An Injury in Mommyland

With week one of my marathon training complete I know I should write an update.

But after injuring my right quad the day before week one was to begin, there’s not a whole lot to report. I managed to run fourteen miles even though I took off one of my mid week runs. After yesterday’s eight, whereupon I had to call my husband to come and pick me up (I miscalculated my route and the extra two miles home would have left me completely incapacitated), I’ve decided to take a rest.

My pulled thigh will not heal if I continue to push the plan, so I have committed instead to running zero miles this second week of training.

We will see how week three looks, but my goal right now is to listen to my body and be kind to my whole self.

On the food front, I’ve had my hand in the sugar bowl more than a few times recently, but I’m feeling really fine about my choices. I’ve even added back in some gluten and have not felt any ill effects.

No bingeing, no madness, better decisions are being made all the way around.

XOM

Has your training ever been sidelined?

Yesterday’s lunch. Millet bread, a hard boiled egg, avocado, greens and tomatoes. I’ve added some gluten back into my diet, but I like the milllet bread, so that will stay.
This morning’s breakfast, which Grace said, “looked disgusting,” (what does she know)!. Fage plain Greek yogurt, a peach, and Kind’s Maple and Chia Clusters. Another gluten free choice that I’m keeping in my diet. Thank Goodness for Kind… they make some surprisingly deliciously healthy foods.
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Doom Gloom Boom

Very early this morning I was startled awake by a gigantic boom from the sky. Bass thunder that rattled my core.

After hugging both of my sleeping kids and assessing my (not yet urgent) need to pee, I contemplated the unfortunateness of a falling tree; should a tree fall me.

Such gloom over the doom of a boom.

It was quiet in between the flashes of light and the noise gradually faded. I kept a hand on top of each kid and tried to think of a song to fit the moment.

Lyrics with a boom….

“Boom, boom, boom lets go back to my room?”

No. Too much zex for this side of four a.m.

“We like that boom boom pow?”

No, I wouldn’t like anything about a falling tree on we three.

“We’re Tigra and Bunny and we like the boom?”

Terrible song technically about a car’s boom, but it would do mostly because my girls would approve of any song that included a bunny.

Do you think of songs to play along with moments in your life; to add to your life’s soundtrack?

XOM

That Honey Boo Boo Show

The Honey Boo Boo craze has hit the nation. Comedians, newscasters, bloggers and play ground moms everywhere have been talking about The Learning Channel’s show, which follows child pageant princess Alana and her family.

I was never a Toddler’s and Tiaras watching fan, so it didn’t occur to me to even investigate the Honey Boo Boo madness. But as my remote wandered on Wednesday, I stumbled upon the program and ended up recording the remainder of the season marathon as it was time for me to head back to my own life and put my kids to bed.

I watched the recorded episodes last night and am not shy or embarrassed about saying that I love the show as much for what is wrong with it than for what is right.

There are plenty of things to find wrong; obesity, poverty, folks living at the low end of the socio-economic ladder, children who curse as freely as the adults, lack of manners and education, terrible eating habits, questionable hygiene, tobacco use, loudness, abrasive behavior, teenage pregnancy, and least of all the strange phenomenon of child pageants.

If you choose to believe that the success of the show is because of its likeness to a reality train wreck, then your glass is half empty, but I do understand your disdain.

If your glass is half full, though, you might see beyond the obvious. You might find beauty underneath the surface. You might find compassion while falling in love with the crazy band of misfits, lead by a mother who is doing her best.

Consider this. More than thirty five percent of American adults are obese, just like Mama. Genetically engineered foods are everywhere. Cheap and unhealthy fast food is easy and abundant. Corporations don’t teach people to drink water and plant gardens. They advertise soda and junk food and to many people who haven’t been taught a better way, it is the only way they know how to live. If you are doing your best to get by (Mama feeds her family of six on eighty dollars a week) then try to understand the conundrum.

In one scene Mama is making dinner for her family; sketti with ketchup and butter. In the microwave is placed a bowl of Country Crock margarine and a big squeeze of ketchup. It’s melted and mixed and poured over the spaghetti (which I am sure is white flour enriched, not a whole grain within a mile) and Mama mentions that she was “raised on sgetti and ketchup and butter.” It’s no wonder then that her weight (and that of the family) is an issue that they are trying to address and remedy with weekly weigh-ins.

For people who find fault with the language that is used and the often incorrect grammar, verbage and made up mix of vocabulary, consider that one of the biggest social dividers is the difference in education between those with and those without.

