Thursday, December 28, 2006

Don't open 'til January 1

Unlike last year, when I decided not to make any resolutions for 2006, I'm going to resolve to do something for the new year.

I resolve to not get my hopes up.

There you have it. I'm not going to get my hopes up about anything. I'm not going to anticipate anything good actually happening to me. I can't remember the last time I foolishly got my hopes up about something and had it work out in my favor. Pretty much everything I've hoped would happen hasn't, and it's left me feeling downtrodden and disappointed.

Now, you may think that this is a lame resolution since it doesn't appear to involve any work. On the contrary. I've always tried to look on the bright side of things..See the silver lining...Glass half full...Remained optimistic, and such. Not hoping for the best will be very difficult for me. So you see, this resolution of mine really does involve a lot of effort on my part. I'm not very good at being negative (at least about anything other than myself). This is a challenge.

You may think that I'm setting myself up for failure; that I'm bound to look forward to something or, at the very least hope that some small thing might work out. It's true, that would constitute a failure to uphold my resolution. I think I can do this though. It's a matter of self-preservation, after all. I'm not sure how much more disappointment and let down I can take.

So, best of luck to everyone in the New Year. I hope all of your resolutions come true.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Wine is great. It's possible that for the first time ever, I've actually sought the bottle to escape things. It's a good thing I don't have an addictive personality.

I'm in my last week of a long UK visit. It's been as extraordinary as I knew it would be. I didn't need a reminder of why I wanted to be here so badly, but I got one anyway.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The first day of

Long road trip finally over. My last working trip of the year. It wasn't without incident. At 80mph, just outside of Santa Fe, NM, the wheel of the trailer came off. Everything was fine in the end, but it was just one more hassle that I didn't want to have to deal with.

Today, I decided that I was going to treat myself. So I went snowboarding. It was the first time I'd been on the board before Thanksgiving. I went to Loveland because they'd gotten 22 inches of snow a few days ago. It was positively amazing. The snow was great. The sun was shining. I rode very well for the first day on the board since March. Nearly perfect.

In the parking lot I met a newly-retired man and asked him if he'd been to Loveland before. I'd never been there so I was looking for some advice about where I might find the type of terrain I normally like. Later in our conversation he asked me if my name was Allison. I said no and asked him if I looked like an Allison. That's when he said that my personality reminded him of an Allison he knew, and he mentioned my room mates name. I told him she was my room mate and we both marvelled at how small the world really can be. He wound up being my tour guide for the day. I'm sure I had more fun being shown around than I would have if I'd been on my own.

It was one of those days that makes me feel like I really do take advantage of where I am and what I do for a living. Sometimes, anyway. It's Friday, and while so many others were toiling away behind a desk I was out playing in the snow. Most of them will probably go this weekend. I don't have to go on the weekend. Ner nee ner!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Curse of the Whinge Ride

I had one of those rides yesterday where nothing seemed to be in my favor. I was on the road again and planned to do the usual stop in Fruita for a quick ride before pressing farther west. I've been making this a habit, but yesterday I decided to do a different, harder trail than the usual. That was my first mistake. Here's a list of the other things that made the ride one of 'those' days:

My coordination was off
My legs were heavy
My suspension had lost some air
It wasn't as warm as I thought it would be
I looked at every rock I DIDN'T want to hit, and subsequently hit it
Part of the trail was still wet
The sun was in my eyes during what is normally the best part of the ride
My picture taking was crap

Say what you want about the American notion of not riding wet trails, but trust me when I say that you DO NOT want to ride Fruita trails when they are wet. Especially if you plan to ride a trail that is shared by offroad vehicles. All in all, I should have cut bait, but this particular trail (Mack Ridge) is easier once you've passed the techy beginning, and turning around would have been worse than carrying on. It was the first ride in a long time that actually made me feel like it wasn't worth it.

I made up for it today by stopping for an out and back in St. George, UT. The trail I did is an absolute hoot, and it more than made up for my numptiness yesterday.

I embrace the Whinge Ride-an inevitability for all of us who ride bikes-simply because it keeps me humble. Whinge Rides make me appreciate the good rides just a bit more. And well, it keeps the cosmic balance.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

My life up to now Part 2

RIght...finally recovering from the Interbike madness. The show really offered nothing spectacular, other than the chance to hang out with great friends for a week. Chipps and I took the long way back to Denver afterwards and did some riding/driving through places I'd never been to before. It was a thoroughly enjoyable time. The scenery in southern Utah reminds me why I declare that State to be the most beautiful in the Union.

