Sunday, October 16, 2016

Moved and Settling In

It's been a while since I wrote an update on our move and new life out here in California. The contract we had on our house fell through due to one of the buyers unexpectedly losing their job. But we got another offer that same evening, and we finally closed on the sale of our house on September 30th. The hubs and I finally took some time to celebrate after all the paperwork was signed. It was a huge weight off our shoulders to not be worrying about our house back in Colorado.

About two weeks prior to the closing on our house, I flew home to pack up the hubs, the house and anything else we could fit into three suitcases. We flew back out to San Jose while all our belongings took the journey via giant moving truck. The moving company we worked with in Colorado was horrible. Out of the 8 moves we've done together in the last 9 years, I would rank this one as the worst. Our belongings arrived broken and in disrepair. I am in the middle of an insurance claim with the moving company right now, and hope they don't give us any more trouble.

Despite the frustrating move, we've been able to unpack all of the boxes and get most items unpacked in our new apartment. We lost about 1200 square feet of space moving from the house to this apartment, so it's been a creative challenge, trying to figure out where to put everything. Luckily, we did a good job purging unneeded items before we moved, and I think we're going to feel fully settled before the holidays.

The new job is still going really well. The caliber of people I work with are amazing. They challenge me to think in new ways about our industry every day, and it keeps me on my toes. I'm already involved in four major company initiatives, and I'm so excited to see them come to life in the next year or so. In the meantime, riders sponsored by Specialized just dominated at the cycling world championships, and we got to watch every race this past week on tv. You should have seen us yelling in excitement at the racers this afternoon, watching the recording of the pro men's race. So much fun!!

I'll try to do better to start re-posting on a regular basis again. Things are getting back to normal day by day. I spent this Saturday morning back at the farmer's market finally, and got back into the habit of chopping up veggies all morning for two weeks' worth of pre-made salads. So delicious with the fresh, organic produce I found! We are making Spaghetti Carbonara tonight, we made Chipotle Pork tacos and Meatballs last week, and cooking again feels so good. I'm pretty sure if I can just find the time to hang some pictures, we'll start to feel at home soon.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Broken and Lost Keys

Today was an interesting day. I started my morning trying to pack up my car with bags from the hotel, getting ready to take them over to the new apartment as I slowly move myself over there. Over four trips to the car, I forgot my room key in my room twice. My embarrassment of having to go to the front desk and ask for a new key once was eclipsed by the complete stupidity I felt when I had to go back again ten minutes later.

I chalked it up to a busy mind, too much going on, and no coffee running through my system yet.

I had a decent day at work, FINALLY installing my new pattern software and getting my new laptop set up with correct server connection and monitor connections. I stayed a little late, and headed to the apartment to drop off my morning's packed bags. Check, check, check.

As I went to turn the key in the apartment front door, I let out a little yelp as the key completely broke in half. The end just snapped right off in the lock! So I stood there staring at the door for a full minute, wondering what the hell I was supposed to do now. Luckily, I'd put my hair up with bobby pins this morning, so I was able to unbend one and pick out the broken key from the lock. I'm sure I looked super legit, working at my front door lock with a bobby pin. But I don't think anybody saw me... Hopefully!

Ok, what to do, what to do. Walk over to the office and see if (by some miracle) the land-lady decided to stay late tonight. No luck. Say a little thank you to the universe that I didn't totally panic and also lock the garage door on myself, or I would have been seriously screwed. We have a second key and I'm pretty sure it's inside the apartment. But there's a small chance it's actually back at the hotel! Jump in the car and drive to the hotel, crossing fingers and toes that it's there.

The key is not here. Call the hubs and see if he has any brilliant ideas, and of course he does. Use some logic and determine if it's really necessary to go back over there today. It's not. I was just dropping stuff off, but nothing was urgent. So I'll just take stuff back over on Monday when I'm back from Denver, and ask the land-lady to let me in then.

Now to just UN-pack the car of all the bags, and bring them back into the hotel room for the weekend. One, two, three trips again. Forgot my freaking hotel room key in the room!! I can't believe it, what is wrong with me? Go get replacement key number three for the day, and finally camp out with the Olympics on TV, a cup of soup and a beer. I think I'll just stay in this chair until I go to bed...

In dreams, when a person sees broken or lost keys, it can indicate a negative separation with something important in their lives. But this wasn't a bad dream, it was happening in real life... So I'm either just too stressed to keep my small wits about me on a minute to minute basis. Or I'm somehow manifesting a dream-like scenario into real life by feeling the seriousness of being 1300 miles away from my heart. I guess it could be a little bit of both...

