2
running a 10k and a playlist

On Saturday I am planning on getting up at the buttcrack of dawn, driving out to the Hyatt Lost Pines in Bastrop, and running 6.2 miles. Never mind that I am horribly untrained for this race. Never mind that I haven’t run more than 3.5 miles in the past 5 weeks. Never mind that every time I talk about running, it’s nothing but negativity and excuses.

This training season has not been what I expected. After dropping out of the half marathon due to a great deal of stress (that was leading to depression) trying to fit the training into my life, I felt a huge sense of relief. I could manage the 10k easily! Then the kids and I all got sick and I THEN was laid up for over a week with terrible neck pain, and before I knew it, it had been over a month since my last run.

I didn’t start running consistently again until late last week. One week of training.

But I’m committed. I thought about stepping down again to the 5k, but you know what? Whatever. I’m going to run this damn 10k. It’s not going to be pretty. It’s not going to be a PR from my last (and only) 10k. It may actually be pretty terrible. I’ll probably walk a lot. I’ll stop to take pictures, because the bluebonnets on the trail are out of this world. But most of all, I’m depending on some race day adrenaline, some comfy socks, and a kick ass playlist to get me through so I can rush home, eat some cake at my own children’s birthday party, and then take a nap.

I haven’t published a running playlist in a while, so here’s a list of the songs that are most heavily in rotation on my runs.

And I’ll see you all at the finish line!

Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap

Soul Meets Body – Death Cab for Cutie

Reunion – M83

Rebellion (Lies) – Arcade Fire. When is Arcade Fire going to show up on my street with their guitars and drums and violins and general badassery? WHEN.

I Love It – Icona Pop

Time Bomb – Old 97s

Chicago – Surfjan Stevens

I Believe in a Thing Called Love – The Darkness. Make fun of me if you will. There are not enough words to describe how much I love this song.

Until next time!

 

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17
the passing of time and the ones we love

If you’ve known my family for any length of time, you’ve most likely heard this story. When we were younger, every once in a while my sister and I would have sleepovers at my grandparents’ house. This was very exciting, because that meant we got to sleep on the canopy bed, or as we liked to call it, “the bed with the roof on it.” One evening in particular, I was being a little, shall we say, resistant to spending the night. Mimi did her best to try and coax me to stay. I couldn’t have been more than 5 at the time. “We’ll have hamburgers!” she said. Nope. “We’ll make popcorn and watch a movie!” Nope. “Ice cream!” They pretty much threw every kid’s dream at me, until I finally had had enough. “I don’t want hamburgers, I don’t want ice cream, and I don’t want to sleep on that bed with the roof on it!

I can still hear her chuckle at the end of telling that story.

One time when she picked me up from preschool, I convinced her that it was okay for a friend to come home with me to her house. I mean, I thought it was okay. What else did we need? Being the days of word of mouth, she of course assumed I – an adorable and presumably trustworthy four-year-old – had cleared this with the appropriate parties. I learned a great lesson that day. One, bringing home random children from school is NOT okay. And two, my grandmother had the patience and grace of a saint.

She taught us manners with safety pin chains. She let me wrap my own Christmas presents in nondescript boxes. She tried to teach me how to crochet, but unfortunately, I was a lost cause. “Clean up as you go” is something I can still hear her saying as I notice my own habit of leaving every single dish and ingredient strewn haphazardly about while cooking.

Not a day goes by that I’m not reminded of some kind of influence or impression she has left upon me. What would Mimi do?  She would welcome everyone she could into her home and into her heart. She would prepare a meal for a sick neighbor or church friend. She would extend an invitation to a surly, introverted teenager to help her come decorate her Christmas tree. When I think about how I want my children and grandchildren to see me as they age, I could only hope that they have half the admiration and respect I hold for her.

In a poem from Helen Keller:

“What we have once enjoyed
we can never lose;
All that we love deeply,
becomes a part of us.”

