December 30, 2005

Looking Back

Me and Milo on Xmas eve
Originally uploaded by jenworth.

Okay, so I'm not usually one for cheezy moments of Year In Review type stuff, but sometimes I think it's useful to remind oneself of things as a way to move forward.

So here I am, a summary of the highs and lows of my 2005.

The Best:

Landing the REI Adventures gig and had a blast doing it.

Got really into road cycling and had a lot of fun.

Milo’s health stabilized and improved.

Met and/or got closer to a few great people.

Made good money working as much as I wanted in advertising.

Felt like I learned a thing or two about life.

Felt gratitude for all the good in my life, and that I’ll learn from the bad.

Got outdoors a whole lot, and went some amazing places.

The Bummers:

The demise of my marriage.

The passing of Oscar The Cat.

Didn’t do as much dog training as I’d hoped.

It’s costly to keep Milo this healthy!

Spent a lot of time and money at the dentist due to another dentist.

Still depending on adbucks instead of more meaningful work.

Had some tough choices to make.

My yoga practice suffered, and therefore, so did I.

Hope 2006 is filled with love, lust and fun for all!

xoxo's to all my friends!

December 21, 2005

Solstice Thoughts

Happy Solstice
Originally uploaded by jenworth.

Reading Yoga Journal, I came across some thoughts from Buddhist meditation teacher Sharon Salzburg. The article states: "Whatever you count bound to change. So you naturally suffer when that change happens." But as Salzburg sees it, the suffering stems not from change itself but from resistance to it. "Life is change, " she says. "Everything gets older and dies. That's true of animals and plants and humans."

Such is the cycle of life.
Happy Solstice...

December 20, 2005

Sad But True

Odd & Strange
Originally uploaded by jenworth.

It feels a little strange to post this on the internet, but here goes:

I'm getting divorced.

Yeah, that's what's occupying a lot of my life these days. As sad as it is, it's mutual and amicable. It sucks, though. You never want this, but sometimes after a lot of hard work, it's the kindest gift we can grant one another. The gift of hope, of moving forward, of greater happiness. It doesn't need to be viewed as failure. We're friends. I will always have fond feelings and love him. We're choosing to look at it as the next evolution of our relationship. But, still, it's hard and painful and it sucks.

I told my father the news recently. He said, "Well, can't you guys TRY? Don't you want to?" Uh, well, we didn't wake up one morning and decide to bail. It's not a decision made spontaneously or lightly.

So that's what's up with me. I'm grateful to the friends who have been supportive and encouraging and tolerant of my funk.

Tomorrow's the Solstice. Here's to Darkness and New Beginnings.

November 29, 2005

Milo Turned 7!

Milo's Birthday!
Originally uploaded by jenworth.

My Big Guy, Milo, had his 7th birthday yesterday. Earlier this year, I never thought he'd make it to see seven. He's in renal (kidney) failure, but seemingly holding steady these days, with a lot of help.

Milo's latest addition to his suite of meds is EPO (epogen), a red blood cell producer. You know, what the cyclists are reputedly doping with. Milo's on performance enchancing drugs! I gave him his first EPO shot this weekend. It supposed to help him with his anemia resulting from the renal failure.

Anyway, Milo had a party hat and pork chop for his birthday. At first he was walking around with the wrapped meat, refusing to give it up. Once it was unwrapped for him, he chomped it down pronto.

Happy Birthday Milo!

October 31, 2005

Goodbye, Oscar

Originally uploaded by jenworth.

I had to let my dear, sweet cat Oscar go this past weekend.

Oscar has been declining slowly. He's had thyroid problems; he went from an 18 pound beefy boy to a 10 pound kitty this past year. He's been having other issues, too. Last week, though, it became clear he was really having difficulties. Oscar's back leg went out, and he moved about dragging the leg behind him. It just didn't work. The shuffling sound of the dragging appendage made me so sad.

Somehow, I knew I had to let him go. It was his time. We made the appointment to let him go. I am forever indebted to my wonderful vet and her staff for making the room and experience perfect for saying goodbye with dignity.

When Dr. Reed examined Oscar, she found a large mass in his abdomen. She said it was most likely cancerous, and it was pressing on a nerve in his leg, rendering the leg non-functional. This confirmed that this really was the right decision.

Saying goodbye was so hard. Staring into Oscar's eyes and watching him leave his body was so sad, yet so peaceful. He was ready, he didn't struggle. He was able to leave before the suffering became worse.

As I rode to the vet's office with the kitty carrier on my lap, I remembered the day in 1992 when I went to the ASPCA in uptown Manhattan looking for cat. It was Thanksgiving weekend, and I was living in Brooklyn having just graduated from college. Oscar was friendly and sweet even though his kennel card pronounced him "not good with other cats" (so true!). I brought Oscar home on the subway in a cardboard cat carrier. And for the next 13 years, Oscar was a part of my life. His weighty, stable presence was always a comfort.

R.I.P., my dear sweet friend. May you have Rottweilers to beat up on in Kitty Heaven and endless windows filled with sunshine and warm pillows.

September 27, 2005

The Return of Spinbox

The cycling season is winding down, and I'm about to enter my "rest" month.

Ha. As if.

Exercise is my antidepressant. Without it, I can be a glum bitch. Surely, now, I'd be quite unpleasant were it not for the exercise.

Tonight was the first night in a v-e-r-y long time that I went to "Spinbox", aka spin class followed immediately by boxing class. (Stopped because of all the cycling and to give my rotator cuff injury a chance to heal.) Whoa, my upper body got a workout. I'm sore already, including in my wrecked shoulder. I have a hard time with "take it easy" when it comes to punching.

