Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Well, I didn't quite make it

Actually, didn’t come close. Not even a personal best. Sunday, I shot for 100 miles on a bicycle and completely bonked just past the 50-mile turnaround. Started having conversations with mythical creatures. At 65 miles I was done trying to rack up pride points. Just done. Toast. Hitched a ride on the sag wagon.
It was discouraging. My friends tell me to reframe it, that 65 miles is a big ride. This is true. It just wasn’t as big as I pulled off last year.

My husband told me for your first century, the stars need to align. It took him 5 or 6 tries to complete one. This was only my third. There will be another time.

The stars were out of kilter. It was a hard day. A lot of headwind on the way out. I was a little rundown and couldn't get comfortable on the bike. Life got in the way of my training schedule last month. My Dad’s 90th birthday was more important than a bike ride. 

I made mistakes. I was pressed for time and went out too hard at first. I didn’t take adequate breaks or eat enough on the way. I could have trained harder.

But I learned from it. I spent a day or two feeling sorry for myself, although the day-after hot stone massage went a long way in lifting my mood. Last night I was a beautiful evening, and I rode an easy 10-miler. It felt good to get back on the bike.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Patience, patience, patience

I am a painfully slow cyclist. Nearly everyone blows past me, particularly on climbs. Early in the season I swear I was getting passed uphill by small children with princess stickers on their bikes, but now I can smoke those little bitches!

Patience. I need patience with myself. Patience to grasp that I am starting at a different place or at a different time than others. I've only really been taking this seriously in the past year or so. Patience to recognize I'm built more for endurance than speed.

A week from today, I will attempt 100 miles on a bicycle. It's an organized ride with rest stops along the way, patrolling repair vans and a sag wagon. Much easier than attempting one alone or with a small group. Just toss a water bottle on the bike and go.

I'm behind on the training schedule. My longest day so far was 50. By now, it should have been 60 or 70. Life simply got in the way the last two weeks in July, including a week of family travel. That's OK. I believe life is fluid and goals should not be cages.

I've done what I can, and I will do what I can next Sunday. I'm not overly worried. Yesterday, 39 miles felt comfortable. Last year, my longest ride before the century attempt was 40, and I pulled off 90. The last 10 miles were ugly, and the sag wagon kept circling with concern, but I came in under my own steam.

Some of it will depend on wind and heat. I've heard it said you should not take up cycling anywhere known for its wind farms. Last year there was a 20+ MPH headwind a good chunk of the way out.

I have five hours to make the turnaround. Even with rest stops, this should be more than enough. I need to be patient when the cyclometer dips to 6 MPH and not to try to keep pace with others, even if I'm off the course DFL.

Even if I don't make it, it's OK. I haven't failed. The point is to get out and ride and feel the joy of a good spin. That I can accomplish for certain.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

You are enough

So many goals start from a place of inadequacy. I'll be thinner, more organized, more ambitious. I'll write that novel, keep a sparkling kitchen. I'll give up coffee, sodas, sweets, computer solitaire.

It's as if I believe I can be a new person -- a vastly improved version of myself because the old one is not enough.

I am enough as I am. And you are, too.

Whatever lists I make, I wake up in the morning the same person as when I fell asleep on the couch watching old movies.

I have the same cluttered dining room table. I have my half-cleaned kitchen. The same box o'makeup in the bath that I never wear because I don't wake up early enough and I never remember to take it off at night. I have the same unread books, the dusty piano I don't play as often as I would like.

I have the same body. The same seemingly un-styleable hair. I have the same scar across my neck where they took out my thyroid. The same emerging wrinkles on my face. The same fears and failings.

All of this, and I am still enough. I don't need a self-improvement program to make myself acceptable to the world. No reinvention needed.

Be gentle with yourselves. You are enough.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Would have given up by now, part 1: Weight

A local community program here is promoting 10,000 steps a day. Unfortunately, they chose to make it about weight loss, including required weigh-ins. What I find sad is that I believe this will end up discouraging activity. If exercise doesn’t “work” for a participant -- that is, doesn’t result in weight loss -- I fear they may decide it’s not worth it.

Imagine you take a volunteer job that inspires your passions and uses your talents. You work with wonderful people, making a real difference in the world. Now imagine you took this job believing it was a paid position, only to find out later that was not the case. I’m certain an entirely different reaction. When people expect to, but don’t get “paid” for exercising -- when they don’t lose weight -- they may lose sight of all the other great things about it.