Mimi will always be a part of me, her empathy, kindness, grace, and humility guiding me throughout my days. And while I miss her terribly, it brings me great comfort to know that she is surrounded my love up in heaven, watching over us.

For Mimi, you now sit upon the bed with the highest roof. And I hope to sit with you some day again.

 

• • • • •

I was honored to read the above words at my grandmother’s funeral. It was hard and sad. That evening as I nodded off to sleep, I would see her face and hear her voice, only to snap awake and find myself in a hotel room, Christian and his iPad the only others in the room.

The next day, my parents and sister offered to watch the kids while Christian and I stopped by to visit my grandfather before heading back to Austin. He’s still at the rehab center recuperating from a broken leg. The same rehab center where he once could wheel himself to the room next door and visit with his wife. I know the service was hard on him. He and my Mimi were kindred spirits – always together, physically and emotionally. It’s hard for me to envision one without the other.

After the service on Thursday, Christian and I had poured over an old scrapbook that had belonged to my grandfather’s older sister. We told him about some of the photos we saw: him in his military uniform around 1945 (age 20), early photos of him and my grandmother in the 50s, family photos of the two of them with my mother and uncle in the 60s. We jogged his memory, and he told us story after story from his life. How joined the Merchant Marines after he was turned away from the Navy due to asthma he later wished he had never admitted to. How he and my grandmother traveled by train to Louisiana on their honeymoon and got burned to a crisp on the shores of Lake Ponchartrain and had to endure a painful, single-berth train ride back to Dallas. How he sat in a parking lot in his patrol car on the day Kennedy was shot, listening to the entire ordeal unfold on the radio, the only on-duty Dallas Police Officer for miles, since almost everyone else was downtown looking for the shooter.

Before we knew it, two hours had flown by. His dinner had come. We needed to get on the road and find dinner for our own children. There wasn’t enough time.

“If you have anything you want to do,” he told us, “do it now. Time goes by fast. So fast.” And I wondered what it was like to have such a life to look back on, so many stories to tell. My grandfather has led a marvelous life. A significant part of it has ended, but he’s still here. I honestly don’t remember the last time we had this kind of opportunity to just sit and talk with him, not just surface conversations about the kids or life in Austin. We weren’t there for an obligatory check in. We were there to see him. And I hope he felt seen.

Because our elders, they need to be seen. Time goes by too fast. And they are still a part of us.

Thank you all for being here and reading my words. xoxo

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8
aaaahhhhh, spring has sprung and other weekend adventures

That is the collective sigh of everyone here in Austin this weekend as we checked our weather apps to see numbers in the 70s. You’re welcome, SXSW-goers, for this beautiful weather. No matter that just a few days ago we were suffering from freezing rainy weather and hadn’t seen the sun in weeks. WE DID THIS JUST FOR YOU.

This guy turned 37 on Friday. We celebrated with lots of trampoline time and the ugliest chocolate cake that ever caked. No, Claire is not bouncing 6 feet into the air. Just on a swing that swings her much higher than that so no big deal OMG PLEASE DON’T LET GO.

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It’s insane how much we love spring here. We unearth ourselves from mounds of blankets and fleeces and hoodies that we pile on when the temps fall below 50. We can go outside again! Scooter rides before 10am!

 

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But the real reason we relish so much in spring is FEAR. Because we know that before we can say Oh my GOD can you believe this weather? we’ll sweating and complaining about the heat that we experience 6 months out of the year, every year, yet we continue to complain about it like we have never experienced it before. Every heat wave is a new experience.

Us: WHY IS IT SO FREAKING HOT?

Us again: Isn’t it this hot every summer?

Us: BUT IT’S APRIL.

Us again: …..

Us: Right.

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But for the time being we’re enjoying this amazing weather. And so we head out to do fun stuff like climb the 8 million steps up Mount Bonnell, and we realize that everyone else kinda had the same idea. Austin + good weather = ALL THE OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES. (Because seriously, we don’t go out of doors in the summer.)

