Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sneaky No More.... Shark Tank, Here We Come!

It's been about 6 months in the making, but I'm excited to finally share something really amazing for me, for my business partner Tim and most importantly for our company, Grease Monkey Wipes.

On Friday January 15, 2010, Grease Monkey Wipes will be featured on the Mark Burnett produced reality TV show Shark Tank on ABC. That's right - we are going prime time!!

The premise of Shark Tank is this: entrepreneurs pitch their business to 5 multi-millionaire investors in hopes of getting funding in exchange for equity.

We can't share what happened to us... for that you have to wait and see. Obviously our fingers are crossed.

For an inside look into how long Tim & I have been waiting to announce this... we started the application process in June. We shot our audition video about 2 weeks before my Ironman, worked on more paperwork in July, and were finally selected to go to Los Angeles to pitch our company in August. (Remember my LA trip where I got to hang with my friend Lara? Yeah, that was all to go shoot this tv show. Sneaky, sneaky I am!)

Below are some pictures from our very own trailer on the Sony studio lots.

And here's a sneak peak of what we were up against... Kevin O'Leary (i.e. you crazy chickens!) was shooting us as we set up to pitch!

At any rate, at this particular moment - we are relishing the experience. I am every combination of nervous, excited, scared, thankful and just very grateful for the opportunity.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

from my mother...

"You may stumble, but you will never fall."

Just something for me to keep in mind. Yay for moms. :)

Friday, December 04, 2009

momentary reflection...

I was thinking back to a conversation I had with Katy & Alisa back in May. We were sitting in Lift, just after our pre-Ironman meeting, talking about life post-Ironman. I admitted that I was scared of life post-Ironman, as in not having a big goal ahead or knowing what was out there. It was scary.

Katy sent me an email that night that was inspiring and touching, in which she said "be true to yourself" and explained that I didn't need to figure it all out in a day. (It was the perfect email - the one you keep and look back on from time to time.)

That night, I wrote the following in a post:
By the way, in reference to learning to appreciate balance: I don't have any *big* goals lined up post Ironman. There is a huge part of me that is scared of not having something ahead, and scared of the unknown, really. However, I'm giving up fear and instead I'm going to embrace whatever lies ahead in my life. I have more confidence than ever that I will always land on my feet and that I can do anything if I just believe in myself.

If only the girl typing this post today could have given the girl who wrote that post just a *glimpse* of what was to come.

Let me just say - I followed through on what I said I was going to do. I gave up fear. I am certainly embracing life. Hell, I would say that I am giving life one giant bear hug. Life won't always be so rosey, but I WILL land on my feet. And... I'm definitely not scared anymore.

Monday, November 30, 2009

crossword bliss

Have I mentioned that my folks know how to keep me happy (and occupied) when I visit home? This picture is worth a thousand words. (Hahaha. I'm so punny... er... funny!)

I would have taken a pic of our Scrabble boards, but I want my dad to continue speaking to me.


I'll post more updates later, but for now I just had to share this picture from the 2009 Dallas Turkey Trot. Doesn't my dad look so happy?

Each year, my dad and I grow more and more alike. Doing the Turkey Trot is expected now. Doing heaps of crossword puzzles and pouring over games of Scrabble while watching football is what we do for fun. This year, by the time I left Dallas, my dad had a new gym routine in his pocket and was drinking his cereal with blueberries and soy milk. I love it!

I am so blessed to have amazing parents. My mom made sure that I didn't have to do anything Thanksgiving day but lounge around in my pajamas. She spent hours helping me research products and make decisions so I could cross some major headache items off my to-do list.

Our immediate family is small (just three of us) but I wouldn't trade them for the world. If we end up morphing into our parents, I'm glad that I get to morph into mine.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lucky me!

As I was running around campus this morning, I was pondering what makes me blog (versus the times I don't update this for days or weeks.)

Well, most of the time it's just because I want to put something in writing and then get it out of my head. Today, however, it's just because I am feeling blessed and want to share.

I am thankful that I have friends and family who will listen to me and talk me off the ledge and make me laugh and push me and carry me and just hug the life out of me.

I'm also thankful that I get to play with this little rascal every day. :)

Guess it's fitting that I'm feeling so blessed the week of Thanksgiving. But in all honesty, I feel like this every day. Lucky, lucky me.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Favorites from E.A.S.T.

I have a few favorite weekends in Austin. In no particular order, these are:
1) Art City Austin
2) AIA Homes Tour
3) E.A.S.T.

