Sunday, March 29, 2009

It is official.



August 16th, 2009 - this is where we will be. I registered us both today. Training starts for me tomorrow, Trevor is still recovering and will probably start his training in 4 weeks or so. I have all the training for the next month written on a big white dry erase board. It is a little overwhelming...and it is only the first month....I can't imagine what it will feel like when I am looking at the schedule for the month leading up to the event.

We are really excited about this and are looking forward to the challenge. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Roxanne...



She finally sat still long enough for me to take her picture. This is Roxanne...Roxie for short...aka "little grey kitty"....aka Gus' baby. Back in November, we were sitting at breakfast one day and we heard a kitten crying. We searched outside and couldn't find any sign of a cat or kitten. We heard this sound several more times and were still unable to find the source.

A few weeks later, I was coming home from a run and saw a squirrel in the street in front of our house, eating some trash. As I got closer, I realized it was a kitten. A little grey kitty. We have coyotes in our neighborhood and we sure this little kitten wouldn't survive much longer. We didn't think that little kitty would belong to someone, because who would let a kitten out to fend for herself like that? We didn't really discuss it, we kind of just knew what had to be done. We put some food out for her, but she wouldn't let us get close, so we rented a trap and caught her.

Our plan was to put her in our spare bedroom for a few days until we could get her to the vet and have her fixed. She would also get all her shots. Until then, we didn't want her to interact with Gus or Daisy. When we carried the cage into the house, Roxie hissed and cried. I kept telling her that she just hit the cat jackpot and if she let us, we would love her more than she could ever imagine.

We would go into the spare room a few times each day to visit with her. She stayed under the bed and would hiss at us. We put food, water and litter box in with her and she enjoyed them all!

We had an appt for her to go to the vet. That morning we went in to catch her and put her in the cat carrier. She was not having any of that. At one point, she actually ran up on the wall sideways. Trevor and I looked at each other and said, "I guess we'll give it a little more time"

We were then hit with a snow storm and knew we weren't going anywhere with the little grey kitty. One day, mostly by accident, Gus got into the spare room and was eating the kitten food. Immediately, we heard Roxie start to purr - from under the bed - she then came out and rubbed up against Gus. It was true love. From that point forward, whenever we were in the room, Roxie would only come out from under the bed if Gus was there. Eventually, we could pet her, if she was touching Gus. I think she though that he was petting her. We joked that she would see him and say "MAMA". After all these years, Gus had a baby.

That was 5 months ago. Roxie has been to the vet and is all fixed and up to date on her shots. She is now a full fledged part of our family. She lives upstairs with Gus and Daisy. She sleeps right up against us at night - right there with the two other cats. She does have an undesireable habit of smacking me in the face at 4 am when she wants me to pet her. We are working on that!

She still loves Gus. Where ever Gus goes, Roxie follows. If he is sitting on the counter, she wants on the counter. If he is on the bed, she is on the bed. If he is in the window, she is in the window. Its the craziest thing. Gus doesn't pay much attention to her, except when he wants to play. And man...do they play. They run from one end of the house to the other. It is music to my ears.

Daisy doesn't want anything to do with the little grey kitty. Sometimes she'll play with her, but not very often. She is alwasy telling Gus to control his baby.

The sad part is that Gus is 11, Roxie isn't even 1. Gus and I have a deal that he'll live at least until my 40th birthday - so he has 5 more years AT LEAST. I sometimes wonder why Roxie loves Gus so much...then I realize that I also love Gus that much - so I totally understand. I'd follow him everywhere too if I could.

Friday, March 27, 2009

My mind on my mold and my mold on my mind.

I don’t know what the hell is going on, but there is mold in everything I want to eat. I feel like the mold is chasing me the way the red shoes were as detailed in my February 13th post (titled "the search is over, you were with me all along"), but this time its not on my computer, it is in person.

I had made some really great muffins two weekends ago. I wrapped the ones we didn’t eat right out of the oven, which was about half of them, and put them on the counter to be eaten during the week. I had one every other day or so – then on Sunday, I opened them up and had one. I heated it in the microwave – it was kind of cloudy outside and I didn’t have any lights on. I actually thought for a minute that there was cat hair in it…and in our house, that’s really not a big deal, so I ate the whole thing. It was delicious.

Later in the day, I was getting my food ready for the week and thought I’d take a muffin for a snack, until I opened up the foil (I had turned the lights on now) and to my horror, there was mold on every muffin. Mold…cat hair…all the same, right? Yuck. I thought I would throw up – but Trevor did instead and no, he didn’t eat any of the muffins.

