Friday, August 24, 2012

my choosing day

Today I choose...peace like a river.

What about you?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

calculated risk

I take a chance every time I let Skye outside.

It's an uncalculated risk: is there a deer beside the Cottage, in front of it, behind it, that she'll catch wind of and chase? Or is there not?

Sometimes I don't know until I open the door.
But I have to open the door. Keeping her inside 24/7 is not an option.

Of course, I'm not just talking about Skye. I'm talking about my heart, and maybe yours too. I can't keep it locked inside, but what am I risking by letting it loose?

In short: a lot.

Isn't that part of the definition?

Calculated risk: A chance taken after careful estimation of the probable outcome. Not negating the risk, but choosing that the outcome is worth the chance.

I'm surveying my chances, I'm calculating my risks, I'm deciding that...

...yeah, they're worth taking.

If I fail, I'll get back up again.
Ah, but if I don't...

What the hell.
I'm flinging the door wide open.

"You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analyzing a situation, trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could've, would've happened - or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on." Tupac

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

momma's boy

My Tuck baby

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

my evolving bowl of oatmeal

This month is my two-year anniversary of my journey to better health, and I'm proof that small steps do add up to big change.

In two years I've lost 50 pounds, competed in a duathalon, stopped drinking coffee with sugar or artificial sweeteners, have packed the majority of my lunches to work, became a vegetarian, ran a 5K, am running every day, shop at least once a week at a local farmers market, and try to eat only fresh fruits and vegetables one day a week.

All that is not what I intended two years ago, and as a matter of fact, if I had known that much change would transpire (or that it would take TWO years!), I probably wouldn't have started. But for me, it was about one small step stacked on top of another and another until eventually I am where I am today. And two years from now, I'll be somewhere entirely different.

My bowl of oatmeal this morning is a perfect analogy.

I'd been eating those instant packs of oatmeal for breakfast for awhile, and then found out I didn't like the sweetener that was used in them. What I thought was a healthy way to start my day was actually pretty crappy given the amount of sugar I was consuming. So I switched to quick rolled oats, and my breakfast looked like this:

1/4 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup of water, dash of cinnamon, a couple tablespoons of brown sugar and a swirl of half-and-half.

I cut out the half-and-half. And when I ran out of brown sugar, I didn't buy more. I bought honey instead.

My bowl of oatmeal is now this:

1/4 cup rolled oats, 3/4 cup of water, dash of cinnamon, two teaspoons of honey and fresh fruit (either a half a banana or fresh peaches).

Small steps = big change.

I should also tell you I'm not perfect.

I recently binged on Pringles and Wheat Thins, and ate a pint of ice-cream. And I ate way too much macaroni and cheese at a friend's house, precipitating a 36-hour fruit fast that I broke with salmon and summer vegetables. My body was SO GLAD for FRESHNESS after the crap I'd forced it to consume.

Oh yeah, and I'm also not a size 2, and I get frustrated (still!) by the numbers on the scale. I'm trying to make peace with it: maybe it's not about the numbers, maybe it's about overall health.

And maybe, in two years, I'll finally be reconciled with that notion. :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

angry dogs

The dogs are genuinely pissed off at some unexplained banging going on in the field next to us.

Barking, whining, looking out windows, more barking, and then growling at each other for no reason.

"Guys! Why don't you join forces instead of arguing with each other? Geez." (that's what I told them).

But really it applies to a lot of people and situations.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

moments ticking

It's been four months.

Four months since the disconnect, since the you are not what we want, since the we are cutting you loose.

How is it possible that after four months it still hurts this bad? That the tears can still fall unhindered, and the ache starts swirling with anger, and my head tells my heart, "It's's a stage in the grief process," and my heart says, "Bullshit, there is no such thing as grief stage processes." That you can be cutting up fresh fruit at the end of a great day, and suddenly you start thinking about them and missing them, and you end up here...crying.

Everyone will grieve in a different way, I've told my friend who recently lost a beloved family member. Sometimes we sit on her back porch and reminisce about our losses, our disconnects. Hers by nature; mine by other's choices. What is worse? To be discarded, or to be left behind when the good Lord calls someone you love home?

I can't claim to know the answer.
I just know it fucking hurts like hell.

I'm OK most of the time, and then nights like this it all comes piling onto my soul. It....this reminder that somehow after all these years, cross-country moves, career choices, and support, it just isn't enough.

Isn't that a fundamental question we all have: do I have what it takes? Am I good enough, just as the person I am?

And when the people you love the most say, "No. No, you are not good enough just as you are," the tears have to fall.

So fall they shall.

Friday, August 10, 2012

running with Lyme

Some mornings it's rough getting out of bed (like this morning). One leg doesn't want to go in front of the other.
Instead of jogging, I walked two miles.

Some nights (like tonight) it's a contest on what muscle group will get the heating pad first. I'm likely to spend the first hour or so in bed rotating the heat source from knees to hips to shoulders to neck.
Instead of our evening walk/jog, I watched a movie, rested on the couch, and trained the dogs for a little while.

"Strength doesn't come from what you can do; it comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn't..."

There have been worse days. Days when I couldn't climb a flight of stairs, or remember the value of a dime. Days when I existed in the recliner, and sleepless nights.

I did not think I would run.
I did not think I'd do a 5K.
I did not think I'd walk for miles.

But I'm doing it, and it feels good. These afflicted joints and muscles of mine are, most days, in agreement with my mind's eagerness to walk, trot, run.

I'm aware there might be a morning or evening when they're in a disagreement with my mind, and that's the morning or evening I'll let them win.

In the meantime, I have my eye on my morning outing, and another 5K in September.

And for this moment, I'm thankful for determination. I'm thankful for my heating pad and mild pain relievers, and I'm thankful for getting stronger.

I don't take these moments for granted.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My choice today!

"You know how horses run on the track with blinders on to prevent them from being spooked by their peripheral vision?" I told a friend recently. "Yeah, that's me."

I have a tendency to get tunnel vision, and then it's a whole new world when my heart finally catches up to my head with this explosion of an announcement:


So today, that's what I'm choosing.

Today I possibilities.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

who am I looking at?

Tuck and I are still figuring each other out. Our relationship is three-and-a-half months old, and we've had challenges unique to us. The bonding process with each dog is different, and while Tuck irrevocably loves me, he's annoying, brash, and hasty. His idea of loving me is mauling my face while I'm laying in bed, and his inability to be still makes him chew (important) things throughout the house.

But have I mentioned he loves me?

He and I ran a new route, and with him on a leash. He's an expert on a leash with minor corrections needed intermittently, but mostly praise dished out. For all his clumsiness, he was actually a pleasant running partner, and he taught me something.

Have I mentioned how my animals do that occasionally?

We ran across a bridge and the bridge barrier had large holes cut out in it. For whatever reason, these holes scared the shit out of him and our smooth run was halted when he refused to take another step. He slunk back against his collar and tried to get on the other side of me.

I stopped and gently manuevered him back into position at my left side and stood there for a minute, letting him recover mentally next to the barriers. We started again, he slunk into my legs again, we stopped again. On the third try, he stayed in the heel position, his eyes darting warily over to the barriers.

He saw them coming on our way back and knew we had to cross the same bridge with the same terrifying holes cut in the barriers. He kept his eyes on my face, only shying away from the barriers when he broke his gaze and looked at the holes. My voice reassured him and he would avert his eyes back to my face. As long as he was watching my face, he was courageous.

We made it. I turned around and we walked across the bridge twice more, him exercising his mental technique and conquering whatever scared him shitless over those holes.

His method inspired these thoughts the rest of our run home.

What are my fears? My random, seemingly harmless fears that jump out of nowhere, insignificant in their make up, but enough to cause my steps to falter?

What do I have my eyes set on to help me conquer those fears? Who is my master who I irrevocably trust to provide the steering hand, the face of confidence I draw positive energy from? 

Who/what's my master? 

And we're back from our run. He's chewing rocks and eyeing my dust pan.
I'm still asking myself questions.

the 5k report

"So how did you get this run a midnight 5k?"

"A press release came across my desk for it and I thought it sounded like fun." Isn't that how every I'm-going-to-run-a-5k-decision is born?

