Sad, Not Sorry

dump-16Everyone…well almost everyone, is lamenting 2016 as a terribly difficult year, myself included.  To those of you that aren’t sad, you may want to avert your mouse to a different blog post.

During this year we lost so many people as a community.  In my house, we lost a grandmother. She was the first grandparent to pass and our kids, while adults, were greatly affected. My husband lost his mom and well there are no words.

I personally lost my mind.

The election process was and still is devastating to me. I can not seem to grasp how anyone could have voted for the PEOTUS. In my heart, voting for him is a vote for all the horrible things he and his cronies stand for.  Isn’t that the very definition of voting?

I went crazy the night of the election and wrote a lengthy rant about people who voted for PEOTUS being supportive of his process and beliefs. I offended many people when I asked them to get off my FB page if they voted for him.  Many simply deleted me from their “friends” list.  Others barked back at me and then deleted me.  I deleted a couple who even after I voiced my feelings continued to post anti-Clinton and anti-Obama sentiments on my posts. I had simply had enough.  After eight years of putting up with Obama bashing, I could not face another second of hypocritical behavior from people who are too selfish to care about anyone but themselves; the years of hurt they imposed with their words apparently isn’t as bad as the hurt I imposed when I asked them to look at themselves.

There is a lot more to my dismay that cannot be shared here because of space, and time restrictions as well as my desire to stop digging the hole in which I currently find myself.

I have offended people that were the heart and soul of my life.  How I didn’t know that they do not feel the same way about me is disconcerting.  I gave up much of my life for these people. Yet, that didn’t seem to warrant a discussion about the pain I was feeling.

I thought about it and have been thinking about it since 11/10/2016.  And here is my conclusion.

I have over the last 7 years been in a terrible spot in my personal life.  I have shared that with only a handful of people.  Two of those people I would consider to be my closest friends in the absolute world.  Over the last 7 years, not once did those friends ask, “how are you doing?” Not once.

Yet, when I voice my concern over the way the world is going and that we should not support a person who garners and encourages hate among us, I am attacked and dismissed, again without a word or even seeming concern. (Believe me, there is more about this that will not be said here.)

I recognize that telling people how to vote is not democratic.  I also recognize that voting is secretive. But I also know that for 8 years I listened to complaints, lies, derogatory comments, racial slurs, etc about our president without end.  Yet, the minute I question the veracity of hiding behind their polling booth curtain I suddenly am not a Christian, not patriotic and certainly not worthy of friendship.

Saying the election doesn’t affect you personally is not good enough. Saying that it’s not Christian-like to expect your closest friends to disavow hate is hypocritical at best and blasphemous at worst.

Well, sorry, I’m not sorry. Thank you for tossing me out of your lives so unceremoniously, it’s the first time I’ve seen the truth about how little I meant to you.  Frankly, it does sadden me in that I’ve lived a false life. I have to get my priorities straight and move on…after all, isn’t that what the PEOTUS is asking us to do?

Time to reassess, reprioritize and live well.  Time to give back without judgment. Time to reaffirm to the younger generation that it’s not just about them, but how they fit into the bigger picture.

I’m sad.  But I’m not sorry that I’m sad. Sometimes it hurts to be on the right side of history.  I’m sure I’ll stop crying soon.

Cheers to a productive, focused, healthy and love-based 2017.

Agape

(Matthew 22:37-41)

Posted in Friendship | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Chunky

There are a number of times, perhaps in the hundreds that I have heard or read we all have a soundtrack to our lives and that when we hear certain songs we are immediately transported to a place and time stored in between the lines of the lyrics. Sometimes these realizations occur in real time.

A friend of mine posted on facebook that she really enjoyed the new Bruno Mars cd titled 24K Magic…so naturally I bought it.  I’ve listened to it a few times and really do like it.

Last Thursday I was reminded via text that my husband’s office Christmas party was that evening.  Yikes!  Why don’t I write these things down? I grimaced at the thought of looking for something to wear in a closet that belongs mostly to size 8 me.  Perfectly beautiful clothing that was purchased in the excitement of a great deal of weight loss with the hopes that I would stay motivated if my clothes got tighter.

Now, I’m no Nancy Reagan.  I don’t always buy a new dress for a special occasion. In fact,  I’m more of a Rosalynn Carter kinda girl in that I will wear my dresses more than once and don’t care who knows it. So I dug around and found a perfectly suitable size 10 shiny party dress.  Yes!!

