Monday, December 24, 2012

Bolted Places

I find refuge in the bolted places. Look. A bolt, a climbing route, an opportunity to commune with lichen and rock. Stuck there in the eternal spot, enabling the climber to breathe hard, to move up, to progress from the leaf-strewn forest floor to the bright sun. To top out and look. And see far.

I like seeing far...

Longs Peak, Solstice 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012


The old dragging desolation
the surety that nothing is right
Thought I'd licked it
Left it at 14000 feet
Fifty-eight times over

I try

Believe me I try
I build mansions
of red tinsel
stuffed gift bags
alcohol and cherries


They are houses of cards
so much morning trash

Breaking up is hard to do

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Who do you wanna be?

I want to be a good teacher, a really good teacher. I want the kids to like me and learn like crazy. I want their scores to reflect their growth. I want them to be far-seeing yet near-sighted too, when it comes to others' feelings.

I want to be good at conflict resolution. Or when that ain't gonna happen, I want to be quick to put it in its proper place. I don't want to take it with me to climbing dinners or on hikes -- or at least not that it sticks with me for the duration. I want my mind to be pure and clear as mountain air. Inevitably, there will be difficulties in life. I don't want them to run my psyche.

I want to be married. And I mean married hard. I want a soulmate. Someone who, when I listen to him talk, is saying words I wish I woulda said. I want him to hike, bike, read, and beat me at cribbage.

I want to be five pounds lighter. I want it for vain reasons. I want to look better and I want to climb better.

I want to capitalize on my knowledge of how I tick. I want to quickly center myself when the spinning starts. Hikes and walks do that. Nights out with my girls do that.

And when I get there? I promise to be more grateful than today even. And I promise to make a new list.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Ma'am Years

I am past my "miss" years and into my ma'ams. Ahh... this golden age preceding my golden years. I have received the news in a series of little things that one wouldn't necessarily notice, like being addressed as ma'am instead of miss. I have noticed other signs.

Most 20ish year olds make me crazy. Was I that smugly self-assured? And as annoying-ignorant of the aura? I repent! On the other hand, if I ever need advice on how to better pack my pack, how to treat altitude sickness, or how to land a high-paying sales job (ma'am!), I know three 20 year-olds I can ask.

My parents are letting my boyfriend and I sleep together when we go back to visit them. An unmarried couple in the same bedroom?!? This has never happened under their roof. Have they surmised I'm not a virgin? Am I old enough that they have given up? Am I so old that they think we can't get it up?

There are perks to the ma'am years. To paraphrase the old country song, older women do make beautiful lovers. Or at least brassier ones. I can walk through the door after a long hike and hand boyfriend the massage oil, and dare him to find a spot on my body that doesn't hurt. After an hour, all my nerve endings are tending in quite a different direction.

My friendships are deep and true, hilarious and validating. We are all off-route together -- in climbing and in our unconventionality. We intuit when to spew beta and when it's best just to shut up and let the other flail.

Finally, I have a visceral response when I see a good bottle of wine, just sitting there, improving with age.


The ones under your bed
rapping at your window
beating down your door
big teeth dripping green slime
ready to bite your neck
suck your blood

The ones in your fears
of love lost
romance fading
loved ones dying
Big teeth dripping green slime
Ready to [clamp] down on your heart
Drain your life blood
and replace it with salty tears.

Written June 2, 2007

Trial, Error, Triumph

Alpine meadow
Trial -- Last week I stashed my mountain bike at trailhead B and drove to trailhead A, setting up a nice through-hike to bike to car. Pretty brilliant and exciting, but alas thwarted by a snarl of blowdowns. After evaluating the carnage and trying to spot trail signs for 45 minutes, I decided it was impossible. I headed back to the last water I'd seen, set up camp, and hiked back out in the morning.

Yesterday I hiked in from trailhead B to see how far that carnage of trees stretched. Could I complete the loop from the other direction? The answer is no: I found carnage's twin on steep terrain about two miles from the spot where I'd turned back last week. Yesterday I could hear a river I knew the trail crossed. I gave myself six minutes to go off trail and find it. I found willows. Willows mean water. You just can't always get to it. I exhausted my six minutes edging around the pokey buggers. Turning back, I worked my way back to the trail, surprising myself by striking it within 10 feet of the rock cairn from which I'd left. I may be becoming something of a woodswoman.

View from a pass, 11950 feet

There is one more way to access this mess of trees. There is trail C who, handily, intersects my two right between the snarl. I have trips to Wisconsin and New Mexico in the next two weeks, but when I return, the carnage is all mine.

Roosevelt Lake

Error -- Each of my toes feels like a swollen little sausage, a microcosm of throbbing. In an effort to cut weight yesterday, I wore a pair of hiking shoes that, now that I think on it, were recommended for casual use, not hiking. I concur.

Triumph -- Reconnaissance missions in the Colorado wilderness are pretty. And the true bonus: those loaded clouds gave us some much-needed rain!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Day I Got Through

I got through my divorce day by making promises to myself. They were not pretty promises. There I stood, head against the stall of the bathroom at the Green Lake County Courthouse, squelching tears, clenching fists, breathing deep -- all the over-the-top stuff you don't think is real until it is your heart on the floor. I hoped when I walked out that he'd take my hand and lead me out the door, that he would have realized that this was wrong.

I did not want the divorce. I regretted everything I'd done to hurt him, to lose him. I had the job in Colorado. My bags were packed. This was a formality. But it was so real. We walked into the courthouse on a sunny May Monday, holding hands. He spoke to me in gentle tones. I couldn't speak. We were going to be friends and maybe more again someday.

Afterward we went out on the lake together in the boat. We ate the gourmet cheeses and crackers I'd brought. I had vowed to give him this, to do this graciously. He would not see me cry or shake. I would not plead. I would give him this. He was never to know the price. I sat in the boat, holding my feet in Wisconsin water. I studied their blueness. I studied on my promises. I would keep them. I chewed cheese and made conversation.

The lawyer was there and did most of the talking. We had ended amicably, had agreed. The lawyer had congratulated us on our equanimity, wished all people would end like this. I had to agree once, twice, I don't know how many times. I summoned a voice from underneath the knot, beneath the beating ribcage, forced it past the corrugations in my throat. We'd had to sit apart. I felt him there. I hoped he'd say "no." He said yes.

