Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I think I like riding in the dark...

I have been on my bike 4 out of the last 5 days, not a bad start for the season. I have spent three of those rides bridging dusk and riding right into the night. Last year I had grown to love being on the road in the darkest most deep ink purple part of the night, just before dawn. It was quite, the world seemed to be asleep while I was playing. The sun would come up just about half way (12.5 miles) into my commute to school. Each time it was stunning. Each time it was different. The past three days has had me riding on the other side of the night when the black is more grey blue, the light not yet totally diffused from my world. This type of riding is not quiet, it is more chaotic with people rushing about trying to eek out the last part of their day. I have decided that this type of riding, while not uncomfortable, takes a great deal more diligence. I don't really care for being out on the main roads at this time, especially knowing that to be safe requires that I stay as far right as possible which puts me into a debris field of pot holes, gravel and discarded items. I have been riding however because I need to ride. Its the first time in a long time that I can honestly make this statement from my heart. I NEED TO RIDE! Maybe its my mom's illness, maybe its my way of grieving Hanna's death, maybe it just my need to get my head back in touch with my heart? Who knows?

Tonight's ride had a mission, I wanted to go up to the HS to see Chris run his first track meet in two seasons. He didn't run last year. He started the year out well, running a leg of the 4x400 and gaining back a huge amount of turf before passing on the baton. I was freezing while standing there in the wind. I had hauled over there because I didn't want to miss him running only to find out that I had about a 40 minute wait. I rode my HR only shifting to granny when it was warranted by a number and shifting up as soon as my HR recovered. I only saw granny once today!

Last night I had dreamt of how wonderful it would be to be able to get up at 4:30 and ride for an hour before work. I don't get to bed early enough so I am a bit hesitant. Soon enough I will start commuting by bike again when I can handle the back to back 50's. Give me a few weeks.

On another note, I have just registered for the PMC as a rider. I am so excited to do this!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I get a text at 5PM asking me if I excited my bike today...

My first response was this guilty, whiny, plea, that I was still at work and would be for awhile. My next text was I am leaving now. Then after some thought I wrote the real question is "did my bike excite me today?" I came home, got caught up for an hour on stupid stuff and then remembered my last text. It was 7PM and getting dark, I was loaded with excuses but would not let them rule. Positive thoughts were all I could muster and I grabbed my bike, hooked up the headlight (which is brighter than both my cars) and turned on the plethora of HIT ME blinkies (placed on static so I would be less of a target) and headed out in my Kermit gear covered by illuminite. I spent a GIDDY hour getting to know my favorite vehicle again.
Tomorrow?  I officially register as a rider in the PMC.

Monday, March 28, 2011

If I could have told you anything..

Dear Hanna,
If I could have told you anything I would have told you that you made a difference in my life.  You were always interested in what I was doing, what work, what travels, what challenges I was embarking on. Your  enthusiasm for my adventures was both intriguing and inspiring. You made me want to go and do and experience...You smiled as much as Mikey and had the heart of 10,000. If I could say anything I would say thank you, I love you, I miss you, and yes I was very proud of you. It was a huge privilege to watch you grow up during the 18 years I have known you. Peace Sweetie! You are forever in my heart.
Bye Love!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

its been a long week

lots of firsts: 
seeing my mom so vulnerable, advocating for a parent, being around so much cancer....and despite the pain and hardship there was so much LOVE

Tomorrow is a new day, week, prayers are with a bunch of people, all those who have been wishing my mom well, the people who have been wishing me well, my brother, who I spent three captive hours in the car with, my mom (that goes without saying) and Steve who has found himself in the hospital this weekend, and his wife Ellen who has found herself in a similar place to where I have been in all week. Ellen, you are being held close in so many hearts, I know you know that, but...

Jon, thanks for pushing me to exercise and laugh despite it all. It helped a lot though tonight's 8:30 hill workout...outside in the cold, not my cup of tea, even though I did it. 

Thank you everyone for being so supportive and maybe the worst is behind us (faith).  Love you! 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The season's first ride...

A few months ago I had set the goal of having today be my season's official first ride. I had hoped that it would have been an a reunion ride of those people I had gotten so close to a few years ago doing AIDS rides. We used to start our season of training rides on the sound shore in Westport, CT then go for Greek food at the diner across from the station. I had hoped to do the same today but things just didn't work out that way. Up until yesterday I wasn't even sure that I was going to be around to ride. I actually thought any riding I might do would have been with Steve and John in Boston because I was sure that I would need a diversion from the day at the hospital with my mom. However, last night I posted that I was hoping to ride today, hoping beyond hope that I would get a few takers. My luck left me with none, so Kenny and I decided to stay closer to home and ride the trail. Not the best ride for training purposes, but it was cold enough to be empty of that park like traffic and since it wasn't plowed and salted all winter it would also be free of pot holes. All I can say is despite spending a great deal of time on my skates and XC skis this winter, it was really, really, really COLD!!! I think the reason we only went 10 or so miles is because we never warmed up, not even when we climbed. It was great to be out though and it accomplished one thing, it got me itching to ride again and has helped fuel the desire to ride a lot.

