Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How to Run in the Early Morning in Winter-A Step by Step Guide if You're Me

1.  Set your alarm for 5:15 AM or whatever time you want to drag your sorry ass out of bed.  Double check that you have indeed set it for AM at least twice because you don't trust your sleep-deprived, toddler-parenting brain.  And being wakened by your 3 year old at 7 when you need to leave the house at 7:35 does not bode well for the rest of the day.

2.  Wear as much of your running attire to bed as possible.  Typically this is (thick, knee-high) socks, running tights, and tee.  Your husband will of course appreciate the sheer sexiness of this ensemble. After your alarm successfully goes off, put sweats over tights (because it WILL be fucking cold.)  Squeeze yourself into a sportsbra and throw on a sweatshirt or fleece.  Put a waterproof layer on top in the event of snow or sleet.  Put on shoes and tie them.  With a double knot.  Because ice provides enough challenges for those of us who are clumsily inclined.  (THIS MEANS YOU.)

3.  Protect your extremeties:  This means a hat that you don't mind sweating in, and some sort of gloves that still allow you to open up one of those little dog poop bags and pick up shit when your dog takes the inevitable pit stop in the middle of the street at which time you will also see the only car ALL MORNING headed right towards your shitting dog.

4.  Be able to see and be seen.  This means remember your headlamp, dummy.  Some reflective gear of some sort also does not go amiss. This will prevent the car from hitting you while your dog shits and prevent you from hitting black ice at full tilt.  Usually.

5.  Last, put your RoadID, NikeSportBand and Ipod in proper locations on your body.  Wonder briefly why you have so many electronic crutches to run.  Then decide you don't really care.

6.  Take a deep breath and try not to recoil when that first blast of icy air hits your face.  Tell yourself, "This is going to be fun!"  Almost believe it.

7.  Get in a good warm up while you wait for your dog to pee.  Do some lunges, some side-to-sides, high kicks and whatever else feels good.  Briefly hope that no one is watching you as you probably look like a total dork.

8.  Start running.  Spend the first couple minutes hating this, wishing you were still in your warm bed snuggled up to your kid.  But then notice how your ipod is picking great songs.  As your body gets warm and approaches 'cruising altitude,' (meaning that you don't have to purposefully tell your legs to move forward anymore), start to think about shit that went down yesterday/last night/last year/when you were 7.   Take this time to process what's been bugging you.  Think about the future.  Think about your husband, your kid, that book you're reading for book club, whether there will be enough snow for snowshoeing this weekend, what you're going to make for dinner.

Feel how strongly your heart beats in your chest, how your legs carry you over snow and ice, how warm your core is while your cheeks and nose feel delightfully cold in comparison.  Notice how bright the moon is.  Start to wonder how you got so lucky that this is your life. 

9.  After an hour or so, approach the end of your run and feel a little sad that its almost over.  Walk to cool down.  Stretch.  Shovel the walk if it needs it.  Take some deep breaths of the cold, clear air, noticing how great it feels now that you're hot and sweating.  Pet the dog and tell her "good run."

Open the door and go inside feeling exhilarated, centered, excited for a hot shower and ready to kickass all.  effing.  day.

10.  Be thankful.  Look forward to doing it all again tomorrow.

Monday, November 22, 2010

My mama said there'd be days like this

Saturday was just ill-fated from the beginning**.  After a kind of shitty night's sleep, I really wanted to run.  So after a bowl of oatmeal and some snuggle time with the kid, Ruby and I headed a ways out of town.  I wanted to run this road that goes past the old cement factory and turns into a wildlife refuge.  Supposedly great views of our surrounding mountain ranges and all that.  Unfortunately, while in town it had seemed relatively calm, if cold, out on the high plains there were hurricane force winds whipping snow and tumleweeds around willy-nilly. 

But, being the stubborn idiot I can be sometimes, we set out anyway.  It was awful.  A facebook friend commented that my particular locale is known for its "free microdermabrasions" and holy shit she's not kidding.  3 miles and 30 horrible minutes later, I had grit in my eyes, nose, and mouth and was half wondering if there was any skin left on my face.

We finally made it back to town, and I decided to drive through for a pumpkin pie latte as a consolation prize.  As we pulled into the coffee hut, Ruby puked all over the passenger seat of my husband's car.  Sigh.  I thought puppies grew out of car sickness...?

Finally, we made it home and as I pulled into the driveway, I saw the husband and the kiddo standing on the stoop.

The kid's face looked like this:

He'd lept off the coffee table and directly into a wooden cabinet.  This picture was the day of.  You should see it now- he looks like a prize fighter with lots of purple and blue around that pretty eye.

Thank goodness this is a 2-day week for me with a 5-day holiday weekend because fuck.