That's how my physical challenges seem to happen. I read the press release and think, "Eh, I could do that." And then I recruit a friend to do it with me, and there is always at least one who agrees.

"Yeah, I'm not doing anything Friday night. I'll do it with you."

Meet Leanna.

I walked in her house at 9:30 p.m.

"I don't want to do this," I said.
"I don't want to run," she replied. "I'm going to be mad as hell at you."

I woke her up from her nap at 10:30 p.m.

"We've got to go."
"I thought you'd think I looked so peaceful asleep that you'd decide not to do this."

First stop: gas station.
"We're cranking up the AC," she said. "We've got to get our fill before we die."

We took 58 self portraits.
She thought she looked high; I thought I looked fat.
"Just post one of the damn photos," she said. "We're running a marathon for crying out loud."

She put on some pump-up music, which we both agreed did nothing for us.
"Your husband should have come," I said. "I'm going to need his sports medicine skills."

We pulled into the parking lot of the grocery store where the race was to start.
"Oh my god, Leanna," I said. "These people look very serious."

We registered and retreated to her vehicle.
"I need somewhere private to put this on," I said, motioning to my number.
"I need as much AC as possible before we get this started. Also, I want to finish my nap," she said.

Twenty minutes later, we lined up.
"Identity your victim," she said. "The person you think you can beat."

I surveyed the crowd.

"Okay, found one."

"How long do you want this to take us?" she asked. "What's your goal?"

"45 minutes," I replied.

"We'll start in the back," she said, her inner soccer coach coming out.

"I like the way you think," I nodded. "That way we can pass people..."

..."it'll help our self-esteem," she finished.

The toy gun went off.

I wanted to beat everyone, but forced myself to settle into my comfortable pace. She was beside me and then a bit ahead of me, her pace quicker than mine.

We ran the first mile and a half and I promptly wanted to die.

"No, don't stop! Run this little way and then when we get to the stop sign we can walk...I'll let you walk up the big hill."

I began wondering why I brought her...the soccer coach.

"Come on! Quicker!"

"This is my pace!" I huffed. "At least I'm still moving!"

She let me walk when we got to the stop sign and that was my biggest mistake. Stopping.

She kept checking her watch.

"If we want to make your goal, we're going to have to start running again."

And we did, off and on.

"I'd like to throw up," I said.

"Good! I've done my job!" she crowed. "If one of my soccer girls doesn't throw up, I don't feel like I've done my job."

"You are a horrible person. I'm not talking to you for the rest of the night." ...

... "At what point do we need a medic?"

We made it to the corner I'd designated in my head as the one we'd start running at again, and we took off. My hands and arms were swollen and I felt like someone was poking me with a million needles.

She finished a minute before I did, and when I crossed the finish line, the clock read 41:33.

I know why I brought her. Couldn't have made it without her nagging.

"You made your goal," she smiled.

"Actually three," I replied. "One, to even DO a 5k, to do it in less than 45 minutes, and I ran the farthest I've ever ran in years."

Our work was done.

We went home to bed.

Post race: infrared body wrap Saturday, combined with two naps and a heating pad. All that after running just a 5k, you might ask. Well, I demanded a lot from this LD body and it needs special treatment to recover. So yesterday was resting.
And this morning I ran a mile.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Review: The Chaperone

In two words: read it.

I cannot remember a book that has captivated me from beginning to end, and then left me lying awake in bed thinking of its characters who, for the previous eight hours, were the most important people in my sphere.

Then I read a review that called Laura Moriarty's "The Chaperone" a historical novel and I thought, "Why yes, that's exactly what it was," but she painted the words so masterfully that I didn't realize I was reading the history of relationships in the United States of America. I thought I was reading about one woman's life, Cora's, and her journey from New York to Kansas and back again in search of herself, her identity.

On the contrary, Cora's journey is an avatar of many who forged through love, pain, suffering, and breaking free from the bondage of societal dictations to be true to themselves and their own hearts.

You're left wondering: was it really 1960-something when birth control became legal in the United States? How many forbidden lovers existed in an era when love was straight (literally)? It becomes apparent quickly that "The Chaperone" isn't just Cora's story, but that of hundreds, thousands.

Pick it up. Read it. Be mesmerized.

 "I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own."