Tag Archives: music

Practicing Gratitude

biking roll

“gone biking” note – upcycling style

Music can help keep me going on sucky work days, prevent road rage and potential throat punches, and with this so-called training I’m attempting. I’ve tried not to count the miles so much but congratulate myself for getting back out there each time regardless of how scared I am of the thought of what is soon to come with the MS150 looming now five weeks on the horizon.

My many cheerleaders through songs that pour from my playlist. One of my sisters comes through in the voice of David Bowie’s Modern Love, and I laugh to myself when I remember us mimicking a quick little “bye bye” wave to the lyrics. A friend of mine, Alexis, checks on my progress, and I appreciate her paying attention to this effort.

The focus isn’t me, though, and I try to concentrate on that fact each time I set out in the bike saddle. Joedie is the person for whom I ride, and I remind myself how lucky I am to be able to freely mobilize and build my muscles to reach this goal. It is through sheer luck and grace I can attempt such a challenge when my mind and body may not feel like it. I can, however, physically do it and am should be supremely grateful.

After repeating to my son how sometimes you win, sometimes you loss, I have to tell myself, “Practice what you preach!” Little of each trek is easy, although “easy” is generally what I’d prefer. Pedaling against the wind gives me appreciation for that Irish poem about the wind being at your back. The proverbial sprint down a flat straightaway is nothing compared to the upcoming September marathon

The ride is a lesson in multi-tasking. Staying aware of surroundings to be safe while watching what I’m actually doing, thinking about gear shifts for hills, and considering road surfaces is a tough laundry list. Any pavement flaws, cracks, rocks, debris, and animal remnants/road pizza are all potential hazards.

biking barn

Small triumphs sometimes motivate me. Pedaling all the way up a big damn incline. Not getting stuck in my clips and falling over when I stop. Hearing Bowie’s Heroes makes me think maybe, just maybe, I can do this … even if it’s just for one day and not both. My body works, although it often hurts, and I’m seeming to get stronger. Like my other sister says, it’s more mental than anything, and managing that madness is my biggest stress.

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Let’s Get Fired Up

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The proverbial journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, as the cliche goes, or maybe I should say cog rotation. My fractional journey with new bike shoe cleats to clip into my triple-link pedals. Hell, I don’t even know why they’re called “triple link,” but my hip felt it when I fell over into the yard at first try this morning. At least there’s a lot of padding where I landed. On my body, that is. And in the grass, not the street or gravel, thank goodness. 

An even bigger humiliation came at hearing my know-it-all husband who’s never used toe clips before tell me what to do and then watch me fall. Of course, I could control yelling at him to leave me alone. “Let me do it the way the guy at the bike store (shout out to Stu at “Bike Outlet” in Springfield) told me how to use them!” But I didn’t. 

It being Independence Day brought a mental note how no one was actually shooting at me along the farm road. People ‘round here apparently just start firing their fireworks with the rooster’s crow.

All previously expressed rules still apply. Numbers two and three come to mind immediately upon launching (close your flycatcher and breathe in/breathe out), and following them on the outset remains a prescient warning. 

It’s odd to be my somewhat advanced age and feel my dad’s presence on my cycling route. Funny how pedaling through the country and smelling the cows’ … ahem … leavings will remind me of him claiming, “Smells like money!” Reminiscing on it makes me chuckle now even though it didn’t back then. Seeing a cardinal pop out from behind a shrub, land just long enough on the ground to chirp at me, and then dash away quickly brings me fond thoughts of my mom. Of her darting out just fast enough to remind me to keep going without her. 

I had to majorly talk myself into doing so  during the 26-mile training ride part of our MS150 Ozarks team took last Saturday. As expected, I trailed in dead last but alive. Unfortunately, I skipped the last six miles with the ass-kicking hill at its end after lunch, but that’s okay. I did NOT quit, and no “sag van” had to come retrieve my exhausted butt. 

Surviving that morning convinced me to not only get my Triple Link Pedal system installed, but it also coaxed me into putting down a deposit on a road bike. How sad is it to use layaway at my age? Pretty pathetic, perhaps, but a better way to ease into purchasing a second bike within a year. Even a used one. Having it may just help propel me forward even further. 

So old Black Beauty, as young as she is, gets put out to pasture. Or at least given to the kid to use. And a sleek used road bike will take her place in the near future. Next pay day.  😉

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Today’s topple onto my bum be damned! I’m going to get the swing of this thing. Two walked hills, a thrown-but-fixed chain, and a pocketful of swearing out loud  later, I made it 26 miles last week. All the old disgruntled farmers can honk at me again if they please. I’ll strap a big red triangle on my back and keep laughing at their rudeness. Though I don’t want to keep gauging everything in distances, it was a small milestone for me, especially since only my stabilizer muscles hurt this week. Yoga with a dowel rod soothed my calves, and hip-openers somehow stretched those lats outs southward laterally. 

I’ll keep learning new things along the way. I need to quit worrying so much about all the road litter. Some people are just inconsiderate jerks. I can “give a hoot” and not pollute while trying to follow a new rule of “MYOB,” especially to stay pedal-clipped and upright. I also need to work on other people’s noise not bothering me so much, even though it does. Cycling safety means no earbuds, so letting the birds serenade me might mean I don’t get hit by a passing car.

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Tonight might require a few OTC pain relievers, but that’s okay, because I didn’t take any all week. I just winced if it stretched forward, backward,or sideways. Pretty much winced if I stretched at all. And there’s a big illial/buttock contusion will likely bloom overnight, but oh well! My rotations may be baby steps to others, but they’re big to me. Having the assurance that Mary, the woman who manages the marina near our home where I practice ride hills, will call EMS … or at least roll me off the road, as she laughingly told me … makes me feel a smidge better. I’m gonna get this.   

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What else can we do?

morning sun

After completing 36 sun salutes on Thursday night and 24 the night before to celebrate summer solstice, thanks to the three-minute plank-off queen Rosemary Cross, I got back in the saddle yesterday to stave off the calf muscle cramps I’ve woken up to lately. My body’s getting stronger, right?

I marvel at a passing neighbor and how she keeps such superhuman pace. By all appearances she seems better than the lukewarm response at my inquiry into her morning so far. She replies, “I’m moving along. What else can we do?” I hope to do half as well as her octogenarian self at that age. 

Three little birds on a telephone wire spy on me from above, as if Bob Marley’s prediction comes to life, and I scold a previous me having tossed cans out the car window in a seeming previous life in hope Lake Ozark aluminum recyclers might benefit at my delinquency. Bemoaning that mistake in the last half of my life is weak penance for all the aluminum I now see strewn along the roadside.   

litter irony

Beyond all I notice on my bike “training” route, I still flinch at the thought of attempting 150 miles this autumn. My stretch up and down this trek remains arduous as well as my attitude toward it.   

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I see you smiling at me, woman at the crossroad stop sign … is that derision or is my face as red as it feels? Let’s both hope it’s only oxygen rushing to my brain, and first responders don’t find your mini-van’s tire tracks across my mangled remains in the ditch some future day. That’s why I’m on the county highway, not only tracking my so-called mileage progress but making sure my mangled carcass is found so my family can claim it at the morgue. Gallows humor does little to help lighten the current mood. And Bob Seger’s chorus resounding in my head reminds me running against the wind is likely prescient for our future team route.

The universe continues teaching its lessons. I now realize first-hand what the saying “kick it into high gear” really means though I’m not great at doing so. Staying visible in the curves is tantamount to keeping the legs in motion, though I’ve yet to actually “clip in,” still scared to make that pedal commitment.

Yet each time the fly-catcher stays empty is a successful ride indeed.    

 

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Recipe Records the 60’s Edition – review

the '60s Edition

Recipe Records

This post delves into new territory for me – a review of Recipe Records – the 60’s Edition.  Even though I read a lot of books, I only submit anything resembling a review either on Goodreads or Amazon to brag up someone’s work I wish other people to enjoy as much as I did.  So this time I’m doing so here!

I have yet to completely pan anything.  Negativity sucks — I don’t like to get it, much less give it as feedback.  Such is absolutely not the case here, as I have all good things to say about this honorific cookbook.  Double the reason I want to review Recipe Records – the 60’s Edition. The irony is I don’t cook!  It’s tedious, boring and nerve racking all at the same time.  Who has that kind of time-management skill?  Suffice to say, this little gem of a book makes me want to reach into another foreign area — the oven.

Lanea Stagg partnered with her friend, Maggie McHugh, who died young shortly after the initial project reached its fruition.  What began on a whim became a fun way for these authors to reach out to mutual music lovers and culinary crusaders.  The 60’s Edition serves in part as a tribute to a cherished friendship while making a statement of popular music’s value in culture and every-day life.  Anecdotes parsed out the book make it much more than simply a step-by-step directional guide.  It reads as a concise historical piece and nostalgic look back at music with clever connections to food.  A perfect combination of two things I love … eating and all things pop culture.  And the recipes sound yummy, too.

Yes, I am one of the people who endorsed the book within its pages.  So I’ll repeat — these feisty women precisely mix their love of cooking and music to a greater yield than I previously knew.  Copies of the book are available at Recipe Records.  Lanea also blogs at Rock Blocks and hosts her own internet radio show.  Check them out!

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