Coming from an East-side livin' + art lovin' Austinite - I'm thinking that E.A.S.T. might win out this year. E.A.S.T. (aka East Side Studio Tour) is just freaking awesome. Artists all over the East Side open up their homes/studios/galleries to share not only their artwork, but the space where the creation happens. So. Freaking. Awesome.

Mike, my art festival partner in crime, accompanied me on Sunday to 10 stops on the tour. Here are some highlights:

Chris Levack
I had *just* drivin by these sculptures at Mueller, curious as to what they represented, and low & behold, not but 1 hour later, I found myself in deep conversation with the artist himself! It's one thing to appreciate a piece of art... but a whole new thing to speak first hand with the artist and understand his vision for the work longterm.

Robbie Ortiz
I don't think Robbie gives himself enough credit. His art was fantastic, and I have to say his pricing was *WAY* off. For anyone looking to own some badass cubist art, check him out. He's a really nice guy, too, which for me makes the art even better.

Judy Paul
I first noticed Judy's art at the Blue Genie Christmas Bizarre last year, so I was really excited to see her new stuff. She painted one of my favorite pieces from the tour, called "Moving On," and dammit I wish Mike would have bought it. She has lots of bird & house themes. (Anyone who has seen my walls would know I like birds and houses.) By visiting Judy, we got to tour Flatbed Press as well, and see a printmaking demonstration. Very cool!

David Bjurstrom
I snuck a peek in David's space early Sunday morning... knowing that if I could show off just one place, this might be the one. I have never seen someone as talented with a pencil as this man, and I was in awe of nearly all of his pieces. In fact, if I was able to buy from any artist this year, it would have been him. I'll let his drawing speak for itself. Yes, I said DRAWING. Wow.

Okay, to end my psuedo tour of E.A.S.T.... here is where I turn a little bit nuts. When I looked at the tour map, I noticed that there was an artist right across the street from Joe's house. As in, I could see it from the front window. When I looked at the name, I freaked out. I've been following this artist for YEARS.... and I've been looking at his house for months not knowing that genius lived there!!! Of course I darted over to his studio as soon as I could. (No, I didn't admit my obsession with his work. I can remain calm when necessary, honest!)

Nate Jensen
Yeah. He's pretty much amazing. In addition to his crazy cool art, he illustrates children's books. You may have seen his Armadillo book all over Austin... Um, I'm just not even sure what to say about him and how awestruck I was that he lived next door.
And... It turns out I live next to greatness too!!! I mean, I look into this artist's studio/house from my yard! I had no idea what was inside!

Denise Prince
I saw Denise's photos during a show at Women & Their Work. I thought they were really interesting - the kind of photos that stick with you for a long, long time. I merely wanted to introduce myself to my neighbor, but when I walked inside her house and saw her photos, I was nearly gushing like a preteen at a Miley Cyrus concert. She. Rocks. (And she lives next door!!! Wheeeeee!!!)
So, there you have it. A few of my favorites from E.A.S.T. 2009. It still goes on next weekend, so check it out if you can! I'll leave you with my last favorite piece from the tour (photographed beautiful by Mike) - a metal willow tree. One last time... SO. FREAKING. COOL!!!!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Two New Things I Love

Sam & Blue! That about sums it up. Yes, I'm crazy enough to put a tiny golden retriever puppy atop a 2.5 foot robot. She... uh... loved it! :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I think I'd be more upset than John if this really happened!

It's not news, but gosh I love the library. Just sayin'. Granted... lately I've been immersed in books from my childhood. Ones that I didn't even have to check out, thanks to Dionn. (I arrived at my hotel room in CdA to a super thoughtful gift of the book series we both loved as kids.) Anyway, I now have about 150 pages left of The Tripods Trilogy. It is so awesome. Better than I remembered, even.

Yeah, I'm reading "young adult" fiction. I'm not embarrassed. I love it!

Thursday, November 05, 2009


It's no secret that I have issues with running.

But lately, I *really* have issues with running.

As in, I will do anything to avoid running. And I don't even HAVE to run.

The thing about running is that it's a necessary evil of triathlon. And, more specifically, that little triathlon called Ironman that I signed up to do next year. I've walked that thing, and I'm not doing it again damn it. Which means I still have to train to run.

And I don't want to.

Ugh. Here's to hoping it's just another phase.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Fun Facts

While doing a bit of research for work, I came across this info & thought I would share. Fun!

- Halloween, referred to as All Hallows Eve, was originally a pagan holiday in which they honored the dead. It was celebrated on October 31 since this was the last day of the Celtic calendar. The celebration dates back some 2,000 years.

- The ancient Celts thought that spirits and ghosts wondered the streets on all Hallows Eve so they began wearing masks and costumes in order to not be recognized as human.