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

LA Wedding Weekend

The hubs and I had a great opportunity to see each other this past weekend, as we were heading to LA for a family wedding. The entire Erickson clan was heading out this way for the event, and I was very happy to be seeing some familiar faces again so soon. :)

We had so much fun getting the chance to catch up and play with our adorable niece for 4 days together. She is one of the most lively kids I've ever been around, and has more personality than most adults I know!  haha   She was the life of the party every night and kept us all entertained. She is fearless at swimming, so we took advantage of the pool and had some memorable afternoons these last few days. Hopefully we'll get to start setting up some Skype dates with her as she learns new words and tricks every day!

The wedding was beautiful, although very warm outside. We were provided with sunbrellas and fans through the ceremony, which was clutch. Refreshments were ready for us as we all walked up to the reception, and were welcomed into the shade of the giant tent. We danced and goofed off in the photo booth together throughout the evening. It was really a great party!

We spent Monday lazing around and heading out to the beach for some ocean swimming. Our niece marked a momentous summer by sticking her feet in both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans! We were all trying to remember if we'd ever done that, let alone before we were two!  haha  This morning, we all headed our separate ways and I had to kiss the hubs good-bye again. It will only be a couple more weeks until we see each other again, so I think we can do it! Can't wait for the 12th already though!!

California, Here We Come!

Less than a week after we got home from Indiana, we set back out in the car for a road trip to our new digs in California. We packed the car as full as we could get it, anticipating that I might be out here by myself for a while, needing an air mattress, all my clothes, and some small furniture pieces to get by. Our first day was shorter, as we started North for Salt Lake City. We'd never been to the area, and we thought it might be a more scenic route for us. We were pleasantly surprised with the terrain and how easy it was to enjoy our surroundings through Wyoming and Utah. We arrived in Salt Lake City in the early afternoon, with plenty of time to enjoy a long, lazy dinner at a brewpub downtown.

The next day was much longer, over 11 hours in the car to arrive in Morgan Hill. Luckily, the scenery was once again beautiful and we didn't really hit traffic until we started to hit San Francisco, then San Jose. Through the mountainous areas, the driving got tricky, but the hubs was awesome and took over for me through the switchbacks.

I'm at a local hotel here until I can move into the new apartment this weekend. It's not been too bad, but it did take some creativity to find a way to unpack all of my belongings here. The little room is lonely, but at least I have a bed and a TV for now. It will be interesting when my time here is up, and things become a little more sparse in the apartment.

The job has started out great. and I'm already finding myself busy with work every day. I'm happy to be jumping right into my role, not spending my first few weeks bored and wondering how I can help. I'm hoping this only continues to get better and better, and the move and all this is worth it. We're still working toward selling the house, and hopefully it goes sooner rather than later. I'd like to get my husband out here with me soon, and start our new California adventure!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Muncie 70.3 2016

The morning of my first 70.3 event was filled with a great deal of anticipation and nervousness. As with almost any big event, the night before my race was mostly just a series of groggy tossing and turning, watching the clock, waiting for the alarm to sound at 4:30am. I somehow found some sleep that night, and woke up in my normal routine of turning back over and falling asleep for another 15 minutes. (This was a good sign for a race morning, really...)

Hubby and I had already gone over to the venue the day before to check in my bike and stick around for the athlete briefing. So it was just a matter of getting on my race kit and making sure I had everything in my bag for the day. We left early and arrived around 5:30am, just as transition was opening. The parking lots were already packed full, so we were glad to be there to sneak into the secondary lot with ease. It was very dark and what should have been a quiet time of the morning was buzzing with athletes all over.

Lines for the "bathrooms" were long, and the morning air was cold. Getting in the water for my warm up swim proved to keep me warmer than standing out on the beach, but we eventually lined ourselves up to get ready for the gun. And it true IronMan style, the waves went off with exact timing precision. My group left the beach at 7:35am, the start for a long day.

I came out of the water at 47 minutes, 3 minutes better than my goal swim time. 1.2 miles down, 69.1 to go! Transition was slightly easier since it was a non-wetsuit legal race. I didn't have to deal with trying to peel it off, but did take my time to make sure I had everything I needed and was comfortable for the next leg of the event.

I could not have been happier with my ride. With a goal time of 3:30, I was so excited to come back across the transition line after 3:12. I felt great on the bike, and relished every moment the wind was at my back.  haha  It was a windy day, but the course was mostly flat and well maintained. We did two loops, and coming home after that second loop just felt so good!!

