Swimming is improving slowly


Trainer Phil Veatch took a video of me swimming last Thursday and I finally watched it! I am still slow as a snail (if snail swam) but my breathing and hips are so improved it makes me a little happy!

Here is what I looked like two weeks ago.


I am one month away from the first race. I am sticking with running three times a week, swimming three times a week and biking three times a week. Tuesday is the only day I do all three together and can only say I may set a new record for slowest Sprint Tri Particiapant ever. Do they ever just disqualify somebody for just being too slow? Or so they can start the next race? If not, then barring an unforseen injury, I will complete, just may not be able to run very well for the final leg of it. Yesterday I swam 300 meters (my tri is 200), biked 8.5 miles, and going brick from ride to run only walked the 0.5 mile length of the run. I will keep training, focus on more sleep and my nutrition; but most importantly remember in the face of all the other athletes who are running for speed, that I am in this first one just to complete, next one will be a bit more about time as well as increased distance.

I knew when I selected this October race that to go from the poor physical shape I was in who was a non swimmer, who had never ridden a bike  (and was scared of both) to completing a Triath would be very challenging, I was right about that, but even in the face of how far I still need to go in getting my body into its optimum shape, and how slow my times may be, I am glad I set the goal and I am incredibly thankful for the support from family and friends.

And who knows I may still surprise myself. The fact I have gotten this far and am riding a bike certainly has already surprised me.

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.



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…..



The Shape of Things

The Shape of Things
I am tired today of being a sphere
in a world of triangles and cubes.
I make myself small to fit in the spaces you provide
but always around me is the empty
of not
being the shape expected
and I am aware of the whispers and talk
about my lack of corners
my roundness is
a sign of how you are an us
and I am a them,

one of those kind of people;

You would have me grow edges of ego and feet,
Grounding myself in the Truths you can touch and the Words you name and see
And usually I am content to roll in my love and roundness
Believing the impossible and when i  leave the angled walls of Truth
unfurling my wings.
Today I think I would  be more content
if I could just find another here like me.





I light my candles, and sit lotus still.
I think of the play of lights on the hills outside the Faire as sun sets and we wait in the clouds of dust to exit                                       in our metal resource eating machines
I could still go, skip this day of rest and order and neglected friends.
I could wear…I touch my incense to the flame.
I think of  Broom lady and has her baby come yet, and the pillow I want to buy resplendent with the world                               and lavendar, and then there would be drumming,and I really could still go,                                                                                                                                                forget this tiredness, the dirt will wait and the ones I see today  in a                                                                                                     place where interactions can have such sharp edges. the scent curls into my nose                                                                       with memories of kisses and love and music
beckoning me away
From here and now
from this altar, Kuan Yin,
Bear of the North,
Coyote of the Fiery East,
Crow of Wings and Air and South and song,
Dragonfly Wings and Water
and my own magic which leads to the One spirit, the source.
I sit.
I touch a button and the Ipod plays
And on the chants
And the strings
and the voices of the drums
they dance away….all my wants, and fears, and needs, and pains
All the things to fill my hours, moments, arms and days.
with anything but me.and I am gloriously empty
And again whole.As Lao Tzu said
My life vessel may be constructed of the finest materials
But its usefulness
Is in the space within.



Memorial Daze

Memorial Daze

sounds the world like it should put the bodies back together.Memorial day
Is all about re membering
the dismembering of families
the missing limbs of sons and fathers and daughters
the missing limbs of families
and the fracturing of hope into hate
that tyranny and war perpetuate.

I wish that instead of wiring plastic flowers
into perpetual wreaths of forgetting
that the Walmarts and the Del Montes and all the international
flag flying perpetrators of poverty
and otherness
would weave a memorial to the fragility
of truth
and love
that made the ever proud US see
we really are all in it together.

and no one would have to spend again the final part of May
a broken patriotism and personal honor tarnished with the shame of witnessed genocides, complicity in torture
and laws supporting racial profiling and religious persecution

and no one would have to spend a single day
re-membering their family
trying to make whole again
a heart
while wondering what it was to have a spouse
a parent
a partner
above the ground
instead of wreaths to hang.

I wish I could re-member
what witnessing violence breaks
I wish I could re-member
the bodies without limbs
the famies with only a body
but what I can’t re-member
I instead honor today and wonder
when will we ever learn..
when will we ever learn,

There may be those who read my words and call me out as enemy within;
to them I say,
I served
I saw
I stayed behind while a son served
and I see his shrapneled soul.

But we are still lucky
our breaks are all inside
and we still breath and eat and sleep
and work and play.

to those who did not return
to those who returned too broken to love
and especially to those who live the dis-membered lives
these lost and fallen men left behind

I send prayers and gratitude
and hope a few more people join me in hanging garlands of forgiveness
and compassion in May.
Honor our fallen with forgiveness on the freeway, at the long line coffee checkout
instead of plastic flowers on a grave.

Plant love and understanding
Honor the sacrifice but memorialize Peace.



To the prodigal and lost

To the lost and prodigal sons
A Mother’s regrets are few
Except for all the things she said
And the way they tumbled out like water tearing rocks in spring
And all the things she should have said
but didn’t
and a thousand chances she couldn’t give you
the things she only learned much later,
and all the things she knew.But love never says “I told you so,”
Love lays at the bottom soft safety net if you land
And whispers prayers of safe descent
Longing for that lost lullaby country
Beyond the rainbow, beyond the tears and shouts and rain
Where destruction does not wear the mask of pleasure
And happiness is not buttoned up in pain.


Only Kiss

I forget how magic it all is
This life I take for granted
I see again the wonder of it all through other eyes
The great horned owl who followed me home
and stayed.
The murder of crows over Sedona
Coyotes saluting me at 3 A.M.

And I wonder if you know the magic trailing after you
Like dust trails in a monsoon wind
or the first I time I read Ginsberg.
And I wonder
If you know
that now whenever I taste or smell the subtle hint
of beer
I think of hops courage on a first kiss breath
and smile.



My mother was the very best
at painting pots of gold at rainbow’s end
of believing in the prince who’d come
and how every broken heart could mend.

But now no silver lines the batterring, gusting mass
I hold the lifeless hand of hope that’s passed.

Once more alone, ice-wind wrapped, enfulged in ebony
My face is slick with rain of grief,
spirit bruised beyond belief
I slump bereft; the storm is all my soul can see,
for the darkest part of dawn preceeds no light,
no morning breaks for me.

But wait, what message there upon the shoals of blight,
pink infant fingers reaching up and pulling down the night.

Strange lesson taught by yonder orb
Caressing calming stormy trees
Day has no need of my faith to begin
Appointed cycle complete
Night will end.

Eating the Day

Eating the Day
No longer afraid to scale life’s bendy branches
I stretch myself
Pick this fresh peach of a new day
The fuzzy skin of awakening sensual to my rousing fingertip;
My mouth moistens with the tantalizing tang of rich, ripe fruit.

Eager lips part
I bite
into the fecund flesh
of possibilities.
Enjoyment breeding messiness
a rivulet of juice trails down between my breasts and
my fingers grow sticky
with the sweetness of its handling

all that remains
is the feel of the coarse casing of tomorrow’s tree
as the
of juice
slides down a welcoming throat.

again, I sleep.


A Day with my Son

Sometimes I look and see that child in your eyes
Who believed his mother wise
and the source of all that love could deliver
Sometimes the teen who believed me only a fool
And my love was the greatest of lies.

Today I looked and saw a man
struggling just like me to find the pattern, master plan
that would make a treasured art mosaic
of all the broken pieces.
A new design another understands.