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 category “Ruminations”

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.

Fear and Loathing in the suburbs Or how pumpkin bread learned to hate me.

Last month, in my enthusiasm for all things Christmas (Bah-humbug.  I put the damn tree up, and within a week it was decorated.  Can I read my book now?) I purchased some canned pumpkin.  For some reason I purchased three cans of pumpkin.  Not only did I purchase three cans of pumpkin, I purchased three of the largest cans of pumpkin you are able to purchase without going to extremes like industrial commercial restaurant supply places, which are usually located in fairly shady areas (it seems to me), probably because overhead is cheaper and if you are storing gallon-sized cans of pumpkin you probably need a lot of space.  Pumpkin is not a high-end market item, so the income from gallon-sized cans of canned pumpkin would probably not cover overhead in a warehouse located near the mall and bookstore.  Also, and more importantly, I prefer to spend less time than more in the car while driving around town, as I think it safe to say I am an excellent driver and, unfortunately, most of those around me on the streets around are not.  Not that I judge.  Anyway, I don’t want to drive 13 miles to a shady warehouse to purchase pumpkin for which I have no use, and in gallon sized cans.  If I’m going to purchase pumpkin for which use I am unsure, I may as well save some gas money, my time, and possible road-rage incidents in which I find myself beating the steering wheel – inevitably hurting my hand in the process – and screaming blasphemies about someone’s parentage, sexual preferences and IQ.

Somehow, between 9 days in Arizona visiting my mom and PR’ing my marathon, about which I shall ruminate in another exciting WordPress missive at some other date, and another 8 days out-of-town with my family, leaving me with 14 days to do all the normal stuff, plus all the Christmas stuff (the slowly decorated tree and half of the Christmas cards mailed), I thought I was going to make something edible which included canned pumpkin.  My thought, being that I am so into the Christmas spirit and all (oh – I did purchase a pine scented candle, too.  If I entered the room with nothing but the tree lights on, and squinted a lot, I could almost believe the tree was a live tree, pine scent wafting about the den) (and by the way, when you say you purchased a live tree and brought it home – and I’m perfectly fine with either of you doing so, I’m not meaning to judge – I just want to be sure you realize that what you purchased was, in fact, a dead tree) (truth-in-advertising not being what’s it’s cracked up to be, and all.  Not that I’m saying either of you are so dumb that you thought your tree was really still alive and not in actuality dead. I’m sure you realize it’s a misnomer.).

Ahhh…where was I?  Yes, pumpkin.  Flush with success over getting the tree decorated in under a week I decided to make pumpkin bread and give it to people.  Digging out the recipe I realized that each loaf of bread took 2/3 C. of pumpkin and each large can of pumpkin proudly contains 5.3 each of two-third cup servings.  This left me with enough pumpkin to bake 15.9 loaves of pumpkin bread.  I don’t care how much you like pumpkin, no one wants 15.9 loaves of bread, and if you do want that many loaves I don’t really care because I do not care to waste my precious remaining 14 days of the month making 15.9 loaves of bread.

It all became moot in the end, anyway, as you will soon see.  Pumpkin bread hates me, hates my household and does not want me to make it any more.  Personally I’m going with it’s a sign from God that I have other, better things to do, like write WordPress posts and play Spider Solitaire which, by the way, if Spider Solitaire suddenly became alive, I’m certain it would be one of those drivers I mentioned earlier.  This has nothing to do with the fact that I lost 7 games in a row.

Stupid damn game.

HOWEVER – back to pumpkin bread.

Feeling quite Martha Stewart-ish, what with the half decorated tree, the pine scented candle, and old Christmas songs pinging out of my iPhone, humming along happily I dumped pumpkin into the bread machine (right — you thought I made it by hand, didn’t you?  HAHAHAHAHAHA) along with sugar and spice and everything nice ♬ OH THE WEATHER OUTSiiiiiiDE IS FRIGHTFUL BUT THE FiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiRE IS SO DELiiiiiiiiiiiiiiTEFUL ♬ ♪ I sang, flour floating about the kitchen, Murphy so excited that he sang along with me although some curmudgeonly people might say he was howling and not with me, but at me, but those people are Scrooge McScrooges.

