31 March 2011

Moms do have favorites.

Abbey cleaned the kitchen for me last night. This morning when I went to get my tea cup out of the cabinet, this is what I found:

"Ha!" she half laughed, "does that mean it's no good?"

She continued helping by emptying the dishwasher this morning. We chatted about family names, middle names. She knew grandma's was Anne, Carole Anne. She knew Kiki's was Anne, Kimberly Anne. She knew my middle name, Lynn. She didn't know Nicole's. I told her, "Lea."

She giggled. She usually does, then replied, "Kiki's the lucky one; she has it perfect. The great hair, the good middle name, you can tell she's favorited."

In a reenforcing moment, on the way home from Clemson, we decided to stop in Columbia and have dinner with Kim. She was on her way home from Orangeburg with Alex; the timing was perfect. Filled with excitement to see my sister, Abbey announced in the car that of all the grown ups in her life, Kiki was the best, her favorite.

Jake said, "no offense mom, I have to agree."

Maybe they were expecting disappointment, envy of sorts, but I simply explained, "I lived the first 16 years of my life in the same house as her, and I've been trying to stay that close ever since, and a couple times I worked my way back into her house, I get it. She's my favorite too."

30 March 2011

Everything matters. Nothing matters.

I am insignificant, a dot mixed in with all the other specks
eggs hatching into breakfast or birds that will learn to fly
and yet I care to matter.

Love gives
my daughter,
holding her, staring, smelling, caressing, humming promises of perfection
chi, karma, others before self
I don't deserve her, gentle, kind, silly, balanced.
giggling over a nonsense word, crying because of a frog
Doing everything and nothing and not caring to matter.

Sons own their mothers. My mother makes sense.
A glance up from an unfinished dinner plate
piercing blue through my skin to the soft layers
of muscle that wrap around him
banishing the monsters from this moment.
Dark places exist.

Less stuff is better than more space.
My head is crowded; my house is not.
Flexibility, Mercy and Forgiveness

Money makes life easier, paper and
nothing stays,
liberation initiates changes
accepts it on its terms
moves through it with ease

The mirror doesn't create an image;
the mind does.
Broken, blood dripping from my knuckles, Drowning,
out of town, my ego behind me
books before me, Tolle, Buscaglia, Throreau
spinning into the next dimension
cartoons for acquaintances

Integrity pushes through for a front row seat
sitting behind arrogance, greed, duplicity

Truth tarnished by reputation cries
a voice dangling under the sea,
gasping at delusion, pride, myth
just doing right

If I should have a daughter...

29 March 2011

Results of Clemson Triathlon 2011


Started Mt Bike Course and Crossed Finish Line
Clyde Wood0:59:56m60
Tommy Wilkinson Relay1:12:02relay
Douglas Bonnoitt1:12:10m30
Melissa Butts Relay1:12:19relay
Zachary Keister1:12:56m20
Bib #981:13:00m40
Erin Browne1:13:04f30
Adam Bennett1:13:51m30
Luke Weimann1:13:58m20
Richard Spahr1:14:48m40
Boddy Wood1:14:59m30
Randee Bagwell1:16:53f30
Aaron Motley1:24:16m20
Bib #1001:25:44m40
Team 2.5 Ray and Katie Felton1:26:57relay
billy mccracken1:27:06m 40
Bib #991:30:39m 40
sandy johnson1:33:29m 50
Derrick Webber Team1:34:09relay
Purpose Driven 21:34:20relay
Edward Kizer1:36:04m40
Eric Goodwin1:36:44m30
Michael Kennedy1:37:04M50
Purpose Driven 11:37:46relay
Joe Ettershank1:37:56m40
Todd Lausch1:41:14m40
Steven McBride1:43:23m40
Clemson Tri'ers1:45:08relay
Larry Griffin1:48:10relay
Dennis Barr1:49:44M50
Christopher Lausch1:50:41M40
Lucy Wilkinson1:54:24F30
Jonathan Viklinetz1:55:15M30

13 Ways to Look @ Clemson

Jonathan changed his religion and decided his career all within one hour upon visiting Clemson.

Finding orange paw prints got old after 1 mile.

The Calhoun Mansion and graveyard are lovely even from the car.

Abbey, Jonathan and Jake all declared they are attending Clemson.

Lunch @ the Mellow Mushroom.

Pre-pubescent children get a glimpse of the independence, the college dorms, the sporting facilities, the lure of going to college, something tangible to work for.

Issaqueena Forest, Falls, and Stumphouse tunnel.

A PhD? Living there for two years doesn't look too bad.

Cows, sheep, horses, produce, farms, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and mountains.

It's warmer in the car in the rain @ Death Valley.

