Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pumpkin Bliss

By Liz

Pumpkins! Pumpkins! Pumpkins!  Is it just me or has pumpkin fever hit extra hard this fall?   It feels as though the pumpkin flavored/infused initiative has grown, well bigger than a certain pumpkin that turns into a carriage.  I find this interesting and also self annoying that I've totally jumped on board with this new fall love.  

The easiest and most widely known pumpkin treat has to be the PSL (pumpkin spiced latte). This yummy treat can be found at almost any coffee shop, so it seems.  The months of September and October have me trading in my usual treat of a Carmel Macchiato to the limited PSL.  Super yummers!  

In addition to the latte, a major increase of pumpkin themed/flavored items are hitting the markets.   Trader Joes alone has over a dozen new items this year.  Pumpkin Biscotti, tea, pop tarts, ravioli, ice cream, and muffins just to name a few.  It's so interesting that this squash like veggie is getting such huge revamp and are more than pies and things you carve a scary face into at Halloween.  
Do you have a favorite Pumpkin flavored item? Oh and btw, totally sipping on a PSL as I write;0).  

Friday, September 6, 2013


In the past few weeks Seattle has expereinced a number of thunderstorms.  Which for those of you that do not live in the Seattle area may not understand how odd this is.  I’ve been here for almost five years and we’ve had more thunderstorms in the past few weeks than in the past five years combined.  The past two days alone we’ve had a high volume of rain and storm activity.  Relatively mild in comparison to other parts of the country, but odd for the Puget Sound area.  Also, rain here is usually a drizzle… not accumilating tons of inches in a day.  So that is how it rains all the time in the fall, winter and spring, but other parts of the country actually have much higher rain accumilation. 


Now, the thunderstorms here are not the ones I know and love.  Growing up in the Mid-West, spending my college days in Charleston, SC, and Summers in Mountain Rest, SC I know what a good thunderstorm is all about.  The ones where you can smell the change in the air.  The feeling that the air is super charged with electricity and you get goosebumps or the hair on your arms start to stand up.  The loud clapping of thunder that shakes you to the bone and resinate in your chest.  Those are the thunderstorms I love.


As a child I have fond memories of sitting on our front porch swing… Either by myself or with a family member.  Watching from the safety of cover as the heavens open up and dump buckets of water onto the earth.  The streets would start to fill with heaps of water as the drains try to keep up.  There would be the day or two where the rain would stick around, but the best thing would be when an afternoon storm rolled in and out in a matter of minutes to an hour.   The heat would boil the clouds and mother nature would give us a show. 


Did I mention that I love thunderstorms?  Thor the god of thunder, weilding his hammer… :O)  My friend Jeremy and once poster to the Rider Chronicles captured a night strorm over the city a few weeks ago.  With his permission I wanted to share this amazing pic.  Here you go!


Picture by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren 




Thursday, August 29, 2013

Skipping Stones

By Liz

This past weekend I spent some time camping with some dear lady friends at Beckler River.  This lovely girls only (sorry, no boys in our clubhouse!) time was rejuvenation with each other and good old nature.  Now, what happened on girls weekend, stays at girls weekend.  However, I will share a few things...

One is never to old to enjoy skipping stones across water.  Our lovely camp site was located next to mild flowing river.  Taking a few trips to the water we enjoyed to sights and joys of playing along a riverside.  Walking along the rocky bed shore and discovering many perfect flat rocks of all sizes.  I've never been all that great at skipping stones, but I can usually get one or two hops each time.  Little pleasures to be found all the time. 

Exploring mountain service roads leads to high and spectacular views.  Winding dirt one track roads gets you to the top or pretty close. One of my favorite pictures was taken from this exploration part of our weekend.  

This is my second camping weekend of the summer and likely my last.  I do love nature, but find two or three trips a summer last me until the next.  With Labor Day approaching and as summer is coming to a close, I am pretty happy with summer 2013.  A very fulfilling, relaxing, and all together lovely one.  

Friday, August 23, 2013

Off to Jetty Island

By Liz

The summer of 2013 has been a lovely one.  I’ve been lucky enough to go on a few camping trips, a couple of picnics, plenty of backyard love, and now the enjoyment of softball.  Seattle weather has been a dream!  Seriously,  I know I’m talking about the weather here, but it’s been fantastic. 


This past weekend I was able to experence another charming picnic with some darling friends.  Our local: Jetty Island… Located just 40 minutes North of Seattle off of Everett.  A first come first serve foot ferry takes groups of beach goers with their picnic baskets, floaties, beach blankets, and shovles & pails (for sand castles, duh!).  My friends and I were able to catch one of the first Ferries and ended up snaching a lovely spot. 


This was our first trip to the basically large sand bar that is a free service from the city of Everett (Thank you by the way!).  Upon our early arrival to the island, we were able to catch low tide and walk far out into the sound.  The amazing view and tons of holes showed signs of hiding crabs. 


Spending the day at the beach is never a bad thing in my books… Almost always living in someway or another not to far away from a sandy shore I’ve grown accustomed to a large bodies of water at my disposal.  This my second beach picnic of the summer reminded me that I need to do this so much more!  It’s a cheap, fun, and refreshing way to spend some time with friends and under the warming sun.  Also, who does not want to make a giant turtle in the sand with a three year old? 




Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mr. Blue Vespa Man

By Liz


Over the last few weeks during my commute into work I’ve noticed an interesting fella.  It only happens about once a week that I spot this man on his shinny blue Vespa ready to merge with traffic.  Folks on Vespa’s usually stand out to me because I find Vespa’s super cute.  I also instantly think of Audrey Hepburn’s Princess Ann learing to ride a Vespa while on a Roman Holiday.   She speeds off and Gregory Peck’s Joe has to run and jump on the back so they can tour the lovely city while playing hookie for a day from her Roayal life.  Love this movie!  I too hope that one day I’ll get to tour Rome while riding a Vespa.


Well, Mr. Blue Vespa Man stands out on his own for another reason.  You see, Mr. Blue Vespa Man is sporting a super duper long soup catcher of a beard.  A young man of late twenties early thirty’s has a rather thin beard that flows all the way down to his lap.  To top off this awesome picture of a Blue Vespa Man with a brilliantly long beard, he actually pulled out in front of me.  What happens with long flowing hair when it’s on a vespa speeding up a hill?  You guess it, the beard flows around over his shoulder billowing in the wind.  Classic!  Love it!  I applaud you Mr. Blue Vespa Man!  You’ve truly made the start of my day pretty bright!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Little Book House

By Liz

It seems to be a new trend popping up, the little house shaped boxes on the side of the street with books to share. Super cute, no frills, and a simple library for the neighborhood walker.  I have seen these pop up around city and a few in my beloved Ballard/Whittier Heights.  Just last week I spotted one a mere block away from the homestead. Of course, I just had to check it out.  

So, my roommate and I took a evening stroll to see what gems the little box holds. Gems indeed!  Well, the box seemed fairly new and was not brimming with Classics or compelling must takes to read.  I did contemplate over borrowing the Consumers Report: 1993 Buying Guide. Yup, that's correct.  I could have dialed back two decades to see what cordless phone to buy or the best 20" $544 Sony TV and VHS player!  Important stuff!!! I managed to just thumb through the great guide and put it back for another consumer to enjoy.  

As it happened the roommate Kelli borrowed a magazine and little fiction to tempt her reading mind.  I however did not bring home any of the gems located in the little box house library.  I did donate a book that I hope would be enjoyable for some other readers in the hood.  

I love this concept!  Small little pockets of library for the community.  Thank you random book lovers for making or buying these book houses and placing them in your yards for all to have access. No hours, no check out and no fuss.  Some around the city and Globe may be a bit more darling than this one.  Maybe it's not the Library of Congress and maybe it is not oozing with the great literature of our past and present... But, I still love it!!!  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Finding a Happy Place

By Liz

This past weekend I was treated to a little nature rejuvenation. Turning last year's day of tubing excursion into a bonafide camping trip and tubing weekend with friends was a prefect call.   By camping near Leavenworth at Upper Johnny Creek, my pals and I were able to have a nice relaxing morning followed by a nice relaxing couple of hours tubing in the Wenatchee River... Then we proceeded to have a equally relaxing night around the campfire.  

All in all, a perfectly lovely weekend away and great quality time with dear ones.  Sunday morning proved or be even more superb as I awoke to move my car so my roommate Kelli could head back into Seattle for work.  After her departure at 6:15am and feeling rested enough with the already rising sun... I opted to make a pot of coffee on the camp stove and read for about an hour.  Then after pouring another cup and enjoying the peaceful nature I decided to go for a walk down to the river.  

The campground just started to see movement with some risers at the 7 o'clock hour.  However, I found it to still be rather serene.   Finding a sweet spot next to the river and sipping my coffee I enabled myself to reset.  Just listening to the river flow over the rocks.  The speed was fast enough to warrant a steady rustle, bumbling sound.   Sitting on a boulder like rock and watching as the sun's casting shadow slowly light up the trees heading up the mountain on the other bank.  I truly was so happy and in peace at that moment.  I now crave to go back and or experience more like it that seem to be hard to come by in the hustle and bustle of city life (that I too love, in a different fashion). 

Here are some pics of me Sunday Morning, truly in one of my 'happy' places!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Baseball love!

by Liz

So, this year I’m just going to root, root, root for the home team!  Go Mariners, my number 2 team! After 5 summers in Seattle it’s easy to feel an alliance with the M’s.  Last Saturday I was able to it Safeco Field with some friends for a lovely evening of Mariners Baseball against the Los Angeles Angles.   I can’t be the only one that thinks of Angles in the Outfield, whenever seeing the Angels play? Right?  Don’t get me started on the Twins and Little Big League… I know you get it, I like baseball and movies! 

Not only did I enjoy the Mariners win with some great home runs, plays at home, and the essential beer and hot dog… I got to enjoy one of the best views of the city.  Yes, I’m sure you’ve seen it before, but if not I’ll share it with you.  The ballpark is beautiful and the view is amazing.  With over two more months of regular season, I might just have to make it out the to ballpark again.

Oh yeah!  As for my Tigers, they're kicking butt this year as are number 1 in the AL Central!  I'm really not surprised because they are that AWESOME!!!!  Go TIGERS!!!


