Entries tagged with “Friends”.


Drew and I decided to take a bike ride this weekend. I’ve been running a good deal, and feeling like it’s time to start rounding out my exertions with other ways to break a sweat. Swimming and lifting are great in their place, but I have a nice bike that hasn’t seen the light of day enough lately. So.

Given the drastic variation in our skill and fitness levels  we usually stick to either the Springwater Trail or the Banks-Vernonia Trail  when we ride. These are both paved trails with predictable conditions and a mild grade as a nod to my considerable inexperience with any other kind, but I was feeling adventurous and thought a change of scene might be nice.

A quick search for a Rails-To-Trails came up with a few good options, but most of them were either disappointingly short or inconveniently far away. Finally, when I expanded my search to include Washington as well as Oregon the Klickitat River Trail popped up in my results. The photos looked lovely and the mention of pavement and packed dirt surface seemed promising. A drive out to Hood River being a pretty regular occurrence for me, I didn’t see the distance as prohibitive.

If I had read the trail info on the website for the trail itself – rather than on the rails-to-trails results – I might have realized the “pavement” and “packed dirt surface” were in limited supply and that a road bike wasn’t sufficient to the journey. Alas, I did not settle on this idea via that route and didn’t give a second thought to what kind of conditions we might encounter.

The Lyle Trailhead boasts a recently paved parking lot with modern bathroom facilities. Even at 10 a.m. the lot was completely empty. What traffic we did see was all over in the nearby gravel lot that served the riverbank and the kiteboarders headed out on the Columbia. It seemed strange to me that such an accessible and seemingly well-maintained bike path would be deserted on a weekend morning, but I was more inclined simply to be grateful than to consider too deeply why that might be the case.

We mounted up and started riding. Within about 300 yards, the asphalt gave way to gravel, never to return. Over the course of the ride, it would devolve into an array of variably challenging alternatives, but it was never again as favorable as those first few hundred feet.  My Trek is a hybrid with tires of a fairly reasonable width, Drew however has a road cycle suited for long touring rides; he’s gone to Ragbrai several times with this rig and it is patently meant to be used on pavement. It was clear within a mile or so that we were in for more of a challenge than we had bargained for. We both felt like the drive and the effort made it worthwhile to simply forge ahead and make the best of things, nevertheless.

Just Past The Pavement

Just Past The Pavement

As far as it went, you could hardly ask for a nicer setting. The river runs close alongside the trail for nearly the entire length of the section we rode. There were high rolling hills, trees, and all manner of wildlife. We saw several bald eagles, a heron, and a variety of other birds. The day was overcast and warm, but much less brutally hot than the previous several weeks and overall, conditions seemed quite good for a ride. 



Somewhat quickly however, things devolved. Only his considerable athleticism allowed Drew to make anything like reasonable progress. I was in much better shape on my set of wider tires than he was on his super skinny road wheels. Large flinty rocks littered the trail at intervals and no one surface dominated the others to allow one to adapt or predict what might be the most appropriate riding speed. At turns sand, packed dirt, small dense gravel, large rocks, wooden planks, and asphalt all made an appearance. We made good time over anything flat and firm, but all too often that would give way to a particularly rocky or bumpy section which would require either a considerable slowdown or to dismount entirely. Fairly early on, I lost my bike out from under me once trying to skirt one of the several gates we encountered. Though I landed on my feet and was entirely unhurt, I remarked that though I have to get hurt to know I am having a good time, I’d prefer it happen later in the ride.*

Backpack As Sweat Catcher

Butt As Yet Not Totally Numb

Predictably, given the unsuitability of riding road tires over a surface suited to mountain bikes, one of Drew’s tubes gave way. Repaired with relative ease, we carried on. Our original plan had been to at least attempt the entire length of the 31 mile trail. It became apparent within the first 4 miles or so there was simply no way we were equipped for such a task. His bike and my lack of saddle time were a considerable impediment to the conditions. 

Bridge To Nowhere

Bridge To Nowhere

I began to look with fondness over at the highway that paralleled the trail on the opposite river bank. Somewhere around mile 7, Drew suggested we ride back down over the road rather than navigating the whole beast in reverse. My initial concern over the lack of a shoulder to ride on gave way to exhaustion and thirst (having left both of the two bottles of water I’d brought back in the car like a moron) and I agreed taking the road back made the most sense.


