Tomorrow I will wake and dress and pack a bag of clean clothes for the day.
Before heading to yoga I will grab the computer and some lunch for later and hit the road on four wheels not to return until closer to dinner.
I will vinyasa until I’m sweaty and then drive my hot reddened self to Peachie’s house where I will shower and set up shop for some serious writer’s work of the non writing variety.
You see, I need a job and so am committing my entire Saturday to the submission of my work. I have contacts for Blogher and Babble and am hoping to unearth a few more blog friendly companies who pay their writers in currency of the greenish kind.
I have got to get this ball rolling as time is limited before I must find a real job with a real paycheck that can pay my very (necessary) and real health insurance. I could go back to teaching (I do miss it sometimes). I could find work in retail (Brian will have the girls on weekends anyway). Wouldn’t it be perfect, though, if I could make a living doing what I really love?
Blogher and Babble require links to previous posts for them to review. Clearly, I’ve got to pick the best ones, which is terribly hard when you are the kind of me that I am; never completely satisfied with my own work/harder on myself than others. It’s a curse.
My husband is not happy about my exodus, but it is essential. Work submission cannot happen with any distractions. I need complete focus. Aerobella the papillon will serve as my warm and fuzzy thinking companion. Rubbing doggy ears between thumb and forefinger is a very good deep thinking strategy.
Will keep you posted.
Any posts of mine that are favorites…that maybe resonated and live somewhere in your memory?
My real life bloggy friend Christine (from Love,Life,Surf) has inspired me with her weekly roundup of bloggers and posts.
In blogland there are masses of talented people with fantastic points of view.
Here are some of the gems I found (and re-discovered) this week!
1. She describes herself as a “teenager completely obsessed with fashion.” Living in New York City, she blogs at You’re a Tulle and writes for Huffington Post and Chictopia. I’m old enough to be her mother, but she’s my hero; channeling her passion and building a fantastic creative work life at such a young age! Odelia Kaly is a voice that I am convinced we will be hearing a lot from in the fashion circles of the future.
2. Months ago I stubled upon a blogger named Coco J. Ginger who blogs at Courting Madness. A poet, Coco had written about a breakup that spoke to me on so many levels. I tweeted her to tell her how much I liked her work, but as the days and weeks went by I forgot her name (it happens, sadly) and thus began my new search. How excited I was to find her again (I have since begun keeping a notebook of favorite blogs). Poetry is interesting; not always easy to understand as it’s rarely spelled out clearly. It’s also tough to write (my rhymy attempt). But Courting Madness has a great following with lots of likes! Her words resonate. Especially her words about love.
3. Having recently blogged about my diet overhaul (and writing about the task of removing sugar and gluten) I received a comment by a blogger named Vinny Grette (silly pseudonym?) over at Cook Up a Story. Currently writing about nutrition for children, he (or is he a she?) suggested I read his post about stevia. I read it and loved the writing style. So often, books and blogs about nutrition are as dry as Melba toast. Vinny’s work is clever and easy to understand without being preachy.
4. One of my favorite yogis, Lisa O’Brien from lifeyum believes in feeling good and doing good. She did so this week by sharing with her readers the work and words (guest post) of Elex DiSanto Scheels from Om Frog Yoga. Alex is a mom of triplets, a yogi, and her piece about sending the kids back to school is great! To say, “I relate,” would be an understatement.
5. Describing herself on Twitter as a ” former model who loves fashion and running,” Diary of a Dashing Fashionista has put together a great post about this season’s sportswear trends. From brands I know and love (Stella to Lululemon), to brands I haven’t yet discovered (No Balls and Wellicious), there’s a great array of information and images to excite any girl’s running fashionista within.
I woke restless (4:23 a.m.) from a dream that Zach McGowan from Shameless was my running partner for today’s scheduled eight miler.
There wasn’t anything tawdry about the dream. He was telling me to hurry up and get my belt. Urging me to tie my shoes faster. Handing me my coffee.
