The Scene of the Crime

I told a man yesterday that I consider him my unofficial Pusherman.  Roughly a year ago it was him that said “And Go.”  (Pool swim triathlons have a staggered swim.  Each swimmer begins roughly ten seconds after the last swimmer.  This is an effort to avoid a total pile up as you snake up and back through the lanes.  It doesn’t always work.  More on that later.)

Last spring I pushed off the wall and started the swim leg of my first triathlon. And an addict was born.

This weekend I returned to the scene of the crime, Girls Run the World Sprint Triathlon put on by FS Series. I was excited, eager to see my own improvement over the last year.  It is hard to really compare race times to one another because the conditions are always different.  This race was hilly, that race was congested.  But I had a neat opportunity to compare the progress I have made in the last year by doing the exact same race again almost a year to the date.

So, how was the race? Well, they say a picture says a thousand words.  I think this picture below says “Holy shit, guys, third place in my age group? So, it was a small race and there were only 26 people in my age group, but holy shit, guys!” Well, to be a thousand words it would say that 35 times.

TRiathlon mama

If you are simply humoring my obsession or you have already asked me “So, how was the race?” and gotten my long-winded reply you can feel free to skip the rest of this post.  My feelings won’t be hurt at all.  Really.  I filled up my wine glass trophy enough times last night that I barely have any feelings today.

Swim: The swim is my strong sport.  It is the one that seems to come naturally to me and I have the advantage of having been a life-long swimmer. I knew as soon as we lined up that maybe it was going to be a rocky swim.  “I am not a very good swimmer, I haven’t been in the pool since I don’t remember when!” Several women around me echoed similar thoughts.  Umm.  Maybe I should have entered a different swim time?  We are lined up by our 100 yard swim times and I was conservative.  Lesson learned.  By the end of the first 100 yards there were four women ahead of me piled up on one another and it is impossible to pass that many people. I did a little breast stroke so I could see what was going on, passed a few folks when I had the chance and reminded myself of the truth I have heard numerous sprint triathletes utter –   “Tris aren’t won or lost in the swim leg.”  In the greater scheme of things being a fast swimmer gets you an early swim start and you waste less adrenalin waiting in line, but that’s it as far as it goes with respect to any kind of huge advantage.

The lap lane traffic jam was evidenced in my times.  5:47.  Last year was better with 5:24 but there was a fair amount of traffic in that race, too.  I am still too chicken to put in an ambitious pace time (sub 2 min/100 yard) for my swim for fear of getting in the way of the “real triathletes.”  Someday.

Bike:  The bike is my weakest leg. I live in fear of my chain popping off.  In spite of the great strides I have made in bicycle maintenance I am still nervous on a bike. I brake when I go downhill.  That does not a competitive cyclist make. But it’s fucking scary, guys. Gone are the days when I would fly down a hill all “Look, no hands, Mom!” I rode my hybrid at this race last year so I knew I would shave some time off of last year’s pace just by virtue of being on a road bike.  Who cares if it is a 30 year old lever shifted road bike (a sweet sparkly blue Sekai 1000, a Japanese bike circa 1980)?  It’s mine and I didn’t need a second mortgage to buy it! I am still too scared to clip in but I didn’t brake on the down hills! Progress, folks!  And my time reflects that!  Shaved just about five minutes off my bike leg.

A girl and her ten speed

 

This picture says “I just changed my clothes in the parking lot because since I have had two babies I no longer believe in things like privacy” or something very similar.

Run: I came into the transition area to rack my bike a little winded.  I pushed myself on the bike and I was a little nervous about the run.  I forgot my Garmin and I have never run without something telling me my pace.  I was terrified that I would burn out quickly or end up running super slowly in an attempt to make sure I could finish.  I slugged some water and racked my bike and figured “Here I go.  Fuck it, I am just gonna get behind someone that “looks faster” than me and go.”  I exited transition and as I ran past the DJ I heard the best sound I could have imagined – shitty synth drums.  I can’t figure out how to spell it out – but you know the drum lead… “Miss her, kiss her, love her…. That girl is POISON! Never trust a big butt and a smiiiile…” I was smiling alright.  Two more miles and I was done.

