Thursday, December 31, 2009

22 Bicycle Fun Facts

22 Bicycle Fun Facts




History


1. The first human powered land vehicle was constructed by Giovanni Fontana in 1418.

2. The term "bicycle" first entered into popular usage in France in the 1860s.

3. The prototype of the mountain bike was not developed until 1977.


Trivia



4. The longest "tandem" bike ever built was almost 67 feet long and could seat 35.

5. The smallest adult bicycle ever created had wheels made from silver dollars.

6. Unicycling is a mandatory subject at St. Helen's School in Newbury, Ohio.

7. Half of all the parts of a typical bicycle are in the chain.




Sports


8. The slow cycling record was set by Tsugunobu Mitsuishi of Japan in 1965 when he stayed stationary for 5 hours, 25 minutes.

9. The fastest speed ever recorded on a bicycle was attained by American Olympic Cyclist and Ironman triathlon competitor John Howard, when he reached 152.2 mph in 1985.

10. Lance Armstrong's heart is one-third larger than "normal." (Lance is also the seventh cousin of Katie Couric and sixth cousin of Hilary Duff.)


Numbers


11. There are roughly one billion bicycles in the world (about twice as many as motor vehicles).

12. An estimated 130 million bicycles were produced worldwide in 2007 (more than twice the 52 million cars produced).

13. There are at least 400 bicycle clubs in America, with membership ranging from 10 to 4,000 members.

14. According to Transportation Alternatives, 10% of New York City's work force--approximately 65,000 humans--commute by bicycle.




Safety


15. A study found almost three-quarters of fatal crashes (74%) in NYC involved a head injury and nearly all bicyclists who died (97%) were not wearing a helmet. Helmets have been found to be 85% effective in preventing head injury.

16. From 1990 to 2005, only one fatal crash with a motor vehicle in NYC occurred when a bicyclist was in a marked bike lane.

17. Research has shown that tripling the number of bike riders on the street cuts motorist-bicyclist crashes in half.


Greenness


18. How many bikes can be parked in a single car parking space in a paved lot?
Anywhere from 6 to 20.

19. Bicycles currently displace over 238 million gallons of gasoline per year, by replacing car trips with bicycle trips.

20. When Worldwatch Institute compared energy used per passenger-mile (calories), they found that a bicycle needed only 35 calories, whereas a car expended a whopping 1,860. Bus and trains fell about midway between, and walking still took 3 times as many calories as riding a bike the same distance.

21. Bicycles use 2% as much energy as cars per passenger-kilometer, and cost less than 3% as much to purchase.


Actionable Bike Fact:


22. Becoming a bicycle activist has never been easier.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cheers

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man. ~Benjamin Franklin

To all the wonderful friends, family, and fellow bloggers. I wish everyone the very best in the new year. I hope that 2009 ends in a spectacular bang, busting a move, clinking of glasses, and general merriment in the company of the very finest or what ever "shakes your tail feather." May the coming new year and decade be filled with hope, joy, clairity, and prosperity.  We really do live the good life.
~Michelle~

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Goals

A light bulb just went off. I have a goal and it is exciting!

I have been drooling over road bikes in order to get me over the hump and it has worked so far. I am extreamly stoked to get on a fresh mountain bike in the summer but I understand that it is going to take a while to feel solid bombing down trails, plowing through puddles and dodging trees. A road bike will bring strength and endurance back to my legs while being low impact and stable.  I have my eyes on this one so far. I am slowly starting to get excited for long rides through the county, to Birch Bay and down into Skagit County.

My goal for 2010.... THE MOUNT BAKER HILL CLIMB!
I have tossed around the idea from year to year but never had the drive to actually commit to it. Here I am, lacking the base fitness found by running, I am going to swing my leg over the bike and learn to pedal harder and faster than I can imagine right now.

Until then, I am basking in the free time I have until I my time comes, dreaming of long walks, bike rides and a healthy body.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Week Two

Today marks 14 days post surgery. I am back at the office, free from the wrath of pain killers, and have ever increasing mobility. A blessing all around. My knee now bends from zero to 80 degrees. Progress! I still lack some nerve activity but that will come with time.
All things considered I am coming right along. I do have bad days, we all do. There are a few things that pull me through. I know there are people that deal with this sort of day in and day out. I will be free from mine in about a year. There are so many things in my life to look forward to including the thought of walking again, riding a bike, yoga, a new moutain bike, and a fresh road bike to strengthen the non exsistant quadricept. It will come, mobility, freedom and strength, it just takes time. Right now I can hear the the minute hand ticking off in space... It is like a day at the office that will never end, but it will and unlike the office, everyday gets better. I know I will heal. I am able to get back into some light yoga, light strength training and can move about the house rather well.
Here is some age old advice for general well being:

1) Get enough sleep

2) Eat the right food

3) Exercise

4) Reduce Stress

5) Spend time with loved ones.

Next: What I have learned so far...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Recovery

Here I am a week later. I made it through surgery, the hardest part of of the following days, now it is on to see the doctor today tp hear what actually happend while under the knife, begin physical therapy in the next couple of days... hopefully begin to walk soon.
I couldn't have done it without my hubby J. He was and continues to be my cornerstone. He has kept positive, understanding and increadibly patient. The first couple of nights he was up with me every couple of hours, made every meal for my picky appitite, brought me movies and watched them with me. I am a very lucky gal and I am sure that this road to recovery has just begun.
My Grandma and the rest of my family here and across the country have been increadibly supportive, and as I now know, the support is priceless and this would have been unbearable without everyone's help.  It really does take a village.
I took two weeks off of work, it has been a week and I still spend more than 3/4 of the day in bed or laying in various places in the house with my leg over my head. I wish that I would have known this. I had no idea that the recovery would be this intese. All I want to do is rest, rest and rest. Life has become increasingly more enjoyable now that I have cut out the pain killers. They are horrible and they don't kill the pain.
It is time to go put my leg up and have a date with the ice pack.
Merry Christmas~

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Morning ~ Moby ~ Music



Walk With Me
Walk with me, Lord
Walk with me, Lord
All alone.
This tedious journey
Won't you walk with me?
Walk with me, Lord
Walk with me, Lord
Walk with me
All alone.
This tedious journey
Won't you walk with me?
Take my hand, Lord
Take my hand, Lord
All alone.
This tedious journey
Won't you take my hand?
Let me sleep, Lord
Let me sleep...Lord
Let me in.
This tedious journey
Won't you let me sleep?

Each Thursday morning, I listen to 89.3 fm KUGS from 6 - 7am. The show I'm hooked on is Etown. It is increadible and showcases new/up & coming artists as well some favorites. This morning Moby was on and played from his new album. Some times music can absolutly move me, bring me to my knees, and often make my eyes well up. This is the song hit me this morning and absolulty moved me. Enjoy!
Podcast.Etown.org

Ideal job #3

Okay, in a perfect little Bellingham, doing a perfect little job..... I would be a professional athlete. That is broad I know, since one criteria is that I have to be able to do this job here in Bellingham I narrowed it down, and it wasn't hard at all....
I would be a professional trail runner.
Trail running is about the only sport or hobby that I feel as if I could compete in. I wouldn't settle for just any kind of competitive running, I would never be a marathon runner (my knees would obviously not take that kind of output) but I could race shorter distances, such as half marathons, if I really needed to. It is all in the training. To trail run, east and west of the Cascades, in BC, all over the northwest for that matter, and would that be a dream job. I have the determination and drive that I could run several 50 km races a year (well at least I used to have the drive), or I could run several shorter races, I could be happy training to run (and getting paid for it).... in a perfect world.

