Wednesday, June 30, 2010

moose blog

Mileage: 10.2
total June Mileage: 92.3

Started my day early compared to the rest of this week. I was out of the house by 9:00am, shopping at Target with my little sister.

Steve and I went to Costco (my favorite store) Monday after he got off work. As he walked through the snack aisle, he grabbed everything that looked good to him and threw it in the cart. "I'm sick of fast food and spending money on buying lunch. I'm going to start packing my lunch." He said as he grabbed another box, this time a 24 pack of sour patch kids. "Okay..." I replied as I watched in a daze as he threw more stuff in the cart. After just ten minutes of shopping, there was already the sour patch kids, a box of Hershey's bars, fruit crisps, fruit leathers, and Ritz/cheese packs (all Costco size, of course).

We continued walking and I continued to monitor what he put in the cart: sliced turkey, yogurt, avocados, onions, cherry tomatoes, snap peas...he went to throw a huge pack of asparagus in the cart and I couldn't handle it anymore. "You cannot get the asparagus! You won't eat all of this fresh stuff before it goes bad and then the food and our money will be wasted." I reached out and stopped him from grabbing them. "But steamed asparagus are soo good!" He replied. "No." I was holding my ground. "Ok..." He replied with a huge grin on his face. Then he moved on the the bakery area. In went oatmeal raisin cookies and a pineapple upside down cake. As I saw him reach for the Sunny Delights, I had to step in again. "Those are all sugar! You cannot get those." He whined back, "But they have 100% vitamin C!" I just rolled my eyes and showed him the label. High Fructose Corn Syrup was the second ingredient. "See?" I said, eyebrows raised. He just made a face and went back to prowling. It was a harrying trip, as you can imagine.

So today at Target my task was to get him a "man-size" lunch box, some cold packs and sandwich size Tupperware. After that was accomplished, Beka dropped me back off at home and headed for work. I putted around the house for about an hour, ate lunch, then headed out on my MTB for some therapy. I found myself back at the Airport Dog park, and I was loving being there on my super-V rather than my roadie, as had been the case yesterday. I hadn't brought my camera, because I doubted I would see anything worth taking a picture of. I was wrong, of course. About 3/4 of the way down the trail, I saw a month-old calf in the middle of the trail. Since I couldn't see her mamma, I stopped and took my earphones out. I did not want to get near that calf without knowing where her extremely protective cow was.
(I did manage to snap a few pictures with my iphone. They are really bad and make it seem like the calf is a mile away when she was really like 20 ft away, max)
The calf meandered around eating, looking up at me every once in a while, but didn't really move out of the way. I'd been waiting for about 20 minutes and had walked all around trying out different vantage point to try and locate the cow. Finally I yelled, "Please move baby! I'm just trying to bike by, I'm not going to hurt you!!!!" Nothing. So I kept talking to her, begging her to move. I yelled "PLEASE MOVE!" one more time and I heard some movement in the brush near the calf. Suddenly there was a very large cow standing there next to her calf, and yet another calf followed behind her. She glanced at me, snorted and ran past into the meadow, her twins running behind as fast as they could on their gangly legs. I just stood there, eyebrows raised in surprise and watched them run out of sight. Man was I glad that I didn't try biking past! With all my moose encounters and pictures, you'd think that this was turning into a moose-sighting blog, but it's not, I promise. Although I do love getting pictures of them. And because of that I'm just going to bring my point and shoot everywhere from now on. You never know what you're going to see while biking around Anchorage and Alaska in general...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

so excited!

Mileage: 14.9
Hours: 1:16.59 (includes the time spent watching the moose, ect.)
time in the saddle: 55 minutes
Total June Mileage: 82.1

I GOT THE JOB! Can you tell I'm excited? Thanks for all the good thoughts sent my way and REI dances.

