shadesofmauve: (bicycle)
First real ride of the season today! (pictured: my beautiful and long suffering ride, a 2001 cannodale T800 that has been my only vehicle since, well, 2001). After a really patchy season last year (too much time on my butt writing), I feared the worst, but it was fantastic. We had beautiful weather the whole time, managed a respectable pace, and I managed 28 miles — and I’m not shot this evening. Not bad for the first ride.

The last two days have been beautiful, and I've spent most of the time outside. It's done wonders for my mood. Even cooked the last two dinners (well, the main bits of them) on the grill. I need to do more of that. I'd like to at least work my way up to 'competent'. (the kebabs saturday had two meat bits that were still raw inside, so Calliope dined well). Yesterday we had pork kebabs with moorish spices (it makes more sense if you think of it as a spanish recipe) with saffron rice. Today it was steak, salad, and quinoa with sauted chard. I see this to make the foodies jealous. :P

The sunshine was enough to overpower the "I'm never going to make my yard pretty and oh, shit, my neighbor has a dead raccoon in his junk pile" blues. :P
shadesofmauve: (bicycle)
Received an email back from the biomechanics guy in Arizona. He says that there are lots of self-styled fitters/biomechanics who don't know what they're doing (which is true; there's someone claiming to do that at every bike shop and REI), doesn't have any suggestions in the northwest, and says "I could fit you in in June if you fly to Tucson."


Yeah, no.

That kind of expense makes sense for people who're competitive, and maybe once you've exhausted all other options, but it sure as hell doesn't make sense for me.

I probably just need to stop being such an idiot about my boring leg-lift exercises and make time to do them every day. If I can get my knee somewhere up to snuff then the hip stuff should mellow out and then I can start thinking about ways to improve my bike set-up.

There are no magic bullets.

There are lots of leg lifts, the most boring exercise in existence. [ profile] westrider, when you're down this weekend? You have my permission and request to harass me about doing my stupid exercises.

Bonus note for readers of aStSHB: Yes, I lifted my own most-neglected exercise whole-cloth and put it straight into the fic. Never accuse me of originality. :P It does fit with Joker's disability -- people with OI often have very loose ligaments, and strengthening the muscles around the knee helps make up for a weak ACL. Or, in my case, no ACL at all.
shadesofmauve: (garden)
As fellow Washingtonions will no doubt confirm, there was SUN this weekend. In the SKY. With the light and the warmth and everything!

So, instead of working on my ever-expanding to-do list I spent Saturday biking with Bike-Buddy Kim. It was only my second ride of the season, and after the first one (20 miles of almost-flat) my knee was bothering me for days, so we took it extra easy. Our average pace was slower, my spin rate was higher, and we took two nice long stretch breaks, but we managed 28 miles and had a lovely ride.

It gave me an excellent appetite for the belated birthday dinner mom made -- baby chickens Cornish Game Hens, dal, rice, and salad, with a really great citrusy marinade/rub/sauce-whatever on the birds, and then chocolate pots de creme with mace and cardamom.

Sunday there was STILL sun (OMG!!!11eleventy!), so I worked in my yarden. I worked on clearing out the tangle by the Nasty Neighbor's fence so I could start planning a hedgerow type barrier between me and him (I want to rebuild the fence, but it's out of the question). The vine maple my folks gave me last year is budding, and I planted an evergreen huckleberry near it, which will eventually get tall enough to screen the Nasty Neighbor's window*, in theory. In clearing the spot I salvaged a bunch of iris for mom and pulled a bunch of blackberries and vinca. It's still such a mess that when [ profile] madalchemist came out to look he couldn't tell what I'd done.

*Nasty Neighbor has a two story garage/workshop whose windows overlook my otherwise private back yard, and various things he said when I moved in reveal that he pretty much spies when he's bored. He also works on cars late at night with all the lights on and no curtains, which is like having a spotlight on my back yard. The vine maple is my first new defence; at it's current height it'll block the lower windows once it leafs out; when it's mature it'll block the upper story. Someday I should put up a birdseye drawing of the yarden so y'all can picture what I'm talking about.
shadesofmauve: (Default)
I just rode home in the pouring rain and showered all the road grime off. I let the kitties in and they mobbed me -- crazy, uber cuddly, we-must-be-in-contact-at-all-times, LOVE ME! I will lick you and cherish you and call you george and you will pet me and LOVE ME! NEEEEEOW! No! We will not wait for you to get dressed! We shall dry you with our beautiful furs! OMG, DO YOU LOVE ME?!

I know the big mean sky rained on them, too, but I think I need a way to assure them I'm not melting before my mouth is so full of cat hair that I can't breathe.