**There was ONE fun thing on Saturday- I caught a showing of that one big movie about the boy wizard that night with friends.  Loved it.  RIP Dobby the Elf!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Favorite Things: Simply

Here we are again, somehow.  Poised on the brink of the Season of Excess.  The Season of Want.  The Season of Shopping and Presents and Wishlists and Letters to Santa etc. etc.

I've been thinking about how I fall into these traps of wanting this or that, convincing myself I "need" that this or the other thing.   Convincing myself that I need a new coat or boots or that Otto needs this or that toy, that the dog needs such and such obedience class.   And you know what?  It's not true.  (Well, maybe that last one might be true.)

The point is, I have everything I need to be happy.  I, no...WE are already perfect.

And in that spirit, a list of my favorite SIMPLE things right now.  Things that I am grateful for, things that brighten my day, things that keep me centered.  "Things" that can't be bought.

 1. My kid's laugh.  Especially if its a result of something I did.  I love it.  That sound is like crack.

Also, his chubby cheeks don't go amiss.

2. A dark, clean house on a winter's evening with lit candles and a steaming hot cup of tea.  Ok, well I guess technically those things can be bought, but what I really mean is the delicious sort of  homebody tendency I feel after day light savings time ends and the darkness descends so early.   I just kind of embrace it and cocoon up in my little house with my little family, a good book, and some chamomile.   My interpretation of AskMoxie's Candletime.

The Danes have a verb for this sort of thing, "at hygge sig" which we don't really have an equivalent for in English.  The closest translation would be "to cozy oneself."   Too cute.

3.  A long, sweaty run in the cold.  I know this is weird but there's something about running in cold weather that makes it even more satisfying.   I pretend I'm in Rocky IV, you know where he's training in Russia and running in the snow?  Yeah.   I come home feeling even more badass than usual, high on endorphins.   EYE OF THE TIGER.

4.  And finally, a hot bath on a cold night. Preferably with a good book and glass of wine or bottle of hard cider.  Yes?

What are your favorite, simple pleasures?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Endings and Beginnings

Change is all around me now...and not the shiny, silver, clunky kind.  I'm talking massive, sweeping changes in areas of my life.  Or at least that's how it feels.

The first big change: I do believe my son is weaned.  And let me tell you, now that I've been through child-led weaning from beginning to end, it is a beautiful, amazing thing to watch.  It's been so gradual that it hasn't been traumatic or sudden for either of us, rather just a gentle progression from "baby" to "kid."   We went from multiple nursings a day when he was a baby (obviously) to fewer and fewer as he got older. And then more recently, to just a couple times a day.  Then it was only once at bedtime and if he hurt himself or got super upset.  And then only at upsets.  And now...nothing.    At bedtime we now "snuggle."  At upsets, we rock and talk and hug and listen.  He no longer asks for "milk."

Of course he still needs me.  Of course he does!  But he doesn't need to breastfeed.  And he made that decision for himself.  Which is totally awesome.  If I ever had it to do over, I would do it this way again in a heartbeat. 

But!  I won't pretend that it hasn't been a little emotional for me to realize that this marks the end of a really special time in my relationship with my son.  I know there is a lot to look forward to and more awesomeness to come but I've allowed myself to mourn just a tad the unique relationship that exists between mother and nursling.  I'm sure dropping prolactin levels also have something to do with a little bit of melancholy. 

*     *     *      *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

The second big change, is in my worklife.  And while I don't want to go into too much detail here for obvious reasons, suffice to say that upheaval has been ubiquitous between having a new position, a new supervisor (who doesn't start for another 6 weeks or so) and all that comes with that.  They have also been sending me to some trainings that require overnights away from home.

This last week was the first such training and the first time ever since he's been on the planet, I slept apart from my kid.  It was weird.  But I'd being lying if I claimed not to have slept like I was dead.  The Husband, however, wasn't so lucky as he is used to Otto snuggling me at night and not him. 

There's another training scheduled next month that requires 2 nights away.  Eeek.  I know everything will be fine and that almost might be the problem.  Aren't they LOST without me?  How do they function when Mama's not home for TWO WHOLE DAYS?!?!?  Heh. 

These changes are good and I know that.  I'm fulfilled and challenged in my work in a way that I haven't been in a long time.  I have an employer who wants to invest in my career development and who sees potential in me.  That is awesome.  But there's a tiny part of me that feels sad that I'm no longer necessary for Otto's daily/nightly sustenance. 

I keep telling myself that of COURSE he still needs me.  A lot. (See above.)  And he gets a lot of me.  We still co-sleep and my evenings and weekends are spent with him.  But its a time of transition and that usually means some new feelings, some reevaluating, and allowing yourself to mourn the loss of what was even while looking forward to what comes next.