Monday, June 27, 2011

Balance and living in the moment

Yesterday was a strange mixture of joy and trauma.

Got up and volunteered at the North Mankato Triathlon with my friend Barb. We had fun, cheered on the cyclists (many of them good friends) from our appointed spot on Judson Bottom Road, and then I went to the finish and saw lots more friends I hadn't even recognized as they zipped past us in their aero tucks.

It made me miss running, but made me glad that I can ride hard and sometimes fast.

Wrote for awhile, and then mowed and trimmed and weed-ate and had an idea for one of my characters, so I sat down at the kitchen table and wrote some more.

I was putting everything away, all cleaned up, and when I pulled the garage door shut, a big piece of the door fell off (the door is old and has been falling apart since I bought the place), and one big window came crashing out, and splintered into a million pieces on the cement. There I stood, surrounded by glass.

Here's where balance comes in: I can be disgruntled by the broken door (which I am), I can be frustrated by the mess of broken glass (which I am), because I'm tired from all the mowing and trimming, or I can be happy that the glass shooting out of the door in a sheet didn't hit me in the jugular or the shin or even a toe. I can be glad one pane of glass is still hanging there, to be removed without shattering. I can be glad Freya was up by the deck, watching. I can be highly irritated that the slivers of glass even bounced into her wading pool (because they did) and that I need to clean about 32 square feet of glass shards (which I do) or I can be grateful that Freya is pooped, too, and is showing no interest in trying to get into her wading pool at this moment (which she could be doing). I can also be irritated that now I can't close what's left of the door (which I am), or I can assess it (which I do) and climb up to figure out a way to get it to stay in its tracks so I can shut enough to keep most animals out over night (which I do and which takes some careful figuring and a big of hammering and longer than I had anticipated but it works).

Here's the balance: it's easy to fly off the handle (which I do often enough), but when I'm all alone at my own home and some small disaster like this happens, I know I have reliable Tom whom I can call, who can fix anything. OR I can look at the problem and figure out my own solution. After all, it was my own choice to buy an old farm place and live here alone with my dog. I'm not stupid. I can figure stuff out if I don't get too frustrated and just take time to look at how things work. And it feels good in the long run to feel somewhat or mostly self-reliant.

I closed the garage door, and when I turned around, fireflies filled the corn field. It seemed as if they turned their lights on while I was messing with the garage door, as if to say, see, even in the disasters, there's beauty when you look for it. Now, a garage door drama is not much of a disaster. It's small in the scope of the world's pain. SMALL. But when stuff like that happens, it's our world. It's what we're doing at the moment and it feels big. It's good to remember that it's not.

So as I tried to snap a picture of the sunset (and this is what I got), I thought about how the key is always to do what you're doing, even when it's an interruption, and not always what you want to be doing--it's what is right in front of you at this moment, and if you focus on that task, you live in the present, and that's what makes life a good place to live.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Great ride yesterday--"University of Okoboji Cycling Classic." Rode the 50-mile route around the lakes, and after the jammed-10-mile-an-hour start on a clogged bike trail, we broke into the open and flew along the roads and trails--gently rolling hills and curves. It rained for awhile, but still, the route was beautiful.

Then this morning, I volunteered for the North Mankato Triathlon. That's a great, well-organized event. Several of my friends had a great race--and everybody seemed to have fun. YAY!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Good week

Gearing up for some book events in July. New Ulm Public Library has a cool website. I'm there on July 15.

This is my birthday week, so on my birthday yesterday, I rode 55 miles -- Eeek. That's a mile for every year. Muddy, wet, rainy, windy, puddles, grit, but I did it.

Wrote all morning, then rode, then met my writing group for a birthday party/goodbye party for dear friend Jann who is moving to Fargo-Moorhead this weekend. Then Tom took me out. What a great birthday.

Now: back to writing.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Goofy Newfies.

So, this's raining and Freya went outside to do her business and came RIGHT back in before she finished. At least we know she's smart enough to come in out of the rain. When the rain let up, she ran way out into the cornfield to do it! Good dog! I was so proud of her...until I noticed her foot prints...uh, maybe this will accelerate my ripping up of the carpet in my house.

Yesterday, Gwen and Roger brought Buster Brown, their brown Newfy up to play with Freya. We had a blast. Dogs swam, retrieving things unto exhaustion. Here they are, shaking in tandem. There was quite a bit of slobber in the kitchen all at once.

Photos on blogger: I give up. I put them up in order; I rearrange them. The way they appear has nothing to do with how I posted them. It's not worth spending time rearranging. Back to working on my writing.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Before and After

What else I did this summer. Josh and Emily bought a house, by definition--a fixer-upper. I helped last weekend, and one of the things we did was this room. See Closet door before and after, and the whole room before and after. Now that is a feeling of accomplishment.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tour de Suisse...once again, almost famous!

So I've been out of the loop for two days, helping Josh and Emily work on their house. Tonight, I checked on the Tour de Suisse, only to find out that Cancellera (one of my favorite riders) won the prologue in Lugano, Switzerland! We (students and Kurt and I) were in Lugano just a couple weeks ago. I took this photo from Lugano, looking across the bay--look! It's the same mountain in this photo of Cancellera's winning ride! But wait. Eek.

Blogger cuts off the photo; Cancellera's not even in the picture the way blogger crops it! So check it out here if you're interested. Here's a youtube of most of the ride--the crazy fast turns on a downhill ride. Scaryfast.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I'm not flaunting this, but I think I have a pretty good idea how it feels to ride a bike in a Sirocco.
I just got done with 43 miles in howling HOT wind. Went through five bottles and got blasted with gravel, dirt, and sun. Not sure why other than it's what I do. I'm not sure it was fun, but it feels good to have done it.

The funny thing: I rode 6 miles South in about 30 minutes, cranking with my head down AND cranking down the hills (max downhill speed: 23 mph).
Going West was a struggle not to blow off the road.
Turned North and barely had to pedal. When I pedaled hard, I went 3 miles in a little over 6 minutes.

Monday, June 6, 2011

June in bloom

I love Bridal Wreath because it reminds me of my mom and my grandma. We had bushes like these at home. I should trim them in the fall, but it feels like butchery to cut them back. This year, it'll be necessary, I guess.

And thoughts on YA lit

"Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness":
This discussion of darkness in YA Lit is worth reading.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Giro d'Italia

So, the entire time I was in Italy, I kept watching for signs of the Giro d'Italia. This was as close as I got. The Liquigas van passed us on the way to Milan. When we stopped for lunch, the Geox TMC vans were at the same truck-stop cafeteria. I got to meet the guys driving the van. We were in Milan two days before the final Giro stage ended there.