How not to get a tattoo

catbuttFollow these simple rules and avoid scarring your body with some unintelligible, stupid or downright embarrassing ink forever!!!!

  1. Do not awake from a dream with an idea that having this THING inked on you will bring you insight and joy for the remainder of your days. This is why it is called a dream. It belongs in clouds and your subconscious.. not anywhere anyone can see it while you are naked.
  2. Do not get a tattoo if you think it will make you cool. Tattoos do not make you cool. No one with the words ‘Mum’ on their bicep ever looked cool. Except maybe Johnny Cash and his said ‘Mom’. And, well .. Johnny Cash.
  3. Do not get a tattoo if it has taken you more than a year or two to think about it. People buys houses, get married and pregnant in that time. You’re clearly not an ink person if you’d consider having a baby easier than deciding where to get your death’s head or Mark Twain quote.
  4. Do not get a tattoo because it seems like ‘fun’. Hobby’s are fun. Tattoos are not a hobby. Unless you want to be covered head to toe by the time you’re 25, then its more of a lifestyle.
  5. If the idea for your tattoo came from the following sources, please exit the shop: Pinterest, the wall of the tattoo shop, a server/waitress/stripper, your friends leg, a dream, your computer logo, a video game. Buy a Sharpie and go to town. You won’t regret it half as much.
  6. Do not choose your tattoo shop by it proximity to the bar. This is not a selection criteria. Cleanliness, prior work, reputation, Instagram/Yelp/other artists recommendations are good criteria. Your ability to duck out for another shot while waiting is not a criteria.
  7. ‘Walk in’ tattoo shops are a dying breed. There is a reason for this. Artists do not like to draw and ink 73 Broncos logos every game day. Artists like to draw, create and ink something they’re proud of. It does not occur – generally at midnight on a Saturday in 60 minute intervals. You may luck out on an undiscovered speedy Picasso but its unlikely. Appointments people. Unless you want a Broncos tattoo of course.
  8. If you must, absolutely have to, right now, you will die without it – get inked immediately, read some online reviews.  Check out portfolios online. When entering the shop, find the artists portfolios and look at prior work. If it looks ugly, messy, blurry, jacked or downright terrible.. leave. Artists books are the work they are ‘proud of‘. Yes, that rose which looks like a cats butt is ‘the best’ Joe can do.. he’s not saving his best work in some secret drawer.
  9. If when waiting for the tattoo you change your mind, tell them you are going to leave.  You do not HAVE to be inked. It is your choice. There are no handcuffs (unless your shop is also a dungeon or you are in prison). Offering to pay for your tattoo even without getting it will save you from much laughter when your ‘Trump for President’ hits the beach.
  10. Finally, when the artist presses the stencil on your body and removes it … look at it hard. Look in the mirror. Move your arms and legs. If there is anything about that stencil that you do not like, open your mouth. Too big? Too small? Popeye seems to have feet bigger than his head? Open your mouth. Don’t assume ‘it will look better once its tattooed’. NO. It will look exactly the same once tattooed. Only permanent.

So there you have it. How not to get tattooed. Next up.. ‘How to Cover Up That Tattoo You Really Regret When You Ignored Your Own Advice’

Posted in Embarrassing admissions, humor, life lessons, mistakes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Back to basics

Emerging into the sunlight after a two day team building/ solving world peace session, the one takeaway I had wasn’t quite what I expected. We didn’t solve the worlds problems but I did get to put names and faces together (weird after a year, cos they all had English accents in my head) and have a good old natter. I left not with solutions.. but with this.

005A painting by an artist whose name I don’t know but whose art I just love.

This picture just reminds me how simple and light life can be.

Either that or she’s saying ‘you’re a bit immature’ but lets not go there. The artist has never met me after all.

But seeing this painting reminded me of the need to be who you are. Of the joy of childhood.  You were once this girl.. and maybe, if you’re lucky, you get to be this girl again.

(Or maybe I’m totally misreading art and this is all about the nightmares of the soul or something).

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Riding at my own pace

women mtb groupComing back from shoulder surgery has been hard. Really hard. (apologies to friends, family and random strangers for going on about it all.the.damn.time). I’ve had to deal with a lot of pain, frustration and ridiculous contortions getting out of a sports bra.

But mainly, I’ve had to deal with my head.

Having to fight my inner achiever at every turn.

Of course I can ride my motorcycle. Carry my bike rack. Downward dog. Lift a kettle bell. Tackle a rock garden. Carry the groceries.

Why am I shrieking? Oh that’s just how I do this now.

Not only have I been fighting the obvious challenges of lifting, carrying and moving but on a more basic level, just being stationary has done a number on me. Apparently sitting on your butt for 3 months nursing a bottle of Vicodin isn’t great for your fitness level. Or your mood. Or what used to be your waistline.

FYI I now call it my ‘straightline’.

This was really brought home to me this weekend when I rejoined my cycling chicks for our awesome monthly ride/eat/win stuff/yak (Girls Rock Santa Cruz.. check it out if you possess a vagina and a set of wheels).

Even the drive to the ride gets me excited. Its my chance to connect with non work people, talk in detail about riding minutia and have a laugh.  As I headed off with my usual “Intermediate +” group I was zinging with caffeine and ready to rock.

Except I wasn’t. If you ever watch the Tour De France and there’s a guy who’s dropped off the back and is just way way way back from the peleton (and you sort of feel bad for him but wonder why he’s even riding if he can’t hang)?.  That was me.

Panting like an out of shape pug, thighs screaming louder than my shoulder pain, red faced and apologizing to the sweep girl behind me, I was torn between worrying whether I was having a pulmonary embolism and the humiliation of being so out of shape. As we rode on, the sweep girl started floating the idea of me ‘dropping back’ to the “Beginners+” group who were a few minutes behind.

My ego immediately stood firm “hell no.. I got this.. just give me a few… weeks” while my legs started gumming up with lactic acid and the sweat poured between my boobs. I’m NOT a beginner. I’ve been riding since I was 7.

I wrestled with my superiority for another few switchbacks, falling further and further behind, until my shoulder bitch-slapped me into reality. I’m not fit. I’m still in pain. And riding at this pace would not only ruin me, but remove all the fun for the rest of the group as they waited patiently for the hot, red, slow chick with the massive ego.

I considered that maybe I need to ride at the pace my body was telling me. Slower. Less aggressively, at a pace where I wasn’t going to asphyxiate. After all, the joy of group riding is in the shared experience of a warm autumn ride in one of the most beautiful forests I know. And struggling to catch a group who are happily chatting and rock hopping around for the next 3 hours would be hell. The ride didn’t need to be about pushing. It could and would be more enjoyable if I rode where my body was comfortable.

So I dropped. I sat down and took 5. The Beginners + group started riding up, gritting their teeth and panting.. just like me. After a  warm welcome I hopped back on and resumed the climb. At a pace I could handle. Heck I was able to chit chat. Laugh. My legs stopped screaming. And as I sat mid pack, surrounded by women having a blast and all dealing with their own challenges (how to jump a log, take a berm, ride off that cold), I realized that they weren’t slower. They were just all riding at their own pace. Within their limits.  Enjoying the ride.

Riding at your own pace. Radical huh? In life, in sport, in work and in play. You can appreciate the scenery, make new friends and have more fun.

Who could argue with that?

Posted in aging, body, cycling, finding balance | Tagged | Leave a comment


napoleanI was talking to a friend (who I am kidding, it was my therapist), about things we like to do for fun, and the topic of learning new stuff come up. I LOVE LOVE LOVE learning new stuff. Anything which makes me more self-sufficient, more ‘handy’, “better”  or less scared of something makes me feel like I stand a better chance in the face of the upcoming zombie apocalypse.

