Friday, February 28, 2014

Counting beans and Nazi criminals

There are so many things things that happen in a lifetime, writing it all down would be a bit overwhelming. But there are a couple events that are totally random and worth mentioning, for example, in August of 1977 our little apartment was searched by the Italian police because Herbert Kappler, a war criminal, had apparently been smuggled out of his jail cell by his wife. He had been diagnosed with terminal cancer weighing only 105lb making it relatively easy for her to pack him up in a suitcase and carry him our to her car assisted by the helpful carabinieri (guards). (Kappler was portrayed by Christopher Plummer in the 1983 TV movie The Scarlet and The Black)

Another interesting factoid is that my mom was really into the Montessori method of teaching. Everything was flash cards and all day long she flashed them in front of me, some were different species of birds, others were words (both English and Italian), or cards with nothing but several red dots all over them in random messes, then were cars make and model, house hold appliances, tools, electrical equipment, etc. all names and words called out loud and clear as they were flashed in front of my little nose.

This flashing started before I was born and I was the strangest little 2 year old in the park, calling out the names of each bird that landed in the trees, the flowers, as well as what wood was used on the little picket fence. And if I was near a street where I could see cars....well I'd get all excited and shout out the make and model...I was a weird little kid.

Sadly this is why I suck at spelling, because I learned to read by recognizing a word on sight, rather then sounding it out. I was a very fast reader both Italian and English. There is a tape out there somewhere that I last heard when I was 15, it has a recording of me reading the New York Times, then switching to the Italian News Paper of the day...I was 3 years old.

The math dots were the coolest thing, because it taught me how to count on sight, for example my mom would dump a bag of beans on the floor and I would glance down then yell out "271!" the stupid part was that I'd have to count all the dumb beans to prove I was right.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Afraid of the dark

My parents moved to Rome in 1975, settled in a small apartment, dad started doing his art and my mom began learning Italian. My older sister went to a daycare of sorts run by nuns, when a child got whooping cough they lined up the whole class, made everyone hug and kiss the sick child and sent them all home to their families....and that is how I caught whooping cough at 6 months and very nearly died. Apparently they believed childhood disease's eventually infect everyone so why not get it all over with at once.

When I was 1 year old I was sent to this same school with my older sister and when I cried to be with her I was locked in a small cabinet until I stopped. I quickly developed a fear of the dark and remember working very hard to be brave every time I had to let go of my sisters hand at school. Sometimes my little 1 year old will won...other times tears came streaming down my face and I knew I'd have to go to the box. At a year and a half we went on a field trip to the zoo,  this was an old style zoo where all the animals are in cages, very sad for the animals. It was getting dark and being so little I couldn't keep up with everyone when it was time to go. The nuns hurried all the children out and I saw the zoo keeper locking the big iron gates from the outside...that's when I realized I'd just been locked inside all by myself and at was dark. I ran to the gate and remember how cold the iron bars felt, I cried for everyone to come back, called my sisters name....nothing. All the animals were making a lot of noise, I remember thinking I needed to sit down somewhere safe, for some weird reason I picked the lion cage...he seemed the scariest of all with his loud roars so until this day I don't know why I plunked my little bottom down right in front his space....but I did. I stopped crying.

I felt like I sat there forever but it was probably only a couple of minutes before the zoo keeper unlocked the gates, he was talking and laughing with the nuns, my sister came running over to me bawling, she hugged me, told me she'd begged them not to do it and they had kept her from answering me. That night my older sister, all of 3 years old, told our parents everything that had happened at the zoo and that they'd been locking me in a closet.....and this is important .....I will always remember this....because it's the one time my parents rescued me....they got me out of that school.

Later, at the age of 5, I got tiered of being afraid of the dark. So at night I would sneak outside...walk as far as I dared to from my house and sit down on the grass and make peace with the night. I did this almost every evening for almost a month until I realized I was looking forward to my night excursion....and it hit me....I wasn't afraid anymore.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Don't worry, I'm alive!

So Saturday got off to an awful start, I yelled at my best friend for being late, and almost wreaked the car on my drive to the track. But after a hug, pep talk, and a run with good conversation I felt much better. My total work out ended right around the 8 hour mark and included running, swimming, biking and elliptical. Sunday I was sore and stiff...tried going for a bike ride around Mercer...but decided against it, enjoyed Starbucks instead and called it a rest day. Monday I was back at work, stumbling 80 year old with hemorrhoids had more grace then me that day....I could barely sit down but standing was harder so I settled for my yoga ball and almost broke my neck when it rolled suddenly sideways. But I did manage to waddle around the track Monday night for a good 4 miles and have kept up with my normal training routine since. I work, train, and sleep. This is my life until Oceanside Ironman in 5 weeks.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Ironman panic

I’m 6 weeks out from my 1st half Ironman. I’m going to need to swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles, and then run 13.1….and I am starting to panic!!! The bad thing about having a big event like this in March is that training should get started back in October….and it did….however the eating right part never really happened for me. I went on vacation in October ate and drank like it, then my birthday was in November and  being lucky enough to have good friends….I celebrated all month long, then there was Thanksgiving, Christmas and New years where I once again drank too much and ate yummy stuff. So all that to say….I didn't lose the weight I wanted to and am now feeling fat  and not in nearly good enough shape to rock a 70.3 mile event. Oh well. 

