Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Hilarious Misadventures of a CX Girl in a Tri World

Well HELLLLLLO!  How’re YOU doin’?!?!

Me?  I’m good.

As a matter of fact, I am frickin’ spectacular!

Why, you ask?

Because that dog-forsaken road tri (The Steamboat Classic) is over and I can go back to being normal, TT-hating Cory.

WOO HOO!

To be clear, The Steamboat Classic was a super fun, well-organized event.  The people were super cool and oddly normal…and calm.  It was a rather cool deal.

Because so many of you have been right there on the edge of your collective seats just WAITING to hear all the hilarious details of a tri-hater gone tri, here I am to spill the awesomeness.

What is awesome?

I am!

Hahaha!

You know why?

Because I did that shiznit in under 2 hours (1:58:49) when it was guessed I would do it under 2.5 hours and I knew that the girl who won my age category last year was at 1:54…or at least that is the number I had in my head.

But wait…that is not the actual awesome part.  There are a few…and they are ALL very funny (and rather amazing!)

Here we go…

First, this was my first time in a 50 meter pool.

Yeah…I actually refused to warm up in it and for the first few minutes, I wouldn’t even look at it.

(That sounds like an AWESOME start to a tri, yeah?)

So then we all had to line up based on our projected swim times and there was not a sign for “Swims Like a Rock”, which coincidentally is the true meaning of my name, if you did not know that.

So, I had to line up in a 14-15 minute section or stand alone in the 18 minute section…and even that seemed pretty fast for me.

I met some really funny ladies while we chatted about how slow we all are and one said to me (I think because I had on the most awesome Black Sheep Cartel tri suit ever), “I am not going in front of you.  I bet you act like you are slow and are really fast.  You are freaking me out.”

I literally cracked up.

“Ummm, no.  I promise you that when I say that I do not train on the swim and that my only hope is to not die and not walk the swim, I am not being humble.  If I could use Disney Princess floaties on my arms, I would.”

I told her that I would likely backstroke the entire swim.  She looked at me as if I had 3 heads.  I get that a lot, actually.

Sadly, she did not buy that and made me go in front of her.

We stood on the pool deck forever/an HOUR (whichever comes first) while the swimmers took off one by one in 20 second intervals, so we all got to know each other pretty well.

I think I bonded a bit more with Chris, who is a mtb’er and it was her first tri as well.

She had been training hard on the swim and I was pulling for her.  I decided to make her my rabbit.

She went off just before me and while it would have been cool to use her to pace me, 25 meters into the first lap, I freaked out and had to flip over to backstroke.

Chris/rabbit who…?

No worries, I thought.  I will alternate.

Yeah…no.

I backstroked.

Every lap.

In a serpentine swim.

Stephanie, the lady who doubted my swimming “prowess”, caught me at the wall with 3 laps to go and I let her pass..but then caught her…while still doing the backstroke.

That part felt good actually and I relaxed.

Plus, my lungs were not as shot as they would have been if I had you know…actually free-styled.

SCORE!

Hey, I was told not to waste my energy on the swim and I didn’t; just time.

We start laughing as we climbed out of the pool with an “I told you so!” and we were off to T1.

Here is where I lost an extra 2 minutes.

My crap was laid out nicely and I got it on wicked quick, but I chatted with some people, looked at Karl’s bike computer in amazement because he was already done with the ride, screwed around with my Strava, and then did a cx bike mount and off I rode.

I knew that Chris/rabbit was out there somewhere, but where???

I also knew that I had to DO something on the bike because I am allegedly a bike racer.

While true, I am not a road racer or a TT’er, I still pedal regularly (allegedly) and  this should (SHOULD) be the easy part for me.

I had on that goofy TT helmet (which I secretly love and always have because it is pretty), and got out of the saddle to chase on to someone…anyone.

In my mind, I am dead last in the swim (it turns out that was correct) and I needed to make up some time.

Now, if you have ever read any of my previous blogs from back when I did race the skinny tires, you know that weird things happen to me when I have a number pinned/strapped to my person and I get on George, the road bike.

I freak out.

I stop breathing like a human.

I spazz;  I cry;  I vomit; I get in a fetal position on the front lawns of strangers…

I hate road racing OHHHHHH so much.

Some would argue that I hate it because I am bad at it and I would argue the opposite.  I am bad at LOTS of things and bad at all stuff which involves a “Start” and a “Finish”, but nothing freaks me out like racing my bike on the road.

OK, so you will be impressed to know that none of that ewwwwey stuff happened yesterday.

I simply breathed like a human being while not riding as if I was on a Sunday stroll in the park with the purse pooch and actually did some passing of people.

