Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Last day of September

Here we are, the last day of September. Each day is noticeably shorter, the leaves are rapidly showing their array of colors, spiders are abundant, crisp cool air..... Ahhhh fall.

My weekend was wonderful. Saturday we got up and went on a nice long mountain bike ride on Galbraith, exploring trails that I haven't been on. We came home and Dad had replaced two windows in the front of the house that desperately needed replaced. Sunday was a day of climbing in Darrington. We met Bryan and Joe there and had a pretty mellow day. It was hard for me to get in the climbing mindset. The first route we got on kind of shook me up. I actually ended up bailing on the pitch. Usually I look back on those sorts of events and wish that I had pushed through.Not this one. I am glad I didn't finish it. As you can imagine, the scenes were beautiful. The leaves are changing and the it was surprisingly warm. I climbed without my shirt and managed to get a pretty good sunburn. Who would of thought!
Now back at it! My job is actually picking up and I am really starting to engage in some projects. The days are going a lot faster.

Friday, September 26, 2008

2,000 miles commuted!!!

It happened...
My odometer on my bike hit 2,000 miles!
Pedal power.
One less car, one more healthy, happy woman!

Rosanna's Table Talk: Rosanna’s Second Annual Tablesetting Contest Results

John is probably the only one that knows this silly little love I have for dishes. I think it drives him crazy. I love dishes... plates... platters.... bowls.... cups.... mugs....trays.... He only knows this because I am always picking up random dishes or oggling over them in the store. Last night I found two new great bowls for the office. One is a deep salad bowl made of bamboo. The other is another deep bowl but clay and microwavable. Perfect addition to the office supplies. Now, with one of my other loves, blogs, I can look at other people who have a passion for the same. Here is a great site that I found today:
Rosanna's Table Talk: Rosanna’s Second Annual Tablesetting Contest Results

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Wednesday was a well deserved full day of (physical) rest. I drove to work, rested, drove home, ate yummy zucchini cookies that I made, ate yummy chili with John for dinner, drank way too much wine, and watched a movie. Glorious.
As the daylight hours dwindle, I have been taking advantage of what little bit of time I have after work. On Monday I went for a trail run on Galbraith, sneaking home a bit after it got dark. Tuesday I tested out my new tires on Galbi with Natasha. She had so much fun. It is just great to see her dance around in the woods, chasing every thing she sees. I must admit I had the same huge smile on my face. I never knew what a HUGE difference tires could make. I also lowered the PSI to a bit below 20lbs. I could actually climb trail and get over rocks and roots that have been pestering me for the last year. A trip to Whistler built a lot of confidence in my riding ability as well. Things up there just didn't seem as big or as steep. I was having so much fun on the ride that after exiting SST I choose to climb back up the ridge and take Bob's out. I started climbing the ridge at 7pm, knowing that it got dark around 7:30. Sure enough, I got into the trees and it was dark, there were sections of Bob's that were full on scary with no lights and by Karma, it was riding by memory. LOL! Got to love it!
I also got a present in the mail last night! I have been tracking down new riding clothes and armor. www.pinkbikes.com, www.pricepoint.com and www.chainlove.com, are some great places to find some deals. Well, I came across a great deal on a full face helmet. I scored! My new '661 Pro Bravo Carcon helmet' arrived on our poarch last night. YEAH!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


With everything going on around me I overlooked a very import day.
You better believe it, Summer is gone and Fall is upon us. It is dark around 7:15 in these parts and will continue to get darker earlier and earlier. 4:30, you better believe it. Time to invest in lights for my bike and brush off the gym membership. I also love to cook this time of year. I have been craving chicken noodle soup (the best is when my dad makes it) and concoctions that come out of a crock pot. Food that warms me to the bone. This is the time of year when I need to bust out the long johns to wear under my clothes and to break out the blankets at the house. I really do like fall, winter is another story. I have time to soak up the pleasures of fall.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bike Bug

It is that time of the day. My time at the office is finally nearing an end, the sun has broken through the clouds and I have a bike ride home to look forward to. It is also one of those days where if I didn't have to pedal home, I just got in my car, sat in traffic with the windows up, I would go home and be completely worthless. With a bike commute home, I get the blood flowing out of my ass and back to my brain, smell some fresh air, absorb some sun and shake off the office funk that has built up all day. Then, once home I will be inspired to go out and play. Last week I went all week without doing anything fun, I was probably miserable to be around. I am going to prevent that from happening this week. I can't let this silly job step (or suck) on my energy and motivation.

