Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Okay, now that was interesting...

Yesterday the rain stopped just long enough for the pavement to dry and I kinda flipped.  I knew if I put Serenity on the Jumper and made my way to the park it would start raining again.  Not wanting to take a chance, I took a different kind of chance.  I took to the surface streets.  Something I wasn't planning on doing for a while yet despite the fact that I used to ride on the road all the time.  I was also not planning on it until I'd gotten a helmet.

But after four days I really needed a ride.  At first I was going to ride in circles in the parking lot where I live.  But going in circles wasn't much fun.  Five circles and I flipped out.  I couldn't take it, I NEEDED to ride.  A block from my house was a nice quiet neighborhood area that I'd looked at as a possible place for some quick rides in the future.  Now was as good a time as any.  So I went over there.  The route I'd mapped was a mile of very quiet blocks.  Five laps later, the rain started to fall again and I took off for the house.

It was still very cold, and as I started out my hands and feet were freezing, but I needed to ride and knew once I got going I'd heat up.  Sure enough the cold start didn't last long and soon I was flying and in the zone.  The huffing, puffing, heavy breathing, heart pounding, body complaining quickly melted away to that "Ahhhhhh, Oh YES!  I so needed this!!!" Feeling that keeps me going back.  The cold wind in my hair, on my skin, became a welcome friend once again, the legs and my whole body settled into the rhythm and was rewarded once again with that thrumming of the tires as we fly across the terrain.  Sweet, blessed, freedom and release.  No longer a rider on a machine, but a great, beautiful, bird in flight, lofing on thermals, swooping, diving, flying and pumping into climbs to catch the next thermal.  Serenity became and extension of me, and I of her.

And then it was all so easy, so rewarding. and I lost myself to the blending. I warmed right up, my breathing slowing to blend in with the pace of my legs, my blood coursing through me, my energy flowing and melding with the joy of flying, the power gained from the work.  And I was gone, frustrations, fears, anxiety, depression, life for the moment behind me and receding like earth dropping away from a ship finally free of atmo and into the embrace of space.  For a moment I was firmly in that moment, fully present, soaking up everything as I flew through it.  The smells of the grass, the life around me, the trees, birds and all the life reaching out to me and I to it.  The neighborhood dogs, who barked once and I said hi part of them, part of me, touching for just a moment and they god catch up in the flow.  Chase in an instant became a taste of freedom for them as they switched from pursuit to running with me, their gate changed and settled into that free, comfortable loping dogs will do when happy and free to run.  Aggressive chase energy melted away to them enjoying the experience and running with me.  And for just a moment they were free and flying to!

Words do not justice to the experience make, but at least I can with these typed characters help guide you dear reader to a hint of the feelings and sensations.

Yes, I know better than to ride surface streets with out a helmet, but I needed that so badly.  I needed out of my water logged cage for some time in the sky.  Or as my friend Laura calls it rideitation!  Mindfulness, being fully present in that moment of flight, stretching into the next, everything left behind me for a while.  One lap melted into the next, and the next, and the overwhelming joy I was awash in spreading out and around me.

And then, after five laps of a mile each, the first drops reached me and it was time to stop.  I set course for home and punched it.  Made it back to my building before the sky really opened up on me only to be met by my down stairs neighbor:

"Wow, I saw you go flying out of here and thought to myself 'Where is she going so fast?' So when I saw you come coasting back in figured I'd come up briefly and chat.  I thought you said you weren't brave enough for the streets yet?  That it would be years?  Are you okay?  What happened?  You'd said you wouldn't even think of it without a helmet?"

"Four days of rain is what happened! I rode a couple circles in the parking lot, saw dry pavement and just lost my mind for a moment, I really needed to fly!  I needed to spend some time flying."

"Well that's what it looked like as you flew out of here.  You looked like a bird flying by my window so fast!"

So we chatted briefly before going our separate ways and as I took Serenity up the stairs and down the hall it struck me.

Holy Hannah I rode on the streets!!!  

