Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Things I H@!&

Hey there!  Remember me?
Stealing snuggles from my napless Cupcake.

Here's a blog post!  It's about things that I hate.

I bleeped the "H" word in the title because hate is not a word we generally use in our house, and although he doesn't read my posts, Rip Claw does often see the titles.  Hate falls into the same category as stupid, dumb, ugly, idiot, kill (only taboo in the context of people, not bugs), fart, and butt.  When Rip Claw was very small, I noticed that I was cringing every time I heard children use those words.  The dissonance between the young child's voice and the ugly words being said was unnerving, and I didn't like it.  (By the by, there are no pretty words to use in place of 'fart'.  We say 'stinker' or sometimes, 'boom boom', but I fully realize that those are also cringe-worthy.)  I'm not one who curses, generally.  See, I've become so used to being around my children, that even when I can't control the urge to use profanity, it comes out like, "FrickaflickinspintaGAHduffaflun."  I tend to agree with this blogger, Matt Gemmell,on the subject of profanity, in that sometimes, its use is just. plain. right.  Therefore, Thing I Hate #1 is that Rick Grimes said "screwing."
                                                           ***SPOILER ALERT***
So, we're to believe that the same guy who just ripped someone's throat out with his teeth after surviving unimaginable horrors like filth, starvation, dehydration, loss, fear, injuries, hallucinations, killing people, killing the same people again, infidelity, and the complete breakdown of the world as he knew it is not the kind of guy to say "fucking" when he and his friends are imprisoned by cannibals?  I hate that the rules regarding what can be broadcast on television are stupid.  I would wager an awful lot of money that every single person who watches The Walking Dead has heard the f-word on more than one occasion.  I would also wager that anyone who knows anything would agree that certain characters are more believable, in books, television, and movies, if they use profanity.  If people, even some who don't generally use those words themselves, are watching shows like this one, with so much violence, gore, drama, suspense, and mental anguish, they will not be offended by hearing the right word used for the situation.  Even if that word happens to carry a hefty penalty from the FCC.

I've been working as a substitute teacher for an entire 6 months, so I'm a bit of an expert when it comes to education.
Like Daddy Pig, I'm a bit of an expert at many things.
I bet you think that now I'm going to say that I hate Common Core State Standards.  I don't.  I'm actually rather rabidly in favor of the program, but that's a subject for another post.  In fact, I hate something about our education system that doesn't really have anything to do with me, personally, or my children, specifically.  Thing I Hate #2 is that para-professionals are paid less than $8.50/hour.  To be fair, they have the potential to earn almost $10.50/hour after earning a 2-year degree and working in the field for several years.  This fact literally makes me feel nauseous.

Many of the substitute jobs I have worked lately have been in classrooms with special needs children.  Some of the kids have Emotional/Behavioral Disorders, some have been diagnosed with disorders on the Autism spectrum, some have learning difficulties because of physical problems or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  All of the classes have one teacher, one or two paraprofessionals, and access via radio to a trained behavioral specialist.  In my relatively limited time working in these non-traditional classes, I have seen the para-professionals abused, both physically and verbally, I've seen them change the diapers of an elementary-aged child, I've seen them keep calm while being screamed at, while one child chews his shirt to shreds, another tries to run away, and a third and fourth are about to come to blows.  I've seen them teach the most difficult kids and reach them in ways that most people wouldn't think possible.  In short, the para-professionals have really difficult jobs.  They go far above and well beyond what is written in their job description.  And according to this Washington Post article, they make about $5 less per hour than they need to in order to pay rent for a 1-bedroom apartment.  If you aren't sickened by that, please let me know.

Remember when the majority of my blog posts were about running?
Me & Rip Claw finishing a Christmas Eve 5k last year.

Lately, I've written more funeral/obituary recaps than I've written race recaps, and this is largely due to Thing I Hate #3.  Leg pain from Topamax.  Well, probably from Topamax.  Possibly.  Whatever the cause, (I blame the Topamax, which I was taking to prevent migraine headaches for a little over a month.) I have leg pain.  It has caused me to have many more rest days over the past couple of months than I would like, and I can't seem to get rid of it.  Noticing gradual improvement = Good.  Running 1 day every couple of weeks = I'M GOING SCREWING CRAZY!

What do you hate?  Just one thing, for now.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Three Weddings and a Funeral

A strange thing happened last week.  I learned that a dear woman passed away at the age of only 45, and then spent hours in a group chat message on Facebook, occasionally crying-- from laughter.    The next day, I attended her funeral service, and left with a light heart and a smile on my face.  Now, before you start calling me Chuckles Inappropriate or Jerky McAwfullyrude (both names you can save for this guy who, I'm so glad to say, was the guy I punched for giving me a wet willie years ago) please let me explain.

Deresha "Dee"
Dee was my manager for the 5 years that I worked at Hops Restaurant, Bar & Brewery starting in 2001.  She was a really good boss, but more than that, she was a caring, generous, kind, funny, direct, hard-working person.  I cannot recall a time when she was late to work or missed a shift.  She was a single mom of three daughters, and yet still managed to be utterly dependable as an employee, which is very rare, from my experience.  She was promoted to General Manager of the restaurant, and worked diligently to ensure quality food and service every single day until the bankrupt parent company closed our doors for good.  I remember her being really good at staying just enough involved in the personal lives of those of us who worked for her.  She always knew who was dating whom, who was mad and why, who was having problems at home, so nothing we did ever seemed to surprise her.  However, unlike every other almost every other restaurant manager I've known, she didn't cross the line.  Her relationships with her employees were always appropriate; she didn't hang out with us outside of work or blur the lines between boss & friend.  Dee was remarkably forgiving, except of laziness.  She had a fantastic sense of humor, a sharp wit, and was a true, rabid fan of wrestling.
This picture makes me wonder if there are things I enjoy that are as mind-boggling to others as wrestling is to me.  I just don't get it.
After a friend broke the news of her death to me, I sent a message on Facebook to a few other Hops friends with a link to her online obituary.  Within a few minutes, several of us on the group message contacted other former co-workers and added them to the conversation.  By the end of the day, there were more than 30 people chatting, reminiscing, sharing stories about Dee, and remembering all the time we spent together.  The activity sidebar on my page was filled with old friends becoming Facebook friends, having just found each other after years.  The Facebook conversation even included updates about former coworkers who don't have Facebook accounts, but who were thought of and phoned by friends who had been silent for months or years.  It was a truly happy, fun, LOL conversation, and one unlike any I've had before.

