Friday, January 28, 2011

25 Things

It was supposed to be 100 per the email I got today, but my attention span these days prohibits my counting to 100, much less thinking of 100 things to say about myself. So. Twenty-five, coming up.

1. I go by my middle name. My mother, who is also called by HER middle name, swore she'd never do that to her child because of the raging pain in the boo-tay it is. Mmmmhmmm. Middle name, that's me.

2. One of my bucket list items is to see every one of the 50 states. Last count was 27, if memory serves. I better get crackin' if I want to finish this off, but somehow convincing the spouse to take me to the Dakotas just so I can check this off isn't working out.

3. Every now and again I toy with the idea of becoming a vegan, for ethical reasons. Vegetarianism isn't hard for me, but it's complicated living with and cooking for someone who has no interest in being either of those.

4. Another bucket list item: learn to sew.

5. I detest politics and don't affiliate myself with a political party. In 38 years, I've been very conservative, very liberal, conservative-ish, and now I am firmly settled in the middle - but will lean left in a stiff wind.

6. The Amish fascinate me.

7. Actually, religion fascinates me, although I don't consider myself "religious" by any means. That's not to say I'm agnostic or atheist, because I do believe in God, but organized religion doesn't foster any sort of spiritual connection for me.

8. I cannot remember the last time I ate fried chicken or anything from a drive-thru. This is something that isn't likely to change anytime soon.

9. Speaking of food, cooking makes me indescribably happy. Even when the dish comes out tasting like you-know-what, I had fun being in the kitchen. Especially on Friday nights, because that's "new recipe night."

10. I don't watch much TV. At all. If there is anything background in the house during the day, it's not the TV.

11. What IS background here is NPR, or the music channels on the TV (okay, so the TV is good for something). Right now, it's Big Band and Swing.

12. My musical taste is best described as "eclectic"; however, the two things I cannot tolerate are Country and Western. That's right - not country, not western. Certainly not Country & Western.

13. I much prefer red wine to white. Much. White wine isn't a bad thing necessarily, but it's so damned fussy. Temperature and all that. And I'm not fussy by nature.

14. Pictures that aren't straight give me the jeebs. Doesn't matter where I am, if there's a crooked picture, I'm coming to the rescue. Look at me all you want, crazy picture-straightening lady's got a job to do here.

15. Cripes, I can't think of more about me. Wow. Have I become this uninteresting?

16. I watch cycling. Stop laughing.

17. The sound of metal on metal will give me icky goosebumps for DAYS. Amazing that I can use silverware.

18. I can fold my tongue into the shape of a shamrock. No, there will be no picture.

19. A pet peeve: having to type in "" or "" when I check my email. Don't they know it's @yahoo or @hotmail? Why do I have to tell them?

20. My sense of direction is pathetic. Like my mother says, if you tell me I have to walk north or die, I'll lie down and die right here, thanks. This is a source of both frustration and amusement to my better half.

21. How many more of these are there? So grateful I didn't go all out for 100.

22. Most people want a dog, or a cat. Me? An alpaca. Obviously this has gotten the kibosh.

23. If I did have a dog, though, it would be a black dog and I would name him Kanye.
Just because.

24. In order of preference: dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate. Actually, white chocolate should be eradicated. From the earth. Everyone should be forced to eat quality dark chocolate.

25. I have to wear a visor when I run outside. Yes, it makes me look like a jackass, but sunglasses just don't work and hats make my head want to explode. So visor it is.

And there you have it. 25 totally random things about me, only one of which involved running. I'm running in the morning, so maybe I'll have a story to tell then.

Happy weekend, and if you're here in my neck of the woods, be careful shivering your timbers tomorrow....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Take Two News Segments (and call me in the morning)

Today's post is a difficult one to write. I'm grappling with how I want to spend the next few years, and it will be a big decision regardless of the outcome. Like so many life-altering choices do, this one affects more than just me, so there's ample reason to put impulsivity and throwingcautiontothewind-ism on the back burner about it. Which, if you're me, means wallowing in it. I'm a wallower, people. When I need to make a choice, a huge one, I wallow. It's all part of that lovely obsessive-compulsive thing. Frankly, it sucks rocks.

