Sunday, December 26, 2004

Another Year Older

Wow - what a busy week it's been! Having a birthday right on top of Christmas certainly makes for an exceptionally active holiday season, so naturally I haven't had much time to write. I am fortunate enough to have a husband who not only makes certain to ensure that my birthday doesn't get lost in the Christmas fervor, but also pretty much celebrates it for the entire month of December! As the weather forecast was looking sketchy for the actual day of December 23, we went for my traditional bike ride the day prior, this time at Crabtree since my knee was aching more than usual. While I was thrilled to be out spending such a gorgeous and unseasonably warm afternoon riding my bike, I was disappointed in how painful and difficult even the simplest stretch of trail was due to my knee. I have my MRI films, but obviously can't make heads or tails of them, and have a follow-up appointment with the orthopedist scheduled for January 5. We spent my actual birthday, December 23, catching up on some things I had been wanting to do, since the weather had taken a turn for the worse and was rainy and dreary. I knew cold weather was approaching and had wanted to get Spyder a horse blanket style coat. After searching everywhere for one in his size to no avail, I couldn't believe my fortune to locate one at Triangle Horse Sports in Raleigh. But not only that, it was the exact brand, model, color, and size I had wanted as my first choice - a green Weatherbeeta Arion in a 24 inch length - and was very reasonably priced! It fits Spyder like a glove, is totally weatherproof, and looks fantastic on him (he has a photo section of it in my galleries linked to the left). We finished out the evening with a delicious meal at the Bamboo Club and then a blackberry and coconut concrete from Goodberrys. For Christmas Eve, we bought some new scented candles and holders, and spent some quality time with Spyder and Zoe here at home, electing to wait and visit my grandparents on Christmas Day. I did call and talk with my mom, but as she had just moved to the coast and was tied up with that, we decided to actually visit each other at a later time. My grandftaher has recently had a stroke, and it was odd to see him so meek and subdued which is very unlike his usual brash jovial self. He did appear to be very happy to see me, however, and I believe he recognized me although I don't know for sure if he knew my name. My aunt (who is a bellydance instructor and is the person who introduced me to the art) and uncle were also there, along with my sister, her husband and their two sons. It was wonderful to see my nephews, Corey and Paul, again - they always make me laugh with their "Malcolm in the Middle" type shenanigans - but I still can't believe they are 6 and 12. It seems like only yesterday that they were little tiny babies, and now Paul is nearly a teenager! Rather than let it get me down, though, I've chosen to look at my aging as moving into the BEST half of my life...

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

We went out to Beaverdam this morning, only to find - not surprisingly - that the trail was closed for riding due to wet conditions. So we took advantage of the soft damp dirt to do some work the park had wanted, and rerouted a section that had been eroding and was in need of repair. After four hours of hard manual labor, we decided to return home, grab some lunch, shower, change and then head out to the - GASP - mall. I had received a limited-time gift certificate for my birthday from one of the stores there and we figured we may as well go spend it before the Christmas shopping rush intensified any more. While traveling down US-1 and crossing through one of the intersections, we couldn't help but notice nine motorcyclists stopped at the side street waiting for the light to change - the first eight were lined up in pairs and each wore a set of reindeer antlers on their helmets. And who was the ninth biker, centered behind the last pair? Why, jolly old St. Nick, of course - adorned in red suit and hat, white beard and all! Talk about Holiday Spirit - I'm still smiling. :)

Thursday, December 9, 2004

Woman’s Best Friend

There's something about dogs. Maybe it's because I have no children, but my pup holds such a special place in my heart. I can be having the worst day ever in the history of the universe, and yet when I look into Spyder's big accepting, unconditionally loving eyes, all seems somehow right with the world. He appears to know when I'm feeling down, and will do his now famous rollover and cover his eyes for his "peek-a-boo" silliness, to which I have no choice but to laugh out loud and forget all about the mundane worries of the everyday. Each morning after his breakfast, he shares his gratitude for my having prepared his meal by standing as close to my face as possible and giving me that big old dog-food-breath belch that says "thanks mom - that was delicious!", and then insists that I scratch his little pink tummy, at least for a moment. He's my closest little buddy, my doggie-soulmate, and certainly has earned his place as this "woman's best friend".

