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

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

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Good-Bye Fair Weather...

As this week winds down I finally have a moment to breathe and think...well, I certainly think and over analyse all the time, it has just been hard to find time to write about it lately. Running non stop is the way I prefer to live my life - from one activity to the next - keeping the calendar full of activities, tasks, meetings, etc. Is this normal? Or healthy even?

My Mom has surgery tomorrow, granted it is an out patient procedure, it is still considered a big deal. I took the day off from the 'real' job to take her to and from the hospital. To quell her fears (and perhaps my own) I keep trying to reassure her it will be fine and that it's a routine thing. But there is this 'what if' feeling somewhere deep in the recesses of my twisted mind. I try to not dare think of it. But I am hyper aware of the fact that it is there...this same feeling then makes me look at my life in constant motion. Perhaps the funeral last Friday has aided in these thoughts as well? Regardless. What if I don't have time to spend with the people I care about and then they are all of a sudden gone?

It has happened several times in my busy life that I did not spend as much time with the people I cared about as I should have, then the next thing you know - they are no longer around to spend time with. I find that especially true with my Grandmother on my Mom's side. I find myself missing her so much and wanting to ask her advice during the most pressing times - when she was around and freely offering her advice I never wanted to hear it though, or at least I pretended not to (because I am too tough for that sort of thing, you know). Kind of sad looking back on it. I do miss her greatly. Would I miss her less if I did spend more time with her? Or would that feeling be that more expansive?

These thought processes then lead me to my support system. I have so many wonderful people I can consider a part this system. How lucky am I? But what about those that I do require for support that have pulled away, undenounced to me? I have been reevaluating this exact thing lately and finding out I have way too many 'fair weather friends'.

Those same people who throw on me the label of 'best friend' then when I need them they are lost in their own selfishness. Perhaps that's too strong of a term, selfishness, but I find it an accurate description. They never call to 'just chat' or 'check up on me'. I find that I am always making those calls, checking in on them and when I do it's all I can do to get a word in edgewise while they bitch about how horrible this or that is. I give up on telling them any of my news by the end of it all. Which seems all too well as they don't even ask. It has become rather draining and sadly even more eye opening.

So, I have conceded to making the break from 'fair weather friends'. I know who I can count on, aside from my immediate family (they are a defaulted support system - whether they like it or not :). If for some reason I need a shoulder to lean on, I don't want to have to sit through a half hour tongue lashing before I can make an attempt at breaking my news be it good, bad or otherwise. After all life is too short and I want every possible minute to be full of positive people and energy.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Evil Walmart

Just one more reason to affirm that Walmart is evil! Disgusting...

My New Boyfriend

I want a new bike...I don't really need one, but I want one. Does that make me greedy? I don't think so. I love my Chekhov, but he is not light enough and his components need to be upgraded as does his crank. So rather than spending boku bucks on an upgrade I just figure it would make more financial sense to get a new bike and make Chekhov the sweetest commuter in all of Rochester. That's the plan - at least for now.

So a little while back I was devising a way to make this new purchase possible. Seeing as how I am (unfortunately) not independently wealthy, I figured I would need to set aside a good amount each month. In addition, I just paid off my car allowing for a larger amount to go into the 'buy Ari a new bike' fund. One day while aiding a friend in the purchase of a new bike (which required visiting many, many bike shops) I thought why not work at a bike shop and make this purchase even more possible? After all, I have been wanting to learn the more technical aspects of cycling/components/mechanics for quite some time now. So that's what I did. I am now a proud employee of a local bike shop a couple nights a week. I am super psyched about this moonlighting gig as well as the prospects of having the knowledge and contacts in the sport readily available to me. So, my future boyfriend might be more attainable than I previously thought...and in the interim I get to spend time with him during my shifts and once in a while take him out for a spin in our parking lot (Le sigh).

Monday, March 24, 2008

Lion Taming

* This laugh is courtesy of CB - thanks so much!

Thursday, March 20, 2008


The second and fourth ones down apply directly to me...I would totally serve these with drinks at my next party!

(soda through the nose laughter courtesy of 'List of the Day')

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Go Towards the Light

After just receiving a call from my lawyer - I am so relieved to hear the news. Due to the fact that the case is technically not closed I am not at liberty to discuss any details of the proceedings or why I actually needed the assistance of a legal advocate. All I can say is it's almost over and karma kicked some serious ass!

This ordeal has aged me about 10 years (or so I feel) even today speaking to a close friend about it I felt the life drawing out of me with each word. I actually had to make myself stop and change the subject.

In the past several years a couple of events that have had a similar life-draining effect on me. This one, however, takes the cake. But it's almost over. I feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know once I get over this tribulation it will all be a downhill sprint (for a little while at least :)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Terrible Loss

This past weekend my family suffered a great loss. Our dearest Vladika Lavr passed away in his sleep. I never know what to say about such things - therefore I would be terrible at writing eulogies - but I felt that I needed to write something about this wonderful man. I remember him from as far back as my memories will go. As children we spent hours, days, years in his presence.

For those of you who don't know, I am a child of a reverend. It's a long story, but Russian Orthodox Reverends are allowed to marry, have kids and drink (I felt this last one was especially worth mentioning - especially for those that do know me). Regardless, I spent alot of time at the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY due to my father's profession. The monastery is the coolest place on earth (or so I thought when I was young and I still find it fascinating to this day). Once upon a time the monastery had an actual working farm (they have since sold off most of the cattle, fields, horses, etc.) and as children we got to work with the monks milking the cows, or aiding the bee keeper in the apiary, or cleaning the barns (not my favourite task). It was great fun for kids, such as us, that grew up in the centre of a relatively large city. Not only that but Jordanville is literally in the middle of nowhere New York - where the livestock out-number people and a staple vehicle is green and sports a yellow deer on it. The monastery is surrounded by beautiful rolling hills, woods and farmland. Most of our visits included sleeping in the woods behind the monks quarters (which, I am certain, is where my love of camping came from).

Essentially growing up at this monastery was how we became close to Vladika Lavr. In turn when he came to Rochester he stayed at our home with his "entourage" bringing us candy and telling stories of his travels across the globe. He was like another grandfather to us. He had, in my lifetime, gone to become the head Metropolitan of the Russian Church Outside of Russia - which, to the dismay of my family, doesn't really mean alot to me. It never made me view him any differently. I always thought of him as just a wonderfully warm, sweet and kind man. Regardless of how I view the church or Russian Orthodoxy - he never treated me differently. I view my religion highly in terms of it's cultural influence and I am certain it has a great deal to do with who I am today, however I do not truly follow any one religion or see one as better than another. No matter what my views, he never looked down upon me - and that I think speaks innumerable amounts of his incredible character. This Friday my family as well as hundreds of people from across the world will travel to Jordanville to pay our respects. He will truly be missed.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Tonight is the Mike Doughty concert in the sunny metropolis of Rottenchester. I am pretty psyched about it as I missed him the last time he blew into town due to an airline infarction. I was scheduled to fly out on a Friday evening (the same night as the Doughty show) on a last minute ticket and low and behold the flight was delayed - quite typical of Rochester International Airport operations. The flight wasn't delayed an hour - it was delayed until the next morning. Ok, that would give me the evening to get back to the city to catch the last half of the show. Oh no, that would be too kind. The airline did not tell us that we were not flying out that evening until about 4 hours into our wait. So I missed the entire show. It was very dissapointing to say the least. I had been planning on going to the show for quite some time but an emergency with a friend out of state sent me on a frustrating excursion of airport squatting and concert missing. Now, however, I am going! No flights, no delays, no nothing! 'Yes I know the ways and means I are.'

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Arrival in Nome!

Lance Mackey wins the Iditarod for the second year in a row making the over 1,100 mile trek from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska in 9 days, 11 hours, 46 minutes and 48 seconds! What an amazing race it was between him and Jeff King. Good work Mackey & team!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sun on Sunday

Sunday - what an awesome day! My alarm went off at 7 am, but it was actually 8 am because of daylight savings time change. Fine with me - the sun was shining brightly through my bedroom curtains and I couldn't wait to get out into it. The sun rarely makes an appearance during Rochester winters, so a day like that is definitely one requiring taking advantage of. I had already made plans to go sledding with a friend of mine who had never gone her life...she's from Texas, so it's ok. I made coffee and had some of mom's homemade apple cake (an amazingly delicious outcome of having mom snowed in at my place). Played with the dogs in the yard, got dressed in my "snow suit", loaded up the sleds into El Fuego and waited for Julie to arrive. By the time she came over, my mom and my roommate were up. It was kind of reminiscent of growing up having so many people crowded into the small kitchen, drinking coffee, eating, chatting, all the while with the dogs underfoot. What a great way to start the morning.

Next on the agenda - sledding! Julie and I get to the top of Cobb's Hill - only the best sledding spot in all of Rochester (next to 'Suicide Hill' of course - but S.H. most certainly would not have been appropriate for a rookie run. Can you imagine the call to her folks in Texas? 'Um, hi, yes, there's been a sledding accident involving your daughter...'). The wind was howling right up the front of the hill - so blustery and cold - any exposed skin was accosted by it to the point of numbness. We simply bundled up our hoods and scarves, and looking like two overgrown kids (I am 5'9" and she is almost 6') we set off with our purple and red sleds to conquer the omnipotent hill in front of us. Julie gets in her sled. Remember she has never done this before. With a squeal she sets off - only to fall over maybe 1/4 of the way down. (Light bulb) Perhaps if you lie down on your belly and go down face first rather than sitting upright, your center of gravity will be lower to the ground thus displacing your weight evenly giving you more momentum...brilliant! Ok, so I scammed the idea from the kid next to us - I do have several science degrees, yet I have to learn the physics of proper sled mechanics from an 8-year-old. Whatever, it worked and we flew! I think we went down maybe 4-5 times before the quad burn set in. This is the burn you get in your thighs from running back up the hill - and you are running because the thought of getting down again has you so excited. Man, we are out of shape, I think to myself. Regardless, it was amazing fun!

