Saturday, February 20, 2010


I’ve started to write many times in the past couple of weeks since the glorious Super Bowl, but there has been so much going on that when I sit down to write, other things take my attention away, or I just don’t have the energy.  One day I literally slept the day away after having oral surgery to have a dental implant placed towards the back of my upper jaw. (surprisingly painless procedure for me!)

The primary reason I get too tired to write is I’ve been watching the Olympics.  Normally I can’t watch hours of television, but the Olympics are special.  I love them, and stay up far too late enjoying the thrill of all the various competitions.  It’s been particularly sweet this year, because Stella loves sports and is just as riveted as I am.  I remember being her age and dreaming about what it would be like to be an Olympian, and it’s fun to see her wheels turning the same way.  Her eyes lit up when I told her she could indeed compete at that level and that she just had to make it more than a dream, but also her goal and start working toward it.  She’s just the kind of person who will do it, too.  She’s now thinking about being on the Olympic Women’s Soccer team in 2020.  Just watch and see!

Besides creating a groove in my sofa while I watch the Olympic Games, I’ve been planning to move.  I have a new place here in the neighborhood, just down the street and around the corner from where I am now.  It’s a bit smaller in terms of storage space, so I am really needing to pare down and get rid of some things we don’t use.  I don’t know why, but this move is harder for me to get motivated for than some past moves.  The amount to be done feels overwhelming.  I just don’t feel like doing it. 
The good thing is that this is a “month to month” rental agreement I’m moving into, so that gives me the flexibility to buy should I find the right place for the right price here in our neighborhood.  Then I will make THE move and stay put for awhile.  It sure would be nice not to be at the mercy of people who decide to sell the place I’m renting from them.

The new place has some positives going for it.  What I lose in storage space, I gain in yard.  A FENCED yard.  I can actually let Molly be outside when I’m at work, which means, she will lose less hair in my house.  I joke that I can make a new dog out of her hair on a weekly basis – now the birds can use it in their nest construction. There is a back yard and a side yard, both fully fenced, and separated by a fence and a gate, so I can keep her in the back where she will be far less likely to scare passersby with her ferocious bark.  She is a medium sized black lab, but she sounds like a very large German Shepherd.  She’s a sweetheart, but I know she’ll simply have too much fun “talking” to people from the side yard, which goes out all the way to the street.

What I’m most excited about at the new house has less to do with the house and more to do with me finally going out and buying myself some special bedroom furniture to create a space designed for me to rest and relax in a place with good ambiance.  I’ve for too long been sleeping on an uncomfortable old mattress and box springs on the floor and haven’t created a special space for myself in my bedroom.  Well, I have now!  I went out and got a pretty bed frame from IKEA yesterday.  It’s the “Lillesande” black iron bed frame.  It’s old-fashioned looking, but isn’t overly ornate.  I love the simple, clean lines, and it looks fabulous with the antique dresser I found at a little shop in Oregon City.  Now that I’m writing this, I know I will have to post pictures soon.  The room looks so cute!  I got some bedside tables and really pretty little lamps from IKEA.  I will finally be able to read comfortably in a room that feels good and where the kids aren’t allowed for the most part.

My biggest challenge with making this bedroom look good is the one wall which the owner calls her “blackberry jam” wall, because it is the color of – you guessed it – blackberry jam.  That’s not a color I’ve ever decorated with, so I set out with a plan to find something that would complement that wall, and maybe dilute the intensity of it, too.  I decided that the only color I can imagine going with that shade of purple is green –  Mardi Gras colors! I’ve combined those two accent colors with white and off-white and it really looks good.  Sounds crazy, but I think I’ve put something together which really works.  I found a really nice “Spring” green and white duvet with sort of a tulip graphical pattern to it.  It’s hard to explain, actually, but it looks great, especially when I add a big yellow-green throw pillow and “blackberry jam” colored sheets.  I plan on finding some smaller  beaded pillows with jam purple in them to throw on there, too. 
There is a door to the back deck in my bedroom, and it’s basically a large window.  Another matching window, but not a door, is next to it, so together they look like French doors.  For privacy I’ll need window treatments, and I’ve found some cool drapes and shears at IKEA to match my green and purple theme.  Also – and I love this – the black curtain rod I found is ornamented with a fleur de lis on each end!  I can’t wait to hang the curtains and see how it all looks with the drapes.  Also, I found a couple of iron fleur de lis coat hooks at the little store where I found the antique dresser.  They are about  5-6 inches high, are very weathered looking, and they look great staggered on the wall next to my closet.  I think they will be a great place to hang my bathrobe or maybe a belt or two.   It’s a far flashier color scheme than I’ve ever used, but so far the colors and all the little touches look great!  I’m not super-girly, but I’m finding it’s fun to make a pretty space for myself. 

