Archive | April, 2012

Fellowship in a Surprising Congregation

When I started the year, I set a goal for myself that I would run 9+ miles a week.

Aaaaaand we’re easily past the first quarter of the year. I would not judge myself kindly on that goal being accomplished. Because I put something out there quantifiable, easily measured, and by that reason alone, I’ve failed. Already.

But I’ve done something BETTER. It happened by accident – sorta, mostly because I never thought it would – and it crept up on me.

I’ve learned how to run.

In 2009, sure, I ran my first 5K. I ran LOTS of 5Ks that year. But I trained by myself – badly – and wasn’t sure of what I was doing. And I got bored, quickly. I ran mostly on a treadmill. Indoors. Alone. Sometimes reading, sometimes listening to music. But I hated it.

Now, I make time for myself twice – sometimes three times! – a week. I make sure that dinner’s taken care of, and Bryan is going to be home, and I head out to run. I meet my peeps and we take off on a new challenge. We all keep eachother honest and motivated and we’re good to eachother. We talk, sometimes about surface stuff (like how much we all hate running), but sometimes about real stuff. It’s .. amazing, really.

As I get older, I find myself gravitating toward a less social position. I don’t mind the occasional hello, but I’m not one to really call someone on the phone to gab. I’m much more of a “Thought this funny thing right now so I’m sending you this text, but I have nothing beyond this quip to convey” person. So the idea that I run .. hang out, really .. with these guys is insane to me. Surprising. And lovely all the same.

Saturday morning, we were all at a quick clip for a five minute burst when we turned down a well-manicured street that was entirely covered with mature sprawling trees. The patterns through the leaves left lovely lace details for our feet and the breeze through the residential sprinklers was so welcome.

Our resident male remarked, “Y’all. This is downright holy.”

And he’s right. It’s our own little church, where we find fellowship and peace. We cleanse ourselves of the wrongs of the days behind us, and we prepare our bodies for whatever lies ahead. We take deep, restorative breaths. We hydrate. We occasionally stumble, and our brethren pick us up. At the end, we all hug and wish eachother well in the coming days.

It is not yet 9 miles a week. But my GOODNESS, it is definitely a necessary accomplishment.

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Fridays, Man. They Wear Me Down.

I don’t know when I became someone who so fervently both dreaded and anticipated Fridays. On the one hand – YES, THANK THE POWERS THAT BE, IT’S THE WEEKEND. On the other hand – Fridays, for whatever reason, make me hate the whole of humanity.

I don’t know why. But seriously, I become an angry sonufabitch.

But the good news is that – whatever my stupid problem with Friday is – Friday is just a mere 24 hours, and Saturday morning brings a cleansing run. I’m literally counting down the hours.

****

Know what is a frickin’ amazing substance? VINEGAR. I know you know this. But I find uses for it all over the internet, and every time I use it in a new way, I AM COMPLETELY STUNNED ALL OVER AGAIN. Like, at this very moment, my house has this smell to it. I have no idea what the smell is or where it came from, but it’s like my three dogs and one cat just sit in the living room for eight hours while we’re at work and school, and they just sit around and fart. It smells like that.

So I read somewhere that little bowls of vinegar set out around the room will fix it. And I’LL BE DAMNED. Not even half an hour later, The Smell is gone! Seriously! All you can smell now is vinegar! FRICKIN’ AMAZING.

****

I’m pretty sure I’m going through my own little stupid mid-life crisis only it’s not mid-life and instead it’s just me looking around a lot and just going, “Just this, huh? Hm.” and wondering why I’m so damn needy that I can’t just be thankful, why I’ve always gotta be ambitious and shit all the time. I’m just kind of looking around and thinking, I don’t know, that we’d be traveling more or moving up the ladder (whatever that ladder is) or thinner or happier or I don’t know. This just can’t be it, you know?

And then I look at my husband, who is just as content as a full tick, and I think I must be broken. There must be something wrong with me.

