Monthly Archives: June 2009

Even though life isn’t tidy, on the whole, i still want it to be. I strive for it to be tidy, clean, and clear of …. ew-ness. Sometimes i win, sometimes i don’t, and sometimes it’s a tie. Today however, as i found the strength i’d been lacking when one recovers from an appendectomy, i won in a big way. I got up this evening and decided that the bathroom/kitchen buildup was not good for me anymore, and set about cleaning.

hmmmmm back up. i never decide to clean. I do, however, decide to just pick up that one thing and put it back. That leads to another thing…and another… until the counter is clear. At that point, i can’t just stare at a bare counter that has fuzz/goo/gunk/funk (and that toothpick that is always hiding behind the stuff) and not wipe it off! so out comes the spray, the cloth, and i just pick one spot at a time. the end result is the same, true, but i have to trick myself. Otherwise, it’s just too overwhelming. Also, i can’t just do one room at a time. when putting things away, i usually go up and down the stairs so while i’m up the stairs, i might as well work on that bathroom. and when i go back downstairs returning something else to it’s spot, i work in the kitchen for a bit. did i mention i get bored easily? and distracted? and like bright, shiny objects??? Well, this is how i get things done at the same time. I trick myself.

and as i’m tricking myself into getting what i want by doing the mundane, i allowed something in. I allowed myself to zen out, and just clean. no music to distract me. no talking on the phone….after a bit. i hung up and just cleaned. and, i noticed me noticing me. This is what i saw:

me, cleaning the tile in the bathroom over the bathtub: “you know, this caked on, nastiness that has sat here for about 5 years….. how did i let it get this bad????”

me, grabbing yet another wipe with bleach and some other mystical property: “Well, retard, you have been tricking yourself into thinking this is a fight with your hubby. it is a tug-o-war about who will break down and clean this particular spot.”

me, realizing i’m having a conversation with myself, but see a lesson coming: “no! i can’t be that petty! really? really, i’ve neglected this particular corner, where the economy size shampoo and manly man body wash sit, just to make a point?”

I had, in fact, tricked myself into letting my pettiness make that one corner into ew-ness. I thought that if i waited for him to get a clue, or get tired of it like i had, then he would just clean it (to my satisfaction, nonetheless…) and i could bob my head in “there now, that’s more like it” arrogance. all i did, though, is close the curtain more. odd, that.


Posted by on June 12, 2009 in Life


Have you ever googled yourself? We, as computer literate people, most likely have. I, as a busy person with life going on, haven’t until tonight. Do you know how many me’s there are out there? Apparently, i’m a singer, an executive, and a dorky student in texas that knows that it is ” Deep Vein Thrombosis Awareness month” somewhere. Hmmmm, i should probably look up that need for awareness before i think of it as a dork trait to know about it. (maybe it’s a life altering thing, and someone is suffering from it right now. i’m so insensitive. if so, my bad, and you may comment on it.)

no wonder i can amuse myself so well. there are so many aspects of….well…. me.

for instance, i had no idea that when i googled myself i would come across a blogspot, but not my blogspot. you know? i followed the link, and there my name was, but someone elses blog!!!! I got so excited!!!!!…. until i realized there was one and only one blog on this blogspot. “SUITCASES”. um, yeah, the other me blogged about the correct way to shop for suitcases. How did i get so boring????? ye-ow-zah!

of course, i’m technically talking to myself on here. a one way conversation, except for the nice guy, THEWIZARD, and thank you for making yourself known. Man, now i have competition, with myself, for THEWIZARD. It’s between life not being tidy, or shopping for suitcases……. i’m worried. I hope you stay with the me me.

I also didn’t realize i was so many titles. mother, sister, daughter, granddaughter…. check. Now add to that GRANDMA (yikes, i’m not ready), publisher, caberet dancer/singer, talk show host, and trapeze artist. Yeah, i’m that good. So the next time you hear me say, “I’m every woman”, I really am. 🙂

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Posted by on June 11, 2009 in Life


There once was a man from Nantucket…….

I could end that little ditty so many ways. But i’ll just say things didn’t go well for him and he said CRAAAAAPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!! He threw up his hands, and kicked the dirt a bit, and cursed his misfortune.