Here is the closest I have ever been to being competitive. 2nd place (women) in the North Face Endurance Challenge (2007)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Keeping my cool

J. has a way of keeping increadibly cool in most situations. He has an uncanny ability to resist reacting to most circumstances and situations. He tries to instill the same behavior in me. It works, sometimes.... I would like to imagine that this time in limbo be a time of relaxation, a time to rekindle old hobbies... reconnect with friends. I have been mildly successful. I did make four differnt kinds of cookies last night in preperation for the holiday season, I have planned and primped for a wild party this weekend.... I am trying... but some times pitty gets the best of me. I am human after all.....
The reason I am putting all this dirty laundry in the street is to share some worrds of wisdom that J. often imparts. **Side note: Someday I am going to create a book of these "wisdoms" it has me on the floor laughing often** One of my favorite sayings of his has been around for awhile, but he reminds me not to take myself too seriously. Really? So simple!?! This is usually all I need to get me down off the (imaginary) railing and back to reality.  
Today's goal, yep, just be graceful throughout the day, this does not include being too serious and dramatic about some silly little injury that is about to heal.

Ideal Job #2

Following the lines of a career that entails doing whatever I want (a limit is that the job is still located here in Bellingham) and making a little cash, I think I have came up with a second job that I would love to do.
I would love to be an artist. I would love to spend the days in a cozy little corner studio, a studio that is all windows, creating whatever my heart desires.
As I let my imagination take the best of me and this post... the studio would have to have a kitchen, I would want to bake all kinds of tasty and beautiful treats, take all kinds of pictures and then write about it and then create a cookbook/internet site to share everything with all walks of life all over the world. Then there would be a sewing station, a huge bookshelf so I could collect magizines and books, then all the supplies to draw, paint, glue, cut and create. There would be a big comfy couch so people would come visit me... and so Natasha and Sophee have a place to hang out. There would be a wonderful esspresso machine in another corner to fuel the experiance (this would also ensure timly visits from J.)
In a perfect world...... this is what I would do....

Friday, December 04, 2009

Ideal Job #1

Everyone around me has been dreaming of these ideal jobs.
Oh it is fun! I am going to start a little excersice of writting down what I would like to do, as far fetched as it might be.

My ideal job for the holidays just came to me! I would LOVE to have people hire me to do their holiday cookies.
I would love to bake several varities, shapes, colors and sizes package them in little tins, make fancy little cards, and SELL them to people to give away.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The flame within


Pre 2009 Chuckanut 50 km race. photo source: Garrett Grove

Here I go again; all I can think about is the looming surgery. It might be the time on my hands, the idleness, the looming date, the increased discomfort. Whatever it is I am getting a wee bit nervous. I know it is a rather minor surgery and there are other people who face life threatening ailments around us all. I am really focused on one aspect of the surgery, am not worried about the ACL replacement, or the patella problem.... I don't want to remove my meniscus. The meniscus is part of the "cushion" on the knee. With the removal of this portion of the knee, arthritis is sure to set in early. Okay, I have come to terms with this and understand that it is inevitable. The problem I have is the fact that my running career may be over. Pwhew! That is a hard one to swallow. So as of right now, I know it may be a possibility but I am going to leave it at that because I know in my heart that I am not ready to be done with running.


I have said in the past that I know long distance running is not a lifetime sport for me. I don't think that my body can handle it. That is okay. I am not willing to give up running all together though. There is something incredibly simple and beautiful about running. I can leave my house, be on trail, in parks with just a quick change of clothes and a healthy pair of shoes. Then there is the efficiency of running, it only takes about an hour to get a great work out running, it might take twice that on a bike. I won't crash running (well not as often). What about the infamous "runners' high" it is one of the most satisfying feelings.

I haven't run in months, and I have come to the realization, the kind that comes deep within, I am not ready to stop running. I am unsure now what this means and what it is going to take but I am not ready to hang those tennies up.

To be honest, I thought that I would totally love the break from being active. Over the summer I yearned for more time to work around the house, do art, cook, and read but found myself biking increasingly more, yoga and lifting weights. Now I understand, I mean I have came to terms with the idea of balance. THere can be too much of a good thing, and too much of anything can be tiring (and even cause serious bodily injury!) and make one desire for something else, anything else. Now I have all the time in the world. I love it, I have started to actually cook, read, write, fix up the house (A HUGE THANKS TO J. & MY DAD!!!), decorate the house..... spend quality time with J. all the rich things in life. There is something missing, it is being active. My body does not feel the same (enough time has past to really notice) my energy levels have dropped considerably, my moods have changed, my body has changed. It has taken a few months but I know that even though I may never be at the same caliber that I was a year ago, I am going to lead a BALANCED active lifestyle for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A bit of a suprise!



Way back when Facebook was new and exciting I filled out one of the chain letter deals and wrote 25 things about me. It was actually a really fun thing (who really doensn't like to talk about themselves... really be truthful!). I read several friends 25 things and was rather intrigued by all the people in my life. So the other day J. sent me a little note during the day, he reminded me that he had also came up with his own 25 (oh wait, of course it is 26) random facts. What a surprise, it was enough to bring tears to my eyes and remind me why I LOVE this man so much!

Here is a glimpse into J.'s lovely little world.

1. I love solutions. They have a way of eliminating problems.
2. I am quite calculated and typically judge the situation dispassionately.

3. I love my wife Michelle and her unyielding patience for me…(see above)

4. Nothing makes me happier than going fast, period. Bikes, Skis, Shopping Carts, whatever.

5. My dog Natasha has impressed me more over the last 11 years than any of god’s creatures that I have ever come in contact with. I’d take another one just like her!

6. I don’t believe in fear, but certainly calculate risk.

7. I have a wonderful family. Immediate, extended and in-law. I am truly blessed and continue to learn from them all.

8. My idol would still have to be my dad. Stoic, poised, and surefooted in all endeavors.

9. I thrive on commitment. Whether soloing on rock or rolling into steep technical terrain on a bike, when failure is not an option you bring the A-Game goods. And that my friends, is what it is all about.

10. I love coffee and red wine. Because what goes up, must come down.

11. “I am a part of all that I have met” Tennyson, and I have been unbelievably fortunate in the people, places and moments that I have “met”.

12. Chicken and Dumplins’ are the shit! (that is a good thing)

13. I am grateful to have a beautifully creative wife. Because to second my friend Dale, I too have no use for art.

14. I absolutely believe in form following function. See above and see my car.

15. Duct tape is amazing.

16. I am confident that I can fix anything that moves or shakes, and if it isn’t broken I can make it work better. It is just in the blood. You should meet my Papa Ralph!

17. My sister Corrie is the Yin to my Yang and I think that is pretty cool. She is so full of ideas and creativity. She has an intuition for the subtly beautiful. I just want to know what it does.

18. I love taco trucks.

19. I am most definitely a morning person.

20. I can’t live without music.

21. I love chocolate, thanks Mom…

22. I rely on my friends for inspiration, energy and motivation as they rely on me for the same. Everyone can’t bring it all the time, but certainly someone can.

23. There is nothing quite like clean polished white granite. Can I get an Amen?

24. You’ll never get all those ducks in a row, so stop tryin’. Have faith that they will fall into place individually at that critical time.

25. I have battled depression my whole life. Enjoy all things in moderation, even happiness. It takes a little bit of darkness to balance an individual, don’t fret. The sun will continue to rise. “Strikes and Gutters”, the Dude.

26. ”I love lamp”, Brick Tomlin. That’s right 26. Bucking the system since 1978.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wish the best

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Have a great long weekend.

Thanks to everyone around me, each and every one, family and friends offering endless support, encouragement and love that comes my way fills me to the brim with joy and comfort.

I would be in a dark space without the lovely people that fill my life.

Thank you J for being such a true partner in every sence.

Enjoy the holidays, family and friends.