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Wonder Woman

If I call myself Wonder Woman, it's because I Wonder what in the name of all that is sane I'm doing out here on this bike trail in the deep woods totally alone (mainly because I can't keep up with the rest of the group as a result of my hesitancy on the slippery terrain), with only the two points of light I'm wearing on my handlebar and my helmet to guide me. The trail is still damp from yesterday's rain, and the roots and rocks have become treacherously slick, giving me the feeling that my bike is more skating on the trail than anything else, and I query what possessed me to come out here and put myself through this. It's dark and spooky at times, the newly rerouted sections of trail are about as solid feeling as riding on a rain-soaked mattress, and what is that rustling in the trees??? I can periodically see tiny red or green eyes peering at me from behind the bushes, hear the scampering of night creatures across the leaves, and almost fear I'm going to see the Blair Witch jump out from behind a rock as I round a corner. The forest wavers between deafening silence and unfamiliar nocturnal animal (at least I hope it's only animal!) noises. This trail that I'm so familiar with during the day now seems completely foreign to me. I have no point of reference as my visibility is limited to the area right around me, so some of the small ditches and logs seem inexorably huge while others which are normally gargantuan seem like miniatures. It's scary, exhilirating, frustrating, exhausting and rejuvenating. It's night riding, and even though I complain and whine about it being too difficult, too scary, too much of a hassle with the lights, batteries and wires, too this and too that, I keep coming back to it, drawn to it like some kind of addiction I can't escape. There's something fresh and exciting about riding even the same familiar old trails when I take to them at night. Despite the fact that I do occasionally - as I did tonight - finish the ride disappointed in the knowledge that I rode less well than I knew I was capable of, I realize that this evening's difficulties stemmed primarily from the trail being so slick rather than the night itself. And I continue to be under the spell of night riding, knowing that before a week has passed, I'll be back out here again, taunting the darkness and communing with the other side of nature.

Sunday, December 5, 2004

Little River and The New Gear

I had to admit defeat somewhat after a night ride last week whereby I realized that until I got my knee problem resolved I was not going to be able to push the 32x18 gear. So today Steve switched my bike to a 32x19, which dropped it down roughly one gear easier. I gave the new ratio a try at the Little River Trails Grand Opening this afternoon. Although the trails had a lot of up and down (mostly up it seemed), and there were a couple of climbs I was still unable to make, I was happy to find that the reduced gear ratio seemed to work a lot better. After about two hours or so of riding, my knee was still quite sore and painful, but not nearly to the degree it was after less than one hour at the higher gear. As an aside, it was also most wonderful to see so many people at the grand opening in support of the mountain bike trails. I saw lots of folks I hadn't seen in a long while, and had an extremely pleasant afternoon chatting with old friends and making new ones. I'm also pleased to report that I'm still gaining confidence and an increased level of comfort in handling on the rigid bike, and feel like our "bonding" process is coming along nicely. I don't even think about the fact that I have no suspension (or gears) anymore at all, and it just seems completely natural and normal for me.

Saturday, December 4, 2004

Dance Video

Today I had the privilege of being invited to participate in the second of the Look Good Feel Good instructional dance video series being produced by my teacher, Qadria of Belly Revelations. How fun to spend the entire afternoon surrounded by my beautiful dance sisters (and brothers - Dave's drumming was incredible, and Jeff even brought us pizza for dinner)! There was so much positive energy that it was almost palpable. Today's taping session included beledi and ayoub rhythms, along with some simple choreography combinations for each. I never realized just how difficult it is to perform dance movements in a mirrored fashion, i.e. using my right to demonstrate what would be the viewer's left. I have plenty of left/right confusion already, and now I truly have a much greater appreciation for the skill of an instructor to be able to do that in front of a class each week! We all also noted just how similar to the rhythms of life a drummer's music can be. Whenever Dave would stop drumming momentarily, we found that we would stop whatever we were doing as well - talking, walking, whatever - like the ebb and flow of our own lifeforces were temporarily suspended! All in all, it was a lovely way to spend the afternoon, and I can hardly wait to see the finished video product.

Friday, December 3, 2004

My Very Own Domain!

As an early birthday gift to me from my husband, www.spydersmom.com is now up and running!