He wasn’t wearing a shirt, though.
But with it still so hot and humid outside, certainly that’s all that was about.
Off again I go into the blackness of early morning, this time made brighter by the lingering dreaminess of that man.
What are your motivators to move today?
p.s. So sorry for not attaching a photo, but every single picture was copyrighted. How’s an upstart blogger girl supposed to give her readers the full picture if not for the attached photo of him running with his dog? Now go and google…
The whole purpose of beginning this blog was to document my marathon training while living this crazy place called Mommyland.
It’s with relief that I am now coming full circle as training for race number two officially begins on September 24th.
In the space between the last marathon and now I have worked and re-worked the plan making educated and experience based substantive decisions, which I will do my best to follow.
1. I will again be following Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 schedule, but instead of three-day mid-week runs, I will be combining the mileage to run only two. This will mean that those mid-week runs will be longer, but I’ll have more days in between to rest and recover. I am hoping that exhaustion from too many successive runs in a row (which was an issue last time) will be resolved with this plan. I will also use the Galloway system of strategized walking, as I do believe it works and will help me go farther with more control.
2. I’ve agreed to help out my most favorite yoga instructor on Saturday mornings by checking in her students in return for a free pass to her phenomenal class. Last marathoning go around I was so consumed by the run that I neglected my yoga, neglected a huge piece of what grounds me to my life. Agreeing to be at the studio every Saturday will ensure that my yoga practice is built into the schedule. It will also give me an opportunity to re-build the dusty resume and re-establish the fact that I am consistent and committed and pretty competent at tasks in which I’m given.
3. Long runs, then, will have to happen on Sundays or Mondays (last year I ran long on Saturdays). The most gratifying runs are the long ones, for me. I am looking forward to those hours and hours on the road, out there on my own two feet, floating alone inside my own busy brain.
4. I’ve been off of sugar for twelve whole days, off of Diet Coke a week longer, and I’ve been much more careful about the overall contents of things like cereal and yogurt and so-called healthy snack bars and drink supplements. An ongoing process, I am sure there will be much more written about my emotional connectedness to food as it’s the one part that I still haven’t fully figured out. I should mention another change, too. I will NOT be getting on the scale anytime in the near future. More about that to come.
And so I am ready to go.
The last factor (of which I have no control) is with mother nature.
Yes there will be days in the next months that I will have no choice but run in the drizzle and/or rain and/or the early morning freezing cold. I can handle all that. It’s part of the challenge.
This heat, though, needs to go.
September marks a new beginning for me in so many ways and the muggy humid air has gotten very very old.
What races are you running? What will your training plan look like?
For months now I’ve been told to check out StumbleUpon, a social media searching site for bloggers, business builders and average Internet users alike. Unlike google+1, which I couldn’t quite figure out (thus never earning a place on my social media work calendar), after a quick registration and a good deal of poking around, I’ve gathered enough information to deem the site incredibly effective in its purpose; useful to those who take the stumbling plunge.
Like anything new there’s a learning curve, but the best new technological tools are the ones that don’t take too much time to decipher and pack a powerful punch in what they can do for you.
Here’s what I found…
1. You have to sign up.
A lot of people are hesitant to put their names and information into any site for fear of over abundant junk mail or opening themselves up to some sort of evil hacking computer nightmare.
Fear not. I have yet to receive anything weird in the way of emails or evil hacking nightmares and I signed up in June.
2. It’s like Google, only different.
I google everything from telephone numbers to recipes to images for Mommyland (though that is changing due to the legality issues involved).
But often when searching google in larger categories (like mom bloggers or running or healthy eating), the search is too broad which leads to more and more clicks, never quite getting exactly what I was looking for.
Once you’ve registered with Stumble and begin to search your interests, blogs (articles and sometimes pictures, too) will pop up onto your screen for your review.
