Friday, December 31, 2010

what has been

this morning leslie, our spin instructor, said to us, I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm not sorry to see this year end . . . I'm ready to say goodbye to 2010.

and I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't feel the same way.

no matter what a year brings my way, it brings crucial experiences---both joyful and otherwise---that work to shape me.

how could I wish that away?

2010 brought many things my way: big dramatic events, subtle shifts, and everything in between. fantastic new highs, new lows, emerging skills, remembrances.

new peaks conquered, a sinking into self, acknowledgements of strengths and desires. redemption. acceptance. forgiveness. grief. loss. letting go. limits raised, boundaries stretched.

validation handed to me, skills honed, connections formed and bonds tightened.

how could I be grateful that this has ended?

the past twelve months are part of who I now am, and I would be a less interesting, fulfilled, complex person without them.

I've had easier years, I've had smoother years, I've had years filled with greater prosperity.
but I cannot say that I've had better years.

I don't know what 2011 will bring my way. but I'm certain that it will be filled with activities I love, people I care deeply for, solitude, togetherness, snow, rain, sleet, cycling, running, yoga, tests and challenges, self analysis, growth, and much more that I have yet to contemplate.

may we all be presented in the coming months with just enough challenge to keep us alert, enough love to wrap us in its warm embrace, a little intrigue to keep us guessing, enough prosperity to meet our needs, and plenty swooping to fill our hearts with joy.

Monday, December 27, 2010

the greatest gift

what would we be without the amazing gift we have to reinvent ourselves?
a few different answers come to mind: stagnant, dull, tedious.
or, perhaps, wise, patient, deep.
if we are to burrow deeply within ourselves and focus upon one aspect, one persona, one set of likes and dislikes, are we susceptible to becoming linear and boring, or are we then able to test the depths of our reality and find a greater wisdom than most know?

I like to think we can deepen and enrich ourselves by examining our inner being while experimenting with different ways of interfacing with the outer world, other beings, nature itself.

and this is really all about the fact that it snowed yesterday, allowing me an exhilarating new experience and a joyful recognition of something different within and without of myself.

see, I was going to ride my bike. I'd heard the weather would be dry and in the upper forties, which is perfect december riding weather. I even planned a ride, and was waiting for john to arrive so that we could take off up the canyon.
when my phone rang and it was john calling from home, I was puzzled. and then when he asked what I was going to do, go to the gym, or just take the day off, I was baffled.
"well, it's been raining over here all day, just a little, but it's definitely coming down."
"it's gray all around here, but it's not raining," I replied firmly, as I pulled back the curtain and took a look at my patio. which had--uh oh--little wet spots all over it.
"oh," I said quietly. "oh, I guess, maybe, it is raining."
off went the biking clothes, and on came the running clothes.
this is why I took up running, so I could get outside and exercise when biking wasn't reasonable.
when I stepped out the door, I could see the raindrops. they were spaced quite far apart, and they had that fluffy texture to them that some people call snow.
so I took off around the corner and down the street, and went for a run.

and this is where reinvention (is that even a word? do we have to reinvent? isn't invention in and of itself the discovery of something new?) comes in to play: for years I have wanted to be a runner. I love the flexibility of it, the portability. you can travel just about anywhere and still go for a run, whereas it's just not that easy to go for a bike ride when you're away from home. I love the fact that it takes less time for a similar impact than biking. and I just plain old want to be one of those people who can run.
and here it is: I am a runner.
three months ago I wasn't, and now I am.
I am a runner! I shouted it yesterday, I threw my arms in the air and woo-hoo-ed. I watched the lawns slowly begin to turn white as I ran, I shook the wet snow from my hat and arms. I sang along to the music on my ipod, I sweated and shivered and kept placing one foot in front of the other.
I made first tracks.
the sidewalks began to fill in, and by my last mile I was listening to my shoes crunch the fresh snow, leaving my tracks down the middle of the sidewalk.
there was no one else out running in my little section of the world, and my footprints claimed the joy and glory of running in the snow for me alone.