- The jack-o-lantern tradition comes from an old Irish folk tale about a man named Stingy Jack. It was said that he was unable to get into heaven and was turned away from the devil because of his tricky ways. So he set off to wander the world looking for a resting place. For light, Stingy Jack used a burning coal ember in a hollowed out turnip. When the Irish immigrated to the U.S. during the Great Potato Famine of 1845-1850, they found that turnips were not as readily available like they were in the homeland. So they started carving pumpkins as a replacement for their tradition.

- On Halloween, Irish peasants would beg the rich for food. For those that refused, they would play a practical joke. So, in an effort to avoid being tricked, the rich would hand out cookies, candy, and fruit – a practice that morphed into trick-or-treating today.


It's only Wednesday morning, yet I've had 3 separate conversations about "Eat, Pray, Love" already this week. It's amazing how that book speaks to such a broad range of people.

I love this quote.

…A true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you
everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own
attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most
important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and
smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever. Nah. Too painful.
Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself
to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Frankly, I don't think this picture needs any explanation. All I will say is.... AWESOME!!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

45 Life Lessons

Regina Brett's 45 life lessons and 5 to grow on
Originally published in The Plain Dealer on Sunday,May 28, 2006

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here's an update:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don't ask, you don't get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Friday, October 16, 2009

It Ain't About How Hard You Hit...

What a week. Let's just say I'm glad it is Friday...

(Some people always know just what to say. And for that, I am okay with getting hit...and moving forward.... Thank you, like always.)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"It's All a Matter of Priorities"

What comes first, the compass or the clock?

Before one can truly manage time (the clock), it is important to know where you are going, what your priorities and goals are, in which direction you are headed (the compass.)

Where you are headed is more important than how fast you are going. Rather than focusing on what's urgent, focus on what is really important.

-Source Unknown

Friday, September 25, 2009

Over Vegas

I'm not a Vegas girl. Nor is Carrie... which was good since we were traveling together. Last night we hit the Wynn buffet (Oh. My. God...YUM! The ocean called and they want me to bring their seafood back!) Then we went to the crits at the Mandalay Bay. We were both so tired that we left halfway through the pro men's race. We were going to go to the PowerBar party at Blush, in the Wynn, but after waiting in line for 2 minutes we opted to go upstairs instead.

And today, after roaming the show floor again, we had a few hours to kill. I hope Carrie doesn't kill me for saying this, but we spent our time riding the Monorail. We were looking for a cheesy double-decker bus tour, but couldn't find one. So we rode the Monorail. (It was kinda fun, though!)

Anyway.... we were at the airport ready to depart and return to lovely amazing wonderful Austin, Texas. Interbike was great - Vegas was Vegas - and we are ready to come home.

Yup. We are definitely over Vegas.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Interbike 2009 Day 1

Got Grease? Get Grease Monkey Wipes!

That's our theme! Carrie & I just finished our first day at Interbike - North America's largest bike industry trade show. We don't have a booth this year, but we made sure to sport the jerseys and pass out samples and information. The response is great - people love the monkey! (Our designer is genius, I tell you!)

This year is definitely more mellow... The overwhelming thrill of hundreds and hundreds of exhibitors isn't there for me this year - granted it's been a blast to watch Carrie experience it. There seem to be less people this year, too. But there are still all the samples and cool booths and bike parts and geekiness. Once again, I've maintained a diet of Clifbar, Powerbar & other assorted energy bar samples. (Maybe that explains my headache?)

Also, it's a completely different entrepreneurial experience this year. By that, I mean that I have more confidence in my product. I have more confidence in Tim's & my abilities. I have more confidence in the future of our company, regardless if a small bike retailer wants to buy our product or not. I can't exactly explain it - perhaps it's false confidence - but I just feel a bit smarter and wiser this year. We'll see!

Carrie has been a godsend. This would NOT have been a fun experience by myself. She has been fantastic - ready to sport the Grease Monkey gear without me even asking, handing out samples, promoting the company, and just being overly supportive and wonderful. (No surprise there, right?) Also, it's great to share the same feelings about Vegas... we were asleep (in our glorious room at the Wynn) last night by 10pm. We both could care less about Vegas, much more about bike stuff. What a pleasure to share this with her!

So, Interbike Day 1 - check. Our plan is to see the National Crits & get some real food, but I wouldn't be surprised if we just ate and fell asleep.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pain of Discipline.

I've taken a liking to twitter lately - @erininaustin by the way - and as I was pouring over a business plan and financial statements for hours and hours on Sunday, I saw this fantastic (and ever so relevant) quote:

We all suffer one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is that the pain of discipline weighs ounces, the pain of regret weighs tons

I'm all about being disciplined. But I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment. It was bound to happen sooner or later... I mean, as much as I try, I'm not superwoman. Damn it!