I forgot about this mold incident because I was kind of preoccupied with other things…like a husband with a broken leg, smashed face, stomach flu and a big pay cut at work.

So, here I am today – just about ready for lunch. Honestly, I was not too excited about my lunch today – kind of boring…ground beef, frozen broccoli and whole wheat wrap. I bought the wraps on Sunday and have been using them for gyro type wraps each day at lunch – I think I had one yesterday, but I can’t remember…I think the mold from Sunday has infiltrated my brain. I went to the fridge and got out my disappointing meat and veggies, came back to my desk and opened the bag of wraps to go put one in the toaster. I opened it up and saw this…


I said the word that I say most of the time about most things and I won’t write it here because many more people are reading these days and I don’t want to get a reputation for being R rated. So, we’ll just say Fudge instead.

What the hell do I do now? My pay cut doesn’t go into affect until May, so I guess I can afford to go buy something. Sigh. What a perfect end to a crazy week.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The best part.

I almost forgot...the best part about Saturday night...on the way to the emergency room, we were STARVING, so we needed to get something to eat. We went through the drive-in at Burgerville and were driving our car that is all decked out with Max Muscle logos - it says "stop putting off feeling good".

It can be our secret, right?

A great morning for a run.

I left the house at 5 am today for my morning run. Today’s loop was about 4.5 miles through the neighborhoods around my house. It is just me and my I-pod full of Bon Jovi, Bruce, Billy Joel and Def Leppard, because it might be 2009 to you, but I’m still living in South Jersey circa 1984. I run this loop often and usually notice the newspapers lying on the driveways. Sometimes, if the paper carrier is running late, I’ll see them – driving on the wrong side of the road with their interior light on, their back seats full of papers. This morning, about 10 minutes into my run, I noticed a house with the kitchen light on and I saw a woman sitting at her kitchen table, reading the paper. During the rest of my run I noticed three other people doing the same thing. I also saw two people walking out to their driveway to pick up their paper. They were not all 80 years old, as the “death to newspaper” people want you to think. They were probably between 40 and 60. It gave me hope – I thought, 40 – 60 year olds have another 20 – 40 years of newspaper reading ahead of them. So maybe we aren’t in as bad of shape as we all think?

I’ve worked in the newspaper business for about 13 years now. I used to deliver newspapers, way back when. There isn’t much that I look back on fondly about those days, they were an exhausting battle, but there are a few things that I always enjoyed.

The world is a different place at 4 am – quite and peaceful. In the dark of night, there is something so calming. If you have never had the opportunity to deliver a paper route, you may not understand this. If you have had the opportunity you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Watching the sunrise is something we rarely get to do. I see it often, now, in the summer because I get up so early to run. Back then, I would see it rise just about every morning and it was always spectacular. The ones in Boulder Colorado were the best.

I also always loved to see people’s lights on at 4 am. There was one route I was doing about 4 years ago – it was in the West Hills – the exclusive part of Portland. From those streets I could see the city lights and there was always one house that had their lights on. The kitchen had a big window that overlooked the city and the sink was right at the window. The woman of the house was always at the sink. I figured she or her husband had a high power/high paying job that required early mornings. There was something comforting to me about seeing her there – like I wasn’t up all alone in the night. I don’t know if she ever noticed me driving down the street, throwing my papers out the window, but one morning I was walking to deliver a few papers and someone called the cops because of a “suspicious person”…I always wondered if that was her.

Finally, I always loved how well I knew the city. Trevor has lived here his whole life and I know more streets, shortcuts and neighborhoods than he does. Sometimes we’ll be driving somewhere and I’ll take the secret squirrel way and he’ll say “I have no idea where we are right now”. I felt this way in Boulder, Bridgewater (NJ) and now here – there isn’t a better way to learn a city than to work in the circulation department at a newspaper.

I was having all these thoughts and memories on my run this morning. It is usually when I do my best thinking and honestly when I come up with most of my ideas for what I write here. There has been a lot going on in my life the past few days – the stuff at work has been weighing on my mind. This morning, it was like the Universe was giving me some signs that it will all be okay. All those people with their papers, in their houses, early in the morning – showing me that there is still meaning in what I do each day. I needed that.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Now that the dust has cleared...

The last few days have been pretty exhausting. I went to bed at 7:30 last night and slept until 4:30 this morning. I just couldn’t take anymore of anything. My emotions have been exhausted, my body is exhausted and my mind is certainly exhausted.

Trevor woke up on Monday morning with the stomach flu. I think it was his body telling him it had enough. He thinks it was the spinach and mozzarella combination in the pizza I made on Sunday night (because he got sick once like 5 years ago after he ate some meatloaf stuffed with spinach and mozzarella). All the same, he spent Monday feeling really crappy. As if a broken leg and black eyes/bruised nose wasn’t enough.

