Thursday, December 18, 2008

Goodbye Winthrop, Hello Tahoe

Well, despite my best intentions, plane tickets, hotel reservations, a rental car and fully paid 3 days of ski camp, I didn't make it there today. I got in the cab at 7:55am, got to the airport on time, boarded the plane - pleased with my bulkhead aisle seat - and started knitting. Then there's this odd announcement about a - delay? What? It's sunny and beautiful outside! Ah, but not so in the pacific northwest. Apparently there was a crazy snowstorm in Seattle, replete with 0 mile visibility. Then I started worrying about this crazy storm and our 2 hour delay - since it was covering the 2 passes I would need to drive over. Washington was in the process of getting dumped on. I talked to some Washington locals who said I definitely should not try to drive from Seattle to the North Cascades today, so I looked in the Alaska Airlines magazine and lo and behold! They fly to Wenatchee. So I cancel my rental car in Seattle, buy a ticket to Wenatchee (which is only 2 hours from ski camp) and go about getting a rental car. Funny thing, there were none. NONE. Enterprise, Budget and Hertz - the 3 rental car companies in Wenatchee, had no 4 wheel drive vehicles. Shoot. I mean really none - none to the point of my asking to see if I could get one the next day they said there were none available until next year. ! They were trying to get some over from Spokane, but they just got 22 inches of snow in the last day or two themselves. Apparently they'd been getting totaled more frequently than expected.

So as my flight delay grows larger making my connection to Wenatchee look less probable I realize I am kind of screwed. No way of getting from Wenatchee to Winthrop. Unsafe travel conditions to go from seattle and at that point it would mean driving probably a minimum of 8 hours through treacherous terrain alone. Plus, it was looking a lot like I would need to stay the night somewher eon route - and what is the point of missing the first day of a 3 day camp?

Then there's the other reality that I have been dreading going! Once I heard the weather would be highs in the single digits the whole time I got a knot in my stomach each time I thought about it. I mean starting out at 8am when it's -2 outside without windchill? UGH. Not enjoyable! Not for me at least. There are some people who would either enjoy it or enjoy the challenge of it, but I am not those people. Especially in a coaching situation where you ski, get sweaty then stand around and *freeze* with chattering teeth and all.

So I said screw it at the very last minute (literally) that I could get off the plane, they somehow miraculously pulled my bags off and home I went, 4 hours later.

Luckily I remembered Tahoe - where I am part of a winter ski rental! So I ran inside, grabbed my ski wax, started the dishwasher, took my whole knitting needle bag, fed the cat and ran back out to drive up here. Unfortunately this drive was treacherous too - took 6 hours with a record 1 mile in 54 minutes (record for me that is) and was a bit white-out-ish at times near the summit - but I made it and I am now warm in the cabin watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (with Gene Wilder), drinking whiskey and relaxing. Yeehaw!!

The skiing will be good - if not tomorrow then definitely the next day and it is about 20 degrees warmer than Winthrop. Phew!

Friday, December 05, 2008


It's been a good 6 months since I've written, I guess that highlights the Lazy in 'Lazy Overachiever', eh? Not much has has happened except that my work took off at the speed of light, leaving me to run after it all hours of the day, every day of the week. Things have settled down over the last couple of months, thankfully, and I am working at balancing a personal life with my career so my friends who have written me off will once again start asking if I actually want to leave the house... ever.

One thing that has kept me sane is Facebook - or more specifically satisfied the voyeur in me. I get to read the status updates and view the photos that my 412 "friends" post. Do I really have 412 friends you ask? No. these days I hardly feel like i have any since most are either long distance or expanding their families. I would say that all of the local people I have accepted or sent friend requests to are definitely friendly acquaintances at the least. There is another contingent though of "friends" from my high school nearly all of whom I have never spoken to in the 18 years since I have left. I am fascinated by these folk though. It's oftentimes such a mystery, too, as to who they even are! You have a married name and a profile photo of children with no parent. Who are you?!? Why are you testing my memory in such a way that makes my head hurt? After a fair amount of sleuthing i can usually figure it out - or I ask another friend who may know. There are only 2 people I never figured out. Then the question remains - was I friends with you in high school? Did I like you? Did you torture me? Were you a raging bitch to me? Did I want to run you over? I have actually gotten friend invites from people who made my life miserable in high school. Why be my "friend" now 18 years later? Is this some sort of new popularity contest I should know about? I actually went through the other day and unfriended at least 10 people who no longer met the facebook definition of friend - whatever that means. I hate to have too many of anything - clothes, stuff, friends. I like to keep it as efficient as possible! I am a minimalist after all.

