Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Ouchie mommie

It was probably inevitable but my back is sore from using the Finis Fulcrum while swimming. I've got a burning spot right between my shoulder blades, ouch! I will probably have to back off today. Our swim class has gotten quite full this term, we are now swimming 4 to a lane. My lane mates (all men) are always trying to get me to lead to which I decline and tell them I am taking it easy. I think it makes them a little crazy to have a woman behind them, pushing them along. I look more fit than I am right now too so that doesn't help. One of these days I'm just going to come out with it and say "I am injured and trying to get pregnant so unless you have a bulging disc and are possibly pregnant than you are going first!" Poor guys! I might have a lane all to myself if I say that. hmmmmm....

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Don't get too close

I walked downtown on my lunch break today and got a toasted garlic bagel and put garlic laden hummus on it. MMMMMMM! It was an excellent lunch although my breath is quite tart now. As I was walking through the quiet streets of Corvallis I thought that this nice sunny weather is great biking weather and how anxious I would be to get out and ride if I was triathlon training. I recalled how tortured I used to feel when I was training for an Ironman and used to watch a sunny day like today from the inside of my office knowing it would rain on the weekend when I had to do a long ride. I used to wake up every Saturday morning trying to overcome my dread with determination, knowing that I had to ride longer on my bike than I would be willing to drive and that the only way to make myself feel better would be to just get it done.

This made me think about the current state of my life and how pleasant it is to not pressure myself to train. I wake up on Saturday feeling refreshed and excited to go for a long walk in the forest with my dog and friends and I don't feel any dread or stress. I still exercise every day, I swim 3 times a week with a class, do core work and lift weights occasionally and I walk almost everyday. I think this routine sounds like one a healthy person would be proud of. To the old me, this routine would be crap.

But this is good for me now. I don't know if I should even bother question what is better: enjoying a walk to the bagel shop on a sunny day or taking the afternoon off from work to squeeze in a bike ride. Ultimately I want both, in moderation, and without pressure. I'm getting there. When I decided to quit triathlon training to get pregnant one of my friends cautioned me to not replace one addiction with another and I totally agree and I'm working on it.

I've been thinking about writing some more retro race reports, maybe I'll get to that this week. My Ironman story is pretty hilarious, especially if you like to laugh at dumb people (that would be me).

Monday, January 29, 2007

Golden

Photo of a quilt our friend Sarah made as a wedding present for us. She was inspired to use color by the art on our walls so I hung the quilt on our wall next to the staircase since this too is lovely art. Now we get to see Sarah's art everytime we go to bed (or use the toilet). Isn't that sweet!?! Sarah helped me pick out a wedding dress and she was also the one responsible for the gorgeous decorations at our reception and the mommie of Simon, the cutest guy at our wedding (besides Bill). She is golden, there isn't a lot I wouldn't do for her, she's quite special.

We are having a spell of amazing weather, we had sunshine all week and more sun in the forecast all week long. Sequoia jumped into the river on our walk yesterday, I think it's still a bit cold for that (it was about 45F!) but he sat right down in the river to cool off. This sun is reminding me of summer, I miss sitting out on the deck and riding my bike on a warm sunny day. I also miss yard work (suprisingly) and there is plenty of yard work to do even now. Maybe I don't miss it. I made some hats for a triathlon club up in Canada this weekend and prepped some hats for a coach doing a training camp in California next month. One of my customers is testing neck gaitors for me (poor guy is running in 20 degree weather!) He is doing a great job testing, sending me notes on fabric and fit, I think I will be able to make a decent technical neck gaitor in the next few weeks. Yeah!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Saving my reputation

I know! I put ridiculous photos of my animals on my blog and blather on about them. It's a compulsion, I can't control it. There are people who go further than I do, and they have a web site celebrating them. It's called stuffonmycat.com and everyday they post new photos of cats with stuff on them. It makes me laugh and I'm so glad that there are people who are beyond me!










Here is Erin's cat Slurpee getting famous:



As you can see, I am perfectly normal!

A man's world

Tomorrow should be a nice Saturday, the forecast is sunny and 52 and we have just enough plans to keep us busy but not too much to make me tired. Bill is getting together with some cronnies for a disc golf tournament called "Festivus" (named after the Seinfeld episode). Apparently they play two rounds and in between rounds there will be chili and beer. All they need to do is air their grievances and it will be a real tribute to Bill's favorite TV show. Sounds like a real dude fest.

