Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

My attempt to make my mom's pumpkin rolls was not a gigantic hit but no one was truly harmed in the process so alls well that ends well. My husband seems to genuinely enjoy taking photos of me doing stupid things, I'm not sure if that's good or not.

We had a lovely holiday with Bill's family here in Phoenix, we spent the day relaxing with his parents and then the evening having dinner at his brother's house. The food was excellent and the kids had fun playing with our dog Marshall. We witnessed a rare hail storm here in Phoenix, it was impressive, and the kids convinced Marshall dog that the hail was something special so they kept feeding it to him.

Tomorrow we are driving north to Sedona and Flaggstaff for a hike and then ending up in Las Vegas to stay with a friend. The Grizwalds are visiting their daughter and her family there so we are planning a pitstop to see them and crash on their couch. On Saturday we will likely drive north through Nevada and stay over somewhere near Reno before heading home to Corvallis on Sunday. We will miss the Civil War game so GO BEAVERS! everybody root for OSU for us. I think we are sleeping in the Prius on Saturday so this will probably be my last blog post before we get home. Happy thanksgiving and don't do too many sit-ups if you are feeling guilty about the extra servings!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pitstop at Trisports

This post is for the trigeeks who read this blog, the relevance may be lost on non-geeks. Apologies to you, but take comfort if you don't get it, then you are not a geek!

Bill and I hauled our triathlon bikes down to Tucson to visit Trisports, a triathlon retailer that has a strong web store and an excellent store front in Tucson. I set up a bike fitting appointment with Mark Walls at Trisports hoping he could enlighten us on fit issues and make some changes for both Bill and I since we each have challenges with our bike fit. Mark is a friendly, laid back type and is a good listener, all things that make him great at customer service. It didn't take him long to figure out that I am messed up (hello?!) and in need of assistance.

The bottom line for me is I have long, man-length legs, and a short upper body. I do not fit properly on my low end triathlon bike and I would do much better on a custom bike. Ka-ching. $$$ Since I'm not racing much right now, that isn't going to happen, so we compromised by moving the aerobars and lifting my saddle quite a bit. He has me sitting farther forward and advised me to strengthen my core, he must have seen the jelly roll that has attached itself to my stomach area. I ended up with new bike shoes, since the SIDIs I've been riding on for 5 years are too small and cause occasional foot numbing, and a demo saddle to test out for the other type of numbing. I think Mark spent close to two hours with me (poor guy) which was twice as long as he spent with Bill. I am just that messed up.

I had planned on this being a treat for Bill who will spend $0 on anything so I didn't mean to steal the show but when in Rome, buy triathlon gear! While Bill was getting fit I eyeballed the Endless Pool in the back of the store and Mark invited me to jump for a test swim. They offer this to triathletes who want to test wetsuits before they buy them.

I couldn't resist the opportunity (geek alert!) and suited up for a short swim. The best thing about the Endless pool are the mirrors: one on the bottom (that is movable) and one in front of the swimmer, tilted at an angle so you can see the front of your stroke. Genuis! I was instantly able to see my horrendous stroke flaws for myself. Finally! I really do have my left arm out too far from my body (thank you for telling me Sunny--now I see it) and I don't finish the stroke on my right side. I was not able to figure out the occasional body wiggle I do when I rotate so that will remain a mystery for now. I talked Bill into jumping in when he was finished with his fit and we had a great time analyzing our strokes.

Sadly, we had to wrap up our day at Trisports, the dog was patiently waiting in the car and we had our lives to get back to but I will be back to buy my custom bike in a few years, if not sooner. I will have to get back to you on the results of the bike fitting, but I highly recommend Trisports for online or in store shopping. They have a great crew of people working there and are committed to making triathlon a great sport. It is important to support retailers that add to the sport, and not just take from it, and I think Trisports is an asset that customers need to keep in business.

Geek talk over, I'll post a turkey eating report tomorrow. Then I'll do some core strengthening sit ups. Oh! That reminds me: I know someone who pulled an ab muscle doing sit ups after eating too much over the holidays so don't do too many sit-ups!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Out of time and gas at the Mohave desert

I woke up on Sunday morning with a headache, the 7000 foot elevation and the long soak in the hot springs and beer from the previous evening conspired against me. It was a balmy 18 degrees in lovely Bridgeport so we got the heck out of there asap. We drove south on 395 to Mammoth Lakes which was a ghost town. No snow and a bad economy meant many of the fancy new stores were vacant and the parking lots empty. It was strange. We did see a several spots for epic road biking in this area so I would guess we'll be back someday for riding.

