A Good Day

June 24, 2012 § 3 Comments

Saturday morning began with my running group the WannaBeasts (10.5 minutes per mile) and eight sweaty miles through the greenway around Shelly Lake, behind Crabtree Valley Mall. There was ninety-eight percent humidity and while it felt like running through soup, it was fast and easy (even downright pleasant) thanks to the conversation with my partner Nancy (whom I’d just met) and the energy of the team.

Afterward, instead of heading home to shower, I drove to Peachie’s for one last visit to her empty house and to drop off the baby clothes that the girls had gathered from their closet the day before (during their own packing session for Maine).

“It’s too small, it goes in the baby pile!”

I sat in Peachie’s back yard drenched in sweat and snot (my poor skirt had served as kleenex on the trail) and watched squirrels in pine trees pull branches from limbs and scurry away. I wondered if this is how they collected their nuts. I reminded myself that I loathe squirrels, especially after they had taken refuge in my attic a few years ago.

I called my sister and we talked.

I called my Peach and we talked even more.

When I couldn’t stand the dried sweat a second longer I left for home, driving and listening to the radio stations that are playing the same songs on rotation this Summer. I know all of the words.

I showered and threw on a typically scary post run outfit; a comfy bra, white and purple stretchy shorts that say, “I heart Saints,” a washed blue KBIA t-shirt that I intentionally cut down the front and unintentionally ripped under the arm, and bright pink CEP compression calf sleeves I’d received in the mail the day before.

I don’t like to match my clothes post run. The more mismatched I look the better I feel. I’m pretty sure that most runners feel the same way about their recovery outfits. It’s not mentioned much, but take a look at most running blogger’s post run photos and it becomes obvious. It might even be an unsaid qualification for calling oneself a runner.

As happens after a good medium to long run I was tired. I shuffled around the house until I couldn’t bring myself to shuffle anymore and by 3:00 curled up on the sofa with the girls for an episode of Sponge Bob.

I promptly fell asleep.

Grace soon nudged me and said that she was tired, too, and surprisingly both girls followed me upstairs where we crawled into their beds. Unexpected as neither girl has taken a nap since 2010. When I woke and realized that it was 7:00 p.m., I knew there’d be a long night ahead.

We came downstairs where Brian had made dinner and had it waiting on the kitchen bar; cheeseburgers, french fries and onion rings.

I cut up some lettuce and tomato and made plates of food that we took outside to eat by tiki lamps.

The girls were happy. Their dad and I were civil. We talked about a friend of a friend who at thirty-eight had just died from Frontal Lobe Dementia. There was a silent acceptance that this life is too short and that happiness is imperative. The girls laughed as their stuffed puppies “tried” to eat from the plates of food. The family unit was working as it should all the time.

With renewed energy I decided to tackle the packing that waited for me; my empty suitcases left for last.

I tucked my iPhone into my bra after pressing play on my audiobook version of Wild. As I gathered my running clothes and bathing suits I listened to the chapter about Cheryl’s mother’s horse named Lady and how she had become old. With her mother gone, she knew that she needed to tend to the horse.

The heartbreaking account of what came next made the placement of items into my luggage slow and deliberate. I listened while folding my piles and piles of must haves, acting out my work while my heart swelled and pounded from the depth of the pain I was hearing.

For two hours I continued; Cheryl’s journey on the Pacific Coast Trail and my journey through my stuff.

I have much too much. As I looked around at the things I knew I’d need and then back to the closet for the things that I might need and into the extra closets for things I never wear but probably need, I felt overwhelmed and a little disgusted.

I listened to Cheryl talk about Monster, the name for the pack she carried on her back, and wished that I could lessen my reliance on consumerism, so that all I needed was a pack and my kids. If only that could be enough.

When it became too overwhelming I decided to leave the mess to which I will return to today.

I sat on the master bed and continued with the story while gazing at the mound of fabrics and colors, pants and tunics, hats and necklaces, bathing suits and skirts. Underpants will go in last.

I connected to Cheryl’s feelings about her writing. How she’d always written, but the unattained dream of writing her own novel had left her disappointed and embarrassed. She wrote about making the decision to make it happen.

Remembering how I felt when reading the Hunger Games, how I liked the author and appreciated her words seemingly written for me, I added Cheryl Strayed to my list of imaginary friends. I might not understand a lot of what she went through on the PCT, but I certainly relate to her life as a writer and a woman.

