Thursday, July 21, 2011

Coconut Chocolate Chip Clif Bars-Come and Get 'Em

If you like sweet and coconutty things, this is the Clif Bar for you. Finally, after months of impatiently waiting, I've been alerted that the Coconut Chocolate Clif bar is available in stores. Note: May also be used as dessert. Double note: Clif Bar says they've changed their Apricot and Peanut Toffee Buzz recipes to include more of the namesake ingredients. If you're into fruity or toffee bars and were previously disappointed by a lack of frutiness or toffeeness, try them out to see how they stack up against the older versions.



Thursday, July 14, 2011

Living Apart Together: My 5 City, 8 Home Journey Back to My Husband (And Some Triathlon Stuff)

Dearest Readers and TriGeeks,

My professional journalistic training, which began almost two years ago, has made me hesitant to discuss myself (unless, apparently, I’m discussing myself lying naked under plastic wrap on an ER gurney). Therefore, I apologize for the gaps in posting, but promise there are good reasons why I disappeared. One of them being that I did disappear. In the past two years, I have lived in eight different places in five different cities (including two adjacent cities that should really count as one). During that time, Coachubby, my uber-rad triathlete coach/husband, has lived in 3.5 of those places in three of those cities. Which, if you're doing the math, means I have lived in 4.5 different places in five cities without my husband in search of knowledge and a career. Both of which I attained, one of which I had to reinvent in order to finally, once again, live with Coachubby. Allow me to show my work:

In the fall of 2009, I enrolled at Stanford University, excited to be the dumbest person on a campus stuffed with the world’s geniuses. I filled my role perfectly. In nine months, I wrote stories for Pulitzer prize winners who were somewhat encouraging of my writing skills (perhaps because they were paid to be); took classes about sports branding and marketing at the business school with tomorrow’s leaders; stood up and made an ass of myself in front of those leaders and the CEO of the Atlanta Falcons…and the CEO of Mountain Hardwear; moved out of one house with two roommates and into a studio where I entertained a weekend lover (Coachubby); raced collegiate nationals on broken hamstrings with the triathlon team; and in general, became a respectable reporter. (If you’re counting, that makes three places I lived in so far: the one in Los Angeles before I moved and two at Stanford.)

But I did not graduate.

At least, not in the traditional sense. I did get a diploma, sent to my parents in the mail. I did not get a cap and robe. I did not walk or hear my name called out by someone s’habillé-ed in an even more ridiculous cap and robe. Instead, I headed for Oceanside to live in a minivan with strange men for two weeks. Oh, we had a reason to be driving the Dodge Caravan across the country: we were chasing cyclists. Not just any cyclists. Hallucinating, sunburned ultracyclists who were hell-bent on cycling across the United States in nine days or less. When you look at it that way, driving across our ginourmous country with strangers who were vetted for their photographic, videographic and beer-drinking capabilities is not an odd decision for a 26-year old woman to make. (No, I did not count the minivan as a place of residence; we’re still at three.)

During this scholastic and ultra nonsense, Coachubby moved into a tiny apartment across from a hardware store and above a small vacated space that was once, according to a decaying sign, called “The Gym.” You could call it “The Gym” or “That Place I Did Shrooms Once” as a friend of a friend referred to the rotting structure. I lived there whenever I wasn’t sleeping in minivans or in transition to city number three: Santa Fe, New Mexico. (That makes The Gym residence number 4.)

Après chasing the late Slovenian Jure Robic and his hounds for two weeks, I returned to The Gym where I met a Mexican named Vin who dragged my craigslist finds and fleet of bicycles down the stairs and into a nondescript white van that was supposed to—I hoped and prayed—end up in Santa Fe when Coachubby and I sent for it. Coachubby would move into a big house on a hill with our friends and we would live in a house the only place we could afford to live in a house of our own: New Mexico. I say we, because Coachubby would live there every other Wednesday through Wednesday. His boss was nice like that. So even though I was a lowly intern at the nation’s most magnificent adventure magazine, Outside, I had a house-husband to grill and sweep. Life was awesome. Except for the weeks Coachubby wasn’t there. And the week when Coachubby wasn’t there and a real-life murderer broke out of prison and headed through New Mexico where he burned a couple in their RV. Every scratch and creek was someone coming to get me. It’s quiet in New Mexico. Piercingly, hauntingly quiet.
At home in Santa Fe.

