Saturday, September 18, 2010

As you were given to free of charge, give free of charge.

*Disclaimer; if you are too tired, too impatient, or just without adequate care (all of which I understand, this thing is long) (thats what she said)(oh em gee Ashley you're disgusting) Then just cut to the end!

After our failed attempt at futile yard sale-ing, we were left asking ourselves some piercing questions, first of which was; "Does our stuff suck that bad?!" Yes, I know we were getting rid of it so I hear some of you sarcastically remarking that this should have been the first tip to its suck-factor, but people, some of that stuff we really liked! Just couldn't fit it anymore, just wasn't practical. Take the twin bed for instance; it was useful, (when my family used to spend the night! Trickle down a tear for my loneliness. boohoo) and promised to come in handy especially when we figured out that spare room. However, in today's studio apartment, propped against the wall its an eye soar at best. Second Example; the Schwinn. People, in spite of what those snobs at that one certain store will tell you this is a good vintage bike! Its a fixie, not the lightest thing in the world, but if what you're looking for is a stylish cruise to the ice cream shop then this bike is for you! It can't take you 8.9 miles (well, could yes, but should?) but it can take you a mile or two. But here, like the bed, it is an eye soar and nuisance.

This takes me to our second question; "What do we DO with all this STUFF?!?!" Right now the piles and bags and such are in our cars, the bed is back against the wall, the bike is...some where around here, and the desk is out in front with the assumption that something that big and heavy will be safe from theft.

So we have two options. Maybe three. We can 1). Wait another few days and have a second yard sale. 2). Ebay that shizzznit. Or 3). Forget, and, like all good intentions, let this one pave our way to hell.

Those, led to some reflection; We have been given a lot this year. I don't mean tangible material things necessarily; our thrift store excursions paid for most of these objects left lying about (we can also blame childhood memories and sentimentality, but the later culprit is easier to forgive.) What we've been given is help. Over the course of these many months without proper, working, or even legal transportation I've received weekly rides from my mother and brother, from my mother in law, and from my dear friend Danae. Recently, my mother in law has allowed Marcos to use her car every night to go to work, and we understand that is no small thing. We are literally floored by the loyal help we've been given. But it goes beyond human aid, right to the heavenly kind. As we've struggled through life and marriage and money, wondered where to go from here, doubting everything from the next step to the next five years, one this has been made apparent; The Lord is faithful. Dear friends, we've spoken of our doubts, blamed our scientific minds, and you've asked me some big questions, for which I have no answer that would satisfy you. For Jesus can not be broken down to fit into a formula; we can form a hypothesis but we can honestly find no finished theories here. Well, I can. My entire life points to the existence of a very real, very loving, and very misunderstood God. At every turn, as an answer to every prayer, he has kept us safe, provided for us in the days of want, saved our marriage, given us peace. He has put money in an empty back account and food in our fridge. I cannot touch him, but I can feel him. I cannot see him, but in a way I can; in the love of my husband, the beauty of the flowers, even in the judge who extends our tickets so we can pay another month. And it is this, that has left me speechless. And humbled.

And now, we've reached a conclusion; "To whom much is given, that much more is required." We have much things. So much things are required back. We have been shown a BIG giving, and so we must give bigly as well. In a world that is full of want, should we ask for money back? As much as it would be helpful, the answer is no. I don't need money for that twin bed, or that desk, or those clothes. OR whatever else there is in here. I don't want to consume, I want to have just enough, and no more. No, we will not be winnowing down our possessions to 100 items max, though we're not too far from believe that to be a well deserved goal. If Proverbs asks for only two things, then those two things are good enough for me;

"Two things I ask of you, Oh LORD,

Do not refuse me before I die;

Keep falsehood and lies far from me;

give me neither poverty nor riches,

but give me only my daily bread,

Otherwise I may have too much and disown you and say "Who is the Lord?"

Or I may become poor and steal and so dishonor the name of my God.

