How to Attempt to Fix a Flat Tire

You know how a to-do item in our modern world can actually take four separate steps, so by the time you cross that one action item off, it’s been 3 weeks?

That’s how fixing my bike tire is going.

I THOUGHT it was going to be simple.

Last week, my tire went flat between the time I got to work and when I went to retrieve it that afternoon.  I figured I’d run over something.  The next day, I searched my house but couldn’t find any bike tire patch kits – I thought I had one but, alas, it has found a way to hide itself somewhere.  Maybe it’s having a drawer-party with all the pens and hair ties I can never find.

This past weekend, I got to a store and bought a bike tire patch kit, and a weird product that guaranteed to patch my tire with bright green sludge.  I was sold on it – squeeze some into my tire, it said, and it would magically fix the tire.

So, there I am, last night after work, patches in hand, sitting on the concrete after having flipped over my bike.  It’s dusk – there’s still daylight left, but not much.  So I’d better hurry, I figure.

I get out the little plastic tools that came with my patch kit, and begin to free one side of the wheel from the rim.  It’s hard work but I persist, and eventually work the tools, and then my fingers, around the wheel.  Then I pull out the flat tire from between the wheel and the rim.  I run inside to get my bike pump – I’ve forgotten in my haste that pivotal component.  Just a few pumps of air, and there’s a hiss!  It’s a pretty obvious hole, and I am pleased.  I grab the patches and the scuffing tool.  The tool looks like a tiny cheese grater – I am suddenly a master chef making a delicious meal with Parmesan shavings on top, not a woman holding a rubber bike tire, sitting on the ground.  Scuffing the tire around the hole is supposed to help the patch stick.  I am pleased at each step that I’m remembering just how to do everything, from watching my uncle patch tires when I was a kid, and seeing it done at a Mike’s Bikes tutorial.

There’s a little sticker of a patch – I peel it off it’s backing and slap it onto the tire.  Blammo.  I just know it’s going to work.  I tuck the tire back into its home, remembering to be careful, as I don’t want the wheel to pinch the rubber tire when I put it back onto the rim.  I tuck the wheel back on with brute force.  The sun is setting – I know I have time to put the goop into the tire, and I want the back-up solution so that it’ll be a guaranteed hole-in-one.  I follow the instructions, and within minutes I am squeezing neon-green goo into my flat tire.  I put the bike pump on, start pumping, and in a minute, I hear the distinct whooshing sound of air as my tire deflates.

No worries, the goop bottle says – the goo holds micro-particles that will be forced right to the hole and will block it, “instantly” fixing my tire.

I roll the tire around, as the instructions say.  It deflates.  I inflate it again, to listen to the whirring sound as the air passes right back out to be free in the world.

My hands got dirty, I made my best effort, but my tire is still flat.

After all my efforts. My hands collected all the dirt that was on my tire–it’s clean now! Just not (correctly) patched.

That damned bike tire glop didn’t work for shit.

Slime Tube Sealant is a shitty product.

Luckily, my name stands for victory – it just doesn’t specify how long that’ll take.  I will be back to biking, on a tire that I fixed the flat on myself – eventually!





Waking and Sleeping Dreams

I recently fell back in love with David Bowie’s song “Sound and Vision,” and the words seem to linger in my mind and in the air, even days after having last heard it:

“I will sit right down, waiting for the gift of sound and vision.”

It’s such a simple song, really, except once Bowie’s intricate rhythms and sounds are layered in. But the message is pure: ‘bring me a vision, spirit guides, owners of music, muses and guardians of creativity. I am your pawn and I will sit and wait patiently and trust that you will bring me a gift. Bring me a gift of sound and vision, because you enrich my life when you do.’

It’s a prayer, really.

And it’s my prayer, too.

I have recently been working on cultivating my dreams—both during sleep and in the waking hours. My sleeping dreams are full of action and adventure, and full of effort. Usually I am triumphant, but sometimes they are full of anxiety, stresses, and an inability to win the desired outcome. They tend to feel layered and complex, both during the dream and upon waking and trying to understand them. My waking dreams feel as elusive and difficult to decipher the path to success as my sleeping dreams. They are, in a nutshell, to become a published author, to forge a lasting connection to music and keep cultivating it, and to build my own home (and live in it with my wonderful partner, Mari). As complex as they feel, I trust in the universe to bring these realities to me as I am ready for them.

