stuck in reverse.

I had a dream last night.  It was the most bizarre dream.  I drove to the beach, to a little seaside motel.  I had this little car, and only my car key (the others were gone). It seems I was going back for something.  Or I wanted something.  I’m not sure which.

As I waited outside, I could see couples and families and I heard the roar of the ocean.  I revved the car, it turned left and went straight into the ground, skidding several hundred feet.  I’ve had this dream before…where I get killed in a car, or the car is spinning out of control, and I cannot stop it, but.  I am awake.  As I sat in the driver’s seat, I thought, I’ll bet I can go get some help in the motel.

I got out of the car.  I went to the second floor open balcony, and looked in several rooms.  No one was there.  No one was at the front desk.  I started to head down the stairs, and a man and his daughter were walking up.  He did not look at me, but he was speaking in French.  There were a few other families and couples milling around, but they did not seem to see me.  I was signaling for help silently…wishing they could read my mind and help me.

But.  No one came.  Not only did they not help me, it appeared that I was on my own.

I woke with a start.   4am.  I stayed awake for 2 hours just mulling over the events in my mind.  I’m a dream analysis type of girl.  A neophyte observer would attach meaning to being stuck and alone.   But…as a Freudian we know that dreams aren’t always as they appear.  Looking at it as an observer, I would imagine that there’s something about that mud there…or the ocean.  What would the ocean say?

All I know is that…Reverse seemed the only option to get out of the mud.  The dream ended.

New thought:  My foot hurts.  It does.  I haven’t run for 3 days.  It’s got that familiar little twinge.  I feel like I’m going backward.  Stuck in Reverse.


98 Days of Summer: By The Numbers

On May 21, I left behind 586.48 miles.  All the miles I ran up until this day simply stopped.  That was the day I got the infamous Princess Purple Cast.

4 weeks later, the cast was replaced by a boot.  more weeks later, I thought I could run.  I took my running shoes to the Orthopedic Doctor, and my hopes were dashed when he looked at me…stunned.  I said, “I can run, right?”  He said no.  6 more weeks of non-running.  This is a total of 14 non-running weeks.  I’ve blogged about it, and ruminated over which is better:  swimming, biking, treadmill or stairmaster.  The answer?  Ugg.  None of it.  I just really miss running.

One of the key factors to this stress fracture was the fact that my Vitamin D was VERY low.  The doctor put me on 50,000 mg of Vitamin D…to be taken 1 time a week.  It’s a teeny pill that I hope will be a factor in my return.  I’m 53 years old.  I need the Vitamin.

I weighed 179.8 the day I was casted.  This morning, I’m at 187.2, a fierce 7.4 pounds of weight gain.  Way too much.  At first, it was the 3 pounds of cast.  Then, it was the 4 more pounds of eating bad stuff.  No excuses.  I’m back on LiveStrong and daily journaling.  I head to the gym again today to somehow combat this slide with mental attitude and good habits.  I know better.  I really do.

I lost my job in May.  Actually, it was the day after I was casted.  The day after the MRI.  All of which was covered by insurance.  I lost that too.  Since that day, I have put in 132 teaching applications (coupled with 20 or so prior to May).  I have gone on several interviews.  One that I walked out of…and in each interview I felt confident and hopeful.  Only to have the hopes dashed a few days later.  I’m 53, at the end of the payscale, with 25+ years of experience.  If you look on any teaching salary schedule, you will see that a new teacher can be contracted for half of my salary.  That being said, I long for the days of simple elementary school teaching, and I kick myself at times for leaving that first love of mine.

2 months ago, Harley Guy and I resumed our relationship, but it is so different from the first 1.5 years, that we call this Book 2.  We were apart 2 months, then realized that whatever happened before, we could work through again.  I haven’t written about it, barely posted about it on Facebook.  It proves only one thing:  You can’t help who you love.  I don’t care about any history, as long as you learn from it.  And we have.  I have.  There are footnotes in my brain that detail how we reconnected…but, it’s private and just ours.