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downtown

 

Oh, look at my quaint little cottage with its Spanish tile roof and landscaped gardens and 9 car garages and infinity pools and seriously, WHO LIVES HERE.

 

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Every spring I feel this itch, like we must go out and do all the things. I want to spend all day out in this glorious city, listening to music and exploring and shopping and eating and drinking. And then I remember that I have children. When Rachel and Claire were really little, we had them on the strictest of schedules, which is what we, as parents, needed at the time. We needed to know when they would sleep and when they would eat. Mainly because I needed to know when I could sleep and when I could eat. And now that they’re older, we’re realizing that we have totally shot ourselves in the foot with this. I mean, life has definitely gotten easier. Christian and I actually ate a leisurely breakfast at the kitchen table Saturday morning while the kids finished up a show, then moved on to drawing and making books and playing on their own. It’s like we can breathe again and having three kids is becoming somewhat enjoyable. You know, as long as they know when they will eat and when they will sleep.

So that’s not so conducive to spending entire days out and about with no agenda.

 

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Spring makes me want to sit on a patio and drink beer all night. Only again, children and responsibility, and foosball with 5 and 7-year-olds only goes so far when the handles are at punch-you-in-the-eye-level.

It’s important to note that all food in the photo below is made from doughnuts. Chicken fingers? Battered with doughnut dough. Hamburger? Doughnuts for buns. Beer? Okay, no doughnuts there, but still good. Happy birthday, birthday boy.

 

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So for the time being we’re spending as much time outside as possible. You get a scooter ride, and YOU get a scooter ride, and YOU get a scooter ride!

We’ll venture out this spring, because we always do, and we’ll just make sure to pack all the snacks and make it fun, and maybe we’ll try some things we haven’t tried before, visit some places we’ve been wanting to go for years. Because nothing makes me love this city more than springtime, and I want my kids to love it here, not just live here.

But today, trampoline tango.

 

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So that was a mildly boring wrap-up of our weekend. Nothing says “I’m a serious blogger looking to attract more readers!” than talking about the weather, amirite?

 

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17
my medical thought process (AKA why I am not a doctor)

I am thinking of renaming this blog Genie in Pain, or Pain in a Blog. I have been feeling very old and crotchety and like my body is failing me, but in my mind I still feel like a youngster, so obviously I am too young to be falling apart. Is this how I’m going to feel when I’m 74? Like a teenager in a creaky, leaky body?

After taking a few days off running and dealing with a case of not-strep strep, my neck started to hurt.

It went from mild stiffness to unbearable in a matter of days, with no clear cause. By Sunday afternoon I had to completely check out of all things that involved sitting, standing, general holding up of the head, et cetera, et cetera. So basically life in general.

So here’s where my mind went during this increasing neck pain:

Thursday: Huh. My neck’s a little stiff. That’s weird. I don’t remember doing anything that would agitate it. *Zones out on laptop*

Friday: Hm. Stiffness is back again. That’s the last time I do an extra load of dishes.

Saturday: OMG. I have meningitis.

Saturday again: Okay, probably not meningitis. But definitely something.

Saturday, continued: Says here that a sore neck is one of the weird symptoms of strep. That’s it! My negative rapid test was wrong, and the Zpack didn’t kick it! That urgent care doctor was wrong. I feel smugly satisfied. Dr. Google and I are unstoppable.

Saturday evening: Watching TV is hard. Still not completely taking meningitis off the table.

Sunday: Okay, we are veering into “I cannot move my head” territory. Pain moving into shoulder. Super tender spot in front near collar bone.

Still Sunday: I GOT IT! I have swollen lymph nodes from the strep that I didn’t have that the antibiotics didn’t get rid of! I am teeming with infection!

Sunday never ends: CANNOT. OW. MOVE. OW. HEAD. OW.

Monday: Visit to general practitioner. No strep. No swollen nodes. Insinuation that I need a massage. Conspiracy abounds. Hands over anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxer.

Monday, continued: TEARS. (Meningitis?)

