Sunday, November 29, 2009

Window Shopping: Mistletoe

I've never been on a Mistletoe hunt, but this image by EmmaBradshaw makes it look every bit as romantic and steal-a-kiss worthy as I'd imagine it would be.

And what can I say, the colors are Gorgeous! Love, love, love it! Shall we shop?
mistletoe kisses

Friday, November 20, 2009

Athena would rock it

Let's say you're on the hunt, be it for a vampire w/ to-undie-for hair, or a wolf who's a little rough around the edges. You live in the Pacific Northwest. What would YOU wear? Something rugged, feminine, equally at ease in the lodge before a roaring fire, or hiking thru the woods? Maybe... something like this?

tween 1: ohmigawd, i can't believe you shopped at ambercrombie!
tween 2: iknow,right?!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Art of Friendship

I have a friend who is an amazing artist. I mean, seriously talented, and I always find myself pausing in her home, looking at the artwork she's painted, or how she's decorated her home. And so many moons ago, I mentioned how I'd love to have a painting of a tree in each of the four seasons, and this developed into a sketch, which has now been turned into a fantastic painting. See more here.

I'm blown away. It's currently sitting on our large dining table, and we hope to hang it over Thanksgiving weekend. I'm simply thrilled, and want to publicly and repeatedly say Geneva - thank you!

Window Shopping: Interiors

I'm online browsing ~ and who doesn't love a good sale?~ when I came across the iron headboard, and wanted to see what kind of room I could build around it. And I found it very difficult to pick anything except this color scheme. I love it. I keep going back to it for bedrooms. Enjoy!

Tranquil Room

Love for Recovery

I've been in recovery mode since my last cross race. And boy has it payed off! I'm feeling much more human, more relaxed, and better able to deal with the ongoing stress of work. Yesterday the race team went out on an endurance ride in weather so chilly I almost wished I'd embrocated my face. While the speed wasn't challenging, it wasn't slack-off-easy either. And I stayed right with the pack on every rolling hill - thru areas that I'd historically fall behind. It felt great. Then, over a bump that threw the fender strap into the spokes, and I had to stop/fix/sprint back on. And even that felt good! Okay, so by the third time this happened, I was feeling a bit fatigued and had a much longer chase to get on... but Matt or Bob and Kender were there to ensure I wasn't on my own.

I won't say that my legs aren't sore. On Friday Laura put in a lot of work, particularly on my over-tight left IT band and calf, leaving the legs feeling moderately bruised. I know it's pain that must be worked thru, but this is manageable and leading to better, stronger being.

Matt and I also met with Upper Echelon's Russell & Tina, as we start to set goals & plan for next year. I've also contacted Lynn, and am looking forward to training w/ my Bike Central friends again.

Today I'm thinking I'll set up the rollers, and play with the fixie. If my legs were a little less achy from yesterday, I'd brave the rain & cold for a PV team ride.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Window Shopping - Two for Tuesday

First off ~ the artwork. These original art paintings are by the super talented Dianne of Derbyshire Dales, England. Her ETSY shop is HilltopPaintings, where you will find both prints ($20) and originals ($75). It was this artist's rendition of the English Country house that inspired a story that I've started working on. The art is so lovely that I also decided to build another wardrobe around it. Enjoy!

The Wardrobe ~ a mix and match collection

Moorland Tree

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Weekend Without

No races. No getting up before 6 to force feed myself breakfast, pack the car, and stand around all day in a soggy, cold field waiting for my race as I fret about what and when and how much to eat to be race ready. No hosing off myself and my bike, no unpacking the car. Wow, I guess Not racing and ending this year's cross season was the right choice for me! Tho, I hear other people had fun - and I'm very happy for them & hope to figure out how to be in that group in the future.

Instead, on Saturday I rode with the club. We took a route variation, and with friends I haven't ridden with in a while we rode our own pace. By the time we turned right for the Blueberry Fields out & back, it was time to stretch the legs and push out a 22-23mph effort. It felt Great!! By the time we turned around, the rain drops started to fall. Instead of taking the full loop back, I cut back on my own so I could warm up & prep for the rest of my day. Along the way, the near-hail rain was hitting me sharp and hard, and while it wasn't necessarily a Cold day, the rain & heavy winds battered me. In hindsight, I should have put on embrocation. As it was, the thighs were so bright red they looked sunburnt, and had that awful itchy sensation & took forever to warm up.

That evening we hosted some of our friends for a Coconut Bliss tasting event ~ and had a lovely time! The next day, I was able to sleep in. I think I made it till 7:30, when I got up & made some cinnamon rolls. Matt had to work all day, so I spent a very lazy Sunday doing a little laundry, a few dishes, and snuggling with the dogs.

I did attempt to do something active, deciding that perhaps I should try some yoga to help loosen my hips and legs. This didn't work so well, even using the Beginner dvd that I've got - so that by the 3rd pose I threw in the towel & decided I'd need to track down a remedial effort instead. That, or find a way to mix yoga with a hot tub to aid the muscles and tendons that are far too tightly wound. That's right ~ hot water yoga. Contact me for franchise opportunities! (ha!)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Window Shopping ~ November Sun

And now for something a bit different.

Art inspired Fashion
November Sun by budanART $23

ModCloth Stirke the Right Cord Coat $147.99
Organic Scoop Neck T-shirt in Ivory - kventuradesign $26
Copper Squash Flower Earrings - ShySiren $22
1950's Vintage Leaf Pin Brooch - EarlyBirdJewels $12
ModCloth Minsk Scarf - $19.99
Superlow Boot Cut 524™ Jeans in Mosaic - Levi's $35
ModCloth All About Eve Wedge - $37.99
Wardrobe: $301

Monday, November 2, 2009

Painbringer - the end of cross

Let me start by saying this will be a whiny, self-centered post. Feel free to skip it.

