Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Camouflage? Or am I blind?

About two weeks ago I got home from walking my dog and realized that my keys were missing. Fortunately, the walk had been fairly short. I quickly surmised that I had probably dropped them while wrestling the dog poop bag from my pocket (pre poop, of course - no bag in pocket post poop). I walked to the dog poop location and sure enough. There were my keys, waiting for me.

Now, in my 34 years of dog ownership, I think perhaps that's the first time I have lost my keys on a dog walk. I have certainly lost them innumerable times inside my house (including a set that have now been lost for 3 months), but never on the dog walk. So, imagine my consternation when I returned home from a walk Monday evening to find no keys in my pocket once again.

Unfortunately, this second walk was a long walk - over an hour - and it was about 8 pm and I was tired. There was no way I was rewalking. So, looked around my house and street, then went with the dog poop theory. I drove to the jefferson golf course (poop location) and searched around there. It was, of course, dark. So I took a flash light and spent probably 30 minutes rewalking areas. I had had an ipod in my pocket that I had taken out a lot in the second half of the trip, so I figured those areas (if I could remember them) were likely locations. No luck.

The next night, I redid the entire walk. For an hour, I kept my eyes glued to the ground. Through out I was thinking that if I found keys I would helpfully place them up somewhere noticeable. I worried that if someone did that with my keys, I would miss them with my eyes on the ground. But, there was nothing I could do about that. And after an hour plus, no keys anywhere.

Then this morning I headed out of the house to walk the dog. I walked down the stairs and there, right in front of my car, were MY KEYS. Now, here's the frustrating part. this was the first time it had been light out since I lost my keys (winter being a time of perpetual darkness except when one is at work). BUT, Monday night I had gone down to my car to get my umbrella before going on the dog walk. So, I had scoured the area around my car about 10 times or so - with a flashlight. One wonders how I could have missed them when they were sitting right there. A frustrating story, but with a happy ending.

Now, after finishing this you are probably wondering why on earth I am telling you about my lost and found keys. Well, if you're really wanting to know about 'a day in the life' of me, this just about sums it up!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bike Work


My bike = Saturday night fun.

One of my very least favorite things to do is clean my bike. This becomes especially true in the middle of winter, when rain, rain and more rain leaves the entire bike covered with a layer of black grime and every crevice of the chain filled with black slimy sticky goo. In fact, cleaning bikes is one of the things that I am perfectly happy being sexist about and saying - boys should clean bikes. At least, I'm happy to let them clean my bike. The one catch in that scenario is that I haven't actually had a boy in my life willing to clean my bike in more than 10 years (oops, maybe I should chose more wisely). So, it's something I put off. But, along with creating extra dirt, the grime of the rainy season also acts as sand paper on brake pads. So if there is no bike cleaning boy around and one wants to make it through the rainy season in one piece, it's wise to at least do some brake pad changing - if not full on bike cleaning.

I knew my brake pads were in need of some love, so, my goal this weekend was to get them changed. What I did not realize was that my exciting Saturday night plans would involve bike cleaning, but I am feeling a bit smug to have it done long before late Sunday afternoon. I actually had real Saturday night plans, but a bout of what I am sure must be swine flu canceled them (I am sure it must have been swine flu because I can't imagine anyone canceling coveted Saturday night plans with me for anything less than swine flu).

So, I just spent an hour or so cleaning my bike. This involves much dirt. Slimy grease. Frequent swearing. And some mental anguish when it's time to adjust the brakes. And even worse, it involves a good 20 minutes or so of post cleaning clean up. Especially when it's dark, pouring rain, and 40 or so degrees outside - meaning the cleaning is happening inside. I think I washed my hands about 10 times afterwards - by the end I think I took much of the skin off with the grease. Then I had to wash my feet and the floor where grease spots had been tracked through out the house (this despite the fact that I had been very very careful and changed my footwear post cleaning and pre clean up). It even involved cleaning my computer mouse, as at some point mid cleaning I had to change music.

But now, my bike is somewhat clean and I have brand new shiny brake pads. Unfortunately, the kicker in all of this is that now it is 100% guaranteed to rain every day next week. This is a 100% certainty. Shoot, I might even say a 200% certainty that the first time you ride a bike after cleaning it, it will rain! Sigh.

Happy Saturday night! S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y NIGHT. I bet you're all jealous. Hmm, what fun is in store next?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

5 Blocks

I started riding my bike to work in 1989. Since then, with the exception of 1.5 years of unemployment, a 9 month stint working at Southcenter, and the occasional bus ride, I have been riding to work every day. Even when I worked at Southcenter I rode about 2 times per week. So, it's not something I think about. I don't have to make myself ride, I just ride. Of course, in the winter it gets a little tougher. Riding in the rain when it's cold kind of sucks (ok really sucks). And with crossfit it can be a challenge because my quads are frequently fried. But again, I know I'm going to ride so I don't think about it. Plus, now there isn't any way for me to get to crossfit if I don't ride.