Monday still: Anti-inflammatory not working. Pain in back of neck + pain down arm = Dr. Google has diagnosed me with a herniated disc in my neck. MORE TEARS. Fantasize about life before neck pain, AKA last Wednesday.

Monday night: MUSCLE RELAXER, Y U NO WORK. (tears) (no sleep) (more tears)

Tuesday morning: Zombie.

Tuesday morning still: Only been up an hour, and my aching neck is exhausted from holding up my head. Find sweet relief from a mountain of pillows and a neck pillow. Instantly fall asleep. Dream about a life with no head compressing down on my weary neck.

 

Tuesday I went in to see my physical therapist and pitched him my disc theory. Knowing how long it took me to get my back into the pain-free zone, all I could do was cry thinking about it. I was ready for black market steroid shots.

But after some jabbing and kneading and me cursing, he determined that the chances of it being a disc issue were slim to none. My general practitioner was right. My muscles were just so completely knotted up around my nerves. I practically cried with relief.

After more kneading and massaging (him) and swearing (me), I left the office feeling worse than when I went in. But after taking my drugs, propping myself up on the couch and dozing for an hour or so while the kids went from the trampoline to the table to emptying out the pantry of all things edible, I got up feeling like a million bucks. Okay, maybe half a million. But I could stand up and move around without wanting to die, so that’s a start. I went in for more therapy today, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And that light is not a herniated disc, nor is it meningitis.

In short, new life motto: AT LEAST IT’S NOT MENINGITIS! And it’s probably time I rid myself of my distaste for massages.

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11
the flower frog

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There’s a story behind this frog.

Months and months ago Rachel fell in love with this frog at Barnes & Noble. His pink feet and flowery fur made it an odd choice for my girl who prefers ninjas and superheroes. She latched on to him and begged to take him home, but since we’re not in the habit of buying new toys for no reason, our answer was always an unfailing not today or maybe when your jar is full. Each girl has a small mason jar in which we place small, colorful pom poms for jobs well done – showing kindness, taking responsibility without having to be asked, or for other unsavory tasks we have bribed them to do. When someone’s jar is full, she gets a small prize. Ideally it teaches them to work towards a goal, but really it’s just the perfect solution to those random wants we’ve been trying to stave off buying.

Every time we visited a Barnes & Noble she hunted for the flower frog and asked to take him home. And each time we reminded her that she needed to wait until her jar was full. Only when her jar was full, she would get distracted by the instant gratification of something else – a Sonic the Hedgehog plush, a Ninja Turtle action figure. Flower frog was always put on the back burner.

For Christmas each girl received a Barnes & Noble gift card from my grandparents. They are in their late 80s and mostly housebound. My grandmother rarely left the house, and even the smallest outing exhausted her. I knew it was likely that the gift was actually procured by my parents on their behalf.

Rachel immediately recognized the store’s logo and her eyes widened.

“I can get my flower frog?”

So later that day we visited our local Barnes & Noble, the one where she had first seen the frog. Only there was no frog. I shouldn’t have been surprised. It had probably been the better part of a year since she had first fallen in love with it. In its place sat a new line of brightly colored plush animals, similar, but not quite the same. We scoured the kids’ section. I dug through a clearance bin of random animals. No frog.

“Is there something I can help you find?” an employee offered as I scattered plush characters around her station. I debated even accepting the offer, knowing it was a long shot. But I described the frog as best I could.

“Ah! I know exactly what you’re talking about.” Only they didn’t have one there. And she didn’t know what it was called. She was more than happy to call other stores for me, but we needed the damn frog’s name before she could even look it up in the inventory.

She listened patiently as I explained how Rachel had had her eye on that frog for months and months. And now that she actually had money to get it, I feared it was a lost cause.

But this woman wasn’t giving up on us. She scoured the internet for an image of the correct frog as I searched on my phone for the same. Let me tell you, there is no shortage of “flowered plush frogs” on the internet. But we finally found him. His name was Nina, and he might not actually be a him. And as a bonus, he was on clearance for $6.98.

