Saturday, March 26, 2011

Please Buy This for Me

Size small, in the pewter. Please and thank you.

Now, why on Earth would I ask everyone in blogger-dom to buy me this maxi sundress from Garnet Hill ? Blame it on a dream I had last night.

I KNOW! Enough with the dreams, already!

But this dream was...more real. Does that make sense? Often times my dreams are of everyday tasks and activities, but this one was less everyday and more real. I'll ask again: does that make sense?

So, I'm wearing this dress, and I'm dancing with someone (can't tell who at this point). Slow dancing to a band. We're at a cantina-ish place, with the rough-hewn post & beam type patio space, lanterns hanging everywhere with warm light. It must be somewhere warm (definitely not in the Upper Peninsula!), because everyone else is dressed beachy. Okay, you know the scene in the movie version of Eat Pray Love where Liz first meets whatshisname at a party after doing all those shots of tequila? It was like that, minus the tequila. Back to the dream: I'm dancing, but all I see is the dress, all fabric and floating and swirling and twisting with the movements of my body, glimpses of my arms & shoulders. The music from the band is coming to an end, and I feel myself being put into a dip- bodies close, one leg hiked up, the works. I look up and see my partner for the first time in this dream: its Shall Remain Nameless from this post.

WTF?! Shall Remain Nameless hasn't made an appearance in my dreams since that first dream, and honestly, I've been too busy with oh, life to focus on anyone or anything other than what's in front of me at the moment (right now? Coffee.). But let me tell you this: it was in-tense. Just like that first dream. It felt like it was something that should really happen, you know? An omen, perhaps.

Whatever. All I know is that I now must have that dress.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Things are Looking Up

Its funny how seemingly small things or events can help shift your outlook. I know I've kinda been a whiner lately, but I've tried very hard to remain optimistic. Little surprises help, and so do good, solid workouts (well, for me, anyway).

Like last weekend: I had a very busy morning on Sunday, but then met Tha Doctah and another friend, Pasquatch (don't ask) at our local arts center to help hang a new gallery show. It was so lovely to go back to my artist's roots for an hour or so, to debate why one painting should go here and not over there. And then a cup of coffee and catch up time? Nice. I thought for sure my day would end there, that I'd pick Daughter #2 up from her dad's house, and my weekend would be gone.

But NO!

I had originally planned to do a nice evening run with my friend, Fast Jessica. Then I had to cancel because I thought I was doing taxes. Then the taxes thing got moved, and I was able to run after all. So confusing!

Side note: Fast Jessica is named such because she is a much faster runner than I am. She has always been one of those runners at local races that people whisper about: Is Jessica here today? I wonder what her time will be. Or one July 4th Firecracker run, courtesy of my father-in-law: I just got chicked. By a pregnant lady pushing a jogging stroller. She is a force to be reckoned with.

Anyway, we got together for our run, and planned on an easy 7-miler out & back, uphills on the way out, downhill on the way back. Awwwww, yeah! The plan was to go out easy, then let the road speed us up after the turn around. Well, something that usually happens when Jess & I run is that we talk. I KNOW! As we talk, we sometimes- okay, all the time- go faster than expected. This is significant because, like I mentioned earlier, she is Fast Jessica, and I am me.

I've noticed something happening to me, though, since I've been running more with FJ: I've gotten faster, and I've been happier about running. The benefits of a running partner, right? Well, its something that I was lacking after my first running partner- my father-in-law- died during a local half-marathon. I have missed the camaraderie of a regular running partner, of regular routes and workouts, and of the push you receive from said partner. I'm so thankful for FJ.

Back to the run: we started out fast, and got faster. Downhill on the turnaround, remember? What was supposed to be a chill run turned in to an exercise in running strong whilst tired. We celebrated the good run- and FJ's birthday (25! Again!)- with pizzas and grocery store cake courtesy of Uncle Winga. An evening of great conversation and friendship was had, and my weekend was better than expected.

But that's not all. After Daughter #2 was home with me, we sat in my living room: me, nodding in and out of sleep on the big chair with
HGTV on the television, and D2 tapping away on the computer. What happened next is what made the weekend move from pretty good to fucking awesome: D2 came over to me and kissed me goodnight. My 15-year-old. It was, to a mother who has never felt entirely maternal, heavenly.

She has continued to do this every night since. It makes me happier than you could ever know.

Good things usually come in threes, right? Mental checklist: awesome run/evening with running friends? Check! Kiss goodnight from formerly surly teenage daughter? Check! Coming home from work last night to find my new running shoes ? Check!

See? Things are looking up. If you focus on the positive, I feel that will reflect back on you, and help change the color of your days from blue to sunshine yellow. Karma, friends. Give thanks for the good, and pay it forward.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Say Hello To... friend, Troy. Now, let me preface everything else I'm about to write with the following: I've never actually met Troy.