I'm back off to SoCal in the next couple of days before heading to NorCal for Chrissy's wedding and a couple of other events. Then it's home for a few days before driving south to Texas. Not really looking forward to that trip. I'll be busy most of November and rewarding myself with a flight to London on December 4th.

I don't have anything profound to say (ever, really). I can't say I've done much deep thinking in the recent weeks. Nothing that really jumps out at me, anyway. That's probably a relief to some. I think I've just been going with the flow and trying to make the most out of life in general. My dad's health has been very up and down, and as usual I'm trying to stay positive and not thinkg too much about the 'what if's'. If I let myself get carried away, then I start feeling sad about something that hasn't even happened yet. Maybe I'm not being realistic enough as a result. was good to see everyone from over yonder on my side of the pond. Some for the first time, and others again. For those of you who weren't here, you were missed.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

My life up to now Part 1

July 4th since my last post?? That's a new record. Wow, that's ages ago. I've done a lot since then. I've decided to not make a statement along the lines of "so much to say, but I can't be bothered right now'. I am going to bother, but perhaps not all at once.

So, what's happened since July 4th?

-I got a haircut on July 12th.
-I went and saw Dr. Andy Pruitt on July 13th.
-I had a weekend event the weekend of July 15th/16th.
-I went to the UK starting on July 17th and saw sheep every day for 2 and a half weeks.
-I didn't win the Speedgoat contest on July 20th.
-I went to the Bontrager 24/12 the weekend of July 22nd and DID'T have a conversation that would determine my future.
-My mom had a birthday on July 31st.
-I went to the TransRockies on August 5th.
-Lucy had a birthday on August 9th.
-I went to Wisconsin on August 13th, during which I DIDN'T have a conversation that would determine my future AGAIN.
-Toby had a birthday on August 14th.
-Tim and Judith celebrated an anniversary on August 15th
-I flew home today to a mostly empty house after the departure of my former roommate and the two triathletes.

I know, some of those don't involve me directly but they are worth mentioning. Hopefully, I'll be able to come up with some clever anecdotes and retell stories from that list, but I really can't be bothered to fill in the gaps right now. I'm shagged from two difficult weeks on the road.

Sheep are still great, though.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Do the chickens have large talons?

I had an ace ride today. I did this section of the Colorado Trail near Buffalo Creek. It's one of my favorite rides anywhere. There's no spectacular scenery, save for a couple of glimpses of some bigger mountains. There's no exposure or drop offs leading to certain death. There's just tons of lovely, swoopy singletrack with some ups and downs, and one soul destroying grunt of a climb. My friend John went with me, and we stuck to the tradition of a post-ride burger at the Bucksnort. The Bucksnort started out as the mercantile center for the canyon town of Sphinx Park, CO back in the day when the railroad was following the path of the Platte river. Now it's a haven of motorbike and mountain bike riders, and climbers. It's nestled between steep, red rock walls of this canyon that is just wide enough for a creek, some gravity-defying houses, and a single lane dirt road. The walls of the Bucksnort are adonred with handwritten graffiti and business cards. Some of the tables are made from cable spools, and the wonky floor ensures that you are never really sitting straight up, and your table is more like a rocking chair, regardless of how many sugar packs you try to use as shims.

There's really only one reason to go to the Bucksnort, and that is the burgers. In all honesty, it's not the best burger I've ever had, but it's thick and made to order, and hits the spot like nothing else after pedaling the 17 miles of the Buffalo Creek loop. I'm sure the rest of the food there is decent, but you hardly see anyone ordering something other than a burger. What I like about the Bucksnort-aside from the name, obviously-is that it's one of those places that not too many people know about. It's tucked away on a dirt road in the middle of a steep-sided canyon that blocks most of the light from the sun. I only go there after riding Buffalo Creek, and it's something I look forward to almost as much as the ride itself. A place like the Bucksnort makes me feel like I'm living one of those stories that people tell that make you think 'wow, if only I had a ride/place/time like that', like I'm part of something cultural. Like I'm on an adventure and I've discovered this little gem.

Don't ask me why the fact that I ride a bike isn't enough to make me feel adventurous.


I talked to my father a little while ago. He's starting to move his foot and is walking again. It seems that he's making progress and my hopes are even higher now that he won't be suffering the effects of his stroke too much longer.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Whining about whinging

There's a lot of whinging going on right now, and I'm tired of it. What's worse is that my efforts to vent don't sound any better than the original complaining. It's a perpetual cycle of whinge!

