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 “March, 2014”

Well, that sucked. YAY!!!

I did six miles this afternoon and it sucked ūüôā ¬†I can’t hold a pace under 9:45 without an oxygen mask dropping from the overhead, I’m maxing my HR and my heart looked pretty much like this:

bugs bunnyOnly it wasn’t because I saw a sexy bunny.

This means that, one, I really am back to running because I’m no longer jogging along comfy just for the sake of being on the pavement. ¬†Two, I’m running. ¬†You can’t complain about a run if you can’t run. ¬†Thus I had the very sweet luxury of running along thinking *&^% this SUCKS. ¬†I SUCK. ¬†This run SUCKS, and as I thought it I found myself smiling with the joy of a sucking run.

Again proving runners are #crazynutjobs. ¬†But – we’re happy crazy nut jobs so you gotta love us, right?

This week has sort of sucked. ¬†First, I guess because Jen and I had talked about him, and then I wrote about it, Tuesday night I dreamed of my brother. ¬†I never dreamed of him when he died. I wanted to, I’d have taken any chance to see him even if just in a dream, but it never happened. ¬† This dream was incredibly real. ¬†Nothing special, Bret I were talking, about mom and anything else you’d talk to your brother about if you were in the kitchen one afternoon, and I remember nothing other than that. ¬†Then I woke up, which surprised me because I thought I was awake talking to my brother, and I realized it wasn’t real. ¬†It was SO real, and then it just wasn’t, it didn’t exist, and I started crying. ¬†I couldn’t quit and poor Hubs was lying there patting me on the shoulder. ¬†“Is it Murphy? ¬†Are you upset about Murphy?” but I just kept snorting all over, my pillow wet with tears. ¬†It was, quite frankly, rather stupid. ¬†Here I am, again, with my body doing something I have no control over. ¬†I mean, I tried. ¬†I bit the pillow, I clenched my jaw, I stuffed my face in the pillow – nothing. ¬†Just kept crying, except when I stuffed my face in the pillow because then when I sniffed I kinda choked because of course there was a pillow stuffed into my face. ¬†I guess actually you could say it was successful, in that I did quit crying while I choked. ¬†Anyway, I finally drifted off to sleep still crying and then the next morning I looked like I’d run into a wall.

Du Maurier

When I woke I realized I was going to have to call the Vet about Murph T. Dog because he’d been limping around since Monday afternoon and now he wouldn’t eat or drink, and he kept yelping when he moved wrong. ¬†Mostly he just wouldn’t move at all and I had to lift him into the Explorer and back out of the Explorer and he does weigh about 36 pounds hanging there in my arms, miserable. ¬†Then he pooped on the Vet’s front door step. ¬†“My dog just pooped on your door step,” I announced, carrying the limp bag of dog cement into the office, “do you have some paper towels I can use?” ¬† They were very nice and refused to let me try to pick up poop while holding the aforementioned 36 pounds of useless dog and one of the techs cleaned up my dog’s poop for me. ¬†I’m sure this is not the first time she’s had to do that but I still felt bad.

He has a couple vertebra that have been a problem in the past and sure enough, he hurt it somehow, so they filled him with shots and I carted home two pill bottles about the size of a jelly jar.  He moped around in pain and finally hid under the bed, having eaten one little doggie biscuit and two very large, peanut butter wrapped pills.

Thursday morning he came downstairs almost sort of perky and Chunk was not upset when she saw him so I figured that was a good thing since she gets rather insulted when people don’t feel well, like it’s a bother to her somehow. ¬†“Oh, I’m sorry I’m vomiting out most of my insides, Chunk, I know you find it offensive,” I feel compelled to apologize. ¬†Oddly, despite her complete irritation and disdain for all things sick or injured she is strangely fascinated, roaming about smacking inanimate objects and the offender, yet she refuses to leave their side. ¬† “Smack! ¬†Quit it!,” she seems to be saying and it makes me think she was a neurosurgeon in her past life as my experience with neurosurgeons evidenced about the same level of compassion, not that I’m bitter or angry, just stating facts.