The drive south was excellent, there are countless peaks lining 395. Our goal was to see Mohave before sundown and we made it just in time, which is even more dramatic because we were just about out of gas and in the middle of the Mohave desert. I'm not kidding either, we had about one gallon of gas to drive in, drive out, and get to the nearest gas station. Thank goodness we had the Prius and could coast downhill on the electric power some of the time.

We only had time to visit the Kelso dunes at Mohave and they were beautiful! If you want to fall in love with a place, go there are sunset, the light will trick you into believing you are in love. I want to go back for more Mohave adventures so I guess we'll be driving to Phoenix this way again sometime. There is so much to see in California. And Arizona. And Oregon. I love the west!

We made it to Phoenix around 11:30 pm, it was a final, brutal leg to get here. We're listening to a thriller book on DVD so that helps but we were exhausted and goofy for several hours. I tried to get Bill to eat something but he wouldn't so I bought a hot dog at the gas station and started eating it in front of him, I could tell he was drooling so I handed it over. This is how we get along with each other, twisted, I know!

Today we did a lot of resting, playing in the swimming pool with the dog, and watching football games that Bill's dad recorded for him. Tomorrow we take our triathlon bikes down to Trisports in Tucson, AZ and we're getting fit on our bikes. Since we aren't getting any younger, I thought a good bike fit would be a wise investment. I'll report back on our trip to Tucson late tomorrow.

Yes, I wear glasses, but only when I want to see and yes, there is something on Bill's nose, he had a spot burned off so it didn't turn into skin cancer. He's telling people I hit him.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hotel Prius

I made a mistake on the first leg of our road trip, I commented to Bill that the back of the rented Prius looked big enough to sleep in. Before I could say no, we were buying pillows and sleeping bags at the Walmart in Yreka and Bill had us driving farther south into the cold night. We slept on the side of the road near Castle Craggs state park. The Prius was big enough but it wasn't the Four Seasons.

One cool perk: we heard a coyote howl in the early morning and AND we could see the stars as we fell asleep through the hatch back window. We did not get good sleep. In the morning a park ranger came and told us "No camping on the side of the road!" so we got out of there. Marshall seemed to like it because we rolled out of bed and played ball while Bill re-loaded the car. It's a good dog day when you start out chasing a tennis ball.

We had a big breakfast at "Lumberjacks" in Redding, Ca and then hit the road toward Sacramento and then Lake Tahoe. We took Hwy 50 out of Sacramento, it heads toward South Lake Tahoe, and then turned onto Hwy 89 South which looked like EXCELLENT biking btw. We are currently pitstopped at Bridgeport, CA at the Walker River Lodge which is only slightly better than the hotel Prius. Our room has a king size bed, a hot shower, and free wi-fi. One bad thing: we are at 7000 feet and the beer I had with dinner has gone straight to my head.

We are loving the drive and the Sierras. There was quite a bit of fog in the Sacramento area and the smell of burning wood permeated the air. We stopped for a short hike on the Pacific Crest trail but we were trying to beat the setting sun so we pushed on today. We hit a hot springs at the end of the day and watched the sun go down while soaking in a warm pool of water. Tomorrow we will stop at Mammoth Lakes and wherever there is a good view and likely drive through Death Valley before turning toward Phoenix. I'll post more photos after we get there.

Friday, November 21, 2008

One way to Yreka

We got out of town late and hit I5 south at 5pm. Brilliant! Posting from the car on Bill's Blackberry so this will be short.
Bill rented a Prius and we have our tri bikes on the back so we are yuppie geeks. The dog is passed out in the back so I'm happy.

Stopped at the library for books on cd and a cooler full of pop. I think we'll make PHX in a few days. Tomorrow is Mt Shasta and Mammoth Lakes.

Peace out from the Prius!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I had a Pedro moment today

Slightly brutal main swim set today:
100 Free
100 IM
repeat constantly for 24 minutes, choose your interval 1:30, 1:45, or 2:00 minutes.

I could have done 1:45 but I would have come close to death so I chose 2:00 minutes and came in on the free sets on 1:30 and the IM sets on 1:45. I wanted the IM sets to be faster but they were not, so something to work on.

After the set, my face was bright red and I had to hurry back to work which meant getting under the hair dryer even though I was still sweating from the swim. By the time I got back to my office my hair felt like a fleece blanket wrapped around my head, I was so hot I wanted to shave it all off.

Perhaps I could borrow Pedro's wig and run for President. Right now, I feel like I could eat all of the sugar in a 6 block radius and still be tired. Luckily, Bill was there and chose the 1:30 interval, and his face was a little red too. Excellent.

We're planning a road trip to Phoenix to spend Thanksgiving with Bill's family and we're leaving this Friday. We're taking the dog and planning to stop off for hiking along the way. It's going to be a long trip but we seem to do ok with driving trips. I like the freedom of the road and I genuinely dislike getting stuck next to smelly people on airplanes. Seriously, one bad experience and you never want to fly again. One time I sat next to a guy who spent the first half of the flight ripping a magazine apart. He would look at a page, rip it and stuff it in the seat pocket in front of him and then go to the next page and repeat. PSYCHO!!!!

Then there was the time I sat next to Beavis and Butthead for an entire international flight back from Paris. That's a long freaking flight to listen to:

"Dude, that song is killer."
hu hu. hu hu hu hu. (this is a stupid sounding laugh)
"No way man, that song sucks"

Raging argument ensues and stops when they start arguing about video games, movies, etc. For hours. I would swim 100 IMs on 1:45 for 2 hours straight rather than sit next to 2 idiots for 10 minutes.

As soon as Bill and I figure out our route, I'll put it on my blog. He wants to go through Utah and stop off at the Grand Canyon. I'm thinking California with a stop at Mohave or through Mammoth Lakes. It doesn't help that we start these conversations at 10 pm and I'm half asleep.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


We helped our friend Lonnie celebrate his 40th birthday last night at a murder mystery party. Everyone was assigned roles and given clues to help solve the mystery. Bill was "Paul Emoutte" (think pull em out) the life guard and I was "Kat Walker" the supermodel.

As you can see, we got dressed up to play our roles and have a lot of fun. Our hosts provided plenty of drinks and an excellent dinner. The clues were full of adult innuendo and everyone made a good effort to dress up and act out their role.

Before we left for the party I told my husband, "You better be ready to have fun, no drinking one beer and the calling it a night." He must have taken my speech to heart because he drank 5 rum and Coke drinks in the first hour and half! Before I knew what was happening, he was trying to rub his sun block on all the women at the party. So he came to have fun and he did.

I had a great day, in order to get ready for the party I rode my bike across town to Kmart and bought fake eye lashes and lip gloss, I felt like a 12 year old. I don't know any supermodels and couldn't imagine what they act like, so my acting came across like this...

Interesting interpretation! After the mystery was solved (it was Leah Tard the cheerleader) we played dominos and some went out to the garage for ping pong. I ended up passed out on the couch and Bill woke me up around 1:30 am to go home. You can imagine how nice I feel today. Of course Bill feels fine. More photos in my gallery.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Story time (including public nudity!)

My friend Sunny has been complaining about the rain in Oregon quite a bit lately. Her name is Sunny so I will try not to let her complaining drive me into Seasonal Affective Disorder. She reminded me of a great story I want to share with you (and Sunny)...

Several years ago I was on a weekend vacation in the middle of January with my mom and her dear friend Martha. We were sitting at a restaurant at a resort in northern Idaho having drinks, looking out over the lake, when Martha said, "I'm going to get into the lake." My mom (who plays the mom role to a tee) said, "What!?!" in a hysterical tone. The lake was surrounded by snow and it was about 30 degrees outside and a pitch black night.

Martha said, "I'm tired of being cold, so I'm going to embrace the cold. I'm going to take off all my clothes and get in the lake and FEEL the cold." My mom did not panic (surprisingly) but insisted that she pull the car up as close as she could to the lake and run the engine to keep the car warm so Martha could de-thaw after she came out of the lake.

We finished our drinks and got everything ready. Martha stood at the edge of the lake, striped off all of her clothes, and slowly walked into the water. She got far enough in so she could submerge her entire body which caused her to yell out in surprise and then she came hauling back to the beach to get a towel and into the car. She was exhilarated. She had liberated herself from worrying about being cold. She was cold. She immersed herself in it. Temporarily of course.

Personally, I thought she was a little crazy, but it was incredibly neat to see a woman in her 50s take off her clothes and jump in a freezing lake. Fast forward a few years later...

I'm back in northern Idaho, hanging out with friends from Corvallis (long story I will tell some other time) standing on the shore of the same lake thinking about Martha and what she had done that day. It was January again, and we were huddled around a bonfire on the snow covered beach, two sheets to the wind and having a great time. It was beautiful, and there were a million stars in the sky. One of my friends said, "That's it, I'm going in." And I said, "Me too!"

