Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Job

So, ahem...in light of what happened yesterday with our fabulous politicians, I thought this would be a great way to give us all a laugh. It WILL get better. I have faith, optimism and hope. Americans are paying attention and are ANGRY. It's about damn time.

(Oh yeah, and this morning I finally got my butt out of bed and got to swim practice at 5:45 a.m. and got in 3700 yards. WOO! AND I managed a 200 fly at the end of the workout..with fins...BUT IT WAS STILL 200 FLY, BABY!)

(Think all the folks from Lehman, Bear Stearns, Wachovia...)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday's Lunch: Chicken & Cherry Sandwich

It seems Monday will be a series of short posts. I'm sure that's fine by most readers.

I couldn't decide what to make for lunch today. I was tired of my usual lunch-meat sandwich. Didn't want a salad. Didn't have time to hardboil eggs and do an egg sandwich. Didn't feel like tuna. Hrm. What to do?

Go to Epicurious.com. Browse "Quick and Easy" category. Select "Lunch." Browse.

Hmmm..."Chicken and Cherry Sandwich." Interesting. I have everything but bread and chicken, I could zip by the store and whip it up quickly no problem. LET'S DO IT!

The result: I give it my full endorsement. It was DELICIOUS. My only change was that I substituted dried oregano and thyme for the tarragon. Decided I'm not so hip on tarragon. I also don't enjoy celery as much as I do cucumbers, so I used those instead. They worked perfectly!

Enjoy the photos - I enjoyed the sandwich!!!

Chicken and Cherry Sandwich

SELF | October 2008

By Marge Perry

Cherries, a good source of cancer-fighting antioxidants, add a surprising fruity flavor to this chunky classic from Conlan. Bonus: Walnuts provide healthy fats.

Yield: Makes 4 servings

1/2 cup lowfat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon or 1 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups chopped roasted chicken breast
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/3 cup chopped dried cherries
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped shallots
4 lettuce leaves
8 slices toasted whole-grain bread


Combine mayonnaise, tarragon, lemon juice and pepper in a bowl. Toss chicken, celery, cherries, walnuts and shallots in another bowl. Stir in mayonnaise dressing. Place 1 lettuce leaf each on 4 slices of bread. Divide chicken salad among sandwiches; top with remaining bread.

CHANGES I MADE: Used 1 1/2 tsp of a mix of oregano and thyme instead of tarragon; used cucumbers instead of celery; toasted sourdough bread and drizzled some high-quality olive oil on it. Yum.

Today's APOD

is REALLY cool. Like...wow. You can see it here: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html. The guy who took this is HARDCORE!

I'll write a real post later but this is so awesome I had to share it!

A True Image from False Kiva
Credit & Copyright: Wally Pacholka (Astropics.com/TWAN)

Explanation: Is there any place in the world you could see a real sight like this? Yes. Pictured above is single exposure image spectacular near, far, and in between. Diving into the Earth far in the distance is part of the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy, taken with a long duration exposure. Much closer, the planet Jupiter is visible as the bright point just to band's left. Closer still are picturesque buttes and mesas of the Canyonlands National Park in Utah, USA, lit by a crescent moon. In the foreground is a cave housing a stone circle of unknown origin named False Kiva. The cave was briefly lit by flashlight during the long exposure. Astrophotographer Wally Pacholka reports that getting to the cave to take this image was no easy trek. Also, mountain lions were a concern while waiting alone in the dark for just the right exposure.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fabulous Friday!

I couldn't let a Friday pass without posting - I ALWAYS post on Fridays! I've GOT to get to bed because I need to get up early in the a.m., so this will be a quick post.

I REALLY appreciate all the great comments - both from the food post on Monday and the spinning post on Tuesday. I can't wait to post about the food I ended up making for friends on Monday evening. There was good and 'eh' but no BAD so that was a HUGE relief! Normally I don't get nervous cooking for people, but chefs seem to be a different story. Still, all ended well and it was a great night for all of us. Recipes in the next post, I promise!

The week had one more dip before it got better. It's always that way, isn't it? Gotta get a little worse before it gets better?

I posted Tuesday evening. I had checked my work calendar before I left that day and the coast looked clear for Wednesday - I was going to swim Wed morning and get a run in after work. Perfect!

