Run. Dog. Cat. Cat. Me.

Everything you need to know about running and life and any other random crap I find bouncing through my mind like a ping pong ball. And always be sure your shoes are happy.

Archive for the month “August, 2012”

Training wheels

Occasionally Brain and I don’t get along.  I try, I really do, but Brain is just not that easy to work with; it frequently seems to have a mind of its own and is often very uncooperative.  Selfish, even, if I may say.  And I may since it’s my blog, not Brain’s, so I can write anything I want.  Other than the obvious, of course.  I don’t want to start posting manifestos against governments or threatening stupid people who don’t know what a turn signal is, Mrs. Idiot Lady who couldn’t decide to move into the turn lane until the last possible minute, no, I’m fine, really, and thank you Baby Jesus in your little manger full of pokey straw that I have good brakes.  Because threats and that kind of thing could get a person in trouble.

I hope your cat pees on your new couch.  Repeatedly.

The truth is, Brain has  been dead set against this whole biking thing from the beginning.

“You’ll crash.”

“You’ll break your arm and then what?  How will you work?”

“How long does it take to heal if you break your hip and need surgery?”

For the love of all that’s holy, will you SHUT.  UP.

As you both know, I got Matilda back from RB’s last week.  She was so pretty, shining and proud with her new Barrel Guide Adjuster for the Front Derailleur, her cleaned and adjusted chain, her new black and red outfit.  I stood her up at the back of Babs, saddled up and held on (to Babs, not Matilda).  I practiced.  Clip in, clip out.  Clip in, clip out.  Right Foot did ok.  Left Foot needs some remedial help.

I looked down the driveway.  I looked down at Matilda.  Back at the driveway.  Back to Matilda.

“The driveway is pea gravel, you pea-brain,” intoned Brain.  “You know what your knees will look like when you tip over?”

“SHUT UP!” I begged.

“Remember when Traitor #1 broke his elbow off?  You could do that if you fall.”

“OMG!  I … no … I … won’t.”

It did suck when T-1 broke his elbow off, him being in Paris and all that, having surgery and I couldn’t be there.  It does stand out in my mind and it is just the card Brain could decide to pull.

Getting Matilda all fixed up, practicing clipping – that was a good start.  I should stick with that for today, I decided, and I put Matilda in the storage room.

I’m pretty sure she hung her head just a little.  But probably not.  Probably I just imagined it.

So, like, you’re not wearing that out in public, right?

Long, long ago when we still carved letters in stone with other stones I was driving a couple of my precious offspring to school.  This was a really nice thing of me, since they could have taken the bus and saved me about 45 extra minutes trying to get them to school and me to work, but, hey, I’m not asking for special treatment, and I understand you have your monstrous Science Fair Project (may the inventor of Science Fair Projects rot forever beneath tons of poster board, dead plants and teeth decayed by Coca-Cola) which won’t actually fit on the bus.  No one ever mentioned all this in the contract in the Labor & Delivery Department of the Hospital, but that’s my fault for not reading the small print although I could point out that I was IN LABOR AT THE TIME, hello?? and kinda busy.

As we were driving down the street the school bus pulled alongside.

“DUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” screamed my female offspring, scooching down in the seat and covering her head with her arms to avoid the incoming shrapnel.

‘WHAT??  WHAT???” I asked in a panic, searching rear view mirrors and traffic for incoming runaway trains or out-of-control Cadillacs driven by white-haired ladies whose eyes are only 3″ above the dashboard.

“THE BUS! It’s THE BUS!  They’ll see you driving!”

Ahhhh.  The car is supposed to just drive itself?  Levitate?  Beam up Scottie and deposit him at the school steps?

Do I have three eyes?  Frighten small children and dogs?  Severe halitosis?

She used to look at me when I came into the kitchen dressed to go somewhere.   She was in high school, she knew styling and profiling.  “You’re not wearing that are you?” she’d ask.

I’d look down.  Clothes: check.  Shoes:  check.   Boogers hanging out of nose:  no.  Check.

“What?” I’d ask.

“It’s black.”  “It’s long.”  “It’s not black.”  “It’s short.”  would be a reply.  The truth was, I looked like a mom.

She went to college for a year and then moved back home from the dorm.  Having decorated her dorm room (etched mirror resembling a bar sign, donated coffee table, mis-matched chairs hidden under matching throws, wine bottle vases with dried, dead roses) she knew quite a bit about everything and insisted the bookshelves should be re-done; that pillow didn’t look right, there; what is that plant thing on the table?  She’d come in at 10pm with her friends and start making dinner.  In the kitchen.  Which was next to the bedroom (poor planning, I know.  I didn’t build the house).  Eventually I had a talk with Hubs.  We figured out the cost of the dorm and meal ticket and paid her to leave.  Dorm and meal ticket, or an apartment split with a friend, whatever she wanted, $xx was hers monthly, love ya, buh-bye.