Here's how my day went:

9:00 AM: Typical Pepper. I hear the crinkling sound of her getting into something and find her with the bag of bones in her kennel. As you can see, she had already removed three by the time I walked over.
10:40AM: Rode through the Airport Dog Park. Definitely was not very comfortable on my road bike. I'll bring my MTB next time.
10:50AM: Enjoying being off the streets, until a swarm of mosquitoes surrounded me and starting biting. Time to get back on the bike.
11:00AM: A big moose just stuffing its face.


Monday, June 28, 2010

First real summer weekend....

mileage: 6/25 4.1 miles; 6/27 8.2 miles
total June mileage: 67.2

I'm proud to say that I finally had my first real summer weekend (yeah I know it's already practically July but whatever), where Steve and I went out together to explore Alaska and have fun.

Friday I just rode to and from REI for an interview that went really well. I should hear back from them before Wednesday, so for now it's just a waiting game. If I got the job I would be working in the cycling dept in the summer and the nordic/downhill ski and snowboard dept in the winter which would be perfect. Obviously I'm really excited and am hopeful that I'll get the job. I'll be sure to include some news in a post when I know more.

Saturday Steve and I headed to Seward to meet up with his brother and sister in law.
We stopped on the side of the road like tourists to take this picture of a cow and her twin calves, but it was a sight we don't even often see - and it seemed so perfect and tranquil. We got there about 45 minutes ahead of them, so we ate and then headed down in the beach to let the dogs out and enjoy the typical rainy Seward weather.
(It was beautiful. I am always taken aback by how breathtaking the green hills surrounding Seward are, every time I come here. I think the rainy/misty weather is my favorite.)

We headed down to the beach in the light rain and let Pepper run around a bit. She needed it after being stuck in the Jeep for so long. After Ben and Mercedes got there, we kept walking on the beach for 40 minutes or so.
It was good to see the brothers together enjoying a chance to just talk and not work on a project together, ect. Whenever we get together Mercedes and I usually branch off and go our seperate way while the " boys" (they aren't really boys I guess but we always call them that when they are together). Mercedes and I drove out to Millers Landing and parked at the Lowell Point trail head. We hiked about 5-6 miles and it felt great.
(About a mile into the hike, we came to spot where a spring flood had inundated the trail with huge boulders, branches, and other debris. It was amazing to see the aftermath of what had obviously been a raging summer flood.)
We spent about two hours talking about everything and anything that came to mind and it was thereputic. Mercedes is 30 weeks pregnant and I don't get to see her often enough. It's funny because when I actually lived in Homer, she and I weren't actually friends. We were "family" and therefore saw each other pretty often but nothing ever really went beyond the "fam" label. Over the last four years, we've actually become close friends and I think of her now interchangeably as family and great friend. I am so excited for their baby to come, and wish that we lived closer.
The trail was great, wide and rocky with the feeling of a leafy "ceiling" caused by the overhanging trees. I think we gained only 600 of the 900ft of elevation before we turned back, but two hours of steady uphill is a lot of ask of a pregnant lady! :) We then met up with the boys for a delicious din din at Rays. Steve and I actually ordered too much food, so we brought half of my burger on the drive home with us.
(the glacial lakes and rivers visible on the drive home are always so awe-inspiring. They looked even better to me in the subdued light of a rainy day.)
We got back to reality around 10pm, and the whole trip already felt like a distant memory. That's the worst part about summer activities, you always have to get back to reality at some point, whether at the the end of the day or week.

We woke up Sunday to the cozy sound of the pouring rain outside our window. We went to church in the morning. After a pretty eventful hour in the nursery (lots of vomit and subsequent cleaning while trying to watch four other mobile boys under 2) we rented a bunch of movies and headed home for lunch.

