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3×5 – summer edition

September 25, 2014 Family, Friends, Fun 1 Comment

It was a summer full of sun and fun and friends and booze and snacks and work and play and everything that is good in the world. If only it would rain here in California, life would be perfect.

I’m a bad blogger in that I don’t update very often and I do not take a picture of every moment/meal/highlight/lowlight of my life. There’s a song on John Mayer’s first album called 3×5 and I often find myself singing that song to myself when I should have/could have/would have taken a picture of something…but just couldn’t be bothered to. It not only helps me not feel guilty about what I could be sharing, but it helps me to become more present in the moment myself.

didn’t have a camera by my side this time
hoping I would see the world through both my eyes
maybe I’ll tell you all about it when I’m
in the mood to lose my way with words

I’m not so much in the mood to lose my way with words, but I’ll give you a glimpse of the fantastic summer we’ve had in the few pics that were captured. People elsewhere look at summer as ending on Labor Day. September is when the weather gets really nice here (admittedly, it has been 75 and sunny every day for months…). More adventures to come!

We spent Memorial Weekend in Tahoe. The highlight of the weekend was hooking up with Sarah and her family. I got to meet baby London for the first time! I also got to ride my first motorized cooler, which was as awesome as both my and Sterling’s expressions indicate. (pardon the quality of these pics, they were obviously impromptu snapshots)

We celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary with a pub crawl down B Street in San Mateo. Walking distance from home, THANK GOODNESS.

We spent the long 4th of July weekend in Tahoe and the Lakes Basin Recreation Area. Mountain biking, hiking/running, swimming, drinking, and disconnecting from technology. It was fantastic.

A week later, I was off to Dallas for the J.Hilburn Annual Conference.

We completed a Midwest tour that involved a lot of driving, a lot of Tank 7, and seeing a lot of important people. Lake Okoboji was a highlight.

Once again, we spent Labor Day in Tahoe and the Lakes Basin, where I mountain biked 4 out of 5 days. I can honestly say I’m getting better at this sport!

The fifth day of the trip included a hilly 6 mile run with a beautiful reward at the top:

And a reward at the bottom:

A fun summer indeed!



Weekend Pics

March 31, 2013 Family, Fido, Fitness, Friends, Fun No Comments

We went to Tahoe this weekend, likely making it the last winter trip of the season. I *finally* broke even on my Squaw Valley Season Pass and otherwise engaged in a bunch of debauchery with friends. Oh, and there was some triathlon training thrown in for good measure.

We got home at 11 PM Saturday night so we could complete our long ride/run today. Clouds looming, both of us looked at numerous weather sites for hour-by-hour forecasts and set out on our respective rides. The forecasts varied from “sprinkles in the afternoon” to “0% chance precipitation.” Both of us got caught in a cold and windy down-pour. The afternoon ended with a co-ed trip to the hot tub, so all’s well that ends well…

Here are some pics I snapped with my crappy camera phone this weekend, the only ones we have to document our Tahoe 2012-13 season.

Greg and Miles had fun playing on the jungle gym outside Le Chamois.

Off-duty Snow Makers

Jen stopped by the van for 1000 CCs of red wine after working customer service all day.

This entire mountain is usually covered in snow.

One of the three creeks Miles found to play in this weekend.

Spring skiing = flare!

I went for a run around Donner Lake Saturday morning. 8 miles of solitary bliss (at altitude)!


Daily sMiles

February 13, 2012 Fido, Fun No Comments

We went to Tahoe for the first time this year. I bought a season pass to Squaw Valley back in May and it has been burning a hole in my pocket[book].

As nice as the weather has been here for training purposes, I was craving some true winter play. There wasn’t a lot of new/fresh snow, but the snow that was there was really great. Fast and cold and a lot of fun. Best of all, no crowds!

Miles had a great time, too!

Look how big he’s getting! Several sources indicate that a good estimate of a dog’s adult weight is to double his weight at 4 months. I smell a contest!


Fear in the Backcountry

January 6, 2011 Fitness, Friends, Fun 3 Comments

As evidenced by my last post, we had a fantastic time at Squaw Valley with the “tame” resort skiing on Saturday and Sunday. We met up with friends on Sunday evening and stayed with them, plotting Monday’s backcountry expedition.

