Sunday, August 14, 2016

Santa Fe Triathlon

Yun, Ayoub, Cece and Salma in Santa Fe

 For the most part, it was early to bed and early to rise for the Uptown Funk Team in the Santa Fe Triathlon...except Ayoub who was celebrating his birthday the day and night before with his family!  Happy Birthday Ayoub!

We,  all made it to Santa Fe in time to get marked and to catch our bearings.  Cece and Ayoub got to warm up and Yun discovered that the relay teams did not have to set up their transition area in the way back.  This pleased  Cece to no end as she was able to move up higher toward the bike mount.  The point is, she did not have to run very far in cleats with her bike in tow!

Lilly and the kids made it  up as well as Barry and Kathy!  It was a great surprise to see and hear everyone cheering us on and supporting us!    We all got lots of hugs on this day!
And that is always a wonderful thing!  Ayoub laced up his running shoes and off he went.  Again coming in as the fastest runner.   Cece was waiting and was ready to take off before the officials were even at the ready! 

Cece was the first bike on the course and she was escorted by motorcycle police for the first 2.5 miles.    This had never happened to Cece before.  She realized that 6 years ago when she and Ayoub did this triathlon, Cece was again the first bike on the course, but was waved the wrong way so she ended up going the wrong way.  This time she made sure this would not happen again!  She enjoyed the sights and sound of the motorcycle escort until all of a sudden she heard a fast wheel approaching and then swoosh.....she was passed by a man with a skin suit and aero helmet on.  Well, 4 more fast bikes past her soon after...and she was good until she made her first long climb.  A few more passed her but still not too bad...and she told herself not to worry just to ride her own race. 

When you have to climb a hill you remember how it feels.  This hill was an easier climb then it was 6 years ago and that made Cece happy!  Her training had paid off!   

The last 6 miles of the race for Cece were all up hill and it was not long before she was passed by a Spokette...the women's racing team.  Once Dora passed her, Cece knew there went first place.  Dora was on a Coed relay team too! 
Once back at the Geneveva Chavez Community Center, Cece passed off to Yun for the last swim leg of the race!  Yun had been watching the Olympic breast strokers and was amending her style virtually... and it certainly paid off! 
Yun with 1 lap to go!  

She looks like an Olympian!
Yun was able to find her grace that she felt was missing from her previous swim and had modified her stroke. We were all commenting, as she swam,  at what an improvement she had made!  HOORAY!

Well, we came in 2nd place out of 6 teams!  We got some nice gifts and gift certificates and our picture taken with a county commissioner!  What could be better?  It was a great fun filled day with many challenges and accomplishments and we were all happy for it! 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Chile Harvest Triathlon

The Chile Harvest Triathlon  has come and gone and team Uptown Funk is looking forward to the Santa Fe Triathlon on August 13th.    The team is made up of Yun, Cece and their friend Ayoub ....who is an elite runner and their only hope for glory!   Because of his race speed and the women's great heart, they did come in second place at the Chile Harvest! 

 It was an emotional day for the team!  They all had in mind to do their best.  Yun had a great swim!    She did not think so, but her teammates did.  Yun just learned how to swim and her coach taught her on land!  Given this and the fact that she had never raced in  a tri we all thought she did a spectacular job!  Turns out she is a very fast swimmer.  I think she surprised herself!

Ayoub and his family came down!  When he took off running, heads turned and Cece was asked repeatedly, "Who IS that?"  all she said was , "He's with us!"  The man runs like a Gazelle!  He runs with such grace he is a sight to see! 
And Cece?  Well, with 8 miles of up....she did well and exceeded her own expectations!  That is what she wants to do every race!   

So, Yun surprised the team with a Sponsorship for the upcoming Santa Fe triathlon...we are very excited about this and they are all gearing up for the race this coming Saturday! 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Starbucks that Wasn't!

Yun , Cece and their friend Ayoub are competing in a triathlon next weekend.  So Cece took a trip down to Socorro to see where the Chile Harvest Triathlon would take place.  She brought her bike so she could ride as much of the bike leg as was possible given that much of it is regularly closed.  The site of the Triathlon goes through NM Tech where they regularly blow things up and they close off certain roads due to this!

Yun is the swimmer, Ayoub is our "ringer" runner (he is an elite runner) and Cece is the cyclist.  Cece has been training,  as they all have been...but she is the one who hates to climb hills.  She discovered after she triumphantly returned to ABQ, that they changed the route she had just ridden and added more hills.   HELLS!

Well, Cece will tell you it was hillacious enough as it was before the changes...but what can she do?    She will just do her best and as Yun says, "We have Ayoub!" We are all doing this for fun...BUT we are all very competitive.
So after her ride, Cece was dying for a cup of coffee.  Socorro looked to Cece like a ghost town, with not many resources, a bodega, a bar,  a gas station and lots of dirt and rock.  But, she did see a Walmart and she needed a pen so she went in and asked if there was a Starbucks in town. The woman looked at her like she was crazy!  Cece tried again. " How about a coffee shop?"  The lady's eyes brightened and she told Cece to turn left at the light and she would see it.  Well, she drove and drove and drove and did not see a coffee house.

