Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015: Epicness epitomized

2015 was a most excellent year for sure.

Some things changed: I got married. My parents got divorced. Mozzie moved in with his canine BFF Dewey and I moved in with my human BFF Pete. We bought a new house. I gained a stepdaughter. And a step-granddaughter. I turned 34. I wrote an eBook just because I felt like it.

Some things stayed the same: There was a lot of running, adventuring, hugging and sugar consumption.

Sometimes the happy things were also sad and the sad things were also happy.

I don't have enough words to adequately explain the weird and wonderful whirlwind that was 2015. All I can do is thank you for filling my year with awesomeness. And then throw down some evidence of said awesomeness:


Running
 
 

 
 

 
 
 
Climbing



 


 

 
 
Traveling
 
 
 
 
 
Working hard at 5am
 

 
 
 
Getting married
 
 
 
 
 
Hugging all the bears








Without a doubt this was my best year yet. And if I'm living my life right, I'll be able to say that about each subsequent year I'm fortunate enough to be alive.

Lyric of the moment: "Say everything you've always wanted. Be not afraid of who you really are. Cause in the end we have each other. And that's at least one thing worth living for..." ~A Great Big World "This Is The New Year"

Monday, December 28, 2015

This is Robot Christmas

To be honest, I don't care about Christmas. I'm not religious. Or particularly into shopping. And especially not into being stressed out about buying things no one needs just because...Capitalism! I'd rather run by the trees than cut one down, display it in our house for a couple of weeks then throw it away, leaving a sad (and exasperatingly ubiquitous!) trail of pine needles. But these are not the kind of things you can say out loud, unless you want to get that what are you, some kind of robot? look. Don't get me wrong, holidays are pretty sweet. I think we should totally have more holidays. I just think spending lots of money on gifts and decorations is sort of missing the point. I think Christmas is about a different kind of generosity, that of the heart and spirit.

Sometimes life is hard, sometimes winter is long. The time we have together is not enough. It's just not. Everyone departs too soon. That is life. So we have to make the most of our limited time here. That is the point of holidays. That is the point of everything. To be with each other and take care of each other. To give the things that everyone really needs, which are understanding and compassion. To, as Vonnegut says "love whoever is around to be loved."

I wanted to spend Christmas the way I spend all the other days of the year: being with my favorite people, running, laughing and eating all the cookies. So that's what we did. On Christmas Eve, Pete and I watched Donnie Darko and The Mothman Prophecies (because he had never seen the former and I'd never seen the latter). On Christmas day, Pete and I went on a little run through Corbett's Glen, then had dinner with his family and dessert with my mom. The day after, we ran 10 miles on the Crescent Trail (Thanks to Valone for organizing!), went to second breakfast (Thanks Bob!) and hosted a holiday party for our trail family. Our 1200 square foot house, while more than enough space for the two of us, is a little small for large gatherings. Still, I think a good time was had by all. (Also, some people brought their kids which gave me an excuse to make tater tots. You know, for the kids. Not, like for me or anything. I'm an adult. With an exceedingly refined palate. Just kidding. I can't even begin to say that with a straight face.)

Happiest of holidays and infinity of thanks to you, my loves. Your presence in my life is the best gift, on Christmas day and all the days!

Lyric of the moment: "Faithful friends who are dear to us gather near to us once more. Through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow. Hang a shining star upon the highest bough. And have yourself a merry little Christmas now..." ~Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"

Thursday, December 17, 2015

This Is Marriage: Day 102

At long last we are all moved into our new house! I have to re-learn how to get to all my favorite places starting from this new location. This morning I went to Fit1 at Corn Hill, so I put the address for Tony D's into my phone to get directions. The GPS helpfully suggested that, at 4:45am, "Tony D's may not be open at this time" and asked if I still wanted to go there. I did because I was not going to Corn Hill for wood fired pizza, I was going to meet a man under a bridge to get some muscles. Gustavo said "You're the only one coming this morning so I'm going to push you," which sounded kind of scary, but it was a beautiful morning (I love the reflection of the lights on the water and the sounds of cars going over the bridge and there was even some thunder!), the time went by quickly and I threw bricks in the water, per usual. When I got home, Pete was in the basement painting the closet doors. Shirtless (because he got paint on his shirt). Score! I could totally get used to this whole coming home to a handsome, shirtless dude thing. I flexed my biceps and was all like "Look at my muscle! Look how big it is!" (Truth: it is not very big at all, but it is slowly getting bigger. As in, you can maybe tell there might be some semblance of a muscle under there somewhere). And Pete laughed and said "Very nice. What are you going to do with that?" And I hugged him. The point of having muscles is so you can give better hugs, obviously.

