Who is Sue and what is Suelandia?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Marching orders

Hey people.  This will be ~one of those~ posts.  I feel like I'm on the brink of changes (again).  I feel like I'm suddenly looking around and realizing a lot of changes have already taken place.  At times I feel capable of anything, and other times just... depleted.  (Hmm.  This does not sound exactly new come to think of it.) 

Practically, I have a ton of work to get done in the next two months.  What I have to do is just keep marching forward, and really, this is probably the best thing for me anyway-- to become too busy to get mired in self-doubt.

Here's a shot of my new running shoes.  Aren't they pretty???  They didn't stay this pristine, but that's okay.

I kind of wanted them to stay nice for a while, but a week of rain fixed that.  I had to get out and run, even if it meant getting wet.  So, they don't look quite like the perky bright shoes I brought home not long ago, but they've had a few adventures.

I've had a few myself.  This is the latest mountain biking injury.  I got my ankle squashed between Penny and a stump.  It was a *no-speed* incident.  I just didn't make a climb, but fell over the wrong way and couldn't get my un-trapped foot down until the damage was done.  This  pic doesn't really show it that well, but what looks kind of like self-tanner or whatever is really a HUGE bruise.  Plus, although I don't have little bony show horse ankles, you can usually at least make-out that there is a joint there.  It's all swollen.  I haven't been able to ride for a couple days now, but can walk fine.  No running either for a few days tho.

I've been thinking about the definition of *Sue*.  Things are changing.  Pictures of me take me by surprise-- I don't feel that old.  People ahead of me have told me this happens more and more as you age--- that you even are surprised by your own reflection in windows at times.  Someone else said they fear, not getting older really, but being dismissed.  No one wants to be brushed aside as someone who is no longer *cool*, or has anything interesting to contribute just because they've gotten X amount of years under their belt.  But I think this happens, more with women than men.

Someone else I know talked about defining moments recently.  This has been on my mind a lot.  I've lost a couple things over the last year that were sort of main ingredients for a while-- my writing, and that raging flame of wildness that was burning almost out of control for a couple years.

The writing was very strange to lose.  I became so immersed in it.  I spent every waking moment thinking about it when not doing it.  When I ran through the woods I had a story playing in my head.  When I was with others I had a hard time concentrating because my thoughts would drift to my story.  I felt like at my core, a writer was really what I WAS.  Then I needed a break.

And now I feel I've lost it.  I haven't forgotten how.  I could still string words together in nice ways, even, perhaps, interesting ways.  But to tell stories effectively, they need a visceral component to them-- high stakes, and now I don't feel I have anything to say that has that behind it.  I've lost the feeling of urgency towards life & death situations.  Now I'm complacent on that.  I don't feel anything is really that pressing.  We're all going to die.  It's just a matter of how and when, and that's fine.  It's all going to be okay people.

Life is a life & death situation, and it's all going to be fine.  :)  Hysterics over that is just unnecessary drama.  See?  Hard to write a story without drama.

The wild feeling, what I called the spinning clockwork, because I felt like there were gears spinning out of control in my chest, like I was about to jump out of my skin and there was NO WAY my body could possibly contain the amount of energy that needed to be vented off--- has subsided.  I know what it was, knew it while it was happening too, but that didn't make it any less real.

I felt the exact same way when I was a teen, and to a less extent in my early 20's.  I'm blaming hormones.  I've heard they mess with you big time in your forties.  While the wild feeling was in me, it felt sort of self-destructive because you know that level of near-mania isn't sustainable or normal, but at the same time you really don't want it to end.  It's isolating, but you still nurture it because it feels like your own personal wild animal inside you have to feed and protect.

Now it's gone, and while I recognize it's way healthier to not need to listen to metal all the time, like, in the shower too, and not to feel like you want to go run through the woods in the middle of the night or like your chest is about to split open... part of you has departed.  I recognize it's healthier to feel relaxed, and to have that knowing inside that everything-- like BIG everything, is fine.  But part of me misses the wild animal.  I don't want it back, because it was never satisfied, and feeling restless all the time was exhausting, but--- who am i now?  Am I boring now?

I have big ambitions to start a new business, but they are on hold because of work.  I need to create a show for Sept, and it needs to be 3-D.  I feel like working 2-D.  But being forced may be really good for me right now.  I'm going to just keep marching-- get busy.