I still hauled him to the orthopedic doctor to have his leg looked at. I was a bit concerned when he threw up on Monday that maybe he had a concussion. When we were at the doctor’s I asked about that. Trevor was lying on the examination table, about ready to pass out from having the flu. I was answering all the questions and they had been looking at his leg. When we started talking about a concussion, the dr said to Trevor “did you take any blows to the head”. For the first time, Trevor lifted his head and looked directly at the dr. His two black eyes and swollen nose obvious as the sun. He didn’t say a word. Then the dr actually said, “Did that happen at the same time as your leg injury”. Trevor just put his head back down, closed his eyes and didn’t say another word. This is what he looked like:




The dr examined Trevor’s head and determined there wasn’t a concussion…it really was just the flu. Regarding his leg, the dr was more concerned about the swelling in Trevor’s knee. He said the cracked bone was not a serious issue, put him in a knee brace and said to come back in two weeks. He also told Trevor that he could put weight on his leg if it didn’t hurt.

Today, Trevor is doing much better. He is pretty much over the flu; he was walking without crutches this morning and had no pain. He’s moving a little slow, but in a few days should be feeling about normal. I expect it will take a few weeks before he can really start moving around like he wants.

Last night, before I shut down, I had the opportunity to “debrief” Trevor about his fight. This is something I like to do after any event – a party, vacation, visit to someone – really anything. I do a major debriefing every year on our anniversary and at New Year’s. It is how I process my thoughts and feelings and how I find out from Trevor what his thoughts and feelings are. I know he’s not a big fan of this, but he does it anyway and I appreciate that. This is how he looked last night - a little more alive than the last picture.



I suggested he write something down about the experience, he did not really want to do that – I’m the writer in the family I guess. So I’ll do my best to convey what he is thinking and feeling about it all.

I asked what his general thought was about the fight. He said, “I did it. It was never about winning or losing, it was about doing it”. It was about committing to a goal, building a plan, executing the plan and then doing it. “I’ve run marathons and I didn’t win them – it was never about the winning then either – it was about the doing”.
Would he have done things differently – he said sure – he would have taken it to the ground. Instead of doing that, when he knew he couldn’t take many more kicks in the leg and he couldn’t stop them, he started to really be aggressive with his punches. He knew he needed to knock his opponent down or out and he almost did that – he just got kicked one too many times.

I asked how he felt during the day of the fight. He said that he was never nervous or anxious; it was just a long day of waiting around. He said that he felt nothing but focus during the actual fight. When the ref stopped it, he knew almost exactly how long the fight had gone. He didn’t hear the crowd, he only felt centered and present. And that is how he wanted to feel.

I asked what his favorite part of the fight was. He said it was the ref and the doctor stopping the fight when they did because if it had gone longer, he could have been hurt worse. I thought that was a really interesting response.

Least favorite part? After the fight, he went down into the dressing room/staging area and they couldn’t find scissors to cut off his gloves. He did not like how long it took to get back upstairs. He knew I would be dying to see him and he wanted me to know he was okay.

Do you want to do it again? Yes. However, there are a lot of other things he wants to do too. Having a broken leg makes it tough to train for an half Ironman triathlon (which we are supposed to start training for in a week). It makes it tough to run (we are coaches for a marathon training group that starts in two weeks). Also, the training for a fight and the training for endurance events are very different and it is difficult to train properly for both at the same time. So while he wants to do it again, he probably won’t for a while.

He too has been overwhelmed with the outpouring from people. He says he has always understood that this was bigger than him – that many other people had a stake in it all. But he never worried about disappointing them or satisfying their needs or wants with the outcome.

This has always been about his quest to be the best he could be. Many times I heard people ask him why he wanted to do it. I heard people tell him that they thought it was a crazy idea and that I was crazy for letting him do it. I can tell you, in our house, there is no “letting him do it”. He does it and you either get on the train or you get off the tracks. That goes both ways. We both come home with crazy ideas – 7 years ago I came home and said that I was going to train for and complete a marathon. At that time, that dream seemed as far fetched as going to the moon. Most didn’t understand that either. Trevor said “okay” and then did whatever had to be done to give me the space to do what I needed to do. The following year, he did the marathon and really….the rest is history.

Now its kind of a challenge to see who can come up with the next crazy idea…a trip to China to run a half marathon on the Great Wall, opening a business, doing a triathlon (when I can’t even swim), opening a second location for our business, sponsoring a marathon training group, running another marathon, coaching the marathon training group, a half ironman….perhaps a full ironman.

