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Search Results for: “Brain 1

Hunkering down with Chunker or how I learned I do, indeed, have two Brains

Chunker Munker and I have not had the best of weeks and it’s all my fault.  She is very happy to agree with that and seems pleased to lay the blame squarely at my feet; she isn’t enjoying life to the fullest following a long overdue visit to the vet.  Mo, the little sweetheart, sadly went along with the plan with a minimum of argument as I shoved the unwilling little things into their carrying cases and off we went.  Quiet little Mo evidenced a new side when we got in the car and he became extremely verbal about the situation, even resisting the vet which surprised me.  Chunk acted resigned until we got home.

I opened the carrier and she scrambled out like it was on fire.  I opened Mo’s, he jumped out and headed toward Chunk to share misery.

The little witch turned on him, soundly smacking him in the head repeatedly while yowling and hissing.  I yelled “CHUNKER!” and she turned on me, then poor Murphy crossed her path and she tried to smack him, arching, hissing, yowling.  Dammit, girl.  We gave her wide berth.  She was pissed off all night and half the next day, jumping, hissing, howling every time someone moved.  At first I thought it was because Mo and I smelled like the vet but by the next day and a change of clothing that seemed iffy.

I think she was insulted and embarrassed by the vet and taking it out on us.

I have to say, I would not be happy having my weight control issues discussed openly in front of my mom and an entire office full of staff people.  It has seemed to me lately that she’s getting a bit … fluffier, but I ignored it.

Yeah, no kidding.   She’s gained over 2 pounds since last year.  That’s a 16% weight gain.

Ooops.  My bad.  Apparently feeding on demand is not going to remain an option.  We will not mention whether I feed my own self on demand or not.  Do as I say, not as I do has been a fine motto to live by.

I told the vet my unsuccessful attempts to get her to play and that I’m feeding them both indoor cat weight control food.  He said that it’s possible her metabolism has gone into protect mode and is slowing down.  Interesting thought.  He told me about a new food that somehow increases metabolism and I bought a small bag.  I trust the vet, I’ve known him for 20 years but I still felt a little bit like I’d just bought a vacuum cleaner at my front door.

I mixed the food half/half with their old food and started the new menu Friday evening.  Sunday evening Chunker walked up to me and started batting at my legs, skittering around.  Eh?  what are you doing, little girl?  She jumped around a bit more.  I pulled out a toy.  She started jumping to catch it, chasing it, crouching, attacking.

Well who are you and where is my kitty?  It’s been a couple weeks now, I don’t think she’s lost any weight but she’s like a kitten again, chasing the laser light, running through the house with Mo, playing.

So I’m going to be doing some thinking on this metabolism idea; I know it will slow if enough calories are not consumed regularly.

Our bodies are designed to protect us, I know that.

In fact I got a really great lesson in that just this month.  Yay.  I always like learning new things.

I’m lying.  I do not like learning new things.  I like staying in my own little comfort zone doing the things I like to do.  I want my life wrapped in my squishy soft blankie in my awesome plaid bell bottom fleece pants and Chocolate Glazed Donut in my coffee cup.  I prefer being closed-minded and I want you all to shut up, most particularly the ones inside my head.

But, there you go.  Catch 22.  Which I read when I was in high school.  I was home, sick, cuddled in bed (I did not own awesome plaid fleece bell bottoms at the time or I’d have been wearing them) and as sick as I was, reading that book I started laughing out loud.  My mom came running down the hallway.  “Are you OK!?”  She apparently thought I was choking.

Maj. Major Major Major: Sergeant, from now on, I don’t want anyone to come in and see me while I’m in my office. Is that clear?

First Sgt. Towser: Yes, sir? What do I say to people who want to come in and see you while you’re gone?

Maj. Major Major Major: Tell them I’m in and ask them to wait.

First Sgt. Towser: For how long?

Maj. Major Major Major: Until I’ve left.

First Sgt. Towser: And then what do I do with them?

Maj. Major Major Major: I don’t care.

First Sgt. Towser: May I send people in to see you after you’ve left?

Maj. Major Major Major: Yes.

First Sgt. Towser: You won’t be here then, will you?

Maj. Major Major Major: No.

First Sgt. Towser: I see, sir. Will that be all?

Maj. Major Major Major: Also, Sergeant, I don’t want you coming in while I’m in my office asking me if there’s anything you can do for me. Is that clear?

First Sgt. Towser: Yes, sir. When should I come in your office and ask if there’s anything I can do for you?

Maj. Major Major Major: When I’m not there.

First Sgt. Towser: What do I do then?

Maj. Major Major Major: Whatever has to be done.

First Sgt. Towser: Yes, sir.

There are days right now that I feel a bit like Chunk when she jumped out of the carrier, I really feel like yowling howling and smacking random people crossing my path and I don’t want anyone let into my office until I’m not here.  My back is on strike.  This happened once four years ago and lasted for three months.  I could not reach my feet to put on my shoes, my back in nearly constant spasm.

I went to see Dr. W.  He walked in and I slowly stood.  “What happened??” he asked.

“I’m not sure, but last time this happened it lasted three months,” I said, with a little catch in my voice.  OMGod in Heaven, Little Baby Jesus in the hay with the cows DO NOT let me go through last year again.

