Some of you used to follow my old blog so you've probably read this one before. I wrote it almost a year ago, after a rough few months. While I wouldn't want to relive the heartache that brought me to the day I wrote that post, I'm glad it happened. I ended up a better person.
This weekend was a rough one. My feelings were hurt. First I wanted to run away. Then I wanted to break shit. Then I wanted to cry. Then I stood up for myself. Then I listened to what the other person had to say. Then I felt better.
A year ago I probably would've quit after the standing up for myself part. Today I realized something. The feeling better part comes a lot faster if you listen.
And this time I didn't even need my cape.
January 13, 2010
He's one of those who knows that life is just a leap of faith. Spread your arms and hold your breath and always trust your cape." Guy Clark
I'm not always sensible. I almost always follow my heart instead of my head. I know life would probably be much easier the other way around. I'm not yet convinced, though, that it would be as much fun. Until I am, I've come to accept that following my less rational organ will sometimes lead to having it broken. I've also learned, though, that although I initially vow never to follow it again, I always will. Call me naive. I prefer adventurous. I've also learned that sometimes the best thing to do when you feel like crawling in a cave and licking your wounds is to just put some bandaids on and head out into the world again.
This time, I had no choice. A friend came to visit with his 4 year old and 4 year olds don't let you lick your wounds. They drag your ass out into the world and show you that you can make it your own. They look at a piece of metal and instead of seeing monkey bars they see a rocket ship. They climb to the top of the jungle gym without worry because they trust that they can always get out of what they get into. They put on capes and believe they have superpowers.
They convince you to put on yours so you'll have superpowers too. At some point you start to realize you do have superpowers. The power to heal your own wounds. The power to laugh at yourself. The power to start over. The power to know that if you jump off that cliff just one more time maybe this time you'll actually fly.
I've discovered a new way to tell if it's been a good day. It's all about how many pairs of underwear you go through.
No, I don't need Depends. Yet.
Tuesday was, however, a three underwear day. I got up, put on clean undies and went downhill skiing. I know what you're still thinking here and no, I didn't pee my pants out of fear. Although this was quite possible since, on my first time off the bunny hill, we took a lift up that said it went to some green runs. Of course, we got to the top and the green run was closed so my very first time down got to be on a blue, in front of a whole group of people taking a lesson.
Let's just say I now know how to fall.
At least I didn't pee.
Anyway, when I got home, everything was a bit sweaty so I took a shower and put on dry undies. Four hours later, I went cross country skiing before dance class. After two hours of skiing, I once again had sweaty undies and I figured, "Who really wants to dance with a girl wearing sweaty undies?" So I put on pair number three.
That's when I realized I knew it was a good day because, really, how could it not be a good day when you need three pairs of underwear?
Of course, when I'm old and I start going through three pairs of underwear I probably won't be this happy but I'll worry about that then. At the moment I just need to go shopping for some more underwear....
I've been waiting for the first big storm. Yeah, I know, by March this probably won't be so much fun. Especially if the landlord stops spoiling me by snowblowing my driveway. I should probably feel guilty for spending 2 minutes shoveling the sidewalk while she slaves away at the whole driveway and part of the alley.....
Of course, then I didn't even pull the van out because I figure with even the main roads covered, I could just ski to work.
Earlier in the day I took a run in the blizzard to check out the snow. I'm pretty sure the salmon fishing is done for the year.
As are the picnics.
I'm pretty sure that my favorite running path will be knee deep in snow by tomorrow.
Which doesn't really matter because it will just become a new place to ski!
Ok, yes, I know I've been slacking on the blog. This is a good thing though, really. When I slack on the blog it's 'cause I'm out there living the life that then gets blogged about on the blog. So- since the last post a lot has happened:
Thanksgiving- with family! This feels like a luxury since I've lived far from most of my hundred or so aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. for the last 20 years. I'm fulling taking advantage of being the new one around by stealing my cousin's place on the couch when he gets clean up duty and I am exempt.... Of course his dog then got me back by waking me up from the couch with a big slobbery kiss... So we're even, right?
Dancing- in heels! Yep, that's right Pop, your baby actually finally tried to act like a girl. And I know what you're thinking and no I did not fall on my ass. Yet. But then there is still one week of cha cha lessons left.
