Category Archives: Nonsense

Goals: Smashing them

I am not a super competitive person.  Not in my life, not in triathlon.  I am just not.  I really believe that hocus pocus about how you’re only competing against yourself.  It’s true.  I struggle with my training because I want each run to be faster than the last.  And improvement comes in incremental leaps not daily.

This month has been big for me.  In the middle of my fourth season of triathlon I have started to make some improvement.  I rode the bike leg of Ironman Raleigh 70.3 a few weeks ago and I didn’t ride my brakes downhill.  And I did not die.  At all.  I used my aerobars even though I still feel like I am going to crash because my hands aren’t even touching my brakes and I figured out what it feels like to blow your legs out on the bike.  (Awesome, by the way.)

racerThis last weekend I raced my first sprint with a pool swim in over a year and I passed a bunch of folks so apparently I hugely overestimated my swim time.  

And then I went all out on the bike and figured I would just see if I could run.  At all.  And I smashed my personal record for a 5K.  Not a 5K in a tri.  But at all.  It was crazy. I felt like George Jetson.  In my head I was all “Jane!  Stop this crazy thing!!!!” but my legs just kept moving.

Another fitness related accomplishment is as much about my head is it is the rest of me. I started running without my shirt on.  And it isn’t pretty. But I feel like a badass and it seems that people will not actually DIE if they see my stomach in motion.  Stretch marks don’t tan so they are just whiter and more bold than ever but I am over worrying about it. I stopped in the bathroom on a run recently and when I looked in the mirror I noted that I looked like a “runner.”  Intellectually I know that runners come in all shapes and sizes but I have always felt like a poser.  runner

The last accomplishment is one that I hesitate to speak about. It feels more personal.  You know, since I don’t get naked and stand on the bathroom scale in front of all of you.  But it feels good to be proud of yourself, and dammit, I am.  I have lost a good bit of weight this year in my “Get Your Shit Together Before You Turn 40!” plan and I have maintained it. I have had to change my race registrations from Athena to Age Group since I no longer qualify.  And it feels weird.  I have identified as a big kid for the last ten years. I actually enjoyed that moment when I told someone that I was just a little shy of 200 pounds and they raised an eyebrow and said “No fucking way!” But I am down almost 40 pounds and I run faster and sleep better and drink less alcohol and wear ALL OF MY CLOTHES because holy shit, they fit!!!

Silly that I had to go stand in a store and weigh myself and purchase three months of a diet program to put into practice the same dietary advice that my mother has been giving free of charge since I was a kid.  “Mom, I am hungry.”  “Eat an apple.”  “I don’t want an apple.”  “Well, then you’re not hungry.”

I don’t do low-fat food.  And I don’t do diet food.  But I started eating real food.  And a lot of it.  And I dropped weight.  And then I got faster. And then I stayed the same weight for two months and got faster still.   I can’t believe that those things are not connected.

I was eating an apple (from my purse because I carry snacks around like I am my own toddler) and thinking the other day as I walked into Target.  I eat like an athlete.  I am fueling my body and my workouts and caring for myself.  I’ll be damned.

shower beer

I didn’t turn into a different person.  I still drink cheap beers in the shower.  I just make better choices when I get out of the shower.  Another perk?  It seems that losing weight has made my boobs all but disappear so now I can share my shower beer pics with no boobs in sight unless I take them from the waist up! Long boobs, indeed!

I am not that competitive.  Not with other people.  But with myself?  I want to get there faster than I did last time.  Every single time. I spent ten years gaining and losing the same 40 pounds. But I can guarandamntee that I won’t do it again.  Because this feels so good.  I feel like me again.

Running last weekend I was thinking about how I am not normally motivated to speed up by other runners.  We are all in our own race, on our own journey.  But there was this kid in front of me.  Well, he was behind me at first but then he was in front of me.  And I couldn’t stand it. I gave it all I had to try and catch him.  The weekend before I was climbing up a hill on my bike and feeling strong when I heard that whirring sound of fancy wheels and “On your left!” I moved to the side and prepared to be passed.  Out of habit I looked at his calf to check his age.  64.  I dug deep and passed him on the next hill.

I guess I am a little competitive.  I don’t like to get passed by people I could have given birth to or people that could have given birth to me.  That’s my window of shame.  And I don’t want to feel like I live in a body that doesn’t feel like mine.    Eventually the triathletes I could have given birth to won’t be in elementary school and I will have to revise my plan.

But for now – I have goals.  And I am smashing them, friends.  Set some.  Aim high.  It feels so damn good.  It feels even better if those goals serve absolutely nobody but you.  Be selfish. Take care of yourself.  Take naps.  Take risks.  I triple dog dare you.

