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unpacking

so, i finally bit the bullet and pulled the old blog out of the archives and loaded it up to wordpress.  i figured with as much as i have going on lately, i really need a written outlet for things.  i need that familiar space to dump stories, ideas and just general brain vomit.

so…where do i start?  dear me, it’s been years since i wrote [at least here…i have my journal from 2007/2008].  oh boy.  up to speed lickity split is the only way…tear off the band aid right quick.  mr. mountainbike [love that i came up with that name for him on here] and i were married in 2005.  it was a whirlwind and we were inseparable.  i can’t even begin to articulate what those years were like for me.  we were mad for each other and…well…like all good things, they had to come to an end. 

march 14th, 2007, he was out for a ride on tiger mountain…one of his favorite rides.  he had done everything right from a safety perspective.  his helmet was relatively new, but he took a bad fall and landed oddly on his head.  he broke his neck and suffered significant head trauma.  he would have been able to recover if he had been able to get to a hospital, but the fall paralyzed him.  it wasn’t until later in the day that i realized that something wasn’t right and it wasn’t until that night that we found him on the trail.  he died on march 15th at 3:05 in the morning.

ugh.  that’s the short version.  we were married for a short two years, but it seemed like a lifetime.  we packed so much life and love into those two years.  it took me nearly two years to get my feet under me again and to where i could say how much i cherished the time we spent together and be okay with the fact that he wasn’t around any more.  it wasn’t the missing him that was the worst, though, it was the odd things that would catch me off guard.  like passing a coffee shop we stopped at once.   or seeing a word on a sign that use to make him laugh.  things like that would just destroy me and blind side me.

but it has been a while now, and on with catching up.  i sold our house in december and moved in with his parents while i looked for a new house.  well…i moved in with them, but i spent time living with anyone who would have me.  it was fun at first, but the novelty of relying on others generosity wore off quickly.  fortunately, i finally found a house and closed escrow in august of this year.  i have just finished moving in [although, i am still buried in boxes].  i love the location and the lot and the neighbors and the quaintness and…well, just everything.  this is the first time i’ve had a yard, so i’m really looking forward to getting out there and playing in the dirt.

i think the last time i wrote i was still running road marathons.  well, i’ve graduated from that and now i’m running and racing exclusively on trails.  i had a flirting relationship with triathlon for a few years there, but that became overwhelming and expensive and more frustrating than what i needed at the time.  i started running really long on trails as a form of therapy [not intentionally…i’d just go out and not want to come back for hours].  so, i ended up running ultras and long stage routes.  i ended up injured after my last 50 mile race, though, so i’m currently in recovery mode.

whew…that’s the short version, almost bullet pointed.  i’ll try to be more diligent about posting regularly now.  oh, and i’d like to transcribe some of the 2007/2008 grieving journals that i wrote.  maybe it will help others who find themselves in similar situation.

ci vediamo!

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almost a month?

wow, almost a month since i’ve taken the time to relax and reflect.
so, i missed updating about the holidays, or lack thereof. i missed gushing over mr. mountainbike and his visit for christmas. i missed writing about the gifts he got for me (no, no ring yet). i missed going off the deep end with stress over the project as the ‘go-live’ date got closer. i missed the project roll-out and great performance of the software. i missed photos of my insanely blistered feet after my marathon and i missed boasting about my first sub-4 hour race success.
i sure missed alot.
what to look forward to? my trip home at the end of the month, the posibility of moving back up to seattle permanently, and some much needed time off up in seattle. but for now, it’s head down and straight ahead until my flight out to brussels.
so much work, so little time…

where have all the hours gone?

