Friday, July 31, 2009

Summer in Seattle

Oh what do you do in the summer time, when all the world is... brown?

Living in Seattle is an interesting phenomenon. When you live in a place where it rains steadily 9 months out of the year (well in a normal year), people rarely have sprinkler systems in the yard and rarely water the yard other than that. Oh, they water the garden and the flowers, but not the grass.

Why is this, you may ask? Well, we're not really sure. Maybe we're waterlogged or maybe we just like to conserve that precious water that we delight in all winter. Whatever it is... it's what we do and we're okay with it.

One thing I do know is that this summer has been the hottest in the history of Seattle. In 1947 and in 1994 we hit 100 degrees. Record breaking heat!

But wait... in the week of July 27, 2009 we hit...

wait for it...

102 Degrees Fahrenheit.

Oh baby we are Hot!

So... what do you do in the summertime?

You go to the places that provide what you really need.

The Mall: AC
The Lake: Water
The Library: AC
Your friends Pool: Water
The Movies: AC
The Beach: Water
Road Trips: AC

You better believe that there has been no cooking happening in Whoville this week. If it can't be done on the grill... it can't be done.

What are you doing to make the most of the weather in your neck of the woods?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Coolio from the family archives
The missing teeth, the summer buzz....

I Won!

On June 16 I wrote a post about... of all things... Throwing up. It was disgusting and fun. I wrote it for a contest put on by Tanielle at The Polka Dot Daisy.

Guess what? I WON! ! ! !

And when you win a contest at The Polka Dot Daisy, you are a real winner, check out the goods: The first thing I saw when I opened the box: Jenny, couldn't resist the barf!
Look at those daisies... I think they have polka dots!Boy, when Tanielle fills a bag, she really fills a bag!
Goods for pampering, 13 going on 30 (great movie!)
Cookies (my favorite kind of treat!)
And the cutest possible reminders to:
Scatter Sunshine
Live, Love, Laugh
And, of course, some fake barf to really gross out my kids!

Thanks Tanielle!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The STP 2009

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...Yes Charles Dickens said it best. He described a time in which he lived and he described an epic adventure in my life.The short version: It was wonderful, it was horrible. It was painful and exhilarating. Thing One was incredible and never ceases to amaze me and Cycle Guy is patient and loving and a great cyclist. I learned that prayers are answered in the wind and through other people. And that we really can do hard things.
Day 1: Getting through Seattle was crazy, the roads were pocked and scarred with a life well lived and in desperate need of repair. When riding in a pace line you ride so closely behind each other that it's important to point out things in the road that might get in your way. We became weary in the first 3 miles of pointing this way and that. It was soon over when we turned onto a road along Lake Washington.

Early morning fishermen, Early morning rowers And early morning sunrise Greeted us with bright skies and smiling eyes.

We rode through Ikea District, past a Krusteaz Plant and through many towns some of which I know their names. We came to the first big hill outside Puyallup. It was super long but freshly paved which meant it was smooth and pock free. The hill was long but I set my expectations to "slow and steady wins the race" and made it up without incident. Of course the boys beat me because they like to pound it up the hills but we had agreed beforehand that hills are a personal challenge and we would regroup at the top.

Soon we came to an amazing highway near Nisqually. We got in our little paceline and rode and rode. We stayed around 20 miles an hour for a long time. Usually, 20mph puts a pretty strong breeze in your face but there were times when we had no wind. This was such a weird feeling. Apparently the wind was blowing in the same direction and speed as we were going. I have never felt so free. I think that must be a little bit like a bird feels when he is just soaring with no wing movement. We were literally soaring and it felt like magic.

Every now and then, T1 would say something like, "I like this road." So did I.

When we left that highway we entered a little rail to trail in the Tenino area. It was beautiful. Lined with trees and bushes running parallel to a very busy street but set apart by several feet of trees and brush. That went on for a good 12 miles and then we entered the world of small town Washington again. Stop lights and stop signs but remember this is Washington, the people are friendly and accepting. Besides that, we were only 3... they knew that the next day a good 10,000 people would be cycling through their otherwise quiet world.

There were many times that I felt like it could never be better than "this". I was with two of my favorite people, this would be our last big adventure with Thing 1 before he leaves on his mission, the sun was warm and the wind was cool. It truly was the best of times.That's Mt. Rainier in the background. We had been trying to capture it all day.

Very soon my rear end began telling me that it would really like me to send in a replacement, but as that was not possible I simply ignored it's pleas and just gave it a rest every now and then. Besides that, it is so cool to go into a convenience store and have somebody ask you how far you had ridden that day and casually say, "Oh we've gone about 70 so far and plan on riding 100 today." To the non cyclist you are physical fitness royalty.

I was so happy to see the Welcome to Centralia sign I think I may have let go a "Whoop, whoop!" or maybe it was "Woo Hoo!" Whatever it was it was genuine and filled with joy.