You should know that I hate to be cold and I had never skinny dipped in my life but I took off all of my clothes and walked into the dark, freezing cold water and immersed my body until all of the breath left my lungs and I felt like I was going to die. I yelled out just like Martha had that evening and I ran back to the beach to grab my clothes which were somehow not where I left them and in the hands of one of my friends who apparently wanted an extra long peek of my behind. Jerk.

Whatever, it is still one of my fondest memories, doing something completely out of my comfort zone that seems insane but is really harmless and ultimately, life affirming and exhilarating. It makes me smile now to think back about that night and what it felt like and I would love to do it again! Of course, it really does figure that the one time I try public nudity that someone took my clothes but only a few people saw my behind. I lived!

So my message to you, my dear friend Sunny, and to anyone still reading: embrace that which is holding you back and getting you down. Who cares if you get wet? You really won't freeze. Get cold and get wet and keep living your life, it's a beautiful one! Then come over and I'll make you hot chocolate with whipped cream and it will all be good.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Imaginary battles

One of my favorite things about triathlon training are the epic battles I imagine myself in when I'm training. I completely lose myself in the moment and all of the stress and worry leaves my body when I fully commit myself to a training session. I love it. I should do it more often.

Today I was 20 minutes late to swimming, hey, better late than never! I hopped in during the middle of a long kick set, there were still 4 x 100 kick left and they had been at it for a while so I have no idea how long they were kicking. We did a quick 200 and then 4 x 100 with paddles. Long story short: the session was almost over and I was just getting warmed up.

Coach called 4 x 100 on 2:00, moderate pace. I took the lead of my lane and set out hard. When I swim for time, I go out arms blazing, hold on for the middle and then desperately try to pick it up at the end. I don't like drafters (don't ask me) even in swimming so when I lead, I swim down the left side of the lane so person #2 can't draft me without risking getting whopped in the head when I flip turn. Bitchy, I know, but it's my lane when I lead it and that's the way I'm leading it out.

So I'm hammering down the left side of the lane (to put this in perspective for you speed demons, I was swimming 1:30s) which means the guy in the lane next to me is getting a bird's eye view of my thrashing. He is in the other lane because he's FASTER than me but he just did a massive kick set and I'm just hitting stride. We were swimming neck and neck through 75 then bam! I drop him. Repeat 4 times.

Then coach calls 2 x 100 on 2:00 all out. Since we are getting plenty of rest, I think I can handle all out. I give it a shot and go out hard and drop Mr. Speedy Speedo within the first 25. I come in around 1:24 then repeat. He's in another zip code when I hit the wall. Victory is mine!

Then the best thing ever happens, he turns toward me and says, "Jeez, what did you eat for breakfast?"

Oh yeah!!!!!! Thank you sir, I had some kind of bran cereal. Actually, I quickly told him, "Oh no, I was late so I was going hard to make up for my tardiness."

I fully expect him to drop me for the rest of my life and never, ever, let me beat him in a swim set. Ever. But today I won the imaginary battle!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gossip girl and getting older

There is a show called "Gossip Girl" that I have actually never seen but lately I've been thinking about gossip as I reflect on my friendships. I used to have a friend and we had long chats about various things but reflecting back on it I realize now that a lot of what she had to say was about her friends. She genuinely seemed to be bothered by her friends and their lives. It occurred to me that she was probably talking about me the same way she talked about everyone else and I had been telling her a lot about myself.

Yikes! You want to confide in people who you have confidence in, and I'm so naive at times I just expect everyone to respect me and my privacy as I do with them. I have been in awkward situations because of my openness and made friends with people I should NOT have been friends with. Live and learn.

Everyone has faults, strange quirks, and little irksome things about themselves that their friends have to tolerate. If someone is really bothering me, I don't invest time in them. Even if they are friends of friends, if I don't have a preference toward them, then it's not going to happen. This is one thing I enjoy about getting older, I care so much less about the peripheral people and I care more about good friends, they are worth their weight in gold and I would be horrified to lose a good friend over something petty like gossip.

Now I still like to gossip about who is dating who and that type of juicy stuff. I'm still a girl at heart!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The beasts are ailing

Vintage photo of Bree Bree laughing at the new puppy, Marshall dog.

