Friday, December 02, 2016

I'm Losing, Losing Touch With My Mind. I'm Fallin', Fallin' Way Behind.

It's Friday and so I will show you a photo of my gigantic cat and his gigantic whiskers. Behold the glory.
If you know me at all, you understand just how spacey I am. It was one of the first things I heard the girls talking about me behind my back about, when they got to that age. You know that age...When they're babies and toddlers, you are their world, they feel like they are still a part of you and they think you are beautiful and love you blindly. Then they get to whatever age that is where they understand that not only are they not part of you, they actually find you really annoying. Whatever. So, I overheard my daughters' conversation and it sounded something like this:

Coadster: It's not like she's stupid...

Stinky: No. It's more that she's really spacey.

Coadster: Yes! That's it.

Again, I say, "Whatever." I am who I am, and compared to a lot of parents, my spaciness is the least of a kid's worries.

That having been said...Now that I'm perimenopausal or possibly have early onset dementia (because that is seriously what it feels like), my spaciness knows no bounds. I am losing so many things. Granted, some of it is because I have absolutely no organizational skills, nor am I working on acquiring any. We have a spare bedroom that is essentially a gigantic closet of our techy/bike/run/swim/outdoorWinter clothes, and both John's and my clothes get mixed up together too, so it should come as no surprise that I have lost so many things in the last 6 months. Anyway, just so you can see what I'm talking about, here is a list of things I can't seem to find in my own  home these days:

1. My Red Shamrock techy t-shirt. I can find John's, but not mine.
2. All except one of the several neck gators we have.
3. My black shirt that I wear at least once a week to work. it's one of the few halfway dressy enough clothes to wear at the office.
4. My favorite pair of black running shorts that I just bought this Summer (sigh).
5. Any number of assorted pairs of socks.
6. My aluminum free deodorant.
7. 50 pairs (roughly) of reading glasses.
8. About 100 more things that I've forgotten.

Yes, I can repurchase many of these things, but where the hell do they all go? Do the cats hide them? If I clean behind the couches or under the beds, will I find them in a pile of their hair and toys? Are the elves coming at night when I'm asleep to quickly drive me insane(er)? Are they all in an alternate universe where the me who lives there has lost all of the things that I still have? I'm at a loss.

I try to reassure myself that this extreme spaciness is par for the course and when I read about the symptoms of perimenopause, the one symptom that all women in every culture around the world complained about, was this spacey, forgetfulness. So, who knows? Maybe in the next couple of years when I emerge fully into menopause and my head clears, all of these things will be found and I will suddenly be organized, even though I've never been that way in my entire life and I will be smarter, and as funny as I think I am and rich and I'll find the cure for cancer AND the common cold, while I'm at it. I have so much to look forward to...


Thursday, December 01, 2016

Every Day Feels Like Sunday, Baby. Every Day Feels So Good.


This post will basically be a photo essay of my wonderful 4 day weekend.

Every Thanksgiving for the last few years, we have run the local trail race. This year, John was injured and wasn't able to do it, but I ran it, albeit very slowly, but it was a great time. I love the people who run the race and I love getting 4 miles of trail running in before I (over) eat Thanksgiving dinner.


This year Thanksgiving was super chill. John didn't want to clean the house for anyone, so we didn't invite people over except for Stinky and her boyfriend and our friend, Burne. Of course, we ended up cleaning anyway. Both Burne and Stinky didn't make it over until after dinner, so John and I had all the food to ourselves. I try to make a different veggie every year and this year I made marinated beets with bleu cheese crumbles. Some people would absolutely hate it, but that is one of my favorite food combinations,


Since our guests came late, we decided to make fun margaritas to have with our pumpkin cheesecake dessert, It was a smashing idea.


One of my many dilemmas is the whole, outside versus inside one. I love to go outside and play, but I also love the comforts of home and reading and watching movies and listening to music and spanking cats.


...And as you can see, the cats need that discipline. So, for the four day weekend, I tried to balance indoor comfort, with outdoor playing. I'm not sure how well I did, but I definitely tried...