I am always deeply me. I am grounded and committed, stable and full of gratitude.
but five years ago I wasn't a cyclist.
five months ago I wasn't a runner.
and who knows what I'll be able to add to my CV five months from now, five years from now.
I fell into cycling, never having had the "I want to be a cyclist" desire. I worked my way into running, however, after years of thinking "I want to be a runner." obviously both ways are effective, though the latter tends to be more empowering.
my mother is a pianist, extremely talented and capable of creating beauty which fills the air. a few years ago, she began painting, and now is creating beauty which sends a silent, visual message that is no less stunning. she's always been an artist, has been able to call herself that, but now she is a painter as well, and I think of her joy in being able to add that to her understanding and description of who she is.

I don't know what's next for me.
perhaps I'll fall into it, perhaps something will tuck itself under my skin and I'll begin to work my way toward incorporating it into my life. regardless of the method, I know I'll continue to be awed and grateful for that great gift of being able to become something slightly different than I once was.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


today I had a plan for what I was going to be writing about here.
it was about traditions, those special experiences and events that we repeat over time. how sometimes we begin something new, and enjoy incorporating that into the pattern of our life. how some things have been with us for years, some things our entire lives.
how stability, patterns, traditions, and even things and people who've been around longer than we have add certainty to our lives. how they ground us, make us feel a connection with something greater than we ourselves are.
how I think we humans are programmed to crave this connection. how we desire an attachment to that which is more significant than us, a higher power, a larger world, a greater expanse of time than that we've lived. how mountains and oceans, the milky way and the moon all provide this something that somehow centers us. how a building fifty years older than us can provide that same groundedness, how we learn to place ourselves in the world based on what surrounds us.
how traditions mold us, how traditions help us form a sense of who we are, and how rich it is to add a new tradition to your life.

but what happened, you see, is that I've run out of time, and won't be able to write about all of that. instead, as a result of adding a possible new tradition to my life, I've got to go scrub the salt and cinders off my bike.

merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


I found a way to attend yoga this morning, for which my body was exceedingly grateful.
at least I think it was.
it's hard to know, sometimes, exactly what one's body is telling one. it might be telling me thank you, I love you, you were so wise to get up and go to 6 am yoga, or instead it might be saying, I'm going to pretend I liked that but I much rather would have stayed in bed and slept a little longer . . .
those tight spots, tender spots, creaks and groans are sometimes hard to interpret.
but everyone says yoga is so good for you, so I'm going to assume my body is like most other bodies and that it somehow benefited from those asanas I forced it into earlier today.

there were three of us in class this morning: two who are gumby people, and me. and then the instructor herself, who is even more flexible than gumby, but who dislocated her shoulder recently (while skiing) and was thus restricted by a contraption which held her arm positioned carefully away from her body. whew. obviously I'm sorry for her injury and resultant pain and inconvenience, but I was relieved to not have to watch her do super-bendy, super-graceful yoga and demonstrate the monstrous difference between her abilities and mine.

and during this class, during an asana that pushed a few of my muscles, ligaments, and other inner-thingees just a millimeter or two (or five) past their comfort zones, our instructor brought up the concept of stasis. stasis, a state of static (nonmoving) balance or equilibrium.
I like this word, this concept.

at times during yoga class we are in stasis. we hold our pose, opposing forces in balance, keeping us from moving. our right arm stretches and pushes toward the front wall, our left does the same to the rear, our hips lean to the left and our thighs pull us back to the right: yoga is a study of oppositional energy that creates stasis.