So then one of these new-found high school friends moved to San Francisco, so we got in touch and went out for some wine 19 years later. I don't think I had ever spoken to him in high school - really. He was a grade ahead and really popular and hot. He probably smiled at me once unknowingly and that was about it. So it was really very fun catching up - he agreed he wasn't sure we had ever spoken, but that he remembered me in some sports jersey. He is surprisingly unmarried as the lion share of people from my high school are long since married with kids. I would say maybe 5 of us are not - out of 100+ people. The funny thing was he was asking why I was single and I was saying I hadn't met anyone I was interested in - the usual banter. I explained that having been a math major with a degree in computer science is really not much of a turn-on and that owning a house usually chases them away completely. He was kind to say that those should be turn-ons and men should like strong, successful, smart women... how those guys are *clearly* the 'wrong guys'. Easy enough to say - of course it turns out that he is dating a 24 year old girl! Hey, 38 year old guy, how about the strong, successful, smart women?! He's like eh, no thanks.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I know in general that it's best to remain calm and pleasant in all situations, but I continually get contradictory results that lead me to believe that is NOT true.

Take today for example.

Let's back up for a minute and give a little context. Back in December I bought an HDDVD player because the man at Best Buy convinced me it was not risky to do so. For those of you not familiar with this battle (similar to beta versus VHS in the 80's) there were two competing HD DVD formats, HDDVD and blu ray. I have never been an early adopter of new technology. I was about 4 years later than everyone i knew getting a cell phone, 2 years out with the ipod, don't have a myspace page - you get the picture. So there I am in need of a DVD player and I am suckered into buying this HDDVD player. I am assured that this is going to be the format that wins the format war. whatever.

No more than 4 weeks later it is announced that blu ray has won and HDDVD is dead. No DVD's will be manufactured in that format any longer, and no more players made. Great. Now I have an obsolete player that is pretty much no better than the cheap-o Mintek player I have used for 6 years with no problems. Plus, it doesn't work well. It takes about 2 minutes just to turn on, and it behaves oddly. I consider returning it, but 1) I am lazy and 2) I just don't need an HD player anyway and 3) I HATE going to Best Buy.

Fast forward to last night when I go to put a disc in and the door just won't open. No amount of paper-clipping helps - no open.

Off I go to best buy. I bring it in to return it. I know that it's been 6 months, but they misled me into buying that piece of crap in the first place and it's broken. They don't make it anymore, so give me something else. So i talk to customer service, then i talk to repairs, basically the only option available is just sending it to get fixed. They don't seem to understand I don't want it anymore. take it back.

So I start griping a little bit. Not a lot, no raised voice, but I'm pretty clear that the solution of getting it repaired is not acceptable. So they send over a manager. He also explains since it's been so long they can't possibly take it back, only repair it. This goes on for a few minutes. So then I move into battle stance. Again, in a calm demeanor yet with biting words I just lay into the company and why I should absolutely be able to return it. I pull out all the stops and every single point I can possibly think of to help my argument and finally he says okay, we'll let you exchange it for something else.

So i wonder - why is it that I needed to full-on argue with this guy before he actually was willing to help me? Why is that necessary? Regardless, it is necessary, so to all of those polite, accepting people out there: know when to be strong and fight for what you believe because it will actually get your further if you do it in the right way. sad, but true.


So I decided that it would be fun to go and surprise my parents now that they have moved out to the west coast. Ashland is only 5.5 hours away, and it's really a nice drive once you get past the Sacramento area. Surprises are hard to pull off though, especially when there are some things to consider like: where do they live exactly? Will there be somewhere for me to sleep since they don't have any of their belongings yet? Will they be home when I arrive?

So, very slyly I began to set the stage as soon as they moved out. Suggesting that maybe they should buy a new guest bed since the futon they decided to bring against my wishes really sucks. Thinking that if they get a guest bed it will be there whenever I may decide to show up. Asking for their mailing address so I could send them a card. That sort of thing.

So I type the address into google maps, and it does not locate it properly. They live on C court and it is showing me C street... bad sign. I know in my gut this is going to put a pretty big crimp in my plans, but I persevere nonetheless. I figure the town of Phoenix, Oregon, population 4060 should have a gas station where I could ask for directions. I mean there are only about 20 streets in the whole town which spans little over one mile in any direction.

So I ask them what they are doing that night, they say staying in, and off I go! The drive up was completely uneventful, if not a bit shocking seeing the mountains *covered* in snow - as low as 3000 feet. In April! Shasta was covered. So I get there right around dinner time, hoping to get some of the dinner myself, and pull into a gas station with my little internet map to ask them where C Court is. I had a hunch it was in an area of the map that was unmarked and was off of C Street - makes sense - no? So this woman corroborates (without my even sharing my hypothesis) that yes, that is where C Court is.

