“I only wanted to have fun…learning to fly…Learning to run.

Sometimes a particular album or artist will be so incredibly connected to a time or person I can smell the perfume, taste the first brush of lips, hear my name whispered against the nape of my neck. Other music will transport me to places I haven’t been yet, make me dance, or laugh, or sing along even if I don’t speak the language.

Rare artists sing my heart, speak a pain I can’t name, or shout a love I won’t acknowledge with a voice that would transfix me even if all it made was unintelligible sounds.

Adele is one of those artists. She is modern Dusty Springfield, my twenty-first century Joni Mitchell, with any luck she will become a British Ute Lemper. Her “25” seems customized to close my 2015. My favorite song is “Million Years Ago,” hence the title.

2015 was the seismic after shock and tsunami wave from 2014’s lifequake.  Like any natural disaster there have been soul searing smiles of service and fortune, there have been tears and major losses, and things right now may look pretty shattered but I am still standing.

I survived at time only because my roommate or my friends or family held my head above water when my own arms were too tired to swim.

Just as important to 2015 were the times the universe used me to serve others; my nursing and CPR skills got a complete workout this year(once in the middle of a movie, I still can’t watch Melissa McCarthy, but that’s a story in itself) and I spent time in Washington supporting my sister’s family through Ben and Marilyn’s deaths.

There are also so many highlights and moments of pure joy and laughter.  I had an unforgettable road trip with my friend Cathy, which included meeting an award-winning gastronomical artist and snake closed ghost towns.  In Washington I visited with Debbie Macomber and saw the Yarn Shop. I had HighTea at the Camelback Biltmore, the tea was incredible, the food tasty but there are no adequate words for the tea Sommelier’s level of awesome.

I even fell in love again, unwisely as ever it seems, in 2015. Not as intensely or recklessly as with S in 2014, more like a slow slide into a new comfortable life. I got to believe for a bit that with everything and everyone else shifting away,  at least this time I actually had love and safety.

I regret none of 2015. Considering the physical, mental and emotional toll of my illnesses, bad decisions and betrayals of 2014 I am okay with having survived and learned a little bit more about me and what I can and cannot do or be, but especially who I actually am. My song for 2015 was Amanda Palmer’s “In My Mind,”  and I am happier with myself than I was 365 days ago.

But I need to rebuild more lifequake resistent physical, mental and spiritual structures, and that I have not done. I am still a nomad in this world, my financial and physical worlds are just as debris and debt filled as last year this time, and I am in worse shape than ever.

The good news is that my word for 2015 was “Present” and I was present for others, and I still am, in ways I never was before; by making life not about me and being present for you, one word has changed me enough that I can’t wait to see what this year will bring.

My word for 2016 is “Accountable.”  I am holding myself accountable for me, my choices. Now that I have finally learned not to take you personally, I am going to finally learn to take myself seriously.

Namaste and Happy New Year.

 

“On the Road again, just can’t wait to get on the road again…

Two thousand. One hundred. Eighty-four miles. (Definitely read this in Captain Kirk’s voice)

I will start in Georgia. Am I crazy? Is this a dream I can manifest?

I don’t know.

That’s what makes it exciting.

That’s what makes it necessary.

To take 6 to 9 months completely off my work driven life to auto across the southern half of the United States, then hike  the AT, and motor back through the Northern United States.

This is the goal.

This is the dream.

This is my new commitment.

Why do I want to thru-hike?

I want an adventure.  I want to experience nature, wilderness. I want solitude.

Logistics I am currently nailing down are route and budget. As to route it looks like a leapfrog route is my best option if I do decide to include the northern end and any of the White Mountains or I may just stop in Vermont. I plan to leave later than the golden day, enough to not be part of the swarm while still avoiding the highest temps.

Budget right now is looking like $1300 a month, including storage of my stuff back home, sounds like a lot of money, but not really. I spend more than that now. On the other hand I am still earning while I am here working.

Need to go tend to those tasks at hand today.

Including my first route worksheet.

Not sure if I am more scared or excited.

Daily goal, replace my fitbit with another pedometer. It died. Start increasing my steps a day. Need to be used to 10 miles a day on flat land, so hiking 10 to 15 is a no brainer.