Well, Wed rolled around and I couldn't get my lazy butt out of bed. "I'll swim tomorrow," I thought. SNOOOOOZE! (this is where I think I need Clocky)

1 hour later: RRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIING!!! My phone. It's ringing. CRAP, IT'S THE YMCA. WTF? OMG. OMG. OMG. It hit me. Hadn't I signed up to sub at the end of September? SH**. Oh God. Isn't this just FREAKING FABULOUS? I start running around the house like a madwoman throwing my spin clothes on, grabbing an old workout from like two months ago, iPod and hat. Okay, OUT THE DOOR, GO!!! Oops, forgot glasses AND contacts. Oh well, I don't need to see anyway.

I made it to the Y by 6:15 a.m. Luckily, one of my SUPER FABULOUS STUDENTS, Robert, had taken control and when I arrived they were all out of the saddle on a climb. Robert is so awesome!

As I walked in I announced "well I'm just having a SWELL WEEK NOW, AREN'T I?" Luckily everybody in the class has a sense of humor and they all laughed and totally were cool about it. Still, I was completely embarrassed. Ugh.

NOTE TO SELF: The purpose of a Palm Pilot is to SYNC IT WITH YOUR WORK CALENDAR. If you only look at your work calendar, it doesn't work so well if you don't sync. Esp. if you write your sub classes in your Palm. Arrrrrrrrrgh...

Yeah, so that was Wednesday. BRILLIANT, SARAH! WHAT A FANTASTIC WEEK!

But then I decided I was going to turn this week around and finish on a high note. Because I could. Because we are in control of our attitudes and our outlooks and our thoughts and no matter how bad it gets, we are responsible for holding our chin up high and continuing to look on the bright side.

So I did and it's been a great finish. Spin class at the Airport Club this morning was fantastic. I felt like I had a little step of progress when some of the students started joking around a little - I got this big smile and thought "okay, some of those walls are coming down, cool!" I learned a few more names and remembered a couple more. I was happy with the class I came up with and the music, so it was all good!

The weekend plan: XC race tomorrow morning! All the way in Hayward so we're heading out at 6:30 a.m. Yikes!

I never did write a race report for the first one, so instead here's what I want to get out of tomorrow's race:
-Pace better. Last time I went out too fast, didn't have enough for the last mile. Tomorrow is only 5K (last one was 4 miles) so I can go a little faster than a few weeks ago.
-Warm up a little closer to the race time. I warmed up but then stood around a little while.

That's about it. I wish my friend Sarah could join again! She's a Berkeley friend that joined in the last XC race just for fun and we had a great time together! I'll miss you, Sarah!

And now, before I head off to dreamland, I'll leave everybody with my songlist for the week. Notice they're a bit different than a lot of the stuff I usually post. I got REALLY sick of my music this week so I went to the depths of my Library and went out on a limb. It was fun!

Today's Spin Class was:
1. Betece - Africando All Stars (I LOVE this group...they ROCK!)
2. Your Woman - White Town
3. The Way - Fastball
4. Sweet Dreams (Hot Remix) - Eurythmics (these kids had way too much time on their hands w/this video but hey good for them...only video I could find of this particular mix)
5. Smooth - Santana w/Rob Thomas
6. Domino - Van Morrison (I LOOOOVE VAN MORRISON!!!)
7. Sing, Sing, Sing (RSL Remix) - Anita O'Day & RSL (from the Verve Remixed 3)
8. Istanbul (not Constantinople) - They Might Be Giants (omg...cute video...)
9. Black Horse & Cherry Tree - KT Tunstall
10. Last Nite -The Strokes
11. Speed of Sound - Coldplay

Monday's Class:
1. Chariot - Gavin DeGraw
2. September - Earth, Wind, Fire
3. Suerte - Shakira (I think she sings in Spanish way better...)
4. Iron Lion Zion - Bob Marley
5. Corcovado (Knee Deep Remix/Ben Watt Vocal Re-Edit/2002) - Everything But The Girl
6. Hit the Road Jack - Ray Charles
7. Man on the Moon - REM
8. It's All Been Done - Barenaked Ladies
9. Help! - Beatles
10. Spiderwebs - No Doubt
11. Heart of Glass - Blondie
12. Stay (Wasting Time) - Dave Matthews Band
13. My Sharona - The Knack
14. Lovely Day - Bill Withers

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Kind words

It really is amazing what some kind words can do for your day. It's been a tough day...tough week so far. I've just been a little under the weather (thinking I've got a cold coming on), feeling blah, and also a little bummed since yesterday morning.
What happened yesterday morning?

I teach spin on Monday mornings. For the past 1 1/2 months, I've been informally extending class to an hour (instead of 45 minutes, though I cue people who have to leave after 45 on when to start cooling down, stretch, etc.). Why?

