To donate to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS Fund, click here


In all my years of biking, the thought of taking a “selfie” while on a ride never entered my mind. With the start of this cycling to NYC venture of mine came the narcissistic, social media driven selfies. I must say it feels a little self-indulgent, but I am doing it to keep any followers abreast of what is going on with my training and fundraising. Because I am trying to become a more serious cyclist (rather than a recreational cyclist), there are a few things that as a rule do not do as a cyclist…and sorry if this offends anyone who does any of the things I am about to mention:

  1. I do not ride my bicycle on the sidewalk
  2. I don’t cycle without my helmet
  3. I don’t have a flowered basket, a bell and/or a horn on my handlebars
  4. I don’t cycle with sandals
  5. I have clips not pedals
  6. I wear spandex when I bike…not regular clothes
  7. I don’t ride with headphones on
  8. I ride with traffic and not against it
  9. No matter what, I do not walk my bicycle up hills or across the street unless there is something broken on me or on my bike
  10. Until recently, I do not take photographs of myself or other things while I am riding….definitely not in eye shot of any onlookers.

While I firmly stick by the first nine bullet points and have not strayed from those, I have to admit that number 10 is one which I have become all too familiar with as of late. As far as I know, I had not been caught taking selfies on my bike…that is, until recently when I faced complete cyclist humiliation.

At about 6:00 a.m. this past Friday, I rode for the second time in Blue Hills, which has been a great workout and a beautifully scenic ride. On this particular morning I was taking in the glory of the moment, as the sun was shining brightly, the birds were singing to me, and Pink’s “Trouble” was vibrating through the wireless speaker against my back and through my ears as I was making the first considerable climb of the morning. The reservoir water was glistening brightly to my left and there wasn’t a car in sight….a perfect moment for a snapshot I thought. I was cruising along at a good pace and feeling strong momentum, so I didn’t want to get off my bike. I pulled my phone out of my back right pocket and snapped a few pics of myself from various angles…side view, up above and a goofy one from the front…posing from different angles as though this was a Sports Illustrated photo shoot. Feeling so elated in the moment, I was completely unaware of anyone around me, so I placed my phone back in my pocket and enthusiastically shouted out the lyrics, “I am trouble…” No sooner had I released the word “trouble” from my lips, that I noticed a peloton of 4 male cyclists with legs like Lance Armstrong which flew by me at blazing speeds. The saying “one person’s trash is another’s treasure” comes to mind here except I ought to change the words to, “one person’s amusement (or four people in this case) is another’s embarassment. As if it wasn’t bad enough that they left me in the dust, but then I had to get caught grooving to Pink and taking pictures of myself by four buff cyclists with matching shirts. If I had known they were on my tail,  then at least I could have snapped a picture with the four of them behind me so it looked like I was leading the peloton…and then asked them to say, “CHEESE.”

My only saving grace was that I was able to pass them as they stopped for a water break at the top of the hill. I pedaled by as fast as I could without looking back…and never saw them again.

Blue Hills a.m. Blue Hills sun

To donate to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS Fund, click here



To donate to Liz’s Bike to Build Fund, click here.

Pinch me, I think I am dreaming. I do, however, want to wake up because I have complete faith that things will continue to get better. Why do I feel like I am dreaming? I will offer you three very good reasons, which all occurred this weekend.

Before I mention the three reasons, I must mention that I am not used to having my name in ink (which is both good and bad). While I am fortunate I have never ended up in the newspaper in the police log or obituaries, neither have I landed in the paper for writing an award winning play or novel or making some earth shattering scientific discovery. If my memory serves me right, the few times I have made it into the local papers included: sports related recognition for basketball and soccer in high school; a photograph taken of me painting a fence outside of a condo complex while working for McSharry Bros in 10th grade; proudly accepting a check from Abington Savings Bank for our first annual North-School Fair when I was in second grade (as I was one of the class treasurers…scary I know); and a photo with a few sentences about my mom and I when I was a first grader, as I was helping her put up bulletin boards in her classroom shortly before the school year started. Are you asleep yet? That’s it folks…those were my only moments of fame prior to today, so now onto the three very good reasons…

1. Cady Vishniac’s Patriot Ledger article entitled, “Banking on Social Media.”

2. Paul Kandarian’s Boston Sunday Globe AMAZING article entitled, “Quincy Woman Embarks on Career Change.” Thank you Paul!