No, I'm not licking cats. I don't know how the hair gets there. By magic, just like it gets everywhere else. *spits*
shadesofmauve: (Default)
I am so fucking Pacific Northwest today. I rode my bicycle to work in the pouring rain, stopped for a latte at The Ubiquitous Roadside Coffee Shack, and carried it the rest of the way in my water-bottle holder.

Note to bikers: 16 oz beverage; 20 oz cup, use the bottle cage on the seat-tube, not the down-tube. No spillage of the precious fluid of life, even on bumps!

In totally unrelated news, I just realized that I know not one, but three songs about cosmetic surgery. It's slightly disturbing.
shadesofmauve: (Default)
My little brother is off to school! YAY! Folks dropped him off in Ellensburg yesterday, and Saturday night we had a going-away dinner at the Olympic Club in Centralia, where we had a blast playing pool. Reasonable games for everyone (bearing in mind that both Doozer and I are total n00bs), and then an EPIC GAME OF FAIL for Andrew and I. Apparently a single game of 8-ball is not supposed to take more than an hour. Who knew?

It wasn't that we couldn't get any balls in. It's that they kept coming out! Everything but the 8 had been in at least twice. Mom and Dad were very patient, and Erik only suggested I intentionally sink the 8 and Please-End-this-Misery once.

Brad and I had a lovely ride Friday, and he showed me how to clean my drive-train Sunday evening. Result: Sparkly clean drive-train! Woo!

In appartment-vs-house news, I finally finished chipping the old paint off of the bedroom register cover, sprayed it white, and reinstalled it. It only took me a year, and now I fix it right before I move (I've my eye on that deposit). I suppose living in my folks' project for years has made me blind to things like gaping holes in the walls with register covers leaning next to 'em.

Acting kind of like I'm moving even though I'm still waiting for the appraisal...*twitch*

In art, all the dinosaurs are stuck down, and I painted a soccer ball on a squashed partial-sphere, which is ridiculously tricky. Erik read quite a bit to keep me going, and we're now only two or three Points-of-View away from the end of A Game of Thrones. The next book is already borrowed and waiting for us.
shadesofmauve: (Default)
This weekend I ordered Quicken 2009, and today the order confirmation arrived:

"Great News! We shipped your order QST3050202690 today (see details of your shipment below). It will arrive shortly."

Wow! I am SO SURPRISED that you did what I paid you to do! Go Intuit!

Most unintentionally funny confirmation e-mail ever.

In other, less great (but perfectly enjoyable) news, I once again spent a weekend mostly-in-the-garden. Finally got compost from mom's, had Doozer and Dad over for BBQ and a few tunes, planted scallions, and got beat up by a rose bush.

Even better, Brad and I finally managed to go for a ride, and for my first long ride of the season I did pretty well! Apparently all that training up to the century doesn't just disappear over night. We also went up to REI and spent our little hearts out. I now have Magic Vulcan Biking Gloves that keep my hands almost toasty!
shadesofmauve: (Default)
This Saturday, Brad and I rode a century.

Weekend tally:

States visited: 2
Intrepid liberal cyclists beaten up in Idaho: 0!
Ron Paul signs sighted: vast multitudes
Average town population: 900
Horses herded by bicycle cowboys: 1
Car tires shredded: 1
Miles ridden: 100.75
Life goals achieved: 1!
shadesofmauve: (Default)
This weekend...

I pretty-much finished a painting I've been working on for years, which already has a buyer lined up.

I finished and delivered a postcard/invitation design  job.

I did some figure-drawing (from photos).

I attended a Jason Webley concert and left with CDs.

I went on a couple-hours long bike ride.

I regrouted half the kitchen counter.

Of course, when a client called late Sunday night to say she was concerned with how little progress I'd made on her project, it was THE project I hadn't worked on all weekend. Can't win 'em all...
shadesofmauve: (Default)
I went dancin' in Seattle, talked to Luke (forgot to get an e-mail, damn!), visited Em's cat, and made it back to Oly in time to beat my folks' to the market, even though I started in Seattle and took the city bus. Boo. Ya.

On Sunday Brad* and I went down to Tenino and biked the Chehalis-Western almost to Lacey and back. It was really, amazingly nice to get in some riding that wasn't a commute, and my legs didn't complain the next day at all - they thanked me. Clearly, I need to be pushing myself a bit more if I want an energy pay off. Brad's good company, and we were on trails instead of the road, so it was relaxing.

Got back from the ride and scooted out to Tolmie to meet my folks' and the Zilks (after dealing with a mad, undeniable post-bike donut craving...I am ashamed), had a picnic, and did a tiny bit of kayaking. Doozer and I got really close (18 inches or less) from a bunch of little sand-piper-y guys.