Oh well... I'm okay with sticking my head in the sand for a bit. I know myself - I won't stay there for long. (I have to come out by Wednesday... the fabulous Carrie & I are off to show the world Grease Monkey Wipes @ Interbike in Las Vegas.)

Monday, September 14, 2009


Yesterday was gearing up to be a bad day... one of those "series of unfortunate events" kinda days. It started with me feeling grumpy (lack of food, perhaps) and only got worse when half the electricity in my house went dead midway through my laundry cycle. My soapy clothes are currently hanging on a clothesline on my porch while my washer is still full of water. Tried to go to the Arthouse... and after finally arriving, it was closed. Doh!

So I had to stop and say, "No more! I declare this day better starting...NOW!" And better it got! And... it culminated in my first lobster experience ever. I never thought I'd be saying this, but I ate an entire lobster. One that I held... while he was alive. Uh huh... sweet little vegetarian Erin ate a lobster.
It was yummy.

Just sayin. :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hips Don't Lie...

When I finished Ironman, I thought it'd be the perfect time to try something completely new and non-triathlon related.

The obvious choice (for me)? Belly Dancing!

So I looked up classes through U.T.'s informal classes. The first page listed some select classes - one of which was "Overcoming Your Fear of Public Speaking." Well, being somewhat practical... I decided that this was probably a more important and useful class than bellydancing.

5 weeks of public speaking. Turns out it was *really* helpful in ways I hadn't expected. I'm still terrified of public speaking, at times, but I'm glad I took the class.

So then it was time for something new... and I thought, it's time for bellydancing!

Let's just say that my hips don't lie. My hips are not meant to move like a bellydancer. I gave this class 2 chances... and I am done. I don't like it one bit. I felt myself wanting to trip our teacher midway through class 2 and wishing I was anywhere but where I was. Luckily I didn't invest in zils or a coin skirt.

Yeah, I gave it my best. And I hated it. And that's just fine... Now it's just time to learn something else new!

(Yup... that something new is Quickbooks & a new web design program. Exciting. But I don't have to awkwardly shake my hips to do this, and that's a good thing.)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I am in love...

with this painting by Graydon Parrish. Tonight I swung by the new AMOA exhibit, Chuck Close - A couple of ways of doing something. I thought the tapestries were impressive, but otherwise the exhibit didn't really capture my attention.

However, AMOA is doing this great thing where they highlight their own collection now (finally!) plus works from people's private collections. This painting, tucked in a corner, literally took my breath away. It sounds cliche', I know, but it did. This image does it no justice at all, and I even debated putting it up. Just trust me on this one - it's amazing. At least it was for me. (And frankly, that's what's so great about art. It makes no difference what a piece means to anyone else but you.


I have been a cranky bear lately.

But my boss just turned it all around. We were having a conversation about the ways we deal with difficult people. He's really into astrology and birthdays, plus he's known me for 6 years, so he very accurately described the 2 ways I deal with people who make me mad.

1) I step back, take a deep breath, and mechanically think through what's upsetting me and address it calmly and rationally.


2) I lash out with the most evil spiteful things I can think of. I'm not fond of this method, but it happens. Passive aggressive much? Luckily, I'm usually able to lash out at a nurturing friend in place of the person upsetting me. (Sunday night for instance, Mike was privy to an entire evil Erin tirade. Mean Mean Evil DF! He just laughed at me, which made it better.)

Anyway, bossman and I were talking through this and we determined that #2 is actually okay, as long as it's followed up with the following: "I am disappointed that I have to deal with you."

I love it. So much so that I nearly fell out of my chair laughing so hard about it. Thanks to this little conversation and a purely beautiful saying, my week has officially turned around for the better.

I declare it so. Cranky bear begone!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rain Gauge / Obscurist (i.e. no creative title tonight)

So, I think it's now a proven fact that my mood is the my best known indicator of the weather.

Erin is happy = Sunshine!
Erin is moody/grumpy/hibernating/sad/etc = Rain!

As soon as it starts raining, such as tonight where I have no idea rain was coming, I send a text that says "OH! It's RAINING! Duh!" and get a "We should have known!" response. Seriously, if only I can tune in to how in tune I am.


And in other news... I just learned about the 12 most annoying types of Facebook users, and I'm issuing a blanket apology to my friends because I have been such an "Obscurist" lately. (Defined: The Obscurist. "If not now then when?" "You'll see..." "Grist for the mill." "John is, small world." "Dave thought he was immune, but no. No, he is not." [Actual status updates, all.] Sorry, but you're not being mysterious -- just nonsensical.)