This race is a pain in the ass, like most in and around Raleigh.  The first mile has lots of downhills and lulls you into a false sense of security.  Grabbed water at the turn around and wrapped my mind around the fact that I had to run back up all of those hills.  My run was… okay.  I should have pushed harder. Live and learn.  And don’t run behind someone that “looks fast.”  What does that even mean?  And don’t forget your Garmin, asshole.  You are technologically dependent, accept it and move on.  Shaved just about a minute off of my run time.  Not impressive for a year’s worth of training, but I will take it.

Summary: I shaved ten minutes off of my time.  My swim was slower, my bike was a good bit faster and my run was a little faster.  My transition times showed huge improvement because I didn’t stand there doing that thing that I do at the airport where I check my pockets compulsively 800 times.  I just put my shoes on and I left.  I did the whole race in my tri-suit.  Last year the idea of riding my bike and running in what amounts to a bathing suit made me want to die.  This year (after a year in a gym locker room and a year working hard to accept and nourish the body that I have) I decided to just go for it.  And guess what – nobody gave a shit.  Not a single person shouted “Go #48!  Go, right back and put a shirt on over that mess!” Go figure.

I don’t usually talk numbers because I think the message gets lost in the details  but if you really wanted to know you could see them on the internet and the idea of you creeping around the internet freaks me out. If you are dying to see the side by side comparison – here you go –   2013 and 2014.

Am I still riding high?  No such luck.  In case you were wondering I figured out the fastest way to knock a girl down a peg or two.  I was standing around waiting for the awards ceremony (having figured out via the wonders of live tracking and smart phones that I had actually placed in my age group.) I’d eaten a bagel.  I’d changed into dry clothes.  I had called my mother.  I had a little time to kill. I walked up to the DJ booth to thank the DJ I Could Have Given Birth To Without Having Been a Child Bride. “Thanks for Bel Biv Devoe, it was right on time!”

He smiled.  It was a smile similar to the teenage checker at the grocery store.  It was the “I am humoring you because I need this job and you seem nice enough” smile.  And then he did this terribly confusing thing.  He stuck his fist out.  Slowly (thank goodness or I’d have thought he was going to punch me.) I stood there looking perplexed for what seemed like an eternity and then I realized he was, as the kids say, fist bumping with me.  I swallowed a guffaw and stuck my fist out.  And then I turned on my heel (not easy to do in flip-flops) and ran.  Because I was in hysterics.  Whatever level of cool is afforded to those that place in their age group at an all-womens popular with first-timer’s sprint triathlon is instantly stripped when a twenty something tries to fist bump you.

So, how was the race?  It was awesome.  Do I have any advice?  Train hard.  Have fun.  Get there early and you will be the first person to use your chosen porta-potty.  And stay the hell away from the DJ.

Cheers!  What do you have planned for the summer?  Fitness goals or otherwise?

Cheers

And don’t even talk to me about the Diet Coke in the background. Change is hard. I don’t drink it as often as I used to.  Lame excuse, I know.  Just gaze in to my “I have had three glasses of wine” eyes and tell me how you plan to kick your own ass this summer.  It feels so good.  All the cool kids are doing it.

Measured Success

The very best part about doing something you have never done before is that no matter how you do – it is the best you have ever done.  In the last month I have set two personal records (PRs.) Having never run a 25K or a half-marathon at all until recently –  I was all set to crank out two PRs.

I went after the 25K with an “I have never run this before ever” mentality  and I was pleased to have finished strong.  Knowing that I had another race in only two weeks that was of slightly shorter distance, I set an attainable goal.  I felt like I had a little gas left in the tank when I finished the 25K so I decided to try and go a little faster.

I’m not fast. A year ago I couldn’t run one continuous ten minute mile.  Last week my half marathon pace was 10:07 on average.  That’s measurable progress.  So many people have asked me in the last year why I run.  It’s a simple answer.  There aren’t many opportunities for an adult to have measurable success outside the workplace. For months and months I wasn’t getting faster so I set my sights on distance.  Mission accomplished. My 5K time is creeping faster.  Slow and steady progress. marathon mama

This weekend I will switch gears (oh man, do you love a good pun!!  Switch gears, I am gonna ride my bike, guys.  I kill me.)  My personal triathlon season will kick off at the scene of the original crime.  Last year I finished my first sprint triathlon at an all women’s event.  It’s technically a super sprint (250 yard swim, 10 mile bike and a 2 mile run.) Last year I wanted to finish.  I rode a heavy hybrid and I had run for less than three months.  I was happy with my finish.  It’s a small event.  I finished 64th out of 126 participants. This year?  I am going back to run the same course.  There should be measurable improvement.  Right? And so begins the sleepless week.  I like to set goals.  I like to achieve them.  What’s reasonable?  I am pretty sure that cups of coffee at 10 pm and loads and loads of googling and looking at my runkeeper graphs for the last year will not help. Getting my bike out of the shed might be a good place to start.

