Seeking Simplicity in My What The &%^$! Did I Do Life

I’ve finally reached a  point where there is just too much going on in my world.

Noise and news come at me from every direction – online, on the phone, gas pumps, LED billboards, even those at-the-table ordering systems at restaurants that are supposed to “help” when our server is unable to attend to our needs RIGHT NOW!

Seriously?  Why do I need to get news at the gas pump?

And it’s not just local, national, international news.  We’re bombarded with noise from stores we shop at, places we go, and celebrities we don’t care about by the minute.  We get email, Facebook notifications, Instagram updates, Snapchat, Twitter, and texts.  

Don’t get me wrong – I love being in the know just as much as anyone else.  And I still need a relatively frequent dose of cat videos..  But lately it feels like more of a burden to keep up with all of this stuff than a source of entertainment or knowledge.  

It’s like I’m informationally exhausted.

So I decided that enough is enough.  That I need to get rid of so much outside noise, focus on what counts, heck – try to remember what it even IS that counts any more, not what some random ad on television is telling me I need in order to be happy.

Thanks to the help of a few websites – Be More With Less, and The Minimalists – I’m discovering simplicity in my life.  From cleaning up my diet with Whole30, to reorganizing my house with KonMari, I’m discovering that by quieting a lot of the outside noise, I’m rediscovering the joy of inner peace.

Ok, wow…that was a little new-age-guru-y, even for me.

But hopefully you see where I’m going with it – even if you’re not fully buying into it yet.  

Over the next several weeks, I’m going to share with you what I’m learning as I try to simplify my life.  And if you find yourself feeling a little informationally exhausted as well, maybe some of these next few posts will help you.  

Today’s small leap to simplicity:

Starting small, I’m giving up Facebook and Twitter.  This is the last blog I will share on either.  The last few months brought out a really ugly side to social media that makes me not want to participate anymore, so I’m signing off of both.  

I am, however, keeping Instagram.  There just seems to be less clutter in a simple photograph, more upbeat emotions, and (let’s be honest), it’s just fun to look at pictures!  So if you have a comment, or would like to contact me, please drop me a note here or on Instagram.  I’d love to hear from you!  

Oh…and if you come across any cat videos you just can’t help but share, I’m OK with those too!!

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Just a Little Something Lethal Between My Legs (…i went dirt biking you naughty people)

Imagine the fear and exhilaration of learning how to ride a bike and learning how to drive a manual car all over again, except at the exact same time, and on terrain that you would never normally learn on?

Dirt Bike Riding

Welcome to dirt biking!

And let’s be honest…if you’re going to learn how to dirt bike, why not go to a company that might know a thing or two about dirt bikes, motorcycles, having fun, etc.

Dirt Bike Riding

Welcome to the Honda Colton Rider Education Center!

When I first signed Nick and I up for a dirt-bike riding class, I had no clue what I was getting myself into.  I mean, when we went quadding in Pismo a few years ago, I had fun and it was easy for me to pick up on.

Quadding at Pismo

But I’m also a really big chicken when it comes to mechanical things that are loud, go fast, and that I somehow have to control.  So I was a little apprehensive about doing this, but I just kept telling myself, how hard could dirt biking be?  I mean…turns out I got this kick-ass outfit to wear…

Dirt Bike Riding

And, as I’ve said before, any sport that has its own shoes can’t be bad, right?

Dirt Bike Riding!

And the class size was perfect.  There were six of us plus our instructor.

Dirt Bike Riding

Teaching these classes will clearly be the death of you!  😆

Each person introduced themselves, talked about their previous riding experience and mentioned reason for taking the class.  Some people had friends that had dirt bikes, so they wanted to be able to join in the fun; others wanted to use this as a starting point for street-bike riding.

Me?  My goal was being able to ride in a straight line by the end of the day without crashing.  Some people would say I have low expectations, I like to think of myself as realistic.

Then it was time for class to begin.

Dirt Bike Riding

We started with the basics of the bike:

  • Right hand:  Throttle to control the amount of power you give to the bike (very, very little)
  • Right hand:  Hand brake (this is going to come in handy when I panic and can’t find the foot brake)
  • Left hand: Clutch  (if I ever get to a point where I even need to shift gears)
  • Left foot:  Primary brake (nope.  definitely using the handbrake and risk launching myself over the handlebars)
  • Right foot: gear shift pedal  (tiny pedal, big boot.  Who designed this stuff?)

A few observations….

Number 1:  Do not be fooled by their little size – those dirt bikes are HEAVY!!!  As in, I nearly dropped the thing when I kicked up the kickstand, heavy. Definitely not the same as the little Schwinn bike I learned to ride several (I won’t say how many) years ago.

Number 2:  Contrary to how awesomely cool I looked in those boots, they are also heavy, which makes it a bit tough to swing one’s leg over the bike the first time.  Granted not as heavy as the bike, but they are a bit bulky and awkward when you’re first getting started.

Number 3:  I forgot number three.  I was desperately trying to concentrate on not getting myself killed when the engine fired up and the entire bike started making loud, roaring, vibrating noises at and underneath me  😯

Then it was time to ride.

As I said earlier,  do you remember learning how to ride a bike – a two wheel bike with no training wheels?

Remember learning how to drive a manual transmission?

Remember how both scared the crap out of you the first time you tried either one?


Now put them together.  Except this time without dad there to run behind you holding the fender of the bike for balance, or sitting beside you helping to find the sweet spot in the clutch (never mind that the clutch is in your left hand and not your left foot), and you’re not 5 or 15 any longer and you have a much greater awareness of your own mortality and death, and lord i hope i don’t fall because i really don’t want to break any bones or end up in the emergency room because i just paid off my credit card and i can’t afford the deductible on my health insurance right now and is that a rock, no that’s a boulder, please don’t let me hit the boulder, holy crap i’m going to die, this thing is going to kill me all because i should have listened to my mother and never gone near anything motorcycle related, oh my god how did I get myself roped into this..aaaahhhhhaaaayiiiiiiii!!!!!!

