Thursday, March 31, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
I love to read.
I am fascinated by words (like lubricious) and how we use them to communicate. I read voraciously and am teased and thrilled as much by dexterous word usage as by great plots, schemes, and stories.
today while I was waiting for my car tires to be replaced, I read a chapter or two of the man who loved books too much. written by allison hoover bartlett, this is a real life story about a book thief and the man who helped catch him. the story itself is interesting, but what I'm enjoying more are all the facts I'm learning about the world of rare books, and the extraneous tidbits that decorate the story.
my favorite, so far, is the description of how thomas jefferson arranged his library. the three major classifications were taken from francis bacon's understanding of knowledge: memory, imagination, and reason.
I love this!
silly as it is, to think of classifying books into these three romantically labeled categories makes my heart swell.
memory, things we hold only in our heads, things from the past, everything that has already happened.
imagination, things that are conceivable, imaginable.
reason, ah, philosophy and its myriad arguments: everything that can actually or theoretically occur.
some day, perhaps, when the skies peel open and unleash a torrent upon us and I am relegated to indoor pursuits, I may just take it upon myself to organize my own personal library. I can only imagine the arguments I would have with myself about which books belong where. yes, but would be heard over and over again as I stood with book in hand, wavering between this shelf and that.
perhaps instead I could just keep the idea of this organizational method within. and start classifying my thoughts as I ride my bike, ah is this memory, is it reason, is it imagination . . .
I fear I don't take in enough oxygen to start classifying my thoughts as I ride.
I think I can just keep it simple, knowing that just about everything I ponder as I ride can fit into the category called imagination.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
mine started with a ridiculously difficult workout that my legs nearly refused to complete, where my heartrate hovered as low as it possibly could in the prescribed zone. I couldn't force it higher for the life of me.
in the weight room, I couldn't balance while attempting to do stationary squats, and nearly fell over onto my (red, flushed, embarrassed) face.
my old cassette tape player (I know, who has one of those anymore?) gave up the ghost this morning, and after I purchased a new one, I couldn't insert batteries into the little battery compartment: they just refused to fit. I broke a plastic knife trying to force them to behave.
my email program wouldn't (and still won't) let me send a message.
I burned lunch.
the ups man forgot to come pick up my packages.
it's taken me four tried to get this silly program to leave a blank line between the above two sentences.
the wind blew a twelve-foot long branch off my tree, which I have dragged onto the park strip and stared at, wondering just how I'm going to manipulate the thing into my garbage can,
and that's all.
all that I can remember, anyway, as I'm certain my mind is kindly blocking several things from my awareness so that I can remain upright and sane.
some days are just like this, aren't they? nothing catastrophic happened, nothing glorious happened, it's just that a handful of odd and complicating events sprinkled themselves across my day.
tomorrow, I expect, will be better.
everything will be back on track, all will function normally, and I will sail smoothly through it all. tomorrow's forecast is for high winds, but I am certain they will always, all day long, be at my back.
and whether or not you're in need (like me), I hope they're at your back, too.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
the answer falls into two different realms: one, the reason why I write, and two, the reason behind what I write.
first, as you know if you read me often, I write for practice. to hone my skill. to keep me on my toes and challenge my ability to put thoughts into cohesive (more or less) sentences, paragraphs, and blurbs. the fact that it's here and "published" online just helps keep me honest. in other words, it forces me to fulfill my commitment to myself because it's entirely too obvious when I don't.
second, I write to challenge. to put a thought out there that may make you---oh gentle reader---challenge your beliefs, your practices, your way of thinking about a subject, experience or event. it may not, it may just make you yawn or hit the "close tab" button, but there's also a possibility that something you read here may stick with you for a while, wiggle through your cache of beliefs and Understanding Of The World, and ultimately, eventually, either confirm or eat away at a thought you've held firmly for some time.
or perhaps it will reinforce or validate a belief.
or it might tick you off.
or it may make you settle a little more deeply into a part of yourself you'd like to know better, support, or embrace.
my approach to the world is this: we are placed here for a number of reasons, but underlying them all is an expectation or desire that we will commune with others on our journeys. that we will connect, share, enlighten, be enlightened by, inspire, gladden, and enrich the lives of those we interact with. just as no man is an island, not a single soul can accomplish its work without the help of others. without interrelationship we cannot march along toward evolution.
you just can't do it alone.
some of us step on others to move forward, some of us pick up those who've been knocked down. we bump and collide, and could never become the best versions of ourselves without what we learn from our observations, interactions and experiences with others.
so I'm just one more little lilypad in your great big life pond. I'm here, I set out my offerings, I suggest opportunities for reflection and validation. you can certainly reach the other side without ever noticing me, approaching me, or stepping foot anywhere near me. but I am here, I share what I have, I offer a gentle green space that radiates peace and faith. and occasionally, a launching pad for great leaps.
as john burroughs and many others have said,
leap, and the net will appear.