My current ride includes uphills and downhills on both the way home and to work. For the most part the hills are either short or not very steep. But, there are 5 blocks, 5 blocks on the way home that I hate! These 5 blocks are almost home - they get me up Beacon Hill. And I dread them. Every day I dread them. And while I'm in the middle of them I can't wait until they're done. The funny thing is the Pine Street hills at the beginning of my ride are probably equally steep and long but they don't produce any mental anguish.

I usually count. The first one I can kind of coast the first half - so not so bad. Two and three are the worst. They're the steepest and there is still over half way to go. Then 4 and 5 (which is actually one REALLY long block) are pretty easy but tedious.

And then I'm home. And the work day is done. Just 5 blocks to tackle every day.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Happy Anniversary!!

Otto and me today, true love!

***Warning, for those of you who find Otto blogs tedious, you may want to skip this one, as it will be all about Otto....****

BECAUSE , today is our anniversary. Four years ago today I brought home a crazy little puppy dog who was scared of, well maybe not his own shadow, but certainly everyone else's. Otto was an internet hook up. I decided that I wanted a German Shepherd, so I was cruising for shepherds online. Then, as some point, after reading about health issues with pure bred shepherds, I nixed that idea and decided on a cute little dog named Berit (now Otto because one friend said the name Berit just made him think of Grin and Bear it).

For Otto and I, it was not love at first site. I decided to get him after our first meeting, but thought he was too small and really a little timid. He was missing a certain 'joie de vivre'. And naming him was a challenge, the poor guy remained nameless for several weeks, probably wondering about this crazy woman who called him something different every 24 hours or so. I'd say for the first 6 months to a year were a bit tough. Otto had a few quirks. He pretty much refused to leave the front room of the house except occasionally to venture to the kitchen to eat. Even then he frequently refused to eat his food or would run away with his tail down at the slightly provication. He peed a lot, and not always in the appropriate places - grass skirts, gym bags lying on playing fields, the Erbeck's Christmas tree, pet food stores, just to name a few. Occasionally he would take off. I'd put him out in the backyard and he'd jump the fence and wander for a few hours. Or I'd take out the recycling and he'd just run, usually with me running after him in my sock feet. And then there was the fact that he threw up every time he went for a ride in the car. One day we took a day trip to Whidbey Island and I swear the poor guy threw up all day long!

But, gradually he got better and more comfortable. And gradually I decided he had a personally and he was the perfect size. Slowly (or really it wasn't that slowly), we fell madly in love! Now I think he's the best dog ever!

And now an excuse for some Otto pictures. Here's some early photos:

Day One, not so sure.

Why does my life suck so bad! Toys and a cosy dog bed, YUCK, Scary!

Look how bad the back room use to look compared to now!!

That first year for Halloween, I tried to get Otto to go as a mummy, we settled for devil instead.

Happier days!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

NYC Culture, part 2

Prospect Park Rocks!

Before I discuss my second NYC cultural experience, I'd like to mention that this is my 100th blog!!! Happy 100 blog to me!!!! And thanks to all my fans for getting me to where I am today.

Anyhow, when I was in New York, I decided I needed to go to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. I'm not so sure why I developed this burning need. I think maybe I read a book in which one of the characters worked at the gardens and it sounded pretty darn cool. So I decided the BBG was my Friday adventure. My day started out a bit like the adventure the day before. For some reason, I didn't think that it might be a good idea to get a Brooklyn map. I used to Subway map and decided that I could take a different train than the BBG site advised and I'd still be pretty close to the gardens. And I wasn't that far when I got off the subway (about a 1 mile or two) but I wasn't quite sure where the BBG were. (And people in Brooklyn weren't quite as helpful in giving directions as people in NYC seem to be.)

After some random walking about, I found Prospect Park. I knew the gardens were on some edge of the park, so I knew I was close. And I'll take a minute here to say that Prospect Park is super cool. It's huge and filled with runners and bikers and dog walkers and cute little lakes with ducks. I liked Prospect Park. In fact I liked PP so well, that I decided if I ever were to move to New York, I'd live in Brooklyn next to PP and the BBG!

A long fairly direct walk through the park lead me to the BBG! After waking up the ticket seller who looked like she had done some major partying the evening before AND stopping by the cafe for some not so good food (trying to be less grouchy than the day before). I set out to explore. And my recommendation is that if you're ever in New York - especially in the late spring - go to the gardens. Super extra cool...... Super extra cool even with every single Brooklyn child dressed in a Halloween costume visiting the park. There are rose gardens, cherry tree gardens, rock gardens, orchids, water gardens, tropical gardens and EVEN cute little bonzai trees. I think liked the gardens better than MOMA. Hmmm.

Please enjoy the pictures

Kids and Bonsais

The bonsais were awesome. There were even ones that looked like baby maple trees!

Kids, kids and more kids.

Water lilies as beautiful as Monet's.

These little eggplant like things were called easter egg something.