I was putting fresh sheets on the bed, and wallowing, and the opening chimes of All Things Considered blared out of the bedroom radio and it took me back to November, 2008. A newborn, a birth plan that went completely down the crapper, a freshly incised uterus and abdomen, and no one here to help me. Welcome to postpartum depression.

I'll admit it. There's a stigma, yes, which is one reason this post is hard to write. Lots of people experience it, few people want to come clean about it. Think for a minute: do you want to tell someone who is fawning over your beautiful bundle of joy how miserable you are? How you're falling to pieces? How it's everything you can do just to hold your shiz together long enough for your husband to get home from work? No. So you don't. Maybe you didn't, or maybe you did. Read on.

Today it hit me that, while I was sitting in the glider, sweet baby boy at my breast (my sweaty, unshowered breast that was right near the armpit that reeked as only postpartum armpits do, don't ask me why that is because for the love of God I have no answers), my days were marked by that opening chime. Four o'clock, on the dot. It meant that the downswing of the day had begun, that I only had 3 or so more hours to be alone after the crushing loneliness of another day. It was my hope. Those NPR announcers with the funny names (Silvia Pojole! Mandalit del Barco!) were a lifeline. They became my friends. Adult voices telling me stories I wanted to hear about places I couldn't see because I didn't know how to do anything right anymore. News I wasn't part of, but I was, because they were bringing it into that nursery. NPR had been part of my daily routine for 10 years or so, but they saved my sorry ass that winter. Spring and summer, too. There's no room in your life for an eating disorder when you are nursing a newborn, so instead of taking comfort in starving myself to death I had to make do with what I had. A radio and a glider.

Yes, I did get help. Had to. So should you, and don't be embarrassed about it anymore. I know, mama, what you're feeling: desperation, utter exhaustion, isolation, shame. What I don't know is if I'm willing to put myself at risk again, knowing that if I fail, this fall could be the last one. On most levels I'm not.

Which brings me back around to the song - which will always remind me of that darkness.

Now and again we try to just stay alive
Maybe we'll turn it around because it's not too late...
It's never too late.

(please, if you are experiencing postpartum depression, i encourage you to call your doctor today. there is no shame in asking for help....only courage.)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Raise Your Glass

Even though there's a dinner to be cooked (not to mention a husband wanting food), the past few minutes have been spent watching the Jets beat the Patriots and perusing my favorite online natural parenting community (NP, HOLLA! lol). We've got a new obsession around those parts.

Mormon Mommy Blogs. Hereafter to be called MMBs.

Wow, dude. These women are serious. They knit their dogs sweaters with matching diapers, spend hours applying mosaic tiles to end tables, hand-embellish coordinating outfits for their freshly-scrubbed-and-never-ever-filthy twin toddler offspring, and do all this while eating home-baked bread with preserves they made themselves. From the fruit of their own backyard's trees. Using their great-great-great-great-grandmother's secret recipe. You can, if you choose to, spend hours perusing these chronicles of unbelievable perfection.

Just to clarify, I'm in no way trying to be negative about the LDS church, or anyone who attends it. I don't know enough about it to act like that. There are a few members on our board who have been kind enough to give the rest of us a bit of a tutorial, though, and it's been very interesting. Interesting enough for me to know that I, in all my glory, could nevah, EVAH, live up to even half of what is expected of the traditional LDS woman. Especially these MMBers.

To steal a line from Clueless...."No way, no day."

In my house, my cat doesn't wear clothes. Which reminds me, he needs to go get shaved again. I don't currently HAVE an end table I'd want to mosaic, mostly because I can't seem to locate a spare end table hanging around. The Boy's clothes come from places like Old Navy, Gap Kids, Janie & Jack, and *gasp* the consignment shop. He's pretty dirty by day's end from all that crawling around on the floor and rolling around "like a steamroller" (and I quote) at the park. We pretty much buy the groceries, and most plants that come into our home only narrowly escape death. I've got some great family recipes, and I can cook like a champion, but that's about where the similarities between my style of motherhood and the women of the MMBs' typical day come to a grinding halt.