My dad had a stroke recently. I have somehow managed to suppress my angst over this. He can't move his left side very well, and he's in rehab to try and get some movement back. There's a lot of worry about what's going to happen if this, or that, and I just can't hear any of it. Perhaps I'm in denial. I prefer to think that I'm looking at the bright side.

I've got some much needed time off at the moment. It give me a chance to become even more enraptured with the World Cup, and of course, there's the TdF starting soon as well.

Monday, June 12, 2006

That old familiar

My hometown of Ocean City, NJ has a very distinct smell in the summer. It's not really one I can describe. It's in the air. I think it consists of equal parts ocean air, fresh pizza right from the oven, caramel corn, cotton candy, salt water taffy, and all the other things that combine to make Ocean City what it is: a barrier island on the Jersey shore where thousands of people over generations have spent their summers. The aroma is a reminder of all that I love and hate about the O.C. It doesn't exist in the dead of winter, when plywood covers most of the store fronts on the boardwalk and the town is reduced to the year-rounders that call hit home for all 12 months of the year. Don Henley's 'Boys of Summer' is an apt theme song for a place like Ocean City. It always reminds me of home when I hear it. No, the smell only really starts around Memorial Day weekend, and seems to go away at the proverbial end of the summer season on Labor Day weekend.

When I was growing up there, summer was so much fun. It seems that since those days in the early 70's the number of people that come to the shore in the summer has grown exponentially. Now the weekends that I happen to be visiting are something I've come to dread over the past few years. There are just so many people, so many cars, long lines for my favorite pizza place, and streams of traffic that seem like red blood cells moving through every artery of pavement on the map. This cycle starts on Friday evenings, when waves of people escape the summer heat of the city by seeking the cooling waves of the ocean, and tapers off on Sunday when the masses return to the megopolis. Anyone making the mistake of trying to do everyday things like errands during summer weekends quickly realizes the mistake they've made.

What's worse about the swell of the population in the summer, is the seasonal cutoff of my favorite riding route here. I've got this coastal route that I like to ride that includes 2 sections of boardwalk on different islands. Bikes aren't allowed on the boardwalks in the summer, except for very early hours and well, I'm not an early riser. My enjoyment of that smell is therefore limited to walks on the boards. Getting there involves sitting in that horrible traffic though, so it's become a rare event for me to enjoy.

I remember reading somewhere a long time ago that the sense of smell was the most powerful of the 5 because of it's ability to open floodgates of memories. Tonight, while I was picking up a pizza from Mack & Manco's at 9th and Boardwalk, I was hit by a waft of that perfume that only Ocean City produces, and I was reminded of all the things I've always loved about the Jersey shore.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Land of the highly modified class

Just when I thought I might change my tune about southern California, something happens that reminds me how much I don't like it here. In this case, I had to stop at 5 hotels before I found one that had a vacancy. Luckily I got the last room at this one. I drove around for an hour and a half trying to find one.

I got lulled into a false sense of relaxation over the last week. I was staying with one of the sales reps that is an overwhelmingly likeable guy. He and his family have hosted the Trek/Fisher pro race teams for years during the Redlands Classic race. Now they allow those of us on the demo scene to invade their space. A busy week was made easier by their hospitality. I acutally gave some consideration to driving back the 90 miles to their house rather than continue driving around any more here.

Tomorrow I get the thrill of driving to Las Vegas after another event. I probably won't get there until midnight. Then I hop on a plane to Philly for my parents 50th wedding anniversary.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


There's a very large question mark looming over my head these days. I'm uncertain about my future. Once again I've fallen into the trap of getting my hopes up about something, only to find out that the basket I put my eggs into didn't have a very strong handle. The resulting crash has left with a feeling of not knowing what to do next. I'm contemplating making a move further west. Boulder has turned out to be a place that I don't really fit in to very well. I'm sure the fact that I'm hardly every in my own house has a lot to do with the glut in my social life, but at the same time I don't often cross paths with anyone that I would want to be friends with. I miss nice people, and I'm just not sure there are very many of them around in these here parts.

Moving would also make things easier workwise. I'm at the far edge of the area I cover here, and that's part of the reason why I'm home so infrequently. My travels give me a chance to visit other places. Some cities just give off a certain vibe. I can't really describe it very well, other than to say that they make you feel instantly comfortable. You can detect a 'cool factor'. The people you meet in passing seem like old souls, and you start picturing yourself living in a place like that because it seems so much better than where you currently are.