It was something that I did when I taught in SF. They couldn't formally extend it to an hour, but another instructor and I did it, and it was all fine and dandy with my supervisor. So, when I asked about extending class officially here in Santa Rosa, I was met with a "well, we can't officially right now, but let's talk about it down the road." Okay.

(On a side note, I like an hour-long class because I believe it allows for proper warm up and cool down on TOP of a nice 45 minute-long intense workout session)

I took a poll with my class, both as a group and on an individual basis and people were unanimously fine with it. So I did it.

Cut to Monday. Supervisor shows up to class. Dumb me is all like "oh, HI!!" and didn't even stop to THINK this might be really BAD to continue with my plan to make class an hour. Yeah, I know, dumb ME! HELLO SARAH, MC FLY, WAKE UP, ANYBODY HOME?

No. Apparently not.

SO anyway, basically I got called out for doing this because "the people who have to leave after 45 minutes don't get proper cool down and stretching cues, and that's not fair to them." (Even though they are all regular spin people and know how to do this.) Sigh.

But I am going to fight for this. I emailed a few of my students and asked their opinions about the length of class and said that if they REALLY cared about this, I will advocate for it and do my best to see if we can officially change it.

And you know what? I got some emails yesterday and today that REALLY brightened my day. I feel so motivated to get out there and DO this and MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Two of my favorite snippets:

"Let me know what I/we can do. I/We LOVE your class and we'll take all the Sarah we can get!"

"I'm one of your "older" students on Monday. Not only are you a terrific teacher, you have inspired me to work harder, achieve more, and LOVE spin. We've had quite a variety of teachers since spin began at the Y. You rate as one of the top teachers."

Wow. That really brought a smile to my face! I teach spinning precisely for this very reason - to get people to work harder and know that they CAN enjoy it. Those words were so completely gratifying to me and I couldn't help but have my spirits lifted and feel more confident in my desire to push this issue.

So, onward!

And I think it's a great reminder to all of us what the power of some kind words can do for somebody's day. I know that's corny, but it's TRUE! So go out and make somebody's day!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Recipes Monday

So I'm getting through that to-do list. One of the things on it was to blog about the AMAZING fish taco recipe I found AND about the salsa recipes that I got from Beth and James and their friend JP. The combination of the fish tacos and these incredible salsas was just outstanding. It made me want to have like, Fish Taco Friday every week. If only tomatoes could have an endless season...

First up: The Fish Taco recipe. I got it from FoodNetwork.com. You can find it if you Google "Mahi Mahi Tacos."

1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1/4 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon dill seed
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper

1/2 cup soy sauce
2 pounds fillet mahi mahi with skin
1/4 cup peanut oil
Mini taco shells
Salsa of your choice, though usually you want Pico de Gallo (recipes below)
Chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Combine all of the dry ingredients for the rub and mix well. Set aside. Brush the soy sauce over the flesh side of the fillet. Let set in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Remove from refrigerator and brush with the oil. Sprinkle with desired amount of dry rub. Let stand for 15 minutes before grilling.

Cook the fillet with the flesh side facing the heat source. Cook until fork tender or 8 to 10 minutes or until just opaque. Cooking time will depend on how hot the heat source is. Let stand for about 5 minutes after removing from the heat. Flake the fish with a fork into a taco shell and top with Pico de Gallo. Add cilantro for garnish.

Now for the salsa!!!

So, I decided to make the Avocado Salsa and the Heirloom Tomato Pico De Gallo (again, courtesy of Beth and James' food blog and JP's food blog - you guys ROCK!.

Here's how they go:

First up: Heirloom Tomato Pico de Gallo (from this guy JP's blog)

This was soooooooooo delicious.


Cut up about a pint of the tomatoes, diced maybe 1/4 of a sweet yellow onion, one jalapeno minced fine, a handful of chopped cilantro, the juice of one lime and some kosher salt (never nasty table salt!!!)

Next up: Avocado Salsa!

1 avocado
1/4 diced onion
1/2 diced jalepeno
2 cloves of garlic
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup tomato sauce (mexican hot style) (this is it below - I used a diff one than James and this really kicked it up a bit - loved it!)

1/4 cup plain yogurt (the thicker the better)
handful of cilantro
salt & pepper
a little water to help thin it out and blend

Instructions: Put it all in and hit BLEND!!

My result: YUM YUM YUM!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's Sunday night already?

What I wish my to-do list looked like...

