Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Updates edition

Can I tell you people how much I just don't want to write these days? I had insomnia last night, and in lieu of coming back to the office and jotting this post down, I decided I would count sheep. I did set myself a limit... if I got to 600 sheep, I'd come in and write. Like magic, I dropped off in the mid-500s. That's my insomnia coping mechanism: I set myself to counting sheep and set a limit, if I reach the limit I get up and do something not fun. Usually, that's the dishes, or folding laundry, or cleaning out the fridge, or rearranging the pantry. Last night, I used writing. I don't know why I'm so resistant to keeping up with writing just now, but I am.

I don't feel like I have much to say, and that makes inspiration damned difficult to find. Life is really, really good right now, but it's quiet. I've been working out, I've been keeping busy with organizations I'm part of, plans I've made with friends, and reading escapist fantasy novels because I'm off the junk food I used to put in my body. But none of it is very thought-provoking, or if it is, the thoughts are so primordial that I'm not ready to write about them yet. Think of my brain as raw banana bread batter and you've just about got it right.

Speaking of banana bread, let me tell you how much I laughed at something that happened with Rose over the weekend. She was looking up a recipe for banana bread in the Mrs. Veteran's Vittles cookbook. This awesome cookbook was something my Granny Tootsie worked on when she and my Papa Dell were heavily involved in the VFW. Consequently, it reads a lot like a family scrapbook, with fully 1/3 the recipes entered by my mom, or my Aunt Becca, or my Big Mama Dolly, or my Granny Tootsie, or someone else whose table I ate at plenty when I was still catching fireflies and keeping them in jars by my bed at night. And it is a thorough cookbook with desserts, drinks, entrees, veggies, breads, appetizers, salads, and even a section of Mr. Veteran's Vittles with recipes for stuff like baked beans and barbecue. And Rose announced to me, after perusing it, that she couldn't find the Banana Bread recipe and she felt ripped off by Mrs. Veteran. "How could any decent 50s housewife NOT have a banana bread recipe in her cookbook?" she ranted. I was confused about all this, because I could've sworn I'd looked up the banana bread recipes IN THAT VERY BOOK early in the week when it started to look as though we wouldn't be able to finish all the bananas before the fruit flies set up immigration lines down the chimney. It turned out, after about 5 or 10 minutes of head-scratching, index-consulting, perusal of other cookbooks, and general stomping around the kitchen that those Mrs. Veterans had had the audacity and gall to stick the banana bread recipes (all 3 of them!) in the Bread section of the cookbook, instead of the Dessert section where Rose was looking. And I don't know if that's as funny to any of the rest of you as it is to me, but I figure if something says "bread" in the name of the recipe, you look it up in the bread section. I know it's more like cake, given that it comes from batter and is sweet and you don't exactly make sandwiches from it or use yeast to make it. I get all that, but still... it's called Banana BREAD.

Newsily, I did quite well in my last triathlon. It was the same one I had to drop out of when I had an asthma attack during the swim the year before. I came in third in my division this time around, so that was a real vindication. The lesson here, kids, is that inhaled drugs are not ALL bad for you. If your pulmonologist tells you to suck down aerosolized steroids twice a day, well, your pulmonologist is probably on to something. I'm finally at ease, mostly, about taking asthma meds all the time. At any rate, they seem to work and I'm not one to argue with results. This triathlon had the distinction of being the first one ever to leave me with sore muscles. Usually, my ability to participate in these endurance events is sharply limited by my ability to exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide. I just can't breathe well enough to really PUSH for any length of time, so I finish races pleasantly exhausted but not feeling as though I've worked my muscles much. This time around, I was able to work hard enough to come home with a pair of sore legs. It's probably baffling to the average user human that I'm happy to be sore, but it represents progress in my cardio fitness and my battle with my lungs, so I embrace every sore muscle fiber and celebrate this for the milestone it is.

Finally, I have to crow about how very proud I am of Rose. She just started riding a bicycle this spring. Her first couple of rounds, she couldn't go 4 miles. But gradually, her fitness improved, her confidence improved, her bike skills improved, and now she goes out and rides by herself. This weekend, she took on her first long distance ride, a 30-mile route that was a fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish foundation. We both have a soft spot for this group since they granted my niece a wish this year. She not only made the entire ride at an average pace somewhere near her usual training speed, she was a real cheerleader and shepherd for other riders who needed help, inspiration, water, and sometimes a kick in the seat. She talked people into going one more rest stop down the road before giving it up. She escorted an 11-year old who was out on the 30-mile route alone with no water. She convinced folks who were waiting for the van to ride to the finish line with her. I just can't say enough good things about her and about how significant this is for her. She's awesome, and I'm not just saying that because I'm married to her. She did a Good Thing, both physically and socially this weekend, and I'm not surprised, but I am amazed.