Monday, March 30, 2009


I would consider myself pretty athletic...for the most part. I grew up playing sports and was always running around doing things as a kid. I guess I was a tomboy...still am. I was a swimmer, synchronized swimmer, fencer, diver and basketball player. I tend to pick up on things easy. Usually. Most sports. Most. Golf? Not so much.

I don't understand how people can go out there and hit balls, play the game and say it's relaxing. I wish I had a heart monitor on me to check my rate as I hit every other ball. Yes, every other. I just want to hit the crap out of it! I had to remind myself (actually, Karen had to remind me) to slow down...control the swing. I was lucky enough to have her there to coach me. She likes to remind me that she was junior all state, played for the Michigan State Women's team and too many more credentials to list here. Oh yeah, she was a instructor as well. You would think that would be enough to make me better. Well, maybe a little. It's good that she is patient with me and knows me well enough to leave me alone and not point out the fact that I missed the ball. I was kind enough not to bend the club over my knee in frustration. If you know anything about golf, you can tell right away which swing is good and which is awful.

The good news is that it was a beautiful day. I did hit a few good shots and that is what I will savor. She says that I could get better if I took the time to learn. That would mean I would need patience. I will work on that.

Thanks for a great day Karen. :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

First String

I am blessed with many things in my life. I am thankful for all I have and especially, I am thankful for my friends. This week, I have been visiting my long time friends in my old collage town. When I first moved here 18 years ago (GASP!), I lived on my own for a short time until I met Rose and Heide. The three of us bonded and moved in together as well as played basketball together. We are lucky that we all got along so well. We still do. I consider Rose and Heide to be my best friends, they've known me for almost 20 years, lived with me, and STILL want to hang out. It's amazing. :) Rose's dog Jake and Maggie even got along. :)

I've known Deana for several years and in the past few years, we have become really close. She even decided to go on a last minute vacation with me last May. I know we will go on a trip again soon.
It was so great to see her and meet her new girlfriend last night. Here she is with her dog, Raffie. I wish this town was closer to home. For me, this is my home away from home. I always look forward to being here and I know I will come back again soon.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Monique Racing Tomorrow

Monique had training on the track in the morning in preparation for tomorrows sprints. The start list is out for the 200m and she will begin her Time Trial at around 3:30pm in Poland (-8hrs in CA or -7hrs in Calgary). To see the results of the race, click here

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Art Of Doing Nothing

Today is a beautiful day. I decided to take a tour of the park I used to work at. Years ago, I was the one sitting on the lifeguard chair nine hours a day telling people not to run, dive or do anything that wasn't allowed. Sometimes I was greeted with a "F*&K YOU LIFEGUARD!" when I enforced the rules. Sigh...the good ol' days. :)Today I was looking at it through the eyes of a visitor. I feel peaceful here. I seemed to forget to enjoy what was in my backyard.

I am amazed at how many people take advantage of a beautiful day. I believe New Yorkers have to take the award for soaking up every inch of a park. People were sunning, reading, walking, eating lunch, playing the guitar, chatting with each other, riding bikes, working out and enjoying every moment. At one point I was thinking to myself, "doesn't anyone work around here?"

I laid there for about an hour. Closed my eyes. Listened to the sounds around me. Remembered what it was like sitting in that chair all day. Besides saving an infant from drowning (mother was passed out on the grass), it was the most boring job I have ever had. The good part was playing water polo before work and being in nature.

I could learn a thing or two from the people here.

Road Trip

Maggie and I are headed up north to visit some of my closest friends in my old college town, while I lend my home to a friend for the week. I lived in this town for 7 years back in the day, so it's always nice to come for a visit. The drive was long, but with good thoughts in my head and was a piece of cake. Maggie and I will share our adventure with you as we go along.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Meeting Strangers Online

Most of us go about our daily lives doing the same things, eating at the same restaurants, playing with the same friends. We usually don’t meet anyone new unless we step out and do something different or you rely on the same friends to do that and introduce them to you. Why are we such creatures of habit? What prevents us from meeting new people in other ways? From what I have heard from my friends, I believe it to be fear based. What if they are a psycho? What if they are going to kill me in some odd fashion? That would be too bad since I wouldn’t be able to blog about it.

When I was on the road for 120 days, I decided to branch out and meet some strangers that I met on the internet. I even stayed in their house, invited one back to a house I was staying in, slept in the backyard at another’s. In the end, I am still here to talk about it.

