#My500Words: January 26, 2014

Only six days left in this challenge and I've been liking it quite a bit. It's given me some ideas to later write about and got me to take a writing course, so a win all around.


Yesterday I found out how much you can get done if you just get out of bed and get going. That is something I had a lot of trouble with in the past maybe 3 months. Pretty much when the weather changed and the time change. I did sleep in with no alarm and since I didn't get to bed until after midnight, I slept in until nearly 9:00 AM. Coffee, make my juice (orange, carrots, kale, lemon, kiwi), then I finished up the painting in my master bathroom. For everything else, I think I'll have a painter come do it since it does take up a lot of time. I like the painting part. I don't like all the taping up and then cleaning up everything part. But my ocean blue wall against the big window and white trim and white bathtub looks really good.


My new bike racing team, Tennessee Women's Cycling Project, (http://tnwomenscycling.com/) had our first get-together last night and it was so fun to meet all my new teammates. We had originally planned a ride in the afternoon, but with the uber-cold weather we've been having and waking up to a little snow on the ground, the ride got cancelled and we just did a potluck that evening. We had 15 or 16 women here from both the race team and the club team, and there is a mix of road and mountain (and of course cyclocross.) And at least one trackie and triathlete silly enough to enter an Ironman this year!! Most of the time was spent chatting and getting to know everyone and we will plan a road camp and a mountain bike camp before the season gets going. The first race in the area is Hell of the South at the end of March.


And I did get on the trainer yesterday. I have the Lemond Revolution trainer (http://lemond.myshopify.com/) where you take the back wheel off the bike and the Lemon has a cassette that you put our bike onto. It rides much more realistically than other trainers. I also recently bought all of the Sufferest videos (http://www.thesufferfest.com/) so yesterday afternoon I rode most of one of them. How apropos – it was the Wretched one where you used to be a champ, and now you're out of shape and suck, you forgot how to suffer, etc. Yes, that pretty much sums it up! But at least I'm back on the bike. But hopefully I'll get some miles in soon in warm sunny California.


So the 2014 season is looking up. There should be some good racing and it will be time to do some things like road races and go other places to race. Supposedly Georgia, Alabama and Kentucky aren't that far. I've only been out of the Nashville metro area once since I've moved here so it's time to do some exploring.

#My500Words: January 25, 2014


Endings. What is that saying? “All good things must come to an end.” I think that's it.


When I moved here I knew no one. The one person I did know that lived here (who knows me pretty well), high-tailed it out of the state to San Diego before I moved. His comment when we went to lunch on my first visit there was, “You will hate it here.”  Thanks Paulo.  At least he turned me on to Fido. There was one person whom I knew from a triathlon email list, but had never met (yea Lisa!)


So it made it so less difficult to actually move knowing my co-workers Matthew and Vince would also be moving. Matthew, Johnno and the kids moved first, landing in Franklin. Then on one of the trips to interview potential hires, Vince found the apartment complex that we both ended up moving to. I reserved a place there when it was still being built, but it was close to downtown and work and was going to be brand new. Having to commute in my own truck was not an option (and they don't have public transportation here. Well, there is a bus, but let's just say, this is a VERY car-centric place.) So having a nice, brand new, granite countertops, laminate floors instead of industrial grey carpet and a WASHER/DRYER INSIDE THE APARTMENT and a pool was awesome! Of course, going from having half of a San Francisco flat to a mere 700 square feet took a lot of weeding out and condensing my stuff and in the apartment, there was no good place for the bicycles. Plus, I still had to rent a storage unit!


But, it was so great having Vince, Aaron and Wookie in the same complex, though they ended up being in the building next to mine. That was close enough. There were so many fun times having someone to go out with, and it made me feel better when I'd go ride solo, knowing that if I got stranded, I could call them to come get me.


Some of the highlights:


  • Many a dinner shared that I cooked but it did include Vince learning to cook, including his making lumpia for Thanksgiving.

  • Many a Wednesday night in their “apartment/lounge” (the coolest decorating by Aaron) watching “Nashville” and drinking whisky, often followed by a Wii dance party.

  • Dinners or cocktails out. Many, many nights.

  • The night we went honky-tonking during CMA Fest.

  • Taking Vince to his first ever Jimmy Buffett concert. We met in the parking lot to drive downtown and he had on turquoise pants, a Hawaiian shirt and a hat. His first words were, “I'd better not be the only one dressed like this!” “OK”, I said as I smiled, knowing he would be dressed pretty tame compared to some Parrotheads.

  • Taking Vince to his first ever NFL football game, the San Francisco 49ers v. Tennessee Titans. And trying to explain everything that was going on down on the field. 49ers won!

  • Taking Aaron to the Grammy Nomination concert where we both drooled over Adam Levine. And trading photos and comments back and forth about Adam.

  • Wookie. That little dog – I love. When I lived at the apartment, he knew exactly which door to run to when they got off the elevator. And the first time at my house, he went to the 3rd floor and ran across the carpet, rubbing his face into it, marking his territory.