And then, all of a sudden, I was cruising along in first gear.

Balanced, feet on the pegs, and not setting any speed records – but still moving, cruising along in first gear.

And then I stopped and found myself shaking uncontrollably from a combination of fear and adrenaline.

Try again…step-step-roll-throttle-release clutch-feet on pegs-little more throttle and I was rolling along again.  Time and time again I practiced.  It was exciting.  It was frightening.  There were moments where I couldn’t believe I was actually driving a motorcycle….and then I’d do something stupid and start back at square one.  Sometimes I would stall (OK..quite a few times I stalled), other times I accidentally gave it much throttle and nearly launched myself into another time zone, and my turning radius was on par with that of a whale (who may still have a tighter turn than I do).

Dirt Bike Riding


In the end, I met my goal.  I was able to go in a straight line without crashing.  In fact, I went in several straight lines, and turns, and shifted gears, and was able to mostly stand up on the bike, and find the foot brake at least twice.

I’d call that a pretty successful day.

As I changed out of my awesomely cool gear (and those boots), I caught a glimpse of the next level nearby.  Hmmm.  Is there the slightest chance of more riding in my future?  Maybe something faster, leaner, meaner?  Can you see me zipping along in traffic on one of these beauties?

Dirt Bike Riding


If I can stay in first gear the entire time.


Big thanks to Nick and everyone at the Honda Colton Rider Education Center.  If you’d like to learn more about dirt biking or street riding, check out their website HERE!! 

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exercise at all levels

The Time Has Come To Step Up My Workout!

If you’ve read this blog for a little while, you know that I’m always on the look out for new challenges and adventures.  However, since quite a few of my outings include some type of food, I need to make sure I stay healthy enough to remain adventurous (otherwise, how else could I learn how to pole dance).  So when I realized that my daily cardio routine was starting to get a little stale and unproductive, it occurred to me that this was a great opportunity to find a new workout AND try something different.  Surely there was some type of exercise that I hadn’t tried that would prove to be challenging and fun and hold my interest with more intensity than a piece of cake.  So  I decided to give three different workout options a try to see which one was the best fit.

I Start By Finding My Inner Yoga Berra :

I can’t say that yoga has ever held a real strong interest for me.  No offense meant, but it’s always been just a little too…um…earthy for my taste.  But when the opportunity came up to try out my warrior pose in a completely different atmosphere, how could I not give it a try?


It’s yoga at a baseball stadium!!!

Yoga Day at the Big A

As a novice, I wasn’t quite sure if I would be able to keep up.  But as I observed my fellow yoga-goers, I realized that there were a wide variety of levels of expertise on the field – so that helped put me more at ease.  Meanwhile, the instructor was easy to follow and she made sure the practice was challenging but not impossible.  The best part was just laying on the field of a major ball field, soaking in the sun and watching the clouds roll by.

watching the clouds roll by

By the end of the practice, I felt very limber and rejuvenated – but I didn’t really feel like I had “worked out” in the traditional sense.  Good for the occasional visit, yes.  Everyday workout….not really.


Trading in Rocky Road for Rocky Walls:

I’m not going to lie, I have just the tiniest fear of heights.  And falling.  And broken bones.  But for some irrational reason, indoor rock climbing just looked like something I had to try.  Needless to say, I started questioning my decision to give this a try when I walked in and realized that the rock walls went all…the…way…up….there.  But it’s a sport that has its own shoes….

indoor rock climbing

so how bad can it be?

In addition to the whole fear of heights/falling thing, I was a bit worried at first that I didn’t have the upper body strength needed for rock climbing.  But it turns out that rock climbing is not just about arm strength; it also requires leg strength to help balance and push you upwards as well as brain power to help you figure out your next move on the fly.

Indoor Rock Climbing....or, How In The Hell Did I Get All The Way Up HERE????

Indoor rock climbing definitely challenged my muscles more than yoga, but it still felt a bit slow for me.  However, I did get a seriously cool feeling of accomplishment once I made it to the top…

Indoor Rock Climbing

Getting down, however….

Finally, I Try Booty Kicking Camp, (er…Boot Camp):

My last stop was an attempt at a fitness boot camp.  I’ve never really done “boot camp” before because the ones I’ve seen have been in the morning before the sun is up and outdoors in patchy grass parks surrounded by dirt and bugs and…nature things.  But this boot camp was held in a traditional gym at much more reasonable hours of the day and in a setting with creature comforts…like air conditioning and indoor plumbing.

The workouts are a variety of cardio and weightlifting – circuit training style:

Boot Camp Booty Kickin

The cool thing about boot camp was the wide variety of training levels.  There were newbies (like myself), and then there were the more hard-core regulars who were training for a variety of races or events.

Boot Camp Training

Seriously….how long until I’m able to do THAT???

So indoor boot camp wins.  The faster pace, weights, cardio and more regimented routines seemed to offer the challenge and discipline that someone like me needs. This is great!  I’m motivated, I’m ready!  I just know I’m going to burn off all those cookies, cupcakes and all that other crap in my system in no time.  I’m going to feel fit and fabulous!

Boot Camp Selfie
Boot Camp Selfie

…just as soon as I can peel myself up off the floor.

Medic?  Anyone?  Help?


Big thanks to Seane Corne for the awesome yoga practice; Phillip, Lisa, Nate, Junior and all the awesome people at  No Limits Sports and Fitness Academy for getting my butt in gear and to Nick at Hangar 18 Long Beach for making sure said butt didn’t fall and go splat on the ground!!

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