We also tried to balance some alone time, with social time. On Friday, my friend Erika asked us if we could me her, her boyfriend and some of her friends at The Dublin Underground for a beer after the Hawkeye football game. We swam laps, ate some Thanksgiving leftovers and headed downtown. We are so old that it has been probably years since we were downtown after a football game and being there reminded me why - I am clearly too old and too cranky to deal with stupid, drunk college kids. I've known that for a while, but being around them all again, was a memory refresher.

We did stop at Micky's on our way back to our car, because Stinky was working a double and we thought we'd go give her a hard time...You know, so she appreciates her job more after we're gone and no one is harassing her.


On Saturday, we hung out in our clean home and read books and drank tea or coffee and just relaxed before John and I went on our 50 mile bike ride. Coadster was in town for a one afternoon visit, so she and Stinky met us at the Kalona Brewery. We had a lovely lunch and we tipped Coadster off about the Millstream root beer that they have on tap. So delicious.


Saturday night we stayed home and watched the movie, "Captain Fantastic". It had a few issues, but for the most part, I thought it was an interesting look at what you deal with if you try to raise your kids off the grid.

We mountain biked again on Sunday. Our friend Burne joined us and we got almost two hours in before the rain started.


Since it was about 1 o;clock, we decided to get lunch at Big Grove, before heading home. It was our last weekend afternoon, and we wanted to stretch it out as long as possible.


Soooo, we had 4 days, with a clean house, great food, we played outside every day, we got to hang out with friends and my girls, I got some alone time to read books in my lovely reading room and I felt like we had a pretty good balance of essential activities...Although, I was EXHAUSTED by Sunday night.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Our Lives are Made in These Small Hours, These Little Wonders, These Twists and Turns of Fate


Life can be full of oddities and little wonders - both good and bad. The last two days of my 4 day vacation, I saw both kinds of wonders. On Friday John and I decided to ride mountain bikes on the trails. As you can see, it was beautiful there. So, me being me, I left my really good and fairly expensive Winter gloves on top of the car when we finished riding. We drove off and when we got home, my gloves weren't in the car. I asked John if he grabbed them and he said, "No." I went back out to the car and saw one of my gloves on the driveway.


Every year in December, the mountain bike trails at Sugar Bottom close for shotgun deer hunting season, so our last chance to ride mountain bikes there for a while, was going to be Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. It was also supposed to rain by 11 or 12 that day, so we headed out to the trails and then found my other glove on a pole so it would be easily seen. Like John said, it's not as weird that my glove was waiting for me at the trails, because most of the mountain bikers are good people, but how bizarre was it that may other glove rode on the outside of our car for over 25 minutes and even down the highway, without falling off until it got to our driveway where I could grab it...


I was happy to have my gloves back, since it was just a little chilly on the beautiful trails by the lake.


And also, since I'm so classy, they're great for nose wiping...


On Saturday, the temps got up into the upper 50's. So, John and I decided to do our 50 mile ride to Kalona and back. It was a great day and a really nice ride.


After we had lunch, we were riding out of Kalona (which has big Amish and Mennonite communities) and we saw a guy with a big, white beard, driving an old fashioned tractor. We all waved at each other (because this is Iowa) and rode on, but then John asked me if I saw what he was dragging behind him. I hadn't (because I don't notice very many things) and when I looked, I saw that he was dragging a dead horse. We turned the corner and saw a buggy on the side of the road and then we noticed a red stripe of blood on the dirt road under us. At first we thought the horse may have been hit by a car, but the buggy looked fine and there wasn't much blood. So, we don't know what happened to the poor horse, but the image of the Santa looking guy pulling a dead horse down the road with his tractor is lingering in my mind this week.

I know that back in the day and even if we lived now, but dealt with livestock, that dead horse would just be part of our lives and we wouldn't feel so badly about it...Or would we? I just hope the horse had a long, happy, life and a quick death.

