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.

004

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

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

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.

800px-Port_of_Oakland_A

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.

628x471

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.

800px-Sonoma_vines

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!

 

 

Second anniversary

Unlike most Saturday mornings when I’d be stretching my quads as I get ready to train at ACSF, instead I am sitting in bed drinking lots of hot liquid, blasting the humidifier, hoping this cold doesn’t get worse.

So I’m taking the time to look back on my second year of capoeira, Maybe I should go buy myself a new workout shirt now. The gift for second anniversaries is cotton.Image

Maybe my goals for the previous year were ambitious, but  I didn’t expect things to go the way they did. I started working full time again, and had a number of physical accidents of vary degrees, one  for which I am still going through physical therapy.

I have not learned to play the berimbau, though I have started to understand better the subtleties of playing one. I also realized I need to learn the pandeiro and the atabaque, with the other challenge for me of playing percussion and singing at the same time!

I am learning more songs, but am still too shy to lead one on my own, but that is still a goal.

My Portuguese has improved, though I am not speaking it as often as I was when I had time to take classes twice a week, but I was able to understand a lot of what was said during our training in December with Mestre Camisa. Plus, wow, I would have never expected training with him to be so fun, in addition to enlightening and educational.

I am playing more in the roda, but still could get in there more.

Floreiras like the basic parada are still an issue for me, but I am starting to understand better how to “stack” my muscles. Handstand classes and yoga help.

Unfortunately I can’t look back and say, wow, what a super awesome job you did meeting your goals, but I see now that as good as these goals are, I either have to accept why they didn’t happen, be it things like injuries, or better adapt to these challenges and figure out new ways to meet these goals so that I can accomplish some, if not all, this year.

What do I want to do this year? I still think the goals above are worth working for, even if I don’t do these all in the next year, especially now that I realize what is necessary to reach these goals. I’ll add another–going to Brazil in August for training. That would make me happy.

My next goal? Getting through this cold.

.

I’m not sorry

One of the best things that I read in this article about Mestrand Cigarra  is this quote: “Women are too careful with each other. It’s like, I’m sorry? There’s no sorry! You get out of the way. That’s the challenge, for women not to think about it so much.”

In my quest to be kind, to make a better world, or at least make mine a little easier on myself, I’ve been apologetic about how I behave, but why? I’m not sorry.

I’m not sorry that I haven’t written in months. I did write, but nothing I felt like posting here. Sometimes I don’t write when I am trying to sort out what is going on in my head. It’s a mish-mosh of things that make no sense to me, let alone anyone who reads it.

I’m not sorry that I don’t like large consumer corporations, like Disney or Walmart. Why should I support companies that sell cheap goods made by slave labor?

I’m not sorry that I am not skinny. Even when I was at my thinnest, I was never skinny. With muscular soccer built thighs, and Irish hips, there’s never been anything delicate about me. Not that I haven’t ever envied my thinner friends, I just knew that I was born with what I had, and there’s no changing that.

I’m not sorry that I am an introvert. I like reading a book on vacation and taking long walks in solitude. I live in a metropolitan area. I need a break from the noise. It refuels me for later.

I’m not sorry that I don’t want to hang out with a big group of people I don’t know, but instead want to spend it in a meaningful way with a small group or just one person that I cherish.

I’m not sorry that I won’t smile at the baloney that people talk. Are they just mad at me because I know that they are full of it? Why should I pretend?

I’m not sorry that I don’t take medication for my anxiety and depression. Instead I’ve chosen to be work it out physically and sometimes retreat from the noise, as mentioned above, so I can still feel like myself. Not that I think that medications are wrong (wait, that’s not an apology), but for me, I choose not to be medicated into a state that suits other people’s needs, but not necessarily my own.

I’m not sorry that when someone asks me how I feel, that I answer honestly, instead of just saying “fine.” Don’t ask me if you really don’t want to know. I’d prefer to have an honest exchange.

I’m not sorry that I wrote this. It’s how I feel.

What do you not feel sorry about?

Of sisters-in-law and cheese bread

Growing up, I never felt I missed a sisterhood, despite the fact that I have five brothers. My mom, my aunts, my sister and my female cousins were all good female role models.

It was the seventies–feminism, Gloria Steinem, Roe v. Wade, and black is beautiful (I grew up in lily-white suburb and my mom bought me black dolls to show me not everyone looks or needs to look like Barbie). The women in my family took time to school me on equality for all, and I soaked it up. Some of my best memories are of peeking through the stairway slats at my cousin’s house to watch and listen to my mom, dad, Aunt Toni and Uncle Jerry debate, discuss and bullshit about the topics of the day.

I was captivated by my aunt–a strong, tough, intelligent, and kind woman, who always took time to check in with me to see how I was doing and ask me what I was thinking (if you don’t think that kind of minor stuff counts for a child, think again).

As a child, I was also surrounded by boys and men–tough, athletic, talented, intelligent and good-hearted. Because of their character, I felt they should be with the same kind of caring, kind, strong, respectful women that I grew up with.