Then I turned to looking for matching shoes.  My heart dropped.  Crap, I have to wear high heels.  It’s likely been a year since I last wore high heels. In fact, when a friend and I recently went to the opera in San Francisco, I left my heels in the box in the car and walked in flat sandals. Yup, hate heels, having worn them for much of my working life.  But, I found the shoes.

My heart literally stopped when I realized that I actually had to wear pantyhose. I don’t even own pantyhose…and it was pouring rain.  But, well, the dress called for black sheer pantyhose.  I grabbed my rain boots and headed out to my favorite Marshalls hoping to find what I needed just a few blocks from my house rather than having to go into the downtown Macy’s.  I drove through flooded streets and into a parking lot that was literally 5-7 inches deep in rain water.  HA! I calmly walked into the store looking like THE Gordon’s fisherman and within minutes, I found the stockings.  Sheer. Black. Beautiful. AND cheap.  I bought two pairs just in case…you never know.

I rushed home to find my spouse getting ready. I turned up my music put 24K Magic on shuffle.  I curled my hair, put on some mascara and said, that’s fine, time to dress.

I grabbed the packages of pantyhose and tore one open.  Wow, its been a while.  I stuck my left hand into the left leg of the garment and immediately felt my nail snag the super sheer fabric.

AY!  I gently pulled my hand out, made a fist and tried again.  Success! I made it to the foot portion and then realized that I had to lift my sore, tight runner’s leg high enough for my short arms to get my foot into the opening.  Huffing and puffing, I got the left leg into the sheath. Now for the right leg…..done!

Women will understand this….now to shimmy these things over my hips.

CUE the damn music.

She got to shake her little something (shake her little something), ooh
Throwing that thing from left, right, side to side.

I heard the lyrics and hoped my spouse was ignoring them.  I dared not look up lest I start laughing. If I laughed, he would laugh. Then I would get mad and well, it was supposed to be a fun Christmas party. I dared not make eye contact.

Then it happened.  I stuck my thumb through the fabric.  I cursed out loud. I took them off and thought, good thing I bought two!

She got to have her own money (she got her own money), oh yeah
Shout out to the girls that pay they rent on time

I opened the second package as the iPod blared Bruno’s mocking lyrics at me.

Ooh, chunky
Looking for them girls with the big old hoops

I again averted my eyes and kept my focus on sticking my legs into the pantyhose. In my younger days, I would have plopped to the floor and figured it out.  Yeah, those were the days when the midsection didn’t prevent me from folding over. I started to sweat again.

I’m looking at you
Yeah, you baby

My husband slipped on his sweater and declared he was ready to go. Bruno laughed and said,

Now let me hear you say you ready (I’m ready), oh yeah
Girl, you better have you hair weave strapped on tight
‘Cause once we can go, where we rolling

Ooh, chunky

I said loudly, to cover the lyrics and get him out of the room, you should go get an umbrella and put the gifts into the car. I will be right down.  I adjusted the waistband on the very restrictive undergarment and slipped into my dress.

You got what I want
Girl, you got what I need
37-27-42
Ooh, squeeze all of that into my coupe

Rude.

I grabbed slipped my shoes on and my feet slid to the front where my previously unrestricted toes slammed into the all but forgotten scrunched position.  I gingerly walked to the stairs and wondered how I would ever get down without throwing my back out, or falling.  Old runners trick: go down backward.

Chunky

I’m looking at you
Yeah, you baby

I turned off the iPod and thought…I can do this. It’s just 5 hours, complete with dancing.

I should have put Old Blues Eyes on the record player…”You’re lovely….the way you look tonight.”

Siempre hacia adelante!

Posted in Auto-Biographical Fiction, Happiness | Tagged , , , ,

To Receive You Have to Let Go

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I decided to volunteer at the CIM because a friend, Laura was running, another friend, Ellisa asked us to, and because I needed to give back to this community of mine that has opened so many doors and exposed me to so many great adventures.

Being a last minute volunteer I was excited and happy to find a slot in the “heat blanket brigade.” I showed up at 730 am and got to work. After personally tearing open and separating 800 blankets (4 boxes), I moved on to unwrapping medals.

I watched as first, the wheelchair winner came across the finish line, followed by the men’s first, second and third place finishers crossed. Then the woman’s winner.

