Friday, December 29, 2006

Visiting the Folks

The holidays for many people center around a visit with the folks. This year was different for me as it has been over 12 years since I visited Mom and Dad. My bro, Donald and I loaded up the car with a bucket, towels, garden shears and shovels for this year's visit to see dear Mom and Dad. At Rose Hill Cemetery in Whittier, CA, the grave stones needed some edging and the flower pots were buried under 4-5 inches of thick grass and soil, as it was nearly 2 years since Don's last visit.
Entering the cemetery there were flowers, trees, wreaths littering the landscape as we rolled over the hills of green lawn. I realized more than ever that these places of final resting are no doubt for the living. I thought about all the grieving souls of those with the pain of loss, then realized that EVERYONE experiences it sooner or later. It is a part of life. And as odd as this may sound...and as Don reminded me...I am so thankful we have death and dying. Without such a finality to our lives, we would take life for granted and piss away each day (as some still do).
Today was another reminder that I shall live with purpose and intention - every day. This was the final gift my parents left me more than 13 years ago. They were two of the most amazing people I have ever known. I gave them both a hug today. Thanks Mom and Dad!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Downey, CA

Yesterday was a trip down memory lane. I rode my bike from Long Beach, CA to Downey, CA (a 3.5 hour ride in total). Downey is where I spent 24 years of my life...and this was my first trip back in 15 years. I made a small mistake biking up the concrete river beds and ended up near Knott's Berry Farm (Buena Park) later having to bike through the ghettos of Norwalk (yikes) to get back to the San Gabriel River Channel.

These river beds are austere and a nascent, macabre indication of irreverent attitude toward mother earth as they finger from the hills throughout the LA basis. These concrete channels are great for Hollywood action flicks and are an efficient way for water to get back to the ocean given that the entire 400 square miles of Los Angeles is paved. Oh, they are also great for biking as it is nearly 100 miles of uninterrupted riding paths.

Exiting the surreal riverbed at Florence Avenue in Downey, I first cruised by my ol' buddy Vicki's house. Gosh I found it right away even through the school across the street had been sold off to a housing developer and there were McMansions all over the place. I was amazed at how much the place changed, yet stayed the same. Trees were taller, homes the same but different colors or additions made. I marveled most at how the water gathered in the gutters in the same locations I remembered, how the grass looked the same, how the pavement held the same grain and hues...and each of these elements unleashed crazy memories that likely would have remained lodged in my brain never reaching consciousness without this journey.

So Downey is a crazy town. It is home of the oldest original McDonald's (2nd one built after San Bernardino) and the first and original Taco Bell. Its rather shocking I will not step foot in any processed, mass marketed fast food joint with these deep roots is junk food. Downey is also home to the Blasters, Carpenters, Rockwell's Space Shuttle, Tinker Juarez (mountain bike 24 hour fame) and now a population that is largely 60% Hispanic. Wealthy Latinos moved into Downey during the late 80's and early 90's and the simple suburban lawns spotted with orange trees of my childhood have been transformed to expensive brickwork, moats, dolphin fountains...and the Christmas decorations are out of control. All of this visual exploration reinforces that change is a part of life...

Monday, December 25, 2006

An Old Movie

I can't believe I made it from SF to LA in 5.5 hours in my jammin' Audi A4. I love that little car...and wow can it fly. The Starbucks station on XM satelliate radio became my best friend during this part of my journey (as well as most of it). I put the dial to 75 and hummed along at an average speed of 85 miles an hour down I-5. I got into some interesting head (thinking) space pondering about all kinds of thoughts that have not spawned in quite some time. Its been 10 years since I'd been in Los Angeles, and although I had spent my entire childhood here….thoughts were racing through my head like one of those movies you’ve seen several times over, but haven’t actually watched in many years (yet deeper); for me that movie was Breakfast Club and I could quote many lines from it, especially when they were all stoned during detention (but I digress). Here are some things that were found floating in my gray matter:

a) The taste of Marie Callendars’ corn bread;
b) The hum of interstate 405;
c) The feel of the sun on your skin in December;
d) The view of the San Gabriel Mountains;
e) Personalized License Plates (just to extend one's image to the auto);
f) Friends who’s lives touched me, but we’ve lost touch.

San Francisco Musings and Coit Callings

Okay, it was there...staring at me, calling my name..."Lisa, Lisa...come climb me!" So I dragged my poor friend Melissa up this beastly little hill (site of the Prologue for last year's tour of California). Oh was fun! Melissa will tell you different.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Road Trip

Yesterday I finally released myself from Seattle (it was holding onto me and not letting me go after such a long hiatus of being gone for 2.5 years). I departed my house with a loaded up car (bike included) and hit the road at 6pm. Getting into a groove driving south through Portland and onward, with San Francisco the destination for today...I landed in Medford, Oregon around 12:30am at some cheap hotel, one that just looked like some place I wouldn't contract a disease after 7 hours of slumber. Success.