The only thing worse was when I hit menopause the same time Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum hit puberty.  That all three of us survived is proof there is a God and He doesn’t want me doing time.  I would go to pick them up.  I was not to leave the car.  Preferably the tinted windows would be rolled up and I would remain, still and quiet, hidden behind glass.  Apparently my children wanted their friends to think they were spawned in a pond somewhere.  One time I had business to do at the school and got out of the car.  I visited for a minute with another mother.  They came out, horror evident on their faces.  “MOM!  What are you doing??  LET’S GO!  Get in the car!”

I began walking back to the car.  As I crossed the parking lot I shouted, “I’M (KID ONE) AND (KID TWO)’S MOM!!!”  Other mothers shouted back, “HI Terri!”

And yet, they lived.  The earth did not swallow them up despite their fervent wishes.

Now they’re grown up and gone, it doesn’t matter if I get out of the car, and no one cares what I’m wearing.  Including me.  When it’s warm:  my favorite shorts (I have two) and my favorite t-shirt (I have three) or leggings and my favorite baggy t-shirt (one of each).  Flip Flops.  When it’s cold:  jeans, sweatshirt, Uggs.

Sometimes after I’ve been working out I stop at the grocery.  I’ve got on wet running shorts, wet running t-shirt, I’ve thrown on an old men’s fleece jacket that I picked up off a race course once (I WASHED it!) and keep in the car for these emergencies.  My hair is a sodden ponytail on my head and I’m red-faced and make-up free.

It’s incredibly liberating.  I don’t care.  I’ve thought carefully about this.  Where is my pride?  Where is my honor?  Where is my sense of shame?

Last night I had to meet the hubs downtown at Fancy Hotel for a trade association reception and dinner.  I actually fixed my hair instead of cramming it into a clip on my head.  I wore a new dress, which I spent about 74% of the evening desperately pulling down since my knees were showing and I felt it was far too short.  I put on makeup.  (Note:  When you jab your eye with a mascara wand it stings like an SOB and you look like a raccoon.  Do not do this.)  I wore some cute slip-ons with a 2″ heel.  Pearl earrings.

I parked and immediately nearly fell over getting out of the car; my heel slipped off the shoe and I was standing there with the front of my foot in the shoe and the heel of the shoe sideways next to my foot.    It took me ten minutes to get to the hotel from the car as I carefully stepped, slipped, tripped, repeat.

Slip slidin’ away
Slip slidin’ away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you’re slip slidin’ away

Hubs kept saying how nice I looked.  He didn’t duck when other people saw me and he held open doors.  I just kept walking slowly and regally so I wouldn’t fall on my ass, making my too short dress slide up to my armpits and causing the eyeballs of many people to be permanently scarred from the view of my foundation garments and overflowing white flesh.

Anyway, Ciao!  I’ve got to go, need to run to the grocery.  I have on one of my favorite shorts and t-shirts, flip-flops, my hair mashed on top of my head with a clip and no makeup.  Where is my pride?  Where is my honor?  Where is my sense of shame?

Crammed in the corner of the bedroom next to the little black dress and those damned shoes.  BUH-BYE!!!

How do you spell that?

My daughter once spent an irritating and frustrating week in a grade school English class learning to use the dictionary.  She carted the thing home to do her homework, spastically shoving the pages back and forth exclaiming, “If I don’t know how to spell the word how can I find it in the dictionary by spelling it??”

Personally, I thought she had a point – but that wasn’t going to get her homework done.  My solution was always to open the dictionary at the page most closely resembling the start of the word (as I imagined it) and read every entry until I found it.  If that didn’t work I would think of a different word to use.  In English class substitutions are not allowed, but now I’m a grown up and this is my blog so I can use any word I feel like using, which is one of the many perks of growing up, and old.  For instance I can randomly write, right here and now, Abercrombie and Fitch (one of my favorites.  I just like how it sounds.  Someday I may get two cats and name them Abercrombie and Fitch).  And also, nanner-nanner.

Yesterday the mechanic called from the bike shop.  I believe mechanic is a poor term.  Wizard, perhaps.  The Bike Wizard called.  He said, and I am not making this up:  On the Front Derailleur the Barrel Guide Adjuster had broken.  This would cause problems with shifting.  We’ll get to that in a minute.

