50! Stay above 50!

fifty

Keanu was kind of a hottie in this pic. 

One of my favorite Saturday morning movies is Speed. It’s Sandra Bullock’s debut film and it’s a doozie. I mean, Dennis Hopper, COME ON! So these guys are all on a bus that has to stay above 50 mph or else they get blown up. Klaboowie. Game over.

Kinda like me now. 50. Stay above 50. Cuz, see…

…when I was 17, a major life event occurred. It was two weeks before my senior year in high school and my mom took off in the morning to exercise my brother’s English Sheep Dog, Vickie (Victoria.) She would do this by jumping on the bike and letting Vickie pull her on a long leash across the street in a huge parking lot of a Catholic church. I thought it was stupid, like, it’s Jerry’s dog shouldn’t he be doing this but they (moms and pop) thought this was a good idea. Whatevs.

However; on this particular day; Vickie decided to jump in front of the bike and Mom went flying. Fucking dog. Luckily, she was just across the street and Dad noticed right away that Mom was on the ground and the stupid dog was just standing there. He ran over and there ya go, Mom broke her leg. Off to another trip to North Memorial and the break was bad enough that surgery was scheduled; pins and screws inserted, and hopefully Mom home shortly. Then she got Staph infection, and in many ways, in was game over. By the way, to this day, when someone mentions staph, I take that shit seriously.

Mom’s overnight stay was extended to a couple of weeks. She missed the first day of school. It was bad. See, the first day of school was special to my mom. First off, we always had breakfast for school but the first of day school included regular breakfast plus Dunkin Donuts. (Just the donuts, they didn’t have shitty coffee yet back then.) So she had my Auntie Karen bring over donuts but she called from the hospital crying telling us to have a good day. Yowzer. Not fun.

Something happened to my mom then. Something not entirely awesome. She got a lot of attention for being broken. Broke leg. Broke infection. Sickly. People started to feed a need in her that she only got when she was broken. And for much of the last 30+ years, she’s stayed broken. There have been at least 20 surgeries; many cancer scares, and many illnesses that although I would say much of this has not been her fault: it’s also not been avoided through healthy diet and exercise. By the way, she turns 80 next Monday so good on her for surviving for this long.

But I watched. And I knew. I didn’t want to survive past 47. I wanted to fucking thrive. No sickness. No weakness. No getting attention for anything other than being strong and tenacious. While I am so sorry for her that she has endured so much; I will walk every day trying to avoid her fate. Sorry not sorry. I will not be fed, emotionally or physically, through weakness or illness. I will be fed internally through strength. It’s all I have. It’s what drives me.

However; today I realized something very awesome. That while I am driven to avoid behavior I saw; I also strive for lives I see. Look, I am in constant companionship with amazing women far into their 50’s and beyond. This is the gift I receive not only at every competition but just here on social media. Women who have chosen not to stand back and let aging just happen to them but to redefine what again means and usually, it just means a different kind of PR. PR’ing your lifts at 80 is the shit. Hitting a new WOB PR at 60 is beyond the shit. YOU! You girls? You da man.

Sue Hallen; Ruth Welding; Dawn Higgins; Karyn Dallimore; Terri James; Denise Houseman; Vivian Dawson; Jodi Stumbo; Jane Black (I adore her); Michaela Pennekamp; Teresa Nystrom: these are the women I strive to be. Those who have said goodbye to their 30’s and 40’s and said, “Fuck that, I’ve got more in the tank!” I guess I realized today that THOSE are the women that are driving me.

And I’m so thankful. So very thankful. So thankful to have all of these women to look up to. To admire. To want to beat. Heh. But I know I have to work harder. Longer. More efficiently to do so and that’s what they do for me. They make me better.

So here’s to the 50’s and beyond. May I be blessed with a touch of the talent and longevity that so many have. But when my ride ends I can look fate in the eye and say, “Fuckin’eh, we’ve sure had a blast!”

I’m very sane about how crazy I am.

Carrie Fisher

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Friday Jams: 50 Shades of Music

As few may have noticed, I haven’t posted on the blog for quite some time. Oh, I’ve written posts. Many. But when I go to publish them, I realize that nothing written can be more important than talking about my dear friend Shelly, and her suicide.

And to be honest (TBH), music isn’t either. But I’m trying. It’s been difficult. Oh sure, we’ve had travels and fun and every day stresses that we get through, but deep in my heart there’s always the fact that my friend was in such a bad place and I didn’t even know. In fact, no one knew. Again, I don’t feel guilty, just sad. But I’d like to move on even a little bit if only a blog post does the trick for today. So, Shelly, my lovely friend; I miss you. But today we’re going to talk about music and I think you’d approve.

It is officially Birthday week! No, I don’t really do a birthday week. In fact, this will kick off a fairly quiet week where I’m trying to keep my food on track post Savannah southern cooking and Pre-Boston seafood. The hubs is in town for a few days which means I can put him to work on the grill and keep the protein high and the carbs low. In theory. I just really want bread these days. Poor me.