Don't forget to kiss the cook!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Feasting


Photographs by Francesco Tonelli for The New York Times
I like to cook, I may be a very good cook, but I enjoy it.  My family loves to cook as well at least I am sure my Dad's side like to cook. I think I have more traits from my Dad and my brother takes more after my Mom and her side. Just an observation. I vividly remember going to Grandma's for the holidays, I cherish these memories of my Grandma. To some degree, I might even have some yearning of recreating this experiance durning the holidays some day. You know, the house full of family, the "kids" table, turkey, ham, potatoes, hand-made rolls, pies, stuffing... you get the idea. Even decorations.
Someday.... my own way.
J has this increable ability to simplify things. He has been trying to convey to me the importance of a simple life, I am trying to learn. Now and again, I have to sit back and grin, understanding what he means by this.
I can make a mess in the kitchen, I can be in there for hours and hours and become weary. As the holidays roll around, my excitment has mounted, the recipes have been buzzing around in my head. There is so much I want to make, I want my house to be full of happy people. Deep breath... slow down... the people around us have invited us to spend the time with them. So I happily volunteer to bring a few dishes. Ahhhh the choices. In my search, I focused on recipes where I had most of the ingredients on hand, recipes that were simple and didn't require much time in the kitchen, foods that I would eat, and could be made ahead of time.

Here is what I am sooooo excited to share with my family and friends. I have found all these recipes (there are 101 recipes that can all be made ahead of time and are described in 1- 2 sentences) by Mark Bittman over at NY Times

Sweet Potatoes With Prosciutto
Cut sweet potatoes into wedges; boil until tender. Drain and toss with olive oil. Wrap each with a prosciutto slice and a sage leaf, then roast until browned.

Cranberry Polenta Cakes
Make polenta with half milk, half water; stir in chopped fresh or dried cranberries. When thick, pour onto a sheet tray and let cool. Cut into squares and sauté or broil until slightly crisp. Drizzle with honey.

Cranberry-Orange Sauce: Cook a bag of fresh cranberries with orange and lemon zest, cut up (peeled) orange segments, 1/4 cup sugar (or to taste) and a bit of minced jalapeño or chipotle.


Pears in Red Wine
Simmer 2 cups red wine with 1/2 cup sugar, 2 cloves, a cinnamon stick and a few slices of ginger in a pot for a few minutes, then gently poach peeled and cored pears (use a spoon to hollow them from bottom), until soft. Cool or chill, and serve with a bit of the poaching liquid.





One of my favorite local photographers (who is an absolute outdoor junkie) G. Grove just posted something worth your time. Here are some photos to bring some color, perspective and **ahhh** into a rather mellow dramatic Tuesday morning (Tuesday has nothing on the upcoming festivities of my favorite hoiday: Thanksgiving!).

Enjoy!

National Geographic's International Photography Contest 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dinner!

If you were wondering (I know you can breath now) what a girl that can live on apples and tortilla chips is going to do in the evenings without the constant distraction of yoga, bikes, climbing, well she is going to be cooking for dinner.... no not a frozen pizza, Casa, or the Bellweather...
Here it is! How else am I going to get ready for Thanksgiving? Ahhhh....

Creamed Spinach 

Avioding big box thinking

I have tried to not cross a certain line with this blog. It has gathered dust for days, and then weeks, I may have even gone a month. I have tried to keep it positive (because that is the only way to BE) and not ramble about the details of my job. I don't think that I talking about my job would be neither very professional nor very exciting to people who don’t live or are familiar with Whatcom County. It is very interesting, political, controversial, meaningful (I keep trying to tell myself and coworkers this) and a job in a crappy economy.


Don't worry; this post is not about work, the county council, the current election results and what that means for our county, budget cuts..... Wipe your eyes NOW if they are glazed over already!

I want you to imagine a county that put the highest value on agricultural land, on open spaces, on the preservation of large parcels of land, on healthy drinking water, on future water demands, on watersheds. I can imagine here in Whatcom County, a five lane highway (atrocity) that is NOT lined with big box stores, commercial strip malls, fast food joints, PARKING LOTS (!). Whatcom County can be that county, the one to say NO to strip development. Just because there is a five lane highway does not mean there needs to be stores and houses bursting at the gills. I drove down the Guide here in Whatcom County. There is hope, it is not "too far gone for help" as some people say. We don't have to live in strip mall hell. We don't have to put ourselves through it, there are other ways!

Stepping down off my soap box! PHEW!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Seeking shelter from the storm

In an attempt to warm my co-workers and of course our hungry, wet, wind blown, cold bellies I cooked up my new found comfort food of choice: Asian noodles. I am new to asian cooking and for the most part asian cusine in general. I love it and can't get enough right now. My office mate and I have been drooling over this recipe for some time. I finally made it and it was a winner. The crock pot is a gal's best friend and it pulled through yet again. Done right, the slow cooker makes the house smell like you have been in the kitchen all day, but really all that needs to be done is throwing a pork roast, garlic, soy sauce, wine, water, pepper, ginger and what ever else you see fit int to the pot, turn to low and leave. As soon as you open the door after a day of work, wahlah! Perfect pork, bursting with flavor, savory broth that is just begging for noodles and some veggies.

The Northwest can be hard to hanndle this time of year. Storm after storm, rain day in and day out, and the wind... the type of wind that falls the biggest trees around like toothpicks, the wind that wakes you up at night, the force so fierce that the next morning the yard is often a tresure chest of random articles swept off of neighboring properties. These last couple of weeks have been blustery to say the least. The amount of rain that has been falling is unimaginable and is testing the strength of our roof (the rain won).

What do we fine people do to battle this absolute nonsence? We buy lots of GORETEX, go to the gym, drink insane amounts of coffee, drink alot of beer, and eat! EAT! EAT! EAT! and talk about the weather (sometimes).  Last night the house was full of wonderful people, seeking shelter from the storm, feasting on warm, gooey, pork asian noodles, waiting out this long winter together.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Expecting a miracle

I made it down to Seattle to get the opinion of a "big city doctor." Every one insisted on the idea of getting an opinion of someone outside "the city of subdude excitment." The first thing  the doctor said when I got there, "what are you doing in Seattle if you live in Bellingham?" I guess Bellingham has a reputation of good orthopedic surgons.

He did all the horrible manipulations of my leg and knee. You know the whole "does this hurt?" routine. Arg! !@#$ yes that hurts and OMG you are going to break me. Okay my blood pressure rises just thinking about it. I still am in a mild state of denial, not really believing that they are going to slice my knee open and do three major procedures on one little knee. When they do these " how about now?" and I jump off the table in fear of the pain, I relize I might have an issue with my knee.

After all the fun aside he diagnosed me with the same exact symptoms/diagnoses as the surgon told me here in Bellingham. It is kind of mixed bag, I would of like to have heard that he could wave his/her hand and repair my knee perfectly, I am glad to know that the doctor I have choosen in Bellingham is completly compitant.

He did leave me with one token of advice. I am either going to have to pick longevity of my knees or insensity of my knees. His way of saying that what you are doing now is not going to make your knees last very long. There are signs of wear in my other knee that should not be there at age 26. Hmmmmmm....

According to the doctor in Seattle, my good looks and healthy physic will help me heal even faster. HA! Really? "I am an ideal patient." Actually I really like my doctor in Bellingham, and he reaffirmed my dislike for the "big city" what ever that is!

AND don't worry only 7 more monthes of me going on and on about stories about my knee. Only a couple more monthes and I will dwell on something else. Hang in there, I promise I will find other things to write about other than this stinking left knee pain!

Monday, November 16, 2009

4:15

It is 4:15 and it is dark outside!

Arg! Tis the season for lots of hot yoga, slow cooked food, friends, games, coffee, dark beer. My life seems to be focusing on food and friends, pretty soon it is going to lead to shopping because I haven't found the motivation for the whole gym thing yet.