Divorce is stupid

I hate being divorced.  It’s so stupid.  It’s stupid that all of these years later it is still there.

I love where I am right now.  I love my husband.  I love my life and my children and my home.  I can even confidently say that I love myself.  And none of those things would be without my past.  But I still hate it.

I hate that it makes me cry out of nowhere.  I hate that it makes me feel like all of the things that should feel permanent might just disappear one day.

I hate it more now that we have come all the way out the other side.  Last week when we sat on the beach and exchanged pleasantries, I hated every minute. When I realized that more time had passed since I had seen him than ever before in the last 18 years, I hated it.  When we spoke last week and I said “how was your day?” and he laughed and said “not good” I hated that my heart seized up in my chest because I am so ready for all of his days to be “all good.”  He deserves that much.

I hate that I don’t know where he works exactly or what the inside of his home looks like because I used to know everything, even things I wish I didn’t know.

It was easier when I got to say that I was divorced but that he was still my best friend because he was the person that knew me best. He was the person that had known me the longest.  But the truth is, the last six years have changed us both so much that unless we are talking about “the good old days” (which we both know weren’t really very good at all most days) it is like talking to someone I just met.

If it is possible to stand side by side with someone and feel like it all happened to other people how can you not fear that the now, the present that you love so much could all just go up in smoke?

To recap: I love right now, today.  And I loved yesterday and I am certain that I will love tomorrow.  And in spite of the Fear that creeps up in me sometimes, I refuse to feel Doubt.  I will smile and hold on and be 100% certain that I will love my life decades from now.

10001246_602805879801095_4743717070025521868_oMQD made a wind chime this weekend. We talked about getting rocking chairs for the front porch and I smiled and teared up. I gave him a pair of rocking chairs when we had not been dating very long at all and said something cheesy about how it would be nice to sit and rock in them together one day a very, very long time from now.  That was years ago and that pair of old rocking chairs never made it to our new house.

Even though I am divorced and even though that first pair of old rocking chairs rotted beyond repair –  I still believe.  It won’t be easy.  And we might have more than a few pairs of rocking chairs in our future because it’s true, nothing lasts forever.  But dammit, I won’t let hating my divorce keep me from loving my marriage.  Because that doesn’t make any damn sense at all.

To second chances, spring time, windchimes and rocking chairs.  To divorce and marriage and Love and tears and starting over.  Cheers!

Edited to add: It’s strange that I am grieving now of all times. It was easier when it hurt all of the time. I understood that. This part, the part when it is ancient history is a whole new kind of hurt. J, it was really good to see you.  It made me happy.  And seeing you happy made me happy.  And then it made me sad.  Ugh.  Miss me?  Ha! -K

I dug a big hole today. It was fun.

I was not a fan of this bush.  It blocks the light. It has big dead leaves all the time.  Recently MQD and I discussed the fact that he isn’t really a fan of this bush, either.

The Offending Bush

I am also not much of a fan of sitting around on my ass.  Unfortunately (for this bush) I woke up this morning not much of a fan of doing laundry or emptying the dishwasher or going to the gym.

So, I started hacking at the bush with a bolt cutter (like you do.) I gave it an all over inspection and made peace with the fact that my ordinarily green self was most definitely going to kill this bush. Sorry, little birds from last spring, but you will not be moving back into that old nest.  I saved that branch with last year’s bird nest for last and captured the Horton Hears a Who-ness of the moment.

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The hacking at the branches was a good time.  It was satisfying.  Quick actions and immediate results.  And then I started to dig.  And dig.  And dig.  My tiny helper grew weary and began to ask “You can’t do it, Mom? You can’t do it?”

Oh.  I can.  And I will.  But it was not a particularly good time.  20140415-130548.jpg

I dragged the zillion pound root ball to the end of the driveway.  Lucy asked “All done?  Nap time?”

Nope.  I explained that the fun part was over and now we had to clean up.

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So.  That’s what we did today.

I skipped the gym.  But I got good and sweaty.

Sweaty Mama

I suppose I will go back to the gym tomorrow.  I can’t just keep digging up my yard.  Right?

