Old Blogs

Nine Years Ago

Nine years ago, I said this:
Not since high school have I run side by side with someone. I have wanted to. I invited someone who was supposedly training for the Leukemia Society’s half marathon and he turned me down. I challenged someone who wants to WALK a 13.1 miler, she chickened out. I’ve strode next to lots of someones at the Gerbil Cage, but side by side on treadmills are nowhere near the real thing of running side by side outside.
Thursday my sister and I ran. She’s trying to lose pregnancy belly fat and I’m trying to lose my fear of everything that strangles my psyche. Despite the fact I barely got any sleep the night before I got up at 5:30am to chase the early morning light around my sister’s island. If there was an emotion that permeated my brain that a.m. it was envy. She runs in the most beautiful place. How do I explain this? She runs on a dirt road that turns paved. She runs in the woods, through a still-sleepy town, along the shore line, past beautiful, sea-weathered cottages. She smells pines, fresh bread baking, island roses and the sharp ocean. She sees gulls and finches, butterflies and curled up cats, tiger lilies and seaweed covered shorelines. She hears fog horns, waves lapping and whispering trees. In the distance a horse calls and a dog answers. Birds sing continuously. She stops for water, plucks blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and even late blooming strawberries before moving on.
We promised no chatting but I couldn’t help commenting on cottages for sale, sleeping dogs on porches and classic lobster boats offshore. A bell buoy clanged in the distance and I could almost picture myself living here. I got so caught up in the fantasy that I forgot I was running.
4.5 miles later my sister announced, “I walk at the bricks” and true to her word she slowed to a walk where the sidewalk ended. As the sweat cooled on my back I marveled at how easy it had been to run on her island. How easy it had been to run with her. In high school she ran cross country. I ran away from physical activity. She has always been Miss Athlete, despite having two kids. I have always been Miss Bookwormslug. I never in a million years thought I would run with her…much less actually keep up.

Knee conversation – not a peep. Must be the huge shoes!

Categories: Confessional, Old Blogs, running | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Remembering When

This is a post from SEVEN years ago! It was on the wrong blog site so it had to move.

We have reached a compromise – or so we have been told. It’s now safe to resume packing. All systems go. 251 boxes later and rooms are starting to echo. Walls look a little more bare. Boxes are getting more difficult to fill with just one designation. Suddenly, I’m faced with the nitty gritty of moving. The stage I crankily call “crap packing.”

We have ten “zones” for box designation: living room, kitchen, dining room, upper bath, bedroom, work out room, dude room, utility room, garage & office. Nowhere in the plan is there a room called, “useless sh!t I haven’t seen in seven years” or, “I have no idea what this is but there is no way I’m parting with it.” Letters from strangers who weren’t always that strange, postcards from places I’ve never been, newspaper clippings of faded interest, road maps from before I was born, pictures of places I don’t recognize, mixed tapes from people I don’t know, buttons, beads, baubles. Bullsh!t I said I would do something with and never did. What do I do with this stuff? What won’t I do? It’s utterly amazing the things I have unearthed.

But, for all it’s craptabulousness I am unearthing priceless memories, too. The Paint the Town Red, White & Blue trip mom, sis and I took to New York after 9/11. The orphan Thanksgiving I hosted in New Jersey. Thanksgiving in Quogue with ancient finery and Don’t Touch Anything attitude. My penpal from Africa’s first letter where he states he is 16′ tall. My sister’s graduation. My graduation. My first ‘date’ with kisa. The Early Bird luncheon where I was crowned Queen of the Court. Even sad memories. A friend’s slow decline into alcoholism. Another friend’s suicide note. The journal I kept after dad died. The car accident. The divorce. The miscarriage of twins. Yet. And yet, for all the memories there is a sense of promise. Change of name. Change of address. The keeping of old friends and their letters. All these memories make up my life as it was, as it is, and how it shall be.

So for now, I crabily crap pack. With a smile.

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Stranger Things Have Happened

I wrote this in September of 2013:
They say the best way to end an addiction is to quit cold turkey. Cut the obsession off at the knees and just simply walk away. My father did that with smoking. My sister did that with a marriage. It runs in the family, this cut and dried approach to cutting it out.
But, what about the other side of the story? What if I’m on the receiving end of the stare? Or the glare? Can I still quit it? Cut it out.