Some times I tell Trevor that he needs to slow down because my mind is on overload and I can’t integrate some of these things as fast as he can. And so at first I’m like “there is no way”. For example, after our first triathlon last year, I had learned to swim six weeks before, he said, “I think we could do a half ironman next summer”. I told him that I didn’t want to hear another word about that until I had dealt with what we had just done. After a bit, I thought about it more, and told him that I totally wanted to do that. So here we are.

The dust is settling and we are now able to look at what we’ve done, what we’ve been through and see how it will propel us into our next adventure and all the days that will follow.

I quote the Rocky movies a lot, that’s because I find such great inspiration in them, so as cheesy and corny as it may be, this one hits me now. In Rocky III, they are on the beach after a tough training session and Adrian says to Rocky “after the smoke has cleared and they are done cheering your name, its just going to be us”. This is such a truth, because when all the excitement was over, it was just us….sitting in the ER, waiting for the x-ray results, wondering how this would affect OUR plans. So in the end – you do what you do for yourself…that may sound selfish, but it is actually the opposite. When you do the best you can for you – others are able to do that for themselves as well. And that’s what he did – the best he could do for him. That is all I could ever ask for.

Now we’ll move forward to the next challenge and we can’t wait to see what the other people in our lives chose as their next challenge. So pick something and make it happen. All you have to do is commit.

Monday, March 23, 2009

10% pay cut is 90% better than laid off...

I've known it was coming for a while and today it finally came. I got to work this morning knowing that something was going to be announced, but not sure what. We got an email that there would be staff meetings during the day - the first at 10 am. We got there early because we figured everyone would be at the first meeting. Sure enough, it was standing room only.

Our Publisher, President and Editor were at the front of the room and it was announced that we were in a crisis and what was going to be shared today was not good news. There will be layoffs of part time people, pay cuts for everyone and forced furloughs (aka days off without pay). We were told that this was what the executive team deemed necessary to get us in the black by the end of the year.

These same announcements happened at Advance Publication/Newhouse papers all over the country. In fact, we had seen a news story on CNN.com before we even went into the meeting. I guess the furloughs and pension freeze (did I mention the pension freeze? they will be freezing our pension, so what I'm vested now is what I'll get when I am retired), these were Advance wide measures. However, most other properties were doing 10 day furloughs and no pay cuts. We are doing 4 day furloughs and pay cuts. Ugh. I expect every person who works at the paper is spending some time today calculating their budgets and wondering what they can possibly cut out to make up for this loss.

We all knew it was coming, so it wasn't really a surprise and I can't tell if my insides are in a knot from this or still from this past weekend's events, but it sure hurts. I felt like I was at a funeral today and that is so incredibly sad to me.

At the same time, I feel incredibly blessed and fortunate to work for Advance - most other papers have layed off much of their staff, cut benefits, frozen 401K matches and reduced salaries. I am still employed, I still have great benefits for myself and my husband (we certainly need those right now) and I still get to say that I work for one of the best papers in the country. I just wish I was confident that I would have that long-term. But as someone I know said recently, "nothing lasts forever".

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"I did it"

Trevor had his fight last night and I have to say that I have never been more proud of anyone or anything in my entire life. I had the rare opportunity to watch someone pour themselves into something, a dream - to many people it was a crazy dream, but a dream all the same. I watched him commit to it with all his being. And last night I watched a dream accomplished.

I had not been nervous about the fight, as I said before, I hadn't really even thought about it. By the time he actually fought, I was sure I was going to need to head to the restroom and throw up. My God, I was so anxious. SO ANXIOUS. Trevor came into the ring and he looked so focused and ready. He did not appear nervous. He looked at me and we made eye contact. I shook my head as if to say - "this is it.", he shook his head back like he knew what I meant and then he blew me a kiss. I was so overwhelmed with emotion.

There were about 40 people, at least, there to see Trevor fight. His parents and brother, his niece, the people he trains with, people he used to work with, friends, friends of friends. It was nuts! The guy he was fighting looked pretty tough. The fight started and I was completely focused on Trevor's face - his eyes. I've seen fights where the guys will get so overwhelmed and you can see it in their eyes. I was watching for that look. I did not see it, during the entire fight, all I saw was focus. I was, however, so focused on his face that I didn't notice the repeated kicks to his knee and upper calf. At one point I was pretty sure his nose was broken. He was bleeding pretty badly from his face. He and his opponent were trading blows - back and forth and it was all stand up. They were taking it to each other. At one point I could tell Trevor had started to breath out his mouth, because he was bleeding so badly from his nose. I could also see in his eyes a look of almost frustration, like he knew he needed to end it and end it fast.

