Friday, December 26, 2008

Where has the time gone...

How in the world is it December 26th? This year has gone by so fast, I just can't believe it. Usually around this time every year, I ask Trevor these questions:
-What were the best things about this past year?
-What do you want to accomplish next year?
Trevor does not like these questions - I ask them in many different forms all year round - for example, after a party I say "who was your favorite guest", when we have our anniversary, I make him list things he loves about me (this question game has never made the list of things he loves about me).
I always think I know the answer to these questions and Trevor ALWAYS surprises me with his answers. He almost always gives me some sort of answer that makes me want to cry - because I realize that for all the grief I give him about just about everything in our lives....he loves me and our life is just as important to him as it is to me.

I'll have to post his answers to these questions, but for now, I'll give you my answers:

- What were the best things about this past year?
This past year was really about change and challenge for us:
  • In January, we made the decision to open a business and spent all year actually opening it.
  • My brother and his wife had a baby in March.
  • Trevor lost his job in April, just two weeks before our trip to China...and we went to lunch to celebrate.
  • We spent a week in China, which is something so outside my comfort zone in so many ways. We ran 13.1 miles on the Great Wall of China.
  • We opened our store at the end of August and have done so in a very harmonious way. Trevor is a great partner - we think alike, want the same things and complement each others strengths and weaknesses.
  • I learned to swim in June and completed my first triathlon in August, followed by another one in September.
  • We've made the change from a two income household to one income and we haven't lost any of our houses, property or material things. Plus - we still have a strong relationship and supportive family. We are fortunate - many people right now cannot say the same thing.
  • We've both lost a few pounds - our eating has been much healthier this year - more consistent.
  • All of our pets are healthy, we made it through another year.
  • We added sweet Roxie to our brood - this little kitty has no idea how lucky she is.
  • I flossed more than 360 days this year. Yay to good oral hygiene!
Overall, this has been a great year, I feel like we've had far more good days than bad. We have taken steps towards a better future and really isn't that what every year should be about?

What do I want to accomplish next year - 2009?
I was thinking this morning about New Year's Resolutions and how most people only make them on January 1st. But really, isn't every day an opportunity to make a resolution? You don't have to wait until January 1 to make a change. That is the best thing about life, each day provides the opportunity for change. - the opportunity to say, "this isn't working for me, I want to try something different".

  • Continue to improve upon my swimming - get at least two pool workouts a week.
  • Work towards a 1/2 Iron man triathlon in August and be ready for it, complete it and be satisfied with my performance.
  • Live on a budget. Ugh. I think I say that every year...this year...I really mean it.
  • Open our second store by the end of summer 2009.
  • Fully embrace every change that is made at my job.
  • I also plan to work on not taking things so personal and letting at least some things roll off my back instead of jamming me up.
So, that's a start I guess. Some years I say I want to be nicer, but that only lasts like one day, so I"m not planning to work on that this year because I really need all my energy for the live on a budget bullet.

Whatever 2009 brings you - you can be sure its what you need...even if it isn't what you want.
Have a good one.

Customer Service is dead

I've been saying that for a while, but today, for me, it has truly died. Time for the funeral, get out the bagpipes and lets lay it to rest, because it is deader than dead. In fact, we probably don't need to bury it, its has been pummeled into a dust so fine, that there it probably can't even be contained in an urn. It is that non-existant.

To say that I am angry is an understatement, in case I haven't been clear on that.

What the hell is going on in the world, when the customer isn't right anymore? My dad will probably fall out of his seat when he reads this - because he remembers the days when I worked at our ice cream store and truly believed that the customer was always WRONG. Well, that was 20 years ago and I'm an adult now with a business and a career. I have learned over the years from many smart people that it doesn't matter if the customer is right or wrong - they are the customer and the only thing that matters is that they are happy. That is, if you want them to continue being a customer and if you care about the people they know. When you upset one person, you don't just lose them as a customer, but you have to be prepared for them to tell everyone they come into contact with NOT to do business with you. That's a scary thought.

I really do try to provide excellent customer service. I don't argue with people before I give in and let them have what they want. I always try to just do the right thing by them in the first place. In my advertising job - if something is done wrong, if an ad appears incorrect, even if it was their fault, almost all of the time, I credit the ad - with an apology that it was wrong. If it was the customer's mistake - I usually tell them that I'll credit it this time and then give them some guidelines for the future so that it doesn't happen again - or if it does, they'll take the blame.

At our store, we work really hard to give our customers what they want. We sample anything in the store so they are sure they like it before they buy it. And if they get it home and it isn't what they thought or they don't like it or just don't want it - we take it back. And we'll return their money any way they want.

This is our theory - say someone buys $100 worth of stuff and for whatever reason, they want to return it. We can either give them their money back, provide a pleasant experience and expect that they will come back and buy more - also that they will tell their friends how great we are - how easy we are to deal with OR we can hold on to that $100 as tight as we can and hope that's enough to pay the rent this month and every month after because that customer will probably never come back.

Over the last few months, we have had an increasing number of bad service experiences. The one I have had today is the final straw for me. And I'm mad, because I really value the business that gave me this crappy service and I don't want to stop doing business with them. I really don't want to. I've always been happy before. But not today. And so, they will get a lot less of my business. Eventually they will get none of my business. I am sure they will wonder why.

The saddest part about it is that this business is in trouble. They are hurting financially. Their customers are going away in droves, their revenue down significantly. Shouldn't they be holding on to every customer for dear life? I guess they'd rather cling to my $200. I hope its enough to pay the rent, because I won't be paying it for them anymore.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Back in the saddle again...

Well, not the saddle, but the pool. I am back in the pool again! You may remember that over the summer I completed my first triathlon. I liked it so much, I did it a second time. I learned to swim in June and the first tri was at the beginning of August. And it nearly killed me. If you go back and read my posts from both triathlons, you'll find that the swim really freaked me out. I didn't have enough time this season to get comfortable. I just knew I had to get through it and then I could bike and run just fine.

Next summer I have three triathlons planned - a sprint, an olympic and a 1/2 iron-man. One of our friends thought this was a little too aggressive, but we don't care. If you think you can't do something, the best thing to do is DO IT. Plan for it, work towards it and get through it. In planning for it, I knew that I would need to spend more time in the pool over the winter to build a base and start to overcome my fear, yes fear, of the water.

After the last triathlon in September, I stopped going to the pool and got back into my workout routine that included only running, biking and lifting. I figured there was plenty of time for swimming. To be honest...I've been dreading it. I've planned it in my routine a few times and always talked myself out of it.

This week, I realized that it had been three months since my last swim and that January will mark the beginning of my official off-season triathlon training. To me, this meant that I really needed to get back in the water.

So Tuesday morning at 5:15, I got up, put on my suit and headed to the gym. I had a workout planned that included drills to work on my stroke and form. It was 55 minutes of torture and I wanted to quit the entire time. I kept reminding myself that I used to feel this way when I first started running and when I first started spending more time on the bike. I am now at the point when I run that I can actually enjoy the process - enjoy the miles, instead of wanting them to be over. I am almost at the point on the bike, I enjoy it sometimes, others I watch the clock. So I know its possible to transition to that point with my swimming, but I have to put in the time. There is no other way to see progress. Damn it.