If you like what you see, you click the like button, upon which time the search engine finds more content similar in focus. As your likes grow, the site has a better idea of the content that you are searching for, thus putting more of the web at your fingertips. The introduction to things you may not have so easily found on your own is a plus.
If you do not like what you’ve seen, you simply click the stumble button in the upper left hand corner and new content will come up; still under the umbrella of your category search.
Is it a little “Big Brother?” Maybe. But Big Brother is inevitable with an Internet that can track our every move (I’m not saying I like it). It’s par for the course and we’re not talking about inputting social security numbers or anything (because that would be dumb, not to mention unsafe).
3. Who has time anymore?
When I first started blogging I spent a ton of time reading other blogs. Bloggers come in all shapes and sizes, personalities and styles, and it takes time to find the ones who speak to you. You could (and I did) search all day, from dusk ’til dawn, but this will inevitably ensure that the rest of your life will quickly fall apart (i.e. hungry kids, messy house, children with glazed over television eyes).
With StumbleUpon I’ve been able to quickly search categories of interest leading me to places I’ve never been. It’s a time saver in some ways, but in other ways it takes an extra bit of effort.
4. Sharing is caring.
For example, say you are blog reading and come across a really great post that you want to share. Once you hit the stumble icon, you will be directed to a page that asks you some pertinent information about the post.
Yes it takes a minute to fill in whether or not its suitable for work, what category it falls within and maybe if you’re feeling generous, the tags that will link the post to other more specific searches (the whole point of tagging).
But if you do it, even just once a day when you find really unbelievable content, you will be helping out your neighbor who may have been searching for the very same thing from in front of their own magical Mac.
It’s a win/win, for the reader and the writer.
5. From the other side; how to use StumbleUpon to grow your business.
After writing a blog post and submitting your work by clicking the Stumble icon (which you must add like you would a facebook or twitter link) you are adding your content to the StumbleUpon search engine giving new viewers a chance at discovering your work.
A few months back I met a blogger who suggested that most of her traffic and monetary leads had been coming through the site. My curiosity was peaked at which time I signed up, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I conducted my own experiment and saw for myself the reach of the site.
The number of readers who liked my work after stumbling upon me added about 10% to my overall viewer statistics for the day. I’m still small over here in Mommyland, but no intelligent blogger would balk at adding that kind of percentage to his/her daily stats. All bloggers want readers, so it’s worth the effort to submit your work after it’s been published.
Worth noting, too, through Twitter I engaged with users who were seeing increased interest in their sites based on clicks through Stumble. Sarah Pardieck from Notice the Dirt was kind enough to tweet me a response to my query about the stumble experience and mentioned that she gets “quite a bit of traffic, but only stumbles certain categories of posts.” She also suggested that using lots of images up top (“above the fold”) would seemingly catch more attention and increase the likelihood that a stumbler would stay to read what you’ve got. Smart girl, that Sarah!
6. Mix it Up? In what category do you find success?
To be honest, I still consider myself a newby (less than a year in) and am still working out the best way to categorize my work to get more views. Like everything social media related it takes time and patience (and work and effort) to find that magical component that helps a blogger find success among the masses. If what they say is true, that being yourself, having your own clear voice and working hard is the key to long-standing success, then continuing to find my way in regard to categorizing myself is an important piece of the puzzle.
At this point I blog about running and healthy eating, motherhood and kids, and so I have submitted my work as such. This post, however, will be entered under “social media” and I’m looking forward to seeing the results in my stats.
No matter which way you look at it, as a simple searcher or a calculated endeavor to grow your business, I do believe that Stumbling is a useful tool for both groups.
Tell me what you think? Will you try it? Do you use StumbleUpon already?
When I agreed to drive home from our seven weeks away it seemed like a good idea. I knew I’d have collected various suitcase filling objects and I wasn’t sure we’d be able to fit our stuff in the belly of a plane or comfortably underneath our seats.
