Is This Thing On?

I drink up all the Hennessey ya got on ya shelf.

I Promise This Isn’t Going to be a Fitness Blog Now

What started as a somewhat half-hearted New Year’s resolution – start running again – has morphed into quite the hobby. I started the first week of January with a friend and we, along with my nieces, ran a 5k in March. When I went to the shoe store sponsoring the race to pick up my packet, an employee mentioned that they had a training program starting up the following week if I wanted to get some extra coaching and encouragement. Also: there would be a t-shirt.

So against my better judgement I enrolled and then almost immediately freaked out. An email from one of my new coaches read, “While this is an individual sport, you are now part of a team, so take the time to get to know the other great people in the group.” Um, what was that now? I like running because it is a mostly individual endeavor; I like having some quiet and being able to concentrate on my pace or just zone out for once. And now you’re telling me I should try to talk to people? Like a functional adult with basic social skills? Sure. Just what I want to do at the end of a long day of being “on” at work and talking to strangers: talk to more people while I’m sweaty and out of breath. Bonus!

At the first meeting I did see someone I know and chatted her up; she’s in the more advanced group so we were split up quickly. I glommed on to a former co-worker, too, but scheduling conflicts made it hard for her to come each time. As we were doing a walking warm-up to get moving I found myself side-by-side with a woman who appeared to be near my mom’s age. We made polite chit-chat about the weather and joked about the not-terribly-scenic meeting place out by the airport.

“I guess it’s a good place to have a group. Lots of wide open spaces and room to park,” she observed.

“Yeah, it’s definitely empty. I wouldn’t be surprised if we found a dead body out here,” I answered.

“Wait, what? Oh my God.”

“Oh, no, wait, like on Law & Order – it’s always people out for a run who find the dead body in the park or whatever… I love Stabler,” I blurted.

Teambuilding, motherfuckers!

***************

Despite my commitment and genuine enjoyment of running I still hesitate and demur when asked, “Are you a runner?” Self-deprecation and jokes and qualifying follow in my answer. “Oh, yeah, I belong to a training group, but it’s for fun. No big deal. Just a couple miles at a time. I’m slower than a herd of turtles.” Hahaha. Silly Christen!

You get it.

One of the coaches and I ran together early on and he said, “You’re a runner. An athlete. Take yourself and what you’re doing seriously.” He meant it in a kind, encouraging way, not a sanctimonious one that shamed me for my love of pizza and beer. And yet: I have a hard time doing exactly that. We had dinner with my parents a few weeks ago and I had an extra helping. My mom commented on my unusually robust appetite – not in a harsh way, but simply observing that I was eating more than she had seen in some time. “I’m an athlete in training,” I shrugged.

“Oh, yeah, RIGHT,” she laughed.

Running? That’s the easy part. Changing my mindset and expecting the people around me to see me differently? Well, there’s no 10-week training program for that.

Why Yes I WOULD Like Some Cheese and Crackers with My Whine

I make an effort not to bitch and complain excessively here.  Snark and mockery?  Sure.  But self-indulgent whining?  Not terribly productive or interesting. But we’ll make an exception today because this is my blog and I’ll cry if I want to.

This week has been oddly difficult for me and after tracing back where it’s all coming from it seems to come down to this: my routine has been thrown off.  Ed has been gone this week for work, taking my car with him as well as my ability to sleep since a certain dog who shall remain Molly likes to wake me at random intervals when he’s gone. And apparently it’s a quick leap to “Everything is fucked” when my little systems start to break down. And then I feel like a useless idiot incapable of rolling with basic life stuff, which feeds into a delightful cycle of feeling crappy, being paralyzed by self-doubt and loathing, and then feeling even worse about uncompleted tasks or the inability to make decisions. 

It’s become obvious to me in the last year that control and routine keep me sane.  To be clear: I don’t have to touch a doorknob eight times before I leave the house or necessarily care what anyone else is doing.  I’m not that far gone.  Being able to organize my day and make time for myself means I’m better-equipped to be there for others. But lately something as simple as a change in my running routine (Oh yeah: I’m running again.  It’s actually helping to keep the crazy in check, if you can believe that.) or a spontaneous dinner invitation which requires me to reorganize my mental to do list sets off a sequence of negativity in my brain that I can’t seem to fully quiet. “You’re a bad friend for not making plans.” “You’re a bad wife for not keeping the house spotless.” “You’re a bad daughter for not checking in with and visiting your family.” Normally diving in and tackling whatever is hanging over my head – or even just completing something simple to give that sense of accomplishment that then propels me forward to take on the big stuff – helps pull me out of the funk, but anything other than sitting under the covers binge-watching episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine sounds too overwhelming.

