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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Flying in my version of Wonder Woman

Today I felt a little bad-assed. I ran four miles for the second time in a week. The goal is to be able to run six and a half miles comfortably for my leg of a relay in November. Today I ran without my watch. I ran with my watch Monday and all I know is that I am running a lot slower than ever before.

Yes, I know that I have really not been running since March. Yes, I know that osteoarthritis in my knee makes things incredibly hard. And yes, I was still bummed to be running so slow when I should be thankful to be able to do this much.

I am thankful for my body. It is a good body. It allows me to swim, do yoga, and bike between 20-35 miles on any given Sunday. Not too shabby for someone not really training for anything. I am just trying to balance out my fitness routine because menopause is a thing.

Menopause is a thing and I cannot take hormones. Menopause is a thing and the weight has materialized where it wasn't before. I am learning to embrace the change and move forward no matter how slow.

So today I ran. It is a small victory but isn't that what life is? Connected small things that lead up to bigger and better things? Please say yes, because that is what I keep telling myself.

Today, for the first time in a good while I am walking around believing that I am my own version of Wonder Woman. I hope this lasts for more than one day.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Flying waiting for Irma

Hurricane Irma is on the way. It is amazing to me how predictive models can change over the course of a few hours. It is even more amazing to listen to people rationalize their decisions to stay or go as if it is a game. Many laughed at the people who evacuated in an attempt to be safe when the hurricane changed course. Others were angry after evacuating when perhaps they could have stayed. And the same thing is happening now. 

It isn't funny to those who took the information they were giving and made a sound decision to spend whatever resources they had to flee. And if you left based on the information you were given and that information changed (or the storm changed course) shouldn't you be thankful? There is no one all knowing in either scenario. 

Aaron Burden
I am also tired of people throwing the random scripture out there about God punishing us. But of course, He is only punishing us for certain sins. Funny how that works. And this is the reason Christianity leaves an awful taste in some of our mouths. 

I am happy to see the wonderful humanity in most of us. The people who have opened their homes to strangers who have no place to go. The people who are providing food, clothing, and other needed services and items to anyone. That overshadows the others who are sitting in vast judgment from their social media accounts. That is the world we live in. 

I am trying to be careful not to be quick to judge. This is hurricane season. No, I do not think God is punishing us. If He wanted to punish us I think it would be due to being respectful and accepting of others. It would be for the gluttony, greed, laziness, wrath, envy, pride, lust, and a few other things because there is certainly enough of those going around and they are not isolated to one's pro-life, pro-birth, pro-choice, sexual orientation, sexual preference, immigration status, skin color, socioeconomic status, or education level. So we should all be careful when hurling those bible verses. We just may be talking about punishing ourselves. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Flying into the next month

Eric Rothermel
Tomorrow is a new month. And the year is almost over. I already saw Halloween decorations in the grocery store. And those dreaded cinnamon brooms which give me a headache.

So much has happened and yet it is hard for me to remember exactly what I have done so far. I mean I have run two marathons, two half marathons, become a Pound pro (that is a story for a different day), and got diagnosed with osteoarthritis. There it is the good, bad, and the ugly. And that is not even everything. It's funny what we remember without going back to read the notes on our calendar or in my case my journals. I have been journaling since 1990 and trust me there is a lot of stuff in those books.

Tomorrow is a new month. Another opportunity to begin again. I feel the need to do something differently. At the moment I have no idea what that even looks like and I have less than 24 hours to put something in play. I was supposed to be thinking about it while doing laps today, but I did not. And I am not really thinking about it right now, not full force anyway.

Perhaps subconsciously the plan is in motion. And maybe it isn't. I have time. It's all on me. I am not seeking anyone's approval. I just want something different. And maybe that begins with a new hair color. Hey, one small change can be the catalyst for many more.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Flying honoring the journey

I went back to Charleston to view the eclipse. I commandeered a friend's house and had a viewing party. It was great being back and hanging out with old friends and meeting new ones. A few important things happened this weekend.

I got fitted for running shoes and was given exercises to straighten my right knee. I even ran an easy two miles after not running since March. That was huge.

I took my Pandora bracelet to a Pandora concept store to get a new bracelet. In the end I kept the old bracelet that I had since 2006 and just added a safety chain. The women in the store told me just how much each charm cost (they had all been retired) and now I know approximately how valuable my bracelet is. I bought a charm for each class I took while pursuing my PhD. So it was valuable regardless of the dollar amount, but now I know that it has monetary value. I would not be able to replace it if I lost it.

My friends and I cooked incredible food to celebrate the eclipse. We did not have moon pies, but we had a moon cake which was delicious beyond words. We also had solar eclipse cocktails and various appetizers.

As the moon appeared we howled at it from the backyard. I have no idea why, it just seemed like the appropriate thing to do at the time.

I made myself available to folks and some showed up and others did not. It was all good. I know who my friends are. There was one that I was a tiny bit confused about, but I was able to tell him "I hope what you did over the weekend was amazing because you chose that over me". And now I am no longer confused. I was surrounded by friends who love me, support me, and honor me. There is no longer any room for any other kind of relationship in my life. There never should have been, but we all head down the wrong path a time or two.

