Friday, November 28, 2008

No turkey here

It’s been a few years since I’ve done the traditional turkey and fixings style Thanksgiving. To be honest, as far as traditional Thanksgiving food goes, the only thing I really love is the pies. I like my sweet potatoes plain, stove top stuffing is just fine with me, don’t understand the canned cranberry thing (sorry Dr. Err), could go the rest of my life without eating another mashed potato, and turkey is just okay.

And yes, I get that the holiday is about more than the food, but my family, we’re all over the place, and honestly, my family is the kind that celebrates our differences and different choices every bit as much, if not more, than the need to sit around the table once a year and eat until we’re all considering bulimia.

Wednesday, I decided to look for a local turkey trot, and found an 8k in a neighboring town. After a long visit to the farm Wednesday afternoon, I drove over to the sports store hosting it and stood in a very long line to register.

It was 29 degrees when I rolled out of bed this morning to eat and prep for the race. After picking up my chip and making my final running wardrobe decisions I walked to the start. There was a 1 mile fun run before the 8k, mostly little kids, running their guts out, and frequently crying at the finish. At least at a distance, this is adorable.

Although they had chip timing at this race, they had no clock at the start/finish so I have only the roughest of ideas on how long it took me to run 4.97 miles this morning. What I do know is that I had a great run. I felt really strong through every bit of it, and discovered that my hill workouts are paying off. My climbing is strong. I consistently gained ground on hills instead of losing or just maintaining.

For wallflowers race starts are excellent people watching. In most every other environment ladies win the most outrageous outfit contest – not at race starts, here, the men have it. Yes, I’m talking about the over 50 year old man wearing bright blue spandex pants with pink and white “waves” splashed down the side, and his matching, but opposing colors spandex long sleeved shirt. People, if this guy had worn a cape, I couldn’t have been any more amused.

I had enough gas in the tank to kick it to the finish line, grabbed my water bottle and fig newton, walked around a little in the crowd, stripped the chip off my shoe, and headed for my truck. Realizing just how cold I really was revised my plan to head to the farm for a ride and I became quickly convinced that a cup of hot chocolate and an even hotter shower was the only real choice I had.

I read an article recently about Paula Radcliffe it said she had a sign taped to her bathroom mirror that said “there will come a day when I can no longer do this.Today, is not that day”.

Today, among all the other really good things in my life, I’m grateful that today wasn't that day for me either.

However you celebrate and demonstrate gratitude in your life, do it well.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Random Crap

I wanted and actually have tried to write eloquently about what's happening in my life right now, but I can't. I either dissolve into tears or start throwing things. Neither are really acceptable, and the last attempt was around 1am and I quickly found myself scrubbing my kitchen floor, like with a scrub brush, wearing knee pads getting a wicked headache from the smell of pine sol and bleach.

So instead of trying that, I'm going to just say a few things unrelated to anything, because that is all I can do right now.

1. Why the hell didn't someone tell me how good dried apricots are? Cuz, damn.

2. It snowed in North Carolina today. For like 10 minutes. It was pretty and then it was gone. I am just as happy it's gone as I was to see little snowflakes piling up on my dog who was laying on the deck as it came down.

3. I have completely forgotten how to dress for cold weather. This is not good when I have dog training, outside, and it's 38 degrees with 20 mph wind.

4. I think Allison Sweeney is one of the single most annoying human beings on the planet. Why did anyone think she was a good host for a two hour long TV show?

5. I'm going to buy or make a pecan pie for Thanksgving, and eat the whole damn thing. No, you can't have any.

6. I miss my brother.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Angry, Angry Angry.

Disclaimer: I wrote what's below over a year ago., I stumbled on it tonight when I was stewing over something that happened to me to today. I couldn't say it any better today than I said I on June 4, 2007, so I wasn't going to try and improve it.
It says all I can stand to say about it.

I live with what I know.
I even live with the dark things that belong in closed off rooms on floors no one lives on, back in the attics and crawl spaces, I live with those things just fine.
I pick them up by the sharpest sides and turn them around once in awhile just to remind myself that I am capable of feeling and causing great pain. I am capable of great hate, great hostility, great compassion, and yes, Pollyanna, great love. That fucker, the ability to love, it creeps around the dark things and laughs at them. It laughs at my desire to shut it out like sunlight on a hungover Sunday.
It seeps in anyway, and Pollyanna, she dances in it.

I'll tell you what I will do.
I'll feel as much, every last bit, of what this heart will allow.
I'll take it in just like I take in air.
I'll take it in slowly like warm rain in August sometimes, and others, I'll let it wash over me like an angry waterfall.
I'll let it fill me.
I'll break it open and look at the pretty pieces.
I'll put it back together.
I'll take care of it.
I'll give to it and I'll take from it what and when I need to.
I'll walk with it and I'll run with it.
I'll laugh at it, and sooner or later I will cry with it.
I will not apologize for any of it.

And that will have to be enough for me. Because that it is all I have.

We can stack up the disappointments like dominoes, kick them over and watch them fall. It will be no surprise to me to discover that all I have isn't enough.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Yesterday I drove to Chapel Hill for a latte at some little kiosk called 'Southern Mudd'.

