Friday, January 12, 2018

It's Never as Good as the First Time


This is my end of 2017 post on Firsts. Like I always say...For me, the key to growing older semi-gracefully'ish and happy is to challenge myself and try new things. I have seen so many people get older and have no idea what to do with themselves. They see all of their best years behind them and give-up. I don't ever want to be like that.  So, I like to have new "firsts' every year. Most of them are wonderful, but a few of them are not. Either way, these first force me to see the world from different angles and deal with the shit as it flies toward me.

My first and best "first" this year was getting married to my very best friend in the dormer room of our house with my daughters and their partners. Both John and I had been married before, but we were both too young to make the best decisions. This time, I did it right. We've already gone through so much together the last 6.5 years and seen each other at or worst, and best. John  has been so supportive of me and has still called me out on my shit whenever I've needed it too. We kept it simple and almost a year later, I wouldn't have done it any other way.


Another first was going to a concert with both of my girls. We've all been to plenty of concerts, but never together. Stinky bought Coadster a ticket to see Hall and Oates and Tears for Fears for her birthday in Des Moines. At the time, Coadster was living was living there. They later invited me and we all got to celebrate Coadster's birthday with her. It was a blast.


Another of my favorite firsts was going an entire year cancer free after my lumpectomy in 2016. I refuse to take any day for granted and that is truly the best way to go through life for me. I also, apparently refuse to act my age.


This next first was not my favorite, but I hope to have figured it out to do better next year. This was the first time I was unable to finish the whole TOMRV ride. Normally, on Sunday we ride to Bettendorf, but this year, it was so insanely windy and hot and my feet were so swollen and painful that I had to end at Goose Lake instead. Next year, I plan on riding in flat pedals and my Keane sandals, I'm hoping having the whole pedal to move my foot around on will help my feet last the whole way next year.


This was also the first year I have ever been able to have a big, sunny, garden of my own. It was so much work, but it gave me much joy and my neighbors seemed to love it as well. Don't worry, (or maybe do?) I am writing an entire blog post about my adventures in gardening.


Another thing about firsts, is that I want to try to go somewhere for the first time every year. I may never be able to afford to go outside of the country, but there are so many places close enough that I can explore. This year, we visited my first new place on my birthday weekend. We went to Decorah and the firsts there included sleeping in a caboose and floating through a river of cows. If you haven't been there and you love to play outside, you should make the trip.


July also marked my first time inside THE WORLD'S LARGEST FRYING PAN, BITCHES! Holy shit. How have I spent 52 years without that experience? It was pretty hot outside on our bikes that day too. I guess now I can say I've gone out of the fire and into the frying pan...


Something that was not that great, but better than it could have been, was that I had a shave biopsy in August that revealed some precancerous cells. Not my favorite experience of 2017, but a very aggressive reminder to cover myself up better. You think I would have taken action before my 52nd birthday, but I have always loved the sun and it has, apparently, kissed me too hard.


In October my baby girl picked out her wedding dress for her Memorial Day nuptials this year. This year was the first time I went wedding dress shopping for my daughter.


On a more creative note, I got to teach people how to dye and paint fabric. I taught myself how when my girls were little. I saw a shop full of beautiful, dyed, cotton, dresses for little girls in Madison. Those clothes were also ridiculously expensive, so I bought some dyes and paints and made them for my daughters for almost nothing. I haven't dyed or painted clothes for years, so I invited people over to eat and play with dyes and paints. It was a good night.



This year was the first time I ever helped build a permanent cyclocross course. It was only the third one in the state of Iowa. Like many of the most amazing things I did this year, it took a hell of a lot of time and energy, but was so worth it.


The last first of 2017 that I'm going to talk about was me taking work-out classes this year. I have never been a structure person, so I'm not big on taking classes. I love to go outside and play. I don't need the pressure of having to be somewhere at a certain time to motivate me to work-out.  BUT and it's a big butt and it can not lie... John found out about a free yoga for cyclists class and it kicked my butt. Now that I'm finally done talking about but(t)s... Reading up on my lovely perimenopause, the lack of estrogen can cause really tight, sore muscles and joints and many of the articles I read recommended yoga, so I may have to keep up with some yoga class here and there.

Since my daughters seem to be more motivated by the structure of a class and Coadster had mentioned that she'd like to take a dance class, I found a free dance work-out class at Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City. Turns out, it was a lot of fun. A few weeks later, Stinky found a free work-out called the Reflective Run and put on by Lululemon. After the run we got a free yoga class. A girl, even a girl who isn't one much for structure could get used to all these free work-out classes...





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