you make the bed you lie in

"this is the 2nd worst Christmas ever" - my dad on Christmas Eve.

my mom and I did not know what he meant but this was an important holiday and I didn't listen to negativity. life is only as good as you make it. if you think this is the 2nd worst Christmas ever, then that is what it will be.

for me? it was one of the best. but it was not without effort... I

- cooked a turkey-loaf with my boyfriend before he flew home (which left me with crap-tons of leftover loaf. WIN!)
- attended my work holiday party (and maybe drank a lot)
- watched Flight, Frances Ha, Identity Thief, Ice Age: Continental Drift, and Safety Not Guaranteed (not all on the same night)
- had dinner in San Francisco with some girlfriends (can you say, "sangrias"?)
- watched little Evo open my gift (and he started saying my name!)
- attended my knitting club's holiday party (hugs all around)
- drove myself through amazing Christmas lights (straight-up traffic jam in there)
- ate brunch with my cousin and his wife from Maine (after 10am, immediately started drinking mimosas)
- baked cookies with my cousins (burnt myself since I was drinking mimosas)
- spent hours at the park with my Romeo (pretty sure he loves me more after that)
- spent 2 nights at my aunts house with her family (excellent food over there)
- watched We're the Millers with my aunt ("it's like throwing a hot dog down a hallway")
- watched little Brooke open my gifts (although I think she enjoys cleaning up after herself more than she does unwrapping)
- watched LOTS OF DOCTOR WHO (probably too much)
- enjoyed Christmas Day with 30+ members of my family (not to mention, 3 vodka martinis)

in other news...
...today is the 1 year anniversary of one of the worst days of my life. and I have lots of great things on the menu!
...2014 in just 3 days! so many bike races, so little time...
...1:30pm is as good a time as 8am to take a shower I suppose.


pretty sure I asked for Teddy Ruxpin.

December 1986

I own a cat that I named Cupcake... after my favorite snack; my bed is a roof over very thin monsters; the living room couches that save me from the alligators are brown and white plaid; I spend every Christmas Eve night in my grandparents' motor home parked outside my house, scanning the sky for a sleigh; my dad, has a very. profound. mustache.

like I said, it is 1986. and I am one two three four FIVE years old.

while cleaning out my closet recently, I stumbled upon some magical hand-written pieces my parents saved. I have transcribed them below and MUCH TO MY DISMAY, made zero corrections to spelling and grammar (*cringe).

(in my mom's handwriting):

Dear Santa
In this trailer.
I am in the trailer and I am in the trailer. Do Look inside of my room, and look in my sock drawer and you would find a red and white package or look in mommy's room for a red and white pkg and on the trailer you would find a note and it would the same thing I talked about and Santa how many children have been nice.
Merry Christmas Santa and Mrs. Santa.
and Merry Christmas to Rudolph.
(in my handwriting): Love KATHY

(interesting - this is also in my mom's handwriting):

Dear Kathy, 12-24-86
My you have been a good girl this year!
I was very happy to see you at the Shopping Center the other day. I am sorry I missed you at the Christmas show on Sunday but I heard you danced very good; keep up on your tap lessons and one day you will be one of the best dancers like your teacher.
I looked inside your red and white purse and although I didn't get you everything that was there, I think you will have fun with the gifts we left. Most of all the children this year have been nice but there a few that still don't mind their parents as they should or that aren't nice to their friends.
Kathy, continue to listen good to your elders. You'll not have any problems or few only later in life if you start now.
You're a good girl and I love you. Take care until next Christmas.
PS. Your Nana and Papa have a beautiful motor home.
Love,Santa and Mrs. Claus and Rudolph

in other news...
...Dear Santa, Look in my purse. You will find there is no plane ticket to Maui in there. Please put one here so that I can visit my boyfriend. and Merry Christmas to Donder. (screw Rudolph, he always steals the spotlight)
...surely this is not me at 5 but, you get the idea.


measuring my einfuglungsvermogen

recently I took some large steps in helping myself.

it sounds stupid, really. but, I do not do that often. apparently, I beat myself up for things I have no control over. like, if you show up late to my party? I am sorry - I should have scheduled it at a convenient time. get in a fender bender leaving my apartment? my fault - I should have gone to your place instead. got lost driving to meet me somewhere? this was a terrible meeting place suggestion from me.
I cannot help it.

so what have I done to help ME?