  • Vince coming over regularly at the apartment to vacuum my floor. I didn't have a vacuum when I first moved here and Vince LOVES to vacuum, so it was a win-win!

  • Our daily talks about everything, either in his office or mine.


And now, Vince and Wookie are moving back to California (Aaron moved back in the fall). And Vince's last day at work was yesterday. I feel like I'm being abandoned. But it's a good move for him personally and I'll see the three of them on my trips back to NorCal. I guess it's time for the next chapter for all of us.


#My500Words: January 24, 2014

This would be the 24th straight day that I've written a minimum of 500 words. I'm kind of getting into the flow of it, so I've decided to take a 6-week writing course – Intro to Non-Fiction through Gotham Writers (www.writingclasses.com). Time to get a little more focused.


One of the TV shows I like watching is “The Biggest Loser” and they use the Body Media device to measure how many calories they burn (with a corresponding food database to enter what you consume since it's a lot about calories in v. calories out). Since they were having a sale, I ordered one (Body Media Fit) and it came Tuesday. I've now had two full days of wearing it and you know that sitting at work for 8-10 hours a day isn't the best, but damn, seeing it in real numbers is very enlightening.


You plug in your metrics and goals and it gives you a target to hit for calorie burn and intake. Intake in via an online database so it's much easier to eat whole, real food, than to enter a long list of “ingredients”. And restaurant eating? Well, that's a guesstimate. Like last night when we went to Lucky Bamboo (off Charlotte just past White Bridge Road next to the K&S Market) for hot pot. Hot pot is a broth and then you choose what veggies and meat or fish you want and they bring it all out raw and you cook it yourself. We had chicken, beef, jumbo shrimp, and a whole table full of veggies – greens, bok choy, two kinds of mushrooms, Chinese pea shoots, Napa cabbage. Kind of hard to quantify that. But it's really good and all whole food, so I won't worry about that one meal.


Anyway, back to the Body Media. For the last two days, I've only burned 2,000 to 2,100 calories. So, I need to step up the working out. Crap, I need TO work out. It's been very cold this entire week (5F this morning). I didn't sign up for this. In fact, that's a major reason I left Kansas in 1984!! I remember when we visited in November 2011, everyone said, “Oh, winters are not that bad here. Maybe a few days of cold weather.” I call bullshit on that.


Another thing the Body Media measures is physical activity (over a certain MET) and steps. The target goal for steps is 8,000 per day. I've only hit 3,500 and 3,200 the past two days. Going from the house to the truck to work and back is a habit I need to break.


If you wear the Body Media at night, it will measure your sleep and give you an efficiency rating. That's one plus – I don't toss and turn. I get in bed, fall asleep and stay asleep until the alarm wakes me up. I just need to get another hour of sleep.


Each area further breaks down into charts, graphs, etc., such as nutrition breakdown into percentages, actual graphs of when you take the steps or have physical activity hitting the MET minimum.


So, very eye-opening. Time to swing the kettlebell.



#My500Words: January 17, 2014

I've been writing every day but longhand instead of here. Not much to say, just a recap of the prior day and other things going on (which I can't really say quite yet, but will do so later).  So, I'm at 17 days in a row.


I am getting into writing every day, so yesterday I signed up for a 6-week intro to non-fiction writing class that begins next week. It's an online course, so I don't have to be tied to a specific day and time which is pretty hard to do right now with my work schedule. So I'm looking forward to this class as I have a couple of longer term projects floating around in my mind.


OK, is Comcast the worst!? I have two DRV boxes set up and one is upstairs in the “office” but I want to move it downstairs to the back where my bikes are and where I have the trainer set up. So I called, said what I wanted, they made an appointment and the guy came out today and said he couldn't install the line since I needed to have an electrician come out to do it. He'd set up my wall-neighbor and knew exactly what needed to be done and said the people on the phone didn't know what they were talking about. Well, crap. At least I'm not getting charged for today's visit. One plus, is that I did a little rearranging and clean-up so I have the back organized and some stuff tossed out. What I need is someone knowledgable to go through all my extra bike parts and see what I might need, what can be sold and what should be tossed.

#My500Words: January 13, 2014


Back on the bike.

Two days in a row of riding the bike. That's about 34 miles and probably more than in the past 4 months. October through December was pretty brutal. A lot of work travel, a lot of normal work (I annually have a large insurance renewal application due in early December which involves a lot), plus, there was a lot of work on a potential merger, something that had most of the staff on edge and freaking out since they had never been through the process before. That cratered and a lot of stuff that was set aside, was then back on the table. So busy, busy, busy. And then there was all the sadness and shock of losing Allie. Some weekends after a long week at work, all I could was lay on the couch and read or watch TV. And then came December.


For many, many years, I have not liked the month of December. It's cold, it's dark more than it's light, the whole holiday thing, and seriously, I think I am very much affected by S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder). From WebMD.com:

What causes SAD?

Experts are not sure what causes SAD, but they think it may be caused by a lack of sunlight. Lack of light may upset your sleep-wake cycle and other circadian rhythms. And it may cause problems with a brain chemical called serotonin that affects mood.