I have been trying to finalize details on just how I will be able to ride the PMC this summer with our upcoming training trip to Utah and Chris's desire to skate roller Montreal. I think I may have found the solution. So if the Sturbridge to P-town route is still open when I confirm my planning thoughts then I will be changing my status from virtual rider to actual rider. I need to find a 54 to borrow, someone to pick me up at Logan and at least 84 people to donate 50. to the cause...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

an opening farewell...a new appreciation for a lot of things

A few weeks ago my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer, and despite the good prognosis, the experience of helping her to overcome this has been exhausting. Lets just say its a journey, one that has allowed my mom to start preparing my brother and I for the eventual inevitable, even if it could very well be another 30 years away. We have been talking a great deal already, rehashing old stuff, celebrating life and saying our peace. Sometimes there has been nothing left in the stack of experiences, sometimes there is something as big as an elephant hanging out there for what seems to be this awkwardly long period of time. The rules have changed, however, and anything that is left out to hang is dealt with, no repression allowed.

As a parent I see myself sometimes regretting decisions or even second guessing the past. I think every parent goes through that. Your hope is that your children know that you did your best and that they don't ever resent you. I know what my mom went through in my life and I know that her decisions were based on what was needed at that moment. There was never a moment in my adult life where I resented anything my mom ever did regarding my upbringing. Still, convincing her of that has been difficult and has required some difficult conversations and waterworks.

I spent the week on an emotional roller-coaster. My mom is doing well despite some of the touch and go health stuff that occurred with her surgery. I am so spent, ready to crumble into a ball, torn that I am here in NY and she is in Boston. This is hard despite the expert care she is getting.

I had this insightful conversation with my friend Steve today about relationships. I am amazed at how much a person's eyes and facial expressions can reveal. This was one of those discussions where silence and facial expressions were almost more important and spoke volumes. I was so glad that I was broken enough to be able to key in to it. It made me realize just how incredibly intricate relationships are. Cancer touches everyone, period! For the first time in my life this fact totally hit home as those unspoken words slowly became spoken because the heartache would have most certainly produced uncontrollable tears.

On my way home, as I drove through areas that I have spent on my bike, I wanted nothing more than to be on my bike training for the PMC, and I am trying to figure out how to somehow accomplish this in August. I have tried every year for the past 3 to pull this off. This year is different. I have always appreciated the cause but I now have this new appreciation for Dana Farber and what they do for people. Even if I don't do this please, please, please...I encourage you to donate to the cause. The team I have linked to is the one I would ride on. Please support them.

More later...I am exhausted.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thinking as a Consequence of the Word Craft

A few weeks ago an artist I know pissed me off by telling me that my means of creating held no worth. I've been stewing ever since. With my pen in hand I had set out to disprove that statement with this monumental writing that would point to the fact that while yes my chosen mediums have always been deemed applied arts, artisanry, or crafts,  the motives to my making have never been less than Aristotle's best definition, conceptual and autonomous. My work was about my thoughts and existed because of my thoughts, not because the world needed another vessel or body ornament. I have proven I can draw, paint, sculpt but there is something about going after that perfect object that both satisfies my need to express and my need to have my art be a portable reminder of my statement of the moment.

So I set out to write this crushing article and I admit I have hit massive roadblocks all over the place. Am I doomed to be labeled an artisan, essentially the steerage class of the art world? I set out again today with all the time in the world to read Glenn Adamson's book Thinking through Craft and after 50 pages or so set out on a long hike through the snow with wool socks and clogs on hoping that my trudge the wet and cold ground would jar something in my brain that would rock the world...I am stuck I admit, but interestingly enough my thought process is evolving and digesting all the same. New socks, a cup of tea, a milk-crate to sit on to read in the glorious spring sunshine has helped me reframe my sheer anger to contemplative thought. I had to separate my feelings from my work. My writing is getting there...I just have to remind myself that in a democratic society we have freedom of speech and expression and doing those things well are a product of education. SO, I will turn this around, reframe my own thoughts, and deliver an educated answer to the world about the nature of  this particular WORD eventually. All I can say is that I am working on it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I had to repost this... it resonated

I think about all the studios I experienced this summer while in Korea and what my own studio looked like after the 5th flood in one year (each consecutive one after we thought we had solved the initial water issue) and I try to imagine just what it may have been like to be living and working in Japan. Would I have been able to handle the stress? Would I be calm?

A first person account

I can't imagine getting back to work, even though that I know that this might just be a way to deal with the stress. My heart goes out to the whole country especially those who have lost everything and continue to struggle.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Baldy, Cue Ball, Mr. Clean...

Yes I am going to shave my head again for St. Baldricks on Saturday at the New Canaan Fire House. Cancer research for any age group is an important venture. Cancer research for pediatrics even more so.

My thoughts on vanity... While I do care about how I look, those who know me also know that I am more into how one presents themselves as a person (what is inside is what is fascinating). I am not in anyway uncomfortable about a bald head, matter of fact, its just hair, it grows back.

How am I going to feel walking into a cancer hospital with my mom with a bald head and without cancer? I thought about this long and hard. These people are in the business of treating cancer, and my take on it is that they would be thrilled by the gesture, especially when it was done to set a better example of the human condition for future adults.

So tomorrow will be my last day with hair for awhile, I figure a good 4-6 months (that is what it took last time). If you would like to support me you can do so here.