Lost and Found

It’s been a while since I last posted a page, and in that time, I’ve lost some things, and found some things. Most notably, most importantly, I lost my Dad. On July 3, 2019, my life changed forever when my Dad’s ended. He had gone in to the Cleveland Clinic in a somewhat routine (for my Dad, anyway) manner, but the outcome of this stay was very78752184_10218065750867172_3846661766444482560_n different. I don’t want to relive details. I don’t want to talk about his ending. But nothing can prepare you for it. I lost my hero. I lost a huge part of my heart. But what I found was a new appreciation for taking care of myself and a new perspective on what truly matters. One of the last things my Dad said to me was, “Take care of yourself.” This has become my mantra. My hashtag. Four words that ring in my ears every time I lace up for a run or crunch on my snow peas at lunch time. My Dad said he didn’t want to see me end up like he did (with this heart health). For 43 years, I always did whatever my Dad asked me to do, so why would I stop now?

I also lost my back last year. For a little while, anyway. One day in October of 2018, I decided to lay down on my couch. Little did I know that getting up from that couch would put me in the hospital for 3 days, out of work for about 4 weeks, and in one hell of 44685304_10215206016415598_8918025481589096448_oan amount of pain. I literally could not walk from my couch to the bathroom and back without tears and a mental breakdown. While waiting for the appointment to get the shot in my back, I was on an awful combination of pain meds and a lack of sleep, which in turn had me slurring my speech and unable to find words to make sentences. It was insult to injury. But what I found during this very low point were some amazing friends to lift me up. Friends who kept my family fed through the creation of a meal train. Friends that came over to sit with me and make me laugh and help to pass the time. Laying on my couch, I learned how loved I am and how many caring people I have in my life. Hurting my back was an amazingly terrible experience that was an amazingly wonderful reminder of how blessed I am. 

As a result of my back, I lost fitness. I had built it up pretty good in the time leading up to the day I decided to stand up from my couch. I had just done my second Tough Mudder a month prior and I was pretty strong. And now all of the sudden, I wasn’t able to walk, let alone run. I didn’t watch what I ate and it was Halloween time, so I laid on my couch eating fun sized chocolates. I put on weight. A terrible amount of weight. Once I felt like I could attempt to get back out on the sidewalks to run, it was an awful comeback. I wanted to go out and start from the point where I had left off, which was completely unrealistic. My legs were tired. My lungs burned. Everything hurt. My back… hurt. I was in the mindset that my fitness journey was over and I was ready to quit. My Dad’s 75569669_10217918163857589_5698234605975371776_npassing and his words kicked me back in to gear. I started watching what I ate, cut way back on carbs and sugars, and dropped 30 pounds. But more importantly, I found the joy in my running again. I pray on my runs. I think about people and what they’re going through. I think about my Dad. My Mom. About Carmen. And about Jakob and Alex. I think about my kids, and my husband, and my friends, and my work. I enjoy the time to myself, reflecting and drawing strength from the incredibly strong people in my life.  And I’m getting kind of good at it again. I will never set speed records and I don’t want to. But I do enjoy looking at my watch after a run to see what I’ve accomplished.

Finally, I lost some friends. But I found the confidence in myself to let that be ok. I used to worry about what people think of me. I guess I still do at some level, but I also now have the understanding that if I’m being the best person I can be and if I can go to bed at night knowing that I’m doing the best that I can, then I can’t control anyone else. I can only be who I am. I can only control what I do, how I treat people, and how I behave. I’ve learned that if people don’t like me, I’m ok with it. I like myself and that’s really the most important thing. And because I like myself, I’m going to take care of myself, too.

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Welcome to Waterbury

I live in a development. A rather large one, at that. And our development has it’s own Facebook page, where residents of our little island paradise can post comments, questions, complaints, more complaints, and mostly complaints. I’ve come to expect that 99% of the things posted to the Facebook page are ultimately going to annoy me, frustrate me, or quite simply just tick me off. Posts often include things like the make and model of speeding cars, videos of landscapers rolling through stop signs, adolescents behaving badly, and so on. Today, I thought for sure I was going to be the target of one of those posts.

Of the many, many, MANY things people complain about, dog owners is one of the hottest of topics. More specifically, dog owners who don’t pick up their dog’s poo. And don’t get me wrong here, I’m not a fan of those people, either, but taking to Facebook to call them out just seems incredibly childish.

I took my dog for a run today, like I often do. And Maverick suffers from a very common runner’s issue: the trots. It never fails that at some time between mile .5 and .75, he will have to stop and drop anchor. It happens.. every…. time. And I know it’s going to happen, so me, being the responsible dog owner that I am (who also fears the Waterbury FB page) always carries a poo bag to collect his steamy sample.

