Tuesday, July 31, 2007

7

Our seventh anniversary is fast approaching... to celebrate, we are going to AC to see the Beastie Boys... which is quite fitting, for too many nostalgic reasons to count. I am all about nostalgia these days. Seven years. We're doing good.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Seriously, Share Some Good News With Me...

I know. The good news is my nephew is thriving. My kid is healthy (but, the peanut thing still has me totally freaked out). I have a roof over my head, an awesome husband... but, my grandpop is sick & for that, I am sad.

Thriving

(really) Little Rob

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Wissahickon

A ride with no expectations...drizzly rain and distant thunder almost kept me in bed. Almost. Today everything just clicked and it was a revelation... I've never raced the way I rode today, never knew I had it in me... Now I know. You know those tiny moments in your life when you feel badass, warrior-like, in the most fun sense of the word? It was like that, like being a kid... You remember when you turned on the power in your legs, and just when you thought you tapped into everything, there was more? You remember the first time your lungs surprised you, just when you thought you had it all figured out? This was one of the best rides, most fun...ever. So far :)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Early Bird

Robert Daniel Perna III
My baby brother, Rob Perna Jr.
So the little guy just couldn't wait to join the rest of us...he was born 6:30pm, a tiny, yet strong 2lbs 6oz.
Mom is recovering nicely, baby is camped out in the NICU...in spite of the tubes & apparatus, he looks really good. I thought he would be freakishly tiny, but he is just cute and little.
Now I am Aunt Kimmy.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Looks Like Firewood to Me

Father-Daughter Training Loop at Brandywine... just what I needed to burn off some stress. Much healthier than my little temper tantrum last night...Sorry, Jeff. Deep down inside, I am still a Perna. I will always be a Perna and I will always possess the Perna Temper. Last night, our Trusty Mechanic hosted a "Repair 101" workshop at our Fearless Leader's house...all the girls convened in the field, armed with tubes, CO2, and multi-tools. After lessons on how to fix a broken chain, how to adjust or rig a mangled derailleur, etc...we moved onto Scott's "log clinic." Ugh... I can amble over most logs or water bars now...but, the log they chose for our "lesson" was more akin to the enormous poplar felled by a recent thunderstorm in our woods. Immediately, I had flashbacks of high school gym class and disastrous attempts at gymnastics, lacrosse, field hockey, and line dancing (yes, we were subjected to line dancing...square dancing, too). Because I lacked any confidence when it came to all matters physical, I never tried anything, or I simply didn't show up. Instead, I'd spend gym period in the photo lab or the library. As a result, I had gym class every day my senior year, twice on Thursdays in order to graduate. I spent my senior year repeating every dreaded sport and activity I foolishly avoided. I don't like to fail (or in last night's case, flail) in front of an audience...I just freeze up. So, I had one half-hearted slo-mo attempt...I just wasn't feeling it. As the sky grew darker, I watched & cheered as Heather, Wendy, Kristin, & Deborah charged across the log over and over... Again, I just wasn't feeling it. What was I feeling? Wussy. Disappointed. Put me on a trail, one-on-one...maybe I'd give something that size a go. I'll get there, in my own time.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

We All Have Nights Like This, I Know...