God. Not only is it Sunday night at 9:30 p.m., but I still have a spin class to write for tomorrow morning (6 a.m., no less).

Oh, and I haven't written anything about the fanatiscally fabulous weekend I just wrapped up.

I also haven't posted pictures of the amazing salsa I made last week (along with recipes, of course).

Nor have I written a race report for my first XC race I did two Saturdays ago.

Or the Ukiah Tri Race Report, which I MUST because it was the first time I'd ever placed in the overall category, so you know, that was an experience unto its own and must be written about.

I also haven't read anybody's blog for the past week (granted I was gone for 5 days last week...). How lame is that?

Most importantly to the current moment, I also haven't figured out what type of salad and appetizer and DESSERT to make for TOMORROW NIGHT when we have guests over (they're bringing the stuff to grill and a potato salad - it's an Oktoberfest theme). And, my dear readers, these aren't any guests. Oh, no.

They happen to be chefs.

At a very prominent restaurant in town.

Like, Michael Bauer (SF Chronicle food critic) rated their restaurant one of the top 100 in the Bay Area.

And I get to have them over for dinner tomorrow. Crap.

Why did I say yes to this again? I mean, I know they're friends, and they'll be totally cool, but STILL...

Deep breath. I made the list, now it's time to start checking things off, one at a time.

However, before I sign off to go start getting to my to-do list, I will write briefly about half of my awesome weekend - this morning's bike ride.

It rocked. Lee rode by my house at 7 a.m. and off we went. We went to meet up with Tim about 7 miles away, then we were off to...? I had no idea what Tim had in store for us, but I knew climbing would be involved.

So we headed west, and then hit Occidental Road. I thought "hm...is the big climb gonna be Graton road?" But then we crossed over Graton road...hm...then in my mind I was like "well that pretty much leaves Green Valley...and that leads to...well...shoot...um, that goes to Harrison Grade. Uh oh. But maybe we'll turn RIGHT on Green Valley instead of left, yeah!"


We went left on Green Valley, which takes you to Harrison Grade. Any climb that has the name "Grade" in it sounds scary. I had gone DOWN Harrison Grade last month when I did the Tour d'Organics and thought "wow, this would be pretty gnarly to go back up."

So sure enough, as we rounded the corner and the little sign said "Harrison Grade", I whined loudly "OH NOOOOOOO!"

Lee said "you knew it was coming when we turned on Green Valley!"

I responded "yes, but I somehow didn't want to believe it! I've never gone UP Harrison Grade!"

Lee said "yes you have. In fact, you passed up Brian and I and went and caught Tim. You don't remember that?"

Apparently it had been a couple years and I clearly didn't.

But anyway, we climbed it and actually it wasn't bad at all. It's a somewhat technical descent, but going up wasn't too bad until the end, which had a nice-sized pitch. When we reached the top we were greeted with some blue sky (it had been foggy all the way out there), beautiful views from the top of the hill of vineyards and redwood trees as far as the eye could see.

What followed was the shittiest descent I've ever been on.

Potholes everywhere, dirt, gravel...I lost a water bottle and part of my cleat cracked so that when I went to clip back in after retrieving the water bottle, my foot came right back out! CRAP! But I went on and knew we had a ways to go so I dealt with it.

We ended up in Occidental and took my most favorite road in the world: The Bohemian Highway. Today was no different. It was simply stunning. We rode through the crisp fall air, zipping past redwood trees along the open road and very few cars to worry about. As we came over the hill toward Freestone I looked up into the hills and could see layers of fog simply lingering through the valleys. Pretty magical to see and as usual, I was so present in the moment and simply so grateful to live here and be able to ride and experience this.

So, after Freestone we headed back east over the hills (a few more good grunts along the way) and back to our meeting spot.

There, we met up with Kathleen who was up here to visit her mom. I really wanted to meet her because I love her blog (even though I'm so behind, sorry Kathleen!) and wanted to take her on a ride through Sonoma County since she's never ridden up here.

Tim and Lee were up for riding a little longer, so they came along too. I was a bit bummed that the fog was still lingering inland a bit, and was hoping it would've burned off by then because I wanted Kathleen to get the full Sonoma County experience!

Sure enough, though, the layers burned off and before we knew it, we were riding through the sun, looking across beautiful hills and vineyards and pastures and just enjoying the morning.

Tim suggested a great loop for us that was right about 26 miles. It was a great ride - thanks, Kathleen, for coming out to play!

I hit Norcal cycling on the way home to pick up new cleats (thanks, John!) and John and I talked about bikes. Like new ones. That I might buy. Hopefully soon. (Sshhhh...)