I hear stories like that. I see life like that, sometimes, you know when i’m driving down the street, changing a dvd, etc…. I have even been that guy a few times. Now to be clear, this isn’t about when there is a little boo boo that gets brought to light. I’m talking about the rug being pulled out from under me. On a tall set of stairs. With stilettos on. And an audience. The bouncing and rolling and sliding in a downhill spiral that ends with an expletive and a groan. And uncertain clapping from the jerk in the way back.

Just so we are clear.

When life gives me lemons, i make lemonade…… who comes up with this positive crap? 🙂 It is something for Person A to say to make themselves feel better about the chaos that Person B is going through, you know? How bout this? When life gives you lemons……. Throw them around a bit, hitting a wall or two and listen for that thumping sound as seeds go everywhere. After that, try to hit a do-gooder that calls happily about the mess you are in. Then, and ONLY then, in the remorse that you feel about nailing the do-gooder in the forehead, giving them a lemon-size shiner, notice that usually life will also give you someone, a Person C, that makes you lemonade from the mess you find yourself in.

They don’t give you a pep talk. They just easily wipe up or sweep up the rinds, the pulp from the walls and under the sneakers, and take what is left to whip up a lemonade smoothie. No fanfare, no need for thanks or awe. Just pulling you up from where you have you head between your knees, trying not to hyperventilate.

Why is this? How does it happen that, after we have run out of all ideas on what to do next, someone else can look at the situation and say, “HMMMM, that does suck. Here’s a lemonade frappachino, and i noticed that this is working for me.” No drama. No judgement. Just a different perspective. And as quick as that, or as simple as that, there is a way out. A way through.

The key? It is a DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE. There is a reason we can think outside the box for others, but not ourselves. IT is because we don’t bring just ideas to the situation. We color them with our fears, assumptions, reasonings, and judgements about the ideas. This is what makes them OURS.

It is also what makes them not always work. No matter how smart, intelligent, strong, patient, loving, amazing, talented, or adoreable we are, they don’t always play into how to do life. No matter what we want to happen, the reality sometimes just doesn’t go along with our personality, and our shoulds.

Enter, The Outside Perspective. This is something that doesn’t have to sift through our personality to make things work. No need to know our history, or drama. Just the facts, ma’am. Sound cold? heartless? Nope. i’m going to say EFFECTIVE. If we listen, that is. If we can get our ego out of the way……. And it’s not easy, i’m the first to admit. I would just love it if all my ideas worked. In fact, i just assume they do, deep down. So when i’m struck by the reality that my idea isn’t working, then my ego kicks in and says, “well if I can’t solve it, how could anyone else???? I know the situation the best, therefore, i MUST know best…..”

Yeah, it’s a load of CRAP.

Sometimes we just need someone who doesn’t buy into our drama. And i’m not saying our drama is not real, sad, harsh, or tangled. Just that it is OUR drama, and not that other persons, so they can think clearheadedly about it.

Here’s the point: Just because one person can think clearly about another person’s dilemma and note a possiblity that wasn’t looked at before, this doesn’t mean that the clear headed person hasn’t or isn’t at the same time going through their drama. It’s not that bad things happen to bad people, or unlucky people. Bad things happen. Period. But i don’t see many ditty’s about what to do AFTER the drama unfolds. Because not a lot of people get past the “DUN DUN DUNNNNN NNNNN NNNN” to see the “What’s next?” in their own life. We, as people, are the ones throwing the lemons, sitting down trying not to hyperventilate, or digging a hole in the sand to place our head. It’s usually others that notice that our bald head is getting sunburned while we sit there immobilized, or that a fire ant is ready to bite us on the butt if we don’t switch positions.

And that’s good news.

Trusting ourselves is huge. It is important as all get out when we are living life. But when the rug is pulled out from under us, it is also important to know the difference between the weiner that is spouting happy songs to you as he walks past, and the person that has a different perspective, letting you out of the chaos that has been created around you. How to do that? Listen to both people. Your heart and good sense will tell you which one to take aim at, and which to use as a sounding board.