Of the entire sentence I understood “front” and “broken”.  We can thus deduce that if Johnny had three apples and Susie had 17, and train number one left Poughkeepsie at 12:37pm doing 1,486 mph and train number two left Hoboken at Oh700Hours doing 1,032 mph, that something on the front of my bike:  Broke.

He told me they had no new ones in inventory but did have a used one, so he put it on the bike at No Charge.  Hubs understands ‘No Charge’ better than any two words in the English language, please believe me, and I have my suspicions he can say it in 27 more, so he was happy that the Thing on the front of the bike that looks like a Barrel without a Guide and is in need of Adjustment (chiropractor?  counseling?) was fixed for Free.  Bike Wizard went on to explain, apologetically, that all they had in stock was a silver-colored Wonderworking Thingamajig not a white one to match my bike.

Well that’s it then.  Take the bike back, I’ll sacrifice myself and not ride it, I’m not sure I can be seen in public with a silver thingie instead of a white one and I might lose my mancard over this.

I’m lying.  I don’t really have a mancard.   And anyone close enough to see if my thingie is silver is probably going to get punched in the head.

Due to the wonders of the internet, thank you, Mr. Gore, for inventing it or whatever it is you did, I no longer have to slap the pages of the dictionary back and forth, I just google it.  After a couple minutes of Google thinking I wanted to know about Derrick Rose or train derailment (which this was beginning to feel like) I found how to spell derailleur and here you go, in case you don’t know any more about bikes than me:

  • Derailleur gears are a variable-ratio transmission system commonly used on bicycles, consisting of a chain, multiple sprockets of different sizes, and a mechanism to move the chain from one sprocket to another.  Although referred to as gears in the bike world, these bicycle gears are technically sprockets since they drive or are driven by a chain, and are not driven by one another.
  • Modern front and rear derailleurs typically consist of a movable chain-guide that is operated remotely by a Bowden cable attached to a shifter mounted on the down tube, handlebar stem, or handlebar. When a rider operates the lever while pedaling, the change in cable tension moves the chain-guide from side to side, “derailing” the chain onto different sprockets.

The much more important thing that happened was that the broken derailleur can cause problems shifting – derailing my attempts to shift into lower and higher gears to make my ride a bit easier on me.  I swanny!  I’m not an idiot!

And the most important thing is Matilda got new handlebar tape (two-toned black and red) and she is looking extremely fine and stylin’ with her new threads and the new gear box and Bento box.  Oh, and he tuned up the brakes.  Brakes I understand.  I hit those suckers without getting unclipped properly and probably my face is going to get broken.  *LALALALALA* I can’t HEAR you.  (Brain here:  she went somewhere for a moment.  Hold on.  She’ll be back.)

Where was I?  Anyway, the most important thing is Matilda got new handlebar tape (two-toned black and red) and she is looking extremely fine and stylin’ with her new threads and the new gear box and Bento box.  Oh, and he tuned up the brakes which were sticky.  There was something else about brakes but now I can’t remember.

She’s loaded in the back of Babs (my Explorer aka “Truck”) and waiting for her first shakeout.  Becky may be able to ride tomorrow, we’ll see.  I’ve taken yesterday and today off so it will be nice if I can get a good workout tomorrow.  This afternoon I might go to Walgreen’s to buy elbow and knee covers.  You know those stretchy things you wear if your hurt your knee or elbow?  I could pretend that’s what I did, and wear them.  Hopefully if I fall they’ll tear, instead of me.

It will be like being back in 5th grade wearing cotton crew socks.  I’m used to it.

Matilda

Note the barrel guide adjuster inside the circle, where the arrow is pointing.  Get out that magnifying glass thingie you have with the light and use it, that might help.  You might be able to see it, it’s about a quarter-inch long.  Doesn’t take much to derail a bike I guess.  And doesn’t she look fine?  See the lollipop pedals?  Meh.  Probably it’s better to just look at her for a while.  A year.  Maybe two.

Life lived with purpose: My Legacy

Legacy

It’s a well-used oblong velvet pin cushion; a fabric square faded nearly the color of dried blood slipped over an unknown form.  Wrapped four times about the middle is a stretched out strip of elastic stuck in place by a white-headed pin.  Several large hat pins secure faintly shiny leaf-shaped sequins from a forgotten project.  A small wooden spool of Coats & Clark’s (Textured Nylon, price: 15 cents) is dropped over the remaining pearl-headed hatpin.

