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I finished up the mud flaps and attached them earlier today. I’m pretty happy with how they turned out.

 

I also put in some new locking skewers and seat clamps on both Stella and Dark Star. Now I won’t have to worry about my wheels when I’m out and about. The new winter bike also got fenders, so no skunk tail for me! #teamfenders

I’m making some mud flaps for my friend. She saw the ones I made on Instagram and I would certainly benefit from her having them ;) We rode to Capitol Hill together for a birthday celebration and I came home splattered. Luckily it was after the party.

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I decided to make the colors a little bolder on this set. This is before conditioning. More to come.

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Sometimes things just pile up and contrive to drive you down.

Everything is great in many ways and I was feeling fine until last week. I had a slow buildup of stress around some outreach for work. Nothing was going wrong, it’s just the party you agree to go to but you can’t cancel on because you aren’t feeling social. And a lot of work goes into outreach and programs, but that’s not a big deal because I could do that in my sleep. And sometimes I do! Stress dreams. I even enjoy outreach. I get to see what my community is up to and interact with people for a short time about something I love. But it’s still a stressor.

Add to that a possible health issue that I went to the doctor for and have to go back because of software failure, wasting both work and personal time.

A person biking was hit by a car driver on 35th, where our illustrious mayor decided that we don’t need bike lanes after a long advocacy fight.

I just want to go ride my bike in the country without any cars around me. Will someone tell me where I can do that?

Vacation starts in 12 days! :)

Here are a few fun things from hiking and biking that I’ve seen lately. Life really isn’t so bad.

Dear 35th Ave NW, you could have been so much more. I know you feel shiny with your new asphalt and your bright yellow and white striping. It must feel great to have those car tires rushing over you smoothly at high speeds, the rumble of a disused muffler punctuating the sunny summer day.

But think of all the people walking and riding who would have graced your surface if only we’d designed you differently. Those streamlined lanes encourage high speeds and make the street feel unfriendly to those souls not wearing 2 tons of steel. The heady speeds dissuades the jockeys of the majestic automobile from interrupting their frolic with the need to stop at cross walks, intent on their next destination. Purposeful or lazy walks and rides will not travel your road, replaced by revving motors and the honks of the entitled.

Can you picture this? A vibrant community of neighbors and businesses united by walkability. Shopping and conversing, the voices of children raised in laughter are just a few of the activities that would happen. Our lovely canopy of trees sheltering your new pavement as families bike to shops and say hello to friends and neighbors.

Now the shops will be limited to customers who will drive and park in the cracked parking lots available at every business. People walking and biking will avoid the noisy, dangerous, and polluted area, taking their hard earned dollars with them. Especially knowing that many of these businesses wanted this dark, barren landscape, despite the voices of their neighbors. I hope there are enough people dedicated to their cars who will sustain those businesses.

Actually, I hope they all fall to dust.

I had a very good day off yesterday. I spent the morning tiding up a few ends and pieces, then went out to the garage and worked on the derailleurs on Stella, the Kona Sutra. My front has been traveling too far–and I didn’t get that fixed, so I will need to take another look at it on Monday. My rear has been skipping and making noise, but still mostly shifted okay. Once I started in on it, things seemed a little more messed up. I realized I didn’t have the full range and that shifting was off by at least one ring. I ended up having to adjust the cable, and since I don’t have a tensioner, I had to push the derailleur to where I thought it should be, hold the cable and bolt in place while turning the allen wrench, then try again over and over until I finally got it. The cable end was pretty frayed by the time I was done. I then realized I was late and couldn’t test it.

So I took Dark Star out for a ride instead. That bike is just so delightful after riding my Kona fully loaded with commute gear for weeks on end. It’s just always ready to go with minimal worry. The brakes are always perfect, things shift just right, it’s light and fast. Add a little air to the tires or lube to the chain and off I go. The frustration of working on the derailleurs drifted away.

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I rode up to Kite Hill at Gas Works Park and met a friend. We sat and watched the people. Someone walked by below with a huge hundred dollar bill under their arm. Someone else had a picture taken in front of the chain link fence.  A young couple with kids argued about their destination, top of the hill or the playground with broad gestures.

We had lunch at the Pacific Inn and then I left him to ride up Stone Way. I had tickets for the Tilth Edible Plant Pre-sale, but that didn’t start for an hour, so I stopped for gelato and socks on the way. I do love socks.

