Wine Country Cycling

Haus Frau and I are gonna look into wine/bicycle tours. This is the link she sent me a while back.

http://www.winecountrycycling.com/

A stretched heart

lung1.jpglung1.jpglung1.jpglung1.jpglung.jpglung.jpg She cried at the news.  This newly germinating seed that would consume her as had the one before.  It hadn’t been unbearable and there was no regret.  But this incipient new life, full of need and bursting with an all consuming energy would again usurp her mental and physical resources.  She was choked by emotion; waves of turmoil washed through her brain and demanded attention and decisions.  Eyes closed against the orange light of the bright fluorescent bulbs, she strained to imagine future pleasures as they drifted beyond her reach.  Exotic places, lush landscapes, salty aromas, comforting crystals, trips to a market bursting with the scent of new leather and the feel of high quality fabric.  All this would continue to elude her grasp.  Reality tore her violently back to the standard issue office chair in front of a sullen computer demanding her immediate attention and contribution.  Her back hurt, her chest burned and her burgeoning stomach burdened her breath.  It was not a bilious reaction this time; the incipient struggle remaining covert for a time.  She had regained a controlled and cheerful demeanor; but internally the pressure was destructive, aching pulsations beneath the surface and deep in her core.   Vessels stretched, contracted and stressed to dangerous levels; her body’s ordinarily efficient filtration system extravagantly leaking precious stores of nutrition.  The very real and immediate humiliation of carrying 24 hours worth of urine to the doctor’s office.  The cure would be expulsion, but the nascent gift would be at risk. 

She cried when he was born, her heart stretched from happiness.  Her fears for him soon allayed, her own health regained.  Two days later still wrapped in a whirlwind bliss of mindless symbiosis, her body betrayed her again.  Her heart muscle now weakened refused to push the freshly oxygenated blood from her lungs to her demanding organs, muscles and brain.  The flow, slowed like a freeway that became a parking lot.  The precious oxygen now stagnant, fluid accumulated in the lungs, leaking from capillaries into delicate airspaces.  At first the sensation was intense, but familiar, as from exertion.  But as the lacey, watery sacs became coated with a film of internally produced ocean, they would struggle to absorb oxygen.  Panic set in, each gasp a massive, concentrated effort.  Then, there was gurgling in her chest and the panic became raw terror.  She realized she was drowning in her own blood.  Her husband called an ambulance and a few days later she was home again.  Her heart would remain weak, but she would recover.  The warning was clear: her heart would not survive another pregnancy.

This story was inspired by a friend of mine, I hope she doesn’t mind.

 

Dishing the Dirt

My friend Ingrid posted this on her blog a while ago.

“Many years ago I learned that how people spoke of others in my presence was most likely how they spoke of me (if that was their pattern). If I had tea with Girlfriend Y and we spent the afternoon dishing out the dirt, I could be reasonably assured that next time she was with Girlfriend X she was doing the same to me. I took action ten years ago to either end or shift those types of friendships.”

I tend to be more ‘critical?’ of my friends than I would be of a stranger, which means I sometimes ‘dish out the dirt’ on friends to other friends. I’ve always sort of thought this was ok if I was doing it honestly and openly (ie I wouldn’t say something to someone else that I wouldn’t say to your face). I might refer to one friend as “my crazy friend who gets involved in pyramid schemes” or another as “my friend who doesn’t eat or drink”. Seriously, she forgets to eat! and she doesn’t like eating anyway–drives me crazy. I may tell one friend about how another was in complete denial about her son’s drug use even though the signs were obvious when she first brought it up. I could go on and on, but I’m not sure what my motives are for doing this. Usually, I’m frustrated by a behavior that appears completely contradictory to what she says she wants. She might be involved in an unsupportive relationship for example. What I really want is for friend A to have the ‘insight’ to change a specific behavior or pattern of behavior and usually I can get friend B to agree that the ‘solution’ is obvious. But I suppose the bottom line is that since I can’t change friend A’s mind about something (see early post about the essence of conflict), I just want validation for my opinions.

It is going to be REALLY hard for me to change this behavior. So I hope Ingrid doesn’t ditch me! Saying nice things about people gets boring and I think sharing the more controversial stories is part of a bonding process. Is dishing the dirt always bad? I suppose another thing to consider is that I might introduce friend A to friend B at some point and I don’t want her to have negative pre-conceived notions.

Hey… maybe I should start ‘dishing the dirt’ on my website so my friends would have to read my blog, in order to tell me what to remove!

Act of Kindness: Easier said than done.

I recently promised my new blog friend –Bill (http://hudds53.wordpress.com/, who is dying of heart disease) that for his birthday I would

1. perform a random (anonymous) act of kindness and

2. make an effort to smile more frequently.

I hesitated at first because I wasn’t sure I wanted the awesome responsibility of performing this act of kindness when I’m not even sure what it means. I’m the type of person who finds buying Christmas gifts a stressful, anxiety provoking responsibility (Bah-humbug?). Years ago, I sent a fruit basket to my mother-in-law and she later informed me that the fruit was rotten. Over-ripe? I asked. No… Rotten! She replied. On another occasion, Salvatore and I mailed a very expensive whole, fresh salmon from the fish market in Seattle to his brother in California. It sat on their front porch for several days before they discovered it. Our well-intentioned gift ended up a big stinky mess (with mob threat-like connotations). We try to avoid perishable gifts these days.

As I left work the other day, I pondered this ‘act of kindness’ idea. Meanwhile, I nearly ran over a young woman dragging a suitcase across the parking garage. (Yes, this is the same garage where I almost ran over Jesse Jackson a few weeks ago–but that is another story). The point is -I realized almost immediately that simply stopping to let this woman pass would have been an act of kindness. At the first stop sign outside the parking garage I decided to take the opportunity to wave a pedestrian across the crosswalk in front of me even though she had already stopped to let me go first. But does this really count? It seemed pretty artificial and I had hoped to do something more significant. Next, I drove through a part of town where pedestrians routinely risk their lives darting out in front of moving vehicles. I had yet another opportunity to use ‘not running over a pedestrian’ as my act of kindness. Unfortunately, not running over a pedestrian on this particular stretch of road is more of a ‘daily challenge’ than an act of kindness. Maybe I could use ‘not cussing to myself as I avoid running over pedestrians’ as my ‘act’ of kindness. I did decide to donate money to the family that my dept ‘adopted’ for Christmas. But I don’t think this should really count since I had sort of planned on doing this anyway. So….the bottom line is that although I agree with the sentiment (and the smiling thing seems to work), I haven’t really performed a significant act of kindness yet. Maybe just making a conscious effort to be a kinder person is good enough. Any suggestions?

Girl trip!

I’ve decided to try using a blog to keep in touch with as many friends as possible. This way we can all keep track of each other from various locations and some of you will even get to know some new people since I have friends from college (Arizona), California, Kansas and here (Minnesota).

The other reason I want to do this is that over the years I keep thinking about how fun it would be to plan a girl trip to see some of you that I wouldn’t see otherwise. I’m not sure how a blog works (I guess I’m the wrong generation), but my plan is to send each of you the website and just hope that you send a note every now and then. It shouldn’t be any more difficult than sending an e-mail. I also thought it would be fun if we chose new names to use on the website. For example, I would be Karrie St. John, but you can just call me Karrie or Kare.  So, when you get my e-mail and come to this website please post a comment.  Give me enough clues (where you live etc. so I know who you are and tell me what name I can call you).