Oh-- and later today I'm totally kayaking in my bikini-- so suck on that old age.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Annual family ho-down

Hey people.  Remember last year at Dan's family get together weekend when I just went wild and shot off guns and arrows and rode a motorcycle all in one day?  The same family party took place last weekend.  You guys will never believe what I rode on this year!---

That's right people-- it's a cougarThat's how bad-ass I have become!  Okay, not really.  Actually, when I insisted Dan take this picture of me, it prompted some pervy comments from one of my bro-in-laws, so I of course immediately upped the ante and began pretend making-out with the cougar.  (*no actual cougars were traumatized during the filming of this family party.)

This was my *out-of-the-box* weekend.  I've always struggled with why things like this, that are supposed to be fun, are so much effort for me, because hey-- I'm fun.  What?-- I AM!  But things in a big group always just take a lot of energy for me and I have to do a lot of self-talk about not being a high-maintenance pain in the ass, and staying relaxed so people around me don't pick-up stress vibes from me etc etc.  Recently, I read, this is all (most likely) because I am an *introvert*.  

Anyway...  This is Dan's adorable big sister Patti-- who's cabin we were at (her and her hub's John's, & his parents).  She is super energetic and, as you can see, is very cute.  Yes, those are leopard print rain boots-- *WIN*!

Most of his 6 siblings and their families were able to attend.  This is one of his other adorable sisters Mary-- who is such a nice person-- really genuinely a good gal to know.  She has survived brain cancer, and so far 3 crashes (out of 4 rides) on Honda trail bikes.   His sisters all belong to the lollipop guild, so I feel like a lumbering oaf around them, but try not to accidentally crush them and they are not afraid of me.  (That's Patti's son Andy too.  He turned out to be a nice, funny guy.  As is often the case, I like people better when they become grown-ups.)

This family culture is not my normal world.  I encounter things like this I have to just not over-think.

They are hunters, and I am more of a gatherer.  More accurately, I'm more of a mess-arounder.  But their hobbies require them to learn these skills like archery, and when we go up there we get to try out all their toys.  It's kind of like entering another world for me, but since they're all so nice, can be fun if I de-spaz enough to enjoy myself.  (Which I did, pretty much.)

The woods up there is beautiful, even if a little weird.  I love the woods, and have even been know to appreciate weird.  

We brought up 3 Honda's from our *stable*, and I got to ride around on them and figure out how to shift and- uh-- stop, which is handy.  The first one I rode on quit every time you weren't revving it so that was a bit of a trick, but I managed.  

We rode through the woods on these trails they've built, past stuff like this occasionally (want, of course) and when we got to a clearing everyone would zip around like maniacs-- especially Dan and the nephews!  For one journey I just rode Penny so someone else could use a Honda-- that was pretty fun.  I could actually keep up pretty well because there were so many of us, and Penny had fun *running with a pack* of motors.

Here's a vid I made if you're curious--

It was fun.  Being social in a big group for two days left me pretty drained, but I had a good time.  At one point, I looked around, and we were all sitting around looking at a couple of boxes of old comics Patti dragged out from their childhoods.  Let me set the scene for you--- at least a dozen people (I never actually counted) sitting around outside looking at comics, one guy trying to shoot other guys in the butt with an airsoft gun (non-deadly, mostly) while they played a bean-bag toss game, and a little kid shooting at cans with one, in between waving it dangerously around pretending to shoot people in the face (yikes).  Then butt-shooting guy got up and randomly grabbed a tomahawk and hurled it at a rubber bear, but missed.  Then the kid's mom decided to try shooting cans too.  During all this people were complacently looking at comic books.

I looked over at one nephew who has seen the blog etc before and just started laughing.  "This is SO weird!" I said.  He laughed too-- "I know!"  But really all families are weird, just in different ways.

By the way-- they wound-up giving this kid his own gun to take home as a gift.  This is some kind actual gun people consider a toy I guess, but it was disturbing watching this kid being all ~gangstah~.  Oh well.  Back to, um... reality?  (Whatever passes for normal around here-- you know-- cats, mountain biking, welding, my constantly spinning brain etc etc)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's time for my metaphysical

Hey people.  So... lot's of mortality going down right now.  It's weird, because, much as we like to live in suspended disbelief, this is always going on.  Yes, right now, every moment.