Dreams feel almost like my understanding of money. Both dreams and money seem to work from a logic that I don’t quite understand—and I can be rich in both, but so far, not by doing the things that seem to make sense to me on the surface. For example, with my sleeping dreams, it feels unnatural to write down my dreams upon waking, but this helps me remember my dreams (and I seem to have more when I write them down).

The lotto, or playing the stock market, are both forms of gambling, and I know some people have gotten rich these ways, but it feels untenable to me, this method. Maybe it is how I could bring more money to my life, but so far I haven’t had success with either the lotto or the stocks.

If I count up all my pennies and scrimp and save, will that work? It feels like a long-haul effort. Maybe there are ways I’ve never even thought of—but those methods for getting rich seem to be locked away from public consumption. It makes me imagine the stereotypical greedy rich person, sitting on their loads of money—like Scrooge McDuck swimming in his vault of coins, and not wanting to share any of it.

I need both money and dreams in order to live. One of my favorite quotes is from Bruce Lee: “There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” There’s no limit to how much we as humans can achieve and accomplish in our lives, we just have to be willing to put in the effort to achieve it, and keep setting new goals once we reach each set of them.

If I keep looking at life like I have been taught—to scrimp and save, to reject my gut intuitions and follow popular methods, to hide my gifts, I will walk right past opportunities. If I had the inspiration to write a song like Bowie’s “Sound and Vision,” I deeply fear that I would dismiss it as too shallow or undeserving of my time and attention—but sometimes the clearest, easiest path is the best one to walk. We can lead others into the light by showing where we’ve been in darkness and where we’ve prayed. Bowie’s song does that for me, and I am grateful for his sharing his prayer.

Or maybe I will see every great chance in time to whisk it up into my life. Today I walked a different way than usual during my daily activities, and I stumbled upon a free piece of furniture for my room. Instead of not seeing it and simply passing by, I snatched it up! Maybe my eyes have changed already, and I don’t need to worry about missing chances. And hopefully the universe will bring chances around again if I miss them once, because it wants me to be successful.

I am learning to believe that I can simply and clearly ask for the answers I seek to be shown in my dreams. Maybe I can also ask for my waking life dreams to come true, and they will. And in the meantime, while I wait for the answers I seek, I will continue to write and to sing, and to believe.

“And I will sing, waiting for the gift of sound and vision.”

Loving Fall

There is a very distinct feeling that comes over me as the weather grows colder and the days get shorter. That feeling is – bundly. Ok, that’s not a feeling—or a real word. But I think it fits, and I’d like to introduce it into our modern vocabulary. If LOL can be a word, why can’t bundly?

Bundly (noun): a feeling one gets during the colder months, especially October as fall settles in an sets up camp. It is a feeling of nostalgia for falls past—for persimmons, cloves, and sweaters. It is the feeling one gets when one smells that unique heater smell once more (dust particles heating up? Who knows what causes that smell?) It is the feeling of wearing two pairs of socks, gloves, and a scarf to go out.

Sometimes I don’t bundle up enough at first in the fall, and I feel like I’ve let myself down. It happened today—I have on 3 long-sleeve shirts and 2 pairs of socks, but I wore my pinkn converse (fashion statement) and ought to have gone for some thicker materialed-shoes—the cold seeps in so easily. And yet, it’s not winter, it’s fall—so I can find the sun easy enough still and bask in it like a cat, and warm right up. In the winter, mistakes like these will be more painful. Fall is a chance to practice again bundling up against the cold.

I say all this as a native Californian, someone who has never spent a winter in the snow. I have no idea what real seasons are like, according to everyone I’ve ever met who’s lived in colder climates. So, I can only speak to my experience of fall, and I fucking love it. I love how people get stupid for pumpkin right now—because I get stupid for pumpkin, too. I love pumpkin and pumpkin spice and all things pumpkin-ified. And when we lose an hour, I gripe, but the next day when the sun is out at 6 am, I rejoice in the beauty of falling back!

One of my favorite things about this season is The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episodes. I’ve missed a few of the more recent seasons, but I’ve seen the older ones over and over—5, 6, 10 times. I love some of the episodes so much. I used to watch these episodes with my Dad, and as an adult it’s always been a way for me to remember and honor these memories in the fall, rewatching the episodes. It feels like he’s there with me, laughing aloong at all the Simpsons’ antics.

It feels so beautiful to experience all of the seasons each year, each year creating a new layer of memories onto all the memories of that season past. Each season has its special goodness-es and aspects I look forward to—right now, I stand in fall’s glory.