By 10:30 the house was dark and bedtime was near. The girls brushed their teeth and chose their bedtime books. I imagined that I’d get them to sleep and then sneak away for some alone time, to ponder my day and plan the next. But instead, I just lay between my daughters thinking.

In two days we’ll be back at the beach that has been home for thirty five years. I will see my friends who have known me my entire life. I’ll see the newest babies and write by the sound of the sea.

Instead of sneaking away I closed my eyes and listened to the breathing of my girls, while hoping for a future that looked a lot like this day.

A day of sweat and books. Of food and fun. Introspection and civility. A life with purpose, happiness, respect, restful naps, laughs, and possibly less in the way of stuff.

All things are possible.

With that I fell to sleep. The best sleep I’ve had in ages.

The WannaBeasts at the start. Forty runners at the same pace is an unbelievable experience!

CEP calf sleeves in pink. I think I had them on backward and so I turned them around later in the day. I realize I haven’t written a “gear post” in ages. On my feet, Ipanema flip flops, my choice for this Summer. Under my feet a Dash and Albert exterior washable rug. Geez. Look at that! My consumerism in full effect!

The girls stack of traveling books. I like that they put A Good Day by Kevin Henkes on the top. I promise this wasn’t staged. I named the post after seeing the book tower and realizing it was exactly what I was writing about. 

My packing mess. Brian is going to take the girls out later today so that I can focus. Underneath that pile are neatly folded running clothes and beach things. I can thank Cheryl Strayed for that.

I downloaded Wild to listen to when I ran. I liked it so much I pinned it on my Pinterest page, which resulted in a signed copy of the book at my front door. Pretty neat if you ask me!

Good Day, Good Day

A Good Day found on Pinterest (uploaded by Brianna Hope). Fitting, wouldn’t you say?

Advertisements

Hiatus Shmiatus

June 17, 2012 § 9 Comments

A hiatus from old style blogging must be maintained, but new and future blog posts must be shorter, easier, to the point.

My social media realm feels incomplete without the pink bordered Mommyland page, so I’ll take the lead from other successful bloggers and focus less in the way of words.

Words must be saved for the novel. Dare I say novels?

My book has progressed and stories have been put down, though much too unorganized as characters keep forming and situations twist into each other.

My voice is clear; a comforting sign.

But the task to organize is harder than it seems. It feels a lot like your mother telling you to clean your room.

I whine, “But why? I’ll do it later!”

I’ve started to think about a sweet and easy love story. A story that blooms like new love and flows by the seat of my flowered board shorts.

We leave for Maine in about a week. Summer sun and wind that pulls the sound of laughing children to our front door does not call for serious writing. It calls for a story of a boy and a girl and lazy days and hearts aflutter.

Maybe the anthropologically tough stuff should wait for Fall?

My girls pilfered the book shelf while I was out running yesterday and left my reading assignments all over the house. They do this sometimes. I view their choices as research guided to me by my messy makers and the pull of our Universe; published works that have put their authors on best seller lists.

And so it continues; writing, reading, blogging, pinning, tweeting, cooking, laundry, husband managing, children tending, packing, kissing, yelling, tidying, yoga, running, running, running.

Toes tipping in all areas remembering that balance is key.

Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell. The stories of dating and looking for love in 1990’s Manhattan. Funny considering I was there in the 90’s, but all I was looking for was myself.

Corelli’s Mandolin found next to the purple pillow pet. Louis de Bernieres book is described as a classic novel full of love, loss, war, truth. Deep. Much too deep for now.

Wild Horses Wild Time

May 6, 2012 § 13 Comments

The timing of our little vacation was perfect.

The place we chose, six miles past a paved road in the land of wild horses made it easy to forget the outside world. We four by foured it all along the sandy dunes to get to civilized land, since the roads aren’t paved that far down the Barrier Islands of North Carolina’s coast.

I spent my days sitting on the beach watching the girls play, giving me a chance to read a real book with real pages (as opposed to the audio versions), while Brian manned his fishing pole.

It’s funny how a break from reality lifts the doldrums (monotony you don’t even realize until you escape) and everyone is so much more peaceful.

The wild horses have added to the mystique and magic of the place.

