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Sister Time March 26, 2008

Filed under: family,kayaking,love,seattle — onarete @ 3:47 pm

My sister is here visiting right now.  It is her Spring Break.  I’m sure she is wishing I was still in AZ so she could be laying at the pool doing the Spring Break thing; but, we are having fun nontheless.

 Saturday we had a miracle of nice weather and went for a mid-morning kayak.  The sun was bright on the water and the rest of the world was still being lazy inside.  It was quiet enough to hear the drops of water off the oars of the crew boats as they slid across the surface of the lake.  We were suprised and curious about all the houseboats.  Some had trees growing from their docks; others were temples to modern architecture.  A boat passed parading the Easter Bunny.  We waved.

As we passed under the Montlake Bridge, DB and I had fun reading off the slogans painted there.  “Less Suck.  More Awesome.”  It seemed an apt phrase to describe our day.  Union Bay was impressive with snow-capped peaks looming large and a glimpse of the nautral at the Arbortoreum, surviving in this urban environment.  At this point, hunger pains forced us to turn around and call it a day.

A looong trip to REI, Easter brunch, Pike’s Place market, and lots of walking rounded out our weekend.  I’m so lucky to have a great sister and best friend.



Back to earth March 22, 2008

Filed under: adventure,knowledge,life,self-discovery — onarete @ 3:25 pm


 These past few weeks have been some of the busiest, most exciting days of my life.  First I went to Florida, then I moved to Seattle, then I spent the last week in St. Louis and now I am back in Seattle in a new job and a new environment.  I’ve never been good at change, so this has been a test of my ability to adapt.  I seem to be handling it surprisingly well.  The upside to all the chaos and adventure is the opportunity to learn more about myself and to develop the skills to live the good life.

What I’ve discovered:

  • Forget what other people think of you.  A girl told me the other day that she can’t imagine ever eating or going to a movie solo:  “All those people would think you have no friends.”  Forget what other people think; live your life fully.  And always do the right thing.
  • Find solitude.  As long as you are constantly surrounded by noise, you will never have the ability to contemplate who you are and where you want to go.
  • Be honest and open.  I’ve realized the more honest I am (ala this blog), the more I can just be myself and accept my flaws.  Being honest also gives you the opportunity to better yourself.
  • Relax and accept life as it comes.  Planning can only get you so far.  Most of life’s great opportunities are presented to you when the time is right.  Take them up and don’t be too distracted by anxiety to notice when they come.

I’ve also become acutely aware in this transition of some of my shortcomings and have decided to work on them.  Most of these are interpersonal: be less judgemental, be more open and friendly with new people, and forgive freely.  It won’t be easy but I am determined.

I’m dedicated to living the good life.


Lessons learned (in the snow) March 16, 2008

Lesson #1:  If it is 38 and raining at sea level, it is probably snowing in the mountains.  If it is snowing in the mountains, there is probably a lot of mud and snow and slush.  And if it quits snowing and warms up a few degrees, all of that snow is going to start melting and dripping down onto you.  This snowmelt will be cold.  And very very wet.

Lesson #2:  Wear booties and waterproof gloves.  Your feet and hands are going to be the first things to suffer if it gets cold and wet.  And if you have a beanie and chemical hand warmers in the car, by all means, bring them.  You can make room for this extra gear by leaving behind the two heavy slime, thorn-resistant tubes you are carrying.  If it is snowing, you can bet there probably aren’t any cactus.

Lesson #3:  In non-desert climates, feel free to sleep in.  There is no reason to leave the house early, particularly if it has been snowing the night before.  In fact, sleep in, read the paper, and mow the lawn.  (Poor Seattlites, they must have to mow the lawn year-round, huh?)

Lesson #4:  If you are going to be doing alot of climbing, stop eating so much.  This one doesn’t really have anything to do with the snow.  But if you are going to do long, sustained climbs,  it is time to lose those 5 extra pounds.

As you’ve probably guess by now, I did a mtn bike ride this morning in the snow.  The day after I did a road bike ride in the rain.  Saturday, I rode the entirety of the Burke-Gilman trail and added in a little bit of road just for good measure.  The tally was about 40 miles in just over 2 hours.  Shocker!  That might be the fastest I’ve ever gone solo.  Might have something to do with the fact that the whole thing was flat, flat, flat and there were only a couple of spots where I had to stop for traffic.  The ride followed Lake Washington for a long while and there were plenty of trees and vegitation.  Not sure this will become a regular road ride for me, but it did seem like it would be a good launching pad for other road rides.  By the time I got back to the car, I was wet and my feet were cold.  My poor bike was all muddy.  Living in Phoenix, it has never seen a drop of mud in it’s life! 

