April 17 13

When things happen—day-shattering, week-shattering, heart-shattering things happen—I have a hard time finding my words, I have a hard time processing, I have a hard time focusing energy on anything. For many people, writers especially, writing through it feels like the only answer. And for me, I become paralyzed with my words, and so I read. I read beautiful words about the good and I am fairly sure that I have seen more photos of Mr. Rogers in the last two days than I saw in the entire decade of the 1980s, but I don’t care, because I will read that finding the helpers quote 850,000 times on every form of social media and it will still resonate with me, I will still smile and nod my head and know that yes, so much yes, this is what I need right now to process because every time I see that photo of that lovely man in the cowboy hat I cry such giant emotional tears because YES, there are so many good helpers.

Apparently, I needed something else since yesterday afternoon I found myself at a bike shop purchasing my first big-girl bike.

Now, some of you will remember (and be sure to remind me) that I bought not one, but two bikes last spring. One was old and vintage and oh so lovely to look at with its black and white seat and old school feel. One was new and baby blue and had a giant basket for all of my flowers and groceries and was just so perfect for photo shoots. One had broken gears; one had no gears. Neither one was what we’d call a sensible decision. But, it’s nothing new that I’m often not so great with decisions—remember, I’m the girl who drinks coffees on purpose at 10pm even though I know they will keep me up until 3am reading novels or trying to beat level 197 (wow that’s not embarrassing to type at all) in Candy Crush without spending a single penny and then complain that I’m exhausted at 6am the following morning.

In the last year, I have tried really hard to change my fate.

It’s all very Merida from Brave really, only my Scottish accent is pitiful at best.

My dad calls me exactly once a year. On my birthday. If I see the Atlanta area code come through on my caller ID and it’s not May 22nd, I panic, I freeze, and I assume the worst. That something has happened to my dad, that he’s in the hospital, or something worse, something I can’t even put into words. And so for me, for my husband, for my three most important humans on the planet, I’m changing my fate, I’m changing the genetic hand I was dealt.

I changed the way I eat, opting to know where my food comes from, rather than eat food that is full of unpronounceable ingredients. I eat things like quinoa and chia seeds and vegetables and hummus and I bake my own bread with Irish whole meal flour. I cut my salts, my sugars, I completely gave up all diet pop. I believe that mostly everything in moderation is okay, which is why I’m firmly against elimination diets—I still eat burritos and all the things that I love, but I do it in moderation, in conjunction with a really healthy diet. I still get together with friends over pizza and breadsticks and beer because my friends are my family and my life and I couldn’t imagine bringing my own meal along with me and because I eat well (really well, actually) but I also want to enjoy the things I want to enjoy. So.

I joined the gym, I work out with Trainer Kim once a week, I work out at home several times a week, using weights and the damn bosu ball and I squat and lunge my way to sore muscles. I’m stronger—way stronger—than I have ever been in my almost-35 years on this earth.

But here’s a little secret.


Like, with an ear-punching passion. I have been whining about it incessantly. I have made it my mission to explore cardio options beyond the treadmill and the elliptical trainer—to try barre method and zumba and cycling and anything else that gets my heart-rate pumping. And, I don’t know, something about the last few days just lit a fire. Those photos of those men and women and children and teenagers and grandparents in Boston this week all out there running and running and running—not whining.

And so I stopped whining and I bought a bike. (And a $100 helmet.)

A lovely one.


One that’s going to help me move my body instead of complain about it.

I don’t even know who I am anymore, but I like it.

I did, however, pass on the kit that would help me fix a flat bike tire should I find myself in that particular predicament.

Because sometimes I know how to make a good decision. And to call someone for help.


  1. I started riding, again, about a year and a half ago. I bought a nice new Schwinn and my neighbor and I like to ride the towpath along the (now disused) Illinois & Michigan Canal – a State Park and well tended riding and walking path. It’s mostly level ground and a good surface for riding – and riding with a friend makes it a lot easier to get my ass off the couch and onto my nice new bike.

    Well done, you. Keep that bod in the wonderful, glorious shape it was meant to be.


    Comment by lceel on April 17, 2013
  2. Wow, that is embarrassing. Level 197? ;) Good for you on buying your new bike. I bought my PeeWee Herman bike last year in the Florida Keys and I love it for leisurely bike rides through the hood because I absolutely hate bike riding that requires me to pant.


    ali replied on

    Certainly not proud of my addiction OMG.

    See? and I WANT to pant. Heh.


    Comment by Candace on April 17, 2013
  3. I have found myself living a much healthier lifestyle this past year also. And I have found my cardio workout: trail running. It lets me be out in nature which I adore and get my exercise also.


    ali replied on

    I really, really wish I could run. I envy runners so much.


    Comment by Julie on April 17, 2013
  4. I want to get a bike, but I am so, so scared of riding in the city. And I kind of have to to get anywhere.


    ali replied on

    Yes. Biking in the city would scare the crap out of me. I guess that’s one benefit to living in the burbs.


    Comment by Kristabella on April 17, 2013
  5. Superb bike choice! Love the Specialized.

    I love cardio. I’ll run a 10k before I’ll lift weights.


    Comment by Jen Wilson on April 17, 2013
  6. I love both cardio and weight training. Because I’m ridiculous.

    I haven’t downloaded Candy Crush. I hope we can still be roommates in two weeks.


    Comment by Angella on April 17, 2013

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