I say pause here anytime you want, refuel yourself, then leap . . . and the next lilypad you land upon may be the one you've been waiting for and trying to reach for a long time.
you never know.
but know this: when you leap, though there may not be anyone with you, you are not alone.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
no spin class, no power camp.
I have thoughts of taking a walk later.
this is called a day off.
and it's all in my best interest, I'm told.
some days the concept of a day off or a "rest day" is hard for me to deal with (I want to do something!) and other days I relax, sink into it, and am so entirely grateful I float in a pool of thankfulness.
today it's more the latter than the former; today I am just tired enough to appreciate the rest.
yesterday was one of those days that literally kept my head spinning. from a hard power camp workout at 5:10 am to hours spent on the phone with insurance companies, doctor's offices, and repairmen to the crew outside grinding concrete on my neighborhood sidewalks all day long, it seems everything was conspiring to make my head ache. some days are just like that. today I need a recovery day from life, not just from cycling-running-yoga.
the universe is cooperating.
my phone has only rung once; I've only received one fax. the concrete-grinders are gone. the repairman is quieting working away on the other side of the house. the insurance/doctor issue is resolved. my inbox is filling with only simple or delete-able things.
I don't have to go run or think about getting on my bike.
today, I'm thinking about breathing deeply, relaxing into the reality of what is, and not resisting anything that comes my way. I'm practicing an attitude, a posture really, of yes.
no to exercise morphs into yes to recovery.
yes to deep breaths and slow heartrates and yes to whatever crosses my threshold. yes to a peaceful outlook and yes to the belief that I can handle whatever comes my way.
yes to getting back in the saddle
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
and then I thought, well, maybe they mean a season where the shoulders of the roads become rideable.
after that, I pondered the possibility that they meant a connecting season: as a shoulder connects the arm to the body, the "shoulder" season might connect say, winter, with say, summer.
today, I played google detective and found that the term is primarily used in the travel industry, describing an abbreviated season that falls between "high season" and "low season." ah, okay, sure, whatever.
regardless of the true definition, there are quite a few of us cyclists around here who are pretending it's shoulder season: warm enough to bare a little skin (on the ascent), safe enough to travel in the bike lanes where snow has pulled back to the edges, and getting close enough to the end of ski season to be approaching a true travel-industry shoulder.
I'm going to stick with my safe-riding-shoulders definition for a bit, though, because it segues nicely into my topic today: redundancy.
yep, see, it's truly shoulder season in only one of our beautiful canyons. most are still stuffed with snow, thickly stacked against brush and scrub oak, shoved against the metal guardrails and rock walls that line our canyon roads. there's not yet much room for the cyclist who wants to climb to the top of the hill.
except in emigration canyon.
so, if one desires a ride of some length, and wants to climb, one has the opportunity to ride up emigration, ride down, and ride back up again.
I've seen cyclists doing this before, and always thought they were extremely dedicated and slightly off their rockers. who would want to climb a canyon, descend, then turn around and climb back up the same thing again?
well, now, me.
first, because it's a decent eight mile climb, about the only one available within riding distance of my house.
second, because my riding partner was on call and couldn't be more than twenty minutes from the hospital, and it's fairly easy to push down the entire canyon in that amount of time.
so, last saturday I rode up emigration. twice. breaking a huge mental barrier for me, that barrier that said why would I ever want to do that, how boring must that be, yucch, what a grind.
it's good to make yourself do things you don't think you want to do.
at least that's the philosophy I've been operating with for the last, oh, say, twenty years of my life.
