IMG_5937

Pros and Cons to be Stranded with your Adult Child

I’m still stuck in Montevallo until this afternoon when the roads will hopefully be clear as I travel North. This has been a rejuvenating trip as I’ve not spent this much quality time with my kid in a very long time. It was much needed and I am so glad I opted to come early and get stuck here instead of canceling the trip all together.

BUT. There are pros AND cons…and here they are:

PRO

You get to hear stories from the ins and outs of their daily life as you go about general daily activities. When they come in to town to visit YOU, the environment triggers for those stories are not there.

CON

You then tell your OWN stories of the ins and outs of YOUR daily life and you realize your daily life is boring and uneventful.

PRO

They can take you to some of their favorite places. This makes you feel really good when it’s something like a hike to a waterfall which is EXACTLY the kind of place you love too.

CON

Then you slip and fall and your kid mentally cancels any planned future outings of the same vein because NO CHILD wants to carry his mother out from the woods when she falls off of a cliff.

IMG_5931

PRO

You get to learn about their domestic habits, what foods they eat and cook as an adults. This is an interesting facet of having an adult child because they are in charge of their own grocery shopping so you find out what they actually like (or probably: CAN AFFORD) to eat when they’re making the choices and not you.

CON

You find out THEY DO NOT DRINK COFFEE. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO SURVIVE WITHOUT COFFEE????

PRO

You can be cool and bring your locally brewed beer because college kids can’t afford such extravagances so you are way classier in his environment than in your own.

CON

You discover that since college kids drink cheap beer, THEY HAVE NO NEED FOR A BOTTLE OPENER. So! You have to google how to open a beer with a pair of scissors and pray you don’t lose a finger or a hand in a craft-beer related incident.

PRO

You get to feel the euphoria of buying your kid their first bottle opener. Also? A garbage can. ONLY ANIMALS LIVE WITHOUT GARBAGE CANS, CHILD.

CON

You feel sad you can’t afford to buy him other things it would be nice for him to have. LIKE A COFFEE MAKER.

PRO

You get to end every day watching Friends with him and laughing about episodes you’ve both seen 50 times.

CON

You then have to sleep on his loveseat and you are old your body may never be the same.

All in all? A perfect trip. When’s the next ice storm coming?

IMG_5890

The One Where I Talk About A Bible Verse

NOTE: I was planning a trip to visit E this week and when the winter weather looked like it would cancel my trip, I opted instead to head down early and just risk getting stuck at his place instead of risk missing the trip all together. It so rarely works out where he has days free to visit, I didn’t want to miss my chance. SO! I headed down last night and now I’m in rainy Montevallo while Huntsville ices over back home. This post was something I wrote yesterday, but I wanted to add in a funny story from my trip to the top of the post.

SO! I’m working in a coffee shop this morning and I listened to a 5-10 minute conversation between two guys about what they had been reading or learning about how to make the most out of their psychedelic experiences. They were discussing breathing and alternate levels of reality and I was having MAJOR flashbacks to EVERYONE I KNEW IN COLLEGE. I think I listened in on that same conversation no less than 20 times during my college experience and it’s cracking me up that NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

And yes…I thought an intro story about college kids and psychedelic experiences would be perfect for the one entry I ever wrote about bible verses…

AND NOW! For your REAL entry for the day:

*******************************

I was flipping through instagram yesterday and a friend had posted a picture of a bible study she was working through. The verses noted were Matthew 6:5-34 but the verse that was underlined was:

Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing?

And it’s funny, I remember leading a bible study for my Youth Group in high school about “Worry” and using that very passage, but I hadn’t thought of it in a long time. Seeing my friend’s photo and I thought Dude. Seriously. Why do you waste so much time thinking about food? IDIOT.

Which I’m pretty sure is what Matthew intended with those words anyway, right? For someone in the 21st century to read them can call herself an idiot?

BUT SERIOUSLY. Life is more than what I’m eating and how much weight I’ve gained.