Its one of those virtual friendship things: a friend of a friend from another online community, and now a friend on Facebook, Troy would so definitely be my friend for real if he lived closer. Like, I think we'd have met because our circle of friends would be...well, the same circle.

Troy is a runner, a dry stone waller, a husband, father, fellow Midwesterner (although he now lives in Vermont), and funny fella. He can also grow one helluva moustache if he wants to.

Anyway, I'm always happy to help another blogger gain followers. So go visit Troy's blog. Tell him I sent you over. I know he'll be thrilled to make room for you in his circle.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

In Like a Lion...

You know, I've really been struggling these past few weeks, months to come to terms with well, everything, and when I really sat and thought about my emotions and all the happenings of my day-to-day, I realized that it might not be me; it might be the weather.

Many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, and while I don't think I'm immune- I thrive on sunny days, despise the cold and gloom and weight of winter days- I certainly don't think I'm a candidate for therapeutic relief in the form of medication. No, I can usually talk myself out of a slump. Loft House cookies help.

Looking back further than recent months, I can say with certainty that this feeling I've had (and even posted about it ) comes with this anonymous in-between season we have here in the Midwest. Winter is still holding on via last-gasp snowstorms and early morning frost on car windows, and yet Spring is still hibernating, teasing with fantastically bright sunshine on 19 degree days. Aren't we like Spring, then? All we really want to do is stay snuggled in our beds a little longer. But my impatience gets the best of me, and I can be embarrassingly unbearable. So short is my fuse that I feel like I should have a rotating wardrobe of t-shirts with things like "Just DON'T" and "What the fuck is your point?" Bedazzled on them.

Anyway, I thought about how to best describe my emotional state this time of year (besides "laaaazzzzyyyy" and "potty mouthed"): wistful, meditative, pensive, contemplative, eager. Some of these connote sadness, and I guess I'm never sure what exactly I'm sad about; the words just seem to fit. And when I feel this way, I listen to certain types of music. "The Soundtrack of My Life," I like to call it, because I see the days of my life unfolding like a scene from a movie, and these are the songs I imagine playing in the theater should anyone else be privy to the show. In no particular order:

1. "Long Ride Home" by Patty Griffin (This is quite possibly the saddest song I know. I can't not cry when I hear it.)

2. "Everybody Knows" by Ryan Adams and The Cardinals (Another unsung American singer/songwriter. Listen to the CD "Easy Tiger.")

3. "Chicago" by Sufjan Stevens (This one always brings me back to its eponymous source, with memories of riding the El, marveling at the city.)

4. "One of These Things First" by Nick Drake ("A whole long lifetime could've been the end...")

5. "The Only Living Boy in New York" by Simon & Garfunkel (This reminds me of simpler days, and always ALWAYS of my dad. *love*)

6. "Say Hello Wave Goodbye" by David Gray (This version is hauntingly beautiful; yes, I know it was originally a New Wave pop B-side for the British band Soft Cell.)

7. "The Time of Times" by Badly Drawn Boy (I firmly believe that every movie soundtrack would be better with a song from Badly Drawn Boy.)

8. "Are You Alright?" by Lucinda Williams (It was difficult to pick just one song from Lucinda, but this one fits the list's vibe.)

9. "This Too Shall Pass" by OK Go (The link will take you to a super awesome marching band version of the song. For another version with a cool Rube Goldberg machine, go here.)

10. "Sons & Daughters" by The Decemberists (A bit melancholy, yet hopeful in the end: "Hear all the bombs fade away.")

And that's how I'll leave you today: hopeful. Because we all know the second half of this post's title...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I Feel A Whole Lot Better...

Dang, I love that song!

And better yet, I do feel a whole lot better since my last post. So much has my outlook improved that I've decided to write a top 10 list about it. So, without further ado, here is my list of things I've realized I like best about my new life:

1. Grocery shopping is a breeze. I've never minded household chores, and when my kids were younger, the grocery store offered a respite from Being Mommy. But now I feel even less encumbered: my kids are old enough (and I like them enough) that I don't need to escape from Being Mommy. Plus, the grocery cart no longer contains items like horseradish, pickles, and copious amounts of meat.

2. My cute little dollhouse is clean, all the time. I have a postcard that hangs in a clear, acrylic photo frame that I brought with me to my new house:

Its a dream that I seriously had about, oh...everyDAY in my old house. That old house (literally, an old house) was never clean, even when I spent all day cleaning to the point of making my hands raw from bleach and scouring pads. No longer a dream, friends.