We decided that we would continue to love each other.  So much so, that we now are in Book …many chapters to an ongoing love story.  We spent Summer weekends on the central coast, just enjoying.  I don’t know how the story will end, but I’m willing to keep reading.

The women in my life rocked me through this time.  I was held to a higher standard than I ever thought possible by a sweet Southern Belle friend of mine.  She encouraged me to seek my better self…and though I can’t blog about this yet, it continues to be one of the biggest blessings of the Summer.  As I’m typing this, my Florida gal chimes in with:  Is today the day?  My Fresno Runner pal posts on my timeline…Today’s the day!!!! Sending you hugs and best wishes!  Cherry Pie continues to hold my hand with daily messages and chocolate! And then… the love of the LADodgers held my Rocky Mountain galpal and I in good stead just when we were ready to close a chapter…another loss that was saved.  Now, if only my Boys in Blue could do the same for this tilt-a-wheel baseball season…

So.  98 days.  98 days of love and loss and gain…some in the wrong places.  But.  In God’s world, nothing really happens by mistake.  I’m reminded that in order for flowers to bloom, you gotta have rain.  It’s been raining.  I’ve done my best to make lemonade out of lemons.  And guess what I have?

I have the best mixture of life lessons.  And it all happened with the crack of a foot.  My lemonade is sweet and sour, but it’s authentic and honest.  And.  It’s all mine.

98 Days.  I can’t hardly wait to see what comes next.

summer living. and the blog is ignored.

summer is halfway here.  the all star game is today.  the dodgers are in first place.  life is good.

i’m still here.  of course i’m still here.  after the twitter and the facebook  and the instagram, the only web-ish thing that is constant is the blog.  it was first, after all.

it’s summer.  i’m in a boot.  8 weeks ago i got the cast, and now the boot.  i go to the doctor on monday to get it off, and hopefully get the green light for running.  then some other un-fun person told me i can’t just start running.  that’s just wrong.

  • i re-joined twitter.  i’m not able to tweet very much.  i used to non-stop tweet.  but now?  i barely remember that i have it.
  • facebook:  i spent so much time in the facebook world of my fresno friends the last year.  now i’m embracing and enjoying the local peeps as well.
  • photo apps:  i think i have 12.  i take the same pictures every day.  chet in the morning, my sunset every night.  and you might wonder…why every day?  the same things?  and it’s the regularity, the constancy.  i like it.  i also just got re-addicted to hipstamatic.
  • books & movies:  i saw magic mike.  i am reading 50 shades of grey.  the book i can’t get into.  i mean, i would have devoured that 30 years ago.  it holds nothing for me now.  the movie was good.  but not in a r-rated kind of good …entertaining, but sweet at the end.  like, yeah.  we all get a chance for a do-over.
  • therapy:  i have the best therapist on the planet.  she laughs with me and she makes me work.  she shows me the light of day when i think i simply cannot look down that path any more.  i’m so lucky and blessed.
  • girlfriends: women who message me every morning.  my constant group of 5 or 6 from all over the country, my college roommate who is road tripping with me today.  thankful for a generous group of women.  i have a beautiful sponsor who reminds me daily that i am to be of maximum service to god and his kids.
  • weight gain: 10.  10 pounds of the 20 i lost in my last round of training.  i swim.  i lift weights.  but apparently, i also eat like i’m still training some days.  i’m unwilling to do anything different, apparently.  i’m hoping i get inspired soon.
  • depression:  if you are a runner, and you can’t run.  and you gain weight.  and you’re out of work and waiting on claims here and there…you know that this could be very tough.  however.  the sun does rise every morning, and even when it’s tough, there is still so much to be grateful for:  2 healthy children, a home, my chet.  all is well, and will continue to be.
  • love:  i have always had difficulty in this area.  turns out, i’m the one with the commitment problem…not them.  it’s way too much and too wordy to put in a blog post.  but it turns out, that i have some fears that i just didn’t know about.  that being said, i’m willing.  to explore and hope.

again: summer is halfway here.  the all star game is today.  the dodgers are in first place.  life is good.  there is nothing to complain about, nothing to worry about.  the past 4 years have taught me that if i simply trudge, stay the course, stay honest…that i will reap great rewards.  i am living that today.

happy summer to all!

i stay until the credits roll.