For a moment, more really, I was whole, complete, not afraid, not the discarded wretch of a woman Earl had life by the side of the road, but a woman in the saddle and flying again like I used to do before Earl came along.  I wasn't the scared, disaster of a woman in recovery by was once again strong, confident, careful, graceful, wonderful and almost whole again!  I connected with a part of me I'd thought lost to me forever.  Another step toward progress and recovery found on a cold, wet, dark day in a small quiet neighborhood in Ohio!

Back in a time before Earl, before I knew anything, before I had access to parks and trails all I had were the streets around me.  And I flew then too. I covered miles, cities, even states on my bike.  It was all I had.  A beat up old Ten Speed, the clothes on my back and miles and miles of roads to explore.  It was freedom, escape, release, and moments of peace away from my Father and his madness.  I was strong, confident, careful, graceful, wonderful and whole.  I knew nothing about the years of terror and pain that lay before me, and I was free from the horrors of my life then.  I was in my sky flying!

So today, now that was interesting, and completely unexpected.

"I'm moving on..."  -- Rascal Flats

Monday, April 26, 2010

Yup, Plan B, works every time!

As of my last post the following conditions were in fact true.  Jumper One was in need of additional repairs.  Repairs that were going to be more than my typical monthly discretionary spending allowance.  Which means of course waiting, because of the amount in question, at least two full months to get her repaired.  I also need to procure at very least a helmet and an indoor training mount for Serenity.  

The helmet for obvious reasons.  So far I've been riding without a helmet and being extra super careful.  But it's not wise, and having come up off a mount once, and landed on my head ...

(Go ahead, insert joke here, I'll wait...)

...I better than most people know how important a riding helmet can be.  Many years ago, while out riding, on the roads mind you, I got hit by a truck.  My bike of course was totally, it made it under the wheels of the truck. I somehow got launched into the air and came down on my head.  I don't remember anything after that split second when I saw the truck and though: "Okay, this is NOT good."  I woke up three hours later in the ER in pain.  That's three hours I'll never get back, but the story from multiple sources says that I was awake and "functional" if in shock the whole time.  Apparently the women who hit me was a bit upset and thought she'd killed me.  Wasn't made any better by the fact that as the ambulance showed up I sat bolt upright quite suddenly, looked directly at here and with a perfect British accent calmly said "Madam it appears my brains are scattered about the payment, would you be so kind as to help me collect them and place them back into my skull? I would be ever so grateful."  Needless to say that didn't go over well at all, she then had to be sedated and taken to the hospital as well.

Anyway, a head full of stitches, and a year of therapy for the soft tissue in my back to heal later, I was mostly okay...

So now of course I'm not going to temp fate a second time by riding on the road without adequate head cover.  It's bad enough I've been riding in the park that way.  Plus there is a cancer ride coming up in June I want to get ready for, and they won't even consider letting one ride without head cover.  So, it's kinda a given that I MUST get one.

Which brings me back around to the point of this post in relation to the last one.  I have only so much discretionary income to play with, but things I need to do sooner rather than later.  And my growing frustration with not being able to ride more regularly.  I need an indoor trainer, if for no other reason than when the weather turns to yuck, I'll be able to ride anyway.  That's another big chunk of money I don't have right now.  In fact, the helmet and trainer I've picked out alone are an entire months discretionary fund that I should be saving to finish my move.  But I really, really need a trainer.  It's been four days or so since I was last in the saddle and this is making me crazy.  Today and tomorrow are also washouts because of rain.  Wednesday the weather is going to clear up, I'll be able to ride for two days, and then it's back into thunderstorms and rain until Wednesday again at the earliest.  It's not fair.  I just want to state that up front.  NOT FAIR!

This is also usually when the "plan" SG1 was running to get themselves out of trouble goes horribly wrong and it's time for plan B.

O'Neill:  "Carter I think it's time for plan B"
Carter:   "Sir, we don't HAVE a plan B!"
O'Neill:  "Well we've been in worse situations than this, we'll figure something out."
Carter:   "Sir? Ah, no Sir, we haven't been in worse situations than this!"
O'Neill:  "We'll figure something out, we always do.  Or do I have to make that an order?"
Carter:   "Yes Sir."

So they eventually figure something out, save the day and make it back thru the gate to home, safe and sound.  At which point O'Neill invariably says:  "Yup, Plan B, works every time!"

