I'm still learning but...

Most of it would not be very exciting to others, I'm afraid. I'm supposed to be giving a training to a bunch of new folks from the FDA, and I'm being grilled by my handlers on just how much I know, on the chance it turns from a "training" into an "inspection". And now I know that there are a bunch of little details I'm being scolded for not being able to answer, because, well, no one ever told me. But hey, now I know?

On a more positive note: one of the girls who works for me, in a slightly inebriated state during an off-site, gave me one of the best compliments I've ever received in my life. This is a clue that perhaps it's time to stop second-guessing my managerial skills.

I am working on my sleeve tattoo, finally. Two sessions so far, probably at least two more to go. SUUUUPER pleased so far, and it helps to have the most amazing tat artist, worth every penny! It's actually making me feel more comfortable in my skin, like these bits of art had actually been missing before. Will definitely post pictures once I'm past the final adolescent itch-n-flake stage.

Oh, and the cat seems to be better after her seizure, a middle of the night sort of panic situation. We're thinking she managed to lick off some of her Frontline from a recent application, as that's the only thing that was different about her life. But in our sleep deprived freaked out state, I remember saying to Topher: This is what being a parent is like, I suppose. Powerless, wanting to trade spots to take the pain away, guilt despite trying to do the right thing, willing to throw any amount of cash at the experts to make sure everything's OK and it will never happen again. Such is the price of love; the feeling that it could still be so fragile.
me with cats


Especially on a bicycle, but true of other tire-d things turn...

I knew that you shouldn't hit your brakes in a turn, because you either have traction to brake or to grip the road, but not necessarily both at the same time.

What I didn't know before today is that this is called the "Traction Circle":

Speaking of cycling, gorgeous bike ride into work today, even found a little dirt shortcut that shaves about a mile off the usual route. Unfortunately, I will never ever get used to the headwind on the way home. Just. No.
me with cats

Well, hello again Livejournal

I have decided that I am going to start using this thing more often, because yay longform!

And I am going to try to do that by trying to post something that I've learned every day, because that's something I enjoy and I figure it would be good/mildly interesting to have a solid track record of what those things were.

Today, I learned that Richard Feynman, of awesome physics fame, had a van that he painted his rather spiffy diagrams onto the side of it.

I currently find this with good timing, because I'm scoping out what I want for my sleeve tattoo, and I have decided that it's going to be math and science based, and well this fits right in. I have the Pinterest (of course) going with all sorts of diagrams, equations, molecules, and logos that have a special place in my heart. And frankly, I'm a little scared that I'm going to forget something really important, so three years from now I'll smack my head and go DAMN I FORGOT THE SPHERICAL COW and then have no where to put it.

So bring me all your spiffy science art. Huuuuurry.

Better living through body chemistry and knowing thyself

Despite all the trauma that kicked off my year, I am happy to announce that I am now feeling beyond awesome. Seriously. As in, I haven't felt this good since I was in my 20s.

Step 1: Genesolve. The company that my husband is now working at offered me a chance to try it out since I have some background in science or something. Here's how it went: they took my blood and ran a million tests on it and I got a 5 page report back. Then, based on my ultimate goals, I was prescribed a bunch of stuff from extra vitamins to supplements to even HCG (the last of which I honestly didn't care for even if money was no object). Then three months later, more bloodwork to see how everything went, then tweaking the meds and repeat.

Now, I've always considered myself a pretty darn healthy person, what with the dropping a bunch of weight last year, lots of bike riding, knew what a deadlift was, and generally good habits. But when you find out stuff like, oh, I had so little testosterone in my body that it was unmeasurable and did you know women are supposed to have SOME testosterone, especially if you're trying to get pregnant? So one of the tools in my new kit was testosterone gel, which made most of my male friends completely jealous.

And lo, I found my sex drive. I didn't even really register that it was missing until I had this rush of hypersexualized thoughts ALL DAY (how do you guys even deal with this?) So we've been tapering the gel back as my body seems to now register how to make its own.

But, that's just one example. I'm also feeling mentally sharp and on my game ALL DAY including the mid afternoons, my moods are generally sunny and low-stress, I'm sleeping hard and wake up feeling rested, and my bloodwork numbers are trending in the right direction. I'm happy to get on a bike again, and I'm rocking it on the weightlifting (should hit my unassisted pull-up goal in about two weeks if all goes well). So, yeah, this shit works.