I know a thing or two about addiction. It creeps up on you like a sly fog, twisting around your heart until it controls your thoughts. Actions are dictated by emotions and nothing makes as much sense as the obsession. It’s even worse when it is sprung from a devil’s box of secrecy. Spilling the story makes it easier to tell. Not even reverse psychology can cure the sure thing. My husband, obsessed with getting what he wants, will tell anyone it won’t happen. Like a mantra he will repeat the opposite of his dreams if only to lessen the shock of reality when it really does not happen. There is no I Told You So in this equation.

I sat on the other side of an addiction this morning. I watched a man tell me a lie. Bold and ugly, I could barely believe it was coming from his mouth. He said it originated from mine. Dumbfounded and dazed I couldn’t believe he would be so delusional as to think I started this. Especially when all I want to do is end it. Has it really come to this? I really need to end it.

End it. I know this is a dead end relationship. I know that it will do more harm than good. In the long run people better than me or myself will get hurt. I can’t risk the game. I have thought long and hard about this addiction and have decided it needs to die. I will cut it off at the knees, kill it cold turkey. As soon as I get over being chicken.

I took me over a year, but I did it. I quit the relationship with the Reader. After the insanity spiraled out of control, resulting in over 40 phone calls in less than five hours, I knew it had to end. The chicken came home to roost. Stranger things have happened.

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Believe in Bootlegs

Repost from gr4c5 side:

I’ve never been one to get too involved with the great bootleg debate. Either you believe in taping or you don’t. Either you see it as a way to share live music or you see it as a way to steal from said artist. Whatever. I know where I stand. My first introduction to boots was through my husband. I had just seen Natalie Merchant headline for the very first time (Le Spectrum, Montreal October 1999). Kisa found “the show” for me and finagled a trade. I had no clue what that meant and was in awe of the idea that everything Natalie said would be mine for keeps. Mine in the form of a cd I could listen to over and over again. Her reading of Freddie the Fish in French, her Happy Birthday to Me inebriation, Hey Jack (twice), the swearing – yes, Natalie swears. It was like I was back in Montreal, speaking bad horrible French and sipping amazing coffee. When the cds arrived I could barely believe I could relive one of the best moments of my short concert-going life. I was hooked. In my mind, because I was at this show, I now have a souvenir, a keepsake of a really, really good time. Later I found another Natalie Merchant show. This one I took my mother to as a Mother’s Day present. We had one of the best mother-daughter times I could ever ask for. On the recording I can hear kisa and mom helping me scream for a request… and at the end of the night when Natalie breathes “goodnight Portland” I know she is leaning down to smile at us.
Fast forward to last night. Kisa found a “secret” show that BubbleGum put on before the release of Continuum. An intimate show billed under a fake name. BG is like Natalie in that he likes to showcase his new songs to an unsuspecting audience, just to test them out. Just show up somewhere and play it out, play it for them. See how it all turns out. I am grateful for the recording. I am so busy the chances of me “discovering” a secret show are next to nil. Going to be one would be impossible because the chances of BG or Natalie choosing my little town to drop in on is not going to happen. So, having a bootleg of something I missed out on is awesome.
Here’s how I look at the great debate. If the artist supports taping it’s not stealing. The other angle is this – when I went to see BG I paid $4o (before taxes) for the ticket. I bought two shirts to the tune of $60 and you can bet I’ll buy every album he puts out from now on. How did this all start? I heard a bootleg of a Jimi Hendrix cover and was impressed. If I hadn’t heard the boot I wouldn’t have given BG a second look, nor one listen. I wouldn’t have spent $100+ in a single night. He gained a fan because he allowed someone to share. With me.

So, I see bootlegs as a way to capture a I-Was-There moment but I also see bootlegs as a way to alleviate that I-Missed-Out-On-Something-Great feeling. Finally, I see bootlegs as a way to get to know an artist I never would have taken a chance on otherwise. One final word – share the music. If it’s not yours you don’t own it and if you don’t own it you don’t sell it.

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Ironically Yours

I’m going to Maine this weekend. Right in the middle of training. This rings familiar. Case in point, 2005.

