Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Silent Snow

Last Thursday, a light snow blanketed the area which contributed to a slower go in the morning.  Everything about that day got off on the wrong foot; my insides were on fire.  In an effort to calm down, my 3 year old Allison and I talked about finding our focus for the day.  We talked about the properties of snow — fluffy, cold, silent, and 'snow' (Alli's Captain Obvious description).  I took the word 'cold' literally to heart and tried to breath in the flakes, cooling my fiery disposition.  We then shifted our focus to the word 'silent'.  When falling, snow does not make a sound, much like rain.  I proclaimed that our focus for the day would be the silencing of the fire inside.  Together, Alli and I breathed deeply.  I sat taller in the driver's seat and released my grip on the steering wheel.  Today would be a great day.
And I was tried.  Tried by those around me and the silly decisions they stood by.  I continued to grapple with road block after road block trying to make sense out of the bumps in the way.  Mid-day, I threw in the towel past a faint memory of my silence.  The fire returned; nothing but time settled the glowing embers. 
Yesterday morning, I was again, faced with snow.  This time, I met my match head-on.  
My chest cold fought for domination, but I knew the fresh air and a decent run would help ease the pain.  I checked the temperature before rolling out of bed at 4:30 - yup, it's cold, twenty degrees cold with an even colder real-feel.  My car warmed up and I suited up.  A few sips of water, a cough drop and ten minutes later, I drove to our meet up.  
Our shoes supported by Yaktrax, we three hit the streets' packed snow on our route.  We talked for some time; I, mainly, distracted by the landscape.  Most of the homes maintained their overnight silence, undisturbed by the approach of morning.  I felt like a bandit streaking through the night, waking the homes and stealing their paths of freshly fallen snow.  The path slightly curved to the left up a short hill, before leveling out to a route lined with street lamps.  The glow bounced off the snow creating the illusion of a diamond lined street.  It was here, at this point in time, that I heard the silence of falling snow.  A calm fell over me.  My body, warm, accepted the serene moments that followed our steps through the remainder of the journey.  
I did not want the time to end, realizing that if I had the focus, it would last forever.  

Saturday, January 17, 2015

It Just Goes to Show...

So, I'm a Girl Scout Cookie Mom.  Yup, go ahead - have a laugh.  I'll be waiting here when you get back.

And we're back.

Today we juggled a birthday party and our first cookie booth in a beer distributor.  Yes, we booked the troop to sell cookies in the lobby of a beer distributor; council approved, of course.  I wanted to hand out recommended beer/cookie pairings, but I guess it wouldn't be appropriate for our little ones to be endorsing alcohol consumption.  Riiiiiiight.  Overall, the girls did a good job selling cookies and using their manners.  I only felt like slamming a few beers a handful of times; and, I don't drink beer.

Ava started to melt before I.  We were both hungry, had to pee and just wanted to sit the hell down.  I fashioned a makeshift chair for her out of two empty cookie boxes.  She plunked her tired little frame down like a sack of potatoes and hung her head in her hands.  I continued to stand with my right leg over my left trying to breathe through the urge.  Just before the end of our three hour stint, the rest of our family helped pack everything away to make room for the next troop.
Ava worked hard; she was grumpy and tired.  I did not have a plan for dinner (other than take out), so we gave Ava the choice.  "If you could get take out from anywhere, what would you like."  (Please don't say McDonalds; Please don't say McDonalds; Please don't say McDonalds.)  "MCDONALDS!"
Fast food and I go way back.  Point blank: I don't eat the shit.
Wellllllll, I will eat a salad from Chick-Fil-A.  But other than that, no way, Jose.
When I was pregnant with Ava in '07/'08 I breathed for Burger King.  I ate Whopper Juniors like it was my job.  I had a side gig as a fitness instructor and lived a double life ingesting fast food.  Fast forward 9 months and 60+ pounds later - I was a miserable bloated human being.  I promised I'd never do that to myself.  I have also read so many books about fast food manufacturing that I could vomit recalling the scenarios.
I might have taken Ava to McDonalds at 9 months on our way back from Tennessee.  We needed to stop somewhere and that was the best place (?); yes, that really is a question.
So, tonight, both girls really wanted to go, so I sucked it up and went.

I immediately stressed out.  I turned off the radio and requested silence in the car.  I asked Marcus to help me out if I said anything wrong to the drive through attendant.  I swung around the little curve, stressing about my unfamiliarity with the menu.  Salads; where are the salads?  In true fast food fashion, the salad menu was the smallest section, hanging out on the bottom right hand of the electronic trifold.  I, very slowly, ordered the food, almost ending every fragmented sentence with a question.  I was out of my element.  Paranoia set in as I envisioned cars piling up behind mine; irate drivers hanging out their windows, in line to feed their greasy cravings, like the drug that it is.  After finishing the order, I pulled around the horseshoe to pay at the first window and then made my way to the food chute.  The window slid open and bags of food were rapidly firing into my hands.  In a matter of 60 seconds I had everything.  I pulled away from the building still sweating a little.  Of course, the hubbs made fun of me while we envisioned the local road runner's club taking an impromptu group run through the parking lot of McDonalds.  Yea, I was kinda paranoid that I would be seen.

