Roll away your stone, I’ll roll away mine…

I am reading collected Archie comics while listening to Mumford and Sons and realize their album is just too perfect as a lead into today’s blog. Maybe not the composers intended meaning, but look carefully at the lyrics of half the songs on “Sigh No More”, and hey, totally the soundtrack to discuss some radical Zombie literature longing to bite into your imagination. Forget watching Walking Dead reruns, crack open a book and let your brain do the devouring of these unexpected zombies.

First up is the collected “Afterlife with Archie,” replete with all the classic Archie comic’s tropes and conflicts while incorporating a new closeted lesbian couple, the out but not yet completely accepted gay Kevin, a little V.C. Andrews style brotherly love, comments on class conflict and lots of great action, this is artistic and storyline perfection brought to us Eisner winning artist Fransesco Francavilla and Harvey award winner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Volume one crushes it, volumes 2 and 3 are also available.

My second favorite is a little harder but not impossible to find out of print 2005 Holiday book by Christopher Moore, “The Stupidest Angel.” The humorous and heartwarming tale of terror, like Archie’s apocalypse, begins with a misbegotten act of kindness for a little boy by the same Angel that brought us Moore’s masterpiece “Lamb.” I know, I know, Christmas is dead, it’s January, resurrect it for a moment just for this novel and you won’t regret it.

My third undead recommendation is also the third in the entertaining alternate history, steam punk style Clockwork Century series by Cherie Priest. “Dreadnought”, is my favorite book in the series and stands well on its own. Part mystery, we travel with Mercy, a civil war nurse with ties to both sides of the conflict.  If you are a completest start with the Seattle-based “Boneshaker” and just know the story gets better and better. Atypical zombie origins and an impeccable storytelling make these books hard to put down, so maybe you will want to snag the Audible recordings, masterfully narrated by Wil Wheaton and keep the story going on your commute.

My fourth and final book feast is a series you have seen orbiting the science fiction circuit in 2015 due to its recent adaptation by the SyFy channel. “Leviathan” is the fist novel in the Expanse series. Like the Clockwork Century novels, the zombies of James S. A. Corey’s universe are just one cog in an intricate machine of terror, mystery, betrayals and unexpected heroism.

Try any or all of these cold, creepy corpse crawlers this January.  Snuggled up in your bed or favorite chair with a steaming cocoa, a tempting toddy, or a spot of hot, sweet tea, let the dark month of January crowd and scratch outside your windows, after all, they are just stories and you are still safe.

Aren’t you?


Places to visit without leaving the comfort of your air conditioning.

My day started busy and is definitely going the stay that way so today’s blog is just a brief itinerary of some other blogs to travel to today while mine is being boring and neglected.

First off is I used to be young and beautiful, not so much in person anymore, but I still get to experience youthful travel and foodie adventures vicariously through following this blog.  Check her out.

For all my Geek friends who, like me, will not be at San Diego Comicon this week-end, I give you these sites. Meet five of my favorite Con guests  (I have at least a dozen, some just aren’t blogging much right now due to other obligations) up close and personal (I mean the internet is personal, right, we are really all friends?) , and there are no long lines.

And finally here are two sites to visit if you want to be inspired by others courage and maybe do some good today.  Go back a few and read forward to be amazed at this woman’s courage and plucky determination to make rainbows and lemonade.  Feeling grateful for your own health? Express your gratitude to the universe by donating a few dollars. As someone who has dealt with life altering illness professionally and personally, I tell you thank-you in advance. If the small forgotten creatures of the world are more your thing than humans, or if maybe you want to do two good things today, go cruise around this sight a wee bit and learn about the furry things with whom we share the Arizona desert and then paypal  a small donation for some four legged patient’s food and/or medicine.

And now I am off to drive an hour and half in the heat listening to my favorite tunes (thank you Apple for the Ipod) cause I am blessed enough to have  veteran’s medical coverage. (And, no, I wasn’t being sarcastic, I really am grateful for medical care I can afford, and someday when lifetime caps and pre-existing conditions are not part of the insurance business, I will find me closer care. In the meant time, I deeply appreciate what I have.)


Tomorrow maybe some more vegan recipes. Those seem to be reader favorites.


Ice, Ice Baby!

June 1, 2011. I couldn’t run a block. I had never ridden a bicycle or had a swimming lesson. June 1st was day one of this journey I am on, my goal was to try something ego challenging, that required effort and discipline and it had to be something fun and  completely different.

