Thursday, January 29, 2009

All that there is

For a long time I've believed that the secret to a happy and healthy life is the ability to celebrate cheap thrills, everyday miracles, little things. If you save yourself for the happiness that comes from big *wow* moments like a big trip to an exotic place, a big race, to climb the next mountain, promotions, most of life is sure to be depressing or at least boring. Finding beauty in the everyday is no small task but a way of life.
My life these days are geared towards finding pleasure in the small things. Sometimes the forty hour week is like looking down the barrel of a gun ( it is really not that bad ). Coping yet not becoming complacent with this is a matter of necessity.
Enjoying each day for what it is can be a blessing, acknowledging what is happening and then letting it go. Then it is just a matter of finding beauty in the small things. For me it is the baby step improvements in yoga, a brisk walk in the cool Northwest air, a tasty lunch, the confidence that comes from running again, trying my hardest at what I am doing, whatever it takes.
In the end this is all that there is.

Monday, January 26, 2009

25 things

This came to me via my lovely sister in law Corrie. I fell in love reading hers and was excited to fill out mine. If you feel so compelled to fill one out yourself, please tag me with it. I would love to read!

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

1. I am capable of anything!

2. I have chosen to spend the rest of my days with a wonderful man. His patience is unbelievable. His faith in me brings tears to my eyes. He is one of a kind, a dream come true. John has a sense of humor that will keep you on your toes while doubled over laughing and wondering if really just said that, he has the ability to do anything, he has the highest degree of problem solving abilities, dependable, brutally honest, I could go on and on…. John is a great inspiration.

3. I ride the rollercoaster of life. I have good days and bad days. Good hours and bad hours. I am seeking balance between the two. This is the toughest obstacle I have ever faced and attempted to overcome.

4. I have been blessed by sharing my dog Natasha. She has been with John from the start and has blessed my life since the day I met John. Her and I have a very special relationship. She has taught me things about myself that I don’t think I would have ever figured out. She loves me unconditionally and is ALWAYS excited when I get home. I have taken her on some pretty epic runs and she is the only one willing to do it and excited when we go.

5. I love anything physical. I love to get outside and play. I am game for anything and all the time.

6. I have resided in the “city of subdues excitement” all my life and it shows. I am not a fast person; I do most things rather leisurely. If I were a dog I would be a big one that moves slow and has no real sense of urgency.

7. I love art. I love to look at it and create it. I especially love mixed media and photography. I enjoy wood working and furniture as well as my cousin Audra (age 11) beautiful watercolor pieces. I love to see how creative and imaginative people can be. I would love to spend the days as I grow old in a big room with lots of natural light creating things of all sorts.

8. I love to eat fresh/whole foods. I enjoy anything right out of the garden, eating salads at every meal as well as good Washington apples and berries. People say I eat like a rabbit, I think I eat like a horse.

9. I like used clothes exponentially more than new ones. 99% of my wardrobe is second hand.

10. I am very open to new things. Last week I met with a Kinesiolist as well as acupuncturist.

11. I love to garden. I love to be surrounded by flowers, flowers billowing everywhere. I love to create a bountiful harvest as well. I see myself as a woman with a yard that is wild and taming with flowers and produce. I would love to be able to have flowers and an armload of produce to give to everyone that visited.

12. I love to bake and have a fondness for cooking. I would rather make a perfect batch of cookies than to make dinner, but I find pleasure in both. In a different life I would love to come in my next life and have a beautiful little bakery (this would require me to learn to make bread, which is so wonderful!!!).

13. I love the smell of fresh cut grass, the early morning, the mountain air, coffee, chai tea….

14. I can run forever. I enjoy long, long runs in the woods. I love to run in the Chuckanuts any time of the year. My favorite place is Raptor Ridge.