No Cows Were Spotted In The Making Of This Blog Post

No Cows Were Spotted In The Making Of This Blog Post

Once on the road, things sped up considerably. My initial concern about riding on the highway was quickly put to rest when I noted that the shoulder was present and even generous for most of the 10 mile length of our ride back. Moreover, traffic was both light and considerate. My only difficulty was with the rolling hills we had managed to avoid on the very flat trail surface. Drew handled them with alacrity and was far enough ahead to be out of sight for a fair portion of the ride, but I was flailing in granny gear more than once. 

Once the trail returned to the side of the river I was riding down it occurred to me that proceeding back over the flat packed surface of the trail might be faster for me than trying to keep pace with Drew over the road. Delighted I wouldn’t have to mount the last long incline I saw climbing in front of me, I turned with more speed than was wise to re-enter the trail. As soon as my tires hit gravel I knew I was about to make good on my earlier suggestion that I get hurt a little closer to the end of the ride.


Owie, I Had Fun!

Owie, I Had Fun!

As is my custom it ended up being the Best Possible Version of the Worst Case Scenario; the bad thing happens, but it’s a lot less bad than it could be. My hands took the brunt of the damage – again, I was technically prepared with gloves, but hadn’t actually bothered to put them on – but I did end up with some road rash on my elbow and a nasty bruise on my right leg. Scrapes notwithstanding, and having known people who came away from bike crashes only by aid of LifeFlight, I was relieved not to have been much more badly hurt. 

So only having ridden roughly 20 of the 62 we’d planned, I was still duly exhausted and ready to reward the effort. Everybody’s Brewing up in White Salmon was beckoning, and the Mediterranean Plate and Little Sister ISL felt like due recompense for my pain and pleasure. 

Hey Hey Hey, Look At Little Sister

Hey Hey Hey, Look At Little Sister




*Naturally this came back to haunt me. Like asking the universe to smite me. As if it needed the encouragement.



1. an act or instance of interceding.

2. an interposing or pleading on behalf of another person.

3. a prayer to God on behalf of another.

4. Roman History . the interposing of a veto, as by a tribune.

Tenderly then, I will cradle this unknown heart, and speak for it as if it were my own

I am both a sentimentalist and a sap. I frequently engage in magical thinking, make unfounded prophecies, ignore the evidence of my senses in favor of the clamoring of my heart.

And these are some of the best truths about me.

However all of this may be, I do not subscribe to the rather crushing notion that we are destined to find only one great love that will be the shaping of us. I believe, instead, that some people are drawn together and recognize one another in ways both material and abstract. That these people, if they are able to discover each other, become bound in ways that defy reason and countermand sense. That this can happen any number of times in the course of a life, and always without exception leaves both parties changed indelibly.

I met the first – and perhaps greatest – love of this kind when I was just sixteen.

I was most truly myself at this age; vulnerable, brash, filled with conceit and self-loathing. I was ambitious without any expectation of realizing my goals, I was full of myself without liking my contents. I was convinced no one should ever love me, so I was unabashed about lavishing my adoration on others unstintingly, without any anticipation of reciprocity.

By faith, all of these things are still true, they have merely been tempered by time.

I decided at some pass my best chance at being beautiful was to stand very close and in the reflected glory of the beauty of others. So, clever as I was, I set out to find the most glorious beauty I could.

And so I did.

We were in Overtones together. This elect singing ensemble met before school each day to practice. She was newly transferred and in need of a ride. I was possessed of a hand-me-down Plymouth and not a whit of sense about why I mightn’t wish to drive a car with no insurance, no license, and lacking operational reverse gear. I blithely offered to collect her each morning and bring her along to school. But on the first morning, I failed to appreciate the pitch of the drive and was momentarily stuck rocking the Valiant back and forth in an attempt to pop its rear wheels out over the curb to get back to the street.

I looked up at her standing at the top of the driveway, imagining her derision and impatience. I was mortified and humiliated. When she climbed in beside me, I began to apologize profusely. She simply laughed,

“You have no idea. My boyfriend has to start his van with a screwdriver. This is pretty standard for me.”