It makes one pause.  Which I suppose is the point, assuming there is one.  I hesitate to express all my thoughts about this for fear of making anyone feel bad.  I myself am not grieving right now.  But nothing I have to say has a hurtful intention behind it, so...

When my sister was here we got into a couple of talks about this.  She was hesitant to talk about *what happens after you die* because, as she said, "No one really knows, so why speculate?"  I was, of course, aghast at her incuriousness, but it was another of those astonishing moments when I realized-- not everyone thinks like me!  Isn't life wonderful & amazing?

Somehow during this conversation we got on this tangent where since I am older and have no children, it's likely to be her who's there with me at *the end*.  She agreed to help me think of funny things to write on my body with a sharpie like, "Stop looking at my butt" etc, and even to write them if I couldn't.  Of course this is vastly more funny if you imagine some unknown med student encountering this graffiti.  "These boobs were really something once.   What?-- They WERE."

As I write this, I realise I could have all kinds of fun with her at this time, like telling her made-up things about the after life as I stare dramatically into *the great beyond*.  "You'll never believe this Katie-- everyone here gets their own unicorn to ride around on!-- Just kidding!  No-- but really-- everything is made of chocolate!  Okay, not really..."

I guess the main thing I think of, when I think about death, is that it's not the end.  I'm not religious, but this is something I really believe in my core-- that we're all permanent, it's just our bodies, and this place, that aren't.  Sometimes that makes it hard for me to take things super seriously.  It's not like anyone's getting out alive, and really, nothing we do here is all that super important.

So what's the point?  I guess, as far as I can figure out for myself, it's to make your connections meaningful ones.  Meaningful to you, and to those you care about.  We matter to the people who love us.  It's important to let the people you care about know how you feel about them, that you see them, that knowing them makes a difference to you.

Won't everyone figure all this out after we're all wherever we go when we're done here?  And presumably (maybe) we all become some kind of all-knowing spiritual beings, riding unicorns and eating unlimited quantities of chocolate?  Yeah, probably, but really, if there's going to be a point to your life here, you could do worse right?  Because when it's all said and done, no one is going to care or remember how clean your house was, or what you did for a job etc etc. 

All this sounds very rational and detached doesn't it?  That's how I usually feel about it-- but there are nerve endings that get jolted every once in a while, because I think that's part of being here too-- feeling that heartbreaking, tearing feeling, to keep us plugged in to this life-- make us feel a sense of immediacy and urgency, and loss.  To make us stop and assess what we still have, or appreciate what we had. 

I get this way a lot with animals, oddly.  When I see a bunch of dumb geese wandering onto the highway my throat closes-up and I'll spend the next hour being horrified and on the verge of tears, even though rational me has no attachment to the geese, and knows they're made of indestructible energy just like the rest of us (and feathers etc) (haha).

I feel so sorry for my friends who are in grief right now.  I think feelings like this are supposed to make us all appreciate each other more somehow.  But as my sister wisely observed, "It's not like anyone knows for sure."

All I do know, is I'm going to try to let everyone I care about, feel that from me-- that I do care about them, and hope for the best, and keep trying to think of funny things to write on myself when the time comes. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summah vaca

Hey people.  Well, sis and the kids are back in Texas now.  It was fun.  It was exhausting at times.  I miss them-- but I really do need to get back to my life.  One day while they were staying at mom & dad's I just lounged around most of the day in my bikini wearing this.

Dan--- "What's it like to be you?"  Me-- "Pretty sweet."

One of the coolest things on vacation was getting to look at Megan's journals.  Before you are all horrified by this, and with me showing you a couple little snippets-- these are not inner-most thoughts and feelings journals-- they were assigned by her teacher, and had to be read by her mom and turned in for class every week.  So, not super private.

Sadly this is not a depiction of her admiring how skinny I've managed to get (because, uh, that hasn't exactly happened yet).  They had gone to the science museum on another trip up here once.

Mah girl Megan is turning into a super neat (as in cool), creative and funny little goober.  I love her to pieces and hope like hell life doesn't kick the crap out of her as she gets older-- that horrible guys aren't drawn to her-- or she recognizes they are horrible right away, and that she doesn't drive too crazily, or get into too much stuff she shouldn't.  For now she's at that exact point where she's def still a KID.  And that's awesome.  :)

She's such a goof-- this was from a story she made up called "The extremely annoying potato."  I know.

