Monthly Archives: June 2014

run, run, run.

First, here’s my preface:
I don’t consider myself to be a “runner.” I don’t run regularly. I don’t run fast. I don’t run far. I probably don’t even do it right. I will probably end up with debilitating arthritis in my knees and two broken feet from a terrible running stride. But I’ll be damned if I don’t enjoy doing it, and here’s why:

I don’t run for exercise. I run for my mental health. Nothing, absolutely nothing, clears my mind like going for a run. Even if the run itself is going badly and I feel like my feet are encased in concrete and I’m miserable and slow and can’t breathe, I’m not thinking about whatever-it-was I was thinking about before I started. I’m thinking about how awful this run is. Honestly, though? Nine times out of 10 that feeling-of-awfulness is quickly replaced by just not giving any fucks. Because even if I ran approximately 0.003 of a mile over the course of 8 hours I just did something instead of letting myself get buried deeper inside my own head. That is the point. That is why I run.

The cleared-head thing is a wonderful reward in itself. Sometimes, though, it gets even better than that.

Take last night for example:

I’d barely slept the night before, and ended up sleeping until past noon. Then I’d spent most of the day inside, took a nap too late in the day that lasted too long, and made only half-assed attempts to interact with anyone. An iChat convo with BFFF and a quick trip to Target with Juanita broke up the day, but that was it.

Anyway, I was feeling pretty yucky, head-wise. So at about 10 pm, I decided I’d go take a walk. Full disclosure: I had every intention of walking up to the store for a bottle of wine. Because that’s how my brain works sometimes. Lovely.

But as I was leaving my apartment, I took a right turn instead of a left. And as soon as I hit the sidewalk, I started running. I sort of giggled to myself at first, because I swear that was not my intention. Something in my brain – the self-preservation part, I’m sure – clicked on and took over and yup. There I went.

And I kept going. I just floated on through the intersection where I usually slow down or stop altogether. And that’s when I knew something Good was happening.

This is an analogy I’ve thought of before, but haven’t shared: to me, running is like sex. I know right away whether I’m going to get there. I know within the first few seconds whether my brain and/or body is actually into it or if it’ll be a mediocre, semi-satisfying, experience. I’ve tried to trick my brain into thinking things are going well, but it never works. I try to imagine great runs I’ve had before and conjure up those feelings, but I just can’t force it. I mean, I realize it’s not always going to be fantastic, but I’m almost always able to derive some pleasure from the experience.

Sometimes, though, I have an experience like last night’s. I felt like I was fucking flying down the road. My pace was good, my breathing was completely under control, my legs were light. I felt amazing. Just fucking fantastic. The brain-clouds parted and I just… no words. I hear people talk about a runner’s high, and I don’t know if that’s what I experienced, but I do know that I certainly felt like I was on another plane of existence for awhile there. Like, whoa. I started doing that thing where I internally narrate what’s happening to me, because I couldn’t wait to tell my gentleman friend how fucking awesome I felt. (side note: when I actually spoke to him later, all I could say was ‘mmmm. it was good,’ and make grunts of satisfaction into the phone. I am a sparkling conversationalist, let me tell ya).  I rode that wave long after I came home. It. Was. Awesome.

If that isn’t good for one’s mental health, I don’t know what is.

 

And now for an appropriate clip:

hope is a yellow rubber bracelet.

Six years ago today, they told him he was going to die. I mean, maybe not in so many words, but the implication was there. 18% survival rate for this type of cancer, they said. Stage 4. The worst kind of shit. You’ll be lucky if you get a solid year.

I honestly can’t remember if I found out THAT day, but it was soon enough after. And I was in shock. Like, seriously? No. No way. I was in shock. Disbelief. I waved it off. Nope. Not real.

The same day, I went to the mall. The news and the trip were unrelated; I think I’d been planning on going that day anyway? Whatever. I found myself in one of those shoe stores that sell $6,000 Nikes and Adidas in every color of the neon goddamned rainbow. I bought some sandals. I brought them to the counter. The guy rang me up, then motioned to a display to my right.

“Do you want to buy a Livestrong bracelet for a dollar?”

And I froze. And I stopped breathing. And my heart pounded in my chest. And I couldn’t speak. I nodded. I motioned back at the bracelets. He threw one in my bag. And I walked out of the store, completely and totally dazed. Because THAT is when it sank in. THAT is when I realized that things would never, ever, ever be the same.

I wore that bracelet every fucking day. Every day. I felt naked without it. It became my Thing. I was teased. I was admired. I was convinced that if I were to take it off, something Terrible would happen. After all, I am superstitious (sometimes) to a fault. Borderline diagnosable in these sorts of situations, really.

The day that it broke – I literally wore it until it just snapped into two pieces – I cried. Because it meant something Terrible was going to happen. I immediately bought another. Hell, I ordered a ton more so I could pass them around. And always have a backup, of course.