I'm planning another long hike and to go to the salon in the afternoon, to keep my natural haircolor looking fresh ;) I guess there's no football this weekend so Bill might have to talk to me instead of staring blankly at the TV with his mouth half open. Just kidding folks!

Last night I asked Bill if he had seen the little cat (Cassie aka Couscous aka el Diablo aka Baby Girl) and he said, "NO, she's a free spirit, she can do whatever she wants." I said, "Wow, you're parenting has gotten lax now that we have 3 animals!" This poor little kitten was out running the streets and her daddy is raising her to be some kind of hippie kitty. Eventually she'll just stop coming home and whenever she does show up she'll be wearing tie dye, have dreadlocks and will smell pungent. She is already struggling with a personality disorder, she's so sweet one minute, licking the dog's ear and purring and the next minute...

El Diablo! RUN!!! Hide yourself! Seriously though, doesn't she looked possesed? What am I talking about? Anyway, according to Bill my guitar playing has improved. I was the worst player in class on Tuesday (as I predicted) but I think with repeated efforts at playing scales I will get more dexterity and eventually I will get a layer of calluses on my fingertips that will allow me to play longer than 15 minutes. I told my instructor I was going to stick hot needles into my fingertips to build up calluses and he said, "Or you could just practice playing scales." Hmmmm. I'll consider that! My goal is to be able to play "You are my sunshine" to el Diablo by the end of the weekend.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

swim toy: finis fulcrum

Just tried the Fulcrum today and hope that it will strengthen my swim muscles and improve my technique. I was able to swim with it off and on for about 500 yards without trouble and noticed a few problem areas with my technique. If you don't use your forearm properly then it falls off. So, renewed hope that I can get strong without hurting myself. I'm such a sucker!

New words for 2007

Got this in my email this morning:

NEW WORDS FOR 2007
Essential vocabulary additions for the workplace (and elsewhere)

1. BLAMESTORMING: Sitting around in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was responsible.

2. SEAGULL MANAGER: A manager, who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves.

3. ASSMOSIS: The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard.

4. SALMON DAY: The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die in the end.

5. CUBE FARM: An office filled with cubicles.

6. PRAIRIE DOGGING: When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm, and people's heads pop up over the walls to see what's going on.

7. MOUSE POTATO: The online, wired generation's answer to the couch potato.

8. SITCOMs: Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage. What Yuppies get into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids.

9. STRESS PUPPY: A person who seems to thrive on being stressed out and whiny.

10. SWIPEOUT: An ATM or credit card that has been rendered useless because the magnetic strip is worn away from extensive use.

11. XEROX SUBSIDY: Euphemism for swiping free photocopies from one's workplace.

12. IRRITAINMENT: Entertainment and media spectacles that are annoying, but you find yourself unable to stop watching them.

13. PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE: The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again. I often feel like doing this to my computer.

14. ADMINISPHERE: The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.

15. 404: Someone who is clueless. From the World Wide Web error message "404 Not Found," meaning that the requested site could not be located.

16. GENERICA: Features of the American landscape that are exactly the same no matter where one is, such as fast food joints, strip malls and subdivisions.

17. OHNOSECOND: That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you've just made a BIG mistake. (Like after hitting send on an e-mail by mistake.)

Monday, January 22, 2007

I can do this

Ooops! I missed my first guitar class. I thought it started tomorrow but I ran into the teacher and he laughed at me because it started two weeks ago. So not only do I get to show up Tuesday night with no skills, I get to be the dork that missed the first week. Luckily the 2nd week was canceled due to icy road conditions otherwise I might not have the guts to show up.

I dug out this old photo of me playing on a kiddie piano. At least I looked like I knew what I was doing. Hopefully I can look the part tomorrow. I better go practice (this is going to be so bad!) At least I'm used to public humiliation, I get lots of practice during swim class.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Whoa

Two days of hiking and I wore myself out! Today we hiked about 6 1/2 miles on a moderately hilly loop and I had to take an afternoon nap to recover. It worked out well though because I got to see the beginning and end of the football game and was replenished enough to spend some time in the sewing room this evening. I am working on neck gaitors and skirts with the new fabrics I bought so it was pretty fun. I think I'm ready for bed now though. I hope my legs aren't logs tomorrow for swimming.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

It's not even cold



Look at this, I'm in our home office, typing on my blog and look over to find the dog and cat cuddling in the hallway. It's not even cold here today so there really are no excuses, they just love each other. I'm not making this up, they seriously cuddle like that. What can I do? I took about 20 photos, these two should be embarassed.