Adding to the general crankiness: every person I work with has been recently/is currently incredibly ill and yet still coming in to work while fully contagious THEN taking a few days off to rest. Working in what sounds like a tuberculosis ward is not exactly pleasant, and then you add in the extra work I’m taking on to compensate for their absences (not to mention client complaints since I am expected to cover for at least three other people at a time, which means one person doing the work of four = shit’s not happening as fast as they’d like) and it’s the routine/control issues with a side order of resentment and frustration. Plus, no one laughed my Doc Holliday joke (too soon?) and that’s just disappointing.

There’s a lot of positive change and transition in our not-too-distant future, but it’s requiring a lot of focus, money, and time. The list of things to do seems daunting and Sisyphean in nature, which isn’t helping my little freakout. Some of it’s out of our hands, which is scary and unsettling (see aforementioned desire for control). Logically I know it will all work out; as with almost anything worthwhile it will require some patience and a can-do attitude. But emotionally? To say that I’m feeling adrift would be accurate.

And of course I know this will pass. Ed will be home soon and things will recalibrate. At the very least, I’ll get some sleep and if there’s any cliche that has proven to be true it’s that everything looks better after a good rest. At least, that’s what I’m banking on.

Eye of the Tiger

Pro Tip: Always take a buddy with you when shopping for a sports bra.  There is no worse feeling than being stuck, arms above your head all tangled in spandex with a nearly-dislocated shoulder, in a dressing room and wondering which option is the least horrible:

  • Calling your mom to meet you at the store and cut you out of the fucking death trap.
  • Putting it back on as best you can, declaring that you love it, and wearing it out of the store.
  • Asking the very sweet salesgirl to come help you NOPE NOT HAPPENING THAT POOR GIRL DOES NOT MAKE ENOUGH MONEY TO DEAL WITH A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN’S BOOBS.

I managed to dislodge myself without having to cry out, “I need an adult” but it wasn’t my finest half hour.  I also worked up quite a sweat so instead of running today I think I’ll just dive into a box of Girl Scout cookies.

Please tell me this will be the least dignified thing that happens to me in relation to this stupid 5k.

Want to Freak Yourself the Hell Out?

Google “hurt swollen ankle” and start reading the Mayo Clinic’s symptom checker and have “heart failure” pop up first.  Thanks, doctors!

In other news, I signed up for a 5k in March.  The training is going just great,

I’m Not Sure What It Says About Me

That every time Ed asks, “Is that a new purse?” or “When did you get that top?” I always feel the urge to reply, “Don’t ask me about my business, Kay!”

 

 

*It should be noted that Ed is never inquiring in that sitcom-husband way that implies ladies be shopping and spending all the money but is usually trying to pay me a compliment and/or show that he notices the (albeit weak) effort I put into my appearance.

Now Requiring a “No Honk Guarantee” for All Passengers

What does it say about me that almost immediately after I offered a young sickly child in the back seat of my car an empty cup to vomit into all I could think of was Garth saying, “If you’re gonna spew, spew into this.”  I mean, other than I need to watch movies made after 1992.

In related news, I never want to see red colored Powerade again in my life.  Especially now that I’ve seen it on the way back up.

Eight. Wait? Eight? EIGHT.

Dear Bubba,

I’m becoming more and more aware that your little kidhood is rapidly coming to a close.  The early morning snuggles are less frequent, you don’t automatically reach for my hand when we go for a walk, and you will totally ditch my ass to hang out with your friends.  I had deluded myself into thinking I had until at least 10 before that stuff kicked in, but you’re an overachiever I suppose.

But then it occurs to me: you don’t want to laze around in bed because you wake up ready to greet the day and don’t want to miss a thing.  It’s hard to hold someone’s hand when you are trying to branch out and explore.  You make friends and connect with others so easily and that is a gift, kid.

And how can I be sad about that?  OK, I get a little sad about it.  But it would also be really weird and Buster Bluth-y if you were 22 and clinging to me.  We would rock some sick Motherboy costumes though.

You are easily one of the funniest people I’ve met and I love watching you make up silly games to make people laugh.  The simple joy of a good joke that involves the word “balls” isn’t lost on you; that should probably go on the DeFazio family crest.  You’re honest to the point of being blunt (What do you mean my little black dress was “boring?”  Who the hell died and made you Joan Rivers?) but have an incredible capacity for kindness when you sense someone needs that.  Basically: qualities I appreciate in a friend.  I’m so lucky you’re my family.

You have completed our family in ways we couldn’t have imagined 8 years and 1 day ago.  I love you so very much and wish you a wonderful year!

Happy Birthday, Buddy.