****

Um, speaking of being broken, I gave in and had a Dorito Loco Taco (Supreme) today. Well, that’s a lie. I had TWO of them. And if I could find a critique of the featured menu item, it would be THAT I ONLY GOT TWO. Seriously, about two bites in and I had a small food shudder. And I blacked out and woke up with empty wrappers around me. It’s .. it’s transcendent, is what it is. And I’m not proud of myself for feeling this way. But I’ll own that, oh yes I will.

****

Sometimes, you just need to be told a fairy tale through the eyes of a child buzzed on sugar to make your weekend complete.

Consider me your giver for the day.

 

 

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Let’s Talk About Lisa

In some weird, unfortunate twist of fate, we’ve pretty much given up on tv in the last month.

We did sit and watch Rango on Netflix this past weekend as an effort to have A Movie Party. (In Tony Speak: WE SHALL MAKE AND EAT FISTFULS OF POPCORN WHILE SOMETHING IS ON THE TELEVISION.) That .. was a weird movie. Trippy. But my LORD, the animation was stunning. We just kept gasping in awe of how gorgeous the animation was.

Back to the tv: we haven’t seen any of it. I currently have 6 (SIX!) episodes of Real Housewives on DVR, there’s tons of Fringe episodes, and even a lot of random other junk. We just .. well, we’re tired. We have about 45 minutes between the last boy going to bed and our preset bedtime, so we often fill it .. by talking.

The one exception: Celebrity Apprentice.

We are not loyal fans of the series; we can take it or leave it any given season. But this season, for whatever reason, the mix is just right and we’ve been enraptured. And because it’s all I have going on right now, I’d like to talk about something that’s been bugging me pretty consistently.

Let’s talk about Lisa Lampanelli.

For what it’s worth, I was fan of Lisa’s before she was on the show. She was one of the crass women, which immediately endeared her to me. I like women who have a big laugh, a big wit, and a big heart, and although she’s always denying the last one, Lisa fits this bill.

And from the start, she’s been a frontrunner on this season’s Celebrity Apprentice. And she should be! She’s quick, funny, and creative. She’s SMART. It’s clear she’s been doing this for awhile and with great success.

.. but ..

Man, there’s a lot I dislike about Lisa. And .. gah, I hate this .. it mainly boils down to the fact that she acts .. like a girl. Not, you know, like, she owns ovaries and breasts and therefore I dislike her, but .. she’s very much acting like men expect a girl to act in business. There. I said it. I said it, and I own it, and now let me further dig my own grave.

In working with a local political candidate who was running against another female, I implored her to not swing dirty. Don’t sling mud. Don’t “fight fire with fire”. Because right, wrong, or indifferent – the minute that happens, the men start saying ooh, catfight! there’s a catfight over there! look at those girls, fighting like a bunch of cats! and even the best and most powerful message is immediately discounted. I HATE THAT, I TOTALLY DO. And yet, it is the reality of our lives.

Lisa is engaging in the most transparent and .. pathetic.. of catfights with another contestant, Dayana Mendoza. A former Miss Universe. Um, here’s a photograph of Dayana, who I spend a good 34 minutes of each episode mentally tracing the lines of her amazing cheekbones and the outline of her perfect lips. Dayana, in short, is STUNNING.

Dayana is also smart. Maybe not in schooling, but in savvy, most definitely. She knows when to lay low and when to speak up. She is one of the few people who remains quiet in the boardroom and .. GASP! .. listens. I’ve watched her weasel out of being “brought back to the boardroom” no less than EIGHT times because she sees a trainwreck happening around her, and she’s smart enough to get the hell out of dodge.

Lisa does not like Dayana. No one is quite sure why. All of the other celebs, in private interviews, have all quietly questioned what’s behind that venom. And we all have coworkers we don’t like; it’s life, and you’re there for a paycheck, not for friendship. But Lisa? Is .. mean. I mean, not even funny or comedic mean – comedic torture, like roasts, are her schtick and she’s damn good at it – she’s mean and personal and below-the-belt. And .. and when Dayana dares to argue back with her? Lisa cries. Lisa cries and wonders why NO ONE stands up for her. Why is NO ONE STANDING UP FOR HER?