I often think of the song, dare you to move by switchfoot. perhaps it's the catchy tune, and perhaps it's the concept. I think of this song when I'm indecisive, when I am caught between shoulds and have-to's and wannas. when I'm in an uncomfortable, unproductive stasis. I dare myself to move one way or another, to make a choice, to accept what results from my movement.
and other times I sit in stasis. I stay there, knowing that all of the activity in the world won't change my fundamental truths. I stay there, knowing that inner tension holds me together, opposing forces cancel each other out, and that time spent as a human being is often the most important time I spend.

it's all about balance. balancing stasis and movement, dares and acceptance of what is. accepting that sometimes I need to swoop down hills after pedaling furiously up, and sometimes I need to hold myself quietly in tree pose, balancing on one leg, lifting my arms up to the sky. and letting the shoulds and could-haves drift slowly down and off my limbs until they rest upon the floor in their own states of (hopefully) permanent stasis.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

contre la montre

I read the other day that an acronym may only truly be called an acronym if the letters used in the acronym form a "word."
when I tried to research this, I found differing opinions on the subject.
and although I like to be correct, there are times when "correct" depends upon the judge. so in the case of those I will write about today, I am choosing not to call these abbreviations acronyms, though some would say they've earned that label.
today's subject is bicycling concepts referred to by abbreviations, letters representing each of their words. and I chose this subject because in class this morning we had a TT.
which stands for time trial.
a time trial is, to borrow someone else's (published by wikipedia) words, a road bicycle race in which cyclists race alone against the clock.
we weren't on bicycles, nor were we on the road, nor were we alone. we were twenty-five sweaty people on spin bikes in an air-conditioned room, each near the top of their heart-rate zones, each trying to produce an effort we might have had we been in a genuine time trial.

having this experience reaffirms my decision not to participate in genuine time trials.

other well-used non-acronyms in the cycling-training world are these:

VT: ventricular threshold. where your heart sits during a TT. not a place for the weak willed.
CP: creatine phosphate. when we do sprint work, we supposedly use this for energy. it's a chemistry thing.
LT: lactate threshold. a heartrate significantly lower than VT, where you leave aerobic land and transition to anaerobic land. a happy place to spend time, especially as compared to VT.

today we hung out at VT for twenty minutes, about fifteen minutes longer than I wanted to. okay, maybe twenty minutes longer than I wanted to. sometimes it's tolerable, sometimes it's not too bad, and sometimes it's just plain old difficult. today fell in the latter category for me.

the french call a time trial contre la montre, which translates as "against the watch." apropos, as I definitely felt that I was working against the watch this morning: it was not my friend. it was moving much more slowly than I was, and that hardly seemed fair.
however, there is one positive about these time trial experiences for me: after a TT, I feel on top of the world. I can do anything.
I have overcome any resistance, any doubt within. I have suffered, endured, conquered. I have pushed to my limit, and survived. I float for hours after, just me and my amazing self.
I pat myself on the back, I smile, and then eventually remember to humble myself, for just around the corner is the next contre la montre, the 25 minute version. which is followed by the 30 minute version. then the 35.

ah, c'est la vie.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

a right thing

the other day I had a conversation with a friend about doing the right thing.
already I must challenge this: is there ever just one "right" thing? perhaps I should change this to doing a right thing.
it just doesn't sound the same.
but this is the concept:
we go through life making decisions right and left. at most every juncture, we can choose this or that, a banana or an apple, to say yes or to say no, to nap or to go for a bike ride. more subtly, we can choose to be pleasant or rude, to be welcoming or abrupt, to be open or rigid. our entire persona, our presentation to the world, is based on conscious and subconscious decisions.
what child in our privileged society hasn't opened the refrigerator door and stood there, confounded by the almost overwhelming choice confronting him or her? and this choice is simply one of food, one of daily encounter and little import.
of greater significance are the decisions we make about how we wish to be in the world. will we contribute, or will we float? will we give, or will we take? will we strive to rise above the milieu, or will we settle for becoming an indeterminate part of the teeming mass?

