Showing posts from 2018

Interbike convention 2018 recap

I rarely post work-related thoughts on my blog. It’s a place for me to puke words every so often. But with quite a few friends asking for my feedback on Interbike, the yearly bicycle convention, and entirely too much to say for a simple Facebook post this will have to be the place.

Thoughts are broken down in this order below:
Outdoor Demo
Indoor attendance & company feedback

Outdoor Demo
The pros are very short and sweet. It was very refreshing to be in a new, beautiful location and I'm told the riding is great. (I did not ride, fighting a sore throat and the excess dust was not appealing to my need to heal.)

The cons. It took an hour to get to Northstar from Reno. The vendor area felt about the same quantity as last year, so pretty low turnout. There were only seven bike manufacturers that I counted. The line for the gondola was reported to be a long wait and added to long wait times to get a bike to demo. There were more e-mtbs than analog bikes. Last …

Admitting I'm a helicopter Mom

This year my 11yo son is off to 6th grade, he is my youngest of two kids. He has decided that he wants to go to the bus stop on his own. Instead of feeling proud of his confidence and independence my worry immediately set in. I did not show him this feeling, just gave him an "Okay cool, look both ways before you cross the street!". Then proceeded to spy out the front window... somewhere in my journey of motherhood I became Gladys Kravitz from Bewitched.

Okay, I'll admit I have been the self-appointed "neighborhood watch" for a while. But when my husband called me out yesterday because I was still watching the bus stop out my window and the kids have been back to school for a week already... I realized I'm way more overprotective than I thought.

I'll give you my reasons for the bus stop spying and worry. For starters any parent will tell you the bus is the number one place for severe bullying, cameras or not the bus is free range for jerk kids…

Dakine back-to-school backpacks & lunch bags for the win again

If you're purchasing a backpack for back-to-school season take a look at Dakine bags! They offer lots of cool prints, sizes and serious ability to take a beating. We only purchases backpacks when needed and Dakine backpacks and their lunch bags last my kids at least 3-4 years of school abuse.

We had another year of not having to purchase either bags for school for the 16yo and the 11yo! Woot! Parenting purchase victory. Thanks Dakine. ๐Ÿ˜˜

Tekko - Pittsburgh's annual Japanese Pop Culture convention

Tekko of Pittsburgh is a celebration of individuality and creativity. I am still in shock that this is an event with 10k+ attendees and is 100% volunteer and a non-profit.

As a volunteer at the Bag Check station, I was able to meet and talk with a lot of people. Which otherwise I would have likely not done. Although my energy really petered off at the end of my shift, I had a great time.

I love so much about this event! It has a super positive and supportive atmosphere. It's a safe space for a lot of people of all ages and genders. It's an event where they can be themselves without judgment. Or they can embody another person or character for a day. It's a place where the LGBTQ+ community can walk without fear or judgment. As someone who works in a mostly Caucasian-male industry,  it was refreshing to be surrounded by so many different cultures and identities. It brought a constant ear-to-ear smile to my face.

Tekko, like most large conventions, has a zero-tolerance policy…

Tekko - Pittsburgh's annual Japanese Pop Culture convention

I'm very excited to be volunteering at Tekko this year! My daughter has attended for the past couple years, she loves cos-playing and takes Japanese at school.  Because I help out wit Dirt Rag Dirt Fest for the past 7 years I am always looking at how other events run. The inner workings of an event that is 10,000 attendees and 100% volunteer based, oh yea. Sound chaotic and crazy.

The event is next weekend, April  5-8th. I'll be trying to post photos on my Instagram and hope to do a quick recap on my blog. If you are going to Tekko, make sure to stop by Bag Check and say hey-lo!

Also this weekend, Saturday April 7th is the Women's Bike Forum Bike Pittsburgh puts on every year. It's a really great event! Bummed I cannot make it this year, they have some awesome clinics and speakers. Check it out it.

IUD - Two weeks later

I am two-weeks into having my IUD. Read more about the no-so-fun-time of having it inserted here.

I've had my period for two-weeks now. Ugh. It's mild spotting for me, but I have never had a "heavy" period. I've talked to my OBGYN and have heard that some ladies are unfortunate enough to have to empty their menstrual cup (All hail the Diva cup!) every 1-2hrs. That really sucks, sorry to the ladies who have to deal with that shizzle.

I am also still experiencing a little bit of cramping, but it's definitely subsiding.

My problem right now is you are suppose to check to make sure the IUD didn't fall out during your cycle. Every time I think my period is over I try to check this thing. It is not easy to find the strings. At the end of the IUD are two strings, like floss feeling almost. I had a really difficult time finding the strings! I actually emailed the nurse who was super responsive and asked for advice, which she gave me. Let me paint a funny picture…

IUD, should I get one

Should I get an IUD... it's a question that I sat on for several months. I have two kids and I don't want anymore. I am an advocate for women's health rights and I feel that right is being threatened right now. I researched online as much as I could, I talked with my OBGYN, I talked with friends who had them. And I decided that an IUD is the best option for me. So two weeks ago I had one inserted. Here is how it went...