I am not finished meeting new people. As a matter of fact, I am going to meet another one next week. It’s in a familiar town but at an unfamiliar house with unfamiliar people. It should be an adventure! As I told a friend about it that lives in this familiar town, she said “Where the hell is this place?” “Who the hell is this person?””What the hell is going on?” That’s usually the natural reaction I get. I look forward to experiencing it and sharing it with you.

So back to the people I met while I was on the road.

The first stranger I met was Jen in Ft. Collins. We met online through a mutual blogger. We tailgated, went to red rocks, laughed, had some killer sushi, broke a bike at New Belgium Brewery, tasted Ft. Collins fine microbreweries, watched rafters, went to the lake, laughed, soaked in the spa, had the best margi, laughed some more, ate at the best breakfast spots, and who can forget the day on her motorcycle? It was the first time since high school (when I was stupid and didn’t care) that I trusted someone enough to get on the back of their bike. We became friends and she has since visited me! I am looking forward to another visit! Tell me when Jen...

While I was in Estes Park Colorado, I received an email from a man that lives in his van. There was someone who alerted him of my journey and he noticed that I was in the area so he dropped me a note. Now this time, I was a bit worried. A single guy living in a van. Hummm…. Not sure about this one. Might be a tad creepy. So, I said...OK, great! We met at Estes Park brewery and hit it off right away. After a meal, I invited him and his van to stay the night where I was. Since then we have kept in touch. We met again in Philadelphia and in California a few times. He has decided to hang up the keys to the van and settle down with his girlfriend in San Francisco. They are both wonderful people.

As I shot back across the country, Cat was another person on my stranger stop tour that I wanted to meet. As with Dave, we didn’t talk on the phone prior to meeting. I pretty much showed up at her house, backed trailie in her backyard and settled in for 5 days. We sang karaoke, we pigged out in the park, rode the Hathawaa trail, ate sushi, toured the sights, went wine tasting, toured the peach farms, and had the best people watching in her little town of Spokane. In between all of our adventures, we laughed and laughed. As with Jen and Dave, she has made the trip here to see what it’s like in California. She is returning again soon.

I would recommend taking a chance. Step out of the routine and do something you might not normally do. I will next week and I hope the trend continues. There are a few strangers out there that I am looking forward to meeting.

What have you done outside of your routine that has changed your life?

Monique is Going to the Track Cycling World Championships!

Monique just received word that she is going to the world track championships in Poland next week! Very Exciting News!! You can watch out for her on the their website here. Good Luck Monique!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Monique Sullivan

I am inspired by athletes. The woman rider I was referring to in my last blog is Monique Sullivan. I was lucky to be invited to watch her do a time trial at the Velodrome in California.
As a reminder, this was my first time stepping inside this type of arena. She is the reason for my palms to sweat and drive fast on the freeway. Of course there is no way I could be responsible for that so I am blaming her.

Before I met Monique, I read about her adventures on her blog. I would encourage you to do the same.

A little bit about Monique. She is a Canadian Track cyclist currently training full time in Los Angeles, California. In January, she put her engineering degree on hold at the University of Calgary to devote herself full time to her training. In 2005, at 16 yrs old, she had the fastest 500m time trial for both the Junior and Senior women at the National Championships. She has not been beat by a Canadian woman in any sprint event since. This is her 2nd year as an Elite rider and her first opportunity to compete on the World Cup circuit. In October, at her second ever World Cup, she placed 6th in the keirin competition and 11th in the Match Sprints. In January at another World Cup, she placed 9th in the Match Sprints and 12th in the keirin. At only 20, I see even more great things in store for her.

As you will read in her blog, she loves doing many different things from crafts to baking to reading and blogging, creating and sharing and taking on new challenges.

I know first hand that she makes a killer basmati rice pudding...with basil no less!
I might need the recipe for that Monique! On second thought, just let me know when you make it again. :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Velodrome Track

The only time I have seen racing on the Velodrome is watching it on TV during the Olympics. A few days ago, I went to see a race in person at one of two (the other in Boulder) indoor Velodrome tracks in North America.

What a rush.

Seems easy enough...but the first time I watched a racer (more on her later) go around on the track for a time trial, my hands started to sweat. When I drove home, I found myself weaving and driving fast on the freeway.