The newest project DIY Kombucha! because my habit is putting a dent in my pocket book and heaven forbid I go to the gym!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

the sweet rewards


I love my garden that I have created in our back yard. This fall I planted garlic that was given to me from a co worker. In the sping I will be greated by green shoots poking their way through the mulch making way for a bountiful harvest. As spring rolls in (it seems like an eternity from now) I will sow an abundance of seeds ranging from greens, root vegtables, as well as a varity of squashes, beans and of course cut flowers.

Fall harvest fruits and vegtables may be my favorite crops. I love the dense, sugar, often storable gems gleaned from the garden. Carrots, beets, apples are gifts that after months of sunshine and heat become prime as the days get slightly cooler, shorter and the rest of the harvest has been taxed.


These root vegetables store so much flavor, nutrition and potential, I will be the first one to admit that they are a pain in the rear side to get to the final product. First they must be dug out of the soil, the greens removed, rinsed of excess dirt, soaked, scrubbed, rinsed, then cooked which usually takes considerable more time and heat than other softer veggies. 

The reward of the patience and work is so satisfying, nourishing and rewarding.
Like tonight....

On Sunday I usually have the energy and motivation to cook a proper supper. Today is the perfect example. I waited to harvest all of my carrots at once which led to me being overwhelmed and baffled by what to do with several pounds of fresh carrots. For a loss of what to do, I boiled them down in chicken stock, mashed them up and tossed it in the fridge Friday afternoon. Not until today was I inspired enough to acually created a meal that was more than boiled carrots. I am really trying to empty out the cuppords, utilizing the stock pile of dried/canned goods I have aquired. I dumped coconut milk in the carrot puree, added the rest of the spinich, onion and garlic (the only fresh produce in the house) and finished it with a healthy scoop of red curry paste. I cracked peanuts that have been neglected and baked the final bagutte that was left from a party last week to add the final texture to a perfect supper which will turn into lunch tomorrow that rounds out a very social, relaxing weekend.

Friday, November 13, 2009

This and That

Tech question! Where is spell check in the new blogger editor?
Sorry for any misspelled words. It is obviously my shortfall!

Another week down, days closer to the holidays, days closer to getting my knee taken care of and best of all... the weekend is here! There is nothing sweeter in my life these days than leaving work on a Friday afternoon, picking up J and not having to worry about the dreaded four letter "w" for a couple of days. Our Fridays usually entail a celbratory dinner date, friends and usually a few cocktails in the evening. Tonight..... where to go...mmm......Pho? Bellweather? Casa? The usual delimea... Life is full of these important decisions. Pho because it is 1. cold (STORMY!) outside 2. it is the perfect comfort food for me. Or Bellweather because it is 1. cheap 2. we "know" the waitress 3. I like the menu 4. did I mention that the menu is half price for happy hour? 4. glasses of wine are $4. Or Casa because we  1.can share a $6 burrito and be stuffed 2. have friends gladly meet us there 3. drink margarits (J's poison of chose) 4. it is a loud, dirty, full bar.

Then on to the weekend! We are going to Lummi Island Saturday afternoon. It will be J's first time on the island. We are going to a friends house for a hike around the island and then a BBQ with co workers. What to bring..... hmmmm..... I think THIS! Thank you Smitten Kitchen.
Saturday night is one of my all time favorite girl friends 40th! Sorry to broadcast it but she doesn't look a day over 25. Seriously! And what to bring..... How about a little of THAT! Because I have a wonderful fresh bag of Texas pecans in my freezer!

Mmmm.... weekend....

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Listening


Over the years I have been able to shut my brain pain receptors off and be able to push through many physical barriers. I have come to the conclusion that if one has the desire to perform at a high level; one must be welcome to tolerate an unimaginable amount of pain. For example, in order to climb "hard" it requires an extremely high pain thresh hold. Mt. biking, if you ride hard you are going to crash hard (and break things, body or bike). Running is the only time in which I could push through any amount of pain (apparently I pushed through a major knee injury and a few other major issues). The last 50k I ran through crippling stomach cramps. I wouldn't have thought twice about it, I run because I love it, I run to be in the woods, on trail and moving, not to mention the addictive endorphin high that one experiences while running. Running was the only sport that I actually did good and felt competitive.



I have learned, inch by inch, day by day, and injury by injury that sometimes it is more productive to listen to my body than simply push through it. As I get older (yeah I know a whooping 26) my body is not recovering as fast from injuries, I am noticing more injuries that happened several years ago. So this is what happens to your body when one doesn't listen......


When I first me J I was not nearly this active, no where close. He used to get up in the morning and I could hear all of his joints popping as he walked down the hall, his back would crack with just the slightest twist. I was amazed. This summer, after a long day pedaling in Whistler we were walking back to our place and I told J how my knees hurt. We laughed at how I used to be amazed by how much his body cracked, who knew, I am now snapping, crackling and popping and wondering why (insert any part of my body) hurts. Now here I am, years later, my knees hurt, my lower back is always tight and I wouldn't change it for the world!!! Or any other body!


What I have learned is priceless. Resting is extremely important. A body must heal, physically and mentally. I tried to push through my current knee injury, thinking nothing of it and now sitting is uncomfortable, walking is less than desirable, yoga is out of the question and running is not even in the near future. Unless your body has the perfect stride, the perfect cadence, unless your body happens to be automatically perfect you probably understand what I am talking about.


It is true; I may be able to learn to listen, respecting my body and all its amazing capabilities.


Monday, November 09, 2009

Five songs of fame


I think I can say I am one more experience closer to dying living a full life.


Last night (yes a Sunday, yes a work night) I busted loose from the routine and watched a band that holds a fond spot in my heart. Southern Culture on the Skids made their appearance at Bellingham's staple for good shows: The Nightlight.


The first time I heard Southern Culture on the Skids (SCOTS) was memorable. I can admit it was one of the times where I was by myself and laughing out loud. To be exact, I was painting our bed room, in the midst of our complete remodel of our house, a time before we had moved in. This was the second attempt to paint the room a shade of gold ( the first color made your retinas burn, the second time it was the color of the sun ). It was late and I was sooooo over being there. I had my head phone turned up and on shuffle. J had loaded some new music for me and SCOTS comes on, Dirt Track Date. WOW! I quick found the entire album. WoW! Camel Walk, Snack Cracker.....


I listened to the album compulsively for months.


So I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see them in Bellingham last night.


When I go to the Nightlight I can't help go to the front, right to the stage, usually front and center. And I dance. I dance and dance. Every show, the entire show. I Sweat and sweat. I leave sore, tired and hungry. I love it.


Last night I thought I was going to play it safe. I really thought that I was going to sit down and watch the show. HA! I was about five people deep the first song. Instantly I was plotting and scheming my way to the front. By the second song, there I was, against the stage, taking off layers ditching a cumbersome cocktail glass and donning my dancing feet (foot) I wiggled my way between a woman who was absolutely worshiping Mary (she was actually bowing to her during several parts of the show) and another guy who was in a dress shirt and a winter fleece jacket (he has obviously not been to the Nightlight before) and seemed way too concerned and occupied with geeking out over their guitars and other technical devices. The women in the crowd ( all 5 of them) seemed to think that the most appropriate way to dance to the music was banging their heads. Really? I had to stop and just watch for a while. This looked really uncomfortable. I started to dance and slowly the statue of a man next to me took his hands out of his pockets. He kept on glancing at me and then he would bobble his head a bit. I made it my mission to get him to wiggle just a tad before the night was through. I am pretty sure he did and I am sure it made him realize that if you are going to stand front and center, taking up way too much space, you had better be dancing and not acting like a stack of bricks.