Come December 2010, I believed my dream job was an internship at Outside (or, you know, a job at Outside). But as Coachubby could not fly to New Mexico every other week for eternity and all internships must come to an end so editors don’t have to continuously take gabby, question-slinging interns to coffee at expensive railway cafés, I applied to the next best job I could find: Senior Editor at Competitor (an endurance sports!) magazine in San Diego. It was as close as Coachubby and I had lived in 1.5 years.

And it was a dream. We explored the hotbed of triathlon and decided San Diego would be a most wonderful place to live. If we raised kids here, we said to each other, they would have better values than if we raised them in LA. They would have nice friends because my cousin’s nice and he’s from San Diego. They might have a yard or even a house. Oh, to live together in San Diego! I had a small one-bedroom in Del Mar that I rented in my name alone. I had money! I had a job! I was going to have my dream career as an editor at a magazine whose subject matter I encapsulated to my very core! I flew to Tokyo to write a story about running with a funny British guy. I called coaches and race directors and athletes every day. I tightened up stories and flipped them around and when I wasn’t writing or editing or reporting I was training for Ultraman Canada and riding up Mount Palomar and swimming in the Solana Beach pool.

But Coachubby wasn’t there. Oh, he was there on the weekends. Or I was at the house in LA. (Residence number 6. The Del Mar apartment makes 7.) He rode from dawn to dusk with me, swam with me, test rode Cervélos and Pinarellos and downed Rubio’s burritos with me. It was like a whirlwind date every weekend. (Which, by the way, might be a great way to invigorate a sagging marriage. But I wouldn’t know. I went to Stanford approximately 1.5 years into our marriage, having just turned 26; nothing was sagging.) But the drive, though beautiful, became a chore. Life, with no one to go home to—but knowing I did, actually, have someone to go home to—became redundant. Sad. From the outside, I knew, our relationship was strange. Enviable to some, but strange. But for us, it was fun. Stressful, but fun. We got to check out Palo Alto, San Francisco, and the Santa Cruz Mountains. We got to explore Santa Fe and Taos. We got to meet and befriend all sorts of interesting characters. We trained for Ironman Arizona and the Tahoe-Sierra 100-mile mountain bike race on Santa Fe’s legendary Dale Ball trails, and did the bulk of my Ultraman training on the peaceful, rolling hills north of San Diego and the trails in Del Mar and Torrey Pines. 

And now, we get to decorate a home together. And by home, I mean apartment—I did have to quit my job to move back to Los Angeles to live with Coachubby. Incidentally, writing and editing under a title like Senior Editor must be done from a cubicle facing a void in a repurposed warehouse. Not an antique desk in an apartment building built by the beach in 1937. (The building, not the desk. This, my friends, makes residence number 8.)

We have, after almost two years, been reunited. As several people, including people I’ve written about, have asked me (very seriously): How do you even know you like him?

What’s not to love about a guy who sacrificed everything so you could go back to school, then work for your favorite magazine, then try to make a name for yourself all while carrying extra Gu and cash for unexpected bonks on 14-hour weekend training rides--for your race, not his--up and down mountains named Palomar and Sangre de Cristo that are located in the middle of nowhere?

I was going to end this by saying it was my turn to make a sacrifice for Coachubby. And it was. And I did. However he will be my crew leader aka Erin’s Commander of Awesome, as he prefers to be called, at Ultraman. And for one more week, it will be all about me again. But when I’m done swimming, cycling and running 320 miles around British Columbia, we will return to Los Angeles together to one home. Our home.

So that’s enough about me for now. What have you been up to?