I planned a dinner recently for some close friends who have spent the last 6 months helping me get through my divorce. they showed up at the restaurant on a week-night after a full day of work... some drove for 40 minutes + to get there, left their kids at home, and I felt terrible. but it meant a lot, and I can only hope it was worth it for them.

I bought a book, When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron which I willingly reread chapters of. it has taught me to sit in my loneliness; let myself be scared; do not scramble out of discomfort. Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look.
yes, a Buddhist said 'shit'.

I purchased pepper spray because I now value my well-being and I want to be okay. so if you are the jerk in my neighborhood that makes a move on me in the dark while I walk my dog, you better hope you have tiny eyeballs.

I completed a race - alone. with no one to pace and no one at the finish, I did it. I missed people, and held back tears when seeing hugs and hearing yells for others but I did it. and I did well.

I met someone that I enjoy spending time with... despite how many farts I have had to withhold - it is well-worth the discomfort.

I went on vacation - one that showed me mountains and air and rain & thunder and water and trees and rivers. one that included a buck, a sleeping owl, turkeys that run like velociraptors, fat squirrels, friendly chipmunks, deer that look like large bunnies, skinny lizards, and a tarantula (A tarantula, just one).

you out there who helped me, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

in other news...
...Dear Narrows, you scare me. which is why I will be back to face you again!
...for the first time ever, after laying Romeo in bed with me, he got up, jumped down, and curled up in to his own dog bed. GOOD BOY! (slightly sad)
...watching Romeo shop for bones is one of my favorite things.

*most photos courtesy of Mr. Johnson.



WHAT saddle sores?

2 Mondays ago, I took the elevator.
after cycling 130 miles over 15,000 feet that weekend, the 51 steps I normally take to my office can go screw themselves.

last year - while training for the Viva Vegas ride with Team in Training - several of my cycling buddies urged me to do this so-called 'Death Ride' with them in 2013. the name of it was all I had to hear in order to shake my head in a profuse ABSOLUTELY NOT fashion. this was not a task I was interested in tackling.

however, after a horrendous set of Holidays... I decided the Death Ride sounded perfect for me and signed up.
6 months later, a shower head in Carson City wakes me up at 2:30 in the morning. I crawl out of bed, squeeze in to spandex shorts sans underwear, eat some oatmeal, and pray for poop.
after no one poops, my nervous group of 4 caravans out to Markleeville at 3am. by 4am, we officially begin The Death Ride. (oh and FYI? the stars suck at providing packing light - but are wonderful at providing distraction)
as if cycling in the dark wasn't stupid enough already, it is even dumber when it is in a town where mice run rampant. the only highlight from this whole 'dark' portion of the day was when my buddy Gus dropped his water bottle, and it proceeded to roll down the mountain away from him as he yelled AHHH MY WATER BOTTLE!!!

the sun rose slowly as we climbed Monitor Pass. it was beautiful to watch the orange smack against the mountain tops in the background - this made the climb go by quickly. despite my photo'ing-while-cycling attempts, I could not get a crisp snap of anything... but hey, at least it documented my *blurry pass of Mr. Johnson.
once we hit the top of Monitor we received our 1st pass stickers (you get a different colored one at the completion of every pass), and we all had to pee. this was not a planned stop for us but hydrating for this sort of thing puts your bladder in near-explosion mode constantly. Gus turned in to a coach, filled my water bottles for me and got us to depart quickly for our trek down the backside of Monitor.

