Friday, October 11, 2013

New News!

Friends! Long time no see. I think when we last left off, I was sticking my foot in my mouth and saying good bye to the lump and soon, a large portion of both the breasties. Yes, that’s where we were.
It’s been almost 3 months since I updated. I’ve been wicked busy. I went through with the breast reduction surgery. And I have a new job as of the last 4 months. And Jack played soccer for the first time on a challenge team and I’m still crying about it. And I’m running a half marathon this weekend in New Orleans. So yes, lots of ground to cover.

The reduction: For those of you that know me, this has been my dream since I was 18. To finally rid myself of the saddlebags that unattractively drooped to my belly button. To get rid of my excuse why I don’t run or wear bikinis, pretty bras or form fitting shirts. And it was totally worth it. The physical aspect of surgery was the hell on Earth you would think it was. I still feel like at any given moment my Frankensteinish seams will burst open and my insides will run all over the floor. There are parts of my skin that are totally numb. I actually pulled a string out of the side boob the other day. And I’m having phantom sweats under there. (Figure it out). It’s freaky and weird and I still feel like I’m looking at a stranger in the mirror. BUT, I’d take all of that plus a double hernia before I regretted the decision. It’s hands down the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.
What I would take back is the mental aspect of it. I expected to come out of surgery and be the happiest small chested girl in the world. I expected to look down at my tiny areolas and finally make my first shopping trip to Victoria’s Secret where I wasn’t just buying body lotion. Instead, the anesthesia and heavy meds made me a psychological mess for almost 2 months. I wasn’t myself. I was depressed, anxious and detached from the world. I’m going to spare you those details and proudly say that I’ve recovered, physically and emotionally, and I am walking taller, standing prouder, running fasterrrrrrrrright I’m totally kidding. But it was every bit as awesome as I hoped it would be.

New Chest New Job: (Totally inappropriate but it’s a good working title no?) Right before the initial lumpectomy in June, I landed a job. A real life grown-up working for someone I’m not related to job. And, it’s kind of a dream job. I’m working for a performing arts non-profit and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. I get to work with like-minded, free-thinking, talented, creative people and I think I may have actually found my niche on a professional level. Not to mention, I have acquired friends that I am shocked weren’t permanent fixtures in my life before.
I’ve written in the past that I’ve always let being a wife and mother define me. That it was my only purpose. And it’s a really good purpose. But adding this aspect to my life has made me a much more well-rounded person. It has helped me reconnect with the community and society that I’ve been so hesitant to be a part of. And it’s allowing me an opportunity to feed and nurture my creative side; the one that so many mothers tend to neglect. I’m grateful, proud, and extremely excited to follow this new path so I’m going to cease talking about it for fear that they will see what a donkey I am and recant.