I learned to be sensitive to this during my first year of teaching the fourth grade in a poor section of Durham, North Carolina. Most of the time I could barely understand my children and wished they had subtitles like the cast of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. They were ten-year olds, though, and so I could correct their incorrect grammar, fix their vocabulary mistakes. It was hard, but I learned that underneath the lack of knowledge were regular children with the same loves and likes as the richest and more educated ten-year olds I’d known.

Don’t misunderstand. I do not feel sorry for these people. There have been reports highlighting the serious dysfunction (arrests, multiple baby daddy’s, etc.) and it is worrisome. But I am not blind to where they come from, so I don’t feel contempt the way one might if they choose only to see what’s on the surface.

What is below is far more interesting and beautiful.

For example, Mama knows her weight is a problem. Her struggle to ascend the bouncy tower at Alana’s birthday party was frustrating for her, but her attempt to stay away from the junk food and lose some weight is enviable.

The family talks to each other. Whatever you may think of the cursing or word mash-ups, they talk to each other. No one is fighting over the iPad (though maybe that will change with the success of the show). At present time, no one seems lost in technology land.

One episode focused on Mama’s trouble in keeping her kids busy during the hot southern summer. Without many options, the family sets up their own slip and slide with a tarp, soap bubbles and a hose. They went grocery shopping together, played Bingo together, worked together to get Alana ready for her pageant. Together they acted like a family! A real and functioning family.

And there is love.

One of my favorite scenes was when Mama was going on a date with Alana’s dad and wanted to get pretty by putting on some makeup. Mama encouraged her four daughters to make her up and they all laughed and teased and ultimately made their mom look like a “rodeo clown.” After washing off the mess, Alana stroked her mother’s face and said, “I’ll make you pretty, mama,” and the moment of sweetness and love outshone all the nuttiness of the minutes before.

I should mention the lone man who lives amongst the wackiness of Honey Boo Boo’s world. Alana’s father, lovingly called Sugar Bear, is a chewing tobacco spitting in a bottle kind of guy. He’s missing a good bunch of teeth and wore a t-shirt for the professional family photo shoot (he only dresses up for funerals).  Again, if we are only looking at the surface, he is a mess.

Dig below and you see that his eyes get soft when he speaks of the birth of his daughter. When Mama’s seventeen year old daughter comes home from the hospital with her new baby Kaitlyn, Sugar Bear sits in his chair, a thin line of a smile demonstrating his happiness. Not a man of many words. A heart that beats quietly on his sleeve.

But the biggest reason for the success of the show is its namesake, that Honey Boo Boo Child,  the adorable and feisty Alana. Despite (or because of) her environment she is free and secure in herself and happy. She knows that she is loved and when she is sad (like when her teacup piggy had to be returned to the breeder) she cried like any normal six-year-old would. She may not have great table manners, but she says, “Thank you,” when it’s appropriate and she turns on the charm when competing in her pageants. You want to hug her, she’s so real and for the first time I was rooting for a pageant princess instead of rolling my eyes at the ridiculousness of the sport.

TLC was smart and just this week renewed Honey Boo Boo child for a second season. I for one will be watching and hope for good things for this family.

XOM

Have you seen the show? What do you think about it? Agree with my take or just find it offensive? 

It’s Your Birthday

I’ve been feeling very sorry for myself lately.

Poor pitiful me with so many unknowns, so many worries, so many scary pre/post divorce, “Can I do it alone’s?”

The fact that my birthday was coming didn’t even matter. What’s another birthday anyway? I’m not five. It’s not like I need to celebrate like I am so important that a whole day needs to be dedicated to me.

Worth mentioning, my pitifulness was dragging me back down into the depths of my worst habits, too.  I can admit it to you and I will. That last sleeve of Oreos? I brushed them out of my teeth last night and didn’t even care that my month sans sugar and processed junkiness had been for not. My sugar-free, gluten-free lifestyle could suck  a lollipop. Sad Martha eats sugar. Worried Martha doesn’t care.

But when I woke up this morning my daughter jumped out of bed singing, “It’s your birthday!” as if it were hers.  Both girls were eager to dress pretty for school and to share with their teachers the significance of the day. My mother called and said, “This was the happiest day of my life.” My sister Gabby was smooshy mooshy lovey sweet on the phone (she is a wonderful sister) and my facebook friends have blown up my feed with the loveliest birthday wishes.

And just like that my heart is full. My worries put on hold.

Feeling better (happier and lighter on my feet) I swung through Whole Foods on the way home from pre-school drop off.

I stood in the entrance a second longer than necessary breathing in the scent of comforting fall spices.