Some time later the bread machine dinged.  I removed the dough, rolled it out and set it in pans to rise under a towel.  A while later I returned to find the bread quite despondent and flat.  “Bread,” I asked, “what are you so despondent about?  Rise and shine!  This is your time!”  Bread just sat in the pans, flat and small and dead.

Shit.  I bet…yep, dammit. Yeast.  Oopsie…

Into the trash, good-bye sad bread.

Yesterday dawned, dreary, grey, windy and cold.  What can I do to perk this place up, I wondered?  I know!  I still have enough pumpkin for 13.9 more loaves!  Let’s make bread!  LA-LA-LA-LA I sang, awakening again my inner Martha (oddly considering crocheting scarves after making the bread), carefully measuring and adding the required amount of yeast.  The machine whirled and twirled, later producing a light, soft, puffy mound of pumpkin bread which again I carefully rolled out and set in pans to rise.  Checking later revealed fluffy mounds of dough ready to be popped into the oven.  DING the timer rang, and I removed the perfectly shaped, lightly browned loaves of bread perfection, setting them carefully on a towel to rest.

A while later my friend April was preparing to leave and as she passed the dining room on her way to the kitchen door Murphy quite unexpectedly growled and barked loudly.  I figured he was startled and moved to comfort him.

DAMMIT.  HE’S EATING MY BEAUTIFUL PUMPKIN BREAD!  Death by dog!  Half the loaf remained, chewed, gnawed and shredded.  I looked in the kitchen to see the other loaf, set further back on the counter and apparently not quite close enough for him to obtain, bearing teeth marks revealing Murphy’s initial attempt at bread murder.

Two more loaves head to garbage can oblivion.

Pumpkin bread hates me.

 

 

 

It all comes out OK in the end.

I assume that somewhere on the curve someone had a fantastic high school experience, felt secure in themselves, always had great outfits and dates, made straight A’s, drove a sweet car, and never had pimples that looked like and felt like this:

volcano

It wasn’t me or anyone I know, but the truths of the universe are that there has to be someone, somewhere.

Eventually I realized everyone feels more-or-less the same way:  shy, insecure, or unhappy with their looks or shape.  The realization never stopped me from continuing to feel vaguely shy, insecure, and unhappy with my looks and shape.  It did help me realize that most people feel the same, and that they’re thinking more about their insecurities than mine.

Thus I figured things get better with time.  You get over issues, you get to buy the car you want and eventually, maybe, pimples quit growing on the end of your nose the day before the big meeting with the boss or the morning of your wedding.

I was an idiot.

The first time I heard, “you know, at your age…” I was over 30 and pregnant with twins, but none of the warnings and worries happened and the boys turned out fine despite me.

The next time I heard, “you know, at your age…” I was turning forty and it occurred to me that, at his age, if the Dr. said that very many more times I might punch him.

Let me tell you something:  they don’t quit saying it.  In fact, the chances of hearing that increase exponentially and annually.  It becomes an inevitable conversation at each checkup, as certain as the pimple fated for the tip of my nose the day of Prom.  You can try to ignore it, get rid of it, hide it with powder and Clearasil, and/or beg little baby Jesus, who’s sittin’ in his crib watchin the Baby Einstein videos, but you are going to Prom with a big-ass zit and nothing is changing that.  Just as certain, at some point, it will be mentioned that “at your age” it’s time for a colonoscopy.  Images of Depends, Dentucream and Life Alert flash through your mind.

WARNING:  Contents below contain graphic imagery of pain and suffering and incredibly bad puns.  Read at your own risk.

You’re old enough for a Colonoscopy.  A turning point in life, this is where the shit gets real.

A nurse returned my call.  Doctor does procedures on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.  The day before you may consume Jello and Popsicles (no red food dye), Sprite, and chicken broth.  You may have nothing by mouth the day of the procedure.

