Friday, August 10, 2007

Blog the Twenty-Seventh

(Pre-Apology: Sorry that the photos and text in this post are all over the place! The New Blogger isn't very photo friendly and I just get too frustrated trying to format XML. Hope you like it anyway, and there's a video at the end! Promise my next photo blog will be more reader friendly!)

There are times, Motherless Daughter, when life will take over and steer you towards happiness, even if you don't want to go, and are dragged kicking and screaming. Good things will happen. Let them. And enjoy.

Here's a bit of what's been happening in my world.

First Time Father-Daughter Team Makes Debut At
Nautica NYC Triathlon

"The CaliYorkers"

Growing up in New York City you hear a lot about the Hudson River, and none of it good. You wouldn’t want to touch that river with the tip of your toe, let alone go swimming in it. But that’s exactly what mixed relay team “The CaliYorkers” did on Sunday July 22nd for the 7th rendition of the Nautica NYC Triathlon.

My Father (Nelson Molina) and I had never done any Father - Daughter events together, so we were both very excited about participating in the NYC Tri as teammates. For months we trained together, Dad on the east coast and me on the west, by calling regularly to check up on progress and set new challenges for each other. My Father is a great runner, so I had a whole lot of catching up to do!

We opted to check-in early (good idea!), so Friday evening was spent at the 53rd street Hilton Hotel listening to briefings, picking up race packets and browsing all the race merchandise that was for sale. Saturday was bike drop off day. Team CaliYorkers was in Yellow Transition.

Lucky us, we got a great spot right near the runner’s exit, under a shady tree and by the fence! It was very easy to find my bike after the near 1/4 mile run back to the transition.
As you can see from the pictures, the weather was sure with us last weekend. Rain was in the forecast, yet from the day I arrived in New York, till the day after the race, skies were blue and the sun was brilliantly shining. It was the perfect day for a triathlon!

A Swim in the Mighty Hudson

There were a lot of other firsts to note surrounding this event. Besides being our first Father -Daughter event, Nautica NYC was also our first Olympic Distance race. It was the first time I was doing two parts of a tri – swim/bike. And it was the first time anyone in my family (and probably so for many participants!) had taken a dip in the Hudson River.

I really didn’t know what to expect of the Hudson. All the news on the Nautica site professed that the river was as clean as it’s been

in 100 years. Yet I couldn’t help get a bit queasy at the thought of swimming in the infamous river. And I wasn’t the only one. Many family members and friends wished me luck, particularly on the swim – noting that I should be careful not to swallow anything, and might want to consider covering myself entirely in plastic!

All worries were for nothing as it turned out. I’ve not had a more beautiful, clean, fun and fast swim in my two seasons in triathlon! The Hudson was MUCH cleaner than I expected. The 1500 meter straightaway (with the current) was lined by the seawall and spectators on the left, and by a host of very expensive looking yachts on the right. Kayakers provided further line sighting and safety. I did see a few people needing to be pulled out of the water just before the 900m mark. You may be able to see the finish from the start, but once you’re in the water, 1500 meters is really a long way!

I finished the swim in 30 minutes, and that was with some sightseeing along the way. Since I’d never been in the Hudson, I didn’t want to miss the view by speeding along. I took some time to wave to the people and appreciate the view - which included a lovely Jersey riverside and a majestic George Washington Bridge.

The one bit of advice that everyone got was not to stand up before the finish. Swim all the way to the ramp and then stand.

Reason – you’ll get stuck in the Hudson River muck and freeing yourself will take forever! As you can see, most folks took that advice!

Up the Westside Highway

I wore those Mickey Ears for 25 miles! I got only compliments, big smiles and dozens of renditions of the Mickey Mouse Club theme song. One rider even shouted, “Good to see someone with a sense of humor!” as he flew past me heading back down.

While the hills were killer (who knew!), the view was once again spectacular. The West side of Manhattan is much more scenic than the East. The bike course started on 79th street and proceeded north to Gun Hill Road in The Bronx before it looped back again.

This route takes you along the Hudson River, past lines of lush green trees, below the Cloister’s Museum at Fort Tryon Park, past the George Washington Bridge, through toll ways and byways until finally it’s time to come back and see it all over again.

I lived in NYC for 18 years before I left to college. I was born and raised in Manhattan and The Bronx, and it wasn’t till this ride that I realized I had missed so much of what makes the city so stunning. I would be the first to tell anyone there’s nothing but trash, big buildings and bad smells in New York. But after this race, I find I am sorely, and happily, mistaken.