Sorry about that. Kinda. I promise in time it will all become clear. Maybe.
Mwa ha ha ha....

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Just sayin'

Funny thing: Even when things don't go my way... or don't turn out how I thought they would or should, I'm still all smiles lately. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


One of the perks of co-owning your own business... you get to play with your own custom built cruiser bike. Okay, it technically lives at Tim's house. But sometimes I get to play with it too. :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Get Out There AND Enjoy It!

At Shabbat dinner last night, Lara & her darling roommate Pam asked everyone at the table to share their highlight of the week and/or lesson learned from the week, plus their favorite fictional character.

Favorite fictional character - easy. The Cheshire Cat! I love that sneaky smiley cat. ;)

Highlight/Lesson from the week - happens to be the same lesson I've been learning all year. You have to put yourself out there, AND you have to have fun doing it. Had I not called Lara yesterday, I wouldn't have realized she lived a 5 minute walk from where I was staying. Had I not decided to stay for Shabbat dinner, I would have missed out on meeting wonderful people and enjoying quite possibly one of the best homemade meals I have ever had. (Holla for Lara's Challah!!!)

It would have been easy for me to say "I haven't seen this girl since in over 9 years... too much time has passed and it will be awkward. What will we have to catch up on? Might as well stay here." Luckily I didn't. It was as if those 9 years disappeared and we were as close as we were when we took the above picture at age 16. (We both look the same, by the way!) I am so happy to have reconnected with my dear friend, and to have met new ones. Plus, hearing Lara & Pam sing the prayers was beautiful - I had goosebumps!

Over the past few weeks, I have been doing things that I think are utterly crazy - the things that could have my stomach in knots, causing sleepless nights and panic. But instead - I am putting myself out there with the sole intention to have fun and enjoy the experience.

Says the Cheshire Cat. ;)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Random Shabbat Dinner

In all the random things in my life.... I have further proof that you have to put yourself out there.

By calling up my long lost friend Lara... who, mind you, used to be physically attached to my hip as we transversed Israel together; and whom I spent bringing in the new century with in the middle of New York City.... I am now going to have my first Shabbat dinner in over 10 years.

I'm supposed to be celebrating my annual girl's weekend with Annie, Jenna & Rachel... but as life throws you curve balls, I'm not there this weekend. Instead, I am about to dive into some spiced apple challah with the girl who looks just as she did when we were 16. She is every bit as beautiful, inside & out, and I am every bit as grateful to be a part of her life, even if only for this evening.

Shabbat Shalom!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I just created my own They Might Be Giants Pandora station. Every song I've heard is one that I love! Pandora is so smart.

So now I can get TMBG all the time. (and all these other wonderfully funny brilliant songs that Pandora picks for me. wow. i might just be in love!)

Life is so good.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Stepping up to the Plate

Back in May, I wrote how one of my dearest friends told me this:
"Please do not back out now. You can't hit the home-run unless you get up to bat and swing."

And I wrote: "Gotta remember this one, it's so simple but so true. ... Batter Up!"

Thanks to his encouragement, I picked up my bat and stepped up to the plate. Low & behold, I made contact! When I told him I got a run, he just smiled knowingly and said "I told you so." (Thank heaven for friends like this, the ones that stand up for you when you're not sure your legs will hold.)

I've been meaning to write about this year - but I've been too busy living it lately. It has been amazing... just when I think things can't get any better, they do. What I've learned this year is that I won't get anywhere without putting myself out there. It's scary stepping up to bat, but it's scarier to think of all the opportunity I could be missing out on if I don't swing.

I could write a novel about my year: my lessons, my triumphs, my adventures... and it's only August. Or, you could just take a look at the giant smile on my face and get the point. What a damn good year. By the way, someone would have to tear the bat out of my hands at this point - there's no way I'm going to stop swinging.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Once Only

(Another poem from the book I'm reading...)

Only Once

All which, because it was
flame and song and granted us
joy, we thought we'd do, be, revisit,
turns out to have been what it was
that once, only; every invitation
did not begin
a series, a build-up: the marvelous
did happen in our lives, our stories
are not drab with its absence: but don't
expect to return for more. Whatever more
there will be will be
unique as those were unique. Try
to acknowledge the next
song in its body -- halo of flames as utterly
present, as now or never.

~ Denise Levertov ~

Saturday, August 08, 2009

My New Saturdays...

It's 7:50am on Saturday.

