Salt water


“The cure for anything is salt water – tears, sweat, or the sea.”–Isak Dinesen

I wrote this post while on a 19 mile bike ride with my new BFF bike seat cover. I didn’t use to need a gel seat cover but one day a few years back I was riding a bumpy downhill and got tossed over the handlebars after bouncing hard on the seat (to gain altitude, apparently). It really is true that time is elastic when stuff like this happens and as the sun was at my back I had the unique perspective of living the event while simultaneously watching my shadow play it out. I distinctly remember seeing one shadow (me on bike) become two shadows (me not on bike) and I thought to myself “Houston, we have separation from the launch vehicle”. Then my face was in the dirt with my bike on top of me. ThanksBeToGod for helmets and sunglasses! My bike was relatively unscathed, as I initially thought  I was, and after I thrashed around and got untangled I stood up and decided to resume my ride.Trek handlebar Then I looked down. Hoo boy…..bleeding like a stuck pig and yes, Houston, we had a problem.

Now this was in the early days of believing that my ex was actually pursuing sobriety; in reality he was using any time I was away from the house to drink himself pickled. I called him to come and get me. He got lost. I called him again and he complained that “they” had changed the road (really? in the last thirty minutes?). He finally arrived. I was not feeling very good by then and I had him stop at a paramedic-staffed fire station on the way to the city twenty miles away. A friend of mine was on duty and I explained what had happened and apologized that she had to look down there to see if I had an arterial bleeder; at this point all the males in the area scattered like cockroaches when the light goes on. She blanched at the sight of the laceration, applied a dressing and since I was not bleeding to death I opted for non-ambulance transport to the Emergency Dept. Now this is the scariest part of all: I got into the car with my ex who, in retrospect, was impaired. I thought I was going to survive a bike crash only to die on my way to the hospital. After a minor trauma workup, some stitches and a couple of hours in the ED, we made it back home in one piece. A few days later I tracked my paramedic friend down and took her treats. She is good people.

I didn’t ride for almost three weeks but eventually got back in the saddle and that is why I now need a gel bike seat cover. Best thirty bucks I ever spent.

One reason I ride is to have some way to burn off fury; something will trigger memories from the last several years and emotions of ferocious intensity will ambush me. Without warning there is total outrage and I understand the quote “hell hath no fury…..”. I run and ride and meditate and work and settle down and get comfortable with this scorched-earth anger; a not very “nice” emotion but there you have it. If I was queen, heads would roll and I know that I don’t want to get stuck in this wrathful place. I cry and want to throw things; I stagger into Al-Anon for support and guidance; help me to want to want to….forgive? have compassion? for him? for me? I don’t even know. I let it marinate. I write, delete, repeat, post; my guardian angels really can fly as fast as my ex could drive. I lay it out on the altars of All The Powers That Be and rest, knowing that I don’t have to know. Paradox.

Then the most curious thing happens; I walk into my house and am consumed with gratitude for this place of refuge, or I revel in sitting in my little yard with Gandalf and Pippin. PippinTookI can play in the dirt in my own garden. I am on my own and I am surviving and waves of thankfulness wash over me. I melt into them, sea foam hissing as it meets the lava and eventually the anger cools; I am left with new landscape; a new shoreline.

I am still standing…..and riding, and singing and and and. Isak Dinesen was right.



Do you suffer from terminal snooze button pushing? Do the sticky fingers of sleep tighten their grip on you when your alarm goes off in the morning? Have you tried every trick in the book to rise and shine but without success? My son William recently suggested the most effective sound an alarm clock could make; the noise that would guaran-dam-tee that your feet would be hitting the floor a nano-second after it went off, snooze button forgotten. Care to take a stab as to what this oh-so-special sound might be? If anyone can guess this correctly, I will send them a Moosepat Originals hand-knitted dish cloth. Seriously, I will.