Can I say I love XM radio? Its critical for people on long road trips (that and a great imagination). The other interesting thing I discovered is that those people on long stretches of road between major metropolitan destinations are geriatrics (in big boaty Buicks) and college students...all of which were passing me on the vast stretches of highway. I realize that these segments of the population have the time to engage in such a crazy adventure. I am also realizing that I'm loving the you don't get much time by yourself to ponder the world around you. OH, and there is this entire other world called "rest area" culture...more on that later.

11.5 hours later and nearly 800 miles (whew I flew), I landed in San Francisco and could feel all the old energy of the city I had once habitated. Wow, its a cool town. I love the creative energy I feel here.

Hanging at my cool friend Mel and Mike's (mike is an avid reader of my blog - Hi Mike), we went to dinner on the east bay. It was fun, entertaining (mostly because we made it so) and we laughed all the way home.

Life is so good!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Have you created your manifesto? Webster says that manifesto is a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives or views of the issuer. I think my blog is fairly public so here goes a couple elements to my manifesto (none of which I profess to have originated, but that which resonate with me personally):

a) Do something every day that scares you;
b) Be the change I want to see in the world and others, everyday;
c) Only I have the power to destroy the day, and I choose not to;
d) Be curious, every moment of life;
e) Use it or lose it (including the smallest of muscles in your body);
f) Be present, Be inspiring, Bring lightness into the world;
g) God gave us the earth, I shall care for it like a precious child.

Monday, December 18, 2006

GOOD Ear and Brain Candy

Brain Candy:
On Love - Alain de Botton
eloquent book (re-read) on the oddities of love;

Excuse Me Your life is Waiting
brilliant book on law of attraction;

Spiritual Nutrition - Gabriel Cousins
fascinating book on connecting what we eat to our life center;

Ear Candy:
Sarah Harmer - absolute
Rogue Wave - california
Josh Ritter - animal years
Carbon Leaf - changeless
Black Lab - circus lights
Reindeer Section - you are my joy
Youth Group - forever young

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Personal Experiments

After diving into a raw food joint in Patagonia last fall...I've been fascinated with raw foods and much of the ingredients used. Why? Because I feel so damn good. But then I often think my feeling good has a lot to do with the fact I quit my job. My latest buzz?

Coconut Oil and various coconut fats (butter, meat, etc.). This is actually an amazing fat because although it has a high saturated content (reportedly bad, right?) it does not create the free radicals or oxidative stress in the body like all other saturated fats (which come from animal meats). In fact, it doesn't oxidize even when heated! Even olive oil oxidizes (you know that bottle that turns rancid) after just a few short months on the counter. So just as we try to focus our diets on lots of antioxidants, consuming an oxidative fat is like reversing all the good we do in eating antioxidant foods! Coconut oil, butter, meat is an amazing antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and lubricate for your joints, skin and hair.

Then I read this study about farmers that fed cattle coconut oil because it was cheap and they needed a way to fatten up the cows quickly. But wait...theses cows started exhibiting more energy and lost weight. The farmers quickly turned to canola and soy oils and the cows fattened up nicely. Hmmmmmm.

Well, my personal experiment had me switching most of my fat consumption to Coconut oil and away from Olive Oil without any other changes in my diet (and actually I have had less exercise with all the cold weather here in Seattle but tons of energy). This past week I got on the scale and I was down 7-8 lbs and 2% body fat from October. Needless to say my skin and hair feel amazing (so I'm told - ha, ha, ha), and I feel great. Maybe you should check it out too - more info here.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

God Love the French

A new study was released on reservatol, a phytonutrient found in red wine. This study was conducted by French researchers that found this phytonutrient playing a key role in increasing endurance in athletes, fighting obesity and prolonging life. Well, they did study mice in the research...and I'm advocating we all engage in the study on a personal level. French wines are great...and I'm especially fond of the Bourgogne flavors found in the terrior around Beaune. Cheers!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sunday, December 03, 2006


I'm taking a breathing class here in Tucson, AZ. It was a good excuse to get to warmer weather and see some good friends. Some things I've learned this weekend...

1) Our mind likes to play in the past and the future (creating worry or regret). If we spend time in the present, we avoid our mind playing in these spaces and allow our TRUE self to be felt;

2) Breath is nothing but the present. We typically only use 30% of our capacity and it precludes precious oxygen from reaching critical areas of our bodies. Oxygen is also cleansing and curing and nurtures our immune system.

3) Breathing deeply, intensely and rhythmically forces us to be in the present moment. Its pretty cool....try it.

More later....

Friday, December 01, 2006

Sans Leg Warmers

A cyclist friend and I were debating at what temperature does one need to wear leg warmers. I said it needed to be in the 40's. He said it needed to be in the 60's. I'm happy to report that riding in the 60's with Sun is no problem for me (as I snicker post ride from warm and sunny Tucson today). What am I doing here? Getting sun! I'm also taking a breathing class. Apparently my doc seems to think I forgot how to do it. Let's see.