Archive | October, 2012

No Apologies

24 Oct

I have been tossing and turning most of the night because of a comment I made to a co-worker via text message: “I felt abused”she texted. She was referring to the workload she maintained. I texted back “I’m sorry I was a part of it.”  Later I texted “I’m not sure why I said I was sorry. I didn’t direct the day, I truly have nothing to be sorry for.” I didn’t receive a return text.

For some reason, women in particular feel it necessary to apologize for EVERYTHING! And I am no exception. My husband is constantly asking me “For what?” “What are you sorry for? Did you hurt me? Did you cause some pain to be inflicted physically or mentally?”

I secretly think it is because we feel the need to be in control. Therefore, if we apologize it will sound as if we were in command of the situation. How incredibly egotistic is THAT?!

Since I am the most irresponsible person I know (infants included), I will refrain from apologizing on the spot. Unless I’ve hurt you.

Stay Happy.

D

Yes, THIS is the Puggsta AKA Moon Doggie. SHE’S Happy, and never apologizes!

Hiking “A” Mountain, Even when ASU SUX!

21 Oct

Tempe Town Lake. From the Lake “level”. 

I met up with my BRFF Connie, AKA Snow Bunnie, yesterday to get in some overdue girl time.

We decided that hiking/walking up “A” Mountain in Tempe would be a good idea since she’d just ran the Chicago Marathon a few weeks ago and I am still rehabbing my knee. We had some great conversation and dolled out the “ASU SUX” bantering. Both always hopeful that ASU will one day return to the dynamic football team it once was. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not an ASU grad. Far from it. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from the School of Hard Knocks, Southwest Campus. But still ASU is the “Local” University.

I have to say, getting back to the “hike” it was much easier than I remembered. I guess my aerobic conditioning isn’t as bad as I thought. “A” mountain  does have a beautiful view of Packard Stadium, Tempe Town Lake, Rio Verde and Camelback Mountain with Papago in the forefront.

I came to the realization while gazing at the valley below, that I truly  am One Luckie Girl to live it such a warm and entertaining environment with great friends and a wonderful husband, not to mention a fantastic career that never gets boring. The place I work may need some enhancement, but my job, my co-workers and my friends are pretty amazing!

Stay curious!

D

Staying Grounded in a Tail Spin

14 Oct

What a week of revelations for me!  I’ll start with the trivial and inanimate objects that shouldn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things, but somehow they do!

My cell phone: I currently have a Samsung Bright Side. Why? Because I dropped my Slackberry  in the pool in June. L and I decided to go the “less technology is better” route and got the Bright Side, thinking we could do just calling and texting. Then it was adding email. The phone is okay, I guess. It’s a phone. I find that I keep hitting “END” when I slide the “sleep screen” to answer the call. Ultimately, I want an iPhone 4s. It’s that simple. I will pay the price for data.

Number 2: I am working 21 days with one day off. My choice. BUT, my director has decided that we all need to work an hour less each day to “flex” our budget. SO, all the O.T. is kind of NOT O.T.  That’s what I get for being a bit money hungry, right?!

Number 3: Cycling and, well, mainly cycling, has become like a second job. I talked with J, my coach. Well, WAS my coach until I decided that the reason my life seems like it’s being micro managed by everyone but me is because I am ALLOWING it to happen that way. I mean, I’m paying him to “micromanage” my training. The thing is,  cycling isn’t keeping me happy. I am the only one that can make me happy. It’s pretty simple actually. So, J and I talked and I am leaving the bike behind for now as I go in search of my passion(s). I’m sure I will return to the bike again, and if coaching is needed, I will return to J (Justin Peschka, if you need a GREAT cycling coach, or a running/ ultra running coach). It’s just that for me, cycling without having running follow it, is like decaf coffee, non alcoholic beer. It’s just not right!

So, today I got up and decided to do what makes me happy TODAY. I took my pup for a walk and then headed for the hills. I intended on a 90 minute hike. I came back 2 hours later. Something about the desert on a beautiful fall morning is comforting and the earth just seems to smile.

THE “K” dog. My partner in crime.

Here’s to exploring and finding our passion(s) where ever they might be hiding.

Be Happy!

Wild Mustangs, Indians, Girls on Bikes and Gu Chomps

7 Oct

Well, the original plan was to meet at “The Gas Station” on McDowell and Beeline Hwy. at about 06:30. My friend L is training for IMAZ (Ironman Arizona), and started her training ride at 04:30. Before I arrived I got a phone call that they were at the Chevron Station about 20 miles up the road and would be there in about an hour. UGGGHHH!