So maybe my life isn't MMB-worthy. You know what, though? I carried a child to 9 days past his due date, and suffered through 2 days of induction and a Cesarean. I nursed that child for almost 2 years, and until last week, sprayed that boy's poopy cloth diapers in the sink in my laundry room. I wore him in an Ergo until he just wouldn't let me anymore. I've baked cookies with him, sprayed him with the water hose to make him laugh, and snuggled him under a "cozy" reading book after book after book. We've battled wills and both of us have lost. I've already heard my mother's voice come flying out of my mouth. This is my life, my wrinklydustysticky life.

I would not trade it for all the money in the world.
I suspect you feel the same about yours.
On that note, ladies and gentlemen.....

Raise your glass.

Friday, January 14, 2011

One Voice in a Million

Before I get into prattling on and on about running (which I'm going to do), I wanted to share this song. I have satellite radio, so I don't listen to local radio stations much, but the other morning the hubs had left the radio on in the bathroom and I happened to catch it. It took me approximately 45 seconds to sprint to the computer, pull up iTunes, guess the singer, find the song, and download. Now that you know it's Natasha Bedingfield, you don't need to sprint. Just go download, and if you run, or are in recovery, or both, make sure it finds its way to your ears often. What? You don't want to download this, or you didn't watch it? Fine. I'll give you a lyric:

Take what you want, steal my pride
Build me up or cut me down to size
Shut me out, but I'll just scream -
I'm only one voice in a million, but you ain't taking that from me....

One of the reasons people develop eating disorders is that they feel like they haven't got a voice. When you don't feel like you're being heard, or feel like you don't have the right to speak, you turn inward. Anorexia (or bulimia) becomes your voice, your way of telling the world things aren't right. Eventually, even though you may desperately WANT to speak, you can't. Not on your own, and not without help. If you stumbled onto this blog because you used "anorexia" as a keyword, and you need help, please don't wait. Please tell someone. It's not too late. You have every right to use your voice, even though you may be one voice in a million. It takes a million voices to make a million voices.

Aaaaaaaaand, we're back to running. Told you so.

I can't seem to pull it back together since the post-half hiatus. Lots of time has been spent pondering this, analyzing piece-by-piece what could be wrong. Since eliminating most refined sugar and processed food from my diet has, in general, made me feel much better and given me much more energy overall, I would assume that's not the problem. The shoes are new, so I can't blame the shoes (man, it's so nice when you can blame the shoes!). Time of day hasn't seemed to make a difference either; I'm just kinda sucking regardless. Over the summer I hit a rough patch which seemed to be as mental as physical, so you think it would be easy for me to look back at that rough patch and compare it to now and know that this too shall pass. It's not proving to be that simple, which is a little bewildering.

Especially since I'm planning to run a 12K in March. Meaning that serious training starts next week. 4 miles is proving to be a sticking point again...but a 12K is more than that, so I need to sort this out and push through it. If you have any advice for me, by all means don't hesitate to share. You would definitely be appreciated.

In the meantime, there shall be a clinging to the principle that the only way to run BETTER is to run MORE. Next week I shall add the 4th day.

If you're digging out, stay warm. If you aren't, be glad. As for me, I am happy to be wearing sleeves. Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Two Feet and a Heartbeat

Make a commitment. Go register for something. Set a goal. Believe in yourself. Trust me, you can achieve something that is miraculous.

All you need are two feet and a heartbeat.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

And Then There Were Two?

Little Mister has an imaginary friend.

I should probably back up and give you a little background about this kid. Like any two-year-old, he goes through periods of intense obsession with random objects. Guitars, for example. For months, Small Fry's entire universe rotated around his 3 toy guitars (and the boob, but by that point mostly guitars). The first words out of his mouth in the morning were "Get guitars!", and he would howl like only a toddler can if Daddy or I didn't pop right up out of bed and walk him to where he put the guitars, lovingly, down to sleep the night before. He carried one of his precious guitars everywhere - and I do mean EVERYWHERE. When one of the three wasn't available, any reasonably guitar-shaped object would do, up to and including a metal over-the-door wreath holder I had the poor judgement to let him hold in the car one October afternoon. Let's just say that ended with frazzled sweating Mommy pulling over to the shoulder of a busy freeway, fully extending and nearly dislocating her arm, and wrestling it free from his death grip of fury before he busted out a window.

