Every year at my birthday I get very reflecty and have a near meltdown about getting older because I fear change.  On birthday-eve I cry (mostly to myself in the last few years, seeing as how dignity is a thing) and think about how I’ll never be that age again.  This year seems like a big one because it’s 30 and that sounds like a grown up age to be.  I am concerned occasionally that I am not a proper adult because I don’t have a spouse or children or a house or a dog or much travel experience or an IRA or a finance guy I talk to.  Instead I have thousands of Lego bricks, quite a few of which are currently on display in my bedroom for no one to see, all the Harry Potter books and movies (dvd and iTunes), and a consistently low bank account due to triathlon participation.

I guess pretty much everyone has thoughts about getting older, but I think it’s important for the people who read this and love me most to know that even though I don’t have the appearance of a normal adult I have still tried to learn things and have grown up approximately 30 years worth growing.

Things I’ve learned in 30 years:

Nothing.  I do stupid things every day so really, there is no growing up, there is only continually recognizing how dumb you are and then eventually getting to the point where it doesn’t bother you as much to be eternally stupid and then having a party and getting buzzed* with all your friends and talking about how important Harry Potter is for human development.

Things I’ve recognized in myself over the last 30 years:

*I dislike drunkenness.  Thankfully, my immediate social bubble has been mostly filled with semi-like-minded people who don’t appreciate drunkenness much either and we can all get along.  But, it’s not drunkenness in other people that bothers me so much, its just that I personally hate to feel “drunk.”  Really, I think I have been drunk once in my 30 years so I’m not exactly an authority on the subject but the point is that it’s the worst feeling ever and I hate it and get it away from me.

I love running.  I love the friends I’ve made while running, or because of running.  I love running on trails because it reminds me of playing in sagebrush and lava rock strewn fields behind Grandpa Paul’s house, I love running speed workouts on a track because it’s hard and burns and reminds me of high school when getting a PR felt like the only benchmark of my existence as a human, and I love 20 mile runs and getting blisters on my hips from a water belt and complaining to Staci about how I’m old and slow then bragging to someone later that day about  having run 20 miles that morning.  I LOVE races because they are pure joy.  A finish line is never anti-climactic.  A 5k in Davenport, Washington finish line has the same sense of accomplishment as an Ironman in Coeur d’Alene.  I can say that because I’ve done both and this is my blog so I do what I want.

Having a job that is interesting with co-workers I like most of the time and boss I’d follow anywhere are extremely important to me.  You can’t have a boss that’s dumber than you, it just doesn’t work.  I love puzzles, and my job is kind of like doing a puzzle every day.  It’s the sort of thing where the “worst” files are also the most hilarious and interesting stories to tell after the fact.  Plus, title insurance jokes are the best.  And the other day I became a notary public but don’t ask me to notarize anything for you unless it’s me granting you an easement to visit me in my personal space.  …but that’s probably a conflict of interest sooooo, yeah.

Some other things I’ve recognized in 30 years include: Tina fey is YES, Star Wars is the best, Harry Potter is better, wearing jeans to work every day gets old and dressing up is fun, things get awkward, say yes to life and staying in more, my family is amazeballs (all of them), my sister is my non-romantic soulmate, the world is full of it but sometimes good things happen, reading is important, shutting up is kind of more important so people don’t know you’re actually a dummy, an Ironman is worth it, TV isn’t the worst thing ever invented… ugh, there are too many things.

So far, 30 is the best because 20 and 10 were pretty great too.  Thanks for being my friend!


this is what happens when i ask keri for help

From: Keri
Sent: Thursday, July 25, 2013
To: Rochelle

Let’s see… do you mean, what topic should your post start with, or what part of your recent race should you start with, OR what word should you start with?!

Here’s what I think;

1.       The first word of your next blog post should be “If” ….it’s such an imaginative word to begin with!


“If I were a robot the following story would have been a riot… ”

“If time is an allusion and everything is actually happening all at once then….”

