Friday, October 26, 2012

words to live by

"I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult."
E. B. White

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Obedient Runner

Obedience is overrated. 

Regardless, I’ve spent time on those tracks.  It’s really easy to be obedient, you just have to like being on rails.  There’s no room to change your mind, because you cannot turn a train unless the track turns first.  As I said, its easy.

I was that girl. The one you look at and wonder why she would ever be content as a doormat. I liked to imagine I would have been a very pretty doormat with a screen print of a pitcher of Tea and Two lemons on it, and a clever little saying like, “When life hands you lemons…. Squeeze one into a glass of iced tea and thank God you’re a southern girl”. I valued myself as something pretty to look at in passing, but forgotten after the moment is passed.

Even though I was raised to be a strong independent woman, I fell into a habit of being someone else’s ornament. 

Ornaments have no purpose except to be looked upon and admired.  They’re hollow inside so they have no feelings that need regarding, and their importance is only as deep as the memories you associate with them.  They have no opinion on where you display them; they simply hang from a thread wound through a hook. Their entire existence is dependent on the idea that the thread will hold, and that the hook won’t slide off a branch on the tree that shelters them.

The obedient wife attends community meetings and volunteers on committees of her husband’s choosing.  This type of ornament knows exactly how much to take on so she does not over-shadow her hard working spouse. She attends her husband’s work functions, dressed in shoes that pinch, with a false layer of paint smeared across her closed mouth in an effort to be ideal.  Her purpose is not to be brilliant, or to contribute depth to a conversation but simply to be funny enough to be entertaining, and smart enough to follow along.

As soon as she is neither of those things, she is no longer useful, and she lives in fear of being cast aside in favor of a shinier ornament. 

Sometimes, after babies get their hands on them, ornaments get a little sticky.  For the purpose of prettiness, sticky is complicated.  It’s tough to rub the sticky fingerprints off of the thin shell without damaging the beauty or leaving the residue from the dusting cloth. 

Ornaments are tough to polish without changing the finish.

And so the obedient ornament had to find a radical new way to clean the outer most layers. The ornamental usefulness was only as good as the “pretty”, and the ornament was definitely looking a bit worn and dust covered; it wasn’t pretty in that condition.  To restore its usefulness it needed something and it needed something drastic.  Something like running.

Of course, who knew that running and I were such a destructive force?

With every run my ornamental shell became stronger, but different.  The shape changed, until one day, the hook was superfluous.  The ornament no longer needed the branch to hold itself up.

My muscles grew stronger, and their strength influenced my will.  A deep understanding of what I was capable of began to grow within me.  This new understanding grew until it filled the hollow space.  This visceral strength came from knowing I owned my own destiny.  If I wanted to run a mile, nothing could stop me, except me. I knew that I could run any distance I wanted with training.  I had proved it. 

I no longer wanted to volunteer on committees to please my spouse.  I wanted to volunteer at my own events, and on my own committees.  I had my own functions to attend, at which I was valued as an interesting and entertaining contributor.  My thoughts and opinions mattered, and were viewed with respect and authority.

If I could go back and tell myself not to lace on the Brooks, would I do it?  No.  Even though it ultimately changed my life in a catastrophic way, I cannot look back. 

Running and I are soul mates, and it was worth it. I would never give up the joy and release that running brings for the temporary peace found in obedience. 

~savor the run~

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hockey Moms, Marathons and Meth Labs

Marathoners are an odd breed. Hockey Moms are equally odd.
Oh, look at that. I guess technically I'm both of those things at the same time.

I recently read somewhere that Marathoners are considered experts on pain. Experts. Yeah. That sounds about right. If you're going to be an expert at something ginny, why the heck wouldn't you choose something a little more useful than pain? you could be an expert apple pie maker, or brewer, or heckfireandshoot, an expert nailpolish toe painter... but no.... had to go with "pain". Marathoners have to be experts at pain, because there is only one way to get to the end of a marathon, and that's through the pain. A bit like childbirth. You can't go around it. You gotta go through it.

