My beautiful grandma Daisy was born 93 years ago today.
Came across this gratitude tree in Calistoga last weekend. Such a beautiful concept: you take one of the provided tags of colored paper, write what you’re thankful for, and tie it with a string on one of the branches. I celebrated Annalise’s life in that moment and am happy to know a token of my thankfulness for her friendship is flapping in the wine country breeze right now. It was a grey, rainy day, but as I tied her name on the branches a beam of sun peaked through the clouds.
It’s official. I start at AdventureSmith Explorations today as their new content & office manager! I’m excited to be back on a team, especially one that has such an exciting expertise: adventure travel. Maintaining and refreshing the AdventureSmith website is one of my primary tasks, so I’ll be deep in the SEO/web copy trenches again. While this is going to mean way less freelance work, I’ll still keep this blog updated with my side contract work, life, travel, crafting, and accomplishments at AdventureSmith. I’ve got quite a few editing gigs still in the queue this month, so it’s going to be a busy yet fun one!
Last month I participated in a poetry slam at Bona Fide Books, for the opening of Benjamin Arnold’s exhibit “Breathing Rusted Rivets.” Us volunteer poets had to get up before an audience and judging panel, spouting out poems we created from words pulled from a hat in mere minutes.
Here are the words and the poems I created from them. Vernon Lee, whose back is pictured in the photo at left, crushed the competition to take first, but I ended up landing second place, just a point or two above two other fierce poets, Heather Kenison (pictured at right) and Janet Smith (pictured at left).
(An ode to Erin Bechtol, Bona Fide’s editorial assistant who is leaving later this month for Seoul, Korea)
Erin’s moving to Seoul,
the goddess of book fairs,
the queen of the Bona Fide knoll,
the heart, the
Erin’s leaving for Seoul
for a canoli with kimchi,
for an adventure, for a new way to roll
with soul, soul,
Erin’s really leaving for Seoul
Erin, we’ll miss your soul!
(My rendition on this word is inspired by someone once telling me that pollen in the air was like watching flower sex. I might work on this poem to convey that more, but here it is as written/performed.)
Spring opens up her dewey arms
petals say yes to the light
my nostrils tingle
a stinging tear in my eye
The air’s thick with…
When my pen’s lazy
it snuggles with my knuckle.
Right on in there
between the bony joints
like a slothful cigarette
biding its time for the burn.
Oh how I try to coerce it
into that prolific
threesome with the thumb,
but it just wants to snuggle,
with the knuckle.
I never thought I’d say this, but I’m a poet laureate. Of Wildflour Baking Company in Squaw Valley. Oh yes, it’s quite the honor, and I have the credentials to prove it (photo evidence above). Not sure what sorts of poems I’ll be required to write for the bakery, but I’m happy to do so! I won the Wildflour Favorite (adult) category in their annual Valentine’s poetry competition—not the grand prize (of a full season’s cookie pass), but somehow they deemed me worthy of poet laureate status.
Without further ado, I present to you my winning poem:
I am not a runner. Or at least that’s what I always told myself. I can sprint all day on an ultimate field, but get me on a trail and 3 miles was always my max. I once ran 6 miles. That was a big day.
But something bit me this fall. Ultimate frisbee season was over, I had a few months of down time before skate skiing, and Tahoe’s snow was on a serious vacation (still is). So I started running. I downloaded the Runner’s World half marathon training guide, and began a 9-week process to turn me into a runner. I admit my half marathon goal may seem very small (especially when you compare it to all the people out there doing really big things—the Lolë president’s journey up Kilimanjaro, for one). But you’ve got to start somewhere and this was an attainable goal that I decided to do as much for the training as for the race itself.
Week one of training had me at 20 miles, and I worked my way up to 31 miles/week. I primarily ran trails, and they ranged from right outside my door up to Paige Meadows to horse trails in Woodside, California, to ridgeline paths in Reno above the Patagonia outlet. This was one of my favorite things about running—exploring new trails. Reno has some amazing spots… those hills always call to me and I finally explored some of that high dessert terrain. Here are a few of my favorite vistas (and most memorable ones—wet meadow crossings, ugh!) from my training:
The other thing that amazed me in the process is that I enjoy running. Sometimes I’d dread heading outside, especially with Tahoe’s icy roads and trails, cold rain and frigid air as obstacles, but as soon as my feet starting hitting the ground I’d feel this sense of relief. Running became my relaxation, a place that I could meditate and let my mind stop churning.
Things went great, except when I ran a faster-than-usual 5 miles on pavement in week 8 and some serious knee pain set in. I’m not sure if I’m cut out for this long-distance running thing, but perhaps I’ll just train longer and slower next time. Knee pain and all, I finished the race though: the 2011 ZombieRunner Bay Trail Run. Mile 9 was the toughest for me. And next time I’ll avoid the Clif Shot, which did a number on my belly. But I’m happy to say that I finished in good form. My time was 2:10 so I ended up right in the middle of the pack: 24th in my age group of 47 women, and 106th out of 199 total runners. My pace was a 9:58-minute mile.
Special thanks to the iMapMyRUN iPhone app, which helped me log all my miles, and to Lolë for outfitting me for the journey. Couldn’t have done it without your leggings!! I’ll be blogging about my favorite running gear on the Tahoe Mountain Sports blog soon. See photos of the Bay Trail half marathon course here.