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Posted by on June 9, 2009 in Life


Nevermind the mold spores… just keep working!

Most people I know have seen “The Wizard Of Oz”, either because they had to, they were dared to, or they were drawn to it like a train wreck. Me? I just liked the 3rd munchkin on the left. The one in the Lollipop Guild. I always got a kick out of him. Munchkin-man reminded me of a guy i knew in 7th grade. Ron, i believe his name was. This guy moved in to our school, and got in with a macho group right away. But, he had kind of a baby face that off-set the sneer he would wear in public. I imagine it was like this for the 3rd guy on the left of the Lollipop Guild…..
1st guy.: (lick the lollipop) “Hey. who’s the new guy?”
2nd guy.: (kick an unoffending rock off the yellow brick road) “Um. I think his name’s… Jeff.”
1st guy.: (lick. lick. lick) “Maybe we should ask him to hang with us. He looks tough-ish.”
2nd guy.: (kick an unoffending daisy in the head, and jumps back as it bites him in the ankle) “Well, he does have a great curl, right in the middle of his forehead, but have you noticed he smiles every once in a while? Not a good sign of manliness. Plus, his name’s…. Jeff.”
1st guy. : (bites the lollipop, reaches into his back pocket for the next one) “Look, my name was Marvin when we first met up. want to make something of it?And yours was Reuben. REUBEN, for the love of chicken! We can make Jeff work into something else. How bout……Chet?”

And so, there were 3. At least, that’s what i am assuming, because Jeff/Chet was quite moving in that role. Riveting, really. The thing that was the most interesting to me about that movie, Jeff/Chet aside, was the dude behind the curtain in the Emerald City. You know the one? The guy that ends up being the big enchilada. And the famous line is, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain…”

Here’s what is funny to me about this scene. It is still going on today, in so many roles. There is some dude or dudette behind a curtain, working knobs and levers feverishly, and what we sometimes see is the all important OZ of the corporate face. We say, “Wow. She/He went to Harvard/Oxford/BYU. She must be smart/intelligent/witty/sucessful….” And the followers keep following blindly. As for the dude or dudette running the show, he/she says, “Dang! All these levers and knobs. which one can make me look the best and still gives me the least amount of gas at the end of the day??” And life goes on living until … SOMETHING… breaks the cycle. It could be flying monkeys, sure. Or…., it could be a curious, yet obnoxious girl on the cusp of independence that just happens to have an even more obnoxious pet, looking behind curtains and spilling dark secrets. In fact, if you live in my life, it could look like SOMEONE happening to, say, trip over a stray hose, and a bit of moldy tile that has fallen off the ceiling at work and ACCIDENTLY sends an offensive email up the chain of command. Possibly. ……And then going on a 3 month leave of absence. you know, I’m just saying hypothetically….Either way, someone, somewhere says, “UM, hang on…..something doesn’t seem quite right. Why doesn’t anyone else see that????”

It seems to be that when people in charge say soothing words, the followers/workers/drones seem drawn to make the people in charge happy. Even when there are charging rhinos around. Don’t get what i’m saying? Well, Ok, lets see at what point you might say the words, “WHOA!!!! This just isn’t right….”

About 6 months ago i was working at a place that had great team atmosphere, challenging work load and…… the work environment from a sitcom. We are talking cramped work places, faxes/copiers that were constantly breaking down, computers that were outdated, and software that was pathetically slow. Now you and I know that this alone is not enough for a sitcom. In fact, that could be any number of real life situations. What pushes it over is this: About every 3 weeks to a month, the old, rusty pipes of this place would break, leak, or bust. Who know’s what triggered it? No one in charge seemed to know. It was always a surprise to them. What happened now? i’m shocked, they would say. It could be from the floor above us. It could be at the mens room across the hall. But it was always a flood. Luckily, there was always a plan for this. -ish…

And the solution? FANS. Lots of fans. Fans to suck up the water, with hoses directing the flow. Fans to blow air on the waterlogged carpet, walls, and ceilings. Fans to keep us, seemingly, from talking to each other about how ridiculous it was to have to move past the morning yellow CAUTION tape, walk over the large hoses strewn around the halls, and slog past the puddles of shudder-to-know-what-is-in-the-water-this-time darkness throughout the workspace carpet. Oh, yeah. And fans to keep the smell…in?…out? around? As long as we kept our heads down and acted like all was normal, the fans were the only oddity in the office to the outside world of managers and uppers.