I think it's working.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
there is the attack plan, where one lives large, throwing caution to the wind and jumping into whatever feels right at the time.
then there's a more thoughtful approach, where one looks ahead, determining a path and assessing opportunities and challenges that are likely to present themselves.
one can set goals that grow from minor to ultimate, or one can flow with life's river and be open to currents that move the journey from one bank to the other and from tributary to eddy to delta.
many of us live somewhere between strict goal-setting and haphazard movement via the addition of that little tool called flexibility. goals are fabulous things, firm and statutory, beacons that wink and call seductively for our presence. come closer, come here, come on you sweet thing, I'm waiting for you. flow, also, is a beautiful thing, as it moves you from one place to the next, gentling guiding your course and suggesting you visit locations not before considered. when we allow flexibility into our life course, we can set our sights on milestones and beacons, yet let our paths be at times indirect and swayed by forces greater than ourselves.
I have what I call Great Goals, large, important things I'm shooting for. my path toward them, however, is up for grabs. each day I assess where I am and what my next right step is, then tackle that. sometimes the universe leaves me alone and I keep moving along with my little steps, and other times the universe throws me curve balls to dodge, moving my path a few feet to the left, or a giant step up on a ledge. I am focused on this target that continues to feel far, far away, but I will eventually get there, weaving and flowing and at times marching steadfastly forward.
but I always watch out for puddles.
two days ago I had my car cleaned by professionals. this is something I don't do often, and it's one of those luxuries I revel in. it was beautiful. floor mats shiny, vinyl all spiffed up, new fragrance wafting about, no more doggy-nose marks on the windows. it's been raining off and on here, so as I drove around after the cleaning I was extremely careful where I drove: puddles were absolutely to be avoided. if one lay across my path in such a way that it was completely unavoidable, I slowed down and moved through it cautiously, causing as little splash as possible.
yesterday I went for a bike ride, up the canyon where snow still reigns but warm air battles it remorselessly. run-off coursed across the road in numerous spots, rivers that neither car nor bike could avoid. in certain spots one could pick the least wet segment of road, and I spent more than a few minutes scanning for the least-puddled spot to weave my skinny tires through.
my car got dirty.
my bike got wet.
muddy splatters coated my car, my bike, and me.
as I weave my way through life, aiming for beacons and flowing with what comes, I try to skirt puddles. sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. at times I am shiny clean and brilliant and I end up speckled with mud. at times I am just plain old me and the splashing water is refreshing.
puddles are inevitable.
and, thank you God, I am washable. my car, my bike, and me, we are all, always, washable and renewable, and this is how we keep marching on toward whatever it is that calls us forward, upward, onward.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
I scrunch my forehead and wiggle my nose a bit when I even say I am an athlete.
I'm really not, I'm just a female who likes to ride her bike, and who's willing to put some effort into training so that she can ride a bit better, a bit faster, a bit longer.
but an athlete?
no, those are those other people.
my daughters, for example. they are on teams, they meet, they practice, they drill, they compete against other teams. one plays lacrosse right now, the other plays volleyball. in other seasons they play basketball, and, well, lacrosse and volleyball.
they will grow up considering themselves athletes.
I played tennis my last two years in high school, and I didn't play it particularly well. we did no running drills in practice, we never hit the weight room. (oh, that's right, that's because we didn't have a weight room.) the closest I got to "sports" in college were water aerobics classes, a weight lifting class (because my university did have a weight room), and tai chi.
I'm glad that my girls think of themselves as athletes: it's a healthy mindset, a label that promotes positive thinking, teamwork, and taking care of your body. it supports a belief that you belong in the world, that your body's geometry is purposeful and capable of providing great rewards. it helps them carry water bottles around, and eat bananas.
I hover on the lip of that label, thinking no, I'm not really that cool, and yes, I am absolutely that cool. I'm a few decades past being a "miner," but know that my beliefs about Who I Am are rooted way back there in park city high school. it was cool to be an athlete then, as it remains cool to be one today.
it would probably be silly to crown myself homecoming queen, and my sense of Who I Am already includes just about every art and honor roll and other activity imaginable, so that leaves me with just one naked gap to fill: athlete.
I can't relive those years, but I can learn to rethink the current me.
I can put my tiara on and wear my bike shorts and be the me I never was back then . . . will this help me reframe myself?
or shall I simply start chanting each day I go for a ride, I am an athlete, I am an athlete, I am I am.
and unfurrow my brow. and set my nose straight.
and accept my destiny.
because truly, and with gratitude and thanks to all who've helped get me here, I suppose I am an athlete.
you, my friend, have no excuse.