1 am...the dog is barking upstairs... Wait...we don't have a dog (Rest In Peace, best buddy)... Okay, the kid is barking upstairs. Gasping, wheezing, textbook barking-like-a-seal croup. Crap. Shower on, blast steam...nearly fall asleep holding Barking Child on my lap, on the toilet. Glamorous. Coughing subsides, we retire to the guest room and cuddle up in the big bed, so Daddy can get some sleep. All is peaceful, I dream of a tree house and Halloween. 3am...phone rings. It's my brother...they are on their way to the hospital...Renee's water has broke, she feels "weird." Not good...she is just 28 weeks pregnant. My brother instructs me to go over to my parents and wake them, they are not answering their phone. I sleepily clamber across the neighbor's yard...the street is silent and dark. I ring the doorbell, call from my cell...finally the house comes to life and a pot of coffee is made. At home, I shower ("Wash the croup away," my husband lovingly demands). 4:55 am and I am on my way to the hospital...I don't even know why, but I just go... Wow...30 minutes later, I've blown down the entire main line, not one red light... Renee is okay, the baby is okay. She has some fluid left and they are pumping her with steroids for the baby's lungs. She will remain in the hospital until the baby is born...could be (but, shouldn't be) any day, could be six weeks (at which point, the lungs will be developed & they will remove the little, tiny guy by C-Section). Imagine 6 weeks of bed rest. Complete bed rest...she cannot even get up to pee. She is in the best possible hands. Two floors down, I visit Grandpop. He looks skinny and cute, unshaven. Today my dad & his other 2 children will tell him about his cancer. The sun is up, I come home to relieve Jeff so he can go to work (layoffs today...not a good time to be out for a family emergency...) My dad calls. "Renee is sleeping. Grandpop's prognosis is excellent...the doctors hope for a full recovery." Surgery, "a little chemo." My littly boy wakes, crusty-nosed, groggy & froggy sounding. "It's a sunny day mom, " he croaks, "Let's go to the beach." I wish...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sad...I Was Afraid of This

Fuck. Grandpop has cancer... in his stomach. He's 88 and otherwise healthy. 8 grandchildren. 12th great-grandchild on the way. Last week at the beach, he bitched about us girls staying up late talking loud & laughing... Secretly, he was thrilled that we were all there under one roof...his family, together, cracking each other up. but, secretly, he was probably feeling pretty lousy & wishing for a little peace & quiet... After my grandmom died (5 years ago), he's been joining us nearly every Sunday for dinner. My son has just started to warm up to him, even kissing him good night and teasing him. He sleeps in a chair because "it's more comfortable", but I think he just won't sleep in his bed alone. My grandpop yelled at me once...I was seven and left the door open on his Cadillac (I thought my brother was going to get out on my side)...he pulled into the garage and...yeah, it wasn't pretty! So...I think about my grandpop often, he's a regular (though extraordinary) part of my (almost) every day life...and today I heard the news and, quite simply, this is what I thought.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

You Know?

You know how it feels to not ride all week? Then an old friend decides to join you for a "casual ride" and you wonder how you'll fare? You hit your favorite trails (French Creek...Red & White)... Your bike feels just right... Your legs have plenty of time to ease in, warm up because you are having a nice conversation with your friend, who you haven't seen since the winter... You hit that undulating, beautiful descent...the drops are just a little "droppier" than last time, there is greenery where bare branches hung in the earliest part of spring... From the bottom, you surprise yourself with new found finesse as you bound over rock after rock after rock, climbing up & moving forward... You are not chasing anyone, you are not "hanging on"...You are barely even breaking a sweat...In July. You are hanging out, in the company of friends enjoying another remarkably blue-skied, clear, utterly beautiful day... Climbing out of Miller's Point, conditions are tip-top, completely dry and you are flowing uphill... Unreal. You marvel at the scenery and wonder where is everybody else on such a perfect day? Back at Shed Road, you want to ride past the car and duck into the woods again... But, it's been a rough week for everyone, you don't want to take advantage of your mom who is graciously watching your toddler... So, you wrap up your conversation with your old friend, tell him you'll call his wife & get the kids together soon... You stop for soft pretzels on the way home, which mom is grateful for. You had the best kind of mellow ride ever.

Exchange with a Two Year-Old Part II

Me, "What do you think Uncle Rob & Aunt Renee should name their baby?" Him, "Ummm..." pauses, I can see the little wheels turning inside his head, "Telescope." Me, "Telescope?" Him, "Yes. Telescope. That would be a good name." I am in need of some adult conversation...I know this because for a split second, "Telescope" as the name of my baby nephew-to-be, actually resonated & sounded good to me. For a split second.

