Tuesday, November 25, 2014

DOC on caller ID

My brother called tonight.
I miss him.
He's looking forward to his Thanksgiving jail meal (and hoping he can trade his pumpkin pie for more turkey or mashed potatoes).
I just wish he was here to miss our mom with me...nobody else knew her as a mom like me & Rob did.
We're really good at reminiscing and we really appreciate all things nostalgic (much to the chagrin of anyone unfortunate enough to get stuck listening to us riff on our childhood or bounce inside jokes off each other).

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.
My cousin has graciously invited us to join them (and I may have accepted a little too eagerly, but hey...)
Give thanks.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Epic (an adjective I try not to abuse; in this instance, totally appropriate)

Sunday night, my dad & I saw Stevie Wonder perform Songs in the Key of Life live in its entirety...followed by an encore including a medley of his other gems, ending with an 8 minute version of "Superstition."
I counted 21 musicians/singers onstage at one point (and Stevie Wonder graciously gave each member props by name, including his daughter/backup singer, Aisha).
Somehow, in spite of the vastness of the venue and huge crowd, it felt like an intimate perfomance.
Mind. Blown.
I can't do the experience justice with my words, so I'll just wrap it up:
I feel so lucky to have been in the presence of greatness, one of my idols from as far back as I can remember. Every song was a gift and each gift revealed something better and better.
Being at that concert was like being a kid on the the very best Christmas Day EVER; surprises and goose bumps and wishes fulfilled.
Seriously, life-changing, no exaggeration.
3 days later and I'm still buzzed.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Halloween happened (quite a while ago, but...)

Ahhhhhhhh...to be a kid, right?
Those two really keep me going.
When I wanted to bag the holiday altogether (I didn't even carve a pumpkin this year), the kids got me back in the groove.

What else happened, besides Halloween?
Rides happened. 
In the woods, mostly...explored some unfamiliar trails close to home. Worth exploring some more. Such fun to ride somewhere new & different just a few miles away.
I took the kids to visit my brother.
Rob was expecting me and our dad, but the kids were a surprise.
I'd been reluctant to make the trek up there, for no good reason, really. 
I guess something about a whole day spent away from my little pack to see my brother in yet another correctional institution was holding me back, making me anxious.
I miss him, though, so I got over myself and packed a day's worth of snacks/diapers/distractions/music/kid stuff and away we went to Coal Township.
It went down like this:
After a little over two hours in the car (and only one misstep; those last 5 miles are confusing), we briefly stretched our legs and began the visiting process:
Show ID, place all belongings other than vending card in locker, remove all jewelry/belts/shoes, walk through metal detector, extend hands (palms down, then up) for narcotics swipe/scan, turn pockets inside out, lift shirt enough to show back pockets & waistband, hurriedly put belt & shoes back on, wait...
Walk down endless corridor to visiting area (already, I'm more at ease here...it's cleaner, there are mountains outside beyond the razor wire...you can see mountains!).
My dad tells Max it's called concertina wire...coiled like an accordion, thus the name. Even Max is somewhat unphased by the process, as he had visited my brother in County.
We reach the visiting room at last and my eyes meet my brother's.
His face becomes flush with happiness and for a second, tears well in his eyes, when he sees my children. Then, that smile.
Right there...worth the anxiety & perceived hassle of traveling with young kids to a prison two hours from home in remote coal country.
Seeing his face light up...worth it.
Our visit commences.
My son and my brother catch up over Fritos and strawberry pop tarts as my dad and I take turns wrangling Maeve.
Maeve hasn't seen her uncle since last December, just as she was taking her first steps.
I'd take her to the phone visits at the county jail because "lap children" (non-walkers) weren't required to be on the list for non-contact visits.
She'd smile and wave and put her hands up to the glass as I leaned close to the phone to talk.
It didn't take long at all for her to warm up to Rob nearly a year later.
As we were leaving (after two hours of talking and hanging out), Maeve reached for Rob to pick her up.
"Yahhhhp?!" (loosely translated- "pick me up")
He obliged and she leaned into him and kissed his cheek.
I can't wait for her to know him, to hear what he can do with a guitar, to spend time somewhere not wrapped in scary concertina wire, to see him in something other than a jumpsuit.