Shooting, riding a motorcycle, rock climbing, swimming, boxing, snowboarding .. I’ve learned quite a few skills over the years. So when she asked me what sorts of things I wanted to learn, what classes I might want to take now that I’m situated in CA and slightly less overloaded, I think she expected the usual ‘pottery class’ or ‘wine appreciation’. Maybe a ‘surfing’ or ‘kayaking’ since I am outdoorsy. But when I actually thought about it I’m not sure that the skills I want to acquire are actually ones they offer classes on.

  1. ‘In Da Club’ Dancing. No, I don’t want to learn swing, zumba or hip hop. I just want to be able to get down in ‘da club’ without looking like my Mum. Being born British brings with it an awesome accent and horrific stiffness of the body. We literally don’t have right bones to do anything more than waving our arms around and jumping up and down. Apparently these days.. that’s not quite the thing. Not that I spend a lot of time in clubs , but I used to LOVE to dance, and its a skill that I’d like to have. You know. Just in case the zombies require it.
  2. Motorcycle maintenance in English. Yes I know classes abound on mechanical type things, but unfortunately they’re populated by teachers who use the proper words for things. What I need is someone who can refer to the ‘thingy’ and the ‘coily wire’, ‘the lever’ and ‘the spanner with the round hole’, without complicating it with actual facts about how the wheels go round.
  3. Flirting. Sorry but I’m crap at it. I’ve had 20 odd years of practice but even my ex husband told me I was terrible. Not only am I terrible at it (I’ve thrown someone across the dance-floor, and punched them in the face while “flirting”), I don’t know how to respond appropriately to someone doing it (if I even recognize it in the first place). Apparently I have no game. There has to be a class for this. Or maybe I just need to subscribe to Teen Magazine?
  4. Face to name recognition: How do people do that? I literally have no clue how to remember people’s names. I recognize their faces.. but names? Nothing. I know their dogs names, the car they drive and even their drink preference, but trying to get their attention at any point? I’m Bridget Jones yelling ‘um….OY‘. Which is slightly awkward in a business meeting. With the CEO. Whose name you’ve forgotten.
  5. Sitting down in a coffee shop. I can’t. I just can’t. How do people do it? I mean I know they do it. I see them. Gazing through the window, or scanning a screen. Maybe just stirring their latte and looking peaceful. How do people actually go to a coffee shop and sit there for like an hour? I’ve tried it twice. The first time I set a speed record for cappuccino drainage. The second, I lasted about 10 seconds. I just feel so naked. Lost. Alone. Sitting a coffee shop and drinking a cup of coffee signals to the world a kind of confidence and peace that I just don’t possess. Nope, I’m the one trying to drink 160F latte through a pinprick while walking.   Help me .. anyone?

Needless to say I told my friend (analyst) that I would sign up for a map reading class in REI. I guess I can learn how to escape from zombies without using GPS. Personally I think a class on tolerating a massage might be more useful.. but hey. It’s a skill.



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Small Talk

small talk 2I spent my first 26 years in the UK, so I always thought I was pretty good at meeting new people. Easy entry points included the weather (past, present and future), the journey to the event (roads, Tube, parking) and of course, if desperate, hope that the Rugby or Big Brother is underway.  Sure, I was a bit clunky, but by time we reached the bottom of the glass or cup, I could breathe out and cruise along nicely.

Then I moved to the US.

Here small talk is an art. Something Americans seem to acquire at birth along with self confidence, perfect teeth and a love of crap beer. And therefore a complete and utter mystery to me. 24 hours in the US and I moved from ‘slightly awkward but warms up quick’, to a nervous, twitchy weirdo who needed to find the restroom every 30 seconds.

I tried. Oh boy I tried. I asked my friends for topics, questions, entry points and guidelines for small talk. I watched and listened. I even YouTubed it. I’ve feigned interest in all manner of idiocy (the price of diapers at Target vs. Costco, how the local sports team’s manager sucks) and asked every banal question I can think of (how do you know so and so, home location, career, family trees, whether it will be a good ski season, parking restrictions, the price of milk), but still… crickets.

I don’t think  its all on me though. I also think that the people I meet bear some of the blame. Once they’ve gotten through their small talk standards, ‘are you married?’ ‘ how old are your kids?’ ‘where go to school?’ ‘what do you do?’ seem to result in a vacuum in almost every conversation. Once people have asked me ‘do you like America?’ and established that without a husband, family or a familiar background they have nothing in common with me,  I can guarantee my ‘new friend’ will need to find a drink/his or her partner/ the Tardis within 37 seconds.

But since I am an adult and small talk is a requirement for survival (and on a date ESSENTIAL), I’ve developed a few strategies to avoid being left staring at my shoes while trying climb inside my own intestines:


  •  Ask about ‘the team’. I’ve never watched an American football game but asking ’bout the local team seems to have a 99% hit rate with men. I’ve found a lot of smiling, head shaking and ‘for sure’ comments can get us through the first few minutes of awkwardness. If asked about a specific game or player, I always bounce the question back immediately. Men love sharing their knowledge of the intricacies of a sport. And they assume that their opinion is valued.. so I value it. A lot. Just don’t be too enthusiastic or you might wind up roped into a viewing party. Which is basically small talk x 1000 with a specialist vocabulary.
  • Find his hobby or ‘used to be his hobby before the kids/house’. Ask about it. Express awe. You might luck out and find an overlap (men seem to manage to maintain hobbies after kids)… and who knows.. you could wind up with a activity buddy. Don’t be too enthusiastic though or you might wind up with angry and suspicious woman stalking you.
  • Weekend plans. Grown ups don’t just wake up on Saturday and wonder ‘what should I do with my day’, they have plans. Things already on the calendar. Ask about them. Just don’t admit that your weekend plans typically consist of ‘walk dog’ and then winging it.  That doesn’t seem to go down well.


  • Ask about the family. 99.99% of women have families and love to share so it’s a surefire winner. Sure, hearing about how stressed she is about whether Jimmy is going to get into a specific daycare/kindergarten/school isn’t as scintillating to you as to her, but hey.. stress is stress. Joy is joy. Her husband/ partner is probably sick to death of the conversation, but women need to process… so be there for her. No woman has ever complained about someone expressing interest in her worries. EVER.
  • Complement her hair/makeup/shoes. I’m a sucker for this one so I KNOW it works. And if I luck out and its shoes.. the branches are endless. Foot pain. What to wear on a night out after 40. How you’re considering opting out of heels. Remember that women don’t like to make each other uncomfortable, so likely she’s trying as much as you are to find a connection point. And everyone wears shoes… the rest.. well you can wing it.

If all else fails…

  • Play the foreigner card. Turn up the accent. Laugh at your homeland. Applaud their version of your accent. Tell stories of your incompetence in the US. Your bad dates. Mention a blog…. hang on… is this just a very extended bout of small talk???????

…..Um. Do you happen to know where the bathroom is?  I really do need to get a refill. Actually I think I need to go feed the meter. I’ll be right back.

Posted in Becoming an American, communication, Embarrassing admissions, fear, friends, humor, life lessons, observations | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Starting young

crying girlI recently fell into a Spotify hole of 1980-1988 (otherwise known as junior school through high school in the UK), and whilst rocking out to far too much electronica I noticed a strong theme in all of my favorite songs.

Totally depressing.

I mean, not for me Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax” .. nope, I preferred ‘The Power of Love”,  possibly one of the darkest and most depressing love songs I’ve ever heard. Depeche Mode? Way too positive for me. Give me some Thompson Twins crying ‘Hold Me Now’ or Fine Young Cannibals talking about ‘Suspicious Minds’. Wham’s “Last Christmas”, The Police “Every Breath You Take” Songs about cheating, dying, sadness, desire, stalking, being alone.

I was 12.

I couldn’t even spell puberty.

The further I went into my back catalog, the more depressing, introspective and heart wrenching the songs where. By the time I arrived back at my first and favorite album, Paul Young’s “No Parlez”, it was downright troubling. A whole album about a man being torn apart by his cheating wife. Song after song about leaving, being kicked around, despair, heartbreak and longing.