Thursday morning, I got up at 4:45 and headed to the gym to swim 800 meters before spin class. This swim was so great - the water was really really warm and I was there alone. It was so quiet and peaceful and I really focused on enjoying the distance instead of just wanting to get from one side to the other. I remembered the open water swims where I had to let go, relax and just swim. It was a great reminder to me that training is ever-changing. That one day it can be so hard you want to cry and the next it can seem like the best thing you've ever done.

I finished my swim, changed and ran upstairs for my spin class. After it was all done, I had the feeling that I do it all for - accomplishment and self-satisfaction. Pride. I'll take some more of that please...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thankful?

It's the time of year when its good to think about what you have. I've been doing that a lot lately. Perhaps now, more than ever, its important to think about what you have, what is good - instead of what you've lost, can't or don't have and what is bad.

Things are scary out there. Seems like every week, I hear from someone new who has been layed off, who's husband or wife has been layed off. Businesses are closing down. Money is tight. Honestly - Trevor and I have been very fortunate for the years we've been together - we've both had really great jobs and could pretty much do and buy whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted it. Boy have things changed. We are now a one income family and my income has gone down about 25 % this year - less business at work = less commission. We now refer to the days of the past as "when money was growing on trees". Nowadays, we actually think about how and where we spend our money. We monitor our bills and look for ways to save - we changed our garbage pick-up to every other week, we went back to a basic cable package, we set the thermostat a lot lower than we used to and put on an extra layer of clothes. I shop at the cheapest grocery store and buy only what we need. We are really at the point now where there isn't much more we could cut out. I've realized that all those things, all the stuff we bought, all the things we did were not the things that made our lives whole. I have a greater appreciation for all the things in my life that money cannot buy. I am blessed with a husband with many gifts - the greatest of which may be his sense of humor. Nothing fazes this man. He is my rock - the center of my life and even if we lost everything, I know that we'd be living on the street, laughing about something every day.

We have our wonderful, loving pets - growing from 4 to 5 now. I cannot imagine our lives without these little furry babies. Some days I cannot believe how full of love I am for them - Opal, Wookie, Gus, Daisy and Roxie. I feel like I could burst. Every day, they make me smile, laugh or tear-up -just knowing that I get to love them and that they love me right back.

I am fortunate to have a fabulous job. Seriously fabulous. My company is a great place to work - for all the complaining that goes on, I couldn't have a better job right now. Sure, its uncertain and I worry about the future of this business on which I've built a career. I don't' know what will happen, but I'm pretty sure things will be okay. I try to remember that when I get too worked up.

Then there is my family. Both my family and Trevor's family are really great people. Trevor and I are lucky. Our families are supportive, kind and giving. They love us regardless of our flaws and always want the best for us. Someone I know once said to me about family he was struggling with - "all you can do is love them." And he was right. There are challenges in every family. If you don't have a challenge in your family....you ARE the challenge in your family!

I saw this quote: "Thanksgiving is a meal that formalizes through food your connections to the people you love, even if that connection sometimes sparks like a downed wire. It's a meal for savoring life as it is, not as it might be, and finding reasons to be grateful anyway." I guess that's a lesson about life in general, not just family. Its time to look around at how things are and be grateful for them....even if they aren't what you had planned. And to know that every day provides a chance to start over - to work toward making things the way you want them to be or to work towards appreciating them for what they are.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

I know its only November 15th, but really...hasn't it been Christmas time since like October 30th? I saw Holiday items at the store right before Halloween. This seems to happen every year and every year it really pisses me off. I know the stores want us to be in the holiday spirit sooner so that we'll start shopping sooner. All it does is make me feel bah-humbug.

On November 2nd, my Starbucks cup was red, with snowflakes and doves. When it was the same cup on November 3rd, I told the barista (For those of you who don't frequent starbucks...that's the person who makes your drink), that I didn't appreciate the holiday cup. He said to me, "on behalf of Starbucks and all its employees...I apologize". I told him not to mock me and then I think he peed in my latte.

Then, to make matters worse, on November 4th, they had their holiday drinks. This means Egg nog, peppermint and gingerbread....WHAT!!!! I can't take it anymore. I CAN NOT TAKE IT.

Yesterday - November 14th, they brought the Christmas Tree...oh wait...the HOLIDAY tree downtown to the square. Santa Clause was there, so were the carolers. I swear, my blood pressure shot up to about 300 over 290.

I don't know why this makes me so f-ing mad....but it does. As I was sitting in traffic last night on the way home from work, because there was an accident on the bridge, I turned to one of my favorite stations. 103.3 has soft rock - its the music they play at the dentist...so it calms me. I quickly realized that the song on that station was a Christmas song. They've started their 24 hour holiday music. Its November....not even the second half of November....not even the week of Thanksgiving...its two weeks BEFORE Thanksgiving.

We've lost our minds. Maybe we should just have Christmas all year long...why not?

I think this is why it bothers me....Time goes so fast as it is. Don't you think? I don't spend enough time living in the moment, enjoying the right now. It seems we are always looking forward, looking for what is next. I want to enjoy today...not think about six or eight weeks from now. Plus, all this holiday stuff just gives me anxiety about all the things that come along with holiday. Because really...who finds the holidays relaxing? Not me....but maybe that is because by the time they show up, I'm so mad, I can't relax...or be happy.

I need counseling. That's for sure. Until then, Merry Christmas.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

So True...

If you read my blog from yesterday, you will find a list of things I said you would see/hear at the Phillies parade. This morning I was reading an article in the paper about the parade and here are some quotes:

"Center fielder Shane Victorino tossed soft pretzels to the crowd..."

"World Series MVP Cole Hamels tried to fist-bump a fan dressed like Philly's favorite fictional boxer, Rocky Balboa, but authorities intervened before they quite pulled it off."

"Phillies manager Charlie Manuel hoisted the World Series trophy Friday while players waved, the Phanatic danced and hundreds of thousands of fans roared in celebrating the city's first sports title parade in 25 years."

These are my people!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Parade Day

Who likes crowds anyway? Here are a few things I can guarantee you would see/hear if you were at this parade today:
1. Someone dressed like Rocky Balboa.
2. The Rocky theme song - as if we didn't hear it enough on Fox Sports before and after every commercial when the game was in Philly.
3. Lots of people with painted red faces and no shirts.
4. Vendors selling soft pretzels.
5. Every "F" replaced with "Ph" - for example...not Fans, but Phans.
6. A sea of red and blue.
7. Someone dressed like William Penn.
8. At least one sign about Tug McGraw.
9......A World Series trophy.


I can't be there for it...but the street sign in this picture makes me smile...because I'm in Oregon right now.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

World Series Champions 2008

15 years ago, I sat in my apt in Boulder Colorado and had my heart broken by the 1993 Phillies as I watched them lose the World Series.
Tonight, it feels like no time has passed. The last 15 years have passed in the blink of an eye. After that last strike - my phone rang and it was my friend Meg - from South Jersey - telling me she was going out to bang pots and pans. We talked about 1993 and she called it "our year". A bit later, another friend, Ann, called and said she and her family were drinking champagne from some Phillies glasses that we should have drank from 15 years ago. See below:


I am overwhelmed with homesickness, with thoughts from the past, with years gone by and friends far away. Today is like a dream - actually years of dreams all wrapped up in a few hours. I wish I were home, sharing it with everyone who understands how I feel. With everyone who understands what its like to wish for something for so long and finally have it happen...Philadelphia Phillies....World Series Champs. Who would have thought?

