Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I needed a break, so I grabbed my camera and went out to the patio to peek around.
I have so many blossoms on my lemon tree. It's very exciting. Last year I had a whole ONE lemon on the tree. I don't know why it's so healthy this year, but I'm glad that it is. I love lemons. When I was a kid, I used to eat them, not squeeze them on something, but eat the pieces like an orange. This was well before I met a Meyer lemon - those, no problem - but old school tart-y lemons, well I'm not sure what I was trying to prove.
Nobody uses the turtle sandbox anymore. :( I can remember the day Bay got it from Mom. It was her third birthday and her dad brought her home all caked up. I bathed her, cleaned the frosting out of her hair, and the fun began. My brother-in-law was supposed to be delivering the sandbox, but for some reason he decided to go by the Ford store and buy a truck first. He's had a lot of trucks over the years. Another funny day for truck-buying, the day he and Robin moved out of Chico. They bought a new truck on their way out of town.
When I bought my van, my sister talked me through it. I'd call her and she'd say, wait, let me look up those numbers....... and she'd give me the blue book on my little Saturn or the van that I wanted to buy. It helped to have her there on my phone. She knows a lot about purchasing vehicles. I do not, although I do know about a bit about dating a car-man, as S is one. His advice - don't let me (him) talk you into anything. Too late.
Sometime during Max's first year, the seed for this tree landed in a hanging pot of Petunias. It sprouted and I moved it from pot to pot as it grew. It's Max's tree. It sits outside the living room window - right on the other side of the wall from where he lays. I like to keep Max and his tree close. They belong together and some day when I buy a house, I'd like to plant the tree into the ground. Or maybe just a larger pot, but the point is that this tree means a lot to me.
I like to put goofy things around my garden. I have pieces of windchime stuck up with nails - mostly stars, suns, and moons. I found the little Eiffel Tower below outside stuck in the dirt. I stepped on something and it hurt my foot. When I dug around to see what it was, I found this broken tower. I washed it up and it's been in my garden ever since. My friend, Heather, visited the real Eiffel Tower last year. She took pictures of it and told about how it made her feel very emotional to be standing right there by it. I can only imagine how it must have felt - it's such a familiar image and I'm sure it's massive.
I like to put rubber lizards and spiders and frogs in among the plants. We used to take this huge rubber spider and hide it in the house to scare each other. I don't know where it is now, but I think I'm going to look for it, so I can hide it in Bailey's bed. She'll love it.
That Petunia turned out pretty, I think.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Okay, enough headache talk. I think I'm a bit distracted by Dancing With the Stars. Sorry. Oh dang, Cristian just pulled a muscle. Ouch.
Yesterday I rode the Wildflower.
Up until the event, my longest ride was 21 miles. That ride took me 130 minutes. The version of the Wildflower that I rode Sunday was called The Flatflower and it ran 30 miles. I figured I could finish it, but that it would take me about 3 hours, at least. I finished the 30 miles in 140 minutes. Either my practice rides were longer than I thought or I got faster all of a sudden.
This event was very different from any of the running events I'd taken part in. A big example of the difference was the way in which you could start whenever you wanted. No one kept track - no bibs, no timing chips, just fun. They suggested you start by 8am, because of the heat and so that you wouldn't miss out on the (awesome) lunch, but it was only a suggestion. I started at 7:55, following the road through the orchards to the town of Durham. The one and only rest stop was located there - only 6 miles into the ride. I got off my bike and grabbed a pastry. Yum.
I hopped back on my bike and moved along. A lot of people passed me on the way - one group of 3 ladies would pass me, then I'd pass them, then they'd pass me again. I rode most of the way by myself. When we turned onto the River Rd, the trees thinned out a bit and saw a lot of birds and wildflowers. The yellow flowers to the right where taller than my head.
Here's a closer picture of them. Luckily, my allergies were absent. Phew...... big relief.......
It started to get warm right around 10am. I wanted to stop and take a drink, but I felt good about my progress and wanted to just keep going. Near the end of the River Rd, I started passing lots of people, which was pretty exciting. I asked one guy if he knew how much farther and he said, "A little less than 9 miles. Are you ready for the second loop?" Ha ha, funny man. He did have a very friendly smile, though.
After I passed him, I could see him over my shoulder, less than a tenth of a mile behind me. I don't know why this sped me up, but as we entered into town, I was so excited, I almost started crying. I almost made it! So darn close!!
We came down 5th, through the college town part of Chico. It was so quiet, zipping down the empty street, almost all the lights I hit where green. I felt this burst of energy as I got closer to the fair grounds, so I dug in and caught up to the group ahead of me.