I was 12.  I didn’t even like boys.

But I sure liked me some depressing music to cry to.

And boy did I consume it. I practically welded my Sony Walkman to my head so I could wallow in depressing sad music. Bryan Adams’ “Heaven” (I should have know I was mentally ill), Alphaville “Forever Young”, and anything that could literally bring me to tears. My sister tuned me into the Smiths and I think thought I’d found heaven. I  thrived in my own misery until the tape un-spooled.

Today Social Services would be wondering about what on earth was going on at home, but then.. just a weird kid with watery eyes living in her head.

Why was I so miserable? I have no idea. But music told me there were others out there feeling sad, even if I wasn’t quite sure what they were singing about.

Thankfully at 15 I hit puberty, discovered Bruce Springsteen, Billy Bragg, The Clash and  and found a a new favorite emotion I could get with. Rage.

I’m expecting it to pass any day now…

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Indulging in some fantasy

tarotAs part of my ‘Furiously Happy’ campaign (Google it), I recently found myself in the local fantasist’s office. Aka the tarot card reader down the street.

Important Note: I do not, nor have ever, believed in fate, fairies, predictions or any type of woo woo. But I do enjoy a laugh.

Sitting in front of a waif of about 12, once I stopped dry heaving at the price, she solemnly told me to pick 33 cards from her tarot deck.

’10 for the past, 10 for the present, 10 for ‘the future’ and 3 for ‘lord knows what I sorta tuned out’.

Now I understood how the 45 minutes was going to be spent. Card selection.

Cut to the chase.. first the past (cue woooooo music)

  • Apparently I have a divorce in my past (no ring and I don’t look like roadkill, so not a stretch out of the gate).
  • I have a sad aura from this divorce (does anyone go through divorce happy? Hmm.. maybe Donald Trumps former wives?)
  • My ex “didn’t get me” (actually he got me more than most)
  • I am sad (hey lady, 8 years have passed, I’m sorta over it?)

Which was kind of it. Nothing else has apparently happened to me in 43 years. Moving to the US, traveling, achieving stuff, meeting people, some crazy medical stuff, a lot of online dating, adventure??). Nope. Apparently my entire past is a divorce.

Girl needs to rethink her approach. At least mention 1 other thing?

Next the present (more woo music).

  • There is no love in my life (geez lady, not even my dog??)
  • There won’t be love in my life for 2 more years (really? I’m mean REALLY???? You have got to be fucking kidding me. I’m not believing that on behalf of being human)
  • I am on a 7 year cycle (she didn’t mention periods or bikes so I’m guessing she means something else). She said I have 2 more years to go.. so maybe it was something about menopause??
  • My present is all about my work. (No shit lady. We’re in Silicon Valley chickadee. No-one is paying $3K in rent for the culture. They don’t even have good Mexican food here)
  • I need to figure out my work (my boss would agree)
  • I need to be happy (but apparently it doesn’t involve orgasms based on the earlier prediction)
  • I have work to do (no kidding, does anyone NOT have work to do? even my dog has shit to do)
  • It isn’t about the money (try telling my bank)

At this point I’m considering slapping her for bringing me down.  Just on the basis of return visits, shouldn’t she be throwing in some ‘you will meet a tall dark stranger”  or “you have much wealth in your friendships”??? Isn’t this meant to be fun? This just sounds like a very depressed picture of the saddest person in the world. Pass the steak knives.

Moving onto the future (she must have seen my murderous looks)

  • I don’t belong in America (Fuck off lady, I’m a citizen, you xenophobe).
  • I don’t fit in America (seriously.. does she expect to get PAID???)
  • I will meet a man in Australia who is my soul mate (??????)

Sorry but I have to pause here.

  1. Never been to Australia
  2. Not on my top 10 list of places I need to go in the next 10 years
  3. That’s it? One guy in the whole world for me and he’s in Australia???

The douche bag can get on a flight cos I’m not going anywhere.

  • Oh and did I mention, he’s married with two kids right now??? (how does this chick stay in business???)
  • But I will meet him in August? (doh?)

Hang on. So I’ve got no love in my life for the next 2 years but I’m meeting my soul mate in August?? How does that work?  I meet him and ignore him for a year? It takes a year for me to destroy his marriage? He meets me and I’m so amazing that he divorces his wife and then asks me out in 2017 and we move to Australia?

Oh fuck NO. (to any Aussie readers, I love your humor, your complete dearth of political correctness and in general, every one of you that I’ve met is a delight. But I don’t break up marriages and I’m not moving to Australia so sorry).

  • I will give birth to a son. He will be a miracle baby.

At this point I do start to smile.

Not as she might think, at my joy of a baby in my future, but at the sheer implausibility of that fact.

  • I’m 43 and I’m not getting with “Mr.SoulMate” until I’m 45. I think by 45 my uterus will resemble Utah. i.e. nothing grows there.
  • I’m unable to have kids. Literally. A fact.
  • I’m terrified and slightly horrified by babies (they’re basically shitting machines that can break if you drop them. Terrifying)


Well I did this for fun and finally she made me smile so I headed home.

Just to see, I pulled out a deck of cards and pulled three cards for my past, present and future.

  • Past: Queen of Clubs. I was really into hitting the nightclub scene right up to my 30s. I ruled the dance-floor. I was the Queen of the Clubs. TOTALLY TRUE!!! AMAZEBALLS!!!
  • Present: Six of Diamonds: I have 6 diamonds in my life. CRAYCRAY!! My old wedding ring had 2, my necklace has 3 and I have a diamond tipped drill bit!!! HOLY COW!
  • Future: The Joker. I will stop taking everything so seriously and remember how to have fun, especially when confronted by a 12 year fairy queen with a hatred for Brits.

You know, I think there might be something in this card reading thing.









Posted in Embarrassing admissions, humor, the future | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Coward Seeking Adventure

guzzi girlI started my “career” at the tender age of 21 on November 7th, 1994 in London. Wide-eyed, broke as all get out and thrilled at the thought of finally, finally being able call myself grown up. Flash forward 21 years and I’m thinking it might be time for a holiday. An adventure. You know, a gap year. Like everyone else had at 17. I think a break every 21 years is only fair.

Now I don’t have strong urge to sight-see with lots of people, and lying on beach sounds attractive for about 2 days, so I’m thinking a holiday would need to be more of an adventure. A trek. Something Wild-ish or Eat.Pray.Love (without the navel gazing). Something active, maybe a bit scary, definitely boundary pushing. Out of my comfort zone. Something that helps me figure out what I’m made of (other than tea bags).

Inspired by a colleague who recently took off to sail around the world, I pondered my options should I actually find a few weeks or months on my hands.

OPTION 1: A long long long hike. Like the Pacific Coast Trail. Or something a couple of hundred miles at least.

Pro: I’d have legs of steel, I like hiking and I have all the gear.

Con: Bears. Snakes, Mountain Lions. And weirdos who kill women on long hikes.

Pro: I could do it anywhere and it wouldn’t cost me tons of cash

Con: I could wind up dead from hypothermia, bear mauling or a bullet from a psycho

Pro: I might write an award-winning novel about finding myself which would get made into a movie starring someone you’ve never heard of because I don’t look like anyone on the TV

Con: Cheryl Strayed locked that shit up. And I can’t find a pen in an office. Never mind on a trail.

Conclusion: Potential for death = Medium. Cost= Low. Excitement Level = Low. After all.. its walking. A lot.

OPTION 2: A cross-country motorcycle ride. Like across a country. (UK excluded as I could probably do it in a day and it would rain the entire time).

Pro: See Ewan McGregor’s Long Way Down, and Long Way Round. Motorcycles. Camping. Exploring. Off-road. Awesome.

Con: I don’t know how to fix my bike and it only has a 130 mile gas tank. I’d be out of gas before I left my county. My longest ride this year was 75 miles.