The ref stopped the fight 2:30 into the first round. He checked his nose and stopped the fight. I found out later that he had stopped it because Trevor couldn't put any weight on his left leg. I was sad that he had lost, but felt that he had given his all. I needed to see him, I needed to know how he felt about it - was he satisfied, was he disappointed? I had to know. It took about 20 minutes and then I saw his two corner guys and then the person sitting next to me pointed to Trevor. I got up and just about ran over to meet him - when he saw me he said "I did it", with the biggest smile I have ever seen. It makes me want to cry now, thinking about it. I will remember that moment my entire life.

I asked if his face was okay and he said yes, but his calf was so tight and I said, "From what". I have attached the video of the fight and when you see it, you will find it hard to believe that I did not notice that he was kicked in the leg. I was so intent on his eyes. I watched the video later and counted 9 kicks. Wow.

We hung around for a while and everyone we knew came over to tell Trevor how proud they were of him. People he didn't know came over and told him it was the best fight of the night. We found out after the fight that his opponent was being deployed to Iraq in two weeks. He was a great guy and very respectful, which I always believe makes a fight better.

After the fight we figured it would be a good idea to stop in at the emergency room and get the leg and nose checked out. That is a long story for another day. The end result is a possibly broken nose - the dr asked me if I thought it looked broken....ummm...??? and a cracked fibula. Trevor broke his fibula bone about three years ago in karate class. The funny thing (not haha funny, but interesting funny) is that when people asked me if I was worried about him getting hurt in this fight, I was like,"well, he already broke his leg, so I doubt he'll do that again". right. He has a soft cast up to his thigh and is on crutches. There'll be a follow up with an orthopedic surgeon tomorrow or early this week. God willing, it will be a quick healing, non-surgery requiring injury. I mean, we have a half ironman to train for. This whole experience has been amazing. I don't know what the future will bring for us, but I know that I am living my life with a partner who is not afraid to take chances and go after a dream. That makes life so much more interesting!

video

Saturday, March 21, 2009

It is time....

Mike Goldberg, the announcer at all the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championships) on pay per view and Spike TV always says this:

"Fight fans - it is the moment we've all been waiting for...the main event"

That is what tonight is....The Main Event. Trevor has his fight - we've been waiting a long time for this. I'd say we've been waiting about two years. A while back we went to our first Rumble at the Roseland fight night. It was shortly after that Trevor came home one day and said, "I want to do a fight...like an actual fight". Okay. We thought it would be the beginning of last Summer, then it looked like Fall, then it looked like Winter, now it turned into Spring and it is here.

When Trevor first brought up the idea of a fight, he weighed about 240 pounds. We figured he could get down to the 205 weight class. He is fighting tonight at 185 and this morning weighed 185.8. He is in the best shape of his life and I believe he could not be more ready for this fight.

I believe this, even though I don't know. I have never seen him fight. Its just something he does and I don't know about it. This will be the first time he's fought in public - at an actual venue. He trains many hours per week and fights during that training. I have always believed it was best that I don't know what goes on at his training. He comes home bruised and beaten. It is just something he does. We don't talk too much about it.

It all started about 5 years ago, I bought him some private lessons and he went to class one hour per week. The hour turned into two hours, turned into four hours and now he teaches some classes and trains for about 15 hours a week. I didn't know it would turn into this when I bought those lessons. Those lessons changed our lives.

The people that Trevor does karate with are the most amazing people. I cannot say enough about them - they make us want to be better people and I think we are better people for knowing them. They are kind and generous. They are the kind of people who when you are around them you feel good. They never make me feel like less. I don't feel self conscious EVER when I am with them. I can be who I am and they accept me. They have taken Trevor to an entirely different level - mentally and physically and that has been good for both of us.

This journey has affected every part of our lives. It has given us the abilty to confront things that we might not have before. We can get through more and come out stronger than before. I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

That being said, I hope Trevor kicks this guys f-ing ass tonight. More than that, I hope he walks out of the ring, satisfied with his performance. Proud of himself, with no regrets. I hope he sleeps soundly knowing he left it all in the ring. That's all I can ask - win or lose. 7 pm. Rumble at the Roseland. I keep telling Trevor this qoute from Rocky: "All your power, all your strength, all your love, everything you've got....this is your whole life here"

Because this really IS the moment we've all been waiting for.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Better enjoy the weekend...