I would give Colorado a fair shake. I would give it two months and if I still couldn't breathe without pain, if every thought was of him and loss and cyclical regret, I would go into the mountains and keep walking. Or get in my car and drive to Denali and walk there so that my sister would have no shade of responsibility for the sister under her wing. The promise gave me courage. I would give this to him, this freedom. I would do it well.

Leaving the courthouse, he took my hand into his, that big mitt that I loved. He squeezed. "I'm so proud. You didn't even cry."

Friday, June 22, 2012

You know you've been hiking a lot when...

I dream in contour.
  • You can feel when you're off-route.
  • You are uneasy and your legs hurt from all the scratches.
  • Your dreams are laced with squiggly brown contour lines. 
  • You need to do laundry so you have clean hiking shirts.
  • You have shed the deodorant and comb as extra weight. You give toothpaste the critical eye.
  • You refer to "servings" of toilet paper, as in "How many servings of toilet paper am I going to need for this trip?"
  • You have two definitions of hard hiking...
---  23 blowdowns in the space of 40 minutes.
--- Your 24 year-old hiking partner asserting that getting her period is the WORST thing that could've happened on this backpacking trip. She repeats it at least 23 times in a 40 minute period.
Lemme give you the blowdown.
  • My kingdom for a Playtex Super.
  • To plug her mouth with.
  • You are outside to receive the sun's first kiss.
  • It restores you because being alone in the wilderness at night is frightening.
  • You can identify trail by cairn, by blaze, by sawed log ends, and by soil disturbance.
  • You've worked out your own alert system for number of blowdowns along a trail...
--- Pink = Yay! An opportunity for a great ab workout.
--- Yellow = This ab workout expends a lot of energy.
--- Orange = Shit. Shit. Shit.
--- Red = Alright already, hiking gods! My abs are going to scare away my boyfriend.
  • Tapwater tastes funny.
  • A successful trip is gauged by netting more stories than scratches.
  • You appreciate how the help never forgets to freshen the flowers. 
  • Colorado Blue Columbine
  • You can't write down all the reasons you do it.

Alpine meadow beauties

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sweet Sleep Spot

Snowmass Peak towers over Snowmass Lake
A friend and I hiked over 12,462 foot Buckskin Pass to reach Snowmass Lake. We had intended to do three more passes but the snow is still prohibitive up high. I wasn't too bummed though. We got to sleep here.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

I Like What I Did Today

Bridge 1/many
It didn't start out as anything special. Just reacquainting myself with a hiking trail I hadn't seen in five years. But the day felt good. I loved the way the sweat trickled down my back. I loved placing my feet on the rocky trail. I greeted like an old friend the ache in my quads. Three Mile Creek Trail starts vertical and goes up from there. Straight up alongside its namesake creek with a bridge density on the order of four per mile.

Sweat was indeed trickling
While eating lunch (i.e. the emergency can of soup from my car because guess whose delicious quiche lunch was in a refrigerator in Denver), I looked at the map and realized that a through-hike would be doable. I could connect to two other trails -- Rosalie and Abyss respectively, winding between two mountains and getting glimpses of my 14er friend Mt. Evans. The Abyss would dump me four miles from my car, and since there was a hiker behind every rock and tree on this gorgeous Saturday, I figured someone could be persuaded to translate me through those road miles by car.

Velvet revealed
It worked like a charm. I recognized that I was on top of the velvety looking hillsides I'd seen the numerous times I'd hiked Abyss. I swore I'd get back there and bushwhack to check out all that suavity. Turns out there's a trail goes right through the "velvet." Also turns out it's not that velvety. More like a mix of soft grass punctuated & poked through by short, but symmetrical and evenly-spaced scrub oak. Tricky buggers sucker us hikers in every time.

Beaver Ponds
Up on high, traversing a meadow between two 12ers, Kataka and Tahana, I could see the ridge that Sweet Sis and I worked the first time we bagged Beirstadt. I recognized the windy trail where I'd startled a bushy gray coyote and a brilliantly-white snowshoe hare while doing Abyss in April. I looked down on the beaver ponds and willows that bedeviled attempts at getting anywhere in the country. I climbed out of Three Mile Creek's drainage, rounded Kataka Mountain, and dropped into Scott Gomer Creek's drainage. All in a day's work.

Puffy happy
It was short, downhill work to the Abyss TH. Now I had those tricky four road miles between me and my car. I wiped my face on the inside of my shirt and finger-combed my hair, maybe not first date material but convinced I was no longer sporting dirtbag-hiker-style but she'd-be-acceptable-in-our-car-style. With a deep breath of mountain air, I started hiking down the road. I visualized and anticipated that thumb out feeling. I thought maybe I should practice, but just then a car came -- a red sedan with Oregon plates.  My road-facing thumb skyrocketed up just like I'd imagined. And they pulled over! I jogged up to the gaping window and saw four occupants. I explained my situation, emphasizing the scant four miles part of the deal. Ma said they were fully-booked, but daughter in the back was already squeezing over closer to boyfriend and announced that there was room. With that decree, Dad popped the trunk and I stowed my pack and poles.

Meet Scott Gomer; he's
ice bath cold! (Yes, I
would know.)
Today I hiked fourteen miles and got to know another corner of the world. I made four-mile friends with some Tennessee tourists who were a little wide-eyed to be driving through mountain passes on washboard gravel roads while chatting to a grungy hitchhiker who smelled the part but had been to the Grand Ole Opry. I covered a lot of ground, learned a lot of territory. Net sum? I love what I did today.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Jake's a Daddy!

My nephew became a dad this morning in the wee hours. He has a son who was born a month early, who apparently could not wait to get busy living. And I think... his landmark is my landmark. I feel it in my heart, my mind, and the smile I can't keep off my face. He is way too young to be a dad, and I don't mean age-wise. Age is irrelevant. But he is too young. I know that he and his girlfriend and baby will have some trials. It makes me want to be more solid, more reliable, more present for them than I have been. It makes me want to grow up and settle down! I want to be able to offer them money, steadfast warmth, a great-auntie vacation spot. Maybe that's what family is; their landmarks are our landmarks. Their events make us grow up.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Call Me Bob

As in discombobulated. As in the bobbing in the pool with no sense of direction -- or rather with the waves slapping me in all directions. We waved the kids off to summer today and since they've left, I've been a whirlwind of self-induced activity. A close colleague is retiring so we saw her off with a second-to-last luncheon. Then I screamed into my classroom and dug in. The shelves got my attention, the cabinets... I even made it to the file cabinet before I was interrupted and reminded that the staff party starts at 4:00. I biked home and am going to squeeze in a run before arriving at the party late.

