Trials,Tribulations, Travels, Tastings...and Occassional Transcendence

Trials,Tribulations, Travels, Tastings...and Occassional Transcendence
Sock on the Great Wall

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks

Things I am thankful for in pictures...
My doggies (and cat not pictured).
My friends (two of the best pictured here).
My amazing partner (he has to be amazing - he likes Sonia.)
The amusement factors of my animals.
Nature's beauty.
The sky and lake.
I have so many more things to be thankful for, but unfortunately I could not find good pictures to acurately represent these things. But I am very thankful for my family, friends, health, a job, abilities to enjoy the things I much I can't list it all here. Anyway, I am off to New Paltz for dinner tomorrow then it's off to the Catskills for some backcountry fun. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Where am I?

I found out about this new-to-me park the other day at a seminar. Friday morning I was heading to one of my job sites in the vicinity of this new-to-me park, last minute I decided to get a quick early morning hike in prior to starting the day's grind. Not only was this park so beautiful, but it had sweet new trails for Boris and I to explore. Of course, it is now Sunday and I have yet to ride the trails. Eh, can't have it all.
There is a boardwalk that winds through an expanse of wetlands then meanders across the Genessee River eventually spilling out on the other side then finally ending up at the Lake. I didn't go all the way to the Lake Friday morning - it was just too far and I didn't have the time.
The rising sun cast some long shadows, so I decided to have fun with them...oh there are more ridiculous pictures. I, however, must retain some shred of dignity and choose not to post them.
Most of the leaves in Rochester have all but been windswept off the trees. In the wind protected valley along the banks of the river, the trees have held on to their vibrant autumn colours.
I love exploring new places in this city that make me feel like I am not in Rochester at all. I went to work a little later than I had hoped to but with far more energy and motivation than I had started out with that morning. Not a bad way to start a work day.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Stick?

Look Rottenchester made CNN and it wasn't because of a serial killer, the poor air quality or an industrial toxic spill. Today I am a proud denizen of this fine, fine city.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


"At 109, Slave's Daughter Revels In Historic Vote" - This is the headline from an npr article you can find here. A 109 year old woman has seen and lived through it all in her lifetime. She never thought she would live to see the day a black man was elected as president of the most powerful country in the world.

"Jones is the living link between the time when black men were owned as property and the time when a black man has been elected president of the United States."

I can honestly say I am excited for the future of this country.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Lake vs. The Monsters

I had this strange, pulling desire to ride my commuter to the lake last night. I left the rock gym around 9:00pm and started for home. The air felt so cold against the exposed skin on my face but I was bundled in my down jacket and with the exertion of me pedaling Hank, I was toasty and as content as I have been in quite some time. Each breath made my lungs sear but the 'pain' was a beautiful reminder that winter is on it's way and the contrast of my cold breath to the warmth of my core was incredibly vitalising.

As I pedaled I thought about everything and nothing all at the same time. The feeling of peaceful calm was a welcome change to the anxiety I have been experiencing on pretty much a daily basis. I didn't want this new feeling to go away and riding to the lake would have prolonged it by another hour or two.

When I was a child, then into my adult years, I used to go to the lake quite a bit to escape reality, to kayak, to swim or just to sit and meditate. For whatever reason, the waters calmed me, brought me clarity, refreshed my haggard mind. Lately I have felt the strong need for it. Usually I get out there at least once a week with the dogs, but this week has been busier and with the days getting shorter the motivation follows suit. But last night I could have gone and sat for hours escaping the ground clutter of the city to catch a closer glimpse of the stars in the sky. I craved it and wanted it...but I didn't do it. I felt guilty. The poor dogs are home alone most of the day and then most of the evening while I was climbing plastic rocks. I just couldn't bring myself to leave them for another two hours.