Exchange with a Two Year-Old

Me, "I have an idea. Do you want to hear it?"
Him, "Yeah...baby."
Me, "Did you just call me baby?"
Him, "Yep. Daddy always..." pauses, scratches chin thoughfully, "Daddy always calls you baby!" and proceeds to crack himself up.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Exploring

No agenda today...woke up early, Jeff already gone for hours (working the weekend...I miss him). Hungry,I took inventory of our near empty fridge & cabinets...no eggs, no bread, 1 lonely waffle (but, no syrup), handful of cereal...hmmm. The Kid was thrilled with his Eggo & Hershey's Syrup (it's Saturday...and sugar is sugar, I reasoned).
Couldn't bear the thought of chasing the Wild Thing around a park or crowded playground, so we went exploring and probably had more fun anyway.
No wild raspberries to be found (no problem, the kid has probably eaten his weight in raspberries over the past two days), but we encountered some busted farm equipment, a fuzzy brown caterpillar, and many cool dogs.
Back home, we watched the "Big Kids" do stunts on their bikes and ate lunch on the front porch.
My dad called to inform me that my grandpop is in the hospital...I don't know much yet, except he is experiencing some internal bleeding.
Yesterday, driving him home from the shore, he complimented my "safe driving" & said it was the best he felt in weeks ("Really, Grandop?" I wondered, he's been at the beach for two weeks and the best he has felt is sitting in traffic on the Schuylkill?)...
He will be in the hospital overnight and hopefully I will see him in the morning...

Friday, July 20, 2007

Fleeting

I love summertime...having just returned from a quick escape to the beach, I realize home is where I am most relaxed, most content.
We (me, mom, & Wild Thing) joined the cousins at Grandpop's place in Ocean City, just for one night...we had an excellent beach day, an exhausting romp around the boardwalk, and too much Johnson's popcorn (which I never had much of an affinity for, until my grandmom died & was no longer here to enjoy her favorite seashore treat).
After the kids went to bed, the girls (me, my mom, Aunt Linda, Therese, & Chelsea) sat around the kitchen table until well after midnight, talking & laughing.
I didn't sleep well...Wild Thing was flailing his little chicken legs all night long and my mom was snoring across the room (which woke the kid at 3:40am...a tiny voice next to me, pleading, "Grammy, stop snooooring! Grammy, stop snoooooring!").
This morning, my Aunt Linda made pancakes from scratch for breakfast, which made the entire adventure & sleepless night completely worthwhile.
Back home, my son & I took ridiculously long naps this afternoon in the comfort of our own beds...I am nursing a stubborn cold & haven't even touched my bike since Fairhill.
Tomorrow is Saturday and I have no plans...
that is fine with me, because summer will be over too soon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Thinking of You

Sam,

for your loss, for your friend, you're in my thoughts.

Suki,

For the hard times you're going through, my thoughts are with you as well...

May time heal your wounds (and silence the judgement, the negativity) & may your fresh wounds be nothing more than bumps, bruises, & calluses from climbing hard, riding hard & moving on!

Kim

Monday, July 16, 2007

Afterthoughts

Spent the morning doing some informal peanut-allergy research...until it freaked me out and I had to stop reading. One (hopefully slanted) statistic I read explained that out of 33 food allergy deaths last year, 17 were peanut allergies. Jesus! Teenagers are the "most likely" to succumb to a fatal reaction because they feel invincible & are rarely prepared for an emergency (like always carrying an Epi pen). Like I said, I began freaking out and stopped reading the horror stories. Clearly, an appointment is in order with an allergist & we'll have some informed answers. In the meantime, our house is completely peanut free. I feel good today...my appetite is insatiable and I am craving salty, junky junk...no bruises, no wounds, just a little soreness when I climb the stairs. Yesterday, with my emotions getting the best of me, I began questioning whether I want to race at all anymore...Why not make more babies and just ride whenever? Why not give my marriage a little more attention, a little more effort? Why was I out in the woods, devoting nearly an entire Sunday to a mountain bike race, while Jeff & Tough Guy were home sleeping off a horrendous night in the hospital? I suppose I would be a lousy wife & miserable mom without it...So, I got over myself & started seeking out something between now & Iron Hill on Bikereg.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Fairhill Classic...Just Not Willing to Puke