The picture of Stella and the violin painting are coming along. It'll be a push to finish them before I leave for Japan, but totally possible. I'm NOT ready to leave next Friday, though! I'm not entirely sure what I need to do to be ready, but I'm fairly certain I haven't done it.

My grandparents are coming up next weekend and we'll be spending time with them, bob'n'wendy'n'twins, and celebrating their anniversary and my folks' anniverserary, so whatever I need to get done had better get done during the week.

*Why take emergency bike repair tools when you can take an entire mechanic?
shadesofmauve: (tiger)
I just got my bike back from the shop yesterday, and on the way home from work I did the stupid-diagonal-gear thing (paying attention to traffic, not shifting) and my chain locked up tight. It was the most-stuck chain I have ever encountered. I walked to a nearby parking lot, got my fingers a bit greasy, and was back on the road within ten minutes.

I am not a good bike mechanic. I'm not even a mediocre, almost-competent bike mechanic, but bikes are simple enough that I can look at the problem and figure out, if not how to FIX it, then what to do to get me home on it. And if I screw something up, it won't explode.

I wouldn't know where to start tinkering with a combustion engine, and it's highly unlikely I'll ever be able to solve an auto problem by popping a quick-release lever on the back tires. I have a healthy respect for things that are potentially explosive.

I'm fundamentally uncomfortable with owning anything I don't feel comfy tinkering with.

***This thought-train has reached it's scheduled terminus. Please de-train and board your connecting thought-train on platform 2***

The Obesity Epidemic is front page news again because of a study claiming to link weight-gain to social connections - you gain weight because your friends do, crudely put. This is sparking discussions about societal stigma and whether fat-acceptance, love-your-body people are creating an environment where there's no penalty for being fat and therefore worsening the health of all of the country.

I don't think any amount of love-your-body acceptance pep talk is going to make anyone up and decide to be obese. I don't think stigmatizing anyone does any good, either. I am concerned about friends and relatives who are overweight.

I know that someone is bound to read this and launch into "you don't know how it feels...". Lets get clear, here - I'm pretty skinny. As an adolescent I lost weight due to physical stress (surgery) rather than gained it. But also due to surgeries, I have a really damn good idea of what it's like to loathe, fear, and detest the idea of going to a gym. Y'know, a gym, where people who are obsessed with fitness go to more perfectly tone their gorgeous bodies? Where people might see you and laugh 'cause here you are like you'll be able to improve and you just can't freaking do this stuff, pack it in before you embarrass the rest of us?

Some of this is normal human egocentrism - the fact is, "they" are not spending all their time staring at you.
But knowing that doesn't help. I don't think it can be physically healthy to force yourself into a situation where you feel that bad. New and uncomfortable situations make you grow, but that's uncomfortable, not agonizing.

This is another reason why I bike to work.

It's not a pretentious work-out. It's a commute. The only people looking at me are the assholes honking at the slow biker (I prefer to pretend that they are honking in appreciation of my luscious ass). It is somehow a much "safer"* way to get some of the same activity. I took a spin cycle class once - I was absolutely miserable. I've never been inclined to join any group rides, even though I enjoy recreational riding on occasion. Safe to say, it's not just the movement, it's the situation. Walking can be the same way - exercise without feeling like somehow you're a fitness-poseur.

Y'know something about biking (or walking) to work? It's a whole lot easier to make yourself do it when you don't own a car.

By this point, I think I will reach the place where I can make myself bike even if I own a car, because I've come to appreciate it as part of my daily routine. I feel healthier, I have more energy, and I enjoy seeing my town from the bike. There have been days when I had my folks' car and I took the bike instead. But I seriously don't think I could have gotten to this point if a car had been available all the time. I never would have gotten comfortable enough with the idea of a commute ride if I had another option (I didn't have a license 'till I was 19, in case you're wondering). Yeah, I'm lazy. Most of are. It's evolution - of COURSE we want to do it the easy way! If we're more efficient mammoth hunters then we preserve more calories and can spend more energy making little mammoth hunters. As many, many people before me have pointed out, this set of evolutionary adaptations is NOT helpful to today's desk jockey.

Commuting has the other clear benefit of being something you were going to do anyway, instead of yet another thing on your long to-do list.

So there you go. Another reason not to own a car.

*My risk of gruesome mangled death are higher than at the gym, but my brain is happy.
shadesofmauve: (Default)
So, at lunch I skimmed through recent LJ, skipping all the boring louts (Not you, never you! You know who you are! You're IMPORTANT!)*. Of course I read [ profile] westrider's most recent post, 'cause he's my housemate and if dramatic, bitter, sobbing house-wars are going to start, what more likely place than livejournal? So it was that I came across his recent tri-topic post, which among other things talks about attraction, cuteness, and how everyone around him's been totally gender-of-choice-fixated lately**. It's the third topic down. He then explains quite nicely about how the physical is not paramount for him as far as attraction is concerned.