In total, I finished with a hair shy of 70 miles for the morning, and loved every second of it. I so love cycling.

Now, back to that spin class...my apologies to all my blogger friends for being behind. I really do care.

Friday, September 19, 2008

ARRRR! It's that time again...

Yes, today is September 19...which means...


So, besides being a closet kung-fu fan, I am also a fan of pirates. Well...not real pirates, like the ones who just attacked ships in South Asia last week or the ones who attacked a Greek ship this morning. But like...fake pirates...except that they represent real pirates from way back in history, so I guess that's still bad. Hm.

Okay, I just like the idea of dressing up like pirates and speaking silly pirate talk and being jolly about it. So that's why I like National Talk Like a Pirate Day.

You can read alllllllllll about it from Dave Barry's site here: http://www.talklikeapirate.com/

Have you figured out your pirate name yet? Do it here. Mine be Mary Cricket the Mad!

Yes, I have gone mad. But it only be for a day, mates. I'm not the only one, either. In London they're having a whole PIRATE FESTIVAL!!

AND DON'T FERGET TO LOAD UP ON THE PIRATES BOOTY!!! (man, that stuff is sooooooo addicting...)

Aye, now I'll finish up this post with some good pirate jokes you can tell your friends:

Q: How do ya know yer a pirate?
A: You just arrrrrrrrrrr!!

Q: Have you seen the latest Pirate Movie? It's rated ARRRRRRRRRR!

Q: What's a pirate's favorite song?
A: We ARRRRR the Champions!

You can find more here.

Aye, I be done now. I don't care that people are laughing AT me and not with me.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

That's why it's called a vacation.

(The answer to the question, "Why does it suck so much to come back from vacation?")

So yeah, I'm back. Ho hum. I just wanted it to last a LITTLE LONGER, PLEASE!!!! Hopefully later this year.

The California Coast is amazing...at least until you look out on a clear day and see the offshore oil drills...and walk on the beach and look at the bottom of your feet and see oil spots. But other than that...BRILLIANT!
No, it really is brilliant - as showcased here in this photo.

So anyway, I had lots of time to think and chill and think some more. About 2009. About what I want from it. What I want to change. What new adventures to embark on and what adventures to leave behind. That sort of thing.

This isn't a firm list, but my rough ideas (part of coming up with the winter game plan of 08-09 is knowing what I want from 09, right?):

What I want more of:


-Swimming (like, pool meets, open water swims, and really just doing it because I love it and I still have this desire to be a faster swimmer)

-Running (short distances, like doing lots of 10k speed stuff in the first half of the year and perhaps training to do a 1/2 marathon in the fall in like, 1:42 or 1:43)

-Cycling (racing, centuries, double centuries, you name it, I'm so in it. I LOVE cycling.)

Wait. I realized something as I began this list...I already want those things. I already do all of those with the intention that I will throw 110% of myself into each of these sports individually, not with triathlon as the target. That I will commit more of myself to each of these things, on top of all the other things in my life OUTSIDE of triathlon that I intend to do. Hm.

So then I thought some more. What does this mean? How can I balance it all?

It means I have to let go on some of those ideas and focus even more.

Maybe I should start with my Things I Want Less of in 2009:

-No 1/2 ironmans. Okay, MAYBE I would still consider it LATE in the year, but that's a BIG maybe. I want to focus on speed, not distance. I like the pain of speed. I sound like a masochist, but I just do. It hurts so bad but you know you can push because before you know it, it will be OVER!

-Less corporate races, more local races. I'm sick of the corporateness that is taking over triathlon. Therefore, I pledge to support more locally-run races that support local charities directly. Like the last race I did - the race was done entirely by the Ukiah Rotary Club and the monies went to support their community service projects.

-Less pressure. My last two races were AWESOME because I gave up on pressuring myself for a certain time and said "just do what you can do." So I did, and I had FUN and I came out proud. That was way better than being a stress case about it.

-Less overtraining. I hate being ruled by a schedule, but it works.

Okay, that's better. I still haven't solved the problem of the issue with the list of "More-Ofs", but I think it maybe happen something like this:

-I want to cycle more. I want to be a better cyclist because I know I can. Because I LOVE it. Because I think I can be stronger, not in races or anything else but for ME.

-However, I want to keep running as something I use for cross training. I want to continue to do sprint tris and Olympic tris and I know that they can serve as a reason to keep up the running.

-Still, cycling will remain key.