Pro: Bike takes $7 to fill up.

Con: Bike tips over if I load it up with more than a laptop and me.

Pro: Bikes go faster than bears.

Con: Psychos can also ride bikes. Or drive into bikes. Or shoot at bikes.

Conclusion: Potential for death = High. Cost = Medium (my guzzi’s parts all need to come via Italy) . Excitement Level = AWESOME.

OPTION 3: India.. anywhere by train

Pro: Yoga. Indian Food. Indian People. Indian Culture. Plus they don’t use wheat flour.

Con: Ummmm??? Samosas?

Pro: Cheap. Like really cheap.

Con: Full of 17 year olds on their gap year smoking hash and talking about saving the world

Conclusion: Potential for death = Low. Cost = Medium (that flight isn’t going to buy itself), Excitement level = Medium/High (India!)

OPTION 4: Take six months to ponder options, solicit friends who actually do travel and plot new adventure which involves Indian food, minimal psychos and motorcycles.

Pro: Sensible, mature, thoughtful

Con: I’m not sensible.

So it looks like me and a bike in India if I find myself with some time on my hands.

India doesn’t have bears right?

Posted in adventure, Life after 40, motorcycle, the future, This is 40 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The little things

006It’s been a tricky year in my new locale. New job, new company, new town, new state, new weather, new trails, new friends and weirdly no new men.

Trying to build life in a new place, amongst people who can’t tell you apart from a hole in the wall, and don’t have time to ask your name, well its pretty challenging. Doing it with a dog helps (especially when he looks slightly retarded like mine) but overall everything from finding a grocery story, new routes for an easy ride or even where to take visitors for a good meal can mean hours online, polling of work colleagues, and at least 3 U turns on the way to everywhere.

How I don’t have a ticket yet in CA is beyond me. The cops must be BLIND.

Along with all of this life building, I’ve been challenged by long hours at work, resistance from natives who resent us ‘new folks’ driving up rental prices, and for the last 5 months, a bum shoulder that refuses to heal.

I never realized how important that thing at the end of my collarbone was until now. Who knew?

Mainly I’ve missed my friends. All of the people who I knew well, or just slightly, but who at least knew my name. Knowing where the best taco truck is. And the bad sushi.

Finding friends in a new city, a new state is really f-ing hard at 40 something. It takes patience. Time. Extraversion. The ability to appear likeable over a 90 minute period.

See..??? Hard.

But since I’m British (well British-American), I vowed on this, my one year anniversary, to keep plugging away, looking at the palm trees and delighting in the little things I love about my new locale.

Like the motorists who pull over to let you lane split. The seals who watch my dog as he swims for a ball. The smell of the beach on a Friday afternoon. Fresh fish that wasn’t flown anywhere. Riding in redwoods. Motorcycling  on curved mountain roads built for my Guzzi. The Golden Gate bridge anytime.

The little things can be breathtaking.

I miss my old home town, I miss my friends and I miss a reasonable mechanic who isn’t out to fleece me. But as long as there are phones and planes, and the temperature never dips below 50… I’m building my Californian home.

I’ll just have to start dating my mechanic.

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The family you choose

friendsI once had a brush with death.

Some sore patches on my leg emerged a few weeks after a surgery. Ignoring them until I was limping. I headed to my doc, who assured me, “no big deal”. Phew.

2 days later , out on a run I realized I couldn’t breath. My leg was throbbing and I suddenly remember a former friend who dropped dead while running due to a blood clot. I walked the rest of the way and headed to the doctor. 3 hours later I was told my weird sore patches had actually been signals of a 3 ft long blood clot that reached from my ankle up through my groin and up towards my heart. 1 hour later I  learned I had a pulmonary embolism (PE) in my lungs;

“But the BEST PE you could get” according to my hematologist.

Not really thinking about what this meant, I headed off on a date.

Only later, when telling friends, did I realize how lucky I was. How my bike fitness had probably helped break up the PE in my lungs.. and how ‘heading off on a date’ wasn’t probably the best response to a fairly major medical emergency.

That’s what your support network, aka your friends and friends of friends, are there for when you’re single. To remind you not to be a half-wit. To point out the sometimes obvious. To make sure you’re taking care of yourself.

Married folk have husbands who do that (or other moms who nurture everyone).  They kill the spiders, know when you’re sick and support you no matter what.

Singletons, well we have friends for this (or we do it ourselves in the case of those terrifying spiders). These friends become our chosen family. They’re the ones who we lean on when we’re feeling down, who support us, and who help us out in a crisis. They’ll listen to your wittering, and hand you a drink or a bar of chocolate when you need it. Family is family and while your biological family might be awesome, for many of us it’s not practical to ask them to pick you up from the hospital when they live 4,000 miles away.

I love my chosen family. They consist of my riding gals, current and former work colleagues, friends or friends, Facebook friends, old neighbors, school mates and the random people you meet as part of your everyday routine.

This week I lost one of my chosen family. The guy who calmed me down with whiskey after a slippery motorcycle ride. Waited with me for first dates. Raised his eyebrows at some of them. But who always, always had a smile and a ‘what’s up?’ for me as neighbor patron. I spent my last night in Denver at his bar, and many evenings collecting my thoughts and shooting the shit over a nightcap.

It’s the first time I’ve lost someone who propped me up. Who was there, Who provided a meeting place for other singletons and people seeking a chosen family. The oddballs, the tattoo and motorcycle nut cases, the Denver homegrown, those who loved a rockabilly band on a Saturday night. Or just to sit at a bar and chit-chat about nothing.

Today I’ve never felt more protective and appreciative of those who remain. To lean on, to reach out to, to care if they don’t hear from you, and who remind you of whats important. The surprising loss, and even more surprising impact on my heart, is a good reminder of the importance of our chosen family.

To my chosen family, much love.

RIP Gary Lee Bomar.


Posted in aging, friends, Getting older, observations, significant moments, singledom, This is 40 | Tagged | Leave a comment

Its not all about the bike Lance…


Its not all about the bike as Lance said (further proof of his ‘not quite human’ reputation).

As every cyclist knows, it’s about the bike, but it’s really all about the GEAR.

For me the obsession started young. Entering Davis’s Bike Shop, the local temple for the serious Sunday road junkie, I was awed by the ceiling of wheel-sets, the racks of steel greyhounds, and the unholy price tagged to each handlebar. I knew at a tender age that these four figured racehorses were out of my league (well, until my paper route started upping my 1 pound weekly salary), but those $6 gloves… THOSE I could afford. Sure they weren’t going to make me go any faster, but they did make me feel like Eddie Merckx, even if I was riding a second-hand racer with bald tires and non-existent brake pads.

And so my obsession was born.

It started small (at $1 a week, it had to). Gloves were followed by my first pair of tights (unpadded). A helmet entered my world in college, and padded shorts arrived with my first post college spurge. With the arrival of mountain biking in 1986, and my first Muddy Fox (RIP), I bought my first lock, gloves with padding and a bike bag. With a water bottle and cage, I was really cruising… until all of it was stolen on my first trip out. Thanks to insurance, I was able to quickly replace everything… until it was all stolen again 6 months later. And so began my entry into ‘insurance upping’ my bike kit.

Lets just say, I went to college on a Muddy Fox and left college on a Kona. With non standard pedals.

But my lust for accessories continued unabated. Mountain biking demanded it. Things broke. New things were invented. Friends had stuff you hadn’t even heard of…and then there were the boys.

Cycling meant riding with boys. Which inevitably led to the nightmare that is ‘dating a fellow cyclist’. Otherwise known as crack addicts with 2 wallets and zero judgement between them. Who better to encourage you onto a new ride, hell, 2 bikes, 3, do we have room for 4? My knowledge of wheel sets, rims, cranks and gears hit ‘professional’ by the time I hit 26. My ability to discourse on steel vs. aluminum, single speed vs. fixie bored even my local bike shop crew but my husband could listen for hours. We sneered along with Bike Snob, and spent our Sunday afternoons checking out the accessories section of every local bike shop we could find. We’re now divorced but I still miss him.. and his extensive knowledge of the one day classic winners (1980-). He also bought the BEST Christmas gifts, though my parents were less impressed with my new pedals than I was.