This was all about getting lost in the woods and finding her way back home by following the north star (fiction).  She ends it with "ps-- at the very end I got tackled by a couple of bears-- no big deal."  (LOL!)

This is the next page.  (i was laughing so hard reading this stuff every night in bed.)

This is about a talent show.  (fiction again)  She ends this one with her brother trying to console her about being nervous about the big crowd watching-- "I looked out at all the filled seats and slapped him in the face.  Then I played 'Victory Bells' and went home.  The End."  (LOL!)

Just read this one.  In case you can't tell what her "dream come true" is by the pic-- she uses her new-found wealth to hire the best karate teacher in the world and become a blackbelt, so she can fight her brother (also a blackbelt.  I suppose so she doesn't have an unfair advantage) and kill him.  I'm sure this is kind of sick, but I laughed my ass off when I read this one.   There's something so innocent, in a way, about that visceral level of sibling frustration.

*The boy* as I call him (online not to his face) is growing by leaps and bounds.  He turned 7 up here.  When Dan is home you know where to find Jaden--- orbiting.  He LOVES Dan.

He is pretty funny too, and can be very sweet, but as you can probably see from this pic-- he def has a *little shit* side.  I'm told little boys are just like this.   We got along pretty well.  I get very worn-out by little kids.  I'm just not used to them, but I love these guys.  Jaden got to know where ~the line~ was with me pretty easily, and really, what he wants most of the time is just attention and someone to play with him.  He's a good guy.  (Mostly)

This has nothing to do with anything, but I came across it and it made me laugh.  I think it's from me & Pam's second ever ride.  You can see her lovely dirt streaked leg from going down once, but we are smiling big.  I emailed it to her and she observed-- "Those bikes!  What were we thinking?!"

Pretty funny how far we've come and how much fun we are still having at this.  :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Super Fun Day

Hey people-- two posts in one week-- can you believe it???  Sunday I had such a super fun day I just have to tell you about it.  Seriously, it was, ALMOST perfect.  The only thing that would have made it more perfect would have been if some kind of unforeseen adventure had unfolded perhaps involving getting *a little* lost, mud, caves, super-soakers &/or roman candles, and maybe trail-poaching/shenanigans.  But, seeing as yesterday involved bikes, perfect weather, food, and my two favorite people-- it basically kicked ass.

We began with a car-load of fun-- us and our bikes.  It was gorgeous-- about 80, low humidity, and sunshine all day, plus--- my mom & dad were watching the kids all day!  Just grown-ups (kind of)-- me, sis, and Dan.  Woo!  :)

First stop was Midtown Global Market where I totally wanted this dress to look super cute on me.  It's hard to see, but it had these drawstring things on it that could be cinched at various places.  Look at the colors!  And it had unusual front pockets too.  But alas, it was NQR (not quite right)-- tiny armholes that cut in, and it was about 2" too short.  I'm so bummed!  I might use it as inspiration for a better design of my own someday when I get a sewing machine. 

Parking at MGM was strategic, you'll see why later, but after checking stuff out there, we carried our bikes down the stairs behind the Sheraton and got on the greenway.  If you've never been, it's this awesome bikeway made from an old rail line that runs mostly below street level.  (Pretty good shot for trying to get out the camera and work it on the fly huh?)

Along the way there are gardens and stuff to check out, and a few pretty awesome murals.  It is also just super fun to see our bike culture in action.  I guess we *won* at bikey-est city over Portland this year.

The greenway runs between West River Road and the chain of lakes.  I was so glad we got to do this.  It's one of the prettiest metro rides, with lots of fun stops you can make.  Where Katie lives it pretty much sucks.  It's always gross weather (super hot, humid, and SUPER windy) and there are no shade trees because they just don't grow in S. Texas, and because of all this there is no ~outdoors culture~ to speak of.  I would die there.  Anyway-- she was in heaven, even if we sort of wore-out her legs.

After the chain of lakes we connected with the Minnehaha Parkway trail that runs along the creek through big shady trees for miles.  It was gorgeous too.

