Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Roller Coaster Dreams

Growing up my cousins, siblings and I used to ride our bikes in this area in the woods behind our grandparent’s house. The woods were probably more like ten trees but for a girl who grew up in the suburbs of Maryland, more than two trees together were good enough for me. I spent most of my childhood playing in creeks, wishing there were woods around, and longing to climb mountains. I had no idea what mountains were until I moved to Colorado. As a child life was simpler, I could find adventures anywhere I went. That anywhere happened to be in the neighborhood creeks, alleys, parks and ditches. I imagined myself lost in the woods having the bare minimum for survival. I longed for a closer connection with the earth, the woods, and the outdoors. My grandparents lived in Ridgefield, Ct and for this adventurous soul, it satisfied all the cravings I had for the bigger and greater outdoors not found in my urban Baltimore home. We called our little biking area in the back yard the “roller coaster”. It was sublime. It had dips and dirt and circumvented a large dug out hole. At least this is my memory of it. I can still feel how I felt as a child riding the roller coaster. I suppose it was my first real mountain bike ride although I’m pretty sure I was on a ten speed or a similar variation and the route was maybe 10 possibly 15 yards at best. It didn’t matter, I was in the woods, playing with my cousins, riding my bike on the roller coaster; life couldn’t get much better than that. It was simple, pure, joyous and fun.

I recently said goodbye to my Grandfather and his home for the last time. With it has come a storm of emotions, heavier than I anticipated. It is true, when someone older dies, it is more expected and that somehow should lessen the burn. To my surprise my grandfather’s death and the closure of an era are not what I would call easy. I will now venture to say that MY grandfather was different, special, not like all the others, but that would probably be inaccurate as most grandparents rank pretty high on the special list. I will say that Jack Jones was special to me, and having him in my life for 38 years was a gift. Knowing he is not sitting in his chair in his home in Ridgefield and knowing I will never visit him there again in my home away from home, hits my core. I’m fairly healthy emotionally, although I have my days, and I can be sad about something without it overwhelming me. So I recognize the healthy process of death and dying but sometimes it’s the living I struggle with. What does it all mean? Someone you love dies and then what? You just remember them and that’s it, it’s over? It feels a little cold, to say goodbye, walk away, never look back, never go back, just like that. I’m trying to be comfortable with this loss, this end of a chapter in my life. To have someone in your life that loves you so unconditionally that truly makes you feel like you are the only one that exists in the time you are with them, is a magical thing.

The thing about magic is you can’t and aren’t really supposed to explain it; otherwise it’s ruined, lost. With every event in Cat Morrison’s life comes a moment of truth, meaning, depth, growth. I may be overly sentimental but I NEED answers, I long for closure. I have determined the seemingly obvious fact that it is about how someone makes you feel. The legacy of Jack Jones is a big one as was his heart, but it was fairly simple. My greatest memory and what I carry with me daily is the gift of his love and how it made me feel. There is no describing the love you get from someone who looks upon you without judgment or criticism but rather pride and respect. His love is irreplaceable as it should be. It is my turn to make others feel the way he made me feel. It’s all about love, embracing it, sharing it, accepting it.

I find magical roller coasters everyday on my bike and it is only until recently that I have made the connection to the hole in the backyard. I smile big when I realize after 30 years I can still have fun in the dirt! I smile bigger when I realize what my grandparents have given me.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Clearly I am not a very good blogger. I have what I think to be creative thoughts running in and just as fast, out, of my mind. Mainly these thoughts come when I'm on the bike and I often wish I had a tape recorder that I could speak into as I'm riding, knowing that as soon as I'm home, eating, drinking, stretching, sitting on the couch, I will forget, forget the epiphanies, the creative sentences that flow from my free spirit. And even though I never write, the lesson is obvious, biking frees my mind. I know that in order for me to feel good, alive, free, and happy, I must ride or move my body outside with the earth. I hate to admit that there are times that my mind stops me. This is a ridiculous, cruel game that my mind creates because as soon as I'm moving, biking, skiing, running, I feel better. Sometimes the first step really is the first step.

Yoga helps to. I have recently discovered, it's a free and convenient way to practice. I didn't think I would get into it but there are all sorts of classes and a wide variety of levels and intensities. I find myself looking forward to "class". Every once in a while I'll get a really good message from it as well. One message that has been quite constant in my life that I'm not always good at practicing is living in the present. It's something that yogis preach and it is nothing new. However, during one of my recent classes I heard this message a bit differently than I ever have before. "If you are constantly thinking about the next moment or task you have to complete instead of focusing on this moment, and strengthening this moment, you're always going to miss this moment and you'll never truly grow". Well that may not be it verbatim but you get the point.

Two things that keep me in the moment, truly present, are biking and eating. I love pancakes and about 10 months ago I started experimenting with the Paleo Diet for Athletes. It changed my life and although at this present time I am not an avid or even close to avid Paleo eater, I have eliminated wheat from my diet (although this morning Matt had donuts and I couldn't resist that chocolate frosting calling my name; it wasn't worth it!) Ok, so sometimes I cheat and eat what my body doesn't like, another strange phenomen. Eliminating wheat has not been as hard as I once thought, unless there are delicious treats staring at me in my kitchen or my cousin Diane's delicious chocolate chip cookies where one cookie probably equals about a dozen! My point to all of this is that I received The Feed Zone (by Biju Thomas and Allin Lim) as a graduation gift from my friend Katie, it is a cookbook for athletes and the recipes are sublime.

Paleo pancakes sometimes leave me feeling unsatisfied and I feel the need for a little more starch. This morning I made the following Rice and Banana Pancackes:
2 cups cooked white race
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ripe banana
2 Tbsp brown sugar (agave nectar or honey ok)
1 Tbsp rice flour
1 and a half- 2 cup milk (I use coconut milk)
pinch of salt (I rarely add salt to food)
Mix all ingredients in blender, adding milk slowly for desired thickness and pour batter (pancake by pancake) into pan and cook like pancakes. They turn out gooey in the middle but are delicious. Add fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg, whatever. I'm a half recipe follower and it usually works out.

Hope you enjoy! I'm off to embrace the wind.