That is what I desperately HATE about “group” rides. That, and people try to talk to you and you can’t really hear because the wind is whistling in your ears, and, on this particular route, multiple semi’s, trucks with 4×4 tires (snow tires) hauling boats, ATV’s, motorcycles etc. oh, and speaking of which, the lovely “biker dudes” on their Sunday ride to the lake or beyond. Let me back up, I say “group ride” because we had a 3rd cyclist, K. I hadn’t met her before, and I’m always skittish around new riders. She proved to be well seasoned and actually took on the brunt of the wind for L.

Beeline is the route that most IMAZ cyclists take. It’s easy to do multiple loops, or like us, take it out to Bush Hwy. and wind around Saguaro Lake and down into Mesa and back into Tempe where the IM route actually starts.

This is what I LOVE about this ride: It’s mostly on the  Fort McDowell-Yavapai Indian Reservation (as I am told). Which is mostly open land with stately saguaro cactus, the beautiful “Red Mountain” standing watch over Beeline. Oh, and of course the lovely Land Fill. If you’re lucky it’s still cool when you ride by and the wind is still. Which is pretty much never. Beeline is known for the wind. It’s what we refer to as our “second coach”. I prefer the wind to be coming from the Northeast. That means wind on the uphill. It’s only a 1% grade, but it’s long. If the wind is from the Southwest it means you’re using tons of energy going up the “hill” and even more coming down when you can usually “spin” out the lactic acid. I’m getting of the true subject here: the beauty of the ride. The best part is in about 28 miles of riding there are 2 stop lights, otherwise it’s a wide open road with a shoulder for cyclists that you can easily ride two abreast.

As we passed the monument to the “Pony Express” I looked up and to the right, just into the desert a bit. I saw a small amount of dust rising. “Hey, L!!!  Look!” I pointed to the right, ahead about 25 yards. “Oh my God! K! Look to your right! Wild Mustangs!” It was a beautiful sight! The  horses stopped and looked at us as if to say “Hey! Chestnut! Look out there, Girls On Bikes! Ain’t that cool?!”

And of course, there’s the gorgeous Verde River that we pass over. It meanders along until it reaches the small dam at Tempe Town Lake where many a triathlon, splash and dash, and of course, Ironman Arizona begin.

I must figure out a way to carry my camera on my bike/bike jersey. There are some fantastic photo op’s that I’ve missed, but then again, I might have missed something even more wonderful trying to get the picture. Life’s a learning curve!

I turned off of Beeline and L and K continued on. This was my second day of riding and I am realizing how unconditioned I am aerobically.  On my longer rides I am keeping a cadence of 85-95, which taxes me aerobically. I think it’s supposed to since I’m not running to keep up the aerobic end of things.

After making the turn around, I ripped open my bag of GU Chomps. I popped one in my mouth. “Oh yeah!” I thought. A soft little bite with the nice fresh taste of watermelon.  I’m not advertising, but I have to say that GU products really have kept me going through many a marathon and multiple Ironman races. They sit well in my gut and, for “gel” products, don’t taste too bad either and they don’t require a lot of water to cross the intestinal barrier and enter the blood stream.

After getting lost yesterday, this was a pretty nice ride!

Until next time, keep the rubber side down!

D

Paris…………….FINALLY

7 Oct

I was held hostage by high internet fees in Paris. I just refuse to pay 30 EU a day for internet!

So, after trying to post this last week, and finding out I was on the “WordPress” page, unable to save or publish my post, I have decided to make this brief and get on with the things I am TRULY passionate about: Cycling, Running, and cycling, and my dogs. Oh, and my husband.

So here’s to  5 days (4 wonderful) in Paris:

The first day there I was apparently chosen to be the Trojan horse to bring a nice upper respiratory virus into mainland Europe! (My travel friend S gave it to me. Funny neither of our spouses got it!) I stayed at the hotel for quite some time until it dawned on me “I’M IN PARIS!” I figured I could feel crappy sitting at a sidewalk cafe or in the hotel room.

So, off I went. On my own to the train station about a quarter-mile walk. The people were absolutely fantastic with helping me locate which train and which stop to get off the train for “The Catacombs” where L and our travel buddies were. I had texted L to give me a place to meet. “There’s a cafe on the corner across from the entrance to the Catacombs. It has a red awning.” Sounds simple. Thank God he chose the one with the red awning. Ironically enough he chose “The Rendezvous Cafe”. I had a nice French Onion soup, espresso, and some fantastic bread, and then a wonderful salad of heirloom tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella. The waiter was incredibly kind, checking on me frequently to make sure I had enough bread, and that the food was satisfactory.

