The Dead End to Somewhere…

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

This week, it’s a free for all. We pick our own topics, which works really well for me…

It’s been three years since I’ve successfully trained for a marathon. The last one was my Des Moines run. After that, I’d signed up for Kansas City, only to cancel at the last-minute due to illness. Then I stopped running.

Three years. Has it really been that long? I always figured getting back into training would resemble riding a strenuous, grueling bike. Sure, it would be tough, but I’d get back on it with ease.

That hasn’t been the case.

I feel like a newbie. All the old tricks up my sleeve don’t seem to work for me anymore. My body has changed, my mentality has changed. I used to push through the pain, injury be damned, but I can’t do that anymore. The hiatus from running has taught me to listen to my body, to care about protecting it from harm.

I am running an Oregon marathon in a little over two weeks. I don’t feel ready. It’s hard to train in Nebraska so early in the year, what with the snow and the icy conditions. And just when I feel I’m turning a corner, the weather is better, it’s going to get easier, more obstacles are thrown at me.

I pull the water belt from the mirror on top of the dresser. I’ve had it hanging there for years, unused. My body feels tired and worn out. I’ll admit, I haven’t been good about rest days. Training has been kicked into high gear. I’ve crammed in a lot of miles, attempting to make up for lost time during the winter months. Filling the plastic bottles with water is an old routine of mine but also a foreign thing to me now. I haven’t hit double-digit miles yet. Today is a 10-miler day. It’s been ages.

Surrounded by everything else, the water belt
Surrounded by everything else, the water belt

I make sure the Garmin watch, the iPod, are charged. I make sure to pack my arm band, so I can carry a car key with me during the run. All of this is haphazardly thrown into the car, a regular routine when you’re planning a run. In goes the water belt. I’m not a big fan of the water belt. It shifts and water jostles with every step I take, but I’m used to it. Even with the years of distance between me and that damn water belt, I know it’s something I will have to deal with.

The weather is cold today. That’s not a big deal. With enough layering, a hat, and gloves, 30-degree weather is doable. After dropping the little guy off at preschool, I drive to the trail. A couple of other cars are parked there. Most likely cyclists. I turn on the Garmin watch, letting it do its thing while I wait and get a look around. It was sprinkling earlier in the morning, but nothing too bad. It’s a gray and cloudy morning. The jogging trail’s cement form is easily seen through short, patchy brown grass.

Once the Garmin is ready, I walk a bit, warming my body up. Then, I get into a brisk jog. My upper body is screaming at me. Yesterday’s arm workout. I make sure to keep my pace light and easy. I could go balls to the walls, but I’ve already decided that I need to ease into the double digits. I need to get a feel for how my body will handle everything I’m putting onto it.

The wind starts to pick up. Wind is beneficial when it’s pushing you from behind, but your worst enemy when it’s coming at you from the front. It’s an added resistance I don’t want but I press through, staying at a 10-minute or so pace. I’m listening to music, I’m  zoning out and focusing on the pounding of my feet along the pavement. Cars are driving over me on bridges made of steel, but I don’t mind.There’s something tranquil, peaceful when I’m in this zone. My breathing is relaxed, my body moves at its own rhythm. It’s one of the many things I love about running.

Shit.

A barricade.

I can see it in the distance. I have to squint my eyes to read the sign.

ROAD CLOSED

I notice closer in that the barricade doesn’t entirely block the path. There’s a little bit of room for me to squeeze by, and I do, checking my Garmin watch in the process. I’m nearing 2 miles. I’ve seen barricades like this one before on the trail. Sometimes I’ve had to turn back, but there are other times that hasn’t been the case. Maybe I’ll get lucky today.

Or maybe not. Up ahead, I see construction workers. I can’t really tell what they’re working on, but I know there’s no way they’ll let me pass. The path is totally blocked off now, with skid steers and a bucket loader.

I turn around. This won’t deter me. The trail extends miles and miles in a few different directions. I can choose another way to go and keep at it. The little guy won’t get out of preschool for at least a couple of hours yet. Time is on my side.

Then the rain comes. I don’t mind rain, ordinarily. In the summer months, a rain feels like heaven during an intense run. It doesn’t feel so good in the cold, though. And then there’s that godawful wind. It picks up intensity, spraying water into my face. Nothing torrential, but it isn’t a light rain, either. It’s just enough to make me stop for a minute, and I put my gloved hands onto my water belted hips, laughing.

Maybe it’s the universe, speaking to me. I haven’t had a rest day in days. Maybe even weeks. My body is tired. Very tired. The path is blocked off, and now it’s raining. I decide to take all of it as a sign, and I head back for the car, squeaking in a 4-miler in the process.