So there it was my desire for the water dashed out by my responsibility to my four-legged friends. It's ok, the ride from the gym was a brief reprieve from the daily grind that goes on in my head and the act of comedies that ensued when I got home was enough to make me feel like I made the right decision. After all at the lake I wouldn't have had excited, furry monsters showering me with affection and warm, stinky kisses.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Better Late Than Never

Happy birthday to me...but wait, my birthday was in August. Yes, indeed, it was. However my birthday present was finally completed and presented to me two days ago. Better late than never, right? Due to my constant bitching about wrecking my road bike commuting to work, seeing as how Rochester roads have craters instead of potholes, Trevor decided to build me a commuter for my birthday (or just to stop my complaining). As little time as he has now that he is back in school and working, pretty much any free time he does have is spent in the studio (or with me) and not on something trivial as building bicycles. I joked in late August that it would become my birthday/Christmas was closer to Halloween. So here it is...

Isn't it great?!?!?! I love it! The other night I had to take it on its inaugural run to the rock gym in the most inclement cold rain storm. It was such a smooth ride! Here are some of what this awesome ride boasts: Armadillo tires for flat protection (I was getting way too many flats on my road bike - not fun in sketchy parts of town.), single speed drive, rear break, fenders to protect my posterior from getting drenched with road spray (not cool to go to work with a rooster tail), riser bars - for comfort of course but the best part are the wheels. T$ built those bad boys up himself. If you look closely you will see the spoke patterns are different on each one. I love it! Oh and the frame was an old scrap frame from the shop that he stripped and refinished. This is the best birthday present ever! Now I only to need to name it :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Beautiful Morning Light

This was the view from my office window this morning when I first arrived to work. The quality isn't fantastic as the photo was taken by my crap-ass 1.3 MP cell phone camera, however it does convey the stunning sky I had the pleasure of staring at all morning. The weather was quite cold, most likely near freezing, with a crisp winter-is-on-its-way breeze. The sun was just beginning to come up over the eastern side of the Lake when I drove in and from the top floor of my building you could see the full brilliance of its rays. Mornings like this make the fact that it is Monday alright by me!After last nights ride paired with the view this morning I feel amazing well as ravenous. (Thank goodness our secretary has stocked her candy dish).

T$ and I went out for a ride after the sun had set yesterday in Tryon Park. Out of all the mountain bike parks I have ridden this summer, for some reason Tryon is my least favourite. I call it a 'humbling park'. I think the fact that the park is super technical as well as the fact that the trails are completely wild and some as narrow as a balance beams with sheer drops on one side have something to do with my hang up with it. But each time I go there, I feel more confident. Each time I find myself going faster over/down/up/on more and more difficult parts of the park.

The fact that I am trying to catch T$ is motivation to boot...especially at night, where you don't want to be left alone at any cost - it's just creepy in there. Creep factor or not, I was planning on going alone but T$ decided to forgo his work last evening and join me for a ride. I am so glad he did. Not only do I love having him accompany me on rides (or pretty much anything I'm venturing out to do) I think I would have totally freaked myself out in there last night. I was riding pretty well, so that wasn't the issue. The issue I had was with a giant buck that lives in the park. For some reason (oh, probably because it's white tail rut season) he didn't want us around last night. We saw him one other time during a night ride in the summer. Big, beautiful, six-point buck. He is definitely a majestic creature which I respect and would never want to disturb. However, we do ride through his turf (which he had marked with his scent - my god it smelled especially terrible last night) so disturbing him is inevitable. The last time, during our summer night ride, when we disrupted him he just ran off. Last night he was not as kind...after us barrelling through the first trip down, he ran up to a ridge maybe 50 feet above us and observed us going by. No big deal, we rode by and admired him. On the way back we had to go through the same area prior to ascending this huge, steep climb. This time he didn't stand back and observe - he decided to make a point of us knowing we were on his territory. So here we are trying to climb up this steep slope - well, let me rephrase - T$ was almost at the top while I was granny gearing it up this steep, sandy, rooty, lung-burning slope when I turned my headlamp in the buck's direction only to see him coming back towards me. He wasn't rushing me, mind you, but he was definitely letting me know he wasn't messing around. I got freaked out and subsequently fell off my bicycle. Then, grabbed my bike, and cyclo cross style ran it up the hill as fast as I could while T$ laughed his ass off. Nice - I could have been gored and he thought it was hysterical. In all reality it was quite funny and I did laugh about it after the fact, but I assure you I won't be riding through that section of trails alone EVER! That animal had fangs and an I-will-kill-you-if-you-come-into-my-turf-again gleam in its eye!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Soberland - Population 1