Now…of course most of my concern is my emotional addiction to food as a coping mechanism…not really about weight. BUT STILL. Maybe if food wasn’t in this weird sacred place in my mind, it wouldn’t be something I so easily depended on when I was upset or tired. Maybe if I put things like: My kid’s happiness, or my sock drawer, or my zendoodles on higher places on the THINGS TO THINK ABOUT list, then I’d turn to those things instead. I think because I think about food ALL THE DAMN TIME, it’s the quickest “Go To” when I need some sort of emotional support. Why don’t I organize my sock drawer instead? That thing is maddening. WHY DO I HAVE SO MANY SOCKS I WON’T WEAR?

So, I’m taking this bible verse to heart today. I’m going to try to remember what’s important in life and what is worth stress and what is NOT worth stress.

This is not the blog entry you are looking for…

This Saturday’s Entry is brought to you by Stupid Levels Of Irrational Angst. I apologize in advance. Hopefully people are so unaccustomed to Saturday entries that no one will read this one.

*************

I’ve not run a weekday run in, well, months? Definitely over a month. Maybe more. I know I’ve only run about 5 weekday runs since early December, but a few of them were crammed in one week so I’ve gone weeks in a row with nothing but weekend runs. And last weekend? I only ran on Sunday. I took my first Saturday off of running since September. It was wonderful, in a way. It’s been so long since I had the freedom of a fully-open Saturday, that I forgot how long the day could be.

There’s a very very large part of me that is fairly certain that many of my emotional issues would be solved if I picked my fitness/running back up to a regular schedule. I’d say 75% of me knows this to be a a fact. If I would get up and run or at least work out? I’d feel better.

But, holy shit, the other 25% of me is stubborn as HELL and does NOT want such an easy solution to my issues.

Is that the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard or what?

That 25% of me wants these struggles to be something BIGGER and GRANDER that would be hard to solve so that I can be justified in the constant Eating Of My Feelings and the Gaining Of the Weight. That small part of me doesn’t want it to be such an easy solution, because then it’s basically really stupid that I’ve gained now 17lbs in several months. I mean, if all I had to do was get up and run or go to BodyPump to stop that from happening? Then why did I let it get so bad?

No. That small part of me says that there’s NO WAY my problems would be solved that easily, SO WHY TRY?

Which is dumb. I know.

I don’t know why I’ve gotten out of the habit of running daily. Well, part of it is daylight. I hate running in the dark mornings alone and I just never found a good evening group to join like last year. Also, I couldn’t enjoy the morning group I enjoyed last year because, with Donnie’s new job (new from last year) it wouldn’t work with his/our schedule. So, I had no easy weekday groups to join which meant I’d have to run alone. And I have NEVER been good or disciplined about running alone.

The other part is the road. It’s hard to get a trail run in during the week because my favorite trails require an hour of driving time to and from. So, I have to allow for an extra hour for the distance which means it’s hard to do a lunchtime run during the day. And I can’t do it at night because of the sunlight issue. I have to do road runs during the week and I abhor road running now. I’ve accepted that road running just causes me much more pain than trail running, so it makes it that much harder to do.

But…today…I have no trail runs planned. I need a lot of my day free to accomplish a few other things, so I didn’t work too hard to plan one. SO, I need to get a road run in this morning. And I’m just having the hardest time motivating myself. Why do we do that? Why do we – as humans – struggle so much KNOWING what needs to be done yet being unable to do it? It’s like there’s a part of me that relishes my slovenly misery, and just can’t be motivated to pull myself out of it.

Spock died yesterday and I cried a lot because my Dad loved him and it just reminded me that I’ve really REALLY been missing my Dad a lot lately. Probably more since January than in the few years combined. I think I just felt his absence so greatly with my completely of Mountain Mist, it was just a journey I know he would have loved to hear about, and I think my heart has been just longing to see him on more time desperately since then. I don’t think I realized how much that maybe has been playing a part in my weeks and weeks of spiraling downward…until yesterday. I don’t think a celebrity death would have hit me that hard if it was not already connected to a sadness and a longing I hadn’t been really acknowledging. It’s been 6 years? Why would I acknowledge and intensity and a freshness to a grief that is 6 years old?