Today, as anticipated, he stops at mile .6 and leaves his mark. I bagged it up like a good little development dweller, but today, you know, I just didn’t feel like running the rest of my miles carrying his soft load. We were at the end of one of the walking paths, so I decided to leave the bag where I was and pick it back up on my way back.

For the rest of the run, the only thing that went through my mind was getting home to my phone to see if I had become the target of a blast on the Waterbury FB page. I had visions of pictures of me posted, bent over, with a plastic-bag-covered-fist full of dog poo and a caption that would read something like this: “You know, it’s one thing to bag your dog’s poop, but it’s another thing to TAKE IT WITH YOU!” Or, like, something to that effect. I spent my entire run crafting my response to the Facebook comment that I was sure was waiting for me at the finish line. The response that would not only put this person in their place, but simultaneously save my good name! I was ready to drop a bomb like I was Maverick on the walking path. I had a few options in mind and they went something like this:

The Anonymous-Sarcastic Response: “You should consider yoga.”

The Not-So-Anonymous-Sarcastic Response: “It was me. And I picked it up on the way back home from my run. You need yoga in your life.”

The Mic-Drop Response: “It was me. And did you really assume that I would take the time to bag it if I wasn’t going to come back to pick it up? The fact that I was on the walking path in the woods, yet I still bagged his droppings, should have given me direct access in to the Waterbury Dog Owner’s Hall of Fame. And I was running. Do you know how hard and gross it is to run with a bag of crap in your hand? Running for me is enough of a challenge without adding the mental angst of carrying dog shit. And let’s be real, here. I’m not the fastest runner, but I make ok time. And I’m not a crazy long distance runner, either. My dog made his mark at mile .6 and I left it there while I went out and back to the bag in 2 miles. At my average pace of about 9:30/mile, the plastic bag laid along side the walking path for about 19 minutes. That’s 19 minutes that you spent taking pictures, crafting your comment, and stewing about it. Maybe those 19 minutes could have been better spent doing some yoga.”

But alas, to my surprise and delight, I did not become the target of a Waterbury whopper on Facebook. Maybe they’ll get me on trash night, when I dump the bag in the closest can. And hopefully, unlike in my race photos, I’ll be looking camera ready.

So be warned, Waterbury. I’m going to continue to leave bags between mile .5 and .75 of my runs, but set the timer. If I’m not back in about 20 minutes to pick it up, then you may take to social media. (Or call for an ambulance.)

SIDE NOTE: As I was running, I was really cracking myself up with the yoga part of my virtual come back. Reading it now, uh, not all that funny. But it was going to be included in my blast, so the yoga comment remains in the blog about the post-that-never-was.

11705118_10206055860787426_2306591020322597026_nPhoto: Me and Maverick, running the mean streets of Waterbury in 2015. 

 

One Very Gross Word: Bifocals

For a few months now, I’ve been having some trouble seeing my computer monitor at school and have been struggling to find a good distance to hold my phone away from my face so that I can read it. Even my principal noticed and has made a comment about me “squinting again” at my machine. So I bit the bullet and made an appointment with an eye doctor.

I was in denial. I knew that whatever was happening with my vision was just in my head and that my 20/20 baby blues would be just fine. Maybe. Maaaaaaaybe I miiiiiiight need a pair of glasses for when I was on the computer. Maybe. But probably not even that. The doc was totally just going to tell me that if I did something, like, I dunno, look down, blink twice, then look back up I’d be fine. Perhaps he’d joking tell me that I needed to eat more carrots and we would totally have a laugh as he collected my copay and sent me on my way.

Nope. He gives me my exam… I haven’t had an eye exam since, oh, high school?!… then goes through that whole “is this better? is this better? is this better?” routine. (Which sucks by the way. My eyeballs hurt when that whole situation ended and I’m still not sure I got the answers right.) We finish up, I sit back in my chair and he drops this piece of garbage on me: “You need bifocals.”

Say, what, now?

I’ve never had glasses before. I’ve made it 42 years without them. So how does one go from a non-glasses person to a BIFOCALS person?! “Do you have any questions?”, he asks me. DO I HAVE ANY QUESTIONS?! Um, ya, does “What the hell??” count? Bifocals. Honestly that word is still ringing in my ears.

So he says I do have an option and explains that I could just get glasses for when I’m on my computer or phone, but that would require a world where I would constantly be taking glasses on and off my face. With the nature of my job, that’s really just not an option for me. Plus, he said with my vision, bifocals (seriously, what a gross word) would truly be his recommendation.

