Zombieland and art

8447293f16f378b9ab1a493d3cdd907fI really feel like going to sleep. This is awesome because the past few days I have been super antsy. Today I actually felt hunger also. It was odd. Usually I get cranky or munchy – but today it was actual hunger. I probably ate too much as a result. Yesterday I definitely ate too much after my ride because I just lay on the bed and went into a deep deep coma after breakfast. I woke myself up snoring twice.

I never realized just how much food I cook and put on everyone’s plate. Everyone else seemed fine, however. My body must have just been freaking out since I had been on a steady diet of Gu, Rocktane and Clif bars.

I fell hard too. Pitch black and there was no waking me. Pure zombieland. It felt like some scanner washed over me and in my mind I vanished. I know I dreamed and bounced around in the netherworld, but can only remember glimpses.

This was maybe the second or third time this has happened to me this summer.

I had a week where I was waking up at 3:45am to sub bootcamp. That was really difficult. I’ll be doing that again for a few days in a couple of weeks. Buckledown days.

This month I was looking at some of my statistics too. I went from 51.2 miles (5 hours 29minutes and 852 feet in elevation gain) in May to 437.7 miles (38 hours 3 minutes and 22,991feet in elevation gain) in June. Quite a jump. And that includes both running and cycling. No wonder my metabolism sped up and I was having zombie days. All in all, however, I feel great. I’m still teaching and doing yoga too on top of it. I think that’s why my muscles aren’t really that bad off. Next month I want to focus on some more long rides and still get in hills. I also want to pick up my running and swimming miles. Running is great doggie and me time too. So I like that.

Over the weekend Sammy got in a lot of outside playtime. He met two dogs, Star and August. August only had 3 legs, but he loved to run and play. They all played a lot which made me happy since when I’m at the office, Sammy’s stuck inside. Star was a little feisty girl dog that weighs probably 48 pounds, however. She’d often growl and snap at Sammy and steal his toy. Did I mention Sammy is a 60 pound pit bull. So ferocious. You know what he’d do when she’d steal his toy? Nothing. She’d snap and growl and then when he’d trot off, she’d follow him tail wagging.

Females are a mystery.

Did I just say that?

Anyway, it was fine until Star really snapped and Sammy while I was typing away in “the zone” at the kitchen table. I yelped. It scared the shit out of me. That’s when one of the humans pretty much told Star to get out. Still, I liked her and all of them and it.

Wrapping this up – but still have to mention how lucky we were to meet such amazing people at the farm we stayed at. They were artists and hippies and there was another guy there named Sky (my son is named Sky). Neither Sky had ever met another guy named Sky. It was pretty cool.

Oh and if you want to check out some of the art- you can find it online and in galleries. Enjoy :)

http://www.kaussart.com/ali-kauss.html

http://www.kaussart.com/don-kauss.html

Dixie n Earl

Dixie and Earl.

Dixie and Earl went to the grocery store in their home town of ESPNtucky. It was called ESPNtucky because you can get mystical vibrations in the air there. It would allow one to plug into what was called the “Collective Unconscious” and was a very powerful place.

Earl had always supported Dixie on her endeavors. This year she had been workin’ on her special sauce called Hillbilly juice. She was like some kind of sorceress because everyone who would sample her Hillbilly juice tapped into that “Collective Unconscious” real fast. Earl was amazed.

They played with the recipe for a whole month givin’ out samples. They came up with creative names like, “Hillbilly juice #1”, “Hillbilly juice #2”, and so on. Dixie had been playin’ with the Hillbilly juice #9 one day while she was writin’ up new labels and accidentally wrote, “HillyBilly Juice”. Earl though it was so special and creative they should keep it – So that one is secretly Hillbilly juice #11 with a special name for extra magic and creativity.

Maybell over at the country store couldn’t help but notice the change around ESPNtucky after a while because everyone stopped scrappin’ over stupid stuff and people started BBQin’ together and one whole set of feudin’ families called a truce all ‘cuz of the Hillbilly juice. People even started painting and talkin’ about art stuff. It was just weird. But… the people were happy and that was all that mattered.

Dixie said it must have been because of the watermelon which was one of the secret ingredients. “Helps take the lactic acid out of the muscles”, she said. Whatever that means. She just blend it right up in the blender and leave it unstrained, pulp and all.

