Thursday, May 31, 2007

Life is not a dress rehearsal

In memory of Jon "Blazeman" Blais, the Warrior Poet, Ironman competitor, and inspiration for the War on ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). We watched Blazeman on the NBC coverage of Ironman Hawaii in 2005 and 2006 and were touched and saddened by his story. Jon was diagnosed with ALS in May 2005, rolled across the Ironman finish line in Kona that year and inspired many people to raise funds for ALS. It is shocking that the disease took his life this quickly, only two years after his diagnosis.

From Competitor Magazine:
Anyone who witnessed Blais at the 2005 Ford Ironman saw the heart of the man. He hadn’t been able to train since 2003. He had gained weight and his body was deteriorating rapidly. He rode the bike for a few minutes in August for the NBC crew and then again after he arrived in Kona. That was it. He was racing the toughest race on earth on guts and guts alone.

In his prime, Blais would have swam the 2.4 miles in about 1:05. He was hoping for 1:30. Instead he went 1:50 because he was only able to use one arm and his body was cramping badly. On the bike he couldn’t get out of the saddle, his upper torso felt like a brick and his quads and calves were seizing up with every turn of the pedals. At the turnaround in Hawaii, a race official told him that he wasn’t going to make the 5:30 p.m. cutoff time for the bike.

“I had just opened my special needs bag,” he laughs, “so I chucked my banana bread at him. There was no way I was going to miss that cutoff.”

The NBC camera crew that had been following him earlier had disappeared, as his chances of starting the marathon continued to dwindle.

“They took off,” he remembers. “They gave up on me and went to film another story.”

Fortunately, Blais doesn’t believe in giving up — on the kids he teaches or the dreams he’s living. By mile 80, he was back on pace and the camera crew was there to capture him finishing the bike and starting the marathon with his parents, 20 friends and the entire world there to witness a miracle in the making.

Before the race, Mike Reilly, the voice of the Ironman, had asked Blais what he was going to do at the finish line. A handstand? A cartwheel? A Greg Welch-style leap? But Blais told Reilly that he didn’t know if he was going to finish and that Reilly might have to log roll his sorry butt across the line.

So when he approached the line, that’s exactly what The Blazeman did. In the same way he has dealt with his disease, he proudly took his time, dropped to the ground and log rolled ever so slowly towards the finish of the race and ever closer to the finish of his life.

He savored every second of the journey. To the very end he will be the teacher. He is teaching us all about a disease that is insidious and totally ignored. He is teaching us how to handle adversity. But most of all he is teaching us to never, ever give up.

“You can choose to be pissed off, or pissed on,” he laughs.The Blazeman, as always, chooses the former.

For more about Jon “Blazeman” Blais and his fight against ALS, visit his Web site at

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Swinging with the moods

Today is big for me because today I start taking the fertility drug Clomid. I will not bore (or disgust) everyone with the details but Clomid is generally the first thing a Dr will prescribe to couples were are having trouble conceiving and is considered a cheap method to kick start fertility. Hopefully it will trick my body into thinking that it doesn't have enough estrogen so it will over produce it and cause me to ovulate. One of the side effects is mood swings and I hear you can also get headaches. I will take the drug for 5 days so I might be on the express train to crazy town this week and may avoid blogging if that is the case.

In case you are wondering how I feel now, I guess I feel great. I gave my best effort to get my body to a healthy place: I quit running, gained weight, cut caffeine, alcohol, and sugar and did light exercise daily. I tried to reduce stress, charted my temps, took a prenatal vitamin and ate healthy. I kept it up for 6 months and never once did I see a positive ovulation test. I got plenty of faint lines, but my body just wasn't there so now we give it a chemical push. By the way, the Doc cannot tell you why you don't ovulate so unless you have 10 years to try a bunch of methods, Clomid is the place to start.