many of us are either raised to be, or choose to become, one who is focused upon fulfilling his or her own needs and desires regardless of the cost to others. others give selflessly, negating their own needs and desires. and a great many of us fall somewhere in between, recognizing the impact of our decisions upon society ~ and the world ~ as a whole.
this is where the concept of doing a right thing enters.
it's impossible to exist upon this earth without creating some level of impact. we impact the physical earth, we impact each other. we are all connected at some level, and my choices ultimately impact the availability of resources for, the opportunities available for, and even the atmosphere surrounding, others who either walk beside me or follow in my wake.
it's difficult to use the utilitarian concept of the right thing being that which creates the greatest good for the greatest number to base each of our decisions upon. I, personally, can't always extrapolate and think that big. and so many of our decisions are mundane and meaningless when placed in this model. if I take I-15 versus I-80, will more benefit? if I buy two cantaloupes instead of one will someone have to do without? if I buy gas from this station instead of that am I promoting one company over another with possible negative consequences to the environment?
I can't go there.
instead, I operate with a more microcosmic view: how can I touch one person's life for the better? what can I do to be authentically me, to live life in an honest manner? how can I promote sincerity and kindness? how can I be an influence for good?

there is rarely a single right thing. there is, more frequently, a collection of authentic, well-intentioned actions that will move one (or the world) in a healthy direction. we can't always know what these responses and actions are until we've experimented, and often we don't know what a right thing was until after we've done it.
but there's not a much more fulfilling thing in life than to make a movement, take action, do something, and later come to understand that it was the exact right thing at the right time, and that it had a beautiful impact on another human being.

so I guess I'll just keep moving forward, trying to do right things as much as possible. trying to impact the world for good. touching lives here and there, acknowledging others, working a bit here and there on my carbon footprint. smiling at strangers, taking in my neighbor's garbage can on pickup day. hugging my kids, telling them I love them, teaching them to be brave and real. riding my bike when I can, smiling and waving at everyone I pass, working to pull each one of us a little more tightly into the interwoven collection of humans that together form a small piece of this beautiful, benevolent universe.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

december 17

when I was in seventh grade I had a crush on an older guy. his dad was the maintenance man at our school, and not only did these two share the same name, they shared the same birthday. which was december 17.
numbers, numbers, yep, these things just stick with me forever, because yes, this was about a third of a century ago. (okay, even longer than that, but I was trying to give an idea without getting caught up in being anally precise and accurate.)
for years and years I held december 17th as a special day in my heart. and then over time it faded, other important dates replaced it, and it eventually, gently settled back into just being another day of the year, one of many that have little attachments to people I've encountered during my life.
yesterday was december 17th, and not once did I think of this boy. nor did I think about posting here. I thought about work, my kids, tasks and chores that needed to be accomplished, how much I detested the morning spin class workout (fast fast fast legs spinning round and round and round), and the party I was going to attend that night.
it was a party full of friends and acquaintances from the past, many of whom I rarely see anymore. an eclectic mix, all bound by friendship with a loving, generous, deeply beautiful couple who were celebrating the husband's fiftieth birthday.
this is a ridiculous number of years to have lived, considering how young we all feel. I still remember being 12, I still remember the first crushes, first kisses, first devastations and losses as things didn't go the way I wanted them to. though they're all resolved and not issues I carry around with me, many feel like last week, last month, if not yesterday. ours pasts are no further away than quick trips to those banks of memory.
I was neither the youngest nor the oldest in the house last night, and to all appearances each one of us was in the process of living our best life, regardless of age. it's just a number, right? an acknowledgement of how long we've been on the planet, simply that.

I remember december 17 fondly. I loved this boy for a time, and I hope he celebrated his birthday yesterday surrounded by those he loves.
and maybe next december 17 I will not only remember him, but I'll remember my commitment to posting here.
however, they do say the memory is the first thing to go . . .

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

something out of very little

earlier today I placed an order online for a Christmas present for one of my children. at the end of the process, the order number came up, and I grinned when I read it:

I'm sure that most of you are unaffected by this number. but this number is all about me, and so I absolutely love it. I took it as a sign that I ordered the right thing at the right time.

see, I was born on the 25th day of the 6th month, in the year 1962.

twice a day (when I remember to) I look at the clock and smile, feel affirmed, have a mini celebration: yep, 6:25.

now I admit I'm a number geek who loves math, and you've read about my counting cyclists, cars, trucks, animals, just about everything I can think of while I'm riding. I watch my heart rate numbers every morning, I check my odometer for running paths when I'm driving. I count my cadence during power camp (only because they make me), I count reps in the weight room.
I memorize page numbers to return to when I put a book down for the evening. I make up wacky number stories when I put candles on my kids' birthday cakes.