Pick any Saturday for the first 6 months of this year, and I would have been on my bike all morning. But not anymore. Now I sleep in on Saturdays. I do the crossword puzzle, I drink coffee, I check email and blogs and I rest. I meet friends for brunch, I go to the library, I work a bit and I feel fantastic.

I don't run. (Phew!) I don't bike. I maybe hit the gym if I feel like it, but with no pressure at all.

I know I sound like a broken record, but I love this life. I have so many big, fulfilling projects to work on. I have so many wonderful people around. I am so appreciative.

Yaaawwwwnnn.... Hmmm, maybe I'll even go back to bed now.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

All the Cool Kids Wear the Monkey!

Alright people... you have until this Wednesday PM to order our first edition Grease Monkey Wipes gear! I know you want to!

Go here to order:

Yup, all the cool kids will be sporting the monkey. :)

Sunday, August 02, 2009

So Much Happiness

My mom noted today that I sound happier than I've sounded in nearly 2 years. That's a little scary! I mean, what have I been doing for the past 2 years!? I'll at least give her that I'm definitely pretty damn happy right now.

I'm reading a beautiful little book called "110 Poems of Love and Revelation" and had to share this poem by one of my favorite poets. (I feel like ETG put this up once- if not, it's certainly something that she would!)

So Much Happiness
By Naomi Shihab Nye

for Michael

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.

But happiness floats.
It doesn’t need you to hold it down.
It doesn’t need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and scratched records…

Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.

Friday, July 31, 2009

I may have to borrow this...

Keeping my Pearls Before Swine theme, this blog entry nearly had me on the floor laughing. (and perhaps it gave me an idea...)

Something I Know I’m Going To Regret Admitting About My Cell Phone

Two things seem to happen to me a whole lot when I use my cell phone in the car.

Either (1) The battery fails, or (2) I lose reception and the call is dropped.

Out of courtesy for the person on the other end of the phone, I try to warn them in advance that I might lose the call either because my battery is showing it’s down to one bar or the reception in the area I’m driving through is bad.

It happens so often that people inevitably ask me why I don’t get one of those chargers that plug into the cigarette lighter, or switch to a carrier with better reception in my area.

It’s a good question, because while I know these annoying things happen to everyone with a cell phone, I think they happen to me more.

The reason I think they happen to me more is that whenever the battery fails or I lose reception, it is caused by me pressing “end call.”

Hey. At least I was courteous.

croc on phone

Monday, July 27, 2009


Yesterday I had a conversation about my favorite comic strip. Okay, maybe a more accurate version would be that I had a typical Erin "Oh my gosh this is the best comic strip ever it is so funny you have to read it because it is awesome - he he he he he - and I just love the characters and I think you will too because it's just so awesome and there's this pig and a rat and a guard duck - he he he he - and the crocs keep trying to eat the zebra and then there is this kitty who is so cute but so terrible and it's the best strip ever, OMG!" preaching session.

Pearls Before Swine is the best comic strip ever. Dad & I regularly discuss the merits of each daily strip. I also regularly cut out the strip and put it on my refrigerator. Yes, people still do that. Okay, I still do that. Please don't mock me.

Anyway, this inspired me to find the strip online, and then I found the artist's blog, and then I found out there is even an iGoogle template! There's even plush characters. If I could determine my favorite, I'd buy it.. but, um, I want all of them.

The artist, Stephen Pastis, has a very very inspiring story about how he quit his job as a lawyer to pursue his dream of being a comic illustrator. I'm so glad he went for it - not only does his story rock, but his comics make me smile every day.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I think I might be the most blessed person on earth. I feel like it, that's for sure.

It's not news how much I adore my parents. But today they nearly brought me to tears...good ones... with their unconditional support and love. Everything that I am able to do in life is an immediate reflection on them, and I feel so privileged to be able to make them proud.
(I love this picture. I randomly took it during a trip to the Nasher Center... I think it's such a beautiful representation of what unconditional love and support looks like. Again, I am blessed.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Two Things...

First, I think this cartoon is hilarious. (Thanks, Greg!)

Second, I really really really really really (did I mention really?) could use a few more hours each day. My life is in serious overdrive right now... and trust me I'm loving it... but... seriously I could use more time!

Generally, though, I can only describe my life at this moment as incredible. I have to stop and pinch myself to remind myself that I'm awake and everything is real.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Movie Rec.

"I've Loved You So Long" was awesome... and that's my recommendation of the weekend.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Confession Time...

"I... Erin... am a Project Person."

Everyone: "Hi Erin!"

Hi World. I am going public. I admit it. I need projects to make me happy, to give me something to do, to give me reason to wake up in the morning and take on the day. Right now I have a few *giant* projects in the works. My head looks about like this:
Yes, the wheels in my head are spinning like mad. And I am LOVING it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rewards Along the Way...