NOTE: I have no backcountry gear or skills. I realize gear can be bought. And if I could buy the skill, I would.

So, as RB was making breakfast, he made a remark like, “It’ll be a one hour hike up the mountain. The usual ratio is 3:1 hiking/skiing, but this trip is different and I expect to be skiing downhill for approximately 45 minutes.” Based on this, I had a moderate day planned, and only one hour would be “work” — hiking up. Great! I was the one who said I wanted a good workout to begin with. Bring it!

For me, the hike up was the easy part. I was in snowshoes because my husband is a dear man and carried my skis and one of my ski boots. This is also because I don’t have the proper backcountry ski gear (see above). I carried the other boot along with an extra set of gloves. Ha!

I’m good at climbing and I’m reasonably fit, etc… It wasn’t a walk in the park, but it was the kind of workout I was going for. Our friend Jen suffers from asthma, so she had to take it slow as not to lose her breath from exertion and altitude. We finally made it to the top (8300 ft), where it was ridiculously windy and cold. I found a windbreak behind some trees and Greg made the short trek up to meet me so I could change out of my snowshoes into my ski boots. Here’s an idea of the kind of effort involved in traveling a short distance:

Laborious, right? It’s like watching paint dry.

But then “the fun part” came. Downhill! Powder! Freshies!!

Yessssss! I mean no. Give me a groomed blue run + a beer and I am golden. This was uncharted territory. Literally. But I’m a team player. It was nice and fluffy if I fell, so I put my fears aside and only complained in my internal voice. I think even the experts were impressed with my stick-to-it-ness. (Hopefully)

We arrived at an abandoned train tunnel that we would need to walk/skate through as part of the adventure. We found an exit door, only to see a straight-down slope. I was nervous at best.

As we contemplated continuing on through the tunnel, RB suggested that only one person go to the end to see if that route down was better. Considering the treacherous conditions (pure darkness, icy patches everywhere, etc…), I agreed. No one else did. Hmmph!

So… there I stood. By myself. In a dark tunnel. There were big icicles — I mean KILL YOU IF THEY FALL icicles — hanging from the ceiling. I eventually couldn’t hear my friends anymore. I was alone, and my mind started working on me:

“What if an icicle falls and kills me?”

“What if there are bats in here?”

“What if my phone rings and that startles all the critters out of their hiding places and/or the icicles fall?”

My heart started racing and I started sweating, even in the freezing cold. I really started to panic in there, and I’m not a person prone to panicking. I hated it. I knew I had made the wrong choice. How many calories does fear burn? You can imagine my relief when I heard Greg calling for me. He lead me back to the fading daylight with a headlamp.

The rest of the trip down was “fine.” Yeah. That kind of “fine.” I made it about three-quarters down and then lost it. I was tired, hungry (5+ hours since breakfast!), dehydrated, frustrated, wet, cold. OVER IT. Did I mention it was getting dark?

I was in tears. Remember our first skiing experience so many years ago? It was no better this time around.

We made it to the bottom, still intact — my knees AND the marriage. Whew! Believe me, dear reader, you are thrilled I am sparing you the details. We still had to walk a mile back to the car. In ski boots.

Apologies were given from each of us. Wine and beer were consumed. Food was eaten.

The end.


Winter Diversions

March 15, 2010 Fear, Fitness, Fun 1 Comment

We just got back from a weekend in Tahoe. Since we don’t have a ski lease this year, we have been getting up early on Saturday mornings to drive up so we only have to pay for one night at a hotel. This is a little bit hard on me since I am not so early to rise on a normal basis… but I suck it up. For this trip, we spent Saturday at Squaw Valley USA and spent Sunday in the backcountry.

I’m not a die-hard skier, that’s for sure. In fact, I only learned to ski four years ago. Having grown up in Iowa, my outdoor winter activities were limited to sledding and fort-building. I went skiing for the first time ever at age 22. It was an impromptu road trip with two guy friends from college to Colorado Springs. We went to Copper Mountain and I mastered the bunny hill without pushing my limits. The next opportunity for skiing came up after meeting Greg at age 29.

