Monday, December 19, 2016

13 Below Gospel

Sundays with Mom survived yesterday's frigid temperatures.

I snuck in a short ski with mom, bundled up for warmth.

I finally realized why I'm not a great skier.  I have a little trouble staying on the groomed trails.
 Tracking deer, turkeys and coyotes is much more fun.

This week's 13 Below Gospel- don't be afraid to slow down and track some deer.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Two Paths

Two paths diverged in the woods and I......I took the one with the bigger hill. Why not?

I always count it as a good day when the ski trails are groomed before the roads are plowed. (Not that that's all that unusual in St. Paul.) It makes it nice and easy to ski right out the door down to the trail. I can trick myself into feeling like I live in the country, especially if I go early enough to beat the crowd.
It's all in how you look at things....

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas Crack

It's candy making time. I make Eddie do the hard part and then I take over when it's fun. Of course!
 The oops batch even tastes good.
Eddie and his elves will be delivering yours soon!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Shooting Stars

It was 5am this morning, dark except for the light from a huge moon. I was driving north for work, gripping the wheel in fear from the blowing snow and thoughts of black ice. Despite the fact that I was intently scanning the road for the dreaded ice, I couldn't help but see a flash of light pass by the windshield. A shooting star on this cold December morning.

My first thought was to make a wish. My second was to realize I didn't have one.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not without goals or even some wants here and there. But wishes? I was out.

I thought about this the rest of the 2 1/2 hour drive. Why didn't I have a wish? When I was a kid I always had one. For every shooting star. For every birthday candle. For every 11:11. This morning, when the time came, I didn't have one.

What was the matter with me? Was I hopeless? Or was I just really happy where I am? How could I not have wishes? Have I gotten so old and grouchy I don't dream anymore?

That's what did it. The dreams. I realized that. for me at least, wishes are different than dreams. When I think of a wish, I think of this thing I would hope for because I couldn't attain it on my own. A toy I couldn't afford. A boy who would never like me.  In wishes I see no power. But dreams? That's a whole different story.

I'll admit I'm a bit of a dreamer. I always have the next goal, the next thing I'm working for, if not 10 at once. But that's just it, I'm working for them, putting them into action. None of this sitting around wishing stuff.

It dawned on me as I drove that this was one of the great parts of growing older- being able to see this difference between wishing for something and working for it. Somehow I grew into it, along with the ability to be completely happy where I am while still constantly striving for new things. No wishes needed. Just a lot of hard work and the rewards that come with it.

While I was contemplating all this, another star shot by, even brighter than the first. Still no wish, but this time I knew I didn't need one. My dreams will do.

P.S.- If you want to keep in touch after I leave Facebook, please enter your email to the right or send it to me in a message. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sunday Snow Gospel

Sunday with Mom was extra special today. Enough snow to cover the ground, but not enough to make it impossible to pedal. Just my style. There's something satisfying about making the first line in the fresh stuff.
 I even left some for tomorrow.
Today's snow gospel: it's always good to leave a little something to look forward to.

Friday, December 9, 2016

End of Day

I'm not sure which I like more- running in the cold or the hot bath that comes afterward. Not a bad way to end the day, especially when hot cocoa, a good book and a candle are involved.
I won't mind a repeat tomorrow...

Friday, December 2, 2016

Being Positive

Twenty-three days ago I started a 45 Days of Positivity challenge. It was only a couple days post election and I was already sick of the negativity surrounding the outcome of the presidential race. So I figured I'd fight it by sharing something positive every day. I had no idea what I would do for those 45 days. I just needed a positive focus.

At first, I went out of my way to do something positive every day so I could tape it or write about it. It's not that I thought my life was horrible. It's definitely not. I guess I just thought I had to go out of my way to BE positive.