Friday, July 5, 2013

Looking past those Blurred Lines…

by Liz

You may be familiar with Robin Thicke’s new single Blurred Lines featuring T.I. + Pharrell.  A catchy tune that has me dancing every time I hear it, yes even at the office.  This has made for an awkward encounter or two when caught by co-workers.  Yes… it really happens.  This song was the part of my 4th of July conversation and the concern that some folks have for the women’s movement and somewhat ‘rapey’ theme/message of the song.  

Until this conversation I never really thought about the WORDS of the song.  All I thought about was the entertainment/captivating beat that was a great addition to my run mix.  Now that my eyes are opened on this particular song I feel a wee bit guilty when listening to it.  Have I stopped listening to it?  Umm… No.  And, I will most likely not stop.  This is not the first song or artist that has pushed offense in their music.  It comes with the territory of free expression and entertainment.  That is all songs, movies, t.v., and books really are; entertainment.

It is nice to have those ‘guilty-pleasures to escape to.  However, they do make us feel guilty sometimes which then makes that internal dialogue go on overdrive.  Maybe a little shy to share with co-workers, friends, or family that you actually love watching THAT show/movie, listening to THAT song or artist, or reading THAT book.  You’re totally thinking about what THAT means for you, right?  I know I just did:O)  Why are we so worried what others think?  That by considering something pleasurable, but feeling guilty because we fear that others will discover how lowbrow or embarrassing our taste might just be.  It can be so confusing and makes me relish on the saying that ignorance is bliss. 

For a girl that blushes pretty darn easily I cannot afford to feel guilty at every turn for my taste in campy entertainment, racy or poppy songs, or anything really.  It’s just part of being me.  Frankly, that is okay.  Embrace the guilt!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Backyard Bliss

By Liz

As backyards go, I am one lucky ducky!  When you factor in city living, a rental and a roomie that is a natural gardener, I'm off the charts lucky!  Many of my friends agree that the space is inviting, comfortable, and a gem.  In the summer, the party lights go up, adirondack chairs come out and peace ensues.  Long afternoons with a book and ice cold drink, or enjoying the company of good people for a backyard shindig.  Life is good!

I do enjoy all the pretty bushes or plants and such, but frankly I'm glad roomie cares about them and keeps them looking good.  The only thing I'm good is for mowing the lawn and weeding in the veggie garden. Well, a little more TLC to the veggies from me than weeding.  This summer's crop includes some goodies... Sugar snap peas, beets, onions, fennel, tomatoes, zucchini, tomatillo, green beans, corn, herbs, blue berries, and lettuce.  Oh boy, is there lettuce.  My friends and coworkers have been enjoying the abundance of that crop:0)

From top left clockwise: sugar snap peas, tomatillo, full garden view, and corn that is well over knee high by the 4th of July!
Having a veggie patch is nothing new, not to me or many others.  I grew up with always having some sort of veggie in the backyard.  My grandpa has had a rather large garden in his backyard for years that has produced many wonderful ruffage. It sure is a lovely feeling taking a bowl from the kitchen, walking it down the back steps, and gathering fresh organic produce for that night's meal... 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Breaking Spots

by Liz 

Breaking up the work day is very important to me… As a cubical/office worker I find myself in front of the computer and on my bum for long periods of time.  I try to make an effort to get up as often as possible to move around and get my blood pumping (well more than it already is).  We all hear about how “sitting is killing us” that sedentary lifestyles are just as deadly as smoking, eating red meat, salt, and alcohol.  Even taking a two minute stroll every hour during an eight hour day will drastically reduce risks and be all around better for your body. 

When the lunch bell rings, I find myself getting out even if I have no plans or the weather is not top notch.  Walking for some or all of my lunch break has become a habit.  Now, I’m not “walking” for exercise, it’s just to get those extra steps in.  My biggest go to place is about a half a mile one way, but it’s a Market.  Which is fun to browse, but I usually do not just browse if you know what I mean…

So, when I found a nice little park between some offices a short walk from work I was very pleased.  It is again the perfect distance to walk, eat lunch, read a bit, and then walk back to work on my forty minute break.   Also, it has a pretty sweet view of the Sound and Olympic Mountain Range.  I’ve gone down to the water plenty of times on my break, but the route does not leave much time to dilly or dally around.   Just time to take a nice walk to the destination and then  head back a few moments later.  Check out my new faves spot and don’t forget to get up and get out a bit yourselves.  Happy Breaking!

Overlooking Myrtel Edwards Park before hitting the Sound.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Baggage Revisited

by Liz 

Being somewhat of a competitive person, I vowed that I was not going to pay for the use of a bag when at a store.  Don’t worry I did not resort to thievery.  I did accomplish this task have have not paid for a single paper bag.  I was able to accomplish this by always having a fold up bag in my purse or extra shopping/reusable bags in my car.  On a few occasions when I was lacking my personal bag I refused to pay and ended up just carrying the items I purchased.  This led to some odd juggling maneuvers.  Call it cheap, stubborn, ‘greenie-weenie,’ or even foolhardy if you will, but I’m glad I’ve upped my ‘own bag’ usage and depended less on the thin annoying store plastic bag. 

Now, to be completely forthcoming, I will admit that when at stores outside of the Seattle city limit, I will get the plastic bag. I know, shocking!  However, I have good cause. Well, at least in my mind… The bags are reused as bathroom garbage bags, kitty litter cleaning, or giving out lettuce and produce from the garden to my co-worker/friends.  It’s nice to have a stock of bags to use for those purposes. 