Anything athletic was about as different as I could get from my bookish existence. Also, and not surprisingly,  I was and am a BIG girl. Big girls still got game, I call my style of game, ” SOFT” (Slow Old Fat Try-athlete).

This pre-amble is to put in perspective my yesterday.  I swam 100 meters; four lengths together without break. I was panting and gasping when I was done but I did it.  Then I swam another 200 meters in lengths of 25; when I was done swimming I biked about 5 miles, and walked 5K. I am also trimming down, weighed in yesterday at 217 lbs. Not that the point was to be thin, but every ten pounds I lose is ten pounds I don’t have to drag through the water or around the track.

This morning I ran 1 mile, walked 2 more. Tomorrow after work I will go bike and swim.

I am tired and sweaty a lot.

I am also currently icing my back daily and rolling, rolling, rolling my legs and butt. I have a healing blister between my cheeks, ache places that never ached before and a very funky tan line but still am sooooo excited by my progress and that I am still engaged in an activity I have been told (and for years even told myself) just wasn’t for me.

So what’s my goal, well my dream goal is an open water/trail run triath event in an exotic local, but since I am still an EXTREME novice, Athena novice at that, below is the website description of the first event that all this swimming, running and biking is about. I will be doing the MINI ADULT. Not a bad beginning length. I will be in the Athena category and have no idea how many will be in my age group. I am not as much interested in taking home a ribbon as I am in actually completing the race. My DIL is a bit more competitive and I hope to see her take first in her group.

If I continue to practice, practice, practice I know I can complete the lengths needed. Now I am all nervous about transitions and set up and what to wear and eat. Gonna reread the book by Jayne Williams and just keep swimming…

By the way, anyone who wants to come participate in the race or cheer me and Dawn on, let me know, I say for this kind of thing…the more the merrier!!!!

I know I haven’t finished it yet, but I am farther than I could ever have believed possible a year ago. I wouldn’t have come this far without Phil Veatch, my trainer from Inspire Fitness;  the massage and adjustments from Backfit Chiropractic (Anne, Dr. Vogel, and Jacquie);  bike riding lessons and poolside encouragement from my local sons Rick and Dallon and my DIL Dawn; the special contribution of Steve and Jody; and of course my friends Pat, Sara, Anne, Angela and Amie who keep encouraging, clothing and believing in me regardless of what crazy thing I try now. (Also a small thank-you to James Owen and Wil Wheaton, not that they will read this, but it is there amazing writing I listen to when running, stretching and walking. Like Oprah and Glinda the Good Witch these two men keep me motivated and believing that I have always had the power.)


Brief Description

Tri-Family Racing presents The City of Mesa Halloween Adult & Youth Sprint Triathlon & Duathlon. Everyone can get in on the fun; …we have Youth & Adult divisions as well as Relay Team competitions.

Event Refund Policy

No refunds provided!

Additional Information

MINI ADULT TRI: Adults: 200 yd. Swim, 8 mi Bike, 1/2 mi Run
MAXI ADULT TRI: 400 yd. swim, 12 mi Bike, 2 mi Run
YOUTH (TRI ONLY): 100 yd. Swim, 2.5 mi Bike; 1/2 mi Run
MAXI DU: Adults: 1/2 mi. Run, 12 mi. bike, 2 mi Run

WHERE: Fremont Pool, 1001 N Power Road, Mesa ,AZ 85205 (Northeast corner of East Adobe Street & North Power Road)

WHEN: Youth triathlon approx. 7 am Adult Triathlon & Duathlon starts at 7:45am. ALL TRI-ENTRANTS MUST HAVE THEIR BIKES IN THE TRANSITION AREA NO LATER THAN 6:45 AM

AWARDS: Five deep in all Age & Relay team categories. All youth also receive a participant ribbon.

REGISTRATION: Registration Packet pick-up on Saturday October 29th is HIGHLY recommended, Registration packets and late registration will be available at Iron Gear Sports, 6655 E. McDowell road, Mesa, AZ 85215 (480) 396-4766 from 1pm to 5pm. (Suite 103, southwest corner of Power and McDowell)

MINI ADULT TRI: $67 postmarked before October 15th $77 thereafter.
MAXI ADULT TRI or MAXI DU: $72 post marked before October 15th, $82 thereafter.
TRI RELAY TEAMS: $140 postmarked before October 15th $150 thereafter.
Youth Race TRI ONLY: $47 postmarked before October 15th $52 thereafter


Children’s Race Age divisions: 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14 yrs old (TRI ONLY)
Individual Male and Female: 15-19, 20-24; 25-29; 30-34; 35-39; 40-44; 45-49; 50-54; 55-59; 60-64; 65-69; 70+, Athena – Females 150+ lbs — Clydesdale – Males – 200+ lbs,
Relay divisions: Coed, All Female, All Male.