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Just Do It

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“You’re a beast!” “ROCK STAR!” “Congrats! You’re my hero!!”

My friends and family have been pretty free and easy with the pats on the back and the “way to go’s” since yesterday.  I will admit to being pretty proud of myself.  I ran my first half marathon yesterday and it was hot and hilly.  I set a goal for myself and I met it in spite of the crummy and unexpected conditions.

But I don’t feel like a hero because I ran 13.1 miles.  It is a half marathon, after all. I am only half crazy, no 26.2 for this girl (yet.)

You know when I did feel pretty spectacular? I had q-tips between my teeth and my cheeks and I was grinning ear to ear at the race expo on Friday afternoon.

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It turns out I really do love swabbing.

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In less than a minute of my day I donated some tissue and consented to be entered in to a worldwide registry of bone marrow donors.  The woman behind the table said “Are you interested in registering with Delete Blood Cancer?” and I said “Sure.” It was that easy.

I came home that evening and looked it up.  What did it really mean?  It means that someone somewhere with a blood cancer might not be a good match for any of the 9.5 million existing donors.  They might still be waiting for a donor that matches.  It might be me.  Or you.

There is a 1 in 500 chance that I will end up donating bone marrow or stem cells to a person with blood cancer.  You might think, oh wow, with odds like that why bother?  Well, that’s why.  With odds like that  – Delete Blood Cancer and Be the Match and organizations like these need as many people to register as possible.

As soon as I got a driver’s license I checked the Organ Donor box. If I have a chance to help someone after I am gone than by all means, I want to.  I have donated blood numerous times and will continue to do so.  But I had no idea until this past Friday that I could register to donate bone marrow or stem cells to a blood cancer patient.

I read all of the material and it scares me a little.  I don’t like hospitals.  Anesthesia freaks me out.  I am not wild about needles and being hooked up to a machine that is draining me of anything for more than a few minutes is a little worrisome. The process of donating if you match a patient is fairly unpleasant and would leave me feeling less than up to par for a few days.  But I imagine someone with leukemia or lymphoma or myeloma probably isn’t wild about hospitals or needles, either. And I’d be willing to guess that cancer probably leaves you feeling pretty crummy.

I really wanted to write a race recap post today.  But every time someone has asked me “How was the Raleigh Rock ‘n Roll Half?” I have wanted to answer “It sucked, it was hot and hilly but did you know that you can register to donate bone marrow without doing anything invasive?  It’s a q-tip in your mouth, that’s it!”

Two runners died during the race yesterday.  I have been thinking about their families a lot in the last 24 hours.   Life is so short. So many people that I have talked to have remarked that it is so shocking and sad that these two men passed away when they were “healthy.”  Healthy people get blood cancer every day.  And then they aren’t healthy anymore. Then they are counting on you and me to give them a fighting chance.

If you are in good health and you are between 18 and 55 you are eligible to donate bone marrow or stem cells to a patient with blood cancer.  There is a slim chance that you will be matched with a patient, true.  But there is a slimmer chance that the patient will find a match if you don’t register.  In keeping with the sporty theme – Just Do It.

 

 

Premature Double Fist Pump

It was supposed to sound casual.  “I’m still filthy from my run, I will just mow the grass really quickly.”  I was afraid to sound too excited.  Spring could throw the brakes on and it could be snowing before I had the shed door unlocked.

My fondness for mowing the grass is not a secret.  The girls and I spent much of Spring Break at the beach and when we got home Spring had sprung  There were buds on the azaleas and the trees were green.  There were weird spots of long grass in our yard.  I could mow.  It was time.  You know, just pull the old lawn mower out and give her a whirl.  Why not?

I pulled the mower out of the shed and confidently pushed it around to the front yard.  I gave it a yank.  I gave it another yank.  Years ago I had a mower that I could never start and I routinely had to suck up my pride and ask our neighbor to start it for me.  Not anymore.  This puppy is only a year old.  It starts up like a beauty every time.  I gave it another yank.  Nothing.  I stepped back.  I took a deep breath and I gave it one more yank.  The delicious sound of “I can’t hear you, Go ask your father, I am mowing the grass” filled the air and I was off.

And silence. The mower would only run for five, maybe six seconds. Shit. Tried it again.  Same thing.

Things that do not work make me insane.  Tools, technology, teenagers – I look at them all with my best RuPaul face and think “You better work, Bitch.”