The last two months, I’ve been training toward what will hopefully be my first century ride in August. It’s been on my bucket list since I was 10 and my brother did one. It would be a stretch to call myself a serious cyclist, but I have definitely putting in some miles for me.

I see progress in so many ways other than the scale. Sunday, I found myself telling my husband that I went on an easy 21-miler, only to stop and wonder when I started using “easy” and “21-miler” in the same sentence.

I see progress on the hills which I once struggled up and now ride up smoothly. I see it on the hills where I used to have to stop halfway for water and oxygen, and now I struggle up them. I see my cadence becoming faster, my resting heart rate becoming slower. My average weekly mileage increasing. I can run bigger gears with less effort. I’ve got a new personal landspeed record of 38.7 MPH. I’m more comfortable on the bike.

What I do not see, nor did I expect, is any significant weight loss. That’s OK. That’s not why I’m doing this.

If I had gone into this with weight loss as my goal, I would have given up by now. I’d step on the scale and believe that I’d failed. There would have been no reason to crawl up hills in my lowest gear in 90 degree weather repeating in my head, “This hill will not defeat me.” I’d turn around when the 20 MPH headwind kicked up. I wouldn’t go to the YMCA and run on the treadmill on the days thunderstorms threatened and I couldn’t ride. What would be the point?

If weight loss were my goal, I would have quit by now. I wouldn’t have been getting “paid” for this. But it isn’t my goal, and I am being rewarded for my efforts in many ways.

I believe my body will do what I ask of it if I take care of it. I know I am capable of doing this. I want to be stronger. That is all the payment I need.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The West is on fire

Yesterday, a haze of smoke hung over Cheyenne, even though we're probably about 60-70 miles from the nearest raging wildfire. The sunsets are blood orange red. The news reporters post satellite photos of the plumes of smoke coming off the mountains, blowing eastward. The National Weather Service issued a special statement about the smoke, and the city warned against exercising outdoors. 

Even though I’m not particularly sensitive, yesterday I felt my eyes and lungs burn at times. I chose to do my ride inside at the YMCA instead of out on the roads in the haze.

According to InciWeb this morning, there are 141,783 acres – 221.5 square miles -- of active wildfires just in Wyoming, with many more fires burning throughout the state. This is an area nearly the size of Chicago.
The fires in Wyoming understandably don’t get as much national news as the fires threatening more populous areas like Colorado Springs, but there are still many in those mountains at risk of losing their homes and dreams. I’ve been watching the news on the Arapaho fire closely as it’s far too close to a place I love and where I know two wonderful people who run a bed and breakfast. Over in the Snowy Range, Woods Landing has been evacuated, the fire threatening, but not destroying, its historic bar/restaurant and dance hall.

Out here, we’ve known the West would go kawoosh at some point. For years, we’ve seen the beetle kill march down the mountainsides, turning green to reddish brown. It’s been heartbreaking, and we’ve known it was dangerous. We knew it would happen sometime. This must be the year.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Cycling club: not an auspicious beginning

Last night I attended my first cycling club ride. It was not an auspicious beginning.

I joined the local club in hopes of finding others at my level to ride with. Someone who might be willing to do long distances at slow speeds. On asking about the different rides, I was informed that Thursday nights they had a slower “no-drop” ride of about 10-15 miles.

As they say, never bring a knife to a gunfight. In this case, I brought my beatermobile commuting bike instead of the road bike. The one I took is half mountain bike, half something that’s not quite a road bike, with mismatched wheels and one thumb shifter higher than the other on the handlebars. It's cobbled together from parts and pieces from multiple bikes the man in my life has scrounged over the years. Not only that, but I left the panniers on, stuffed with my work clothes and purse.

For a mellow ride, I figured it would be enough. It  became apparent quickly that not only was the ride going to be longer than 10 miles, their definition of “mellow” was a little less, well, mellow than mine.

We rode the bike path. I managed to keep up with the slowest rider, although I was running out of big enough gears to pull it off. From time to time the front group stopped and let us catch up. About eight and a half miles out, way the heck on the other side of town, I hit a grate on the entrance to one of the tunnels and felt my handlebar somehow somewhere else than it had been. When we caught up, I discovered that not only was it now 2 inches off-kilter to the left, the thumb shifters were in even more of an oddball position than they had been.