As predicted, we left Groton Long Point yesterday morning with a car stuffed full, so much so that the only way to get to the cooler full of drinks was through the rolled down back window of the Four Runner (the door was blocked by a finicky bike rack). The roof rack above was filled to the brim with dismantled Hello Kitty bikes, dirty towels and random soft bags with items that normally do not go together (shampoo and shoes and Barbies, for example). I placed my precious laptop against the safest spot I could find (next to my feet on the passenger side floor) and surrounding us in every other empty space was an explosion of brought along foods, coloring books, items from the pencil boxes, empty Dunkin Donut bags and pillows and toys.
We rolled into Raleigh after eleven and promptly released the girls.
Said Grace later; “Mom. It’s like we were in jail and we didn’t even do anything bad to get there!”
All along the way I kept thinking that the trip could be described as Yin and Yang.
Yin: Passing around the nectarine and pear I’d brought and watching each family member take a bite.
Yang: Breakfast at McDonald’s (the girls and I didn’t actually eat it, so maybe that’s yin). But dinner at Wendy’s? So yang.
Yin: Outsmarting the GPS that was determined to take us over the George Washington Bridge. We found our way to the Tapanzee and were certain it would be smooth sailing all the way home.
Yang: Three hours of stop and go traffic through D.C.
Yin: Both girls falling asleep and staying that way through most of D.C.
Yang: The cries from the back seat when they woke with sore backs and crampy legs.
Yin: Listening to Sophie sing the words to Call Me, Maybe? (beginning to end) in her high-pitched lovely little voice.
Yang: Listening to Sophie singing the words to Call Me, Maybe? (beginning to end) after twelve or so hours on the road.
Yin: Listening to Adele full blast during my turn at the wheel.
Yang: Being so engrossed in that beautiful voice and missing the last big freeway change.
Yin: The Map Quest directions that said the trip would be eleven hours door to door.
Yang: Fourteen hours later peeling myself from the seat of the car and walking around my house, happy to be here but exhausted and with a headache.
Yin: Pechie’s bowl of freshly made spaghetti and meatballs in the fridge.
Yin: A fridge full of groceries that she bought for us so I wouldn’t have to take the girls in the car again today.
Yin: My house; relatively clean.
Yang: Out of toilet paper and coffee.
Yin: Kids off playing.
Yin: Me typing at my space.
Yin: Back to blogging and writing and running and yoga class and preschool and my juicer and my friends (both real and bloggy).
Saturday morning began with my running group the WannaBeasts (10.5 minutes per mile) and eight sweaty miles through the greenway around Shelly Lake, behind Crabtree Valley Mall. There was ninety-eight percent humidity and while it felt like running through soup, it was fast and easy (even downright pleasant) thanks to the conversation with my partner Nancy (whom I’d just met) and the energy of the team.
Afterward, instead of heading home to shower, I drove to Peachie’s for one last visit to her empty house and to drop off the baby clothes that the girls had gathered from their closet the day before (during their own packing session for Maine).
“It’s too small, it goes in the baby pile!”
I sat in Peachie’s back yard drenched in sweat and snot (my poor skirt had served as kleenex on the trail) and watched squirrels in pine trees pull branches from limbs and scurry away. I wondered if this is how they collected their nuts. I reminded myself that I loathe squirrels, especially after they had taken refuge in my attic a few years ago.
I called my sister and we talked.
I called my Peach and we talked even more.
When I couldn’t stand the dried sweat a second longer I left for home, driving and listening to the radio stations that are playing the same songs on rotation this Summer. I know all of the words.
I showered and threw on a typically scary post run outfit; a comfy bra, white and purple stretchy shorts that say, “I heart Saints,” a washed blue KBIA t-shirt that I intentionally cut down the front and unintentionally ripped under the arm, and bright pink CEP compression calf sleeves I’d received in the mail the day before.