So there I was, the one legged dance wonder woman. The band was full of life and energy and so was I. When they asked for a "go-go dancer" to join them on stage, I was the first one to jump up and get my boogie on... in front of a packed bar, on stage.... and I was hardly even tipsy as you would probably imagine. Never in my life would I ever imagine that I would be so excited to jump on stage and yes I stepped up for "Camel Walk" and strutted across the front of the stage, ate fried chicken on stage (no chicken, no show) and then threw it in the audience ( you would really have to be there to understand, it is part of every show).


My five songs of fame. A night that I will surly remember for years to come. Never in my life would I ever imagine that I would get on stage and dance, but I did. Hey you only live once. Live it up!


The moment I find some pictures of the night I will post them to prove that this really did happen!



Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. - Aldous Huxley

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Withdrawls

The past four weekends in a row I have traveled north, across the border to the promise land with JM. I think I would need several sets of hands to count the times we rode up north this summer. Who would of thought I would ever fall so in love with biking. WHAM! Here I am, there is nothing more that I would rather do.

Each weekend this summer revolved around biking. We have faithfully trudged through the week, putting in our time in cubicles and offices for the promise of a great weekend of biking on increadible trails. Mondays were rough, I hobbled into the office, usually cranky because I was so hungry from the previous two solid days of riding, and the fact that we had to leave Squamish ( the best place on earth). Each weekday, we both would get up at our usual crack of dawn in order to put in the time, each morning looking at eacher muttering something to the effect of "three more days" or "we are so close." Fridays would roll around and we would both bound home inoreder to feed the chickens, JM would tune our bikes (thanks for the great ride) load the trusty van, and thank goodness for my parents we would drop the black beauty off for some doggy retreat on the bay (Sophee is problably still traumatized from abandoment issues). Then we would make the short hour and half drive to the wooded heaven that is just north of our little nook.

Each weekend we would explore new trails, ride the some real champs over again the following weekend. Hour after hour... we pedaled and pedaled, I pushed, I cursed, JM waited patiently, I smiled, we ate bars, more bars, rode more great trails, saw increadible views of Howe Sound, the Chief, Garibaldi, Whistler, on and on, I wondered if JM ever got tired, I was convinced that JM never got tired, we ate burgers, chowed down on the best fish and chips in the world, drank pitchers of beer, slept in our trusty van.... all in all, my life is perfect.

All in all our summer was increadible. I have dust on my clibimg shoes and I am okay with that. Running? No running, too slow. I have logged so amny miles on trail, on world class trail, more trail than probably most people ever get on. We were weekend warriors to the Nth degree. I got my fill and now it is time for me to redirect my energy to other parts of my life. This is easier said than done. As JM gathered his gear this morning to go ride up north, I had to find other things to do. Hard.... but who wants to ride in the rain anyway. I am sure that JM is glad to go ride with other people and not wait on me. I have to focus my energies on my knee, keeping it rested and getting ready to heal fast so when the spring rolls around and I have a new ride.... a new year, with new intrests.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The K word/s

The time has come to face the music! Arg!
I have been so lucky (or honestly a cautious, timid lady) that I have never had to have surgery, casts for broken bones, or in John's case "walked" anything off.
Last year, biking in Whistler about this time of year, I crashed. Nothing major.... just a slow tumble off of some wood ramp. As I tipped over and landed, I landed with all my weight and the bike on my left leg. SNAP! My knee buckled. In shear pain, and a little bit of fright I screamed and John dropped his bike and came running. As soon as I got the dirt out of my mouth, out of my eyes and untangled from the bike, I stopped whaling and realized there was no gashing wound or bone protruding, rather my knee had dislocated. I propped my toosh back on the bike and was able to roll trough the rest of the trail, trough Whistler Village.... straight to the Whistler Brew House where we had dinner with friends. For a couple of weeks I favored my knee, stayed off of it, nursed it and even went to the doctor just to hear "you sprained your knee."
Time passed, I ran... I ran a 50km race, I rode, I crashed more. I can't tell when my knee started to dislocate on regular basis but it is a fact of life as of late. Getting my bike on the lift at Whistler, getting up from the ground, yoga... it was/is happening a lot.
So I requested to get an MRI, thinking I would hear more of the same, but I was surprised (well I guess I shouldn't actually). I have several tears in my meniscus that cannot be healed through physical therapy or rest. Yep, the KNIFE! to my KNEE! Well not exactly, of all the knee injuries and surgeries to have this is probably the best. I will be fine and recover in a jiff! Or at least I better because.....
I know John just cringes at the thought of having to deal with me, laid up for a couple of weeks. It is hard to imagine..... arg! I don't even want to go there! I will recover in a snap and be back to bouncing around the room, yoga, a new bike waiting for me!!! (Maybe!) and probably no running. GASP! Can you believe it?!?! I might have to put this on the shelf... A year ago this thought would send me goose bumps and panic. Not these days, believe it or not. It is okay. Did I mention the thoughts of a new bike!
Next week I go to the surgeon and hash out the details. Until then.... well..... I hate waiting!

Teenage mutant ninja turtle bars

What does Thursday need? A little help in order to get us to the blessed weekend! Today it came in the form of a little treat for a fantastic co-worker, wonderful mother and friend on her birthday.
These little bars turned out perfect. I cut them into 1 inch squares, just the perfect bite size morsel to get the morning going on the right foot.
(sorry about the lack of pictures.... they were made late and gobbled up early)

Teenage mutant ninja turtle bars

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted

1 (14 oz.) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 cup chocolate chips
1 Tbs butter

caramel topping
pecans (or other nuts...)

Pre heat over to 350.
Mix graham crackers and melted butter. Press into a 8x8 greased pan. Bake for 8-11 minutes.
Mix the condensed milk, chocolate chips, butter. Melt until nice and smooth.
Spread the chocolate mixture evenly over the crust, bake for another 6-8 minutes.
Drizzle caramel topping over the top and sprinkle with nuts.
Chill for thirty minutes - store at room temperature.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Helmets are cool!



Helmets are cool... Helmets are sexy... Helmets apparently save lives! Steve wears a helmet... and lives.....

One day we are having a BBQ celebrating the brief return of a great old friend and the next thing we know there is news that a boulder, courtesy of those infamous goats on Snow Creek Wall in Leavenworth tried to take the cheer out of our good Friend Steve's birthday. Silly goats! Steve likes beer not rocks! Well thanks to his great new partner Suz, he was in the hands of an extremely capable climber/partner. I am so impressed by what I have heard of her stunning ability to deal with an injury in the alpine. Kudos to you for being prepared and knowing what to do. My heart goes out to you! AND teaches me that I need to be prepared! Shit happens and it happens to anyone. I have climbed this route at least a half dozen times with several different partners.



Hi,This is NOT Steve, but his climbing partner Susan using his account. I live in the Tetons so don't have an account here.I can clarify what unfolded October 9th at Snow Creek Wall. Steve Murphy and I had finished Outer Space and were walking off when the accident occurred not far from the base. At 5:20pm Steve, wearing his helmet, was struck on his torso by a head-sized rock dislodged by a goat. The impact knocked him off his feet, down 10’ of scree/slab, and over a 20+ foot drop. He landed on rocks on somewhat of a ledge.Two climbers, Brian and Eric, were just below us and helped me assess and treat Steve’s injuries: concussion, facial laceration, broken molar(s), jaw, ribs, and ankle and the associated abrasions and contusions. The ankle required surgery. The two climbers played an instrumental role, especially in having a phone and going to the car to get sleeping bags to insulate our patient. The goats sporadically knocked more small rocks and scree down over the next few hours. Search and Rescue response was delayed because personnel were busy on other calls. The team that arrived included a couple of Chelan County Sheriffs deputies in addition to members of the all-volunteer Chelan County Mountain Rescue Team, one of whom was both an emergency room doctor and a climber. We were fortunate to work with a great team.The evacuation involved belaying the litter for 7 or 8 pitches, mostly traversing and also some down through the logs of the old burn. Many thanks to all the wonderful people who assisted. We arrived at the trailhead and the ambulance around 6:15 the following morning. Two corrections to the article: Steve is only 46… as of the day of this event. We do not know why the goat thought Steve would appreciate a chunk of granite for his birthday. He prefers beer. He recently moved from Bellingham (now on an extended road trip). Key points: wear a helmet anytime you’re potentially exposed to rockfall especially at crags that goats are known to inhabit. A few days prior, we observed goat-generated rockfall at Pearly Gates and noted that goats could be a serious hazard. Responses to this incident reinforce the frequency of goat-generated rockfall. Without the helmet Steve would not have survived.Also, learn and practice field-based first aid skills. This is more important than a first aid kit. I am an experienced Wilderness First Responder and recommend this level of training because it is more field appropriate and relevant, especially with the gear we carry as climbers, than Wilderness EMT. Snow Creek Wall is not a remote crag… until one gets injured. Safe Climbing and Sweet Cracks, Suz


Steve I am so glad you are okay! The BBQ this time is going to be courtesy of John. He has something waiting for you.... very special.......