There I am driving down the one main street looking for the road on the right. I find the road before it and the road after it but not C Court. I don't even see a turnoff at all for any street! I drove that 500 foot stretch of road at least 9 times. No kidding. Except there was a trailer park... strange, I thought, that my parents didn't mention they were living in a trailer park. Well, it was a really cheap rental, and they would only be in it for about 6 months or so until their new house was ready, so who knows. Stranger things have happened. I go into the trailer park and no one has heard of C Court. Now I am very perplexed. I left and came back two more times to ask other residents just to make sure. Nope. No C Court.

So I decide to go to the *other* C Street (yes, this tiny town has 2 C streets. Go figure.) and see what courts may be nearby. Nothing. A whole lot of nothing. I asked many people who were walking on the street if they had heard of C Court, to no avail. So finally I give up and decide to call my folks and find out exactly where they are. I call, but no answer. SIGH. Now I am hungry surrounded by yards of barking dogs in Phoenix Oregon. Maybe this wasn't the best idea?

As a last ditch effort I decide to ask one last family walking by. Oh, they say, it's about 3 blocks that way. Needless to say I had gone as far as two blocks in that direction and then turned around. GRRR. So I find it, see the mint green prius in the driveway, and run up to the house where my parents were sitting and eating in the bay window. So they saw my approach but were surprised anyway. Good times!

I had the pleasure of meeting their neighbor Linda a few days later after the big moving truck came to deliver their belongings. She came over around 2pm reeking of alcohol. My parents aren't the most social of folks with strangers, so I think her presence was a bit overwhelming. BUT, she assured my mother they would be fast friends so that was reassuring. I think what she actually said was that they would "bond" for sure. She also wanted to take my mom to her haircutter. I'm pretty sure I needn't describe her hair, or mention that my mom has been getting her hair cut by some curly hair experts in New York City for at least 20 years now. The good news is that the hair cutter also throws amazing parties - and never fear! Linda knows "all of the back roads so we won't get a DUI!". I was sure laughing out loud on the inside when she said that. The idea that my parents would even go to a party let alone drink and drive was just too much.

Now my mom won't garden out front if Linda's car is in the driveway because she's afraid she will come over and talk to her.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

So I'm sitting here pretty sore, definitely elated after a fantastic 40k race. Granted, for a non-coffee drinker who rarely has caffeine this could all just be from the caffeinated shotbloks I ate during the race. Or maybe the endorphins are just still rushing. At any rate, this Glenlivet should put an end to that lickety split. So my high-end goal for this year's race was 3:30 - and I finished the race in 3:20! That definitely beat my expectations and I am just really proud and excited about it. That's nearly an hour faster than the 4:15 I did last year. Yay! avg. heart rate 158. peak heart rate 174. total calories 3410. time in zone: 7 minutes (ha!) While I was disappointed not to be number 420 again this year (green jacket pics), 883 seemed to work well for me (yellow jacket pics).

Even though I didn't meet my fundraising goal I was able to raise exactly $10,500 over the past two years for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society - also something to be very proud of. Our team raised $230,000 which is just amazing.

The day was beautiful - sunny even though it wasn't supposed to be, and mid to upper 20's. perfect. The scenery is just gorgeous, and i really felt great the entire time. Have you ever seen the frozen ocean? with enormous slabs of ice resting at odd angles on top of the frozen base. Looks almost like the the lava fields and flows in volcano craters. Pre-Race 2007I was happy, I knew I was skiing fast, and only a few elite skiers were complete asses when passing. One even slammed into me. The water stops came up unexpectedly quickly before I even had time to wonder where the hell they were and how could 7k seem so far (the distance between each stop). The only downside was that they changed the order of the race this year so literally I was in the last wave of the entire day - behind every 50K racer, and every 40K racer, and every 25k racer. By the time we skied the snow was like deep mashed potato - especially going up hill. 6-8" of deep deep slush. Which meant the downhill sections which are *quite* steep were a 2' swath of ice surrounded by mounds of at least 12" of snow. So much for step turning! That I only fell once was a true miracle. I was completely out of control on at least two of the downhills. You're thinking 'I have this - yeah, this is okay - oh sh*t!!!!' as you go flying and flailing down the hill and just hope that you come out of it in one piece. I was very lucky. First 2K of Race 2007The best part was knowing I will NEVER do this race again - and going out on what was such a pleasant, easy time - amazing how being in much better shape makes such a difference!

