Monthly Archives: September 2012

A Closer Walk

Where better to hide than the great City of Loss? The no place matters but this place and no time exists but now brittle facade of the French Quarter? They sell masks right on the street to hide your crying eyes and give you saucers of sugar to dip your fingers.

Where else but a town that lives ever on the cusp of oblivion to pray for someone who stares off that balcony last night, today, tomorrow? Might as well drink, be merry, and join the second line. We all will get our chance to lead the parade.

And not enough beads in the world to change that. Laissez les bons temps rouler.



I came across the term “Character Pathology” at work yesterday, and I stumbled over it. I couldn’t quite get a handle on the concept. It has something to do with a psychological disorder related to multiple personalities, or so I deduced.

I called for back-up and reached out to a bona-fide professional and he explained it to me this way.

“The brain does well what the brain does often.”

As in, if you are attacked by murders of crows every day of your life your brain is excellent at swishing your arms around your head and screaming. This is not a problem and a perfectly healthy way to respond to bird attacks, and not just crows. It becomes a problem when the crows go away and get replaced by other things, like having to be at work on time, or improving your lap time at Munson Hills, or responding to stressful situations. Your many years of arm-flapping screaming become hard to undo.

I am talking about habits I think.

We all know it is hard to get up and exercise, it is hard to learn new things, it is hard to quit smoking, it is hard to change your life in any measurable way because we are all suffering by degrees a level of character pathology, or more simply, inability to adapt or initiate new behaviors.

Stuck in a rut. Give someone a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Like this…

“Would you like a glass of water?”

Response: (Waves arms about head and screams a lot.)

“Does that mean no?”

“I’m sorry, I spent a significant portion of my life being attacked by crows, I would love a glass of water.”

If any real psychotherapist would care to weigh in and save me now would be a good time, but what I am really getting at is that in order to change something significantly, like a lap time at Munson, you have to lean in towards the adversity and change the way you think, which changes the way you act.

You can’t just buy a new bike.



How many bloggers have blogged about motivation? If I had a penny for every time some blogger thought I wanted to read about their lack of motivation, or their desire to get motivated, I could ruin a laundromat full of dryers.

It’s just so tired, and so am I. My woman is out of town so there is too much bed. It is hard to sleep with my flank unguarded and two animals staring and plotting against me telepathically. It is psychological warfare and I am not equipped for that.

The weather is softening, and the new bike is a joy, but the effort to get it took a toll on all involved. Schedules were disrupted, rides were missed. It is a carbon fiber velveteen rabbit, and not yet a real bike.

The only way to make a bike real is to love it, and the only way to love it is to suffer in its saddle.


Grey Beards and Young Wolves

Throwback Saturday saw me out in the woods with S’quatch and Hitops, enjoying sweet Grandmama Munson without a clock, a purpose, or 32 of my lesser-known acquaintances. those guys, a couple of grey beards, both had stories or grand conquest and achievement, an aligning of their personal mission, values, and talents resulting in a crystallizing moments of personal and professional validation. I can only hope to find such a moment in another 10 years. Until then, it is shoulder to the yoke and turn the press and grind the corn, squeeze sugar from the cane, and then do it all again. A working beast is a happy beast.

Meanwhile, down at Joe’s Bike Shop-

I saw a ghost, or the reverse of a ghost, not an apparition of a person once fully formed, but a person conjured forth from an incomplete image. The son of Shins, now 20, walks among us as a citizen. A few short years ago a kid, visiting in the summer, flipping his emotional bangs is now a fully-mo-hawked semi-human with ink to call his own and a confidence that shows he has not just arrived here a post-adolescent, by whining and sucking his thumb, but by adventure and work in the cold Rocky mountains and not pulling cappuccinos either, but w-o-r-k work. So now he has earned his cappuccino spot at Lake Ella and well-deserved it is. The next generation is here, staring us in the face and wondering if if is too soon to try to take the meat from the grey beards.

Be careful young wolf, grey beards don’t get that way giving away the meat. Wait your turn and you will be well-fed.


Punch Drunk

I got the new bike, but it was delivered rally not included. Same stinky van, same work schedule, just a slighter lighter payload in the rear cabin and a slightly heavier one in the cockpit.