Thursday, September 24, 2009

20 Ways to Find, Sustain, and Share Happiness

20 Ways to Find, Sustain, and Share Happiness
Megan R. McDonough 8/14/2004

The Dalai Lama says that we all share one common aspiration: we all want to be happy; no one wants to suffer. This universal desire binds us together. At some point the realization dawns that no matter how big the paycheck is, no matter how many degrees we get, no matter how nice the house and the white picket fence is, none of it can assure happiness.
What is it that does bring lasting happiness, no matter what the circumstance? The ancient poet and mystic Rumi gives us a clue when he says, “Work in the invisible world at least as hard as you do in the visible.” The invisible world is within you, and it’s where lasting happiness resides.
Here are some suggestions for working in the invisible realm:
Look closely at what causes lasting happiness. Buying a new sweater might feel good for a moment or two, but looking closely you see that that sooner or later all new stuff loses its appeal, growing old and mundane. Reinforce in your mind that happiness is not the result of accumulating goods.
Savor the moment. When your child gives you a bear hug, live that experience fully, whilenoticing every little detail. The same holds true for the boring meeting that’s putting you to sleep. As Leo Buscaglia, the author of Love, says, “Braille your world.” Being mindful doesn’t mean things will be good, just that you are aware of them as they are, without judgment. Expand your awareness. See new perspectives by challenging your own beliefs. Expand your horizons by asking yourself, “What if…”.
Play. Between work, family, and grocery shopping, finding time to play can be just another chore. Forget picking up that gallon of milk on the way home from work today. Instead, tickle your children.
Practice gratitude. Focus your mind on all that you already possess, relegating that feeling of “needing more” to its proper place. If it works for Oprah, it works for me.
Follow the yes path. Margaret Wheatley, best-selling author of Leadership and the New Science, says that when events call out yes, follow that path. It’s certainly easier than banging your head against the wall.
Take time for self-reflection. Since childhood, we’ve been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” A much better question to ask is “How do I want to be?”
Choose to live your values. After reflecting on your personal values, instill them in your everyday actions.
Experiment. Philosopher Nietzsche said, “Life is a thousand times too short for us to bore ourselves.” Give yourself permission to try something different, without obsessing over the outcome.
Listen. Get your mind off your own problems by lending an ear to hear others.
Stay present. As the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn has recommended in his many books, when you wash the dishes, just wash the dishes. The mind’s habit is to rehearse what the future holds or re-run life by mulling over past events. This moment is where life actually is lived.
Smile. It’s such a simple way to change your inner landscape and connect with others.
Know that life is finite. You are not guaranteed a tomorrow. Your life is precious. Live it fully.
Happiness is here, in this moment. George Bernard Shaw said, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” Know that there is nothing to magically “find” for happiness; it’s created through you.
Notice your breath. It’s not difficult to simply notice the air entering your body and then watching it exit, but it has a powerful effect. Use it to re-focus from the hectic outside world to an attitude of mindfulness.
Give. Whether you gift the gift of time, money, or knowledge, sharing transforms the mind.
Your path to happiness is uniquely yours. Thomas Merton said, “Looking for God is like seeking a path in a field of snow; if there is no path and you are looking for one, walk across the field and there is your path.” It’s the same for happiness; you make your own path.
Drop the guilt trip. Go ahead and have a night out with a friend. See the sappy show that your husband wouldn’t be caught dead at.
Spend time in nature. Get out of a world lit by fluorescent lights and divided by cubicles. Take a walk in the woods. At the very least put a plant in your office.
Go to bed early. Never underestimate the power of a good nights sleep.
Joseph Campbell, who is best known for his forays into Mythology, cited a Polynesian saying to describe the state of humanity: “We are standing on a whale, fishing for minnows.” What you are looking for—what we are all looking for—is as close as your own self. Happiness is the whale right under your feet.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Birthday Wishes

To all you wonderful people out there who took time to send me birthday wishes.... all the hugs and love in the world goes out to you. My day was perfect in every sense. There really are wonderful people surrounding me and I feel supremely blessed to friends and family that truly care deeply about me. What more is there to life? A good bike ride in the mountains I suppose. Oh wait that did happen for my birthday!
My day was filled with phone calls, emails, and texts (oh the marvels of technology!) from wonderful people followed by an evening at the Temple Bar (as per my request) visiting with friends and family while drinking way too much wine and delectable treats. The day was preceded by a long weekend in Whistler thanks to Jess. Three days of perfect weather, perfect riding conditions and the perfect group to share it with.
What more could a girl ask for? Thanks everyone for making me feel incredibly special!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fear

We live in a world that is run on fear. I feel that our senses are so numbed by the romanticization and exploitation of our "news" that the facts and any sort of information is lost in the dramatization of trying to stimulate our senses.

The twisted and contorted and misled and misinformed and not informed world of media has become part of my job and part of life for the time being. The project that I am working on has ended up being a political hot button. I witness, first hand the mistakes, biases and political will of the media. What a learning experience! After the name calling, threats, accusations, and misinformation settles, we are left standing there legitimately questioning and challenging our motives.

At some point we must stand for something or else our county/country will be run by and for the interest of money.

Enough of my personal soap box, this is not the forum for political agendas nor is it interesting to anyone besides the few that are involved. I would like to share a letter that is written by a very prominent agricultural advocate here in Whatcom County.



My View
By Henry Bierlink

Fear Based Approaches Lack Integrity

I've attended a couple events recently that have me reflecting on the role of "fear" in our political process. Fear is a powerful motivator. Scaring people into action is much more effective then educating them. But it usually results in lousy public policy.

One of these events was a meeting concerning the implementation of the County's critical areas ordinance on farms. It was healthy to have rural citizens express their concerns over how we try to balance protection of water quality, wetlands, and wildlife habitat with our desire to keep farmers and farmland productive. But an unhealthy fear clouded the discussion. Somehow, large portions of the audience concluded that the County has determined that animal agriculture, including 4-H and FFA projects, was a great threat to the environment and that draconian steps needed to be made to restrict it if not discourage it.

This fear has some factual basis but was blown out of proportion at the meeting. The County is legally obligated to protect all its resources and when animals are mismanaged they can cause negative impacts. The County seeks to provide the least onerous means of providing some accountability through the Conservation Program on Agricultural Lands program administered at the Conservation District. Most who go through this program realize that respecting property owner's desires and the needs of environmental protection is a delicate but achievable balance.

Farm Friends understands that this program is not perfect and the meeting underscored that some needed changes should be made. That is a productive discussion. Fear that the County wants to discourage agriculture is not.