They’ve been living along the shores of the Outer Banks since the 1500’s, descendents of the Spanish. We know this because we read up from books lining the rentals’ shelves. They had been pushed off Spanish ships that were sinking and their tough stocky bodies mixed with determination to live gave them power to swim to land.

The horses have survived longer than the Colonies and Blackbeard the Pirate and now roam the beaches, heads down nibbling sea grass. Every morning we would watch to see them coming up over the sandy hills and at dinner time we’d crane our necks to catch a glimpse as they’d disappear through the trees to where they’d sleep.

I managed to run one day, despite a nagging pain in my left calf. I probably should have given myself a few more days to nurse the leg (sore for a week already), but I couldn’t resist a beach run with the horses.

Beach running, I’d forgotten, is much tougher than running on nicely paved streets. My attempt at five miles turned into three with a half mile walk up the dunes back to the house. When I returned I was dripping with sweat, but stuck my legs in the hot tub anyway, hoping the heat would loosen the pull.

Amazingly, it felt much better the next day and tomorrow I will attempt a street run as soon as the kids are dropped off at school.

Yesterday, Brian’s old friend Uncle Al drove up from Raleigh and it was great to see him playing on the beach with the girls and their dad.

I watched from my chair while the boys got my daughters started with drippy sand castles, which kept them occupied for long enough that I was able to get all the way to page two hundred fifty in my book. Have I mentioned how much I’m loving The Help? It’s about a writer and a story she must tell and I’m delighted by the surprise (I can relate more than a little).

Last night I left the guys to party it up with Crown Royal and Coke and only had to come up once to tell them to turn down the music. They were having a good time, but I chose to  spend my evening in a wicker chair next to my sleeping girls, while putting the finishing touches on the piece I sent to GeniusMoms.com.

The piece I was working on, entitled Infertility, Hope and Mother’s Day, turned out fine. It was a difficult one to write, but sometimes I need to be reminded of how much I wanted my monstrous monsters. If it doesn’t get published there, I’ll post in Mommyland.

It was early when we got up this morning and not at all a beach day. I attempted to get something posted, but the 10:00 check out time made it impossible.

We are home now. I’m back in my writing chair.

Back in the saddle tomorrow in regard to my diet and my running, school for the girls and work for their dad.

The saddle. It’s a good fit, but sometimes I wish we were more like those horses we left trolling the sandy dunes; wild, free, with nothing to do but laze and graze. Those horseys have no idea they’re on a permanent vacation.

They were so excited their feet left the ground!

Mommy hearts S+G. G was on the cusp of a temper fit. Notice her stomping out my letters. Four year olds!

When the horses got closer we’d back away and let them pass. This time was special because there was a pony in the pack. You can see him right against his mother.

After the beach. Trying to be like my awesome bloggy friends who take pictures of themselves to document their fab fashion finds. Loved my Kayce Hughes Tunic, but I’m afraid I’m hopeless in the self-photographing department.

Lesson to mom’s with smallish children. Avoid teaching them how to take pictures using your iPhone. You will spend precious time erasing two hundred plus pictures of Chi Chi and Chi Chi and rental house mermaids.

Sweet Sandy Soph.

Grace. She throws a mean tantrum, but most of the time she’s a real lovey.

Usborne Activities Fairies Sticker Book. These things are an absolute lifesaver for children on vacation. The girls would work on them for hours. The Ballerinas, Sports and Pirates books are great, too!

Heading Home Happy.

The Voice

May 3, 2012 § 11 Comments

Considering how much I despised the first five chapters of 50 Shades of Grey, it’s surprising (especially to me) how enraptured I became with the story.

It would be easy to assume that the highly sexual story line is what reeled me in and in all honesty it did add an element that kept me interested, noticeable by my sizeable smile and simultaneous open jaw sitting on the floor.

I knew my view had turned when I went from solely listening in my Yurbuds while heading out to run, to carrying my phone in my bra so that I could push play every time the kids left the room. I became hooked. Desperate to know what was next. Eager for the ride and excited for the journey.

In any language and on any continent this kind of reaction is motivation for a writer. Being so beguiling that the reader can’t put you down is the essence of the job; the goal. No one wants to write a snore.

When I was teaching fourth grade writing, we often spoke about the difference between telling the story and showing the story; the goal was always the showing.

In 50 Shades, so much was told using the same words et nausea that the writing appear labored and simple, even when the words themselves were sophisticated (thesaurus usage can be deadly).