“I’m not doing any steroids.” I announced.

“Oh, no – nope, this isn’t lasting three months and we’re not doing any steroids,” he intoned.

He sounded so serious that I actually believed him.

He did a little poking and prodding, a little stretching and showed me a small back extension/crunch I was to do 10 times as often as possible throughout the day, then hooked me up to the machine which is like something from Heaven, electrodes taped to my back shocking the sh*t out of the damn muscles and I hope they are sorry they ever started this.  Damn muscles.  I know I said that twice.  Damn muscles.

When everything was done I stood to leave and bounced down the hallway like I was drunk.  Why am I thinking of Florida?  Anyway, I was walking and my back was not screaming like a girl, damn wussy little back.  Waaa waa waa.

Over the past 2-1/2 weeks the visits have stretched from 2 days apart to a week.  This week I was able to go three miles, jogging 2/10’s of a mile 9 times with a 1/10th mile walk between.  Dr. W said things should return to normal quickly.

Apparently, however, phoning in the core workouts is no longer an option and I am newly committed to the stretches and core work – planks, side planks, glutes, hip flexors because what done did happen, as they say in the south, is I outran my core’s ability to function and when that happened Brain 2, the Idiot, shut the entire system down.  Done, stupid Brain 2 said, and turned on the electricity.  Meanwhile Brain 1 and I are arguing that everything is fine and would you please quit trying to be the boss??

It makes sense though.  Metabolism compromised?  Start protecting.  Muscles being damaged?  Start protecting.  It is incredible to me that our minds actually take care of us when we think we’re the ones in charge.  I’m running along thinking I’m in control of my body while, in fact, the very brain with which I’m thinking everything is copacetic is doing something else against my wishes.

Yossarian: Ok, let me see if I’ve got this straight. In order to be grounded, I’ve got to be crazy. And I must be crazy to keep flying. But if I ask to be grounded, that means I’m not crazy anymore, and I have to keep flying.

Dr. ‘Doc’ Daneeka: You got it, that’s Catch-22.

(If you’d like to read more about how fatigue – overdoing it – leads to poor form and results in injury, check this out:  http://thefunctionalgolfer.blogspot.com)

M- Minus 1

Almost exactly, as it’s 4:44am and the race starts at 5am tomorrow.  I’ve been looking at digital clocks since 2:34.  At least the numbers are all even.

What did we do before digital clocks?  Were our minds slightly less TimeOCD?  “Oh, crap, it’s 2:30-ish.”  Did that somehow seem better than those gleaming red digits that light every bedroom so brightly you can see your way to the bathroom despite the near-death of ninja cats in your pathway, their gleaming red eyes eerily reflecting the display?

I spent about an hour and a half doing everything I could think of to drift back off.  Hail Mary Full of Grace mumble With Thee should I carry the powerbar and the beans or just the beans?  But the Blessed Mother figures that’s a personal problem I need to sort out for myself, apparently, and no answer echoes in my manic brain.  FLOP.  Adjust covers.  Nudge snorfing hubs.  Red digits burn into my retinas.  2:59…3:13…3:28…

I do know what we did in the times of BK (Before Keurig) – we had to wait at least 2-3 more minutes for the coffee.  In my early coffee years, even before the automatic pause feature where you could pull the pot out and the coffee kept brewing, dammed up in the filter for a minute while you poured (DO NOT forget to put the pot back on the burner … tiny tsunami of hot liquid coffee grounds spilling across the counter and dripping into the cupboards), I learned the tilt and pour, pouring coffee into the cup while it still brewed.  Yes, you burned a few fingers but what is that compared to waiting two more minutes for coffee?

I did spend several very enjoyable minutes thinking about dinner at Vanelli’s tonight.  Particularly the meatballs.  I may order extra to take home.  With the Traitors firmly ensconced in Brooklyn and Chitown there’s no one to eat them all and leave the empty container in the refrigerator to be discovered later by a very disillusioned mother.

And speaking of meatballs – or any food – how can my stomach possibly be growling hungry at 4am?  If I did the math correctly – and there is always that – but I did use a calculator, which is always fun because when Mo hears it he comes tearing into the room and leaps on the desk, absolutely enthralled with the paper rolling out as I add, biting at it, filing it with little holes like an old punch card – if I did the math right I took in 1,635 calories in carbs alone yesterday.  This does not include the actual sandwich part of the club with ham, turkey, roast beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato, peppers, spinach and mayo (LITE) (because LITE is lighter that LIGHT) or the ham, turkey, cheese, mayo and pickles of the cuban, or the meatballs, sauce and cheese on the spaghetti, all of which is just making me hungrier.

Probably all the hyped up nervous leg jiggling is burning hundreds of calories.

I really am pretty excited.  Don’t you just love it all?  I’m thinking of tomorrow morning, standing in the Mississippi countryside in the dark which somehow makes sounds crisper, the shuffling of feet, beeping of Garmins, nervous laughter, inside jokes, and suddenly it’s time – the start sounds and off you move, one of many, united and yet each on their own journey, fighting their own good fight.