Ricky had a smile on his face this ENTIRE downhill. it was amazing, fast, scary, crowded, beautiful and accompanied by scattered ambulances... I dreaded the possibility of seeing an accident = inevitable panic attack. luckily that did not happen.
at the bottom we reconvened, choked down some food, and got our 2nd stickers - except for ME because seriously, who the F gives out stickers for completing a mountain they haven't begun??
after the long and winding climb back up Monitor Pass we stopped again at the rest stop.
I then proceeded to have a frantic debate about the fact I did not get sticker #2. after impatient tears and loud cursing (by yours truly), I got an authorized signature and the group headed out. (who thought at age 32, I would want a sticker so damn bad?)

on to Ebbetts Pass...
this mountain was the beginning of problems for many riders. it is a 12 mile climb featuring several double-digit % inclines, not to mention... the time of day brought sun and heat. I spoke to as many people as I could to keep my mind off of my thigh which threatened explosion at every switchback. stopping was difficult for everyone due to the steepness - clipping the cleats back in to the pedals on a 12% hill is treacherous.
I played bicycle leap-frog with my buddies on this one... we found ourselves passing each other during the other's break. Mark's thighs were cramping, Rai's knees were bursting, my right leg was tight, Ricky was tired... but Gus was GONE! I suspect his PopTarts had steroids.

once I reached the top, a volunteer immediately offered to rack my bike for me so I could refuel and catch my breath. Rai joined me. this stop was bustling with people and it was easy to lose sight of each other. we were standing at an elevation of 8,730 feet and were advised to not stay at this stop for very long as altitude sickness may set in.
after refilling waters, we headed down the other side of Ebbets... a dauntingly STEEP descent where I observed the people climbing back up to see how difficult this was going to feel soon - many of whom were stopped, sitting, or hovering forward in throw-up position.
bring it.

at the bottom was another rest stop where my friend Mark realized he should not proceed. his legs were doing terrible things and one absolutely positively needs to listen to the body in this situation. Rai and I set off once we were mentally recharged... NEXT!
2nd climb up Ebbetts...
grueling... for most. but THIS, was my game changer. I felt amazing. passing a lot of people on this climb gave me a huge boost of confidence but I did NOT forget how good it feels to be encouraged. so I spent time talking to people, getting minds off of the task at hand, asking about jerseys, ensuring everyone felt ok, telling them they are doing GREAT.
our next downhill was LONG... and awesome-balls. 75% of the way down though, my entire right shifter came loose rendering my gears and rear brake useless. thankfully I was able to coast the rest of the way to the next stop where a full mechanic service was ready to fix it. whew!
now the time crunch was on. we had to hit the next stop by 4pm in order to qualify to complete all 5 passes. we had 1hr 30min to get through a distance that should take us 1hr. after throwing down some crappy sandwiches and assuring my shifter now worked, we set out.

the roads were no longer closed from cars and did not have a bike lane - hence, almost shitting my shorts several times. I let Rai draft behind me for a longer period of time since his knees were hurting... there would not be much celebration in completing 5 passes if I did it alone.

Woodfords rest stop...
luckily, I made the 4pm cutoff by 30 min but was concerned when I did not see Rai. 15 minutes passed before I decided to continue. because he was in pain, I worried and felt terrible moving ahead. hopefully he was safe and okay.
this stop was by far the best - volunteers held bikes, applied sunscreen for you, showered you with hoses, fed you frozen watermelon... the group was energetic, supportive, and playing loud music. Ricky found me here and we continued together. it would be another 5 miles to the next stop, then 9 to the top of the 5th - and last - mountain.

Carson Pass...
the scenery is BEAUTIFUL here... we pulled over frequently to give Ricky's butt a rest. upon arriving at the next stop I was greeted with a YOU LOOK GREAT MISS! WOULD YOU LIKE SOME ICE COLD WATER? *cue hysterical laugh. I am a walking salt lick.
9 more miles to go...
turning through a twisting hill, I pulled over to wait for Ricky and who do I see?? Mr. Johnson. thank GOODness! since he did not rest at either of the previous stops - he passed us while we were getting water. his tube popped earlier which caused us to separate but now here he was and I feel incredibly happy - and proud - to see him! since he is out of water, I give him mine and we crawled forward as a new group of 3.
when I realized we had a few miles left and - for some reason - felt good, I pushed forward. after turning a corner, the remaining climb is displayed across the side of the mountain. OH SHIT fell out of my face. correct my form, sip my water, ONE MORE.
passing people on a final climb feels AMAZING. when I arrived at the top, it did not feel real. volunteers smiled at me, gave me the final sticker, a special 5-pass finisher pin, and directed me toward the ice cream sandwiches. several people gave me 1:1 speeches of how big a feat this is and to be proud of myself for doing it - hearing that meant so much to me.

