Friday, July 25, 2014

a new day

Today is the day I have been waiting for since January when I signed up to do the ride again. I have trained smarter this year by eating better,  exercising more and detoxing my body, mind and soul.  That is until eab came into my life again. Every year eab pops up and takes me away from my bike and my boys, but this year the work has made me stronger. There are the squat challenges through different groups I tried to stick with this spring, but I never could stay committed. Well eab made we commit to the squat challenge, for example on average I need to squat or bend over 10 sites on a tree, multiply that by 900 trees and you have 9,000 squats. Thats right in the last six weeks I have done 9,000 squats, and my legs peddle like it too.  I went for a nice ride on wednesday night with the cycle shops women on wheels, the weather was perfect and the companionship even better. They helped me with my new clip ons and made me confident that I could master them. You see I had a bad fall on monday and I was really scared to get back on, but with their kind words I did it.  I did not fall all night and I did not make anyone else fall.  But more than anything I had fun and it gave me time to reflect on the past few weeks.
As I coasted down a hill surrounded by corn fields with the wind rustling the long leaves of the stalks, I stopped thinking and I listened. I listened to the leaves rustling, the birds chirping and to my wheels rolling over the pavement.  It was peaceful and serene. I have allowed my life to get cluttered lately and this one moment told me to just breathe and enjoy, and I did. Life is not meant to be filled with things, its meant to be filled with tranquility.  We all make a choice every day and every moment as to how people will either affect us or help us grow.  My family on the stihl tour des trees helps me to grow. They give words of wisdom throughout the year and encouragement when its needed.  We are not out to be the fastest or the strongest,  we are here to change the world, one tree at a time.  Through our fundraising for the tree fund and the many events planned for this coming week, we are all making a change. We will be leaving wisconsin greener when we pass through it, but it will also be making us stronger as a family.  There will be some new riders we will welcome into our family and some riders that will be missed that dont return this year, but just like any family no matter where you are we are all connected and their presence will be felt through the stories we tell of years past.  
As I embark on this adventure I want to thank a few people. Dan thomas thank you for being my beach body coach, I could not have stayed committed without your words of wisdom and encouragement.  My parents for taking care of my boys while I am away and on my adventure.  To Forecon for supporting me and my fund raising.  My tree family at releaf and isa, thank you for your words of encouragement and financial support to the tree fund. And thank you jeff for making me get on the bike to train even when I was so tired I didnt think I could do it; for picking me up when my chain broke and when I broke myself.

I wont be on this adventure alone, I take with me everyone that has supported and encouraged me. I am excited to begin today and to share with you throughout the week all the events and people I meet.  A new adventure begins,  Wisconsin here I come :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Ahhh on the road again, its been a long dry spell of no travel.  I really have not minded the dry spell, it was nice to be home with my boys and enjoying their games and school events.  But there is something in me that just desires and thrives being on the road and discovering new areas.  If my boys could be with me on these work adventures that would be incredible.  Instead they are home playing baseball and attending school, but they are in my thoughts and I can not wait to bring them with me to Oneonta in the future.
You never really get to know a City till you spend ten hours or more everyday walking every single street and talking with its residents.  Oneonta I must say is filled with very friendly and helpful citizens that are more than happy to tell you all about their City.  So far they have suggested enough restaurants to keep us well fed for every night of our 10 day stay, plus some more to come back and try next time we are passing through.  The choices range from BBQ to Cajun to Thai and Sushi oh and don't forget all the pizza shops and burger places oh and the different Cafes.  Wow, I am very glad I am walking all day, otherwise I may gain back all the weight I loss in the past two months.
Today I happened to come across a really neat restaurant for lunch called The Depot Restaurant and Tavern.  As the name implies it is an old train depot. 

I learned how Oneonta was once a big, I mean huge train town where it helped shape this wonderful city.  It had the largest turntable and roundhouse in the world, my goal for this trip is find out where this turntable was located and to see if it is still visible.  I never would have known this fact if I had not come onto this wonderful restaurant for lunch today.  It is hard to find if you don't happen to be walking every street in Oneonta, but I would highly recommend the challenge of finding it and checking out the décor and food.  I was told the garbage sauce is wonderful, so wonderful you have to buy a jar of the sauce to take home with you.
After walking around for just 10 hours today, for dinner I decided to take a car ride to another highly recommended restaurant located just outside of town; Brook's House of Bar-B-Q.  Now this place claims they have the longest BBQ pit east of the Mississippi, its as big as a small barn, so I believe them.  And let me tell you they know how to use the longest grill east of the Mississippi; the ribs fall off the bone, there is no chewing on the bone to get all the meat off, all the meat just melts off the bone and into your mouth.  The chicken is juice and with just enough seasoning to awaken your taste buds.  The BBQ sauce is wowing, I have to say it and please all my fellow Syracuse fans forgive me for saying this, it has Dinosaur BBQ beat in taste, hands down.  It is so good, I am bringing some home with me.  The décor at the restaurant is inviting and casual, they have chicken wallpaper, for goodness sake who has chicken wallpaper?  Not only are you eating chicken here but you are seeing it everywhere, but its done in a way that its surprisingly not tacky.  They have a bar area where it winds around like a centipede and allows you to cozy up with your neighbor and possibly make a new friend; although you may not do a lot of talking as your mouth is filled with BBQ.  I tried the sample platter with chicken, ribs, smoked turkey and smoked beef slices; not only did I walk away from the table very full but I have leftovers for two sandwiches and breakfast for tomorrow.  All of this for only $10, you could easily feed a whole family for under $50 here with a dessert to share too. 
Brooks House of BBQ is not just a restaurant, they are a bottling plant with a gift shop and a park for the little kids to work off some of their dinner.

 I wish my kids were still little enough to play in this park so I would have an excuse to play on the vehicles.   I have never seen a monster truck made out of wood before, it is  very impressive.  The ladies in the gift shop were very friendly and helpful, not only did they help us decide on which sauce to take home but also added to our list of restaurants to try while we are staying in town. 
I am eager to try more of the wonderfully recommended restaurants here in Oneonta throughout this week and to keep tantalizing my taste buds.  I am just even more thankful I am walking all day long, I don't know how people stay so fit in this town with so many choices or narrow down their choices every day. The citizens are very proud of their City and I am just beginning to find out why. I am a very thankful and a very full arborist gypsy tonight, stay tuned for more adventures from Oneonta in the days to come :)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Is chivalry gone?

In bygone days a lady was a lady and a gentleman was a gentleman. Each had its role in society and knew how to respect the other. A gentleman held the door open for a lady and the lady would be thankful. At some point the lady wanted to open the door for herself and chivalry began to disappear and go into a deep hibernation.

A lady can do many of the same things as a gentlemen, in todays modern world. But I do recognize there are some things I as a lady can't do, be they physically or mentally. In todays society women and even our girls are being taught to be tough and not rely on a boy/man to support or assist them. Our boys are growing up not being able to recognize the difference between a lady and another member of the group of guys. I was recently told that if by chance a gentleman should open a door sometimes they are chastised by a women. What kind of message are we spreading ladies to our young gentlemen and those who were raised to be a gentleman if they are now chastised for being a gentleman?

I like being treated not only as a lady but as someone that is equal to the next guy. I work in a field where girls are still the minority, I am thankful for the opportunity to work in my career but at the same time I like the door to be opened for me. In today's society we can all still be ladies and gentlemen, it may not be by our grandmother's standards, but it can be of an all new standard. But it begins today with our young gentlemen and ladies. I have taught my boys to open doors, to assist a lady up or down stairs, lets face it todays shoes can be dangerous. They give up their seats on a bus, and they let ladies go first. They realize though ladies can do most of what they can do, and should be treated as equals; but at the same time treat them as ladies.

Chivalry is not dead, but is awakening from a long hibernation. I rejoice in its return and having the door opened for me and an elbow to hold as I walk in these new shoes.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

writing assignment- the accident

This weeks assignment for our writers group was to write about an accident.  So many great stories, both fictional and not-fictional were shared.  This is what I read to the group.  Mom have a box of tissues ready because I can't even read it without tearing up myself.  

There are some moments in life that stay with you forever.  The face of one little boy has stayed with me for over twenty years.  This is our story and how he still lives on through my memory. 

The morning air was crisp and cool on my arms.  Today was going to be a day filled with friends and family.  As a treat to our baseball family we are all going to a water park for a picnic and with awards being handed out at the end of the day.  There are going to be salads, hot dogs, fruit bowls and lots of brownies; oh and a few cute boys.  I am even going to be able to ride shotgun the whole way down and back again, how exciting!

 First we had to pick up one other boy to ride with us; his parents had to work and my dad did not want any of his boys to miss out on the picnic.  We had extra room anyways, because my mom was going to be driving a friend’s car.  Her friend had been stung by a bee the day before and was unable to drive due to her medication; her son was on the team and she didn’t want him to miss out in the festivities. 

We went over to her house to drop off my mom early in the morning; it was  that moment I will always remember.  He was sitting on the picnic table petting his dog; the expression on his face was both peaceful and saddened.  Thinking back now as an adult, I think somewhere inside he knew.  But he never led on, nor told anyone what he knew.  But he knew.

As he was stroking his dogs’ ears he looked up at our car, his eyes locked onto mine.  I could not look away; I could not break the connection.  He smiled after what felt like eternity, but were only a few seconds.  In that moment I believe he decided both of our fates, he was at peace with the path god had chosen for him and he was ready.  His smile was that of an angel in the making.

It took me a few days to process the remainder of that fateful day.  I was surrounded by members of our baseball family on the slope of a small hill that overlooked the baseball diamond.  We were all grieving and in shock; it was then I realized the part I had played on  that eventful day.  If I had let him switch cars with me, at the end of the day, he would have lived. He wanted to ride with the other boy in our car, and I did not want to give up my shotgun seat.   But maybe, just maybe he had relented easily during the discussion to switch places because he knew what would happen in the matter of a few hours, and he was ready. 

I still see that little boy sitting on the picnic table with his dog.  He is smiling at me, but sometimes he is not alone.  Standing behind him is his mother.  They left together that night, on a cold dark country road, when another mans decision decided their fates and the fates of those left behind.  Maybe that’s why he made the decision, because he knew he would not be making the final  journey alone.

When he looked into my eyes that fateful day, I think he looked into my soul and saw what I have yet to find out.  Gods’ greatest plans for me during this lifetime .  Everyday when his face comes to the front of my mind, I remember.  I remember how he  allowed me the chance to experience the beauty and the joys around me. 

  But I can not deny it, I also wonder some-days  if he made the right choice or what he saw in me that fateful morning. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Summers End

As I sat in the Adirondack chair, I may have appeared to be reading my book or napping, but  actually I was reflecting on the incredible summer I had just experienced.  I had said hello to many new friends, said good bye to an old friend, challenged myself beyond what I thought were my limits and seen sights that once I had overlooked. 
I will never forget my experience with the Stihl Tour des Trees; how could I ever think of forgetting all of the wonderful memories associated with it?  I play out those memories often in my sleep and in quiet reflection, could I have been faster, yes; could I have observed more, yes; will I do it again, hell yes.  From the first peddle to the last peddle it was monumental.  My boys often tell me how proud they are of me, that in itself makes me proud that I accomplished the ride; but every now and then I hear of how someone read my stories nightly and how I brought them along with me.  I am very thankful for that, and for those readers who followed me, stay tuned, lots of adventures are just waiting to happen. 
On the last leg of the bike ride, I received the one call we all do not want; the call of a loved one dying.  She was our first child, our practice child you may say; but now I think she wasn't our practice child, we were her practice children.  She taught me to love, care and to take moments in time to enjoy the time we have together.  It is hard watching a love one deteriorate but throughout it she never loss her joy for life.  Even when she could no longer walk one block to the park with us without going the pace of a snail, her tail would wag consistently and she would give it her all.  Whenever she saw her leash come out of hiding she knew she had to pull it together and give me her biggest smile; sadly towards the end though I knew she would not make it to the end without being sore for a long time, so she started staying home more often.  But when I returned an hour later she was still by that door and ready to walk around the yard with me and pretend in our own way that we had just completed a long walk.  At the end of her beautiful life she went surrounded with love and with her family; I can only be so lucky to go to heaven as she did.  But now she rests in heaven with all my other past loved ones and I await the time when once again we shall be reunited. 
Throughout the summer I traveled all over New York and Vermont and favorite thing about all those trips is of course the food and time with the boys.  I have a knack to find the best places for food, and its really good food.  My favorite place this year has to be the barbeque place in Brattleboro; if you have ever been there then you know the place.  It had the yummiest veggie sandwich I tasted all summer and  the company I had there was wonderful too.  I met Jeff's uncle Ken there and it was such a treat to really have a chance to talk with him and get to know him better.  I left the restaurant with a full belly and the appreciation of a wonderful gentlemen. 
Although I was on the road this summer alot, I made the most of my time with my boys.  They have truly grown into the most wonderful young gentlemen.  Everyday I am amazed at their love for nature, their friends and life itself.  As John was removing one of many fish he caught this weekend he would talk so sweetly to the fish telling it was okay, don't worry, I won't hurt you and then he would give it a kiss and throw it back in the river.  He is truly sent from heaven and I hope they don't want him back any time soon because I am going to hold onto him for a very long time and never through him back as he threw those fish back. 
Mathew has matured so much also and has become a wonderful young gentlemen.  He has started helping me around the house, helping his grandpa and grandma and really learned alot through reading and watching the Discovery Channel.  He is always checking up on me and making sure everything is alright, so much so I often wonder who the parent is and who is the child.  Seeing him and John on the last day of the bike ride gave me the energy to keep going, and to finish the ride so I could hold them in my arms.  When I go days without seeing them my arms truly ache for them, and nothing stops that ache till I have them close once more.
Along the way this summer though I truly tried to stop and smell the roses a little bit more.  I stopped for scenic overlooks and took the time to talk to complete strangers.  I learned more about the world around me than I ever thought possible.  As soon begins tomorrow and another season is in the past, I am not sadden over its loss; I am looking forward to the great adventures that await me in the next season.  Who knows maybe fate will throw me a curve ball and something new and exciting will come my way, something I never expected.  I await the next adventure with gleeful anticipation, how about you?