Anyways, Maybell bought it right up. Dixie didn’t mind since it allowed her to focus on her creativity in the kitchen.

And Earl used it when he was wrastlin’ chickens – Chicken run really fast, so it really more like chasin’ chickens. He liked to go play baseball in the field over yonder also which would make anyone all sweaty on a hot summer day – so a nice cool tall mason jar full of HillyBilly juice always did the trick afterwards. “Cool and refreshin’” is what he’d say and he’d pop a squat in the ol’ green and white aluminum lounge chair in the front yard.

We liked sittin’ in the front cuz you can see all the goin’s on around town and be all neighborly and say “Hi” to folks and stuff.

Earl loved to reminisce about all kinds of stuff that never even happened and poke fun at Dixie. Dixie of course would just deny it all and tell Earl to go put a sock in his ESPN. Earl and Dixie often tapped into that ESPN and bounce about in the “Collective Unconscious” randomly when he wasn’t teaching her about the physics of how to throw a curveball or change up – and they’d laugh at each other when some bits of their ESPN overlapped serendipitously. Then they’d just blame it on the Hillbilly juice.

“Here’s to lying, cheating, stealing, and drinking…
If you’re going to lie, lie for a friend.
If you’re going to cheat, cheat death.
If you’re going to steal, steal a heart.
If you’re going to drink, drink with me.”

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Buttercup

Cupcake versus Buttercup. Part one. Buttercup always wins. Wait, no. Backtrack that. Buttercup always wants to win. Together they are the ‘Adventures of Buttercake’!

Wait. What? Buttercake?

One day Buttercup and Cupcake went out for a little bicycle ride. The weather was perfect. The sidewalk-less road was treelined. They looked over upon a glistening lake. Cupcake gained a foot on Buttercup. Buttercup pressed harder… gained two feet.

It wasn’t uncommon for them to not work together riding although on occasion they would catch a draft off each other. Neither being very fond of team sports, this was just fine for them. It was primarily an issue of gear. Buttercup has an old Specialized mountain bike that may have been pieced together and is pretty beat up and has no front derailleur. The front crankset does have two or three chain rings… but who needs those anyway?

Buttercup reveled in the fact that he killed the hills. Due to machinery, Cupcake would often glide down the downhills easily at 35-45 mph or coast past Buttercup out of his saddle on the flats at 20 or 25. Buttercup rarely uses the saddle actually. He seemed to like it that way. Cupcake was glad Buttercup had a crappy bike. When the downhills and flats subsided and gave way to a grade, preferably a 5% – 12% grade, Buttercup muscled up hill still in the big chain ring. Whooszh. Whooszh. Whooszh. The knobby tires whirring on the purplish pavement between the fir trees, dodging small quartzite rocks, sticks and pinecones. Up he went while Cupcake was, well, a cupcake and downshifted. Only maybe an eighth of the time Cupcake could overtake the Buttercup going uphill.

They weren’t competitive at all.

They headed back to main space having limited riding time so as not to be disrespectful to the non-riders. They spoke to each other casually and laughed. The wind blew in their ears. They couldn’t hear what each other was saying.

“Let’s get the car and pick up our friends at the beach,” said Buttercup.

“Yes, let’s pick raspberries. I love them,” said Cupcake.

Buttercup laughed heartily not hearing a word Cupcake said figuring it was long enough to be a witty comment of some sort.

Cupcake added, “We really got in a lot of miles today. it’s a good thing because I have been waiting for this, but I really need a tune up.”

“I didn’t see that film,” Buttercup replied. “Is it good?”

“Oh, it’s great! Working really well, yea!” Cupcake said enthusiastically.

“Good, good,” said Buttercup. “We need to knock out ten thousand feet this weekend. I’ve calculated it all and which roads we need to take.”

“I want to go to Calcutta too. When did you go?”

“Yea!”

Luckily, for Buttercup and Cupcake cars started to come up the road and they formed a single file line as they inched up the steep grade to get to the parking area so the conversation had to end there. No one mentioned another word about Calcutta or Raspberries.

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packin… unpackin….

Okay, time to write.

What to write….

Thinking, thinking…..