But see, thing is -- my head is still in those files. I'm culling and pulling the best stuff to pore over this summer and revise my units. I'm thinking word studies and demigods and theme. I'm thinking new novel and a whole semester of revised gifted curriculum. And I'm motivated to do it! But alas... the running trail and then a night of wine with colleagues calls. What are the chances my head will be in the game tomorrow??

Do not answer that.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


My shoulders hurt, my knees ache, and my ego is bruised. I'm not as good at things as I want to be, as I thought I was. I'm not who I thought I would be. The failures in my life greet me in the mirror, grinning in my pretending face.

I'm having a tough time in my own skin these days. But/and it is nothing new. I have been like this. Perennially discontent. While the leopard of my discontent doesn't change its spots, they do vary in shade and degree. And they're killin me these days. So me and my spots are gonna march to the beat of a new drum, a pulse, a heartbeat. I am going to meditate. My body has been reacting adversely to my other "remedies": I can't take the excessive exercise anymore, I always knew that happiness did not lie at the bottom of the Ben & Jerry's container, and going out with friends only works when you actually leave the house.

Tonight while I was soaking in this selfness, with various books and other forms of distraction strewn around me, I chanced upon that book that's been neglected since I bought it four years ago -- Mindfulness in Plain English. Already it speaks the truth and hits my nail on its head and I've only started.

I will continue tri training and pursuing excellence in my teaching, but I want freedom from the unhealthy aspects of drive and desire. I want to perceive clearly, to see what is, is. I want to accept it without judging. I would add that I want it all yesterday, but that sorta flies in the face of the sagacity I'm after. Today I start.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Rain Keeps Falling

I know I should be happy for it because we need it. Fire danger and such. But truly it depresses me. I'm already depressed and weepy. I am going to miss these kids like crazy. They drive me nuts and keep me from my work and interrupt me, but I am going to miss them and the purpose they give my days. I am going to miss the autism-spectrum kid who wore his puffy orange coat all winter and ran through the halls throwing elbows to get to lunch. I'm going to miss him barging into my room every morning and sweeping my hands off my keyboard so he can load music for me to play anonymously ("I feel funny when the kids ask me all those questions") at Advisement. I'm going to miss the girl who used copious amounts of glitter on every project this year. I'm going to miss her and her friend coming into my room in the morning and talking each other's ears off about swim practices. I'm going to miss them dropping their voices to whisper the latest 7th grade girl drama. They shield me so well.

I am happy that the school year is ending and I want summer vacation and I felt the initial rush of excitement and have travel plans and exercise plans, but man, I'm gonna miss these kids. And this slow, drenching rain we're getting is no cure for my weepies.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


I am just back from the pool and it seems like everything I ever knew was learned there. I learned how to breathe, I learned how to pace myself. I learned how to be long and lean and stay on my side to milk every ounce of distance out of that scull. Ahh...

I swim and feel how it is to be smoothly in control versus flailing like  a madwoman. When the flailing begins, I reel myself in. I reflect. I am pacing myself these days. I'm not climbing like a fiend -- partly from choice, partly because I've been coaching and can't fit climbing in. I have been biking, walking, and swimming once per week.

I have not confined my pondering to the pool. I had an impromptu think session one night when I flatted an hour from home. I had a tube and tire tool, but had removed my pump some months ago to cut weight for a supported ride. It never quite made it back onto my bike. Brilliant, I know. But, the walk was appreciated. It was sunny and I didn't start blistering (note: these bike shoes are not made for walkin') until home was in striking distance. So I walked and soaked up the sun. Sweat trickled down my back and beaded under my helmet and it was good.

It occurred to me that rock climbing may not be my Next Thing. It takes advance planning. It takes a partner whose goals are closely-aligned, and it takes me away from home. Nor does it feel like swimming. So I hatched the notion that I just might become a triathlete again. I've climbed mountains and plugged my holes on them. I'm just not compelled to get back to them. (Funny how the drive left once I'd done  the 14ers and how perfectly the two years it took to complete them also completed my divorce self-remedy.) Mountaineering has a big checkmark alongside it.

Walking on that bike path, I was struck by my tri training options. That very bike path is within spitting distance of my deck. (Well, even if I couldn't exactly hit it, I'd give it reason to pay attention.) There are dirt running paths all along a nearby creek, and the pool is five minutes away.

This all started with the putzy little tri training I'm doing for my family's annual sprint triathlon -- in which I will be participating for the first time in three years. And now... who knows where it will take me. I'm already dreaming of a tri bike and AG awards, not to mention hours on the bike exploring these country roads and trying open water swimming in reservoirs. Running doesn't even frighten my creaky knees. Match?

Side-note re: climbing -- I did meet the goal of getting the lead cave 10 route. Just this week, the night after I'd decided to ease off, I nailed it. (Of course.) I had dreamed of it on Sunday night and the dream came back. I was confident and scooted up to and through the crux. I will continue to climb socially and to peck away at my climbing goals, but triathlon... I'm sniffing around your door again. :-)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fire Breather

Papa Bear swooped in to save the Skinny Defenseless cub from Dragon Breath.

So I blew on him too. I huffed and puffed my all-day-teaching coffee breath all over him. I hope his house is shuddering tonight. He lives in a precious place where belief does not match reality. Where his kid's tears matter more than those of anyone else's kids.

I live in that gingerbread house down yonder. By day I sit at my desk and drink second rate coffee. Lots of it. I sit behind said desk, cracking my whip for the children to work and breathing on them should they get too close. I'm a super hero who isn't afraid to mix my genres and am positively fearless when it comes to my metaphors.

But I digress. Back to Papa Bear...

He swooped in when Poor Defenseless got caught and called out. Now Poor Defenseless became not only that but also acquired the virtues and title of Innocent Perfect Sweet Kindness. Papa Bear asserted that he knows her well enough and she would never bully another kid.

(Hahahahahahahahahaha. Parents, we all know our kids would never do ---. Fill in the blank. FYI: Your kid would do it. Sorry. This isn't a happy ending fairy tale. Tonight I serve up the under-represented witch's perspective.)