Yes our weather finally got better, here is a photo from a hike I took this morning... order is restored, Oregon is green again! Doesn't that single track make you want to get on a mountain bike and ride? Well there's still snow on parts of the trail so I'm not jumping on my bike anytime soon.

Wind Pro, Camo, and Pink (of course)

Finally made it back to the fabric store and got some great new technical fabrics that I am excited about. They had a very lightweight Polartec Wind Pro fabric that I will use to make hats and neck gaitors out of. A customer emailed me about making him a neck gaitor so I think I'll use this stuff for it. I bought the shirt weight that has a soft velour side to it. I also got some pink Power Stretch fleece which will make a smoking hot mini skirt to keep my rear warm in the winter. I think I will have to make one tonight so I can wear it tomorrow. We decided to stay in town for the weekend rather than ski so I will have some extra time to sew. Might have to make a skirt out of this new camo too!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Girls Weekend



I took this photo of the beach at Lincoln City (Oregon Coast) on the morning of my 30th birthday. I was getting ready to leave after spending the weekend with my mom, her close friend Martha, and my best friend from high school Liisa. It was a good weekend with the ladies, and it used to be that given the choice I would have preferred to spend time with my girlfriends and my mom over any one else.

That was before I met Bill. Now he comes first. He's my best bud and my first choice. He is the man to me. I love him so very much. BUT he's busy with school right now so he won't be too put out that I've got two ladies weekends on my calendar! In a couple of weeks I'll be back at the coast with some lady friends for a Blessingway ceremony for our friend who is about to give birth. I haven't been through such a ceremony, I imagine it will be low key. I am really excited to spend a weekend with the ladies at the Coast, with this particular group of ladies I mostly see them with their husbands so it will be fun to see them without the ball and chain. ;) It will be a weekend straight out of Beaches!

AND I booked my trip back to California for the Ladies of Slowtwitch Triathlon Training Camp in April. I can write it off as a business expense and I had such a good time last year that I just couldn't miss it this year. QRGirl (Erin from the Vegas trip) booked her tickets so I reserved mine so we can fly together. Plus she emailed me that she loves Nutella too so even if the weekend goes terribly, at least we will have our Nutella. It makes sense that I would like something called NUTella.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Nutella makes me drool

I discovered Nutella when we were in Mexico and I will testify that Nutella is one of the best things I've discovered in years! I stand in the kitchen every night after work and dip pretzels into it and drool. I can't imagine my life before Nutella. It does have trans fat though so I can only snack on it and not smear it all over every meal.

My other new favorite thing is Nature Valley Oats and Honey granola bars. We bought a huge box at Costco and I took some to work for snacking. I like to spread peanut butter on them but you can also crumble them and put them in yogurt or milk like cereal. They are made with whole grain oats and have a nice honey flavor. No trans fat either. I should try some Nutella on them. Yes!

Swim class today was slightly painful even though I left early. We have two new swimmers, both former collegiate swimmers who are FAST. And they are women so I can't wait to see Bill gasping at the side of the pool trying to beat them. It will make all my pain go away. Yeah!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Fffffffreeezzzzzinnngggg

I took a blog break this weekend, it was too cold to blog. Brr! We woke to freezing rain, Bill put the dog out this morning and fell right on his rear end, it was slippery! While he was telling me about falling on his butt, the neighbor came out and fell on her butt. Apparently Oregonians aren't familair with ice! Regardless of the weather, we had a pretty good weekend at home.

Saturday we drove up to Salem for a co-ed babyshower. I would guess that most of the men were not thrilled to be there. Fortunately there was a TV and the somehow a football game got turned on and I believe the father-to-be bought a case of IPA so the men did manage to survive. For the record, that would make 3 baby showers in 3 months for me.

On Sunday, Bill and I had a big football rivalry, he's from Chicago and I'm from Washington state so we enjoyed the Bears playing the Seahawks, except when the Seahawks lost in OT. I just can't believe they made it to the Super Bowl last year. Did that really happen?

Bill made it out in the cold for a bike ride Sunday, but I just couldn't do it. It was 35 degrees and dang cold. I spent a lot of time walking the dog over the weekend and dreaming about furniture. I really want to clear out our living room of our old couches and get something smaller. Bill isn't in agreement. I can't wait for him to finish school.