-Proverbs 30: 7-9

I had to ask myself; If my time is the Lord's, then the money I earn during some of that time is the Lord's. And if the money is his, then the things purchased there with are also his. And if I don't use those things, am I stealing? Or am I disowning? Is it both? Self sufficiency is a steel and sneaky trap. In American culture we value independence, singing "God bless the child that got his own", but its made it far too easy for me to forget God; forget what his done, and disregard what he's going to do. Its made me forget his children, making it easier for me to turn a blind eye towards the poor both near and far. And its made me tired. We have been called a nation of consumers, and I don't want that label to fall as heavily on me anymore.

And so, alllll that is to say; I have some stuff to give away! I just don't know where to start. So basically I'm calling upon you delights who are reading this to tell me if you know anyone who needs this stuff, or if you know of an organization that would know who needs this stuff? Would your church know? Does your neighbor need something? Do YOU need something? I'd love to bring these things to you! Here is a small list of some of the things I have;

A twin bed, mattress and box.

A desk, blonde wood, one long drawer three smaller side drawers.

Women's clothes, Small and Large Sizes. Styles ranging from business casual to...casual.

Some nicknacks.

Men's clothes, Large sizes mostly. Mostly casual, some business casual.

...and thats all I can think of for now.

Let me know if you guys know anything!

Much love, to you and yours.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Morning train, this is my favorite. When the new sunlight mixes with the passing cars to play with the shadows of my sleepy walls. I'm currently clutching a fourth cup of coffee, trying to figure out a way to get it all done. By all of it, I mean clean up to save our toes from further stubbing, organize a yard sale to save us from joining an episode of hoarders, and fix the toilet because...well...gross.

The weather is lovely here, two whole days of breezy, beachy weather, of opened windows and sweaters and pleasant bike rides for once! I haven't posted much about m-lady Nishiki, ironically, posts halted when I actually began riding her more often (thats what she said).

That is another item to add to the list of All of It; fix cars so that my husband and I can cease to borrow and bum rides to his far away job, and I to mine as well. Part of me wants to refuse any other mode of transportation other than bicycles and good ol' fashioned hoofin' it, but lets be honest; driving out of downtown fresno (even though I am on the outskirts, which you'll find to be less ghetto and quite pleasant) in the darkness of 5:30 am on my little ol' bike, with me being just little ol' me, is not what I'd call wise by anyones standards. We'll see; perhaps I'll be emboldened with a heaping dose of bravery and change my mind yet again. For now, my little bike will remain how I get to the store, the coffee shops, and everywhere else that doesn't involve darkness.

Tonight Marcos and I made plans! Oooh boy! A date! We're going to see a movie, and I'm going to get dressed up and wear heels! I feel very excited and all full of butterflies; and we're two years in. Keeping the spark alive?-Check.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Recently a friend of mine very thoughtfully and earnestly asked me what I thought about The Mosque. Yeah you know what I'm talking about. The one down the street from the World Trade Center. I rolled my eyes and said I didn't care. But upon further pressing for what I "really thought" I went into a bit more detail. After questions of where it would really be, and admitting that I thought an "onsite Mosque" would indeed be nothing more than a big eff you in the faces of all of America and especially those still grieving the loss of loved ones, I carried on;

America is because many years ago a group of people, in an act completely un-patriotic, sought religious and political freedom in the wilds of the New World. And America still exists today not because of our military might, but because of the promise our land holds for all those who remain oppressed and without options. This is still the New World to some people. When our founding fathers set down the laws of our land, the fairness and equality they put onto paper were in truth the furthest thing from reality; and yet today we have some of the most solid laws heard of in place to protect those first ideals as well as the rights of those around us, however different from us they might be. One of those rights is the freedom to worship where, and how, and when, and wearing what, you choose. Even if it is down the street from the site of 9-11, and even if you do wear a tiny white hat while you do it.