November 27, 2005
Saturday – a day of cloud cover and gray. Choppy conversation and quiet chaos. Six souls determined to be together despite a slew of hidden agendas. Even the 20 month old had somewhere (read – everywhere) to be. As the day wore on my intentions were uncovered. I was determined to stick to my training schedule and run. I wanted to run. Despite the snow falling on unfamiliar streets I wanted to run through them. A pre-printed map to guide me through the unknown territory. Protests I can never refuse kept me standing still; milling around in a crowded, noisy, unbearably hot, kid-filled toy store for what seemed like forever for no reason. A hiatus can last forever is one is not careful. I wasn’t taking any chances. I’ll say it again, I wanted to run. As dusk and dark started to settle my frustration started to bubble like giggles. It runs in the family, this angry laughter. BecauseĀ  I wasn’t running. As sitting around translated into sitting around doing nothing I realized it was now or never and never was definitely winning. So, I ran. Literally. I ran away from family to a treadmill at the hotel. I was a gerbil on a wheel going nowhere fast. I let statistics on the screen fascinate me – speed 4.6/incline 3 warming up…speed 4.4/incline 1 cooling down. I imagines falling off to keep myself straight. I imagined trees to keep me sane on this ridiculous machine. My first time running inside. My first time on a treadmill. Was this thing easier or harder? I’m not sure. Here’s what I know: I ran 10 minutes longer than my best time duration: a solid hour. According to my mean running machine I ran 4.75 miles. 4.75 and yet I went nowhere.

Here and now – I love this post. It marked the beginning of a love affair with statistics. My first time on a treadmill. This is the first time I refer to it as gerbil-ish. I love how slow I ran. How careful I was not to fall off. You can’t tell I was deathly afraid of the thing. You can’t read my fear.
Here’s what else I love about this post. I put my foot down. I needed to run and out of sheet frustration ran more than I needed to. I was encapsulated by family; trapped by tradition and obligation and yet, yet I decided to leave them behind. Now, nearly six years later I am putting myself in the same situation. True, I am no longer training for a half marathon and true, someone is dying. The urgency to stay on track is simply not the same. However, I am training to walk 60 miles for a cancer charity and that must stand for something. If anything at all. It simply must.

Categories: Confessional, life, Old Blogs, running | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sisters

This was then – November 23, 2005 –
This started out as the run from hell. It all started with my sister telling me she only runs for 30 minutes. (At the time she told me this I remember thinking, “oh good. I’m way past running for just 30 minutes and felt relieved.) If I remember correctly she said she’s up to 3.5 – 4miles at a time. The last time I ran I covered four miles in 50 minutes. That means she is definitely going to smoke my azz when we run together this weekend. Not good. Not good at all. So, I decided to step it up, just to see if I could even do it.
I started this run at dusk. Great for losing the Everybody Is Looking At Me attitude. Not so great for maneuvering around pushed up sidewalks and overzealous roots. I also started this run with a new-fangled toy my husband bought me – one of those fancy armband music things. (Don’t I sound 80 years old? I don’t know what an mp3 player is!) It’s this armband thingy that has me thinking this was going to be the worst run of my life. First, my arm is too skinny. The Velcro strap wouldn’t cinch tight enough to keep it high up on my arm. (Looking back I remember how silly Kisa and I got trying to make the strap tight enough to fit my arm. We were reduced to giggles by the time I hit the road.) Five minutes into my run and the whole thing had slid down to the crook of my elbow. If I didn’t keep my arm bent the entire time the whole thing would have gone flying off, for sure. Second, if you aren’t fast enough with the buttons (say, starting the stopwatch thingy) you have to start all over again. Then, I couldn’t figure out how to play the next song. I ran through three Sparks before I realized the song was looping. Because I couldn’t stop in mid-run to figure it out I blindly pushed buttons until I got the song to advance. It reminded me of when my sister and I were kids and we had to hurry to get our chores done. We would pretend we had a “faster” program built into our arms and by pushing these “buttons” we could work faster (A la bionic man?) Silly. Third complaint. These earbud things! I couldn’t get them to stay in my ears to save my life! Ugh! It was the most distracted run ever!
So. I had all these complaints about my new toy. I was convinced I would throw the thing at my husband’s head when I got home. I was absolutely convinced I would go back to the days of holding a giant disc-man in my hand as I ran. But, along the way something amazing happened. As long as I remember to advance to the next song I didn’t have to worry about a cd ending. I could just run and run and run. I flew along the darkening streets. I concentrated on the smells in the air – someone drying laundry, someone grilling hamburgers, someone else’s wood stove, a car in need of an oil change, stupid stuff (?!). My legs were tireless and my heart soared. THIS was the way to run. It felt so good to just go! Who cares that I couldn’t keep my new toy on my arm? Who cares that my earbuds wouldn’t stay tight? Who cares that I had to reach over to push next every time a song ended? I was running life the wind. It was the best run of my life.