ugh…it’s been over a week since my last entry and it seems just like yesterday. i’ve wanted to write about so many different things, but i don’t feel like i’ve even had a moment to breathe. christmas blues, saddam’s capture, charlie brown’s christmas tree, so much blogging inspiration, so little time!
my third and final pilot of my project went very well last week, and it looks like i’ll be able to roll it out after the first of the year. the company has agreed to extend my contract until the end of january for support purposes through the first month of post implementation. funny how their view of the project has changed from a couple months ago. as the users began testing things and seeing just how much it improved their processes they began to get excited and chirp enthusiastically to their managers, who in turn bubble exhubantly to the directors, who ultimately saw the wisdom in letting me complete the project.
that being said, i can’t see a moment of free time between now and jan 5th. i still haven’t been to the store to do any christmas shopping, what with spending every free minute either working on the project or training for my january race. i’d really like to head up to washington for the holidays, but it doesn’t look like i’ll have time. it looks like i’ll end up missing christmas with mr. mountainbike and his family. of course, i wouldn’t put it past him to show up on my doorstep on the 24th.
missing the holidays though isn’t that big of a downer for me. i’m thinking of heading home to visit the family after my contract is up in january. i haven’t told my parents yet, as they’d flip out and hold me to a date. it would be nice to get to experience some real winter again for a change. we’ll see if i have enough miles for a free trip.
well, that’s all i have time for now. gotta get the nose back to the grindstone. anyone interested in doing my shopping for me if i posted my list of presents to buy?

no, i’m not a prude

it took several years, but i’m finally hooked on ‘sex in the city’. i remember when it first came out, i tried to watch an episode of it and was so dis-interested that i shut it off after a few minutes. then it started winning awards and ending up all over the media, so i tried it again and forced myself to watch an entire show. disgusted by the language and sexual situations (duh, look at the name of the show), i vowed not to watch it again.
just recently, we decided to get digital cable in our place (mainly so i could watch the aussies dominate in the tour de france this past year), but my roommates talked me into getting hbo as well. so, for the past few months, what show happens to be on when i get home from work? yup, you guessed it, ‘sex in the city’.
as a result, i’ve been piecing together from jumbled episodes, what’s been going on in the lives of these four girls over the past few years. some of the episodes i’ve been able to identify with and there’s been some great writing and insight, but honestly, for the most part, the episodes are highly offensive to me. now, i’m not a prude, but i’ve never subjected myself to people who are overt in their usage of foul language. and i’ve never discussed, nor participated in sex like they do on the show. but remove all of the offensive behavior and language, and the acting itself along with the plots and writing, and the show is pretty good.
what has shocked me most though, is just how promiscuous they make these girls out to be. do i lead a sheltered life, or are the rest of the girls my age as equally reckless with their bodies and emotions? i mean, i have the customary one friend that sleeps around quite a bit and everyone in my circle of friends is concerned about her, but it’s not every single friend that i spend time with that is participating in activities like that. sex on camera? sex in a swing? sex with a hassidic jewish painter? is this for real, or completely embellished for television? if this is how women of new york conduct themselves, i’ll opt for the iowa farm life instead.
but then they go and add john corbett. for fans of northern exposure, you know what i’m talking about. kbear, 540 am, chris in the morning. oh, what a hottie. see, carrie bradshaw, the main character is involved with aidan (john). john corbett always ends up playing those great roles of the passionate, soulful guy. the philosopher, artist, lover that you could take home to mom. so seeing john in the show was an immediate hook for me. his character has brought out some great plot lines and amazing acting on sarah jessica parker’s behalf.
last night, i caught the episodes where carrie’s affair with big comes to a head and she breaks it off after a bizarre situation where she is caught in big’s apartment by his wife, his wife falls and loses a tooth, so she accompanies her to the emergency room. as charlotte’s wedding plans progress, carrie ends up telling aidan about the affair, and in true john corbett fashion, he leaves her to work through the emotions on his own. aidan comes back at the end of the wedding and tells carrie that he can’t handle the news and in one of the most heart wrenching scenes in recent television history breaks off the relationship.
oh, i’m such a sap. i cried. i can’t stand television drama and i usually laugh at this type of stuff, since i know it’s all in the script and no where near a real representation of life. but this scene was just plain amazing. the writers didn’t let the happy fairytale ending happen, carrie was crushed and played it so well, and aidan was equally destroyed and john played the part to a t.
where am i going with all of this? oh, i don’t know. i guess i just wanted to confess that i’m a ‘sex in the city’ junkie now, and that it made me cry. the first step to breaking an addiction is admitting you’re and addict, right?

where is bela karolyi?