Challenger Soccer: I have to talk about my kids for a minute. And if you don’t like it then – earmuffs. Charlie, 11 months old, is beautiful, eating solids and is the only one to laugh at all of my jokes. George, now 4, has taken a wife and named his 3 children and let me know that “even though you and daddy will go to heaven soon, I won’t be sad because I’ll have my own family to keep me happy.” Dude’s going to give a whole new meaning to the term starter wife. But in the mean time is teaching me to keep moving forward, because life will move with or without you.
And sweet Jack played his first ever game of team soccer last night.
Preface: I don’t want to offend anyone with my storytelling and depiction of how this went down. Some may find it offensive for which I am sorry. I of all people am sensitive to the sensitivity of families with special needs children. I was moved, touched, and inspired by this event and only wish to relay my experience and the impact a small game of soccer can have on a family.
Jonathan signed Jack up for Challenger soccer. And I was pissed. I’m over-protective of Jack. I know that. You don’t think I know that? I didn’t think he was ready. I thought it would be a disaster. For him and for me. But try we did.
I cried all the way to the soccer field. I tried very hard not to cry at the actual soccer field. Because you know what? People don’t want to see you cry when you look at their disabled child. But damn, I just couldn’t control my emotions on this night. To see so many kids and an even greater number of adults try so hard to do something that the 200 kids surrounding them were doing effortlessly was a beautifully sad and inspiring thing. I found myself looking around at the ‘typical’ children and families and it made me effing mad. Sad, angry and pissed off that while some parents were going to be mad that their child didn't score, I wanted to be sure that my child could stay in the confines of a 100 yard field and that he could understand not to take the ball away from someone in a wheelchair. I cannot begin to convey the perplexity of emotions that one goes through on an occasion like this. These are the moments that I dread; the moments when I am overcome with fear and desperation and utter sadness about his disorder. These moments where you want your child to have a resemblance of something normal but wonder what the cost will be. But you know if you can just hold on and make it through, then the reward will be worth it.
And it was. Jack played a game of soccer that night. He played with children and adults who had Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Autism; a variety of mental and physical disorders. There were many in wheelchairs and walkers. Many who were just happy to be on a team. But as the night went on, my fear and sadness slowly morphed into excitement and joy. And you stop seeing everyone’s disorders and disabilities and can enjoy and appreciate the night for what it is - kids and adults who were playing a game of soccer. Just like everybody else. Only when they scored or kicked, you cheered louder and harder, and for a very different reason. We left the soccer fields that night better people. Better parents, more appreciative and grateful than when we came. Jack changed too. It was a momentous occasion for all of us.
I’ve said numerous times that the one thing I’m thankful for in Jack’s disorder is the gift of perspective. Every small thing that Jack, George and Charlie do is celebrated. Nothing is taken for granted. No word or movement, no accomplishment goes unrecognized.
Postface: I don’t think typical children and their families should feel guilty for being able to do things that others can’t. On the contrary, I’m quite happy for you/them. My own brief feelings of bitterness are just that – my own and extremely brief. I only vocalize my emotions in the hopes of making others aware of the process for families like ours over simple things like soccer games, going to restaurants and birthday parties. The sooner society understands these disorders and the emotions surrounding them, the easier and less emotional these outings will be for us, our children and for you.

Running: Jack’s rather large feat this week will serve as my talisman as I run the Jazz half-marathon in New Orleans on Saturday. It will be the first half for my sister Sarah and the first race we’ve done together since the Gumtree. It’s also my first time in New Orleans. I heard they serve alcohol there.

I’m super excited but ill-prepared and under trained. But I'm fairly certain that I’ve yet to run a half marathon where I wasn’t both of those things. So here’s to consistency!

Am I nervous? Yes. Scared? No. If Charlie can pretend I'm the funniest person alive, if George can understand and appreciate the circle of life at the age of 4, and if Jack can rise above a disability and enjoy a game of soccer, then I can get off my fat ass and run a mile. Or 13.
I’ll do a race report and I promise to keep it shorter and less gross than reports in the past. Unless of course that the rumors are true and there is alcohol somewhere in that French Quarter place I keep hearing about. Then it might be a bit gross.

Quote of the Day:
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of It.” – Helen Keller
“I did it! I played the soccer!” – Jack Martin

Song of the Day:
Help! – The Beatles
The Firebird – Igor Stravinsky (One of Jack's first words was Firebird. It's his favorite)


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Detour. But thankfully not a Roadblock.