When I reached my car, I started crying. It felt so good to finish something that I wasn't sure I could do and to finish so much faster than I estimated......it was wonderful. But I was alone, there was no one waiting for me. My mom was busy watching my kids and I couldn't talk any of my friends into riding with me. My boyfriend didn't call or answer his phone when I tried him. I don't know if it sounds a bit selfish of me, but I'm tired of doing everything on my own. I've done it that way for so many years. I want to share my life with someone who wants to be there.
Still a wonderful experience and I can't wait to do it again next year. I'm going to get to work on a group of gals to ride with me next time. And no tears at the end.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
We started with an empty room, then we set up tables, folding bandana after bandana, then finally helped with check-in. I like a job where everyone around you has a smile on their face. This was one of those jobs. Everything went pretty smoothly and I think we did a pretty good job.
Here's the view over Bailey's shoulder. She was saying, Mom! don't take my picture as I took it.
I picked up my bag when we were done with our shift. We got some pretty cool stuff in our little backpack. Here's a shot of what was inside.
Here is a shot of the bandana-map. I think I folded about 800 of these today.
I"m very excited. I talked to a lady who was volunteering today and she gave me quite a few pointers. She said to be sure that I drank a lot of water today and that they served pastries from the Upper Crust at the rest stop. Maybe I will see Brandon, my sister-in-law's brother. He bakes for them. Cute kid.
The lady that I met - I cannot remember her name, might have been Angela - grew up in a town by mine. We graduated the same year, so we probably were at some of the same athletic events. She was pretty cool. I want to join the Chico Velo club. I want to meet more people who like to do active things. Everyone we checked in looked excited and happy. We had some people who had driven quite a way to get here - a man from Bend, who asked my boyfriend's name when I said he lived there (he didn't know him), a guy from Iowa, lots of people from the Bay Area.
I'm so excited!! I sure hope that I can sleep.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Instead, I'm going to show a couple of pieces of art that I've found around my town. This first piece is right down the road from me - in front of Kohls. When you drive in, it looks like a sunny day, but when you drive out.............
You get a night view. Pretty cool, don't you think? They are rusty, square columns, set diagonally, with the mosaic pictures on opposite sides of the column. This is the Kohls where we ride in the back parking lot. It's also the place where we saw the little family of geese a couple of days ago.
This is the mural that Sarah and I walk by on our way to the Farmer's Market. I saw part of it being painted - I think it was last summer. Could've been farther back, the point is, it was fun to see them block it out and then to see it all done when I went back in a few weeks. I like the wind section best, but it's all very beautiful.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Logan did really well in the first grade. He looked like he had some friends and he was able to sit calmly and eat his lunch. He didn't get in trouble. He did have some scary stories to tell, though. Like the time he told me that his little sister was missing for days because her daddy took her and disappeared. Or how when there was a big fire up in the canyon where he lived, his mom drove around the barricades and headed back into the smoke.
Lately, he looks very tired and he does things like beat trees with sticks when he's out at recess. He's angry. I've worked with a lot of kids and for some reason, Logan has my heart. I've always wished that I could take him home and raise him with my kids. I want to clean him up and give him shoes that fit.
Logan was sick today, but he was afraid to go to the health office because his mom told him that if she had to come into town to get him, he'd be locked in his bedroom. He told this to my co-worker when she made him go over to get his temperature taken. He came in to get lunch late, after everyone was gone. The nurse was letting him rest, not calling him mom.
The school year is almost over and I worry about some of these kids and how their lives are going to change during the summer. Are they getting enough to eat? Are they safe? Is anyone out there watching out for them. I sure hope so, because once they go beyond those gates, there's only so much I can do to help.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
This morning, on the way to school, we decided to make up a sort of dance to go with the song we were listening to. It was very dorky, but we laughed all the way there. Bay said, before she left the car, that she felt sure that she'd have a good day. She didn't slam the door, she didn't sass me, she didn't ignore me and text on her phone. She got goofy with me and I felt pretty sure that I'd have a good day as well and I did. Today, I searched all over town for the best deal on bike shorts. As my first event gets closer, I find that I'm really focusing on the details. I was talking to my guy this morning and I asked him to ask his buddy, who used to own a bike shop and rides a lot, if he had some gear advice for me. He, S, said, check the website for the event. Sometimes men simplify things too much. I wanted to know what worked for this guy, I wanted to possibly hear some sort of story about his experience.