 The important lesson from yesterday was that wool socks are necessary.  I went to REI last night and bought a couple pair.  And thank goodness, because they were definately needed today.  After yesterday’s flat ride, I was in the mood for some climbing today.  I thought riding the gravel roads at Tiger Mountain would be a good plan.  I quickly realized my mistake as I passed through Issaquah and saw the quickly approaching snow-capped peaks.  Then the snow wasn’t just on the peaks.  It was on the highway.  The Tiger Mountain parking lot was a mess of snow, rain puddles, and slush.  I decided to give riding a shot anyway.  It was pretty miserable.  The road was slushy and the trees were dripping rainmelt down onto me.  I never got really cold, but it was a pretty thin line keeping me from it.  It was, however, beautiful and an adventure.  The vegitation in this area is so dense!  I’ve never lived anywhere like this–trees so thick that you can’t see more than a few feet ahead.  Lots and lots of streams passed under the road and there was one bridge crossing over a larger stream with a small waterfall.  I am sure this is heaven–in August.  By the time I got to the lookout, I was in pretty deep snow and in a huge fog bank so I couldnt see anything.  It was time to get back to the car.  Suprisingly (or not so suprisingly if you have more forsight than I), the road was significantly better on the way back and when I got to the parking lot, it looked like it might be a nice afternoon.  I decided to ride the other road heading right out of the parking lot, but turned around after a couple of miles when I realized my feet were just too cold to continue on.  All in all, I rode for about 2.5 hours and maybe about 19 miles.  And quite a few feet of elevation change.

 It was a pretty mellow weekend for me time wise on the bike, and I almost feel a little guilty (especially since I know I won’t be riding much the next couple weekends).  But I also have to realize that it takes a little while to learn a new area.  It is better to allow yourself to have some adventures and see what happens.  Live and learn….


Seattle March 14, 2008

Filed under: life,running,seattle — onarete @ 7:22 pm

Arrived yesterday and am in the process of getting settled in.  The apartment Jen chose is really cute and has an awesome view of Lake Union that is particularly beautiful at night with the city lights reflecting off of it.  After the movers came this morning, I set off to explore on foot.  Even though everything was soaked, I managed to escape any rain.  I ran part way around the lake and then back up the hill to explore Queen Anne.  From my apartment west, there are a maze of staircases leading to the top of the hill where I got a great view of the space needle, downtown, and the sound.  I think I might just like it here!


Photo Credit


New adventures March 12, 2008

Filed under: adventure,arizona,desert,friends,life,mountain biking — onarete @ 5:36 pm


Our attitude toward life determines life’s attitude towards us. -John N. Mitchell

This is my last post from Arizona, at least for a while.  I’m headed to the land of water, trees, and rain.  Quite a difference, I’d say…..

It’s been fun saying goodbye to everybody.  I realize what good friends I’ve made here and how successful I’ve been at building a good life for myself.  The world is full of beautiful people and beautiful places.  I know where I’m going to be for the next four months; beyond that an open road awaits.

I’m going to take one last ride out at Hawes this afternoon.  And then adieu.  For a while at least.


The weekend by numbers March 10, 2008

Filed under: ice cream,life,mountain biking,Simplifying,trail running — onarete @ 3:19 pm


Mtn bike rides (on the singlespeed):  2 

Trail runs: 1       

Senor Taco Vegeterian Burritos:2  

Gallons of ice cream:  0.5

Stiches in KD’s knee: 7

Sessions at the pool: 3   

Books read:  2  

Needless to say, it was a good one.  Minus the slow-speed crash and razor sharp rock that sliced open KD’s knee.  That was gruesome; but she was super tough.  Sans riding partner, I did a 2-hour easy singlespeed ride on Sunday.  It was hard to stay focused thinking about the burrito and poolside napping that was waiting for me.  Life’s tough.


Single-speedin’ March 7, 2008

Filed under: desert,love,mountain biking,Simplifying — onarete @ 7:38 pm

Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.  ~Grant Petersen

All of my bikes have been packed away and shipped to Seattle.  All but the singlespeed that is.  We’ve gotten in some good time together this week.  There is something about that bike that brings me lots of joy.  On the flats, I can’t go too fast.  I get the chance to just coast, to feel the breeze on my face and notice the soft smell of the wildflowers beside the trail.  On the climbs, I push myself much harder than I normally would.  The searing in my legs, the euphoric release of life, the realization that I am stronger than I realized all flood in.  Pain itself is not so bad; it’s the anticipation of pain that holds you back.

 The singlespeed and I are on an adventure.  It’s not about a race; it’s about exploration.  Even though it’s starting to get dark, we push on a little farther.  We test our limits.  Even though we are close to home, we are a million miles away from here.

The singlespeed and I are on a mid-week vacation.