At the age of 43 I can finally afford to turn over those tags hanging from the handlebars of  ‘greyhound’ bikes. I can, if I’m willing to forgo protein for a few months, afford that new full suspension 26.5 to sit alongside my 29-er.

Instead you’ll usually find me hanging out in the gear section of my local bike shop with my fellow gear heads. We’re checking out the accessories to make our rides faster, our butts less offensive and our gear changing smoother. We’re grabbing the new bike tee and you always need more tubes right? We’re rejecting the big name stores who only stock 1 type of bike cage for the local shop that totally understands you need to choose from 15. Local bike shops we love you. You get it. Its all about the gear. Boulders University Bikes, Buena Vista’s Boneshaker Cycles, Aptos Bike Station.. you get it. And thank you for getting as excited about my new gloves as I am.

Sorry Lance. It’s not ALL about the bike. We know it’s all about the GEAR.  But while I’ve got you, do you know what a Surly Tugnut is for and why do I need it? Because I’m  definitely buying one.

Posted in cycling, men, shopping, This is 40 | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Nothing compares to you: Recovery blues

sineadIts been 7 weeks and 14 hours.. since you took your love away. Cos nothing compares, nothing compares to you.

(I always was a bit of a drama queen.)

After a very necessary shoulder surgery to sew up 10 years of riding and yoga damage, plus my brief foray into Crossfit, I found myself grounded, literally, for 8-12 weeks. No riding.

No jumps, rock hops, preloads or pumps, and for the first 8 weeks, no bikes outside of a gym at all. I have never felt more neutered.

I’ve been riding bikes since I was 7 years old. A late start that I’ve been trying to catch up for the last 36 years.I’ve ridden bikes to escape my parents as a teen, to reach the local lake to race sailboats 4 times a week, to school down the hill of death and even on dates. As an adult, I’ve ridden bikes to explore, to meet new people, to feel free and to forget that Powerpoint even exists. To see stars as my lungs explode, to indulge my geeky desire to build the best, fastest, most responsive machine and yes, I’ll admit it, to build legs I’m proud to show off in lycra shorts any day of the week. I’ve raised money for charity during a 98 degree August day, worked through a divorce over hundreds of miles, and quietened my anxious mind during a joyous descent that almost took my kneecaps off. I’ve found friends on my bike, and more than one love. I’ve been lost on a bike, and over the last 10 years, I found myself on a bike.

Sure, I’ve run into dogs, suffered concussions, torn holes my shins and of course the aforementioned rotator cuff, labrum and bicep tendon tears. But its small payment for the hours of joy, the endorphin rush or just winning the mental battle up a particularly steep and sandy climb while chanting swear words in my head.

To say I’m bereft is an understatement. I’m typing next to trainer, a gym is only 30 feet from my front door and I can still do any activity that doesn’t involve my upper body. But I’m miserable.

My mountain bike sits next to my bed, I’m obsessed with the new bikes I can’t try out and the days are already getting shorter which means mid week, post work rides might disappear before I even get to do one this year.

The elliptical, the stationary bike, hiking or walking my dog on the long, beautiful sandy beaches of Northern California .. everything pals by comparison to the memory of terrifying downhills, breathless climbs and the camaraderie that surrounds riding.

Even if you’re riding by yourself.

So with one more week to go, I excitedly signed up for a non technical, fire road climb with my favorite female riders.. not caring if I’m too out of shape to make it up without stopping, or they have to wait for me at the top.

Because nothing compares to some dirt, sweat and grit in your face.

Suck it Sinead. I’m off to ride my bike.

Posted in body, cycling, Getting older, This is 40 | 1 Comment

In Search of the Holy Grail.. pain free kick ass shoes

heelsI have a secret. I have the feet of a Hobbit. Scrawny, knobbly, bent and twisted. Not quite the ragged hairy nubbins of Frodo, but my feet do seem to have channeled Shrek. Lets just say my bi weekly pedicures are necessary for the sake of humanity, and those attending my yoga class.

After 4 years working from home, my hobbit feet had become accustomed to the comforts of home. Clogs, Tevas, Ascis and Frye boots litter my closet. Wool socks formed the basis of most outfits.

I did wear heels .. but only on dates with tall guys or when I needed to feel particularly girlie.

So basically once or twice a year. And mainly for sitting down.

Then I moved to CA, moved back to working in an office environment and tried to reintroduce my feet to footwear that didn’t resemble something available with a prescription or worn exclusively by retirees.

The result, unsurprisingly, was pain. Lots of pain. Pain that radiated from my toes all the way up my legs and at one point through my eyeballs. Trying to walk into a meeting with aplomb was akin to firewalking. Best achieved at high-speed and with quick intakes of breath. I managed to make it to my car with a combination of tip toeing and waddling.. anything to avoid the feeling of nails being driven through my toes and heels simultaneously.

Why bother you might be thinking? Why no just sling on some flats and be comfortable?

I tried flats. I really did. But several comments about my ‘little girl’ height and jokes about me not seeming like my usual confident self made me question what heels did for me. Heels gave me authority. Heels enabled me to look people in the eye instead of the nipple. Heels enabled me to wear pants without paying $25 per pair in alterations.

Hey, I’m cheap.

Of course I could straighten my spine and walk tall (5 ft 2 isn’t quite midget status), but honestly I’d rather look my boss in the eye and who can resist looking more authoritative, slimmer and just a little sexy? After all, I am single, I work with senior execs all day and hell..if I have to dress up for work, I’d rather not be the poster girl for lesbian chic. I left that look back in Colorado. There has to be some version of heels which doesn’t result in sobbing …right? I mean people have been rocking these things for 50 years.

I started with a few requirements…..

  • The ability to walk at high-speed without losing them. My job involves running across conference halls/ airports/ hallways on a regular basis and I have left at least 2 shoes in the middle of a cross walk before now. Straps or laces, however it works.. but ‘firm fit’ is key.
  • Able to fit my weirdly skinny ankles and bizarrely shaped toes without causing nail loss. I don’t rule out square toes, but I’d prefer if my heels didn’t resemble something from the early 90s.
  • Suitability for a hetero 30-40 something woman who wears skirts, dresses and pants. i.e. Huge platform soles and knee-length lacing are out.. along with anything with the name ‘comfort’ in the title.

But since I’m wearing them all day every day, I figured.. money no object. At least for one pair.  No problem right?


A Facebook request to friends led me to Franco Sarto, Cole Haan and Nine West. A gift certificate led me to Macys. After exhausting everything from kitten heels to wedges, Sam Edelson to Prada and an entire weekend I came to several conclusions.

  • It doesn’t matter how much you spend.. boots win out every time for comfort, fit and style. Bummer because I now live in CA. Where its warm. All year.
  • Elastic or leather with stretch are your friends.
  • Most shoes will fit your heels or your toes.. but rarely both.
  • Fancy straps, chains, buckles or slingbacks generally result in blisters about 30 mins after you wear them for the first time. Wear them around the house for a few hours – vacuum, clean, cook, do laundry. By the time your clothes are in the dryer, you’ll know. (plus if you live with someone, kinda kinky).
  • Expensive ($250+) does generally get more comfortable and more long-lasting but you’re going to be spending a minimum of $250, $400 or $1000. Which to most single chicas who aren’t Meg Whitman means an annual treat if that.
  • Comfort and style don’t mix. I’ve tried all of the ‘so called’ solutions and the closest I came was a $550 spanish brand that still resembled something you’d wear to perform a stompy fiesta dance with a tambourine. Fine if I were living in Spain, or about to head out for the evening, but a tough mix with my all black, formal wear, wardrobe.