Mom

Roll With It

On the back of his chef coat was a design – black octagons in a line down the center of his spine.  He was laughing and smiling and everyone around him was smiling, too.  The first time I saw the design on his coat I had no idea what it was but I was still pretty green.  It was my first bartending gig and I was barely 21 years old.

By the time I saw the octagons on the back of his jacket a second time I had already gotten a few of my own on the knee of the jeans that I wore to work.  Dura_Chef_7_8_Action_Shot_2_LargeKneel down on a kitchen mat to get something off of a shelf and you, too, will have a greasy octagon on your pants.   That explained what they were.  But it didn’t tell me how they got there. Who in the hell would lie down on the floor in a kitchen?

I was working in a restaurant with an open kitchen.  From behind the bar I could see the boys in the kitchen and I would admire their fast hands and their furrowed brows as they made delicious magic happen on dinner plates.

I would look into the kitchen window often for a whole bunch of different reasons.  It was wise to take a peek into the window before you sent in a Sunday brunch ticket with a bazillion “Hold Food” special orders.  You were a fool to not check and see if the boys were busy before you ordered your favorite sandwich for your employee lunch (turkey club with boursin mayonnaise.) Eventually I would marry one of those boys on the line so I suppose I was frequently just trying to sneak a peek at that guy I had just met.

On a busy night in the middle of a dinner rush if you watched carefully you would see one of the most extraordinary things I have ever witnessed in a kitchen.  (Now you know if you have worked in the restaurant business that kitchens are like another planet and a lot of insane things go down back there.) But there is only one boy I have ever seen do a somersault on the line.  Perhaps more astounding than the somersault was that nobody ever looked irritated by this ridiculous display of bravery (stupidity?) in the midst of hot pans and high tempers.  And knives.

Nobody could roll with it like Skillet.  “My name is Skillet and I rooooolllll with it.” He would pop up from the floor with a fresh line of octagons down his chef coat and that smirk would spread across his face and no matter how slammed you were and no matter how much you hated every single person in your station or how outrageously hungover you were all of a sudden you were smiling.  And you were rolling with it, too.

In the last fifteen years I have seen Skillet less than a handful of times.  Some of those times were a little hazy and some of them were a lot hazy (I am looking at you, Urbanna Oyster Festival.) But each and every time I was laughing.

I might not have seen Skillet in ages… but I think of him when I take a deep breath and smile.  Sometimes the choice to remain calm and smiling in the midst of chaos is all it takes to make the people around you  just chill the fuck out.   So very many times I have thought to myself “My name is Skillet and I rooollll with it.”

There are times in your life when you must fight.  You must not back down and you must be willing to give every last shred of your being to a cause.  But sometimes, lots of times, you need to take a deep breath and roll with it.  Because it’s really not that bad.  And everyone around you is just way too serious.  And it will be over before you know it and you need to put a smile on your face and roll on.

Today I learned that that boy who so many of my old friends will remember is no longer with us.  To be honest, it hit me a little harder than I was expecting.  A lot harder.  But I am going to put a crooked smile on my face and roll with it, Skillet.

My deepest condolences to the Atwood family.

Free Crazy

Have you ever been so sweaty and crying so hard that you were not entirely sure if it was sweat or tears that was all over your neck and getting on your sunburn and stinging? No.  Well, isn’t that too bad.

bike

I had a shit day today.  For the first time in forever and ever a good sweat and a workout didn’t seem to cure what ails me.  I spent two and a half hours on the bike trainer today (a special kind of hell that I actually quite like) because I am too disorganized to make a plan for a group ride and too skeered to ride on the road alone.  I think I spent two hours and twenty nine of those minutes imagining every single thing that could go wrong during the bike portion of my upcoming 70.3.  It wasn’t pretty.

And it was hot.  And riding a bike in your backyard and not moving means you are a buffet for the skeeters.  So when I set out to run I was beyond cranky.

About a mile in I thought “Fuck it.  I will just go back home.”  When you are considering turning around and bailing and you only have to run three miles – it is a bad, bad day.  Bad.  So, I started to cry. Naturally.  I kept running.  And crying.  And feeling stupid and slow and defeated and tired.

And then I saw a piece of trash on the side of the road.  It was a Little Caeasar’s advertisement for Crazy Bread.  It was folded in half.  All I could see were big block letters advertising “FREE CRAZY.”

I was running and sweating and crying and thinking about maybe peeing in my trisuit just to see if I hated the sensation and I saw a sign that said “FREE CRAZY,” guys.  Umm.  Nope.  No, thanks.  I have plenty of my own crazy.

