Wednesday, February 24, 2016

This is my brain.

According to the CPA, we are not getting a tax refund this year. Nope. Not even close. Actually we owe several thousand dollars in taxes. Apparently this is the downside of marriage. Basically, we both married up. Into a higher tax bracket.

This is how my brain processed that information in between hearing it yesterday and signing the papers today:

Wait, what? That's so not the news I wanted to hear.

I'm annoyed.

Wait...I'm annoyed. As in a tiny bit miffed, minorly irritated. (Mostly just out of shock and also is this why society is all marriage crazy? Mo' marriage, mo' money for the man?) I'm not panicked or despondent or utterly terrified that I'm going to end up living in a van eating nothing but ramen noodles. This is not a big deal. I mean, it's not a totally insignificant deal. But it's not a big deal. It's just money. In a way, I sort of like paying taxes. I guess. It does make me feel like I am succeeding at responsible personhood. And hey, evidently the government thinks I'm doing so well that they want me to give more back. I am doing well. I have an awesome life. I have health and people and adventure. I am the luckiest.

Let's make peanut butter fudge!

Let's go to spin class!

Let's eat dinner. For, like, nutrients and stuff.

Onto the important matters at hand. Or mouth? Let's eat peanut butter fudge!!!!!'s so peanut buttery and coconutty. Who knew you could make this deliciousness with just PB, coconut oil, honey, vanilla extract, salt and a freezer?

Can I eat this for breakfast?

Let's sign up for the CandleLight 12 Overnight Ultra!

Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo! What did I just do?!

In July, when I die a horrible death running in circles all night, it will be the government's fault.

Lyric of the moment: "And I find it kind of funny. I find it kind of sad. The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had. I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take. When people run in circles it's a very, very mad world, mad world..." ~Gary Jules "Mad World" (This is how I imagine it will feel to run for hours and hours in the dark, all the tiredness and delirium and awesomeness. Did I say awesomeness? I meant oh shit (string of expletives!!!) what have I done?)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The unbearable awesomeness of being

I use the word awesome a lot. It's not an exaggeration. It perfectly encapsulates the way I feel about most things. If you ask Mr. Thesaurus, he will tell you that some of the synonyms for awesome are:


I find that life is all of those things, sometimes simultaneously. In the moments when life feels more awful-horrible-terrible than wonderful, I try to remember that it's all part of this whole existence thing. Sometimes life is hard and shitty things happen. At those times, I remind myself that these things are true:

A) You are not alone. Chances are someone somewhere has been through the same hard thing that you are facing and survived. Chances are you will survive too. Also, people are the best, and they make the bad things better.

B) You are lucky. If you're still alive, then you're doing a lot of things right. And even in its worst moments, life is still the best.

C) Running is some kind of magic that can make you feel better about everything.

Evidence: Saturday morning I was running trails at Ellison Park. I use the term running loosely. The snow was calf deep or higher and it took me 70 minutes to go 5 miles. But it was terrific fun. And, like most runs, it turned out to be exactly what I needed. This time what I needed was a reminder. That sometimes you can't control the conditions of your life, but you can still go out and play in them. That things only become a struggle when you resist them. If you accept your current reality instead of fighting it, you will find your way through it and maybe even find joy in doing so. That the way to get through anything is one step at a time. That you might think it's a great idea to run up a steep, slippery, snow covered hill, until you have a moment of slight panic when you realize oh crap how am I going to get down from here? but it's okay because then you will shrug and think eh, worst case scenario I just slide down on my butt!

Lyric of the moment: "Oh all the days that I have run, I sought to lose that cloud that's blacking out the sun...Aimless days, uncool ways of decathecting. Painless phase, blacked out thoughts, you'll be rejecting..." ~Mike Doughty "Looking At The World From The Bottom Of A Well*

*Because I learned a new word from this song:

Decathect (verb): to withdraw one's feelings of attachment from
(a person, idea, or object), as in anticipation of a future loss. gives this example: He decathected from her in order to cope with her impending death.

Pete said that if I don't hear from him for a few days while he's gone it doesn't mean that something is wrong. Apparently if he is missing or dead, someone will come and tell me in person. In lieu of decathecting, I think I will just stop answering the door.

Monday, February 22, 2016

This Is Marriage: Day 169

It's a strange feeling to drop your husband off at the airport, not knowing when you're going to see him again. Hopefully I will get to see Pete at least once while he's still stateside but there's a chance I may not see him for the entire 9 months. This is the official start of the whole deployment thing. Military life is not a choice that I would have ever made. But that's what happens when you marry someone; their choices become your choices by default. I have a lot of feelings about the situation, which can best be summed up in 3 letters: WTF? What is the point of any of this? Why can't people be nice to each other and get along? But I realize I'm looking at things from the extremely privileged and fortunate vantage point of someone whose life has been unmarred by violence or injustice. So I may not understand it or like it, but this is our reality right now so my only option is to suck it up and make the best of it.

It will be weird. It will be sad. But it will also be temporary. I never thought that I would say this, because they are my most favorite seasons, but I hope this Spring, Summer and Fall go by very quickly. For once, I will be excited for Winter since its arrival this year will herald Pete's homecoming. It's only been 24 hours and I already miss him so much. How could I not? This is the guy I married:

Life is just not as funny without Pete and his antics. But I'm lucky to have the most excellent company to adventure with in his absence. I cried on the way home from the airport and again when I got home and the reality of Pete not being there sunk in. But I also got to do a slightly infuriating but also strangely calming puzzle with Alison, Danielle and Laura, partake in an ice cream sandwich tasting in a hot tub (which is pretty much the best thing ever), and join Chris for road runs/winning chicken fights with cars.

In all honesty, I will probably cry a lot this year. But in between, I will adventure and laugh and feel extremely grateful. All my love and thanks to you, my friends. You make the sad times bearable and the good times most excellent.

Lyric of the moment: "It's so many miles and so long since I've met you. Don't even know what I'll find when I get to you. But suddenly now I know where I belong. It's many hundred miles and it won't be long..." ~Feist & Ben Gibbard "Train Song" (Ben Gibbard is an ultrarunner, you guys! That makes me so happy!)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Winter, running, love: An unconventional Valentine.

Saturday morning I woke up to a feels like temperature of -22ºF. I didn't even consider not running outside. That is not a statement of fortitude or determination or being badass. It is just a statement of fact.

I live in a place where it is frequently cold, sometimes excessively so.

I run.

These are the facts of my life.

I don't run for a particular pace or distance. Sometimes I run for someone else's pace or distance and that is fun because I like other people. But it is not about that for me. Mostly, I run to prove to myself that I am unstoppable. Things happen. Things that are cold and shitty and out of my control. But whatever happens, I can keep going. And more importantly, I can embrace these things and even enjoy them. This is my only talent. Keep living or die trying.

I woke up on Saturday needing to be reminded of this. And so I ran. I ran to Ellison Park and got lost. I didn't know where I was, I didn't know where I was going, I didn't see a single other person. I just ran. And then I cried. Not because it was cold and I was lost and alone. Because I was sad and happy and uncertain and grateful and disappointed and felt like I was failing at all the things I most cared about not failing at. Because crying is just the thing that happens when I have too many feelings.

And then I kept running. The sun, a rare occurrence during Rochester winter, reflected off the chunks of ice floating in the stream and it was beautiful. I didn't feel cold. I didn't feel lost. It was exactly what I needed. I ran home and saw a lovely message from Laura that was also exactly what I needed. Still not done crying, apparently.

I spent the weekend with Pete. It was happy and sad and filled with hockey, movies, laughs and Valentine's bagels (red! and strawberry flavored!). The neighbor across the street brought us a card and a picture she took of our house with a rainbow over it and again, I don't even know how this always happens, but it was exactly the right thing at the right time. I shoveled and a man in a car rolled down his window to tell me "It's cold out, do you know that?" A fortune cookie told me "You will be on the list of Most Excellent People." (Which is not a thing, and I would definitely not be on it. Unless it's some kind of menu for mosquitoes, in which case I would be the dessert section.)

These are the facts of my life.

I live in a place where it is frequently cold, sometimes excessively so.

I run.

And I am reminded that I am surrounded by beauty and love.

I don't know how it happened, how I got so lucky. I forget it sometimes, but it's always there. Love that doesn't shy away from the coldness and the challenges of life, but instead runs through them and makes the best of them. Love that really sees you, that accepts you at your best and at your worst, that makes you laugh and makes you pizza.