You know, it's yet another example of 'the grass is greener' syndrome. I've had a pretty chronic case of it for a while now. To me, no matter where I live, the grass will never be as green as it is in the UK.

There's a problem with being social, and enjoying the company of others. While you are in a state of hardly every being around friends, you forget what it feels like to want to be on your own; to take a break and just do your own thing. Conversely, being alone constantly makes you pine for time with your friends. Obviously, there's a balance to be hand, and I don't have that right now. I'm not currently in a state of social equilibrium, and for that reason I feel pretty lonely and out of place.

This is why greener grass syndrome is so bad for me. I know that no matter where I go, I probably won't ever feel as at home as I do in the UK. I worry sometimes that if I ever do get to live there again, that for whatever reason it won't be enough either. But, I've carried around this sense of 'homesickness' for so long now that I find it hard to believe that I'll have any feeling other than complete joy once I'm finally there and in the close proximity of my friends.

I should be able to be happy on my own. And some days I am. Others, not so much. But even on the happy days I can't help but wish that the good experiences I have here were shared with people on the other side of an ocean. This is why the question mark leaves me so unsettled. I just don't know what's going to happen for the rest of the year. I'm my own worst enemy, because i keep waiting for something to just fall into my lap, some easy solution. This prevents me for sorting things out on my own. I wonder how much longer I'll put up with being sullen before I finally make a move.

At least sheep still make me smile.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The writing on the wall

It's pretty frustrating to want to be good at something, trying to be, and then recognizing your limitations. This is how I am about writing. I enjoy writing. The fact that I spew on a blog is an indication of that. The problem doesn't seem to be writing down words about my random thoughts, but rather when I decide to write about an experience I've had in a journalistic fashion. Maybe it's nerves about making it 'publish worthy'. Words just don't seem to flow very well. My other issue is that I can't seem to incorporate any wit into it at all. My sarcastic sense of humor means that every once in a while, I can come up with a quip that gets people laughing. I can't seem to do this in the unprovoking realm of writing. It all makes me appreciate my friends who are really good at writing.

At least I'm halfway decent at editing. Taking the original thoughts of others and doctoring them up some comes easy. It makes no sense that I can't do the same for myself.

Thankfully, I have picture taking to fall back on.

Oh wait...

Friday, April 14, 2006

It's been yonks since I posted. I guess I haven't had much to say lately. 

I did have an interesting topic come to mind this morning, but I can't seem to remember what it was. 

Oh well...I'm sure something will be worth talking about in the near future. 

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Adventures of Bob and the ass in the express lane

I've found a new pet peeve. It's one that other people have because it's been mentioned on late night talk shows, stand-up comedy routines, and sit coms. 

It's the express lane at the grocery store. 

Today, I went to Safeway to get some things to cook for dinner and I went to the 15 items or less lane. The guy in front of me had nearly 15 frozen pizzas, let alone the 9 cans of cat food he had, and the various other items. It's not like he was one or two items over 15...this guy's total was well into the 20's. It wasn't even busy in the other lanes!

The real reason why I'm angry about it is because he was perpetuating my hunger. I'd been way on the south side of Denver at a friends' place getting new shelves for my trailer, and I didn't eat anything substantial all day. I was looking forward to making a nice chicken and pasta meal when this rude interruption happened, caused by a guy with no grocery store etiquette. 

Obviously, the story has a happy ending because I got checked out, and I did make my very nice chicken and pasta. Nevertheless, this guy's violation of the express lane rules has stuck with me, and I realize now that it will always be something that bugs me.


My sister lost her beloved cat Bob this week. Bob was a gorgeous black persian with piercing eyes. He was a ripe ole 17 years of age. He'd been around since before both of my sister's children, and they have grown up with him as a member of the family. Bob was a fiercly independent cat in his early years, and was actually quite a recluse. His rare appearances were usually purposeful as he was only trying to go from one hiding place to another. All of them were far from human contact. As he got older, he became much more social and even became a lap cat. He loved being combed, and would express his delight by pawing at your leg even though he had long since had his claws removed. He was a great family pet, and he is missed.

