Beautiful Ride

The somewhat self-indulgent rantings about the beautiful ride that is my life!

Why I May Be Lost Without Lost May 23, 2010

Filed under: beautiful ride,Family — beautifulride @ 9:24 pm
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Tonight, like millions of other Losties, I will sit on the edge of my seat waiting for all of my questions to be answered. For 6 years I have watched every episode, faithfully and intently, waiting for the mysteries of the island and its inhabitants to be revealed. I have moaned and groaned, laughed and cried, and have been surprised time and time again. The characters have become like old friends who will be missed.  Although action-packed and full of adventure, the show is, at its core, about the characters. Each and every one beautifully flawed. Each and every one looking for redemption. Each and every one seeking the chance to begin again. Like so many classic tales, the characters struggle with the light and the dark that is inside all of us. The show masterfully depicts what happens when we are given a choice between light and dark, and how our choices affect not only our life, but the lives of everyone around us. It shows that we are all connected, in the most unexpected and unforseen ways, and everything we do produces a ripple of change beyond us, like pebbles in a pond.

“Lost” has given me something unexpected and unforeseen too. When I heard about this new show, I wasn’t sure I was going to watch it. I was a busy wife and mom with kids ranging in age from 4 to 13, plus I was taking classes at night, and preparing for an externship. But my oldest son, Zach, really wanted to watch it, and he wanted me to watch it with him. Since he asked, I did. And it was really fun for us. We soon found out that we would be leaving Arizona and moving to New Jersey and this was very difficult for Zach.  He had just turned 14 and this would be his third move in 3 1/2 years. He was unhappy and struggling—with friends, with school, with adolescence—he was lost. But at least once a week, he and I would sit alone, and spend an hour with this island and these people. And it was a chance for us to be together and feel connected. It was a constant for us…a place where we could meet, and be, and share. And that constant led to a trust that allowed me to help him keep his chin above water when he felt like he was drowning in the roughest seas.

We, of course, bought every season on dvd as it was released. The younger boys caught up and by season 4, Max was joining us in real time. By season 5, Aaron and Grant were part of the Tuesday night festivities. And this has been so special to me. One hour, every week, set aside for me and my boys. Something that we have shared, just the 5 of us. Something that we have looked forward to week after week and something that we will remember year after year. This time, this experience, this constant….this is why I will be lost without “Lost.”


Hello Cowgirl In The Sand May 19, 2010

Filed under: beautiful ride,Cowgirl,Family,Home,Music — beautifulride @ 11:26 am
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Music is huge in our family. At any given moment on any given day we may be playing opera, classical, country rock, rockabilly, blues, jazz, world beat, alternative, bluegrass, rock and roll, crooners…the list goes on. Often on a Friday night you will find various members of the family wandering between the rooms of the house or on the front porch looking for someone to listen to “this awesome tune that you have to hear.”  The boys play guitar, banjo, trombone, baritone, drums, and an endless supply of small percussion and “jug band” instruments—even a didgeridoo (affectionately referred to as “The Didge”)! One style of music that makes its way into almost every jam session is that of the “Woodstock” era…Dylan, Grateful Dead, Neil Young…you will find artists like that on every iPod in the house. It’s the music the boys heard playing in the background while they were toddlers, and it’s the music they play with their own bands now.

A favorite for us all…and one that Zach’s band “Quantum Codpeace” has played live…is Neil Young’s “Cowgirl in the Sand.” There has been much speculation about what the song “means” and who that “Cowgirl” is. Did you know that he wrote the song, along with “Down by the River” and “Cinnamon Girl” one night while he was suffering with a fever of 103? Under those conditions, maybe HE doesn’t even know what the song represents! And maybe, like so much of the music that weaves in and out of our lives, the meaning is fluid, subtly changing with time and circumstance…much like standing in the sand…much like life itself.

During the short time that I lived out west, I really connected with the cowgirl spirit. Cowgirls are strong, solid women with an enormous respect for the wide, open spaces of the western landscape. They work hard and play hard, keeping up with the boys, yet they somehow still remain feminine. They have a spirit of independence and strength, yet know the value of teamwork. They face a challenge head-on, eye-to-eye, and win or lose, they get up, dust off, and go at it again. And that  strength and determination stays with them always, even when they are unexpectedly plunked down in the ever-shifting grains of sand under their feet or riding straight into the whirling sand storms of life.

I strive to be that “Cowgirl in the Sand.” A woman who keeps her footing when the ground shifts below her. A woman who courageously rides into that sand storm with drive and purpose. A woman who works tirelessly to keep her herd together and safe. A woman who can take her dusty boots off at the end of the day, wipe the grit off her face, smile and say, “Well, wasn’t that something…let’s do it again tomorrow.”


Twenty-One to Twenty-One May 2, 2010

When I was twenty-one years old, a friend of mine at Millersville University asked me to go out with her and celebrate the end of finals.  I didn’t really want to, but I did; after all, she had done countless things for me over our four years together away at school (not to mention the 6 years before, during Junior and Senior High). Anyway, as we sat at the bar, she kept staring at this guy…kept saying she knew him, but couldn’t quite make the connection. Long story short, as we were getting ready to leave, which was conveniently the same time that mystery man and his friend were leaving, the lightbulb went off.  Summer camp!  For several years, they went to the same summer camp. Teenage romance?  I can’t even remember. And it doesn’t matter.  Because while they were reliving their past, I was meeting my future.

We spent the rest of that spring evening together, talking into the wee hours. We exchanged numbers and said goodnight. A few days later…no call.  Well, not true, I did get a few phone calls from this “other guy.” Nice enough guy–we had gone out a few times–but this time I said no. There was just something about this friend of a friend’s friend that I couldn’t stop thinking about.  So I dug deep into my “I am woman, hear me roar” reserves and decided I would call him. Unfortunately, according to his little sister on the other end of the phone, he had gone back to the University of Pittsburgh to take his own final exams.  Seems he was only home for the weekend when we met. I think my heart actually broke a little bit!

I stayed in Millersville that summer.  Should have graduated and gone home, just like my friend Gina. But, I had one more phys. ed. course to take in order to graduate. So I worked at the library for one more summer, and got those last credits by going canoeing a few afternoons a week. Graduation would be in August for me and a few of my friends were staying for the summer, so it wouldn’t be so bad.  One night early in the summer session, as I was sitting in my apartment, there was a knock on my door. I opened it and there he was! And I have to say “he had me at hello!”

Rick had come back from Pittsburgh to spend the summer in Lancaster. He remembered where Gina’s apartment was and went looking for me there. Trouble was, Gina had moved to Florida with her family and her roommate, Sandy, had no idea who Rick was. He convinced her that he was not looking to do me harm and was convincing enough that she told him where I lived. He came looking for me…and he found me. And I know many of  you think I’m way too mushy about my husband, but that day, when I found out how he tracked me down, well, let’s just say he may as well have come on a white horse with a glass slipper because I felt like Cinderella meeting her Prince.

We spent every day together that summer and then I graduated and moved home to Williamsport. We spent as many weekends together as we could, but by New Years I was moving to Pittsburgh to be with him. That spring he asked me to marry him and the next spring, we were married. Twenty-one years ago. He still takes my breath away and I still feel like Cinderella. Hope I get at least twenty-one more.