Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mixin' Work and Play

I'm amazed at how much self-discipline it takes to live this freelance life. I'm currently still looking for telecommuting work, and am doing research for a few article pitches, and without specific deadlines hanging over my head, it's hard to do the work that needs to be done.
But, I'm starting to get the hang of it.
Today, I was even disciplined enough to get up at 5:00 and work for a few hours so I could leave the house at 8:30 on the bike to meet MS Global friend, Tammy Lucas, and her brother, Daniel, for a bike ride. Daniel and his wife, Sarah, are visiting from Idaho, and Tammy wanted to introduce me to them, so they came over here from Ft. Collins for a ride.
We met at Amante's, a coffee shop at the end of town, left Sarah there working on her computer, and took a great ride up to Jamestown. We returned to have lunch with Sarah -- and dessert! -- and then I came home and worked the rest of the day. Nice.
(Made good progress on a couple of projects, and am almost ready to pitch
a small article idea to a national magazine! Will send by Friday.)
Tammy, me, and Daniel after the ride behind Amante's.
This is why I want to make this freelance life work.
Finding a balance between work and play is not easy,
but definitely worth the effort.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Soup's On

There's definitely a chill in the air 'round here. Over the last few weeks, I've been taking pictures of the tree off my deck as the changing season has transformed it...

Poor guy's completely nekked now.
But that just means it's soup season....
mmmmm, homemade Split Pea soup.
(not as good as my mom's, but close enough)
And this weekend's batch of
White Bean and Sausage Ragout with Tomatoes, Kale, and Zucchini.
Whew...worked up an appetite just typing the darn name.
Hope you're savoring the season.
(Wednesday's menu? Pumpkin-Black Bean Soup -- yum!)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Snow and..."Canned Haggis"

It snowed today!!! Of course, it rained and hailed first, but it snowed! The snow didn't stick, but IT SNOWED!!! Yes, I love the snow, and am looking forward to more. I made a nice breakfast, and sat right by the sliding glass door, reading my New York Times, and watching the snow.
And then later in the day, I met new friend, Natasha Cowie (a Velo Bella-Kona pro cyclocross racer), at the Boulder Library to see a free concert.

We saw a gaelic band from Denver called "Canned Haggis." Yup...canned haggis. And they were terrific. You can listen to some of their music at http://www.cannedhaggis.com/
Scott Beach does vocals and plays the Great Highland bagpipes, small pipes, and the bass guitar.
Mark Hill plays the bodhran, djembe drums, and Patrick McElhany (the band's "token Irishman") plays rhythm guitar, and the Celtic finger-style guitar. Both also provide vocals, and Patrick is lead vocal.
And the fourth member is Gina Lance, who plays fiddle. She was honored as the Best Celtic Fiddle Player of Colorado by Westword Magazine in 2006 -- and it was pretty obvious why. She was amazing!

The guys ended the evening with an a capella song.

Men in kilts....yes, I love being Scottish!


I took a trip to California a few weeks ago, and started a post about it on October 8. I saved it without finishing, did a few other posts since then, and just went back to finish it now. And, um, when I hit "publish," it posted before the later posts. So, there's a "new" post three posts back....can I be more confusing?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Magazine Writer's Conference

What a weekend it's been. I went to the Magazine Writer's Conference, sponsored by Women's Adventure, a magazine based here in Boulder.

Editors from a variety of magazines presented talks on a variety of topics. The topics ranged from general, such as how to make successful pitches to editors, to more specific, such as tips on travel writing and writing gear reports. The magazines represented? Adventure Women, Outside, Entertainment Weekly, Shape, Alternative Medicine, Delicious Living, National Geographic, and Best Life.

Today, on the last day, there was "Speed Dating" with editors. Participants got to meet with some editors of their choice in one-on-one 10-minute meetings to ask any questions they had, or even pitch article ideas. I met with editors from Shape, Best Life, Adventure Women, and Alternative Medicine, and received some helpful feedback on my ideas.