A year later and I think the city has gotten used to it.  From my personal observation (no actually study made here) the impact has been minimal on the average consumer.  I’ve even seen other cities join in the ranks, I was happy in October while visiting San Francisco to find they had just started this practice.  Good for me I had my bag handy.  From time to time, we all need a little extra push or reminder to do the right thing.  So, even if your city does not require this I encourage you to bring your bags to the store and/or reuse the bags as you can. 

These are my favorite fold up bags… they work great, easy to wash (yes, you should really wash your reusable bags every so often), and they are pretty darn affordable.  Thank you Ikea $1.99.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

HaPpY BiRtHdAy!!!!!

 by Liz

Happy 1st Birthday Rider Chronicles!  It was just a year ago that the “And the Ride Begins,” welcomed the first post of 63 to date (64 if you count this baby).  What a labor it has been too!  A labor of love, loathing at some time, excitement, exploration, and commitment.  I am proud of the Rider Chronicles and excited to continue, even though it is different than initially set out to be.

Essentially a ‘bus’ blog about people and bus commuting, life changed and so did the Rider Chronicles.  In the first year we’ve experienced a glimpse into Seattle’s commuters, a faux Olympic Bus Games (one of my favorites, by the way), and a few changes to the King County Metro system that was met with anticipation, but realized with total grrrr-ness.   There was a 1800 mile round trip to Napa and San Francisco in the Fall, a spring trip to Michigan and Jeremy expanded our global view with The Horn of Africa and a dream trip on a 747 from Tokyo to Detroit.  I’ve shared some big life changes and appreciated the warm reception to such a personal story.  Thank you, by the way!  Lastly, a major love story with Seattle unfolded with love  letters and valentine request. 

It has been an interesting year to say the least.  This experience of ‘almost’ weekly blogging has been one of a challenge, in a good way and a welcome way to express thought.  It brings me so much excitement and anticipation of what the next year of blogging will entail.   The Rider Chronicles owes a great deal of appreciation to founding member Jamie for the push and excitement to get this off the ground.  With the help of guest bloggers like Jeremy, a different voice has been heard as well. 

I will blow out the singular candle on the cupcake to celebrate the Birthday/Anniversary, make a wish and dream of another year of happy posting.  Cheers for coming along for the ride…

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Poo-Gate 2013

By Liz


It is amazing the amount of security and courage that we have behind email or written word vs. face to face contact.  This is something that I have frequently thought of, especially as a person that writes her thoughts pretty freely in a weekly blog.  Now, I have mentioned before that our connectivity with each other is something that is few and far between as technology is readily at our disposal.  As a recent addition to the neighborhood email distribution, this has become even more relevant to me. 

I love my neighborhood, it is lovely, full of relatively nice people.  I’ve only met a few folks and know them by name and recently was added to this email list for other folks that live on the street.  I did not know there was such a thing.  I guess the person that was in charge figured the two girls that live at the end of the street with no kids could care less about being added.  Okay, now  I’m just projecting my assumptions here.   I smile and wave when I see folks out and about, they do the same.  I guess I should have made jam or cookies for each of the neighbors as a ‘Olive Branch’ so to say. 

Anyhoo, less than a day after being added to this list, one of our neighbors that I’ve actually have had conversed with on more than one occasion in the last 2 ½ years emailed a concern about the house cat.  Essentially, my roommates cat that has adopted me as a lap provider, behind the ear scratcher, food dispenser, and cuddle buddy on occasion.   However, I received the e-mail that provided a well written, non aggressive recount on the cat pooping in their yard.  Ugh!  Sorry dude’s, that does suck.  Umm, he’s a cat.  Nocturnal by nature and for some reason has been pooping on their lawn.  I understand the frustration, cleaning up the poo of a pet that is not yours, well stinks!  Literally and figuratively! 

Here is the kicker though, my disappointment with the e-mail.  If this has been going on for a year plus, why not tell me or my roommate during all the times we are outside or even saying hello.  It’s not until the safety of an e-mail is given that this issue has been brought up?  Why?  I may be wrong, but I think we are both pretty approachable people. 

Well, again I do get the irony as a person that writes out her thoughts freely in blog and most likely will opt for e-mail vs. in person communication on some sticky situations.  Nevertheless, this recent encounter has made me think and reflect.  Maybe I need to grin and bear it, or buck up and have those ‘hard’ conversations in person too.  Not that they come up all that often, but why not challenge myself to rise to the communication task.

In the mean time, there has been a lot of conversations about poop in my house, which is both odd and funny! 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Summer MAYbe

By Liz

May is my favorite month of the year, why you ask?   Well for one, its my birth month and I shamelessly love my birthday!!!!  Love it!!!  The other reason I love it, is even though the official start of Summer is in June at the solstice, May sure kicks it off. Not only is Memorial Day  and the weekend that encourages the first summer type get-aways and backyard BBQs in May.  It is the start of the blockbuster movie season. 

You may be a fan of the most recent popcorn flick, super hero jaunt, sci-fi adventure, comedy (raunchy or not), or epic drama.  Each weekend proves to have at least one or more film that will have you running to the nearest cinema.  May alone has provided three for me that did not disappointed.  

