Thursday, December 10, 2015

Sorry! Sorry!

Blog? What blog? I don't have a blog! Oh wait a second... Well would you look at that! Huh! What do you know?

I might just skip everything that happened in the last seven months because at the moment I can't remember much of it. I went to the beach a few times, I went on tour with the Weisstronauts a few times (that was really fun) got a temp job at the List Visual Arts Center at MIT (great place to work and lovely people) Those are the highlights.

That's good for now. In trying to jog my memory I spotted the breakfast I had on February 21 and it looks pretty tasty - which reminds me I'm in the middle of making my dinner. I'm kind of a bubble-headed idiot today. So, uh, I think I'll go cook myself some protein and hope my brain kicks in soon.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

From the Roof Deck This Morning

Pete stuck an old pie box in the railing to block a spotlight from a neighbor's yard that shines too brightly at night.
I can't drink coffee anymore. No caffeine for me. There are a lot of things I can no longer consume at this time. I'm perimenopausal. If you haven't heard, and I hadn't, perimenopause can cause a gal's hormones to run amok and make  her an insane, discombobulated, miserable wretch. And damn, it can sneak up on you too. You don't realize you've lost it until, from out of nowhere, you get a blessed flash of clarity and you find yourself in the middle of a swamp with no solid ground in sight. 

I didn't think it was my hormones. I mean, the last five years have been very tumultuous and involved a great deal of change and loss. I just thought it was my crappy life that was getting me down. Only I don't really have a crappy life at all. Trauma and profound loss don't have to ruin every aspect of your life. I've taken some blows but my life is far from crappy overall. That lack of perspective is an example of how I'd slipped off the rails. It starts with legitimate trauma and then before you know it you're careening down a dark and bumpy road, unable to see the exit ramps. 

Fortunately a friend told me about The Hormone Cure, by Sara Gottfried. IT REALLY HELPED. First of all, it spoke to me. I had almost every possible symptom, especially sleeplessness, foggy-headedness and rage. RAGE! I read the book and thought "THIS BOOK IS ABOUT ME!" (See - all caps. I really did.)

Based on what I read in the book, I determined that I had high cortisol. I ended up having to give up both caffeine and booze. I was so desperate I couldn't wait to give them up. I dove right in. It's been five months now and it's been so worth it. Sanity is worth whatever I have to do to keep it. I'm also taking fish oil and a number of vitamins to support my healthy temperament. It's been an adjustment but, again, so worth it. 

However, decaf sux. Over the years I'd come to rely on a comforting warm beverage first thing in the morning. The caffeine buzz was delicious as well but I understand I have to let that go. I feel a bit sad about letting go of the warm comfort though. There have been days I've sipped warm water from my mug. I'm picky about flavor. I feel that if something doesn't taste good, why put it in your mouth? Green tea wasn't cutting it. Herbal tea neither. I actually like echinacea tea but I don't think one should drink that every day. Mostly I've gone with decaf, attempting to view it as not coffee but a drink in its own right. It's not a very good drink in its own right. Those are the breaks. Oh well. 

So here I am on my lovely, un-sucky roof deck on a beautiful early summer morning with my excellent mug. 

The tall tree in the background is named Sasha Fierce
Things are not perfect. (I haven't set up my summer planters yet. There's an old, greasy pie box shoved in the deck railing. How am I going to attract a following for my blog if I don't have beautiful photos of how I'm doing everything right?) Decaf is unrewarding. I can't "party" like I used to. But I have a nice life. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Strange Metal Objects

Ugh! Long time no post! Sorry!

I'm roof-decking this morning. First breakfast on the roof deck this year. Perhaps some champagne is in order. That won't happen though because I'm not drinking these days. 

I have been gardening in the back yard in Somerville. Our building was built on a site where an old garage once stood. I think the garage was built in 1910/1919. It was there until maybe 2013. There's a lot of weird stuff in the soil back there.  Some examples:

Pumice-y metal (I think) froth pebble. I dig up a lot of these.
Random metal objects

A slab of metal bigger than my size 10 shoe.