“If I seem a little tense right now it’s because I’m a #$%&-ing Ironman and no one understands me….”

2.       At some point during the post, you should go off on what would have happened in that moment, in an alternate reality.


“So there I was eating cake, which I hate, when I heard a knock on the door… it was just Jim, …no, actually it was Ryan Gosling coming over to give me a plate of cookies, and welcome me to the neighborhood… or at least that’s what happened in my alternate reality.”

3.       The last sentence should be “And there I was, just ______ in the ______ with a ______ for a _____.


“And there I was, just _sitting_ in the __well__ with a __#$%&__ for a _#$%&__.”


How’s that for starters?!







Son of a… the only upside I can think of is that I’m basically Chrissie Wellington at this point.  I’ll probably win Kona, too.

oh, this bodes well

The last few weeks have been incredibly stressful.  I’ve been crabby and out of sorts the whole time and I’m sure there are several underlying factors contributing to my bad mood, but the most obvious reason is my inability to manage time well.  OR, it’s bedbugs.

At some point last week, I think maybe it was Thursday, I noticed a small rash or collection of mosquito bite-type bumps right underneath my belly button.  This is mostly problematic due to the fact that I am a 21st century woman and usually wear pants throughout the day.  These bumps, somewhat itchy, are right at the top of my jeans behind the clasp (these jeans are from GapKids).  Well, I didn’t think much of it or at least wasn’t too bothered because I figured if it was bug bites they’d go away on their own eventually, or same resolution if it was just chaffing from running shorts.  I dug out an expired tube of hydrocortisone cream, applied some of that, and went to sleep.  Or work.  Or riding.  Whatever.

Sunday morning, the bumps hadn’t gone away.  They didn’t spread, or get bigger, or more itchy.  They were just there.  The Lilac Century Ride started at 7:45am so I didn’t spend too much time dwelling on the bumps, but I DID notice the whole area had become a little sensitive to the touch.  Not painful.  Just sensitive.

Don’t worry.  This isn’t a story about mine or anyone else’s lady business.  I save that for Monday night church smallgroup.

The Lilac ride was excellent.  It was excellent weather, and beautiful scenery… all until about mile 50.  Well, even then it was still pretty out, but it had gotten a little windy and I didn’t bring enough to eat so my energy level completely dropped and I spent the next hour panicking about my health.  Like, really.  I thought I was going to die.  After the ride I immediately went home and wrote in my journal about how much I love my family just in case this was the end.  It’s a little bit dramatic but consider the source.

Even in the midst of my panic attack, the bumps persisted.  They have been my constant friend these last few days, as well as paranoia.  Beyond the bumps, or rash or whatever it was, the fact that everything was so sensitive really had me going.  I thought for sure it must be ovarian cancer.  Or cysts.  Or whatever horrible thing everyone’s sister’s friend’s Aunt’s college roommate had that ended with her in the hospital and a bill up the yang.

Sunday night I texted my Mom in a panic asking her to come take me to the doctor.  Yes, I am 27 years old (28 in two weeks) and I need my Mom to take me to the doctor.  Monday afternoon she drove up from the Tri-Cities and we went to Urgent Care.  In the time since I had first called Mom, my mind had gone off the deep end with MRSA right at the front. Reigning in anxiety isn’t a special skill set of mine.

In the Urgent Care waiting room, the nurse asked me general medical history, and then the doctor after her repeated many of the same questions.  Do you smoke?  No.  Have you ever had surgery? No.  Do you have any allergies? No.  It’s really sort of depressing to go into a doctor’s office and admit to them you’ve never had or done anything in your life to warrant medical attention.  My smallgroup would call this a first world problem complaint, “be thankful for your health, Rochelle!”  Shut up.  I am thankful for it.  I’m just saying, my medical record doesn’t make for an interesting story.

After the non-interesting questioning session, the doctor had me show her my rash.  It took her about one second to lean back and say, “Yeah, that’s bedbugs.”