It felt good. It felt needed. No rest for this girl.

September 21, 2005

Autumnal Equinox

Today is the last day of summer. Tomorrow is the first day of fall. How time flies.

Tonight, while riding, it seemed to get dark earlier than my awareness remembers. Now that it's dark, it feels especially cold.
Fall is always bittersweet to me. The changing leaves signal death and change.

I miss real seasons. Fall colors, falling leaves.

Speaking of colors, why is it called "feeling blue" when one is feeling down? I'd much rather be feeling purple. But blue it is.

September 17, 2005

Lost...but not forgotten?

Indian Caves
Originally uploaded by jenworth.

Somehow I've lost the ability to listen to my heart and not put the needs of others before what is good and true for me.

I feel an intense introspective period coming on....

September 6, 2005

Excellent Trip

We're on Mt. Hoffman!
Originally uploaded by jenworth.

Back from a great trip to Yosemite. Lots of great hiking; finally made it out to Young Lakes. Mount Hoffman, May Lake, Cloud's Rest were also taken in. Ate many one-pot gourmet wonders. Weather was perfect. Valley was crowded. Had an amazing time.

I'm swinging back through Yosemite this coming weekend since I'm doing a century over in Mammoth.

Coming out of the woods and hearing of the destruction from Katrina caused much sadness. Unbelievable, the situation.

August 10, 2005

Ponder This

On Mount Hoffman
Originally uploaded by jenworth.

Feeling sad. Missing this place. Space. Soon.


July 15, 2005

Compost Rules!

I love composting. For real. It fascinates me and makes me happy. I keep a bucket on the back steps and dump all the veggie scraps, coffee grounds, and other stuff into the bucket. Once a week it gets dumped into the compost bin in the back yard. It's fascinating to see the pile of last weeks food waste turning, becoming soil, taking on a new purpose and giving back to the soil.

When I lived in NYC, I was one of those dorks who composted with earthworms in a black bucket. Go figure, I freaked if there was a cockroach in the apartment, but I gleefully brought in the earthworms. Composting back then allowed me to feel connected to the soil and the nature I was missing.

I'm blogging about my compost bin not because my life is that boring, but because from the compost bin, a tomato plant is growing. It's getting large, and now it's flowering! I want to see if it will produce tomatoes. If it does, they'll be some wacky heirloom varitey, which would thrill me. I'm excited to see this tomato plant grow and thrive without any help from me. This heap is teeming with earthworms, and the soil is rich, dark, and fragrant (kinda like the coffee grounds that go in!). I'll post if the thing actually produces.

July 8, 2005

No life?

Okay, so it's been nearly a month since I've blogged. I was going to blog about the non-cycling aspects of my life here.

Does not blogging = no life (off the bike, or otherwise)?


Let's see.... my REI Adventures guide gig kicks off in full this weekend. In addition to Hiking with Dogs, I'm co-leading the Women's Mountain Biking trips. (okay, so it's back to being about the bike, eh?)

The earth has shifted: my pally-o Justine got engaged. She's bored at her job, so watch out: there's serious Bridezilla Potential. Too much random obsessing and pondering can lead even the most normal chick into a Bridezillian state.

Got in a couple decent hikes lately. Got stung by a yellow jacket, with no epi pen in sight. Lived to tell.

The rest of this month is going to be action-packed (read: insane) with guiding, working at the ad-gig, a double century, and to culminate the 36th Birthday. birthdaybirthdaybirthday.

Good and Bad news: The Ad Gig will dry up next month. They finally hired someone full time. I'll wrap up the week of August 8th. I'm very much looking forward to this, but will definitely miss the cash flow this has infused into my life since February.
I had no idea the gig would run this long! As a freelancer, you never know.

What else? I'm trying, rather unsucessfully, to give up processed foods and sugar. It's alternately amusing or torture-inducing. I'm very very happy that strawberries and blueberries are in season, though.

The dogs are both doing well right now. "Well" means no worse, and no better, which is pretty darn good to me.

I miss a lot of friends, both local and in Yosemite. I've not gotten to the Valley this summer to see any of my pals. I look forward to having a bit more free time soon.

June 9, 2005

There's more than the bike...

Although you'd not know it from this blog. The Ponytail Express will hopefully contain my obsessive cycling ramblings, thereby freeing this blog up to be about things other than cycling.

Like maybe dogs.

Or hiking. Or.... other stuff.

I'm craving chocolate right now. How's that for exciting news about my life?

June 7, 2005

Team in Training's Tahoe Ride

Parting Shot
Originally uploaded by jenworth.

more soon, but here's the quick version:

It was a great ride! The scenery was, of course, beautiful. Around the lake is 72 miles, so to make it a full Century we did an out-and-back to Truckee (this was the least scenic part of the ride). Otherwise, the crystal clear Lake was on our right for the whole ride.

It was a chilly day and at some points it was quite windy. What was supposed to be a fun, fast descent from Spooner Summit was a shocker: the wind felt like it was blowing us back up the hill and sideways.

Throughout the ride, there were people on the sides of the road cheering for us, offering us peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and holding signs of encouragement.