So Innocent was crying, and I nearly was with heartache for the bullied girl and anger at that Big Bear lumbering onto my turf and throwing his shirt-tucked-in, I'm a big-important-in-this-district-hardass around. Nailing me to the wall with, "Couldn'ta been my kid. Are you sure it was bullying? I don't use that word lightly."

Well, Papa Bear, she was not playing nice and perfect. To the point where bullied girl went home crying. I hope Innocence cries tonight. I hope she thinks. And Papa Bear, I hope you heard me say that your hard-on is not welcome in this house. I hope you heard me say step off and let the girl cry. Let her reflect on what she did. Let her come talk to me if I was wrong. Let her talk to the girl who went home crying because of her actions. I can sleep in my just-right bed tonight. And Papa Bear, if my words didn't give you pause, I hope my coffee breath stopped you in your tracks.

Monday, March 12, 2012


Today is the kind of day where enthusiasm and joie de vivre exudes from your pores if you spend even 30 seconds outside. I just spent an hour. My brain tentacles eked out in thoughts and wonderings, possibilities -- nay, inevitabilities! It's that kind of day in Colorado.

My mind went to economy. I want economy of movement, economy of swim stroke, economy in the delivery of instruction to my students. I want economy in my writing. I wanna cut, cut, cut extra words. I never dreamed economy would turn my crank, but it's doing it for me today.

My brain wandered to yesterday's climbing trip. It started ingloriously with a drive through pea soup fog capped by an ice pellet greeting at the parking lot. There ensued a healthy debate on bailing. We decided to hike in and at least take a peak at the crags. Then, as it is wont to do in Colorado, the sun popped out and saved the day. I shed my down layer and raincoat on the hike in. By the afternoon, I wished I could shed right down to skins. Warmth permeated the air and the rock was warm to touch... mmm...

Cayenne sent an 11A on lead. I was about 100 feet away, doing a 10B on top rope and heard her grunting (unusual) and turned to see her 30 feet up her crag, working in a circular motion on the wall, looking to optimize her position for the next grab. I could hear people yelling encouragement, her belayer and his constant stream of beta. Below me was Cinnamon Stick (the token male on some of our climbing nights), sweating and shirtless. Typical of the way in which we girls let each other know we have each other's backs, I told Cayenne to get going; I didn't want to see her ass looking fat as she hung. The guy climbing the route next to mine laughed and said I didn't know him that well yet. It was that kind of day -- wonderful, with everyone in a celebratory, sun-salutory kind of mood.

It's an ahh... spring, warmth, sun kind of energy. I'm in. :-)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ladder 2000 Swim Workout

I started triathlon training today. *Gasp* in more ways than one. This will be my first tri since 2009. I last swam in October. So, like the fish out of water I've been, I gasped my way through this 2000 yarder. This used to be a short workout; today it was positively a doozy.

300 yards EZ - Ahhh... Drape self at end of lane for one minute to catch breath.
6 x 50 Kick w/ 30 seconds rest. - Huff and puff and blow someone's house down. The little girl with pink inflatable arm bands in the next lane heard me coming and turned around, startled, "Oooh!" Thanks, kid.
3 x 150 Pull w/ 30 rest - My shoulders, my shoulders! I think they realized we weren't climbing, but still decided to w-ache up. I worked on my catch. I've forgotten a lot.
100 - 15 rest
200 - 30 rest
300 - 45 rest
200 - 30 rest
100 - La la la. I have always been fond of ladder workouts.
50 EZ

Time: 50 minutes. Nothing was fast, except maybe my breathing. But, dang, I did it! I am back in the water!

Peak Picking

I am shivering with anticipation! Strong Sis and her family are coming out for spring break and I'm in charge of scouting out a 14er for us to do. I have three options: two long class 1s and one shorter class 2. Avy conditions are currently good. The roads are icy but open to their usual winter closures. That adds six miles to the summer distance, but as those are road miles, they're an easy march. I'm pumped!

So here's what I'm considering for us:
  • Grays Peak - 13.5 miles RT, great views and it's close to Denver. It is pictured here with its neighboring 14er, Torreys Peak, as seen from Option 2, Mt. Bierstadt.
  • Mt. Bierstadt - 13 miles RT. I've done this one four times already so I'm not as excited about it, but it's an "easy" one so it has to make the list.
  • Mt. Yale - Class 2, 9.5 miles RT. This one turns my crank. I have a thing for the Collegiate Peaks and I have a special affinity with this one. On my first attempt, Yale handed me my keister on a snowy platter. On my second (successful) attempt, I took my friend's dog and had a ball outlasting her energy. On my third trip, then-boyfriend and I snowshoed to treeline to share hot chocolate, full-on sun, and belly-aching about the difficulty of winter 14ers and false summits before turning back. I love the stories that peak tells me!

As you can see, my heart lies with Yale, but I have to be practical. It is class 2. Not many people have been up it. That means we will be breaking trail. That's hard work. It also means that I will have to do really good route-reading. That has never been a strength of mine, but I have improved. Yet in winter... everything changes. All trail markings wear a snowy disguise. Hm... Another Yale story or not?

Open Letter to My Father

Because of my recent breakup, I have been subjected to my father's judgments and prognostications. I, apparently, am having trouble "moving on" since my divorce. I have done nothing! I have not been happy in the least, just a weeping pile of misery. What an ass. To judge me and my life like that. The presumption is that he knows what's best for me and that he and mom have to "worry" about me because I'm not married with 2.2 kids living in some big house, going to dance recitals, and sending pictures of his grandkids to all our relatives. He wants to see me married off and taken care of. Or some such thing. Well, I would like a mate, Dad, but I'm not going to saddle myself with some man who has no initiative -- even if you like him. He drank too much, worked too much, and intuited too little. Get off my back.

Open your eyes and see the good I have in my life. That's what I do every day. I have sadness and loneliness, but you did not raise me to moan about my woes.

Open your eyes and see the good I have done in my life. I give as deeply as I know how. I talk with kids about ideas, read their writing, and read their faces. I intuit what they need next. I care about their education, I care about their hearts. I am driven. I touch their lives and those of my colleagues. What I possess is what I give. My knowledge, my resourcefulness and problem-solving, my humor, my smile. These strengths are in demand. I give them.