Skiing- and not falling off the chairlift! Although I will admit to stabbing my patient teacher in the leg with my pole, pushing him out of my way and numerous other completely selfish acts while exiting the lift in a panic. I finally realized that the easiest way off is just to let the thing hit you in the rear end and push you forward. Although I have a feeling at some point this will backfire and it will be embarrassing, very embarrassing.
Snowball fights- and chocolate martinis! After 15 years in SoCal, I finally got to a Christmas Open House when there was actually real snow. Luckily I didn't wind up face down in the snow after the chocolate martinis. Someone probably should've told me BEFORE I started drinking them that they have 5 shots in them. We short people need warnings on these sorts of things.
Of course there's also been some unpacking of boxes, purchasing of warm clothing, shoveling of snow, driving on ice and probably a whole lot of other fun stuff I don't remember 'cause life is just too much fun to remember all the details!
Wally the giraffe and I have made it safely home, although not without a little excitement. After I took advantage of one last sunny bike ride in the morning, we left San Diego about 3 pm on Monday. Thanks to high speed limits(In Utah you can drive 80 in the flat spots, but they do make you take it down to 75 for the turns.) and good weather, we made it to Green River, UT that night. (Even with one last dinner at IN n OUT in Vegas.) We hit the road the next morning, ready to make tracks again.
When we hit CO, I noticed signs every few miles warning commercial trucks that they were required to have chains for MM 178, Vail Pass. Until about MM 150, I assumed MM 178 stood for some side road to Vail. I mean, really, it wasn't even snowing where I was.
Somewhere between mile marker 150 and 160, I realized that the whole MM 178 thing stood for mile marker 178 on the road I was on, I-70. I decided maybe I should at least pull over and exchange my flip flops for shoes.
Because who really wants to be the dumbass from Cali that skids off the road in the snow, can't find her shoes and has to push her car out wearing flip flops?
Literally ten minutes after I changed into shoes I drove from weather that involved just a few flakes, into this:
(Although this is actually after the snowplow passed us and cleared the road a little.)
Apparently I wasn't the only dumbass because I saw a trucker putting chains on his rig in shorts and a t-shirt.
Basically, for nearly two hours, we crept along hoping not to drive into the ditch. Thankfully, the snowplow finally passed us and threw down some gravel, which was a relief because at that point I was stuck behind a constantly fish-tailing Lexus driven by a woman so terrified she didn't realize that she might stand a chance of ending the fish-tail if she would just drive over 10 mph. Ever tried to drive uphill in the snow at only 10 mph? We all fish-tailed except the snowplow.
I know what you're thinking- why not just pull over? Easier said than done when every exit and rest area are completely snowed in. Rather than risk being stuck along the road, I chose to sneak in behind the ski resort shuttle van and drive it out. I figured no one else on the road had driven in snow as much as that poor guy. Plus, I figured the mini van would handle as least as well as his van in the snow.
Mr. Shuttle Driver delivered us safely down the other side of the pass and we played tag with the storm the rest of the trip. Thank goodness I put the all season tires on before this trip!
Today was the day to open up the storage unit that flooded last month. It didn't look bad when I opened it and I was so excited to get my bike out that I didn't notice the smell at first. Once the excitement wore off though, the smell kicked in. Something smelled moldy.
Turns out a lot of stuff was moldy.
You know how a lot of us have a box, that box that's full of all the sentimental stuff? Mine is now also full of mold. Unfortunately this thing had to go in the dumpster.
Fortunately this little gem was saved.
Now you know the workings of my six year old mind. I liked big commas and apostrophes I guess. That and my parents. As long as they loved me, that is.
After 4 days and 2600 miles, San Diego just sort of snuck up on me. I have a feeling that I'm sneaking in one last moment of calm before the storm of old friends rushes in. Track practice starts in 45 minutes. My legs probably won't work, but my mouth will probably never stop moving.
The trip started Sat. morning with a little mountain bike race spectating. It was in the 20's. There was snow. I put on all my warm stuff and ran out to find a place to take pictures and waited for orange. The Latitude 45 jerseys are orange. I got some great pics.
Too bad I don't know these guys. Wrong orange jersey. Of course, when the right one finally went by, I didn't have the camera ready.