I don’t like to match my clothes post run. The more mismatched I look the better I feel. I’m pretty sure that most runners feel the same way about their recovery outfits. It’s not mentioned much, but take a look at most running blogger’s post run photos and it becomes obvious. It might even be an unsaid qualification for calling oneself a runner.
As happens after a good medium to long run I was tired. I shuffled around the house until I couldn’t bring myself to shuffle anymore and by 3:00 curled up on the sofa with the girls for an episode of Sponge Bob.
I promptly fell asleep.
Grace soon nudged me and said that she was tired, too, and surprisingly both girls followed me upstairs where we crawled into their beds. Unexpected as neither girl has taken a nap since 2010. When I woke and realized that it was 7:00 p.m., I knew there’d be a long night ahead.
We came downstairs where Brian had made dinner and had it waiting on the kitchen bar; cheeseburgers, french fries and onion rings.
I cut up some lettuce and tomato and made plates of food that we took outside to eat by tiki lamps.
The girls were happy. Their dad and I were civil. We talked about a friend of a friend who at thirty-eight had just died from Frontal Lobe Dementia. There was a silent acceptance that this life is too short and that happiness is imperative. The girls laughed as their stuffed puppies “tried” to eat from the plates of food. The family unit was working as it should all the time.
With renewed energy I decided to tackle the packing that waited for me; my empty suitcases left for last.
I tucked my iPhone into my bra after pressing play on my audiobook version of Wild. As I gathered my running clothes and bathing suits I listened to the chapter about Cheryl’s mother’s horse named Lady and how she had become old. With her mother gone, she knew that she needed to tend to the horse.
The heartbreaking account of what came next made the placement of items into my luggage slow and deliberate. I listened while folding my piles and piles of must haves, acting out my work while my heart swelled and pounded from the depth of the pain I was hearing.
For two hours I continued; Cheryl’s journey on the Pacific Coast Trail and my journey through my stuff.
I have much too much. As I looked around at the things I knew I’d need and then back to the closet for the things that I might need and into the extra closets for things I never wear but probably need, I felt overwhelmed and a little disgusted.
I listened to Cheryl talk about Monster, the name for the pack she carried on her back, and wished that I could lessen my reliance on consumerism, so that all I needed was a pack and my kids. If only that could be enough.
When it became too overwhelming I decided to leave the mess to which I will return to today.
I sat on the master bed and continued with the story while gazing at the mound of fabrics and colors, pants and tunics, hats and necklaces, bathing suits and skirts. Underpants will go in last.
I connected to Cheryl’s feelings about her writing. How she’d always written, but the unattained dream of writing her own novel had left her disappointed and embarrassed. She wrote about making the decision to make it happen.
Remembering how I felt when reading the Hunger Games, how I liked the author and appreciated her words seemingly written for me, I added Cheryl Strayed to my list of imaginary friends. I might not understand a lot of what she went through on the PCT, but I certainly relate to her life as a writer and a woman.
By 10:30 the house was dark and bedtime was near. The girls brushed their teeth and chose their bedtime books. I imagined that I’d get them to sleep and then sneak away for some alone time, to ponder my day and plan the next. But instead, I just lay between my daughters thinking.
In two days we’ll be back at the beach that has been home for thirty five years. I will see my friends who have known me my entire life. I’ll see the newest babies and write by the sound of the sea.
Instead of sneaking away I closed my eyes and listened to the breathing of my girls, while hoping for a future that looked a lot like this day.
A day of sweat and books. Of food and fun. Introspection and civility. A life with purpose, happiness, respect, restful naps, laughs, and possibly less in the way of stuff.
All things are possible.
With that I fell to sleep. The best sleep I’ve had in ages.
I was told that my chances of getting published are slim to none.
I was urged to have a backup plan.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion.
I don’t have a journalism degree.
The only professional who has ever told me that my writing was any good was my Seventh grade tutor, and really, she was being paid by my parents.
I have not been paid for my writing; have not made five cents in this endeavor.