Why oh why Hollywood do you make us want to go inside to watch irresistibly good and even bad movies when the lovely summer weather entices us to be outside?   Well, even the movies have proven to be relatively recession proof.  The masses will go and watch the Iron Mans, Star Treks, and The Great Gatsby's.  Which happens to be the three May movies that I have greatly enjoyed thus far.   

I am sure to see many of the summer blockbusters at my local film houses.  My calendar is set. I hope to also see a few classics at the outdoor movie in the parks, this happens at a few venues round  Seattle.  Check for some in your local area too!  Pack a picnic, take some friends and/or family and watch a movie under the stars.  What a treat!  

Happy Memorial Day Weekend BTW!!!!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hey Bitches!!!

By Liz

Got your attention, didn't I?  Good, now stick with me, I'm not trying to be crude, I promise.  I would not call myself a  feminist, although I am totally for equality.  Equality in all realms: Gender, Race, Orientation, Religion, and the list goes on... Today however, I speak on to my fellow ladies and to the gentlemen out there that want to be enlightened.

Recently, I went to a workshop geared to young women balancing life and career.  Very empowering day, made me think of my life, and all my 'sisters' out there.  Part of what we discussed was how women can be each others biggest obstacles. Odd, eh?   Around the same time as the conference, I saw a Tina Fey quote that really hit it on the nail for me. "Know what? Bitches get stuff done!"  

So true, right?   Even with its truth, the word bitch is less than empowering. Actually, it is very disparaging in a way.  There are many, many other appropriate words out there that we can use when describing the awesome assertive woman that gets shit done.  Yet, when we (as women) get threatened or insecure we automatically go to the negative, "She's a bitch!"  Insecurity is nothing we ever struggle with, right? 

Are there actual Bitches out there?  No doubt, but lets try some of these more appropriate adjectives when describing our fellow sisters.  Like most of our parents and teachers taught us, use your words.  Here are a few words to get your minds juices flowing.  Thank you thesaurus: Assertive, insistent, self-confident, self-assured, aggressive, forward, determined, strong-minded, resolute, unwavering, controlled, precise, meticulous, organized, and brilliant to name a few.  All far more amazing and most likely well suited in lieu of 'Bitch'.   I too hope to practice what I preach here, not using that word when talking about my fellow womankind out there.  I know you can do it too!

Found on Pintrest

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Another Love Letter

Dear Seattle,

In February I asked you to be my Valentine, because I heart you in all of your awesomeness. Today, at the beginning of May with the bright sun shinning upon your spring city glow, I am ever as much in love with you! I share this with my friends, family, and the world.

I was treated to a lovely view of Seattle today, when I visited a co-workers new digs located near the Seattle Center. What a lovely new apartment building. To top it off, the building is fitted with an amazing roof top deck. Thus, a great view of Seattle and the Puget Sound had me swooning. Now I share the views with you, enjoy!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

TJ's gushing...

by Liz

TJ’s as it’s aptly referred to gets to see me about 2-3 times a week.  Each visit is met with extremely friendly staff and a business model that is odd, but works well.  The products work well with my needs and wants.  What is not to love about TJ’s? 

A particular great experience with TJ’s has me recounting it here.  After picking up some mid-week refueling items, I took my half full basket to wait in line.  Waiting in line at TJ’s is never that big of an issue, they call cashiers up quickly if more than two or three people are waiting in line.  I was ushered to a just opened lane by Lorelai.  Yes, I immediately thought of Gilmore Girls too!  Located at the convenient checkout area are some highlighted product.  One of which I remember mulling over in the isles.  I picked up the mango, coconut, chocolate thingy’s and asked Lorelai if she had ever tried these.  She had not had the experience.  Well, no worries I did not need the treat anyways right?  

Next thing I know she takes one of the packages off the shelf, rips it open, and says “Let’s remedy that then.”  Oh, seriously?  I don’t have to buy the $4.00 packet just to see if it is something I like?  It was as easy as that?  We both tried it and as while it was yummy in some sense, I’m glad I did not buy a whole packet.  Now I know…  What excellent customer service.  A small thoughtful act made me all the more gushy about a store that already has me hooked.  As customer’s needs/wants change and businesses aptly adapt, it is great to remember that a little goes a long way.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Full Circle

By Liz

It's been no secret that the Rider Chronicles has been less about the riding these days.  The bus has taken a non existent backseat as the need/want to have a little more control over my time.  Also, since King County Metro made some cuts and changes 6 months ago the buses are not as reliable and way more over crowded than they were a year ago.   There are still the few circumstances that arise where I find myself needing to rely on public transit.  One of which was today.   

Granted my trip was one way since I was able to get dropped off at work this morning.  Yay!!!  As five o'clock neared, I fired up the good old One Bus Away App to see if it was going to be the D-Line or the 15 express.  Ten minutes before the proverbial whistle blew, it looked like the 15X was going to be the winner.  Packing up my desk and glancing at the App one more time, I realized that the App is in fact crap. Delay after delay popped up and I changed my course heading to the D-line bus, when lo and behold, I see the 15x that was supposed to be 14 minutes late.  Yup, heading for the stop a block away.  Good thing I've been running and was able to make it on board before the bus took off.  