3. A highly unanticipated comment on my blog from an owner of a well-established preservation carpentry company specializing in historic preservation and renovations (who had read Kandarian’s Globe article), asking to speak with me about my interest in working for a preservation company. The name of the company and owner will remain nameless until anything materializes with this.

I share all of this, not because my hat size is growing, but because I am twice blessed because I am blessed and I know it. As soon as I stopped trying to force things to go the way I wanted them to go  (ie: me with a pregnant belly housing twins), magical events in my life seemed to unfold one after another. The innate soul yearning to have children has not left me, but I accept now that the stork will deliver a child in a different way than I originally planned…and I am totally at peace with that. In fact, I hope the magic continues soon and Justine is graced with a pregnancy. Until then, I will continue to surrender to the BIGGER PLAN and let go of trying to force solutions.

To donate to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS Fund, click here


If you would like to contribute to Liz’s Bike to Build fund, click here.

Having worked in and around the addiction recovery community for many years, I have often heard people say that if they wrote a list of goals they wanted to accomplish at the beginning of their sobriety, they would have sold themselves quite short because they far surpassed the goals they had for themselves. While this certainly sounded encouraging, if not inspiring to me; I did not believe this was going to be the case for me.

For the greater part of the last three years, I had written down only one goal. This goal was written literally in my daily journal, was sent silently and audibly to my Higher Power in my prayers, was said aloud to dozens of close friends and family members, was scribbled on small pieces of paper and put in my prayer box, and the successful completion of this goal was visualized hundreds of times. I had only one goal…and this was to get pregnant and have a healthy child.

If I sold myself short with this simple goal, one would think I must be like the old woman who lives in the shoe by now, who has so many children that I don’t know what to do. NOT EXACTLY. So does this mean I didn’t sell myself short? Definitely NOT.

The emotional roller coaster of early sobriety is comparable in some ways to the abrupt highs and lows of infertility because

  • your body is totally out of whack from chemicals
  • feelings fluctuate drastically by the microsecond
  • everything feels out of your control and yet you want to control everything
  • your mind plays tricks on you because one day you feel like you’ve had enough and are all done, and the next day you want to do it again just one last time
  • you feel like you are the only one going through this even though nothing could be further from the truth, and
  • the last thing you want to do is reach out to someone for help and yet that is the best thing you could do.

I would have to say the last year of infertility treatments was “my period of early sobriety.” Emotions had hit an all time low, and I was losing all hope of ever accomplishing my one goal of having a child. Equally as bad, I was losing all faith that I would ever be restored to the person I was before infertility. I no longer recognized myself because the happy-go-lucky, laid-back, and naturally optimistic shadow of myself had been replaced by her despondent, jaded, and resentful twin.

Flash forward a year or so to the present…and my one goal was not actualized…still no baby. However, I am not only back to the person I was before infertility, but I feel better. I have changed myself from the inside out over the last several months meaning that I have learned…

  • To not give up no matter how bad things may seem
  • That it is easier to let go and accept than to try to control and resist
  • That I did enough, I have enough, and I am enough
  • When I am so hyper-focused on my plan, I might miss my Higher Power’s Plan for me
  • As long as my heart is beating, I can learn and try something new
  • 40 is to be savored, not feared
  • When I reduce sources of stress and anxiety in my life, I feel closer to my Higher Power…and when I feel close to my HP, I reduce stress and anxiety in my life
  • When my mind is not weighed down with struggles and stress, I can accomplish great things
  • My body feels much younger and stronger when I feed it well, give it adequate rest, and exercise regularly
  • Losses can tear apart relationships or strengthen them
  • A problem shared is a problem cut in half, and
  • Service to others takes my mind off of me.