There were TNT participants from across the country, so to distinguish individual groups from one another in a sea of identical TNT jerseys we mounted little items on our helmets. Wisconsin had cheese wedges, Florida had dolphins, North Carolina had Krispy Kreme logos, etc. Within the SF Bay Area group, each team chose different tokens. My team had small goats mounted on our helmets. Our group was made up of strong hill climbers, hence “billy goats” (and also for our Mentor named William Wang, nicknamed “Billy Goat”), but apparently this confused people from around the country. They couldn’t figure out the correlation between goats and San Francisco.

for those interested, my ride stats:

start time: 6:15am
finish: 1:45pm
total time on bike: 6:20
average speed: 15.0mph

May 22, 2005

Davis Double Century

Davis Double Century
Originally uploaded by jenworth.

Wendy talked me into doing the Davis Double Century (yep, that's 200 miles in one day). After much wavering in the early part of the week and then deciding I wasn't going to do it, Wendy talked me back into it. Once I committed, I decided that not only was I going to do the ride, but I wanted to have FUN doing it. And I did! Yesterday was a blast!

Mark and I rode up to Davis on Friday afternoon and met Wendy, Marty and their partners and chowed down on a pasta feast. We intended to hit the sack early, since we were getting up at 3:45 am (!) for a 5am start.

I rode very conservatively for the first 50 miles, chatting with Wendy. The guys were eager to hop on a paceline, but we weren't.
I picked up the pace after rest stop #2 and from there on out, spent much of the day riding alone, but regrouped with them at various points and for lunch.

The iPod Shuffle was so key for this ride. I loaded it up with rockin' tunes and stuck a headphone in one ear. It was great to be on long stretches alone, seeing no one, and rockin' out on my bike checking out awesome scenery.

It was a warm sunny day, almost ideal. It was a great day for a ride. I set my cyclometer so that I couldn't watch mileage and that really helped. I was just riding. I do know I rode 90 miles in six hours by 12 noon.

I felt stronger in the second 100 miles than I did in the first 100. After lunch, I picked up the pace even more. I probably could have conserved energy by hopping on a few pacelines, but I wanted to ride at my own pace and check out the scenery rather than keeping an eye on someone's wheel. It was fun! After the last big hill climb, named Resurrection, it was downhill for 26 miles. Nice!

We all joined up again at the Guinda rest stop and rode the last 40 miles together. At sunset, these little bugs came out and the force with which they struck felt like being hit repeatedly with sand.

We started before sunrise and finished after sunset and it was a l-o-n-g day on the bike, but a fun one. I really enjoyed the Double. I had doubted my ability to pull it off, but now I realize I'm strong enough to do about any ride out there. But I'll still save the Death Ride for next year.

May 11, 2005

I Wish.

Clouds on Cloud's Rest
Originally uploaded by jenworth.

I wish I were moving back to Yosemite this summer. I miss the place. I miss my friends there.

My lil' bro Jimmy (Aka TwinkieHead) just called; he's moving back. The call made me nostagic.

I miss being able to go backpacking every single weekend and explore new places with the promise of solitude on each hike.

May 8, 2005

Wine Country Century

Wine Country Century
Originally uploaded by jenworth.

Another fun ride! I opted to do the 200 kilometer ride (123.5 miles according to the map). After a technical descent and riding downhill at speed over cattle grates, we rode up Highway One along the ocean for several miles. So gorgeous! Made the extra mileage totally worth it.

My friend Mark and I went up the night before and slept in his van in the parking lot of the Luther Burbank Center, where the ride started. I was excited to sleep in my sleeping bag, but not thrilled with the sound of freeway traffic. Finally got to sleep though, and we didn't have to get up too stupidly early to drive up.

The ride meandered through Occidental, Geurneville, Healdsburg and Geyserville. All pretty wine country. It's amazing where road cycling has taken me.

I ate like mad on this ride. I also ate nine bugs total. Had to get my protein somehow.

May 2, 2005

Grizzly Peak Rocked!!!

Yesterday was AWESOME. It was a great day for a ride, a great ride, and just overall really fun. People told me GPC was a fun ride, nice scenery, good food, etc. Whatever. I spent much of the week in a slight state of worry. Could I do this one? All those hills over the course of a hundred miles? On Saturday, the skies clouded up and my arms and wrists started acting up in their old carpal tunnel sorts of ways. I was pretty darn close to calling it off. I packed my stuff anyway. I took an Ativan to knock me out, and I actually got sleep. I woke up Sunday morning, prepared for rain and secretly hoping for it so I could bail without guilt.

It was a beautiful day. I got dressed, ate, and went to the start in Tilden. I met Wendy and Marty and rode with them. Wendy is my drill seargent spin instructor. In her words, she's "given me grief" in past spin classes because she didn't think my legs could be moving as fast as they were with the resistance she called for. She now knows that I'm just strong. Or, as I like to say, "Finally these thighs have a purpose".

Wendy convinced me to ride next weekend as a 200k rather than the regular 100 mile century. She's also telling me I should to do the Davis Double, a 200 mile ride in one day. She's nuts. I'm nuts, because I'm actually thinking about it.

Maybe I'll do it. All I know is that I'm still buzzin' from the endorphins of yesterday's GPC. It was a darn fun ride.

April 25, 2005

An Amazing Discovery

Guess what? I am human. NOT a full-time superhuman, merely a part-time aspiring one.

I was wiped out after Saturday's ride. I don't think I ate enough. The first 20 or so miles were in rain and headwinds, and I think getting cold early on got to me. (It couldn't be that I hung with my Bad Influence Friend the day before, I'm certain of it....) I came home from the ride, ATE COOKIES and passed out by 8:30pm. You can imagine how I felt the next morning, having had cookies for dinner and not hydrating further.