okay, so i’ve got this permanent grin plastered on my face. i can’t stop talking about this past weekend. my roommates are going to be so sick of my cheery disposition soon. it’s like those pair of pink cowboy boots that i got as a young girl. i wore them EVERYWHERE. i couldn’t get enough of them. they looked great with a jumper, skirts, overalls, they looked great with everything. even if they didn’t, i’d wear them anyway.
mr. mountainbike is my pair of pink cowboy boots. i want to put him on and wear him everywhere, showing off just how great i think he looks on me. i think it’s quite funny, looking back on the past few weeks, as these feelings for my boots grew, i still didn’t want to put them off and be flashy, for fear of them not fitting well and then having to be returned. but now that i’ve slipped him on, he’s the perfect size. oh, wait, that sounded bad. erm…
i realize now that i’m that annoyingly giddy girl in the office that can’t stop talking about how great her guy is. and you know what? i don’t care. i don’t care if folks get sick of how happy i am. i don’t care if you don’t want to hear how witty i was when i told him, “tag, you’re it”. i don’t care if you don’t want to hear what great eyes he has. i don’t care if you’re tired of me bragging about how emotionally stable my guy is. just because you’re guy sits on the couch, is emotionally vacant and doesn’t make you signs with macaroni and construction paper, don’t begrudge me the opportunity to tell you all about mine.
okay, so i’ve completely flipped over this guy. i’m completely head over heals. maybe i should think about joining the romanian team…

the long road home

i’m in the last month of training for my next marathon. my long runs now are either 18 or 20 miles. this sunday, mr. mountainbike offered to bike with me and carry my fuel. usually, i’ll do a series of out and backs so that i can stage fluids at either my car or the house. this time though, with mr. mountainbike there, i decided to just do a 10 mile out, 10 mile back route.
i had been fixating on sunday for a while now, thinking that this would be the perfect opportunity to talk with him about the ‘waffling’ i had a few weeks back. i had been so fixated on it though, that i didn’t mentally and physically prepare for the run. i usually take some time to visualize the run and focus on feeling strong at the end of the run. i also hydrate very well the few days before a really long run. maybe it was the holiday that threw me off, or my pre-occupation with talking to mr. mountainbike, or the fact that i ended up working all day saturday, i’m not sure. regardless, i didn’t start fueling up properly until saturday afternoon. i did make a huge pasta feed for the two of us on saturday night though, so i did have a chance to carbo-load for sunday.
so, sunday morning comes. it’s cold and clear, perfect weather for a long run. mr. mountainbike met me at marrymoor and we started out. we chatted lightly for the first few miles, while i worked on getting the courage to bring up the topic. and then we caught mary.
mary is one of the regular distance runners that i see on the burke-gilman trail. she’s got to be in her 70’s. she’s run over 60 marathons, including boston several times, and the best thing, she’s crippled. mary has a curvature of the spine that forces her run canted to her right. she is the epitome of perseverance. people that tell me that they can’t run or exercise need to meet mary. anyway, running with mary is always a treat. so, i put aside the plans to talk with mr. mountainbike to enjoy mary’s company. she has the best sense of humor and the two of us chatted and laughed for about 6 miles of my run. when i hit the turn-around point at mile 10, we parted ways, as she was continuing on into seattle.
i don’t know if i had used mary as an excuse to avoid the conversation, but when i made the turn-around, i got one of those adrenaline rushes when you realize the immediacy of the moment. i had 10 miles left to hash all this out. 90 minutes. i figured that i’d better get started, so i blurted out a lame question, “what do you want from me?”. haha he looked at me all confused, so i tried another stab at it and said, “what do you want from us?”. he still continued to look at me quizzically and then he started chuckling. so i started again, and he stopped me and said, “i know what you mean”. i wanted to go into the detail of why i was asking, my past relationship history, how i’m not getting any younger and all that, but he trumped me by starting into a speech.
he said (and i’ll paraphrase-quote him to make it easier), “well, i know it’s only been a few short months, but i’ve learned quite a bit about you since we met. i’ve learned that you make me smile. i’ve learned that you have great compassion for people, and that people are comfortable with you. i’ve learned that you have amazing drive and dedication. i’ve learned that you have a wonderful sense of humor.” he went on with his list, all the while making me blush more and more. he had said all of those things about me. it sounded like a speech that he was giving for some noble prize winner, but he was talking about me. and then he said some things that floored me, “i’ve learned that i wake each morning longing to talk to or see you. i’ve learned that we are perfect partners. i’ve learned that i’ve completely fallen in love with you, and i’ve learned that it’s time that i don’t run away from that.”
i kept running. it was surreal. the “i’ve fallen completely in love with you” still hanging in the air, mixed with my quickening footsteps. i hadn’t said a word since my stupid questions and i was dumbstruck. i had been watching the trail, and i couldn’t help but make coy glances at him. it seemed like forever before i could say anything. and i couldn’t think of any way to respond to that. so i asked for my bottle. haha i took a couple drinks from it and handed it back to him. i felt so silly and giddy. then i realized that i was really moving. i had been picking up the pace as he talked and now i was almost a sprint. so i asked for a walk break. and then i stopped. i finally had something to say, so i looked at him, and with sweat dripping off of my face, i said, “i love you too”. i broke into a silly grin, gave him a quick kiss, said, “tag, you’re it” and took off running again. it was grossly romantic.
i spent most of the remainder of the run just looking at him grinning. i told him about how i’d been freaking out over where the relationship was going and he responded to that by saying that he was committed to me and that he’d like to see if we could develop this relationship into something lasting. a lasting partner, i like the sound of that.
so, whether it was the lack of preparation, or the emotion of the talk during the run, i’m not sure, but i came pretty close to bonking towards the end of the run. mr. mountainbike was right there to spur me on, but miles 14-17 were amazingly tough. it was perfect having him there with me to weather the rough spots though. it was very symbolic, to me anyway.
so, i’ve admitted to it. i love this man. oh boy do i ever.