So I ran back to the car in hopes of a finish pic. After car ride, a bus ride and a mad dash off the bus when it got stuck in traffic, I found a spot near a corner by the finish where I knew I could at least get a heads up when the orange jersey came my way.
Nope, that's still not the right orange jersey, but it did finally come by, making a sprint for the finish.
No crashes, no wrong turns, no broken bike....
Just a lot of mud.
A couple of hours later, I was back on the road, headed straight south in search of a warm place to sleep for the night. I found it four states later at 4 am.
Three days later, I made it here, waiting for track. I even survived a crazy night in the desert with the best bud last night. My abs still hurt from laughing.....
This post is for all of you who told me you thought I couldn't handle the Michigan weather.
Wednesday night is group mountain bike night. You probably already know this since I usually only post on Thursday now. (Really, I do have a life other than Wednesday night riding. I just keep forgetting to write about it.) This week Wednesday arrived with something like 60 mph winds and rain. I took my riding stuff to work, but really I thought everyone else would bail and I'd get out of riding in the wind, rain and dark.
No one else bailed.
I have met my match in crazy with this group. When no one else bails there's really no choice but to ride because if you don't you'll look like a wimp.
I hate looking like a wimp.
So- my trusty partner Cheryl and I headed out in our usual fashion, which is basically me just following blindly because I never know where I'm going. Until last night, I also followed blindly because since I don't really know what I'm doing on a mountain bike I just try to follow her line and figure if she can ride over it so can I.
Just so you know- that theory was ridiculous. Within 2 minutes she rode over a log, which I then proceeded to hit and skid sideways along. Two seconds later I was on my ass.
Thankfully the boys hadn't caught up to us yet so no one got to witness this display of complete and utter ungracefulness. (Spellcheck doesn't think that's a word, but if spellcheck knew me, it would know this word. I'm pretty ungraceful most of the time.)
In fact, I'll just go ahead and admit that I'm pretty sure I managed to be completely ungraceful for over and hour while we rode, which leads me to a new reason to just keep riding behind my trusty partner. She doesn't have to witness how completely awkward I can manage to be on a mountain bike.
That said- I also want to clarify that while I might be ungraceful, I'm incredibly grateful at the same time. Grateful for new friends that will ride in the rain and wind, grateful for a riding partner who always finds the trail (and doesn't laugh when I talk to myself while riding) and grateful for this crazy weather that lets me feel like I'm a badass just for being out there.
Cuz we all know I'm never that much of a badass so I need the weather to help me out on this one.
My favorite perk of the bike shop has ended. We had one demo/rental mountain bike that fit me. I'd sorta claimed her as my own the last few weeks.
Unfortunately, since I work in a bike shop, I sometimes have to actually sell a bike and since Jules was the perfect fit for a customer on Wednesday, I had to let her go. I tried to throw in the idea that we had a brand new version of the exact same bike, but it was a no go. One ride on Jules and she was hooked. Thankfully I'd cleaned her up after our last outing, which started out pretty enough:
but quickly progressed into a trudge through the swamp. At first I was convinced I could just ride through the swamp. This worked fine for about 20 feet until the water submerged my front wheel and I came to a dead standstill, which lasted for about a half a second before I realized I was going to tip over and be partially submerged in the swamp. It was then that I decided that I'd rather trudge through knee deep water carrying the bike on my shoulder than risk crashing and swimming.
Of course, I immediately envisioned gators and water snakes and attempted to hop back on the bike to save my feet from the critters. There were numerous go arounds of mounting the bike, nearly falling off into the water, carrying the bike, panicking about snakes and remounting the bike before I finally decided that in northern Michigan the worst thing in that nasty swamp was probably a leech or two. This realization came immediately after I attempted to ride over a floating log, thinking it would just get pushed to the bottom and I would ride over it. While this seems like a great idea, let me just tell you- it doesn't work. You end up wet.
After a half a mile of this whole carry, try to ride, carry thing, I finally emerged on the other side of the swamp to discover that some wise-ass marked the trail this way to warn of the water:
Whoever marked the trail either has a sick sense of humor or speaks a language in which "flooded" and "narrow" mean the same thing.
Either way, it was worth it because the rest of the ride pretty much looked like this:
For those of you who've ever seen some of my lame attempts at mountain biking in San Diego, and therefore can't believe I might actually try it at night- I've got proof.