We took the on/off bus when they finished their catacomb tour. It’s always a nice history lesson on the on/off bus, where ever you might be visiting.

The second day was the Eiffel Tower and walking around the city. As I said, after writing this once already, I’m blazing through it this time.

Day three: The Louvre and the a cruise on the Seine at night. We stayed in town the entire day. This is one of my favorite pic’s of the Tower.And a few pictures of things you don’t typically see in the “picture books”.

A bicycle built for 3. Only in Paris!

Day  four: Larry and I on our own touring the city, leaving footprints where ever we could. A nice romantic day.

Day five: I can’t believe I’m actually admitting this, but it was for our travel friend F’s Birthday and what he wanted to do: Disney Paris. I have no pictures because it just wasn’t worth the effort. It rained and the wind blew (hurricane force, the BBC said), but that wasn’t what was so annoying. Disney Europe is like a “model” of Disney. A very miniaturized version, and nowhere near what the original is. The whole vibe is wrong.

So, we left early, taking the train back. We packed our things, toasted the city with a nice bottle of wine and hit the hay.

After 2 hours in traffic we made it to the airport (I highly suggest packing only essentials and taking the train to and from the airport.) Our flight was pleasantly uneventful to O’Hare. There we were greeted by a smiling Passport Control agent. I always get a lump in my throat and a bit misty eyed when they ask you where you traveled and then say “Welcome Home!”

We quickly made our way through Customs and on the train to our terminal for the flight to Phoenix.

It was a memorable and wonderful journey. But, it’s GREAT to be home. Home with my dogs, my bike, my STUFF, and the heat and beauty that only the desert can hold for me.

So, 8 weeks of work and normalcy and then off on what I think will be a truly relaxing time with friends on Maui. T&D, F&S and my wonderful husband L.

Oh, but I have SO many more daily journeys to write about!

Dream BIG!

D

Belfast

3 Oct

The adventure continues!

We left yesterday by train for Belfast. The train ride was kind of fun. We don’t have anything resembling it in Arizona! We were on a “tour” with Ireland Railtours. There were about 45-50 “ducks”. I call us that because I’ve noticed that when one is on said “tours” one becomes just another “duck” following along where ever the first duck goes. I really dislike that part of it.

So, here’s a “brief” description of the journey: The train portion was about 2 hours or so. Brendan was our “host” for the train portion. He became very emotional talking to us about the “fighting”, I truly thought he was going to cry.

We arrived in Belfast, hopped off the train and were “quacking” along to the bus. Then it was about ANOTHER 2 hour ride to “Bushmills Distillery. I’m not much of an Irish Whiskey girl. I prefer Guinness, Tequila, or good old made in the U.S.A. Jack Daniels, or Wild Turkey. We were pretty much forced to eat there as well. It was “catered” by ARAMARK, yes, the same folks that serve re-warmed crap in the states. Think airline food gone awry. It truly was God Awful! We threw most of ours out and ended up at the convenience store across the street. Back on the bus! Next stop: Giants Causeway. It is apparently one of the 7 wonders of the world. Hmmm, I don’t recall that one being on the list, but…… Here’s a couple of pics: Giants Causeway

After an amazing piece of apple pie and coffee at the causeway, we were off to Rede Bridge. It is a 60 foot bridge spanning across an 80 foot gorge. Apparently so terrifying, that some have to be ferried back to the main portion of land by boat.

Rede Bridge

It was a nice ride back to Belfast and the “World Renowned” Europa Hotel. Well known for its weekly if not daily bombing during the height of the conflict. A nice Irish Coffee at the Crown Bar across the street, then off to bed.

We were on the “On/Off” bus in Belfast. It was all going well, seeing some sites; the new Titanic Museum, a few churches. Then it got a bit morose. The tour guide began her politicking about the conflict as we travelled through the area most directly affected by “the war”.  It seemed to me that neither side wants to forgive or forget. Made for a rather melancholy end to what could have been a somewhat nice journey.

Well, back on the train to Dublin and packing for Paris!

AAAARRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!

1 Oct

I just spent 2 hours updating my trip to Paris WITH pictures and then when I hit “publish post” it said “INVALID REQUEST!” THIS IS WORSE THAN FRIGGIN’ FB!!!!! Soooooooo Pissed!