Owning & running a business is a pretty crazy thing. It certainly has ups and downs and headaches and rewards, but the rewards are amazing. My first business, Running Banana, had one of those rewards when Condoleezza Rice ordered a custom running shirt. (It said "Running the State" - so clever!) The U.S. Secretary of State was going to wear something I made!!!!

Now I co-own a company called Grease Monkey Wipes. You may have heard me go on & on about it, oh, all the time. :)

The story goes like this: In July of 2007, I was part of an idea to make an individually packaged degreasing wipe aimed at cyclists in need - i.e. cyclists who ended up completely greasy after changing a flat or fixing their chain. In July of 2009, this idea - turned company with sales nationwide and momentum growing each day - was one of the featured products in Triathlete Magazine's August issue.

With a great review I might add!! Go Grease Monkey Wipes!!!!

Triathlete Magazine - that is some reward. I'm all smiles about this one. (BTW, way to go, Tim!)

Monday, July 06, 2009

Back on the Wagon...

For the record, I am coming back from the dead (i.e. the land of sloth and laziness and recovery.) As I logged my first official comeback workout, I had to laugh at my training log for the past month. Seems like something significant happened on June 21, but not much else....I am pleased to say that I still spent my Saturday & Sunday mornings being active. Mom & Dad were in town, so Dad & I hit the trail on Saturday. His strides are so long that I have to run beside him to keep up! We also did a ton of walking Saturday night when we watched the fireworks at Auditorium Shores and then walked home. Sunday I took him for a more touristy route, and we headed up Congress to the Capitol and back down Nueces. Let me say for the record, walking is hard! I realized this, of course, when it took me nearly 7.5 hours to walk the Ironman marathon. But geez, I was sore after just 1 hour on Saturday!

On a somewhat related note, regarding things I love doing with Dad, the highlight of my weekend lasted all of three minutes: We played a duet on the piano that we used to play all the time when I was growing up. It's amazing how something so simple can be so significant.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

I'm Ba-aa-aack!

I'm back now... sorry for the temporary interruption.... you couldn't have thought I'd be gone for long, could you? :)

So, just a little recap. June was fantastic. It was the hardest yet most satisfying month I have had since I can remember.

What I can say post Ironman is this - every morning I wake up and think "this is the first day of the rest of my life."

Monday, June 22, 2009

A few IM pics (courtesy of Maggie-Sherpa)

And last, but not least, E-bot & my finisher's medal! Yee-Haw! :)

I am an Ironman.

Yesterday was far and above the hardest day of my entire life.

Yesterday I battled physical and mental pain far and above anything I can ever remember.

Yesterday, I overcame all of it.

Yesterday was the day I became an Ironman.
In all of my training and race preparation, I never thought I'd have to worry about the 17 hour cut-off time. But that's what happened. The game of "can I walk X miles in X hours" was played nearly every mile of the marathon. But I'll back up...

After a pretty nice morning organizing my stuff and hanging with the team, Natalie & I stood side by side ready to conquer Lake CDA at 7:00am. Off we went, into the washing machine whirlpool spin cycle that is the Ironman swim. Luckily I do not get freaked out in open water, but the combination of getting constantly kicked and grabbed + choppy waters was apparently a bad one for me. I was feeling sick (which I figured was normal) before I headed out on my second swim loop. I knew it was bad when I actually got sick in the water an hour in. Still, made it out feeling confident and happy.

I don't really remember much about transition except the feeling of not knowing what was going on and not wanting to leave my happy chair to go bike. The woman next to me had DNF'ed (did not finish) the swim and gave me her tube sock armwarmers because I was too confused to find my own. I finished getting dressed (or I should say finished having two volunteers change me from swimsuit to bike clothes) - got my bike - walked it out - and go time. It took forever to warm up on the bike. Even the easiest gear I had seemed too hard. I peddled along as everyone and their mom passed me - but that was fine. This was MY race.

Within minutes on the bike I knew things were not good, and debated stopping at each bathroom I saw. I focused on taking my nutrition, but my stomach had the same effect it did at Longhorn last year. Stopped at the port-o-let (this would become a common theme) and then took off, feeling slightly better. Twenty two miles later came the hills. WOW. I have to say that this was the hardest bike course I have ever been on. I felt very under prepared for hill after hill of granny gear madness. The "Legs of Zeus" signs at each hill were SO TRUE. Luckily there were tons of awesome volunteers, spectators, signs, etc... to somewhat distract from those damn hills. The problem, however, was knowing I'd have to come back and do them again. But... not finishing was not an option! I'd walk my bike up them if I had to... and luckily I didn't.