The really disappointing part here is that the doctor had a southern accent, and she didn’t have the decency to call them “chew daddies,”  “the Woodsman’s Companions,” or  “Blue Ridge Quilt Ticklers.”  She did prescribe me a couple of creams, an intense hydrocortisone (she didn’t find my expired Costco tube very impressive) and something else that starts with a P, then gave me a tetanus shot.  Oh, and I can buy Benadryl if I want.

After a stop at the pharmacy, Mom and I went to dinner and discussed different ways of bug-bombing the house I live in and when to let my landlord know.  Personally, I’m not convinced it’s bedbugs.  I saw that episode of 30 Rock and Jack was itchy all over.  This isn’t my situation.  And the doctor did tell me that any swelling or sensitivity in the bathing suit area is just my lymph nodes doing their job in an allergic reaction.  Great.

Monday night I slept in clean sheets (side note:  I’ve been crashing on the couch for the last three weeks, no reason for this other than laziness).  Tuesday morning, I got up to go for a run but sat at the desk massaging my sore arm (tetanus shot) checking email first when I received this little pretty –


Feeling good, my friends.

these are the things that surprise me

Just found this on my sister’s tumblr (I don’t know how tumblr works, I think it must be for the young kids only):


Stuff like this makes me really mad and then I remember that she became Secretary of State and Amy Poehler played her a bunch of times on SNL and they’re basically best friends.

…and then I get a little jealous.

i will only make friends with smart people

from: rochelle
to: kayla
sent: friday, jan 11, 2013

Ok, let’s have a discussion about this so I have something smart to post on my blog.

Vladimir Nabokov said that “the best reader has a combination of two very different temperaments: the artistic and the scientific. A good reader has an artist’s passion, a willingness to get caught up in a story, but just as importantly, he said, the reader also needs the ‘coolness of judgment’ of a scientist, which acts to ‘temper’ or complicate the reader’s intuitive reactions to a story.”

First, you should know that Wikipedia says Vladimir Nabokov was, “a Russian American novelist.  Nabokov’s first nine novels were in Russian.  He then rose to international prominence as a writer of English prose.  He also made serious contributions as a lepidopterist and a chess composer

A lepidopterist is a person who specializes in the study of Lepidoptera, members of an order encompassing moths and the three super-families of butterflies, skipper butterflies, and moth-butterflies.  The term also includes hobbyists who are not formal scholars, who catch, collect, and study, or simply observe lepidopterans.

A chess composer is a person who creates endgame studies or chess problems.  Chess composers usually specialize in a particular genre, e.g. endgame studies, twomovers, threemovers, moremovers, helpmates, selfmates, or fairy problems.  Moreover, composers have their own preferred style of composing, allowing their sorting according to so-called compositions schools.

Fairy problems, or Fairy Chess, comprise chess problems that differ from classical (also called orthodox) chess problems in that they are not direct mates.

Direct mates:  White to move first and checkmate Black within a specified number of moves against any defense.”

…and not, as I had originally suspected, the least confusing or complicated form of intercourse.

Also, it took me 45 minutes to finish this first email because I got lost in Wikipedia.  Again.

Okay, Nabokov’s quote, “the best reader has a combination of two very different temperaments: the artistic and the scientific. A good reader has an artist’s passion, a willingness to get caught up in a story, but just as importantly, he said, the reader also needs the “coolness of judgment” of a scientist, which acts to “temper” or complicate the reader’s intuitive reactions to a story.” Thoughts?  Readyyyyyy… GO:

