It’s getting real

We are one week away from the big Triathlon race.  My first one, so to me it’s big even though I’m only doing the sprint.  One of the best decisions a new comer can make is to sign up for a pre-race clinic.  It’s sponsored by the USA Triathlon org, and so necessary!  I was able to swim the course and run the course.  Then they talked about transitioning.  The online transitioning information is very useful, at the clinic,  the organizers go through what is applicable for this race.  The important take-aways that I didn’t get from anything online:  Get elastic shoe laces, purchase a belt (for your number during the run), you can bring your bike the night before and most importantly you can be disqualified for drafting (didn’t know what that was).  Apparently you need to be three bike lengths behind someone and you can’t have anyone to your side.  If you pass you have to do it in 15 seconds!

Another revelation is that despite training all summer in the pool and having previously swam in a lake, you can still panic!  The guy talked about panic for about 15 minutes, and in my head I was thinking, why would you panic if you signed up for this?  You probably know what you are getting in to, right?   Well, when you train, you might not be doing it with anyone.  So when you add “race” and start from zero to full throttle, your body does freak out!  I started out fast, which I never do during practice.  The key is to stick with the pace you trained for.  I felt like I couldn’t get a breath in and my chest was really tight.  I had to swim to the side where I could touch bottom and catch my breath.  The lake is about 17 feet deep and the water is murky, yellow-green.  You can’t see anything with goggles, even though you need them.


We didn’t get to do the bike path because it will be on the regular road and there was no police to help facilitate the race.  But we did get to see the path…


On the run, I had another discovery.  I really like running by myself.  And I wear a fitness device that tracks your heart rate.  I like to keep it in the intermediate zone.  On this run, I was in the red zone 66% of the time, which means I really pushed myself.  Whenever you hear someone behind you, it feels like they are closing in.  For me, a little thing goes off in the brain that says, keep moving don’t give up your position!  I don’t like that, but it’s a good thing to keep you motivated to push yourself.

Running under power lines is not pretty and it’s scary.  You hear the crackling of the lines (like static).  The trail starts with the power lines, then moves into some really pretty scenery.  You see beautiful houses with boat docks and nice landscaping…need to get a picture of that!


It was fun training over the summer for  this event.  I think I’m prepared and I’m excited! With events like this you meet people and make discoveries.  A lady told me about 288 Lake which is a spring fed lake and it’s clear (who would have though there is such a place in Houston!)  Lake Houston, Livingston and Conroe are all murky brown lakes.  And Galveston is also very brown.  I will definitely need to check that out!  The 288 lake has SUP (stand up paddle boarding), even yoga on the paddle board, kayaking, swimming (of course) and scuba diving.


It’s getting real

When the rain won’t go away…”listen”

The weekends are a time to recharge!  So what do you do when it rains and rains and rains? I had this great plan to go bike riding on Buffalo Bayou, of course for adventure, change of scenery and to hopefully inspire others to get out there!   I happened to catch that there is new public art displayed on the trail and thought it would be fun to find the words Explore, Pause, Reflect, Listen, Emerge, and Observe.  It’s a great mindfulness exercise and being present, which someone in my company could enjoy.   The plans changed constantly in an attempt to get out in a dry moment.   For $9 you can rent a bike at the trail for an hour which is a good amount of time to spend on the bike trail.   We only found three of the words, but the word I found “spoke” to me…


To listen does not necessarily mean only words or sounds.  Today, I felt as though I needed to listen in a different way.  Sometimes things happen and you have to listen.  My plans changed a lot today.  I did listen and for whatever reason the time that we went was the time that was meant to be.  We took a tour that I never would have thought to take to the cistern that once supplied water for the city of Houston. It was built in 1926 and provided 15 million gallons of water to the city, it was decommissioned in 2007.  Even on the Buffalo Bayou’s own website the information about why it was decommissioned differs from what the tour guide said.  (which is kind of an important lesson).  The site says there was an irreparable leak which you can interpret the leak was the cause for discontinuing use. However, I do recall, that the city was sinking because of the use of the underground water, a change was made to use the water from Lake Houston, Lake Conroe and Lake Livingston all lakes created by dams and the lakes now supply the city with water.  Water is so important for life and it fascinates me!


To me this looks like something out of a Harry Potter movie…looks like a horcrux hiding place!

Downtown offers great restaurants and shopping.  My daughter likes the trendy vintage places in Montrose…”hipster” and she got some cute outfits.  I enjoyed the graffiti!.


What do you “hear” when you really listen?

When the rain won’t go away…”listen”

Cha cha cha changes

Well sometimes you have a bad week.  I find that hard to say thinking of all the blessing I truly have. How bad can it be?  Truly you do make it what it is to some extent, however extenuating circumstances sometimes are too great to ignore and infringe on your happiness.  And whether it’s work, your personal life or both, it just seems to pile on.

What keeps me centered is focusing on my spirituality and the many blessing I do have.  I know that even when things seem grim, there is probably something happening that needs to even though I don’t know what it is.

Summer is ending even though it is still very hot and will be for at least another month and a half.   School starts in a week, so for the people with kids this marks a big change in the year.  It’s almost like a season.  I’m one of those people that doesn’t like to let go of one season and start another one.  Maybe it’s because of the fear of change or the unknown.  When you are familar with the flow of things, it’s comforting.  And now we get to shake that up again.  Which to me is unsettling, although it could be great.  Who knows?