I was glad to be able to attend her funeral service, and saw there the Hops kitchen manager and his wife.  I have no idea what the average number of funerals attended is for someone my age, but I would venture to guess that the 6 or 7 services I've been to is pretty normal.  Every funeral is different, of course, but Dee's was different in new-to-me ways.  Her family and many other attendees wore all white, for one thing.  The change from dark attire was not mentioned, but I feel that they must have chosen to wear white in order to remember that they were celebrating her life and focusing not on grief, but on her peace and freedom from pain and sickness.  One of Dee's daughters sang a beautiful solo, unaccompanied by any music or fanfare.  I got goosebumps when she broke into tears in the middle of the song and the crowd picked up singing right where she had left off.  Her voice was passionate and rich and I could have listened to song after song.  A granddaughter of Dee's, about age 7, wrote and recited a short poem that was completely heartfelt and managed to be funny without being the least bit disrespectful.  Others stood and spoke about Dee, reflecting on her love for God and family, her stubbornness, wit, kindness, and strength.  More than one person remarked on how she never complained of pain or suffering, despite having been wheelchair bound or bedridden for 4 years before her death.  It was a beautiful service, and a loving remembrance of an influential woman.

By my count, Hops produced three weddings, six bridesmaids, six children, and hundreds of lasting, true friendships.  Working at Hops may have also been the catalyst for a few divorces and some criminal activity, but I chose not to count those.  I realize that Dee was not Hops in a literal sense, but for those of us that worked with her there, there's no talking about one without the other.

Former Hops employees have circled heads.  Just sometimes, though.
Met each other and her maid of honor at Hops.  Incidentally, Dee died owing me $100 for a bet I won about whether or not these two would stay together.
I realized something rather profound about Dee.  She changed the world.  She was born about 20 miles from where she lived and died, and her time was relatively short.  She worked in restaurants all her adult life.  She didn't earn a doctorate degree or run for political office or donate gobs of money to charities.  She didn't travel the world, invent new technologies, or cure disease.  Yet, she changed the lives of so many people who knew her, and she used the talents and gifts she had to make her world better.  Obviously, I can only speak of her life changing influence for myself, but I can attest that she challenged me, encouraged me, made me work hard, and ultimately helped make me who I am today.  She had the unique gift of being able to give someone advice in a roundabout way that made the person think they knew what they should do all along.  She could also seem mean and sharp tongued.  As one of my friends put it, "I always thought she was mad or hated me, but then she would secretly be doing something nice for me behind my back."  Dee didn't want credit for her kindness, and she was too good of a manager to be sweet all the time.  She did what needed to be done, and complaining about the hard things or applauding herself for the remarkable kindnesses were both a waste of time.

Speaking of wasting time, she would probably have stopped reading this post wayyyyy up there, and rolled her eyes about my going on and on for so long.  The thing is, it's hard to say good-bye when there's so much else to say.  I'll conclude with this:  Helen would have wanted random acts of kindness done in her memory.  I believe Dee would want us to get to work, and to work hard at everything, no matter how insignificant it might seem.  You might not realize whose world you're changing, just by being in it.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Losing Words

I have 4 blog posts queued up, waiting to be finished.  One tells about Rip Claw, and how we finally finished the lengthy process of gifted testing and enrolled him in the program at a new school.
Well, Gifted, anyway. 
He'll start later this month, and we have high hopes that he'll enjoy 2nd grade in a way that he was not able to enjoy kindergarten or first grade.  In another post, I excitedly started to share my Summer Reading list (#1- Nica of Los Angeles by Sue Perry [Bonus! If you want to solve the vague mystery of my real first name, check out the dedication page. That's me!] #2-#5 Connie Willis' time travel series starting with Doomsday Book and ending with All Clear. #6- One Summer by Bill Bryson which I know I mentioned before, but still haven't been able to talk to anyone about, so I'm pushing it on you again.  Read it!) by rambling on about a dream I had where the ocean turned into buildings.  Two posts are mostly about my running, but also about racing, Facebook, training, life, job searching, migraines, blogging and cheesecake.
Homemade cheesecakes with from-scratch caramel sauce and fresh, real whipped cream might deserve their own post.

The one thing they all have in common is that they all end right around here.

Not this time!  See?  You keep scrolling, there are more words.

The problem, of late, is something like writer's block.  Oh, and I kind-of hate running.  Also, I forget things like I'm a highly paid executive at Forget Me, Inc.  I've been sleeping poorly and making bad choices, like this shirt set that I recently purchased for myself (yes, with real, U.S. dollars).
Hot pink lace bandeau with strappy, gauzy, grape colored tank.
The day after ordering the shirt set online, I remembered that I'm 38-nearly 40!, laughed aloud, and decided that I would be sending it back.  7 FULL DAYS LATER I remembered that I'm only 35, but that doesn't justify my owning anything in these colors, made of these fabrics, or cut in these styles, and still planned to send the items back.  Today, the items were delivered.  Tomorrow, they will be returned, with my apologies.