It’s not about the money, friend.
It’s about passion. It’s about love. It’s about the need to express, so that I don’t go mad.
Mad as in crazy.
I have enough mad as in mad. Oh, you made me mad as in mad. It’s like that button has your name on it. It’s reserved especially for you.
Which makes me wonder.
I can’t control you or what you think or your lack of vision. I can’t make you see what I see.
I can only control how I react when that button gets pushed.
And I don’t like how I felt inside and how the blood under my skin started to boil and my anger at your belittment seethed. It felt like a simultaneous punch to the heart and gut and my writer’s spirit will not allow that kind of repugnancy and so my mouth flew open and the words spit themselves out.
Yes, it’s my protection. No, it isn’t right.
This is a character flaw. It’s why I have to write.
God can’t help me. Therapy can’t change me. My soul needs to understand how your mean cannot affect me.
It seems to encompass so many of the things that I need and it very well might be the path that leads to my enlightenment.
Since life is a journey and Rome wasn’t built in a day, this day I’ll focus on a moving image on constant rotation in my house as a child. Barbra Streisand’s Funny Girl spoke to me then as she does now.
Don’t tell me not to fly, I’ve simply got to. If someone takes a spill it’s me and not you. Who told you your allowed to rain on my parade!
A hiatus from old style blogging must be maintained, but new and future blog posts must be shorter, easier, to the point.
My social media realm feels incomplete without the pink bordered Mommyland page, so I’ll take the lead from other successful bloggers and focus less in the way of words.
Words must be saved for the novel. Dare I say novels?
My book has progressed and stories have been put down, though much too unorganized as characters keep forming and situations twist into each other.
My voice is clear; a comforting sign.
But the task to organize is harder than it seems. It feels a lot like your mother telling you to clean your room.
I whine, “But why? I’ll do it later!”
I’ve started to think about a sweet and easy love story. A story that blooms like new love and flows by the seat of my flowered board shorts.
We leave for Maine in about a week. Summer sun and wind that pulls the sound of laughing children to our front door does not call for serious writing. It calls for a story of a boy and a girl and lazy days and hearts aflutter.
Maybe the anthropologically tough stuff should wait for Fall?
My girls pilfered the book shelf while I was out running yesterday and left my reading assignments all over the house. They do this sometimes. I view their choices as research guided to me by my messy makers and the pull of our Universe; published works that have put their authors on best seller lists.
And so it continues; writing, reading, blogging, pinning, tweeting, cooking, laundry, husband managing, children tending, packing, kissing, yelling, tidying, yoga, running, running, running.
Toes tipping in all areas remembering that balance is key.
I love you. I love writing you and finding pictures that match you. I like to share you and respond to comments from your readers. You are so much a part of me; good and bad, light and dark, brave and foolish.
But Summer has arrived stealing my time. Important things need attention that you just don’t allow.
My book wants to be written.
My kids need more care.
Magazine articles are begging to be finished and I’ve left them hanging.
Maine is coming and you know how that goes; busy, busy, busy, all the time busy.
I’m going to have to let you rest for a while. It’s not easy, but I must prioritize.
I’ll miss seeing your daily bar graph and images of the countries that inhabit the people who read you.
I’ll have to shake the habit of sitting to express every bloggy thought. I must focus my writing in other areas; quiet places that don’t offer as much support and connectedness to like-minded individuals, but in the long run will bring me closer to the goals that my spirit needs to grow bigger wings.
I hope you are not forgotten.
I won’t forget you or the people I’ve shared you with.
I’ll be back now and then. I can’t abandon you completely. Where else could I write my thoughts about 50 Shades and how I figured out the formula and why it works and what it means to marriage.
See that? See how every thought has the potential to turn into a blog post and then I write and edit and publish and the day is gone and the kids are hungry and the articles sit quiet and the book remains a paragraph waiting here in Mommyland’s archives? I’ve got to step back and think for a while without using you.