If you’re smart – and if you’re still reading this, you are not – you quickly realize if you have the procedure Monday afternoon, then from Saturday night to Monday morning you’ll have nothing but Jello, Sprite, Popsicles, and something which boasted to be chicken broth but tasted rather like old shoes must.  OR – you can choose door Number Two and only suffer Monday, wake Tuesday morning and immediately proceed to the procedure.  I chose Number Two.  They will send a packet of information in the mail.  “Packet” smacks of delusions of grandeur.  What you get is a small flat envelope telling you where and when to arrive and a prescription for something called Movi-Prep.

Are.  You.  Shitting me?  MOVI? PREP?

I surreptitiously slid the prescription to the tech, who searched the shelves and announced loudly and proudly, “MOVI-PREP?  YEP, WE HAVE MOVI-PREP” and handed me something the size of a shoe box.  “Holy crap, I have to drink all of that?? “

Home, reading the instructions, no, I don’t have to drink all of it.  I have to drink more of it, as I was instructed to mix it with 32 ounces of water.

At 4pm:  Empty contents of Packet A into container C and fill to 32 ounces.  Drink 8 ounces of preparation every 15 minutes along with 16-24 additional ounces of water.

At 8pm:  Repeat with Packet B

4 pm:  I chugged 8 ounces of Movi-Prep, which immediately almost came out my nose but I swallowed back the gag, gulping salty, sour lemon dish soap with a hint of metal shavings as quickly as possible.  It seems four minutes later the timer dinged.  This time I had an ice water chaser nearby.

4:30 pm:  I finished the 3rd dose.  A flock of chirping, chittering birds starts flying about in my abdomen.

4:45 pm:  Nascar begins warm-up laps.

5:02 pm:  As my running coach once noted, it’s extremely difficult to run clenching your sphincter.  No shit.

5:35 pm:  I wobble to the bedroom.

5:35:30 pm:  I am birthing fireworks.

6:15 pm:  I walk feebly to the bed.

6:15:30 pm:  Is this an exorcism?  What is this?  How the f*ck do I have this much sh*t in my body?  I’m going to die!  Can you sh*t to death??  I imagine it.  Hubs calls 911.  “SHE’S ON THE TOILET!  SHE’S BEEN IN THERE FOR DAYS!  YOU HAVE TO HELP HER!”  But it’s too late.  They don hazmat suits and tell him to wait outside, the house is not safe,  and please be sure all pilot lights are extinguished.

7:42 pm:  NATO has finally brokered a peace treaty with the Movi-Prep.

8:00 pm:  Begin second round.  Surely this will be a piece of cake.  Oh…gawd…cake…ewww…

8:15 pm:  There is a Volkswagen full of clowns in my stomach.

8:17 pm:  I move the Movi-Prep to the bathroom counter.  It’s faster that way.  Hell, that sh*t’s fast any which way.

8:45 pm:  Accompanied by the yowling of cats in heat in my stomach, I gag down part of the last dose.  I finally give up, pouring half of it down the drain.  The drain had a consistent clogging issue.  Had.

Time becomes a haze of exploding volcanoes and dreams of ice baths.   Napalm and stuff that existed before I was born is taking its leave.  At some point in the night I staggered to the bed and slept.

Epilogue:

A.  My friend recently had a 6″ pre-cancerous polyp and 8″ of her intestine removed.  Upon the follow-up visit the Doctor told her, had she waited a year, he would have been discussing her end-of-life options.  Her children are in high school.

B.  This young mother saying good-by to her husband and children.

C.  It’s all over in a few hours.  Do what the doctor says.

D.  My report came back All Clear.

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

OMG I’m Marty McFly.

It cannot be easy being a guy, especially if you are not only a guy but also a husband.  How many un-husbanded guys get looked at with daggers shooting the unspoken words you left the soda bottle out on the counter and have now contributed to the eventual destruction of the world?  Very few, I posit, and those few need to find a roommate that is less picky.  Husbands are stuck, sorry.  Once the poor things cross from guyness into husbandness they begin living on the very edge and their parachute has a hole.