I don’t know what to write today, although I guess I feel that way every day. My head is focused on making my list for the weekend: Bread, peanut butter, jelly, instant Starbucks, drinks, water, veggies…. And what to pack: Climbing gear, swim suit, gym shoes, dog food, and on and on. Excited and nervous about the weekend. Of course there never seems like there is enough time to do anything and so time is running out for me right now. I want to get this done though and so I will pluck away until it’s done. Just like if I’m on a run and am just plodding away. I used to put my head phones on and dance around in the street just to entertain myself. I am certain I looked like a royal fool. It did keep me going though and that is what matters. Now I don’t need to go to such measures, I just run. Strangely enough, it feels great. Odd, I know.

This weekend we will be up in one of my favorite locales and were lucky enough to get a farm to stay in which is 22 miles outside of the lake. Perfect riding area and my son is a rock climber so after my ride when they wake up, we hit the rocks. Hopefully there is wifi … otherwise the following two posts will be after we return. (I know, you will be just sitting on the edge of your seat waiting!)

Devil’s lake is just outside Baraboo, Wisconsin and it is a hilly, tree lined area with nice Quartzite cliffs that are a climber’s delight. Speaking of delight, there is also a crazy two or three mile piece of road called Devil’s Delight that ends in a wall called Solum.

Because I have crazy friends, when I rode out that way they made sure I would not miss such a wonderful little roll up the 10% grade 500 foot climb. Thank you, friends. What would I do without you. The whole time the guy I was riding with kept saying, “Who are these people you know?!?” As if they were nuts or something.

All in all the ride was very fun as I got to hit 45 mph going downhill and I ate weird Clif foods like sweet potato and beet and mango baby food lookin stuff. What’s particularly sweet is I got to drive home while my riding buddy snored away merrily which kept me bright eyed the whole time (I can’t sleep when someone is snoring so it worked out). Plus I got to get a snap of him with his mouth hanging open which helped me stay entertained. Whatever you do, be sure it keeps you entertained.

So here we go again. And it is a good thing because I have been carbing up the past few days in preparation (read: I’ve been eating a lot of pizza and drinking a lot of beer – all of which…. were awesome!).10156028_10153295878296590_2390636598935946578_n

Verdi

verdiQuick brick and quick write before heading off to work.

Sammy did the whole feign aggressiveness again while on leash while on the way home from our run. I wish he would cut that out. It only bothers me to the point that people get afraid when I know how cool he is actually. Back to the dog trainer. This is going to lead me to say that sometimes people need people trainers as well. I question the things we teach each other sometimes. But hey, it takes all types to make the world go ‘round. So live and let live.

I find that I’m so independent I’m drawn to strong willed people. Somewhere down the road sometimes I see that it’s not so much strength as it is ego. Then of course I question my own. I put myself in check. Comes with age and experience I suppose.

Have you ever read the Janell Cannon’s children’s picture book, Verdi? It was one of my favorites – I used to read it to the kids along with her other books, but Verdi I could relate to and always softly made me laugh at myself and to myself in my heart. It’s a story about a whippersnapper adolescent python who loved to leap and bound and dive into the mud. He would always look at the long, heavy older pythons and say, “Hey! Why are you wasting your time just laying around? There’s so much life to live!” And, in turn, they would look at him and think, “You’re going to poke an eye out, kid!” He would scoff.

You can guess how the story goes, but I will let you seek out this story and peruse it as looking at the illustrations alone make it worth seeking out.

All her books are like that. Find them.

So the question to ego is, is it worth it? Is it worth it to lose relationships? Is it worth it to put yourself in the line of fire? Is it worth it to be uncompromising or always defending?

Some people defend even when they don’t have to. And some cannot take what they dish out. Not at all. They are unable to cooperate. And, yet, they don’t want to be left alone even if they say they do or are okay with it. It’s just not true. Not really.

Here’s the thing – I would never really call anyone crazy, not for real. I’m sure there are plenty of people that call me crazy for the things I do and the ways I do them – ways in which only another aquarian could understand… if I believed in that sort of thing, that is.

Crazy people, people that sacrifice all and rack up the awards need the validation. And, it’s important. You can physically show people your award and say, hey, I’ve done this and here is the evidence. They build credibility this way and either they become stronger for it or, if it is a collaborative project, others (friends, partners, the little league, society, etc.) become stronger for it. This is progress. There are many crazy people we must thank for our progress – flip side is, there are a lot of crazy people that progressed in the wrong direction as well. Ego feels good, check.

Sometimes, often times, there is collateral damage. Is it worth it? An internal battlefield can occur in intense situations. Everyone (read: alphas) will think their right. So I want to soften. Follow the way of the water and not the rock.

