Category Archives: Goals

My Goals

Born on this date, in 1922

I just dashed outside to bring some bottled water in from the car. Im working a late night, and am far from home. The wind was blustery and the rain started to fall, and I was energized. I think I even said aloud, “Bring it on!”

Being away, things feel different. Full of possibilities. And new experiences. And how things change and keep changing. With the thunder rumbling, I remembered how I used to crawl into my dad’s lap as a kid to hide and be comforted, because I was so afraid of storms.

This reminded me today is his birthday. I say “is”, even though he passed away in 2000.

I felt peaceful as I thought back on who I am because of John Herilla. I thought about growing up on the farm, having everything at the dinner table as a result of the time and care put into the gardens and with the animals.

I used to think of him as being a tyrant, but in him I observed the strongest work ethic I have ever witnessed, and conservation of resources. I used to be so upset about not being allowed to have money to buy toys or new clothes, but I never experienced the likes of the Depression that had taught him to conserve out of necessity.

I really wish I could talk to him now that I am older and have learned some lessons. To get his take on things.

I feel very lucky to have been able to know him and his way of life. I miss him. And although I think I might be able to relate to him on a deeper level, I think I kind of know the reaction he would have knowing I am in love with someone who has blue hair. Even though dad was very intelligent, I dont think he would be able to understand.

Related to the thoughts on my dad, lately I have been obsessing over the decline of our society, into robots who just make money to buy stuff, to feed into the chain of consumables. I had been thinking of this before, but the online cartoon Story of Stuff – by Annie Leonard really does an interesting job of explaining it. She quotes Victor Lebow from 1955:

Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfactions, our ego satisfactions, in consumption. The measure of social status, of social acceptance, of prestige, is now to be found in our consumptive patterns. The very meaning and significance of our lives today expressed in consumptive terms. The greater the pressures upon the individual to conform to safe and accepted social standards, the more does he tend to express his aspirations and his individuality in terms of what he wears, drives, eats- his home, his car, his pattern of food serving, his hobbies.

These commodities and services must be offered to the consumer with a special urgency. We require not only “forced draft” consumption, but “expensive” consumption as well. We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced, and discarded at an ever increasing pace. We need to have people eat, drink, dress, ride, live, with ever more complicated and, therefore, constantly more expensive consumption. The home power tools and the whole “do-it-yourself” movement are excellent examples of “expensive” consumption.

I don’t know how our society is going to change in my lifetime, but I am glad I was able to witness how my dad operated given his experience.

If he was still alive I would not bother trying to buy him new shirts or socks. I would spend time talking to him. I had sat with him in hospice running out of things to talk about. I wish I could get that time back. Or better yet, take him to a place I know of in West Virginia, where there is no cell service, but beautiful scenery and seemingly untouched by pollutions and poisons. I would tell him I know its going to be a struggle at times, but in a few ways, I now want to be more like him.

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.

I rode my bike to fight cancer

Aug 3 – Aug 9th, 2009 I rode my bicycle 520+ miles from Burlington, Vermont to Palmerton, PA to raise money to fight cancer.

This blog entry documents that ride.  It would be a struggle and a large effort to probably read it all, but I tried to capture what it was like for me as a first time rider in PPRAC – the Perimeter Ride Against Cancer.

I didnt want to leave too much out, and feel badly about not remembering everyone’s name or including every amazing thing that happened.

In general though, I give thanks to the many people who organized this event, the cooks who gave me nutrition, and the support vehicles who gave me water, advil, and encouragement. Everyone involved in the event shared such amazing energy and kindness to each other and to me.

Initially, I signed up to do the ride as means to kick start my training and get back in shape to start back into triathlons.  I also have had this vision of riding cross country to raise money for concussion treatment and cluster headache awareness. I needed to start long distance riding at some point, and when a friend sent an email soliciting donations, I joined his team.

I knew it would be hard and I did not train NEARLY enough to feel comfortable. The longest ride I completed was 65 miles. I only rode 1-2 times per week. If that.   But friends said I could do it, and to think about those who donated in the names of their loved ones. A quote from my buddy Craig, “Being out of shape just means it will hurt more, but you will survive”.

