Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Saturday At Loose Ends

Today was my first Saturday in over a year that I didn't have either training or a race. I'm getting ready for the La Jolla Half Marathon right now, but we shifted our long training to Sunday this week. Thus, I found myself with a Saturday with no plans. Of course, Steve was happy to suggest that I cook a real dinner while he went to train for the century ride. By "suggest", I mean look at me with big pleading eyes. (Just kidding.) (Not really.)

I decided on an easy dinner - herb rubbed pork loin, oven potatoes and roasted asparagus. First, I set myself to finding all the pots and cooking stuff I'd need. I bought my house over a year ago and there are still times I think - hey, I think the movers lost my XYZ. Today it was my meat thermometer and my small roasting pan that went AWOL. Dern movers. These are the same movers who packed my thermal coffee pot with coffee still in it. Trust me, it was a revolting little surprise when I unpacked that coffee pot after it had been in storage for 2 months.

Anyway, I went off to Costco to purchase the food and materials for dinner. Like most Californians I love Costco, but I'd never been there on a Saturday before today. Normally, I go during the week when it's not crowded. Costco is always giving away samples of food and stuff and people get excited. Dear Heavens, you don't know the type of animalistic behavior I witnessed whenever the free samples became available today. There was pushing; there was grabbing. It was like like Lord of the Costco Flies.

Finally, I got started cooking. While I cooked dinner, Steve told me about his ride. For a moment I was jealous and sad. Then I was just really happy that he'd had a good, safe training ride. I've already begun preparing myself for how happy (for him) and bummed (for me) I'll feel when he completes the event.

My major accomplishment of the day was following the pork loin recipe exactly. Normally, I look at a recipe and then use that to inspire a dish. Today, I actually followed the recipe even when I thought - Gee, that's too much sage. It was a little too much sage, but we paired the meal with a bottle of Barolo. Normally, the Barolo would have overpowered a pork dish, but the flavors were pretty evenly matched. Oh, and as I went to put dinner on the table I noticed my gravy boat is also MIA. Somewhere in the Graebel Moving storage facility, there's a bunch of my kitchen equipment. Dern movers.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Trip Keeps Going

Despite a canceled flight, I am finally on a plane en route to Pacific Northwest. Before I left San Diego, I was sitting on my porch in a tank top. The pilot just announced that it's snowing in Portland. Ugh!

Let's see. Now that I have a few minutes to write what can I tell you? I dropped out of the Century Ride. It broke my heart to do it, but there was a point when it became obvious that it was the right choice.

We were riding along the coast on Saturday and it was incredibly windy which was making the ocean a wild, choppy mess. Of course, that makes the ocean deliciously tempting to surfers and daredevils. As we were riding along the shoreline and we heard people shouting for help. We stopped and scanned the water for the people shouting. There were two people being pulled out by the riptide. They were pretty far out there and there was no way to help them. I'm a very strong swimmer, but not strong enough to pull two people back from that ocean. For all I knew, they were stronger swimmers than I am. There wasn't anything to help either - no rescue buoys or even driftwood. In your heart, you want to run into that water like Pam Anderson. In your head, you know that adding a third stranded swimmer to the mix is not helpful at all.

The police were called and we waited and hoped. We waited so that we could point out the swimmers to the rescue team. It was frustrating to watch; sometimes the swimmers would get closer to the shore. At one point, we almost thought that they were goofing off. Then they got pulled out by the undertow again and we knew that they were in trouble. Finally, the police got there and the ambulance and the coast guard chopper and everyone else who does these types of rescues. In this case, "finally" means about 5 minutes but it felt like forever. The swimmers got pulled to the shore and we got back on our bikes to continued our ride. As we rode off I thought, "Missed opportunity! If I'd have jumped in the ocean I bet I wouldn't have to finish this @$*#ing ride."