3. Everything smells good. Is that funny? Like strange funny, not haha funny? Ever since Daughter #2 was born, my sense of smell can be likened to a super power. Did you have onions for lunch? Yesterday? I just knew it. Absent of men and pets and meat and dirt and cigarettes and alcohol (and, cigarettes mixed with alcohol- think of the ickiest dive bar ever. That is how my old house could smell sometimes.), houses are lovely things. I find that I don't need to burn fancy candles or buy Febreeze in institutional strength gallon-size jugs anymore.

4. Pets are a thing of the past. Growing up, my parents had children, not pets (although, we could have a lively discussion on whether or not the children were substitutes for pets? Another time, perhaps). We didn't have dogs or cats or fish or birds, save for the early years of less than five kids. My parents may have liked the chaos of a large family, but adding an animal to the mix was just taking things too far. I've never been fond of animals, either. I've never felt the need to nurture something that won't eventually grow up and move away. Plus, I don't enjoy cleaning up shit. (Side note: I've always been fascinated by the cats who use the toilet- and flush it!-rather than a litter box.)

5. I don't have to be cheap when it comes to coffee. I used to wander the grocery aisles, giving those small bags of Starbucks coffee a sideways glance as I reached for the monster bag of Eight O'Clock coffee I would take home. Who actually buys that? What kind of person spends so much on coffee beans? A rich person. Someone whose closest Starbucks is on the next corner, not 70 miles away, I'll bet. Yes, it was a bit of jealousy. But now that I'm only buying coffee for one, you bet your bippy I buy the good stuff, and its worth every penny. Plus, that little bag lasts me almost two weeks! And, there's the added bonus of never being faced with an empty pot when I finally get around to pouring my second cup; the pot is always just as full as when I poured the first cup.

6. "There is a place for everything, and everything should be in it's place." If I've heard this once during my lifetime, I've heard it a kajillion times. It was my mother's mantra on Saturday mornings as her small army of children would clean the house top to bottom before either receiving weekly allowances or being allowed to go anywhere or do anything. I, too, have adopted this mantra. The difference now is that I say it with an assured amount of smugness, because I know that no one has misplaced anything. Also along the mantra-from-my-mother lines, I no longer have to say "I guess if I want something done right, I have to do it myself." Oh, yes. That phrase came out of my mouth. Often. Now the only person I can rightfully say that to is myself.

7. I can smell good or bad. Like, my personal scent, not the aforementioned sense of smell. Sometimes, as my running friends will tell you, I have been known to run for 13 miles or more, drink beergaritas, and then head to the grocery store. Unshowered and still in my running clothes. Gross, I know; but taking a shower is something I'll do when I'm ready to relax, thankyouverymuch. And how can I relax when there's so much to do? I've been known to spritz on body spray before venturing out on errands, though, so I'm not a complete boor. My daily dressing routine involves actual perfume, though, and the scents I'm drawn to were not always appreciated in my former life. I have been hoarding a small, travel-size atomizer of one of my favorite scents- "Earth" by Gap - for years. I love it. It is no longer made, and the last time a 4 oz. bottle came up on eBay , it went for almost $300. In my former life, *someone* would complain about the scent, "It smells like soap." Um...and?! I certainly don't want to smell like baked goods or my grandmother. I no longer worry about pleasing someone else with my perfume choices. Or my hair, makeup, shoes, or clothing choices, for that matter. I look and smell pretty for me. And so my friends aren't embarrassed when we go out in public.

8. And speaking of exercise...I no longer endure eye-rolling and snarky comments muttered through disgusted sighs as I mention that I'm going for a run. Or going to work out. Or going for a bike ride. Or doing something, anything that could be considered exercise. I love that that is no longer a part of my life. I can't believe I allowed someone to make me feel guilty for indulging in activities that: one, keep me healthy; two, keep me trim; and three, keep me from going crazy.

9. I get the whole bed to myself. Let me explain: I enjoy cuddle time, sure, and I also like that sometimes cuddle time turns into *bow chicka wah wah*. But when it comes to sleeping, I would appreciate it if you could stay the fuck away from me. Its nothing personal. As with many things in our adult lives, we can trace origins back to our childhoods. This quirk is no exception. With nine children and two adults in one house, economy was key to sleeping quarters. And so, I shared a full-sized bed with a sibling until I entered high school. Then I got to switch to a solo twin, and it was totally rad. As I moved around for college and found a mate, sleeping together was just the thing to do. Every minute I spend with you is the best minute ever. *GAAAAGGGG*. In addition to recoiling from anything to do with my childhood, some of my OCD tendencies have to do with bedtime: the bedsheets must be crisp, clean, and the bed made with hospital corners. The bed must be made every day. If you are in the bed before me, DO NOT "warm up" my side of the bed, as I will then be forced to dream about ways to bring great bodily harm upon you. Do not try to cuddle with me, or spoon; I am trying to sleep. And lastly, every day that I wake up in my brand new queen-sized bed, I can't help thinking of a song by Phish that goes: "When you're here, I sleep lengthwise, and when you're gone I sleep diagonal in my bed."