I'm sure it's no surprise to anyone that the wonders in my life happen to be small and quirky. I'm just glad that I'm aware of them when they happen. Even when they are sad.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

EACH ONE, PULL ONE (Thinking of Lorraine Hansberry) We must say it all, and as clearly Trying to bury us. As we can. For, even before we are dead, Were we black? Were we women? Were we gay? Were we the wrong shade of black? Were we yellow? Did we, God forbid, love the wrong person, country? Or politics? Were we Agnes Smedley or John Brown? But, most of all, did we write exactly what we saw, As clearly as we could? Were we unsophisticated Enough to cry and scream? Well, then, they will fill our eyes, Our ears, our noses and our mouths With the mud Of oblivion. They will chew up Our fingers in the night. They will pick Their teeth with our pens. They will sabotage Both our children And our art. Because when we show what we see, They will discern the inevitable: We do not worship them. We do not worship them. We do not worship what they have made. We do not trust them. We do not believe what they say. We do not love their efficiency. Or their power plants. We do not love their factories. Or their smog. We do not love their television programs. Or their radioactive leaks. We find their papers boring. We do not worship their cars. We do not worship their blondes. We do not worship their penises. We do not think much Of their Renaissance We are indifferent to England. We have grave doubts about their brains. In short, we who write, paint, sculpt, dance Or sing Share the intelligence and thus the fate Of all our people In this land. We are not different from them, Neither above nor below, Outside nor inside. We are the same. And we do not worship them. We do not worship them. We do not worship their movies. We do not worship their songs. We do not think their newscasts Cast the news. We do not admire their president. We know why the White House is white. We do not find their children irresistible; We do not agree they should inherit the earth. But lately you have begun to help them Bury us. You who said: King was just a womanizer; Malcom, just a thug; Sojourner, folksy; Hansberry, A traitor (or whore, depending); Fannie Lou Hamer, merely spunky; Zora Hurston, Nella Larsen, Toomer: reactionary, brainwashed, spoiled by whitefolks, minor; Agnes Smedley, a spy. I look into your eyes; You are throwing in the dirt. You, standing in the grave With me. Stop it! Each one must pull one. Look, I, temporarily on the rim Of the grave, Have grasped my mother's hand My father's leg. There is the hand of Robeson Langston's thigh Zora's arm and hair Your grandfather's lifted chin And lynched woman's elbow What you've tried to forget Of your grandmother's frown. Each one, pull one back into the sun We who have stood over So many graves Know that no matter what they do All of us must live Or none. Written by Alice Walker | Create an image from this poem

Content from PoetrySoup.com. Read more at: http://www.poetrysoup.com/famous/poems/best/alice_walker
Copyright © PoetrySoup and Respective Poets.
by Alice Walker I said to Poetry: "I'm finished with you. " Having to almost die before some wierd light comes creeping through is no fun. "No thank you, Creation, no muse need apply. Im out for good times-- at the very least, some painless convention. " Poetry laid back and played dead until this morning. I wasn't sad or anything, only restless. Poetry said: "You remember the desert, and how glad you were that you have an eye to see it with? You remember that, if ever so slightly?" I said: "I didn't hear that. Besides, it's five o'clock in the a. m. I'm not getting up in the dark to talk to you. " Poetry said: "But think about the time you saw the moon over that small canyon that you liked so much better than the grand one--and how suprised you were that the moonlight was green and you still had one good eye to see it with Think of that!" "I'll join the church!" I said, huffily, turning my face to the wall. "I'll learn how to pray again!" "Let me ask you," said Poetry. "When you pray, what do you think you'll see?" Poetry had me. "There's no paper in this room," I said. "And that new pen I bought makes a funny noise. " "Bullshit," said Poetry. "Bullshit," said I. Poem by Alice Walker

Content from PoetrySoup.com. Read more at: http://www.poetrysoup.com/famous/poem/i_said_to_poetry_23193
Copyright © PoetrySoup and Respective Poets.

