Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Good Run

*It isn't all about running, Sha.  Promise*

This was one.  There have been others, too.  I remember quite clearly how it felt each time I ran and didn't ever want to stop.  It's easier to remember the good runs when I'm sitting on the couch typing on the laptop than when I'm out in the sweltering heat and suffocating humidity, panting and huffing and cursing at myself in my head for moving like a slug.  At those times, and there have been a lot of them lately, it's hard to remember ever having run before, and hard to imagine why anyone would purposely subject herself to such hardship.

Let me try to explain these feelings for those of you who aren't already silently shouting, "Amen, sister!" Running is hard.  Just because you're wearing athletic clothes and you know you're burning calories doesn't mean you feel thin.  The knowledge that getting your heart to pump faster is a good thing doesn't make it feel good when it seems your chest is going to explode from exertion.  Sweating is totally natural and necessary.  It's also a really grody feeling to have your clothes sticking to you and to have to wipe the salt crust off of your phone's screen after using it because of the sweat that dried on your face.  But then, there are times after a run when you feel like this:

Or like this:
Which is basically, like this:
Much like (I've read) a drug addict continues searching for that feeling they remember from the first time they got high, part of the reason that I (we) continue to run is in search of the overwhelming euphoria of a good run.  The happy news is that good runs are attained more often and in a much healthier, less law-breaking way than heroin highs.

I haven't run many miles, lately, and the miles I have run have not been the most pleasant.  Although I got good news when I talked to a real doctor for a second opinion about my circulation issues, I have been dealing with ever-worsening pain in my left ankle that I think is a tendon thing.  I've had a lot of rest days, hoping to ease the pain and be ready to start marathon training July 6th.  All that rest has made me crabby and flabby and generally unpleasant.  I've remembered, though, one of the cool things about running.  Even the bad runs are at least a little bit good.  Cardiovascular exercise = Good.  Outside in fresh air = Good.  Time alone with thoughts = Good.  So, the running, even with the nagging injuries and reduction in miles and maddening slowness, we'll call it good.  But that isn't the only reason I titled this post the way I did.

I've been at this stay-at-home-mom/homemaker/unemployed worker gig for a little over 2 years now, give or take a few substitute teaching job assignments.  It has definitely been a good run.  I've been able to volunteer at races, at Rip Claw's school, and at our church.  I helped raise a lot of money and put on fun, educational events as a PTA board member.  I'm a regular yoga class attendee.  I have time to write blog posts and follow people on Twitter and keep up with friends on Facebook.  I read books.  I cook healthy(ish), delicious meals.  Sometimes, I even clean.  Best of all, I get to spend almost all their waking hours with my kids.  I feel that I can't overstate how blessed and thankful I am for Charming; for his hard work and commitment to taking care of our family financially.
That's a shadow, not a hole in the top of his head.
Now, the time has come for this good run to end, though.  If I don't get a paying job, then we can't realistically think about moving from our teeny house into a normal-sized one.  If I don't get a well-paying job, then we can't realistically think about moving into my our dream house.

It may seem strange, but a part of me wants to go back to the working world for reasons completely separate from financial gain.  Am I a terrible SAHM for feeling somewhat unfulfilled by my job as a mother?  I treasure my time with the children.  I learn from them, I teach them, I laugh with them, and I know that ultimately, they're going to grow into successful, happy adults largely because of (in spite of?) me.  However, I feel like I have a lot to offer aside from being a parent.  I also feel like the value of what I have to offer the world at large is depreciating the longer I stay at home.  Sometimes, it's hard to see the difference between enjoying a good run and enjoying the comfort of a familiar rut.  I realized that I'm in the latter position when I noticed a trend in the jobs I was hoping to get.  The one thing they all had in common was me, at home.  Hard work pays off.  Smart work pays off.  Laziness does not pay off.  Great ideas, without action, do not pay off.  Yes, there are people who get paid to write blog posts about running and mothering and such.  There are people who get paid to read and review books.  There are even people who get paid to come up with ideas far less excellent than ideas I've had.  I've come to terms with the fact that I am not one of those people.  It would basically be the same thing if I said my dream job was to play the lottery.  So, yeah.  My dream job is to change the world, be intellectually challenged and stimulated, earn enough money to move to a house with more than one bathroom, and still spend almost every waking moment with my children.  But until there's an opening in that field, I'll probably return to where I had my last good run--tending bar.

