Category Archives: Matt

My Cycling FAIL: Falling, F-bombs, & Finding Balance

I started going to cycle classes at the Y a few years ago. I even have the fancy cycling shoes that clip into the pedals. This, of course, makes me a cycling expert.

Sadly, my expertise ends at the part where you clip in and ride an actual road bike in the actual world. You see, on the stationary bikes at the Y, you don’t have to worry about things like terrain, traffic, or falling over. You just clip in and ride. (Well, I guess technically you COULD fall off one of those, but that may indicate a drinking problem more than a bike problem. I digress.)

Unlike a stationary bike, when clipped into the pedals of an actual road bike in the actual world, people can totally fall over. How, you ask? Well, imagine coming to a stop on your bike and being unable to put a foot down on the ground because they’re BOTH ATTACHED TO YOUR PEDALS. That is LITERALLY the scenario when you’re clipped in on a bike. So, if you don’t UNCLIP soon enough, you’re screwed. I’ve heard these stories time and again, and while other people seem to think it’s hilarious, I am terrified of falling over.  (I am also terrified of being run off the road by a car, running into a ditch, and flying over the handlebars. But mostly just falling over sideways at a stop sign.)

My husband, Matt, has wanted me to ride with him for awhile now, and when a friend generously hands down her road bike to me, I can’t avoid the challenge any longer.  Matt and I go to the bike shop to buy a helmet, and I mention my fear of falling to the expert-cyclist-employee. He says, “Everybody falls. At some point, you’re going to get distracted, forget to unclip, and fall over. Stop worrying about how to NOT FALL, and start making sure you know how to FALL WELL.”

Hm. Okay, I’m listening. Teach me your ways, cycling yoda.

“For example,” he says, “it’s best to not stick your arm out to catch yourself at all. But that’s not realistic because it’s such a natural impulse to try and break your fall. So, just be sure you don’t have your arm locked straight out when you’re going down. Instead, keep your arm bent a little as you land. It’s easier to deal with a broken collarbone than a broken wrist.”

Mayday. What!? My face clearly reveals my horror because he immediately exclaims, “Oh, that probably sounded terrible. You’ll be fine! Just don’t lock your arm out! You’ll be great!”

Thanks.

Not long after, we’re in our driveway, ready to roll. I’m trembling, but I am going to get on this bike dammit, and hopefully wherever I fall, it won’t involve broken bones. Or oncoming traffic. I clip in my right foot. “Now what?” I say to Matt.

“It’s just like the bike at the Y. Just do what you do there.”

Spoiler alert: it is NOT just like the bike at the Y.

While the scrapes and bruises have healed (my pride, not so much), I’m still chewing on 3 lessons from that first ride. Okay, and still laughing too.

With my right foot clipped in, I lift my left foot (completely ignoring all rules of balance and motion BECAUSE THOSE DON’T APPLY ON THE STATIONARY BIKES AT THE YMCA) and proceed to fall over onto my right side. Like, immediately. It’s the weirdest sensation. I’m falling and there’s literally nothing I can do to make it stop. (Except throw out my arm to catch my fall BUT NOT ALL THE WAY BECAUSE OMG PLEASE DON’T LET ME BREAK ANYTHING.)

I do not break anything. But there is blood. And I cry.

I proceed to say things like, “I can’t do this. This is so dumb. I’m not doing this.” I go inside and wash off the blood. I’m a little bit hurt and a lot embarrassed. I don’t really know why I feel embarrassed. It was only in front of my husband, and I had already been told by literally every person I know who has ever clipped into a road bike: EVERYONE FALLS. Yet, it feels like the most stupid failure on my part.

Matt says, “Come on, babe. You really need to get back on the bike.”

“Um. No. I can’t do this. I knew that would happen. I’m not doing this.”

“Look, I’m going to talk to you like a coach. Stop crying about this and get back on the bike. You are totally overthinking it. You are completely capable of doing this.”

I go back out to the garage and stand by the bike. I stare at it. I am paralyzed with fear and humiliation. Finally, Matt calmly says, “Just get on the f$@*% bike.”

And I do. I straddle the bike and clip in my right foot. But, before I lift my left foot (and before we repeat our last mistake), Matt clarifies, “So, this is NOT like riding the bike at the Y. This is completely different. You have to be MOVING FORWARD to have balance. Be sure you have forward momentum before you clip in your other foot.”

I take a deep breath. Well, maybe six deep breaths. And I move forward. I feel the momentum under me and add my left foot. And I ride. When I’m actually moving forward, both legs engaged, it’s incredible. I love a lot of it, and I white-knuckle my handlebars for the rest. I don’t fall anymore that day, which feels like a small miracle.

Several days later, the scrapes and bruises have healed, but I’m still chewing on three valuable lessons from that day:

1. You’re going to fall. Learn to fall well.

We can waste a lot of time and energy worrying about falling or failing or not measuring up. As a recovering perfectionist, I have spent much of my life trying to avoid failure. Or trying to measure up to something – everything – anything. The problem is, failure is inevitable if you’re really DOING anything. If you’re not EVER failing, what are you really even doing? Rather than trying to avoid failure, why not invest that energy into failing, or falling, well? Sometimes the more we try to self-protect, the more we end up injuring ourselves. Sure, there will be some self-protection — but don’t stiff-arm the world in an attempt to break your fall.

2. Get back on the f$@*% bike.

Just because you fell doesn’t mean you can’t ride a bike. It just means you fell. It just means it takes practice. Just because something requires effort doesn’t mean you’re not any good at it, or that you’ll NEVER BE any good at it — or that you aren’t ALREADY good at it. You just FELL! Yes, it hurt. Yes, it felt humiliating. Feel that. Cry for a minute if you want to. Wash the gravel out of your skin. And then get back on the f$@*% bike.

3. You have to move forward to find balance.

“Finding balance” sounds like quiet zen, humming and meditating. Sometimes I try that. Well, maybe not the humming. But I do try to quiet the noise, shrug off the demands, and find some peace. Some balance. And that was my mindset when I first tried the bike. It went like this: clip one foot in, deep breath, quietly gather all my courage. And promptly fall over. But the problem wasn’t my “quiet zen.” The problem was, I wasn’t moving forward. The same applies in my life: yes, I need space to rest, clear my head, and find some balance in my life. But, too much rest and head-clearing, and I get all out of whack. Take a moment to steady yourself, find your bearings, and then MOVE FORWARD.

In what ways are you afraid to fall?

Or is there an area where you’ve already fallen, and you’ve been afraid to get back up and try again? What are you waiting for?

How about finding that elusive “balance?” In what ways can you move forward to find the balance you desire?

Whoopie Pies + Acid Spills (Alt. Title: Cooking is dangerous.)

This is a tale of whoopie pies, flaming appendages, acid spills, and calm assertive energy. What's not to love? (Basically, if you could use a laugh, you need to read this right now.)I’m perusing Pinterest one evening when I find a pin for Jalapeño Cornbread Whoopie Pies with Goat Cheese and Bacon Filling. I thank Jesus that these exist somewhere on the planet.  I dream of eating making dozens of them one day. If only an occasion worthy of such culinary brilliance would arise.

Then, a friend asks if I will bring an appetizer to her party.

My heart flutters. You know why.

It’s Whoopie Pie Time.

I channel my inner Iron Chef and gather the ingredients to begin my from-scratch-cornbread batter.

I whisk together the dry ingredients. It’s a strong start.

In a separate bowl, I measure the butter, milk, and buttermilk. (Seriously? Yes, please.)

The recipe says to combine these liquid ingredients using a stand mixer with paddle attachment. I do not own this thing. I am also not completely sure what it is.

I decide this detail is irrelevant (as is my custom when finding things in a recipe I don’t recognize). I plug in my trusty eight-dollar hand mixer and proceed to spray the butter-milk-buttermilk concoction all over myself and my kitchen.

Not to be deterred, I call my friend the baking expert and tell her I need A Stand Mixer With Paddle Attachment, stat. She graciously loans hers to me. The batter and my sanity are saved.

But whoa there, internet friends. These whoopie pies aren’t just cornbread whoopie pies. Oh no. They are JALAPEÑO cornbread whoopie pies.

So I seed. And I dice. And I throw those bits of fury into the batter with a convincing, “BAM!”

Before I start on the filling, I wash my jalapeño hands in warm water, careful to not touch my eyes at any point, as my friend-the-better-cook had adamantly stressed.

I heed my friend’s warning, but my freshly washed fingertips? They are en fuego. Mucho en fuego. Mucho muy en fuego. No amount of hand-washing seems to help, and I wonder if my fingers will still be burning when Jesus comes back.

But, I push through the pain to complete my whoopie pie journey. Like a boss.

(I don’t want to toot my own horn, you guys, but…)

savory whoopie pies

These are perhaps the most impressive food things I have ever created.

The jalapeño fires in my fingers are also quite impressive. But it’s late now, so I go upstairs to get ready for bed.

Crap. I have to remove my contact lenses. I know I still have jalapeño on my skin, as my fingertips are currently radiating the heat of a thousand suns. But I also know I can get my contacts out quickly.

You know what else you can do quickly?

Pour flesh-eating acid into your eyeballs.

Which is exactly what this feels like.

“MY EYES!” I scream-whisper. (Scream-WHISPER, either because the pitch is so high my voice cannot produce it, or because I am DYING.) “MY. EYESSSSSSSSSSS.”

Matt, ever helpful, chuckles from the bed. HE CHUCKLES. Maybe it’s a chortle. Not sure. Details are fuzzy at this point.