I felt sluggish and completely unmotivated to do much of anything. After sitting on my bed for 20 minutes staring at the wall, I finally decided to go for a bike ride. I could barely muster the energy to pull on my biking clothes let alone climb on my bike, but my attitude perked up considerably as I flew down the hill past the lagoon and realized that the weather had kept the usual Coastal Trail crowd home. I didn't go for too long (Ride time: 30 minutes. Actual time in the saddle: about 25 minutes) but I rode as hard as I could the whole time. I figured as lazy as I had been feeling I couldn't pass up the opportunity to enjoy the empty trail.
(I stopped at the ridge just above Pt. Woronzoff, where I always seem to stop. The rain had started to come down a little harder at this point, and there was no distant horizon to be found.)
I managed to hover around 20 mph the entire ride and it felt amazing. I returned home covered in mud and with burning muscles/lungs and a huge smile on my face. I actually felt energized enough to lift weights for a bit and then settled in to watch an old western with Steve. Pretty good Sunday if you ask me...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

my pleas worked!!

mileage: 17.3
total June mileage: 54.9

Biked over to my parents today to see my little sis, who had just returned from a trip to her university, Washington State, for orientation and registration. So exciting! Then we headed over to the Bagel Factory on our bikes for lunch with mom. I love that place! Stopped and grabbed some glass mixing bowls, stuffed my backpack with them and headed home. So those last 3 miles should count for extra because I was loaded down.

AND...REI called and I have an interview tomorrow! So all of you good thoughts worked and I thank you and wish me luck for tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

later that day...

mileage: 13.4
total June mileage since I got batteries for my bike computer: 37.6

I rode out the coastal trail today. It was beautiful and I wanted to go all the way to Kincaid and back. I love riding the coastal trail, once I get about four miles out, right at the Point Woronzoff parking lot. The four miles from my house to there are filled with people, either walking, running around the trail screaming (usually the kids), biking really slow, swerving all over the trail while biking really slow, ect. It's nice to see people out having fun, but it's frustrating if you wanna get a good workout in. Once I got to mile four, I stopped for some water and to take the above picture. I headed back down to the path to keep going towards Kincaid, and saw movement down the trail. A small cow and her two new calves were slowly walking across the path 100 feet in front of me.
It was such a pleasure to just stand there and watch them, and interesting to observe just how protective the cow was. She came out first, stopped, looked around then looked back at her calves, who quickly trotted out to stand close to her. Then they walked the rest of the way together, slowly enough that I got a few good pictures. They hung out on the side of the trail for a bit, so I decided to go around via the road to the water processing plant and I continued on my way.
I kept going for about two and a half more miles down the bumpy Kincaid half of the Coastal Trail. I stopped for water and realized that one of my newly installed caps had come out of my newly taped handlebars. I didn't want the tape to unravel at the bottom, so I decided to turn around and head back. Going back was FUN. I pushed hard and kept my speed above about 18mph the entire way. There were two uphills that had me down to 12mph, but then I was quickly cruising back up. For most of the flat stretches, I was cruising around 20mph, my thighs and lungs burning, but it felt great. I got home, recapped my handlebars, and had an apple with PB while I uploaded my pictures. I lifted weights and am now debating what I should spend the rest of the beautiful day doing. Hmmm...

before & after

I decided to do a little bike maintenance this morning. I added some new gel tape to my handlebars - it was my first time and I think they look pretty good for a first attempt. Anyway I'm sure they'll be pretty worn out by the end of the summer, so I'll be able to do it a gain and get it perfect.

Whattya think? I got a little crazy on the electrical tape, but there's tape under there, so it's functional, just not too pretty.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

