“New” Cycling and How That Applies to Life…

I decided to post today’s pithy thoughts to my blog, since it’s been an age and then some since I’ve updated. It’s been nearly 30 years since I rode a bicycle that was not considered a “performance” bike, complete with clips (For those ‘old school’ among our audience, these are clips that the bottoms of my biking shoes snap into to secure my feet to the pedals. This is to enable you to not only push down on a stroke, but to also pull UP, thus increasing your drive on the bike.).

So…nearly 30 years since I’ve been on a bike that does not secure my feet to the pedals. For most of you, you are left wondering…well, what’s the big deal, Pol? I’ll tell you. There are actually two things:

  1. Nearly 30 years of cycling in a manner that enables action on the downstroke AND upstroke gives you a different style of pedaling.
  2. The last year since the back surgery, since waking up to have one foot/lower leg that has not regained sensation and/or 100% motor control, means that I have relied upon that toe clip to keep the “floppy leg” in position, and to have it still be a contributing member of the team.

Since I no longer have the time to do the kind of riding I used to on this bike:

My trusty Trek, with more than 3,000 miles on its frame.

Since my rides on this bike usually meant “get on, go fast, get off,” that precluded leisurely rides with my sweetie. Times, and demands, have changed. I no longer enter Century rides for charity (lack of time), and it’s lonely doing those “get on, go fast, get off” rides without my sweetie.

Thus we decided that it was time the nice road bike went on its way and in its place we welcome this new set of wheels:

New wheels.

It’s a sweet little bike, nice action, smooth Shimano gears. It’s a sort of baby mountain bike/road bike. Just what we want for leisurely weekend rides and/or camping trips with some light trail riding.

I took delivery of the new wheels yesterday. After a happy evening spent tinkering and adjusting, I took it for its first ride today. Things that I learned:

  1. The aforementioned floppy leg does not do so well just sitting upon pedals. I can push down, but there’s no pull up. When I pull up, lo and behold, the…wait for it…FOOT COMES OFF THE PEDAL! How very odd!
  2. When #1 happens, the result is that unless I take my eyes off of the road to lift and place my left foot into place (I can’t feel in that leg/foot, remember, so cannot do it by ‘feel’), said floppy foot/leg ends up kind of wonky on the pedal. The result? Floppy foot falls off said pedal, twists the attached ankle (which is okay, as I can’t feel when that happens, but I end up with no forward motion as I am not, in fact, actually propelling the bike anywhere!

The other, and far more prosaic, thing that I learned this afternoon is that I do not know how to NOT “get on, go fast, get off.” The idea of a “leisurely ride” seems to be a bit beyond my ken.

I got on, raced off, and then thought…um…now what? I raced over to my first destination (lunch), then raced over to Starbucks where I drank tea and graded papers. Then I hopped on again to run my errands. Halfway to my destination I realized that…I didn’t really have to go so fast. I could, in fact, go…slowly.

I could even take a moment and look around. Enjoy the lovely day. See who else was out and about.

What an odd thing to do; ride a bike, look around, and enjoy the scenery.


Wonder if anyone else has discovered this?

I may have to try this again sometime.

In the meanwhile, I’ll sit here grading papers, watching football, mentally packing for my trip next week, with a little corner of my brain dedicated to working out plot points on the next book, and another to considering what it is I will make for dinner. After all, one can’t rush into this whole “leisurely” thing.

Tonight: Football and fiction, maybe some pizza


Catching Up…

I always think about posting to this blog late at night just as I’m falling asleep.  Of course, once awake, I lose the brilliance that was last night’s inspiration and this is the result.

To catch up:

The blog was initially begun as a way for family and friends to keep track of me while enrolled in the doctoral program. I was promised that I’d have little time to eat or sleep, let alone correspond with other humans on the planet.  Well, that was certainly true for the first two years, but this year that has been less so.  Thus, less blogging.

The reach of the blog has expanded and allowed me to connect with heretofore unknown relatives, and that has been the very best part of posting here. (Waving to my “new” Hall cousins!)

The year is almost ended and it’s been quite a year. My first novel was published to good reviews.  I even got my first royalty check recently…I was paid for my writing! Oh my gosh!

I was advanced to candidacy in the doctoral program and just yesterday began (after passing IRB requirements) the research phase.  I even have a graduation date and tie: May 24th, 6:30 pm. Sweet.

Another semester of teaching has come and gone, quite quickly this time around.

Then there’s the surgery.  Back surgery was successful, though not without its trauma.  I have lingering paresthesias in the left leg below the knee and including the foot.  The “drop foot” (a result of nerve damage from the surgery) gets significantly worse when I am out and about for any length of time.  On the positive side, my walking is much smoother and, unless I’m excessively tired, you cannot really tell there’s damage.

Things I’ve learned this year:

  • Nurses should be revered above all others.  The middle-of-the-night freakout’s for post-op patients are made better by a kind word and a warm hand.

  • Doctors should be very careful about overmedicating patients.  I fell asleep on two separate occasions with food in my mouth.  I was so severely overmedicated that they brought in a respiratory therapist because they thought I was having breathing problems. I was, but that was because my body was asleep!

  • True friends are those who will go through anything with and for you. Cherish them.

  • It’s all about love, everything else is just rhetoric. Go Navy (<– link. Those are words I never thought I’d say.)

