Saturday, August 30, 2008

Holiday weekend

This is going to be an excellent holiday weekend because we are going to get some stuff done! This is not the weekend to camp since everywhere is crowded so today we stayed home and worked on the garage and did a little bit of shopping. Tomorrow we will be up north in Portland for the City of Portland triathlon, we are cheering for some friends and I will set up the Tribabe booth for the morning. On Monday, Bill will start ripping out our carpet downstairs so he can lay laminate flooring next week. We had to get rid of the carpet since we have a dog and two cats and champagne colored carpet was not going to last long.

The carpet will go in the garage, my tribabe headquarters. Tuesday is our two year anniversary so we will be heading to the coast for a hike and dinner. I will try to take some photos at the triathlon tomorrow, the swim is in the Willamette River and the bike and run is in downtown Portland so it will be a cool race. Check back with me late Saturday or Sunday for photos.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

When the universe smacks down a go-getter

I haven't been blogging because I've been putting in 10+ hour days working my day job and then silk screening t-shirts for tribabe.com in the evenings. I took a class on silk screening last month and since then, I've been busy making new designs. Who takes a class at a craft center and then prints massive quantities of t-shirts and capri pants with the purpose of selling them within days of finishing the course? I do. I am that person and I realize it is annoying.

What do I mean by annoying? The instructor crabbed at me the other day because I asked about the "paint" for screening and she said, "It's called INK, not paint." That's right, I don't even know the right way to say things but I have a business based on the process.

Go-getters are annoying, but here's the thing, I/we don't care what the universe thinks. I don't expect everyone to be excited or supportive about my choices. I do what I do because I can't not do it and that cannot be explained unless you too are afflicted with "can't-not-do-it-itis". The affliction means you see an opportunity and a path and you go for it because you can't NOT do it. Does that make sense?

Lest you think I have a big head or a monster ego, don't worry, the universe takes care of that. I screwed up at least $80 worth of t-shirts so far. I'll get there though, the universe isn't completely relentless on smacking me down.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was complimented on the way I run meetings. Yesterday I got flamed by a VIP at a meeting I was running on a web project, he asked, "Have you ever taken a web design class? This is the busiest web page I've ever seen." My job is to manage web projects so you can imagine that this was a public insult targeted straight at me. No question about it.

After the meeting, two people came up to me separately to compliment the work I've been doing so I didn't let it shake me, the VIP was being rude and I think everyone in the room knew it. But the universe was letting me know, don't get too full of yourself!

Sometimes, the universe is a little too mean. An acquaintance said to me about one month after I miscarried, "You're looking kind of chubby." At the time, I couldn't think of one good thing to take away from that comment but I see it now. It was time to move on and the universe was letting me know that it was time to move on. It hurt. Bad. It still makes me tear up that someone could be so insensitive, but after that I started training again, I lost some weight and did a triathlon and it genuinely helped my emotional and physical state, I moved on, so thank you universe, for smacking me down, even when I'm most vulnerable.

Universe: I know you will smack me down no matter what I do. In the meantime, I'm going to go get some stuff done with this life I have.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Flecks 50th

A 50th wedding anniversary is an amazing accomplishment. Bill's parents have achieved so many things in their lifetimes together and inspire their children and grandchildren that focusing on family brings happiness. It was a very special weekend for all of the Flecks to come together to mark this special moment with family.

Raising four high energy boys isn't something I can fathom but they did it and did it well, all four are successful in their careers and have married and lead productive lives. The boys are still competitive with each other and a weekend with the four of them is usually not a relaxed one: some type of one-up-man ship will go down. Whether it's playing cards, going on a hike, or even put-put golf, someone has to win and there will be a battle! The boys were well behaved and seemed focused on family this weekend so things were actually quite pleasant.

Aunt Ruth was able to join for this event which was a special treat. She lives in New York and is a concert pianist. She travels extensively for teaching and performances and is preparing to record again. She's not quite 5 feet tall and in her 80s but had no problem waking up early to go on morning hikes with us. She's really quite impressive and an inspiration for the grandkids.

Speaking of grandkids, here are seven of the eight, one couldn't make it due to sports. The kids had a great time at the pool and were generally well behaved at the nice restaurants and places we went. They were also quite loving toward their grandparents and aunt Ruth so something is going right with these kids. We had a great time with them.