Friday: get to the rental house. It is Awesome - would stay there again. Get pizza. Fabulous. Great start to the weekend. I turn on the fire in our room just before we go to bed, so the room is nice & toasty. We lay down, and a massive storm is blowing thru. The constant wind is fine, creating significant white noise, but just as we start to drift asleep, a massive gust blows thru and wakes us up. This continues until around 2am? So frustrating. I've never before been seriously afraid that my car would be blown over. And since we were parked on the pier, I was sure I'd wake up to see the mini floating down river.

Saturday: wake up early. Seriously early - everyone else in the house is still asleep. It is still dark out. But I'm awake, my hips hurt, I didn't get much sleep, and so I sneak into the kitchen and smuggle breakfast back to our room. Eventually, everyone is up and we head out to the fairgrounds. The tents somehow survived the storm. Matt starts his warmup, we survey a very wet and muddy course, and attempt to stay dry from the intermittent storms. Matt races on my front wheel, and gets back from the bike wash just in time for me to warm up. We throw the wheel on, and I take my bike to the road since all the trainers are in use. After a 2 mile loop, I bring the bike back - gears aren't sticking. I try the Shimano support tent, but they are so backed up that they'll never get to me in time. Fortunately, Matt and Sal are able to fix it. It's time to race.

Line up. And the skies open up with a 10 minute storm. Racers and spectators rush to the few tents in the staging area. Four of us stand in the rain. Alaska, a beginner next to me, comments that the only precipitation they get is in the form of Snow. This is her first race - I let her know she's hard core. We have another 5 mins before we line up, so I roll over to Matt & Laura who are hiding under a tent, and am able to avoid being completely soaked.

We finally line up. Matt is there with some last minute advice: Stay Left. All the way down into the meadow, the left line is the line to take. The girl next to me is listening & nodding as well. Even tho I haven't given it a pre-ride, I remember this section from last year. The whistle blasts, and we're off. I'm mid pack on the left, and stay out of the saddle over the pavement - moving up along the way. Into mud - and I keep pushing. Sweeping right turn, I'm on the outside line and I keep pushing it downhill until I can coast. I glance around, and there are suddenly only three bodies up here with me. Push thru the meadow, around and to the climb. And that's where my race pretty much ends. They start passing, as I struggle up the hill. I love the new gears, but the climb takes it out of me. So for the rest of the first lap, it's gasping and going slow. There are a few other punchy climbs - one into the hill where our tent is setup. I know it's rideable, if you get enough speed. I did ride it once, on one of the laps. I also slipped and layed the bike down once or twice while awkwardly trying to unclip & keep myself upright. And the last lap, I nearly make it over the climb when I lose momentum, then start sliding backwards a good 6 feet - and am Very Happy there wasn't anyone directly behind me. The start, and this backward glide are my best moments of the race. And it hits me that I really Really don't belong in this category. I have a number of additional spills, near spills, and a wreck that tried to take my big toe off. When I stand, my left calf is angry, and it's slow going. Every subsequent remount is taxing, and eventually I relinquish my attempts to a full stop, lean the bike way over, and ease my right leg over the frame. I'm no longer racing, I'm just trying to finish. Dead last.

Later that night I'm blessed with a massage, as Laura is staying with us. I tell her my Everything hurts, right down to my eyeballs. Massage proves this is accurate. My forearms & hips in particular, and later that night I have very little control of my right hand as the forearm is so battered & bruised. I go to bed very early, I'm not able to stay awake, but I'm not able to stay asleep either. A better night sleep, an extra hour plus the extra from laying down so early.. and again wake up before anyone else.

We clear out & get to the course. It's a sunny day, full of costumes & craziness. The plan is to just ride for fun. The team costume was Guy Fawks from V for Vendetta. It's awesome and imposing. Unfortunately, I should have dressed as Evey since this is how I was feeling:
I hurt. A lot. I fell over a ton. The course was even more technical than the day before, and fear set in. I was afraid of every decent. I was afraid of an endo, of slipping out, of the pain that continued to pile on lap after lap. I tried to ride carefree. I slipped out around a corner, and instantly covered my head out of fear for the pile of riders behind me. They missed, and I scampered out of the way. I ran down the rest of the hill. By the time I hit the sloppy mud again, all I could think about -- I wasn't having any fun. I realized I hadn't put in the training, not Really, to expect anything other than my sloppy riding and crappy finishes. I was beating myself up for another DFL, and that was it. I was done. I rolled thru the bell lap, where every beginner had to have lapped me already, and then decided to just stay on course until I got to the team tent, since that was the easiest part of the race. I rolled over, dropped the bike, and tried really hard not to break down in tears. I've been defeated. Cyclocross has won - it is tougher than I am. I won't get on that bike again this year. I'm undecided on what will happen next year - but that's far enough away that I don't have to think about it yet.

We packed up the car, and my friend from the cross clinics came over. Bouncing. Smiling. She is Loving cross, and having a great time. They all are. I'm here, sitting on the fringe, hating myself for not finding the fun.

My forearms are still tight and painful. Legs are sore. I have a knot over my knee where I mashed the pedal into my leg. I have at least one rib not sitting right. I'm frustrated that this weekend was such a spectacular fail. Frustrated that day two of pain meant I couldn't help Matt unload the car, when he was struggling with being at least as sore as I was.

Astoria, Cross, Painbringer. You can officially f' off. We're thru.