If you would have told me six months ago that I would have to go down this road then I would have been devastated but today, I'm alright. It's out of my hands now and even though I have control freak related tendencies, I know when to let it go. So I won't talk about this for a while and plan to focus on puppies and kitties and the weather and all the other mundane things that make my life good. Please hope (and pray) for us! Or at least wish that I get really hugely fat from being pregnant!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Camping at Steamboat

We had an excellent weekend camping, even though I got something akin to the Ebola virus Friday-Sat and no sleep on Sunday, the weekend was one to remember. We left Corvallis around 1pm on Friday and by then my stomach had already revolted. I was having several "Dumb and Dumber" bathroom scene moments and was slightly freaked about how sick I was getting. Since I got really sick last year during this camping trip I decided this year I was not going to let it get me down and took some Immodium AD and decided to suffer through it.

It was well worth it, we found a camping site about 6 miles from the Umpqua River on Steamboat Creek right on Steamboat Falls. Our campsite had a view of the falls and the sound of the falls deadened any noise from other campers and lulled us to sleep. We also had direct access to the creek from our site and we were tucked back in the corner so the dogs were able to run around off leash without bothering other campers. On Saturday the guys went off to play disc golf at Whistler's Bend and declared it the best course in Oregon. I stayed back and went hiking on the North Umpqua trail with Bridgette and Avery and really look forward to returning and going mountain biking there. The section we hiked at is 16 miles long but I hear there is a lot more to the trail and it is gorgeous!

Sunday we hiked some more and spent more time on Steamboat Creek watching for Steelhead trying to jump up the falls. We noticed plenty of gooey eggs in the water and the area is a protected tributary so no fishing here. The weather was great, it had to be in the upper 80s and sunny so no rain this year! Bill had to jump off the rocks below the falls (don't look Mom!) and Marshall dog tried to rescue him. I finally felt better on Sunday and we managed to get in a mtn bike ride on logging roads in the morning. Late Sunday afternoon we packed up the car and drove up to a peak for a view of the forest. It was like looking at a living topo map, just really gorgeous. We had to head back for home because we had a triathlon early Monday morning. We got back around 9pm and saw a bunch of cars parked across the street, our college age neighbors were having a raging party. We traded the sound of a waterfall for drunken idiots throwing beer bottles at the construction site across the street.

We got about 4 hours of sleep and were up again at 5:30 am for the Heart of the Valley triathlon. Bill had even less sleep because he was scratching bug bites on his legs (I wore pants most of the time so I was spared that misery) but he was able to perform well at the race. He came in 5th overall and is gaining time on the guys beating him a few weeks ago. He's still training about 3 times a week (one short bike run, a swim or two, and maybe one other 4 mile run) so he must be racing himself into shape. I think he's a freak of nature and I'm totally jealous of him but what can you do? He's got the genes. If I tried to race myself into shape I'd end up in last place in my division and wouldn't be able to walk for several days. I guess all those years of Ironman training were worth something other than a finisher's medal. I'm proud of him for not being a whiner and for showing up and getting beat by people he would be more competitive with if he was able to train. He's got a good attitude and that is something some people are in short supply of, the race winner was yelling at volunteers on the run course for not clearly pointing him around a corner, he even went back after he finished and yelled at them again. Get a grip dude, it's a sprint triathlon and you're an amateur racer. Professional triathletes put up with a lot worse than that and somehow manage to not yell at people who are volunteering their time on a 3 day weekend to put on a silly triathlon. I imagine this guy has a few other problems with life but hopefully he'll stop spreading the misery around in our community.

Trying out Picassa web album slide show feature:

Friday, May 25, 2007

One of THOSE types of women

I was up late working on doggie bandannas until 10:30 last night. Because I didn't have enough to do to get ready for camping. I noticed I had some camouflage fabric I've never used and I've been making jokes about our camping trip all week and how the dogs are going to take over the campground like a gang.

Last year it was just Marshall and Sequoia and they took every available opportunity to run away and troll other camper's food supplies. (How rude!) They were quite successful in their expeditions last year and this year we're adding 4 more dogs to the gang, so it's going to be crazy. My plan is to mtn bike with Marshall first thing in the AM so he's slightly worn out. The dog has some serious speed, we are thinking he might be part Whippet (looks like a mini greyhound). He gets really sad when we leave on bikes without him so whenever we let him run with us while we ride he gets even more excited then normal. Wearing him out is not easy.

It's my goal for the weekend to get a group photo of all the dogs wearing their camo bandannas. Aim high! Live the dream! I'm that type of woman you know who makes corny things for dogs. Cool huh ;) Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I'm going to find some sweet jumps

Since I'm not pregnant like I wanted to be by now I'm taking my mountain bike with us camping and hitting the trails. I know there is some good mtn biking around the Umpqua River but I'm not quite sure where it is so hopefully we'll figure it out. I'll take it easy so I don't crash and kill myself but if my ovaries aren't going to cooperate with me then I'm riding my sweet Jamis in the woods. My bike is a steel frame hard tail and I love the way it rides but I want a full suspension so as soon as Bill gets a job and I get done being knocked up then I'm getting a new ride and Bill can have my old one. He keeps threatening to race Xterras (off road triathlons) on his 15 year old commuter bike that has no suspension at all so Mr. Cheapy Cheap Pants will inherit my old bike, he's not that much taller than me. Ouch huh!?! Do not feel sorry for him, he's so stubborn he probably won't even ride my bike when I'm done with it.

The funny farm is in full effect again, Cassie is still on house arrest and she must be bored because lately she's taken to watching us shower. She leaps to the top of the shower door and sits up there peering in while we shower. Try shampooing your hair while a cat is watching your every move, looking like she wants to pounce on you. I shouldn't be writing about this, we're looking for a house sitter while we are in Phoenix the first week of July and I'll never find one if people know how strange our animals are!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

HoHos are essential to life

I fell off the sugar wagon! About two weeks ago a co-worker brought in blueberry cheesecake for her dog's birthday (I can't make this stuff up) and I said "just one bite" and the next day there was a table full off desserts and it was "just one moon pie" and the next thing you know I've got HoHos and Zingers in my shopping cart. Jeez. What happened!?!

I think life is too short to completely abstain from sugar so I'm allowing myself one small treat a day but still staying away from juice and soda and other non-essential sugar laden items. HoHo's are essential, as are Newman's Chocolate Filled Cookies. I'm going to pack my treats for camping in a location that Bill can't find so I'm assured chocolately goodness whilst enjoying our riverside campsite.

While I'm admitting to failure: I haven't played the guitar in over two months. My fingernails are grown out and the callouses are gone. I had been borrowing a friend's guitar and wanted to return it to her before she got irritated with me and I haven't made it to the music store yet. We're trying not to spend money until Bill gets a job, but still, an entry level guitar is ~$100 so I'm really just making excuses. At least I have my HOHOS!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Picasa and Goggle Maps

I'm giving Picasa a test run, you download this Goggle software from the web and it organizes all of the photos stored on your computer and then allows you to easily upload them to an album on the web that you can share. It's easy to use, I've tried smugmug (best for sharing original pics), snapfish, kodak gallery, and flickr) and I like the Picasa interface however I don't to see way to download an original size pic from it (might need to upgrade to do that). It also works well with Google maps so you can pin point an area on the map and add a photo to that location. I'm starting to work on a map of the locations we've visited in Oregon (click link to see the first photos). I'll let you know when I'm done loading photos, another project for me to work on (ah!)

I'm getting excited to go camping this weekend, we have more couples coming now which means more dogs and kids. It looks like we'll have to get a group campsite and hope everyone survives the weekend. I'm already planning meals and packing in my mind, the first camping trip of the season always takes to most time to prepare for. We're also planning a trip down to Phoenix in early July after Bill graduates so we're starting to get ready for the future. Yeah! I love planning! Which is the opposite of Bill who apparently thinks planning is for weak minded people.

I am confirmed with the "Heart of the Valley triathlon" on Monday so Bill and I are both set for another triathlon. This will be #5 of the season for me and Bill's 3rd race. I get the impression from our triathlon crew of friends that they think we are out of touch with the sport because we aren't on the Ironman track this year. I'm enjoying the heck out of these local races and Bill just doesn't have time to train while pursuing his degree right now but we're definitely not out of touch with triathlon. I've gotten to know a lot of people by attending these events and it gives me a lot of fulfillment when people ask me when I'm racing next (I'm still a triathlete to them) and I just tell them I'm trying to get pregnant and so many people are supportive and share their stories with me. It's also brings me a lot of happiness to see people wearing my hats at events, some people will bring their friends over to me and try to sell my stuff to them. The triathlon community is pretty cool.