I know damn well that that I'm one of the culprits, and I have two things to say for myself.

The first is the issue of physical rather than psychological attraction. Now, I could never, ever get away with the pretense that I was as open-minded about physical looks as [ profile] westrider. There are certain body types I am attracted to, and that basically holds true except for very special cases. There's really no point in pretending otherwise - it could only end in distress for any parties involved. That being said, there aren't that many people even with the right body-type that I'm actually attracted to, and that's because attraction isn't purely physical. I believe in attraction on first sight (NOT love, nor lust neighther - that is, I believe in the later, but it's not what I'm refering to). I think that's because a lot of a person's personality shines through their face. If someone is loving their life, is engaged with the world around them, has a capacity for humor - you can see a lot of that within a few seconds of noticing someone, from across the room. It's not always infallible, but it's a damn good hint. You also know who to avoid. As yo mama once said, you keep that look on your face an it'll stick there! The perpetually petulant are not cute. Hence, the guy watching ethnic underground at Folklife was hot - because he was hot, physically, and because he was laughing with a friend, had a great smile (and by that I mean a very genuine smile), and was one of the first people up dancing. The guitarist for Hot Club Sandwhich (emphatically NOT the one who played at Folklife) was not only gorgeous, but even more clearly loving what he was doing. That band looked like they had a hell of a lot of fun, in the music, in the company, in life. So, if I say someone was beautiful, or hot, or attractive - know that I wouldn't bother remembering them if it was only a physical quality. Any confusion I lay at the feet of the English language, which doesn't have very good words for anything to do with attraction, love, or relationships in general. Meaings are murky because the vocabulary is woefully inaccurate.

As to the recent rise in frequency, my recent vocal appreciation of various persons is because of the time I spent living with [ profile] ribbitkisser and my own general well-being. Before I lived with Des I kept all romantical musings in my head because I was embarassed and not particularly confident. It is impossible to do that around Des. This is a valuable lesson - get it out in the open where you can joke about it or enjoy it for what it is, because when you lock it up it takes on all the useless importance of deep dark secrets anywhere. Deep dark secrets revealed are so melodramatic.

It also helps that I'm a lot more body-confident than I used to be, which leads in to the second reason I've been commenting a lot. I am pretty happy with my life. I don't kow where the hell it's going, I've certainly got a long list of things I could be doing better (or doing at all), but on the balance things are going really well, and there are fewer looming worries than there have been at any time in the past ten years. Things is awright. In other words, I'm probably at a better mental spot for starting a relationship than I have been at any point past. Evolutionarily speaking (though evolution can leave me out of it), once individual survival is not at stake then, and only then, does the animal think about species survival. I notice guys more because I'm not as wrapped up in my own personal issues.

*deep breath*

On a not quite related note, as I was riding home from work today I pulled up at a red light besides a black car, windows rolled down, music blasting. Specifically, blasting the lead up to 'I fight authority, authority always wins...' I nodded to the beat, the 40-ish guy inside said "Ye-ah, baby!" I sang the first bit of the song, the light turns green, and the guy shouts 'Be careful!' as I ride away across the intersection. Now that's what I call a catcall with caring. :)

*As a great graphic designer once said, "Always F*ckin' which' yo head."
**Damn, PC gender-neutrality plays hell with sentence flow and prosody, don't it?
shadesofmauve: (Default)
It occurs to me that it's been awhile,

I have no problem with that.

Still, it's grey outside, I'm on lunch break, and I forgot to bring a book, so I thought I'd take some time out of my day to tell y'all that I arrived at work sopping wet, packed my jeans into a plastic bag, and had them airmailed to the Sahara, where the water contained therein will no doubt support an extended family and their herd of goats for several weeks. I might chicken out and get a lift home.

The tiny birdlets in the service center atrium are no longer naked. They have grey fuzz. Their mama puffs out her chest feathers to keep them from the rain, and shifts about a lot - she's wishing they'd go off to college. Parents everywhere! Learn from nature! Sit on your children until they leave!

At various times over the past few weeks, usually while speeding along (I wish) on my two-wheeled contrivance, I've thought of LJ post topics, rangeing from rants, to complete in-depth details on my life, to angry shouting about how people are...actually pretty damned decent, most of the time. Then, by the time I get home, I'm tired and want a cookie and feel like reading a book or playing computer games, which in hindsight actually seems more productive than LJ. Not to mention, it better fits the spirit of my first ever post.

And now, back to work.

Oh, and if anyone heads to Folklife this weekend, lookout for me!


shadesofmauve: (Default)

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