Having had two kids naturally, with no epidural (Woot! Bragging points. (เน‘•̀ใ…‚•́)ูˆ✧). I thought, "How painful could this really be, I'm a bad-ass". The night before my appointment, I had trouble sleeping, just typical worry and nervousness. On my OBGYN's recommendation, I took of the day of the IUD insertion off. An hour before my appointment I swallowed the recommended Ibuprofen and headed out.

I'm escorted into the room after the dreaded weight scale. The nurse asked for a pee test. They need to ensure I was definitely not pregnant. Th…

Pittsburgh Phipps Converatory

Last week as a Carnegie Museum Member we were offered to attend a free day at the Phipps Conservatory. I love the Conservatory. There is something relaxing about hanging out with a bunch of plants, even when the place is super crowded.

In the winter the conservatory has a really evening holiday lights festival that we have been to a couple times. They have a scavenger hunt for little kids at the check-in, a train display that entraps kids into a central room. There is also a room with an indoor vegetable garden and a "market" area for kids with plastic shopping items, toy registers, and shopping carts to entertain the toddlers.

Don't be rushed in this place, take your time. I'll admit it is hard to follow that rule because there are areas with two-person-wide capacity walking space, so when it is crowded or there are a lot of little ones meandering through you feel like you have to hurry. But DON'T! There are hidden plants all over the place, little specimens hidi…

Women group ride in Queens, New York

This is the kind of news I enjoy reading!

A women's cycling group is hosting a group ride not only in celebration of a much-needed bike lane on a dangerous road but also to encourage more woman to ride. talked to Laura Shepard a co-chair of the Queens Boulevard Committee for Transportation Alternatives. Shepard stated in reference it the ride, "It's to demonstrate and celebrate the fact that women bike in New York City, and especially in Queens, because the stereotype is that (biking is) heavily male-dominated," Laura told Patch, "While there still is a large gap, that's really not the case."

According to the installed bike lane was a controversial one. But as cyclists we all are aware almost any bike lane installation tends to be a "controversy".

To sign-up for the March 25 event in Queens, NY go here and take a look at their empowering mission statement.
 I love searching the #womenbike hashtag on Facebook and Instagram, …

Budget life: the library is amazing

This year I'm knuckling down, saving every penny and getting the fudge out of debt. One major way I control the monthly budget is I use our local library a lot.

You can borrow:
BooksGraphic Novels Digital booksMoviesCD's Audible books Our library has a request system, so I can get items that my library doesn't have transferred. It's crazy! I no longer purchase movies, I request them from the library.

 All the above is free! Unless you're like me and notoriously turn things in late. Even then I'm charged 10-cents a day. Most libraries have intuitive websites so you can renew your stuff or make requests.

There is also:
Free Wi-FiFree computer useYou can print things from the internet for 10-cents each (price may vary at other libraries but it is likely equally as inexpensive)You can make copies, again my library charge cents for thisThere are kids programs, summer programs, toddler times, informational events, used book sales, adult programs, teen programsAnd awes…

Kid Microscope - best gift ever

Whether or not your kid is into science, microscopes are just fun. You can look at food, material, leaves, sticks, animal fur and dare I say, even boogers. Gross, no thank you.

Microscopes range from $30-$420+. Obviously, most kids under the age of 15 don't necessarily need a really expensive microscope. But if you go too cheap, well it is not nearly as fun. I don't know all the science-y details about microscopes, but I know that cheap ones are difficult to focus and the low magnitude sacrifices the ability to really see things close-up like the patterns of a butterfly wing.

We bought our son a microscope for his birthday 2 years ago. We purchased the My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope - MFL-06 for $70. If you do some online digging you can find it for the $70 price +shipping, Amazon has it at $80 and if you have Prime then it's probably your best bet. It has three magnifications; 40x, 100x, 400x and it has worked wonderfully. It came with blank slides, four prepared slide…

Why do we hurry

My reoccurring back and hip problems flare up occasionally. I have good months and bad months, this month is a bad month. Whenever this occurs I'm forced to slow down, and am reminded of how much of hurry I am in about everything all of the time. And how much of hurry everyone around me is in.

We are in hurry to get to the next thing, to hurry through that.

There has been a continued trend of anger, everyone is in a rush and just plain inconsiderate of each other. Unfortunately, I don't think it is going to change anytime soon.

And I don't think there is much that can be done about this on a large level right now, but on a micro level I try and thank people, say hello, say excuse me, go at a pace that I don't have anxiety attacks over. It's a daily goal for me to make people laugh, that act of trying to give someone the therapy of laughter helps me take a deep breath when I start imaging throat punching people (you know what I'm talking about!).