The saddest part is they end up in the quicksand despite the very best of intentions.  It’s not that they sit at their desk at work and think, “hmm, what can I say to the wife today to send her directly into cuckoo land?”  More likely they stare at their desks in desperation, “Please, please Little Baby Jesus who was smart enough not to get married, please help me not eat my foot today.”

The other bottomless pit is emotions.  Not theirs, of course.  Ours.  Even women don’t truly know how or why it’s possible to morph from laughter to sobs in nanoseconds, we just know it happens and at that moment it makes perfect sense.  Do not try to indicate otherwise.

And, of course, Hubs had no idea how emotional I felt this morning about Babs and her troubles.  Heck, I didn’t even know how emotional I felt until I found myself tearing up when Sam “The Car Whisperer” called me.  I knew immediately it was bad.  We’d limped into Cordova this morning in the far right lane just in case we needed to rest on the shoulder for a bit, me gently pushing and letting off the accelerator as her transmission struggled to find a gear it liked.  Like all women she’d prefer not to discuss her age and weight but the facts are she’s twelve years old and is carrying the weight of 159,462 miles.

“Terri?”

“Sam?”

“Yes.”

“It’s bad, isn’t it?”

We’ve been taking our cars to Sam for over 20 years.  He helped raise my kids, at least as far as cars are concerned.  My daughter’s car died one day.  Her brother and I met her in the parking lot, took the battery to Batteries R Us where it was confirmed DOA, bought a new battery and returned to her car.  It was a pretty old car and the little + and – etchings were missing on the battery, um, things.  The things you stick onto the battery.  So we guessed.

Wrongly.

Did you know that you can short out the entire electrical system of a car in less than one second?

Ring, Ring, “Sam?”

“Yes?”

“We need a tow.”

A short time later Sam arrived and quickly understood, despite my prevarication, that I had indeed hooked plus to minus and minus to plus and instructed Jennifer to try starting the car.   He turned to us and wagged his finger slowly, “Next time you need help you call ME.  DO NOT call your mother.  Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir,” we nodded in unison.

So this morning I asked, “It’s bad, isn’t it?” and felt myself tearing up.

“She needs a new transmission.”

The images, sounds, and smells of years of the Explorer crammed full of shoes, towels, Gatorade and banana peels as I took stinking runners to and from school, track, cross-country, and cross-country summer camp shot through my mind.  I heard again their laughter and jokes as they forgot I was there, driving Babs, driving everywhere, endlessly, me and Babs and teenagers.  She’s all that’s left here, now, they are off in Chicago and New York and Babs and I only smell the stink of running if it’s me, those busy exhausting endless years of Mom gone in a missed instant.

I called Hubs sadly.  Fortunately he’s a pragmatic man and we will go ahead and have the transplant done, mostly since he figures if we don’t we’ll get no money out of her and she’s going to scrap (oh, ouch, that hurt, Babs sitting alone in a junk yard, slowly being stripped) and if we fix her we have the option of selling her later (OK, but really, I can keep driving her.  Really.)

Apparently Hubs thought he should try to cheer me up and sent a link to the space station sighting this evening (which will go unseen here since the horizon is a solid, impenetrable roof of clouds a million miles into space).

I know you are not a nerd but… he started the email.

What the…?  “I’m not a nerd”?  I AM TOO A NERD.

Dammit.  I’m losing all definition here.  As my life melts into smaller and smaller puddles I realize I’m Marty McFly – with the sad exception of a modified DeLorean, plutonium, 1.21 gigawatts of power, and a flux capacitor.

marty mcfly

Heartfelt

Good cheery sunny wintry day, my friends, Boy and Girl, I know you’ve been bereft and probably devastated at the dearth of chatter over here at rundogcatcatme.  I’ve missed you both terribly, I thought of you at least twice in the past three weeks or so and by this you can tell that I am very torn up.