Some of the wisdom I have gained is that you make your own path.  Do not rely on others for your happiness or you will be disappointed.   Seek people that don’t bring you down. Learning what is toxic for you is important.  Don’t be afraid to be by yourself and when you are by yourself, hopefully you are happy with your company…if not get there.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  Past is past, everyday is a new opportunity to make a change and move on.  Without past experiences, we wouldn’t have learned whatever lesson it was that we learned.  Poor decisions and failures are growth opportunities and are necessary.

It also helps to have an escape, something that is healthy and soothing.  For me, that is the running, biking, tennis and pilates.  For that one hour, I can focus on feeling good.

So that’s it.  This week will hopefully be better.








Cha cha cha changes

When a Texan goes to Los Angeles

The first thing we noticed was the traffic ! Holly hell!!!!  The weather is really mild . I thought it was cold ! Definitely need to pack a jacket for 70 degree weather (it does drop in the 60s). We stayed in Burbank which is near Hollywood and Griffith observatory .  We visited the observatory at night and got a spectacular view of the city . We waited a while for parking and didn’t have much time there because it closes at 10pm. There were long lines to view out of the telescope , but the building was nice and again the view was amazing!


I would love to go back during the day ! They say it’s one of the best places to view the iconic Hollywood sign . By the way, a local said the sign originally said Hollywood Land until “land” fell off the mountain. And it lit up ! Not anymore though . The city doesn’t want to pay for it and the residents beneath it don’t want the lights shining in their homes .

It was not easy to get a good view of the sign , but we did manage to get one on the observation deck of the Hollywood highland shopping center .


We knew the Hollywood walk of fame is right at this location .  I wanted to see Marilyn Monroe’s star . (Checked on the internet ahead of time to know it is in front of the McDonalds across the street from the shopping center) . We avoided the many characters who try to take pics with you for cash and found it interesting that you can cross an intersection diagonally.


We made a quick trip to Beverly Hills just to see it ! Lots of high end shops were there and people walking their cute dogs ! We could afford some coffee 🙂

We made reservations for a late lunch at Nobu in Malibu. What a pretty drive that is on the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH)! Nobu is a place where some of the stars go and it is right on the ocean …spectacularly beautiful !!


We went shopping at the market in Malibu another spot where you might spot a celebrity…we found …cute clothes !!

We took that beautiful scenic drive to Santa Monica where we checked into the hotel and headed to the pier (on bikes ) to ride the rides and watch the sunset .


The next day I was really excited to ride the beach bike path to Venice beach !  I am an early riser and no one would get up so off I went . I’m happy we chose not to stay in Venice . I had a hotel picked out on the beach , however at the last minute I read reviews that the area had a lot of homeless people and drug use so we decided against it . Good choice ! In the morning it was sad to see . There is such a contrast of people exercising and people sleeping and waking up angry . You can see despair on their faces . We returned during the day and it was lively and better. There were lots of cheap things , music and it seemed almost like a vibe mixture of hippie and medieval .


We went to the 3rd street promenade and had dinner at Del Friscos .  Overall , I loved the area! There is just too many people /too much traffic !!  The best part is the healthy outdoor activities and healthy food options !   I love that part of the lifestyle …image

When a Texan goes to Los Angeles

Not too Shabby Chic

This week my daughter, going through a personal transformation, decided she needed to change things up.  She really wanted to start with her immediate surroundings.  I admire the fact that when you are at the beginning of your life, you just change things and go with it, even though I can see it can be distressing.   I can also definitely say I’m happy to see the hippie decor go!  Yeah!   Bye bye!  Changing bedding, curtains and some decor can make a difference (as she says, change the vibe).

We spent a lot on furniture for the kids and that investment was to last until they leave home.  While my daughter is one year behind on that move, she will be ready next year. We went to a local craft store that has home decor, Hobby Lobby.  There my daughter was looking for cheap inspiration.  And there she found it.  She was picking up white things that reminded me of the shabby chic look.  I started to see her idea and thought that would look great!  So that piece of furniture that she hasn’t been crazy about for years, now has a new vision.  It’s going from a light pinkish wood stain with floral details to white and the knobs will be replaced with acrylic.


On with a project!  This time, she will be painting and I will help!  A quick turn to the oracle…Google and YouTube,  and now we know what we need to create the shabby chic effect.  The key ingredient is white chalk paint, more like off white/vanilla, some sand paper and wax.  I was happy to find the supplies in Home Depot, we got lucky and got the last two cans.  I was a little surprised that they only sold it in about a quart size…seemed small.  But when you apply with a brush, the paint lasts.   And as it turns out for the dresser project I only needed one can.   You have to do two coats to cover it and the cool thing about shabby chic is that you really can’t make errors!  It’s suppose to look imperfect!  I was a little concerned that the brush made lines in the paint, however you sand the chalk paint and then sand harder in areas to make the wood show through (that’s the distressing).  So here we have a part of life she is going through that is distressing and we distressed her furniture. She probably doesn’t get the irony in that!


When this weekend started, I had no idea that we would be doing a room change and painting a piece of furniture.  Needless to say it was an extremly busy, fun and rewarding weekend!


We distressed the drawers and haven’t finished the rest, but here is a preview of the almost finished….


That was a pretty satisfying project.  The cost to change a room, about $300. That is pretty expensive.  We got the bedding, a throw, some decor, the painting supplies and the knobs. It’s still cheaper than purchasing new furniture.  I might have been able to shop online for cheaper, however the need for change was immediate and we were able to make that happen.  Painting makes me happy!   There is another piece of furniture in her room that needs to change and the perfect place to make that happen is Round Top!  (Mentioned in a previous post)  Looks like I will need to make that trip in October!  Currently she has a chest from the 60s but I just don’t see applying the shabby chic effect to it.

Not too Shabby Chic