So in the end I wound up settling for slightly uncomfortable, slightly more than I could afford, and perfectly office appropriate. I’ve already taken them out for a test run up and down the halls a few times, and I can stand in them for about 6 hours. Not perfect, but hey.. at least I can make it to the car without walking like a constipated duck, no-one is making comments about ‘the single chick with comfortable shoes’ and I’ve not broken out a single band-aid yet. Yay for Donald J. Pilner.

But in the meantime I’ll continue my search. I figure anyone who finds that ‘style and comfort’ solution for women’s heels will make millions.

If I find them first, I’m buying stock.


Posted in advice, female role models, How to be a woman, new challenges, shopping | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

I am not an elephant! I am not an animal! I am a human being! I am a woman!

elephant manThe elephant (wo)man. Or that’s how the last few days have felt at least. Yes, I’m a drama queen but seriously, one facial burn and suddenly I’m having all kinds of empathy for Joseph Merrick.

I’m used to people looking confused when I talk to them, but that’s typically due to my bizarre hybrid accent. This is something totally different. This is women who talk to my ear, checkout counter ladies who gaze off to the next customer while addressing me, the dude at Rite aid just stood with his mouth open and at Whole Foods, a women had an entire conversation with my shoes.

NOTE TO SELF: Wear awesome shoes for the next week until facial abnormality heals.

There’s no awesome, kick ass story to accompany my current ‘bag on the head’ status. Just some wax, a chick in a salon and my upper lip. You know that space ladies.. the one from your nose to your upper lip. Where, in my case, down grows abundantly. And since I’m heading off to a huge conference with media, press, 3,000 customers and hundreds of executives, I decided to smarten myself up a bit. Defeat the down.

1 bad decision and 2 minutes later, 3 Korean ladies were jabbering madly to each other (I mention Korean because I had no idea what they were saying) and rubbing neosporin on my face in a frenzy. The lady with the wax just looked at her feet (something I’m now seeing as a trend) while the salon owner poked me with her finger and accused me of using Retin A.

‘You Retin A?’

Ummm… yes?’ (but not on my upper lip?)

‘You not wax with Retin A’

‘Ummm. Ok (but I’ve been doing it for years??? And not on my upper lip. Do you KNOW how much Retin A costs?)

‘You put spoon in freezer when you get home. Spoon on lip. All night’

At which point I was thinking this is a slight overreaction and glanced in the mirror. To see a massive red welt across my upper lip. Glowing furiously. Not only is it a huge stripe across the middle of my face, I also look as though I’m auditioning for the part of ‘angry Hitler’. Its practically carved into my skin.

3 days later. Hundreds of Google searches. Aloe, frozen spoons, bags of peas, Neosporin (on my second tube) and even Saran wrap. The best I can say is that my Hitler mustache is now brown. What’s worse is the scar has healed into a hard plastic-like shell that sits atop my lip like a large tan fake mustache that hurts to move. Dour is the best I can manage.

But its my colleagues I feel bad for. My work mates have oh -so-politely rushed over from a distance ‘oh my god…what’s wrong?’ and then seeing my scar, retreated to ‘Oh you looked stressed’ before scurrying off to debate what happened to my face. My boss has my eternal gratitude for being the only person in 3 days to look me in the eye… which I can only put down to his military background or extreme short sightedness.   Either way, I could have hugged him for ignoring my Nazi impersonation.

On the plus side, no one has ever taken more notice of my shoes. And I have a whole new empathy for anyone who’s not 100% average looking.

To those skin condition suffers, large mole wearers and strawberry birthmarkers.. I commend you for holding your head up and ploughing through life while people talk to your ear , your shoulder or your shoes.

Me.. I can only hope that my conference has dim lighting.

Posted in body, Embarrassing admissions | Tagged , | 1 Comment

California – 3 months in

FroggerMy move to this weird and wackadoo state has been nothing if not eye-opening. I thought after 18+ years in the US, living in multiple states, I was accustomed to the ways and means of the American and its environs.  Apparently no-one told California it’s part of ‘Merica.

California is a state where people still throw things from car windows with abandon, but will scowl if you so much as inch towards letting your dog off leash. Where people will walk a 1/2 mile from the nearest house, office, mall, building etc.. to ensure their cigarette smoke doesn’t offend anyone, but will gaily drive across pedestrian crossings at 40mph while you’re in mid transit with a smile on their face.

I’m still learning the social norms of the place – and since I’m mid way between Googleville (aka San Francisco) and Hemptown (aka Santa Cruz), I’m constantly torn between what’s socially acceptable and what’s completely verboten.

For example, it’s totally fine to wear your work out gear 100% of the time in Santa Cruz… but in San Francisco, workout wear is strictly from 9-11am on a Sat or Sunday morning and only to coffee, (NOT brunch). Oh, and it MUST be black.

Santa Cruz is a ‘whatever’ town. San Francisco cares too deeply about everything to even comprehend that phrase. Living mid way between, my shoulders are basically partially shrugged at all times.

But I have picked up some new skills from this weird place.

– Frogger Driving. With 6-7 lanes, no one obeying any normal rules and even the CA motoring code says ‘pick the lane appropriate for your speed’, getting from A to B is like one big video game of ‘accelerate, signal, dodge, accelerate’. As long as you put aside certain death and anyone with an out-of-state license plate.. its kinda fun.

– Cheap milk location. With organic skim at $7.99 per gallon (yes, a gallon), milk is double the price of gas. Hence, I’ve turned into the person who will actually drive across town JUST to buy my gallons from that weird ‘Rotten Robbies’ store to save $2. Yes it’s called Rotten Robbies. And its a liquor store. But hey, they’re open 24 hrs and their organic skim is $5.99. Crushing it.

– Mountain Bike Trail exhibitionist. Apparently everyone is too busy polishing their Telsa’s or wine tasting because the trails here are EMPTY. Beautiful, single track, shady and as technical as you so desire.. they are boundless and silent. I’ve ridden alongside the ocean, through thick forests and across acres of empty fields. Up 30% grade ridges and down some way gnarly rock gardens. But with no-one around to hear me yelping or whooping, panting as I creep ever-so-slowly-up-22%-grade or shrieking as I pop a squat on some poison ivy.. my riding has become completely lacking in inhibition. I yelp, I squeal, I swear extremely loudly and I sound most of the time like a 90 yr old smoker trying to climb Everest. Except for the lack of chica friends …it’s really never been better. After all, if noone is there to see you suck, do you really actually suck? Nope. In my head I’m now a most excellent mountain biker. Even if I still fall off a lot.

So 3 months into CA and its been a whirlwind, weird and wonderful experience. I still haven’t found my peeps, but I have picked up some new skills, found some amazing places, gathered some stories and heck, I haven’t even started dating yet.

Can’t wait to see what the next 3 months brings…




Posted in Life after 40, life lessons, living alone, This is 40 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Next up.. a plague of locusts

FloodSo the move to CA hasn’t exactly been what one could term ‘smooth’. Not unless smooth comes with pointy sharp bits, lots of water, electrical shockage and way too much time spent at Walgreens. On the plus side, they’re clearly putting crack in the water because I AM LOVING IT.

Read on.

I arrived after 19 hours of stare-it-tude (lord, Nevada looks like one long post-apocalyptic aftermath) and not a small amount of rain. Surprising since my research on South bay indicated low rainfall and extreme sun at all times. In fact, it was one of the reasons I decided to make the move. Lots of lovely dry warm sun.


It’s not stopped since I arrived.

But I digress. My first night, I unrolled my air mattress, my sleeping bag, brewed up some tea and toasted my new citizenship with a disgruntled and somewhat damp dog at my feet.

‘Tomorrow, we’ll take a long walk, get in some food, chill out and just be mellow’. The dog looked at me sadly,  clearly hoping that non of the above involved any more driving.