I was supposed to be going to Chapel Hill for a certification trial for my dog trainer. However, there is apparently a Farrington Road in Durham and a Farrington Road in Chapel Hill, and you guessed it, they don't actually meet. By the time I figured out where I was, and had roughly 43 phone calls between my trainer and I, I ended up going the hell home, 84 miles for a stupid latte.

I found a field along the way, and trained/exercised my very patient dog, then swung by the local Petsmart to help a friend pick out a puppy from a local adoption agency. Nothing to take the tarnish off the spoon like wiggly puppies. They chose a little lab-looking girl puppy that the foster mom found in a trash pile with her two siblings. I love it that there are people that will pick three puppies out of the trash and keep them until they are lucky enough to find happy homes. I hate it that there are far fewer people like that, than people that will look away, and try not to see them.

This morning I helped my riding instructor feed the horses at the farm. How anyone can not like horses is beyond me. Standing in a nearby field watching a herd takes the tension right out of me. This farm, is the only place in my life where everything else just slips away. It's a little like magic. After feeding and turning the horses out, I had my riding lesson. At the end of the lesson, we were talking about canter leads, and my riding instructor was promising me that soon enough, I would just know, I would feel it and soon after that I wouldn't have to think about what came next, it would just come. Riding is new enough to me that I always come away from it trying to make it 'fit' into something else I am familiar with and good at. Today it was running. When I run, I adjust, to accomodate the distance ahead, the cramp in my left hamstring I often get when I run uphill, or the unexpected cramp in my right upper ribcage.

Learning new "tricks" at a rapidly approaching 40 years has been humbling. Many have questioned the smartness and sensibility of me learning how to ride a 1500 lb animal and make it jump over stuff at a high rate of speed at this point in my life. I'll freely admit that I have often felt like a sack of loosely tied potatoes perched on a moving vehicle with a mind and fears of its own. I have learned that running and riding use different muscles, and there are even more muscles in my legs I didn't know existed. I have learned that just when I begin to feel confident a more experienced rider will show me how much I have to learn, and that the ground is very hard and comes up to meet you quickly when you aren't fully engaged.

Probably most importantly I have learned, that laughing at myself is still great fun.

Sunny November weekends where I accomplish nothing real trump looking sensible and smart anyday.

I recommend it highly.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's more than just a hippy thing

I smiled tonight as I slipped my key into the front door lock.
I knew what would be behind the door.
My beautiful, hardwood floors were covered in muddy dog paw prints. My white kitchen floor, even worse. My backyard after a solid day of rain yesterday, would be a muddy and unkempt looking, and the holes the puppy I've been fostering had dug would be mud holes. None of this would not stop me from taking my dogs out to play. The sun was out again, and the temperature a perfect 58-ish degrees.

As the youngest child of a large family, I was rarely ever alone. Someone was always taking me somewhere, picking me up from somewhere, watching me, in charge of me, or just plain with me. My mom tells me that I used to be really good at giving friends in the cul desac the slip, and slipping into the house and retreat to my room. Once there, I'd bury myself in a book. I still remember that room in the house on Bing Court, the little room at the top of the stairs with the pink rose wallpaper (this was not my choice, blame my sister, Karen). I'd curl up on my twin bed with one of the Chronicles of Narnia and read..and nap. On many occasions my friends and family would be in an outright panic, trying to locate me once the street lights came on (the get your butt home alarm in my family) and only my mom would think to check my room. It seems even in grade school I was looking for my little space in the world. The one without noise or drama, and apparently, other people.

My first place on my own was an efficiency apartment-thing on a horse farm. It was one room and a bathroom, one closet, one sink, one microwave, and a two burner stove. I was deliriously happy there. It was there I learned that phones are a convenience I pay for, not you the caller, me, the callee. (hush). Here I answered the phone when I was okay with being interrupted. This place was far enough out in the country that there was no such thing as unexpected, drop in visitors.

This expanded when I moved to a condo. In condominiums everyone comes to your door, neighbors from up or downstairs, across the hall, or across the street, kids selling cookies, or kites, or titanium screws, mail and package carriers, Jehovah's witnesses, people looking for "spanish speaking members of the household", you name it. This exacerbated my behavior to include, "if I wasn't expecting you, I didn't answer the door" even if you saw me in my house, through the giant sliding glass door before you knocked on my door. Ever.

The people in my life that love me, they get it. A few told me they couldn't possibly sit through the ringing of their phone and not get it., but they understood enough to know I wouldn't if I was reading, or talking to a friend or watching a good movie. I always return calls.

All these years later, I am much the same, with very few exceptions, I answer the door and phone when it suits me to do so. I return calls when I know I have the time and attention to dedicate to the caller that they would want me to.

I love to lay on my bed in my self painted yellow bedroom on a sunny day and listen to whatever I can hear. Controlling the external static in my home gives me great comfort and yes, peace. I know it's a temporary state. I know sooner or later I will have to deal with all of the things I am putting off, and I will. Just not now.

Right now, I will revel in the peace that I create.

Wherever you find peace in your own life or whatever you have to do to create it, for yourself and for your loved ones, tend it well, never take it for granted, one glance at any internatoinal headline will tell you how blessed you are. Anyone who has survived a home filled with domestic violence can tell you how lucky you are to have a space to feel safe in and everyone, everyone deserves a little more Peace.