At some point that stopped, somewhere around day 11. It wasn't a conscious change. I didn't even notice it until last night. Instead of going out of my way to do something positive, I started noticing something positive that had already happened that day and sharing that.  I'm pretty sure my life hadn't changed in 11 days, but the way I looked at it had.

About a year ago, I heard a podcast with A.J Jacobs about his writing. He spoke about his book, The Year of Living Biblically, in which he wrote about his quest to live according to the Bible, literally, for a year. Of course, a lot of ridiculousness came about from that year, but when he spoke about it on the podcast he mentioned something positive that had happened to him. He noticed that making a conscious change in how he acted actually changed his thinking. He talked about how so many of us think this is the other way around- that we can just "think" we want to be a certain way and somehow we will be. Of course, without the actual conscious work to change, this rarely happens.

It dawned on me last night that perhaps this is what has happened over the last 23 days. Going out of my way to BE positive actually started making me think more positively. I noticed things I might not have before. It actually seemed like more positive was happening to me, which could be true, but I'm going to venture a guess that I was just more aware of it.

Of course, we've all heard this idea before- that you attract what you choose to attract, whether it be negative or positive. I guess that's what I was hoping might happen when I did this. It's just that I thought other people would be more positive if they saw me sharing these things. It never dawned on me that it would be me who would change.

I'm looking forward to the next 22 days. I know there will be a lot of good stuff in there.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Let's Talk About the........

It's almost Thanksgiving- that time of year when we'll all be gathered together with our loved ones feeling blessed. We hope. It seems this year a lot of us are stressed about being gathered together and.....feeling pissed off if someone mentions the recent election. Trust me, I don't really want to talk about it either since I got my ass kicked. So, here you go, my handy-dandy, "Thanksgiving, Non-Political Conversation Starters."You know, that random thing you can say when someone starts a conversation with, "I can't believe all the morons who voted........."  Mine will come complete with answers for you.

1. What's the most memorable Thanksgiving you've ever had? (When Mom and Pop came to my place in San Diego.)

2. What's one dish you wish we never had on Thanksgiving? (Pumpkin Pie- the texture makes me queasy)

3. If you had to eat just one of these leftovers for the next year, which would it be? (Mashed potatoes)

4. Not counting today, who was the last person you hugged and why? (Big E, because I hug him multiple times a day.)

5. If you had to go without one article of clothing for the rest of your life what would it be? (Underwear, of course. It's optional, right?)

6. If you had to chose only one article of clothing for the rest of your life what would it be? (Running shoes. Duh.)

7. Where is the weirdest place you've ever dropped your own undies? (On the counter at LuLuLemon.)

8. If you could hide somewhere and spy for a day, where would it be? (In any gym where the Rock is working out.)

9. If you had to pick someone to illustrate your childhood, who would be most suited? (Norman Rockwell [although Pop would probably say Charles Schulz because he thinks I'm Pigpen])

10. What's your biggest quirk? (I still twirl my hair around my fingers when I'm tired or nervous. Contrary to the doc's opinion when I was a kid, I still don't have a bald spot.)

11. If you could video tape yourself doing one thing and leave it as your legacy, what you would be doing? (Laughing)

Of course, feel free to add your own. The most important thing is that you listen to the answers.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Why You Should Get Your Ass Out of Bed Tomorrow

After a 5 month hiatus, the blog has been turned back on. When I was talked into running for office, I decided that perhaps leaving public a sometimes raunchy, rarely politically correct and always blatantly honest blog was perhaps not the best idea. I briefly contemplated just hiding the naughtiest posts. Then Big E reminded me that would be all of them. He is always the voice of reason in our house.

For most of the summer, I was too busy to write a single sentence anyway, but a few weeks ago, something happened that compelled me to break my silence. Since it was the height of my door to door campaign, the words had to wait until today. I figure with less than 6 hours to go, no one's going to be able to do much damage if they find a few blog posts where I dropped the F bomb.