I suggested we make a tour of visiting beautiful college campuses over the next few years.

Greener living.

They might pay you to come here if you work hard enough. Maybe they'll pay you to play a sport too.

A Meal of Perfect Combinations

Desert before dinner always a winner, though he never actually ate desert.
~Buff Williams

Abbey wanted steak and mashed potatoes tonight.

She peeled the potatoes and did it with love. I added greek yogurt to the potatoes instead of butter, a pinch or two of salt and whipped deliciousness.

Jake wanted baked beans.

And John invited Amy.

At Earth Fare, I added a mozzarella, tomato, garlic, basil and sauteed spinach salad to the menu,
and another bottle of Red Bordeaux. I also decided to cook down mushrooms, onions and garlic to top the filet mignon.

For desert, Abbey asked for chocolate cream pie, so I made a banana cream pie too.

This was a dinner of yummy blends, organic of course. Steak and mashed potatoes, mashed potatoes and baked beans, mozzarella and tomato, and chocolate and banana.

Clemson Off Road Triathlon 2011

Spring Break Kick Off Event
Team Foie Gras

Betsy, Melissa, John

John and I agreed to an early start on Friday, probably sign the kids out of school around lunch time. Instead I was late picking Abbey & Jake up at the end of the school day, and we pulled on to I-26 @ 4:40 pm on Friday. But we had a great lunch @ Three Little Birds, my favorite, veggie burger on a plate, no bun, ketchup & spicy mustard, red potato salad on the side, and an American Classic Island Green Tea.

By the time we got to Columbia @ 7 pm we decided to eat dinner. Using Urban Spoon on the i-phone, we found Mai Thai - the reviews impressed John.

Jake had chicken satay & rice, Jonathan, sweet & sour chicken that he shared with John who also had chicken & rice soup, which Amanda ate too with some of the cashew nut chicken she shared with me, while Abbey enjoyed steamed dumplings. The place was authentic, balanced, exact proportions of satisfaction physically and emotionally. We discovered a reason other than Kim to visit Columbia.

@ 8, we ventured back to the interstate to Anderson. I leaned my head back to relax and heard Abbey's powdery sugar voice say, "Jake, you can lay your head on my pillow pet on my lap."

We arrived sometime after 10 pm at the condo on Lake Hartwell. A 3 bedroom overlooking a trail that winds down to the lake.

After checking everything out, the closets, the view, the rooms, the games, then unpacking the food, and watching the kids play Uno, I went to bed. Jake and Jonathan planned to stay up much later, but we insisted they get some sleep. We had a big race in the morning.

I wouldn't exactly say I trained for this, but I did some form of exercise every single day except for three since Ash Wednesday. I punched the speed bag for arm strength; I walked; I rode my bike, and I kayaked. This race would be the first time I kayaked competitively. I wasn't training to win. I needed to make sure I could do it. It's all in the head.

I packed everything I might possibly need to wear: boat shorts, Keens, Nike Dri Fit short sleeve, long sleeve, windbreaker, rain jacket, and running pants in my Camelbak to the race. The morning was cool, but paddling would warm me up. We loaded the kids in the Explorer, boat on top, bike on back, and a cooler with lunch. The sky shifted to grey on the 20 mile ride from Anderson to Issaqueena Forest.

When we pulled down the red clay trail to unload the boat at the lake, the rain steadily began. "An adventure triathlon," the host reminded us as we huddled under the leaking white tent listening to the instructions. "If there's lightening," he said, "get off the water." I found the warning unsettling, but it was just raining in the mountains, there wouldn't be any lightening.

Betsy and Bryan showed up around 9. Betsy was dressed for the nicer, cooler day, with her Soffee shorts, t-shirt, pretty silver bracelet and earrings to match. The rain was steady now, so I gave her a red wind breaker.

The run would be four miles: head up the hill, turn left, make a loop like a T, come back down the hill to the boats.

The boats were supposed to loop around the lake 2 times, 3 miles, but due to the weather they changed this to 1 loop around. Ha! I chuckled in my head, a sprint. I can definitely do this.

The bike would then finish, racing 10 miles through the technical woods. "The roots will be slippery," the host warned over the microphone, "take it slow." the Issaqueena Forest's roots would be no match for John's Ellsworth with disc brakes.

The emergency vehicles in place, the runners took off.

Just around 30 minutes in, the runners started arriving at the lake. I adjusted my paddle and tightened my life vest. Betsy would be there any minute.

After about five boats took off, one of the coordinators came down, sent the emergency boat out, and canceled the kayak portion of the race. Not long after, Betsy came down the trail. I wasn't going to get to play in the rain.

John jumped on his bike and took off.