The landscape of our histories were different, but far more similar than those of most of the other teenagers we knew. We had both been desperately poor, came from chaotic family backgrounds, and were now largely responsible for our own progress forward through our remaining adolescence. As a result, we were rather pleased with ourselves for our maturity and superiority compared to these children who had never known what it was to truly suffer.

We understood one another, and spoke a common language of marginalization and pain. More than simply this resonance – compelling though it was – she was also quite simply the most beautiful creature I had ever beheld.

Her fondness for me was somewhat less entire.

We struggled through the heaving seas of our emotions, conflict over things I considered strange and confusing to acknowledge (my inability to understand my cloying need for attention might be overwhelming) and an ever-present but not explicitly acknowledged belief that she was consenting to be my friend, and that this great favor could be withdrawn at any time, without cause.

And, it was. More than once. Though, ultimately, we continued to maintain a relationship for most of 15 years, there were long stretches of time when we did not speak; several times at her insistence, once or twice at mine.

We spent uncounted hours together. For a long time, she was my sole and only friend, and I hers. We talked about things both mundane and universal. We squealed in the darkness, and railed against the silence. I comforted her when she acted in ways that betrayed her, and offered reassurance regarding her sometimes callous treatment of myself and others. I agreed with her unstintingly about everything and used all the power at my disposal to justify anything about which she felt fleeting guilt. In exchange, I got to keep being her friend. For many years, I was satisfied with this arrangement.

Then, at some point, I began to realize that I wasn’t the exceedingly plain smart friend of the beautiful girl. That she wasn’t just doing me a favor by letting me hang around. It eventually dawned that I was indeed beautiful in my own right. And I, in the classic way of all fools disappointed in love, began to resent her. In this, I erred considerably; ascribing to her all the motives and machinations that might have been true for me, if I were she. Ah, such a dear and insidious conceit.

I also began to change my ideas about how I wanted my life to look, what I cared about creating, and what no longer served me. Part of this change occurred when I had my daughter, but part of it was an ongoing process of learning to appreciate the things I had to offer that it seemed only I had failed to acknowledge.

Mainly, at some point, I simply began to feel like what we shared transcended mere friendship. That we were family and that despite our growing gulf of differences in values, lifestyle, and ethics, we would simply work to adjust as necessary.

Yet somehow, that isn’t how it all turned out.

We had been struggling more pointedly for a while. We both had other friends, and we had drifted into very different social groups. She more fully embodying the bohemian lifestyle she was always flirting with and I gravitating toward a much more conservative one. We had years of shared history but it was more or less all we had in common anymore.

Despite this, I was unwilling, and indeed had no desire, to consider letting her go. I had long since come to understand that she was one of the great loves of my life. That though there was never a romantic component to our relationship, it had many of the other dynamics of the passionate devotional entanglements I had otherwise experienced; including the unhealthy ones.

But like so much about this love, she did not feel it as I did.

We had a rather hideous fight at the worst possible time. This great love was declared dead over the phone as I stood on a streetcorner. All the while gasping at the hypocrisy and arrogance being leveled at me for offenses that to my mind constituted gestures of social politesse, not the betrayals she had labeled them. We no longer recognized each other. We no longer had a shared and common language, and it seemed nothing remained but mutual contempt.

But, that was only a seeming. At least for me.

We have seen each other once or twice since then. We have spoken our words of regret and apology, and I am mostly satisfied with that. Mostly.

There is a part of me that longs for her yet, so desperately that I still timidly reach out to her; occasionally declare this love lives still, despite all. In my dream last night, I begged her husband – for what seemed hours – to intercede with her on my behalf. To carry my love to her and ensure that it be felt. This dream is merely one of many I have had recently about her. Some where she rejects me cruelly – in ways she would never even think to imagine let alone act upon – some where she refuses to acknowledge my existence at all. In none of them do I see what I know to be true which is that – of course – she still holds love for me too.

Would that I were able to take this certainty with me into sleep, that it should keep me cradled atop the waves, rather than sunk beneath them; oppressed by an internal and antiquated deceit.

Dress up is my favorite game

I always manage to turn the celebration of my birthday into a multi-day affair. Sometimes, in particular circumstances, the festivities will go on for weeks. 

This last weekend I hosted a party for my peeps. I was worried that the classic party night, of the last Saturday before Halloween would present stiff competition for other goings on, but everyone I really wanted to see made a point to come see me and bestow their birthday wishes. Plus I got to see some friends who had been all too long absent from my life. It was lovely.