I saw Esther in town before starting loop 2, and gave her a look which was returned by an equally "Uh oh" look... to which I quickly changed my face into auto-smile. My stomach was churning, nutrition was not working, and my legs felt empty. Anyway....I did manage to finish the bike course, even though the last 15 miles were spent in Panther's aero position (hands on aero pads. not very aero, but good to prevent vomiting.) Got to transition, sat down and was waited on by more awesome volunteers. Then D came in - yelling at me, "I'm so mad at you! Why didn't you tell me Scott and the kids were coming!?" Hehehe... I was asking everyone for some stomach pain relief, but there was nothing but pretzels. Tried those, but they just made me feel more ill. D & I left transition together, which was fun. So great to see her, and my other teammates, throughout the day. (By the way, I was so PROUD of her for getting through the swim so brilliantly - that was definitely a highlight for me.)

I tried to run a few times, but it wasn't happening. Stopped at the port-o-lets again, but nothing. Begged the medical people for help, but they had nothing to give me. Tried chicken broth, but it came up. At this point it became clear that in order to finish this thing, I would have to walk. There would be no running. That's when the game of "can I actually walk this and finish" began. My teammates saw me on the course and were so supportive, but eventually I just put my head down so they wouldn't see how upset I was. I saw Karen & Lindsey at the first turnaround and said "I don't think I will make cut-off"... luckily they'd done the math. 16 minute miles & they'd finish with room to spare. So I kept going. When I got back to town, I turned around to see Alisa, who would end up becoming my Ironman Angel. She caught up to us, walked with me, encouraged me, and ended up staying with me the rest of the race. We conquered rain, wind, freezing cold, and pitch darkness together.

When I say I don't think I'd have done it without Alisa, I'm 100% serious. The doubt and pain were setting in at this point, and having to stop each mile with stomach contractions was too much. But there she was, pushing me forward. With about 35 minutes to go, we reached mile 25 and then turned left down a street to the finisher's chute. Esther, Chris G, Maggie, Dionn, Nancy, and Shawnda were all there cheering for us, and then we knew we had it. Alisa & I grabbed hands and, for the first time, ran down the finisher's chute. There Mike Reilly called my name and said "You are an Ironman!" My teammates were there waiting, and I cried like a baby. :) Maggie went into sherpa-wonderwoman mode and took care of us the rest of the night.

They say you have your ups and downs in an Ironman. I'll be honest, I had far less ups than I had downs. My saving grace was my amazing teammates and friends. And, of course, awesome wonderful Maggie sherpa. I gave this course EVERYTHING I had. I kept thinking that on the bike - "You are leaving nothing behind. If nothing else, be proud that you won't regret not giving it everything." That plus "You are insane, E. This is the hardest thing ever."

Here I am in my cold-gear (Mylar blanket, plastic bag, tube socks) upon our return. More pictures to come, of course, but this was pretty funny. I'm smiling, and that's a very good thing.
Ironman Coeur D'Alene 2009 - CHECK!!!! I am forever changed.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

E-bot & Friends in CDA

Enough about me... lots talk robots. One of my little taper projects was making a special Ironbot for each one of the T3 people doing CDA. (Plus some sherpas too.)

Anyway, I have been absolutely thrilled and amazed how some have embraced their bots! D, Maggie & I had so much fun with D-bot, E-bot & Sherpa-bot today. :)

First we rode along the Centennial Trail to make sure our bikes were in working order.
Then we headed to athlete village. Checked out the water again...
Roamed the Ironman store & wrote some messages for the Inspiration Station... And then... what???!!! CDA 2010??? Silly E-bot!
And it's official! We (me + Elizabeth) are coming back in 2010 to do this thing again! Oye! Next stop, drop of our bags & bikes!

At this point, we were through with athlete village until Race Day! So, we grabbed lunch then headed over to the Bunny House to find... GIANT ROBOTS!!!
How freaking cool are these guys? They will adorn the course tomorrow and surely bring endless smiles to my face.

Speaking of, I'm gonna go do an Ironman tomorrow. Wow. Still hasn't really hit me... I'll just be focused on the giant blue robots. As Dionn says, "please take me 140.6 miles to your leader."

Friday, June 19, 2009

Packing & Unpacking

It's official. I'm registered - wahoo!It seems that this Ironman is a constant state of packing... and unpacking...and repacking... Here's some of the process in action. :) D's & my room has more bags (and bubble wrap) than I thought was humanly possible. :)

By the way, I am SO glad to have my bike back. I love my bike... I can't wait to take it to the hill of CDA!