I watched, while I pulled plastic from the gorgeous medals and I thought about how it must feel to run that fast. I watched as the runners continued to come in, all sweaty, most breathing hard, some wobbly. I listened as they talked about mile 23, about the perfect weather, about how happy they were to run together.

I had already talked to a supervisor and asked permission to look for my friend Laura so that I could give her her medal. Laura is more than experienced so I kind of knew when she would be coming in. I watched the gun timer and the third hour decided to move to the finish line to hand out medals until Laura came in.

At last, I saw her turn the corner. I grew excited and started yelling encouragement. She, of course, was in the moment and likely didn’t hear me at all. As she got over the line and headed toward the group of volunteers handing out medals, a group I had already warned not to give her a medal, I caught her attention. It took a second for it to register but she hugged me and said she was happy I was there to give her it to her. She went on to get a heat blanket and find some rest and recovery.

I thought for a bit that I should go back to my assigned station. But I decided to stay. We each handed out hundreds of medals. My arms ache from carrying bunches at a time and lifting them all to place one around the neck of each finisher.

We yelled and greeted each runner with the name printed on their bib. The sound of their individual name being said somehow brought the runners into quick attention and often to tears.

Some asked for a hug. Others just grabbed on. Medical staff helped those who couldn’t walk anymore. Families greeted their runners. The lady whose bib read: “112th marathon” crossed the line. The blind runners and their guides smiled to hear their names yelled out as we draped their medals over their heads.

As time passed, the great swell of the middle of the pack seemed to overwhelm us. And then the crowd observing and the crowd running became sparser. After five and a half hours we were seeing the last of the runners come in. Or were we?

The timer said six and a half hours. Still, they came. One after the other, one foot in front of the other. Husbands and wives holding hands, celebrating his 40th birthday. Twin brothers dressed exactly alike save their bib numbers. Very old runners. Moms crying and holding their children. Two unrelated runners asked me to say hi to their respective mother and son via FaceTime. I happily and loudly obliged.

Runners thanked us for “staying there” so they could get their medal. We yelled louder at the end simply because the spectators were now gone and those runners needed encouragement.

Finally, I had to leave because my family was waiting. I think that all the runners ahead of the course sweepers were already in. I handed a medal to a woman whose husband would not make it in before the sweepers. She said he won’t stop until he’s finished. She wanted him to be assured his medal.

I ran this marathon last year and as many of you will recall, I was very disappointed in my performance. I’ll tell you what. Not anymore.

I saw myself in those people struggling to finish. I saw that I didn’t give up. I saw that my accomplishment was just as great as theirs. I handed medals to 3-hour marathoners and 6:45 marathoners. The accomplishment was in some ways more amazing for the slower group than for the fleet of feet.

I wasn’t jealous either. I thought I would be, but it didn’t happen. I was just happy for them and for myself that I was in such a great place to witness the triumph of the human spirit; the will’s power over the body’s performance.

I am sore. I am hoarse. I am tired. It was a perfect day.

Congratulations to those whose goals were met or exceeded…. which is just about everyone who ran today. Well done.

CIM 2017….??? Maybe.

Posted in Gratitude, Running | Tagged , , ,

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

sunset-10-20I went for a walk, as usual, today.  The late afternoon, pre-dusk hours are magical time on our Sacramento levee .  Sure there are thousands of little gnats that drive you crazy and so many dogs that you literally need a set of traffic rules just to make sure no one gets too excited, but the peace of mind that comes with a slow stroll makes it all worth it.

I meander over to the levee at least once a day and am always pleasantly surprised by what I get to see.  If I’m lucky, there are turtles on logs sunning themselves always on the lookout for anyone or anything that comes too close.  Or perhaps, the wayward seal will return and pop his little head out just long enough to give us a bark or two then disappear again.

There are always fishermen on the water. If it’s a warmer day, the sound of ski boats pulling skiers through the water, howling with joy or fear depending on their level of expertise, fills the air.

Today, my heart leaped for joy when I looked up to see  a man and his grown son walking hand in hand.  Both were grinning as big as day. As they passed me, the older man winked and wished me a good afternoon.

I turned to watch as they continued down the asphalt paved road.  The were still holding hands, and swinging them.  I watched them as they headed toward the bend and I wondered aloud, why don’t we see more of this?