Thanks to everyone for all of their support and well wishes, and donations and general kindness. Especially to Rochelle for helping to motivate me to climb and run constantly, and John for kicking my core's ass once a week. I really have an amazing network of friends and family. Seriously though, i am definitely NOT doing this again. You can hold me to that! Any races I do will be local. Big kisses...

Saturday, March 01, 2008

And the year was... 1988!

Looking hot in those mirrored glasses - sophomore year of high school. If only cross country skiing could always look so good.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Taper time

Well, it's officially 3 weeks until the race, and we have been ordered to start tapering. Personally I have mixed feelings about this. I felt like last year by the time the race came around I was out of shape because of the long taper. Of course, I was out of shape to begin with last year which I am sure makes a difference. Don't get me wrong - I trained to the best of my ability - or so I told myself. I may have fudged a bit though on exactly how close to the training plan I really came. (Does walking fast count for aerobic activity? What if it's down the block to a bar?) This year I have been following it pretty closely and am in much, much better shape than last. I was told definitely no strength training for the two weeks before the race 8 ( No more long skis - let's be honest, I haven't skied more than 3.5 hours any given day this entire season. Keep the cardio to a minimum. Yikes. I'd better taper my eating as well or I'll be a blimp for Anchorage.

I'm on pace to have a 3 hour 45 minute race this year. My goal is 3 hours and 30 minutes. My secret goal is to beat a teammate I don't like. Did I say that? Let's hope the snow is fast! No more sandpaper snow please. Please? Weather person?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

On the dole

Well, a lot has happened since I last wrote... I got laid off a few days before Christmas. I guess that's the biggest thing. I've been skiing a ton, working out 8-10 hours a week as per our "training plan" and I bought new curtains.

Being laid off is actually somewhat traumatizing, maybe not for the reasons you would imagine (or maybe they are?). Our company was really small - 15 people in the US and 5 in France. Maybe even less after they fired 5 sales people who sucked up salaries and sold all of NOTHING. This was the kind of company where we were all friends, got along well (some more so than others of course) and had company meetings twice a month - yes, twice. As if once weren't enough. Somehow they neglected to mention the company wasn't doing well. Seems like there was ample opportunity to slip that into one of the meetings - no? Quite the contrary, the meetings were always really positive, and when asked how the latest round of funding was going, we were told it was going well! Hmmm. That was about one week before we were laid off. I was really mad - not to lose my job, because I was planning on looking for work in the Spring anyway - but because I felt so betrayed. Did they not have the courtesy to give us a warning? Even a 2 week warning? What were we just going to walk out and leave if they had prepared us even in the most vague way? How ridiculous. Maybe I was just lucky to have had the last two companies I worked for give us a warning, but honestly, that is just common courtesy. Especially when they are going to lay you off two days before the company is closed for a week and a half over the holidays. and give you 2 weeks severance. Um - excuse me but isn't that really like 2 days severance since we were supposed to be on holiday most of that time? And exactly who is going to be hiring between Christmas and New Year's Day? Just checking.

The real kicker was that I had been on vacation at ski camp (see previous post) until just 2 days before and they had called me with emergencies that I had to work on there! I was up until 1am the day before ski camp started and we had to be up at the crack of dawn to ski that next morning just to fix some bugs for work. The next day I spent at least 5 hours working as well. So they KNOW they are laying me off in a few days and have me work through my vacation? Talk about being taken advantage of.

But the reality of unemployed life is pretty good overall. I need to get a job by March for financial reasons, but am not stressing about that yet. I'm taking this opportunity to move up the ladder a bit, no more programming for me! My wrist will thank me for sure. I'm looking at primarily product and program management, some engineering management positions as well. It's going well! Last week was a good week - I got 4 calls for interviews for positions that sound good so far. So, we'll see how that goes.

Have you ever had to deal with the unemployment insurance office? The EDD? GOOD GRIEF. They don't even pretend they're going to answer your call. "Due to an unusually high call volume we can not answer your call at this time. Please try again later." . This for the two weeks I have been trying to contact them. I mean, are you kidding me? How can you call this a business? I missed my career counseling appointment so they haven't even paid me. Because I'm sure they are going to be helpful for my career. Sigh.

I will say that not working has left me plenty of time to go up to Tahoe and it's been great. I am skiing much better than last year - I came in first in our time trials if you don't count staff members (third if you do). I just feel really good about my skiing and am really psyched for the race this year. I can't believe how soon it is and I'm nervous already! 5 more weeks and counting... but if I ever even mention doing another TnT event someone please kick me.