Monthly Archives: April 2012

Dear Bike, My Bum Will Not Be Able To Make It Today….

Because my tailbone is temporarily out of business. And here’s why.

As I was bringing my laundry downstairs, I slipped on a sock.  A rolled up sock. A dirty, child-size, turned inside-out in a careless fashion sock. It didn’t mind that my big toe snagged it, and that my heel kept it from moving. It didn’t mind that I lost my balance and whoomped right onto my bum, sliding down 3 stairs before coming to a stop on the 1st stair from the bottom, still holding my laundry, and heaving the air in and out of my lungs. 

Stupid Sock. I just added it into the pile of laundry and was glad no one saw the grown-up fall. That was 3 weeks ago. And that sock has stayed with me every day since then, with my bum and back area getting worse and more sore each and every day. (I choose to blame that dag-blasted sock, and not the hard edge of the stairs. Go figure.)

So I now have a sore tailbone and bum, in general.  The doctor let me know I couldn’t wrap it up. (There is no cast for a bum, apparently. I asked.)  And no reason to get an x-ray because, lets face it, it would just be a pic of my bum with a sore tailbone. And nobody needs to see that.

An xray of a person with a intestinal volvulus.

The prognosis is officially, “strained tailbone and surrounding muscles.” A strained tailbone.  I would call it, however, “A pain in my …” Just sayin. So, recumbent bicycle that lets me sweat at 24 hr fitness…You will have to wait. 

I did try using you, if you will remember, just last week. Just 2 weeks after this happened. And, if you will remember, it looked like this:

A. Swagger into 24 hour fitness because, hey, I have a membership and that is what people do. They swagger everywhere in the building that they go. They swagger as they move from machine to machine. They swagger as they take a sip of loofah-enhanced energy drink. And, they swagger as they put in their secret number that allows them into the building in the first place.  So there was a swagger. A purpose. A meaning.

B. Look around hopelessly for a recumbent bicycle. This consisted of walking up and down the endless isles, again with purpose and swagger. (Heaven forbid people don’t know what to do, or where to go.) So looking around and walking with purpose ensued until, looking like a shiny, secret nugget of metal, there stood the bike of my dreams at that time. And that was you, bike. You were in a corner. Unoccupied. And no one was near you for at least 3 bikes away. (granted, the person using that bike was about 17 years old, looked like a model, and was pedaling at hyper-speed.) I took you gratefully.

Gym at Work 2

Gym at Work 2 (Photo credit: The Killer Biscuit)

C. Looked at the you, bike, and then at the mandatory wipes, sitting 12 feet out of reach, and then back at you. Then at the wipes again, knowing that the minute I hoof it over to the magic wipes, someone will snag this prime property. But I must have wipes. You know, the wipes that are used to wipe away the previous person’s disgusting, hideous, copious amounts of sweat. At least, that is how it is portrayed. Those wipes sitting at every corner, except the one that is close to the machine you are using.  I run with a purpose to those wipes, bring back 4, and get back to the you, bike, just as Bertha, the 88-year-old work out queen zero’s in on my prize. I give her my “Back Off, ….” look and start to wipe you down.

D. Put in the paraphernalia that is a must for any gym rat: Cell phone with headphones. Enormous Jug of Water that just so happens to fit in the water bottle holder provided at the top of the machine. Car keys. Busy-Bug calorie counter (supposed to be on my arm 24hours/day but I get sweaty just thinking about the thing.) Half of a Kit-Kat.

iPod 2G Photo by Jared C. Benedict minus Backg...

Do you remember all those things? Well, it may be hazy because it is what every gym rat does. Or every aspiring gym rat does. (True gym rats don’t bring anything but their perky butt, their flat abs, and a book that they read as they use the machines for 4 hours straight.)

