Sunday, August 31


I wasn't going to run because I didn't bring clothes suited for it, but the morning fog in the country was all come hither. So here I am, pajama pants rolled up, manure pungent in thankfully crisp morning air and enjoying walking back home. Hey, there's my dad! Must have come looking for me.

Hey A, this is where we used to stand on the guard rail and pull imaginary cords to get the expressway truckers to honk their horns.

Friday, August 29

Friday, August 22

Sayonara Summer

It's slipping away.  Sunday the geese started gathering, traveling in great arrows against blue skies, pointing the way to winter. Underfoot, bright yellow and red leaves are already starting to decorate the roadsides as I run. Just two or three here and there, but that's how it starts.  And most telling of all, the Rheent, Rheents are here.  What are the Rheent, Rheents?  They must be kind of like crickets, but they don't show up until August and they have this incessant question-and-answer session all night long: "Rheent, rheent?", "Rheent, rheent!"  They stay high in the trees so I haven't seen one yet.  If you have any idea what they are, please enlighten me!

It never ceases to surprise me how this can happen every year.  It was so hot and the air so thick when I was running today, and soon I'll be layered in clothes and freezing my nose hairs with each frigid breath.  Soon I'll be snowboarding, too and that gives me happy thoughts, but much as I love, love, love it, I've got to be honest.  I really love summer.  Less clothes, lots of sun, warm winds...I will miss you.

Saturday, August 16

Words. Fruit. Flowers. Ink.

I heard a fantastic poem on the Garrison Keillor podcast today whilst on my morning run. One was about a couple who should be getting ready for bed, but instead open up another bottle of wine and enjoy each other's company into the wee hours even though they have to work the next day. I love poetry! I love words strung together in such a way that my eyes widen and my heart quickens, or I just sigh.

That got me thinking of all the mediums I and we as humans express ourselves in. Words are not so different from paint, or paint from glass or glass from dancing. Dancing is not so different from growing...fruit, vegetable, flowers. Such beauty in the form of each perfect or wonderfully imperfect form.

As I chose from a rainbow of Zinnias that a vendor had for sale at the farmers market today, she noticed me picking and pondering. "Are you having fun?" she asked good naturedly. I laughed, "Yes, they are beautiful." She said I should come to her house on a Friday night with a flashlight to see how much fun that was. I liked having that imagery in my head that these flowers were picked by flashlight the night before and certainly moonlight, too, because I remember seeing it shining on my kitchen floor. I caught a conversation she was having with another customer about tattoos, another medium we express ourselves in. A unique medium where the creator and bearer of the work are simultaneously expressing. She did not approve of someone who had a toadstool and flower on their leg wearing shorts to show it off and serving the public in some manner. I almost shared my thoughts on how people express themselves with her that had been rolling around my head all morning, but chose to be on my way and share my thoughts with you instead. Ink and flowers growing are not so different I would have told her. Both grow from a tiny speck - a dot of ink, a little seed - and become a full creation to behold.

P.S. I do not have a tattoo, but am enamored by the art. I just can't find something that I'd want to live with forever. I have a strange affection for my scars incurred during athletic adventures though. There is a tiny scar on my left pinky finger that I got from crashing my bike in the bushes on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. I will love it forever: Proof that will back up the fading memories when I am old.

Wednesday, August 13

Surf Ski

  Surf ski. It just sounds cool. That is what I tried out tonight at 'yak racing (top). It is like paddling a boat with a knife edge on its belly. It goes through waves like they weren't even there. No bounce, just smooth. Was it tippy? Well, it sure was, but I just have to learn how this boat responds. It is extremely narrow and feels more like something you put on than sit on top of because it just fits and responds to your body.

By the end of the evening I found myself joining the paddling company's inaugural women's race team. "Can I be captain?" jokingly rolled off my tongue, and relieved looks and affirmations were the response. Wait...what does the captain have to do? We start "training" tomorrow. Good Lord. This will be my first attempt at a team sport. Wish me luck. Did I say I meant to do more kayaking this year? Goal accomplished and what fun it is.

Another highlight of the evening was the staff donning electrical tape for war paint and piling into the war canoe for a lap around the course. They challenged anyone to beat their time. Perhaps the Women's Race Team will heed the call.

Monday, August 11

I <3 Cycling

Scots and world class cyclists size each other up before the Twilight Criterium bike race this past Saturday.

This is one of the coolest events ever to come to the city: a two-hour, night cycling race. B and I have been meaning to go for a couple of years, and next year seems too far away to wait for the next one. We watched from various corners and straightaways as the amateurs finished. There was a crash of about five bikes, and if you think that is painful to watch on TV, it is cringingly tough from a few feet away. The whir and thunk of bikes and flesh on pavement is not something I want to hear twice. Everyone was back on their bikes, but they had to be hurting.

I leaned along the barricades as the pros started filling in at the start. The mass of cleaned shaved, muscled legs and svelte bodies elbow-to-elbow in brightly colored spandex exuded an amazing race-ready energy. It reminded me of being at the horse races. I asked the closest one if he had done this before, and the Aussie, number 90, said, "No, this is my first time." I picked him as my "horse." They took to the freshly rained on course with a double rainbow arched over it at 8:30 and had a clear spot of weather for about an hour before the a slight drizzle made a return. Some family came from out of town to meet us, but decided not to in the end so we missed the last half hour to greet them at home, but it was incredibly exciting. I am officially a cycling race fan!

And how did 90 fair? He and a small group of others had to stop at the pit early on so no win for him. Maybe he'll be back next year.

