Thursday, February 28, 2013

Chickens roosting

As I sit on a bag of frozen peas and drink a glass of red wine, I ponder how I got here. The year was 1985. I had just made the momentous decision to drop out of college for a semester and try my thighs out as a semi-professional cyclist (long on the semi). Our coach was a Polish man who had cycled his way out of poverty and good manners. We talked a lot about components and how to make our bikes weigh ounces less with the latest titanium petals. He laughed and told us to lose weight and stop eating pizza.

We were an all woman cycling team, The Bluebonnet Racers. I was a domestique, which is a fancy French word that means the worst on the team. My job was to race out ahead and try and pull the opposing team's best riders off their pace...wear them out and then make room for our top riders to take the lead. There were a couple of types of races: road races and criteriums. Crits are short races, usually under a mile that circle tight and have a high crash rate. I loved them because the domestique role was just for road races. Free to ride one's own race. That is always where I get in trouble. I have never been good at pacing, the excitement of competing pulls me out of having any sense.

That day, we were racing at an army base, about 30 miles south of Austin. It was drizzling and the racing conditions were sketchy. Our team was racing for cash, and I felt a certain obligation to make some money, as I was no longer in college and felt that winning highlighted the professional part of my new path. The course was 1/2 mile, with tight turns around the barracks. This time was going to be different; I was going to stay with the pack and actually pace myself. I managed to override my instincts for several miles. Things looked good.

Then, the drizzle turned to rain and the next minute of the race is still a blur to this day. The lead riders went down and started a domino effect of falling cyclists and crumpled bikes. All in all, 10 cyclists went down, most with broken collar bones. I dislocated my hip. The army docs did not seem to be phased by their barracks filling up. Lucky venue for us.

I was on crutches for several months and during that time realized a college degree probably had more staying power than my bike. Still, I cherish that time, those women, and even my irascible coach.

Today, 28 years later, I felt a bit out of shape. I tried a 20 minute "tone and tighten" regime that included some push-ups, crunches, etc. My hip started screaming "remember the barracks" about an hour ago. Our past lands on us and goes along for the ride.

My crash and burn days may be over, maybe, but I wouldn't trade 'em. Even if it means I have to sit on peas.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, February 22, 2013

Winter musings

When I first moved to this small New England town over ten years ago, I had two small children and had left a community of very dear friends. I had also left the work force and was adjusting to working part-time. So, I was a bit over eager to forge new connections and make this suburban thing work.
My first two tries failed miserably. I met a woman at the local grocery store who told me about a book reading for toddlers. I thought she was inviting me to go and so when I showed up and saw her, I waved like she was a long lost relative returning from sea. She sensed stalker and ignored me. Painful but informative.
Next up, I meet a mom at the local library and we realized our kids were the same age. I invited her over for coffee. Things went well until I showed her my recently refinished hardwood floors and explained my husband felt like we could not use water on them. "Does that mean you are not going to clean them?" she said incredulously. "Well, not with water".
In point of fact, we do clean our floors with water but we had to figure that friend assessed that I was a non-cleaning lunatic (not all that far from the truth) and quickly left.
I eventually made friends here. I joined a wonderful organization that gave many of us an outlet for energy that we were used to expending at work. We met for play dates and ran social events for our children with over-zealous results. We came together and kept each other from aching loneliness and terror when those little ones were sick or scared.
Now, many of us are back at work and some of us have drifted apart. I think sometimes you walk together for awhile and then your paths diverge. I have friends out west whom I rarely see but will love always....we walk the same path but in different places. Philosophers muse on love and friendships but I think it boils down to this: with whom are you your authentic self? Not mom or artist or climber or spiritual seeker but just you. Or maybe a true friend allows you to flow from self to self.
Heady stuff brought on by the loss of a friendship. As I was thinking about that, I remembered those early attempts to forge connections. No energy spent in trying to connect with others is wasted..... even if it doesn't take or fails down the line. First noble is impermanent and ultimately death will separate us all. Enjoy the moment.
---philosophical musings brought to you by New England winters:)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Snowman garden

I tried to type in"Snowmageddon" for the title to this post, but auto correct changed it to the above.  I often wonder about auto correct and the trouble it gets us in and out.  I need it in other areas of my life, a Super Ego energy that knows what will keep me on track:

Me At work:  I find your thinking flawed and antideluvian.
Auto correct:  I find your thinking flawless on the Arctic.

Me at home:  I need one person to do any chore, ever
Auto correct:  I need one person to eat Anchovies.

Me with WCE:  We need an end date for the bathroom to be completed.
Auto correct:  we need a date.

So I may be cultivating an internal auto correct and see if it does not smooth out some of the edges.
As for Snowmageddon?  It's coming and I think we may get a few snowman gardens out of the deal.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Happy birthday to the the guy who is riding along with me on this great adventure.  He ordered his own birthday present after I broke his last darting in front of him to catch the view on a beautiful mountain in Vermont.

One gift we have given each other is our mutual love of gnomes.  It started when some dear friends brought back a genuine gnome from Switzerland that cost more than my wedding ring.  It continued with our wedding cake, topped by Snow White and a gnome.  Here is the latest:

This card was not cheap.  However, my little gnome helper and I had the following exchange in
the store:

Me:  8.00 is too much to spend on a card
GH:  Daddy has to have this card
Me:  It is really the principle of the thing
GH: (with stone hard stare) If we don't buy this card, we will regret it for the rest of our lives.

And so, my love, my greatest gift to you is the protector of what you need walking right by our sides.