My run was more of a run/walk, just trying to get through the half marathon to that finish line. The day had turned very hot, and hydration was huge. I drank whenever I could, tried to keep myself cool with cold sponges, and ran whenever my legs would let me. I knew it was going to be a struggle for me, so I'd set a 2:30 goal time for my half marathon. The best I'd ever done was out here in Colorado at a 2:15, so it seemed like a reasonable goal if I was feeling good... I only missed it by 2 minutes, crossing the line after a 2:32 run, which was pretty darn good for how tired I was!

After all was said and done, I finished in 6:42:33. I had hoped to finish it all in 7 hours or less, so I could not have expected anything better. Coming up that last hill, I made myself find some running legs as I passed cheering fans and other athletes excited to finish. And as I crested the hill, there stood my family and friends, cheering louder than anybody, putting the hugest smile on my face. And as I ran down the finishing chute, I could hear my mom and sister yelling my name as I crossed that finish line. I am the luckiest person, I really could not have asked for anything better than what I got that day. I accomplished something that I really didn't think I could ever physically accomplish, had my family and friends there to cheer me on, and did it even better than I thought I could!

I'm not sure if any more 70.3 events are in my near future, it wiped me out more than I was anticipating and was so much harder than I imagined. The training was a bear, and life practically stops when you're spending all your time preparing for an event like this. But I'm guessing that the good memories will stick out a long time, while the pain and difficulty will start to disappear from my memory, and I'll be itching to do something again!! We'll see what's next...

To Indiana and Back

The drive to Muncie, Indiana was about seventeen hours in the car, so we decided to make it a two day trip, each way. After packing the car with my bike and all our other essentials for race day and for the trip, we set out for Kansas City on Wednesday, July 6th. We were blessed with great weather that first day, but not much scenery to help us pass the time.

Luckily, we had a destination to look forward to that first day, as we were having dinner with my aunt and uncle who live in the area. We met up at Blind Box BBQ, and had the chance to catch up after a few years of not seeing each other (way too long!). It was a blast, and we had so much fun talking, I barely had time to browse the menu before we had to order! We followed it up with a discount stay at Harrah's North Kansas City, which provided some interesting people watching, to say the least.

Day two was tough. The scenery was better, but I was getting anxious to arrive in Muncie, and was itching to get out of the car.  We made it to the hotel in the early evening, and I was more than ready to go find some good food to eat. We were lucky that not far away, Ball State campus was housing some real gems. We found a brewpub called Scotty's that proved to be so good, we went there two nights in a row!  haha

The drive home was horrible, I'm not going to lie. Getting back in the car to do another two long days was difficult. Stiff legs after my race didn't help, either. But we tried to stop a few more "tourist-y" places, to check out new cities and landmarks. We even took some pics at the St. Louis arch near the end of day one.

If and when we decide to travel for the next big race (for either of us), we might do it a little differently... Airplanes do carry bicycles in the cargo hold, after all. Maybe that would be worth trying!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Joy of My "Retirement"

Once my time was completed at PI, I was able to figure out how to take some time off before starting out at Specialized. So I had four weeks between my end date and new start date to prep the house for our move and make final preparations for my Half IronMan.

The first day was really the only one that I totally took for myself. I spent several hours at the pool, lounging on the back patio and the couch, reading, "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo. My sister had just sent a copy of it to me for my birthday, and it was a method she was swearing by as she started to declutter her own house. I had already heard about the basic idea in the book from her, but reading through the full text gave me that spark of inspiration I needed to begin in our house.

Day two was the beginning of a 10 day process to declutter this place. I was skeptical that I'd have much to get rid of, as I feel like we purge bags to Good Will every time we move (which is a lot). But as I got started, I realized that I was hoarding ridiculous things all over the house. Starting with my clothes, and eventually ending in the garage, I purged at least 25 full 30-gallon garbage bags of belongings. Some of it was genuine trash, while most of it was able to be donated to the local thrift store.

I tried to sell what I could, but was super unsuccessful with this endeavor. After trips to Clothes Mentor, Plato's Closet, Play it Again Sports, 2nd Time Sports, 2nd & Charles and Read & Black Books, I only sold a few items and only came out $100 richer. All of the driving around with bags of items to sell, and waiting around for the stores to assess my belongings just didn't seem worth it. I spent two full days running all over town, and I think I'll just send it all to the donation pile next time.

Letgo and Craig's List also proved to be super frustrating this time around. We were certain that someone would want our fully functional 42" flat screen TV, but nobody believed that it actually worked! I had one person say they would come pick it up one night, but of course he never showed (and then he had the nerve to contact me again a week later to see if it was still available to him). So the TV and several other furniture items were donated as well. (I'm pretty sure the thrift store truck driver just got a new TV...  haha).