It's been a heck of a few weeks folks. June is busting out all over. Lots of info coming.
Two weeks ago, as a prerequisite for getting a breast reduction, I was sent for a routine mammogram. I went alone, relishing in the peace and quiet of being without children and not having to wear a burp cloth to spare my clothes. It was nice. I was sent into a dressing room to remove my top and put on a gown. As I got ready, I noticed a poster depicting the four stages of breast cancer. You see a small tumor in Stage 1. By stage 4, it looks like vines that have overtaken every node and and space in your breast, arm pit and chest. It was frightening. Hard to look at. It scared me.
I was called in for the mammogram. It was everything you think it is. Uncomfortable. Embarrassing. But necessary. I watched as the tech looked at the films before I would be released to get redressed. I saw her look at the screen, tilt her head and then began to chew her lip. I felt uneasy. She then asked me to stay in my gown and they were going to do an ultrasound. I thought, 'well what the H does that mean?' She left me in the room and I immediately picked up my phone to get some information. Big mistake. Don't ever do that when you're in the doctor's office with news that may or may not be worrisome.
I looked to the table and saw the People magazine with Angelina Jolie on the cover with the story "My Brave Decision", about her voluntary double mastectomy. And it hit me like a ton of bricks: Not oh my gosh I might have breast cancer, but oh my gosh, I brag about getting a breast reduction when there are women everywhere who don't have a choice in the matter. Women everyday lose their breasts in hopes of saving their life. I felt foolish, embarrassed, and like an ass for placing so much emphasis on hating my imperfect saggy boobs and counting down the days until I could lose them. I. Am. An. Ass. I sincerely apologize for my insensitivity.
After my ultrasound and after my loving husband came to my side, the doctor told us that there was indeed a mass, the size of a lemon, and that it would need to come out.
The first two things to cross my mind were 1) I need to clean my house, and 2) I need to make lots of frozen casseroles. Weird I know. Morbid, yes.
The next day the doctors had me an appointment with a surgeon. Which scared me even more because docs around here are notorious for not being in a hurry. I went in on Tuesday and he scheduled surgery for that Thursday. I can't tell you what we did for those two days. I thought about writing letters to my kids. I thought about all the things that I wanted to do. All the things that I regretted doing. All the people that were special to me, as well as people that I had wronged. All the women that I would refuse for Jon to marry, as well as a Maybe list. And then you push all that away. Because it's just a waste of time. And it makes you sad. And it's just too damn hard.
We went to the hospital on Thursday morning.
Comic relief: A nurse came in with an electric razor and said "I'm here to shave you."
I said "Wo, wo wo, we are working on the breast today, and no one should be going near anywhere that needs a razor."
"I know that honey but you'd be surprised just how many times we have to use this."
Sooo there's that bit of information. And to those women who have this problem, I am so very very sorry.
We waited for surgery for 5 hours. My mom and husband were in the room with me. I surprisingly didn't want to talk to them. I retreated, and for reasons unknown, found it hard to even look at them. It just made me want to cry. My emotions that day are hard to verbalize. I always say that this running/exercise/journey to peace is a mind over matter game. And the same is true for this. My mind would not allow me to go to that place of "what if" though it teetered on the edge of my consciousness just enough to feel the effects. It left me sad and angry and detached. And I know my family felt the same.
I didn't look at Jon or my mom until it was time to be wheeled away and all of a sudden I wanted to hold his hand and tell him thank you for what he's done for me over the past 8 years. How he saved me and made me happy and grateful and apologize for all the times that I seemed anything but.
I first went to a room where they inserted a wire into my breast in order to guide the surgeon. I laid on a table with a hole in it for my breast. Uncomfortable and cold, I got really scared. The nurses sensed it and did their best to put me at ease by asking about my children. That's when the tears came. And they didn't stop. They were extremely kind and understanding and said "Honey this always happens." One held my hand while the surgeon and other nurse talked me through it. They took more xrays and once they lifted me up, I saw it. I saw the xray and a clear picture of this thing in my body that is either absolutely not threatening, or could end my existence. So I cried some more. The nurse whispered "you're about to go to sleep honey and the tears will stop."
I was grateful when they did. I was grateful to slip away from that moment.
When I woke up, it was out. Everything went fine. I have a two inch scar that I was assured will be cut out during my reduction that is still scheduled for July 19. The surgeon showed Jon a picture of the tumor, which he described as looking like kryptonite. hfff. Boys. We waited two days on the pathology results.
And it is benign. Talk about waiting on a phone call.

So that part is over. I will take away from this experience.....many things which for one reason or another, I won't discuss. It feels too intimate. Too raw. I'll come back to this. I do want to say thank you to those of you who wrote, called, sent texts or food and prayers. I appreciated them all and felt the love. Thank you.

Good note: I was blessed beyond reason on Saturday morning to see a very dear friend, Maria Geno, cross the finish line in her first ever 5k. If you've never been a spectator in a race, you must do this. It is rewarding, inspiring, and leaves you feeling almost as good as if you ran the race yourself. To see people, especially someone you care deeply for, achieve a goal that at one time they thought impossible, is a rare, precious gift. I was proud to see her proud of herself. I cried tears of joy because I could see her joy and spirit in her tears. I knew what was going through her mind as she got closer: "I'm going to do it. I didn't think I could, but I did it. And it feels freaking fantastic!" There are few things as gratifying as crossing that first finish line. She'll remember it forever. And I'll remember it too.