We woke to more rain, but hey, being outside and not freezing my butt off was awesome. An hour later, we headed home for a big breakfast and to get a start on the day.

As I turned the corner of my apartment I heard rushing water and thought ‘oh how lovely, they have a water feature’.. Which they did. It was my apartment.

Due to a faulty mains pipe, while I’d been out with the dog wallowing in a balmy 58 degrees, the pipe had burst and my possessions were currently floating around in 6 inches of water. As I opened my door, my air mattress, now serving as water float, carried my sleeping bag onto the sidewalk. I watched my prescription bottles bobbing around, along with last nights underwear and my balled up pjs. Quelle horror.

My neighbors were similar afflicted. Dodging the large chunks of ceiling that were now raining down on our heads, we ran in and out of each others apartments, grabbing anything not ruined or waterlogged in hope of saving anything. Thankfully my laptop, my gun and one pair of underwear were dry. What more could one need?

My neighbor was crying at the loss of her wedding pictures while all I could think was ‘what a GREAT way to meet your neighbors’. Glass half full…? Or maybe just good medication? Needless to say, after a few nips of Oban whiskey (survived unscathed), she seemed less fazed by the whole thing too.

Within a day we were relocated to new apartments, slightly PTSD scarred and on high alert for anything sounding like running water. Which is when CA decided to really give some fun.

Day 1 – Apartment floods

Day 2 – Dishwasher decides that it no longer needs water to operate and commences cleaning via just heat. Handyman fixes dishwasher. Dishwasher then floods the new apartment. Everything recently dry near the floor, now wet again.

Day 3 – Fridge making sounds like the Tardis. Handyman turns off fridge for the day. All food ruined. Handyman finds a piece of tape in fan… source of noise… and turns fridge back on with joy. I dine on Shotbloks for the second night in a row as I’m not sure whether I can manage to eat 4lbs of unfrozen fish. Start drying out process again.

Day 4 – Washing machine decides it does not need water to operate but instead generates burning odor. Handyman fixes washing machine. Machine then floods the apartment. I receive electrical shock from new Rocku which I daringly left sitting on the ground. I develop slight tick at the sound of any running water.

Day 4b – Nothing floods. Take CA driving test and motorcycle test. Pass first time and only spend 45 mins in the DMV – SCORE!!!!!!

So as you can see I’m not yet a week in to my move and its been quite the experience. On one hand, everything I own is slightly damp (my work colleagues have been very understanding of my new unique style) but on the other hand it’s NOT SNOWING and I ROCKED my driving test.

I love California.

See… clearly crack in the water.

Posted in adventure, Life after 40, life lessons, living alone, This is 40 | 1 Comment

Not better, just different

sfContrary to popular opinion, I am still alive. I am also not incarcerated, incinerated or incapacitated. Sadly I have not been held captive by a silver fox off the coast of Belize and no, I did not win the lottery.

I’ve just been rearranging my life.

In the last month I found a new job, planned a cross-country move, completed my Christmas shopping AND grew my hair an inch.

NOTE: Growing the hair was the toughest. This mother will just.not.grow.  I am doomed to a shaggy pixie for the remainder of my days.

After the best summer ever drew to a close I realized that it was now or never. Things were good. Work was …okay. My little life was pleasurable and harmonious. Nothing too exciting and something too stressful. I could quite happily continue to live out my days in gorgeous Colorado, riding my bike with awesome chicas, spending my Thursdays on an ever-increasing spiral of bad dates and doing a bit of work to pay the rent..OR I could change things.

Why change things when life is good? When you’ve found friends who actually ‘get’ you and an apartment where you can leave the door unlocked. Where life has a rhythm and cadence that is soothing and predictable. Where you give Uncle Fester a second date because.. well .. he wasn’t that awful. Why risk ‘good’ for ‘different’? Especially when different comes at twice the cost, double the traffic and the need to wear actual outfits to an office on a daily basis?

I can’t exactly explain it except that I knew something needed to change when my neighbor asked why I was doing my laundry on a Friday night instead of my usual Saturday morning. When another neighbor said ‘I knew it was you walking your dog because of your pajamas’ and I found myself counting down the hours one Saturday night until I could reasonably climb into bed with my book. It was 7.30pm.

I’m 42. Not dead.

Life can be too good. Too comfortable. Too ‘nice’. Life without edges can make you sloppy and your brain fuzzy. You settle into routines that your grandmother would find boring. And when you realize you’re waiting out the days.. until…well..something different happens. Yes,  something needs to change.

So I decided to make a change.

In a few weeks, 19 years after I arrived, I’m leaving the rocky mountain state for the west coast. Back to water and Democratic majorities, GMO-hating hippies and Silicon Valley geekdom. I’m excited to use my brain again (the dust bunnies up there are something else), to explore a whole new state, to find new friends and spend a winter without thermals covering every square inch of my body.

Sure it’s going to suck. Its going to be exhausting and my expectations aren’t for some miraculous life change. Just something different. New roads, new trails, new weather, new vistas. Not better, just different. I’m 42 and we only get one time around. Going to bed at 7.30pm on a Saturday night out of boredom isn’t how I want to remember my 40s. That isn’t living.. it’s just passing time. So instead I choose change. I choose different.

I’ll keep you posted.

Posted in Getting older, Life after 40, new challenges, significant moments, the future | Tagged , | 3 Comments

The fishing is kind of ..swampy…

swampNow that I’ve changed the options on my dating profile to include leftovers dudes up to 55, I have to admit, my options seem to have increase 10 fold. The number of winks, likes, emails and stalkers is currently up into triple digits and while I’m going to wait a while until I venture out with another 50 something for a first date (I need to recoup some dignity after being ignored for a Pirates game), here’s a choice select of the options currently rotating through my ‘Viewed Me’ list. Got to say, the pool might be bigger.. but it’s certainly filled with ‘interesting’ fish.


Now lets not judge. I am sure Urbansoldier77  is more than just a gun-toting NRA member. Sure, his 23 photos do feature him in various hunting attire, armed with multiple firearms (including something that looks like a prop from The Expendables) And yes, he does seem very proud to showcase his dead animal collection, but I think there’s more to this guy. I mean I’m a little nervous about the snake tattoo that wraps from his wrist up to his neck, complete with dagger and dripping blood, but maybe its a Asian art thing? His arms do look a little  ‘roidish’ but he claims that if ‘you can’t stand the pathetic sight of your boyfriend squirming and straining to get the jar open’ he’s the guy for me. Now I’ve been chief jar opener in my house for the last ummm 28 years, so I’m thinking ‘no’ but ‘thanks’. He likes to adventure down a trail, kayak, workout (clearly) and …play wheelchair rugby?. ….. oh. So I guess that explains the arms then. Suddenly all that gun-toting and hunting takes on a whole new element. How does one hunt in a wheelchair? I mean… I am seriously impressed and depressed. You really must want to kill things to get yourself up at 3am and wheel yourself down a deer trail to kill Bambi. I’m not sure that’s a passion I really can’t get my head around.

Doss std

Now I don’t think that ‘Doss’ really checked out his profile name, but putting aside the venereal disease associations, I decided anyone with such a ballsy name had to have something going for them. After all he gave me several likes and sent me an email. Lets have a look. So Dos is 54 and a widower, (awesome – someone loved him once), loves gardening (don’t we all), carries a few extra pounds…(not ideal but…), is 5 ft 0″ (wowser) and “is 75% handicapped”. Oh.  WTF with the handicapped dudes and my profile??? Do they NOT see the cycling photos? The backpacking photos? My expressed love of hiking? I’m sorry Dos.. you might be awesome (even though you state that you have ‘few friends’), but you didn’t even promise to open my jars. I think I’m leaning towards Urbansoldier on this one.


