Monday, December 22, 2008


This house is called Phillip. Tim and Rebecca named the house Phillip, and it's a very special house. It's where Aaron lived when we first met. I suppose it was actually where he lived when we second met, because we first met in a bike shop and I buggered back off to New Zealand and blew him off for a year. After Aaron and I second met, Aaron wooed me on Phillip's front porch with his apple tart. At that point, I was too polite to tell him that I don't like pastries. He really won me over when he took my superfluous zucchini and cauliflower from the garden and made delicious concoctions from it while I studied microbiology. That porch was the first place that Aaron and I ever kissed, and I've been known to drag him over there for a smooch on special occasions. Aaron moved all the way across the street, so Phillip's porch is always at our disposal.

For the past few years, Aaron and I have had a tradition of celebrating the solstices. I (the triathlete) am in charge of the summer solstice celebration, since long days and minimal clothing make me happiest. Aaron (the biathlete) is in charge of the winter solstice celebrations, as he is thrilled by long underwear, copious amounts of snow, and cozy fires on frigid nights. I wasn't surprised when I came home from work last night (the winter solstice) to a fairly untraditional but delicious 5 course meal. I wasn't surprised when we went for a walk after dinner in the snow. We walked around Cannon Park and checked out the christmas lights until I began to freeze and whine. I was distracted for a while when we assisted a family recently transplanted from Maui (yikes!) that was stuck in the snow. In the end, there were so many people helping that we all just ended up pushing the stuck car the 2 blocks to their house.

When Aaron told me to join him on Phillip's porch after the walk, I thought he was being sweet and romantic. I didn't know that he was going to ask me to marry him. I was surprised, but it was sweet and I said yes. Actually, I think I said "sure." The stuff of princess dreams, eh?

I suppose I should have been more onto it. I did receive several queries over the past few months: "Are you sure you don't want an engagement ring? You're not just saying that?" My (truthful) answer was no - I don't have any desire to wear a ring, and I think buying one would be a waste of money and resources. Aaron wasn't completely satisfied with that answer, so he superglued (the man loves epoxy) a pebble from the foundation of the now-burned-down bike shop to a simple band. So ladies, if you ever want to check out my "rock," I've really got one. The difficulty that ensued when I tried to replace my mittens post proposal reaffirmed my desire to remain ring-free.

I know that this is a tri blog and not a relationship blog, but I think it's worth mentioning that Aaron actually wanted to do this 6 months ago on the summer solstice, but it was the day before IM Cd'A. Then, he postponed his plans until the equinox, but I was traveling back from training camp in Victoria, so he had to wait another 3 months. Kona would have been a romantic spot for a proposal, but hours of sustained vomiting left me rather cranky. He is one patient triathlete partner. And I sure do love him.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

9 posts

There are officially 9 blog posts between this one and the last one in which I complained about snow. I was actually about to complain about lack of snow last week. It was the day before National Club XC Championships, and a doozy was forcasted. 4-8 inches of snow and bitterly cold temps and winds. What a perfect day for running, ay? Well, the sub-zero temps and 25 mph winds transpired, but not a whole lot on the snow front. Perhaps a couple of inches on the South hill and a mere skiff in the Valley where the race was to take place. And despite my whinging of 9 posts past, I was disappointed in the lack of snow. Mid-December, not enough snow on the mountain to groom for skating, and winter tri nationals less than a month away!

Nonetheless, with the high temp reaching 4 degrees on the mountain (a great improvement over the previous day's -2) Aaron and I took the classic skis out and followed some of the tracks cut by others around the Mt Spokane nordic center. Cutting classic tracks isn't nearly as fun as it is to skate really fast, but it satisfied my need to see snow and sun and participate in a sport that doesn't involve swimming, biking, or running. Plus, I experienced the unique pleasure of having my eyelashes encrusted in ice.

Then, just when I was going to sit down and write a blog about Spokane's tragically snowless state, I noticed that there was a slight chance of snow in the forecast mid-week. A few inches were possible, they said. As predicted, snow was falling steadily when I left for work on Wednesday (my usual 15 minute commute took 50) and with noone coming through the doors all day, my co-workers and I entertained ourselves by watching the snow pile up on our cars. There was at least a foot by the time I left work and the roads were a disaster. This is Spokane - people are supposed to know how to drive in inclement weather, but there are only so many plows in this world and the snow was falling incessantly. I went for a swim after work and watching the snow fall past the window every time I breathed was very cool. The next morning was stunningly beautiful. The snow continued to fall, and we had about 2 feet on the ground already.

The best thing about a city-stopping snowstorm (yes, even the malls were closed, and it's prime holiday shopping season), is the extent to which it brings everyone outside. Even in single digit temperatures, the whole neighborhood was out shoveling. And shoveling and shoveling. It turned out to be a recored-setting storm, with 25 inches in 24 hours at our house. That's my dad (an industrious sort) plowing his driveway (it's a long one) for the umpteenth time.

The worst part of a city-stopping snowstorm? Trying to train. I like to think that I'm pretty hard-core when it comes to running, but it is simply impossible to do so in knee-deep snow. So I tricked myself out in my teal Sorrells left over from my middle school days and Aaron's Carharts. I tucked my sweatshirt into the Carharts to make them fit (and to make myself look extra cool) and trucked into town to go to the gym. I love that pedetrians completely take over the streets when cars can't pass. There were people out snowshoeing and xc skiing, and I even saw a couple of snowboarders carving down Monroe street. Regretably, the storm took its toll on the gym, and with a single person staffing the place, the pool was closed :( I did manage to get in a decent treadmill workout (yawn) and trudged back up the South Hill to make dinner.
The following day was another snow day, so Aaron and I headed back up to Mt. Spokane where some preliminary grooming had taken place. It wasn't quite set up enough for skating, and my classic skis were slow (think I need to lose weight or shorten my wax pocket a bit), but it was absolutely gorgeous. I love that mountain in all seasons, but winter is particularly special. We didn't finish skiing until after dark. A fine day indeed.

Now I'm at my dad's house in a desperate attempt to facilitate a run outside on traffic-free country roads that are still decently packed tomorrow morning, but it looks like we're in for more snow tonight. In fact the only pictures on the 10-day weather forecast are snowflakes. I'd like it to be known that I'm not complaining about snow in this post. Lots of cold, feathery, light snow is perfect for holiday cheer (and for skiing). If it's still doing this in April, I'll be writing something reminiscint of 9 blogs ago, but now it's time for celebration. Even though my ability to run outdoors is presently compromised, yay for snow! I can't wait for my brother and sister to come home so we can do some ultimate sledding (full-contact sled racing down my dad's driveway). Aaron and Bri have joined in the action in years past, and I fully expect optimal conditions this year.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The videos

Very funny grand canyon videos. 1st up . . . "Alice cookin' beans she's got the hot dogs on."

Dee's modified version