So, I did the only thing I know how to do when I think I might totally lose my shit on a run.  I started singing along with the crappy music I run to… “Oh, don’t you dare look back. Just keep your eyes on me. I said, “You’re holding back!” She said, “Shut up and dance with me!” This woman is my destiny!!!!”

It must be time to take a few days off, dude.  I actually cried and serenaded myself today during a workout. This might have stopped being good for me, huh? Took a peek at the calendar and whaddayaknow? Taper starts this week.  Right on time.

 

The Tooth Fairy

It’s a gamble to take a shower with a toddler in your house.  As desperately as I want to get clean I know that I must also want to Magic Erase crayon from a wall, scoop dog food out of the water bowl, re-roll a roll of toilet paper…. something.

I got out of the shower and I heard her start running.  She was up to something.  “Luuuuucy,” I cried. “What are you doing?”

I did not hear her customary response, “Nothing.” Instead I heard her dive-bomb onto the couch.  “Are you hiding?” No response.

I peeked into the living room to see a pile of blankets on the couch and assumed (correctly) that Lucy was hiding with some kind of contraband.  Whatever it was, she already had it.  I figured I could quickly get dressed while she was hiding.  I threw my clothes on and took a deep breath and prepared to find out what she had been up to during my 87 second long shower.

“Lucy, where are youuuu?” From under the blanket I heard her “Hiding!” only it sounded more garbled than usual.

“Do you have something in your mouth, Lu?” She pulled the blanket down, eyes shining. “What do you have in your mouth, Lu? Spit it out.”  I put my hand in front of her face the way a parent does and steeled myself for halloween candy, a beetle, part of a magazine.

“Rocks!” she announced triumphantly as she spit into my hand eight teeth.  Yes.  TEETH.  Two days before Halloween Lucy was living out some kind of twisted horror movie and she spit into my hand a mouthful of TEETH.

They weren’t bloody.  She wasn’t crying.  And yet still for a brief moment I thought “This kid astounds me.  She has fallen and busted out all of her teeth in the time it took me take a shower and it didn’t even slow her down.”  I am not sure what made me turn back and look into my bedroom.  But there on my dresser was my jewelry box.  It was open and on it was a small blue box.  I started to laugh.  In 87 seconds she had climbed up to open my jewelry box, dig to the back where I hide Emily’s teeth after the Tooth Fairy does her thing, stolen them and shoved them all in her mouth.

With a fistful of spitty teeth I started to laugh.  “Yes.  Rocks.  Do not put rocks in your mouth.”  And I started to count.  I counted the “rocks” and I dug through the couch and carefully ran my hand along my white bedroom carpeting until I had accounted for all of the missing teeth.  Teeth safely returned to their hiding spot I all but forgot she had done this.  (Now that is indicative of how absurd life with an almost three year old truly is, she spit teeth into my hand that she had stolen from jewelry box and I all but forgot it happened hours later.)

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Emily got off the bus later that afternoon.  “Look at this, this tooth is loose.”  We had the usual “Let me wiggle it” “No, don’t pull it” “I am not going to pull it, just let me wiggle it” argument.  It wasn’t very loose.  Nevertheless, an hour later she came back downstairs with a fresh gap and a bloody tooth.  “It was a one day process! Loose tooth to missing tooth, Mom! Just one day!”

The world is weird.  That night as I reminded her to put her tooth where the the Tooth Fairy would be sure to find it she smiled at me.  “You’re the Tooth Fairy, too, right?”

“No.  Go to bed.  I love you.”

“But you’re the Tooth Fairy, right?”

“No.  Go to bed.”

“I know that you are.  You can tell me.”

“Do you want your dollar? The Tooth Fairy won’t come if she hears you talking like this.” She smiled and pulled her blankets up to her pierced nine-year-old ears.

In the morning she came down and said “Dad, I got a dollar coin from the Tooth Fairy.” He asked if it was Sacagawea or Susan B.  Without thinking I responded “Susan B, 1979.”

Em just smiled at me and said “Yep. Silver. From the Tooth Fairy.”


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Happy Third Anniversary, MQD!

I got lucky.  I met a super boy that became a wonderful man and we got married.  And then I got really lucky and all that worrying I did about being able to get pregnant turned out to be for nothing and we made a honeymoon baby.

So, wedding anniversaries tend to disappear in a mess of kids and baby and soccer practice and mother’s day and my birthday is next week, anyway.