15. I can dance the night away, but I often lack any rhythm.

16. The most influential people in my life have been my Grandmas. One has taught me that sometimes the simplest gestures, saying I love you, calling and checking in, sending mail, are the things can brighten people’s life. My other Grandma will always live in a big warm place in my heart. She taught me so many things, how to cook, knit, bullshit for hours at the kitchen table, to drink coffee, to eat your dessert, to garden, to host, to milk cows, to feed the cows, to drive, to sew, to be a packrat, to always have an area for treats, to freeze leftovers, to stick it out through the hard times, to just sit in the garden, showed me how to treat pets like royalty, how not to be afraid to die, to tell stories of one’s life, and to know that it is not so bad.

17. I love bikes. I love commuting by bike, mountain biking, pictures of bikes, seeing bikes in use by other, stories of bikes, listening to other people talk about bikes, downhill biking, maybe even someday road biking.

18. I am going to run a 50 mile race someday.

19. I love to write (on my blog) but I am not too fond of spelling or grammar.

20. I am an introvert. I can be bubbly but I am often very content by myself being quiet.

21. I love to be in the forest. I feel at peace in the deep woods. Earth is my element.

22. I have slept on a climbing rope and my feet in a backpack to keep warm.

23. I am not afraid to cry.

24. I am a morning person, I like to get up at 5am and slowly wake up. I don’t like rushing in the morning. There is nothing like a new fresh beginning, morning dew, the sunrise and peace. I am tired and incoherent in the evenings.

25. I love to travel. I want to visit all the 50 states, travel Europe, Central and South America, I would actually go anywhere. I am going to continue the pursuit, where ever life takes me.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

State of Bellingham's Trails

John has been hitting up Galbraith several times this week, coming back and raving about it. I have been hunkered down in the yoga studio, getting too hot rather than too cold. This morning I ventured out to the trails on my bike with John and Bryan in hopes to squeeze in a ride before the precipitation comes. Woa! I know what he was raving about now. The trails are perfect! perfect! PERFECT! There for 1. no foliage, as in nasty blackberries vines exploding, devil's club, nettles, and other "pesky" shrubbery 2. it is too cold for most people to venture outside 3. the ground is frozen, the trails are frozen solid. They just don't move, it is spectacular. It is like riding on pavement. 4. I haven't ventured out in the evening but John says that with lights the ground just twinkles.
For the love of bikes!
I didn't even freeze this morning! It was "ear to ear" as John describes it.
Yes John, this is what it is all about.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday fun day.... RIGHT????

Friday, yet again!
*deep breath*
Here we are again. A glorious week of weather behind and a cold weekend in front of us.
The week has been a whirl wind. I don't know where it went. Possibly me reading all about our new president, watching and getting hooked on "The WIRE," getting informed/outraged through "When the Levies Broke," drooling over all the other wonderful blogs that I have hooked onto. My fondest for blogs is growing, what a wonderful medium in so many ways. Blogs are a vehicle for the personal, the hobbies, crafts, arts, news, and opinions just to name a few. Ahw... the great minds out there!

I have been managing to slowly build up my mileage in prep for a wonderful summer and for the Chuckanut. Last Sunday I thought that it would be good to get some miles in, and I really needed an excuse to go out and enjoy the beautiful weather. So I gathered some water food and a couple layers (it is cold in the woods and there is still snow in 50% of the Chuckanuts), oh and Natasha of course. We parked at Arroyo Park, hit the trail about 12:45 and ran trail, more trail and more trail. I am pretty sure we covered an alarming amount of that mountain. Let's just say I had some catching up to do. I just couldn't get enough. It was so nice to be out on the trail, taking it all in and getting my legs moving for a long time. As I began my decent off of Lost Lake, the sun dipped behind the islands. This left Natasha and I with little sunlight and a long way to get back to the car. I haven't had to be in the woods in the dark in awhile, I forgot what an eiry feeling it is. We made it back to the car in one piece, both exhausted and me wondering how I managed to keep moving until 6:15. This I might add is not the best way at all to increase mileage. Don't do it! No matter how nice the day is, build up slowly. This little adventure cost me dearly, my knee still doesn't feel good, and my hamstrings... that is a whole other ordeal. After that day, off the couch, I feel like I can probably do anything and guess what... I am capable of anything!