What we as Americans fail to realize is that Middle Eastern Muslims are very different from the Muslims in India, who are very different than the Muslims who worked in and were also killed in the towers of the World Trade Center. What sent that specific and tiny group of Middle Eastern Muslims on a waring Jihad against us was not necessarily their Muslimness; rather it was their culture of violence that attacked us. Just as our culture of violence attacked them back. And if we could make steps towards understanding the cultural differences between these separate groups, if we could stop drawing sweeping conclusions against a whole based on the actions of a tiny and extremist sector, if we could understand the atrocities committed in the name of our own political and religious extremism, them perhaps we could make concrete steps towards love and forgiveness. And apologies.

I am not a Unitarian by any means. Nor am I Muslim. Nor does defending the rights of those people put me under their respective labels. Isn't it odd that I had to say that? That I had to make sure that you, dear reader, knew I wasn't "one of them"? Hypocrisy is rampant, and as I'm typing this what I hoped woudl be a heroic defense, all I can see is the eyes of the mothers of my friends widening, suddenly disapproving of our hangouts and tea parties (the kind with actual tea and muffins.) and I wanted them to know that I wasn't "one of them". What horrible words "they" "them". Aren't we just...we?

We are a brotherhood. A humanity made for each other. If we could just switch shoes and walk around for a day or two, I think that then and only then would we see things clearly. Taking a step towards understanding another human being's culture goes a long way towards our own personal sense of peace, but also contributes to a global peace as well.


(P.S. what I think they ought to do is make that site into a tranquil park, full of trees and flowers, plaques and bench's, a place for meditation and reflection. What better way to honor a memory? Perhaps I've been reading too much Secret Garden...)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I'm finding my patience level is sinking lower and lower. The more people mill past me, bump into me, cut me off and drown me out, the more overwhelming the urge towards violence -or at least severe pettiness- becomes. Amongst such large groups I become disorganized and awkward. Limbs Flailing. Words stumbling, feet stumbling. Spinning rapid circles searching for a piece of wall to hug. In the quest for invisibility I stick out like a sore thumb. Except for when I'm with you. Together we weave such a graceful whirling dance of smiles and jokes, sometimes of tears and silences. Our ordinary steps are the things that magics and dreamings are made of. When I am by your side I no longer feel awkwardly, nor do I think I look it. Perhaps it is not exactly that my arms no longer flail while my hand is in yours, but really the more probably option would be that my arms DO flail, but with a friend such as you by my side to laugh at them awkward movements, those movements become not exactly awkward but...something to smile at. I feel strangely beautiful when you laugh at me. You are the stuff that turns bussrides into adventures.

-Even as I was writing that, I somehow managed to ever so smoooooothly spill all the contents of my binder; class syllabus' and add slips all, down upon the dusty sidewalk.

Summertime. This heat makes green living almost impossible. Riding between the hours of 10AM and 7PM is almost out of the question. Call it sure suicide. But we moved downtown for a reason. And bought bikes for a reason. Now it is time to see that through to its most beautiful and glorious end; And so we rode our bikes to school tonight beginning at the ungodly hour of 5:30PM, and I had enough sweat dripping beneath my harem pants to prove it! Yes, I am wearing harem pants. My dear friend April Spain gifted them to me (and a pair for Marcos, yes she's amazing as far as friends and girls with good taste go) after her trip to India, and I wear their pink and purple elephants with pride. (They also hide the sweat quite well.)

I had some internal drama at tonight's class. Somehow I managed to get my greedy little fingers 'round an addslip before role was even taken – an unheard of turn of events that left me standing in the doorway. Well I got news for you Teach – if five of us are standing in the doorway and three more are sitting against the wall then we don't all fit, so take the roll and give us some solid answers!

I let a girl use my phone. I put my writing down and sat erect and ready (that's what she said) just in case she were to make a run for it, with it. She didn't. And here I am. Does a good deed count if its wrought with suspicion? I'd like to know...