How many times was she going to say his mouth fell in a hard line? How often did we need to be told that she had an inner goddess who hid behind chairs and sofas and under blankets? Yes, I understand he looked at her speculatively and with grey eyes. Biting her bottom lip? Got it. The symbol for the power struggle

But it may have been E.L. James’ master plan. Her brilliance as a writer being kept secret  until she was ready to share.

The choice to make Anastasia’s voice so repetitive was in direct opposition to the voice that was exposed when her innocence was being challenged.

This was where the real beauty of the writing came alive and convinced me of Ms. James’ true talent in the authoring department.

Granted, the scenes in the red room of pain, the bondage, the frightened girl who became totally immersed and connected in the moments of her fear revealed deep emotion mixed with gut wrenching descriptiveness highlighting some really glorious writing.

It was enough to make me forgive those wasted first chapters. Maybe they weren’t wasted after all.

Last night I started to read The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.

Four pages in, I have a picture of Aibileen. Through the story showing and Aibileen’s dialogue (shortened sentence structure, double negatives and misplaced use of words) I have an idea of who she is. I like her immediately. Read the first four pages and you’ll like her, too. Kathryn Stockett created a new and interesting character with a voice I want to hear.

I should probably apologize to Ms. James for my initial incertitude toward to her book. I still wish she hadn’t used the C word so much and feel like s.h.i.t would have been just as appropriate. It would have saved me from my personal challenge to count the word in question, pulling me out of the story thirty two times, give or take a few.

I went to be last night working out the first lines (of one of my books) that will be written  in it’s own time.

It will go something like this…

I was handed to my mother three days after I was born. Wrapped in a pink blanket she carefully pulled me from the hands of the lawyer, anxious to leave before Loretta had a chance to change her mind. I was bald and pretty, despite the ears that were far too big for my head. My brown eyes looked up at my new mother, whose own brown eyes matched mine exactly.

I couldn’t have known then what I learned all those years later. That my beginning was a gift and that I was saved.

I couldn’t have known the truth. I wouldn’t have believed it had come written in ink and pinned to my clothes.

I was the lucky one.

My older sisters, just two and three, waited in a run down house halfway across town as I was being given away. They knew nothing of me. They knew not of their mothers’ illness. They didn’t have a chance. Weren’t granted even a molecule of a future.


50 Shades, Oh No She Didn’t!

April 18, 2012 § 7 Comments

*Please be advised that as soon as I hit the publish button I will race straight to Gravatar and change my rating to a PG-13. If you like my blog, but don’t like naughty words, just go ahead and skip this post. I would hate to offend anyone, but sometimes certain things must be said!

I wasn’t going to run this morning until I remembered that I used a credit on audible.com and had downloaded 50 Shades of Grey.

There’s been a lot of controversy about the book for it’s saucy portrayal of an innocent and her seducer and has apparently been making wives blush from sea to shining sea.

I haven’t begun blushing.

Instead, I spent my six and a half mile run totally distracted, counting the number of times the word “crap” had been used.

Let me preface this by saying that it’s my mother’s fault for my utter distain with the word. She loathes it more than I. It’s ugliness and overuse has caused her eyes to roll back in her head for long as I can remember. Sometimes if it’s not one thing it’s your mother, but in this case I have to agree with her.

Why is that word used so freely when other words with the same meaning are not deemed appropriate for daytime television?

Why is it any better than the litany of other swear words that mean the same thing?

Was there not another word E.L. James could come up with?

Don’t think I am a prude. Those who know me will agree that I have a very trained potty mouth. I am a big fan of that word that starts with F. I don’t have a single problem with the B one and even anal doesn’t make me cringe.

I particularly like them strung together as in “Fucking anal bitch!”

See. Words have power.

Are we devolving as a society by not objecting when this word is used so commonly that newscasters throw it around, too? Kids in school think it’s okay. Afternoon Disney programming uses is often.

By the middle of chapter three hated word number one was said ten times.

It’s my hope that when I finish the book it remains in my memory for its much talked about story line and not the for the number of times an ugly word was used to portray oomph.

Oh, I do hope so. It would be such a shame otherwise!

Grey, grey, grey.

From Pinterest.

grey grey grey

Cute Grey Boots.

grey, grey grey!

Blankets in Shades of Grey.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Books category at Running in Mommyland.

%d bloggers like this: