Monthly Archives: May 2011

Kinetic Grand Championship – Part One

This past weekend, I participated in the Kinetic Grand Championship – a 42 mile, 3 day race over land, sand, mud and water across Humboldt County. The people who participate in this race only use man-powered machines, “sculptures”, usually propelled by bicycles somehow built into the sculpture. It’s a pretty difficult race to explain. I really had no concept of what it was before I participated in it these past few days, but I will do my best to explain.

It all started on Thursday with Tahn going to visit her Grandpa.

Tahn all packed and ready to go.

I hated leaving her, but I decided it was too difficult to bring her along. I was going to be on the go the entire weekend, I didn’t want to create extra stress for her or me.

Thursday night was hard without Tahn.

Tahn's bed without Tahn. It sucked.

Early Friday Morning, my friends Jessica, Izzy, and their sweet little girl and I set off to Humboldt County – not a short drive to say the least.

We arrived at the warehouse where the “sculpture” we were going to help race was being stored. Friends of ours had spent nearly every weekend in the past four months working hard on the sculpture.

Our sculpture, the “Corpi Cruiser” was built of 90% recycled materials. (It’s very living simply of them, isn’t it?) The Corpi Cruiser was a “salmon” (I believe…) with 7 seats – 6 seats were propelling the sculpture forward. The 7th seat was the “barnacle seat,” and we got extra points for having it.

This is the front of the Sculpture - not a great picture, but hopefully you get the idea. The "scales" of the fish are recycled CDs and DVDs.

This is the back of the Sculpture, before it was completly assembled.

Some of the seats inside the Sculpture.

Inside the Sculpture, looking out the front.

Oh, about the points. This race is not a typical race. Although we were technically racing, many, many other factors were important to help win the race. I won’t go into them here, but the rules are quite silly and very ridiculous. Let’s just say that some very creative people run the race, so any creativeness and bribery went a long way.

Here are my two favorite rules:

#1 RULE
It is mandatory that all Sculpture Pilots, Pit Crew, Officials, Spectators, Law Enforcers, Communicators, Volunteers, Merchants, and even innocent bystanders put great effort into having great fun for it is such Craziness as this that keeps us all Sane! If you insist on being a grumpy racer and not having fun, you may declare “diplomatic immunity” (since you are surely from another planet) and not be cited by overly excited officials for that infraction, but we reserve the right to adjudicate any such declaration.

The sole purpose of this race is to have fun. So, many of the rules revolve around having fun.

9.00
In case of sunshine, the race shall be run anyway.

Since the race is run in Humboldt County, it rains most of the time, so most of the time; this race is run in the rain.

A few other details about the Kinetic Grand Championship:

-“A Pilot” is what the racers are referred to. If you chose, you can to rotate pilots.

-“Pit Crew” is the support people who help the vehicle as needed. And, trust me, the vehicle needs a lot of help.

-“Peons” is another group of support people but technically they cannot help with the sculpture.

I was originally signed up as a member of the “Pit Crew” – but I was allowed to ride the sculpture a few times.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

The first day:

After seeing the Corpi Cruiser, Jessica, Izzy, their little girl and I went to dinner, then went to our beautiful campsite to set up camp.

(Quick side note: I hate camping. I hate it. HATE it. And, I am sorry to say, but, this camping experience did not change my mind on it. Most of the time I was cold or wet, or cold and wet – it rained and I just didn’t enjoy it. But, it was a beautiful campsite and if I had an RV to sleep in I would have been a much happier camper…)

That first night it rained – and was very cold. Unfortunately, my “summer” sleeping bag was not sufficient for the freezing cold night. So, I spent most of my night waking up because I was cold. It was not good. Thankfully, one of my friends gave me a great sleeping bag so the rest of the weekend I was very warm.

And, also, my camera got some sap on it so as of the first morning and my camera did not work. I am waiting on pictures from Jessica to continue my story of the Kinetic Grand Championship.

But, until then, here is the Kinetic Grand Championship, by the numbers:

32 – the number of feet the Corpi Cruiser

3 – the number of nights I slept outside/ in a truck

4 – the number of nights I was suppose to sleep outside/ in a truck

7 – the number of seats on the Corpi Cruiser

6 – the number of seats on the Corpi Cruiser at the end of the race

1 – the number of shoes I wrecked

5 – the number of nights I was away from Tahn

Countless – the number of people who experienced hypothermia (including myself)

21 – the number of months of age Jessica and Izzy’s little girl is (and who is unbelievably good)

To be continued….

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Filed under Tahnee, Travel, Vacation

Viruses and A-Fib

Today was a normal Monday.

