Monday, April 7, 2014


Right around age 5 we, our Family Care home, moved to Portugal and into the house David Berg had been using. He and his entourage had moved up the road a ways and we used to see him once in awhile out on walks. Anyways this house was huge, it had a grand staircase, a bunch of rooms, but what I remember most is that there was an actual stage to perform on with curtains and everything. There was even a trap door in the center for making a cool entrance, doing magic tricks etc. 

I remember exploring old castles, taking long walks on pebbled beaches, having a dog called "Peter Brown", and splitting my forehead open when I tripped and hit my head on a pipe. I bled so badly but couldn't cry, I sat there nodding that I was fine while blood streamed down my face. I was always the kid who acted all tough up it was no big deal...and then totally freaked out or cried my eyes out later. I'm still like that to this day. 

Often when we stayed in foreign countries we would have to re-cross the boarder every few months or so to renew our visa so we could legally stay longer. We took one of these trips into Spain and what I remember most was this one noisy market we went through, it was amazing, there were wild colors, exotic smells, cool hand made things, and gypsy's everywhere. I thought it was the greatest place on Earth, so much to see, do and look at...until I noticed a mother pinch her baby and another press a hot cup to their child's face to make them scream loudly attracting attention while the parents begged for money.

I started seeing things I hadn't noticed before children running around, dirty, looking lost, holding out hands for change. My parents gave us a small allowance back then and while my sisters immediately spent theirs....I kept every penny....saving it for a rainy day I guess. But seeing those kids all scrawny, with eyes large with hope...well they got every bit of what I had in my pocket. As much as I've tried to hold on to things in life, if I saw someone who wanted or needed it more....I gave it away. I didn't get much growing up, presents were scarce, but when I did..... like my first walkman (for example) a couple weeks later someone said "Oh that's cool, I wish I had one" and there went my walkman. Lol! As a full grown adult I actually made a new years resolution once to be more selfish. I try to put myself first once in awhile and sometimes I disgust myself by being a bit of a brat. Balance...I'm always looking for that balance between looking out for myself and letting go. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

My brother Andrew

One thing about the Children of God is that there was a lot of free love, meaning everyone was encouraged to "love each other" have sex, make babies, etc. So when my mom got pregnant for the fourth time, she wasn't quite sure who the father was. She was quite positive it wasn't my dads...meaning it was down to 2 other men who lived in our little commune we called home. Now both these men had birthdays pretty close together, not only that but baby was due right between the two dates. I remember mommy telling me (at age 4 mind you) that she had prayed about it and asked God to have the baby born close to it's fathers birth date.  Even back then I was pretty sure that was abusing the power of prayer and not at all what the Almighty had in mind. But He must have had a sense of humor because my little baby brother was born 2 weeks early right on his daddy's birthday.

 All 3 of us girls were thrilled to have a baby brother. We played with him endlessly until everyone started getting sick with all those childhood diseases. Luckily he didn't catch any of them and right when everyone was getting healthy again, the little guy came down with a cold. My mom took him to the doctors office for something to help him sleep better at night....the doctors were on strike so she had to wait in the waiting room for over 3 hours with alot of other sick kids. He developed pneumonia. And one morning I walked into my parents room as usual  and Andrew wasn't in his crib. It was then I noticed mom and dad crying on the only baby brother had died in the night at 9 months old. That's when I decided at the wise age of 4 not to have I'd never be sad when they died or left me.

Ireland is very Catholic and no matter how my parents begged and pleaded...they could not find a single cemetery that would allow them to bury a non-catholic baby. One priest suggested the back yard...that's when I learned the words "Sanctimonious Jackass".  Late one night they climbed a wall with a tiny little coffin and buried my brother placing a small marker above his head. RIP little brother.

With so many sisters I always wanted a brother. As I grew older I never had much use for boyfriends but all my very best friends were guys. I think I might have been trying to find that brother I lost.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Oceanside CA Ironman 2014- my first

I know I haven't done a good job keeping up with my promise to update daily. Sometimes there are things in life that become such a huge priority they cripple other efforts because there's just no energy left.

In my case it was heading out to my first ever half Ironman, I didn't feel 100% ready, I hadn't lost the weight I wanted to, I couldn't run like I needed to because of a problem with my achilles all my training ended up being on the elliptical for the run portion.

But ready or not I arrived in CA on Thursday the 27th.  I walked the beach, checked out Ironman village, picked up my packet which included swim cap and bib number. I also got my bags, where you put your gear. For example I would be in a wet suit for the swim and when I go to transition to the bike I would need my helmet, bike shorts, gloves, glasses, bike shirt, socks, shoes, and nutrition etc.

Bright and early, on March 29th I racked my bike, laid out my stuff and my bag with my bike clothes to change into after the swim...and I walking into the shoot and got ready to wade into freezing cold water.

Oceanside Ironman: Swim> 1.2 miles Time> 1 hour and 10 minutes

The water was 61 degrees, so freezing I couldn't think straight, when I first got in the water. I kept saying “Just keep swimming” in my head. I got kicked right on the bridge of my nose…that was fun. But I kept going and was really excited to finish my swim on time: 1 hour and 10 minutes. (I pretty much had to learn how to swim so I could do this, so it was a huge victory for me)

(I used a snorkel [you can use one during an Ironman] which was wonderful being so new to distance swimming. This can be great for a beginner like me because it helped me focus on proper swim technique and now that it is solid I can retire the snorkel. My next 70.3 [Lake Stevens Aug. 17/2014] I will do it without!)

I was so happy to be out of the water, I ran over to where my bike was waiting, but my bike bag was gone. The volunteers had stuck it somewhere with the 2,500 other bags...I had about 10 of them searching the truck for it and finally it was found. 13 minutes later I was able to get started on my ride.

Oceanside Ironman: Bike course, through camp Pendleton 56 miles> I did 45

I felt great on the first half of the bike ride, there were rolling hills but nothing I couldn't handle, I was guzzling Gatorade, and munching on snacks. I had trained for the bike portion by circling Mercer which is nice and hilly. Right before mile 30 I hit a mountain, and then an even bigger one that went straight up for almost 6 miles!

My chain came off about a 1/2 mile up the second mountain, I got it back on, but couldn't get going again so had to walk the bike to the top. I felt fine but I was going too slow. Eventually a van pulled up and I was told by a staffer that I'd made 45 miles or so but, while I hadn't missed the overall bike cut off, I'd missed a landmark cut off so would I please get in. He goes on to tell me that it was too bad because I'd only missed it by a few minutes and the next 10 miles was going to be all down hill and level and I would easily make the overall cut off . So I hauled off and punched him square in the jaw, jumped on my bike and took, I was good, I got in the darned van and my race was over.

In summary, I was in no way done, I had a run left in me I was just too slow. I'm looking forward to doing much better at Lake Stevens Aug. 17th. And sometime in June I'll be waiting to sign up for Oceanside California 2015...You didn't think I’d let that course beat me without giving it another shot?