I do have a reason, or at least a theory, to explain all this nonsense.  Drugs.  Specifically, Topamax, the prophylactic medication prescribed by my new neurologist, Dr. T, early last month to reduce the number of headaches and migraines I get from somewhere in between godawful and shocking to a more normal number.  Both Dr. T and my good pharmacist friend, Dr. B, informed me that, much like with any medication, this one comes with some potential side effects.  (Dr. T actually said that the main side effect would be that all my fingernails would be painted the same color, but that's because I visited him on the 3rd of July after painting some of my nails red, some blue, and leaving one unpainted for the Independence Day festivities to come.  I think it bothered him a whole awful lot.  Funny thing is, I don't think I had painted my nails at all for about 6 years prior to that day.)  Tingling in the hands, feet, and maybe around the mouth, is a common one.  Also, feeling a mental fogginess or spacing out.  "You may have trouble saying the words you want to say; feel a sense of disconnection."  The 10-page paper that came with the prescription also mentioned depression, suicidal thoughts ("call your healthcare provider right away, but do not stop taking this medication suddenly, as that can cause an increase in suicidal tendencies"), and the usual "rare but serious..."

After almost a week on the medication, I started feeling tingling in my hands and feet.  No big deal.  Dr. T had said the tingling would go away after the medicine built up in my body and I got used to it, which was one of the reasons he gave me a titration schedule (yeah, I know words like that 'cause I have a pharmacist for a friend) to let it build up slowly.  About two weeks after, I noticed the tingling all the time, especially while exercising, and my running started to suffer.  My pace kept climbing, which really isn't that big of a deal during these hot, humid Florida summers, but I started describing every run with words like "blah" or "blech" or "barf."  And really meaning it, because I was really dreading every one of them, even though they were marathon training runs and I had an incentive set up for myself for finishing a month's worth of them.

Greek food.  I love it desperately.  Charming hates it almost as much.  What could make for a better personal treat for a month of marathon training?

After just over 4 weeks on the medication, I had my first experience with the word loss side effect.  I expected it to feel like the word was on the tip of my tongue.  No.  I lost the word 'lowered.'  When I say I lost it, I mean it was as if it had never before existed in my life.  Drs. T & B both mentioned a disconnection, and I'm sure that's because other people on this medication have experienced exactly what I felt.  It was as if one small part of my brain was whispering "lowered" and the rest of my brain and body were just laughing and taunting, like, "Ha!  You think that's a word?  No.  Don't use that.  Nope.  Won't work.  Can't do it.  Don't even try.  Not a word.  Never heard it.  You're thinking of ______." And then I think I actually saw a big sad face in my head, because I couldn't think of a word.  Eventually, within what felt like 20 minutes but was probably 20 seconds, I came up with the word 'lowered' and it was the right word, but it was as if my brain had been disconnected from the rest of me.  I couldn't make myself use the word 'lowered.'  Later that same day, I said to still-football-obsessed Rip Claw, "Did you know the Giants and Bulls are playing the Pro Bowl game this week?"  I knew I meant the Bills, not the Bulls, and I knew I meant the Hall of Fame game, not the Pro Bowl, but I couldn't say the right words.

A few days later, I started putting together all the pieces.  It's hard, when your brain doesn't work, to figure things out, but eventually, I did it.  Unfinished blog posts.  Hating running.  Hating Facebook more than ever.  Un-returned phone calls.  Looking forward to sitting on the couch.  Throwing the iPod in a bowl of rice for a week rather than figuring it out that I accidentally set it on repeat.  Letting Rip Claw watch Spongebob for a sickening amount of time.  Letting Cupcake memorize the "Go Potty Go" DVD from the library, yet letting her Never Potty Never.  Realizing that many of my text message responses are "I don't care" or "whatever."  Not studying any fantasy football or doing any mock drafts even though the real drafts are coming up in just a couple of weeks. 

I knew my college degree in Psychology would come in handy someday.  I've got the anhedonia!  Okay, so that's not usually a term used with an exclamation point.  It means I've lost interest in things that I used to care about.  It's another side effect.  Now, listen.  Before you start to worry, I'll have you know, I was screened by a nurse just the other day.  I was told to answer, over the past 2 weeks, how many days I had felt a bunch of things like hopeless, failure, fatigue, etc., 0, 3, 5, 7, or 14.  I kept wanting to answer 1 or 4 or 8 or 6 or 57.  Is that weird?  But, she wasn't worried.  I'm not clinically depressed.  And strange nurses don't want to confirm whether or not you're just anhedonic, or if that's actually a word.  I have had ZERO-as in NOT ONE suicidal thought.  I've lost my words.  Literally, that one time, when lowered was gone, and for the past month, when I couldn't make them come out and make sense on the ol' blog.

Now, you may be wondering why running, having been an almost constant source of joy, drenching my brain with powerful endorphins, is not helping me through this tough mental battle.  Well, it seems like I'm just in a perfect storm of awful, lately.  All my runs in July and August, except for half of two, were solo.  Sickeningly hot.  Maddeningly slow.  That's not fun, but it's still running.  However, I managed to do something to some part of my body somewhere along the way, and now I have plenty of time to reminisce and appreciate all of those terrible runs while I sit on the couch in excruciating pain.

X-rays were negative, there's nothing wrong with my joints.  Doppler ultrasound showed nothing wrong with my circulation and no clots (I wore good underpants again, don't worry) in this leg, blood work showed no sign of infection or rheumatism or whatever else they were checking for.  The therapeutic masseuse concentrated her efforts on the Obturateur externe, Adductor and Quad muscles (Did you know there were four of them?  I responded like she said everyone does to that information "Oh, duh.").  She also worked on evening out my noticeably uneven hips.  Result seems to be that now I'm limping straighter than before.

Time for the good news!  I haven't had a headache in over a week!  I'm still taking the Topamax for that reason, and because I don't think it's the fault of the medicine that I can't move my leg.  Pretty soon, I'll know if it can prevent my hormone-triggered, debilitating migraines.  I would gladly lose many more words to be rid of those for good.