Step 2: One by one nutrition consulting. This seems to be a logical next-step after my Precision Nutrition Lean Eating success. It's all still habit-based, but it's extremely customized, so these guys work with stay-at-home moms to Olympic athletes. Still no meal plans, no shakes, no calorie counting, just working on one good idea at a time and seeing how it goes. I feel like I've become that person who can eat whatever they want and still look good, it's just that "whatever I want" is no longer gorging on ice cream and peanut butter cups. I no longer crave the free bagels at work, although I'll have a doughnut like once a week and really effing *enjoy* the hell out of it. My goals are no longer weight loss, but rather a 200lb deadlift. To see how many veggies I can eat in a day, and to still be able to drink the beer I brew. There's an online community that's super cool, too, and I feel like I'm not out fighting the world alone.

So, tl;dr: feeling good. I wish everyone could feel like this, I think it would make the world a better place.
me with cats

Goals and Resolutions

Me? I love resolutions. I love stupid long term goals, even if it something like "laugh at the kitties every day" or "fix my credit". I don't beat myself up if I don't make it, and Jan 1st is just convenient as a time to reset everything.

For 2013:
- Have at least 20 adventures and 20 dinner parties
Success! Originally, I was keeping track of exactly who and where we were for all of these, but they started increasing in frequency to the point where it was a blur of awesome. Our new dining room is great for having a few couples over, and we love to cook and share. Adventures ranged from small (quick weekend trip for wine tasting) to epic (a gastronomical religious experience in Spain), and I'm actually surprised we did that many given how often my husband was out of town for work. I certainly didn't lack for adventures on my own (sometimes my goal was to make him jealous that he was halfway around the world and not at home), but it's way more fun to share the experience.

- Save up all the $5 bills that I get, eventually (not this year) buy that trip into space
Kinda switched to single $1 bills, mostly to keep myself away from the vending machine at work! I now don't have that kind of issue with food anymore, so I should find another trigger to get back on this.

- Get the beer lab up and running
Heh, hard to answer this. I bought a bunch of analytical equipment and fun science toys but keep forgetting to use it all, as it takes way more planning and advance work than just "Hey, let's make beer today!" However, I did finally blow some cash on a modified cooler to be my mash tun, so I can finally graduate to all-grain brewing (instead of half-extracts). The first attempt is conditioning in bottles. Eee!

- Continue to have fun being active: crossfit, derby, cycling, and whatever else tickles my fancy
Success, despite injuries and numerous setbacks! Quitting derby (twice) was annoying, but my right leg was making every practice super painful and frustrating. Then, well, getting pregnant didn't help. I eventually found out what was going on with my knee and hip (bursitis from an old mountain bike accident plus years of muscle imbalances), got all that repaired, rediscovered rock climbing and powerlifting. Finishing my project with Precision Nutrition helped, too, as they were able to suggest alternative exercises and strategies for staying active despite all the crap. In the end, I was able to get some great photos of myself (with abs!) a mere two weeks after my surgery. So I feel like I'm done with all resolutions to "lose weight" or whatever, which is flipping rad. I highly recommend it.

- Make a baby
Meh. So frustrated right now. But not giving up yet, even though it makes the year *really* hard to plan.

- Do badass shit. Keep it real. Have fun.
Success, for sure.

Continuing with the theme that it's useless for me to set resolutions like "Drop 20 pounds", here's what's on the plate for 2014:

- Worship the awesome women in my life
- Read more amazing page-turning fiction
- Savor and be grateful
- Work with my body instead of getting angry at it
- Opt for experiences over material things
- And -- what the hell -- nail that 200lb deadlift
me with cats