A few years ago, I would have cursed my bad fortune. I would have probably continued running, even with the rain and the pain. I took training so very, very seriously and wouldn’t allow for anything to get in the way or interrupt what I’d had planned out. I couldn’t be flexible. I didn’t want to be.

Maybe it’s the break from running that has put my life into perspective, enabling me to enjoy what running does for my life as a whole. I’m not as focused on a stringent schedule. I don’t lament nearly as much when my plans are foiled. I may not meet my goal miles in time for this full marathon and I won’t freak out about it. There’s always the half, and that will be more than all right by me. I’m glad I get to run, period. Even when it’s a 4-miler that should have been a 10.

I throw the running gear into the passenger seat, removing the water belt as gingerly as I can. I make the decision to stretch when I get home. I also make the decision to take a rest day (today).

And let’s face it; there’s always tomorrow….

My first marathon
My first marathon

 

 

Book Review: The Marrying Type

review for Chick Lit Central:

Having read and reviewed Laura Chapman’s Hard Hats and Doormats, I was honored and very excited to be given the opportunity to read her latest novel, The Marrying Type.

Always the wedding planner, never a bride, Elliot Lynch is famous for orchestrating the splashiest weddings in Charleston, South Carolina. When her father’s sloppy management practices leave them on the brink of bankruptcy, Elliot will do whatever it takes to save the family business. When asked to appear on “The Marrying Type,” a reality TV show about the people behind the scenes as couples exchange I dos, she says yes to the invasion of privacy (and the hefty paycheck that comes with it).

With a camera crew capturing every detail of her life, Elliot faces her most challenging contract yet: planning a wedding where her ex is involved in every part of the process. Add in a lazy assistant, liquor-loving bridesmaid, and rival planner encroaching on her turf, and Elliot’s wedding season goes from high-end to high-stress.

Forced to confront her past, Elliot must live out her troubled present on national TV if she has any hope of saving her future. (courtesy of Amazon)

I am a huge reality TV buff, and I felt I received a back-stage pass to a lot of the drama and chaos that ensues for Elliot while she attempts to save her family business, one bride at a time. She is constantly putting out fires, including her own. Then there’s the ex. Eric Warner had been “the one” for Elliot, years ago, before she ended things and not amicably, I might add. Who would have ever guessed that one of the brides-to-be who Elliot will work closely with, would end up being Eric’s sister?

I felt emotionally invested in Elliot. It’s a testament to how well Chapman has breathed life into her characters. It made it difficult to put the book down, because I wanted to know what would happen next, and if Elliot would ultimately have the happy ending she desperately wants and deserves. I found myself rooting for her and cheering when she stands up for herself in various pivotal scenes, or getting misty-eyed when things aren’t going according to plan. True to Chapman fashion, this book was an enjoyable read and a total page turner, every step of the way!

 

Sharing the Blog Love

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

For this week, Melissa asked that we give a shout-out to FIVE other blogs. (They can’t be from this Thursday blog group or one that I contribute to.) They can be blogs of friends, blogs you frequently visit, etc. Share the blog link and a couple of sentences about why you like each blog.

Dating Madge

Madge (not her real name) is a very close friend of mine, who started a blog not too long ago that chronicles her search for Prince Charming. She’ll often ask a lot of thought-provoking questions and it’s fun getting to read about her dating wins, and misses.

Lisa Jakub

Lisa was my celebrity twin when I was a teen. People would often tell me, “You look like that girl from Mrs. Doubtfire”. Although Lisa doesn’t post very often, her posts are always deep and meaningful. I also totally dig the recent photos on her blog. She wears her Chucks with pride, and so do I.

Me
Me
Lisa

Banded Carolina Girl

The story of a woman who had lap band surgery, chronicling the joys and struggles of living healthy. She’ll often have motivational messages and exudes a lot of positivity.

The Running Thriver

An awesome blog featuring a woman who races, runs, and lives to tell about it! It keeps me going and helps to keep me focused on my own fitness goals.

Two Dogs and a Camera

Really great photography on this blog. I like that most of the content is simple, sweet, and to the point, focusing more on the images. This was from yesterday’s post:

from jakeandcharlie.com
from jakeandcharlie.com

What are some of your favorite blogs? Feel free to share them in the comments!

 

 

Pregnancy Premonitions

This morning, while lying in bed and listening to the noise and chaos outside my bedroom door, I was reminded of my thoughts and ideals, the images I’d conjure up in my head while pregnant with my youngest boy. I remember wondering how my two sons would interact, if they would get along. I’d flash forward roughly five years. What would my unborn child look like? Would my five-year old (now ten, thanks to time progression) get along with his little brother?

I then recalled the dream premonitions I had while pregnant. I used to hear other people talk about how they knew with certainty what sex their children would be, how they’d look, and I never took much stock in it, not until I was in those shoes.

I knew my firstborn would be a boy, even before I conceived. Years before conception was even a blip on my radar. I was twelve when I knew with certainty I’d name my firstborn son, Benjamin. The name was a no brainer for me. He’d be named after my war hero great-grandfather, Benjamin Prentiss. When I first discovered I was pregnant at twenty-six, I knew with everything in me that I was going to have a son. I just… knew. So much so, that my then-husband never questioned me. I think he knew it, too. When his own war hero grandfather passed away shortly after we’d found out I was pregnant, he requested that we name our son after him. Willard. Then we compromised. Our son would be named Benjamin Willard.

While pregnant for the 2nd time, I was convinced I was having a girl. Everything about the pregnancy was so vastly different from the first go around. I felt more hormonal. I attributed that to another female trying to stake claim inside my body. Around four months along, however, I had a dream that I was at an indoor pool. No one was swimming. The pool was full of babies, wrapped in either pink or blue blankets. A few people were standing in the shallow waters, handing out babies to random individuals who were standing in various lines, waiting their turn to hold their respective babies. When I made it to the edge of the pool, the woman responsible for my line reached down and picked up a tiny little infant, swaddled in blue. When she handed him to me, I asked, “Are you sure? Shouldn’t I have a girl?” And the woman merely shrugged. When I woke up, I felt disoriented. Was this one of those coveted premonition dreams I’ve heard other women speak of?

Apparently so. At our first ultrasound, my doctor confirmed that my husband and I were having a baby boy. I was still in disbelief over it, if you can believe that. All I had to go on was a strange dream. When I questioned my doctor, he said: “You see that medical diploma over there, hanging on the wall? I’ll bet my diploma that you’re having a boy.”

A couple of months later, growing a vastly large tummy and adjusting to the thought of having another little boy to contend with, I had another dream. This time, I was holding a pale-skinned, chubby little pint-sized infant on my lap, clad only in a diaper. I’d say he was roughly a year old. His head was practically bald, and his eyes were hard to decipher. I couldn’t tell if they were blue, or green, but I knew with certainty they weren’t brown, like his big brother’s. This was my baby boy, the one currently inside me. Later, I told my husband about the dream. I told him we’d have a blondie, and he said he wasn’t convinced. He was fairly certain our boy would have light brown hair. And he was partially right. When our little guy was born, he did have brown hair. Dark, curly brown hair.

nolan1Then it all fell out.

nolan3

Our boy Nolan Robert, who will be five in October, has blond hair, and hazel green eyes. And as you can imagine, given the noise and chaos outside my bedroom door, my two boys don’t always get along. I always wondered how those two would do, considering the age difference between them, but I imagine they are doing just fine, all things considered. They are rambunctious and nutty, how I imagine most pre pubescent boys to be and there is love there. There is a lot of love there, even among the bickering.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

I’d love to hear from you. Did you have premonitions while pregnant?

 

What’s In A Midlife Crisis?

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

I was inspired by someone close to me, when I conjured up this week’s blog post topic, Midlife Crisis. This person is going through what I’d call a mini midlife crisis. Suddenly, they are very aware of their own mortality.

It’s standard protocol when you’re nearing or are turning 40. Birthdays often become bookmarked with “over the hill” Hallmark cards and balloons. You start to receive junk mail from AARP (I recently did, and I’m turning 37 this year).

And so it begins.
And so it begins.

I have serious issues with “the midlife crisis”. It has nothing to do with my own lack of mortality. I know it’s there, I know I’m not immortal. And that’s where the problem lies for me. None of us know when our time is up on Earth. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I could die today. Or tomorrow. Or next week or next month, or even next year. Not that I want to. I plan on living until I can’t stand living anymore; I want to be that old. It’s just, no one can say where anyone’s midlife ends or where it begins.

We’re also living a lot longer. We’re living well beyond 80 years of age. I often hear that 40 is the new 30. I’ve met plenty of people who are in their 90’s and are still kickin’ it. I’ve blogged about my dad and how he’s still kickin’ it. He’s 58 and competes in 100-mile bike rides. Teaches a spin class.  His healthy lifestyle began in his late 30’s. A late bloomer. He started caring more about his health and didn’t want his age to dictate how he’d live his life.

