Blazing Saddles Ride

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Yesterday kicked my ass. And my CROTCH. And the bottoms of my feet, my toes, my forearms and my neck. But mostly my crotch. Fortunately my thighs, calves and lungs held up pretty damn good for the whole 100 miles. My spirit wavered occasionally and I had the shit scared out of me twice. But it was worth it.

Fifty people donated in support of my ride. Together we raised over $3000 of the $15,000 at the Blazing Saddles event to help Montana families of children with cancer. Your support helped carry me across those miles.

When I faced a knurly headwind during the 8th hour on that tiny abusive seat on top of those impossibly skinny hard tires I swore out loud. Seriously. I also panted a mantra the last few miles, “you are healthy – you are healthy – you are healthy” which was as close as I could get to “you are strong” and “you got this” because at those moments when the wind pounded my spirit and the relentless deep cracks in the pavement punched my softest most sensitive parts, I didn’t feel like I “had this” or that I was “strong.” I felt like crying and more than anything I wanted to be DONE.

My pain was real. But I was heartily aware that my pain was temporary and a self-imposed “luxury” that comes from a choice I made while being healthy, unlike young’uns faced with cancer. Cancer has touched all of us one way or another. I witnessed my father’s last breath when pancreatic cancer took him. I saw the fear in my mother’s eyes when they wheeled her away to cut off her breast. The day before the ride a courageous dear friend who continues to fight texted (without whining) that he was “Feeling lousy today. Weak from chemo and sick.”

I do not personally know a child with cancer but I thought about three new babies recently born to 3 of the ten couples Raymond has married. I rode for those healthy babies and their future even as I road for the children currently fighting. Yesterday was the kind of day that took me places within myself that are both personal and not-at-all about “self.”

It’s not too late to donate: The Payden Foundation

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Desert Night


Followed a GIANT jackrabbit a ways down a desert dirt road somewhere near Escalante until it dead ended at a rocky ravine. I rolled out the cozy o’l sleeping bag I used when I was a wilderness ranger 30 years ago, lay down and watched as clouds rushed the moon. Wind whipped. Rain fell until the storm drove me into the back seat of the truck where I curled up and dozed. The storm passed, I crawled out of my burrow and sprawled in the truck bed as the clouds crept away and the stars marched in...

Kiera's Summit

She arrived near midnight after a 14 hour ride from Minnesota. I tucked Kiera into her bed at the studio nap room as she excitedly gaped at the stars. Just after dawn Kiera zipped over in JD (the ATV) to drink tea while I geared her up for the promised summit adventure. She’s been itching to tag a peak since early spring when she visited with her sister (and we almost summited a local peak but were turned around by snow conditions near the top).

Snow, once again, played a part in our summit day (we were on snow the whole approach). But nothing was going to stop us. What a fine day we shared...!

Stretching my horizons, heart and stomach

The once-in-fifiteen-year snowstorm happened while I was in Paris....twice...! Traveling is damn good for....everything...!  The opportunity to go to Paris was totally unexpected and lucky-for-me travel expenses were in a large part paid for as I was asked to speak to youth at a business school (one of my favorite experiences from the trip).  My first day in Paris at Muse d'Orsay and my final day in Montmarte were my two favorite days with plenty of goodness (and LOTS of art) in between.  I was struck down by food poisoning one night.  The attack was intense enough that I passed out and hit my face on the way down (in my hotel bathroom) but once again luck was on my side as the black eye from the fall waited until I was on my way home to "bloom."  Although the attack was violent and I was alone, it was rather quick-lived and I was able to recover and resume Paris goodness.  Plus a good friend from home arrived in Paris with her friend at about the same time as the attack so Raymond knew that if I had to be taken care of then she would step up and mother me.  While in the bathroom (for the second time) of the Museum in Monet's house (I was still recovering) I remember thinking happily how I was sooooo inspired all I wanted to do was draw and draw and draw (and then I remembered that is all I wanted to do before I left for Paris).  I laughed out loud.  Happy as hell.