I love to balance my checkbooks, personal and business.

I'm constantly noticing numbers, playing games with them, adding, multiplying, making more out of them than would otherwise be. nothing complicated, just observation and connection. and this makes me happy, which is what it's all about.

Monday, December 13, 2010


yesterday I escaped.
when the gray skies parted, the temperature climbed to 50, and a pure blue sky was revealed that held not a single puff of white cloud, I had no choice but to put the rest of my chores aside and throw on my biking gear and go.
toe covers, full gloves, skull cap under my helmet, two layers and a third for the way down, I pumped up my tires and off I went.
I had decided that the twenty mile ride to the top of emigration and back would be just perfect, and I set out pushing my muscles which have been slacking on a spin bike for much too long. heartrate soaring, I climbed and spun and gathered in lungful after lungful of fresh, clean, glorious air.
at the top of my favorite canyon, I drank in this tableau I so love, the snowy mountains ringing the south, the deep gray of the thick winter reservoir. and then something happened: I was pulled down, down the hill, down to the side of that reservoir. it was less a decision than a response to an internal signal, a tug of dna.
as I neared the bottom of the hill I was struck by a thought: the gate. I hadn't seen the gate in at least a month, the gate at the far end of the reservoir, the gate that closes the road up big mountain in the winter months. I had to ride to the gate, just to see it, to visit this old friend.
as soon as the peeling yellow paint of its round metal arms was in sight, I knew I wouldn't stop there, because asphalt stretched beyond. I could see it, gray stretches of worn and beloved pavement, snow-free and calling to me, teasing what must be cellular dna that knows this spot, this land, this experience.
I skirted the gate, one of many who take its message of deterrence to be only for others, not for someone like me. and asphalt stretched before me, calling me forward, teasing me with its wide and motor-free expanse. I rode on, and on, avoiding the occasional splotch of melting snow, the slick expanses of wet.
fingers of snow would reach out across the road, and then an arm or two. but there were enough tracks through them to allow my skinny tires to continue on. and then the occasional arm became a leg, and then torsos and bodies began to threaten. I wove as far as I could, until the melting snow became icy and committed to longer life, and my tires lost their gray road.

1.5 is the answer, 1.5 miles at 4:10 pm on sunday, december 12, 2010.

I.5 miles past the gate, three and a half miles further than I had any intention of riding yesterday. three and a half miles that had nothing to do with my mind and everything to do with something much deeper within.

I turned and rode back down to the gate, alongside the reservoir, back up little mountain and down emigration toward home. through rivulets of runoff that threw rooster tails up my back, between rocks and leaves and other bike lane debris, down a road that changed from sunny to shaded and back again, through air that was chillier than it had been an hour before. my legs were pedaling, but my heart was flying.

when I was a mile or two from home, I looked up to the sky and saw a flock of geese flying in their v-formation, their wings flapping majestically. peaceful, assured, confident, following their own cellular dna which will lead them to a place they call home.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

GAA and potatoes

once upon a time, back when I was in school, back when we carried hot potatoes in our coat pockets to keep our hands warm and we trudged five miles to school in the snow and ate our by-then cold potatoes for lunch . . .
yes, way back then there was this thing called GAA.
those initials stood for Girls Athletic Association, and it was what you joined if you wanted to do gymnastics, or volleyball, or ~ this was a stretch ~ girl's basketball.
a number of my friends participated in those sports, competing against the other schools in our region and state. I was more interested in drama, debate, music, and cheerleading, and it wasn't until my junior year that I joined our school's newly-established tennis team. which, as a co-ed team, never fell under the GAA umbrella.
as I said, this was all long ago and what seems like oh so far away . . .
and we females have come a long way, baby.

today I sat in the Spence Eccles Field House at the university of utah and watched two dozen female athletes hammer out a game of lacrosse, and was awed by their grace, speed, and prowess. (how often do I get to use words like prowess? I'm pretty excited to throw that in here.)
this current generation of high school-age female athletes is incredible. they've grown up having sports available to them, they've grown up participating in a variety of different athletic endeavors. because we live in salt lake city, many have grown up skiing and snowboarding, hiking and snowshoeing. they have never known a world where one had to join a Girls Athletic Association to play a sport.
and I had it better than those females in the generation before me.