I finally picked up the guitar this weekend and tried to learn the strings and tune it. I spent about an hour trying to tune it and it still sounds horrible. This could be a challenge. It would be typical for me to be bad at it initially, I don't take up new things easily. It takes a lot of repetition and practice for me to learn new things and my saving grace is that I don't quit easily. I played violin during grade school and I used to love to practice for hours on end. I didn't get private lessons like the kids who were good but I still made it to first chair. I remember my poor cousin took up violin too and I asked her to perform a duet with me at a competition. When she came over to practice I tried to keep in her my room practicing for hours. Poor kid! It's a wonder I had any friends!

Anyway, guitar lessons start next Tuesday, I'm taking them from the man who played at our wedding. I hope I can get the guitar tuned by then! I managed to get a couple of strings to sound right so I made up a song for Cassie and started singing, "Cassie, the kitty. I love Cassie, she is so pretty..." and Bill was like, "Oh my God, no!" I said "Isn't this a dream come true honey, I get to make up songs for our babies!" I think he went upstairs to get away from me. I don't know how popular I will be with the home crowd, the animals cuddled up on the couch together and just stared at me. I can't wait to learn some chords and give them a real concert!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Snowshoes on kittens and frost covered mittens

It snowed again last night, here, in western Oregon, where it doesn't really snow. Cassie didn't seem to mind much at all, she ran right out into it this morning. The university sent out an email to dress warm because the heating system would be overly taxed and there will be a "gas curtailment." Sounds like a good system! Last night I could hear migrating birds squawking like crazy over by the river. We thought they must be trying to figure out a new travel plan since it was snowing.

New houses are going up in our development right across the street from us. I am happy about it because they are bigger and more expensive than our house so it might help with property value. We live in an interesting neighborhood, it has nice apartments, a couple of manufactured homes, and then a bunch of new larger houses.

Speaking of moving, I am moving offices on Friday as part of a remodel at work and I'm not too excited about it. It will be harder to hide my wet hair after my noon time swims in the new location. I will have to get out of swim class early to dry my hair. I cut my hair short when I trained for the Ironman in 2004 for this reason and I've been growing it out ever since. I'm not cutting my hair again, I hated short hair. I looked like a dude and since I have man legs, short hair was not a good idea.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I am officially

Not pregnant. So we are 0-1 for trying and I was even more than a week late but nope! I had a surreal experience with the OB/GYN today, she started off by saying how old I am (34) and all of the complications that can occur because of my age. She gave me a chart to write everything down even though I brought in a book that I have been tracking everything with and she basically said if you aren't pregnant in 6 months then come on back and we'll see if you are ovulating.

So I learned zero from her but I did get a flu shot which I wasn't expecting at all. Suprise! You are having a ba--flu shot! I think I had another occurance of a cyst on my right ovary again thus causing the delay but they can't do anything about it unless I'm in incredible pain. So I had myself a Jubelale this evening and need to go talk to my man about something fun to do this weekend.

The show goes on...

Monday, January 08, 2007

Oh what do I know

Weeelllllll I think Marshall and I exercised just a little too much this weekend. Just a little though because only my glutes hurt. Oops! Friday night I babysat a 3 year old while Bill went out with his old roommates for beers and I woke up early Saturday and went on a 6.5 mile hike in our local forest. The route is one I used to do regularly as a time trial (trail run) and it was hard to walk it. Old memories came flooding back, how my legs would burn on the initial up hill, the speed on the flat section and the misery of the last 2 miles where I had to push to get a good time.

It is one of my favorite routes and it took quite a while longer to walk so I think the first time I run it again will be incredibly sweet. Man do I feel melancholy today! There was a major windstorm here while we were away in Mexico and you can see the wreckage on the road here in this photo. I need to go over to the park where we had our wedding reception and take photos because some huge trees went down there. After the hike I took a nap on the couch with the dog and then drug myself up to go to Costco with Bill. He starts school again today and I probably won't see much of him until June.

The honeymoon is over! Sunday we loaded up the car and drove up to the mountains with friends for the first cross country ski trip of the year. The drive was fine and there was plenty of snow so when we stopped the car and opened the doors we were suprised to find extreme winds and blowing snow. We put on all of our gear and walked to the trail head feeling not too optimistic. Thankfully once we got into the trees we were shielded from the wind so we were able to go for a couple of hours. Marshall dog was hilarious to watch because he kept crashing through the thick snow and bottoming out but he looked like he was having a blast. Dogs love snow. I'm a little tired today so I think I'll skip swim class and take it easy today.

