Well. Not final. To be fair, I might write again before all this is over. I just realized it’s been a few days since my last confession. So, here it it: 12 days to go. 33 miles to run. 2.75 miles a day if I wanted to run every single day. And I want to. But, I have obligations. For starters, I have a date with a certain New England football team on 12/24 in Foxborough. Could you see it? Excuse me, Mr. Brady, but I need to run around your football field 4+ times. Can you delay the game if I get a quad cramp? Um. No.
So, here is the plan:
12/21 6.5 miles
12/22 2.5 miles
12/23 6 miles
12/25 5? I’ll be at my sister-in-law’s for an all day brunch. Think they’ll miss me for an hour or so?
I am still (still!) telling myself I can’t do this. I am still waiting for the epic fail. My legs have been holding up and. And! And, I registered for St. Pat’s! So, there’s that. The game plan after 2016 is this: rest for a solid two weeks. In that time, develop a new yoga & strength training routine. Gradually add the run back into the mix. Sometime in late January-early February start training for Holyoke’s notorious hills. This year I have Millz by my side (aka speedy because he finished the Safe Passage 5k in 16 minutes. Yikes!). He’s never run longer than 3.1 miles and I don’t know his hill strategy, but I do know he’s fast!
Anyway. That’s that.
Categories: Confessional, Hilltop, Holidays, life, running
Tags: competition, football, Holidays, numbers, run, running, St Pats, train, training
Ever since I married into the family I have been a guest at my in-laws Italian Christmas party. Held every year on the Saturday before Christmas, the Italian side of the family gathers for feasting, cookie swapping and hooting over lucky scratch tickets. It’s a thing. It’s their thing. Now it has become my thing. Kisa and I will attempt to host, for the first time in history, The Party.
I am undaunted and unfazed by this turn of events. I’m approaching this party like I planned my wedding: by analyzing how it’s expected to go and doing it all backwards. My first dance was the last dance. My cake was a pie. My champagne toast was many Tuaca shots. I wore boots and a 13 horned hat. I did not throw my bouquet. I almost threw up from fear but ending up laughing outloud.
The Italian Christmas tradition is turning into Mexican Mayhem. We won’t be serving prime rib or swampy vegetables simmered too long. Instead we’ll have a buffet of mix and match fillers: chicken, beef, sofritas, shrimp, salsas, guacamole, rice and beans to fill tacos, burritos, quesadillas. A margarita bar and chili-chocolate chip cookies and cheesecake for dessert. Mustaches, sombreros, and holiday music south of the border style. That will teach ’em to nominate the Kisa and I to cook!
In other news (what else? Running!), here’s the lowdown: 71 miles to go. Covered so far this month:
12/1 = 6.55
12/4 = 9.15
12/6 = 7.00
I’m on track to finish this thing. I’m still not 100% confident and that makes me talk out loud. I ramble on about the numbers constantly. One thing I need to remind me & myself is not to rant too much around the Kisa. He thinks I’m obsessed. No. No, he doesn’t think. He knows I’m crazy. He watches my mouth and checks my eyes for lies. I know he’s looking for happiness; To make sure this is what I want & I’m psychologically sound doing it. Well, you know what ZZ Ward says, “‘Til the casket drops…’til my legs just break…” I’m going to keep going.
So. Having said all that. The agenda for this week: 6 tomorrow & 9 on Sunday. In between, baking Mexican shortbread and spicy sweet chocolate chip cookies to test. Buenas noches.
Categories: Confessional, Hilltop, Holidays, running
Tags: Confessional, family, food, Holidays, insane moments, run, running, wedding
I have always been the pushover peacekeeper. To my detriment I never decide to take the wheel and drive. I’m the one in the back seat, plotting the fastest, convenient, and simplest route. I’m the one never saying a word. If I were at sea, I would be adrift with the tide, meandering with the pull of the moon. I can see me now, bobbing and ducking under the waves. Sinking until eventually I’m more under than not. Finally I drown.
But, no more. I’m starting this thing called Done. D.O.N.E. It sounds terrifying and terrific all at once. Take Christmas cards. I used to mail a card to everyone in my address book, taking care to care. I mean really care. It was rare if I just signed my name and called it good. I really tried. I’d promise myself year after year not to be let down if I didn’t receive one with half as much thought in return. But, every year it was the same thing. I’d feel slightly slighted. This year I’m not sending cards to family or friends. Fukc ’em. Instead I signed up to send 10 random cards to 10 random strangers. I specifically requested international addresses. That way, if I write to a serial killer it will take him some time to find me.