It was so fun getting do do this with my sister and Dan, my two favorite people!  It felt like another Birthday celebration even though it was not *about me*.   It was even kind of fun biking around in tourista-wear, flip flops etc.  It was a "who cares" day.  :)

Here's my two of my favorite people where we stopped for lunch-- Minnehaha Falls.  The line was crazy long!  It took over half an hour to get up to order our food, and by then I was bonking hard(blood sugar at zero) sweating all over and feeling like I was going to pass out any second.  They took care of me until we got a table and I got some more gas in the tank. 

Then it was time to motor again!  We wanted to hike around the falls etc, but Kate said she'd probably die of leg failure-- this was about a 24 mile bike ride for someone who doesn't regularly ride-- plus, we were running short of time.  This is on W. River Parkway's trail. (LOL-- I just noticed Dan is riding with no hands to show off.  lol)

At the end of our journey, because of the strategic parking-- Italian ice was waiting!  I had watermelon
& lemon, Kate had black cherry & lime, Dan had black cherry.  Yum!!!

  I highly highly recommend this day to anyone looking for a great ride, or maybe to show off the twin cities to visitors.  Super FUN!!!!

I have the best time doing stuff like this.  The whole time I just felt really present, not waiting for the next thing, or thinking about a past thing.  I guess this is the ideal mode for me-- to be on the move.  Having people along I really love makes it extra special though.  :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Let the good times roll-- through the woods.

Hey people.  I'm a little behind in posting because sis and the kids have hit town, but I have to fill you in on how the second ~*Ladies Night*~ at the trail turned-out. 

A good time was def had by all.  (See the cool shirt I'm wearing?  Oh- yeah-- first official tee design.  The girls all seemed to dig them.)

So here's how it worked this time-- around 45 (!) girls showed up.  Almost all from the first round came back, and talked so much about how much fun it was some new girls came too.  Last time I made a feeble attempt at instructing which left me feeling like a giganto DORK because I don't really feel that comfortable speaking in front of a large group.  (Lucky that best-selling author thing never panned-out.  Bullet = dodged.)

THIS time, I somehow convinced Kyia Anderson-- a retired national-level professional mountain bike racer to come teach the skills clinic, and was it ever awesome!  (She's rather preggo right now, so taught from the ground.)

Her hubs, also a racer, demonstrated while she explained.  It was amazing.  I even learned a new tip-- finally the right way to do a track stand! (standing still on your bike & balancing w/o putting a foot down)  Having someone who really knows what they're talking about take the time to explain the basics, even the seemingly obvs ones, really takes huge chunks off the learning curve.   I feel my theory was proven correct through this event---- Women riders ARE more comfortable learning in a somewhat structured/controlled setting like this, as opposed to dudes-- who basically have been popping wheelies since first grade and would rather just trial and error it.

It was rather astounding seeing so many women all riding around practicing stuff, and after that, the woods absolutely packed with pink shirts as they hit the trails.  I kept sort of not believing this event became so big.

I literally could not have done it w/o enlisting the help of some very key people.  Here's one now-- Trusty Pam!!  I was also once again touched by how my trail-working pals, all dudes, jumped right on board and helped-out, and even sort of kept other dudes out of the way so we wouldn't feel *observed*, and took surreptitious pics of us to document our night.  It was really cool!

All in all, it was super cool.  I got to meet a ton of cool, fun girls who want to ride around in the woods.  This one-- Amy, was a total animal!  She's ~a natural~.  It was her third time on a mountain bike ever, and she took to it immediately-- even riding *the teeter* (this giant teeter-totter that you have to ride all the way to the top end which is about 6' in the air, and balance there while your weight lowers that end and you can ride off.  It's pretty much the hardest one in the state, and tons of guys eat it big-time trying this.)  (Amy is my new idol, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a jersey on her back one day soon-- hopefully of the local home-trail heroes.)

There were a few minor crashes-- Heather's pants (below) basically exploded off her body when she went over the bars trying to avoid someone who stopped suddenly in front of her.  I went OTB too on a pathetically easy section, just letting some pent-up zoominess get the best of me, and scraped-up my leg with the classic ~tire tread in the front~, ~chain-ring bite in back~ marks of ~whoops!~

But no one actually got hurt, just the normal scrapes and bruises that make you feel like sort of a bad-ass mountain biker.  :)  The fun WAY out-weighed the scary.  I'm looking forward to seeing more girls on the trails now.  Mission accomplished!