If you had told me a year ago that I would be 1) enrolled at North Bennet Street School for Preservation Carpentry for the fall of 2014; 2) administering a personal fundraiser to raise funds for my tuition to NBSS and for South Shore Habitat for Humanity; 3) writing my own Blog about my training, fundraising, and schooling; 4) getting into the best physical shape through cycling, dog walking and weight training than I have been in for more than 15 years; 5) networking with executives to try to spread the word about my blog and fundraiser; 6) sending letters to large corporations looking for sponsorship and donations for my cause; and 6) having an article written about this journey of mine in the Boston Globe…I would have told you that I wanted whatever Kool Aid you were drinking. Does that mean I would have sold myself short?


If you would like to contribute to Liz’s Bike to Build fund, click here.


, If you would like to contribute to Liz’s Bike to Build fund,              click here:

Hi, my name is Liz and I am a tweetaholic…it has been 21 hours since my last tweet. Dramatic projection or keen foreshadowing? IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN…

Last Friday, June 6th, I had a fabulous networking meeting with a good friend and a couple of wonderful women from South Shore Habitat for Humanity (SSHH). I am thrilled to be partnering with SSHH, as we share a common goal of bringing more attention to both of our causes. SSHH’s goal is to deliver simple, decent, affordable homes in partnership with families in need. My cause, Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS, originated from a pure passion for carpentry and deep yearning to attend North Bennet Street School; and has blossomed into a solo, bike riding, dual-focused fundraiser to gather the money for my first year at NBSS and for South Shore Habitat for Humanity.

Ideas on how SSHH could help me get the word out about my cause were flowing readily in the meeting, and I could barely keep my excitement from pouring out. One of the ideas suggested, about which I am completely stoked, was for me to be the one to film the Ride for Habitat by carrying a webcam on my helmet or bike. The video will be used to advertise next year’s Ride for Habitat, providing I do not say or do anything so objectionable or outlandish that would preclude them from showing it and from ever inviting me back. JK of course, I would never! Lucky for SSHH, I will be on the videographer’s side of the camera, and therefore not able to jump in front of it too often…especially if it is attached to my helmet. You might see a “selfie hand wave” or two so I can make sure I get some air time, but other than that, I will do my job and film the picturesque ocean ride and hard-working and big-hearted volunteers and riders.

Being the enthusiastic and moderately compulsive person that I am, I immediately did a 55 mile “practice run” of the cycling route the day after our meeting. Then I spent a little too much time thinking about what cute cycling outfit I could wear on the day of the Ride. Did I just say the words cute and cycling outfit in the same sentence? Must have been a typo! Seriously speaking, I am pumped about the upcoming Ride for Habitat and humbled by the opportunity to wear the video camera. I am thoroughly looking forward to meeting other riders and volunteers who share a similar mission of helping people through building affordable housing. I hope to capture the essence of the wonderful spirit behind this ride because clearly there is a lot of love, sweat, and tears that go into putting together an event like this.

Before I exit, I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on the subject line and pictures included in this post. More than anything else that came out of my networking meeting, I left knowing that my “tweet free” days were about to end. The marketing director made it very clear that if I want to expand the amount of people who see my blog and/or who donate to my fundraiser, I need to get on Twitter and be active. Well ya don’t have to tell me twice. I assured her that although I don’t know a lot about Twitter and have never actually sent out a tweet, it would not be long before I become a well-versed tweeting fool…which trust me, is not something I longed for. I am the person who found it distasteful and incredibly annoying when I was watching the Voice (amongst other shows), and the Twitter comments from judges and audience members  were streaming across the bottom of the screen and interfering with my picture.

After the meeting at SSHH, I set off for home and thought about what book I was going to buy, remembering that I still haven’t read much of the Blogging for Dummies book and will probably do the same with Tweeting for Dummies….so scratch that. Then I thought about how my technically savvy girlfriend could bring me up to speed quickly with a Twitter 101 class, and then I remembered that she is not even on Twitter…scratch that too. My brain was sending make believe tweets full of ideas the whole way home.  When I arrived home, my plan of jumping right on my bike to go for a ride flew right out the window with the make believe tweets. Since patience and impulse control are not two of my greatest virtues, you may be able to guess what I did next. Of course I jumped right on the computer and opened up my dusty Twitter account and began loading pictures, following some of my favorite sports teams and actresses, and sent out a few tweets to the whopping three followers that I managed to accumulate through begging.  SSHH’S Marketing Director told me that building up my Twitter followers should be my biggest goal right now. So if you are reading this and are on Twitter, then please follow me here….and as long as you are a polite Twitter follower, no restraining orders will be issued! HAPPY TWEETING!