Of course, this picture is also proof that I don't know how to work either my camera or my headlamp very well so my trusty riding partner finally had to just take control of the camera so we could get a decent picture.
We're at the top of someplace called Avalanche, and Boyne City is in the background. The boys were way ahead of us so we decided to descend via the dirt road, which was more like a sand road, which means we pretty much surfed our bikes down the hill. This made me laugh for some reason, which could apparently be heard down in the parking lot. Hey- at least I wasn't screaming in fear....
Once I got started with the mountain biking, I just couldn't stop. Hopefully I'm not pushing my luck with the new boss by sneaking the super sweet orange mountain bike out of the shop every other day.
Last night, I decided to try some night riding. While the boys had their fast-riding fest, I got my own tour guide up to the top of Boyne Highlands, where I just started job number two last week as a massage therapist. We got to the top without lights just in time for the sunset.
On the way down those lights got put to use and I loved it. I thought I'd be terrified, but there was something almost soothing about having to just focus on one little well-lit area in front of me.
When I bragged to an old friend about my ride in the dark, he pointed out that I used to be scared to ride a mountain bike in the daytime. I had to wonder why I'm not so scared anymore...
I'm sure some of it was having my own escort who pointed out the big roots, showed me the way and didn't try to kick my ass in the process. The ridiculously nice bike probably helps too. There was something else though...
This morning on my run I found an answer. I feel at peace here. Last year, when I visited, I stood on the shore of Lake Michigan and swore I could breathe better here. I'm quite certain I have a little bit of Lake Michigan running through my veins. Must be all the lake water I swallowed as a kid at camp south of here. This morning, on that run, the feeling came back again. I got to the part of the path that runs about 25 feet from the lake shore and I felt like I weighed 50 pounds less.
It seems to be making everything easier, even the stuff that used to scare the crap out of me.
One of the perks of working in a bike shop is being able to take any of our rental bikes out for a ride. Unfortunately, one of the downfalls is that when I have the day off, nearly all the guys have to work so when I took Juliana out for a ride yesterday we had to go solo:
There was also a big mountain bike race going on so I had the North Country Trail almost to myself.
Honestly, I was pretty happy to be alone since my mountain biking skills are pretty slim. I definitely jumped off more than once to avoid a crash.
Definitely the most fun I've ever had on a mountain bike, mostly due to the super nice bike and incredible scenery.
I'm loving fall, even if it does mean it's still only 49 degrees at the end of a two hour ride. No complaints here since it was a beautiful sunny day, but I will admit that when a package arrives next week with some warmer riding gear I'll be a happy girl!
There are perks to working in a bike shop. One of them is easy access to nice gear. Today we had some excitement over new bib tights. They needed an immediate test ride.
Really, we do actually work a little sometimes, when we're not playing on bikes. In fact, the opportunity to snap this photo rescued me from one of my daily obsessive-compulsive cleaning binges brought on by working with 8 guys who I often call "dirty pigs." They're lucky they're fun.....
In case you haven't noticed, I've moved, and I love it here in northern Michigan. There are, however, days when I feel like I've moved to a new country. Things are a little different here than in a southern California city. Some lessons I've learned:
1- Men open the door for you in Michigan so you need to stop and wait or you look really rude.
2- Men will also carry heavy things for you in Michigan. Even if you are working and they're your customer. (I'm getting really good at pretending things are heavy......)
3- It's not a good idea to bend over in front of the bike shop (on one of the main streets) to pump tires if you're wearing a skirt. (Think cat calls and honking....)
4- It's almost equally as bad to climb a ladder out front to fix the sign while wearing the skirt.
5- If someone waves or honks while you're running, wave back. You'll probably see that person at the grocery store or gym later.
6- Remember names. People will remember yours and use it.
7- Show up on time. Really- on time, not on CA, ten minutes late time. Every one else will be early.
8- Always take a jacket and hat. It actually gets below 50 here.......
I know most of you think I'm crazy for moving to Northern Michigan right before winter so I'm feeling the need to tell you why I love this place. Here's just a few reasons I can come up with and I've been here only a few weeks:
1- I run into people I know in the coffee shop. They introduce me to other people and we sit and chat instead of rushing off.
2- People I meet in the coffee shop invite me out with groups of friends so I can meet more people.