So last night as I was writing in my diary, I re-earned one of my nicknames, which of course for those of you who don't know is in fact Carter for a reason.  I want and need to get the Jumper fixed because it's the only one I have, and driving it this way is asking for a ticket that I cannot afford.  And it's still Spring, so the preponderance of rain is likely to continue into May and that's making my crazier.

So it's time to actually do something I keep finding reasons not to do.  More than time.  I have a sequestered savings account that I've been putting money into now and then.  Little bit of my discretionary fund every month goes into it.  It's there primarily to fund the rest of my move and as a rainy day/emergency fund.  Yup, plan B!

Rain for a week straight is bad enough.  Another week in the offing?  Oh yeah, if this doesn't count as reason to break the seals on the rainy day fund I don't know what is.  Emergency repairs on the Jumper?  Yeah, so that covers BOTH the Rainy day and Emergency portions of our program campers.  Reasons enough I think to dip into the fund and take a little out.

Yup, Plan B, works every time!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Decisions! Bah!!!

Mashing of teeth, pulling of hair, frustration sparks a confluence of anguish!

See here's the thing.  Couldn't ride today. Not at all.  Not even around the parking lot.  It's cold, wet, raining, dark and otherwise yucky!  And we're under a Tornado watch.  But I want to ride. I need to ride.  As it stands the earliest I'm going to get to ride is Wednesday!

So Jumper One needs another two hundred dollars of work.  She's completely drivable and safe, but she sounds like a Patrol Boat.  LOUD!  The pipe from the cat to the muffler is broken.  It's going to take me two months, maybe one if I really scrape, to get her repaired.  In the meantime I'm going to be limited to when and where I can ride because without the back pressure (I think that's what it's called) of the muffler she's sucking down gas like an addict.  Plus I don't want to risk someone having a bad day and deciding to give me a ticket for no muffler.  So aside from short trips to the supermarket, or over to the park to ride, I'm not going to be driving her much. Which means I'm not going to get to ride as much as I'd like.

Before the winter I MUST get an indoor trainer.  It's a mount that turns Serenity into an expensive indoor exercise bike.  But it means all winter long I'll be able to keep riding.  If I had one NOW, I'd be riding.  Raining yucky days wouldn't stop me.  Stick in a video and ride.

So here's the thing.  Do I wait a bit longer, get a mount first, so that days like this won't keep me from riding?   Or do I fix Jo first and have to wait a couple of extra months to get a trainer?  Months when it will rain and I won't be able to ride.

Death is Irrelevant, Dying is futile...


The clutches of a thousand deaths behind me,
The momentary shock of ultimate silence,
The Majesty of light,
The Myth of Time.

I've died a thousand times if I've done it once,
And yet I've been too busy living to let it take me.

Death is silence, a pause, a timeless moment to reflect,
Death is a breath taken over morning coffee,
Death is fleeting and gone in the blink of an eye.

Dying takes time from living of a life full of wonder and light.

Acknowledge it and move on, 

Back into the light of living.

Mindfulness is immortality in action.
Simply being in an eternity of light.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Little Miami River Scenic Trail and Greenway.

So, not being content to simply ride in circles, and very much wishing to continue my process of healing and growing, I've been actively looking for other places to ride.  I've even gone and ridden one such place, that I knew of from having traveled under it by water in Indiana.  It was just over seven miles round trip, and with the exception of  four tunnels they want you to walk through, and of course the powerplant, it's a lovely, scenic journey.  I even took some pictures of it, they are available, power-plant, tunnels and all on my Flikr page in a set called Dearborne Trail Indiana.  Tunnels and power-plant not withstanding, it's a glorious, peaceful, scenic ride along the Ohio River.

My investigations have turned up other interesting options as well.  Miami White Water Forest for example.  There's also a set of pictures from my brief field trip to explore at least part of that park, called Miami White Water Forest.  I've since been there to ride the Shaker Trace Outer Trail, which while more of a challenge physically than Winton Woods, is utterly glorious in it's simple beauty and to be honest, reminds me so much of New England that I am way less homesick.  Rolling hills, Wildlife, Wetlands and Bird Sanctuary space, the Miami White Water lake itself, Dry Fork Creek, working farmland, forested areas and abundant wildlife make this paved multiuse trail a real treasure for anyone, let alone a misplaced New England farm girl like me.  Plenty of places to set up a small grill and have a BBQ and even trail access for Horseback riding make this a real gem in the Hamilton County Park system.  And I get unlimited access to this park, Winton Woods, and all the rest for five dollars a year for a parking pass. Oh the horror!  Five dollars?  To park at the parks, all year long?  Worth it at four times the price!

Finally that brings me to my point in this post.  The Largest paved multiuse trail in the United States. The Little Miami River Scenic Trail and Greenway.  End to end it is well over 70 miles long and connects the South Western most portion of the state of Ohio with the North Eastern most corner.  It also connects to numerous East to west trails along the way.  Miles and miles of terrain through all sorts of land it covers everything.  Forests, Rivers, Farms, Cities and even takes one past Ohio's own version of Six Flags called Kings Island. Giant combination water park and amusement park.

Anyway, there exists a mountain of information about the trail online and where it goes, but precious little about where exactly one can park and how much it will cost.  Blah, blah, blah details aplenty, but precious little in terms of facts about really important things, like where to put my car and how safe is it?  So, like most things in my post Earl life I decided some controlled recon would be a good thing.  Especially since there exists a map of the trail, trail heads, and distances between points, but no real talk of parking.  So, I took a day to go exploring, looking for parking, determining threat and traffic levels and getting a feel for it before I think about taking Serenity over and committing myself to a ride.

Maps and such were no help really, because they don't really show were parking is.  I knew of only one place for certain that I could park, but that wasn't primarily a parking spot for the trail but a golf course.  My plan was to tell my magic phone to take me to the golf course and I'd snoop from there.  Except my phone wasn't co-operating.  At all.  Nothing.  GPS mapping totally not working.  Start it up, it shut down.  And again.  Fine, I don't no steenking computers!   I knew generally where I was going, turned on terrain seeking in the GPS in my head and went hunting for the river.  Yes, I have a kind of a GPS in my head, pretty much always have.  Plus it's got some of the extra features only the really complex kinds have, like terrain seeking.  Which means I can follow ridge lines, navigate based on elevation and avoid, or find, high points.  Kinda cool.

Found a wonderful little spot for meditation and a picnic over looking the Little Miami river valley called the Mariemont Concourse.  It's beautiful, so I stopped, soaked up the sun and sights, took some pictures and confirmed I was heading in the right direction since I saw one of the train trestles crossing over the river down below me.  Plus it made for a wonderful break in my day.

Once done from there, I went down into the valley heading for the river. and what should I find, right there at the junction of Newtown road and Route 50?  Bass Island parking and trail head for the Little Miami River Scenic Trail!  Woot, found one!  More on that to follow!

Bass Island Trailhead and Parking.

2010-04-14 19.01.32, originally uploaded by greeneyedggirl.
So here we come to my first success in my day of exploring and looking for trailheads. Being that it's a full recon, it of course means pictures and, oh the horror, talking to complete strangers. By clicking on the photo, you can get to the set of images I took while at Bass Island. Hopefully you'll enjoy, you can even click on MAP to see where in the world the pictures were taken.

So I park, get out of the Jumper elated with my success at finding an actual trailhead with dedicated parking and began my mission of standard recon. You know, Meet and greet with the locals, establish possible threats and determine available resources and costs associated with this gate address. Yes, I know, too much Stargate and Firefly for me. I mean a car named Jumper One, and a bike named Serenity going on standard recon?

Well, look at it this way. In both of those shows we have people going to new places and exploring right? In Firefly it's Serenity and her crew taking jobs, which involves meeting new folks, doing stuff with them staying out of trouble and getting things done. In Stargate it's also other planets, in Star trek, going back to the 60s it was ships and transporters, but it was all the same basic concept.

For me, in my post Earl life, the entire world is a strange and alien place filled with danger, threats, aliens,and possible places to explore and benefit from. Be it Geocaching or Cycling, it's getting out, doing and oh dear, interacting with possibly dangerous Aliens who might try to harm me. Cache Addresses actually follow a naming convention similar to gate addresses, and otherwise, places have names. In fact, I have no doubt that there are caches in the area of the trail, so this could have a "P" designation in Geocaching.com.

In fact, there are indeed caches right here, like GC17TCW which if I'd thought about it, I'd have hit while I was here. D'oh! Well I was hyper focused and as nervous as a long tail cat in a room full of rockin chairs. The joys of PTSD I guess. Picture Colonel Carter in full gear, P90 exploring a new place, and well that was pretty much me. GC17TCW wasn't on the mission list, so I didn't look. Since I'll be back there, I'll do it then.

Worse, far worse than the finding caches was the meet and great with the locals part of the mission. No P90, no Zat, no M9, no one covering my six. The parking lot was full of cars with bike racks on it, this bode well for mission success. In fact as I was standing there looking around, a minivan pulled in with bikes strapped to it! Ah, LOCALS! I watched as they got out of the van and set about taking down the bikes. Screwed up my courage, swallowed my sheer terror at what I was about to do and quietly approached and simply said:

Me (smiling): "Excuse me, would you mind if I asked you a question?"

Him (also smiling): "Yes Ma'am? Oh, I mean, no Ma'am I don't mind if you ask, how can I help you?"

Me (smiling more): "I read about this trail online and I came out looking for places to park and get a feel for the place. Do you ride here often?"

Him: "Well I think you have the parking aspect handled since you're here, the trail itself, yeah we ride here regularly. Been doing it for a while. It can be very busy at times, so there can be traffic, but otherwise it's a wonderful place to ride."

Me: "Do you always ride together, or is it safe for a woman alone?"

Him: "Well I've never seen or heard of problems, but my girlfriend can probably answer that better than I can. She got me riding here."

Her: "I've never had a problem and I often come here by myself. The trail is pretty much always busy with plenty of people walking or cycling and I've never been bothered. So you should be fine here. I've been up as far as Loveland, and that's more than ten miles one way. Rode up to there from here, had a nice lunch and then come back, it makes a nice day. It's pretty much all uphill getting there, but then you can pretty much fly back because it's all downhill. Not really hard hills, because this all used to be train tracks. I've met other riders, stopped and chitchatted now and then and every one is friendly and non-threatening. You should be fine. I'm not the only woman that rides here solo, so you should fit right in. Between here and Loveland there are plenty of other parking areas and bathrooms along the way so that's never a problem either."

So I thanked them and let them get on with riding and started taking pictures. I spoke to a few other women who were coming back from rides and not one said she'd ever had a problem or felt uncomfortable riding alone. One had in fact just come back from past Loveland and said she's always riding there because it is peaceful and quiet.

Because this is in my home county, and part of the county park system, I can safely park here as much as I want, as long as I want. I spend the five dollars every year and get a parking sticker that's good all year! The parks are patrolled so I don't have to worry as much about the Jumper getting a ticket or towed because I have the sticker in my window. This is great news! With plenty of day light left, I figured I could explore further. Following the terrain was a success so far, but a sign indicated that additional parking was available at the nearby Little Miami Golf Course. That was going to be my next stop!

Mariemount Concourse

2010-04-14 18.31.33, originally uploaded by greeneyedggirl.
Over looking the Little Miami River Valley at the edge of a sharp drop, we have the peaceful and lovely Mariemount Concourse. It's quiet, peaceful, serene and off the beaten path. This is one of a number of pictures in this set you can browse. Next Up, my experiences at Bass Island Parking and Trailhead!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I know that voice . . .

. . .it is the voice of the Cylon Imperious Leader!  - Baltar to Count someone or another in the original BSG.

This Count, argued that the Cylons were built a thousand years ago, and for it to be HIS voice, it would have had to have been recorded into the Machine leader a thousand years ago, making him at least a thousand years old.

The allusion there is that "evil" comes in many shapes, sizes and looks, and is in effect timeless.

Last night after exchanging another few less than positive emails with "My only living blood relative" (his words, NOT mine) it struck me that I knew that voice!

I've had, in the years since my life with Earl, an amazing education.  One that all while being amazing, is soul chilling in it's import.  Between Lovefraud.com and my friend Laura, I've had my eyes opened to a whole new part of the 'verse I never really understood or I suspect believed really existed.

"Evil" exists, and it is all at once more pervasive and insidious than I'd ever have dreamed, and more subtle and alluring to one who cannot see.  I dislike labels, frankly they feel like straight jackets for living.  Often preventing life from thriving.  Sometimes however knowing something or someone for who or what they really are, can save one's life and soul.  Now and then, while I am normally loath to label, let alone judge anyone or anything, I must call a thing by it's name.  So that I know, and it knows I have seen through the layers of facade and gazed upon the true face of evil.  It is said that knowing a demon's true name gives one control over it.  In some ways being able to see now as I do, past the veil of lies, shines the light of day on something for my own health, happiness and well being I must, at all costs avoid.

Psychopaths are real.  Psychopaths are dangerous even in small doses and no good can come of them.  Nothing I say or do is going to help them be better people, let them find healing and light, I serve no good purpose by being drawn into their web of evil.  In my life before Earl I knew that evil was real and existed, but I could not, would not see it because I didn't really no what I was looking for. And because I was way, way more innocent than I am now, and always thought the best of people.

My so called "only living blood relative" has been something of an open sore in my life for the last 41 years.  Being a number of years older than him was hard enough.  Being the healthiest of three children my mother had, I was everything that he's never been.  He was born sickly and premature, and my folks over compensated some, then because he has allergies that I do not, my father went on the warpath to keep him from dying.  So to start, he came into the world over protected and being waited on hand and foot.  He craves attention, I was always happy being off somewhere quiet reading by myself.  He was violent, loud and very physical, aggressive, and I was none of these things.  We had almost nothing in common.  He thrived on confrontation and I broke out in hives from it.

He always needed other people to do for him, provide for him, give him things, and even I got sucked into this for many, many, years.  When I think about the money I spent on that child for food and rent alone, I shudder.

We parted company a bunch of years back and I was for a goodly while lost to the world because of Earl.  So of course once out of Earl's clutches I set about finding all the people I'd lost, including him.  It has been, to say the least, a trouble filled relationship, even more so than it had been.  His life has been, to hear him tell it, pure hell in the years I was missing.  My life on the other hand doesn't even register in his version of the universe.

Anyway, I've been having, as I always have, trouble getting along with him.  I won't belabor the details because they are not relevant to where I'm going with this.  What struck me now with these new eyes, this new life I've been unceremoniously thrust into, is that his history is as much a product of his nature as are the problems in having a relationship with him.  He is, for whatever that may mean for him, or what it says about me, a psychopath.  Probably high order Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and given his history of hospitalizations for being a threat, a danger, to others on the extreme end something not just I have seen.  Everything is about him, if one is not actively serving his compulsive need for worship and believing every word he says with complete devotion, you are useless to him.  Question, even in passing any of the grandiose and completely impossible lies that he uses to prop up his fantasy world, he becomes violent and abusive.  When he was fourteen they took him off to involuntary confinement for attacking my Sister and father with a ball peen hammer.  I only wish I was kidding.  I only found out later because I wasn't living there at that point.

He was married, several times, and one of his hospitalizations started as a criminal arrest for assault and battery on his wife.  Because of his history of mental health issues, including the extreme form of bipolar disorder, and his repeated overtures to suicide, an involuntary committal in a psychiatric facility.  He's a mess on so many levels, and like anyone else that's ever been around him, I'd been stuck in the amber of his tale of woe, and his charm.  He's a conman.  Big time con artist.

So over the last three years, I've been increasingly putting him on restriction, limiting or completely removing access to me for his regular period so abuse.  He spins these tales, that anyone who actually lives in this world would question, and then becomes violent and aggressively so in his "defense" of his outlandish claims.  Over time he went from being able to call me at all hours of the day and night because HE needs to be adored and worshiped to only being able to reach me by e-mail and snail mail.  Recently I've cut that back to snail mail only.  Why?  Because even the email had become violent and abusive, all about the grandeur that is him, and how the rest of us were like dust beneath his boots.