Back to dreaming about our camping trip along the Umpqua River (I pinpointed it on my google map (geek alert!)... From wikipedia: "The river is a popular destination for fly fishing and is renowned for emerald green waters and its summer steelhead activity, as well as for its salmon runs. Its summer steelhead fishery is considered one of the best on the West Coast. Moreover, the river is known for its high concentration of native steelhead relative to the fishery stock. It is also a popular but challenging destination for whitewater rafting."

Monday, May 21, 2007

Unfair advantage

Saturday morning we drug ourselves out of bed early for the Lebanon sprint triathlon, Bill was competing and I set up my stand. Bill still isn't getting in the training time, although in preparation for this race he did a brick last weekend and on Friday he went to an open water swim. Other than bike commuting, he plays disc golf, and shows up 20 minutes late for our 1 hour swim class twice a week and that's it for his training. So when he crossed the finish line looking fresh this time I figured several people had beat him but no, he was 3rd overall. He was down only a minute or two on the race winner and he beat a few people who beat him at the last triathlon. So his genetics came through for him while the rest of us toil and suffer with actual training hours, he just breezes right on in. Fortunately he has a good attitude about all of it and doesn't gloat or get angry that he didn't win. I can't stand really intense people that trip out when they don't win their age group. I'm planning to write up race reports for Bill's Ironman journey from the many blow outs to going sub 10 in Kona. He has some great stories so I'll try to get a summary out of him and I'll scan pics to go with each race.

Anyway! We didn't get to see our Dutch bicycling friends again so hopefully they found a place to camp in the area, they were quite nice and I hope they enjoy their tour. How many people in their 50s take 3 months off to cycle from San Diego to Vancouver BC? Pretty cool!

We are planning a trip this weekend to camp along the Umpqua river with a big group of people. Last year it rained for most of the Memorial Day trip and I got really sick afterwards but I think the weather is better this year. We're headed south and east so the farther away from the coast and the more south we get the better the weather will be. There are 6 couples going and everyone has a dog so there will be total chaos and a doggie scrum from hell to contend with. Sounds fun to me! We have to come back early so Bill can do a triathlon on Monday here in Corvallis. The race director hasn't gotten back to me about being a vendor so hopefully I can get that secured so I don't have to sell hats out of my trunk in the parking lot. I'll do it if I have to though. ;)

Check out this dude's old school Softride and helmet! Sweet!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Our new Dutch friends

Bill and I were walking the dog at the park this evening and came across two people eating dinner next to their bicycles. We stopped to talk to them and found out they are from Holland and are biking from San Diego to Vancouver BC over four months. We invited them to camp out in our back yard and take a shower since there are no campgrounds here in Corvallis. So we made some new Dutch friends this evening which makes our total Dutch friend count: 4 so we are practically half Dutch now that we doubled that count. They are tracking their trip on their blog: . We might not see them again since we are leaving early in the morning for a triathlon but we gave them as much information as we could before they went off to bed.

I just finished reading a book about a couple that biked around the world so I was very empathetic for their need to shower and sleep somewhere safe. The book was written by Barbara Savage and is called "Miles from Nowhere" and was well worth the read if you are looking for some adventure writing. Their tales of biking through Egypt were pretty intense. Sadly, the author of the book died just as it was to be published. She was struck by a car while training for a triathlon.

What's next for Bill and Erika, things haven't been boring lately. I know something crazy that could happen: Bill could get a job. Now THAT would be wild!!!

;) Bill told me to write that so don't get mad at me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Be Fabulous

This is a new line of tops I am the process of adding to my inventory and even though I don't feel fabulous today looking at this top makes me smile. QRGirl came to triathlon camp with a top similar to this and I thought it would make a great summer item for my web store. I just ordered a bunch of these American Apparel tops in blue, pink, white, and purple, you can see them at in the Custom Tees section. I can't wait to wear this one at my next event, maybe this weekend if it gets warm enough at the Lebanon sprint triathlon. This top and a black sun visor and I just might start feeling fabulous.

