Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bonding with Amelia

I finally found some time to take Amelia for a spin yesterday in the beautiful fall weather. 65˚F and beautiful sunshine here in Atlanta...quite a change from what I'd grown accustomed to up in Vermont on one of the last days of October. I feel a little like I'm living in perpetual August/September weather and I couldn't be happier. There will be some adjustments when we set the clocks back next weekend and it's darker earlier - but I'm still getting on average an extra hour of light every day. And let me tell you the difference it makes. Amazing.

My ride was fantastic. It felt so good to use my body for exercise again. I went over to the west side of the city and found the start of the Silver Comet Trail, an old rail bed that's been converted to a really great bike path. I can see why it'd be good to not go there on the weekends - when it is likely to be over-run by baby joggers, roller bladers and all kinds of family "vehicles" (think training wheels and tricyles). Which suits me fine. I'm thinking that Monday afternoons will be a good time for me to get over there. It's nice to have a schedule that allows me to take a few hours in the middle of the day. Incidentally, there were several biker types on the trail and none of them were very friendly or even really acknowledged me. Roadies, perhaps? I didn't get good the good tri vibes I was hoping to find.

My next mission is to find the bike trail that goes from Midtown out and around Stone Mountain. Because riding in the streets here is just not an option.

Going to see about a running club this weekend - Saturdays at 8 am in Piedmont Park. Wish me luck! Joining new groups is a challenge...

Here's a picture of the cut paper poster I've been designing in my Design Aesthetics class. What you see here is a culmination of more than 100 hours of work done over 3 weeks. First we drew our animal (mine was an "exotic" sheep) in the style of our civilization (mine was the Absaroke or Crow Indians) in black ink - 100 thumbnails @2" x 3", from those: 33 rough roughs @4"x6", then from those: 11 roughs @6"x9", and from those: 3 tight comps at 12"x18." Then we had to go to kinkos and scan our best three to 24" x 36" and then fix what got bad when we enlarged it (e.g. big areas of blank space). THEN once we figured out just how we wanted our final, we had to make the entire thing again, at 24" x 36" but this time out of cut paper ONLY and only using blacks, whites, and grays. Hard to imagine, isn't it? That's what I thought too. But look!!! School is pretty cool... 'cept my hand still hurts from using the exacto knife.

Train hard!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Back in the Pool

OK, I made it back to the pool this morning. And I felt like a grouper. No, not an AGE grouper. A GROUPER. You know, big fish, LIIIIIIITLE tiny fins.

Why oh why do I force myself start from square one every November?

Saturday, October 27, 2007


I've been blogging in my head since August 20th. Fer shur. It's just that there's so so much to report and there's so much in my world that has been turned upside down that I don't know where to start, so I haven't!

I've written some of my Timberman half iron race report - which I know is critical since the point of this blog since its inception has been to chronicle that journey - but it's just not ready to post. So here's a recap, in lazy list form, so that you have some idea and we can move on from here... because frankly, I miss you all, and miss your comments and feedback and energy...and I need to make a point to write SOMETHING every day...or every other day. Here goes:

- after Timberman, it took a good 3 days before I could manage stairs again.

- finishing a race like a half ironman for the first time is both thrilling and humbling.

- I still have a lot of mental work to do on the triathlon front. It's really quite silly to feel like you didn't reach your goals when you're 40 mins. slower than you hoped you'd be...after 70.1 freakin' miles. 70.1 FREAKIN' miles!!!!

- it was hard to get "back on the tri wagon" after finishing that race. I didn't feel the extreme need to train and train and train and train...

- it's easy to kind of lose yourself when you stop living the lifestyle that has come to define you.

-I've never felt so focused on a goal as I felt prior to this race. It was nice to see that I could follow through on a goal that had been set 5 years prior.

- finishing this race marked the beginning of a critical transition in my short 35 years.

- in September, I packed up what felt like a too-big Budget moving truck and set off by myself, a feat previously unimaginable.

- it's amazing what a year in therapy can accomplish

- I drove from Sharon, VT to Glencoe, MD in one shot, only 10 hours which was really not so bad except when I couldn't stay awake. Thank goodness for Starbucks frappaccino...

- One night in Glencoe and I was off again, hell bound for the ATL. I was willing to stop south of Charlotte but by then, I was so jazzed that I just had to make the final push. What's one more hour after 13?

- Budget rental trucks KICK ASS. I felt safe, comfortable and efficient for the entire trip.

- the trip was uneventful if not LONG. 14 hours later I crested a hill and saw the Bank of America building towering over the Atlanta skyline. There was yelling and celebration...

- just as this happened, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" mash-up came on my iPod. THANK YOU CB!!!

- It really was quite amazing and thrilling.

- Yes, the Atlanta traffic on the highways is as ridiculous as everyone says it is. I sat in traffic at 9 pm on Saturday night for about an hour. insane. And no, no one knows how to drive here. Boston drivers seem tame...

- I managed to find my exit and new apartment and only had to circle the block 5 times before I found a spot to park the mammoth-seeming truck. one way streets are NARROW!

- nothing feels quite as grimy as the first night in a new apartment that you haven't yet cleaned YOURSELF. Even if it's been cleaned before you got there. can you say flip flops in the shower?

- friends who are willing to help you unpack your moving truck to a second floor walk up KICK ASS. Aud and Jess were/are my heroes...

- unpacking your stuff can't happen until you've cleaned. It was a long three days of scrubbing.