Dad, acknowledge that I am a round character and quit trying to flatten me out with your notions of what happiness has to look like for every person. Really love ME, not your idea of what I should be as your daughter, as a woman in this society.

Dad, I am a mountain climber. I scale rocks for fun. I ski in blizzards. I laugh while cornering on curvy hills. I am not a mommy. I am not a cook. I am an athlete and a go-getter. I am a thinker and a feeler. I am a friend, sister and aunt. I am a good daughter.

Hello, Dad, meet me.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Hustle

I slam into my day, rushing to get the dishes put away, breakfast made, materials gathered to hustle out the door. I clock the drive to school, eat breakfast while inputting essay grades, answering kids' questions, hugging our Russian student, high-fiving our needy over-sized Gentle Ben boy, overseeing the construction of a retirement card for a colleague... The day is off to the races before the bell rings.

I am not present for any of it.

It is a day of hurry-scurry, helter-skelter, task-to-task. I progress from one item on the list to the next. The quality is not there. I love my students, I love my colleagues, but I'm not giving them my best. Always at the back of my mind when we're conversing is all the students with whom I haven't yet conferenced, the stacks of papers I need to grade, the emails I need to send, the retirement party I need to schedule, the dates I need to coordinate.

I am not present.

Then I scurry home, running errands along the way. I squeeze in a workout to be followed by a hurried dinner and more hurry to... what? To what end am I hurrying? The adage is true: The hurrier I go, the behinder I get. It is driving me crazy that I don't have their tests ready to return to my students tomorrow, but... I have not taken time to breathe today. I want to breathe. I want desperately to live. Fully. To be present. To take the time to scrub my dishes and enjoy cleaning them. I want to do yoga tonight. I want to enjoy the lesson prepping I have yet to do. I even... even... want to read the students' tests and enjoy their creativity in the last section where they write a story.

Where is the time for this quality?

I think I have to give it to myself. I am the boss of me. I make the decisions on this ranch. And they are worth it. My students. They are worth the time that it will take to give them quality feedback and appreciation. I am worth it.

So... the watchword of this week is... breathe. S-p-a-c-e.

Scurry no more!

And more flowers for me. Bow to the Queen's Crown, taken near Capitol Peak in July.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Unchained Melody of Procrastination

In order to put off recaulking my shower, I started my taxes. In order to put off the final tough decisions with filing, I got out the ladder and cleaned my heat vents. While I was doing that, I saw how dirty the windows were and cleaned those. By this time, I'd worked up a good enough head of steam to scrape off the old caulk and mildew-proof the tile. I danced circles around my correcting pile (156 seventh grade essays... really??) and suddenly grew interested in digging deeper into the documentation for my taxes. Looking at all those numbers gave me the irresistible urge to caulk the tub. (It is beautiful and clean and white!) The five stacks of essays lay in the middle of the table, but my taxes, my taxes...! Before I knew it, I'd clicked "Submit." Within minutes, I recieved an email: my federal form had been accepted. Then it hit me...

Internal Revenue Service - 1
Triteacher - 0

Dang, those guys are good. Think they'd help me grade essays?

Sunday, February 26, 2012


He's struggling because so much of him became me and what I wanted in the year plus that we were seeing each other. And it did. He followed my lead. And that became our undoing. I want an equal so badly. I want someone who's as strong and willful and inquisitive as me. Yet...

So much of me came to rely on him to bolster me. So much of me loved the way he loved me. Who would not want to hear, "Girl, in the mornings you glow. You are more beautiful than at any other time"? I bought so many new clothes to wear for him, pretty clothes, sexy clothes, clothes to please him. They worked, but at the end of the day, his favorite was my old, gray, two-sizes-too-big sweatshirt.

Last night, my first night out dancing since our split, I refused to wear the low-cut stuff. My heart wasn't in it. Instead, I wore what he would have liked. My hip-riser pants and a shirt that clung to me but covered enough to enter a convent. A pretty PrAna shirt, my smile, and my energy. I wanted to be me. Because he likes me. And any man worth his salt is gonna have to like me with my no-makeup, brown-graying curly hair self.

So. He's trying. He's thinking. He's reflecting. He's missing.. and he's breaking my no-contact rule to show me all this. But he's getting it. He's hitting the nail on the head as to why we didn't work. He's getting me.

I? I have been writing in this blog, chasing down my friends, and traveling far and wide to replace his spot in my life. Comes right down to... I miss him too. But. Would it work? Is he The One? I want the One. I am ready for the One. I won't settle for anything but the One. I'm at a point where I don't need to settle. I always have been. I am torn. What is my identity? What is his? Are we a we -- or not?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Inspiration Needed

Did the stench reach your nostrils on Thursday night? My climbing stunk that bad! I feel all of my limitations crashing in on me. I'm too driven, not enough gifted. I push too hard and end up being sore for two days. I'm also having a hard time maintaining my drive to cut weight. I'd rather just eat what I want. (Read: chocolate/drink wine!) I'm two weeks into this focus on climbing so I'm not surprised at this wall, but I do not like it.

  • It feels good to make healthy choices.
  • I know I want this in the long run. Today's choices affect tomorrow's climb.
  • And finally, I'm giving myself flowers. These beauties are Fairy Trumpets, snapped near Conundrum Hotsprings (ahh... could use those now!) in June.
Smile and breathe, TT. This too shall pass.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Why Climb?

I am a social climber. Every Thursday my girl group meets up at the gym for a sweat session. Afterwards we rehydrate with wine and refuel with a meal prepared by one of us. We are amazing women. Each one of us adds our distinctive flavor to the group...

Our brassy blonde bombshell, we call Spice Rack. Our group is not above adopting Men's Locker Room talk and bending it to our own devices. (Truth be told, we kinda revel in it.) Spice Rack took up climbing when, early in my climbing career, I begged her to come and learn to belay me. She came and stayed to climb. However, it took her MONTHS to cease getting her nails manicured. She wears tight, low-cut workout clothes and does not hesitate to bend over to retie a shoe in front of a cute climber, thereby showcasing her trademark "rack." She gets attention. She is hilarious, lewd, and cannot sleep unless assisted by a cocktail of anti-depressants and Ambien.