Sticking with the Parents of the Year mojo, we planted the little beauties in frot of the TV and served their dinner.  Damn, McDonalds forgot their dipping sauces.  Ugh.  Well played.  I pulled my Southwest Salad out of the crispy bag only to observe wilted lettuce lazily supporting a few slices of grilled 'chicken' among a few black beans, ten corn kernels and 1/4 lime.  Thankfully, my dressing was not forgotten.  I drizzled half on the salad and put the lid back on to give it a good shake.  Excited about a squeeze of fresh lime, I grabbed the wedge and went to give it a squeeze when it snapped out from between my fingers, sliding across the kitchen floor.  It just goes to show...I wasn't meant to eat at McDonalds.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Monday's Motivational Magnets

I find a lot of irony in today's world when it comes to little pieces of happiness.  For example, I would think that motivation is reborn from actions or spoken words — perhaps not from seeing a quote on a magnet or a picture on the Internet.  Nevertheless, the uplifting images or the inspirational sayings plastered on websites such as Pinterest speak to the masses.  I'm guilty of 'pinning' those after a short reflection almost never to see them again.  Except for two...

In 2011, I ran my 1st marathon.  The way in which I organized the race and had my team rally around/for me, I feel, inspired people.  I know personal stories in which lives were changed that day, certainly, mine being one of them.  I honestly can't remember the timing, but I received a card from a friend sometime shortly before or after my race.  The words in that card (saved in a box) warmed my heart, but the magnet inside resonates to this day.

This magnet lives on my refrigerator.  I see it multiple times in a day.  There are a lot of commands in this 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 square.  I certainly do not follow its direction in entirety every day, but in the morning I give it a read while trying to hold on to one piece that will carry me forward.  At the end of the day, usually when packing away dinner or reaching for that bottle of 'Orchata, I'll glance again for a split second to reflect on a moment, situation, or time in which I did one of those things.

Last week was the first full week I worked since pre-Christmas.  The girls went back to school and I jumped back into the work inferno.  We had a rough-go for a Monday.  Ava, all bundled up, came to me for a hug before going out to the bus stop with the hubbs.  I hugged her tight and kissed the top of her fluffy hat (cue fuzzies sticking to my lip gloss).  I pulled away and said, "Ava, be your best today."  She affirmatively responded with, "Mommy, I'm my best every day."  Yup, she blew that magnet out of the water.
So, starting today, be your best.
Be compassionate.
Be strong.
Be human.

We are on the same team, playing the game of Life.
"Live as if this is all there is."

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Religion and Stuff

So, I've been working on a post for a few days with no satisfaction.  I honestly think its crap.  I'm trying to put a 'Recovering Catholic' spin on the Pope's suggested new year resolutions, however, the content is failing miserably.  I might leave the post in draft format forever.  When I die, perhaps it'll be released as a special edition long lost post...my voice from the grave.  Ha.  Not sure who has the last laugh on that one — probably you.  

Ironically,  I stumbled upon this Oatmeal comic today: How to Suck at Your Religion, which was first published in 2012.  But, in true American fashion, a group got offended and published this masterpiece that I, honestly, did not read in its entirety.  I found more humor in reading the comments.  

Clearly, this post isn't about anything, but I felt that the above links were good enough to share.  


Thursday, January 1, 2015

That About Sums It Up

I missed the stroke of midnight.  The kids, too, tried their darnedest to make it.  We both crumbled under the pressure of our tired bodies.  The girls woke early this morning to watch the recorded NYC festivities while I sat by drinking my first cup of coffee in the new year.

With each flip of the calendar, I am presented with sadness and hope.  Oftentimes the remembrance of times past, people past, overwhelm me emotionally, but the positive outlook for the future keeps me in check.  2014 was not a bad year, so I'm not ready to submit a 'good riddance' command.  I do look forward to what the next 12 months will bring — only the strong survive.

I ended yesterday afternoon closing the final chapter of Dr. George Sheehan's Running & Being: The Total Experience.  The book was originally published in 1978; I picked up the 20th anniversary edition sometime this summer.  It took me some time to get through the pages only for reasons related to my poor time management.  I made a silent commitment to finish this book by the end of 2014.

I turned the page on the final chapter close to 4 pm yesterday.  I related to so many themes and feelings in the previous pages, but none would hit me as hard as chapter 18.  What Sheehan wrote wasn't necessarily right, but it summed up most of what goes on in my head.  I closed the book with tears streaming down my face.

Cheers to hope, happiness and most of all, health in 2015!!

"My heart will be restless until it finds its final rest."
~ Dr. George Sheehan