People say things like "You can tell you're newlyweds" when we say or do nice things for each other or just seem like we actually like each other or whatever. I gave Pete 12 Days of Christmas themed cards, one to open every day he was away on his latest trip. (I make him cards for all his trips, nothing fancy, just funny notes and little surprises. I have fun writing them and it gives him something to look forward to opening every day. He has more patience than I do. I couldn't stand the suspense and would probably open them all on the first day, or at least the ones that felt like they had candy inside of them.) So this latest group of cards was a different funny note and little gift for every day - On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me: 1 chapstick made from Burt's Bees, On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me: 2 chocolate doves, On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me: 4 jokes for nerds, etc. When I picked Pete up at the airport, the coworker he was travelling with said he liked the card idea but he had made some comment to Pete about how it wouldn't last.

I feel kind of sad about that, how people assume that love fades over time or gets complacent or whatever. I don't think it has to be that way. The longer my life goes on, the more excited I get about it and the more grateful I feel for it. I'd like to think that marriage could be like that too. I don't ever want to take this partnership for granted. I want to give it the care and effort and appreciation that it deserves. Because it's important to me. I don't know what's going to happen. Life is a crapshoot of good things and bad things, funny things and sad things. But if I get to have someone holding my hand through even part of that, I'm lucky indeed. Every day I have the immense pleasure of being here, of being married to Pete and of being with all of you, running, adventuring, laughing and loving, is a day to be infinitely grateful for.

Marriage is an honor that I hope I can live up to.

Lyric of the moment: "I wanna live life, and always be true. I wanna live life, and be good to you, I wanna fly and never come down. And live my life. And have friends around..." ~Coldplay "We Never Change"

Monday, December 14, 2015

Moving. An adventure in 21 steps.