Treading the outskirts of the city, sticking by the handsome Hudson, reveals a side of the city I imagine mostly only tourists get to see. It was quite an experience to catch a new side of my hometown. I finished my first 40K in 2:34:35.

Runners get all the Glory

That’s my Dad! Runner extraordinaire! This was his first triathlon experience and to get ready, he had returned home to prepare for his leg of the race. Who goes back home?! Well he did, and arrived just minutes before it was time to transition. We couldn’t have asked for better timing, or I would have been quite worried as to where my Father was!

Dad has been a runner all his life. He completed the Yonkers Marathon and made it all the way to mile 20 of the NYC Marathon before bonking (this was years ago of course). In 1981, he was on the front page of the sport’s section of the NY Times for participating and completing the Pepsi Challenge - a run from Jersey, across the GW and down into Manhattan. This race started Dad’s racing career. 26 years later, he’s still going strong!

My Father crossed the finish line in 51:19 – his best time yet for a 10k.

The Family that Tris Together

At the end of it all, my Father and I, Team CaliYorkers, finished 22nd among 25 mixed relay teams. Our total time was 4:08:54 (this includes transition times). We had 21 friends and family members cheering us on, a few had even seen the entire race from swim start to the finish line.

Our guests were New York City natives, or from parts such as Ithaca, New York and as far away as Fayetteville, North Carolina!

The Nautica NYC Triathlon was a great challenge, a great experience, and a great way to bring the family together. My Father and I are planning to do it again next year but this time as individual competitors! I have no doubt I’ll get my Father on the swim, but once he’s out of the water, I’ll be in big trouble!

Thanks to you, friends, family, and co-workers for all the awesome training help and wonderful moral support! Till next year!

Swim – Bike – Run!

Check out video of my swim!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

In Memory

Today is the 12th Anniversay of my Mother's passing

Luz Violet Frasqueri

1955 - 1995

Miss you and love you always...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Blog the Twenty-Sixth

The Great Spirit should not have made me a Romantic. To stand and persevere beyond the death of my Mother, only to be felled by the face of a little girl or the embrace of a young man, seems a cruel twist. Such small things. Such small things.

Longing and yearning are words for Poets. They should have no place in my life. I've lived where there is hardship and struggle. Lived in the pain of loss and have made the most out of the dark. Content to finally be getting by. To finally being okay. And now, the profound sense of something missing.

Not everyone gets to have more. To put a desire in the heart, that cannot be had - a dinner of nails and glass would be better digested.

Children and travel and a man full of love, is a request the Universe cannot always grant. To align stars and time and fate is not easily accomplished. Yet the Great Spirit makes me a Romantic regardless, to yearn and to long with the Poets, to have a desire of the heart.

Feed me a second then, I should exclaim. Of Nails and of Glass. And all the good fortune to find what one seeks.

"Love, and do what you like. "
-St. Augustine


Sunday, May 13, 2007


You are going to make it through today.

Just breathe...


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Photo Post #2 - Magic Does Happen

Where does TL work? Someplace where they let us graffiti the walls (this is in the stairwell) with beautiful artwork like this. What creative delinquents we have.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Blog the Twenty-fifth

There are some days when I just don't know what to do with myself. While the daytime hours may have been productive (or at least bordered on productive - I still can't get to those damn dishes!) as the sun sets and the evening hours come, I would occasionally find myself anxious to last those few hours between dusk and dark. Those precious few hours before sleep.

What will I do, I think. I'd better have something or else I'll start thinking of Mom, or of what I don't have, or of what I do have that I don't want. I can only watch so many hours of Battlestar Galactica, or play so many hours of FATE. I could hit the sack at 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. but after a few days of that, I start to feel like I'm missing life.

Soon you do just have to face yourself. Most times I'm good at that and can be in my own space without a problem. But still, even these 12 years after Mom's death, once in awhile, I do get a little paranoid as I don't want to spend hours hurting or crying or angry in my own home. I don't want that kind of upsetting energy constantly in my space. But I can feel it coming, like watching a storm make its way across the sea. First the clouds arrive to set the mood and then the waves get choppy, lapping hurriedly at the shore. At that point I know I'll be a wreck in no time flat. I won't be able to help myself, so I'd better get out and do something and fast.

And that's exactly what I did a couple weekends ago. I found myself having a fantastic time in the sunlight hours (I even got my motorcycle permit!) but as the day drew on and the sun started to go down, I could feel the anxiety and the sadness bubbling inside. Instead of sitting at home though, I went for a drive. Advice from Blog the Third . I wrote that entry over a year ago and here it is helping me today.