And lastly, sadly, I watched a friend say goodbye to his long time partner this week. A tragic, sudden accident, and he is gone. At his celebration of life service, the recurring theme was the effect that he had on the world and the lives he touched. One of those souls who lit up a room and made you smile just by being in his presence. And after that beautiful service, and the precursors to the week, I am left with a sense of responsibility. To myself and to my family and friends. We are not promised tomorrow. We are not promised the next hour. All we have is right now. And all that we truly leave behind is how we made people feel.

In that waiting room, and upon my realization that I was being insensitive to my fellow women, I vowed to always try and think before I speak. I'm not referring to religious or political beliefs. Be who you are. Stand up for your rights and freedoms. I'm speaking in reference to people's emotions. Like use of the 'R' word and the 'N' word. Like when Jack couldn't speak at age 4 and people would complain to me about their kids not shutting up. Like when people complain about running or exercising and there are people who would give their teeth to be able to move at all. Like when people put random pics of someone up at the walmart on the FB to point out how ridiculous they look. People, most of you have 1000 friends. You don't think someone who sees that is not related to that person? How do you think it makes them feel? And listen, I know that I of all people am guilty of pissing people off with my words. I know the taste of my foot like the back of my hand because of all the times I've stuck my foot in my mouth. Am I saying we should all walk on eggshells? Maybe. But isn't that a small price to pay to spare someone the feeling of hurt or sadness or anger or depression?

I want to be remembered for making people feel happy. Or hopeful. I'll settle for just not making them sad. But after these last two weeks, that's my challenge to you and to me. What legacy do you want to leave? What will they say about you when you are no longer here?

Quote of the day- borrowed from the service honoring Martin Thomas: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

Songs of the day: Make Someone Happy - Jimmy Durante; The Reason - Hoobastank (I just can't get it out of my head this week, sorry. That and Miley Cyrus' The Climb but there's no chance in hell she gets a song of the day)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Revelations and the Missing Punchline

Now that we've recovered from the Disney trip and we are trying to adjust to summer break, (it's a blessing/ it sucks!) I wanted to post a short Disney recap for posterity.
This is us, plus my nephew Cole. And yes we are that family. If you come on vacay with us, you WILL wear a matching shirt. I only do it at Disney and while part of it is for safety reasons, I just like to do it. And I know secretly that the hubs and kids get just as much joy from it as I do. Right Jon?

This trip was full of revelations. The most important being Jack hates Disney world. Hates it. There are three things that he likes: swimming, animals, and the one playground that has a rope maze at MGM Studios. Yes I know the name has been changed to Hollywood Studios but I am a woman of nostalgia and tradition. In the past, he is content riding in the stroller and we could occasionally talk him onto a ride, although we always regretted it after. This time, there was no riding. There was no being content in a stroller. And the second time we pulled up to the Magic Kingdom and he screamed "please don't make me go in there again" I realized that our family trips, if there were to be any future ones, were going to be different. Jack did find moments of peace and happiness. Doing this:
Sitting on the balcony, with his iPad, looking for animals. So that's what we let him do. The $400 park ticket be damned.

The second revelation: George loves it. Absolutely loves it. He loves to ride, loves to be in the parks, and loves everything else that most nuerotypical children like to do. And I realized this was the first experience we've had like that. My parents watched Jack and Charlie for us one night and Jon and I took George to the parks late and did what I remember doing with my parents as a young kid; riding as many rides possible and having a blast and not having fear about a meltdown or over-stimulation or coaxing him out of a stroller into a line only to have to leave the line right before we get on the ride. And I realized that I spend the majority of my vacation in fear. Fear for Jack's comfort. And it sucks. Bad. That being said, it makes his good time even bigger and better and I'm more grateful for it. And it made our time with George so much sweeter. We were able to appreciate it more and see it as blessing and a precious memory to be made with just George. The days leading up to that night, I had decided that there would be no more trips for us to Disney world. I felt terribly guilty for taking Jack back to a place that was so traumatic for him purely out of my desire to hold on to my family's past with Disney. But that night I realized that we can compromise, just like we do at home, in our everyday lives. We find a balance with Jack and George and now, somehow, with Charlie. We will plan ahead more, divide our time more between parks and room and children. And we can create and enjoy these different moments of bliss with each child. And I'm excited. And grateful, still, for our times at Disney. And it still is and always will be, my happy place. 

