Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
I had a dentist appointment this morning, which is a frequent occurrence these days. Apparently I clench and/or grind my teeth at night, and we know this because I managed to break two of my molars last year. So I am now wearing a mouthguard splint thing when I sleep, which kind of makes me look like I have a mouth full of Hubba Bubba, but in an attractive way. I have to go in every couple of weeks to have it adjusted, and after today's appointment I had an hour to kill before my sitter left. I drove over to the coffee shop in the old textile mill, ordered a decaf americano, and then picked a spot to work. Unfortunately, the table I picked was next to a loudly humming refrigerator case, hidden behind a curtain. I knew right away that it was a bad spot, that I wanted to move. But I didn't want to seem high maintenance to the guy working on his laptop in the corner. Or to the couple leaning into each other across the room. So I stayed put. Sure am glad I did that!
At dinner tonight, Miles listed for us all the current crushes happening in his class at school. As always seems to be the case, it appears that most of the boys have a crush on the same girl (although not Miles). He asked me to guess which girls he likes, so I called out names and he answered yes, no or maybe. He blushed a little at one or two of the names, which was just about the sweetest thing I have seen all week. Then Clara started offering up her own ideas, like "how about the rug?!? Do you love the rug?" Meanwhile Ruby kept asking to please be excused, but we had only just sat down and she had maybe eaten three bites of food. Each time I said no she put her forehead down on the table and moaned. Related: do you want to know how to make an almost-three year old mad? Ask her if she is tired.
We recently promoted our crazy part-time cat to full-time indoor cat, and so far it seems to be going well (although if you asked him, I doubt he would consider it a promotion, more like incarceration). He has stopped hissing and swiping his claws at me, and his cat-fight scratches are healing. I don't think he has fully adjusted to the litter box though, because this morning I left him shut in our room while the sitter was here (because otherwise he stalks around waiting for a door to open) and I came home to a three-days-worth pile of cat shit in the middle of my bed. Message received Marvin.
Yesterday Ruby and I walked out of her pre-school at the same time as the older brother of one of her friends. The brother was with his grandma, and I said to Ruby, "look, it's _____, [friend]'s brother." So then the grandma asked who we were, and said, "Oh we hear a lot about Ruby." Then somehow we got on the subject of Ruby's hair, and I told her "Ruby hates when I brush her hair." Grandma said, "[Friend]too. She throws a fit. But then ____[the mom, whom I know and like] doesn't care much about her hair." Now imagine grandma saying these words and smelling dog shit at the same time. Because that was the face she made when she said, "doesn't care much about her hair." I'm dying to know if the grandma is the mom's mom, or her MIL. I can't decide which is worse. Of course, I was standing there with just-showered wet hair pulled up in a bun. Because I also don't care much about my hair. Which is why my daughter won't let me brush her hair. Point to grandma.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
And you will spend over 23 minutes on hold.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Grayed in, and gray. "Dream" mate, a giddy sound, not strong
Like "rent", "feeding a wife", "satisfying a man".
But could a dream sent up through onion fumes
Its white and violet, fight with fried potatoes
And yesterday's garbage ripening in the hall,
Flutter, or sing an aria down these rooms,
Even if we were willing to let it in,
Had time to warm it, keep it very clean,
Anticipate a message, let it begin?
We wonder. But not well! not for a minute!
Since Number Five is out of the bathroom now,
We think of lukewarm water, hope to get in it.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
The good news is that all the running experts agree that one should eat some carbs 4 hours before a long race. Which is ridiculous advice because most races start at 7 a.m. And who is going to get up at 3 a.m. to eat a waffle, right?
The temperature dropped overnight. It is now around 50 degrees outside, and that rain they have been predicting has finally arrived. And looks like it brought some wind too. I am again questioning whether shorts or pants are better for the race. I think I am still going with shorts because that is what I have worn on my long runs. I know they are comfortable and no weird chaffing. Also, my pants have no pockets, so I would need to wear my running belt (really just a sporty fanny pack), which is annoying to keep adjusting and, like taking a bigger suitcase on vacation, just invites me to overpack and carry things I won't need on my run.
Brian and the kids are going to be spectating at mile 22, and I packed a bag of things for him to bring. Dry socks, my good gloves, more gel, those caffeinated jelly beans (which I reminded him yesterday do not give these to the kids; when I eat them I feel like I have had two shots of espresso). But I am trying to carry everything I need so I won't have to waste any precious time unless I really need to.