“I’M NOT GETTING THE LINE!”. Those were the next words to fly out of my mouth. Good Lord. Looking back, I truly hope I was being nice to the doc. It’s not his fault I had my 82nd birthday while sitting in the exam room. He explains to me that they make lenses in a “blend” now and that “the line” wasn’t a requirement. He said it would take me some getting used to, tho, and that I’d have to really keep them on and not give up on them for a solid 3-4 days. He said some people decide too soon that they can’t deal with bifocals (that word. barf.) and that I should really try to make them work. Fantastic.

Next up, trying on glasses. I’m honestly still in shock at this point. The really nice lady helping me acknowledged that she knows I’ve never worn glasses before, but then proceeded to fire questions at me about whether I want a nose pad or not and some other questions that a non-glasses-for-42-years person wouldn’t fully understand. She kindly explained everything and showed me examples. She was very good at her job, as the first pair of glasses she suggested for me are the ones I went with.

“Is there anything you require or need with these glasses?”, she asked me as we prepared for the fitting. I fired back with “That they go on someone else’s face.” We laughed. Honestly, I’m still in shock. We went over options like “anti-glare”, “plastic or glass” (no, I didn’t squeeze them to see the difference #CallBackJoke), and a third option that I’m not remembering right now. She let me test drive “the line” vs “the blend”. Time wasted. NO LINE. “That’s going to cost more money.” Yep. And I. Don’t. Care. I’ll have a bake sale to pay for the upgrade. I’m NOT doing a line. We finish the fitting and she tells me that it will take 7-10 days for them to come in, to which I reply, “Seriously. Take your time.”

I’m not entirely sure why I’m taking this latest development so harshly. Well, maybe I do. This is the first time, ever, really, that I feel… OLD. (OK, that one time when a 4th grader told me I was wearing the same shirt as her grandma did hurt a bit, too.) But this was the first time a doctor… a medical doctor… in his professional opinion… DIAGNOSED me as old. It was a bit of a gut punch and not at all what I was expecting to hear.

I was able to make it back to my car when my appointment was over without slipping on ice and breaking my hip. And now it’s time to get ready for my 4 o’clock supper at Bob Evans before tucking myself in to bed at the break of 8pm. Happy 82nd birthday to me.

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Introducing: My New Face (in 7-10 business days)

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Merry Christmas! (Or is it still Happy Holidays?)

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2012

I’ll admit it. I was really on the fence about sending the kids to a Catholic school.  I grew up in a public school… and oh yeah, not Catholic… so it was a very strange transition for me to get used to.  But I gotta say, I think it was the right call for us. Peyton loves her school.  The people seem really nice. And the uniforms! My goodness, how great are uniforms!

But the best thing I’m finding at this time of year is to say “Merry Christmas” to parents and friends and not have to worry.  It’s permitted.  Heck, even welcomed to say it.

I shared my excitement for this fact with my husband just yesterday. “Isn’t it great to be able to say Merry Christmas and not Happy Holidays at school, honey?!”.

“Uh, sure”, said the born-and-raised-Catholic-guy-with-12-years-of-Catholic-school.

Well I was excited. I don’t have to be the a-hole who accidentally says Merry Christmas to someone who doesn’t celebrate it. Well, until the day I was exactly that a-hole. And that day came yesterday.

Heading to the local pharmacy, I greet the man at the drive-thru and go about my business.  He had a really great tie on.  It was shades of purple and he had on a matching dark purple shirt.  He really looked sharp and I thought to myself, “I need to tell this man that I like his tie.”  As if this will be the best gift he could possibly receive. But whatever. It was a great tie and he needed to know that it wasn’t lost on me.  So I proceed to tell him, “I really like your tie.”  (Said in a tone similar to when Ben tells me I’m pretty, so immediately after I said it, I felt dumb.)  But the guy flashed a huge smile and said, “Thank you!”.

I’m on a roll.  I just made the guy feel kinda good. Yay!  It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!!

“MERRY CHRISTMAS!” I said, as I drove out of sight.

“I’m Jewish.” he replied.

And to all, a good night.

Sports Candy, Marc’s and the Difference Between Plastic and Glass

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2012

While watching an overly annoying children’s TV show, Lazy Town, with my son the other day, they hit on something brilliant. They called apples and other various fruits “sports candy”.  Ben is no stranger to fruit and is a sports fanatic, so marrying those two words was music to his ears.  I immediately had to go get him an apple so he could eat his sports candy.  This lead to a conversation about all of the other fruit… err… sports candy we could eat.  Strawberries, bananas, grapes, etc.

The apple was the last piece of fruit in the house, so the next stop was Marc’s.  (Retirement has made me frugal.) We made our way to the sports candy section and Ben started flipping over the strawberries.  He was grabbing at the packages and, well duh, spilled a package all over the floor.

