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.
February 18, 2012 § 5 Comments
The past few weeks of running, including my nineteen miler, were done without audio books. I finished the last chapter of Dead Until Dark a few weeks back, while sitting in my car at Whole Foods, eating kale salad before going to pick up the kids. I knew how it was going to end, since I’d watched it play out on t.v., but even so I was sad to say, “Goodbye,” to the book version of Sookie.
Yesterday I downloaded the second book in the Hunger Games series; Catching Fire. It started little ahead of where the last book finished, but I was pulled right back in and excited to see where we would go. I feel a sort of kinship with Katniss, Girl on Fire. It isn’t logical, but she did get me through some of my very first long runs, while at the same time running for her own life in the games. As I’ve mentioned, I’ll be channeling her with flaming fingernails on March 18th, so it was appropriate that she would be my choice for heroine du jour during these final weeks of training.
Those few weeks without stories made me realize that I’ve got to have one (or two) going at all times. I had checked out When Margaret was Young, by my favorite author Jane Hamilton, but could never figure out how to get it to import to my phone. In a way I was glad, though, because what if I didn’t like it? Could Jane Hamilton be my favorite author anymore if I couldn’t connect with her book? I returned it without listening, but will try to go back to it later, when I have less on my plate. I would hate to be disappointed by my book of choice at this juncture.
After my lunch date with Sookie, which turned out to be a surprisingly calm and enjoyable addition to my schedule, I decided that I needed a car read. While at the library, waiting for the girls to fill their “library purses,” I hunted down the audio book for Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.
I’ve often wondered what it was about that book that kept me so entranced as a young girl in the sixth grade, reading it for the very first time. I figured that it would be good research as I ponder the kind of books I myself want to write, and at the same time, be my companion as I eat my lunch. It probably sounds like a pretty nerdy and isolationist thing to do, but it is very hard to get quiet these days, and it’s less sad than eating alone absolute silence.
As a side note, I have returned to the land of exhaustion. After writing about Sweet Sleep, where I felt recovered from the overwhelming tiredness that had been plaguing me, it took one night of a past eight p.m. bedtime to fall back into the realm of six p.m. crashing and burning.
I wonder if it’s this point of marathon training and part of recovery? Maybe I’m coming down with something?
With only twenty-nine days until the race, my most important goal is to stay healthy. Peach called me yesterday with another cold and cough, my girls have been blowing their own little noses, and I watched a coughing boy at pre-school wipe his hand down the entire banister as he descended the stairs, surely on his way to the doctor. Germs are everywhere!
It is my biggest fear that I’ll get sick within days of the race and be unable to compete. That scenario has occurred two other times in my racing history. There’s nothing worse than being ill with a deep lung cough and cold at the same time that hundreds of people are running your race.
Fear aside, books in place, continued rest, one more big run, and quiet car lunches are on the menu until tapering begins.
Tapering. The final stage of this journey. I can barely believe it’s almost here.
February 9, 2012 § 2 Comments
I was talking to Sophie about painting my nails bright pink with red flames for the race, as an homage to Katniss (Girl on Fire) from the Hunger Games; both as inspiration to keep me going and as a “thank you” for helping me through so many long runs.
These are much prettier than what I imagined…. love them!
Our Valentine edition continues – today we wanted to try a nail art design that wasn’t all about flowers and heart, but something that can be done in any colour and still look great all year around. The gobstopper nail, or the layered ruffian is our latest favourite. This design looks great ombred so we used a v-day palette to go with our theme.
Step 2: Using American Apparel – Angeline, a deeper hot pink, paint a ruffian design over your base colour. Start at the far side of the nail and try to drag the polish in one swift motion to the opposite side – this helps create a perfectly curved line. We used the…
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January 14, 2012 § 11 Comments
I’ve just returned from my first fifteen miler. It was a beautifully cold morning, the temperature only reaching thirty-five (even an hour later), as I sit here to type.
I bundled properly with my thick Target base layer, my trusty black Define Jacket, with a Lululemon wind breaking vest over top. My LLL Dash Tights have become my long run pant of choice, but due to the cold, I layered them with a pair of Speed Shorts and Running Skirts knee-high compression socks. Not a fan of running commando, I tested out my new hot pink Under Armour boy short underpants. The only part of me that was not layered was the space between my thighs and my knees.
