Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Oh, to dream just a while longer...

I am often a vivid dreamer but something about last night will stick with me forever....

It was a warm fall day and Jay, Ben Miller, and Christopher Cross and I were in the woods collecting logs for a fire.  We made our way into a clearing filled with waste-high prairie grass towards a set of railroad tracks.  One by one we crawled on top of a wooden pump trolley, prepared to depart to our bonfire destination.  

The sun was warm and I looked around to find Jay manning the pump, Ben was sitting on the back, dangling his feet over the edge.  I looked to the front to find Christopher standing and looking down the railroad tracks and, to my surprise, sitting between us was Dave Pike. 

He had on a light button up shirt, jeans, tennies, and was sitting with his hands casually resting on his bent knees.  His face was clean-shaven and he looked at me and smiled as the sun lit up his face more than anything around him. 

I quickly knelt and pulled him into my arms and told him how great it was to see him.  He didn’t say much, but we all circled around him with joy and huge smiles on our faces.  There was an unspoken word between us as if we didn’t want to acknowledge that he shouldn’t be there for fear that he would leave, while at the same time Dave gave off this feeling that he’d just stopped by to say hello.

He continued on the trolley with us to our destination and helped unload the logs into the pile that would become our fire.   I don’t remember all that we were talking about with Dave, likely sharing stories but there was something he had to do – he said he had to check on his girl and we told him he should get to it before it gets too late. (I wonder if he visited Tracie last night too)

I woke out of my sleep and had to grasp where I was (stupid chamomile tea before bed making me have to pee!).  When I returned to bed, I fought with myself on whether or not to go back to sleep.  Would I fall back into the same dream?  Or would I fall asleep and forget the dream I just had forever?

I stayed awake for a little while, trying to burn the memory of discovering Dave sitting on the trolley into my brain so I could revel on it later.  It was so peaceful and warm and everything we would have done together in real life (except maybe the pump trolley)… and I feel so blessed that he visited my dream to say hi.

I miss you, buddy. And I love you like a brother.

<3 kristy="" o:p="">

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Art of Falling Down

The true art of falling down is in how you get back up.  As a human Albatros, I've had a lot of scraped knees and cut hands from hitting the deck, but I've always picked my self up, dusted off, and got back to living.  But this year, each impact with the ground challenged me physically and mentally but also challenged my creativity.

As the 2017 pole competition season began, I was preparing to create one last competition routine and to push every one of my boundaries with my choreography.  Again, Albatros.. NOT delicate, flowy, or graceful.  But, rather than being a creepy, dark and twisted thing, this year I was going to be pretty, fun, light, sexy, entertaining and everything I'm too shy to be when I pole.  I bought a hot pink umbrella, a polka dot Lucy dress, pulled out my 5" heels and began choreographing to "Singing' in the Rain".  Lucky for me, the amazingly talented Freaky cut my song with some wicked sound effects to transition into "Thunderstruck" for the 2nd half of my routine!!!  The man RULES!

With the help of some awesome coaches, Jamie and Emily, teammates and hubby, my choreo was set pretty quickly so the pressure started to subside.  Until I fell down.

We were up at the Fat Bike Birkie, likely the coldest one yet, getting fired up for the Friday night Fat Bike crit.  The course was frozen solid and covered in ice even after the trail crew tried to break it up with a beast of a machine.  Mixed in with the men, I was just riding as hard as I could to stay warm and get it over with.  During one turn, my studded front wheel lost control and I augured onto the icy ground left knee first.  I got up with no air in my lungs and tried to walk a few steps to avoid being hit from behind but found each step excruciating.

The pain was fierce and walking was not going to work.  I got back on my bike hoping to 'spin it out' but any movement of the joint was agony.  I pedaled by using only my right leg for most of the remaining laps until I could passively rest my left heel on the pedal and moving the joint without pressure til I finally made it through the final lap.  Although my snow pants survived, I later found that my leg warmer was trashed and the wet feeling in my knee was blood.

Weeks later, the swelling and discoloration subsided, but the whole front of my knee was numb (6 months later = still numb).  Practicing my run throughs was a challenge and some of my floor choreography now had to go because any time on my knees was more painful than I could bear.  Routine #2 began.  Some time passed, I was sure I was ready to go... then I pulled my left hamstring.  No more splits.  Routine #3, commence.

I wasn't in love Routine 3, but I was willing to run with it.  But, just weeks before we were to go to competition, I fell down again.  Crashed out during a Tuesday night crit, I was hit from behind by another racer who rode me like a surfboard down the fairground streets, leaving more than 8 pts of road rash down the side of my body.  But I got up, Jay got my bike back in order, I gagged when I looked at my meaty elbow, but I got back in the race.

