April 29, 2005
Obvious observation #1: it's much easier to ride a bike with correctly-inflated tires.
Last night was the turning point. Yes! Sweetie and I scooted to get some salad and 'za, and then I returned to the Bike Gallery with the gauge that wasn't working for me. I walked up to the counter, and the employee was working with someone on the phone, so I left the gauge, the receipt and my purse at the counter while I went to check out standing pumps.
They were having a sale, and there was an obnoxious yellow one that called my name. I looked at it suspiciously. On the packaging, it said that it fits both types of valves. So I bring it up to said counter.
The employee is now ready for me, and as a matter of introduction, I gave her an abbreviated version of my frustrations with getting back on the road.
Can I make a suggestion?, she asks.
Yes, please, I need all the help I can get!
She explains that the pump I've chosen has an adapter for schrader as an afterthought, and that she thinks I can do better at the same price. So we go over to the pumps, and she immediately picks out a much more subdued pump. A Wrench Force with its "easy to use dual head, all you have to do is put the valve in the correct opening, flip the locking lever, and pump. The dual head automatically directs the air into your tube." Ka-ching! Same price too. $30, marked down from $90!
I thank her and thank her and thank her again. And then I bring the pump out to the scooter and learn that it is just a smidge too big to fit in the underseat compartment, so I'll have to hold it between my feet. Which actually wasn't bad at all.
Mat pilates was great. There were only seven of us, including the instructor, and the focus was really on the abs. By Thursday night, after three straight days of pilates, I'm usually having a communication breakdown with my abs. I do what I think is bringing the belly button to spine, but I feel about as connected to my belly as I do to the soccer player's belly on the mat next to me—it's all theoretical. I worked really hard, and I concentrated on my abs, these abs that I could not feel, rather than leg lifts or the other crazy stuff you're supposed to be doing while you contract your abs. So that's not to say that I didn't do the other crazy stuff, I just tried to stay focused.
I got the pump home, and immediately brought the bike onto the backporch. It was so damn easy that, well, it was kinda a letdown, honestly. So I filled the tires, and then I went inside and got a pile of other stuff done, just as if I had some energy. Wuhoo!
And this morning, I biked in. It was fun for the most part. I can't even put words together to say how much easier it is to ride a bike with full tires. Oh. My. Gosh. A world of difference.
The steel bridge-pedestrian bridge was closed (and locked up!), so I ended up going along the Eastbank Esplanade. It's not my favorite as there are these little tiny intsy-weensy itty-bitty hills, and I'm not there yet in my bike-jock-evolution. But, I made it up them, and so what that a runner passed me? This is supposed to be lowkey and fun, and damn it, it's going to be!
I got across the Hawthorne Bridge and saw the Shift folks out with Last Friday breakfast for bicyclists. How cool is that. So I stopped. They are so great. They served coffee in real mugs, and had goodies from Grand Central Bakery, and were tremendously friendly. Wow! So totally cool!
So I am very pleased this morning. It's the first day this week where I've felt like I was not fighting the tide.
I need to come up with a 20-21 mile walk for this weekend. I could do the old Steel Bridge to Sellwood Bridge loop twice, but I like the idea of not having to repeat a loop. So maybe tonight I'll try out a route on the scooter. I wonder what the St. Johns Bridge to the Broadway Bridge via my house would be?
April 28, 2005
This is what I came home to last night
April 27, 2005
tuna and beans
This is dead simple, fast and really delicious. But because it is so simple, every ingredient counts.
Tuna is especially important. The best brands are European: Ortiz, A's Do Mar, Flott, and Bela Olhao are some that I'm familiar with. If you are looking for domestics, try Crown Prince or Progresso, though the taste makes the Europeans worth the price. And don't even think about light tuna!
You want tuna packed in olive oil. Not packed in oil, not packed in spring water, not in a little pouch. I don't care if you ate tuna in spring water when it was hard to find in the grocery store, this recipe is all about the tuna taste, and to really have that, you need olive oil.
This is a recipe template. With european tunas, we tend to use 2 cans of tuna to one can of beans, vs 1 to 1 on the American tuna. Your desire for beans, tuna and/or frugality may also influence the ratio. Anything goes as long as it tastes good.
1 or 2 cans of tuna, packed in olive oil
1 or 2 cans of cannellini, great northern, or small white beans
decent extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
a lemon or some lemon-flavored EVOO (like Agrumato Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
fresh ground pepper
1. Drain tuna, drain beans.
2. combine drained tuna and beans in a big bowl
3. add olive oil to taste
4. add fresh-squeezed lemon juice or lemon flavored EVOO to taste
5. salt and pepper to taste
variations: add red pepper flakes, or 3 cloves crushed garlic.
serve soupy with a green salad, or on toast, pasta, rice, polenta, or your favorite starch
This only gets better in the fridge, too.
on tires and valves and gauges
My pursuit of the right tools is bordering on ridiculous. Last night, on the way to mat pilates, I stopped at the Bike Gallery and got a bicycle gauge. As I was writing the check for it, I noticed that it was for Schrader valves, or maybe for Presto, I don't know, but suddenly the element of doubt was introduced. This is how much a poseur I am -- I have no idea which type of valves I have. Or what the diff is between the two.
I got to pilates a few minutes late, but I worked really hard, and having done pilates the day before, my abs were just not all that happy about it. Oh well.
So, I get home, get all my crap out onto the back porch including the bike, and the ever-so-helpful dog, who is being a real pest because it's getting close to his dinner time. I take the gauge carefully out of its packaging, approaching the bike, while Echo tries to smell the gauge. I unscrew the valve cap, and of course, the gauge doesn't fit! Of course. Echo is now busy smelling the tire, and the tire valve, and then as I move across the back porch, the gauge, my hand, etc. So, I bring over the pump... and it doesn't fit the valve either. Sheesh!
Now this is sweetie's pump, which he bought with his bicycle. I shudder to think how much he spent at the bike shop that day, but it was quite a bit. He was explicit about not having bicycled recently. Why didn't someone say, that pump won't work with your bike tires? I mean, if someone is spending your take-home for the month, wouldn't it be worth it to make sure he gets the right stuff? At least so the next time he darkens your door, he'll be happy?
I thought about going to Fred's to pick up a generic bike pump, there where they are dealing with pedestrian bicycles, but it just required energy that I didn't have. My becoming a bike jock would have to wait another day.
April 26, 2005
I'm just not having the best morning. I got up at 4:45 after getting what should have been enough sleep, and I still managed to get into work late this morning.
I had big plans to ride the bicycle in this morning. Last night, I bought a tire gauge, but did I check the pressure last night? No, hell no. So I get the bike out on the back porch, and bring out the pump (without gauge), and then realize I have no idea how much I need to inflate the tires. So I haul the bike back into the house.
I feel like such a poseur with the bike. Who'd ever believe that I lived on my bike as a teenager? I've never repaired my own flat, and here I can't even read the tire and use an auto tire gauge on it?
Part of this must be stress. I feel exhausted, and my stomach is very very unhappy, and everyone at work wants something from me, and I seem able to only move glacially.