But, Cece did finally see a  Circle K.  She thought she could suffer through the bad coffee...but she had planned on oatmeal too.  She bought her coffee in Circle K  and asked the man behind the counter if there was a  coffee shop in town. He told her there was and Cece asked for directions.  A few blocks away... and there was the coffee house with a brightly colored mural wall.  She took her circle K coffee and brought it in and told them to throw it out  for her.  She placed her order and even got her oatmeal!

The coffee house is called Manzanares Street Coffeehouse and was filled with locals. It reminded Cece  of a 70's coffee shop in Woodstock!  Instead of " free love" beads though...there were colorfully painted skateboards,guitars, bicycles, art on the walls and free WiFi!  Yun and Cece have dreamed of opening a place like this!   This coffeehouse had all kinds of food and snacks and Cece had the best oatmeal there she has ever eaten!

So, after hanging out and talking to people and feeling such a good vibe from the people of Socorro, Cece began to like the town even more. If a town  has a great coffee shop...that says a lot!  She was told that there was a French bistro some where near, but she could not find it! 
What she did find was a  beautiful park at the center of a round about just west of the coffee shop where she took a walking tour of a growers market, listened to a man playing some bluegrass fiddle and strolled around among the people.

Now Socorro even took on a better vibe as far as Cece was concerned.  She thought it was too bad these places she discovered were tucked off the main dusty street...probably people do not even realize that there  is beauty in the town!

Afterwards,  with pen in hand,  she got back in her car and drove the triathlon route and took pictures.  Cece knew she would never be able to do that the day of the race.

Along the golf course at NM Tech
This is a rattlesnake sculpture at the top of a short  climb!
Performing Arts Center, NM Tech

Sunday, July 17, 2016

How a A Moment in Life Turns into Paradise

Yun normally does not take her birthday seriously. It's just another insignificant man-made marker on the mighty endless river of time. But once in awhile, she would do some little things if her mood strikes.

Her sons were at their father’s house on her birthday,  and Yun needed to drop off a few things the boys had asked for. This got her thinking, “ What if I also drop off a surprise?  After all, it is my birthday! My birthday is my gift to them”   The last thought made Yun giggle, she thought it was a clever statement.

She has little time before going to office, so she stopped by a McDonalds on the way, a place they rarely visit, but she knows she can get some milkshake type drinks quickly and the boys like them.

It is 8:30am, stopping at the drive through microphone, her order suddenly sounded odd and not in harmony with the breakfast scene.  Indeed, when a young voice took her order for the drinks, Yun felt apprehension in the brief silence on the other end until she heard: “ Two McFluries, window one please.”

When she handed the cold drinks to her sons, their faces lit up in the morning sun with a bit apprehension as well.   Yun smiled: “My birthday is a gift to you, isn’t it?”   One boy got the gesture and smiled with an understanding nod , the other? opened this mischievous sunny smile pretending he does not care at all.  The brief exchange of hugs and words in the morning sun is eternal and for Yun this moment in life has turned into paradise.

Yun felt the sun shining in her heart brightly, and all worldly things had stopped, rather, had shredded away from her.  Is this what some people experience as ‘time stands still?’  Yun is trying to find a word for this experience of eternity and paradise.  Of course, once words are uttered, the moment has gone and lost its eternal quality. 

 Yun could not help but think of the moment she was born years ago, how her mom and dad experienced that moment of paradise.  How time never stops marching on except in the moment.

If we pay attention to the moment, we could experience that time stands still through many little happenings. It is more of a conscious choice than anything else. Yun chooses to be so.   

And as she continues on to go camping on this 4th July dawn, when she walks into the Rocky mountain decorated land, her one deep breath seems to contain all the beauty in the world.  Once again, the moment in the world becomes a paradise.

Best Regards

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Self Defense Against the " Killing Tongue." A Letter to My Son

Dear Kids,
Remember what I used to say to you when you said mean things to each other:? “A tongue can kill without drawing blood”  I still believe so, but I would like to share with you a self defense against the killing tongues.

I have experienced that people use words very carelessly. I think this is because most people live and think very unconsciously.  This includes your own parents.  Parents, in their own stressful time, would say or do something that is hurtful.  Also, your friends can carelessly voice some abstract words to box you into a corner or to put you down: “you are not good” or “you are not nice” or “you are this or that”...  Unfortunately, some of these can become a seed and take a root, starts to grow inside of you, and if you are not careful, the seed will grow into vines and rob your confidence and courage in trying new things and saying what’s on your mind.

A tongue can kill, indeed. It kills a person from the inside, slowly eroding a person’s self esteem and self expression.