Have you had grief do that? Intensify out of the blue years away from the loss itself? Because, as of yesterday, I’m starting to think maybe I need to give that possibility more credit than I had before. I think there’s been an underlying resurgence of grief that I’ve not been coping with. I guess I’ve been ignoring it because it doesn’t seem possibly for the sadness of a 6-year old loss to suddenly get more intense, instead of fading like it’s supposed to do over time. But obviously, based on my weird reaction to Leonard Nimoy’s death, that’s what’s been bubbling under the surface for months.

So, I’m going to try to force myself out of the house for a run in a few hours when the sun comes up. I’m going to acknowledge that my grief over losing my Dad is experiencing a weird freshness and maybe I’ll try to deal with that a little instead of brushing it off. I just know that I keep trying to stop this spiral downward and pull myself up and – so far – nothing is helping. So today I’ll try the obvious things that have been in my face every day as a solution for weeks and I’ve been ignoring them. GO FOR A RUN, Dammit. And stop ignoring the sadness over losing your Dad. It doesn’t matter that it’s been 6 years…it’s okay to periodically feel the pain and grief fresh and new again. Even after this long.

IMG_5317

Brain. Fried. Need. Content. Ideas.

Most mornings I wake up with tons of content in my brain ready to dump on this blog. It’s not always well thought out or that ground breaking, but it’s words on the blog to start my day. As necessary as my coffee. (FYI: It’s 4:38am and I’m halfway through my third cup this morning.) But this morning my brain is all…

Huh?

Part of it is due to the CRAZY week last week. When we weren’t traveling or sleeping somewhere other than our beds, we had nights interrupted with foot cramps (Which had faded for awhile) or stomach aches (Donnie thinks he might have let Wes eat too much Valentine’s Day candy) so there was not one normal or uninterrupted night of sleep all week. And I am a BIG FAT WUSS and need my sleep.

Hence the brain…

Huh?

There are a few things I’ve been wanting to write about that are on my “Blog Ideas” pages, but they require a fully functional brain to recall the memories or topic points. The funny thing is, when my brain is fully functional, I have CURRENT ideas to write about and don’t want to do the “Remember when…” type of content. But on the days when I don’t have any current ideas like today, my brain can not recall all of the memories/points from the ideas on that page.

It’s the Blogger Catch-22.

Speaking of Catch-22, I actually read that book in high school. I didn’t read many of the assigned books, and managed to do fine just with discussing with classmates or getting Cliff’s Notes. Something about assigning a book always made me hate it. Catch-22 and The Count of Monte Cristo were the only two books I think I actually read. I also hated anything that seemed like real literature, which may be why the two books I read were not on the “classics” type of list. Y’all? I don’t think I actually read To Kill A Mockingbird which has made me feel very left out lately as it’s all anyone is talking about.

But I’ll be honest, my “To Read” list is long and I’m just not in the mood to put any classics on it. I still have a mental block against them, even if it makes me the dumb one in all conversations.

Speaking of weather…

(What? I’m just not even going to try to make this logical. I’m just writing as the words come. I’m basically in survival mode here.)

So, weather…we were forecasted snow today back on Friday and everyone got really excited but then as yesterday creeped on the weather models changed and now we’re only going to get rain. I had been preparing the kids since Friday for NO SNOW because I was worried that would happen, but they still got their little hopes up and last night, before we went to sleep, Nikki said, “I really hope there’s snow in the morning.” I said, “I’ve been telling you, it’s not going to happen, you’re going to be really disappointed.” She said, “I know! But I can’t help it! I’m a kid! We all want snow!”

True dat, yo.

And for those of you buried under too much snow in the Northeast? I’m really sorry I’m rubbing it in that we don’t have anything. If it makes you feel any better, I’m still cold from my run in 4 degree windchill yesterday. I could not warm up the entire rest of the day. It’s like my BONES were cold.

Okay. I’m stopping this entry now before it becomes the worst blog post in the history of the world. I’m just tired and my brain is fried. Here’s to something well thought out tomorrow.