It’s really a philosophical question and the answer will change with each endeavor, sometimes within moments while the endeavor is in process. So no need for an answer now. And we have to be able to sit with that. Store that away, but make sure it is there when we need it.

This sort of thing is isolating, as well. So, dear reader, pick and choose what you want to be crazy over well.

If I were to put my crazy into something deliberately, I’d say I’d want to make people happy and feel good. Honestly, I’m not so sure I am doing a very good job at that right now. Time to re-evaluate. How to balance personal goals, team goals and be cheery all at the same time. Never been my strong suit I guess so I am constantly honing and withdrawing and trying again.

Verdi, the little spry yellow snake, one day finds himself growing green. Much to his dismay he tries to cover it in mud which flakes off and he tries to scrub it off with leaves which of course doesn’t work. He finds himself resting lazily and heavily in the sun one day when he spies a few babes coming through whipping themselves about in the trees. He musters up the energy to show them a cool trick they may like flinging himself up into the air proving also to his own self he still can and does so with joy.

“Leaping and looping with his little striped friends, verdi laughed and said ‘I may be big and very green, but I’m still me!’” – Janell Cannon, Verdi

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” -Charles W. Eliot

Dog Park

Its raining. He does not see the problem.

Its raining. He does not see the problem.

Time to get up.

I lift my sore, stiff self out of bed and throw on my sarong so I can let the dog out hitting the coffee maker on the way to the door. He’s got this big ol’ noggin and fat feet and big ol’ smile – he just makes me happy in a warm, safe and cuddly kind of way. Sounds weird and is hard to explain so I’ll just stop with the sappy stuff now. Anyway, I let him out and the neighbor is out, he looks but when I call him he comes by me no issue. Usually it’s when he is on a leash he is more aggressive or threatening sounding with his guttural barks.

My friend Jim came to get me yesterday with his dog Akahana around lunchtime  – we drove around, went to Whole Foods for lunch and shopping and finally came to pick up Sammy, my puppy. (Sammy, by the way, is a 60 pound, 3 years old pit bull mix.)

I told him Blackwell was closed last time I drove by, but we can try it. They must have widened the trail and taken out some brush. It looked good. It was Sammy’s first time there and I was a little nervous. I communicated with the only person who happened to be there as we approached since she had a German Shepard. Two big dogs who don’t know each other. A risk, I thought.

Now I had seen Sammy around Akahana, a 6 week old puppy, a group of dogs at the shelter, my friend’s pit bull and some randoms at Herrick Lake who were off leash during our run. He had always been well behaved. When we walk around the neighborhood and he is on leash, he seems like he is going to chomp you to bits sometimes. Again, there’s a metaphor or something here, but I’m still looking for it.

She said her dog was fine and hello and all that so we walked in. Sammy and Aka acknowledged the German Shepard briefly from a distance and then pretty much ignored him. After some sniffing around, the German Shepard approached – they all smelled each other and went about their business. It was totally anti-climactic.

We walked along the new trail and encountered other walkers. The dogs all peacefully did their thing. I tested Sammy a little asking him to come by me when I knew he was busy sniffing around. He paused and slowly made his way to me with such a begrudging look on his face like, ‘really, lady, I just got here. you gonna put me back on a leash, c’mon, ugh’. I gave him a great shake and hug and told him he was good and sent him back out to sniff and play and explore. He galloped off.

When we circled back around there was another pit mix who was slender with hefty haunches just like Sammy except a little smaller. His name was Toby. Toby immediately took to Sammy and they raced across the limestone end to end.

Love this dog. Cheers to a long, happy life full of dog parks and chasing toys and butt scratches and guttural funny noises as we roll around upside down scratching our backs on the carpet.
“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
—Josh Billings

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
—Roger Caras

“Dogs are wise. They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more.”
—Agatha Christie

“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.”
―M.K. Clinton

“The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.”
—Charles de Gaulle

“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.”
—Johnny Depp

“What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
—Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Why does watching a dog be a dog fill one with happiness?”
—Jonathan Safran Foer

“When an eighty-five pound mammal licks your tears away, then tries to sit on your lap, it’s hard to feel sad.”
―Kristan Higgins

“There are times when even the best manager is like the little boy with the big dog — waiting to see where the dog wants to go so he can take him there.”
—Lee Iacocca

