I Win The Battle Of The Necklaces.

A few months ago I sent my friend a message with this picture and said something like, “Hey…could you use some copper?”

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Because…you know…that’s a completely normal question to ask someone, right?

You see…my Dad grew up in a large family that didn’t have a lot and he was VERY MUCH of the No Waste, Ever mindset. If he came across ANYTHING in his day-to-day life that was even REMOTELY useful in ANY way…he kept it. We had stacks of yogurt cups on top of the microwave because they made good drinking cups for camping. He brought home wood crates that hospital equipment was shipped in, and he made furniture out of it. He made flashcards for us out of old punchcards used for programming.

So, needless to say, his house was full of a lot of things that he thought…ONE DAY…he might make use of. And copper, being just a valuable metal to begin with, definitely seemed worth keeping in his eyes. And even though we donated 90% of his stuff to the Knoxville Rescue Mission, I couldn’t let go of the copper. It didn’t take up much space in my life and I just felt like…some day…it might be useful.

Maybe that insanity is genetic?

But then my friend started a business making upcycled jewelry. And she did a LOT of work with metals….namely copper. She made jewelry out of pennies and I just fell in love with everything so I thought, “I bet she could do something with this.”

And she did. She took the tubing and made beads out of it. I have no idea the science or craft behind this task…all I know is that THIS is what she put in my hands last night and I freakin’ cried. We were in public, at a restaurant with other writers from Rocket City Mom and I freakin’ cried like a baby. Because y’all? My Dad would have just ADORED THIS. He would have been all, “SEE. This is what I’m talking about! Why throw this stuff away???”

And it would have totally validated every weird thing he had in his basement/garage.

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You can click on the photos to open up bigger copies to see the details and the colors of the beading. SERIOUSLY. LOOK AT IT. It’s truly amazing. I can’t even contain the love I have for this piece of jewelry.

So…yeah. Don’t be jealous, is basically the point of this entry.

My necklace is the best.

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Sherlock told me to be Mindful

I was listening to an interview with Benedict Cumberbatch (My precious…) the other day and he spoke about how he tries to be mindful in his daily life and that it helps him to keep perspective and to juggle the insane life of celebrity. Because I take the words of sexy British actors very seriously, it got me thinking about how…Yeah! I do that too!…at least I used to…

I admit it…I’ve not been very mindful lately. The stress of getting house repairs done to prep it for sale along with various other stresses in my life I won’t bore you with…I find that, in my “quiet” moments the only thing I am thinking about is…Holy Crap. I’m stressed. Where are the donuts?

And y’all? I have eaten a crap-ton of donuts lately. When people ask me if I’m still vegan I say, “Yes. Except for donuts. It seems that I can’t give those up as they are the only way I know how to deal with stress.”

But I think that – maybe – not trying to be mindful lately is actually making me MORE stressed. Maybe getting out of that habit of just being present and in the moment has allowed my anxiety to just grow inside of me lately way beyond the point where it would have otherwise.

So…this morning I made myself a reminder on my bullet journal page. MINDFUL. (Also…isn’t my lettering awesome? Yay for Zendoodle Inspirations on Pinterest!) I think if I spend moments here and there just being PRESENT and aware of the blessings in my life…then maybe the stress will fade a little bit.

And when Benedict Cumberbatch tells you to do something? You do it. Or small bunnies will die.

(Also? If he wasn’t yummy enough before? That interview was the BEST. He ended it with FART NOISES, people. He is the complete package of awesome.)

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Bullet Journal Hack #4,765,222

How many times am I going to say, “Oh! Here’s something new I’m doing with my bullet journal!” I don’t know…maybe never? I’ve been using this method of organization for over a year now and I’m still modifying/improving it regularly.

It didn’t take long for me to decide that my bullet journal was an EXCELLENT place to store/document my children’s art work or school work. I think I started doing that with my second volume? The problem is, sometimes it’s just too big to put in the Moleskine. I’ve trimmed before, or folded over, but most of the things I think I’d like to save forever? Just don’t get put in because they’re on a standard size piece of paper and there’s really no way – without cutting – to put a standard size sheet of paper in my bullet journal.

A perfect example? This card Nikki made Donnie for his birthday.

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How fantastic is that? IT IS TOTALLY FANTASTIC. And before my bullet journal it would probably get thrown into the pile/box/folder of “Kid’s Art” and never seen again. But now! It can be stored in my bullet journal!

“But, Kim…How are you going to do that? IT IS TOO BIG!”