Finally conceding to the quad burn we take our last runs and set off to get some sushi. But first we decided to hit up some bike shops. Julie is in the market for a bike and I was recruited as aide in the search (such a burden, I know :). We only actually went to one bike shop because the rest were closed on Sundays - so Wednesday we will go again - the torture, again :). I love eye candy and bike shops are full of them. Pretty, shiny, colourful eye candy. Makes a girl all weak in the knees...I do need a commuter to ride to work...hmmmm. Realising that I need to bring, Chekhov (my Trek) in for a tune-up (I messed up his derailleur - poor guy), I smiled knowing I would be forced to come back and get to drool over the all the beautiful frames. MMMM shiny, to the sushi bar.

After gorging on many a delicious roll, I ran home grabbed Chekhov, the dogs, my snowshoes and set off again. I dropped the Trek off for his tune-up, drooled some more, finally peeled myself out of the shop and took off for Mendon for a shoe with the pups. We arrive to a crowded trail, no worries, I love crowds (blah, not really). We take off down Quaker Pond Trail - the sun is so bright I start to realise that I have way too many layers on. Deciding it was too late to turn back I kept trekking all the while sweating like a Spitzer call girl in church. The hike was gorgeous, the people were chatty and friendly, the dogs were so happy (as was I). I find that in Rochester when the sun makes its semi-annual winter appearance the people become more friendly. As if their scowls are slowly thawed by the warm rays, if only temporarily, as when the permacloud returns so do their expressions of disgust. I also find that when with my dogs people find it easier to talk to me or they remember me (my dogs) from previous sightings. When alone, I am an invisible being. When with the pups I am an old familiar face - the husky girl or the girl with the beautiful Siberians, or the girl who needs to be on a sled, or....well, you get the picture. I have actually met some really cool people thanks to the dogs, so I have no complaints there.
We finish our hike, head home, eat dinner, shower and fall into a vegatative state on the couch while watching the Simpsons. All three of us (well four of us, the cat wanted in on the vegging-on-the-couch thing). What an awesome end to an awesome day!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Travel Advisory?!?!

I haven't been writing - it's true. February is over and we are well into a new month yet somehow I have not recovered from the former. Last month was (is) my all consuming month at work. It has, for the past few years taken me away from my life, my thoughts, my friends, my activities...slowly robbing me of my soul. The reprieve generally comes in where March begins. This year, however, the hectic remnants of February have spilled over without warning. I actually haven't even realised this until yesterday when I received 4 different emails asking where have I been and why have I not been blogging. Have I not been? So I go onto my site - huh - it has been a while...

So here I am, with not much to say (or write) due to the state of necrosis of my brain cells. I attribute their untimely death due to too much stress, lack of use and excessive alcohol consumption. Not to worry, however, I have done everything in my power to revive the cells that have been left behind. The power of sun, snow and cold have seemed to play a rather important role in the recovery of my cerebral efficacy.

This past weekend I dedicated to such recovery. I started out by climbing on Friday night, followed by a dinner of peanuts and pints. Do not scoff - it is a perfectly balanced meal of proteins, carbs and vitamins...and if you eat the peanut shells - fibre. Saturday we awoke to snow - lots of it! I don't recall how much in inches, I just recall having to push the screen door to the outside with great force as to push it through the drifts which have barricaded us in during the night. Not feeling like shovelling, I decided it would be a great idea to go get coffee. (I do own a french press and have an ample supply of coffee beans, grinder and soy milk - however, I was feeling decadently lazy that morning). I loaded the pups into El Fuego and off we went - I LOVE MY CAR! He rocks right through the (approximate) foot of snow, with no hesitation, barrelling down my driveway into the snowy street - which the city plows apparently have forgotten this year. Returning from our mission for a wonderfully-brewed-by-someone-other-than-me cup of coffee I get this jolt that I should shovel the driveway (Life Lesson #21: Caffeine = Motivation). So my roommate and I shovel, and shovel some more. The sense of accomplishment was intoxicating - so much so that I decided to scour the house for the next few hours all the while doing laundry. I felt like Martha Stewart meets Roger Clemens (when he was all doped up - allegedly, of course). Knowing that at 4pm, I need to get ready to head out to the slopes, I worked at warp speed. Finally at ~3pm I was done - sigh. Next step was to sharpen and wax my skis! So I set off for a while in my basement - working on the Crossmax's as if I was a pro-tuner. I had not even gotten one ski done when I get a call...there's a travel advisory - no unnecessary travel in the county. WTF? We haven't had a significant snow fall all year, I have skied maybe twice this season, we get dumped on and WE CAN'T FUCKING DRIVE TO THE MOUNTAIN?!?!?!?!?!?!? I wanted to cry.

But I did no such thing - these sorts of things are reserved for the weak. I instead opted for a hot shower and a bottle of wine. My mom came over to dog sit while I skied, now, however she was stuck with her drunk daughter. My friend, J.B., with whom I was to head up to the mountain (hill) with came over as well. Movie and alcohol that night it was. Oh well at least the house was cleaned, driveway shovelled and I did sharpen and wax the other ski - just in case.