But it does not have to be this way.  We can not change another person's way of talking and thinking, but we can change our way of perceiving and responding.  The defense mechanism is to train yourself to be aware whenever people throw their tongue dagger at you to put you down, and then you can dodge it with ease much like in fencing.

One day, I got into an argument with a friend, hastily, an “F” word is thrown in: “you have no  Faith!”.  Suddenly, I could feel very little as a person without faith.  But I did not let the statement take root. I was very aware that the abstract word “Faith” was being thrown at me as an attack.  I dodged it by calling it out... “What do you mean Faith specifically here? If you explain, then we can talk in specifics.  The abstract word means nothing and I refuse to discuss an empty word.”

When people label you (as they like to do ) with an abstract word to express “their opinion of you” or to put you down, stay alert and ask curiously: “What do you mean specifically?”   

Insisting on facts and specifics in conversations is your defense against the killing tongues.

Love Always

Saturday, July 9, 2016

A Visit with Arun Gandhi

Back in 2002, Cece and a friend traveled to Santa Barbara, California and happened upon a Peace Retreat hosted by Arun Gandhi.  It changed and impacted both their lives.  For the friend, it gave her the courage to speak out to social justice issues in the classroom.  For Cece it taught her about a violence genealogy....a self-examine that she has done  every day...ever since.

And so this very same friend contacted Cece and told her Arun Gandhi was coming to speak in Albuquerque did she want to go!  "Yes!"  she said. Cece purchased her ticket and waited for the day to arrive.

But when the day arrived, Cece was not feeling well at all.  She tried to will herself to feel better, but she could not.  She tried to "gift" her expensive ticket so someone else could attend, but could not find anyone.

And so she sat, trying to feel better...and thought of her friend and Arun Gandhi from her home.

The next day, she noticed that her friend had posted a small gratitude post on Facebook and Cece called her friend to get all the details.  They talked and talked.  Her friend had taken notes and spent 45 minutes reciting the notes and describing his talk. Cece was filled with gratitude that her friend took the time to take notes and convey them to her.

Then her friend said, "I got you something, can I stop by your office tomorrow and give it to you?"  The friends made a plan,.

Friday came and there was her friend at the receptionist's desk.  The friends went into Cece's office.  Out of a green fabric shopping bag came a book written by Arun Gandhi.  Her friend said, "Open it."  She had asked Arun Gandhi to write a greeting and he signed his name.  Cece teared up. How very thoughtful and unexpected this gift was.  Cece felt she had a little piece of Arun Gandhi now and hopefully his wisdom!  And hopefully his ability to listen and be still and be present to people's concerns.

The violence genealogy that Cece does every day, speaks to passive and physical violence and how passive violence FUELS the physical violence.  Passive violence are things like hatred, prejudice,labeling other people, misuse of authority,supporting groups that do bad things (KKK, big tobacco and others), putting forth ideas used to embarrass, being critical, bad mouthing or gossiping, de-valuing people, teasing, bullying, disrespecting....

As we can see from the world around us, including the issues involving the killings of blacks by police, terrorism, the concepts of white supremacy and  the upcoming election, the fuel for violence is abundant.

But this genealogy calls Cece to look at herself first... because she can certainly participates in passive violence herself!

 It is Cece's hope that you too can examine your conscience and see how you use passive violence to fuel your interactions with others.  No one is above this.  But when we find error....we work to correct it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Underneath the Skin....Everybody's Got a Pulse.

Song by Melissa Ethridge
Everybody's got a pain inside
Imaginary wounds they fight to hide
How can I hate them
When everybody's got a pulse

I dream in a world that wants my soul
That tells me if I hate I can control
But I don't believe it
I cannot conceive it
Because everybody's got a pulse

I am human, I am love
And my heart beats with my blood
Love will always win
Underneath the skin
Everybody's got a pulse

Once again I hang my head to cry
I can't find the reason why they died
We will find the answer
Blowing in the wind
That everybody's got a pulse

I am human, I am love
And my heart beats with my blood
Love will always win
Underneath the skin
Everybody's got a pulse

Who you gonna hate now
When there's no one left but you
Who you gonna gun down
If you can't kill the truth
That's inside of us
It's inside the blood
It's inside a pulse

I am human, I am love
And my heart beats in my blood
Love will always win
Underneath the skin
Everybody's got a pulse
(Everybody's got a pulse)

I am human, I am love
And my heart beats in my blood
Love will always win
Underneath the skin
Everybody's got a pulse

I am human, I am love
And my heart beats in my blood
Love will always win
Underneath the skin
Everybody's got a pulse

I am human, I am love
And my heart beats in my blood
Love will always win
Underneath the skin
Everybody's got a pulse
Everybody's got a pulse
Everybody hands up if you're alive
Hands up if you're alive
Love will always win
Underneath the skin
Everybody's got a pulse