I took Shop instead of HomeEc.  I am not afraid to get my hands dirty.  But I didn’t opt for the Automotive Technology Certificate in high school.  Engines and I have a limited understanding of one another.  The only thing I knew about this lawnmower is that I had done nothing but put gas in it since we bought it last summer.

Aha!  Gas.  I sort of lost a small part of our gas can last summer.  It has sort of been plugged with a piece of duct tape for months.  I know.  Not smart.  Not the losing it or the having a not exactly closed gas tank in the shed for the better part of a year.  I have already been informed of my stupidity, rest assured.  But maybe my semi-open gas can was to blame for this?  To the store I went for a siphon and a new gas can.  I would get this crappy gas out of my beloved mower and it would run like a top once again, right?

It is easy to feel like a high roller when you are buying two gallons of gas.  Super Premium for me, please. Old gas removed, new gas poured in.  Started right up! And stayed running! By this time I was feeling a little over-confident.  Maybe I should check the oil.

One more trip to the store and my mower had oil, premium gasoline and I was considering wiping the blades down with a rag.  I had all but made love to this machine in my driveway,  I was ready to mow the damn grass.

Halfway across the lawn on my first pass and I looked up to see my beloved family sitting on the porch.  I did what any full-grown woman would do and I leapt in the air and did a double fist pump and shouted “Yesssss!”

I looked like this most of yesterday, except I was much less clean.

I looked like this most of yesterday, except I was much less clean.

You know what happened, right? A terrible choking sound and white smoke billowed out from the engine.  Too much oil.  It had to be the culprit. By the time I added the oil I was kind of in a hurry and my checking of the dipstick was more of a cursory glance than a legit “checking of the oil level.”  Not a problem. I happen to have a siphon now.

Oil removed. Oil checked.  More smoke.  At this point there was only one small compartment left on my mower that I had not investigated. Wasn’t there an air filter? There had to be, right?  Engines have those, right? Yep.  When I popped open the door and removed the filter it was dripping with oil.  Dripping.  This was an air filter, not an oil filter.  It did not look good.

Perhaps sensing my frustration with this project MQD promptly put the filter in a ziploc bag and sped back to the store.

I did mow my grass yesterday.  And it usually makes me feel accomplished.  But I also diagnosed my engine problem (shitty, old gas,) fixed the problem by siphoning the gas, changed my oil, adjusted my oil and replaced my air filter.  Did I buy a 22 oz beer at the gas station on my last and final trip?  You bet I did.

Just in case you are one of those sexist assholes that wonders what my husband was doing while I was fixing the lawn mower  you should know that he was elbow-deep in a heart attack in the kitchen.  What did we have for dinner last night? Bacon Explosion.  And a salad, of course.

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Bacon Explosion by MQD

 

Inherent Worth & Dignity

Unitarian Universalists promote seven principles.  The first principle is the inherent worth and dignity of every person.  This week I was reminded that my eight year old is a far superior Unitarian Universalist than I may ever be.  Because after she told me what happened to her on the school bus I was really struggling to see the inherent worth and dignity in one particular little girl.

She was crying when she came up to the front door so it took me a short while to get an answer.  “Did something happen at school, Em?”

“Mom, she said I am a bad person.  She said I can’t be a Girl Scout if I don’t believe in God. She said if I don’t have God in my heart than I have the devil in my heart.”

I wrapped my arms around her tightly while she caught her breath.  And the words, the words that came tumbling from her lips next made me more proud than I have perhaps ever been. “I told them that I am a Unitarian.  And that I do go to a church actually. And that my church says you can believe in whatever you want.  I am a good person.  I am.  How could that God want to punish me when I didn’t even say anything mean when they were telling me that I was a bad person?”

The part of me that wants to start talking and never stop when I don’t know what to say exactly worked hard to stay quiet.  The less I said the more she spoke and the more I realized I needed to say nothing.

“The Girl Scout pledge says God but so does the Pledge of Allegiance. You don’t have to believe in God to be an American so I don’t think you do to be a Girl Scout.”

I kept quiet.  I was waiting for the shame, for the doubt, for the “what if they are right, Mom?”

“There is only one thing that I wish was different about our church.  I wish it wasn’t in the woods.  It’s kind of hiding and if we were right next to the road more people would know about us and more people would come because I bet a lot of people actually think that it is okay to believe whatever you want and just be a good person.”

She knows.  She knows she is a good person.  And it doesn’t matter what the Girl Scouts think.  Or a kid on the bus.  Or God.  She just knows.