Her polar opposite is Pakalolo, who earned her nickname by being as laidback as Hawaiian pot. She is my "featherweight friend" from an earlier post. Her build would enable her to climb 12s if she trained at all. But, being Pakalolo, she'd rather show up and climb however the mood strikes. She sets no goals, but does feed off the energy of those around her who are more driven. Then she effortlessly climbs strong. She is passionate about her teaching and her friendships.

Sweet Sister is the Saffron in our group. She has exotic, expensive tastes. When she cooks dinner, we know that we are getting the top-shelf of deliciousness. She often leaves the gym early on her nights so she can finish prepping. When we arrive, we may still wait a good hour before the appetizer is ready. She is multi-faceted. She has an eye for design, and her discriminating taste translates well into the web design she does for a living. She's creative, perfectionistic, and reliable. Yet she is chronically late. She'd give you the shirt off her back but she might not have it quite ready 'til hypothermia claimed you. I love her to death.

Cayenne is our flower of Hawaiian-Japanese descent who out-climbs us all. She's a genius of fluid, flexible movement. She has long, lustrous black hair that gently, swayingly follows her up whatever crimpy and/or overhung 11 she is working. She is Cayenne because she is full of piss and vinegar. She is fierce and driven. When she falls, she seizes the rope and reclimbs it with vicious tugs, really the only time I see her that she doesn't look utterly graceful. I've pretty much settled on being her when I grow up.

We five have a lot going for us and a lot going on in our lives. But when we come together, it is us Spice Girls and no one else. We are sickeningly in love with ourselves. Like parents of a firstborn, we gush over our cleverness, our hilarity, our fun, the bond we share. We are obnoxious and overwhelm the gym on Thursday nights. Take us separately and you might find an ounce of reserve. Take us together and we are a force.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Like to Write

I just do. I remember using paper towels in the barn and scratching down the thoughts I could no longer contain. They were burning up and beautiful inside my head and I needed to commit them to posterity. Inspired by my teenage girl angst, they were poems. (And one wild attempt at an allegory with me as a white cat and the boy who'd broken my heart as a black dog. Subtle imagery, no?) I secreted these scribbled scraps into my jacket pocket. I remember patting the pocket, comforted and satisfied to have those words collected and contained.

I like it now too. Inspired by my middle-aged divorcee angst (how far I've come), writing still has the power to comfort me. It makes me do well on my fitness goals. It helps me to do good, to distill my thoughts to make me a seamless person, one who adheres to her inner core. I want Truth. I want to paint. I want my words to give.

I like to write.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Happy Fat Tuesday! I'm down 5, yes F-I-V-E pounds! I have been making healthy choices, oh yeah!

Heel Hook Illustrated

So here it is:
I hooked again with Sweet Sis there to egg me on. From this position, you stand up on the right foot while throwing the right hand up for a grip that is yet a nice distance up the wall. I finished the problem twice yesterday and then went back today to solidify the learning - and for the photo op, of course!

Tonight was tough for me. I wasn't on. One: I was pumped from yesterday. Two: I changed out shoes because my good pair needs to be resoled. So I started tonight in the clodhoppers pictured left. Then I switched out to some Mythos that aren't quite as grippy as I remembered. My goal quickly degenerated from conquering the world to figuring out my damn shoes. But every cloud has a silver lining, every shoe a rubber soul: I figured out the first move on an 11 that had eluded me like mad last Thursday. Now of course I wanna clean the whole thing when next I climb. Back to plan A: World domination!

  • World Domination Scheme: Get my macro climbing plan worked out. I need to break it down into weeks and then days within the weeks. Due date = ?? Perhaps this weekend I will get a chance to delve into it.
  • Making War on Poverty: I surfed Denver food pantries and placed one phone call today. I am a tad disheartened. Many of these places don't have Saturday hours. I just have to keep phoning and looking for the right fit. I've also asked for input from colleagues and Sweet Sis.

Changing the world sure takes some fancy footwork.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Stem Box

Straddle the void. Hold yourself in place, evaluate and then... GO! It took big, pumpy moves to inch up this stem box on the Lighthouse Tower in Moab last fall. It was a beautiful feeling.

I know where I'm going.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Went to Movement gym in Boulder today and did some good stuff.

I'm too pooped to write much more but will anyways because I believe that in writing this some miracle will happen with my climbing. I feel like the more I pour into this sport, into understanding it, eating it, breathing it, the more quickly I will improve. Pouring now...

I have turned a corner with fear. I don't fear falling anymore. I just don't. I thought about it, wrote it down, and now -- *poof* -- it's relegated to the junk heap of ALL THINGS HOLDING ME BACK. (I keep said pile in a corner of my condo and every once and again blow the dust off of it jeest to see from whence I've come. Whew baby, the stuff in that pile.)

I lead almost everything in our four-hour workout session. I did inverted and even steeled myself up for a dynamic move for an unknown hold over a lip. I made it! And it felt good. I'm really happy with my improvement.

And per usual, happiness leads me not to contentment, but for.... drumroll.... the desire for more! I want more climbing and more success there, of course. But this focus on it has made me want to drill in on some other aspects of my life that need improvement.

I need a project outside of myself. I heard a story on poverty on NPR on my way to school Thursday morning. It is haunting me. I need to do something about poverty. I teach and live in affluence. And it's all well and good, but I want to be bigger than this. I give to a local food pantry, help pay tuition for a child in Guatemala, and do other sundry charitable type good-person things. But I want to make it bigger. Some of my ideas include:

1. Become a Big Sister
2. Run a club at school where the students and I volunteer at food pantries; this one appeals because my students are affluent. Some have a sense of entitlement, others a sense of discontent. This week we read Langston Hughes's "Mother to Son" and made lists of our "tacks, splinters, and boards torn up." I was shocked at how many of them had personal experience with suicide. None of them see their lives as a "crystal staircase." It is my theory that suburbia breeds discontent, a lack of purpose. If I pursued this option, my students might benefit as much as the food pantries. I would benefit.

I would have to give up some things to make either of these happen. TIME. I would have to give up some of my precious alone, restore-me time. That is a rub. Some days I have endless energy and could handle it well, other days not so much.

I would have to drive. I know, pretty weak. But I loathe driving.

So here is my commitment. I will check into both of these options and report back within a week. The knowledge will not kill me, I trust.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Heel Hook

After teaching 12 hours yesterday, I went to the gym and learned.