And once you do it, and you can no longer claim ignorance, why go back for another serving of that flavor of pain? because runners are weird, that's why. There are few people who knowingly volunteer for the exquisite pain that accompanies 26.2 miles. But once they know how bad it hurts, marathoners fall into two categories...

“Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time.” Paulo Coelho

If you do one marathon, you'll swear that you'll never do another. That's the "One & Done Marathoner". But almost immediately after one's second marathon is finished, probably before the sweat is washed off off, it's not uncommon to be caught planning a third marathon.

Tonight I was reminded that I am a marathoner. Even though I'm not training for a 26.2 mile suffer fest, I can still claim that I am a marathoner. I've done 4, I'm qualified. and labeled...

I was standing at my son's hockey practice, with blue frozen toes, talking with some of the hockey moms. As I said, they're an interesting crowd. Kind of like STAGE MOMS only with HOCKEY STICKS. Not the best combination, but whatever...  And in our conversation tonight, they were talking about how they train their 10 year olds to build endurance.

I tuned in as the one mom said, "My son runs."

I said, "Mine runs off and on throughout the year."

And round and round the conversation went about running versus cycling versus extra ice time to keeping them motivated with 5K races until finally the one mother asked me if my son "did a 5K would I 'sherpa' him, or if I would spectate"?

"Sherpa him? He doesn't allow me to do that. He likes to run alone, so I usually just race the 5K, and wait around at the finish for him," and then I paused for a minute as a random thought hit me, "Except, honestly, I hate 5K's enough to not want to do one right now. They hurt so much more than marathons."

Picture three women standing in a semicircle, and one of them has just admitted to having a meth lab in her basement. Well, that's just about the reaction I got to the 5K/Marathon comment.

And then what happened...?

The Hockey Moms promptly changed the subject back to hockey.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

"Actually, they're just dumb"

There we were... Three Moms, our combined Six Kids combing the Folk Festival of Richmond for the illusive "kid zone craft area". We never found it. We found beer (for the moms), Funnel Cake (for the kids), and lots of music and fun. But there was also a lot of herding cats where we walked from one side of Brown's Island to the other with children in tow.

It was on one of the bridge crossings, where I had B'nut balanced on my shoulders, that I found myself listening to two highschool aged girls talk about THE BOY. Do you remember your THE BOY from High school? THE BOY who completely drove you nuts? EVERYTHING he did seems to be artfully aimed at making you INSANE?

Poor girl was just circling and circling... until she was hypothesizing about boys in general.

"I wonder if they just act that way to make us like them more. or to torture us. or to make us miss them. or to make us act a certain way. or..."

Finally, after hearing this poor young girl agonize for another four or five "or" scenarios, one of which had to do with waiting around for him, I turned and smiled at them and said, "Actually, they're just dumb."

The two girls gasped, their eyes widened and they looked at me, and at each other.
Who is this crazy lady with a five year old on her shoulders, and why is she talking to us?

"They're dumb?" The one asked in disbelief, as though it was too crazy to be possible.

"Yup. They're self centered to the point of distraction. They have no idea that what they are or aren't doing is impacting your life at all. Boys are dumb. Epically dumb about girls. Don't sit around and wait for a boy. Go out, have fun. He'll see you out having fun and he'll think 'now, that's a fun girl, I ought to go out with her'. Sitting at home doesn't work, because he'll have no idea you're at home, because he's dumb."

They laughed, thanked me, walked away giggling and I thought to myself...

Probably The Best Advice I'll never take...

...or will I? After all, I was out walking around a Folk Festival with my awesome kids, having fun, dancing in a field to this silliness.... how fun am I?

Pretty darned fun if I do say so myself.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What Would Brooke Say? i.e. The one where I share my nutritionists tips because I have clearly fallen off the wagon

The RULES according to me... er, Brooke are not hard to follow. They’re common sense. Straight forward, possibly even “simple”.

And yet....

So the first of The Rules...


#1 Set a SMART goal... it has to be specific. attainable. Time sensitive. (m...and r....)  So, “lose 2 pounds” is not a goal.  That’s an idea.
A Goal would be, “eat 5 salads each week with only half a serving of dressing and no high fat cheese on each one for the next month”. Or “Go to the gym 4 days a week for one month”.

#2  You also need to weigh yourself and write it down. I usually write it in my food diary.

#3 Get a Food Diary. Brooke likes SparkPeople’s food diary because it does all the math for you, but also a little lined notebook works too.  A Brooke trick to “I forget what I eat and I’m not always with my computer” is to take a quick picture of your food with your phone before you eat. Then you have a record of your intake (talking like a nurse over here...).

also there’s no need to make any drastic changes the first week or two. Just keep a diary and see what you’re eating, carefully noting how much of any given food you’re eating.

#4 Finally, after the 2 weeks you should have an idea of your average daily calorie intake. Take 3 days (pick a weekend day and 2 week days) and average up the calorie amounts. This is probably your baseline. We'll be digging into that soon, so don't worry about what the # is... really.

#5 Track your goal. I can’t tell you what to do, exactly, because your goal will be different than mine. My goals are X1 Dessert Per Week and Track the calories in Snacks for 4 weeks.

Simple, right?
(yup. But life’s in the details.... I’ll get into THAT in my next post)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Y.K.Y.H.W....aka. a cautionary tale

I once wondered if I was the dumb girl. I thought...

At the time, I was married, and firmly believed that wearing a diamond studded wedding band would ward off men like a form of "man repellent".  There were times when I questioned it's power, but I now believe that it worked.

My man repellent was solid stuff, and as long as I had it, it was like magic pixie dust. If you believe that it works, it works.

The reason I'm so convinced that the man repellent worked so well, is that now that I am no longer wearing a diamond studded band, I am inundated with texts, emails, phone calls and facebook messages indicating a string of miscommunications.

My method of communicating has not changed.

I still make eye contact, and try to encourage laughter when possible as I entertain whichever audience is present. I compliment people, and I knowingly and willfully flaunt my smile. I touch people on the shoulder or arm, not inappropriately or anything. I sometimes use rash and over the top displays of silliness to evoke the response I desire, particularly with Those People and Harry Potter.

I flirt with men. I flirt with women. It isn't because I like them, like that, exactly, it's just the way I communicate. I didn't realize this about myself, but many of my friends have explained it to me over the past few months that my smile is a Bioweapon.

A weapon? Really? 

It's an infectious "thing" that I use without discretion, and... it causes people to smile in return. Sometimes that smiling leads to feeling good. And ~apparently~ feeling good can lead to all kinds of badness as all this communication on my part is being misunderstood by my "friends".

See, without the ring of power, I guess this smiling is being misinterpreted.

Maybe I should write a letter... something like...

An Open Letter to the Residents of RVA:

I flirt.
With everyone.
And if I flirt with you, it is not because I want to be your girlfriend, or steal your husband, or become a lesbian. It's just my way of communicating.
It's not a request for a bedmate. Nor is it an invitation to text me with a sexually inappropriate proposition. 

And if at any point in our friendship you actually say that you just want to be my friend, I will stupidly believe you, and continue to flirt with you as though we are, in fact, just friends. 

So to be clear, it's not me, it's you

It's you reading into my behavior. It's not my fault. I am the way I am. I like me this way, and I'm not going to stop being me because you idiots don't know what you want. 

I had one partner for 15+ years, 2 if you extend that out to +16 years. I'm really not that girl who's going to respond to a sexually inappropriate suggestion via text message, so knock that shit off.

And finally, if you're trying to figure out If I actually like you, (i.e. if you think this blog post doesn't apply to you)... Well, then here's what you should be looking for: I will become a socially awkward giggling mess who can't communicate at all. There's even a good possibility I will blush prettily every time you address me in public. I will loiter in your space and hang on your every word. God help me if you, the person I like, happens to be particularly funny or witty, and finally, and here's the important thing, if it's appropriate, I will actually tell you I like you... 
so if all of those conditions have not been met, and there's even a slim chance that I'm just being nice, smiley and genuine towards you, you should probably refer to Paragraph 1, sections a, b, and c. and d.

So to be clear.
I smile a lot.
It's just my means of communicating. 
Please do not send a text.
Do I need to reiterate that point one more time, for the record?