I have been bitten by the biking bug! Ever since last weekend at Whistler all I want to do is mountain bike. It is just so much fun. John and I have been plotting and scamming our way into new bikes. have been hounding the used market, I think the perfect match is going to appear for both of us real soon. I was going to inherit John's Norco Six and he was going to get another bike, now, I think that we are both going to get new (used) bikes. Whooo hooo!! I am so stoked to bike. There is just nothing that compares.

Yesterday John and I gathered the bikes up and rode in the Chuckanuts. Wow, what fun. It was pouring rain, didn't stop us, can't that get to us, it is going to rain for the next 9 months. We pedaled up to Fragrance Lake, down the Lower Ridge, Salal, and Hush Hush trails. It was slippery and slimy, what fun!

On your left!

You win some and you loose some!
Right guys?!?

Friday, September 19, 2008

"F" is for.....

F is for Fall. It is here and I love the weather now. The mornings are brisk and beautiful. The air is crisp. Harvests are bearing their last fruit. The leaves are changing. I love September!

F is for First. There is a first time for everything!

F is for Flat bike tire. First flat tire this morning! (!@#$)

F is for Fixing my own flat tire!
F is for Friday. Sometimes the weekend just can't get here fast enough!
F is for Fun! It is on the list of things to do this weekend...
F is for Fast. Accomplishable on a bike.
F is for Freeride. A new past time.
F is for Food. We have been making great meals from the garden. I can't get enough!
F is for Fuel. I would rather eat than pour gas into our van. Get on the bike!
F is for my Family. My wonderful husband who is so great, our CRAZY cat Sophee, sweet Natasha, family that lives too far away, family that lives down the street, family that calls to check up, family I call to confide in.
F is for Friends. To all the wonderful people out there who make it a bit more fun!
Tell me what is F for you....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

For the love of bikes - Scraper bikes

Scraper Bike Fever Spreads, Thanks To YouTube
by Jacob Fenston

Scraper Bikes - pictures

Here is the next "feel good" movie of the year.

No, really cool bike passion.

I will throw a bone to this reporter who actually found something healthy, creative, and cool to cover.

Studio UFO

This Sunday Trish Harding is holding a memorial for Ryan Triplett.

Studio UFO

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Live your passion

As I have been faced with several obstacles these days, I feel like I have gained a bit of insight, strength, and humbleness. Even more impressive is the courage, beauty, strength, and faith of those around me.

A big thank you to everyone who were so good to me on my birthday. It was a wonderful day, and it was because of the people around me. I feel incredibly loved.

Follow your heart and all will be well. We all know what we want deep in our hearts. Acknowledge and go for it. Thank you John for encouraging and supporting me in this.

Live your passion. The recent death of a friend has taught me many things. Live your passion was Ryan's mantra it seemed. Just get out there and get some. There is no need to hold back, find what you love and do it. Passion is defined as, “an intense, driving feeling or conviction; a strong liking or desire for, or devotion to, some activity, object, or concept. It is something of deep interest and fondness to us.”

Live every day to the fullest, we are not here forever. As we all know our days on this wonderful earth are numbered. There is no need to fret and worry, get the most out of each day.

Never underestimate the generosity of an eleven year old. Happy birthday Audra! You are the most incredible little girl I have ever met. You are very special. It seems like just yesterday that I was holding you, rocking you to sleep. You have now grown into a wonderful person!