OK. Drum roll………

The sound certain to get you right out of bed would be that of a dog starting to vomit; The Dog-Vomit Alarm Clock! Yes, yes, I know….this sounds like the name of a band from the 70’s. But seriously, it’s genius and this is how I know.

ACK !!

ACK !!

One evening after work I was making dinner and heard Gandalf preparing to hurl on the rug in the front room. I only have one area rug; the rest of my floors are wood and tile; he picked the 1% of my floorspace that would not be an easy clean-up. Why do they do that? More Questions for God After I Die.

At the first sound of impending rejection of dog food, the salad I was making became truly tossed and I almost vaulted the kitchen bar in my efforts to get to the sliding glass door in the opposite wall, while simultaneously attempting to assume a calm and soothing demeanor so Gandalf wouldn’t panic and run around making puke deposits everywhere.

I failed in this attempt.

Poor Gandalf; not only were his insides rebelling but I had morphed into a wild-haired banshee strewing lettuce greens, moving at lightening speed and coming to get him. His eyes were wide with terror and his toenails tapped a frantic tarantella on the wood floor as he tried to get away from both his stomach and me. The shock of it all at least made his gut hesitate long enough for me to fling the sliding door open and he escaped into the yard, safely unburdening himself of lunch on the grass. Poor puppy. He rarely does this so it was a surprise to both of us. We each took a deep breath and calm returned to the Wholam household. I removed the remaining salad ingredients from my clothes and decided to check on the progress of my flowerbeds; as it was a bit chilly I slid the door closed behind me and listened in horror as the “charlie bar” clinked into place, securely bolting the door.

A quick mental inventory recalled that the garage door was down (no keypad on the outside), I had not unlocked the front door and now the slider was not going to budge. I could see both my regular keys and my spare outside key on the table in the house, next to my phone. Why would the spare be on the table in the house, you ask? Good question; I was wondering the very same thing. PippinTook gazed placidly at me through the glass and resumed his nap; Gandalf and I were outside and it was getting dark.

The ending to this story did not involve breaking and entering; my dog walker has a key so I hoofed it over to her house a quarter mile away (all the while praying she was home) and made it back while it was still light. I let myself into the house, picked up the spare and tucked it into its secret spot outside. Whew, that was a close one. *fist bump to guardian angels*.

All this because of the sound of a dog about to spew. William was right!

The Dog-Vomit Alarm Clock operates at an instinctual level and is therefore impossible to ignore. No time for conscious thought; I was not in charge of my response. Time elapsed from flying salad to out on the lawn? Maybe two seconds. I think there could be a market for this and cat owners could purchase the feline model. Can’t you just see it being advertised on TV?

“Never sleep in again! The revolutionary D-VAC….only $19.95! And if you call now, we will double your value and send you TWO! But that’s not all….for the first five hundred callers we will include a hide-a-key box in the shape of your pet.”

And maybe a hand-knitted dishcloth.

Hand-knitted dishcloth

Colors may vary


Home of the Free…Because of the Brave

Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes


It’s the 4th of July!

I love this holiday; it is so uniquely…….American. Well, duh, you say, of course it is. How could it be anything else? It’s US, as in “us” and United States.

I love this country; Congress not so much but this is not a political forum so I will leave it at that. Are we perfect? Far from it, and while it really skews thinking to judge the decisions of the past with the consciousness of the present, here we also have the tools to better the future.Home

I think that every American should go to Philadelphia and stand in Independence Hall, preferably on a hot summer day when the air conditioning is turned off and listen to the Park Ranger explain what happened there. If you can’t do that, rent John Adams. It is not an action-packed-chase-scene kind of production and if you watch nothing else of it, the scenes of the signing are a must. This was epic; it is epic.

Live so as to honor the vision, the service, the price paid for this country. Wave the flag, eat hotdogs, and celebrate! If I was good at Photoshop here I would insert a pic of Mt Rushmore with smiling faces, but I’m not, so you will just have to imagine.  🙂

Happy 4th!