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A few weeks ago Foos learned to ride her bike without training wheels.   We got her this bike two years ago, when she was still so little that harvesting the strength to simply get the pedals moving seemed like herculean task. Even recently, if she went a few weeks without riding the bike it was as if she was getting back on it for the first time— slow and unsteady, like a drunk walking a line.   She rode her bike to the park that morning, where she befriended a fellow bike rider, an older girl named Jessica, who turned Foos into her disciple. They excluded the bikeless from their schemes, chased each other in figure eights, raced to a victory line of their own making, and stopped short of a stranger enough times I contemplated leaving the park for fear of injury.  During one of these loops, Jessica explained to Foos that her training wheels sometimes didn’t touch the ground.  In fact, she may not need the training wheels at all! I watched this revelation unfold from afar, Jessica pointing to the wheels, Foos’ initial confusion and realization. Foos seemed so pleased by this news that when she rode her bike to tell me, grin on full display, I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the wheels where designed that way.  But Jessica had planted the germ, and I was going to take it as far as I could.  As we were leaving the park I casually mentioned removing the training wheels, and she agreed without hesitation.

That afternoon, I fashioned knee pads for her out of tape and leggings while Seth removed the training wheels.  We gave her the pep talk—you will fall down, you will get hurt, you may not get it today, but eventually you will.  She rolled her eyes and walked her bike to the empty lot, the tape of her knee pads making noise every time she bent her knees. The expression on her face like she had been doomed to damnatio ad bestias. With seth holding on to the bike they went around the lot a few times. The first time he let go, she fell.  The second time, she fell.  The third time, she fell too. Big fat tears rolling down her face, threats of quitting and going back upstairs coming out of her mouth.  We had been reading The Hobbit the night before, and I sat her on my lap and asked “How would you introduce yourself to Smaug? I know how I would.  You are the never quitter, the rider of bikes, the scrape eater, queen of wheels,” and so on. She nodded her head. With her dad running after her, and me shouting introductions to Smaug, she got back on and fell down about a dozen times.  A couple of our neighbors came out to cheer. Twenty minutes later she was going around the lot on her own.  An hour after that, she was riding down the block.

She told us she promised her bike she would ride her everyday, and she almost always does.

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Apologies for the lack of posts recently.  After 8 faithful years my super mac quit this life, said a prayer, and is currently in purgatory located in a dark corner of our apartment.  She will be there until I figure out how to dispose of her safely.  Not having a computer has been great in many ways.  For example, because we are the kind of assholes who also don’t have cable, I am no longer privy to the minutiae of every day news.  Now I only see something if its really, really important.  Which, though a small boon, has decreased the amount of anxiety unrelated to my personal life significantly.  A new computer will be had soon, in the meantime enjoy this cinemagraph Seth made of me swinging my flintstonesque feet while sitting on our dining room table. You’re welcome.

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We spent Thanksgiving in the Blue Ridge Mountains, returning to the yurt in Anna’s farm.  This time it was a little different, we brought Silas and Banjo, our pup, along. The trip was just as good.  The ride there was a comedy of errors; driving the wrong way for an hour, with the poor kids crammed in the back of the car with our car sick dog. Eventually, thanks to a vet tech friend, we discovered the magic of dramamine.

Our first day there, Thanksgiving proper, was spent roaming the hills and climbing fences. Yelling at my four year old to slow down! Filled with worries of a broken ankle while simultaneously overjoyed at the sight of her transformed, pissing in the bushes, running free. It was also the last day of my 20’s, and I spent that afternoon reading Philip K. Dick on the yurt porch and drinking wine.  Shamefully, Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said is the only of his novels I have read.  We started watching The Man in the High Castle, which is based on his novel of the same name, and I thought it a good reason to read the book.  It was also my first time reading a book on a kindle, and there were many times I caught myself licking a finger in preparation for turning a page that wasn’t there. It almost felt like books were my phantom limb.

The farm on the mountain, a place built for poetry, with its never-ending signs of renewal was as good a place as any to end a decade and start one anew.

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Photos: Seth

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Woke up this morning to a rainy winter’s day here. The weather made me wish for those impossible Florida summer days, when it’s too hot too function but perfect for the springs.  All photos were taken between june and september of last year at Madison Blue Springs by Seth.

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I am not a morning person, but on most days I wake up at some ungodly hour in order to have a little bit of time to myself. I shuffle out of bed, cursing every creak coming from the ancient wooden floor on my way to the bathroom. Every noise, every shuffle, every tick, the sound of a not so distant train, or an ambulance going by, means I am thismuch closer to my Foos waking up. Sitting on the toilet and reading facebook updates (nothing happens in the lives of my friends between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am btw), is an anxiety riddled affair, is she going to knock on the door now? If I flush the toilet, will she hear it? Don’t run the water, don’t run the water. Usually, everything goes swimmingly, I go into the kitchen make some coffee then tiptoe into my mom hovel (office/craft room) and do some stretching. The stretching part is a half assed endeavor, because mom hovel is basically a tiny room with a million windows. I’m convinced every person driving to work can see me doing stretches I have invented and/or poor versions of yoga moves I’ve picked up here and there. It makes me self-conscious. Then I sit on a cushion, drinking my coffee, daydreaming about all the things I’m going to get done today. All the articles I’m going to read, the craft project I started six months ago and want to finish, all the clothes I’m going to mend, that awesome job I’m going to apply to because I totally need the money. Then I hear little feet running from room to room looking for me. And Foos’ raspy morning voice, mouth dry from snoring, crying “Mom? Mom?” My day no longer belongs to me. And that’s okay, at least I had forty minutes.

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Photo: Seth