It has been 4 ½ months since I quit drinking. That has to be the longest time frame since I was 15 that I have not had any alcohol in my system. Crazy to think about it that way…that’s more than half of my adult life…so crazy. I remember quitting for a period of time when I moved back from Buffalo – I think it might have been measured in weeks and at that point in my life I found it to be quite the achievement. Now, while I feel proud of this, I must admit it has been one of the most difficult things I have ever done. That in itself is such a strange realisation, however true on so many different levels.

I have found that most people don’t care whether or not I am drinking, be it at social gatherings or at a bar. Those are the people that I love to have around me! Truthfully, how I would be viewed by my peers was a primary fear when I decided to stop. ‘What would people think of me?’ Not that I have ever been one to really care about what others thought about me, however, it is still a very real insecurity to think that you are a different person sober rather than drunk. The more horrific fear is that your friends prefer the drunk you versus the sober you…because the sober you is lame, less fun, more reserved, etc. I never want to feel ‘less fun’ and honestly I don’t think I am but the fear is there none the less. I think if anyone did find me less fun to be around then to hell with them…unless of course one of these people is one of the select few whose input is actually taken into my own personal account. Well, in that case, then the reaction is wounding. I know everyone is entitled to their opinion, however, on occasion the repercussions of ones words should be considered prior to the verbal discourse. Eh, can’t win ‘em all. So like a true Ice Princess I shake it off and keep going. Some days are definitely easier than others.

The most pertinent thing I have found is that I have no escape from my thoughts. Or rather I have to alter my ‘medication’, if you will. I used to cope with, well, pretty much everything with some ice cold Goose. Now however I find it more therapeutic to beat myself up on some sweet trails or go for a long run (knees permitting, of course). There are days when even those remedies don’t work. So what do I do then, you ask? Well, in all honesty, I haven’t figured that one out yet. Those days are the hardest to deal with. Still after all this time, which in the bigger scheme of things is not all that long a duration, I do feel better overall. Aside from my being tired due to a lack of sleep, I feel great each day - clearer. Kind of like that Claritin commercial where the lady is in foggy haze during her allergy attacks but when she takes Claritin her world becomes vibrantly clear and full of color. Yes, that’s right, I feel as if my life is vibrantly clear – even if this recent clarity shows all the ‘dirt’ in my life that requires cleaning. So now I must learn to become a better house keeper…

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fall Hike

Durand Lake. Another perfect autumn day in Rottenchester. Days like today make me actually like living here. Ok, that's not fair. I do like living here... more than I would like to admit.
Sonia trying to get the ducks to play with her. The poor birds were not as excited about her presence.
Sergei doing what he does best - day dreaming...or perhaps formulating the cures for society's ills.
For some reason the swans didn't consider these two as playmates.
Princess Sonia.
The view I see the most often on our hikes.

We were jogging when I decided to take this...I thought it looked cool.

More day dreaming.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


After the way the morning started, I felt it was necessary for me to get some therapeutic physical exertion. For me clarity is sometimes found during the times where my brain has to shut down in order to focus on, well, me not flying into a tree at high velocity. Today was the perfect upstate New York autumn day. The trails were covered with leaves making it hard to find the right line as well as making for a slippery, fast ride. You didn't hear me or Boris complain about it! A little candy always makes a girl feel better! This trail reminds me of an awesome ski run. That thought alone was enough to draw me out of my funk.
Clif Shot Blok break at the top of the trail head. The clouds looked like dark versions of the "Simpson's" clouds.
The end result is that I still don't know what the hell I am doing, nor did I find the start of the thread I was searching for this morning....regardless, the chatter in my mind has been quelled (for now) and sometimes that's all that is required.