Creepy bones and glass.

More pumice-y objects.

Odd, gooey, chalky blobs.

Hunks of clay that smell exactly like the clay from elementary school art class when you break them open.

Let's see if I can get a view of what I've done so far from above without dropping my phone off the roof. 

Still looks pretty sparse. It is.

Ooh! Here's one with the bike rack that was demolished by tons of snow! 

Tragic loss of bikes.

Strange metal objects. 

I have planted two roses (with another on deck, waiting to be planted) three hellebores, two clematis vines and eleven Lilies of the Valley (it would have been 12 but one rotted in the mail 😕 frowny-face emoji) One of the two hydrangea plants I put in in the fall didn't make it. There is, as yet, no sign of the black Parrot Tulips I put in either. They are late season bloomers and I've never tried them before so I don't know what to expect.

I plan to add a lot of compost to this soil. I'm also going to try to grow sunflowers in an attempt to remediate soil contamination. I don't know exactly what's in this soil but with all the stuff I'm digging up it can't be good or safe. 

Spring has come late to New England this year but here it is. We're ready. Even I am ready. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

It Went Great

I guess only my hip-to-knees region is Pepto Bismol pink. False advertising. Sorry. Also, I'm blonde now. 
I did it! Go me! There were no hiccups at all. I ran at the pace I intended to and even finished in the top half (tee-hee! Faster than 12,528 other people but slower than 7653) I want to say "it has CHANGED me!" We'll see if that turns out to be true. I am awfully proud of myself though. 20,182 people finished the race. That is a lot of people.  

Getting up at 2 AM turned out to be no problem. I ate my half a bagel with peanut butter and got a cup of coffee in the lobby then I met Kirsten and we got on the bus. There were thousands of people who were also doing the same things at the same time. I saw them doing it. Nobody seemed tired or as if we were doing anything unpleasantly unusual. We were all psyched. 

I mentioned that Disney is HUGE. I can't emphasize that enough. Our twenty-something-thousand-person race was just one thing that was going on on an ordinary day at Disney World. The scale just hasn't truly sunken in yet. Kirsten and I were shocked to find ourselves sitting in a traffic jam on the bus on the way to the course at 3:30 AM. Then we noticed that much of the traffic was big tour busses from our resort and from other resorts loaded with other runners. Imagine a traffic jam stretching on for miles made up of giant tour busses. Tour busses filled with thousands of people dressed up as princesses (and princes and frogs - I saw two frogs - and Elvis and Priscilla Presley and Prince.)

The view after getting off our bus

The view from my spot in my pre-start corral
It was a cool morning, in the fifties. I believe my group started about forty-five minutes after the first group did. There was a pre-race entertainment crew performing near the first corral, corral A, whose schtick was broadcast to us all over jumbotrons. When my corral arrived at the starting line the MCs made us sing the first stanza of "Don't Stop Believin'" before we could go. Though I hate Journey I didn't mind. It was fun and I was excited. 

After that it was kind of a blur. I focused on my strategy: start out slow and save some energy for the end. Pretty standard. It worked well. We ran or walked from Epcot to The Magic Kingdom and back through Epcot. On the way people would stop and line up to have their photos taken with characters like Aladdin, Cruella DeVille, Jack Sparrow and Mary Poppins and Bert. 

Running through the Magic Kingdom was kind of magical, I have to admit. It was pretty neat to be running up Main Street towards Cinderella's Castle with crowds cheering you on. I didn't take photos.

The sun came up and we kept running. People lined the course handing out water, sports beverage, Gu and encouragement. At the last half-mile there was a fantastic gospel choir singing. The course was very curvy at that point and I thought back to all the lines for rides I'd stood on the day before and how the curves made the length of the line appear deceptive. I wondered if this was some kind of Disney "you're almost there! No you're not!" joke. 