When do kids stop needing to hold our hands?  When do we stop asking them to hold hands with us?  Has this custom of days past become obsolete.  Sure, people who are romantically involved hold hands to some extent, but even that tends to fade.  Even younger children don’t hold their parent’s hands unless there is a perceived opportunity for danger, like in crossing a street or maneuvering in a crowded place.

I miss my kids holding my hand.  I know that they are adults and are busy with their own lives, but perhaps next time I have the chance, I’ll remind them of how it feels to be connected.  There is nothing better than being connected to your child, emotionally and physically…whether they are 2 or 22…it’s a great feeling.

Kudos to this father and his son for maintaining that “one-ness” that binds their relationship physically as well as emotionally.  There will be no regret about their relationship because they demonstrate their love for each other without reservation. Sometimes, you have to let people know they are loved.

Sometimes, you have to let people know they are loved.

It can be as simple as holding their hand.

holding-hands

*Pictures taken on iPhone 7.

 

 

Posted in Auto-Biographical Fiction, Happiness, Love | Tagged ,

If You Give a Mexican a Taco….

jalapenoIf you ask a first generation Mexican American to describe a taco for you they will tell you that it is anything wrapped in a tortilla.  So when you ask for a burrito, it’s really just a taco being eaten by someone other than a first gen Mex-Am.

This is what I think about when I’m alone and have a day to myself. JS

So I was stuffing my face with a taco this afternoon when I decided I needed a jalapeño to add to the experience.

Not having any in the house, I started to panic. So I went into the fridge where I remembered I had jalapeño stuffed olives.

(insert the sound of angels singing here)

I bit into my taco and took a bite of my olive.  Perfect: a little salty, a little garlic-y, a little spicy.

Whew, a little spicy!

I need a beer. Found one last stout and said, “Gracias, Rasputin!”

I took a swig and realized, I was out of taco.

So I grabbed the comal and made another taco.

Eat and repeat.

Except this time, I was out of the Rick Bayless sautéed chicken I made the night before and still had beer left.

I said to myself….

Ok I said out loud, “Careful y’all she’s going back in!”

BINGO!  I found leftover grilled pork…that would make a great taco!

The comal got another workout and I finished my beer and taco.

But now, I had this bitter beer taste in my mouth.

And I remembered…I have carrot cake….

 

Yeah, this is why I don’t look like the princesses on the Mexican bakery calendars.

girl-calendar

(OK we have the same lips)

Siempre hacia adelante!

 

Posted in Auto-Biographical Fiction | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Runner’s Mind

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I made it to Indianapolis for the Indy Women’s Half this month; marking off state 15 of 50 including the District of Columbia. I can’t tell you what working on this goal has provided me.  I’m a better planner, saver, runner, organizer, explorer, and traveler because of it. Most of all, though, I am a better thinker because of running.  No kidding. I get to think a lot; real thinking, quality thinking. That is the beauty of running alone.

Obviously, since I am usually only away from home for a few days, I fly to my destinations. In my time spent in airports or on planes, I meet some very interesting people.  I also meet people who themselves are not interesting but behave in a manner that causes me to sit back and listen to them.  People love to talk about themselves (clearly I do too) and it’s easy to be a listener.

At the airport my TSA pre check status euphoria ended abruptly as the gate agent announced the cancellation of my flight.  I decided to celebrate with a Blood Mary and a breakfast burrito while I waited.  Soon I found myself in conversation with a man who also had time to kill.  He seemed in a much more celebratory mood than I and dove straight into the story of his life.  Eventually we got around to talking about grandchildren.  I mentioned that I only have one, and that he is the light of my life. We spoke of soccer, little league and all manner of things.  I mentioned that my daughter requested that I teach my grandson Spanish so that he can be bilingual and therefore, that is the only language I speak with him.  The gentleman sat back and well, took a minute.  Then he said, “Well your English is pretty good. I guess that’s ok.”  I finished my meal and excused myself to wait at the gate.

I made it to Las Vegas where I needed to change planes.  I went to the gate printed on my boarding pass and sat to recharge my phone and watch the news.  As they called passengers into line, a gentleman said to me, “That’s interesting, we have the same boarding number.”  Immediately, a woman behind me asked, “Are you sure you are at the right gate?”

I learned soon enough that in the delay and eventual cancellation of my earlier flight, my boarding pass was incorrect, and there had been a gate change.  Lucky for me the plane  i wanted was across the room and the doors had not yet been closed.  I ran over, and made it just in time.  The gate agent rolled her eyes at me and instructed me to take the first available seat.