I have four gels, two without caffeine for miles 6 and 12, and two with caffeine for miles 18 and ?? Two pockets in my shorts, two pockets on my shirt. Also, burt's bees chapstick. And that is all I am carrying. The forecast says 30% chance of rain for the morning, so I probably need to wear my visor. I don't love wearing it because even though it is black it feels so tennis-y and country club. But it keeps the rain off my eyes without trapping too much heat on my head. So, visor it is.
I haven't decided on shoes yet - new pair or old pair. I was thinking new pair, because Brian got them for me for Christmas and they surely have a bit more cushioning in them. But I don't want my new shoes to get wet because I like my new shoes. I should mention that my new shoes and my old shoes are exactly the same except for color. Old = gray and blue. New = black and blue. This factors in to the consideration.
Yesterday Clara helped me pick out some arm warmers at the marathon expo. I was going to wear my trusty old blue patagonia shirt that I have had since I did outward bound when I was 18, but I really don't want to mess with unpinning my race bib and repinning it if I take off my shirt. Also, don't want to run with it tied around my waist if I don't have to (and I am not tossing that shirt). So I decided to get some arm warmers instead.
Of course, a friend of ours told Brian yesterday that she just cuts the feet off old socks and wears those for racing. Much cooler that buying some. But Clara picked some bright pink ones for me to buy yesterday, so now I am thinking that it will be good luck to wear those. They were only $10, so I can toss if I need to. I am bringing the freebie gloves that a sponsor was giving away, even though they would fit the hands of a lumberjack.
I'm glad I went for my long run in the rain last weekend. I know it isn't a big deal as long as you keep moving. But still, I am going to be cold from the time I park the car until the middle of the first mile. Which is probably an hour and a half. Maybe it will be warm inside the convention center. I can't remember.
I keep bouncing around in my head over pace and time. I haven't run a marathon in fourteen years, so I know I need to approach this as a first-timer, i.e. no time goal. But I can't help myself. When I run my competitive side really comes out, and I want to finish strong. In my mind I am reviewing my past long runs - the good ones and the not so good ones. There is only so much I can control, and the weather is probably the biggest thing out of my control. Bad weather slows runners down. Just a fact. So I need to not get too hung up on my time. And yet, I know I can run a good race. And the circle goes round.
The coach of my running group advised us to think of the marathon as a 20-mile training run followed by a 6.2 mile race. Which means I need to hold back until at least mile 20. I think I can do it, but that is not an easy thing to do when there are people to pass all around and spectators cheering and all that adrenaline.
So now it is 4:23 a.m. and I really don't know what to do with myself. I guess I will just spend the next hour debating my clothing choices, and then leave the house at 5:30.
Here's to a good race!
Saturday, January 05, 2013
The second thing I heard was the rain. It's Saturday, which means long run. I heaved our fat orange cat off my chest, got out of bed and turned off the alarm before it went off. Then I got back in bed next to my little bundle of Clara-warmth, and started debating with myself. Time: 5:10 a.m.
I can run later on my own...but it's the last long run with my group before the marathon.
I'm tired...no one ever says, "I wish I hadn't gone for that run."
No one would blame me for skipping on a cold, rainy day...how much do you want this?
I decided to at least get dressed and see how miserable it was outside. Clothes on, coffee made, shoes on. Shuffle, phone, wallet, water. Watch and wristband. Then I stepped outside.
And stepped right back in. It wasn't just raining, it was cold. I changed my shorts to running pants, then stood by the front door, uncertain. I decided I would drive over to base and make my decision there.
I could tell that a lot of people had decided to stay in bed this morning. Lots of parking nearby. I really didn't want to turn off the heat in the car. I really didn't want to get wet. I muttered "fucker" several times, not really sure who or what I was referring to. Time: 6:00 a.m.
Then I got out and started running. About three minutes later the rain went from light drizzle to downpour. A flicker through my brain, "what the fuck am I doing this for?" But minutes later, I started to warm up. Maybe I made the right decision.
And then I came upon a guy running in a 1999 Houston-marathon finisher jacket. Seriously! The last marathon I ran was the 1999 Houston marathon. And I haven't seen anyone wearing a shirt or jacket from that race in years. Clearly, a sign of encouragement from the universe.