I got on you, bike, and started with my 5 minute warm up. I gingerly sat on you and started pedaling, and that was when I started feeling your betrayal. You asked me for my weight. Right out in the open. Blatantly asking how large I was so you could adjust accordingly.  I put my true weight in, but looked around to see if anyone was hovering over my shoulder with a clipboard or a youtube camera. Then I kept pedaling. And my bum started to hurt. “Push through the pain”, I thought.  It’s what you do at a gym.

I saw that people push through the pain by looking up at the 13 screens that are blaring every program from the Home Improvement Channel to Court TV. All blaring silently. I was supposed to plug my headphones into you, bike, and you would let me change the channel to the one TV channel that would let me forget that my thighs were burning, right along with my butt.  I opted to listen to my audio book instead.  

This listening of the book was what let me zone out for a bit, seeing nothing but the screens and gym bunnies that wandered around.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in July 2003

Gym bunnies…Women who carefully apply makeup and hair and nails in such a way that when they walk into the gym, their job is to turn the heads of the sweat-soaked men that they are interested in. Never do they do real reps or cardio. Never do they cause a bead of sweat to mar their makeup. Their job is to go from station to station, looking like they came from the station before and just happen to run into the buff man straining his pecs and looking like an early Arnold Schwarzenegger.

This was all entertaining until I felt a sharp pain in my bum and realized it was you. I was sitting on your hard seat, and you were not yielding in any way whatsoever. I glanced at the clock, by the way, to see how many hours I had sat on you, as I was sweaty and disgusting. Your clock said exactly 7 minutes and 13 seconds.


So I stopped this agony, picked up my plethora of items, and kicked you by the pedal. That was me. The one that kicked you and walked away, with the next torturee grabbing for the wipes that would save them from my neglect and wetness.

I’ll see you in about 4 weeks.

-Sharon, beginner gym bunny. (I’m not wearing makeup to the gym, no matter what the gym bunny rules state.)


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What’s Up With Finding One’s Purpose, Anyway?

Trumpet Solo



I just knew, at the age of 9, that I would be a Trumpet Player. The best in the entire town. At 10, that turned into the rush of knowing I  would be the best trumpet player on the planet. At 12, I knew my purpose was song writing. 5 months later, I just had to become the most passionate baritone horn-ist in all of Small-Town, USA. At 15, my purpose turned back to songwriting, but this time from the seat of the piano. I was a girl with purpose.

My trumpet days are behind me, for the most part, left at my high school graduation. That baritone horn keeps it company.  I do have horns next to the piano in my home, but they have a bit of dust on them, and that’s okay.


I’m 38 now, and today I had no purpose. In fact, I felt a bit disconsolate about it. Especially because I have been asked in the last week, “Oh, and what are you up to NOWADAYS? What do you DO?”




an colourful image than a 617.LT Side-by-Side ...

I am a mom of 5, and run a home 24 hours a day. My kitchen is a revolving island of comfort and conversation, messiness and mopping up. I have kids in High school and Elementary, and 1 that is a welder, and out of school completely, on his way to his own life. I cheer my husband when he has a bad day, and I balance the budget. I make all the appointments and phone calls, take those that need to, to appointments and back again, and sooth them into going there in the first place.  I take and pick up kids from school and work, I take them to get clothes and shoes, and I listen to hubby relay his day, every day.


I have spent time in the work-field, but am currently raising a family full-time. And I couldn’t answer the question of “What Do I Do?” definitively.  I felt keenly empty.  Why was that?


Well, I would say it is because I lost my purpose.   I forgot that it takes passion to make one count to oneself.



It doesn’t matter what we are doing currently in life, as long as we do it with purpose.  I was not doing anything with purpose today. And that stank.  I did look at Facebook about 270 times today.  I did play online scrabble on my phone.  I did wait for someone to call and need me (which didn’t happen), and I did go to the gym only to do such a bland routine that I watched the seconds on the machines go by, one at a time.  I did forget to love being me.


How silly, to forget to love ones self.  How silly, to need to be needed to the exclusion of finding the adventure in the day.