I .. don’t like this behavior. Because in reality, Lisa is insanely talented. She is talented and smart and STRONG, by God, and she can take her own licks. But this one facet of her behavior is derailing all of that. All I can think of when I see her now is Man, she is so cruel to Dayana. I used to think Man, she is one talented lady. And that makes me sad.

Part of it is my moccasins I’ve walked in. There has been a crazy lady to scream at me and then when I quietly respond, the tears flow and the calls for her posse have happened. So that’s part of my stance here. But the other part is that Lisa is genuinely, seriously talented. She has earned her stripes. She doesn’t need TO ACT LIKE A GIRL.

We still earn $0.70 to every $1.00 a man earns. Still, to this day, in 2012. And I want Lisa and Dayana to coexist on this show and prove HOW FRICKIN’ STUPID THAT IS. Instead? Instead, it is being justified.

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Playing Catch-Up Since it’s Already Tuesday

Remember how I said I was feeling a little .. unappreciated on Friday?

This kinda cured that.

So on Saturday, I had my big race. I say that, but I’ve run 5Ks before. But I’d worked REALLY HARD on this. 1) I’d started running with a group. Which is not only a giant step toward a fear of mine, but it gained me some great friends. 2) Um, I was diagnosed with asthma during this. So.. that was kind of giant. And even though I’d “run” a 5K not two weeks earlier, this was My Big Race.

I ran into Miss Zoot and her kids at the race store on Friday afternoon when Tony and I stopped in to pick up my race packet. The kids mentioned making signs or something, which I giggled at because HOW CUTE THAT THEY DO THAT, RIGHT? So sweet!

And sure enough, on Saturday morning, I had kids holding up signs that said GO SARAH! GO SARAH! and even FEATURED A PICTURE OF MYSELF ON THEM. Oh, guys. You know how the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes that day? THAT.

In general, my time was not my best, but I had some trouble breathing right out of the gate. But I did it. I did a training program – WITH OTHER PEOPLE – and I ran a 5K. I stuck to my intervals (give or take :15 or :30 seconds), and I did it. I did not die. I did not feel like death warmed over at the end.

To the contrary, I actually planned our next 5K. (May 5th.)

I know that a flaw that I have is that I’m not good at asking for help. Or attention. Or anything. I kind of just .. EXPECT people to know what I find important. So when I realized I had no one at the finish line cheering for me? I was hurt, admittedly.

But I had folks. I had LOTS of folks.

If you’ve ever considered doing a No Boundaries training program, I cannot say enough good things to encourage you to bite the bullet. The sea of blue NOBO shirts that cheered me on from the last mile marker in? Was astounding. Mentors circled back, running folks in. No one crossed the line alone. No one crossed the line in silence. And it just further cemented my feelings about running with other people: it’s totally, totally worth it.

Also worth it? Having friends who have great kids. Seriously.

****

My big treat for the big race was a trip to the salon, and I had been looking forward to it FOR-EV-ER. I think back fondly on the days, pre-kids/husband, when I would take my monthly trip to the salon for a cut and color. OH HA HA HA. Now, it’s box color all the way, with a cut MAYBE every four months. Which is fine! Really! I don’t miss it at all! (I MISS IT TERRIBLY.) But that’s okay.

I decided I wanted to brighten up my color because I’ve been feeling .. well, very frumpy mom. The running is starting to pay off, and I can see a change in my body, but that wasn’t enough. I have to look at my head every single day and MY GOD, it looked old. So old. So I wanted something a bit more .. funky? Young? I was basically trying to suppress my sudden urge for a facial piercing by going bold with color is what I’m saying here.

So I went in with three examples of the RED I was looking for. And what I left with was .. not.

(Also, see that piercing on the girl at the bottom left box? On her lip? It’s called a Marilyn, and I want one. Badly.)

