March 31, 2012 § 6 Comments
How I’ve fallen in love with you.
I was hesitant to try you, which is silly, but you reminded me of those old record stores with too much to weed through. I always had I anxiety attacks in those stores. I’d have to wait outside.
I was wrong about you.
Who knew that such inspiration would appear when I gave you a click? Certainly the genius who made you.
Pin, re-pin, like, like, like.
I want to follow people I don’t even know and innocently stalk the ones whose visions increase my heart rate.
I can pin something that I find as I search the grand expanse of the web and never ever lose it again.
If only everyone was pinning, we could all be connected on that cool and clever plane.
Share the love. It’s fun. Really fun!
March 30, 2012 § 3 Comments
In the hunt for good basic tees I tweeted my search to the nice people who happen to be following me. My bloggy pal Christine over at Love Life Surf suggested I check out StyleMint, which was created by the ever stylish Olsen twins.
Out of curiosity and desperation I did, and what I found was not only great quality t-shirts, but (in my opinion) a brilliant business model, as well.
The company asks its users to begin by choosing from images that represent their own lives. Once your style type has been chosen you are guided to the showroom where tees of all different variations are modeled based on the image they’ve chosen for you.
All the tees are the same price ($29.99 with free shipping), which is not unreasonable when you compare them to other brands like James Perse or Splendid whose basics are closer to sixty.
Finally, once you’ve bought your first tee there is a recurring charge at the beginning of the month, which you can opt out of if you don’t love or need anything from the new batch that is uploaded. At first I was unsure about this, as I’m not a fan of recurring charges, but it’s the way it works and since you have some time to decide on a purchase (five days), it really isn’t a deal breaker.
As my search for great basics continued I came across a newer line created by Joie, called Soft Joie. Their pieces are on the pricier side (ranging from $80 to $150), but as any Internet shopping Queen can tell you, you don’t have to pay full price. Find what you love and check it daily. You might get lucky if it’s not sold out and be able to scoop up your favorites for much less.
I mostly shop for my girls online for two reasons.
The first is that it’s almost impossible to leisurely carouse when they are hanging off of me or hiding under rounders. It’s patience grading and no fun.
Secondly, they are particular and won’t wear anything that they haven’t picked out themselves. This, I admit, may be the result of a mistake in my parenting.
When looking online I have often asked them what they liked and why. If they say, “Nay,” and I buy it anyway, they won’t wear it. Ever.
Hunting for good basic play clothes has become a challenge. If it’s not covered in ruffles with a skirt that spins, it ends up relegated to the bottom of their drawers.
A line called T2Love may become (fingers crossed) the line to bridge the gap. Their soft cotton essential pieces have girly flair with rugged playtime practicality.
March 29, 2012 § 9 Comments
My sister converted to Islam less than four years ago.
I hadn’t seen her since my girls were a month old and our relationship has been tumultuous as she’s transitioned into her new life.
I was scared for her.
I didn’t understand why she would choose something that was so misunderstood in our country. I viewed the head covering as an adverse action toward the rights of women. I was confused and worried. I thought only the worst.
Her new life is simple and busy. Her children are happy and healthy.
She’s happy, which is all anyone wants for the people they love.
I asked lots of questions of her and her husband, a Bangladeshi Imam. Once I got past his dress I found him to be a genuinely lovely person. He’s a good father. His beliefs are not so different from some of my own.
So, what was I really scared of?
They left this morning and I got call from Peach as soon as they drove away.
There were no tears. It was a good trip.
I think we are all relieved.
March 27, 2012 § 8 Comments
My sister Amanda and her family drove into mom’s driveway at four p.m. yesterday afternoon. I hadn’t seen her or Marcus, her thirteen year old, in over four years. I also had yet to meet her husband or their three babies under three.
I thought I was busy with a couple of wild twins, but my sissy and her family didn’t stop moving from the time they arrived until the moment we escaped back to our house. That many littles in such a short period of time makes an awful lot of chaos. Happy chaos, but chaos nonetheless.
Today will be another fast paced day. My hope is for Marcus and the girls and me to have a slight adventure to Target where we’ll get him the Hunger Games book and talk like we used to. I want the girls to know how special he is to me and to see his magic for themselves. Later, the rest of the family will come to the house and play here for the day.
I wish I could write more about Amanda and our relationship, but that will have to wait for a day with less on the schedule. It probably would make a better book than blog anyway, so we shall see. The fact that we haven’t seen each other in four years is a good indication of its complexity.