I did order too much beer, and now probably need to have another  party for the sole purpose of emptying the kegs. Either that or offer trick-or-treat beers to parents…

 Plusalso, the actual birthday birthday HAS YET TO HAPPEN!!!




i had weird dreams last night.

i was on my way to a film festival with some friends, and was going to meet them at their place across town, but rather than getting in my car to drive, i decided instead that i would take my home-made hot air balloon! this contraption consisted of an old recycling bin and a pouch attached by a complicated rigging system and filled, not with helium or hot air, but with nitrous oxide. the logistical problems with this mode of conveyance are many; nitrous isn’t that buoyant, as it turns out, i don’t know how in the hell i was supposed to steer (i vaguely remember some emphatic leaning) and i really don’t know how i was able to fit myself into a recycling bin. true, by the time i landed it seemed to have fallen apart just a bit, gone soft and flexible, but i never felt dangly on the ride.

the friends i was going to see were pretty impressed with my handiwork; some more than others. the boys were quick to point out my successful journey was proof of the viability of this mode of transport (thus legitimizing their desire to make one too) while the girls tended to raise a skeptical eyebrow.

it then became clear to me that i had somehow forgotten my money, and couldn’t very well attend the film festival without any. so. TBIL appeared out of the ether to offer me a ride back to my place to fetch it. however, this endeavor was complicated by his inability to select the correct route to my house (this, is the least far-fetched part of the dream, for sure) and ended up detouring into north Portland and getting caught in traffic waiting to cross the st johns bridge. the traffic was backed up there because the giant dam across the willamette in downtown portland had closed its floodgates causing the river to rise far enough to wash out the bridge (nevermind the course of the river would need to flow in the opposite direction to have this effect). which wasn’t stopping anyone from driving across it mind you, just slowing them down enough to cause a tie up. when we finally got onto the bridge it was not only 3-4 inches deep in water, it had a hill on it like the bridge between astoria and longbeach. scary.

after that i ended up losing track of TBIL and found myself back with the girlfriends in a gallery/antique shop where we looked at pottery with uneducated disdain until we found a back room with a robust supply of costume pieces. parading did ensue. the proprietor came around and scolded us; apparently some of the props were valuable.

for some reason i woke up from this dream feeling displaced and vulnerable. it seems a strange one to cling, to unsettle… yet somehow, it has.

my friend Lyza is the opposite of a dilettante: by which i mean that though she has a dizzying variety of intriguing hobbies and interests, she doesn’t dabble. instead she immerses herself in research and practical application. i am consistently impressed by her ability to master whatever she sets her hand to, and i am very proud indeed to count her among my close friends.

but perhaps never so proud as i am today, when she and her cohorts were finally able to announce the release of the new Obama App for iPhone

Lyza has been devoting herself to the difficult task of growing a small software startup with several talented and like-minded tech folks here in the Portland area. CloudFour is the result of these efforts, and for some time now she has been drawn to the idea of creating iPhone applications as a component of her work. what a way to begin…

not only with an application that has such promise for wild popularity, but one that has the potential to be meaningful as a political tool in the crucial upcoming election.

my most sincere congratulations to the entire team.

went to Sunriver with some peeps over the weekend. was able to do this primarily because i work for some folks who own a couple of vacation rentals there and as an employee they offer us the use of one of them for a ridonkulously low rate. so, semi-free vay-kay? i say yes way!

gathered up a few friends and the kiddo and off we went. the weather was phenomenally
lovely and perfect. mid 80’s during the day, dropping to the 40’s at night with a clear waxing moonlit sky. warm enough for all sorts of outdoor adventures, but cool enough to have hot tub and fire at night.

did i mention before how much i love fire?? i love fire. a real lot. i managed to build two this weekend without the aid of chemical propellants. may have been a first. everyone else was complaining that they felt like we were enjoying a vacation on the surface of the sun, but i thought it was cozy.

we went for a nice low-key hike with Hodie out to Benham falls, which i must say, could have more aptly been called Benham Slight-Elevation-Decrease. not much “falling” going on. certainly a nice scenic rapids though. i also learned something very interesting about Lyza apparently, she has a crush on the Ponderosa Pine that requires frequent up close olfactory encounters. she also managed to draw her spouse and my child into this strange love fest. i felt a little dirty watching and taking photos, but a girl’s gotta make a living, right?