I listened to her on the phone with a store across town, describing the item, and explaining to the other employee that yes, she knows they don’t normally place clearance items on hold, but this was a special circumstance. I wanted to cry and hug her for her unfailing kindness, but I settled on a sincere “thank you” and assured her that she had made my daughter’s day. I wish I had gotten her name. We trekked to the other store and picked up our new family member.

The Barnes & Noble employee’s kindness stays with me to this day. She may say she was just doing her job, but I’ve worked retail. I know that the times you are inspired to go above and beyond are few and far between. She didn’t know me or my daughter. It’s not the kind of place where they remember people who come in every 2 months or so.

 

My grandmother passed away a few days ago. Other than spending most of the day in a fog after I heard, I haven’t processed it much, and I doubt I will until her memorial service. She had fallen ill around Christmas time, was hospitalized, and then released to a rehabilitation center until she was strong enough to go home. Only then my grandfather fell and broke his leg. And he was sent to the rehabilitation center as well,

We traveled up to Dallas about a month ago to visit them both. They would often go back and forth between each other’s neighboring rooms, the nurses wheeling my grandfather into her room for breakfast, or her into his room for dinner. Knowing that they had this time together was oddly comforting, even if it wasn’t ideal. I worried about how they would cope when released and allowed to go back home. But a nagging feeling tugged at me that she wouldn’t be going back home.

Not long after we returned to Austin, I sent her an envelope containing a few drawings the girls had made. On a blank card featuring a lone leaf blowing in the breeze, I tearfully wrote her the words I could never say out loud – how much she meant to me, what an amazing example she and Pop have set for my own marriage. I had hoped that she would receive it and that someone could read it to her, even if it was while she slept. But I don’t know if anyone did.

 

Flower frog has been named Froggy, and he and Rachel go on many adventures together. I never got to tell her the story. I wanted her to know that the gift she gave – whether she actually “gave” it or not is irrelevant – was used for something special. I wanted to tell her that Froggy has a special place in our home now, and a special place in my heart.

I want her to know how much I miss her.

 

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3
some stuff: wtf is that song? edition

Ladies and gentlemen, Kanye.

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The other day during my run (okay, more like 3 weeks ago, since I am a slacker) I heard this amazing song. It was ethereal and indie and everything I love in a song, and I just had to know what it was. Unfortunately digging my phone out of my FlipBelt mid-run is next to impossible, so I decided to wait until I got home. But my Pandora app doesn’t give me any history, and googling “song with guitar and piano and clapping and oooh and ahhh” was only returning things like Rihanna and Katy Perry and just no. My Google skills are usually on point, but not this time. So I figured the best way to find out what it was was to just keep on listening to my Pandora station. And like 3 weeks later, I FOUND IT. Or it found me. It’s “Welcome Home” by Radical Face.

Click here if you can’t see the video.

 

Listen to Your Mother Austin has a cast for it’s 2015 show! It’s going to be an incredible show full of amazing stories, and I really hope to see you there! Tickets are on sale now!

Speaking of LTYM, my co-producer and I celebrated with our new cast, but we also grieve deep for the ones we are not able to cast. Sometimes a piece is really great, but we just can’t make it fit in the fabric of the show. My friend Carol (LTYM 2014 cast member…on her 4th attempt!) wrote an amazing post on how to deal with getting rejected. So You Didn’t Make the Listen to Your Mother Cast.

 

The Ultimate Splinter. (Gorgeous piece of writing by one of my new favorite blogs.)

Damn these are some old babies.

Watch out for the ruche. (Man I loved the ruche when I was pregnant.)

But girl. That hat.

It Goes So Fast (Not a Parenting Essay). From Allison Slater Tate: “No woman in the Target checkout line has ever touched my arm and solemnly said, “It goes so fast,” and meant my life. But I kind of wish someone had, back when I was in my 20s and my adult life seemed to lie before me like a vast blank page I could never possibly fill.”