In the last year I have thought frequently about our first principle as it applies to others.  I think about it in the moments that I try to apply my reality to another person and I see them coming up short.  I remind myself that they are their own person, they live their own reality, they have their own inherent worth and dignity.  It never dawned on me that if you believe in your heart of hearts in your own worth, in your own dignity, if you do not have self-doubt – it is so much easier not to condemn others.

My sweet Emily June, you have taught me more in your eight years than I may ever teach you.  This can’t be your first rodeo, kid.

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An Exercise in Letting Go

I am a creature of habit.  Wake up. Eat.  Do stuff.  Sweat.  Do more stuff.  Eat. Shower.  Do more stuff. Eat.  Repeat.  Last week was tough on me.  There was a lot of Eat and plenty of Do stuff but not enough Sweat.  The plan was to taper my running back in order to feel fresh and strong for Saturday’s 25K.  It didn’t work out exactly as I had planned.

I went to yoga. Twice.  The first time I went I boogied out of there before savasana.  The idea of just chilling, flat on my back for ten minutes was making me crazy.  I had a routine to maintain.  I wasn’t Sweating.  And now I wasn’t evening Doing stuff. I ran a few miles and called that my savasana.  Savasana is your Happy Place, right?  Running is my happy place.

The second time I walked in to class hell-bent on staying.  It is not uncommon to focus on an intention at the beginning of class.  “Stay until the end…. Stay until the end….” I sat, cross-legged and eyes closed, and focused on what was surely the lamest intention for a yoga class ever.  Don’t leave.  Quiet the mind? Forget it.  I just wanted to stay physically present in the room.

We were still in seated meditation when I noticed the clock was missing.  Surely it had been hung up elsewhere in the room.  I’d find it.

Standing.  We were finishing a set of sun salutations and I had managed to inconspicuously look all over the room. There was no clock.

It is hard enough for me to unplug.  My cell phone was on the other side of the room.  And now there was no clock. I had no idea what time it was.  This laid-back yoga class might just have me sweating yet.

We were in triangle pose when I started to freak the fuck out.  How long had we been here?  And I was freezing.  The class before ours had turned the air conditioning on evidently because even our teacher finally remarked on how cold it was in there.  She kicked the thermostat up and we carried on.

Through pigeon and into some seated twists.  We had to be half-way through, right?  An hour class, we’d have balance poses last in all likelihood and that would leave time for ten minutes in savasana.  I was really struggling in this absence of Time. Was it tomorrow?  Had we been here for an entire day?  Was it yesterday?  Oh my god, what in the fuck time is it?  And now I was sweating.  Like, really sweating. I took my jacket off and I could feel warm air all around me and I almost felt feverish.

In the moment that I was convinced I had eaten some kind of LSD with breakfast someone remarked that the air conditioning was definitely off but that it seemed the heat had turned on in its place.   Ahh. I was not alone in this imaginary hot flash.

Up on our feet.  Tree pose.  Dancer’s pose.  Half Moon.  Warrior III. We were almost done. And down on the floor.  Savasana, corpse pose, reflect on your intention for the class.  I made it.

We were seated and smiling.  Namaste.

I waited until our teacher had turned the lights on.  People were talking.  I opened my mouth and without any control of the words spilling out, I spoke. “So, the clock is gone.  That was kind of crazy.  It was like I was eating acid and I was all “Oh man, whoknowswhattimeitis, Ifeelsofree.” and five seconds later I was freaking out because “Holy moly, isittodayortomorroworyesterday!? Add in the whole Iamfreezing, no, waitnowIamsweating factor and wow.  That was some yoga class.”  It is common that following these bouts of verbal vomit there is a strange silence.

My teacher smiled.  “Yeah.  We are going to need a new clock.”

~

My desperate attempt to take a few days off paid off.  The Merge Records 25K was a smashing success, finished strong, had fun and I am not crippled! Took a short run this morning and I feel super (thanks for asking!)

Merge25K

Unsolicited Parenting Advice #1

I’m not a quiet girl.  If you’ve met me in person I will give you a minute to wipe that “no shit” look off of your face.

I have a new parenting technique and it doesn’t feel right to keep it to myself.

One of the hardest things about being home with the kids full-time is the noise.  It is constant.  It is relentless.  There is a never-ending hum of sound. I think that is how parents end up being yellers.  We just have to compete to get heard.