Cognitive Cluster F*@k

I woke up this morning feeling frustrated. I couldn't figure it out and still three cups of coffee and a huge breakfast later, I don't think I am any closer to the answer. I do know that I feel lost. Perhaps this is where my frustration lies. I want to know where I am going, what I am doing, what path I am supposed to be on...don't we all? For some people these sorts of normal patterns emerge naturally as their life progresses. The answers seem to just fall into place. For me it has always been a struggle. The struggle to figure it all out - should I not have it all figured out by now? Why have I not? What is the next step to figuring it out? Can I take that step even? Aaarrgghhh.

I think my frustration is more with the fact that I don't even know where to begin. Where that first piece of thread is to begin the unravelling process. The fact is - that proverbial thread is so tightly knit inside me, in my current state of mind there is no possible way I will find the start of it. This drives me crazy.

To add to my frustration, I grow increasingly impatient with myself. I have no time to sit around and wait for it all to happen. Whatever 'it' may be. I need to be proactive. In order for one to be proactive one must have some sort of goal to strive for, a reason for action. I don't even know what these goals are in order to determine what action I must take. Today is the day I need to figure it all out. I must. (OMG I need to get out and ride.)

Perhaps I need to plan a vacation - out of here! That always seems to put things into perspective. I have taken plenty of weekend trips lately but I think I am due for an extended adventure. Sometimes it all seems to become clearer when you take a step (or thousands of steps) back. This feeling today is stifling. Most days I can choke it down with the daily mundane grind. Not even the mindless act of cleaning the clutter of out my garage with my ipod blaring in my head will muffle this constant nagging in my brain.

So I need to focus on vacation plans, even if they are not going to transpire any time soon (due to my lack of vacation time). Where should I go? I need to get my mindset diverted to somewhere mountainous and snowy...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sweet Dreams

In my previous entry I really didn't express just how amazing the mountain bike trails in Ithaca fact I woke up this morning (oh at around 5ish) thinking about them. Yes, it's about time I get out on my bike, but the incessant rain and dropping temps has all but killed my will to (live) ride. The motivation to get into spandex and bomb down trails decreases significantly with the lack of sun and increase in precipitation. So a mental game with myself must be played...perhaps tonight? We shall see how my motivation holds up after working outside in the cold, autumn rain.

Anyway my recent memories of Shindagin Hollow have woken me up with a smile today, so I figured I would share that briefly glimpse of happiness to all those who will appreciate it.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Manic Living

Where have I been? What have I been doing? Does anyone really care? Well, if they do or don't, I feel the need to write something down...although it seems that so much has happened in the past several weeks I don't know where to begin, or even recall it all at this point as each event has been displaced in my memory banks by another quickly occurring one.
So anyway, with pictures I will purge the last two weeks (or more?) of my life. But just in case the pictures don't depict all of the events I will briefly summarise: I have been working outside each day for approximately 10 hours a day, I have ridden my mountain bike several times on some sweet new trails in Ithaca (Shindagin Hollow - amazing trails!) and smoked some regular trails in Dryer, I have donated my hair to Locks of Love, I have gotten a speeding ticket (the blinking of the eye lashes didn't work this time - so instead I gave him one of my girl friend's phone numbers - not that I owe him any favours, the f%*#&er still gave me a ticket!, I went to a wedding - my first Indian/fusion ceremony, I ran (maybe once or twice), T$ and I found the most amazing B&B just outside of Ithaca whose inn keeper spoke Russian (and made some amazing blintzes), I got to hang out with two of my bestest friends, I was reunited temporarily with Sock :), I got to meet Matt and Brett, I went to Ithaca, Seneca Lake, Cape Vincent and Kingston, Ontario, I finished a book and began another...
Ok, so that's just some of my mundane life, I really can't recall any more, although I am most certain I left out quite a bit still. So above are some pics from the past several weeks for the ocular senses.