I watch these teenage girls sweat, watch them wear uniforms ugly enough to dismay anyone with an ounce of fashion sense, watch them run and stretch and give their all. I see female bodies of every shape and size, and I cheer those girls who are a little thicker and still choose to play volleyball in those ridiculous spankies (you know, those things that barely cover their butts and are tighter than skin) the sport has adopted and required their players to wear.
I cheer them all; I am awed by these girls.
because they are so far ahead of me: it took me 44 years to find a sport I loved.

my son scoffs at girl's lacrosse, and I tell him he'll be lucky if he ever finds a girl to marry him.
I ask if he wants a girls who sits home and does needlework and bakes cookies? or one who is brave enough to discover the thrill of challenging your body, working with a team toward a goal, and daring ~ daring ~ to face the world sweaty, make-up free and in unflattering attire, (and who can still do needlework and bake cookies)?
I love that these girls know there is more to life than looking pretty.
and as much as I want to look like barbie when I ride my bike, I, too, know that there is more to life than being an ornament.

so here's to progress.
no more cold potatoes for lunch, no more GAA.
just healthy, active, courageous girls who dare to be all that they're capable of being.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

my friend Glade

I have three teenagers, two of whom are frequently in my car. they're fairly active, and they are, well, teenagers.
for a while there, this past month or so, I kept thinking, hmm, I'd better get an air freshener for my car, it's getting a little ripe in here. teenage bodies, sweaty feet, little car, windows always shut because it's cold outside . . .
two days ago as I was driving myself home from vampire class I realized it was me. me. what my sweaty body was adding to the car's aroma was much worse than what my kids might be adding.
I placed an air freshener inside my car that very day, and now I am a happy gal again.

sweating is normal, one of those messy facts of life. and I can scrub my body painfully clean, apply deodorant and antiperspirant and still become fragrant when I sweat. I know, it's the bacteria on our skin that cause the odor, not the sweat itself, but guess what? it really doesn't matter. when we sweat, we stink. even the best of us.
I wash my workout clothes in their own special "workout" detergent, guaranteed to get rid of that sweaty smell (a gift from john, hmm, I should ponder that) and still, on the way home from class in my car I can barely stand the smell of myself.
my daughter asks me not to hug her until I've taken a shower.

so, I bought my car an air freshener. and now I am much happier whenever I'm in it.
it's good to work out hard, but it's also good to be surrounded by air fragranced by something other than Eau de Sweat.
just ask my daughter.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

the bicycle surely

The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets.
~Christopher Morley

I read this and was immediately filled with gratitude and validation. yes, yes it should be.
roller skates, skate boards, razors and pogo sticks are much too slow and unpredictable, and automobiles are much too enclosed and speedy. the bicycle falls right in between, allowing its guide time to gaze, to ponder, to absorb, and to marinate while keeping steadily upon one's way.
ruby is my muse, I suppose, if I were to choose one.

the spin bike, on the other hand, is not.
the spin bike might possibly be the vehicle of masochists and nutcases.

I'm quite certain that christopher morley never, not once, sat upon the saddle of a spin bike and received inspiration. and I'm fairly certain that I have not received much ~ if any ~ inspiration while sitting on those terrible saddles in that loud and smelly room. inspiration to get back on a real bike, perhaps, but very little in the way of literary illumination.
and perhaps that's why I've been dredging the bottom of my creative pond to come up with things to write about lately. maybe I need to reconnect with my muse, feel the air against my skin again, watch the scenery float by instead of moving nowhere for hours and hours every week.

it will come, I will find a time and space to climb back onto ruby's pretty, white saddle, and pedal away, just me and the great big world around us. fresh air, trees, the wind, the winter sky, and an everchanging tableau before me.