feeling technologically advanced

Mileage: 9.2
Fastest mph: 26
It's only 2.6 miles from my house to the Quilt Shop my sis works at and about 7-8 miles from her house, so I got there early and snapped a few pictures while waiting for her to get there.
I had also stopped for a minute at Westchester Lagoon to adjust my seat and snapped these pictures. It was sort of quiet for the lagoon in the summer. But by the time I got back around 3pm, it was packed.
I was able to average about 18 mph on the Chester Creek trail en route to the Quilt Shop, but had to slow down (or stop) pretty often for walkers and blind turns into the three or four tunnels I went through. Kind of frustrating. I just want to cruise down the path without any breaks in my speed or concentration. After Kelsey got to there and dropped off some paperwork to her boss...
...we headed back down the Chester Creek trail and stopped at Valley of the Moon park for the boys to get out and play a bit. They had just woken up from the nap they took as Kelsey towed them to the Quilt Shop, and were a little groggy but excited to play, as you can tell by the expression on Noah's face.
We then packed them back up and headed past the Lagoon towards Elderberry park. We got there pretty quick and then turned around and went our seperate ways. I headed up to New Sagaya to grab some salad makings and pita chips, then headed home to finish the laundry I am finally finishing up after the month long plumbing ordeal.
I have been trying to get a job at REI but haven't heard back from them. It's been a little frustrating because I am dying to work there, I have years of retail experience, I can start immediately, and I have a very open schedule. Note to REI: I am perfect for you! Please hire me! (maybe that'll help...)

I adjusted my bike computer to include my actual wheel size so I hope I'm getting more accurate information now. It's amazing how having the computer motivates me to push myself harder to get those mph up and to go further distances. I feel like I'm never quite going fast enough. Also, I really need to invest in some bike shoes or at least shoes that aren't six year old runners or sandals. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! (this plea implies that someone actually reads my blog which is probably very wishful thinking so I will most likely have to research bike shoes via google)

Monday, June 21, 2010

bumble bee

Date: June 21, 2010
Mileage: 8 miles
Avg MPH: 15.2

What was supposed to be a super productive day has turned into a lazy summer day during which I have happily completed about a quarter of what I was supposed to get done. But that's okay, because I feel really good about it. I slept in until 10, which felt amazing. It was only the third time I've slept in my own bed in a month. I got up and saw it was a beautiful sunny day and decided I would just get on the internet and upload/edit some pictures before heading to my parents to grab my mtn bike and ride it back over here. The ride was exhilarating, but man that bike is slow on pavement compared to my touring bike. Also, it's a Cannondale super v suspension and sits high which means with the seat as high as I had it for riding the bike path it made it a real pain to stop and wait at traffic lights every couple blocks. Right as I hit the Westchester Lagoon area, a big, fuzzy bumble bee flew right in my mouth. It was disgusting and I was actually a little worried it would sting my mouth (I'm a big baby). I quickly (and loudly) spit it out and built up some speed for the last hill in front of my house. The ride had been too short, but I had (weeks) of laundry to do, so I couldn't keep going. We went and picked up the cat then grabbed my tuned up bike from REI and now I need to go eat something or I will probably expire right here in front of the computer.

Friday, June 18, 2010


(Me super excited about the state of my kitchen. and it only got worse)
I woke up at 5:30 this morning and slept fitfully after that until I finally got up at 7:15am. I was groggy and felt like I could have slept for hours and hours, but it wasn't to be. I let the dogs out and said good morning to my parents before sitting down to enjoy a bowl (or two) of lucky charms. Sugary cereals are a weakness for me, but I try to convince myself that it's better to indulge in them in the morning than to stuff my face with pints of Hagen daaz or a full package of raspberry licorice later in the day.

After sluggishly getting dressed and throwing my hair in a ponytail, I hopped into the car with my mom and little sis and headed off to my day. After spending the morning sitting on my futon reading all of Jill's (my all time favorite blog and inspiration) 2006 blog posts while the plumbers labored away in my kitchen, I went on to pick up Rebekah from work and headed back to my parents, looking foreword to hopping on my cannondale and riding for hours in the overcast, windy Alaskan afternoon. Unfortunately, once I got there and sat down, I couldn't get up again. And now I'm sitting here typing away instead of getting out logging some miles. It's strange, I spent all day looking foreword to biking, and now I can't find the motivation to do it. Now I've been invited to the dog park, and I feel like I can't pass that up, so I guess it might not be a biking day after all.