2013 in review

- Commissioned a large painting
- Our lawn dinosaur became internet-famous
- Gave up roller derby (again)
- Started trying to fix my knee issues
- Landscaped the entire front yard with succulents and edibles
- Went to Utah, started thinking about a sleeve tattoo
- Began using a standing desk at work
- Bought some sassy pink roller-skates (still mostly unused)
- Drove the 14-passenger broom wagon
- Got my first MRI
- Topher's parents redecorated our bathroom awesomely
- Roger Ebert died
- Kayaked in Monterey with sea lions and otters
- Husband built me the world's sexiest single speed cross bike
- Had a miscarriage
- Visited Portland, ate very well
- Had a partial bursectomy surgery
- Saw LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Public Enemy and De La Soul
- Lost my most sparkly friend in a car accident
- Visited Toronto for a weekend to meet my team, then got stuck in the airport for 24 hours
- Went to a week long Brewing Science course at UC Davis
- Camped out with a bunch of cyclists in the California Sierras
- Finished a year long project fixing my relationship with food
- And got some photos of myself in a bikini to prove it
- Bought a motorcycle (still unused)
- Saw Deltron 3030
- Took my derby wife to meet Barenaked Ladies
- Did my first backcountry camping trip in Tahoe
- Celebrated our 2nd anniversary
- Attempted aerial yoga, almost puked
- Binged on Iberico jamon in Spain
- Saw awesome friends get married
- Grew and ate a ton of padron peppers
- Hurt my leg again, quit roller derby again
- Saw a lecture at NASA on time travel
- Got a folding bicycle and lots of flat tires
- Made my annual pilgrimage to Wisconsin
- Rode a record number of roller coasters at an empty theme park
- Started a new job at work
- Went sailing and nearly got rammed by a whale
- Obtained my Six Sigma Green Belt
- Took dad wine tasting
- Watched Richard Dawkins being interviewed
- Tried to get back into rock climbing
- Dressed up as the Avengers and handed out bacon to kids
- Hubby changed jobs and is no longer gone half the year
- Saw Radiolab live (they had huge dinosaurs on stage)
- Did my first all-grain brew
- Visited Hawaii for a few days
- Read lots and lots of books
- Dug the T-Rex's costumes got way more elaborate
- Went to Canada, ate poutine and hung out with family
- Had my second miscarriage, from what started as twins. Completely heartbroken.
me with cats

Goals and Resolutions.

Friend of Dug's!
Originally uploaded by gnat23
Me? I love resolutions. I love stupid long term goals, even if it something like "laugh at the kitties every day" or "fix my credit". I don't beat myself up if I don't make it, and Jan 1st is just convenient as a time to reset everything.

For 2012:

- Do 30-day challenges throughout the year. January's is no booze, February is a shopping diet, etc.
This lasted a little while: January I did Whole-30 Paleo and no booze, and it ended up being one of the craziest social months I've had ever. I succeeded, but it was very difficult. (Ask me about turning down body shots from fabulous drag queens.) February was my now-traditional "don't buy frivolous things" month, which was successful. By March, I realized these challenges were all about giving things up that I enjoyed, which made it no longer fun. I admit, it fizzled out.

- Figure out how to increase my energy levels (eat the rainbow? yoga? sleep cycles?)
Success, for the most part! Turns out the single most important factor is getting 9+ hours of sleep in a night. All the other ideas had benefits in other areas of my life, but getting to bed early was the clear winner. Now to figure out how to convince my brain to stick with that more often, especially when skate practice always seems to go so darn late.

- Keep my home spiffy, tidy, and welcoming enough to feel like a B&B
Somewhat success. I am still a tornado of piles of papers, but hiring a housecleaner to come in twice a month at least made things look really nice half the time. I am due a good spring cleaning to get rid of things and pare down my possessions. Clothing swap, anyone?

- Use my muses to help guide my inspirations and attitudes (Currently: Tank Girl)
Tank Girl was fun, but she's a little more crude and unbuttoned than I am always comfortable with, especially at work. For Christmas, Topher got me a style consultant, and he warned them about the hair, etc, so I'm kind of excited this coming year to really nail down my OWN look, then I can stop looking to fictional comic book characters.

- Love what I do: work, hobbies, exercise, etc. If I'm not loving it, look at doing something else.
Success! I quit my job of nine years and am loving the new one. I quit the derby league when I realized the practices were leaving me in tears and I wasn't feeling safe; instead, I'm in another beginner's bootcamp style thing which is letting me really nail down my basics and I feel way better. I am feeling much more powerful with my own desires and no longer feel the need to martyr myself.

- Continue to be good to my man, never take him for granted
Much success! We still very much work well together, he is my best friend, my punchline, my hero. My life is far more fun and inspired with him by my side, so I continue to try surprising him and being the best companion possible. Officially, we're trying to start a family, so may the next year have even more surprises!

Continuing with the theme that it's useless for me to set resolutions like "Drop 20 pounds", here's what's on the plate for 2013:

- Have at least 20 adventures and 20 dinner parties
- Save up all the $5 bills that I get, eventually (not this year) buy that trip into space
- Get the beer lab up and running
- Continue to have fun being active: crossfit, derby, cycling, and whatever else tickles my fancy
- Make a baby
- Do badass shit. Keep it real. Have fun.