It was our second date. I was in the Bay Area for work and stayed all of Thanksgiving week, much to my mother’s dismay. It was scandalous that I should be spending all these nights with a man I just met, and that I should be spending a major holiday with him instead of with her. I couldn’t be bothered by this; I was there and loving it. Greg’s idea of fun on Thanksgiving had nothing to do with cooking up a big bird and watching football all afternoon. He was taking me to Lake Tahoe to ski! I had the heads-up on this plan and had borrowed ski clothes from a friend.

Rule #1: Always look the part, even if you have no idea what you’re doing.

We packed a small cooler of deli turkey, an avocado, bread , and chips and made for the mountains very early on Thanksgiving Day. My stomach started getting that nervous feeling as we climbed through the Sierra Nevada on Highway 80. Greg knew that I had only skied once in my life, but I’m reasonably athletic and I’m sure he thought this would be no problem at all. I wasn’t so sure. We parked at Sugar Bowl and made ourselves meager turkey sandwiches before hitting the slopes. I mostly wanted to throw up by this point because I was so nervous about making an ass of myself in front of my new boyfriend.

Greg got his gear around and led me to the rental shop. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know what gear to ask for. I didn’t know what size I needed. I didn’t even know what measurements the sizes came in. I felt abandoned as he was outside putting his stuff on and otherwise not helping me. Once I got my stuff, I had no idea how to put it on. Since he assumed I knew what I was doing, I didn’t want to appear completely ignorant and needy. I didn’t know how to step my boots into my skis. Once I got them on, I couldn’t go anywhere with them. I finally got the torture devices on (still my least favorite part of any given ski day) and clomped out to meet him, barely juggling my skis and poles.

We were supposed to “ski” over to the lift line on flat terrain. As if! I thought I would burst out crying at any moment. I was trying SO HARD to be brave and put on a happy face. I could see that he was completely in his element in the mountains. He was having the time of his life, blissfully unaware that I was about to explode. Once we got on the lift, I had about 30 seconds to relax before I started to think about what was going to happen when we got to the end of the line.

I was going to have to ski. Oh shit.

We got there, and I magically slid off the chair and down the small ramp without falling. This was probably a bad thing, actually. If I had fallen right there, it would have been abundantly clear to Greg that I had no idea what I was doing. Not me. I made it look like I was a natural. That is, until I was facing the mountain and he expected me to ski down it. “Okay, ready? Let’s go!” He takes off, swooshing down the mountain with a few easy turns. I am paralyzed. My knees are locked. My stomach is clenched. I am sweating in my layers of silk long johns and wind-proof outerwear. He stops to wait for me. “Come on! It’s easy!”

“I don’t know how.”

I must have thought that he would break up with me on the spot or something, as hard as it was for me to admit that. He patiently side-stepped his way back up the mountain to where I was. He stood beside me and explained that you just let gravity take you sideways across the mountain. When you get to over there, stop and turn and go back the other way. I felt I might be Better Off Dead… I started to try this and panicked. I was literally stuck. I sat down right there, refusing to go. I was terrified. I actually don’t know if I was terrified of falling and getting hurt, or of being out of control, or of looking like a fool in front of him, or what. I basically threw a temper tantrum. “I won’t go and you can’t make me!” He said there was no other way down, that the ski patrol only rescues injured people. We debated back and forth like this for awhile, eventually coming to a stalemate.

Rule #2: You gotta know when to hold ’em, and know when to fold ’em.

I reluctantly got back up and steeled myself to get off this fucking mountain and into the lodge where I could have a stiff drink. I slowly slid over to where he was. I purposely fell, turned my skis over manually, and made my way across the mountain sideways to where he was on the other side, repeating this over and over again. It was a miserable existence. I was humiliated. I was exhausted. I was afraid he really was going to break up with me because I couldn’t ski. At this point, I didn’t care much about that. Breaking up would feel better than what THIS felt like, I was sure. We finally made it to the bottom. Relief!

“Okay, let’s go again. You’re really getting the hang of it now.”


I politely explained that there was no way I was going again. Did he not realize that it had just taken me over an hour to get down ONE RUN and that tears had been involved? I implored him to go and have all the fun he wanted to have all afternoon long, and that I would be perfectly content at the bar. He protested with a lot of encouraging words. I dug my heels in and said no. With a long sigh, he skied away and I trudged as fast as possible to the bar. As I waited, I was nervous that he was really disappointed in me. I was not looking forward to the long drive home if that was the case. And I still had three more days of this “vacation” to get through. I was formulating my Plan B when he finished for the day.