Good times, good times.

So the current obsession here is construction equipment. My God, I never thought there was so much to learn about steamrollers and dump trucks and motor graders and yeah. That boy stuff I don't understand. In particular, Snoog is fixated on one piece of heavy machinery: the backhoe. The backhoe loader AND the excavator. Don't for one minute think my son can't crank those words right out, too, like this is his job. Disconcerting, but I'm used to it.

He takes his little arm, and holds it "like a backhoe" and makes the appropriate noises. Alternately, he'll tell you it's digging in the dirt, or scooping the dirt, or digging a big hole. From sunup to sundown (son up to son down?). Okay, cool. You're a boy. I'm told you do this, partner. But today his love for all things backhoe-y reached a whole new level of "now what?".
He ate, he played "soccer", he drove his cars, he handed out directions left and right, and it became clear:

Buddy's imaginary friend is a backhoe.

And because this is the funniest thing ever, since we expected him to introduce us to a bear, or a goat, or something ELSE, we are having one hell of a time maintaining composure.

Friday, January 7, 2011

An Exercise in Futility

See also: Misadventures with Technology

Yesterday, I broke down and replaced my precious Asics Gel Nimbus 12 running shoes - the ones I spent an inordinate amount of time being fitted for, the ones that trained me all summer, the ones that ran the half marathon (*pause for moment of silent reflection*). I'm now the proud owner of a brand-spankin'-new pair of Asics Gel Nimbus 12 running shoes. Pink ones this time instead of blue, if you wondered. Because Christmas gift cards come in very handy for impulse shopping, I am also now the proud owner of a Nike +iPod thingy.

The thingy. I get to playing with it last night and see that it needs to be "calibrated". Fine. How hard can that be, right? Follow the directions and you're good to go. Oh, just keep reading.

Le Snoog is safely dropped off at school (on time and with nary a tear, woo!), I head over to the Y, and - cue the angels and trumpets, folks - there is NO WAIT for a treadmill! This is a good sign. The stars are aligning in my favor today. I attach the sensor, snugly tucked into its little velcro pouch, to my shoe and pull out the calibration instructions. Blah blah blah push button, blah blah blah set the distance (1 mile), press center button to start calibration. Hey now, here we go. I decide to take it a little slow so that Lance Armstrong can tell me I've just recorded a personal best for the mile a little sooner than he would if I put the hammer down, and finish my mile. At which time I press the appropriate button to end the calibration.

"Press the center button to start calibration."

Huh? I didn't just do that? Like a mile ago?

Allrighty then. Let's check the instructions and start this over. Yada yada yada push button, yada yada yada set the distance (mmhmm, 1 mile), press center button to start calibration. One slower-than-I-really-feel-like mile, let's watch the Today Show, all done. Push the button.

"Press the center button to start calibration."

REALLY? Are you KIDDING? I haven't even managed to calibrate this &%$#ing thing?

One. More. Time. Rinse, repeat. I finally got the little beast calibrated after the third mile. After which I needed to do my actual workout. I decide to see what "spoken feedback" I'll get when I do a timed workout instead of distance because I just don't want to think about miles anymore, so I set the thing and take off.

One mile in, I realize I have a blister.

This concludes today's workout, ladies and germs. Because I don't have the courage to try to figure out how to set the stupid thing up on iTunes yet so that I can broadcast my mad running skillz on Facebook, I'm going to just tell you I ran 4.25 miles this morning.

Three of which were spent calibrating the thingy. Lance, you better come through for me or I'm letting my son flush you down the toilet.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Philadelphia Dreamin'...

At least that's what I was planning to write about, since I took myself down to Bayshore to run along the water after I dropped off Little Bit at school this morning. It was a horrible dropoff, and I was sad and lonely and dare I say it - missed him to pieces, even though I've had no time to myself for a couple of weeks. I was already dressed to run SOMEWHERE, why not somewhere with a nice view before it gets too hot, right? Anyway, I was cruising along (realizing, may I add, that somehow I've gotten faster since the half), imagining myself running through Center City on a chilly November morning, and here's where the blog's going off track....