I think I am a fan of American Apparel tops, the fabric is high quality and the cut is right for the season with the longer torso. Plus everything is made in America so shipping isn't as big of an environmental issue. Most of all I just like the way they look on, I'll try to get more photos later.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Should we call her Paris or Cassie Hilton?

I was having a bad day yesterday and decided that the only way to fix it was to sit on the couch as soon as I got home from work and finish the book I was reading. But first, I better go water the flowers on the deck as they were looking parched from the afternoon sun. I wasn't out there more than a few seconds when I heard a very desperate MEOW MEOW MEOW MEOW!!!!! There's a kitty crying near our neighbors house so I ran through our house and around the block and guess who is standing there but Cassie aka Baby Girl aka Cous Cous aka To To Toots aka Sugar Cookie Fleck!

Five days that cat has been missing, we put up 40 flyers in our neighborhood, visited the animal shelter, and searched high and low for her and somehow she found her way home. I snatched her up quickly and ran her inside the house where she will stay indefinitely. She was still meowing up a storm so we fed her and she ate like a cat who has been starved. Marshall dog came in and sniffed her and then let her eat some of his dog food. Ms. Kitty licked her face and then went back to bed.

So the funny farm is back in business. I'll stop moping around and will enjoy having our little sweetheart home. She's acting a little crazy, she's still meowing a lot and she jumped into the shower with me this morning so I think she might need some rehab time. Ah, it feels so good to be talking crazy again!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Hill climb

I don't mind climbing a hill, the view is usually pretty good at the top and there aren't as many people up there. Right now, life is presenting a challenging climb for me and I'm having to remind myself about balance, that good and bad go together, and whatever hard times we have right now we'll just have to endure and wait for the good times to come again.

Friday I met our neighbor's son and his mother and told them that Dave had died. Bill took them downtown to the jail to get the keys to the house and into the house so they could retrieve his address book and begin notifying friends. The ex-wife that I met Friday morning had not notified them of Dave's passing and she had led me to believe that he was estranged from his son. It turns out Dave had called his son the night he died and they had made plans together and Dave told him that he was having trouble sleeping. They were concerned that Dave wasn't returning phone calls and came to Corvallis to find out if something was wrong.

Thankfully we were able to ease the transition for them and they did not find Dave the way Bill had. We were up late with them Friday and then at 5am on Saturday the alarm went off and I heard birds chirping outside, "life goes on" they were calling and even though were were exhausted by 6am we were out the door for the Canby Gator Grinder triathlon. I have recently expanded my product line to include running hats and visors and we had a decent sales day so it was worth the trip up.

Saturday evening we had dinner with the hippies and then played dominos before stumbling off to bed. Sunday AM Bill headed out to play disc golf and I went to buy him some Mother's Day doughnuts for his pre-training breakfast. Bill did a brick (bike-run workout) after disc golf and I rode with him for about 16 miles. It felt great to ride my triathlon bike for the 1st time since last August. It feels like a racing machine compared to my commuter bike.

After the ride I made pizza and then crashed on an epic 4 hour nap. Still no word on Cassie, we miss her very much and hope she finds her way home soon so we can have our family back together again. And finally, one of my fertility fears has come true, the lab tests indicate that I am not ovulating so as long as I don't have any ovarian cysts I will start on a fertility drug next cycle. There is a 90% chance that it will cause me to ovulate and a 50% chance we will conceive. I'm also afraid I might have a cyst right now so I won't be able to start the drug. We'll just take it one step at a time and hope for the best.

I'm bummed out right now but there is food in my stomach, people that love me, and we have hope that good times are coming so I think we'll make this climb.

Friday, May 11, 2007

In Memory of Neighbor Dave

Wednesday evening was just another evening in our quiet neighborhood, Bill and I were headed out to walk the dog after work when we saw our neighbor Dave laying in the grass in his front yard with his dog Lalo. Dave recently moved into the neighborhood and he and Lalo were slightly out of place here amongst the manicured lawns and home owner's association rules. Lalo is an Australian Shepard and would sit in front of Dave's house unleashed almost all day long, just resting in the grass and not paying much attention to passersby. Most people around here hang out in their back yards and don't give their neighbors more than a simple wave when their paths crossed but Dave was different.