On the healthy living healthy diet front, I suspended the cleanse as my body formed its own revolt beginning yesterday morning.
I haven’t talked much about the fact that I’m diabetic, primarily because it hadn’t been an issue since training began for the race. My endocrinologist thought a marathon was a great idea. I was even able to stop my medication, because my hours of running made them unnecessary.
But with less running on the agenda, mixed with an awful lot less food through the cleanse, by lunchtime yesterday I knew that I need to balance things out. In other words, eat something!
I pulled the good old pricker from my desk drawer and began the steps that you take before collecting your blood.
It’s no fun to make ones’ self bleed, but if it gives your brain an answer for your bodies’ reactions through the day it’s a super tool to have.
The only goal for today is to give up my control to the universe and become present. It’s the aspect that’s been missing. It’s the aspect that should always be first.
Family, children, babies, new book discoveries, good food and balance.
Hope you find balance in your day, too!
March 25, 2012 § 8 Comments
In September of 1983 I turned eleven. I was in the seventh grade. For my birthday party I wanted to take my friends to see the movie The Outsiders, which we’d probably already seen eleven or twelve times. The film directed by Francis Ford Coppola spoke to the stuff which we had not yet been exposed; serious themes of love and hatred, socio-economic distrust, death and murder to name a few. Being cast with cute teenage boys was (I think) its initial appeal.
Afterward, my parents took the dozen or so of us to Ernesto’s on Clement Street (in San Francisco) for pizza. The memory of that night has not faded with time.
When we entered the restaurant a gaggle of girls with bright red eyes and puffy faces there was no doubt that what we’d experienced was powerful. We’d cried and sighed and reached for each others hands. Despite the difficult themes, we loved every minute of the entire movie; the evidence not totally clear by the sight of our tear smudged faces.
Yesterday, my grown up girlfriends and I watched as a row of fifth grade girls filled the seats in front of us in a darkened theater, all of us eagerly waiting the start of The Hunger Games.
Their arrival prompted a discussion between my friends and me regarding whether or not the movie was appropriate for their age.
I had to think about it, but my answer was a resounding, “Yes!”
Even so, today I’m still thinking about my response, which has prompted this post.
My kids are little and everyday I’m faced with the challenge about what I choose for them to see or do, to eat or say. What is allowed? What is okay?
How did my mom make her decisions? How did the parents of those kids in the movie come to the conclusion that their kids were ready?
The girls in front of us at the movie yesterday demonstrated all of the appropriate behaviors of children being faced with some pretty serious subjects like the end of our civilization, death, murder, love, power and redemption. They giggled when Katniss kissed Peeta in the cave and sighed when they watched Gayle’s breaking heart.
For me, the movie didn’t pack the powerful punch that the book did because it lacked Katnisses beautiful internal thoughts, which made the reading so special.
I wished I could have had a round table discussion with those fifth graders to see how they felt when it ended and I watched them carefully as my friends and I left to say our own farewells.
The kids were smiling and laughing, texting and hugging; not a puffy face in the bunch.
Children today may be more mature than they were when we were young. They may be less or more connected due to technology. Their bodies might be growing faster because of the gunk in the food they eat and they might watch more t.v. All of this might be true.
But when you are ten or eleven or twelve you are still a kid who not so long ago came into this world as gold.
The Outsiders quotes the famous Robert Frost poem entitled, “Nothing Gold Can Stay.”
The girls in front of us yesterday may be a few years younger than my friends and I were the night of my eleventh birthday. They probably are more mature, but are still little girls based on the short amount of time they’ve spent on our Earth.
They may not have cried at the end of The Games, but I’d venture to say if they watched The Outsiders today they’d be just like my friends and I were twenty-nine years ago; wet faced from filled up hearts with day dreams of life and love to come.
Because that’s what little girls are made of.
March 23, 2012 § 12 Comments
I had planned on hitting the road this morning for my first run back, but the pollen that poofed from the pine trees in Raleigh is too thick, covering everything living and dead with a coat of yellow dust.
Instead of pushing it and risking a sinus infection, plus the fact that overall I feel a little “spent,” means it’s a good time to take it easy and do a little cleanse.
Cleansing typically means a hiatus from the gunk that is consumed too often. This equals less empty calories ingested overall as the organs moves to absorb the easily digested juices and nutrients from the whole foods that are being consumed (in my case only at lunch). The body begins to reboot by flushing out the yuck that has been festering inside. It’s a process that takes a little while, which scares some people off. I, having done this once before, have seen the benefits first hand and am excited to give it another go.
With less calories being consumed from sources that are considered to be a problem for some (dairy, red meat, wheat, caffeine and sugar), comes what I describe as the lovely day 1 headache.
Instead of complaining or fixating or reaching for the coffee to make it go away, I have spent my morning at Whole Food collecting the good stuff (more chia, almond milk, flax meal, beautiful greens, etc.) and have an afternoon play date scheduled where I’ll spend my time holding a very small and sweet newborn.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and total health will not happen overnight, but every little step is one closer in the appropriate direction.
March 22, 2012 § 20 Comments
After careful consideration I’ve decided there are two things more difficult than completing a marathon.
Marriage and Getting Control Over Emotional Eating
These happen to be the two topics I am loath to write about. I never like my posts when I try to touch on them, because both are hard and can easily read depressing.
When I got married I was thirty-two and in love. Then came infertility and twins and lost jobs and new jobs, then sick babies, separate bedrooms, marriage counselors, almost divorce and now a re-commitment to the cause with a healthy amount of eye rolling.
In other words life.
It’s almost a joke how newly engaged people are nudged by smiling married people while being told, “Marriage is hard!”
I was told this often and while hard is a good description, no one gives the actual low down on how much work it is.
Work is good. Family is better. Marriage can be great if both people realize that they are in it together, but it’s a challenge to not want to run for the hills when you realize that you are committed (for the rest of your life) to a person who leaves his socks in the corner of the living room every night after work or whose idea of cleaning is to move all the clutter to another room.
Those little irritations that were kind of cute at the beginning can mean the beginning of the end if things aren’t put into perspective.
One must also remember that men and women truly are from different planets, so rooming with an alien is difficult, for both species. It takes work for both parties to find the respect and gratitude that everyone deserves and is so often the first thing to go as children come along and life gets more complicated. Sometimes the grass seems greener on the other side and for some it is. It’s a very delicate subject; personal and important.
Weight loss is a sore subject for so many Americans because it never quite sticks. In my case I am first to admit that I am an emotional eater. I’m not as quick to admit (but here goes) that I gobbled down and entire box of Cadburry eggs yesterday before driving through Wendy’s for a cheeseburger (the one with all the mayonnaise). I did manage to cut it into fourths when we got home in the hope that one of the girls would take a triangle, but after an hour it never happened and mommy scarfed down the entire thing.
I am the same girl who juices kale and broccoli and likes it. I soak my chia seeds and know the benefits of vitamins and nutrients one gets from their foods. Potion control? I’ve got it memorized. But when you’ve been reaching for cupcakes to soothe as long as I’ve been it’s a tremendous effort to stay on the straight and skinny.
Food makes me feel better. Yucky food makes me feel better quickly. Healthy food makes me feel great, but when the stress hits the ceiling a good handful of chocolate chips or a bag of Haribo gummy bears makes it all better faster.
I have a feeling a lot of people struggle the same way and maybe I can broach the subject and find some lasting answers.
My race ended four days ago and in my quest for “what to do next” and my goal to “live a healthy and happy life,” these two subjects must be addressed.
I’m as nervous about putting this out into the world as I was about the marathon, but it is imperative that I try.
Here is the challenge:
To find the balance and to write about it in a way that is helpful and fun!
More yoga will most definitely be on the agenda, but the next marathon will be the test.
March 21, 2012 § 20 Comments
I still haven’t decided if I should kiss or clobber my husband for hiding behind me and Flip video taping the last minutes of the marathon.
I’ve been conflicted about posting it.
I wished I had made better time. I wished I looked faster, lighter, leaner, meaner.
I decided to post it, however, because despite all of those feelings I really am proud of myself.
It was such a happy day and I’m glad that my grandkids will be able to see that I really did run a marathon once upon a time.
Maybe when I’m old and grey I won’t care about my time or that I wasn’t faster, lighter, leaner and meaner.
Maybe one day I’ll see it for what it was.
A really fun ending to a lot of hard work!
March 21, 2012 § 20 Comments
When it was all said and done I sat in the car to post my facebook update with Brian driving and mom and the girls in the backseat ringing pink cowbells.
“Five hours and fourteen minutes! Elated and filthy! xoxoxxxx,” I wrote”
I was delirious and in pain, but mostly overwhelmed by what I’d managed to do. I recognized the same out of body happiness that I felt the moment my kids were born and the days following; an adrenaline rush to the brain energizing a tired body that had done its work.