Exercise and eating healthy is beneficial for everyone, not just the young whippersnappers. Just because we’ve entered into another age bracket, doesn’t mean our life is over. I guess watching my dad take his own health by the reigns and do something with it, has been a huge inspiration on how I see the world around me. There’s no time or reason to dwell on my age. Age really is just a number.

I’m no spring chicken anymore. I feel differently than I did when I was 20, and that’s okay. In all honesty, I don’t want to go back. It’s not about maintaining rock-hard abs and being the sexiest biotch in the room, not anymore. I’ve become a lot more confident and secure in the skin I’m in, even when I notice new wrinkles and strange jiggly bits that weren’t there before. I feel healthier at my age now than I ever did at 20.

I want to enjoy my life. Live every day as it comes. I don’t know where my midlife begins, and I’m fine with that. I’ve got too much livin’ to do now, anyway.

July

Book Review: Clash of the Couples

Originally reviewed for Chick Lit Central:

While shopping for a new bed for our four-year old preschooler, my husband and I had a bit of a disagreement. All right, it wasn’t a disagreement. More like an argument. See, he’s perpetually looking for the best deals, the bottom dollar prices on anything he buys, and while I appreciate the need to save a buck, I prefer to buy something when I need it, even if that means spending a few dollars more. The bed we had in mind was a good deal, in my opinion, but did not include free shipping. This annoyed my husband. He wanted to look elsewhere to get the lowest rate he could find that included free shipping, but I wanted our son to have a bed. The kid had outgrown the toddler bed, and was ready for a twin-size mattress. I flippantly suggested we wait another month or two to see if we could save $50 on shipping (yes, I was being sarcastic). My husband recommended I let the furniture store take advantage of us even more by allowing them to charge us an arm and a leg for shipping, which should be free. (We were shopping on Black Friday). Back and forth we bickered, just like an old married couple, even though we had recently celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary.

In Clash of the Couples: A Humorous Collection of Completely Absurd Lover’s Squabbles and Relationship Spats, I know I’m not the only one dealing with stupid arguments. There are forty-six authors who contributed to this book, with plenty of stories that will make you laugh and want to give your significant other a big hug out of appreciation, or a sharp kick in the pants. I’m particularly fond of the story where the pregnant woman flips out on her husband for having the audacity to eat all of her ice cream from the freezer, only to find out he didn’t. She had misplaced the ice cream by putting it into the bread box by mistake. Pregnancy brain! I also enjoyed the one where the woman sends an e-mail link to her boyfriend, thinking he’ll find the article as funny as she did… only, her boyfriend doesn’t find it very funny. Not one bit. As you can imagine, there’s comedic chaos, and that’s what you’ll find in every story within this book. It’s so relatable!

As for my husband and our stupid argument? After a few minutes of bickering, we both stopped and looked at one another, and it was hard not to crack a smile. While we have disagreements from time to time, we rarely have tough arguments, so we both ended up laughing over the fact that it was a twin mattress bed set that got us going. And a few days later, he found a fantastic deal online through the same furniture store that did include free shipping. I appreciate how Clash of the Couples takes a candid look at real-life couples, and the little things they fight (and make-up) over. If there’s a Clash of the Couples II in the works, I am more than happy to contribute some of my own debacles. There have been plenty.

 

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

For this week, Denise suggested I write about the moment I knew I had to break up with someone. If I’ve never been the breaker, write about the moment I knew I had to end a friendship or other relationship.

Ayden* is standing at one end of the grocery aisle, arms extending out to me, waiting for a response. He is hoping I’ll run into his arms and allow him to envelop me within him, and there is a part of me that wants that, too. My feet are firmly planted on the cracked tile at the other end of the aisle, but my heart tells me to run. Run fast, run towards him! He wants you, he needs you, he’s letting you know that! I can see it in his dark brown eyes that beckon me, pleading. I didn’t know I’d run into Ayden at the store this afternoon. I was running errands, doing a favor for a friend. It happened by accident, yet here we are, not that far away from one another, yet feeling worlds apart.

I’d had a crush on Ayden since freshman year of high school. I didn’t know his name, initially. I’d sit on the bleachers with a couple of girlfriends, watching the baseball players in their sweet white uniforms. I felt this insane draw to the tall, dark-haired clean-cut lanky guy. I also noticed (a recent development for me) the nice ass hidden within his sweet white uniform. Seeing him in that light, noticing those nuances made me nervous and excited, all at once.

We were acquaintances, then, sharing a class together. He was the rebel child, always causing trouble within the student body. It seemed a daily routine when our teacher would declare, “Ayden, go to the principle’s office.” He didn’t look like a rebel, not with his pressed jeans and loafer shoes. He was the secretive bad ass and I was drawn to someone so opposite of me, the girl who listened to everyone and did what she was told.