Here is some fun for friday!

Get your own knuckles at the knuckle tattoo gun.

Get your own knuckles at the knuckle tattoo gun.

Friday, January 16, 2009

saving grace

Another work week behind me, and I for this I can count my blessings. I am employed and as this world spins, this is a very fortunate situation to be in. I know that if John or myself were to find ourselves unemployed (pretend that we don't own a house and have numerous other financial obligations) we would once again go chase our bliss and live out those fantasies that we both are constantly day dreaming about. Some day, one day. I know that we will find our groove one day. Until then, weekend warriors and a promise of a wonderful future. I have a wonderfully purposeful life.

Three day weekend and a forecast of SUN SUN SUN!
I am going to dust off the bike and pedal my toosh around on some trail, maybe even run, spend lots of time outside, with friends, and practicing yoga. I am officially going to tune up the commuter and........ start riding to work again! I have been toying around the idea the last couple of days as there is more daylight hours and the weather is becoming a bit more stable. I have been seeing more commuters on my commute, there is power in numbers, once the drivers get used to seeing bikes again I feel a bit safer. I have actually been a tad bit envious of those pedal pushers, it is time for me to start at least a couple days per week.

This afternoon, I head to the doctor. I am going to have a more removed on my shoulder. Years of unprotected exposure to the sun has caught up to me. Yikes, they are serious about the need to cover up from the sun, 25 and my skin is already mutating.
Love the skin you are in. Cover up!

One last thought... a positive one....
I have been adamantly trying to be ME. I feel wonderful, all things considered. After a wake up call at the end of December I decided to take the reigns back. I have cut back significantly, almost completely, on alcohol consumption, stopped drinking coffee laid off the meat, really focused on yoga and improving my practice. I feel incredible. This time of year, January and February have been trying times in years past. I don't want to have to go through that ever year. It just takes too big of a toll on myself, John, Natasha and my family who have to help me through it. So I am helping myself through it. I feel incredible! I have gotten over the hard part of cravings for those fantastic beverages, found substitutes, and practiced a bit of self control. Yoga has done wonders as well, I really believe that is as good if not better than what the teachers say. It is the healthiest thing I have ever done for myself.
Yes, to be back in control, or should I say to surrender control and just be....

Have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours.
Cesar Chavez (1927-1993) activist, founder national farm workers association

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

as the wheel turns

(photo courtesy of BSNYC)

Today: If you fail, get right back on. At least you tried.
There is no effort that goes unrewarded.
The forecast for Bellingham is looking promising. The weather looks so good for the next couple of days, carrying on into the weekend that I might be able to dust off the old bike and go for a pedal this weekend. I am getting all giddy just thinking about it. I can hardly decide what trails I want to ride.
Spring is around the corner, I can feel it. The days are getting slightly longer, minute by minute, and there is sign of color with primroses for sale at the grocery store. I am going to make it. There is light at the end of winter.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Storing bikes and storing calories

Courtesy of the gold puppy.

Notice the silhouette of a man in the shadow?

Please let me know if there is any sun in this world. I haven't seen it for weeks and am becoming concerned if it still exists. I am trying my hardest to get through the dark ages. My hair is now a bit on the blonde side, yoga, massage, storing calories..... now to the movies.

Happy weekend!

Friday, January 09, 2009


Just when I think I cannot haul my ass carcass body into work one more day, that most magic of all creations comes along, Friday. This first week back after the Christmas holiday season has been particularly exhausting. We now have a full gaggle of nutcases back at work once again.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009


This one is for you John, and all you other of the ilk.


i shall find grace in the everyday

including today

Monday, January 05, 2009

Creativity at its peak

BLOG: Art Car

Here is a treat foir the Monday morning blahs.

Way too much fun!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Harnessing the power of good intention

The work of Humberto Maturana really resonates for me. Here it is summarized within a very simply statement:

If you keep on doing what works, then the stuff that doesn’t work will simply fall away. Do what works and those habits, actions and behaviors will stay and the elements that don’t work will be eradicated from the ‘system’. You are not trying to change things that don’t work. Nature will take care of the change if you focus on conserving what works.

***Sharing with you from***

A very useful formula to ‘resolve’ your wishes into real results

Attention + Intention + Skill

Attention (the first part of the equation) is not a ‘Secret’
Placing attention on what you want (or having a Resolution) is a great start. Tension exists between what or who you are now and what you don’t have or who you would like to become.
‘The Secret’ gave us a great tool but it was only a tool. It tells you to constantly put your attention on wishing to have something. Without any other action on your part, your unconscious mind will create a perpetual state of WISHING to have something and not creating it for you. This attention is good for motivation but it can be a trap. This tension, or what psychologists call “cognitive dissonance” (the difference between your present and desired state) won’t make things magically appear, but it probably IS the first step!

You need Intention and Skill too
Intention is the energy you use to keep renewing your commitment and your activity around your chosen outcome. But you also need to have the SKILL to take yourself to a higher level and make the shifts necessary.
For example, it is one thing to put your ATTENTION on being a great tennis player. You may even have the INTENTION to practice. Life can get in the way and as you know, attention can get diverted and our best efforts get sabotaged for any number of reasons.
You will probably improve with practice but your wish could be thwarted if you don’t have the right SKILLS required to take you a higher level.
You need to learn, develop or seek the skills that you don’t have, so that you can get ‘there’

Running for a really long time.... the Chuckanut 50km

There was a time when my legs had no limit. I could run anywhere, any terrain, any distance, for as long as I wanted with out so much a blister. For a couple of years running consumed every second of my free time. I beat down the paths in the Chuckanuts, Padden, Gailbraith and logged some hours on the treadmill at the YMCA. I was finding my stride. As I left school and started to work more, the amount of time I dedicated to running dwindled. This forced me for the first time in my life to run fast for shorted distances. This actually worked out for me after awhile. I even raced a shorted race, Whidbey Island Half Marathon and did really well. It was a blast. My legs actually moved fast. I was RUNNING!

As this last year has passed I have put running on the back burner, giving my joints a break, put some weight back on, and focus on other hobbies/sports. I also picked up biking a bit (who am I kidding.... a lot) more, started practicing yoga again, and learning to relax a bit more.

All this explanation for one simple thing: I just registered for the 2009 Chuckanut 50 Km race. This happened out of the blue. I am still in shock that I did it to be completely honest. The race is capped at about 350 runners. Every year it fills up in about a day. A waiting list forms and as the date nears, people back out and others will go extreams to grab the last spots. This truel is a "fun run." I am really excited, with a little less then three months to get my legs back under me, it is time to get off the couch.... but there is no way that I am ever going to be that girl at the YMCA running on a treadmill every waking moment ever again!

I have raced the Chuckanut twice. The first time, 2006, was a life changing experience. FOR THE BETTER! It was the first race longer than a 10km that I had done. I met a great group of women to train with who were inspiring and a bit older and more experienced than me. Leading up to the race was incredible, I had support pouring in from all angles. My in laws all contacted me wish me well, Brenda and Carol came to the race to cheer me on, John and Brenna spent the day at the race in various locations, and Brenna even finished the last couple of miles with me. The race day was a beautiful sunny day (rare for March) making the trails prime. With this kind of support, of course my race was going to be memorable. I finished 104th in 5 hours and 53 minutes. My goal was to finish and try to make the 8 hour time limit. I was hooked.

In 2008, with less training I finished 119th in 5 hours 55 minutes. Since then I have ran a couple other 50 km races, the Baker Lake 50 (Boring!) and last year I competed in the North Face Endurance Challenge. Believe or not I finished second overall in the women's field and 12th overall. This still blows my mind.