R.I.P Bob. May you find an eternal field of catnip.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Back in bed

I mean literally. I have an actual bed again. Normally, the news of a bed wouldn't be that big of a deal. But you have to consider the fact that since I moved here in August, I'd been sleeping on an air mattress. See, the original plan was that I would move a bunch of stuff out here that I packed in my Element, and my schedule had an opening in it that would allow me to fly back to Jersey, rent a truck, and fill it with things like the bed I have in a storage unit there. That plan never materialzed, for a reason that I can't recall exactly. So, I never got my old bed out here and it was the air matress on the floor that served as my berth when I was in the Port of Boulder. I bought a pillow top thingy to make it feel more like an actual bed, and coupled with a flannel sheep sheet and a big, fluffy down duvet it was actually quite comfortable, truth be told.

So's I get home from a Jersey visit to news from my faithfull roomie CJ that his mother had a bed in her home office that she wanted to get rid of, and knowing about my inflatable trundle, he volunteered to take it. Wahey! We went to fetch it the other night before one of CJ's hockey games. It's a four poster, which doesn't really suit me. I got used to not having a headboard, and footboards usually just got in the way of my feet, so I wasn't crazy about those additions. CJ agreed to swap for his bog standard metal bed frame, and voila! I have an actual bed, and CJ has a girlie four post.

Now, I don't know if I'm alone in this or not, but regardless of circumstances-I could be 24-hour-race deprived of sleep-whenever I spend the first night in a new or unfamiliar bed, I don't usually sleep well. True to form, I slept better on my last night of air matressing than I did on my first night of 'I've got a big girl bed now!' That being said, I didn't have to roll out of bed this morning. I could actually throw my feet over the side and stand up.

It occurred to me that I simply got used to sleeping on the air mattress, and now I have to readjust to doing something other than having a campout in my own house. I started thinking about the other things that I've 'accepted' and just learned to deal with. Then I thought about the things that I can't accept, for one reason or another.

Maybe I just need to accept that there are things I can't accept, pick up the pieces of my shattered life, and move on.

Or, maybe I'll just go to bed.

Monday, March 06, 2006

South Dakota: Land of backwards thinking

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The governor of South Dakota on Monday signed into law severe restrictions on abortion, in a direct challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court's legalization of the practice 33 years ago.

Abortion foes have said they hope to use the South Dakota law to eventually bring the issue back before the high court, where they believe conservatives added to the bench by President George W. Bush in the last year could weaken or dismantle the court's landmark Roe vs Wade decision of 1973.

Supporters of Roe vs Wade have promised a legal challenge to the new South Dakota law.


Thirty-three years. For 33 years, women have had the right to decide what happens to their bodies in the event of an unplanned pregnancy. Now, one State has taken that right away, even in the event of rape or incest. RAPE or INCEST. If you get rapped, or your Uncle shags you, and you get pregnant, South Dakota is saying that's too bad. A collection of cells now has more rights than you, even under those most horrible of circumstances.

South Dakota passed this bill specifically for the purpose of having someone challenge it and take it to the Supreme Court. It's unconstitutional up down and sideways.

This is only the beginning, I'm afraid.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What if's

I've run into one of those situations that requires me to keep my mouth shut. This is a tricky one, though. It involves three people that I like. Not saying anything is the easy part. The situation itself is the hard part, and it's impact on me is minimal. It's hard because I have a pretty clear view of all sides and I see how each of the three is put into a circumstance that none of them really want. It's one of those times when no matter what the outcome, someone gets hurt. It's not like anything I could say would make it better. I guess more than anything, I'm curious about the choices that have been made. Let's face it, this whole thing is an example of the sorts of choices that people make.

Choices can have really great outcomes, and of course, they can result in some not so great things. What's funny is that sometimes we don't realize how the choices we make will affect us until much, much later. That's when regret can enter the picture. Choice and regreat are a formidable pair. When faced with making a tough choice, the ability to see into the future would come in really handy, thus avoiding the possibility of regret. Regret can linger for days and days, even longer than that. Most of the time that large quantity of regret is the work of one, single choice.

The worst combination of choice and regret is when we make a choice that we know is right, and regret it's outcome by second guessing ourselves. Then we have guilt. Guilt is the third member of the choice-regret-guilt trinity. Guilt is the most unforgiving of the three, I think. Guilt can eat you alive if you let it. Guilt is smart, too. Guilt has the ability to make itself known before you actually do something. Let's say that you are doing/not doing something that you know is having/going to effect someone else. You may choose to/not to do said thing, and sometimes you know that you'll feel guility later about doing/not doing it. So in a way, guilt can start messing with your head even before you have anything to be guilty about.

