Monday, January 25, 2010


I took my boys snow tubing at a local ski hill for the first time. Now, I’m not one for skiing, roller coasters, or water parks; I like to be in control of the vehicle taking me for a ride (control issues?)! I’m far more comfortable at fast speeds when I have breaks, clutch and steering capacity.

The ski hill is an hour drive from home, so there was plenty of time for my mind to take control of my thoughts. “Maybe I’ll just watch and take pictures.” “Maybe they’ll decide it’s too scary and won’t want to go.” Before another copout thought could filter through, I chose to focus on the thought that this could be a great opportunity for practicing presence. I could practice relaxing into my fear, moving through it, and letting it go. After all, it’s conditioning that got me stuck in my fears; my mind buying into the protests from others and their insistence on feeding me horror stories about the dangers of certain activities. Didn’t let any warnings or stories about the dangers of motorcycling stop me. Why should I let anything else? You know, life is dangerous when you choose to perceive it that way! So, why not focus on perceiving it like a motorcycle ride; an adventure with possibility around every corner? (But only if you don’t think it’s dangerous.)

The sun is shining. The hawks are warming their bellies in the winter sun. My belly feels warm as I drive the last few miles, ready to embark on a new venture focused on possibility rather than dread.

I approached the unknown making my predominant thought, “This could be fun!” And that’s exactly what I experienced. We had a blast! We quickly discovered that hooking up to one another’s tubes made us go a lot faster than riding solo. Using my feet to push my boys’ tubes away from mine, while still holding onto the straps, was like giving that ride a little shot of nitrous. Faster and faster we flew gaining more power, speed, and momentum. The fear stood on the sidelines while I snapped pictures as we flew down that hill screaming and laughing our heads off.

As I move into the week ahead, I am taking with me the wisdom I gathered while tubing; fear belongs on the sidelines, make having fun your predominant thought, and when you need a little power to make things move along faster, hook up with people headed in the same direction that you are!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Night Before Christmas

This is the story of how my boys earned the name “The Toilet Busters.” If you read the Door County Chronicles back in July, I had promised to write it this winter. Here it is!

(a.k.a. This is the Dawning of the Age of the Toilet Busters)

'Twas the night before Christmas, in my sister’s old house,

creatures were stirring, though quiet as a mouse;

The gingerbread houses, decorated with little to spare,

Manifestation of sugar ingested soon would be there;

The children were whispering ‘round the commode,

With questions of mystery, planning some secret episode?

Mamma’s thinking they must be taking a crap,

As she settled down for a little nightcap.

Then out of the bathroom there arose such a clatter,

We sprang from our chairs to see what was the matter.

Away to the powder room we flew like a flash,

Tore open the door, investigating the crash!

Two moons on the breast of the antique tank cover

Now broken in pieces, young boys in a hover.

When, what to their wondering eyes should appear,

But the workings of a toilet, how clever and queer!

“With a little old lever, so lively and quick,

It took but a moment and had such a kick .”

More rapid than eagles the family they came,

They snickered, and doubted, and called them by name;

"Now, Schuyler! Now, Wyatt! Just what were you fixen?

Oh, Come on! Who did it? Oh, blunder damn shitzen!"

To the top of the stairs and down the back hall,

to put the trash away, crash away, all!

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

They meet with an obstacle, Uncle Randy up high.

So up to the computer the three of them flew,

Checking radar for a sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard up above,

Dancing and prancing from the two that I love.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the stairs they came with a bound.

They dressed in fury, from head to foot,

“Let’s get home! He’s getting closer with the loot!”

A bundle of gifts I had flung on my back,

A pack mule and two kids wanting to hit the sack.

Their eyes -- how they drooped! Their yawns how merry!

Their innocent poses looking quite weary!

Though they wanted to sleep, I just had to know,

What really happened around that old toilet bowl.

“The stump of the lever was just in our reach,

It encircled the tank but had just one breach;

We had to push down instead of going around,

That shook the tank top, it slid off with a bound.

It was chubby and plump, a right jolly old bowl,

And we laughed when we saw it, in spite of what we’d been told;

A wink of an eye and a twist of the head,

Soon let us know we had everything to dread;

We spoke not a word, but went straight to work,

telling the family; ‘My brother’s a jerk!’

Then dropping our heads, looking straight at our toes,

We apologized for the action we chose.”

They snuggled into car seats without a tousle or wrassle,

And away we all flew down the “I” to our castle.

The family exclaimed, ere we drove out of sight;

“Toilet Busters were born here this Christmas night.”

"Good rid dins to all, and to all a good-night."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Don't Let The Cold Stop You

Bucked up and tripled layered for a long over due run in the woods this morning. I find the woods a great place to dump excess baggage, much like the open road. The past week’s frigid temps had me heading for the treadmill instead. I couldn’t take the closed-in-ness of the gym any longer so, I doubled up the layers determined to run in the -10 wind chill factor.

The woods were calling me. Lots of pent up thoughts and emotions were screaming to get out, to be released to the trees and dumped into the river. The releasing started before I even got to the parking lot…tears streamed down my face freezing on my cheeks as I ran along the trail. All self loathing came to an abrupt halt once I stepped foot on a bridge crossing a small section of river.

As I stood motionless over what appeared to be a frozen river, I could hear the muffled sound of rushing water below the ice and a corresponding message most needing to be heard. “Although on the surface things appear to be motionless, frozen in this time-space reality, beneath the stillness, the current is swiftly moving along it’s charted course…have faith darling and trust in the process…the river never stops moving…parts of it may be numb; frozen in time but its persistence and internal drive keep it moving regardless of external circumstances…it just keeps going…and so will you.”

Ah, the calming effects of the magic of nature!

Peacefully I trekked along the path as the voice in my head became overridden by the chirping jays, and crunching cushion of snow beneath my feet. The temperature was no longer an issue. I was free! I was in the woods and the woods were taking care of me, reminding me that freedom is the experience of letting go of my resistance to reality. I’ve got to flow with it just like the river flows under the ice and around any obstacles it meets. The river just accepts its reality and keeps going. And so can I.