Be part of the solution

"There's only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures and the Dutch." - Nigel Powers, Austin Powers Goldmember

Politics . It brings out the worst in people. Every election season, I cannot wait until it is over. People become a more intolerant version of themselves. We have the extreme right and the extreme left – they are equally ridiculous and hypocritical. Both blame the other for all our problems. The sad truth may be that they are ALL to blame.

During this season, the political emails have become increasingly angry and hateful. One that was sent to us (from someone who clearly doesn’t know how we plan to vote) actually said that liberals are all pieces of shit. Um….I would say that I am a liberal. Why must it be one way or the other – isn’t it possible that I am still a worthwhile person, even though I’m voting Democrat? Believe me, if there is a reason why I am a piece of shit – it is not because of how I vote. But that’s a topic for another day.

My point in this…settle down people…have some decency. Tolerate another point of view. Realize that we all want to do what is right. I don’t mind someone who believes something passionately. In fact – I admire that passion – but when that passion turns into obsession, intolerance and hate…it has gone too far. You have heard it before… God forgives, unless you don’t believe what I believe and then you are going to hell.

It always amazes me how what you believe frames your reality. If you believe something strongly enough – no matter how much evidence in compiled to the contrary, you will never be convinced otherwise.

Can’t we disagree and still respect each other? Is that too much to ask? Is it too much to expect that two people, who have reached the pinnacle of their political lives - they are candidates for President of the United States for God’s sake, hold each other in esteem and honor? It’s the disrespect and intolerance that I can’t stomach, that has spread through our society like a wild fire. You see it everywhere – in the business world, on the little league field, at school, at church.

I have been known to be quite intolerant in my 34 years. I'll admit it. I don't want to be one of those hypocrites. It takes work to change. It takes the guts to realize that you are part of the problem. Because you are either part of the problem or you are part of the solution. I am really working on being part of the solution…being part of the problem wasn't working for me.

Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.
--Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Let me explain....

So, Trevor read my blog from yesterday and said, "We got married in the summer...that wasn't the best summer of your life? We got engaged in summer...that wasn't the best summer of your life?" Those were great summers. I've been with Trevor for 9 summers and they have all been fabulous...There was the summer that Trevor lived out of town from Sunday night until Friday night. How fun was that? Oh and then the summer we got married, Trevor had a broken leg, was on crutches for 12 weeks and wasn't even sure he'd be able to walk at the wedding. Of course, that has to be the best summer ever, right? Granted...all 9 haven't been like those two summers, but we are adults now, we have responsiblities and serious business to attend to.

I am sure that we can all think back to a time when things were simple. At the time, maybe we didn't realize things were simple - we were surely caught up in the drama of our life at the time. But now, we know. The thing about that summer of 93...I knew things were simple...I knew it wouldn't get any better. I really had nothing to worry about. I worked at an easy job, with fun people and got paid well. I didn't have any bills. I just needed money to put gas in the car, pay for a movie or buy lunch when I wanted to eat out...actually, Ann and I usually found someone to go to lunch with us whom we knew would pay for us.

Important decisions had been made in the years that came before that summer. I was already in college, I had already made all the choices that go along with that. Nothing was expected of me that summer.

Those are the reasons why I say they were the best days of my life. Don't get me wrong...I love my life now. REALLY love my life. I have it much better than I could have ever imagined all those years ago. Its just a grown up life, not the carefree life of a 19 year old.

So, I stand by what I said...the summer of 93...those were the best days of my life...the only thing that would have made them better would be if Trevor were there with me.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Those were the best days of my life...

The Summer of ’93….someone should write a song about it. It was, hands down, the best summer of my life. If I could go back in time to ANY time, that would be it. It was the summer after my first year in college. I was back home in New Jersey for June, July and August.

I spent the days babysitting and the nights working at my dad’s ice cream shop. After work, I would go over to my best friend Ann’s house and we would play volleyball or swim until 3 in the morning. I ate lots of hoagies, cheese steaks, pizza and of course, ice cream. I wasn’t too concerned with my weight in those days. And we watched the Phillies. Every day, every game. We’d sit on the couch and yell at the TV, we’d score the game in our score book. Ann had season tickets to Sunday games and we’d go hang out at the Vet in 100 degree heat, with 90 percent humidity. It was usually 115 on the field…and we loved every minutes of it.

Each one of us had our favorite player…mine was Curt Schilling, Ann’s was Lenny Dykstra, Caroline loved Mickey Morandini, Mike’s favorite was Dave Hollins. I can't remember who Raine's favorite was...Kim Batiste maybe? Pete Incavilgia and Milt Thompson lived in our town and we’d see them at the Friendlies Restaruant with their families. They were our guys….they were our team.

They drove us wild that summer. Playing an extra inning game that went until 3 in the morning, only to have an afternoon game the next day. My Pop-Pop was still alive at the time and I remember he would stay up and watch the game or listen on the radio when he was in bed.

The city of Philadelphia and the surrounding areas were alive with the love of the Phillies. We had hopes of greatness and yet didn’t really believe it would happen…we had spent our entire lives being disappointed. This team was different…they seemed to be a bunch of regular guys, who loved playing the game and loved playing the game together. They genuinely liked each other and looked like they were having the time of their lives. That’s probably why we were having the time of our lives too.

Sept came and I headed back to college in Boulder, Colorado. No one cared about the Philadelphia Phillies, except me. That year, the Phils made it to the playoffs. I watched all the games by myself. My roommates always found something else to do. I would cheer and yell at the TV in my apartment, just like I had all summer long, only now I was alone.

I remember the final game of the 93 World Series. It had been a particularly nerve-wracking series. Mitch Williams had been even more unpredictable during those games than he had been during the regular season and I wondered if he would be able to pull it together. I remember it was the last inning, we were up by one run. When Jim Fregosi called Mitch out of the bullpen, I called Ann and we were both like, “oh no”. That’s all we said and we hung up. Then it happened. The homerun that ended it all…as soon as it cleared the fence, I turned off the TV and went to bed. I couldn’t believe it.

It signaled the end of the summer and it was heartbreaking. Its 15 years later, I'm living in the state of Washington and when I watch the Phillies play, I watch alone again. My husband has no interest, my pets don’t understand why I am yelling when I watch the games. Every inning, every pitch, makes me homesick. You can go back to a place, but you can’t go back to a time….oh how I wish I could go back to that time. Maybe this year, they’ll go all the way…they’ll pick up where the boys of ’93 left off. I’d like to relive those days, for just a few minutes – 3000 miles away from home and all alone.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Two Words

WORLD SERIES!

The Philadelphia Phillies celebrate as they advance to the World Series after beating the Dodgers in game five of the NLCS at Dodger Stadium October 15, 2008. ( Michael Perez / Staff Photographer )

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Grand Opening

Yesterday was our Grand Opening. We've been open since August 25th and this was our big kick off event. We had the twins from the Biggest Loser - Bill and Jim Germanakos as our guests. I can't tell you how great these guys are. Nice. Honest. Knowledgable. Funny. Everything we had hoped for and more. They could not have been better guests. We enjoyed every minute of their time with us.

We really had no expectations for the day. We did quite a bit of marketing and promotion for the event and figured this would be a great benchmark. This was an excellent opportunity to get a feel for what works and what doesn't work. We had a decent turnout of folks to see the guys and join in the events. Just about every person who came into the store bought something. We believe we have made some great new customers.

I am really just relieved that the event is over. We can now get on with the business of doing business. We are working on our community outreach - getting out in the community - going to the gyms, schools and businesses and really just building relationships. We have found that is where our best customers come from - the face to face contact.

Here are some pictures from the day:

Chamber of Commerce came out to do an official ribbon cutting - kind of fun. You can see it was a super sunny day. It started out cold and ended up really cold - but in the middle, it was perfect weather.

Here we are with the guys - behind us you can see their pictures - we are standing right in front of their before pictures - which were shocking.
Bill is doing the talking - Jim is listening. They put on two - hour long presentations that were very entertaining. We used an empty unit next to our store that is still in construction.
Here is our crew. We had great help for the event. Here's who they are (left to right): Our manager Casey and his wife Stephanie. Chris. Ty (Trevor's brother), me, Trevor, Rhiannon. We couldn't have done it without them....thanks guys. We are so fortunate to have you as part of our business.
One more picture of us and the guys. We love these guys.

We took a lot away from this event. Lots of good things to carry forward and as always, things we would have done differently. Every day is a learning opportunity and the only way to be successful is to take good notes and be sure make use of every experience.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Where has the time gone?

The last few weeks have really gotten away from me. Things have been busy - which is good. This last week my body finally decided it has had enough and I caught the cold that is going around. It really knocked me out for a few days - I am just about over it. I have taken all kinds of vitamins and supplements to battle this cold so it won't turn into a sinus infection. Between the mega doses of vitamin A, zinc lozenges and extra glutamine and green supplements - my body's defense should be heavily fueled. I took the week off from working out too - which is unheard of. I wasn't able to stay home sick this week due to many things going on at work.

Here is something exciting that happened this week....compare the two pictures below and see if you can find that difference. First picture is today - second picture is from two weeks ago.


That's right - I got my braces off. After a few visits to the dentist to have some bonding work done, they are as perfect as they are going to be. I had braces before, but I don't think my teeth were ever this straight. That has been my excitement for the week.

The second picture was taken for my profile in a magazine. I was asked to have a column in Make You Happen - a local magazine focused on health and fitness. I wrote my first article about a month ago and they just asked me to submit my article for the next publication. It publishes every other month. I'm the nutrition expert! Who knew?

Next Saturday is our grand opening. The planning is done, we just need to execute all of our plans - Bill and Jim - the Biggest Loser guys have been so great and I cannot wait to have them here. I will post a recap of the event next weekend, after we recover a bit. Until then...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Who did this to you?

If you came into the store this weekend, here is what you would have seen....

Trevor came home from his grappling class on Saturday morning with a big ol' shiner. He told me he didn't know how it happened and that everyone was trying to take credit for it. There is something kind of sick about that. I don't know if Josh was at class on Sat, but I am blaming him for this....Trevor was working out with Josh when he broke his leg a few years back...so he's on my list already. I don't know what our customers think when they come in and are greeting by a 6 foot 4 guy, who's clothes are way too big, with a big black eye. Do they think "wow....I want to be just like him!" or do they look at me and think "man, she's beating the crap out of him".

Normally Trevor is covered in bruises, they just aren't on his face, so I can forget about them. For the next week or so, every time I look at him I'll be reminded of what he is...a fighter. I don't know how it happened, but that is what he is.

The truth is that he is a fighter in every aspect of his life. When he decides on something, he focuses on it and fights tooth and nail to achieve, complete or reach it. He doesn't give up and he doesn't give in. Its pretty amazing to watch. The calm, cool determination he has it so opposite of me, I guess that's why we are such a good match. Over the years, I have learned from him - not the calm, cool part, but the determination part. I've obtained some of his fight...I'm just a little more spastic and stressed about it. I'm convinced that's what he loves about me...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pressure

I have been feeling it lately - pressure. Our Grand Opening event for the store is in 4 weeks and for some reason, that thought makes me panic. These last few months have been so busy. This last week, I have kind of hit a wall - I've had a headache all week long and just feel like I have no direction. I wake in the morning and don't know what to do. I am lacking focus. Now is not the time for that.
We have secured our guests for the Grand Opening. These guys:

Bill and Jim Germanakos - winners of NBC's The Biggest Loser. These guys are awesome. They are super nice and passionate about their health and fitness. I am so excited to have these guys here. We are planning a big event for October 11th that will include an all day meet and greet, autograph signings and a mid-day seminar. We also have a free yoga class scheduled that day, food, samples, raffles. There will be a lot going on and that means there is a lot of planning to be done. Then, of course, the excecution of it all. I believe we have a staffing issue - as in, we have no staff other than ourselves - finding more help for that day is currently a priority. I have spent quite a bit of time the last few weeks working on this event.

This coming week we'll have flyers/posters created and printed to be distributed. We'll be updating our website. Newspaper ads will start in two weeks - radio ads start in two and a half weeks - I go in on Tuesday to record those. We need to order products, decide on in store deals. We will be donating a portion of our proceeds to the Humane Society where we met Daisy. Did I tell you that I have had a headache all week long?

To make things even more exciting - the weekend after our grand opening, we are sponsoring an all women's half marathon here in Vancouver. We are having shirts made up for that and I am super excited about that. I have had the opportunity to be creative and come up with some fun designs. Hopefully others will like them too and pay us for them! Otherwise, I won't have to buy another shirt for the rest of my life.

So there is a lot going on. Add to that the drama at work - which includes an absentee co-worker and a buyout offer situation that won't be resolved until Mid-October.

I am also feeling a bit let down know that our triathlon season is over...what do I do now....what do I train for? I am working on an off season training plan and a race calendar for next year. We looked forward to the half marathon in China for so long, then right after that decided on the triathlon, so we have had something to look forward to for about a year now. I need to get the next thing on the calendar. I'm sure it will be something crazy - our lives are not boring any more!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Is who you think you are.....

Who you want to be? That's a line from a Bon Jovi song and today the answer for me is Yes. That makes today a great day. Today we did another triathlon - only our second. This one was better than the first. It was still one of the hardest things I've ever done, just not THE hardest thing. I was not so afraid this time around.


We took on an extra challenge and sponsored this event. We got there early and set up our booth. Our manager Casey came down to "man" the booth while we completed the event. He got to see first hand just how crazy we really are. He also took pictures and did a damn fine job.



This event was small and cozy - much more informal than the Blue Lake Triathlon. For me, this really made a difference. The day was supposed to be sunny and warm - the sun didn't come out until about noon and we had been done for close to an hour by then. It was pretty chilly in the morning -the water was warmer than the air. That was a nice surprise.