Something about watching those people struggle made me realize it was time to quit the Century Ride for now. With the help of the incredible TNT mentors and coaches I came very far in 6 weeks, but it made me so unhappy to have to ride on Saturdays. This was supposed to be fun and instead I dreaded it. I'm not a crybaby but I was constantly, secretly crying because I was so worried about falling in front of a car. That said, I haven't given up on the idea of the Century Ride forever. Having conquered big hills, clipless pedals, and many of my riding fears I just need to give myself some time to remember how to enjoy riding. Even a few years ago, I loved my bike. I'm going to ride on my own for awhile and relax. I think it'll all come together. I'll try it again another season.

Mostly, I'm deeply and profoundly relieved that I quit this season. I miss the team and I miss-miss-miss the spin classes. Of course, it damn near kills me that I disappointed people. But overall, I'm relieved.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Flight Cancelled

This trip just gets better and better.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Midway Through 2 Weeks of Overload

There was a point last week when I had message lights blinking on all three voice mail systems and over 200 unread messages in my professional email. I haven't even opened most of my personal emails.

I feel as though I'm behind on everything. That makes me more curt with people which only adds to my stress level. Stress makes me less efficient. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. I have two business trips this week and maybe one next week. After that, life will be calmed again.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Scott, physican, blogger and comic book fan, continues his annual Easter series of Peep Superheros. Personally, I never thought he'd beat the Avengers Peeps of 2006.

I was wrong. Go see this year's X-Men Peeps. Brilliant!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Palm Sunday

Here is the palm tree in my back yard. (Yes, it was planted too close to the house by the previous owner. Must be removed. I know.)

And here are the icy hailstones that got trapped at the base of the palm fronds. It Never Rains In Southern California, but every once in a great while it hails great balls of ice.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

It's Pace Line Appreciation Day

Yesterday, I went riding by myself at the lake. When I ride alone I go very, very slowly. The lake trail has a few fairly sharp turns and some minor slopes. I still get a little nervous dodging people and other riders. At the lake I also need to avoid the ducks which can be more of a challenge. People move out of the way, ducks not so much.

I decided to ride at the lake because there's a portion of the trail that has fences on both sides. Whenever I have to ride in areas that are really enclosed I feel some panic. It gets better every week, but I still don't like it.

Last Saturday, we rode through a very enclosed area. I was really uncomfortable because I was afraid other riders would be coming the opposite way and there wouldn't be enough room. I'm absolutely positive this stems from a car accident I had years ago. The other driver was drugged up from the hospital and ran a stop sign. She forced my car into the concrete wall of an underpass. Luckily, I was driving my Mom's 1970's Pontiac Grand Prix, an enormous car/tank my parents saved so that I could learn to drive in it. (Thanks Mom and Dad! Sorry I totaled your car.)

Last Saturday, my mentor was riding behind me speaking very calmly to help me ride through the enclosed area. She said something that made me instantly more relaxed. She reminded me that no one was coming the other way, because the front of the pace line would have warned me. Ah.


Sweet bliss, I was not alone in that tunnel. It was the first time I felt real gratitude for the pack of riders. Normally, I'm so worried that I'm going to screw up, than I can barely ride with them. Instead of grudging acceptance of the pace line, I felt genuine gratitude.

Here's to the pace line which makes me ride faster and protects me from riders (real and imagined) coming in the opposite direction.

Monday, March 10, 2008


This weekend I stumbled on this photo of Tina and I that our friend Connie snapped.

Somehow, I'd never seen it before but I just love it. We look so happy. And maybe tipsy. Texans, I miss y'all.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


Last week during the bike ride I would occasionally wail "I'm not having fun." It was a wail comprised of near crying and absolute fear. The precise moment I was yelling, I was really, really upset. However, it would have been true at basically any moment during the ride. Taken in the gestalt I was not having fun on the bike.

Today, there were moments when it was truly fun when I was happy to be riding. There were even a few times where I wasn't afraid to go fast - not as fast as I can go, but faster than I would have allowed myself to go even a few days ago.

There were a few rough patches - I had to ride in a bit of an enclosed area and that gave me a panic. Also, after going down Torrey Pines hill and some other hills without too much trouble, a teeny tiny hill at the end of the ride was really tough for me. Traffic blocked my chi a few times.