family man

you can really find out quite a bit about a guy by the way he interacts with his family. this thanksgiving was an amazing showcase of how close mr. mountainbike is with his family and just how much they love him. it was warm and sweet and one of the best holidays i’ve ever experienced.
it started out with mr. mountainbike picking me up from seatac (no security escort at the arrival gate this time…awww), with a smile on his face, despite the fact that my flight was nearly two hours late. oh, it was so good to see him again. exactly as i remembered, huge smile, warm embrace, joy in his eyes. i could get used to coming home to this guy. hehe
i was pretty wiped out and still had to get a hill run in, so i had him drop me at my place and i went for a crazy run up squawk mt behind my place. i got home, showered and then crashed. with as much as i had on my mind, i was amazed at how well i slept. i was out until the alarm went off thursday morning. i love how running like that will ensure a solid night’s rest.
mr. mountainbike showed up at my place bright and early on thursday and we headed to his parents house in everett for the day’s festivities. it turns out that his mother has four sisters, three of which showed up with a good number of their kids and grandkids. he has two sisters, which both brought and handful of kids too. i think the adults were outnumbered easily by the little ones. mr. mountainbike made the quick introductions and then made a beeline for the kids. he proceeded to chase them around the house and get them completely whipped up into a frenzy of laughter that i have, until today, never witnessed before.
while mr. mountainbike entertained the kids, i asked his mom if there was anything i could do to help and amazingly she asked me if i could make the gravy. now, i’m a good cook, but gravy is a tough one to manage. i think it may have been her way of testing me, or she may just be very comfortable with other people in her kitchen, i’m not sure. but fortunately, my gravy turned out successful. the neat thing was that i got to get to know his mom and sisters while helping cook. apparently, he is always the entertainment for the kids, which the adults enjoy, since it gives them all a chance to talk, knowing that the kids are being ‘looked after’.
i got to hear some interesting stories about him, like the poop art story and the wheat germ story. some fun ones that i’ll tuck away for later. i’ll bring them up when we’re having dinner with his boss or the mayor. hehe his sisters are both gorgeous. they’re both married, but only one of the husbands was able to come. the absent one is a surgeon in tulsa, and i think the other one is a pilot for a major airlines. anyway, i spent a good deal of time talking with them, finding out what they enjoy doing. they’re both very interested in stamping, so we talked a bit about scrap booking and they showed me some of their samples.
the meal was absolutely fabulous (and the gravy only made it better). juicy turkey, a very interesting zucchini dish, green bean casserole, and my favorite, garlic mashed potatoes. after we had gorged ourselves, the family gathered around and spent some time sharing what they were thankful for and reading scripture. it was an incredible family moment. by the end, we were all crying (me too, and i didn’t even known any of these people!). mr. mountainbike said some wonderful things about his parents, about being thankful for their many years of showing love for each other and the example they set for he and his sisters. it sounded very much like how i worded my comments about my parents.
we stayed late chatting with the family, and one by one, they all started to head out. we were there until it was just he and his sisters left. the drive back home was very quiet. i could tell that he was thinking about the night. we talked a little bit about how he cherishes those moments of affirmation. he’s very close with his grandfather, who looked like he was having a hard time getting around with a cane. he talked about how he really wants his parents and grandparents to know just what a great example they have set. it makes you really view the frailty of life and make you want to make sure that those that you love and that have had an influence on your life are aware of those things.
mr. mountainbike and i haven’t had a chance to talk much yet. i have my first 20 mile run of this training cycle on sunday and he’s agreed to ride it with me. i’m looking forward to talking with him about where exactly we want this relationship to go. i’ve had plenty of time to think about it over the past few weeks and i think i have the courage to bring up the topic.
so, here’s to a great end to a wonderful weekend. it’ll be hard to run with all fingers and toes crossed…