Tar Soup, repost of an old poem and then commentary

Tar Soup

I feel like I am swimming in tar soup
The black oily looking liquid stored in barrels behind the house on Carter
No rules then, ecology still a dirty hippy word,  they stood rusted and open inviting our childish games of tea and rainbow topped “tar soup”.

We would spoon it into our tiny plastic bowels and feed it to our dolls and  imaginary friends and dare each other to taste it.

And then there was the time in the Navy,
First estrogen in my field,
And testosterone so threatened that there was that time my TLD
went off the scale with the prank they pulled.

And thirty years of cigarettes, the coolest kid at ten,
I could inhale deeply when others were still turning green.

I feel like I am swimming through tar soup as I sit here at home
Coughing again, too tired to tie my shoes let alone run
And wallowing in why’s and whines, phone off and curtains drawn.

Then my Ipod alarm goes off and  I swear breathlessly and loud.

I forgot to turn it off when I called in to work
and a friends voice shuffled in by fate is singing its deep melodious magic
and a smile starts in my heart like a drop of dishsoap in an oily pan
spreading out like good deeds, the love licks at the pain in my joints.
I stretch them, pull back the covers, remove the blinders of my diagnosis
Wondering how I limited myself again.
I wash the misconceptions down the drain, hot shower with lavendar
Sip a bit of peppermint tea, wrapped in my softest blanket
And dress my new Hello Kittay and all my Teddy Bears,
anything to recover the joy
of living I have somehow misplaced behind the mirage
the fear
of cancer.

These are the days I keep to myself
Not to engender the praise of how strong, how long, how amazing.
But because quicksand is not a place you invite a friend.

CC

 

So I have started moving my poetry off Myspace because my goal is to delete the whole account before the year is out; some of the poetry is soooo bad I haven’t copied it at all but when in doubt I have moved it here. All the poems so far are from 2009 or earlier. This one, although not a great poem, I kept because it really does help me acknowledge how far my life has come (once again I have forgotten to be grateful.)

I first made the goal to participate in a triathlon in early 2009. I was in a support group for long-term cancer survivors. I was dependent on breathing treatments and prescription pain medication and seriously depressed, for which I was also receiving pharmacological treatment. The group assignment was to pick something big, with multiple steps, we had never done before, and design small goals to achieve it. The point of the exercise, I believe was to help all of us in that group re-attach to life, to stop saying good-bye and start greeting life instead. I did stay with the goal awhile but I only made it as far as walk/running a 5K, never rode a bike or learned to swim. I ran the race alone, only strangers to see me finish and quit there. I had previously quit the group due to insurance issues.

I am still trying to learn the lessons that group leader tried to teach us and trying to actually complete my first triathlon. My inaugural event is Oct 30, and although I have no idea how I will do, I will show up and my goal is to finish. I can swim now, and I can ride a bicycle and I did build relationships, and I am pharmaceutic free, except for the occasional Tylenol.

My current eating habits are not my best, do real good about five days out of the week. However, my “bad nutrition days” are better than my “good” days used to be.  I am at 213 pounds, hoped to be below 200 by race day but hope did not translate into action enough to make it so. However I started this time at 243 pounds so carry a 30 lb bag of dog food around a store for 30 minutes and you will believe me when I say even 30 lbs helps.

My exercise/training goals are to do each thing at least 30 minutes 3 times a week. The scheduled event is a Sprint and my long range goal is an open water full length tri in a year (no not an ironman, what, do you think I’m crazy? )

Current things making it challenging are a couple of the “everyman” sort of challenges like money for equipment and time for workouts, and one very personal one which is grief. I have tried a few dozen time to blog about my dog Noien and what her loss has meant to me this summer but guess I am not ready yet because I still haven’t. I haven’t even visited her grave again yet, and yup, I am crying now just having written this much.

My first best friend was a dog, Zack. He, Bonny(also a Spaniel) and Noien(my recently deceased Lhasa Apso) are probably the three closest friends I have ever had.

Today I meant to blog about them but distracted myself into moving poetry instead, and now to get my goals done I need to get off here and live my real life. I have been neglecting cyber and home the last few weeks. But lovely thing about life, where ever you is, there you are and there I can begin.

