There are certain perks to syncing your work email on your phone: a car guy moving overseas having a fire sale so good that you embarrassingly reply-all to the entire list in your hurry to call dibs. (Shame, shame.) But guess who has two thumbs and can work on her own bikes again and finally fix that towel rack that’s been broken for ages? (Not pictured: Power drill, torque wrench, metric wrench set.)

And the guy was kind enough to include this gem for my tiny hands.

I braced myself for a crash today. I hit a rough patch of road at 60mph and I experienced severe front tyre wobble at speed for the first time in my ten years of riding. The wobble lasted for what felt like an eternity — there was enough time for all the scenarios to run through my head — can I save this? Am I going to crash today? Where will I crash? Can I bail? Can I tuck and roll? Is there someone behind me?

There’s no real textbook answer on how to save a tank slapper (there is, however, a ton of debate, I’ve found) and I can’t say for sure what I did to ride through it except what my body already knew: easy on the grips, ease up on the throttle, off the front brake, grip with the legs, no sudden movements. Oh, and luck. I believe in luck.

All’s well that ends well for this morning.

(I think I need to go change my undies.)

The damage: Headlight bracket chipped from contact with the radiator bracket. 


Beautiful rocks and beautiful people to witness my learning to lead and rappel outdoors and working on my nerves.

Even though I’m much, much more comfortable in my own skin these days, every now and then, I come across a situation where I’m tempted to hide. Whether it’s to prevent pain or to avoid causing or feeling embarrassment, whatever the case may be, I don’t want to pull back the curtain. My first instinct is to ignore it until it goes away or until it simmers down enough that everyone involved can passably ignore what happened.

But then I remember this beautiful StoryCorps episode.

Don’t sneak. Because if you sneak, it means you think you’re doing the wrong thing. And if you run around spending your whole life thinking that you’re doing the wrong thing, then you’ll ruin your immortal soul.
-Charles Edward Haggerty

I’ve learned the hard way over the last few years that if a situation doesn’t get addressed, it’ll become a thorn in my relationship with that person and it’ll fester under the skin. Nobody forgets the way someone made them feel; Maya Angelou had that right. But I can’t be responsible for anyone else’s emotions. I can’t control how other people will react. All I can do is act in a way that I know is aligned with my morals. Sometimes, the confrontation hurts and it’s almost always uncomfortable, but anyone who has had road rash knows that all wounds must be debrided (shudder) before it can be bandaged to heal. And luckily, I’ve also learned — the rest will take care of itself. Time will heal, but only if you clean it up first.

I went bouldering indoors in two different cities in Japan, and realized that it’s still quite a men’s sport, even more so than in the States. Shortly after I started warming up this morning, I heard a voice behind me exclaim, “すごい〜” (Wow!). I down-climbed to applause and once I got down, I turned around to see a small girl, maybe four, grinning at me. She saw my face and looked at me with curiosity, then narrowed her eyes before carefully saying, “…お姉さんなの?” (Are you a girl?). Her mom snapped, “ゆい!” (her name, in admonishment), but I smiled at her and replied in affirmation. Her eyes widened in wonder and I could practically see the gears turning in her head, “A girl! Climbing! To the top like the boys!”

She asked loudly in succession, “お姉さん何歳?” (How old are you?) and “結婚してるのぉ?” (Are you married?) much to her mom’s chagrin and I kept blowing her mind with a view of female adulthood rarely celebrated in Japan. Here was a 31 year old female, unmarried, living with a cat and a dog, still quite capably climbing routes that might as well have been V10s to her. It turns out that my voluntary barrenness doesn’t hinder my abilities. 

She followed me around for the next fifteen minutes, shouting “もっと見せて!” (Show me more!) and clapping as I sent routes. She shyly refused to climb until I coaxed her to climb a rainbow route before she had to leave and she clambered her way up, muttering something about not being very good. Midway, she stopped and said, “できない!” (I can’t), but with a little coaching, she found another foot and grabbed another hold. Her mom watched her daughter in awe as she climbed higher than she had ever climbed before.

When she got down, I told her, “クライミングに「できない」はないからね” (There’s no “can’t” in climbing) and we chatted about what it means to be “good,” something I wish I had heard when I was younger. As long as you have the persistence to practice and the courage to try, there is always a path to the top. I hope she remembers that as she grows up in a far more constrained society than the one I was blessed to grow up in and I hope her older sister who was much more inhibited and hanging back but still watching us, overheard snippets of my conversation with her little sister. Japan isn’t an easy place to grow up as a bold woman, but I know it can be done — I know of successful women in my lineage who refuse to bow to the superficial demands of femininity as deemed by the society they live in. I’m lucky to be surrounded in my everyday life by women who dare to do what makes their heart sing and march to the beat of their own drum, the one that resonates from deep within if we find the quietness to listen. I’m grateful to those who have mentored me and those who have shown me how to find peace by example and I’m excited to stand among them as teachers to the next generation, especially with my young niece just starting her journey.

On a relevant note, A and I saw an Engrish sign in Kyoto for a women’s clinic whose slogan was “for Female Fetus Family and Future” and I couldn’t agree more.

I feel like there’s a fundamental misunderstanding about driving.

First of all, there seems to be a general consensus that everyone deserves to drive. This belief is much more pronounced here than in Japan (or in Europe, from what I’ve heard) because the barrier to entry (cost and skill) is so much lower here. I think there are many places in the States where you cannot live without a car, which doesn’t help this situation.

Secondly, there seems to be an attitude of “If I need to get somewhere and this is what my GPS tells me, I deserve to be able to take this route.” Every single day, I see so many people crossing over solid whites, crossing over double-yellows, making u-turns in a manner that obstructs the flow of traffic.

Today, I got stuck behind someone on the freeway who had completely stopped in the “slow” lane next to the exit lane because she wanted to exit and nobody was letting her in. She had had a half a mile to move over, but waited until the very end, and then simply stopped with her turn signal on despite the flow of traffic in that lane being at full speed. I beeped my horn at her and waved my arm in a “Get out of the way” motion, and she gesticulated back to say, “Well, what am I supposed to do?” Well, since you’re in a very unsafe situation, you’re supposed to keep going to the next exit and turn around if you missed your chance to exit. You’ve known for the last half-mile that the exit lane is moving at a stop-and-go pace. If you can’t merge in at a safe highway speed, then you cannot exit here.

…I’m not crazy, am I?

I find it amusing that unlimited family memories are now included with Amazon Prime. Are they amazing family memories to replace the shitty ones of your IRL family? Are all my female family members suddenly named Alexa in my new memories? Is this life in the Matrix?

And to think, all I wanted was scheduled dog food and kitty litter delivery. I clearly need to dream bigger.

Did they just dupe me into advertising for them?
(Alexa: *whispers* Yes.)