Love always,

Sissy

Wherein My Basic Coping Skills Prove to Be Non-Existent

The power suddenly goes out in the house.  I deal with this by:

  • Staring blankly at the dog.
  • Asking the dog to please remain calm.
  • Retrieving the mail and finding out the power is out on our whole street not just our house.
  • Calling PG&E and panicking when the recording informs me the power may not be back for another 3 hours.
  • Mentally preparing myself to eat an entire tray of lasagna in our refrigerator.
  • Preparing a speech to Ed about how I had to eat the lasagna to keep him from having to throw away what he spent so much time preparing.
  • Lying down to take a nap because if I’m going to eat all this food, I’m going to need some rest.
  • Bolting straight upright when the power suddenly comes back on within 30 minutes and every appliance and the alarm starts beeping.
  • Feeling a sense of relief mixed with just slight disappointment that I don’t have to eat the whole tray of lasagna.

A Wholly Original Piece in Which I Tell 2013 to F Off

Happy New Year, Interweb!  And let me add to the chorus of “Wow, 2013 SUCKED, let’s DO THIS 2014!” because oh holy hell this year was rough and I am ready for a fresh start.  2013 started with a lot of promise mixed with uncertainty, the middle part was definitely marked by a lot of heartache and – by the Fall – heartbreak.  By December we had answers and clarity but that doesn’t always mean good things, does it?  I am absolutely determined to hold on to the lessons that 2013 taught me without letting the hurt weigh me down, set small goals to achieve the big ones, and have some fun for fuck’s sake because if there was one thing 2013 lacked it was levity in the midst of all the crazy. 

A couple of my favorite writers have done this little year-end survey and I thought it might be a good way to summarize and close the door on 2013, but realized that my answers were mostly complete bummers and who the hell wants to read that?  Obviously it wasn’t 365 days of shit: we went to New York and Vegas, saw dear friends get married, choked back tears as one of our nieces graduated from high school, and saw our respective parents through some scary health situations and were able to celebrate the holidays with them.  But for the most part when I look back it’s with a sense of dread of the near-constant up-and-down emotional roller coaster that was last year.  (Jesus, did I just write “emotional roller coaster?”  Apparently I’m just quoting my journals from high school or some shit now.)

So here’s to a new year, a new outlook, and hopefully more writing that doesn’t include ridiculous cliches.

Carrie Underwood and Vampire Bill Did Not Make the List

Almost a week later and I am still reeling from the Sound of Music: Live! fiasco that NBC thrust upon an unsuspecting public.  As a palate cleanser, I offer you some of my most recent favorite things.  GET IT?  As usual, this is mostly a list of stuff I smear on my face and then eventually wash down the drain.  My grandfather, a man who would spend $.25 in gas to drive to a different grocery store to save $.5 on milk BECAUSE IT’S THE PRINCIPLE OF THE MATTER, CHICKADEE*, is probably rolling in his grave as I write this.  Enjoy!

1.) 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream:  My esthetician recommended this to me a few weeks ago (wow, that’s the whitest thing ever written, isn’t it?) and I love how a.) good it smells and b.) it is calming my freaked-out skin slowly but surely.  It wears nicely under makeup, doesn’t irritate my eyes/contacts, and is vegan/organic.  That isn’t a requirement for me, but if someone in your life is committed to those types of products, I really like the entire line of skin care.

2.) Gimme Brow:  Once again Benefit comes to the rescue.  My issues with my brows are two-fold: 1.) I color my hair so my brows are just a teensy bit lighter and 2.) Parts of my brows are blonde, which looks like I’m missing half of them – not a good look.  The light/medium shade fills everything in, evens it out, and keeps them groomed.  I was using a cumbersome powder/brush/wax combo for quite some time and the sheer convenience of this product (it’s like a tiny mascara wand for your brows) alone makes it worthwhile. 

3.) L’Oreal Colour Riche Le Goss in Really Rose: Perfect nude/pink gloss that smells like vanilla.  Not a fan of overly shimmery/glittery glosses?  This is for you.  It’s a pretty good dupe for the now-discontinued Fruit Cocktail gloss bareMinerals used to make, too, if you’re rationing your last remaining tube of that not that I would do that or anything.  I wore this shade over my MAC Spice lip pencil this weekend with a smokey eye and liked that it added some color but wasn’t WHOA.  You know what I’m talking about, right?  Right.

4.) Brooks Ravenna:  New running shoes with special inserts for my precious snowflake feet.  Thanks Dad!  It’s kind of horrifying to realize just how not-good-for-me my last pair were after wearing these and feeling like…I might actually enjoy running again?  And not hurt myself?  Christmas miracle!  Anyway, these may not work for you (unless you are also a big-hipped, pronating, narrow-heel having freak) but I love them.

5.) Trader Joe’s Mac & Cheese Bites:  These may or may not be the reason I needed #4 above.  I could film my own “Schweddy Balls” sketch about these since every time Ed makes them I say things like, “These are my second favorite kind of ball to have in my mouth” and then he sighs heavily and reexamines all the choices in his life that led him to be married to me.  Anyway, these are delicious.  Put them in your mouth.  Heh. 

 

*Yes, he called me Chickadee.  No, you may not.

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