I woke up early, fed Tahn, got dressed, and went to my 6 am spin class. I came home, showered, made breakfast, and sat down to read my email and my favorite blogs. I opened my email and got this from my dad:

YOU HAVE A VIRUS!!!!
DON’T CLICK ON THAT LINK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

UNPLUG YOUR COMPUTER FROM THE INTERNET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I maybe kinda sorta freaked out.

I instantly called him, not knowing what to do. My dad told me that he got a “virus” email from me early Monday morning. I am a Mac user, and for over 8 years, I have never gotten a computer virus. It has been great. I loved to boast to people, “Mac’s don’t get viruses. That’s why I love them so”.

I went to work feeling deflated and sad. My computer was hacked, and I felt invaded. My privacy was compromised.

I decided to buck up, buckle down and work. At around 11 am one of my best friends, (whom I will refer to as TL), texted me. TL’s mom, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, was in the hospital with heart problems. I offered to go to the hospital with TL, she accepted, and in less than an hour, I was at the hospital with TL.

TL’s mom was suffering from A-Fib, aka Atrial Fibrillation, aka a heart arrhythmia. Basically, her heartbeat was beating way too quickly. The hospital treated the A-Fib with a very safe and routine procedure: an electric shock to her heart, which restored her heartbeat to a normal rhythm.

The afternoon at the hospital was stressful, but it looks like A-Fib is gone and TL’s mom is doing much better.

I dropped TL off at home, made dinner, and called my dad. I had to get this computer virus killed. He suggested some different anti-virus software. I found a few, downloaded one, and I am crossing my fingers that it killed the virus.

Then, I checked my email. Apparently, many people in my address book got the same “virus” email from me. I got some emails from people I hardly hear from and it was nice to have a connection with them again. But, I also got an email from someone whom I haven’t seen or spoken to in years, and frankly, I hoped I would never have contact with again.

Although today was as abnormal as it could be, I had a good day. I learned that my sweet Mac computer isn’t invincible, that there is no where on Earth I’d rather be then with my dear friend in need, and that when my day is jolted, my friends step up to help me. (Number 3 came and took care of Tahn when I was at the hospital. Number 3 fed Tahn, walked Tahn and gave Tahn lots of love).

And, I am deeply sorry if you got a virus email from me.

Please disregard, and as my dad said, “DON’T CLICK ON THAT LINK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

_________________

*Editor’s Note: Thanks to my medical consultant (aka my brother) I realized that I was calling TL’s mom’s condition V-Fib when in fact, it was A-Fib. My mistake…

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The Bowling Stones

(Click the Photo for the Photo Credit).

Tonight was my first night of my bowling league. I decided to join the bowling league for three reasons:

  1. My love of my dodgeball league.
  2. My lame Friday nights (all my girls are in serious relationships or super-duper-crazy-busy. Most aren’t around for a Friday night get together – unless I plan it weeks in advance).
  3. To meet more single people.

Also, the bowling league is through my dodgeball league, and the league boasted, “Bowling is the perfect social league, and easiest way to meet new people. It doesn’t matter if you get more gutters than pins either, since we use handicap scoring to even out all the players”.

So I thought, sure, why not?

I left my apartment tonight a little nervous about going by myself, but excited to meet new people and have some fun. I arrived at the bowling alley and picked up my league shirt and got my shoes. I met my team – “The Bowling Stones” – they were all super nice.

Then, I noticed something.

A lot of the people around me had their own bowling balls. And their own bowling shoes.

Oh no.

Wait. Are they really good at bowling? Good enough to buy their own ball? Their own shoes? What happened to throwing gutters?

Oh no.

So I went to the straight to the bar and bought a beer. Take the edge of my increasing anxiety.

Then we started with some practice shots.

I didn’t hit one pin.

“Oh, don’t worry” I told my team, “I just haven’t played in a long time”. (Which was true).

Then the game started.

I didn’t hit many pins.

My team on the other hand, was throwing strikes and spares. Each time I went, and I usually didn’t hit one pin; I became more and more concerned.

My kind team members all started giving me tips and suggestions – “Pull your arm back straight”, “Watch your follow through”. I nodded, flashed a big smile, and told them, “Thanks so much! Good advice! Yes, I did not know that!”

My team is also BIG on high-fives and fist-bumps. After each person threw, we all high-fived. Even when I didn’t hit any pins – we high fived. Lots of high-fives. Lots.

Over the night I missed more pins than I hit. I somehow randomly got one strike and one spare. My team realized I did better when they were not coaching me.

After two games my score – my total score – was a whopping 70. The other girl on my team scored well over 100.

Of course, this experience flashed me back to my days of failed sports – swimming, soccer, cross-country, and track. In each sport, my team was kind at first, trying to help, teach and inspire me. By the end of the season, they were happy if I was injured or missed a game. Although I had great team spirit, my (lack of) performance brought their score down.