When I got back to the dance studio, I ran through my routine, found which parts I needed to change yet again due to my injuries, and added in just some things for me.  This was to be by competition finale.. it better be fun!  Truth in advertising... I was still terrified to fail.  The night before we were to hit the road for CPC, my confidence was faulty and I finally broke down.  Was the 4 minutes on stage going to be the finale I was hoping for?  Could I do it?  What if I failed?

But, the next morning, we packed up and headed east to Chicago.  I competed in Championship (judged on all-around tricks, flow, and presentation) and Entertainment (based on character and presentation).. and I placed in both!  Oh, yeah, and I fell down in the middle of my routine during my 2nd performance.  Damn ankle strap of my heels broke and I fell to my knees on stage.  But, I got back up and kept on going (all while hyper aware of the loose shoe now barely attached to my foot).

I finished 2nd in Championship and 3rd in Entertainment and am so proud to have challenged all the things I'm too shy to do, had fun, created something I'm proud of, and went out with a bang!

So, without further ado... here's the final video thanks to Alloy Images!

Not only was I the only goof ball cruising around town to two pink umbrellas (needed a back up) with pin-up style make up and hair, but I pulled of being cute and sweet.  I called her Penny.

I threw in my favorite tricks or little homages to people I love like a Pike D for our friend Dave Pike who passed away just before Christmas.  (miss you, Buddy) <3 p="">

My favorite static hold.

But then Penny turned into Stella.. and she was fun to be!

I am so grateful for all of the help, support, love and Tegaderm that got me through this last pole competition season.  Jenna and Margaret - thank you for making me wear heals! Jamie, Emily, and Emma - coaches like you help lil monsters like me put something together worth watching!  Angela, thank you for watching me fumble night after night. My friends and family - thank you for all your support. And Jay, thanks for always helping pick me back up and getting me back on my bike without questioning if I should. 

As long as I continue to get back up, I haven't yet failed...


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Coming Home...

Taxiing along the runway in Cleveland, heading for MN by way of Chicago, in the smallest plane I’ve ever been in to end  4 days working a tradeshow hit me like a ton of bricks.  I’d been home sick all week, but the accumulation of insomnia and missing my husband rolled like thunder in my chest as we prepared for take-off.  Lucky for me, it was so small, there was only one-seat wide on the left side of the plane, so I was solo in my sorrow as both the window and the aisle seat.  I gazed out the window over the wing to hide the tears that fell down my cheeks in slow motion.

It had only been four days.  But it felt as though I’ve been living someone else’s life, longing to return to my own.  I cried a little more as I fantasized about seeing Jay that night as Bob Dylan filled my ears ….
“I should have left this town this morning, but it was more than I could do.
Ah your love comes on so strong, and I’ve waited all day long
For tonight I’ll be staying here with you”

Staring at the rainbow sky that prepared for the pending shadows of twilight was a quiet relief as I silent-cried out my window, thinking of running across the room for a tearful embrace.  

Its these echoes of myself that I filed away as I tried to conduct business all week but, in secret, screamed loudly as I contemplated what I want to be when I ‘grow up’.  It’s not the typical story I tell, but the time alone, quietly in conference with myself and my heart, truly made me reflect on what happiness is to me… and where I wish the next adventure would take me. 

…. I want to be home.
As turbulent air disturbed the mundane vibrations of the plane, I thought about our wedding vows, and I’ve never felt more passionate about them…

“I promise to always come home to you, and to always be there when you come home”

Once on the ground in MN, I sped to the taxi booth to hail a cab downtown. The driver couldn't have gone fast enough to ease my unrest, and I was quick to jump out in a small parking lot once we made it within a block of the cycling year end party that I had missed.  Scantily-clad women climbed out of cars by the handful, barely dress for a MN winter, but who was I to care.. I was here.  My roller bag echoed through the alley behind One on One and familiar signs of life meant there was still people here.

Mojo was first to greet me and let me into the rented space and I quickly found a welcome embrace with Kadence.  Friendly faces still lingered in the room, but the party was clearly over.  My heart exploded when I saw the smile on Jay's face as he quickly bounded over to me, kissing me on the dark stairs and refusing to let me go.  

It was everything I needed.

Kind hugs and high-fives quickly followed as I greeted my friends and listened to stories of the party missed.  By midnight, we were on our way home and ready to snuggle on the couch with the puppy.  It was the perfect ending to a long week and a great reminder of the amazing life that I have, always here ready to welcome me home.

Road-worn and weary, 
Kristy Kreme