happy thanksgiving

well, i’m joining the masses in traveling on the day before thanksgiving. i’m heading up to seattle for the first time in over a month. i haven’t seen mr. mountainbike since the santa barbara race, although we talk daily. it’ll be wonderful to spend more time with him. he has some holiday festivities planned for us this weekend, so it should be a great time. i think there might even be parents and relatives involved.
thanksgiving. it’s usually pre-christmas for most folks, but i like to truly take time to think about the event. it’s time to ignore the media hype of the holidays and really sit down and rejoice for the many things we have to be thankful for. so i thought i’d write a bit about the things that i have reason to rejoice.
i’m thankful for my saucony hurricane running shoes. after years of trying to get a good pair of running shoes that didn’t cause blisters, saucony finally came through with a model that i can reliably just walk into a store and grab a replacement pair without fear of them giving me problems.
i’m thankful for the way that vaseline removes eye makeup without needing to scrub with harsh soap.
i’m thankful that i get carded often when i go to purchase alcohol. along this same vein, i’m thankful that most folks guess ten years under my current age when trying to determine how old i am.
i’m thankful for cooler weather.
i’m thankful for the way granite glows pink at altitude when the sun sets. for the awesome wonder being above the tree line inspires.
i’m thankful for those strangers that provide camaraderie at mile 20 when you feel like stopping. i’m thankful for the amazing chemical engineering that goes into GU and the result it has on my weary muscles.
i’m thankful for rainy days when i can curl up on the couch with a paperback and finish it in one day. when the sun sets and it feels like it just rose and you have to turn on a lamp because of the waning light.
i’m thankful for my health. i’m overjoyed on a daily basis that i don’t have to deal with chronic pain, depression or obesity; the nemesis of our society.
i’m thankful for a savior who died for my sins and has saved me through his grace.
i’m thankful that when my head hits the pillow at night, i’m out until the alarm goes off in the morning.
i’m thankful for the way a slug will gurgle when you pour salt on it.
i’m thankful for neighbors with a smoker who bring me freshly smoked salmon whenever they make a batch. i’m thankful also that those same neighbors enjoy german wines, so when i come over with a bottle of something i like, it’s something i know they’ll like as well.
i’m thankful for a partner that heaps attention upon me. for his thoughtful nature and adventurous spirit. for his including me in mundane things he likes to do as well as the epic. for his disarming smile and comforting eyes. for his strong embrace.
i’m thankful for parents that are still wed. for their undying love for each other and the amazing example that they continually set, year after year, trial after trial. for the love that they unconditionally pour onto each of us kids.
i’m thankful for long toes with which i can pick up small objects.
i’m thankful for the spices of life and the little surprises that come along every day. a neighbor that takes the time to stop and talk instead of diving into her house as soon as she parks her car. the amazing sunsets that i am treated to each evening when i drive home. knowing the perfect setting on the temperature control in my car. the occasional faulty towers marathon on some odd cable channel that i just happen to stumble across on days when i have nothing going on.
oh, sure, i could go on for ages. life is full of wonderful things to be thankful for and i count it all joy that i could write novels of them. i look forward to another year of things to focus on and give thanks for.