The good news is that we have a choice about how we respond to the various ups and downs we encounter. We have a choice to not let regret get the better of us, and we have a choice about feeling guilty regarding the things we can not change.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Count your blessings

Being with my parents this week has caused me to reflect on some things. For one, I'm very glad that my dad is still around after his surgery, and that the worst appears to be over. By all accounts, he should recover pretty close to fully. He was moved to rehab today and is sharing a room with a man who's had a very rough time of late. He's 48 years old, and when he was 40 it was discovered that he had arteriovenous malformation around his spine, which meant he had to quit his job and go on permanent disability. Then last year sometime, he got hit by a car and suffered a fractured back, fractured pelvis, two fractured legs, and numerous other injuries. He had just gotten out of rehab from that a month ago, and then just recently he suffered a stroke. He's divorced and has two daughters that live with his ex-wife. I'm not sure anyone will come to visit him.

So, in what appears to be a delayed list of things I should have given thanks for at Thanksgiving, I've been inundated with thoughts about things that make me feel pretty damn lucky. So, here's a few:

My parents-the people who raised me to be a sponge in the world. They led me down a path and taught me right from wrong. They also taught me how to think for myself, how to appreciate beautiful things, and that a little kindness goes a long way. I don't know that I'll ever be able to appreciate anyone else on the same level as my parents. I'm thankful to them for so many things, far too numerous to list here.
My sister-we've gotten closer in recent years, and I can honestly say that I value her as much as a friend as I do a sibling. If there's one person that I know I can talk to about anything, it's Ruth.
My friends-something that struck me tonight is that I have a diverse group of friends. I have different types of friends, and friends from places who, through simply knowing them, help me form a more worldy view. I love the fact that we have different opinions on some pretty hefty issues, yet we still like each other. The idea of surrounding myself with people who think exactly the way I do about everything scares me. That would mean that I had given up on the value of learning, and being able to see a different perspective.
Days and nights-What did I see today that was beautiful? During the day, I saw the sun reflecting on the water, and tonight I saw a nearly full moon in a crytal clear sky.

This whole diversity thing is what got this post going tonight. It was another thing that came to mind when thinking of my mom and dad. They break the stereotypes of a clergyman and his wife in so many ways. One example is that they've been trying to fix me up with one of my dad's doctors, who just so happens to be from Afghanistan. And while thinking of the individuals that comprise my own group of friends, I see my parents' influence there, too. There's my older friends, my younger friends, my married friends, my single friends, my atheist friends, my religious friends. my slightly neurotic friends, my boringly normal friends, my pot-smokers, my straight-edgers, my bike riders and my non-riders, and all sizes and colors. There's a lot of crossover in there, as well. Overall, it's a great lot.

Long and dad always says that bad things are just crabgrass in the lawn of life. As long as you have more grass than crabgrass, then things are going ok.

Right now, I've got a pretty big lawn.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Horse walks into a bar. Bartender says "Why the long face?"

Have you ever noticed how often powerlines get in the way of a really nice photo opportunity?

I've had this thought running through my head since I was in Santa Cruz last. It's really been bugging me for a couple of reasons. One, ever since I first realized it, I've been noticing just how often they do ruin an otherwise great picture. And second...well just a minute ago I had another reason, but it seems to have gone away. Maybe I summarized them both with the first one.

Really though, they are all over the place, powerlines. I realize that they provide us with the juice for all of our modern domestic conveniences. This laptop I'm using is a perfect example of that. But they are sometimes a real pain in the tukhes, like when a big blizzard blows through and knocks your power out (like yesterday). Or, when they get in the way of what would otherwise be a nice picture that I'd like to take. Maybe I should just start taking pictures of things I see with interfering powerlines. I could make it a category on Flickr, or something.


I've seen my father in a hospital bed for 3 days now. Everyday, it seems harder and harder to see him like that. Sometimes, I feel like I can really get everyone through this. Other times, I feel completely helpless. Today, his tailbone was hurting him and making him toss and turn in the bed. He can't really turn on his side all the way. I wish I could give him mine for a little while, or at least I wish I could hold him up off of his. His right quad atrophied some and is making it very difficult to lift his right leg. The parts of him that aren't artificial in his knee are very stiff as a result. Bike riding has given me pretty strong quads. I'd like to lend him mine until his are stronger. He hasn't been able to take a shower since before his operation. I'd like to give him my morning shower, and make it a nice long one. Genetics gave me his sense of humor. I'd like to lend it back to him so that he'd be able to smile. He's tired and frustrated and weak. He wants to go home. He wants to be able to walk again. I really wish I could hang a bag of positive endorphins on his IV drip. And while I'm at it, I'd like to serve up a dose of Hang In There to my mom. She's a rock when she's with my dad, but she's tired of trying to keep his spirits up as well.

