Monday, April 18, 2011

Sunny Day, Skyr, and Thoughts on Life

What a beautiful, sunny day it is today. I had an hour of cardio dance scheduled today so I knew I didn't want to go for a fitness ride (ie. hills), but a 40-min there and back ride to Whole Foods sounded like a lovely thing to do when my 10:30 had to reschedule this morning. You see, I've become a little bit hooked on Siggi's skyr. I have a thing for creamy food. I love all things dairy, especially yogurt, whipped cream, mousse, ice cream. I also love guacamole, hummus, baba ghanoush. We ate skyr two or three times a day when we were in Iceland and since we've been home I've just kept up the habit. Skyr on oatmeal for breakfast. Skyr for an afternoon snack. It's packed with protein and at just 100 calories a serving, it's the perfect food for someone who has an (ahem) slow metabolism.

Anyway, two weeks ago when I was at Whole Foods I bought so many of them that the clerk asked me if I just wanted to order cases so I could get a discount. "Sure," I said, "I'll take a peach and a vanilla." Yesterday, I got the message that they were in, so it seemed like the perfect excuse for a sunny ride to NE Portland and back on my trusty, basket-equipped commuter bike, Reilly.

Despite the dry, near perfect day, I was in something of a somber mood on my ride. My thoughts were about how life can really get hard sometimes. I have four friends who are going through some tough times right now, some harder than others. Some really, really hard. Anyway, I know what that's like because I've had some serious struggles in my life too and well, today it was just on my mind.

I have this theory that hard things we choose to go through like running a marathon or putting yourself through college or doing RAGBRAI or losing 40 pounds, these things I think can have an incredibly empowering effect on our lives. I think it's because at any time you can just choose to stop and nothing really bad will happen to you. But, if you finish that marathon even when nearly every part of you wanted to stop; when you just held on to that little part of your will that said, "You can do it! Keep running!," then you can draw on that feeling for the rest of your days. You learn that you are able to persevere.

But, I think some things, like long illnesses, like the death of a loved one, like crippling poverty or the sense of being trapped by choices that you didn't even make in your life, these things can leave us feeling vulnerable. I think it's because you're stuck. You can't get out of it, you have to just w-o-r-k t-h-r-o-u-g-h it. Some people do feel empowered by these things, I'm sure, but I think it is less likely. At least, that's my experience. It's hard to reminded that life can get really hard, really fast, with no warning and what you thought you knew about life and maybe even yourself just isn't true anymore. That's tough. Life. It can sometimes be so hard.

Of course, I was thinking about all these things as I do when I ride in that relaxing left pedal, right pedal slightly meditative state. I was heading through a bike signal by the library after having picked up my skyr when, WHOA!, a firetruck was running the red light. I had heard the siren, but hadn't quite registered it as being close because it was being blocked by the houses. I slammed on the brakes, stopping halfway into the intersection. Cycling can really be a mixed bag, sometimes. I'd love to live in a world without cars. Of course, I guess you'd still need firetrucks. And airplanes because I want to see the world.

So, I made my way home, still pensive, still pedaling, but now with two cases of my current favorite food. In fact, I think I'll go have one right now. I'm thinking vanilla. Or, maybe peach. No, definitely vanilla.

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