Anyway, back to that incident a few weeks ago. I was running with a friend and she told me how two of her clients had cancelled their appointments the day after the presidential town hall because they were too depressed to get out of bed. I was shocked, for many reasons, not the least of which is that fact that the last thing any of us should do if we're afraid of who will become president is hide in bed. That's precisely what got us into this mess.

We've spent the last I don't know how many years dividing ourselves, hiding in our homes while slamming those who disagree with us on Facebook and blaming our problems on anyone who doesn't belong to our political party. It should come as no surprise to any of us that this resulted in some pretty crappy choices for president. Hiding under the covers when one of them becomes president and spending the next four years complaining about it isn't going to solve the problem. Neither will moving to Canada.

I get it, a lot of people are going to be disappointed tomorrow. Trust me, the thousands of us who ran for office this year will be among those people. Over half of us won't win. Over half of us will have spent months in our districts going door to door trying to convince people to vote for us. A loss tomorrow means that didn't work. Many of us ran in districts considered safe for our opponents, which means we chose to do all that work despite the fact that we'd likely lose.

In my case, I'm running as a Republican in a district that typically votes 70-75% DFL.  My only chance of winning was to go door to door and convince people to stop voting for parties and start voting for people. Unfortunately, my district also contains quite a few dangerous neighborhoods. So basically, along with the inevitable things that happened, like doors slammed in my face, I encountered enough scary shit to change my outlook on life just a little bit.

There was the day three different people told me I shouldn't be by myself in a neighborhood because of frequent gunshots. There were many days when my longest conversations were with people so strung out on drugs they didn't know where they were. There was the day a man was found wandering down the street bleeding from a knife wound shortly after I'd been there. A few days after that, two guys tried to lure me into their car. (I'm pretty sure the presence of my pepper spray made them reconsider wanting to become my pimp.) The same day, a man took my flyer and stuck it down the front of his hospital pants.

All that happened in the better neighborhoods. In an attempt to reach out to the people in more dangerous areas and apartment buildings, I sent postcards and advertised on Facebook. I stuck to a positive ad. After all, everyone complains about the negative ads so surely they don't want them, right? I quickly discovered that trying to spread positivity on Facebook is like trying to sell veggies in a candy store. The alternative is cheap, easy and offers too much of a quick fix for people to resist. After 10 days, I finally took the damn ad down. I tolerated some fool who kept trying to accuse me of just wanting to fight ISIS (apparently that's all Republicans want to do), but when someone tried to turn the whole thing into a negative ad against a city council person who isn't up for re-election and isn't in my district, I'd had enough.

In the middle of all of this, our house was burglarized. I came home in the middle of the day to the door pried open and the sinking feeling that someone was still inside. While it was quite interesting to witness how the K9 unit searches a house, I was kind of hoping it would never be my own. An hour later, I sat down on our couch and bawled my eyes out. When I was finished I got up and drove to the bank to start the long process of closing accounts and opening new ones. The next day, I got out of bed and kept going door to door. Trust me, I wanted to stay under the covers. At this point, I was literally afraid of my own reflection in people's front door. I screamed at myself. Twice. But I wasn't giving up and staying in bed.  I came close a couple days later when a drug dealer shamed me for running as a Republican, but I didn't. I cried walking to the next house, but I refused to give up.

When I wake up tomorrow morning and likely haven't won, I won't then either. Why? After all that, after witnessing so much of the crappy side of humanity in my own neighborhood, why not? I mean, seriously, I just spent 5 months walking the streets near my own house and discovered that it would be easier to score drugs or turn a few tricks there than it would be to change many minds. So why not just throw in the towel on life tomorrow and stay in bed?

Because a whole lot of people, many of them friends and family who can't even vote for me, donated to my campaign. Because many of those same friends came to a bike scavenger hunt near my house and handed out my cards to my neighbors, even though they identify with the "other" political party. Because this morning, this happened in MI:

Because between all the crazy stuff that happened while door knocking, there were some great conversations that happened on the front porches of total strangers. Because my neighbor, who didn't know me until June and is fighting cancer, visited over 2,000 homes with my flyers. Because I know I changed a few minds, convinced a few people that it's not all about the party. It's about the people.