Tonight we are watching the big football game at a friend's house, he just set up a keg in his fridge with a tap that comes out of the door, I think this is the ultimate in cool for these dudes. One of our friend's is an Ohio State alum and another friend who is home for the holidays from Germany and is a Florida alum so there should be a lot of yelling and spilled beer tonight.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Too much of anything is too much

Man! Take my advice and never go to an all inclusive resort before the holidays! We just completed a month long eating binge and I feel like a Christmas moose. The only good news is that I have somehow managed to stop drinking coffee and alcohol and I was an extreme coffee addict so this was no small feat. I guess my desire to get pregnant supercedes everything else or maybe I am more disciplined than I thought.

Quitting triathlon training was far more difficult than quitting coffee or my favorite beer. Letting go of training gave me a bit of an identity crisis and I still struggle with it, mostly when I see someone running. I needed to quit training to get my head straight and to get my body back in balance. I couldn't go from working out two hours a day and watching what I eat to a big pregnant woman without some transition on my part. One of my life lessons is that if you do too much of anything than you will eventually have to quit, so never do too much so you can always enjoy the things you love. Don't drink too much, eat too much, or train too much because too much is what? TOO MUCH! (brillant!)

What really woke me up was one day I was out running and I ran into a friend with their child at the park. They were watching their child play and I stopped to chat but I was so distracted to get on with my run that I basically said "Hi, bye!" and charged off even though I hadn't seen my friend in a long time since I was so busy working out. I realized that I was saying I wanted to be the person in the park with the kid but I was pretty far away from that with my obsession with exercise. So I purposefully slowed down and things are getting better. I am still working at it and honestly, I miss doing long runs or riding my bike on a Saturday afternoon. I miss being truly physically tired and muscle soreness.

Old habits, it is going to be a long road away and a long road back to you and I am already looking forward to coming back to triathlon, but as a changed person.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Back to Oregon

We're finally home and we should be home for a while now I think. Although I am itching to do some x-country skiing this weekend but that will only be a day trip. Some photos from our more recent trip to Phoenix where Bill's mom and dad and brother and family live. We were able to get out for a nice hike on Wind Cave Trail while we were there and enjoyed the amazing desert landscape which is almost the opposite of what we live in here in Oregon. Bill's parents used to live in Maui and I'm still not quite over them moving back to the mainland (why!?! oh why!?!) but there are a lot of things to see in Arizona while we are there visiting. One thing that I can't get over when visiting AZ are the freeways, they build freeways to land that hasn't even been developed yet!

The flat landscape there beckons urban sprawl and they put the infrastructure in place so that new homes can go up quickly. Here in Oregon we have strict laws on urban growth and Portland has problems with housing, there isn't enough space near the city to put a big house with a big yard within the growth boundaries. The freeways are mostly two lane and clogged during rush hour. Portland is supposed to grow like crazy in the next 10 years, I don't know where they are going put everyone.

Here in Corvallis (pop. 50,000) there is a strong resistance to big box and chain stores and people tend to be alturistic and try to buy local. We have the highest education rate per capita in OR and the lowest church attendance (25%) according to Wikipedia. We still have war protestors in front of the court house and I think they've been there since President Bush took office (just kidding). Personally, I have found Corvallis to be a very considerate town but people here live purposefully and might be judgemental towards you if you say you watch TV or bought something at Home Depot. It hasn't been all rosy here, people don't hesitate from commenting on whatever they see fit, but I can't imagine moving to a place where people sit in the their car at the drive up window at Starbucks. BTW, we do have Starbucks here (no drive ups though), I did go there, but my friends have a bumper sticker that says "Friends don't let friends drink Starbucks"

Bill's parents offered to give us their big screen TV and I'm looking forward to seeing how some of our friends will react when we put that monster in our living room. We might lose all of our friends! Just kidding. I do like to kid, which is why the Fleck clan is wearing Beaver Fever tshirts for Christmas. Bill and I bought them for everyone because we forgot to check the football schedule when planning our wedding so our guests had a hard time finding hotel rooms and got caught in game day traffic trying to get here from Portland. The town was overrun by Beaver Believers and they couldn't figure out why traffic wasn't moving. But now when the Flecks come back to visit they will have a shirt to wear and will fit right in. I hope I don't get coal for Christmas next year!

BTW, we watched the Fiesta Bowl while we were there and that Boise State victory was a real hoot!