The ride leader was kind enough to pull out his tools and fix it, and we were off again. Against the wind on a hill, I made the fatal mistake of downshifting into the middle chain ring on the front. Didn’t take long to start falling back. (Remember the big gears thing?) So, I went for the big front gear again. It didn’t want to shift. I pushed it a little harder... and heard a snap. Front derailleur cable was flopping in the breeze, and the chain slipped quickly down to the smallest gear.

I’ve had a few bikes break on me, but never the same bike breaking twice on one ride. In front of people I barely knew. Not good.

At their next stop, I let them know I’d be cutting off the route and limping my way home at that point, as I’d never be able to keep up. They were very kind about it and concerned that I’d be OK. I reassured them I’d be fine, that I could get home from there.

I can’t even remember the young man’s name, but when I was in college I went on a date where the guy had not one, but two cars break down on him in the same night. He arrived at my house in a car with an alternator out. Mercifully, I lived on a hill so we could roll start the thing. We went back to his house to pick up his mom’s car and drove the 15-20 miles to the little town where the art theater was. We had a lovely time. On the way back, on a peaceful country road, the car up and died. We wound up walking to a farmhouse in the dark and asking to use their phone.

It was our first date. As I recall, I did go out with him again. So there’s hope for me with the cycling club.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Doctors and weight loss

Over on Dr. Arya Sharma’s blog, he’s pointing to a debate on whether doctors should stop prescribing weight loss. My first response is, in a word, yes. Need I say more? But more needs to be said. Let me put this into perspective. Imagine you go see a doctor and he says this to you:

“The symptom you have (body size) is not actually the problem of most concern (cardiovascular or metabolic issues). But since they're statistically correlated, we’re going to simply address the symptom, even if it is not currently bothering you or even if you have none of those other health problems. We will attribute every health issue you have to this symptom."

“Although you may see initial respite from the symptoms and any associated health problems, the treatment has a 95% failure rate over 5 years. In a significant number of patients, the problems will become worse after treatment.”

“You will also have a slight chance of developing a potentially health-destroying and life-threatening eating disorder.”

“There is an alternate treatment that carries very little risk we could try first. We will not.”

“If you are one of the 95% for whom this treatment fails, we will assume you are non-compliant and treat you as such. We will not look at other options to manage your health.”

“We reserve the right to withhold other medical treatments, such as fertility treatments and joint replacements, unless this treatment succeeds for you.”

“This will be time-intensive. You will be required to spend a large amount of time logging and recording your food intake and planning meals. You are to disregard any hunger signals your body gives you.”

“This treatment will be required for the rest of your life, particularly if you are one of the patients for whom it makes things worse. You may never be able to eat normally again.”

“Even if you gained weight incredibly rapidly with no change in your eating or activity habits, we will not look at other possibilities for the rapid weight gain until you have tried and failed treatment -- possibly repeatedly, and possibly not until the situation has become severe.”

Ready for treatment?

I'm grateful that the question is being raised in medical circles. I have to say that I will not argue that weight loss is inappropriate in every single instance. I realize doctors see people who have desperate issues that may require an intervention. Similar to leaving a thryoid with benign lumps alone, while removing one that has become cancerous. You don't do the latter lightly, but you do it if the benefits outweigh the risks.

However, in weight loss the risks of not treating are often exaggerated while the risks of treating are disregarded. I believe intentional weight loss is a bad approach for most -- particularly those who are overweight or obese and metabolically healthy. As a first-line treatment, I see no downside to joyful movement and healthful foods, no downside to Health at Every Size, but I see a lot of pitfalls to intentional weight loss.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Falling in love with exercise

Century training update: 55 miles for the week ending May 13, 32.5 miles longest ride. 

Saturday was a tough day to get out on the bike -- gray, cloudy an 40 degrees out. I'd been out late and I was tired. I delayed, delayed, delayed ... another cup of coffee ... check Facebook again. I started humming "Hit the road, Jack" in an effort to mentally boot my butt out the door.