That's why we should get out of bed tomorrow no matter what. Because it's not about our president. It's about us. It's about how we treat each other. It's about taking some time to listen to someone different from you. It's about refusing to draw lines in the sand and stepping over them when someone else does. It's about refusing to let our politicians define us. They only matter to the extent that we let them matter. We have the choice to go out there and try to change things, no matter who our president, mayor, state rep or city council person is. As long as that's the case, I'm getting my ass out of bed. What are you going to do with yours?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Joint Compound, John Kasich and My Glute Medius

It's official. My insistence on saying "yes" to everything has made me busy. Things that have happened in the last month:

1. I turned the sheet-rocked room pictured in my last blog into a massage room. It was a whirlwind of a weekend but somehow I managed to have it presentable in 3 days. Trophy was treated to the first massage.
The baseboard still isn't nailed into place and I already had to kill a mouse, but hey, it's presentable and it smells good.

2. In the process I learned that applying joint compound is fun. (Despite the fact that I don't seem to want it on my hands in this picture. And yes, I am applying it with a stir stick. I work with what I have.)
 3. I also learned that sanding that same compound down sucks. There were no smiling pictures from that evening.

4.Once I had the room ready, my business had its best month in over a year in that new space. I'll take that as a good sign. Apparently hearing rap music through the door isn't turning anyone off. Who knows, maybe the mixture of heavy beats from the gym and mellow massage music is working some kind of magic on people.

3. I went to my Congressional District meeting as a delegate and I didn't slap anyone. This was quite a challenge since the only acceptable outfit I owned was purple and Prince had just died. By the end of the day I needed a badge that read "NO I'M NOT WEARING PURPLE BECAUSE PRINCE DIED" because if I'd had to answer that question one more time, I would've just disrobed then and there to save myself the torture of hearing it again. I'm pretty sure the Kasich supporters would've had a heart attack had this happened since I was proudly wearing his sticker (on my purple shirt of course) in a room full of Cruz fans.

4. I scored another awesome part time job, which then overlapped with the one I already had during the busiest month of my business in a year. So, last Friday I didn't sit down (except on my bike to my office) from 6:45am until 6:30pm, at which point I sat down to work the new job for four hours. I'm just happy to find a part time job where I can actually sit. My legs are thanking me already.

5. Since my new office is in a gym, I decided to jump into some of the group workouts that take place. Let's just say this- my willingness to say "yes" is being put to the test, but so far, I've managed to avoid any "Oh hell no" responses when I'm asked to do things like glute bridge 1 1/2 times my body weight.

6. That said, I've discovered a new kind DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) which prefers to take up residence in my ass. As I put it yesterday, "Well, at least I know I have a glute medius."

Now I just need to make time to get a massage myself.....

Thursday, March 31, 2016

My Hobbit Feet

Yes, I am alive. I have forgotten to blog because, well, some days I don't sit down and it's hard to blog standing up. It might not be if I had a standing desk but I don't. So I blog on the couch.

Since our big snowmobile trip life has been quite exciting. We dog sat. Somehow I managed to turn a golden retriever into a vicious attack dog in three days. Not that Eddie wasn't able to charm her after she tried valiantly to keep him away from me when he came home dressed in bike clothes. (Bike clothes are apparently terrifying to dogs!)

I took the trophy to Red Squirrel's big 5-0 party. We had to pose for pics since he was the first winner of the trophy.
Somehow the trophy ended up in my nose.
What do you expect after a few drinks?

I don't have a picture because I figured busting out the phone for this moment would be weird, but I was elected a delegate for my area and I get to go the the Republican MN state convention. Yes, I realize they would never have elected me had they seen the above picture. What they don't know won't kill them.