Anyhow, the morning is grey and socked in, but there are promises of sunshine and warm temperatures later. I had overdue books, so I bagged them up and took them to the library, then after walking for about 20 minutes, caught the bus into town. Frustrating.
C'mon, Vicki, where is the upside? There has to be an upside here. Oh yes. So, I'm walking down 15th, which is not a street I walk down very frequently, which means there are all these new houses and yards and garages to look at. I love these big old craftsman houses, way too big for the likes of Sweetie and I but I still love picturing myself there.
There was some daphne odora planted at the edge of the sidewalk which I paused to smell—that is really in my top three of flower smells. I really dug a front yard that was totally full, overgrown even, with bamboo, and had a retaining wall of big stones and railroad ties. I wonder if I could do that in my front yard?
I saw foxgloves, giant, and ready to flower, and was struck with pain that mine got mistaken for a weed and got shorn down. Maybe it will come back. Or may I should just replant?
Once I got on the bus, I read the Tribune, which doesn't take long, and then Magnet while the other person in the seat fidgeted in her purse. First, she's wearing her name badge, then she puts it in the purse. Takes it out, put it back in her purse. The purse is small and nice and very businesslike, as is the lady attached to it. And me, I've got my old green REI backpack which is sadly showing its age, packed to bursting, and I'm wearing a big long fleece, and exercise pants, old running shoes on. Not businesslike. I'm overflowing into space.
While I wasn't paying attention to her, her constant fidgetting kept her in my field of vision, and I didn't even realize how irritated I was until I got off the bus, back into the fresh air, and walked to catch the train.
I've been on quite a spending spree lately. And there's something about the whole layoff issue—that it's being acknowledged, that our department has been touched—that makes me just want to go out and buy another bicycle. As if that would make up for my current incompetence! I know just what I'd buy too. Sigh.
April 25, 2005
close to the ground
Well, no one in my department got it today. Morale is ruined. Everyone is sharpening up their resumes. Except me. I know I should be, but I'm actually working on work.
I did go to mat pilates, and it was a good distraction. Hard, really hard, given that just about every part of me, including my abs, are achey and cranky today. Afterwards, I took a really cold shower, hoping it would make my body feel better. It did wake me up, certainly. And for some reason, I weigh 225. I'm guessing I just lost some weight in the event yesterday, and I just need to regain it. Though I'd rather not.
Gosh, yesterday was such a neat experience. I did a little bit of internet trolling for other 30K events next weekend, and so far have come up with nothing. It's so much easier to just do it in an organized fashion, rather than going out on your own. Maybe I'll just go to Champoeg this weekend?
Anyways. There is something that is so great about being so close to the ground. The other night, my sweetie and I rode our scooters past an Indian restaurant and swooned from the smell of curry. We had both just eaten, but suddenly that aroma made me hungry all over again. We'd have never gotten that if we'd been in a car.
Likewise yesterday. There was so much that I wouldn't have even noticed on a bicycle.
I love looking at everything. There's the decrepit dock, twisted and falling apart, its electric light poles now horizontal above the water—how did it get this way? Who let this fall apart? There are the caterpillars and baby slugs crossing the asphalt in Smith & Bybee Lakes park—I can't remember the last time I saw a caterpillar. Remember, they used to be everywhere, and now they are so long gone. And the baby slugs looked like little shavings of barkdust.
Lupines in bloom. Even where they were mowed down, now coming up in miniature. All sorts of little wildflowers, all with names that I don't know, carpeting the ground with the promise of spring.
There were the bluebirds, swallows really, eating bugs in the park. And tons of birds of all kinds, everywhere. I don't recall seeing crows or grackles or robins in the park—there were just all of these unusual birds.
Even once we were out of the parks and in St. Johns, there were all these interesting houses, and cars, and dogs in windows silently barking, and cats on porches rapt with attention. Interesting gardening, or no gardening at all. Lettuce as an accent plant. Good old love-in-a-mist (nigella), and artichokes, front yards devoted to farming or bulb growing. Teenaged runners being very confused about the volkswalkers. Kids playing basketball, a hispanic group next to a group of asians. A lot of middle-aged women wearing coats over flip-flops or bedroom slippers, smoking a cigarette in their driveway. Dog optional.
The orange slices at the checkpoints tasted so good. As did the grapes. And I still can't get over how excited the volunteers were that this was my first event, the first of many, they'd assure me. I got so excited when I'd see the fruit. Damn.
I tried to hydrate well and do plenty of endurolytes, but I still finished with a crunchy coating of grey salt all over me. And I did remember how to pee, once I had taken my ice bath and drank a couple glasses of water, and ate an egg sandwich, suddenly the whole system worked really well. And then I was really tired. I napped on the couch with the dog and two of the cats, with three quilts, having a hard time getting warm.
Then I woke up, my darling made me a homemade burger (the best, the absolute best), and I had a beer and another five glasses of water.
If you want to see someone who is doing this right, check out Lynne's Je Cours. She did the McNaughton Ultra, one of the toughest ones around, a few weeks ago (4/16-17). Her race report is just magnificent, her attitude just great. What an inspiration! I'd give the direct report URL, but it's in several installments.
Thanks for all your nice comments, guys. I am sore and tired the day after. Everything aches. I'm sure pilates will only help soothe everything! It's amazing how quickly I lose condition. Now I have to find another 20 miler for next weekend.
Oh, and at work, we're talking layoffs. Several people got laid off on Friday, and now everyone is nervous. Happy. I just try to remember my friend the three-legged cat.
April 24, 2005
Vancouver Discovery Walk 31K
I did either 31K (19.25 miles) or 32K (19.88 miles) today.
I did the Vancouver (USA) Discovery Walk, and today's walks included a 6K, 11K, 21K, 31K, and 42K. This was an American Volkswalking International event. So, my first volkswalking, and my first as an international experience.
I got in to register at about 7am. The first talking I heard was in some slavic language. I registered—$8, pretty cheap for an event. A group of germans in fatigues, a group of Netherlanders in a clutch, a guy with a huge japanese flag.
In my event, maybe 2/3rds of the field were from outside the states. I was amazed, absolutely amazed. Then I remembered that the Victoria International Festival of Walking was last weekend. I wonder where the next weekend is?
We were bussed out to N. Portland, along Marine Dr across from the Expo Center, and let out without fanfare. It begins!
I spent the first couple miles chanting to myself, this is not a race, this is not a race. There were all these walkers, and I could catch up with them, and probably screw up my last 10K, but I tried to hang back, relax, have a good time.
The route took us along the Smith and Bybee lakes, the wastewater treatment center (which really has been developed as a nice wildlife sanctuary, occasional foul smells not withstanding), and then into the working-class neighborhoods of St. Johns. At one point, I had the obligatory interaction with a pitbull on a chain who had gotten loose—he was all love and bad manners, but he freaked out several people walking. A little ways ahead I heard yelling, and it was a woman in her bathrobe, yelling for the dog to come home. The dog ignored her.
We spent some time in Pier Park, which is hilly and wooded and just lovely.