It always sat on my grandmother’s dresser.  A sweet, calm, centered, hard-working farm wife during the Depression, she lived her life with purpose.  My legacy.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I just found this, a weekly challenge for anyone over 16 who enjoys challenging themselves with writing.  Check it out at:

http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week54/

and for more info check this link:

http://jfb57.wordpress.com/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups/

Well. I swanny.

Mary Lou sat at the oversized, ancient wooden desk which had been her cotton merchant husband’s (until he’d passed), quietly regal and southern; her shiny grey hair pulled tightly and smoothly back into a schoolmarm bun, her bright red, perfectly manicured nails clicking on the 10 key as she punched in and totaled the weights of her Pima cotton bales for shipment.  “Well.  I swanny,” she’d murmur occasionally, “I swanny, Clive, I cannot get these numbers to add up.”

She’d been born and raised in Kentucky, married her southern gentleman cotton merchant husband and had been involved in the cotton business with him her entire life.  A tiny sigh and “I swanny” was the toughest thing to come out of her mouth – but she was solid metal top to bottom.  No messing with Mary Lou.  I loved her like another mother and when I got the job with Clive she acted like a mother to me from day one, taking care of me and watching out for me the way southern women do.

“Heather” and “Becky” were at it again.  Someone has got to quit feeding them vitamins.

*BOINK*

– 9 or 9:30?

– 9:30 is good

– my house?

– sure, that works

— (Brain jumps in front of my face and grabs the keyboard) Hey.  9:30 what?  What are you doing?

– I’ll bring that book for you, too

— (Brain can’t quit, it’s like its had too much coffee) Hey.  What are you doing?  Are you going somewhere?

– Cool, thanks!

— (Brain again, “SHUT UP BRAIN!” I scream silently, trying to shove my way in front to the keyboard) Hey.  Whatcha doing tomorrow?

– Riding

— (Brain.  “OMG,” I’m thinking, “Get OFF my keyboard, Brain” but I can’t seem to stop it) Are you riding with Rob’s group?

– “B” and I are riding from her house at 9:30

— (Brain is apparently on ‘roids, I can’t stop it, it won’t quit) Can I come?

– SURE! (one of the idiot twins chimes.)

— Cool!  See ya! (types Brain, apparently thinking it finally got accepted by the cool kids, little realizing they fully intend to jump off the bridge).

In middle school they used to have dances in the cafeteria.  You’ll both find it hard to believe, knowing me as you do now, classy, smooth, sophisticated, that I was a bit of a nerd back then.  When I got to the new school in 5th grade I showed up bright and shining the first day wearing crew socks, tennies and whatever new skirt my mom had made me.  All the other girls were wearing anklets.  Cute little white socks that skimmed the rim of their tennies.  Me:  fat white cotton socks carefully and neatly folded over.  Took me weeks to get my mother to even grasp the concept, and weeks longer to convince her to purchase them for me.  Now it’s time for the sock hop dance at school.  Scarred forever by the Cotton Crew Socks Incident I assumed everyone would wear anklets to the sock hop.  No.

That’s rather how I felt showing up with my sweet little Felt F80 — with sissy pedals and tennis shoes.  I have bike shorts, but I couldn’t find them.  I have bike gloves, but I couldn’t find them.  I have a helmet that the cushy stuff is falling out of the inside.  I have an extra tube, tools and cartridge in a zip-up plastic carry hanging off the front handle bars rather like one of the B-ster’s little “packpacks”.  The handlebar tape is coming unraveled, I’ve tucked it back into itself but the sticky side is out now, with little fluffs of lint stuck to it.

“B and H” are slicked out with their bike shoes and bike shorts and bike shirts and Bento boxes comparing air pressure levels and programming computers for-the-love-of-all-that’s-holy on their aero bars.  Brain appears in shock, apparently beginning to realize what’s it gotten us into.  “I swanny,” sighs Brain, “this could hurt.”

“Ya think?,” I reply, silently, sarcastically.  “I tried to tell you.”

B & H, however, are nothing but cool.  They truly don’t care about looks, they care about heart.  They will cheer on anyone, any age, size, sex or ability if that person is honestly trying.  I think a lot of athletes are like that – and by athletes I mean anyone getting off the couch and trying something outside their comfort range, no matter if outside that comfort range means a 15 minute walk.  Are you trying?  Are you dying?  YOU ROCK.

I got my Felt about 4-5 years ago.  I convinced dad that I really would feed that kitten and clean the litter box, that I really would take care of that dolly, that I really would feed and walk that puppy – I talked hubs into helping me find a bike.  We got that thing pimped out with handle bar tape and lollipop pedals and a pair of Shimano clip-in shoes.  They measured and tweaked the bike, got it on the trainer, taught me how to shift, had me practice clipping in and out.

I took my shiny new toy home and out to the street.  I got on.  I clipped.  I slipped.  I tipped.  I managed to get to the end of the block and out of sight.  I clipped, I unclipped, I tipped.  I think I’ve told this story before.  I went home, got out the tool box, took off the lollipops and put the sissy pedals back on.  And in the storage room, to the disgust of hubs, sat the clips and shiny white shoes ($100 value?) for the next four years.

I did ride the bike, usually several times each summer.  Nothing strenuous, nothing tough, no racing up and down hill and dale, just tooling around town, through the park.

B, H & I set out.  I couldn’t seem to get my bike to shift properly.  It was stuck.  Then it worked.  Then the chain fell off.  I kept working with it.  I thought I was doing something wrong, but I couldn’t figure out what.  I mentally reviewed shifting.  Maybe I should do this, or that – but it didn’t seem to be working.  The bike has never been serviced since I bought it, maybe the chain is hanging up or rusty or something.

“B” rode alongside.  Sweet, southern, always helpful and motherly.  She’s patiently teaching me to swim, and now she’s teaching me to bike.  “Try this,” she said, and played with the right-hand shifters.  I copied her and felt it slip into gear.

“Good,” she said, “try this now” and played with the shifter some more.  I copied her and felt the gears slip into place.

*sigh* I swanny.  I’d forgotten how to shift.

We biked 26 miles in 2 hours and 3 minutes.  I’m pretty sure B & H would have gotten it done quite a bit faster without me, but they are team players, they are true athletes and they acted like this was exactly what they needed and wanted.  My legs announced in the last couple miles that they were done but I convinced them it was bike or walk pulling the bike, no other way out of it, so they pulled some more.

I woke the next day expecting to shuffle, hobbled and in pain, to the bathroom.  I stood.  I took a cautious step and then another.  My hip flexors were tender and that was it. In fact, my legs felt good!  My hamstrings weren’t trying to spasm; my legs had that tired that buzzes in your muscles, the good feeling.  I felt relaxed.  I even seemed to be standing straighter.  I felt GREAT!

This morning I took the bike to RB’s.  He’s giving her a little tune-up.  I bought a Bento box complete with plastic, water-proof cover for my phone so I can text and bike.  I got a utility pouch for under my seat.  I’m getting sweet red & black striped handle bar tape.

And I’m having them put the lollipops back on.

I swanny.  I am NOT going to start doing triathlons.  Don’t even think it.

I’m Serious.

That really bugs me.

Growing up in Arizona we had cicadas all the time.  I never minded them.  I liked hearing them at night.  I’d crank open my window and let the warm, blanket soft air float in, listening to them while I drifted off to sleep to the sound of the insects and the feel of the night.

When I was young the boys in the neighborhood would pull the empty cicada shells off the trees and chase the girls with the now useless exoskeleton while we ran and squealed.  I think some of the girls ran and squealed in a girlish attempt to impress the boys with their fragile femininity:  “Oh no!  Help me!”  Then the boys would feel strong and masculine and quit chasing them and tease them instead.  I missed that gene, however, and truly did not want to be chased by boys with dead insect exoskeletons.  Like lions in the wild, sensing the weakness of their prey, the boys immediately understood on some instinctual level that I wasn’t playing the game and I wasn’t going to be any good to flirt with.  They were right, as I’ve never managed to eyelash my way out of a ticket or into a parking space or any other thing.  I’ve decided to feel proud that I don’t fall back onto feminine wiles rather than embarrassed I’m unable to.

Cicada exoskeleton, my house, 8.12.12

The weather has been unusually conducive to cicada reproduction in the mid-south this year.  We’ve had an explosion of vacationing cicada cacophony followed a few days later with their discarded RV’s left clinging to tree trunks and decks.

Now I’m an adult I have no problem with that.  There’s no actual insect inside the shell.  To help both of you understand how much creepy crawlies are a problem for me, I once had the hubs (forced the hubs with increasingly shrill insistence over the phone while he tried to convince me he has a job and NEEDS TO DO IT) to come home to remove a tick from one of the children.  Honestly.  I think if someone got fired because they went home to get a tick off their own kid they could probably sue someone.  Don’t you?

My attitude toward bugs is: You leave me alone, I’ll leave you alone.  What bugs me is they never do.  They throw themselves repeatedly against the light bulb or the ceiling or the screened window.  Look, you idiot, quit bugging me and I won’t squash you flat while screaming like a Castrato.