However, to kick off birthday week, I thought about music and what it has meant to me in my life. See, music has seen me through dark days. It has brought more joy to happy days. It can quickly transport me to a past event and make me write down a current song that speaks to me. I love it. I’m very fortunate that I lived in a world where music was appreciated. Well, not all. Pastor John never was a fan of Prince. But that’s just, like, his opinion man.

1973

I was 6. My brother was 8 and this song was on the radio more times each day than the shortened version of Jane Says on Classic rock stations these days. It was my introduction into Rock. And to this day, it remains one of my favorite. Also, men were manly in the 70’s. Sucks to be you Millennials.

1978

I was 11 and Oooooooo, these girls could sing. See, this was the age where I realized I couldn’t. And if the good Lord came down and sat at my kitchen table right this moment and said, Well Jules what is the one thing you really want in life? I’d be hard pressed not to tell Him to give me the gift of song rather than, ya know, no more cancer or shit like that. I had the 45 of this song and outplayed it. Srsly. Kudos to mother Lynda for not imposing a Pointer Sisters embargo in the home. You can add Donna Summer, Olivia Newton-John, really any woman with a strong, kick ass voice. Those were my idols. Well, and Billie Jean King. Anyways.

Speaking of kick ass chicks…

1980

Who, other than Blondie, could make teenage girls across the country want to become platinum blonde Playboy centerfold punk rock singers? Especially us suburban girls. Give us a little edge and we’ll do the rest (I also went through a brief Chrissie Hynde stage in college. Tons of black eye shit and never combed my hair.) It was glorious. Still couldn’t sing though. That sucked.

1984

Basically, all things Prince. Look, I don’t know how this played out in other parts of the country but Prince was a Minneapolis boy; therefore; he was ours. Heh. He was talented A.F. and freaky and when his shit hit, it hit hard. Of course now the rest of the country (maybe even Pastor John) understands the depths of his talent but back then he changed music and brought my age group out of High School and into the college years; aka, adulthood (no, not adulting. Growing up is a noun, not a fucking verb. FOK!)

That’s it. My childhood in a nutshell. The first 18 years summed up with Rock; Soul; Punk, and Prince (yes, he gets his own distinction.) I’ve written enough about how I didn’t have the Disney childhood; but I tell ya what, looking back at it through music actually makes it pretty fucking cool. I’ll take it.

Nature give you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty. 

Coco Chanel

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Friday Jams: Aloha Darkness

I lost a friend two weeks ago. Well, I didn’t lose her, she left. And I don’t understand why.

However; what I’m coming to realize is that I never will understand. I will never understand how she could leave her daughter, knowing how much she needed her. I will never understand how, while dedicating her life to helping those in mental health distress, she herself couldn’t reach out. I will never understand the depths of her hopelessness in the one moment that became too much.

I can just be sad. Sad for her (I am so very sad for her that she was living with this pain. Of all things, I am so sad for her); sad for her young daughter who is walking through a horrible nightmare and appears completely shell shocked; sad for her family, friends, and coworkers who so clearly love her. Sad for the police officer who now lives with the images of answering a well being check that day. But for my friend, I am most sad that the darkness was too thick to recognize a glimmer of light.

shelly

Shelly and I shared the ultimate bond; we were goalie moms. Even more, we were goalie moms in a small town where neither of us were part of the “click” and so our daughter’s were easy targets for opinions from people whose entire hockey knowledge came from their husbands or worse, those who played the game ‘back in high school.’ (Dude, you were an average player in an average town, let it go.) The head coach was your typical small town head coach which meant that he didn’t have a clue what to do with goalies so he’d berate them thinking the shame will be enough to step up. Other players did drills, goalies got shot on (uhhhh, there are goalie drills dude.) To this day, when I’m in town and run into him on Mai Tai night, he has the good grace to quickly look like a scared dipshit that he is and bolt for the door. Dipshit.

Anyways. Shelly’s daughter, Desi, started playing goalie a year or two after Zandra and I finally had friends. Shelly and her husband at the time, Jeff, adopted me somewhat into their fun loving, musical crowd and I rarely went a weekend without an invite to somewhere fun.

Shelly wanted good things for everyone around her. It drove her nuts that I was single. She was constantly on the lookout to find me a match, even though I was just fine. I dated a guy here and there from their crowd (one was this tall, skinny, weird looking guy who had this quirky Steve Buscemi quality about him. Can’t explain it. Didn’t last long but it is one of those things I look back on and ask myself ‘wtf were we doing there, Jules?’)

She would suggest guys here and there for me and I would ask if she were serious but at the end of the day, being with someone equated happiness and that’s what she wanted for me. We argued about it sometimes. Seriously. That seems silly now but I just didn’t understand why it was so important to her and she didn’t understand why it wasn’t important to me. Such is life. But at the end of the day, she wanted me to be good and to be happy. Isn’t it nice to have friends like that?