Maurice and I drove to Emmaus, Pa and stayed with his friend, Mark Taylor (referred to by either name) who owns a bike/coffee shop and an impressive collection of albums. We met up with some other cyclists for dinner and Belgian beers. I was surprised the bar had an interesting wine selection as well, and I tried the Oysters with a Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc and another from Oregon. I was dining with super athletes, and I remained calm, I had accepted the fact I’d be the most out of shape, and I would just take my time.

I woke up on in the middle of the night on Taylor’s couch screaming, “Where am I, where am I?” before settling down and apologizing to Moe who was sleeping on the floor.

So I was hungover when we woke at 5:45 to go to the bike shop. Met some more extremely fit folks, and then on to the church. 63 of us total?

An interesting service (which I left briefly to be hungover sick in bathroom) and singing of “the wheels on the bike go round and round.”

Moe donated his vehicle for support, so we and ~10? others took it instead of riding in the tour bus. A tractor trailer transported everyone else’s bikes.

I drove the van straight from Palmerton to Burlington in the pouring rain and was glad for it. I was nervous and not my most social self, it gave me something to focus on.

In Burlington, we beat the tourbus and had a late lunch at a brewery. I had one small fruity beer – hare of the dog, afterall.

Then we were off to the YMCA. I helped unpack the tractor trailer, then I questioned whether I’d sleep on the elevated track or gym floor.  Not wanting to roll off, I chose the floor. gym_track_above

Then it was off to the VFW   for a spaghetti dinner. I began to get VERY nervous. I really worried I would not make it the first day, let alone 6.  I was definitely the most out of shape.

So, I learned each night we’d eat and have a meeting to talk about the next day’s ride.

We got our first cue sheet. 92 miles. We would only find out a day’s route the night before. I think this was good, so I could focus on just getting through the day, even though this in itself was overwhelming.

New riders introduced ourselves, and spoke about why we were riding. Everyone took red ribbons to put the names of who we were riding for on the back of our jerseys. Mine was for my Dad who died of mylofibrosis,  and Aunt Judy who survived breast cancer.

Hard to sleep that night.  Kept waking. Once I saw someone dream-cycling under their covers. (At least I think it was pedaling he was doing)

DAY 1 – 91 Miles


I woke up in the morning to find my bike computer was damaged by the rain. Others had left already and I was freaked out. Some ppl were hitting a coffeeshop, but I wanted to hit the road quickly to give myself all day to ride.

Eric, the guy who set the route, rode with me. He was super nice, but I felt bad for holding him back.  I have not admitted this til now, but the ride started out by goign up a hill. I have no idea on grade, it really wasnt that bad. But I was scared. What if I couldnt make it up?  What is I lost my chain and couldnt get snapped out of my pedals and fell in front of people. But I rode up the hill, and realized quickly I may have made a mistake bringing my carbon fiber bike, instead of one that has a granny gear (to make going uphills easier).  Later that week others would tell me my Specialized Ruby racing bike was not really geared for uphills, and how I could replace things to make it easier.

At any rate, we did seem to make good time and it was nice to talk.

Great lunch 40-some miles in. The day was beautiful. Countryside and mountains in Vermont. A backhoe followed me up a hill and I felt like a kid playing Jaws in my aunt’s pool. MUST OUTRUN the backhoe!

The hill wasn’t too bad, but it was long, and as I started to feel tired, a butterfly chose to accompany me up the rest of  the hill. I was amazed at the beauty of it.

At one point on the ride, we crossed my first milestone of the trip – my longest ride ever – >65 miles!   I felt pretty good on the finish that day, and learned my bike computer was dried out and working!

So, a great dinner, spaghetti again? Route announced. Sleep came quickly. Wake. Breakfast. Ride.  The days followed this routine, but each day had amazing events and people.

Every night people volunteered their time and food to feed us. VFW, American Legions, Rotary/Kiwanis clubs.  They all had stories to share as to how cancer touched their lives. It was very moving.

DAY 2 – 76 miles – (plus 2 for getting lost)


The second day more closely matched my vision of the ride I had planned. I left a little early, and listened to tunes as I took my time on the hills.  I didnt know our pace from the day before, but now with a computer, I could see my avg.  Slow up the hills, 5-7 miles, and on flats and grades 11-15mph. Now downhills were AWESOME. I had my fastest speed ever clocking in a 40 mph speed!!! A couple of times I tried to jump on to the end of a passing pack, but I could not stay on for very long. A sad 10 seconds? If that? But hey, for the brief time, my avg was 17-25mph.

