Transitions

26 09 2012

Fall is always a time of transition for me. More so than Spring, I feel as if it’s a time of growth and new beginnings. I always seem to be more enthusiastic about starting new projects or exploring. You can probably chalk that up to the nostalgia I have every September for back-to-school…

I LOVE CHANGE.

Between now and last year at this same time, change has been plentiful for me. That being said, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.

I decided after my last birthday that I was going to make many significant changes to my life — a few so drastic that some may have questioned my sanity. What that birthday made me realize was how quickly time passes. To me, 15 years had gone by in a shot, and I couldn’t bear to think about how disappointed I’d be if I let another 15 go by without being completely satisfied with the outcome. I can’t say I’ve developed a fuck-all attitude, but it’s pretty close. When it comes down to it, your life really is all about you.

(I promise I’ll stop being deep in a few sentences. Bear with me.)

The road has been pretty bumpy — some spots more like a rock garden that threatens to suck your front tire in at any second — but I’ve come out on the other side having grown from it.

Among the big changes was the decision to scale back the business I’ve owned full-time for seven years. Fifteen years of graphic design and art directing had lost their luster. (So had pitching, proposal-writing and chasing down grown adults to pay their bills.) In a random search, I found a job I thought was perfect. So I applied, interviewed and was offered a spot as a field service rep at an outdoor sales agency… Then I turned it down.

A current client of mine decided they also wanted to hire me, and my gut told me that was the way to go. I could maintain my free time since I wouldn’t be on the road for weeks at a time, I would still be working in the outdoor industry, and I could still continue to take on special projects through my branding firm. Sometimes all you need is a slight shift rather than a drastic change. Or just a longer transition period. But more on that another time.

DUDE, WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THIS BLOG? OR BACON?

This blog is also in transition. The reason my posts have been lagging is because I feel like any story I’d share would likely sound like a rewritten account of the last one. Which is why I’m going to start posting more often about things outside the realm of getting injured. (You’ll still be able to laugh at my mishaps though, because while I do my best not to get hurt, we all know that it is inevitable.)

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I even get injured getting out of Jeeps.

ONE LAST CHANGE.

I have come to realize — and accept — that I don’t love technical mountain biking. What with all of the roots and rocks and boulders and log piles, I’m barely able to actually ride my bike. I think I’ve given it a good shot. Four years later, I’m at the been-there-done-that stage with conquering that challenge. The root of the problem is my geography. Living in one of the meccas of East Coast technical riding, where is a girl to go for a simple cardio ride through the woods??

Thank god snowboarding season is around the corner.





Scars

29 09 2011

When I started this blog I chose the name Bacon Betty as a way to make fun of my less-than-graceful nature on my mountain bike and snowboard. It’s true that I’ve collected a lot of bacon in my pursuit of adrenaline rushes…

The same knee, taking repeated abuse.

Now that I’m a little more seasoned, I’m not coming home as bloody (bruised, yes) as I once did. What remains, though, are scars.

I LOVE SCARS.

My husband has a pretty serious one on the right side of his head. Like, 3 1/2″-long-with-a-chunk-of-skull-missing kind of serious. It came from a rock throwing battle when he was six, and he was on the losing end of a piece of cinderblock. To this day, he still can’t figure out how the other kid had such good aim from 50 yards away. He made his way home with a t-shirt pressed to his head and rang the doorbell instead of going in and dripping on the carpet. A conscientious trait that was evident in him, even as a kid.

SCARS TELL STORIES.

Like the three I have on my brow bones. All collected before I was seven years old, they each have their own Bacon Betty story. #1 came from a tumble into a cast iron pot at a farmer’s market – blood everywhere and my parents being their non-freakout selves, assured the owners that I’d be fine. #2 is courtesy of a face plant down some steel-edged stairs. When my mom sat me on her lap and asked my dad if we should go get stitches, his reply was, “Nah. She’ll probably cover it up with eyeshadow when she’s older.” #3 was the only one that actually received medical attention, and happened in it’s own comical way. Who would guess you could fall off the toilet while reaching for some paper? My only advice: Beware of ceramic t.p. holders. I took those stitches without any anesthesia, by the way.

Those, surprisingly, are the extent of my facial scars. Since then, I’ve gathered countless others over my knees, ankles and hands, thanks to mountain biking and rock climbing.

It’s pretty unladylike when you’re rocking a sundress and your knees are peppered with deep red scars from repeatedly skinning the same spots. Couple those with the chain ring marks and line of bruises I often have up my calves, and you can imagine the questions I get. The looks on my girlfriends’ faces span from pity to disgust. My guy friends simply say, “Try to stay ON the bike.”

When I’m getting dressed or shaving my legs and notice a scar is still bright and commanding attention, I remember how I came by it. Reliving for a moment that time I charged ahead, only to lose grip on a sandy spot, smack my head on the ground and bust my knee on a rock, regaining composure as the other chicks rounded the bend behind me… Flying down a fire road, chasing my husband and my foot coming unclipped, pedal eating the inside of my ankle, and cracking up at my near disaster of launching into a dry creek bed…

SCARS ARE EVERYWHERE.