Third revelation: For the first time ever after a Disney trip, thanks to Crossfit, I wasn't sore. And when I say I had a 6 month old strapped to my bosom? I mean I had a 6 month old strapped to my bosom from 8 am to around 9 or 10 pm with very few breaks in between. And I didn't need to crash for 2 days after. My back and legs weren't sore and I absolutely attribute that to being stronger through Crossfit. So that was cool. Even though I didn't run. And FYI, the punchline to my last blog post was going to be me in a selfie of me running at Disney. But alas it didn't happen and some of you got your panties in a wad because I hit a nerve. Relax! Take your selfies and be proud!

Where we are currently: I'm starting the 6 month training plan for the Galloway method. We are starting it June 1st for 2 reasons. After much deliberation, I've concluded that the Galloway method will be best suited for me. Secondly, I'll be taking a month off come July 19th because the boobs are coming off!!! To say that I'm excited would be an understatement that rivals that of Justin Bieber needing pec implants. We have a few races on the calendar but, I know me. I need structure and a calendar telling me when to run and how far. And I'm signing up for another month of Crossfit bootcamp with the women. I'm still intimidated by the muscle walking around that Crossfit place. But I'll work up to it. Eventually. Especially when I drop ten pounds of boobage. I'll be a beast! A beast I tell you!

PS I took a selfie of me at the plastic surgeon's office in that cute pink robe. But, but, it just felt too ridiculous to post. I'll work on it. In the mean time, let your freak flags fly people.

Quote of the Day: "We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all." - John Hughes

Song of the Day: "Freak Flag" - Shrek the Musical  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The train to Funkytown

Saturday May 18 @ 2:55. Coming to you live from Walt Disney World. The kids are napping and I finally have a moment to catch you up on the blog, the race, the life and to have a very large cocktail.

First up, the Gumtree 10k. The sister and I had a successful race, finishing at a respectable 1:15. Well I thought it was respectable and if you don't, well then, you're missing the point. We had a good, easy run. We laughed and talked about people, life, and the rising, perplexing fad of selfies. I'm not against it, I just don't get it. And I'm clearly in the minority by not being a fan. But It's no skin off my back though if you want to take a pic of yourself at an unflattering angle and post it to your social media, or heaven forbid while you're driving a 200 pound piece of machinery down a highway or even worse, in a bathroom mirror after you've just finished doing God knows what in that bathroom stall. But tomato, tomahto. We made some plans for future races and luckily or unluckily, didn't have to ask the cute cops for a ride home. Best moment of the day came when I got to place her medal around her neck. Her first 10k medal. We both cried- her because I think she was proud of herself, and me because I was super proud of her and for her and I remember how it felt to get that first medal; to do the thing you thought you couldn't do and get that reward and proof of accomplishment. It's an amazing feeling and I was so proud that she was able to experience it. I also cried because I realized that the only thing that could make running better for me, besides small boobs, is to do it with Sarah. And she's hooked! Which would be the best thing to ever happen for me and my motivation to run local races. And I think I talked her in to doing a half with me in New Orleans in the fall. Solidified by my loving husband's mothers day present to us both- to pay for it :) Did I mention I've never been to New Orleans? He might need to throw in a chaperone for that trip as well. Or at the very least a limited daily bar allowance.