The farmers have picked their grapes. Tomorrow they'll be in trays that will blanket the soft vineyard dirt and the deep, luxurious scent of drying grapes will fill the countryside. I believe a sunset drive with windows down and music on is in order.

There is a man sprawled on the grass reading a book, even as the sun is setting. There is a family with two small girls walking two small dogs. The wife is throwing ice down the husbands shirt, and now he's wailing and kind of running with a few hobbled hops away. A K-9 unit rolls past. Now someone, man or woman I couldn't tell, has shifted their course of direction and is headed right my way. Now they've chosen my bench of all benches to sit on. And it would appear that he/she has something lodged in the back of his/her throat and now he/she is trying to liberate it. DO THAT SOMEWHERE ELSE! I'm board. Does this count as Stream of Consciousness writing? Could I be the next Jack Kerouac? Wont you explain to me how Kirstin Dunst got herself into the new movie of On The Road? I'm horrified.

The Campus is slowly emptying of people and passerbyes. My benchmate has left and things are thinning out. Its time to put my notebook away and ready myself for escape, should the need for one present itself.


Thursday, July 22, 2010


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Reason No.1 to keep your house web and spider free:if you haveto break in because you locked you& your mom out.In the dark.For the 2nd time.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dearest Readers, something magical has happened. Someone new has come into my life. Her name is Ina, and she is a sparkling blue Nishiki Prestige. The wind is in my hair again. I found her at a local store down the street from my apartment called Tower Velo, and when I saw her in the window I knew she was the one for me. The walk down the sunny street was murder, and with each step another bead of sweat was knocked down my forehead, down my back, soaking my shirt till I was sure I was swimming. We paused for a few blissful, necessary moments in the shop just to be able to see again. But once we got back on our bikes, pedals in full motion, suddenly we forgot about the heat. Perhaps its the factual wind in my hair that helped me forget the oppressive heat, but maybe it was the freedom of leaving behind inhibitions of gas prices and working air conditioners. The feel of muscles moving again in synch with one another. What is best, is that I feel that I've earned this new bike with its sparkling paint job and brakes so brand new they squeak.

Here she is!

Above. Ina meets Mustache, the older, wiser Raliegh gentleman ready to show her the ropes.

Finally, back to health! Back to action! And the beauty of it is, I can still ride in a skirt.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

I could tell you about a number of things; the lamplight and its glow near the window, the hum of the oscillating fan whose breeze doesn't reach me in the corner. I could confess the brownie I just ate, the satisfaction with which I savored the high fructose corn syrup, the sugar count. Oh, the gluten-ey morsels. I could justify it with tales of sadness, nighttime loneliness, a husband who works graveyard shifts and a star filled mountain night without him. But mostly I'm wondering about the moths that pepper the curtains next to the lightbulb by the window, I wonder that in a room full of dark corners to hide in, they still flock without failing to the light source in the room, making their fragile, velvety bodies an easy target for fly swatters and frightened girls wielding flip flops. They seek the light, though it costs them their lives, it is worth the risk. How like love.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I bent down and felt in my messenger bag, amongst the needles and tampons for a pen. It was an awkward way to move and just before I found the pen, I wondered if it was worth the effort. Just before quitting, I felt it, a little thicker than the knitting needles. I underlined the words “Did you ever get fed up?' I said 'I mean, did you ever get scared that everything was going to go lousy unless you did something?”-Catcher in the Rye. I don't know how I feel about this character Holden. At times I'm rather irritated at his Negative Nelly status, and then the next moment I feel I might fall in love with him, the way he reminds me of Marcos so. Its in these periods of memorium that I feel such a fondness for Holden. I sort of picture him to have the same build as Marcos, the same face. I think its why I got so disappointed when Holden had that prostitute to his room, and why I felt so bad for him when Maurice made him cry. And then there's the way he refers to certain types of people as “Phonies”. At first I wasn't sure I understood what he meant, and that's shocking to me now, because no one knows exactly what he means more than me. Living here in the trendy down town, you meet these “phonies” everywhere, spilling off of street corners into the gutter. The trouble is, however, that this phoniness is catching, like a stray path from piety into worldly lusts of flesh and purse-strings; Like when I said “I bent down and felt in my messenger bag”; that's phony. Why do I have to call it a messenger bag? Who do I think I am? I'm not a messenger. I'm a girl who rides her bike (when the tires actually keep air) and who carries a large bag. Its just a bag.