At the end though, I was feeling great, and even missed a turn doing an extra mile uphill!   I asked a trucker who was up this hill for directions, and enjoyed the mile ride downhill. It was more difficult to get moving this time, and I took advantage of a massage for the back of my neck and shoulders.

Another feature of the evenings was that people who wanted to would share their personal stories of friends and family who suffered from cancer.

Two riders shared their personal stories of battling cancer that night. This was very moving. One man quoted Churchill, which was interesting since references to him seem to follow me around. I had brought my book on synchronicity that has Churchill in the first sentence.  Later in the week, I shared this book with him. a young woman shared her story. Afterwards, she said she forgot what she had wanted to say, as she had to follow the Churchill quote, but she was truly wonderful, and shared things that were very moving. Sleep came very easy that night, but got a ton of mosquito bites which made themselves known very annoyingly during the next day.

DAY 3 – 92 Miles


Okay – so maybe you arent looking closely at the cue sheet. But take a look at mile 88.    See it? Did you? It was the Ommegang brewery. This was an awesome carrot dangling in front of me as I spent the day mostly weaving around strangely aromatic Amish horse poo and passed pretty farms.  I felt much stronger this day, and I jumped onto a couple of packs – staying with one for a few much quicker miles.

The payoff was worth it. Sean gave great samples. 3 Philosophers was maybe my favorite, and others that I dont recall. They were all good.  I got my first beer jersey here.

The end of the day was another 2 miles down the road.  Dinner was NOT spaghetti and meat balls – but awesome BAR-B-QUE!!! Pulled pork, beef ribs, corn on the cob. Yum!!!  The owner told a very touching story of reconciling with his father after decades of not speaking, when he called to tell him he had cancer. His dad never got to see him open the rib joint, but he felt his spirit was there with us doing our ride to raise money to fight cancer.

Day 4 – 85 miles



I lost a little bit of steam this day. It might have been the bar-b-que the night before, or it might have been the fact that lunch was not where it was supposed to be. I spent time with a support team looking for it on my bike, then pushed on. Not knowing where it was made it more difficult, because I kind of like being able to count down in my head how many more miles I had to go.

My knee started hurting too. I had messed that knee up with marathon training one year, but I think it was more from when I tore the meniscus snowboarding. Whichever, it started to hurt, and I began to fear not finishing, and needing to decide to quit to save my knee.  I pedaled using mostly my other leg, and didnt want to quit.

I iced it at lunch, but didnt want to spend too much time there because most everyone had left already. I made it to Airport road. I did know however, that this road was REALLY steep. So steep in fact, I had to stop. I was a bit disappointed, because there was no way I could get started again on it.  Walking up the hill was just as difficult as riding. It was so steep, I kept slipping as I tried to climb the hill. I walked on the other side o my bike to find some traction in the grass. I do not know too much about grades. But I was told this one was 25% and the steepest in PPRAC history.

I dont remember the rest of this day. I think I rode with a very nice person that also had a bum knee. Or maybe that was the day before.  My knee lasted the day, and I was glad I did not give up. I iced it more at dinner and kept taking advil. I noticed in the bathroom mirror that night, my face was very swollen. My body was taking a beating to be sure. At dinner, I learned I wasnt the only one that walked. With eyes closed, all that dismounted clapped their hands.

I camped outside that night.  I caught up on Facebook, and was thankful for the friends encouraging me on my ride. I also started to jot down notes of what i wanted to say if I decided to share with the group. I got very sleepy, and thought I heard an animal outside the tent. A bear? I dont know, because I was too tired to care and passed out.

Day 5 – 102 – plus 2 for getting lost


The day of 102 miles was seemingly impossible, but as with all others, I decided to just go for it, take my time and not worry. I rode with Moe from lunch on. It was windy, hot, and slow moving through the rich, black dirt, farmlands. We took water from support vehicles in a winery parking lot. Such torture not to go in! There were seeming threats if we didnt keep moving we’d be forced to quit for the day. Not really encouraging, but we pushed on. I tried to tell Moe to abandon me, I felt so bad for slowing him down, but he was supportive. We were the last in, and many cheers greeted us as we arrived, the longest day. I think the day took me almost 11 hours (including lunch stop).