It was nice….and new for me.

Now, I will not pretend that I was as fast as my lady roadie friends who shred the legs of mortals, but I ended up second on the bike leg and old George was naked as a jay bird of any TT’ing components.

No aero bars; no wicked rims.

I just rode in the “praying mantis” position taught by my teammate Gina Poertner…and it worked.  I felt very calm and relaxed…and grateful.

Chris (my rabbit) was the 3rd person of 8 that I passed and I knew I had to keep moving so that I could make up the time lost in the swim.

She cheered me on as I rode and I was really happy to have met her.

The bike course had some pretty cute hills and this worked out for me.  Had it been a straight, flat course I would be sitting in a corner and pouting.

But, it wasn’t and so I am not.

(YAY, HILLS!)

I rode back into transition feeling really good.

Karl was on his transition mat and done with his race.  We chatted while I figured out what I was (and was not) taking on the run.

(Another 2 minutes lost.  GRRRRR!)

Now, I always run with my phone because it has my Strava and I like to see the miles.

Also, for some reason if I fell apart on the run, I would have tunes and games on my phone to amuse me (in case I have to await an ambulance or other rescue vehicle).

Karl said, “It’s not likely anyone is going to call you,” and laughed.

So very funny, that one.  F*cker.

True…but had I known what he could (and yet did not) tell me about how unmarked the run course was, I would have taken the phone.

As he did not (and I like to blame him for shit that really makes no difference), I left without my Strava/phone.

Booooooo!

When I started the run, I felt wonky.

I got a sharp side stitch and tried to work it out by jamming my fingers under by ribs.

I pulled over and did some Vinyasa to work it out and calm me.

So this is where the other amazing part of my race comes in (because the bike part was not amazing; only abnormal for me).

Each time I would start to run, this knifing pain would slice me.

As I ran past the hospital, I looked at it and wondered if it was challenging me.

It seemed as if that asshole hospital was calling my name on the wind and playing  Jedi mind tricks with me.

Well, I out Jedi’d the little bastard because I ran on…but not very far.  Just far enough that I would have to go backwards to get to it and you don’t go backwards on the race course.  So there you go.

I could not get my running right and so like any other crazy person would do (especially one who knows that not many people are behind them in a race), I started talking to myself.

I mean, I was sort of letting myself have it…talking myself out of being mind-fucked and lame.

I was shocked that I was struggling with the run because that is the one thing I have actually been doing lately.

It was “killing” me not to know how far I had gone.  I do really well with making my runs into little victories.  When I do not know my distance, I sort of fall apart like the true baby that I am.

Little victories, people.  Little victories.

I need goals (and victories), and running for the sake of running is just stupid…unless of course we are discussing machete-chasing incidents which rarely if ever happen.

When I say I was struggling, I mean I was struggling like I did on my very first attempt at running when I was a wee lass.

I would run a block and then would switch to that geriatric mall walker bullshit you see early in the mornings if you find yourself in need of retail therapy.

Then I started calling myself a mall-walking lame ass and that made me feel really, REALLY old.  And lame.  But mostly old.

So then, I pulled out a move that would not only save me physically, it would save me mentally.

This move is so ninja it didn’t even know it was ninja.

Ready…?

Are you sure?

Because once I tell you my secret to finishing my run at an 8:54 pace, you cannot un-know this information and you will want to bow down to my awesome ninjaness.

It will change the way you look at me and if you don’t smile, you are either dead inside or so up your own triathlete-ass that you forgot how to have a little fun.

Ready…?

I skipped.

I skipped my run.

Not, “stopped doing it and ended my race and therefor not finishing”.

I mean, I skipped like a four-year old child with a puppy and an ice cream cone on a sunny day.

Not only that, but as Chris/rabbit (who was behind me) would tell me later, I skipped my happy ass a block off the course and did a little extra.

BAM!

She kept calling out to me, but I was in my ninja zen mode and could not hear a thing.

Now, of course when I took the last two turns I started running like Forest Gump, but frankly, felt a lot better…and still have my toenails and knees in tact.

I crossed the line and was so happy to have a sweet man there to bend down and kiss my feet…

Oh…wait…nope…he was just taking off my timing chip.

Dammit.

Oh well; he gave me a fist bump and I was done and there were still people out there so I knew I was not DFL, so that was good.  For me.

Now, at this point I was pretty sure in my mind that the “run” took me 90 minutes to match my physical age of 90, because why would I not think that?

There were hills, I was delirious and talking to myself….and skipping.

(OK, even Betty White doesn’t skip and she is saucy, but you get it.)

I met up with Cristel and Karl, showered, and headed over to a super yummy brunch and award ceremony.