No matter what, the fans kept the world running in our office. We just knew that if we had to step over or around a puddle or hose, we were supposed to keep working like everything was normal because “NEVER FEAR, HOSES ARE HERE TO CLEAN THIS UP”. And you know what? Even though the look on people faces, across the board was disgust mixed with just a HINT of incredubility, we humored the guys behind the curtain!!!! We knew they were running out of options, and the veneer was wearing thin, but instead of pushing or asking questions, we wanted to sooth them.

So each time a new leak/flood/waterfall/spark/drip would spring, and we got an email saying, “Nevermind the mold, just keep working”, followed by a play by play of how things were not as bad as our eyes were telling us, so never fear and don’t worry….. we would hunch our shoulders, look for a SARS mask, and trust that the big wigs knew what was going on and would protect us. Now i don’t know how this happened, but i tried on the LEMMING route for about a week. It doesnt’ fit me well, just so you know. I kept looking around and wondering, “Is it just me, or is this ridiculous?” I thought, well, i haven’t been in the corporate workforce for a few years, so maybe this is normal. Who am i to rock the boat? No one else seems to be whining loudly about the stench, the look, the OSHA red light district here. I can just keep getting a paycheck and hope i don’t get sick.

are u alerted yet? yeah, me too. And, by the way, i did get sick. It took me 3 days to realize that while the fans were going as some kind of morale for us to know that things were drying out, i was nauseous and afraid of which barrel to barf in, for fear of what would splash back at me. No, i didn’t call OSHA, but someone else did. thank goodness. I went to the dr. a few times and again, people were wondering why i was making a big deal out of it. sure things happen, ms. montgomery. Accidents happen. Have they said anything about mold? No? well, then, i’m sure it’s ok…… we can just run a few more tests….. And off they went.

So lots of co-workers were wanting the paycheck, and a few were grumbling. I simply took it up a notch. Was it rational? Probably not, but neither is wondering when i will get electrocuted as water is dripping out the light switches onto our computers. ew.

Yes, i admit it. I did send an email up the chain of command that looked like this:
“Lets go here, lets take this as far as we need to. We cannot keep this up. This has got to stop. People are looking to quit and it’s becoming ridiculous. This is not healthy, fair or productive. Stop the glad handing and smiling and do something about this now!!!”

No, i didn’t want it to go to the v.p. and the 2 managers. Necessarily. Or, actually, i didn’t want to be the only one to get slapped on the wrist, but hey, i’m a boat rocker. What came of it? Other than the email basically letting us know, “NEVERMIND THE MOLD SPORES, JUST KEEP WORKING!!!!”, I yanked the curtain aside a bit and let others see the uppers scrambling for levers and knobs while looking panicky. I don’t think they liked it a bit. I did end up on a 3 month leave to get my head straight, and they, with guidance from OSHA, moved buildings, fired a few knob turners, and brought back some dignity to the team. i’d call it a win.

So now we have an orderly OZ back in place, but i am firmly in the relm of leaving the curtains alone for a bit. Unless mold comes into the scene again. That’s just nasty. I don’t care how far i have to follow the yellow brick road when looking for success, I’ll know when to get off of it if i have to wade through mold to find it.

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Posted by on June 7, 2009 in Life


In the desolate places of life, sometimes you just run into a promising specimen.

Death Valley…. 4 Corners…. 3 miles past the Kansas/Colorado border…. The drive around the Great Salt Lake, after exit 91, going west…. I-80, from Rawlins to Rock Springs in Wyoming…. I would lump these places (and all others that have no food/water/or bright shiny objects to look at) into the DESOLATE folder of my travel-a-mony, shove it back into my file cabinet of boring memories, and go out to play.

Except for this.

In each spot, and for no good reason that i can tell, ( and when i was at my most mind-numbing, bored-out-of-my-guts part of the trip, wanting to turn around and never speak of it again), something amusing happened. I either saw, or experienced something that made it JUST worth it enough to keep going. Nooo, aliens did not abduct me, (although i was begging for it. I mean, honestly, when my option for music was the gospel/mariachi/medical channel, or the all-sound-effects-all-the-time channel, who can blame me, right?) What did happen is some ……SOMETHING…….. happened to pull me out of my self pity, let me focus for a bit, and that solved the problem enough for me to move through to my destination. It could have been that concrete Tree of Life sculpture (you know, with the big ol balls hanging off it?), or what i swore was a 2 headed hawk circling over a dead deer in a field. It could have even been that cattle truck wreck caused by the high winds, bad roads, and curve at milepost 176. Good or bad, they were heavensent to me, because they let me move forward with something else on my mind.

Interestingly enough, I feel that being put on hold, pressing 2 to speak in my native language, or having to repeat my issue to several people in a row makes me feel just as desolate. When i call a number to get assistance with an issue, I’m assuming that they can assist me, they are qualified to do so, they have already had their morning coffee, and no one has peed in their wheaties. It makes me guffah at my self a bit when i catch myself dumbfounded as i’m being put on hold with the 3rd operator, somewhere around the world, who is very politely and enthusiastically letting me know i don’t have a problem at all, that it is all in my head.

“Really?” I think. “Am i this crazy/stupid/out of touch?” Is this what the assistance number is for then, for us silly people to be enlightened as to the reality that we don’t actually have a problem, that WE ARE the problem?

I’m assuming, as some others do, that we have to fight through this muddled question to get to the end result. “ok, i don’t care who’s the idiot. i just need my ……(fill in the blank with what my need is here)……. to be better!” So i press whichever buttons on my phone connect me to whichever man/woman/child is smarter than me in this arena, and grit my teeth while i go through the song and dance that is the customer service phone call nightmare. No wonder i am feeling desolate. WHO CAN SAVE ME FROM THIS???

And then, SOMETHING happens. SOMEONE takes pity on me. for instance, Jerry in Kansas. he is my savior this week. I needed something, i didn’t know how to get that something to work, and he did. Instead of sending me around the world and back just to see if i really REALLY wanted his help, he talked with me. mano y mano. Yeah, i just pulled out the mano y mano bit. Because i felt like a person to him. I felt like he wanted to solve my problem. I KNOW!!!!! ODD, that.

It was like that wreck on the side of the road all over again. You know they are out there. You know that you could happen upon it at any time, and yet when you are lucky enough to see it, to experience it, you don’t know what to do with it until you are past it and have to appreciate it in hindsight.

“What was that?” you wonder, driving by at 80. “Was that a deer? an orangutan?” “And what was the truck it was hooked to?” All these things go by as you make sure you are not the rubber-necker that is holding up traffic, but in your mind, you think up a plausible story to go with the flash of what you saw. How the truck had to have run up the side of the hill to get that animal smacked just right….. How old the deer was.. did it have a family?….. …… …… What? you do’nt do that? You might not have gone the desolate places i have then.

The same thing with the phenomonen of having a live operator actually know what he is talking about, and be polite, AND do what it takes to solve the problem. “WHO is this genius?” “Why is he talking with me? shouldn’t he be in a board meeting or something?” “what kind of donuts does he like, and where could i send a shipment to say thank you?” “Does he have kids or a love life? No how could he, if he is this dedicated to knowing an answer on this line.” …. … …. And it keeps me going through all the hoops and beeps that it takes for me to get back to Jerry, just in case i drop the line.

Not only that, it keeps me wondering all the next times that i have to go back into the land of service operators. “How bout now? could i be lucky twice in my life? could i get another Jerry?” No! of course not. those only come around every once in a lifetime. I get pandered back and forth from Noah, who has forgotten to be interested in me as a customer, and Patricia, who is actually picking her teeth while on line with me. I can tell from the sucking sound she makes when i’m talking. the “thwup thwup thwup” sound of air going through her teeth. The wet smacking sound of the finger in the back of her mouth….. ew. She’s no Jerry. But , i reason, Jerry served a purpose. Jerry kept me going when i wanted to turn back. Jerry will keep me going when i have to travel back into customer service land as the elusive miracle. Thank you Jerry. you were my Tree of Life in the desolate places of phone land. Please let me know where to send the Krispy Kremes.