Poor Toni (yes, another Toni!) came first. She had to face all of us when she was just a young 20-something. Even my adolescent ass was ready to judge. But here we are, 20 plus years later, and I feel like she’s been a sister all along.

My brother Pete took his time, and found a woman I once thought timid, but is probably fiercer than most. Rebecca is the person you want on your side. She’s been the best listener and so patient with me, and because of it she means the world to me.

Matt’s girlfriends got it the worst from me. Because he’s close in age, I scrutinized his girlfriends the most. I thought he needed someone who would be sensitive, independent, kind-hearted and funny (a tall bill). I kept my eyes open for someone who would be a fit, and I looked and I hoped, but never expected him to marry a friend of mine, Tina (who I thought would be a good fit), but I am glad he did.

At this point, I am chronologically out-of-order, as Luke married before Matt. Be that as it may, the first time I met Katka in Munich, I knew it made sense my brother would be patient and wait for a woman like her.

Luke’s wife Katka is the impetus for this story. Today, my parents brought me a container packed with these cheese breads that Katka made. These same little cheese breads helped my brother Marc and I travel cheaply and well fed from Bratislava to Prague. It’s a good memory for me. It’s not all that she is, but it’s a sweet, kind thing that she did for me.

So lucky me–Five nephews, four nieces, and a bunch of awesome sister-in-laws. Doesn’t hurt that they can cook, too!

P.S. My brother Marc’s girlfriend, Amber, is pretty awesome, too…

Hottest ticket in town

In my totally bias opinion, it’s Spirit of Brazil!

I’ve been watching the rehearsals and can confidently say, even if you want to watch baseball playoff games, there’s enough time to watch both. From October 18-21, ABADÁ-Capoeira San Francisco (ACSF) presents the SPIRIT OF BRASIL: “Mar de Tradições” (Sea of Traditions), at the ODC Theater in San Francisco.

Because I am a little lazy, here’s the scoop from the website: “ACSF’s performance troupe teams up with visiting Brazilian artists, Professores Mobília, Goma and Yara, as well as local talents, master percussionist Gamo da Paz and his group Quimbanda, musician Alfie Macias and choreographer/dancer Raffaella Falchi, and SAMBAXÉ Dance. The performances explore the evolution of Capoeira and Maculelê, from the post-slavery era to modern-day Brazil, and trace their movement from the northeastern state of Bahia to cosmopolitan Rio de Janeiro.”

I’m going. So should you!

Where the white women at?

According to a retired navy guy that I met today, they shouldn’t live in West Oakland (Blazing Saddles reference in case you are curious).

Trying to confirm the destination of the ferry today, I asked a group of people if they were waiting in line for the boat to Oakland. They responded “yes, but why do you want to go there?” I enthusiastically said “because I live there.”

Surprised at my answer, I asked them where they lived, and they told me Sacramento. Then the old white man looked at the black woman next to me and motioned for me to go to the other side of the gangway so he could chat with me there. He went on to tell me he lived in Oakland in the 50s and 60s, “when it was nice.” I’m not sure what the point of him sharing this information, but I responded that there are nice areas in  Oakland, and the city is changing again, etc., but I didn’t go too far into this conversation.

It’s the kind of conspiratorial conversation you get as a white person, when people think you are sympathetic to their prejudice. But what make it stick out more to me today was that it happened as I was coming off the high of training capoeira. I was even still wearing my capoeira shirt, so if he would have had any idea about what capoeira is, he might have figured out that I wasn’t into hearing generalizations, let alone racist statements, about black people, or anyone else for that matter.

Maybe sensing my feelings, he toned it down, and said that he knows some nice black people, even lives near some, but “they” bring “riff-raff” into Oakland, which in itself isn’t a strong statement, but the subtext was there.

But there’s no way I’m going to school a man in his late 80s about being a bigot. So I reminded him that there are good and bad people of all kinds and they live everywhere. I took the opportunity of people knocking on the gangway door to excuse myself from the conversation and walked away.

It wasn’t any great stand for racial equality. It wasn’t any political statement. Just another day in the land of the free.

8 weeks, 3 days and 16 hours

That’s the amount of time in between the last time I went into the roda and today’s class. I’ve been training for the past two weeks since I’ve felt well enough, but I haven’t been able to make it all the way through class and not have to sit out at least part of it due to pain and discomfort.

But today I could and that meant it was time to go back into the roda. I could hardly wait to go back in, but I waited until it felt right. I wasn’t good, but I made it through.

As I stepped out of the roda, I started crying, almost sobbing. After eight weeks of trying to get back into a physical place where I could go back in, I made it. As much as I felt relieved and not embarrassed to cry about my accomplishment, in theory, I wasn’t sure I wanted anyone to see it without being able to explain it to them.

But as I was taking in that moment, I heard Mestranda start to sing “Parabens” to a fellow capoerista who turned 50 today. My focus shifted to joy for someone who was celebrating his own achievements.

I hope to continue with my own accomplishments as I move towards my next birthday. I’m sure you’ll see me cry, but I hope it’s with joy.