I feel like I should leave you with a helpful piece of unsolicited advice, since that's kinda why I'm here.  So, I'll recommend that you do side planks instead of forward planks.  If you're like me, you hate them with a vehemence because they're really hard to do.  That's because those muscles are weak.  You know what?You'll never regret getting stronger.

Please share a bit of good news!

Greek food- love it or hate it?

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.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Stranger Searching

I did something Thursday that I have never done before.  I clipped an obituary from the newspaper and hung it on my refrigerator.  I also think I fell slightly in love with a total stranger who died peacefully in her sleep on June 7, 2014.  I don't think I'm alone in my mildly obsessive habit of scanning the obituaries for the ages of the deceased, hoping they're all older than my grandparents, way older than my parents, and way, way older than me.  If I happen upon a young person's obituary, I then (obviously) try my hardest to investigate the cause of death to ensure that either they died of unnatural, rare causes, or that they were probably unhappy anyway.  You know, if they don't leave behind any children or a grieving spouse and they're picture is from their high school yearbook but they graduated in the '70's, I feel better somehow.  Helen's obituary didn't list her age in bold, so I had to pause to look for her date of birth, and I'm so glad I did.

"Wife, mother, church lady, gramma-- GRAMMARIAN?  That's it!  That's how I want to be remembered!"  I was going to stretch the truth a bit and say that my first impulse was to chuckle, or even guffaw at the idea of having "grammarian" listed in my obituary, but, yeah.  That was my first thought.  As I read on, I had to deal with the nagging memories of all my grammar errors.  It was kinda like a quick Christmas Carol-esque sequence, where I was quickly, silently haunted by comma splices and quotation marks placed before periods, all "Whooooooooo"ing and "BOO"ing in my brain.

I did actually chuckle aloud when I read this part:
Is there any more important war to fight?  I wish I could have been one of Helen's soldiers.  Suddenly, I realized that I wasn't being an annoying nerd when I correct people's use of apostrophes or gently tell them to lose, not loose, an 'o' when they have lost something.  I've been fighting!  I've been fighting with strength and honor for what I know is right.

Helen and I didn't have much else in common.  She grew up in Ohio, I've always lived in Florida.  She was a devoted Episcopalian, I'm a not-every-Sunday-goer Baptist church member.  She majored in English Literature, I in Psychology.  She traveled extensively and was a member of a knitting guild, I don't have a passport and couldn't knit a hat for a newborn if the newborn's life depended on it.  (I would wad up the yarn and place it gently on the newborn's head, of course, to keep it warm enough.)

Hers was an obituary that made me happy to read, especially when I got to the end.
"Isn't that just so Helen," I thought immediately. Keep in mind, I never met this woman or her family, but simply by reading about her long life (they didn't put in her date of birth, but she was married for 63 years, so I know she had to be old enough) I felt sure that she would have loved for random acts of kindness to be done in her memory.

So, here I am, trying to figure out which stranger and how to act kindly to them.  I wish I could give someone a lot of money, but we didn't budget for Helen's life-changing obituary when we were planning where our funds would go this month.  I thought about complimenting a girl at the gym today.  She ran on a noticeable incline at 7 mph on the treadmill, and then got on the elliptical for a while, and I was really impressed by her double cardio.  But I didn't know if telling her, "Wow!  I noticed you did cardio twice!" would come out as a compliment.  I thought about baking cookies for my favorite supermarket employees, but they're not really strangers; I see most of them 3 or 4 times a week.  I also thought about letting some other drivers have my right of way, but I really hate it when other people do that.  (It isn't a favor for you to wave me and 3 other drivers ahead at a 4-way stop sign.  Just put your hand back on the steering wheel and take your turn.)  I'll come up with something, though, rest assured.  Or, I should say, rest in peace.

Goodbye, Helen.  Your soldiers will keep up the good fight.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Holiday Overhaul

While you may know that I'm a big fan of holidays and celebrating, you may not know that certain holidays annoy me.  Or maybe I'm a grouch, too easily annoyed.  The thing is, I just don't like doing the same things everyone is supposed to do on specific days because some people decided a long time ago that we should all choose a day to do those things.  That last sentence is one of those that only makes sense in my head, isn't it?  What I mean is, I kinda hate conforming.  I don't like making resolutions on January 1st.  I don't like sharing the things for which I'm thankful on the last Thursday in November.  I don't like remembering fallen service members only on a Monday in May and November.  And I really don't like declaring my love for Charming on February 14th.  I've got a plan, though, to fix everything.  Okay, maybe not everything, but at least I can fix the "banks are closed, let's have a Bar-B-Q, drink, and send generic text messages to everyone in our phones all day" problem.

NEW YEAR'S DAY should be NEW DAY.  The first day of a new year is no more monumental than waking up to a new day.  Yeah, I get the whole thing about fresh calendar pages and having a starting point for your resolutions, but really, all that is just fluff.  If you really, truly want to change something in your life, you should do it right now.  Wednesday.  Saturday afternoon.  This very minute.  If you're always waiting for the right time to start exercising, stop eating junk food, quit smoking, keep in touch with friends, study your devotional, or get organized, you're really just doing one thing: procrastinating.  If you must, mark the day with stickers on your calendar, noisemakers, and fanfare.  The important thing is to realize that there's nothing about January 1st that makes you more resolute.  Resolve now, and do it now.

I saw this on Facebook, it's supposed to start June 1.  I will not wait until then. You shouldn't either.