I wipe the flood of tears from my face and feel my way to the bed. I miraculously do not take my husband’s life. Mainly because I cannot see to find a weapon him.

Morning breaks, and Husband-of-the-Year is less than thrilled when I announce that HE needs to put my contacts back in my eyes for me. (Because, FLAMING APPENDAGES.)

“You need me to do what? No.” He says. (He doesn’t wear contacts, and still doesn’t understand how I stick my fingers in my eyes twice a day.)

“You have to. You’re going to open a fresh set of lenses, and you’re going to put them in my eyes.” I’m channeling Cesar Milan with my calm assertive tone now. AND IT WORKS.

I gingerly use my wrists to hold my left eyelid open as Matt sticks his contact-lens-laden fingertip into my eye.

He panics: “IT WON’T COME OFF MY FINGER. THE LENS WON’T COME OFF. WHAT DO I DO.”

“Pull you finger out of my eye and we’ll try again.”

He blames: “YOUR EYE ISN’T OPEN WIDE ENOUGH.”

I respond (lovingly, of course): “Maybe your FINGER IS TOO FAT.”

“The size of my finger has nothing to do with this being ridiculous.”

“JUST PUT THE LENS IN MY EYE.”

Somehow, he manages to put both contact lenses in my eyes without blinding me. All in all, I’m not blind, he’s not dead, and we’re still married. Lots of wins there.

The fail? Forty-eight more HOURS of flaming fingers. The AGONY.

Good thing those whoopie pies tasted like heaven.

Top Five Reunion Moments (you won’t believe #2)

Rural Ohio. Family reunion. Five days.

So much laughter. Quality time. Food.

So little wi-fi and cell service.

We’ve safely returned to the Queen City of the south, which means it’s time for me to spend seven straight hours catching up on Facebook the Top Five Uher Family Reunion Moments. (If you’re doing the math, “Uher Family Reunion” means it was MATT’S family reunion. AKA my in-laws.)

But you should know, they do not refer to us as in-laws. We are the  OUTLAWS.

(And we seek to live up to this title in every way possible.)

(Thus, I am blogging freely about said reunion.)

Let us commence.

No. 5: Owen is the Fish Whisperer. And Molly is crazy.
Owen has found his gift, you guys. The fish were practically jumping into his arms for a snuggle. As he told me eleventy billion times, he caught “one bass and four blue gills.”

owenfishmollyfish

Even Molly caught her first fish! We were releasing all the fish, but I killed Molly’s while trying to remove it from the hook. So Great Grandpa took it home to fry up for dinner. He and Matt were cleaning it out back and Matt held up the skin to show Molly. I thought she would dry heave cringe, like me. Instead she looked at it intently & said, “I want to see the blood.”

I find so much about this disturbing.

No. 4: Bingo. bingo
Somehow I’ve never played this in a legit group setting. You guys. I won pan scrapers. (Yes. Plural.) And emory boards. (Again. Plural.) And a cooler.

What a rush. I am not being even a little bit sarcastic. It was amazing. (The gambling addiction hotline may or may not be on my speed dial.)

 

No. 3: Zip Line Safari at the Wilds.
I love this kind of stuff. You could say Matt was a wee bit terrified. (He barely ate dinner.) (And made a few extra trips to the bathroom.) The man just doesn’t like heights.

mezipSo, naturally, we decided to do the Sunset Zip Line Safari Tour. Up high in the air. Above wild animals. And an occasional body of water.

But he agreed to go with me. IN THE NAME OF LOVE. (I hit the jackpot with this one, ladies.)

As you can see, he warmed up to it all by the end. (And admitted it was worth two extra trips to the bathroom.)

mattzip

No. 2: My kids channeled Napoleon Dynamite.owentie
I’m washing dishes. I can hear Great Grandpa’s electric keyboard on auto-play in the living room.
Matt calls to me. “Babe. You have to see this. It’s like Napoleon Dynamite out here.”

I turn off the water and exit the wood-paneled kitchen into the living room. I see Owen playing along on the keyboard. The synthesizer version of “Killing Me Softly” fills the room.

Meanwhile, Molly greets me with a “drink.” She’s having a tea party. Her tea set? A tray with matching plastic pitcher and full set of plastic margarita glasses.

“What are we drinking, Molly?” She meets my eyes with a mischievous gaze and surprisingly creepy voice: “SODA.”

We keep it classy here, y’all.

No. 1: When a man loves a woman.
We’ve all heard love stories about couples who’ve been married for decades, but whose health has declined with age. She suffers from Alzheimer’s. She’s not exactly the woman he married anymore.

But he loves her. And she, him.

He loves her not just in words, but in the way he cares for her. Lovingly. Patiently. The best he knows how.

She loves him as she leans on him. Physically, but not just that. With her whole life, she leans on him. Trusting his strength to carry her.

gmagpa

It was a privilege to see it with my own eyes.

Absolutely, a weekend to remember!