(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

They symbolize scary and sad things to most people, but to me symbolize strength and character and adventure. When I think of my eyebrow scars now, they represent the philosophy my dad instilled in me regarding injury (and a great philosophy for life in general, actually) – shake it off. If it’s not broken, it’s nothing to worry about.

Carry on having fun.





Two Voices

5 09 2011

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“Two voices are there: one is of the sea, one of the mountains; each a mighty voice.”
— W. Wordsworth

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Bacon Betty Rides Again

30 05 2011

I feel like I’ve written that title before…

Maybe I have, but that’s how it feels every spring when I get the Genesister back out after a lonely winter in the garage. We’ve had so much rain and flooding this year that it’s taken me way too long to start my season.

I set out this morning with Natty Light and our pal Tabitha to kick off the summer with some singletrack, rock gardens and tons of mud.

For the first time ever, it felt so natural to be clipping in to my pedals and heading off into the woods. You see, I’m usually a little nervous and cautious on my first ride of the year, thinking silly thoughts I don’t need to mention here. I think today was different because I was leading the ride and feeling responsible for two less experienced riders who are unfamiliar with our trails.

I’m crediting this feeling with an experience I just had in Florida that changed my outlook on leadership.

When it comes to mountain biking and snowboarding, my husband is usually the one who leads, taking chances on new tricks and encouraging me to do the same. I watch and follow him because it makes me feel secure to see someone else do something that I can’t visualize or that makes me uncomfortable.

But, when it comes to any water sports, I’m the part of our duo that takes charge. Chris is generally, shall we say, not at home, on the water. It physically pains me that he doesn’t like the beach or boating as much as I do because salt water and a little bay muck course through my veins. So while we were visiting my Dad on the Gulf side of Florida the other week, you know I wanted to get Chris out on the water.

I couldn’t wait to take him on a paddle out to Shell Key and the private beach there, knowing that he would enjoy the adventure of it.

I said I was very comfortable being on the water… What I’m not familiar with is getting TO the water with all of the gear. The way I grew up didn’t require anything more than walking out the back door with your paddle or cooler and shoving off the dock. So when my dad entrusted ME (and Chris’ muscle) to get two kayaks securely on top of his SUV, drive across a very long suspension bridge to our drop-in spot 30 minutes away, get them off the truck without damaging anything, and do it all in reverse, I was very anxious. But having lunch in this spot was enough to assuage my fears in setting off:

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I very nearly wussed out of getting to that spot, partly because I could tell Chris was a bit wigged over the fact that I’d never been responsible for the technical details. A few things dawned on me as we were about to load up the last bits of gear for the day. 1) I couldn’t show that I was a bit weirded out because then Chris wouldn’t have confidence in me (or himself). 2) I recognized that I had to push past feeling uncomfortable if I wanted to get the most out of my day and grow my inner strength. And 3) the reason I believed everything would turn out great (read: no smashed kayaks laying on the highway or busted truck windows) was because my dad had complete faith in sending me on my novice way.

The moral of my story is this: when you believe that those around you trust in your ability to be successful, anxiousness falls away and you ARE successful.

Thinking of my ride today, I remember something my friend Chris M. says – “It’s not a successful mountain biking day unless you draw blood.” Check.

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I’d Rather

29 04 2011

Wear jeans.
Ride shotgun in a pick-up.
Eat food cooked on a camp stove.
Have Dunkin’ Donuts instead of Starbucks.
Rip through the woods.
Drink a can of PBR.
Dig my own dirt.
Wrench on my bike.
Be called a hick over a hipster.
Shower later.
Play first.
Appreciate the haves.
Live in the present.





From Whence We Came

1 04 2011

The Road Home

“All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea — whether it is to sail or to watch it — we are going back from whence we came.” – John F. Kennedy, 1962

I copied this quote directly from one of my new favorite blogs to read, Cold Splinters. I’ve never heard this Kennedy quote before, but almost the same words have spilled from my mouth many times.

Man, am I ready for summer.





Thank you, thank you all dear friends…

19 07 2010

FOR COMING TO MY BIRTHDAY!!!

Friday the 9th was my birthday (and Chris’ as well – he’s older!), but that’s not why I invited friends over. It truly happened to be the best date when most everyone was available for drinks and hanging out. I tried to keep the birthday news a secret, but Em spilled the beans when she showed up with cupcakes and a card (with an REI gift cert!!).

We had a few guests drop out the evening of, but hilarity ensued anyway. I was surrounded by my best peeps. Here’s evidence:

"Blow them out before Nature takes your wish!!" -Elizabeth

Chris decided not to come up to the deck to blow his candle out, and instead continued his game of Patio Ping-Pong. Emily punished him.

Emily, 1. Chris, 0.

The boys went inside to play pool; Elizabeth and Andrew had to hit the road, as poor Andrew had to work at 5:30am; and Em, Erin and I were just drunk enough to want to sit outside under the umbrella while the rain came down.

It was the best birthday I’ve had in many, many years. I love my friends.