While my head is still basically spinning from all the information, I think I've come away from the weekend with a more solid idea of some of the things I can do to become successful at freelancing. It's definitely going to be a challenge, but the editors shared great insight and encouragement, and balanced that with a healthy dose of reality.

These are a few of the editors at a panel on Saturday.

I met a lot of other successful and aspiring freelancers, and a group of us went to dinner together at the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse on Saturday night.
This is Michelle Theall, the founder and editor of Adventure Women, and the creator of the conference. She is very inspiring, and I'd encourage you to look for the magazine -- it's a great read. If all goes well, you'll see my byline in it some day.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Fall Morning Ride

Fall riding...love it.
Crisp, cool air. Quaking aspens. Sounds of gears changing, steady breathing, and wheels climbing steadily. The smells of a pine-filled canyon with a river running through it.
Here are a few shots from my ride this morning, up Lefthand Canyon to about 10 minutes past Jamestown up "Super James," and back to Boulder.

And safely back home. Nice.

Monday, October 8, 2007

A Little Dose of the Fresno Bellas

No regrets about moving to Colorado. But it is hard to leave good friends behind. One of those friends has been hounding me to do more regular blog entries -- apparently she misses me A LOT. So, in her honor, I'm doing a little retrospective here of the Fresno Bellas. After all, she and I met when we began riding together on the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training inaugural cycling team in Fresno almost 9 years ago, then we did Climb to Kaiser together (twice! ouch!), we became assistant coaches for Team in Training, went to France for 2 1/2 weeks to follow the 2004 Tour de France together, and after begging for a year, she talked me into racing. So, Denise, just for you, here's a little walk down memory lane with the Fresno Bellas...
This is my favorite pic of the Fresno Four....(front to back) Denise, Amy, Heidi, and me at the start of the Sea Otter road race in 2006. We swept the podium. Ok, that's a lie. We did all finish, however.
Me and Denise at our camp the last morning of Sea Otter 2007. Bittersweet, as I was quite aware I may not get back there in 2008...unless I can get VeloNews to assign me an article or two. This year, I worked on a feature on BPG, a pro men's team sponsored by a medical marijuana clinic while there (see Volume 36, Issue 8).
Lori and Pam get all flared-out at the 1st Annual Central Valley Women's Ride last year.
Ok, Lisa Hunt and Felicia Gomez aren't Bellas, but they've got the spirit. Lisa is the director of ValueAct Capital, a smokin' hot pro women's team (see Little Yellow Bug's blog), and Felicia raced for Webcor, but now races for Aaron's, and is a good friend and fellow prof from Fresno State. We posed for the paparazzi at a rest stop at that Women's Ride here.
Mmmm....lovin' the margaritas after the 2006 Sea Otter road race back at the Bella Booth with Amy and 'Liz. Of course, Amy got violently ill after this and had to go to the hospital -- and not even from the margarita (honest, we only had one each).
A 2006 Fresno Bella Christmas get-together at The Cheesecake Factory: (l to r) me, Amy, Denise, Heidi, and Tracy. Heidi will be taking a little time off from racing, as she's pregnant with her first baby -- congrats, Heidi! And Tracy is recovering like a rock star from a terrible crash in a crit a few months back (see Tim Loper's blog).
This is why we all love being Bellas. This is the bike parking area at the 2007 Sea Otter Bella booth -- the hottest and sassy-est booth year after year.

And this, people, is a true friend. Denise really didn't want to do this, but she did it for me at Sea Otter this year -- I think she felt bad since we didn't know if I'd get to come back!
Ciao, Bellas!

A Few Days in Cali

When I was at Fresno State, I was part of a National Coalition Building Institute campus team (http://www.ncbi.org/) that was founded in 2001. Shortly after September 11, President Welty sent six of us -- two faculty, two staff, and two students -- to Washington DC for a 5-day training institute so we could start the team; he wanted to make sure our campus felt welcoming to everyone. We learned to conduct 1-day Prejudice Reduction Workshops (PRWs), as well as how to facilitate a Controversial Issues process to help groups who are at odds with each other to recognize and work toward shared goals. We built a great campus team, and their work continues -- even without me, believe it or not. But a few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to get flown back to Cali for a few days to co-facilitate a PRW with Francine and Jody, two of my best friends, who were part of that original 6-member campus team with me. I stayed over a few days to see friends in Fresno, and even was able to drive to Sacramento to help family celebrate my oldest niece's 7th birthday. While I didn't manage to get pics of everyone along the way, I've loaded a few here so you can see some of the folks I got to visit.
This is Jody, me, and Francine -- the Ya-Ya's. Francine's daughter, Ife-Chudeni, took a bunch of fun photos for us before I moved back in June, and this is one of my favorites.

The PRW was all day on Thursday, and on Friday, I hung out on campus all day, dropping in and surprising old friends there. Most of the people I visited were faculty and staff I used to work with, but I also saw Denise in the morning when she got out of one of her classes; she's a kinesiology student now on campus. This is a pic of us at Sea Otter last year.
Of course, I went to my old department -- Child, Family, and Consumer Sciences -- and visited with friends there. This is a photo of some of us in May having lunch together after one of the many graduation ceremonies we all attend. Left to right, this is Sean (faculty), Katie (faculty), Ling (one of our students who was working at the restaurant because she hasn't graduated yet), Alma (faculty), and Marianne (faculty). I also saw Gary and Marilyn in our department, but they weren't with us at lunch in May. And I met the new secretary, Jenny, who I'm pretty sure would have loved me had she had a chance to work with me.
I saw quite a few other friends, but I don't have pics of all of them: Felicia Gomez, Dennis Farris, and even new assistant professor, Kristi Hill. That was a kick, as she was my first cycling coach back in 1999, and she's just been hired at State! I really wish she'd been hired last year so we could have worked with each other.
At the end of the day, I popped in to see Belinda. She was hired as the CFCS secretary the same year I was hired, so we "grew up" together. She left to another department right before I left. I think she couldn't handle the thought of being in the department without me...who can blame her? This is a shot of us at the Latino commencement in May.
Wednesday and Thursday nights, Katie (in restaurant pic above) took me in, which was really fun, as she has four daughters from just under 2 years to 8 (or 9?) years old. And she recently moved into a new house, so it was fun seeing that, too. I kept her up way too late talking, though, when she had class prep to do. Now that I'm not teaching, I'm pretty selfish that way. Not wanting to overstay my welcome, though, I transferred to Juli and Mark's house for Friday and Saturday night. This is Jul and me last year at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Jul is a breast cancer survivor, and she has had a team each year since her diagnosis. 2007 is the first year I haven't been a part of it, so that's a bummer, but I'm very thankful I was in Fresno when she was diagnosed so I could be there through it all with her.

On Saturday, I rented a car and headed to Sacramento to meet family at a Build-A-Bear-Workshop to celebrate Abbey's 7th birthday. Can't believe my oldest niece is already 7! This is her (4th from left) with her little sister, Alyssa (farthest on left) and four of her friends after they all "built" their bears.

Abbey's mom, Cathy, and her littlest sister, Emma, are here with other sis-in-law, Missy, and my youngest niece, Lacey -- kickin' back while the big girls built their bears. My mom and big brother Bill (Abbey's dad) were there, too, but I didn't manage to get pics of them -- they're quite elusive when the paparazzi is about.
Hard to say goodbye, especially when my youngest nieces are all cozied up in the back seat of the pick-up, looking too cute for words. Left to right, Emma, Lacey, and Alyssa.
Sniffin' back tears, I headed back to Fresno and hung out with Juli and Mark back at their place. On Sunday, I went to services at my old church, then went to lunch with friends from there, before flying back to the bubble.
It was a great trip.