Yesterday morning was the first 5 miler in the Road Race Series.  While I’ve never liked this horribly hot, steamy, sunny, humid, hilly, soul-sucking run, it was FIFTY SEVEN DEGREES when I woke.  Let me repeat that, as I’m sure you are incredulous to learn that the weather in Memphis in August could be anything less than OMG I CAN’T BREATHE and are probably thinking I’ve gone off my meds again:  it was 57 DEGREES.

Miles run last week prior to Sunday:  3

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.  I only ran three miles last week and during that time my butt did not try to fall off.  I see no connection.  Throwing caution to the wind I decided to do the course prior to the race with my friend “Becky” and her training partner “Anne” and then run the race for a total of ten miles.  I’m tired of sitting on my not-currently-falling-off-butt doing nothing but torturing myself with a miraculous raquet ball.  Probably it’s a good thing to fall completely off your training and then do 10 miles.  We were going to go slow and take it easy.  Certainly that counts for something?

So we were trotting along, minding our own business, not out to do any harm when suddenly and directly behind my foot a cicada in the last throes of its miserable life took revenge on the world by screaming shrilly and slamming itself against my foot.  I took air like Michael Jordan with wings and screamed.  “Becky and Anne” turned to see how close the zombie rapists were and saw the sad dying cicada skittering on the pavement while I jumped around hyperventilating, my heart pounding.  Proof:  you can still run while crying laughing.  We finished the warmup run despite being half-heartedly threatened again by several more; none of them had the energy or desire for revenge which the first had, but you can darn skippy bet I was dancing on that course avoiding them while “Becky and Anne” laughed each time they saw one in the road.  Laugh away, hahahaha, you idjits.  Just wait.  The cicadas are out there and they have your number.  I know because I gave it to them and the zombies.  bwaaaahahaha.

Cicada seeing me on the 5-miler course.  Again I say, laugh away hahaha “Becky and Anne”.

I don’t know if the shock to my heart and rapidly increased heart rate had anything to do with it, but despite not training for most of the past four weeks (and having firmly promised myself and many others that I wasn’t going to) the adrenaline kicked in when the race started and I took off trying to race it.  I’m out of shape (again), I’ve lost conditioning (again) and I’m going to start building back up (again) but I was pleased at the end of the race to find I’m still currently in fourth place.  We’ll see.  I want to place, but I want more to keep running.  For a long time.  I want to be that 80-year-old lady.

At Ihop after the race my hamstrings spasmed up so bad I couldn’t talk, just sat there bug-eyed trying to breathe while my legs shot out in front of me with a life of their own.  Everyone around encouraged me in my pain, sharing stories of their quads, hammies and calves all cramping up at the same time.  Bunch of nutjob runners, if we can’t outrun each other we can, by damn, out-cramp each other.

She’s going to the dogs.

Chunker will soon be less Chunk.

I’ve been doing some Olympic sprinting and hurdling the past few weeks here as I attempt to cut off her repeated forays into the den corners searching for a new place to use as her litter box.  I’ve got towels piled in all the corners as a safeguard and I’m not happy.  Every time I realize I don’t know where she is I jump and run to the den.  Speedwork.  Upstairs and down stairs.  Hill repeats.

I do feel sorry for the poor little thing.  She has:  small kidney stone (or not, one vet says yes, one vet says no) crystals in her bladder (which are the start of stones) bladder and kidney infection and inflamed bladder.  Two weeks ago she got two antibiotic shots, a sinus cocktail and prescription cat food.  Yesterday’s return trip resulted in another long-term antibiotic shot and a stronger, four-week acting steroid shot.

She’s starting to look longingly at my weight set.  I’m afraid soon she will begin mewing I’llllllllllll be baaaaaaaaaaaaahck.

Then she’ll find some faintly old, saggy, used up, gross-looking lying sh*t of a male with whom to have a torrid love affair and reveal her son twelve years later.

I hear you wondering, “Oh, that can’t happen, didn’t you have her fixed?”

Yes, indeed I did.  However, my last cat’s (Nala’s) ovaries grew back so you just never know.

I took Nala to the vet.  I said, “She does the funniest thing.  Two or three times a year she takes the twins’ tiny little stuffed animals and for a week or two she hauls them all over the house mewing loudly.  She leaves them everywhere – on the bed, in the hall, on the stairs.  I don’t know what’s wrong with her.”

He said, “Her ovaries grew back.”

“She WHAT?”

Yes indeed.  If there is a bit of ovarian tissue left it can regenerate.  She was cycling.  For a moment I panicked, thinking she could get knocked up by some randy male whose owners have no sense of responsibility and let him roam, profligate, throughout the neighborhood ruining innocent young kitties, but the vet pointed out he’d removed her uterus too.

