Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What Part of Co-operative Don't You Understand?

I was browsing the returned stuff at REI over the weekend to see if there were any good deals and saw a yellow cycling jacket covered with smudges of grease, looking like a much-used commuter cast-off. The label listed the reason for return "after 3 years of continual use, jacket is no longer water-proof." I tell Jeff about it later, amazed that someone would have the gall to return a jacket that has obviously served its function well. "Do you imagine that they gave any money back for that?" I asked. "Hey, that must be K's jacket," and he proceeded to tell me about his coworker who just returned in a jacket and got enough store credit to buy a brand new one.

Perhaps I'll bring back the wrapper of the energy bar I just ate for store credit. After all, after a few hours of exercise, it no longer provided any energy.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Let It Snow - Part II - the Terms and Conditions

Snow should live in the mountains, from approximately Thanksgiving through March, starting around 3000 feet, more or less. It can visit sea level +400 a few times a year, but it should be when I have no need to leave the house, like a Saturday afternoon. It should not stick to the roads, but if it must, it should be gone within 24 hours and work/school had better be cancelled during that time. If I must drive in the snow, someone who knows what he/she is doing with a 4-wheel drive and/or chains, should be behind the wheel.

Snow broke the rules Monday night. I was already home, but Jeff had just his bike ride home when it started snowing heavily here. By the time he got home at ~ 8 pm, we'd gotten several inches of powder on the roads. Seattle has little to no infrastructure to manage snow, so the next morning, the slush that had been pushed around a little in the evening had frozen solid, leaving icy ruts and a totally inconsistent surface. I decided to put on boots and walk to a bus stop where I was lucky to catch one of the few busses with chains that was shuttling passengers from the top to the bottom of the hill. Jeff (foolishly? bravely?) biked in, although he walked the first mile or so off the highest part of the hill.

Snow was perfectly behaved today. A friend and I took advantage of the holiday and a rare sunny day and went snowshoeing. We drove about an hour to the closest ski area and the roads were dry until we were on back roads, and even then they were hard packed snow. We easily found a parking spot on a trailhead where we found lots of tracks but few treckers that meandered between evergreens and a frozen lake. The sun was bright, the snow was powdery, and it was the perfect way to spend a winter day.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Shout Out..

...to Brigita, who is blogging about her fight with rectal cancer with humor, style, and courage. Seatown is cheering for you. And I'm going to try to blog more frequently about the Misadventures of the Bike-Commuting Bureaucrat.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Let it Snow! (certain terms and conditions apply...)

Last Friday, Jeff and I headed up to the slopes for the first time this year. Before this, we'd only been once in the last 3 or so years. Winter 2005 had no snow and the last two winters I felt too busy with school work to take a whole weekend day away (not that I actually did much work on the weekends, but I always planned to).

As winter approaches, I spiritedly join in the chat about how this had better be a great year for snow, rain in town just means for great snow, yadda yadda yadda. But, I'm not entirely sincere. I took up snowboarding about 8 years ago, but with the exception of 2002, have never gone often enough to really feel that confortable on the board. I never developed great skills, and I'm extremely cautious about speed. So, while I know in my head that it can be a lot of fun, my stomach gets a bit jittery thinking about it.

Friday, we enjoyed our week day off from work by sleeping in and then digging out all of the dusty gear, so it was 10 am by the time we left the house. We ended up on the slopes from about 11:30 to 3:30 (short break for lunch), a duration that seems awefully short, but I was plain wiped out by the time we got on the lift for the last time. There is a lot of snow right now, making things easier from a keeping-it-slow perspective. I was sore for the next few days (surprising all the muscles snowboarding uses - particularly if one falls a lot) and the bruises are still fading, but it was a good day out. We're definitely planning on heading out again soon!

Monday: snowshoeing!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

13th Man

It started on my ride into work yesterday morning by noticing that the Christmas tree on the top of the Space Needle had been replaced by the 12th Man flag. I then saw the flag throughout the day on office buildings, cars, and co-workers.

We hosted the first playoff game (vs. the Redskins - my home town team supported by #1 fan, my dad) at our place today and Jeff celebrated our contribution by hoisting the "13th Man" flag on our front door. Since we cheered the Seahawks through a tough spot while the 12th Man in the stadium was pretty quiet, and were about 13 in number, it was very appropriate.

Go Seahawks, Go!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

2007 Catch-Up:
- Finished grad school in June
- Traveled to the Canadian Rockies (Jasper, Banff) late June
- Started working as a King County budget analyst in July - enjoying job
- Ran half-Ironman triathlon in August with Jeff
- Worked
- Watched Jeff work more
- Visited with parents for b-day
- Had Thanksgiving with sister and brother in law
- Ran Seattle half marathon (Sunday after turkey day)
- Traveled to Colorado for Christmas with Jeff's parents
- Enjoyed knitting, reading, and solving jigsaw puzzles while snowed in with in-laws
- Had amazing dinner out at Canlis for New Year's Eve with old friends

Obviously not too much action so far. I did run the "Resolution 5K" this morning which is a 5K that ends with a polar bear dip into Lake Washington. It was all I had hoped: truly invigorating and a great way to kick off the new year.

I realized as we were chatting with friends last night and they asked what was up for 2008 (they have a cross-country move, marriage, and new job prospects on the horizon), that we don't have anything new planned for the year. No major private or professional goals or changes to be made. I'm pretty happy where I am right now, so will just focus on improving and tweaking what's working. Oh, and of course, lose 10 pounds, be better about keeping in touch with friends, and being a nicer person in general. Gotta have some resolutions. :)