Anyway, so I left a little bummed. The color execution was flawless and the color was GORGEOUS .. on someone else. I am just so fair and so pale that anything darker than, say, RED looks vampyric on me. Spellcheck is telling me that vampyric is spelled wrong, but I think I get my point across here.

So my options are to have the stylist try and correct it and .. yeah, no.

So I’m trying to pretend I’m okay with it. See how okay I look here?

No, seriously, I’m fine. I’ve washed it, oh, about eleventy frillion times so it’s starting to lighten a bit. And I only startle myself every third time I pass a reflective surface.

On the plus side, 1) I am now reveling in wearing bright lipsticks because my hair looks ridiculous, so why not?

And 2) I think I TOTALLY have the right to have another hole installed in my face.

****

A no-shit conversation I had tonight.

Tony: Momma?

Me: Yes?

Tony: Want me to get those bugs off of your back?

Me: Um.. are there bugs on my back?

Tony: Yes. There are.

Me: Okay, but .. like, real bugs? Or pretend bugs?

Tony: Bugs, Momma. On your back.

Me: WE’VE COVERED THAT. Are they real, or pretend?

Tony: Want me to get them off of you?

Me: Yes! Yes, either way, get them off of me.

Tony: Okay, hold still. I’m gonna use my sword. It should only hurt a little bit.

(SPOILER ALERT: MOMMA GOT IMPALED A FEW TIMES AND IT HURT A BIT MORE THAN A LITTLE.)

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CRABBY AND STABBY.

I’m in a fantastically crabby mood.

It’s nothing YOU did, obviously. You people are great and amazing and quite frankly? I need you here. In my life. Like, ALL THE TIMES. But you’re not here, and that makes me crabby too.

Ah. Okay. Actually, it IS something you did then.

***

So the freakin’ dog ate my freakin’ phone on Thursday night. I am of two minds about this.

1 – Yes. It happened. And I let it. I left my phone sitting on the couch as I was hurrying to get everyone packed up and organized and out the door for dinner.

2 – WHY DIDN’T ANYONE NOT LET THIS HAPPEN?

I understand that Numero Uno up there is far more realistic and accountable and I get that. And instead of being upset and angry and flipping my gawddamn lid like I wanted to, I sucked in a deep breath, and recited that line to the children. We have a dog who chews things. Which is why we pick up after ourselves.

But see? See that last line there? THAT’S why Number Two keeps popping back up. Do you KNOW how often I circle our common areas, picking up what a boy has left behind? DO YOU KNOW? Do you know, for instance, how often I’ve saved Bryan’s phone/Playstation Remotes/Tv Remotes/plastic dishware from having this same fate? I literally never leave the house without first circling through those rooms to make sure everything is put away. In fact, part of why I LEFT the phone in the first place is that I was hurrying to get Tony’s snackware put away.

But I left my phone out. It was me that did it.

I just wouldn’t mind someone having my back occasionally.

***

And that’s really the crux of my really crabby mood lately. This is totally a WAHHH POOR ME moment, but hey. I’m human. I’m allowed those. This week is kind of a banner week for me, really. I got accepted into my college of choice. I’m having my big graduation race this weekend, and I may serve as a mentor for the next training class. I’ve also spent my free time studying up on different tutoring curriculums and how they work or conflict with different learning disabilities.

The response I’ve received on those items?

Did not meet my expectations.

So I’m in a crabby mood.

***

My email signature at work for years has read Desire. Ask. Believe. Receive. which is a quote from Stella Terrill Mann. I’m just not a fan of kvetching without working to find a solution. And I feel like I’m trying masterfully hard to make solutions where there are none. And I’m just ready for the pieces to start falling into place. I’m also starting to wonder if I’m trying too hard, making my expectations unrealistic, or if I’m looking at the wrong pieces. Maybe I need a different puzzle entirely.

***

GRADUATION RACE TOMORROW! THERE ARE COOKIES AT THE END!!

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