I learned to heel hook. In this particular case, I had to do a high step with my right leg, placing my right toe on the hold and then rolling onto my heel as I transferred my weight to that right foot, pulling myself up on the right and launching for a hold with my left hand. It took me numerous tries and some coaching and encouragement from my fellow climbers. I got it.

Now... to get back and finish the rest of the problem. It was near the end of my session when I "hooked" that move. I was too pumped (and it was too late at night!) for me to stick around for more.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Voice

"It's OK, baby. Shhh.... It's OK. I got my girl." I nestle deeper into his arms, engulfed in shoulders, sniffing the warm sweetness of him. The sobs I didn't know I contained wrack against his chest, the wellspring of tears soaks the collar of his T-shirt. "It's OK baby. I'm so proud of my girl. It's OK. I gotchya now."

It's his voice I hear. The one he used after I finished Grandma's Marathon and was walked over to him by his mom and sister. I broke only when I saw him, sitting there on the bench. It's his voice I hear. The one he used after I collapsed into him, letting my tears pour, letting my body quiver. He held me dearly. He held me well.

When I'm climbing and need to get it together, it's his voice I hear. That rocksolid warmth and love. For the millionth time, thank you, E.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Red 10 - Two Takes!!!

Yahoo!!! My footwork was infinitely better, my clipping smooth, my brain in my head. I feel great. :-) I will keep working it and hopefully redpoint it soon. I didn't pant nor did I fumble with the clips. This saved an incredible amount of energy. I'm falling more than a little in love with Eric Horst (henceforth, EH). If my climbing continues to improve like this, I may have to look the man up!

I also LOVED a new 11. I top-roped it and fell twice. It was so fun to figure out. It was chockful of thought-provoking, balance moves. Another EH thought came to me and helped me move through. Keep your center of gravity as directly as you can over your feet. Since this was a nearly straight up vertical route, I felt like I was sucking into the wall. It's fun to move that way; I feel like a cat, luxuriating, chest into the ground, lazily, deliberately stretching a paw for the next hold. They are experts at eking out the extra inches, their bones seeming to melt. A TT spin: Channel your cat.

A recapture of what works well:
1) Home "crag" practice clipping. I did not fumble with a single clip tonight.
2) Visualizing success on the red route and previewing it before hopping on. I do need more practice with route-reading as it does not come naturally.
3) Positive self talk. I found a soothing voice inside of my head that says, "You got it. You got it, baby." My breathing responds to this voice.
4) I took two intentional falls tonight. And I lived to tell about them! I will continue to chip away at this fear.

Speaking of fear, I get all het up when I work these overhung lead climbs. My hands bust out new sweat glands and drench me even as I'm flaking the rope. Shoot, if I start visualizing while I'm on the other side of the gym, I become slimy. It's funny how the body reacts to perceived risk. I respond by putting on more chalk and getting my climb on.

Good night! Goodnight.

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Clipping Sucked Too

On Sunday, my clipping was atrocious, so I rigged up this crag on which to practice...

Materials required: webbing, quick draws, rope, and chin-up bar. Now I can do clipping sets back and forth to get the automaticity I want.

Told ya I had it bad.


I am afraid of falling. Some of these falling fears are warranted, but some of them are just intimidation factors whose bluff I need to call. Per Eric J. Horst, I am taking a look at them.

1. Featherweight Friend:
My current, quite realistic fear is a featherweight-friend issue. One of my belayers is forty pounds lighter than me. She's a solid climber and competent belayer, but that weight difference matters on lead. I could fall and pull her up to the point that we collide in mid-air -- or worse -- I'd hit the ground if it were an early clip. She can anchor in, but then I worry about the damage that a big fall could do to her body as opposing forces crank on her. She is willing to take this risk, but it changes how I climb with her. I am less likely to go for a grab because that fear for her is in the back of my mind. I have other belayers, but she's been my solid partner for these three years of climbing. We learned to lead together, we've cut our climbing teeth together, and, quite frankly, sometimes she and I are the only ones who show up. If I want to improve, I need to find a way to manage the risk and/or my worry. Do I just not climb hard stuff with her or do I continue what I am currently doing: downclimb to a solid hold and have her take? Is there another alternative? Would it help to practice falls again? Hm. Don't have a great solution to this one.

2. I am scared of pain. I don't want to hurt myself when I fall, e.g. pull a muscle, tear a tendon, or rip open my hand. Strangely, I'm most afraid of hurting my hands. I envision myself SOL for climbing while they heal. This is not a good reason to avoid falling the way I do. (Bawk, bawk, bawk, bawk, balk at falling!) My hands are not likely to get hurt that badly. Be rational and fall, Chickie (as opposed to Chicken.)

3. I don't want to be embarrassed. I often don't push routes at the gym because I'm waaaay too aware of all the eyes watching and assessing how I climb. (There are a lot of eyes attached to quite nice bods there, but I digress, or do I? Who wants a hot, potential date to see her flailing at a route??)

That's an easy one. Get over yourself! And if he's that put out by how you climb, he wasn't worth dating anyways. Nyah!

4. Fear of the sensation of falling and clanking the wall and that stomach-catching-up jolt at the catch of the fall... It's just not natural and yet, when I was doing it a lot (read: when Featherweight and I were forcing each other to fall in our early days of leading), I found it exhilarating. I need to get back that feeling of excitement and... release. A good fall is fun.

There, I think I've called myself out on everything I fear. Now to just unfear them.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I Got it Bad

I've got it bad for climbing. But I'm carrying 15 extra pounds that I haven't found a way around hauling up the route with me. So. That being said, I'm gonna focus on losing those fifteen. Why, oh why, did I inherit a sweet tooth and a tendency to indulge myself when stress rolls in? Plus I've developed a penchant for red wine. I've also developed a better-than-average tolerance. The pleasure is temporary. The pain lasts and lasts.

Case in point, I have been working an overhung (my weakness!) 5.10 in the gym. It is a route in the lead cave. I've just busted into that cool-kid zone and have been sashaying around in the big girl pants as I've done some of the climbs respectably. Not so with my red 5.10 today. First time I did it, I took four times, but I stayed in control of my breathing, my fears and my feet. Today I took five times and huffed & puffed like a veteran smoker. I lost my feet and batted at clips. Grr. I am not happy with myself.

But I also have the solution. I am gonna lose that extra weight. Period. I have a stressful week coming up, but I am going to make this happen, starting today. I have a meal and workout plan to prove it.