Oh! Some backstory! So in volkswalking, you actually check into the aidstations. They check off your card, and so you're not only expected to stop, you're expected to chat. The volkswalking volunteers are so friendly and enjoyable, it's hard to hit the road again. At most of the stations there were chunky slices of orange and banana, bunches of grapes, cookies, hard candies, and maybe some no-name jel that everyone I saw avoided, along with water and gatorade. At the aidstation/check point at the University of Portland, it was inside the student union, flocked by comfie chairs and flushing, indoor toilets! In fact, a dutch man was camped out, seemingly totally enjoying the comfie chair, and the American co-eds.
The other thing: I was the only person doing the 32K in technical fiber clothing. Everyone else was wearing jeans or dockers, cotton athletic socks, and hiking boots.
After getting out of Pier Park, we proceeded to the south end of the peninsula and walked down Willamette Boulevard. Did I mention that all the walking was on trails or sidewalks or for short stretches along the road? None of this walking in the street stuff.
We were on a sidestreet very close to UP when I was joined by a 42K (eg, marathon) walker. He had gotten lost at some point, and was thinking that he'd be doing a 48K in the end. We chatted, and I of course managed to offend him by saying I was embarrassed that we were taking our international guests by the sewage treatment plant. You know, he said kindly, some people think of it as shit, but I think of it as a living. Oops, good move, VJ.
Soon after that, I saw a little black cat, and it saw me, and it began running full-speed, bounding, at me. I have never had a reception like that from a cat, and I'll say I was touched. It was a tiny little cat with two front legs and one rear, and he showed other signs of hard living. He loved on me quite a lot, and I tried to return the favor. I just wanted to scoop him up and take him with me.
It was a good lesson to me—at this point, my feet were hurting and I knew it was only going to get worse. I had been questioning this commitment to walking longer distances—why was I doing this exactly? And then I see this cat who is so happy to see humans, even though he only has three legs. Wow.
Back up through St. Johns to the waste-treatment plant, then along a dike to the Portland International Raceway. On the dike, I saw two blue herons fly. Blue herons are not a special bird around here—you often see them on the river, or in someone's garden who's made the mistake of having a koi pond. But I had never seen them fly. They have tremendous wingspans, with two different shades of blue, and these outrageously long legs.
By the time I hit the PIR check-point, I was beginning to have some trouble. That was 26K. My feet were hurting, hamstrings unhappy, just generally wanted to lie down in the long grass and go to sleep. I soldiered on. After a detour through the Delta Park Sports Complex, we were on the I-5 freeway bikepath.
It seemed like every step was getting harder, and I had this persistent need to pee, even though I had just stopped at the portapottie at PIR. I had forgotten about my friend the cat, and was feeling pretty sorry for myself. Then, as I passed through an underpass, I exchanged greetings with a homeless guy. When I asked him how he was, he said, Alive, and I don't remember what I said in response, but he said, hey, so much better than the alternative! I agreed, we wished each other a good day, and I was on my way. Slowly.
As we crossed onto Hayden Island, the path goes behind the former Waddles (vacated for a Krispy Kreme, after 60+ years in business—though it appears a Hooters will end up in its place) and a Safeway. I popped into the washroom there and realized that my body had kinda shut down. I couldn't remember how to pee.
It seemed more and more appealing to just call my sweetie and ask him to shuttle me to the hotel where I had registered and left the car, than to walk the last mile across the bridge. But of course, I didn't call. I walked across the bridge. The uphill was harsh. No actually, I didn't notice either the uphill or the downhill on the bridge, but the wierd pedestrian steep stairway (think slats in a 7% grade wheelchair ramp) did just about kill me. Then I had to go up something similar. Even with the hotel in sight, I just wanted to sit down.
But I finished. Went in and collected my medal. Stood for a moment watching a barbershop quintet performing for a room of hardcore volkswalkers here from around the Northwest and the world. Some of them had done 2 days of 42Ks. In Europe, it's not unusual to do 4 days of 42Ks. Crazy.
I timed it, but I killed the timer sometime after finishing, so I really have no idea about time. Let's just say I was a lot slower than at Champoeg, which isn't too surprising when you look at how little I've been spending on walking lately.
April 23, 2005
I had big plans of getting to PFit early, riding the scooter, walking with the self-designated "slowest folks", getting my assistant coach shirt... and I spent most of the night and all of this morning on the head. Very, very disappointing.
The one possible good thing about this was that I did let myself sleep in a little, and I feel fresher and more energetic than I have all week. Too bad I have to stay within a minute's scramble to the john!
April 22, 2005
Anything that has real and lasting value is always a gift from within.
Steve Austin, astronaut. A man barely alive.
So. My front teeth are rebuilt. Gentlemen, they can rebuild them. They have the technology. They have the capability to build the world's first bionic teeth. My front teeth will be those teeth. Better than they were before. Better, stronger, faster.
Basically, I have a bad teeth grinding problem, and I had knocked a lot of the back of my front teeth off, as well as grinding down the more visible stuff too. It's amazing what dentists can do these days. It was unpleasant, but not painful, and now I just need to relearn how to eat and things will be fine :)
I'm all aches today from the allegro on Wednesday, and the mat pilates class last night. And last night was good. I worked really hard, and there was no balance ball. Hurrah!
The weather has been beautiful, so I've been getting lots of scooting in. I'd like to also say that I've been getting alot of bicycling or walking in, but, that would be a lie.
I am still planning to do the 32K walk in Vancouver on Sunday, which sounds thoroughly low-key, and of course there is PFit tomorrow morning.
I saw the SF Sunday Chronicle yesterday, and there was an arresting photo of a beautiful serious woman with some sort of tagline about fighting mental illness. I was drawn in by the picture, but I continued to think about it because of the content. I finally found the article this morning, and it makes me very sad, close to weepy. Basically, brilliant driven person shows signs of manic depression, has a breakdown, is put on meds, which the person can't tolerate, and at a point where she seems to be "getting better", she kills herself.
This story is so common that its scary. The general public tends to think that depressive folks commit suicide at the worst point in their depressions, but generally at that point, they don't have the energy to do so. It's when they are climbing out, getting a little better, that they suddenly have energy—and that's dangerous.
Historian Iris Chang won many battles: The war she lost raged within
Sunday, April 17, 2005
San Francisco Chronicle
April 20, 2005
short but sweet
I had big plans of walking in this morning, which evaporated with some household drama. Turn on bathroom light, watch bulb go grey, hear a sizzling sound, then see black smoke coming out of the fixture (does that mean they've changed their minds, given Ratzinger's nazi past?), then smell the most horrible acrid smell.
I called the electrician, who doesn't think this is a big deal and for sure will come tomorrow, and maybe, this afternoon. But all I can think about is, is my house burning down right now?
My house is a 100 years old this year. The wiring... who knows. Even if it was once good, the house once housed a rat colony, so who knows what's been chewed on. But that expects that the wiring was once good.
I've decided I'm going to do the Lake Run anyways. I just won't sign up. So there.
I scooted to pilates last night. Of course, the ride was better than the class, but I suppose the class is better exercise. However, I am totally losing patience with the instructor. Lately she's been adding all of these non-pilates, non-mat exercises, including a 15 minutes series with a balance ball. Some of the exercises don't require balance, but most do, and so several of us in the class end up just sitting there. Does she notice? Nooooooo.
I'm torn. Jill is in the class, and it's cool to see her outside of work and foodie stuff. There are other classes, heavens knows. My gym offers two evening classes, and that would be for free. The community center offers a once a week class that Sara is taking (btw, Sara, how is it going?). Or, gasp, I could spend that time doing walking training.
What should I do?
April 19, 2005
A race for the future? Err, maybe not
The 2005 Lake Run 12K
12K Run: (an accurately measured course using USAT&F standards) - is a challenging [read HILLS], scenic loop through beautiful residential areas with stunning views of Oswego Lake. Due to City restrictions the 12K event is for runners only.
(oh dammit. Dammit, dammit, dammit!)
check out this map
Mistress of the Grand Dink
Today is better. While I had myself a good pity party yesterday, maybe I just needed that, because I felt almost human leaving work. And the new mascara withstands tears, and splashing cold water. I had a snack with my darling, and then we went off to do our separate scootering.
I took the scooter downtown for a special foodie French meal at Carafe, but I was really early, so I decided to go on a little ride. I decided to go up the Broadway Hill.
Long ago and far away, when I first moved to Portland, I had a marketing job in the Portland Hills, and I had an old Toyota which my then-partner had gotten in several wrecks with. To get to work, I'd have to go up the Broadway Hill, and it was nerve-wracking—trying to get the fastest possible running start, then gearing down, and gearing down again, and heaven help me if someone wanted to turn onto Broadway. I love driving, and this was killing me!
So how would the scooter do? Brilliantly. Absolutely brilliantly! Damn! It was so much fun! So I went up Broadway, and came back down Vista and Montgomery, and then back into town.
Dinner was fabulous and the company very enjoyable, even as it went on well past my bedtime. Five courses, very French, with all my senses delighted! I thought of Megan's recent entry about being a lusty eater with great appreciation.
But one of the highlights was stopping to talk to someone, and then realizing that all my pals, the regulars from the Food Group, were gathered around my scooter oohing and aahing it. So, I dutifully turned on the lighted, digital dashboard (which really does look cool), and did the retracting side mirrors thing, and then collected my helmet and my purse from under the seat. Everyone was quite appreciative. Nice!
So I rode home feeling very lucky. Lookee, I have this crazy fun dorky scooter, I have friends to share incredible meals with, I live in this incredible place, Portland, I have a house and a yard, I have a man who I love and who loves me, I have a whippet. I am the Mistress of the Grand Dink!
This making an effort thing is interesting. I really like how I look with mascara, though with eyeliner I feel a little slutty. My coworkers have been teasing me about the fact that I feel like I'm wearing so much makeup, and no one else is noticing. I love wearing skirts and dresses, so the issue there is making sure that the legs are fresh mown. I totally agree with Tricia that what makes a woman most beautiful is her comfort in her own skin, her confidence.
And yet, there is a quote (okay, not a quote, but a statement) that reverberates in my mind. I heard someone talking about working with an Italian Holocaust survivor, and she said that he was always impeccibly dressed. She asked him why, and he replied that with so much ugliness in the world, he wanted to bring pleasure to people by dressing as well as he could. It's a small thing, no doubt an Italian thing, but it does come to mind with some regularity...
April 18, 2005
I will call this entry no whining! because I'm hoping I can manage that! I am feeling better this morning. I can't control what I can't control. And me, I'm doing the best I can. Every mistake is a chance to learn. I've got a lot of learning to do!
In my continuing effort to make an effort, I bought some new makeup yesterday, which I put on this morning. Waterproof mascara is one item, given that I learned that my old mascara runs in both rain and tears. We'll see how this stuff works out, but I was kinda excited to put it on this morning, like I was playing dressup.
Does anyone else feel like they're playing at being an adult?
I would have liked to have done a lot of yardwork yesterday, but the weather really wasn't cooperating. But I did go out in the rain and prune the rosebush back by the garden gate. This thing grows incredibly fast (and completely covers the gate to the backyard), so it's a struggle keeping up with it (note to self: read the label about how big the bush grows, and then use that information in planting).
I've had some awful housefever lately. My dad built houses when I was a kid, so we were always moving, and for most of my adult life, I found I really wanted to move when I was having big issues with something. I've been totally in minor house-hunting mode for the last couple weeks, not even really realizing that it might be a portent of something else going on.
I've also felt like the window of opportunity to buy a different house has passed. Portland's real estate market continues to skyrocket. My house is now worth 4 times what I paid for it. However, I don't feel like I would earn enough from my house to be able to buy a house anywhere else in Portland.
Case in point, there's a cottage that I always pass and think is very cute. It's pratically at the corner of a major arterial and another big street. Its property taxes are more than I pay for my mortgage! They want 650 thousand for it. Oh... my... g-d!
Anyways, it's all becoming clearer. I need a change and I feel stuck. Now what?
But, let me end this all on a positive note. I've noticed that on the Kymco mailing list, that folks talk about the Dink, which I'm guessing is the Taiwanese name for the Bet & Win 250. Well, when the Columbia Scooter guys were going through all the stuff with me, in the seat compartment was a manual... for the 250 Grand Dink! I am the owner of a Grand Dink! Finally a name as dorky as the scooter itself! I hope it dries off a little bit so I can ride it...
April 17, 2005
suck, suck, suck
Well, this has been a sucky weekend. There have been good portions, but by and large, it just wasn't that great.
I did get the scooter. It rocks. I rode home Friday night in the rain. Not too bad.
Saturday morning, I wanted to ride said scoot to PFit, but it was pissing down outside. So I drove. And got soaked. I don't have anything to ID me as an assistant coach, but I still tried to talk to people, with a number of "who the hell are you and why the hell are you talking to me" sorts of looks in response. Then the walkers met, and even though I was in "the inner circle" the coaches for whatever reason did not introduce me as an AC. I don't want to get my running shorts in a bunch, but you know, it's cold, it's wet, and I really don't have to be here, do I?
So we did our 5 miles, which was pretty miserable. I tried talking to some participants with not great results, and tried talking to ACs with more not great results. I was really in the midst of a bad morning before I got to PFit, and I was hoping that it was going to turn things around. No.
Unfortunately, the course was complicated and unclear, and because of the rain, or whatever, ACs weren't posted along the route, so there was sheer chaos.
Now, I just read the bulletin board with a bunch of people saying, nobody talked to me, the ACs were all in a clique, blah blah blah.
After PFit, I went out on a beer crawl. It was an organized beer crawl, mind you, not just me trying to drown my sorrows. It was good, nice, a distraction, nice people, new beer, and I stayed relatively sober until our last stop for dinner at Higgins in the bar, where I had a grand cru and shared a couple of high alcohol European beers and suddenly I was swimming. After that I took the bus home and passed out.
I had been planning to do the Run for the Roses on Sunday (aka, today), but I didn't sign up for it on Friday. I got up at 5:30 and I was still inebriated and hung over at the same time, but I thought, I gotta do this. So I got ready and then realized that my car was in NW, while I was in NE. And it was too late to take the bus. So, scooter it is.
But, I needed to get the scooter turned around. It was in the back yard, in a field of high grass, and the process of getting it turned around took about 40 minutes. By that point, my window of opportunity had passed, AND, it was raining.
I got back in, got back dried off, and tried to go to bed. That didn't work.
Of course, later, we did go for a scooter ride to the running store, and while we were inside, it started hailing! So much so that it looked like the ground was covered with snow.
I feel like I'm at a crossroads, but everything is really out of my control. What happens next could be good, it could be bad, it could be more of the same. I feel like I've fallen off track in a very bad way. Missing the race today was a big fuck up, and I am totally responsible for it—but it's a symptom of bigger issues.
April 15, 2005
Bless me, readers, for I have sinned. I didn't go to Pilates last night, and I didn't go to the gym or walk either. I am even more sore this morning than I was yesterday (!!), I'm assuming from the allegro. And I'm still feeling a bit wonky from whatever I'm fighting off. So I'm trying not to feel guilty for taking some down time.
Which isn't to say that I'm not running around like a crazy person. I have the numbers jotted down for my taxes, and now I need to just file them. And, I test-drove scooters last night.
Folks, promise me if you're looking at buying a twist-n-go scooter, that you consider the Kymcos. They have a great warranty, they look good, they're totally reliable, and they're great fun to ride. Oh, and the price is right too. Hollie, I'm talking to you in particular—I know you have the fever!
I test-drove the Kymco People 150. I couldn't believe what a tiny scooter it is—not tiny like pocket bike tiny, but very compact. But it was responsive, and peppy. Really cute. I loved riding it! And if I was really even considering 150s, this would be the one I'd choose.
Then I rode the Kymco People 250. In comparison to the 150, this is a hulk of a scooter, but it drove beautifully, cornering well and with lots of zip. A nice ride! Unfortunately, it's a smidge big for me—I could get the balls of my feet on the ground, but not stand flat footed. That's not a big deal, I thought.
Then, really as an afterthought and part of not wanting to leave the scooter shop, I rode the Kymco Grand Vista 250. I didn't want to ride it because I didn't like how it looked. But once I was on it, I couldn't ignore that I felt like a little kid all giddy with joy. I can stand flat-footed on it. It rides like a dream. I zipped through the neighborhood, testing the brakes, leaning into the traffic circles, all the while thinking, I really don't like the way this looks, but I really like the way it rides.
It has all these goofy features like a digital dashboard and retractable mirrors, and all these smart features like a heater that supposably actually heats, a seat design that gives some back support, and conveniently placed "oh jebus" hand-holds. Every one of the scooter guys spoke excitedly about how cool it is to drive at night with the digital dashboard glowing, casting an almost neon shimmer to the windscreen.
The fact that one of the mechanics bought a Kymco for his wife is reassuring, as well as the fact that they say that they almost never see them in the shop except for regular maintenance. My Riva was a workhorse, and I never had to take it in except for maintenance or when someone would hotwire the ignition, or otherwise injure it in trying to steal it, and that's what I want again.
I'd love to have the indie-cred to have a vintage scooter and do all the repairs myself—but who am I kidding? That isn't me. I like the fashion of it, the idea of it, but it's not going to be happening. I don't want a scooter that I'm constantly going to have to be hauling to the shop to have them adjust something or tweak something or fix something. I just wanna ride!
So I gave them a call this morning, and I'll be taking it home, g-ds willing, tonight. Oh, and it's blue (!!).
I look at victory as milestones on a very long highway.
—Joan Benoit Samuelson
April 14, 2005
Allegro is in some ways the highlight of my week. I really like my instructor, I really like the exercises, it's hard as hell, and I'm trying my damnedest. And I have to, cuz there's the instructor, watching my belly and my form and every now and again cracking me up!
I feel it this morning. I'm still having some joint crankiness, but I am really feeling the workout in my calves, my glutes, my arms, and of course my gut. Damn. I love it.
making an effort
This is the week of making an effort.
Last week, I read a blog entry about fat women, and while there were parts that I agreed with, there were other parts that were just dead wrong. One was a theme that fat women just don't care about their appearance, and one commenter talked about fat women with cat hair on their butts. Well, that last thing is certainly true for me.
There is an element of truth there. I don't "do" my hair because it looks worse if I try that. Last night's haircut (which I do regularly, as well as color, as well as brow waxes), my hair dresser flat ironed my hair, which just, to my eye, looks weird. Everyone in the salon loved it, sweetie loved it, etc. And in trying to recreate that this morning, I have an odd mix of dead-straight, and hair that went feral and is wavy. Oh well.
Make-up is similar. Last week I experimented with eye shadow—big mistake. I can handle lipstick and mascara, but that's about it.
Getting cat hair off my clothes is next to impossible, so I try to get off the bigger pieces and call it good. When I stay in hotels, I'm able to lint-roller *all* the cat hair off, which is pretty damn cool.
But it's hard to get excited about clothes and uncomfortable shoes. I look in the mirror, and I'm still fat, and it doesn't matter how nice the clothes are. It doesn't matter that I'm shapelier and firmer than I was.
This week, however, I'm making an effort. Wearing mascara and lipstick. Wearing nice clothes. Matching jewelery. I have to admit, it makes me feel better about myself, and it makes me feel like I look better. Which is worth something.
Yesterday, I even brought in flowers from the garden: red tulips, bluebells and some blooming rosemary. It's so cheerful I could just puke!
Last night, I borrowed Sweetie's Stella to go to the hair dresser. Very interesting. I kick-started it, and it was running pretty choppy until I have revved it up for a few minutes. I got on, and rode to the library (1 mile), and that was fine, but getting it back on its stand was an effort. Then, on to the hair dressers.
It was weird. I didn't really care for it. Now, that's weird because as you know, I am obsessed. And, I've been having this very high school sort of internal discussion about whether to get a vintage or vintage style "Italian" scooter, or a "plastic" Asian scooter. See, the vintage styles are cooler, you know, in with the popular kids and all that.
I feel ridiculous that at 42, this matters to me. Cripes! How much cool factor can I have at 42, and who cares anyways?
Anyhow, I just didn't feel like the Stella was very stable, and one part of that could be having the engine mounted to one side, a foot and a half off the ground, and the other could be those 10" wheels. Getting it up to 30mph and coming down the Fremont hill was unpleasant.
So. I guess that shortens my test drive list quite a bit.
April 13, 2005
I'm obviously fighting something, as I have periods of feeling okay, and then periods of feeling really icky. This morning and last night—really icky. But I'm here at work as I had a meeting this morning, and allegro this noon, as well as some deadlines.
Last night, the skies were momentarily blue and the pavement mostly dry, so I ran down to the scooter shop to try to get some test driving in. Of course, once we got the People 250 pulled to the door, it started hailing, and continued hailing for the next half-hour. It was okay, kinda. I like chatting with the guys at the shop. But I really wanted to ride.
After that, I ran after the bus to get home in time to go to pilates. I felt distinctly ill on the bus, which I thought was due to running. I drove to pilates and felt pukey. Then when I got on all fours to do an exercise, I had to rush out, being afraid I was going to puke right then and there. So I left. Not that the instructor noticed. It's funny, my "free" classes at the gym, the instructor always says hi to late folks and bye to early-leaving folks, and stands at the door and thanks participants. My paid-for mat class, I get nothing. Her only comment to me is "You're getting strong". Damn it, I've been strong. Perhaps I expect too much?
Anyways. My joints hurt like crazy, I have a headache, and I'm hoping allegro won't hurt too much.
April 12, 2005
Here I am, back at work. My internal thermostat is still screwed up—now I'm hot rather than freezing cold, but I have a bit more energy. Hurrah!
I hoped to walk in today, but once everything was done and said, it was too late. The bus is also good for observation and thought, though, just not exercise, and it can also be good balance practice. But I can walk on lunch, and I can walk home tonight.
Or not. I want to get 5 miles in. And, I want to test drive scooters. It's driving me absolutely nuts!
To answer some questions...
Why no Vespa ET4?: Because. I've decided I'm not going to buy from the local Vespa dealership. I could go to the Bend dealership (3 hours away) or the Seattle dealership (3 hours away), and the guys at Ptown Scooters say that the Seattle dealership is a good one. But, I don't know that I'm so excited about the new Vespas that I'd drive three hours to get one. Apropos of nothing, here's a story about the costs of establishing a Vespa vs multiline dealers. It looks like it's pretty hard to establish that indie cred and be a Vespa dealer.
Why 150cc and higher?: Portland is hilly, and one of the reasons I'd like to have a scooter is for Sunday driving or scooter camping. I also would like to be able to haul my friends around with me. So having some power is important.
Also, my last scooter was a Yamaha Riva, a 180cc. I loved the power and speed it had, and I can't imagine getting a less powerful scooter. That said, I don't know if Columbia has the People 250 in, so that might tie my hands. Oh, and the People 150 is on sale for $2,999.
I am such a little kid. Immediate gratification!!! Immediate gratification!
Oh, and excitement: I'm going to do the Run for the Roses Half this Sunday. Can't wait!!!
April 11, 2005
|Scooter||2 or 4 stroke||engine size||price||trans||mpg||ridden yet?||warranty||notes|
|restored Vespa P200E||2||200cc||$2100 -2500||manual||60||yes||?|
|Twist n Go Milano||4||125cc||$2195||automatic||85||no||12/3 month||Is that enough cc's?|
|Bajaj Chetak||4||145cc||$2,849||manual||80+||no||2 yrs||they have a pink & white one|
|Bajaj Legend||4||145cc||$2,550||manual||80+||no||2 yrs||what's the diff?|
|Kymco People 150||4||150cc||3,399||automatic||65+||no||2 yrs||16" tires|
|Kymco People 250||4||250cc||4,299||automatic||60-70||no||2 yrs||16" tires|
2 vs 4 stroke: 2 strokes (old vespas, stellas) are louder and pollute more.
engine size: Obviously, this affects speed -- larger engine, more speed. Also more power, especially on hills or carrying heavier loads (or an additional passenger).
tire size: the usual scooter tire is a 10". The usual motorcycle tire is a 16". The bigger the tire, the greater the stability.
Hammer Gel tests
To try to provide a service is what we at Brave Athena are all about. And, yes, there is only one of us, why do you ask?
The last time I was at the triathete store, they had a crazy cheap price for Hammer Gel. Now, I'm a Gu girl, and I have no reason to change, but I did pick a couple up, and try them while I was out on the road. Here are the results:
Espresso: easily the best of the lot. Not unpleasant taste or texture, though a little thick.
Orange: entirely unedible. Like eating tang-flavored sand set in grease.
Chocolate: not as good as Espresso, but at least it's edible. You need a lot of water to cut it, though.
End results: I think I'll stay with my Gu, though if it isn't available and I'm in hell, and Hammer Gel is my only choice, I will use Espresso or Chocolate. I'd rather have the horrible all-body cramps than have Orange again, though.
A bit of a walk
So I did a bit of a walk yesterday, and I have a bit of a photoessay (53 photos!) to go with it.
It was really fun. Saturday was too. I just felt really free, like my body was really just flying, light, and my mind was full of excited, creative ideas. Not that I'm remembering a lot of them now, but I felt like some of my goals—non-athletic goals—were really achievable.
Once I got on Terwilliger, there were lots of runners and cyclists and walkers, and I felt great comraderie. And then, the section on Capitol Hwy and Barbur and Naito, I can't recommend to anyone—they're like a dead zone, nothing but cars racing like there's no tomorrow. There are bike lanes in parts, with no bicyclists, no wonder. No sort of divider between the car lanes and the bike lanes other than a line of paint, blackberries and other shrubs growing out into the road, no sidewalk, no room for a trail, even.
I felt really good until I got downtown, and it started to sprinkle. At that point, I had been out for 4 hours, and I decided that was plenty, and took the bus back home.
All in all, it was great. Though I think I have a bit of a fever, now. I can't seem to get warm.
April 9, 2005
the art of movement
Big day today. I got to PFit just after 7am, and the sun was shining. I immediately saw Hollie and started catching up with her, and as her friends came round, I got introduced. Sweet! I then saw a friend of Mela's, and another of her friends recognized me (oh, I am so bad with names and faces), and then I introduced myself to others.
It was a huge crowd. Overwhelming. It'll be easier once we meet in our color groups—much smaller, much more manageable. As we started off for our 3 or 4 mile walk, I decided to hang back, and try to chat with folks I didn't know. Then I hung with some ACs, and racewalked while they ran. Chatted with some other folks, hung back, sped up, chatted with someone else. It was big fun.
All full of excitement and cheerfulness, I came home, collected the sweetheart, and we went out for breakfast at a place that before was really good—and this morning, nearly inedible. The bright spot was that it was a block away from a hot new bakery which had lots of samples, and we ended up getting three croissants, a slice of lemon tea cake (to die for!), and a pistachio danish. After that, we went scooter shopping.
First stop, the Vespa dealership. As usual, my double x chromosomes rendered me invisible. Then the salesman greets sweetie, and sweetie points out that I'm interested in test-driving. After some negotiating, and after he shows me all the controls as if I had never seen an engine kill switch, I take the granturismo 200cc out for a ride.
It's pretty and responsive. Everyone gives me a second look and a smile. I crank easily up a vertical hill, stop easily, go easily. It's effortless, really.
I bring 'er back in, and the salesman offers to let me try out another automatic transmission scooter. Well, how about a Stella, a manual—they have the atomic fireball Stellas, which I hear are a bit souped-up, could I try that? No.
Next, we roll down to Scooter Station. Stefan is there, and I ask if I can take one of the P200Es out. This is the polar opposite of the GT200—a manual, no electric start, an old, loud vespa. I get it out a few blocks away and stall it, and can't get it kick started again, so I walk it back to the shop. Stefan shows me how to kick-start it, totally without judgement or doing anything to make me feel like this isn't something easy to do, and I go for a longer ride which goes without incident.
This is not effortless. The hand shift requires a lot of left-hand strength, and shifting requires a lot of attention. But I'm cruising up and down hills, up and down streets, it's nice. Though a bit like exercise. It reminds me of when I first started driving a manual car. Soon enough, it becomes muscle memory and unconscious. Just as I was bringing it back in, it started to rain.
He also had an automatic scooter, the TnG Milano which I'd like to try out. But not when it's raining.
We went by Columbia Scooters after that. We chatted scooters with one of the guys, and had a lovely time. But still raining. It was killing me. They still have one Stella, some nice Bajajs, and then the Kymmco. For some reason I had thought they were open on Sundays, but they're not, so not riding any of their stock was killing me!
Even now, thinking about this stuff is killing me. If I had to buy on the basis of decent guys who treated me kindly and with respect, both Scooter Station and Columbia are stellar. I just have to hope that the scooter I want will reveal itself, making this decision easier!
April 8, 2005
where I come up with new exciting things to do instead of doing the old boring things
I'm here at work trying to squeeze a day into 6 hours. I'm trying not to worry about the window washers outside the window (man, imagine being a window washer during an earthquake! Ack!), or my darlin' being potentially fired because of an off-the-record mis-quote that ended up in the company newsletter. Okay, I'm a mess. Which makes me wish I were a superhero, and not a nervous wreck.
But I'm not a superhero. Nor do I have a shock of brick-red, stand-up hair, though wouldn't that be cool? And cool flat knee-high boots?
Long story short, I was visiting comics blogs the other day and saw the graphic for the Heartbreakers, the two women clones with the shock of red hair and the tremendous breasts, and I made a snarky comment about how, well, could those breasts be any bigger?
But the graphic has stayed in my mind, and do I really think that they are going to have superheros with small or normal sized breasts, really? I mean, am I that naive? And it made me think of my own mixed feelings about my own breast valuepack.
Sigh. For the last 6 or 7 years, I've been wanting breast reduction surgery. And then in this last year, I was hoping that losing weight would make them get smaller on their own. That isn't happening. When will it happen? Dear g-d, when?
And I don't know if it's just the way I'm wired, but I love the look of breasts. I just want much less of them. I wish I could share with those who want more.
April 7, 2005
fat as a walkers issue
One of my non-athletic activities is eating with a bunch of foodies (and no, we're not like that awful Campbell's commercial). One of the foodies is a writer and of course has a blog, where she talked about the politically correctness around fat. We're all familiar with this, I don't need to go there.
As regular readers now, I'm now severely obese (translation: 5'5, 230#, size 20), having dropped from being morbidly obese last year (265#, size 26). It's been real work. For me, the first step in being able to start working out and losing weight was getting my emotional life in order.
I've had a problem with depression for most of my adult life, and I've been on anti-depressants for about 10 years now. Even on anti-depressants, in the last couple years, I wasn't doing so hot. Once you're in that place, you're kinda stuck—you don't have the energy to try to get out. My therapist finally was able to set me up with a psychiatric nurse who was able to tweak and keep tweaking until I was feeling better.
The difference was like night and day. Suddenly, I had some energy. Suddenly, not only could I deal with seeing people, I enjoyed it. Suddenly, work became less painful. And, suddenly, the idea of joining PFit became tolerable. Everything else fell into place. And the cycle of success built on itself. And will hopefully continue.
Of course, it's not a big surprise that Americans are big and getting bigger. Hey, we are programmed to eat, and especially to seek out salty and fatty foods. If we ate like our ancestors, whole foods, blah blah blah, and moved around all day, there wouldn't be a weight problem in this country. Is that oversimplistic? I don't think so.
One last thing: Dean Karnazes, the ultramarathoner, eats a pile of junk while he trains--because if he ate whole foods, he'd never be able to eat enough of it to fuel his runs. Think about that! And there would be all that time he'd be spending in the porta-potty too.
I'm trying to kick the high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats right out of my diet. I gave up pop last year from lent (okay, not really lent), and while I now have a pop every month and a half or so, I've been looking for guilt free soda. The sadness is, I don't have a lot of options. Izze is good, but expensive. Jarritos, good, but generally only available with mexican food. I hear that Mexican coke has no HFCS, but Mexican pepsi does. Jones Soda has HFCS. San Pellegrino has it. Orangina, yep. My favorite, Vernors, sure does.
Hey, soda companies—are you listening?
April 6, 2005
manta del tigre
You might be thinking, okay, VJ's really lost it now. Race car quotes. What's that about?
In motorcycle training, we learned that we needed to look where we wanted to go. That sounds really simple, right? But I found if I watched the instructor (being a sucker for positive reinforcement), I'd come awfully close to hitting him. If I looked at the cones I was trying not to drive over, I'd drive right over them. You have to look through the turn to where you want to go.
I suddenly realized that this could be a metaphor when I read the race car quote this morning. You have choices. You can focus on the obstacle—or you can focus on where you want to be, being aware of the obstacle. Just a thought.
This morning, I wanted to get in to work early, since I was only working a half day (okay, a 2/3rds day) and I had a training eating a couple hours of that. So I got myself out early and walked up MLK to meet the bus. I spotted the bus right before I got to the stop in front of a junk store, so I ambled up there tout suite. Two people were already standing at the stop, chatting in Spanish, and suddenly I understood that they were talking about the junk shop. In fact, the junk shop window, which had been smashed.
I wondered aloud when it had happened, and there was some discussion as to if it had happened yesterday, or this morning. The funniest thing was that the "hole" just wasn't that big, and that nothing really seemed amiss in the shop. Except some of the heinous blankets and sheet sets were no longer in the window. "Yeah, somebody really needed that tiger-striped blanket", the guy said, and we all laughed.
My training was great—the best kind, where you get excited about going to apply what you learned. After that, I went to allegro, my first real allegro workout, where I got really sweaty and worked very hard. I mentioned to my instructor that after about 20 or 30 minutes, I could no longer find my abdominal muscles, and I had to go on faith that I was actually "activating" them, and she said that she thought it was good that I recognized that, and that I was probably getting stronger, and not noticing that part, just the part where the stomach goes, dude, I'm tired and I don't feel like doing anymore.
It's clear to me, already, that the allegro workout is worth every penny of its $21 an hour charge, as I am getting personal attention from someone who is not afraid to call me on my lack of ab activation (though overall, she seemed pleased about my progress). It's hard enough that I have to just keep my mouth shut (and frequently, shut my eyes too) and do the exercises. It's hard because my mouth would like to go nonstop, trying to make connections, trying to be the class clown, etc. Shut up and do it, Veej.
Next stop, the chiropractor. It's strange now having two, and I thought while I was in the waiting room of today's chiropractor, eg, the chiropractor I've been seeing since I was in a huge car accident 10 years ago, that maybe I should be at the sports chiropractor, since my shoulder ffffock-up happened in cardio boxing. Oh well. It's nice to hear my chiro say that I'm solid muscle, and that my whole body has changed in the last couple months. Is that from pilates? What the hell else would it be from, I wonder? Nice.
— Do your damn taxes
Thought for the day
Racecar drivers are taught to "focus on the road—not on the wall".
from Change Your Questions, Change Your Life by Marilee Adams
April 5, 2005
A bit of crankyness
Gmail is not loading. When I finally decide I should kill all these other email accounts and just go with gmail, it fails me. I should know better. Anyways.
I don't know what it was, but I got up this morning, got it together, and got it on the road. I left the house before 6:45. I made it the gym before 7:30. Had a nice, though not terribly exciting, walk in. Then, once I got to the gym, I did the stretches, which took me 25 minutes. Dammit! I need to figure out how to stretch time.