Dahlias rock as much as prospect park!

Beautiful little delicate things.

Friday, November 13, 2009

NYC Culture, part 1

I spent a couple days in NYC a few weeks ago and committed myself to two cultural experiences. I hate to admit this, as it makes me sound rather uncultured, but I'm not a big art museum person. I like history museums and thing museums. Art museums I like, but in small doses. After that my eyes kind of glaze over. And my NYC art experience wasn't very successful. I decided to go to MOMA. My first mistake was going right at opening. I figured I'd get there early, and no one would be there. Uhm, no. You get there early and wait in a really long line of every tourist in New York who wants to get to MOMA right as it opens.

So, I waited in line and right as I got to the front of the line my phone rang. It was Otto's dog boarding place. I came close to just ignoring the call, but that seemed rather irresponsible. First, they wanted to know when I was going to drop off Otto. I explained I was in New York and a friend was dropping him off and I had no idea what time(and isn't it really early in Seattle?). About a minute later, they called back. It seems I hadn't signed the contract. Now mind you Otto has stayed there 3 times with this same unsigned contract. But suddenly they know it's not signed and they won't take Otto without it - literally my friend cannot drop him off. So my next hour was spent wandering NY looking for a fax place,waiting for a fax, sending fax etc.

Now, some how it has gotten to be 11.30 and some how I haven't eaten any food and maybe had had a drink or two the night before, so I'm verging on grouchy (verging might be an understatement).

So after dealing with the crisis, my ticket and I head back to MOMA. That's when I realize that if you show up at 11.30 rather than at opening there is NO LINE.

So, I went into my MOMA cultural experience tired, hungry and grouchy. It's probably not a huge surprise I didn't fully appreciate it. There was a very cool photography exhibit - though while I really liked the older pictures, I'm not sure I got the more modern, less realistic photos. I saw a bunch of Monet water lilies (not as good as the water lilies the next day - stay tuned). And I saw a drawing exhibit. And at that point, tired of fighting tourists, I ended my cultural growth for the day. I found out when I got back that there was another museum with Madeline Albright's pins. Had I known......

Stay tuned for cultural blog entry #2.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


It's been mighty gray in Seattle the last couple of days - maybe the last week? And I feel like a black cloud has settled over my head. I've never felt like one of the S.A.D. (seasonal affected disorder) types. I always felt like I have taken Seattle weather in stride. But this last week has been tough. Day Light Savings just ended and it's just dark. Dark when I leave for work. And dark once again when I head on home. The other day, riding home in the pouring (torrential downpour pouring) rain, I swear I almost got hit by lightening. I was riding along, blocks from home - dreaming of my nice dry home. When suddenly there was a flash of light over my head, instantly followed by BOOM! Then all the car alarms around me started going off. I swear I saw my life flash before my eyes.

However, don't worry, I'm not going to leave you with this darkness. I was just looking at some pictures I took a mere two weeks ago - of beautiful fall leaves and sunshine streaming through my windows. And I was happy...........

Early morning fall view out the window of the 'new' (and very warm!) porch.

Sun patches, happy dogs, and fall colors through the window!

The day I got back from NYC, Otto Daisy and I spent quality time on the couch
recovering from the trauma of the previous week.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Clothing Mishaps

I have been riding my bike to work for years now. Really so many years it's embarrassing to admit (20, could I really be that old?). And for those 20 years, work clothing has been a bit hit or miss. Every morning I will chose an outfit - without trying it on - put it in my bag and head to work. Usually I just wear the same thing I've worn many times before, so while I might not be dressed for success, I certainly look presentable.

Well, now that I go to crossfit in the morning, it's an entirely new ballgame. Now, I decide what I am going to wear the night before. This causes several problems. First of all, when morning comes along I am certain all that is required of me is to throw the pile of work clothing into my bike bag and head off. This 'I've taken care of it the night before' philosophy seems to completely block from my brain things like shoes, which aren't actually on the clothing pile. So, for example, for the last two days I have gotten to work and realized the only shoes I had to wear were the dirty ratty wet (because it had been raining both days) extra grubby clogs that I use ONLY for riding to work.

Then there is the problem of the outfit itself. For some reason I'm more 'adventurous' when I put out clothes the night before. So rather than choosing an outfit I've worn many times before, I tend to think outside the box. Unfortunately, thinking outside the box rarely involves trying on. I seem to keep selecting rather unfortunate outfits. And then just feeling uncomfortable and unattractive all day.

Then there is the issue of details. When I was selecting clothes for the same day, I was usually already wearing things like a bra, or socks, OR a t-shirt to go under my sweater. In my new life, there have definitely been days of unfortunate under garments. Or, the very worst, was the day I didn't bring a t-shirt and the only one I had was the one I had just worked out in. I didn't last very long until, overwhelmed by eau de moi, I was off to J. Crew to buy a new shirt.

Anyhow, I'm off to select tomorrow's ensemble. Wish me luck!