"Put the fun between your legs"

Here are some pictures of our great trip to Whistler with Bryan and Jess Dorr last weekend. So much fun in every sort of way! I can't wait to get back on my bike and ride.I love the van. It has taken us all over. We can fit all of our gear in it, no problem. Can you see Natasha in the front seat? She never misses a beat. Riding from the top. A 20 minute gondola ride takes you to the top. Epic ride down!
At the base, getting ready for another lap.

A little bike maintence...

A view going up on the mid lift. This lift took you to the newer trails such as Frieght Train (my favorite trail so far).

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More bikes = More Safety

A virtuous cycle: safety in numbers for riders says research
By Dan GaffneySeptember 3, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Birthday, bikes, sunshine...

The state of Michelle..... perfect!

What more could a girl ask for? A beautiful day here in Bellinghm, a wonderful weekend in Whistler, a heartfelt memorial for a fellow climber last night, and I am a year older today. I would say that I am on top of the world right about now.

I know I have been living right when I just don't know where to start. It is all so good.

Whistler was an absolute blast. We ended up riding on Friday and Saturday. Friday was a blast. It ended up being a half day of riding but for my first day, I don't think I could of held on any longer. It was great to get to know the mountain and how downhill mountain biking worked on a weekday before all the yahoos came out on Saturday. John took his time and showed me the ropes. That is all it took to get me hooked. I have never had so much fun on a bike. By the second day I tried a few black trails (difficulty level), trying stuff that I never imagined I would be able to pull off. I am glad I tried something new, something challenging, something miles away from my comfort zone. I found pure enjoyment. Ride the lifts up, hop on the bike and roll down the hill. Jumps, rock rolls, bridges, teeter totters, roots, corners, you name it, it is there. Oh and did I mention we were doing this in Whistler, the sights are out of this world. All said and done, I am ready to rumble. I can't wait to get back up there. Season pass next year.... I don't see why not. Diving in head first.... Hey, if there is one thing that I have walked away with through all of this is the notion of live your passion!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

signing off for the weekend

We are taking tomorrow off and taking a long weekend. Bryan, Jess and yours truly are headed North to Whistler for some biking. Wow, I am pretty excited.
The next time I write I will be a year older in the books (25!)....
Have a wonderful weekend!

chocolate hazelnut biscotti

I just made this recipe and am in love. Pure bliss for the hand to mouth. Not too sweet, not too heavy. Enjoy!

This New York Times recipe is as old as time. I wish I could tell you how many recipes for biscotti I dug through before finding a couple that didn’t have butter in them, but I’m not sure I can even count that high.

They are mildly sweet and chocolaty–they’re the exact opposite of a molten chocolate cake on the indulgent chocolate obsession sliding scale. They’re also quite easy to put together if you promise to watch out for one thing: this is the stickiest dough I have ever worked with and you cannot have too much flour down on your surface.
Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

New York Times, 12/12/93

Total time: 1 hour

Makes about 60 biscotti

1 cup whole hazelnuts, preferably blanched

2 1/2 cups flour, plus flour for work surface

1/2 cup Dutch-style cocoa powder

1 tablespoon espresso powder

Pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

4 large eggs

1 1/3 cups sugar.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread hazelnuts on baking sheet and toast about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. If hazelnuts are not blanched, toast them until the skins begin to crack, then remove them from oven and wrap them in clean linen or cotton towel (not terrycloth). Rub hot nuts to remove most of the skin. Set toasted nuts aside.

2. Sift the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder together and set aside.

3. Beat eggs lightly, just until blended, in mixing bowl with whisk or in electric mixer. Remove two tablespoons of egg mixture to small dish and set aside. Beat sugar into remaining eggs until blended. Stir in flour mixture to form soft dough.

4. Divide the dough in half and place one portion on a well-floured work surface. (She is not kidding about this.) With floured hands, pat it into a six-inch square. Scatter half the hazelnuts on the dough and press them into the surface. Roll the dough into a cylinder about 2 inches in diameter and 12 to 15 inches long. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and place the roll of dough on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Brush the tops of both rolls with the reserved egg.

5. Place in the oven and bake about 15 minutes, until firm to the touch. (This took me until 20 to 25 minutes.) Transfer to a cutting board and cut on an angle into slices one-half-inch thick. (I found that letting them cool for five minutes made this easier, as well as a sharp knife with a tight serrate.) Return the slices to the baking sheet, laying them on their cut sides, and return them to the oven. Bake another 20 minutes, until they are crisp and dry. Allow to cool completely before storing or serving.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ryan Triplett

I vividly remember the last time I spent a weekend and more specifically an evening with Ryan. I really don't think I have laughed as hard since that weekend. Always a colorful time to say the least. Especially when Ryan and Andrew get together, the true colors fly, adding Bryan and John to the mix is almost intoxicating. How could I forget that weekend? I would have to say, in a room, Ryan lit it up, being the most vocal, outgoing and passionate person. He stood out, in a wonderful way. His passion for life beamed from every pore. By the time we left, he had made friends with everyone and had us all convinced that we should go to Mazama the next weekend to check out his new routes. I have to smile when I think back to the conversations that were had over his routes. Now, I must go make up my own mind, are they really these scary (run out on easy climbing...) routes?

Ryan will have forever left his mark on my life because of this weekend. It was Ski to Sea 2008, John was on a ringer of a team, so appropriately named, "High County Hoodlums" along with Cam, Roanne, Bryan, Jen, Andrew, and Ryan. What a group of talented athletes. We hung out all weekend, Andrew, Ryan, Bryan and Jess went to Bellingham High together and go way back. The weekend was full of their stories and prep for the race. Jen, Ryan's amazing wife, a life long successful athlete captivated my curiosity one evening. After that last brief encounter I emailed Jen, eager to tell her what an impact she and her husband had on my attitude toward my new phase of life. I was feeling overwhelmed by my new job, afraid that it was going to devour all my free time, I was afraid that I would no longer have time to focus on my passions and hobbies. I was afraid the working life would cramp my free time. Hah, look at Jen, a working woman and an extraordinary competitive athlete. Ryan.... the most passionate and psyched climber I have ever met. Both also leading very successful careers. What did I have to complain about? These guys are out there living life to the fullest, now I needed to get on that program. I could also have a successful career and passionate about free time hobbies. All it took was on look at this couple to know that there was more to life than the office. I read Jen's blog and the next thing I know I have been working on this one ever since. They are an amazing team. They touched my life and the lives of all they have encountered.

As Cam wrote, "If I had to describe Ryan in one word, it would be "psyched". I have never known anyone with more zest for life than Ryan. From climbing to cycling to hockey to running, Ryan was always up for a good challenge, and loved nothing more than working up a sweat." These are my fond memories of Ryan. I think that he was hands down the most talented person I have been climbing with. Starting with the first time I met him on a trip to Smith Rock with him, Jen, Andrew, Katie, Bryan, Jess, John, and myself. He made climbing look effortless, and at the same time I have never heard anyone swear and scream anymore on a route. His energy ran circles around everyone else. The several times that I have ran into him at Squamish over the years was a sheer delight, sitting in the Squamish parking lot, listening to his ambitious adventures. I always held him the highest respects as a climber, he knew how to push the limits and give it hell. He was the tie that bind in a lot of ways in my climbing world as well. Just a mention of the name Triplett and people knew who you were talking about.

Now there is silence, thoughts, and reflection. We had dinner with Brian and Jess tonight. We talked about Ryan and had some great laughs. How else is the there to remember this great man who was so full of life. All we could do was tell some great stories and be inspired by his flair for climbing and passion for life in general.

