Thursday, June 21, 2012

New Orleans Valentine's Gift

A few years ago in February I went to New Orleans to run the marathon.  There were five of us.

On February 14 we were in a ward in a scary part of town and stopping to see if I could find a duffel bag to carry back some free shirts I got for Bel Inizio.  I left the car and was walking down the sidewalk towards the dollar store acting as comfortable I could be as a white tourist in a very dark black poor part of town. So far that had not been a problem. Maybe I am naive and certainly am trusting but there really is not much to mug in my world.

Anyway, a man rushes across the street towards me. Old, white, unshaven, dirty clothes, and comes right at me. But not in a scary way. Or not in a way that I was scared.  He gets right up to me and without looking, pushes a package in my hand and says "Happy Valentine's Day" and walks on.  By the time I got my balance he was half way down the block.  It was little red box about the size of a deck of cards. Unopened. It had red and pink hearts on it.

I felt like the gift giver was an angel.  A homeless, smelly, angel that Tom sent. And maybe Tom sent the angel so I would know he loved me and missed me and that is was ok to talk to the old dirty homeless guys on the street.

The Valentine box was never opened (even in my worst chocolate cravings) and sat on my dresser where I looked at it every day.

Last night, Jakethevildog found the box. Why he would suddenly find it after all this time I  have no idea. Clearly having no respect for homeless angels, ruined New Orleans, and Tom's touch, he chowed down. When I found it I was so sad I could barely beat the crap out of him. But I managed.  And in a few minutes, after lunch settles, I am going to have a chocolate.  It is an old chocolate now, from new Orleans, from an angel/man I will never know, that has dog slobber on it. And I will thank Tom for his gift, get out the scotch tape, and place it up higher on a shelf.

Monday, June 18, 2012

2 steps forward 1 step back

This was an amazing long weekend for friends. Thursday one friend agreed to select Bel Inizio as her Reason2Race and started getting set up to do the Jailbreak Race in October. On Saturday I hung out with four very cool women and we celebrated a recent wedding with massages, wine, and lots of laughter. Late afternoon another friend made it possible for me to get the best salmon I have ever, ever eaten.  14 lbs of it. That night two neighbors came over and helped me jump start my car and actually keep it running.

Sunday I had a great run with my two loyal mutts waiting at home, helped stuff packets and met some interesting people and supported one of the biggest supporters of Bel Inizio. The night ended with a delicious Fathers Day dinner and yet another friend hanging out with us.

In the middle of that had two great and long phone calls and even got a cool card in the mail.

But here is the weird thing.  Last Monday night I sent a text asking someone for help.  I needed the help on Sunday, almost a week away. It was help I really needed. I never got an answer.  Not ever. Not when we saw each other once during the week. Not even when we emailed twice.  Just never acknowledged.  Just ignored.  Not forgotten, just ignored.  And it is really bugging me.

I won't do anything about it, I won't bring it up, and even when I think about all the love I gave and received all long weekend long it still really bugs me.

It is like having 5 pounds of ugly fat you can't lose. Or really hate but are unwilling to lose. (Somehow there is an analogy in there).

But now that I have put this out into the universe for everyone to see, and I realize how petty I am, I am going to let it go a least by morning....

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pushing a car

This morning I am almost at work and almost on time after a hugely hard upper body workout that made me want to vomit and left me shaking.  (The whole time I drove home and cleaned up I kept feeling my forehead for a fever.  Surely I could figure out a reason to go back to bed. No luck).

Anyway I'm all dressed up in my heels and new white fake silk shell and snappy black dress pants and I see this guy trying to push a truck into a gas station. There is an old woman in the driver's spot. So I keep going as I always do convinced some big muscle guy is going to stop and help.  And then like I always do I turn around to make sure. And then like always happens no one does.  So I pull over, get out of the car, and start pushing.  In my white fake silk shell, snappy black dress pants and heels. 

And we push and push and she gets the truck to the pump and I leave. And I am so glad I had some muscles to help. And I wonder how anyone, ever, could keep driving by. That thought makes me sad.  But then I am double glad that I wore my white fake silk shell and snappy black dress pants and heels today because at least I looked buff pushing a truck with an old woman in the driver's seat into a gas station.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Getting beyond the crashing waves

Ok it is happening again.  It sort of feels like that point in the ocean when you are trying to get beyond the breaking waves but you are stuck at the part where they just keep hitting you in the face and making you snort salt water.  You can turn your back but then you can't move forward.  You can dive under but chances are you will come up in the same spot with the water hitting you smack in the face.

It is Monday and I accomplished so much over the weekend.  But not enough.  I am cooking my lunch at 7 am instead of walking the dogs and have no fruit in the house. I have an intern that is bugging the crap out of me this morning and Ican feel myself getting impatient.  I have so much to do and there is not one since thing in the entire pile I want to get to.  I have no busy work (except this blog) to distract me.

I want to go and leave and run and run and run and then maybe I can focus.  I have to work on the Humana grant and I hate it. And I feel fat as a house since I did not exercise Sunday. 

