Category Archives: Adventure

Beef Malbec, Biking, and Birdie

This weekend is about planning out projects for Karmoxie and Grape Thoughts.

I took a break to go to meet Adam at a friend’s birthday party. Birdie (the cat) was nowhere to be found, so I left assuming she was upstairs.
As I backed out of my driveway, I saw her shoot out of the garage!

Well she took off like mad, and there was no chasing her. :(
Adam said to crack the garage door and I could check back tonight.

Arrived at birthday party at same time as he did.
Good friends, good beer, good pinball. Yum!

Support mission, via bikes. 2 tandems and 4 soloists (one in a short skirt and cute argyle socks) rode through Lawrenceville to check up on our dear friend
working security – somewhere I will not share. A bit out of character for this sweet lovin gal, and we rode to show our support.

Me, in a dress, and a full face helmet, and sandals – on the back of a tandem with my awesome boyfriend who I trust immensely.
Hard to keep my dress down, and I’m sure that, as well as the variety of expressive individuals, as well as colorful and even strobe light
blinking light bikes, and our caravan of bike,  were the reason for some cheers.

Got to see our lovely friend, and explore an abandoned building which may or may have not once produced something we may have or may have not ingested.

I admit I was antsy and eager for the ride back. The beers were kicking in. No dinner!

Adam and I pushed hard, and I LIKED IT! I am so anxious to kick back on the bike more often, shed about 30 pounds, and feel more energetic.
We got up this steep hill, that almost exactly 1 year ago I also rode up at 1am due to a navigational error. I had not made it up that time – but I did this time!
Did I mention the immense crush I have on my awesome boyfriend?

So, I left to check up on the cat situation. Luckily she was waiting for me. I pulled into the garage and when I came out, she let me approach her.
She was about to take off, so I grabbed her and suffered a nice bloody gash for it. But hey – she is indoors now, no worries.

My tummy rumbled and I called my chef boyfriend, asking how to best prepare the leftover meat in the fridge.
After being given solid info, I was sauteing onions, garlic, portabelo mushrooms and beef, adding red wine – Mmmm, had
to open the Malbec I’d been saving. 2008 Gascon from Argentina. It was amazingly smooth yet complex – right out of the bottle. No need to decant.
Great berry aromas and flavors, and just a touch of chocolate.

So, I cook it up, and tell Adam, its kind of chewy and crunchy.

Well, I had used the scraps he had saved to make dog food! UGH!

Luckily I had enough portabelo, onions, etc, to start again, this time with flank steak.

OMG. I sat down at the computer, tasting the yummy flavors, and thinking of what I would call this.
Adam had made Beef burgundy earlier this week, maybe this would be Beef Malbec.  I thought to myself,
whatever it is – it is beefy goodness.

Just then, Firefox finished loading, and so did my Scrabble game.

The word played at the top of the screen across the middle triple?


YUM….Synchronicities, yummy food, positive thoughts, and the glow of being in love with someone awesome.

Im so happy.

Back to paperwork, but a very nice reprieve after working constantly for last couple of weeks.

Big News. Balance and Seeing things differently.

It’s been a long week of working til 3:30am, 4am, 5am, and then staying up and intensely working for 36 hours.

Much going on.

I’ve been chosen to be an author of a technical course that I currently teach.

I recently joined a company as the Vice President of Operations

Please check out the site and spread the word. :)

Needing balance, I am getting away from the computer to work on preparations for Frostburn, Pittsburgh’s Regional Burning Man event.

Adam and I worked on our camp for Frostburn today. A nice break from sitting at my desk, but realizing I really need to get back in shape! I am exhausted!

We worked on a very difficult project together. Building our dome.

We had already cut and color-coded the length of our conduit.

First we built the floor. Pallets and plywood.


Then came the relationship test. Building the dome.  Here is the diagram.
Many thanks to the folks at for the plan.


We passed the test. We are still talking. :)

It was revealing. I was focused on following the directions, and laying out pieces as Adam built.
He was recognizing patterns and wanting to move forward, before I was ready.

:) – just now, he reminded me that I had the bottom layer pieces laid out in a circle and was trying to reconcile them with the directions.
He knew what I laid out wasn’t big enough. I knew it too, and it is not that I didn’t trust him to start moving them, I just wanted to be sure I understood how to read the directions.

So, we are not alike in all ways, but that makes things more interesting. And balanced.

So, here it is in process:


And our big blue tarp.

Flutter my heart

Yesterday Adam took me out on the RD250.


I was more scared of riding with him on it than I was on the Kawasaki, even though when we were on the K, he went from the road, to jumping the sidewalk up a hill into a parking lot, leaving me unable to speak during the beginning of the wine dinner.

So, then it was my turn. It had been ten years since I had driven a motorcycle.
I kinda remembered where everything was: clutch, shifter, brakes. But lets put it this way, it has a very distinctive sound. I can hear Adam coming to my house when he is all the way down the hill. He has explained before, and I guess it will eventually make sense, it is a 2 stroke engine.  My point it, its loud, in a unique way. It kind of freaked me out a bit.