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Posted by on June 6, 2009 in Life


Where else can i be pulled to my limits, and still have permagrin???

I am usually a planner. OK that’s total B.S. I am a planner when i need to be. It’s what responsible people do. So i make a list before going to Sam’s Club. I check out the movie times when i catch a flick with a friend. And i do get dressed in appropriate attire before heading off to work. I have also been known to get up and wear the same clothes as i went to bed in, meandering through stores and museums.

Also, I do like getting a wild hair and just going to do something about it. YEAH….., i enjoy that a lot. Now, the good part of this would be being spontaneous, care-free, and thinking on the fly. The bad part is, i’m scrambling for the next solution. Can’t really think about the end result, just going from step to step. And i’m fine with that when it comes to, say, an impromptu trip to Black Hawk for girls night out. Crab legs and the fine art of: gambling/boozing/people watching with faint distaste on their sneering face at the money going down the drain. What’s not fun about that? Depends on which group of ladies i have roped in. And which mood i’m in. Note to self, never cross the 2 breeds. Unless you get a wild hair. Then, it’s just fun to experiment. I like to watch all 3 breeds, actually. Not a drinker. or a harumpher. but i have done a bit of gambling. It’s just so dang addicting to win!!!!

CHURCH LADIES: Well, you can guess which category some fall into, complete with a *SNIFF* and a *HARUMPH*, completely ignoring the fact that they are in a Casino being part of the unstuffy side of Sears.
CO-WORKERS: Oh my. They would be the ones to seek out the sniffers and harumphers just to plunk down some change and put on the most obnoxiously obsessive and downtrodden face to give the churchladies a good show. And let the drinking under the table begin…….

Mostly when i go with friends, however, we just do the crab legs thing, and revel that no man we know or love can see the crab juice and butter running down our arms to the elbows, dripping off the table and onto our laps. We always order extra napkins, and then just dont use them. It’s part of being able to say, “i’m every woman.” We can be delicate, sensible, and responsible. And we can belch with the best of the menfolk. Mostly, Susie, i’m talking about you. Ok, and you, Debbie.

I go through the night, regardless of which group of ladies i am with, and think, “what’s next? how will this end? Lets get us all home safe and happy. Sometimes i can think an hour ahead, and sometimes i can’t think to the end of the …..(round,belch,game,sniff/harumph). We just improvise.

So i have, what i thought, was a good balance of adventure and responsibility……

What then, am i doing hanging by a rope across a river with just a helmet and harness letting me feel the illusion of safety? Getting some perma-grin, of course! I would not have gone, i don’t think, if i knew what all my first rock climbing adventure would entail. Or if i planned the trip and knew what terminology to use. Someone else planned and i just showed up. Actually, I was lucky i stopped and got the right shoes (thanks patient co-worker with insight to the newbie state of mind).

I got the treat of being a newbie and not knowing what i was in for. I showed up, they hooked me into a harness and then used words that i knew i should know, but had no clue as to the meaning. Carabeener. Top Rope. Trust. Stuff like that.
“Are you ok using a (insert rope line of life, technical term) to go over the river?” Sure, i’m thinking. What is that, like a rope bridge? i can walk it with the best of them. Uh, No. Silly me.
There’s no walking in this story!!! Whenever there could be walking as a form of transportation, just know these action words will be filling in for them tonight: hanging, jumping, hiking hard core, and pulling your arms out of their sockets because that is the better thing to do than plunging to your death…. Why would you walk when you could do all that????? I had no idea . I was a newbie, after all. Just lloved being in the open air and nature.

ok so back to climbing. We went over this river, right off the bat. Couldn’t get to the mountain any other way, silly, so of course we don’t wade through. We go over! It looked like this for me. i harnessed up and clipped on to a rope (3 ropes together, thankfully) over the river and pulled myself hand over hand to the other side. Such a piece of cake because i didn’t think about what it entailed….. until half way across and i’m hearing the water rushing underneath me, and my arms aren’t working anymore. But i just kept going hand over hand, pulling myself along. It was a rush! I put my thinker away and just pulled. I think i had a harder time getting my clip off the rope. Yeah, i’m that co-ordinated. 🙂

Then there was an insane climb for me that i realized i am way out of shape for, but it was great. No rattlesnakes bit my shoes or legs. No bears ate me on the way. I did almost get my eye poked out by a ferocious branch. I emptied my pepper spray at it, and survived.