I told S that yesterday I started worrying about potty breaks - would there be a place for potty breaks? I'm pretty sure that I'm going to have to pee some time within a 3-hour period - I am a girl, after all. He said, check the website. I said, what about flats? What happens if I have a flat? Check the website, he said, again.
I'm excited about my event, I just wanted to be chatty. I need to find some friends who ride. He was nice and he was patient. He wasn't very interested, but I did appreciate him listening even so.
Sarah and I went for another ride today. I think she's getting bored with our routes. She is going to take part in a triathlon for kids next month. She will need to ride 2 miles - she can do that easily, but she will also have to run and swim. Running - she is not a big fan. As soon as I'm done with my event, I'm going to get her to start running with me.
My weight has gone up so much ever since I stopped running regularly. Biking helps some, but it doesn't change my body the way that running does. I need to find a good balance of both. I do love that my hip isn't hurting and that's thanks to the break.
Sarah took a break and she spied this little family of geese down near the ditch. There's a natural wetland nearby and the little ditch that you see in the picture leads back to it. I noticed that there was a big bottle of beer laying in the grass. A neighbor told me that she and her husband used to park back there when they were in high school. In fact, she said that her oldest was conceived there. Everybody loves nature, I suppose.
We had some rain yesterday and lots of clouds today. I look forward to shooting clouds when I get a good camera - it's one of my goals. I love clouds and the sky where I live feels huge. When I ride, I always take a moment and turn my face to the sky with my eyes closed - never when I'm near cars, though I'm big on safety. I imagine the sky blessing me. It might sound silly, but it's something that works for me, helps me when I'm down - it helped me to kick a bout of depression this past Winter.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Yesterday, after Girl Scouts, Sarah and I went to the church parking to ride. I like it there because I can get plenty of riding in, at a decent pace, without Sarah falling behind. Sarah kept getting off of her bike and checking the place out. It's a former movie theater, which is a strange thought to me. I get that there's all those seats and lots of room, but I think of that building as the place where I watched a gooey, slimy, eyebrowl-ess Keanu Reeves get reborn into the Matrix.
When I was a kid, we lived across the street from a church. My friends and I were fascinated by the place and obsessed with somehow getting inside. We spent hours over there, running around, riding bikes, playing on the lawn. I wonder what my mom thought about it? What we were doing was harmless, we didn't want to get in there to do any sort of harm, it was just the getting IN that we were focused on. Now that would be considered "trespassing" or possibly "vandalism." Eek.
Sarah kept reading and rereading the posters on the wall at the front of the church. I remembered how my friends and I were and I wondered if she was feeling the same thing. Religion has always been mysterious to me. I was raised a Christian, but we didn't really do anything Christian-y. I can remember visiting my guy's church when we were teens and I liked the way those Catholics did things - words I could not understand, lots of ceremony with props, my cute guy sitting next to me.......... there was a lot to like. I attended an Episcopalian church with another friend's family - the building was an upside boat, really beautiful inside. Most of the time my church visits were hit and miss.
About nine years ago and I decided to examine my beliefs a bit more and I decided that I'm pagan. I believe everyone is born pagan and then they learn to be something else. Churches still fascinate me and when someone says something like, "I want to thank the Lord," in the midst of a speech, as Miley Cyrus did on the Kid's Choice Awards, I have noticed that it jars me a bit. I wish I had that kind of passion for a higher power, but I don't. I love the Earth and I give thanks each day, but I've never danced naked under the moon in pagan celebration of it.
I've always been open to my children finding a spiritual home. When they are invited to a friend's church, I say, hey go ahead. I thought that was what Sarah was thinking as she read the building. I said, "Honey, would you like to try the kid's services here?" and she said, "No. I was just thinking that I'd like to ask the Mayor if they could make this into a theater again." Oops. The Mayor??
When we got home, we sat on the porch and admired our plants and plants to be. I thought about the two rides I'd taken, how I loved feeling just a little tired, just a little sore. I thought about how pretty the light looked when it peeked through the trees just before sunset and I felt pretty darn spiritual after all.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Afterward, Sarah and I relaxed on the patio. It was a cooler afternoon, but still lovely. My little trees are really starting to fill in. Next to my chair, I had a great view of the little sunflowers coming up. See them? We also have one of the pumpkins starting, but you can't see it in this picture. I'm not sure where we are going to put the sunflowers - I might give some to the neighborhood kids. Every year I try to plant something with Karlee and Taylor.
If you look closely, you can see that I have a little tomato bud. Yay! I cannot wait until I can eat that tomato. Yum. You can also see how the rest of my garden is waking up - check out those petunias and geraniums.
Here is a shot that I took last night. Bay and I drove over to the parking lot of Kohls to get it. Bay stayed in the car, while I walked all over trying to see which was the best angle, then my batteries went dead. I changed them and the next pair went dead as well. Oh, the drama! Bay said to try one of each of the old ones and it worked.............for two shots. This was one of them.
Afterward, I let Bay drive around the parking lot. She did really well, even practiced parking. I hope that she gets her grades in order so that she can get her license this summer. Well, mostly I hope that.
It sure is easier to control them when they are still in your belly.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Anyway, to the cooked orzo I added garbanzo beans, purple onions, sliced black olives, peas, thinly sliced basil and mint leaves from my garden, dressed it with a red wine vinegarette, and then placed sliced avocado on top. Bay ate a whole bowl.
Tomorrow I'm going to take some down to Mom at her office. She's been without a car for a week and a half. When I'm stuck at home, nothing in the house sounds good, so I thought she might appreciate a change. I made some croutons, too, so I'll take her some of those, as well.
I drove Mom home from work last friday and before we left, we walked down to the pond to look at the baby geese. They are so fuzzy and cute right now.
I"m feeling unsettled today. My girl is crabby and I am trying to be understanding and patient about it, but really I just want to run out the door. I miss my guy and I don't know when I'll be able to see him again. He has no traveling $$ and his head is still a mess. I'm used to being in charge and I want to say, do this, do that, and everything will work out. I guess that is what happens when you spend 3/4 of your adulthood single - you have a hard time not being bossy.
I suspect I need some brownies. And a break. Robin kept saying, "I need a vacation from my kids," when I spoke with her on Friday. I absolutely get that. The only time I've had a vacation from any of my children was when I was in labor with one of their siblings. Giving birth is exciting and all, but not anybody's idea of a vacation.
Well, I've got to go - time to feed Max.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
I usually go straight for the Meyer Lemons and Blood Oranges, but we got there too late and there wasn't much of anything left at that stand. S made Mom and I these drinks with the juice of the lemons and oranges, sugar, and vodka a couple of months ago. They were so good. He is very good with food. I miss cooking with him. Sarah and I picked up the last bag of Mandarins and the last Meyer Lemon.
After the citrus, we went to the honey stand. I picked out some alfalfa honey. It is much darker than the clover honey that I usually get and when I used it on my fruit salad at lunch, I noticed that it has a stronger flavor. Sarah likes honey sticks, so we got some of those, along with some beeswax candles. They smell great when they are lit. The honey bears looked cute, all lined up - they looked like a little army.
The flowers were beautiful. You can tell by the the large variety of flowers that we've been enjoying some great weather. I wanted to buy a bouquet, but I was saving my money for my favorite part of the market.
The tamales!! The girls and I love tamale breakfast. They are wonderful.
Sarah's favorite part is the stone booth. She picks three stones for $1 every visit. She has always been a big collector - snow globes, Halloween pumpkin decorations, and stones are just a few of her collections.
There was a booth full of furniture made out of sticks, not sure what kind of sticks, but I really liked this star that hung from a tree above the booth. Stars are something that I like to collect. I'd like to make something like this to hang on my patio.
Yesterday I heard from S. He sent me a message, then a couple of emails, and in the evening he called. I don't know what changed, what made him call. It was good to talk to him, but I don't know what he wants. He doesn't sound like he knows either. He said that he loves me and he misses me, pretty much chatted as if nothing had happened, as if we had not gone for more than 3 weeks without speaking. He had his youngest kids with him and he made his little boy laugh for me - I think he knew that was a good way to get to me, I love kids. This morning I found pictures of the kids in my email - I requested more recent ones last night and I appreciated that he remembered.
I'm going to take this one day at a time and see what happens. I can't let my ego get in the way, but I don't want to be treated poorly. I strongly believe that if he was not in such a rough batch we would have gone merrily along and we'd be in a different situation right now. Life is not always what you expect it is going to be and if this is important to me, I need to wait it out. I have a lot of security right now - my life is easy and structured and I've got things under control. I get to live without the turmoil and I can't expect him to react as I would when we are living such different lives. I need to let go a bit if our relationship is going to work out.
I think that the best thing to do right now is to focus on the things that I can control. I signed up the Wildflower this afternoon. I am officially committed to riding 30 miles a week from tomorrow. I rode my fastest ride today - a full 4 miles per hour faster than I usually do. An hour into it, I was feeling pretty darn proud of myself when a man whizzed by me in the bike lane, passing so quickly it was like I wasn't even moving. He had the longest legs and he didn't appear to be pushing himself at all. It was impressive to watch.