I was greeted in my inbox this morning by a friend who shared this article:  http://triathlon.competitor.com/2013/05/training/chris-mccormack-embrace-the-suck_76419.  I loved this:  “I realized that no matter how much I loved racing or how hard I trained, at some point a race is going to really suck. It is how I reacted to this moment that determined everything.”

And don’t you think that as a runner – and I know not everyone who reads my blog is a runner but it’s likely that at least one of the two of you are – don’t you think that through running you’ve learned more about life and yourself than you have about running?

I’ve learned that there is always a finish line.  You keep moving past the finish line, but there is a finish line.  My brother’s death was a finish line.  A finish line that fell down out of the sky and knocked me flat on my back in the middle of the race.

So how do you expect me to live alone with just me
‘Cause my world revolves around you It’s so hard for me to breathe
No air, air
No air, air
No air, air
No air, air
No more
It’s no air, no air
(With thanks to Jordan Sparks)

But you can’t keep lying there.  You can stop along the way, yes.  But you can’t stay stopped because eventually while you stand there in the middle of the event, stopped, they will start taking down the course and the water stops and the cones and cars are free to roam the streets where you stand and your family is at the finish line, waiting for you to arrive, to be there for you, and then move past that line with you.

And there is not just one finish line throughout your life, you have many more to cross until you hit the final one; you’d better learn something every time you get to one or you will just have to repeat that race.

I’ve learned that there are many friends, but there are not so many Friends.  The ones who help you find a foreclosed house so you can use the backyard as your personal porta-john, that feel your pain, irritation and embarrassment, and can still laugh at you until you are both crying, crying-laughing in the middle of the street until you can’t stand up.  And who also understand you do turn the Garmin off because that doesn’t count on the mileage.  Friends who didn’t get to do that run but will have you crying-laughing again in the retelling.  Friends who get the texts, the crazy I’ve-lost-my-mind messages, the FB posts and offer to join your run even though it’s not on their plan, because they know expletives mean you’re heading over the edge.  Friends that give you the remains of their Gatorade and run the last mile dry themselves, who completely understand that a Ride 5 and a Ride 6 are a continent apart the week before your race.  Friends who live far away and helped you across other Finish Lines, still as near as your heart.  Friends nearby but time gets in the way and months pass before you get together – but those months are nothing when you meet again, you are where you always were; you could go a year without seeing them and call at midnight for help and they would be there.

I’ve learned that you can hit the wall – in life or in the race – and while time seems to stand still, washing you in a shower of drenching, breath-taking, all-encompassing pain, you don’t die, no matter how much you might wish to at that moment.  I’ve learned that you may as well quit standing there and take a step forward.

I’ve learned that you have to look up, not down.  I still look down a lot.  I like to think I’m looking up more but I know there are days I spend only watching my feet shuffle.  This is why I cannot be a runner without races.  I need a goal.  I need a plan.  I need the easy days and the hills and the tempos and the long runs, the rest days.  I need the time alone, running, seeing that mama deer and her twins, and I need the run with a friend while mama and the twins look on.  I spend time looking at the road passing beneath my feet, and I look up at the tops of the trees and the sky.  You can’t spend all your time doing only one of those – you will run into something, or you will trip and fall.

We need it all.  The good and the bad, the joyous and the solar plexus blow.  If you are not a “runner” you are still running the race and I commend you, fellow runner, and thank you, my Friends, for running the race with me. Read more…

If I only had a brain, Part 2

#crazynutjobrunner

So the alarm went off at 4:40 am and while I can’t express how happy I am to be training for another marathon, I’ve definitely hit That Point in the process.  I despise the marimba ring tone of my iPhone alarm.   Apple needs a ring tone that says, “Ok, then, sorry about this, but you’re the one who set the alarm, not me, and now you need to get up.”  Preferably Mr. Roger’s voice; there  is no way I could say “eff you, Mr. Rogers.”  I have a Pavlovian reaction to the ring; cringing, heart pounding, slammed out of a deep sleep by the marimba.  Thank God for some multi-flavored chemical laden, artificially sweetened and creamed K-cup steaming in my coffee cup; I’m up but basically making my way through the house by bouncing from one wall to the other in a (mainly) forward direction.

I have also definitely hit the point in marathon training where Taco Bell Fourth Meal happens about 12-1pm as opposed to the midnight-1am (younger!) crowd the campaign originally targeted.  The other day I had lasagna at 9am after already having breakfast.  I did at least warm it but then stood at the counter eating it directly from the casserole.  NOMNOMNOM. Yesterday:  breakfast followed by a cranberry bagel with egg and bacon (yes), then a really lousy salad followed by a nap which was celebrated by death by chocolate ice cream with chocolate sauce and caramel followed by another nap. I made dinner at 4pm.  Then what do you do?  It’s 4:30, you’ve slept for two hours, you’ve eaten five times, you’re too tired to fold laundry and you still have daylight remaining, and after about three hours of Yard Crashers you’ve pretty much seen the best TV has to offer.   I’m thinking I may pay for HBO since I’m never going to finish reading Game of Thrones.