What are the symptoms?

If you have SAD, you may:

  • Feel sad, grumpy, moody, or anxious.

  • Lose interest in your usual activities.

  • Eat more and crave carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta.

  • Gain weight.

  • Sleep more and feel drowsy during the daytime.


Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.


The best December I remember is the year I went to New Zealand for 10 days to do a half Ironman. I may have to schedule a short holiday next December and preempt this. It seems like I had a mental shift on New Year's Day and the nice weather over the weekend also helped a lot. Something to think about.


So Saturday's ride was a solo affair. I headed out about 2:30 PM on my road bike and rode over through Metro Center and did a couple of loops. It was a little cool, but not bad and it was really nice to get out in the sunshine. But man, I'm out of shape. One good thing is that always in the past when I've taken a break on the bike and then started back training, my fitness comes back pretty quick. Saturday's ride was 15 miles.


Yesterday teammate Chrysa came over to my house and we rode from here over past the edge of downtown and past the football stadium and to Shelby Bottoms Park and to the end of the bike path and then looped around and back. It was a very nice day with a lot of people out and about, so a casual, chill ride with lots of talking. The incline up the Woodland Street bridge wasn't even as bad as I thought it would be, but carrying some extra fat was not helping. Major goal is to lose that! We came back via the side streets and ended up with close to 19 miles. So nearly 34 miles for the weekend. Now to ramp that up. The racing schedule has been announced and the first road race is at the end of March. Time to get serious.

#My500Words: January 11, 2014


Review: Pinewood Social http://pinewoodsocial.com


Co-worker Vince and I needed a break from so much work, so we left at 5:15 PM (so early!) last night and went to check out the new Pinewood Social in the Rutledge Hill area. Reading the Yelp reviews, people either really liked it or hated it, so we weren't sure what to expect.


Since we got there so early, we didn't have to worry about waiting, though the front desk (“INFO”) was less than overly welcoming. One gal was on the phone, the second said, “Hello”, but then nothing and the third took her sweet time in greeting us. An immediate minus.


We said we wanted drinks and probably some food (versus being there specifically for dinner), so eventually we were taken to two seats at the bar. The guy who took us there was MUCH more friendly than any of the three gals at the INFO desk. Thing were looking up.


The bar is in the middle of the room and is quite large and square with seating around 3 sides of the square. The drink list is lengthy and interesting. This is a cocktail place so if you plan on drinking beer, you'll be disappointed (but then, there are lots of places with very excellent beer lists). The first bartender who waited on us was pretty matter of fact and didn't offer much in the way of suggestions and went off and made our drinks, which were good, albeit pricey $12 per drink).


But then bartender Lee took over and things were very much on the upswing! Lee asked if we wanted to order food and the two ladies sitting kitty-corner from us had suggested the fried broccoli appetizer, so we ordered that and cheeseburgers. The broccoli was amazing! Next time I would order that for myself and not share. The broccoli florets are flash-fried (not deep-fried) and then lemon zest and sea salt are sprinkled on it and they come with a dipping sauce, but really, you don't need that. $6 for the broccoli.


The cheeseburgers ($13) come as two thin patties with cheese, lettuce, onion, pickle, mayo and mustard and the bun was pretty good too. This comes with home fries and a little cup of cornichons. I couldn't finish it all, leaving some of the home fries and about a quarter of the burger. I'd get it again for sure.


We got chatting with Lee, who is from Charleston and went to The Citadel, and we let him make our second drink, whatever he wanted, after us telling him what we do and don't like. I have no idea what I had except that it was not sweet (my request) and had mint and ginger syrup in it. Vince liked both of his drinks. They make all of their syrups and everything they use in-house and it was fun to watch the guy making different syrups during the evening. And with the “gatekeepers” at the front door, you don't have people walking in and standing at the bar. This is actually one big gripe in the Yelp reviews.


There are also a number of banquets along the windows and tables were you can have dinner, then there are the couches and small tables and chairs like someone's living room. And a long raised table where people were working on their computers. I'd like to go back with a group and get one of the two private rooms, or, get a group and hit the old time bowling alley. There are 6 lanes in the back with retro bowling lanes and equipment, but at $40 per hour, you need a group!


One thing we did note is that except for Lee and one other busboy, every single bartender and waiter had dark hair and facial hair. Not that I'm complaining! That is definitely my favorite look!! And the crowd was quite eclectic – a few grey-haired patrons, preppy types, some hipsters, tourists, downtown workers, pretty much a little of everything.


Pinewood Social is open all day, with breakfast, lunch and dinner. The breakfast menu looks good so I'll check that out. When we left at 8:30 PM, there were probably 20 people waiting in the front, but they all had drinks in their hands, so the other major complaint on Yelp of not being able to get a drink while you wait seems to be fixed. The other big minus in the Yelp reviews was on the food, but our broccoli and cheeseburgers and fries were very good, so maybe the kitchen has improved. I'll definitely go back, but it won't be a regular thing since I'm not so keen on dropping $50 a whack. It's San Francisco prices for sure!