-What about swimming? I am still going to try to swim 3x/week. Maybe 2 mornings with masters and once on the weekends...some WAY!!! I don't know I'll ever go back to swimming 6x/week like I used to (and sometimes pine for...). We'll see, though.

As for yoga, I've found that the people at the Airport Club are AWESOME and if I can't make it to Living Tree then I have another place I can go. I also got a DVD called Power Yoga that got good reviews that I'm going to try so I can get yoga in 3x/week.

On top of all that, there are things I want to do for work and the community. January will mark being in Santa Rosa for one year and I would like to get involved with community service. Of course, I'd also like to keep up teaching spinning and maybe throw in a winery gig on an occasional weekend? Never enough time...EVER.

I think these goals will take some refining as I head into winter and come up with the winter game plan, but it's a start. In any case, it's nice to come back with a clear mind and ready to go!

Friday, September 12, 2008

An off-topic post: "Same old story: Taxpayers left to bail out banks"

I'm so proud of Matt! He wrote an opinion piece for the local paper (The Press Democrat) and it appeared in the paper today.

I thought it was a very well-written article that is very to-the-point and frank. Check it out:

Same Old Story: Taxpayers left to bail out banks

Michael Coit's Sunday story ("An icon's struggle") was a well-written, yet off-the-mark, rehash of a very old story. He's to be commended for doing deeper-than-normal research. But in the end, I feel he missed the point. While the friends and family of the former Exchange Bank CEO may feel sympathy for his demise, I see no reason the rest of us should feel anything but anger with banks and financial firms that deviated from their missions to chase rainbows and pots of gold.

A good student in economic history can point to banks as the main cause of the Great Depression. Their mistakes through the 1920s drove this country into such an economic morass that it took more than 10 years, millions of dollars in taxpayer spending and a world war to bring the country and the world to a more stable economy.

In the tatters of their wake were many damaged and scattered families. If you ask any senior who lived through those years, many still remember the economic pain of the 1930s -- almost 90 years later. And since 1929, there are countless other times where banks have had a dirty hand in damaging the U.S. economy and the citizens of this nation, all for the betterment of their bottom line.

Whether it was the savings and loans scandals of the 1980s, the dot-com-boom-then-bust pushed by investment banks in the 1990s, or our recent credit crisis enabled by capital from our nation's banks and Wall Street firms, nearly every time there has been a large economic collapse, it is because the rug has been pulled out from "surprised" and unprepared banking and investment executives. And the confused taxpayer pays through the nose as these well-heeled executives scatter like cockroaches. In analyzing the various economic collapses over the years, one finds a not-so-surprising trend -- that in nearly every economic debacle, the root of the problem points to the greed and avarice of the banks and Wall Street.

It is upsetting to see Exchange Bank get caught up in this greed cycle. It is certainly surprising that a bank like Exchange Bank, which has helped our community tremendously over the past century with a mandate to be conservative and be there for the long haul, suddenly felt the pressure to chase profits like its less-reputable competitors. But to see the newspaper paint these leaders as innocent bystanders is a disservice to the community. And, it misses the point of this whole disgrace.

If the best minds of Wall Street, or our banking centers on Main Street or even downtown on Fourth Street could not see the problem with giving money freely to unqualified borrowers, why should we feel sympathy for any of them? We citizens are paying for the bailout of Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Bear Stearns, IndyMac and more to come. All the while, the fired CEOs walk away with millions.

No, I think the question should be asked of these PhDs, MBAs and other industry leaders is how much did you all profit in the run-up -- personally and corporately? Don't forget that before this bubble burst, banks and Wall Street firms were paying record bonuses for years. Where were the levers of constraint and common sense to avoid the worst of a very predictable downfall? Once again, the lemmings of greed at the banks and on Wall Street have run this country into dangerous economic territory. And once again, we the taxpayer will shoulder the burden of their inability to moderate their endless thirst for profits.

Matthew J. Everson is owner of MJ Everson Financial in Santa Rosa and lives in Santa Rosa.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Stil working on that race report

So Monday morning I taught spinning. I was really, REALLY tired. Like, all day.

I got home at 5:45 p.m. and ate a small snack of some cottage cheese and pita bread. Then I was like "well, I'll take a nap before Anna's 7 p.m. yoga class."

I laid down at 6 p.m....and woke up at 7 A.M.!!!!!!!!!!

How's that for rest?