Lyric of the moment: "Eating super sugar crisp. I was getting used to this. Well, light will keep your heart beating in the future..." ~Mike Doughty "Light Will Keep Your Heart Beating In The Future"

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

So I married a Seaman

In anticipation of Pete's upcoming deployment, we went to a pre-mobilization meeting in Virginia this past weekend. It was largely a waste of time. To be fair, the lunch they provided was excellent (albeit slightly tragic, as I got up to go the bathroom and came back to find that the caterers had already cleared away my only half-eaten piece of apple pie). And the presenters were lovely and earnest and very much wanted to be helpful. It's just that we're lucky enough not to need most of the services they provide. We already have college educations and jobs and we don't have financial problems or really any problems at all.

What I really wanted was answers to my questions: How do we stay happily married when we're thousands of miles apart and we don't know how often we'll be able to communicate? How do I not feel guilty going on runs and adventures while Pete is working long, hard days far away from home? How do I keep myself from automatically assuming the worst if I haven't heard from him in a few days? How do I stop feeling such profound disappointment in humanity for always being at war?

Probably these questions are unanswerable, the kind of things that I just have to figure out for myself. Probably this year will be sad, yes, but also funny and challenging and beautiful. Because that is the nature of life.

I don't have the answers. I don't have a plan. I don't think I can even make a plan. I can't bring myself to sign up for races or anything else right now. Because I can't think that far ahead without being forced to confront the fact of Pete's absence. Everything I would normally be excited about will now be tinged with sadness at missing Pete. A sadness made worse by the fact that I know we will be fine. Pete will make the best of where he is and I will make the best of where I am, and yet I will constantly be reminded that whatever good things happen, the mere fact of not being able to share them with Pete immediately diminishes their goodness. Awesome sauce is meant to be shared and so what do you do when your favorite person to share things with is stupidly and pointlessly far, far away?

Probably the answer to this is the same as the answer to every difficult question. Just be. Be yourself, do your thing. Easy to say, difficult to do. Take it one day at a time. Feel the things you feel. Do the things you love. Love the things you do. Find humor where you can. Let all the things make you stronger, wiser, ever more thankful and, above all, more humane.

Lyric of the moment: "And I won't forget you. At least I'll try and run, and run tonight. Everything will be alright, everything will be alright, everything will be alright..." ~The Killers "Everything Will Be Alright"

Friday, February 5, 2016

Dark thoughts from the shower

Wednesday morning's run in the cold pouring rain made this morning's run in the not-so-cold snowglobe-esque snow feel even better. And having excellent company both days makes any run enjoyable regardless of the type of precipitation. It has been a week of adventures both happy and sad. Peanut butter pie and dark chocolate peanut butter cups were plentiful. I got to see a lot of my favorite people, though it was for a sad occasion. Jen(n)s took over Todd's car and no one peed inside it, but there was plenty of Outlaw Country. I got to spider-crawl and bunny hop and play with bricks under a bridge with two awesome ladies. I laughed so hard at work, like when Bill said "All women look the same in the dark...I mean...that came out wrong." Basically it was another week I had the privilege of being alive and being surrounded by awesome people.

And in general, I'm a happy, optimistic, see-the-best-in-everyone kind of person. (Mostly. I did win at Cards Against Humanity last night, which pretty much means Congratulations, you're the most terrible person in the room!) Plus I was in a really good mood this morning. Like I do most mornings, I was showering with Mike Doughty...(pause for humorous effect)...'s Pandora radio station playing in the background. And then I had a weirdly terrible shower thought:

Is the real reason humans are always at war with each other because there's no money in peace?

I mean, I have a phone with a lock screen that recognizes my fingerprint. And I'm not a spy, I'm just a regular person. (That is my story and I'm sticking to it). And yet we can't solve basic problems like how to inhabit the same 197 square mile space without being super unkind and murderous to each other. As a species, we are so technologically advanced and yet so emotionally stunted. It is really weird. Does anyone else think it is really weird? Or am I the only one who has random dark thoughts in the shower?  

Lyric of the moment: "No I don't wanna be afraid, afraid to die. I just wanna be able to say that I have lived my life. Oh, all the things that humans do to leave behind a little proof. But the only thing that doesn't die is love, love, love, love, love..." ~Marina & The Diamonds "Immortal"