Ragnar Wrap Up (and a Few Haiku for Kicks)

July has been a slow haiku month. I had many other things going on—writing answers to all of the comments on the same sex marriage blog, for one thing. I just finished that up last night—and wow, was I blown away by the outpouring of understanding and support. I don’t think I had one seriously negative comment, not one that made me cringe or wince or get self-righteous and defensive. Two I deleted because they were rants from bible thumpers telling me how I was an abomination and going to hell, but that’s neither news nor unexpected. I decided they didn’t need any airtime.

So, thank you Dear Readers for reading and responding. I don’t have anything else nearly as deep or profound to say at this moment—I’ve been running and writing, so here is a Ragnar Wrap Up and a handful of haiku I’ve written in the past 30 days or so.


Bad ass sticker on my Jeep window

Ragnar Rocked. I seriously pondered dropping out just a week before the big race, but I couldn’t leave my teammates in a lurch, and am I ever glad I sucked up my fears and followed through. My doubt was daunting as I had no idea how I would fare riding for 36 hours in a van with six women (and one man), most of whom I did not know well at all. I didn’t know if I would even be able to run after hours in the van or at odd hours. At home, I’ve become a well-oiled machine, and my pre-running routine is down to a science. Coffee. Fiber. Rest . . . Go. You know what I’m talking about. But could I take it on the road?

Van One for Team Miles of Smiles

Van One for Team Miles of Smiles

Turns out, I can! I had a great three legs. For the uninitiated, Ragnar NWP is a 200ish mile relay race that begins at Peace Arch Park in Blaine, WA (at the Canadian Border) and ends at the Langley Fairgrounds on South Whidbey Island. Six- or 12- person teams start staggered by overall predicted time (the slower the team, the earlier the start time on Friday morning). Our leg one runner left at 6:45 (I think) or maybe 7:15. Anyway our team of 12 started EARLY. Since I ran legs 5, 17, and 29, I was in Van 1 with those who ran Legs 1-6 (and our driver, the lovely and patient Ryan Valentine).

Without boring you with the mile-by-mile details, I’ll just leave it at this: I would do it again tomorrow with all the same people (if they will still have me). I can’t remember a more exciting two days, honestly. Intense and amazing. The camaraderie, the can-do attitudes (especially from Van 2 which had all the super shitty middle of the night and dead of the afternoon hot legs).

Team Miles of Smiles crossing the finish line

Team Miles of Smiles crossing the finish line

We did great.  We all crossed the finish line together, led by the indefatigable Cami Ostman . We got our bad-ass medals and the sticker for the back of the car. That’s pretty much the entire reason I signed up for this gig.

And now, here are just a few haiku. Enjoy!

Long, languid, lacy–
Your tendrils wrap ’round my spine.
Sweet strangulation.

Electrified, I
Vibrate with this current. I
Am your conduit

Bring a map–my heart’s
Geography runs rough through
Difficult terrain.

This angel has holes
In her wings; tattered, lacy
Gossamer. Flightless.

Relentless, teeming
Sucking bucket of need, I
Tug your sleeve. See me.

Our silence stretches
Beyond reason. This stubborn
Void reverberates.

Drown me. Hold my head
Under your water, gasping,
Breathless. So alive.

Same love, same protections, same.
Immutable rights

Tonight I bathed in
That potent elixir of
Regret, shame, and guilt

O is for . . . Yeah That! Oh My.

I’m a pretty modest gal. Just ask The Little Woman. I’m a prude. I don’t sleep naked. I don’t wander the house in my all togethers. I close the door when I am doing anything in the bathroom. I don’t even like her to watch me .  .  . oh, never mind. I can’t even write that. Suffice it to say, I think the details of sex, however loud or kinky it may get, should stay between the people involved. No sharing. No PDA. No bragging, for god’s sake.

However, back when I signed up for this A to Z blog challenge, I wrote that I was going to devote the letter O to this phenomenon, Orgasmic Meditation, that was sweeping the Intertubes—or had at least had made an appearance on some of the Interweb news sites I subscribe to. I don’t have anything in particular to say about Orgasms (that I want to share), except that I think it’s pretty Odd to have One in such a dispassionate manner. In front of Other people, no less. This whole practice violates my modest sensibilities.

Orgasmic Meditation, or OM, according to the Salon.com article accompanying the, er, revealing video, says that the practice releases a, uhm, flood of Oxytocin, the hormone that leads to Orgasm. But, the proponents of OM, insist that the big O isn’t the point of OM. The point, they say, is the journey, not the destination. The point is the experiences along the way, the experiences the woman (and it is only women) has while her meditation partner strokes her clitoris in a non-sexual manner (italics mine).

I dunno about you, but having my parts stroked screams sexual, though I suppose the fact that the whole affair Occurs in a room full of Other people might put a damper on my libido. As I read the article and the reviews from satisfied customers I really tried to keep an Open mind. After all, the founder of OneTaste, the company Offering OM classes, appeared on a TED Talk and the practice was featured on Deepak Chopra’s YouTube channel, so how crazy could it be?

Let’s just say I don’t think I’ll be forking over $15K anytime soon for a Mastery OM class. Read the article. Watch the video, if you dare. Call me a prude. I don’t care.

Scary Ass Hotel

So, please forgive me in advance for what may be a shitty post but I’m without a wifi connection and am desperate to remain committed to my daily blog post. So I’m doing it from my iPhone.