(Yes, I ate the award ceremony.)

*shakes head*

It is after all this that I saw the results.

Holy crapcakes!

My actual time is 1:58:49.

I did it!  I am under 2 hours and nothing else matters about the whole event in that moment except that I am not dead, I did not quit, and I am under 2 hours…

…until Karl sent me the splits and I saw my run time.

*gives mind-blown gesture*

8:54 pace.  3rd place in the run…skipping and geriatric mall-walking.

2nd on the bike and 3rd in the run…in a field of more than 3…and 6th place in my category.

(GO ME!!!)

We are off to see the Wizard indeed!

While all of this makes me happy, I am a realist to know I cannot pull that skipping nonsense in the XTERRA, but for today, I am wickedly ecstatic.

…and I think Anna is smiling too.

I have taken a lot of heat in the past 24 hours for doing this triathlon and all I can say is that I brought to it the cx spirit of fun and bad-assery that would make my dirty pink teammates proud.

Plus, Michelle called me “one of those mean cx girls”, so I knocked her lights out and took her trophy.

The end.

Bring on the dirt!

*Note: No Michelles in the hurt in the writing of this blog or the racing of this event.

All photo credit goes to Yvette Liebesman and Brent Newman.

What Is Beautiful

Mandy Velahuff inspired me to enter the Under Armour What’s beautiful Challenge.

Mandy is awesome and fun and if you are going to do something like this, she’s a good one to share in the pain/fun/humility of the challenge.

You should check out her profile because she is very motivating and awesome!

I get motivated getting others pumped up, so I would like every awesome lady I know (and even the ones who I don’t know) to enter this challenge.

While sure the challenge is also a contest, whether or not you “win” the contest component of the challenge is irrelevant.

I am on Day 5 of this challenge and I am winning…to me.

The Sass and I are having fun with this and it has opened up a lot of dialogue.

I have to admit, it is pretty fun coming up with new ideas and harder ways to challenge myself and push myself.

Already I am seeing a change in me.

No, I am not seeing a 6-pack (yet) but I am seeing more smiles, more sweat, and more energy.

Because I am working toward a goal, I can feel my mind changing and that influences my choices.

For example, instead of scarfing an order of my favorite veggie layer dip at Hacienda last night, I shared the plate and did not take anything home to snack on later.

Why?

Because this challenge documents my changes and progress and the point is not  for me to finely cultivate a muffin top to my mid-section….or dog-forbid…a FUPA!

(Holy crapcakes, no! Just, no.)

That said, I ended up having a conversation last night that I had not expected and involved the outside (and mildly humorous) perception that I must eat really healthy and work out a lot.

The person was sort of down on themselves and had already staked their “idea” of me against themselves and I had to smile.  Kindly.  I have been there.

Nope, I am not the healthiest of eaters (I love carbs and specifically sweets) and I will order a salad or a bowl of soup just so I can have a big, fat piece of carrot cake.

Sure, I am big on portion control and making sure the presentation is visually appealing, but I balance good and bad…even (and especially) on my plate.

I told her that I hate exercising for exercise sake and that I have a difficult time motivating myself every day.

Every. Day.

Maybe if you don’t talk to me every day, you don’t know this about me, but sometimes I like to just sit around the house and do nothing.

Nada.  Zilch.  ZERO activities…except the occasional shifting of the legs and ass cheeks just to make sure they do not die and fall off.

When I do workout, typically it is riding my bike…which is more for mental therapy than exercise.  The exercise is just an added bonus…but if I do not ride, I am a total bitch.

(This shocks you, yes?)

Lately, I have added the running thing for Anna, but it’s not the same.  The running is with the intent to suffer…because why else would someone do such nonsense?

While I am working toward my goal of completing the XTERRA Scales Lake on June 23rd, I will have to do much more running and also some swimming…which is the hardest thing on which to motivate myself.

Likely, you will see lots of running and swimming things because to me, those things are hard…because I hate them.

(Who wants to do shit that they hate?)

I would rather adopt that 39-lb cat that I saw in the news than swim on any given day.

(Though if I lathered that beast up in peanut butter, my dogs would love him and that could be more entertaining than Post-its on paws, so scratch that; maybe fat cats are marginally more fun than swimming.)

I don’t know how this contest will go, but I have never felt more confident that I will complete the XTERRA than I do today…and I credit this competition with at least part of that.

In five days I have figured out that:

  1. I love my body with all its scars, curves, and jiggles.
  2. Some body parts are strong and some need a more work/strength.
  3. I am tougher than I thought I was.
  4. I have awesome friends who are willing to take this journey with me.
  5. I am not much different from many other women.
  6. I want to inspire and motivate people to be their best selves and say “f off” to anyone who wants to stand in their way or tear them down.
  7. I am beautiful.

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With the Paws of a Polar Bear

Alrighty…so remember yesterday when I claimed to be “semi-sane and semi-rational”?

Yeah.  Right.

So, I did some rethinking of the Steamboat Classic Triathlon on which I was bailing and came up with some decently valid reasons not to skip it.

Actually, the reasons to not skip it are significantly stronger than the reasons to skip it.

Reason to skip #1: I have not been swimming.

(OH MY GAWD!  I hate the swim so, so, SOOOOO much!  My dog is better at the structured swim than I am.)

You have heard this from me before, yes?

Meh.  That is an excuse.  So what that I haven’t swam much.  I suck at the structured swim no matter how much I practice so that is a lame-assed reason.

The swim is only a 450 meter serpentine, so I really have zero excuses here.  If anything, the swim is easier because I don’t have to count.

(Hey, I only learned how to pedal and spit without wrecking last year, so I need to pace myself with the multitasking business.  Sometimes when I am focused on laps, I forget to breathe…which could make for a bad day in the water, yeah?)

Reason to skip #2:  I have had a very emotional 2 weeks with all that has gone on with Anna and her subsequent passing and I feel emotionally and physically drained.

PSHHHHH!  I need to get the feck over that nonsense and get back out there.  I actually felt Anna shake her head at me when I decided against the tri yesterday.

Not to mention, I have actually been running, so I at least have that covered.

I rode my bike a few times and I still remember how, so that’s good.  It’s not a road race or a crit so no one will be near my wheels…or turning into me, so there is no fear factor.

I have to run and ride on Sunday anyway, so really…I can’t even hard sell myself on this excuse.

Reason to skip #3:  I am having hot flashes like a futha mucker, I am eating my emotions, and my body is a mess!

Sweet Mary Chain.  Even I am rolling my eyes at this one.

I am having hot flashes because I took myself off the hormones last month because I didn’t like what they were doing to my emotions and now I have the flashes.  So what?

With the hormones I am a weepy mess with an increased risk of breast cancer which is no bueno for Cory.  Now I have the hot flashes, but so long as they don’t happen during an event, I will be fine.  If they happen during an event, I will need to stop for a moment to get it under control.  If it happens in the water, I will have to back-stroke the swim but since that may happen anyway, who am I kidding?  Not even myself.

I gained 3 pounds eating my emotions the past week.  Whatever.  I recognized it and will likely lose 2 by the event just by eating like a normal human instead of a wolf.  Even if I don’t lose it by Sunday, I will live….assuming that I do not fall off the toilet before then.  It’s not a runway and a third of the event is under water anyway.  I’ll just wear a low-cut sport bra to push up the girls and draw the eyes up, up, up.

(Don’t act like this is not a little bit genius or that you didn’t know I am at least mildly vain about ridiculous shit.  I am and you find that amusing.  Admit it.)

OK, so now for the reasons to race…

Reason to race #1:  I want to.

Period.

(That’s was easy, right?)

Weird, but easy.

Reason to race #2:  A friend asked me to play golf of Saturday and if I do not race, I really do not have a valid reason to skip golf other than…you know… it being golf and all that.  Ironically, the golf invite comes from a member of the M-Dot Posse and really, how much of his crazy shit does he think I am willing to do?!  I believe this golf thing to be a sick ploy on his part to get me to do the tri.

I am on to you, Ironboy.  Believe that!

*raises eyebrow wickedly*

See how much golf sucks? I am willing to drive 124 miles to swim instead of looking goofy in khakis and wearing ugly shoes.

Oy.

Reason to race #3:  My first real event is the XTERRA Scales Lake on June 23rd.  The tri this weekend is my only chance to do an outdoor event before then and I really want to practice my transitions…which I think are the only thing that I have going for me speed-wise.

It would be logical for me to do an outdoor event prior to the event I care about, right?  RIIIIIIGHT?!?!

(Just nod your head.)

Reason to race #4:  I made a commitment to myself and my friends and we are going to have a blast!  Additionally, it is going to feel really good to complete this goal with my friends, all of whom have been super awesome (and patient) to/with me while I figured this out.

Reason to race #5:  My daughter will be proud of me because she knows how nervous the swim makes me.  This is a “teachable moment” for both of us and I need to follow through with it.

Reason to race #6:  I just publicly called out my own bullshit, so now I have to race and hold myself accountable.

OK, so there you have it.  That is a taste of the zero-cat-crazy that rolls around in my head while I lie in bed staring at the ceiling fan and pondering my daily decisions.

For the record, I decided not to swim yesterday, so that was a poor choice.

(See? I am a hot mess!)

The Sass is holding me accountable tonight though, so our swim suits are packed and loaded in the velowagon and we are heading straight to the pool after work/school and getting to business (for me) and fun (for both).

She is my coach this week and is keeping me in line.  We watched the polar bears swim in a documentary on Sunday and this morning she reminded me to swim like them and not use my legs much.  (Good advice, actually!)

Yeah, yeah…if only I had paws like a polar bear…I could do lots of cool stuff!

*grin*

That kid is going to keep me young; I gotta love that!

Mixing It Up a Little…

I have a few friends who are a bit “odd”.

They are also a little “contagious”.

These “weirdo” friends of mine like the tri thing.

They really dig it.

I mean…REALLY dig it.

Now that I have had the tiniest of nibbles from the tri pie…I get it.

By “get it” that does not mean I am signing up for that M-dot series or anything, but I get it.

Because I am awful at training but excellent at jumping in with both feet, I have set my sights on a few tri events this year…the XTERRA off-road tri series.

To be frank, jumping into a tri event with both feet isn’t exactly fun.  I did that exactly one time many moons ago and will never make that mistake again.

I was supposed to do a tri this upcoming weekend, but the events of the past 2 weeks sort of threw me for a loop and I didn’t train…other than running.

The “old Cory” would just do it anyway…

…but the semi-sane and semi-rational (and also more financially challenged and bigger assed) Cory is going to do the wise thing and skip it.

Instead, I will get back to my “training” and get excited about a really cool event happening here in St. Louis next month…

An Evening With Chrissie Wellington – 4-Time Ironman World Triathlon Champion.

Hmmmm…whaaaaat…?

You don’t know of her?

HOW is that possible?!?

I have never done an Ironman or a full tri and even I know who she is!

Chrissie is wicked cool, is a total badass, and likes cheese!

I love her!

Her smile is as big as the sun and her calves are as big as my head…and she still looks like a lady.

A badass lady.

I think regardless of whether or not you ever intend to do a tri event, Chrissie is a fascinating person from whom anyone could learn something.

Chrissie is going to discuss her book, A Life Without Limits, in which she intimates the story of her rise to the top, including all the incredible challenges she faced; from eating disorders, to the years spent traveling around the world as an aid worker in developing countries.

I am taking The Sass and you should take your kiddos (if you have them) too.

You may purchase an advance copy of the book for $25 online along with your $10 event ticket by clicking here.

A portion of all ticket and book sales will benefit St.Michael School of Clayton’s Tri-Art Summer Camp: Campers age 4-14 experience the thrill of being a three sport athlete, building personal endurance, and developing sportsmanship though triathlon training.

(How awesome is that?!?!)

I hope to see you there because it is going to be cool.  Very cool.

*Note: Many sweaty hugs to my tri-cray-cray friends Cristel, Christy, Brad, Teri, Kerrie, Donna, and Diane who always make me smile with their excitement and sometimes talk me into crazy shit too.   *smooches*  

Many thanks to Jennifer who is working her tookus off trying to make sure this event goes off without a hitch and that everyone knows about it and gets excited.

Thank you to the universe for creating a tri event that contains dirt and mud.

Peace.

A Funny End to an Unfunny Story

Yesterday, Anna was laid to rest in Brooklyn, NY.

I was unable to attend and we instead created a memorial to her here in St. Louis.

I loaded up the memorial wheel and all I would need for our little ceremony into my wheel bag, strapped it around my shoulders, climbed onto my mtb bike, and started the trek to the spot with Cristel and Ruby.

This particular trail is pretty rocky and is made “fun” and funny when one has a giant wheel bag strapped to their person and that wheel bag contains not only the memorial wheel, but bags of Skittles, a martini, a martini glass, ribbon, wire, tools, and a sandwich…just in case.

It was difficult not to laugh (as Cristel and I did) while we climbed our way up.

Once to the peak, we decided on the perfect spot and did what we needed to do to make it perfect for Anna.

We secured the wheel with some light wire and arranged some rocks to help secure it and stood silently for a moment.

I grabbed the Skittles and poured some into a sealed container and placed them next to the memorial for her.

Anna loved Skittles and had wanted me to sneak her one last Friday…but we couldn’t because she was severely diabetic, was struggling health-wise (clearly) and was unable to take in solids.

I wish now that I had given her the damn Skittle.  Instead, I got her a mango iced fruit bar and told her it was a margarita.  She liked it.

Now, Anna is getting her Skittles.  Wild Berry.

I poured some Skittles into the martini glass and poured over the magic lemonade martini and stood looking at her.

Cristel and I wrapped arms and she said a beautiful prayer.

Then it was on me…

I was speechless as I stared at Anna and thought of all the things that she had been through.

All the things that she taught me.

All that she gave to us….

…which was everything she had…all the time.

I thought about a letter she had received from my grandmother when I was little and how that note had devastated Anna.

I thought about the letter I had written Anna after that…when she was moving out of the family home.

I thought about how Lisa had found both letters at Anna’s apartment when she died.

They were written in 1984.

I ended up apologizing to Anna for all of us…and thanking her for everything.

I felt sad and drained and filled with remorse for how my grandparents had treated her and felt pride for how Anna carried herself and didn’t speak ill of either of them.

If I am lucky enough to live to be 85, that means I still have 45 years to treat people the way Anna did, so it’s not too late for me….or any of us.

I hugged my friend tight, took a sip of the Skittles martini, sprinkled a drop on the flower petals, tossed the rest and climbed back on my bike.

We sat there for a moment taking in the view that Anna would have and exhaled.

The ride back down the hill oddly enough has both ups and downs…and bushes with razor-sharp thorns.

I happened to tango with a branch of one of these “fun” bushes as I descended and ended up with more than a few adorable thorns in my fingers, hand, and bar grip.

As soon as I pulled them out, I of course gushed blood because I am a bleeder, so that was cute.

(I promise I am going somewhere with these details…bare with me…)

There were sections of the trail that had to be walked and bikes carried due to the wetness of the trail in those spots, so I ended up a little muddy…

As we got back to the car, I said goodbye to C & R and headed out.

As soon as I got in the car, the tears came.

Pure, loud, ugly-face sobs…

Snot dripping, eye-puffing messiness.

It was a great!

I drove to the gym to get my 5K in and walked slowly to the entrance…completely unaware of how I looked.

As I checked in, this is what the attendant saw…

What a sight!

Messy, dirty, bloody lady with tear streaks and dried snot.

Awesomeness.

“Are you OK, Cory?” he said.

“Yes….I’m sorry.  We just buried my aunt today and I am a bit of a mess.”

[Long, LONNNNNNNG pause here while the look on his face registers in my brain.]

“Oh my god!  No!  I didn’t KILL her! She’s in Brooklyn, NY!  I SWEAR!  Today was her funeral and we just placed a memorial to her up on a bluff and I got my ass kicked by some thorns….”

He raised his eyebrow impressively and I started to laugh.

“I swear!” I said.

I’m still not sure he believed me…but it felt great to laugh.

I’m sure Anna laughed too.

The Bittersweet Run

As they arranged your hair, and powdered your face, I laced up my ugly running shoes and put my earphones in my ears.

I turned the music on as loud as it would go and started running with my face to the sun.

I slid my sunglasses off my head and over my eyes and the tears poured down.

When I ran in New York and NJ, I ran with the hope that I would see you again.

That you would pedal again.  Dance again.  Be a wise ass again.

Today’s run was by far the hardest run I have ever done…because it was without hope of seeing those mischievous blue eyes again.

I ran anyway.

Every step hurt more than the last.

Every step seemed farther and farther away from you.

Once the clock turned to 2, it would all begin.

People would see you.

The lie I have told myself for the past 2 days would be revealed…

You are actually gone.

Worse, is that I know you were not running with me…because running is stupid and in my mind you are riding a hot pink Townie while your dogs chase you into the sun.

I just flicked a Skittle at your photo for sticking me with this running nightmare.

Tomorrow, each of us will all say goodbye to you differently…

…but I will carry you (and some Skittles) with me for the rest of my days, just as you carried me through the beginning of them.

Anna, the Funniest Non-Runner

Anna…

Where do I begin?

When I told you the other day that I would run a 5K-a-day until you were back in the saddle, I had no idea you would go through such extremes to make me stop running.

I know you hate running; running is no bike ride…for sure.

The deal was that I would run until you got back in the saddle…not until you left me.

I will carry your broken heart in my heart…and I will run and I will ride and I will laugh as I lace up those ugly running shoes and know you got the last laugh.

Thank you for introducing me to bicycles and roller skates and candy and laughter.

We will talk about this running thing when we meet again.  Believe that, sister.

Thank you for showing me how to be a trooper and not let myself be broken…no matter who kicks me to the curb or kicks me around.

Thank you allowing me to see you and laugh with you and remember that part of me that I thought was long-buried.

I was a little girl when I saw you this weekend…and you told me you were 59.

You will always be 59 and I will always be 13…

It is 1986 and I am squeezing you tight before I get on a plane to move away from you.

I am squeezing so tight that you are bursting into the universe and sparkling everyone with your candy-filled awesomeness.

Thank you for waiting for me to get there.

Thank you for everything, you sweet and awesome bike lady.

I love you.

Ride on, Anna.  Ride on.

Kindergarten Reminders

A friend and I were discussing one of my favorite short essays while dissecting human behavior and how to treat others and live a simple life.

My friend asked me to send them the essay and in doing so, I decided to post it here because there really is never a bad time for a refresher course.

If we take a look at the world around us, it appears many have forgotten Kindergarten and how easy and happy things were back then.

While there isn’t anything in the essay about shooting random people or even shooting/stabbing/killing not-so-random people, I think it was simply presumed that even the youngest child understands that that is a “NO!” item.

It doesn’t address lying or gossiping or rumor spreading or bullying directly, but those fall under the umbrella of “playing fair”, even if you don’t think so.  They do.

The “share everything” item probably does not consider disease or spouses or flatulence or videos of your cat(s), so maybe don’t do that, but if it’s a good thing…share it.

It doesn’t address drugs and putting Drano or Liquid Plumber in your blood stream, but maybe don’t do those things either. Balance is one thing; stupid is another.

Hey, I’m no brain child and certainly no saint and if you are reading this, then you know me and you likely are no saint either because those people are a little dead and that’s just creepy.

Read on and have fun!

Peace, love, and mud,

CR

All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten 

by Robert Fulghum

All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.
ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW about how to live and what to do
and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not
at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the
sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don’t hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.

Flush.

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life – learn some and think some
and draw and paint and sing and dance and play
and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic,
hold hands, and stick together.

Be aware of wonder.
Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup:
The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody
really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even
the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die.
So do we.

And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books
and the first word you learned – the biggest
word of all – LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.
The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation.
Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any of those items and extrapolate it into
sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your
family life or your work or your government or
your world and it holds true and clear and firm.
Think what a better world it would be if
all – the whole world – had cookies and milk about
three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with
our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments
had a basic policy to always put thing back where
they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you
are – when you go out into the world, it is best
to hold hands and stick together.

I’ll Pull for a While

One minute you are recalling funny Easter stories and the next you are receiving a phone call from your aunt and she is in tears.

I hate that sound.  I have heard that sound with the heavy sentences that follow too many times.  I am in tune with Lisa on this by now.

She followed her tears with a sentence I was not expecting…and it was better than I had thought but still pretty awful.

My aunt Anna, who is 85 and is my godmother is having her leg amputated tomorrow.

Anna is not only my godmother, but she was the nanny to all 4 of us and the person who introduced me to bikes as a “thing”.

Anna has never driven.  She rarely takes mass transit.

Anna rides her bike everywhere….until recently.

She has diabetes and has developed a leg-full of blood clots.  She was just told that if they don’t take the leg, she will die.

Anna’s heart is challenged and her body weak.  She doesn’t have an appetite.

She does still have her amazing sense of humor though…and sometimes that is all the difference.

She is already planning her life in the wheelchair and the new clothes she will buy.

The soonest I can get there is Thursday and I have a heaviness in my throat from the deja vu I am experiencing after receiving an awful call the day after St. Patty’s in 2003 when my grandma fell and broke her hip and had to have surgery.

I booked the flight and hopped the plane with an infant Sass and made it to the hospital to see my grandma after surgery and have her whisper to Lisa and me and smile and the next morning she was gone.

Anna deserves to have her Redmond kids around her.  We owe it to her for being there when others weren’t.

We owe it to her for always being there for us brats even when we told her we didn’t need her.

We owe it her for introducing us to bikes, rated-R movies, red nail polish, roller skates, cool jeans, prime time soaps, vanilla Italian sodas, egg creams, the best baloney sandwiches, and candy.  LOTS of candy.

I saw parts of Brooklyn I would never have noticed if not on the back of her bike.

I found parts of myself that I didn’t know were there until I realized that her bike routes imprinted a map to my grandpa’s house in my brain…just in case.

Days like today you realize that you didn’t talk to people often enough.

Days like today you realize how small so much else is.

Days like today I feel pretty fortunate because I did not have to make the decision that Anna did.

Days like today you are not a 39-year-old grown woman, but instead a little girl in a sun dress and white Mary Janes climbing onto the touring rack of a bright red Schwinn and squeezing your Anna until she bursts while she whips through the city traffic…

I’ll pull for a while, Anna.  Just stay.

A Rather Wise-Arsed Easter Bunny

Here we go.  Time for me to blurt out my feelings on Easter and that effing bunny and my semi-irrational loathing of a mostly harmless holiday.

(Lucky you!)

Every year I go through this…well…every year since becoming a parent, because frankly after 1981 I just stopped with the Easter except when I had to fake it at school.  (Because I went to Catholic school and they are down with The Stations of the Cross every Friday in Lent and they seemed to wait all year (ALL YEAR!) to tell the bloody awful story of Good Friday and Jesus, the Everloving Zombie.)

To be clear, I am not going to focus on the religious aspect of Easter at all, because Zombie Jesus and I are cool.  Frankly, Easter was a big “cross” weekend for my hippie friend, and his podium freed people’s souls while my podiums yielded 6-packs of wheat  Anheuser Busch products, thus proving that:  A) There is a Satan, and B) that my soul is worth about $6.  Awesome.

My gripe with Easter is now and has been since I was 8-years old, that effing freaktastic bunny.

First, yes I have researched why the hell there is the bunny and the eggs and I still scratch my head over how it has anything to do with Jesus, but whatever.  The trees at Christmas have nothing to do with him either, so I get that people are just weird.

We all know why I hate the Easter Bunny.  If you do not and you have a particularly boring life, you can read about the mess that is my mum and the Easter Bunny here.

If you do not want to read there, to sum it up, my mom started a chocolate business when I was 8 years old.  That business ruined me on milk chocolate and Easter bunnies forever because my mom’s Easter bunnies had penises.  Not just penises, but “camera ready” penises.

Fast forward to having children of my own and taking your kid to see the Easter Bunny at the mall…

Ty went exactly twice and I felt dirty.

Maybe you don’t feel like putting your kid on the lap of a rodent with an erection.  I didn’t.  The Sass has never met the Easter Bunny.

We have pointed and waved when in the mall, but otherwise no.

This year brings a certain relief to the whole thing though.  Almost as if the Easter story has been building in my 8-year old self.

Yesterday was the first time that I have ever (EVER) bought a chocolate Easter rodent for any child.

My kids always get baskets that would put the strongest ant in a coma, but never any bunnies.

I hate those effing things!

The chocolate ones; not the fuzzy little hoppers who sometimes like to commit suicide via lawnmower.

Thanks to my mom’s cute little business venture, I can’t even look at an Easter Bunny without feeling like I am going to bust out in a Tourettes-like episode and start yelling PENISES!

Well, The Sass likes chocolate and she gave it up for Lent, so I knew all she wanted was chocolate in that basket.

I walked into the store and there they were…in that special isle for dirty little things…the Easter Bunny isle.

Dammit.

I looked that little fugger with its beady little candy eyes and let my eyes drop to check if there was a penis.  None.  SCORE!

I picked out two bunnies in her favorite flavors and suddenly felt like I did the first time I realized I had a little ring on my bike while climbing a hill…

Hmmm…this is not that difficult.

I decided to pick a few more chocolatey bunnies for my friend’s kiddos.  I even tossed in a few obnoxious Peeps and jelly beans.

Hey!  Look at me making a basket with CHOCOLATE in it!  Woo Hoo!

I damn near skipped/tripped to the velowagon and started arranging Sass’ basket right then and there so I could act a fool when I got home.

Just then I heard a text notification on my cell and picked it up.

“Happy Easter. LOL -Mom”

I immediately got the raised eye brow/smirk combo and started laughing.

That bitch.  I was actually impressed with her ability to be such a wise ass and it made me happy that we can joke about the things that have cost me gajillions of dollars in therapy, bikes, and shoes (mostly shoes and bikes).

God love her…because she is a beautiful little mess and I am all booked up with my own issues.

The Sass giggled like a cartoon version of herself when she saw the basket and nicely eased herself into a genuine chocolate coma by 2pm.

For the first time in many, many, MANY years…I had a pretty fantastic Easter…and I hope you all did too.

*Disclaimer: This post is not to make fun of Jesus, Catholics, bunnies, or moms who make perverted chocolates.  I have never run over a real bunny with a lawnmower.  In fact, I have not used a lawnmower since circa 1986, so there you go.  While I have made my peace with the chocolate bunnies, I am still wicked freaked by those assholes in the costume in the mall but mostly because any adult in a costume who pleasures having little kids sit on their lap freaks me out and it is simply better for all parties that I am nowhere near such people.  I’m sure most are fantastic humans, but it really only takes one to fuck that shit up for everyone.  Some people hate clowns; I hate Santa and the Easter Bunny.  Let it lie.  I feel really fortunate to have made the journey I have with my mom and am even more fortunate that she found her way out of the darkness and decided to live.  While the child in me will always feel sad that I didn’t have a mom, I am happy that the mom in me is happy to have her now…and so is my daughter, who is thoroughly amused by my mom and her ranch/farm of misfit animals.