Sure.  I feel better.  Her ovaries grew back.  Who knows that the uterus won’t become sentient and start growing back too?  Eh??

A few months later I went to lunch with two old friends to catch up.  One of them had been dealing with a ‘mild’ form of ovarian cancer and had her ovaries removed.  Recently she’d had some issues with which women will identify, and if either of the two of you are male you’ll appreciate that I don’t detail here.  She’d returned to the Doc with concern.  After closely reviewing the issue Doc pronounced that her ovaries were growing back.

I said, “MY CAT’S OVARIES GREW BACK!!”

This did not seem to make my friend feel any better.

I feel sorry for Chunker.  She’s obviously miserable.  She didn’t even eat her dinner last night, and while she ate some of it this morning, there’s still some left.  Chunker has a bit of an eating disorder which I blame on the fact that for at least a couple of weeks when she was a baby she was pretty well malnourished.  When I got her at about 4 weeks old she weighed 6.5 ounces and attacked food desperately, appearing certain she would never see it again.  She still worries all day long; every time she enters ‘her’ bathroom she takes a minute to check the food dish, just in case.

The vet explained that most cats do fine on commercial cat food.  Some don’t and are unable to process the ash and minerals.  Lucky Chunky, she can’t.  Now we get to pay extra money for prescription cat food which we carefully measure and divide into thirds every morning for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Then I realized…she’d found the loophole.  She was sneaking the dog’s food.

Now the dog’s food is hidden most of the day, she’s only getting her prescribed diet, the dog is getting skinnier, she’s lost weight, and I’ve gained it all while I sat here for the past month on my falling off butt, running less but eating the same.

Brain said, “Why don’t you do what you’re making your animals do and just eat less?”

What kind of crap is that??  And now you see what I have to deal with every day:  Brain is about as reliable as a former Californian Governor.

The Miracle of the Racquet Ball

Our Lady Queen of Pain has repeatedly encouraged me to use a racquet ball on my back, piriformis and hip flexors.  I dutifully go home clutching my new toy and do everything as instructed.  For, like, a day.

I wake.

“You should find that racquet ball and roll and stretch,” Brain says.

“You should shut up until I have coffee,” I reply.

“A tad touchy today, eh?” Brain replies, not realizing it’s very very close to a near death experience.

“Shut.  Up.  I have to feed cat.”

While I’m downstairs feeding the cat I might as well check email.  Oh – look at that cute kitten pic on FB!  HAHAHA that’s funny, better tag Sallysue in that one, she loves vodka.

Three days later Brain remembers it was successfully distracted in under a minute.  (yes, I’m just that good.)

“Remember – you should find that racquet ball and roll & stretch,” Brain pops up.  Brain is like a Whack a Mole game.  And I’d pay money to whack it.

I sigh.  I know Brain is right.  I go directly to the drawer in which I firmly promised myself I would place the ball every time and immediately after using it.  Here’s a surprise:  it’s not there (never saw that coming, huh?)  A thorough search of the house revealed that I need to vacuum and dust.  I could knit a friend for Chunk.

Never, ever make the mistake of thinking you can outwit Brain.  Brain was right, I should have been rolling and stretching – and what you get for being a lazy smart ass is eventually waking with muscle spasms in your butt and hamstrings.  Last Sunday morning I was jerking like Pinocchio on strings.  We went to church and I sat there twitching and jumping, my leg kicking forward spasmodically as though it had Tourette’s.  Fellow pew mates appeared frightened that any minute I was going to start running down the aisle with a tambourine screaming PRAIZE JAYZUSS ALL-LAY-LOO-YAH!!!  To put it mildly, we do. not. do. that. in my church.

Monday I had a visit scheduled with the chiro and then back to visit Our Lady Queen of Pain, whom you may also know as The Exorcist but I’ve decided to elevate her status. Just because it’s my blog so I can do that.  I can do whatever I like on my blog.  nanner nanner boo-boo.  For instance, if I wanted, I could do this:

Nope, that clip is entirely too small.

Daniel Craig James Bond Swimsuit Suit

Oh, that’s better then.  AND HE’S RUNNING!  And I blog about RUNNING!  omg!!!!  Probably someday Daniel Craig will google himself and this picture will pop up connected to my blog and he’ll read my blog and start following it.  Probably he’ll post comments too.  This is awesome.  I’m really excited now and for just a moment there I forgot my butt hurts.

“um, Terri?” queries Brain.

“SHIT.  WHAT?”