Chunker is currently hauling her poor ratty baby (formerly some fuzzy squeaky toy) around, mewing at it as though it will somehow animate and become the baby her un-baby-making body is apparently yearning for.  Who knows why, maybe she has some hormones still hanging around?  Years ago I had a cat whose ovaries grew back.  What the hell?? I asked the vet, can she get pregnant?!?  He rolled his eyes slightly; pointing out that her uterus no longer existed even if the ovaries were trying to make a comeback.  Well, the damn ovaries are growing back, how do I know the missing uterus might not suddenly become sentient and return to sender?  For the rest of her life, several times a year, she hauled her little babies around for a week or so, mewing sadly.  Just as Chunker, she was a poor mother, leaving the helpless and hapless babies strewn about the house in high traffic areas, ready to be stomped deader.

Munkerandbaby

Chunk and (soon to be abandoned on the stairs so I can nearly break my neck trying to avoid slipping on it) Baby

Speaking of slipping on the stairs and not breaking my neck, that is exactly what I did a week and a half ago, and I’m still hurting and still have a good-sized bruise for the experience.  Suddenly I wish we had carpeted the stairs.  The one thing I’ve been most worried and cautious about – and of course it happened.  Why did I not spend all that effort worrying I would win the lottery, if that’s how the gods are going to handle my life?  Just as I got to a point that my foot was mostly pain-free I returned to constant pain – the first couple nights it hurt so much that I woke every time I turned (or tried to turn) over.  I managed to land on two treads at once so mid-back to upper hip were one large pain fest.  But, hey – sh*t happens, right?

The first of December, bored out of my un-exercising mind and needing something to focus on (not that I’m OCD, I just have a one-track mind at times which, oddly, Hubs pronounces “stubborn”) I had the brilliant idea of knitting scarves for some of my progeny.  Five, in fact.  Five 7-foot long scarves.  Hey, easy breezy, right?  Four-five hours per scarf, gives me something to do in the evenings while repeatedly scanning 573 channels for something – please Baby Jesus, anything – to watch on TV, an effort I quickly abandoned and set myself up, instead, in front of Netflix where I watched three seasons of Chuck, finally surrendering even that attempt because my match-maker heart could no longer stand the ever-dangling relationship with Sarah.  Unfortunately it turned out it was more like 10-12 hours per scarf but I’ll be damned, I started it, I’m finishing it, so my life faded into a tunnel-visioned knit 2 purl 2 with some life crammed in around the edges trying to get ready for Christmas.

While getting ready for the holiday was a bit of a rush, the week of Christmas was great as we did something we’ve never done:  the entire family met in Gatlinburg for the week, except for number 1 son and our great new daughter-in-law, whose work schedules prevented them from coming.  We had a 4-1/2 bedroom cabin in the mountains outside Gatlinburg, beautiful views of fog covered ridges; Christmas Eve it snowed a bit and we woke Christmas morning surrounded by snow frosted mountains.  We’d agreed no gifts except for the B’ster and did Dirty Santa instead, although as mom I felt compelled to give a few little gifts such as the aforementioned marathon scarf knitting.  Later that morning we hiked, even the B’ster and I were able to go along for a couple miles of easy trails to a waterfall and an abandoned cabin.

Thanks to T-1’s girlfriend I have become a jigsaw puzzle convert and while I am not OCD I did spend several hours peering through my trifocals at the brightly colored shapes, feeling a bit like a little kid getting a piece of candy every time I managed to complete a section.  Very self-rewarding, at least for a while.  I brought along knitting, Christmas cards, two books and several movies as though I were going to have time for all that; I managed to knit about six inches of an attempt at a boot cuff, read three paragraphs one night before collapsing into a dreamless sleep, and the only movies we watched were B’sters – which were more fun anyway.  We played games, hiked, shopped, went site-seeing and ate about every 3 hours.  It was perfect.

Yesterday morning we woke bright and early, the twins and girlfriend were heading back to Chicago; T-2 will spend the week there and fly back to NYC January 1st.  I watched them drive away, tears rolling down my cheeks, my heart and my heart driving down the road.  Everything changes, everything stays the same.