As I boarded the plane I saw an empty seat three rows in.  I gently tapped the man sitting in the aisle seat and asked if he would mind me taking the center row seat.  He unbuckled and quickly moved to the center.  I protested and asked him if he preferred to stay on the aisle he should. He declined stating he wanted to sit by his wife.

I sat down determined not to bother him by engaging him in conversation, or otherwise distracting him.  He fell asleep and snored lightly.  Eventually, he awoke to see me fiddling with my iPad. He asked if I knew where we were, so I showed him on the flight tracker.  He thought that ingenious and we talked.

We talked about nothing in particular then he asked, “Where are you from?”

“Sacramento,” I replied.

“NO. I mean, where were you born?” he restated.

“Oh,” I said, “Bakersfield, California.”

He grew more exasperated. “I mean, what are you? What is your race?”

I said, “Mexican” and returned to my iPad.

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I made it to the start of the Indy Women’s half with plenty of time to chit chat with the runners around me.  I mentioned my ambivalence about whether to run with a rain cover or not. They countered with tales of the 2015 race and how it was “Black Flagged” requiring runners to return to the safety of a building and the official cancellation of the race.  I had been warned by a friend in California who ran that particular race but refused to quit and in fact completed her goal; one of 25 women to do so. I hoped that wouldn’t happen this time.

The rain did come and it came in buckets.  This was a little more than Cali drought-traumatized girl like me was ready for.  But I dug in and started to unpack the cluttered drawers of the executive desk I call my brain.  I thought about my feet and the tape I resorted to in hopes of preventing a blister like the one that sabotaged my CIM time. (For the record, I averted any sign of a blister this time.) I thought about the water dripping from my hat.  I thought about the water streaming off my elbow…I had never thought about my elbow in a race before.

I thought about the way the ladies from the Black Girls Run group leapfrogged with me as we crossed watering stations (I carry my water) and how many young Latinas were also in the race.  My stream of consciousness took over and I no longer felt the rain or my feet or my elbows.  I thought about what the men said to me earlier.  The thoughts raced through my brain as deep as the water in the gutters I was trying to avoid.

So, I thought, did that man give me permission to teach the baby Spanish as long as he was assured that he would also learn English?  He was assured that I speak “English pretty good.”  Did he realize that I dumb down my English depending on the audience? Am I supposed to rationalize his comments by saying, “Oh, poor thing had too much to drink?”  I bet he would be the first to say, “Government/schools can tell me how to treat my children.” Perhaps I generalize him to be part of a group that thinks that way, and he is not. Wait, why am I correcting my feelings? Why didn’t I tell him to mind his own business? What would that have changed? That would make me rude and perhaps less than I want to be. Or would it?

And as for that other guy, and his question about where I am FROM.  If he wanted to know my ethnicity why choose those words?  FROM?  FROM implies …not of here, but of another place. His insistence that FROM means ethnicity leads me to think that to him, white people belong here and others are inherently from without and logically then, do not belong here.

I am not FROM anywhere.  I was born here.

Then again, I thought, poor guy is not very smart.  I chastised myself for taking offense to something a not so smart person had to say.

Wait, why are ignorant people allowed to be rude? When did rude and discourteous become become the opposite of politically correct?  They are not opposites.  Rude and discourteous are just bad behaviors.

Then I slapped myself around. If he doesn’t know he is being rude is that his fault? Not if no one corrects him.

What if I had said Mexico? Would his next question be about my legal status?

Should I have asked him where he is FROM? And is being from DUMB BUTT County an excuse to stand up to political correctness (to be rude and discourteous?) Why did he ask me that anyway? I never ask anyone their ethnicity unless they bring it up as part of a conversation. I never think to ask that….which is also a problem. People are proud of their heritage and rightly so. But to ask for no reason at all is weird.

I kept running.  I thought, “Everyone can tell from my pace that I am not Kenyan.”

I looked up and a young woman was praying to Jesus aloud. “This is crazy,”  I said as I nodded to her, “We don’t get this kind of rain in California.”

She said, “I’m gonna pray for you too.”  I thanked her and realized that the finish line was just ahead.