“Anybody who doesn’t know what soap tastes like never washed a dog.”
—Franklin P. Jones

“A dog can’t think that much about what he’s doing, he just does what feels right.”
―Barbara Kingsolver

“When the Man waked up he said, ‘What is Wild Dog doing here?’ And the Woman said, ‘His name is not Wild Dog any more, but the First Friend, because he will be our friend for always and always and always.'”
—Rudyard Kipling

“Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”
—Dean Koontz

“I care not for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.”
—Abraham Lincoln

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”
—Groucho Marx

“Dogs don’t rationalize. They don’t hold anything against a person. They don’t see the outside of a human but the inside of a human.”
—Cesar Millan

“Dogs never bite me. Just humans.”
—Marilyn Monroe

“If you think dogs can’t count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then give him only two of them.”
—Phil Pastoret

“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.”
—Gilda Radner

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”
—Will Rogers

“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.”
—Andy Rooney

“I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.”
—Rita Rudner

“Happiness is a warm puppy.”
—Charles M. Schulz

“If you eliminate smoking and gambling, you will be amazed to find that almost all an Englishman’s (and a girl’s… says I…) pleasures can be, and mostly are, shared by his dog.”
—George Bernard Shaw

“I’ve seen a look in dogs’ eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts.”
—John Steinbeck

“You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.”
—Robert Louis Stevenson

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Grouchy

raw.
raw emotions.
raw energy.
raw power.
bare bones.
art brut.
a pure direct highway.
nothing but truth.
no bounds.
no bullshit.
no technique.
no discipline.
just moving forward.
the ghost in the machine has no operator.

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Poetry is certainly not the way to get in my writing quota today. There was more to that one, but it began going in a way that was out of alignment with an original idea about rawness so I stopped, deleted the parts that were tangent and just left it.

I’m working on one brain cell anyway.

It is so nice to be home. “Day off”. I took a nap after making chicken soup – love chicken soup – crashed really hard – bad dreams this time.

In one part I can remember, it was raining a lot, I was driving around and I couldn’t see where I was going. Suddenly the car drove downward. I was on a rooftop and just went down a set of steps the car would never get back up. The rooftop was flooding and the car was starting to fill with water. I looked at my phone hoping to call for help, but the images on the phone just started melting away. Next I remember sitting at a round picnic style table with three others, one of which was my daughter. We were out on some farm or something – dark wood panels on the interior of the building – gravel driveway. Rain was just pouring down all around us. Same issue about being isolated and no cell phone to call for help. That’s really all I can remember. Funny how stuff can happen and I primarily walk away with just the feeling of it all.

So back to the raw thing for a second. I got to thinking about why I love someone. In an earlier post I mentioned the idea of an innocence. I think that raw energy is a part of that. Uncurbed. It doesn’t always really know what it’s doing, but it wants it and just ploughs forward figuring it out along the way. It’s like a fighter’s energy – I want to call it that – because there is a lot of instinct and survival. But it would be a misidentification. Fighters train for specific things. Their instinct is honed to anticipate and plot and plan and attack – but it happens so fast, it just seems like it’s instinct. Fighting is so related to survival – you need good instincts to survive and you need good instincts to survive a fight. Training and practice – the discipline of fighting as sport or survival – fine tune raw desire that is naturally there. I’m going to really stretch here – but I’m going to say that this should be applied to everything: other sports like cycling or swimming or whatever, work like typing or analyzing or building, home life like being a good cook or cleaner or friend to your spouse or kids, relationships like friendships and people you date. All the “stuff” you go through can be treated like exercise when new. Look at how you went about doing some things or thinking about some things. Were they productive? Were the consistent with what you want long term? Are you sacrificing the long game for the short term win (is it a marathon or a sprint?)? Is your communication honest?

This all may take away from the rawness which is so beautiful – I don’t want to kill any raw energy. Honestly, if that is a fear, I should just go back and check out a good fight or a good game. Honed skill. I think of athletes like Cal Ripkin, Jr., or Brian Urlacher, or Julio Cesar Chavez who managed long careers and seemed to stay out of the tabloids for crazy behavior or epic fails. I’m not saying it’s easy – I’m saying it’s possible – and I’m saying it’s part of the game of life – depending on how you define winning, that is.

Just food for thought.

Same goes for artists – carousing and debauchery, lack of balance and all that – more later though.

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