One thing that Vince and I talked about is that if all these new places had been here in November 2011 when we came on the “recruiting” visit (and if they had taken us to them), then it wouldn't have been such a cultural shock to move. In the past year, the bar and restaurant scene here has exploded, which is a very good thing.


And if you're wondering, did I skip my 500 words for the past couple of days, rest assured that I did not. I wrote +500 words Thursday and Friday, just not for public review. So I'm 11 for 11 on this goal.

#My500Words: January 8, 2014

Watching “Buying and Selling” on HGTV and it's giving me some ideas. I really like my house but there are a number of things I'd like to do to make it perfect. There's too much builder-grade stuff and the pale yellow color ALL OVER! Everyone says that there are lots of projects and they are ongoing pretty much forever, so I should make a list.


Starting at the entrance, I have a small counter with two drawers and cabinets and an empty space in the middle. Not sure what they thought that would be, but the empty space just might fit a wine cooler. Then the counter area could become a wine bar area. And curtains.


The living room is pretty good as it is since I already painted one contrast wall. The one thing I would add is more lighting as it's too dark for me, especially in to corner next to the fireplace. I hate dark. I love my fireplace (double-sided) but I'm not so keen on the slate. But for now, it's fine. And I really need a 70 inch TV. Yes, really!


There's a bit of work that needs to be done in the kitchen and dining room. First of all, I really dislike the granite. Not the granite itself, but the color and pattern. I'd rip that out and put in white quartz. And it definitely needs a backsplash. I would also change the cabinets to light grey. And run all that so it ties into the dining area, adding the beadboard around the dining room.


I have tons of room in the kitchen and tons of storage, which I love, but no microwave! But I don't want one sitting on the counter. On one of the HGTV shows I saw a microwave in a drawer. That is what I need!! Even though I have a lot of storage, some of it is a little awkward or in hard to reach areas. But at least it's there. And in the dining room, they put the light fixture in a funny place. It needs moved about 18 inches. And replace the fixture. And paint the entire area. And curtains.


The other area that needs work is the back of the house, in what the other houses have as a breakfast area. That is my bike area. My wall-neighbor had wiring run back there and put in a TV. That's what I need so I can ride the trainer and watch TV. That's what I used to do nearly every morning in San Francisco. I rode and watched nearly every episode of “House Hunters”, “Property Virgin” and “My First Place” so I got lots of ideas. I have added a chalkboard wall back there so I can write up a race list.


Things I like about the downstairs are the openness (it's a great party house), the huge island in the kitchen, the gas cooktop, the double ovens, having a half-bath, and all the storage. Oh yeah, the hardwood floors and my refrigerator.


Moving upstairs, I'd rip out the carpets and put in better carpets. It's fine for now, but it's on the cheaper side. The two other bedrooms are fine (except for painting the walls) and the closets are pretty large for secondary bedrooms. The hall bathroom is huge, but it's a fiberglass tub. I'd rip that out and put in a real tub and retile.


One thing I love is the laundry room on the second floor with the bedrooms. This is ideal. And a very large storage closet. This they did right.


The master bedroom is great – a nice size and two walk-in closets. As my friend Matthew said when I took him to look at it before I bought it, “Her summer and her winter!” Not much I want to change about the master bedroom except new carpetings and painting the walls. I have the paint, now I just need to get it painted. And curtains.


The master bath is another story. I want to pretty much rip it all out and redo it. I don't like the granite (same as the kitchen) and I hate the tile in the walk-in shower. Rip out the tile, put pebble stone in theshower floor, add a rainfall shower head and full body jets (the shower is large enough for about 6 people), rip out the floor and add heated floors and new tile. The tub is fine (not fiberglass!) since I will never use it (HATE baths). I'd also like to put a bottom-up blinds in the window over the bathtub. The master bath is where the most work needs done. I'm in the process of painting one wall, so that's a start.


Then there is the third floor. It's 700 square feet, 33x14 feet open space. Everyone has an idea of what should go up there, from a media room to a workout room to add shower, toilet, sink and make it another (huge) master. I'm kind of leaning to a workout room, so I'd rip out the carpet, run cable up there, add a TV, then put some other kind of flooring in and get a weight bench, more weights, a treadmill, etc.


Moving to the outside, landscaping needs done for sure. In the front, I have a tiny yard and front porch. In the back there are steps to a small concrete pad and a little more grass (which I'd like to get rid of since that's where a lot of bugs and mosquitos are in the summer). I have a couch, two chairs and a table from Walmart out there, but I need a BBQ and some plants or something. And definite landscaping is needed in the front. And stain the wood on the stairs (front and back). A motion sensor light in the back would be nice too.


So nothing huge needs to be done (the master bath is a want). Finishing the painting is top priority. Then, think about the next project. Or maybe Jonathan Scott will ring my doorbell and take over!



#My500Words: January 7, 2014

 Well crap! My juicer just crapped out after less than 2 weeks. Not so happy Jack Lalanne. I'll be taking a trip to Costco to take it back. Luckily I had done an apple and some kale before it died. A squeeze of lime and I had half a glass of juice and it still tasted good. When I started doing this, I wasn't sure I would like juice (ick – green stuff!), but I've liked everything I've made. Though do NOT put orange or grapefruit peels in the juicer – makes it bitter.

I went over my 2013 goals but now for the 2014 goals. I put the following down for 2014 and of course, they may changes as things and life happen. But for now....

2014 GOALS

  1. Read 12 books. That's one a month. There used to be a time when I was reading double and triple that. Less internet, more books. And magazines. I still like a real, paper book or magazine or newspaper over online. I get too scattered reading online. Read this, oh, there's a link that sounds interesting, and another, and another. Pretty soon, you're far from where you started. I will admit that having books on the iPad is good for travel. You can take multiple books at once.

  2. Finish Ironman Chattanooga. This is a big one since the last Ironman I did was Vineman 2007 (and IM Brasil earlier that sumer). So it's been 7 years. As Scott (my old tri coach) said in September, “You do remember how much training this takes?” Yes. So it's time to get with it. I have 9 months. Biking will come back no problem (especially when the weather warms up to ride) and for swimming, I doing a swim camp beginning February 16th, so no issues there. I grew up swimming and may not be the fastest, but I can swim forever. Running will be the issue. Will my knee take it? That's the big question mark. But I think that getting into this race was a meant to be. When it first opened up, I tried to get in but got booted out (so many people trying to enter crashed the website.) So I thought, “Oh well, not meant to be.” But later Ironman sent out an email saying they were going to enter people as they were in the queue and would be sending out two emails. The first one was if you still had a chance to get in and the second one if you probably had no chance (being at the back of the queue). If you got the first email, then you had to declare you still wanted an entry, or you could take early entry to 3 other IM races. If you declared you still wanted to enter, they would send you a follow-up email with a link to entry which you had to enter within 24 hours. I got the first email, so here we are.

  3. Get back to a regular training lifestyle. And that's going to mean fitting in my work schedule. I'm going to have to remember what I did previously. Though I think training was much easier in NorCal. I will just have to adjust.

  4. Build up savings. No brainer.

  5. Pay extra on truck.

  6. Enter one swim meet (if it fits into the schedule). Not sure what the swim meet action is here.

  7. Lose xx pounds (and corresponding decrease in body fat.) Follow #3 and clean up nutrition and this should follow.

To get there, my January goals are:

  1. Lose 6 pounds.

  2. Swim 8 times.

  3. Get back on the bike.

  4. 40 hours of training.

  5. Pay off one debt.

  6. Read 1 book.

  7. Walk/jog – get ass out the door!

  8. Write 500 words daily for 31 days. This has been the easiest to do thus far!

So, days 2-6 of January haven't been so great workout wise. Accelerate from zero. Day 7 and on will be better.

On the nutrition front, I'm trying to pin point what is causing the heartburn, stomach issues. And it's looking like it might be meat. So what I've been trying to do is to cut back on meat and eat a lot of veggies and beans and some fruit. At one point, I thought it might be gluten and flour, but I'm leaning more towards the meat. More experimenting is in order.

#My500Words: January 6, 2014

For starters, yesterday and Saturday was not a good day for my football teams. The Packers especially have some thinking to do in the off-season.

All weekend long, shoot, even starting on Friday, the news was full of doom and gloom about a huge winter storm hitting the area on Sunday. Sunday morning was fairly nice from what I saw (considering I didn't get out of bed until close to 1:00 PM. It was cold in the house, I didn't get home and to bed until after midnight the night before, reading a book for awhile sounded better than getting up, etc. I guess I'm still in a bit of a funk.

When I got up, they were still projecting doom and gloom and even though it was partially sunny and 55F, it was pretty black to the north and the wind was kicking up. So I bailed on the plan to go watch the game at ML Rose and got dressed and went to Kroger. I needed to stock up on my veggies and fruit so I can do my morning juice.

I got in the truck and drove over to Kroger (about 3 blocks) and by the time I got there, the sun was gone and it was starting to rain. Still pretty decent temperature. The Kroger by my house was busy, but not as bad as some of the other places I heard about. There was only one person in front of me at checkout. A basket full of food later (yes, and some junk food to watch the game), I was out of there, back into the rain.

Since I'd had barely any coffee, I drove through Starbucks and then cruised around Salemtown to check out the amount of building that is going on there. Salemtown is on the other side of Rosa Parks Boulevard from my neighborhood and is one of the next new “hot” neighborhoods. There is limited area to grow since the freeway and the river marks natural boundaries. Salemtown is just north of Germantown and both area part of The Capitol District, which includes my 'hood. The Capitol District, as the collaboration is called, includes the neighborhoods north of the State Capitol — Germantown, Salemtown, Hope Gardens and Historic Buena Vista (my 'hood).