I had planned to run ten miles, but at the turn around I was feeling good so I did the extra loop that made it 12.5. There weren't many people running the full course this morning (maybe because there just weren't that many people running at all) so I ran alone for this part, keeping pace off a guy in a blue jacket way up ahead of me.
Of course, during the last mile there was another downpour. My shoes were like sponges strapped on my feet, squishing water out with every step. My clothes were soaked through. I kept thinking about the dry shirt in the car. I finished the run, and even though I was tired, I kept running back to the car so I wouldn't get any colder.
In the car, I pulled off my wet shirts, not really caring if anyone saw me, and got the dry one on. Can I describe the heaven that is a dry shirt? (Truly, one gift of long-distance running is exactly this kind of gratitude. Simply not-running becomes a luxury beyond all others. Being out of the rain feels so lucky. A dry shirt, something to savor.)
“The distance runner is mysteriously reconciling the separations of body and mind, of pain and pleasure, of the conscious and the unconscious. He is repairing the rent, and healing the wound in his divided self. He has found a way to make the ordinary extraordinary; the commonplace unique; the everyday eternal.”I looked down at my pants - there must have been some laundry detergent left on my pants because there was soapy white foam on both knees. I wished I had brought some dry pants. And dry shoes and socks. And maybe a blow dryer. And a space heater.
I turned up the heat and went to get bagels. Then home, to the longest shower I have taken in a long time. Time: who cares, I'm done running.
"You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can't know what's coming." - Frank ShorterOne week and one day. I think I'm ready. I know my body can run 26.2 miles. Now it's just up to my mind to make it happen.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Do people still defrag? We have had macs for years now. Macs don't need us to tidy up.
Defragging - like studying for an exam in a coffee shop, making two-thousand-dollars last a semester, nokia cell-pones - is one of those things that time-travels me back to my twenties. I can close my eyes and be there again, sitting in my student-housing apartment in Chicago, maybe it's even snowing quietly outside, I have case law to read and a paper to write, but let me just procrastinate a little longer, let me just sit and watch my toshiba defrag.
I recall watching those red and green boxes with the same calm attention I gave the snow falling. And I recall feeling that specific satisfaction that I get from vacuuming, re-organizing a bookcase, or cleaning out a closet. Lost bits of digital ephemera recaptured, re-purposed, made whole again. The unnecessary discarded. Order from disorder, with one click. My laptop (which, even though it was only 1999, already contained so much of my life) was visibly working through its issues, tying up lose ends, resolving the unresolved. At the conclusion, I could start again.
It has been a good year.
My children have grown, each month claiming more space in the world. Their personalities increasingly complex and nuanced. My heart skips when, for a brief moment, the sunlight glints off the future-man inside my young son. I watch my daughters playing, and often they don't smile, because it is serious business - building a house, carrying their baby, setting up an ice-cream picnic. And other times, they are so full of laughter, they could float away like party balloons.
Each day the light in their eyes shines brighter. Or maybe time just keeps forcing me to look closer, to see it better.
And at the center of these three dervishes, I stand with Brian. We can look back and talk about all that has happened, we can look forward and describe all that we see for the future. And we can look at each other for all that we need today.
Sitting here, alone for the moment, I have no complaints.
And yet...there is always a yet. I am never wholly satisfied with myself. I take stock and can't help feeling that my brain could use a good defrag.
Did I mention that I am an INFJ?
"INFJ is a perfectionist who doubts that they are living up to their full potential. INFJs are rarely at complete peace with themselves - there's always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them. They believe in constant growth, and don't often take time to revel in their accomplishments..."
According to wikipedia, defragging has three purposes:
1) to reduce the amount of fragmentation,
2) to create larger regions of free space, and
3) use compaction to impede the return of fragmentation.
I am working on some new year resolutions.
(How far can I stretch this defrag analogy?)
My resolutions take some time, because I am naturally verbose. And knowing myself, the only way I will pay any attention to resolutions after January 1st is if they are concise (like all good writing).
Step one: make a list of things I want more of in my life (look for commonalities, redundancies, overlap; reduce fragmentation).
Step two: make a second list of things I want less of in my life (target these for elimination; create more free space).
Last step: organize it all into a few pithy phrases (compaction).
Sounds easy, right? I'll let you know.