10. I love embracing the realization that the only problems I need to worry about are my own. Other people's problems are NOT. MY. PROBLEMS. Through the magic of Facebook , I reconnected with a friend/boyfriend from high school a few years ago. We were both married and met for drinks when I was in his city for a work-related conference. We were talking about books that had changed our lives, and I suggested to him The Pecking Order by Dalton Conley , and he in turn recommended Codependent No More by Melody Beattie . Can you say eye opener? He was, at the time, going through a divorce, and shortly thereafter got a new girlfriend and stopped using Facebook. I haven't been able to meet up with him again to thank him. When we do meet up again, you can be sure that I will thank him, though, profusely.

Too often we let negativity and unfortunate circumstances bring us down, and its so unhealthy. I guess the reasoning behind this post is to remember to focus on the good. And smile, friends- the weekend is here! Make it a great one.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Today I Feel...

...discouraged. *sad face*

I know, I know, I know. I'm really trying to be optimistic about everything lately, but this one thing has got me down. And I feel a bit foolish for admitting to what constitutes vanity: I feel fat today.


There, I said it. You're probably asking yourself, "What? Did she gain 100 pounds lately? Did she stop running marathons and turn into a schlump?" No, on both counts. I have been training for my Spring marathon , and I've been eating only healthy foods with minor indulgences (like, the can of Coca Cola I downed in 2.4 seconds yesterday afternoon). But I still feel icky. Bloated. Too big to be considered fit. Unattractive. Regretting my haircut. Like a poser.

This will pass, I know. I know.

I will change into my running clothes after this is posted, run a good six miles or so, and the endorphins and attitude will sweep those thoughts away like dried up leaves on the sidewalk. The sun will shine. I will take a shower. I will reconsider purchasing diet pills and Slim-Fast at Walgreen's. I will feel confident and pretty, and remind myself that a very large percentage of people are so much worse off than I am: so dormant, so uninspired that similar feelings last all day for them. Every day, even.

But for right now, I am left thinking, "What am I doing wrong?!" I exercise. I eat healthily. I get plenty of sleep. The number on the scale goes nowhere. I don't think I'm overweight, per se, but if I could just drop ten pounds or so (or, better yet, the 10% of my body weight that They say will help stave off a buffet of diseases), I'd feel like I'm doing better. Like I have accomplished something. I can hear you muttering, "What?! Because running two or more marathons every year isn't enough under the accomplishments belt? Sheesh."

Let me have my insecurity with this one thing. Just for now, okay? Like I said, it'll pass. I'm just hoping that it'll take those last ten pounds with it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Power of Dreams

I'm not talking about dreams in the larger sense, like "I have a dream...", rather I'm talking about the kind you have when you're asleep (or, half-asleep).

Last night I had a dream that I was watching television and holding hands (and then snuggling...and then cuddling, lengthwise...but no further!) with Kyle MacLachlan . Huh? I mean, yes, I was slightly infatuated with him in Twin Peaks and also thought he was dreamy in Blue Velvet , but he's not on the same level as say... Derek Jeter or my all-time favorite, Paul Newman . So, what gives?

Usually, I take matters of the brain and subconscious to my friend, Tha Doctah. Like about a year or more ago when I had a similar dream involving a different guy (couch, television, and more than snuggling in this dream...*bow chicka wah wah*). What does it mean?!

Well, after remembering what Tha Doctah told me, and after considerable research on the matter (ha!), I've found out that dreaming about celebrities- especially being somewhat intimate with them- indicates your drive to be successful. And that being intimate with someone in general can mean that you're lacking something in your life. So, if you're being all lovey-dovey with someone you don't normally get all lovey-dovey with it can mean that you see this dream partner as someone compatible, or as someone who has qualities you admire in a partner. Huh.

So, what's up with that?! Well, I've been thinking about my job and the future lately, and I've been thinking about what kinds of things I am looking for in a partner, so it all makes sense.

Let me be clear, though: I know that I won't be hooking up with Paul Newman or Derek Jeter or Kyle MacLachlan anytime soon. Or that other Shall-Remain-Nameless Guy. But its all food for thought, right? It gives pause to all of those things you thought were truths about yourself, those things that you always thought were no-brainers: the "givens" of your daily existence. Like, its a given that I prefer dessert to an appetizer. Or, its a given that I'd rather take a vacation someplace warm. For me, at least, I end up asking myself: What if...?

Remain curious, friends. And if I end up in your dreams, let me hear about it, okay?