It began with my frustration over his pathological need to inflate his own place in the 'verse.  The constant lying, especially the ones that conflicted with reality, or worse, the other lies he maintained as the truth of his life.  He is, in point of fact, a pathological liar.  And then the rest of the patterns of our interactions started to coalesce in my head and heart.  So familiar, so known, and so terrifying.  Everything about my relationship with him, and his relationships with others over his entire life, has been about the greater glory of HIM.

Oh dear God, another?  Yes, he's a pathological liar, he's got health issues galore, he's a charming and consummate bull shit artist, and he uses and then disposes of people who no longer fulfill his needs.  He's a psychopath and I'm on a diet.  A psychopath free diet.

Like most women I dislike diets of any kind, and I go off them now and again because, well, it's what I do.  But I know that voice now.  It IS the voice of the Cylon Imperious Leader, and I'm not so soon going to fall under it's spell again anytime soon.  I have to be rigorous in my diet, I cannot allow myself a moment of weakness, psychopaths, narcissists, are SO BAD for me.  And my brother is clearly one.

So I cut him off from email.  The software is configured at the server level to automatically return unopened, any email he sends my with a big warning on it:  BLOCKED BY SPAM FILTER.

If he really, really needs to reach me, he has my snail mail address, but I rest easy knowing it will never come to that.  Write a letter?  Put it in an envelope and mail it?  That's beneath him because it requires HE do something.  Yeah, I know that voice. And I don't have to listen anymore.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Love remembered, it begins . . .

Almost two years ago I moved to Ohio in self defense. It was what I could afford, and what I could handle. Not ideal, but better than any of the alternatives. Shortly after moving here I needed to find a replacement for my park in Denver. Denver has an amazing park system, and Washington Park may not be it's crown jewel, but it's a place I adore and had my heart set on once again spending time in when I got home. Forces well outside my control conspired to force me to wait on moving home. Probably the only one more crushed that I didn't get back to Colorado is my sister Pam. She's STILL angry with me for not going home. But that's not why I'm here.

So, I'm in Ohio, and know nothing about the area other than the fact that it's going to be home for a while. I did what any half way intelligent 21st century woman would do and went out to the internet for someplace like my park here in Ohio. It had to be relatively safe, quiet, scenic, have a lake, trees, grass, places to have a picnic, and a trail around the lake to enjoy walking upon. Winton Woods fit the bill nicely. Mind you this included looking at satellite photos, terrain maps, and of course the park systems website.

So once slightly settled in, I went to the park to do some exploring. Walking around the lake I'm soaking in the sights, sounds and smells of this new area. I am an unabashed sensualist. Walking in a park for me is all about all the little things. I am also a survivor of horrific violence at the hands of other people. Part of that is PTSD, which includes "Hyper Vigilance" a fancy way of saying I notice everything and react to it as a potential threat with a defective fight or flight mechanism. Marry those two conflicting drives, and it can make life interesting to say the least. Friends marvel at my ability to hear cars coming as we are walking around the neighborhood before they can be seen, or the ability to smell a restaurant from two miles away making something I want to try. They don't understand why when a car backfires I dive for cover and turn ghost white. It's a blessing, it's a curse.

Anyway, I'm walking in Winton Woods and there is this unmistakable sound behind me, and then a cascade of feelings and emotions before I can think to turn around. The sound is getting closer and I stop dead in my tracks KNOWING what is coming. Awash in a torrent of memory and emotion that for a change isn't horrific, the source of the sound reaches me and then goes flying past. A person on a bike, cycling around the lake. And my already green eyes, turn a darker shade of green that is both envy and longing at once. And that's when I know, that should be me. I should be mounted up, the wind in my hair, the world flying past, my legs pumping, blood coursing as I'm free once again and soaring along on two wheels.

And just like that the fuse is lit! Ten short minutes later that same person on a bike goes flying by ... AGAIN. In the time I've walked two tenths of a mile lost in longing and memory, they've made it around the lake, the entire 1.7 miles. Me, I'm still stuck there on the ground, plodding along. Ten minutes later, swoosh! And then I'm done for, the wheels in my mind, the longing in my heart starts gently pushing me. "That could be YOU! You KNOW how good that feels, what happened to you that you got off that bike years ago and never got back on? You need that!"