But, yeah...very good visit.
Coal Township is my brother's "home" prison for the next three years.
No more classification or bouncing around...
I spoke to him tonight and he sounded eager to do his thing tomorrow at the prison talent show.
He used to kill it at Battle of the Bands when we were kids and that's exactly the excitement I could hear in his voice, eager to perform in front of a crowd.
Man, I really miss hearing him play.

So, that's what has happened.
I'm feeling much better.
I feel like the fog has lifted enough to move forward with a little more confidence, a lot less sadness.
Some days are better than others, but isn't that how it goes no matter what?
My dad reminded me that my mom wouldn't want me to continue to be so upset.
Initially, I sort of bristled at that sentiment...I was thinking huh? So, like, just stop being depressed? Does he think I don't need to go to therapy anymore?? Don't be upset? Huh?? 
Clearly, that's not what he meant.
I get it and he's right.
And I'm not letting the grief consume me or inform my every move.
I'm just adapting, I guess.
(and still seeing a psychotherapist, which is something I should have been doing for a while, not just in the wake of my mom's death, for what it's worth...)

It's 2:27am.
The scary noise (seemingly) from the basement that woke me an hour and a half ago was probably the heat pump or the pipes or who knows what...(massive spider? Intruder? Zombie? Chupacabra? vampire??)
Just a noise and I need sleep desperately.
Freaking full moon making everyone act all crazy and has my imagination running wild...
Well, the fact that I basically had a churro and a giant coconut milkshake (seriously, the straw was almost as tall as my daughter) for dinner probably isn't helping matters, either.
Peace out/good night.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

back at it (part II)...backing off

I haven't been moved to blog/write much lately, but was inspired (at 3:30am, no less) by fellow blogger, Angie, to get back at it. (Angie is the Bikinator...I used to read her blog and think, "Wow, who is this woman? Every ride is a race?? Really??" I was bemused by her take-no-prisoners approach to training and racing and similarly, her seemingly boastful style of blogging. But you know what? She set some pretty hardcore goals for herself and did everything she could to meet and exceed those goals in a relatively short period of time. I have nothing but huge respect for her and it's been exciting to see the evolution of her blog. One of the nicest people I've ever had the privilege to line up with, Angie has truly earned the moniker Bikinator).

Last Sunday, I raced close to home at the West Chester Cross Classic at Rustin High School. As a spectator at this venue two years ago (when I was pregnant with Maeve), I watched the competition longingly thinking this is my kind of course...can't wait to get back at it!
Despite finishing in the back of the pack, I had such a great time on that course (which I can best describe as super flowy with the perfect balance of challenging, yet subtle elevation changes and just enough recovery to maintain energy and enthusiasm on every lap, if that even makes sense).
Although I haven't been training for this season and have only been riding once a week at best, all the little nuances of racing cross feel familiar and comfortable to me (you know, except for the part where I'm grossly out of race form and hanging on by a mere thread from the get-go).  
Surprisingly, I have felt nothing but calm and relaxed while staging and waiting for that whistle...
Surprisingly, I've been relieved to start in the last row...
I'm just having fun with it.
Racing is fun when I have nothing to prove to myself or anybody else (conversely, racing is fun in an entirely different sense of the word when I am kicking ass and ripping legs off, but I'm pretty sure those days are behind me for now).

Having said all that, I was all set to show up at Crossasurus Awesome this weekend and keep up my "racing" streak; however, I woke up today feeling especially sh*tty with a sore throat and body aches.
No need to push through, as there are still plenty of races left on the calendar in the coming months.

I've been running and dabbling in a little strength training more than I've been riding.
At this stage of the game, I'm happy to squeeze in whatever kind of workout I can between kid stuff/grownup stuff/life...stuff.
In short, breaking a sweat is more about preserving my mental health than gaining fitness right now.
I'm feeling much better.
I still think about the loss of my mom every day, but I am not wallowing in my grief.
My dad reminded me that my mom wouldn't want me to be consumed by this or to be so upset by her death.
He's right.

