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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Zen on Two Wheels

I left the house with plenty of time and no expectations. I hadn't ridden in 8 days; meetings, out-of-town seminar, showing property, walking the dogs, sorting my receipts and shredding old papers -- the list goes on and on.

So I needed some peace of mind and an endorphin fix bad. After spending the morning orgazing the loft/office (loftice? Offloft?), shredding a couple reams of old documents, and a couple loads of laundry I decided it was time to ride. The sun was bright, the sky blue, with big puffy cumulus clouds floating overhead.

I gave the dogs a bone to chew and rode out shortly after 1, when it was about as warm as it was going to get.  I spun out the first couple of miles to warm up.  I noticed when I hit the small rollers how much stronger my legs felt.  Thanks, TRX!

There was little traffic, no wind, just sights, sounds and smells.  The shady parts of Cantelow, still smelling freshly wet.  The burbling of the seasonal creeks under the bridges.  The brilliant exuberance of mustard in still-dormant orchards, with the bright clean green of the hills in the background.

Uphill, downhill, rollers, smelling the sensual honey essence of almond trees in full bloom, then back to crisp clear air.  Fresh-cut grass in the face, then wet road in the shade, more gurgling small rapids of a creek alongside the road. Clean air in the face, sun on my back. Effortless pedaling over smooth road, rough road, avoiding gravel, dancing up the hills, standing and sprinting because that felt like the thing to do. I didn't anticipate anything but the next turn of the cranks.

35 miles later, having spent every moment in the moment, I arrived home.  Refreshed, renewed, energized, feeling like the world was right again. Grabbed a snack, cleaned up, downloaded the data from  my Garmin, and was pleasantly surprised to see a 2-mile increase in my avg. mph and  a decrease in my avg. heart rate.

There's magic in taking each pedal stroke as a gift, appreciating the open road and views to sate the senses, and enjoying a ride for just that -- a ride.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Momentous Month

Our daughter scored a job, teaching ESL in Georgia -- the country. She had 10 days from acceptance to liftoff, and she had plenty of obstacles to overcome:  Lack of diploma, Macbook misbehaving, etc. I shifted as much of my workload onto my partner as I could, reasonably, to have the car available to her.

In the end it all worked out, and we're all thankful. It could've been far worse.

Her copy of her diploma arrived 4 days after she left SFO.  Her county medical benefits card arrive 5 days after she left. Oh, the irony: Two months off the meds and she was more like the kid we remembered vs. the drugged kid who couldn't function much.  My belief is that had she still been on the meds she wouldn't be in Tbilisi, ready to launch to a small village.

And our son, after 4 months, 3 interviews, a 3rd-party background check, and innumerable phone calls, scored the job. I'm so proud of him for persevering in spite of the odds.

My loving husband got the promotion on which he's been working for over a year. And a pay grade bump.  He's one of 4 inspectors in the entire C-P  organization to be where he is now.

I'm so proud of them...they rock!  My investment as their support is paying off, and that gives me huge satisfaction.

It's a good life!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

February Already

By 1/30 I'd taken 5 TRX classes, logged nearly 500 miles on my bike for the month (not counting trainer days), and a dozen sessions with Chris on the ellipticals and weight machines. Down 4 lbs. and up to a power of 10 in enthusiasm.  

We did some gym-shopping because Chris will be gone when our 30-day trial at Gold's is up.  Sunday was rainy, left over from Saturday night, and we opted to pass on the shop ride.  But once we were up, we were UP.  

And after talking to Lisa at Gold's, we signed up.  Nobody else in town could match what they offered.  We paid a year in advance and received 2 mos. onto the contract, plus t-shirts, towels, and water bottles.  We left, worked out and happy.

I rode my bike on Monday and accumulated another 47-miler with intervals and a 5-mile time trial thrown in; bonked shortly after the TT and had nothing but water and guts to get  home.  Ugh and ugh.  

Son rolled into town Tues. night late. He went for a bike ride with my TRX instructor and fellow teammate. They didn't exactly tell me I couldn't go with them, but after I heard what they did, I realized they were better off without me. Sad. But true.

Meanwhile, I attended a funeral for a well-loved, well-respected man whose wife & daughter are agents in my office. I met him in '06 and had no idea of his impact or history until today. I found him charming, quiet, intelligent, and dedicated to his family. I haz much training to do to be race-shape.

The funeral was a full-on Catholic mass, and there were over 200 people in attendance. The opening hymn had me teary and lo, the weeping never really stopped. Dammit. And it was a lovely service.  

Then they had a fully-catered luncheon and over 150 attended that. Nice chance to meet the other daughters, hug the wife and daughter I know, share with some mutual friends his memory. He would have wanted that.

Still, for those 3 hours, the emotions were right on the surface and I found that draining. Had no "oomph" -- and my friends/colleagues were right there -- we all were feeling sapped -- and we used humor and anecdotes to bring us back to center. 

So coming home to a daughter cooking some tasty veggie soup, son still endorphin-filled over his bike ride, husband happy to be home, and dogs excited to see me was a fulfilling experience that made today worthwhile. 

The fine point: Daughter weighed all the ingredients for her soup so we could log it into the Livestrong.com software we use. As a recovering bulimic who has difficulty with our levels of detail re exercise and food, this was huge. After 14 months of living together as adults/family, she gets us (we figured her out a long time ago, but that's what parents do). And we get the dynamic.

As we ate the delicious dinner I had an epiphany: I don't need a damn thing. I have everything I need for a great life.