Snowmageddon part 47 & Queen

Well, boy and girl, it’s time to panic and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet.  We’re all gonna die.

Monday, November 25, 2013:  Today A chance of snow and sleet before 10am, then a chance of rain and sleet between 10am and 1pm, then rain likely after 1pm. Cloudy, with a high near 40. Southeast wind around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
Tonight Rain likely before 7pm, then rain and snow likely between 7pm and 1am, then a chance of rain and sleet after 1am. Cloudy, with a low around 32. East wind around 5 mph becoming north after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 70%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
Tuesday A chance of rain and sleet before 7am, then a chance of snow and sleet between 7am and 10am, then a chance of rain after 10am. Cloudy, with a high near 44. North wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

So:  you need to quit reading this stupid blog right now and go kiss your loved ones and hold them tight before Snowmageddon savagely rips you asunder.

I do believe that’s the first time I’ve ever used “asunder” in a sentence.  I’m kinda proud.

To any innocents out there that accidentally trip across my blog, I apologize for wasting your time and if you don’t live in Tennessee Snowmageddon may not affect you but I will still keep you in my prayers just in case and will offer this word of explanation.  At the hint of the possibility of the word of SNOW and/or SLEET Tennesseans immediately grab their car keys and rush to the grocery to stock up on wood (yes, at the grocery), bread and milk just in case they get snowed in for weeks and weeks under the 1/4″ spotty dusting of snow.

Meanwhile I’m sitting here safely ensconced in ShuBootAh, which I have not thrown across the room in 6 days and about, oh, 20 hours, so now I can be proud of both that and “asunder”.  Which I would really like to do to ShuBootAh.  But I won’t.  Not that I don’t frequently invent scenarios in which it is torn asunder by savage beasts while I plead no.  no.  please.  stop.  So I’m just sitting here, not doing anything, just sitting.  Interminably sitting, except when I LurchThud to the kitchen for more coffee, scaring the shit (literally) out of poor sweet Mo kitty who scrambles quickly under the bed or behind a chair.  He loves me but he hates ShuBootAh.  And, by the way, my BRFF “Heather” got 49 majillion points for naming the boot.

If either of you wondered, and I’m sure you didn’t since you’re #crazynutjobrunners yourself and surely already know, there is a correlation between the mileage you are putting in and the number of hours you’d like to sleep if Satan had not invented alarm clocks.  Unfortunately, for me at least, there is also a direct correlation between the number of hours you can’t sleep and number of miles you are not running and this past weekend found me wide awake before 5:30 both mornings.  Also, unfortunately, it found me full of energy.

Sooooo by 8:30 Sunday I was up for three hours and I’d already made coffee, read the paper, made more coffee, had breakfast, did the crossword while drinking coffee, watched TV with some coffee and even, desperately, pulled out some needlework to do.  I thought I might vacuum the house (silly idea, I know, but those fluffy balls of cat and dog hair floating up off the stairs and floor continue to stubbornly refuse to disintegrate).  Sadly, I can’t get the vacuum, me, and the boot down the stairs and I’ll be damned if I take the chance of slipping and hurting any other part of my body.  Then I thought of just setting the vacuum on the top stair and kind of holding on but sort of push it down the stairs (which I’d really like to do, in truth, but not because I’m afraid of falling), however the realization that it would smash into a bunch of pieces upon landing on the tile below was enough to dampen my enthusiasm for any part of the activity.  The second realization, that I would then have to explain to hubs that we need a new vacuum when 5 seconds previously we had a perfectly good one pretty much did a Niagara Falls on the idea.  Washed out completely.  So I stuck the vacuum back in the upstairs closet and sighed.

I THUD lurched around the house a bit, aimlessly, swinging my arms.  Maybe that will use up some energy.

And maybe Bill Gates is pulling into my drive right now to announce he wants to give me $10 majillion dollars.