2012 in review

- Wiped out on my bike, cracked my helmet
- Had to turn down body shots from drag queens
- Went to Sundance, did a ton of skiing, saw one movie
- Appeared dressed as a showgirl on a bike in a German cycling magazine
- Shook hands with Eddie Izzard
- Took the husband on a hot air balloon ride
- Gave a telegram as a valentine's gift
- Drove two hours to obtain my pour of Pliny the Younger beer
- Ate frogs legs. Didn't care for them
- Found another hummingbird nest in our yard
- Finished the new dining room extension
- I won a customer service award at work
- Learned how to spelunk inside a 2-story stainless steel tank
- My maternal grandmother passed away
- Dressed our lawn dinosaur up like an Easter Bunny
- Quit the job I had for 9 years
- Adopted a kitten. Gave away a kitten
- Drunken tandem bike ride with my team director
- Took Amtrak up to Portland and biked 700mi home in the rain
- Experienced an earthquake while sleeping in a tent
- A kids band used our dinosaur for their album cover
- Started a new job
- MCA passed away
- Learned how to keep bees, and kept some for a while
- Participated in a beer crawl scavenger hunt, ended up crashing Rogue instead
- Went to a roller derby game, became obsessed
- Met the guy who lost the iPhone4 prototype at the bar. At that bar.
- Rode my bike up some of the Death Ride mountains with fabulous ladies
- Saw Linkin Park live. No reason
- Went to X Games (spectator, not participant)
- Celebrated our first anniversary with ice cream sammiches and floating downstream
- Saw Itchy O and Extra Action Marching Band in a tiny sweaty club
- Saw Ozomatli in the redwoods
- Developed a crush on the mohawk guy in NASA
- Bought the worlds most awesome boots
- Watched meteors while drinking hot cocoa
- Saw Red Hot Chili Peppers, got within a foot of Flea
- Made really a lot of beer
- Visted my childhood home one last time before my parents moved out
- Turned 36 in the woods of Wisconsin
- Rode bikes with Dave Matthews band
- Saw Gotye live, didn't drool too much
- Caught (and ate) a huge salmon
- Became a derby girl
- Raced singlespeed cx bikes all over the place
- Drank a lot of really good whiskey
- Won the afterparty
- Dressed up like a dinosaur for Halloween
- Nearly got into a car accident with a police car
- Got a new tattoo (SSCXWC logo!)
- Twinkies went away
- Saw the Endeavour space shuttle. Nearly cried
- Dressed like a salmon and did an entire race backwards and with tequila shots
- Had a crazy ear infection that made me all dizzy for a day
- World did not end (yay!)
- Went to Canada, had a great time with the in-laws sitting in hot tubs
- Celebrated the end of the year in a gold sequin gown with hamachi grilled meats and fabulous company
me with cats

Mental birthday!

I am feeling so crazy inspired and healthy and full-of-life right now that I'm scared I'm going to become one of those people who wears a headset microphone on stage while bouncing around in front of thousands of desperate folks shouting "And YOU CAN, TOO!"

I am trying to be careful to not overdo it, not to make too many detailed schedules, not to count un-hatched chickens, because that's what I do. Maybe it isn't so bad, as that sort of behavior has gotten me here, at least. It feels like a headfull of new year's resolutions without the prior binge drinking.

My second instinct is to tell everyone how great it is, and how they should do the same things and get to where I am. Like someone who discovered inbox-0 or the ease of peeling a banana from the bottom end and now can't shut up about it.

"How did I manage to survive before this?" Is this what it feels like to be a born-again? In recovery? Crying Eureka! from a batchtub?

This is pretty cool. I don't want to scare it off. I don't want to treat it like it's not going to be here in three months, so I don't want to use the word IF. IF this sticks, I'll tell you all about it. WHEN it's stuck for good. Yes, like the motivational posters. Do or do not, there is no try. Confidence. This is the new baseline.

Let's go!
me with cats


Hi there!

Lesse, since I last chatted at ya, I've tried out for, successfully gotten into, and then quit a roller derby league.

OK, not entirely true. It's true I joined and then quit the league, but I haven't quit skating. Let's just admit that things went a little too fast (I've only been skating since, what, July?) and I was on a quick path to getting seriously hurt. I'm now hanging out with a bunch of lovely ladies just practicing on the basics before getting back into full-contact. They now know me as "Super Gnatural."

I'm doing Crossfit about three times a week and love it. I'm eating well, listening to AC/DC, cruising around in the Mini Cooper with the top down, getting on the bicycle whenever possible.

I got a tattoo of the 2011 SSCXWC logo: a dinosaur carrying a bike. It is awesome and I feel like a real world champion now!

Brewing lots of yummy beers, dreaming of traveling, kicking ass at work. I'm finally feeling like I have a ton of energy, am strong and healthy, clever and dependable.

That's the quick summary; how are you?