Day 2: At the beginning of the day T1 and I each had one very sore knee. (I know I have said to many of you, "Oh no, cycling is good for the knees". Well on Saturday morning my left knee was begging to differ.) So I went to a local market to buy some athletic tape, I drove slowly through the parking lot trying to figure out if it was open.

A police officer was sitting in his car in the lot and I considered asking him if he knew. Then I thought, that's dumb, why don't you just go check the doors. Since I was just slowly moving throught the lot, by now I had made it to the other side so I decided to go around the corner and back into the parking lot to park.

As soon as I left the parking lot, the lights went on the police car and I was pulling over. "What did I do?" I asked befuddled. He pointed straight across the street from the parking lot exit to a 'One Way' sign and said, "One way street." I hadn't even seen it.

He didn't give me a ticket and told me that yes the store was open. I guess he really did know=]

Saturday was hard. My rear end hurt, my legs hurt, and I was questioning my endurance. T1 was hurting too. We moaned for a few minutes but then remembered that the first 10 miles are often the hardest so we pressed on.

We pressed up hill and down, up hill and down, and sometimes up hill and up some more. But we kept pressing on.
Saturday was the first day of the official ride and we started getting passed by the 'one dayers' within the first 10 miles. K, so you thought I was crazy. These people weren't on mile 10... they were on mile 110... in one day. And they kept pressing on and passing at some amazing rates. I think Cycle Guy would have loved to join them, but he was kind and patient and a great support to his weaker counterparts. It's good he likes us!

The hardest hill of the day was going over the bridge into Oregon. It is steep on both sides with some major connections between sections. They slow you down coming up and they pound your hands and body coming down. But I can say something for them, they didn't beat me! See that? Welcome to Oregon!

From this point we stayed on Highway 30 almost all the way into Portland. Maybe another 40 - 50 miles. Terry joined our line for a while. That was nice. He was a strong rider and just wanted to go a little slower pace for a while and it really does make a difference to ride in a pace line.

You know when you ride in a boat and the water right behind the boat is smooth and clear but the sides of that, the wake is rough? Well it's the same in a line of cyclists. If you ride one behind another the front person takes the brunt of the wind and everyone behind can enjoy the draft or slip stream. So, he joined our line and even took his turn pulling. (being the front man)

Pretty soon we saw a big tree off the side of the road. It's shade was sweetly inviting and we didn't resist. I was in pain. This was mile 70 for the day, 170 total. I was tired and I was hurting. There were times I thought if I got in a wreck I could be done for the day. Don't worry, I'm not suicidal, just a little crazy.

So when CG got a phone call from Dahlia's husband that he was at the next official rest stop and would like to join us we had a new drive. We got back on the bikes knowing that we would have a friend in 7 miles.

Jim was there. He said, "Since my legs are fresh, would it be okay if I took a couple of pulls?" That would be great we thought. We liked having a fourth man before so Cycle G. let him in on our average speeds and he took the lead. We usually switch every 3 minutes and my watch was set to ring at that time. Twice I hollered switch. Once he came back. I think he was just gauging how fast we were really going. He let CG pull for almost a full 3 minutes and then he was back in front and stayed there for a long time.

He was literally an answer to prayer. As he pulled I still hurt, I was still tired but I never had to take the lead and really feel the wind. Gradually we got faster and faster and soon I got a 2nd wind. There were times I wanted to quit, I wanted to cry, I wanted to snuggle up with my Mom in the gold chair in her room. But Jim came along and carried us through the last 30 miles of a very long 2 days.

It seems so much like life. Sometimes we are in the best of times, sometimes we are in the worst of times. I believe that Heavenly Father is aware of them all. The good times and the bad times. He gives us the wind at our backs and He sends angels to carry us through when we really need them. Angels like Jim who step in and help to carry our load whatever it may be. (I'm sad to say that I don't think we got any pictures of Jim. Thank you so so much for coming! You really made a difference.)

T1 was so fresh that pretty soon he was pulling. But not just pulling our line, pulling our line past several others UP hills. He was amazing. I was proud. And pretty soon I couldn't keep up anymore. T1 and Jim took off ahead and CG stayed with me. But guess what? I wasn't that slow! We hooked up with another pace line and stayed with them for quite a while.


Definitely the most beautiful sign I had seen all day.

It was still another 10 miles to city center, and I knew that but I didn't care, we were there. I had made it into the city of my destination and I could ride the last 10 miles. About 5 miles later Thing 1 and Jim ran out from behind a building and joined us for the last leg of the ride.For the last city block huge crowds were gathered cheering for us. That was awesome. I have never been an athlete, I have never been on that side of the cheering and it felt really good. I'm going to be a much better cheerer from now on.

We entered the finish line together. Numbers 309, 310 and 311. Our numbers were even announced on a loud speaker as we crossed the line. And then as we rode into the park and past the barriers I heard my name and there on the other side was one of the best college roommates a person could ever have. Dahlia and her sweet little girls cheering us in.Look what I won! My own stuffed lion from Mike and flowers from Dahlia, Rinzey and Kiley. Just like the winner of the Tour de France. Look at those cute little hands.