Germantown was the first to gentrify and they are building some townhouses that will list at $550,000 to $650,000. Salemtown is next and when I was looking last spring, shotgun houses (long and narrow, usually 2 story) were listing for $260,000 to $280,000. And I wasn't that thrilled with the immediate neighborhood for that price (plus, above the price point where I wanted to be). But they've done a lot of building and there isn't much area left to build out. There are still a few old houses that could become teardowns, but they are even building clear over by the river/freeway across from the water plant. So I like to drive around and check out what is going on in that neighborhood and look at prices since so many people want to live near downtown, so the natural progression is for gentrification to move across Rosa Parks to Historic Buena Vista. With corresponding real estate increases. In fact, my relator texted me a few months ago to tell me a very similar place to mine had just been listed in Salemtown. It had 4 bedrooms instead of my 3, but only had 2,800 sq. feet (I have 3,100 sq. feet) and looked the same from the outside (brick). That place listed for $419,000!! I told her when she could sell mine for $400,000, to call me and I'll start packing. I'd take a +50% profit any day.

Back to yesterday. Came home, watched the game. Was pissed out about the outcome. Really Packers, we have some changes to make in the off-season!

Next weekend I'll be rooting for the Colts (HATE the Pats and Tom Brady), no one in the SD v. Denver game, the Saints and the 49ers, though I do like Cam Newton.



No. 4 Indianapolis Colts at No. 2 New England Patriots, Saturday, Jan. 11 at 8:15 p.m. ET on CBS

No. 6 San Diego Chargers at No. 1 Denver Broncos, Sunday, Jan. 12 at 4:40 p.m. ET on CBS 



No. 6 New Orleans Saints at No. 1 Seattle Seahawks, Saturday, Jan. 11 at 4:35 p.m. ET on FOX

No. 5 San Francisco 49ers at No. 2 Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Jan. 12 at 1:05 p.m. ET on FOX

#My500Words: January 5, 2014

The NFL Playoffs. I love football. Always have, even as a little girl. One year for Christmas I received a football helmet. I still have that somewhere. I also still have a card or letter my Grandpa Eidman wrote me when I was in high school. If I recall correctly, my high school team had lost a championship game and I was in tears and inconsolable. He sent me a note saying he'd had a dream that the players from the winning team were carrying their coach off the field and that coach was me. I think comments like this are part of why I grew up thinking I could do whatever I wanted and to not have limitations.

My love of the Green Bay Packers also come from him. He thought Vince Lombardi was “THE MAN”. And he was. If you ever have the chance, read “When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi" by David Maraniss. A very awesome read and insight into the man. A few of my favorites Lombardi sayings.

“Winning is not a sometime thing, it is an all the time thing. You don’t do things right once in a while…you do them right all the time.”

“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”

 “Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”

“If you’ll not settle for anything less than your best, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in your lives.”

“Winning is not a sometime thing…it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while…you don’t do the right thing once in a while…you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit.”

“Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser."

“Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

A few years ago, when they sold more Green Bay Packers stock, I bought a share. So yes, I am Packer owner. My dream is to attend a game at Lambeau Field. So, the Packers are my #1 team.

My #2 team is the Kansas City Chiefs. I grew up with them as our local team. Len Dawson, the Chiefs winning Superbowl IV, but miring in obscurity for most of the past decade. Until this year when they seem to have turned things around and made the playoffs. Yesterday's game was so frustrating!!!!! To be up by so much and then lose four of your players to injury and totally fall apart. Damn. But Andy Reid seems to have the program heading in the right direction.

And today my #1 (Packers) are playing my #3 (San Francisco 49ers). Spending 25 years in Northern California, of course I'm a Niners fan (except when they are playing the Packer or the Chiefs). I lived in San Francisco during the glory days of the 1980s/early 1990s. Bill Walsh, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Roger Craig, Dwight Clark, Steve Young. Heady times.

So today it's the 49ers v. the Packers at Lambeau. I was at the Packers v. 49ers NFC championship game in 1999. The 49ers scored late (Steve Young to TO) and I still remember Ben Farber jumping about 4 feet into the air, ecstatic. I'm hoping today's game turns out differently.


#My500Words: January 4, 2014

Someone mentioned New Year Resolutions the other night and I always like to spend a little time going over the year at its end, looking back on what was good, what was bad, what I accomplished (and didn't accomplish). And I said that I preferred to set “goals” rather than “resolutions”. Remember S.M.A.R.T.? Specific. Measureable. Achievable. Realistic. Time-targeted. That said, I generally write down some goals for the entire year, and then each month, set goals for that month, and I do both personal, life, financial goals, and also training or fitness goals.

Looking over my 2013 goals, I did pretty well on hitting my non-workout goals! Not so good on any fitness related goals though.

2013 GOALS

      1. Pay off two long-time loans. Done and done. When both were paid off, this was a great feeling. Why didn't I buckle down and do this earlier?

      2. Save money to buy a house. This was a longer term goal since living in San Francisco, the thought of never being able to buy a house was remotely in my mind. But on a whim in the fall of 2012, I went to one of those first-time homebuyers seminars and for kicks, had them run some numbers. Holy crap! Someone would loan me how much? Enough for a decent house here (which would not even be enough for a garage in SF and about half of what a decent tiny condo in SF would cost). So that put the wheels in motion.