VALENTINE'S DAY should be ABOLISHED.  Let's be serious.  I cannot think of a single February 14th in the life of anyone I know that was actually important to their relationship.  (Although, there was that one time I opened a gift from a boyfriend on Valentine's Day and found a diamond ring.  When my first words were, "This isn't an engagement ring, is it?" he replied, "Well, it isn't now!" I guess that could have been an important day.  But really, my response would have been the same any day of the year.)  If you love someone, they should know it.  If they don't love you back, paying for something "romantic" on a specific day of the year isn't going to change their heart.  Flowers die.  Chocolates get eaten.  Teddy bears are useless.  What's the worse that will happen?  Kids'll learn to cut heart shapes out of construction paper a bit later in life?  Couples will show their love for each other with gestures or gifts that are thoughtful, and on their own timeline?  We'll say goodbye to the glorious tradition of sending our kids to school with a shoe box with a slit cut in the top for all the cheaply made, generic message cards paid for by the parents and the ungodly amount of red-dyed candy?  I'm okay with that.  Plus, I'm sure we can find other uses for all the glitter and paper doilies we'll be saving.

I glitterally just gagged.
APRIL FOOL'S DAY should be APRIL FOOL'S MONTH.  A day just isn't enough.  The jokes are expected, now, and that takes the fun out of it.  I'm not the biggest fan of pranks, but that's only because so many people make them dangerous or mean.  I love a good, clean, "gotcha!"

MEMORIAL DAY should be THANKS & GIVING DAY.  For hundreds of years, men and women have sacrificed their lives for American liberty, to give us rich opportunities, a sense of justice, and the beautiful land on which we've built our lives.  Instead of celebrating our freedom with free time, parties, drinks, parades, and sand castles, I vote that we thank and give back to the families of our military service members.  On Memorial Day, I do see a lot of Facebook status updates showing appreciation to those who have served, but I wish the people who have sacrificed so much for us would receive a more tangible giving of thanks.  Imagine how wonderful it would be if we gave the money we spent on red, white, and blue decorations, food, parades, and party favors to the widows, widowers, and children of those who have lost their lives in military service!  If nothing else, we should all spend the day solemnly contemplating the cost of our freedom.

I didn't have a picture lined up for this section, but my search for thanksgiving + american flag images turned up some results that were...interesting.

I think you get the idea.

INDEPENDENCE DAY should be INDEPENDENCE DAY, except with more of a concentration on history.  As adults, we aren't usually required to remember dates and facts and important people from hundreds of years ago, but that doesn't mean the events and people are less historically significant.  We should remember, not for a U.S. History test or grade, but because the things that happened all those years ago made our country, and essentially, us, what and who we are.  Take some time next 4th of July to appreciate the fact that our temperatures come in Farenheit, and we aren't required to worship a Royal family or forced to drink tea, use the metric system, or call fries "chips."

LABOR DAY should be NAP DAY.  Is there anything else anyone wants to do to celebrate?  We should also use the sense of community developed in the working class on this holiday to petition as a group for siestas every afternoon.  We'll have to call our nap sessions something else, though, like Tea Time or Smart Zees.

COLUMBUS DAY should be FLORIDA DAY.  Florida is awesome, and totally under appreciated.  Plus, we're probably just a few sinkholes away from being  East Hawaii, all broken up into small islands, so there might not be much time for the rest of the country to show us how much they love our warm climate, wet air, giant cartoon mice, and oranges.  By the by, I do realize that Columbus didn't land in Florida.  The people that did, though, none of them have a Day.  I'm sticking with my decision.

VETERAN'S DAY should be JUST FOR VETERANS & THEIR FAMILIES.  The rest of us really need another holiday?  No.  Veterans and their families should be the only people off from work, buying things on sale, and partying.

THANKSGIVING DAY should be EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. Seriously.  One day is not even close to enough time to count our blessings.  If you're reading this, which I know you are, you should be grateful for your computer, tablet, smartphone, or good friend who has one of those things.  You should be grateful that you know how to read.  You can be thankful that I give such excellent advice.  You can appreciate the fact that you're alive now, when there is electricity and internet and microbrewed beer and blogs on every subject and that you aren't currently at the bottom of a sinkhole.

BLACK FRIDAY should be MELANCHOLY MONDAY and should be switched to the day after the Super Bowl.  The Black Friday sale papers are lies, the lines for shopping are sickening, and within 5 years, Amazon's drones will be delivering everything, anyway.  Football fans, however, need a day to recover from their sadness that the season is really over and to get rid of the vast amounts of wings and chips they consumed during the big game.

All the December holidays can stay as they are, at least for now.  People do need to stop complaining about Christmas becoming too commercialized, though.  I'm quite certain there isn't anyone alive that truly remembers celebrating an un-commercialized Christmas.  If folks don't want the true meaning of Christmas spoiled by materialism, they need to stop buying anything but absolute necessities starting in July.  Yes, July.  Have you not been to Walmart?


Let's change our calendars, shall we?

Favorite holiday?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Glad I Wore the Good Underpants

Remember when I wrote a lot (lot) about running and training and races?  That was cool.  For me, it was cool, anyway.  So, here's a quick (yeah, right) update on how the running and training and races are looking in my world.  (You can stop reading now, Sha.)