 

Happy weekend!

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5
what I’m watching: animals and comedians edition

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As a part of the Netflix Stream Team, each month I share my favorite things to stream online. 

Because animals and comedians totally go together.

I have been super excited to talk about some of the stuff I’ve been watching on Netflix this month. NERD. I know. But recently I’ve been in a Friday Night Lights rut – okay, let’s not call it a rut, because that show is awesome, Tim Riggins is still Tim Riggins, Coach and Tami Taylor for ever, et cetera, et cetera – and hadn’t branched out much. The kids have been in a Monster High/Larva/everything annoying rut and were refusing anything that even smelled educational. But, BUT, we all have come across some really great stuff lately.

For the kids

Lately the things they have been watching, while I don’t really mind them all THAT much, haven’t been all that educationally stimulating. So I was thrilled when they moved from teenage monsters that wear ridiculously high stilettos to something a little more age appropriate and, well, cute.

puppy partyPuppy Party – Are you kidding me with this cuteness? Puppies. PARTYING. Milo and his puppy friends basically run around for an hour, introducing kids to various different breeds, and it’s just so damn adorable. You are watching puppies play, eat, drink, and play some more. And it’s RIVETING. Oh look! They’re taking a nap! Puppies napping!

Y’all, I am not being sarcastic. We could’ve had this on all day. Rachel has decided she wants a Puggle, and I’m not gonna argue with that. And then of course you’re going to have to watch Kitten Party and Pet Party, because BABY ANIMALS.

 

scholastic storybook treasuresScholastic Storybook Treasures – YOU GUYYYYYSSSSS. I looked up from making dinner one evening, and the girls were watching one of my all time favorite stories, Harry the Dirty Dog. That makes it sound like I just let them run rampant with the remote, and maybe I do, but only at allotted TV times. It was like a gift from the heavens when they learned how to work that remote. Anyway.

Scholastic Storybook Treasures takes your favorite children’s stories and brings them to life. Along with Harry, there’s also Chrysanthemum (a new favorite of ours, both book and animated version); How Do Dinosaurs Go to School; Bark, George; and the hilarious Scaredy Squirrel.

For the grownups

mike birbiglia my girlfriends boyfriendMike Birbiglia: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend – Let me just say that I love – LOVE – Mike Birbiglia. I first heard him a few times on This American Life, and I am latching onto him before he gets too super famous.

I am not a huge fan of standup comedy; it’s sometimes too crass for my taste (although we recently watched Patton Oswalt, and I really enjoyed most of that one). But Mike Birbiglia isn’t your average standup comedian. He’s a storyteller, and you begin to realize that he’s not just up there telling jokes. He’s telling you a story. A hilarious story that has one long theme, but dives back into his past with anecdotes and tales and he wraps it all up at the end with a hilarious, yet poignant bow. There’s also a “movie” produced by Ira Glass called Sleepwalk With Me, but I didn’t care for it. I love you, Ira, but Mike B is best when he’s actually telling the story, not acting it out. But DO watch this one.

 

Aaaannnnd as soon as I finish this post and log off, we’re going to dial up some House of Cards and see what that old Frank Underwood is up to. I only have about a season and a half left of FNL, so what else should I be watching? What are YOU watching?

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26
admissions: on cupcakes and training

Last Friday as I was gathering up Zoe’s lunch and jacket and urging her to get her shoes on and trying to locate her water bottle that’s always missing, I stopped in the middle of the living room and groaned. Dammit.

What’s wrong? Christian asked. And I explained that since Sunday was Zoe’s birthday, today would be the logical day for her to take cupcakes to school to celebrate, and in my usual last minute haste to plan her party for Saturday, I had completely failed to plan for this. (If you know me well, you should not be surprised. If I am anything, it is NOT on the ball.)

So go to HEB and get some cupcakes, he said. And then I was all, Yeah I COULD, but that’s so boring, and I like to make them, and and and… Because I really do. I don’t keep the neatest house and I don’t take them on the grandest of adventures, but dammit, I will always make their birthday treats in whatever theme they want.