from: kayla
to: rochelle
sent: friday, jan 11, 2013

You cannot imagine how funny I found that email. It was all, “what the hell is a lepidopterist?! Oh. There’s the answer.” But x12 because you kept looking up all of those made up words.
Also, let’s just review what you said about direct mates: “…and not, as I had originally suspected, the least confusing or complicated form of intercourse.”
Fairy chess still sounds completely made up, and I really don’t know what any of the chess talk was about. (Once, Megan and I decided to become really good chess players. We were going to play every day. We played once.)
Okay. So now we have the quote. And I am going to talk about it. I will think of something very profound. Right..now.
Actually, I think this quote kind of describes the problem with English majors. I classified us into two categories: pompous and “free spirited”. (In this case, “free spirited” is a nice way of saying “dumb”.)
Pompous students like to tell you how much they’ve read and how well they understood it. They talk about literary theories and use made-up words in general discussions to make you feel inferior or to let you know that they are SO SMART. Pompous students talk about reading Ulysses by James Joyce. This is false. No one has read Ulysses by James Joyce because it is impossible to read. Not even James Joyce has read Ulysses by James Joyce. To prove how ridiculous this book is, I offer the following: the average novel has 64,000 words. Ulysses has 265,000. It has a lexicon (vocabulary) of 30,030 words, whereas the average native speaker has an active vocabulary of 3,000, plus an additional 2,000 words that they know if they hear them, but they don’t usually use. So basically what I’m saying is all of the pompous kids are lying. Also, they dress like beatniks.
The free spirited students are almost worse than the pompous ones. Although the pompous students brag about how much they’ve read and act insufferably superior, they do add to class discussions with their insights. The free-spirited students, however, give no such insights. In fact, they don’t even read. I doubt half of them know how. These are the students who got really into Harry Potter or The Princess Diaries and “LOOOOOOOOOOOOVED” to read as kids. And while they probably enjoy the pastime of reading, they like it as a form of entertainment. They have little ability to use their brains’ higher functions, and even “Intro to Lit” taxes their abilities to analyze plot. They hate to write papers and they are shocked that English involves as much writing as it does reading.
The pompous kids have the scientific temperament, but often lack the artist’s passion. They are great at writing thesis statements, understanding the motifs and themes in what they read, but there’s no passion in it. They aren’t willing “to get caught up in a story”.
The free-spirited students have all of the passion they need, but they don’t have the “coolness of judgement” so keep them from shifting emotionally with the story as the characters shift emotionally. When there’s a tragedy, they might cry or feel sad with the characters, but they can’t simultaneously recognize the symbolism. They are especially bad at understanding catharsis when the end of the story leaves some people unwed, others dead. They don’t understand the satisfaction and completeness of a story that doesn’t end well for all characters.
Without the passion and the judgement, a reader misses the nuances in a story, and I believe that the nuances are what make a novel great. The emotion should enhance the literary devices like plot, allusion, and social commentary. But you need both. Without the passion, you’ll only ever appreciate a book for what it does, not how it does it. You will look at it like a well-made proof in geometry. But on the other hand, you cannot feel the depth of the emotion or story in a book without understanding those literary devices and without being able to pull yourself back from the action and look at all parts equally.
Here’s an example of what I mean. This is a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay:
My candle burns at both ends;
  It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends–
  It gives a lovely light!
I know that I could be wrong in my reading of this poem, but let’s just assume I know what I’m talking about so that I can make my point. Burning your candle at both ends means working too hard, but basically she’s saying she doesn’t care. People tell her it’s a bad idea, but she enjoys it.
The free-spirited types online give some very interesting interpretations of this poem. The most notable is that this poem is about being bisexual. “My candle burns at both ends” is about Millay liking both ladies and men but not being able to decide even though her foes and friends don’t like it. Maybe Millay was bisexual, I don’t know. She was definitely a slut. But even if she was bisexual IT DOESN’T MATTER. And this poem IS NOT about her sexuality.
The pompous students would likely understand the poem, but they wouldn’t be able to put themselves in the speaker’s position. They can understand this poem is about a woman wearing herself too thin, but they won’t feel it. They won’t be able to live vicariously through her, or to really let the text sink down and affect them.
And that’s all I have to say.
Rochelle’s final note:  I’m the second kind of reader.  And still not sure what a direct mate is.