on a fitness kick right now after taking a year off to try to start a family. We decided to hold off on the baby goal until 2008 so I'm giving myself some space to pursue the things I love. Throughout the fitness time-out I continued to swim, although I only participated in about 1/2 of the class. I still have a bulging disc in my neck and problems with arthritis so I took it easy in the pool for quite a while to see if it helped. It didn't. When I don't swim my upper body gets tense and I'm genuinely uncomfortable.

Despite all of the excuses the fact is that I was just wimping out in swim class. If the sets were too hard, I shortened them. If there was too much fly, I swam free. I got used to taking the easy road so I decided that now is the time to stop being a wimp. I'm staying at class until the end and doing as many yards as possible and the strokes the coach calls out. I'm going to swim in the next meet and hopefully I will PR (shouldn't be too hard considering how slow I swim). Time is not the goal though, being mentally stronger is. When I got out of the pool today, I was exhausted and I felt awesome. I love that feeling!

Happy thought for today: I requested a raise and it looks like I'm going to get it. I've worked for 6 years at the university and had only small raises, this could be a bigger one. I'm so happy I stayed at my job through some rough times, I think it's going to work out.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I Think I Love My Husband

Last night we watched the movie "I Think I Love My Wife" starring Chris Rock. It's an OK movie, I think it's a remake, but it's worth watching as a couple just to get you thinking about how we take the things we have for granted. In the movie a female friend tries to seduce Chris Rock away from his wife and family. He was bored with marriage and tempted by the fantasy of being with another woman.

I won't give away the rest of the story in case you want to see the movie but it reminded me of some discussions I had recently with friends. I think most women at some point have questioned whether another woman has pure intentions with their partner. I've seen women flirt with my husband and seriously, he is so clueless about these things, he really has no idea when it is happening.

Recently there was a woman who I felt was trying to initiate an inappropriate relationship with my husband. Now don't get any hot ideas, she was a former classmate and wanted help studying, alone, with my husband. It could have been completely on the up and up and her intentions could have been pure but as far as I'm concerned she can go take a hike. It's nothing personal towards her, but there's a difference between hanging out with a guy from class and hanging out with a married guy from class. So bye bye co-ed!

I know Bill thought she was harmless and that I was overacting but that's my right and he honored that. We don't want to be in situations where things get misinterpreted or could compromise our relationship. I think there is societal pressure to not over-react and to allow "harmless" flirting. I know I have gotten myself in awkward situations in the past by allowing harmless flirting and it really sucks to find out that your best friend was only hanging out with you because he thought something else could happen. That sucks.

I'm blabbering like always. Something that made me happy today: it was really windy all day today and the branches and leaves were roaring from the wind. That is such an amazing sound, it reminded me of being out hiking on a ridge. Something that made me happy yesterday: our swim coach came back after being gone with a bad back for several weeks and yelled, "Erika! Your fly has improved but you're bending your knees too much on the 2nd kick!" Yes!!!! I'm going to start saying one thing that makes me happy per day. Aren't you happy about that! ;)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Oh Mother

We had a great weekend on the Oregon Coast, stopping off first at the top of Mary's Peak on our way out of town. After a trip through the coastal mountain range we stopped off for lunch and clam chowder and garlic bread and then went to Yachats (pronounced YAH-hots) on the coast. Marshall did enough surfing in the ocean and running playing soccer on the beach to wear himself out so we were able to leash him up to go to the tide pools at Cape Perpetua. This is where Bill proposed marriage to me last year only then it was low tide. Sunday was high tide and the waves were coming in with genuine ferocity. We sat in awe of a blow hole and watched the ocean rage from a distance.

Next we drove south to the Oregon Sand Dunes Recreation area and this is where I found renewed inspiration. I looked down this beautiful flat stretch of beach that was virtually deserted and felt deep in my soul the urge to run. Look at this area on a map, the stretch of beach is so long, I just imagined running along for hours with the wind to accompany me. I was moved and I totally didn't expect it. My impression of sand dunes are places where red necks wreck havoc with their dune buggies. So this area caught me off guard, I can't wait to go back. That's not to say that I'm going back to running completely again. I have to keep body fat so I can get pregnant but I'm going to concede to run/walking and eating lots of healthy food.