Rex, I have to say, is a good looking dude. In a sort of rugged, beardy, “I’m off to hike the Himalayas next week” way. He’s 47 and never been married (hmmm issues?), but he is 6 ft 5 and no wheelchair in any photos. Now apparently he ‘makes a fantastic pea soup’ which makes me a little nervous .. does Rex considers soup a big attractor for woman? If that’s his big ‘in’ then I’m gonna have to go with ‘pass’. I mean, I make a pretty good pea soup myself. But hey, lets give the guy a chance. ‘I like to get lost in new cities’ (don’t you have Google, Rex?), and ‘can wander for days’ (seriously dude, Google maps…). Rex is also… oh.. ‘a Fire Captain with the Antarctic Fire Department’. So not so much ‘based in Denver’ as ‘checking out Denver from 13,000 miles away. Now Rex, I’m thrilled that you think I’m a winner, but even I have my limits on long distance relationships. And 13,000 miles might be it.


I am not kidding. A man decided to call himself Pagan beast online and email me a note saying ‘What do you think?’. O-kaaaaay. Lets see what’s on offer. No photo (bummer) but his headline is ‘Sunset surprises and full moon fantasties (sp)’ Seems Pagan beast is making up for his lack of spelling with some lunar driven imagination. Why I’m suddenly thinking about hairy men and bonfires is beside the point.. maybe there’s something else? Except there isn’t. Pagan beast’s entire profile is this:


Wowser. That’s some Buddhist shit right there. It’s so everything and nothing. All encompassing and yet telling me absolutely nothing about him. WTF dude? Who responds to this shit????? Sorry Pagan Beast. You might eclipse (geddit?) all other men, but I can’t realistically respond to “.And.”

So you’ve dipped your toe into my over 50 dating pool. The water’s kind of funky no? 2 guys in wheelchairs, a dude in the Antarctic and a Pagan weirdo. I think I’m gonna wait around a while until the scum clears and I can actually see some kind of fish before heading out on date #2 of the fall. Until then all I’m reeling in is tin cans.

Posted in Dating, Life after 40,, Meeting men, observations, online dating, singledom | Tagged | 1 Comment

Only Commonwealth countries and Detroiters may now apply

flagLast night my dating pool hit a new low.

Following some insanely rational advice from a girlfriend, I decided to relax some of my ‘not that tight’ rules, and go on a date with a 50 yr old dude. Yes, I know I’m not a spring chicken and 50 ain’t that old.. but for me, 50 is 10 years from 60 which is .. well. OLD. And old means yellow teeth, gout and a weird funky smell from parts unknown.

But, as my friend pointed out, everyone my age is still in the midst of divorce drama, dealing with 5 years olds, custody adjustments or freakishly single (‘still waiting for ‘the one”), so I’m left with no choice. Go old or young, or go home.

Now I tried ‘younger’ this summer and while the eye candy was delicious, I did feel a little, well, ‘pervy’, on a date with a thirty something. Something about the lack of crows feet and totally optimistic outlook made me feel old and a little too weathered for his peachy ass. So I guess ‘older’ was inevitable really.

Tucking any thoughts of geriatric shoes and yellow teeth into my mental lockbox, I headed out on my first ’50-ish’ date. I was promised ‘no drama’ ‘maturity’ and ‘got it togetherness’. Plus the dude was a cute baldy and he was rocking those jeans in his photos. Who knows.. maybe this is where I’d been going wrong? Maybe 50 was the new 40?

Well…  maybe not just yet. Yes he was cute, but from the moment I entered the bar, he seemed more interested in watching the baseball that meeting his date.

Seriously dude? Hot chick in low-cut top, who smells delicious and is rocking her size 4 jeans is sitting by your side and you can’t drag yourself away from the tv screen to find out whether you might like her?? It wasn’t even a good team!!! (sorry San Francisco).

When I did manage to break his concentration (I think an advert was running), his conversation was right up there with the nutter dude you try to avoid at Whole Foods. I mentioned spending the weekend with friends and their 3-year-old then received a lecture on the eco-poison that is diapers.  I gently reminded him that I didn’t have kids, and at 40 something, it was highly unlikely that I would be buying diapers OR cloth nappies, at which point the game resumed, and his eyes slide off towards the screen. Wow.. diapers. That was the sum total of his conversational menu. Not so much ‘together’ as ‘past it’. Zero effort. Zero interest.

Now maybe it was my bad martini (how do you fuck up a dry martini?), my high expectations (‘dudes over 50 have it all together!’) or just bad luck, but from now on I’m only dating dudes from Commonwealth countries or Detroit.

If I’ve got to compete with a televised sport on my dates, let it at least be rugby or hockey.


Posted in bad dates,, Life after 40, first date, first dates, Getting older, Meeting men | Tagged | 2 Comments

Waiting for the short bus



Short-Short-BusI got a concussion this past weekend so please excuse the clarity of my writing.. I’m still not quite myself.

It’s not my first – I seem to have landed on my head a fair amount over the last 42 years – but it was definitely one of my worst.

While mountain biking alongside spectacular scenery, a whole 3 hours of blue sky and single track in front of me, I noticed a lady walking her dogs off leash some ways in front of me. No big deal.

Except it became a big deal when she belatedly called the dogs to her, right in front of my front wheel without an inch to spare. To avoid running over the dog (I’m a pet lover even at 13mph), I braked sharply and flew over the handlebars, landing gracefully on the back of my head.

Thankfully I was wearing a helmet, but pain ricocheted alongside the side of my head and I embarrassingly found myself in tears.. right as the lady – now christened ‘Stupid Bitch’ via my inner dialogue rushed over to pronounce me ‘fine’.  Since I’ve not really been “fine” since birth, how she determined my complete health status within seconds was truly remarkable. That she grabbed hold of the back of my neck and proceeded to start massaging it, also surprised me… but at this point, anything SB did wasn’t really ranking high on my ‘logic’ scale.

Long story short, my friends took care of the situation and I tried to hold my brain in place and 3 hours, one ambulance ride, CT scan and the frightening loss of a few facts.. I’m concussed but completely fine.

Or so I thought. When I finally got around to reading my discharge notes -24 hours later- I realized that a concussion is actually a ‘thing’. And that driving to Whole Foods in order to stand around blankly, forgetting the name of a friend who was standing in front of me and trying to put gas in the car (without taking off the gas cap).. weren’t signs of a brain really functioning all that well.  Apparently its all normal and I can expect my spelling, memory and ability to recall the names of people will all return within 24 hours – 6 MONTHS.


I have a friend who suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from an ultimate frisbee incident and she’s not fully recovered after 2 YEARS. And while my injury was nothing akin to hers – I can still get my words out in the correct order – I am now having a whole other level of empathy for those folks who suffer with TBIs. It also got me wondering how many people around me might also have hit their head recently? Potential candidates may include;

  • The news this morning that Tom Ready questions whether the Sandy Hook massacre actually took place or whether it was a hoax to advance gun control measures by the government. Got to love a paranoid Colorado Republican
  • That guy who I went on an awesome date with in July but who has since forgotten my name, number, how awesome a time we had and that date we were going on the following weekend. Clearly he’s wandering around Whole Foods somewhere wondering why he’s there and who that person smiling at him is.
  • The man who yelled at me this morning for letting my dog pee on his sidewalk. While I do pick up after my dog religiously, clearly he was under the misapprehension that I also carry paper towels on my dog walk in order to pick up my dog’s liquid excretions.
  • That fella who contacted me about my motorcycle being for sale and offered me $2000 under listed price OR his grandmother’s 1983 Cadillac as part of the deal. Sweet offer dude.
  • That lady who couldn’t find the appropriate phrasing for ‘vibrator’ on an urgent work call (don’t ask, it’s complicated), and came up with ‘ladies implement’. I don’t know about you, but that could be anything from my eyebrow tweezers to my hairdryer, but now all I can think of is her notion of being ‘impaled’ by something.

The short bus awaits us all. Helmets will be provided.

Posted in cycling, health, body | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment