Wednesday, November 30, 2011

peace at the beach...

I'm a mountain girl at heart - growing up in Colorado seems to make that a given. I love nothing more than hitting a trail at the break of dawn, with each step bringing me closer to discovering a hidden jewel of a place. There is something special about each of those places; it's as if I was the one to discover them for the very first time.

But my love of the mountains has always had some competition... the ocean. I love it; love the smell, the sounds, the power of the crashing waves, the soothing affect it has on me. When I imagine the perfect vacation I see myself at a bungalow by the ocean, with a huge deck that wraps around the house and allows me to sit outside and take in every site and sound around me.

I saw this video and immediately felt a connection - it captures how I feel about the ocean so much better than any words I could write. Which means no more writing for me, check out this awesome video. (which has also inspired me to add another item to my bucket list)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

the circle...

Dad at the tulip festival in Washington state, one of many trips him and mom took.

It was four years ago that we lost my dad. A day doesn't go by that I don't think about him and his influence on not only myself, but so many others. He was just one of those guys that accepted you where you were at, and so many people were impacted by this amazing trait of his.

Dad doing one of his favorite things
Dad always worked with youth, many of them troubled. Here he was, this middle-aged, middle-class, white guy from Arkansas who was able to relate and connect to hard core gang members. He didn't know their culture, their language or their background, but that didn't seem to matter. What did matter was he looked at each of those kids and never saw the trouble they caused or their crazy past, he only saw the future and what they COULD be. And these kids knew that, knew how much he believed in them.

But what I most remember about dad was his quiet commitment to civil rights - this goes back to having grown up in Arkansas, a place that was segregated everywhere but the place he spent the most time: the local Boys Club. Dad grew up not knowing that he was supposed to believe that a different skin color made you less of a human being. I think this has a lot to do with his trait I mentioned above - he learned early on that you don't judge people by the way they look or what you may have heard about them.

Dad and mom on their wedding day
Dad went on to work in Boy's Clubs most of his adult life. I remember him telling me about his work at a Boy's Club in New Mexico in the 60's - he would travel for hours with the basketball team to make their evening games, then turn back around and drive those hours back home in the middle of the night... all because hotels would not allow blacks to stay there. Or the restaurants that would not serve the team because some of the players were black. He never let it stop him, but kept plowing through and doing the right thing.

I grew up as one of the only girls allowed in the "boy's only" club. (which I must admit, I loved. I was a tomboy and loved hanging with boys - dolls, and girls, were so boring). Dad's belief that everyone deserved a chance also went for his daughter. I was never told I couldn't do something cause "I was just a girl." If I wanted to try something, I could. It was a nice way to grow up.

There's been a big hole since dad died - life does go on, but there is always the thought "I wish he could be here." There were my adventure races that I wished he had been able to be at - he loved not only watching his kids compete, but he loved people. And by the time I would have ended the race, he would have met every single person involved in the race and know their "life story." (I get my love of stories from my dad).  I climbed my first 14'er the weekend before he died - I remember wishing he had been able to see my pictures, see that I had succeeded in my goal and wanting to hear the story behind each of the pics. I have to believe that he does know and is smiling at the way my life has turned out.

I have been thinking about dad more lately - some dear friends are having to deal with their father's diagnosis of terminal brain cancer and I spent the weekend with them as they process the news. This family is like my own, I love them and hate to see them suffer. They have hard decisions ahead of them and the grief that they will experience as they walk this road is never easy. I remember how hard it was to watch dad suffer, knowing that he hated being in the hospital all those months and not being able to do anything about it.

There is a helpless feeling when someone you know is dying - our natural response is to want to make everyone feel better, to help make their grief easier. I'm trying to figure out how I can be there for them, all the while knowing that this grief is what they have to experience - it's a part of life.

Watching them deal with their dad's illness has been hard, it's bringing back many feelings from dad's death 4 years ago. But I also know I have a perspective that other's may not have and I'm not going to let my feelings get in the way of my being there for them.

It's exactly what dad would have done, and I can't imagine a better example of how to do it right.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


5 months.

It's been 5 months since I had surgery. 5 MONTHS!

And what have I been doing? working. a lot. a lot, a lot.

I've also been hiking, and traveling (California baby!), and kayaking, and, oh did I mention it, working?

It's been kind of hard trying to keep up with all my extra curricular activities due to that oh so annoying thing called a job.

Don't get me wrong, I still love my job, absolutely love it. But I'm beginning to realize how easy I had it before, when I had all this leisure time to train and play. It was such a luxury.

Sigh, I miss those days.

Now I'm trying to find some sort of balance, all while trying to figure out how I can go back to school for my masters, and train for racing season next year, and fit in my family and friends, and oh yeah, actually get some work done.

Did I forget to mention I love my new hip?  No pain, no problems: love it, love it, love it.

Does this seem like a rather abstract post?

Yeah, I thought so.

It's a perfect illustration of my brain right now - abstract and scattered.

I think it's time for me to get some sleep - it doesn't happen often, but I do sleep... sometimes.