Here is a video of one on YouTube:

I could not start it myself (no electric start and my ankle isnt completely healed yet) I was nervous as all hell, but finally pulled off. I did a lap and then stopped. I had been giddily laughing the whole way around the parking lot.

I stayed in first the whole time, but it didnt matter. It was super cool for me.

I then did another lap, and almost stopped but didnt stop where i wanted and did one more lap. People had pulled into the lot and I was reminded of having an audience when I tried to drop into the bowl on the skateboard.

So Adam then did a couple of laps to give it a good amount of gas (which it needs). He would give it gas and do wheelies. It freaked me out a bit. I'm not ready for that. He offered me the bike, but I was happy to just ride on the back to go home.

Im a little shaky still about being adventurous. Especially having the audience. It was one of the things that stuck in my mind with the accident.

So, we looked at helmets yesterday. Expensive! They had cheaper ones, but they fit terribly. I was going to go with solid, to match more "outfits", but then settled on a SHOEI, that had a pattern to it, and was kinda shiny, so if headlights hit me it would be attention getting. I had them hold it until Good Friday hoping for a good deal.

Well, today, I browsed the net for a better deal. Yeah, Id like to shop local, but this was a lot of dough. I looked for the same model, then HOLY HECK. The search results came back with the name "The Flutter". I didnt even need to see the image to know. I clicked it, and YES, IT WAS A BUTTERFLY helmet.

More than the one I looked at, but Adam suggested I call the shop and see if they could order it from another of their locations. No need, they had TWO. WTF? How did we miss a butterfly???

I was at the shop within 15 minutes, and fell in love at first site. I skipped the pink, then white tan and black would match anything. I was super excited, but then found out the price was $100 more than on the web. UGH. After a bit of a wait, they matched the internet price!

My FLUTTER helmet

I drove back to JD's and wore it to show Adam. Its wicked awesome. He said lets take it for a spin, and I thought he meant WITH him. But nope he started it up and had me do laps in the parking lot. OH BOY!!!

I feel like a little kid at Christmas with a new favorite toy.
I keep thinking I might sleep with it. :)


Wayyy Back…to 2003

I was trying to find information I had on a website years ago, and was looking using the Wayback machine. Have you ever used it?
It helps you find content that isn't reachable on a site anymore.

Well, I can across this entry from July 2003 on my old website. I need to journal more. It is fun to remember things.

This was regarding swim training I was doing at Morraine St Park before my first triathlon. What a great year that had been. :)

July 5th, 2003

It really seemed like I would never get to enjoy the lake this weekend. Driving up for the second day in a row, again I watched as the raindrops started hitting my windshield.
The sky did not look nearly as dark and ominous as it did yesterday, when David thought we were about to drive into “humidity” and then we were overcome by the mother of all storms.
Once the sky had turned black as midnight, I knew I would not get my swim training in that day. I kept driving on, hoping it would pass. It did.

The sky remained cloudy, but the rain held off. I made it to the lake, felt strong vibes that I should lock the mountain bike I had on loan, until I made a decision to buy it, safely in the car.
The people that go to the lake seem nice enough, I just kept thinking how unfortunate it would be to have a bike stolen that wasn’t even mine yet.
I felt less comfortable leaving it by my blanket while swimming than I did leaving it on the roof.
Some people might not realize I do not have a locking roof rack, but still I put the bike in the trunk.

I stood at the top of the grassy hill that leads down to the lake. Bouys formed a rectangle in the water, about 30 yards out, and 125 yards wide.
The width was cut into two by another string of bouys. General swimming was allowed in the left square. Lap swimming was allowed in the lane that ran the length of the 125 yards, left to right.
I was hesitant to start the swim. The water was not too cold, but it was not an overly hot day, and I did not feel an immediate need to jump in. I took my time adjusting. Walking slowly until the water was at the top of my legs, then just hanging out. Finally I dove into the water. I could feel my anklet come off as I first kicked with my leg. Damn. I had bought that while shopping with Karen. I wish she had been here when I lost it. I  looked for a little while, and tried to get the help from a young boy. I asked him if he was good at finding things. I think I scared him. He just nodded a negative and went on his way.

I started doing freestyle, heading toward the lap lane. As soon as I put my face in the water, I was greeted with the familiar “wall of green”, that I had watched so much last year. I tried to stand at the edge of the lap lane, but the water was higher than I remembered. As I swam my first lap, I got back in to my groove of breathe, stroke, blow bubbles, stroke, breathe, stroke, blow bubbles. I replaced the wall of green with the images going through my head. Of the fireworks the previous night, of the gorgeous view from Mt Washington. Of our feeble attempts to find the “treasure” while geocaching yesterday. Every once in a while, my thoughts were interrupted by my arm hitting a buoy, and needing to stop to look and readjust my course.

Swimming in a straight line was never the easiest thing for me. I made it to the end of the roped off lane, and stood up. For some reason, this end of the lane was higher. I took a deep yoga breathe then started back. This time I was thinking of how nice it was to be able to do whatever I wanted for the day, without needing to answer to anyone. This thought was interrupted by me hitting my head on the unoccupied lifeguard chair. This was in the quadrant in which no one was allowed to swim. I was the only one swimming in the lap lane, I must have looked competent enough not to send someone out. Ha!