If I let my life play out, it's going to be fine.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
When I got home, I saw that the gardeners were here. We used to have some really cute gardeners and I have to admit that gardener day was my favorite day of the week. I can remember one boy who had a torn pocket on his shorts. Every Thursday he'd show up and show off a different colored cheek-full of plaid. Most of the boys were scruffy and tattoo-y and they reminded me of pirates. My favorite had a long ponytail - he reminded me of a hippie version of Adam Sandler.
For some reason, I've always had this thing for gardeners. The first thing I ever had published was a short/short story for a contest called Remembering my Gardener Boyfriend. I wonder where I've got the hard copy of that one............ The gardeners look like this now, normal clean-cut boys, cute, not very pirate-y.
I walked all the way down to the corner to take that kid's picture. I tried to be sly, didn't want to scare him. I enjoy seeing the gardeners, but I'm no Gardener Stalker - it's a hobby, not a career.
Walking back, I look up into the trees and this is what I saw:
My son, Max, has a thing for trees. He will lay beneath a tree and stare up into the branches endlessly. He is not vocal, so he can't tell me what he is looking at. I often wonder what it is. Is he counting the leaves? Is he comparing the light and dark? Is he following the lines of the branches? Or is he watching the tree dance? That's what I like - the way the leaves sway and the sound of the breeze swirling through.
My Grandma used to live at Copco Lake, up at the top of California and every afternoon, without fail, a breeze would sweep through the trees, across the meadow, and out to the lake. It was a lovely breeze, melodic and cooling on hot summer days. I miss Grandma's place. I miss sitting with her, listening to her, making meals in her kitchen.
She lives in Washington now and I've only been able to visit her and Grandpa up there once. I have to take my kids up there this summer. I'm almost out of time - my Grandpa is dying.
Here's one last photo, a photo that Grandpa and Grandma would enjoy. Sarah and I took it last night, a last taste of the sun, at the end of the day.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I felt pretty good when I was done - not as if I had put in 20 miles. I think I'm absolutely ready for a 30 mile ride at the end of the month. The local riding club puts on a Century ride and I really want to do one of the shorter rides. I've been trying to talk my friend into doing it with me, but so far no luck. I'm afraid that I'm bordering on pushy and I don't want to be pushy. I know that it will take me at least 3 hours to ride that far alone. That is a long time to be alone with my thoughts.
If you are local and interested in riding it, you can find information here: http://www.chicovelo.org/wildflower.html
Another event I'm intersted in doing is the http://www.cityofgoldtri.com/ I've never done a triathlon before and this one is sprint length. I can run three miles and bike 12, although I have never tried both in the same day. I haven't swam in a long time, but I could cover the distance required. I'm not trying to win anything - I just want to take part.
These events cost money, and this time of year, I've got to get the kids new summer clothes, so it's either one or the other. I would like to do both. Maybe I can figure it out.
Hanging out with Sarah is so much fun. She is such a unique, authentic person. We rode with our headphones on and every once in awhile she would jump off her bike and dance. Then, back on the bike for more circles, then off for more dancing........... Her enthusiasm charms me.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
You know, sharing is a strange concept, when you really think about it. When my kids were little, I would tell them to share - share with their siblings, share with their friends, share with their schoolmates. Adults don't have to share. If you go out and purchase a new car, do you have to share it when your friends admire it? Do you have to hand over the key to "give them a turn." Heck no.
I had a neighbor who used to borrow my plunger and I have to tell you, sharing your plunger is gross. I never knew how to say, no, please go purchase your own. Oh, icky. I can't even think about that anymore.
Okay, where was I.......... oh yeah, matters of the heart...........
I'm ready for the sad to be over. I want to feel happy again. I want to feel like I'm in charge of my own destiny - I want life to be like that Incubus song, I want to "take the wheel and drive." Every day I can feel that wheel firmer and more responsive in my hand. I have spent the past 3 weeks in a state of flux. I'm fluxxed out. There's certain people I'd like to tell to flux off. (Okay I'm losing it, that happens sometimes. My dorky jokes don't sound as lame when I say them out loud and with the appropriate facial expression).
Bailey just came in crying. Things are getting out of hand with her boy's parents. Our kids are teenagers. Teenagers are curious about some things and we can't control them or stop them from growing up. It's scary, terrifying really, but it's the way that it goes. I will try to keep a level head and respect the choices that other people have made for their children, but sometimes it's hard. When it makes Bay cry, it's really hard. I'd rather see her laugh.