I know! But look at this genius idea that I had!

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BAM! I folded it up and stuck it in that tiny envelope! BOOM!

I know…I KNOW…I AM A GENIUS. You don’t need to tell me.

And y’all – I’ve learned over the last year that you can stick a lot of extra paper/tape in a Moleskine and that elastic strap will still hold it together. Now, since I have this folio for mine it doesn’t matter…but I’m not concerned about the pages become too thick. I’m more concerned about getting a big huge ego because I AM A DAMN GENIUS.

Carry on with your day, now. You’re welcome.

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Birthday

Today is (would be?) my Dad’s birthday. I thought about doing a “Dear Dad” entry like I’ve done before, but that always rings a little false since I don’t believe in any sort of afterlife.

I used to pray a lot back when I was a believer, and I miss that feeling of just talking into the void. Some nights I start…and think, “Hey Dad…” but it just feels weird. Same as when my faith was fading and I would try to pray. When you don’t believe? You just don’t believe. And pretending doesn’t do anything for me.

These last few months I’ve been more stressed than usual, sleeping poorly, worried about more than usual – and thinking about talking to him just reminds me how much I miss talking to him. Then I end up just crying from the pain of losing him all over again.

He’s been gone over 5 years now, but at night, when I’m alone with my thoughts and that hole in my heart? It feels like it was only yesterday.

There are still so many things I long to tell him. From science news like the success of the first launch of Orion, to family news like Donnie’s new job. Man…I know he’d love to talk to Donnie about that…there are so many stories Donnie comes home with and I know my Dad would have loved to hear them. I think he would have been a software developer if he had been born in our generation, the logic of coding would have totally appealed to him.

I think the thing I wish he could see the most is E as an adult. He has turned out to be such an amazing man. Dad would have ADORED his since of humor. He would have laughed his ass off at this tweet:

He would have been fascinated by his college and the artsy-fartsy nature of the student body. Dad would have gone to the big competition of battling musicals in February and would have ADORED the battling cheers/chants/songs of the night. He would have been as intrigued by Greek Life as I have been and would have been amazed that E held down 3 jobs last semester and still ended up with good grades. Dad didn’t really know my other two kids, but he knew E and seeing the adult he turned out to be would have just blown his mind. He would be beyond proud and that’s probably the thing I regret the most that he can’t see.

Of course he would love our adventures in fitness and my trail running. Dad was an outdoorsman, hoped to hike the AT some day…but I don’t know if he ever knew about trail running. He was a 5K’er himself…ran that distance several times a week up until he got sick. He would have loved for me to show him some of my favorite trails. He also would have been at Donnie’s Ironman, covering the entire 16 miles on foot with me as we spectated the entire day.

I miss him terribly. I still cry regularly over the pain of missing him. Time does make things easier. I can think about him and not hurt every time. But, man, especially lately when I’ve just been so tired and stressed…I just miss him so much still. Some days I just need him to be here, to talk to me, to hug me, and I feel like if I cry hard enough…maybe he’ll come back? I guess the child in me is still banking on some sort of movie magic in my life that – if I need him enough – will give me just one more moment with him.

Alas, there’s no movie magic in my life. He’s gone. While he was alive, he and I took turns forgetting each other’s birthdays, but in the years since he’s been gone the birthday hits me like a ton of bricks every year. I wish I could forget it again, honestly. Especially weeks like this one where I’m stressed and tired and just an emotional basketcase to begin with…his birthday does not drift gently. It slaps me in the face with the painful reminder than the man who raised me is gone and my two younger children will never even know him.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

Sometimes I’m really mad at you for leaving me so early.

Dad took selfies long before it was cool.
Dad took selfies long before it was cool.
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I drank beer at mile 23. (A Race Report.)

Edited to add – I’m tired. Wes woke up 5 times last night. This report is full of spelling/grammar errors I noticed after I published. Blame my kid.

The Good

RUN LOCAL
I highly recommend running local races because the support you see/feel on the course is unmatchable by ANYTHING ELSE. I didn’t have anyone there specifically cheering for me like I did in 2012…but I had friends there cheering for THEIR family and seeing their faces was FANTASTIC. I also had tons of friend working aid stations and cheer teams and even my sister-in-law who was calling split times. Local races are just ALWAYS the best – especially if you’re active in your running community. It’s just hard not to see at least ONE person you know and you can never believe the boost that gives you.