      3. Buy a house. This was was definitely not on the radar for 2013, but it wouldn't hurt to go to some open houses. Then everything just spiraled from there and is another post in itself. But yes, check mark on this too.

      4. Read one book per month. I read 9 for the year. That's a low number for me actually.

      5. Lose x pounds. Sadly, this did not happen.

      6. There were a number of other fitness and racing goals, none of which were met.

As I look back over the year and think about why the fitness and racing goals went by the wayside, the first part of the year I was in physical therapy a couple of times a week with a very painful hip. Part of that is going from walking most places, riding my bike a lot, just being much more active in general, to working more. I went from a 7.5 hour work day to an 8.0 hour one. That 30 minutes a day is 3.5 hours/week and that adds up over a year. Plus no more walking or taking the cable car or bus to work with the corresponding walking. Now I jump in the truck and drive to work. Why I don't walk is yet another post.

Another thing is that my bike fitness was (and is) minimal. Having asthma and Reynaud's Syndrome means riding in cold weather is very painful. Give me +100F any day of the week. So I don't ride outside when it's cold. And we've been over riding the trainer already. But I will do more of that now.

But what really threw me off the rails was Labor Day weekend. Here is a message I sent out on September 4, 2013. It still hurts to think and write about and I was in a funk until this week.



Those of you who have been following along since 2011 know that when I was in

NorCal I raced my bike at the velodrome and helped to coach the juniors program.

I loved it! I did it also because my buddy Allie, whom I've known since she was about

4 years old, started coming to the workouts. I love her like she is my own.

We spent a lot of time together. I was her Auntie Cathy.


Here is the message my SF team sent out yesterday. She turned 14 a couple weeks

ago. I am heartbroken.




FR: Paule Bates to Roaring Mouse


It is with a very heavy heart that I have been asked to relay a horrible tragedy that has happened to one

of our own. On Monday, Katy and Tim lost Allie. They found her at home Monday evening.

If you knew Allie she was a warm, goofy and wisecracking teenager. She will be missed by everyone

who knew and loved her.





#My500Words: January 3, 2014

I've been awake for over two hours (it's now 6:05 AM) with major gastric reflux. Woke up belching up a storm. Yes, that's a visual I know. Sorry. The same thing also happened on New Year's Day, during the day. I've been thinking about what the culprit might be. On Wednesday I thought it might be ground beef. But there are two things in common that I ate over the two days...chips and salsa (and a different brand of salsa than I've ever had), or, black-eyed peas (with tomatoes and sausage). Maybe I'll stick to juice, fruits and veggies for a couple of days and see what happens.

Before Christmas I watched a movie on the Netflix streaming service, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” [http://fatsickandnearlydead.com/] about a 310 pound Aussie guy who drank only fresh fruit and vegetable juice for 60 days, plus exercise, and lost a lot of weight and more importantly, got off medication for a debilitating auto-immune disorder, as did another guy with the exact same auto-immune disorder. I found it to be a pretty interesting movie and it was probably the right time for me to see it since I'd been eating crap for far too long this fall and winter. Why I'd been doing that is a whole other discussion in itself for another time.

Anyway, I poked around on Joe the Juice guy's website and last weekend when we were at Costco, they had the Jack Lalanne juicer for $89. Score! So this week, I've been experimenting with juice for breakfast. Though just a coffee cup sized glass of juice at 8:00 AM left my stomach growling by 9:30, so I've added one egg to go with it. And we all know how healthy and fitness conscious Jack LaLanne was, living to 96 years old and working out to the end. Probably living in Northern California helped too.

I was a little leery about drinking spinach or kale, but my concoctions all have been pretty good! The first day it was carrots, pineapple, grapefruit and spinach. I was very pleasantly surprised – it was TASTY! Though putting frozen chunks of pineapple in the juicer is not advised. And, baby carrots try to escape if you don't stick the plunger in real fast. The first couple of days I used what I had on hand, but after a trip to the grocery store, I now have quite a few options. Yesterday's mix was kale, apple, lime and carrots. That was really good.

One good thing that's come out of this so far, is that I've been taking my lunch to work and don't have any urge to eat eat fast food. And in fact, the thought of meat isn't too tempting right now. I took some turkey for lunch yesterday to go with my cabbage salad and I ended up eating only half and tossing the rest.

Joe the Juice dude also recommends giving up coffee, but that is not going to happen. I am trying to cut down from drinking it all day, but I actually like the taste (and I pretty much drink black only) and brew my own in the mornings with my Kona coffee from coffeesofhawaii.com. No office swill for me! And I have three Starbucks gift cards that I've received in the past couple of weeks, so I couldn't let those languish, now could I?

#My500Words: January 2, 2014

Ugh, forgot to set the alarm so I woke up 2 hours later than planned. I wondered why the light was peeking through the window shades when I woke up. And we went from sunny and nice (50s) yesterday to overcast, wet streets and freezing this morning. And the snow is coming (already snowing about an hour away).