The other thing I’ve started is Over. O.V.E.R. It sounds stupid, but when it comes to my running I’m starting over. Really, from scratch. This week I ran 66 minutes and covered 6.28 miles. No big numbers, No big deal. It has been two months since I ran with carefree joy. These days I run with demons called pain and worry, one for each shoulder. I need to get past them.
Okay. So my real issues are not with Christmas cards and mileage. I’m talking in code for relationships put asunder and death did us part. I’m not ready to confront the walking away I must do…nor the going away you just did.
Categories: Confessional, Hilltop, Holidays, life, running
Tags: Confessional, death, depression, family, friendship, Holidays, home, insane moments, pain, running
Every year I have this inner battle with myself and moi. We go ’round and ’round about the same damned thing: to give or not to give. The politics of presents has really gotten out of hand. Several years ago, six to be exact, the in-laws decided they were done with gift giving. Christmas is for kids, they announced emphatically. Grandkids, specifically. Okay. Let’s be really specific here – one grandkid. singular. The Kisa and I rejoiced with skepticism. It didn’t seem possible to buy for just one niece (although that would make shopping a breeze, at least that’s what we thought). But, what were we planning to do, all sit around and watch one kid open a crapload of gifts? Yup. That’s exactly what happens. Our new dilemma became What Do You Get the Kid Who Has Everything? Until this year. My sister-in-law plops a gift in my lap and laments, “I know. I know. We said no gifts.” “But!” she adds brightly, “I saw this and just had to get it for you!” I could only stare at her in dismay. Kisa shrugs. Hello awkward moment.
Then there’s my side of the family that never sticks to anything serious. We say we won’t buy for the adults but inevitably there will be presents and stocking-stuffers both. Oodles of cash spent on chintzy things, tacky things, totally unnecessary things. World class lying on all our parts. So, it’s not about not buying gifts, because we know we just will. It’s about the dollar amount. Two years ago the Kisa and I were given life preserver looks because we went way overboard in the spending department. It was embarrassing. For every gift we received we had given three at least in return. What was I thinking? I’m not sure but myself was pissed at me. We created an uncomfortable situation without even trying.
Here we are again. Kisa and I bought one gift for my mother. One gift. It’s practical. It’s something she needs. She’ll appreciate it. And yet. Yet, I find myself worrying it’s not enough. She could always use another fill-in-the-blank. There’s room for one more insert-present-here.
I don’t know when I’ll figure this out, but guess what? I have always, always been like this. I say I won’t send holiday cards to those humbugs who haven’t sent me one in the last five years. I say I won’t bother with writing a real greeting to those who simply stuff a silly photo-card in a printer-labeled envelope. Why bother with the ones that can’t be bothered with me? Why put pen to paper when there are some who can’t even sign their names? I don’t have the answer. I haven’t figured out the politics of presents.
Hands down, this is my busiest time of year. Staff reviews, cookies and more cookies, end of year reports, greeting cards, budget rewrites, deflecting family stress like Wonder Woman, finagling time with friends, wrangling the cats, catering to a (sick) husband, wrapping presents, unwrapping holiday decorations, untangling miles of lights, winterizing Hilltop (and now Bat), cooking, shopping, trying to stay faithful to the treadmill…It doesn’t help that I have a bunch of “annuals” coming up. Under the hood, onco, breast squisher, arm pricking, strapping on….ooh that sounds more scandalous than it really is. The list goes on and on.
This last weekend we managed to squeeze in sushi, a movie out, lego fest, a full Thanksgiving dinner (complete with sour cream apple pie), holiday decorating, a birthday party and a movie in… and to think the family wasn’t even here 48 hours. When the last of them had driven away and we had the house to ourselves every room seemed huge and silent. Kisa sat mute on the couch. Captain America and crew had left the building taking every noise with them. I didn’t know what to feel. It was like I didn’t know where I was. The cats stood in front of me asking, “now what?”
Now what is this – a holiday party with Kisa’s side of the family. I’m to bring the appetizers (something other than shrimp). Now the sister is calling saying “Christmas before or after Christmas at my house. You are welcome.” Who does that? She does. I don’t remember saying Thanks. Not even at Thanksgiving. Should I stay or should I go? Be the good daughter? Or stay and be my bad, self-destructive self? I would consult me but moi would like nothing better than to hide under the covers and will it all away.