Today is the day I really dig in and pack stuff up to bring over there.  Because I have to pare down, I’m only bringing essentials over.  The rest will go to Goodwill and the dump.  I’ve got a girlfriend coming over to help me pack.  (She insisted – says she’s good at it!)  Later Scott will help me haul stuff.  It’s only a short distance away, so I can use my own car for a lot of this.  Surprising how much you can fit inside and on top of a Subaru Forester!  I felt like I was part of the Clampett family yesterday coming back from the antique store and then IKEA.  :)  In any case whatever’s too big will get moved by a rented truck and some friends’ strong backs next weekend.

Well, I’d better get on it.  Daylight’s burning.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Necessity, the mother of…action?

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later, but it was today that I had my first flat tire while bike commuting.  I suppose that for the first time, it’s better that it happened on the short ride into work than if I were on a longer ride, by myself and far from anything.  It just didn’t feel very scary.  As it happens, I was on the home stretch riding on Scholl’s Ferry over 217.  It’s my favorite part of the ride in and I was pretty close to my office.   I was riding fast and feeling good when I hit a bump and it was clear by the hard “ka-chunk” under my seat that there was no air left in my back tire.  I stopped and immediately tried to pump it back up for the short ride remaining to my office, but it just wouldn’t hold any air.  Since I was so close, I walked the bike in rather than attempt to change my tube out there on the noisy overpass with all the morning rush hour traffic.  I was only 10 minutes late! 

Now, I planned to take care of the flat during my lunch hour, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it when a bowl of soup and and a good book were calling me.  I mean, who wants to eat lunch with chain oil and dirt on their hands?  I told myself that I’d just stop working around 4:00 and get it done.  Well, 4:00 rolled around and I had fleeting thoughts of getting a ride home.  Alas, there was no way I could swallow my pride enough to call for a ride, and I don’t know who I thought I might call anyway.  Finally at 4:38, I resigned myself to the fact that the flat tire wasn’t going to fix itself, and would either need to be changed, or I would no longer enjoy the health, fitness and money-saving benefits of commuting to work by bike.  Despite having only done it twice before in the last year and a half, with supervision and help at hand, I simply had to take care of the messy problem myself.  There was no way I could let someone else do it for me.   I rolled up my sleeves, bit my proverbial bullet, and did it.

Of course, it had to be the rear wheel - the rear wheel with its cumbersome gears and its close, filthy and confusing relationship with the oily chain.  Ick.  My sweetheart tells me that, statistically, it’s more likely that the rear wheel tire will go flat rather than the front one.  (GREAT – so much for thinking that next time it’s likely to be easier!)    After around 25 minutes of pushing, pulling and pumping,  I stood there with blackened hands and an oil smudged face looking proudly at my functioning bike with its repaired tube and wheel back on.  Even better, I was able to ride it all the way home without a hitch – or a “ka-chunk.”

It was a great milestone, actually, and when I got home I immediately set out for a local bike store to get new tubes, so I can keep riding with confidence –  and even more of it!  While I was there, I crossed yet another threshold in my cycling journey.  I made a  purchase which truly shows my now solid commitment to cycling.  I finally, after nearly a couple of years of resisting, bought a pair of cycling shoes.  There is at least one lovely person out there who knows what a milestone THAT purchase really is for me.  I’m absolutely ready to feel the extra power and efficiency of the right shoes and clip-less pedals.