southern thanksgiving

i was treated to an early thanksgiving dinner yesterday.
a couple i know here invited me over to try out some new thanksgiving recipes that they wanted to test. i don’t know whether to be glad for the invitation or insulted, as they said they wouldn’t be anxious if i was the one trying out the meal. haha
so i showed up at their place around 1pm, bottle of martinelli’s in hand. the two of them saw me drive up to their appt. complex and they waited outside, hand in hand, until i got up to the door. they’re such a cute couple! (married six months now). i was floored by the amazing aroma as i walked into their place.
i was also surprised to find out that it was the guy of the couple that was doing the cooking. apparently he’s originally from texas and spent quite a bit of time in north carolina as well. so, the dishes that he was cooking up aren’t the traditional thanksgiving fare that i’m used to. i took a quick peek at the turkey and noticed that it had a couple full bell peppers and apple slices stuffed in it. i was in for an interesting dinner.
we sat down and he started bringing out the dishes. turkey, juicy and smelling fabulously. corn bread dressing, light and flavorful – not that bread pudding consistency of the breadcrumb stuffing that i usually end up having. fried okra, nice and crisp, not slimy like most people make it. and to top it all off, collard greens stewed with ham flavoring. oh lord. i was in fried southern food heaven. okay, granted, i was starving after my long run in the morning, but even so, this cooking was the best southern i’d ever had. the turkey was amazingly juicy and had little tastes of sweet from the apple and pepper. oh, it was fantastic. the okra was the best i’d ever had and the greens were equally as good.
we spent about 4 hours just talking and eating. the couple are both clinical psychologists, with her running a group home for girls, and he a case manager for foster children. the topics ran from homosexual tendencies of young boys with overbearing mothers and distant fathers, to whether or not sting is a christian. yeah, we were all over the spectrum, but the fun thing just hanging out and be social. this is really the first ‘holiday’ event that i’ve been too, and now it’s got my taste buds all whetted for more.
yeah, the holidays can be rough for some, but for me, i thrive on the social aspect of the holidays. catching up with old friends, meeting new ones, chatting to the early hours of the morning, getting sleepy on too much turkey…
oh boy, christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat!

it’s not a cocteau twins day

hmm…i’m not sure how it happened.
i woke up exhausted this morning and dragged myself through my morning routine. dressed and still bleary-eyed, i left the house to drive into the office. the trip up the freeway was a haze of signal-less mergers and talk radio. at some point, as i filled my jug of water and headed to my desk, my mood switched. i sat down in front of the monitor and donned my headphones, ready for a day of jumping through database hoops.
the lilting, ethereal melodies of the cocteau twins greeted me. and my ears were offended. don’t get me wrong, i love them, and based on my mood earlier, they seemed appropriate for today’s soundtrack. ms. frazer has an amazingly soothing voice and i could drown in her syrupy vocals all day. but somehow, cocteau twins didn’t sound right. so i browsed through the library and something else caught my eye and seemed more appropriate.
it was like i had an itch and someone came and scratched it for me. like i was craving peanut butter and banana sandwiches and the local deli finally put it on the menu. the raucous hijinks of killing joke just seemed so much more appropriate somehow. so now the driving tribal wall of noise that is killing joke is fueling my day.
see, i’m a musical gal. i code all day long with headphones on, i run with an mp3 player, i listen to music in the car and the mp3 jukebox is almost always running when i’m home. i live with a constant soundtrack. feeling geeky? i put on some gary numan. feeling retrospective? dead can dance or thethe. feeling feisty? foo figthers, rage or the b52’s. amorous? lisa gerrard, billie holiday or van morrisson. music fuels my life.
i love too, that when i listen to a certain track, it can instantly take me back to a place in time. ‘thank you’ by led zeppelin takes me back to silopi, turkey 1991. ‘cinnamon girl’ by neil young puts me in my first apartment here in the states, sitting on the couch, incense burning on a bright spring day. ‘never tear us apart’ by inxs and i’m instantly back in my room in lasne after a crushing break-up with sweet richard. ‘orpheus’ by david sylvian has me in that same room after a break-up with equally sweet alexandre. hehe…seems like quite a few songs remind me of the loves of my life.
i wonder what song will be the title track for mr. mountainbike…