Thinking about why I didn't ride my bike for a month and a half. Cold weather and rain. That's it pretty much. I HATE cold weather. Hate it with a passion. It affects my asthma and I have Reynaud's Syndrome, so my hands and fingers get ice cold. In an ideal world, I'd live somewhere that it's nice and hot (and only rains at night) and I'd have multiple houses and follow the sun. A great schedule would be from about April to September I'd be in Livermore, California. Great riding all over Northern California, close to my Cali friends, close to San Francisco, great bike racing, Vineman tri series, and my beloved velodrome. Damn, I miss the track.

I would take the month of July to go to France to watch the Tour. And of course, it's an ideal world, so I would have an apartment in Paris. Come October, I'd go to Kona, Hawaii for a few weeks to ride, swim and watch Ironman. I love Kona and I haven't been since 2011. I was planning to go this past October, but buying a house made me rethink that. I'm hoping to get back there this coming October. After Ironman, it would be off to New Zealand and Australia for the Southern Hemisphere summer. I have friends in both places so I'd split my time.

But all bets would be off if I visited Italy. I have a feeling that I would love it so much there (plus the Italian men), that I might never leave. And I want to go back to Ireland, and back to Belgium, especially for the Spring Classics. I've ridden my bike on part of the Paris – Roubaix course, but damn, I would love to see that race and the others in person. (Yes, I know – it would most likely be cold and raining!) And back to Brasil. Damn. How to actually pull this off......

Back to yesterday's bike ride. The other thing is that I'm out of shape and don't want to ride with everyone else since they are all fit. I never minded riding alone in California, but here, I still don't know the roads that well and just can't seem to get out the door. Even living right in the middle of San Francisco, I could be over the Golden Gate Bridge in 30 minutes. Or, do a bunch of hill climbing for a good 60-90 minute workout out in the Presidio. I haven't figured that out here but my goal for the new year is to get out there and ride. Or if it's too cold (which I will have to figure out), ride the damned trainer. I spent a few years riding the trainer or the rollers every morning for the track. I could ride at 6:00 AM with the TV on with no problem. Here in the apartment, I hardly ever rode the trainer since I'm pretty sure that 6:00 AM riding would not have thrilled the downstairs neighbor. But now I have the space to do this. Time to get off my butt.

And I still didn't write about what I had planned to. That is still mulling itself around in my head.

#My500Words: January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!


I've committed to writing 500 words a day for 31 days. [http://goinswriter.com/my500words/] Maybe this will help with my procrastination!


Throughout the years I've never really liked New Year's Eve, but I really like New Year's Day. New Year's Eve always seem like everyone tries way too hard. So in the past, I've usually just gone for a drink, a fairly early dinner, then home before 10:00 PM and often, sleeping before midnight. Living in California previously, I'd “celebrate” the new year on East Coast time.


There are a couple of traditions that I've followed for a long time. The first is that you have to eat some black-eyed peas on New Year's Day for good luck and prosperity for the upcoming year. No, we aren't Southern, but my Mom always had the black-eyed peas and I've continued it. But now living in the South, I had to laugh on Tuesday when I stopped at the grocery store and the had bags and bags of the pea piled up, 10 bags for $1! This is serious business!


The other tradition is that whatever you do on New Year's Day sets the tone for the rest of the year. So really, do you want to stay out all night and wake up drunk and stupid to set the tone for the year? I didn't think so. We did have a little Mexican Fiesta pot-luck at my house last night and a few beers (or wine or margarita) were drank, but the main entertainment was playing the game “Cards Against Humanity”. Not for the faint hearted or prim and proper! There were 12 of us and by the end, we were laughing so hard that people were crying. What a fun time. We had a champagne toast at midnight, kisses all around and then everyone was off. Cyclists who were all going to ride today, you know.


Now this “whatever you do on NYD” thing is truer than you'd think. Looking at my journal from last year I noted that I went to dinner with V&A, then home and to sleep by about 10:30. January 1, 2013 was cold and rainy and I didn't really ride (or run or do a lot of anything but watch TV and read and goof around on the computer). So how did the rest of 2013 go? I didn't really ride or run or swim and only raced three times ALL YEAR (two 5Ks and 1 crit). My lowest training volume ever since I started training. And it shows. I did do entirely too much sitting on my ass on the couch, surfing the internet, watching TV and just doing shit. Hell! So to start 2014 off right, I got up, had some coffee while I was putting all the party dishes in the dishwasher, cleaned the kitchen, put the B-E peas in the crockpot, did a little goal setting, reviewed my 2013 goals, picked up the house, folded the laundry, called my Dad, read email and checked Facebook, took down and put away all the Christmas decorations, had breakfast, had lunch, and then....went outside and rode my bike for the first time since November 16th. Sunny, temps in the 50s and just me and my bike.


Shit, I am out of shape. But, it's a start. My motto for this year is: “Accelerate from zero.”

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