Second topic: my mental state. Look, I haven't updated as frequently because honestly, I'm in a funk. A depressive, chop all my hair off and eat a Chinese buffet everyday funk. And I feel dishonest if I get on here and try to motivate or preach positivity when all I want to do is complain and try to sort thru my stuff while eating a box of Girl Scout cookies. And trust me when I say you don't want me to blog about it. But a big blessing came in a small package by way of a long lost friend, Kayla Steward Halls. Friends in middle and high school- I haven't seen her in probably 15 years. She found the blog and thankfully, wrote me on the FB. She reminded me that it happens to everybody. And eventually, "that funk train moves out." (Or in my case, that bitch of a thing Aunt Martha finally makes an appearance and your emotions eventually equalize.) So if I disappear for a while, just know I'm sorting it out, trying to keep myself away from the hair sheers and cookie aisle and saving my husband the embarrassment of publishing what really goes on in my brain every three weeks.

Lastly, I'm at Disney! My favorite place. It's our second day and already we have established that we will no longer force Jack to go to the Magic Kingdom, like, ever again, and we will for sure force George to take a nap, like everyday, to ensure that I don't send him to Disney day care. Good news is they love the pool and my motto still stands: a bad day at Disney is better than a good day at home. (Agree to disagree)

PS The three of you that read the 1st installment of this blog might remember the entry about me planning on doing the thing I make fun of people about doing but secretly wish I did, which is going for a run on vacation at Disney world. I mean, you're walking 2-3 miles a day. I'm doing it with a 5 month old strapped to my bosom. I'm burning calories. Why the H would I need to go for a run?
Answer: because that's what runners do. So I packed my shoes and run clothes. And going into day 3 of vacay, they are still, in fact, in the very same spot I packed them in. So that's my goal- just go for a run while I'm here. I can just imagine how proud I would be over something so insignificant. I'm gonna do it! Yeah, I wouldn't hold your breath.

PSS It is now Wednesday. I've returned home. I've unpacked. And my shoes and running clothes were, in fact, in the same spot I packed them in. So, middle finger up to that goal.

Quote of the day:
"The only way to get started is to stop talking and start doing." -Walt Disney

"The difference between a woman on her period and a terrorist is you can negotiate with a terrorist."- a wise but unknown source

Song of the day: "Funkytown" by Lipps Inc.

Sent from my iPad

Friday, May 10, 2013

My Girly Parts

Have you heard the new Bruno Mars song? "When I was Your Man"- I love it. It speaks to my girly parts. I'm speaking of course of my heart (get your mind out of the gutter). I love the tune and the melody, but the lyrics speak to me on an intimate level. Not because I have an ex out there who I secretly hope feels this way. Ok yeah I do, but the reason I love it is because it speaks to that part of me that hopes to have no regrets in the future. I have many regrets about my past. Some people say, "I have no regrets, you just learn from your mistakes." Quite frankly, I think they're full of shat. I don't want to look at my past failures or bad decisions fondly and turn them into a lovely blemish on the face of reality. They were and still are, a pain in my ass. But a pain that I welcome because it reminds me of where I've been and where I'm going and how to get there without ending up in therapy or rehab or jail or the doghouse. While I'm thankful and happy about where my life has led me in the present day, there are many things that I wish I had done differently. Things I wish I had done and not done at all.

I'm a vibrant, young 35. And by God I don't want to be 45 and think, 'man I really wish I would have gotten in shape when I was 35. Man, I really wish I wasn't still wearing maternity pants even though my youngest is 10. Man, I wish I could have kicked that donut and Mountain Dew habit.' And because I think about this daily, because I constantly tell myself that I don't want to be 45 or even 35 and a half and wish I had been able to do it, that today, May 10, I've been doing it for a month and a half. I'm in shape...err better shape, no maternity pants, and my lips haven't experienced the sweet ecstasy of a Shipley's anything in more than 2 menstrual cycles. I'm down 15 pounds, I'm planking without falling, and I've successfully trained for the gum tree without a doubt that I'll finish and finish strong. Tomorrow will be the first race that I wasn't scared of not finishing, and that feels freakin awesome. The only thing left to fear is the heat, the weather, and turning down drinks that are not water from my many peeps that will be lounging in their front yards on the course.