Traps are set everywhere, and baited heavily with sweet nectar and exotic treats (or rather the promise of them. Odds are you'll never see them with your own eyes, but rather hear merely whispers of their existence, perhaps see them on an episode of Khloe and Kourtney take Miami), mislead to the trapping claws by a trail of pressing bills and chump change. Stepping stones down to a pit of bottomless pockets, or pockets too shallow, are gradual and sneaking and before you know it, what you thought were good career moves or at least a good way to suck up to your boss turns out to be nothing more than dirty tricks to rope you in. Suddenly you find yourself stacking panties or hanging dresses (retail will cause the biggest trouble, mark my words; Hand in your application with guards around your heart.) and you find yourself filled with a lust far more permeating than any sexual deviation. If the love of money is the root of all evil, then the lust for it is far more filthy. I found myself hanging up dresses, stricken with severe disappointment, deep and all consuming, lost over the mere fact that I could not spend $80 for the pretty flower pattern “...$70 if I get the plain...” I argued to myself. A seven dollar ball of lip balm? I began to work out ways to justify the expense. I never spent the money, mind you, but I wanted to. To my core I wanted to.

And it happens to the best of us. Often our purchases are the makeshift balm we scrap together to bandage the wounds our jobs inflict upon us. I've begun to realize that the citizens who work the hardest are perhaps those who drive to work expecting, and receiving, disrespect and disappointment from the moment they walk in the door to the moment they leave. The burden of disrespect is a heavy weight on the neck of the employee, and at times it threatens to drag you a grinding halt. Worse than that; inspite of all your longing to escape from those miserable ties and fly to the heights of your potential, it is this weight that serves as an anchor, trapping you in your job, tying you to the source of you pain. And things become the distraction; Things become the justification. “So I have something to show for it.” As if that new phone, those new clothes, a new car, a motorcycle even, would be our reason amidst all the madness. And if we just had those new clothes to see in the closet, or that new phone to ring in our pockets, or that new motorcycle to drive to work, then we would forget.

Needless to say, things are taking on the appearance of something lost in shambles. A series of poor choices that at the time seemed genius, a stack of parking tickets, a car to smog, a clutch to replace, bills to pay, are burying us in a hole. And by default almost, we found ourselves slipping into an enamored affair, lured by money and possession and the comforts those nymphs promise. The dust of my thoughts are the little pieces of me, of the world, of my Bible and my God all floating around. This is the only way I can describe what it is like. All the ideals, ideas, philosophies, desires vs needs, all floating around my room. And my struggle is to pick and chose with precision and care those that should stay, and those that should go. I am one of the lucky ones; my work is rewarding. As a Nanny, I go home each day knowing I've made a difference, and feel that the emotional payback outweighs even the check every two weeks. But I haven't always been so fortunate, and even though I count my blessings now, it still is all to easy to loose my footing time and again.

I suppose this is what you will all have to listen to, now that I have been grounded without wheels. Well, I've got things with four wheels, but as I just said they've become more of a burden than a vessel of freedom. My thing with two wheels is really a thing with just one wheel, that doesn't do me much good. Hence I've got no more tales of midnight rides, no more updates on a sore behind. Now, my lucky friends, here my social commentary on life and consumerism! Poor souls. I pity you, I do, for I get the strange sense that I'm growing less inspired and more mundane by the minute.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Wrought with cramps, hormonal exhaustion, having already bypassed a lovely sounding trip to the lake due to this months troubles, I dutifully saddled my Schwinn once again. The place was that we would head half a mile south to the coffee shop, I would talk to you guys a bit, and then we'd head a mile north to grocery shop before heading home. The Advil was kicking in, and although the air was hot on my neck, its caressing was gentle and welcome. About half way to the Revue where our Americano's -One with whipped cream, one without, both iced- were waiting for us, my rickety bike began to racket even louder. I was flashing bike to that fateful ride to work. The famed goat-head fiasco. But ride on we did. It wasn't till we hopped back on the bikes -my Americano still three fourths full because I'm like some sort of turtle on two legs- that I realize something was wrong. My back tire is flat. And we just bought these new tubes.