Unfortunately Thursday afternoon he stood up, yelped quite loudly and refused to move, just stood there, head hanging, heart pounding. ¬†Well crap, I thought, maybe he’s ruptured a disc or something. ¬†It was too late to call the vet so I carried him upstairs, he scooted under the bed and never came back out. ¬†In fact he appeared ready to stay under the bed the rest of his life so this morning I had to get the mattress and box springs off the bed and carry him downstairs. ¬†Despite not eating much in the past 48 hours I can attest that he has not lost any weight, and we repeated Wednesday morning only omitting the pooping on the door step, which made me happy.

They knocked him out with a muscle relaxer, Xrayed his back and gave him some different steroids and gave me another big bottle of pills. ¬†Since Murphy was splayed out in a kennel like a freshman at 4am during rush week I left him there and will get him later this afternoon. ¬†The Vet prefers – and we concur – to try to treat this medically. ¬†Surgery is an option but I really hope that is not going to happen. ¬†I expect if you could ask Murphy he’d agree.

So – my week kinda sucked but it’s a luxury to have a sucky week with a tough run and a sick dog because I know a whole bunch of people with way worse things going on, marriages and cancer and death so I think what you should do is ruefully shake your head at this week’s travails and go kiss your loved ones and also kiss your dogs and cats despite the fact you will get hair in your nose and sneeze.

The End.

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Lent, Part Two

Well, Boy and Girl, I’m home from the whirlwind tour of Arkansas-oklahoma-texas-newmexico-arizona (reverse and repeat), feeling sleep-deprived and cotton-headed and thoroughly tired of anything Subway can possibly offer, eating our way across the country at Love’s Truck Stop/Subway Exit 27/195/362/35/183/328 ad infinitum. It was a time-warp including little social media as mom has no internet

inconceivable

… and my iPad spent a day in time out when it wouldn’t renew cellular data, leaving me in a social media black hole.

Supermassive_black_hole

OMGawd NO! ¬†I’m fading…fading…

Wait, hold on –¬†Mo’s eating a contract.

Right, I’m back, thanks. ¬†It’s fine, it was the extraneous pages of the contract, nothing important, and he didn’t swallow. ¬†This is why God invented Scotch tape. ¬†It’s nice the Scots got something named after them, too, even though a roll of sticky tape is probably nowhere near as fun as a day-long holiday celebrated with green beer and lots of food and parades and stuff. ¬†A roll of sticky tape…beer…sticky tape…beer…no wonder they play bagpipes. ¬†It’s payback to the rest of the world.

SO. ¬†It’s LENT. ¬†I mean, it’s been Lent for a while now, a couple weeks or so but who’s counting? ¬†I’ll tell you who: ¬†my dear friend who gave up cussing for Lent is counting for sure and by dammit, I can tell you that. ¬†I think you have to be some special kind of stupid to give up cussing. ¬†Not that I think my dear friend is stupid, much, but at least for myself I’m pretty sure cussing saves lives. ¬†St. Patrick’s day falling inside of Lent also makes me happy that I didn’t give up beer. ¬†This has probably also saved lives.

I gave a lot of thought to things coming into Lent – I’ve always liked the idea of time set aside to refocus, for renewal of some sort. ¬†I spent a couple weeks considering and rejecting possibilities.

The week before Lent I was working out with Killer and Brenda. ¬†I was so proud. ¬†I announced cheerfully that I’d decided to give up bitching for Lent.

I was quite confused when they shouted “NO!” in unison.

Brenda followed up by announcing that if I quit bitching she will quit training with me, and Killer seconded the motion by noting she would fire me.

Although slightly disappointed at the reaction I was secretly very relieved because I’m pretty sure giving up bitching would make my Brains explode despite taking my meds on a regular basis (you think I’m kidding). ¬†I amended it to quit bitching at Hubs and almost immediately after this decision I went out of town for 9 days. ¬†Coincidentally I did very well at not bitching.

We had a great visit with my mom, the B’ster was an absolute blast and the best-behaved 4 year old I’ve ever seen. ¬†He played on the iPad for the entire 48-ish hours we spent driving, other than when we were eating or he was asleep. ¬†Mom had such a wonderful time playing with him and it was a huge blessing to see her doing well and getting along fine, rattling around in that big old house by herself. ¬†Next month will be two years since Dad passed and she’s moving forward.

I could not tell you if I think of my brother 14 times a day or once a month. ¬†I have no clue. ¬†I do know that I think of him a lot at times like this, when I’ve been back to Arizona and childhood memories fill so many places. ¬†I seldom remember him with anything but joy and the peace of happy memories.