I had some trouble getting out of the pity party.  Everything that distracted me was lame.  It was such a pretty day, cold and crackling crisp, 25 degrees when I woke, but I’m OK with that, I run in the cold and don’t mind it – too much – as long as it’s dry and not windy.  I tried not to look out the window at the beautiful morning as every time I did the zing shot through my head.  “Dammit”  “I can’t run

NOPE quit, stop, do something.

I went back to the den and sat down again, pulling out the needlework and started scrolling through the 987 channels which had nothing good on any of them, I think I need to pay for HBO.

BUT, wait, what is this?  A 2-hour special on Queen?  Followed by a 2-hour special about Freddie Mercury??

I wasn’t a huge hard rock fan in high school.  Heck, at 13 I was still a Monkees fan (yes.  I was a complete nerd, walking around in my high water jeans since I’d hit 5’8″ the year previously and there was no Gap store in my mall, offering jeans in Tall, nor would my South Dakota farm-raised mom understand the need for specialized jeans.  When she was growing up she had two sets of clothes:  Milk the Cows outfit, Go to School outfit).  I used to think maybe Davy Jones would some day visit Phoenix and be walking down the mall, and I would be at the mall and I would be walking along and he would see me and little fireworks would pop around in the air above his head and he would fall in love with me.

I’m lying.  I didn’t really think that would happen.

But – you know – it’s not like it’s completely impossible, like Bill Gates driving up to the house would be.  And you can see, by my relating this sweet innocent dream, that I was not born the cynic I’ve become.  I look back at that 13 year old and pat her on the head.  It’s OK, you’re doing fine.

Anyway, I digress.  Queen.  I do love hard rock now and play it loudly as I drive around town, me, Queen, AC/DC and my AARP card, I’m rocking it out now, wild and crazy, and no one’s stopping me.  It was particularly fun for me as I got to go to Switzerland once and hubs and I took a day trip to Montreux, where we got our picture taken in front of his statue.  What an incredibly talented man.  I never knew he sang opera.  You learn something new everyday, they say, those “they” people.

026

With friends like this…

I just lost 4-1/2 minutes of my life – minutes I will never get back, mind you – with huge thanks to my BRFF “Elizabeth” whose name has not been changed because I don’t have to protect the innocent in this case, because she is not innocent.  She robbed me of 4-1/2 minutes of my life, at the minimum several thousand of my brain cells, and even using copious amounts of Visine I cannot get the image of John Mayer prancercizing out of my eyeballs.   When I blink it’s burned into my retinas as though I stared at a John Mayer eclipse without using a pinhole in a piece of cardboard.  At least I had coffee to drink while I wasted my life away.  And since I can’t run I guess I do have more time to waste now.

First, Dear Elizabeth posted this, titled “Get Ready For The Weirdest 1 Minute 41 Seconds Of Your Life” and they were not kidding.  I kept watching thinking at some point it would make sense.  It was a bit like the time my daughter, about 2-1/2 years old, came to me exclaiming urgently “ixwerveyfloo”.  “What, honey?” “!!ixwerveyfloo!!”  “!!ixwerveyfloo!!” and despite my repeated requests to point to it, take me to it, show it to me, we never did determine what/where “!!ixwerveyfloo!!” was, or if she’d just created a nonsense word.  Perhaps this video should be titled “!!ixwerveyfloo!!” but you’ll just have to watch it to decide.

welcome to the internetWelcome to the internet – three people actually ‘liked’ the post.

  • Charles Congratulations! You have found the end of the intraweb
  • Matt What did I just watch… I feel weird, like I’m supposed to die by a falling piano after seeing this. Or maybe I’m misinterpreting something and I’m supposed to eat an orange slice…. (as I watch again to affirm I actually watched what I think I watched…)
  • Anne I feel like I just finished an acid trip…
  • Lori  Well, I’ll be thinking about that the rest of the day…
  • Elizabeth  He’s obviously Prancercising. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JJk-crw2zo

DO YOU SEE THAT UP THERE ^^^^??  DID YOU WATCH THAT VIDEO? JOHN MAYER and PRANCERCIZING!  I’M BLIND AND I CAN’T SEE.