 

 I was hoping we were moving away from this, but sadly, it will be more relevant than ever starting in January. It's so, so, sad:

EACH ONE, PULL ONE


(Thinking of Lorraine Hansberry)

We must say it all, and as clearly
Trying to bury us.
As we can. For, even before we are dead,

Were we black? Were we women? Were we gay?
Were we the wrong shade of black? Were we yellow?
Did we, God forbid, love the wrong person, country?
Or politics? Were we Agnes Smedley or John Brown?

But, most of all, did we write exactly what we saw,
As clearly as we could? Were we unsophisticated
Enough to cry and scream?

Well, then, they will fill our eyes,
Our ears, our noses and our mouths
With the mud
Of oblivion. They will chew up
Our fingers in the night. They will pick
Their teeth with our pens. They will sabotage
Both our children
And our art.

Because when we show what we see,
They will discern the inevitable:
We do not worship them.

We do not worship them.
We do not worship what they have made.
We do not trust them.

We do not believe what they say.
We do not love their efficiency.
Or their power plants.
We do not love their factories.
Or their smog.
We do not love their television programs.
Or their radioactive leaks.
We find their papers boring.
We do not worship their cars.
We do not worship their blondes.
We do not worship their penises.
We do not think much
Of their Renaissance
We are indifferent to England.
We have grave doubts about their brains.

In short, we who write, paint, sculpt, dance
Or sing
Share the intelligence and thus the fate
Of all our people
In this land.
We are not different from them,
Neither above nor below,
Outside nor inside.
We are the same.
And we do not worship them.

We do not worship them.
We do not worship their movies.
We do not worship their songs.

We do not think their newscasts
Cast the news.
We do not admire their president.
We know why the White House is white.
We do not find their children irresistible;
We do not agree they should inherit the earth.

But lately you have begun to help them
Bury us. You who said: King was just a womanizer;
Malcom, just a thug; Sojourner, folksy; Hansberry,
A traitor (or whore, depending); Fannie Lou Hamer,
merely spunky; Zora Hurston, Nella Larsen, Toomer:
reactionary, brainwashed, spoiled by whitefolks, minor;
Agnes Smedley, a spy.

I look into your eyes;
You are throwing in the dirt.
You, standing in the grave
With me. Stop it!

Each one must pull one.

Look, I, temporarily on the rim
Of the grave,
Have grasped my mother's hand
My father's leg.
There is the hand of Robeson
Langston's thigh
Zora's arm and hair
Your grandfather's lifted chin
And lynched woman's elbow
What you've tried to forget
Of your grandmother's frown.

Each one, pull one back into the sun

We who have stood over
So many graves
Know that no matter what they do
All of us must live
Or none.

Written by Alice Walker


EACH ONE, PULL ONE (Thinking of Lorraine Hansberry) We must say it all, and as clearly Trying to bury us. As we can. For, even before we are dead, Were we black? Were we women? Were we gay? Were we the wrong shade of black? Were we yellow? Did we, God forbid, love the wrong person, country? Or politics? Were we Agnes Smedley or John Brown? But, most of all, did we write exactly what we saw, As clearly as we could? Were we unsophisticated Enough to cry and scream? Well, then, they will fill our eyes, Our ears, our noses and our mouths With the mud Of oblivion. They will chew up Our fingers in the night. They will pick Their teeth with our pens. They will sabotage Both our children And our art. Because when we show what we see, They will discern the inevitable: We do not worship them. We do not worship them. We do not worship what they have made. We do not trust them. We do not believe what they say. We do not love their efficiency. Or their power plants. We do not love their factories. Or their smog. We do not love their television programs. Or their radioactive leaks. We find their papers boring. We do not worship their cars. We do not worship their blondes. We do not worship their penises. We do not think much Of their Renaissance We are indifferent to England. We have grave doubts about their brains. In short, we who write, paint, sculpt, dance Or sing Share the intelligence and thus the fate Of all our people In this land. We are not different from them, Neither above nor below, Outside nor inside. We are the same. And we do not worship them. We do not worship them. We do not worship their movies. We do not worship their songs. We do not think their newscasts Cast the news. We do not admire their president. We know why the White House is white. We do not find their children irresistible; We do not agree they should inherit the earth. But lately you have begun to help them Bury us. You who said: King was just a womanizer; Malcom, just a thug; Sojourner, folksy; Hansberry, A traitor (or whore, depending); Fannie Lou Hamer, merely spunky; Zora Hurston, Nella Larsen, Toomer: reactionary, brainwashed, spoiled by whitefolks, minor; Agnes Smedley, a spy. I look into your eyes; You are throwing in the dirt. You, standing in the grave With me. Stop it! Each one must pull one. Look, I, temporarily on the rim Of the grave, Have grasped my mother's hand My father's leg. There is the hand of Robeson Langston's thigh Zora's arm and hair Your grandfather's lifted chin And lynched woman's elbow What you've tried to forget Of your grandmother's frown. Each one, pull one back into the sun We who have stood over So many graves Know that no matter what they do All of us must live Or none. Written by Alice Walker | Create an image from this poem