Wanna hire me?

Your last good run? 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Just The Tips

I like giving advice.  I especially like giving advice when I don't have to see anyone rolling their eyes, doing the exact opposite of what I've suggested, or worse, ignoring me.  You've probably noticed, though, that my blog posts tend to be heavier on the fluff and lighter on the advice.  That is, until this one!  Here we go with all advice, no fluff.  Okay, so it'll probably be, like 90/10 advice to fluff.  Maybe 80/20.  Just pay attention!

  • ADD CRUNCH to your ice cream.  Cold, sweet, creamy treats are better with a bit of a bite.  Honey roasted peanuts are a favorite on almost every flavor other than mint, but you will also enjoy crushed graham crackers, cookies, chocolate-covered pretzels, M & M's (Or, as Cupcake calls them, "LMNs." She's been singing a lot of alphabet song, lately.), plain pretzels, dry roasted peanuts, and any kind of sweet baking morsel. 
  • BE KIND always.  Do you seriously think you'll ever regret being kind to someone?  Even if they don't deserve, notice, or appreciate your kindness, you still did the right thing.  If not for your own sake, do it for Helen.  
  • BE GRATEFUL and dwell on your gratitude.  I've given myself two Summer Projects to complete.  One is to toilet train Cupcake, the other is to make sure Rip Claw understands how grateful he should be for his blessings.  He gets rewarded with a star for writing at least 5 days a week in his Big Book of Thanks. I realized that in order to feel gratitude for what he does have, he has to be able to see and understand what it means to have not.  I've taken to telling him about something mildly horrible each day in order to drive home the message that he's got it good.  Sunday, I showed him a newspaper picture of a street in Iraq where dozens of men walked with rifles held high, having just volunteered to help stop the rebel terrorists from killing innocent people.  Thursday, I told him about how people used to have to go to stores to shop for things, and if they couldn't find what they wanted, they would have to use a phone book to call another store.  Then, if they ordered something through the mail, it might take a month to arrive.

School has been out for 2 weeks, and already he's writing letters backward and forming sentences like "in do'nt go tso stores" Love it.
  • EAT A CALZONE made like I make them.  Recipe available upon request.  I'm not including it because it would bring my fluff percentage up to at least 30.
  • READ because reading is awesome.  I recently finished The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd and loved it.  I'm now in the midst of a library copy of One Summer by Bill Bryson, and I'm seriously considering buying a copy for Charming to read at the same time so that I'll have someone to talk about it to.  I know the author wasn't in America, in 1927, experiencing all that was happening, but the book reads like you're being told a first-hand account of really cool historical events.  If you've read it, please let me know so that I can talk to you about it instead of blurting out things like, "Prohibition was the worst!" and "Wow.  Babe Ruth." at random times.
  • THINK OUTSIDE THE RED when it comes to fries.  I feel that I may have failed newcomers here by not posting my fry dipping advice all the time.  
  • EXERCISE.  I don't have to tell you that, though, right?  There's really no excuse not to.
I don't know who Bill Phillips is, but he's right.
I also don't know if I could eat a doughnut that large, but if it's blueberry cake, I might like to try.
  • GIVE IN to your quirks.  I only recently stopped making excuses for mine, and I must say, it has been quite freeing.  I stack the papers neatly just before I put them in the shredder.  I color coordinate my to-do list based on how much I like or hate the task.  "Make phone calls" is in orange, because making phone calls is the worst, and orange is the worst color post-it I have.  It bothers me when the two sides of the dishwasher racks are unevenly weighted, like the left side is going to tease the right side for having to work harder.  Everybody has their quirks, and the sooner we all admit them, the sooner we can find others with whom to commiserate.
  • SMILE at someone.  One thing I love about being a mostly-stay-at-home-mom is the absence of customers and co-workers telling me to smile.  I smile a lot, because I'm a happy person. When I'm not smiling, it's usually because I'm not a complete idiot walking around with a toothy grin spread across my face to hide the absence of intelligent thoughts. When someone tells me to smile, I immediately want to scowl and kick them in the teeth.  However, I'm telling you to do it because when you give someone a friendly smile, it's really hard for them not to smile back.  Here, I'll even give you some help!

So, how do you think I did?  Nowhere close to 90/10, eh?  

Care to share any of your quirks?

Calzones.  Just a friendly reminder that my recipe is available.