I bought pretty baby spinaches and the big container of my favorite red raspberry Ultima electrolyte replenisher (cheaper than Starbucks green tea and less zingy than Nuun).

I wandered through the gluten-free aisle and snapped up some Mary’s Gone Crackers that had a hang tag mentioning they were two for less!

Down the aisles, up the aisles, through checkout and back home to write a post out of gratitude for all the things I’d been neglecting to see and feel and experience as the worry monster has been furiously stomping on my good.

So now I wonder. Maybe grown up birthdays aren’t supposed to be like when we were kids; all self absorbed and present hungry. Maybe the day is meant to be a reminder of all the great things that this life has to offer. A calendar marked day when the world points your way and gives you a great big hug (whether you want one or not).

So, “Thank you,” to my community, my family, my friends.

I’m caught completely off guard and having a very happy birthday after all.

XOM

How do you feel about your birthday? 

A card at Whole Foods. Another reminder to just be happy!

Getting Paid to Write?

Here is the plan.

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?

What are your plans for the weekend? 

XOM

Blogher, a women’s as network and publishing network.
Babble.com is a website for a new generation of parents Created in 2006, it went corporate in 2011 when it was purchased by Disney.
Her name is Aerobella, but we call her, “Belly.” She has very good thinking ears.

 

 

Written Rejection

Having just this morning received my very first “writing job” rejection letter, one might think I’d be feeling blue.

But as any successful writer knows, rejection is a part of the game.

So is perseverance and of that I have an abundance.

It got me wondering, though, what is it about being rejected that usually hurts so much and why aren’t I all that bothered that this one didn’t work out?

Obviously being rejected means that something about you isn’t good enough, not right, not what they were looking for.

The comment on my canned rejection letter said this,

“We base our criteria for acceptance on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, quality of writing and knowledge of topic.”

Well, well. Quality and knowledge.

Back to perseverance.

Off to write something real.

Have you been rejected from writing jobs? How did you go about creating a career in writing? If perseverance is necessary, is a full-time job with insurance also equally important? 

XOM

Write

The Modified Marathon Plan

Monday is the big kickoff to my 18 weeks of marathon training. Instead of doing too much running this week, I am instead mentally preparing for what is to come and also giving myself a tiny break before the big works begins.

I have modified Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 to suit my needs.

Here we go…

Week Mon. Tues. Wed. Thur. Fri. Sat. Sun.
1 Rest 6 Rest 5 Rest yoga 8
2 Rest 6 Rest 5 Rest yoga 9
3 Rest 6 Rest 6 Rest yoga 6
4 Rest 6 Rest 6 Rest yoga 11
5 Rest 6 Rest 6 Rest yoga 12
6 Rest 6 Rest 6 Rest yoga 9
7 Rest 8 Rest 7 Rest ? half
8 Rest 6 Rest 9 Rest yoga 15
9 Rest 6 Rest 9 Rest yoga 13
10 Rest 8 Rest Thanks! 6-8 Rest 17
11 Rest 9 Rest 9 Rest Rest 18
12 Rest 9 Rest 9 Rest Rest 13
13 Rest 5 5 5 Rest Rest 19
14 Rest 5 8 5 Rest Rest 12
15 Rest 8 Rest 7 Rest Rest 20
16 Rest 7 Rest 7 Rest Rest 12
17 Rest 5 Rest 6 Rest yoga 8
18 Rest Rest 5 Rest Rest 2 RACE!

After filling out the tables on my plan I am surprised at the massive mileage I will be expected to run over the course of the next eighteen weeks (even though I’ve done it before).

Of course, I will constantly be checking in, giving myself breaks when needed and/or modifying based on schedules and sick kids and all the other life issues that infringe on my running time.

Note that I have accounted for  the City of Oaks Half marathon (week seven), Thanksgiving (week 10) and also for the final weeks of training when I have a feeling I will want to run shorter mid-week distances more often (weeks 13 and 14 for sure, 11 and 12 are tentative).

Are you in training? What does your plan look like?

Anyone running Miami and feel like being a virtual buddy? 

XOM

My bib from marathon #1. Can’t wait for Miami’s.

Already Missing Nanc – The Weeds Finale Boo Hoo

It’s been said that nothing ever ends without a little bit of sadness.

The final episode of the best show on television has left me with a lot more than a little bit sadness.

I had written (then trashed) an entire post about the tremendous eight seasons of Weeds; about Nancy’s nine lives, about the unbelievable writing that made even the craziest situations ring true, about the love, about the loss, about the fairy tale that wouldn’t be.