So with all the logic of myself I decide to:
1. avoid work and blog (clearly a good choice)
2. eat crap food so that I will be happy (or not most probably)
3. rinse and repeat and throw in looking at Facebook

Or I could work on Bel Inizio. That should be fun but it is not.  Another wave just crashed.

In my heart I know my "stuff" is not worse or even as bad as other people's I just don't know how other people keep moving forward.  They must have a way because otherwise nothing in this world would get done. Give it up all you successful robotoms!

Ok break to look at Facebook. Wonderful loves, great kids, spiritual breakthroughs, positive outlooks, bootstrap stories, and pithy quotes. Post from Theresa: Quit lying and go back to bed like the rest of wish we could do. Or share your rose colored glasses.

But wait!  Its showtime!  Put on the happy face. Love life.  Cheers to all! Or if all else fails just get back to work. Yummy.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

So a while back I decided that I was losing fitness faster than I could gain it so I hired a trainer.  This is a guy that I met through Cherita at Bel Inizio.  He is very good.  But interestingly enough, the more I work out and see results the more wierd I am getting about my body. Or maybe the more insecure I am getting overall.

Before, I could go to the park after work, run in a circle and go home. Nicely invisible. Oh no says Calvin.  You have to do agility, and speed work, and stretching.

Yesterday I had to start doing these agility exercises before my speed work (I use the term loosely).  So I brought my yoga mat to the track and set in the grass and did my push ups, squats, gorilla jumps, lunges, planks, sit ups, and about five other exercises. And I was dying the entire time. Everyone was staring at me.

Ok, it is certain that if the police came and interviewed everyone at the little track last night they would not be able to pick my face, body, or outfit from a line up ... but I kept thinking everyone was looking at me. Sort of the way I look at the tai chi people. 

I don't look worse than others and certainly not better.  My mat is gray and my outfit is black.  Short of wearing camo I am fairly invisible, but it really shook my confidence just being in the middle of a field sweating and panting all by myself.

But then I started speed work. In my dreams I can do a 2 minute quarter mile.  More realistically I can do a 2:10 and it is ugly. I walk a 1/4 and run a 1/4 until I reach 3 miles. The whole time I was running I had to pretend -- honest to God-- I was a skinny black Kenyan guy running for the gold. That is a trick that I must use being a person of a certain age, gender, and skin color. I completed the work out while everyone stared at the white, middle-aged female Kenyan boy.  And then had to stretch for 10 minutes. I should have sold tickets.

Ok, again, no one was watching me but I am so freaked out that I was so freaked out. I wonder where the 'I don't give a flip what any one thinks about me' person went.    I've never been the 'whatta you lookin at' person (sober) but I have gone so far the opposite direction it is unsettling. Luckily I had music blaring in my ears (white, middle-aged female Kenyan boy music) so I could fake it.

Anyway if you see who I used to be, let me know.  I'll sit and watch her like I watch the people doing tai chi.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I just got an email from Nicole about the blog and realized I had not posted in a long time and I think it is because I have nothing to say.

When Tom first died I cried and cried in fear of forgetting. And now I am. And I was afraid of losing, and now I am. And I was afraid of being alone, and I am. Tom's car is dying, his office is changing, and my memory is slipping.

There is someone who is out there that wants to tell me that is ok. Time moves on. Memory fades to reduce pain, cars die of old age, and there is no sense in keeping a 50 foot shrine in an air conditioned room in the house. It is my wish to kick all those people very hard in a place that bruises and bleeds. I am tired down to my bones and it is not going away.

This morning I managed to put sheets on the bed. Don't ask how long I have been sleeping without them.

At a wedding this weekend a guy hit on me. He was old (my age), and had a big belly, and an ex-wife and an 18-year old son who he is kicking out of the house. It is unbelievable to me I can't go home and tell Tom about this funny guy.

 Apparently I am rambling. I have nothing to say.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


There are a lot of things I have taken for granted in the past and probably still do now. But one thing I have always really valued is touch. Tom and I touched a lot. Intimately of course, but also passing each other in the hall, or sitting at the table, or just moving around the house. And in bed sleeping. I don't think we were ever within 5 feet of each other without a touch happening every few minutes.

I still get touched. My mom or dad hugs me, basic contact with the ladies at Bel Inizio, hand shakes or pats with other athletes. But it is not the same. And the difference is not because Tom and were married or in love or very familiar with each other. It was the intimate of a man. Guys touch different even if you are not sleeping with them. The hand is bigger or the movement stronger, or the grasp firmer. It is more like touch with intent, than touch as a byproduct.

What is so cool is the firm guidance of hand on your back as a door is opened for you by a guy you know. Or a hand reaching to help you up. It is the touch that dies in a bad marriage or sparks in a new relationship or reassures with a friend.

These days touch is scary. People don't touch because someone will go to HR and complain or get offended or read way too much into it. And in all of it it is easy to forget how wonderful it is to lose yourself in a long, deep hug, or to just have someone rub your shoulders.