So I started looking and yet not. In Target I avoid the part of the store where they have the bikes because I can't afford to pay attention, let alone pay for a bike. From my heart and mind: "Yeah, SO?"

But I have to save to get everything out of storage and then I'll have a little bit of money to get a bike.

"Yeah, SO?!?!?"

But I have to prioritize, I have to budget, I have to survive, I . . .

"YEAH SO?!?!?"

Doctor tells me I need to get more exercise, weight is to high, BP is too high, deal with it child or your gonna die. Suddenly I HATE walking around the lake. HATE IT!!! Grr, HATES IT FOREVER!!!

Because it's not flying.

I walk a lap now and again as the cyclist flies past me and my heart and mind simply say "Yeah, so?"

I start walking past the bikes in Target, start looking online. Start trying to figure out how I can manage this. I need to get back on a bike. I need that feeling. My mind conspiring with my heart adds that cycling is dramatically more efficient than walking in terms of both weight loss and BP. Walking is like paying the minimum balance on your credit card. It'll take fifty years to pay it off if ever. Cycling is like paying four times the minimum due. Much better the mind says, and the heart? "Come on you KNOW how much you love it, you know how it feels, you know you want and need it."


In the store a perfect Purple bike, and room on the card. It's just under a hundred dollars, brand new and PURPLE! Oh God it's perfect. I'm in love. I almost fall. Almost.

I go home and look it up on line. Not so good are the reviews, if your going to go cheap like this, get a used bike on Craigslist you'll be better off. The reviews are not good. "I know, but it's PURPLE!!!"

More time and the beast inside quietly grows hungrier waiting there for the moment to pounce. And the cyclists fly past me, taunting me, I make one lap for every ten they make. I get frustrated every time and leave after a single lap.

Meds for BP, frustration with not being able to lose weight and the dawning realization that I need both hands to get up off the floor. Very not good. And of course that little whisper "You could go to the Y and ride one of those bikes that goes nowhere with all those OTHER people packed in going nowhere."

I go once. Maintain a good rate of speed and cover miles and miles over simulated terrain. "See girl, you still have it! You could do the same thing in the park you know..."

"FRAK! Shut up, shut up, shut up, enough already!"

"Yeah so?"

I don't go back. Too much noise, to many other people to close, no easy escape routes, I'm pinned in and not going back, you can't make me. So that's that for the Y.

And my heart, awakened from it's long slumber pines, while my head taunts me.

And so it goes.

A hint of spring, a taste of the warming and sun to come and I'm in the park, hungry after a winter of record snows. And the cyclist goes past. Swoosh...

And I know.

It's an investment in my health, my happiness, it's therapy, it's healing, it's fun! Another spring, summer and fall of longing, waste, and further loss of muscle tone OR investing in a bike.

I start to look in earnest. I find bike shops, I actually go to them explore to see how they feel, how the people seem, I ask questions, I do research online and I settle on a bike because of it's name and because it's something I can just barely finagle in terms of my resources but it's going to be tight. It's the Giant Women's Boulder. It reminds me of home. But it's silver. I do more research, a few dollars more, I can get the Myka. It costs more because it's not the absolute bottom of the line, it's a better bike the salesman says. The reviews online agree. It's also not just a woman's bike because of top tube height and name, it's designed by people who put some thought into it. Suddenly the name is much less important. "We have a sale coming up, come then and the Myka will be cheaper" the salesman tells me. Two more trips to ask questions, get fit for the bike and figure out how I'm going to pay for this and I know, this spring, summer and fall is going to be very different than the last two and more.

My heart and mind aren't even bothering to be subtle anymore and the need to feed fills my soul. I need to fly. I need to FEEL that tire noise in my body, the wind in my hair on my skin. I NEED to be flying. I need that piece of me back. I need that part of my soul back. It's going to happen, and this time, I'm not getting off the bike again for anything or anyone.

And that's the really short version of wanting to be back on a bike again. I loved being on a bike, it was freedom, it was a drug for me all those years ago. It was, is, and ever shall be my first true love, and I too long a slumber now remember. The sleeper has awakened! The Love remembered, and the journey begins a new . . .