I don’t even know how it arose, Jen and I talking about Bret and what it might be like if he were still here. ¬†I expect he’d be married, there would probably be nieces or nephews or both. ¬†Maybe I’d even still live in Arizona, who knows what course my life would have taken. ¬†He’d be there to talk to, he’d have been there through everything with dad and he’d be there now to share the weight of worry about mom.

It does no good to think of it unless remembering him can bring joy, but today I struggle, finding tears on my cheeks as I drove to Kroger and again just now, as I write.  I am OK with that, it will pass.  He was joy.  He was laughter and smiles, he was a friend to everyone.  When they say the good die young, they must have known my brother.  Raised by the same parents, I was a mousey, scared, insecure little girl who thought far too much about far too many things.

Maybe what I need to do for Lent is realize we’re all not so different, after all. ¬†Maybe I need to realize that we’re all here with our own struggles, our own memories, our own joys; sitting in our mental glass cubicles looking at everyone else doing so well and not realizing they struggle too, and we’re doing about as well as everyone else.

Bret 001

Bret William Eske

Crossroads

peter gathje

These are the shoes of a homeless man.  These are the shoes he walked in daily.  These are the only shoes he owned.
I own a countless pair of shoes, usually wearing more than one pair of shoes daily.
I¬†run, I come home, I put on other shoes. ¬†If my feet are tired I’ll change shoes.

I’m up since 3am and Brain 1 and Brain 2 refuse to compromise and play well together. ¬†I’m going to visit my mom and I’m sure that’s part of the fireworks in the head, lots of adrenalin and “did I remember…” “Oh, shoot, don’t forget…”

It’s Lent. ¬†As we’ve discussed, I have my issues with organized religion but consider myself deeply spiritual despite the occasional (be honest, frequent) F bombs and Dammits.

This week I had the honor of meeting Dr. Peter Gathje, a man who walks in Christ’s sandals. ¬†He co-administers ¬†or directs (sorry, don’t know the correct title) Manna House of Memphis, which I’ve been following since several summers ago when there was an article in the Commercial Appeal. ¬†It was an extremely hot summer. ¬†The article was about the homeless that Manna House serves and their need for shoes, preferably athletic – when you think about it, giving a homeless man a pair of worn out leather dress shoes is not all that helpful if he’s going to be walking miles around downtown daily – and tech shirts, since it was so hellishly hot.

Since I sometimes hang around with runners, I posted that I would collect shoes at one of the RRS 5 milers.  Runners, being the incredibly awesome people they are, left dozens of shoes by my car which I toted to Manna House, dropped them off and left.  I have continued to gather stuff when I can and have toted more stuff down to Manna House, little tiny drops in a huge bucket.

I’ve mostly come to peace with my issues, but it’s Lent, which I’ve always loved, so the wrestling match in my brains heats up. ¬†God, as he does, won’t let go and has shaken things up – again. ¬†Two “chance” encounters at stores I seldom visit and a box of shoes and t-shirts, these are the conversations God and I have had this week.

I know this is vague and likely rambling but thank you, angels, for being where you were supposed to be when you were. ¬†The tangled ball of yarn continues to unwind and you were His agents. ¬†I’m looking forward to learning where the journey will go. ¬†And if this path goes no further I still thank you, Dr. Gathje, and F, and S, for being there at this crossroad.

AT&T: How I Learned to Stop Internet and Love Tech Help

A few miles south of the Canada/North Dakota border there is a field in which cattle roam among the remains of a Depression-era farm, three sides of an ancient barn leaning nearly perpendicular and the crumbled circular foundation of a corn silo the only evidence of a life or lives long gone.

Or are they?

Look closer.  That crumbled foundation is a clever disguise hiding the rumored-but-never-proven Top Secret Headquarters of the AT&T Customer Service Department.

Deep below the earth are two pale, thin men.  Men who spent their high school years winning the Science Fair and inventing robots to do their Spanish homework.  Men who, despite their most sincere efforts, could not fathom the intricacies of asking a female to the Prom, reduced to quivering, slavering mutes.

These are the few, the special, the cream of the technical service industry crop, carefully vetted by the “Home Ec” teacher, in actuality a member of the top echelon at ATT Customer Service.

