I am surprised that the whole bike race thing is still so emotional for me. I am more than a little scattered this morning and I have a lot to do before we leave this afternoon. It has been seven years since I was run over while training for the annual Kluane to Chilkat International Bike Relay. (Every ride before the June race is a training one.) I'll be fine, of course I will. I'm lucky to be able to walk, much less ride. My friend Bruce is volunteering on the radio now and he just played a gospel tune about dying and going to heaven, which made me pause, some.
The cold windy weather is perfect for sleeping in, especially when we are taking a few days off from the early morning cycles to rest for Saturday's relay. Well, there is nothing like a puppy to change plans. A nine week old Springer spaniel. He is a gift for a friend, and supposed to be a surprise, so we got to keep him last night. Pearl was not overjoyed to be displaced in our attentions for the evening, but Phoebe was actually less grumpy than usual. We set the little guy's kennel next to her bed, and she slept by him all night without a whimper.
I was feeling pretty good about the messy draft of my new book until I went to the bookstore yesterday and saw that Anna Quindlen had already written the final draft. Actually, we are pretty different, but I am a huge fan. I'll buckle down again, as soon as I babysit Lani, go to my Hospice of Haines board meeting, and help Chip drop off the cones and barriers for the Kluane to Chilkat International Bike Relay checkpoints from here to the summit today.
How could I not put the two French girls, Amelie and Marion, up for a few nights when they had me sign a hard cover of If You Lived Here, which they carried in a back pack all the way from the mid-west and came to Haines because of it? They have hitchhiked from Rio to here, and are on their way to Prudhoe Bay to see the Arctic coast. Also, I thought of their poor mother and figured I could make her feel better by looking out for them-- they did say she was a little worried--especially about the hitching part.
" In our best moments, deep inside us, we know that goodness and righteousness and courage are admirable attributes that we crave." - Archbishop Desmund Tutu
It was a two cruise ship week, and on the morning of the first ship Nelle called just as I was having my second cup of coffee and said there was a nice older lady and her two daughters on a tour right now, headed up to Fred's shop with Barb (who was wearing a pink jacket and would be easy to spot) and would I run over and say hi? They had read my books and that's why they came to Haines, she said. Well, of course Pearl and I hopped right over, and we chatted some and Betty and her daughters Shannon and Meredith and I set a time for coffee at Mt. Market later that afternoon.
Papa Bob just left for a massage, the dog is walked and dishes are done, and since it's raining I figured I had a minute to catch you up-- then Stoli called and asked if I'd watch baby Lani while she went to Zumba. Well, of course. So you'll have to settle for the most recent family photo (all of us except Eliza, but she was actually here last night and has already flown back to Juneau, but somehow wtih all the activity we missed the photo-op).
(Or the most important work I do is playing with a two-year-old.)
When Granny was at our house for a Lenten soup supper and conversation with the rest of the church folks, she sipped ginger ale and asked if I minded if she took her teeth out. They just don't fit well. Of course I said no and got her a napkin to keep them safe. Her elderly cattle dog Sissy stayed home, as Granny wasn't sure about my dogs' temperament. Sissy would have been fine, she is polite in church, only whining occasionally when the sopranos sing the descant. Granny and Sissy walk to worship services from the Deishu Native low income senior housing apartments.
There was talk at the Skagway North Words writing symposium about "balance," as in leading a balanced life-- you know-- one devoted to art and literature and observing the world around us-- play, friends, family-- outdoors, silence, time, and space. Saving the world. Saving your soul. You get the idea. The feeling is, especially among women, I think, that we need to find ways to balance the obligations we have to our children and spouses, families, and job-- with the life we want to lead, that is somehow just for us.