Finally there was the finish line and I was running towards it, amazed that I, me, had got myself in a position where I'd be racing people. Not just racing people but finishing and beating people. So strange!

I crossed the finish line pumping my arms over my head. Then what do you do? You follow the crowd. I got my medal and my fairy dust, my mesh bag, my drink and snacks. I walked through the barriers and it was done. I felt fine.

Long story short - I reunited with Pete and Kirsten and her husband, Ben, we caught the bus back to our hotel for some freshening up, then we went to Disney's Hollywood Studios

How has it "changed me?" Well now I see myself as someone who can do something. I got a medal for doing something. I did something that other people generally agree was worth doing and should be rewarded. Other people might be impressed if I tell them I did this. 

Most people have no idea what to think about most of the other things I do. I can't really blame them. They don't know from looking at a five-by-four-foot canvas covered with giant paper and crochet strawberries, pom-poms, glitter and mysterious mounds of white stuff that I spent months working on it, figuring out how exactly to express what I wanted to express, arranging everything so it's just exactly the way I want it to be, fretting that I might never get it to be "good enough." They may look at it and wonder why anyone would make such a thing. Most people may just look at it and think nothing at all. 

As seen in this entry
The things I think are important are not the things most people think are important. That's okay with me. It's just refreshing to finally have done something that I can explain to others in five words and have them smile and approve. 

Anyway, TRIUMPH! 

Kirsten celebrates her success with champagne in the shade behind the finish line stands
I am making a list of things I've learned from training for and running this half-marathon. For example I learned that some people chafe when they run and I am lucky that I don't. I also found out about "Shot Blocks" and "Gu" and what you're supposed to do with them. You're supposed to eat them if you're going to be running for longer than an hour to keep your muscles properly fueled so it feels easier to keep going. Shot blocks are much harder to chew at twenty degrees Fahrenheit than they are at sixty (I learned that too.) My favorite Gu flavor is Salted Caramel, which I prefer to Chocolate Outrage. Also, I don't recommend wearing glitter toenail polish if you're going to run more than five miles as the glitter can cling to your socks and yank your toenails around. Yep, that's gonna be some list. You should look out for it in coming weeks. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

My First Half

I'm going to be running in the Disney Princess Half Marathon tomorrow so here I am at Disney at the Pop Century resort having this breakfast:

There's no way I'm going to eat all of that. The bagel's for tomorrow (when we have to get up in time to catch a 3:30 bus to get in place for a 5 AM start). I got this breakfast because I really wanted the biscuit and this was the only way. I wanted the eggs and bacon too - and I wouldn't say no to French toast. 

Pete and I are here with my high-school friend, Kirsten, and her husband, Ben. It was Kirsten's idea to do this. She suggested it to me back in July when I was visiting down in D.C. I'd never imagined I'd do anything with the word "marathon" in it but it sounded fun and here I am. It has been fun, and very interesting, to train for this. More on that later. 

For now, here we are at Disney World for the first time. It's wild here. In a way it's kind of like Vegas. Last night, inexplicably, we took a boat to Downtown Disney. 

Disney's a whole other series of posts. You can't just call up, get a hotel room and come on down. There are Magic Bands and photo plans and Fast Passes and reservations and a whole bunch of research-ahead preparations to make that they keep e-mailing you about. I made as few as possible because I HAVE A LOT OF OTHER STUFF I HAVE TO DO just like most people. It's really as if you needs preliminary trip to Disney so you can plan your trip to Disney. 

Now that we're here it turns out to be even HUGER than I'd ever imagined. 

My plan for today is to head over to the Expo Center and pick up a bunch of pink sparkly swag then go on some rides I guess. Tomorrow I'll be running 13.1 miles dressed like a big, tall swig of sparkly Pepto Bismol - assuming there are no hiccups. 

Watch this space?