Years ago, I learned to stay in the movie theater right up until the last credit rolls.  Everyone has left.  The employees are standing in the aisles ready to clean up, and there I sit.  I want to see every name, every little tidbit that I might have missed.  Sometimes, you get to see funny outtakes, or you get to read a name that seems familiar.  A town.  Something.

I was swimming last night.  Finally out of a cast, with a month of swim workouts to regain strength in  my foot.  And, my son put on ACDC Back In Black on the speakers.  With every inhale and up, I could hear the strain of the guitar and the pounding drums.  And I started to smile.

I got that letter again yesterday that says you have 30 days blah blah blah…and I made my appointment.  I can’t describe the feeling of pride I got as I was swimming.  Because it could have been so different.

I could have left this house 5 years ago.  This magnificent house that has become simply.  Ours.  My boys and I claimed it, and have spent the last 5 years holding it together.  If there is any house that has duct tape mentality, it’s this one.  I was looking around as I swam.  At the rusted metal post holding one end of the fence up.  At the gazebo that long ago lost it’s roof, and now sits as a skeleton.  At that old rose bush that was planted 17 years ago at the loss of a baby.

And I realized.  I stayed.  I didn’t leave.  They say, “Don’t leave before the miracle.”  My sponsor reminded me long ago that I was a runner.  Both physically and emotionally.  And she helped me to stay.

At first, I spent hours worrying.  I would lie awake thinking what I would do when they came and locked the door.  And where would we go, and how would I take care of my boys.  I have spent hours on the phone with lenders and salesmen and people who promised one thing or the other.  The house has been the topic of a few blog posts.

And now.

I just wait, and try not to worry.

People have advised me all along that I was doing it wrong.  You should leave.  You should plan.  What will you do, and the sky is falling.  But you know what?  I would do it exactly the same way if I could.

Because.  As I was swimming, and looking at the stars and listening to my almost double set of teenagers, I thought…if I had done one thing differently, I would have missed THIS moment.  The joy and the peace of listening to my runner’s body trying to do something different.  Listening to the prayers of my heart thanking God for exactly each step I had to take.

I explained our situation to my teens a few days ago.  I told them simply everything.  And I said, it’s like we have a bowl of rocks.  And, we’re full up.  There is no more room, so we need to decide which actions will remove rocks, and lighten the load.  Every time we complain or hurt each other, or don’t have each others’ backs, it’s like adding another rock.  And then, one day it will be too much.  So, on a daily basis our job is to remove a rock.  Help out.  Be of service to each other.  Love.

The credits could be rolling…or this could be the beginning of a double header.  Where, you might have lost the first game, but you still have a shot to even the score in the second game.

In any event.  Here I am.  Full of gratitude.

dad notes.

“Out here a man settles his own problems.” – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

I was thinking about John Wayne as I decided I would write a Father’s Day post.  In looking back at this blog, I have not written about him on Father’s Day for 5 years.  Well, it’s time.

I would love to tell you all the wonderful things that he has accomplished.  He is an Eagle Scout.  He put himself through the University of Idaho setting pins in a bowling alley.  He was one of the Liquid Oxygen and Turbopump designers on the Space Shuttle Main Engine.  He and my Mom raised three daughters  on one salary, and spent weekends working on his Model A.  He bought a home, put me through college.  All of those thankless jobs that many dads do.

But.  He is more than that.

It’s making me get up at 3am in the 60’s, so that we could see the rockets lift off on the East Coast, long before there was tape delay.  It’s going to all my church fellowship events, and winning the award for eating the most tacos.  It’s watching him honor my mother in their nightly cocktail hour…the one where NO children were allowed.  He set the standard for how a man should treat the woman he loves.