We started the swim and for the first few minutes, I did panic. This time, I had a plan. I had a pattern of strokes I would follow. That kept me focused on counting and left me unable to really worry too much. I actually passed a few people on the swim and I swam the entire way. I didn't have to back stroke, no swimming to shore to stand up, no side stroke and no treading water. I did a mix of crawl and breast stroke. Mostly crawl. I was amazed at how much my swimming has improved in the just a month. I took about three minutes off my swim time from the last triathlon.


No, I'm not walking, even though it kind of looks like it - I am doing a little breast stroke.


The transition to the bike was much smoother as well. I didn't feel like the swim was a near death experience like last time. I also came out of the water proud of myself...last time I really beat myself up with negativity for the entire swim. Mental state makes a huge difference. I hopped on the bike and off I went. This triathlon was right by our house, so I know the roads. I knew there would be two big hills out and two big hills back....I wasn't prepared for the 10 big hills in between. It seemed like every time we went up hill, there was a downhill....followed shortly by another up hill. I said a curse word at the top of every hill. Lots of cursing going on today! I had wanted to finish the entire event in 1:45 - which meant that I needed to be running by 1:15....at 1:10 - I knew there was NO WAY I would be making my time goal. This course was so different than Blue Lake - Blue Lake is super flat - no hills. When I finished up the bike, I heard another participant say to their family - "that was the hilliest, hardest bike ride I've ever been on"....good....its not just me.

I think the guy behind Trevor was timing his transition....


I started the run and I felt like I was having an outer body experience. I felt really spaced out. The run was on the Salmon Creek path - Trevor and I have run this path hundreds of times and I know it in my sleep - that made the distance go much faster. At about mile 1, I saw Trevor headed back - he looked good and strong and we briefly commented on the hills. I knew he felt the same way that I felt!


I finally decided that I wanted to finish before the 2:05 mark - I really picked up the pace the last mile and finished right at 2:04. yay me. I felt so proud of myself today - it was a hard day and I am certainly exhuasted, but I did it. Again. And I did it better than the last time. I could have just said, "that was way too hard - not doing that again". Instead I said, "that was way too hard - what can I do to be better prepared next time around". I swam more. I really worked on feeling comfortable in the water. I had a plan for the swim and stuck to it. I ran and biked many mornings when I did not want to get out of bed. These last few weeks have been really stressful and busy and I made the workouts a priority. yay me, right?!


Trevor finished in 1:47 - yay Trevor.


After we finished we went to our booth and sampled some recovery drink to the many others who had completed the event. We talked to a lot of people and it was really fun. Sponsoring this event was a good fit. They started giving out awards....they got to the men's 30 -34 age group and Trevor was 3rd, only 2 minutes behind the winner. Then they got to the women's 30-34 age group and I came in 1st?!! There were no prizes for 2nd and 3rd, because I was the only one in the age group. Does that matter? I think not.

We are done with the triathlons for this year. We plan to continue the craziness next season - we plan to do a sprint triathlon in June and then an Olympic distance (1 mile swim, 24 mile bike, 6.2 mile run) in August. The next few months, I'll be able to mix in some fun workouts - my step videos, boot camp, kick boxing. I will be swimming a few days a week all winter long and then at the beginning of the year, I'll start working on the triathlon specific training schedule. I love that we have found this new event. I spoke with a woman at our booth who was a seasoned triathlete. She was talking about how she used to be a runner and said "all runners eventually become trathletes". I guess now that's true for me and Trevor.

Trevor said this to me "Now we aren't only triathletes, we are award winning triathletes". Find the right race....and you can be award winning too!!





Saturday, August 30, 2008

Meet my trainer

So, you can't get into the best shape of your life by yourself. You need someone to be there with you, pushing you to your limit, making sure you aren't slacking. A little encouragement and even love can help too.

I do a lot of working out at home. I started about 5 years ago doing some home exercise videos and I have gotten increasingly more serious with these workouts. I know what you are thinking..."at home exercise videos? how hard of a workout can that be?" Let me tell you, you'd be shocked. I am currently using my videos more for weight workouts than cardio. And these weight workouts can really kick my butt. I love that. I love that I wake up at 5 am and walk across the hall to our "workout room" - turn on the TV and I am ready to go. Well, I don't really LOVE the waking up at 5 am, but I love the short commute to the gym at that hour!

When I get to the workout room, I get my weight bench and/or high step all ready to go...usually about 10 or 15 minutes into my workout, my trainer shows up. Sometimes he'll sleep in a little or he'll eat breakfast before he joins me, but he ALWAYS joins me. He has a unique style of training. If I am laying down doing chest exercises (bench press, chest flys), he climbs up and sits on my stomach and watches me. If I am sitting on the stability ball doing shoulder exercises (overhead press), he'll jump up on the ball behind me and sometimes crawl around and sit on my lap. This has resulted in at least one popped stability ball. When I am doing pushups - he sits between my hands and is sure that my face gets all the way to the ground - he rubs my nose with his face to keep count.

His favorite part of the workout is the stretch - I am on the floor for an extended amount of time. This provides an opportunity for a full body review - he'll check me up one side and down the other, just to be sure that I am doing okay.

I know you are probably thinking that Trevor is my trainer...close...but not right. Its my cat Gus and he is the best trainer/workout partner I could ever have.

Here is a picture of him checking to be sure that I am pushing down with my heel while I do squats against the stability ball. (yes, the room is a mess....Gus needs to hire someone to clean the gym)

Next, he is checking to be sure that the high step is stable for me. He figures if it can hold him, it will hold me just fine.
This is how Gus relaxes after a hard day of training. He thinks that stretching is really beneficial and is constantly demonstrating.
I just love this picture, so I had to put it here - you probably can't read it - but there is a tag on the mouse that says "cat toy". For some reason, that's funny to me.
Trevor came to Gus' gym last week to do an ab workout with me. It was during this workout that Gus realized that his gym was at capacity and he couldn't take on any new clients. He sat between us while we were on the floor doing our workout and just looked back and forth between us. He didn't know who's face to rub first. He suggested that in the future we do our workouts individually, that way he could give us each his full attention.

I've said it before. I love this cat. Without him, who knows what kind of shape I'd be in!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

How bad do you want it?

We are open for business. After 10 months of investigating, planning, thinking, working, thinking more, crunching numbers, sleepless nights, excitement, fear and anticipation. The day is finally here. Trevor got to the store around 7:30. I stopped by for about half an hour before I headed off to work. I felt like a mother, saying good-bye to her child on the first day of school. So uncertain about what the day will hold...will he make friends? will he get through the day without me? where will this first day lead?. So many questions, so many thoughts and worries. As I left my husband alone with our child...I wanted to cry.

As the day went on, I didn't hear from Trevor...what could this mean? The store was set to open at 10:30, our manager Casey, Brad - a corporate guy from the east coast, and Greg - our regional developer, were all set to be at the store all day. I sent a text message to Trevor around noon and got no response. I finally called him around 3 and he said there had been people in the store all day long. They were busy! Our child was making friends. On the first day.

I went to the store after work and we were busy until we closed at 8. I went home. Trevor got home around 9:30. We had a fabulous day. 25 customer purchased goods and our sales exceeded our hopes for the day. This is good news. Very good news. We are looking forward to each day now. Planning and dreaming of all the things this new venture will bring into our lives. We just can't wait.

Here is our crew: me, Trevor, Regional Developer Greg and our manager Casey.