So at this point, I find myself on hands and knees on the floor of the Marc’s produce section cleaning them up.  And strawberries roll.  Under things.  Like the display the strawberries sit on.  It was gross, but I’m a human with a strong conviction that if you make a mess, you clean it up.  Plus, I knew I was armed with Purell. Isn’t everyone like that?

Apparently, no.  The Marc’s man who I handed the package to (and apologized to about 5 times for ruining the strawberries) proceeded to thank me about 5 times for actually cleaning them up.  “Most people would have left the mess” is what he tells me.  Really?!

Maybe I take it too far.  Like the time I was in a dollar store, picked up a glass and I couldn’t quite tell if it was plastic or real glass.  What does one do in that situation?  Well, squeeze the GLASS until it shatters in their hand, of course.  (This incident led to 3 stitches in the webbing between my thumb and first finger. Such an idiot.)  At the time, I apolgized about a million times to the dollar store clerk and offered to pay for the glass. This was as she collected paper towels from aisle two to sop up the blood on the floor and all over my hand.

She handled it well… politely said there was no need for me to pay for the destroyed merchandise… and then suggested I hit up the nearest ER.  In hindsight, she was probably thinking, “Get the hell out of my store before the shock wears off and you sue us for faulty merchandise.”.

I would never do that. It was my stupidity. But maybe I’m among the minority of humans in this world.  I can only hope that is not the case.

Back on the Grid

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2012

I’ve recently been reminded of just how “on the grid” I am. So in the spirit of my love for Internet people stalking, I decided to stalk, well, myself.

I was quickly taken to my abandoned blog site, since it was the very first search result when you Google my name. How embarrassing that it’s been 2 years since I’ve updated this thing. I don’t need people thinking I’m a quitter, so I’m gonna dive back in and see what happens.

So where to start? Saying there have been some changes in my life in the last two years is a gross understatement. We sold our old house. And while building our new one, moved our family of 4 in to a 900-square foot apartment for 5 months. It was the summer of forced family bonding. The kids thought it was a vacation. I thought it was exactly what 4 people in a small space would be like. At least it had a pool.

I also quit my job. After working at Key for 15 years, I decided to call it quits to spend time with my kids while they still like me. And while they think I’m cool to hang with. Best decision I’ve ever made and I’m a very fortunate soul for being able to do it. That’s not to say that I don’t lose my mind every so often, though. Like right now. They’re upstairs and it sounds like either of them will drop through the ceiling at any moment. Hopefully the construction crew did a good job on our new place.

A new house for us meant a new neighborhood, new school, new activities, new friends. I love it where we live. Love it. I’ve met some really cool people and have already hosted, and have been hosted to, my fair share of play dates with school and neighborhood friends. These are exciting times, for sure.

As follow up to earlier posts, Peyton no longer does soccer ball. She’s a gymnast now and loves it. (She may have been switched at birth.) Ben is an all-sport athlete and has never met a ball he doesn’t love. Thank God.

As for my running, well, it’s come to a halt for now. My “good Achilles” is on the fritz and since I really want to avoid snapping another one, I’ve slowed my speed to walking. But that’s kinda boring as hell, so I’ll probably start running again in the spring, I’ll get back to working my way up to a 5K. The Achilles issue will work itself out. Or it’ll snap. Either way, I can’t just stop moving. That’s good for no one.

It’s nice to be back on the grid. Until next time…

Here’s What’s Been Happening…

FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 2010

So, yeah, it’s been a looooong time since I’ve written. Here’s a bit of catch up.

Soccer ball is over. Peyton did AWESOME! She really did. She had one especially killer game where she scored, like, 15 goals or some crazy thing. We were the parents that week who felt badly that their child was out performing… and let’s just be real here… embarassing the other pre-k’ers.

Aside from that game, Peyton was good for at least 1-3 goals each week. And she wants to play again in the fall! That is, if she gets “faster shoes”. She’s got this thing about fast shoes. Because the shoes, you know, are clearly what separates the men from the boys in 3-4-year-old girls soccer. (I’m going to bedazzle the crap out of her current soccer shoes for the fall. No need to buy a new pair!)

My health kick, I am very proud to say, has continued. I’m even down a few lbs. Maybe not as many as I’d like, but I’m still trying to be good about what I eat and my running is going very well. I’m up to a 30 minute non-stop jog and plan to do my first race on July 10th! I’ve actually become somewhat addicted to running. It’s the best feeling… when you’re done. Can’t say that I’m loving life while I’m in the process quite yet, but it’s not completely heinous and it’s getting WAY easier to do. I’m not sucking air and end up in minimal pain now when I’m done. Whoop! Whoop!

I’m absolutely sure more has gone on in my world since the last time I posted, but for the life of me, I can’t think of what. And that’s a fantastic reason for why I shouldn’t wait so long between chapters. But like I said in the beginning, I’ll do what I can, when I can.

So there!