And you both know that Brain 1 and Brain 2 are of no help whatsoever.
brain one and brain two

The other day while scarfing down one of my multitudinous meals I was reading Runner’s World.  Sometimes I read the newspaper, it depends.  It depends mostly on how much I feel like screaming.  Reading the newspaper is like taking algebra so you can grow up and work from home typing stuff; you know it’s good for you for some reason but you don’t actually ever apply it in your life and it makes you feel like screaming the entire time you’re doing it.  I always read the editorial section first, it’s like eating all the Brussels sprouts first so you can have the meatloaf second and enjoy it while also getting that awful taste out of your mouth.  Plus when I read the paper I yell, making the cats run away and causing Murphy to skulk guiltily.  Anyway, I was reading Runner’s World which is nothing like eating Brussels sprouts, it’s more like Three Guys Pizza Pies.  And also it doesn’t cause me to yell, making all the animals happier.

In this article (Beyond the Mantra by Michelle Hamilton, May, 2012 issue, I cannot find a link, sorry) the author visited with a sports psychologist and implemented his suggestions in her running.  It’s taken me about 98% of my life to truly understand that what drives everything in life is not what is happening to and around me, but how/what I think about it.  The Brain.  That little wrinkled up thing in our heads drives everything.  We ‘think’ what’s wrong is that our leg hurts, or the boss is an ass (which, none of my 15 bosses is an ass, let us be clear on this) or that our spouse cannot see the dishwasher which is apparently invisible.   Then we feel like screaming after 20+ years of seeing their dirty dishes in the sink TWO FEET FROM THE DISHWASHER (meanwhile the poor spouse just wants to avoid putting dishes in the dishwasher which may – or may not – have clean dishes in it; he doesn’t know and can’t figure out, since this is a secret hidden from men from the beginning of time.  He knows if he puts dirty ones in with the clean he will get The Look and The Sigh.  His brain is screaming, DON’T MESS IT UP!!  I CAN’T NOT MESS IT UP!!  IT’S A TRAP!)

Not that I’m upset about the empty dishwasher and the full sink.

Basically, as the author notes and as my counselor noted, you think: you live.  Talking to my counselor was the first time I heard the word catastrophizer.  I thought she’d made it up just for me, but I found it later in a book.  You can look it up, it’s a personality subself.  If it can go wrong it will.  Spectacularly.  If it can’t go wrong it still will. Or it could.  So we’d better think about every possible outcome to every possible situation.

3:45 am Brain 1: OMG OMG OMG.  No, wait, it’s just the effing alarm, nothing is on fire.

3:45:01am Brain 1: OMG OMG OMG is it raining???

3:45:02am Brain 2: OhhhEmmmGeee.  So what if it is, we’ll get wet?

3:45:03am Brain 1:  We could get CHAFED

3:45:04am Brain 2:  Yes, that has certainly never happened.

3:45:05am Brain 1:  We won’t be able to see the Garmin clearly!  Our glasses will fog!

3:45:06am Brain 2:  Ok, you’re right.  We’ve definitely got a world crisis here.

It’s the words you think.  For so much of my life I tried to change the way I felt.  I’m so sad because I can’t go to the party (don’t feel sad!  don’t feel sad!).  I’m so mad because that email was mean (quit being mad!  quit being mad!) You can’t.  It’s like slamming your finger in the door.  Don’t hurt, finger!  Don’t hurt, finger!  How about, “Rats, that hurts.  Need to get some ice.”

This morning I realized that I still doubt myself.  I still doubt I’ll get the marathon done.  My friend Elizabeth asked why I would worry about that.  She said if nothing else, you’ll walk it in.  And it occurred to me that I didn’t actually think of that as an option – but of course it is.  Somewhere in my brain I either finish the marathon or … what?  Teleport back to the car?  Get caught up to Oz?  Life instantly ends?  It’s like, in my mind, there is a marathon stretching out on a road with a finish line, and I either reach the finish line or fall off the road into oblivion.  Maybe I end up wherever the Coyote ended up when he fell off the cliffs, I’m not sure.  I’ve already talked with my coach and we have my A, B and C plans, none of which have either the teleportation or falling off cliff option listed.

Think about it.  Spend a day listening to what you say in your mind.  How many things do you think you’ve missed or not tried because you talked yourself out of them before you could even start?  I’m starting that marathon, and I’m finishing it.  No matter what Brain 1 and Brain 2 think.

I can’t brain today

It’s 3:30am and I’m chugging copious amounts of coffee from my beloved Grumpy Cat cup which questions, Do I look like I rise and shine?  which you both know I do not.

This is the coffee cup I should be using:

cant_brain_today_mug

except it should read, I can’t brain today, I have the Brain.

It’s a beautiful morning.  You know, for being 3:30am, dark as a black hole and all that sh*t.  I let Murph T. Dog out and it occurs to me that I would not be interested in running around a dark back yard at 3:30 in the morning because evil lurks in back yards with a large shining utility light which is useless and only lights the leaves of the trees below it, never a ray filtering all the way through to light your path where zombies are roaming, occasionally gently knocking accidentally into one another and bouncing off in opposite directions while waiting to eat my brains.   Apparently the dog is not so concerned with Zombies.  Sometimes I question if he has a brain anyway, especially after he rolls in raccoon shit, so maybe he has a point.

Brains is plural, and they would be welcome to one of my brains.  I don’t need both of them and I seldom use either of them.