Fashionista made us certificates. I will display mine with pride!

I'm so proud of Thing One and I'm proud of Cycle Guy. We did it. We accomplished a great physical feat.

Now I know it's true. I really can do hard things.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


We did it! We did it! We did it, Hooray!

I, Jenny-Jenny rode my bike under my own power all the way from Seattle Washington to Portland Oregon.

204 Miles in 2 days.



I'll tell you all about it... Tomorrow.

Like, Mt. Rainier, pink flowers, knees, pizza, trail mix, hills, wind- at our backs, and in our faces, pace lines, pot holes, traffic lights, 2nd wind, surprise adrenaline, sunrise, sunburn, fishermen and an unexpected pull from a friend.

Guess what? It didn't come with a yellow jersey, but I won a stuffed lion, a bouquet of flowers and kisses from beautiful girls. Kiley and Rinzey, you made my day. (names changed to protect the innocent=]) Thanks Ron and Dahlia! We're so glad you came!!!

Life is good, and I can do Hard Things!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Countdown to Portland

6/30/09 Ten Days. The countdown has begun. Can you hear the voice booming through the loudspeakers? 10. Ten. That's all there is left until... we hit the road on two wheels for two hundred miles in two days.

We had a great training ride tonight. CG and I split up. He wanted to try the faster group and I'm very content in the slower one.

We rode 15 miles on the route I was on. The weather was beautiful which meant the farms were ripe. I suppose after you live around that for a while the smell becomes 2nd nature or maybe you just don't notice it anymore but when you come around a bend upon a herd of cattle munching on dinner notice it. But even with the smells, I love riding in farm land. It's fun to watch the corn especially. Corn grows so fast that each time you ride you witness growth. Very Cool.

9 days later...

Tomorrow is the big day. Cycle Guy picked up the packets at REI, and sold the bus passes since we have one of T1's friends driving our car and meeting us 1/2 way on Friday night and then in Portland on Saturday.

We have lists of things to pack in the car, lists of things to pack on the bike, and even lists of things to pack in our shirt pockets. We have lists of things to get done today and schedules for the kids while we are gone. We have laundry folded, some put away, some set out to be packed and some in the washer.

We're planning on a very early departure. The clouds have mostly dissipated and the sun is supposed to be around for the next few days. It's good to have the sun.

We have a hotel reserved at the halfway point (102 miles) and a friend from college is going to meet us in Portland. I'm so excited to see her. We met her husband about 10 years ago and since then she has two little daughters. I can't wait to see her again. This roommate, we'll call her Dahlia, was such a great friend to both me and CG. He is just as excited to see her as I am.

I'm starting to stress a bit... better go get started on these lists.

Wish us luck and think about us every now and then over the next two days. I promise to post on Sunday and let you know how it went.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Product Review- Action Wipes

A letter to Martha, Creator Extraordinaire of Action WipesDear Martha,

My husband Mike ( heard you on Fredcast and contacted you about trying your product then sharing it on his blog.

He did so and by lovely default I also got to be a recipient of your product.

I just want to let you know that I LOVE ACTION WIPES!

We ride road bikes together. This can be a very sweaty endeavor and at the end of a long ride I like to wipe down my face, neck and arms with an Action Wipe. It not only gets the dry salt off my skin, but it refreshes me completely. Almost as good as a shower.

I also have a problem getting the chain grease off my leg... water doesn't get it off, soap requires excessive elbow grease and still leaves a scuffy remain.

But Action Wipes... success! No grease, no scuff, nothing remaining!

Did I say that I love Action Wipes?

Thank you so much for this amazing refreshing product!

Sincerely, Jenny

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Call

As you know there are two days I have been anxiously awaiting and planning for.

Thing 1's mission call and the STP.

The first happened today... Thing One received his mission call.We had to wait a whole 3 minutes for Dad to get home from a bike ride.Uh, yes I am going to give you all the details. So if you only want to know where he's going then just go ahead and scroll to the bottom of the page and miss out on all the fun.

First he opened the envelope:
Upside down...

I was sitting across the room from him and I could see the actual letter behind everything in his hand but he was just looking at the back. He said, "Hmm, a U.S. Passport."

Foreign. I guess it was good to have it sink in a little at a time. He would be leaving the country.

With all the power I could muster I stayed on my side of the room and didn't run over there, yank the envelope out of his hand and read it myself. I very calmly informed him that he was holding it upside down.

"I know," he said slowly. Then he turned it around and said, "BOISE, IDAHO!"

I knew he would do that.

No. He's not going to Idaho.

He scanned it himself first and then as patiently and unhurried as he could he read every word to us:

You have been called to serve in the Uruguay, Montevideo mission.

That's right, Uruguay. South America. South of the Equator. Spanish speaking. Uruguay.

He hasn't stopped smiling.

And neither have I.

We even bought him a Congratulations Ice Cream Cake to Celebrate.It's My Little Pony.