Ryan Triplett passed away in a climbing accident in Mazama, Washington on September 7, 2008. I am so honored to have had Ryan as a small part of my life. I know that he and Jen have left a mark on my life, changing it for the better. I know that he has been inspiration for John as well. John can tell you stories of climbing in Index, Ryan rolling up to full Japanese Gardens, like he had done it a million times prior and fly up it. As I sit here and reflect, I wish that John had more of an opportunity to climb with Ryan. I think that they really would have "got some shit done." I would of loved to see the faces of the people at the crag when two clean cut, little guys roll up to the wall in Levis and button down shirts and throw down the hardest line there was. They both would of finished the day with a beer and been dreaming of the adventure for tomorrow.

He was an incredible man. Ryan was a talented climber. Passionate, skilled, talented, and above all... PSYCHED! May we all look to Ryan for motivation and inspiration. Ryan filled his 31 years with all that he had and it was ended all to soon doing something that he loved. Ryan, your candle was a torch... brighter than most and just a bit different.

So here is to you Ryan, may you live on in spirit. May your torch always light the trail of all of all of those who stay an hour too long at the crag and walk home in the dark, may your spirit be with those who dream big and go out and follow their passion. May we look to your memory and remember your zest for life and the zeal you had. We can only dream to be as bold as you Ryan.

Jen and family and friends.... we love you all. May the comfort of each other bring you closer.

Why I am honoured to have known Ryan Triplett


Monday, September 08, 2008

Group says Washington best in nation in friendliness to bicyclists
Our state is the best in the U.S. as far as being friendly to bicyclists, according to the League of American Bicyclists.
In its first ranking of all the states, looking at everything from providing bicycle infra-structure to bike-friendly legislations, the group said Washington is at the top of the list.
“The states were scored on responses to a questionnaire evaluating their commitment to bicycling and covering 6 key areas: legislation; policies and programs; infrastructure; education and encouragement; evaluation and planning; and enforcement,” according to the group.
Top five states
1. Washington2. Wisconsin3. Arizona4. Oregon5. Minnesota
The bottom five 46. North Dakota47. Mississippi48. Alabama49. Georgia50. West Virginia
According to a press release from the group, Andy Clarke, president of the League, pointed to Washington’s bike laws, statewide bike route network, dedicated money from the state for bike programs and project and an active statewide bike advisory committee as a few reasons for Washington winning.“West Virginia may offer some great trails and mountain biking resources, but otherwise fell short in every category,” said Clarke. “Their low bicycle usage rates and high cyclist crash and fatality rates are indicative of a state that does not adequately provide for the needs of cyclists.”
The group already has recognized Bellingham for its programs. It gives Bellingham a silver award for being bike-friendly. Click here to see the list of cities already recognized by the group.
The League of American Bicyclists is an advocacy group for all bicycling. Click here to go to the League’s Web site.

2008 State Rankings
1 Washington2 Wisconsin3 Arizona4 Oregon5 Minnesota6 Maine7 California8 Illinois9 New Jersey10 New Hampshire11 Utah12 Michigan13 North Carolina14 Hawaii15 South Carolina16 Massachusetts17 Vermont18 Wyoming19 Nevada20 Florida21 Iowa22 Colorado23 Virginia24 Indiana25 Kansas26 Louisiana27 Rhode Island28 Missouri29 Kentucky30 Texas31 Delaware32 Ohio33 Nebraska34 New York35 Maryland36 Tennessee37 Idaho38 Pennsylvania39 Arkansas40 Alaska41 South Dakota42 Connecticut43 Oklahoma44 Montana45 New Mexico46 North Dakota47 Mississippi48 Alabama49 Georgia50 West Virginia

Weekend Warrior and loving it....