I’m ready to love riding even more – and a certain someone is probably very ready to at least think the words, “I told you so!”

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Geaux Saints!

Pardon my Cajun French, but it’s game day, cher! And for the first time in their entire 42 years of existence, the Saints are playing in the Super Bowl!  Win or lose, they gonna be partying big time in the Big Easy – they already are!  That voodoo spell that’s been troublin’ the Saints for so long is broken.  I hope they have enough gris gris workin’ for a win, but I’m just so glad they’re in it!  And so glad it’s at the Super Dome.  Makes it feel like a rebirth and a washin’ clean of bad memories.  I love knowing the people of that fabled city have something big to celebrate again, and I’m so excited about visiting later in this “year of destiny.”  

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Good things come in threes!

Well, this is the third morning in a row I’ve ridden my bike into work in this first real effort I’ve made toward improving my health and fitness this year.  It feels fantastic!  I could drink 3 cups of coffee when I arrive at work, and never feel as pumped up as I do after my 30 minute ride in.  Today I was rewarded with yet another gorgeous sunrise as I rode Scholl’s Ferry over I-217 on the final stretch to the office.  I felt so alive and well. 

In addition to just feeling better as I start and end my work day, I have found I’ve lost three pounds, too.  Considering I’ve put on about 12 in the past three months, this is a nice turn in the other direction!  Plus, I know if I keep it up, this bike ride will get quicker. Heh. 

I’m pretty slow up the hills right now, but I plug away.  I can’t help but laugh at what passersby might be thinking when they see me trudging up hill on my racer.  Right now this bike is far more elegant and quick than I am, but my goal is to look like I belong on this bike by the end of this third year of owning it! 

(This is not my bike, but is the same year and model that I own.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Encouraging words

Don’t worry-

Taking the high road will feel good eventually;  it always does.

Be better.  You know better.  Just stretch.  Grow.

You’re good at this.

Just turn away from the odyssey.

Don’t feed the flames.

Not even your own.

Be calm.

Let it go.

And go toward what’s right.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Kee-yaw, but I scared the heck out of one of the owners of my company this morning!  I had ridden my bike to work and because it was raining out, I decided to bring my bike inside to store in my cubicle before heading over to the gym next door to shower.  I didn’t expect to bump into anyone in MY cube so early in the morning, but I was surprised myself when I nudged someone just as I  pushed the bike past the cube wall.  I heard Cathy let out a startled yelp just before I saw her surprised expression.  She was standing there with a feathered Mardi Gras mask in her hand, looking sort of sheepish.  Turns out I busted her hanging Mardi Gras decorations in my cube! 

It took me a minute to sort this out in my head, but I quickly remembered that Cathy is aware of a trip I’m planning to go on if I hit my personal sales goals for this quarter, and she wanted to help provide incentive!  My friend, Shellie, and I are going to take a long-talked about trip to New Orleans during the Jazz Heritage Festival in May of this year.   Our sales trainer has been encouraging us sales people to set personal goals above and beyond our quota numbers, and to make it more real and more fun by coming up with a reward for accomplishing those goals.  Makes sense to me! 

He has also encouraged us to tell other people and even include them somehow if we think it will make us work harder.  I figured he was on to something, so I told Shellie that I was ready to take that trip if I hit my personal goal of hitting 130% of my quarterly quota.  Well, she was all for it and immediately started sending me a steady stream of links of places we could stay and things we could do.  The pressure was on to hit that goal, because I couldn’t risk letting Shellie down!

I don’t know how, but that extra pressure HAD to have some influence over my focus or something, because I’m at 110% of my quarterly  PERSONAL goal right now, and it’s only February 1st!  We are definitely going – and boy are we excited!  Just one more sale before the end of March will do it.  I think I need to set some supplementary goals to keep this drive going!  I want to visit my family in the heart of Cajun Country, too, so I will need to earn a little more for that part of the trip.

I’ve wanted to go to the Jazz Heritage Festival since my early 20’s.  This is going to be a dream come true, and I can’t wait to “pass a good time, cher!”