Friday, August 2, 2013


Every now and then we are pushed to our extreme levels, either by force or by choice.  In my case this week has been by choice.  I am loving this week it has taught me how to challenge myself and it is making me stronger; both physically and mentally.  The last two days have been very difficult to say the least.  This has been my first time riding in the rain, and I will say it, I hate riding in the rain.  But with it I have learned some new lessons, such as do not use the back brake to stop at red lights; you will fishtail and hydroplane like nobodys business.  Do wear a good rain coat, those rain drops feel like acupuncture when they hit you while pedaling.  Do wear a shower curtain on your helmet in the rain, it keeps the rain from dripping down and then running through the sunblock and down into your eyes.  Do have a blinky light on your bike, that way motorist can see you better.  Don't go fast down a hill, you will hydroplane.  Do have fun, because no matter what the weather is going to do what it wants and you must make the most of it.
The only bummer so far is my knee; it has decided to swell up to almost twice its size and to hurt like the dickens.  But with a little massage and some ice I am hopeful all will be great.  Really though it does not make a difference because either way I will be out there again tomorrow finishing what I started.
It has been great along the way to see how many people come out to support us, cheer us on and to learn about trees.  There are days I feel we are in this battle alone trying to make the world a better place.  But after traveling around Lake Ontario this week I can say, we are not alone.  There is another generation coming up that is going to step up to the plate and help us.  If that doesn't put a smile on your face like it does mine then you are not seeing the big picture and their love of trees.
There have been so many lessons this week that I hope I never forget them all.  But the greatest thing I don't want to forget is this; you are the only one that can determine what your limitations are in life.  You can either embrace them and make your self better or fall to the wayside and curl up along the side of the road and wait for help to come along.  I choose to embrace and be stronger in the long run.  Which road will you choose?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Day Three and Day Four

Ahhh how the days are blending together, I am not even sure what day of the week it is or where I am anymore.  The only thing I know is that I get on my bike in the morning and I stop where they tell me.  Yesterday was a tough day for sure.  We rode from Syracuse to Watertown, not too far of a jaunt, but long enough for my tired legs and sore....bottom.  Towards the end I was not sure if I could do it to tell you the truth.  Every muscle on my body was screaming at me, I felt incredibly dehydrated, my belly was rejecting food and I was just spent.  But being the trooper I am, or the stubborn swede that I am, I pulled up the strength and I started pedaling.  I could hear my father in the back of my head telling me to suck it up, and I could also hear my little John telling me, You Got This Mom.  So I popped to ibuprofens and started pedaling.  It was well worth the journey, for at the end of the ride there was my good friend Brian Sayers waiting for me.  He waited three hours he said for me, now that is a good friend.  I will confess though that I was exhausted last night, I felt horrible, as I was talking to my room mate I would completely blank out and loose all train of thought.  Also for the life of me I could not remember the word menthol,   to describe how all the creams smelled that we lathered on our poor sore muscles. 
Today being day four is hump day and recoup day, and it was much appreciated.  We had a short 28 mile ride to the border crossing in which we rode a ferry across and then a nice 7 mile ride on the island followed by another ferry ride.  As we rode into Kingston people honked at us, rang bells or just stood on the sidewalk and waved or clapped for us.  It was such an incredible warm welcome, they are proud of their town and were more than happy to welcome us to it.  Today we had no other schedule, what a wonderful feeling that was, to be able to do whatever you want, and Kingston is a wonderful City to have a free day.  It is absolutely beautiful, the old buildings and alley ways are breath taking.  Below are a few shots I took tonight. They also have incredible restaurants and pubs, there is nothing more yummy than a cold guiness for a very sore body. 
So my lesson for the last two days is this, enjoy the moment, relax and just go where you feel you should be at the moment.  My intention for today was to go sit at the park and read or write, but instead I enjoyed a Guinness with some new friends and ended the day having ice cream with other new friends.  All in all I would say it was a great day.