It was as if I’d given birth again, this time to 26.2.
Marathons start early, long before the sun has time to rise in the sky. There’s something amazing about showing up in the dark to a couple thousand people wearing running clothes. Like any good party, there are always the wild ones who show up in kilts and tutus and viking hats. One marathoner who passed me at mile ten was wearing a Teenage Mutant Ninja costume, mask and all.
When Brian dropped me off, I surveyed the scene and located an empty table near the Pizza truck where I could get situated. I made sure that I had enough Gu and stuffed it into my FuelBelt. I then took two and a half packages of Shot Bloks and zipped them into my right jacket pocket. There were still forty-five minutes until the start, so I figured it was a good time to nibble on my bagel.
After waiting and chatting with a few other singleton runners, it was time to find the bag check before hitting the porta potties.
As usually happens as a race nears, the lines become so long that it’s a wonder any of those people ever get to go and still make the start. Many runners (including myself) take to the woods; it’s a little secret that really isn’t so.
The woods behind the potties were dotted with lunatic runners (mostly boys) relieving themselves out in the open.
Standing in line and looking back over at my shoulder I turned to the girl in front of me, motioned toward the trees and said, “Come on, it’ll be an adventure!”
It was still dark, but she understood and we hurried to find a spot that was covered enough to crouch down and go. It was prickly and I was seriously hoping not to get a tick.
I guarded my new friend, she guarded me, and we even added another girl to the group; all of us standing guard for each other. As we pulled up our pants I told them I needed a picture for the blog. They were good sports and we posed. I thanked them and even though the picture is too dark to see anything, it’s one of my favorites.
The next step was to figure out where I should place myself at the start. I found the pace runner with the five-hour sign, but decided to move up to the 4:45 guy. In retrospect, this was probably not the smartest move.
When the race began I hit my Garmin and we were off. I felt strong, but I knew I was going out too fast.
Oh no, I thought. Too fast. Too fast. But I feel good. I feel great!
The internal conversation kept up for a good nine miles until I decided I had to stop and assess a pain in my right shoe.
The Tobacco Trail is beautiful, lined with trees and streams and old barns and history; built where trains used to run their loads. It’s flat, because the trains didn’t do well on hills and like any good trail is covered in finely packed dirt and tiny rocks. Part of the path was paved, but more often than not the tiny rocks from the unpaved areas found their way into my shoes. I was concerned about each one and would wiggle my feet around to try to move the most irritating stones out of the way. Some would settle in places that I could manage, but my right toe seemed to have a good sized boulder pressed against it and I knew I needed to stop, so as not to cause more damage.
When I pulled back from the pace group I leaned against a tree and tried not to put my sock down on the damp and dirty ground. I let the pebble drop out of my shoe, but realized that my sock was the actual source of the pain. I readjusted the toe area so that the seam wasn’t falling right where a blister was surely forming and looked up to see my pace group running in the distance.
I stuck my toes back into my shoe, laced it up and set off again.
Despite the annoyance of having to stop every now and again to remove the rocks, I felt good about my pace and confident that I’d be able to finish around the five-hour mark.
I slowed a little at twelve and thirteen, and at eighteen when I kicked a root and lost my footing, decided I needed to stop and stretch. I walked toward the pole of an upcoming bridge overpass and lunged forward to stretch out my hamstrings. I shook out my shoes and bent into a deep forward fold.
It felt so wonderful when I stood up again that I crossed my fingers behind me, pulled them back and leaned over for a deeper stretch. I was momentarily shocked by the sound from inside my body. My spine crackled in succession from the base upward as it sets itself right. I hung there for a while, mostly because I felt a little dizzy, but also because the relief was so great. I hadn’t realized how out of alignment I had become and when I finally stood I was able to take a deep and cleansing breath.
Yoga. Always there when I need it.
I kept on.
Nineteen was strong.
Twenty was slow.
Twenty one was strong.
Twenty two was slow.
And then I watched as the five-hour pacer passed me by. My eyes were fixated on his red compression knee socks as his red balloons on a stick flew by. I felt a pang of disappointment, since I wouldn’t be finishing when I’d hoped. The odds weren’t good that I’d be able to catch him. I wanted to call out, “Come back! Don’t leave me!” But I was tired and not insane enough to actually do it. And anyway, I knew what his answer would be.
I settled into a run walk pattern, which is what felt right and seemed to be the method being used by the other runners around me.