And then he was all, Dude. Have you seen your schedule lately? You need to take something off your plate. Pick up some damn cupcakes on the way to school and be done with it.

So we did, and Zoe carefully surveyed the choices and settled on a container of red, blue, and green frosted cupcakes because I don’t think the boys will want those pink and purple ones. And that was that. While I would have loved to have made pretty cupcakes for her class with my killer buttercream frosting, it was kind of a relief to just spend $6 and grab a 12-pack that someone else slaved over.

 

I have pretty much decided to give up on my half marathon training. I’m not giving up on running, but like those cupcakes, I had to take something off my plate. A lot of things are different this time around from the last time I trained for a half. My kids’ schedules are different (although more accommodating than last time). I’m completely out of shape from being our of commission for almost a year. We’re working on Listen to Your Mother.

But the biggest change is my attitude.

After my last grumpy running post, everyone came out in droves to lift me up and admit that at some point in just about every single run, there’s a point where you want to say “Eff this.” But my attitude towards my training in general has been negative and riddled with apathy and anger. It’s not self-doubt, because I’ve done this before, so I know my body can do it with the proper training.

It’s that I just don’t care.

My knee started hurting a couple of weeks ago, and after a run on Friday that should have been 7 miles, but ended up just shy of 6 (with tears!), it hasn’t really stopped hurting. My longer runs have all put me in a really bad place mentally. Like, not just that hard and challenging struggles that come with training. Pure hatred. I don’t ever feel properly prepared. I can’t hit my stride, ever. While I’m grateful that my back is well enough that I can run, I’m not enjoying this in the least.

When I was out on that 7 mile run that ended up just shy of 6 (don’t forget the tears!), I threw an internal hissy fit. I vowed to not only give up on the half marathon training, but to also quit the ambassador program and throw myself a big, fat pity party, preferably with donuts, because I am a failure. Then about a quarter mile later, I told myself I was probably being a wee bit overdramatic, and realized I could just step down a notch and run the 10k and not have to turn in my ambassador badge just yet. And then I felt I could breathe again.

I have a hard time quitting things. I wouldn’t say that I normally overextend myself, but when I commit to something, giving up is rarely an option, and I beat myself up over it if I do.

But this time I felt such relief.

Seems that just like the cupcakes, I just need to take something off my plate. Running should be an activity that helps relieve stress, but right now, sticking to a training schedule is just causing more of it. I feel like it’s a waste of time and energy to continue to push something that I am truly hating. I want to be at a point where I get grumpy if I DON’T run, but it’s not coming. So I’ll run the Zooma 10k, and I’ll probably run the Cap10k right after that. If I continue to run with some consistency over the next few weeks, I will be fine for that distance, and I can just aim to improve my time. I have my eye on the 3M half marathon next January.

I’ll run for fitness and for fun, to blow off some steam and to challenge myself when I’m ready. But right now I’m perfectly fine saying I quit. Kind of.

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6
I injure myself by just being me

It really takes a special person to injure themselves doing practically nothing at all. And if there’s one way I always classify myself, it’s special. Well, that and forgetful. As in total flake. Just this morning I remembered that Rachel was going to be receiving an award in the morning assembly for modeling good behavior. The assembly was last Friday. And I can’t even use one of my nonsensical injuries as an excuse. I just forgot, mere hours after finding out about it.

Say what you want about your achy marathon legs or the scrapes and bruises you got from that extreme obstacle course. I have real, honest-to-God injuries that I acquired by just BEING. First off, I have a camel splinter. Most people worry about the spitting or the biting and don’t even realize that the real dangers of camels lies in the petting, as in their fur is filled to the brim with tiny dagger-like needles, just ripe for being embedded into delicate fingers like mine. Nothing like searing pain ripping through your arm every 2 minutes to alert you that you tend to grip everything in the world with the exact same point of your middle finger where the camel splinter lieth.

camel selfie

They are also terrible selfie takers. Was I worried about the biting? The spitting? No. The Instagramming.