Here and now – I love this post because it is a litany of firsts – first time wearing an mp3 player. Yes, I really did hold a Sony discman in my left hand when I first started running. It was my first time wearing earbuds as apposed to honking huge headphones. But, even that has magic to it. There I was, holding a discman, wearing 70s style headphones, running like a hippo and I did not care. I’ll say it again. I. Did. Not. Care. This was also the first time I went running at dusk and discovered I really love the gloaming. The one thing that makes me sad about this post is that I never fess up to exactly how long I ran.

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Laugh or Cry…It’s all the Same

November 21st, 2005

This is my run today. Can you tell who I ran with?
“Life is like a mean machine -> Just another heartache on my list ->Someone broken -> Where you gonna run to now? -> Cuz it’s gonna be aright -> I don’t wanna get walked on -> I would give my life to save you – >you heard of this emotional trickery -> pray just a little when every little thing starts fallin’ to pieces -> light your bright light shine – >try to live a better life ->you will not be forgotten, I will not let you down.” Yes. I ran through the entire Something To Be album. Mr. Thomas with me the whole way. The whole way. 50 minutes straight without one walking step. A father is buried today. My heart breaks today. I think I broke four miles today. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Here and now – a life in parallel: Last night I ran for 45 minutes and managed to squeeze out 4.28 miles. It’s been awhile since I ran over four miles *truly* pain free so this was a huge milestone. But, I celebrated quietly with doing four loads of laundry, grocery shopping and scrubbing the bathroom. Life goes on and if I want this 4.28 miles to be the norm I must treat it as such. Mentally and physically.

Categories: Confessional, Old Blogs, running | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

This Old Glove

Ever since I moved away from my favorite run route I have been a practicing gerbil. The TreadWheel to nowhere. Round and round I go without going anywhere. Outside my window there are no sidewalks; none in my immediate vicinity. I need to flirt with automobile traffic to even get to one and once I’ve done that it’s noisy and dirty and uncomfortable. Needless to say I am not an outdoor runner these days (and before you say it, no I will not drive to a place to run. It just goes against my sensibilities. I just can’t do it.)
It was this post that made me miss my old haunt:

November 19th, 2005
Angst. I felt like lead today. Never again am I submitting my body to bad food, not am I skipping a workout. I’m angry at myself for letting a good time get in the way of such an important goal (I’m assuming I meant the half marathon because I have never been a weight watcher.) Running felt like hell. I was dragging a sack of potatoes behind my azz and sucking wind the entire way. I never got into that groove I so love to find. It’s colder now and I can’t seem to figure out hot to “blow snot,” either. I’m paranoid I’m going to end up wearing the slime on my face and it’ll freeze there like some green gross glob. Someone will mistake me for a snot-wearing, sweaty, heavy breathing, lumbering lunatic. Look out! A mental patient on the loose! As it is, men yell ever-so-flattering comments like “yeah, baby!” and “jiggle your jugs!” out their truck windows as they fly past me at 50 miles per hour (in a 25, I might add!). Are they blind? These A cups are not going anywhere -up or down. Seriously.
Euphoria is fleeting – The good news is that I ran my last route (the no-hill route) again…and thensome. According to iShape I finally broke three miles. Won’t know for sure until I can get kisa to drive it in his truck. I do know that I ran through Ruby – the entire album (39 minute/40 seconds) and I added another 1 min/40s in order to go home. I’m going to beg (please, please, please) J for some drums when he gets back from the hockey game. I need something more pounding, move driving, something that matches my heartbeat. No offense to Ruby. I’m just angrier than that.
I’m glad I retraced my last run’s footsteps because I was able to reclaim a glove I didn’t know I had lost. Before the run I conducted a lame search for it. Lame being “I bet it’s in this pocket. Nope. Huh. I guess it’s around here somewhere.” And out the door I went. It’s a little worse for wear (looks like a few people stepped on it) but I’m glad I found it just the same. (I still have the gloves and to this day I won’t wear them for anything else but running) Goals: By NEXT Monday I want to run four miles. Promises: Eating better & not skipping the routine. Ever.