I watched from the window of my 4th floor balcony room overlooking the Gulf of Mexico in Destin, FL and envied the young men deploying the chaise lounges for the day. Carrying them two by two, they popped them open and dropped them into the sand, ready for more privileged asses to fill them. I laced up the serious black Rockports, checked the ink fill on my marker set, and headed towards the basement for a day of meetings- miles and years away from the clenched fist resolve to make a difference that lead to this moment. Dry bran muffins and tired-eyed social work executives awaited me, so no longer could I linger.

It’s a hell of a thing to complain about, but growing up is a hell of a thing to do to a kid.


A New Dawn (birth of a bicycle)

It took all summer, but here is the author stampeding through the trees on his new Santa Cruz Highball C. For its inaugural run I took it to the Munson Monday Time Trials, aka the only mountain bike race I have ever done. Despite a nine-day vacation/ fish taco tour of California, a total of 25 miles ridden since the last time trial, 5 passed riders, and a mechanical, my time was…about the same as the last two times. This proves that is really is the carpenter and not the tools that count.

Nothing wrong with nice tools though. It is better to have one than be one.

The Munson Monday Time Trial series deserves its own mention here as well. I called the starts last night, giving each rider their own unappreciated and distracting Juancho pep talk at 1 minute intervals. It gave me some perspective. Things started with some of the fastest known trail assassins in town, and tapered down through the ranks of the has-beens, never-weres, gonna-be’s, and don’t know they are’s. People raced for pride, fun, or some unknown secret they kept in their hearts. The last racer to toe the line was a self-proclaimed grandma who started riding in May, and when she finished her lap 30 + riders roared her name as she climbed the final hill.

Made me proud of my town, and hate group events a smidge less.



Click this before reading

There is so much history in this picture, telling a story of music and friendship that reaches back over 50 years to the island of Puerto Rico and extending all the way to right to this very minute. We immersed ourselves in music Saturday night, taking in so much I could gargle and spray it into the night air like champagne. Golden notes spill out of my pockets and my footprints track a glissando path to the cheap burnt coffee in the office break room. No es cafe con leche este morning, but tendria hacer que no?

We woke to the first real change in the weather yesterday morning, and I am making a motion that anecdotal time begins on the first touch of fall air in Tallahassee. It is now 2013. Bienvenidos!

Time to make resolutions, and mine is to be in the right places at the right times, and I am not talking about work.

Toma! Baile! Viva!


Ride a Mile

I threw these shoes away yesterday. I wore them so long I can’t remember if they smell like the van, or the van smells like them, but as a young lady once told me, “It’s all toes and corn chips to me.”

Seven years I rode in a pair of $30 cleats. I retired them briefly last fall, but the new shoes proved to be the Achille’s heel of my Achille’s heels and I frantically dug these back out of the garbage and put another year on them.

Change is scary sometimes, and it was just easier to keep cramming my feet into something that used to work instead of making the simple adjustments to adapt to something new. Eventually things fall apart though, and you have to make a move.

That almost sounds like a metaphor.



I was riding along on Saturday morning, out for my first solo ride on the new bike. Gliding on auto-pilot through the stifling humidity of the forest, and lost in reverie about handlebar rise and rake, I found myself face-down in the dirt, arms pinioned beneath my stomach and my legs arching over my head.

Generalized pain washed over me. Here we go again.

I rolled over to my back and looked at the tops of the pine trees, ever-retreating into the sky. The ripples of pain subsided until there was one throbbing pebble above my right knee. An eyebrow-shaped cut solved the case, stem to knee contact caused by a sawed off stump protruding 4 inches above the trail. In a forest full of trees, this tree defied the will of the bureaucrats and was marked for shoddy removal.

I stood and recovered the bicycle– still a complete stranger, an internet date, a wing-man’s lament. Due to be replaced, I feel no commitment to this temporary ride.

I tried to shake it off and continue as planned, but the disappointment, the ache, and the swollen lemon growing on my vastus medialis obliquus sent me homeward. I escaped the heat and the sand to join the bench full of sick and wounded riders this holiday weekend. I got off easy. The million-dollar wound.

And that reminded me, it is once again Shoulder Season.