Wednesday, August 6

Young and In Love

It was an ego boosting, feel-good night. First I went to get my hair cut after work 'cause it's been since March.  Now some hair I had on my head in Hawaii is on the cutting room floor - *sigh.* Since I skipped the blow dry it was just $13 which I was psyched about. I really had no idea how it was going to come out, but looked okay wet and had to be better than what I walked in with. I learned a few years ago that asking for the "Rachel" would get me pretty good results. My hair stylists keep leaving, but no matter who I go to they seem to have a good grasp on that with some variations.

Next I hopped in my car and headed to kayak racing where I set a new PR! My best time yet. Someone asked me if I was a serious racer before I put in. I said I don't know about that, but I seriously try. My time was 23:88 minutes with a 5.02 mph pace which is fantastic for me. I could have gone faster, too so that was satisfying knowing there was still room for improvement. It was also gratifying because I have become steadily slower all summer due to conditions and me just sucking. One woman beat me tonight by .76. Grrr. Still I won a glass from the race series' beer sponsor and a bumper sticker from the kayak place. Besides sips here and there to see if I still hate it, I have only drunk a half can of beer in my life, but it's a nice glass. It'll get filled with milk at dinner time.

I stood chit chatting with everyone after and mentioned by husband, which then sparked conversation about my age 'cause they thought I was just a kid. I got 14, 22 and 17 thrown out there so that was fun. I know it won't last forever, so this thirty-four-year-old will bask in those "you look like a teenager" comments for as long as they do. I think it's more staggering when they hear my husband and I just celebrated our sweet 16 anniversary. The secret I told them: no kids!

Speaking of marriage, my co-worker is tying the knot soon and I just got her invitation. First they are just beautiful; completely designed and hand "die-cut" by her. My favorite part though is a quote inside:
"You don't marry one person; you marry three:
the person you think they are,
the person they are, and
the person they are going to become
as a result of being married to you."
- Richard Needham

That is the truest, sweetest description of marriage I've ever heard. If you are lucky, your spouse makes you a better person just because you want to be better for them and allows you to become all the things you want to be in your own right. (After all they fell in love with you because you were a separate and interesting person.) And of course they love you for who you are even when it's not pretty. If I never win the lottery, I still feel like the luckiest person I know.

Write it in the Sky

Can't afford to rent a plane trailing a banner professing your undying love or other matters? Do it virtually.

Tuesday, August 5

Win a Free Bag

I love taking my own grocery bags with me to the store. Sure, it helps the planet, but it also helps me carry EVERYTHING into the house at once. Saving time and the planet. Jump on the bandwagon. You could win a free bag here from Flip and Tumble, a company that creates reusable bags that roll up into a tiny ball. Leave it in your car and it will always be at the ready.

Great Monday Night Ride

Monday made my head hurt, but the evening spent mountain biking with B cured it. First we grabbed a $5 turkey sub at Subway. I stuffed it in the backpack and we mustered up the grueling zigzag incline to the top of the hill. When we made it, B was ready to sit down and eat, but I said, "No! We have to pretend like the food isn't there (which it usually isn't 'cause we always forget) and do some riding while there is still good light." It's gets pretty dark in the forest. I have fancy yellow sunglasses to brighten the shadows that I left cozied in their case right in my bag in the car. Numbskull. Besides that, they are great eye protection, but we were so far in that I didn't bother going back for them and was fortunate to leave with both peepers intact.

We came across a trail labelled T which ran all along the top of the edge of the hill. It was a nice trail to relax and stay or get warmed up on - nothing too scary, trees nearly scraping the handlebars but all in all just an easy hard-packed meandering trail. Lots of fun. Later we got on Chutes and Ladders and that was a blast. Lots of killer hills though and some logs that we'll learn to jump over one day. B can do it, but I am still challenged. There's another trail called Ribbon Candy that feels just like snowboarding - the trail follows the same line a snowboard would with steep-banked turns. We bypassed it this time. We've done it before, but my bike and I don't go down it the conventional way in spots (read sliding partway down hill with bike laying on me and me cursing).

All sweaty and grungy, we popped into Apple store at the mall on the way home to grab my car charger and a case for B. We bought some tea and coffee at Starbucks because it was there and played with our iPhones for a bit before calling it a night. On the way out we had to pass by Lindt's chocolate shop so in we went to see if there were any free samples, and after looking like we were interested for a bit, the woman behind the counter offered them up: deep dark chocolate mint truffles. A sweet ending to the evening. I was still thinking about it today; it was that good.

Saturday, August 2

Bye Ohio

We are on the road returning from B's family reunion. It was a pleasant day of hanging out with the family I knew and the ones I didn't. Great Aunt Betty was a pretty cool eighty-some year old character. At once candid, brave and funny. I love people like that.

Another highlight of the day was seeing pictures of my husband as a little boy in the reunion photo album. Cute then as he is handsome now with the most sweetly honest eyes that ever looked into you. What a treat to see the little boy he was. My mom took so many pictures of me you could make a flip book and watch me grow before your eyes, but of B I had just seen a couple posed portraits like his third-grade bowl haircut picture. Who knew my tall, dark and handsome had blond hair?

Friday, August 1

Hi Ohio

Tomorrow is going to start before the sun comes up. I guess it always does, but I'm going to be awake for it. B and I are off to his family reunion. Yep, I married a native Ohion. We'll meet up with his mom, sister and her kids partway and all pile into her van. Family road trips are always an adventure so I'm sure we'll make some memories. I always love when something so memorable happens that it gets brought up during every holiday get together. Little Miss Sunshine anyone?