When i looked up, all blotchy faced and puffing for my life, we were on the side of the mountain and watching a bunch of other climbers scaling the cliffs. We took a sheer granite face. What did i know? I just knew that we were going for “easy climbs”. I was really scared because , you know, not a lot of handholds, it was looking like to me. “So this is a newbie climb, huh? ok then….” And i just didn’t get into the details of it, again, otherwise i might have booked it back down the mountain. But Israel, the hubby of my co-worker, took top rope (is that what i’m trying to say? he scaled it first, did the rope secure things, then came down to let me on…) and just said, “it doesn’t look like there are handholds or footholds, but if you get stuck, just stand up and reach, and they will always be there.

So i did. I just believed. Put on my rented climbing shoes (which are magic, by the way. i can’t believe they can stick so well to the wall!!!!) did the chalk thing, and i was on my way. and it worked. i just found a way. Nothing to focus on but the next step. not the future, not how i was going to get down (i had no clue, really) not focused on the top. Just the next handhold/foothold.
mmmm ok, i did have one train of thought as i was on the wall. All the quick but amazingly accurate advice an old aquaintance gave me just kept playing in a loop through my mind. I kept my hips hugged to the rock, 3 points gripping it at all times, and trusting. Thank you, Jeremy. It didn’t register that my co-worker was snapping shots of me, but i do have photos. wahoo!

When i got about half way up, i slipped with my right foot. i just held on with the other foot and 2 hands till i could find a foothold, and it was there. It did not occur to me that i couldn’t find another hand hold. Instead, it was, “where is it? Chalk on my fingers, look, look, look, feel, feel, trust that my muscles are enough and go! I forgot that i had a rope on, i think. Or maybe, i just didn’t get the concept that a rope could hold me if i got tired. I just kept climbing and looking for the next crevice.

I remembered the rope eventually, though. I distinctly remember a handhold not being as set as i thought, and i felt like i was just going to fall. “well, that was fun, and now the pain will start when i get to the bottom…” or something dramatic like that. Lightbulb goes on as i realized that that big beautiful man that was belay-ing me didn’t let me die a painful death. I HAVE A ROPE!!! A lifeline. I get to keep going! Um, i got tired another 10 minutes later, and he just said, “lean back with you legs straight out. i’ve got you.” I think that was the hardest part of the whole day. The trust that i could take my hands off the rock and not fall. Nevertheless, he assisted me in just walking down the rock face.

Now this is very possibly an every weekend occurrence for rock climbing junkies, but when i got back on the ground, i woo-hoo’ed like i was actually the first one to scale that smooth face of rock. Like i had actually invented the sport myself. Like i had knitted the ropes and carved the clips myself. I felt like it. I felt empowered and a rush like any giving-birth-and-living-to-tell-about-it story in a women’s circle.

The thing is, I have taken steps in my life to move me forward. They have been risky, scary, and sometimes stupid. But it’s paying off. And that’s all nice, except that it hadn’t had anything to do with me physically putting myself in danger, owning the wall, and laughing while I was scared spitless. (i was scared spitless. i tried. it just came out as a whistle. And a bit of hootzbah. Pathetic.) Being physically pushed and owning my 100% was something i have missed a lot. And is totally worth being so sore that my toe muscles need a massage. I’m going to the rec center and doing the hot tub soak. (Hope i don’t get Foliculitis. Again.) And i will be downloading the pics to the computer because every time i see them i’ll get perma-grin again. I’m ready for next weekend.

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Posted by on June 2, 2009 in Life

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