This race is kind of a big deal for me. It's only the second time I've run it. The first was 2010. I was depressed, overweight, and just lost. We were in the middle of dealing with Jack's many a diagnoses and George was 6 months old and I struggled with enjoying his time as a baby and analyzing his every move: how was his eye contact? his mobility? his facial expressions? It was a bittersweet time and I resented the fact that I couldn't fully enjoy the act of raising a newborn due to my fear and expectations of a disorder that I was just learning about. So when May rolled around, I decided one morning, on a whim, to register for the Gumtree. I hadn't been walking, much less running. But I needed to do something. Something to snap myself out of the black hole that I was inhabiting. I made the decision to do it pushing both the boys in the double stroller- for 2 reasons: to use them as my motivation and inspiration, and in the hopes that people would say "aww, look at her pushing her boys, it's ok that she came in last." (I didn't actually come in last. There were some sweet old ladies who had survived cancer together who walked across that finish line with me). But that day set forth in motion the long, sweet and sucky journey that led me to running half-marathons and blogging about the mess that is my life. So tomorrow will be a culmination of the last three years. I won't be afraid of not finishing. (I hope) I won't be afraid of running in the daylight where people can see me. I hope the cute cops on McCollough will cheer me on for that last mile. And to top it all off, I get to do it with my sister. My best friend. My mule.

SO when you hear that Bruno Mars song, think to yourself, "I'm gonna do all the things I should have done- in life". Screw the man. I bet he didn't give flowers or hold the hand of the next girlfriend either, dumbass. That's why you're the ex.

Quote of the Day: "A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams."- John Barrymore

Song of the Day: "Hurt" - Johnny Cash

Monday, April 29, 2013


Good things happened this past week, along with some very big firsts.

My family threw me a race-themed birthday party, complete with all my medals, race pics, and race quotes scattered around the kitchen. We feasted on grilled chicken and salad. I then did something I've never done: I had one piece of strawberry cake and we threw away the rest. It felt good, but don't think I wasn't contemplating pulling a George Costanza and digging it out of the garbage for a second go 'round.

Another first: I ran in the am as opposed to 10 at night. I got up at 5:30 and actually ran in the morning, watching the sun come up. It was a beautiful and enjoyable experience and I made progress on the whole phobia-of-running-where-people can-see-me thing. And it will come in handy in two weeks when the Gumtree gets here. More on that fear when the time comes.

I completed the first month of Kickstarter. My ending numbers were good. I shed a few pounds, a few inches from the mid-section, hips and thighs, and shaved off over a minute from my magic mile. I signed up for another month beginning this week and I'm looking forward to seeing more progress. I thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie and support received from the teachers and women in that group and it has absolutely helped keep me focused and motivated. We concluded with "Burpees for Boston" in the park where we did a burpee for each injured and five for each death. We rounded up to 200 and did it in teams. And I survived. And I was proud. And I couldn't walk the next day. But I was happy.

My husband and I got to see a Dave Matthews concert Saturday. The whole concert. Reminder: we went to a concert in Atlanta a few years ago. And due to the fact that we had children and I was breastfeeding, we made it to the concert that night just in time to see the ENCORE. It was awesome and we weren't pissed at all (sarcasm font). SO we redeemed ourselves and got there early and pretended to be 21 again and I laughed at all the women wearing heels in the mud.

See? Me laughing at all the women wearing heels in the mud, and double fisting my......water. Yeah that's water with limes. I was really thirsty :)

We also celebrated a huge accomplishment for Jack, my six year old. As many of you know, my Jack is autistic. And sweet and kind and quirky and cool. At the beginning of this school year, Jack still couldn't write. He couldn't draw or color. He couldn't even hold a crayon or pencil with enough force to do anything. But after much work with his teachers, Jack learned to draw. He learned to color. And his artwork was displayed at the Gumtree Art Museum this week. I can't begin to express the amount of gratitude and pride I have. Jack continues to amaze and inspire me by learning to do the very things that he at some point, could not do.

