Patching things right for life and racing … it’s in the mix … the “Grand” Catch-Up!

19 05 2009

Where HAS May gone? Okey Dokey:patchbay 2

I didn’t really realize how much so many things had drained me until April 23rd. I finally had to throw up my hands and start sorting in a very big way. When I started doing that, however, I saw how a lot of things fit together and could, together, be taken outside my personal “house” and dropped on the sidewalk waiting for the free garbage pick up in a steaming bag. Of course, clearing out the drek of the past and present aren’t quite this easy, but I see it all as personal house cleaning and it’s going to make it a more fun place to be … and me a stronger person … competitor … friend … etc.

It’s been coming for a long time. Several of us are doing a “me” year. It starts at different times, and has different lead ins. Mine was an insane year for 2008 and 2009 starting off being one of a heck of a lot of clean up … and learning about myself.

School: I was in a class that had an associated group project. Long and short, it’s done now. Want more information, I’ll tell ya privately. I know my part in the negatives and positives. I am, however, having to spend the summer doing the private parts of this class to clear an Incomplete. I’m not too worried, really, just find it all rather sad.

Finances: Such a special bit of hell.

Training: Well … another special bit of hell. Let’s face facts: for the first part of 2009 my training has spectacularly sucked. I took the requisite time off, and healed a great deal, but not completely. Every time I’ve gone out, it’s been a crap-shoot. This doesn’t help the old noggin when you’re not sure if you’re going to be able to get back from a training walk. I still train by myself. My times are so slow that I’m embarrassed to keep people back. I’m working with a friend of mine (next paragraph) who is trying to understand me and, more importantly, help me understand myself. My head is wired right now telling myself that I’ve done nothing well since San Jose – and when I look at my times and training … it’s right. Of course, somehow I blip over the variety of injuries I’ve had … because I see hiding behind an injury as a cop-out … and get reminded of that by not-s0-good-for-me people when I admit that I’m injured. Kind of a Catch .22 …

peacefulRedwood 50th: My high school turned 50 and there are several posts that will be finished soon about this. I really connected with some amazing people and realized a lot of things that I was probably ready to “get”. I also had the amazing fortune to meet up with a very old friend who is doing a great deal of study in the area of sports psychology. Through coffee, long drive and now e-mail and telephone, we’ve been trying to tease out my motivational issues. Interestingly enough, we owned some of the same reading material. He needed another case study, and in the case of me – he has one who is very interested in understanding not only her own motivation but lack of motivation.  The fact that I’ve had only a small handful of truly satisfying  workouts since before Disney, we had a lot to go forward with. The progress is really interesting mainly because, unlike those who just want to be told things to placate them, I demand understanding them. I’m so fed up with how things have been and being in my own way.  Since I’m more than remotely comfortable with trying things, but have the nasty ADD compulsiveness … we’ve got our work cut out.  A couple of really amazing insights have been made and they’re going to take time to weed out. Do it too fast, and it comes back 3-fold and do it too slow, and I’m not doing diddly! (I’m inherently lazy.)

I’ve said it before, and everyone knows it — sport is a mental thing as well as a physical one. I feel like I’ve had that Doubting Devil spending more time with the megaphone than the Actual Angel. Before June hits, my goal is to rip out as much of the crappy wiring as I can and patch things together creating internal harmony … from which to take on races, training and the rest of life. Ok- that’s an audio analogy. I was nicknamed the Princess of Patch Cables because I could not only quickly figure out what the problem was, but once I knew the lay-out of the patch bay – get signals around the room, through all sorts of effects boxes and the like, and back again quickly … thus making things more groovin’ withthe tune. If that still doesn’t make sense, I’m down with that … not many analog audio engineers out there anymore.

patchbay mess

Ok- this first picture is of a patch bay coming out of a unit. Simply put, the purpose of a patch bay is to get signals from one point to another and back again. The “off board” units are wired to holes on the patch bay. Life is made a great deal easier when not only is the patch bay properly labeled, but when things are being patched, they are easy to see. Now, I’m sure if you or I (or both) stood over this long enough, we could chase down how each cable was plugged in and figure out what’s going on.

In audio, a signal can be lost because of how it’s patched. Plugging in the wrong hole and whoops! Pot-Hole. Your signal is lost. The more patches there are, the messier things become … and if the cables aren’t easily chased … you lose a lot of time trying to figure out what in the blue blazes (could someone explain to me what a “blue blaze” is?) is going on.

AND that takes a lot of time … frustration … thought space … and such.