I really don’t want to be a yeller. But I have a two year old.

Solution:  Quiet Riot. Specifically “Cum on Feel the Noize.

Scenario:  I am cutting chicken.  Shit always hits the fan when I have raw chicken on my hands. I have said “Lucy please stop banging that lid on the oven door” several times at a reasonable volume level.   She has interpreted this to me “Start yelling along with the slamming.”

Here is where I employ my new technique.  Instead of screaming “For the love of all that is holy, STOP with the banging for one blessed second!  I can not pick you up so do not start crying like I have ruined your life, I have chicken on my hands, RAW CHICKEN.  Jeeezus, stop crying.  I didn’t do anything, I just asked you to stop with the banging, Go.  Bang.  Bang all the lids.  Do whatever you want.  Nobody listens to me!!!” n0t that I have ever had this sort of situation go down. I, personally, never, ever lose my cool.

Instead, at the moment that I feel the crazy start to make its way up my throat and tickle my yelling muscles I open my mouth and I shriek “CUM ON FEEL THE NOIZE!” and I smile.  You have to smile while you do it or it is just like screaming at your kid. Remember, you are singing. You are FunTime Mom.  You are the mom that loves it when your kid bangs lids on the oven door.

“Girls, Rock the boys!  We’ll get wild, wild wild!! Wild, wild wild!!”  Take a minute. Catch your breath. If you’re doing it right your kid has stopped dead in their tracks.  They are staring at you like they have no idea what is going to happen next.

So, you think I’ve got an evil mind… that is the next line.  That isn’t a question.

That’s it.  This is my new Toddler Parenting Technique.  Go ahead and yell.  But yell a song, shake your hips and smile, smile, smile and you can pretend you are dancing, singing Fun Mom.  It works. It is the latest and greatest in my Fake It Til You Make It life plan.

Try it.  I suggest 80s hair metal, but I suppose any tune will do. Twister Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” is a hit in our house. Adam Ant’s “Goody Two Shoes” will work. But you have to start right in with “Don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do you do?” and you have to really put your hips into it.

Come back and tell me your favorite song to scream, I mean, sing at your kids.

This kid is nuts.

This kid is nuts.

Bikini Body?

Ordering a bathing suit online is a ridiculous idea.  But when the company that makes the running shorts that make me feel hot, not just athletic, had a sale – I took the bait.

It is the time of the year that I have the Great Bikini Debate.  Last summer I tried to embrace the stretch marks. I gave it a solid effort.  I even tried to tan those mofos.  If I am 100% honest – the red bikini took a backseat to the trusty one piece the great majority of the time. And now here I am again, another year older, another year closer to the Year I Should Really Stop Wearing A Two Piece.  (I am not sure when that is, exactly, but I am certain it exists.)

Standing in my bathroom in the new two piece I could acknowledge that this summer’s bikini body is slightly more toned than last year’s.  I have run my ass off this year and it is starting to show.  Deep breath in.  Deep breath out.  Bend over.  Sit down.  Eh.  It is what it is but it is unlikely that it is gonna get better than it is right now, right? The fit is ok.  But the color?

Brown. The brown bikini was the only sale suit in my size.  I just don’t know about brown.

I called to Emily.  “Come here.  What do you think?”

She just stood there with her hand on her tiny little hip.   “Hmmm.  That’s a tricky question. I’m trying to decide what you want me to say.” Damn kid.

“The truth,” I answer.

“Well, you have really big boobs and that top is really big like a lot of fabric but weirdly it makes your boobs look not as noticeable. And I think it’s ok that your stomach is like, well, you know like that because you had two babies and you’re a great mom and you look pretty.” She paused to take a breath.  “Do you like it?”

I love her. I do.  I should have been more clear, I suppose.  “Do you like this color brown?” Sigh.

Back tattoo teapot

If the bikini makes its presence known this summer than the excitement will be two-fold.  My stomach and the stretch marks there really get all the press.  But it is high time that the wreckage on my hips and lower back get a little face time.  The 2014 new ink highlights them nicely.  Last summer’s motto seemed to be “if you can’t tone it, tan it.” This summer it is looking like I am embracing the “if you can’t tone it, tattoo it” philosophy.  Someday perhaps I will get to that level of peace where I don’t even have this conversation with myself. Maybe next spring when I am trying on bathing suits for my 39th summer I will only ask myself the question that my sweet Emily June asked me –  “Do I like it?” Maybe.  Someday.