“You need to quit staring at Daniel Craig and finish your blog.  Both of your faithful followers of your World Famous Blog have been sitting in front of their computers for hours waiting for the end.”

Ah.  Good point, sorry –

Our Lady of Joe Lewis worked me over for about 3 hours and sent me home with the admonition to use the racquet ball.  This time, I believed her.  I’m really hopeful none of our neighbors can ever see into our hallway where I position myself 2-3 times a day cramming that ball up into my piriformis, then rolling back and forth against the wall with the ball between my hip flexors and the wall, stopping and grimacing every 1/2 inch while I count to 20 and attempt to breathe.

Ouch.

Wednesday I ran two very slow miles.  Nothing hurt!  ALLELUIA!  (don’t sing that in the neighborhood while you’re running.  For some reason dogs hate that song and howl really loudly).

It’s a slow journey, I did three miles yesterday and felt it a bit in the last mile.  I felt good this morning so I did five and to hell with it, and since then I’ve had some electricity smacking me around from my butt to my calf.  I’ll roll on the ball and see Our Lady tomorrow.  I’ll stretch and I’ll keep trying to figure it out and I’ll be damned if I give up.

Just to add a bit of incentive, I recorded the women’s Olympic marathon this morning.   After dinner I’ll sit on my ice and do the rolling/stretching thing while I watch, knowing those ladies hurt far worse than I do.

They’re at it again.

“Heather” and “Becky” are in rare form today.  “H” got a new bike and you’d think she was a 12-year-old with her new “Monkees” album.

For your listening pleasure click here.

I’d put my Monkees 45’s and a towel in the basket of my Schwinn Stingray and meet Anna at Chris’s house to swim.  Chris would pipe the Monkees from her parent’s stereo to the outside speakers.  This was a whole new world to me.  You could listen to music outside.  Crazy.  We’d discuss which we wanted to marry.  I liked Michael Nesmith the best but he was already married and even at 12 I felt a bit guilty about possibly being the cause of their divorce so I decided to settle on Peter Tork.  I wrote him a fan letter.  I asked him to send me a picture standing outside his house.  I had a mental picture of him opening the letter, calling a friend to come over and take a picture for him, getting them back from Walgreen’s and shipping one off to me.  I think the picture must have gotten lost in the mail.

Sweet.

H. is quite pleased with herself – she got shoes and clips and practiced at B’s house last night, clipping in and out.  I feel vaguely jealous, like Peter sent her a picture and not me.

Evidently none of us had real pressing business to take care of this morning since chat was flying back and forth.

After comparing schedules (for the record:  I do not miss back to school shopping, back to school supplies, back to school PTA meetings, or back to school anything) H & B came up with the completely hair brained idea of riding bikes this afternoon.

*BOINK*

—  what are you two talking about? riding a bike, like for real, outside? are you nucking futs??

–  YES OUTSIDE and YES we are nucking futs.

— I hate you both

– And we love you, too.

– Terri…oh TERRI…are you going to come out to play?

So – they’re going to ride this afternoon.  I was going to ride too, and even considered putting the lollipops back on my bike and trying to clip.  As B said, the guy at the bike shop always says it’s not if you fall on the bike, it’s when.  After I tipped over about three seconds after a pickup truck passed me and I watched the tire that would have driven over my head recede into the distance I went home, removed the pedals and put the sissy pedals back on.  Now, two or three years later, I’m still in sissy pedals.  Since I’m trying to be the kind of woman who becomes more open-minded as I age, rather than less, I guess I need to quit being a clip-hater.

Watching videos from Lay Toor while considering riding in clips is probably a bad idea.

Then I made the mistake of texting The Exorcist.  I ran yesterday for the first time in a while and it was so great.  Two slow miles, but basically nothing hurt.  My legs felt fresh, a bit of hip flexor tightness and toward the end of the run a little twinge in the piriformis.  This morning, however:  A PITA, with twinges and little spasms into the hamstrings and calves.  No bike riding.  No running.  I can swim if I don’t go all Olympic on it.  No danger of that, the only thing happening when I swim is the possibility of going down like the Titanic.

I knew something didn’t feel right.

In the end I bagged it all and did the Grandma Alice thing:  took a nap.  Murphy didn’t need to decide to take a nap.  He loves this heat – stretched out in the sun for hours, occasionally asking to come in for a drink – when I pet him, his fur is hot.  Chunk is feeling much better after the kidney stone/bladder crystals/UTI and has some of her feisty back, but she settled in next to me and put her soft little paw on my arm and purred.  I can always sink or swim tomorrow.

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