3- People I know actually stop me on the street when I'm driving and roll down the window to talk. Really- already happened.
4- The bartender sneaks me out the back door if there's a creepy guy waiting out front.
5- When the van door breaks and I spend a day or two with it tied shut, one of the guys at work offers to try to fix it, even though he's already spent all day fixing bikes.
6- There's a great big adult-size tricycle at the shop. I get to ride it out front in the morning. (I spied a few unicycles in the back too but I haven't braved those yet. The trike is more my speed.)
7- My boss pays me extra if I get to work in any sort of non-motorized fashion. This gives him points towards the best boss ever. Even if there are fruit flies around his desk.
On Tuesday I'll be starting a new job with the boys at Latitude 45. I'd say the fun is over, but since the job description clearly stated that I must ride my bike consistently, I'm thinking it might just be a new kind of fun, especially since I pretty much ended up with the job because I tried to fix my own bike in their parking lot and screwed it up.
Last Friday morning I rolled into Petoskey and decided to go for a ride. I pulled the bike out of the van, got ready to go, and discovered my rear tire was so worn there was metal showing. Since I was already dressed to ride, I rode over to the shop and asked the mechanic to fix it. He was busy so I did one more ride on the tire, hopped in the van and drove over to the shop. By then I realized it was pretty lazy of me to have a mechanic fix something I'm capable of doing myself so I bought a tire and confidently informed the guys who worked there I could do it myself in the parking lot.
Famous last words.
10 minutes later I actually had the new tire on and pumped. While I was struggling to put the wheel on the bike, Joe came out of the shop, seeming sort of impressed I'd done that so fast. Unfortunately, 2 minutes later after he helped me put the wheel onto the bike, we discovered why it didn't want to fit. I'd put a 700 x 25 tire on a tiny triathlon bike that barely fits a 700 x 23. So- I took tire number one off, bought another tire and put that one on myself. While all this was going on, I heard from Joe that they were hiring so when I was finished, I attempted to wipe the dirt, grease and sweat off with a few baby wipes and went in to meet Christian, the owner. Miraculously, he told me to go ahead and apply.
A few days later, I had an interview in shorts, a t-shirt and tennis shoes.
Really, how can this not end up being just a little bit fun?
After 2 months of changing locations almost everyday, I've been in one spot for weeks. There's hope of a job in a place with amazing riding, endless miles of trail running and a bay for sharkless open water swimming. Until winter of course. Maybe then I'll have to take up ice fishing and snowmobiling. While I wait, there's lots of time to explore by foot and bike- something I can never get enough of......
Thank God for Facebook, because otherwise I might have forgotten my own birthday. Not that I hadn't already celebrated twice. I'm just getting so old that even though I knew yesterday that my birthday was today, I forgot today that my birthday was today. That is, I forgot until Facebook reminded me 20 times before noon. Apparently my parents are getting forgetful too because I think maybe they forgot how old I was:
We celebrated last week and I got to be one. Who would argue with that?
My real birthday will be spent with my aunt and uncle in MI. Uncle Jim and I are going to ride the Harley to Hell later. Don't tell my dad.
It was over 90 degrees in Northern MI on Saturday. I bitched and moaned all day about how I didn't come to northern MI for heat and humidity. I wanted some real Michigan weather.
What's that you're saying? Be careful what you wish for?
Yesterday the wind picked up. I was loving the break from the heat so I left all the windows open in my room. Sometime during the night I heard the loud cracking that can only be trees as they finally give up and bend no more.
I woke up this morning to find Pop already on the phone with the tree guys. This mess was blocking the driveway:
(Yep, that's my dad wearing the playboy bunny PJ's out in the yard.)
Mom and I spent the morning out in the crazy wind checking out the new "ocean-like" Lake Michigan.
Normally you can walk all the way out on the pier. We decided to pass today since we didn't have lifejackets.
By afternoon there were a few guys out on surfboards. That doesn't happen in these parts too often. I tried to convince the guy in the rental place to let me rent a kayak and take it out, but I got a big fat "NO" on that one. You can't blame a girl for asking!
We thought we might not get a sunset since the wind was bringing a big storm, but we got this little treat:
A little bit of beauty right before the storm hit. Tonight I get to drift off listening to the thunder. I've missed this crazy MI weather!