Maybe this lack of motivation has something to do with the fact that I dropped off my touring bike, a Novara Randonee, at REI yesterday for a total tune up, which is exciting and I can't wait to get it back all spic and span and working great. But at the same time, I just added batteries to my bike computer and only got to log one day with all the specific info before I dropped her off, so I'm missing that on my cannondale. I also just cannot wait to add some accessories to my Randonee to make her more comfortable and rideable for longer distances. But I always have plenty of elaborate plans that never seem to always come true exactly how I imagined them. I guess that's life, as they say. Fortunately, one thing I am pretty good at is making things work regardless of whether or not I have the perfect set up.

From Yesterday 6/17/1 0
Miles: 7
Average MPH: 16.2
Fastest MPH: 19.8
Slowest MPH: 2.3 (I was riding in the stop/start traffic of Anchorage's busiest streets)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I have had a whirlwind of a last three weeks. Steve and I were house sitting for my parents for three weeks while they cruised the Mediterranean (poor them). It was a house full of poodles. We have an 80lb labradoodle and a 10lb toy poodle, they have two 40ish lb standard poodles. Needless to say, that was crazy. You will never see me with four dogs any time in the future.
The first week we were house sitting, the temperature hovered around 80 degrees, which for us Alaskans is HOT. The back and front door were open all day everyday during this period. I spent most of my free time out on their deck in the least amount of clothing I could get away with in a heat induced daze.
Then came Memorial Day weekend, which I spent in the weirdly hot and humid weather painting the exterior of our house and our shed in the Westchester Lagoon area with my mother-in-law. It was nice to be outside all day for four days in a row, but it was hot, sticky, itchy and overall tiring work. I think I counted somewhere around 20 mosquito bites, yikes. But now my house looks all nice and fresh and my new shed is a nice hunter green. The next week passed rather uneventfully, I planted some beautiful flowers at my parents to surprise them when they came home and mowed the lawn a few times. I went on a straight uphill but beautiful and fun hike with my girls. My sisters fam and I bike over 30 miles to the new Movie Theater and back. It was a pretty great week.
The last week we were house sitting, things went a little south. Steve crushed his big toe with a hand held soil compactor at work, which ripped his toenail and half the flesh on his toe off, had to spend the day at the doctors, getting stitched up and having xrays taken of his foot, then was sentenced indefinitely to spending his days at home with his foot elevated. Our 7 year old cousin was also added to the mix - we watched him for a week during this injured foot period. Four poodles and a seven year old do not make for a very calm or clean house, in case you were wondering.
Fast forward to yesterday. We were finally home sweet home with just our two poodles and no kids. I was doing some laundry, Steve was relaxing on the couch, and I noticed some water on the floor in our kitchen, where there is an overflow drain (this used to be a garage/basement). I tell Steve and head to the bathroom to grab some paper towels. THE BATHROOM WAS FLOODED WITH BACKED UP SEWER WATER. I was not happy. There was up to two inches of standing water on the bathroom floor in some spots, the tub was full of sewer water, the shower curtain was soaked in it, as were all our rugs and our bathmat. And its not like it was just water. No. It was sewer water, and it smelled like it. There were chunks of toilet paper floating in the definitely not clear water. I thought I was going to vomit. Of course, this took place after hours for the plumbing company, so it was like $200 an hour for their services, and we couldn't get a hold of our landlord.
To make things even more fabulous, the plumber couldn't even fix the problem, because this is an old crappy house that isn't plumbed right, and so a different plumber has to come today and install a new piece of plumbing for the other plumber to come back and snake, hopefully solving the problem. It's definately times like this when I miss my nice outhouse back in Homer. Unfortunately, neither the upstairs tenants or the downstairs tenants (us) can use any running water until this is fixed. No laundry. No washing dishes or even hands for that matter. No shower. NO TOILETS. And I have to stay here all day waiting for the plumbers. Lucky me.