I made Easter dessert and it didn't suck. Big E even said it was better than the first time I made it for Pop. (Sorry Pop, I'll have to give it another go for you.)

Somewhere in there I also moved out of my office and began getting my new one ready. I have three more days to make this into a massage room.

Anything is possible with a little drywall tape, joint compound and paint. Oh yes, and carpet. I will learn how to lay carpet in the oddest shaped room on the planet. I've always been geometry challenged so this should be exciting.

I also finally shaved my hobbit feet.
I know. Miracles do happen. You're welcome, Big E. Now that I have girlified my feet for you I expect nightly foot rubs.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Hot Tubs and Snowmobiles

You'd think at the age of 44 there wouldn't be that many new things for me to try. However, considering that I didn't grow up around a wide variety motorized vehicles and Big E is a lover of all things with wheels, I'm beginning to think the opportunities for me to try something new and fast are never-ending.

What started as a "fishing weekend" at the Grand Ely Lodge (which I won in a raffle) quickly turned into a snowmobile weekend when we learned that the ice houses had to be brought in due to slush. Believe it or not, even though I grew up in the great white north, I'd never actually driven a snowmobile so Big E jumped at the chance to borrow a buddy's sled and loan me his to scare the crap out of myself for a weekend.

After a slippery drive in what just might prove to be the last snow of the season, we arrived at our hot tub suite (courtesy of my winning ticket) late Friday afternoon.
I conquered my fear of driving on frozen lakes while simultaneously learning to drive a snowmobile in the dark with Big E on the back. Of course, I learned later that the sense of security I felt with him on the back was actually more like a false sense. According to him, had I missed a corner, there probably wasn't much he could've done. What can I say? Sometimes a false sense of security is all I need to push myself. Not that I really went all that fast in the dark.

We hit the trails again the next day, me trailing behind gradually gaining confidence as the day went on and I didn't crash into any trees...or buildings. I learned a few things in the process:

1- A snowmobile is not like a bike. You have to keep the gas on on the downhills or you'll stop. Duh.

2- I can go 60...but Big E can go 100.

3- I'm willing to hit a big bump at 35mph and catch air once by accident, but I will probably never do it on purpose.

4- Frozen lakes make me drive faster...because I really want to be off them and onto land.

Of course, I had a blast. How could I not love ripping around in the snow on a sunny day?

Of course, I had to remind Big E that since my first snowmobiling trip involved having a hot tub in my room, I now think this is what all snowmobiling will be like.

The bar for winter fun has been set...

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

My Big Fat Hillside Trophy

The wheels of my bikes have perhaps spent more hours at Hillside than any other trail. They have certainly experienced more types of racing there than anywhere else. Considering the number of firsts that have happened for me there- my first winter race, my first night race, my first 24 hour race, my first time trial, my first short track, my first enduro- I can confidently say that I have also probably faced more fear on that trail than I have in any other place on my bike.

Along the way there have been many uncomfortable moments- insecurity when I know I'll be lapped, terror at the prospect of riding downhill as fast as I can, nausea after unwisely downing nearly an entire pint of ice cream in the middle of a race, dehydration when bottles froze in the winter and when temps reached 90 in a 24 hour race. I've come in dead last there more than once, but it's also one of the places where I've been able to gut out some of my few wins, made possible by the fact that Rich, Jeremie, Sue, David and the crew always stayed committed to putting on races that reward scrappiness (also known as the persistence of those who don't have a lot of skill or speed) as much as they do speed. In other words- they've perfected the art of putting on races that, as the PIC put it last year, "make you question who you are." Personally, I think that's a good thing because, in the end, you end up somehow better or stronger or at least more self-aware-even if your ass is raw, your stomach hurts and your knees are bloody.