He would get me up at 6am when I was in Junior High so that we could run a mile together every morning.  And, at the end, he would yell at me to SPRINT.  It was me, coming in last in the 800…almost so slow that the next event had started…and looking up in the stands to see them cheering me in, and yelling for me to …SPRINT.  He is the reason that at Mile 18 of the LA Marathon, that I did not go with the paramedics.  My father.  He was waiting for me at the finish line. And, I had the same feeling watching him as I ran that day, too.  His face as he watched me.  In shock, and something else.  Pride, I think.

This man, who stared down a mama bear (in the picture above) and her two cubs.  This man who taught me how to fish, and wash dishes, and how to finish college.  Because, I was flunking out in Freshman year with a 1.8 GPA, and he drove all the way to Fresno to have the talk with me.  You know the talk.  Either get it together, or come home talk.

When I got sober, my parents were confused at the turn of events that had them sending their 17 year old to college, only to have her come home as a member of AA.  What did he do?  He found a man at his work who was sober.  He got us together, and this 54 year old man picked me up and took me to meetings with 30 days sober.  And my Dad never talked about it with me too much.  When I went to make my 9th step amends, he told me that I owed him nothing.

It’s not just my childhood.  Last fall, at 77 years old, he drove 290 miles with my mother just to see my son play in his championship football game.  And, at the end, Dad prayed that they just could get the hail mary pass and win.  And…they did.  He is the Grandpa that goes to the Boy Scout camp outs, and is hailed as a leader by the men in our troop.  He is now teaching my sons things that he taught me.  A few months ago, both of my boys were talking on the way home from Scouts one night, and they said, all they wanted was for their Grandpa to see them both become Eagle Scouts.  I sat quietly in the front, full of gratitude.

Mostly.  This is a man who knows how to show up for people.  Not just me, and not just all of my son’s events.  It’s more than that.  It’s going to the judge and explaining how my sister’s ex husband deserved a second chance, just so his granddaughter could see her daddy.  It’s picking up another ex brother in law and driving him to where he needed to be…without judgement.   It’s being the rock when each of us had our turn in the barrel.  My Dad is the one, who is simply.  There.

If you go to their house on the corner in Woodland Hills, you may see my Mom and Dad sitting out on the porch having a drink.  They will be watering his roses or he will be puttering in and out of his garage.  But.  You will be welcome.  To grab a beer, to sit down, to just visit.  Because this man.  He sets the gold standard for welcoming and hospitality.

I don’t ever remember calling him Daddy.  He is always just.  Dad.  I love him more than I can say.  He is the epitome of the John Wayne quote that started this blog post, and still every day I learn something new from him.  We come from boots and bootstraps, and he is the reason that I even know what perseverance means.

I am blessed with the best Dad on the planet.

Happy Father’s Day.  I love you.

only one way to go.

i had to do this again. this swallowing of the pride, and going where i did not want to go.

i had to ask again, and sat there and bawled while she told me how i was going to live for the next month.

i cried for two hours as i made my way through the system yesterday.

i did this a few years ago, and it was novel, and fresh, and i was just learning how to swim in that pond.

but for the first time in my life i had to get that little card that would give me food…

and i stood there while they issued it to me, and i cried, and they said pick a pin number and i simply.

could not.

my hand was shaking, and they were waiting patiently, while giving me the dignity i needed.

no stares, just waiting.

then i had to go and get a medical plan, and that nearly set me back.

i’ve been working since i was 16. i know the system is designed for people like me, but i do not like it.

because i have painted nails, and a guess purse that was given to me

and i just went to palm springs for christ’s sake.

i drove home talking and crying to my little sister all the way. the one who offered me work on her store.

i had spent hours texting my friend who kept reminding me to.


and i kept trying and then i would start crying again.

i went to the bank and took out my last penny. and squirreled it away.