We are so fortunate to have Casey on our team. He is the perfect addition. The three of us are a very well rounded MACHINE! Each of us has a different strong point. We provide balance and this will be our greatest strength.

Here are a few more pictures of the store.



There will be plenty more to come.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Feel the fear and do it anyway...

This is our current motto. It seems like I need to repeat it to myself about 100 times a day. There is so much going on right now of which I am afraid....terrified...scared to death. I have to remind myself that being scared is not a reason to quit.

The store opens tomorrow. We have spent the last two days stocking shelves, I'm heading over there soon to spend the third day stocking shelves. A mind-numbing, back aching process. I look forward to being done with this part of things. I haven't really been scared about this business venture (I was scared about the loan closing, but not scared about the business). I'm scared now. Tomorrow, we find out what will be. We've done a lot of leg work leading up to tomorrow - I believe we are prepared - we've done advertising, community events, told the world what we are doing...now we see who was listening. Obviously it doesn't end tomorrow - it actually all begins. And while that is exciting, it is also so very scary.

We have our second triathlon coming up on Sept 6th - I'm scared of that too. Maybe more so than of the first because I know what's in store. I've been sticking to my training. We did a swim in the lake where the event will be held and I think my nerves will be a little more at ease in the swim - I don't expect the swim to be any easier, I just hope not to be so scared.

There is so much going on at my job right now. They announced a huge buyout on Friday. It will be interesting to see where the cards land on that one - I am not eligible for the buyout - so I'll be left behind to pick up the pieces. That is scary because I expect my job to be transformed, I expect the company to be transformed. We've been through a lot of that in the last few years and I wonder how much more we can do before we stop actually being a newspaper. Will I tell my great nieces and nephews someday "there used to be these things called newspapers....and I worked there!" This kind of puts some extra pressure on our business. I used to think that newspapers would be around forever....now it seems like newspapers are doing whatever they can to kill themselves. I'm not ready to give up on them yet, because I love them, but I worry about the future.

I could go on and on about the things that occupy my mind. And you would probably say "worrying won't make them better" and you would be right. If you could give me advice on how not to worry about them...I'd give you a year's subscription to the newspaper.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

2 years and counting...

"Who knows where the road will lead us, only a fool would say. But if you let me love you, its for sure I'm going to love you....all the way..." - Frank Sinatra - our first dance song.

This was us....two years ago today.

This was us Saturday night - celebrating our anniversary at our favorite restaurant - Oba!


We made it another year. Trevor's toast - "to more action and less talk". Ever since I have known Trevor, he always has had big dreams. He was always talking about all the things he wanted to do, all the things we should do. And we never did any of them, when I reminded him of this, he would tell me not to stomp on his dreams. He's the dreamer, I'm the planner. I told him multiple times that I wanted less talk and more action. They say, "be careful what you wish for". In the last two years, since we got married, it seems like we are all action - no talk. We have done all of the things he talked about doing...and more. We bought a rental house, completely remodeled it. He's training for a fight in September, we bought a business, he left his full time job, we have traveled to places I could never have imagined we would go. Our lives have been a whirlwind of activity. It is all more than I expected. We are very different people than we were just two years ago. We have grown together and keep pushing each other to want more and to be more. I am more because of Trevor. I live more, I love more, I work more, I dream more. Because of Trevor. Because I have the honor of being his wife....that is so much to live up to. I spend every day trying.

Like Frank said..."who knows where the road will take us. Only a fool would say". Only a fool would say. Happy Anniversary Trevor. Thank you for our life.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The loves of my life...

"You can't help that. We're all mad here." -
Cheshire Cat quote by The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland


This is Gus...the $10,000 cat.




Gus and I met each other at the Humane Society shelter in Bridgewater, New Jersey in 1999. For about a year, it was just the two of us. We moved from NJ to Portland, Oregon together - 1o hour days in the car, stopping at hotels at night. He was the best company - he was quiet most of the time and agreed with everything I had to say. About a year after I moved to Portland, Gus' medical bills started to add up - this cat has every health issue you can imagine...he has had a blood disease that almost killed him, a heart problem (he takes medicine every day for that), an auto-immune issue on his nose (he takes medicine once a week), a nose bleed problem solved by pulling teeth and most recently - a cancerous tumor on his tail...resulting in the removal of his tail. See the big fluffy tail in the picture...its gone...now he just has a stub and he doesn't seem to mind at all.
I love him. I love him more than anything or anyone ever. Trevor knows this and understands, which is why I love him so much. Gus sleeps on Trevor's head every night and he has for 8 years now. Another reason why I love Trevor so much. I could tell you a million things about this cat...but I won't....I have to move on....



To Wookie.....





Wookie was Trevor's dog when we met. Wookie is smart. Really smart. He never had any training and he knows all the basic commands. He knows what we are talking about and we often talk to him like he is a person. The best thing about Wookie is that he'll let you do just about anything to him...see above...he's wearing a safety vest...not happy about it...but wearing it because it made us happy.
Wookie's weakness is food. He turns into a real jackass around food. As I said, he totally speaks English...until there is a hamburger on the counter and as he is grabbing it off the counter and gobbling it down. We yell at him and he says, "no habla ingl├ęs".
I love Wookie too - I hug him often. And when I say "I love you" - he understands.



Opal....Girl Dog...

here she is with her best friend - GT (Green Toy) - GT goes everywhere with her, except when she wants to have RB (Red Ball). She is obsessed with GT and RB. Opal and Wookie are best friends - they were both with Trevor when we met. The only thing Opal loves more than GT and RB is Trevor. She is a total daddy's girl. She follows him everywhere. I think I come in 4th (Trevor is first, Wookie is second, GT and RB are third, then me). She'll follow me when he isn't home. She likes to sit on the couch with me - mostly because she thinks its her seat and I am sitting in it - so I guess I sit on the couch with her. Opal is a cattle dog and will herd us any chance she gets, which makes walking her tough - she keeps circling us and we end up tied up in the leash. Opal is slowing down in her old age. She used to be our head of security. She's retired now and spends most of her time in the house, on the couch or on the floor in Trevor's office. Probably dreaming about.....



DAISY!!!


Daisy joined our family in Jan of 2006. She was a shelter cat that we saw at PetCo. She was 9 years old and on sale. We felt sad because we didn't think anyone would take her home. She is the sweetest cat ever. The first night at our house, she slept in bed with us. She loves Wookie and this green chair. She spends 90% of her time in the green chair. Wookie is her best friend because he loves to eat as much as she does. Since we've had Daisy, she's gone from 9 pounds to 14 pounds. She's on the sumo diet - she eats and then she sleeps. She is beautiful. She screams when you touch her - we aren't sure why. She loves to be petted, she just meows loudly. She is our alarm clock - she gets up before us and sits in the hallway waiting for food - if we take too long getting up - she sounds the call with a timid little "meow" - Opal hears hear and starts barking like crazy - which makes Wookie cry - which upsets Gus....and so our day begins...

I never thought I would meet a man who loved animals the way that I did. Then I met Trevor. Sometimes I hear him talking to one or more of the pets when I am in the other room and I'll just stop and listen. This is my family.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Elvis has left the building


Our 2nd wedding anniversary is coming up on August 19th. I was looking through our honeymoon and wedding pictures and found this picture.....