- did you know that cleaning can really exacerbate your carpal tunnel syndrome? yet another reason to hire a cleaning service. My hands are still asleep...

- with the bathroom and bedroom scrubbed spotless, I was able to pack my laptop and toothbrush and return to Vermont for a week of closure, goodbyes and to collect my car.

- leaving was harder than I thought it would be. I needed a snowstorm to kick my ass outta there 'cause VT in September, esp. during global warming, is really quite lovely.

- Me and Vivien (the sleek, older woman Subaru Legacy) headed south to RI to bid family adieu and collect a younger cousin who thought it'd be cool to check out the ATL for a few days...and keep me company on the 2nd drive south.

- the east coast goes by much faster at 75 mph than at 60 mph. We made it all the way to Richmond in about 9 hours. Totally uneventful. ;)

- Viv got about the same gas mileage as the Budget Truck. She's really getting on in years...

- From Richmond, where we had a lovely visit with another cousin and his family, we headed due west to experience the Blue Ridge Highway, which was quite spectacular (pictures forthcoming).

- The coolest part about it was when a black bear ran across the road in front of us!! And we'd only just been discussing what kinds of wildlife lived in the blue ridge mountains.

- We made it all the way to Gatlinburg, TN where we camped for a night and slept for about 5 minutes. thankfully it didn't rain.

- It was pretty cool to drive UP and OVER the Great Smoky Mountains. But it was akin to driving up Mt. Washington. I felt bad for the AT hikers who were at the highest point of the trail south of the Whites, who had to earn the view with their own two feet, but who were joined by hundreds of tourists in flip flops and tube tops exclaiming over the view as they smoked their Merit Lights and sipped PBR. Deliverance is not just a movie.

- coming down the east side of the Smokies, we drove thru the Cherokee Indian Reservation. Which is really quite upsetting and sad. I was ashamed to be an American of European descent.

- Asheville, NC is very pretty but much bigger than I thought it would be.

- We got into the ATL exhausted and happy to have arrived.

- spent several days unpacking, more cleaning, driving around and getting lost for fun just to see as much of the city as possible, and getting totally lost in IKEA.

- My little cuz was impressed by the place and could see himself moving here... which would be TOTALLY cool. So far though, I have not heard of any plans for him to relocate. Follow through in life is everything... my fingers are still crossed.

- on Monday, October 1st I began a two year graduate program in Graphic Design with 37 other students.
- as of Monday, October 29th, I believe there are now only 34 or 35 of us. The weeding out process has been pretty intense.

- I'm learning EXACTLY what I signed up to learn - classes are Design Aesthetics, Emotive Type, Typography Fundamentals, Flash I, and Print Production. All are AMAZING.

- In the first week alone, we had about 30 hours of work just for Design Aesthetics.

- I had to draw an exotic sheep in the style of the Crow (Absaroke) Indian Tribe, no less than 200 times. I used to like sheep...

- I know where every Art Supplies store, Office Depot, Staples, Lowe's, Home Depot, and Kinko's is in greater Metro Atlanta - you can just call me Google Map.

- I have no idea how people used to move to a new city and find their way around without the internet or google.

- In the first week I was here, I consulted Google Maps to find: Starbucks, Ikea, Target, Home Depot, Publix, Wal Mart, Michael's, Georgia Power, CVS, Wachovia, Whole Foods, Staples, and countless directions. It's really quite amazing.

- There is very little overlap in design/art students and triathlon. I need to find some additional friends who are a little more active.

- I've been to swim with my new swim team exactly ONCE. It's quite tragic, really. The pool is at Georgia Tech - just a few blocks from my place - and is the site of the '96 games...which means the facility is INCREDIBLE. Schoolwork has overwhelmed me but this week I am going to MAKE time to get there.

- It's hard to get used to a new master's coach. Especially when your old masters coach kicks some serious ass. It's like going from eating caviar with champagne to eating TV dinners with PBR. Hard to get motivated for practices that are just dull and no fun. I will overcome. Swimming is too important to me...

- It's lonely starting out on your own in a new city. But inroads are being built and things will improve. For now, I'm going to enjoy the struggle. Living on your growth edge is important and life-affirming.

- thank goodness for excellent therapy.

- it is still light at 6:30 pm here - at the end of october. Seeing snow on the ground for some of you is reminding me that I am TOTALLY in the right place. 70F days, 40F nights with the windows open - it's ALL good. Georgia may in fact be the solution to my severe seasonal depression. THANK the goddess.

- I miss my tri life but I WILL be returning to it asap.

- I'd love to hear from any bloggers in the ATL.

There's still a lot more to write but for now, I'm doing fine, loving my new path and getting used to living on that growth edge. I back away from the edge some days and that makes it hard to move forward but slow and steady progress is what I'm about. It's all good. And I remind myself every day to enjoy the ride because we only get one ride in this here life. No sense rushing to the next goal because the goal is really the journey.

I've been quiet on comments and email but know that I'm still reading about what all of you have been up to and cheering you every step of the way. I REALLY want to be better about posting but school has to take a front seat for now. I'm told that things will quiet down after first quarter and will be even more quiet after 2nd quarter... that this is the indoctrination period. Let's hope the rumors are true because I'm not sure I can keep up this pace for 2 WHOLE years!!! Yikes...

Thanks to everyone that has sent well wishes and good thoughts - it means more than you know!!!

I'm going to go check out the Dekalb Farmer's Market in Decatur. I hear they have vegetables I've never even heard of before... ;)

Train hard, and enjoy the off season!