I will wage this war on many fronts, of course. I am reading Training for Climbing by Eric J. Horst and took the self-assessment. My strength is my Mental game. (Thank you, triathlon and stubborn genes.) The Physical domain and Tactics & Technique came in equally -- lower than Mental. I want it so bad! I want to climb those lead cave 10s by May, I want to lead 11s by the end of the summer and be able to onsight them by 2014. I haven't mentioned that grade that still seems magical to me, but you better believe 12s are on my mind.

This blog? Will be used to track my progress, share my frustrations, celebrate my successes. I am ready to begin!

This week's workout focus:
Tuesday - Sets of 3: EZ climb up & down, lead 9s or EZ 10s, Lead overhung 10 -- Repeat. The rubber match is the lead 10 of the trio. My goal is to keep my head and my feet, clip smoothly, and minimize takes. I had flashes today where it clicked, but it lasted only the length of two clips.

Friday - Boulder my brains out. Especially focus on overhung stuff. Work on grasping the holds well too, not overgripping, but rather placing my hands on them deliberately, surely, trusting them and myself. I will warm up with a traverse around the gym, then do all the recs, then try 2-3 intermediates. Cool down is the gym traverse.

In between my climbing affair, I will eat right, sleep right, and get in a healthy dose of cardio.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ink for my Dad

I have given my mom lots of verbage. My dad I haven't as much. Yet he was the parent who was present when we were kids. He is warm, both in anger and in affection, and has provided a clear moral compass my whole life. Yet he has gotten less press on this blog - probably because he wasn't as hard to win as my mom. I only felt her affection and understanding in my adulthood. His unconditional love has been ever-present.

He is the Superman to her Wonder Woman. He is the patriarch to her matriarch. And he is aging the way I want to age.

He's still energetic and learning every day. He...

Okay, gig's up. I struggle to write this. He's so good he's boring to write about. He's so steady, so predictable, so rock solid that I can barely bring myself to blather on about his perfections! The man continues to indulge his curiosity. He wanted to be a deacon at church but found out he needed a Bachelor's degree to do so. Was he deterred on his quest to give more to the church and expanding his mind though? No. He's taking classes on liturgical matters just for kicks.

Last year, at SEVENTY years old, he went on his first ever trail restoration trip. Granted, his 39 year-old daughter toted his tent and most of his clothes, but the man got it done! We hiked 6.5 miles in high elevation and he sucked up all the oxygen his sleep-apneaed self could and slept in a tent for five days. He swung a Pulaski, dug water bars, and hauled rocks with the men 20+ years younger. The man sucks it up.

He has taken on the project of rehabilitating my aunt, his sister-in-law, who suffered from a stroke two years ago. He drives 30 miles each day to her nursing home to get her out of bed and walk her and talk to her. She has improved more than thought possible. He takes Eucharist to the shut-ins and nursing home residents three times a week. He has a group of 85+ year old men, affectionately dubbed his "Geezer Group," who he weekly rounds up for breakfasts and flea markets.

You see, the man's a bleeding saint!

And he's always been that way. So good. So steady. So solid and reliably Christian. A communicator and people person.

Yet I don't take him seriously. Perhaps because of another of his best traits. The man can laugh at himself. He begs laughter and invites teasing. Even when he is taking himself too seriously, I have to laugh at him because there is passion in that too. He stomps and rages and tells his persecutors (read: my mom and me) in no uncertain terms that we are the problem. It is his passionate delivery that becomes a parody of anger and makes me giggle. He is always real, always readable, transparent in love and war.

That's my dad. And here, at last, is his ink. And a smile.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Stealing the Eucharist

Before I could take the Eucharist, I thought it must be like the moon in November. An icy disk that would melt in my mouth, illuminating me from the inside. That was long before I became an atheist. But I am so profane that I will steal the Eucharist for my purposes now. I want to distill that light and make it mine. What illuminates me from the inside? Some days I can give off light and others I hog it all to myself.

I have had a week of turning inward. Not by choice. It is never by choice. It is the switch that goes off and I find my well has run dry; I have nothing to offer. I can only look at my students and they feel alien to me. My friends I avoid. My Near One I shun. I know that if I talk to any of these really close people, I will be flat -- or worse -- cry.

So I retreat. Words have always been my refuge. Language and thinking and writing. The imagery they provide heals me. I am the helium balloon, snipped free and floating above it all. I don't wanna be down in the trenches with the rest of ya all! I want my head out of the humdrum, the helter skelter, the busy nonsense of chasing down success. I get sick of chasing. I wanna just be. Floating. Right on up to the moon where I open my mouth wide and suck in that icy wafer, letting it melt slowly on my tongue, sip-swallowing those cold trickles.

I need to step off in so many ways. I grip and grasp at my life and success relentlessly, driven. I climb too many days a week and exhaust myself every workout. My heart pounds from overtraining, threatening to leap right outta my chest and land there, red and throbbing, accusing, there on the mat. I grasp at the holds, gripping too tightly, squandering energy and pumping out my arms. I wanna be fluid with just the right amount of contact. I want the light touch that gets the job done deliberately and gracefully.

I wanna stop running so hot. I have been all red energy. I push, push, push my mind just like my muscles. I give 100% of me to my students, I listen to my colleagues and reflect their concerns, I go out with my friends and... it takes from me. I am an introvert. The debits of being outward grind down my inner savings. I have become a faker non pareil, putting out the cheer and the support for those I love. Then I crash. And I got nuttin'. No love for me, no love for anyone. Just a wrecked wracked psyche that craves illumination, that craves a Eucharist to restore it, to center it and bring it peace, to give it the right light touch where I can give graciously.

I still push for perfection. Until I can't push anymore.

At those times, it is not a choice to give or not to give, to climb or rest. My body and mind shut down. And then I remember what I have learned so many times before, in so many ways... we become stronger when we sleep. We become stronger climbers, triathletes, and runners when we give our bodies days off and allow for recovery! I become a stronger, more giving friend, teacher, and lover when I take the time to repair my mind, restore my heart. I read my climbing training guide and it tells me the same thing as my triathlon training books of old, as my heart tells me... my sleep is sanctioned, my recovery warranted.

So this is my new symbol, my new metaphor and mantra:

To that delicious moon I go, getting my Eucharist.