There were more people than I expected out running/walking/insert forward-moving activity here this morning. They were all carrying on with their forward motion as I checked off the "out" part of the 4.10 mile out & back, just as expected. Not so much on the way back. Why is everyone hanging on the seawall? Did the House That Jeter Is Building suddenly erupt in flames? Even the dogs seem enraptured, and someone has a videocamera. Um, it's Bayshore, and you can't see Jeter's house from here, only the cranes. What in the world?

Wait a minute. I see it.
I see THEM.

The dolphins, I mean. 4, no, 5 of them. A mommy and her baby (cue the tears, because MY baby is at school right now). Go ahead and assume I've now pulled over to the seawall myself to stand and smile and lose track of time watching these gorgeous creatures. Each of them easily came within 50 feet of the seawall, giving us a beautiful glimpse of what it's like to be so agile and so carefree. Fin after fin emerged from the water. Mother and child stayed within a flipper's length of one another as they played and danced for us. I'd never say I'm religious, but I have no problem sharing that moments like this reaffirm my faith in God, or at the very least in something far, far greater than myself. Watching the little family brought up the same protective feelings I feel for my own family because I so strongly identify with that dolphin mama. One day, the baby dolphin will be an adult and will venture far, far further than just that flipper's length away. My baby will do the same. His mommy will accept it as part of life, as must I.

All mistiness aside, it was a beautiful moment that brought me back to my place here among the community of mothers, of mothers of sons, of mothers who run. I gathered strength and turned to finish the mile or so that would get me back to my car, and back to reality. And here I am. Still Philadelphia dreamin', though.

Dream big. It's a new year - you've got nothing to lose.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Time Falls Away

I just came down the stairs after putting Small Boy to bed, and caught a glimpse of our Christmas tree. Lit for the last time until the holidays come back around to me. Somewhere in this ramblefest of a blog it's probably been mentioned that Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year...well, New Year's Day is my least favorite. Yeah, I know. Doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

It's not that I don't appreciate the beauty of a fresh start, the promise of a clean slate, a whole new 12 months to set things right (or at least to set the right things in motion), I do. What's bothersome about today isn't the "beginning" part; rather, it's the "ending". The ending of the holiday season, to be precise. It's like I told my better half earlier - and as I tell him every year - "The holidays are over. No more happiness. Ever." Totally uncharacteristic hyperbole and melodrama from someone not given to either. Okay, fine. I'll give you hyperbole if you know me well enough to be laughing at that.

My stream-of-consciousness musings on my misplaced, oddly-timed seasonal depression:

Goodbye, Christmas tree. Goodbye, wreaths and lights and twinkly, shiny houses. Goodbye, hustle and bustle and people wanting to give instead of to receive. Goodbye, shopping. Goodbye, shipping. Goodbye, baking and carols and toddlers with jingle bells. Goodbye, Christmas magic. Goodbye, traditions and family gatherings and office parties. Goodbye, mail that is not bills. Goodbye evergreens, goodbye apple cider, goodbye ribbons and bows. Goodbye, holiday cheer and anticipation and the promise of maybe weather cool enough to wear sleeves and drink red wine with impunity and turn on your fireplace like you live somewhere cold, where it might snow.

Hello, daily grind. Hello, husband on regular-year work schedule. Hello, impatient clerks and sad holiday items on sale. Hello, diet. Hello, what's in it for ME. Hello, hot weather. Hello to clothes I don't like wearing and sweating when you walk to the car and life without college football again and interminable baseball and can I pretty please just get. out. of. town. for a long weekend because Florida is weighing on me like concrete shoes. Hello again, mundane.

So, in that light, I will gather my mundane around me and resolve again daily to find the joy in it. To quote Rob Thomas -

Our lives are made in these small hours
These little wonders, these twists and turns of fate
Time falls away, but these small hours...
These small hours still remain.

Don't let your small hours pass you by this year.