If you would like to contribute to Liz’s Bike to Build fund,              click here:


If you would like to contribute to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS fund, click here :

Sitting on my couch on the last day of May 2014, I am looking at my monthly workout calendar and reflecting back on how much things have progressed in terms of my fundraiser in the last 31 days. Here is a peek at the monthly totals as I can recall and itemize them:

  • 23 individual bike rides totaling 340.7 miles (averaging 14.8 miles per ride), which will be increasing considerably over the next 11 weeks until my ride to NYC
  • Walked Hope 860 minutes, or 14.3 hours
  • Biceps: Lifted 992 repetitions, Back: Lifted 945 repetitions, Legs: Lifted 1,212 repetitions, and Chest/Shoulders/Triceps: Lifted 1,318 repetitions
  • Drank 560 ounces of G2 Gatorade and a lot more ounces of H2O
  • One GREAT tune-up of Old Yeller at The Bicycle Link
  • 59 plus hours of grooving to Spotify tunes
  • $2145.00 Raised ($400.00 which went to South Shore Habitat for Humanity) from 30 separate donors, averaging $71.50 per donation. LOTS  MORE TO RAISE, so feel free to donate here.
  • 20 thank you notes written with 10 more to do…and I’m happy to do plenty more, so keep it coming :)
  • 15 Facebook status updates and 22 emails sent on fundraising, bicycling, and training
  • Registered for one 50 mile Ride for Habitat to benefit South Shore Habitat for Humanity on June 21, 2014
  • Countless hours of brainstorming, writing, and drawing up ideas of how I can raise the money to get to North Bennet Street School.

Thanks to all the people who have helped me with ideas, support, encourage, and donations this last month! BRING ON JUNE BABY!

If you would like to contribute to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS fund, click here :


photo 1


If you would like to contribute to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS fund, click here.

I know death is inevitable and a part of the life cycle, but I really wish I could redo this morning’s walk with Hope because perhaps there would be one more free spirited squirrel scurrying  around tonight. The irony of the events of the last couple of days are unreal. Yesterday I wrote about my heroic rescue of Sam the squirrel in a blog post entitled, “Wearing Winter Hats and Saving Squirrels.” What a difference a day makes. One day heralded as a squirrel savior and the next day an accomplice to murder. Yes, that is right…my dog could be booked for 2nd degree murder today, as she accomplished her life dream of capturing and killing a squirrel, a goal she has been tirelessly working towards for the entire five years I’ve owned her.

The crime scene was a grassy hill about five feet off the paved path we were walking on in the cemetery; and the victim was completely blindsided and ambushed. It appeared the squirrel was playing a cat and mouse game with a bird because the bird was flying low right above the squirrel, who was running playfully through the field.  Unfortunately, Hope was in front of me with her leash dragging on the ground about five yards away. By the time that the danger registered in my brain, it was too late to grab Hope or step on her leash because she took off like a cheetah. When I looked around to see where the nearest tree was, I knew the squirrel’s fate was sealed because the closest tree was at least fifteen yards away. I didn’t need to look around the graves to get a clearer vantage point because I could here the shriek. I was afraid to look but when I did, I saw the squirrel in Hope’s mouth, watched her shake it…and I knew it was over for the poor unassuming creature who was just out playing catch with a feathered friend. Round 1 winner- Hope.

The complete predatory sequence was followed to the tee (eye, stalk, chase, grab-bite, kill-bite, and thankfully she stopped short of the last two…dissect and consume).  I was so frozen that I did not hit the button on Hope’s e-collar, which usually works to curb her bad behavior.  Instead I watched her come back towards me with the squirrel now latched onto her neck and Hope squealing a bit.  I didn’t know whether to run towards her or as far away from her as I could. Round 2 goes to Squirrel.