I have finally gotten back to running consistently.  The problem is, I'm consistently running 4-7 miles per week.  Back in the day (pre-injury last Summer, post-injury last Fall) I was easily getting in 15-20 miles per week.  Remember my mysterious calf pain?  Well, it has pretty much been explained.  I'm still planning to seek a second opinion, this time from a real doctor who specializes in sports or vascular medicine, but here's the gist of what's going on:  My legs blow.  I had (have?) a few superficial thromboses, which are basically blood clots in the smaller veins near the surface of my skin.  I also have (definitely have, not going anywhere) insufficient circulation in the right common femoral vein.
See it all the way up there?  The lady performing the venous ultrasound had to use the wand thingy and do lots of squeezes in that area to check my circulation.  Now you know why I'm glad I wore the good underpants.
I know what you're all thinking.  "Poor thing!  What did she ever do to deserve this?  It isn't fair!"  Thank you for your sympathy.  We'll get back to that in a moment.  First, let me tell you the good and the bad news.  The good news is that I don't have the dangerous deep vein thrombosis, and the back-up in blood flow (reflux, they call it) was only seen in that one spot.  The bad news is that, at least according to my PCRNPWHHADCHATTISH (primary care registered nurse practitioner who has had a different color hair all three times I've seen her- we'll call her CHATTISH for short) this is not a condition that will improve.  Ever.  The tiny blood clots they found were in the spot on my calf where I was having so much pain, which also happens to be where I have icky, bulging varicose veins. CHATTISH said that the clots will break up and go away if I use my hot compress and elevate my leg regularly, but it's also very likely that more will show up as I-you guessed it!-run.  The longer and oftener I run, the greater the occurrences of the clots will be.
Bonus!  If you look closely, you can tell which toenail on my right foot is about to fall off.   I <3 Running.
The more years that I run, the worse my veins and circulation are going to be.  Booooooo!  Now, back to your kind sympathies.  The thing is, I should've known this would happen.  The following groups of people have an increased risk of developing blood clots:
1. Smokers. 
I smoked for 10 years. (Quit almost 5 years ago!)
2. Women who have taken the pill.
3. People who are on their feet for long periods of time.
Like, say, working in restaurants and bars for 16 years.

CHATTISH said that she would not tell me to stop running.  She said that if I can handle the pain, fine.  She suggested I wear compression socks, but I need to get a pair with slightly less compression than those I currently own.  Not sure why, exactly, but the last time I wore them it felt like wasps were stinging my big toes; hurt so badly that I couldn't stand it.  

Now, on to the training and races! (That exclamation point was a lie.  This part's pretty depressing, too.)

I'm not training for anything right now.  If I were, I would be doing a terrible job of it by only running single-digit miles each week.  If I decide to keep the marathon distance as my goal, and if the pain doesn't get any worse, and if I am able to keep from getting any other injuries, I will start training in early July for the Savannah Rock 'n' Roll full marathon on November 8.  It's the only race for which I'm actually registered (Thank you, Charming!) which is a pretty good feeling right now.  I started reading the second book by the +another mother runner duo, Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea, "Train Like a Mother."  It's practically impossible not to enjoy their writing.  
Buy it!
Their stories are so easy to relate to, funny, and inspiring, and I really like the book.  I'll admit, though, that I went into it expecting to be motivated to sign up for more races before finishing the first chapter.  Well, you know what they say about expectations.  Wait.  What do they say about expectations?  "Whatever you expect-------"  I don't remember.  Something, right?  Someone gimme a good quote.  I digress (as usual).  I've figured out that people don't always get their motivation from inspirational books.  Some people are motivated by strangers, and wanting to accomplish what so-and-so accomplished.  I know people who are motivated to register for races by the quality of the medals, shirts, goody bag.  Others, surely, are motivated by some inner drive to succeed.  Unfortunately, from where I sit (with my bulging veins and expanding waistline), all those things which used to be enough to motivate me to register and train for a race seem just to elicit sighs.  

I do have a plan, though.  +Runner's World Magazine tweeted the other day about their 40 day challenge.  Apparently, there are 40 days between Memorial Day and Independence Day (What, do these people all have calendars or something?) and the challenge is to run at least 1 mile on each of those days.  I'm not going to sign up for the challenge.  It was the timing and duration of the thing which inspired my plan.  Since I would need to start training for my third first marathon just after July 4th, and since Memorial Day occurs soon enough for me to keep it in focus, and since my last 40 day challenge (during which I abstained from Facebook) was so successful, it seems like a great time to evaluate.  I'm going to up my mileage and my cross training workouts, I'm going to eat more healthfully (Again. Still? Sometimes it's hard to tell.) and I'm going to make a decision about my near training/racing future.  If you want my advice, you'll also do some evaluating and decision making if you're in a sigh cycle like me.  Let me know how it goes!

For fun: what % of your underpants are "good"?

For the win: which toenail is hanging on by a thread?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Bliss of Being Selfish

I love the word 'selfish'- don't you?  For one thing, words with the -ish suffix are usually cool with me.  Plus, if you're really angry, like, spitting mad, and yell at someone for being selfish, it often comes out as 'shellfish' instead.  That's always funny.  Also, when you say it over and over in your head, the 'fish' part of the word stands out.  Then you can imagine yourself as a beautiful, colorful, terribly vain and self-centered fish.  The self fish.
Turns out, there was already a name for the self fish.  Betta fish are very keen on themselves. Thank you, Google!
There.  Now that we've had a proper digression, you know you're on the right blog.

Everyone in my fishbowl world just celebrated Mother's Day; my third-no, fourth-fifth!-favorite holiday.  (It's cool that we live in a country where we celebrate so much that people can have fifth favorite holidays, huh?) I was the substitute teacher for a 3rd grade class the Friday before Mother's Day, which meant that I was to help the kids work on gifts for their moms.  They were tasked with writing a few sentences from the prompt: "My Mom is my hero because..." Walking around the classroom and trying to keep all the students engaged, I noticed some trends.  Moms are nice.  Moms take care of their kids.  Moms are helpful.  I started asking the kids to think a little deeper.  "Does your mom have another job beside being your mom?"  "Yeah, she's a probation officer.  She has a gun that she never lets me see."  "So, your mom must be pretty tough and brave, then."  "Yeaaaahhh...Yeah.  Yeah!  She is tough!"  "How about your mom?  What is she good at?" "Um.  Cooking.  And, um.............She's not good at cartwheels."  "Ok.  Moving on. I see you wrote that your mom plays with you.  What do you guys play together?" "Well, she helps me practice baseball.  But really, it's just me practicing and her playing.  She's not even on a baseball team, and I am." "Does your mom work while you're at school?"  "Oh. Um. Yeah. She's a nurse."  "My mom is a doctor!" "My mom throws the best birthday parties!" "My mom is bad at cartwheels, too!" "My mom gave birth to me!" "My mom potty trained me!"