I was actually thinking of bailing on the Grizzly Peak Century this weekend and going camping. I've basically spent every weekend since early February on my bike. I love cycling, but I love hiking, climbing, slacklining, gardening, and goofing off. I don't want to burn out. There's five weeks to go until the TNT century. That's five more weekends on a bike. After Grizzly Peak this weekend, I have the Wine Country Century next weekend. Duh, Jen, what were you thinkin'? But anyway, as of today, I'm not going to bail. If I get tired, I'll just do the metric century (71 miles). It still has 7100 feet of hill climbing. I need more practice on eating on the bike, and this ride is well known for its food.

The other thing: I've not been doing yoga. I'm stiff and tight and sore and cranky. I'm going to get off this silly computer right now and remedy that with some stretching.

PS: Confidential to the kick-ass cookie maker... THANK YOU!!!! they were yum! great cookies, perfect timing, and don't stop there!

April 21, 2005

Rotties on the Beach

Going to the Beach
Originally uploaded by jenworth.

My pal Adam took some photos of us on Ocean Beach at sunset. I like this one a lot.

April 18, 2005

Here's the Photo!

Primavera Century, mile 30ish
Originally uploaded by jenworth.

gawd, i've lost it. i've repeatedly posted photos on the internet of myself wearing spandex.

jeez, am i really that big of a cycling dork now?

April 17, 2005

No longer a virgin!

That's right, you read correctly. I'm no longer a virgin. That is, today I completed my first Century, and have become a de-virginized road cyclist.

Ordinarily, this would have been a moderately challenging Century. You encounter the Calaveras "Wall" at mile 20-ish. It's a stout hill, over 800+ feet of hill climbing in under a half mile. But it's short. It's early, and even though it's hard, it's practically over before you start the mental chatter about how much it sucks. We climbed over Altamont Pass. Again, not too bad. The last serious hill climb came at mile 88. Palomares road was a five mile hill climb. I do pretty okay on the hill climbs, so it wasn't too bad. It's a long freakin' hill regardless, but after 88 miles it took the wind out of a lot of sails.

Speaking of was the wind that made this ride HARD. At the top of Altamont Pass (about 1000 feet elevation) the winds kicked in. Headwinds. Headwinds from every direction. Head winds for about 45 miles. No matter which way we went, we were assaulted by headwinds. We'd make a 90 degree turn onto a new road, and whaddya know, more headwinds. There's nothing better than headwinds when you're climbing a hill. Except headwinds shoving up against you on the flats. Post ride, in the cafeteria when everyone is chowin', that's what the talk was of, these headwinds.

The winds took a lot out of me, they made me tired pushing against them mile after mile. We did some pacelining, but even then, the winds would kick my ass from the sides. By the time we rolled into lunch at mile 67, I was tired. And almost cramping up.

Speaking of cramping, Gatorade is shit. For real. I forgot my usual Cytomax, an electrolyte replacement drink. I drank Gatorade at the SAG stops. I have a feeling that's what contributed to my fatigue and muscle tightness. Gatorade is useless! At mile 88's SAG stop, Kevin gave me an electrolyte tablet to suck on. That and two packets of Hammer Gel and I got a burst of energy. That energy came in use on the Palomares climb, for sure! The descent down the back side was fun! Very wind-y (as opposed to windy!!) and I enjoyed flying down and taking corners with some speed; I'm finally developing some confidence on the descents!

Bummer Stuff: My chain dropped at mile 90, and I couldn't clip out and crashed on asphalt. On the same knee that I crashed on last weekend when my chain dropped. Time to get the derailleur re-checked. It got bent on the Cinderella ride when my bike got knocked over. And on the backside of Palomares hill, my foot cramped. I had to get off the bike, take my shoe off, and hop up and down to get the cramping to relax. It worked, though.

I wound up riding with Kevin and William, two of my TNT mentors. They were super supportive. When I was cramping, Kevin told me to slow down, take it easy, and that he'd ride at whatever pace I needed. I'm grateful for their encouragement and tips throughout the ride. They were surprised that I was doing a Century before the TNT Tahoe Century, but I think they're learning I'm a little OCD that way.

The ride was fantastically supported, SAG everywhere, and tons of food! Cyclists eat...a LOT! You kinda wonder how so many are still so thin.

So I did it! 104.5 miles today. At the end, when William and Kevin were going to coast in easy, I had my Hammer Gel sugar spike and took off on the last five miles, just wanting to get off the bike! They looked at each other, one asked what the hell I was doing, and I did the last five miles of pulling into the headwinds with them in tow. I was glad to have done some of the pulling, since I spent a lot of time drafting off William.

I'm in bed on my laptop typing this, haven't even stretched yet or showered. Just worn out and chillin' with Milo (that's a whole nother Boo-sad story for later). Voila! You've just read the account of my first Century.

Confidential to the person who PROMISED to make me cookies after I not only completed the ride, but also posted about it: I've done my part, so I'll be expecting those cookies later this week. How about Oatmeal Chocolate Chip? You know I need to restore those carbs SOON, so don't delay!

April 13, 2005

Send Good Thoughts My Way...

Team in Training Ride
Originally uploaded by jenworth.

I'll keep it brief. Send good thoughts my way, I need them.

#1: Milo's kidney problems have progressed to Renal Failure....and there's not a lot that can be done, except love him and do all that we're doing already. Send lots of doggieluv on to Milo and Luna, please!

#2: I'm riding my first century this Sunday, appropriately enough, called the Primavera (that means first! it's one of the first of the season in the Bay Area). My knee is a little tweaked from a small crash when I rode with my team last weekend (see above photo). So hopefully it'll be good for the duration.

#3: Fingers crossed that my proposed job-share works out at the ad gig. My pal Justine is gonna go meet with folks next week. If it doesn't work (i.e., if they don't think she's the bomb-diggity!), I could be out of a lucrative gig at a time when the vet bills are piling high. I suppose I could work FT, but that would mean putting the dog biz on hiatus and not working at REI. And being an unhappy crankmonster.

***and now for some good news!***

I am joining REI Adventures as an Adventure Guide. I'll be leading the Hiking With Dogs program throughout the Bay Area, doing the in-store clinics and taking people on group dayhikes with their pooches, teaching them how to enjoy their dogs, hike safely, and good trail etiquette.
I'm excited! It combines my love of two of my favorite things....and made that Wilderness First Responder cert come in handy after all.

okay, maybe this wasn't so brief......

April 5, 2005

Cinderella Classic, Mile 35

Cinderella Classic...again!
Originally uploaded by jenworth.

cause I know y'all were dyin' to see me in spandex....

April 3, 2005

Downward Dog

Originally uploaded by jenworth.

My yoga mat resides permanently on the living room floor. While I was eating dinner, Milo demonstrated his own version of Downward Dog.

After Cinderella

Originally uploaded by jenworth.

Milo and me, in my official just-rode-Cinderella photo. I look pale, tired and crappy because I've been sick and just did 66 miles.

Less Bitchy and Feelin' Better

Okay, so that last one was pretty ranteriffic.

The good news: I'm feeling better! Five days in bed and antibiotics paid off. I woke up Saturday morning feeling pretty darn good, so I decided to go for it: I rode in the Cinderella Classic. It was 65 mostly flat miles in the Livermore and San Ramon valleys. It was a nice day, although I had strong headwinds to contend with for about 20 miles. Since I rode it alone, I didn't have anyone I was riding with and no real pace I had to stick with. Since I was trying to go at recovery pace, I tried to stay under 18mph when on the flats. For the most part, I did. Until the last 15 miles when I wanted to pick up the pace. I fell in with another woman who was pulling a good pace, about 22mph and I decided to draft off her and keep pace. She was a strong rider, wish I'd gotten a chance to get her info, I'd like to ride with her again. I pulled ahead in the last mile, just wanting to get off the saddle.

My bike got knocked over at the first SAG stop. A couple lower gears got mashed and were unusable. I only felt their loss on the rollers, but I was able work around it. Dropped my bike off at REI on the way home to get fixed. My Bike Crush was able to get my bike squeezed into the schedule and hopefully it will be done as promised so that I can ride with Pat on Thursday.

It was so nice to be outdoors and moving my body again. I am pretty sunburned on my face, because my antibiotics say "avoid prolonged sun exposure". Wore lots of 'screen, but not enough, I guess. I was happy to have stayed strong and healthy through the ride, and I'm no worse the wear today. Hot tubbed last night and yoga today and I'm set right.

So, back to normal tomorrow: work, spin, box, commute, sleep, eat....lather, rinse, repeat, x 5.

March 29, 2005

Warning! Whining Rant Ahead!

WARNING! If you don't feel like listening to me whine like a pathetic little wuss, don't bother reading further. See that button in the upper right part of your screen that says "Next Blog"? Hit it now. Move along. NOW!

Y'know how in my last post I mentioned I "might" be getting sick. Strike that. I"M FUCKING SICK. and you know what? I'M FUCKING SICK OF BEING SICK. I was sick two goddamn weeks ago with the stomach flu. Now, I've got whatever lungcrud is floating around.
I've had a fever over a hundred degrees since SUNDAY.

I've tried to be "good". I've called in sick the past two days. (As a freelancer, this is COSTING ME A LOT OF FREAKIN' MONEY, THIS BEING SICK!) I've not gone to the gym, worked out, anything more than hauling my sorry ass to the bathroom. (HELLO, FRIENDS WHO THINK I HAVE AN EXERCISE OBSESSION: you might be right, and just you wait until I turn into a raging bitch without the benefit of mood enhancing endorphins that might otherwise come in the form of MEDS!) I have eschewed my normal dinners of cereal to turn the OVEN ON to make myself a real, healthy dinner. I have been hydrating like a motherfucker, taking all sorts of crap like echinacea, Wellness Formula (then why am i NOT WELL YET?)

I FEEL LIKE SHIT. It's hard to breathe. My back, ribcage, and abdomen HURT FROM COUGHING ENDLESSLY.

I am BORED. I have read every stupid magazine known to womankind. Even OPRAH. Take that, you know who!

I have my first ride of the season on SATURDAY. What the hell are the chances I will be well enough to ride? Uh-huh. And what are the chances I will ride anyway? Bingo.

AND ON TOP OF THIS BEING SICK BULLSHIT: I was eating cereal (for breakfast! not even for dinner!) yesterday, and another goddamn crown cracked. Note for those keeping track: this is the second one in a MONTH! (oh wait! like the second time in a MONTH THAT I'M SICK?! oh, yes!) This crown, like the other one, was TWO YEARS OLD and done by a seemingly skilled dentist with a swanky San Francisco office and was RECOMMENDED BY FRIENDS! side rant: how can you tell the quality of a dentist's work? sure you can get recommendations from friends, but you can't ask them to open their mouths to see their work, ask how long they've had it done, and what kind of workmanship was involved!