Betsy and I were walking up the hill in the downpour, listening to the thunder, when the entire sky crackled electric white. Seriously frightened we ran to our cars. The children (4 in my car, 3 and a dog in hers) were huddled together in the back seats, Jake shaking in Amanda's arms, Betsy's dog howling in hers.

John biked up the hill 2 miles to the bike trail and just made the turn onto the single track when the Emergency ATV's rode in telling them the race was cancelled, get off the trail.

Soaked, cold, and covered in red clay mud, we drove back to Anderson for the night. Buff joined us for dinner and the Florida basketball game. The organic peppers, onions, garlic, squash, mushrooms and spinach, sauteed and served with chicken over pasta with red sauce and red Bordeaux compensated for the dreary race.

We observed Earth hour for 15 minutes, and Buff disconnected the television in some permanent way.

11 March 2011

Empty Garden

And through their tears
Some say he farmed his best in younger years
But he'd have said that roots grow stronger if only he could hear
Who lived there
He must have been a gardener that cared a lot
Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop
Now we pray for rain, and with every drop that falls
We hear, we hear your name

~ EJ

08 March 2011

The Same

For lunch: chicken yogurt with pecans, grapes, and celery
pondering a lesson in words
others also sit and eat, everywhere
and muse the same
and make plans for a funeral
the guiding word assignment
and a birthday
beginning and ending with define a moment
my word perception
I stand in front of the mirror, cold from death,
blowing dry my hair,
the red barrel pointing down my back, warming me.
I change into a sweater
the temperature on the dash 63
contentment, the project
Ash Wednesday, sacrifice, reflection, unity
Pancakes for dinner, and ice cream for desert
It's one of those nights
lyrics, speeches, the bible, my life, the media, other cultures
Genuine, authentic, kindness,
a man with ease
he lived it
others before self
giving away a car, a Camelia for a bowl
naming the trees that line the yard
forgetting their names
carving wood and smiling
the 23rd psalm over a fresh grave in Beaufort
a walk in the woods, tadpoles
evolution in a drought stricken pond, adapting
rocking chairs and twigs
gathering branches for a fire
Devious not sinister, layers
unfolding with the uncertainty of metaphysics
I knew so little
suffering, mercy and peace share space on the tip
of which I am.

05 March 2011

All my friends are doing it.

All of Betsy's friends are winners. Erin brought home the gear medal from the Santee triathlon. I covet that prize.

I ride bikes and kayak with John. I like to play outside and notice the woods and the river as they awaken in March. I'm not competitive, except I don't really want to play if I'm not going to win.

Luckily yesterday Team Folly unexpectedly gathered for our impromptu Clemson Triathlon kick off event at the Charleston Food & Wine Festival. This training party involved coffee beer, wine, cucumber vodka, duck confit and coconut cake. Team captain B. Spahr told me, "you've got to take it a little seriously." I think this pep talk was brought on as a response to Erin's earlier message that she bench presses in her sleep, speed runs through knee deep pluff mud every morning for two hours, and squats at her desk all day as she types. Duh, she has the gear medal.

So In the morning, I ate my oatmeal with blueberries, got a deep tissue massage, and spent some time in the Perception Shadow. John & I paddled 4 miles around Oak Island, and stopped twice. Betsy says we have to shave 7 minutes off our time if we plan to stop for kissing points.

John savored the Black and Blue, exploding with flavor and texture, turkey, blue cheese, mixed greens, avocado, black beans, jasmine rice, fig balsamic reduction, yummy energy in a wrap.

I tried the Almost Summer, bright fruity crunch with chicken, mandarin oranges, goat cheese, rice noodles, candied almonds, arugula, and raspberry citrus vinaigrette.

Homemade yogurt and potato salad on the side.

After refueling, we exploited Marrington Plantation. Fast and forgiving, swamps, creeks, trees, jumps, ferns sprouting green covering over the ground, broken bridges, gullies, roots and the lyrics to "Have a Cigar." John's favorite hobby, mountain biking, and my favorite hobby, photography combined.

You're gonna go far,
You're gonna fly high,
You're never gonna die,
You're gonna make it, if you try;
They're gonna love you.

John rode the BMX trail, a little loop with jumps, and a place for me to capture the moment.

Twelve miles and think I'm cheating on this day that it didn't rain. John brought hummus, tzatziki, and pita for our post ride snack.

I'm not a bi-athlete; I'm bi-winning.

For dinner I grilled a veggie burger, steamed carrots and sauteed squash and zucchini. To unwind we watched, Get Low, with Robert Duvall and Bill Murray. "I wish you peace from the burdens of your mind. I wish it for us all." - Reverend Charlie.

Still winning.

Let the training begin.