We laughed a lot together. There was one time when she and Jeff stopped by the house to pick up something later in the evening and I left it in our mailbox for them. Now, I’ve written before about how our mailbox was outside of an entry window and whenever the mailman came, she would be terrified of Preacher when he jumped in the window and tried to eat her (silly mailman.) Anyways, I heard them pull up and looked down from my bedroom window when two things happened at once; Preacher started barking his scary bark and I saw Shelly rear back in the passenger seat and start laughing hysterically. I guess Preacher scared the ever’living out of Jeff when he jumped in the window and Jeff flew back about 10 feet in utter fear. I can see it so vividly. Shelly laughing. She still laughed about it years later. Me too.

Since she was human, Shelly had struggles. We all do. We all have things that can be hurtful to those around us. We all have habits where we think we’re being helpful but actually aren’t listening to the needs of others. Some of us have struggles that we just can’t seem to put behind us. Scary struggles that only one or a few who are especially close to us recognize. There are even some struggles that are destructive enough where we begin to lose out on the joy of life. Where addictions take over and even when old friends come to town, they become more important than spending time together.

But I didn’t know how deeply she hurt and I am so sorry for that. While I wasn’t a fan of her new boyfriend, I respected her decision to spend time with him. As opinionated as I am, I don’t feel the need to share EVERY thought with people. But maybe I should have about him. He had a darkness to him. Bad aura. Nothing that stood out in a remarkable way, just not altogether right. And I can be a bit hyper-sensitive about other people’s energy. If it’s off putting for me, I stay away. And I stayed away. Now I’m so sorry that I did.

No, I don’t feel guilty. I just feel sad and so sorry. I told her that, this last time. Laying in her coffin, the horrible nightmare jolted into reality. I am so sorry Shelly. I’m sorry you were so sad and felt so hopeless. I’m sorry I wasn’t there. I’m sorry I didn’t push harder to make time for me when I came into town. I’m sorry I distanced myself on the Facebook. I’m sorry that I distanced myself at all. I’m sorry I didn’t help. I’m sorry that I didn’t know. I’m sorry.

all of a sudden. you were gone.

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Friday Jams: America

Well, here we go.

Today, we welcome a new President. Well, welcome is subjective I guess. Ronald Reagan said, “If we love our country, we should also love our countrymen.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I love America. I have loved it through Carter (gas lines); Reagan (tear down this wall!); Bush (no new taxes); Clinton (what the meaning of the word “is” is); Bush (mission accomplished), and Obama (hope and change.) Yes, I was around for LBJ; Nixon, and Ford but was too young to know anything other than what my parents thought of them. Honestly, the only thing I remember about my folks saying anything about those three was that LBJ would have Lone Star beer flown in to the White House from Texas. Lone Star. Ever have a Lone Star? Barf.

To all of the “Not my President” types: I feel your pain. I’ve been there. I’ve already mentioned it but I understand your fear of the direction our country will take. I’ve been there for 8 years and if today’s FB is any indication of where we’re at; well, we have a long way to go to love our countrymen. But I do. And I will continue to do so.

Also,yup, I’m nervous too. I voted for Trump. Partly because I could not in good conscious vote for Mrs. Clinton but also because I believed in part of his message. Not all, but enough that I cast my ballot. So ya, I want him to succeed. Because if he does, we do. That’s a good thing.

But this is America and if you don’t want to play nice, really, you have every right not to. People wanted me to give Obama a chance and really, at the end of the day, what choice do we have? I didn’t believe in his promises but I didn’t want him to fail, because if he fails, we fail. We didn’t want failure. This is like wanting your competition to fail just so you don’t have to step up and do your best. Not acceptable.

But we are divided. And there is a large portion of America who are choosing not to give Trump a chance and I fully embrace your right to do so. But I want to ask this: if Trump fails as President, how does that help you or your cause? If Trump fails, how does that help your neighborhood? If Trump fails, how does that help America? Are you willing to spend the next four to eight years angry and combative? Gawds I hope not. For your sake. For mine.

We can do this! Together. As long as we stay together (except for Fucknutt Francis next door. Screw him) we can do this.

We’re going to start right here. I first heard Audrey Rose Walker’s name on my near friends podcast: Fork Talk. She is a huge fan of Big Daddy and Hoss and was quite adorable when they did a field side interview with her and she called them out on a couple of items she disagreed with. OH! Audrey Rose was born without eyeballs and severe heart disease. Add to that: she’s amazing. I threw in a Masters group with her father, Jim Walker, in Pleasanton a couple of years ago and it was an absolute delight. Audrey Rose AND her siblings were entertaining and supportive of their dad throwing and I’m so fortunate to have had an opportunity to spend a little bit of my weekend with them.

This was also the first time I heard Audrey Rose sing. Ohhhhhhh, to sing like that! Something I will never do but have so much admiration for. She is so bold! I love that. She lives a bold life, one to admire and respect. And she sings. OH how she sings!

Here she is singing the National anthem this past fall at the San Francisco 49’rs game. She’s 9. You need to know that because once she opens her mouth, you’ll forget that she’s 9. No matter how you feel about what’s happening in Washington today, please love America. And don’t just love, be loving.

And be in awe of Audrey Rose. We can all do THAT together!

Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressman and government officials, but the voters of this country.

Franklin D. Roosevelt 

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