Swam Thursday, Ran friday, Ran Saturday, Biked Sunday…not sure why my Endomondo workouts aren’t posting when I “share” them, but s’OK. Gonna Run and bike later maybe, maybe not, tomorrow hopefully the “BIG” tuesday workouts with my awesome sons and incredible DIL.

Namaste friends and readers, remember impossible things keep happening every day…..

 

 

I Rode My Bike…..

I am incredibly happy this morning.

Nothing has changed in the externals. My back still hurts at about a 5/10 (had two full hours of relief after my visit to Backfit Chiropractic yesterday thanks to Jacquie’s massage and Dr. Vogel’s adjustment). My ends still won’t speak to each other, let alone meet. I have no medical insurance at this point, nor any hope of getting anymore due to actually really needing the coverage and so have absolutely no idea of what my bloodwork looks like or if anything is growing again, and yet, I am totally and competely, Happy.

Because today, anything seems possible.

Today, for the first time in my long, coordinationally challenged, plus-size life, I rode a bicycle.

I rode it for a mile.

I am still giggling about it.

I did this after swimming two laps (thats four lengths or 100 meters), twice plus a few lengths to equal 14 lengths or 7 laps. (So swam a total 350 meters)

This was accomplishing the impossible for me.

The other stuff will come in time.

I can ride a bike.

I am happy.

Thank you to all who have helped me get this far, I didn’t quit before the miracle happened because of your support.

It is good for me to have goals that rest on the things I can control like how I use my time, what I eat, how I dream, and how I apply my discipline; because the things I cannot control (like the economy and politics and other people and some portions of my physical vessel) somehow become small and insignificant when I amaze myself. The irony is that the blog I will edit and post later on about  middles will actually be posted after the breakthrough.

Also BTW, my DIL is kicking butt on this training thing. As far as Athena novices go she is the Goddess!

A small video of me swimming…<iframe width=”420″ height=”345″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/PnoGGuYXV7k?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

What I did for love, and more importantly what I am about to do for love…

     Love is a BIG UMBRELLA. of a word; it’s a noun, a verb, sometimes an entire story.  

 
     My current trip into triathlon land is motivated by love. I love a challenge, I love my friends and family and I really do love my life. Participating in an event that is comprised of swimming, biking and running in precisely another 110 days is a challenge to say the least especially since I still can’t ride a bike.  Getting healthier through exercise and its concurrent weight loss extends the time I can be around to hug the people I love and improves the quality of the life I live. So the first thing I am doing for love is swimming, swimming swimming. This morning I did four lengths of the pool in my poor form breast stroke, not consecutively mind you, spread out throughout Phil’s (our trainer from Inspire Fitness) homework assignment, which incidentally my daughter-in-law and I both finished.

 
     Tomorrow evening I will be attending a party whose main food feature is gourmet steak and I am making and bringing red jello with pineapple in it as a side dish. Why am I doing this? Love, of course. It is my sons 28th birthday and that is what he wanted me to bring.

     Those who know me personally, should get the humor of this without explanation, but for the rest of you I will add a few salient facts.  My cupboards are well stocked with twelve different kinds of organic flours. I make aspics from scratch. My baking, including gluten-free, is renown for its moistness and flavor. I spend hours researching and perfecting old recipes, tweaking new recipes and sometimes just making things up on the spot because I love to bake and cook. I am also vegetarian. But when I asked Rick what he wanted to eat on his birthday, he wants red jello with pineapple. I bought some. I will make it in the morning and place it in a glass bowl with a plastic lid and pick up a big tub of Cool Whip, because tomorrow is about my son and what he likes and not about me.

 
The third and hardest is that my little Noiene is in congestive heart failure. She is 11.5 years old and has been quite perky up until this past year. She is coughing and tired and yesterday I came home from work to find her lying in her own mess whimpering. I gave her a bath and her symptoms are under control for the moment but I know that it is time for me to do the loving thing and help her cross the rainbow bridge. I wish I could get the medicine and just give it to her here, at home with me and then bury her at my friend Regina’s property so she can chase (and not catch) the spirit bunnies to her hearts content. She always loved visiting Regina’s. Just don’t know if that’s even legal. Better than that, I wish the Goddess would take the decision out of my hands and take her home tonight while we are both sleeping. If not I will do the loving thing.
 