When he spotted us exiting the house with Marshall he gave us a cheery hello and told us about finding a nearby wetland where he could walk Lalo. I mentioned a path that went down by the river where Lalo could swim and said we would show him sometime. I hurried Bill along since he needed to write a paper and time was ticking. I remember being struck by how happy Dave looked at that moment, laying in the grass on a sunny day, his life full of possibilities, you could almost see an inner peace glowing from him.

Dave came to Corvallis from Newport, Or a small town on the coast. He was the captain of a fishing vessel but after a physical run-in with a union rep he had been dismissed from his position. He was recently divorced and decided to move here to go to school and study climatology. We had only known him a few weeks but Bill had enjoyed several conversations with him before Wednesday. Dave told Bill that he was recently diagnosed with M.S. and that he was trying to exercise more to keep it at bay. Dave was in his early 50s and appeared healthy, happy, and relaxed.

Bill was up late Wednesday night writing his paper and he noticed the lights in Dave's house were on late, it was 2am before Bill went to bed. The next day was busy and we couldn't find our kitty Cassie so we were distracted from noticing that Dave and Lalo weren't around. Bill had an evening class and when he came home around 9pm he noticed the same lights were on in Dave's house. He asked me if I thought he should go see how Dave was doing and I encouraged him to go.

Bill knocked on the door and looked in the window and saw Dave lying on the floor. Bill tried to open the door but it was locked so he ran around to the side of the house and opened the door and rushed to Dave. Dave was not responsive. Bill called the police and tried not to panic. The police arrived a good 15 minutes later, no ambulance, they must have believed Bill's assessment that Dave was dead. According to the initial police investigation, it looked like Dave had died sometime around dinner time Wednesday evening, just hours or minutes after we last saw him.

We took Lalo in to our house last night, he stayed by Dave's side all night and all day long and was pretty upset so I went on a brisk walk with Lalo in the cool evening air and I did not succeed in fighting back the tears. The police think something went awry with Dave's medication, perhaps the beer he had been drinking had caused part of it, we don't know. Bill is in shock, wondering if he could have saved Dave if he had stopped by sooner, perhaps late Wednesday when he noticed the lights on so late. I am so proud of Bill for watching out for our neighbor, for caring enough to go check on him and for recognizing Dave as a unique person and mourning his death.

I stayed home from the communications workshop today, I just couldn't talk to people, I have been spontaneously crying and feel emotionally wrecked. Instead I took Lalo on the path along the river I wanted to show Dave and threw sticks for Lalo while he swam in the river. I think Dave would have appreciated that. I thought about the last conversations I'd had with Dave, he expressed admiration for Bill and I and our active lifestyle and encouraged me to get pregnant soon. He was an amazingly friendly guy, the type that wore Hawaiian shirts and was always smiling. We will miss Dave as a neighbor and we are sad that he will not be a constant in our lives like we thought he would be.

One of the things I was learning about in the communications workshop was to think of your relationships in terms of conversations, what were the last 5 conversations you've had with someone? Your conversations are your relationship with that person. I am going to invest more in my conversations with people, it will be one of my biggest goals and something I hope to achieve successfully for the rest of my life.

Dave's ex wife came to our house late this morning and picked up Lalo, she said Dave has no immediate family and she wasn't sure what would happen with the house and his stuff but Lalo would be taken care of.

Friends, please take care of yourselves, your family, and the things that you love. Make sure you tell them you love them, and if you can, try to have a good conversation with a neighbor. In memory of Dave.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Cassie's gone missing

Cassie's missing. She either wandered off or someone took her because she has a collar with her name and our phone number on it so if someone found her then they would call. We live on a street with very little traffic however there is a bunch of construction going on down the block. We went around the neighborhood last night calling for her and I am making up missing flyers now. The humane society is closed today so we'll check there tomorrow. Our heart's are hurting today, she became an important member of our family and we miss her terribly. I hope she can find her way home to us soon, I couldn't really sleep last night and I've been trying to hold back tears all day. I am in a 3 day communications workshop at work and we are working on listening (and talking) and one of the big messages I was taking away from this workshop was that I need to work on letting go of past resentments for my own personal well being and so that I am a better partner and friend. Having Cassie gone missing and our home upset is making that really hard. She was a ray of sunshine in my life, she was Bill's first cat, and she was Marshall's friend. This totally sucks.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