we did some movie watching and some game playing and bike riding and generally just had a nice low key weekend. i did continue my habit of falling down for no apparent reason. TWICE in like 20 minutes, no less! toppled off the teeter totter, and fell into a utility access hole. awesome! killer scabs and bruises.

was feeling kinda blue, so it was especially nice to be with friends who were content to be there and let me be a little blue. lovely friends.

and i am not talking about my karaoke partners from last night…

no, rather that this seemed to be a week steeped in a particular type of sentiment: a transient, elusive, and utterly singular sort that only makes sense to me, i’m sure.

i like to pretend to be tough and/or cool, but really i am all squashy inside. and yet, even for me, some of the things that have set me smiling at the sweetness i felt, upon reflection, seem sort of amusing.

such as:

  • hodie went to go get the both of us a drink of water. there were only two vessels left in the cupboard. she took the plastic cup and brought me the large glass jar. she says “i know you don’t like drinking out of plastic mommy. but, i did give myself more ice” aww. and haw!
  • ranting about sisterdrama. recalling PREVIOUS sisterdrama. relating the time i had to go verbally flay boneheaded boyfriend of said sister. someone listening to all of this vitrol turns to me and says “you know, you’re a really good sister.” whaa? for yelling? CAN DO!
  • very manly man hurt himself. i offered him a hello kitty bandaid. he wore it. to work. smiling.
  • various grown up male friends of mine who have no children hainging out with me and hodie to watch stars fall. then subsequently telling me what a cool kid i have.

it was a wild one, no doubt.

hodie-related drama friday night cut short plans for evening. made it out for shoe admiration and drinks with Lyza but no karaoke. sad.

on the whole, it might have been for the best, since i woke up in the wee hours for my race. it went really well, though it turned out that the swimming was better than i feared, and the running was harder than i’d imagined. i think the momentum of exhaustion just built up. but! i ran the entire course and didn’t wuss out and walk at all. hooray me!

brewfest was less than thrilling. dusy, hot, crowded, and spendy. i saw some peeps i like and heard some juicy gossip, so that was fun anyway. got a bit drunker than planned due to low food intake coupled with heat and alcohol. staggered a little on the way home. designated driver fetched me out for an additional party later that evening. announced my arrival with bellowing belch. as usual.

sunday morning dawned with golf on the agenda. met up with pops and went out to the course and hit some balls at the driving range.

which, being only the second time i ever picked up a club, went pretty well! then i hit a hole in one on a par three. so… strange luck that i have. that was pretty cool. steakburgers after. yum.

after the golf-stravaganza, i went off to ann taylor to get the dress for the wedding i am going to be in come march. it’s GORGEOUS and AWESOME and it was KILLER to walk into ann taylor and a) get to buy something b) put on a size 4 and have it be too big on me. ha. i heart shopping.

mike & les are going back to the mitten state and we had a little farewell feast for them at madison’s last night. drinks and food, wee bit o’ crying on my part because i am a sentimental slob. nice way to say goodbye.

premier of Mad Men was last night and went to Lyza’s to enjoy with wine and her lovely friends. the new motto of the moment is: take off your hat. on behalf of womanhood: thank you, Don Draper. thank you.

on the whole a capital weekend! hoo-rah.

i must say, spring was singularly uninspiring in the sense of having much going on. so far, summer has been making up for this in spades. awesome things i have going on this weekend:

  • acquisition of domain name, blog improvement plans, & shoe-admiration with Lyza
  • birthday celebration for friend Darrin including (but not limited to) brewfest, dinner, karaoke, strippers…
  • triathalon (mini, yes, but still)
  • more brewfest w/ different friends. don’t want to deprive anyone of the opportunity to see me drunk after all, spectacle that it is. besides, i heart beer.
  • golf with daddy. as long as he doesn’t spend the whole time cursing at me for wrecking his game, this should be enjoyable.
  • shopping for bridesmaid dress with friend Danielle, other girlyness likely to ensue

ocean viewing weekend component missing, as well as smooching, but apart from that, all elements of amazing weekend are in place. can’t wait to take 952 pictures of shenanigans so as to properly recall said shenanigans later free from alcohol haze.