Brain 1:  “Sigh.  Comfy Mushy Pillow, I love you.  Sigh.  hmmm…mumble…sigh…sleeeepy…

Brain 2:  “OMG WHAT TIME IS IT?”

Brain 1:  “WHA??  WHA??  Baby Jesus in his CRIB, WHAT?  it’s effing 9:30pm you idiot”

Brain 2:  “oh, my bad, sorry.”

Brain 1:  “Gawd.  Just Shut Up.”

Brain 2:  “I’m just making sure.  What if the alarm doesn’t go off?  What if our leg hurts?  What if she has :poop: in the woods??!”

Brain 1:  “Holy shit.  We’ve talked about this about 10 thousand times.  She brought tissue.  SHUT UP.”

Brain 2:  “FINE.  Just fine.  Don’t yell at me if she runs out of Gatorade and we die.”

zzzzz Mushy Pillow zzzzzz WAIT WHAT TIME IS IT?

Brain 1:  “BLESSED Mary Mother of GOD.  WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT ME?  WE DON’T HAVE EARS.”

Brain 2:  “I just wanted to be sure what time it is.  Maybe we should wake her up a few minutes early.  What if she forgot something?  She should probably check.”

Brain 1:  “Are.  You.  Shitting.  Me?  You already made her check everything 13 times.”

Brain 2:  “Fail to plan, Plan to fail.  I’m just sayin’.”

Brain 1:  “Hail Mary, Full of grace, the Lord is with thee…”

Brain 2:  “zzzzzzz *sucking thumb*”

Brain 2:  “OH MY GOD I FELT A TWITCH I FELT A TWITCH IN OUR BUTT.  OUR BUTT IS GOING TO FALL OFF AGAIN.”

Terrilee:  “I’m gonna kill you both.”

Sigh.  I give up.  I turn off the alarm which has no need to ring since, once again, I’m up before it has a chance.  Alarm is currently undergoing therapy, feeling completely unappreciated in our relationship.

I am hopeful for this run.  Last weekend was the one we always aim for – it was a great day, a little rain storm came through about mile 5, we were running through the country side, rolling hills, trees branching and meeting overhead so it was shady and cooler.  It was a new course to run, I’ve biked it before but you know it looks different on the ground as opposed to speeding past at the back of pack of bikers, wheezing, peddling until you think both legs will spin off in opposite directions, panicked at every little bump and rock that you will go flying over the handlebars and end up on FB like Killer did that time last summer, lying there unconscious while her hubs looked on worriedly, just one broken bone, little surgery on that, 3-4th degree shoulder separation, hey.

Anyway, I’m hopeful for this run.  Last week was awesome – no falling off butt, no pain down the entire back of my leg, no heel pain, no burning metatarsal.  Since both brains are wide awake and may be reading this I could possibly have jinxed myself, especially with OCD Brain #2, which will probably start feeling twitches at .2 miles in.  I had 20 to do last weekend and again this weekend.   Last weekend Brains behaved themselves until mile 18 when they screamed in tandem, “OMG if this were the race we’d have EIGHT MORE MILES WE CAN’T RUN EIGHT MORE MILES TODAY!!”  Took a mile to convince myself I didn’t HAVE to do eight more today, I only had to do 2 more.  Plus I have an awesome running buddy who will pull me through if I need.

Next week we drop back, not sure what we do, then a 22 miler and then the taper.  If my brains are scrambled now just wait until the taper.  I begin to understand why Van Gogh sliced off an ear.  He may have been trying to listen to only one brain.

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.

♫This is the Blahg♬ that never ends♫♪

This is the Blahg that never ends.♬
It just goes on and on my friends.
Some people started reading it not knowing what it was,
And they’ll continue reading it forever just because . . .
This is the Blahg that never ends.♬
Yes, it goes on and on my friends.
Some people started reading it not knowing what it was,
And they’ll continue reading it forever just because . . .

GOOD MORNING!  HAPPY FRIDAY!  IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD!

mr Rogers

I found this online, it’s a t-shirt, in case you’re feeling nostalgic.

4°F
FEELS LIKE 4°
Very cold.
(intones weather.com)

MR. ROGERS FLIPPING

And take that, weather.com.

(Before you have a heart attack, Mr. Rogers is playing “Where is Thumkin”.   This made my day even though it took several minutes to quit choking from laughter when I first saw it.  I love Mr. R, gentle soul.)

Anyway, I’m so happy, I can’t stand it.  Brain decided to make use of visiting rights and showed up for a while yesterday, struggling to make itself heard thought the 87 pounds of snot muffling everything in my head.  I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Brain.   I think of Indiana Jones fighting his way through many adventures.

indiana jones

“Don’t look at it. Shut your eyes, Marion. Don’t look at it, no matter what happens!”

Brain 1 frequently feels this way.  “OMG don’t look,” it thinks, watching me come up with yet another great idea, like going for a run in four degree weather, with only half of my lungs showing up for work today and the aforementioned snot.

“HEY, let’s have some more coffee!” Brain suggests to distract me, so off I trot to the Shrine, happily perusing my little stash, rubbing my hands together, chortling.

Chocolate Glazed Donut?  Creme Brulee?  Mocca Chocolata Ya Ya Creole Lady Marmalade?

mocha chocolatta

OK, you have to admit that’s pretty random and funny.