As annoying as the start to my commute home was, I found the ride carefree and a lot speedier than I expected. Of course it's been too long and I'm not sure if I can chalk this up as the norm or an exception.  It only took about twenty extra minutes to get home and start my post work activities.  I might just have to break down and bus it to and fro a couple times a week.  The money saved may be worth time and such.   I guess I won't know if I don't give it one more go!   Here is to coming full circle on the commute train.  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Great Competitor…

 by Liz


A little healthy competition can bring about some desired results.  Competition with others or just yourself can be a motivating tool.  Recently, I’ve found that my biggest competition is myself, however I do like to compete with others when I can.  Usually unsuspecting folks too.

For instance, last night during my usual Wednesday swim activity I found myself sharing a lane with a familiar swimmer.  So familiar that I’ve nicked-named him “Torpedo”  because I don’t know his real name and he swims so fast.   He gets in and just goes goes goes, through his routine.  The great thing about his speedy excursion is that I benefit with little extra push/drive in my own swim.

Although Torpedo is lapping me and I’m sure that is not going to stop, I always try to increase my pace enough so I get just a little further each time before he passes me.  It’s a game that helps me get out of my head more, kick up my pace, and let my inner swim goddess dance when I kick my own ass. 

Talking to Jamie she too, said she applies a similar unrequited competition when out for runs.  Why not, right?  It is great to have that friendly competition and  break up the monotony of an activity.  That increases the likelihood that the burnout rate will decrease.  I hear all the time how exercising with a friend is a good thing, it drives you a little further and gives you additional accountability. 

However, if you’re a do it aloner (kinda like me) then you can either compete with yourself and previous times or on the unsuspecting athlete who is just getting their work out in too.  You never know, maybe they are competing against you too. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Surprise and Other Life Changes

By Liz

It was an event two years in the making. In March 2011, during one of the two plus hour long phone conversations with my sister Micki we decided enough is enough. We were going to change. We were going to be healthy. Then in two years March 2013 we would surprise our parents, family and friends in Michigan by returning and running a 5K Race. The Irish Jig in East Grand Rapids, was the designated goal. By gum, we totally pulled it off too. The first stop in this current journey incorporated a few extra people for me and was not an easy task, but one that I’m proud of. Damn proud!

In March 2011, I was at the heaviest I’ve ever been. Now, I’ve always been a big girl and I don’t believe I’ll ever be a size two. However, I was truly just unhealthy. I felt more and more like Aunt Marge after Harry accidently gets angry and she balloons up. Clothes were not comfortable, small taskes were laboring, and I started to get more and more depressed. It was a cycle that I had enough with. The reasons for my sister may have been different, but we both wanted the end results. To be HEALTHY!

Slowly changes happened. We joined a online calorie and exercise tracking system that we could both keep eachother accountable on too. A tale as old as time was the solution. Cut calories and exercise more. Simple right. Well, after years and years of bad eating habbits and starting on seditary lifestyle I had to retrain my mind, body and soul. Eating was emotional for me, probably will always be even though now it is so much easier.

Slowly we both saw the pounds chip off. For me I was able to lose 60 pounds in the first year. It was a blessing that made life so much easier. I was able to do so much more in the activity realm. Like join a work softball team, swim, and not have pain after long walks. The change was great, however I still would lose motivation at times. Maybe even gain back a pound or two then start tracking again. My momemtum slowed down from spring of 2012 through the holidays. I lost an additional 20 pounds. Nothing to balk at. 80 pounds down is huge, amazing even! I was of course hoping for faster results. Who is not when change like this in play?

Nothing like a kick in the pants and the realization that the goal you set two years ago is close on your heels. When we rang in 2013 there was realization that in 11 weeks I was supposed to be home and ready to run a 5k with Micki. She of course had already started training, and I was the slacker. Not for long though, something clicked and I knew that if I was going to actully run and I mean run this whole race I would have to start my training. So I did… I downloaded a C25K App (Couch to 5K) for my first training tool. I’ve heard positive things about them and have never run more than I had to from my highschool athletic days, so I needed to start somewhere. The app has you running three days a week. Starting off slow with gradually adding minutes of running. It was hard, but feasible. If anyone is thinking about starting a running regimine I recommend it highly, good way to ease yourself in with limiting the possiblity for injury.

Still having some issues with people seeing me run, I was happy to run in my neighborhood after the sun had set on those early winter nights. I was actually getting nervous about the daylight savings approch and more light at night. Ironically, by the time that happened I had overcome most of my apprehension and adopted a “who cares” attitiude if people saw me run/workout. Big step for me by the way!

2013 has been great for me health wise. I’ve been motivated and have stepped up to the self imposed challenge. My motivation is infectious and has made me work harder and be more motivated. Sticking to the training schedule allowed me to run my frist on my own 3+ mile about two weeks before heading to Michigan. My runs still may not look all that pretty and have the best pace, but they are runs and that is enough.

One of the best parts about the trip to Michigan is that it was the first time since 2007 that Micki and I were home at the same time. Also, it was a surprise that was two years in the making. Mom had a heads up that Micki and Renee were arriving at GRR and she was keeping the seceret from Dad. We had to make sure that they were going to be home that weekend or it would have been an interesting trip. Timing was key. Micki and Renee’s plane was set to arrive at 1:50pm and they would take their time in the terminal, then suggest a gift shop looksie, and finally a need for a afternoon latte at Starbucks before leaving the airport. This was to keep Mom occupied until my plane landed at 2:27pm.