At this point I see no way of getting it out other than performing minor surgery on myself, so I figure I’ll just play the game of “let’s see if it gets infected” before getting too crazy with the straight pin sterilized with a lighter. Do I even have a lighter?

Then last night I attempted to rescue Tiger from eating a balled-up Hershey Kiss wrapper, and to thank me, he clawed the shit out of my right hand (the camel splinter-free hand). Like, he hooked my finger with his claw and shook it and I wanted to die. If you’re going to ask me why there were empty Hershey Kiss wrappers next to me on the couch, you may as well ask me why I even attempted to save this wretched cat from eating it in the first place, because the answer to both of those questions is I DON’T KNOW. What I do know is that I have discovered my pain threshold, and it is “cat claw puncture in the pinkie finger. Also ring finger.”

asshole cat

I may have cried a little, then I threw shoes at him, and then he curled up next to me like “Hey, We gonna watch some Friday Night Lights, or what?”

And THEN today I practically paralyzed myself putting my hair into a ponytail, which makes perfect sense, given the increasingly diminished use of my hands. Some people would probably say “Maybe you shouldn’t be such a mom and wear your hair in a ponytail all the time,” and then I would say, “Maybe you should come a little closer, because I haven’t showered in 3 days and I think you need to smell this.”

So I did my usual early morning supermodel-esque tossing back of the hair, while simultaneously lifting up my arms to gather it up into a messy bun (before messy buns came with a 7-step process and a pinnable image), and there was a popping? Or maybe a snapping? There was definitely a shooting pain, and then I couldn’t move my head. I spent the rest of the morning turning my entire body every time I need to face something or someone, like a robot, only I think most robots can even turn their robot necks.

In conclusion! Camels are terrible selfie takers with dangerous fur, cats are assholes, both of my hands are likely teeming with infection. The only thing to do now is look straight ahead to the future. Because I physically can’t look elsewhere.

 

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4
some stuff: happy valentine’s day edition

 

 

 

Honestly, none of this has anything to do with Valentine’s Day, so that’s kind of a lie.

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I’ve started doing this thing on Instagram and my Facebook page where I show you what I just finished and what I just started. This week I posted that I just finished Labor Day* by Joyce Maynard, and I started Tales From Another Mother Runner,* from the ladies who wrote Run Like a Mother.* Labor Day wasn’t as fast-paced as I anticipated, and at first the 13-year-old narrator frustrated me, but it was still riveting. And sad. But not too sad. It was more like a lonely sad.

Tales From Another Mother Runner is a compilation of essays on running and training and life and motherhood, and it’s just perfect for me at this point in time where I am completely frustrated with running and training and life and mothering. Sometimes things fall into your lap right when you need them. (*affiliate links)

 

Benedict Cumberbatch name generator. I am Biblical Concubine.

From Salon, an honest piece about how having a spouse who can bear the brunt of the earning makes it easier to follow your dream as a writer. Or not. But don’t claim that you got by with some freelance work when you come from a wealthy family, or that you “worked really hard” when you clearly have a lot of connections in the business. “Sponsored” by my husband: Why it’s a problem that writers never talk about where their money comes from.

Why we should be suspicious of the new Harper Lee novel.

Could you institute the Pomodoro Method? I think it’s worth a shot. (h/t Oh Hey, What’s Up?)

From Jen Hatmaker: On Becoming a Writer. It’s so easy to fall into that belief that writing just comes naturally to all writers. Truth time – IT DOESN’T. I mean, it can, but it’s work. Even your favorite writer doesn’t spout brilliance from their fingertips. “Writers write and writing is work and work takes time. And it is good work. It means something. It is noble and important. It always has been.”

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, SAY IT IN ALL CAPS. From This American Life, a fascinating episode about internet trolls and the things that people will get worked up about.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, whether it involved 50 Shades of Grey or Grey’s Anatomy.

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