We had such a wonderful time with everyone that it was hard to go home. Being together with family is such a treat, and everyone was so grateful to have had the opportunity to come together to celebrate the monumental accomplishment of 50 years of marriage.

This has been such a serious blog post that we have to end with something light hearted, so here's the last word from Elvis (aka Bill's brother Jim)...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Apologies

I won't be back to blogging until this weekend comes and I have some free time. Four days away leaves me with a back up of responsibilities and it's still a busy time of year for me so somethings gotta give. Have a great week and weekend! I'll be back soon!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I could get used to the Four Seasons

Bill and I went to Phoenix this weekend to help celebrate his parents 50th wedding anniversary with family. We had a great time connecting with family and it was hard to come home. We were fortunate to stay at the Four Seasons resort north of Scottsdale and had an excellent experience there. If you haven't been to a resort like this (I had not prior to last year when we came), I'll try to describe it for you and then maybe you'll be so inspired you'll want to go and invite me with you!

As soon as you arrive, you are treated quite nicely, the doorman will offer you ice water or cookies should you need some sugar. The lobby serves "prickly pear ice tea" all day, a huge hit with the kids. The food in the restaurants is quite good, but expensive, a glass of juice at breakfast is $6. Unless you are a multi millionaire, eating off site or bringing some of your own meals would be wise. There is also a spa on site which I walked past on my way to the amazing work out room. Every treadmill and bike had it's own t.v. so I was able to watch the Olympics while getting a run in. Iced washcloths are available as well as water and Gatorade (without charge). It was by far, the most lavish treadmill run I have ever done, I could easily get used to that.

There are three swimming pools: a toddler pool, a kids pool, and an adults only pool that is lined with misters and curtains so you can sit in the shade and be cooled by misting water. We stayed by the kids pool all weekend so we could spend time with the nieces and nephews (7 kids total this time) and an attendant will set up your chair with a nice towel, one to sit on and one rolled up for you to rest your head. The pool attendant brings ice water throughout the day and provides drinks and food from the kitchen. Another attendant might walk around with iced wash clothes throughout the day or samples of smoothies. It's quite nice.

The rooms aren't totally spectacular, but the beds are very comfortable and the bedding is drool worthy. I had a great time just sleeping. Each room at a digital flat panel t.v. and a patio with chairs for a view. Every evening a room attendant comes in and turns down the bed, sets the lighting on low, and turns on the ipod docking station (i.e. radio) onto a nice easy listening station.

The bathrooms are stocked with plush towels and robes, fancy soaps (that you can take home and give as gifts to friends!) and there is a large deep tub in case you need a soak.

The landscaping is so nicely done, you find all types of cacti and other native and blooming plants and it is not uncommon to spot a bunny or gecko resting in the shade. The resort is next to Pinnacle Peak where you can hike up for great views of the area.

All these nice things add up to a lovely and memorable experience. I couldn't recommend this resort enough, if you are looking for a desert experience at a nice resort, check into their off season specials. I hope to be back again soon. I'll write more about the hiking in the area and the great time we had with family tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Don't Help Me!

Photo taken today at project management graduation, put here for my mom: love you mom! I dressed up in blue (your favorite color) for you.

On Monday I called my mom in the middle of her work day and asked if she could print 550 flyers and take them to a race director for me since I didn't get it done in time for a race in Spokane. What did my mom say? "Yes! I'm just pleased I get to do something for you." My mom is the nicest, most accomodating, and hardest working person I know. I'm 35 years old and still need my mom and my mom still needs me to need her. I feel lucky to have that relationship with my mom.

It happens to me on occasion that I'm in a store and I overhear a mother and daughter shopping together or some similar scenario and I miss my mom terribly, living in a different city than your parents is tough. Makes me sad. I moved back in with my parents for several months at age 28 and enjoyed it thoroughly, I will always cherish that part of my life, counting on my parents when I needed them. I better go call my mom now since I don't do it enough.

Monday, August 11, 2008

There's only so much a Tapout tank top can do

I took a mental health day on Saturday while Bill was out busting himself riding up Mary's Peak again. The dog and I eased out of bed, got a latte (where they give out puppy biscuits) and we played fetch around the neighborhood while the cat watched. It's important for me to at least try to balance relaxed times with frantic times. I spent the rest of the day working on tribabe.com, spending some time in the yard, and watching the Olympics while designing some new tees on my laptop. I don't think we left the house for the rest of the day and that's what I call a success!

Sunday, I was not so lucky, the husband was home and on a tear to go to Home Depot. After he drug me around town all morning I took and nap and then got ready for another bike ride to the embroiders again. Fortunately, there was no wind so way less complaining from me! After riding I went for a short run and that didn't go as well. I put on my "Tapout" tank top so I would feel tough but it didn't work, it was hot and I was slow. I'd never make it as an MMA fighter. Hopefully, I'll do better as a triathlete.

I also started packing my bags this weekend because on Friday we're going away to Phoenix for Bill's parents 50th wedding anniversary and we're staying at the Four Seasons Resort in Scottsdale. Yes!!! We'll get to see family and stay at a fancy place, I don't know what to do with myself I'm so excited! We're taking a laptop so we'll see about logging on and posting photos from the resort. I'm ready to go now.

p.s. we got little sleep last night since we stayed up to watch the mens 4 x 100 relay at the olympics. It was worth it although I couldn't sleep after watching it!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Hello Cruel World


After work on Tuesday I met up with Bill for a short bike ride, a 24 miler to my embroiderer's house and back. She happens to live on one of the most popular biking routes in this area, Decker Hill, so anytime we don't have a large order, we put it in a backpack and bike it out there. I haven't been on the triathlon bike in more weeks than I can count but I figured 20 mile bike ride would not be a big deal...

Hubris alert! We start heading west straight into a stiff headwind, 8 miles of lactic acid building riding at 15 mph toward the base of the hill. I wouldn't have suffered so much but I was trying to stay with Bill for some reason that makes no sense to me now but at the time if was like LIFE OR DEATH for me to stay with him so I pushed all the way there. Bill time trials up the hill while I weave up slowly, it was about 90 degrees so that didn't help me either. We make it there and start heading back and wow! I'm cranking! I could win a race at this pace, we're going ~23 mph now, just flying along (of course we don't ease up we keep pushing hard) until we turn north and the head wind starts again. Stupid changing winds! I was holding onto Bill's wheel for dear life thinking I should let him go but my stubborn legs won't stop pumping.

Why oh why did I hold his wheel? I should have stayed home and pounded my legs with a meat tenderizer instead of this ride. I tried to ice my legs when we got home and tried to ease my mind with thoughts of a recovery swim the next day.

Wednesday I saunter into swim class and ask the coach what the workout is for the day, my legs barely assisting in the walking process. He smiles and says "Sprinting!" We do sprint workouts about zero times a year so what the heck is he talking about?

The goal is to hold the same pace for 8 x 50 sprint and your lane mates will give you your time so there is no slacking. Here's what I do:

1: 0:40 (way too slow)
2: 0:39 (gimme a break)
3: 0:38 (come on legs)
4: 0:35 (sweet spot now hold it)
5: 0:36 (starting to breath hard)
6: 0:37 (stern talking to myself)
7: 0:36 (really heavy breathing)
8: 0:35.5 (lactic acid overdose)

I did the walk of shame back to the showers after that. It's obvious I'm no Dara Torres. I am looking forward to doing this workout again, with better results I hope, when I'm not so tired.

Friday is our final swim class day, we're doing the 6 x 100 descending repeat 5 times workout instead of a swim meet. I am telling myself this will help with my 500 time so wish me luck and lack of hubris.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Project Tribabe Runway

Sorry I haven't written a blog in the past few days, I have quite a few tribabe.com loose ends going on right now and I like my ends to be neatly tied so they don't trip me up in the future. Typically, after event sales I have to run several credit cards and fill custom orders. I also have to replenish inventory that was sold and look ahead to the next event which means doing things like making flyers, coordinate with the race director for awards, etc etc.


Yesterday I designed a bike water bottle for tribabe.com, I hope it turns out because I had to order 150 of them. I thought they would be helpful for giving out gift certificates (it is not uncommon for me to work out a deal with a race director to exchange exhibitor costs for my product and gift certificates are the easiest) and I think I can sell them $5 or give them to loyal customers. I don't have time to do little projects like this the way I want to so it goes down like this:

1. contact friend who runs business promotions company locally and ask for quotes on bike water bottles
2. Get Adobe Illustrator going on computer and browse graphics to see if anything will work for design
3. Search istock.com for art that I can purchase (don't find anything new)
4. Use existing stuff and cobble a design together, doing the best that I can in the whole 2 hours I have to do it
5. Order and hope they turn out

It's not ideal but I don't have time or people to help me with these things so I do it all myself. It can be really challenging and I love it but there is a reason I like to go camping and get away from this and myself!

Now that I have silk screening as a tool I want to change up my designs and go a little more artsy--it's a trend right now to make "art t-shirts". The challenge for me is I'm not an artist so I spend a lot of time researching what other people are doing, looking at color and style and then searching for art I can purchase to use. I feel like a crazy person sometimes because I rush from one thought or idea to the next, trying to keep track and keep up with myself.

I am also trying to decide about doing one more triathlon this year. I haven't been riding my triathlon bike so tonight, we ride! I hope it doesn't hurt too much. I went for a run on Sunday and started doing the race in my mind, that's usually a sign that I'm going to pull the trigger.

Today I met my guitar playing friend at noon, we're working on a combo of jazz, country, and blues tunes and we're having fun with it but I know he'll want me to start thinking about performing sometime in the future. That means practice.

Does anyone know a support group for over-committed people? I would like to attend a support meeting, perhaps I can recruit some to work with me.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Luna All Woman's Triathlon, Blue Lake, 2008


We were up early this morning for the all woman's triathlon at Blue Lake near Portland, OR today. There is also a kids triathlon that day so my two favorite events in one day! Kids tris are the cutest and woman's triathlons are the most inspiring to me. Every time I hear a kid say "Go Mommy!" I get teary-eyed. I know some women feel some guilt for taking time for themselves to exercise but what a great example for their kids to see them swimming in a lake, biking with a bunch of people, and then running across the finish line.

Giving Sunny Gilbert a high-five as she runs her way to victory.

The weather was cloudy and 58 degrees this morning so great racing weather. The event organizer does a good job playing fun music and there were plenty of other vendors there to make the event fun for the racers. I bought a couple of sports bras from a local company called "Handful" and I love them! I tried one on when I got home and I haven't taken it off since. They have a clearance section on their site that lists bras for $20 but you have to buy them up a size since they were sized too small.

We had a decent sales day and we'll be back at the same location tomorrow for the mid-summer sprint. I did this race a few years ago with the goal of finishing top 5 and had an interesting experience with my new bike, you can read my race report if you need sleeping material. I used to take myself so seriously!

Friday, August 01, 2008

First results from silk screening tees


I "graduated" the t-shirt silk screening class I started taking a month ago by producing my first tees! I saw the class offered at the OSU Craft Center, paid the $100 fee, and did my best not to screw it up (which I did at certain points) and I'm thrilled with the results and have a million new ideas in my head for tribabe.com products!



The process is simply but complicated, I will have to take some photos of the process for my blog, but here is a quickie overview of the process:

1. Create a design and copy or print onto a transparency
2. Apply emulsion to a screen (screen is on a square wooden frame)
3. Burn image onto the screen using a light box then rinse the screen so emulsion is removed from image area
4. Dab ink onto screen and using a squeegie type tool to pull ink across screen so ink goes through area where the image was burned
5. Image is printed onto tee (or whatever you are printing) repeat or rinse ink from screen



You can reuse a screen for printing more of the same images or you can scrub the emulsion and image off and start over with the same screen. I could barely sleep last night after class since I had so many new ideas!

Tonight I have to prep tribabe products for a weekend of events, we have the Luna All Women's triathlon on Saturday and a sprint and olympic distance race at the same location (Blue Lake NE of Portland) on Sunday. If sales are slow on Saturday then we won't come back Sunday. We are doggie sitting Milo this weekend so we will be BUSY with two rowdy dogs when we get home. Have a great weekend!