As we were walking to the car, I apologized for wasting the day and said that I didn’t want him to be mad at me. He replied that he was not mad at me and that I didn’t waste his day. He said that if he were me, he’d be more worried about my lack of character for quitting.

Rule #3: Stand up for yourself.

I quickly got into the passenger seat and sat there in stunned silence. As he drove, I calmed myself for the argument I was about to make. Screw his disappointment. Screw his wasted day. Screw him breaking up with me. I was shocked at his audacity. I was livid.

“You don’t know the meaning of the word character if you are implying that I lack it. I have come out here to visit you twice, and each time I have done everything you have asked me to do with a smile on my face and fear in my heart. Kayaking, running, mountain biking, skiing. I haven’t told you no. I haven’t told you I’m scared. I haven’t asked you to do anything that is beyond your comfort level, so you don’t know what this is like. If you believe that I quit today because I made it down the hill and didn’t go back up and you believe that I lack character because of that, then we don’t have anything else to talk about.”

By this time, we had pulled into The Bridgetender, a rustic bar in Tahoe City. He quietly regarded me. And then he apologized. He said that he had no idea how terrified I was of any of those things because I was able to do all of them so well. He had no idea I was so far outside of my comfort zone. He was sorry.

Yes, folks, it could have all been over right there. As much as we thought we knew about each other, this was a real fork in the road for us and either path could have been taken. I am proud of myself for trying all the things he had introduced me to, and I’m proud of myself for knowing my limits. I am proud that I defended myself rather than letting him make me question my character. Mostly, I am grateful that he didn’t let his ego get in the way and he was able to apologize.

I didn’t ski for two years after that. I then met a friend who had been a ski instructor and asked if she would teach me. I was a motivated student with a fair amount of athletic ability. That season, Carolina and I spent most weekends at Alpine Meadows making turns, shifting weight, planting poles, bending knees, and leaning forward. It was an honorable moment when Greg said he didn’t recognize me from the chair lift because I no longer look like a beginner! I can now ski Expert Only terrain (just in case I follow Greg onto the wrong lift) and we can look back at our first day on the slopes and laugh.


Have Fun With Your Ego

January 25, 2010 Fear, Fitness, Fun No Comments

Have fun with your ego! This is what my yoga instructor told us this week as class began.

Everyone likely interprets this differently — the idea of having fun with your ego. For me, I really latched onto it because I felt it was along the same vein as calorie-burning fears… I interpret it as finding the edge of where you are comfortable and pushing that edge, going beyond your comfort level. Kind of like a practical joke on your ego, in the nicest possible way.

So go ahead, have fun with your ego! Why not? What have you got to lose??


This is not a rhetorical question. What have you got to lose?

Your balance? Your reputation? Your idealized sense of self? There is not an answer to this question that is good enough to NOT TRY. This was my second yoga class and I found myself pushing harder through stretches and poses, only to fall out of them. I found myself trying a crane pose, one leg at a time. It went so well, I might just try both legs in next week’s class! I stopped looking around me to see how far the Asian lady over there could go or, *gasp* what the white guy in the front could do.

Applying the question to your everyday life is where the money is. For me, publishing this blog has been like having a bona fide party with my ego! I also took my ego to Tahoe over the weekend. I skied moguls and through powder (a first for me) while my friends watched and waited for me. I knew I was the slowest, least experienced person among us and I didn’t let it bother me. I went at my own pace and had fun with my ego by trying new things (like speed!) and subsequently falling on blue runs and watching little kids zoom past me.

Having fun with our egos is like an invitation to play. Children at play fall when running too fast or being tackled too hard, yet don’t know it was too fast or too hard until it’s over. That’s the beauty in it.  Children aren’t worried what other people think and they’re not thinking of themselves. They put themselves out there to see just how far/fast/hard they can go until they reach the limit. They adjust accordingly so that anything negative doesn’t happen again. It has been said that we learn more from our mistakes than our successes, and having fun with our egos allows us to enjoy both success and failure.

I intend to use this metaphor similarly to how I calculate how many calories I’ve burned through my fear alone. It’s always in the back of my mind and it pushes me to find the edge and step out of my comfort zone. Who cares what that Asian lady in yoga class or the teenager on the ski lift thinks? They’ve got their own egos to worry about.