But lately I have been thinking about how important it is to stop and take a breather and honor the marriage that the rest of my life hinges around.  We’ve got a good thing.  So, it seems easy.  But a marriage needs to be fed. Nobody likes a hungry marriage.

Sunday afternoon, after my race, I asked MQD if he wanted to go out and grab a pitcher and some burgers at The Wooden Nickel and call it our Anniversary Dinner.

20140501-085443.jpgAs evidenced by the sippy cup behind the pitcher, we had company.  But she came home from our honeymoon with us, after all.  It didn’t bother me to have her tag along on our Anniversary Dinner.  We laughed and talked and we fed our marriage. 20140501-085456.jpg

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Nobody left hungry. Cheeseburger plus fried egg plus tater tots plus beers equals a happy marriage, FYI.

We’d planned on eating dinner at home last night.  I would pick up cupcakes from Sugarland (they did our wedding cupcakes!) and MQD would grab sushi from a local place and we’d lay low.  And then I got lucky again.  The stars and the soccer and softball schedules aligned and my kids were invited to eat dinner with my nearest and dearest and her family.  With the kids out of the picture I had to amp up the Wedding Anniversary Shenanigans. Quickly.

Wedding Anniversary

Wedding Dress plus Apron equals a sweet surprise.  MQD called to let me know he’d picked up dinner and asked what I was up to.  “Just playing with the kids and waiting for my husband like a pretty princess.”  MQDHe thought I was kidding.

“When are you not just hanging around like a pretty princess?” I had mentioned wearing my wedding dress all day for our anniversary but evidently he didn’t think I would bother. He got out of his car and we met him on the porch as we often do, only I was a wee bit more glam than normal.  I opted to switch up my greeting from my typical still sweaty in gym clothes “Dinner is almost ready, I am taking a shower” and went with a “You have ten minutes to change your clothes, kids are having dinner across the street.  We are going out for a drink, home to eat cupcakes and we can have sushi after the kids go to bed?”

Nonsense

Three years and counting and he still rolls right along with my nonsense.

From our wedding vows (and Tom Robbins’ Still Life with Woodpecker)

“Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words “make” and “stay” become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.”

 

Thank you, nice lady, for taking our picture in front of Mystery Brewing Company! And double thank you to the nut that asked us if we were going to prom when we ran into the store to grab beers on the way home.

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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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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

 

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!)

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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.

The Power of the Mind

mind-over-matter

I believe in the power of a strong mind. Couple a strong mind with tremendous focus and anything is possible.

I put the power of my mom mind to a test this past weekend.

I waited this long to write about it because I was afraid of jinxing myself.

Guys, I willed away a stomach bug. I did.  My sweet eight year old daughter came to me with tears in her eyes and said “I threw up.”  I pretended I did not hear her.  She repeated herself.  “Mom, I threw up.  Like nine times.”

I translated this from melodramatic kid speak to normal english in my mind.  Maybe she just vurped.  Maybe twice.  (Vomit burps, tell me I didn’t really need to explain that.  Vurps, you guys know what those are, right?)

She ran past me into the bathroom.  Her little self was hunched over the toilet.

That wasn’t a vurp.

She stood up and turned to look at me, tears in her eyes again.  I mustered every bit of strength I had and I looked deep in to her big, blue eyes.  I looked past the sweet face of the child I adore.  I’m not sure where stomach bugs reside (in the soul? In the gut?) but I looked there and I said “You can not be sick right now.  Do you understand me?  You can not be sick.  Right now we have lice.”

I was knee deep in laundry when she informed she had thrown up. I had spent more than two hours “nit picking” with the magical metal comb and having my own head picked.  I would spend the next 34 hours doing laundry.

I wasn’t fucking kidding.

There would be no stomach bug.

I was waging a war against lice.  I didn’t have the manpower to take on a stomach bug. And to be quite honest, there was no way I was spreading towels on beds right now.  We had an all out ban on fabric in our home at the moment.  You get one towel, one pillow and one blanket.  It goes in the downstairs bathroom in the morning and you put all of your dirty clothes directly in the washing machine.  I had no space in my washing machine or my head for puke towels.

And it worked.  It worked.  I was rewarded for this feat of strength with a blizzard and a headcold but I still feel like a winner.  At some point this week in between the Lice Laundry and the Snowpocalypse I gave my dryer a little break.  I have slugged enough NyQuil to need a trip to rehab but I still feel like I am coming out on top. Because my head doesn’t itch.  And nobody has thrown up.

Mind over matter, people.  You can do anything.  Anything.

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When I am not doing laundry I like to let my kids out of the car and then lock the doors. They fake cried until I broke down and got out of the car. But for a few blissful moments I was all alone.