But instead of something Terrible, something as magical as my convoluted thinking happened: he got better. Remission. No more cancer. He kicked its fucking ass, y’all. Did it like it was fucking nothing. 18%? Whatever, chumps.

I continued to wear the bracelet for at least a few years after. I slowly wore it less and less, as I saw just how well he was doing and my anxiety gradually faded. I don’t wear it at all anymore, really. And while there was a time when I would have almost felt ashamed to say that, I know now that it doesn’t matter. None of it matters.

Because I got to keep my fucking friend around awhile longer.

I love ya, B. Continue to live strong, you bad ass motherfucker.

Sometimes I guess there just aren’t enough rocks.

Last week, I was having a shit day at work so on my first break I went and filled my pockets with small landscaping stones and walked to a remote part of the parking lot and threw them at the trees. I wanted nothing more than to hit a tree trunk with a satisfying thunk but ended up just tossing them all into a small ravine instead. Sorta satisfying, I guess.

Then I came back inside and apologized to everyone who had the displeasure of speaking to me for the previous three hours and explained how I’d just released my anger and frustration, all the while realizing just how much of a nut I probably sounded like.

Today I had a moderately-shit day at work and did the same. Sort of. This time I took a handful of rocks (no pockets today, grrr) and kicked them across a mostly-empty parking lot. The decorative rocks used at my place of work are smooth – some perfectly round – and they roll quite well when forcefully kicked. They also land with a satisfying thud when kicked into decorative patches of ivy.

As I got my rocks off kicked, I ran into (almost literally) a coworker who also shared my frustrations. “Fuck this day,” he said, and I responded by kicking a particularly roll-y rock into a patch of decorative vine-y shit.

Far more satisfying than throwing rocks at trees and missing. In fact, I could have kicked those rocks all day. I wonder how long it would have taken for them to notice I was gone….

 

flop, turn, river.

Maybe you’re having a rough day. Maybe you’re having even a good day. Whatever. It doesn’t matter. Because here’s the thing: stick it out. The best part might be to come. Hypothetically, this might not even happen until 2:00 am. But it might just make your entire rough day worth it, or even make the goodness of a good day pale in comparison. Either way: let the chips fall and don’t cash out early. A lot can happen in a very short amount of time.

I’m not being intentionally esoteric. I just had what started as great day, but it dropped off sharply. Then, just as I figured I was out, I was all in again.

So there ya go.

c is for ‘crap, this did not turn out how I expected’

I’m attempting to make these today:

It’s a chocolate chip cookie WITH A S’MORE INSIDE.

I’m baking them by request of a coworker, and today we’re having a work meeting that requires everyone to come in early. So…

I have not even started. I only have four hours, so I’m basically screwed. I know there are people out there who can bake a fucking batch of cookies in less than 4 hours, but these are people who don’t usually mess up the first 7 batches.

Scratch that, I just realized I have less time than that because of the aforementioned work meeting.

Gotta go! Bye!

 

EDIT: The cookies disappeared quickly, and to rave reviews. I personally didn’t care for them,  but I did try one and it was good. Just… whoa. Too much going on. I anticipated that and tried to make them as small as I could, but seeing as there is AN ENTIRE FRICKIN’ S’MORE INSIDE EACH ONE it was a bit difficult. 🙂

inside out, outside in

I bought a couple of cheap shirts awhile back that came with Very Explicit laundering instructions.* Apparently they NEEDED to be laundered whilst inside-out. Okay, directions, whatever. My clothes are usually inside-out by the time I wrestle them off of my person, anyway.

But it made me wonder: which side of the shirt is actually more in need of washing? Is it the inside, the side the makes constant contact with one’s sweaty, gross self? Or is it the outside, the side that’s exposed to all the elements? I’m talking on a normal day here – no heavy laboring or exercising or working outdoors or trying to feed rice cereal to multiple infants. I’m actually inclined to believe that the inside gets the dirtiest.

Random thought.

 

*Not that kind of explicit, though hoo boy! Wouldn’t that be funny?

once upon a mattress

Rule 1:
it must not be too hot. If there is even a chance of it being even slightly too warm, there must be a fan. Or air conditioning, but I’m trying not to be too much of a princess here.

Rule 2:
the attire must be appropriate. In most instances, this will include socks. Dire heat negates the desire (not need) for socks, but this point is moot if we are following Rule 1.
Rule 2.1:
Absolutely no toe socks.