Available on Amazon. Yes, for real.

The thing is, it was pretty difficult for the kids to think of anything unique or special about their moms.  Later, I asked Rip Claw how he would have answered some questions about me.  "Can you think of anything about me that is different from other moms?" Long think break. "No."  Sigh.  "Do you know what I like to do?"  "Um.......no.  Wait! Yes. You like to use the computer." Siiiiiggggghhhhh.  "What about running?  Have you ever seen me run?  Read books?  Play with you and Cupcake?  Go to the park?  Do I ever make you laugh?  How about our conversations?  Our bike rides?  I like to play games.  I like to go to the beach.  I like to do crafts."  He seemed surprised, but more than that, he seemed totally disinterested.  I'm pretty sure I was about 10 years old before I ever noticed that my mom did anything other than take care of me and my siblings, so I guess I shouldn't be too upset with my 7-year-old for still thinking of himself before me.

Which led me to thinking of this post.  (We always come back around to the point eventually.)

The fact of the matter is simple: Mom is a title, not a description.  Women who have children were women way before the children came along.  Obviously, kids are going to take a while to get to the realization that their moms are actually people with thoughts and needs and wants.  Rip Claw seems genuinely shocked when I say things like, "I was so bored." or "I'm so excited about going to this concert.  (Most) moms are, in a word, selfless.  That's what their children see, and that's about all they see.  Their moms give of themselves pretty much every minute that the kids are awake.  Even for a kid as thoughtful and sweet as my son, it's difficult to see past that selflessness and realize that there is sacrifice taking place.

I'm friends with some very smart women.  We have college degrees, insight, experience, and wit.  We're driven, successful, happy, and, yes, selfless.  Well, most of the time, anyway.  We've learned that we are all better when we take some time to be selfish.  By 'better' I mean in every way.  We're better moms, better wives, better at our jobs, better at being happy.  We even look better!  Almost 5 years ago, we started talking about planning a weekend away, just us girls.  After 10 or so months of emails, travel site visiting, and conversations with our husbands preparing them for what was going to happen, the Girls' Weekend tradition was born.
I'm pretty sure moms invented the "selfie" in order to get out from behind the camera once in a while. 

Our destination qualifications are pretty simple.  We want a pool.  We want a quiet room with a full kitchen.  We don't want to have to drive very far.  We want flat surfaces on which to lie down whenever we feel so inclined (or should I say, reclined).  Last year, we found a pretty perfect spot, about an hour's drive away, but the weather was horrible.  Totally hurricaneish.  We had to stay in the room watching movies, catching up on our magazine reading, and napping for many hours.  This year, we decided to go back to the same place, and were blessed with postcard-perfect weather the entire time.

We shopped for groceries beforehand, and we each brought a typical mom amount (1-3 grocery bags full) of snacks to share.  I ate every meal on our 10th floor balcony, looking out at this view.  We spent hours in the sunshine, switching between the private beach, one of many pools on the property, and the lazy river.  We went for quiet runs in the mornings after not setting an alarm or having a child crawl into bed to wake us.  Well, some of us did.
One of our number was forced to spend her time on crutches or a wheeled knee cart.  Great conversation starter, at least!
We missed our kids.  We missed our husbands.  It's always hard, being away from our families, even though it's only for a few days.  Rip Claw was very upset before I left.  When he asked me why I would even want to go somewhere without them, though, I had what I think is a pretty good answer.  "Well, son, the job of a parent is never, never done.  You know how I'm here all the time?  I get your breakfast, pack your lunch, make your dinner, help you with your homework, wash your clothes, and give you back tickles.  I wake up if you or Cupcake cries in the middle of the night.  I bring you to football practice and teach you new things and play with you and make sure you're behaving and growing up well.  I notice if your neck is dirty or your socks are stinky.  I find your shoes.  And you know what else?  Even when you're not around, or the house is clean or the laundry is done and I'm just sitting on the computer, I am ALWAYS worrying about, thinking of, and planning to make sure you and your sister are safe and happy.  I don't get weekends off from being your mom.  I don't even get hours off.  You know how much I love you, and I am so happy that I get to be your mom, but that doesn't mean I don't need a break sometimes.  It's like when you try to figure out a difficult problem.  Sometimes, if you give your brain a break from thinking about it, even just for a few minutes, you come back refreshed and with a new view, and that helps."  Okay, so that probably isn't the exact, word-for-word transcription of what I said, but it's pretty close.  He seemed to get it.  I was worried that he would still think that I wanted a break from him, but he didn't ask again about my reasons for wanting to go.  I told him that we would be having fun, relaxing, and having lots of naps, which he seemed okay with.

I spent about 20 minutes staring at the darkened elevator shaft, watching the bright cars zoom up and down, only to be bathed in darkness again as soon as the passengers stepped out.  It was oddly beautiful.

Less odd, more beautiful.  Midway through my beach run, I sat on a chunk of coquina like this and had myself a long Think and Stare at Water break.  Utterly blissful.
Every time I would settle in on a sunny lounge chair and take a deep breath of the fresh, salty air, I got a little choked up.  I felt such overwhelming appreciation and love for Charming, for our kids, for our lives, for the fact that despite all my imperfections and shortfalls, I have a husband who loves me and takes care of things so that I can lay in the sun and relax without worries for a few days.  It was absolutely marvelous.

I hope it's obvious that I would love and appreciate my Charming and my children even if I didn't get away from them for 52 hours a year; of course I would.  But I also think it's obvious that selflessness needs to take a holiday sometimes, and the colorful, unique, fun, exhausted person inside the Mom needs to be let loose to stare at elevators, dance, sit on rocks, try whiskey, keep the balcony doors open without concern about losing a toddler, finish a book, zoom down a water slide, paint her toenails, put on lipstick, sleep late, talk about Athleta's clothes for hours, laugh until we cry, and take a post-dinner nap.