You try to figure out what I'm doing

(We added sun visors to my inventory last week) Sweet! I wore shorts to bike commute to work this morning--it's finally getting warm. Yeah! People might not realize that once the winter rain leaves Oregon we don't see rain again until October. Our temps hover around 80 and life is GOOD, seriously, we surrounded by vineyards and mountains and have perfect weather, but it rains in the winter so don't move here! Apologies to my regular blog readers, my brain has been in overtime for the past week and I needed to free my mind to focus on searching for new products for At my day job I've been coordinating a move and remodel of our office in addition to my regular computer geek responsibilities so it has been a little chaotic. I've also been at the Dr's office for hormone tests, we should know by next week if I'm ovulating or not. If not, then I will go on the fertility drug Clomid in the next few weeks! If I am then we will be buying a fertility monitor and Bill will get tested. It is far more likely to be me, I have a history of ovarian cysts and even had emergency surgery for it about 12 years ago. I am slightly emotional about this situation but after spending some time holding babies this weekend I am all the more certain that my heart and mind is ready to be pregnant so I really hope this happens for us soon.

(For the ladies: SWIM BIKE RUN BE FABULOUS inspired by my cutest friend QRGirl) ANYWAY! We are also starting to plan for Bill to finish school in June so that means job searching for him AND it looks like we will be flying down to Phoenix to pick up a Jeep from Bill's parents after graduation and plan to drive it back up through Eastern California and sight see for a week or so. On top of all that, we had a triathlon Saturday morning up north in Hillsboro and had to get up at the crack of dawn and haul my stuff up to the Hawthorne Farms tri and duathlon. It's a great event and the race director is cool, my only problem with it is that it's point to point and we were set up at the finish and the racers wallets were back at the start. So even though there were 3x more people than at the WOU race, I made the same amount of money.

(I might need more tables for the expanding product line) I have two more triathlons on the schedule: this weekend we will be heading north again to the Canby Gator Grinder triathlon and I will have lots of new products including running hats and sun visors to sell. At this point I need to come up with a plan to sustain this level of activity without being stressed because I'm not getting much time off. This past Saturday we had to rush home from the race so Bill could meet his buddies to play disc golf, I had to shower and run to the store for supplies to make Polynesian style beans for the pig roast we were attending at a neighbor's house. We didn't get home until around 9pm and I crashed hard. The next day we woke up and I thought we would have a day of leisure until I remembered it was Simon's birthday and his mommy was hosting a breakfast party for him. We had 1 hour to shower, get a gift and get to their house. After that we went to Costco and long story short: I didn't sit down until 7:30 pm Sunday night.

I forgot to mention that Bill defended his master's project last Friday without a problem so he just has to pass his 4 classes and he will have an MBA. So, is that frantic enough for you? Hey, it's all good. I just need a nap with my puppy dog and I'll be fine. Pics from the pig roast at Dave and Anna's house...

Friday, May 04, 2007

Chubby swimmers

I am always starving after swimming and noticed in my swimming class that some swimmers work out regularly but don't seem to lose their extra body weight. According to the study quoted below it could be that swimming in cool water increases appetite where biking or running makes you hot and could decrease appetite.

So the key is to not pig out after a great workout in the pool. Not so easy for me because I can smell Carl's Jr burgers grilling when I leave the pool bldg. That makes me even more hungry! mmmm burgers!

Research published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine shows
that in the absence of a controlled diet, swimming has little or no effect on
weight loss [1].

Professor Grant Gwinup compared three exercise programs for three months. Each
program began with up to 10 minutes of daily exercise. The length of each workout
was increased by five minutes every week.

• Test subjects following the walking program lost 17 pounds of weight
during the three-month study.

• Those following the cycling program lost 19 pounds of weight.

• However, subjects following the swimming program actually gained
5 pounds.