It is 9:06 PM, and I just got out of my hot tub, watered the flowers on my patio, and schlumped onto my bed.  However, I did these last 3 things with purpose, and they felt great. Tomorrow, no matter what, I will use purpose in whatever I do. It will push back the whiny, needy, insignificant feelings that eat at our lives when we cannot always tell people in one sentence what we do with ourselves, “Nowadays”. And my purpose, whether I pick up my trumpet, or pick up my kids, will be what defines me. Not the physical action itself.



Rose Sanderson Women's suffragists demonstrate...


I think that trumpet is going to win out, tomorrow, though.  And I’ll play it loudly, and with passion. The neighbors can ask themselves what THEY are doing with themselves, lately, that they are listening to a 38-year-old woman try to play “Blue Bells Of Scotland” well.  And doing a fair job of it.  I don’t mind in the least.



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In The Desolate Places Of Life, Sometimes You Just Run Into A Promising Specimen…

Death Valley

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 greenery) 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.

While I tend to travel through these places a few times a year, in each spot,  and for no good reason that i can tell,  ( and when i am 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/shocking happens.    I either see, or experience something that makes it JUST worth while enough to keep going.    Nooo,  aliens don’t abduct me. (Although i sometimes beg for it.  Honestly, when my option for music is the gospel/mariachi/medical channel,  or the all-sound-effects-all-the-time channel, who can blame me, right?)

What does happen is some ……SOMETHING……..

Death Valley

Death Valley (Photo credit: Ray Ordinario)

Something happens to pull me out of my self pity, lets me focus on the here and now for a bit, and solves the problem enough for me to move through to my destination.    It could be that concrete Tree of Life sculpture (you know, with the big ol balls hanging off it?), or what i swear is a 2-headed hawk circling over a dead deer, off to the side.  It could even be that cattle truck wreck caused by the high winds, bad roads, and curve at milepost 176.

Good or bad,  they are heavensent to me, not because i enjoy seeing sad/bad/shocking/entertaining/good things, but because they let me move forward.  With hope.  With meaning.

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 assume that they can assist me,  that they are qualified to do so,  that they have their morning coffee, and no one has peed in their Wheaties.  I guffaw at my self a bit when i am 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, “This is not a problem. No, no. This, this can be taken care of simply if i just hold while i am transferred to another department.”  (it’s the same guy each time!  I know it!  I recognize the speech impediment!)

Customer service center - note that there is o...

Customer service center - note that there is only one operator serving both queues (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

i don’t have a problem at all. which means, obviously, that it MUST be 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 we come to the reality that we don’t really have a problem. WE ARE the problem?

I’m assuming, as some others do, that we will just have to fight through this muddled game 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/monkey is appointed to be 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???

Smiling Man

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 with him.)  I felt like he wanted to solve my problem.   I KNOW!!!!!  Odd, that.

It was like seeing that wreck on the side of the road all over again!  You know it is 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 waaas that?”,  you wonder, driving by at 80 miles an hour.   “Was that a deer?  An orangutan?”  “And what was the truck it was hooked to? A semi? An RV?”   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 don’t do that?)

You might not have gone the desolate places i have then.

The same thing happens 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…a…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,  but this rare behavior keeps me wondering about all the next times 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 events 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 (sometimes actually talking with his buddy next cubicle away about last nights game), and Patricia, who is clearly picking her teeth while on line with me.   I can tell from the sucking sound she makes when i’m talking.  the “thhhw thhhwu thhhwup” 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 EVENT OF HAPPY GOODNESS.   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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Lightning Was The Theme Of The Day…

Because we were all a bit snippy.  Call it a belated full-moon energy crisis. Call it the clash of teens vs. mom. Call itImage whatever you want, but it happened today.  Especially with my 18-year-old.  Man that guy was raring for a fight. Sure, it looked like I Was The Bad Guy. Sure, it looked like I picked the fights. (I’m pretty sure I did.) But he had the audacity to stand up for himself and fight back.  And so we did.  We fought it out. Everything from his hair, to his tat’s to his too’s to his attitude were at stake. My parenting methods and percentage of freedom for the slaves that look like my kids…. well, those were up for debate as well.  ( Thunderheads rolled in from the east, bringing overcast days and spatters of rain.) Our day was getting pretty cloudy.