The other runners:
There was the girl with the patterned shorts and the right shoulder tattoo, which I never could discern. The man in a burgundy shirt, shuffling and drenched in sweat, whose face was hard and visibly determined. An older woman in her sixties wearing a yellow tank was breathless and walking when she held up her thumbs at mile twenty-two and said, “The fun doesn’t even start until twenty!”
These strangers and I continuously passed each other like a dance. I felt proud of them, while at the same time wanted to make sure I came in ahead. It was still a race after all.
I knew the last six point two would be hard.
When people asked me how I felt that morning I repeated my misgivings about the final stretch. I knew I’d be fine with nineteen or twenty, but having never completed anything farther was frightening.
I didn’t realize how far down I’d have to reach to find the motivation to pick up my feet and run after walking for a bit. But my stubbornness made its appearance right when I needed it and became the force that lifted my legs to run when I really could have crawled. There was pain radiating throughout my body, but it was nothing I couldn’t manage by listening and forging forward. Walk. Run. Walk. Run.
Instead of feeling defeated, I looked at this last difficult part of the race as the impetus for the next one. Maybe going out too fast at the beginning caused my pace to be what it was now? Maybe next time I’ll move back at the starting line to be with the slower pace group? Maybe my second marathon will be even better than this one, since I now have a list of errors that could be remedied in training.
At mile twenty-five with the light at the end of the tunnel, I made the decision to mostly walk in an effort to finish strong.
My legs were like those tree trunks I’d leaned against, my feet were swollen and blistered, my skin was covered in sweat, but there was no choice.
My turnover picked up, I switched off my music and relied on my determination.
People starting clapping and yelling that I was almost there.
My Garmin hit twenty-six point two, but the finish line was not in sight. I kept on, while yelling out, “Where is it? Where is it?”
Just when I thought I’d never spot the end, I looked left and saw my mom with my girls. They were sitting on a bench and I screamed out, “Mom!” She didn’t hear me so I kept yelling. After their long wait to see me, I had appeared and a new surge of energy pushed me onward. Strangely, the pain subsided and I felt exuberant excitement. Happiness. Joy. Fun.
I didn’t see Brian until he yelled my name over my shoulder. He’d been running behind me for at least a half of a mile, catching the entire ending on Flip video.
I wanted to kill him and kiss him at the same time.
I had done what I’d set out to do and within a few minutes I’d crossed the finish line.
I walked for a while until my family came running. In that instant I felt so proud for what I had been able to do. There were no doubts or insecurities, just bliss and relief that what I had set out to accomplish had happened. The high from the endorphins was like a jolt to my brain as my body began to accept it could rest.
The day after the race was when the reality of what I’d completed hit me hard. My quadricepts were screaming, my head was fighting an ache, and my appetite was voracious. Brian took the girls to school and as much as I wanted to write, I needed a day to process the experience. I lay in my bed and watched Shameless on the DVR, pinned on Pinterest, surfed, shopped, and soaked in Epsom salt. I did a little laundry and tidied up the mess that is my house’s familiar state.
It was also the day after when I realized that I never cried at the end.
I remembered when the girls were born. I didn’t cry then either.
It wasn’t until two weeks later when it was time to take them home that I sat in the hospital waiting room and sobbed. I didn’t think I’d be able to do it, uncertain if I could do a good job. My body had done its work and kept them safe for thirty-two weeks; the last ten on bed rest. My brain had trouble absorbing the realities of what I’d done by bringing my sweet girls into the world.
In a way it feels similar now that the race is over. There’s a job to be done and new goals have been set. I have higher aspirations and know that some of my patterns that led to my problems on the trail were partly to blame for not meeting all of my expectations (Oreos ring a bell?). My next marathon is important, not so much because I need to say I “ran two,” but because the changes I make to my life during training are the ones that will make my entire life more meaningful.
I’m on a life quest for good health and happiness.
I’m just going to have to run until I get there.
March 17, 2012 § 9 Comments
I knew there wouldn’t be much sleep the night before the race, but the adrenaline has already kicked in, which surprises me a little.
I’d already been up to pee at least five times during the night (hydrating, et al.) and it was so hot in the girls room (where I slept) that Grace tossed and turned until eleven. I was up before five when I gave in (or gave up, depending how you look at it).
Only a hormone being excreted from my adrenals could be responsible for my alertness at this hour. I am, after all, heading out for my first marathon in exactly twenty-four. Adrenaline combined with mixed emotions packs a powerful punch.
Hope to rest tonight, but it’s looking bleak.
Off to drink something green!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day