IMG_5317

10933894_10153493579218496_4371237633172883238_n

About Your Race Shirt…

I like to volunteer for local races as a way to pay back the community, but since I’m usually running the ones I want to support, I’m often working something called “Packet Pickup” which is when a runner comes to pick up their goods – usually at least a race number and a t-shirt. I’ve worked packet pick-up at our biggest local races and I have seen more people complaining about the race t-shirts than I’d like. But, that’s just part of it, right? But then I saw a thread on our local running Facebook page where people were very vocally expressing their hatred about certain race shirts. I only read a few comments because I don’t have 30 years (it was a long thread) but it was enough to tell me: It’s time for a public service announcement.

Here are some things you should know about your race shirt. Now, all of these things aren’t true for every race, but at least in Huntsville, AL they are true for most races.

  • The Race Director has a lot more they’re worried about on race day then whether or not you like your shirt. The t-shirt decision in planning a race may actually be the least important of all. There’s volunteers needed to call split times, there’s public safety concerns at intersections, there medical support needed both to be mobile along a course and to be at the finish line. There’s timing setups, whether it’s chip time or not, there’s still a lot to setting up timing in a race. There are a lot of decisions that relate to safety of racers and you should be glad they spend more time on those decisions than whether or not to offer gender-specific shirts at a race.
  • Shirts often have to be a last-minute decision. Shirts cost less depending on how many you order. Most of our races locally offer money from the profits to a charity, so the more they spend on shirts, the less that goes to charity. They want to save as much money as possible. So they wait until the last minute so they can see how many people have registered and they try to order as close to that amount as necessary. And then they shop the best deal. This is also why most races don’t know when registration opens, what kind of shirt they’ll be getting. It depends! And also why they don’t always offer you choice between men/women cuts – because they don’t always know if they’re getting gender-specific cuts when registration opens. (Turns out if given a choice, many women choose a men’s cut.) Your preferences are fine, but know that t-shirt decisions are not made early enough in most cases for your preferences to be factored in.
  • For every person who HATES one race shirt, there is another person who LOVES it but would have totally HATED the other decision. You – quite honestly – can not please everyone. If you like the shirt? Great. But know someone hates it. If you hate it? Sorry. But know someone else loves it.
  • Race Directors treat these races like their babies. They think about their well-being year round and have many sleepless nights worrying about the logistics leading up to race day. I was on site for a race this weekend for a whole day and I can not, for the life of me, figure out how they got it all done. There were so many logistics and everything seemed so smooth. And this was only a 2-year old race! There were LAMINATED SIGNS marking a bridge that was slippery! There is so much effort and blood and sweat and tears put into these races, that when you publicly complain, “I hate my shirt!” you are basically publicly complaining about someone’s kid. So, have your opinions, share your opinions, but maybe be productive about it? Email a race director and balance out your hatred of the shirt with something you loved. Or express it in a way that is something other than, “I HATED THAT SHIRT! DON’T DO THAT AGAIN!” on a random running group website. If you want a better shirt next year? Or want your concerns heard? Be respectful and maybe…JUST MAYBE…volunteer to be part of the race. That’s a good start.
  • A lot of people want tech shirts, and before I had too many, I did too. But, I went to a meeting once and saw budget reports showing the earnings of some local races. One of my favorite t-shirts – which was an expensive brand tech shirt and printed with a lot of colors – came from a race that ended up in the hole. They were not able to offer hardly anything to help with the charity donations that organization makes. The year the race went with a 1-color cotton t-shirt? They made TONS of money to contribute. I learned to like a cotton t-shirt just as much, simply because of that. Tech shirts are great, but man, now I tend to wear them with a little bit of guilt.

Here are my tips: If you are racing a race solely for the shirt? Then you need to find a race that knows when you register what the shirt looks like and what brand and what sizes they offer. Those races do exist, and they’re often the big-name or for-profit type of races. If you’re not racing for the shirt, then go into packet pickup expecting the worst shirt in the world. Then you might be pleasantly surprised. And if the size doesn’t work, don’t panic if they can’t let you trade it out. Leftover race shirts are a nightmare and a total waste, so no one wants to order “extras”. Find a local running group and post in there to see if anyone wants to trade sizes. If yours is too big, someone’s might be too small.

Celebrate your accomplishment and thank the race director and their army of volunteers. The t-shirt is a bonus to all of that. It sucks if you hate it (I do have some I don’t like) but remember there’s more to the picture than whether you like your shirt.