SO ON TOP OF BEING SICK, I SAT IN THE DENTISTS CHAIR FOR TWO ANNOYING HOURS TODAY. My new dentist is cool; he's being doing it for 30+ years, and he understands my MASSIVE FEAR, and that I don't get in the chair without valium or nitrous.
So he goes to offer me the gas, and this dental assistant, whom I've never met before today, said "Oh! You don't need that! Besides, it's not good for you anyway." I shot this woman the Look of Death. Before I could respond, Dear Dentist replied to her, "Yes, she does need it. She's one of our Special Patients". So I went through the process of getting the old crown pulled off, ground down, and prepped for an all-new crown. CAN I TELL YOU IT WAS LIKE A PARTY IN MY MOUTH? would you believe me?

So to wind down the RANT: I found some codeine cough syrup in the back of a cabinet. I took THREE TIMES the normal dose, hoping to knock myself out and get some sleep that didn't involve fits of convulsive coughing jags. Did it work? YOU'RE READING THIS, WHAT DO YOU THINK?!?!?

Fuckin'-A, man. I need to be well. Soon. Like now.

March 27, 2005

No Pictures, No Updates? Nah!

I was waiting to blog until I uploaded my Tahoe pix. Hasn't happened yet. Not even sure where the memory card is. Lazy? Nope, just too much going on.

Anyway, Tahoe was a blast! The timing of the stomach flu pushed our trip back to a time when there was SNOW! Took a long time to drive up and back, but worth it! Last Monday we had great weather and about six inches of fresh powder. It was super! My knee pads proved useful, though there wasn't ice to crash on. (Dorky, yes! However, my knee still hurts from February.) As I gain an understanding of boarding, I realize how much my relic of a board sucks. It's way stiff and too small for me. I'm coveting a Smokin' Snowboard, but I can't justify a board if I can't pro-deal it. Anyway, Tuesday was snow. SNOW, as in heavy, wet falling snow. Boardin' Buddy wanted to bail and not bother, but I persisted. We were there, let's go! Until the visibility got really crappy, we had a good half day. My usual bag of tricks didn't work with this heavy, sticky snow. I had to really gain speed or I was going down in piles of heaviness. I had one of my most informative days ever, really feeling like I got the feel for boarding. I LOVE the run called Lombard Street at Homewood. It's all these really swooshy curves, and I feel much more comfortable on Lombard than I did back in January. I also love The Glades, except for the annoying catwalk leading up to the run. The other great thing: NO INJURIES! Some minor whiplash, but when you epic in powder it's not so bad. I'd love to get up for one more trip before the season ends, but I'm guessing I won't be make it. I am starting to think about getting in on a ski house rental next year, if I still live in the Bay Area.

I'm still training for the Tahoe Century, although I don't seem to be riding with my Team in Training team so much right now. Last week's ride at Pt. Reyes got called off for rain. Yesterday I rode with some of the folks from the Berkeley Ironworks bike club. Prior to yesterday, my longest ride had been 40 miles. Yesterday, I rode 80 miles. From the Peet's Coffee in Claremont (Berkeley) to the top of Mount Diablo (elevation 3800+) and then back through Walnut Creek, Danville, Lafayette, and such. Our group dwindled down as people took BART back to Berkeley. A woman I've ridden with before, Ann, and I broke off from the group (the other two, at this point) and we made our way back to San Pablo Dam road from Lafayette and Orinda, WITHOUT A MAP and really sketchy directions on where we were going. It was kinda funny, because as tired as I was, I wanted to haul ass to get home. I bolted through the rollers, and I don't think I went under 19 MPH the whole way home. But damn, I did it! I was really nervous before the ride, since I was riding with experienced cyclists. I still consider myself a novice who happens to be very strong.

While riding up to the top of Diablo (a 12.5 mile uphill ride) I recalled to the riders my first time hiking up Diablo and seeing the cyclists riding up the hill. I thought, "What the hell are these people thinking? Are they nuts?". Marty said, "And the rest is history".
Fuck. The last 100 yards before the summit is sheer hell. A 17% grade when you least need it.

I'm not sore today, just fatigued. Might be getting sick, I seem to have a hundred degree fever. What's that all about? Wasn't I just sick like two weeks ago? I went to a three hour yoga workshop. It was great to stretch but it sapped the last of my zip.

I have the Cinderella Ride next weekend, a 65 mile ride for women only. I should take it easy this week and not spin my brains out every day. We'll see if I can pull that off.

Not much else exciting going on. It's work, dogs, and cycling still.

March 13, 2005

My Dear Doggos

Originally uploaded by jenworth.

Just wanted to share this pic of Milo chillin' by his Big Red Ball (he does have teeth, he looks like an ole' geezer in this for some reason) and Luna in the background, being the typical ball-obsessed-blur that she is.

I love these two more than I can say. They're my fuzzy kids.

So whilst I tell woes of their ill health, they still are loving life.

At least I got in a hike!

cataract trail
Originally uploaded by jenworth.

Whoa. Life's been a bit of a rollercoaster lately. The usual crazy business, which just is part of Being Jen. (A friend once told me I squeeze three days into each day.)

Things have been extra stressful lately due to the Doggos. Both Milo and Luna had ultrasounds this week. We knew Milo had kidney damage from this strange bacterial infection. Turns out Luna does, too, but she's such a stoic little girl that she's been masking it all; on paper, she's worse off than Milo. It's really sad, because this points to some environmental cause. It's hard to not over-scrutinze what the cause might be, but all I can do is move forward and love them a whole lot.

The dogs have crazy medical bills, needless to say, and now BOTH will be on this uber-expensive antibiotic FOR LIFE. This means this freelancin' I'm doing back in advertising must go on. Sad, really, because this means I can't focus on my dog training business. I squeeze in clients here and there and can't really pursue growing the business in any kkind of meaningful way when my energies go three-days-a-week-plus into ad work.

What else? Just got sideswiped by the stomach flu. Still feeling a little murky from it, but at least I am no longer uttering, "kill me now". Last night I didn't sleep with a bucket by the bed. Yeah!

Okay, now that I've done what seems to be a fair amount of bitching, I need to point out a few good things:

As much as I find advertising unrewarding and unfulfilling, I'm grateful to be able to make the money I do when I need to.

See the above photo: I went on a kick-ass hike to Cataract Falls in Marin last weekend. Nature is essential to my soul.

I'm enjoying this road biking thing more than I thought I would. Spring is in the air, and the fragrant air is something I love to take in on early morning bike rides. I'm learning more about the lay of the land, and the surrounding areas where I live than I ever did in a car.

I'm going to Tahoe next week. I bought knee pads. The knee has a very deep bone bruise from my last trip when I crashed hard on ice. Boarding is insanely painful while learning, but stupidly gratifying. Hey, Tahoe Guy: can you make sure there's some fresh powder for next week?

March 12, 2005

Why I'm a Vegetarian

Originally uploaded by jenworth.

Reason #511: A side of ribs really isn't so different than beef arse.



February 19, 2005

Team in Training

TNT Buddy Ride
Originally uploaded by jenworth.

See that photo?

It's weird for me to look at it. If you'd told me not long ago that I'd be on a road bike cycling in the rain, I would have told you were nuts. A road bike?! No way! Give me a mountain bike any day. Riding in the rain? Hiking is one thing, but skinny tires on wet pavement? Pavement, period? All of those things surprise me.

So why the hell am I doing this?

I joined Team in Training, an endurance sports training program which raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
I'm training for "The World's Most Beautiful Bike Ride", AKA the Tahoe Century. It's as the name suggests, a 100 mile bike ride around Lake Tahoe.

I haven't ridden a road bike since an accident in 1988, when I was living and riding in NYC and my skinny tire went down into a drainage grating. Un-fun. But I decided to conquer this fear and raise money for a good cause. Both of those are good reasons, but in a way, my primary reason was to honor my friend Mary who lost her husband, John, to leukemia a couple years ago. John was a wonderful man, and to see the family go through what they did was heartwrenching. Cancer can touch any person, any family, and I wanted to help, in some small way, from another family having to go through what Mary has.

So I got a road bike (Thank you, REI employee discount!) and joined Team in Training (TNT).

You'll be hearing more about this on my blog, for sure. The ride is June 5, 2005. For those of you close to me, you'll probably be hit up to sponsor me. But for now, enjoy the photo above. This was our "buddy ride" this morning; it was a 19 mile ride out along the Carquinez Strait. Some of the ride was in the rain.

If I hadn't ridden with the group, I would have blown off riding today because of the weather, but somehow riding with a bunch of people I don't know, but we constitute a team, I had the energy to do it...and enjoy it!

I'm looking forward to a good season of riding, re-learning cycling, meeting new people and raising money for a great cause.
Stay tuned for the adventures....

February 9, 2005


Originally uploaded by jenworth.

Just got back from a really great trip to Tahoe.

Except I've got whiplash and it hurts to hold my head up. (Caught a heel edge going pretty fast and did a back-flip and landed on the back of my head. OUCH!)

Two more days of boardin' fun. Four days this year, six days total on a board, ever. Feel like it's getting more comfortable, but sometimes the heel edge eludes me.

It's a lot of fun when it's good and it's ridiculously painful when it's not. I'm sportin' some new color, and it ain't ink. It's black-and-blue. I've got some pretty sexy knees right about now.

We drove the longer way to Tahoe, through Coloma down Highway 49, to Placerville, then out Highway 50 to South Lake. Drove around the lake, stopped briefly at a casino on the Nevada side.

Can I just complain how much slot machines suck now? They are too confusing, overly computerfied, and they don't even spit out your winnings in change....there's a fake "tinkle, tinkle" sound of falling change. What a rip! You get a credit to take to the cashier. It sucked. I played two bucks and it was completely ungratifying.

The weather gave us a couple inches of nice dry powder the first day. Our second day was nicer weather. Homewood is great, not too crowded and very mellow.

Oh! My biggest snowboarding accomplishment? At the end of the day, I got off the lift THREE, count 'em, three, times without crashing! That's huge, usually my getting off the lift is somewhat of a comical spectacle of uncoordination. Ride the stomp pad, baby, and it's all good.

I'm rambling. Maybe I have a head injury to go with my whiplash?

February 1, 2005

A sign...

Saw this Signage
Originally uploaded by jenworth.

When we finished our hike, we saw this sign.

Who was I to ignore the reminder?

Another week, another hike

Larkspur Hike
Originally uploaded by jenworth.

This week's photo and hike brought to you courtesy of the "Hiking in Marin" book. Found this nice 4 mile hike in Baltimore Canyon. Lots of redwoods, a small water fall, and a great view at the top. A sweet hike.

Update on life:

Ugh. The dogs. Milo seemed all better, back to his feisty self and over 100 pounds again. Unfortunately, tests show the pseudomonus bacteria still residing in his kidneys. Back on antibiotics.

Luna's not well, either. She's been incontinent here and there, low energy and not herself. Urine tests show something slightly suspicious, so she's off for blood tests tomorrow.