Pay close attention to the difference in Trevor from that picture to this recent picture...



I think I look about the same, Trevor has lost 45 pounds in the last two years. He was really at his heaviest around our wedding. Trevor has been doing mixed martial arts (MMA) for about 4 years now. We've been running for about 6. Four months before our wedding, we were gearing up for some weight loss, so we could be at our best on the big day. Three months before the wedding, during a routine Saturday MMA class, Trevor broke his leg and tore all the ligaments in his ankle. It was 14 weeks before the wedding when the dr told us that Trevor would need surgery and pins put in his ankle. The dr said, "you will be unable to put weight on your leg for 12 weeks". I cried. We had just starting taking dance classes....this was no my plan.

Trevor spent 6 weeks in a hard cast and 6 weeks in a soft cast. As you can imagine, the inactivity and stress resulted in some weight gain. He had bought a suit that was a little big and we figured that he'd lose weight and it would be taken in to fit. Instead, three weeks before the wedding, the suit had to be let out as much as it could possibly be let out to fit him for the wedding. I wasn't even sure he'd be able to stand up during the wedding, much less dance with me. I spent a lot of time on the phone with the travel agent making sure that our travel insurance covered us if we needed to cancel the trip.

In the end, it all worked out just fine....it always does. It was a beautiful day - Trevor looked great in his suit. He stood and married me and then twirled me around the dance floor like a pro. An amazing trip to Tahiti followed and our life together got its official start....after 6 years of living in sin.

I was shocked when I looked at the pictures from this time - I don't remember Trevor being that big and I don't realize how much weight he has lost. He is training for his first amateur MMA fight -probably in Sept - and has taken his fitness to a whole new level. I am amazed constantly how strong he is - both physically and cardio - wise. He is a rock star. He was always a rock star - for a while he just looked more like Elvis in his fat days.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

What is your worth?

In a quite absolute final way, what you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love,
stay in love,
and it will decide everything.



What are you in love with? What are you addicted to? We are all addicted to something. We are addicted to work, food, spending money, the opinion of others, exercise, drugs, alcohol, smoking. These addictions determine everything about our lives....they are the reason we get out of bed, they decide with whom we associate. They determine our worth or help to keep us from feeling unworthy.

Like all of us, I have been addicted to many things in my life - food, work, cigarettes, exercise, dieting. For many years, the number on the scale determined my worth. I'd get up in the morning and the number on the scale determined how I felt for the rest of the day. For many of us, our accomplishments at work determine our worth. Do you determine your worth by the clothes in your closest, the amount of your paycheck, the size of your waist...do you let others determine your worth by these things?

In no way am I an expert on feeling worthy. God knows I spend lots of my time looking for ways to feel good enough. Every once in a while there is a glimmer in my mind when I realize that just by being alive I am good enough. I am worthy of all the things I have and all the things I dream of having.

Our store will be opening in two weeks. One of the things I am most excited about will be the number of lives we will be able to touch. With our products, our knowledge and our service, we will be able to help people in their quest for worthiness. We'll help them achieve more from their body than they ever thought possible. We'll show people the path to dreams and aspirations. Whatever you want, you can achieve. I cannot wait to talk to people and find out what THEY really want out of life and work with them to develop a plan to get there.

Everyone has an excuse for why they can't have what they want. I have them, Trevor has them...confronting those excuses, those fears and moving through them is the only way to get what you really want out of life. What you are willing to confront to reach a goal determines how important that goal is to you.

Over the last few years I've realized that some of my addictions were not helping me reach my goals. Being so tied to the number on the scale was not going to help me run a half marathon on the Great Wall or complete a triathlon. Once I decided what my goals really were (being fit, healthy and getting the most out of this body), I was able to put my focus in the right place. My addiction shifted away from the number on the scale. I now look at eating as fuel for my body to perform and get stronger, instead of as a way to get to a number. The craziest thing about that is that the number on the scale is lower than it ever was when I was trying to get it lower! Addiction can cloud your mind, make you lose track of the truth and feel unworthy.

To what are you addicted? From what do you draw your worth? Is it time for a shift? Remember, what you are in love with, what you are addicted to...it decides everything .

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I chose the road less traveled...and that has made all the difference.

Over the past few months, I have found myself saying "what the hell are we thinking" more than during any other time in my life. When we were in China - first getting on the Great Wall for the 13.1 mile run, I said outloud..."what the hell are we thinking"...with starting the business, I have woken up several nights and thought to myself "what the hell are we thinking"...today, we did our first Triathlon and I thought to myself for more minutes than I would have liked "what the HELL ARE WE THINKING!!!!!!!"

Here's Trevor unloading our very amateur bikes....give us a break people....its our first tri....

I was scared before we even started. We got out to Blue Lake just before 7 am - our wave was to start at 8. I was worried about our start because we were first and that meant that 5 minutes after we started, another group would start, 5 minutes later, a third group - this would go on for about half an hour. I knew I would be towards the back of the pack in the water, if not THE back of the pack. The thought of faster swimmers catching up to me and passing me had me concerned.

We got our bike and gear set up and walked down to look at the Lake. I saw the 3 buoys we would have to swim around and I really started to feel sick and scared. Trevor said he wasn't so I asked him to make me feel better. He said some things like, we've swam this distance before, it will be easier in the lake because we won't have to stop our momentum at the wall every 25 meters. Keep in mind this was our first open water swim and I only started swimming in the pool two months ago (and two lengths damn near killed me). To be honest - typing about the swim right now makes me feel a little sick still.

I wrestled my wet suit and finally got it on...that might have been the hardest part of the day. We got into the water and waited for the start. We got to the back of the pack and stood with a guy who said it was his first time too and was going to go really slow - we'll call him DNF guy.

They counted it down and the horn went off. I started with the crawl stroke (freestyle, is that what they call it?). I did that for a few strokes and just felt kind of freaked out. I looked up and realized that everyone was ahead of me, except DNF guy. The first buoy seemed so far away. I did a mix of side stroke, breast stroke and crawl and decided I needed to really just calm down and swim. After a few minutes, I heard them count down the next group and then the horn for their start went off - I looked back and saw a wall of swimmers, not that far behind me. At the same time, I saw a boat over by DNF guy and I think he was getting into it....DNF stands for Did Not Finish. Great. Now I'm last. I was so scared about what would happen when that wall of people caught up to me that I could hardly move forward - I signaled for one of the boats, he came over and threw me something to hold on to and asked if I was okay. In my mind I thought "I can't do this. I need to quit now". That thought went through my head probably two times fast. Then I realized that I needed to just do it, I could do it, I would do it....I could not quit. That would suck. Trevor told me after we finished that he looked back and saw me holding on to the boat and was worried that I had quit.

The group caught up to me while I was holding on to the boat and I realized that I wasn't getting closer to the finish of the swim by hanging on to the boat. I said goodbye to the nice boat man who said it would be okay and started to move again.

The first 2/3 of the swim I was cursing in my mind...scared to death...then I thought of the songs I run to during training and got one of those in my head..the one that stuck was Bon Jovi - Its my Life....he says "its now or never...I ain't going to live forever"...in fact, I might die today....that positive-ness in my mind helped ALOT. I just kept moving, mostly side stroke - others around were doing the same, just getting through it.