I am, needless to say, devastated. And angry. And all together disappointed. My best intentions foiled, falling by the way side in spite of every effort spent in keeping things afloat. It is a mere symptom of a disease that creeps into your life and robs you of the capability to buy a cutting board if you needed it, or a dish-rack for dishes to dry on, or a new tube for a popped tire. The walk home was long, with each stomp of my foot I drove my curses deeper and deeper into the concrete, cursed my poverty, my bad choices, my budget. I cursed the darkness that had fallen, and I cursed every homeless tramp that passed a little too close to me. I cursed the June bug that lingered in the beam of my head light, flapping its stupid sticky wings before turning around and running into my stomach. However, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that this stupid June bug did illicit a few stupid giggles as we tried to dodge and weave our way around its lumbering flight patterns.

We passed, slowly, our favorite house, the one with an art studio that takes up half the south side of the house, the room with all the windows filled with canvases half full, and mostly full, and still blank. In the darkness of night the room was illuminated, casting a soft glow of light across the neighborhood sidewalk, creating shadows out of my spinning spokes and that crumby flat tire. I couldn't help but feel my heart skip a beat at seeing this studio that I've passed so many times now lit up and come to life; even as a drab and darkened mere room it capture my heart. Now, my soul lighted on air a bit. There sat a gray haired lady, doing something mysterious at a desk. She wore a purple t-shirt. I drove my eyes back to the ground and plunged my feet forward. I smothered the shimmer in my soul and let the yuckiness back in. Right now, I liked that better. Life sucked, and it always sucks, and even if a momentary bit of fun like bike riding comes in, make no mistake, it will go back to sucking.

We were about half way home now. A man exited his SUV to manually close the garage door behind him. We passed, my head down, Marcos' mind I'm sure reeling circles, exacting schemes to cheer me up. The man in the red shirt called to us “Do you need a little air?” He came forwards and listened with such sympathetic eyes as I lamented of the flat tire, and he begged us never mind his face; He was hit by a car while he was riding his new carbon framed bicycle, the very one he'd bought twenty minutes before. After a good five minutes full of caring glances and a bevy of Goodlucks, we were on our way again. Suddenly, my heart felt a little lighter as its beats went skipping, bouncing off the tips of my loafer shoes and sailing into the night sky.

Its amazing what a bit of kindness can do. And maybe the constant here isn't Suck, maybe the constant is actually the light streaming down from windows. And maybe I had it backwards that night on the street, perhaps life isn't all black. Maybe what's really happening is that Life always has Light in it, and even when a bit of suck and darkness sneaks in, it will always go back to Light.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

My thoughts are like dust, which would settle themselves and rest were it not for the fan or random flicking cat tail to stir them back up again. For now they are floating around the room, for the most part lacking form and shape. I should get up and do something; perhaps the dishes, or a shower would be nice, or I could pack myself up and go for a bike ride. But I can't peel myself up from the couch, from the movie I'm not watching, from the dust I'm trying to collect and decipher as it lands on my windowsill.

And so consequently there is not much to discuss today. I could tell you about the hair cut I plan to get; a chic bob that hits just below my chin and A-Lines up the back of my head. A brave move on my part I'm sure, because my hair hasn't been that short since junior high. I could tell you how I'm attempting to learn French; successful in the reading and recognizing words, massive failure in pronunciations. I could tell you about my black coffee, something that's always been an old writing standby for me; it is where I turn when there's nothing else to talk about.