The Little Woman and I traveled to Port Townsend today in order to cheer on our friend Tele who read tonight as part of She Tells Sea Tales, a fundraiser for The Girls Boatbuilding Project. We thought we would work a little romantic getaway into the weekend since the last ferry leaves Port Townsend at 830 and we would therefore have to spend the night. TLW got on the internets at home last night and booked us a hotel room–she found one that wasn’t too pricey in the heart of downtown PT for about $80. She made ferry reservations as well–we figured we would catch an early afternoon sailing and spend the day wandering the shops and uhm having a romantic afternoon in our centrally located hotel room.

Imagine our surprise then when we arrived to find this: image

And this:

We basically dropped our bags and left the room to wander in the rain. Any shop would do thank you so long as we didn’t have to spend any time in this room. The carpets may have been lovely in 1957 but today the are nasty and smell. The hotel may have been grand in say 1878 but today not so much.

Now we are in bed and I am refusing to turn out the light. I can hear the people on the street below as if there are no walls or windows between us. TLW has in her earplugs and is wearing her eye shades and has drifted off to sleep while I peck out this blog on my iPhone and wait for something to crawl out of the large hole in the ceiling above my side of the bed.

If something untoward happens in the middle of the night, at least I will have kept my commitment to this blog. At least I have submitted my haiku for today and gone for a run. I have heard my good friend and writing buddy read for a good cause.

If we make it out the other side., I will never again let TLW book our accommodations.

Thanks for reading and if there are strange phrases or words in this post it’s because I did the whole damn thing on my phone. Because I’m dedicated. Because I don’t want to close my eyes in this scary ass hotel room.

Goodnight. Gulp.

On the Road to AROHO, Day 4: Chimney Rock, Riff Raff Brewery, and Camping in the Rain

While I had a glorious day in Arches National Park yesterday, I stayed in a less than optimal campsite last night. I mean, yes, it had showers and laundry, but it was crowded and noisy, dusty and hot. I had an ideal camping experience in mind when I set out on this trip and thus far it has been elusive: babbling brook, shade tree, quiet, running water. I don’t even mind a pit toilet.

Ironically, the quietest site so far was the one last night—even among all those people, I got the best sleep of the trip. Might have been the beer and the ear plugs, but people actually quieted down at ten. No one played loud music. No babies screamed as they did at the Utah Lake State Park on Thursday night. No one cooked goat at 1 a.m. or spoke Arabic in the middle of the night like in Idaho. I woke up at 5:30, amazed and refreshed, but still wanting something more idyllic.
Today I set out early, leaving Moab before 7, so I would have plenty of time to scout sites. I put 200 miles in before noon, and that’s when I remembered: it’s the journey, not the destination, so after bypassing a few tourist spots and stopping at Mesa National Park for a mere 10 minutes (long enough to get a picture),  I vowed to stop at the next roadside attraction whether it was a park or the world’s tallest miner. Luckily, it happened to be Chimney Rock National Monument. I’d seen the rock rising stark above the verdant Colorado forest, so I didn’t hesitate to turn when the sign for the monument popped up.

When I stopped to check in, the volunteer said I’d have to join a tour to go to the top and I almost declined, not being much into group outings, but I paid my $12 and drove up the mountain to the meeting spot. I’m glad I did since I got to put the Jeep in 4-wheel drive AND I had the top down. Quintessential Jeep Moment.
 I put on my hiking Chacos and grabbed the camera, afraid I was late, and not wanting to keep the group waiting. But I had time, so I went back to the car for a pre-hike snack and that’s when crabby volunteer lady told me there was no eating allowed. Really? No eating? Outside? In a park? I finished my granola bar and looked at her while I licked the melted chocolate off my fingers.
I learned some stuff on that hike up to Chimney Rock—first off, the Chaco Indians lived there (I was wearing Chacos) and up at the rock, they built a huge great house out of tons of stones that they carted up the mountainside. The first archeologists to visit the site weren’t so industrious and when they ran out of firewood, they burned up the original wooden beams from the great house (not too bright).

Also, every 18.6 years, the moon appears between Chimney and Companion Rock, so the place held significance for the tribe. They could also see directly across the valley to a large mesa, some 60 miles away, and evidence around the site indicates they communicated via smoke signal to their compatriots there.   
Happy to have stopped, found some amazing scenery, and learned some stuff too, I set off again toward Abiquiu. But then, in Pagosa Springs, I spotted a brewery called Riff Raff (like I could resist that!) and since it was lunch time, I stopped. Again, it’s the journey, right? I had a lovely black cherry porter and a delicious hamburger and then I tried their Kolsh. Also very good. Lest you worry, dear reader, that I drank and drove, I stretched that meal out over two hours before setting off again, to find the ideal camp site.
I thought I’d found it. Babbling brook. Trees. Grass. Fairly quiet (after I told that one little girl she was being too loud, too close to my campsite). And WiFi, flush toilets, and showers. This was it, dear reader. I pitched my tent, put the roof on the Jeep, and settled into my camp chair with my book.  And things were great, for about a half hour.
That’s when the sky darkened and the thunder clapped. Then the lightning. And now, the torrential downpour. My tent is still out there in the downpour, and the guy (there’s always a guy) just came into the common area (where I sit typing) and announced that the rain apparently is here for the whole night. As is more lightning and thunder.

So, here’s my plan: to hell with the tent (and thank god I didn’t put my sleeping bag in it yet), I’m sleeping in the jeep tonight—I’m cuddling up to the cooler that holds a growler of that beer and calling it a night. Really glad I had that burger earlier, too.