Rule 3: 
pillows are to be grouped as follows:

  • no more than 1 (one) of appropriate density beneath the head
  • no more than 1 (one) of slightly more squishy density around the foot/leg area, to be used beneath or between the knees, depending on Sleeping Position
  • auxiliary pillows may be be placed to the left or right of the head, but are not necessary
  • auxiliary pillow may be placed behind (not beneath!) the head as a precaution against accidental concussive contact between wall/head

Rule 4:
sheets and blankets are to never be tucked underneath the mattress while in use; rather – blankets are to be tucked around the user, burrito-style, for maximum comfort

Rule 5:
the blanket must be of appropriate mass; it cannot be too lightweight nor can it be suffocating. In instances when one blanket is too thin, and does not provide comfortable cover, a second blanket or sheet may be added. If a sheet is added, it does not need to be the first layer of cover. It is allowable to be layered atop the first blanket, as it is being used merely as ballast.

Rule 6:
clock is to be clearly visible, even when one is not wearing her glasses

Rule 7:
sleeper reserves the right to modify / delete / add to these rules as she deems necessary.

 

 

 

To all the ones I loved before…

In 8th grade, I had to name my favorite song and artist for a yearbook-memory-book-thing that some super-involved parents were putting together for all of us for graduation. I thought long and hard about this, and eventually decided that this was my favorite song (and artist):

Like, for real.

Why? Cool Runnings, duh.

If the Internet had been a thing when I was 13, I wonder how my music tastes would have developed differently…

it’s not about the bike, except when it is.

I got a bike for my twelfth birthday.

I’ve always fucking loved birthdays, and while I understand others’ reasons for disliking them, I have never EVER EVER been one of those people. Any occasion to celebrate is a great goddamn day in my book.

Anyway, the day I turned twelve, I got off the schoolbus and a bike was waiting for me on the sidewalk in front of our house.

BEST.

DAY.

EVER.

I rode up and down the street until I was reminded that, um hello? It’s your birthday, and there’s cake and ice cream waiting inside.

Did I mention this was the best day ever?

 

Fast forward.

 

One day, almost 13 years later, I got off the city bus and came home to find my bike – that very same bike, still trusty after all those years! – had been destroyed.

It had been raining, so I’d taken the bus to work. As I walked back to my apartment from the stop, I noticed that it looked like my bike had fallen over in the bike rack. Eh, it happens. I was usually better at locking it up than that, but I could have been in a hurry. So I detoured, and went over to right it.

As I approached, I gasped.

The tires had been slashed. The front wheel was completely bent, spokes busted, just fucking mangled. Parts of the frame itself were dented. The handlebars were bent and twisted. It seriously looked like someone had beaten it with a crowbar. It was still locked to the rack, so I assumed someone had tried to steal it.

Until I saw the seat.

It, too, had been slashed. It was covered with multiple thin cuts, like from a razor blade.

Really?! Really?

A random and senseless act of vandalism against a bike that was, for all intents and purposes, a piece of shit. But a well-loved piece of shit. A piece of shit I relied on to transport me to and from work and school and every-damn-where-else.

At the time, I’d been having a rough go at it and had found myself in low place, mentally. And this bike thing was just the icing on an entirely different type of cake. Though I certainly wouldn’t call that day the worst ever, I couldn’t help but think back to my birthday a dozen-plus years prior and reflect on how my current reality was essentially the polar opposite of that day years ago. It was a reminder of how things change. Even the things that had been constant for years and years.

Like a hot pink-and-purple 10 speed.

Sigh. I still miss you, bike.

I would have thrown you one hell of a quinceanera.

100K

Awhile back my friends were talking about a contest held by the Rams – if you can guess their entire 2014 schedule exactly right you win $100,000. Of course the odds of winning this are unfathomable. But the question was posed: what would you do with 100K?

My first answer is “I have no fucking idea.” My debts are manageable. I work to provide for no one but myself. I live a small, selfish life.

But that said, if someone handed me that kind of money, I wouldn’t let it sit and collect dust.

Boringly, I’d stash a pretty good chunk of it in savings. Or something smarter than that, I guess. An investment something-or-another. Even if it’s just me for the rest of my life, I’ll need want to quit working immediately eventually. So sure: I’d put some away for retirement, or what-have-you.

Slightly less boringly (though not quite venturing into the “fun” category), I’d buy a car. Nothing fancy, and it don’t have to be pretty. Just some piece of shit that still runs reliably enough to get me to work. The ability to drive it legally is something I’d have to work on too, but that’s not really a problem solved by money.

More altruistically, I’d help out some friends and family. Just little gifts here and there. Maybe buy my brother and his girl a couple plane tickets so they can come visit. Or take care of their bills for a month.

I don’t imagine I’d have much left after all that, but if I did – if I had even “just” a few hundred to throw around for fun, I’d throw a party. An awesome party with all my friends and family. Nothing fancy; we’d just take over a park somewhere and grill and drink beer and play washers and that, really, is all I want. A car, an IRA – none of these things are important. I’ve gotten by for 32 years without either of those things, but I couldn’t have gotten by without my family and friends.

 

 

I always liked Joe Cocker’s version better, for whatever it’s worth. No hate to the Beatles, but this is the version that speaks to me.