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Monday, June 10, 2013

Practicing Mindfulness

After much thought, I have decided not to ride the Indiana/Illinois segment of Bike the US for MS Northern Tier this summer. I'm a true believer in listening to that inner voice that speaks up at times, saying something just isn't right, and every time I thought about leaving for the Indiana/Illinois segment, that voice spoke up, making me feel doing the ride wasn't the right thing to do this summer. For a long time, I tried to ignore the voice, but the closer the time for leaving approached, the louder the voice became. I finally sat down last week and really examined exactly what I was feeling and why. Truth be told, I'm loving being home. I'm loving working on my gardens and my creative pursuits. I'm loving taking my youngest to marching band practice then listening to him regale me with all the funny stories afterwards. I'm loving going out on my overnight camping trips, my trekking bike loaded with just the bare essentials for one night away from home. I don't want to miss any of this by being gone for two weeks. When I told my dad that I'd decided not to do the ride, my youngest was sitting next to me at the time. His response was an emphatic "Yes!" My dad agreed me being home with my boys is the best choice at this point. I know one day I will do the Northern Tier, the whole distance, but it may not happen until the boys are finished with high school. And now that I've made a firm decision, that inner voice has quieted.

Part of me felt like I was letting my mom down by not riding, but just as I'm a true believer in listening to that inner voice, I'm also a true believer in paying attention to what our dreams offer us. In the early morning hours this morning, I was dreaming I was inside a house that was very familiar to me. It reminded me of the house where we lived when I was a kid, in southern Michigan. I opened a door and found myself in a bathroom. The 1970's black and gold striped decor made me start laughing. I left that room and went to the next door just a few paces down the hall. I opened it to find another bathroom, just as hideous as the first. I laughed more. At that point, I told myself, "I'm dreaming. This is a dream." Then I heard Mom's voice, and I asked, "How are you, Mom?" She answered with, "It's so beautiful here." A calm washed over me. I felt so happy knowing Mom is happy where she is. I woke up then, the calm and happy feeling still with me. Mom's okay.

Every day I go out to ride, my thoughts turn to Mom. Today she and I had a wonderful ride of 41 miles under partly cloudy skies and a slight breeze at our backs for 20 of the 41 miles. While I'm not sure what tomorrow will bring, I do know being right here with my family this summer is exactly where I'm supposed to be.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Our Very Happy Anniversary

Today marks Hubby's and my 8th anniversary. We've had wonderful times, okay times, and difficult times. These last three days fall into the wonderful times category, as we took off on Friday for a couple of days away, to breathe and just be with one another.

Friday, we drove up to Princeton, a small town with lots of antique shops and proximity to the Hennepin canal trail. Because we didn't arrive there until later in the evening, we decided to just get dinner and ride the trail the next day. With our getaway being a celebration of our 8th year of marriage, we decided to hit up the steakhouse, go all out. Unfortunately, our going all out consisted of sitting at a table situated between two larger parties, each with a baby in a booster chair at the end, one just a couple of feet behind me. I was a few bites into my salad when the baby behind me let out an eardrum shattering wail. I wanted to turn and glare at the mother, but I reminded myself that I was in her position at one point in my life (though I don't really remember any of my three screaming like this child did while out at a restaurant--selective memory?). The peanut butter pie smoothed my ruffled feathers, as did a second glass of red wine. Lovely Beautiful Daughter tells me I'm too far beyond the baby years now and have lost my baby patience. I think she may be right.

Saturday morning, we by-passed the hotel continental breakfast since a rather large wedding party was whooping it up in the breakfast area, and went across the street to the Big Apple, a family diner. I played it safe and just ordered eggs, bacon and toast. Hubby went for the Denver omelet. While the meal wasn't spectacular by any stretch of the imagination, it was okay. For me it was just fuel for our ride. Hubby, however, was quite disappointed with his meal. He tends to expect much more as far as deliciousness goes with his food than I do. I tease him about his taste buds being corrupted due to all the processed foods that he eats, that he really doesn't know what "good" food tastes like. I had to agree, though, that his Denver omelet was a bit on the dry side. As we were leaving the restaurant, a young couple with a baby was arriving. I looked at Hubby and whispered, "Run!"

We arrived where we wanted to begin our ride, unloaded our bikes, and set off. No sooner had we started that we stopped, mesmerized by the fish jumping in the rushing waters coming over the lock. After I finally stopped taking pictures, Hubby laughed and said, "Look across the bridge." I looked to where he was
pointing and saw the sign: Trail Closed. "Not to us," I said, setting off. After a few miles, we came to a washout, figuring this was the reason for the sign. We also saw lots of other bicycle tire tracks, so we just kept on. Not much farther down the trail, a huge bird flew out of the trees lining the left side of the track. The wingspan was one I've never seen before. This bird was huge. I stopped, intent on getting my camera out to snap a pic, but by the time I did, the bird had flown back into the dense tree growth. I found out later that evening, after we'd arrived back at our hotel room and did some internet searching, that the bird we'd seen was a golden eagle. It truly was an awe-inspiring moment to have seen one so close to us.

Today, we awoke to drizzle and fog. Not the best cycling conditions. So we decided to check out of the hotel and come on home. We took the long way around--back roads, small towns where we stopped at the Casey's or Huck's to buy scratch-off lotto tickets (and won right up to the last ticket), and even an estate auction where I found a beautiful wedding ring quilt but had no cash to use to bid on it. Which is okay. I'm a lucky woman to be married to the man I am; I don't wear a wedding ring, and I don't need a wedding ring quilt to make my marriage a happy one.