Anyway, then last night I went to yoga, and afterward made this Lemony Chickpea Stir-fry from 101 Cookbooks.com:
No, this was not MY creation, this is a picture of Heidi's creation. I didn't have the energy to take a picture. And mine didn't look as pretty anyway. I didn't have kale, but I DID have eggplant (lots of it), so I cut up the eggplant, put it in the microwave for 1:30, and then added it into the stir-fry before the zucchini for about 2 minutes. Then I added some soba noodles to the mix since it was my main course. Yum! I had it with a glass of the 2006 Trentadue Sauvignon Blanc and it made for a nice meal. (I went to Trentadue on Saturday when I got back from SF because they were having this HUGE Harvest Sale - basically when you bought a case of wine - mix 'n match - they'd give you 50% off. WHOA. Needless to say, I had some fun and came home with more wine and less money...)

I would DEFINITELY make it again. I might even add some garlic to it.

Anyway, by the time I was done with that and all cleaned up, I was ready for bed. In yoga we did one of my favorite poses, the Bird of Paradise.

I can't quite get my leg up that far, but it is by FAR one of the best hip openers for me and I always feel soooooooo much better after! However, between that and the arm balances and the handstands (or my halfway attempts to getting to feel comfortable with handstands...), I was TIRED!

So now it's Wednesday and I still haven't written my race report. I'll be sure to get on that ASAP.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Real Quick: Ukiah Tri this morning

So I'm off to Napa to go visit with the fam for dinner and I really have to go. But I am SO excited that I had to post just a teeny little post.

I did the Ukiah Tri this morning (mainly sprint, but longish for a sprint bike), and...


I was so surprised. How cool is that? I must say, small local race, but hey, 3rd overall is 3rd overall and I'M TAKING IT!

They had the women 34 and under start second behind the men (not sure which age group it was, maybe 34 and under men?), so the other cool thing was that I got to be out in front all by myself for the WHOLE RACE. I passed a couple women up front on the bike and then it was alllllll me and the guys and I just made it my mission to keep pickin' em off, one by one! I really enjoyed that. :)
They gave me a bottle of wine for my place, and I also won a bottle through their raffle, so I went home with two bottles of wine! That also made my day.

I'll write the race report later tonight and post a couple more pics. I just couldn't wait to get this out! :)

Also, I started a post on Friday that I never finished, and I really wanted to say that TAWNY MADE IT!!!! You can check it all out here. Tawny's first sentence on her blog after finishing went as follows:

This stuff is for the birds.
I think I unofficially have the longest time of this season. 12 hrs 32min. 22 seconds.
Wow, 12 hrs and 32 minutes! I can't even imagine swimming for that long. Tawny, tonight I will raise my beer (or glass of wine, haven't decided yet) to YOU!!!! Congratulations, my friend!!

(This is also from Friday)
I had my first class at the Airport Club this morning. Aside from the fact that I couldn't figure out for 5 minutes why the stereo wasn't coming on (I didn't realize I had to turn the power strip on behind it...d'oh...), I couldn't figure out how to switch the mic battery out for another 5 minutes, and my seat tightener actually works in REVERSE (so it's NOT righty-tighty, lefty-loosy - it's OPPOSITE) so the whole seat fell off and I couldn't for the life of me get it on and it's 6:05 a.m. and I'm trying to get class STARTED AND introduce myself AND not look like a total goofball who doesn't know what she's doing...well aside from all that, it was great.

Once I got into my groove it smoothed out just fine and I actually had a few people come up after and introduce themselves and say 'GREAT class!' So that was great. :)
Hope everybody had an awesome weekend.

OHHHHH and I also want to say GOOOOOOOOOOOOO Courtenay (and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, COURT!) and Kelly and Soda! They all raced in the LA Tri this morning (Court and Kelly did the Olympic and Soda did the Sprint) and they all DID AWESOME!

Courtenay took 3rd in the Elite Amateurs and Kelly took 7th in the Elite Amateurs and Soda took 5th overall for the women in the Sprint course.

And my friend Carmen raced Folsom this morning (along with Chris) and she had a great race, too - bettered her previous Olympic time by like, 18 minutes. GO CARMEN! Look forward to seeing how Chris did...

Good job, EVERYBODY!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Tawny Watch Begins

I've mentioned my friend Tawny a few times. She's the crazy lady that's swimming 21 miles from Catalina to San Pedro - TONIGHT!!!!!!

Tawny's crew will be updating her blog via text (Google rocks!), so it will be easy to keep up with what's happening.