I have this magnet on my fridge that reads, “Blessed are the flexible for they are never bent out of shape.” It was a favorite saying of a friend of my father’s, a weather bug named Charlie. When Charlie passed away, a victim of cancer’s grip, this magnet was handed out at his funeral as a way to remember him with a smile. I go through days and even weeks repeating the words “blessed are the flexible” like a mantra just to get through.
The Thanksgiving holiday is one such time when the mantra is in full repeat mode. I’m a broken record. For weeks the Kisa and I didn’t know our T-Day plans. We thought we knew when we said absolutely and even defiantly, “this year we are in Maine!” Maine. Did that mean Rockland? Monhegan? Portland? Peaks? Did that mean we drove up on Tuesday? Wednesday? Would we buy groceries or eat out? Who’s doing the cooking? Would we pack nice clothes or come as we are? Decisions, decisions with nary a plan in sight. Typical situation. Finally, after much back and forth debate I put my foot down. Monhegan. Wednesday. We cook. Done. I couldn’t remember the last Thanksgiving spent on the island. Plan B was Rockland. Still Wednesday. We still cook. I insisted.
We didn’t count on needing a Plan C. Plan C: No one do anything anywhere with anyone from my side of the family. But, Plan C it was. A gale was predicted so no boats. We couldn’t get on the island and mom couldn’t get off. No Monhegan. No Rockland. End of story. Bags were unpacked. Food not bought. Disappointment heavy on my shoulders I went to bed at four in the afternoon and slept my tears away for the third year in a row.
Blessed are the flexible for they are never bent out of shape. We are flexible. Mom will come here. Not in time for Thanksgiving. Not in time for her birthday. But, no matter. We don’t care. We’ll give thanks a week late. We’ll have cake and eat it, too. I’m already planning the Thank You menu.
The Kisa and I try to spread our time evenly between our families, especially when it comes to the holidays. It isn’t always easy. His are within a short distance and mine are a trek away. Out of laziness we spend more time here than there. But, like I said, we try to be fair. This year we are supposed to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas in Maine. Not a big deal considering we haven’t been way up north in over two years. My memory is hazy; I don’t remember where we spent Thanksgiving three years ago. Must not have been all that thankful but I’m sure it was in Maine.
So anyway. I thought the Maine contingency would be happy we would be making our way to them this year. We told them earlier enough for plans to be made. Not so. Sister has decided to accept another invitation and mother can’t decide what she wants to do. Full of “we’ll see.” No one seemed excited to be together. Enthusiasm at an all time low.
I realize the family is going through some incredibly tough times right now and it’s hard to thank anyone for anything, but this should be a time for family. A time to be together. Rally the troops and circle the wagons, so to speak. A time to be strong for one another. “My back is sturdy and strong. Trouble me,” as Natalie would say. Instead, we are disintegrating. Falling apart. The heart doesn’t grow fonder with the distance. Instead it becomes dulled and indifferent. Avert the eyes and silence the soul. Fear not, for soon it will become easier and easier not to care, to just walk away. It will be simple to say thanks for nothing.
My mantra today is, “It’s not about you. It’s not about you. It’s. Not. About. You. Itsnotaboutyou.” Last night Kisa and I made the decision to cut our holiday at home short. Leave Saturday instead of Monday. It’s no surprise on his part, but something as a shock on mine. I’m the one who kept saying five days isn’t and could never be too long. I was pretty darn convincing when I said I could survive the Bermuda Triangle. I listed books, music, running, knitting, cooking…all things to keep me grounded in times of grief. So, what changed? The fact that it’s not about me. Leaving would dismantle the triangle, eliminate the necessary component that makes up the equation that spells craziness. With me out of the picture perfect harmony can be restored.
So. If all that is true, why do I feel so damn guilty about leaving early? Why am I anticipating the bombing of Monhegan harbor in the start of my own private world war three? Because I can’t convince myself it isn’t all about me. I remind myself that I don’t get the phone calls that indicate excitement. My sister explains It’s all about the kids. Exactly. It’s not about me. I remind myself that I go home more often than any other travel arrangement combined. I can count the visits to MA on one hand.
Still. There is guilt. It’s Christmastime. We’re supposed to be excited. I am. Believe me, I am. I have been dreaming about this trip for years. Home for the holidays. The island in winter. Christmas Eve and the sound of the surf. In my mind I’m already there. And already leaving. Do what you have to do, I was told. That’s the phrase of a passive aggressive guilt-trip. I do what I hate have to do. Anything to get over the feeling it’s not about you.