With all tha…

Review: REI stuff for Bicycle Times

Woohoo! I did a long-term review on REI Co-op Quarter Dome 1-person tent, Flash Insulated Air Sleeping Pad, and Magma 17 Sleeping Bag. Yes, it is a positive review, no it is not paid content or "advertorial". REI is making quality stuff these days. They have continued to listen to their members and they have been surrounded by well-known brands for years if they did not make a great product I'd be seriously concerned. I did have one gripe, read the full review at

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Social Media love it or hate it

In June of 2017, I declared I had deleted my Facebook account. And it was nice. I felt like I could have a legit conversation with people about what they have been up to and actually not know what they have been up to. I also felt like I was out of the loop on a lot of avid Facebook-er knowledge or jokes. Which I didn't mind so much.

Inevitably I rejoined Facebook this month. Why would I do this you ask? Regardless of its downward trend in social media engagement, likeability, and it is a place where people post angry religious or political posts (which was a major reason why I had to walk away) it still a relevant community to be part of. We are in a day and age where we all get to have our very own audience and our online presence is like a kind of weird resume. Unless I'm going completely off the grid with no technology, in my own eyes I'm just a hypocrite. What really makes one social media, better or worse than the other? They do the same thing for us, boost our confi…

Review: Keen Big Kids Hikeport Strap Boot

A good pair of outdoor shoes is one item I always invest in. I've gone the cheap route with big box store brand of hiking or running shoes and they start falling apart within a few months of steady use. The last two years I have purchased Keen boots for my son and they have been great. Last year we purchased the older version of the Hikeport Waterproof Mid Boot, it has a bungee closure that works really well. He liked them, he wore them, they lasted and I cleaned them really well then was able to pass them along to a friends kid.

This year we went with Keen's new twist on the Hikeport style with Velcro closure and more of a tennis shoe look. The Big Kids Hikeport Strap Midproof Mid boots are really awesome. First, the style they look super cool. I want a pair! Kids get all the cool stuff...  Second, the boots come with Keen's traditional features waterproof, odor control, lightweight and a non-marking sole. Lastly, they are super comfortable. They are comfortable enough fo…

Kids Manners - electronics rant

Tablets and cell phones are everywhere. Some of us might complain about it, but they are not going anywhere anytime soon. We see kids on cell phones and tablets in shopping carts and at older siblings sports. Just everywhere right. One thing I must rant about is the volume control...

Every time we are at swim practice or in a grocery store, basically, in any public setting there is a kid on an electronic device with the volume up. I know as a Mom we occasionally have (or had) to watch toddler shows that make us want to punch purple dinosaurs, but why make all of us deal with that?! I put in my years of toddler TV, I'm done! I don't want to listen to a kids television program or the beeps of a video game. Turn the volume off or buy a pair of dollar store headphones. 

Let me also point at some adults who do this... wth?! Just stop it, it's rude. Let's make everyone's life a little easier, lessen how aggro we are with each other and just be respectful of our surround…

IKEA RASKOG Utility Cart - sewing trolley

I just got an email from IKEA that I need to buy a RASKOG utility cart. Dear IKEA, I already own one and it is pretty awesome! I inherited it from the hubby. He used this handy little cart for art supplies for several years. Eventually, his supplies outgrew the carts capability. Let's just say he has a whole room to keep all his art stuff in, it's like the equivalent of his "man-cave", but its an "art-cave".

Anyways! The RASKOG actually worked really well for organizing my sewing supplies into one location. It fits perfectly in our dining room closet during those rare occasions where I generally sew. I have to take off the little extension table, but it holds all my thread, needles, basic sewing supplies. Wheel it out when I need it. Look how adorable it is! Looks like it is not available in the mint color anymore like mine but it is available in; black, beige and brown. And it only costs $25 for this little sturdy trolley.

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Turning 40

I'm going to be 40 in like 3 days! I'm supposed to panic right?!

It feels like most people have a sense of dread or despair for milestone birthdays like these. I don't feel that way. But I wouldn't say I'm excited either. Full disclosure I get really excited about finding a grey hair, "I'm Mom-the-Wise now!"

Birthday's are a day that I get to have all the say in activities and food choices, that's really enough for me. Mom's generally don't get that. We are often the ones who bend our wants to make the kids or spouse happy. But we are guaranteed two days a year where we can say, "everybody back off, we are eating pizza with pineapples and anything with dark chocolate!".  Nom. Nom. Nom.

New Year Resolutions - Update! I have not done much

New Year Resolutions - Update! I have not done much
A couple weeks ago I was super pumped about my New Year's Resolutions. I have a couple ongoing yearly reminders, a task that has been on my "get it done" list for 2 years, and so on. Read more about it here.
Quick update... I have kind of started, but not really. I did play D&D with the family, killed some giant rats with the kids and we ran away from a gelatinous cube. That was awesome. And I helped the hubby accept his/our relationship with Facebook and its enormous reach. I know we are only 2-weeks into the new year and I need to calm down. Noope. Not gonna happen. *My eye is twitching right now just thinking about this!
So, I'm adding another new year goal: Calm the Fudgsicle down!
Yeah, our water heater broke while it was below freezing and we got hit with an unexpected ginormous auto repair bill. But my lower-income-single-mom-raised life helps me recognize that I have food in the fridge and a roof over my h…