It seems to me the solution is to become independently wealthy. Or be willing to walk in the dark and give up sleep. Too bad I don't have a scheme for that. At least the days are getting longer.
I'm just hoping that this is the first step back on track. I can do what I can do, and I should do at least that.
BTW, after I had decided to walk to work and I had got everything put together, I succumbed to couch-sitting and web-surfing for a few minutes. I don't know if I got off the couch after reading this, but it is a good motivator...
April 4, 2005
Pain, rain and other unpleasant things
Got back from pilates a little bit ago. I am always amazed at how hard it is, even after all this time. The only thing that was encouraging was that a largish woman was also there, who was solid muscle. Really impressive. I mean, I think she's just a tiny bit smaller than me, but she is really beautiful and obviously quite strong, and this obviously kicks her ass too.
I came back to the office because my sandwich was here, and I was overcome with hunger! But soon, I'm off to the DMV!
Hollie posted a comment asking why I despise rain so, and it's a good question. I'm prone to sunstroke, being such a cave dweller as well as really pale, but I'd still rather walk in hot, hot weather than in rain. When I first read her comment, I immediately thought: well, why do I hate rain? because I'm a wuss? And of course, I am a wuss. But that wuss-hood is based in my history.
Until really recently, like the last nine months, I could count on catching a cold if I got soaked in the rain, or if I had to travel by air. You know the person in your office who is the first to catch a cold, starts hacking and then it turns into bronchitis or pneumonia? And then they catch another cold a month and a half later? Umm, that's me, or that was me.
And so, even though I've been healthier this last year than in any year previous, I still think of myself as the frail flower who needs to stay dry and warm. And I hate discomfort. So why the hell am I training for a June marathon again? I guess because the discomfort is so short that I forget (or maybe I block it out entirely)?
another good day!
My good mood seems to have a quite a bit of elasticity, because I'm still feeling great. Hurrah! I'm sure that a morning full of good music didn't hurt (Portland, Oregon by Loretta Lynn, 16 Military Wives by the Decemberists, Encore off the Grey Album [Jay-Z and DJ Dangermouse]).
I have the office to myself this morning, which in small doses is so pleasant. I'm looking forward to pilates and then walking over to the DMV and getting my motorcycle license (!!!!).
I basically have had very little exercise this past week. My shoulders ache as if I was still actively doing chin ups. I need to get to the chiropractor. And my legs are killing me, but that was from the motorcycle. I can't wait to get back on the horse (walking-wise), but the weather forecasts showers the rest of the week. The eternal question: how am I going to get the miles in?????
April 3, 2005
downs, then ups
Well, it's good that yesterday went so well, cuz this morning was pretty icky.
Exhibit A: Daylight Saving Time... so, 7:30am today was like 6:30 yesterday.
Exhibit B: Cold rain. Even sleet.
So we went out, and got soaked, and all the stuff that I kinda got down by the end of the day yesterday was washed away in my general feeling of being cold and wet. Riding was still fun, but doing these stops on a dimenot so great.
I realized this morning that one person in the class had been there last weekendand hadn't passed. Crap, is this foreshadowning, an important literary device? I wondered who among us would be coming back next week. For a lot of people who already owned motorcycles, none of us could handle them all that great.
Then came the time for the riding "evaluation" (read: TEST), and we were falling all over our selves to see who could hit the most cones in the slalom or skid in the swerve. Wait, can I stall out the bike again? Am I going to need to hit the choke again?
I came back home like a wet rat, full of stinky farts and a general black cloud on a string. Damn it, I wasn't going to pass this. It was really fun riding. And it would be still fun next week, getting better at this. But, my ego is bruised, I want to pass. I don't want to spend all next weekend on Swan Island.
(NOTE ABOUT THE PICTURES IN THE ENTRY BELOW:
Oh, and I realize that I posted pictures, with no story. Swan Island is, well, a peninsula, I believe, filled with shipping companies and heavy industry and shipyards. Our class was taking place in a ginormous corporate enclosure that covered the tip, a huge swath, of the "island" between the Willamette and the Ship Channel. It had many, many derelict-looking buildings that were differentiated by numbers, and was big enough that the company had bicycles everywhere for employees to use to get around the shipyard. The "island" is overrun with a lot of wildlife, especially Canada geese that like to honk at practicing beginner motocyclists, and squirrels that are very bold.)
After a hot shower and some cocoa, I felt marginally better, and went back for the classroom session. I sat in the back of class, thinking, well, I'll do okay on the knowledge exam at least, but that's not going to do me a lot of good.
Anyways, I was the last one to get my results, and, ummm, I Passed! I got my endorsement! Oh my g-d!
So, I got my endorsement. And then sweetie took me out to dinner. And now I've had a few beers, and I'm still very happy!
April 2, 2005
see more of VJ's Swan Island pictures
Okay, I am really pleased to note that today was a really good day, and maybe I am not sunk like a battleship. Today was the first long day of motorcycle training, so we started out at 7:30 getting to know our best friend for the next four hours, a 125cc street bike.
I was the only one who didn't bring a helmet. One guy was in full motorcycle gear, and another person in Harley leathers (it said Harley Davidson in the small of her back). I went in layers -- a long sleeve t-shirt, an old moth-eaten cashmere sweater that I can't bear to part with, and my new ORRC March Mudness fleece over jeans and leather hi-tops, as well as a pair of sunglasses.
The training was so much fun. I was pleased to see that the training was set up using scaffolding, a constructivist principle -- for you non-educators, that's taking small steps that almost garantee student success, and then building on them, so the student gains confidence and proficiency. So we started by talking about how to start the bikes, then starting the bikes, then shifting from neutral to first, then straddle-walking the bikes in first, then picking up our feet, then adding curves into the ride, then upshifting, then downshifting, then using both brakes, etc. The last exercise was slaloming between the orange cones--wuhoo!
I loved it. Which isn't to say that I'm where I want to be yet--getting better with the clutch has been happening, but it has to happen more. But after the first hour, I quit killing the bike on every take-off or stop.
After lunch was classroom time, which was rough. I was trying hard not to nod off, but... On our break, I went and wandered a bit around the shipyards, looking at the odd, decrepit things, and stairways down to the water, etc. After class, I went and took some pictures, and no one beat me up or arrested me, so that was good.
April 1, 2005
It's not about the size of the dog in the fight, It's about the size of the fight in the dog.
I considered calling in sick and doing my fifteen miles today. I should have. What was I thinking?
Sweetie got me up late, and I was not able to compensate. I was just plain late. I am just plain down. And then, I missed the email that said that my allegro instructor had been called away on a family emergency. So I spent about a half hour at the gym, not really wanting to get started on anything because I needed to watch for the instructor.
Everyone has their cross to bear, as the saying goesa pain that seems more than we can bear. And each of us must figure out how to bear it, how to keep it from consuming us. I am at that point again, and I don't know how to make peace with it. It is consuming meall I want to do is sleep, I have no energy, I'm weepy, and, it seems, I have reduced ability to be able to handle social situations. Exercise would help, I'm certain of it, but it would require having the energy to do it.
I would have done the allegro, but only because I had an appointment.