Every year, the above trophy goes to the person who has accrued the most points for the year at Hillside. You get to keep the trophy for the year, your name goes on the back but you have to return it the following year. We chicks have never won it. Even though we've gone from sometimes only having 1-2 of us at a race to once having 20+, there still simply weren't enough of us for anyone to rack up enough points to beat the guys and there was only one trophy. This year, since the men's winner was a repeat of last year, Rich decided to add a women's class. Apparently, yours truly gutted out enough laps on that trail to take it home.

Rumor has it I'm supposed to "share" it with the men's winner. However, I was also told that the original idea for this trophy was that whoever had it for the year was supposed to take it around and take pictures of it. That said, Mr. Colbert is going to have to chase me around a bit if he wants possession of it because I plan to tote that heavy-ass trophy all over the place and pose with it. As someone put it at dinner, "She no longer poses for pictures without the trophy."

Funny how some things come when you most need them. After a rough end to last year's racing, I'm now ready to find some new adventures so I can keep the spirit of this thing alive.....and take its picture in some really cool places. (Of course, Big E has already become my "trophy sherpa" since I can barely lift the thing myself.)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Let's Get Together

I can never resist the "Staff Recommendations" near the library entrance.  Even if I go with another book in mind, I almost always end up with a staff recommendation too. It's usually non-fiction. I'm a non-fiction kind of girl.  Occasionally I like some good fiction, but mostly, I really like to read about the world- what's happened in it, how people feel about it, how we can make it better....

For some reason, my love of reading about the world often leads me to choose books about serial killers but that's probably another blog post entirely. Or something I should see a shrink about.

Anyway- today I couldn't resist this book.  I went to the library right after teaching a particularly difficult class, the kind that left me wondering how in the world our current 10 year olds are ever going to function in the world as grown ups. Of course the obvious answer to that question probably has something to do with the fact that by the time they are grown ups, the world will be very different. Perhaps by then they will function in it much better than I will because it will be a world very much influenced by them.

To be frank, that scares the hell out of me.

Why? Because many of the kids I see today have no idea how to interact with a human face to face. They're completely unable to read body language and just as completely unaware of how their own might affect someone else. You can't really blame them. Their parents were probably busy texting or taking Facebook photos as they gave birth.

You know it happens.

Needless to say, I was rather intrigued by this book on the shelf. I'm not the most social person on the planet by any means, but I do love a good conversation.  A real one.  One that does not involve my phone.  One with eye contact and emotions and body language. One that doesn't get edited. One that could involve tears or hysterical laughter or a hug.

I don't care what anyone says. Nothing on the internet or your phone can ever replace a hug.

One of the cool things I've noticed about ditching Facebook is that it leaves me more available for real conversations. Not available in the sense of having more time but "available" in the sense that when I see someone, I'm more present in the conversation because since I haven't seen the "updates" of their life on Facebook, I'm more genuinely interested in listening to them.  I've realized that I spent a lot of years knowing what people did but never knowing how they felt. No wonder, as the author of the book had pointed out by page two, our younger generation seems to lack empathy. They are growing up in a world where the most used forms of communication lack emotion. I wonder how long this can really go on before it's not just our communication that lacks emotion, but our selves.

I don't know about you, but I don't want that to happen. I embrace the hysterical laughter, the occasional anger and the heartfelt tears that are sometimes part of a real conversation. They're all part of the human connection that makes our lives meaningful.

That said, let's get together for a conversation. I might even give you a hug. (Or cry on your shoulder...)

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Some Days You Never Forget

January 30th is a day I will never forget. No one in my family will, I'm sure. Every year the day looms. It starts sometime before Christmas. Every day becomes a battle to hold my shit together. I cry on the way to work at least once a week. I cry every time I ride my bike, which is pretty messy in January. I discovered last week that crying in the cold not only makes your eyelashes freeze together, but it also makes the skin by your eyes 100 times more susceptible to frostbite.