SPONSORS: Iron Gear Sports, Landis Cyclery, Adobe Images, Carlos O’Brien’s, M & J Trophies, Triple Sports., Hammer Gel, Adobe Graphics, Coffee’s of Hawaii, Tri-Family Racing,: Over $750.00 in merchandise, WOW !!!!!


USA Triathlon is the national governing body for the sports of triathlon, duathlon, winter triathlon and aquathlon in the United States. Participation in a USAT sanctioned event means the event director has the proper permits in place, liability and athlete excess medical insurance coverage and the event plan has met the standard of organization required. USA Triathlon provides rules, guidance and governance to set the standard for safe and fair multi-sport races. For more information on USA Triathlon and fueling the multi-sport lifestyle, visit our website at

Celebrating achievement of my first training goal

 Noticed it two days ago actually, while pulling myself out of the pool to patter over to the bathroom. I do that a lot with exercise, go to the bathroom I mean, and how that will work with doing a triathlon is currently a mystery, potentially Depends. Anyway on a much better note, I have only had exactly four swim lessons, will have been training for less than a month (started June 1) and can now fit my hips through the ladder at pool side without angling to make them fit.

The joy this brings may mean nothing to someone who has always been athletic or thin, but to me it is a pretty big deal. My buttocks and thighs have been squeezed into opera seats,  plane seats, office chairs with arms, ladder sides, etc for most of the last ten years. These hips had one or two reprieves from their out-sized existence when I would drop near or below 200 lbs, but overall it has been a decade where everything I sit or climb on (especially with sides) has been a reminder of how I don’t fit. I find myself entering and leaving the pool more from the deep-end ladder now than the shallow end stairs, just because I can.

In the actual swimming portion of the training program,  I still can’t consistently make a half lap, never mind a whole lap, with my face in the water. I can make it about a third of the way without having to switch to backstroke. The more tired I get, the harder it is to breathe out under water, but I push a minimum of two strokes past what I think I can do, and I always complete my homework. I will take my victories where I can find them. Phil Veatch, my trainer says I haven’t lost endurance, I am just working harder when I am in the water (keeping my butt up, you know tightening the core, constant arm motion) and that is why my stamina seems less. I will take his word on it as I want to believe this to be true.

My current training plan now is walking 5k  and swimming 5 out of seven days (this includes the class) and working on how to work spinning (bike not wool) in as well to train in that area while I learn to ride (balance) a real bike. I am tired a lot, and hungry just as much. Sticking to my organic vegetarian ways (mostly, not everything is organic), trying to sleep at least seven hours a night and also remembering to do my stretches and meditation twice daily.  

I trained at the pool this morning and I walked a little over two miles as laps at the mall this afternoon (for those reading outside Arizona, it reaches 100 degrees before noon and stays hot. It is currently 110 degrees at 5PM, hence mall laps) Need to do another mile with the dogs tonight, but will depend on how fast the temperature drops. The Endomondo and My Fitness Tracker apps on my new droid (thanks again Rick and Dawn!) have been awesome helps in watching diet and activity.

Work week starts again tomorrow so that is my Day 1 each week. I have stated my goals for the coming week and my big achievement (or is it a smaller achievement! Yea smaller hips, also fit into my size 18 jeans this afternoon! Woot!) My next goal at the pool is to be able to complete a lap, face in the water, no pause at the turn!
In other more literary news I am totally in reader geek heaven. First, there was the long awaited re-opening of the way to faery and to Bordertown with the  story collection released earlier this month, then JK Rowlings announcement, and then as the ultimate icing on the cake James Owen makes his announcement When you wrap this all around the fact I am listening on my Ipod to the awsome topped awesomeness of a complete collection of I received as an early birthday present when I couldn’t make Phoenix Comicon, you know my reader geek is truly tooooo bliss-ed out to even notice we have gotten up off the couch, are totally moving and that now its a whole lot more than our ice tea with lemonade that is sweating.

Starting where I am, progress and using pain as tool for peace.

If you are reading my blogs because of the triathlete training tag, I ask you  to endure the first more literary leg of this blog as my transition to my new obsession will come faster and more smoothly than I predict my first actual race transition will be, but then again I might just surprise us all.  