Just a bit about Tawny - she's amazing. She can drink anybody under the table if it's beer, her blog posts will keep you in stitches, and she got bitten by her neighbor's PIT BULL two weeks ago and ended up in the hospital for 4 days because of an infection, but still had no questions about whether she would swim. It was definitely still on like Donkey Kong for this girl!

(This was Tawny in the hospital...she named herself Sponge Tawny Square Hand...)

Her latest update is about how they're forecasting wind so she needs to find a kayak after all...

She's been training for quite awhile for this, and I am soooooooooo excited for her!



As for me...my hamstrings are still screaming at me after Tuesday's track workout. OMG...it really was the hardest run workout I'd ever done.

I did an easy 3.6 mile run last night and a lot of stretching and massage with The Stick, but they still hurt.

I slept in this morning. I REALLY REALLY wanted to make swim practice but in the end, just couldn't do it. My body mandated I rest. I have a big weekend coming up.

It's just hard because I love swim practice SO MUCH. I LOVE being there. But I have just felt exhausted this week and so it's not even the morning sleepiness that makes it tough, it's just simply the overall fatigue I feel that has kept me from pursuing those early morning workouts.

Oh yeah, I changed my mind again about what triathlon to do this weekend. Now it's going down like this:

Friday: First Friday - GIRLS' NIGHT!!!
Saturday: Cross country race in Golden Gate Park (SF)
Sunday: Ukiah Triathlon (1/2 mile swim, 21 mile bike, 3 mile run)

Ukiah is only an hour away so leaving at 5:15 a.m seems waaaaaay more reasonable than 3:45 a.m. (when I would've had to leave for Folsom Tri, ugh!).

That's it for now. I still have to post that Fish Taco recipe I found. MMMMMMMMM! Tomorrow is the first day teaching spin at the Airport Club! I'm nervous and excited!


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Long weekend of fun

Fun is over, time to get back to it. But not before I recap the weekend's fun.

Saturday started by meeting my friend David at the Airport Club where we swam, biked and - nope - we didn't run after the bike. We made it back in time for his wife Anna's yoga class at 10 a.m. Now THAT is a pattern I could get into. Swim, Bike and Yoga. It was awesome!

I worked a little on Saturday afternoon and then Matt and I spent the evening together.

Sunday we went out on a short bike ride, only about 28 miles through some of my favorite roads in the county. We stopped for coffee on the way back at this great little coffee shop along Hwy 116 in Sebastopol and read the Sunday paper for about 20 minutes. I LOVE rides like that! They also gave me $0.50 off for riding my bike there. It's the little things...

Monday was chock full of fun things which was great since that was the day off...I really felt like I made every hour count! It began by meeting at the YMCA with a few members of my Monday morning spin class for a 28 mile ride. In last week's class we had talked about the fact that there would be no class on Monday, so one of my students had the idea of doing a ride instead. I was happy to lead and let them decide the pace, though I did throw a handful of 1-minute sprints on some straightaways to make them push out of their comfort zone.

There were so many fun things about that ride. It was so great to interact with these people outside of our usual venue. It was fun to get to know some of them better and actually be able to have a real conversation! One of the biggest rewards came from seeing their reactions at the end of the ride - they all were like "wow, it was so beautiful" and "those roads were so incredible."

Two of the folks even brought mountain bikes and were like "you know...if we have more rides like this I'm going to HAVE to buy a road bike!"

THAT was a really awesome moment. I feel like I got to share a part of my world that I love so much and show people what an amazing world cycling can be, and they SAW it. We all finished sitting around a table at Peet's coffee and reveling in how much fun we had. It was one of the few rides I've been on where speed wasn't a concern of mine. I got to simply make sure that everybody was doing well, having fun and getting some exercise, and that in itself was a great treat.

The rest of the day was spent at other people's houses eating awesome food, celebrating a birthday, celebrating friendship and drinking wine. Mmmmm. Let's just say there is no way I could say my bike ride that morning even came CLOSE to an excuse for eating that much food, but it's okay. It doesn't happen very often. ;)

ANYWAY now the week has begun. I have lots of things to blog about. I found the most amazing fish taco recipe, I'm still trying to figure out which tri to do as the last tri (Folsom next weekend is out, too much logistics for me to deal with, okay basically I don't feel like waking up at 3:30 a.m. to leave by 4 a.m. for an Olympic tri, and then racing and then visiting with family and then having to drive 2.5 hours home, just not fun (but racing with Carmen would be fun, that's the only fun part), and I want FUN!), I have my first cross country race next weekend, I have my first spin class to teach at the Airport Club this week, aahhhh so many cool things!!

Bring it!