As for therapy and medication, I've accepted that I do need a little help and probably always will to some degree.
I am depressed and I do have serious anxiety issues.
Not because my mom died or because my brother is in jail or because crazy sh*t is happening in the world...
With the understanding that there are biological/genetic/chemical pieces to my "puzzle", that my depression and anxiety are not just situational (although my situation as of late has certainly exacerbated those issues...duh), I can handle it better.
Or more willingly.
(or something)
All this to say, to reiterate, I'm feeling much better.

Wow, if that's not a rambling, narcissistic update, I don't know what is...

look, mom, I'm "racing"! Photo courtesy of Dennis Smith from Whirlybird 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Back at it (cross)

I have no pictures to share from Whirlybird (you don't really need to see my muddy race number or a gratuitous shot of a Nutella-drenched post-race waffle, do you?)...
I don't have much of a race report to share, either.
It (the race/my race) went down quite predictably, all things considered (haven't raced cross in three years, have downgraded to Cat 3, riding once a week at best, blah blah blah...):
Lined up in the last row.
Didn't experience any jitters or nerves.
Clipped in and just went when the whistle blew.
Passed a handful of women, duked it out with some really fast & wily juniors (young enough to be my kids), got muddy, stayed upright, and doggedly dug in for a solid forty-five minutes.
Upon finishing, I soft-pedaled around the wet grass with a goofy smile on my face...it felt really, really good to be back.

I had kind of given up on any notions of racing cross this year...it hasn't really been in the cards what with a myriad of reasons/excuses (I'm broke, I haven't trained at all, I'm barely riding, all my energy is devoted to my kids/therapy/staying afloat).
Still, a spark was lit whenever my dad talked about his race, whenever I saw a little cyclocross action on my Facebook feed, whenever I saw my cross steed hanging dejectedly among all the other bikes I don't ride these days.
When I got the official okay to downgrade (not just "okay"...a get-back-out-there-and-enjoy-it okay), I figured why not?
So, last Friday night I packed up my gear (and then packed doubles of everything, knowing a wet race was forecasted) and went to bed thinking, "I'm waking up early to race."
At 3am, a steady rain woke me...I imagined the muddy preview of the course, hurriedly changing into dry gear, shivering and soaked on the starting grid...Admittedly, none of that sounded remotely appealing to me and I went back to sleep wondering if I'd have a change of heart come morning.
Well, morning came and I burrowed into my warm blanket as the rain fell, thinking, "Staying in bed would be the easy thing to do."
I didn't want to do the easy thing.
So I raced.
Out of shape, out of sorts, out of my comfort zone (I find I barely have a comfort zone lately, anyway).
It was awesome and it breathed a little life back into me, which is really all I could have hoped for.
A win, in my book, even toward the back of the pack.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mom...

Dear Mom,
Today you should be turning 61, but you are no longer with us (here, in the flesh, at least).
I feel your presence and see you in my dreams (and I'm sorry I was short with you in that dream last night)...
I wake up some mornings anticipating seeing you, as if we have plans.
I reach for the phone and catch myself...you won't answer it, you're not here/there.
Luckily, I heard you laugh and speak and sing for 39 years.
Long enough to remember, long enough to have those sounds ingrained within me.
Yet...not long enough.
I miss you, mom.
I wish things had turned out differently & I wish we were celebrating another birthday with you.
Here we are. 
We'll share a Delirium in your honor and we will keep remembering. xo
With love,

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


A member of my local Mom's Group lost her baby girl yesterday at twenty weeks.
So, yeah, September hasn't been my best month, but I'm done bitching about my "troubles."
I'm going to ease out of September gently...
I'm going to start over, slowly, next month and try harder to recognize and honor all the things I am grateful for.

I see single track, miles of trails littered with acorns in my near future.
Halloween costumes for two blessedly healthy kids.
Eating my weight in candy corn.
Campfires in the back yard.
Cider donuts.
Jumping into giant piles of leaves with my kids...
(Sike...that last one freaks me out...all those spiders and sh*t)

Perspective. Working on it.