There was almost a kink in the plan with Micki and Renee’s plane being delayed in Chicago for twently minutes. They did arrive a few momemts before me and located in the same terminal waited at my gate for me to deplane. It was great to see them. Micki looked great too, her training had been paying off and I was so proud. After some hugs and giggles we made Renee walk down first so she could have her camera ready. Then Micki walked out and Mom beamed so happy to see her oldest child home. Following her, the look on Mom’s face when she registered it was me behind Micki was priceless. Let’s just say tears were shed and she was beyond surprised. Phew!

One parent down and now we needed to drop off Renee in Rockford so she could visit with her family and then head back to Holland to beat Dad home for his surprise. Both of his daughters. Well, we made it home in time, in fact Dad decided that he was going to wrap up some extra things at work and took his sweet time getting home that night. Funny, he did not know he needed to come home so we could yell ‘surprise!’ Finally he arrived and we were able to bound down the hallway and get that smirk with the shaking of his head that only he can give in that way. Smiles all around, it had worked! As happy as Dad was to have us home, he’s not all that keen on surprises. Note made:O)

Greeting Mom at the airport, Dad at home, saying good byes...

Family time ensued. We talked, shared, joked, and laughed while catching up over dinner. Micki and I also were able to share the plans we had for that Saturday morning and was hoping that Mom and Dad would not mind watching us complete the Irish Jig. Little did any of us know that winter was still in full swing in Michigan and we would have snow the night before the run and chilling temps to greet us. It was still a blast. My friend Katherine and her son Jacob, who knew all these plans was also there to cheer us on with silly string and some sweet Irish Swag. We did it. We ran our first sponsored run/race together. What an accomplishment. I am so proud of my sister. Hell, I’m so proud of me! :O)

2013 Irish Jig 5k March 16, 2013 with Micki
Crossing this goal/run off my list made me happy and sad. What’s next? Well, with the encouragement from my awesome Seattle friends I’ve already registered for two more runs this year. I’m fresh in training for a 8k (5mile) run on May 4th (Star Wars Day). I also signed up for a color run with Jamie and Tier in August. I am so happy to have these goals to help me keep up my momentum.

This sure is a long story, thanks for hanging in there with me. I just have a few more things to share. I want to thank my sister for helping me start with setting our Jig 13 goal. It is what I needed. Katherine, my friend who has been there for me showing support and love along the way. Thanks for being part of this journey too! My roommate and friend Kelli also encourages and supports. I really appreciate her too! Finally, Jamie and Tier have been two Angels. These two strong women encourage and support me. We support each other. Checking in on our fitness and health goals. They have been invaluable part of my success. In other words I have not done this alone, I share my success with all of you.

About that kick in the butt since the start of 2013. With my amped up training schedule and momentum, I’ve been able to shed an additional 30 pounds since the start of this year. Yes, for those of you keeping up with the math, that is 110 pounds that I’ve lost. Wowzers Penny! Horray!!!!! I’m super happy about that, I’ve not felt this healthy in over a decade. The best part, is this just encourages me and fuels me to continue to keep going on my path of being a healthy person. Thanks for letting me share my journey so far with you. Hope it inspires and encourage you to set goals and to work at them. You can do it! I did!

To being healthy and happy, my wish to all of you!

At my heaviest Pic taken August 2010, Me today March 28, 2013 110 lbs lighter!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Lake Michigan

By Liz

Taking a break this week, but check back next week when I share my recent adventure back to the Mid-west. In the meantime enjoy these pictures of Lake Michigan at sunset.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Nature Urban Style

by Liz

One of the great things about living in Seattle is that it is surrounded by so much nature.  The beautiful Olympic mountain range sits across the Sound to the West and the awe-inspiring Cascade mountain range to the East.  The concrete metropolis is inundated with lush and beautiful scenery via parks, trees, and water.  Now every city has it's fair share of parks and beautiful places to get in tune with the outdoors while never leaving the city limits.  Each city that I've had the pleasure of living in beckoned at least one escape for me.  

Growing up in Grand Rapids, MI my refuge along with my family was the near by Garfield Park, it has a wicked frisbee golf course too!  While off at college, I was drawn to the Waterfront Park in downtown Charleston, SC.  Yes, the same one with the Pineapple Fountain and really big bench swings that over looks the Bay where I would spy many Porpoises.  In Holland, MI going out to the state park and walking along the coast of Lake Michigan and watching the sunset was always a peaceful escape.

In Seattle, I've found many places that give me that urban nature need.  Proximity is key for the place I have been enjoying a lot lately.  That is Green Lake, the mecca to many of Seattle's walkers, runners, dogs, rowers, park lover, and organized sports participators.  It is a park that can be enjoyed year round and even found a couple of friends and I  singing Christmas Carols during the luminaries path this past December.  I find myself enjoying jaunts around the 3 mile loop while getting lost in my thoughts, listening to music, or catching up with my sister.  I've meet many smiling faces and seen tons of cute dogs.