Every year I vow I won't be an emotional mess this time of year, but unfortunately I've learned that you don't get to control grief. You can live through it, you can be resilient as hell and smile when you need to, but you don't get to make the sadness go away. Does that mean I wallow in self pity for two months? No, but I've learned it's also better to just be genuine with my feelings. I could totally be wrong on this, but I'm pretty sure you can't bury one feeling without losing a little bit of them all and there are so many great ones I want to keep.

The same goes for memories. I have so many I want to keep so if sometimes they came with a little bit of sadness, I'll take it. Of course there are others, like the one of Mom being felt up by Goofy at breakfast, that can't possibly bring anything but laughter.

I'll take those too and hold on to them with everything I've got.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Skinny Kids in Lycra

Despite living in the city, skiing from our house couldn't be any easier. I can literally walk across the street, step into my skis, glide across the school yard, sneak up a short trail behind the school and have the trails to myself midday.

That is, until today.

Instead of my usual peaceful midday ski, I found myself surrounded by teenagers. In skin suits. Apparently high school ski races take place at noon on weekdays. Who knew?

Needless to say I spent the next hour being passed by skinny kids in lycra.
I did my best to stay out of their way. They were kind enough not to run me over. They were too busy yelling at each other. Apparently skiing is not like running where the fast guy needs to move over to pass the slow guy. No, these guys just yell at the person they're passing to move out of the way. Now I know why I never ski raced. Well, that and the fact that I'm really not all that coordinated with slippery boards on my feet. I can run uphill like a champ but put me on a downhill and I'm like a baby deer learning to walk. Every limb goes a different way and I start swearing. (Pop would probably tell you I inherit this from my mom. My ears burned the last time I skiied with her.)

In other news, a 3rd grader told me I had soft hair this afternoon and on my way home from work tonight a guy begging for money on the corner blew me a kiss.

How's that for a good day?

Thursday, January 21, 2016


I realized while riding yesterday that I've ridden on one trail, and one trail only, this winter. For some reason, my urge to explore hasn't expanded beyond what I can get to without driving these days. I've always had a bit of an aversion to driving somewhere to ride, but this winter I've been particularly stubborn in my refusal to drive to a trail to ski, bike or snowshoe. Not that that really stops me from seeing anything new since I never fight the urge to stray from the trail to see if there might be something living in a hole in a tree.
One these days I'm going to get quite a surprise when some creature jumps out while I'm peering into its home.

 I just hope it's not a human wearing the collection of clothing I've seen scattered about the trail lately.....

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Despite having signed up for an ultra running event, none of my winter adventures lately have involved running. At least not running without snowshoes, which I guess is still running, albeit at a significantly slower pace and with the end result of incredibly sore calves.

The rest of this winter's explorations so far have involved either skis or my beloved Max, who was given an amazing Christmas upgrade courtesy of Big E.

One of my greatest winter challenges has been hydration. I've learn to keep my hands, feet and head warm (although my butt is a slightly larger challenge- pun intended) but keeping my liquids liquid has been a much larger feat. Insulated bottles work only down to a certain temperature, and contrary to popular belief, they still freeze even if I put them upside down. The Camelbak inside the jersey, which works for many people, has returned some uncomfortable results due to leakage (not of me, of the Camelbak!) and still doesn't work. Apparently I just don't generate enough heat to keep myself and a Camelbak warm. Enter some new insulated bags from the always awesome J Snell at Barking Bear Bagworks.

I first saw bags similar to these on J Snell's own bike this summer. He uses them for feed bags, but I instantly hoped an insulated version might solve my frozen bottle dilemma. (Yes, I plan for winter in the middle of August.) So, when Big E asked what I wanted for Christmas, I put him in touch with J, who put together exactly what I wanted. They keep my liquids liquid and I can get my bottles in and out with mittens on. What more could a girl ask for?
Cool colors and a place to hang my sunglasses of course!

All in all- one of the best additions to winter riding ever! Now I just need to kick this sore throat so I can get off the couch....