I will bathe and groom her again tomorrow (she likes it as long as I leave the paws, butt and tail alone) and my sons will come visit her and take some pictures Wednesday. I hope its a good day for her. I am still a bit in denial because I keep expecting to wake up and have her bouncing around me again, I believe in miracles. But I also believe her being in my life for 11.5 years was really more miracle than anyone can ask for and so what I will do for love is very soon, I will let her go.

Journeys without a GPS require trust in the navigator

 I am cannot say I am a fan of change, and I am currently inundated with flux.  State budget cuts in important programs (just before the election in an effort to solidify the Republican vote and keep 80% of Arizona’s income in 3% of the populations pockets) have suddenly reduced my work hours by half. I am moving my place of residence again, and again moving into a situation where there are social dynamics (roommate and renting from son)after a lovely 6 month respite of living alone and just having to pay rent on time to strangers to keep a roof over my head; my car is in the shop, hoping its nothing serious; looking for second job and recently really ended and let go of a on again/off again 3 year relationship; the entire Mayor’s Court cast at Ren Faire will be different this year and still don’t even know what it will be or if I still want to or can afford do it, and some medical &*%$ in there again too. I really want to be bored for a bit.

This grumpy, growly complaints for the world to slow down and just let me rest may be a  function of age. I do notice that many other mature (read over 50) people (unlike me) do not even own or know how to operate computers comfortably and (unlike me) always listen to the same music  with which they first found love and independence.  Resisting the changes in technology, music, social mores and economic realities, they sit beside me at the doctors, strike up conversations at libraries or coffee shops and commiserate that the world we set in motion in the 60’s has gotten away from us.  The only thing I see myself having in common with many of them is species and age, so I would like to blame my own Ego in-transient stance and intransigent inner voice on the years, a stiffening of mind and soul, like the stiffening of my joints and legs. However the logic is faulty.

When I eat healthy, do my yoga and run, I have considerably less joint, back and muscle stiffness and pain. When I remember to feed and move my soul through reading healthy, meditating and consciously practicing gratitude I move through the oceans of new opportunities presented me with full sail and smiles, trusting the winds and the tides. 

I found myself almost looking for a new "self-help" book on CD on my I-tunes this morning before I smiled and told my Ego to shut up. I have plenty of functional maps to getting through this newest storm of changes, I don’t need to spend my smallest resource looking for a GPS system to replace them.  I don’t need a fix. I need to let go and move with winds and the water. No GPS for me.

I don’t actually believe in a spiritual GPS system, I don’t really trust physical GPS systems, a Garmin or TomTom is only as accurate as the cooperation of the operator and latest software. I mean I believe they exist, and they aren’t the original inspired texts. Spiritual truths are maps and travelogues. I think Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad,  or any of the writers of the Upanishads would be both pleased and ashamed at the fruits of the seeds they planted as gardened by modern men and women. GPS  spiritual plans are the religions of the journey.  A GPS is an Electronic map willing to tell us where we are and where we are going, requiring nothing of the one making the journey but compliance. If the programming is up to date and the person correctly entered their destination, they will arrive exactly where they wanted to go by the shortest, fastest route having learned nothing but how to follow directions.

I don’t need that, or really want that. It was laziness looking for a quick fix. I don’t really want that either. I enjoy the journeys and remember the roadtrips as well and some times better than the destinations. So it is not a function of  age, just a function of my very human laziness so that being said I am done for today and off to run with my dog and pack some boxes…but before I do 

Something completely different, my dog right now is so totally making me laugh I am almost peeing my pants.  I have tried to photograph or film this but the second I pick up the camera she stops, so narrative it is. Noeine is almost eleven years old and like me is not only getting long in the tooth but wide in the girth, so she like me, is on restricted rations. She used to get at will fed but reduced activity did not reduce her (or my)appetite. So anyway the unthinkable happens now, her dish is empty. To illuminate me to this horrendous factoid she is chasing it around the floor, picking it up in her mouth and banging it against my leg "accidentally" while I type, then dropping it on the floor and looking at me. She learned this stare from years of living with cats I am quite sure. Anyway, what is quite funny is I got up and gave her a new scoop of food and then she didn’t eat it,  catlike she just cant stand an empty bowl.

Anyway off to sail through my ocean of change….