Made it out the door I did, and went 32.5 miles, alternately freezing in the wind and sweltering in my black windbreaker when the sun broke through the clouds. I was tired, and it hurt. Last weekend was easier -- longest ride was 27 miles on a gloriously sunny, calm morning. Two+ hours of joy. But even in the 40-degree chill Saturday, I still felt the same joy.

I love to be on a bicycle, and I don't know how you would stick with exercise unless they fall in love with it to get you through the tougher days. Kind of like a marriage. If last weekend's ride was a wonderful date night with my hubby, the latest ride was a full-day session of grouting the tile in the sunroom.

Golda Poretsky over on Body Love Wellness did a wonderful post a few days back about breaking up with your diet as if it were a bad boyfriend. Is your exercise program a jerk as well?

Does it start out by telling you you're fat and ugly and have to change? Does it cause physical injury? Does it demand you exercise when exhausted? Spend every waking minute or money you don't have on it? Do you dislike all the people you end up hanging out with when you are with it?

Maybe it's a pretty decent one, and all your friends (even your mother!) like it, but you don't care that much for it. Yoga is like that for me. I have never once felt good after a date with yoga, so I've taken that one out of my list.

Or maybe it makes you feel wonderful, makes you healthier and happier, but you're told (or think) it's not good enough for you because it's not carving flesh off your frame. You might end up ditching it and go back to one of those jerks who promises (perhaps falsely) to make you skinny.

I like to think not only of intuitive eating, but also of intuitive exercise. One of my favorite bloggers on that point is Chris Serong at Move and Be Free.:

I don’t care what shape you are, or what shape you want to be. What I’m about is appreciating exercise for the simple sake of enjoying movement and feeling more awesome. What else is the point?
I enjoy feeling my legs spin on a bike, and it makes me feel awesome. That is the point, indeed.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Why I don't calorie count: Home cooking edition

I’ve often read that the only solution for the nation is for all of us, or at least the two-thirds of us over the magic 25 BMI, is to carry our notebooks with us, recording every morsel we eat and calculating exactly what our body needs based on some calorie estimator we found on Google. In the past, before I found HAES, I’ve tried it. No longer.

Today at lunch  I fixed myself a big salad with tomato, cucumber, black beans, green onion, radishes and a vinaigrette made with half an avocado. (Note to self: try different type of vinegar next time. Avocado + balsamic = ugly, ugly, ugly.) On the counter, I had a big pot of bean soup going in the crockpot made with homemade broth and grass-fed ground beef. Fresh rosemary, too. Oh my, the kitchen smelled good. Tonight I’ll have it with some cheese and homemade cornbread.

All right, then, weight loss geniuses -- you want to try keeping a calorie count on all that?

How would I even do this on the soup? Calculate the grand total of everything I put into it, measure it out in cups before I serve it, and then measure out my own portion? Do you have any idea what a royal hassle that would be?

If I microwaved one of those sad little 300-calorie "healthy" frozen meals for lunch, instead of my lovely, lovely salad, I'd have one line item in a food log with an exact (if we can trust the food manufacturer) count. I'd also have a belly full of ingredients I cannot pronounce. I'd also be ravenously hungry in an hour.

Before I found HAES, I tried food logging from time to time because, well, I was supposed to, wasn’t I? Breakfast smoothies convinced me it was a really, really bad idea. Typical might be yogurt, flaxseed, apple, half a banana, spinach, cucumber, avocado and milk. All to be written down and looked up and recorded. Took me longer logging it than it took to make and drink the smoothie and wash the blender. One of those cloyingly sweet, artificially pink ones from the grocery store? Just read the back of the label and you're done. And again, hungry in an hour.

I was raised by a Mother Who Did Not Measure in the kitchen, and if I ever wrote a cookbook, half the ingredient amounts would say "what looks right" with the other half specified "as much as you like." (I like about 4 cloves garlic, minimum.) With the exception of baking, I rarely measure anything. So not only would I have to write the novel that was my dinner afterward, I'd have to slow down on the front end and try to figure out how much of everything I was using.

I'm not going to give up my varied, healthful, wonderful food just so I can reassure someone that I colored within the lines and stayed under my allotted number of calories. I will not give up the pleasure I take in cooking creatively out of what I have on hand. I'm not going to suck the joy out of my meals.