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

What Have I Done?

I spent Sunday innocently enjoying my last day of a three day weekend. After trashing myself in the snow for too many days on end, I vowed to do some yoga and lay off any other form of exercise. I stuck to my vow but obsessively organized the house and checked dozens of items off one of my many to-do lists. Yes, this is my idea of a relaxing day. Checking items off of a to-do list is immensely satisfying for me. So is reducing the clutter in our house.

Someday Big E is going to figure out that every time he leaves me unsupervised for the weekend, I move all of his stuff around in some attempt to make things less cluttered. Or maybe he's already figured this out and leaves for the weekend when he knows things need to be cleaned up? 

Anyway, I was quietly enjoying my day of obsessive-compulsiveness when Squirrel interrupted my relaxation with a text about a race registration that was ending that day. I ignored it. I'd heard about this race and after my DNF of crabbiness at Tatanka, I wasn't convinced I wanted to sign up for another technical 100 miler.

I went about my organizing, finally stopping to show my support of Big E's team for the big game.
Ok, fine, I was only showing my support to annoying my Packers-loving parents. (Notice I'm still wearing some Lions colors under all that hideous gold.)

My support in the colors lasted about one minute before I pronounced the blanket too itchy. My support of the game lasted until half time, when I pronounced myself too exhausted from all my organizing to possibly stay up another minute.

As I got ready for bed, I could hear Big E on the phone with Squirrel, becoming convinced to sign up for this race. As I crawled under the covers, he finished his race registration and I pronounced it too early in the year to sign up for anything.

A few minutes later, as I was begging Big E to let me sleep because I was too exhausted to stay up another minute, a text came through from Jeffro, the Master of 25 Hours of Hillside. "Only one hour left to sign up."

"It's too technical for me," I told the big guy again.

"You know there's a run too."

What? I can run over the rocks instead of saying I'm going to ride and then carrying my bike?

Somehow, five minutes later, I had signed up to run 50 miles without ever even looking at the event website. Thankfully, the registration site at least explained that the race is unsupported, which kept me from signing up to run my first 100.

I should probably save that for a supported race.

I went to bed wondering how, exactly, I talked myself into running 50 miles without aid stations. The next morning, I received an email from the race director thanking me for signing up and double- checking to make sure I'd signed up for the right race.

"Are you sure you didn't mean to sign up to ride 50 miles?"

Good lord, you know when the race director questions you signing up for a race- it's gonna be brutal.

So apparently I should probably start training, even though the race is in September. Good thing I organized the chip shelf.

Sunday, January 3, 2016


I've posted before about my interesting finds on my urban trail adventures. I guess I should count myself lucky to live near a trail where I can find a hooka and track deer on the same day. Or, as happened more recently, track some turkeys
and find a bra on the same day.
Yes, I realize this is blurry but I was afraid to get too close lest there be a half naked couple in the vicinity.
A leopard print bra no less. If I add this to the recent finds of a glove, hat, jacket and sarong, I'd have a whole outfit. Of course, I wouldn't be wearing panties and my bra would be six sizes too large but I'd have an outfit.

Maybe I'll wait 'til spring. By then I'll probably have two gloves and a couple of mismatched shoes.

Before our last few inches of snow fell, I also came across this on the trail.
I'll admit, I was incredibly tempted to read it. The few words I could see were full of passion, leading me to want to see the rest. I stuck it in my pocket and carried it home. It looked too personal to leave for just anyone to find and read. Of course, by the time I got home, I had convinced myself that I too, was just anyone to this person and the words weren't meant for me to read. Some words, even quite a few of my own, despite the fact that I post so many of them publicly here, are meant to be private. So, I reluctantly buried the note in the trash.

Of course, now I'll never know if it belonged to the same girl who lost her bra, but perhaps some things are better left unknown. I'm sure I'll find something even more interesting soon. Let's just hope it's not panties.