  1. Say yes to the tall, funny guy who asks you to marry him at the top of a collapsed volcano after you have run 40+ miles (because what else would you do on vacation?).
  2. Make an offer on a house you adore. Lose out to someone else's higher offer.
  3. Get married. Live somewhere in between your two houses for a while. At first, worry that this is going to be weird, being married and not really living together. But in actuality, it turns out to be awesome, this in-transition phase where you get to have both a husband and your own house with a super awesome roommate.
  4. Try to make an offer on another house and lose out again.
  5. Go to look at more houses. Comically awful houses. With two toilets in one room and another toilet next to the washer and dryer. With yellow tubs and green tubs and no, seriously, someone tell me what is the deal with all these terribly pastel bathroom fixtures?
  6. Go to visit a house with your realtor that you really think could be "the one." Except that the key in the lockbox seems perilously close to breaking off in the lock. But hey, the kitchen window is open so the three of you hatch an ingenious plan wherein Pete will lift you up through the kitchen window and you will crawl over the sink and then unlock the front door from the inside. The story you get from this will turn out to be far better than the house.
  7. Make an offer on a third house. That is accepted! Wait what feels like 2 million years, but is actually only about 2 months, for your closing date.
  8. Go to the closing and sign your name approximately 87 billion times. You give the bank the biggest check you have ever written. And the bank gives you 2 pens and a key. Those are some very expensive pens, apparently.
  9.  Rip up the carpet in your new house to discover that yes, there are hardwood floors underneath but no, they are not in very good condition.
  10. Conspire with Alison and Bob to kidnap Jeff and cheer him up with Saturday shenanigans involving pizza, euchre, cookies and pulling the carpet staples out of your master bedroom floor. It takes the 4 of you 2 hours to pull up the approximately 7 thousand staples in the floor. You know you have the best friends when they let you kidnap them and even drive you around and suggest helping you with manual labor.
  11. Give up on de-stapling and think: Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! I mean, Rochester Hardwoods. They are awesome and you can't even believe how much better the floors look after they have been de-stapled, sanded, stained and coated. Apparently the company can't believe it either because they take before and after pictures to use in their new commercial.
  12. Go to the store with Pete and pick out paint colors for your entire house in only 5 minutes. This task takes a surprisingly short amount of time, especially considering one of you is colorblind. Agree that you are both sick of painting after painting all the rooms in your own respective houses over the years, so you decide to hire Wade from Red Truck Painting to paint all the rooms in the colors you have chosen.
  13. Get a California King bed delivered with a 9" box spring so you can feel like you are sleeping on a mountain every night. (This is the most important step!)
  14. Be ruthless in the culling of your possessions so that you have less shit to move. While packing, have conversations with yourself like "Do I need any of these pans?" "Haha, that was a joke. Of course not." "Do I really need 3 ice cream scoops?" "Yes, but for the sake of minimalism I will only take my most favorite one." "Do I really need all these shoes?" "Yes, but for the sake of minimalism, I'll cut it down to 2 pairs of trail shoes, 2 pairs of road shoes and 1 pair of hiking shoes."
  15. Spend your very last week in the very first house you bought all by your very self. Surprisingly, the things that make this move seem real are not the things that you thought would. The house going up for sale doesn't phase you at all. But you run from your house to Cobb's Hill 3 times that week because it makes you sad to think it's the last time you're ever going to do that. The last Doctor-Who-and-burritos night with Adam makes you sad because the girl is going to give up the adventure and The Doctor is mad at the soldier and the soldier is...why is he even there anyway? And you want to yell at the girl: Don't choose that boy over a lifetime of adventure! Choose the kind of boy who will adventure with you!
  16. Devise a secret plan to hire Sheridan Brothers moving to schlep the big furniture from your house and Pete's house to the new house while he's away on a work trip so you can surprise him after you pick him up from the airport. Have to ruin the surprise and call him when the movers tell you his couch won't fit into the finished basement room and one of the movers offers to buy it.
  17. Be lucky enough to be friends with Chris, who brings you pizza and helps you set up internet in your new house while Pete's flight keeps getting delayed. Have fun thinking of names for your wireless network. Chris suggests RobotSailor and you suggest RobotSeaman and Chris is like seaman spelled "S-E-A-M-A-N!"
  18. At long last, pick up your seaman from the airport. Spend the rest of the weekend working on your new house. While at the hardware store, come up with an ingenious plan to fix the kitchen garbage drawer, which refuses to stay fully closed, a fact that has been bothering you since the first time you saw this house, with Gorilla Glue and magnets. Pete says "That's almost a good idea." Which you are now going to say to him all the time. For the record, it was totally a good idea and a successful one. Robot 1, kitchen drawer 0.
  19. Find the Pier 1 elephant curtains you have wanted for years but were too cheap to buy on eBay for a fraction of the price. Buy them, wash them and hang them in your new master bedroom. You're not a "stuff" person but elephants, man. Elephants are good luck. And they never forget. So every time you wake up in your new bedroom you will look at the elephants and you will remember. Even on the sad days, when your Pete is deployed in a far away place and you didn't even think it was possible to miss someone so much, you will remember how ridiculously lucky you are.
  20. Get high off the fumes from the goop remover you are using to remove old dried-on paint from the slate on the floor in front of your fireplace (you have a fireplace!!!) while Pete assembles the new TV stand and TV. Think about how weird it is having a TV again after a decade of using a projector. Answer the door to find that a neighbor has brought you muffins!
  21. Sitting on your couch in front of your fireplace (Again I must emphasize: You. Have. A. Fireplace!!! And a firepit! All the fires! Oh, and a candle that you forgot to blow out until the next morning. Oops!), watching The Flash on Netflix, your stomach full of delicious tacos and muffins, your jetlagged Pete having fallen asleep on your shoulder, it hits you that this is it, this is home.
Lyric of the moment: "I'll follow you into the park, through the jungle, through the dark. I never loved one like you. Moats and boats and waterfalls, alleyways and pay phone calls. I've been everywhere with you, that's true...And in the streets you run a-free, like it's only you and me. Geez, you're something to see. Ah, home, let me go home. Home is wherever I'm with you..." ~Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros "Home"




Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Things that are funny about Bikram Yoga

Usually I only go to Bikram yoga when there is a Groupon offer available. The classes are expensive and there's a limit to how much I'm willing to pay for the opportunity to drown in my own sweat. This month they were offering a 10 class pass for $20, which is a huge deal since classes are normally $20 each. At times it's kind of intense, but I like Bikram (except for the breathing exercises. Those are weird). I like the heat, I like the repetition of the same 26 poses every class, but mostly I love the words because they are hilarious. These are the things about Bikram that I find particularly funny:

  • The hallway is lined with pictures of shirtless dudes posing on tiger skin rugs with "Blue Steel" faces. Why are they doing this? No one knows. Maybe if you become a true Bikram devotee you get your own tiger rug?

  • The goal of Bikram seems to be to lock your knees and to wear the least amount of clothing. I like to see how many classes I can go to before seeing that guy, you know the one wearing nothing except a Speedo. It is usually two at most.

  • Party Time. The instructor says this after the first 3 postures, when you are finally allowed your first water break. There are no piƱatas or cake but that first sip of cold water feels like a party in your mouth.