Not worth it. So not worth it. Not doing it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Proud (but tired) member of the Headless Horde

I had such a blissful bike ride Sunday that I’ve been meaning to write about falling in love with exercise. Instead, this week I feel crushed under “The Weight of the Nation.”

 Not crushed by its predicted impending adipose apocalypse, but by the fat-bashing already underway. In the PR blitz leading up to its release, the news headlines keep screaming louder and comment snark keeps getting nastier.

Kathleen Parker at the Washington Post piled on (trigger warning!), terrifying us with the prospect of 110 million obese people waddling around. Oh! Wait! They’re not waddling, they’re in the fast food drive-through line, where you always find them. (Are there no thin people eating fast food?)

And of course, probably 90%+ of the stories include a photo of someone’s fat torso, to elicit disgust. It’s the dreaded march of the Headless Horde -- and I am a member of it. I’m usually just shy of obese right out of the shower, but by the time I get clothes on my back and food in my belly -- the condition I’d be in for any official weigh-in at a doctor’s office -- I’m over the BMI 30 line. I'm not fat enough that someone is likely to photograph me without my permission and publish the image of my beheaded body, but I meet the definition.

I’m not out on the ramparts of health and size acceptance. I lurk around the edges, maybe share a link to a story on Facebook, comment on a few blogs and maybe write a post or two. But still, this latest round just makes me feel tired. It's hard not to feel drowned out amid the hysteria.

When the stories and comments fly, they are talking about me. I’m outside the proper box on the BMI chart. Columnists think they know my life trajectory of sloth and gluttony even though they do not know me.

So, in solidarity, all I can say is that I am not just a member of the Headless Horde, I declare myself a proud member. March on.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Epic stupid: Thousand-dollar proms

Yesterday, MSN Money reported that the average cost a family will spend on high school prom is $1,078. Not per prom, per teen. And no, that number is not a typo and I’m not missing a decimal point somewhere.

I’m somewhere between apoplectic and flabbergasted, and I haven’t even started on the alphabet from G to Z yet.

I try to remind myself to not judge others for their choices, but I’m having a really hard time wrapping my head around the logic on this one. Hence my less than gracious headline. And my less than gracious rant.

I did a little digging yesterday. So what does $1,078 buy, more or less?
Put this on a credit card at 13.5% (what my credit union charges) with a minimum payment of $25 a month, and it will take you just shy of 5 years to pay it off.

I’m wondering how on earth you rack up such a bill. And who are the kids are who “expect” (per the article) mani-pedis, limos, professionally done makeup and hotel rooms? I can’t imagine having asked my hardworking parents to fork over half a year’s gas money to tart me out like a Barbie doll for one night.

I went to prom in high school. My friends and I met at each others’ houses and did each others’ hair and makeup. Our dates picked us up in their own family’s cars. My dresses started out as bridesmaids’ gowns. We had a blast.

When I was in high school, my parents made it pretty clear that they were responsible for food, clothing, shelter, medical care and education, and if I wanted extras like going to prom, I was to find a way to pay for it myself. The thought of asking my father for even $20 so we could go out with friends on the weekend was foreign to us. So much so, that my brother and I as adults got to laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe over the thought of it.

I don’t get it. I guess if you have plenty of money to spend and everyone gets joy out of it, go for it. But if this is a strain, and you are going to this level of spending for your kid’s prom, stop. Just stop. Please. In the long run, you’re not doing them any good.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My dinner and why it will kill me

The last two days the headlines have screamed death by fork. “All red meat is bad for you, new study says,” "Red meat is blamed for 1 in 10 early deaths," "More support for passing on the red meat."

That lovely piece of grass-fed roast I stuck in the crockpot Tuesday is apparently dietary crystal meth. Unsafe at any speed. The scientists at Hah-Vahd have deemed it so. People smarter than me have already dissected the study's flaws, but that's a story for another day.

Should I ingest something so clearly, appallingly poisonous as steak (mmmmmm.... t-bone... rare...), I could perhaps wash it down with red wine to mitigate the damage. That is, if I want to die of breast cancer. (Please don't let them bury me with an "I Love Boobies" bracelet.)

Potatoes anger the Glycemic Index Gods. Juice, breakfast smoothies and canned tomatoes are bad for me. Butter (mmmm.... butter...) goes straight to my biceps.