Will smile for touch.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Food was very easy way back when. Oatmeal for breakfast, Lean Cuisine for lunch, and at 5 pm the daily call of "Hey babe, what's for dinner?" That would result in cold cereal, fast food, pizza, or Chinese. It was a fine situation although at times, embarrassing.

At one point we (T&T) got on a kick of no sauce on our pizza. That lasted a few months and then we decided to have sauce one night. I placed the order and got a call back from the pizza place owner within minutes confirming our order. He had it memorized and wanted to know if we had made a mistake.

Then, a few years ago I quit eating. Not completely of course but really cutting back. It started when Nicole was here and we doing 12 hour shifts at the hospital. She found a company that would deliver food to me at home. She put me on a 1,400 calorie package, a total of 3 meals a day. But I misread the labels and thought each meal was 1,400 calories. So I ate only about one of the meals each day. I got used to being hungry and when you mix that in with very little sleep, trouble at work, and a dying husband it just became part of the package. When Tom died and Nicole left I never really got back on the food bandwagon.

I really do feel sick when I don't eat enough and usually have dry heaves on my runs. But I feel way worse when I am full and when I go over the deep end (see previous post about eating a box of girl scout cookies) I become significantly unhappy physically and emotionally.

So now I am trying real hard to eat my specified 6 small meals a day. I have about one good day a week. A good day is when I actually eat all my food. A normal day is when I get about 3 meals in usually all before 1:30 pm. A bad day is when I eat breakfast, forget about all the other food, feel like crap, work out and then disappoint myself and my coach.

There are lots of reasons a therapist might say I behave like this. Perhaps I am reflecting the emptiness in my heart into my body (how freakin melodramatic is that?). Maybe I still believe that if you don't eat and work out a lot you get thin (man could I catch some crap on that one). Maybe I am lazy and distracted and cannot prioritize what is good for me (unlikely as I sure manage to fit my workouts in). Maybe this the area of challenge God has given me to overcome (Now I am cracking up. I have not succeeded in the last 678,879.03 challenges He has given me - I’m thinking success on this one would be a poor bet). Maybe I can starve myself to death (No way, that would mean giving up my critical glass of wine a night).

So I set my alarm to remind me, have a lovely snack at 10:30 am (1/2 c nonfat yogurt, 1/2 c fruit, 3 graham cracker squares, and 1 soy sausage) and promise to eat again in 2 hours.

And now as I read this I realize how completely all-about-me I am and I am sorry. How lucky I have a limited (and hopefully nonjudgmental) reader base.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

President's Day

Tom and I had our first date on President's Day. Can't recall, maybe 1992 or so? He had me over for dinner in his apartment. I was a nervous wreck and so was he. In retrospect we were so much of what we are. He served me in wine in his grandmother's wine glasses. It was the only time we ever used them. We watched a recorded Paul McCartney Concert on tv. I never watched a concert show again. He loved those glasses and I really dislike concert tv shows.

That night he told me if I was not careful he would have me married with a white picket fence before I could blink. My stomach fluttered. The marriage was delayed for seven years until we became engaged on Valentine's Day in 1999 (my fault). The picket fence never happened (my luck - I would have had to paint it).

It was actually quite a golden time.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day 2012

Hi Tom,
Just so we are clear, today really sucks. I work up at 3 am and did not go back to sleep after dreaming that you were in prison and all you wanted was a giant poster of a big booby woman to put on your ceiling. Oh yes, and double sided tape to hang it up.

Then I went and worked out and was as weak as a limp celery. Then I lost my phone and discovered I left it across town. And then I ate (I swear) an entire box of girl scout cookies and it is only 10:09. I want to vomit and go back to bed.

What I am learning about myself is that I have an amazing capacity for self-pity (see above), destructive behavior (see above), and fitting in a bunch of crap before most people wake up (see above yet again). Oh yes, and I can blame you for almost everything. It is with apologies and love that I wish you Happy V Day and hope to see you soon.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Almost 3 years

It has been almost 3 years and things are improving. These are things that are not improving:

  1. I was practicing using a nail gun and accidentally nailed the 2x4 to the hard wood floor. Luckily I had a pry bar and wood putty handy.

  2. I was at a stop light and decided I needed a new hole in my shoes strap to tighten the buckle. Using a handy corkscrew (that says something) I made the hole in the fake leather and right into my finger spurting blood everywhere. Luckily it was a long light.

  3. Nights and weekends remain exceptionally long. They are jam packed (or is it jamb packed?) but still manage to really drag out. Luckily I manage to exhaust myself almost daily so can get to sleep.

  4. My dogs shed like crazy. Luckily I no longer have to set a good example of order or cleanliness for anyone else.

I have such a good life (except for nail guns, bleeding, extra time, and dog hair) but I can't seem to get out from under my cloud (missing my sunshine).

I've heard that time and cheesecake heal all wounds. I'm looking forward to both.