Lessons from Dad

I haven’t written most of the year. It’s been busy–a new job and a new position taking up most of my time since when I last wrote on here in February.

It’s also a year that I’ve experienced emotions that made me feel like I had my insides scooped out with a metal spoon. It left me so exhausted that every time that I wanted to write, I figured that what I put down in words was trite, or I just didn’t feel like sharing because these kind of feelings are a bit hard to understand until you go through them. I certainly didn’t understand the depth of those feelings that others had in the same situation until I experienced them myself.

My father in college

My father in college

So, when my sister suggested the family create a book about our memories of Dad to share with Mom for Christmas, I had a hard time sorting out what I wanted to write.

The one common thing that did come up over these past few months is how much I called upon my father’s usually unspoken lessons when things got tough for me. Below is my contribution about my father.

“Lessons from Dad”

Because Dad worked so much and at all hours, when he was home, he was exhausted. He reverted to his room to rest and get his energy back, either by sleeping or reading books. So, our time at home with him was usually either around the kitchen table at breakfast while he drank his coffee and read one of the two or three newspapers that were delivered to the house, or at dinner when we all talked about what happened during the day.

A trip after church on Sundays to either Chuck’s Donuts or Ed’s Smoke Shop for magazines and sweets was one of the few times during the week that we got to spend time with him outside of home, but even that depended on if he was on call at the hospital that day or not. Overall, there wasn’t a lot of talking on these outings, but even when I was young, I knew that the time I had with Dad and what he said was special because it wasn’t frequent.

Now when I think of Dad, I think of someone who taught me lessons during the few moments that he could, often without words, and instead by example. Here are just a few of the lessons that Dad taught me:

  1. People are…not always good or reasonable (that’s a nice way to put what he actually said). You just have to learn to deal with them and get on with what you have to do.
  2. Do the best job you can do and take pride in it, but don’t expect an award or praise for it. Do it because you want to do it.
  3. Be financially independent. While Dad was generous with money, it was clear he believed it was important to support yourself. No one else will do it for you.
  4. Work will take its toll on you. Take time to go off and be by yourself when you are tired mentally and/or physically, even if it doesn’t seem to be the socially correct thing to do at the time.
  5. Cycling is one of the most practical ways to get around. Dad rode his bike to Kaiser every day for some years. I now don’t own a car and rarely drive. Though, he taught me to drive a car, too. Of course, as the automobile lover he was, not being a car owner isn’t something that Dad would have necessarily encouraged.
  6. Gardening and yard work is a great way to keep busy and be outdoors at the same time. With Dad, it was a social time, listening to the baseball game on the radio while we all dug in the dirt or raked the leaves.
  7. Learn how to read a map. I think he taught me how to read a map on our family trips to keep me quiet in the car, but now I have a pretty good sense of direction and don’t have to rely on GPS to get me places.

Of course he taught me so much more than what is written above. In the end, I think he led by action because he wanted to make sure we had the tools necessary to be responsible and independent people and so he could be proud of us. I’d like to think that he was successful.

 

 

Apreciação

Everyone posts how great their days are, and sometimes it’s puke-inducing, but I do appreciate my life, some days more than others…so prepare your bags. This morning I woke up after a deep sleep induced by yesterday’s capoeira class followed by a 26.2 mile bike ride (yup, still training), then today I shopped at the farmer’s market, received a sweet text from my traveling love, worked in my yard, trained capoeira, participated in the street roda, visited briefly with my brother, sister-in-law and a wonderful friend of mine, sang, enjoyed the smiles of my friends, warmed myself in the sun and came home to a peaceful neighborhood and the wagging tail of my dog. Some days I am so lucky, and I know it.

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But oh wait, I have to do my taxes now…

 

 

 

 

Port Loop

My second day of preparation for September’s California, Bike MS included a shorter ride (9.2 miles) and a yoga class, both included views of the Bay and San Francisco.The rest of the day has been devoted to house and yard work. I can’t count on the dog to take care of things while I am out.

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I won’t ride everyday, nor will I write about it every day, but I’d like to keep track of it to see if I’m making progress. I’ve come to realize lately that not all progress is notable, but it’s progress. I’ll take that over the alternatives of no change or regress.

Since the end goal of this training and ride is to raise money, I will periodically make a pitch for donations and/or others to join our team. If either is of interest to you, please visit our page.

And so it begins…

Today I started my training for the Waves to Wine ride. I calculated that it would take me at least one extra mile per week to build up to 40 miles. Today I passed my usual 20/21 and did 24.6.

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Starting out in West Oakland, and making my way towards the airport and looping back through Alameda, I passed Jack London Square, men unloading produce off of trucks, workers demolishing part of an 880 flyover, auto repair shops, dowitchers, plovers, pelicans, coots, mallards, Oracle Arena and Oakland Coliseum, tract homes, canals and Victorian houses.

Besides my back, I’m feeling good, not only physically, but about making my mileage goal. Just have to adjust my handlebars and see if that minimizes the discomfort. Stay tuned.

Consistent Cycles

Consistency is not what I have exhibited on my blog these past two months. I’d like to be more consistent, if not in my writing, at least in my physical activity, which includes cycling.

What keeps me on track is if I set goals. This time, my goal is riding at least 40 miles on one day in the Waves to Wine ride on September 21-22. It’s not a lot, but it’s more than I’ve done before.

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My boyfriend Michael has been bugging me about taking a proper ride for some time, but I still refuse to climb the hills like he does. Self abuse isn’t my thing. Though, it’s time to push myself. I’m inspired to do it because MS affects my friends and family and I want a cure to be found.

Michael and I have created a team called “Healing Myelins.” We’d love others to join our team. Of course, we’d love donations. But mostly, we’d like your support so we can reach our goals. It doesn’t have to be monetarily, just words of encouragement is enough.

I need a little push to ride further than I have before. Join, sponsor or send words of encouragement!

 

 

Helmet or no?

I haven’t posted in a month, which is lame of me as I have been home for much of that time, except when I am at work. It’s been that long since I pulled myself off the street after my bicycle/car accident. I’m still picking tiny pieces of glass out of my face, by the way. Thankfully, the rest of me is relatively OK. My knees are tender as heck, but that’s minimal in comparison to one of my regular ferry riders, who has a shattered knee, courtesy of a cab that pulled out right in front of him.

But an important question the fellow ferry rider asked me was if I had my helmet on. As you may know, I did. I think it’s dumb not to–I don’t see any real benefit to not wearing it.

Out of curiosity, I watched riders for a few days, and noticed that approximately 55% of adults chose to not wear a helmet. I don’t think helmet wearing should be mandatory for adults (if you want to risk your life that way, it’s up to you–I’m not for mandating these things), but I wonder why people don’t do it. Vanity vs. safety seems like a silly argument. I understand the hat hair thing, but when observing those riders, many were wearing some kind of chapeau, so the hat/hair thing is irrelevant.

So, here’s my question–do you wear a helmet? If so, why or why not?