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As I received my medal from a young man in uniform I thanked God for my Runner’s Mind.  My drawers were all unpacked and I was ready for  rest and perhaps some food.  I walked around to the fountain so I could make a picture of it.  I stared at the children playing, holding hands as they circled the base and I thought, no one cares where they are FROM….but I bet at least one of them speaks perfect Spanish.

Siempre hacia adelante!

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Posted in Running, self awareness | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Good bye Nashville

Note: I originally wrote this on May 1, 2016. I published it incorrectly and well… Here it is.


I don’t know, but I’m feeling really melancholy about leaving Nashville today.  Ok maybe it the 16 ounces of Kirin I just swallowed on an empty stomach. Either way, I sure love this city and the surrounding area. 

I came in for the third time in two calendar years to try and accomplish my Tennesee half marathon. You know my story, first a broken shoulder and then a half in Chattanooga that was short by half a mile.  Yeah, so I had to come back (poor me) to try and get that notch on my belt.

In the mean time, I visited museums, local sites of interest and the closest national park sites I could find. And I fell in love..hard.

It’s the people.  At Hillbilly BBQ in Dover (or was it Clarksville) where for 8 dollars I was served 6 pork ribs, 6 oz of coleslaw and another 6 of potato salad, and a diet Dr. Pepper under a patio cover, during a major thunder storm by a young man only too happy to help me out.  Where a young 6 year old made faces at me through the stairwell rails of the tiny shack decorated with the stereotypical barefoot hillbilly smokng a cobb pipe while her mamma and daddy ordered some pulled pork sandwiches

Or maybe it was Lizzy, the eagle lady sitting in her car near the bench people sit on to watch the three week old eaglet and it’s parents trying desperately to keep it fed and warm.  She said, “our” Eagles, like she owned them.  Wait, she does. Doesn’t  she?  


Or maybe it was the little tour guide at the Grand Ole Opry. She lead us around like she were walking among Angels in heaven. Her eyes sparkled with every word she spoke and she floated a as if she held the key to the pearly gates themselves. 


Or maybe it was the waitress who served me bacon and eggs at the nearby CrackerBarrel. Her patience and endless refills of my tea kept me going back for my morning meal throughout my stay. 
It was all of that and more…

People ask me why do you want to go to other states to run… Duh it’s the people!

Posted in Happiness, Running

You Can Call Him, Stretch

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Yesterday I was able to convince my hiking friend, fellow retiree and general mischief maker, Art to go to yoga with me.  My invitation was a little selfish in part because we have a long backpacking trip coming up and I want to make sure that he is loosey-goosey and up for the task.  He is a little older than me, but in good shape and overall in good health. We go back a long time and as such have come to understand each other pretty well, even when we aren’t looking at each other.

So as I drove us to class I ran down some of the terminology that my favorite teacher like to use and explained that he should go at his own pace and “make good choices” for himself.  I said, “No one is going to pay attention to what your doing because they are too busy having their own practice.” I explained that the second class would be more restorative, so not to worry about getting tired.

When we arrived, I quickly signed in and grabbed the spots under the air conditioner, Lazarus, so named because just when you think its dead it comes back to cool us down even if just a few degrees.  It was about 85 degrees outside and since the studio faces west, I knew it would be hot in there.  As he filled out the first timer form and talked to the teacher about his needs, I waited to get props so he could learn the process.

Class started and off we went.  Everything went as expected, with some poses easier to complete than others.  Art asked, “we cant talk?”  I said no, since it will disrupt the class. He seemed to be relaxed and happy, although I did notice he was moving along with all the options instead of keeping to the first level poses.  Good for him I thought, good for him.

Class ended and we transitioned to the next class. As some people left, others entered. Our teacher said, “If you’re staying for the next class, we are going off the wall.” Art looked at me and I assured him all we needed to do was to move our mats.  I rearranged and decided to go legs up while the class settled in.  I suggested he do the same, since its a great pose.

Everyone knows that getting into that position is not very pretty. Most of us look like sea lions trying to “skooch” our butts close enough to the wall to  actually get our legs in a somewhat 90 degree angle to our torso.  I came off the wall to show him once again, how to do it.

I instructed him the best I could and after deciding that his grunting was going to make me laugh, I quickly assumed my position, draped and eye pillow across my face, turned my head away from him and held my breath. He insinuated that it was easier for me to get into position because well, my butt was bigger so i didn’t have to skooch that far.  Rude. Eventually he settled in.