So, overall? The night kinda blew. I am hopeful that I do meet some cool people and make more friends.

The good news? I came home to this:

In her youth, Tahn thought she was a bowling ball and children were bowling pins. It was not good.

And I made this:

Hello, Sweet Potato Fries

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Filed under Dodgeball, Tahnee, Things I've learned

My Old Lady

I have an Old Lady.

While I am aware that usually when people use the term “Old Lady” they are usually men and they are usually referring to their wives. In such context I do not particularly care for the term “Old Lady” but in my case, she really is an Old Lady.

My Old Lady is almost 4 years old. In dog years.

At approximately 9 pm at night, if I am not in my bed my Old Lady is not happy. She becomes very irritable because 9 pm is her bedtime and if I am not in my bed, then she cannot fully relax and sleep.

Example #1: I am watching TV on my couch. It creeps to the 9 pm hour. My Old Lady will get up from her bed in the living room and go to her bed in my bedroom. She will loudly lie down and let out a large huff. If more time passes, she will give up on getting my partying-wild-self to bed, and settle down for a good night’s sleep. (Don’t you worry. Whenever I drag my sorry self to bed, she will wake from her slumber and be ready to join me on her half).

Example #2: We are away from home and it is 9 pm. This case usually happens at one of two households:

1) Grandpa’s (my dad’s) or

2) Number 3’s (Number 3 is one of my best friends. She is Tahn’s third favorite person on earth. Thus the name: Number 3. Number 3 is Tahn’s favorite person on earth behind me, Number 1 – obviously! and Grandpa Number 2. And in this forum, she will be referred to as Number 3).

At Grandpa’s house, he has bought a special bed just for the Old Lady Tahn and she is happy to sleep on it while we  watch TV. However, at Number 3’s house, Tahn does not want to go to bed. Even though Tahn and I lived at Number 3’s for a year, she feels that it is no longer her home; therefore, she cannot properly rest there. Number 3 is kind enough to welcome Tahn into her home whenever I go over, and even lets Tahn sleep on her couch. However, around that 9 pm hour, Tahn is in no mood for snuggling on the couch. Tahn turns into my chaperone and she anxiously sits away from the couch, waiting to leave. Tahn will not and cannot relax. After fighting with Tahn (through stink-eyes no less) I finally get up and take my Old Lady home.

Example #3: I am not home at Tahn’s bedtime. Yes, I am sorry to say, but as a single woman, I am often not home and in bed at 9 pm. Therefore, Tahn must go to bed on her own. I assume she does not appreciate this one bit, especially since when I get home, this is what Tahn is basically saying:

“Mum! Mum! Mum! You’re home, you’re home, you’re home. I missed you!! I missed you!! I missed you!! Oh, I’m tired. Mum, I need to go to bed. Mum, I need to go to bed. Mum, I need to go to bed. Mum, I need to go bed”.

Tahn will continue to tell me she needs to go to bed (by sitting by my our bed looking very sad and sleepy) until I am ready bed. If I am not ready to go to bed, I will get on the bed with her, wait for her to fall asleep, then sneak off for a while. (She never knows).

Some may argue that Tahn is not in fact an Old Lady. They would say she is a dog, a creature of habit. Really? Then why does this dog Old Lady have gray hairs?

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

*Editor’s Note: Lately, I haven’t blogged about my sweet little girl, Tahn. Sorry Tahn. I love you. And for those of you who don’t believe she’s an Old Lady, I wish you could see this. It is almost 9 pm and Tahn is very upset I am sitting at the kitchen table at my computer and not in bed next to her.

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Filed under Tahnee, TV

Living Simply

A couple of weeks ago, my brother gave me a Sunset magazine article on Zero Waste. He knows that I care about the environment and I try my best not to do further harm to the planet.

So, he thought I would like this article on this woman named Bea Johnson. Bea and her family live a life of “Zero Waste” and literally throw handfuls of trash away each year.

Handfuls of trash. Each. Year.

I throw away handfuls of trash each day.

The article sited a bunch of tips – no paper towels, no disposable napkins or  tissues. Bea uses glass jars and fills them with items she buys in bulk from her local health food store. She uses mesh bags when she goes to the Farmer’s Market to put her produce in. Bea and her family have a small wardrobe, where she only buys clothes from a second hand store.

The article made me feel terrible about my lifestyle.

I love recycling. I recycle as much as I can. I will literally take things out of the trash and put them in the recycling bins.

But, I have never thought about reducing what I buy – so I don’t have as much to recycle or throw away.

In order to live Be Simpler – the title of Bea’s business, I have decided to make some life changes. In order to live a life like Bea, you have to have two things.