Black coffee. It is (narcissistically?) one of my favorite poetic metaphors. I began taking my coffee black on my Senior trip to Disney Land- that morning I was desperate for a cup that, once the pot was set down in front of me I gripped it and slammed it down, refusing to wait for the cream and sugar. Shortly following that same year my parents divorced, and I had separate 18th birthday parties, separate graduation parties, and soon stopped speaking to my father altogether. I became somewhat of a minimalist; I looked at life and all that had been ripped away, and chose to help these demons along and did away with the rest, accepting only the bare essentials. I wanted nothing of frills or pleasures. The only pretty thing I prized was my white Orchid. I listened to a lot of Bob Dylan and fantasied about one day hitting the road, leaving my life behind like dust discarded dust from old worn out tires. Where would I go? Colorado to live with Teresa. I'm sure she would have set me up in a tent next to her garden. We could have built a fort in her living room and I could have been happy there for some time. I was so ready for this that I packed up my clothes in my red suitcase, and used only those, lived out of it, for months. Love now meant nothing to me, and I was convinced that I would die alone, on a mountain top, raising llamas, and that when I died it would be so cold that I would become a sort of Ice Mummy. Anyways, Coffee was the bare essential; creamer was the fancy extra. I've since reconciled myself to having a bounty, a plenty, a cup that is full. It wasn't easy; when love and marriage came a long I didn't know how to behave for quite sometime. But I've adjusted, and sometimes take creamer and sugar in my coffee, but it still is only when I'm feeling fancy.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Road my bike today through 106 degree heat and a gallbladder attack.
I don't want to talk about it.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

The sun has felt so blissful on my skin. Its been so long sing I let him kiss me, for so long its been that I ached for delicately fair and powdery skin, hiding behind sweaters and underneath tree shade. But now for the first time, perhaps because the weather has grown so sweltering hot and because the bike rides have been so strenuous for my unexcercised muscles that if I wore anymore than mere modesty I would drown in sweat and agony, have I face the sun's rays with honesty, however squintingly.

Oh Vitamin D! My oldest friend and compadre! My husband declares I'm glowing; the fine baby hairs on my arms have turned a startling blonde, the acne scars that once riddled my cheeks and back are now all but invisible, something I've spent a little less than a small fortune to achieve. My family has been urging me to step out into the sun for some years now. “A little sunshine wont hurt you!” Didn't they know I was changing my gene's and melanin? So its no surprise to me that I bear many of the symptoms of a person suffering from a Vitamin D deficiency, or so it should seem based on all the internet research I've done. Add onto that my Glutin intolerance (for those who don't know, a glutin allergy means that I'm allergic to that thing that happens when water and flour mix together. What THAT means is that anytime I eat flour foods, they go into my body and swell up the lining of my nose and throat, make it hard to breathe, and tear down the lining of my small intestine, making it harder and harder till it becomes impossible for me to absorb vitamins or protein) and I'm in a bad way. However, I brightened at sight of the tan that now graced my skin, almost as if I could feel the D Vitamin sink down into my flesh and make everything glowing and bright.

Having retrieved the necessary items for tortilla soup (sans tortillas) and bouncing about in our Uncle Fred's truck, coming home, I looked down to my arm and exclaimed “Look at my white patch! I haven't seen it in years!” For now is the first time the surrounding skin was dark enough to notice a difference. My mom proceeded to attempt to remember what the particular condition was called, when one looses pigment in their skin. Silly me, I thought it was an odd birthmark all these years. According to more internet research, it turns out its a condition called Vitiligo, and is technically an autoimmune disease. My mom tells me not to panic, my husband brings me a stack of natural cure books, none of which have Vitiligo in their index. “If its an autoimmune disease its the lightest one you can get” and while my mom is right, I feel sort of arrested as I go to bed tonight, as if my arms is tingling and swelling with autoimmune germs. Just think, had I stuck to my old ways and kept to mottled sunlight through tree tops, I might never have known.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

As we cross of the days on our dollar tree calender, distancing ourselves from spring we move closer and closer to summer. Each day brings a new level of hot. I find my swamp cooler works less and less efficiently and there's not enough ice in the freezer to quench my thirst. This is day four of our Bike Riding Experiment (for lack of better title) and what a time we picked to execute it!-when sweltering heat draws nearer, breezes swing through less and less often and thus when caught resemble something of an exotic delicacy.