“Can you feel this?” he whispered, tapping a metal pipe running the length of the room along the base board.  He tapped it again. I felt the tapping on my butt cheeks that were indeed against the wall. I said yes and burst into laughter.  He really didn’t know why I was laughing so hard but, I made him start laughing.

He didn’t know that when he tapped on the pipe the first thing I thought of was how the inmates (wards we called them then) would tap on pipes or talk through the toilets to communicate from cell to cell.  I immediately went back to that time and thought, wow, he’s sending messages to my butt cheeks.  I was dying.

Eventually the teacher came over and light heartedly asked if she would have to move one of us.  Later he confessed that he was sure he would have to go to the Bikram side of the room so he stifled his laughter.

As class progressed we found ourselves in a soft forward fold.  I dangled my head and moved it side to side. Out of the corner of my eye, illuminated by the soft glow of the porch light through the back door window I saw the biggest black beetle.  I blinked to make sure it wasn’t a shadow.  Thankfully, our teacher had made her way to my side of the room, so I whispered urgently, “look!”

She turned to grab the bug and it turbo boosted toward my mat.  In two leaps I was in the middle of the room, safe to observe her grab it and toss it out the door.  Whew. Everyone else was still dangling their heads.  I tip-toed back onto my mat.

Class ended with our usual delicious treat and chai.  The teacher asked Art how he felt and he said, great!  Off we went.

As we drove I asked him how he felt.  “Oh, me?  Great!”  I go to the gym and run. I don’t feel bad at all,” he declared with a smile.

This morning, I rolled out of bed only to be reminded that the core work is having an impact on me and that perhaps my psoas muscles don’t need to be stretched that much all the time. I was prompted to say, I’m psoas hell!   Ha, I crack myself up.

While getting breakfast I received a text from Art.

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Yeah.  Can’t wait for the next class.

Siempre hacia adelante.

 

 

Posted in Friendship | Tagged , ,

Loch Leven Trail…Donde you are?

Every year, in an effort to introduce the children to the notion of hiking and backpacking, my sister Lenora organizes a “baby” (now “kid” trip).  When the two littlest ones were tiny, the hike involved a two mile roundtrip hike in Yosemite. Later, when she decided to get married, the trip became an overnighter at Cathedral Lake (Yosemite) complete with pack mules, wine and a wedding dress.  The kids up until this point were mostly carried, with some walking.   Eventually, the trips grew to include friends and their children, again, for the purpose of teaching them how to hike successfully and in keeping with all of the safety rules etc.

This June 2016, the trip was scheduled to happen on the Loch Leven Trail near Truckee, CA. Just two weeks prior we all watched the nightly news following the story of a young man and his dog lost and eventually found alive and well on this trail. Coincidentally, he is the son of a high school classmate of mine.  Needless to say, it doesn’t take much to get lost in the wilderness. But we are very experienced backpackers…what could go wrong?

We started out excited, three children and 7 adults all decked out and packed to the gills with food, tents, etc.  Having reached the trailhead,  we set off for our weekend adventure. We hiked for about a half hour and decided we’d lost the trail.  Really?

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The exact moment we lost the trail. Go left we said….

We checked our maps, looked online (cell service not a problem) and wondered, how far off could we be?  We crossed tracks; check! We saw the bridge…. wait, where was that wooden bridge?

Ok, just keep following the “trail” up the hill…. Hey, theres a couple…clearly we are going the right way.

Oh, you are lost too?

They gave up and decided to head back to the trailhead and go home.  Since ours was planned to be a two night trip, we decided to keep looking.  We stopped walking when we found a pretty cascade and perfect spot for camping.

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The perfect spot for an unexpected detour. Actually it was clear others had camped here as well, adding to our confusion that we were not heading the correct way. There were footprints after all.

The kids had a blast jumping around, exploring and later, making s’mores.  We, the adults started searching for a clearer map and called home to get help looking for where we went wrong.  It wasn’t long before we had a clear satellite image texted to us, with a blue dot indicating where we were, and a read circle around the lake we were targeting.  Yup, we went north when we should have turned south on the initial trail.

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The first of many foot shots!

The next morning we packed up and headed back to the tracks, knowing we just had to follow them north until we found the trail again.

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Back toward the trail….all our ducks now in a row.

We eventually found our way to the Upper Loch Leven Lake and made camp.  It is indeed a lovely spot, and while we were there, there were only two other groups around.  We were not able to see them, although sometimes we could hear their laughter.