Content from PoetrySoup.com. Read more at: http://www.poetrysoup.com/famous/poems/best/alice_walker
Copyright © PoetrySoup and Respective Poets.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Sun is Burning in the Sky. Strands of Clouds Go Slowly Drifting By



Well, we had a little visitor on Saturday. It was a football weekend here and both of Jaxson's parents had to work double and triple shifts at their respective bar/restaurants, so we took the little booger in.

The cats weren't all that thrilled, but Jaxson did remember what happened when he tried to follow Heidi under the bed where she was hiding last time he was here - he got clawed. So, he has some new respect for the cats now.

We met some more friends out on the mountain bike trails.
Saturday was our first cooler weekend day in a while. I went for a little run and then we did some stuff around the house. We got infested with pantry moths, Whoever heard of such a thing? John was great about getting rid of anything that the moths might be eating and then I washed everything down with vinegar and warm water. We got traps for them and are now waiting for them to die out.


We headed out to the mountain bike trails and got some miles in. It was so nice. I am a lot stronger than I was the last time I rode the trails and the water is down, so I was able to do the trails on the back end for the first time since August. Wheeeee!


We got home, ordered a pizza and watched the latest Star Trek movie, with the puppy snuggling with both of us. My life is so damn sweet.


On Sunday we had some friends meet us to ride to Kalona for lunch and back. Since it gets dark around 4:30 now and it is a 50 mile ride, we decided to leave at 10 am.



It was a little chilly on the way out, but it got warmer and warmer as we rode. Luckily, John brought a bag and we could strip off layers on the way.



As I've said many times before, we ride through Amish country to get to Kalona and there are so many animals to talk to on the way there.


This is a little phallic...


We had a nice lunch and good talk about politics and we tried not to get too sad and scared looking at what we might turn into starting January...Or already, judging by the huge rise in hate crimes since that one guy has been campaigning and then won the electoral college.


On the way home, we passed the Amish church. They were having services, so their parking lot was full, except for one space, that our friend John used. Which one of these things is not like the other...

We got home before dark, after a glorious ride. It's supposed to get colder this weekend, but I'm sure we'll try to keep eking out some kind of outdoor activities...

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Moon in the Window and a bird on the Pole, We Can Always Find a Millionaire to Shovel All the Coal.


Since it's November 15th, it might be more than time to write my monthly stats for October.You know...Before it turns into December.

October was a good and bad month. I got some things done, which was good, but I had trouble with migraines and hormones, which was very, very, bad.


Cycling Miles: 275. The weather was so great in October, if I hadn't had that bad cold, I bet I would have had more than that.

Running Miles: 62. I'm trying to build on that in November.

Races: 1, but whoopee! I at least did one race - Spooky CX.



Paintings Completed or Started: 1, but that's pretty good for me. A friend asked me to paint her some shadow bikes using certain colors and the above is what I came up with. I hope to work on more in the next couple of months. I have a flower series of 3 that I am working on now.