On Wednesday, I rode with my mentor on Fiesta Island and I think it helped me a great deal. I felt much more in control of the bike today. I was able to relax my arms and shoulders instead of being incredibly stiff. Forty miles on the bike and my arms are the most tired part of me, but I feel as though I made a lot of improvement this week.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Film Festival Brush with Fame

Tonight Steve and I went to see two films at the San Diego Latino Film Festival. Both films were good, butI really loved El Viaje de la Nonna. The film was mostly in Spanish which I can almost understand. It's tough for me to understand colloquial Spanish, but movie Spanish is usually decipherable for me. Every once in awhile, I'd think "Man, I'm doing great understanding this!" Then I'd realize that the movie had shifted from Spanish to Italian. It was the Italian parts I understood without subtitles.

Between films I mentioned to Steve that I thought the actors in El Viaje de la Nonna were really captivating, especially Julio Bracho. Guess who sat in front of us at the second film, Saneamento Basico Filme? Julio Bracho.

I attempted to tell him that I really enjoyed his film. After one faltering sentence in Spanish, I repeated it in English. He said thanks in both languages too. I really happy that I repeated myself in English - in Spanish I probably told him I enjoyed the dog or something equally idiotic.

After 12 years living in Spanish speaking cities, I still struggle to communicate.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I want!

Bella got one of the National Geographic Genographic kits for her Dad. It tells the story of your ancestors via your DNA.

It's so incredibly cool that I want one. I believe it will confirm my citizen of the world status. Or it may just show that I have a genetic predisposition to prefer Indian food over Thai food.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Please Release Me - Let Me Go

Saturday was a much better ride because I figured out how to make my pedal clips looser. It didn't occur to me that the clips to attach the pedals to my shoes might be adjustable. My pedals had been set to hold my shoe very tightly and I couldn't get out in time to prevent falling. Now that my pedals are looser, it's much easier.

As part of our training ride we climbed the hill at Torrey Pines. It's over a mile of steady climbing. That's when all those marathons become money in the bank; the climb was fun. It was challenging, but I didn't have any worries that I'd need to stop and rest. In fact, I was consistently gaining or passing other riders. It felt good to be good at something.

Then I realized that I would also need to ride DOWN that hill. That was pretty terrifying for me, because at that speed I wasn't sure I was in control of the bike. My poor coach had to listen to me screaming like a banshee all the way down the hill. He would remind me to let go of my brake so it wouldn't overheat. I'm continually impressed by the incredible patience of TNT coaches and mentors.

At the end of the ride I wasn't physically tired, but mentally I was exhausted. Everything is still a conscious effort for me, and I need to focus all the time. Actually, my forearm was exhausted from clutching the brake. I asked Steve to drive home because my arm was tired.

On Sunday we went for a walk/hike at Iron Mountain. It's about 6 miles round trip. The first 3 miles are uphill with an ascent of about 1200 ft. Then you get to turn around and scamper down the mountain. Actually, the downhill had some little challenges where it was tough to get some traction.

On the way down Iron Mountain we ran into two teenagers hauling their bikes up the mountain. They weren't that far into the climb, but they were already dirty and sweaty. It's not a great ride for bikes because it's a lot of switchbacks and loose rocks. I'm not sure, but I think Torrey Pines was probably the better/safer downhill ride.

Monday, March 03, 2008

And It All Becomes Clear to Me

I was wasting time on a career assessment site taking a bunch of quizzes. Here are my results.

Occupations that match your results from all quizzes combined :
  1. Circus Performers
  2. Magicians and Illusionists
  3. Puppeteers
Also in my top ten - Psychic Consultants, Astrologers.

Apparently, I wasted time and money on that MBA. I should have joined the circus.


I'm sitting on my patio eating a perfectly delicious orange that I just picked off my neighbor's tree.

It's March. I'm barefoot and outside. Free, ripe oranges available for the picking.

Life is good.