Assuming that all three groups burned a similar number of calories, the swimmers
must have compensated by eating more. "Presumably," speculates Professor
Gwinup, "swimming in cold water stimulates the appetite to increase caloric

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Sugar cookie

(Baby Cassie fits in the basket) We watched the Will Farrell movie "Stranger Than Fiction" (of course we watched it, Bill has a thing for Will Farrell) and I really enjoyed the movie, including the ending which I won't discuss in case you haven't seen it yet. One of the characters is a baker and she says she started baking because it made people happy to eat things she made. That might be a bit sugary for some people but I really connected with the message that life can bring all sorts of crazy things your way and that you need to find your way (which is usually not the way you planned) and appreciate the small things like a nicely made cookies and the generous people in the world that share.

Just a few days ago I started calling Cassie our "Sugar Cookie" so it was funny to see a character in a movie giving cookies as a sign of faith in humanity. Our kitten was a gift to Bill from my sister for our wedding and every time I look at her, my heart warms (even when she is attacking my feet as I walk down the stairs).

(Growing up has ramifications)Since Bill and I came together our lives have been one twist and turn after another. Back in December 2005 Bill's job contract ended, we were evicted from our rental house, and he had no job prospects to bank on. We made a high pressure decision to buy our first home together even though we weren't married or engaged and we decided that Bill would go back to school for an MBA (his 2nd master's degree) while I continued to work full time and run We took a risk and it turned out well, we found the perfect house for us, Bill got a scholarship for school and we got married that summer. Tomorrow Bill defends his master's degree and we're trying to get me pregnant. It's like that commercial, "Life comes at you fast..." I wish we could slow it down but we're in our mid 30s and we've got to get it together now.

We have no idea what our future road will be but I think we've figured out enough to know that we can trust each other and that no matter what there will be plenty of sharing and cookies to go around. I can't say that I'm not afraid, I might have to go on fertility drugs and Bill might not be able to find a good job here in Oregon. Things could get wild for us again but we'll get there. Deep exhale. We're getting there.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Fascinated by Bottled Water

A professor at OSU did some research about the environmental impact of bottled water and it's a little surprising to read the statistics. When you think about the resources used to transport plastic bottles and water from the manufacturer to you and then all those bottles have to be disposed of or recycled plus the fact that the water is generally from a city aquifer then it's seems kind of ridiculous to be buying a bunch of bottled water.

Also when you compare the cost to you, the researcher states that it costs around $3.50/gallon of bottled water vs. drinking water from the tap at 5 cents a gallon then you really have to wonder why the heck this industry is so big. He recommends putting your tap water in the refrigerator overnight to allow chlorine to evaporate and to eliminate the chemical taste.

I think there are plenty of things we do that don't make much sense and this is just one of them.
Americans spend $20,000 a minute every day buying bottled water. They consume about

8.2 billion gallons a year, compared to 41 billion gallons worldwide consumption. Their reasons are varied as convenience, concerns about safety, and taste.

But with between 25 and 40 percent of all bottled water containing nothing more than treated tap water, is it worth the cost, to both the planet and the average budget? While Jarvis won’t tell anyone to stop drinking bottled water, he argued that the benefits of tap water overshadow the costs of bottled water consumption.
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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

New stuff!

We added hooded sweatshirts last month and I created a logo for "Oregon Triathlon" which is selling nicely at local events. We also just purchased polyester breathable caps and visors and I will have those online by the end of the week! Yeah! It's very exciting for me to have summer products. This weekend we will be at the Hawthorne Farm Triathlon/Duathlon, a nicely put together event north of us in Hillsboro. We had fun last year and I think this year will be even better with the new products we are offering.

After the race we will get ready for a party at a local friends house, they are having a pig roast (like gigantic pig on a spit kind of thing) and I'm making a huge pot of Polynesian style beans for the event. I've been craving baked beans but I think it's a sugar craving more than a bean craving. Since I eliminated sugar I've let myself have a little here and there and it just doesn't taste the way it used to although the 1/2 cup of ice cream I had last nice was pretty yummy I will admit. It was a little pathetic, I had 1/2 a banana with a small scoop of ice cream and a few drops of chocolate sauce. I don't know if that reflects discipline on my part or weakness but it was yummmmmmy so who cares.