  • I’m sure I learned more, but at the moment, I’m out of bullet points.

Today: writing, some last Christmas shopping, lunch with the great Tammy at the WB, and then cleaning house for visiting family.

Tonight: More relaxing reading.

Merry Christmas, Good Solstice, Happy Hanukkah, Good Kwanzaa, and/or Happy Holidays (or days off) to all and sundry.

What to do…


Here I am, plotting and writing and struggling, and I realize that what I have outlined for this next book is complete and utter rubbish.

Really, I had a *great* idea. Great. Super great. Even had some really exciting race scenes, some good dynamic stuff, etc… Then, the back surgery happened and I had even more good stuff to use.

However. (and there’s always a ‘however,’ isn’t there?)

Now the new stuff doesn’t work with the old stuff. My original idea, while still good, doesn’t seem as ‘great’ as it once did. And the new stuff, while good and well-written (okay, little horn toot there), just doesn’t…work…with the old stuff. Or any stuff.

Or even on its own.


So, should I sit back and wait for the writing fairy to hit? What to do? What to do?

I’m really struggling and forcing it is not making it better. At all.

In fact, I am more lost than before.


Now’s the time for that writing mentor to come out of the woodwork.

Lack of Blog…

Becky’s visiting, so I’m a bit overscheduled this week and next. Will update blog soon with a more regular rambling of events.

It is always fun to show someone your town though, yes? The things you learn about the place you live.

Tonight: Beck’s on her own as I’m in doctoral class hell.

Well Crud…Another Nine Days Passed…

I really am trying to write this blog more freqently, but…alas…I’m not. Another nine days have passed since I last posted. It has been an eventful nine days, that’s for sure. I’ll start with the Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS). I have been a member of the GCLS since its inception. What is it, you ask?

Well…straight from the website:

The Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) is a literary and educational organization for the enjoyment, discussion, and enhancement of lesbian literature. Our goals are to support and strengthen quality lesbian literature by providing places for readers and writers to interact, to encourage and assist new writers and established authors, and to recognize and promote lesbian work.

Every year GCLS holds a conference, a fantastic gathering of writers, publishers, readers, fans, spouses/partners, and booksellers. It’s always a good time. The first one was held in New Orleans just six weeks before hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit, devastating the levees and so much of that beautiful city. I am eternally grateful that I attended that first event and took the time to tour the city.

Since the second conference I have limited myself to going every other year if at all possible; scheduling and finances being the primary reasons behind my decision. I also decided a while back that I would wait to go again until I had a book to hawk. Two years ago GCLS opened up a new and terrific opportunity: Pitch sessions. Publishing houses held individual, one-on-one meetings (by appointment) and we were able to get in, sit down, and pitch our stories to folks whom we might not have a chance to have view our work.

My roommate for that year, Dillon Watson, and I sat up most of the night before in the bar polishing our pitches and snagging any author we could to read our proposals. Apparently word of our activity got to the publishers because when I sat down with one the next day, that was the first thing the owner of the company said. That she’d heard of our sessions and enjoyed knowing the work we put into our pitches. What a night. From that night came two things: First, Dillon’s proposal and book (Keile’s Chance, Bella Books, 2009)were pretty much accepted by Bella Books on the spot; and second, after pitching to four publishers, three expressed clear interest and one, Bella Books (owner Linda Hill) made my year by looking at me and saying, “Girl, you can write!”

What a thing to hear.

Life intervened almost immediately after and I waited two years before finally submitting my full manuscript to Bella, which, as the five regular readers of this blog know, was accepted. Open Water, the first in the Olympians series, is due out next spring.

So…to wrap up the GCLS side of things for this blog. I was not going to attend this year, finances being what they are. However, one cannot turn down frequent-flyer airfare miles that comp’d one ticket, or a last-minute offer of a free half of a condo. Really. The fates conspired and I will be spending five days in Orlando in early July. Awesome.

Other things this week. I finished teaching my Spring class and actually had a student complain that I didn’t give a final. Seriously? Get over it. It wouldn’t have helped your grade, honestly.

I am still polishing the manuscript to get it ready to hand off while in Orlando, so that’s occupying my time. Add to that designing the logo for the GCLS conference and designing and laying out the 36-page conference program.

And lastly, I have two more melanoma sites that are coming off on Thursday. :::sigh:::

Oh, and super lastly, I am the proud mommy of a baby iPad. Yay!

Tonight: recovering from cleaning the garage (really!) and a to-the-pain Scrabble game. Tomorrow, kayaking in Channel Islands Harbor with S and some friends.

One-third a Doctor!


One year down, two to go. One-third of the way there! Huh, I feel smarter already.

So, you may address me as “Do’ Robinson.” The “ct” will come at the end of next year, and the “or” at the end. Ring kissing is, as always, optional until after the hooding.

Tonight: What’s left of it? Nada. This weekend…down in San Diego for Pammie’s big five-oh.

Lastly, for those who missed it in my Tweet…the view from my kayak (okay, not my kayak, the rented one – mine is having issues) yesterday when I played hooky:

I couldn’t get the sea otter to stay still long enough for a picture!


After a lengthy delay, my website is updated. Go then, and enjoy.

Pol’s website.
Tonight: Doctoral class #1, then home to write papers, since class #2 has been canceled for this week.