Years of secrecy, years of scrabbling up the TechServ ladder, learning to play those life-or-death politics, the two men became a team so bonded, so close they finished each other’s sentences, “Thank you for calling AT” “& T”. ¬†Seamless. ¬†Desperately plotting, playing the dirty warfare of TechServ, they eventually triumphed.

Finally they landed in this North Dakota field, 20 degrees below zero, wind screaming, blinding snow blowing sideways; a moment etched forever in their collective mind. ¬†This was their nadir, their Olympic Gold, their Stanley Cup. ¬† Down, down they descended, thousands of feet, emerging from the elevator into a brightly lit hallway, Muzak softly playing their team song, “Muskrat Love.”

Daily they review US hot spots. ¬†Is there an energy crunch? ¬†Snow/ice storm? ¬†Season Finals or the Golden Globes? ¬†Tax time? ¬†This morning they peered gleefully over the reports, clapping their fish-belly-pale hands and bouncing on their little toes. ¬†“OH, lookie, um, ‘BENJAMIN'”, one tech squealed, “ICE! ¬†SNOW! ¬†Hundreds of thousands affected!”

“Benjamin”¬†trilled, “Oh, um, ‘SAMUEL’, how awesome! ¬†And – it’s ¬†Monday too!”

“Benjamin” and “Samuel”, clutching their AT&T 1998 “A Team” mugs full of weak, tepid tea, headed to the console, all the while sighing happy little¬†squeeeees.

The console was blinking like the Rockefeller Square Christmas Tree and the boys knew very well what that meant, millions of customers pressing 1 for service, 2 for billing, 3 for a new account, painstakingly entering their 10-digit service number on the minuscule screens of their cell phones, only to be asked to re-enter the number for security purposes.  A happy little shiver went up their spines and they giggled.

OH, no – it always happened. ¬†As good as the boys are, and they are the best, someone always manages to get through eventually. ¬†It’s usually an accident although mashing the zero button 32 times will always work – but few people know about that one.

“Thank you for calling AT&T customer service where we are here to serve your customer needs may I have the number about which you are calling?”

“Thank you. ¬†And is there another number I can reach you should we get …”

“oops,” they giggle, remembering first grade and that incident with their underwear.

The boys know there are always a few – usually the ones who’ve had far too much strong coffee – who will return, and they are prepared for that. ¬†It’s not for nothing they are here, sealed below the earth forever, turning paler and paler, marking names off in the 10,000,000 Baby Names¬†for Your Child book.

“Thank you for calling AT&T customer service where we are here to serve your customer needs may I have the number about which you are calling?”

“Thank you. ¬†Is there another number I can reach you should we get disconnected?”

“Thank you. ¬†What seems to be the issue today?”

“Thank you. ¬†I understand that you are saying you have no service?”

“Thank you. ¬†I understand you have had an ice storm there and believe that your service has been interrupted due to that and you simply want to report the issue. ¬†Please hold one minute while I test your line.”

“Thank you. ¬† I have tested your line and have determined that the issue is that you have no service.”

“Thank you. ¬†¬†I understand you have had an ice storm there and believe that your service has been interrupted due to that and you simply want to report the issue.¬†Have you unplugged everything, stood on your head, stuck carrots in your ears and whistled ‘Dixie’?”

“Thank you. ¬† I see that you have indeed stood on your head, stuck carrots in your ears and whistled ‘Dixie’. ¬† Am I correct that this did not resolve your problem?”

“Thank you. ¬†¬†I understand you have had an ice storm there and believe that your service has been interrupted due to that and you simply want to report the issue. ¬†¬†Please unplug everything again, this time count to 100 in German and turn three times clicking your heels.”

“Thank you. ¬†I see that you have indeed counted to 100 in German while turning three times clicking your heals. ¬†Am I correct that this did not resolve your problem?”

“Thank you. ¬†I understand you have had an ice storm there and believe that your service has been interrupted due to that and you simply want to report the issue. ¬†Oh, please, Mrs. Clarke, please don’t make that noise.”

Benjamin snickers.  He hears the Keurig engage and the sound of a thumb being sucked.

“Thank you. ¬†I’ve scheduled your service appointment for Thursday, Juvember 32nd. ¬†Thank you for calling AT&T, I hope I have been helpful. ¬†You will soon get an automated phone call to determine the level of service you’ve received. ¬†Please consider giving me “Excellent” in every category as anything else will not count and my paralyzed child, Little Timmy, will starve. ¬†Have a nice day.”

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