I recently was out of town on work (how grown up do I sound!) and my husband found himself depressed at home, driving only to work and back. He threw himself in to woodworking and found much relief in the sanding down of ugly wood, making beautiful something that was once old and ready for the trash heap. He called me victoriously one day, and ended up proposing this very experiment; “I've made it through three days on ten dollars worth of gas!” I'm a nanny for a two year old little boy named Austin, and my jaw dropped so furiously it nearly hit the kid on top of the head! I'll tell you a secret, and I trust you'll use your discretion and never breathe our secret shame to another soul; we had been spending ten dollars a day on gas. I don't like to think about that too hard or too often, as it brings me to the brink of sobbing tears. Oh the loss of a small fortune! Spent on grocery store trips! Something had to give, and Marcos' trial run was all the motivation we needed to embark upon doing a new thing.

We discussed it, laying down rules as if we were playing a high stakes poker game. I feel not unlike a contestant in the amazing race, and though I've never really watched the show, I feel the comparison is not far off, for what we are doing is in some ways, Amazing. Saving the world, and our pocket books, one grunt and pedal at a time. The rules are simple; if its within riding distance, ride we must. I already here cries of excuses from the grandstands “What distance is too far if the world and its wildlife and our children's futures are at stake?!” (and no, I don't think that's dramatic.) And I call back that there are a LOT of distances too great when you've been called to cross them on a ancient single speed Schwinn whose steely frame weighs as much as a large overfed child. Add onto that the fact that the last time I worked out, expending any particular effort, was in junior high, and I stopped because I got a hernia. And THAT was doing Pilates. I'm an average looking girl, not overweight appearing to any significant degree. My Va just has a bit more O's to its VOOOOM than Dr. Oz's Website says it should. So perhaps we should add another victim to our list of things we're saving, not just the world or our pocket books, but my ass is on the line here too.

Today is day four of our Bike Riding Experiment, and needless to say, the last three days have not been easy. Its not easy to carry groceries home on a bike. Its also not easy to run into your cousin en route on his bike ride and play catch up, while all you're trying to do is play Lets-See-How-Much-Further-I-Can-Go-Before-I-Fucking-Die. (I was excited to see him, don't get me wrong. It had been too long, and plus, now we have something in common. Plus I think he's super cool with his backpack that has the tubey-thing to drink water out of. Like the kid in first grade with the new kicks.) But I'm here now. I'm doing this. And if you want to, you can follow along here; you can live vicariously through Marcos and I, or perhaps (and this is what I'm hoping for) you can know that this life style isn't JUST for the REI crowd with their backpacks with the tubey-things, for young hipsters who look like hobos on purpose. And its not just for Liberal Go Greeners either (although there's nothing wrong with that. I'm a Go Green-er Girl myself). This is for anyone who sees that our way of life is not going to work much longer, on the global scale (BP oil spill anyone?) or a personal scale (mounting debt and obesity?) (or just plain unhealthy, can live beneath my means no matter how hard I try?) Its time to do a new thing. And that's what I, and We, are here to do. I will tell you about my thoughts that accumulate on the bike rides (and there are plenty of those!) I'll also tell you if it gets any easy, and how much harder it becomes before that elusive easy sets in, if it ever does. And To be honest some stuff will probably sneak in that has nothing to do with bike riding, like religion and spiritual beliefs, and that's okay. I'm just along for the ride, to see what I see along the way.