On the other end of the spectrum I attended Food INC., a documentary film painting a grossly distorted picture of production agriculture and building a case in favor of locally produced, organic food. Again, "fear" was the dominate emotion, with the intent to scare people away from the most efficient, safest food production system in the world.

I don't argue that there are many legitimate criticisms of the way we produce the food we enjoy so cheaply. Just like in our recent financial meltdown there are places where greed and short term decision-making has left us with systems that are indefensible when you step back and honestly reflect. There are a myriad of books out about our food system. I find most of them reasonably balanced and very interesting reads.

Food INC. doesn't come close to measuring up to the standard these books have set. I could cut them some slack as it is hard to be thorough in a 90 minute film, but they don't even try. They present a series of "hit pieces" outlining abuses in our food systems and then note that those they are criticizing refused to comment.

A recent Capital Press op ed piece reinforced my conclusions: "The film did little to advance the debate over how food is produced. More importantly, it ignored the complexity of an efficient system that feeds much of the world."

I don't like operating out of fear. I have some sympathy for landowners who haven't had the experience of working through the complexities of balancing animal husbandry and the environment. I have no sympathy for those that use fear to manipulate me.

Friday, September 11, 2009

TODAY IS THE DAY

YESTERDAY IS HISTORY
TOMORROW IS A MYSTERY
TODAY IS A GIFT

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Thank you letter to Smart Trips

2509 Huron Street
Bellingham, WA 98226
September 2, 2009

Dear Smart Trips,
Every couple of months I get a reward delivered to my house. It is not a van with a large card board check and balloons; it comes modestly in an envelope from Smart Trips. It started off as ice cream, then a t-shirt, bagels, and even a movie rental, all from my favorite local shops. These little treats have landed in my hands and put a smile on my face. Someone out there is recognizing the fact that I make active transportation trips here in Whatcom County. The latest reward made me stop and think that maybe I am making a difference by getting on my bike instead of getting in my car.
This most recent gift couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.
I have always dreamed of being a “one car family,” my husband and I got rid of our second car this year. It has been a rather easy transition even considering we both work about 10 miles from our jobs. This is the first time that we have made a conscious choice to have one car and put effort forward to make it work. Living in the car centric culture that we do one car can be difficult, and I must admit a car of my own is still in the back of my mind. I was ready to go back to having my personal car. I justified it every way imaginable, the next thing I knew; I had convinced myself that I had to have my own car. Ironically when I got the mail that day there was a card from Smart Trips congratulating me for making at least 200 active transportation trips in a year. I took a step back in awe, I was getting formally acknowledged for commuting by bike. I am making a difference by simply choosing to get on my bike, something that brings me joy and happiness at no cost.
I have since then reconsidered my want for a car and it was the simple gesture from the people working at Smart Trips. Fifteen dollars to spend at the Farmers Market and a slice of cake kept the fire alive. I have put almost 4,000 miles on my bike in less than two years by simply ridding to work. The second car can wait, maybe indefinitely because I can do everything on my bike (even in a mini skirt) and the occasional carpool.
Most of the people I know travel by means other than the bicycle. For the most part, they're still automobiles. Automobile drivers. It's the norm, isn't it? In a society like ours--where more money is spent advertising automobiles than is spent on the entire national mass transit system, where everyone's background assumption equates travel with driving--it isn't easy to make the shift to bicycle commuting.
High gas prices. Expensive car payments. Traffic delays. Road rage. Expanding waistlines. There are many great reasons to consider traveling to work by bicycle. It's an effective, healthy, inexpensive, and fun alternative that is attracting more and more commuters all over the world. One or a combination of reasons got me hooked on the bike as my primary means of transportation to my place of work. Now that I have started commuting by bike, I have a hard time imaging anything besides “Orangette” (yes I am one of those people who has named my bike).
At first I would ride just a couple times a week and most often I would call my husband to give me a ride on his way home. Now, every morning I roll up my pant leg, put on my bright yellow jacket, load my pannier and hop on my bike. I usually don’t consider getting in a car for work, it doesn’t even sound attractive anymore. The bike ride to work is the perfect way to start the day and get around town. It wasn’t always like this. What keeps me biking 11 miles work and then another 11 miles home everyday is simple.
Like so many other bike commuters the bike simple replaces or supplements the car. Getting on my bike is a habit, I am programmed to get on my bike rather than getting in the car, I don’t even think twice about it. I get exercise, fresh air, make snappy shortcuts, ride through grass and get home on trails and not stuck in intersections or busy roads. I know the other commuters on my route by first name and wave at them everyday. We are going to stay a one car family, avoiding all the costs associated with owning a second car. As I get more accustomed to riding I realize just as convenient biking is and as usually takes the same or less time as driving.
I am making a difference in my life and the people around me. The best way is to show is by action. If people see me, complete strangers, my coworkers and friends who listen to me get excited and praise commuting by bike sees me out on the roads, they may consider what it would be like to make less car trips. Someone may realize that I am going all the same places by bike as by car; soon they try it and experience just how easy it is. Slowly, one person at a time, we can make a difference.
Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to making this a healthier community for everyone.
Michelle Stiles

Monday, August 31, 2009

For the time being


Monday is here again. Another wonderful weekend under my belt. I will go into greater detail (and I will because it is too good not to share) when time allows. I must share what I heard over the weekend because it has been a long time since I have heard something so true and so real.


"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two."
-St. Augustine "Captain Corelli's Mandolin"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Getting crafty


Lately I have been getting the crafty bug. I think it might be the extra time I have on my hands from cutting back on running and yoga (climbing and biking to be honest). It might be the new found contentment that I have with my house and the feeling of being settled. All these feelings merged together and I have rekindled my artsy side.
I will be the first to admit our recycling bin is often full of wine bottles. Me being the semi pack rat that I can be (thanks to John for keeping me in check) have always been curious to create something from them. First, I read in a magazine about lining a flower bed in upside down wine bottles and then the weed eater would probably crush my aspirations of a nice little flower bed.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Montras for a Monday


As I glide through life, learning more about others, myself, the relationships we create, the world, and how I fit into it new doors open, some close and I grow. Grow grow grow. I want to keep growing, evolving and transforming into a beautiful person.

I often keep too much to myself. When I find myself struggling day to day I have come to figure out that I am probably not connecting enough with people or my surroundings. As soon I step out of my little world and engulf myself with others I realize that it is not all about me. ****Ahhhh***** no Michelle, the world does not revolve around you.... It is getting easier, everyday, easier. As I crawl out of the hole I dug for myself, my family is still all here, just waiting with open arms. Friends are still around; my husband is has big open arms and eyes that make me melt. All this could be gone in shake of a hand. I have wonderful hobbies, a great house, I have created what I want and now all I have to do is enjoy it!


Mantras for a Good Life

1. Always have a dream. Believe in it. Believe in your ability to make it happen.

2. Keep your passions alive.


3. Set goals – even little goals are good and then reward yourself. They will all lead up to you making your dream come true.

4. Make decisions or they will be made for you.

5. Do the “right thing.” You will love yourself more if you do.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Phish



We made it back safe and sound. The first true Phish concernt (more of an event) under my belt. I still have all ten fingers and all my brain cells.

I have never been much of a Phish fan and can honestly say they are not my favorite band, but they are right on when it comes to live performances. They are a ball of fun, they are taleneted and can take their shows to the next level. I am pretty sure that they are one of the greatest live bands.









The best part was our group. The crew we met up with was even better. Lots and lots of dancing, chilling and chatting...




The guys (Bryan, John, Scott)





The view from the top of the venue. EPIC!



A light show that will blow your mind,










The best part is we are going again for Halloween in Indio, CA. We are piling into cars and road tripping!


