  1. An initial investment of money. (To buy all the glass jars, mess bags, water bottles, etc).
  2. An initial investment of time. (To figure out where you can eliminate waste, and how).

Well, I don’t have very much extra money to invest. I have set aside $20 a month to buy these products. But, as a single woman who has complete control over her free time, I do have some time to invest.

My first step to living more simply? Getting a new water bottle. After a lot of research (see, I told you that you need time…), I learned that Klean Kanteen is the best of the best in the refillable water bottle in the water bottle world. (I previously had a metal water bottle, but it always had a metallic aftertaste…)  I did a bunch of price comparisons, and I learned that the Co-Op near my home sold them the cheapest – cheaper than online or at other stores.

So, today, I bought myself a new water bottle. It’s pink. I really like pink.

Sports cap and flat cap. Fantastic!

This is replacing my old wattle bottle. My BPA-containing plastic water bottle. The water bottle I used everyday, but that is made out of the evil plastic and is slowly seeping hazardous chemicals into my body everyday. (Or, so they say…)

Goodbye, old faded water bottle.

I’m pretty excited about this new path. I am pretty excited about reducing my waste and helping the environment.

And, I am particularly excited about shopping for all my new stuff. (Wait. Isn’t that the opposite of this whole thing? Shoot. It’s gonna be a looooong process).

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The Job Search and Dating

“In New York, they say you’re always looking for a job, a boyfriend, or an apartment.” – Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

As a job seeker and single woman, I spend a lot of my free time looking for a better job and a great guy (I have a GREAT apartment). And, in the last few months, it has occurred to me just how similar the job search and dating really are.

Similarity #1: People asking questions

People who know you are looking for a job, or looking for a relationship almost always ask you about your search (for a job or a man). This is an exhausting question. First of all, usually the same culprits ask you; those who love or care deeply for you but don’t speak to you on a regular basis. This is usually the first question they ask you:

“Have you found any good jobs lately?” or “How’s the job search going?”

Or, even worse, “Have you met anyone great lately?” or “Are you seeing someone new?”

These questions are troublesome because almost always the answer is the same:

Yes, I have found some jobs I am applying to and no, I haven’t gotten any interviews yet.

Or, your response is:

No, I haven’t met anyone new. Or, No one I ever want to see again. Or, Yes, I met a guy, but he lives with his parents and is the most socially awkward man I have ever met.

I understand that these people are trying to be kind and learn about your life, but, let me tell you – any job seeker or person dating will tell you – usually no news is bad news – so just leave it at that.

Similarity #2: The job interview/ date

The preparation for the job interview/ date can be very much alike. You want to look your best. You spend extra time getting ready. You are putting your best foot forward.

The actual job interview/ date can be awkward, uncomfortable, nerve racking.  You think carefully about what you say, and possibly will obsess over something you said (or didn’t say later).

When you leave the job interview/ date, you usually check in with someone to tell them how it went; you go over things talked about, questions asked, and how you feel it went.

Immediately after the job interview/ date, you normally know how you feel about it. You know if you want the job (or to go out again), or if you don’t want the job (or are afraid he likes you and you have to let him down easy). Either way, anxiety kicks in, and you wait to hear from them.

If it’s a job, it could be over a week until you get a call back. If it’s a guy, it could be up to three days until he calls you (Really? Why the three-day-rule? Could someone please explain to me why guys do this?)

During the time of waiting, (if you want the job/ guy), you try to distract yourself. You go out with friends, you throw yourself into a “Bones” marathon, and you walk your dog. Everyday. Multiple times a day. Anything but to sit around a wait for that call.

Similarity #3 The decision

Woo-hoo! You got a job offer! The guy called! Yes!!! So great!

Now, you have to consider the offer. For the job, is it the money that you are looking for? What about the benefits? You love the company, but is it a good offer?

For the guy, he called. He likes you too. (Yay!!!) But, did you meet some of his friends and they aren’t good guys? Or, he works all the time and only can fit you into his schedule once a week? Or, has he told you that he likes you, but isn’t sure that marriage is for him? You like the guy, but is it a good fit?

Now, is the most heart-wrenching, hardest part of the whole job search/ dating debacle. You have to decide if this job/ guy is really right for you. And you know what? Sometimes it isn’t.

In January, I was offered a great job at a great company – I was so happy. But, they money they offered me was not even close to what I need to make to live. I had to turn it down – which was very hard decision – because the job wasn’t the right fit for me. And, this is often the case with guys. You have to walk away because although you like him (and he likes you too!) he is just not what you need to live happily.

______________________

Thus, here is the thing with the Job Search and Dating. Overall, it is really hard. Overall, it is really exhausting. But, overall, the right job or right guy, can make all of this really worth it.

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Filed under Dating