Books Read: 8. 1) "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson, 2) "Mrs. Poe" by Lynn Cullen, 3) "The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness and Murder: by Charles Graeber, 4) "Geek Love" by Katherine Dunn, 5) "Slade House" by David Mitchell, 6) "The Year of the Flood (MadAdam 2) by Margaret Atwood, 7) "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" by Ransom Riggs, 8) "Dept of Speculation" by Jenny Offill.

Blog Posts Written: 13. That's way better than I've done since June.

Real Writing Done: I wrote a couple of more writerly blog posts instead of my usual prattle.

House Projects: Mostly I dealt with outdoor work. I planted my Fall stuff in the garden and John replaced the screens with storm windows. Hopefully,

Anyway, I was pretty happy with my productivity level and balance this month. We'll see how I finish up this month...

Friday, November 11, 2016

Running On. Running Into the Sun But I'm Running Behind


So, last week, before the election dread, we put on a bike race. I had never before been that involved in putting a race on. I have helped stake and take down and marshal many races, but never helped with the whole shebang. It was VERY tiring but also really gratifying. I am lucky that John did most of the work.


I'm not good at asking people for things, but John is great at it. So great, that we had to turn down volunteers to help set-up the course and we had too many people helping with registration. It was a wonderful problem to have.

We were also having a potluck with the race, so I made a bunch of veggie food for that. At first we thought it might be a little too much, but my experience with potlucks, is that one or two people make some substantial food and everyone else brings chips and salsa and desserts. I made veggie black bean chili, pasta salad homemade hummus, and potato leek soup on Thursday night.

I took a half day off of work on Friday to help set up the course. We had so many people show up, and we were able to finish it all in a couple of hours and we all got to preride the course we set up that evening too.


We decided to FINALLY go to Leonardo's for pizza after we set up the course. It is the best piece of 1960's swank you'll find anywhere near Cedar Rapids, and WHOA there are so many things they serve deep fat fried, but we got some pizza and it was good. I also liked the padded walls and pleather, pleather everywhere.

We got home and still had to do many, many things to deal with the race and didn't get to bed until around 12:30. Since we had to get up around 4 am, I definitely had that "not so fresh" feeling all day long.


I was actually able to race that day. I was exhausted and wasn't really feeling like racing, but I wasn't sure how many more chances I'd have and I did love the course.

I raced women's masters 35+. There were only 2 other women in my category. One of them is one of the fastest women cyclocross racers in Iowa and the other woman and I are usually pretty close when we race, but she had raced the one right before this. It meant that she was a lot more warmed up than me and started out faster than me, but she might burn-out before the race was over.

We raced with the beginner women and usually the officials put us in front of the beginners and start them about 30 seconds after us, but this time they did it the opposite way. It was good for me, because it meant we had to pass a lot of the racers in the first category, and that is good practice. I was just way too tired the entire race, but I kept trying and I was lucky to have one woman in my category and two women in another category to ride with and to keep passing each other during the race to keep me fighting. By the end of the race, I finally passed and kept away from the one woman in my race and a woman in the beginner race, and I was pretty happy about that. I got 2nd out of three, way better than I thought and by the time I finished, I was really happy I raced, instead of wussing out.


The rest of the day, I helped out with registration, keeping things together for the potluck and handing out prizes. Although, it felt like my main job was pointing out where the bathrooms were. If you've ever raced before, you know just how important that job is.


Anyway, we had a decent turn out, good crashes in the sand, beautiful weather, a great park for kids to play in and everyone seemed pretty happy. I would call that a success. I'm so glad we were able to put the race on, but I have to say I'm also really glad that it's over. Man! But that's a lot of work.