i got on my pajamas, took some cold pizza out of the fridge, and curled up into a ball.

i slept.

i remembered how when i was driving home late one night this week…

how i nearly fell asleep, and when i snapped my eyes open…

i went, damn.

it was scary. to feel that way. like everything was caving in all at once, and i was at rock bottom.

i slept on the bed for hours. dozing on and off. just played seinfeld in the background.

my sponsor. she called me.

and within minutes, we had a plan, we were laughing, and she was reminding me of my purpose in this life.

to be of maximum service to god and his kids. that the sun does rise every morning,

and i am to be right in the middle of life.

and i was reminded that…rock bottom? it has a trap door. and i’m not there.

i have a house, 2 great teenagers who swim fanatically with their buddies as i type this.

i went to the market. i used the card. with $103 dollars.

i buy lots of fun teenager food so as to give the illusion that we have more than we have.

i bake a cake because they are coming back.

and today. it was a new day.

one way or another, i will survive, and it’s not just a donna summer song.

truly. i will survive, and with panache.

day is done.

the big meeting in the sky.

the big meeting in the sky just got another newcomer.

harry will be now making the coffee and greet all who enter.

i was 20 years old, and moving back home from college.  i had 2 months of sobriety, and honestly, i’m not sure my parents knew what to do with me.  my dad said that he knew a man.  harry m., who worked with him.  that he was sober.  and that he could take me to meetings.

he, 54…and me…20 years old.  we were quite a pair.  cigarette hanging out of the corner of his mouth.  an infectious smile and laugh.  everywhere we went he introduced me to the women.  he showed me the program in the south, and i understood from him that it was my job to just keep going.  we never talked about my inventory; he never was disrespectful.  he showed up, brought me to you, left me alone and drove me home after coffee.  he explained what our big book said, that we are engaged upon a life-and-death errand, every single day.  that we are to be there for the newcomer, that it will ensure our sobriety more than anything else.

this weekend, at the pow wow in palm springs, he suddenly crossed my mind.  briefly.  and i wondered what that was about, since i hadn’t thought of him in 30 years.  this morning, i got an email that was forwarded by my dad to me.  that harry had gone to the big meeting in the sky.  that harry lived a full and joyous life for 87 years.  he was the epitome of living a happy and useful life as a result of staying sober in our beautiful program.

it’s weird.  i know about alcoholic deaths.  they are gruesome.  the girl who drank herself out in the field and froze to death.  the countless people who’ve had unremarkable deaths.  they got drunk, and they simply died.  the ones who ended up in being murdered, after thinking they again could drink in safety.  these are the funerals with the most weeping.  once i gave a eulogy of a girl who i had sponsored.  she decided that she could dance with the devil too.  the last time i saw her, we were doing her fifth step; the next time she was in a casket.

these deaths.  they break our hearts, and we all rush out to meetings to ensure one. more. day.

but the people who die after living a long beautiful life.  they are my inspiration.  i spent the weekend with some great friends.  one who was 40 years sober, and in the meeting i felt ray.  our ray.  ray h, who she and i loved more than words could say.  his cigarette, his flip flops.  the first time i went to an aa potluck at his house.  and i turned to her with a shiver and said, carol.  ray is here.  between us.

this got me thinking…of all of them.  and i thought of ken r., who helped me build the fresno fellowship tables…or maybe i helped him, who loved me as a daughter.   of gwen and dee.  and jini mac.  these people who lived a life of quiet dignity.  and taught me everything i know about how to stay sober.  of sitting at annette’s table writing letters to new york.

i like to think that the reason i felt ray in the meeting on friday, was that he was getting harry’s chair ready for him.  i am still that little girl, with the fairy tale ending, and in my mind, i envision laughter and back slapping and welcoming.

i was blessed to know him.  he will keep the chairs full, and the coffee brewing.  everyone will have a big book, and he will reach his hand out to all who follow him there.

welcome, harry…you are in good company, and thank you for everything.

love, linda