Phish :: 08.07.09 :: Gorge Amphitheatre :: George, WA
Set 1
1.The Mango Song
2.Chalk Dust Torture
3.Middle Of The Road*
4.Tweezer
5.Driver
6.Twenty Years Later
7.Ya Mar
8.It's Ice
9.Wolfman's Brother
10.Character Zero >
11.Run Like An Antelope
Set 2
1.Rock and Rolll >
2.Makisupa Policeman
3.Alaska
4.The Wedge
5.You Enjoy Myself
6.Backwards Down The Number Line
7.Piper >
8.Grind
Encore
1.Good Times Bad Times
2.Tweezer Reprise


Phish :: 08.08.09 :: Gorge Amphitheatre :: George, WA
Set I:
The Mango Song
Chalk Dust Torture, Middle Of The Road
Tweezer
Driver
Twenty Years Later
Ya Mar
It's Ice
Wolfman's Brother
Character Zero >
Run Like An Antelope
Set II:
Rock & Roll >
Makisupa Policeman
Alaska
The Wedge
You Enjoy Myself
Backwards Down the Number Line >
Piper
Grind
Encore:
Good Times Bad Times
Tweezer Reprise

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

SEATTLE SOUNDERS!!


I must admit, I am a newbie to the world of soccer. I was introduced to the phenomenon with our trip to Mexico. We would roll into a town that was obviously impoverished, they always had a little tienda that sold jerseys and stuff of that sort. Rolling through towns, kids would be playing soccer on big dirt fields (not basketball). Back to the states and this year Seattle came on the scene with the Sounders. Alex, my office mate and die hard soccer fan got season tickets. I heard about all the games. Then a few weeks ago I went for myself. Now I am hooked! What a fun sporting event to watch. The next thing I know I am trying to get tickets to a few more games here and there. Today, John and I are packing a bus with some friends and going to watch Barcelona game. What fun... cheers... boos... chants.. and a packed stadium.

Here is an excerpt from the Stranger for a little reading. Go to the entire article for a good read.

The average attendance for Sounders league matches at Qwest Field (as of July 25) is 30,204. People. In one place. For comparison's sake: a rock show at the Paramount (2,807), a concert at KeyArena (16,641), a festival at the Gorge (25,000). Picture Sasquatch! Now add SIFF opening night at the Paramount. Now go ahead and add David Byrne at the Paramount also. Now put them all downtown and let them fight for parking or try to find a bike rack. That's what happens at nearly every single match of a sport that people have always said could never catch on in America.

The Sounders' average attendance is nearly double the estimated Major Soccer League average of 15,599. Attendance greater than 30,000 has been announced at the last several recent Sounders home matches, against teams like San Jose (average attendance: 10,657), D.C. (14,003), Houston (15,632), and Chicago (12,838). These crowd figures place Seattle at number one in Major League Soccer—which the Sounders only joined this year—comfortably ahead of the other 14 teams. Number two is Toronto at 20,277. Dallas is last with 9,464.

Stranger PersonalsLovelab

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radraspberry: Women Seeking Men The average Sounders attendance is less than half the number of people who go see the average Seahawks game (67,995 last year) in the same stadium. But it's just about equal to the number of people who go see the Mariners (28,761 last year, 32,992 in 2007). And lest it be forgotten that there used to be a professional men's basketball team in this town, Sounders attendance is greater than the combined averages of the last two years of Sonics supporters—though the comparison might not be fair, since everyone knew the Sonics were leaving town and many decided to cut their losses (ambiguity intentional). The Storm, despite being the best sports ticket in town before the Sounders' emergence, drew an average of only 8,265 last year.

Why should Seattle, of all places, have so raging a boner for so anti-American a pastime?

Well, the easy answer is in the question. But to go slightly deeper, let us consider the anti-soccer faction. It's easy to find middlebrows and neocons grinding axes about the sport on blog after loudmouth blog. Franklin Foer's otherwise somewhat-impenetrable book How Soccer Explains the World offers a dedicated list of prominent footie opponents, including USA Today's Tom Weir, who once wrote that "hating soccer is more American than apple pie, driving a pickup, or spending Saturday afternoons channel surfing." The late senator and 1996 vice-presidential candidate (and retired pro "real" football player) Jack Kemp derided soccer as "socialist" on the floor of the U.S. Congress. Radio sports loudmouth Jim Rome has long made his antipathy for soccer a point of pride ("I will hand [my son] ice skates and a shimmering sequined blouse before I hand him a soccer ball. Soccer is not a sport, does not need to be on TV..."). Fractionally less-hysterical language comes from Allen Barra of the Wall Street Journal: "Yes, okay, soccer is the most 'popular' sport in the world... So what? Maybe other countries can't afford football, basketball, and baseball leagues; maybe if they could afford these other sports, they'd enjoy them even more." I did say fractionally.

You may detect a recurring tone in these objections. Soccer is not simply unenjoyable, it's a threat to our way of life (however bovine that way of life may be), our government, our economy, our manhood. You'd think they were talking about electric cars. But no less a liberal pinup than Keith Olbermann is a notorious mocker of the sport and its worldwide appeal; his dismissive asides began when he was an ESPN anchor and continue on his MSNBC broadcasts. And in a hilarious report occasioned by Team USA's upset victory over Spain, Stephen Colbert declared soccer "the sport for fourth graders that foreign people take seriously." Fair enough.

The truth is, complaints against soccer may not be fundamentally aesthetic, but psychological. It issues from the unalterable human tendency to interpret other people's preference for things other than your favorites as a judgment against you—you like soccer, so you must be saying that football is for assholes. In which case, soccer is for assholes, asshole. The details are just filler. Why else would anyone care? People make fun of the sport the way people make fun of Canada—it's the easiest target imaginable. Until you go to Canada, that is.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Phishy

Snap. Snap. Snap.
All I want to do is just snap my way out of my not so shining days, enter into a positive state of mind and be the happy person that I know is earthed inside my body. Life is one hell of a journey. Sometimes it is the ride of our lives and others it is a summers breeze. Right now I am in between, the grey area, it is the time to snap out of this rut I have dug and smell all the fresh flowers that I have planted. Life is too short for this kaka. As Betsy would say it is time to pull up my big girl panties.
What better than a weekend away.... at a Phish concert, to get me out of my head, dance in circles, and be wild for a couple of days.
That is right, the weekend is finally here! We (John, ME!, the Dorrs, Scott, Corrie, Lawson, et. al. ) Are packing up and heading to the Gorge to let loose and PHISH! Our living room is full of all the necessities, once Thursday rolls around we are out of here!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

riding the heat wave

I am probably opening the door for a bunch of flack from all the soft hearted Bellinghamsters, for we are so used to the cold, rain, wind, damp, miserable temperatures that we are so accustomed to, once it warms up, watch out! The heat has been off the chart this last week, and I will come out and say that I enjoy it! Well all but trying to sleep in it. I am actually warm in a dress, can run around in a swim suit and swim in the lake without turning blue.
Bring on the heat.
I do feel for the people who cannot adequately cool themselves, our (and the many other little guys/gals) animals that are hot. Yesterday Sophee ( the loudest cat in the world ) had nothing to say to me, even when I was home for the entire afternoon. Natasha who also loves the heat had her tongue hanging out the side of her mouth with a pathetic look on her face. We are really close to having roasted chickens as well.
It will cool off next week, and before we know it I will have to wear ten layers and ski gloves on my ride to work. I am soaking in as much as I can now!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Squamish * then & now *

It is my lunch break, I know I should get up and look at something besides my computer but I am sucked into the history of Squamish through threads on supoer topo. If you are interested in the history of the climbing in Squamish and have several hours to kill check it out.

Here is my last trip to Squamish with the ladies.

Getting my legs back under me at Octipuses Garden.

A perfect afternoon to do laps on Paul's Crack at the Malamute.


A little bouldering in the sunshine! Cutting Edge is oh so fun (props to the peeps who can actually send this problem...)
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