Tomorrow I need to pull off all 3 that means about 8/9 hours of solid workout...I'm pretty sure I'll be eating an entire cow by end of day...right before passing out....preferably in an ice bath so I can actually move on Sunday. 

I've been told by one or two people that I deliberately let the weight stack up on my bones to  keep men from looking at me and wanting me...I don't know if that's right or not but Wow...losing it is a pain. For whatever reason I haven't been able to get these pounds off and keep them off. But I've decided that this is the year it's gonna happen...this is the year I'll be able to look at myself in the mirror and think..."Damn I'm one hot sexy lady!!!" :) 

Step one...make it through tomorrow without dying. Step two...fuck step two...just get through tomorrow and then we'll talk.  I hope you all have a great weekend. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Family Care

The Children of God group had gotten started in the late 1960's and David Berg had most of his followers living in big communes, and anytime you get 40/50 or more horny 20 something year olds spending that much quality time're gonna end up with a lot of babies.  Side note: Cults will always promote having children because it's an easy way to gain followers. 

So there are all these hippies making love not war, kids are popping out like crazy....and David Berg decides these kids need an education. However he has already started to remove himself and "his people" from any kind of normal activities, such as having a job, going to school, attending church. As far as Berg is concerned everything has become corrupted by greed and dishonest living. This is when he starts referring to the USA as Babylon the Whore and encourages everyone to "Go into all the World and preach the gospel to every creature." Apparently America has become too corrupt  and cannot be saved…so everyone starts buying plane tickets and/or hopping on ships. Personally I think he just wanted to move everyone away from their loved ones and all that is familiar so they wouldn't be tempted to return to a normal healthy life.

David Berg decides that the children should be home schooled and he puts together a group of people with various skills, he gets a X-high school teacher (he had adopted an 11 year old girl, got a crush on her and made her one of his wives. He also rapped his boys…but that’s coming later), an artist (my dad), a photographer and editor (my first rapist), and others. This fabulous group of people were instructed to create curriculum's  work books that teach the 3 R’s, illustrate children’s books and readers, we even got a version of the History of the World….as told by David Berg of course (until this day I still get important world events screwed up because of him and his skewed view of the world) This group of people was called “Family Care”. We were fully supported, our location was kept secret which means we almost never saw anyone else from the COG and did our best to “blend in” with normal society.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Art on a barn

David Berg, believing he's a profit, predicts a future one world government led by the "Antichrist" who will arise and force everyone to get the mark of the beast 666. Christians will be persecuted and for a time evil will win. So my parents and their new hippy friends escape to northern MN, moving onto this farm,  where their plan is to hide out and live off the land. Brilliant.

My dad, who is an amazing artist, paints a massive picture of a half naked women on the side of their barn...I suppose he should have been trying his hand at farming....but after living a very sheltered life he's quite excited by this idea of freedom, breaking away from normal traditions, women burning their bra's and letting it all hang loose, free, and natural. etc. So being an artist he's off expressing himself on the side of a barn. Funny fact, this gorgeous mural was facing a highway and quite a few cars ended up in a ditch. 

In the meantime my mom is off coping with her first child (my older sister) and her worst memory of this time is dealing with an endless stream of cloth diapers which she has to wash by hand in stupid cold weather. She said they'd freeze on the clothes line and she'd take them down, stacking them like plates. 

I'm not sure which of the hippies thought it'd be a great idea to raise rabbits as a protein source...because anyone who knows anything about nutrition knows that Thumper isn't the best meal plan. But there they all were, digging potatoes out of frozen ground, catching bunnies, crying over having to kill them and in the on could actually do the dirty deed and they let them all go free. 

Much to my parents relief, my dad's artistic talent is discovered by David Berg (I'll explain what he wants him for in another post) When I say my dad was a good artist I'm not bragging. He had entered several art competitions, won most of them, and by the time he graduated high school, had offers from, among others,  New York Times (to do their political cartoons) and Walt Disney...drawing Thumper and his pal Bambi. How different my life could have been.....

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Where did I go?

Over the years I've taken the worst of my memories, written them down in random notebooks, and locked them away. Since the purpose was to evict the images from my mind, I left nothing out....they are gritty, horrible, sad and very detailed. They describe the way my skin crawled, how my small body tore, and the chaos of my thoughts and feelings. This last week I have been digging up my notebooks and reading them for the first time in years and have felt very overwhelmed by it all. So I apologize for my absence. As of today I commit to a new post every 48 hours...I don't want to lose my nerve or momentum. Also, since my past no longer defines who I am, I'll be telling you about my current life and journey to become an Ironman and the ups and downs in my quest to become physically fit and healthy.