  • Japanese Ham Sandwich. The instructor says this during Hands To Feet Pose. It's a standing, forward bending stretch in which you are supposed to place your fingers underneath your heels, stomach touching thighs, chest touching knees, face touching shins. The instructor tells you your body should look like a Japanese ham sandwich. I had no idea what this meant until Mr. Internet told me a Japanese ham sandwich is just bread and meat, no lettuce or other sandwich ingredients. So you're supposed to be all smushed up against yourself with no space between your parts. Or something. PSA: Don't do this during a bear attack, you'll only be making yourself look more delicious and sandwich-y.

  • Costume. The instructor tells you to lift up your foot so it is touching your costume, which means your clothes. I think the costume you're supposed to be going for is 'sweaty strip club.'  If you're not dressed like you could be performing at a strip club, you are wearing too much clothing for Bikram yoga.

  • "Mama give me money." The instructor tells you to bend your elbow, put out your hand, palm facing up, turn your arm outward and say "Mama give me money." Then you pick up your foot with your hand. I think it is supposed to help you get the right grip on your foot. Or induce giggles. Or maybe it's because you could use some money now that you have spent all yours on this hot-as-balls yoga class.
Bikram, man. It's the best.

Lyric of the moment: "Coming at the target, you're as straight as Magellan. If you've got a secret weapon, well you're as sure as hell ain't telling.'Cause your mouth made an offer that the bodies cannot veto. No woman can resist a man who looks good in a Speedo..." ~Caviar "Tangerine Speedo" (Because it is impossible to listen to this song without laughing. And sometimes you just need that.)


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

This Is Marriage: Day 93

We interrupt the regularly scheduled adventuring and cookie eating shenanigans to bring you some serious shit. Nonsense will resume tomorrow, but today it's going to get a bit heavy.

I am a military wife and a stepmom. Until recently, these were merely abstract concepts to me. Then two phone calls transformed them into cold, hard facts with two D words. One is deployment and one is domestic violence. I do not know how to maintain a marriage while living in separate countries for 6 months. I do not know how to make a young woman feel safe in the world again. Because she is not safe right now. And a man - no, not even a man, a controlling, troubled boy - has made it so. I feel upset that fear is winning, that we are a species at war with itself. I feel upset at a system of institutionalized sexism and racism, at a police officer who told a young woman who had been attacked by her baby daddy "Oh, he just roughed you up a little." I feel grateful for a different police officer who asked the right questions and listened with compassion and worked overtime to rectify the situation. I feel helpless to make things better, but I know that I do not even know what true helplessness feels like. I am better off than most. I have resources and options and (sadly, unfairly) white privilege. This is the state of the world. For all the good in it, there is still so much bad, so many things that need to be made better. And that is what matters - not holiday sales or buying a bunch of crap, but people. Being here for each other, whether it's the family we grew up with, the family we married into, the friends who are our chosen family or the strangers who are just friends we haven't met yet. And choosing love over fear, understanding over judgment and compassion over insensitivity.

Marriage is making it ever more clear to me what really matters, and that is loving and making life better for as many carbon based lifeforms as I can. We cannot change anything for the better with hate and fear and violence. We can only change it with love and effort and humanity.

Lyric of the moment: "But you can be the change you wanna see. Be the hope to those whose lives are far from easy. Reach out and lend a hand, share everything you can. And be the change, be the change..." ~Corey Smith "Be The Change"

Thursday, December 3, 2015

These are a few of my favorite things

This is the time of year when gift guides abound. I can't be of much help to you in that regard. I don't care about stuff, unless it is stuff that is edible and 80% sugar. I like to give gifts that are experiences rather than gifts that are things. When it comes to tangible, non-edible things, I only want to own those that meet the following criteria: 1) I absolutely LOVE it and 2) I will use it ALL the time. Stuff that I'm only so-so about or stuff that is not terribly functional is only going to clutter up my space and my sanity. So I can't help you out with the whole holiday gift buying thing, except to suggest that less is more. And here are a few of my favorite things, sung to the tune from The Sound of Music.


Epic thunderstorms and letters handwritten
Causeless rebels and combo glove-mittens
Running shoes laced up with glittery wings
These are a few of my favorite things
 
Get Caked cookies and funny cartoon doodles
Bear hugs and giant mugs and soup bowls of noodles
Hills you can feel in your quads and hamstrings
These are a few of my favorite things.
 
Pirates with shoulder parrots and eye patches
long, slow runs and crazy fast dashes
Adventure filled days of summers and springs
These are a few of my favorite things
 
When the cold bites, when the news stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad


Lyric of the moment: "Do you realize that you have the most beautiful face? Do you realize we're floating in space? Do you realize that happiness makes you cry? Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die? And instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know you realize that life goes fast, it's hard to make the good things last. You realize the sun doesn't go down, it's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round..." ~The Flaming Lips "Do You Realize"