At the plant sale, I met my best friend and we followed each other around to the different areas and chose just a few plants. I got sweet basil, mojito mint, and a variety of tomato called pineapple which is supposed to grow large yellowish orange tomatoes with a sweet flavor. These plants should compliment the seedlings I have popping up in the planters now. More tomatoes, a variety of peppers, lettuces, cucumbers, carrots, green onions and lemon balm. It’s fun seeing their little green heads pushing out of the soil.

I finished off the evening watching Star Trek: Discovery with my roommate.

The best thing is, when I rode Stella to work this morning, my rear derailleur worked like a dream.

I’m a little bit exhausted. I ran a half marathon on Sunday and I haven’t stopped to breathe yet. Strava tells me that I haven’t slowed much on my rides and I was able to go almost 20 miles yesterday. But man, I am tired. I have another 20 mile day tomorrow.

I do love riding though. When I think about busing, I just don’t want to. I can get there faster and happier when I bike. Then again, a little recovery is good. Getting home is a chore though. Over an hour from my main work location to home. My ride takes less than 30 minutes.

Tonight when I got home, my bike parts had come from the Blue Sky Cycling sale. It energized me to install my new pedals on Stella the Kona Sutra–Welgo Platform Pedals with leather toe straps. I also adjusted my manual disc breaks. Then I took a little test ride and realized that riding with toe straps is going to be a learning curve. I’ve done it before, but it’s been years. Hopefully I don’t end up on the ground like I did with clipless shoes the first few times. Maybe I’ll end up removing the straps sometime during the day.

Sleep is calling. See you on the flip side. Here’s a photo from the Seattle Public Library to keep you company. Don’t let the tentacles get you…

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If I don’t ride today, that makes 3 days in a row that I haven’t biked. Throw that goal out the window. But I was talking to my friend about it and she asked me why I wanted to do it anyway. I ride more than anyone she knows. I realized that it was just another popular thing to do. I do want to encourage others to ride more–I don’t have to ride more to do that.

On Sunday, I ran 3 miles, then went with my brother to Marble Mountain Sno-Park to hike Mount Saint Helens on Sunday. We got up at 3am, started up the mountain at 4:15, but turned around by 7am just past the permit point (4800 ft) when it was obvious that the rain was not going to let up. We returned to the parking lot at 9 am with every piece of clothing we were wearing totally soaked. I stayed warm in my ski clothes, but my brother was really cold by then–he’d only worn rain gear and a puffy jacket.

It wasn’t that disappointing not to make it all the way up. It was cloudy enough that there wouldn’t be any views and we made it last year, so I have that summit under my belt.

I didn’t take any pictures up there, but I did take a few of the new day use lodge. It really improves the place.

Things go around. I have been micro-blogging on Google+ for the last two years. I really enjoyed the interaction there and made a few really good friends, several of whom I’ve met in real life.

Google+ is going away in a week. I’ve had a lot of time to mourn it’s passing, so it will be anticlimactic when the date finally comes. I’m not porting my posts.

I’m not sure if I’ll start blogging here again. I feel like a blog is just yelling into the void these days. Does anyone read these anymore? I don’t want to return to Facebook, and while Twitter and Instagram are fun, they really aren’t a place to post personal stories.

I’m still biking and hiking and now I’m skiing and dating. Everything is going really well and my anxiety is mostly under control. Exercise has always helped, but things I’d like to do, like meditation, I have a hard time concentrating on…because anxiety. So I started taking CBD oil, and it could be a placebo affect, but I’m sleeping better, I’m not letting things bother me as much, everything is so much easier. I still get anxious, but a manageable and maybe even a normal amount.

Photo from bike camping last summer. I finally found my way! ;)

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So, I’ve been thinking a lot about my wish list and what it really means. All of those things are meant to make me and those I care about happier.

Lately, I’ve noticed that I’ve been getting grumpy more often than I did in the past. For some reason being grumpy or unhappy seems like a shameful thing and it’s really hard to admit that it happens. When I look back over the more stressful moments in the last few months, though, I see the pattern. If I hadn’t been in a bad mood, hadn’t been grumpy, those stressful times would not have been so bad. Even though I didn’t actively pursue jealousy and try to take things from others, I was letting my feelings of inadequacy affect my life and the happiness of my family.