I am a typical middle aged bookworm with bulky glasses, more imaginary friends than lifetime peer relationships and a large, low rear center of gravity. I am typically voracious in my book appetites if atypically eclectic in my reading style. Just finished Melissa Anelli’s nonfiction "Harry, A History" at breakfast, and half way through "Hexed" by Kevin Hearne from lunch. I am listening to Jim Butcher’s Dresden files on audio while in the car and am up to book 6. I am rereading (again) "Ghandi an Autobiography" in the bathroom, have Jon Kabat-Zinn on the night stand and C.S. Lewis "The Great Divorce" in my briefcase.  

Certain writers are my mainstays, but I will try any printed page for depth and flavor. I have an ice cream like hankering for the spiritual and I am a huge fan of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Pema Chodron, and C.S. Lewis. I can’t get enough of their writings. One of their books is always in play, not only because the written works themselves are immensely readable but also because the author’s human struggle is the muddy garden in which these flowers of  enlightenment bloom.  Ghandi and Lewis have been with me since childhood and can be blamed for my attempt to guide my life by the principles of Satipatthana and Ahimsa. Pema joined my team when I was struggling to build some new neural pathways post surgery and infection and was given her book  "When Things Fall Apart"; she introduced annata, annica and duhka to me as the tools they are in language I understood. 

I am not quite a book junkie who will just buy a book for the score, but I do have certain lighter favorite authors like Charles de Lint,  Wil Wheaton,  James Owen, Jasper Fforde, Karen Armstrong, Ayya Khema and Linda Pastan whose works are now purchased whenever they appear and are devoured on the strength of past positive experience. Then there are the authors like Christopher Moore, Debbie Macomber,  Stephen King,  David McCullough whose flashes of brilliance in the midst of McMainstream writing will get me to peruse the back cover of their latest and often buy it.  

I am making it sound like I choose what I read, but as I look more closely at my overstuffed shelves, I see that all a book really needs to do, is sit attractively on the front table of Changing Hands (my, yes MY, no I don’t own it but it is where I spend all my book money) and bat its attractively colored cover at me, flirt with an intriguing chapter list, or maybe take me out on that first page date, and I am theirs; mind, time and wallet. So many books, so little time, so many stories to live (from the comfort of my armchair with a nice glass of tea in easy reach.) I am the typical book nerd full of sweet and salty treats and disdainful of all that sweaty spandex sports world.
Which is why I am baffled as much by the book I am carrying around constantly as I am at this person stretching across from me in my bedroom mirror. Perhaps it is a a bit of a midlife crisis that starting June 1, 2011 I officially came out as a triathlete wanna be. The book I carry now (all the time!) is by Jayne Williams. 
The cover is a very realistic sports in progress photo with too much yellow; it looks more like a healthy diet bar than a tasty  tome. Inside the book the author’s writing style would have won my mockery in the days as a professional critic. The funny thing is, I think that would have been Okay with her, maybe more than okay, she would have embraced my mockery and just kept running, swimming, biking and sharing her experience.
If my  am very sure she would have been okay, it is because she is teaching me to be okay as well. Her book, "Slow, Fat Triathlete" has become as important to my going forward as Ghandi has been to my getting here. The funny thing is, she says all the things I am used to hearing from my spiritual sensei’s but the meaning is now manifest in the tight stretch of my neck to improve the chance of breathing air instead of water, the fold of my abdomen impeding a new core building yoga pose, the awkward weight and friction of my thighs as I break into a trotting sort of run.  I struggle with the very real dailiness of starting where I am in something I don’t have to do, compassion for the non-athlete I am is as much a challenge as the movements. Pain is proof I am pushing to improvement. The challenge today was to be mindful enough of my needs to take the day off training (Yup, Jayne recommends downtime too!) Patience, practice, compassion….easier said than done when the only success is showing up again to the process.
As to the annihilation of ego portion of my life program, that is a whole story in itself. The biggest ego lesson of slow, fat triath training is not the very HUGE one of continuing to show up for something I don’t shine at, the biggest lesson for me has to do with learning the "self" in selflessness.
I want to complete a triathlon, it has been on my bucket list for a few years. But… I don’t need to complete this goal to support myself better. It won’t make the world a better place. It won’t feed anyone, heal anyone, save anyone; make anyone’s life better except maybe me. This is probably the first most selfish thing I have ever done.  If I am no more and no less than anyone else, and I would make this kind of effort, utilize these resources, spend this time to help another, is this then my lesson in letting go of ego, I can and should do the same for me?
More daily logs coming tomorrow…for now, me and my deep thoughts are gonna go clean the bathroom and then make a healthy supper and maybe go for a swim, and if the pool bullies are there, I have a plan.