It’s funny but I don’t remember what I did that caused me to miss a run date or eat so poorly. Hell, I don’t even remember what crap I ate. Guilt has this funny way of hanging around for no apparent reason. My latest guilt is all about the gloves. I think I need to take this run outside. No. I know I need to.

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Watching Myself

I graduated from PT last night. It was a very exciting moment when the strength training therapist told me I had “killer quads and hips to match.” It was even more invigorating to learn that my leg length discrepancy has been partially resolved. I’m on my way to becoming beaucoup balanced. Thank you very much.

The other thing that is beyond inspiring is rereading this silly 2005 journal. I love revisiting myself and moi if only to witness the birth of a runner. I had to laugh about my on-going obsession with hills:

“From November 16, 2005 –
Today is an amazing day. Not only did I find a way to cheat at running hills, but I ran through almost all of Away From Here. I found a way to run without meeting a single intimidating, hellish hill. My solution? Just don’t ever leave the hill! Ha! For some reason if you run towards Look PArk and along Bridge Road you never encounter an energy sapping incline.(Don’t let me fool moi. There ARE inclines, just not the ones that make you feel noodle-ish and stupid afterward.) Miss S., you will know the route: behind my house, through town (watch for idiots running the red light), up to Look Park (avoid the mean dog at #32), down Bridge Street (stay off the bike path – too many teenagers smoking and skipping school this time of say), to Chestnut Street and voila! Home! Back where I started. Again, I have no idea what the actual distance is, but I managed to push through “Whenever You’re Around” and “Anyway” and 30 seconds of “Kiss Me Here (reprise)”…so close to finishing the entire album. So friggin’ close. I should have kept going. I realize now I only had a mere 90 seconds left. Lame. I could have done it. I ran out of sidewalk and it started to pour. Pathetic tail-between-my-legs excuses, but true. Next time! But! Still. I ran 36 minutes straight.

Here and now – I had a work-ethic breakdown with a few staff members last night (What part of This Isn’t DisneyLand don’t you understand?) and was a little on the seething side by the time I got home. As soon as I got in the front door, had disarmed Hilltop, and fed the beasts I was reaching for my running shoes. 3.95 in 40 min. Slower today, but still moving away from that 30 minute rut I was in.Best ipod moment: Always On the Run ~ Lenny Kravitz

Here’s what I wish. I wish I could have that wide-eyed excitement over 36 minutes again. I hate how impatient I am – how I can remember running for two hours straight. Every minute under my milestone makes me feel slacker and stupid. I’m constantly comparing my run of today with moi’s run of yesteryear. Why can’t I remember that I’m coming off a huge hurt? I should be celebrating the small stuff. 3.95 miles and no pain. Whatsoever.

Categories: Confessional, life, Old Blogs, running | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Ugly Truth

I’m still rereading my old run journal from the half marathon. What surprises me the most is how obsessed I was with the damned hill we used to live on:

November 14, 2005 –
I have faced the ugly truth. We live on a hill. No matter where you go all roads that lead home are UP. I have tried to run my route backwards and guess what? It’s even more of an uphill battle. Literally. I do have good news, though (and it’s not my car insurance). I ran through ‘Whenever You’re Around’ (the happiest song ever written)! According to iShape I ran 2.77 miles today (33 minutes straight). I didn’t think I could run through ‘Paper Moon’ never mind six (yes, six) songs later. I’m still in love with the drum/bass cooperation in ‘Uncomfortable’ and how the guitar bounces from ear to ear in my headphones. I am blessed with warm weather, a friendly neighborhood and decent running shoes. Tonight (tonight!) is the Team Leukemia information session.

Here and now – I had a lot of pent up anger last night. I took it out on kisa when he failed to read a text about an avocado. Clearly, I had lost my mind. The solution? The gerbil cage. 3.5 miles/35 min. Nothing more. nothing less. I still had dinner to make, PT exercises to do, letters to write, a life to live. During the last six minutes kisa came to talk about cable. He knew that I had calmed down enough to converse so I apologized for my crankiness. We talked murder. For once I was glad I didn’t take to the hills for this run. By the time I stepped off the tread my world was back in place. Mental alignment was a success.
Best run song of the night: Viva la Vida by Coldplay

Categories: Confessional, life, Old Blogs, running | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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