23 Miles. Strong start...bundle of nerves, knots of guilt for leaving the little guy (and big guy) today, emotional mess from last night's scare...don't waste your energy on negativity, it's going to be a long race... I am proud of the way I handled my bike & myself today...I held my own in the front group, stayed consistent... We worked together, carving out beautiful lines and gathering momentum with every little rise and dip. I led with control & followed with focus...panic couldn't chase me today...the course itself was excellent. By mile 18, I began to relent a little...unwilling to run myself completely ragged, unwilling to dig deeper, simply unwilling to puke (we had our share last night). Jess (Queen of the MAC last year) caught me with 2 miles to go...I didn't even try to grab her wheel, just watched her pull further & further away. Fairhill was a joy to ride... My dad & I both finished 5th in our groups...today I did not focus on my position, I only wanted to ride smoothly & have a little life left in me for the Boys when I got home. But, top 5 at Fairhill? I'll take it!

My Favorite Kind of Saturday Addendum

I spoke too soon. We just returned from a long night in the ER...Grammy inadvertently gave Wild Thing a bite-size Butterfinger. That's a big no-no...Butterfinger means peanut butter, not "butter butter." Hives, vomiting, swelling, more vomiting...the worst, scariest reaction yet. One IV of steroids & Benadryl, plus a shot of Epi later and the poor thing finally cleared up. Tough Guy is a trooper...a few tears, a few wails while the IV was inserted (said the nurse,"Mom, you may want to step out for this..." Um, no thanks...I cried harder than he did). "I don't like this place," was all he said, then conked out from the drugs... So, yeah...I'm going to be freshy-fresh tomorrow.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

My Favorite Kind of Saturday

I love early starts...
West Chester Grower's Market
What else made my day? The Soft Pretzel Factory is now open on Sundays...
No matter what happens, I will have a delightful soft pretzel waiting for me at the finish tomorrow...with plenty to share!

Fair Hill, Have Mercy On Me

Plans are in motion for the 24 Hour Race at 7 Springs... Last year I participated with an all-female team & it was the most fun I had on my bike all summer. Hopefully this year won't bring another hurricane & apocalyptic conditions (the night laps were downright scary...but, much like childbirth, the pain is soon forgotten & the "reward" is that much sweeter). As for tomorrow, I have yet to pull off a positive race experience at Fair Hill...I hope tomorrow is the exception. Love, love, love to ride there...but, race? Things usually go wrong, very wrong, for me. Time to turn that bad juju around...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Le Tour

In spite of any doping scandals, cheating, and hypocrisy that litters the sport that is professional cycling, I still get excited watching the Tour... Maybe it's Phil Liggett's witty (in my opinion) lilt... Maybe I just love Bobke... In any case, I love watching the race, I love the mountain stages...these cyclists do what I never will...and that is race for nearly the entire month of July on some of the sickest, most badass roads in Europe, surrounded by vistas I can only dream of (for now).

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What Heat Wave?

Together at last!
The Sand Flea
This time last year, our son called oatmeal "oap-bum," he wouldn't go near the ocean, and he slept in the pack-n-play.
This year...sleeps in the "big boy bed," loves the water, and favorite words are "ridiculous" and "confused" ("con-foozed").

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Food For Thought

Yummy. I think I just want a new toy... It's no secret I have a crush on cross... Yes, my cross bike is fine... It served me well for my first season... It's been nothing but kind to me on the road... but, this just looks delicious and will likely fit me better. hmmmm...