There have been times in my life when I’ve realized there is something I need to change about myself, and I went and did it. I needed better self esteem–I went to counseling and worked on changing my attitude. I needed to direct my own life instead of allowing circumstances or other people to guide me–I made that change.

Green Eyed Monster by O-r-c-h-i-d-e-a (cc license)

When trying to uncover the source of my grumpiness, I realized that I was usually unhappy after having some competitive confrontation; something that got in my face and made me feel bad for not being good enough. So I did a Google search: “how do I stop feeling competitive.” I found this article from Life Hacker by Melanie Pinola, which made me realize that it’s not necessarily competitiveness that I’m feeling, it’s jealousy. Whatever issues you find in this article, it made me look at myself in a new way and admit my flaw. And now I’m admitting it on the internet, which means that I have accepted the flaw and I know I have to fix it.

The wish list was my first attempt at fixing my moods, even though I was not thinking about it that way at the time. Now I am very consciously looking at what is making me grumpy, and I found that I was comparing myself to others and feeling lacking. Sometimes this was in social situations where I felt left out, sometimes it’s at work where others are doing good work or I felt my work wasn’t recognized, sometimes it’s on the ride to work where someone passed me. I can see now that this all goes back to self esteem and that maybe instead of fixing that flaw, I covered it up.

My first steps will be to:

  • stop comparing myself to others–or at least notice when I do it and nip it in the bud
  • treat myself well–which will include yoga and morning runs with some rockin’ music
  • and practicing gratitude–reminding myself daily about all of the wonderful people and things in my life. Aren’t they amazing?

Work has been an energy suck lately. While I love my job, I sometimes let it make me anxious and this last month has been one of those times. I’ve also had a set back on the Student Loan Forgiveness front that left me feeling sad.

My friend wrote recently about creating a wish list with some reachable goals and how she’s come along in the last year. This sounds like a great idea, as far as setting a few goals, some easily reachable, but needing some attention, to some things that might take a little longer or a bit more work.

Here it is:

  1. Be more present with my chosen family–The Mister and the girls
  2. Complete craft projects that clutter the basement (some progress already)
  3. Get Raven outfitted in an efficient, useful and stylish manner (more on this next post)
  4. Cook and bake more often
  5. Organize my work life better
  6. Run and practice yoga and mediation
  7. Go to Europe
  8. Spend more time with my siblings and friends
  9. Pay off my debt
  10. Get a kayak and go kayaking often

Some of these things require more time than I feel like I have. I can’t work less, so I have to figure out how to fit them into my daily life. I’d also like to be flexible, as The Mister is sometimes a fly by the seat of his pants kind of guy. Planning too much puts a cramp in his style, and really mine too–sometimes when I plan too much, I start canceling on everything so I can just chill.

I’m putting a monthly reminder in my calendar to check back in on these wishes to see how they’re coming along.

Seattle on a fine October day. Taken from Gasworks Park.

Right after getting back from Florida I went to to Wenatchee for a library conference. I had The Boy ride along on the first leg of his journey to Spokane. He’s gone to stay with his grandparents on his father’s side to see if he can find a job over there for a while. Job prospects in Arlington and Darrington were pretty slim before the 530 Slide and they’re even more dismal now. He’s having a tough time over there. He’s lonely and really just wants to go home.

In split family drama, The Boy’s step mother reacted badly to him saying that and sent some messages to him and his grandmother. Some of what she said was negative about me. Usually I let their relationship be their relationship and just try to give The Boy perspective, but I really don’t like the badmouthing and drama that always seems to go with these blow ups, so this time I just blocked her from my life. I don’t need it and now it’s not my problem.

The conference itself was educational. I took a Video making pre-conference where I learned a lot about lighting and sound. My organization gave some really good talks–so much so that I ended up staying at those presentations rather than going to hear others, which was my intention. There was an interesting talk on reimagined spaces–something hot on our list–given by the next county over. I also got to network with a lot of cool folks, some of whom I’ve seen before, but just never got to connect with. Others I didn’t get to talk to enough. Now that I’ve been elected to the CAYAS board, I want to get to know the other key members better.

Tomorrow I’m representing Books on Bikes and the library on Bike to Work day. We’ll be giving away some library swag and have the ability to issue library cards and check out materials. Should be fun!

I’ll get a review up of Half Bad in a day or so. It was quite good.

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