I know things could be a lot worse. I know that. I haven't seen my dad like this since the radiator cap on the car engine blew and gave him some bad burns when I was 7 or 8. I was too young to really understand his healing process then. I know that all of this will be worth it in the end, but getting everyone to believe that isn't as easy as I'd hoped it would be.

Take care of your knees, people.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

My Secret Life

I recently realized that I prefer crispy bacon now. I didn't always. When I was growing up, the Saturday ritual of pancakes and bacon would not be right if my request for bacon 'tough and chewy' wasn't fulfilled. My dad was an expert in custom bacon orders. It was always my mom who liked it nearly burnt. I haven't quite flip flopped that far, but I definitely like a little crunch in the munch. It got me thinking about other things that have changed as time has moved forward. I've also just started developing a taste for raw red onions on sandwiches. Just a few, mind...let's not get carried away. I've been giving some thought to getting a different sort of highlights in my hair. I've been working this 'almost blonde' thing for a while now, and I've caught myself toying with the idea of doing something a little more...dramatic. Like magenta, or some such.

I watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics on tv tonight. I really do like the Olympics. I think it's because it gives me some sense of hope that for these few weeks, everyone sets aside their differences to pursue a common gold. I could be glorifying things a great deal, but I've been to an Olympics. Four years ago, I went to Salt Lake to see the games. The air really is charged with loads of positive vibes at the Games. Of course, for a while I was dwelling on the fact that it's already been four flippin' years since I was hiking up to the top of the bobsled run. Four years ago, I was in the thick of my salad days in New York. Things were great, and I can still remember very clearly feelling out of place to a degree.

I'm trying to figure out where I actually belong. I feel like a bit of an alien when I'm in Boulder. New Jersey, although a place that will always be where I'm from, is not a place I can see myself being. It's weird enough coming to visit. My job puts me in front of people who I'm sure know more than I do. In the UK I'm still a foreigner, no matter how accepted I may wish to be. Even the Touareg is starting to agitate my back. I'd like to establish some roots of my own. I just need to figure out where those roots should be. I know where I want to be right now, but the Gods have asked that I be patient, for what I'm not entirely sure. I've had mostly good things happen in my life. Some that I hoped for, and others that were nice surprises. I'm afraid that this time, the one thing I really want won't happen because I do hope for it so much.

Four years ago, I had very different ideas about where I wanted to be. Like the bacon choice, it was a far cry from where my head is now. I'm wondering if all of this is some sort of tectonic shift in my life, or if I'm just making larger changes (I used to cringe at the idea of onions on a sandwhich) than normal. Obviously, my idea of 'large change' and er, the rest of the worlds idea are pretty far apart.

Still, I can't shake this eternal optimism I have. Funny that, since I tend to harbor such negative feelings about myself. I still think things are going to be ok.

'Course they could be pretty tough and chewy before then.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Drowning in my own thoughts

Don't let the fact that I haven't been posting regularly fool you into thinking that my head's been quiet. It hasn't. In fact, I've been awash in thoughts for several days now. I've been on a real mental roller coaster. Here's a brief recap of what I've been up to:

Waaay back on January 8th I left Boulder and started the drive to Portland, OR. It was a warm day at home, which quickly turned to blustery cold as I drove west across Wyoming. I ended my drive in Twin Falls, Idaho. The next day, I woke up and headed out of Twin Falls. Out of nowhere comes this enormous canyon that I couldn't see when I drove into town the night before because of the pitch black. This, I would later learn, is the Snake River canyon that Evel Knievel tried to jump on his "Skycycle" back in 1974. Just after I crossed the bridge, I pulled over to check it out from the observation area. Not long after that, a base jumper hurled himself from the bridge and floated down to the canyon floor. Later that evening, in a small world example, I heard the song Original Stuntmaster by AiM, which consists of part of the interview Evel about the jump. I also saw sheep that day. As driving days go, it was a good one.

The Portland seminars were more tiring than usual. Portland is a city full of very savvy bike people. It's consistently rated the most cycling friendly city in the country, and it's probably the closest thing we have to the culture of cycling that exists in Europe. Because of that, the crowd we faced was a very knowledgeable one, and didn't have time for a lot of fluff. They wound up sucking a lot of energy from Karl and I, and we both felt it the next day. The crowd on day 2 was slightly more subdued, which was good because we were both wiped out from the day before. After we packed up, we headed south to Corvallis, OR; Karl's hometown.