So instead of running outside I got to Killer’s early and did a couple miles on the treadmill (Mocca Chocolata Ya Ya Creole Lady Marmalade circling, stuck in Brain).  Then Killer lived up to her name, trying to kill me and my co-training crazy friend whom I shall refer to as … um, “Brenda”, who is looney enough to also enjoy working out with Killer.  “Brenda” was a bit put out when Killer informed us that I would not have to do the 2nd plank and would do some upper body instead.  I stuck my thumbs in my ears and waggled my fingers behind Killer’s back Nanner Nanner!  “Brenda” stuck her tongue out at me.  Killer showed me what I would be doing.  “Brenda” very childishly stuck her thumbs her ears and waggled her fingers.  “HA!  You thought the plank was tough!”

Brat.  Dammit.  And then Killer made me do another plank anyway.

Now I’ve had a lovely lunch, the sun is shining, we have a heat wave of 25 degrees (feel like temp 20) and weather.com did not have any additional comments at this time.

So – that’s it.  You just wasted 5 minutes you’ll never get back, perhaps four if you read fast.   GET BACK TO WORK.

This is the Blahg that never ends.♬
It just goes on and on my friends.
Some people started reading it not knowing what it was,
And they’ll continue reading it forever just because . . .
This is the Blahg that never ends.♬
Yes, it goes on and on my friend.
Some people started reading it not knowing what it was,
And they’ll continue reading it forever just because . . .

In a hopeless place

Well, Boy and Girl, my two faithful followers whom I’m sure have been completely bereft in the dearth of recent posts on my world-famous blog, I thought I would update you on the two Brains thing.

Apparently in addition to one Brain being able to completely hijack all reasonable or unreasonable plans, intentions, or actions on the part of the other Brain and myself without any advance notice, the Brains can also, apparently, completely disengage and watch from a distance as someone does something ridiculous and in which either Brain may refuse at the last moment to participate, leaving me standing forlorn at a start line or 7-8 miles into a trail.

My proof comes in the form of a happy email announcing gaily the confirmation of my registration for the Sylamore 50K.  That would be the registration I completed this afternoon while sitting here on my Biofreezed falling off butt.

Brain 1 is tee-heeing like a kindergartener, she said BUTT.  Fine, laugh away jerk, where were you when I noted on the application that I am a male who desires a large shirt?  Thanks for noticing when I got the confirmation. 

Thanks also for noticing the shirt error first, so I could email the RD with the size change and then noticing 13 seconds later that I’m now a male so I could email the RD again to request a sex change without having to travel to Sweden.

You can see that I’m trapped in a hopeless place – which, thank you so not once again, dear Brains, now I’ve got Rhiana’s We Found Love stuck in my damn head, is it not bothering the two of you, since you’re the ones IN my HEAD?  Apparently not, as you aren’t shutting the godforsaken earworm off.

Interestingly registration filled up in less than 30 minutes leaving many runners sad.  They are sad they are not going to go run 25K or 50K in rocky hills in Arkansas in February where it might well snow on you while you cross the freezing creek not once, but twice.

You know friends, it’s no wonder your non-running buddies look at you and back away just a bit.  Here I sit, on the DL, having just scrapped plans for two distance races, Biofreezing half my body – and I just paid good money for another race.

Are we crazy?  Stubborn?  Stupid?  Delusional?  No wonder friends and family shake their heads and sigh.  And those are friends and families that are runners!  Sir Hubs hates marathons.  Every time I register for a distance race he just gets The Look and sighs slightly.  Hubs is currently plotting to get into Ironman FLA 2014.

FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, THERE’S A FREEKING MARATHON AT THE END OF THE IRONMAN.  (I’m yelling now, aren’t I?) AFTER he swims over 2 miles in a flipping ocean and bikes 112 miles and is probably getting just a tad tired and still facing a 26.2 mile run.  How the hell does he get to the conclusion that I’M crazy??

Brain 2 just chimed in that I might want to note that Hubs is not talking about his brains in 3rd person.

I’d like to point out that Hubs has brains that actually work, but I won’t because then I’ll be arguing with my own self and it’s all getting rather confusing.

It’s the end of the world as we know it.

It’s the end of the world

That’s great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane –
Lenny Bruce is not afraid. Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn –
world serves its own needs, regardless of your own needs. Feed it up a knock,
speed, grunt no, strength no. Ladder structure clatter with fear of height,
down height. Wire in a fire, represent the seven games in a government for
hire and a combat site. Left her, wasn’t coming in a hurry with the furies
breathing down your neck. Team by team reporters baffled, trump, tethered
crop. Look at that low plane!

This is what my brain sounds like in my head.  So, I’ve started making lists.  Lists are very good.  If you can find where you put them.

Unfortunately, lists also tend to make me feel slightly overwhelmed.  It seems more stuff gets added than gets crossed off.

Of course it would help if some of the things on the list didn’t include “Find keys … again”  “phone…”

And, really, do you need to put laundry on a list?  I think not.  I think I will cross that off.  It’s not like, when I look in the drawer and have no more clean socks, I’m going to be unable to understand that laundry needs to be done.  And the very helpful — but incredibly irritating – incessant pinging of the dryer when it’s finished usually inspires me to get the clean clothes taken care of.  Someone got paid to create that sound, and it wasn’t me.  They got money to irritate people.  Dammit.  I do that all the time and I never get one penny.