The sun came out a bit when a girlfriend calmed down the teen side, and a phone call distracted the parental side. The sun came out overhead as well, and I thought the storm, well documented and predicted, was going to disappear. Nope. Nope To Both Storms.

Throughout the day, the energy just kept building at our home, and the skies seemed to show it.  Each time I would look outside and see the clouds roll back in, I would remember a good point to bring to my son. Each time it would be a pretty bad idea, but I just couldn’t seem to stop. The argument would resume and we would battle with words and hand signals. I’m pretty sure we could have coached a baseball game, just with our hand signals. We have that in common.

By the time my son was ready to walk out the door for work, the lightning had started to work into the sky.  Rolling thunder heralded the direction that the buildup of energy had taken.  Rolling thunder plowed over the two of us as we stood in a face-off, red-faced and heaving, as anger built and built and built.  Then it was time for him to leave. So he did.
Time Out

I went to my room to huff and puff. My husband took my son to work, then came home with chocolate. It soothed my savage beast, and I calmed a bit. The thunder and lightning storm was slow and building, but I no longer listened or looked out the window.  I watched, “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”, instead. No one, apparently, because they choked. So did I, as I played along with them.

The call came, late at night, that he was ready to come home, after a night of hard work. I felt trepidation as I took my journey to pick him up. Would we keep the fight alive? Would he give me the cold shoulder? Would he get in the car at all?  On my way there, the most beautiful thing happened. A full and amazing lightning storm ripped across the skies the entire time I was driving. I pulled over twice so I could see the beauty of it. It wasn’t mean, or angry, or rude. It was a culmination of the day, and it got to release the energy so it could move on. And that was what happened when I picked my son up.  The day’s energy was released into the air as we talked, not of the past, but of what happened at work today. We talked of his hard work, and his praise from customers and managers. We talked of his dreams and goals. And, he said thank you for picking him up.  He said this just as pitter-patter of rain tickled my car. It dribbled and whooshed and ticked and rained down all at the same time in a grateful tune that was abundant in its gift. The gift of letting go.  Image

As the skies let go and gave the neighborhood its rain, we let go of the anger and just let the moment be a sweet release. I loved it. I relished it. I grinned about it in the darkness of the car at 11:15 PM.  He did not grin, but he talked, and that was enough.

The thunder and lightning and rain were sweet accompaniments to our moods and it deserved to be mentioned. And so I do. There is something to be said for big weather. Just like our relationships, the diversity is the star of the story.

Nuff said.


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I Caught A Whiff Of Heaven.

It smelled like spring. Like the scent of blossoms on the trees, lining our street, and the bushes bursting forth sweet lilac-flavored promises of more to come, if you just come around the next corner or sneak into Mrs. So-n-So’s back yard.


It also smelled like the grass of a soccer field, with bunches of little feet scuffing through the blades, turning those white sneakers and knee caps green. With the breath of moms and dads encouraging those little ones to hang in there, just a little longer, until they can break out the orange slices. .


Like the scent of promise and what-if’s.  It smelled like what smiles and laughter and giggling and rolling down a hill, pell-mell, with a new best friend, smells like. Like that.


(It has been a bit of a wonderment to me, Heaven.)


What will it look like? Will I get in? Who will I see if I get in? and, secretly, What will I wear/eat/drink/do in Heaven?HeavenBut in all my wonderings of Heaven, If forgot to wonder this…I forgot to wonder about the scent of heaven. I’m pretty sure it smells like spring in Westminster.


I hope so.


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