Monday, March 7, 2011
well, actually, it's here in gray-gloomy-waiting-for-a-snowstorm slc, and it keeps jumping onto the freeway, heading up spanish fork canyon past all those stunning and hypnotic wind turbines, out through price and 70 and into slickrock country.
this coming weekend is the skinny tire festival, a four-day event beginning with a 64-mile ride to dead horse point on saturday morning. sunday morning is a 50-mile ride along the colorado river corridor. monday is arches national park and tuesday is a river portal ride.
four years ago a friend and I hopped in her car and drove to moab for this event on a chilly (cold) friday in early march. before we left slc I bought thick biking pants with wind panels on the front and full booties, and packed up just about every warm riding thing I owned. my friend was bootie-less, and we hit every bike shop in moab friday evening, discovering them all to be completely sold out of booties, and painfully low on hats and gloves. I bought a skull cap (beanie), and kissed myself repeatedly the next day for doing so.
saturday morning warmed to about 26 degrees by the time we started our ride, my friend's feet encased in bread bags from the hotel coffee shop. at the first rest stop we warmed ourselves by a portable heater, and she bummed a pair of thicker gloves from another rider who had a spare pair, promising to return them that evening.
sunday morning was a toasty 30+ degrees, and we lunched at the top of dead horse point, perched on the rock surfaces we could find that weren't covered with snow.
this year, my favorite weather site, noaa, predicts for moab overnight lows of 35 degrees, and daytime highs about 65, mostly sunny saturday and generously sunny on sunday.
we're expecting our snowstorm later this afternoon, the snow level dropping to just a few hundred feet higher than my house. rain for me, and a few inches of snow for those higher on the bench. as evening descends and moves into pure night, somewhere between a few fingers and a handspan of snow will settle upon us.
a good chance of snow again tuesday, and then things begin to clear. the weekend here in slc looks decent, with a potential high of 53 on saturday, the overnight low only 36 or so. partly sunny. hmm. I'm ignoring the chance of snow saturday night and sunday.
playful me wants to go to moab.
practical me says it's a long drive and will cost me a bunch of money and take time away from all those other things I should be doing . . .
but snow? really? haven't we had enough? will biking season ever come?
eenie, meenie, miney, mo . . . who all thinks I'll really go?
Saturday, March 5, 2011
actually, I don't mind the color itself; quite a few items in my wardrobe are gray, and I think it's the perfect color for a clapboard house, especially by the beach. I like it in carpet, in chenille blankets, and in eyes. it can be enticing on walls, and when used as contrast in paintings. it often provides a delightful backdrop in studio photography, and it's exquisite in suede boots.
but I don't like it painted across my sky, hanging down above the trees, draping itself over my world.
give me rain, snow, sleet, drizzle, hail, even deluges: anything but this nothingness that hides the sun and coats one with a sense of ennui. I want to mount an escalating ladder that stretches up into the sky, reach up to the top of this pervasive gray and rip it apart, exposing the sunny blue space that exists, I know, beyond the bleary bunting that enfolds us.
I want to feel the sun on my skin, I want to connect with those life-giving rays. I want the wind to cease, the clouds to disperse, the crocuses to think about sending forth shoots. I want to ride my bike.
and it's gray outside.
so . . .
I went outside anyway, and rode my bike anyway, and this is what I discovered: the cycling me is a happy me, regardless of the color that surrounds my world.
perhaps, then, the lesson is simply this:
do what you love, regardless of anything surrounding you that whispers shades of negativity, of lack, of listlessness. simply follow your path anyway, do what brings you joy, and reconnect with the you who knows that it is that within which matters most.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
like this morning.
it's raining, it's gray, my legs are tired from this morning's class, I'm lethargic, my house needs a good cleaning, I have work (and laundry, grocery shopping, networking, bill-paying) to do, and nothing---not one darn thing---seems like fertile subject matter.
but I have to write something because I have a blog to keep up with.
now I know, as well as and quite possibly even better than you, that I don't have to post anything here.
the world would go on, you would survive, I would continue to breathe in and out.
but I post here just as I go to work out during the winter, just as I hop on my bike in good weather. it's part of what I do, it's a commitment, it is a task I've assigned myself.
the other day I took my son to an appointment with a physician. in the waiting room, my son pointed out the picture hanging on the wall across from us, and how the right corner needed to be lifted just a quarter of an inch or so to allow the picture to hang correctly, parallel to the floor and in alignment with the walls.
"I think I have a little CDO," he tells me.
"excuse me?" I look at him, my frowny-lines scrunched.
"you know, OCD but in alphabetical order, the way it should be."
"and what about the fact that your floor in your room is covered with books, papers, clothes . . . ?"
"well, the things on my walls have to be straight; I'm always straightening them. the floor, well, not so much."
"hmm," I say.
sharing this with someone revived a discussion I'd been having with this friend of mine who keeps gently suggesting that I might possibly have some bit of the "C" part, the compulsion part.
I disagree, of course.
I feel no compulsion to write and post here; I feel this great big "should" because I said I would, and know it's part of my exercise plan for mind and fingers.
I feel no compulsion to go to spin class, or hop on my bike, or go snowshoeing, or run; I feel this great big "should" because it's good for me, it's part of my exercise plan for longevity, and I will feel better for having done it. as well, I'm likely to enjoy (in some small or great way) at least part of it.
webster's defines compulsion in this way: an irresistible, persistent impulse to perform an act; a force that compels.
in my dictionary, an impulse, especially one that is irresistible and persistent, feels nothing like what I experience when it's time to write here, to go to class, to go run, or to hop on my bike.
irresistible, persistent impulses don't come with sighs, moans, procrastination, lots of positive self-talk, and some pretty heavy bargaining (please, could I just this once skip it? if I go now, I get a cinnamon roll when I get back. I can just do a short one today. oh, do I have to? if I go now, I will let myself out of dusting. well if I do this now, I can have a nap later . . . )
then there's the O component . . .
more than one "friend" has linked that word to my behavior, but I've already discussed it here and here and here, so I won't repeat myself here now.
I'm pretty sure I won't meet the criteria for OCD, and I'm fairly confident that my son won't, either. we'll laugh about our little CDO tendencies, and internally I'll just shrug my little shoulders and think we're not such bad people, and hey, what's wrong with wanting your pictures to hang straight, level, aligning perfectly with walls and floors, just the way they should be?
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
yesterday a colleague showed me his new business cards. they are so cool: thick, firm stock with clean printing and great graphics, and just oversized enough to make you take note. the coolest thing, though, is that he flashed through his stack like they were a deck of cards, showing me all of the 25 different photos splashed on the backs. he's carrying around his own little photography collection, complete with vital info on the back. these are cool.
I've written about this site before, because I love it for their wit, cleverness and goofiness covered with a light but permanent coating of irreverence. yep, www.moosejaw.com. they sell my favorite kinds of things: jackets and coats and clothing articles that you might use in the great big outer world, as well as some comfy things you might hang out in at home. their ads are silly or just plain wacky, and always fun to read. I like this company.
one of my most favorite websites ever belongs to a company run by a woman named leigh standley. she is a designer from boston, mass, and she places her clever (and sometimes poignant) quotes on mugs and magnets, tees and cards and whatever else she dreams up. this is my personal leigh standley story: years ago I saw a card of hers with a quote on it which grabbed my attention and captured my heart. I decided to use it as a tag line on my email signature, and for quite some time spread it around that way: love imperfectly with great delight.
then a year or two ago a friend gave me a little decorative doo-hickey with the following words on it: live imperfectly with great delight.
I was stumped. I was quite certain the word was "love" not "live," but after no small amount of research, I discovered that I was wrong, that the original quote really did say "live." my romantic soul just changed it to "love," and I sailed forth in the world loving imperfectly, which I still do to this day.
visit this way cool sight at www.curlygirldesign.com and be sure to play with the map.
and finally, as a writer forever in search of an agent and publishers, I peruse many websites belonging to literary management firms. yesterday I crossed paths with this one, and was delighted by its originality and accomplishment. no staid, boring, old-men's-club-smoking-library here, this firm is run by the young. visit www.movabletypenyc.com for a taste of high tech and possibility. no, I don't tweet and I'm barely allowed to retain my facebook page I'm such an absentee parent, but I have oodles of admiration for those who know how to move in these worlds.
and of course I need to throw in a plug for something having to do with cycling, so I will again tell you how great the fat cyclist is. he is a one-man institution, full of clever insight, deep feelings, wisdom, courage, tenacity, and a love for his two-wheeled companions. he might never write a posting quite like this one, but one of his all-time most popular postings is an Open Letter To Assos, and you can check out the rest of his blog simply at www.fatcyclist.com.
okay, that's it for plug day.
I've enjoyed mine: go enjoy yours!