The weekend has come and gone, this time like a breath of fresh air. I am revitalized for the week ready to give work some focus and attention.
We started the weekend off right with some This food Friday night. Yummmy! We walked to Barkley Village and ate at On Rice. After discussing all week the importance of trying to increase trips made by alternative modes of transportation that are shorter than a couple of miles. So, it was simple we walked there in about thirty minutes, enjoying the beautiful evening and sunset. Simple as that. We reduced our number of car trips that are shorter than 5 miles. So easy and we walked off the "stuffed" feeling on the way home.
Saturday morning we got up and went for a casual mountain bike ride on Galbraith with our friends Nick and Andie. We ended up rolling around the mountain for most of the day. Glorious! There is nothing like some mountain biking to make you want to relax afterward. John and I spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying each others company and cooking two wonderful meals. After our ride, craving mass amounts of protein, we made a fratata, complete with Havarti cheese, onions, peppers, and corn tortillas. We had Dale come over for dinner and we once again feasted. We started the evening with mojitos. Wow, what a perfect drink. Who doesn't love fresh mint? I then made us some whole wheat pasta smothered in the fresh pesto that I made from the plethora of basil that I have picked from the garden. We also feasted on some sauteed green beans from the garden. For this I cooked a few slices of Hempler's pepper bacon, sliced some garlic and a bit of onions ( from the garden). Blanched the green beans and carrots ( from the garden ) then added them to the frying pan to sear them for a few minutes. Wow, we feasted! I then laid back and took in the sunset from my couch. I love my house!

Sunday... John and I got up packed our bags and drove to the "nearest" granite to Bellingham. It is a two hour drive from our door in Bellingham. With this short drive, a seven mile drive up a forest service road and a short (40 minute) and completely enjoyable approach we did a route on "Three O'clock Rock. Darrington tops my list as easy escapes around Whatcom County. Once we got out there we found ourselves in the midst of a gorgeous canyon, surrounded by all sides. No cars, roads, or civilization in sight. The sky was blue and the temperatures were perfect. We took Natasha and she just hung out at the base while we climbed. John and I flew up the route with ease, I had almost forgot how much I love climbing with him. Things can go so smoothly, it is like we have done it a million times... and we have....

And look at this, we took pictures!

This tree was on the approach, it was really one of the biggest trees I have seen. This is a beautiful area.

A view of the With Doctor Wall

Summit! Yeah!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

House of Stiles!

It has been a while since I have spent some time with my blog, sorry, I have not been near my computer. I also want to thank everyone who takes time out of his or her day to read what I have to say. It is wonderful to hear the stories of people being interested in our lives. It has been a great way to keep in contact with many folks that are spread out over the United States, and I must say that I really enjoy writing about what goes on in my plane Jane life.

We have had Bill and Betsy here from Dallas, Texas. What a treat. They were here for about a week, we found plenty of fun things to get into. They arrived; we were all excited to see each other. We decided fairly soon that at some point we need to live closer. While they were here, John and Bill got some lingering tasks done around the house. They put the finishing touches on the kitchen and we can now say that the kitchen is done! Thank you guys! Betsy looks incredible and is as spunky as ever. She lovingly pampered us with massage and kept us busy with all her neat gadgets. We took some great walks and went on a couple great adventures. We also sampled some local restaurants. Thumbs up to Dirty Dan’s in Fairhaven, the Web Locker, and the exquisite Rhododendron CafĂ© in Bow. All these establishments were worthy destinations. We spent some time with my parents as well; Neal and Brenda cook a fantastic dinner for the entire gang over the weekend. They left early Monday morning and jetted back to home base. Until next time…. Sooner rather than later!

I have been enjoying biking more and more these days. My days that I commute are enjoyable and I have been dusting off my mountain bike and taking it out for some spins here and there. I went on an epic ride on Monday, pedaling down all of my favorite trails. I can’t begin to express my love for the trail SST. It has always been my favorite trail on the mountain, this year….it has a whole new place in my heart and on the fun factor. They have done substantial work to the upper section. WOW! No more drainage ditch… This is some high quality fast trail! I wish I were there right now. It is hard not to come off that trail with the biggest grin plastered on your face. For the love of bikes!

Dad’s garden is bursting with plenty. I harvested green beans, delicious carrots, onions and a bokay of flowers. Over the weekend we picked 5 (!) grocery sacks of basil! Last night I spent a considerable amount of time in the kitchen perfecting my pesto making skills. Coming to our house for dinner anytime soon? Expect pesto….