When I realized I was holding the e-collar remote in my hand, I began pressing it and shouting Hope’s name. Whether the squirrel’s bite loosened or she shook him off, I am not sure, but the squirrel found its way to the grassy knoll it was just running upon just minutes before. Now, however, it was laying on the grass appearing lifeless, with labored breath. In contrast, Hope pranced towards me as proud as a peacock, lapping the blood off her muzzle like a kid licking their last bit of ice cream on a summer day. Round 3- Hope won by knock out.

The emotions I felt were so raw and conflicted; angry at myself, upset at Hope, sad for the squirrel, and yet in awe of the whole Darwinian process. What struck me the most occurred when I looked back at the squirrel, and saw that his feathered friend had returned to offer him his Last Rites. Okay, perhaps I am being a little facetious, but not totally. The bird he was playing with returned to the scene with a friend and waited with the squirrel until he stopped breathing. I thought initially they were planning to prey on the carcass, but that was not the case at all…they eulogized him in their own way, only for about two minutes and then they flew off…and I realized then that I had just witnessed my first bird funeral.

If you would like to contribute to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS fund, click here.



If you would like to contribute to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS fund, click here.

According to Weather Spark, “the month of May in Massachusetts is characterized by rapidly rising daily high temperatures, with daily highs increasing from 61°F to 71°F over the course of the month, exceeding 84°F or dropping below 50°F only one day in ten.” 

Lucky for us, we experienced an anomaly this past week, as we had back to back “one in ten” days. I don’t know what the exact temperatures were, but suffice it to say I was donning winter water and windproof gloves, knit hats and multiple layers when biking this week. Since “they say” a picture is worth 1,000 words…

dressed for winter in spring


Thanks to my recent weight lifting and to my sturdy frame, I managed to hold the bike up the entire ride…and this was no easy feat because the wind was blowing me side to side without my permission. Fortunately, the wind and rain did not put a damper on me because I was wearing my Seirus all weather gloves and my most prized Sugoi Speedster 3 hoodie.  The elements did not affect my ability to groove and move either, as I put my wireless JBL in a ziplock freezer bag and in my back shirt pocket. If only I had windshield wipers on my Oakleys, all would have been right in my world.

As it turns out, conditions for me this week were far better than those facing Sam the squirrel, whom I found in a very compromised position a couple of days ago.

Stuck Squirrel

While walking my hound Hope Thursday morning, we cut behind the former junior high nearby and I discovered a squirrel stuck behind a chain link window-fence. As I got closer, I realized there was a portion of the fence which was open, but the squirrel’s frazzled state caused a temporary amnesia because he was scurrying without a clue of how to free himself. The closer I got to him, the more he huddled into the corner. Clearly, I thought to myself, “Sam doesn’t realize that I am a kind, gentle humanitarian who wants nothing more than to free him.” As I took my eyes off Sam for a second, I realized Hope was drooling and seizing with excitement because her tongue was anticipating a lunch of squirrel a la carte.  No wonder why Sam is pressed into the corner…perhaps he is appropriately concerned for his safety. Although my heart ached to leave, I decided to walk Hope home, and allow Sam to come out of his hypervigilant state for a few minutes.

When I returned on my bike about an hour later, I wasn’t sure if he would still be there, but I came armed with a granola bar nonetheless. The plan was to use the granola bar to coax Sam out of the corner and back into the real world again. I lined up pieces of granola bar in the fence, every few links leading towards the opening;  and I tried my best to persuade him of my good intentions. After several minutes of this, I realized the positive reinforcement approach was futile, so it was time for another tactic. I grabbed the closest stick I could find that was at least arm’s length, to stay clear of Sam’s claws. Plan B worked immediately, as Sam didn’t appreciate getting nudged from behind with a pointy object. Unfortunately, he did not stick around for the granola bar, so I left it in pieces on the ground in case he dared to return to the scene of the crime. Even if Sam did not return for the granola bar, it was all worth it! Scurry on little Sam!

Bad day about to get better.

If you would like to contribute to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS fund, click here.


To donate to Liz’s Bike to Build to NBSS fund, click here.


Because I am a girl, and girls build.