I continued swimming on and was almost back when I heard a lot of chaos. I stopped swimming and looked up to see I was the only one in the water. I listened as the lifeguard repeated that Pennsylvania Law required that everyone must stay out of the water for 20 minutes after the last sign of the storm was witnessed. I looked up and saw the dark skies. I ducked under the buoy rope, and headed to shore. Funny, I used to be terrified of storms, and now I looked forward to the beauty of them. Everyone was starting to clear the beach. The storm was not even going yet, just some dark skies and distant thunder. I layed on my blanket and caught my breath. I felt very at ease. I was able to get in at least the distance needed for next weeks triathlon.

I got into my car and drove to the park office. I picked up a map for mountain biking, and confirmed there is no bike trail from the South Shore, where the lap lane was, to the North shore for biking. I explained to the woman how it would be nice to have a swim lap lane on the same side of the lake as bike trails, so triathletes could do brick workouts. She gave me the address to write a letter.

I drove back to the lake and things were already clearing up. I tried to put in the location of the lake into my GPS, but it did not work. Evidently, it was not as waterproof as first thought. The trek through the woods yesterday must have killed it. I swam another lap in the lake and felt very good about the triathlon on Saturday. I decided to take another stab at the geocaching location near the dam. I drove the car to the North Shore and pulled into a parking lot. A lot of people were headed to a nearby pavilion, some type of family reunion or July 5th picnic. I took out the mountain bike. I didn’t have the water bottle cage connected. I also did not have the allen wrench to connect it. It would be a short trip. I had problems getting my front wheel on. The brakes were too tight for the tire to rotate. I tried jiggling things around, but nothing worked. Whenever Id attach the brakes, they would be so snug around the rim the wheel would not rotate.

I tried calling some people. I got through to Kevin and he suggested the nipple was moved too far over. Not sure exactly what fixed it. I jiggled some more and then things loosened up. My GPS was still messed up, so I decided to go by memory, luck and instinct. I took off on the bike and started playing with the gears. I road down a grassy path, staying in the tire tracks that had cut across a field. I could tell I was headed towards the dam. My cell phone started ringing. I answered it and it was David. I told him I was in sight of the dam we missed in the rain the day before. I pedaled on, and headed into the woods. I was about to wreck heading down a crazy trail so I got off the phone. I jumped a log. It reminded me of the mountain bike riding I did in Colorado. I made it to the site, and started looking around.

There was a big tree that was located off of the gravel trail in the middle of the weeds and woods. I had walked around the tree a few times in the rain thinking it HAD to be there. With the rain gone, I was able to see the tree was hollow and had sticks stacked to cover the hole. Inside I found the “hidden treasure”. A zip lock bag in the container held a log book and many little trinkets. I put my name in the log, and looked for something to take. I found the perfect item, a toy spin top with the words “Let Freedom Ring”. These words are in the Martina McBride song Independence Day. A staple karaoke song for Joanne, which we sang yesterday on our way to Kevin’s party.

I left a PNC bank carabiner that I picked up at an outdoors expo. It could be used as a keychain but is worthless for climbing. I got back on my bike after replacing the container and relaying the sticks. I headed down hill, not sure where I was going, especially since my GPS was hosed. I came to a paved area similar to a driveway. Strange to see in the middle of the woods. It was very clean. I could see ahead of me that ended in weeds, it looks as if there may be a trail. I road along the right side, trying to see if there was a trail. I knew Id have to turn or clip out if there wasn’t so I went slowly. I was watching out for the big rocks. Seeing there was no trail, I started to turn to the left. I never looked to what the road was like on that side. The next thing I knew, my wheel slipped out from under me and I skidded onto my side. I landed in a mud puddle.

My left side was covered, like I was dipped in chocolate fondue. I got up laughing hysterically. I tried to wipe off the mud as best I could. I headed back up the hill towards the car. I rode to the dock by the parking lot, and asked a guy in a boat if he thought I would get in trouble for getting in the lake. I knew the law had changed to allow swimming outside designated areas, but wanted to be sure. He was okay with having me strip down to my two piece in front of him. Who would have guessed!

I washed the mud off as best I could. Clumps were clinging in my hair. I noticed I had a nice scratch near my elbow. There were hundreds of tiny baby fish in the water by the boat ramp. They were completely unafraid which was good for them, since a big fish that would like to chow down on them would probably be afraid of the people. I walked barefoot back to the car as the band from the picnic was playing Smoke on the Water.

Another fitting moment, since I was playing the song on the new guitar I bought off of GA during her charity sale. As I was putting my bike up on the car, and Yes, it is my bike now, since I am definitely buying it!!!, I noticed people admiring the bike. It was a cool moment. With or Without you came on next, which was excellent. I always have liked this song, especially at times when I am single. I got in the car and in the rearview I could see I had totally missed my face which was still covered in mud. So much for thinking they were admiring my bike. J It was a great day.