We also had a field trip with Jack's class this week that I was blessed with being able to attend. His class, a special education class, went to a farm. Now I say this with the utmost respect and sensitivity to the issue as possible: everyone should be able to experience a day with special needs children. It will inspire you, give you perspective, and help you to see the joy and beauty in life and will make your problems seem so miniscule and trivial that you will feel guilty for ever complaining about anything. You don't want to exercise or run? Remember there are children who will never get the choice. You want to use your words to hurt someone or complain? Remember there are children with no voice, no ability to communicate their thoughts. You want to be grumpy? Remember, there are children who find the greatest joy by being outside, by petting a dog, or by simply being in the company of those that are different as well as similar to them. You don't want to support someone? I had the honor of experiencing a group of special needs children cheer and clap each time one of their classmates was able to sit atop a horse. These children can teach you everything you need to know in life: what's important, what's not important and how to live life to the fullest.

Do something this week to honor those in the world who can't. We owe it to them and to ourselves.

Quote of the day:
“It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view.” - George Eliot
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” - Abraham Lincoln

Song of the day:
"Always Look on the Bright Side of Life"- Monty Python- seriously go read the lyrics

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

For Boston and the Sport

True story. During my first half marathon at Disney, I rounded the corner of mile 5 and took a walk break. I saw a woman in the crowd, a spectator by herself, and she yelled at me "what are you doing Lisa? You didn't come here to walk did you? Get moving!" Two things immediately went through my head: how do you know my name, and why the hell are you yelling at me? I stopped right in front of her. She put her hands on my shoulders and said "this is what you came here for! Run girl, you're doing great!" I high-fived her and I ran faster.

Another true story. At mile 6 of that same race, I got behind a fellow runner. She had a certifiable marathoner's body. Beautiful, long, and lean. A body that you mostly saw way ahead of my pack. And I noticed she was coughing. Coughing blood. And that's when I noticed that she was bald under her running cap. She was suffering from something terrible. Something I assumed to be cancer. She bowed out right before we reached the Magic Kingdom. I cried. Hard. Then a stranger yelled "Don't cry Lisa, you made it to the Magic Kingdom!" I cried harder and ran faster.

I then realized that's why they put your name on your bib. So spectators can cheer for you. People you don't know, who line the race route to cheer for their loved ones also cheer for everyone else in the race. It's a beautiful beautiful thing.

During that race, and every race since, I have been inspired by the circumstances of people that surround me. I've seen a couple running with t-shirts that say "We are running in memory of our Anna" with a picture of a beautiful toddler whose life was cut short by leukemia. I met a young couple who had written on their legs in markers "We are running in honor of our son with autism." I bonded with those people for a mile and we left each other in shared tears of pride, sorrow, and a renewed desire to succeed for our afflicted children. I've seen groups of women holding hands and crying, and while not knowing their exact reasoning, I was moved by their solidarity. I am brought almost to my knees whenever I see a runner in a wheelchair, some peddling with their arms because they are amputees.

Everywhere you look you see stories of inspiration, loss and triumph. And this, quite simply stated, is the universal reason why people run races. Races celebrate the best of people. Whether its reaching goals, raising money for a good cause, running in honor or memory of someone; everyone has a story and a reason. And everyone has spectators cheering them on. Strangers and loved ones alike celebrate this trial with the runner. It's part of the magic and romance of a long distance race. 

And this, this is the beauty that someone tried to kill on Monday. They didn't try to kill the people. The way the bombs were made they were meant to injure, to maim,and in a horrific twist of irony, meant to sever limbs. They set out to kill the human spirit. And to kill the beauty and majesty of the marathon. 

But much like 9/11, these disasters thankfully have the opposite effect. We do indeed mourn the tragic loss of life. But terrorists haven't figured out that these acts cause a surge of spirit and patriotism and a renewed sense of strength and passion for the very thing they try to destroy. 

I've always respected and admired the tenacity, drive and dedication of a runner. It's part of the reason why I want to be one when I grow up. Runners have to carry a constant level of discipline that you know carries over into every other aspect of their lives. I found it oddly inspiring to see runners so close to the explosion still cross the finish line and reach down to tap their garmin. That's dedication I thought. That's love and respect for the sport. A sport that will carry on and triumph through life and adversity and way past 26.2 miles. 

Quote of the Day: "And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin' to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take... OUR FREEDOM!"- William Wallace in Braveheart

Song of the Day: 
"Carry on" - FUN 
"Sweet Caroline" - Neil Diamond -->Go Red Sox!