Who knew where I was going at 7:30 at night, but I knew I just had to go. I took my blanket and my iPod, hopped in the car and headed for the PCH. Altadena to Pasadena. Down Arroyo Parkway. Over the Arroyo Seco. To the west and out to the water. I took the PCH passed Santa Monica and Malibu. I went passed Point Dume (my favorite beach) and as I approached Neptune's Net I felt it wasn't time for me to stop going. So I kept driving. 70 miles later I arrive at a place called Point Mugu.

To get to it you have to pass between these two awesome rock formations. They sit on either side of the freeway. Reminded me of something out of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Point Mugu is military, so once I passed the Naval base I figured it was time to turn back. Back between the alien stones but I didn't go straight home. Still, I wasn't done yet. Instead, I pulled over to the side of the road, turned off my car and sat in my car window.

It's kind of something you would do at a drive-in I suppose (drive-in, who remembers those!?). I rested my arms atop my car and stared up to the sky, all while listening to the water hit the shore from a pitch black beach. The moon was a clear, bright silver crescent and I got a great dose of stars. The ocean air was sharp and cold - perfect.

No matter how much crying I do on the drive, no matter how much I'm decompressing on these long trips, I always leave it there on the side of the road. I always leave it there at the shore of the beach. I can imagine perhaps that the waves come take it away. Maybe the bad stuff comes with the storm, but I find the bad stuff leaves with it as well.

Don't forget to take time to decompress ladies. Cry it out. Yell it out. Scream, scream, scream. Don't take it out on your families or your friends. Don't take it out at the kid at the check out line or people at work. Find a way to take your long drive. Maybe that's actually driving, maybe it's crochet. Whatever it is, take time to do it. Breathe. Leave it at the shore. Just as the storm did bring it in, let the storm also take it away.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Quick Post It

Well, it's been another two month haitus. I can't believe how the time gets away from me when life decides to REALLY drive. A lot has happened in such a short time. I even got a promotion at work (which is where most of my time has gone).

As usual there are stories to tell and finally some pictures to share. If you're still even checking in on this, I hope you're all doing well and moving forward.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Blog the Twenty-Fourth

I found looking for advice in all the wrong places can lead one to become quite confused, and more entangled in trying to decipher all the bad advice, than trying to unravel the challenge at hand.

During my intense research this weekend, while trying to tackle and unravel a challenge of my own, I found a lot of advice out on the Internet... that didn't help me at all. It actually made things worse.

As a Motherless Daughter, we try so hard to find the answers we need out there. It's 2 a.m. and I can't possibly call my best friend to talk. So I pop online hoping to discover the reason, the answers, behind why I act the way I act - why I said what I said - why I feel what I felt, and the worse - if I should do this or that (ugh, I hate when I get into that awful cycle). I want so desperately to be told, that I am okay, that I am not a big freak. And I found online that 50% of the time I'll hear what I want, and 50% of the time I won't.

If you look hard enough, you can find anything online to justify what you need justified. If you look hard enough, you'll also find the exact opposite.

Where did I get the best advice then? From the people who know me. From the folks who've known me a long time and intimately understand where I come from. From those who maybe haven't known we for years but are still caring friends. And I even got some good advice from myself (when I shut up long enough to listen).

And why did it work? Because I am person with a history. I am a person with unique circumstances. Because I am not a nameless, bodiless entity. And a website, especially a commercial one, can't possibly know that.

The next part though, once you know what needs to be done, is actually going about and doing it. And that is where I am right now. Maybe some website can't give me the best advice, but the Classics did. So here, in case you need a little dose of courage (like I do today), is what I did find online.

A few words of wisdom from Virgil:

Fortune favors the brave.

Hope on, and save yourself for prosperous times.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Blog the Twenty-Third

Vulnerable: Capable of being physically or emotionally wounded. Open to attack or damage. Liable to succumb, as to persuasion or temptation.

I am a scrapper by nature. A fighter. I'm not particularly calm or patient. To achieve those states I have to be very mindful of where I am, who I'm talking to, what I'm saying - very mindful indeed. I see a situation, figure out what needs to be changed (if anything) and then go change it. No waiting. No coating with sugar. Done.

My years in the martial arts has helped me develop the tools for mindfulness. Being a Motherless Daughter has helped me live and interact with empathy and compassion.

But underneath it all, is the scrapper. Persistent fighter. Never giving up. Vulnerable is not a word in my vocabulary - until I get sick - and then I remember what weakness is.

I HATE getting sick. I remember the first time it happened after Mom passed away. That was a particularly significant moment, because when I was sick, it was Mom who used to take care of me. Rub the Vicks. Turn on the humidifier. Make me stay in bed. Bring the soup and crackers. Feel my head for my temperature. Laugh at me. Give me a kiss. Give me a hug. Tuck me under.