Karl with a K (as he's popularly known in the industry) lived in Corvallis until he graduated from high school. After that, he set off on his big adventure. Along the way, he became the mechanic for the Schwinn MTB team, later Gary Fisher (during which time he was Paola Pezzo's mechanic during her gold medal Olympic year), then on to the GT team, which included Steve Peat. Basically, he's been a pro mechanic on various race teams, and the World Cup circuit for around 20 years. After an absence lasting the same amount of time, Karl moved back to Corvallis. He's lived in many places, including a 9 year stint in Boulder, and a short stay in the Peaks where he wrenched for Tim Gould. I've found out that we have many mutual friends, including one John North.

So I've been at Karl's place since last Wednesday. We've done a road ride, a wet and soggy mtb ride, gone to the Oregon coast, which I've never seen, and today drove over to Bend to ride the slopes of Mt. Bachelor. It hasn't been a dull stay here.

During all of this, I've found myself to be in and out of a state of melancholy. I've been bothered by a handful of things, which are generally the same things that have bothered me for some time:

1) My physical fitness-particularly in light of the fact that my last several rides have been much harder than they should have been. I stayed pretty active over the holidays, and feel as though I'd stayed on the couch the whole time instead.

2) Photography-because of #1, I really feel like I miss out on a lot of picture opportunities. I just don't ride fast enough to keep up with people, and I don't really ride with people who understand how much I like taking pictures. I don't get to practice much as a result, and I see Dan's shots and realize that given my current circumstances, I'm not going to be that good. It's made me give some serious consideration to not even trying anymore, and sticking to benign things like nature shots.

3) The Chippendale-I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop-the day I hear/find out that he's got another girlfriend. Although he says this isn't something he wants, I really have a hard time believing that it won't happen. The reason this has been on my mind is because I've been trying to figure out how I'm going to respond to this when it does happen. I wish it weren't on my mind at all. I wish the whole subject were something I could just get over. Every time I think it's getting better, I have periods like this which are just as bad as it's ever been. I'm really quite pissed off about my own inability to just deal with it, already. Blah blah, whine whine. Geez.

4) Feeling unsettled-I would so love to take a photography class, among other things. I move around way to much to do anything like that. I'm definitely having an 'it's not all glamour' moment. I really do like my job, overall. I guess it's only natural to wish I had more time for my own pursuits when I'm constantly on the go. I don't right now, and I can't see that changing unless I quit my job. Not to mention...

5) A small amount of anxiety over what's going to happen in 2006-This year is already moving by so quickly. The fact that my UK trip has turned into a vacation being paid for by someone else, in exchange for nothing, has me worried that my one chance to 'impress' people in the UK office has just flown the coop. I'm having a hard time getting any sort of reply from the folks there about stopping in for a visit, or even doing some shop visits that were on the schedule before the main event was cancelled. I say a small amount of anxiety because I'm not feeling overly stressed at the moment about this. I think I have enough fans here that will help me make the move when it's time. I would just be happier if I knew that I was in any sort of demand over there.

Ok, that's probably enough ranting/whinging for one post. The day's activities have left me quite tired, so it's time for me to get to sleep.

This time next week, I'll be somewhere in the UK.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Popular with the ladies

Figured I was overdue for a post. In the last couple of days I've been taking care of some much needed errands, including getting my Colorado drivers license and license plates. I've had an interesting reaction over giving up my New Jersey license and plates. As silly as it seems, I feel like I've suddenly severed the ties to my home State. I say it's silly because I haven't actually lived there for a very long time, but I've always considered it to be where I'm from, and the plates and license were what showed that I was from there. It was a weird source of pride for me, if for no other reason than to demonstrate that not everyone from Jersey is a member of the Mafia.

When I was on the road over the summer, people would ask me where I'm from, and I'd say New Jersey. The reaction was always sort of luke warm. When they'd ask Chrissy and found out she was from Victoria, they reacted with much more delight. As soon as I moved and told people where I lived, I got the same reaction that Chrissy was getting about Victoria. New Jersey isn't a very exciting place for most people. My guess is they've never been there and believe what they hear, or they've flown into Newark airport which is in the armpit of the State, and that's what they think the whole place is like. I really like being from there, even though there's nothing there right now (outside of family) that makes me want to live there now.

I suppose it's just a case of never really forgetting where you're from.