My lucrative soul-selling-ad-gig has dried up, and so has the resulting money. This detail leaves me an extra bit stressed about the dogs illnesses because not only are my Little Guys not well, the money to pay for all the tests, meds, etc. is just not there right now.

It'll work out. Somehow. I'm not ruling out a life of crime....

January 25, 2005

Winter in Yosemite

Skate Yosemite
Originally uploaded by jenworth.

I'm back from Yosemite. Early.

I'd never experienced winter in Yosemite. Let me tell you, it's whole different scene in the winter.

It's a given that there's snow everywhere. The roads are icy, sandy and pot-holed. It's not easy to get around. But what's odd, is that no one wants to. Everyone is kind of hunkered down, hibernating, if you will.

My plans to go boarding at Badger fell through, twice. Word had it that Badger was pretty icy, but also inertia kept folks from actually getting up in the morning and getting their asses moving. Myself included.

Over in the Curry side of things, the sun doesn't visit the valley floor. It's gray. Dark. I wasn't really aware of it until two days later when I could stand it no longer.

I had to flee. My body was stiff from not moving. I heard a storm was moving in, and I knew I didn't want to get stuck in the Valley.
So I split early. I just couldn't hang with how disconnected I felt from everything.

It was great to see folks. Ice skating in the open air rink was a real treat. I forgot how much fun ice skating is. It was nice to see Yosemite in a different season. I'll look forward to the spring when warmer, longer days bring movement again to the Valley.

January 20, 2005

In Lieu of Hiking

Marin Beach
Originally uploaded by jenworth.

Last Sunday, the hiking book went AWOL. Without a concrete plan, the hike eluded us. We found ourselves at a beach in the Marin Headlands. A gorgeous, chilly day to take in the blue skies and watch the surfers.

Ever notice how much surfing resembles snowboarding?

My crazy work schedule has, thankfully, dissolved into wide open space. With the holidays behind us, REI has slowed down. The freelance gig has dried up...for now.
I've got time, but it still doesn't seem like there's enough time in the day to accomplish all I hope to do. Oh well.

If all goes as planned, I'm heading to Yosemite this weekend, hopefully for some boardin' at Badger, a little ice skating, and some high mountain air.

January 12, 2005

Tahoe Snow

Out the Window
Originally uploaded by jenworth.

You know, this post should really be titled, "On My Knees".

That's how I spent much of my time in Tahoe.

I'm sore. Achy. Happy. Had a blast in Tahoe, but I'm learning to snowboard, so you know what that means: pain. Falling, crashing, twisting, pulling myself back up and trying again.

I'd gone boarding once before, last April at the end of the season. It was icy, and crashing on ice sucks.

I was stoked to give it another go! This time there was fresh powder. Completely different! It was like surfing on frosting, it was smooth and lush swishing back and forth. I got stuck in catwalks aplenty, hopping my board forth to get the slightest slope to give me some forward momentum. Crashing in powder was pretty fun, except for trying to dig myself back out and get upright.

The first day was a slow start, trying to remember how to do this. I couldn't tell if I was goofy or regular, and this caused some slowness. I fell with regularity. It was humbling, humiliating, and FUN!!! The snow was heavy and wet, and it was a cold and snowy day at Homewood.

The hot tub took the edge off the soreness from the first day. Hot tubbing outdoors during snowfall was a treat. It's something everyone should experience.

Second day on the slopes was fresh POWDER! Fun stuff! Even though I still fell a bunch, I had moments where it seemed completely natural to be snowboarding. And then...Crash! I got a bit better about going faster, but still need to relax into speed. I get all scaredy-cat about losing control while going fast and the resulting crash! As the day progressed, I became more comfortable with picking up speed and taking corners.

Homewood overlooks Lake Tahoe, so there were times when I'd just stare out at the Lake after crashing. The cold snow felt good on my sore ass.

I'm back home, eager to board again real soon. I'm sore as hell, in places that I'd expect and also in a couple surprise places.

The whole Tahoe trip rocked. Even the time spent on my knees. Snow was everywhere, at least six or eight feet on the sides of the road. It was gorgeous!

I Saw This.....

Originally uploaded by pallid7.

Saw this photo while roamin' on Flickr. Loved the fortune, the lighting, and just wanted to remember this...

January 1, 2005

A New Year

Happy 2005, y'all!

I went to be at 10pm last night, but heard the new year being hailed by gun shots and automatic weapons being fired in the distance. Gotta love this town, man. It's ghettoriffic at times. Woke up at an astonishingly late hour (for me) of 9am. I have a head cold, so that's my excuse. I'm being a total slug today, staying in my PJs and reading the new Yoga Journal. I miss coffee, and I've utterly blown it on the no-sugar thing.

I won't do the recap of 2004 that seems so prevalent. I am, however, the type to do resolutions for the upcoming year. Haven't done 'em yet. But I've been thinking all morning that I need something to train for, a goal, a physical challenge. Right now, I'm thinking of getting involved with Team in Training to train for a century ride this coming June. I don't even have a road bike. But I do spin my brains out on a regular basis, so cycling is sorta familiar to me. I'd like to get outside and ride, maybe if I get a road bike, this is the ticket. (I've been afraid of road bikes since I high sided in a cycling accident in NYC in 1988.)

It's been pissing rain for days. But it's snowin' in Tahoe, and this is good! Gonna go snowboarding in two weeks, and I'm really looking forward to going again.

I have nothing interesting to say, my head is full of snot. That is all.

Wishing you a healthy, safe, and happy time ahead.