The first time I got sick after she died, I encountered one of those Big Reality Check Moments. Those are moments that come, perhaps well after the initial grief is waning - when you realize all the little things your Mother won't be around for. And most times it's the stupid little things you didn't think of that get you.

Every Motherless Daughter knows that Mom won't be around for weddings, babies or graduations anymore - the big things. But did you think of how it would feel when you recognize she won't be there to help fold the laundry, as she's sticking half way in the dryer searching for that one elusively stupid sock? Or, as in the case of fellow blogger Burfica, when the TV show you watched came on and Mom's no longer there to comment after the credits roll? Her favorite song coming on the radio. Her incessant comments about the most recent color of you hair.

Annoying or not. Irritating or not. These small things are now missing. And you get that gut twisting feeling of realization that she's not here - and she'll never be here to take care of you ever again, to annoy you ever again, to make comments ever again.

When I'm sick, is when I am the most vulnerable. And vulnerability is not a state that I am at all used to. It's then that the loneliness comes and all those thoughts that I usually keep at bay (no lover, no children, no family close) rush in. It makes being sick become more than just snot rags and coughing. When I am sick and feeling vulnerable, it becomes a difficult exercise in reality checks about where I am in life and who is not here. And about the only time one would get me to admit it sometimes sucks being alone.

But here is the saving grace - the flu doesn't last forever (thank goodness!). As long as I stay away from making uber significant decisions when I am at my most vulnerable, after a few days I am okay. And for the first time, as I am sick right now, I am letting myself be okay with my vulnerable feelings. Is it okay to feel sad that there is no one to take care of me but me? Sure is. Is it okay to miss Mom really bad? Yup. Can I watch eight hours of Battlestar Galactica curled up warmly on the couch? Go for it.

And well, maybe it's also time to try something different. While Mom and I had a ritual to do when we were sick, perhaps a new ritual is in order. 'Cause I have to admit, while it was nice having someone bring me soup and crackers, I really really REALLY hated wearing that Vicks!


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Blog the Twenty-Second

Make no mistake. The day the Mother dies, is the day your life changes forever.

I hate the hard truth of that.

It feels like a bomb went off - BOOM! vaporizing everything - and as if that weren't enough - its ripples broach the space-time continuum, its waves travel through a worm hole of cosmic proportions, to effect life and the future - ad infinitum.

Something blew up over there. And I am dealing with the consequences of that over here - everyday forever and ever.

Since the day my Mother died, it has always felt like my life split apart.
Two roads diverged in the wood, and I, I was forced to take the one that I didn't ever want, would never have wanted, wouldn't even have guessed could have ever existed. A life without my Mother - it was completely inconceivable.

In the early days, I would be so angry, cursing the state of things. "It wasn't supposed to be like this!" I'd wail. "I was supposed to be something else. I was supposed to be somewhere else. This wasn't how things were supposed to do down. She's supposed to be here. She's supposed to see all this. She's supposed to be alive!"

And yet, she is not.

I often wondered, if I were ever given a time machine, would I go back? Would I go back to change things?

The further along I come in life, and the further away I get from the day of Mom's death, the more I find the answer to the Time Machine question is... no.

Since my Mother's death, so many amazing things have happened in my life. As the years pass, I find it harder and harder to want to give all that up. The kind of person I am, the connections I've made, the people I love, the friendships, the successes - these have all come because I have experienced the death of a Mother.

Perhaps in the beginning, I may have been forced down this path, a life without my Mother. But that was indeed only the initiation, every step of the way after that, has all been my choice.

There will come a time, Motherless Daughter, when you will move from dying, to surviving to living to being your own success. This does not happen over night. The process is always slower than you think it should be. But as the years pass, and your life carries on, you may find that even though the bomb did go off, and that it may continually effect your life, that the flowers are still indeed growing here and there, the trees are indeed mending here and there. Perhaps Motherless Daughter, you'll find that regardless of that you were handed, you are actually making things work out.


Monday, January 01, 2007

Pit Stop

For the 6th Day of Christmas I commented briefly on the myriad questions Motherless Daughters want answers to, and how frustrating it is when those answers just don't come.

While perusing an old issue of O, The Oprah Magazine (April 2001 Vol.2 #4) I came across a bit of interesting advice. It's shared below:

An Open Question

It's not the answers that show us the way, says Czech poet Ranier Maria Rilke, but the questions.

"Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."

-From Letters to a Young Poet, translated by Stephen Mitchell