Anyway, the weekend with my mom and sister was great. Both of them needed to relax and get out of their routines and I'm oh so happy to push them along to new experiences. My mom makes me laugh, she commits to whatever she's doing with lots of zest. If it's running from Bill up a sand dune and falling on her face, she'll do that with everything she's got. She cracks me up. My sister is always surprising me as she grows up, she's 9 years younger than me so I literally remember the day she was born and have tortured her ever since. Not really, the nice thing about my relationship with her is that we have lived separate lives with the same parents, I was gone by the time she was getting in trouble and she was too young to see the trouble I got in (mostly). We do respect each other and have lots of love, it's special but not in the "lets cuddle and talk about our inner most thoughts" kind of sister way. Yuck! Actually, I don't know anyone like that, what am I talking about?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The funniest photo I've ever seen

OMG! Click to zoom in on this photo! We were at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area with my mom and sister this weekend playing around near the beach when Bill picked up a long piece of seaweed or kelp (?) and started swinging it around like he was going to lasso the dog. I knew he would start coming after us girls next so I told my mom and sister "Run!" and quickly I was atop a sand dune and turned around because my mom was screaming so I whipped out my camera to capture this dear moment. Don't worry, it ended well, he tossed the kelp aside and my mom hobbled up the hill unharmed and Bill said, "You're like those people that get killed first in horror movies! You freeze when you're being attacked!" I don't know who is stranger, her or him. Either way, they keep me laughing. What a bunch of weirdos! Soon after this my sister said, "This has been great but I want to go home and eat pizza and watch football, there are some great games on today." Bill was all happy to hear that. grrrr.

Sorry for the delay in blog postings! We had company all weekend and I'm particularly busy with work and trying to get back into shape so not a lot of free time but I vow to blog more. You can hold me to it. I have some more great photos that I will post tomorrow (Wednesday) but for today, I need to go eat and spend some time with my book. I did 50 minutes of walk/run today and 50 minutes of yoga, I'm finally feeling better and I'm ready to get back into shape a bit. But I promise to blog too! Cheers!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Identity crisis

We finally got started on the process to change my name, one year after our marriage. What a pain in the butt this is! We had to go to the county court house (open only M-F 8-5) during my office hours 4 times to fill out paperwork. First they give you about 10 pages of legal documents to fill out and charge you $99 to file. Then they post your name change request on a board for two weeks and you have to go back and sign more papers and then they post again for another two weeks. Finally you go back to pick them up and then you are done, with them. I also had to go to the social security office and next will be the dept of licensing for a new driver's license. I will also have to change my name at work (email, HR, retirement, and union) and my banking (business, personal, and mortgage) and my passport will have to be updated. My credit cards, accounts, and business license will have to be updated. I'm sure there are other loose ends I haven't figured out yet but all of this and I get to have a new name that no one knows!

If we weren't planning to have a family I would not have done this. It's too much. I have a professional reputation (small but it's mine!) and people from my past will not be able to find me. When future employers call references for "Erika Fleck" my old workplaces will not know who that is. Someone asked me, "Why are you changing your name?" Well folks, it isn't for me I'll tell you that much! I did it for my husband. I think more women will choose not to change their names, especially with people getting married later in life. I know this causes issues for some couples and the bottom line is this: either the woman changes her name or she is that woman who won't change her name. Good grief!

Well I'm feeling somewhat better but still have an upset stomach and fatigue. I got an energy surge last night and started prepping for the upcoming Beaver Fever Duathlon. I think I was inspired by the arrival of six boxes of beach towels that arrived yesterday (that was painful to pay for) but I have an assortment of colors on hand now. Building inventory is expensive but you can't sell what you don't have. I'll put up some pics of new stuff next week. My mom and sister are coming for a visit this weekend so I'm looking forward to having lots of fun! I'll post pics if we have time!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

wah wah wah

I have the flu and Bill does too! I'll write again when I feel better.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Girl's Weekend in Hood River

I'm back and refreshed after a fun weekend with the girl's in Hood River, Oregon. I met these ladies through the slowtwitch triathlon training camp and we decided to bring together the NW gals for a fun weekend. Two of us were from Oregon and one from Idaho and one from Washington. Hood River was a perfect meeting point and a great town. The town was revived by windsurfers in the 80s so there are plenty of cool restaurants and shops to explore. We stayed at the Hood River B&B which is just a few blocks from the main street downtown.

Our first order of business was a short bike ride on the historic Columbia River highway (it's closed to traffic now) which was splendid on a crisp fall day. Soon enough we were off to the pub for martinis and appetizers to wait for our new friend from Idaho. Once Sheri got there we walked around the booming downtown area and realized that it was First Friday and there were lots of people out and about. It was quite a scene but we found a great place to eat and the girl talk began in earnest.

Our b&b made us a great breakfast Saturday morning (the owner is a swimmer and we swapped stories over breakfast) and went off for a brisk morning hike with views of the Columbia gorge. Afterward we had coffee, showered and hit the town for the microbrew festival. There was live music and vendors and we really enjoyed a local troupe of Brazilian style drummers that entertained in between live music sets. It was a fun atmosphere and really enjoyable although the brewers all seemed to represent with an IPA so it was hop city there. IPA is my favorite type of beer but dang! Hoppy!