Too much protein will destroy my kidneys and dissolve my bones. Humans are evolutionarily incapable of eating grains. And everyone, everyone, everyone knows fat is evil.

I could keep going until there's nothing left but collard greens and fresh garlic. If they ever say garlic kills, you will find me running naked, screaming through the grocery with a machete beheading anyone who reaches for nonfat cream cheese (an abomination if ever I tasted one).

But... I'd better stick with organic on the greens and garlic. And organic greens and garlic are tough to come by at this time of the year in my corner of the world. Which leaves me with nothing. I'm pretty sure eating nothing will kill me.

Enough already.

So, I am back to the red wine. I drink it sitting in the backyard on that rarest of winter days here -- warm, but not windy. As much as I hate Daylight Savings Time, I love it tonight when I can soak in the sun after work (GASP! No sunscreen!). A little later, I'll go inside and make beef and black bean enchiladas. With lots of sharp cheddar cheese.

I raise my glass and drink a toast to living before I die.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Finally back on the bike

A stationary bike, anyway. We still have sheets of ice on our streets, and today wind gusts hit 60MPH today. Not ideal cycling weather.

Last night, went to the YMCA and did 5K on the rower and half an hour on a stationary bike. I’m a slow cyclist, so when there’s no miles on the readout, I usually count stationary riding at 10-12 MPH.

I was mostly concerned about keeping my cadence high and steady. To complete 100 miles, I need to be able to spin at 70-90 strokes per minute for eight to ten hours. I’ve got a long way to go, but some time to get there. The next step is to set up the spreadsheet to track miles.

I usually try to avoid the “health and fitness” mags, but while I was on the rower, the woman next to me left her copy of Shape on the floor next to me. It was hard not to be drawn to the cover -- impossibly buff woman with long blonde windblown tresses in a shiny green bikini. Half-in, half-out of some kind of swim coverup as if they caught her in mid-striptease. I think got it right. No one looks like her. Not even her.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Protecting the ones we love

Thanks to a change in meds, I’ve been having muscle spasms in my neck, headaches, dizziness, weariness. It’s wearing off slowly, but I was flattened for a few days.

By Wednesday, I’d reached the point where it felt better to move than to not move, so I went to the YMCA. I love the Y for many reasons, but among them is that it feels body-friendly, age-friendly, ability-friendly.

Still, I felt inadequate. I managed the elliptical slowly on the lowest setting for about 20 minutes before I gave up. No arm motion -- it hurt too much. A little dizzy each step. Another 20 on the treadmill, also at a painfully slow pace.

The voice in the back of my head told me I looked foolish -- a slightly oversized woman in very oversized sweatpants barely moving. The voice told me I was lazy and unmotivated. That I wasn’t getting a “real” workout. Soft. Weak. I hate that voice. I have to stand outside myself sometimes and imagine that voice speaking to a child I care about. That’ll get the ire going.

Even though I doubt anyone else noticed what I was doing or not doing, I imagined others around me thinking those thoughts.

It’s just as silly of me to imagine what others are thinking of me as it is to look at a person’s size and imagine all their bad habits. If they are thinking those things, but keeping them to themselves, then I guess they’ll have to live with their own negativity. And if they feel the need to share those thoughts, I will have to shield and defend myself as I would do for a child I love.

Why yes, I did fall off the planet

I started this blog in one of my typical fits of hypomanic ambition, followed by one of my typical phases of dropping off the planet.

But that’s not the real reason it’s been so long since I’ve posted. The real reason is I made a true and total ass of myself on the internet. In the comments on another blog, I crossed the line between sharing my experience and inflicting my opinion. I’m not going to point you to where I did it -- I was embarrassed enough already.

It’s easy to be harsh -- intentionally or unintentionally -- online. It’s easy to forget that there is a person with their own valid experience on a keyboard elsewhere. It’s hard for them to “get” what might be intended as an oddball sense of humor without seeing your face.

Plus, I come from what I describe as a family of true believers. People who don’t just write a check to a cause, but get arrested marching in the streets. I count both birthers and truthers among my nephews. It makes for interesting family gatherings. We talk about the weather a lot.

I’ve rethought things. I deleted a few posts that did not feel like my own voice, that felt like I was trying too hard. I’ve recommitted to finding my own voice. Perhaps not many will read it, but at least it’s my own.