There are only a couple of items left on my list, and I'm at least partially into the sale of each. I sold a couple items on ebay, and I'm still awaiting payment before I can ship them out. But that should hopefully be finished in the next week. And last but not least, we have an appraisal set up for our piano next Friday. The appraisal will be done by the owner of a piano consignment shop, so I'm really hoping that he will then be able to take it and sell it for us. If not, I'm not really sure what the heck we're going to do about that one... So cross your fingers for us there!

I'll admit that the house feels kind of bare. After I purged all those bags of belongings, we also packed up as much as we could of the house, starting to stack boxes in the basement for the final move. The house is left with items that keep it staged for showings and keep it habitable for the hubs.

We head out to California tomorrow, and I am ready to get back to work. It has been an exhausting four weeks of purging, packing, racing, traveling and then prepping for my initial move. I'll be in a hotel for the first 30 days, and then we'll see where we end up! It will be hard being apart for the first month, and I hope that is all we have to spend in different states. In the mean time, I'll dive into the new job and we'll keep saying our prayers that the house sells soon.

Boulder Sunrise Olympic Triathlon

Sunday, June 26th, hubby and I woke ourselves up at 4:00am to head out to the Boulder Reservoir for my final "practice" tri of the season. Training for a Half IronMan somehow made this Olympic distance feel "easy" this year, and when the alarm went off, I actually rolled over and slept for another 15 minutes. I guess the butterflies weren't as prevalent, knowing that in just a few more weeks, I would have to do more than double this distance...

I started my swim in the middle of the pack and got a good reminder as to why I had taken myself to the back in previous events. Tons of kicking, splashing and pushing made the first couple of minutes tough. Luckily, I'd been through this a couple times before and just made myself find some patience and calm among the madness. And once the few minutes were past, I was able to swim a great time, coming out of the water right when I was hoping to.

I had some trouble with my wetsuit in transition. The dang thing just didn't want to come off, and I've always heard others say that this was their least favorite part of the race (trying to get a wet wetsuit off in record time), but I'd never really had issues with it... So this was a little frustrating, but I made it onto my bike in a good time and headed out for the roads.

My bike split was much faster than I was expecting. Apparently, all of that riding I did when my knee was keeping me from running ended up paying off! I was now ahead of my goal time, feeling great about finishing the race with just one more event to go!!

My run was not so successful though. All that riding might have made my bike leg that much better, but it sure didn't help me on my run. I missed my run goal time by 7 minutes, but crossed the finish line with a big smile on my face. I'd finished the whole event 15 minutes better than I was hoping!

Next year, I'll have to find some local Northern California races to do, but I will miss racing out at the Boulder Reservoir. It always presents its challenges, which make crossing that finish line so sweet.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Patio Extension and Fire Pit

After a couple months of weather issues, employee complications and vehicle maintenance, our concrete contractor is just about finished with our back yard patio extension! We started this project well before I ever even started talking to my new employer. So we're sad that a project we put in place for our future enjoyment will have to be loved by someone else now... But we are happily taking advantage of the completed work while we can.

We've poured a new concrete slab, surrounded by stone walls, which turned out so great. In the center is a fully functional gas fire pit, which only requires the small turn of a knob to turn on and light a fire! In the evenings, the neighborhood is so nice and quiet. Having a drink in our patio chairs with the fire going has been so magical.

Maybe some day we'll find a similar spot out in California that we can love just as much.

Going Back to Cali

Here we go again. We swore we were done moving, and this house would be our forever home: a place where we would grow old together. But life has thrown us another curve ball, and we're going to knock this one out of the park. I think...

I've just taken the position of Apparel Technical Design Manager at Specialized out in Morgan Hill, California. This is a giant step for my career, and I can't wait to get started! The role is heavily based in pattern work and fitting, which are honestly my two reasons for showing up to work every day. I am so excited to be working with the group I've met, as they are passionate and dedicated to making amazing apparel. This could really be the dream job come to life.

With that, we're dealing with all of the  crap of moving again. Calling moving companies, researching apartments, selling the house, and selling as much of our stuff as we can online. It's stressful and crazy, and even though we've been through this so many times, it never gets any easier.

We'll be located near San Jose and Santa Cruz in California, once we move at the end of July. So if you're looking for a beach vacation in the area, be sure to look us up! We might be in a tiny place for a while, but we'd be happy to visit the sea lions at the ocean with you whenever you'd like!!