Speaking of appliances, do yours say words?  Mine do.  And they say the same words every. damn. time.  Could they change up the conversation?  No.

Dishwasher:  Wasssshhh-aaahhhh wasssshhhh-aaahhhh wasssshhhh-aaahhh.  I’m so terribly sorry, dishwasher, that you find the entire reason you were created to be such a burden.

And the washing machine, WTH for, I don’t know, says DoctorPepper-DoctorPepper-DoctorPepper.  It could be a Coke conspiracy.  I do like Diet Dr. Pepper.  Oddly I sometimes find myself craving Dr. P while doing laundry.

Nahhhh.

Nah??

I got up this morning, looked at my to do list and thought, it’s Monday.  It’s not 8am.  So I turned the list over and now all I have is a blank piece of paper.

I think this is a metaphor for a lot of things in life.

How important is it?  Important enough to be engraved on a list?

How often do we replay shit in our heads that we would never write on a list?  He said she said they didn’t they did they never I never she never they always I always they always.  Particularly if the conversation in our head contains negative content more than 24 hours old.

God I wish I could turn my brain over to a clean sheet.

Anyway, it’s Monday and I have a list, I’ve had my coffee, and it’s almost 8am.  I’m going to try working on the list on the sheet of paper and ignore the list in my head.  I’ll stream some R.E.M. and leave you with this #firstworlddogproblem:

The sprinklers are on in Murphy’s favorite part of the yard.

sad murphy

Sad Murphy

Fifteen minutes later:

sad murphy 2

Sadder Murphy.  I’mma hide in this corner, here, and the sprinklers will go away.

I just checked again, now the sprinklers are done.  Murphy’s plan of action worked and they disappeared.  His world didn’t end.

I checked my to-do list.  It didn’t, either.

*sigh*

Dust in the Wind

Here I am in my second full day of unemployment, surprised to find that nothing I thought I’d immediately accomplish has happened.  The stockings I intend to needlepoint have not even been purchased, the Christmas tree still sparkles, and the vacuum cleaner sits in the hallway on the main floor where it was put to rest after finishing the upstairs over 24 hours ago.

I find (as I’d expected) that I feel slightly aimless in this transition time, unanchored and uninspired.  The past several months have been a time of introspection, looking back on my life and looking forward.  How do I want to live as I move forward?  Who is the person I want to work toward being?  What needs to be done to accomplish this?

Adding to this rumination is the fact that I will be entering a new decade of life next year.  Not only am I not overjoyed by the fact, I’m even less overjoyed than the overjoyed I wouldn’t be anyway, due to the fact that until about a month ago I thought I was a year younger than I am.  This makes my previous argument with myself, i.e. “get your head out of your a$$, you have two years before that happens” completely ineffectual and entirely untrue.

I did, however, run 6-1/2 miles yesterday and seven today.  The 6-1/2 yesterday were the coldest I’ve ever done, 11 degrees with wind that burned my face raw.  I ran a some alone first, then met Becky for four.  While we ran we talked about everything, as runners do.

As today’s morning passed so did the heavy grey clouds, eventually leaving the sky a bright winter-pale blue, the sun glinting on the lake.  I bundled up, at the last minute grabbing my Shuffle – something I rarely do – thinking perhaps I didn’t want silence today.  A mile into the run I turned it on, even more rare, and as I rounded the corner I saw this the same moment “Dust in the Wind” started.

 dust in the wind

I close my eyes
Only for a moment and the moment’s gone
All my dreams
Pass before my eyes with curiosity

Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind

Same old song
Just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do
Crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see

(Aa aa aa)
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
Oh, ho, ho

Now don’t hang on
Nothin’ lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away
And all your money won’t another minute buy

Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
(All we are is dust in the wind)

Dust in the wind
(Everything is dust in the wind)
Everything is dust in the wind
(In the wind)

(Ooo)
(Ooo)
(Ooo)

Kansas – Dust In The Wind

Now don’t hang on
Nothin’ lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away
And all your money won’t another minute buy

Seven days ago I was surrounded by the sounds of my adult children, cooking, joking, playing with their son/nephew.  I’m still freshly missing them, and knew I didn’t want solitude today.  I didn’t realize how impacted I would be by the first words and voices I would hear in my silent morning.

I know someone who seems to hate their job, yet they go into their office every weekend.  When they go on vacation they spend half their time on the phone, usually upset, or on the computer, again, usually upset.  Or so it seems to me.  Of course, I’m judging from what I observe, not knowing for certain, which is one of the things I’m trying to quit doing.  You see that’s working well so far.

I didn’t hate my job at all – I had the good fortune of dealing with people who are consuming as a hobby what I helped provide, so they tended to be pretty easy-going for the most part.   Plus, they’re runners.  If they do get upset they go for a run and get over it.  I also had the incredibly good fortune of working for a local non-profit which usually assures you don’t have a salary you cannot live without, so if you are questioning the direction your life is taking the impact is largely minimal.  I would not have the luxury of retiring before 65 if I were contributing most of the income, something I’m deeply aware of.