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Upper Loch Leven Lake

The lake, cold as it was proved perfect for washing up and filtering water.  We ate well, and rested easy.  Some swam, while a little blond thing simply fell into the lake. That’s okay.  That’s what camp fires are for; s’mores and drying clothes.

The next day we were able to have a fellow camper take a group photo of us and we headed out.

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The next generation of hiker, Oliver, MaryEllen and Ava

On the way, the skies darkened and we felt the wind pick up a bit.  Did I mention that I chose not to purchase a rain poncho at REI because they were way too heavy?  Yeah, I probably shouldn’t mention it at this point of the story since the weather seems to be taking a turn (15% chance they said) and I’m carrying an expensive camera.

Now we adult women have been caught in torrential down pours in the easter sierras, at higher altitudes with granite all around. So, we weren’t necessarily worried, especially finding day hikers still entering, while we were exiting. But, nevertheless, wet granite is wet granite.

Yep, my foreshadowing is a little too obvious.

As we hastened our pace, me holding my camera under my shirt with one hand and using my trekking pole with the other, the rain became a steady, yet gentle event. Mind you, my cousin Celi well known for her fear of lightening and its thunder had taken off like a horse heading to the home barn after a long day. It took a while, but we finally caught up to her just in time to see her leave the trail, and take a SHORTCUT over a granite boulder.  You guessed it, she slipped and landed with one knee under her and her pole off the the side.

To digress for a moment you should know we normally hike as a group of women only. This is for a variety of reasons; as many reasons as there are women in the group. Mostly though, we hike without men or family because it reduces the amount of silly bickering that comes with stressful or physically demanding situations. Don’t get me wrong, we still snap at each other, but for some reason, we don’t hang on to those feelings, and usually, by dinner it all over.

And so it was that my other cousin, Flor (Refer to the movie Spanglish for the proper pronunciation) standing on the trail with the 6 year old yells out, “You need to come this way!” using her pole to point to the trail ahead.

Celi looks up at her and says, “Yeah, you think?” and grunted herself back into an upright position.  Shaking her head, she continued onto the trail and headed toward the trailhead in silence.

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Almost out…..

Eventually we made it out safely, if not a little damp and we chalked it all up to lessons learned. Rest assured, I’m buying that rain poncho before our next trip…which is coming up soon by the way. Oh, and also know that we carry solar panels, water filters, emergency kits and blankets, etc. just for occasions such as this. In all, I am proud of us for getting lost and finding our way back.

Siempre adelante.

 

 

Posted in Auto-Biographical Fiction, Backpacking | Tagged , , , , , ,

It’s a Yearly Event

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A few years ago my sister, Lennie was introduced to a man that all of us who have ever lived in a small town wondered, how is that they never met before?  They started dating, and fell in love. Yeah that kind of love.  The sappy, mushy, embarrassing kind of love.

She told me, “I really like him.”  I told her, good, its about time.

Lennie was married to my brother once, and they had three beautiful kids. After the divorce things were a little rough; but, those kids are my God children and as such, I will never abandon either them or their mother. So Lennie and I became even closer over time.

I am protective of her, but there is not much I can do that she can’t or hasn’t done for herself.  She has a great personality and is truly loved by all.  Just last week I told her that I always feel like I’m in the palm of her hand when we do our girls only backpacking trips, because she takes such good care of me.

So when she married Mr. Smith ( I think he is a Russian spy faking his name and his ‘Murica boasts) I was happy but a little sad too.  I was feeling a little greedy and selfish.  I thought, well, there goes my time with Lennie.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. Things in our marriage, wait, things in their marriage have been perfect.  I spend as much time as life allows and the best part, is that while Mr. Smith will never admit it, I think he likes me. Well, he likes me in a second grader kinda way.  He pokes and pushes and teases and plays.  I couldn’t ask for anything more.

And, as our family has transformed from a traditional one to a what-the-heck-were-you-thinking! kind of family, so have our hearts been moved to unconditional love of what and whomever life throws our way.  New daughters to love, new adventures to have and, new love to explore and cultivate.

So today, on their third anniversary, I say to Lennie, “I really like him.”  To Mr. Smith, I say, you’re a dork.

To both, congratulations and best wishes for many, many happy returns of the day.

Love you.

 

 

Posted in Family Life, Happiness | Tagged , ,