Monday, May 16, 2016

2016 Barkin' Dog Duathlon

This year, I shared my first multi-sport race day with the hubs and it proved to be a lot of fun! We spent a good 30 minutes the night before, creating "bike origami" to get two bikes and four wheels into the back of our little coupe. Miraculously, it somehow worked out great and we got everything into the car without too much swearing or yelling. ha

The rituals of the night-before meal and the SUPER early pre-race breakfast brought back a lot of fun memories from the past few years. I was excited to get out there for the race, and those butterflies that always seem to show up during the drive to the race somehow stayed away...  I must be starting to feel some more confidence for the shorter courses. We'll see if that translates into my longer races too, but I'm guessing they'll find their way back when I see that open water in front of me.

Our morning forecast was pretty cold for a Saturday in the middle of May. It was only 40 degrees outside at the start of our race, and we were as bundled up as we felt we could be. Hubby went off at 7:05 and I followed, ten minutes later.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of myself at this race this year. We were so excited to take pics of hubby after he WON his age group!! So here are a few of him accepting his pint glass and gift card award. He did awesome!

I showed up at the finish line 40 minutes after he did, but I'd put in some really good times compared to my race goals. I set a PR 5k during my first run and averaged 17mph on the bike. I have some work to do to get that third leg looking just as good as the first two... But I'll get there! Only 8 weeks left until Muncie!!!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

10k Results

I started my race season with two 10k races this year, and had good results for both. Back in March, I participated in the "Lucky Laces" run at Civic Center Park in Denver. The course was delightfully flat, the morning was cool but not cold, and the sun was just barely peeking out to create some pretty ideal running conditions. I set a PR 10k at this race, finally putting in a 6.2 mile run under an hour!

Unfortunately, this race happened the day before I left for Asia in March, and my training suffered a lot while I toured the Asian countries to see our factories. My running has been a little bit "off" since then, and I've also been battling a knee injury these last several weeks.

As much as I have been preferring to rest my knee and avoid a typical running routine lately, last weekend was my second 10k of the season, and luckily everything felt pretty normal. My knee felt good throughout the whole race, although it was unseasonably cold. Considering the race was sponsored by YogurtLand, our prize of frozen yogurt after the run was a little tough to stomach. haha

This was also one of the first races I did with a friend. One of my co-workers met me last Saturday morning and ran along side me, cheering me on and pushing me to run faster and master the hilly course laughing and smiling the whole time. It was really a blast, and I need to find out if she'll come to Indiana to pace me in July...  ;)  LOL  It wasn't my best 10k result, but I was only two minutes slower than my best time on a much hillier route. So I was happy with that!!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Our 6th Anniversary

I wouldn't really classify us as a romantic couple. We love each other in our own way, with lots of practicality, logic and simplicity. So for our 6th Wedding Anniversary this year, we mostly celebrated by saying, "Happy Anniversary!" a lot.  ha

We did head out to a local nursery and we adopted two little lavender bushes. And in traditional new-parent form, we carefully wrapped them up and buckled them into the back seat to bring them home. We spent a good portion of the day in the yard, fertilizing, weeding, planting, mulching and cleaning up the lawns. Our new bushes found great spots to live and grow, and I can't wait for them to bloom!

For dinner, we spent the evening in the kitchen together putting together a delicious Paella. And as is our tradition, we toasted to another year with our Wedding Tiffany mugs. It turned out to be a great day outside in the Spring weather, enjoying our home and each other. What could be better than that?

Little Man's Birthday

So I wasn't exactly "on time" with my visit for my nephew's 3rd Birthday this year; I showed up two weeks early... But I think I redeemed myself by taking him for a Toys-R-Us shopping spree and the option to buy whatever he really wanted!

We spent a good portion of the morning browsing the aisles, playing with swords, trains, cars and bikes. In order to get around the store, he would hop on a bike he'd picked out and pedal to his new destination. He was doing really great with the pedals and when it came time for him to pick his favorite item in the store, he actually said he wanted the bike!!

Us being the cycling aunt and uncle we are, it was a little surreal that he picked out a bike as his favorite, and we of course went a little above and beyond to get him something good. We looked for a better, sturdier frame that fit him, and of course supplemented with a VERY cool helmet purchase. It was perfect. His favorite animal is T-Rex right now, so I really don't think we could have scored better this year.

I loved every minute watching him pedal around on his bike, not to mention the experience of putting it together with my little sister.  <3 All in all, it was a great trip back to Ohio and we'll have to put another visit on the agenda soon!