Now don’t hang on
Nothin’ lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away
And all your money won’t another minute buy

Unless I’m struck down suddenly, sooner or later (I’m aiming for later, in case this concerns you) a day will come when I will lie in a bed, at the end of my time, and all the money in the world won’t another minute buy.

As I move forward in the journey of my life do I want to see only the grey?  Or do I want to see as much sun as possible, glinting onto the path, lighting the day and my way?

How do I want to spend these minutes I’m left?  Do I want to remember grievances from years or decades past?  Do I want to continue to allow pathways of negative or harmful thinking (they don’t, they never, I can’t, I don’t…) dig themselves deeper and deeper, creating impassable canals of rutted, rotten thinking in my brain?

Do I want only to take from this world, my life, my family, or do I want to try in some way to add?

What truly has value here, in my life, in each day, in the world wherein I live?

What can I put into this world today instead of wondering what today and the world will give me?

All my dreams
Pass before my eyes with curiosity

What can I do – how can I do it? – to make sure those dreams passing before my eyes for the last time will bring tears of joy and love instead of anguish, regret, and sorrow?

Figuring that out – that’s my real job.

Get yer head outta yer …

It took considerable effort and most of the day – and a sunny day at that, which would normally help more than it did – but I think I have finally successfully completed the most recently needed headeroidectomy.

This time last year, a couple days before the Memphis in May Sprint Tri, I was also a bitch, but it was born of fear.  Heart-pounding, jump-out-of-the-car-and-run-to-the-portajohn fear.  I wish I were a better person, a person who could panic with grace and good humor, but so far in my life that has never happened.  At least for now I’m stuck being a jerk.  Hopefully I’m shortening the jerk duration but I have no proof.

I’ll tell you the difference a year makes.  I have no reason to believe that you will believe what I’m about to say because I sure didn’t, and I’m the one who heard the words come out of my own mouth, although I could have been channeling some long dead Egyptian god of the Nile, in which case it would have been my own mouth I guess, but not my own words, right?  Anyway, you can imagine my shock when one day my mouth said out loud, “I’d like to get a swim in the lake.”

I turned around reallyquick to be sure Jeff Dunham was not standing behind me playing a practical joke but, no, it was just me and Murphy, and Murph was busy chasing a squirrel and barking.  He’s good and all, but I’m pretty sure he cannot be a ventriloquist and bark at the same time.  Apparently it was my mouth which said that.

Obviously it was surprising.  It was not what I expected my mouth to say, but there you go, it did, and when I thought about it I realized that my mouth was right.  Brain also thought it would be nice to swim in the lake.

So, we did.  Becky and John and Jay came over and we jumped in the cold lake water squealing like girls even though two of us were boys and we swam around until the cold water made us get a little vertigo.  Then we climbed out of the lake, had a beer or two and ate pizza.  It was quite a nice afternoon and I was pleased.

I’ve ridden my bike in circles clipping/unclipping, I think I know how to shift.  I may not really love riding the bike but the panic is mostly gone.  The swim was actually fun, especially the beer part afterward, which was my favorite.  And, of course, all that’s left after that is the run.

My training is not where I wish it were, it’s harder to run slower than I was running last year, which means it’s near impossible to run faster, and faster would still be slower than it used to be.  This makes my ego hurt, and it probably hurt your brain reading that sentence but I swear it makes sense.  So I know that I’m not going to kill the triathlon this weekend.  I’m just going to swim without panic, ride my bike with a normal workout heart rate and finish up with a run.

Then – and this is where the genius comes in – you are going to be soooo impressed – all afternoon Saturday I will sit around the pool in the sunshine with my friends and  free beer.

I repeat – all I have to do is go for a little swim, tool around on my bike, and then run, and I get all the free, warm, soft sunshine I want!  And if I get too warm in the free sunshine, I can get in the pool!  Then I can get in the sun!  Then the pool!

Hallelujah

Okay, plot development.  This is the sad part of the movie where the heroine is deathly ill and the hero is gone off to war or something, I don’t know.  Wherever heroes go.

Current forecast for Tunica this Saturday:  feel like temp of 50, 60%-70% chance of rain.  Mostly cloudy and mid 60’s for the afternoon.  I felt very frustrated, which is quite 3 year-old-of me, albeit an improvement over being very 2-year-old-ish.  Crank crank pout and stomp feet.  DON’T LIKE.  Make it go away.

Of course it’s not going anywhere, unlike our flake of a hero.

So this is what’s going to happen.  I’m going to get wet in the water, then I may get wet on the bike, which I’ll be riding in already wet attire, and then I’ll run in wet attire which wouldn’t get any drier regardless, it will get wetter with rain, or with sweat, or with both.  I’m going to think of the participants who are doing both the Saturday and the Sunday race, with a 40% chance of thunderstorms Sunday morning also.  I’m going to think of Becky’s bike breaking last Saturday, and I’m going to think about all the people who wish they had the luxury of running, biking and/or swimming but they don’t, and I may do it soaking wet and cold.  Who knows?

Then, as long as I don’t fall off the bike or on my face, I’ll be done.  If I do it without complaining and with grace and charm I will be a heroine, at least in my own eyes.

And – the beer will still be free.

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