perhaps it was while sitting on a bicycle seat that christopher morley formulated my closing quote. if so, I hope that he was on a country road, green trees shading him, slivers of sunlight peaking through and dappling the pavement beneath him. I hope he pedaled leisurely, I hope he felt the fresh air on his cheeks, I hope he heard birds singing and creatures rustling in the brush beside him. and I hope he had some sense of the joy, gratitude, and validation that people like me would, over the years and decades and hopefully far far into the future, find in his words.

whether you sit on a real saddle, a spin bike saddle, a chair lift, a wheelchair cushion, or a car seat, may these following words guide your travel through life:

Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


today was almost nice enough to get on a bike and go ride outside.
and I was almost tempted to do so.
but there are times when "almost" just isn't enough.

many things in life can be good enough when they're almost there. "almost perfect" is usually perfect enough for me, and "almost ready" means it's close and will soon be. almost-calorie-free is okay by me, almost-at-my-target-weight is frequently just fine, and almost-naked is often better than the real thing.

but then there are those times when almost doesn't make it.
almost-awake isn't good enough for driving, neither is almost-sober.
almost made the cut-off, almost got there on time, and almost asked her out: these don't ever get you a prize.
and weather that's almost good enough to ride in, isn't.
and being almost tempted to go anyway doesn't get you on a bike.

so instead I watched the fog (or is it a smoggy inversion?) roll in, went to yoga, and firmly established the presence of the Christmas season here in my home.
the roads dried up a bit, the temperature hit 43 degrees, and that temptation swirled around the the floor but it never made it up to the part of me that makes decisions, and thus, today remains a day that I was almost tempted to experience a bike ride in almost-decent weather.

perhaps tomorrow the sun will break through the mist and truly shine, perhaps the temperature will reach 45 degrees, and perhaps I will be fully tempted to get on my bike and ride.
because almost, in this case, is just not good enough.

Friday, December 3, 2010

spinning wheels

one of the hardest things in the world to do is nothing.
we are a society of doers, a society populated with people who were raised to believe that do get somewhere, one must do something.
my grandfather was a child of the depression, one who as a teenager began working to support his family, one who believed strongly and firmly in the puritan work ethic. no surprise, this was passed down through the family to yours truly. I love to be productive, I love to accomplish things. I have been known to, on occasion in the middle of the day, add things I've already done to my "to do" list just so I could cross them off with all the others.
I am a creator, a builder, a producer, a doer.
in my business I take raw materials, build sets with them, and then ship them out the door.
in my writing, I take blank paper (or discs or drives or files) and a pen (or a keyboard) and bring into existence something that wasn't a short while before.
I keep track of sets sold, and I keep track of words and essays written.
I feel fabulous on a day I sell fifty sets or write 5000 words, regardless of anything else going on in my life.
I feel less fabulous on a day I sell nothing or write nothing, produce nothing, create nothing.
but I've come to accept the fact that these days exist, that this type of day is actually just as important as the ones full of production and creation. like the fallow lying fields, the days of busywork that leave me no further along in the book or leave my shelves just as full at dusk as at dawn are days that are vital to my movement along my path.
it just doesn't always feel like it.

this morning the "work" portion of our power camp workout was a forty-minute low-heartrate, high-cadence spin. our legs spun round and round ridiculously fast, and our hearts were told to hover in a non-intense zone.
it feels like a lot of doing nothing.
spinning our wheels, twiddling our thumbs, filling space between days of more aggressive sessions.
I didn't work my heart very hard, nor did my muscles stretch their limits. it wasn't a workout you could brag about, or write down and add to your "wow, look what I accomplished!' list.
it was spinning wheels, filling time, just one step above lying fallow.

I like being at the peak of the hill. I like being stretched to my limits, I like to be busy and to feel like a vital part of the world. I like the view from the summit.
however, some days I get to sit on a plateau. sit and spin my wheels. and accept the fact that some spinning is part of moving forward, whether it feels like it or not.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I experimented with a treadmill today, and I think the treadmill won.
tomorrow it's back to the spin bike, where I can return to my role as conquerer.