The summer of my junior year, Ayden went through a total transformation. He bleached his hair blond, grew it out. It reminded me of Kurt Cobain. He started wearing baggy anything, Converse shoes, and he’d skip school repeatedly while smoking bowls at a local park. I couldn’t judge. I was in the same boat. I felt wayward and lost and didn’t know how to climb out of the academic hole I’d created for myself from the multiple times I’d skipped, so my choices swayed towards avoidance. Any chance to avoid the conflict of life, I’d take it.

I thought I was in love with Ayden. I thought we had a spiritual connection, that we understood one another better than anyone else ever could. We bonded over music. We bonded over poetry (mine) and guitar (him). Looking back, I know I had serious self-esteem issues and wanted nothing more than to be loved by someone, anyone who would accept me. I would do anything Ayden wanted me to do for him. This often meant buying him cigarettes and food. Taking him places once I’d had my driver’s license and a car to drive. My obsession with Ayden carried into senior year. I was his go-to bitch, and even though I knew he was using me, I didn’t put a stop to it.

Rumors spread like a disease when you’re a teenager. I found out he’d been cheating on me (surprise, surprise) and had formed other romantic relationships while he’d been with me. I was completely crushed, vowing to cut ties with him. And I did. In those days, you didn’t do it in a text or through social media. I wrote a long letter, letting him know I was letting him go, for good. The next time we got together, I showed him the letter and that was it. He didn’t say much, and never fought for me.

My obsession didn’t go away, though. Logically, I knew I should let him go, but I became even more obsessed. What did I do to make him not want to be with me? I’d look for him everywhere I went. If I knew he’d be at some party, I’d make sure to be on the guest list. I guess you could say I was totally stalking him, and even though I knew how creepy it was, I didn’t care. All I wanted was for Ayden to want me again.

One night, at a friend’s alcohol-infused shindig, I had way too much to drink, and thought it was a good idea to chase Ayden with a butcher’s knife. I’m not sure why I did it, or if I thought anything good would even come from something so ridiculous. I was drunk and still hurting. I wanted to lash out. All it did was make him fear me, and I was no longer invited to my friend’s home after that. As she put it: “you’re 86’ed”.

After high school, Ayden and I reconnected and tried to make another go of it. I don’t know why either of us tried. My friends were constantly telling me how stupid I was for giving him another chance. One went so far as to write me a letter with a photocopied picture of Ayden’s senior year book picture on it. His hair was standing straight up, he looked maniacal. She begged me to get rid of him, that he was a loser, that all he did was use me and if I had any questions in my mind whether I should break up with his ass or not, to study the picture she’d photocopied, take a good, hard look at the guy I wanted to call mine. Not even that swayed me.

A few weeks later, Ayden and I were at a store, looking at the toy section. Although he was an 18-year old, he was still interested in toys like G.I. Joes and Pokemon. I tried to see that as an endearing quality. He was a big kid, what’s so bad about that? When I saw him stuff said toys into his pockets, however, as many as he could fit, that was what did it for me. I finally woke up from my insanity coma.

What the hell am I doing here, with this idiot? All he does is use me for money, car rides, and he always wants me to buy him smokes. And now we’re here and he’s stealing from the store? I’m the bigger idiot for dating this asshole!

I didn’t say a word to him before I walked out of the store. I drove away and left him stranded there. Maybe he got caught. Maybe he had no way to get home, no one to call to pick him up, and for once I didn’t give a shit. It was his problem and immense relief flooded through me. It. Was. OVER.

It’s been a few months since I’ve seen Ayden. Instinctively, I want to run into his open arms and fall in love with him all over again, right here, in this grocery store. Even with the bullshit he put me through. But I’ve learned from this experience. I’m realizing that I deserve better. I’m sure I’ll always care for him and a small part of me will wonder if he’ll ever pull his head out of his ass, but that’s not for me to worry about. I don’t wave goodbye or say a word. I turn on my heels and walk away as fast as I can, putting as much distance between us as possible.

*not his real name

A Mom On The Run

AstroAinslie LA Astrology

Astrology Readings for the Soul.

Lisa Jakub

A blog about acting. And then not acting.

two dogs and a camera

jakeandcharlie.com

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Encouraging Daily Adventures & Lifestyle Fulfillment

Beyond Definition

Questioning and seeking

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An amature blog about life, marriage, military, excessive crazy, kids, pets, houses, luck and anything else...

The Life and Times of Spontaneous Kate

A place smooth out my jumbled ideas.

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