Bill took our oldest kitty to the vet on Friday, she had been meowing a lot and seemed extra grumpy and then let us know something was really wrong when she walked into Bill's home office and peed on the dog's bed right in front of him. Turns out she has a bladder infection and should be fine in a few days. On Saturday, we woke up to find dog vomit in the bedroom, not a big deal, dogs like to eat gross things but he wouldn't eat breakfast and it sounded like an alien invaded his stomach.

Poor guy! Gurgle and burp! We called the vet and asked if we could give the dog pepto and they advised to feed him a small amount of food to soak up his stomach acid. Bill fried up some bacon and we mixed it in with some rice and sure enough he ate it! Evidence that the smell of bacon is too great to resist, seriously, I know vegetarians that drool over bacon. Later that morning he broke out in hives so we put him on bed rest and watched him closely. This meant we couldn't attend the wine party Saturday night, our friends live 40 minutes away and that would have been too long away from the ailing beasts.

Today, Marshall seems fine, he's eating and romping as normal and the kitty is less cranky and more full of purrs. I on the other hand, was bored out of my mind again but I did clean the bathroom and take a nap. Seriously. Boring! I'll get used to the pace eventually. I have just about gotten the tribabe inventory together and plan to take photos next weekend of new products.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Pretending to be a city person

Going to the city is disorienting for me, typically Bill drives and we don't stay long but I had to spend 24 hours in Portland by myself for a conference at PSU. PSU is an urban campus and I noticed the students are quite a bit different than what I see at OSU:
Eye liner and cigs baby. After the conference on Wednesday I walked to Nordstrom for the half yearly sale (bonus!) and then over to Powell's books (a must stop in Portland). I had dinner by myself at an upscale tavern. I was the only person by myself and I noticed a lot of office worker types staring at me but that could have been because they wanted my table. Vultures!

Either way, I came away with a great appreciation for small town college life (again). I think a trip to the city a couple times a year is good. We're looking at driving down to Phoenix again for Thanksgiving and stopping off near Reno for some winter sports. I think we are headed to Salem this Saturday for the annual wine party. I still have to come up with a super model look for the murder mystery party next weekend... yikes!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Happy election day

The elections are over, thank goodness. Barack Obama is our next president and history has been made. I loved both speeches tonight, McCain showed major class in his concession speech and Obama was reserved but focused. I think people from both parties can appreciate the qualities these candidates displayed that put them in this position. I hope some of the nasty and divisive rhetoric can diminish now. Truly horrible things were said by both parties and I think that is a drag our on society.

Voting in Oregon is very stress free, we mail in ballots, so I didn't feel a bunch of excitement or commradarie that you feel when you vote at the polls, but I do love the mail in ballot.

I will be away for two days at a conference in Portland so I will not blog until Friday.

Monday, November 03, 2008

I almost forgot this gem!

Friday night my husband picks me up after work so we can go downtown for pizza and see all of the little kid trick or treaters. Downtown business provide candy and everyone gets to see the kids in costume before it gets dark. Anyway, Bill picks me up and this college kid is walking across the street wearing a samurai outfit and he has half of his head bandaged like he has been stabbed in the eye. Bill is staring at the guy and says, "What the heck is going on here!?!"

He forgot it was Halloween. I got to tell our friends at dinner that he couldn't figure out why some kid was walking around campus in a samurai outfit. I love my husband!

How to survive the rainy season

The rain has officially started here and since it's been months since we've seen real rain, I have to remind myself how to get through the long winter. Here are some things I know to do that helps get me through with partial sanity:

1. Book a trip or two somewhere warm for mid-winter
2. Load up on coffee (AM) and beer (PM) repeat daily
3. Start hanging out with friends again (everyone is gone in the summer)
4. Get cute rain gear
5. Stock up on great books
6. Get out in the rain--it's actually not that bad
7. Trail running and hiking
8. Start planning skiing and other mtn activities
9. Get as much exercise as possible to keep spirits up and extra weight off
10. Shop, eat chocolate, drink wine, socialize and have fun to excess!

We had a mellow weekend and I was starting to get a little bored, I almost had Sunny and Bill talked into mountain biking on fire roads at night (I know!) because I was feeling antsy but we ended up watching a movie instead. Bill put the carpet he pulled out of our living room in the garage (tribabe headquarters) and I started unpacking inventory from travel bags and storing away for the winter.

I need to take a bunch of photos of new tribabe inventory and I'm trying to decide if I should pay a pro, get a student, or do it myself. Yikes! I might try to do it myself and if I fail miserably then...