I was so tired that night. It was our last night together. Beers, lots of talking. I decided to finally share my story about why I was doing the ride.

I shared about my dad, my aunt, my cousins, my friends…it all came out jumbled, but people seemed to most enjoy when I mentioned how I first started biking after I lost my dad, changed jobs, and divorced after being married only 6 months…people murmured, and I said, “yea he was a shit.” Unplanned, but a light moment. Later Greg told his wife (also a Judy) how I was a free spirit, sharing from my heart, and obviously not an engineer. He couldn’t believe when I interrupted to say I did in fact have an EE degree, it was just so hard to organize so much that I wanted to say, especially being so tired.

Day 6 – 72 miles – LAST DAY!

I called my Aunt Judy to tell her I was riding the last day for her. Being that it was Saturday, she was at a garage sale, of course, and wished me luck with my ride.

I rode the first 20 miles with Darren. The miles flew by, as we talked.  We got passed by a group of guys who started to past as we neared the crest of a hill. I heard Darren tell one of the guys, She is a Descender! As I past all of the guys in the pack. Now, maybe my bike was geared better for going downhill,  (it sure wasnt for uphill) or maybe it was the extra weight I had on this skinny in shape guys, or mind over matter and I just like downhills better, but I really enjoyed it.  Darren and I parted ways on Shades of Death road, where we stopped for a bit when another rider in our group passed someone they knew from home. The coincidences abounded during the week.

Shortly after, I climbed a hill and stopped at the top for a drink, and met a woman having a garage sale. She was a cancer survivor, and thanked us for riding. She was just diagnosed again, and having the sale to clear out her house to settle in for the winter for a good fight. I told her I would do the rest of the ride for her. She shared the story of Shades of Death road – a mystery a lot of us riders were guessing at. I had thought maybe there was a slaughterhouse, but no. The name came from story that there was a ghost of a girl that would appear there. Glad we rode through in daylight!

I continued on and got lost after lunch and added two miles for myself.  I got back on track and was able to ride with Moe, Stacy, Jeff, and Ray.

To get to Palmerton, we crossed the Blue Mountains. I was afraid to be so close, and not sure if I could climb!

But I did, and then I got my reward,  the downhill! After reaching the bottom, it was a nice flat into the town of Palmerton.

The last turn of the ride was a right onto 5th. I counted down, 9th, 8th. Some streets in between. Then 6, then some state name, more streets then 2nd. I missed the street!

Ray chased me down to tell me I missed the turn. The signs were crooked, so I missed seeing the 5th. We headed back and turned up 5th to see a large arch way of balloons. I was super glad to have finished the ride!

People (cleaned and showered) high fived me and gave me congrats. I tried to congrats back but was really overwhelmed. And then, a woman told me congrats.

It took a few seconds to grasp the situation, but it was the same woman that had the garage sale! She and her husband drove 50 some miles to be at the finish!

The entire event was an amazing experience. It was well organized, and there was so much love and energy poured into the event that it had a major impact on a lot of people, riders, supporters, and spectators.

I really hope to be a part of it again, and hope that everyone will be back!

30 Days

This has been something I have wanted to do for a while, but I wasn’t ready for one piece or another. For the next 30 days, I will:

  • Drink 8 glasses of liquid a day – not all wine 😉
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes a day
  • Track my “points” – yeah, I have a goal of losing 20 pounds (not in 30 days but it will be a start)
  • Meditate for 15 minutes
  • Take vitamins
  • Clean the house (at first 1 hour a day – hopefully this will taper)

I will monitor my progress here. Who knows maybe I will get some support or encouragement from stalkers. :)

Things have been moving in this direction. Last week I cycled 3 days in a row, 28 miles, 22 miles and all around Pittsburgh for maybe 20 miles or more. Need to get ready for my bike challenge in August! 500 miles in 6 days. Donations on my behalf to the American Cancer Society are welcome!

Just found the Weight Watchers books while, dun dun DUN….CLEANING.

The bedroom is looking great now its time for the rest of the house.

Of course, client work trumps most, but I need to make these items a priority. It amazes me that others are so easily able to achieve this!