The journey to Charleston to witness a magnificent event was well worth the 2.5 hours on the road. And what I discovered while there made it even better and the leftovers that I brought home even more so. And with the strength of others finally letting go was the best journey ever.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Flying in the storm

I have been glued to my television watching the ripple effects from  the Charlottesville, VA incident. I really want to say murder because a beautiful young woman was killed. and yes, she is not the first beautiful young person killed in the battle between oppression and independence. Sadly, she is not and probably will not be the last.

When does it end? When do we recognize each other as equals? When does it go beyond skin color, religion, and gender? Or does it ever? Will there always be someone who is superior just because of some act of nature?

This is exhausting. It is exhausting for those of us who are not idly sitting on our hands keeping score. It is exhausting for those of us who choose to answer the tough questions when we are asked or strive to create a dialogue to end this renewed level of blatant hatred. I, myself do not like everyone. I will always respect that person because all humans deserve respect. That does not mean that I want to go shopping with you. (And for the record, the reason I do not like certain people has nothing to do with their skin color, religion, or gender. I just don't like their work ethics, behavior, or something like that).

Everyone please check your privilege. Your privilege to look away, to be silent, to remain uniformed, to do whatever it is that you can do without being questioned. We all don't have that luxury. Living our authentic selves is a right. No one should be forced to submit to a life of servitude to an almighty race. Life is hard enough as it is.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Flying with the ark

I don't know about you, but I really did not think too hard about Noah and the ark. I mean, I have heard the story a million times. I may not get all of the details right, but get the gist. I am not sure I ever considered it to be an actual story or just a fable to prove a point. I really did not think about it much.

Until my mother decided that she wanted to go see the Ark Encounter. I had no idea what that was and I was calling it the Ark Explosion because I, well I just could not remember the actual name. So one Friday my sister, my mom, and I trekked to a tiny town in Kentucky to see the ark.

I had no idea what was in store for us even though almost everyone we spoke to said it was an awesome experience. We were told that we could spend the entire day there. And I just could not wrap my mind around that. I mean the ark was just a boat load of animals, right?

That thing is huge. The measurements were taken directly out of the bible (something that I missed in my years of Sunday school). And Noah and his family lived on it for about a year. Yes, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights but they had to wait for the water to subside before that could actually live on the land.

Inside the ark there are detailed explanations about how the animals were fed, how waste was removed, how fresh water was obtained, and how the food was grown. It was a complete bio-system (or whatever it is called, self contained ecosystem).

One of the best parts for me was that there are scientific explanations on how things may have happened and not the because God said so defense. The creationist view was placed beside the evolutionist view which invited the reader to draw independent conclusions.

There were many different religious sects there. I am no authority , but I saw people who could be Mormon, Amish, Mennonite, Pennsylvania Dutch, and whatever other brand there is. (I say that because of their appearance-bonnets, long dresses with aprons, suspenders, hats, and other traditional type clothing). I am sure there were many others that do not differentiate themselves by clothing.

It was an experience worth having. Just the magnificence of the ark and all of the people who flocked to see it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Flying back in the saddle

I did it. I finally got back on my bike. I have not been on my bike in about four or five years. It was during my last triathlon. Now that I am not running, I had to figure something else out. so I reached out to my hair stylist (when I can afford her), and elite cyclist friend for advice. Yes, I had completed three triathlons, but truth be told I really did not know how to ride my bike.

That changed a bit on Sunday. My hair stylist elite cyclist friend took me under her wing. First I took my bike to her and her husband's shop. There it got new tires (a few of the spokes in the previous ones broke), new handbrake configuration, new computer, new tape on the handle bars with gel, and a reflector light in the back. I also now own a helmet that did not come from a low end department store. Next are new pedals, shoes, and a cassette (apparently mine was damaged and I am blaming that on the move).

Now I have an totally upgraded bike that I was terrified to ride. I was terrified for a few reasons. One, I had not been on my bike in ages. Two, I was not sure how fast/far I could go. Three, I was not sure I could remember how to clip/unclip (and I wasn't that good before). Four, it was a no drop group ride and I did not want to be holding everyone else up.

I almost bailed on the ride for all of those reasons. Then I realized that I had to start (again) somewhere and the first time back on the bike would be the first time no matter when I did it. So I did it. Only my hair stylist elite cyclist friend showed up so I got one-on-one lessons on how to ride. I learned the correct hand placement on the handle bars, how to move my body to release the muscle soreness, and when to start unclipping before a stop.

I still have a lot to learn, but I successfully rode 27 and change miles. It was slow, but for a first ride it was amazing. I now fully believe that a century ride is doable and another sprint triathlon is definitely in the plans for next year.

I am even more impressed that I can walk. Full disclosure: I did got to restorative yoga Sunday night instead of my usual intense deep slow flow. I needed gentle hip flexor hamstring love.