I made it to the beach and climbed out of the lake - 24 minutes. The 24 most scary minutes of my entire life. seriously. scared. Then I got excited.....THAT'S over. I know how to bike and I know how to run.

I got to the bike corral and stripped out of my wet suit, put on my shoes, helmet, number and headed off to the bike start. It took 7 minutes from the time I got out of the water to where I started the bike. Slow, but steady....just like a turtle.

I got on the bike and my heart rate was 169....WAY TOO HIGH. I like to keep it under 157 during the bike and first part of the run. I spent the first 15 minutes trying to get it down under that. I finally did and settled into a really good pace. I passed some people and just kept steady. The course was a flat out and back, so you had to really pedal the entire time, no easy downhills, also no tough uphills. I was alone most of the time, which allowed for a lot of reflection on this crazy event. When I would think back to the swim, my body still felt that fear and I wondered if I was going to finish - even though I felt great on the bike.

I saw Trevor on his way back and I could tell from his face that he was so relieved to see me...glad that I hadn't given up during the swim. I could have cried when I saw him...."look at what we are doing..." The bike was really uneventful. I started looking at my watch. I knew that if I wanted to finish in under 2 hours, I needed to be on the run by 1:25. I was going to have to really be fast in the transition.

I came around the corner back into the park around 1:20. I was ready to make quick work of the transition. I took off my helmet, racked my bike, put on my visor and hit the road. The run felt great - I saw Trevor again and he looked great. I made the turn around and got to the mile 2 marker. My race plan was to kick it up for the last two miles. I did that, passed a few people and finished strong. I crossed the line at 1:56. Trevor had finished 20 minutes earlier..bastard....1:36.

I could not wait to talk to him....the first thing he said to me was, "that swim....Holy F-ing S%#^"....took the words right out of my mouth. Even he got scared during the swim!! We shared our experiences and basked in the accomplishment. This is my favorite part of the event...sharing it with Trevor. Knowing that he is as proud of me as I am of him....knowing that we trained for this and did it together...knowing that he understands it all too. Its really my favorite part of being married to him. He just gets it. There's nothing scary about that.

I cannot wait to do it again. I was scared before, during and after and I did it anyway. I pushed through and saw it to the end. That hasn't always been my style, so that feels good to me because I know there is an easier way....and I chose not to take it....

Here's a great picture of Trevor's back side....and his markings...
Trevor finished with enough time to get the camera and catch me finishing...I guess you can do alot in 20 minutes!
YAY....the first of many I suspect.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A life where there once was none...



There she is....the shell of the place that will become our home...starting August 25th. This is it. We are making progress - in fact, we are ahead of schedule, which is unheard of when it comes to construction. The floor has been stained and treated. The dressing room is built. Painters started work on Friday and will be back at the beginning of the week to finish up. We will recieve our POS system (point of sale) - including our register and software - early next week. We have to wait about two weeks for Max Muscle to send up the shelving and store build out. Inventory is set to arrive on August 21st. That weekend will be spent stocking shelves and pricing. The doors open on Monday the 25th.

I have spent the last two weeks working on advertising and Grand Opening event planning. Our first print ad ran on Thursday in The Oregonian. That made it all seem REAL. Our Grand Opening will be sometime in October and we are looking for the main portion of that event - the "celebrity" appearances. We have a few exciting options that we are making progress on...we'll see how that pans out for us.

Everywhere we go and everyone we talk to has such positive feedback about our business. I feel like we have some great momentum going in to August 25th. We plan to hit the ground running and never look back. It is so hard to believe that we are three weeks away from Opening.

Last night we were sitting on the couch talking while we ate dinner and I told Trevor that we needed to really enjoy this time, because it is all about to end. Relaxation and Rest will be non-existent in our lives for a while. That sounded a little scary - I then thought of all the possibilities that are about to open up for us. I know we will look back on this time and remember how it was...I just don't know where we'll be when we look back...to me, that is the most exciting part.

On a different note...tomorrow is the big day - the first triathlon of our lives. Its been cool out the last few days and tomorrow should be sunny and warmer. Trevor is putting the bikes in the car (he just aired up the tires), I've got all my gear layed out. We'll be up early and off to the race!!! A full report will surely follow.








Sunday, July 27, 2008

She's my Cherry Pie....

Remember the song from the 80's glam rock band Warrant?... "She's my Cherry Pie...." I sing this song all the time - who knows why? I usually sing it to our dog Opal...she likes it. Maybe its because I LOVE Cherry Pie. I could eat the filling straight from the jar. We have two big cherry trees in our yard. Wookie likes to eat the cherries that fall to the ground. The other day Trevor was talking to our old man neighbor who told him that they looked like pie cherries. Excuse me? Do you mean to tell me that the yummy goodness of the cherry pie is growing on a tree in my yard? Its been there for 7 years? Well that sounds like a challenge old man....
I found a recipe online for pie made from cherries picked from your own tree - it had pictures and the cherries looked like ours, so I figured they wouldn't kill us. I put Trevor to work....

You can see Opal helping him here - I think she is singing..."I'm mom's cherry pie."
I have the best husband in the world...he is even inspecting them to make sure we get the best ones.
Somehow I convinced him to pit the cherries too.
"Dad....I'm mom's cherry pie"
Here it is....ready to be put in the oven. Here it is. Just out of the oven.
Okay, so we cut some pretty big pieces.
Added a little bit of whipped cream and had at it.
This pie was so amazing. The idea that it came from something that grows in my yard makes me incredibly happy. I want to pick all the cherries and freeze some. That way I can make a homemade cherry pie for Thanksgiving dessert! I could also make turnovers and muffins and jam and who knows what else.
Even better...we have blueberries that are just about ready. We think they would be good on ice cream. We also have apple trees that have about another month before they are full of apples. The possiblities are endless.
Trevor tells me we'll plant a garden next year and then I'll have all kinds of fresh, healthy yumminess. I know I'll dream of this tonight...if I can stop dreaming about eating the rest of this cherry pie.
Warrant was right when they said..."cool drink of water, such a sweet surprise". Regardless of what they were talking about....this cherry pie ROCKS!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

8 years!

It has been 8 years since Trevor and I had our first date. So hard to believe. We went to dinner last night to celebrate. We took our obligatory anniversary picture. We have one from every year framed on our coffee table. Its a great way to see where we have been. This year is a good one I think.


We had a fabulous dinner and spent our time talking about what the last year has brought and what we expect to accomplish in the next year.
This morning was our mini triathlon. During this past week, Trevor got some pedal clips for his bike and readjusted his seat height. These two things have suddenly moved Trevor into the number one spot of bikers in our household. Last week I was basking in the fact that I was better than him...at this one thing. Now I am sad because its all gone. He's better at this too. I spent quite a bit of the ride feeling discouraged and then realized that how he does has nothing to do with how I do. We finished up the ride, finished up the run and enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment that can only come from a 90 minute workout on a Sunday morning.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pictures of Final Day in China

The day after the run - in our rickshaw.
We can't go anywhere without finding a Starbucks.
Tea Ceremony

One of the best parts of our trip was this guy - our guide Bing. A sweet, generous man. We will never forget him.