Yesterday I signed up for audible.com, which is a site that charges a monthly fee for audiobooks. How happy I was to download The Hunger Games for a mere seven dollars. How happy I was that this book, like my last choice, is the story of a heroine. Girl power. My favorite kind.
I was tempted to name this post The Pee Pee Games, since my effort to hydrate this morning left me with a bladder that was full and uncomfortable after a mile. As I saw it, I had three options; find a bush, pee in my pants, or run back home. It was too cold to drop trou and if I peed my pants it would probably feel warm and nice for a second, but surely freeze within minutes making for an unhappy remaining thirteen miles. As I circled home, clearly the best option, I was lucky that the monsters were upstairs. I snuck in quiet as a mouse.
I literally had to peel off my pants to pee and my skin was both frozen and burning. The sting only lasted for a minute before I stopped worrying about it and focused on the warmth of the heat being pushed through the vent in the bathroom floor.
Pants pulled up, I was back on the road in one minute.
The next ten miles I spent transfixed by The Hunger Games and was reminded me what I love about books; story telling, picture painting, suspense, character development, all conjured through words. I love words. I love stringing them together and seeing what results. I think I’d like to meet the author of this adventure. I think I’d like her in real life.
My goal to run negative splits was like a dark cloud over my shoulder. I started slowly enough, but as happens around seven miles, I started feeling really strong and so I sped up more than I should. I told myself, “I can keep up the 12 point something pace,” but as I’d hit hills or a stomach cramp, would realize that I should have held back until a little later in the game.
The stomach cramps. I had three. They were more like bubbles that appeared out of nowhere and only subsided when I’d stop short, bend forward, watch my shoes for a few seconds and breathe. Maybe chinese noodles for dinner don’t really count as good carb loading before a big run?
My last three miles were happy ones. I was almost finished and my route home was familiar. I wanted to finish strong and I pushed so hard on my last half mile that my heart was beating out of my chest.
“Come on Martha! You can do this Martha! Negative splits! Negative splits! Finish strong Martha!” I was chanting to myself under my breath. Somehow repeating my name pushed me on. Miraculously, I finished my last mile a block away from home where I took a picture of the Garmin.
I can’t even imagine what I’ll be saying to myself as I near 26.2.
There may be no words, but there will certainly be tears.
January 13, 2012 § 5 Comments
Grace shuffled in at 1 a.m. with her footsie pajamas trailing behind her and her underpants around her ankles.
“Mom,” she said, “the pee won’t come out.”
I followed her into the bathroom where I watched her scoot atop the potty. She was so far forward that her little tush wasn’t over the hole, making it impossible to go. I pushed her farther back, but there was still no sound.
I whispered, “Listen,” as I turned on the faucet. Voila’, she peed!
As I snuggled her back into bed I thought about potty training. Her first night out of diapers she wet the bed, but immediately realized she’d had enough of that funny business. Every night after that she would wake me to tell me she had to go. Only recently has she started the night-time ritual on her own. Her sister took a bit longer to get trained and the plastic sheet stayed on her bed a few more weeks, but overall, potty training my kids was easy.
From potty training to marathon training, I began to think about my upcoming fifteen mile run on Saturday and how it won’t be bearable without an audiobook. I’ve visited iTunes a hundred times and have settled on The Hunger Games, but it’s $26.00 price tag has made it difficult for my finger to press download.
The younger Martha would have had no problem pushing that button, listening to it once and then sending it to the trash to save room in my iPod. The younger and very single Martha used to go grocery shopping with no qualms about the price of milk or yogurt or ice cream or chicken. The married Martha has gotten used to questioning the cost of the little things.
I have been wife trained without even knowing it!
After almost seven years of marriage, Brian’s frugality and deep held belief that we have much more than we need, was not something that I accepted had rubbed off onto me at all.
As Grace began to doze, her breathing soft and deep, I pondered what influence I’ve had on my dear husband. As I sit here and write, I still remain uncertain. What deep held beliefs of mine has he adopted? If I can’t think of any, does it mean that he doesn’t really love me? Does it mean that I picked wrong?
Maybe it’s not that complicated.
Maybe husband training is simply like potty training in boys; they take a lot longer, but eventually get it, which makes mommy’s life much easier. You just have to trust it will happen and try not to give up.