There is a Crack in Everything. That's How the Light Gets In


Um, soooo. I'm not sure quite what to say about the elections. I've been angry and in mourning ever since. And it's not because we lost, it's because the snake oil salesman who won has no respect for anyone but himself, is a compulsive liar, has no experience AT ALL, but thinks he can do anything he wants, doesn't care about the environment and has opened the gates of hate toward anyone who isn't a wealthy white male. How did we end up with a president who got his Twitter account taken away because he was such a bully? Also, say goodbye to your lower interest rates, because anytime we have a president who gives tax cuts to the rich (and Trump doesn't even pay his taxes), that shit doesn't trickle down. We always have inflation and recessions and really high interest rates.  Winter is coming...Both literally and figuratively.

I am lucky to be in a relationship with someone who, although he is a white male, understands that he shouldn't be the only one with privilege in our society and so we can talk about what we do now. First of all, we let everyone know that we are here to help anyone who is being bullied or threatened or beaten-up since Trumps rise to power. There was a racial slur spray painted on the door in one of the dorms at the university where I work the night of the election and that is why so many people are exercising their constitutional rights to peacefully protest. We will also work with others to fight any regression in the progress of women and human rights. Also, and most importantly, we will be kind and helpful and support institutions like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU that will work against Some of the things Trump has said he will try to achieve. We are not upset that we lost, but who we lost to and what he plans to do with our country.

I guess on the positive side, the fact that someone like that will be president soon has really stirred up the progressives and artists and writers. Let's hope we all do some good work.

I will get back to regular posts, but you know me, I write about how I feel and think and I'm sure the next four years will cause me to write out against many injustices as I see them. It could be a long and bumpy 4 years...

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

For What It's Worth


Here are some pretty flowers I just picked from my garden this morning. It is November 8th in Iowa. Wow.

Also, it is election day. I voted by mail a couple of weeks ago, so it's been over for me for a while. I'm sure nobody who knows me will be surprised by my vote. My mom raised me to be respectful and empathetic and come at the world with love. She would have been appalled at Trump. Also, if Trump wins, it will open the door for all kinds of reality TV stars to lead this country. Who will get elected next? Kim Kardashian? Flavor Flave? Honey Booboo? We are quickly becoming a country where the person who creates the most drama wins. Ugh.

Anyway, I'm hoping that people use their reasoning skills and choose someone who DOESN'T feel entitled to commit sexual assault against women just because they're famous and threaten to nuke anyone they find disagreeable and DOES show respect for other cultures, skin tones and religions. Here's hoping for a brighter tomorrow and an end to all of the blustering and bullying! Vote.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

What a Life I Lead When the Sun Breaks Free, As a Giant Torn From the Clouds


On Sunday morning, I woke up with a migraine and John woke up with bad back pain. We both decided to bag the race, but we did make a big point to go to Coadster's apartment and see her and Bailey before we left for home.

Bailey was super excited to see us and kept running toward John and then remembered I was there and ran toward me and then ran back to John. I gave her a big hug and we headed back to Iowa City.


I took my migraine meds before we left Des Moines, but even after we got home, I still had to sleep it off. It was a beautiful day outside, so I felt a little guilty napping away most of the afternoonWhat , but there wasn't much I could do about that.


I woke up around 3:30'ish and was feeling better. Because of the meds and the 2 day migraine, I knew I wouldn't be super strong, but I was able to go for a nice, slow, 6 mile run and it made me very happy.


The clouds, the trees, the perfect 61 degree weather, I couldn't have asked for better conditions.


Of course, I finally had to come home and when I did, I found Archie posing for his senior pictures. They grow up so fast, don't they?


Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Certain Degree of Determination, Daring on a Different Course.


So, this weekend started out okay. We watched the original "Halloween" on Friday night. I hadn't watched it in a few decades, so it was like seeing it all over again.

I woke up on Saturday with the trace of a migraine. I took some Advil and hoped for the best and we headed to Des Moines for my first real, full cyclocross race since my breast cancer.

John raced first. His back has been really bothering him lately and it wrecked him during his race. He was able to finish, but he didn't place anywhere near what he would have and he couldn't bend over after the race.


The race was held at an aquatic park and had a skateboard park in the middle of it. The kid racers were able to run around in circles before their race, but I would have been finished before I began at my age. Kids. Where DO they get their energy?


Spooky CX is usually one of my favorite races because of the costumes. Who doesn't love a saucy, full facial haired, Dorothy with a mangy Toto and a beer in his hand before noon?


Or this sassy lassy. Do the drapes match the beard? As I always say, I love costumers. Sadly for me, I couldn't wear my costume. I was going to be an evil elf, but it was 70 some degrees and WAY too hot for a Santa hat over my helmet.


I raced the Women's masters 35+. Which I always say is too young if you're only going to have one masters category. You are not at a disadvantage in bike racing in your mid-thirties. They should make it at least 40+, but 45+ would be more realistic. That way all the women would be perimenopausal or menopausal and have similar very low testosterone and estrogen levels together.

Anyway, there were 10 women in my category. I knew about half of them and some of them came up to me and told me they were happy to see me racing again. I really love the women I get to race with in Iowa. So many good eggs.


I got a bad start. The two women were quicker on the draw (or the whistle) and my opening closed quickly. So, I had to try and play catch up at the beginning.

Since I have no idea what kind of racing shape I'm in right now, I haven't been training much and haven't done much off road riding, I gave myself plenty of time to warm-up on the course. The course was 2.2 miles long, so I figured with a 35 minute race, we could end up going 4 laps. I wanted to ride 4 laps beforehand to make sure I could even finish that distance.

In my pre-ride, there were 2 parts of the course I couldn't ride well. By the end of my 4th lap, I worked out how to ride one of the parts, but there was a big curb I kept chickening out on, so I figured I could just stop and get my bike over it and probably lose several places that way.


During the race, I figured I'd go out and try to stay behind the back of the pack as long as I could. Lucky for me, I'm faster going over the barriers than a lot of women in my race, so I was able to make up 3 places right there on the first lap. What that meant, was that I'd have some women on my tail as long as I could hold them off.

One woman came up behind me and said, "on your left". We were on a narrow part of the course, and unless she's lapping me, I don't have to make it easier for her to pass me. So, I didn't. We rode side by side on a twisty part of the course and I stayed with her for a little bit, before she finally got a gap on me. It was great practice.


On my second lap, I had one of those beautiful experiences. I just sailed along through the course at a decent speed for me. I hit every line perfectly. I was instinctively in the right gear going up or down hills and I was keeping other, way younger, women at bay. I thought I'd have one lap to go after that, but the cards showed 2 laps to go. Crap. I knew I was going to have to slow down if I wanted to finish two more laps. I continued to get passed by women and then passing two of them back on the barriers.


When I finally finished the race, I was wrecked. I had a woman tell me not to lie down that I needed to ride a little more, but I knew I wouldn't stay upright on my bike a second more. So, I found a nice, grassy area and collapsed. One of my friends, who got 2nd in the race, collapsed with me.


After I caught my breath a little, we sat up, drank some water and talked about our race. She was dressed as a rainbow unicorn and kicked ass like one. I was dressed like an old lady cyclist, recovering from breast cancer and I rode like one... I'm saying that in a good way. I fought hard to be 3rd from last. Way harder than I've fought for first in years past. I used the skills I had, every lap I rode up the curb I was too scared to ride during my pre-ride, I didn't make it easy for anyone to pass me, I passed people on the barriers that I knew would pass me back on the hilly sections, and loved every minute of the race.


Later, I ran into a friend of mine who is taking a break from racing, but putting her energy to good use by wearing a horse head and heckling with her other animal headed friends.

I had made a painting for her and we exchanged it in the parking lot. She was really sweet and gave me a $30 gift card to some local restaurants. It was very nice, especially since I get paid once a month on the first and with all my lovely hospital bills, I am strapped for cash on about the 3rd of every month now.


I took John to El Bait Shop for lunch and since I was getting a full fledged migraine, we went back to the race and then to our hotel so I could take some migraine meds and rest before we met Coadster and some friends for dinner.

Even though I was super spaced-out from my migraine meds, dinner was still very nice. It was great to see our friends and it's always nice to hang with The Oldest.