DRINK BEER
I’ve read about the importance of giving your daughter the talk about not taking open drinks from strangers. Yet…what did I do at mile 23 Saturday? I TOOK A BEER FROM A STRANGER. And it was fantastic. There was a “Cold Beer” sign at miles 7 but I felt that might have been too early…but at mile 23? I was ALL OVER IT. I was torn between thinking it was the BEST thing I had ever tasted (BEER! On a marathon!) and thinking it was the worst (Cheap beer! I’m a beer snob! And it’s a little flat!) but I ended up siding on BEST! EVER! and will most definitely do that again if it’s offered on the home stretch like it was.

ENJOY THE SIGHTS
The new course had tons of great sights. I’ve been hearing mixed reviews on which half people liked the best. The coolest stuff (the Space and Rocket Center) was on the back half…but the gorgeous neighborhoods/houses and most of the crowds were on the front half. I’m not sure where I fall. I love the historic/Twickenham district in our town and I really love the crowds so I think I liked the first half best of all. The day was overcast so I almost wish they had the lights on at the Botanical Gardens, that would have been nice. Overall there was DEFINITELY more “to see” on this course…I’m sure there was anything super-noteworthy on the old course.

ALL RACES SHOULD REVOLVE AROUND ARENAS
The start line by the arena gave us a warm waiting area with bathrooms that weren’t even that crowded. Usually you see lines at port-o-potties but here there were indoor/nice bathrooms and there weren’t even any lines 20 minutes before race start! And then the finish line was inside too, so family and friends had a place to wait sheltered from the elements.

TAKE SOME PICTURES
My marathon selfie challenge was a great success…until my phone died. BUT! For 14’ish miles there were tons of people and sights to take pictures of/with and it kept me quite entertained. I actually had to stop myself from taking more. There were tons of good signs and beautiful houses that first half, but I did have a race to run so I tried to keep it to 2 pictures/mile. I thought about sharing some of my favorite pictures here but my blog gets WAY more “stranger” traffic than my Instagram does because people end up here googling about Bullet Journals. So! To protect those people who don’t want their faces plastered on my blog…just go here to see the pictures I took before my phone died.

The Bad

STUPID BATTERIES
At mile 16 my phone died and I missed taking pictures of the Space and Rocket Center and some great costumes (The Grim Reaper was a split timer!) and some fun signs. I also missed selfies with tons of friends. I spent that back half being really sad about not being able to document the rest of the race.

STUPID ROADS
I don’t know if that loss of my entertainment started my downfall, or if my body just hates road runs, but I started getting the SAME cramps around the SAME point as at 7 Bridges. Around mile 19 or so I started getting those quad twinges which is an alarm for…MAYDAY! MAYDAY! FULL CRAMP AROUND THE CORNER!

It’s basically this weird “zone” where you’re feeling pain, but not a full-fledged cramp, but you know if you make the wrong move (like bending your knee) you could trigger a full-fledged cramp and then you’re going to be on the side of the road crying in pain. And this NEVER happens to me on the trails. NEVER.

SO! For the last 6+ miles I ended up doing this routine of run a bit…feel the pain…walk straight-legged until it loosened up. Then run a bit…feel the pain…walk straight-legged until it loosened up. Now, luckily my “walk” was still relatively fast (although NOT AT ALL SEXY) and my run was decent so I kept a moderate overall pace…but still IT WAS UGLY. And my selfie distraction was gone.

STUPID TEARS
I did the same thing I did at 7 Bridges…I pushed it the last mile+ because I just wanted to be DONE but I was hurting SO BAD that when I crossed the finish line it took everything out of me not to start sobbing. I sobbed at 7 Bridges but no one knew me there…here? Here I was surrounded by some of my favorite people and I did NOT want them to see me cry. I found a hiding place to stretch and fight back tears, and then I found Donnie and Nikki and I said, “I want to go home,” because I had NO desire for my friends to see my cry like a baby. I didn’t eat any food. I didn’t drink any water or beer. I didn’t take any pictures. I didn’t do anything but cross the finish line, do a quick stretch, and get the HELL OUT OF THERE.

I hate that, though, because the finish line was cool. And I didn’t get to take time to enjoy.

The Final Verdict

If my body becomes more receptive to roads? I’ll do this race again. But I think I’d like to play more of a supportive role in the future so I can be there for other people, but not be pounding the pavement myself. That may be my last road marathon for awhile. The trails just make my body so much happier. But overall? Great race. Great sights on the course. Great logistics at the start/finish. And just a great city with a great running community. We’re the best. I promise.

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a little bit of everything.