A story appeared in the Willamette Week a few days ago. For those of you who don’t know – Willamette Week is the local weekly alternative paper that somehow always has breaking news about what is going on at The Oregonian before those of us who work at The Oregonian have it. Here’s what it said:

“The Oregonian told staff last week it would share bad news with employees on Monday, March 23. Staff expects the cost-cutting news to include some combination of measures such as pay cuts, furloughs, layoffs or reductions in hours.”

First of all…The Oregonian has not told staff that it will share bad news with us on Monday. We all saw this story, forwarded it to everyone we work with, speculated, worried, conferred. Then we asked our bosses and Human Resources what they knew. Only THEN were we told that on Monday we will be getting a letter detailing some changes. But no one knows anything. I am sure that someone knows something but isn’t telling us.

Here at The O, we are pretty attuned to what is going on in our industry. At least us “worker bees” are attuned. Most of us keep up with the many newspaper sites throughout the country and blogs/forums that discuss the goings on in cities everywhere. We are usually the first to know that there is a chance a newspaper will go bankrupt. We hear murmurs about layoffs, buyouts and downsizing. So, when we heard this news about ourselves, we started to investigate. We found out that other Newhouse papers are also expecting to get some sort of news on Monday. The rumor in Michigan is that their papers are going to publish only 3 days a week. The rumor in Portland is pay cut – across the board pay cut.

The newspaper division owned by Newhouse has a loyalty pledge. So every newspaper tells this to their employees – “any full- time, non-represented employee, who is past their probationary period and performs their job satisfactorily, will not be laid off due to economic downturn or advances in technology”. This has always been a retention tool used by the papers. This makes a job at a Newhouse paper a great job. That and many other things make this a great place to work.

There is talk that the pledge may be adandoned. That would be so sickening to me, I don’t know what I would do. Why have a pledge that you won’t lay people off during economic hardship, only to change your mind once you are in the midst of economic hardship. Why even bother with the pledge in the first place?

I was thinking about all this last night and I started to get very angry. The whole situation with newspapers make me angry – because we are no better than the banks and the car manufacturers. We’ve been running the same stupid program for years, turning a blind eye to things that aren’t right, padding our pockets, doing what is best for us – while trying to pretend we give a shit about our customers. Now, all of a sudden, we are in trouble and the best ideas we have are to offer buy outs, pay cuts, consolidations.

I wonder if there is a group somewhere trying to figure a way out of this – or if they just keep hoping we “cycle” out of it – which we won’t, or things just get better – and they aren’t. Or is there just a group deciding where to make cuts – what expenses to reduce?

Advance Publications (Newhouse newspapers) has a handful of papers across the country and we have NO contact with each other – no sharing of ideas, successes, challenges. Advance Internet (the online portion of Newhouse) has websites across the country affiliated with these papers. At every property, the relationship with the online affiliate is dysfunctional – or as I heard someone at the NJ Star Ledger say – “it would have to improve greatly to be considered dysfunctional”. It has been this way for years. We sit and shake our heads at all the missed opportunities because of this f-ed up relationship. Is there any discussion going on at higher levels to FIX this?

I feel like our owners have given up on us, like they are just chipping away until there is nothing left to chip at. I know that my pay has gone down over 25% in the last year and now there are rumors it will go down at least another 10%. How much has THEIR pay gone down? I have had to cut out a bunch of expenses, what have THEY had to cut out? I am at the point where I don’t have much more I can cut. I still subscribe to the newspaper. I LOVE the newspaper – getting it out of the tube and spreading it out on the table every morning while I drink my coffee is one of the highlights of my day. I haven’t given up on them. Why are they giving up on us?

I don’t want to go to a meeting next week to be told what they cutting. I want to go to a meeting next week to be told what they are doing to help us grow. Maybe I’m living in a dream world. Seems like there is a lot of that going on these days.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What a way to spend a Sunday morning!

Sunday is my only day off. I work 5 days a week at my full time job. Then I work the store on Saturdays while Trevor is at karate. About a month ago we changed our schedule so that Trevor and I would both have off on Sunday. The idea was to have a day of rest. Well, its been 4 weeks and I don't remember having a day of rest yet. The prospects for the future don't look very good either. Starting on April 5th, we'll be busy every Sunday morning coaching a marathon training group - that goes until October.

Today, we got out of bed at 6:30 - when you consider that I get up at 4:30 am during the week, this is actually sleeping in really late. We left the house at 7:30 to head downtown for the Shamrock run - we signed up for the 15K. When we left the house it was POURING rain. The clouds looked pretty scary, there didn't seem to be any hope of clearing.

We got downtown and headed to the start line. Our timing was pretty good, there wasn't too much standing around before the start. We got going and it was still pouring rain, in addition to that, the wind was blowing like crazy. Between the 5K walk, the 5K run, the 8K run and the 15K run I believe there were 19,000 people participating. We would go around a corner and I could see a ways ahead of me and was overwhelmed by the huge crowd of people running - in the driving rain and gale force winds. Only in Portland, is what I was thinking. 40 degrees, wind, rain and 19,000 people go for a run.

In addition to the weather being insane, the course was just about all uphill, into the wind! Trevor and I have been running every Sunday on a trail downtown and its all uphill - so we were prepared for this run. Around mile 8, my knee started to bother me, but I figured it would be okay, because 15k is only 9 miles, so I was almost done - until I got to the mile 9 marker and it wasn't the finish line....ummm....5k is 3.1 miles....10K is 6.2 miles....DAMNIT that means 15k is 9.3 miles, .3 miles to go!!! I slowed my pace a bit and tried to get on the flatest part of the road, that eased up a bit of the pulling in my knee and I crossed the finish line at 1:31. Yay.

Trevor was waiting for me at the finish - he had run it in something like 1:12. I'm not sure what happened to the fat man I married, but this guy I'm with now is really something - thin, lean and fast as all get out. We hustled back to the car because it was still raining and even colder because we were soaking wet.

We had a yummy breakfast and headed for home. The perfect way to spend a Sunday morning....right?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Who doesn't love peanuts?

For those of you who have been paying attention - there is a huge peanut recall happening right now. As of today, on the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)'s website, there are 3486 entries on the list of recalled products. This should make every person who eats food very, very concerned. VERY CONCERNED.

Every day I get a breaking news alert that more products have been added to the list. These contaminated peanuts have been put in products produced dating back to 2007 and it is criminal. I believe 9 people have died and over 600 people have been reported sick. This doesn't include all the people who got sick before the recall - over the last two years - and didn't realize it was from the peanut products they were consuming.

The thing that scares me the most is this: Whole Foods recalled the peanuts in their self grind peanut butter. If you asked me where the safest, healthiest food was sold, Whole Foods would be on the top of the list. To give you perspective - the self grind peanut butter was also recalled at Winco - the discount wholesale grocery store in town. I have always considered these types of stores to have lower quality food - now I find out that they have basically the same products.

This is the value statement on the Whole Foods website:
"We have high standards and our goal is to sell the highest quality products we possibly can. We define quality by evaluating the ingredients, freshness, safety, taste, nutritive value and appearance of all of the products we carry. We are buying agents for our customers and not the selling agents for the manufacturers." Really? Then why were there peanuts from the cheapest, lowest quality source being sold at your stores?

A few years ago there was a problem with our pet food - those of you who have pets remember the recall. That should have served as a huge red flag that our food supply was in danger. Then it was our pets, now it is ourselves who are in danger.

Companies like the Peanut Corporation of America should have to adher to standards and regulations - not just suggestions. The decision makers at that company, who reportedly knew there was a problem, should go to jail forever. They have now declared bankruptcy and here is what the FDA website says about them:
"On February 20, PCA issued a statement indicating it had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and that it was no longer able to communicate with customers regarding recalled products. As a result, FDA and officials from the State of Texas DSHS are now coordinating their efforts to notify companies that received product from PCA’s Plainview, TX facility from January 1, 2007 forward. "

At our store we carry many protein bars - many of them are included in the recall. So, we send those back to our supplier, who will send them to their supplier, who would like to send them back to the Peanut Corporation - but the Peanut Corporation is out of business. They took their money and ran and their CEO invoked his 5th amendment right to not incriminate himself. This makes me want to get on a plane and go beat the shit out of him.

It seems to me that right now no one is watching the store. And by "the store", I mean the safety of our food supply, the state of our financial markets, the banks. Everything that we have always believed to be safe, fair and honest is the opposite. No one is watching out for us. Everyone is watching out only for themselves.

This should make you concerned. Take more interest and responsiblity for yourself. Know what you are putting your body and where it came from. Ask questions. Know who has your money and what they are doing with it. Know why. Ask why. I watched a show on Oprah about medical mistakes and the lesson was this - stop thinking that someone else will take care of you. Question authority. Know yourself. Hold others accountable and expect honesty and integrity. When you don't get it - go somewhere else. Reward it when you find it. I heard this during election time and it has never been more true "We are the ones we have been waiting for". Isn't it time we stop waiting for someone to take care of things and start taking care of them ourselves?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A facebook birthday.

My 35th birthday was on Thursday. Hard to believe, I was just in high school (some days I feel like I still am). My birthdays are pretty typical, not too much excitement surrounds them anymore and honestly, that is fine with me. My mom, my friend Mary and my brother in law all call and sing Happy Birthday. I look forward to that every year. Trevor always gives me my present early because he can't have the gift and not give the gift. I love that about him. My phone will ring a few times from my brother, my parents and both my brother in laws. I'll get cards from my parents, my brother, my Grammie and a few friends. But all in all, its a pretty normal day.

A few months ago, I found facebook. You may be familiar with it - it is a social networking site that is changing the world. I also believe it is changing the way our brains work.

On Facebook, you make "friends". These friends tend to come from every part of your life - people whom you have forgotten about are suddenly a part of your daily life - telling you what they are doing at any given time, posting pictures of themselves, their children and their pets. Messages come to you about things you have long since purged from you conscious memory.

I have found facebook to be life altering. I have not been very good with keeping in touch with anyone from any part of my life. I have a hard enough time connecting with the people I see every day. I have spent a lot of time remembering things and people from my past and have felt sad that those times are gone - knowing those memories would also be lost.

Facebook has a feature where it tells you who's birthday is coming up in a few days and who's birthday is today. On my birthday, I got over 35 Happy Birthday messages from all kinds of people. Friends from the 4th grade, 8th grade, high school, college, the job after college, New Jersey, Colorado, Texas, Oregon, all sent birthday wishes. With every one came a memory of a day in the past, spent with these people who have shaped who I am. People who know me for different reasons, yet all know the same person - the one that deep down inside never changes. There is something so amazing and comforting about this. To have my best friend from the 4th grade - whom I grew apart from in high school and didn't even talk to at the 10 year reunion, send me a birthday wish, was just about too much to handle. That was followed by a friend who was there when I celebrated my 21st birthday, a friend who's birthday is a day after mine (we used to write the countdown on the chalk board in school), a friend I've known since kindergarten, but never truly known until now. The list goes on and on. I could pull up every message and tell you a story about that person, what they meant to me and what part of my life they fall into.

When I said facebook changes the way our minds work, I was referring to the memory portion of our brain where we store all the things we don't need anymore. It is crazy to know that all those memories are in there and we can tap into them with the right stimuli. To think that all these thoughts would have spent the rest of my days stagnant and unused is sad. That fact that they are now being brought back to life is a gift. It makes me feel so much more connected to my world and my life than ever before. To know that all who have passed through my life are not lost is a very grounding feeling.

I lived with the same people all 4 years in college. They were my best friends and my family. They were there with me for many of the most important milestones in my life. I moved away and lost touch with all of them. I have thought of each of these people on a very regular basis over the years and have never tracked them down. Facebook has allowed me to get back in contact with these friends. Next week, I will be in Denver and my husband and I will meet three of them for coffee. I know I will cry when I see them because I honestly expected I would never see them again and that has always made me incredibly sad. I cannot wait to sit and laugh with them, the way I know I will. My brain will release memories long forgotten and my heart will again beat with the joy of youth - the excitement of new adventures. I cannot wait to see Tom, Shellie and Matt. I know that this is the first of many such meetings, that I will get this same opportunity with people from other parts of my life.

This 35th birthday was the best birthday ever because I got to relive every great memory from birthdays past. What a blessing.

Baby you're much to fast....



Meet my little red corvette. Trevor and I have decided that our adventure for this summer with be the 1/2 Ironman 70.3 at Lake Stevens, WA on August 16th. Once we decided this, we knew that our mountain bikes would not be sufficient for this event. They did a great job for us on the sprint distance triathlons, but the idea of spending 4 hours on a bike gives us a reason to invest in a more smooth ride. And with my little red corvette the ride is so smooth it must be a limosine (that's from a Prince song from the 80's for those of you who don't get it).

What a difference a road bike makes, versus a mountain bike. Just riding it around the block on the test drive was shocking to me. It made me feel so professional!

Our official training for this event will begin at the end of March. From that point on, everything will revolve around our training. There will be a lot of swimming, bike riding and running. We will also be starting a marathon training program at the beginning of April. We originally wanted to be sponsors of the Vancouver Fit marathon training, somehow that turned into both of us being coaches for the program and thinking we actually want to do the marathon in October.

Those of you who have known me a while probably recall these words coming from my mouth many, many times "I never want to do another marathon". Well, as they say, 'never say never', because sometimes the crazy bug can bite you more than once.

I figure if I can fly 11 hours to China, poop in a hole in the ground for a week and sit on a bus for 4 hours before a 13.1 mile run on the Great Wall, 26.2 miles in Portland should be a piece of cake. Funny how things can change your perspective.

So that is our excitement for the week - new bikes and a decision to run a marathon. I wonder what next week has in store for us!!