If you don't believe me about the benefits of temporary selfishness, ask any one of these brilliant ladies.

What is your favorite way to spend your "me" time?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pointless Points

If you've been hanging around here for a while, or if you know me at all, you surely know that I'm an expert procrastinator, I don't freak out when my house looks less-than-perfect, and I love running.  So, here I sit, procrastinating housework while writing about running (and etc.)
  • Running has seemed more like a chore than usual, lately.  I have some ideas why this is the case.
1. My dear sister/MIKR (most inspiring known runner) broke her foot.  It's not that I'm trying not to love running while she is unable to do anything involving foot use, but my heart hurts for her.  It's kinda like on every sitcom, ever, when the woman is in labor and the man who loves her has sympathy pains and ends up screaming along with her.  

24 hours post-break.  People who run 50+ miles per week get their toes cropped out of pictures.  You're welcome.
2. I have some non-sympathy pain of my own.  My *expletive* right *expletive* calf hurts something fierce--but only sometimes.  Usually, it's really bad when I start running, bearable after a mile or so, and eventually forgettable.  Sometimes, though, it hurts just to walk, or just to be a leg.  New "doctor" (she's actually an RNP but I don't like using that as a title) ordered an x-ray- inconclusive, a venous ultrasound- more on that in a moment, and an MRI- to be performed tomorrow.  My left ankle also hurts a lot, ever since I *expletive* fell backwards over the *expletive* concrete step on our *expletive* carport and knocked it.  I feel like such an old woman.  The Fall was almost 2 weeks ago, I don't have a bruise, yet every time I touch or move my left ankle, it hurts.  If you couldn't tell, pain makes me *expletive* angry.

3. It's hot.  I'm not complaining.  I would much rather deal with the sweltering heat for 9-10 months a year than snow and ice for any months, but it does make running outdoors much sweatier, stinkier, and slower.
  • I've been doing many more non-running workouts than ever before.  Just look at all my figures!
Cycling, yoga, dancing (that's what I call the Classical Stretch workouts I do), swimming, weights, & walking.
Swimming is fun, but I'm still terrible, and terribly slow, at it.  Cycling is also fun, but I find myself unable to push myself.  I'm always riding at an easy pace, which gets boring after not very long.  I love yoga, and I love working out with weights, and I love the 1/2 hour stretching workouts that I DVR.  I've also been keeping up with a 30-day planking challenge, using the Plank-A-Lot app.  I'm up to 90 seconds!
  • Every once in a while, I come up with something that I feel is quote-worthy.  Okay, so every once in a while, in this case, means twice.  Ever.  Here are the quotes that I wish others would use and attribute to me:
  • "The truth is the truth regardless of who believes it."
    - Know-it-all-Miss, 1995

    "It's not that I'm bad at keeping my house tidy, it's that I love the challenge of a well-designed obstacle course."
    -Know-it-all-Mrs, 2014

  • Did you know you can make a heating pad that works just as well as a store-bought electric one?  This is money-saving advice!  Unless you already own a heating pad, then you can skip to the next bullet. 
Step 1- Dampen a cloth (I use a hand towel) and fold it so that it fits inside a quart-sized ziploc bag.
Step 2- Keep the bag open and microwave for 1-1 1/2 minutes on high power.
Step 3- Remove the bag from the microwave with tongs, zip it closed, and wrap it in a dry hand towel.  

I wouldn't have expected a zipper plastic bag to retain heat so well, but it does.  It'll stay hot for at least an hour, or until you open the bag.
The instructions I read, though, say that you shouldn't use it for more than 20 minutes at a time because of the possibility of burning yourself.  Yeah, it's that hot!  And now that I've added that disclaimer, you can't sue me if you burn yourself on your homemade hot compress.
  • Why is she using a homemade heating pad? you may be wondering.  Well, it just so happens that there is more evidence of my old-lady-hood in my legs.  Remember the venous ultrasound the "doctor" ordered?  They say I have "varicose vein thrombosis" in my right leg.  I was told by the nurse to use a warm compress and elevate my leg for 10 minutes every few hours, and to take an aspirin or other NSAID every day.  The problem is that the Omniscient Google doesn't agree.  OG seems to think that there is no such thing as varicose vein thrombosis.  There is deep vein thrombosis, which is a pretty serious condition, and there is superficial thrombophlebitis, which is not at all serious and not supposed to be painful.  But, it wouldn't be like me at all to argue with a health professional, so I'm going along with the recommended course of action.  For now.
  • You know about that big scandal going on in the NBA right now, right?  It strikes me as odd that the last names of the two main guys being talked about are Sterling & Silver.  What do you think are the chances that I'm the only weirdo in America who has noticed that?
  • I'm back on Facebook after my 40 day break.  I've learned that Facebook, for me, is like driving a vanful of my friends' kids around.   I love my friends, and I do want to help them out by driving their kids, but they're just. so. loud.  They talk about boring stuff, they're all talking over each other and trying to outdo one another with their stupid stunts, they're distracting and sometimes outright rude, and yet, I can't just ignore them.  So now, I've backed off a bit on my carpool driver responsibilities.  And I sure do appreciate the quiet when all the kids are finally dropped off (at the pool-heh heh heh).
  • Rip Claw's first season of Flag Football ended last Saturday.  He is a talented, focused, and very driven player.  I think Charming and I are going to miss watching his games just as much as he is going to miss playing every weekend.  

I guess that's enough pointless drivel bullet points for now.  

Anybody want to place bets on whether or not my next MRI will reveal a stress fracture?

You got the Sterling/Silver thing, right?