Even more interesting is as things are teased out, all sorts of other problems mask the very simple one … usually that someone messed up and no-body’s willing to say anything about it. It happens.  I know that I had pissed folks off in the past by walking up and saying “Ok – you want me to fix this?” and then pulling ALL the patches and starting over … I prefer not to do that … I prefer to learn from each mistake and not make it again.

The thing is this … sometimes we can’t learn from each mistake, because of extenuating circumstances. We think we’re the ones who really botched and can’t figure out how to get it straight …. and sometimes it truly is something someone else did … not when we were trying to patch but when the box was initially being wired.  Oooohhhhh!!!!

Once things are starting to make sense, then how do we make it work for us?patchbay Well – it takes being willing to look at the hard stuff and not be ashamed, but remember it’s a part of the whole being. Those things that we don’t want, but are in the wiring … well … the beauty of the patch bay is being able to get rid of things … just send it off to a place where it can’t hurt anymore … but make sure that it’s dealt with.

We can’t go and do a re-take. You truly can’t unlearn the hurts from others … whetheror not they had malice in their hearts. There are people who just want to put others in places where they can deal with them. I re-watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Dolores Umbridge kept yelling “I WILL HAVE ORDER!!” as she went along bringing all of Hogwarts (and if she could the Wizarding community) under her personal umbrella … truly believing that she was doing what was “right” for everyone … she was an evil old bat, but she truly believed in what she was doing to be right and there’s no changing that.

People do what they believe to be right and will bring the world under their own control … then enter people like me and many of you … we’re the “misfits” and dang the world would be a lot less interesting without us! I know that I spent a great deal of this life listening to others and trying to conform, but this amorphous cloud isn’t going to fit neatly in any box … been there, done that9-consumerrack … got the e-ticket ride!

The cool thing about a patch bay is that you get to link all sorts of cool things together and create an amazing sound. It might look complex, but it’s really simple. You don’t have to use absolutely every box … sometimes the simplest combinations work the best. However patched, everything works together to create harmony. That’s what I’m after. Like everyone, I’ve got a boatload of good and not-so-good life experiences, but they’re what make me up. I need to pull things together and bring it in to harmony … and good friends w/a lot of understanding … heck … I learn from all of you.

A friend of mine called me “brave” because I’m doing a lot of these changes in public. “Aren’t you afraid it’ll be used against you … your frailties and fears?” Yeah. And it’s not like it’s not happened when I was completely shut down. It’s not like it didn’t happen when I masochistically handed things on a silver platter. It’s not like it didn’t happen when I was angry and camping out on my pittypot. What is different now is that I’m bound and determined to keep moving forward and bring as many people along with me!

Where am I as May is coming to a close? Well … I’m realizing that it’s impossible to rip out all the patch cables, but it is possible to see where things are wired … and to patch around them. It’s going to take a lot of patience and hard work … and although I’ve been told I’ve got the patience of a saint at times (I’m afraid to ask which Saint!), I have little to none with myself. A Tibetan Monk friend of mine wrote from India saying that my lesson from Buddha is patience and my second one is accepting myself.

We all have our lives — things that get me, you might think “easy peasy” … things that get you, I might think “no sweat, Dude!”  I’m just done with the stuff that just seems to keep coming back like bad pennies (what is a “bad penny?” I don’t see any pennies as bad but things to make friends with since 100 of them make a dollar and that gets me closer to a cup of coffee or a treat for Miss Bailey Boo!) … so … it’s patch … or EQ them out … (Ok … for those engineers … patch out –> Graphic EQ –> return … did it work? more or less? Ok Graphic EQ –> Parametric EQ and NOTCH THAT PUPPY –> Return and hit the starting line of the race) I’m getting geeky again, hu?

The Cheerleader in shortsOh yeah – this is me in a high school cheerleading outfit I bought … when I finish the back post about Redwood, you’ll get the whole story. When I was at Redwood, I would have been petrified to have gotten in to a cheerleading outfit and run around at a huge event … but friends there said “Same old Lizzy Shepard! You’ve not changed! Always making us laugh.” Hu?

Well … my friend Mary, who had just gone through a terrible tragedy, was laughing … and REALLY laughing. As I was leaving a friend said “Lizzy – you got so many people laughing and smiling … with you! Only you could pull this off! Thank you!”

You know … Maybe I’ve already started re-wiring my patch bay. I’m starting to see that maybe life is how you patch it … and getting the mix right takes trial-and-error, and willingness to take a few risks … I’m up to the challenge …

What do you think?





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