Although I would love to escape the city limits more often than I do, I'm appreciative to have such wonderful and beautiful places to escape the humdrum of city life in my back yard.  So, pack a picnic or just a jacket and your walking shoes and get out enjoy what wonderful parks your city or town has to offer.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Dear Annoying Advertisers,

by Liz

An open letter to flyer on windshield advertisers,

Dear Annoying Advertisers,

I understand that you want your business to get some extra exposure.  Walking around parking lots or streets and depositing your flyer, menu, or coupon on unsuspecting cars is how you chose to use your advertising budget.  Let me enlighten you… That method backfires more than not.  I will go out of my way to not support a business that uses this tactic. 

Harsh, you say? Well, let’s look a little closer at this.  Walking to my car after work or an adventure out and about I see a piece of paper tucked under my windshield wiper.  First though: CRAP!  I got a ticket.  How did I park wrong?  How much is this going to cost?  Why oh why me?  Then as I get closer I see that it is not an envelope and most likely not a ticket.  Second thought:  Crap!  (not shouty capitals this time).  Someone left a note on my car because they hit it or think I caused their car damage.  What did I do wrong?  How much is this going to cost?  Why oh why me? Lots of thoughts going through this head in a span of fifteen seconds

Finally, I reach my car and pull of the anxiety ridden piece of paper to find out that XYZ Gym is opening and there is a new special or MR. Restaurant has a new menu and I can get free egg rolls with an order over $50.  DAMN advertisement.  You made me experience a moment of apprehension.  First off, GRRRRRRRRR!!!!  Now I’m irritated.  Oh, my irritation is not just over the worry caused, but now I have to dispose of said flyer.  Of course there are no recycle bins near by and I don’t want to litter so I bring the flyer into my car.  Now I have to remember to bring it in to the house or straight to the recycle bin when I get home. 

Instead of being excited about your business or cause, I’m just plain pissed off.  I’ve spent all this extra time thinking on how I will not be supporting your business or cause. How about them apples advertisement genius.  Shame on you flyer on car windshield guy, shame on you!

Annoyed and Irritated

Thursday, February 21, 2013


by Liz

I’ve always been comfortable in water.  Growing up, I loved swimming in lakes and pools, etc.  Being able to hold my own, in 2001 when I embarked on my first summer at Camp Chatuga.  I decided to head down to Mountain Rest, SC for Lifeguard training before the kick off of all staff training and summer sessions.  Spending a week in the lake, learning new skills and fine tuning some old ones, opened a door and world that I still enjoy.  

That first day, I met a dear friend and fellow first time counselor Nan.  Throughout that summer and the following summer Nan was generous enough to help me learn more about the art of swimming.  Getting more technique minded and less floundering around just for the fun of it.  A skilled swimmer for a long time, Nan was great teacher and I will forever be grateful to her for the extra tutelage she bestowed on me. 

Due to walking through that open door, I spent a lot of my three summers at Camp Chatuga in the water.  When returning to Charleston Southern University for my final year in the fall of 2004 I was presented with an another opportunity.  I was offered the position of head lifeguard for the CSU pool.  Happily I took the position and was able to make the summer classes I had to take instead of going back to my beloved camp more bearable.  Expanding my love of swimming ever more. 

The following years after I left CSU I found myself drawn to swimming when I could.  Getting on kicks of swimming regularly for a while then, taking hiatus from the activity.   Most recently in the last two years I’ve kicked up my swimming activity and have enjoyed the Seattle Public Pools and most of late my fitness centers pool facility. The last nine weeks has been met with a steady three swims a week.  Swimming works well, because with the unpredictable winter climate, I can always get a good workout in no matter what the elements are. 

In the past nine weeks I’ve noticed and appreciated my swims in a whole new level than ever before.  Now, I’m not sure if I can attribute this to my age or just all in all where I am currently in my life.  However, the lure of taking forty-five minutes to escape while completing any activity that I truly enjoy and love is addicting.  Unlike other exercise routines where you can plug in your music, watch TV on a elliptical, or participate in a group swimming is solo.  Putting on my cap and goggles, gliding through the water swimming laps, I usually am able to only hear my thoughts and the sound of water rushing past my ears. 

I find I go in stages of over thinking everything for the first five-ten minutes of my swim… My work craziness.  Money.  Missing friends and family.  What I plan on doing for the weekend.  Then, most likely the last song I heard on my drive to the gym, enters my head and is on repeat for a few laps until I’m able to shake it.  The last twenty-five to thirty minutes is golden.  It’s the part where I unwind, daydream, think of hopes, goals, and all the centering that I need to make my workout more of a body and soul rejuvenation. 

As amazing as that sounds, I have to admit that lately my thoughts have gone to my swim-face.  What’s a swim-face?  Well, if you swim laps you may understand.  When I commence my freestyle stroke I opt for the breath every three strokes.  Which means that I alternate the side I breath on.  It’s second nature to me now and it makes me wonder what else is second nature?  After taking my breath, my head resumes its linear path looking at the line down the middle of the lane.  I really wish I could see my face at this point.  In my head I imagine that I look graceful with a kick-ass hardcore look upon my mug.  However, In reality I have a feeling I look more like a consorted Ursula instead of Ariel.  It’s silly right.  Unless there was a camera or someone on the bottom of the pool looking right up at me as swim overhead.  Who cares?  Well, I guess no one, but that is my ponder thought of the moment.  Swim-face.