Later we had more cocktails and went out for a late sushi dinner. Actually, I didn't have any cocktails because my stomach was revolting on me but I'm not going to whine about it here. Let's just say I'm taking a few months off from fertility drugs (completely off) so I can feel normal again. Anyway, the crowd was a bit boozy so we didn't linger too long (one woman was showing her newly purchased breasts to her dining companions) and walked back through town and back to the B&B for more girl talk and bed. Sunday we enjoyed another fabulous breakfast and went SHOPPING at the great shops there. I bought doggy stuff at Gorge Dog and I believe some hats and other fun items were purchased for kitties and doggies (not me this time!). After a quick lunch we all headed out and I made it home at a reasonable time today. It was a great weekend and the only question that remains: when can we do it again?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Meow! It's time for girl's weekend

I have the day off tomorrow and I'm headed to Hood River for a girl's weekend! Wooo ho! I'm meeting up with some ladies I met at triathlon camp last year and we're staying at a B&B and planning to hike and bike this weekend. There is also some whispering about a microbrew festival (cheers!) so it should be quite fun! Hood River is a quirky little town nestled in the Columbia Gorge and is home to the windsurfing type of crowd. There are plenty of fun shops and restaurants so we'll have plenty of fun. I'll have lots of pics from the weekend adventure on Monday.

I will be offline through Sunday so have a great weekend! Here are some kitty pics since it's been all about the dogs lately.

Baby Cassie

Big Cassie

Nothing to See Here Folks

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I'm not on drugs or am I?

My embroiderer is drying onions in her house so everything I take to her comes back smelling like, well, onions. So I've been laundering everything which is an extra step in the process for me and makes me want to buy an embroidery machine asap (which I won't but I like to pretend I will take out a loan and get one). That isn't even the strangest thing that's going on, I walked into the bathroom today at work and there was a lizard in there with a message "I'm here to save you" now what strange person puts that in the bathroom, hanging out over the toilet paper dispenser and furthermore, what other strange person takes a photo of it and posts it on their blog? That would be me. But I didn't put it there!

Oh man sooooo I was supposed to take a break from fertility drugs which I did but lo and behold my body ovulated on its own so I had to call the Dr and she put me back on drugs in case I got pregnant. I'm pretty sure I'm not, like 95% sure, but I can't stop taking them until we're 100% sure. Not quite the break I was looking for, I woke up last night with hot flashes and the sleep I was getting is starting to slip away again.

The good news in all this is I made it to open enrollment for insurance at my work and now I get to sign up for short term disability insurance which I didn't have before. For those who might be unaware, the United States of America is one of a small hand full of countries in the world that provides ZERO benefits to families for maternity leave (unless you count FMLA which gives you time off but it's unpaid). I am lucky in that I can get short term disability insurance from my job that will cover 60% of my salary for 13 weeks but the coverage doesn't kick in until I've exhausted all of my vacation and sick leave and then I have to wait an additional week (with no pay) before the coverage kicks in. (sarcasm on) It makes a lot of sense to force a working mom to exhaust all of her leave after she gives birth to a baby. Because babies don't need special care or have to go to appointments if their moms work. (sarcasm off)

Presently, I am the sole provider of income for my family so if do get pregnant it will be our loss financially if I take time off. This is another reason to delay starting a family, Bill is looking for a job in a competitive field and we have no idea when his career will resume. If I were to have a difficult pregnancy we would be in trouble before the baby even got here. It upsets me that I have a stable job with good benefits and I feel like I'm left out in the cold when it comes to this subject.

Here are some stats on parental leave world wide:
  • From the top of the list: Algeria has 14 weeks at 100% paid maternity leave with 3 days paid paternity leave
  • At the bottom of the list: Zimbabwe has 90 days maternity leave at 60%/75% pay
  • To be clear: the USA has 0 paid days paternity and 0 paid days maternity
  • The majority of American women are working moms (personal note: all of my local friends who are new moms work and most of them work full time)
  • Compare our country to this, "In the UK, all female employees are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave, 39 weeks of which is paid, with the first six weeks paid at 90% of full pay and the remainder at a fixed rate."
Sources: and

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

South Town Homies

Here are some of the photos from the South Town Homies shoot on Saturday. I'm working on loading them to my site for ordering the dog t-shirts. Great pics! Great dogs!

Sunday, September 30, 2007


Every year our community pool closes the outdoor pools for the winter but has one last bash to close out the season: doggy day at the pool! This was the first year I could take Marshall and what an event! They had a large bucket full of tennis balls and frisbees everywhere. Big dogs were swimming in the lap pool, some of them didn't even get out, they just swam around with balls in their mouths. Other dogs took big leaps off the side of the pool to catch balls. There were dogs everywhere and Marshall was in loving every minute of it. At one point we heard some dogs barking and it was a pack chasing Marshall around in circles while he cut and run. The pool water was nicely heated and quite warm so once Marshall got in the pool he didn't get out. He tried to collect every ball he could see and realized he could stand on the bottom of the pool and walk himself around upright. We were one of the last to leave, Marshall was really enjoying himself.

Later in the day we had a doggy photo shoot with t-shirts and a fun birthday party for me. I have lots of adorable photos to post but the cat appears to be jealous of all this dog talk and she won't let me type anymore. All I can see is her back end, cat owners you know what I mean. I'll post a slide show tomorrow.