Iron Hill Twilight Crit

Charlie & BP
Rebecca Larson of Aarons
Caught up with some friends, treated the fellas to ice cream, and enjoyed the women's race...
My husband had to work, so our traditional post-crit BBQ was not to be this year.
I do miss living in downtown West Chester.
After the kid & husband went to sleep, I returned to WC for a rooftop Mojito at Coyote Crossing in celebration of my friend Kate's birthday...weird music, odd scene, but an otherwise beautiful summer night.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

I Even Dreamed About My Bike Last Night...

I'm going to love the road sooner or later...I know it's just a matter of time. I just need a little more confidence. And maybe a road bike...(I've been employed 9 hours at a bike shop and New Bike Lust already has a firm grip on me). I could tell my dad is feeling like himself again...he put together a great loop that meandered around many of my favorite back roads behind the Laurels and Stargazer Winery. Heading home through town, we saw the hay bales & preparations for this evening's crit. As for me, I felt strong and relaxed...this promises to be my last ride until Fair Hill. A week at the beach will leave me fresh or fighting for breath (and legs). image by Dennis Smith (from Marysville)

Friday, July 6, 2007

Bittersweet

Ended a friendship...It's not something I take lightly, as we've known each other since seventh grade. I don't have many "old friends"...so while it is sometimes comforting to have a tie to "back then," I would rather enjoy the "good old now." This friend has a burgeoning bad habit that I want no part of...Seems my concerns and pleas have fallen on deaf ears. It's not about me being "Holier than thou..." because it goes deeper than that. It's about this: -I have a child & a family...I can't tolerate the bullshit that goes hand-in-hand with the bad habit. -I don't want to be a sucker...when this bad habit blows up in her face, I don't want to be the one to pick up the pieces. Again. -I have a child & a family...period. Sadly, this friend is probably in need of some help (or she will be in need of some help if she keeps this up)...I have tried & I am done. Admittedly, I don't exactly have the best luck when it comes to (female) friendships...and that is all I can attribute it to. Luck. I have had better luck with the friendships I have made since becoming a mom. I have had better luck still with the friendships I have made since getting a bike... I did the right thing... Some choices are unquestionable now that I am a parent. Some things can no longer be compromised, some boundaries are more clearly drawn...not that I'm dismissing my character before I had my son...I just don't waver where I may have before. Perspective, I suppose. Thanks, Kid.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

"Rainy Day, Rain All Day..."

After splashing through every puddle on the street, investigating the storm drains for creatures, and inventing a game with a hat & a stick, we came back home drenched & exhausted...
Friends again.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

How Was Work?

What I Love About My New Job:
-Infinitely better music than the orthodontic office
-I am surrounded by bikes
-I watched a six year-old boy choose his first two-wheeler and helped him decide between a black or yellow bell (he went for yellow)
-Many of the customers are already friends and/or teammates
-I didn't look at the clock pretty much all day
Needless to say, I'm happy with my decision...I felt right at home!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Return to Marysville

Thanks, Dad...Hope you are back in the game soon! The Sloooooow Race...(the prize? A unicycle!) Beginner Short Track
Enjoying the beautiful day all by myself...for nearly a solid hour between races,
I sat in the shade of a big tree...no one needed me for anything and that was just fine with me!
For the last time today, teammate George Heim's backside...that's what I saw (and chased) on both the Hill Climb & Short Track... Another day spent (mostly) on my bike...what more can I say? Hill Climb? I wanted just a little bit more...really, I did.
Short Track? Just pure, fast fun...
Arrived back home to a quiet Napping House...need a nice Sunday dinner with the family, as I consumed far too many non-real food items today (blue Sport Beans, Espresso Love Gu...rhymes with "Ewww" for a reason, Orange Gatorade, and a "vanilla" Powerbar Recovery "Shake"...ugh).
Maybe if I just put my feet up, stretch out...