Rai crossed the top... then Ricky, who very swiftly threw his bike in the bushes upon completion.
we signed the 5-pass finisher poster, hugged, drank Pepsi, ate ice cream, and groaned when we realized there were 20 downhill miles left until we reached our cars.

in other news...
...by far, the Death Ride provided me with the most penis and butt sightings I have ever seen. can't say I am very happy about that.
...apparently I talk about my vageen so much, friends are buying me special chamois cream. win!
...my first BIG event that is not fundraising for something. and while I am proud of myself for completing this once *impossible ride, I could be prouder.
...the next day I drove up Carson Pass and snapped a better photo of our last mountain. 


because you ASKED for a poorly-written novel - that's why.

it is one thing to dread the early wake up call for that one day next weekend for that obligation you signed yourself up for. it is a whole other story to have it be the night before, when you set your alarm for 4:00am and your phone confirms: ALARM IS SET FOR 3 HOURS AND 51 MINUTES FROM NOW.
well anyway - after sleep-dressing myself at 4:15am, ensuring all of my bike gear was in my car, and then double-checking I actually had pants on, my friend Rai and I took off for the ride.
upon arrival I sorted out the storing locations for all of my food - my nutrition for the day consisted of a lot of gu's, gummies, and caffeine... and I wonder why I feel terrible for days afterward...

the beginning was a flash - excitement was contagious and everyone rode at a high cadence that they would regret later (me included) but, we did it anyway. Lockheed was on the road in full force - showing off cool jerseys and a boisterous individual (named John) whose normal volume was SHOUTING LEVEL... which was REALLY GOOD!!!!!!!!!!

I was bummed to discover that my usual 1st rest stop was not yet set up - it would only be for the shorter routes which had a later start time. but I stopped regardless and complained to myself about it. *grumble grumble.

the first major climb followed shortly and included much more quiet grumbling but also a LOT of conversing. cycling up hills like these allows me plenty of time to meet people and enjoy the scenery and experience. one couple was keeping a decent pace until the woman let it be known: I THOUGHT YOU SAID THIS WOULD BE SLOW AND STEADY? I advised her partner I THINK SHE WANTS SLOWER AND STEADIER.
official rest stop 1 was short and sweet. coffee cake, bananas, PB&J's, nilla wafers, water, Gatorade... there were 3 large climbs left so the break simply served as a water-topper.
I took some group photos for SHOUTING-John before heading out with Rai.
this part of the ride gave me my all-too-familiar nervous pee sensation. rough road, steep downhill, fast cars, moist air collecting on sunglasses. imagining a crash was enough to keep me cautious.
eventually I passed Rai at a wicked speed. I love it when he chooses his wardrobe unwisely and has to pull over to change (thus allowing me said 'wicked speed' pass).

at the 2nd rest stop I found Rai (yes - he beat me) fiddling with his clothes.
SHOUTING-John as well as a swarm of others arrived after me. we stretched, talked, sat, ate, and painfully hovered over the toilets to pee (if penis-less).

Rai's clothing choice shows we were close to the (cold) ocean. the next climb would take us north-west with views of golden rolling hills, green mountains, happy horses, and the Pacific... including a death-defyingly WINDY 2 miles on Highway 1.

rest stop #3 was crucial. it was the LAST stop before the longest and curviest (and final) climb - the moment I gave myself a Gladiator speech. will what I do in life really echo in eternity?

after urging an irresponsible cyclist to clean off the bloody road rash from his unsuccessful date with the pavement, we departed. he would survive.

Tunitas Creek Rd. was a monster. luckily I had lots of company! but unluckily... the first guy I talked to did not speak English, got nervous, and took off ahead of me. ok. : / I passed him soon after as he stopped on the side of the road and practically threw up. weird European. reminded me of my dog when a cat tries to play with him.

miles and switchbacks later I ran out of hill. I found everyone in stretching and pain-writhing positions at the top. the rest of the route was either downhill or flat - bring it.

and what is a finish line photo without a question from the dependable Mr. LaForga...

just 30 more miles than you - that is all.

in other (yet similar) news...
...$1,000 raised for the American Diabetes Association this year!
...I love the company I keep