I know I’ve linked it three times, however I shall also repeat myself as I fear neither of you understand the seriousness of the issue.  John Mayer + Pracercizing.  Now I’ve lost another 2 minutes and 40 seconds of my life and have permanently endangered my sight.   BUT WAIT.  That’s not enough.  
“Elizabeth” returns with another hit!

Ok, the dancing monkeys were pretty funny.  Made me nostalgic.  Look what I FOUND!
BWAAAAhahahahaha

It’s a beautiful day

It’s a beautiful day
Don’t let it get away
It’s a beautiful day

After the day-long rain yesterday we have an almost-chilly breeze this morning.  The phone just rang, a little voice chirped asking if Moggie and Papa want to go to Panera?  You bet, little buddy!  I have the windows open and put on tights and a sweatshirt, after breakfast I will go sit on the patio and think about life and goodness and try to put a little back out into the world.

I hear crickets (although it’s no longer dark) and birds chirping loudly across the cove.  Does the chill air make their squawks louder?  Or do they carry better on the cool dry breeze?  I sit with my fingers suspended over the keyboard watching the branches sway, the rustling leaves shushing, the little waves on the lake running into each other appearing to flow into and out of our cove simultaneously, trying to take it all in and hold it in my heart and mind to pull back out for the next hot humid run, the next complaining email.  But those are far away now and I don’t need to consider it.

Smelling my hot coffee and feeling the breeze through the window I am remembering the times my family spent camping with my parent’s friends and their families.  We would drive up to the Mogollon Rim (which we pronounced Mug-ee-own), all the kids piled in the back of someone’s station wagon or camper with two designated adults who’d apparently drawn the short straw, the rest of the cars driven in the caravan by adults incredibly pleased to be in a car sans children.  Most of them smoked at the time so we all sat, crammed together, windows open, hot Phoenix air slowly turning cool as we drove further north.

At Payson we turned off, east, heading upward, trying to scare each other with tails of the Mogollon Monster.  Zane Grey’s cabin was a little off the highway and we stopped there at least once, tiny little cabin up in the woods all alone.  It was destroyed later in a forest fire.  I liked to think of him alone on the side of the hill, tucked away in his snug cabin, fireplace blazing, writing the stories my dad loved to read as a child.  I felt connected to a stranger who’d made my father happy and this in turn made me happy.

We’d turn of onto a narrow dirt road and drive until it ended somewhere, piling out of the car, our parents throwing up tents and throwing down sleeping bags while we kids stampeded all over the forest, whistles around our necks, climbing, exploring, playing in streams for hours until our internal clocks returned us to camp just as lunch was being laid out.  Cramming our faces full we ran back out into the woods.  At some point the fathers would holler for us and we’d head out to the meadow where a hill rose over the other side.  The dads would line cans up against the dirt berm and teach us gun safety and how to shoot.  We learned north from south, east from west, we learned if we didn’t know where we were to immediately sit down, stay there and blow the whistle until they found us.  We learned the smell of pine forest and campfires, and the feel of cold clean streams on bare feet.

In the evening after dinner and a final hike we all settled down, kids in sleeping bags in tents or under the stars, millions of shining stars no one can see from their backyards over the glow of cities, millions and millions of stars stretching forever and I’d stare until they seemed alive and moving, thinking of all those worlds out there.  Did someone out there look up into their sky and wonder, too?

Our very sober and hardworking parents would pull out a cooler of beer while we all huddled in our sleeping bags, the oldest of us valiantly trying to stay awake because as soon as Mr. Marquardt pulled out his guitar we knew the fun was starting.  We faked sleep until we heard him start singing the Rang-dang-do song, my dad – MY DAD – loudly singing the chorus as they all laughed.  Bret and I looked at each other, no need for words:  mom and dad are … human …

And we would fall asleep in the cool night under the stars, content and safe with our very human parents.

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