  • It is in my genetics.
  • Nothing smells better than fresh cut wood.
  • I’d rather be wearing work boots than high heels.
  • Real women wear tool belts.
  • I would rather move than sit.
  • I would rather be outside than inside.
  • I love working with my hands.
  • Power tools excite me.
  • It gives me a great sense of accomplishment.
  • It’s very challenging, and I love a challenge.
  • It makes my brain work hard, and utilizes my math skills.
  • I can be my own handyman.
  • I am determined to follow my dreams.
  • My brother will be so proud.
  • Because I am a girl, and girls can do anything.

A few shots of the items that now fill my former office (turned workshop)…thanks in part to all my 40th birthday Lowes and Home Depot gift certificates…

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Thanks to my belated brother Derek for leading the way. He was a talented carpenter who was passionate about his craft, and I am humbled and honored to have received many of his tools after he passed away. In fact, those are his overalls and tool belt I have on in the picture above. THANKS DEREK!

Memorial Day


To donate to Liz’s Bike to Build to NBSS fund, click here.


To donate to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS, click here.


  • I am a girl, and girls bike.
  • To move the body that God gave me.
  • To feel peace.
  • To feel alive.
  • To reduce traffic and smog.
  • To raise money.
  • To raise hopes.
  • To inspire and perspire.
  • To boost endorphins.
  • My mom told me I could do anything I set my mind to.
  • It’s never too late to try something new.
  • A challenge at any age is good for the soul.
  • I’m in the moment when I’m on my bike.
  • I like the feeling of sunshine on my face and wind at my back.
  • The world slows down for me when I am on my bike.
  • I feel closer to God and all my lost love ones.
  • When gliding down a steep hill, I feel like I’m flying on the wings of the angels (pictured below).
  • I prefer the view of the earth when I am on two wheels.
  • I like seeing my shadow hard at work.
  • I can hear the birds tweet, the crickets sing, woodpeckers peck, frogs croak, dogs bark, children play, waves crash, and leaves rustle.
  • I can smell fresh cut grass, flowers in bloom, scent of breakfast wafting out the windows, tides shifting, and rain approaching.
  • I can see families having picnics, dogs running playfully through fields, beautiful summer homes peeking over the coastline and farmhouses nestled in the valley.
  • Because I’m a girl, and girls can do anything.

The angels are pictured below (me not included)…and for those who know these three, I know you are laughing that I used the word angel to reference my brother.

Memorial Day 2

Here are a few pics of some of my favorite homes along my last 30 mile ride…








To donate to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS, click here.


If your would like to donate to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS Fund, click here.


If you live in or around the South Shore and happen to hear an array of tunes at a moderate volume traveling by your home at about 8 to 25 miles an hour (depending on the incline), don’t jump to conclusions and prematurely scold your teenager who has a habit of blaring music as he peels out of the driveway. If you live in Merrymount, Hough’s Neck, Germantown, or Adam’s Shore and hear what seems to be an early morning alarm clock playing music in a distant room, go back to sleep because it is not your alarm (or your neighbor’s). It is me, the mysterious musical cyclist, the girl who speeds around like I am still a bike messenger. Now, however, I have added features that I did not have when I was earning my money pedaling the streets of Manhattan…I HAVE SPOTIFY AND A JBL WIRELESS SPEAKER!They work like magic (aka: bluetooth via my phone, which I still don’t really understand). The phone and speaker fit so perfectly into the back pockets of my cycling shirts, as if the pockets were put there for this very purpose. I can listen to whatever artist I want, depending on my mood. In other words, on any given day, you could see or hear me pedaling at a leisurely pace to Billy Joel’s “Piano Man,” beebopping gleefully to Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” smashing my pedals in rhythm to a Nickelback, Guns n Roses, or Lynyrd Skynyrd song, and almost universally ending my ride with Eminem kicking me in the tail with “Till I Collapse” or “Lose Yourself.” I cannot imagine a world without music and movement, and I am incredibly blessed that I have the ability to feel and utilize both. So I apologize in advance if you are enjoying your morning meditation and having a zen moment, which then gets interrupted by the Musical Cyclist pedaling by to Pink’s “Sober.” If so, just smile and wave. If I am traveling at a speed of 35 miles per hour or above, don’t wave because I might get distracted and crash.

Biking to Beyonce video

If your would like to donate to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS Fund, click here.




Journey from Social Work to Carpentry via Bicycle