I wanna play! However, the person in charge of the track (see the woman in the blue on the track?) doesn't think I can make the corners. Humph! I'll show you! (Shaking Fist) :)

In case you wanted to know more:
Velodrome racing has been called “NASCAR on Two Wheels”. Track bikes have one gear and no brakes – the epitome of simplicity – that combined with the blazing speed, gravity-defying turns and spectacular crashes makes Velodrome racing one of the most awe-inspiring spectator sports around.

Velodromes are steeply-banked oval cycling arenas. The prefix “velo” is short for the French word “velocipede”, the bicycle’s original name. The purpose of the track’s design is to provide racers a smooth predictable surface on which to maintain the highest speed possible.

All velodromes have lines painted on the track’s surface:
The “cote d’azur” or band of blue, marks the tracks inside boundary. Racers may not ride on or below this wide band, except for emergencies or during the slow tactical maneuvering during match sprint competition.
The black “measurement line”, as the name implies, is used to measure the distance around the track.
The thin red line around the track is the “sprinters line” and it defines the sprint lane between the red line and the blue band. A leading rider in this lane is said to “own the lane” and may only be passed by a rider going over on the right.
The uppermost thin blue line is the “stayer’s line” or relief line. It marks the boundary between faster and slower traffic, with the faster riders below the line while the slower “relief” riders are above this line during Madison races.

Got it? Easy enough, right? More to come...

Saturday, March 14, 2009


I love campfires.
I grew up camping with my family. Every summer, we would meet the same two families and camp for a week together. I have some fond memories of those days. Like waiting for people to come out of the shower only to throw sand on them and yell "Merry Christmas!" (in the middle of the summer) on a dare. Awwww, so mean I know. Horrible. Well, I think it's funny. However, that's never happened to me on my travels. Maybe it will happen now that I put it out there. Anyway...I love to sit and stare at the fire. I am a self appointed "fire poker." On my trip, some of my favorite moments were sitting and watching a fire. It's always been good therapy for me. When I felt stressed, I would grab my dog and head for the hills to camp. Maybe it's about being in nature. It's the best. So, when I bought my of the selling points was having a fire pit. Now I can enjoy a fire with my friends without planning a camping trip.

In Estes Park enjoying the fire.
Here I am with my fire poke stick.

Us being silly by the fire

With Dan in Cannon Beach

With Jo, Dan and Stu

Stacy and Dave

Mom and Allan at the Grand Canyon

I can stare for hours

Trying to chop up a palate for wood

With Heather and Karen at Doheny Beach

With Jen in Estes Park

Get outside. Go Camping. Stare at a does wonders.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Daily Happy Pill

As much as we talk about balance in our lives, it's hard to achieve it and be consistent with it. I know that it's easy to shift your focus on your job, kids, or loved ones and forget about what your needs are. I've done it and I am sure you have too. The most important thing in your life is you. You deserve time for yourself.

Make the time.

For me, my daily happy pill is the hour I spend each day in bootcamp. Caroline always puts a smile on my face so it's easy to enjoy the hour long pain to the body..I mean enjoyable fun!

Even in the middle of a workout, she always takes the time to talk with each individual to see how they are doing.

I am inspired by her. You can view her profile on American Life Today HERE.

What do you do for yourself each day?

Here are some pictures from my workout. It's different each day and usually I don't have a camera so this is all you get. Of course the last one is of my tomato red face I usually get once I am finished. But, it's a great state to be in. Thank you coach Caroline!!! a good way.

Monday, March 9, 2009

New Homeowners

My friends Dian and Erin made the leap to purchase a house together. Congratulations to them! I went to visit them on the first day they received their keys. So exciting to look at an empty house and dream about what you are going to put in it, what fun you will have and all of the memories that will be shared.
When I bought my first home (the first and only), I was so nervous about the entire "process" of it. In fact, my hair fell out in clumps during the housewarming party as I put my fingers through my hair. Really attractive. I suppose it was all about the uncertainties such as buying a house a tad bit over my budget, signing all of the papers, getting the right loan, the timing of closing, etc. I have lived here for 6 years now and I don't regret a thing. Well, perhaps the choice of my realtor. So, congratulations my friends. I look forward to spending some good times in the near future at your house. :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Dog Beach Day

Ah, the life of a dog. You can't help but smile when you go to dog beach. All the dogs are happy running around and playing. The good ones, that is. Poor Maggs had to stay home because she doesn't play nice at the beach. Also, she chases shadow's of the seagulls until she is running in the parking lot and the street. So, I didn't take her. However, Shellies dog Roonie is a sweetheart. We stood around watching her play with the other well behaved dogs. Here are some photos of the day:


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