Sometimes less is more.

Nancy didn’t end up with Andy. Silas’ life wasn’t any longer about his mother. Shane needed more help than ever. Doug admitted to his terrible mistake. Andy found his happy life with the child he had always wanted.

I am still teary eyed from the finale that I watched while the kids were off at school.

I so wanted the show to be tied up with a pretty bow to make everything okay.

To make Nancy okay.

But then that wouldn’t have stayed true to Weeds as a whole.

The truth (which the writers were well aware) is that there is no fairy tale. The best any of us can hope for is that in the end we are surrounded by the people who love us the most despite the sum of our mistakes (hopefully on some steps somewhere under a gentle falling snow).

A new chapter begins for Nancy; one that we will have to imagine in our minds.

A new chapter begins for the rest of us, too, as it does every day.

I’m really going to miss Mary Louise Parker as Nancy. For seven years she’s been my Sunday night reminder that strong-willed girls in amazing shoes can do anything, be anything, and always land on their feet.

XOM

It Turns Around

What began as a pretty somber morning (with matching post) has turned into a pretty great day full of stupendous things to make any lady happy.

1. Gluten free me is feeling fab. Sugar; a thing from my long distant past. I cannot believe I’m not struggling!

2. A full hour on my Manduka before picking the kids up from school gave me the opportunity to do some seriously deep backbends, which opened up the heart, which zip zipped me along. There was even time for a few inversions (there’s never enough time for inversions, it seems). Get this girl upside down and things start to happen…

3. The handsome and talented Zach McGowan, Jody from the Showtime show Shameless, responded to a tweet I’d sent asking for permission to use his image on the blog. He said, “yes.” He didn’t have to say anything. I practically did a cart-wheel I was so excited that he’d read the post and liked it. Small satisfaction for the “work” that I do.

4. Anna Paquin, otherwise known as Sookie our favorite fairy, has had twins. No word on the flavor of the babies as no names have been released. It probably seems silly to consider the birth of babies to a person I do not know a highlight of my day, but as a mom of twins I know what an unbelievable day that is. Twin pregnancies are hard. Twin babies often have more problems in utero. I’ve been there and I know the relief of finally having them born. Congratulations to her and her vampire husband Bill (Steven Moyer).

5. It goes without saying that the weather outside is just perfect (sunny, mild, lovely). Everyone is talking about it, shocked that it finally turned so after the brutal never-endingness of our Southern Summer. What was more perfect than the weather was watching the children on the playground for almost two hours under our favorite tree. Talking to the moms for that long was like the frosting on the cake that I won’t be eating anytime soon and haven’t an urge to eat anyway.

Happy me.

Happy you?

How has your Tuesday shaped up?

XOM

Got this tweet after the yoga. It must have been the energy I conjured with all that heart opening. If you build it, they will come!

9/11

I wasn’t old enough to remember the murders of Martin Luther King, Jr. or President John F. Kennedy. Those events in history cemented in our parent’s brains caused them to remember the very place they stood at the very moment they heard.

I do remember the day President Reagan was shot; Miami, living room, age ten, still in my pajamas, Spider Man preempted.

But when the television clicked off I went about my day like a ten-year old should. The way I hoped all ten-year olds were able to on September eleventh, 2001; being protected from the horror.

When I answered the phone in my Alameda apartment that morning I couldn’t register what my mother was trying to tell me.

“I’m okay,” she said. “Go turn on the television.”

I cried non stop for four days. Four entire days. The horror lasting much longer than the dried up tears.

I didn’t know anyone who was hurt in the attack.

My mother was supposed to be on that fated plane from Boston to San Francisco, but she wasn’t, so that’s not why I cried.

I felt in my bones the terror of the people on those plane and (from the windows of the Trade Center, the waving white flags) of victims begging to be saved.

I swore I could see the souls flying to the sky from those buildings.

I prayed for peace and answers for the living in search of their loved ones on the ground.

The pain was palpable, unlike any I’d ever experienced. It didn’t compare to the death of my father. Not close to the memories of my teenage wounded heart, which I once thought might stop altogether from the unrelenting pain.

This was greater. This hit me like a brick in the gut, heart, and mind.

Every year I watch the documentaries commemorating that horrific day.

Every year someone says, “Oh, I can’t do that! How can you watch that?”

They don’t want to remember the pain.

I don’t ever want to forget.

Where were you? What do you remember?

XOM

Like they say in church, “Peace be with you… and also with you.” I wish peace for every person ever changed by the tragedies of that day.